DrumBeat: July 20, 2007

Oil subsidies do no one any favours

Rises in the price of crude have little effect on petrol prices in the Middle East, China or India.

Back in the late '60s, these nations consumed just 25 per cent of world oil. Now they consume over 40 per cent.

Because they have not faced sharply rising oil prices, almost all the increase in oil demand in recent years has been due to them.

Developed nations provide the oil revenue for OPEC to subsidise domestic consumers.

Rapid oil demand growth in OPEC and China will keep driving the free-world oil price higher.

Yet it is the developed countries that will face an oil price crunch if supply cannot be increased as rapidly as demand in developing countries.

New York crude hits 11-month peak above 76 dollars

The price of New York crude struck a fresh 11-month high point on Friday, above 76 dollars a barrel, owing to tight US supplies, while London's Brent oil traded close to its historic high.

What drives quality of life for seniors? Driving

As baby boomers enter a critical new stage, a powerful new constituency is about to arise, demanding solutions to problems caused inadvertently by planners and others who have helped make automobiles so central to our lives. After all, this generation of Canadians has higher expectations for mobility than any that preceded it: We grew up with easy access to the car, and we will do what ever it takes to hang on to this privilege — which some already view as a basic right. But as many seniors are already finding out to their discomfort, suburbia is no place to grow old, testing the common assumption that we all gracefully "age in place."

The Global Thirst for Crude Is Set to Rise

The world has changed immensely and so has the energy world. Seventy-five dollars a barrel no more boggles the mind. Some even predict that triple figure prices are only a matter of time.

Latest Project Aims to Wean Oil Sands Off Natural Gas Habit

While Canada's oil sands are booming, the energy-intensive nature of the projects there are holding the province back from the ranks of the world's trophy deposits.

Nexen Inc. (NXY) and OPTI Canada Inc. (OPC.T) want to change that.

Mexico Guerrilla Group Says Pemex Bombings 'In Self-Defense'

"We are not criminals, and much less terrorists," the group said in its statement posted to a Web site yesterday used by guerrilla movements. "But up against the latent death threats against our members and the government's fascist offensive against the entire popular movement, we are obliged to exercise the legitimate right of self defense."

The group's statement suggests it may intend to make good on threats to continue its bombing campaign unless authorities release its members. The office of Mexico's attorney general said in a July 11 press release that no federal prison held the EPR members mentioned in a July 10 statement.

Calderón plans US$76.5bn for hydrocarbons output - Mexico

Mexico's President Felipe Calderón has unveiled his administration's 2007-12 infrastructure development plan, which entails investments of 822bn pesos (US$76.5bn) in the production of hydrocarbons, according to plan documents.

Panic of the rich worsens in Zimbabwe

Long, chaotic lines of vehicles built up Friday at the few gas stations still supplying fuel after the government banned a hard-currency coupon gas purchasing system used by well-to-do Zimbabweans.

North Korea: Key talks extended in Beijing

It's very important given the chronic food shortage and energy shortage that the country has. What they've received so far is really just a token gesture, the fuel oil, it's heavy fuel oil, it's not very high quality and even the quantity is not enough to really power North Korea's industry and energy sectors for more than a week or two. So they were receiving 500,000 tons a year under the agreed framework. But the humanitarian assistance is significant because they are still facing hunger and famine in some areas. We don't have precise numbers but that will certainly help people. Unfortunately I'm not sure it's a good idea to tie this humanitarian assistance to good behaviour by the North Korean regime. But invariably they become interwined as they have here.

Is this the End of Uranium?

The spot price for uranium has dropped recently to $130/lb. It's been over six years since we've seen the spot price drop successively, does this signify the end of uranium?

Russia offers tax breaks to boost oil, gas development

Russia's government ia aiming to boost foreign investment and expertise even further, by offering tax breaks for the development of remote and depleted gas and oil fields.

Bloomberg's congestion pricing plan revived

State and city leaders yesterday struck a deal that resuscitates Mayor Michael Bloomberg's proposal to use tolls to mitigate traffic gridlock and air pollution in Manhattan.

Minister: Japan firms need to limit peak power use

Japanese trade minister Akira Amari said on Friday industry would need to restrict electricity use during peak periods after a powerful earthquake forced the shutdown of the world's biggest nuclear power plant.

Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), the operator of the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant in northwestern Japan, said it had enough capacity to meet demand without firing up expensive oil-fired back-up generators, with help from other utilities unless summer was unusually hot.

But the minister said industrial restrictions would be needed to ensure a safe margin in supplies.

The Crude Awakening

As Mr Baer argues in his book, Sleeping with the Devil, it would only take a possible terrorist attack on two of Saudi Arabia’s important oil export terminals to stop the two million barrels of surplus oil that the House of Saud so graciously keeps floating to stabilise prices in the international oil markets—in exchange for protection by America—for nearly two years.

If this surplus was taken out of the market, the US Strategic Petroleum Reserve would run out in two months and crude oil price could rise from the current level of $75.65 to $150 per barrel.

Oil expert sees shift in industry

Global energy and engineering consulting firm IHS hosted a conference for oil industry professionals in Bakersfield on Thursday.

One of the company's exploration experts, Bob Fryklund, vice president of industry relations, spoke by phone about oil and gas exploration.

With Crude Oil Prices Still At the Base of a Five-Year Climb, Turn Pain Into Profit

Just when you thought the global energy outlook couldn’t get any worse …

Worldwide demand for crude oil will continue to outstrip supply for at least the next five years, meaning the high prices and tight supplies of today will remain a reality for the foreseeable future.

Gasoline and Diesel Prices Will Spike

All bets are off if a big hurricane hits the Gulf of Mexico. Gasoline would soar to $4 a gallon or even higher, and stay there for weeks in the event of storm damage to fuel refineries in the South and oil pumping facilities in the gulf. The nation's petroleum reserve wouldn't be much help if refinery facilities were out of commission. And, gasoline imports wouldn't be able to fill the gap, since virtually all foreign gasoline makers are operating at capacity now.

Venezuela's PdVSA: Govt Requirements Leading to Rig Shortage

Petroleos de Venezuela has had a difficult time hiring enough rigs for the domestic oil industry as new social spending requirements complicate tenders, said a company director.

PdVSA needs the rigs to reverse declining oil production. The International Energy Agency claims Venezuelan oil output has fallen to 2.37 million barrels a day, down from 2.6 million barrels a day a year ago.

Speaking to the National Assembly's comptroller committee on Wednesday, PdVSA Director Luis Vierma said the country currently has 120 active rigs, 36% below the year's target of 191 rigs.

Residents to engage on Moz-Gauteng pipeline

Mpumalanga residents will be given a chance to comment on the construction of a R4 billion fuel pipeline, set to cut through the province from Mozambique to Gauteng.

Canadians continue to go green

Although none of them can be considered "economy buys" as far as sticker price goes, hybrid vehicles continue to sell briskly in Canada and public interest has been rising along with "green awareness."

Car buyers stalled at pumps

Higher gas prices are driving some Milwaukee-area buyers to import automotive brands and keeping other cash-strapped buyers on the sidelines.

Denmark: Hydrogen powered car set for production

Not since the days of the ill-fated Ellert has Denmark been a car producing country. But now dwindling oil supplies and the threat of global warming have sped up plans for the production of a hydrogen-powered car, financial daily Børsen reported Friday.

Are Democrats the Peak-Oil Party?

"We have to understand how weak [Iran] is," explained Sen. Joe Biden last month at the Democratic presidential debate in Nashua, N.H. "They import almost all of their refined oil. By 2014, they are going to be importing their crude oil." If Biden really meant to say what he said, that places him firmly in the camp of those analysts who believe in "peak oil" and predict that global oil production will soon decline even as demand continues to rise, with the results being ever higher oil prices and shortages.

Peak oilers contend that the Middle East oil reserves are vastly overstated. Some, the minority to be sure, even think that global oil production will fall so far, so fast, that western civilization will have to return to some sort of pre-industrial way of life.

Peak Oil When? Case Western U. launches a scientific polling

Case Western Reserve University has launched a scientific effort aimed at reaching a global consensus over the expected timing for Peak Oil.

The chosen methodology, BiPSA, would take in opinions from everyone and integrate them according to the credentials of the sources. Quite a few experts have already voted on the site.

The Peak-Oil-When project is part of a large energy alternatives research initiated by this highly respect institution, further illuminating the energy crisis as the dangerous choke point for Western civilization.

Crucial six months to stop the lights going out

Britain's energy policy is entering a crucial phase with decisions over the next few months shaping the country's ability to meet demand over the next two decades, according to energy minister Malcolm Wicks.

Conoco has big plans for oil sands

ConocoPhillips Co. is prepared to spend billions of dollars on pipelines and refinery upgrades to allow it to process oil sands crude throughout its refinery network stretching to the U.S. Gulf Coast, company chairman Jim Mulva said Thursday.

ConocoPhillips CEO: Gazprom Wants More Talks on Shtokman

Gazprom OAO (GSPBEX.RS) officials have told ConocoPhillips (COP) that they're interested in talks about the U.S. company's inclusion in the massive Shtokman liquid natural gas project in Russia, the head of ConocoPhillips said Thursday.

Tokyo Frets as Nuclear Shutdown Hits Energy

The Nikkei business newspaper, citing unnamed sources, said the government would keep the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant shut for at least a year as the operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), conducts a safety study.

Officials in Tokyo declined to comment, but a local representative in the plant's hometown of Kashiwazaki said it would not be used at least through the summer, the peak months for electricity demand.

The damage to the plant is "unprecedented and it's hard to predict when operations can resume," said fire department official Osamu Oshima.

Singapore, Dubai, Hong Kong Suited to a Peak Oil World

Has the stock market priced in the prospect of a peak in global oil production? No, says money manager and CFA Robert Rodriguez in a paper called “Absence of Fear”. We took his paper and fired off a series of questions to our US-based colleagues. What would the market look like if Peak Oil was priced in? Dan Amoss, the editor of Strategic Investment, chimed in.

Dave Cohen: Exaggerated Oil Recovery

There is never a dull moment for those studying the peak oil question. The National Petroleum Council (NPC) released its long-awaited report Facing the Hard Truths About Energy on Wednesday, July 18th. A prepublication draft of the report contained references to a graph (2nd figure, below left) which was subsequently excised from the full report now available to public. The NPC report talks about peak oil, and the missing graph is part of that discussion.

Keeping Our Motor Running

Energy: Experts inside the oil industry have assessed the situation, and their outlook for the future is rather bright. Unlike those on the outside, these are the people who know what they're talking about.

Energy: Some Truths, Some Lies and A Whole Lot of Controversy

As reported by the Energy Bulletin, The Hard Truths Report may be soft soaping the real impact of increased demands and supply and delivery issues as it will impact the United States. A report issued by the GAO in March, emphasized that the United States may well be unprepared for disruptions in oil supply and delivery. The International Energy Commission last week predicted world oil shortages by 2012.

Oil Gap: NPC's 'Hard Truths' (podcast)

Perhaps the most sobering assessment to come out of the panel presentation is that even if there is sufficient diverse energy resources below the ground, the cost of building the necessary production, storage and distribution infrastructure to handle all these different resources is $20 trillion by at least one estimate.

Phil Flynn: Wham! Wham! Whammy!

Wham Jam! The gasoline got the proverbial triple whammy when the Department of Energy released its weekly inventory report and gas supplies confounded the experts in all major categories. In other words supply was down, production was down and demand was up. That lit a fire under the energy complex that is continuing to rage, being fueled even higher by a red hot China GDP and a refinery problem at a Total French refinery. The bullish stars are in alignment and the bear’s best get out of the way.

Energy shortages impact on Argentine industrial activities

For the first time since Argentina begun its strong recovery in 2003, industrial production contracted apparently because of the escalating energy problems and restrictions, according to the Buenos Aires think-tank FIEL which regularly releases monthly reports on economic and other activities. FIEL numbers show that manufacturing industry last June in Argentina contracted 0.8% compared to a year ago and 3.9% down from last May.

The Greening of Entertainment Tech

There is ample evidence suggesting that this happy-go-lucky age is beginning to wind down, largely due to something called peak oil. It follows a classic bell curve. On your way up the curve, the oil is easy to extract, of very high quality, can be sold cheap, and life is good. At the top of the curve the field is 50 percent exhausted—that’s peak oil. As you move down the curve, the oil gets harder to extract, harder to refine into something usable, and becomes exponentially more expensive. Domestic production in the United States peaked in 1970, setting the stage for the OPEC oil embargo of 1973 and a decade of financial instability. To cover the shortfall, we began importing more. Now there are many who believe worldwide production is peaking. For more details, see mainstream media coverage. Then check out these folks who are keeping a vigil.

Park District Urges Public to Help “Save Our Lake” from Industrial Sludge

With the approved expansion of BP’s Whiting Refinery by way of state regulators circumventing environmental laws, a considerable amount of ammonia and industrial sludge will be polluting Lake Michigan, the very source of Chicago’s fresh water.

New Nukes for California?

While the lights are staying on this summer, the long run prospects are still shaky. Highly visible state policies have focused on wind and solar as new sources while the behind the scene actions all point to only one source for the bulk of our electric generation - natural gas. The reasons why wind and solar can't be relied on for reliable and extensive electricity are well covered elsewhere. As tidbits of power, they seem harmless enough, if costly, but any polity that expects on-demand service from its electric grid needs to still focus on the meat-and-potatoes of power. For example, during last summer's brutal heat wave here in California, our wind resources were producing only 6% of their capacity.

So what are the meat-and-potatoes options for California? Like most places in the US, we really only have three choices - coal, natural gas, or nuclear.

1 Killed, 13 Injured in Ras Tanura Blaze

A fire that broke out at Saudi Aramco’s North Product Terminal in Ras Tanura yesterday killed one worker and injured 13 others, according to a source that requested anonymity.

Imperial Oil, ExxonMobil Canada bet $585M on offshore Arctic natural gas and oil

Imperial Oil Ltd. and its sister company ExxonMobil Canada, have slapped down a cool half billion dollar bet that offshore exploration in the Beaufort Sea could result in profitable oil and natural gas production.

Plug-in hybrids would slash carbon output by 2050, report says

Plug-in hybrid cars would cut U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 500 million tons a year by 2050 without taxing the electric grid, according to a report issued Thursday by an unusual coalition of power companies, General Motors and the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Indonesians told 'inconvenient truth' of climate change

In a darkened auditorium on a weekday afternoon, Indonesians are warned that floods in their capital will become more catastrophic and the haze-inducing fires blazing through their forests are partly to blame. A message from Al Gore has arrived.

For the first time in Indonesia, the world's fourth most populous nation and its third largest carbon emitter, a tailored version of the climate change slideshow delivered by former US vice president Gore and featured in the smash movie "An Inconvenient Truth" is underway.

Melting glaciers raise sea level more than polar ice sheets - Sea levels may rise by 9 inches this century

Contrary to common belief, melting glaciers due to global warming contribute more to the rising sea level than the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets, researchers said Thursday in a study.

Scientists found that the ebb and flow of glaciers where they meet the water causes them to speed up and deliver more ice into the world's oceans than previously estimated, said the study published in Science's latest issue.

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

Ontario has nuclear ambitions, the first of which is being thwarted by a lack of transmission capacity. If the power can't be transmitted once the deadline arrives, Ontario will have to pay for it anyway under the terms of their agreement with Bruce Power. Meanwhile, Quebec has difficulties with transport infrastructure, Alberta is losing it's skilled workforce in the oilpatch to early retirement, and Danny Williams may (or may not) be talking to the oil companies in Newfoundland.

CIBC, pondering its exposure to the subprime mess south of the border, is concerned about the prospect of $100 oil, and that risk may be becoming a four-letter word. The M&A juggernaut may be coming to an end, as Canada worries about the knock-on effect of a US recession. The subprime nosedive gets dramatically worse, with some investors threatening to sue Bear Stearns over a total loss. Desperate optimism continues, despite the subprime problems being "safely contained to all 15 ABX indexes". Meanwhile the Mortgage Lender Implode-O-Meter reaches 100.

Water quantity is a problem for both California and London, England, whereas water quality is the issue in Alberta, Ottawa, China and the Gulf of Mexico. China in particular is paying the price for being "filthy rich".

Syria, Iran Anticipate Victory in Mid-East War this Summer

" At a joint press conference with Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said that "Syria and Iran are aspiring for this summer to be hot by virtue of the victories that will be attained by the peoples of the region... and the enemies of the peoples of the region are on their way to perdition and defeat."

The Iranian president welcomed Hezbollah's victory over Israel in a war between the two sides in the summer of 2006 and called for a similar victory this summer."





Hezbollah's victory over Israel

Wasn't that a hoot?

I guess Israel felt bad about it, they dropped 2 million cluster bombs in the villages, towns and farm fields in southern Lebanon in the last 48 hours of the "War". Parting gifts so to speak.

