DrumBeat: August 31, 2007

Who'll Pay America's Energy Bill?

Chicken Little here, reporting for duty. As we reach the final days of August, with the Congress doing whatever Congresspeople do during their recesses (perhaps we're better off not knowing), I'm flapping around wondering about the near-total contradiction between the world of energy as I see it and the parts of the 2007 energy bills now gathering dust on Senators' and Representatives' desks.

Jordan to opt for nuclear energy

Jordan predicted it would become an energy exporter, once the Hashemite Kingdom adopts nuclear energy.

Sri Lanka to adjust gas prices on bi-monthly formula

Sri Lanka's liquid petroleum gas (LPG) prices are to be adjusted every two months on a price formula agreed with the island's consumer authority, Shell Gas Lanka said.

Stuck in guzzlers on road to nowhere

Asking Australians to give up four-wheel-drives would be contentious. In the United States it could be political suicide.

In the US, cars - and big cars - are deeply ingrained in the lifestyle. This is the home of the road movie, where an entire two hours can be filled with a tale of crossing wide open spaces. People in American cities think nothing of a two-hour drive each way to work as their cities continue to expand.

Myanmar Dissidents Dodge Arrest

Anti-government protesters scattered into hiding Friday to dodge arrest after a wave of protests over higher prices.

Consumption of natural gas in Belarus down 5%, Energy Minister Alexander Ozerets says

The Belarusian Prime Minister has tasked the Energy Minister to see to it that the work on increasing the share of local fuels in the Belarusian fuel consumption mix should be accelerated. As an example Sergei Sidorsky cited Germany which reduced the consumption of natural gas by 37% over the seven months this year.

“Now we have to work in the absolutely different environment with respect to oil and gas prices. This is $2 billion more that we have to take out from our economy,” Sergei Sidorsky noted.

Drive your car to death, save $31,000

By keeping your car for 15 years, or 225,000 miles of driving, you could save nearly $31,000, according to Consumer Reports magazine. That's compared to the cost of buying an identical model every five years, which is roughly the rate at which most car owners trade in their vehicles.

Buying an eco-friendly home

EcoBroker real estate agents help buyers in search of houses where everything is greener on the other side.

Pipeline Work Choking Off Fuel Supplies to Midwest

Regional refinery work and pipeline repairs are choking off fuel supplies to the U.S. Midwest, triggering a spike in gasoline prices, traders and fuel dealers said Thursday.

The latest disruption came from the Explorer Pipeline, which traders said was cutting fuel throughput rates by up to 8 percent to the Midwest for several months due to maintenance.

Pressure at the pump

Todd Jacobson wouldn’t be surprised if gas stations start putting up signs that say “Out of gas.”

The West Fargo Sooper Stop owner said there’s such a “massive shortage” of gas that he’s “walking on eggshells right now.”

“I’ve been down to 100 gallons of gasoline and not sure when I’m going to get my next load,” Jacobson said. “It has not been a good couple of months.”

Crude Oil Futures Gain on Concern Over Potential Atlantic Storm

Crude oil rose close to a four-week high on concern a developing storm in the Atlantic Ocean may intensify and threaten rigs and pipelines in the Gulf of Mexico.

A weather system east of the Windward Islands, is "well organized" and may become the sixth tropical depression of the Atlantic hurricane season later today, the Miami-based National Hurricane Center said on its Web site. Oil prices surged after hurricanes Katrina and Rita devastated Gulf of Mexico oil platforms and pipelines in 2005.

The weather disturbance "has the potential of turning into a hurricane in a few more days," said Paul Tossetti, director of oil market analysis at PFC Energy in Washington. "Memories of Rita and Katrina are still pretty fresh in peoples' minds."

Beer Shortage Highlights Decline - Harare residents say absence of commodity that's hardly ever in short supply is clear sign of how bad things have become.

“Everything has become abnormal in this country but the funny thing is that we have accepted…the.. situation. People are burning millions of dollars worth of scarce fuel driving around looking for beers. We are drinking anything that is available. You tell me, what is normal about that? To me, this shortage of beers is just a sign that everything around us is crumbling."

