DrumBeat: July 29, 2007

Toiling in the Dark: Africa’s Power Crisis

Power blackouts — “load shedding,” in utility jargon — are hardly novel in sub-Saharan Africa, where many electricity grids remain chewing-gum-and-baling-wire affairs. Even so, this year is different. Perhaps 25 of the 44 sub-Saharan nations face crippling electricity shortages, a power crisis that some experts call unprecedented.

The causes are manifold: strong economic growth in some places, economic collapse in others, war, poor planning, population booms, high oil prices and drought have combined to leave both industry and residents short of power when many need it most.

Worry about bread, not oil

The great demographer and economist Thomas Malthus was 23-years-old the last time a British summer was this rain-soaked, which was back in 1789. The consequences of excessive rainfall in the late 18th century were predictable.

Crops would fail, the harvest would be dismal, food prices would rise and some people would starve. It was no coincidence that the French Revolution broke out the same year.

Official: $20 billion arms sale to Saudis in the works

The United States is developing a proposed $20 billion, 10-year arms sales package for Saudi Arabia, a senior administration official confirmed on Saturday.

..."This is all about Iran," said the official, who spoke to CNN on condition of anonymity because discussions with the Saudis are still going on and the arms sale deal has not been completed.

The choice is ours: Big Oil or Chavez?

In the coming century, the world will transition from cars that run on liquid fuels to cars that run on something else, perhaps electricity or hydrogen. Until then, we have a choice. Either support the "Big Oil" companies that are SEC and IRS regulated, traded on the major stock exchanges, contribute to our economy and national security, and whose employees are our neighbors, or butt into energy myths and stand by idly (gleefully?) while Hugo Chavez ejects "Big Oil" from Venezuela.

Venezuelan oil exports to US rebound

Confirming their trend in April, Venezuelan crude oil exports to the United States in May climbed 50,000 bpd to an average of 1.23 million bpd, which is 63,000 bpd above May 2006.

In this way, Venezuela remained as the fourth largest oil supplier to the US, after Canada, Saudi Arabia, and Mexico, which overall provided over 1.4 million bpd each.

Auction sells only oil-generated electricity

While the world debates ways to fight global warming, Brazil, with huge hydroelectric potential and a candidate to lead world biofuels production (ethanol, biodiesel and biomass), strongly resumes investments in thermoelectric generation based on fuel oil, much more polluting than the so-called renewable energy sources. At least this was the scenario indicated by the fourth new energy auction (for supplies beginning in 2010), held yesterday via the internet and negotiating only the energy of thermoelectrics powered by the petroleum-based fuel.

Gulf royalties targeted again

The House on Friday resurrected a plan to go after scores of oil and gas companies that have been pumping crude in the Gulf of Mexico royalty-free.

Africa looks to biofuels for economic fortunes

Faced with mounting energy crises, many African nations in recent years have zealously launched projects to produce cheaper biofuels, but few have gained steam.

Japan to launch first hybrid trains

Winding through rice paddies and lazily blowing its whistle along bubbly creeks, a two-car train in rural northern Japan is the latest entrant in the battle against global warming.

Want to save the planet? Then grass over your roof Following its runaway success with hybrid cars, Japan is bringing the world hybrid trains. Regular passenger runs are set to begin Tuesday on a short mountain route, the first time a diesel-electric hybrid train will be put into commercial service.

Want to save the planet? Then grass over your roof

They may look like homes out of Beatrix Potter books, but houses with grass lawns planted on the roof may be the latest weapon in the battle against global warming.

Green roofs, sewn with turf, trees and even herbaceous borders, are to be promoted by ministers who believe they will not only help to absorb CO2 emissions but also improve house insulation and cut heating bills.

Pill power plants popping up

Don't be so quick to throw out that expired blood pressure medication. Drug disposal companies are taking outdated or recalled prescription drugs from pharmacies and manufacturers and incinerating them, generating energy.

Consumer Federation's Mark Cooper discusses struggles between Big Oil, ethanol industry (video and transcript)

As the price at the pump continues to rise, how will the introduction of more ethanol into the fuels market affect consumers' wallets? During today's OnPoint, Mark Cooper, director of research at the Consumer Federation of America, discusses his new report, "Big Oil v. Ethanol: The Consumer Stake in Expanding the Production of Liquid Fuels." Cooper explains why he believes the oil industry is waging a war against the ethanol industry. He talks about the effect refining capacity has had on oil prices and blames the oil industry for not expanding or strengthening its refining capacity. He also addresses the challenge of creating the appropriate infrastructure for getting E85 to consumers.

Russia leads race for North Pole oil

The Arctic's untapped resources include huge reserves of fuel and minerals. Now Moscow has raised tensions by dispatching an expedition to annex a vast expanse of the ocean.

Buying shotgun shells will put a bigger hole in your wallet - Prices continue yearlong increase with no relief in sight

Overall, prices on shotgun and rifle shells, along with components for loading, have increased more than 50 percent since Sept. 1.

...Remington, Federal and Winchester, the major shotshell manufacturers in this country, are all raising prices, citing the rapidly escalating cost of metals, mostly lead, essential to shell production. However, copper, steel and bismuth shotshells also increased during the same period. Fuel price increases have forced up the cost of shipping and delivering the shells, and war-time contracts have created competition for materials and manufacturing time.

Sri Lanka hikes petrol pump price by 17 percent

Sri Lankan oil companies said Sunday they have raised petrol pump prices by 17 percent, the sixth increase this year amid high crude oil costs.

Barbados: Legislation to go before Parliament in August

She explained that, "It is becoming harder to obtain hydrocarbon reserves, but international demand for them is at its highest & High oil prices create the opportunity for a viable economic return for investors in offshore exploration and global demand and shrinking hydrocarbon resources are driving more intensive exploration efforts in frontier territories. "Globalisation and technology facilitate a level of international business across boundaries, literally bringing the business world to Barbados' shores. The international trade and economic climate compel us, even as a vulnerable Small Island Developing State, to compete with the rest of the world,"she explained.

Crude oil prices rise fuelled by growth of US economy in Q2

The movement in crude prices was fuelled by the growth of US economy in the second quarter that indicated that the demand for fuel would rise. US economy expanded 3.4% last quarter, the fastest pace in more than a year. US consumes 24% of global oil production.

Crude oil also got a support with reports of refinery problems and floods in UK. A fire in a steam plant in a refinery in UK led to closure of entire refinery which will result in production losses and this provided a bullish sentiments.

Turning a profit on gas, without the gas

The talks led to one of the biggest and most important deals for tycoon Yosef Maiman, the Israeli partner in EMG. Maiman, an old hat at giant international deals, sensed a decade ago the raw potential of gas deals, and of connecting Israel to the gas fields off the Egyptian coast. Natural gas is cleaner than oil, cheaper and more accessible in the Eastern Mediterranean basin. It's an ideal solution for local power plants.

High gas prices just a bump in roadway for Winnebago

Among Winnebago's bright spots: New diesel-powered, Class C motor homes, the Winnebago View and the Itasca Navion, that get 17 to 19 miles per gallon, compared with eight to nine for many comparable vehicles, Hertzke said.

Introduced two years ago, the View and Navion appeal to fuel-conscious buyers and have the cachet of being powered by a Mercedes-Benz diesel engine.

High gas prices aren't driving motorists to buy smaller cars

According to a recent poll, nine of 10 Pennsylvanians support increasing fuel-efficiency standards, but roughly one of every two new vehicles bought today is a light truck. Light trucks include sport utility vehicles, pickups and vans and generally guzzle more gas than cars.

Burlington fuel terminal sold

"It will be our intention to make that facility more widely available to local Vermont companies," said Ed Faneuil, executive vice president and general counsel with Global. "Global will be a new competitor in the market in a way that ExxonMobil was not."

The terminal also stores diesel, heating oil and kerosene. Global plans to wholesale biofuels, as well.

"Global is a leader in trying to use renewable fuels and we're mixing both ethanol and biofuels into heating oil and in diesel fuel," said Tom Hollister, chief financial officer and chief operating officer.

Fueling the future

No. 6 fuel oil's days are numbered at Lockheed Martin in Owego.

The defense contractor plans to replace its current heating system, fueled by the black, syrupy liquid, with a new wood-burning boiler system it will construct on-site to heat all 1.8 million square feet of its main plant in Owego.

EU might free up land for biofuel crops

Biofuels, destined to partially offset a coming oil shortage and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, will require much more farm land, forcing the European Union to cultivate fields that have lain fallow.

Things are knot what they used to be

"I get the media and politically correct scientists to scare the public against burning anything. Especially coal. Never mind all the smoke that's been cleaned from stacks. They still emit carbon dioxide, which I spook people into fearing as a 'greenhouse gas' responsible for global warming, though that's far from proven. Meanwhile, every promoter of a few kilowatts, from windmills to solar panels to cornstalks, I sic their lobbyists on Congress, and lo and behold, I've tied a sane energy policy up in knots."

Potential Higher Prices for Oil Can Translate into More Sustainable Transportation… As Long as We Guide the Process

The price of oil has been increasing rapidly since 2002, going from ~$25/barrel to its current flirtations with a record $80/barrel. Prices are skyrocketing largely because global demand is rising quickly, led by China’s unprecedented growth that shows no signs of slowing as it hit 11.9% in the 2nd quarter of 2007. The discussion regarding oil is often centered on when we will run out or when production will decline. But I would like to reframe the issue into three important questions that we need to answer even if there is no decline for decades:

1. Can global oil production physically keep up with demand?
2. Can it politically keep up with demand?
3. If not, then what?

Will cheap sales doom family fuel peddlers?

For five weeks, Lehigh Valley motorists enjoyed some of the cheapest gas prices in the nation as warring sellers Wawa, Sheetz and Hess slugged it out in their battle to undercut each other's price.

Traffic jams snaked from the pumps as penny-pinching motorists drove miles out of their way to lap up gas that was selling at $1 per gallon below the national average.

What could be wrong with saving $20 on a single fill-up?

Well, just about everything, say independent gas station owners who contend that price wars among the heavyweight chains will drive many of them out of business, just as similar gas wars did in places such as Reading and the Lancaster area several years ago. The private operators fear they will become extinct, the chain operators will gobble up their business and the result will be a landscape of fewer stations and ultimately higher prices.

Earth energy: Drawing warmth from the ground

When it comes to heat, Richard L. Sansoucy of Paxton is a geothermal convert.

A building contractor and homeowner, Mr. Sansoucy heats and cools his 2,600-square-foot house entirely with warm air captured underground and circulated through the rooms of his home. It cost him $988 last year.

To dismay of power utilities, coal emissions are under fire

Increasing worries about global warming caused by emissions from power plants, automobiles and other sources could pose a roadblock for the roughly 150 coal-fired power plants that have been proposed to satisfy rising electricity demand. This month, Citigroup downgraded coal company stocks, citing the politics of global warming among other factors.

Callaway Electric customers to see 16.7% rate increase

“It's due to the fact that our cost of wholesale power is going up,” Howard said. “(It's because of) environmental compliance, the cost of fuel due to the volatility of natural gas and coal, improvements to transmission lines to serve the increasing needs of the public and also to meet the new generation demand - both in peaking units and base load units.”

Vermonters to add voices to energy debate

Anticipating the need to replace the supply of about two-thirds of the state's electricity, 200 Vermonters will sequester themselves in a hotel for a weekend in early November to study energy options and consider how to balance Vermont's energy portfolio for the next generation.

Panel recommends climate change market

As California begins mapping out its strategy to cut greenhouse gas emissions, how industries will be forced to comply is emerging as one of the most complex aspects of the debate.

A key component of the state's plan to implement last year's far-reaching global warming law was submitted Friday to California air regulators. The state Air Resources Board received a 107-page report — commissioned last year by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger — that endorses a market-trading program.

Lest We Forget - Intelligence Czar Can Waive SEC Rules


Presidential Memorandum of May 5, 2006


Title 15 U.S.C.> Chapter 2B > 78m


See (3)(A) and (2)

Could this apply to banks hit hard by sub-prime loans?

Any other sectors(i.e, Oil, Energy) that might 'hurt the economy'?

How can you trust your investments aren't based on bogus numbers?

How can you trust you'll hear any 'really bad news' that might be out there, before it's too late?

Doesn't this leave "those whom they are no longer required to tell" set up to lose their shirts?

Fear of continued falls in world markets for Monday.


Stocks Plumet on Open in Australia


Asian Markets Extend Losses


Squawk Box on CNBC

Playing Christopher Cross Sailing while an announcer with a soothing voice tells you to sit back relax and take a pill as we sail towards the opening bell. Too Funny.

Iran Rejects OPEC Output Hike


They know the score. They are unwilling to increase production just so other nations can add to their reserves.
What they appear to be aiming for is just enough production to meet current consumption. Don't know if that is attainable, as some will suffer demand destruction as other nations outbid them to grow reserves.

