DrumBeat: August 26, 2007

Real world oil demand

Compared to July 2006, when we had similar prices, we have one massive and little remarked difference today: there is nothing like the geopolitical risk we had in July 2006 at the height of Israel’s intense bombing and artillery shelling war against Lebanon. At the time, the geopolitical risk premium (GRP) was estimated at anywhere from 15 to 30 USD-per-barrel. Today’s GRP is likely only about 5 to 7 USD-per barrel. It therefore has a lot of growth potential, and not much downside potential.

The underlying base for high prices is short supply, because the world is one more year closer to Peak Oil than in 2006. Coupled with over-discounted risks to supply, prices can fly at the touch of the right panic button.

The end of oil is not a possibility but a certainty

Regardless of how long you've been alive, whether you're 16 or 60, it's never been a problem to get gasoline. The ability to fill our gas tanks has often felt as guaranteed to Americans as free speech and free press. However, the privilege of gas may become a thing of the past quicker than we may think.

There is one fact often overlooked when dealing with the issue of oil and that is this: We cannot make a finite resource infinite.

Oil aplenty, and right in our own backyard

There is no energy crisis in America. We pay so much for gas today largely because a small number of legislators prevent us from using our own Heaven-sent natural resources, in Alaska and off our shores. The energy sources are there; we just aren't allowed to use them.

Make CTL fuel available

Cecil Roberts, president of the United Mine Workers of America, quickly cut to the chase on this matter by labeling CTL as a legitimate and real answer to resolving numerous worrisome issues on the table for our country. Energy independence, national security, the trade deficit and economy all stand to benefit greatly from the expansion of CTL technology. In West Virginia, thousands of jobs with good wages and benefits are in the balance.

Mexico's Pemex restores 81 percent of oil production after storm

Mexico's state oil company Pemex has restored 81 percent of oil production after Hurricane Dean crashed through its southern Gulf of Mexico oil fields, the company said Saturday.

"This result was achieved three days early, reaching a production of 2.1 million barrels (per day)," the company said.

Oilsands face pipeline space shortage

A new problem is bubbling in Canada's growing oilsands industry: too much oil and not enough pipeline space to move it.

Production from the deposits is growing so much, so fast, producers and pipeline companies are looking for ways to mitigate the impact of an oil bubble expected to swell by November and last for as long as 18 months.

Myanmar official defends fuel price hikes that sparked protests

A recent increase in fuel prices that sparked a series of rare protests in Myanmar was triggered by spiraling global oil prices and was not a political move, a diplomat from the impoverished Southeast Asian nation said Sunday.

Myanmar could no longer afford to subsidize fuel so heavily because of the steep increases in oil prices worldwide, Thaung Tun, Myanmar's ambassador to Manila, told The Associated Press on the sidelines of a regional ministers meeting in the Philippine capital.

Analysts say fuel protests in Myanmar no immediate threat to junta

A week of protests over fuel price hikes present no immediate threat to Myanmar's military rulers because very few people joined the demonstrations and the key organizers were swiftly detained, analysts said Sunday.

Saudi oil forces get US training

US defense giant Lockheed Martin is training thousands of recruits for a special force designed to protect Saudi Arabia's oil facilities from attack, a specialist economic newsletter said yesterday. Saudi authorities have recruited around 5,000 members of the Facilities Security Force and plan to raise the number to 8,000-10,000 over the next two years as an interim target, the Nicosia-based Middle East Economic Survey said.

Regional oil revenues to remain strong

Dubai Mercantile Exchange (DME) chief executive officer Gary King will give an analysis of the regional energy outlook when he addresses a British Business Group event in Dubai on Monday night.

“I believe we will be in a period of sustained high energy prices for some time in our current climate and will continue to live in an environment of high energy price volatility,” says King, who will be speaking at the BBG’s latest special interest group meeting at the World Trade Club Dubai.

The Sacking of the Iranian Minister of Oil

It is difficult to explain what is happening in Iran in terms of its domestic politics, particularly when it comes to the oil sector. How can Iranian officials explain to their people that, with Iran currently the second largest country in OPEC, the country has to ration its gasoline because it is suffering from a shortage in oil-derivative supplies?

Goodbye beautiful Britain

Enjoy the countryside while you can. In the near future there will be no place for sentiment, no eye for beauty and no room for cows and sheep. Don't blame the farmers: the culprits are population growth, global warming and the energy gap.

To eat . . . . or to drive?

Farmers all over the world are finding a sudden boom in demand for their crops – but as fuel for cars rather than as food.

Crumbs all that's left in Africa breadbasket

A severe fuel shortage has forced commuter buses off the roads, leaving Zimbabweans living in the townships with little access to what little remains in the city center.

In some parts of the country, even water is being sold on the thriving black market to desperate residents who have gone days without it.

Argentina: Shell loses appeal

The courts turned down an appeal by Shell CAPSA yesterday which argued that there was discrimination and arbitrariness when it came down to the inspections and fines applied by the Domestic Trade Secretariat.

ASEAN may need closer look at nuclear energy plans

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations ended this week’s energy security dialogue in Singapore facing some stark realities: they need to set aside years of lofty rhetoric and act to cushion the economic blow of high oil prices, and they will have to look hard at introducing nuclear energy to the region.

Bangladesh: Gas for Power Generation

One leading Bangladesh daily has published a report underlining the anticipated gas supply deficit to meet the emerging crisis for fueling the planned power plants. The report stated that the Government is contemplating setting up of a dozen power plants of 3570 MW capacity in the next 3-5 Years to mitigate the present huge deficit and immediate future demand. Acknowledging the present uncertain situation of gas supply and lack of exploration efforts the report suggested for import of gas from Myanmar to comfort the situation. This may be analyzed a little deeper to see what may the options to overcome the situations.

Venezuela's new jet set take off on back of oil-fuelled boom

Surging oil wealth and the restrictions of a dollar-pegged, overvalued currency are driving unprecedented numbers of Venezuelans to travel overseas on holiday, with the number of international flights jumping 45 per cent last month over the previous year.

Testing reveals fewer expected miles per gallon for 2008 cars and trucks

As the new 2008 cars and trucks roll into showrooms, there's a new sticker shock. Federal fuel-mileage ratings dropped an average of 15 percent for the new vehicles compared with 2007 models. The familiar economy figures on the window stickers now show fewer expected miles per gallon for even the most gas-stingy cars.

Gulf Coast Cities Draw Up New Blueprints

Two years after Katrina claimed more than 200 lives in Mississippi and left behind billions of dollars in damage, teams of visionary urban planners are embedded in Pass Christian and other coastal cities, helping them draft ambitious blueprints for rebuilding the "New Urbanism" way.

New Urbanism - an architectural movement to transform sprawling city blocks into compact, walkable neighborhoods with old-fashioned features - is only one of the dynamics that could define Mississippi's coastline.

After oil supplies dry up, what's Plan B? - Extreme scarcity could be disastrous for U.S. economy

The United States has reacted to the threat of peak oil and gas with all the alacrity of its response to climate change. It is ignoring the looming crisis for as long as it can, just waiting for that sledgehammer to land its first blow. Eventually, when a recession hits, tax revenue will plummet, and the government will have nowhere near the money it needs to build an alternative energy and transportation infrastructure. Every year that goes by without an intensive mobilization to build an oil-independent economy diminishes our odds of surviving the end of oil.

...At this point, you might be asking yourself: When oil becomes scarce, how will I get food? That's a very good question. Here are a few more: Will my garbage get picked up? How will my water district purify and deliver water and treat sewage without petrochemicals? What if I need an ambulance? What if my home is one of the 7.7 million that rely on oil for heating? Which of my medications are made out of petrochemicals? How will I get to work? Will I even have a job anymore?

The dangers of the race for energy

OIL AND GAS aren’t our future but the way we use them will certainly play a major role in determining what our future would be like. Our over dependence on oil and gas as fuels could ultimately play a catastrophic part in decline of the peace around the world.

Lebanon on brink of blackout due to lack of fuel

Lebanon is on the verge of a blackout within three to four days due to the lack of fuel in most of the power stations here, said the media Saturday.

As-Safir newspaper stated that Lebanon electricity authorities announced that several fuel factories had stopped working for financial and security reasons.

Rationing of electricity consumption began in Beirut and areas in the north and south regions of the country, with suspension periods reaching over 14 hours a day, the paper said, adding that four containerships filled with fuel were waiting for permission to unload their cargo.

As China Roars, Pollution Reaches Deadly Extremes

No country in history has emerged as a major industrial power without creating a legacy of environmental damage that can take decades and big dollops of public wealth to undo.

But just as the speed and scale of China’s rise as an economic power have no clear parallel in history, so its pollution problem has shattered all precedents. Environmental degradation is now so severe, with such stark domestic and international repercussions, that pollution poses not only a major long-term burden on the Chinese public but also an acute political challenge to the ruling Communist Party. And it is not clear that China can rein in its own economic juggernaut.

Landmatters Coop gets planning approval!

Most significantly, the Inspector’s ruling explicitly endorsed the permaculture aspect of the project, which is a planning precedent for the UK. The planning inspector granted planning permission for a permaculture holding, integrating agriculture, forestry, education, ancillary rural enterprises and residential use subject to the 'low-impact' criteria set out in their planning application.

Deeper than a mud puddle

The following story is told from the point of view of a farmer living in an intentional community in a post-Peak Oil world several years from now. The details change as it continues to evolve in my mind, but in all its versions it sticks to one general assumption. The gap between energy demand and supply widens, and at some point in the future various aspects of our social and economic institutions begin to break down in earnest. Here is today’s version…

Verve points to future for Ford

The Verve, which will debut next month at the 2007 Frankfurt Motor Show, is the first of three subcompact concept vehicles that will debut in the key regions of Europe, Asia and North America.

North America, in particular, has been longing for a subcompact, or so-called B-size, car from Ford since gas prices soared to $3 a gallon. Ford left the ultra-efficient subcompact car segment in 1997, the last model year for the Aspire, and hasn't said when it's coming to market with a replacement since then.

Altar Call for True Believers

I am far from saved. My footprint is surely too large for me to enter the kingdom of sustainability heaven. If sustainable living is a continuum, from excessive waste to zero waste, then I too am not where I want to be on it.

However, I gaze out across the continuum and see people—environmentalists!—much farther behind than I expect.

A few people I know who consider themselves environmentalists have purchased new cars recently, ones that run on internal-combustion engines and get less than thirty miles to the gallon. One friend, a global-warming scientist, told me he decided not to buy a hybrid “until the kinks get worked out.”

"Momentum building" for new climate deal: U.N.

The United Nations says momentum is building for tougher long-term action to fight global warming beyond the U.N.'s Kyoto Protocol and a climate meeting starting in Vienna on Monday will be a crucial part of the process.

Climate change is a mixed bag for Inuit

It's a double-edged sword for the Inuit. It's transforming their frozen landscape, melting glaciers and disrupting animal life. The number of hunters in the area has dropped in recent years from nearly 500 to about 200.

Since 1995, Greenland's vast ice cap has lost 7 percent of its mass and 300 feet in height, according to the European Environmental Agency, a European Union body based in Denmark.

But the change also presents new opportunities. Twenty years ago, when visitors were rare, the fjords and bays were clogged with ice through July. Now, those bays are navigable by April or May. That means more tourists — eager to explore one of the most remote and unexploited corners of the globe.

Eight cruise ships will come to the area for the first time this month and next.

Hello TODers,

Please recall my recent NPK posting on the Haber-Bosch nitrogen process, how much FF-energy it requires just to make it, then how much more gas/diesel is required to distribute 100 million tons annually around the globe so farmers can finally spread it on their fields. Thus my Wild & Crazy ping-pong ball idea. Has someone has recently invented an even better idea than my brainfart!

Could most of the Haber-Bosch nitrogen factories soon be obsolete? Could this company's Nitro-Fix invention soon save nearly 1% of the world's total energy usage? I would be interested in any expert elaboration or refutation.

Luis Guillen, president of the Summa Biotechnologies Corp. based here, said there was a 20 percent surge in rice output in Northern Mindanao due to farmers’ use of a locally-produced organic and environment-friendly fertilizer.

“The use of bio-organic inoculant fertilizer has increased palay yield by 20 percent,” Guillen said in a statement.

The fertilizer, known as Nitro-Fix, is made of nitrogen-fixing bacteria developed by researchers at the University of the Philippines in Los Baños.

Rice studies showed that once these bacteria from organic matters capture the nitrogen gas in the atmosphere, it would convert the nitrogen into a usable form needed to sustain the nitrogen requirements of rice, corn, vegetables, and other crops.

Guillen said the palay plants are healthier, and produce impressive results such as broader and greener leaves, extensive root system and sturdier stalks.

Also, the plants are more resistant to pests and diseases than those applied with chemical-based nitrogen fertilizers, which he claimed have proven to be detrimental to soil fertility and contributes greatly to declining farm productivity.

Food on every table

First the mayor tested in a pilot area, Nitro-Fix, a bio-organic fertilizer that contained nitrogen-fixing bacteria which attracts the nitrogen in the atmosphere and converts it into a form that substitutes for 50% of the chemical fertilizers needed as inputs by rice and corn.

The results were phenomenal. Fertilizer cost per hectare was reduced by half, and average yields grew by 20 percent. The incremental revenue of each Butuan farmer could go up to some 50,000 pesos per year.


Nitro-Fix is a two-part beneficial bacteria package. First it aids in Crop Residue (stubble) break down. Next it helps fix nitrogen. Nitrogen fixation is considered to be the second most important bio-chemical reaction after Photosynthesis known to Man.

With large-scale chemical use along with synthetic fertilizer application, the natural bacterial life in farm soils have been reduced almost to the point of dead soil. Because of the important contributions made by beneficial bacteria to the fertility level of the soil, it has
been stated that if their functions were to fail, life for higher plants and animals would cease.