Gas from Myanmar - Crisis call

Myanmar is exporting energy to Thailand and is contemplating energy export to China, India and Bangladesh. Yet most of the countries do not have access to power and many basic amenities of life. The economic sanction imposed by United States and EU have impoverished the nation. Now it desires to be a major supplier of oil and gas to energy hungry China and India.

Pilot Training Is Out of Gas

The rapid increase in oil prices over the last five years has forced air forces everywhere to cut back on flight training for their pilots. That could have some interesting consequences. Over the last half century, it's been found that combat pilots need about 200 hours in the air each year, to build and maintain their combat skills. So it's with great reluctance that some nations cut back on those flying hours.

Argentina Upgrades Import Tax-Free Quota For Diesel Amid Shortage

The Argentine government on Friday increased the quota for non-taxed diesel imports, as the nation's refineries, operating at maximum capacity, struggle to meet demand amid government pump price controls.

Contemplating Loss of a Gas Field: Chattak (Bangladesh) Case Study

It now appears that the Chattak (also known as Tengratila) gas field of Bangladesh has embraced a premature death. It did so at the hands of a wicked gang comprising foreign and local associates. This may form an example of a textbook case study as to how a promising resource base of an impoverished nation can be plundered for the sake of personal gain of few high-ups in government machinery.

New IEA Head to Meet OPEC Secretary General on Wednesday

The new executive director of the International Energy Agency will meet with the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries' secretary general on Wednesday, less than a week before OPEC ministers gather to review oil output policy, a person familiar with the talks said Thursday.

Economic Warfare in the Final Phase

This week the French President, Nicolas Sarkozy, warned against Russia’s use of energy as an instrument of foreign policy. Speaking before his ambassadors, the French President said: “Russia is imposing its return [as a great power] on the world scene by employing its assets, notably oil and gas, with a certain brutality.” A great power ought to be gentle in its economic or political superiority. The Russians, however, are accustomed to a more cynical use of their advantages. The language of the Russian president includes mockery, condescension and threats. The West cringes, the East advances. Who cares what the weak countries think? Their feelings are without consequence.

Albania: The Heart of Darkness

If you live in Albania, chances are you cannot read this.

To read an Internet journal requires electricity, and Albanians are in the throes of an energy shortage that threatens glimmers of economic and political progress in Europe’s second poorest country.

Nigerian Government Reshuffles Oil Sector

Nigeria's federal government dissected its state-owned oil firm into five splinter companies and constituted a National Energy Council to reorganize the energy sector of the economy, the country's state-run media reported here on Wednesday.

Shell Oil energy tour at UA

The United States must find better ways for meeting future energy needs and improving sustainable energy sources, a senior oil company executive told a Tucson audience yesterday.

"We have an energy crisis, an energy dilemma and an energy insecurity," said John Hofmei-ster, the president of Shell Oil Co., at a meeting Thursday with University of Arizona faculty and students.

Sun power

Swiss adventurer and travel editor Louis Palmer has set out on a pioneering journey around the world in a solar-powered vehicle to draw attention to this abundant and under-exploited source of energy. His odyssey will bring him to Abu Dhabi and Dubai soon. He speaks about his mission exclusively to Weekend during his sojourns in Turkey, Syria and Amman.

Nantucket Sound – beautiful, but not pristine

One of the most specious and hypocritical arguments the opponents of Cape Wind have made is that Nantucket Sound is simply too "pristine" for anything so unsightly as 130 non-polluting, renewable-energy-producing wind turbines.

Australia: Citizens in the dark on NSW power inquiry

The New South Wales Government will today receive a blueprint for keeping the state powering ahead, but the report on the state's future electricity needs could stay under wraps until after the federal election.