I normally surf the web without images, javascript, cookies, HTTP referer (yes, that is spelling - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Referrer ), user agent, etc. But this morning, looking at a couple of bizarre images at http://icantsellmyhouse.blogspot.com, I also looked at a number of images of the older posts. This can't be real - I mean, yes it is, but seeing hundreds (some pictures are thousands) or homes packed the way they are is incredible - especially the green grass (or not, with foreclosed homes) backed up against what is at best dry scrub land, and the size of the homes.

What was most striking to me was how little open space the neighborhoods had (as noted, the open space they were placed was often immense, if virtually featureless). And yet, space is considered a valid reason for moving to such suburbs/exurbs - and then there is none, except for immense houses, often with a small pool and large driveway space for multiple vehichles - those which don't fit in the garage. Much is enclosed, and there is little way to imagine any sense of community developing, if only because this is so unreal, with easily half of the total space, including roads and yards, under a roof.

These residential structures are supposedly worth $500,000 each (or whatever) - 100 of them supposedly represents 50 million dollars (or whatever) in capital, value, investment, growth, satisfaction, independence. And yet, if the water is off for a few weeks, the scrubland begins to return, surrounding the structure. Which is unlikely to survive untended very long, as the life in the scrubland is likely to find that their neighborhood has been 'upgraded.'

The McMansions I saw a year or two ago in Loudoun, Va were what I imagined such neighborhoods to be - isolated, oversized houses poorly placed in the landscape that a few years ago was cornfields.

But these images were amazing in a way even Gary, IN wasn't. This is pure waste, the emptiness being filled with worthlessness (take that as you will). The longer such clearly unsustainable ways of life continue, the larger the problems. Debt on so many levels, and no way to ever pay it back in a meaningful way.

Somehow, this goes far beyond peak oil - where did things go so adrift in the U.S. that opposing such massively wrong ways of living is seen as the problem, not what is being built? And does anyone honestly think that the people holding the debt on this future scrubland are going to be charitable to those who sold it to them?

Expat, the people buying the big homes in former corn fields are, for the most part, following in the footsteps of their mothers and fathers. They are living 'the American dream.' Leanans thread above regarding auto sales and opinions in Pennsylvania are very revealing (nod of thanks to Leanan). nine of ten people surveyed believe that smaller more efficient vehicles are needed but one half of the vehicles sold fall into the catagory of SUVs, pickups and other large vehicles. It is the 'do as I say, not as I do,' or, 'it is a good idea for someone else' attitude. While out on my morning walk I passed one house that had a full size Hummer and a giant Ford 4wd, four door pickup in the driveway plus a large SUV parked on the street in front of the house. All of the vehicles look new and shiny and the people living in the home are new residents...living the 'American dream'...They will continue on in denial untill some severe shock brings them into the real world, then they will probably go ballistic.

I'm pretty much East Coast in terms of my frame of reference, though I have travelled and spent time in other areas such as the Pacific Northwest (San Fransisco northwards to Oregon and Seattle), Boulder City, Nevada, and Denver, Colorado.

But those pictures of development in the middle of dry scrubland/desert are unbelievable, as unbelievable as the homes I saw being built on the coast in Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia - this had been prevented in the past, but the evidence of homes built less than 20 feet above high tide, with nothing stopping the waves but the gently sloping beach, itself moving sand, was stunning. But beaches are luxury, however defined, as was Marin County in the mid-80s- houses built on hillsides that wouldn't last a decade, much less the next truly heavy rain or an earthquake.

But this is thousands of people at a time, involving not so theoretical hundreds of millions of dollars for the housing alone, much less the possessions of the people moving in - bought on debt or not, they also represent a necessary component of the current economy by providing an ever larger amount of space to fill with consumer goods. Creating emptiness to fill seems an American specialty (I'm spending this week getting rid of stuff - The size of the housing is also incredible - somehow, it seems more stark out West.

Even in E.T., you can see how alien the suburb is in its surroundings (which tend to be Hollywood augmented in a number of ways), but this is something else - this is truly nowhere in a sense that had never occurred to me. My memories or riding a motorcycle out from Vegas involve stark landscapes with little built in the emptiness, especially the park, military, and reservation land.

But like the building on the beach, it seems as if building in the desert is no longer treated with even minimal restraint.

Hello Expat,

Your Quote: "But like the building on the beach, it seems as if building in the desert is no longer treated with even minimal restraint."

Rant on/

Nonsense. When the Arizona topdogs thoughtfully contemplate the never-ending water replenishment quantities of our vast desert mirages stretching across the entire receding horizon--I am surprised our delusional leaders don't require everyone to wear a life-jacket to protect us from the awesome flashflooding tsunamis racing forward over the scorching plain. The current elite plan is to hope the non-stop expansion of multitudes of golf course sand bunkers and carwash sewage drains will be able to sufficiently absorb the onrushing storm surge.

Rant off/

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

I agree with all said here. My only objection is the implied criticism of the people. There's no reason for sacrifice unless there is, well, a reason. And there has been no reason given by our "leaders" or media. In my retirement I taught at night school (working adults) at a local college. Even some of my better students would have had a hard time graduating from the high schools I went to in the 50s. They work much harder than I ever worked, have much less time for fun that I had as a young guy, and have no experience of political activism. In the 60s you couldn't graduate cum laud unless you had made at least a feeble attempt at overthrowing the gov't. And yet, things then were many times easier for young people than they are now. (Maybe not for some blacks and latinos who have been able to make it into the middle class since then.)

This generation is struggling so hard to maintain a lifestyle their parents achieved so easily. They just don't know yet that it is impossible. There needs to be a political movement that tells the truth about these things. Otherwise there will be massive chaos and bloodshed as the wheels come off the cart.

I'm 25, and to be honest thats very obvious to me. using my parents life as a guide if the times were the same is should have my own place right now and a good bit into a long standing carrier. but right now as it stands for me to have my own place i would have to have 2 jobs(both would be low paying as in sub 10 bucks a hour) and all i could do to enjoy the place was sleep in it. I just don't see the value in doing so other then just for bragging rights about having my own place.


There's a great training program through the Midland Community College system to work on land drilling rigs. Its a short course-about 3 months as I recall-but you'll be able to get a good paying job working for a drilling company or workover rig company starting around $10 ph with as much overtime as you can stand.

You might also inquire with some of the offshore service companies. They are actively looking for men who are willing to work for two or thee weeks at 72 hours per week (7 12 hr days) followed by a week or two off. If you are any good with computers, the opportunities really open up. Try Transocean, Diamond Offshore or Rowan for drilling companies. No joke, you can be making $60K a year quickly.
Bob Ebersole

Thanks for this, expat. Under the June tab of icantsellmyhouse is a link to the California Assoc of Realtors:
Some of these stats are mindblowing - could small data sets be the reason for so much apparent instability? In San Mateo County, Burlingame up 21%, while right next door in Millbrae, -30%, in ONE YEAR??
Sonoma used to be such an idyllic place, near enough but far enough from The City. And now the city of Sonoma shows a 36% decline in median home price in a single year. Party's over.

Rich white people that don't work are still doing well. You'll notice in the CAR May 2007 list in Contra Costa county Walnut Creek is flat, Danville is way up, while everything else is negative. It's the working class areas that are hemorrhaging value.

I live in Burlingame, and houses are still selling here, shopping areas are still busy. The Target store in San Mateo has visibly less traffic than last year though.

In my opinion (for all those cornucopians out there), this sort of living arrangement is so bizarre that it demonstrates that culture in the United States is completely psychotic, and further, that the majority of participants in that culture are therefore equally psychotic. They completely believe this is normal and can continue forever, never questioning it and always just accepting it. This is not to say that the rest of the world is mentally healthy just disturbed in slightly different ways but the US is mentally ill in ways that may be unique. And worse, and of even greater danger (again in my opinion), is that China and India apparently believes that their 2.3+ billion people can live the same way.

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

I think anyone with a perspective from New England has a hard time imagining this - coming from Virginia, I certainly do - the pictures are incredible for me, and I have even visited some of those places - it is just I can't believe that so many people now live there.

And expect to live the way they do into the indefinite future. I think Yankee ingenuity shakes its head at plain lunacy, but that is just my opinion.

I grew up here in New England and I concur- the extremes of overdevelopment seem to have bypassed us to some extent. But I wonder if it only seems that way since we have a better sense of aesthetics here and can build in a more visually pleasing manner-

I have seen statistics documenting the selling of and eventual development of historical farmland, and what has happened here is truly no less disastrous than any other part of the nation- maybe worse in some sense because much of the land we have built on here is fertile as opposed to the scrub and desert being consumed in the southwest...

On an off-topic point, I had a post deleted here wherein I made a defensive post in response to some blatantly anti-American crap about how wasteful our bathroom habits are- if we are not allowed to criticize European lifestyles here, there should be a warning posted somewhere. Don't tell me it was because I used the word "shit" in the context of defecating, because I have seen others use that term and worse here in posts which have been allowed to persist. The moderators' apparent hero Kuntsler constantly uses worse language and is seen as a hero around here- is it too much to hope for impartial moderation?

I don't recall the post you are talking about, and I don't think I deleted it. Mostly I delete duplicates and spam.

However, I would like to ask you and everyone else not to use vulgar language. Such words can get sites blocked by the filters used as schools, offices, and libraries.

New England is grossly overdeveloped. While we do have some good agricultural land, were it all in production it would produce nowhere near what we consume. Thinking that we are somehow better because we are not as bad is silly.

Our economy is way bigger than our environment; that only works for now because we depend on distant resources and sinks.

cfm in Gray, ME

Interesting question: Would Americans considered "normal" in a US cultural contect be considered to be suffering from a personality disorder were they to be living in a different country? Is the normal American really a psychopath?

I think coming to the US from another culture - one that is supposedly so close to the US - it is quite shocking the sort of behaviour considered normal and acceptable here.

But the thing I think is most apparent - and with all the usual caveats about the non-validity of generalizations on an individual case-by-case basis, while still finding them useful as a marker - is the psychological framework in which most Americans live their lives.

I don't think psychopath nails it - the way I've always described it to friends (in a way that captures both the positives and the negatives) is that Americans seem to mature/grow up to about a sort of early-to-mid teens level but seem to sort of freeze there... and live the rest of their lives as a teenager... compared to Europe - less so my native UK but certainly most other parts of Europe - let's face it, is there anyone more grown up than the Germans or the Scandinavians? :-)

I know some people may be offended by that - but of course not EVERYONE is exactly the same... but it is certainly a trend I have noticed...
When no-one around you understands
start your own revolution
and cut out the middle man

According to the DSM psychopaths are no more:

"Antisocial personality disorder (APD) is a personality disorder which is often characterised by antisocial and impulsive behaviour. APD is generally (if controversially) considered to be the same as, or similar to, the disorder that was previously known as psychopathic or sociopathic personality disorder. Approximately 3% of men and 1% of women have some form of antisocial personality disorder (source: DSM-IV)." From Google.

APD is the new normal...I mean, old psychopath...

I have been thinking about writing an article about this for one of our local news sites - Australia has a similar kind of social shift.

It has been noted that antisocial personality disorder (see john maklin's entry - also not sociopathy is another synonym) is indistiguishable from the personality of a teenager except for one criterion in the DSMIV for APD: the individual must be above 18 years of age.

So ResponsibleAccountable's comment that "Americans seem to mature/grow up to about a sort of early-to-mid teens level but seem to sort of freeze there," which is something that I've noticed in Australia too is entirely consistent with the culture being sociopathic.

Quite a lot of commentators have noted the increasing extended adolescence in Australia, and I imagine it's pretty similar in the US - characters that support this are: leisure orientation, consumerism and increased debt. The social consequences of this are, among other things: lack of concern for others and undirected rage (any one here ever had to deal with a road rager?).

Hi GZ. Questioning the status quo is forbidden. Did you not receive the memo?

Seriously though, we are not educated (in general) to question authority or ourselves. That is disturbing. Education in our society seems to revolve around stuffing your head with "facts".

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

Americans are not exposed to logic or epistomology until college if then. The ability to reason, I believe, is intentionally neglected. The 1960's taught TPTB alot, with regards to what an educated(thinking and questioning) underclass can mean. I doubt they will make that mistake again. The current propaganda against the Baby Boom generation we occasionally hear on this site is probably intended to isolate them from the younger generation to prevent 'contamination'.

You see that sounds plausible until you think it through and realise that the Baby Boom generation is the one that voted for the bozos that created the crappy education system we have today...

...as I think goes unrecognized, not every boomer was walking civil rights marches, protesting Vietnam, grooving to the new pop music or smoking weed... those are just the more colorful images by which the generation chooses to define itself... an awful lot of them must have voted for Reagan & Bush...

...and no that isn't boomer hating - just pointing out that just as there is valid criticism of lumping the Boomers all together in bad ways it is certainly invalid to paint them all in pretty colours
When no-one around you understands
start your own revolution
and cut out the middle man

Cid: What birth years would you place in the baby boom generation category? Wikipedia has it from 1946 to 1960. Would you agree? What is TPTB?