Good money was made for those who invested in War. Those Cluster bombs need to be replace for the next go round.

Humor *off

Ok, supposedly we have a free press in the US. Here we have a war council take place in Syria including the leaders of Hamas and Hezbollah. Ahmadinejad and Assad express optimism about the WAR THIS SUMMER, and Yahoo(the only western press saying anything) saying, "The strength of their ties is viewed with the deepest suspicion in Washington". Nothing about the comments, nothing about an approaching war, NOTHING.

Full coverage.


Towards a free press and a free America.


After reading DPA (German) at Monsters, and AFP (French) at Yahoo, I haven't seen one thing that is overly inflammatory, and certainly not some war council reference. And since I trust European journalists to pick up on that sort of thing, I conclude it's simply made up, and I'm left wondering what your agenda is.

"The Iranian president welcomed Hezbollah's victory over Israel in a war between the two sides in the summer of 2006 and called for a similar victory this summer." IS from DPA.

Since I have been reporting links to the unfolding events here for days that have been supported day after day as the story has unfolded, what is YOUR agenda, attempting to cast dispersions?

Here, how about this one from the 17th?

Top Israeli General Confirms War with Syria Imminent


Yes, exactly, Iran et al are talking about the region being attacked. Is it inflammatory to suggest you might defend yourself?

If you want the whole story go to:


I'm not going to move it all over here. War is about to break out. Starting with Guerilla and Commando attacks on Israel followed by retaliation by Israel (and probably the US). Iran will Launch it's missiles at Israel.(and probably US positions and Carrier Groups) WWIII.

Cid why are you posting all this stuff? I also wondering what's you agenda? This is not the best place for political discussions. It has very little to do with Peak Oil. You know as well as anybody that links that you post are one sided.

I can see that you keep pushing you web page. And instead of doing a normal marketing you just decided to hijack this web site. Please finish your marketing compain. I get enough ads on TV. It would be better if you used Google ads or like.

I also do not appreciate that you are so rude to other members. You points do not seem any more convincing to me just becasue you insult others.

Duh! War in Middle East = Disruption in Oil Flow. Pretty Simple. Duh! My "website" is just a blog. Just a place to put stuff to direct my friends to or put stuff too big to put it all here. Like I could give a shit.


I value your posts. Keep them comming.

Thanks for all your effort!

agree that it is on-topic and i do find Cid's posts interesting

but I would say that Israel pro-con debates can devolve quickly on internet sites so it tends to behoove everyone to make the extra effort to be a little polite and tolerant in discourse

(and i am a stroppy bugger that argues at the drop of a hat so i know i'm stretching here - but Israel stuff does tend to get into back and forth and hijack whole sites)
When no-one around you understands
start your own revolution
and cut out the middle man

Not to mention since the Lebanon war it has been found out that isrial has it's own cyber-posting department. Where they had people search for places that talked about the war, created accounts, and then filled those parts of the board with their state's propaganda about it to drown out those who thought critically and thereby negatively about their actions.

I believe the term is


Quid Clarius Astris
Ubi Bene ibi patria

The enemies of the region should abandon plans to attack

Since Iran and Syria are simply saying that they will fight back if they are attacked, I find it hardly newsworthy. So it's not a surprise that there is no coverage. It's quite natural to assume that country will be defending itself if attacked. It would be a news if they said otherwise.

Did you really expect that Iran will come out and say "If Israel attacks us we will be doomed"?

This from the 15th.

Syria Prepared to Go to War with Israel

If Israel doesn't vacate the strategic Golan Heights before September, Syrian guerrillas will immediately launch "resistance operations" against the Golan's Jewish communities, a top official from Syrian President Bashar Assad's Baath party told WND.

The Baath official, who spoke on condition his name be withheld, said Damascus is preparing for anticipated Israeli retaliation following Syrian guerrilla attacks and for a larger war with the Jewish state in August or September. He said in the opening salvo of any conflict, Syria has the capabilities of firing "hundreds" of missiles at Tel Aviv.

"Syria passed repeated messages to the U.S. that we demand the return of the Golan either through negotiations or through war. If the Golan is not in our hands by August or September, we will be poised to launch resistance, including raids and attacks against Jewish positions (in the Golan Heights)," the Baath official said.


World Net Daily practices propaganda, not journalism.

You can lead an Idiot to a Library but you can't raise his IQ.

You can lead an Idiot to a Library but you can't raise his IQ.

Cid, How about my version.

You can lead a man to knowledge, but you can't make him think.


Oh, so much better. I defer to you.

I agree with HeIsSoFly, I wonder about your agenda, Cid Yama. This blog is about energy and our future, not about trying to drum up support for a war. Bob Ebersole

Give me a break Bob. I'm not trying to build support for a war. I am #1 concerned that this is a BIG THING and not covered by the MSM and War in Middle East, Especially if BIG WAR, will disrupt OIL SHIPMENTS from the Persian Gulf. Gee, No connection to energy or our future there. Totally has nothing to do with this website. Sheesh.

Just curious, CY, if you have a theory as to why the MSM is not covering this.

And why, since everyone else seems to know exactly what the perfidious Syrians are going to do, etc., is there not an instantaneous pre-emptive strike. It seems to me that the element of surprise is somewhat lacking.

I mean, you are outlining a multi-step sequence to all-out war in the Middle East here.

"And why, since everyone else seems to know exactly what the perfidious Syrians are going to do, etc., is there not an instantaneous pre-emptive strike. It seems to me that the element of surprise is somewhat lacking."

Exactly! Israel cuts off water to Syria used for electricity production and irrigation. Syria threatens to send small units into the Golan Heights to deal with the situation if Israel does not relinquish control immediately. US Administration cannot expand war due to domestic political considerations. BUT, if Syria launches Commando assault in the Golan Heights to blow the dam preventing water from flowing to Syria, US can claim Syria attacked Israel and give it justification for expanded war. If Iran helps against Israeli retaliation, US has pretext to invade Iran.

Just curious, CY, if you have a theory as to why the MSM is not covering this.

The revolution will not be televised.

Man, once surrendering his reason, has no remaining guard against the absurdities the most monstrous, and like a ship without rudder, is the sport of every wind. -- Thomas Jefferson

I think it's more like 'see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil'


Do you have a theory as to why the MSM reportage in advance of, and in the early days of, the Iraq war was so biased and lacking?

I suspect they are linked.
When no-one around you understands
start your own revolution
and cut out the middle man

Cid Yama,

That's all very well, but some of your sources are generally known as very unreliable and unashamedly pro-Israel. The World Net Daily has published lots of odd Israeli propaganda that few knowledgeable people could take seriously. MEMRI is the master of selective reporting and has been known deliberately to mistranslate sources for the sole purpose of making the "enemies of Israel" look bad. Anything coming from these two, or the extreme right-wing Jerusalem Post et al. should be viewed with a healthy dose of scepticism.

Actually, If you looked, you would have seen that Israel is INSTIGATING this war by cutting off water to Syria. Not a pro-Israel position.

Israel Diverts Water from Syria



Where is the Wihada reservoir? I haven't found any reference to it other than in various copies of this story.

I don't think it is correct to characterize the Jerusalem Post as an extreme right-wing paper. It's a pretty reputable paper which has been publishing since 1932. Although the paper's perspective is a little right of the center in Israel, they carry some left wing columnists as well. Of course, it might not be bad to treat anything one reads in the media - right, left or center - with a certain degree of skepticism.

Fair enough. It just seems to me that their readership at least is very right-wing: if you read the readers' comments on Middle Eastern politics, most of them come across as openly racist towards Arabs (and all Muslims), and generally in favour of the most aggressive policies that the Likud could contemplate (including nuking Iran).

The Jerusalem Post is one of the many newspapers that were owned by a rather dishonest and right-wing proprietor Lord Black

Please don't tell me that he did not influence what his journalists had to say about the Middle East.

By the way, you should take a look at the relationship between the phone calls by Rupert Murdoch to Tony Blair at critical points of time for the Middle East - three times in the 10 days leading up to the invasion of Iraq. I guess he was making sure that his newspapers were going to trot out the party line.

No connection to energy or our future there.

I swear it looks like the common thread in your comments is Israel, not oil... No?

Have you posted any link that does not mention Israel, Syria or Iran attacking Israel, or some other country attacking Israel? These news articles can have valid points in exposing dangers to Israel, but that's a different subject.

You made you point and it can have an effect on oil prices, but lets not do it day after day. It starting to feel like an ad that I am forced to watch.

As far as war breaking out, did it ever felt there like a peace since Israel was created? Seems like not.

Actually further disruption of the tenuous "peace" in the middle east will have a DIRECT impact on Oil, specifically oil prices.

Last year when Isreal and Lebanon were mixing it up, the fear factor alone was enough to drive Oil prices soaring.

This year, we have a 2mbpd shortfall due to a 1mbpd increase in demand and 1mbpd decrease in production as compared to last year. This alone has sent prices to near record breaking levels as is evidenced by that little side bar graph on the right of your page here provided by Yahoo on the price of oil.

Now if fear alone pushed oil up to 79+ dollars last time, what will fear and actual production shortages do this time?

Or worse if Iran does wade into this, and shuts (whether voluntarily or forecfully) their production off how much worse is this going to get?

Folks if this spins out the wrong way we could be looking 90, 100 or higher dollar per barrel oil this summer.

Now does all this war watching make a little more sense and put into proper context the escalation that we are seeing unfolding right before our eyes?

Granted, it may turn out that nothing happens, but the pieces are being moved on the board gentlemen, and their movements are very similar to what a pre-cursor to war would look like.

Aljazeera reported Ahmadinejad's comments this morning as well. Something to effect that the war with the enemies of the people of the region will be won THIS SUMMER. Strangely enough the story has now been removed from their web site. I agree with Cid this is very pertinent news.

and reportedly Israel steadfastly refuses to tell UNIFIL (resp. amongst others for de-mining) where they dropped them. It is a big bone of contention.

I've tried to avoid the older military style discussions here, but the point about cluster bombs is somewhat one-sided - much like some of the discussion about the price of oil. There was likely more to it than simply providing a boost to the bottom line of a few companies.

When the global anti-mine campaign was in full swing, before convincing most of the civilized world to stop using them (apart from the U.S. - like that ol' Willie Pete, the U.S. continues to proudly use practices that other people consider barbaric or illegal - not that those others wouldn't use them in war, but only when 'forced' to), cluster bombs became part of the discussion - much to the dismay of those Americans who felt cluster bombs were several orders more effective in war than such an old standby as napalm (which America still uses, under a new brand name and a new and improved formulation - according to government spokesmen, it isn't your father's Napalm(TM), which is why after first denying its use in Iraq, it was just a honest mistake because the question was poorly phrased).

Cluster bombs can be used as mines - when they aren't mines, of course.

Strewing tens to hundreds of millions of submunitions was a way to buy a period of time (months? a couple of years?), in a border region of no value to Israel, without any noticeable human cost to Israel.

Interesting that the government which so incompetently ran a war actually published a review of its actions , but then, some systems are more democratic than others. However, the cluster bombs are unlikely to have been considered part of that incompetence - they were just a stopgap measure, one that would only cost Israel's 'enemies' - rocket siting soldiers/terrorists/freedom fighters or kids that stray from the cleared path around what used to be their home, for example.

But at some point, the submunitions will merely become part of the background of living there, much like in Germany, where finding and disposing of WWII bombs is a fairly routine occurence - within apartment blocks, or parks, or cities, next to train stations, or schoolyards, construction sites, etc. Evacuate a few thousand people for a day or two, call in the experienced disposal crew, and get a 30 second notice in the newspaper or on the regional radio news.

Good Urban Planning Primer

A proposal for Light Rail in Brisbane gives a good case study in Urban Planning around non-oil transportation (ped & light rail, weak on bicycling). Worth reading for an overview of the thought process (well written IMO).


Of course, they quote me (and Dr. Blakely, New Orleans recovery czar).

Best Hopes,


Oh this must be the same Queensland (aka "the smart state") that subsidises petrol and diesel to the tune of 8.3c per litre (that's 36 U.S. cents per gallon for American readers).

This must be the same country (Australia) that has frozen all fuel taxes at 38c/L since 2001 effectively reducing the percentage tax on fuel every year since.

This must be the same country that taxes imported SUVs at a lower rate that small, fuel-efficient cars.

This must be the same country that gives a tax concession to company cars the more miles you travel.

I just spent a week in Queensland. I have never seen so much road building, so many SUVs, so much population pressure, and so much traffic.

Queensland an example of good "Urban Planning around non-oil transportation"?!? You have got to be kidding!

The Goods and Services Tax (of 10%?) applies to petrol, so its not entirely accurate to say that all fuel taxes have been frozen at a certain price.
Also, how can you subsidise and tax something at the same time?

The Goods and Services Tax (of 10%?) applies to petrol, so its not entirely accurate to say that all fuel taxes have been frozen at a certain price.

Fair enough, the 10% GST does apply to fuel (around 11c/L ATM) but the main tax component (the 38c/L fuel excise) has been frozen for six years.

To illustrate the point, in 2001 when petrol was say 88c/L in Australia, 8c of that was GST and 38c was fuel excise. Pre-tax price 42c/L + 46c tax = 88c/L, so effective tax rate was 110%.

Currently petrol is around $1.25/L comprising ~11c GST and 38c fuel excise. Pre-tax price 76c/L + 49c tax = $1.25/L, so an effective tax rate of 64%.

So John Howard has reduced the rate of tax paid at the pump from 110% to 64%.

Also, how can you subsidise and tax something at the same time?

The Queensland Fuel subsidy effectively reimburses 8.3 cents of the Federal government's 38c/L fuel excise. i.e. As I understand it, the Queensland state government pays 8c of the fuel excise to the feds. Idiotic I know, but Queensland is the Texas of Australia. We call it "The Deep North".

None the less, the linked report was well written and well thought out IMO.

Best Hopes for Texas and Texas-like areas. They are not monolithic, Gardens can spring from deserts,


Actually, Your not quite right on the QLD fuel Subsidy.

Before the GST, QLD was the only state without salestax applying to Fuel. The Queensland government when they went to collect their chunk of the new revenues, after all the states agreed to drop all taxes (almost all anyway), promised they would use the extra they got from the now taxed fuel to pay back the consumer. As such fuel is ~8 cents cheaper in QLD. The money is paid straight to the fuel companies each quarter.

As to the rest of your statements, I must agree. We have a new 25 billion dollar ten year roads and traffic plan about 1% of which will be spent on pedestrian, bike and boat access and about 2-3% on light Rail over the duration. We have a whole bunch of new big Road tunnels being put in to allow people to skip the city centre and I fear the will be finished just as they aren't needed anymore.

As to SUV's you really don't want to park one in a universit students parking lot or you will find a lot of new dings in it when you get back. There is a fairly reactionary minority who use creative destruction to prove their point. About three months ago at a SUV club get together in my regional centre ( where they still never saw dirt) about 80 tires had to be changed due to deliberate spiking of tires. Hammer a screwdriver or ten into a bitumen road and it is amazing how much rubber they can punch through.

How about free roads and bridges, which subsidize the auto and oil industries, or military operations ? Do you really believe that anyone would give a damn about Iraq if it were not for oil?
Bob Ebersole

RE: Indonesians told 'inconvenient truth' of climate change
and: Melting glaciers raise sea level more than polar ice sheets

Climate change may be happening faster than the scientists have suggested. Take a look at the sea-ice cover this year compared with last year's on this date. (click on the button for "same time last year").


There's still something like 2 more months of melting until the minimum extent is reached. An Arctic Ocean without sea-ice cover will be a real big shock, producing major changes in weather and climate.

E. Swanson

Yes, it really seems like climate change is happening so fast it's leaving even the scientists trying to catch up.

The scary part of all this is, I can see the climate change in my own back yard.

We had two springs here this year. One in early Jan, then the hard freeze that killed not only several branchs of my trees, but a huge number of fruit trees in other parts of the area. Then a second spring after the frost and freeze, and this did nothing to improve the fruits or trees ability to produce anything but small green shoots that almost died again when the heat hit them.

July in North Little Rock will hit the second wettest on record we had 7.5 inches of rain in the first 14 days of the month, and the Arkansas river is still running very high, even closing some walking trail that goes along near the river. Up about 10 feet over normal to get to the trail edges.

If you follow the weather like I have for the past 30 years in this area, you can see the last two or three years as so out of balance as to be literally scary, even if I did not know what to expect.

My work in 3-d mapping, lets me know that any sea level rise, will cause massive changes to the world's coastlines. Our coastline with the Gulf of Mexico has to be updated every 3 months and this new report of 9 inches of sea level rise is not going to play friendly with Florida.

As I said yesterday, the least that they will have to worry about is the Oil wells off their coast. Saltwater backfilling their watertable is just one of the issues theya re going to have to face as the sea level rises around them.