Nitrogen fixing bacteria play a vital role in plant growth since they are capable of converting atmospheric Nitrogen into useful forms in the soil. NITRO-FIXTM is formulated to rapidly replace reduced bacteria counts and increase biological activity for maximum plant growth, health, and resistance to pests and diseases. Bacteria work in conjunction with plant life to release minerals, fix nitrogen, breakdown crop residue, and much more. It is acceptable by the OCIA standards as "organic".

If this Nitro-Fix is cheap to make, can be grown in volume and processed locally, is easy to apply to fields, and precludes the use of half or more of the energy intensive Haber-Bosch ammonia & derivatives--this company's stock could become EXTREMELY VALUABLE very fast. Or is this old news to the expert farmers and gardeners on TOD?

From a 1996 discussion I found:

To get into a comparison of growing techniques that involve direct feeding with annual applications of NPK fertilizer ("conventional" agriculture) versus biology-based methods which emphasize soil development could be a lifetime debate.

Sooner or later, the debate always comes down to the question of whether current cultural practices are sustainable or not. Can farmers simply keep using NPK fertilizer every year to sustain yields forever? There
are certainly doubts about this, from the USDA on down.

Some very respected soil scientists feel that current practices are like "mining" the soil, and that at some point the non-replenishment of humic matter and trace elements will make the soil unproductive, and that this
unproductivity will occur suddenly some year in the future.

The greatest argument against bio-organic methods at the moment is simply that there are not enough supplies available. (And you do have a valid point about the economic problems of converting over to a biological approach). We cannot begin to provide enough inoculant for
even one percent of the corn farmers of Illinois, for example.

IF this Nitro-fix is truly a breakthrough: then this could really help optimize our decline through the Bottleneck Squeeze if combined with universal Peakoil Outreach and relocalized permaculture; it could really quickly help restore the bio-vitality of urban and suburban topsoils along with easing the migration of other plants and trees to climate change.

Of course, we would still need NPK, but the emphasis would be rapidly shifting to P,K; we could be using much of the nitrogen [think natgas] for other uses. Thxs for any reply.

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

This product sounds like a variation on compost tea or maybe worm pee, which you don't have to buy from the store. Clearly a lot of organic farming ideas will have to go mainstream. Tomorrow for example I'm throwing out some charcoal mixed with NPK fertiliser, the N being urea granules. I might figure out a drip irrigation system with compost tea injected into the system. Maybe small amounts of synthetic nitrogen will boost other natural sources like manure and legume rotation.

The world has to get smart on this very quickly. If the Australian wheatbelt doesn't get September rain world grain stocks will be in trouble.

Hello Boof,

Thxs for responding. I whole-heartedly agree with your mounting concern on global food supplies. I have posted before that I would gladly sit in the natural darkness, plus pedal a bicycle everywhere in the daytime, in exchange for clean water, basic foods, and minimal violence. Although, an occasional beer would be a huge plus. Time will tell.

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

I might figure out a drip irrigation system with compost tea injected into the system.

Entertain a folar feeding system. The fungi, protozoa, and bacteria in vermipost can help 'eat' the bacteria and viri which plants are attacked by.

In addition, the plants can take in the nutrients directly from the leaves.

Bob Shaw

Nitrogen fixing bacteria are on a lot of plants naturally, like alfalfa, but I don't know of a similar product in the US. It sounds like a real blessing for the world, and would help cut down on the "dead zones" at the mouth of the Mississippi, too. Since it works on corn, it would make the EROEI of ethanol a whole lot better. Why don't you email the author of the article and ask him about the stock? is it legal to import and use in the US? The article said it cut the fertiliser requirement for rice by 50%

Bob Ebersole

I think the recycling of nutrients is what is lacking here("mining" is very accurate). Most but not all US farming involves removal of crop residues (straw, etc.) These organisms will need food, the residues...
Nitrogen fixating bacteria are well known. Soil microrhyzae form symbiotic relationships with plant roots to enhance nutrient uptake on many plants. Commercial preparations are available for different groups of plants. As these are living organisms they need to be provided with soil conditions that do not inhibit their growth (ie soil drench fungicides).
My limited knowledge of soil chemistry has been tested at our nursery where I tried to balance- water quality/Ph, soil Ph, and fertilazation practices. I can only say that it is not as easy as it seems. Reactions of plants to nutrient availability are varied. I find majors(NPK) to not be the limiting factors but rather, magnesium, sulfur, iron, and calcium.
The most limited nutrient will make the deficiencies appear. Boron for hazelnuts comes to mind as a major factor in yield. Nut farmers add boron with foliar applications at critical times.
There is also a greater focus on silica, for overall plant health and cell structure.

Best wishes to greater understanding (my own included)!

Here in Iowa low till and no till practices have been the norm for the last twenty years. Anything that isn't being sold to the elevator is left on the field and gently tilled in for the next year.

Wow! Good. Here in Oregon they take the wheat and then the straw for animal bedding. Same with grass seed(big crop for us here)

Here they grow corn and soy beans in rotating. Wheat plantings are small and always grown to get the straw - the wheat itself is considered a by product. I'm sure its done differently in other parts of the world ... straw is a crop, too.

Bob, it sounds like a marketer's version of plain old inoculant. Most garden supply places sell inoculant for legumes. It makes beans, peas, etc. grow better with more drought resistance. I have never understood why everyone doesn't use it. There are slightly different varieties for garden crops, field crops (alfalfa, clover, vetch), and even for trees like locust. Look for mycorrhizal inoculant.

This is the reason many farmers rotate a legume every few years. As long as you keep a legume in the rotation, you can maintain higher levels of nitrogen naturally.

Of course, many fields have been fertilized for so long that the inoculating bacteria are drastically reduced. Best hopes for building biotic soil!

Hello TODers,

My thxs to all that responded, but I need to get some shuteye. I am hoping to wade through the long "Nuri: Fractional Banking/Thermo" text in the next week as time allows. Econ is extremely difficult for me.

Kjmclark: I am highly ignorant of soil/plant science too, but the links talk about Nitro-Fix being good for non-fixating non-legumes too. I have no idea if that is a agri-breakthrough or not, but to my feeble mind it intially seems highly significant. But I could be very mistaken: which is precisely why I solicited for expert opinion.

Please TODers, don't invest a nickel just because of my postings [my personal stock-picking record is truly lousy]. Do your own research.

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

Thank you Bob , for this posting - as you point out food is priotity One.

And its commonly accepted that chemichal agriculture (Fertilizers,pesticides,fungicides) yield a staggering 4 times more as compared to old traditional agriculture.

The math is easy : Use 1$ get 4$

Hello TODers,

Just a quickie post: what percentage of the postPeak poor will be forced to work in the canefields so that the rich can drive sugar-battery powered PHEVS? Don't forget the ERoEI for cane is the highest for all plants so far.

Sony Develops A Bio Battery Powered By Sugar
Bob Shaw in Phx,Az Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

forced to work in the canefields

Why not the sweet, sweet sugar-beet fields?

Russia to convert nuclear container ship to Arctic drilling platform



I don't remember any drill ship scenes in the movie Titanic. (sarcanol alert)Bob Ebersole


I am not sure they mean drill ship or if they mean drilling service vessel. Looks to me like drilling support rather than a platform actually sinking wells. I could be wrong, it certainly looks big enough for a derick set, pumps and mud tanks etc.

From the article:

''With the transformation, the world will see the first ever nuclear-powered oil and gas service vessel. The place of work for the vessel is likely to be the Arctic, and first of all the Barents Sea. ''

Key phrase: Oil and Gas Service Vessel

Whatever it is, Russia seems to be first off the blocks in this race. Anyway, the Russians appear to be working to a plan. Which appears more than you can say for the West...

Mudlogger, no it will be a VLDS, a Very Large Drill Ship. They look completely different from your standard shallow water drill ship. A shallow water drill ship drills in water too deep for a jackup rig. But in waters 5,000 feet deep or so, a completely different type of drill ship is required.

The Very large Drill Ship (VLDS) are the new breed on the block. The concepts are to combine the drilling with the early production of oil or multiple wells drilling. Within these two concepts they are two sub concepts, drilling with the same basic drilling equipment, and enhance drilling equipment. In both cases more equipment is required or the equipment is up graded to handle the extra weight and longer stand. To be able to market the rig as been able to drill two wells simultaneously the VLDS must have two drilling package.

The picture on the link Alan posted shows the ship before the drill rig is complete. As the article says it will take 18 months to transform this ship into a drill ship.

The Murmansk Shipping Company will turn the nuclear-powered container carrier “Sevmorput“ into a drilling vessel for the oil industry.

What the picture shows is a nuclear-powered container carrier. What you will see in 18 months will be a nuclear powered drill ship, they hope. ;-)

Ron Patterson

I noted that they said "drilling" in one place and "service" in another.

There is a distinct difference between the two types for those with knowledge of offshore oil & gas operations. I question whether this regional journal has that knowledge.

The ship could service drilling ships & rigs with minimal modification. 18 months argues for a drilling conversion.

There could be some significant advantages for a nuke ship on station in the Arctic Ocean.

Best Hopes,


Alan, Darwinian,

The wording in the article was sloppy. It could mean a Drill ship or a Drilling support vessel.

In these waters both, in the very large class will be needed. And, IMO: Both , types will ultimately require Nuclear power.

You are of course correct: A very large Drill ship will be required for these water depths.

Retro fitting a Derrick set, pumps, Top drives, automated pipe handlers, joy stick control drilling and computerised drilling data acquisition, shale shakers mud pits etc will, IMO take a little longer than 18 months...

(I wonder where they will retro fit it?)

If they want to do it right, I have Global Santa Fe's phone number somewhere...:-)

Also: They should look at best practice in the latest deepwater drillship fleet, eg Twin Derrick Sets for minimal down time etc.

Still VLDC or VLDSS, they will need both types in tandem and they have the plans, the loot and the central planning attitude to bring it off.

With any luck the Artic Ocean will have pack ice at least part of the year. The ice pack flows generally from the Bering Sea to the North Atlantic. It also rises and falls in response to tidal forces. Many strong ships have been crushed by this ice. The engineering challenges are enormous. You just can't take what works in the Gulf and expect an easy go of it.

Just the place for a nuclear powered vessel.

What we humans should do is not what we will do.

cfm in Gray, ME

Sorry, I just couldn't help thinking of Pavel Chekov in Star Trek IV asking people on the streets of San Francisco: "Where are your nuclear wessels?"

Hello TODers,

A fascinating economic PDF text with full incorporation of Thermodynamics. Most of the included famous quotes are widely used here on TOD. I am not a econ guru, but I hope Don Sailorman, Stoneleigh, Nate Hagens, and others with Economic/Peakoil acumen will take a gander at this:

Vladimir Z. Nuri

Vladimir Z. Nuri has written a landmark text called "Fractional Reserve Banking as Economic Parasitism: A Scientific, Mathematical & Historical Expose, Critique, and Manifesto". This text is probably one of the most recent clear-sighted and visionary work. It is about:

Economic Parasitism?
Thermodynamic approach of money?
Political history of money
Proposals for further research (that will be connected to the projects of TheTransitioner)

"A straightforward model and algebraic formula for a large economy analogous to the ideal gas law of thermodynamics is proposed. It may be something like a new F = ma rule of the emerging econophysics field."

This pdf document can be downloaded here. [inside the toplink to accomplish this--BS]
Maybe Nate can get Mr Nuri to do a TOD keypost!

EDIT: I would like to point out that Asimov's Foundation and Hari Seldon equated predictive collapse and directed decline to the above mentioned gas law:

Chaos or Order?

Asimov wrote an article about psychohistory in Asimov's, July 1998.

[...] I suggested we add the fact that a mathematical treatment existed whereby the future could be predicted in a statistical fashion, and I called it "psychohistory." Actually, it was a poor word and did not represent what I truly meant. I should have called it "psychosociology" (a word which the O.E.D. lists as having first been used in 1928). However, I was so intent on history, thanks to Gibbon, that I could think of nothing but psychohistory. [...]
I modeled my concept of psychohistory on the kinetic theory of gases, which I had been beat over the head with in my physical chemistry classes. The molecules making up gases moved in an absolutely random fashion in any direction in three dimensions and in a wide range of speeds. Nevertheless, one could fairly describe what those motions would be on the average and work out the gas laws from those average motions with an enormous degree of precision.
In other words, although one couldn't possibly predict what a single molecule would do, one could accurately predict what umptillions of them would do.

So I applied that notion to human beings. Each individual human being might have "free will" but a huge mob of them should behave with some sort of predictability, and the analysis of "mob behaviour" was my psychohistory. ...
[...] a clipping from the April 23, 1987, issue of Machine Design.

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

Hi Bob,
I am extremely dubious of economic or financial theories based on physics or chemistry. In my opinion, economics has been held back by those trying to make it like physics.

For analogies, I think biology is much closer to economics than is physics--but none of these analogies should be pushed too far.

As I see it, the great question for a steady state (or declining) economy is income distribution. There is going to be massive structural unemployment as a result of Peak Oil and also a great deal of cyclical unemployment. How to deal with this upcoming unemployment is a question that almost nobody is looking at. I do not think it is feasible to put millions of service workers back to work on farms; even decades after peak oil I think agriculture will stay capital intensive rather than labor intensive in modern societies.

In regard to fractional reserve banking being a form of parasitism, I just do not buy it. Banks are different from other financial businesses because they are regulated; they are not regulated because they are unique. Fractional reserve banking evolved from earlier arrangements, and although you could have a system of 100% reserves, it is not clear that the benefits of this change would outweigh the costs. When he was a young man, Milton Friedman advocated 100% reserve banking; there are some good arguments in favor of it.

It is interesting to note that during the financial turmoil of the past month, banks have been able to escape pretty much unscathed. A big reason for this is that banks have higher lending standards than do, for example, some mortgage companies. Contrary to popular belief, the fractional reserve that banks are required to keep is not a safety reserve at all; they cannot dip into it in time of need.