TPTB - The Powers That Be

I would say those years are pretty close although many of the icons were born earlier.(Bob Dylan is a good example) I have younger sisters, twins born in 1960. One I would place clearly in the earlier generation while the other went Yuppie all the way, so the dates aren't hard and fast. I would say the division is best defined by politics. The Boomer Generation was a time when most were liberal and consevatives were at a definite Nadir. A good example is that, while I was at college in the early 70's, the office of the Young Republicans or whatever they called themselves was relegated to a closet. There just were'nt many of them and they were looked at as aberant. This shifted for those who attended college in the 80's as Reagan took office and the balance shifted towards more who considered themselves conservatives and aspired to a 'Yuppie' lifestyle. You can clearly see where the number of liberals on college campuses began to rise in the early 60's reaching a peak in the early 70s and their decline by the early 80's.

PS - My father's generation(he was born in 1932), saw a Conservative peak when he was 20 in 1952. He's as Republican as you can get. Did we get another Conservative peak in 1992? If so we could see another Liberal peak in 2012 if the cycle holds.


Your point;

Americans are not exposed to logic or epistomology until college if then. The ability to reason, I believe, is intentionally neglected. The 1960's taught TPTB alot, with regards to what an educated(thinking and questioning) underclass can mean. I doubt they will make that mistake again.

I think after the 60-70's marches in the street, etc TPTB said "Never again".

They won't see body bags on the nightly news, if there is a demonstation, you won't see it on TV, and by golly, that's how it is.

Your point was actually verified by G.Gordon Liddy when talking to Timothy Leary. (Yes they actually debated once and Joe Bageant was there to record it)

Listen to Gordon's retort back to Leary.

Leary "...During the Sixties an undeclared civil war took place and the right side won."

"Yeah, my side," says Liddy. "And we're not about to let it happen again."

THAT'S when the start of the control of all media to a few companies became an objective of the people who Liddy was talking about, The people HE always wanted to protect.

Ghosts of Tim Leary and Hunter Thompson


Good morning Leanan and thank you again for all your efforts.

I hope it's not bad form but I really want to repost a comment from yesterdays beat that came in at the end and was perhaps missed by most. I feel very strongly that it bears repeating.

Comment by sldulin on July 28, 2007 - 6:28pm
"ok, this is getting rather silly here, as of course no-one wishes to have their courage called into question and no-ones has been tested yet. Everyone on this board has an understanding of the seriousness of our situation and to some extent has internalized the implications. How we individually decide to respond to the crisis situations looming on the horizon will be in part dictated by decisions that we are individually making today. I invoked the quality of 'courage' in a response to Alan the other day because I wanted to recognize his and highlight that aspect of men that causes them to stand and fight for civil society in the face of overwhelming odds, rather than turn tail and head for their rural redoubts to save their own asses. I suppose you could commend the judgement of someone who has determined that his position is hopeless and he needs to retreat, but how that could get conflated with 'courage' is pure sophistry. We all stand on the shoulders of giants and we shouldn't be so quick to surrender our common heritage. We were a progressive enlightened civilized nation before FF and we will remain so post-peak if we can collectively recall the meaning of archaic terms like 'duty','character', 'courage'."

HEAR HEAR! Well said! Hizzahh!

IMO, this would have been better posted in the original thread.

I agree. It was a troll thread anyway. Best not let them start it up again.

Everyone on this board has an understanding of the seriousness of our situation and to some extent has internalized the implications

I don't think that is true. Many are locked into the perceived wisdom and conventional thinking that is the real problem we face. Much of the discussion here at Tod revolves around how to continue with business as usual without oil. For some, the whole peak oil thing is simply an excuse to promote new technologies or create new forms of business to fulfil the very traditional desire for wealth. For some it is more of an intellectual thing or furtherance of a particular agenda. I don't get the feeling that many have truly internalised the situation or its real implications.

Don't get me wrong, Tod is a marvellous source of information and discussion. Perhaps I'm being too critical. However, I do feel that the projection of current received wisdom into a picture of our future is somewhat misleading.

What, for example, would happen if everyone simply stayed put, stopped moving around, and stopped buying consumer junk? What would happen if everyone concluded that much of modernity was unnecessary nonsense and simply stopped being part of it? What would the future be like then? Of course that would never happen voluntarily, but what if people simply adjusting to the various crises caused it to happen involuntarily?

Makes a change from Mad Max World.

Triumvirate of collapse - Economy, Ecosystem, Energy

Many are locked into the perceived wisdom and conventional thinking that is the real problem we face. Much of the discussion here at Tod revolves around how to continue with business as usual without oil.

It would be interesting to take a poll of TOD members to see just exactly what they believe about peak oil.. Let's see if you your assumptions are correct..

Kids have to eat, go to school, proper clothes for work, a car, are needed, etc. Living modestly, reducing one’s footprint can be done, but this is at best an advertisement, a preparation for children; at worst self-righteous lording it along the green correctness line. One can prepare for the future individually, although many like myself refuse to do so beyond the ‘live more modestly in the situation as it is’, as community is all - having hordes of wild-west males fighting for arable land, food, workers and women is not a pleasant prospect.

Snapshot, *click*, from an over-the-top green circumscription. (Switzerland.)

We have it all, from bicycle lanes, to pedipus, to road blocks, to the collection of coffee capsules, garbage trucks that run on bio-fuel, a garbage to hot water plant. Municipal police ride bikes. Not only that; surplus food is collected, secretly, and sold at rock bottom prices. (Illegal or very dodgy.) As known, those with no income primarily need housing. Else, they are in the streets and cost the community a ton; crime, police, medical services, etc. etc. Housing is provided, free.

Our mayor eats organic food (he can afford it) and travels by public transport.

With the coming heat, each building has been plastered with a poster: the big letters say: Dog days = Solidarity. smaller: don’t forget to hydrate yourself and others.

Each year, there are more cars, more buildings, more growth, which is supposed to be ‘sustainable’. Down the road a whole new village has been built. It sprang up with public transport, yet the traffic roars by everyday at rush hour. It is all concrete, with one poster building which has solar panels and a communal oven...

This village brings in good tax revenues, most who live there work in the town which is booming - banking and insurance, outsourced services and light industry, luxury trade.

More green initiatives can be implemented! Yippee!

And an assault rifle in every closet if the "Wild West Males" invade.

Best Hopes for Switzerland,


banking and insurance, outsourced services and light industry, luxury trade.

The source of much of current smug Swiss wealth is not a history to be proud of, and the country still refuses citizenship and many other services to "guest workers". Not a great country in many ways - but no worse than many others, either, in trying to make a living.

Yup. Absolutely. Not pretty.

But the 'guest worker' business is over, completely. Has been for many long years. However, there are quite a lot of illegal immigrants, who have no or few rights.

If you come to a country against its laws, why should it afford you any "rights" beyond a bus ticket home?

The US has as many as 30 million illegal aliens at the moment.  When you consider how much of the impending energy problem is aggravated by population alone, deporting them is part of the fast track solution.

If you come to a country against its laws, why should it afford you any "rights" beyond a bus ticket home?

The US has as many as 30 million illegal aliens at the moment.  When you consider how much of the impending energy problem is aggravated by population alone, deporting them is part of the fast track solution.

I don't think that is true. Many are locked into the perceived wisdom and conventional thinking that is the real problem we face. Much of the discussion here at Tod revolves around how to continue with business as usual without oil. For some, the whole peak oil thing is simply an excuse to promote new technologies or create new forms of business to fulfil the very traditional desire for wealth. For some it is more of an intellectual thing or furtherance of a particular agenda. I don't get the feeling that many have truly internalised the situation or its real implications.

Yes, I would agree with this view. Just a question of trying to figure out who is what. The ones favoring the charge of the light brigade are obvious. LOL.

I think doomer thinking is more of a problem on TOD than the people who think civilization can survive. These people seem to hate capitalism and want to have a big die-off. For one thing, they discredit peak oil in the MSM.

Maybe they are right that we are doomed but I for one and not buying it. I like my life and have no apologies for wanting to find a way to avoid a big disaster.

The world does not face peak energy. There is an essentially unlimited amount of fission fuel and some day renewables might also be able to be scaled up to make a real impact as well. The question is can we make a transition to a new energy base in time.

Regarding population and environmental degradation, I would like to see a smaller, stable population. But I am not cheering for billions of premature deaths that would cause a crisis that would wreck the world. I think it has been shown that development will end population growth.

And I am not about to get into a lifeboat. I think we either hang together or we hang separately. I do not think anybody would fare well in a Mad Max world. I do not think small scale subsistence farming is going to solve the looming food problem.

The question is can we make a transition to a new energy base in time.

"In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is."
-- Yogi Berra

I think it has been shown that development will end population growth.

See above.

I think we either hang together or we hang separately.


I do not think anybody would fare well in a Mad Max world.

Right, but Max.

I do not think small scale subsistence farming is going to solve the looming food problem.


"In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is."
-- Yogi Berra

That about says it all....

We're all cowards. There is no such thing as courage. There's only fear. A fear of getting hurt and a fear of dying. That's why we human beings live so long.

-- Dr. Walter Coley

...From the corny noir Dark Passage. Just watched it last night, that's the only reason I'm quoting it. Courage exists, but only in those who cultivate it. Our society does not cultivate much of it.

A quality of spirit that enables you to face danger or pain without showing fear
Means strength to face danger or take on challenges.
Ability to manage danger.

We can't even sufficiently acknowledge the "danger", or let alone "take on [the] challenge"--the first steps in assuming the word (or better yet, process of) courage. Americans don't seem to have picked up on this "courage" word yet, unless you distort the word to mean a few people doing permaculture and riding their bikes... Save our troops being used in unfounded wars, the last time a generation showed courage was during WWII--and that generation has certainly forgotten about whatever form of courage was made use of in the early 1940s. Alas, I guess it is all semantics--one needs courage to buy an H2 Hummer in times like these, let alone drive around on the highways with all the maniacs in their SUVs that hardly fit inside the lanes...

And, since we're posting prior comments... Did anyone catch the long "Executive Summary" written by a courageous (relative to his cohort, and albeit optimistic) Republican from a Drumbeat a few days ago? No one even acknowledged it... Just wondering.

The Coley quote seems to be a loose paraphrasing of Mr. Clemens.

"Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear - not absence of fear. Except a creature be part coward, it is not a compliment to say he is brave; it is merely a loose misapplication of the word."

- Mark Twain, Pudd'nhead Wilson's Calendar

Though, the quote below seems more pertinent in regards to "Americans don't seem to have picked up on this 'courage' word yet..."

"My Dear Sir:

But you are proceeding upon the superstition that Moral Courage and a Hankering to Learn the Truth are ingredients in the human being's makeup. Your premises being wild and foolish, you naturally and properly get wild and foolish results. If you will now reform, and in future proceed upon the sane and unchallengeable hypothesis that those two ingredients are on vacation in our race, and have been from the start, you will be able to account for some things which seem to puzzle you now."

- Mark Twain, letter to the editor of the New York Sun (1901)

By far the best "letter to the editor" I've ever read. Utterly trenchant and hysterical at the same time. I need to read more Twain--only perused Huck and Tom Sawyer, and that was awhile ago...

Favorite Twain quote: "Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself."

Favorite Twain line..

"Always tell the truth. This will Gratify some people and Astonish the rest."


Since Twain is my favorite writer, I have many favorite quotes. However, this one is my unofficial motto:

"Never refuse to do a kindness unless the act would work great injury to yourself, and never refuse to take a drink - under any circumstances."

- Mark Twain, notebook (1898)

I do enjoy each of your quotes, though.

Did anyone catch the long "Executive Summary" written by a courageous (relative to his cohort, and albeit optimistic) Republican from a Drumbeat a few days ago? No one even acknowledged it... Just wondering.

This one?

If so, I was wondering too and appreciate your complimentary tip. But I must say I am a bit confused by what appears to be a missing noun to the adjective used...

::godraz double checks tip jar::

If such terms must be used I like to think of myself as a small D democrat.

If I'm totally off-base, well, never mind...

::slinks back offstage::

Your link does not work for me.

What day was it posted on (and no need to slink off :-)


Fixed the link.

Once again, I recommend Firefox and BBCodeXtra for inserting HTML into posts.

Or just post the plain URL. The software here will automatically linkify it.

Your effort did not go unnoticed! And it triggered a visceral response in me, but there was nothing I could have added to as exhaustive an observation as yours. Thank you - not all the gems in this site are in the keyposts.

Here's how I'd parse the pornucopian argument: Things will continue as they have, because they always have. The technocivilization has never collapsed, ergo it never will. But we'll all spontaneously abandon our age-old selfish, profligate, and rapacious habits when it becomes obvious that it's in our best interests to do so. Accept the buses, the cramped, crowded apartments, the lousy, expensive food, rotten teeth, and having less of everything, because it's necessary for our collective survival. Stop killing each other, hold hands, and sing Kum Ba Yah, basically.

