DrumBeat: August 14, 2007

'Cathedral Thinking'
Energy's Future: Until we solve climate change, says James E. Rogers, we need even the dirtiest fuel.

Everything you are saying here suggests that the only likely positive scenario has at least a 20-year time span. Yet you listen to someone like Al Gore and it sounds like we don't have 20 years.

That's why we can't take anything out of the energy equation—coal, nuclear, gas, energy efficiency and renewables. I think we have had chronic underinvestment in energy efficiency. We really need to accelerate that. Mitigation of climate change is not going to happen fast enough. That is the reality. We need to think in a broad sense about both adaptation [to climate change] and mitigation [of it]. We really have to have what I would call cathedral thinking, where we are looking out and saying we need to address this problem over many decades, in the same way the cathedrals of Europe took many decades to build. It is going to take many decades of both mitigation and adaptation to get to the right place on this planet.

Iraqi deputy oil minister kidnapped

Dozens of uniformed gunmen in 17 official vehicles stormed an Oil Ministry compound in Baghdad and abducted a deputy oil minister and three other officials, a ministry spokesman and police said.

Outside the capital, two suicide truck bombers separately struck a strategic bridge and a complex housing a small religious minority, killing at least 19 people, police said.

Wolfowitz 'tried to censor World Bank on climate change'

The Bush administration has consistently thwarted efforts by the World Bank to include global warming in its calculations when considering whether to approve major investments in industry and infrastructure, according to documents made public through a watchdog yesterday.

On one occasion, the White House's pointman at the bank, the now disgraced Paul Wolfowitz, personally intervened to remove the words "climate change" from the title of a bank progress report and ordered changes to the text of the report to shift the focus away from global warming.

Opec sees need for $2.4 trillion investment in crude capacity

Oil producers need to pump $2.4 trillion into projects to expand crude output capacity to meet future world demand and around $680 billion will need to be invested by Opec members.

Nearly $455 billion will need to channeled into refining with Asia-Pacific region having the lion’s share of capital expenditure, Opec says in its 2007 Oil Outlook.

Cellulosic ethanol: A fuel for the future?

In the pine forests of rural Georgia, Devon Dartnell sees a path into the global fuel economy.

As the biomass program manager for the Georgia Forestry Commission, Dartnell is impatiently waiting for construction to begin next month of a plant that will convert forestry wastes into ethanol, a car fuel.

The facility is an important test to see whether lumber and agricultural by-products, rather than corn or sugar cane, are an economically viable "feedstock" for ethanol production. Behind the plant is Range Fuels, a start-up headed by a former Apple executive and financed by famed Silicon Valley venture capitalist Vinod Khosla.

While the Watchdog Sleeps

The News media frequently brags on its role as the public’s watchdog, looking out for the interests of the people, shining a light in dark places. But on what may be the most momentous, life-changing story to come along in decades, the media doesn’t even notice.

EU sides with Greek Cypriots in oil spat

The European Union has once again supported the Greek Cypriot administration in an oil spat between Nicosia and Ankara that stemmed from a tender for oil exploration in the eastern Mediterranean.

Iraq oil field work will increase capacity

Increased rehabilitation in a key Iraqi oil field has been completed, setting the stage for more production and drilling of new wells.

"The rehabilitation of the Sayed Nour oil field, eastern Amara, will immensely contribute to sustaining the overall production capacity of al-Bazarkan oil complex, which already reaches 120,000 barrels per day," a spokesman told the Voices of Iraq news agency.

Energy-hungry Turkey drilling for more oil

You may think that you cannot do without your car and therefore without the automotive industry, or that you can't live without your computer and consequently the information technology industry.

However, in reality there is just one industry which is more important than any other: the traditional energy industry. Without fuel from crude oil and natural gas, modern society and all its accoutrements would grind to a halt as cars would run out of oil and laptop batteries would never be recharged. Turkey is, sadly, energy poor; that is to say it lacks large fossil fuel reserves and has had to spend millions of YTL to generate power from its limited natural resources by building hydroelectric dams across most major rivers, solar panels on many houses and wind farms on the Aegean coast.

New faces but policies set to stay at OPEC

Less than a month before OPEC meets to set oil output for peak winter demand, countries accounting for almost a third of production are either without an energy minister or getting used to a new one.

Getting a grip in Iran

The Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has engineered the removal of Iran's oil and industry ministers in a move widely interpreted as signalling his push to impose his will and control over core areas of the economy in the lead-up to the parliamentary election scheduled for March 2008.

Mexico Congress to Cut Taxes on Pemex, Senator Says

Mexican legislators agreed to reduce taxes on Petroleos Mexicanos, the state-owned oil company, by 60 billion pesos ($5.45 billion) a year to free up funds for the company to spend on increasing crude production.

Gas Gives Oil Giants A Foot In Middle East's Door

Since the 1970s, major oil companies have been shut out of oil production in much of the Middle East. Now, the doors to foreign investment are opening again, this time for natural gas.

Doubts over 'green' solar panels

Solar panels fitted to homes may be harming the environment more than conventional sources of energy, according to a study by scientists.

More energy is used to build, run, and recycle solar panels compared with that for fossil fuel systems, according to researchers.

Biofuel Must for India, Say Experts

Energy-starved India should invest in spurring large-scale cultivation of jatropha, a plant with seeds that can be mixed with fuel to form biodiesel, experts said Monday.

Oh, the horror.... Biofuel Boom Threatens Gummy Bears

First it was tortillas in Mexico, then it was Frosted Flakes in America and recently German beer. Now the latest food to become the victim of prices pushed up by the massive shift of crops to biofuel are Germany's beloved gummy bears.

Carbon-Free and Nuclear-Free: A Roadmap for U.S. Energy Policy

The other reason to actually go to 100 percent elimination is that climate change is shaping up to be more severe than estimated by models. We may have to remove CO2 from the atmosphere that has already been emitted to try to mitigate the severity. It makes no sense to remove CO2 at great expense while emitting more. So I studied the technical feasibility of achieving an energy economy actually eliminating all fossil fuels. Some coal and natural gas infrastructure would be maintained as a contingency, but not used unless there is a major technical failure. Even then coal would only be used with carbon sequestration.

Clean energy gets gnarly, dude

In the United States alone, wave technology could supply 6.5 percent of the nation's energy. No wonder, then, that startups are rushing to stake claims before someone else drops in on the best waves.

Why is America falling apart? Ask Ayn Rand

What's causing all this? Could it be the reverse of the "Atlas Shrugged" effect? Might it be that greedy capitalists, comfy in their private jets and third, fourth and fifth vacation homes, aren't paying attention to the national infrastructure that they don't think they need to use?

Energy: Europe's Escape Routes from Moscow

"You are seeing an attempt to enhance security by making any single supplier less important to the overall picture," said André Plourde, president of the International Association for Energy Economics. "If one supplier decides it is not interested in playing by the rules anymore, the impact would be smaller if you have alternatives [in sources or delivery routes] than it might otherwise be."

Not surprisingly, Russia has been resistant to EU efforts to diversify its energy supply and has not hidden efforts to undermine it: The union's most touted project, the Nabucco gas pipeline from Central Asia, received a significant blow in May, when Russian President Vladimir Putin traveled to Central Asia himself and closed deals with Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan to build a natural gas pipeline to tap the region of much of its gas and sell it back to Europe at a huge markup.

Iran plays the Central Asia card

Iran and Turkmenistan have similar perspectives on the hitherto inconclusive marathon discussions on the division of the Caspian Sea. Iran is weary of any undue shift in Turkmenistan's foreign policy in Russia's favor at a delicate time when Iran-Russia relations have hit a new low as a result of the nuclear row and Russia's appeasement of Washington's demand to link the fate of the Russian-made power plant in Bushehr to the nuclear crisis. With President Vladimir Putin beginning to flex Russian military muscle on Georgia, and through a joint military exercise with China, Iran's concerns about a new Russian militarism are unmistakable.

Think Tank Slams Solutions to N.Korea's Energy Crisis

The construction of light-water reactors or coal power plants or the direct provision of electricity will not be enough to help North Korea relieve its serious energy shortage, a state-run think tank says. The Korea Energy Economics Institute (KEEI) said such proposals betray a lack of understanding of the reality in North Korea and are inappropriate to solve the energy crisis across the border.

South Africa: Coal mine strike gathers momentum

The coal mine strike over low salaries continued on Tuesday with no end in sight, trade union Solidarity said.

"The people are still striking. There is no indication from the Chamber of Mines or from the strikers that they want to end the strike," said spokesperson Reint Dykema.

Cash-Stuffed Suitcase Splits Venezuela and Argentina

A scandal involving a Venezuelan businessman who tried to sneak nearly $800,000 into this country has opened a sudden rift between Venezuela and Argentina just a week after the governments signed debt and energy deals.

The Philippines: Reyes explores nuclear power option

The Department of Energy yesterday disclosed its plan to attract as much as $5 billion in investments into the natural gas sector and pursue nuclear options in order to avert a power crisis which is seen to hit the country starting 2009.

The changing face of energy security

China appears to believe that it can secure its energy imports by locking up oil contracts with pariah states like Sudan. However, while this short-sighted mercantilist approach creates foreign policy problems over issues like Darfur, it will not really protect China in a time of supply disruption.

Prices for many food staples are climbing by double-digit percentages

Why are food prices rising?

It’s partly because of corn prices, driven up by congressional mandates for ethanol production, which has reduced the amount of corn available for animal feed.

It’s also because of tougher immigration enforcement, which has made farm laborers scarcer, and a late spring freeze, which damaged fruit and vegetable crops. And it’s because of higher diesel fuel costs to run tractors and attractive foreign markets that take U.S. production.

Asia demand for W.Africa oil rebounds to 1.3 mln bpd

Asian demand for West African crude oil rose sharply to 1.3 million barrels per day in September, rebounding from a multi-year low reached the previous month, traders said on Monday.

The recent decline in ICE Brent crude futures, used as the benchmark in valuing West African grades, provided the financial incentive for Asian refiners to return to their usual purchasing levels.

The Impact of Peak Oil on Rural Communities (PDF)

Over the next few years, as the price of oil increases and its availability declines dramatically on a global scale, there will be profound and far-reaching effects across society. This report collates information on what has been termed ‘Peak Oil’ both globally and for rural communities and centres on a discussion of the principal areas that will be affected by escalating oil prices.

Journey to the Past and/or the Future

But the lesson of southern Italy is that what goes up may come down. The disintegration of the Roman Empire resulted in the end of urban civilization in the South. Populations mysteriously disappeared, although archaeologists and historians most suspect plague and environmental collapse as the root causes.

In any case, the Mediterranean economy -- based on trade -- fell apart. Instead of a commercial highway for grains, olive oil, wine and manufactured goods, the Mediterranean became an invasion route.

Climate Change And Permafrost Thaw Alter Greenhouse Gas Emissions In Northern Wetlands

Permafrost - the perpetually frozen foundation of North America - isn't so permanent anymore, and scientists are scrambling to understand the pros and cons when terra firma goes soft. Permafrost serves like a platform underneath vast expanses of northern forests and wetlands that are rooted, literally, in melting permafrost in many northern ecosystems. But rising atmospheric temperatures are accelerating rates of permafrost thaw in northern regions, says MSU researcher Merritt Turetsky.

In the report, "The Disappearance of Relict Permafrost in Boreal North America: Effects on Peatland Carbon Storage and Fluxes," in this week's online edition of Global Change Biology, Turetsky and others explore whether melting permafrost can lead to a viscous feedback of carbon exchange that actually fuels future climate change.

OPEC ups estimate for oil demand growth despite world economic woes

OPEC has slightly increased its estimate for world oil demand growth in 2007 despite current economic turmoil, the powerful cartel said in a report Tuesday.

"World oil demand growth in 2007 is forecast at 1.3 million barrels per day (bpd), or 1.5 percent, slightly higher than the estimate for last month, reflecting additional oil needs for Japanese power plants," the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries said in its monthly report.

Oil, gas prices mixed on storm forecast

Energy futures retreated from earlier highs on Monday as a revised forecast predicted a tropical storm will turn away from the Gulf of Mexico, and as refinery problems turned out not to be as bad as initially thought.

Tropical Depression Four, located in the central Atlantic Ocean, is strengthening and bearing down on the Caribbean Sea. But forecasters now believe the storm will swing north toward the Eastern Seaboard and away from the Gulf.

Denmark Attempts to Prove Claims to North Pole

A Danish expedition in the Arctic will map the sea depths north of Greenland in an attempt to back up the country's claims to the much-disputed territory, the Danish government said today.

Denmark is looking into whether the Lomonossov Ridge, an underwater mountain chain between Greenland and Siberia, is an extension of Greenland.

Kunstler: Margin Call

The seas were a mite choppy off Hedge Fund Island last week after all when the Federal Reserve started tossing life preservers of ready cash to the Big Fund Boyz bobbing and thrashing in the swells. Now, about that "money" — which is, in essence, a bunch of extended lines of credit at the Fed's artificially-low official interest rate — what actually happens to it? The simple answer is: it disappears into the same ocean of financial woe that the Boyz are drowning in.

A bridge not far enough

Scotland - and the rest of the UK too - will need a solid public works strategy as the fairy gold of Brown's boom vanishes.

Foreign roads can be deadly for U.S. travelers

Motor vehicle crashes — not crime or terrorism — are the No. 1 killer of healthy Americans in foreign countries. And the threat to travelers is poised to increase dramatically as worldwide economic growth gives more people access to motor vehicles.

Carolyn Baker: In Praise Of "Sicko" But What Happens After The U.S. Healtcare System Dies?