Fractional reserve banking does not make it onto my list of top 1,000 worries. It works reasonably well. The excesses of the financial system have affected banks to some extent, but they have not originated in banks--which are generally not in the business of making subprime loans (though some of their nonbanking subsidiaries are).

You take a lot of flak here on occasion, Don, but when you are not around, you are certainly missed. Great post.

RE unemployment, as you know people also should bear in mind that wages are sticky, stickier than house prices. And they could become even stickier should American workers relearn how to organize. A very real possibility in a downturn. That dynamic alone could make the problem worse.

Warren Buffet Warned Us

In the era of industrial capitalism, a low interest rate was a stimulant. But in this era of finance capitalism flirting fearlessly with debt, lowering rates creates complex problems, especially when most big borrowers routinely hedge their interest-rate exposures. For them, even when short-term rates drop or rise abruptly, the cost remains the same for the duration of the loan term, the only difference being that they pay a different party. While debtors remain solvent, investors in securitized loans go under. Credit derivatives have been the hot source of profit for most finance companies and will be the weapon of massive destruction for the financial system, as Warren Buffet warned.

In the US, where loan securitization is widespread, banks are tempted to push risky loans by passing on the long-term risk to non-bank investors through debt securitization. Credit-default swaps, a relatively novel form of derivative contract, allow investors to hedge against securitized mortgage pools. This type of contract, known as asset-back securities, has been limited to the corporate bond market, conventional home mortgages, and auto and credit-card loans. Last June, a new standard contract began trading by hedge funds that bets on home-equity securities backed by adjustable-rate loans to sub-prime borrowers, not as a hedge strategy but as a profit center. When bearish trades are profitable, their bets can easily become self-fulfilling prophesies by kick-starting a downward vicious cycle.


Related Discussion on Oil Drum:

A problem erupts when somebody declares that the emperor has no clothes, that this form of economic activity is unsustainable or insane. The same problem erupts if I decide my house has dropped in price so that it is now worth less than I paid for it. Why should I service the loan and generate money for you if I can just walk away and leave you with the collateral? At that point the Ponzi scheme comes to a crashing halt. This is what occured a week ago when the financial markets underwent a liquidity crisis. No body wanted to trade these synthetic assets as 1) No one was sure what the value of the asset to be traded actually was (remember these assets represent the slicing and dicing of multiple other assets); 2) No one was sure what the value of the underlying asset (my house) might be, either now or in the near future; 3) No one could be sure that the person with whom they traded was not overexposed in this market and therefore represented a significant counterparty risk


Fractional reserve banking requires that I retain 10% of my capital and I am free to lend the other 90%. Since I have resold the securitized loans I now have the immediate return of capital on my books and I can turn around and repeat the process, creating a new security, retaining 10% and selling off the other 90%. The purchaser of the security can repackage what they have just bought, combine it with other ecurities and sell it to a fourth party who can in turn do the same thing and sell it on to a fifth party. Part of the problem with this activity is that non-bank actors (hedge funds) also engaged in this process and were effectively acting to enlarge the money supply. The regulators appear to have looked the other way.


Money does not exist.

Money is not real in the same way that food, hunger, starvation, water, thirst, and drought are real. Money is neither necessary nor sufficient for activity, trade, or exchange to occur between human beings. Money is an idea, an agreement between people that they will accept it in exchange for their products and services that they may in turn trade for other needed products and services.

But it's always about products and services. Things and energy. Money is an abstraction that either facilitates or hinders the physical exchange of resources and the fueling of processes in the real world, ultimately described by physics (thermodynamics, conservation of mass), chemistry, biology, psychology, and meta-disciplines like chaos and complexity theory.

Money aids the process that allows the farmer to provide food, so that the researchers can develop bulldozers, so that the people can move a mountain.

But money can not move mountains, only technology and energy can. Money cannot solve mountainous problems, only well fed and resourceful people can. Money cannot feed people, only food can. Money cannot grow food, only seeds, sunlight, water, and nutrients can.

Money lubricates or provides friction to the exchange process in a large society, money does not alter the physical realities.

Economic theories are held back precisely because they do not stem from an agreed-upon physical reality, described by scientific disciplines including physics and chemistry, and are ultimately doomed to fail as such. They are amusing and intriguing, though. :)

Related Discussion on Oil Drum:

Fed bends rules to help two big banks: If the Federal Reserve is waiving a fundamental principle in banking regulation, the credit crunch must still be sapping the strength of America's biggest banks. Fortune's Peter Eavis documents an unusual Fed move.


And how big is the derivatives market now? Jim Willie of the Hat Trick Letter says, "The scope of the CDO bond fraud is gigantic. In 2002, $84 billion in CDO bonds were issued. In all of 2006, $503 billion were issued. The parade has not ended! In 1Q2007, an incredible $251 billion were issued, on track for a cool $1,000 billion annually." Heading for a trillion bucks a year!


The reason they are so amusing (econ theories) is because so much of our fake progress depends on this twist*infactuation of numerical fiat finance....And thus, the expandment of the same somethin' fer nothin' unaccountable outcomes tends to grow until it softly expires or implodes, or just explodes....none of which will be discussed in any of the same numerical real life outcomes.

It really does not matter if thinking is done in 2 dimensions or 4.

I believe you are thinking in reduced terms and over too many fiat heads.

Unbacked bullshit currency has always had a very brief positioning in any time*table. Why is that? Truth is a slave to time/debts/fiat/usurp, least until truth sets us free again. (truth works backwards)

Thinking gravitates towards those freedoms.
Thinking can be positive or negative.
Positive can have a majority ingrained psychology inducement of fiat nonsense issuing more of the same so-called everything for nothin' benefits, while so- called negative thoughts is often seen as the masquerading follies outside the proper fiat link--- and the unwanted truth in the daze of expert narration of such nonsense.

Energy WILL decide fates regardless of the crackpot MSM opined/majority/ownership of fabricated dream worded world concensus.

Energy will not care about conspired truth or lies. But It will quite likely remain the REAL truth behind the verbal volumes and pages of that ongoing other history.

We live in very interesting historied times - Not because we happened to be borne in this era of final oil deliberations, but because we are overtaken with blips bleeps and graphical monetary squiggles trying to infinitely create more value from finite energy, and, more importantly, to make those visual fiat brainwashings believable beyond questioning.

Fake will always create more fake as long as reality or determining physics can be mediated into the next "greatest marketeering" farce equaling more fiat farces of determined control---Based on fiat.

The core of this begins with "medium of exchange value." Thee opposite becomes non accountable debt invasion based on those digi blips bleeps and blunders. Why does this outcome have to take place? Because, unless we invent a new energy miracle real swoonlike, then our collective brainmass of fiat disturbances will prevent our collective eyes to ever open beyond our immediate past, which has been all about expandment of more fakery.

Our eyes are not about reality. They are about money and wasting consumption for more happy fiat growth. Our eyes rarely see past overun unbacked fiat infinite growth. And how could/would they.....?

Conspiring was easier in the past.(Lids were contained with mediums of far lesser awareness, thus those lesser technologies had lesser influence) People were trying to better their individual plight in a free nation of wills under honest guidelines. (ignorance is bliss?) They also trusted one another. They could see the benefits of their labor, and they could see that hard earned rewards would elevate the outcome of the next generation (loved ones who could not yet conceive the idea of free fiat daddy warbux spoiledness)....

Today, thee greatest grand illusion that continues this ongoing brief 1913 FED tenured experiment, does it with destruction of value, decreased openess, increased secretivity and blantant bias,(what happened to M3?) which subsequently dillutes all honest ideals. The unobvious objective is to control through reliance. And also to invert and provoke ever more rippled corruption flowing outward to this fake monetary formatted induction (control = no choice)

From an energy stand point, then I would say fiat is losing ground, and means, and extractability, which leans and lies into false secures in this rich fiat nation of blind curtains and petrol denominated dollars. ;o)


Not just income distribution, but distribution of wealth. Daley points out 1) scale (throughput), 2) allocation and 3) distribution all being important - and how all we pay attention to now is allocation (market).

Nor is it reasonable to deprecate input into economics from other sciences and arts. Georgescu-Roegen comes to mind for his concepts of entropy and applications of second law to economics. That's not going to come from Chicago school - something about limits they don't get. It strikes me that economics needs a lot more input right now - time to cross those F1 hybrids and explode the varieties available - oops, that's biology.

As for regulated banks, spare me. What we have now are mostly unregulated banks. The reserves banks are required to keep are miniscule. A recent Fed study targetted the practice of "sweeping" commercial accounts - I don't know why now, that practice has been going on for decades - as a way of getting around many reserve requirements, etc....

The fractional reserve banking will be unable to supply money without a background of continued growth. Maybe that's not a problem with the "fractional reserve" bit, but only with the "banking" bit.

In Shiva We Trust

cfm in Gray, ME

"analogous to the ideal gas law of thermodynamics is proposed. It may be something like a new F = ma rule"

Heck with F = ma for economics, I want to see how it is used for thermodynamics! :-)

What happened to good old pV = nRT ?

The economists decided to use it for mechanical dynamics :P

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

Hey everyone, please read the story posted by Leanan above:
After oil supplies dry up, what's Plan B? - Extreme scarcity could be disastrous for U.S. economy

This was printed in The San Francisco Chronicle and tells it like it is:

"Because we do not know when a supply-demand shortfall might arrive, we do not know when to begin preparing for it, so as to soften its impact; the economic blow may come as a sledgehammer from the darkness."

The word is beginning to leak out. As Matt Simmons wrote some time ago, “Peak Oil will be a bigger story than Global Warming.” Of course it will. Global warming will affect us a few decades from now. However peak oil is about to hit us like a sledgehammer from the darkness.

Ron Patterson

I just eMailed links to my two articles



to the author,

Best Hopes for Silver BBs and Propagating the Meme,


Hi Alan,

I went to the San Francisco Chronicle website and emailed the same article to my city councilman who is working on commuter rail for Galveston to Houston. I'm not good at emailing links, haven't figured it out yet.

Could you give me a call so I can get you to email her the links? Thanks, my telephone number is four zero nine thre nine two seven four nine seven. I've got her committed to come to the ASPO-USA Conference in Houston on October 17-20th to come to your rail presentation.

Considering how stuck our federal government is on energy issues I feel that it is very important to get local plans for rail started. Its a matter of national security, we need options as the Export Land Model kicks in.
Bob Ebersole

Several posters, including myself, opined yesterday on Drum Beat, that Bush/Cheney are going to 'come out' regarding Iraq and the real reasons that we are there. Of course they are 'coming out' in the way most politicians do, by running up a trial baloon...Sometimes known as testing the winds. Over the course of the last several months we have all seen many more main stream media outlets mentioning Peak Oil. Many MSM sources slip comments about PO into an article as if PO is common knowledge and all should have been aware of the problem...In an off handed manner in other words. Response to these articles in local news papers and by calls to news programs like CNN can be judged and weighed to see how the 'peasants' are accepting the news about PO. If the response does not include people stampedeing down streets, shrieking and pulling their hair out, more info about PO will be slowly leaked to the masses. In this manner the people will gradually be made aware of what is in store for them and if resistance is too great the MSM will back off and try again with an even softer approach. After all, the Chronicle could have published the text of 'Olduvai Theory' which would scare the bejeezus out of any sane person.


River, must you couch every press release in the MSM as part of some conspiracy theory. You seem to be saying; "MSM knows all about peak oil, but they are deliberately leaking it out, a little bit at a time, in order to not cause panic in the streets."

Sorry, but I just cannot buy that line. First, it would be impossible for the MSM, as a whole, to be aware of something the general public is not aware of. That is because the MSM is made up of many thousands of people who, in general, represent a cross section of the general public. A conspiracy by MSM would require a conspiracy of many thousands of people. Not likely!

What you really see happening in the MSM is what you see by the public in general, a very gradual awakening to the reality of peak oil. And this gradual awakening will soon become a blinding flash that will hit the public like a sledgehammer in the night, as the article so clearly put it.

There is no conspiracy here River. The world, as well as the Main Stream Media, is pretty much as it seems, almost totally ignorant of the coming catastrophic results of peak oil. But that may soon change.

Ron Patterson

Ron, that is exactly what I am saying. Believe what you will. True, many thousands 'work for MSM' but many thousands do not decide editorial and page content. Those decisions are made by a very much smaller pool of individuals...called owners and publishers. They, in turn, are influenced by advertisers who are selling the American Dream...autos, big houses, exotic vacations...all things that use lots of energy. The advertisers do not want the population to be concerned about PO because it will cause the public to modify their behavior, requiring the advertisers to modify their products and devise new business models...expensive propositions for them. At the top of the pyramid there are a few large corporations that own most of the MSM. They are not only owners of the MSM, they are also the largest advertisers in the MSM. It is the decisions of these few corporate heads that own the MSM and sit on each others boards and also give huge contributions to both political parties, that really matter. It is they that decide what editorial content will be...not the 'thousands' that work for them. Many of us have been aware of PO for a very long time but that fact has not caused a general understanding of PO among most Americans. The effect of MSM saying that PO is a fact cannot be underestimated on the mind set of the general population and no ceo would leave this decision to happenstance.

River, a couple of very important points. MSN is not owned by a "very much smaller pool of individuals". 56 Major Companies own the largest MSM outlets. The vast majority of the outlets under those companies have editorial freedom. Most editors would quit in an instant if the CEO of one of those 56 companies ordered them to print, or not to print, this or that. And they would announce why they quit: "Because the CEO of General Electric" (or whomever) "told us not to run a story about Peak Oil". And then the cat's out of the bag.

And there are literally thousands of lesser, privately owned companies that are under no obligation to the CEOs, boards of directors or stockholders, of those 56 companies.