Someone likes to say "They aren't making any more land" Well what if they are (Volcano action), and what if they are putting it under water (sea level rising).

Who has that link to world coastline shrinkage?

Maybe this will help!

From Wales, a box to make biofuels from car fumes!

More than 130 tests carried out over two years at several testing centers have, the three say, yielded a capture rate between 85 and 95 percent. They showed the box to David Hansen, a Labour MP for Delyn, North Wales, who is now helping them.

From Wales! Second Law of Thermodynamics repealed!

Its only 85 to 90% efficient, not 100% efficient. No laws are broken. Nice attempted troll though.

85% to 90% efficient at what?

The notion that you will get useful new fuel from exhaust fumes is most definitely anti-2nd-law. And whatever else I might be, I am certainly not a troll.

I am merely wary of this type of stuff. You burn something, and you've taken it downhill. You want to take the products of the burning and make it into something you can burn again, you need to roll it uphill, energetically speaking. It just doesn't seem realistic.

You, on the other hand, have always seemed to be a knee-jerk cornucopian, or perhaps just gullible, but I suppose that could be a mischaracterization as well.

I teach courses on this stuff, and it is incredible how hard people want to believe. But most of these things turn out to be "perpetual motion machines" - see "Orbo".

I think Partyguy's original response about this had to do with fighting CO2 emissions, not producing energy. I read the article about this "box" to capture tailpipe emissions from autos yesterday. The main focus of this device is to reduce or elimnate pollution from tailpipe emissions. Processing the captured CO2 into fuel is simply an added benefit.

Personally, I don't have much faith is something like this being widely adopted, but I think you are unfairly criticizing PG.

Man, once surrendering his reason, has no remaining guard against the absurdities the most monstrous, and like a ship without rudder, is the sport of every wind. -- Thomas Jefferson

"Personally, I don't have much faith is something like this being widely adopted, but I think you are unfairly criticizing PG."

Could be, and my fault for not reading the article. Talk about knee-jerk reactions... I guess I'm just a bit sensitized to this sort of thing, since I've had to explain it to students so many times. Oh, the stories I could tell...

I will say this - it's the first time in my online career that I've been labelled a troll! :-) And my online career goes back to the early 80's...

My favorite quote from a DailyKOS comment:

"If you're a troll, you'll get troll-rated. If you're not, you won't!"

With logic like that, how can one argue? I think people are quick to throw out the term "troll" for anyone who disagrees with them.

Man, once surrendering his reason, has no remaining guard against the absurdities the most monstrous, and like a ship without rudder, is the sport of every wind. -- Thomas Jefferson

Just like yesterday someone told me I was a troll. Laughs, Okay I look like one, so whats that a personal veiw of my long hair, big walking stick and lumbering gait! As to my posting record on this site, it has been rather slow the last few months, having less time to deal with online life than real life. But I have been a regular of this site for close to 2 years. At least a few folks came to my aid.

I am not a geologist. But I have over 5 years in Digital GIS and GeoSpatial Mapping, with a Top Secret Security Clearance from the DOD (Department of Defence). I am allowed to state that on my Resume. As my profile on here states I am knowledgable in other skills that will be useful in the coming age of Economic meltdown.

So I don't think I am a troll myself. Just a bit opinionated.

I am an ecologist, and no doubt have my trollish aspects :-)

Whoa! I just had a flashback (cue flashback music)...

...It's the late 50's, I'm a very young child. My mother is reading me the Three Billy Goats Gruff. There's something nasty under the bridge...

"I'm a troll, folderol,
I'm a troll, folderol,
I'm a troll, folderol,
and I'll eat you for supper".

OK, back to reality. Time to go out and close the barn for the night. My horse just reminded me...

There is only room for one troll on this here site so scram befor I whip out my huge club with a rusty nail poking out of it and WHACK YA!!!!!!!!

Big-Uguly-Tod-Troll (no acronyms pleeezzz I'm senth-a tiff)

If you had a SCI / SAP clearance and stated so in a public setting you would no longer have it.

Not at all. If you have (active) then it's usually not spoken of, at least in much detail, but if you are inactive but had at one point, it's quite common to list any and all clearances on resumes or applications where they are needed and required. Having a TS/SBI, even inactive, puts you ahead of the guy who never had a TS/SBI. Having inactive NATO COSMIC at one time puts you ahead of the guy who never had NATO COSMIC. That's because the contractor has to pay the government to clear you and someone with an inactive clearance is usually cheaper to clear than someone with no clearance at all.

It's quite simply a matter of business. Now listing your clearances on an application or on a resume for a sensitive position is quite different from logging on to the internet and just blaring that you have (or had) them.

"The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function." -- Dr. Albert Bartlett
Into the Grey Zone

The acronym nazis will be coming after you guys...

Man, once surrendering his reason, has no remaining guard against the absurdities the most monstrous, and like a ship without rudder, is the sport of every wind. -- Thomas Jefferson

is quite different from logging on to the internet and just blaring that you have (or had) them.

I rest my case.


troll has become the latest shut up you don't agree with me

it also seems to be used more by newer interneters than oldies

When no-one around you understands
start your own revolution
and cut out the middle man

It was a troll comment because he failed to read the article, by his own acknowledgment, and because he popped off with a comment without any kind of facts.

Laws of Nature to be Repealed
By Paul V. Cameron
Apr 16, 2007, 21:10

As a result of recent disasters and extreme weather, in a move some say will only incite anger and retribution by none other than the Almighty, a UN-led group is planning to repeal most, if not all laws of nature.

"There are four laws we don't like," said UN spokesperson Liam Snugglam. "If it weren't for these laws, we could prevent the deaths of innumerable vulnerable citizens world wide."

Drawing on an unconfirmed source, Snugglam noted the laws and the specific problems this UN-led group hopes to eliminate. . .

. . . Entropy (in any real-world situation, entropy irreversibly increases for an isolated system) - "We aren't sure what this entropy thing is," offered Snugglam, "But we're against it philosophically, if not practically. We are against isolationism. We think that the world needs to come closer together as one community. Entropy sounds like it pushes people apart. That is going in the wrong direction as far as the UN is concerned."

Oh boy, you can bet I'm bookmarking this one :-)

So you put tail pipe gases in and get 85% of the original fuel out. Either I am insane or this is in a total contradiction with the second law of thermodynamics. Where will the energy embodied in those 85% come from? Zero-point energy?

Read the article. It filters 85% of tailpipe emissions.

Man, once surrendering his reason, has no remaining guard against the absurdities the most monstrous, and like a ship without rudder, is the sport of every wind. -- Thomas Jefferson

Right. They do not mention how much biodiesel you get when you process the algae, but I would assume its significantly less than what you put in. The grunt work here is done by sunlight and raw components. This is primarily a 'carbon sequestering' method, with the side benefit of being able to recycle part of your fuel.

Call me skeptical, but a tank of fuel would hold at least 50kg of carbon. That will result in about 150kg of CO2 when you burn it. How exactly are they going to store of the order of 150kg of CO2 in a box that size? You couldn't make that much CO2 fit in a space that small even if you liquefied it.

Because every tank of fuel on the planet holds the same amount of fuel. AM-I-RITE?

More exactly, 2.3 kg of CO2 per litre of petrol. For 50L tank, that's 115kg of CO2, so if you're capturing 85%, ~98kg. Certainly seems hard to imagine how a device that could be fitted to an exhaust pipe could capture 98kg of CO2, given that in, say, a fire extinguisher, liquidified CO2 is only held at a density of ~.75, meaning 98kg would take up the space of 130L of water...even the biggest LPG tanks for cars are only about half that.

Its being processed by Algae. The Algae 'eat' the C02, and produce Oxygen. So your 98kg of C02 is cut down to roughly 1/3rd what your stating from that size of a tank.

But the mass of the algae would surely be just as great, if not greater.

As I understood it, the algae only processed the captured CO2 after it had been extracted from the device.

Yes. But the bulk of the rise in sea level is due to the expansion of water under heat.

Noizette -- sea level rise due to thermal expansion dominated most early predictions of sea level rise for the next 50-100 years, based on assumptions about ice sheet response to changing conditions that are increasingly being tested by events on the ground... Current estimates split the sea level rise since 1990 roughly 50/50 for thermal expansion and melting, and rapid collapse scenarios for Greenland would tip the balance almost entirely to meltwater contribution in the next half-century if they validate.

As far as watching sea-ice cover (quite relevant to ice-sheet collapse since the temperatures over greenland are heavily influenced by the temperature and humidity of the air over the waters surrounding the island), my favorite site is The Cryosphere Today (http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/), maintained (along with its underlying dataset) by William Chapman at the University of Illinois. A selection of his publications (courtesy Google Scholar):

The most interesting graphs are:


In late June this year we hit a fairly substantial new record anomaly (departure from norm) on the low side -- 2Million km^2 below normal. This is especially significant because various periodicities in the ice cover should be trending toward greater cover for this year...

If one looks at Chapman's plot of the minimums of sea-ice extent, one will see that the last year of data is 2005.


He comments that the previous minimum area was 4.9 Million km^2. However, looking at the data for the past 365 days one sees a minimum for 2006 at around 4.1 Million km^2 (by eyeball). Notice also that the area given for the most recent date is lower than the corresponding date at the beginning of the curve.

Sea-ice extent isn't the only problem. As the sea-ice melts and becomes thinner, it's strength is also reduced, increasing the likelyhood of breakup. A large storm, such as was experienced last year, could well shatter the relatively continuous cap of sea-ice, allowing the ice to move about much faster than would otherwise be the case. This in turn would allow winds to push more sea-ice and surface water out of the Arctic Ocean thru the Fram Strait.

The resulting addition of fresh water to the Greenland Sea would be expected to slow or stop the sinking of waters in these areas, thus slowing the inflow of warm water from the Gulf Stream at these latitudes. This process has happened before, for example, during the 1970's, the Great Salinity anomaly appeared in this area and may have been associated with the colder winters experienced in North America and Europe during the late 1970's. As the minimum in sea-ice extent can be expected to continue to decline, I think we will see this other process occur again and become the norm.

E. Swanson


And the article: Melting glaciers raise sea level more than polar ice sheets estimates even less, 9 inches, than does the IPCC, which says 24 inches this century.

James Hansen doesn't agree:

The IPCC predicts that sea levels could rise by as much as 59cm this century. Hansen's paper argues that the slow melting of ice sheets the panel expects doesn't fit the data. The geological record suggests that ice at the poles does not melt in a gradual and linear fashion, but flips suddenly from one state to another. When temperatures increased to between two and three degrees above today's level 3.5 million years ago, sea levels rose not by 59cm but by 25 metres.

Yes, that's 81 feet.

Given the IPCC's inevitably (ultra-)conservative consensus methodology, which includes also scientists who think 1 inch is all, I'm leaning towards Hansen et al. In their report, Climate change and trace gases (PDF), available at the Royal Society, they state for instance:

Climate forcing of this century under BAU would dwarf natural forcings of the past million years, indeed it would probably exceed climate forcing of the middle Pliocene, when the planet was not more than 2-3C warmer and sea level 25±10 m higher (Dowsett et al. 1994).

Even if "all" we would see were a "mere" 5 meter (16 feet) rise by say, 2050, smart engineering plans to build dams and dykes and levees would start to look pretty dumb.
2100, even 2050, too far away? Well, it's no crazy stretch to assume sea levels could rise 5 feet by 2020, and we'd still be going going gone. In the light of recent research, these are not preposterous numbers.

Are we maybe simply not willing to see that this could happen, or indeed is happening?

That is 1 foot a year on average, not something to be triffled with. But 1 cm per year is easy to handle, makes for less fear and nashing of teeth.

Any rise in sealevels is going to felt in ways we just do not want to think about.

No it's not. A lot of infrastructure is build (and being build) very close to the ocean. First year will be ok, second still not bad, but year after year soon a lot of fixed assets (ports, buildings, nuclear plants,cities...) will be lost.

Didn't I just say that, in my last line.

The world builds on the seacoast. At a rate of 1 cm per year, things can be handled, albeit costly. If the rise is anything over that, then you will have troubles.

As yet these datasets are guesses at best. Day to day tidal fluxs are up to several feet, the systems are built in most cases to take the 1 cm a year rises for at least 5 to 10 years. It is when the slippages hit us where the dataset can't explain a foot of sealevel rise, or anything greater that we have problems.

Then we have people, especially in the US building right up to the natural sand barriers and calling their investments good and great for the Timeshares they can sell. These are the risky people that you read about in the Hurricane news articles. Or see as the Insurance People STOP taking policies for these risky places.

Right now I am still trying to keep my yard from washing out due to the heavy rains we have been getting.

Something is wrong in the data from pressing "Ice Cover Same Time last Year" wich ought to be June 2006. There is bogus 16-21% ice coverage around the Norwegian, Swedish and Finlandian shorelines.

That difference may be due to the processing. Looking back at the archived graphics, which are larger figures, one does not see as many areas of red in the newest graphcs as found in the earlier ones. Compare the latest graphic:


with the earlier ones:




Chapman claimed that 2004 was the year of the minimum extend, so this year's changes appear to be rather startling. It may be that there was a change in the NCEP processing algorithm this year. We should wait until the minimum in September before claiming a major change.

E. Swanson

Such a drastic processing change would be announced. The data at seaice.dk (AMSR) is showing the same level of sea ice loss. So we are in all likelihood looking at a significant transition in 2007 compared to all the previous years going back to 1979.

It is also not plausible that there would be little additional ice loss from now until September.

Why isn't this in the news? It looks like there is 25% less ice than in 2004...

I guess we will have to wait for another GRL article to cause a stir like one did in May.

It looks like we are seeing the effect of the thinning of the ice that has been persistent since the 1960s.


Would that GRL report you mentioned be this one?

Stroeve, J., M. M. Holland, W. Meier, T. Scambos, and M. Serreze (2007), Arctic sea ice decline: Faster than forecast, Geophys. Res. Lett., 34, L09501, doi:10.1029/2007GL029703.


From 1953 to 2006, Arctic sea ice extent at the end of the melt season in September has declined sharply. All models participating in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fourth Assessment Report (IPCC AR4) show declining Arctic ice cover over this period. However, depending on the time window for analysis, none or very few individual model simulations show trends comparable to observations. If the multi-model ensemble mean time series provides a true representation of forced change by greenhouse gas (GHG) loading, 33–38% of the observed September trend from 1953–2006 is externally forced, growing to 47–57% from 1979–2006. Given evidence that as a group, the models underestimate the GHG response, the externally forced component may be larger. While both observed and modeled Antarctic winter trends are small, comparisons for summer are confounded by generally poor model performance.

published 1 May 2007.

E. Swanson

I've been looking a bit more at the Melting glaciers report coverage, didn't quite get it at first.

From today's Independent:

Sea levels may rise by 9 inches this century, scientists warn

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) estimated that melting ice caps and glaciers will add about three inches (7.6cm) to sea levels this century. But the latest assessment, published in the journal Science, suggests they are more likely to add between four inches and 9.5 inches to global sea levels.

This does not include the rise in sea levels caused by the thermal expansion of water, which could potentially double this figure.

So that article seems to say that IPCC's estimate for sea level rise in 2100 is 3 inches. But that is NOT true.

George Monbiot writes:

The IPCC predicts that sea levels could rise by as much as 59cm [23.6 inches] this century. Hansen's paper argues that the slow melting of ice sheets the panel expects doesn't fit the data. [..] When temperatures increased to between two and three degrees above today's level 3.5 million years ago, sea levels rose not by 59cm but by 25 metres.

Maybe Monbiot is mistaken about IPCC? I turn to Hansen et al's
Climate change and trace gases (PDF)

Climate forcing of this century under BAU would dwarf natural forcings of the past million years, indeed it would probably exceed climate forcing of the middle Pliocene, when the planet was not more than 2-3C warmer and sea level 25±10 m higher.

Which suggests Monbiot was clearly not mistaken about Hansen. But what about the IPCC? I turn to Real Climate.org, the masters. In March '07, they wrote The IPCC sea level numbers. A long article, that compares IPCC 2001 to IPCC 2007. Here's a snippet:

The main conclusion of this analysis is that sea level uncertainty is not smaller now than it was at the time of the TAR, and that quoting the 18-59 cm range of sea level rise, as many media articles have done, is not telling the full story. 59 cm is unfortunately not the “worst case”.

It does not include the full ice sheet uncertainty, which could add 20 cm or even more. It does not cover the full “likely” temperature range given in the AR4 (up to 6.4 ºC) – correcting for that could again roughly add 20 15 cm. It does not account for the fact that past sea level rise is underestimated by the models for reasons that are unclear.

Considering these issues, a sea level rise exceeding one metre can in my view by no means [be] ruled out.

I am compelled to conclude that today's reporting on the new research is misleading. The title Sea levels may rise by 9 inches this century is nonsense.