Oil: Could This Be The End For Suburbia

Is Americas middle class getting stuck up a suburban cul-de-sac, surrounded by for quick sale signs, with a rusting commuter tank in the drive without a fill- up? Not quite, at least not yet, thanks to a robust global economy. True suburban property prices are falling, foreclosures and distressed selling are on a sharp rise - albeit from low bases - and there are rising concerns about petrol and heating costs. But the suburban beat goes on. At most, 10% of suburban households face incipient crisis in the short-term.

United States, China Clash over Peak Oil May Endanger World Peace

Peak Oil may have put the United States on a collision course with China as the two nations compete for African oil reserves. "Peak Oil" refers to the fact that worldwide, per capita petroleum production peaked in 1979. Owing to population growth, even though more actual barrels of oil per day are extracted, the amount of oil pumped per person continues to drop.

Venezuela is well-advised to build up the strength of the national militia that offers the hope of a defense of the revolutionary gains won since 1992

The real problem is rather that these elites can see no future for themselves without the plundering of resources from other nations.

Peak oil, the point in time when resources are surpassed by demand, is certainly upon us. We may argue that this moment occurred two years ago, or whether it is still two years in the future. But in the scale of even human events, let alone geographical history what the hell.

Axis of Arctic Oil

They all say it’s not a land grab. Really, it isn’t. It’s an oil grab.

The scramble for the oil and other natural resources at the top of the world intensified — quietly — this week, as Norway and Germany announced a new oil exploration partnership, the Daily Telegraph reported today, and Russia confirmed its state-controlled oil companies would do its business in the Arctic, Russian state media reported yesterday.

Alberta nuclear reactor isn't a done deal

Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach says the jury is still out on whether a proposed $6.2-billion nuclear plant will be built in oil-rich northwestern Alberta.

"We first have to decide whether we're open to nuclear energy," he said Tuesday in Edmonton.

UK CATS Gas Pipe Repairs Done, Restart This Week

Divers have completed repair work on BP PLC's (BP) Central Area Transmission System, or CATS, pipeline ahead of schedule and a controlled restart will begin this later week, the company said in a statement Thursday.

Oil Sands Blockbuster

There are over a trillion barrels of oil estimated to be underneath the Canadian soil, which will be the solution to our racing demand for crude oil. And standing out of the crowd is one place.

FTC: Big Oil did not manipulate U.S. gasoline prices

Big oil companies did not conspire to raise U.S. gasoline prices last summer, as it was high crude oil costs and supply problems that caused the spike in pump prices, government investigators said on Thursday.

The Federal Trade Commission said that about 75 percent of the rise in gasoline prices was due to a seasonal increase in summer driving, higher oil costs and more expensive ethanol that was blended into gasoline.

The other 25 percent of the price increase stemmed from lower gasoline production as refiners moved to using ethanol as the main clean-burning fuel additive and lingering damage from hurricanes Katrina and Rita that reduced refining capacity.

Porter ties U.S. withdrawal from Iraq to $9 gasoline

Gasoline prices could rise to about $9 per gallon if the United States withdraws troops from Iraq prematurely, Rep. Jon Porter said he was told on a trip to Iraq that ended this week.

Rising sea threatens China's south

Over 1,100 square kilometres (440 square miles) of land in economically booming southern China will be inundated by rising sea-levels by 2050 due to global warming, state press said Thursday.

"The Pearl River Delta area, a leading manufacturing hub, will be hard hit by climate change in the coming decades," the China Daily quoted Du Raodong, an expert with the Guangdong provincial weather centre, as saying.

Food demand and climate straining soils

World food demand will surge this century with a leap in population, highlighting a need to protect soils under strain from climate change, experts said on Thursday.

Industrial nations shy away from stiff 2020 goals

Industrial nations were shying away from fixing stiff 2020 guidelines for greenhouse gases cuts at U.N. talks on Friday in what environmentalists said would be a vote for "dangerous" climate change.

Ice fjords, lifeblood for polar species, at risk in melting Arctic

The Svalbard archipelago near the North Pole is already seeing the dramatic effects of global warming: the mercury is rising twice as fast as elsewhere on the planet, posing a serious threat to the ecosystem.