It would be absolutely impossible for the CEO and boards of directors of all 56 companies to coordinate a such a conspiracy as you suggest. If only an average of 10 people set on each board of directors, that means that 560 people must be part of this conspiracy. And that is just for starters. And many more hundreds of past CEOs and board members would be required to keep the secret.

The editors of each paper, radio station and TV station would have to be in on the conspiracy as well because they would demand an explination as to what is going on. That would bring the co-conspirators to several thousand.

Yes River, it would require thousands to be in on the conspiracy. And just one, one rebel among those thousands would be all that would be required to blow the conspiracy wide open.

It is hard to make a case for any giant conspiracy. And the more in on the conspiracy, the harder it becomes. And when it requires thousands to be privy to the conspiracy, it becomes impossible. Well, impossible unless one desires to ignore reality.

Ron Patterson

Ron, you have a very weak case. I would not want to take it before a jury. 'Most editors would quit in a minute if editorial content was dictated'...NOT. Editorial jobs are not easy to come by. You are assuming that an editor would let his morals come before his paycheck and family...not always the case in real life. In fact, seldom the case. The people that advance in life to become CEOs usually attend schools with like minded individuals that also become CEOs. Few outsiders get to the top of the heap and those that do are seldom 'rebels'. For instance, many thought that Ted Turner was a rebel and got where he was on his own hook. This is not true. Turner was captain of a winning Americas Cup effort and therefore close to those behind that effort. Turner went to school with the son of John Trumpy of Trumpy Boat Works in Annapolis(a very old firm). John Jr. introduced Turner to all the right people and John Sr. gave Turner savy business advice and also introduced him to connected people and opened doors to the biz world for him. I knew Turner, John Jr, and John Sr. This is typical of the way a bright, well liked, type A, personality is initiated into the 'right' circles. By the time Turner was a big success he was also well aware of the 'dos and donts' of major corporations. He was no longer an 'outsider.'

You make conspiracy sound like something that is seldom practiced in America. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Conspiracy is not necessarily all the boards of directors of MSM companies huddling in dark alleys to decide what the story line on PO is going to be. Conspiracy is carried out on golf courses, country clubs, board meetings, at dinner parties, yacht clubs, and in innumerable other settings that the 'little people' are never privy to. A discussion on the ninth hole about PO between a foursome can determine what editorials about PO will contain or if they will run at all. The people in the foursome will make individual decisions based on how it will affect their bottom lines, how the decision will affect their political affiliations, and myriad other criteria will be considered. But, since they all have the same interests and life experiences they will almost always come to the same conclusions. If you are an editorial writer, work on a piece for days, submit it to the editor and it gets spiked, soon you get the message about what is and what is not going to get published. After the editor or publisher rejects a couple of your pieces you had better wise up or you will not be at that MSM outlet much longer. This is conspiracy the way it is practiced in our MSM. The publisher does not have to circulate a memo detailing what is acceptable. Newbies coming into the firm find out damn quick what will get them canned. It is not about 'keeping secrets', its about the legitimacy a story receives if it is run in the MSM. Like I said before, we have all known about PO for a long time, we have tried to tell others about PO...nothing happened...right? But, its an entirely different outcome if a MSM outlet publishes or broadcasts a story about PO....It is given legitimacy. The 'little people' listen to it and eventually will act on it because they are followers. How they act is another story.
I believe it is you that are ignoring the facts of life. That is understandable if you have not been exposed to the elite and watched them to see exactly how they accomplish what they set out to accomplish.

River, your case gets more absurd with every post. I talk about thousands of people in the media and in management and you talk about Ted Turner.

And it is not just editors who would not tow any dictated line, but thousands of reporters! It must trickle down the entire chain of command. A reporter writes a story on Peak Oil and his editor says, no the CEO, backed up by the Board of Directors, say we cannot run any story on Peak oil. Yes, it would come down thousands of reporters.

And you totally neglected the 56 major corporations and their board of directors who run (not own) the major media corporations.

And yes, there are always hundreds of conspiracies going all the time. But there are usually two to six, perhaps as high as a dozen, co-conspirators. Secret conspiracies, (and all conspiracies must be secret), can never contain hundreds, let alone thousands, of co-conspirators. And the reason is obvious to anyone who knows anything about human nature. It would take only one to blow the lid off any such conspiracy. And the chances of there being at least one increase exponentially with the number of co-conspirators. If you click on the media watch page I posted:

Then click on any of the 56 major corporations, you will find that each owns, (actually the stockholders are the owners, but...) a dozen to many dozens of publishing, broadcasting or other media outlets. The very idea that there could be a gigantic conspiracy involving all, these giant corporations along with all their boards of directors, hundreds of editors and thousands of reporters is absurd beyond belief.

I started to say this exchange has been a total waste of time. But on second thought that is not correct at all. It has been well worth my time. I have gained a little more insight into the mind of the average conspiracy theory addict.

You may have the last word River. Thanks for the exchange.

Ron Patterson

Ron, you sound more desperate and childish with every post. This will be my last post on this issue. If you dont get it by now you are not going to get it.

OK, lets say 'Thousands of reporters write stories and they are not published because their CEOs do not want them published'...Simple. A hundred?...editors that the stories are submitted to spike the stories. No reasons need be given. If the reporters dont like it, they walk. When those reporters finally land a new job they have learned not to make the same mistake twice. End of story.

'56 boards of directors who run, not own, the MSM outfits that they work for'...OK, most sit on multiple boards, they know each other from many social gatherings, their wives know each other, their kids attend the same schools, they are LIKE MINDED. IN ALMOST EVERY INSTANCE THEY WILL REACH THE SAME CONCLUSIONS AND DECISIONS BECAUSE THEY HAVE THE SAME LIFE EXPERIENCES, ARE FROM THE SAME SOCIAL STRATA, ARE SEEKING PROMOTIONS TO CEO, ARE AQUAINTENCES, ARE FRIENDS, AND SEEK THE SAME RESULTS. Phew, sorry, I have a sore throat. The story about Turner was to give you an example of how most CEOs are going to be molded prior to becoming CEOs. If they refuse to comply to the mold they are out.

Yes, consparicies are usually secret but that does not mean that those involved in a conspiracy know that they are commiting a conspiracy. The foursome putting on the ninth hole do not think that their discussion amounts to conspiracy. In fact, they dont even think 'conspiracy' when they are discussing issues nor or they probably aware that their future decisions are being formulated on the ninth hole...yet, it is nevertheless a conspiracy by definition...look it up in Websters. It is subtle not furtive. A closed corporate board meeting is a conspiracy by definition. If you and your buds tell your wives that you are going fishing and instead go to the pool hall, that is a conspiracy. There is absolutely nothing 'absurd' about 'thousands of people being in on a conspiracy.' It happens all the time. Was Abu Ghraib a conspiracy of silence? Yes! Was WMD a conspiracy of liars? Yes! Have many, many corporations conspired to fix prices? Yes! As I said, conspiracies happen every day and every where and in many forms.

As usual you come with the personal attack when you begin losing a debate. I am not a conspiracy addict. I have a lot of life experiences and attempted to share with you. BTW, you dont have to 'give' me the last word...I am capable of taking care of myself. If you choose not to believe me thats ok by me...Actually, you remind me of someone that I am attempting to make aware of PO ... :)

I'd say it's quite simple, really. If ALL journalists and ALL editors in the printed and electronic media are free to write what they want, and you look at the result on TV and in the papers, you can only come to one conclusion. They are ALL, all thousands of them, exceptionally bad at their jobs. Those who have chosen journalism as their profession are the exact same people who should not have done that. They're lousy at it. You only have to look at the difference in news gathering between Jon Stewart and the rest, to get a sense of what the rest does not cover. Be it Iraq, or climate change, or peak oil, they manage to miss the truth at every single occasion.

River: Very eloquent posts. I guess "conspiracy" is such a loaded, "unAmerican" word.


Take a look at who OWNS the news sources.


There seems to be serious confusion here between the concepts of conspiracy and the basic assumptions that underpin a culture.

“In 1983, fifty corporations dominated most of every mass medium and the biggest media merger in history was a $340 million deal. … [I]n 1987, the fifty companies had shrunk to twenty-nine. … [I]n 1990, the twenty-nine had shrunk to twenty three. … [I]n 1997, the biggest firms numbered ten and involved the $19 billion Disney-ABC deal, at the time the biggest media merger ever. … [In 2000] AOL Time Warner’s $350 billion merged corporation [was] more than 1,000 times larger [than the biggest deal of 1983].
— Ben H. Bagdikian, The Media Monopoly, Sixth Edition, (Beacon Press, 2000), pp. xx—xxi”

“Mother Jones magazine reports that by the end of 2006, there are only 8 giant media companies dominating the US media , from which most people get their news and information:
• Disney (market value: $72.8 billion)
• AOL-Time Warner (market value: $90.7 billion)
• Viacom (market value: $53.9 billion)
• General Electric (owner of NBC, market value: $390.6 billion)
• News Corporation (market value: $56.7 billion)
• Yahoo! (market value: $40.1 billion)
• Microsoft (market value: $306.8 billion)
• Google (market value: $154.6 billion)”

Diversity, Democracy And Access:
Is Media Concentration A Crisis?

One only has to look at the huge influence Robert Murdoch has over the media company's he owns to prove you wrong.

Kaiser, go here: http://cjrarchives.org/tools/owners/
and tell me which of these 56 media companies Rupert (not Robert) Murdoch does not own. Murdoch owns, along with a few hundred thousand or so stockholders, News Corp. Murdoch has absolutely no control over the other 55 companies which make up about 98 percent of all media comapnies. That's 2% for Murdoch and 98% for hundreds of other people. And within that other 98% there are hundreds of members of Boards of Directors and Editors and thousands of reporters.

Now tell me again how Rupert Murdoch proves me wrong.

Ron Patteson

you claimed that no one person or small group has influence over what the media says and does. what murdoch does with newscorp and the company's newscorp own prove you wrong.

Kaiser, don't be daft! What both River and I were talking about was all mainstream media! Rupert Murdoch is not all mainstream media. If Murdoch controlled ALL mainstream media instead of just 2% of it then that would prove me wrong. It would take ALL mainstream media to be conspiring together to prove me wrong. I think that was quite obvious from my very first post on the subject.

The very fact that Murdoch contains only a tiny portion of the media does not prove my case but it certainly strengthens it. If Murdoch could dial up all other 55 media corporations and dictate to them what they must do, and also dictate that they must dictate to all their media outlets what they must do, then that would prove you correct.

Errrr, do you think he might be able to do that?

Hehehe, I love it when a conspiracy theory plan falls completely apart.

Ron Patterson

you seem to be lacking some reading skills let me repeat what i typed.

The way rupert murdoch runs news corp and the company's it owns listed here from a link up thread.

Fox Television: includes 22 stations, 50% of US households.
* Fox International: extensive worldwide cable and satellite networks include British Sky Broadcasting (40%); VOX, Germany (49.9%); Canal Fox, Latin America; FOXTEL, Australia (50%); STAR TV, Asia; IskyB, India; Bahasa Programming Ltd., Indonesia (50%); and News Broadcasting, Japan (80%).
* The Golf Channel (33%).
* Twentieth Century Fox, Fox Searchlight.
* 132 newspapers (113 in Australia alone) including the New York Post, the London Times and The Australian.
* 25 magazines including TV Guide and The Weekly Standard.
* HarperCollins books.

prove your statement wrong that one person or more then one can't influence any media company without actively involving everyone. THAT is what you stated in your rant up thread using the repeatedly disproved belief that a 'conspiracy' must have many people in the know for it to work.

It is hard to make a case for any giant conspiracy. And the more in on the conspiracy, the harder it becomes. And when it requires thousands to be privy to the conspiracy, it becomes impossible. Well, impossible unless one desires to ignore reality.

And yet, large secrets can 'be kept'. Manhattan Project as an example. And somewhere out on the Internet there should be a list of events labeled 'not a conspiracy' at the time of its happening and later history leans towards 'now considered a conspiracy'. If any of you have a link to such a history site, please post it.

To say 'there are not conspiracies because people can't keep their mouth shut' ignores:
1) Voices in the 'alternative media' who claim they are coming clean (So either such people are attention seeking wackos and there are no conspiracies, or are not keeping their mouths shut and therefore there are no conspiracies)
2) The past history of actions taken by groups in power VS others over history.

Don't forget that each journalist is responsible for only a small slice of the news pie. I was responsible for science, law, medicine, and mining. As my workload was off the chart, I had little time to delve into someone else's bailiwick.

The way the MSM is controlled is through specialization and top-down management. No need to ride herd over the vast majority of reporters who are charged with covering innocuous BS like media, entertainment, sports, etc. Plus, you must realize that most Americans are practically news illiterate. And, as you mentioned before, the average journalist is the average American. Even though their livelihood depends on a paycheck from the MSM, they may not actually spend any time perusing the multitudes of other media available.

Oh well.

Ron and River,

You are both right, sort of. I've noticed before that when the media are trying to introdue some new concepp or show, they produce a piece that assumes that you know about the person, and only if you're not "hip" would you be unaware.

Last weekend on the Comedy Channel, my source for "fake news" ,they had a roast of some totally obnoxious hip-hop comedian that I'd never heard of, although I guess it possible that I really am not hip at 55. But awareness of issues comes like a sea change. Nobody's aware, then suddenly everyone's aware.

But Ron's right too. Occam's razor generally works against conspiracy theories, as I've decided that any conspiracy of more than one person tends to fail rapidly because most people can't keep their mouth's shut.
Bob Ebersole

Bob, you know that conspiracy is practiced every time two people get together, have a discussion, and make decisions. It is hard for me to understand why this concept is so difficult for people to grasp. I believe that you also know what would happen to an editor working for a GE owned broadcast outlet that decided 'I am going to broadcast news/opinion that I damn well please!'

Bob, you know that conspiracy is practiced every time two people get together, have a discussion, and make decisions.