It behooves every American who takes collapse seriously and is consciously preparing for it, to learn healthcare skills. An individual can enroll in or audit almost any basic emergency lifesaving or first aid course at local community colleges or hospitals around the country. Health care professionals who are preparing for collapse can take their preparation to the next level by offering informal workshops on various aspects of healthcare for non-professionals. Moreover, a basic knowledge of herbal remedies and a generous inventory of them is essential, not only as access to traditional healthcare diminishes but as herbal remedies themselves become more difficult to acquire in terms of prices and the likelihood of government control or elimination of them.

DiCaprio brightens up on gloomy green outlook

Tired of global warming doom and gloom? Here's something new from Hollywood's king of green, Leonardo DiCaprio: there is hope for a brighter future.

Environmental activist DiCaprio's documentary "The 11th Hour" opens in theaters on Friday, and although the film starts with a bleak outlook on issues like global warming, much of the roughly 90-minute movie suggests ways to heal the environment with human, government and corporate action.

Australian cities face water shortage

Nearly every Australian city will have to find new water supplies over the next decade as climate change and population growth stretch the nation's already limited water resources, according to a study released Tuesday.

Swedish PM targets US over climate change

Sweden's prime minister called for more pressure on the United States and the major developing countries over climate change at the opening Monday of an international conference on water issues.

Technology is key on global warming: Bush adviser

The United States on Tuesday staked out its position ahead of a climate change summit next month by endorsing new technologies, paid for by rapid economic growth, as the way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

SCO Now the New Warsaw Pact, Counterpoint to NATO

Is the SCO, which consists of China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, on the verge of being transformed into a new Warsaw Pact, a Eurasian counterbalance to the US-led North Atlantic Treaty Organization(NATO)?

Edited to cut it down to a link and excerpt.

Iran Ahmadinejad To Attend SCO Summit - Full Membership to be Discussed

The president will hold talks with his Afghan counterpart Hamid Karzai in Kabul on Tuesday before leaving for Turkmenistan and then attending a summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in Kyrgyzstan.

A source in the president's office said Ahmadinejad would be seeking to raise Iran's status at the SCO group, which brings together Russia and China with other Central Asian states, from observer to full member.

During the SCO summit, Ahmadinejad will hold talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Chinese President Hu Jintao.

Iran, along with Pakistan and Mongolia, is an observer nation at the SCO but is looking to enhance its role to make the group a counterpoint to US influence in the region.




Analysts Unable to Discount the Possibility that War Will Break Out

"The Syrians have been busy building extensive defensive works on the southern Golan Heights, after having completed similar preparations on the northern part of the area.

Syria also continues to procure large numbers of advanced Russian-made anti-aircraft and anti-tank missiles, in part with Iranian funding, though most of the shipments have yet to be delivered.

Syrian forces have also been reinforced along the border, and training of units has been stepped up."


Iran Replaces Oil Minister, Says No Hike in OPEC Output

Hardline Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad issued a decree late on Sunday which, in a surprise move, replaced Oil Minister Vaziri Hamaneh with the head of the national oil company, Gholam Hossein Nozari.

"The decisions that will be taken in future will be done with coordination between the oil ministry and the government."

In one of his final statements as oil minister of OPEC's number two producer and the world's fourth biggest, Vaziri Hamaneh said last month that Iran firmly opposed a hike in OPEC's crude oil output.



Raise your hand if you thought POST PEAK IRAN was going to increase output anyways.

Last time I checked they only had 50KBPD *spare* capacity anyways. Since they are in decline, doubt it exists anymore anyways.

Israel, US, Turkey Hold Joint Maritime Recovery Operations

"The objective of this exercise is to practice coordinated emergency search and rescue procedures and measures for safety of life at sea," a spokesman said in a statement.

Such proceedures would be used to recover downed pilots in the Mediterranean.



This was a link in yesterday's drumbeat that didn't work. Where can I find this article?

The Pillars of the Next Real Revolution

Thanks! You do great work.

Try here.

Speaking of malfunctioning links, why do the CLU07.NYM oil futures graphs that usually show on the right side of the page keep showing Aug 10th numbers?

It was working just fine up until last Friday, then suddenly stopped. Yahoo problem?

Thanks, Steve.

Easy, just google "The Pillars of the Next Real Revolution"

It came up #1 when I did it.


Ron Patterson

Re: "Technology is key on global warming: Bush adviser"

The article contains one howler after another. I particularly like this one:

"The emerging consensus is that the solution to climate change is the advancement of technology," James Connaughton, Bush's senior environmental adviser, told reporters.

Emerging consenus? From where? From James Connaughton's hind parts? Did it ever occur to James Connaughton that global warming might be caused by (drumroll)...THE ADVANCEMENT OF TECHNOLOGY?!?

I will agree with one thing that he says though: "... if you don't have a growing economy, you don't have the resources to pay for the new technologies." (though I would probably rephrase that to say "if you don't have cheap energy...")

To steal a phrase from the Mogambo: We're Scroomed!!!

I didn't know whether to laugh or cry reading that one. I guess the idea the economic growth is the problem is incomprehensible to the average American.

I'm starting to understand why the Easter Islanders' reaction to tightening resource constraints was to build more and bigger statues...

Yeah, and I loved this one:

"This is wonderful to see, and America stands ready to assist on technology, to assist in innovative financing and assist in standards and practices so that together we can grow our economies ... in a more sustainable way," he said.

Ha!Ha! Is this guy trying to be funny? Because if he is, he ought to have his own show. "...assist on technology?" The country that is still fighting to hang onto it's fleet of 12 mpg SUVs?

"...assist in innovative financing?" Hasn't the world had about enough of America's "innovative financing" of late?!?

The guy's a laugh a minute.

See: 'Confessions of an Economic Hit Man'

Interview on Democracy Now!

" JOHN PERKINS: ... The first real economic hit man was back in the early 1950's, Kermit Roosevelt, the grandson of Teddy, who overthrew of government of Iran, a democratically elected government, Mossadegh’s government who was Time's magazine person of the year; and he was so successful at doing this without any bloodshed – well, there was a little bloodshed, but no military intervention, just spending millions of dollars and replaced Mossadegh with the Shah of Iran..."

Then read "Will the real economic hit men please stand up?". Regarding "Democracy Now!", I highly recommend "What's wrong with Amy Goodman?" and "The Empress Has No Clothes".

Thanks for the links, would you mind making a bit of your point here and now, for those not without the time to follow the links.

I am aware from a friend who has shot video for them, that there's no small irony in suffering poor labor conditions while working on a news program that advocates for labor rights, among other things.. just the same, if you have something to add, why not say some of it in your own words?


Why spoil the surprise?

No, I'm happy to elaborate. I could write tomes. In fact, I started to before I decided to cut it down to this:

I saw the interview with Perkins. I donated money. I received a copy of the book. I remember thinking, "He said the CIA approved the book. What could he possibly reveal other than filling in details of the horrible deeds the U.S. Empire and its corporate surrogates have committed over the last century?" Months later I saw the piece in From The Wilderness. The very first paragraph answers that:

A "limited hangout" is a partial confession, a mea culpa, if you will, that leaves the essence of a crime or covert reality hidden. Because it includes some small part of the truth, the limited hangout is irresistibly attractive to dissidents and political critics whose thirst for such truth makes them jump at the dangled scraps. Once the system's watchdogs are busy chewing on the limited hangout, the guilty players can go about their illegal business for a new round of unaccountable, semi-secret mayhem.

"Limited hangout" is a term I learned a couple of years ago, in the context of 9/11 being an inside job. I do not mean to start a flame war but I will just point out that by "inside job" I do not mean "Bush did it." I am so sick of that worn out strawman.

In any case, the pieces on Amy Goodman are largely about 9/11. But there's another subject she avoids, peak oil. That actually offends me more than her handling of 9/11. There are any number of reasons to impeach and/or prosecute members of this administration; 9/11 and the subsequent cover-up are but a part. Peak oil, on the other hand, is, with the possible exception of white male capitalist patriarchy, the best kept secret from the general population. It isn't even "debunked" in the mainstream media; it's still in the "First, they ignore you" phase. To the best of my knowledge the phrase "peak oil" has yet to be uttered on any mainstream TV channel. If someone knows otherwise, please do tell.

I listen to DN fairly often. They do talk about Peak Oil and matter-of-factly, at that.

Has Global Oil Production Reached Maximum Capacity? A Debate on Peak Oil


Blood of the Earth: Dilip Hiro on the Battle for the World’s Vanishing Oil Resources


They also hosted a debate between the Loose Change conspiracy theorists and the Popular Mechanics debunkers. Neither side covered themselves with glory.

Peak Oil has definitely been mentioned in MSM here. The New Zealand Listener (weekly mainstream national mag) ran a series of articles in their May 26-June 1 issue on the green revolution, one of which (pgs 23-24) raised Peak Oil as a major problem.

It was particularly interesting to a see a senior lecturer in mechanical engineering who had made a career looking at the possibility of a hydrogen economy, saying that it just wouldn't work, even though they wanted to convince themselves it would.

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

Yeah, I'm sorry, Bench, but while DN has covered 911truth a couple times, as the first article you linked (Will the real economic hitmen please stand up?) suggested was what journalists were overlooking BECAUSE of these 'limited hangout' examples like 'Confessions of an EHM ..' But they cover a respectable range of topics, regularly touching on Darfur, on Immigration and related Farm and Labor issues in the US, on Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan.. Israel/Palestine, etc.. They have had Robert Fiske from the Independent reporting out of Beirut (who is great) a number of times, getting more history, context and perspective on Middle East stories than anything you'll find in much of the soft, gray middle or the flaming right-wing end of the media.

You should listen a couple more times and see if you don't find some stories you actually appreciate someone covering.


What's wrong with Amy is that she has a difficult choice.

Either she can try to be impartial and let the flacks spin away, or she can challenge them. Jon Stewart spoke about trying to get a straight answer out of Ari Fleischer. I listen to all sorts of talk shows and the fact is that many guests are better at obfuscation than journalists are at cutting through it.

" ... almost never does Amy Goodman or her guest dig deeper, connecting the dots with the current epidemic of disappearing pensions, the disastrous housing bubble which is in the process of bursting, the ramifications of the new bankruptcy law, widespread doubling of monthly credit card payments, and a plethora of issues that signal global economic collapse. "

Huh? I've posted DN links on most of these topics right here on TOD.

Let's not single out Amy Goodman for punishment. Like every star in far-left media, her status depends on what far-left consumers think of her. If she were to say things that make her audience feel bad, they would tune her out.

Overshoot, collapse and dieoff make people feel bad. That's why they don't talk about it on the radio or TV. If they did, people would change the channel. Even when Jared Diamond's on TV, 99% of the time he is very careful to avoid saying anything too sad.

The purpose of far-left media is to catch people who can't digest mainstream media lies, and keep them fed with media that's a little more truthful. Without really showing them what's behind the curtain.

This isn't a conspiracy. It's a product. People need to feel good, and the far-left media provides a product that enables some of them to feel good.

Bmcnett, I agree with everything you say except your very stupid reference to "the far-left media".

Ignorance gone to seed!

The far-right media, Fox, is just as guilty as anyone. Nay, they are by far the guiltiest. And the middle or the road media, NBC, is equally guilty. And CNBC is as far right as any of them. They are almost, but not quite, as guilty as Fox. Everything you get from CNBC is all peaches and cream.

The Far-Right Media are the ones who would have us believe that the free market will solve all our problems. The Far-Right Media are the ones who will book no dissent to the idea that the great American way of life is in no danger as long as we keep electing on good republican politicans to to solve the world's problems.

The fact of the matter is all the media downplays the problem, left, right and center. No one wants to hear bad news and no one wants to deliver bad news. This is one issue that is truly bipartisan. But if you hate the left you will blame the far-left and if you hate the right you will blame the far-right.

Stop being so childish Bm-whatever, and get it right.

Ron Patterson


I agree with you completely, the far-right media is simply evil.

All media are guilty of whitewashing the news, but the far-left media should know better.

They spend so much energy carefully peeling away the layers of propaganda from mainstream and far-right media, and they do a good job of it. But then they stop peeling before mentioning limits to growth.

This lulls a lot of smart people into feeling that the limits-to-growth people are a zany fringe.

I'm not the sharpest fellow, and they had me convinced for ten or fifteen years that the world's biggest problem is the evil rich.

The evil rich are bad, no question about it. But overpopulation and resource depletion are even worse. Wish I could have heard about those fifteen years ago.

Bmcnett, sorry I did not mean to lose it but I have been hearing this far-left media crap for years and it is a crock. The media is left, it is right and it is center. And right now I think that it is more right than left. At least I know the financial news networks, Bloomberg and CNBC are far right. And these are the stations that should be addressing peak oil and they are not.


Maybe we should try that statue thing. We could carve giant SUVs and set them around our cities.

Right! And use giant styrofoam blocks as the media!

God Lord Man! Think of what you are saying!

Statues of SUVs carved out of old grow redwoods, at 2:1 scale, is the only sane option!

Death to the styrofoam infidels!

Are You suggesting the US will turn into a Cargo Cult?

I can see primitive post-crash Americans building fake Wal-Marts and waiting for them to be filled.

Well, yeah, sounds about right to me.

It's not much of a stretch, is it?

Cargo Cult Capitalism: america's waking dream!

Peak Oil Tarzan

Sometimes I think the problem with the technocornucopians and us is we don't speak the same language. Advances in technology will provide significant mitigation. Clean coal (a misnomer if I ever heard one) could not exist without the advancements in technology. But, we wouldn't need clean coal technology if the population of the world were the 2 billion people that it was at my birth. We're burning triple the fossil fuel because the population has tripled. Natural mechanisms would quite possibly take care of most of the problems, and there wouldn't be the pressure on resources of all kinds.