The discussion at this point should be about what form the collapse will take, and you painted a reasonable and rational picture of what I think is an optimistic outcome. But the problem with extrapolating New Orleans in 2005 or Russia in 1992-5 to a global crisis is that there's no one to come to our aid, nobody to bail us out. And arguably, no foreseeable end to the steady decline in the availability of cheap energy.

Absurd charicatures are an easy way of making the opinions of the others look foolish.

I'm not aware of a single poster here who believes anything like what you just posted.

Sorry, not to offend - it was hyperbole, that's all.

Look, how can a "modified BAU" belief coexist with an "enlightened self-sacrifice" modus operandi in our brave new world? Choose one, please!

My experience leads to precisely the opposite conclusion: Hoarding is a tiny but well-recognized symptom of the frantic grasping that takes precedence when the populace is gripped by insecurity.

"Modified BAU" sounds like an oxymoron to me. I very much don't except business to continue "as usual" for much longer. Nor do I expect see significant amounts of "enlightened self-sacrifice". Whose view are you attempting to deconstruct?

Sort of like "SmartGrowth".

I don't have a significant problem with the concept of "Smart Growth", but it does require redefining growth to be significantly different to the way we commonly understand it today.

I know the words to Cum Ba Yah from church camp in the mid-1960's-canI join?

Its pretty easy to set up a straw man then knock him down. I just happen to believe that the US is going to get a lot more impoverished, but there a quite a few things we can do to mitigate the downslope. I guess that makes me a "pornucopian" by your standards. Take that back, you pornmeister of doom (copyright, 2007).

P.S. stop taking yourself so seriously!

Bob Ebersole


The tragedy is not that there aren't "quite a few things we can do to mitigate the downslope".

The tragedy is that clearly we're not going to do them. This culture (speaking US now) is still deep in denial.

The problem we face is not, in my considered opinion, technological.

Oh lord, cumbayah.


Thanks, sgage,
for saying what I was trying to, apparently much more clearly than I did.

WizOz, "modified BAU" is an attempt to deconstruct the notion that the silver BB's will be employed in a predictable, if not fully rational fashion.
The idea that the past predicts the future when we talk about the technocracy, but not about human nature, is what bugs me. By human nature, I refer not to the countless acts of altruism that give us hope, but by the lowest common denominator that is represented by the Commons Tragedy.

*whew* "bloody trial by fire," who said that, anyway?

There are always steps forward and steps backward when employing solutions, and no doubt many dead-ends will be followed.

As far as the past predicting the future, what on earth other basis are we supposed to use? Any information/ideas we have about human nature and the functioning of economies/civilisations come from the past. To be honest however in this case I'm not sure that the past gives us much of a guide either way, given there has never been a global economy of 6-7 billion people facing an serious energy shortage before. But my best guess on how human nature will function in an a post-PO world is very much based on how human nature functioned in the past. The current attitude of expecting everything to smooth sailing and perfectly solved by magical new technologies is surely very much an aberration that did not apply to most of our existence.

The place where Al Gore really lost me in Truth was when he started talking about "will" as an inexhaustible, renewable resource. Morning in America again, says the political class. Retooling will be good for business.

Haven't seen the movie, but I don't recall coming across that comment in the book. Why did he lose you?
How is "will" not a renewable resource?

Could it really be that those here in the "certain-doomer" crowd are that way because they can't imagine themselves having the will to carry on in a post-PO world? Or just that they believe because most of the people they see around them are so dulled and pacified by the lifestyle spawned by cheap and abundant energy that this somehow a default state for humanity to be in?

Accept the buses, the cramped, crowded apartments, the lousy, expensive food, rotten teeth, and having less of everything, because it's necessary for our collective survival

OK, average home size will need to evolve back to at least 1950 size 1,000 sq ft, and perhaps a bit less.

Americans have, in general, little tradition (I did not say no tradition) of good food. But I think it has gotten worse with the hyper-processed food (for some reason "Hot Pockets' always comes to mind) that our groceries are filled with today.

There is no Peak Oil related reason that a change away from hyper-processed food cannot be a change for the better.

I see no reason that dentists should disappear. Perhaps the highest tech dentistry will shrink (implants and such) and dentists income will shrink, but given minimal social order, I can see cavities being filled and toothbrushes being available.

"Less of Everything" ?

Less music, less social interaction, less time for moments of reflection, less time for love, less time to cook ?

Best Hopes for Dentistry, Music, Social Interaction, Reflection, Love & Cooking,


I can definitely see many areas in which the rebound effects of peak oil have the potential to bring about positive change, although it will inevitably take time to get used to the change, and no doubt there will be those that will scream and shout over losing what they currently hold dear.

BTW, I was just reading this article, which should be compulsory reading for all doomers: http://www.dissidentvoice.org/May06/Rodgers17.htm

While I do have a number of issues with some of her points, there was much there that reinforced the direction my own view of our likely future has been taking in the past months. One sentence particularly struck me:

"In some types of fiscal collapse, like Argentina’s in 2001, the most significant difference is that the former economic elites lose some or all of their stranglehold on social and economic life."

My own similar opinion was largely conjectural and perhaps a bit naively optimistic: to see another writer state the same thing, and back it up with a concrete example was very heartening.

I don't think we need to go back to 1000 sf houses.  It's perfectly feasible to make passive-solar houses out of stuff like ThermaSAVE panels (next to no wood in them).  The 2000 sf house should remain practical; if we can build them, we can afford to live in them.

The same insulation applied over a smaller structure would use considerably less (thicker insulation over a smaller surface area) and better still in a duplex or larger with common walls.

And "we can afford to live in them" ignored the impact of sprawling development. Lowering housing density means that one can push past the lower density threshold for a walkable neighborhood. This often cascades to a higher % of the surface areas being devoted to the car/SUV.

And I do wonder how high natural gas has to go before a 2,000 sq ft house is unaffordable to heat & cool (with NG fired electricity).

"Just get by solutions" should not be our initial goal.

Best Hopes for Maximum efficiency,


I knew it was too good to be true!

::godraz examines gaping foot wound and limps off into the night::

Well, you know how it goes, much must be left unspoken. However, even just one glaring fundamental error of judgment can make the whole suspect. And there is more then one.

That's great. Mr f, apparently any post could have worked. Nice work, guys, shooting first and asking questions later. Where's the rule of law when you need it.

Someons's crying, Lord, Kum Ba Yah ...

In case it's not been posted before, an article on the evil of bio-fuels.


Funny they can build bio-fuel plants, but not oil refineries.

Triumvirate of collapse - Economy, Ecosystem, Energy

Some here have pointed out the long time (20 yrs?) needed to amortize large refineries, and suggested that there will be insufficient crude to supply them for that long. Why build, when we'll have overcapacity soon enough?

The question of amortization of an ethanol plant is moot, when their construction is being driven by subsidies - that is, by giveaways of our tax money.

It's because the environmentalists, the hippie left greens, are making them do it, absolutely no question. It has nothing to do with future refinery feedstock. Though America's first new refinery in a generation is going to be built along a pipeline filled with the results of Canadian tar sand mining. But don't worry - that planned refinery is a mere footnote in the history of expansion and regulatory problems in the rest of the U.S. and has nothing to do with finding a reliable source of supply to ensure a solid return on investment.

And yes, I don't think it the hippies which are stopping the required capital investment in new refineries in the U.S., I think the explanation is much more pragmatic, based on the sort of geologic science which also underpins such things as evolution, which luckily, a majority of Americans seemingly reject, in part, I guess, by rejecting geology.

Which is at least consistent. Though it has little to do with the empirical world that we live in.

The proposed refinery in Yuma Arizona has been stalled.

They tried to get a long term commitment from Pemex. Nope.

Then they wanted to use Tar Sands Syncrude, via a pipeline to the Pacific coast (something the Chinese also wanted). Nope.

Refineries need crude.

China is building a new refinery to specifically process the high vanadium Manifa# crude (from Saudi). KSA is building a couple more refineries.

Not much hope for new refineries,


Saudi Aramco is going to bring Manifa back on-line in 2011 (from memory) at about 900,000 b/day. The one "sure bet" in their new projects.

The US does not need any new refineries. See the "Import Land Model"

What is a longterm commitment these days ?
Particularly from PEMEX -

Mexican Company Predicts End of (their)Oil within 7 years


And yeah, if Peak-oil is imminent what we need is alot of new refineries .... BTW which planet is Arizona ?

"built to be dismanteled - let's talk EROEI"

Hello Paal Myrtvedt,

LOL! Arizona is a sorry state of the US here on planet Earth. But I will grant you that unless our local leaders embrace rapid change soon, we could nightly resemble the Dark Side of the Moon [during daylit hours, our deserts look quite the same as the always visible half, but mentally add a massive amount of sizzling black asphalt. =)

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


Go ahead and blame it on the hippies.We're used to it.

I, personally, am available for any and
all scapegoating duties at TOD.

This sarcasm thing remains my weak point - the people who want to build the refineries are not environmentalists, hippies, or greens - and those who want to build more simply need to find a plausible reason why they can't, without revealing the how their hard headed business calculations look - the oil isn't going to be there to make the investment pay off.

As for nuclear - well, that is a more complicated story by far, and at least in Germany, the Greens were a major factor in rolling back the nuclear industry - in part, due to Green pacificism, as most current nuclear plants just seem to coincidentally produce weapons grade material along with electricity. At least the German Greens place this connection right up with waste disposal as a reason for stopping nuclear plants.

See Iran for an example of what those Greens were talking about.

most current nuclear plants just seem to coincidentally produce weapons grade material along with electricity.

This is one of the anti-nuke lies that won't die.  No nuclear-weapons nation has ever used reclaimed power-reactor plutonium for military purposes; it has too much Pu-240 and Pu-241 to make useful bombs.  The reactors used for weapons Pu production are specially designed to allow brief irradiation to prevent the accumulation of higher Pu isotopes.  (The Soviet RMBK reactors were designed for continuous refueling specifically to allow this and the CANDU permits it, but no PWR can be operated economically while trying to make weapons stuff.)

I stubbed my toe and it all your fault !!!! :)

Funny they can build bio-fuel plants, but not oil refineries.

They (we) aren't building bio-fuel plants for the most part. We are funding research. To the extent that we have been getting involved in actual production, the scale difference between biofuel production and oil production is huge. One large oil refinery will exceed the entire production capacity of all the ethanol plants in the U.S. So, there's a big difference between building an ethanol facility and an oil refinery.

You guys who were dissing hydrogen yesterday, let it be known that this is already reality in Germany:

Hard for an American to Imagine

LOL! Some people can't understand the difference between technical feasibility and commercial feasibility.

I don't know how many times I've seen the oil-hater 100%-techno-fixers accuse you of being a stooge for Big O... It is quite sad, seeing as how you are really making a dedicated effort to help us mitigate--and all you get is flak from all sides.

Anyway, I think what you mean to say is that some people can't understand just mere feasibility (without any adjectives attached).

I don't know why we just don't skip the middle man here(hydrogen) and work on the electric car.. It seems this hydrogen driven BMW is nothing more than a glorified electic car anyways..

-the Big Question though is who is LOL'ing last ?

Im still not grasping the Germans who seems to be aware of the energy squeeze and this CO2-thing comming- BUT their gas gusslers can still go unlimited speed on the auto-bahn ... and virtually 100% dependent on imported oil - I must be missing something but can't see what, argh

They only wish they can go "unlimited" speeds. Congestion has snarled things up in many places on-the-bahn.

A Deutsche Bank report says congestion on the autobahn system has reached crisis proportions with 20% of the 12,200km (7580 mile) network is heavily overloaded and chronically congested.

I still fail to understand why new refineries should be built at this point. We can refine what we can produce at this point.

Are we not in agreement that we will be producing less in the very near future, if not already?

CNN is running this story this morning. It's about a man in New Jersey who has put solar panels on his roof and a windmill in his backyard. His neighbors are complaining. They say the windmill is an eyesore and too noisy. They claim it's in violation of height and noise ordinances, and want it taken down.

An eyesore, in New Jersey? Ha ha ha ha! The state has more superfund sites than any other.


Well I mean it is a eye sore just like all the other garbage I saw in that picture. Those neighbors houses look pretty damn eyesoreish to me. Hell the neighbors are a Eyesore to me as well as their kids. They are also noise pollution I say ban the KIDS!! and their Parents.

Thats just a example of how stupid their argument is. They never considered that they themself may be annoying I bet. Nor did they consider that their kids could be as well. I pretty much hate my neighborhood kids they terrorize my dogs. They scream all day the parents yell at the kids half a block away for hours at a time. I can never sit outside in quiet so I do not understand how a wind power generator would be noisy.