Wrong! A simple decision is not a conspiracy. It must contain TWO other qualifications to qualify as a conspiracy. It must be covert, kept secret from those conspired aginst. And it must have victims, or to be a conspiracy there must be people who are conspired against.

And if the conspiracy is ever exposed as such, it is no longer a conspiracy.

Why is that simple concept so hard for conspiracy addicts to understand? And there are always hundreds of conspiracies going on all the time. Many of them are law enforcement agencies, working undercover, conspiring against criminals. But if the whole damn town knew about it, that would blow their cover. That means the conspiracy would be exposed. ;-)

Ron Patterson

last word :)

The above was posted before you posted your last word. I posted at 12:47, your last word was posted at 12:57. Now let it be for god's sake.


Yes, let it be.

We wouldn't want to discuss how long the Jim Crow business went on: decades, while the media ignored it.

Or... how long it took to see climate change even mentioned though the science has been solid for two decades. It was an "Inconvenient Truth".

We're still waiting for some spine in the ethanol coverage aren't we?

Darwinian... re-read F.451. Bradbury pegged it a long time ago.

Kai Ryssdal (NPR's Marketplace) is our new auntie... Dow soars! Oil Plunges! House sales rock!

Sorry to be so cynical, but really... the media leaves a lot to be desired.

Will, yes it takes a long time for some obvious truths to become clear. The fact that we are destroying the earth has been obvious since Rachel Carson published "Silent Spring" in 1962. Yet the vast majority of people are still ignorant to the extent of the destruction. Wonder if that is a gigantic conspiracy on part of the media also? ;-)

Well, we are seeing a little spine in ethanol coverage. I have seen several talking heads on the news networks lately calling it "an absolute hoax."

I have read Fahrenheit 451, many years ago. I don't get your point. What did Ray Bradbury have pegged?

Yes, the media leaves a lot to be desired. But what the hell did you expect? The media is just people, people like you and I. We have the far right media, Fox and the rest of News Corp. And we have the far left media....uh....uh.... Well, I am sure there is some far left media out there somewhere, I just cannot think of any right now.

I know some will say that CNN is left, and they do have left of center anchors. But they also have a lot of right of center anchors. MSNBC is the same way. They have Keith Olbermann on the left, and the rest of their entire crew of anchors are far right. Well, Chris Matthews is pretty close to the center but the rest are not.

But I digress. My point is the media is simply the media. They have their stupid anchors, their left anchors, their right anchors, and their middle of the road anchors. They report the news that they think the people would be interested to hear because they are concerned with ratings. To believe that all mainstream media is engaged in some gigantic conspiracy to supress this or that bit of news is just down in the dirt stupid.

Ron Patterson


I think your rational mind should get a hold of your irrational fear of the word conspiracy.

irrational fear of the word conspiracy.

How, theoretically, would that be doable.

Offer him a teaching on impermanence, Samsara. Oh, wait ... silly me :-)

...impermanence, Samsara

Bingo :-)

I would never be so gauche as to say it in mixed company, but between you and I the market value of renunciation is going to greatly exceed that of forgiveness any minute now ...

Not quite ....:-)

I dont think it is a conspiracy involving MSM.

(though sometimes I would feel a lot more comfortable if it WAS a giant conspiracy...That would mean that TPTB would be on top of it and quietly trying to sort it out...)

I think its just bog-standard human nature. Human fallability, Human Incompetence.

PO doesnt sell copy, at least until this year. Most journalists ignore band-wagons until it is time to jump on...

Journalism just mirrors the society that exists at the time these days. True investigative journalism doesnt really get on the radar. If it did , you would have a new Pres and Veep a year or so ago.

Simmons got it half right: PO will overshadow GW. He said this year. I reckon 2009. - It will really have to bite, and for that you need gas-lines. Thats only 2 more winters and 1 1/2 hurricane seasons ... so be patient enough: relax, get 2 more good family Christmases out of it - there is time enough to live in ditches , grubbing neeps and tatties for a living...

There is a way to go yet, but when it happens, MSM and talking heads will start acting like they knew it was coming all along.

Its just like work in large corporations: You struggle to get an idea across and it is ignored. Then it becomes obvious and a 'suit' runs with it and he takes the credit...

Same with MSM...They are too stoopid to organise a conspiracy. Anybody that concerned with how hair looks must have the brains of a dandelion.

That roast was of "Flavor Flav" of the band "Public Enemy." The roast timidly avoided everything related to Public Enemy's rise to fame. I now present you with YouTube links, never mentioned during the roast:


"Fight the powers that be!"


"911 is a joke in your town."

If your mind can't process these rap lyrics, you may be an old man like me.


"Don't believe the hype, it's a sequel."

Ron and River, you are both right and wrong, you are getting stuck on the analysis and failing to see the forest for the trees.

In days gone by, people tried to explain the world around them in terms that made sense, for example they assumed gods made things happen. The wonder of nature and how it intermeshed beautiful to allow survival was thought to be the work of a god. How else could such intricacy be explained?

River is saying "look these things are happening, something must be doing it, it must be a god", whereas Ron is saying "if a god was doing it then we would see it, it would let us know" and the argument gets bogged down on whether or not the god exists or not.

Of course Darwin eventually came up with his theory of Evolution which (for many) explained what that something was that made things happen, not a god, but a self organising system. And that's what's behind the things that are being discussed above, a self organising system.

Humans are not in charge, they are simply following the rules of a system which governs their actions. For example the economy, it has subsumed almost everyone's lives, millions of people are slaves to its every whim, they live by its rules. Yet, the economy is just part of the system that governs us, organises us and dictates how we live our lives. No one is in charge or dictates how the system works, like Evolution it works according to its own dynamics.

Change is coming and the system must adapt, people must be conditioned to the new reality, prepared. Peak Oil will enter peoples psychic, when it happens everyone will be aware of it, as if they'd always been aware of it. They will have been conditioned to its presence and probably to its outcome too. The systemic means of conditioning large numbers of people is through the media; the MSM, Hollywood, the Internet (ie. the Oil Drum), books, etc.

Triumvirate of collapse - Economy, Ecosystem, Energy

your allot more civil then Darwinian on these matters but your argument falls apart because we are not talking about natural phenomenon that run on their own(like your comparison to evolution) despite how much economists wish that was the case.

we are talking about human made and human run systems, a economy is a human made system of barter and is run by humans, without humans it would cease to function and be. Government is a human made system of organization and control, without humans it neither is needed or exists. company's are large human made organizations which only exist to full fill human wants first, such as greed, and needs second, actual products or services. they would not exist if there were no human needs and wants or humans to run them.

I think Burgundy's point was that people form self-organizing systems, and that is an example of a system that "runs on its own". For as long as humans have had societies, and still have to this day, no-one is necessary "at the top to run things".

There is a push and pull that happens between members of a tribe, between tribes, between groups of tribes, and there is no-one "managing" it. It either works and survives within its environment or fails and vanishes.

There is a dynamic and chaotic equilibrium between members of a single faith, and up and down the hierarchy within that faith, and between faiths. It works and survives within its environment (Christianity, Judaism) or fails and doesn't (anyone made any sacrifices to Zeus lately?).

But there wasn't anywhere in any point in history a single person, or a group, that had the power to dictate for all humanity that we would abandon the Greek mythos in favor of Roman Catholicism, Judaism, Islam, and the Flying Spaghetti Monster. That is just what happened to work out in our system.

It is the difference between choosing to eat (which you can do within the system) and choosing the need to ingest nutrients (which you cannot do as you cannot change the system itself).

you obviously some very limited experience in history.

first off a tribe is not a commune it's a hierarchy, though to give you credit it's a loose one not a strict caste system.

your religious statement if false because if it was not for the emperor Constantine the Christian faith would of died as a underground cult. people did not just for no reason drop the old gods, it was due Constantine's conversion and then outlawing of the old gods that gave it legitimacy.

Re SF Chronicle piece - worth all taking a moment to forward to other print media local and national and asking the question: why aren't you covering this?

(perhaps also link to Michael Klare's story of a few days ago)

Open letter to Texas newspapers about peak oil: 'Why aren’t you listening?'
Jeffrey J. Brown, GraphOilogy
first published April 3, 2006.

The US media have two choices regarding the Peak Oil issue. To paraphrase Winston Churchill, you can now have either your honor or the status quo. If you do nothing regarding Peak Oil, you will soon have neither the status quo nor your honor.

WT - excellent letter. Did you post letter on the Enenrgy Bulletin solely or hardcopy the editors/publishers. If yes, did you get a response, or see your content appear in either paper since?

I mailed hard copies to the two papers, and it was posted on the EB. The amazing thing to me, as I outlined, was that two Texas billionaires--Pickens & Rainwater (hardly a couple of guys in their basements typing out conspiracy theories)--were outlining the Peak Oil case in the clearest possible terms, and the subject was basically being ignored.

No response from the Fort Worth paper, but the Dallas paper did invite me to do the 'Yes we have peaked" side of a Peak Oil debate, which covered almost all of the front page of the opinion section.

Probably because of the opinion piece, I was subsequently invited to participate in a Peak Oil debate, shown on some PBS stations--where I took on ExxonMobil and Michael Lynch, et al, regarding Peak Oil.

The Dallas opinion piece:

Published on 10 Jun 2006 by Dallas Morning News. Archived on 11 Jun 2006.
Has oil peaked?: Yes
by Jeffrey Brown

I applaud your efforts. The Dallas Morning News opinion piece was particularly well stated.

Probably because it was heavily edited by Bart Anderson, at the EB, with some contributions from Alan Drake.

Actually, this piece represents my "net profits" to date on my Peak Oil efforts. The Morning News paid me $200. I split it with Alan, after offering to donate it to the EB (they weren't geared up to accept donations). I wonder what $100 works out to on an hourly basis?

Shhhh....no figures, please...you don't want to alert the IRS in case you or Alan 'forgot' to include on your '07 return.

Actually this is the way it usually goes. The big profiteers of PO will never be those sounding the bell.

Jeffrey - an excellent call with the letter. Did it get any reaction, any at all?

Maybe a round of such letters from the OD community would be apt about now. (But, who will the panic help?)


Letters, editorials, meetings dadadada...

Ultimately, It will have to come out of the mouth of the ultimate talking head.


Until then, it is merely a debating issue.

You will need something like

'I can offer you only blood, sweat and tears'....

...So you need a Churchill.

From where, I know not.

Best hopes for headhunting a man or woman with brains, integrity, vision, courage, character, honesty, forthrightness, humility, grace under pressure and willpower...

MUDLOGGER - it actually did come out of the mouth of POTUS back in May 2001. Keep an eye on the quotes box at the right side top of TOD page.

So much for words. Gave us our tax cuts. Woo hoo.

I share your hope for leadership of a, eh, different kind than that we've seen since 2000.

Best hopes for headhunting a man or woman with brains, integrity, vision, courage, character, honesty, forthrightness, humility, grace under pressure and willpower...

That would have been Jimmy Carter. And he even understood thermodynamics.

No, it won't get traction unless the religious leaders couch it in myth and fight to claim it. Only a machiavellian president is more than a figurehead, and the odds of a machiavellian environmental idealist becoming POTUS are slim indeed.

Hello Darwinian,

....sledgehammer from the darkness!!

Absolutely right! I am even starting to worry that Jay Hanson's Thermo/Gene prediction timeline may be too Cornucopian.

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

Thanks Bob.

I am a little shocked. Na, more than a little shocked. Peak Oil is finally getting a little of the coverage it deserves. I thought that link from the San Francisco Chronicle would be the main topic of discussion today. Instead we get wrapped up in some goddammed stupid conspiracy theory argument.

What the hell is going on here? Leanan posted something awhile ago about a genetic predeilection to seeing patterns. That is, we have a genetic tendency to see patterns in nature and this has helped us to survive. But we cannot shake that tendency to see patterns in everything therefore some people see everything as some kind of giant conspiracy.

But what the hell. We must live with denial so I guess we must live with conspiracy theory folks as well. And it is like a religion, no amount of reason will shake their confidence that almost everything is part of some giant conspiracy. I guess it is all part of our ongoing education into how the mind works. I wonder if Steven Pinker wrote about conspiracy theory addicts. Think I will look it up. If I find anything I will get back to you.

Ron Patterson

Ron -

Those conspiracy threads are long enough without me speaking up. But let me here say thanks for upholding high standards, and endorse the rational position you defend so well.

Human memory works by narrative; even a flawed narrative is memorable while a sequence of unconnected data snapshots are not.

We see faces and animals in the clouds. We perceive conspiracies even where none are possible. Indeed, most of us believe the most fanciful boilerplate bullshit possible and don't think that death will necessarily curtail our social lives.

It seems to me that ubiquitous conspiracy theory is often the trap of the sophisticate who has read much and attempted little. This is a general statement about human minds and not meant to be any sort of ad hominem attack or refer to a particular string today.

Keep up the good work, and keep posting!


Very well said!

Errol in Miami

Greenish, thanks a million. Sanity in posting can use all the support it can get.

I was raised in rural Alabama where ever redneck in the land believed everything was some giant government conspiracy. I guess we are returning to our roots. ;-)

Ron Patterson

- Hain't we got all the fools in town on our side?
And hain't that a big enough majority in any town?
- Mark Twain: Huckleberry Finn.

Why oil is a Trojan Horse:

Fuel as solid vs. liquid/gas = slow vs. EXPLOSIVE burn, or rate of energy release.

It all comes down to rate of energy-release, or slow burn vs. EXPLOSIVE burn.

Consider ENERGY, for example, as coal vs. oil:

Coal works slowly, via a steam intermediate, to yield expansion; led to Industrial Age via steam-ENGINE development.

Oil or gas as petroleum work directly via atomization to yield EXPLOSIVE expansion [internal-combustion ENGINE], a very useful RATE of WORK produced relative to any other commodity fuel, especially as liquid it is a uniquely MOBILE fuel , requiring only pumps and valves to manipulate [e.g. easily automated process-control] or efficiently move/store great quantities in simple containers.