If I were the richest man in the world, I'd set up a foundation where developing world children got free tuition for elementary education if their daddy had a vasectomy or their mother had her tubes tied. The point would be that the parents could offer a path to enough education to break the cycle of poverty by acting responsibly.

That's the key. End the wretched poverty and birthrates would fall below replacement rates, like in the OED countries. Even out the playing field a little with education.

oilmanbob, I agree with you: education would go a long way toward solving many of our problems.

Call me a cynic, but I decided some time ago that TPTB weren't particularly interested in educating the masses. If they did that, who would scrub their commodes and cut their lawns?

Peak Oil---
There is a easy way to bring population growth to a stop, and it works every time, across all cultures----
When women have equal political and economic rights, population growth stops, or goes negative-----
Obviously education is a main component, but delegitimizing religions and cultures with toxic ideas is essential-

I think you have cause and effect reversed.

When there are enough resources for the population, women tend to have equal rights, maybe even superior rights. But when a population is under Malthusian pressure, women lose their rights.

Control of females is control of fertility.

Leanan, that's an interesting perspective and one that deserves some serious thought. But women are second-class citizens even amongst relatively wealthy Muslim societies with high birth rates -- Saudi Arabia comes to mind. So, there has to be a cultural/religious component.

I tend to take subjugation of women in these societies at face value: The "man of the house" has a right to surround himself with as many of "his" women as he can financially support.

But women are second-class citizens even amongst relatively wealthy Muslim societies with high birth rates -- Saudi Arabia comes to mind. So, there has to be a cultural/religious component.

Again, I think you have cause and effect reversed. The cultural/religious component is shaped by socioeconomic factors, not the other way around. Why do Italians have so few children, when the Pope is right there telling them birth control is a sin? Economics trumps religion, if it doesn't shape religion outright.

You would expect to find women subjugated in a culture with high birth rates. There is no need to control fertility - control females - otherwise.

The cultural/religious component is a socioeconomic factor! By definition.

I imagine it takes some time for economic wealth to change cultural perspectives - like say 100 years or so?

I think you are being biased toward rationality--
Wealth and equality are primarily political and economic agreements--
(At least from the persons perspective inside that system)
When religion, as in Saudi Arabia, enters the causality, even economic wealth cannot overcome Iron Age superstition that regulates women to second class status---
I don't think I can open a monument to the Flying Spaghetti Monster in Mecca---

When religion, as in Saudi Arabia, enters the causality, even economic wealth cannot overcome Iron Age superstition that regulates women to second class status

Not instantly. As Speek pointed out, it takes time. But eventually, why not? Christianity and Judaism were once every bit as restrictive as Islam.

I don't think I can open a monument to the Flying Spaghetti Monster in Mecca

No, but when push comes to shove, if believing in the FSM confers some sort of advantage, FSM believers may conquer Saudi and erect a monument in Mecca.

Ask yourself...why is it that males are preferred over females so widely? (Not universally, so it's not innate.) There's no genetic reason why males should be favored. Yes, they can have more kids than females, but OTOH, females are pretty much guaranteed to have kids if they want them, while men are not.

There are economic reasons to prefer males, and it has nothing to do with religion, carrying on the family name, men being superior, or the other cultural myths we tell ourselves to justify what we do.

You are dismissing cultural replication and meme's----
These are independent repreplications, and only need to keep their hosts (people) alive long enough to infect a new host--
Religion is the best example, but many replications work together for their own survival--
Unfortunately, as Dawkins first pointed out, we are not entirely dealing with a purely biological perspective--

In general, religion is only followed if it's somehow advantageous. Usury is supposed to be forbidden under Islam, but they find ways around it, because the economy has changed.

Christianity, Islam, and Judaism have the same roots, and were equally restrictive. Why is it that women are allowed to drive in Israel and the US, but not in Saudi? Why didn't the memes work on everyone?

Answer: Historical particulars.

Translation: economic stressors.

"In general, religion is only followed if it's somehow advantageous"
I think Dawkins, Dennett, Wilson, Pinker, etc would disagree strongly on that one----
Dennett makes the case (brilliantly) for religion as a natural phenomena , with evolutionary fitness at certain points in it's origin, but eventually taking over the replication itself-
I wish it were that straight forward--
I am a former Bio teacher, and digest evolutionary discovery voraciously--
The evidence doesn't always point that way, and in many instances actions are against evolutionary fitness when cultural replication is involved-

I think religion is a natural phenomena. But which religions we choose, and which elements we choose to follow - that is often (though not always) dictated by socioeconomic concerns. (Example: "Thou shalt not kill." The church, at least in the U.S., applies that to fetuses with a lot more enthusiasm than it does to war. Why?)

Also note that I am not saying that specific religious beliefs are shaped by evolution. Quite the opposite.

But which religions we choose, and which elements we choose to follow - that is often (though not always) dictated by socioeconomic concerns.

Leanan, do you actually believe most people choose their religion? Gracious, no wonder your views on religion are so strange and unrealistic. While I was in Saudi I saw thousands of Moslems. I doubt that a single one of them "choose" Islam as a religion.

A few, a very tiny few, people choose a religion. The vast, vast majority of the people in the world are born into their religin. If you drum a religion into a child's head almost from birth, that religion will be there for life and no force will be powerful enough to remove it.

There is no absurdity so palpable but that it may be firmly planted in the human head if only you begin to inculcate it before the age of five, by constantly repeating it with an air of great solemnity.
- Arthur Schopenhauer

Ron Patterson

I was speaking figuratively, of course.

If you drum a religion into a child's head almost from birth, that religion will be there for life and no force will be powerful enough to remove it.

One quick counterexample: I have a fanatically religious fundamentalist Christian mother who drummed the religion into our heads from when we were toddlers. Bedtime bible stories, forced church and vacation bible school attendance, forced baptism, etc.

By my early teens I had declared my atheism to her and never relapsed into dogma again. It is possibe to rise above superstition.

But in the Western world there is also a strong counter-culture to religion, science, atheism, etc... so there are probably more varied influences in young people's lives in our countries too...

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

Leanan, I have been thrashing this (religious) straw for almost 50 years. And I think you grossly underestimate the power of religion. There are many reasons for the preference of males over females, most of them cultural. And yes, it is economic at the same time. Males are far more likely to take care of their parents while they can tell their wife's parents to go to hell.

Religion has a far stronger hold on those who follow Islam than those who follow Christianity. There is simply no comparison and to attempt to make a comparison betrays one’s knowledge Islam as well as religion in general. Christianity is a religion, Islam is a way of life. Christianity defines what some people believe, Islam defines the belivers entire existence.

Schoolboys in Saudi Arabia spend half the school day studying the Koran. By the time they are 12 they have it memorized verbatim. Schoolgirls also study the Koran but few of them ever learn to read. They will remain second class citizens all their life.

One thing that shocked me when I first got to Saudi was the number of women beggers. Life insurance is a violation of Islamic law. They consider it to be making a wager against the will of Allah. Therefore widows, unless their husband was relatively well off, must turn to begging when their husband dies unless they can beg support from their family.

While economics often trumps Christianity, Islam will trump economics every time.

Ron Patterson

Males are far more likely to take care of their parents while they can tell their wife's parents to go to hell.

I think that's a result, not a cause. In many cultures, it's the daughters who care for aging parents. "My son's my son till he takes him a wife. My daughter's my daughter the rest of her life."

The reason males are preferred is because the number of females determines fertility. One man can father a hundred children a year or more, but a woman can only have one child a year. Viewing females as inferior makes it easier to practice female infanticide (actively or via neglect). As China is finding out, it's an effective way to put a brake on population growth.

Christianity is a religion, Islam is a way of life. Christianity defines what some people believe, Islam defines the belivers entire existence.

Christianity was once just as restrictive, but no longer is. And not every Muslim country is like Saudi Arabia.

I believe what Darwinian implied was that in '"Saudi Arabia"(?) a man will take care of his parents but forbid and prevent his wife from taking care of her parents.

I also believe that it is true.

""My son's my son till he takes him a wife. My daughter's my daughter the rest of her life.""

The daughter is anxious to take care of her parents but is usually prevented from doing so by her husband.

There is still another difference affecting culture and politics between Islam and Christianity that is not generally grasped by those of us living in the west. In Christianity, there was from the beginning a separation of government authority and religious authority. Now I realize that the church often wielded heavy influence over the government and vice versa, but the church in the west had no influence on government for the first 300 years of its existence, and consequently there grew up church offices and institutions that were independent of the state. And it always remained that way - the King was not the Priest, etc.

In Islam, Mohammed was not just a religious leader, but also a political leader. Under him, there was no distinction between the religious law and the state law. Furthermore, the Dar al-Islam ("world of Islam") transcended national boundaries in importance. This continued to be very much a physical reality up through about the end of World War 1, and the concept is still strong today.

The result is that nations, national government and national law are quite important in the mind of westerners with a Christian background. By comparison, Islamic law and Islamic lands are more prominent in the eyes of most Moslems than nationalistic concerns.

In Christianity, there was from the beginning a separation of government authority and religious authority.

What was the Holy Roman Empire?

What was the Holy Roman Empire?

As the saying goes, it was neither holy, nor Roman, nor an empire. The Holy Roman Empire was a central European monarchy during the middle ages (after 800 A.D.).

But ask Father Guido Sarducci about keeping Religion out of Politics. The Vatican has been as political as it has spiritual, if not moreso..

Good thing any choirboy can grow uppa to be da Pope!

The clergy and the nobility have been a siamese twin for much of European history (e.g. the prince-bishopric of Liège). They amputated the arms during the reformation wars in some areas. Only during the napoleonic reign was the religious head cut off. Vatican city is about the only worldly political power they have left.

A couple people apparently objected to my statement that in the western world, separate institutions developed for church and state. Of course, many examples could be given of close relationships between government and church, with one or the other usually dominating.

But I was trying to make a cultural point about Islam that most of us in the western world miss because of our background. In the western world for 200 years, we've had kings, princes, dukes, earls, governors, mayors, legislators and judges. Those people developed and enforced the laws of England, France, United States, etc. We've also had an almost entirely separate group of people who were Popes, Cardinals, Bishops and Priests, who developed church laws and doctrines, and those laws and doctrines were very different from the laws of England, France, etc. Of course the two parties stepped all over each other and the lines were often blurred.

The point about Islam is that it is not like the western world in this area; separation of religion and state was an alien notion to Islam from the beginning. The Caliph was both the head of state and the religious leader of the Islamic world. Only in the 20th century did separation of religion and state gain limited traction in some Islamic countries, and this is sometimes viewed as being a western concept imposed by colonial powers. Sharia, or Islamic law, still has a hold on quite a bit of the Moslem world. Even in largely secular Islamic countries like Turkey and Egypt, some aspects of Islam are part of the secular law.

Since most of the world's oil exports comes from Islamic states, I do think this is applicable to discussions about peak oil, and a useful distinction for us to understand.

The New England states are creatures of the Congregrations. [Hmmm, AND the Corporations.] There was nothing separate about the state and the congregation. Short of a few radicals who went on to found their own state or congregation, one had to be in good standing in all of them to have power. That is more or less STILL true - imagine an anti-corporate atheist running for President.

You use the term "Islamic state" which WOULD be more like "Jewish state" than a secular state. There are plenty of Muslims living in secular states. There are plenty that want a fundamentalist religious state, just as do too many Christians and Jews. Fundamentalist Christians have too much of a hold on this US culture - eg, Gonzales now gets to expedite death sentences? Eye for an eye. But that's better than Islamic law - fetid corruption where the rich bastards get to kill poor non-whites? Sorry, I don't see it.

Any time you start claiming moral superiority over another race, culture or society, you'd be better off going shopping.

cfm in Gray, ME

I wasn't claiming moral superiority for any state. I believe what I said was objective, and a Moslem would agree with it.

I imagine it takes some time for economic wealth to change cultural perspectives - like say 100 years or so?

Various studies of economic history suggest that it takes about two generations -- call it 50 years -- for the local culture to "learn" how many kids must be born in order to have two kids reach adulthood. The "two adult children" thing seems to be somewhat hardwired into people. Note that this is quite close to the replacement birth rate to maintain a constant population, after allowing for deaths of female children before they reach childbearing age. Population growth has tended to occur locally in bursts when modern infrastructure and medicine arrives. Note that infrastructure should be interpreted broadly: affordable soap and underwear are now believed to be important factors.

Saudi Arabia comes to mind. So, there has to be a cultural/religious component.

KSA's fertility rate has been dropping rapidly since the early 80's, exactly the timeframe when oil income was enriching (relatively) even the poorest members of the society.


Thanks, ET. I wasn't aware that SA fertility rates had dropped that dramatically.

I think Leanan has it exactly right here except it applies to many more groups than just women.

Morals, ethics, "rights," all bloom in a World of Plenty. But they ALL become Expensive Luxuries when "a population is under Malthusian pressure."

Mother Nature passed a law long ago that said, "The more the persons around you look, sound, smell, feel and taste the same as you, the better... especially in times of scarcity"

Mother Nature passed a law long ago that said, "The more the persons around you look, sound, smell, feel and taste the same as you, the better

Then Mother Nature is a bigoted bitch. If that's the program then it is high time we came out with a version 2.0.

Mother Nature is Mother Nature. We don't come out with new versions of MN, and it's absurd to think so. Actually, she came out with US. Now, I wouldn't argue with anyone who said it is high time she came out with version 2.0 of us. But then, MN has perhaps different goals than we do :-)

I think the "us vs. them" mentality is human nature. But how it's expressed can vary a lot. I read a book awhile back that argued that race wasn't really an issue until fast transportation made it so. Marco Polo never mentioned that Chinese looked different, and they think it's because traveling overland on foot, the change was so gradual he just didn't notice.