Meh whatever those idiots will be taken care of in Post Peak they are the ones that think Apples and Oranges come from the supermarket not a tree.

Those noisy brats will be running in packs after the collapse terrorizing anyone trying to grow food. Urban society has washed away the rural ethic of the past where a neighbour was considered a friend (and a source of assistance in bad times) and not a competitor.

Bruce - true. However, NJ now has the most agressive per capita solar RPS and GHG reduction targets in the nation, bar none. You can't change the past - you can determine the future, IMHO.

Never mind the house or the state for that matter, it's the power lines surrounding the house, (in the actual CNN live story) that's ugly. And they're all over the country and all over the world. Somehow we don't even see them anymore.
What the story also talks about is the noise of it. I don't understand why it would make a lot of noise though, or even a little bit of noise. Is it wind noise or is it mechanical noise?


Yeah. One of my hobbies is photography, and the @#$% powerlines are always in the way. I stopped at the scenic lookout at Mystic Seaport last weekend. Would have been a beautiful view, if you weren't looking at it through power lines.

But I think we do still see them. In the really tony neighborhoods, the utilities are all underground. Which is really expensive, and a PITA for maintenance, but looks nice.

As for the noise...I assume it's the mechanical noise of the blades vibrating and spinning. One of the neighbors who supports the windmill said it was no louder than an air conditioner.

IMO it's still better than if all the CO2 emitted by tailpipes, motorboats, and smokestacks came out as a solidified brown mass:) Of course then we wouldn't have GW.

Here's to better living through better design (and less CRAP), as per Robert Pirsig.

A series of 30 sec Public Service Announcements accurately visualizing these emissions would be an effective message, say, for 3 types of vehicles. Not only are these emissions invisible, their effects on climate are not immediate, so there is little tangible incentive for reduction.

Those don't look like power lines (no insulators).  I believe those are telephone and cable TV lines, suspended from steel support cables.

What the story also talks about is the noise of it. I don't understand why it would make a lot of noise though, or even a little bit of noise. Is it wind noise or is it mechanical noise?

This is a tricky thing to define, but as I have a windmill in my backyard I will try to describe what I think they are referring to as its "noise."

When spinning the windmill blades are slicing across the wind or air. Anyone who wants to physically comprehend this needs to just take a short length of rope and spin it rapidly round in the air. You will immediately perceive the *swishing* sound that this sort of motion makes. (There's a lot of rope hanging 'round my yard.)

All windmills make this *swishing* sound and depending on the windmill blade's shape and size they all sound slightly different, but *swish* they must. Furthermore, the swishing sound varies depending upon the rotational speed, which makes it more *swooshing* sounding instead of *swishing*.

That windmills make *sound* is inescapable. That they are "noisy" is an entirely subjective matter.

Luckily for me, I have no immediate neighbors who might say of my windmill's sound that it is too noisy. Also, my windmill is located ~250 ft. away from my house, and so the swishing sound is slightly less than if it were right outside my bedroom windows. Wind direction also matters for carrying the sound, so that depending upon the wind direction I hear it more or less.

I am also surrounded by a lot of trees which, especially in summer, makes a rustling *noise* when the wind blows through their leaves. All this rustling of tree leaves is annoying as it masks the swishing sound of my windmill. Luckily for me I own these trees and can cut them down and make their noise go away! For my noisy kids I find that well applied duct tapes suffices, except when I have to peel it off their faces to feed them. They chew with their mouths open and this noise offends me, but intravenous feeding is too much work, so I stick with narcotics and duct tape. Did I mention how their hands are tied?

Anyway, whether or not it is a "mechanical" sound or not is hard to say. Some folks who have arrived for the first time at my happy homestead upon hearing my windmill in the background have often asked: "Is that a flock of geese?"

"No," I tell them, "but I am the butcher," and they never make another noise again.

So, as you can tell, I like the swishing sound my windmill makes. It's all the other noise I can't stand.

Dang! I don't know what else you have, but from this post and some of your other toilet related ones you sound like you have a pretty decent set-up as far as self-suficiency goes!

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

And I've set a target that I'm going to date every supermodel in Vidoria's Secret catalog. Doesn't mean it's going to happen.

Sorry for you, Bruce. RPS has been met every year to date. Good to have goals, though.

What about greenhouse gases (ghg - I choose to talk English and not like a social scientist who goes through great pain to impress the masses with acronyms)? We are also one Supreme Court justice away from industry literally calling all of the shots on environmental law. The recent Supreme Court decision in Massachusetts v. EPA was a five/four decision with some vigorous dissent by the conservative wing - one that has shown total contempt for precedent. State experimentation on regulation is on the verge of being a thing of the past, if one of the four ‘liberal” justices leaves. And think again if the Rethuglicans will back down in two years if a Democratic president is elected. Unlike the pussies (sorry if this term offends, but it is just too fitting) in the Democratic party the thugs play to win.

Bruce – Sorry for using acronyms, I thought GHG was like EPA, in the common vernacular at this point. Not a Social Scientist, but if you want to insult them I won’t call you on it.

I think we’re on the same side, but you’re not giving me much confidence we can prevail, based on the comments you have made here. For clarity and a point of reference, please start here:


And on the off-chance you can’t get to that site for some reason, here’s the intro paragraph:

New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine signed legislation to cut emissions of greenhouse gases Friday, making New Jersey the third state in the nation to pass such laws to prevent global warming. California and Hawaii have passed similar laws. New Jersey's Global Warming Response Act [A3301 text] requires the state to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020 and by 80 percent below 2006 levels by 2050. New Jersey is the first state to set targets so far into the future.

When signing the legislation, Corzine criticized the Bush administration for not doing enough to solve global warming, saying "In the absence of leadership on the federal level, the burden of reducing greenhouse gases has now fallen upon the states." In April, President Bush urged Congress to adopt his proposed targets for alternative fuel use [White House energy policy materials] as a way of combating greenhouse gas emissions. Earlier in the month, the US Supreme Court ruled in Massachusetts v. EPA that the Environmental Protection Agency may regulate automobile emissions. AP has more.

Maybe you should look a little more deeply into this before you respond. Then again, considering recent quidelines, just think a little more carefully in a response.

Actually I have read the sites. By 2050? Ha ha ha ha! A bunch of political tripe meant for posturing to a gullible populace. Anyone who would believe in the long term goals of these bills is in my opinion a real rube. The only way they’ll meet these goals is a major die off and economic collapse - not out of the possibility by a long shot. The idealism of anyone thinking the political system will solve anything reminds me of the attitude expressed in the lines of a song of the seventies:

We can change the world
Re-arrange the world
It's dying ... to get better

At the first opportunity they all sold out. I was there, I seen it first hand.

I was too. They all didn't sell out. I didn't. Neither did ALL those of the sixties. Plenty of us still around.

Just curious John, how did you maintain your optimism after the Reagan "revolution" where narcissistic self gratification became the norm? My experience is that the only ones who kept the faith went into academia.

"At the first opportunity they all sold out."

Bull Crap

I didn't sell out or any of my friends. You may not be able to change the whole world, but your little corner of it is easy. Think globally, Act Personally. Personal Integrity is the cornerstone. How does that saying go, "To ones own self be true"? Loss of personal integrity is self damnation.

Yeah, I guess all of them flower children who turned into yuppies is just an urban legend. OK. And Reagan never got elected. The left literally rolled over once the intensity of the anti-war movement it hooked on to disappeared. Time to make money and raise kids in the suburbs! I guess all of them farms were made into subdivisions for no reason at all. I guess all of them SUV’s never got sold. But at least I can slap a Greenpeace bumper sticker on it and everything is alright with the world! Lets throw a concert!

You don't get it do you. Flower children did not turn into Yuppies. The Yuppies were predominantly born after 1958 and were Republicans so they would of course vote for Reagan. Obviously you were NOT there and mearly misrepresented yourself. The Liberals born before 1958 are still Liberals. There were not and still are not many Conservatives among our generation. Our generation focused on self actualization and attainment of inner validation. Our generation became comfortable with themselves and not swayed by advertising emphasizing external validation. (Worrying about what other people think about us or "Keeping up with the Jones") You appear to strongly Hate the Peace and Love generation which leads me to suspect they are your PARENT's generation.


Bruce - As the end is here I offer that you might listen to CY. And, try this, put on a U2 CD, look up both OxFam and JourneytoForever, imagine yourself doing something outside our small land that could improve the basic needs of someone in extreme poverty. It might improve your outlook and your degree of happiness. One can be cynical and optimistic at the same time, they're not mutually exclusive.

Just a suggestion. See ya in another thread.

Damn, I'm glad I live in Texas instead of New Jersey. We like wind turbines here.
Bob Ebersole


Texas also has an excellent solar program as well as a great REC-trading program. Clearly individual States are taking the leadership on RE and GHG. IMO, Congress and the Administration should listen, and assist States to enable each to develop thier unique resources.

I figure congress should let the states do what they want and then co-opt the best programs from each state and make that information available to other states in a similar bind.

not too tough to understand, but then again im Canadian

Actually Ontario has established an excellent Feed-in tariff for solar, based on German model...other Provinces are looking at this to perhaps do the same... kinda like the way it's going in US (although to date no State yet has found the wisdom to offer a feed in tariff).

ya my hometown just got 300 MW of wind capacity, but solar is not very goodfor canada, being above the 42nd parallel and all.

Gila, I invite you to look up your solar insolation using PV Watts, compare that to the NE or Europe such as Germany.
You may find being 42N is not so bad. Or else just guess an answer but get back to us.

I was just reading 'Four-Season Harvest' by Eliot Coleman, a grower in Maine who has fresh veggies all year round, using NON-Heated Greenhouses, and cold-tolerant greens in Winter, like Arugula. He is on the 44th parallel, equal to Avignon, France and Genoa Italy.. where there have been Winter-Growing traditions for centuries.

Another advantage to Northern Climes is the efficiency of Panels improves in cooler/colder atmospheres, compensating a good bit for the difference in Sun-Intensity and Day-Length in Winters.

The Coleman book is well-worth looking into, and should provide some new calc's on Acreage needed per person, since fresh produce is being delivered all year round (avail basically to some 85% of the Lower 48), and in addition to that, he has a lot less to do in storing, freezing or canning, since he prefers (and basically could subsist) with fresh food that is in Season, saving both labor, materials and storage energies.

Bob Fiske



" Now that "organic" foods have become an international business, and more and more bulk organic produce is shipped from far-away places, the "organic" label alone won't help local growers compete. The most important word to stress now is "fresh!" No matter who grew it or how well it was grown, long distance produce is a week old by the time it gets to New England. Week-old food is not "fresh." That is why knowledgeable food buyers eagerly seek out local produce during the summer months. But to make a real difference in creating a local food system, local growers need to be able to continue supplying "fresh" food through the winter months. Our goal has been to do that without markedly increasing our expenses or our consumption of non-renewable resources.

" The "winter-harvest," as described in this publication, can produce high quality, organically grown crops for fresh sale during the traditional non-farming months in all parts of the country by using locally available resources and inexpensive climate modification. It achieves that aim by combining the biological potential of cold-hardy vegetables with the minimal protection of simple greenhouse technologies. The cold-hardy crops are appropriate to the season ad the simple greenhouse techniques are appropriate to the needs of those crops. We think this minimalist approach has potential for growers in any part of the country where winter presently constrains production.

Bob - Thanks very much for taking time to convey book info and URLs. This is something worth knowing more about no matter what one’s vision of the future is.

May I add that enclosed greenhouses incorporating ground-source heat pumps would provide adequate heat, say at 44N, for growing a winter crop portfolio that is diverse and perhaps pleasing to the palette. These are cropping up in Denmark as well as the US, and probably someone reading knows where else.

Hi John;
Your point is certainly true. One thing that Coleman points out that really appeals to me however is how, by learning the crops that can survive freezing temperatures, with the simple addition of some wind protection, basically mimicing snow-cover, etc.. that it's possible with a very small investment to keep fresh food available to a great many 'currently summer gardeners' year round. He is very pointed about his preference for finding simpler ways to solve each problem, to keep this lifestyle as uncumbersome as possible.

He would say that having fresh produce that is appropriate to its season actually makes ones menu as dynamic and alive as the seasons. Beyond the aesthetics, however, is the most essential fact that he's devising lowest-energy ways to keep fresh, very nourishing food on the table.

My own goals revolve around what Frank Lloyd Wright had at some point desired to do, which was to make a new generation of appropriate homes available to 'everyman'.. while I'm eager for a new generation of self-generation, so to speak. And food supply is definitively one of a household's Power Supplies.

When finally building for my own family, I will likely work to include additional heating capability to my greenhouses, incl. Solar, Wind and Geothermal. I might grow my 'export' crops in heated greenhouses, to be able to offer produce that is able to fetch a better price in a chilly climate.