Cars and planes cannot work on coal, wood, etc without intermediate [e.g. steam] to produce EXPLOSIVE rates of energy release, and so are impractical as a boiler is required to achieve the high rate of energy release. Even NUCLEAR requires a boiler to create the EXPLOSIVE expansion and throttling needed to to do work.

No practical, scaleable ENGINES have been developed to work solely on heat/radiation, due to portability and energy-density problems. There are possibilities such as thermo-electric, ion-electric, photo electric,wind, etc.

As for portability and energy-density, there can be great, future development if electic grid is used as the intermediate, fed by wind, solar, etc. along with development of storage, as batteries. Aircraft are a special case which can be resolved by alcohol and other alternates.]

Dick Cheney 1999 speech* quotes:
Oil is unique in that it is so strategic in nature. [Clue: Look-up "strategy" in a good dictionary. It's core meaning derives from "generalship", and is usually associated with military planning.]
Energy is truly fundamental to the world's economy.
The degree of government involvement also makes oil a unique commodity.
Oil remains fundamentally a government business.
It is the basic, fundamental building block of the world's economy.
It is unlike any other commodity.
The Middle East with two-thirds of the world’s oil and the lowest cost, is still where the prize ultimately lies
The Middle East and Africa have over one hundred year’s supply of gas reserves at current low usage levels and the former Soviet Union and Latin America have gas reserve-to-production ratios which should last over seventy years.
...estimates there will be an average of 2% annual growth in global oil demand over the years ahead along with conservatively a 3% natural decline in production from existing reserves. That means by 2010 we will need on the order of an additional 50,000,000 barrels a day. So where is the oil going to come from?

* London, at Institute of Petroleum; full text at http://www.energybulletin.net/559.html

Reddot - may I just add one more Cheney quote from the 1999 speech you captured well:

I'm often asked why I left politics and went to Halliburton and I explain that I reached the point where I was mean-spirited, short-tempered and intolerant of those who disagreed with me and they said "Hell, you'd make a great CEO", so I went to Texas and joined the private sector.

... the economic blow may come as a sledgehammer from the darkness."

Move along now — just ignore the whirling blades.

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

Gentle(wo)men - maybe a definition of MSM is in order. Went to NYT and searched under "Peak Oil", getting 20 relevant hits swinging both ways (not a big number but not ignored), and of course from the Magazine Section the article I first read in the 'MSM' and had since forgotten about:

The Breaking Point
Published: August 21, 2005

This demand-driven scarcity has prompted the emergence of a cottage industry of experts who predict an impending crisis that will dwarf anything seen before. Their point is not that we are running out of oil, per se; although as much as half of the world's recoverable reserves are estimated to have been consumed, about a trillion barrels remain underground. Rather, they are concerned with what is called ''capacity'' -- the amount of oil that can be pumped to the surface on a daily basis. These experts -- still a minority in the oil world -- contend that because of the peculiarities of geology and the limits of modern technology, it will soon be impossible for the world's reservoirs to surrender enough oil to meet daily demand.

Sounds pretty accurate. Is the NYT MSM?

edit - maybe I'm cherry-picking:
If I ditto above for other newsprint media, starting with the top ten based on circulation:

USAToday- none

WSJ- over a hundred hits, split between articles and blog, all behind a paywall.

NYT – 20 hits

LATimes- 3 hits, brief and fleeting mention of PO

DenverPost- 7 hits

Chicago Tribune- none

WaPo- 2 hits, brief & deeply buried in article / discussion

New York Daily News- none

New York Post- none

Houston Chronicle – 8 hits

Although the "peak oil" winner is probably

Falls Church News-Press- 150 hits


Zero for the Chicago Tribune?

But what about that great Salopek special report?

FWIW, I think peak oil is discussed quite a bit in the MSM. Not as much as really important things like Britney Spears' underwear, but IMO the SF Chronicle piece isn't that unusual. It is a very well-written piece, perhaps more doomerish than most, but it's an opinion piece, and it's in a rather liberal paper.

I have been impressed with the peak oil coverage in the Salt Lake City Tribune, not least because Utah is pretty conservative. Perhaps I'm being unfair, but I find peak oil mentions in a Salt Lake City paper more striking than in a San Francisco paper.

I am not surprised the WSJ has so many peak oil mentions. The WSJ is probably the best paper in the country now. (Along with CSM, maybe.) Their editorial page is wingnutland, but they have a good firewall between the editorial and the news departments.

Yes I missed that one. Surely I missed others, as well as all articles on PO subject matter but that don't use the term in the story.

Given that caveat of a crude survey & search, a quick scan of the top-ten newspapers and the relative numbers of hits on PO speaks for itself.

There's plenty of other media to check on, not the least of which is the 'smaller' newspapers that are more regionally distinct.

BTW, feel free to go to the Chicago Tribune homepage and in the search box type "peak oil". Six articles come up, five with no relation to PO. The sixth is the article you cite.

In August of last year (2006) that there was an article in the Chicago Tribune entitled Oil Safari that dealt with peak oil. I found it again via Google.

Searching "peak oil" via chicagotribune.com produced zero hits. They certainly wouldn't be censoring such a thing, despite how many times the phrase "peak oil" appears in the Oil Safari article.

Oil Safari

Yes but look at how many originate from the Chicago Tribune. Sorry.

Having said that, I certainly would agree that one quality discussion on the subject (as apparently in the article you cite - will read) is worth a thousand throw-away 'peak-oil' wink-wink type references.

Above I should have linked to the Oil Drum discussion on the Maass report from 8/2005 in the NYT magazine section:
http://www.theoildrum.com/story/2005/8/20/194828/608 and snips from the article http://www.theoildrum.com/classic/2005/08/peak-oil-breaking-news-in-nyt-...

Still behind a wall, but is worth way more than the free registration required to view it.

The Fredricksburg article about how much oil is prevented from exploitation by government is correct in that there is probably another 11 billion in Alaska and there may well be 85 billion off the coasts - or not.

Assuming that there are these deposits, and considering that the US uses 20 million a day - OK, 15 imported - we'll use up Alaska in two years replacing those imports. The remaining coastal deposits will be half gone in another eight, so by 2020 we're still facing PO even if those advanced recovery techniques have maintained traditional production of five million a day from our current holes.

Any way you slice it, it is the colossal consumption rate that is dwarfing our extraction abilities regardless of politics. Articles such as this which fail to do simple arithmetic, which should be within a journalist's skills, are a major disservice to anyone who plans to live longer than another decade or has children.

It isn't just the exponential equation that has humanity buffaloed but basic arithmetic as well. The US burns 7 billion barrels a year. Finding and developing that amount per year domestically isn't about to happen, let alone getting it to flow that fast.

It is just too often then articles like this forget the other side of the equation. Where one talks about supply, but leaves out demand and their everlasting relationship.

Or when people talk about SUV's and they should be able to have one with better mpg without a sacrifice:

Cristian Crespo of Valley Village, California
We love our cars in this country. To be more specific, we love our trucks and SUVs. It's not that Americans don't want to be environmentally friendly, it's just that we don't have much of a choice. As an SUV driver, telling me that my only alternative is a Toyota Prius or a Honda Civic is like telling me to eat beef jerky when I'm used to filet mignon. I find it ridiculous that other technologies have become so much more advanced, and yet it's been well over 100 years since the gasoline engine was invented and we haven't come up with an alternative yet. The message to car companies has to be, "If you build it, we will drive it". If I could get the same power, comfort and luxury from a more fuel efficient vehicle, I would most definitely drive it -- just don't charge me an arm and a leg for it.


"If I could get the same power, comfort and luxury from a more fuel efficient vehicle..."

I think this is why the public dismisses PO; they have gotten used to technology providing miracles they don't really understand, and so don't see why they can't have more miracles.

Errol in Miami

"If I could get the same power, comfort and luxury from a more fuel efficient vehicle..."

I think this is why the public dismisses PO; they have gotten used to technology providing miracles they don't really understand, and so don't see why they can't have more miracles.

Well, really...making an SUV with the same power, comfort and luxury while getting better fuel economy wouldn't be a miracle...it's perfectly possible. Where the miracles and impossibilities creep is in the "just don't charge me an arm and a leg for it". You could make an SUV out of carbon fiber, but the $ would pop some eyeballs. The other impossibility is getting them to accept the styling cues necessary to make them "reasonably" aerodynamic.

An interesting article with a more interesting title...

How it all went wrong for Countrywide Financial

Perhaps the title should have been 'How it all went wrong for many that secured mortgages from Countrywide Financial'?


'On its way to becoming the nation's largest mortgage lender, the Countrywide Financial Corp. encouraged its sales force to court customers over the telephone with a seductive pitch that seldom varied. "I want to be sure you are getting the best loan possible," the sales representatives would say.

But providing "the best loan possible" to customers was not always the bank's main goal, say some former employees...snip...

One document shows that until last September the computer system in the company's subprime unit excluded
borrowers' cash reserves, which had the effect of steering them away from lower-cost loans to those that were more expensive to homeowners and more profitable to Countrywide.
Now, with the entire mortgage business on tenterhooks and industry practices under scrutiny by securities regulators and banking industry overseers, Countrywide's money machine is sputtering.

Edited to remove excessive quoting. You have the link, no need to post that much of the article.

As Woes Grow, Mortgage Ads Keep Up Pitch

As the mortgage market shrinks and defaults rise, he said, lenders “are becoming more desperate, and consumers are becoming more desperate.”

At present PO exists as two scenarios. The first is the geologic peak, the point at which half the resource has been extracted. The second is peak lite which is a logistic peak; the ramp up in demand exceeds the ability to ramp up the available to supply and we experience all the price pressures associated with recognition of geologic peak. I wish to propose a third scenario: the EconoPeak.

The scenario associated with EconoPeak is financial as much as it is geologic. Under EconoPeak different nations experience the effects of PO based on their ability to pay for access to the resource. As noted in past Drumbeats, there are regions of Africa which are currently experiencing PO effects due to their inability to pay the current market price for the required resource. The key premise is that a nation's experience of PO will be contingent on 1) The amount of the resource available within any state; 2) The ability to purchase the resource on world markets. Those states fortunate enought to control their own oil can make the decision to use it internally or to market it; how this plays out is the subject of the Export Land Model (ELM) first proposed by WestTexas. The ELM is one half of the EconoPeak scenario.

The second half of the EconoPeak scenario has to take into account the ability to pay, the abilty to take some other resource and convert it into something fungible that can then be traded for the required resource. Clearly, if you are the citizen of a poor nation, one that lacks fungible resources and is also mired in debt, then your ability to trade for the need resource will be low and you will experience peak oil in advance of nations that are wealthy and enjoy fungible resources. We should be able to model all the nations of the world with the strong and wealthy as Group A nations, and the poor and indebted as Group Z nations with all the others spread on a continuim in between.

The question I have is where does the USA sit on this continuim? I think it is closer to Group Z then Group A. Let us look at the evidence:

"The US needs a trillion dollars a year just to stand still," says David Bloom, currency guru at HSBC. Modern financial crises have always begun on the peripheries of global economy, setting off a chain reaction. Mr Bloom says the seizure this time will be at the heart of the system as the dollar buckles, pressing down on the "aorta of capitalism".


Where will that trillion dollars come from? You can borrow it or you can perform financial alchemy and seek to generate it internally.

As evidence of that surprising "economic laws don't apply here" statement, he merely has to note that almost $500 trillion in financial derivatives exist ("In comparison," he writes "the U.S. GNP is a paltry 13 trillion") and the number of derivatives "is increasing at the rate of 40 percent per annum. At that rate volume doubles about every other year."

"The big, big problem with the whole subprime/CDO/Armageddon market thing is that while the values on these assets can go down, the debts incurred to buy the assets don't."


But what does this matter? The US dollar is the world reserve currency. Everybody loves the dollar!! Don't they?

There is very little that the Fed can do at this point. That's why Greenspan left. Everyone we talk to... Mayer, Hudson, Challenger, etc... across the political spectrum believe that we are in for a grinding stagflation, best case, as the dollar gradually loses its status as a reserve currency.

Selling crap MBS paper to EU funds was the last straw. Negative EU political opinion of the US because of the Iraq war pales beside their contempt for the corrupt ratings agencies that helped sell MBS paper the way Arthur Anderson helped sell tech stock crap in the 1990s. But it's worse than that. They've really had enough. The US-centric economic and financial system that took generations to build may be repudiated, along with the dollar.

You can thank Greenspan.


One of my favorite definitions of money is "an idea backed by confidence", and one of the primary jobs of a central bank is to support its currency.

So who do you blame for this mess?

Naturally, I queried, "But George Bush? Why George Bush?" and he answers that Bush "pounded tax cuts and allowed the Republican Congress to boost spending as if they were Democrats."

I again leap to my feet and shout, "So what? Who the hell cares what he or anybody wants? What matters is that if Greenspan and the Fed had not increased the money supply by making all that excess money and credit available, for all those years, which allowed the Congress to deficit-spend to such a flabbergasting degree, neither Bush nor Congress would have been able to spend so much as a stinking dime without raising taxes, destroying the economy and then getting voted out of office, if not lynched by outraged voters. So it's back to Alan Greenspan alone!"


And how does the US pay for its resources when nobody wants to hold the American peso? And does this not mean that America will experience the effects of PO well before either Peak Lite or Geologic Peak?

Great post new account (may I suggest that you are worthy of a better handle than that)

I have been thinking along these lines also so thank you for wraping words around it.

IMO the only reason this has not accellerated faster is because US has thousand Military bases around the world controlling the resources and therfore the world economy.

Most players RU, China, etc are for the most part willing to sit back and let us slowely do ourselves in (and we seem to be doing a pretty good job of it too)

but.. IMO I have to believe their will be a tipping point.

P.S. It seems you have a advanced grasp of economics/PO and I encourage to continue sharing.