What the research really says is that melting ice caps and glaciers could be responsible for an additional 9 inches, on top of IPCC estimates of between 18-88 cm (7.5-35 inches).

Real Climate says "... a sea level rise exceeding one metre (40 inches) can in my view by no means [be] ruled out."

And James Hansen's team states it could be 10-25 times that.

What James Hansen is saying is that there is no historical precedent for slow sea level rise. There are a lot of theories about what the 'trigger' is that causes rapid warming and sea level rise but no one has a definite answer. One theory suggests that the Gulf Stream conveyor shuts down due to a large increase of fresh water in northern latitudes but this seems to be the rapid cooling trigger. Another theory suggests that the melting permafrost emits large quantities of methane into the atmosphere...methane being a powerful green house gas. Another theory suggests that the earths orbit is involved in warming cooling cycles. Another theory suggests sun spot activity is involved. What we do know for sure is that the earths climate is a very complicated system and that any or all of the above plus some occurences that we are unaware of at this time could be involved in rapid climate change.

From keeping the motor running article

"Peak oil" advocates -- who believe that oil output has peaked, or soon will, and an inevitable decline will set in -- have their own agenda. It doesn't include raising output, because they're not in favor of anything that might prove them wrong.

This is like a little school kid argument. I'm in favor of discovering a new super giant field in my back yard. Who isn't?

There is a lot of this type of rationalization going on now. Say something negative about an SUV and the drivers will yell that the SUV haters are just jealous because they can't afford one. People are having a harder and harder time keeping all of the contradictory bits of information in their head that makes up the convoluted mess they call a belief system. The only way to glue all of it together is to come up with really stupid arguments and shoutout any debate on those points that would cause the house of cards their world view is built upon to collapse.

The poll I posted the other day that showed less than five percent of the people in this country blame our national driving habits for high gas prices is a prime example of our failure to think rationally. It has to be the fault of the selfish traders, the evil worshiping ragheads, the tree hugging liberals, the greedy oil barons, the non-libertarian government, etc. It has to be the fault of anyone but them! There are people now saying they had no choice but to move into a huge house fifty miles from work and buy a big SUV because society told them to. Apparently we are a nation of zombies powerless to think for ourselves. Hmmm... come to think of it, that one might be true.

Peak oilers even want to harm themselves, just like suicide bombers!

Anyway, the blame game is peculiar form of human hubris - it rests on the idea that humans are in charge, act with free will - they may not always be well intentioned towards others - but can nevertheless basically organize the world as they see fit. That is the reason for it. But the mode, the tone, is shrill and helpless. Suggest, in response, that US oil companies should be nationalized. Provokes some strange reactions.

It doesn't include raising the output.

Yes, these all powerful "peak-oilers" who really decide how much crude is being pumped. That's the real secret society that rules the world.

When is our next secret meeting?

"When is our next secret meeting?"

I'd tell you, but then we'd have to kill you.


i'd kill you but instead i'll just let you wallow in ignorance a little longer and perish in the die-off

When no-one around you understands
start your own revolution
and cut out the middle man

To miss one secret meeting is to almost be excluded from future secret meetings. The only way to gain entrance to the next secret meeting is to hang around the secret meeting house every day till the next meeting occurs. Of course if they have changed the site of the secret meetings...

"And then one day he was shooting at some food,
and up through the ground came a-bubbling crude,
oil that is, black gold, Texas tea..."

Tried the Jed Clampet exploration method yet?
Bob Ebersole

People should respond to the Case Western Reserve Peak Oil survey referenced above. A link is


The survey asks whether peak oil is more likely before or after 2010, and also asks questions about how likely peak oil is.

Here is the text of what I sent them, voting for "likely" peak by 2010:

"Oil production" needs to be more precisely defined for this question. I am talking about crude oil (and "condensates" and optionally "natural gas liquids"), that exists in the ground in liquid form, not the (rather poor) substitutes such as "tar sands", nor biofuels.

Crude oil production has apparently peaked in 2005, and output from the main existing fields is declining. To reverse the overall decline at this point would require finding (and developing) the equivalent of two Saudi Arabias in the next few years. That is extremely unlikely, given that oil discoveries peaked in the 1960's and have declined greatly since, with more oil produced than found in each of the last 25 years.

Another important issue is "net energy", since the "easy oil" is depleting and the remaining oil takes more and more energy to produce (and refine). This is reflected in rising production costs. Some of the needed energy uses up some of the oil, leaving less net oil production for use elsewhere. The rest of the production energy comes from other sources (mostly natural gas and coal, and electricity derived from same), and thus the total energy picture is even worse.

Alas they won't count my vote for much, since their "qualifications" section mostly asks about background in the oil industry. Thus, a background in science and math cannot be reported nor considered.

The forms are straight forward and gives you a comment section to add your thoughts and 2 cents too.

Apologies if this has been discussed, I don't read this site as thoroughly as some appear to. I thought it was striking that the Economist this week had an article about the North Sea oil business that included a very peaky looking graphic, for both oil _and_ gas:


Given how much talk there is from "economists" about bottomless oil wells, this seems like news to me...

Quake jolts San Francisco Bay area [4.2 Richter]

"More than 1,000 customers in the Oakland area lost power, a Pacific Gas & Electric Co. spokesman said. Crews were investigating the outages."

(Just another dry run for the big one..)

Try this link for Earthquakes.


I check it everday. I have been expecting a big on in Califoria soon.


Your link opens to a blank page.

It works for me.

You might need to allow scripts, if you're using Firefox.

Bay Area 4.2 is a regular occurance. Was is Oakland on 'Pill Hill' heading to a class at the hospital when the one hit in Oct '89. You could actually see which direction it was in from the 'waves', like if you snap an unrolled towel and and the ripples roll out. I ran into the road yelling "Earthquake!" and a woman stopped her car and said, "Thank God, I thought there was something wrong with my car." I heard the freeway collapse but didn't know what it was at the time. Sounded like someone kicked a metal dumpster off the top of a tall concrete building and it was hitting on the way down.

I live in LA. A 4.2 is really nothing. Earthquakes really don't catch anyone's attention unless it's over 5. I was here in 1994 for the 6.8 Northridge quake. Imagine the shaking/jolting of a huge city-sized jack hammer rapidly pounding for 30-40 seconds as a freight train roars over your head. That was terrifying. A 4.2 will give you a sharp, quick jolt with a few seconds of minor shaking or wave sensation and not much more. It'll put you on edge for a few minutes and then it's back to business.

In those days I lived less then a mile from the collapsed 405/118 interchange. When it hit it was like "OK, quake", but there was no urgency to it. Basically just a check to make sure no roof tiles or tree branches had fallen on the boat and the cars. There was one crack in a wall but it was no big deal.

Then when it became clear the interchange and the Northridge mall had collapsed it was like "WTF, it wasn't that much of a hit.

It's interesting how the energy from the quake appears to have dispersed more strongly in some areas than others. I live at that time in Van Nuys and I felt it very strongly. I did not have a lot of damage in my townhouse though, only a cracked window and a huge crack in the wall going down the stairwell. Down the street in Sherman Oaks, however, there were whole apartment buildings toppled and cracked up. I could see the smoke through the early morning haze rising in Sherman Oaks from fires.

Used Car of the Future


Best Hopes for Energy Efficiency,


Alan, the EZ-3 is a nice ride without an electric assist!

With the electric assist it must be like riding a feather.

One can carry groceries or other items, and a trailer could easily be hooked up for larger loads.

I'm off to earn some dollars....got to survive in the dollar economy -- house payment and health insurance, you know!

Seriously, the EZ-3 and similiar trikes are hugely fun and practical!

A lot of people love recumbants, but I really hate being that low. I can't see, and I feel like drivers can't see me.

My Tour Easy is a lot lower than being perched way up high on a traditional bike, but it puts my head at the same height it is at when driving my car, so it really doesn't seem very low to me.

Hi Leanan,

I'm curious to know how many readers of the Drum are currently bicyclists - for utilitarian transport, recreation, sport, etc.

I’m at 1500 miles year to date on my commuter bike to work. The bike is my primary means of transport to work.

- spindifferent

I road bike around 100 miles a week for exercise purposes. There's precious little accomodation for bikers who'd like to bike to work here in Birmingham Alabama though.

I ride about 75 miles per week in Chicago for commuting and errands through sun, wind, rain, snow, ice, etc. The only time I abandon the bike is when temps drop below 18F. I can't seem to keep my face warm enough at those temps no matter what I try.

Wearing helmets for downhill skiing seems the thing to do these days (well, ok, not in the summer). So after having bought one for that purpose, I realized how toasty it would be for winter riding. With the accompanying ski mask, a jacket that zips to the chin and water/salt-proof winter boots, all that remains to beat the coldest Ottawa morning on a bike are better mitts. And that's just a matter of another short shopping trip.

I'd think a motorcycle helmet would do the trick if the tinting wasn't too dark.

The only time I abandon the bike is when temps drop below 18F.

Have you considered ski goggles and ski masks? Such work well for me and my ice-riding.

I've got a mountain bike with slicks and baskets that I use to get to store and farm and to anywhere within 5 or so miles. Just purchased a road bike that should make the 15 mile rides more acceptable. That will get me into Portland (the big city). Other local towns become 25-35 minute ride - that's fine.

Time of day is the big issue - or rather night - don't want to be on these shoulderless roads at night no matter how many lights I have.

The question I ask other cyclists when I meet them on road out here in sticks: are you riding for exercise or to get somewhere. One can usually tell by their outfit.

cfm in Gray, ME

Much as I love my bikes - I'm a lycra wearing speed loony both on road and off - the things just don't go up a hill, and when you do you are toting twenty or thirty extra pounds of machinery. Bicycles have a major gravity problem. That said, I love climbing on a bike - but I'm nuts.

I think the future is, assuming we decide to co operate and have one, in electric trikes. Two wheels at the front style. Solar recharge with regenerative braking. Sort of a personal carapace in carbon fiber with Li ion or hypercapacitor storage. A two passenger wouldn't any more efficient than two singles; goods deliveries could be with some lumbering biodiesel contraption.

Bicycles are great, but humanity wants something better than that. We'll end up as solar powered megacockroaches eventually.

Ahem. What you need is my new totally stepless automatic bike transmission. It fits in the hub of the front wheel, and you pedal it like a child's trike. The speed ratio goes from zero (lots of foot pedal motion, zero wheel motion at very high torque) to six times pedal speed.

This speed ratio will enable you to climb telephone poles, and with the same bike, outrun any other guy going down a steep hill. All very efficiently, of course.

I will not be responsible fo fatalities, either height or speed-related.

I can't ship you one this week; the first model just got back from the machine shop- lots of little parts in a box. But as soon as I can figure out how to put it together, I'll let you know.

Now, would you like a wood gasifier-stirling engine with that?

we are going to need u soon wimbi- we just haven't figured that out yet!

hope the pacemaker [ is my memory] is doing it's thing.

I ride a couple of versions of the Organicengines SUV.

One is a pedicab, the other has a box for cargo.

Both tow a sizable trailer.

They are serious load-haulers.

They are my work and primary personal vehicles.

We do, sadly, have a car in the family. Currently.....heh, heh.

I have an old Raleigh with 25 inch frame and mid size tires (width) made sometime in the 1970s. Since Florida is flat its a go anywhere machine with a rack and large bag on the back and removable saddle bags. I have completely overhauled it twice and keep spare tires and tubes for it. I seldom ride it anymore because I like walking or riding a motorcycle. I walk about 700-800 miles per year.


This is my car of the future. I'm going to test "drive" one next week. So for me, the future is now!.

I love the tag line in their ad - "Burn Fat Not Fuel"!

Amazed something like hasn't come out sooner, or at least has failed to become more popular.
For me the only two downsides to cycling are limited carrying capacity (even half a week's load of groceries is a pain) and cold/wet weather. I'd buy one of those over a car anyday.

Amazed something like hasn't come out sooner, or at least has failed to become more popular.

Not a question for me, give the price tag.

Well yes, the price would have to come down before it would ever become truly popular, but hey, not so long ago DVD players and plasma screens were outside most people's budgets.
And as I said, I see it as a replacement for a car, in that sense, it's a bargain.

All I could think was just how stifling hot they would be in New Orleans 8 or 9 months of the year. And too warm for a couple more.

Best Hopes for Cooling Breezes,


I'd want a convertible version anyway, despite not having hot/humid weather here: one of the main joys of cycling is having the wind in your face when it's not cold and wet.
I found http://www.trisled.com.au/sorcerer.html after a brief search - not clear whether the fully covered version is the same vehicle.
Also, it appears designed primarily for speed racing, which is not my interest at all.

Actually, I'm thinking more along the lines of something like this "Hefty Hauler"


I'm sure it is a real clunker, but I like anything "heavy duty" -- durability is extremely important. If one is going to need to use pedal power to actually haul groceries & stuff rather than just transport oneself, then something like this might actually make more sense. You'll certainly be able to haul more of a load safely in this thing than you will on any 2-wheeler. As a trike, it will also work better for older and bigger people.

It should be possible to add an electric assist motor to this thing.

The only thing is that I wish they would have designed it for larger than 20" wheels -- those are pretty small, will mean lots more pedaling.

EDIT: Ooops, take that back, clicked on the drop down menu and they do have a 26" model for a little more $ - that's more like it!

Have you seen the threewheelers with two wheels in front and a big basket or cooler? Don't know who makes them, but Mexicans have used them all my life for street vending of helados, or Mexican ice cream and sherberts on a stick.Helados are absolutely wonderful-lots of fresh fruit, my favorites are mango and coconut.

They are all one speed, but they sit as high as a Schwinn and carry a lot.
Bob Ebersole

The same company that I posted the link to has a wide variety of commercial-type trikes, including some things along the lines of what you describe.

Fly the Road

If they make it, I'll sure as hell get one :P

"The only thing is that I wish they would have designed it for larger than 20" wheels -- those are pretty small, will mean lots more pedaling."

Huh? Smaller wheels have a minor effect on steering, handling, rolling resistance and going over bumps. But you still pedal the same amount, as long as the gears are selected to match. Smaller wheels are stronger and more compact.

Of course, if you are looking for a pedal-powered replacement for the family car, there are these:


I think I've seen these in some tourist-type areas. Some places rent them out. Yet another promising post-peak business opportunity!

I've got one similar to the 8freight:



Large PDF warning!:

Mine's slightly longer than the vehicles in these pics, to allow a baby car capsule to fit in the steel-framed "basket" section. I made the plastic "cocoon" myself out of polycarbonate sheet - the lid hinges up and back. It's evolved with my daughter - now it's got a child car seat in it rather than a baby capsule! The whole plastic box is held in by velcro straps, so it can be lifted out if I want to carry stuff strapped directly onto the frame - the cargo limit is 100kg. It's got drum brakes and a motorbike-style stand.

So, how does it ride? Heavy of course, but I normally only take it up to childcare, local shops, local relatives etc. Occasionally 20km round trips. It handles very well in a straight line, but you do need to concentrate if turning a low-speed, sharp corner. You can only just do a u-turn in a residential street, so the turning circle is better than a car, worse than a normal bike. :-) It can get through the standard bike path dog-leg barriers, but sometimes the railway crossing pedestrian barriers are too tight. I ride it on roads, but with a kid on board I'm more picky with route choice than when I'm riding by myself. I even resort to some short stretches of footpath to avoid nasty intersections (naughty naughty)!

It can also fit in a train, between the doors.

To store it, I haul it up onto its rear wheel. Then it stands on its rear rack and I tie the frame to the garage wall to stop it falling over.

Reaction from other people? All good, lots of thumbs up etc. :-)

Hi Alan. I'm impressed by your efforts to electrify rail transport. I've noticed that you are now also pushing for more bicycle transport. Below are some ideas (in no particular order :-) to help increase cycling in western cities. Maybe some of these are useful.

- Bicycles assigned the status of roadworthy vehicle (if they aren't already).
- Free cycling education in all schools.
- Subsidised/free adult training in cycling skills.
- Cyclist awareness included in driver tests.
- Driver tests must be renewed regularly.
- Government advertising to improve public awareness of cyclists' rights.
- Bike paths alongside all trains, freeways, rivers etc.
- On-road bike lanes provided where useful.
- Take away "traffic calming" narrowings in roads.
- In residential areas, use long, wide speed humps to slow motorists.
- For some streets in busy shopping areas, exclude private motor vehicles.
- Priority traffic light sequences for cyclists.
- Improved enforcement of road rules on cyclists.
- Stiff penalties enforced for negligent/dangerous use of motor vehicles.
- Equalisation or removal of special tax treatment given for motor vehicles.
- "Vehicular cycling" educational material provided free in bike shops etc, eg: http://www.bikexprt.com/streetsmarts/usa/index.htm
- Facilities to integrate cycling and public transport, including taking bikes on trains, trams etc.
- Legal changes to put assumption of responsibility on the motor vehicle driver, in the case of a crash with a bicycle or pedestrian. I think this is already in place in the Netherlands?
- Introduce building regulations requiring offices etc to provide high-quality bicycle parking. Also lockers, change rooms etc.
- Introduce legislation forcing businesses etc to allow cyclists to use private streets, driveways, ramps etc on which they allow motorised vehicles.