Best hopes for chilly climates,
Bob Fiske

I really like your thinking, Bob. Wright lived in a great design period and had his vision. Arts & Crafts homes were very popular then, each one different from the next (our current home is an Arts and Crafts design from early 1920's). That was one 'surburbia' model, pre-Levittown. These types of houses are all across the country.

I've added that these homes, at least here in my community, all have detached garages that are not part of the house but way back in the yard. Perhaps the beginning of the end in home design occurred when garages (1, 2, and 3) became not only attached but the prominent feature of the appearance of the home.

Winter crops appropriate for the climate makes eminent sense to me. But I am also a supporter of including a geoexchange heating/cooling system, it's simplicity and elegent use of ground-stored solar energy cries for wider use.

BTW, if you enjoy Macolm Gladwell, here's one on his personal experience with geo heat pumps, up in Canada:


Hi John,

Residential geoexchange heating and cooling systems are good performers in cold climates like my own and in applications with sizable heating and cooling loads or where utility rates are high. Unfortunately, as you can imagine, the upfront costs are often formidable ($20,000.00 to $25,000.00 is not uncommon) and installation of the loops can sometimes be a challenge; e.g., here in the Atlantic Canada many homes are built on relatively thin (and poorly conducting) clay soils or on bedrock.

There are other potential hurdles as well. Few homebuilders (and I suspect few homebuyers) will opt for such systems when electric baseboard or oil-fired and natural gas heating systems can be installed at a fraction of the cost. Locally, a number of heating oil providers lease new furnaces and boilers at very attractive rates simply to lock consumers into a long-term contracts. Homebuilders like this option because it doesn't tie-up their working capital. Moreover, the oil company assumes full responsibility for the design and installation of the equipment and all subsequent risk thereafter. Any cost issues aside, this partnership between builder and fuel provider (be it oil, natural gas or electric) effectively eliminates any real consumer choice in the new home marketplace.

Ironically, as our homes become increasingly more energy efficient, the economic benefits of geoexchange systems are greatly diminished. According to the Nova Scotia Department of Energy, the space heating demands of a conventional, new home in our climate is 14,500 kWh/year; that same home built to Canada's R2000 standards would consume less than 9,000 kWh/year. If electricity costs $0.10 per kWh and if fuel oil retails for $0.85 per litre, the space heating costs of a typical new home fall in the range of $1,500.00/year and $900.00 for the R2000 equivalent. Assuming the operating costs of a geoexchange heat pump are one-quarter that of electric resistance or oil heat, the annual cost savings would vary anywhere from $700.00 to $1,100.00. Additional savings in cooling costs, where applicable, may bump up that number by another $100.00 (any air conditioning savings in northern climates are likely to be modest due to lower cooling demands and because the difference in ground and air temperatures during the cooling season is not nearly as great as in winter, so any corresponding gains in operating efficiency are minimal). For new construction, the simple payback could be 20 years or more. For older, larger and less efficient homes, or where utility costs are much higher, the payback could very well be half that, but any way you cut it, you need a highly motivated customer and some measure of luck to make this proposition work.

In general, I’m far more upbeat about air source heat pumps. A standard air source heat pump with a HSPF of 8.5 (zones 4 and 5) produces 2.5 kWh of heat for every one kWh consumed. This effectively lowers the cost of electric heat from 10 cents per kWh in our example to just 4. A geoexchange heat pump with a seasonal COP of 3.5 or 4 might get that down to 2.5 or 3 cents, but the equipment and installation costs (or price of admission, if you like) could easily be two, three or four times higher. For most of us, conventional air source heat pumps provide better overall value and make for a much less complicated install.

One other thing to note. With new R410A refrigerants and high efficiency inverter drives, some of the better air source heat pumps now coming to market perform virtually at par with many ground source heat pumps (e.g., 20 and 21 SEER ratings and HSPF values as high as 11.0). Although considerably more expensive than conventional air source units, they still offer better returns than their ground source brethren.

Best regards,

That just goes to show that, for many people, money (in the form of perceived housing value) is more important than anything else.

"Some men worship rank, some worship heroes, some worship power, some worship God, and over these ideals they dispute and cannot unite - but they all worship money."

- Mark Twain, notebook (1897)

It's the biggest barrier to small-scale on-shore wind for the NJ (and) Mid-Atlantic shores. Off shore wind is favored much more, at preferably 10 miles out. Can provide survey to those interested.

But even for off-shore wind, look at the ups and downs of the Cape Wind project off Cape Cod. One wonders what shock is necessary to reset this mindset, PO or GW?

PV, and solar water heating, just require getting used to the view. But windmills are much more active.

Though this may sound strange, it can be compared to flag flying. My neighbor put up a truly respectable flagpole, and flew a maybe 2 meter by 1 meter German flag - quite loud, and its shadowing was distracting in the yard, especially in the wind. After 6 weeks or so into a chill, rainy, and often windy summer, he seems to have given it up, which is fine by me.

Windmills will require considerably more refinement before becoming an accepted part of the neighborhood landscape. There was a British company several years ago selling 'residential' systems, but the strain on the mounting is explicitly noted when describing why installations are only done properly as a condition of sale.

This observation has little to do with major wind turbine installations - industrial scale projects have noticeable effects on their surroundings, whereas people generally try to live in non-industrial neighborhoods. Karlsruhe has several windmills atop its former landfill - the windmills are certainly better than the formerly sculpted and compacted mountain of trash. However, the output is orders of magnitude less than the coal power station a few hundred meters away, fed essentially by barges. I have never really noticed coal trains, as in Virginia, but as Karlsruhe is a major refining location (like Strasbourg, I believe, which also has its own refinery), watching the tank wagons roll by on rails is normal - the refined oil seems destined for a number of areas best reached by rail, including the Black Forest. Each rail cargo is much larger than the lines of tank trucks on Pickett Rd. that I saw when living in Virginia, where the Colonial pipeline was the source of fuel for region, including the Shenandoah Valley, with Dulles airport as an extra leg (and possibly the storage tanks at Ft. Belvior - though this is only speculation). There was also a natural gas pipeline, with at least one storage area near Accotink, if I remember correctly. According to the reports from the media listed here, Cheney's office knows much better than I, at least after Katrina occurred, inclusing details about the merger of the Plantation and Colonial pipelines (such interesting names, somehow, so southern).

And for those who doubt jet fuel being enough to bring down a structural steel skyscaper - I have seen the result of 8,000 or so gallons of gas being ignited under a concrete and steel bridge along Rt. 236 - it ruined the structure underneath the place where the tanker rolled, and seeing the bridge sagging and shattered was an impressive memory from my childhood. Along with the Skyline Towers collapse in 1973, a decent reminder of what happens when something goes wrong - and yes, my mother actually drove us out the day after the collapse to look at the results of flawed construction. Strange how our elders form our view of the world, without even knowing how it happens. The year before that, I saw the result of Agnes on Lake Barcroft - http://www.lakebarcroft.org/about/. Entertainment takes many forms, it seems, as does what is objectionable and not.

" jet fuel being enough to bring down a structural steel skyscraper...."
Do we really want to go there with this thread?
That said, how can anyone compare the collapse of the Skyline Towers, which were under construction, with what happened on 9/11/01?

The fact remains that there are only three instances of fire causing total collapse of a steel-framed structure, and all three happened in one day. Of course one of those stuctures, Tower Seven, had relatively minor fire and structural damage, according to the fire captain who reported on the radio just before dying in its implosion.

Just for clarity - the Little River Turnpike Bridge was ruined with 8,000 gallons from a tipped tanker truck. (I have also seen what a loading terminal for four trucks looks like after burning, along with a couple of other tank truck accidents.)

Skyline Towers was one year, the Lake Barcroft dam (and a lot of other things connected to Agnes) the year before that.

I was not comparing Skyline Towers to what happened at the WTC - just the tanker accident under the concrete and steel bridge.

The broader point was that even in my childhood, 'doom' was all around - and then we generally forget about it, and pretty much keep doing the same things. In Rosslyn, I have known people who have seen jets underneath the top of the USA Today towers (nothing like working on top of a building and watching a jet fly beneath you) - it won't surprise me in the least if a jet rams into one of them, and my first thought will most certainly not be 'terrorism,' but instead that sort of sad feeling older people get when they are proved right again.

Unfortunately, this has sort of become my feeling about the U.S. - where did the adults go?

If he put a really big rooster on top, or little gnomes at the bottom, or a Nativity scene around it...

South Africa Electrifies 2nd track on Mainline

In 2001, South African railroads electrified their main line.

Electrification of the 1608km Pretoria--Cape Town main line has been completed. Work on the final 235km De Aar--Kimberley section was completed last month. The line uses a 3kV DC power supply from Cape Town to Beaufort West (546km) and from Kimberley to Pretoria (562km), while the 262km section between Beaufort West and De Aar is electrified at 25kV AC

Now, they are going to electrify the second track from De Aar to Kimberley in "less than two years" and add extra electrical supply to the rail line.

"The programme includes electrification of the second line between Kimberley and De Aar; increase of energy supply to the Spoornet network, and extension of crossing loops between Hotazel and Ngqura."

Erwin said work on the rail terminal for containers had commenced in January and work on marshalling yards and the electrification programme would commence in January and July next year, respectively

ESKOM, South African electric utility, has a robust program to develop new generation. They will get more than 1 MW from the Inga II dam in the Congo, they tap into hydroelectric dams elsewhere as well as coal generation.

Best Hopes,


I think you mean 1 GW..?

OOPs ! (blush)


And this is in a country that, according to various writers, is in complete shambles due to incompetent government, and only getting worse.

If all things are relative, where does that put the USA ?


Well, when compared on stats that can be measured objectively (GDP, crime, poverty levels etc.) SA is certainly faring far worse than the USA.

There might be a lot wrong with things in the U.S., but to call it a "complete shambles" would be a stretch.
Of course PO might well tip the balance.

The Crash of 1929: Are We on the Verge of a Repeat?


snip... "We've divorced the system from paper," explained Overstock.com CEO and hedge fund activist Patrick Byrne to me by phone, "and since then it's become easier to divorce it from reality. But the problem is that so much has been drained out of the system using these tools that the money is not there. If this gets exposed, the money is not there. It's been turned into Ferraris and mansions in the Hamptons. It can't be paid back. The system is going to vapor lock." snip... "It's essentially counterfeiting," Byrne added. "You're creating counterfeit shares in the system. It works like this. In a normal stock transaction, you give me money and I give you stock. And not paper stock anymore. It turns out that there is a loophole in the system: When I come to give you the stock that you bought, if I don't actually have any stock, I can give what is effectively an IOU. Now you never know about this unless you know the right question to ask your broker, but it's possible that all you really have in your account is an IOU from your brokerage account from a different broker working with a hedge fund."

snip... It is precisely this imbalance between real and invented shares that Byrne and others argue is primed to explode the subprime collapse into a full-blown economic depression.

"There are a lot of us who think we are living on the edge of 1929," Byrne continued. "When you consider what's happened with mortgage-backed securities, you get the feeling these might be the first rumblings. There may be more IOUs in the system than there is liquidity, in which case the entire thing is going to vapor lock as soon as it is exposed. One of the healthiest indications of the vibrancy of an economy is capital formation. Seven years ago, America was responsible for 57 percent of IPO capital raised around the world. Now it's down to 16 percent. A national disaster." snip...

River: The USA is less than 20% of the world economy. Don't know why this schmuck thinks it should be raising 57% of IPO capital permanently.

It should be noted that M. Friedman, the nobel prize winning economist, feverently believed that both depressions were caused by a contraction of the money supply. We are not seeing a contraction of the money supply, rather we are seeing very high m1, m2 printing numbers for all nations across the globe. The lowest m3 would be switzerland, followed i think by canada.

Therefore if a crash occurs, it will not be a one day affair, it will be several months of down 1% up .5% with smart money shorting the whole way down.

Simply put, if we cannot get our heads of of our asses and put wind/solar/nuclear (Perhaps in the same order) we are all going to die (Well in america it will be probably 20 to 21 people out of 25 dieing)

Gilga - IMO I would amend yout last comment to '20 out of 25 will suffer greater hardship'.

To say 20 out of 25 would die is IMO stu... (edit to align with new guidelines - must contain anger necessary to fight, take a pick - vested corporate interests, apathetic public, K-Street-driven legislation, loss of Constitution Rights...)

nope, ask yourself how many people you know personally could survive in a great depression style world. No water, no jobs, no takeout, no transportation, pretty much all suck. how many people will no longer be able to afford drugs? Americans are teh most hihgly medicated population on the planet. most people with diabetes will have a tough time when insulin is in short supply. childbirth becomes difficult when epidurals are not available, and trained doctors dissapear. How many women do you know are capable of normal birthing? How about men and hunting? How far can most of your friends walk in a day before being exhausted and giving up.

neglect of the body means a person has fully embraced todays society, they hope that society can keep them living, and that they can continue to produce more by working longer; trading the excess production for medical services to support the failing body. A lack of knowledge about the world at large is the same, trading specialized knowledge for specialized knowledge.

so no, my comment stands, and is correct. Population decline will be horrible, it will take armies to even do something with the bodies.

ask yourself how many people you know personally could survive in a great depression style world.