IMO the only reason this has not accellerated faster is because US has thousand Military bases around the world controlling the resources and therfore the world economy.

But the problem is that someone has to pay for those bases. Up to this point in history the host nations were willing to accomodate US bases as this resulted in a dollar injection into their economy and the US defense umbrella served to offset concerns over an agressive USSR.

If you can see those bases being used to exert control then so can the host nations. Further to this, any nation which sought to limit US military activity (New Zealand did this a few years back) was punished economically.

As the problems within the US financial system further erode foreign investor confidence I think you will see a move out of the dollar. This can only be mitigated by increasing US interest rates. But this will exacerbate the domestic financial problems.

What we are witnessing are the first steps in the decline of the US empire. What will be critical is how this decline plays out against PO and AGW.


Our bases were tolerated in large part because we were the policeman of the world for two generations. Now that Bush has come into power we're the policeman just the way the character Vic Mackey is in The Shield. This is a long running HBO drama shot documentary style and it chronicles the decay of Mackey and the group of detectives he leads as they rob drug dealers, money launderers, and murder those who get in their way.

If our behavior is worse than the Russians or the Chinese ... they will displace us. This much is obvious.

Interesting post NA...Thanks. I would like to add that few countries with strong militaries and poor economies have remained world leaders for long. Wars take an extreme toll on empires. Follow the history of Britian in the last century for an example. GB was toast after WW1 and after WW2...well, they had the USA to help some but were excluded from the Marshall Plan. After all, an empire is a business model and all biz models must have ROI. To bring home spoils to add to the treasury is one thing...To fight wars to decide what ideology will prevail is another. Look at Americas sunk cost in Iraq so far and consider what a desperate gamble our invasion of that country is. Cheney must have considered our country to be in extreme economic peril to risk such a venture...and the outcome is not yet clear.

"Cheney must have considered our country to be in extreme economic peril to risk such a venture...and the outcome is not yet clear."

Or took the opportunity presented by 9-11 and ratcheted up the fear factor 'WMD' to pull off what had been a key goal of his and the go-alongs in the Administration.

That they (the administration and the policymakers) executed so poorly to give us the mess we have today should not be seen as resulting from a fear of extreme economic peril. It was mostly pure and simple a once in a lifetime opportunity. It's to all our shame we didn't stop them.

I think the current US administration will come to be regarded as the most incompetent in the history of the United States.

I don't believe Cheney et al were driven as much by fear as by arrogance. They believed they were "masters of the universe" and could create a reality that everyone else had to accept. What is shocking is that a cabal of less than 20 neo-cons effected a putsch of the US government and over-rode every check and balance provided by the founders. And they are still doing that.

I also suspect that oil was a key factor. The evidence for that is the secret Cheney meetings with industry participants early in the first term, the secret agreement with Blair on a FF partnership/interest group, but I think the very best evidence is that US forces entering Bagdhad made no attempt to secure Iraqi weapons depots even though they were aware these were being looted by citizens but they did immediately secure the Oil Ministry. This strange set of priorites resulted in the populace gaining control of the weapons and explosives that first fueled the insurgency.

If you start a war because you believe the enemy holds WMD would you not seek to secure all possible locations that might hold those, or other weapons? Of course if the WMD was just a pretext then why bother?

The US media shares a significant part of the blame. The MSM, for the most part, are just puppets of the administration; the real vitality in US media is with the blogs - witness TOD. To support River in his statements upthread, there is in economics what is known as an "informal collusive oligopoly." This is not a formal "conspiracy" but rather a group with shared interests and outlook who act in support of each other despite the lack of a formal quid pro quo.


I fully agree with your comments, but the third paragraph doesn't quite capture what the '9-11 opportunity' presented. It was to be a triple win, IMO:

Line up the axis of evil. Start with the one you can pick off with ease. Establish 'a new order' in the ME by disposing Saddam and installing US-backed replacements for his regime. Long term occupation in bases in a country on the border of Syria, and with US military on both borders of Iran. With the local populace in Bagdad dancing in the streets celebrating their liberation, leverage this situation as stick and carrot for Iranians to drop their weapons program.

Except things didn't work out that way, and the administration never had a Plan B, except make Plan A work. There's always never been a Plan B. As I have posted in the past, gross incompetence is so unbelievable it can look like sly genius. No one could be that incompetent! It must have been planned this way!

The neocons were more than just about oil, but oil played as you said, a key factor. It was always a quid pro quo.

The majority of the MSM, not everyone - and the majority of Congress, not everyone - bought the ticket for us, and we now have to stay to watch the rest of the show.

MSM is ... Meat Stick Media. You may quote me.

A cabal of twenty neocons ... and 20% of the population who believe they're on a mission from god and have "thermonuclear war in the mideast" as one of their action items. Mustn't forget about our disloyal Christian Right ...

There is no more value added in blaming Greenspan than is blaming it on Columbus.

Alan just did what the econo-political establishment in this country ordered errr... wanted him to do. Ben is no better than him - watch for the FEDs lowering the prime rate in September. One more step to hyperinflating the hyperunpayable US debt.

Simply put after the collapse of the .COM bubble, the empire needed a new bubble to finance itself and the coming wars and Alan created it. What comes next? Alternative energy bubble? It really does not matter what kind of bubble it would be - the US holds the world a hostage over its currency and until this giant, 60-year old bubble bursts the foregners do not have much choice but send us their resources in exchange for our paper. It may not continue forever but it certainly may continue as long as we are alive.

There is no more value added in blaming Greenspan than is blaming it on Columbus.

Ha...au contraire...Greenspan is still alive. That has much added value to me.

Masterful post, NewAccount. Even succinct.
Perhaps ThePowersThatBe will add a tiny new TAX on all financial transactions. Would raise fed revenues hugely.

Explaining the US economy?:
*...glorification of that sort of gambling in "clever strokes" which constitutes the very essence of theft, swindling, and all sorts of similar anti-social deeds.

* Peter Kropotkin ca. 1899; comments on prison systems and relevant inmates.


Here is the most surprising news item I have seen in a while.
Not the oil part, but the IMPLIED GROWTH numbers on natural gas - LNG in China
... so if you are one of the Chinese ruling party, and you see coal pollution affecting food and water supply, you issue a fiat: "We will change from coal to natural gas asap. Price no issue."

If you make some assumptions and do some 'rithmatic... LNG imports in 2006 was approx 800K tons. In 2007 This will triple and go to 2.5M tons - all from one terminal.
they have another terminal almost ready (2.5M tons/year) and 11 more are on the drawing boards. If we assume 2.5M tons per terminal we get 32.5M tons / year from 13 terminals or a 40X increase on 2006. I assume this will be in the next 5 years.

I have no idea how big a number this is in world terms, with all the supplies in Russia.

I know in North America, we are smiling complacently because the ramp up in LNG imports is proceeding nicely. Supplies are up and gas prices are down. North America domestic supply is flat. But I have to think if we have to go to the spot market in a couple of years, we will get quite a shock at the prices

Maybe Jean Laherrere or Luis de Sousa could comment, and put this in context

China Crude Imports Up 39% in July, LNG Imports Up Fivefold

By Interfax-China
22 Aug 2007 at 10:02 AM GMT-04:00

SHANGHAI (Interfax-China) -- China's General Administration of Customs confirmed preliminary data released earlier this month that showed the country imported 39.3% more crude oil in July than it did in the same month last year, and that liquefied natural gas (LNG) imports soared fivefold in order to meet robust energy demand during the country's peak summer consumption season.

China's crude oil imports in July hit a record monthly high of 14.83 million tonnes, equivalent to 3.51 million barrels per day, which brought the total volume of crude imported from overseas so far this year to 96.37 million tonnes, up 14.7% year-on-year.

At the same time, the country exported 81.7% more gasoline during the first seven months than it did during the same period last year, while light diesel exports fell 29% year-on-year.

Saudi Arabia remained the largest crude exporter to China between January and July, with the Middle Eastern country exporting 14.3 million tonnes of crude to China during the seven-month period. By volume, Saudi Arabia was followed by Angola and Iran. Sudan saw the biggest leap in its oil exports to China during the period, with its exports to China lifting almost sixfold to reach 6.2 million tonnes.

China imported 356,139 tonnes of LNG from Australia and Algeria during July, a significant increase on the 62,427 tonnes the country imported in the same period last year. Between January and July, the country imported 1.26 million tonnes of LNG from Australia at an average price of $165 per tonne through fixed long-term contracts, while spot LNG cargos from Algeria and Oman reached a total of 114,914 tonnes during the same period.

The price of such spot imports was $431.5 per tonne, almost triple the average fixed long-term contract price for the period.

China's first spot shipment of LNG came from Oman in May. Aimed at supplementing the country's long-term contract with Australia, the shipment arrived at the country's only operational LNG receiving terminal, which is located in the city of Shenzhen in Guangdong Province. A terminal in Fujian Province, which is expected to be the country's second operational LNG terminal, is scheduled to start receiving 2.6 million tonnes of LNG annually from Indonesia later this year.

The central government plans to build as many as 11 LNG terminals along the country's east coast. Locations for the bases include the southwestern Guangxi Autonomous Region, the city of Zhuhai in Guangdong Province, Qinghuangdao in Shandong Province, Dalian in Liaoning Province, northern Tianjin and Caofeidian in Hebei Province.

© Interfax-China 2007. For more intelligence on Chinese metals and mining, click here or contact David Harman in Hong Kong at david.harman@interfax-news.com or (852) 2537-2262.

For those who attempt to ridicule the U.S. for "chasing the red queen" please pause to look at China's situation.....massive plans to import LNG, already massive outflow of money to buy crude oil.....which they then convert into "consumer goods" of, ohhh, what, about 1955 era standards of quality/safety, so they can be buried in weakening U.S. dollars....hee, hee, does this really sound like the new "green sustainability"? :-)

There is the other side of the coin though....China is now becoming the manufacturer of choice for advanced batteries and PV solar cells....if they figure out that they can use them as well as build them, look out....

And, no one knows for certain that the Chinese might not stumble into a new "North Sea" type oil find somewhere off the Chinese coast....you have to know the State Department folks say a little prayer everyday, "Please Lord, no Chinese oil finds, o.k?" :-)


The big picture, here and now, is that we have global economic growth massively linked to increased FF consumption while we are almost certainly 2 years out onto the pre-decline production plateau. We have China and India just now building out a large scale, western-style road/ auto production complex. There is just an enormous amount of consumption inertia here. This should be a major concern WITHOUT the implications of the Export Land model.


....if they figure out that they can use them...
Er, ah...China now makes abt 30,000,000 battery-assisted bicycles/scooters yearly, all for internal consumption.

Do not underestimate China's leadership for survival planning and requisite analysis and evaluaton skills.

....if they figure out that they can use them...
Er, ah...China now makes abt 30,000,000 battery-assisted bicycles/scooters yearly, all for internal consumption.

Do not underestimate China's leadership for survival planning and requisite analysis and evaluaton skills.

The Chinese are making a rather efficient evacuated tube hot water collector system. The idea's been around for about 25 years, but the Chinese are building them today. I imagine they will work great in cold weather, when flat plate devices won't do squat. They have lots of unused desert, where they could build solar thermal electric generating systems as well.

E. Swanson

Now would be a good time to start. Right now they are mainly burning a lot of coal and oil.

Any links to buy them ?

eBay ?


Interesting News Item:

Warner May Back Dems' Bill on Withdrawal
Forbes - 53 minutes ago
By HOPE YEN 08.26.07, 1:46 PM ET GOP Sen. John Warner, who wants US troops to start coming home from Iraq by Christmas, said Sunday he may support Democratic legislation ordering withdrawals if President Bush refuses to set a return timetable soon.

The Republican party has no support but for the disloyal Christian Right. The debate will turn in the blink of an eye from Republican/Democrat to Corporatists/Fascist(theocrat)/Progressive.

The Bush administration bankrupted us. True, peak oil would have got us a heartbeat later, but now we've got a herd of ready made goats. Will We, The People really tolerate future plans made by the same clowns that produced this mess? I think not ... all Halliburton built camps aside 80% of the people here are going to be pissed when they figure this out and the disloyal Christian Right(there is that phrase again) are going to be the obvious target within reach. Its easy to talk about the glorious "end of days" ... but a whole lot harder to look a hungry child in the eyes and say "Jesus loves you", even if you're a believer. Those who aren't in the dominionist camp are likely to administer further shock therapy in the 2008 election ... unless, of course, the quiet coup becomes vocal and public.

I don't see it going public. People are disgusted with the fear mongering and the lies and corruption ... how would they enforce it? Our army is in tatters and when they get home "onward Christian soldier" is just as likely to blow up in the face of the powers that be as it is to serve them. The experience and rage of those drug through the streets of Anbar province villages without proper armor, or vehicles, and bad food is an excellent guarantor of our liberties - what soft, sloppy stateside mustered force would want a piece of that? Or am I dreaming about our military's commitment to the nation of the United States rather than the party(as in drunken binge) of the Republicans?

You are dreaming.

80% of the people here are going to be pissed when they figure this out

What's a progressive when he can't gas up his Subaru and drive to the Mall? A fascist. What's "progressivity" built on? Marginal change to existing system, rising tide lifts all boats, growth. So-called "progressives" are obstacles in the way. Even those who are angry would rather go shopping.

cfm in Gray, ME

I have a friend who is going to sell his house and live on a house boat at a marina. (But this is not what I am posting about.)

Yes, I know that living on a boat with twin 6 cylinder engines, that gets 1 mpg, and has a 300 gallon gas tank is not an energy efficient life style, but he is not planning on driving it around, he just likes living on boats.

The peak oil connection comes from the people who rode along with us to look at boats for sale. I didn't even bring up the peak oil subject, they did. I think it was gas prices and mpg that set them off.

On two separate occasions, several weeks apart, two different individual (who don't know each other) started a rant that was almost identical in content. It contained the following elements:

We have plenty of of oil, we are not running out.
There are capped oil wells all over this country.
The oil companies are just conspiring to keep prices high.
The environmentalist are keeping us from using our oil.