I don't know how true that is, but my sister, who specializes in the 18th century, once told me that race really wasn't an issue before then. They were far more concerned about religious differences than racial ones.

"I don't know how true that is, but my sister, who specializes in the 18th century, once told me that race really wasn't an issue before then."

Definitely not true. The American Indian is a perfect example. Also, the Moors is Shakespeare.
According to Eldred Jones, Queen Elizabeth considered the number of 'Negars and blackamoors' who had 'crept into' London by 1601 such a problem that she appointed one Caspar Van Zeuden (a merchant from Lubeck) to transport them out of England.


The American Indian is a perfect example. Also, the Moors is Shakespeare.

But was the problem race, or that they were heathens?

"But was the problem race, or that they were heathens?"

'Negars and blackamoors' definitely refers to Race.

Thats what racism is. My race is (superior, more civilized, more intelligent, God's chosen, etc.).
Your Race is (inferior, savages, less intelligent, evil, etc.).

Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1)
hea·then /ˈhiðən/ Pronunciation Key - Show Spelled Pronunciation[hee-thuhn] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation noun, plural -thens, -then, adjective

1. an unconverted individual of a people that do not acknowledge the God of the Bible; a person who is neither a Jew, Christian, nor Muslim; pagan.

2. an irreligious, uncultured, or uncivilized person.
–adjective 3. of or pertaining to heathens; pagan.

4. irreligious, uncultured, or uncivilized.

Bob, Several times in my working life I had the misfortune to work for engineers that had been promoted into management positions. Notable among them was a total lack of people skills and the opinion that there was a technofix for everyting. Fortunately, they were eventually promoted out of the position of being in charge of my little world...with help from me and my co-workers.

From the movie Antz:

"In case you haven't noticed, we ants are running the show. We're the lords of the earth!"

"I think we have had chronic underinvestment in energy efficiency. We really need to accelerate that."

Ain't gonna help that we will be underinvesting even faster, either.


Feds to help pay for setting up New York City Congestion Charges

The grant would settle a long-standing squabble among New York officials about Bloomberg's plan, which would charge cars $8 and trucks $21 to enter Manhattan south of 86th Street on weekdays between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m.


NYC has the mass transit to make this happen (a superb strategy to prepare for Peak Oil IMO) and this will supply a steady cash flow to enhance mass transit, etc.

Best Hopes for fewer VMT (vehicle miles traveled).


Gasoline use drops with 1/6
(Het Nieuwsblad, 2007-08-14) No link.

Last year [in Belgium], almost 17% less gasoline has been bought. "The drop in gasoline use has not been compensated by higher diesel use." says Xavier Dumont of [the ministry of] Economy.
The drop in use of heating oil with 12,1% surprises no one, because of the unusually mild winter in combination with better isolation. But the drop in global use of gasoline, diesel and LPG surprises even the VAB [services for car drivers], since the traffic congestion hasn't diminished.
Yes, combustion engines are becoming less wasteful, but not enough to explain this drop in fuel use. Marc van Damme, VAB: "We see that diesel vehicles sales are still going up. Cargo traffic runs on diesel completely. After a dip in 2005 diesel use is on the rise again."
Because the use of diesel has grown to more than four times the use of gasoline, this growth partly compensates the drop in gasoline use. But not quite entirely. The use of LPG drop slightly, with 2,6%, but LPG is a fringe phenomenon in road traffic. The sum of the use of fuel for road traffic last year amounted to a decrease of 2,24%.
Gasoline is crashing for the second consecutive year. The drop of last year is doubly that of the year before that. Are the Belgians leaving their car in the garage now and then under pressure of the rising prices? Van Damme hesitates long. "Maybe gasoline users are letting their cars where they are now and then. But they are switching more and more quickly to diesel - and with a diesel you can drive more kilometers with fewer liters."

I live for the day that I wake up and read that "last year in the US almost 17% less gasoline used".

What do the Belgium people do differently from US Americans?

I would assume they pay out the nose for fuel.

Gasoline: 1,3 €/l (=6,85 $/gallon)
Diesel: 1 €/l (=5,27 $/gal)
Heating oil, propane: ca. 0,5 €/l (=ca. 2,6 $/gal)

Interesting that their propane is only a little higher than in the US - presumably untaxed?

From the recent law in 2003:

A. Motor fuels
unleaded gasoline : 28,6317 EUR per 1 000 liter bij 15 °C.
Kerosine: 28,6317 EUR per 1 000 liter bij 15 °C.
Diesel : 14,8736 EUR per 1 000 liter bij 15 °C.
LPG : 0 EUR.
Other : 0 EUR.

B. Heating fuels
Heating oil (=diesel) : 13,4854 EUR per 1 000 liter bij 15 °C.
Lamp oil : 17,9475 EUR per 1 000 liter bij 15 °C.
Heavy heating oil: 0 EUR.

Natural gas :
- using less than 976,944 MWh per year per user : 1,1589 EUR per MWh;
- using more than 976,944 MWh per year per user : 0 EUR per MWh.
- butane : 17,1047 EUR per 1 000 kg;
- propane : 17,3525 EUR per 1 000 kg.
Other : 0 EUR.

C. Electricity
- low tension : 1,9088 EUR per MWh;
- high tension : 0 EUR per MWh.

I talked to the local propane guy today and asked him what the price was. He looked nervous for a minute, then said $1.65 per gallon ... but we hope its going to go down.

This is apparently the highest rate he has ever seen. We chatted for a while and then I gave him the URL for this site. We shall see what happens next ... I'll visit him again in a few weeks to see how his reading is coming.

They probably don't have a president with his head up his ass.

One possible explanation is that Belgians are still using cars for in-town trips but reduce intercity travel. This would explain congestion staying the same and makes sense when they are pressed by high fuel prices. They also have good rail network which can readily replace intercity travel.

Storms take heavy toll on North Korea

Severe floods caused by days of heavy rains in North Korea have left at least 200 people dead or missing and will hamper the country’s ability to feed itself for at least a year, an international aid group operating in the country said Tuesday.

...“The material damage so far is estimated to be very big,” the official Korean Central News Agency said. “This unceasing heavy rain destroyed the nation’s major railways, roads and bridges, suspended power supply and cut off the communications network.”

...“The heavy rain destroyed at least 800 public buildings, over 540 bridges, 70 sections of railroads and at least 1,100 vehicles, pumps and electric motors,” KCNA said.

Those poor people living in that country. It breaks my heart for those born in there. What demented hell it must be.

Hello Buried Alive,

Yep, a living hell, but their 'Great Leader' sure puts on a great show of endless military parades, long and precisely synchronized flag and streamer waving, and massively rehearsed, then executed card-flipping in stadiums so that he may repeatedly bask in his 'accomplished glories'.

Think of the capital city as an open-air Auschwitz where brightly-dressed people are gradually being forced to dance to their deaths.

In the countryside, the Grim Reaper, being a very unassuming and humble guy: he just merely swings away; tirelessly pursuing his ultimate goal, never anticipating nor desiring any praise or reward. That is the definition of true leadership.

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

Just an update on TD4/90L ->

Navy and Experimental is calling it TS DEAN now...advisories should begin around 11AM.

Models on this one are all over the place...so it's a wait and see on track - but it definitely will be CAT 3 or better.

Elsewhere 91L(in the GOM), is showing as a TD now...advisories should begin on it shortly as well. Still not expecting anything major from it, just some heavy rain, although some suspect it may develop faster.

But, it wouldn't be a bad time to make sure your hurricane kit is in order if you are in Texas.

And, a new tropical wave blew of Africa today very similar to DEAN. I guess you could say the season is starting.

EDIT: They are a little early - TS DEAN NHC ADVISORY


Tropical Depression Brewing in Atlantic

"Mid-August really is starting the peak of the hurricane season," said Gerry Bell, lead seasonal hurricane forecaster for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. "The conditions are very favorable right now. Pretty much the conditions are as we expected them to be, so that is favoring a lot of activity."

.."but it definitely will be CAT 3 or better"

You meant or worse, I take it.

Numerical figure of speech.

My brother lives on one of the islands...I certainly would prefer the weaker side.

Looks like it could end up heading straight for the outer banks, maybe even a replay of Floyd?

Edit, 7PM EDT:

Now I'm wondering if this thing is going to run the slot between Jamaica on the L and Haiti & Cuba on the R, then the slot between Yucatan and Cuba, then explode into the GOM?

Looks like they may wait until the Hunter flight is back this afternoon to call on 91L. Of course, that could change anytime(either way).



10:42 - NHC now updating(images still being posted) TD5 in the GULF.

Some models show this becoming a hurricane before landfall.

The 5PM EDT forecast now has the centerline of the 5-day cone south of PR & heading towards Hispaniola & Cuba. It is still anyone's guess where Dean is going to track, but into the GOM next week is looking to be a very serious possibility.

Heads up, everyone!

First let me apologize for asking this question because I know something this important had to have been discussed before. It was likely discussed in June when it first appeared on Samsam Bakhtiari’s website. But I was on vacation in June and completely missed two and one half weeks of TOD. But Bakhtiari seems to have serious problems with the ASPO as expressed here in a short piece he calls Personal Clarification. He says of the 2007 ASPO conference in Florence Italy:

…from which I was very lucky to get away with my life.


Nevertheless, I am extremely grateful to major 'ASPO' personalities such as Dr. Colin Campbell and Prof. Kjell Aleklett, as well as my dear friends Prof. Rui Rosa (ASPO-Portugal) and Convenor Bruce Robinson (ASPO-Australia), for having always assisted me in my research and for sponsoring my participation at key 'ASPO' conferences and seminars. On the other hand, I will NOT easily forget the couple of very dishonest experts who hoodwinked me repeatedly (even adding insult to injury), notwithstanding the trust I had placed in them…

What the hell happened here? Who were those two dishonest experts who hoodwinked him repeatedly? Why on earth would anyone try to hoodwink him?

Again, I apologize for missing this when (if) it was discussed back in June. But could someone toss me a clue as to what happened here?

Ron Patterson

"What the hell happened here? Who were those two dishonest experts who hoodwinked him repeatedly?"

Ask Dave Cohen. He knows.

Bahktiari has long shown a propensity for histrionics. But I was unaware of this. To bad he wasn't more forthcoming. As it stands he sounds unhinged.

So you've concluded from this that Bahktiari is the one in the wrong.. How?

Nope. It's possible he was done wrong. But he's definitely behaving oddly.

Histrionics, Unhinged, Forthcoming, Oddly

I just think your choice of words is fairly loaded and judgmental.. To me, he sounds disappointed, or just pissed. From what's presented, I can't determine anything more.

It could be cultural. i.e. I don't know where you are from.

But Bahktieri's "Personal Clarification" is actually about his professional life in the oil depletion analysis world (or cessation thereof). And yet it is highly confusing, emotional, unprofessional and eccentric.

A normal response on my part would be:


How's that for histrionics?! :-)

Well, at least now I'm sure it's you.

..and no, it wasn't highly confusing, unprofessional or eccentric. It was only a bit emotional, and I don't see that as being out of place. It was pretty restrained, really, and if he chose not to go into the details (ie, being 'unforthcoming'), maybe they aren't any of our business.

The irony of such comments coming from you is beyond the bounds of comical.

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


"Versions of this idea [walking is bad for the planet] have been circulating since at least the 1980s. I blogged about a similar claim a year ago.
Morevover, as I found out as I ran the numbers, there's a good reason this claim is so counterintuitive: it's false!!
I won't rehash my year-ago calculations here. (Lucky you.) But unless I'm crazy or just badly mistaken, the propagators of the walking-is-worse-than-driving meme are probably skipping a few steps in their math."

Farm Bill spurs religious groups


Along with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Bread for the World was among nine signatories of a statement by the Religious Working Group on the Farm Bill.

Among the seven principles in the statement:

Strengthen and expand programs that reduce hunger and improve nutrition in the United States.

Expand research related to alternative, clean and renewable forms of energy.

Improve and expand international food aid in ways that encourage local food security.

"We certainly produce an abundance of food, but there 's still hunger, so the church can ask, Why is there still hunger? ' " said Robert Gronski, policy coordinator for the Des Moines-based National Catholic Rural Life Conference.

But some farm groups have expressed concern that the faith-based message has been so strong on fixing the commodity payment system that it demonizes all farmers taking payments, Gronski said.

"We 're calling for reform of commodity payments, not elimination, " he said. "We want to help the small guy. We want to stop the big agribusinesses from reaping all the benefits. "

Faith is also what has been motivating a number of groups and individuals to push for reform in the 2007 Farm Bill. Whether it 's nutrition programs, energy policy, farmers here or abroad or the people they feed, these groups speak of justice and an urgent need to fix what they see as a broken food system.

"In Proverbs 13:23, it says, A poor person 's field may produce abundant food but injustice sweeps it away, ' " said Tamela Walhof, senior regional organizer in the upper Midwest for Bread for the World, an organization dedicated to ending hunger. "And I sort of feel like that 's where we 're at. That 's the Farm Bill we 've had since 2002. "


Sounds like liberation theology. You know what happened to Oscar Romero.

The comptroller of the US is upset because he thinks we are on the path that the Romans followed. I dont know how he got such a silly idea since the Romans didnt have SUVs, cell phones, computers and the FED. We are far smarter than the Romans...arent we?


Learn from the fall of Rome, US warned
By Jeremy Grant in Washington

Published: August 14 2007 00:06 | Last updated: August 14 2007 00:06

The US government is on a ‘burning platform’ of unsustainable policies and practices with fiscal deficits, chronic healthcare underfunding, immigration and overseas military commitments threatening a crisis if action is not taken soon, the country’s top government inspector has warned.