All. And seems to me we’re all offspring of people who survived TGD.

How many women do you know are capable of normal birthing?

All below age of 45 but one, who used IVF.

How about men and hunting?

I prefer to hang with men (and women) who farm, but do know one who hunts.

How far can most of your friends walk in a day before being exhausted and giving up.

Most of my friends are in much better shape than me, but I do hut-to-hut in the Whites with my wife each year. To date we have not given up.

Is the best way to make your point by asking rhetorical questions?

You needn’t amend your statement. I did for you.

looks like you are in good position then.

good luck to you sir.

but do you HONESTLY believe that your state of affairs is typical of Americans?

Have you been to a Walmart on a Saturday afternoon?
When no-one around you understands
start your own revolution
and cut out the middle man

Since I’ve probably personally seen or met less than 0.001% of Americans, if that, I would say yes. Here and elsewhere, which American reality should we agree on? That provided by TV News? Hollywood? Journal of the American Medical Association? Walmart? US Census? What is our common frame of reference? For every snapshot of Walmart customers on a Saturday afternoon you post I’ll post a snapshot of a nearby public beach on a Saturday afternoon. Let’s then do this: whatever you were referring to re Walmart, we’ll count, and then look at my picture of the beach, and count. Fair enough?

Secondly to Gila original post to which I responded but needs a finer point. Who am I or you or anyone to value someone else’s life? In a pinch, should we throw Stephen Hawking off the cliff before us fit? Heck, how do you know he won’t trip us with his wheelchair, sending us to our demise? Maybe by getting beyond someone’s appearance, their economic status, their throughput, we can work on the serious problems now and coming.

Sorry, now realize rant and reason can be indistinguishable.

Walmart is a lot more representative of a much larger portion of the population than any beach out there...

And the appearance is useful when it is showing a massively obese unfit population... these people will NOT make it through the bottleneck...

Taking shortcuts in an argument to make a quick point rather than belabouring all the caveats is not ranting by the way :-)

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

How about men and hunting?

The 'hunting' would result in a wiping out of wildlife due to the excessive number of humans.

"We are not seeing a contraction of the money supply"

...yet. But look at the building mortgage and housing price implosions. If you don't think those things going downhill stand a substantial chance of causing contraction of the money supply, you might want to look again.

"Helicopter Ben" could easily undo anything the financial sector did by just appearing on the nightly news with a report that the Fed is going to lower interest rates.

We have an INFINITE supply of dollars available to us. All we have to do is print them.

The cost of doing this is inflation, which is basically theft of value from anyone holding dollars.

So why are people selling their perfectly good hard assets for dollars? This puzzles me to no end.

My own take on this is that if the financial instutions loan money to people who can't pay it back, they should take the hit for it.

If I loan my car to someone who likely won't bring it back ( drunk, reckess driver, irresponsible, etc. ), should I expect the public at large to reimburse me for my foolish lending behaviour?

It wasn't that long ago I saw all sorts of TV coverage on how much money the multimillionaires engineering these flaky loans "earned". Now, why can't they be expected to be responsible for what they did?

"We have an INFINITE supply of dollars available to us. All we have to do is print them."

They have already been printed and are on their way home as we speak.

Robert Newman's History of Oil - Magic Checkbook


Magic checkbook starts 1 minute into part 3 which is what the link is to - all 5 parts are worth watching

I am not an economist, but wouldn't the severe tightening of credit, as described in the post today by Jerome a Paris, serve the same function by contracting the "access" to money?

Absolutely. Not to mention curtail its velocity - which has an exponential and self replicating effect. 'Printing' or creating money is easy, but deploying it effectively and in time can be a daunting task. Mopping it bck up again is usually so odious that it rarely is attempted. That's where the ten cent cup of coffee went.

The loose credit housing bubble created so much phony wealth that one almost suspects that it was an intention reflation of the economy after the dot com crash and 9 11. Or maybe just a convenient 'surge' that was left unmolested for the same reason.

So far we have potential or actual crises in finance, oil, water, air, and population growth. Solving the last one solves the other ones, which is why it isn't mentioned. Growth is Good.


The above link is to an article on the water situation; interesting that Saudi Arabia has water wells down 4000 feet into fossil aquifers which seem to be depleting. And they'll have fun, fun, fun till the Saudis piss the water awaaaay...dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb, ditty ditty....

" 'Printing' or creating money is easy, but deploying it effectively and in time can be a daunting task. "

This is quite true. When Ben Bernanke recited the quotation about dropping money from helicopters, he was aknowledging the problem of getting the new cash to consumers without letting them know the money supply was just inflated. The problem becomes persuading people to borrow money when they are frightened they won't be able to pay it back, AKA "pushing on a string".

Errol in Miami

it doesnt seem like the government has any problem at all "deploying" the money. take a look at the national debt man.

I said deploying it 'effectively' as I recall; how you want to define effectively depends upon what effect you want to have. Creating unjustified consumer confidence at the expense of the savings rate was achieved through the housing bubble, but quite how you do that through deficit spending and/or tax cutting is a good trick.

Total finite amount of perceived wealth rung up by repegging the assessments of US real estate may dwarf anything that adjustments to the budget could. Much in the same way the stock market gets all the press yet the bond market is three times as big, the value of real estate - on paper - may be far greater still.

Or not. We may be poised to find out. Or not. I'm familiar with the mechanisms but not the extent of their current perversions.

Yeah, they had Mr. Byrne on fsn back in March. He had an interesting little tutorial on how the brokers cheat on short sales.


Just as a rising tide floats all the boats, a draining swamp will expose some alligators. :)

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

In response to the link above; “Venezuelan oil exports to US rebound” this article tells a different story.

Mexico, Venezuela oil slumps could hit U.S. supply

"The best Mexico and Venezuela can hope for right now is to keep their production flat, but the more likely scenario is that we will see a decline,"


Mexican crude exports to the United States are down 13 percent in the first four months of this year, with production down 15 percent at the Canterell field, which has for years provided more than half of Mexico's crude oil.

Ron Patterson

Hello Darwinian,

Not only has Mexico not received the latest Peakoil & Peakwater Memos, but they haven't been reading TODer R-squared's blog or TOD on ethanol. I have posted much earlier on the building of three ethanol plants in Mexico, but now 57 [yes, fifty-seven] more plants are under consideration [John Kerry and Teresa Heinz as the major green sponsors to help Mexico 'ketchup' to max Overshoot?]:

Mexico Ag Update: Transgenic Corn, 57 Ethanol Plants
Bob Shaw in Phx,Az Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

Re: The War Between Big Oil and Ethanol:

Thank you Leanan for posting the video delineating the struggle between oil refining and ethanol production. IMO it describes very accurately what is going on.

Few here at TOD see it that way of course. But farmers here is Iowa are well aware of the oligopoly power of big oil. Signing contracts with a dufus Federal Government (accidentally on purpose I'll bet) that provide no royalty payments on production shows how much influence they have in the power structure in Washington. One constantly reads the posts here griping about subsidies for ethanol. Any subsidy ethanol gets is peanuts compared to rip offs of the oil oligopoly.

One constantly reads the posts here griping about subsidies for ethanol. Any subsidy ethanol gets is peanuts compared to rip offs of the oil oligopoly.

And as I have noted before, just as soon as you stop making ethanol from oil, then you can rightfully say "I am not a hypocrite." Until then, those "rip-offs" are also subsidizing ethanol production (on top of the corn subsidies and direct ethanol subsidies).

Thank you Leanan for posting the video delineating the struggle between oil refining and ethanol production. IMO it describes very accurately what is going on.

I just bothered to read the transcript. I could have a field day debunking that guy. He is absolutely full of crap. He makes a number of false statements and distortions, such as:

Monica Trauzzi: So they haven't built new refineries in 30 years why?

Mark Cooper: Well, it's not in their interest. They've closed 50 refineries. I mean when they merged, and there are documents from the companies would say we have to tighten this market up to raise the rate of profit.

I don't know how many times I have addressed this, but the expansion of refining capacity in the past few years far exceeds all of the ethanol production in the country. This whole line of "they" closed down all of these refineries is clearly meant to give the impression that capacity is being intentionally restricted.

Furthermore, people talk about the oil industry as "they", as if consensus decisions are made across the industry. What a load. You would not recognize the names of most of the refiners that closed, because they were small, marginal producers who closed due to unprofitability. Many are now Superfund sites. But let's just call these decisions industry decisions, so we can justify the story we are trying to spin.

Some suggestive comments by environmentalist and science fiction author Paolo Bacigalupi. He sounds as pessimistic as some of the commentators here at TOD.

“I'm working on a book based on 'The Calorie Man' and its sequel, since there's more stuff I want to unpack from the premise. 'The Calorie Man' is mostly about genetic modification in foods. But it ended up as a strange hybrid where I was also handling 'peak oil' -- worrying about what happens when we run out of energy. Science fiction has a hard time deciding where its energy comes from. We forget that our computers are coal powered; that everything we use comes from mined materials, from something that got yanked out of the earth or was cut down, reduced to plastic somewhere.”


“I’m not particularly optimistic about humanity’s long-term prospects. We choose what's convenient, expedient, and profitable over almost anything else, all the time. We create all sorts of distractions to pretend we aren't that way, but you have to look at what we do. We are absolutely rapacious. I have had conversations with people who are convinced that science and technology will bail us out of any problems we run into down the road. They say the free market will solve it, our ingenuity will solve it -- in that good old American way, 'We'll put our shoulders to the grindstone and solve that problem, by gum!' And yet in everything that I see us doing, we choose the short-term over the long-term, the profitable over the unprofitable, the easy over the hard, the simple and immediate over the complex.”

I actually largely agree with that assessment, but despite it I'm a little more than "not particularly optimistic" about humanity's long-term prospects. This is partly because I suspect our current habits of "choosing what's convenient, expedient and profitable" have been largely driven by cheap energy, and partly because I don't see humanity as one homogeneous blob. Humans are extremely adaptable and changeable, and to assume that because the "dominant" behaviour of a number of rich, western nations is largely self-destructive implies that the human race as a whole is doomed seems unjustified to me.


mexico out of oil in 7 years.

can westtexas comment on the timeline.

He already did, as I recall. I think he started commenting on Cantarell more than a year ago, citing the thinning layer between the water at the bottom and gas at the top of the formation. From the rate of depletion it looked like they'd run out rather quickly, and since then we've started seeing a steep decline in its output. Pemex is drilling the smaller formations around it right now, but they'll only slow the decline a little.

And Mexico uses some of their own output as well, so look for exports from there to the Hew Hess of Hay to cease altogehter in, oh, maybe another year.

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

I heard that exports to the USA will end in 2 years

The top story about Africa is interesting. I spent some time in Senegal recently and made some comments about Peak Oil and Senegal.

They have faced the same power difficulties as the New York Times discusses. Three quarters of their electricity is generated from oil despite Senegal importing all their oil.

A ridiculous situation to find oneself in but with understandable origins. Oil generating infrastructure is cheap, far cheaper than coal or nuclear and historically oil has been available relatively cheaply on a pretty robust international market. Gas infrastructure is also cheap – but the gas isn’t a globally traded commodity (or at least not in large volumes historically). Coal is cheap and traded globally, but the generating infrastructure expensive, nuclear infrastructure is even more expensive and additional political and technical barriers hinder its deployment in much of Africa.

This leaves much of Africa highly vulnerable to peak oil. If peak oil means high prices and demand destruction from the poorer people in the world, in the first instance sub-Saharan Africa, then it mean electricity shortages. This is a very different affect to that developed countries will see, whose electricity generation infrastructure is largely independent of oil.

Peak oil is a liquid fuel, a transport problem? Not in sub-Saharan Africa, there it is an electricity problem which I’d say is more serious than transport.

If I were going to hide demand destruction, Africa is the place to do it. Is there now any way of knowing how much per capita oil consumption in Africa has declined amidst all these disruptions?

I haven't been able to find any good data on national oil consumption in sub-Saharan countries. Last time I looked EIA data stopped around 2004, IEA don't seem to track many of the poorer countries...

What I'd like to see is annual or even quarterly oil consumption data for countries like Mali, Senegal, Guinea, Niger, Ivory Coast in west and places like Botswana, Zambia, Mozambique in the south. Does good data exist?

The World Factbook has some oil consumption 2006 data for Guinea (9,650 b/d), all other countries you mentioned appear to be 2004 data, but site has interesting electricity production and consumption data.

Factbook at https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/fields/2174....