I have not captured the rant perfectly, but in retrospect they were almost identical in content. So identical they had to have the same origin.

I was tempted to set them straight, but both of these individual were quintessential rednecks (This is Alabama after all), so reason really wasn't an option. Beside they can be a little scary.

The thing I think is interesting, is that they had to get this from somewhere. They spit out whole paragraphs almost verbatim.

There is a definite cultural/political message that is being circulated. Whether it is being done by talk radio, or backyard BBQ's I don't know. But it appears there is an irrational backlash against peak oil building below the surface.

The guy who rode along today was supposedly very politically connected, and knows the state's governor(s), senators and representatives. Both were people use to getting what they wanted.

I find this all very disturbing. These guy were really angry, and had the will, connections and guns to back up their anger. Killing everyone in the middle east and taking the oil was definitely on the table as a “good” option.

This is basically what ExxonMobil, Saudi Aramco and CERA are telling us, i.e., we don't have to worry about Peak Oil for decades, if ever. For example, ExxonMobil's 2006 comment on Peak Oil (from "Daniel Yergin Day") follows, emphasis added:



"Contrary to the theory, oil production shows no signs of a peak... Oil is a finite resource, but because it is so incredibly large, a peak will not occur this year, next year, or for decades to come"

ExxonMobil Advertisement in New York Times, June 2, 2006

I don't think this is the way Exxon wants their message digested.

These guys like big, fast, gas guzzling machines, and gas prices are really pissing them off. Their hate is directed at the environmentalists AND the oil companies.

I would not want to be the head of an oil company when tshtf, or even work for one. This isn't New York City. An angry mob down here is going to end up better armed than the police.

I agree that your basic Joe Sixpack Redneck is a really scary dude. Part of the reason is the lack of education, as we know that South Eastern states don't spend as much on education as other regions. Also, there's the dropout rate problem. A guy that thought it was great to quit high school and go to work isn't going to understand thermodynamics or geology or the historical implications of the current geopolitical mess that Gee Dubyah has made for us. Then, too, there's the crystal Meth and Oxycontin, in addition to the beer, Jack Daniels and 'shine to muddy their brains. And, they really do believe the horse shit that Limbaugh and others like him spew out on a daily basis.

E. Swanson

I used the word "redneck" because that best describes their world view. But these guys were not unwashed bubbas. If they were, I wouldn't be in a car with them.

One thing I've learned since moving down here, is that it is not just the unwashed masses that swallow the fox news line. Everyone from PHD's, MD's and engineers support it.

The level of culture sock is enough to make your toes tingle.

Fox and talk radio have hit on an interesting way to make money. They simply tell people what they want to hear, while leaving out any conflicting facts. (CNN may also be doing this, but down here every bar and restaurant has fox on.)

It's like that at my house. My dad is a card-carrying, Fox-watching wingnut.

Except, he's not. He's got a PhD. He's a scientist. He believes we may face Malthus' Doom in my lifetime. He's an atheist. He changed his mind about homosexuality when my sister came out of the closet. He votes Democratic in local elections because he lives in a left-leaning state, and he doesn't think Republicans would be able to get anything done. In many ways, he's a very reasonable guy.

But Fox News is on all the time. He loves it. He voted for Bush, and doesn't seem to see any conflict with the rest of his life and his values.

I don't get it.

My boss is like that. Graduate degree, nationally recognized expert in our field, accepts climate change because he has seen the data, willing to let the data decide about peak oil. Very bright guy in a lot of ways, but listens to Rush and Fox every day and is a rabid bush supporter.

In his case, he just likes to be told that his life long world view is right, and that if the liberals would just get out of the way, everything will be all right.

You are describing my world exactly. Except for a very few environmentalist friends, most of whom are not 'from around here', everyone else I know is addicted to Fox news. One of my closest working associates, a very well-educated and otherwise rational man, tried his best to get me to vote for Bush, as a 'Christian'. I tried my best to convince him that Bush was going to be an environmental disaster (little did I know it would be beyond my wildest dreams!) and he just said 'Well, I wish he wasn't so hard on the environment, but as a Christian I have to support him....'
The Iraq war was way beyond my imagination at that time. But most of my lifelong conservative Christian friends just look at me as a 'treehugger, a little touched in the head' as they smile and a little tearfully send their sons and daughters off to war.

For those of you with family members who won't believe it til they get it from Fox.


Nice catch. How 'bout this one:

Experts: Global Oil Production May Peak Soon

So can we finally drop this MSM conspiracy thing now?

That's LiveScience, a science news syndication service. They're not Fox, any more than AP or Reuters are.

I once heard that one of the owners of LiveScience is CNN's Lou Dobbs. Dunno if it's still true.

to his credit i guess it could be converted to a calm water wind power boat. or at the very least invite family members to live with them and all they have to do is be oarsmen.

I hadn't considered the idea of oarsmen, he would really enjoy making a set of wooden oars. That and a large drum and we are good to go. He would get a kick out of just pointing to them as they hung on the walls.

Actually, we had already talked about how to convert it to solar or sail.

It's from Fox (and the talk radio shows Savage nation etc.) . My girlfriend's folks have it on in the background whenever we go over there. She can't even get them to turn it off for dinner (we are definitely not marrying....). SLow, constant reenforcement of scapegoating,blame and delusions. This is pretty standard background effects in white working and formerly -working class households.


That propaganda is on all talk radio and Fox
Much of same is popular with left populists.

Ask these well connected rednecks if they have kids or grandkids in the army. How willing are they to send there kinfolk to die for that oil? I've asked before how many GOP members of Congress have family at risk in Iraq and have never had a response.

Hello Thomas,

re: "How willing are they to send there kinfolk to die for that oil?"

The really scary thing is when they are.

If it wasn't for the oil company conspiracy angle, I would assume they heard it from rush limbaugh. Most batshit crazy comments I hear come from people that get their news from Rush.

From the Financial Times and tying in with a story in the Drumbeat:

Saudis set up force to guard oil plants

Saudi Arabia has begun setting up a 35,000-strong security force to protect its oil infrastructure from potential attacks.

The move underlines the kingdom’s growing concern about its oil installations after threats from al-Qaeda to attack facilities in the Gulf, as well as rising tensions between Iran and the US.


They've already shown what they can do with an airliner. Just think what one or two crashed into the middle of Abqaiq would do. They would be hard pressed to stop such an attack no matter how large their security force. If it's Iran or Syria they are worried about, either could take it out with a cruise missile fired from within their own country. Also unstoppable by any security force.
Also, consider, if the US wanted a pretext to invade Iran, all they would need to do is sneak a missile into Iran and fire it from there. One launched at Israel tracked from Iran would be all it would take.

Another truth respecting the vigilance with which a free people should guard their liberty, that deserves to be carefully observed, is this--that a real tyranny may prevail in a state, while the forms of a free constitution remain.

The first thing you said doesn't sound right. Modern air defenses, such as Saudi Arabia has, can stop supersonic fighter aircraft. No defenseless subsonic passenger aircraft can get past a SAM battery or an interceptor base (e.g. Edwards Air Force Base.)

The first thing America destroyed in Iraq was its air defenses. America didn't send a passenger jet to do the job, because it wouldn't have worked.

It can if it is believed to be(or is) full of pilgrims to Mecca.

Another truth respecting the vigilance with which a free people should guard their liberty, that deserves to be carefully observed, is this--that a real tyranny may prevail in a state, while the forms of a free constitution remain.

I'm not sure where you're going with this. If you're implying that any air carrier who delivers to Mecca is suspect, please simply say so.

In America today corporate tyranny prevails, because it works. As many units (X) as people invest in an ugly thing, (X*N) units of money come back out.

That is just the nature of the system.

Tolls vs Gas Taxes

An interesting piece from the NYTimes on a proposal for tolls on I-80


IMO one issue with tolls as compared to Gas/Diesel taxes is that with tolls a gas guzzling SUV pays the same as a Civic Hybrid, further encouraging gas guzzlers.

Conversely a gas tax gives a financial incentive to drive a more fuel efficient vehicle.

I agree, plus:

Tolls just become another welfare program. Fuel taxes are automatically attached to an existing infrastructure.

Think about all the toll collectors who will now have to drive to work. And then steal fists full of cash on the way home.

Agreed. LD trucking is basically something that should be taxed out of existence (It will probably go away on its own anyways) IT's just an incredibly wasteful way of shipping goods. That aside from all the pollution, added danger (what % of fatals on divided hwys involve a truck? 60-70%?)etc. The reason it hasn't been is obviously the votes that the Teamsters can bring to bear. ACtually, just making the trucks pay their share for the road damage would make it much less economical (Road damage increases geometrically w/ weight therefore tucks do almost all of it). I always laugh when I see those stickers complaining about how much they pay in taxes. Well, they should probably be paying twice as much!

There are so many trucks on 80 that the road is practically paralyzed sometimes. It's all 2 lanes and the trucks are allowed on the left so that they often slow speeds down to 35-40 mph on the long grades near Snow Shoe etc. Every time I am out there I am reminded that we are never,ever going to make the post peak transition smoothly. It just isn't going to happen, given even a grain of truth in the Export Land model. No imports available in 10 years? It's too late. Our economy is just too locked into FF-intense activities like trucking. How many rail lines would we need to replace the long-distance component of this capacity? 10,15,20? What are these 2 million low -no skill guys who drive trucks going to do? Major economic destruction ahead,at a bare minimum


I agree with you completely, but what you say applies to most modern ways, not just trucking.

Raising thousands of pigs in a CAFO (concentrated animal feeding operation) is equally destructive and wasteful. But because we ignore the environmental destruction and energy waste, it seems economical to us.

Our big problem is that we value time-efficiency over energy-efficiency. They say "time is money" but peak oil changes all that. From now on, "energy is money."

Long distance trucking is dominant now because it is the most time-efficent. A truck can go faster to more places than a freight train.

Trains and boats are far more energy-efficient. As we transition from a time-efficient society to an energy-efficient society, trucks must be replaced by trains and boats.

How many rail lines would we need to replace the long-distance component of this capacity ?

Double track our Class I Railroads (triple track some of the busiest), improve controls and add grade separations on some of the busiest lines. Grade separated RR overpasses where N-S line cross E-W lines make a difference with high volume junctions. Add back tracks torn up decades ago. We also have Class II & III RRs.

California, Arizona (Phoenix & Tuscan), Florida and Las Vegas may not have enough rail lines today. Texas marginal. New England will need some major upgrades. More short spurs. Otherwise just add back tracks once torn up.

Even without new lines, we can take care of existing truck volume by rail. And post-Peak Oil the volume should drop.

Canadian Pacific and a couple of others are hard to distinguish on the map. And Class II * III RRs are not shown.

Rail has elasticity of supply.

Best Hopes for Energy Efficiency,


Unfortunately, NS is not going to be able to double track their line coming west into the mountains to Asheville from points east - way too narrow. There is a lot of truck thru traffic on I40 that would need to be taken up by rail, too. Probably little challenges like this all around the country, especially in mountainous areas. Not fatal challenges, maybe, but challenges nevertheless.

Class I RRs are currently spending about $10 billion/year on capacity improvements.

One is BN-SF double tracking their Los Angeles-Chicago line. The last 1.5% is what they are working on and it is the most expensive, all in mountains.

Just electrifying the line should expend capacity by 15%. Add grade separations and hi-tech controls with passing sidings and a lot of freight can still get through a bottleneck.

Plus diversions to parallel routes north and south of the bottleneck.

Best Hopes for Solutions,


Some signs seen on trucks:

Without trucks you get nothing,
When trucking stops America stops,

There must be many others too
In a lot of cases truck drivers will drive for many hours more than they should and this is very dangerous for road safety.

There are now two groups of people, those who earn interest and those who pay interest

Its not the size of the tank its the size of the tap
If GW puts your head in the sand, PO will F you in the A

Yet another project delay but maybe this is the start of increased nationalization of Kazakhstan's oil and gas assets, Russian style.

First, Kashagan was due to start in 2005, then 2008, then 2009, now late 2010 (maybe early 2011)

Firt, Kashagan was supposed to cost $US29 billion but now $US136 billion.



UPDATE 1-Kazakhstan suspends Kashagan for three months


Kazakhstan has suspended work at the Kashagan oilfield for at least three months due to environmental violations, Ecology Minister Nurlan Iskakov said on Monday.

"The permit for 2007 has been suspended. That is, we are suspending work for three months on our part," Iskakov told reporters.

Kazakhstan's handling of the case is reminiscent of Russian accusations against the Royal Dutch Shell-led consortium that was in charge of the Sakhalin-2 oil and gas project.

From the story Oil aplenty in our own backyard, no mention of cost of extraction or EROEI, good to see intelligent comments after teh story though. Regarding

"There is likely at least 10 billion barrels worth of oil in Alaska waiting to be extracted. Some estimates say we could see as much as 21 billion gallons of gasoline annually for 20 years"

How does at least 10bb become 410 bb???

Possibly future transport?

NatGas seems to be the future fuel of choice, you can run fuel cells on it, and making hydrogen steam reforming of NG. NG shortages could be far more devastating as they would affect electricity producting and are a feedstock for many idustrial processes, Haber process anyone? Since it has been pointed out on here most countries are having issues with their electrical grid before they start having problems with oil related transport. Imagine having both at once with a large reduction in food imports. If China drunk like the US does it would use a rather large amount of the worlds grain supplies

Its not the size of the tank its the size of the tap
If GW puts your head in the sand, PO will F you in the A

10 billion barrels becomes 420 billion gallons (i.e. 1 barrel equals 42 gallons), not barrels. But it won't become 420 billion gallons of gasoline but more probably about half that. I think normal refining of a barrel of crude produces about 19 gallons of gasoline and the rest is in other products. Numbers may be higher with different refining techniques.