David Walker, comptroller general of the US, issued the unusually downbeat assessment of his country’s future in a report that lays out what he called “chilling long-term simulations”.

These include “dramatic” tax rises, slashed government services and the large-scale dumping by foreign governments of holdings of US debt.

Drawing parallels with the end of the Roman empire, Mr Walker warned there were “striking similarities” between America’s current situation and the factors that brought down Rome, including “declining moral values and political civility at home, an over-confident and over-extended military in foreign lands and fiscal irresponsibility by the central government”.

“Sound familiar?” Mr Walker said. “In my view, it’s time to learn from history and take steps to ensure the American Republic is the first to stand the test of time.”

Mr Walker’s views carry weight because he is a non-partisan figure in charge of the Government Accountability Office, often described as the investigative arm of the US Congress.
“Our very prosperity is placing greater demands on our physical infrastructure. Billions of dollars will be needed to modernise everything from highways and airports to water and sewage systems. The recent bridge collapse in Minneapolis was a sobering wake-up call.”

Mr Walker said he would offer to brief the would-be presidential candidates next spring.

“They need to make fiscal responsibility and inter-generational equity one of their top priorities. If they do, I think we have a chance to turn this around but if they don’t, I think the risk of a serious crisis rises considerably”.

Just a brief mention of the environment, I note. He thinks Rome collapsed because of "declining moral values."

Leanan, I snipped out some of the article but included a link to the entire piece. Hmmm...I didnt think that Rome had any 'moral values' untill Constantine stopped the practice of feeding the christians to the lions and turned the church lose on the citizens. Seems to me that Rome was doing fine without 'moral values.'

I read the entire piece. There is a brief mention of the environment, but overall, he seems to think "sustainability" refers to money/debt, not things like peak oil or climate change. And he seems much more worried about declining moral values, increasing incivility, and the cost of foreign wars than about what most people think of when the word "sustainability" is used.

He thinks Rome collapsed because of "declining moral values."

Could be true. After all Rome thrived under paganism and collapsed under Christianity.

Seriously, there are a number of things that contributed to the fall of the Roman Empire. And it had already started to decline when Constantine converted to Christianity. Christianity marked not the beginning of the decline, but the beginning of the collapse of the Roman Empire. The decline was said have begun around AD 193. The Collapse is said to have begun in AD 337, the year Constantine died.

Ron Patterson

What a stupid ignorant comment.

Christianity was Constantin's way to control the lack of values and moral that was widely spread throughout the empire, and while the orgies were abundant, I really believe he was more worried with the constant corruption and stagnatic maphias. But it was too little, too late. The best of people were murdered and the hypocrites ruled. How could it not crumble? Besides, the symbolic awe of the Roman Empire was already fading away, giving up to general hatred.

Hey, just like America! Who would have guessed!

What a stupid ignorant comment.

It turns out Luis, that you are the one who made the stupid and ignorant comment. Everything I stated in my post was nothing more than the facts as reported by historians. Go here: http://www.roman-empire.net/

Click on "The Decline." You will see that historians believe it began around AD 193 just as I stated. Then click on "The Collapse." You will see that historians date the beginning of the collapse from AD 337, the year of Constantin's death. That was basically all I said.

Therefore what I stated was nothing more than the "facts." You do well to check the facts before you go running off at the mouth Luis. Better to keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.

One more point. The greatest historian of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Edward Gibbon, says the decline was hastened by the conversion of Constantine.

Ron Patterson

Everything I stated in my post was nothing more than the facts as reported by historians.

Playing the objective atheist hah? BULLSHIT. You completely referred to Christianity as if it were the cause of terminal decline of the roman empire. I admire your pretentious callousness on your rethorics, but it smells all over your words, so stop pretending. Correlation is not causation.

Better to keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.

Playing Bill O'Reilly with me, dick? Go to hell already.

One more point. The greatest historian of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Edward Gibbon, says the decline was hastened by the conversion of Constantine.

What, was he 10 feet tall? Do you realise that the tag "greatest historian" is pointless as an argument? I'll give you a quote from another respected historian on this subject, J.B. Bury:

"It has often been alleged that Christianity in its political effects was a disintegrating force and tended to weaken the power of Rome to resist her enemies. It is difficult to see that it had any such tendency, so long as the Church itself was united. Theological heresies were indeed to prove a disintegrating force in the East in the seventh century, when differences in doctrine which had alienated the Christians in Egypt and Syria from the government of Constantinople facilitated the conquests of the Saracens. But after the defeat of Arianism, there was no such vital or deep-reaching division in the West, and the effect of Christianity was to unite, not to sever, to check, rather than to emphasise, national or sectional feeling.

So I called it even. Except one point: Protestant Gibbon had a love-hate issue with Catholicism and Rome, while protestan Bury did not, so he was less heated by the subject. I'll go with the latter and you can kiss my ass.

Rome fell because it reneged on promises made to Attila. Rome promised to feed his people in a time of famine if Attila's troops helped Rome defeat an insurrection. Attila helped Rome win then the Emperor didn't deliver. Attila did what he is remembered for.

Thomas, you apparently take your cue from Thoreau, "Simplify, simplify". The decline of Rome begun in about 193 AD and ended around 476 AD, 23 years after the death of Atilla. The decline and fall took approximately 283 years. Atilla no doubt played a role in the collapse, very near the end, but you give him far too much credit.

Ron Patterson

283 years for an Empire of a population unlikely to be greater than 70 million to collapse...and people here seem to think that modern Western civilisation (over a billion of us) could collapse in a few decades...

But the Romans did not have Just-in-Time production, The Green Revolution, Climate Change (AFAIK) or the Internet !

We can do *SO* more today with modern technology! (and a sip of sarcanol),


Well in some ways I agree - our technological capabilities give us the ability for things to break down in a far more destructive and rapid fashion than the Roman Empire ever could have.

I could certainly envisage any number of scenarios that would set the bulk of Western Civilisation back a couple of hundred years within 3 or 4 decades. And of course we could destroy ourselves completely in a nuclear holocaust.

But when Western Civilisation as we know it eventually fades away, it's almost certain to happen over centuries, not decades. And it almost certainly won't be because of peak oil or climate change.

'But when Western Civilisation as we know it eventually fades away, it's almost certain to happen over centuries, not decades. And it almost certainly won't be because of peak oil or climate change.'

Yet another seer heard from. Nothing scarier than one so sure that they are correct in their assesements that continual sifting of new facts and reconsideration are unnecessary. Personally, I placed my crystal ball in temporary retirement when the doglovers elected shrub for a second term. Pontification of personal beliefs are about as usefull as more nipples on a male. BTW, how are you coming with your great pyramid project? Have you worked up the time and materials projection? I thought not.

Who said continual sifting of new facts and reconsideration are unnecessary?

My views on the stability of civilisations have changed quite a lot throughout my life, even in the last few months. I don't think there's anything in my above conclusion that isn't reasonably well supported by the available facts and a broad view of history.

How is statement of my personal beliefs any more or less "pontification" than statement of yours?

I used Attila's experience as an example that the greatest form of immorality is dishonesty by the rich and powerful. I'm sure there were many more examples both large and small where the elites cheated common folks. Do it too often and the common folks stop trusting the elites. When it is viewed that that burdens are unfair then common folks one way or another give up and move away.

This whole thread reminds me of a cartoon in the New Yorker many years, indeed decades, ago. I remember it because it was clipped out and was pinned to our family bulletin board by the phone for many years. In fact, I think my mother still has it.

Anyway, you'll have to imagine the scene: smoldering ruins of Rome, broken columns, burned out buildings, etc. Two obvious barbarians loitering around in barbarian attire. And one says to the other...

"You know, I resent being called a barbarian just because we come down here and raise a little hell once in a while."


The Decline and fall of the Roman Empire is an interesting topic, and a lot of people propose different causes for it. However, a little perspective is in order. All empires in the history of the world so far have collapsed. The remarkable thing about the Roman empire is not that it fell but that it lasted so long - over 500 years.


The morality question gets interesting...

Given that 60 billion dollars was recently disbursed to fund insolvent speculators, should we now expect the Federal Reserve to step in and inject similar monies to ensure Social Security? Is another 60 billion available for health care?

I liked Homer-Dixon's take on the Roman Empire, especially the part about the 4,000 ton stone they couldn't move...

It should be pointed out that across the whole ancient Greek and Roman world for many centuries thinkers and politicians often identified 'luxury' (and the pursuit of) as a cause for moral decay and societal decline.

[hee hee. I just remembered that scene from monty python's life of brian where the guy hanging upside down in a dungeon is yelling "luxury! luxury!" at people being being marched by bearing crosses on their way to crucifiction]

Tacitus, always Tacitus:

From Wiki

Tacitus' political career was largely spent under the emperor Domitian; his experience of the tyranny, corruption, and decadence prevalent in the era (81–96) may explain his bitter and ironic political analysis. He warned against the dangers of unaccountable power, against the love of power untempered by principle, and against the popular apathy and corruption, engendered by the wealth of the empire, which allowed such evils to flourish.

Sounds familiar?

When a person has everything the next thing he gets has to be decadent. It can not be otherwise. Decadence is the inevitable result of success. Applies to empires too IMO.

I aways liked Petronius:

"We trained hard, but it seemed that every time we were beginning to form up into teams we would be reorganized. Presumably the plans for our employment were being changed. I was to learn later in life that, perhaps because we are so good at organizing, we tend as a nation to meet any new situation by reorganizing; and a wonderful method it can be for creating the illusion of progress while producing confusion, inefficiency and demoralization."

"declining moral values" vs christianity
(note: this is a general response to a few upthread and other comments related to the parent)

the decline in moral values is in no way related to Christianity, and specific moral items such as infanticide and gender equality can (in certain cases) be directly linked to christianity.

Taticus, book 5,p.5
"The other practices of the Jews are sinister and revolting {...list of Jewish practices...} It is a deadly sin to kill an unwanted child"
Ie, it is the idea that condemning people who kill children is sinister and revolting, not infanticide itself ( which Seneca describes as “both reasonable & commonplace”) which was a common practice within greek and Roman culture.

To help underline the scale of this problem, there was thought to be a gender ratio of about 131:100 within Rome, and up to 140:100 within the provinces [1]. At the moment the gender ratio in china (amongst children) is about 112:100 and concerns have been raised about this.

A second area where the decline of morals is illustrated is in a lack of family values, leading to the decline of families. Despite land being awarded to families with 3 more children (instituted by Julius Ceaser, in 59BC, with further incentives being added by Augustine in 9AD) Taticus, in his Annuls complains that "childlessness prevailed".

Dio Cassius (writing c. 200 AD) attributed the declining pop to the extreme shortage of females.

On the other hand a partial reason for the early success of Christianity was that Christian women had greater status than in the surrounding pagan societies

[1], J.C. Russell, Late Anicent And Medieval Population, published as vol. 48 pt. 3 of the Transactions Of The American Philosophical Society, Philadelphia, 1958.

reffs for the other items are direct links to the text.

Rome collapsed because of loss of energy from deforestation:

Although there were huge reserves of peat and coal in the Roman Empire, to be of use these reserves had to be easily transportable to the major urban centres. In this sense, the Romans lacked efficient fossil energy.
. . .
The very early industrial revolution would rely on cheap fossil energy. First peat, that would fuel the Dutch Golden Age, then coal, mainly from the coalfield just north of Hadrian's Wall which supplied London. Later the Ruhr coalfield would dominate. These easily worked fuel reserves were all just over the border from the Empire. The Romans worked almost all the coalfields of England that outcropped on the surface, by the end of the 2nd century (Smith 1997; 323). But after c.200 AD the commercial heart of the Empire was in Africa and the East. There was no large coalfield on the edge of the Mediterranean. If there had been, history may have been different. As it was, under-floor heaters called hypocausts did allow them to exploit very poor quality fuels like straw. The vast majority of today's technologies would not be economic at the Roman cost of energy.

Oh, Oh, Oh it's MAGIC,
you know,
never believe Technophobes,
it's MAGIC,
you know

Paper Battery Offers Future Power

Flexible paper batteries could meet the energy demands of the next generation of gadgets, says a team of researchers.

They have produced a sample slightly larger than a postage stamp that can release about 2.3 volts, enough to illuminate a small light.

But the ambition is to produce reams of paper that could one day power a car...

But Professor Daniel Sperling at University of California, Davis, an expert on alternative power sources for transport, is unconvinced...

"The world is not going to change as a result of this new invention any time soon."

Professor Linhardt admitted that the new battery is still some way from the commercial market.


In other battery news, this is kinda old but not sure if was noted here. With a special charger, Aeroenvironment PROVED that Altair Nano tech batteries could charge in 10 minutes, enough for the vehicle to travel close to 120 miles. Read it up, gotta love the future.


As someone pointed out in the comments, that is an instantaneous load of more than 210KW plus losses. They used a 250kW charging system. What voltage do those batteries charge at? You are probably looking at 500A or so for 10min. Not likely to happen at your house.

So it takes 10 min - far longer than it takes me to fill up, but let's figure it is 2X as long. The small station down the road has 6 pumps now, so figure it will need 12 charge stations. That's a max load of 3MW, switching on and off at every station (concentrated at peak times), all over the country.

Also, making such a charging system reliable and safe in large volumes and in harsh outdoor environmental conditions will be quite a challenge.

What fast charge electric vehicle advocates fail to recognize is that when you fill a car with fuel, you are not charging anything or storing energy, you are just moving material that already has energy stored in it.

This all seems like an unworkable pipe dream to me - spend the effort on using less energy, rather than on perpetuating the car culture.

Conservation - the gift that keeps on giving.

Note most people will be charging up at home on a slow charge over night for their commutes. The fast charge system would be for long trips and possibly delivery vehicles that need to run all day.