Yesterday, at the invitation of a friend, I found myself touring twelve mega-homes on the "Street of Dreams" tour in Omaha, Nebraska. Of course, I was there taking energy notes, glad that Totoneila wasn't there or he'd have been hyperventilating and having a heart attack. Two of the most outrageous things I saw were:
1) There were two homes which had entrances and great rooms with 20 ft ceilings. The one, in particular had a 20 foot wall of windows with must have spanned 40 feet ON THE NORTH wall of the house!!! (For those of you who don't know, this is a very cold climate in winter.)
2) When I asked the builder of one of the largest houses if they had used geothermal, he answered that they really like geothermal, but a sponsor of the show was MUD, the natural gas and water supplier to the city, and they prohibited the use of geothermal in the Street of Dreams houses. When I tried to visit the MUD booth to discuss this with them, no one was there.
Heating our buildings in North America takes a larger percentage of our total energy quads than most people think. This sort of new construction should be against the law! We urgently need to have national mandates soon on new construction of our buildings, both residential and commercial.
BTW the new development was the essence of sprawl and covered up more of the richest farmland in America.


There was a new 7,000 home s/d announced at Dickonson in north Galveston County. Hopefully the real estate meltdown will axe this insanity.

If it's built, it will take about 3500 acres out of agricultural production. The home owners will all have to commute at least 50 or 60 miles a day roundtrip.

Bob Ebersole

Hi Kalpa,

The Omaha Street of Dreams tours keep moving west-- 192nd & Dodge area this year. Elkhorn school district? These were bean and cornfields a couple years ago.

I share your concern about the natural gas situation. 95% of homes around here rely on gas for heating, and we use it pretty heavily for electricity generation-- although if you've driven past the North O. hybrid plant recently you've probably seen those huge piles of coal sitting there waiting to burn (thanks Wyoming). The Fort Calhoun nuke station keeps chugging along, but at 476 megawatts it provides less than 20% of OPPD's electricity supply, according to my rough calculation.

Here's some amusing reading from the Metropolitan Utilities District web site:


The United States is largely dependent on foreign countries for petroleum but gets 99 percent of its natural gas from North America, providing 25 percent of all energy used. There are abundant supplies of it, too.

"They're projected to last with current technologies for 100 years," Koll says.

Yes, this statement is from 2002. But the fact that our utility company leaves it there as an informational link on natural gas doesn't exactly inspire confidence that they are on top of the situation, at least not in an alert customer.

Of course others aren't as confident as MUD is in the natural gas situation:


Oh well. When the gas supply goes south and the furnace fails, we can just turn on the fireplace. Oh, wait...

Hey C.M., thanks for the comment. Yes, the Iowa-Nebraska corridor of the Missouri River is becoming lined with power plants only to be topped off by a new refinery (Elk Point). Conservationists are begging for seasonal flows to help the sturgeons and plovers, only to have Blair request a barge shipment of alfalfa resulting in the plover nests flooding recently. Our plentiful electricity was one of the reasons Google is setting up a 600 million $ server farm in Council Bluffs, soon. As for natural gas shortages in our Midwestern future, I figure strawbale houses over dugouts can get slapped up rather quickly.
How are your vegetables? My picture perfect native corn with beans climbing up got flattened by the raccoons! Next year I'll try putting out dirty laundry among the stalks and try sending the beans up the sunflowers, unless you have better suggestions.

Hello TODers,

Peakoil Potash & Phosphate [PPP]: Liebig Minimums for Devastating Decline?

Please see the pictures in the following link:


I am certainly no research expert on this topic, but I think a keypost by one of the TopTODers on this topic could create much discussion here on TOD.

United Nations: Environmental Aspects of Phosphate & Potash Mining, 68 page PDF Warning.

IMO, well worth the download for a quick scan of the photos alone. [my comments in brackets interspersed in text below--BS]:

Three major nutrients are required in large quantities
for plant growth, nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium.
Three secondary nutrients are required in smaller
quantities on some soils; sulfur, calcium and magnesium.
Seven micronutrients may be required in small
amounts where deficient. Each nutrient has a specific
biological function and, while there may be synergies
between the nutrients, none has a substitute.

[Damn! Don't you just hate encountering text about NO Substitution? Isn't that a basic violation of economics? I thought market forces would have substituted salt, radioactive wastes, and toxic molecules as the primary plant yield boosters by now--BS]

Table 1.1.
Comparison of the World Production of Some Bulk Minerals in 1998/99 by Product Tonnage
Coal 4,655,000,000
Iron Ore 1,020,000,000
Salt 186,000,000
Phosphate Rock 144,000,000
Bauxite 126,000,000
Gypsum 107,000,000
Potash Ore (2) 45,000,000

[Obviously, if one examines the photos of the huge equipment to mine, process, and distribute these essential elements to the end users over vast distances, then mind- boggling FFs are burned to accomplish this task.--BS]
Perhaps, the best and final use of FFs will be to keep the fertilizer market functional until biosolar processess dominate postPeak. Feel free to disagree or add elaboration as desired.

On the other hand, attacks, breakdowns, accidents, or equipment shortages on this infrastructure could be devastating to food supplies. Regardless, depletion has the strongest poker hand:

No one disputes that, once the mining industry completes the excavation of 500,000 acres of strip mining in Central Florida, the region's ecosystem will never be the same.

When the plants shut down -- and it's certain they will eventually, once the phosphate ore supply in the region is exhausted in 25 to 50 years...
Bob Shaw in Phx,Az Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

When all farmland has charcoal enriched soil from nearby biomass gasification plant there will be less need for external inputs. The tiny amounts of phosphorous and potassium will cost little and nitrogen will come from composts.

So goes the theory. If phosphorous 'clings' to charcoal I'm wondering whether that means herbicide and pesticide take longer to dissipate.

Peakoil Potash & Phosphate ... post by one of the TOD on this topic could create much discussion here on TOD.

Anytime there has been a rabid 'technology will save us' poster who've I've opted to wrangle with, I've asked about the USGS claims of 'only 120 years of economically mineable' Phosphorous.

I either get "The markets will provide" (One of the 'featured writers' here on TOD had said that WRT his idea of taking organic matter off the land and processing it. I asked about the returning of Phosphorous and other material to the land and his response was 'the market will dictate that') or a shrug.

Even the hunmanure thread about 'night soil' did no mention the P in pee and how to separate it form the Sodium.

The 2 low energy methods are either leaves + urine and 'scrape off the white powder' or dehydrate the urine, take the resulting salt(s) and heat with (I think) sand. The result is white phosphorus. Neither strikes me as a 'plan' most humans will get behind anytime soon.

Anyone that can find an accounting of how much of the phosphorus, which is mined, goes into the ground water verses how much comes out with our urine?



The concentration of up to 100 mg/kg of Cadmium in phosphate minerals (for example, minerals from Nauru[16] and the Christmas islands[17]) increases the contamination of soil with Cadmium, for example in New Zealand.[18] Uranium is another example of a contaminant often found in phosphate fertilizers.

All together now, "Itai-itai"

Cadmium, for example in New Zealand.[18] Uranium

We should be thankful then that organic items act as bio-filters for those materials - thus the resulting urine will have less eh?

(Part of using composting worms is they act as a bio-filter. If one wants to 'ship heavy metals' off of your land, have the worms 'eat' the waste, then feed the worms to animals you sell to others)

All together now, "Itai-itai"

Are you trying to make some point by repeating a biblical name?

Mycelia make much better accumulators of these heavy metals. They can also be neutralized within soil humus.

"Carbon is a sponge" - Geoff Lawton at my PDC

Mushrooms are how the Cesium was "filtered" away from Chernobyl fall out and Hiroshima & Nagasaki. Check out "Mycelium Running" by Paul Stamets at fungi.com for full details.

"Itai-itai" means "Ouch-ouch"


I'm an atheist, so what is the biblical name? I thought I was quoting Japanese.

The point is bio-accumulation. What part of the Cadmium, which has to be separated from the Phosphate being mined for fertilizer, lands on your plate. Although small, over time, people accumulate these metals in a similar way that tuna has mercury.


Some sources of phosphate in fertilizers contain Cadmium in amounts of up to 100 mg/kg[1][2], which can lead to an increase in the concentration of Cadmium in soil.

Thank you for your clarifications.

And yes, fungi works well as a bio-accumulator/separator.

Say, here's a link worth having a look at which I just picked up from another discussion group:


Its theme is "resilience" as the opposite to "efficiency", and I post it as a followup of my drumbeat post of last week in which I alluded to the vulnerability of specialized complex systems to discontinuity.

Our entire system of commerce, manufacturing, and food creation has been increasingly optimized for short-term efficiency. That's exactly why collapses are more likely than is adaptation. Worth thinking about.

Sounds very Homer-Dixon.

Crooks&Liars has a piece about "Crude Awakening." Not too many crazies in the comments section, either.

i don't know about you but what i see in the comments is a whole ton of 'this is a non-issue' etc.

It seemed a crime not to share this comment from the C&L thread on "Crude Awakening":

"People have been running around screaming about so-called “Peak Oil” for years, and it’s no closer than the Rapture.

Hubbard wasn’t some renegade geologist who stumbled on the truth, he produced exactly what Shell [asked] for: a justification to raise the price of their oil. It worked.

The fact is this: there’s more oil under the ground than we could use in 10 generations of SUVs. I’m certainly not in favor of us burning it the way we do, but not because it’s running out. I think we need to change because of the environment, and because of where the oil money goes…two very good reasons.

Everyone who believes this bull, go read Greg Palast’s “Armed Madhouse”. He debunks this theory at length."

It brought a wry smile to my face, much the same as the comment Mr. Rapier posted about the hydrogen-BMW in Germany.

The Rapture is here?

Well... the rapture could help us with our depopulation needs...

actually... thinking about it... from what i hear there are only a bunch of Southern US folks and a bunch of loud politicians going on the big-white-cloud-ride... apparently Jesus is a bit picky when he blows that horn, or whatever is supposed to happen...
When no-one around you understands
start your own revolution
and cut out the middle man

Hello TODers,

Interesting reads:

Inside Iran's nuclear nerve centre: halfway house to an atomic bomb

The rush to process uranium is to generate electricity, officials tell Julian Borger in Isfahan. But there are no power stations...
A new crisis in Russia-Iran relations

...As a result, confidence in Russia-Iran relations has been seriously undermined. From Iran's vantage point, there is no doubt that Moscow has appeased Washington, whose officials have openly asked Russia not to complete Bushehr.
Bob Shaw in Phx,Az Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

Hello TODers,

Japanese seismologist warns of a possible nuclear disaster

..the seismologist calls attention in particular to the danger that a Maximum Credible Accident (MCA) at the Hamaoka power plant might spread radioactive contamination across the Tokyo metropolitan area. The five nuclear reactors of the plant were situated "right in the middle of a Class 8 earthquake zone," the professor observed. Such an earthquake would be several orders of magnitude larger than the Niigata quake, which in July of this year had damaged the world's largest nuclear power plant at Kashiwazaki-Kariwa, he went on to say.

Among experts an earthquake in Hamaoka was thought to be imminent, he stated. "And the capital Tokyo is less than 200 kilometers away. For two thirds of the year the wind blows in that direction," he added.

Mr. Ishibashi was also critical of the standards a nuclear power plant in Japan has to meet to be granted an operating license. "The US standards are a lot more demanding. I don't believe that the territory of Japan is suitable for nuclear power plants." A short time ago the seismologist had still been a member of the nuclear commission of the government responsible for earthquake safety.
Aftershocks for Japanese power

AT midnight, 12 hours after last Monday's Niigata earthquake triggered a series of accidents at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant, Economy Trade and Industry Minister Akira Amari hauled Tokyo Electric Power Co president Tsunehisa Katsumata into his office for a rare and humiliating verbal caning...Within 24 hours, International Atomic Energy Agency director-general Mohamed ElBaradei had swished his own cane...

This was the nearest thing Japan had seen to genpatsu-shinsai (a nuclear power station earthquake disaster).

Had the epicentre been 10km to the southwest and at magnitude 7, claims eminent seismologist Katsuhiko Ishibashi, Kashiwazaki City would have experienced the real thing -- a nuclear plant emergency, possibly a damaged reactor, breaking out in the destruction and chaos of a population-centre earthquake.

Ishibashi coined the genpatsu-shinsai phrase to dramatise his argument that the most seismically active country in the world cannot afford the risk of operating 55 nuclear reactors.

He knows, however, that unless or until the grim event he foresees actually materialises, there is no chance Japan will go non-nuclear.

Further, if the IAEA-Nuclear Safety Commission investigation finds other covered-up problems at Kashiwazaki-Kariwa, the Government could decide it's curtains -- not just for the plant but for TEPCO in its existing form. And if the Government accepts that Kashikawa-Kariwa should not reopen, the pressure to shut down Chubu Electric Power Co's Hamaoka complex would be huge.

Only 190km southwest of Tokyo and sitting astride an active fault that could well be the epicentre of Japan's next "great earthquake", three of Hamaoka's five reactors are more than 24 years old and plagued with safety problems.
Yikes! I hope Mother Nature doesn't want to further enhance his already world-class credibility.

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