I have looked at the electrify your bike kits and wondered if anyone had an opinion on them.

I am looking at the internal hub motor system. Seems like there are two main vendors. Front wheel.

I have a Trek Navigator 200. It has aluminum but its a stronger hybrid. I hear regular aluminum is not recommended.

I don't know if I want to do this to the Trek anyway. I have considered buying another bike to do this to. Anyone have any thoughts on this. Converting (if it works) seems like a nice option to have. Price is a little high, but considering the volume at this point not bad, but it could be much cheaper. It the hub in the motor that is the big deal. The other parts are easy to get and you can rig the motor to put power back when coasting etc. The companies seem to be trying to make everything only connect and work with their products. yick

I am trying to ride the trek 5-10 miles a day 5 times a week. Flat there though, have to go looking for a hill and thats why I want a MOTOR lol.

uid Clarius Astris
Ubi Bene ibi patria

The problem with most of the hub motors is that they are generally only the one gear ratio. Which means compromise between hill climbing and speed.

Here's what I did, which has proven a very satisfactory solution:

- took the small and medium chain rings off the front end of the chain on my mountain bike
- purchased one additional large chain ring and made it fit where the medium chain ring used to be
- made up a bracket from aluminium plate, which bolts to the inside of the frame just above the bottom bracket
- mounted a geared electric motor on the aluminium bracket
- made up a short length of chain to link the motor sprocket to the new chain ring
- installed controller etc.

The only downside is that the motor is directly coupled to the pedals so I can't pedal and motor independently. This doesn't cause me any problems.

The plus side is that the motor applies work through the rear gear assembly, so I still have 9 gear ratios which is plenty.

Motor and electronics from http://www.oatleyelectronics.com
for ~AU$200

I'm using sealed lead acid batteries at the moment, which are heavy but cheap.


Thanks, and that is something I don't want to do to the Trek. When you say sealed lead acid I hope you mean gel cell. don't want acid on you have a spill and the "seal" breaks.

There is a rear wheel setup by one of the vendors but its is much more expensive and like your process is slightly complicated on assembly.

I see what you say about the gear ratio's and will consider more and go for the rear wheel.

got any idea's for an inexpensive bike that works best.

Quid Clarius Astris
Ubi Bene ibi patria

I think I need an ELM-like graph to plot:

Planned production of Oil Sands


Global warming reduced water flow from glacier loss, evaporation, heavier irrigation, etc.


a crossover point where production actually will begin to decrease.

Then cross correlate that with the EROEI for the production and the amount of NG left to produce.

I don't think they will EVER make 4 MMBPD. And even may not make it another 7 years of production based on NG availability and lack of action on replacement energy sources(pipeline or nuke plant)

Are these the same oil sands the US is counting on to save them?

Reference Dave Cohen's review last summer: Oh, Canada! -- Natural Gas and the Future of Tar Sands Production

You might want to plot the Canadian total liquids net exports and natural gas exports since 2000, and then do a total barrel of oil equivalent (BOE) export plot. In round numbers, 6 MCF of gas = one BOE.

The point of the exercise would be to look at net energy exports from Canada.

Yes, Yes. Yet another factor, although NAFTA complicates further.

Maybe I am having a bad morning, but the future is looking more bleak than usual. It takes substantial time to get many of these projects running (mackenzie pipeline, new nuclear plant), and that's independent of skyrocketing costs/inflation and manpower concerns.

IMO, the IEA was generous in terms of impact, but in 5 years the world will be much more difficult place.

I would really love to see a chart or graph along the lines of "investments needed vs. investments actually made".

It should be possible to get some sort of rough handle as to what level of new production above and beyond the existing production infrastructure might actually become real.

Kind of "put up or shut up" as far as CERA's cornucopian projections go.

Re: Up board article posted by Leanan, 'Tokyo Frets As Nuclear Shutdown Hits Energy'

There was an related article in my local paper (AP) this morning. 'The Nikkei business newspaper reported that about 70% of Japan's domestic auto production had been interrupted because of the hitch.'


'TOKYO - The mammoth earthquake that ravaged northern Japan this week did more than take lives and trigger radioactive leaks. It nailed some of the most important industries undergirding growth in the world's second-biggest economy.

Details of the economic fallout were still emerging days after Monday's 6.8-magnitude earthquake shook the Sea of Japan coast. But early repercussions stretched from Japan's top automakers to the country's biggest power company.

As of Thursday, Toyota, Nissan, Honda, Mitsubishi, Mazda and Fuji Heavy Industries, the maker of Subaru vehicles, halted production at some factories because a key parts supplier, Riken Corp., was damaged by the temblor.

The Nikkei business newspaper reported that about 70 percent of Japan's domestic auto production had been interrupted because of the hitch.

Meanwhile, fears of an electricity shortage in the nation's capital swelled after the world's biggest nuclear power plant was shut down indefinitely because of safety concerns. Tokyo Electric Power Co., Japan's largest utility, was scrambling to ramp up conventional power output after closing the quake-damaged Kashiwazaka-Karima facility in Niigata prefecture, in north-central Japan.'

Many Japanese auto makers all getting their parts from one supplier and with 'just on time delivery.' The fallout from this earthquake is going to be felt in the US because most if not all of Japanese auto makers with assembly plants in the US get the engines/transmissions from Japan and in a 'just on time' mode. Another example of 'all the eggs in one basket.'

Japan will be looking for oil to power their conventional power stations. This is at the same time that bunker oil is hitting records due to shortages. Japan already uses all the NG it can get its hands on.

LNG and fuel oil for sure. The nuke plant provided almost 1/6th of Japan electrc power supply.

LNG and fuel oil for sure. The nuke plant provided almost 1/6th of Japan electrc power supply.

LNG and fuel oil for sure. The nuke plant provided almost 1/6th of Japan electric power supply.

LNG and fuel oil for sure. The nuke plant provided almost 1/6th of Japan electric power supply.

Hello River,

Genpatsu-shinsai: the language of disaster that is stalking Japan

Japan’s turbulent history of war and natural catastrophe has already given the world a terrifying vocabulary of death: tsunami, kamikaze, Hiroshima.

But the country now stands on the brink of unleashing its most chilling phrase yet: genpatsu-shinsai – the combination of an earthquake and nuclear meltdown capable of destroying millions of lives and bringing a nation to its knees.

The phrase, derived from the Japanese words for “nuclear power” and “quake disaster”, is the creation of Katsuhiko Ishibashi, Japan’s leading seismologist and one of the Government’s top advisers on nuclear-quake safety. He said that the world may never know how close it came to its first genpatsu-shinsai this week. Luck, as much an anything else, helped to avert it.
Bob Shaw in Phx,Az Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

More quake info for TODers,

Temblor topped reactor design premise

Meteorological Agency aftershock data also appear to show that the fault line where Monday's quake took place extends beneath the plant.

Data from seismometers at the power plant show that the east-west acceleration during Monday's quake was greater than the north-south acceleration, Tepco said.

A north-south acceleration of 267-311 gals was recorded, compared with the predicted maximum level of 167-274 gals, while an east-west acceleration of 322-680 gals was logged, much larger than the anticipated top range of 167-273 gals, it said. A metric gal is 1 cm per second squared. The No. 1 rector recorded the largest accelerations — 311 gals north-south and 322 gals east-west.

A vertical acceleration of 205-488 gals was recorded at the seven-reactor compound, with six of the seven reactors topping the anticipated 273 gals, the utility said.
That was a hell of a pitch-yaw-roll shake! Would have been interesting to check the heartrate and blood pressure of the plant technicians during this time, and the hours thereafter.

The fact that the gals vary from reactor to reactor shows that the underlying bedrock was NOT acting in a uniform fashion as you would hope. IMO, this shows torsional twisting and tearing from underlying faults. To what degree this will be acceptable compared to the risks is the multi-billion Yen question.

The loss of crucial reactor data and seismo-data only adds to the confusion, research costs, and repair/decomission decisions. This was a most unfortunate mistake. The emotional and cost pressures on all involved parties must be just tremendous--but this is no time to try and just wing it.

I sure hope they have some emergency plans in case another quake hits before they complete all their assessments and repairs.

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

I think the NPC report was pretty clever, really. They have a little something in there for everyone, so no matter how you are predisposed to evaluate the implications of peak oil, you can read into the report whatever you like. There's stuff in there for the cornucopians, of course, and that's what CNN and other mainstream media outlets are going to bring to the fore in the near term. But there's also stuff in there warning about difficulties ahead and the necessity of conservation, which, although it doesn't really convey the severity of the problem, it allows the NPC to say "We were being responsible. We warned you that we could have problems ahead!" when real world events start to go downhill.

Are Democrats the peak oil party ?

Who cares ? To be honest America's record on justice is way behind even the countries in the so called "Axis of Evil".
You use more than a quarter of the world's resources, and seem to feel justified in doing so. America's actions in Iraq
equal those of Japan in the run up to world war 2, both a desperate bid for resources. Apparently Japan's actions warranted two nuclear bombs. Perhaps moral correctness is dependant upon whether you are Christian or not ? 9/11 ? Stop
whining and start taking responsibility for your actions.

Responsibility? Now there is a word Americans really hate! Them thar are fightin' words! BTW, we only have the demopublican party in America. But some of us are independents.

Yeah, that's a good one.

I was trying to locate the word that keys into our (US's) disconnect with solving, reacting or even identifying problems until the 11th hour.. (like the Churchill quote, 'Americans can always be counted on to do the right thing, after they've tried everything else.) and what I hit upon was 'Sober'. As the president likened our relationship to oil as an addiction, I think we're addicted all over the place (Sugar, Smoking, Coffee, Sex, Drugs, TV, Violence), and it could be said that there's a dream of Bacchanalia, not that it really is that, but as kids on the roadsides in Maine holler to you on a Summer's Night, "Where's the Pahty!"

Maybe our Puritan roots are still getting whacked at, but if you try to make a Sober judgement, behave with, I don't know, 'competent self-control', make a long-term plan and work towards it deliberately.. these things seem like the exact kind of actions that will get you ridiculed to no end.

Is this pahty evah gonna be ovah? That's gonna be some hangovah, huh?


When is an economist going to finally point out that the logical evolutionary trend of a market economy is towards addiction?
As consumers, we progress from:
necessities to luxuries
long term to short term gratification
logic to "feelings"

Producers, though, want to have products that sell themselves. We buy the product because of how it makes us feel, so the trend is towards products that act ever more directly on our feelings, like legal and illegal drugs. Habit-forming products are also ideal, like TV and cell phones.

Impaired consumer rationality seems to be the goal of our businesses. Economists complained that the business cycle and recessions were caused by consumers suddenly realizing that they'd overconsumed and pulling back - which economists called "over-saving". The new improved consumer is too irrational to realize that he's overconsumed, so there's no panic. We just go from one economic bubble to another, and the losers from each shakeout disappear into the abyss without causing the herd to stampede. This time, the bubble grows until it hits the brick wall of resource constraints.

You use more than a quarter of the world's resources, and seem to feel justified in doing so.

That's because we're lacking in empathy.

Americans can't step into shoes of others

Rugged American individualism could hinder our ability to understand other peoples' point of view, a new study suggests.

And in contrast, the researchers found that Chinese are more skilled at understanding other people's perspectives, possibly because they live in a more "collectivist" society.

I suspect that rugged individualism is a result of a culture that grew up in a land of empty spaces and plentiful unexploited resources. They were giving away land here only a hundred years ago.

Of course, those days are over, and we are up against resource limits now. But it takes awhile for the culture to catch up.

I have decided to plant myself on the Alan Drake side of the post-Peak Oil debate (versus Matt Savinar), but stories like this make me wonder.

From Drudge:

Road Work Rage Closes SoCal Highway
Jul 20 02:03 PM US/Eastern
Associated Press Writer

WRIGHTWOOD, Calif. (AP) - California highways have been shut down by wildfires, mudslides, earthquakes and police chases. Add one more emergency to the list: road rage.

Drivers inconvenienced by a road-widening project subjected construction workers to so much abuse—including death threats, BB gun shootings, even a flying burrito—that the state revoked a rush- hour window and shut down the highway altogether.


I've been on the receiving end, and it ain't pretty. One of my coworkers was actually run over by an irate driver who was furious that she signaled him to stop in a construction zone.

Miami has now received the dubious distinction of being the city/area with the most road rage incidents in America. I dont know if that is per capita or total incidents. One good thing...if your Spanish isnt too good you might not know they are mad at you...unless they show you their IQ.

That's another example of how we probably cannot handle any sort of powerdown in any sort of civilized manner... And I think these road rage incidents were becoming common in Britain even before the Millennium, when everything was really well, aside from the odd traffic jam. What are BB gun shootings though??? It sounds a lot worse than a flying burrito.

A BB gun is a gun that fires little round pellets using stored air pressure. For the most part fairly harmless though they can sting a bit at 10 yards, and at under 2 yards are capable of breaking skin.

I used to have a Red Rider BB gun when I was a kid, and I could puncture an empty Coke Can at 6 yards with the model I had.

Oddly enough, they would make half decent survival weapons as you can kill small game and birds with them, can buy a box(about the size of a cigarette box) of 1000 pellets for a few bucks, and the gun could usually be loaded with 1000K pellets itself. That's a lot of shots to both learn with, and if you are a decent shot, can kill small animals with to survive off of.

"You'll shoot your eye out kid!"

Man, once surrendering his reason, has no remaining guard against the absurdities the most monstrous, and like a ship without rudder, is the sport of every wind. -- Thomas Jefferson

We used to have all kinds of neighborhood skirmishes when I was a kid. We had very strict rules of engagement for BB guns, but the most feared WMD was crab apples shot from slingshots. A direct hit from one of those would raise quite a welt, I can tell you...

Some of the more advanced pellet guns are formidable weapons. .I have a RWS Diana rifle that shoots a .22 cal. pellet at 910 fps.. I could shoot 1 inch groups at 25 yards quite consistently with open sights and take out pesky squirrels with ease. A great way to get in practice cheaply. When I was a combat and silhouette hand gunner many years back I would shoot about a hundred rounds a day through a match grade pellet gun to keep my aim sharp. Today I practice point shooting with a soft shoot pellet pistol. I can hit a can at 30 feet every time without aiming.

I use a .45 auto on the occasional enraged squirrel. Squirrls around here are easily provoked. All it takes is for them to see me gathering 'their' figs in 'their' back yard...

Yikes! Those squirrels must be hamburger after you hit them!

You have immunized yourself against Peak Gunpowder. But I heard that there's getting to be a shortage of quality lead now that all the plumbing's been recycled.

I never turn in car batteries when buying new ones. If I see one lying around somewhere, I throw it in the back of my pickup. Bullets, fishing weights, jigs, all use lead.

Human urine dried, sulfur, and charcoal from a fire. are the best makings for gunpowder in a pinch. I always have sulfur on hand and can make my own gunpowder. But then again I love to control fire for neat displays on cold winter nights.

My biggest fire tornado on a single breath is 4 feet long and lasts as long as my breath can hold out, about 25 seconds or so. All of it coming from a 6 ounce tuna can's open mouth. All the materials found in one 12 inch taper and a few sticks of dry wood.

Not being particularly familiar with BB guns myself, it took me a little while to figure out what "silver BB" meant, having seen the expression used all over TOD, but almost nowhere else. I suggested adding this to the Acronym list in the FAQ (even though it's not technically an Acronym), along with a bunch of other ones, but apparently no-one was interested.

You don't have BB guns down under?

Never looked, to be honest. I've only heard of them through US TV shows. Apparently you even need a gun license to own one here.

Actually, 'silver BB' derives from 'golden BB' as much as it does 'golden bullet.' My exposure was in the Cold War context of Soviet air defense strategy. Since the Soviets/Russians tended to emphasive artillery and quantity, and generally had more primitive electronics/IC technology, a major aspect of how they would defend against air attacks was simply putting huge quantities of shells in the air, hoping one would bring down an attacking aircraft. (Having learned a true lesson in WWII from German 88s, much Soviet armor weaponry didn't make a distinction between ground and air - the weaponry was designed for high rates of fire and high elevations.)

A sardonic definition -

'Golden BB -
A projectile destined by fate since time began to be the one to shoot down a flyer.'


Essentially, 'silver BB' pretty much acknowledges that we will require multiple solutions to multiple problems involved in replacing oil - while we would generally prefer finding a single simple solution so we don't have to change how we live.

Ok, but what does the "BB" in Golden BB mean?

ball bearing, traditionally

I'd read that that was what BB was often thought to stand for when referring to BB guns, but actually BB is just a size-code.