I agree with your conservation remark. But I disagree with the impossibility of doing this on charge stations. Why not?
I don't see it coming overnight, though.

I would guess the most probable thing would be to people just charge their own car at night for full straight hours.

What fast charge electric vehicle advocates fail to recognize is that when you fill a car with fuel, you are not charging anything or storing energy, you are just moving material that already has energy stored in it.

And what you fail to recognize is that in this model, you don't have to move any material at all, electricity comes at the speed of light. And yes, gasoline wastes four fifths of its "energy stored".

I would imagine the reverse. If we had electric stations instead of gas stations, and people would want to build gas stations, you would be crying about safety! "what these idiots fail to recognize is the hazardous conditions they are envisioning: to store thousands of explosive gallons and fill them 24 hours a day to numb people? This all seems like an unworkable pipe dream to me"

But I agree: conservation is the best new saudi arabia we can find right now.

Thanks for your post Luis. Agree with you on 100% of it.

"And yes, gasoline wastes four fifths of its "energy stored"."

What is the overall efficiency of the process of burning coal to generate electricity and transmitting it to the car? I'm sure it is better than an ICE, but by how much?


Allow me to pipe in with my admittedly non-expert knowledge -- others may be more up on this subject than me...

The efficiency of coal-fired electric power plants is in the range of 33-35 percent. Transmission and distribution losses vary, depending on grid congestion and distance traveled, but the ballpark range is 8-15 percent. So, only around 20-25 percent of the original energy in the coal arrives to the end user in the form of electricity. Electric motors are quite efficient, in the 65-80 percent range -- therefore, the "coal-to-wheels" efficiency of charging an electric car from the grid looks to be around 15-20 percent.

Not great, on the face of it -- but when one considers the energy used to extract, transport and refine the oil into gasoline, the "well-to-wheels" efficiency of an ICE engine may only be in the single digits. I think the major benefit of recharging electric cars from the grid is that it can be done using off-peak power during the wee hours -- energy that would otherwise go to waste, since the power plants can't be shut down.

I repeat, this is my layman's general view of the subject, and I will defer to those who have more expert knowledge --

gwb (Is that really you? Nah, too lucid)

This jibes with my back-of-the-envelope calculations. I'm sure the results can be made to move a bit one way or the other depending on the assumptions used. The thing I take away is that there are no significant (to my way of thinking) efficiency gains here - it's just using a different fossil fuel to run cars with a different drive train. It requires huge investments in infrastructure (transmission & distribution system, probably generation capacity, charging systems, vehicle stock, etc.) to maintain the Business As Usual car culture. No real change.

One Critique,

You subtracted the T&T losses (overall US average just below 10% last time I checked) for transmission and transforming losses. You should multiply 0.33 - 0.35 x 0.9 or so for 0.30 or higher.

A fair amount of diesel is burned getting the coal to the power plants (roughly 88,000 barrels/day; 40% of rail ton-miles are coal, 2002 rail use was 220,000 b/day but coal trains may use less diesel/ton-mile).

Electric motor/generator efficiency varies by size. Some pumped storage motors are 98% efficient (8 meters or so diameter). Few well built ones are much less than 80% (from memory) in the 50 kW range.

Best Hopes,



Thank you, I didn't doubt that I had omitted some FF inputs somewhere, I was merely trying to give a rough "guesstimate"... Our Rube Goldberg energy-delivery system in the U.S. has no end of inefficiencies...

I live in the Washington, D.C. area, and commute by Metro, via the Red Line, on the Silver Spring / Glenmont side, which runs along the CSX right-of-way. I have the pleasure of seeing mile-long inbound coal trains, and the "empties" going out, every single day. Not a pretty picture -- but in the system we're saddled with, that's what it takes to keep the lights on...

Best Hopes for renewable energy,


I still think a better solution is to have standardized battery packs that can be changed out in just a couple of minutes. Think of the propane canisters for gas grills, etc. - you pay your money and swap out the empty for a refilled one - no needs to wait around for a refill.

With this type of system, each service station could have a large solar array canopy, with banks of battery packs being recharged & ready for changeout as needed.

I have been advocating for this idea for a long time. An added benefit (but a potential problem regarding pricing) is that the recharging stations would take care of battery recycling when they approach the end of their useful lifetime.

The proper way to cover battery costs would be a surcharge to the electricity "difference" between the old and the new battery pack. This way people maybe tempted to recharge at home, but first they will have to pay retail rates and second this will do a good thing balancing the grid at night.

WNC Observer and LevinK,

Great idea! Hadn't thought of it. Something along these lines would be a big boost to making electric cars more convenient and flexible. Solar recharging stations for swappable car batteries makes a lot more sense than trying to build out a nationwide network of hydrogen filling stations from scratch...

Personally I don't think there is a shortage of ideas for transition to non-oil transportation; what would be missing is the political will to do it. There are too much vested interests in the status quo.

With the system I envision, it would not be all that expensive for an NEV or PHEV owner to purchase a spare battery pack. With a PV panel on the roof, they could then be charging the spare at home while their vehicle is at work during the day. Every night just swap out battery packs.

Or, for longer trips just carry the fully-charged spare with you, and swap out after pack #1 is depleted. How far would that capability go toward eliminating people's fear of being stranded with dead batteries?

I could even envision NEVs and PHEVs with several battery pack slots, just like desktop PCs come with several disk drive bays. One pack is standard, but if you want a longer range, you can add one or two more battery packs. The person that only has a daily commute of a few miles might only need one battery pack, so no need to pay for the battery capacity for a 50 or 100 mile round trip. On the other hand, a person needing to drive more miles could have the extra capacity for the extra price, all with the same basic vehicle.

The good thing about the standardized swapable battery packs is that they give people multiple options.

I must emphasize, though, that standardization is the key. They must be every bit as standardized as propane cylinders or hard disk drives or it doesn't work. The fedgov could play a key leadership role by just adopting a standard and writing it into the specs for all GSA procurements. That should be enough to do the trick.

I agree that standartization will be the critical part of doing this. And quite likely the biggest problems will not be technical, but related to the natural corporate resistance against standartization.

I don't think we'll be able to do it the way you describe though; until we make batteries that can pack 100Kwth in 10 pounds (instead of 10Kwth in 100 pounds) we are going to need specialised recharging stations to perform this operation. Otherwise it will be too expensive for the individual owners (think of having a gas station at home) and quite dangerous if I may add. In addition what do you do for 200+ miles trips after both your packs are dead and any recharging from an outlet would take 8 hours?

I know that this will require some additional infrastructure and (gasp!) government support, but I see it much more feasible than the so called hydrogen economy.

Levin, Small electrical generators with say 5 gallon tanks that run on gasoline, ethanol, biodiesal, etc. could be put in the back of cars to give that bit of power to give you an extra 100 mile range to get ya where you need to get too.

If I had an NEV, what I would do for a 200+ mile trip is either take the train, if available, or rent a car abe to go the distance. Even though I haven't bought an NEV yet, I am still doing this and have been for years. Drive an economical used paid-for car locally, and rent the more reliable new car when I need to take a longer trip. It's saved me a ton of $$$ over the years by doing it this way.

Why do people who only commute a few miles per day think they need to do it in a car designed for cross-continental voyages? Own small cars for requent small trips, rent larger cars for infrequent long trips.

My favourite solution is municipal inductive charging loops at traffic crossings. They could be activated and signed on by an RFID tag. nothing new about this technology. You could then bill the user by his RFID tag. I reckon a kind of pantograph which lowers the car-side inductive loop onto the road when the vehicle is at rest at a traffic signal or parking space. There would be an inductive loops and RFID readers there to receive it (if you lined it up properly)

The idea would be to reduce the storage and weight on board the vehicle and have them operating more like non-tethered trams. Maybe capable of 5 miles on their own.

Carbon Coventry, UK

I've been having the same thoughts for a while-- electrically powered cars that make occasional hook up inductively to an in-street power recycling system.

But the first question is a chicken and egg one --how to get such a system going in the first place, how to encourage car makers to build cars with inductive pick ups. That would have to start in home driveways, with a standardized V2G kind of system that is forward compatible with planned in-street systems.

Has to be all or nothing, doesn't it.

I'm sure most cars would charge at night, at the slowest rate consistent with a full charge and controlled by computers.

It would be nice, though, to have a quick charge station at each gas station in the event one were to stray too far from home.

It seems like the opposite of Technocorns are the Technophobes. You're already convinced the entirety of world ingenuity can't come up with an outside battery charger over a period of years. As your proof, you've conjured up the MOST unlikely recharging scenario.

My solar array throws off enough excess electrons that I would love to have an electric car (upgrade my Prius maybe) to store some of them in. And yet I feel not the slightest bit of guilt in my 24000 lb motorhome sucking down diesel by the barrel. How? It's easy, I live in the grey area of life where everything happens.

Gee whiz, bunkerdude, what happened to you!

I'll grant you that I estimated for all fast charging, and that's not necessary. However, since all that only gets you 120mi, and adding in typical lack of planning, I'd bet that a lot of charging would happen at the fast charge stations.

As for being a Technophobe - I'm an electrical engineer with many years of experience. I'm hardly a Luddite, rather, I have a healthy respect for the costs and engineering difficulties such a system would present if you actually tried to implement it. I see these being glossed over by people simply too stuck in the rut of the car culture.

Further, I'm looking for new solutions. I do not see this as being enough of a change to justify the cost and effort. We need to make much bigger strides in reduction of energy, and simply substituting coal for oil (+/- a few % efficiency) to power our cars is not the answer.

The SHIFT Movie

This is a 6 minute 20 second movie that just bubbles with enthusiasm. “We intend to save the world” is the basic theme of this movie. A line from the movie; “We are waking up!” And I would add, just in time to die.

Ron Patterson, an unapologetic doomer.

A shift, huh? Seems like the hippies of the 60s tried this when they fought The Establishment, only it didn't work, because they didn't really know what they were fighting, or what they were fighting for.

Lotta talk about the problems in the world in this little short. Little understanding about the direness of the situation.

For all the good intentions of this movie, I hear in the distance the gates of Hell swinging open.

You just gotta believe, Man!

You just wait 'til the Shift hits the Fans!

No, seriously.. I'm glad people are out there trying to get the word out.. DiCaprio could have gone off and made another Gangster film with Scorcese, but he made his piece, and noone will know which one, if any of them will strike a chord, will be there when a critical mass is ready to jump in and do something substantial with it.. but if it's coming or not, I have to work towards it however I can.. Do you bail water out of the boat, or bail more in?

This one is pretty schlocky, it's the language of TV which most people are just soaking in perpetually these days.. but the intention behind it is still decent and trying to do the best that they can..


Good intentions, and all that. I'm not faulting any of the participants. Just like it's hard to blame an individual drop of rain for the flood. It is what it is, though.


From Angkor was a city ahead of its time:

The ancient Khmer city of Angkor in Cambodia was the largest preindustrial metropolis in the world, with a population near 1 million and an urban sprawl that stretched over an area similar to modern-day Los Angeles, researchers reported Monday.

The city's spread over an area of more than 115 square miles was made possible by a sophisticated technology for managing and harvesting water for use during the dry season -- including diverting a major river through the heart of the city.

But that reliance on water led to the city's collapse in the 1500s as overpopulation and deforestation filled the canals with sediment, overwhelming the city's ability to maintain the system, according to the report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The hydraulic system became "not manageable, no matter how many resources were thrown at it," said archeologist Damian Evans of the University of Sydney in Australia, the lead author of the paper.

Fascinating stuff. Tainter must be having a field day. ;-)

Another example to keep in mind, for when people try to claim you can't go "backwards."

Who's claiming you can't go backwards?

I seem to recall you being one of those who argued that the human trend in "progress" (whatever the hell that is) was always forward. You also argued that knowledge was never lost, unless I have you mistaken for someone else. I suppose I could do a Google search for your comments and sift through them to find it but it was some months ago when someone was doing this and your name sticks in my head as at least one of those making that argument.

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

IIRC, anthropologists have found some primative tribes living on islands that have no knowledge about how to build a boat.

The Easter Islanders, I suspect.


Indigenous Tasmanians have lost all knowledge of anything, seeing as the last one died out well over a 100 years ago.

Indeed, an attack by an advanced alien civilisation with no concern for our welfare would almost certainly wipe out most of human knowledge. Another reason to get cracking on those extra-terrestial settlements...


Tasmanians lost all knowledge of bone tools, boats, fire making,fishing, even clothes.

Hmm, as I understand it they did have a primitive type of boat, and while they may have had no fire making tools, I'm quite sure they hadn't lost knowledge of making or controllling fire altogher, given how simple and universal fire making is among humans. I would also doubt "no knowledge of fishing", and there are various fishing techniques that don't require the more sophisticated tools that the mainland Aboriginals still possessed.

Did you even bother to read the article?

I skimmed through it, but there wasn't much there I hadn't read before...I have actually been there a couple of times (it's a 1hr flight away). If the article truly did say they had no boats, fire or fishing at all, then I'd suggest they needed to do their research a bit better.

Well wiz, I suggest actually read it all the way through before you make any more snarky comments on the subject.

But since I suspect you won't here's a quick summary. It was written by Diamond (whom I suspect is a bit more knowledgeable than you on the subject) and he specifically states they didn't have boats, but simple rafts that couldn't make the crossing to the mainland. They had fire using but not way of creating fire. And yes no fishing at all, but they did collect shellfish. These among a long list of lost techs.

Ok, that sounds more reasonable...but it's far cry from what you seemed to be implying originally. I'm not sure what the technical distinction between a "raft" and a "boat" is...either way, it wasn't how they got there from the mainland.

As far as fishing goes, there's at least one book "Traditional Aquaculture By Worawee" detailing the fishing methods of at least one indigenous Tasmanian tribe.

I've always respected and enjoyed Diamond as an author, but like any other populariser of science, he's occasionally given to simplifications or misrepresentations, intentional or otherwise. My wife's aunt is an anthropologist who has worked at the same university (UCLA) and isn't too impressed with some of his theories and writings on the native tribes of the U.S. South-West (her area of specialty).

'I'm not sure what the technical distinction between a 'raft' and a 'boat' is...either way, it wasn't how they got there from the mainland.'

If you attempt to row a raft the 'destinction' will become obvious to you.

If you had bothered to read the article you would know that the Tasmanians walked to their island at a time when a lot of ocean water was locked up in ice.

The currents off Tasmania are very strong. So strong that several ships are lost each year to them. It is not surprising that natives were in grave peril when attempting to row a skin boat or drift a raft to another destination.

Many varities of reef fish contain toxins that are fatal or nearly fatal to humans. If Tasmanians ate some posion fish and many were sickened or died it is easy to see why they would place a taboo on fish.

You really should read the link prior to opening your mouth, otherwise, you come off looking foolish. Once you make a foolish statement and are called on it you quickly beging to try to shovel enough bs to cover your mistake...it is a ploy familiar to all and a waste of time.

Come off looking foolish to whom? I don't feel the least bit foolish...having double checked the article, it more or less verifies what I stated, and certainly doesn't back Rethin's original claim that the indigenous Tasmanians lost all knowledge of "boats, fire making, fishing", unless you insist that a "raft" is absolutely distinct from a "boat". There is most definitely archaeological evidence of them establishing fire-places, and they most certainly did fish*, despite the taboo on scaled fish (which may or may not have been universal among all the tribes).

* http://www.utsydney.cn/linuslib/search?/c305.89915+YOUG/c305.89915+youg/...

As much as you split hairs, the Tasmanians lost a lot of very useful tech.

And my original claim still stands (altough I was mistaken about boats as they never had them). They lost knowledge of fire making, bone tool making, clothes and according to Diamond fishing as well.

BTW, as I don't have access to the U Sydney library I can't see inside that book you linked to. I suspect what you alluded to before is correct, that Diamond simplified a complicated argument for a mass market article.

I'm not sure what you are trying to cling to here. Did the tasmanians not lose basic useful techs like bone tool making, clothes, fire making, fishing of some sort?

Not trying to cling to anything. There are far more dramatic examples of technology and knowledge loss than the indigenous Tasmanians, whose situation can hardly compared to today's global industrial economy. It just concerned me that people might interpret your initial statement literally. Anthropologists are constantly discovering surprising facts about tribal peoples, typically finding that their traditions, knowledge and food-gathering techniques were more sophisticated than previously thought (and Diamond should know, as he has very much been at the forefront of dispelling notions of "primitiveness").

At most I've argued that the human trend in progress has always been forward, when looking at it from a sufficiently macro-perspective. The setbacks that have occurred have never seriously threatened the trend. I also brought up examples of where knowledge was lost.
Is it impossible for knowledge/technology to be lost at a rate faster than new knowledge and new technology is gained? Of course not. But the longer the period and the larger the number of people involved, the less likely it becomes. The probability of the current world's collective technological capabilities being significantly less in a century or so's time is small enough that I'm certainly not going to lie awake at night worrying about it. I'm far more concerned that in 100 years' time we'll have vastly more technological capability, but still haven't learned how to look after our planet or focus on actually improving overall quality of life.

Neither were the Romans concerned about the coming dark ages...But, that didnt stop the dark ages from happening. Are the dark ages included in your 'macro perspective?' For the millions of people that lived and died during the dark ages, the dark ages were a significant 'threat to the trend.'
Yes, it is possible for knowledge/technology to be lost at a rate faster than it is gained.
I doubt we will be around in one hundred years as an advanced civilization if the growth rate of the human population continues unchecked.

Your comment reminded me of a book I read where the author felt that the preservation of knowledge (in this case, Western literature) through the Dark Ages can be credited to the Irish (How the Irish Saved Civilization). From the back cover:

From the fall of Rome to the rise of Charlemagne - the "dark ages" - learning, scholarship, and culture disappeared from the European continent. The great heritage of Western civilization would have been utterly lost were it not for the holy men and women of the unconquered Ireland.

Here, far from the barbarian despoilation of the continent, monks and scribes laboriously preserved the West's written treasury. With the return of stability in Europe, these Irish scholars were instrumental in spreading learning.

Yes the dark ages are included. From the perspective of the advanced civilisations in China, the Americas, and among Moslem peoples, the dark ages weren't much of a set-back.

If you "doubt" we will be around in one hundreds years as an advanced civilisation, whereas I am reasonably certain of it, then who's pontificating?

But at least explain your caveat "If the growth rate of the human population continues unchecked": the world population growth rate has been slowing down gradually anyway, and is widely anticipated to hit zero sometime around the middle of the century. The population growth rate within those of us who enjoy "advanced civilisation" is significantly lower still, and will probably reach zero well before then.

Hello GeDaMo,

Thxs for the link. The past has, of course, passed us by. Looking to the future [plus a few edits to your post]...

The modern cities of Los Angeles, Phx, Las Vegas, etc, of the Southwestern part the US were among the largest metropolises in the world, with a total population over 50 million, and an urban sprawl that stretched over an asphalt and concrete area simply too big to mentally comprehend, researchers reported Monday.

The megacities' spread over an area of more than 30,000 square miles was made possible by cheap fossil fuels, and a sophisticated technology for managing and harvesting water for use during the dry season -- including diverting a major river, the Colorado River, through the heart of the megacities by an incredible, electrified infrastructure of dams, canals and pipelines. Draining aquifers was also seen as a key solution to keeping SUVs sparkling clean and golf courses remarkably green.

But that reliance on water, autos, and electricity led to the megacities' collapse in the early 21st Century as persistent drought, overpopulation, deforestation, desertification, insufficient maintenance, and massive civil unrest killed the total volume and water transport ability, far overwhelming the Southwest's ability to sustain itself, according to the report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The hydraulic system became "not manageable, no matter how many resources were thrown at it," said archeologist Damian Evans of the University of Sydney in Australia, the lead author of the paper.

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

"History doesn't repeat itself, but it does rhyme."
-- Mark Twain

Doubts over 'green' solar panels

Solar panels fitted to homes may be harming the environment more than conventional sources of energy, according to a study by scientists.
More energy is used to build, run, and recycle solar panels compared with that for fossil fuel systems, according to researchers.

Why does this even gets to be in here? It's no more than clear instillation of FUD (Fear Uncertainty and Doubt) unto a well proven renewable source. According to that ridiculous sentence, the problem with solar renewables is that they spend more energy than the non-renewables.

Hahum, knock knock, someone in there? Do you really understand the meaning of "Renewables"?!? Problem with Oil is not that it doesn't give us significant power, problem is that it is finite!

But these kinds of desinformation are all spread accros the media and the internet, misuderstanding easy concepts and mischaracterizing arguments, in order to instill a idiotic concern.

Heck, even at the end they recognize:

Owen Davis, spokesman for Friends Of The Earth Scotland said: "There have always been concerns about the manufacturing of solar panels but if you compare, say over 25 years, the amount of pollution and energy used by a solar panel is minute compared to a fossil fuels."

Notice, how this last paragraph rendered all the story utterly pointless and a waste of time. Shame on you!

What I didn't like about the article is they never say who these "researchers" and "scientists" are. Real researchers and scientists want all the publicity they can get. The only name given is that of a spokesman.

I put my comment there instead of here, since you've all heard it before.. the commenters on these articles don't seem to have ever heard of sourced information before.

Best hopes..


The article indeed is not clear nor too informative, but makes the important point that small scale solar panels are much worse energetically than large scale installations.

This indeed makes sense to me as a small installation still must have relatively large fixed cost in the form of a supporting structure, inverter, installation costs etc. Consequently larger solar arrays could benefit significantly from economies of scale.

Unfortunately there are no numbers quoted so it is not clear at all what the difference is.

It seems to me that the energy calculation for PV hinges more on the scale that the equipment was manufactured on, not as much on the size of the individual distributed collectors..

One of the great advantages of home-scale Solar is that it can leverage on the desire and efforts of each homeowner to install a hedge against future energy costs and grid-dependency. This means that there is a broad potential market who will provide many of the inputs as a normal course of 'keeping house' -the Rooftops, the Financing, sometimes the Labor, and usually the maintenance and upkeep of the 'installation', unlike the ongoing costs of commercial Solar Farms.

People ARE paying a premium in order to have this piece of independence and energy security, so the money spent counts in more of the household categories than just a Utility Kilowatt/hours comparison. It's emergency preparedness, it's an insurance policy as rates and the grid's stability 'matures'; it's been shown to be a reliable boost to home-resale values (in a California study), and of course, it does finally pay for itself with interest, so you could easily say that it is part of a healthy, diversified investment portfolio.


We have an energy pool mentality here at TOD - always looking at global this or national that. The whole point with PV or small scale wind, at least for this place, is that if electricity goes some combination of those could keep the heat pump running. We'll see and more of people doing this where they're able, and probably infrastructure (doctor's office, police station) will get this treatment in order to remain stable when there is trouble.

and add to that, that when enough homes in a town or neighborhood have some generating capacity, they can (theoretically, but not TOO fantastically) be joined into a 'micro-grid' and so still have individual security, but also an increased collective security. This should be able to scale back UP so micro grids can join each other as well, as well as counties, regions, etc.. But it all has the driving force of peoples' self-interest initially, which of course always gets back to our self-interest also relying on an expanding range of our people around us also being set-up and stable.



The whole point with PV or small scale wind, at least for this place, is that if electricity goes some combination of those could keep the heat pump running

If this is the whole point than you better don't do it. Grid-tied PV systems are worthless without the grid. You would need a massive battery pack (maybe 50kwth) to do without the grid and still you won't be able to run it all the time like that. If your goal is to protect from short interruptions of the power supply better buy UPS - will be much much cheaper.

Well of course it is not the WHOLE point, LevinK. I suspect he was using a bit of a rhetorical flourish.

Your objection, as usual seems to hinge on an All-or-Nothing result, and an All-or-Nothing demand for power. A grid-tied PV system's INVERTER would, indeed shut down if the grid went down, as it is supposed to. But that 1,2, 4kw of panels is still on your roof, and could quite easily be reconnected (by an electrician or advanced handyman) to any number of other charge-controllers, DC Appliances, or direct wired to standard inverters to keep fridges running, etc.. If you want to have your house run seamlessly as it has with invisible and beneficent grid power behind the walls, then you might need this monstrous battery bank, as you say. Luckily, however, a well-informed consumer will discover that She or He has a great deal of choice in the matter, and can get an amount of battery storage that would suit a set of clearly listed essentials, or some acceptable fraction of them. This is really no different than your suggestion of using a UPS, which is a battery, charger, inverter combo; and the amount of battery-capacity you choose is pretty much direcly proportional to the amount of wattage and number of days you feel you need to be prepared to store, and the amount you are willing to pay for it..

It has been possible for a few years now to get a grid-tie inverter that also can charge a battery bank, sized to your need/want/pocketbook.. so you can have both worlds.

"If your goal is to protect from Short-term interruptions.."

Well One goal is to protect from ANY interruptions, really, which a rooftop battery/gridtied system will provide, given the limitation that you may have to budget your electricity use during this Short or Long period.. not quite as horrible as being totally in the dark after the UPS is drained..

Another goal of having this, as has been repeated often enough, is that it is cutting down on your 'imported electricity' dependence even on normal, grid-ful days, and a positive by-product of this is that many, many PV owners then become exceedingly aware of their Electricity usage, and learn ways to cut out all the possible excesses (that which they are still buying from the futility), so that economizing becomes a personal challenge and a game one can actually win prizes at..


Commuters give transit a try
By Mike Lindblom
Seattle Times transportation Reporter

Half the motorists who usually take northbound Interstate 5 to Seattle vanished Monday as state officials hoped, and a potential traffic nightmare turned into one of the easiest weekday drives of the year.

Will commuters' obedience continue, or will Monday's images of free-flowing freeways lure people back to the road?

"It tends to be very good until people think, 'Everything's great, let's use it,' and things fall apart," said Mark Hallenbeck, director of the Washington State Transportation Center at the University of Washington.



See, people will turn to alternate forms of transportation. (As long as you force them).

Dartnell is impatiently waiting for construction to begin next month of a plant that will convert forestry wastes into ethanol, a car fuel.

This is such a terrible idea, just like the rest of the plant -> fuel scams. Forests need and depend on that "waste" on the forest floor. It's pretty basic, although it seems to escape some people: trees are made of material. They get the raw material mostly from the soil and water. If the raw material is grown into tree shape, and then carted away, eventually you run out of raw material to grow more trees (and other plants, of course).

Also, the dead/decaying waste wood does not necessarily lead to pests and infestations, and in fact often have the opposite effect. A lot of insects that end up eating live trees these days have been forced into those niches in part because they have no easy food (dead trees) left around to eat and live in. Many other animals in the ecosystem also depend on these types of habitats. Forests should not look like professional golf courses, they are naturally messy and diverse places.

More spot checks from the grocery store:

Drakes Crumb Cakes have had a sign on the rack for years with a price of, usually, $2.50. Yesterday I looked for the sign. No sign. I finally looked at the price stamped on the box: $3.99. (didn't buy them)

At the deli counter, there is always a line of signs with the week's specials. Yesterday there was one (Canadian Bacon, not the best sandwich meat).

So one hallmark of the current inflation is those "specials" disappearing.