Doesn't really explain "Golden BB", unless "Golden BB" derived from "BB gun".

Shutting the highway down and NOT spending the money on repairs would be an even better option. . .

Flying burrito ?? LMAO

The horror, the horror. Millions to develop countermeasures.

Ok. I'll bite. Where's its brother?

Westexas said:

I have decided to plant myself on the Alan Drake side of the post-Peak Oil debate (versus Matt Savinar)...

YES! This is excellent news. My hunch all along, Jeffrey, has been that the Lord would claim you as one of his own and redeem your soul from the burnings. Praises be.

Savinar is a fantasist of the first order who fundamentally misjudges how tenacious civilizations are, and how little they need to keep going. The Inca, for instance, ran an empire that was over 1500 miles long and several hundred miles wide without the wheel and possibly without an alphabet.

The Inca, for instance, ran an empire that was over 1500 miles long and several hundred miles wide without the wheel and possibly without an alphabet.

The more relevant question is whether you would give a public dissertation on the subject?. In East Los Angeles?

Rioting by the urban poor is as old as civilization itself. It's been going on for thousands of years. What's new or special about that?


Savinar is a fantasist of the first order who fundamentally misjudges how tenacious civilizations are, and how little they need to keep going.

And what did it take to undo their the Incan empire? One shipload of Spaniards.

Man, once surrendering his reason, has no remaining guard against the absurdities the most monstrous, and like a ship without rudder, is the sport of every wind. -- Thomas Jefferson

You give the Spanish too much credit. I'd credit the smallpox.

Either way, using the Incas to demonstrate the resiliency of civilizations, seems like a rather weak argument given the fact they are no longer around. Much (most?) of their "heathen" knowledge, history and folklore is lost forever, destroyed by the "civilized" Spanish.

Man, once surrendering his reason, has no remaining guard against the absurdities the most monstrous, and like a ship without rudder, is the sport of every wind. -- Thomas Jefferson

A couple of points. 'Civilized' for me is technical term, not a term of approval.

I don't doubt that civilizations are mortal. I doubt that they are fragile. The time-scale, for instance, is always several centuries.

To us, it looks like the Inca empire was held together with string and chewing gum, yet it lasted centuries. It was felled by disease that wiped out most of the inhabitants and by invaders. It took virulent plagues for which they had no immunity and contact with a hostile, much more technically advanced civilization to bring it down. That's quite a bit of bad luck.

Our own survivialists and doomsayers believe civilization is a house of cards. Ridiculous nonsense!! The odds of it falling during your lifetime are slight.

You will spend the rest of your days under the governance of civilization. Mark my words.

Savinar, however, will spend his life in a compound on marginal lands crazed by the company of a gang of space cadets even more fucked up than he his.

Savinar, however, will spend his life in a compound on marginal lands crazed by the company of a gang of space cadets even more fucked up than he his.

I sure as hell hope so.

I would credit the reasoning of their leaders in accepting the Spaniards and not killing them. Why did this happen. Their culture didn't think the Spanish were the cold blooded greedy bastards they were. The cultures made the mistake of trusting the visitors they let into their villages and homes. The "medicine men" of the South American tribes knew much more about "healing" and surgery and cauterizing a wound than the the Spanish. gold, gold gold, was what the Spanish knew.

Quid Clarius Astris
Ubi Bene ibi patria

The point is surely that it would probably taken an invasion by a shipload of extraterrestials to cause our global civilisation to collapse that quickly.
Of course, a good nuclear war would do it too.

Or maybe we're all descended from misfits that didn't much care for the old-world vilage life and were thus "encouraged" to take the one-way boat trip.

There are a lot of stereotypes associated with the "Chinese" --quotes, because that is hardly a monolithic nation -- but "empathy" is not one I have heard frequently in regard to them.

Maybe it's just good business sense. There are businessmen privileged to impose their values on their customers - America inherited that gig from Britain. But for instance when Toyota started selling cars in the US it had to spend years learning about the peculiarities of the market. Generally the Asian exporters seem to want to know something about their customers, though they never listen to our complaints about the lousy owner's manuals. So is this just a habit of the merchant elite of these societies, or something deeper?

Are Democrats the Peak-Oil Party?

"We have to understand how weak [Iran] is," explained Sen. Joe Biden last month at the Democratic presidential debate in Nashua, N.H. "They import almost all of their refined oil. By 2014, they are going to be importing their crude oil."

Biden and the Democrats are NOT the Peak Oil Party.

Biden is a long time member of the CFR. He knows/has known about Peak Oil. He knows the implications, He is just a different faction than Bush/Cheney.

He KNOWS what is about to happen I think. He certainly knows about NAU for instance.

Samsara, what the hell is CFR? And what the hell is NAU? I do wish people would stop using wierd acronyms and just assume everyone else knows perfectly well what they mean.

Ron Patterson

Ron, if you don't know what the Council on Foreign Relations and The North American Union are, that's your bad.

And it's your very bad English SoFly, bad is an adjective, not a noun.

There are cases where "bad" can be used as a noun; "you must take the bad with the good", but your use of the word is not one of them. In this case it makes you sound like a hood from the hood.

Ron Patterson

I agree with Ron. He probably does know very well what they are, but acronyming like that is using code words in a bad way. I'm not into secret codes either and playing guess what I know that you don't know.
All but the most common and obvious acronyms should be spelled out the first time. Stop being so lazy.


A voluminous hard back book of acronyms will be given to each poster on TOD that shows up at the next secret meeting.

Never knew either of those - and I'm pretty good with TLAs

With Ron on this - you should spell em out

When no-one around you understands
start your own revolution
and cut out the middle man

Ron, Sorry. I feel the same way. I will ensure I define them in the future.

CFR Council on Foreign Relations

NAU North American Union





probably North American Union.


I agree with you Ron. Just good manners to define your acronyms.

About the article: A crude awakening; and terrorist attacks.

While one may debate the reasons for the invasion of Iraq - a spectacular that was but one act in a long history - certainly control, or advantageous management of resources, was one of them, likely more important than Baby Bush getting revenge (or correcting the actions of) Papa Bush, for ex.

All of the US’ actions in Iraq show negligence of controlling territory. Controlling territory means controlling what is layered on top of it, that is, principally, humans and their activities. When the US either encouraged or did not stop looting and destruction of Museums, Ministries, public spaces, etc. in Baghdad, it showed its attitude (destruction is permissible or positive...huh?) and sealed its fate in that adventure.

‘Oil’ infrastructure and activity is embedded in a complex network, human and land-based (incl. geography, climate, transport, etc.), it cannot be isolated, captured, split off, and held, or ‘defended’. (See Nigeria for ex.)

Everything counts: taxes, agriculture, schools, army, police, etc. etc. Smash and grab cannot work, and will or may turn into smash and smash. Say.


You are absolutely right there. Nothing pisses off locals more than the attempted destruction of their history. The Assurians are the descendants of an ancient people that controlled much of the Middle East. If you like, they were the USA of those days. However, they destroyed and messed about with so many peoples that in a short space of time they were attacked by around 6 different peoples/countries and were destroyed - 2,600 years ago. Now , their descendants, are being further dispersed by this latest invasion. They were the masters of the war-chariot - the invincible tank of its day.

To get a historical perspective on the difficulty of occupying Iraq, take a look at this recent article by Robert Fisk on what "Lawrence of Arabia" had to say on the matter some 80 years ago. Fascinating

Alfred, thats a great article by Fisk. I posted it about a week ago.

When the US either encouraged or did not stop looting and destruction of Museums, Ministries, public spaces, etc. in Baghdad, it showed its attitude (destruction is permissible or positive...huh?) and sealed its fate in that adventure.

It is a continuation of the Ziocon/Neolib domestic policy. They import hordes of third and fourth world people that eat away at American institutions from within.

Do you think Americans are born stupid? No, it takes billions and brain washing a "education" system.

Noizette, to be fair, we did post lots of military guards around and in the oil ministry as soon as we entered Baghdad. I feel certain that we had plans to protect the other ministeries, museums and other important sites...Just a problem of misplaced orders...or brains.

I have a question...how does the US plan to maintain several large military installations and a huge embassy in Iraq while surrounded by a hostile population?

Well, no one said anything about bringing the 180,000 contractors home. Who cares how fast they die?

These "contractors" are basically mercenaries being paid to kill and maim those who have never done anything against them. Who cares what happens to them? They are paid killers and deserve their fate.

That depends very much on what happens outside the bases, the Embassy. With a viable national Iraqi Gvmt, withdrawal of US troops and proper reconstruction help ...something one can’t see happening...they might just be able to stand.

Calling some pocket of defended territory The Green Zone is very telling, it conjures up visions of conquerors in the wilderness who foray out into the Bad Lands armed to the teeth. Which is what is happening.

Hostile seems a bit of an understatement.

My dad was in the military so I grew up on military bases around the world and in the US. I was in the Navy. I have never been on a military installation that was not in some way dependent on local labor and supplies. Of course, I realize that bases can be operated without local services and goods, but it is an expensive proposition to do so.

In the short run the bases could be defended but in the long run the enemy will bring into play long range rockets and perhaps artillery that will make long term occupation all but impossible. The days of successful fixed fortifications ended long ago. We traveled this road in Viet Nam and it ended by us building and then abandoning some very expensive installations.

It seems to me that the purpose of leaving troops in Iraq is primarily to protect oil installations. Not only do the oil fields have to be maintained, upgraded, and operated, but the pipelines, tank farms, oil loading platforms, and oil tankers have to be guarded round the clock. I dont see this being done in the middle of a civil war, especially when both sides are willing to take time out from their war on each other to shoot at US personnel attempting to take their natural resources.

We all know there will be another "Helicopters on the embassy roof" moment. It is inevitable, we just don't know when.

I think the difference between Vietnam and Iraq is that there is no one nation that is attacking us. Sure, the insurgents are getting support from other nations, but there's no real army out there that is able to mount serious force levels, as the North Vietnamese were able to do. Recall the scene as the last Americans left Vietnam and the tanks rolled into the U.S. Embassy compound. The Islamist (aka, "terrorists") don't have tanks...

As Jim Webb pointed out on Meet the Press last Sunday, our activities in Iraq are an occupation, which is not the same as a war. The "war" ended after the fall of the Iraq army. Unless, of course, we attack Iran with it's population of 65 million people. Iraq has a population of about 27 million, thus attacking Iran would result in a much larger mess than that we are now stuck with.


E. Swanson

Cities struggle to fix aging infrastructure

An exploding steam pipe under a busy street in Midtown Manhattan this week dramatizes potentially dangerous decay in aging public works systems across the nation that will require tens of billions of dollars to fix.

From New York to Atlanta, cities officials are raising utility rates, issuing bonds and trying to modernize public works systems that are straining under the demand of ever-increasing populations. The USA is likely to add about 100 million more people by 2040.

Hello Leanan,

Thxs for the info. Recall the graphic in yesterday's Drumbeat showing %'s of old infrastructure that will need replacing. This is where my idea of SpiderWebRiding on above ground pipes could make a dramatic cost-savings postPeak. The gradual shift from rail-PHEVs to pedaled railbikes can be useful and sustainable far into the future.

Also recall my much earlier postings on cities and towns going to maximum Peakoil Outreach, then willfully practising blackouts to further impell the drive for conversion to biosolar MPP and relocalized permaculture. This is much better than waiting for FF-depletion or a natural event like an earthquake to force rapid detritus powerdown. If, at a minimum, it makes everyone buy a bicycle and wheelbarrow: this should be preferred to the rock bottom Thermo/Gene survival level.

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

OPEC exports seen falling

I heard this on CNBC this morning. It took a while but I finally pulled it up using news.google.

OPEC oil exports in the four weeks to August 4 are seen falling 240,000 bpd from the previous month, according to press reports.

Ron Patterson


That's a good find. I looked for the term "voluntary cuts", honestly. But there's no explanation given for the export drop. Still overall the impression provided is that there's plenty oil, and its all just speculation that drives up prices.

Question: why would people speculate so much if there's indeed plenty of it?

I looked for the term "voluntary cuts", honestly

This is significant regardless of the cause. There is little difference whether OPEC can't pump more oil or if they simply choose to pump slower.

If some news agency would accuse Saudis of deliberately slowing exports to harm US (and other countries') economy there might be an interesting outcome. Saudis might have to admit that they are pumping as fast as they can and it's a physical limitation.

The last cuts, if there were any cuts, were implimented in February. It would be foolish of any OPEC country to cut production when no more cuts were ordered by OPEC, at a time when prices are at record highs.

This, if it means anything, means that OPEC is producing flat out and exports are declining because of depletion plus increased domestic consumption.

Ron Patterson

Recall the reports of sharp drops in tanker rates (close to 50% lower than last summer) from the Persian Gulf to Asia?

Didn't we also discuss that there was a massive influx of new tankers that had been built over the last few years? KSA has only cut exports by 10% to that region, while most other countries barely made any cuts at all. A 10% cut doesn't equate a 50% lower tanker rental rate. We need to look at the complete prespective.

A mention of peak oil popped up in the comments on this article about Holiday Inn:

Holiday Inn's strategy seems a bit ill-timed with Peak Oil upon us. They're extrapolating Happy Motoring forever into the future. As oil exporters start using more of their own oil, they will export less. Demand for oil is already outstripping supply. Exporter hording will only hasten the shortfall.

Iraq has 4 years of oil under the ground at current worldwide usage, and it's the 2nd largest oil reserve in the world. Discoveries have tanked, so there's not much hope of finding extensive new reserves.

I'd keep the old hotels and rent the rooms out cheap to future victims of ARM resets who are forced to abandon their homes in the next couple years.

Sounds like one of us, doesn't it?

Yep. And certain to elicit the response "What the hell was that nut-job talking about???"

The response s/he got was a complaint about being so "political."

Re: Dave Cohen's article on Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR)

I think EOR has a much greater future than Dave. The reason is the legal contracts for oil and gas production, oil leases, have an initial term of ten years or less, but are extended by economic production of hydrocarbons as long as the production lasts.

The practical effect is this: many of the great oilfields of the early period are now abandoned because of low prices and production, but could be economicly redrilled and placed back in production and have their ultimate recoveries extended. This is particularly true of Texas Gulf Coast piercement salt dome fields and fields that were grossly overproduced on fault structures.

Bob Ebersole

I think EOR has a much greater future than Dave.

Now that did come out a bit weird, methinks :-)

Does sound almost like a dire psychic prediction, although if you'll look at Hubbert's graphs ,crude production never trails off to zero.

I really like Dave Cohen's writing. He's clear, cogent and an excellent researcher. I'm glad he's at the ASPO blog, hopefully getting a paycheck, but I sure liked the give and play disecting his posts on TOD.

Bob Ebersole

I would like to propose a WARNING label front and center on the home page of TOD.

I believe that PO awareness is increasing exponentially ( a good exponential growth?) and there are clueless Grannies from Grand Rapids (no offense Gran) landing here smack in the middle of some pretty advanced stages of discussion and being put off or dismissing the “theory”.

Just a warning of the advanced content with a short overview of the issue maybe with a simple line graph with Discovery, Production, and Demand overlay.

Then maybe a list of resources in order of intensity as a tutorial. Pointing to Gail’s Pamphlet, etc.

I find I am hesitant to send nubies to TOD for fear of overwhelming them, (they will get there in their own time but you can’t rush these things)

Just a thought.

P.S. When I was young my parents took me to Diz Knee Land. Went on the ride
‘It’s a Small World”. After about 20 min I started getting really freaked, all these clacking little bots moving in unison, singing in unison. I had nightmares for weeks. I still have bits of it now and then.

Right now I feel like I am stuck on that ride again. Help me Mommie!

Good song-virus, thanks!

That ride is still pretty scary, in a Stepford Wives, 'Dulac' (Shrek) kind of way.

Shuddering, (and about to go to Mugglefest, of all things..)


No kidding, thanks a lot! - now I've got that ear worm.

I, too, was emotionally scarred in early life by exposure to It's A Small World After All. It was a long time ago (1966 or so, at the original Disneyland in Anaheim), and I thought I'd gotten over it, but now I see I merely repressed it.

I wonder if a class-action lawsuit is in order. Disney's got pretty deep pockets...


Did you not see the movie Titanic?

There was only so much room in those lifeboats ;-)

When no-one around you understands
start your own revolution
and cut out the middle man

For more on snippet about the new plug-in hybrid report, folks should also check out my blog at http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/ngreene/new_nrdc_study_on_plugin_hybri...

The post includes links to the full report on EPRI's website and NRDC's (www.nrdc.org) 4 page factsheet on the results.

Hello TODers,

With all the unfortunate problems the earthquake caused Japan: it would be an excellent time for their leaders to go to maximum Peakoil Outreach to their huddled masses, and start discussing and implementing postPeak strategies and tactics for their next Edo Period:

Japan's sustainable society in the Edo period (1603-1867)
They already have an excellent start with very low birthrates, and now greatly reduced business-as-usual infrastructure damage. Ramping detritus MPP going forward will be very difficult as they are already on allocation from KSA, they would be better served by proactively ramping biosolar MPP.

EDIT: MPP = maximum power principle [refer to dieoff.com for details]

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

I have never met a Nihonjin who was looking forward to moving back to the Edo period. To the glory days of Imperial Japan - yes, but not to before that.

President Cheney?

"WASHINGTON (CNN) – President Bush will undergo a routine colonoscopy Saturday, and will transfer power to Vice President Dick Cheney during the procedure, expected to take about two and a half hours, the chief White House spokesman said."

Isn't this roughly how the robots came into power in the Terminator movies?

Ha...I wondered if someone would post this. What could Cheney do in 2.5 hours to really piss some people off? Now, if they find a polyp, then Cheney could extend his presidency for a longer period. Perhaps, Bush goes into coma for a month or two (staged, of course)...whoaa...look out!!

Combine this with Cid Yama's commentary of Israeli/Syrian conflict talk and you got a full blown, tin-hat conspiracy growing here.

Jon Stewart should have a good time with this one tonight.

Good God, man! It's a colonoscopy! They stick a hose with a camera on the end up your ass. Mine took 20 minutes. If Bush doesn't survive this, it IS a conspiracy!

Jon Stewart should have a good time with this one tonight.

If only the fake news were on five days a week. The Daily Show is the one of the few groups of people in America, that actually works less than Congress. It's a shame, because with our government and media, there is generally something to make fun of each and every day.

Man, once surrendering his reason, has no remaining guard against the absurdities the most monstrous, and like a ship without rudder, is the sport of every wind. -- Thomas Jefferson

They're both a couple of sick a**holes!
Bob Ebersole

Maybe they'll locate his head.

Man, once surrendering his reason, has no remaining guard against the absurdities the most monstrous, and like a ship without rudder, is the sport of every wind. -- Thomas Jefferson

Thanks. That made my day.

Radioactive leak continued nearly 3 days after quake

Radioactive material leaked undetected for several days at an earthquake-battered nuclear power plant even as the utility was assuring the public that the damage posed no danger to those outside the site, company executives admitted yesterday.

The disclosure cast more doubt on the plant's emergency measures and the response by Japan's largest power company, while the indefinite shutdown of the world's most powerful electricity-generating facility raised serious fears of a summer power shortage.

Tokyo Electric Power Co. confirmed reports that radioactive material was leaking as late as Wednesday night, nearly three days after the plant suffered a near-direct hit from a quake that killed 10 people and injured more than 1,000 in Kashiwazaki, on Japan's northern coast.

Sometimes I get annoyed at the political blogs whining about governments that are acting the way the actions of the masses tell them to act.

So I wrote a cranky diary on DailyKos late last night pointing out that just bitching about the war in Iraq and "opposing" it is meaningless when almost all Americans choose to continue to live a lifestyle that is unsustainable and either forces the government to fight resource wars to prop it up, or faces a precipitous and painful collapse.

Unsurprisingly the response was not favourable :-) Usual righteous indignation... diary here just in case you are interested in chipping in
When no-one around you understands
start your own revolution
and cut out the middle man

Glad I'm not alone in seeing that hypocrisy. However, I'm rather concerned that the oil question was not the foremost one on their minds. When average Americans wake up to the extent to which their bodies and dollars have been exploited to prop and defend the Israeli state, those of anti semitic bent will not be amused.

Quite why the US public doesn't reject the disproportionate military and financial support Israel receives is probably due to the facts and numbers being conspicuously absent from any debate. A mere mention of the numbers from the lobbying efforts of the American Israeli Political Action Committee - the title says it all - or quite why a wealthy country like that needs such a high level of monetary and military aid, begets the inference that you are some sort of holocaust denyer wacko. Thus, any sort of scrutiny, let alone analysis, is pre empted.

Unfortunately, this situation has allowed Israel to think it can punch way above its weight and it has thus stuck its neck way too far out. I'm very sympathetic to their culture and their plight, but the US has allowed them to get themselves into serious trouble. The US has also been allowed by a lax democracy to get itself into an adjoining mess of grave proportions. This is what happens when citizens are asleep and allow their democracy to be bought by groups and corporations. Now caught in a sinkhole of stupidity, unable to form either a US or Iraqi or Israeli government capable of unravelling the mess, we are caught like a writhing bug pinned to a collection board.

Wiser heads could have prevailed, but wealthier, and stupider, ones did. So it went. The lesson is that from small errors large conflicts grow, often as not exponentially.

Whatever chance the US might have had in Iraq, and it wasn't much of a chance, went out the window with the Abu Ghraib mess. As one general said, 'these guys just lost the war'. But with the lure of permanent bases - pardon me, enduring camps - and competition free access to all that oil, plus their pride to salvage, the message never got through to Bush and Co. Even Voinovitch recently accused Bush of having 'f%&cked up the war'.

The Rule of Holes says that when you find yourself in one, stop digging. Simple, but hard to do when all you have is a shovel. Peak oil may, in a twisted sense, vindicate aspects of the conflict, but having the US military camped in the oil patch looks like a saw off at best. And it's been far from its best.

I think the situation in Israel is worse than that. I am alarmed at the growing similarities between the US, Great Britain and Israel. Firstly, all 3 societies are relying on real estate bubbles to keep their economies growing. Britain quickly hit an energy crisis doing that, and its tight lending conditions seem likely to make a housing collapse less severe. But America and Israel, my God, look at how they build houses. We build in the middle of nowhere and then commute 50 miles on imported gas, and Israel builds them in the Occupied Territories. That explains a lot of recent politics. Not only that, but both societies face big water crises in their future, and the obvious solution is to take it from someone else.

Secondly, there is a fantastic growth of corruption, doubtlessly fueled by the polarized wealth seen in all 3 societies. Lord Levy, who sold lordships for cash, practically created Tony Blair in the early '90s with millions in contributions. I've also heard allegations that British Aerospace's billions-for-Bandar scandal is the tip of the iceberg, that it has had a Saudi slush fund worth hundreds of billions by which it brokered arms deals with other companies. In Israel, Sharon's son was a big-time fixer, the guy everyone went to for a deal. Want to bet he was tied to real-estate interests? Like the Abramoff-supported scheme to build casinos in the Occupied Terrritories? Here we have Cunningham, Halliburton, the missing Pentagon money, the missing Iraq money, and a dozen other scandals.

But if we move backward in time, we have to consider where these things started. Abramoff supposedly moved from being a small-time propagandist into a South African scheme to pervert the US government and manipulate our media in the mid-'80s. Back then, an Israeli journalist wrote an article (not the later "Clean Break" paper) that called for the wrecking of the Arab world by breaking it up into ever smaller, weaker states. The "Clean Break" paper called for Israel to reduce its dependence on American foreign aid via whole-hog capitalist greed, an Israeli Thatcherism/Reaganism. What made it work was high-tech military exports, like computer software. Note that the Cunningham scandal involved ex-Iran Contra scandal spooks setting up defense software companies that never seemed to deliver.

Maybe, just maybe, all 3 states have been captured by the same networking group. I hate to use the words "cabal" or "conspiracy". This group is too small to be a social class, but seems to be just as inevitable a product of the surreal nature of modern capitalism, where the act of justifying the rich becomes as profitable as the act of producing actual goods. Thatcherites, Reaganauts, Likudniks, neo-cons, or in their economic guises Halliburton, Enron, Cerberus/Carlyle, K-Street. They are only a small part of the capitalist class, but seem to have talked their way into dominance over the rest. The only major oil company that truly embraced Bush's madness was Exxon. It's as if people were strategically placed in a few high-leverage institutions, and used them to promote front organizations like the AEI and the Iraqi exile groups to shape consensus "reality". Then they took over Congress, then the White House, then Australia and Canada, then the Ukraine and Poland and France, passing slush funds and AEI-accredited front men back and forth to help each cell rise to power.

What we know of them is that they are dedicated to eradicating the hard lessons of history: 1914, 1929, Vietnam, the first Oil Crisis. They take discredited Victorian ideas and repackage them as sexy and hip. They seduce investors and media chiefs by promising infinite growth. They accelerate growth via deregulation and extreme wealth polarization, and then turn to the victims with big government solutions like "a new life in the West Bank" or $100,000 a year driving a truck in Iraq.

What we don't know is whether they know or care that it's all a fantasy, that neo-Victorian imperialism can't be sustained. If they know, do they intend to flee to Caribbean compounds when collapse occurs? Or did they calculate that the catastrophes of global warming and peak oil would create just the tyranny that they alone could rule?

Now Britain is really coming loose, not so much Gordon Brown as the rise of the Scottish National Party. So by 2008 this network will be down to its core of the US and Israel, and look at how psychotic the media have gotten in these states. They're talking about starting wars with everybody while they refuse to demand more sacrifices. But they still have most of the world's nukes, they still have the US Navy and Air Force, and they still have an army of Christian reactionaries in the American heartland who obey them as if they were plantation owners. They've practically become one country in the eyes of Moslems, and maybe my eyes too. As a theology, an economic model, and a political system, these countries seem to be bound to either enslave the world together or die trying.

Super: You said it. One point: re fleeing to Caribbean compounds, I think posters sometimes forget how first-class the American police forces are at protecting the wealthy physically (and the justice system is first-class at protecting them legally). With all the talk of collapse in the USA, when an American with more than $10 mill is the victim of violent crime at the hands of a stranger it is front page news because of the rarity. If you are rich in America you are as safe as anywhere on the planet.

My friends and I have spent countless hours theorizing about where the cabal will concentrate if global collapse is the game.

Right now we're looking at Dubai and the Persian Gulf. Lots and lots of oil, bristling with military bases, nice office space for Halliburton and friends in the new tower.

They can use North America as Cheney's new hunting preserve.

Surely Paraguay right?
When no-one around you understands
start your own revolution
and cut out the middle man

Oh that was just precious, hysterically precious. They can't be blamed because they voted, by god, and they voted for the other guy! Nevermind the SUVs they drive, the 3000 square foot houses they own, or the fact that they don't even know what a CFL is. Blaming them is unfair! It must be someone else's fault! That evil Rove! That dastardly Cheney! But never the good little liberals at DailyKos. No, they can't be at fault.

Rich, really rich. :) And people wonder why I am a doomer. Ha!

"The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function." -- Dr. Albert Bartlett
Into the Grey Zone

I enjoyed that "diary" on Kos very much, and understand well why few on that site viewed it as anything less than being sprayed with shitmist. Peak Oil is beyond political, unfortunately, although you'd not know it from the comments.


The whole blame game is insanity. It seems in America that if we can establish someone else as a guilty party we're absolved of doing anything but ranting and whining. The right is just as guilty as the left. I'm sure gay marriage poisoned all my relationships with women and its the liberal media's fault would go over great on Rush's call ins.

Confucious said if you want to reform the world, you must first reform the nation, and if you want to reform the nation, you first must reform the family and if you want to reform the family you must first reform yourself and Jesus said to not worry about the mote in your neighbor's eye when you have a beam in your eye. Its that same spiritual truth thats been preached for thousands of years.

I think its mental laziness. Its much easier for me to blame someone else than it is for me to change my own behaviour-and I don't think I'm alone. The other component is an addiction to adrenalyn-getting worked up on a self-righteous anger is like a hit of meth, it feels pretty damn good....

Enough of that. I've got to get back to blaming the bloated plutocrat cornucopians for peak oil!

I'm sure almost every sports loving American knows what CFL means--
Canadian Football League----
How about handing me another beer?
Or should I go get one in the SUV?

Bob, 'It seems in America that if we can establish someone else as the a gulity party we're absolved of doing anything but ranting and whining.'...the christians believe that christ died for their sins...and the christians continue to receive absolution for their sins...not exactly a system that promotes responsibility. It has been my experience that a very large majority of Americans will go to any length to avoid responsibility. Americans hate the very word, responsibility. I suppose that I have known of this American aversion for so long that I am no longer surprised by it. When tshtf have enough peanut butter and crackers to last a few weeks, stay low, and most of the lazy, irresponsible folks will weed themselves out. Then we can get back to fishing!

Bush administration to convert weapons plutonium

The Bush administration plans to convert more weapons-grade plutonium into commercial reactor fuel than previously planned.

A senior Energy Department official said Thursday the department has concluded that additional tons of plutonium can be taken from dismantled warheads and disposed of, beyond the 34 tons already planned to be converted to commercial fuel.

"It will be significant," Thomas D'Agostino, head of the department's nuclear weapons program, said in an interview, when asked how much additional plutonium might be set aside for conversion. D'Agostino said he did not want to provide a specific number of tons because the matter was still being discussed with the Pentagon.

Defense officials establish warhead needs. The Energy Department manages the nuclear weapons, including dismantling those no longer required. The administration for years has had plans to convert 34 tons of weapons-grade plutonium into a mixed oxide fuel as part of a program with Russia where both countries agree to dispose of an equal amount of the material from their weapons stockpiles.

The U.S. plutonium is to be converted into a mixed oxide fuel that would then be burned in a commercial nuclear power reactor. The Energy Department plans to begin construction this year of a conversion facility at the Savannah River nuclear complex near Aiken, S.C.

D'Agostino, meeting with a group of reporters Thursday, said the department has determined "we can add more plutonium into the mix" destined for disposal. He said decision would be unilateral and no attempt would be made to try to get Russia to match the increase.

"We want to get into a leadership position here globally and look at what minimum we need to do and what more can we do from a leadership standpoint," D'Agostino said.

Turn bombs to power what a smart idea!!

Save enough so every state can have one each, just one though then they would never want to use it... or so the argument goes.

Imagine being the doctor who has to 'perform' on GWB

"Imagine being the doctor who has to 'perform' on GWB"

What a thought! There's the Hippocratic Oath to think about, and then there's the future of the Republic to think about.


Couple weeks ago I wrote a comment about Global Resources Corporation and their HAWK10 technology which appear to be able to convert plastics as well as oil residuals and coal to liquid oil and gas. Here is a link to a recent article in Scrap magazine. Could be groundbreaking stuff people.


Hello TODers,

More press coverage that sounds like WT's ExportLand Model:

Mexico, Venezuela oil slumps could hit U.S. supply
Makes me wonder how quickly our Overshoot meets FF-depletion. Using the Liebig Minimum of tire rationing can quickly boost Peakoil Outreach, reduce panic and violence levels, jumpstart the 60-75% labor shift to relocalized permaculture, and create a FF-capacity surplus that can be shifted to stockpiling fertilizers to help bridge the transition shift. Just simple Foundation strategy to help optimize the decline-- better than imitating Zimbabwe, who is sorely lacking in the Merc vs Earthmarines dynamic for habitat protection and optimization.

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

Fertilizers can be made by using Wind Turbines' on site energy to create hydrogen from water and combine it in vary combinations with c02 and n2. You don't need to 'stockpile' any FF for the process. With this scheme, farms could conceivably grow their own fuels and still have all the 'fossil' inputs to maintain current crop outputs. There really is no need for '60-70%' of the population to go back to farming: thats wishful thinking of old men pining for the 'simpler' times of their youth.

Good thing. "60 to 70%" of the population wouldn't know which was the business end of a hoe.

I'm not sure about the following, but I can only assume it's true (if somebody can correct me, please do so!):

Here in Finland the energy required for producing fertilizer comes mostly from hydroelectric power, and there aren't really any fossil fuels involved. That's great as such, but pesticides are still based on hydrocarbons, and as for the farming machinery, obviously it's diesel that runs them.

Other complex chemicals could presumably be made from the same process. And I would imagine the average farm would need to devote only a small portion of their farmland to produce biofuels, be it Ethanol or Biodiesel.

devote only a small portion of their farmland to produce biofuels

I think the latest research that was dome by US government indicated that EROEI was 1.3 (you get 1.3 gallons of ethanol for every gallon of oil spent). That was the good news. Other studies claimed that you need to spend 1.5 gallons of oil to grow 1 gallon of ethanol (making it meaningless). But there are bad parts here: that study did not count energy input from labor (and humans needs food and clothes at very least, but more likely they also want to drive around a bit, watch TV run, air condition, have children who also want to eat and so on...) or fixed assets (ethanol factories, tractors, storage facilities,...). So over all is very doubtful that it's possible to get more energy from corn based ethanol, then was was used to produce it.

Cellulose based ethanol is not there and might never be. Some people think it might be possible eventually, but then again some people used to think that alchemist would be able to chemically convert lead to gold.

Biofuels in US, is simply a way to give money back to constituents. As far as energy the only positive effect is that some of the input energy can be obtained from cheaper sources, such as coal. Hydro is great but we will need all of that power for our day to day lives.