I noticed last weekend that Breyers and Dannon, at least, have reduced the volume of their yogurt containers. The store brands have followed suit. Yoplait has always been a different shape, so I don't know about them. Not sure about Stonyfield Farm, either. (Can't find my favorite, Colombo, since I left Connecticut.)

This article says the drop was 25%, and calls it a "weight out":


OT Heard that Ben and Jerry's are introducing a new flavor-mint combined with peaches. Called Impeachmint.

Well, they're always recomending we eat smaller portions.

WXman, PO.com's weather geek, says the new model run shows the storm swinging back west.

Yeah, the new GFS is the worst oil infrastructure run so far. Skirting the south side of the islands, over western Cuba a la Dennis, into the Gulf, and then into TX. That takes it through some of the warmest water out there.

House #1 A 20 room mansion ( not including 8 bathrooms ) heated by natural gas. Add on a pool ( and a pool house) and a separate guest house, all heated by gas. In one month this residence consumes more energy than the average American household does in a year. The average bill for electricity and natural gas runs over $2400. In natural gas alone, this property consumes more than 20 times the national average for an American home. This house is not situated in a Northern or Midwestern "snow belt" area. It's in the South.

House #2 Designed by an architecture professor at a leading national university. This house incorporates every "green" feature current home construction can provide. The house is 4,000 square feet ( 4 bedrooms ) and is nestled on a high prairie in the American southwest. A central closet in the house holds geothermal heat-pumps drawing ground water through pipes sunk 300 feet into the ground. The water (usually 67 degrees F. ) heats the house in the winter and cools it in the summer. The system uses no fossil fuels such as oil or natural gas and it consumes one-quarter electricity required for a conventional heating/cooling system. Rainwater from the roof is collected and funneled into a 25,000 gallon underground cistern. Wastewater from showers, sinks and toilets goes into underground purifying tanks and then into the cistern. The collected water then irrigates the land surrounding the house. Surrounding flowers and shrubs native to the area enable the property to blend into the surrounding rural landscape.

HOUSE #1 is outside of Nashville , Tennessee ; it is the abode of the "environmentalist" Al Gore.

HOUSE #2 is on a ranch near Crawford , Texas ; it is the residence the of the President of the United States , George W. Bush.

An "inconvenient truth".

I believe Dick Cheney has a similar set-up as Bush. But its not "green" its self-sufficient, there's a difference.

Actions speak louder than words, Bush and Cheney are expecting trouble, Gore apparently isn't. Funny how those that tell us everything is fine, prepare themselves for the worst, and those that tell us the opposite, act as though it won't happen.

A bit like Richard Perle, chief neocon stone thrower against the French (for not joining in the Iraq fiasco), preparing his bolt-hole in France.

Triumvirate of collapse - Economy, Ecosystem, Energy

Unfortunately, Bush stole his second house from the other guy, and is now operating an organized crime ring from it responsible for the unnecessary deaths of several hundred thousand people in the pursuit of oil. His third house should be a cell at The Hague. No one gives a damn that Hitler was a conservationist.

And yes, I genuinely believe that the government may be using its new surveillance powers to collect comments like mine for the purposes of eventual arrest and confinement. But if I shut up out of fear, as you desire, then tyranny succeeds.

Attack the messenger much?

Links to substantiate please. Particularly for house #2. Also would like links to "greenness" of alleged home in Paraguay.

Bush's "ranch" really does have all that "green" stuff. Google it, there's tons of references.

We've discussed it often here, wondering if maybe he knows something we don't. If cheap and abundant energy is the American birthright, why build a house that way?

And yet owner of House #1 has made a great effort to inform his countrymen that there is a compelling need to change our ways, to prepare and try to repair the damage we've done.. not only Americans, in fact, but the world.. (And who can tell us that he really hasn't made preparations? Ready to prove a negative? Yes, we need some links)

.. While owner of House #2 has made a couple of brief mentions of Oil Dependency, followed by policies favoring Oil cronies, the Mil Indus. Complex, and has busily gotten himself prepared while his country is left in the dark.

If you want to snark about some perceived hypocrisy in 'What they've done'.. then since they find themselves as Leaders in our society, then the thing they really have to DO is communicate with and inform their people. THIS is what they've done, what they've said, what they've refused to say.

Bob Fiske

It seems that much like a "house" in Washington, the "house" in Tennessee is used primarily as an office. In terms of efficiency, I'd say the White House creates far more pollution, and a lot more global warming, given the hot air of little substance as compared with the efforts (which at least are well meaning) out of Tennessee.

The "house" outside of Crawford is a monument to rural inefficiency - it apparently requires a helicopter for most of its access. Shame we don't have a common man for President. By the way, how is the house in Kennebunkport for efficiency?


Conveniently ignoring the fact that the bush ranch is a compound consisting of a number of buildings and trailers. Not just one structure.

And conveniently ignoring that it was being built while he was running for president (PR stunt?).


It is relatively easy to find on google earth, look up Rainey Rd, Crawford, TX.

Hello TODers,

I am no economic guru, but could someone explain to me how a money market fund [MMF] cannot have enough cash to meet redemption requests? I thought MMFs were cash accounts to begin with, plus a small interest kicker:

Stocks Tumble on Credit, Consumer Woes

NEW YORK (AP) -- Wall Street pulled back sharply Tuesday on anxiety about the pace of consumer spending amid a disappointing outlook from Wal-Mart Stores Inc., and word that a large money market fund was struggling because of weeks of volatility.

Exacerbating investors' nervousness was confirmation that Sentinel Management Group Inc., which oversees $1.6 billion in assets, is seeking to halt investor redemptions.

Sentinel Management said in a letter to clients that it cannot meet investors' requests to withdraw their money without selling investments at a steep discount. Sentinel did not respond to calls for comment. The firm sent a request to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission for permission to stop investors from cashing out, but it was rejected.
Bob Shaw in Phx,Az Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

Money market funds invest in short term debt obligations typically commercial paper which carries a 30-90 day term along with other short term including T-bills, and other misc. Obviously if the money isn't tied up its not earning much interest so they anticipate a redemption rate and tie up a portion of thier cash in overnight debt obligations to satisfy that. The past couple of weeks have raised the level of redemptions and the MMF's are not able to free up enough of their cash within that tight of time frame. Not surprising given the level of tightness in some sectors and the liquidating fear of some to get their cash.
A lot of the funds compete on paying the highest rate that typically means tying up more cash for more time and again that limits thier redemption flexibility. THe MSM keeps reporting that the level of inter bank lending is troublesome IMHO indicating they are a bit nervous about meeting their reserve obligations due to withdrawals.

Everything you ever wanted to know about Money market funds.

Keep in mind, they don't keep a pile of cash laying around. All these funds work on the principle of statistical models that tell how much money will PROBABLY be needed the next day.

Just like your bank where you cash your check. I assure you they don't keep "your" money in a drawer until you need it.

The fund in question had a user option to seek additional return. This is where they got into trouble.


Biofuel Boom Threatens Gummy Bears

Ah Yes....The Gummy bear Riots of 2007.....

Tragic. Tragic. Tragic.

I can only imagine the carnage of all those children battling it out in the mean streets of Bonn. I heard it made the 1964 "Battle of Brighton" between the Rockers and Mods seem like ... like ... a Bank Holliday.

Why, it was almost as bad as the My Little Pony Stampede of 96' when four little girls, all named Brittany, were trampled to death at the Pony Expo in Indianapolis or the the Carebear Maulings of '86. Remember the 10,000 strong PETA protest after the Interior Department shot the bears?

Conrad wrote it best: "The horror. The horror."

Shell have begun evacuating employees from the Gulf of Mexico. Seems they are also going to shut down 5mcf of gas too. They seem to be taking the developing hurricane seriously.

Oh! And there is a rig on fire in the North Sea, personnel being evacuated.

Triumvirate of collapse - Economy, Ecosystem, Energy

Interestingly, this is not in response to Dean in the Atlantic, but to a possible depression forming in the Gulf north of the Yucatan. By the time they would bring workers back, they could be evacuating for Dean.

Here's a link:

Oil Gains as Storm, Weather System Threaten Gulf Oil Production

Sounds like it's the other storm that's causing the evacuations, not Dean.

RE Toplink "Prices for many food staples are climbing by double-digit percentages"

Another wonderful MSM article that gives a bunch of causes but misses the main point. The fact that grain surpluses are gone is never mentioned, yet it the main driver in food prices. The price would not be spiking on every drought report or new biofuel plant if there was excess food capacity, even a semblance of the grain stockpiles so prevalent thru the nineties and into this century.

Just a quick look, even continually reported on Bloomberg, states world wheat consumption has exceeded production for 7 of the last 8 years.

Re: Why are food prices rising?

Blaming rising food prices on the high cost of corn is a joke. Corn is currently selling for about $3.30 per bushel, corn was $2.50 in 1975, adjusted for inflation, corn is cheap today. How many food products are made from corn aside from the high fructose corn syrup laden junk. To put the price of corn in perspective, in 1975 the price of oil was about $12, 6 times higher than pre-embargo days.
Oil today is about $72 or 6 times more than in 1975, so corn should be selling for $15 per bushel.

How is $3.30 corn in 2007 driving up the price of food?

We are used to $2 corn.

And corn is THE ingredient in so much of our foodstuffs. Soft drinks aside, corn syrup or high fructose corn syrup finds it way into seemingly everything. And it is the dominant feed grain. When it shot to 4, it brought all other substituable grains with it. Oats, barley, to an extent wheat. Not to say that the increase wasn't a long time in coming, that food has lagged every other commodity for too long.

Corn is one type of foodstuff - pull it out of the system and other things move. I believe wheat is up 20% over the last year due to changes in corn availability.

Ethanol Death Sentence for "Hundreds of Thousands"

In the past 12 months the global corn price has doubled. The constant aim of agriculture is to produce enough food to carry us over to the next harvest. In six of the past seven years, we have used more grain worldwide than we have produced. As a result world grain reserves - or carryover stocks - have dwindled to 57 days. This is the lowest level of grain reserves in 34 years.

Economist Lester Brown from the Earth Policy Institute explained in a briefing to the US Senate last week. He said: "The stage is now set for direct competition for grain between the 800 million people who own automobiles, and the world's 2 billion poorest people."

Anger boiled over this week as Jean Ziegler, the UN special rapporteur on the right to food, accused the US and EU of "total hypocrisy" for promoting ethanol production in order to reduce their dependence on imported oil. He said producing ethanol instead of food would condemn hundreds of thousands of people to death from hunger.


The issue isn't just the price of corn. The issue is the conversion of food producing ACREAGE to ethanol producing acreage. The cost of feed corn increased the costs of livestock. The increase in the cost of wheat increases the cost of everything from bread to beer.

I would suggest the price rise in oil from $2 pre-embargo to $72 today has much more to do with food price increases than corn going from $2.50 to $3.30 per bushel in the same time frame.

"On one occasion, the White House's pointman at the bank, the now disgraced Paul Wolfowitz, personally intervened to remove the words "climate change" from the title of a bank progress report and ordered changes to the text of the report to shift the focus away from global warming"

Maybe they WANTED global warming. Resources made available once the ice caps are out of the way might be a strong incentive. Also shorter transit routes by crossing the pole.

I'm not suggesting they engineered Global Warming. I AM suggesting, once the opportunity presented itself....

The promise of access to potentially great wealth can be a huge disincentive to stopping the process.

Alarming rumor on the wunderground tropical weather discussion blog:


"Posted By: texascanecaster1 at 3:07 AM GMT on August 15, 2007.
Ok guys i am tracking td5 aka future ts erin. aparrently almost all the oil production on oure side of the gom has ceased and shell and bp are evactuating all their personal [personnel] via aircraft. Anywho goodnight guys i will have a full updat on this stuff on my blog tommorrow."

Probably a bit of an exaggeration, but I wonder to what extent this is true...if so, then oh boy...it will be fun to see how the oil markets play with this tomorrow...and something to remember: TD 5 still has 36 hours over the 90-degree Gulf of Mexico until it makes landfall around Corpus Christi (or, even worse, Houston)...we could be looking at a category 1 hurricane by that point...or worse.

The health care link in the header reminded me of a booklet that can be downloaded and printed.

They used to give it to very isolated and uneducated people that had no access to doctors in Central America, and includes how to set up medical care for a small village.

Looks like it may come in handy


According to a report in the Springfield News-Leader, catalytic converters are the hot ticket among light-fingered miscreants. Why? Because the emissions-control devices contain valuable elements including platinum, which can be removed and sold off.
Your vehicle’s catalytic converter plays an essential role in reducing harmful emissions. When your catalytic converter is working properly it successfully changes auto emissions into harmless water vapor. When your catalytic converter is malfunctioning, the pollutants leaving your vehicle can exacerbate local pollution levels. There are four ways for you to determine whether your catalytic converter needs replacing or not:1.Busted or rusted out converter body or end tubes.2.Small pieces of substrate in other areas of the exhaust system.3.No rattle in a palletized converter (If the converter does not rattle, the pellets may have melted together or fallen out).4.A rattle in a monolithic converter (A rattle in this kind of converter indicates the substrate has separated.)If you are unable to determine failure your state, provincial, or local vehicle inspection program will reveal that to you the next time your car comes up for inspection. If your car fails its inspection, you will have to replace your catalytic converter before you car can be passed. Replacement of your catalytic converter is a procedure that can be done by professionals such as through your dealer’s service department, through a muffler shop, or by a local garage. If you are handy, you can do the work yourself and save money on parts as well as on labor costs. Only purchase a catalytic converter that meets or exceeds your vehicle. I have here my Honda prelude parts and catalytic converter and I am well satisfied with it…Again, driving without a catalytic converter is illegal and the potential harm you create to the atmosphere simply isn’t worth it.