Running 1 or 2 tractors per farm on ethanol is a LOT different than running 250 million cars on ethanol. However, most tractors are diesel, so biodiesel production from manure etc would probably be the best solution over all. With an enclosed system, the majority of your energy inputs are solar and carbon via absorption. This is hardly groundbreaking: we're just replacing the mule with a tractor.

Who cares how many tractors are running if we talking in %? If you say loose 1% of energy in the whole process, then the size of operation would only change how much you loose, but you will still loose. The bottom line is that if farm chooses to produce corn for ethanol, it will have to use more gasoline that can be produced if all (!) of that corn is converted to biofuel. In many part of US crops have to be watered which would make it even a worse proposition.

Thinks of it in term of money. Say, I create a bio-money machine that will give you 95 cents for every dollar you put in (efficiency of .95). No matter how much money you will put into that machine you will only get less out of it (loosing 5 cents for every dollar that goes is). Scale does not change that fact that you will always loose. But if government would offer you 10 cents subsidy for every dollar that you put in then you will start making a profit. The machine is still a waste, but government will make up for a loss and even add a little on top. Of course it would be even more efficient if government would simply pay you 5 cents for every dollar that you do not put in...

Same with ethanol. The only way ethanol can work if government is paying for this nonsense. US government taxes gasoline, but subsidies ethanol. So even though energy is lost in the process, it appears to make economic sense, but just barely.

You make it up on the volume.

When we're talking about biofuels for ag equipment, we are talking about biodiesel, not ethanol. A lot of us here are pretty sceptical about ethanol. Biodiesel looks a little better. Not a silver bullet that is going to solve all problems and keep everybody on the road, but a feasible solution for at least keeping the highly essential equipment running. According to figures that I have seen, a farmer should be able to produce enough oilseeds on around 5% of his land to keep his equipment running (+/- 2.5% depending upon crops and cultural practices, and upon yield of oilseeds grown).

Which again effectively eliminates the 'need' for 65-70% of the population to go back to farming.

RE: A farmer should be able to produce enough oil seeds on 5% percent of his land to keep his equipment running.

Sorry, it doesn't work that way. Biofuels are fungible just like oil. When I grow and sell my corn. it goes directly to one of the many ethanol plants around here. When I grow and sell my soybeans, likewise the soy oil will probably end up in one of the nearby biodiesel plants. It makes no difference whether I actually use the ethanol or biodiesel. All that matters is that the supply of fuel is increased due to my actions. At 160 bu./acre corn about 450 additional gallons per acre of ethanol are created. Likewise for soybeans and biodiesel only the amounts are smaller. In a market economy it is inefficient for the farmer to make his own ethanol or biodiesel. I have to chuckle at those who post here and say that no farmer can run his farm on ethanol or biodiesel. If my sales of grain and soybeans are sufficient to buy the diesel, biodiesel, ethanol or gasoline I use, my farm is defacto running on ethanol because most of the grain ends up at the ethanol plants now.

That fungibility is dependent upon long supply lines, possible courtesy of cheap transport, possible courtesy of cheap oil. As energy becomes hugely expensive, so will transport, and economies will increasingly have to de-globalize and re-localize.

Rather than a farmer sending his oilseeds to a biodiesel plant hundreds of miles away, then geting his fuel deliveries from the local co-op or fuel dealer, it is more likely that his local co-op will set up its own biodiesel mini-plant. He and all of the other nearby farmers will bring their oilseeds there and bring their biodiesel back home with them. The surplus biodiesel will be sold to local communities to fuel fire trucks, ambulances, shuttle buses, road equipment, etc. Areas with a big surplus may be able to ship some via rail to more distant urban customers, again mostly to fuel essential equipment. A little may make its way to fuel ocean freighters. We are talking about what will become a very expensive fuel here, especially when these transport inputs are included. Don't think there is going to be a lot available to enable people to tool around town in their VW tdi; a tankful is probably going to cost hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars. But it will be possible to keep the essential equipment running, even if it is expensive.

This is a best case scenario. Worst case, each farmer rigs up a homebrew press and processes his own oilseeds into SVO, giving him something to keep the tractor running.

Hello PartyGuy,

Thxs for responding, but I respectfully disagree, because I think you are not giving sufficient allowance for cascading blowbacks.

Please include topsoil depletion, droughts, increased flash floods, caliche buildup, species extinction/insect plagues, aquifer exhaustion, the long timeline to reskill for postPeak permaculture, resistance of many to smoothly adapt, huge sums to maintain irrigation spiderwebs, etc, etc.

Most of this biosolar energy will go to the creation and maintenance of high value items: potable water, bullets, transporting essential food preservatives, power for advanced medical & dental for those deemed worthy of saving, bicycle tires, powering very small refrigerators, etc, etc.

One gallon of gasoline = 900 tons of ancient plant matter
One barrel of oil = 25,000 man-hours of physical labor.

I forget the other statistic precisely: Americans consume 100 days of sunshine equivalent/day??? My entropy-based 60-75% maybe too low; too optimistic. It was much higher back in the days before fossil fuels and easy-to-extract minerals. Time will tell.

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

I think you are forgetting that those problems would doom that 65-70% population that relocated to the farms. However, I think you have overblown the problem extensively. With proper management, topsoil depletion is negligible over decades. Water might be a problem if the farmland is marginal, but for most of the breadbaskets, it isn't a problem. And as for flash flood, diseases, etc, they are way to random to make any kind of prediction on. They could just as easily NOT happen as happen.

Try not to view the worst possible outcome as the most likely scenario!

Boy, do you ever need to do some more reading...

Do enlighten me! I know that 'marginal' land is not sustainable as far as agriculture goes. But there is plenty of land out there that is...

PartyGuy, here are a few reasons why some of us believe that the majority of Americans will be directly involved in food production by the middle of this century:

As recently as 1900 about 90% of the US population still lived on the farm. That many people were needed for food production, despite a mature knowledge base and infrastucture (think many years of barn-raisings) for the use of draft animals.

Soils are more depleted and eroded now than they were at that time. Without chemical fertilizer inputs, they will be LESS productive than they were at that time.

Much of the productivity of current US mechanised agriculture utilizes fossil-fueled irrigation, often using fossil water.

Weed competition is now controlled by use of petrochemical herbicides with herbicide-resistant crops. This is a complex system that will probably break down. This means a lot of "good old-fashioned" hoeing instead, which means a lot of people.

Present mechanised agriculture depends on monoculture cropping to achieve efficiency of scale, but a monoculture field is bugs' vision of heaven. So lots of petrochemical insecticides are needed, applied by fossil-fueled tractor or airplane sprayers. Once these applications become prohibitively expensive, huge monoculture fields will suffer intolerable insect damage. The future looks like much smaller fields and lower yields due to pest damage.

Believe it or not, humans will need MORE calories per day than they do now, and be slimmer at the same time. During harvest around 1900, all of the womenfolk of the farmstead (three generations) would work sunrise to sunset preparing the huge amount of food needed to fuel the menfolk.

EDIT: I forgot to mention the wood needed to fuel all that cooking the womenfolk did. And the wood needed to can food for the winter/spring/summer till the next harvest. And to heat the house. So don't plan on all cropland, you need a BIG woodlot to provide a sustainable supply of process heat.

I know none of this appeals in the slightest to generations X and Y, but it's your future. It's better than no future at all.

Errol in Miami

Do explain how having 200 million people working on farms with degraded and depleted land will help. They wont be, and it wont help. Also, when 90% of the population was on the farms, we had less than 1/4th our current population. I would wager that the numbers are probably no more than one magnitude different now, in terms of raw population.

However, no one has yet to explain why a farmer couldn't simply grow his own biodiesel on his farm to power the heavy equipment, and use the wind turbine scheme I mentioned above for all his fertilizer and pesticide needs. This technology exists now, but isn't being utilized due to the corporate nature of the farms.

PartyGuy, no one seems to be considering what we are going to wear when oil gets extremely expensive or unavailable. Some farms are going to shift to more production of cotton for clothes and hemp for rope and hundreds of other uses. Even in warm climates people are going to need clothing if for no other reason than to keep most of the bugs off. The number of farms raising sheep will also need to increase for wool production.

Even if we did have such a long-term shortage of non-human energy that there was insufficient for agriculture to be largely powered by it, it would take at least 100 years for there to anything like a 70% return to agriculture.
100 years is way too long a time to make any useful predictions: I say we're just as likely to have a huge energy surplus by then as to have such a deficit that the world is forced back into pre-industrial society.
And btw, for the whole world to be forced back, Australia, for example, would have to somehow export nearly all its energy resources, as we have more than enough here (in gas, coal and uranium) to sustain twice our current population for 100 years.

Hello TODers,

Hans Selye's General Adaptation Syndrome [GAS] to self-prune the family tree? When postPeak blowback and scapegoating really gets rolling in the US Overshoot--How many Americans will do the same genetic thing in their desperation for Maximum Power Principle [MPP]? I hope we choose more wisely for the sake of our future generations of offspring by going to max Peakoil Outreach, which includes birth controls, so less families will genetically lizard brain level freakout. Recall what the wrestler did to his family-- no worse of a crime.

Warning: Upsetting and graphic description, but no gruesome photos:


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

I enjoy reading your posts. Just when I think that I've already come across all of the most depressing news available, you manage to take it to the next level. ;-)

Recall what the wrestler did to his family-- no worse of a crime.

Sorry, but I have to disagree. IMO being stomped on and strangled for 2 1/2 hours most certainly seems to be a worse crime (for the victim) than simply being strangled. Could people plausibly be that inefficient at murdering this young woman? Or did they take some delight in stretching out her suffering?

EDIT: Oops, I missed the part about her being raped. That's really not right, raping your niece/daughter. Maybe I'm just ethnocentric, but "honor" killings don't seem to be a very honorable act.

Man, once surrendering his reason, has no remaining guard against the absurdities the most monstrous, and like a ship without rudder, is the sport of every wind. -- Thomas Jefferson

Hello Phreephallin,

Thxs for responding. Yep, upsetting to me too, but it needs to be evaluated in the larger evolutionary context.

Violence is an evolved genetic power trait in social species: whether against a family member, neighbor, social or ethnic class, or against an entire country. Basically, your DNA could care less what your body & mind decides to do as long as you gain a evolutionary advantage.

"A hen is just the way for an egg to make another egg"--I believe it was Richard Dawkins who said this.

See Battle of Kruger video on YouTube: animal 'morality' would dictate that the lions should have attacked an equal-strength premier water buffalo in a fair heads-up battle, but animal MPP doesn't work that way with a morality concern. We will be no different once we become severely stressed postPeak.

The lions singled out the tiny baby instead to try to maximize harvest efficiency. Hell, I even believe the croc attacked the helpless baby buffalo instead of grabbing a lion [hard to tell in the video]. In short: straightup pure power politics. Nature's tightly evolved feedback loops cannot afford the surplus energy to provide the luxury of morality.

Eventually, the buffalo herd drove off the lions once they felt they had sufficiently grouped to apply MPP, but I suspect the baby was sufficiently mauled that the lions ate the baby later, until a pack of hyenas battled them off the carcass. I think it was notable that the lions were all females: they might have lost the alpha-male, whose job is to kill hyenas and other threats to his cubs. Thus, this female pride, if they have any cubs, is probably in a stress mode until a new male lion comes along to assert his territory and pride primacy. He then kills any leftover cubs from the previous male, this brings the females into estrus faster so he can then make his cubs.

The male lion's superior size and thick mane are evolved to help protect against a hyenas' strong jaws. The mane also helps when male lions battle for a pride/territory and reproductive primacy. I saw a Nat. Geographic TV-special on this a few years back: female lion vs hyena is a tough battle due to comparable size/strength [many times the females withdraw from the carcass instead of defending the kill], but a premier male lion dispatched the alpha-hyena and others with little effort due to the power mismatch. It is a tough life for most species out there: no quarter is given; the battle lines are clearly drawn.

Humans are no different in times of extreme stress: the Donner Party stuck in the snow of the high Sierra; a Chinese famine so bad that the Emperor gave permission for families to kill a child, then exchange the meat with neighbors; gangrapes & murder in Darfur today; Turkish military forcing Armenians off a train in the middle of a blazing desert; American Indian deathmarches and gift of disease-infected blankets; Muslim-Hindu slaughter during India/Pakistan partition; Japanese bayoneting babies and Rape of Nanking; electric-powered drillbits into peoples' limbs in Iraqi torture interrogations....on and on...sadly, we are horrifically creative when it comes time to self-reduce our headcount.

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

Violence is an evolved genetic power trait in social species: whether against a family member, neighbor, social or ethnic class, or against an entire country. Basically, your DNA could care less what your body & mind decides to do as long as you gain a evolutionary advantage.

Again, it may just be ethnocentricity on my part, but I don't understand what "evolutionary advantage" is gained by raping and murdering one's daughter. Raping your enemies daughter and ensuring that she bears your child would be more beneficial in terms of propogating one's genes.

IMO the violence associated with honor killings (as with many other forms of social violence) are rooted more in people's beliefs, norms and mores. The people that commit these honor killings feel justified because they are following traditions that have been practiced for many generations.

How much this has to do with ensuring genetic fitness, I'm not quite sure. Arranged marraiges and/or treating women like chattel is still common in many cultures throughout the world so there may be an element of genetic advantage to it.

Personally, I just believe it's more of the crazy sh*% that people with more time than sense tend to invent. I like to compare some of the social norms of the major powers from WWII. In the European theater, American medics would prominently display their Red Cross, as there was a decent chance that German soldiers would allow them to render aid to fallen comrades. In the Pacific theater, American medics tried to hide the fact that they were medics, as the Japanese would especially target them.

Likewise, there was a difference in attitude about surrendering or being captured. To most German or American soldiers, being captured was an unpleasant but inevitable result of being on the losing side of a battle. To most Japanese soldiers, surrender or capture was a dishonorable act, and they were much more likely to commit suicide or continue fighting against insurmountable odds to avoid capture.

I'm not saying that one approach was better than another, I'm just saying that they are different. Neither case has much to do genetic advantage (IMO) but more to do with belief systems.

I did watch the "Battle at Kruger" video the other day after Savinar pimped it on the drum beat. That baby water buffalo should have gone out afterwards and bought a lottery ticket, becuase he was pretty damned lucky!

Nature provides a much better insight into stress and violence and their relationship to survival. Animals are not worried about right/wrong, good/bad, moral/immoral. They kill to eat, eat to survive, pro-create, and treat their offspring in whatever way will ensure the best chance for passing on their genes.

By surpassing the basic needs of survival, humans have allowed themselves to create elaborate belief systems. IMO what we believe (and I know that there are many philosophers, theologians, etc. who would argue that there must be an absoulte right, or absolute good) stems primarily from what we are taught. Even with a solid belief system in place, there is no guaruntee that people will do the "right" thing. Add the stress of survival or the "madness of the mob" and I think most people (if not all) are capable of committing horrible atrocities.

Thus, I find myself along with you I think, fearing the worst for our society. Scrape off the shiny veneer of our polished civilization, and we are little more than "Chimps who can drive".

Man, once surrendering his reason, has no remaining guard against the absurdities the most monstrous, and like a ship without rudder, is the sport of every wind. -- Thomas Jefferson

Hello, TODers ~

Just wondering if any of the good folks here are participating in CNN's YouTube Debate?

We can choose to do the easy thing, or we can choose to do the right thing.

The Moscow Times: Pacific Pipeline Delayed Until 2015
By Anatoly Medetsky
Staff Writer

Plans to build an oil pipeline to the Pacific coast will most likely remain on hold until at least 2015, waiting for the development of east Siberian fields, Deputy Industry and Energy Minister Andrei Dementyev told a Cabinet meeting Thursday.

Mike Whitney's new article about the Kissinger secret visit to Russia might be pretty interesting reading for you, Jeffrey.

Amazing stuff going on these days ...


Shell ordered to suspend Arctic offshore drilling

A U.S. federal appeals court has ordered Royal Dutch Shell Plc to suspend oil exploration operations in the Beaufort Sea off the north coast of Alaska pending a legal challenge being brought by environmental activists and Alaska native groups.

The ruling deals a serious blow to Shell's plan to drill up to four exploration wells during the brief Arctic summer to test a $44 million bet the company placed on the region in 2005. Oral arguments in the case are set for Aug. 14.

Hello TODers,

Zimbabwe: No Power, No Phones, No Transport, No Water

"Just about everything is erratic, steadily getting worse and there seems to be no end in sight." These were the words of reporter Jan Raath, describing life in Zimbabwe's capital city on Friday.

Raath said he cannot claim that the system has totally collapsed, but at the current rate of deterioration total collapse is imminent.
Somehow, I think Dr. Richard Duncan is inwardly horrified that Olduvai Gorge Theory is becoming true. What country is next? South Africa, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Mexico, Myanmar?

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

This has nothing to do with the Olduvai Gorge, or with 'energy per capita' peaking in Zimbabwe. We've gone over this at least 500 times on this site already. But thanks for the laugh!