The Arctic sea ice has never been as small as it is now. This year, it shrank to less than five million square kilometers (1.93 million square miles) -- a grim record for the planet.

Global Warming to Fuel More Severe Tornadoes and Thunderstorms

Global warming will make severe thunderstorms and tornadoes a more common feature of U.S. weather, NASA scientists said today.

Climate models have previously shown that Earth will see more heavy rainstorms as the atmosphere warms, but a new climate model developed by NASA researchers is the first to show the difference in strength between storms that occur over land and those over the ocean and how storms strengths will change in general.

China says one-child policy helps protect climate

China says its one-child policy has helped the fight against global warming by avoiding 300 million births, the equivalent of the population of the United States.

But delegates at U.N. climate change talks in Vienna said on Thursday birth control is unlikely to find favor as a major policy theme, partly because of opposition by the Catholic Church and some developing nations trying to increase their population.

Bush to Bail Out Sub-Prime Lenders

While claiming to bail-out low-income borrowers, Bush's plan to extend Government Guaranteed Loans to borrowers who cannot pay their mortgage is, in actuality, a bail-out of the lenders, who will receive payment for their bad loans while enslaving ... er, indebting mortgage borrowers to the federal government. And where does the money for this bail-out of the Ponzi scamming bastards come from? Right out of the taxpayers pocket.


That's right, let's just heap more debt on the American people to save these worthless criminals, after all, they're worth more than the future of America, right? If you really wanted to help the borrowers, why not force the lenders to convert those fraudulent ARMs to low interest fixed rate loans? Why? Because it doesn't bail-out the sub-prime lenders. What is with this collusion to fleece every last penny out of the American working class? Does the United States even have the ability to issue enough debt to cover these loans? Last I saw, the rest of the world had enough of it(in more ways than one), and weren't showing up at the auctions. Aren't we in enough of a debt crisis already? I guess the working class in America takes it in the angus again so the thieving rich can skate away scott free. Where is Robin Hood when you need him?

Be sure to read Mish's take on this. Really good.

Bush Moves to Aid Lenders

WASHINGTON -- President Bush, looking for ways to respond to the subprime-mortgage crisis, will outline a series of policy changes and recommendations today to help borrowers avoid default make sure lenders aren't defaulted on, senior administration officials said.


Mish's take is just like what the MasterCard commercials say, "Priceless". John

Prudentbear has less humour:

The one thing all bubbles have in common is that they eventually pop, and ours just did. Unlike the popping of the last bubble in 2000-2001, this one will fall directly to our economy’s bottom line. And this time the Fed can not step up to the plate with unlimited liquidity injections.

A record percentage of our GDP is comprised of consumer spending. The source of this spending was the housing bubble. Would our savings rate really be negative were it not for housing related “wealth?” Could consumers really have spent as much as they did without the benefits of temporarily low teaser rates and the ability to extract equity from their homes? How many service sector jobs are directly related to that extra spending? When the low mortgage payments and home equity disappear, so too will the spending and jobs they engendered.

Those who feel that the economy will keep growing must believe that discretionary consumer spending is unrelated to wealth or expenses. In other words, they believe that individuals will spend as much with no home equity and $3,000 per month mortgage payments as they did with $200,000 in home equity $1,500 monthly payments. Factor in other rising expenses; such as food, energy, insurance, and taxes and discretionary spending will not just slow, it will completely collapse.


Just wait, the other shoe will soon drop. The dollar will decline in value, and the cost of imports will go up. TPTB must have decided that higher prices for Chinese junk at Sprawl-Mart & fuel at the gas pump would probably generate less flack than a further decline in house values.

But hey the "official" U.S. debt limit stands at 8.989 trillion as of yesterday and no talk of raising the limit nor is there any media talking head to ask, "Where's the Beef?". John

By those clocks numbers, we will be at 9 trillion dollars by this time next week or sooner. And seeing as we can never pay off this debt, what in the real world is going to happen to the USA in 20 years?

The cost of China sourced goods will go up only if they show some restraint in currency manipulation by buying less dollars and letting the yuan float, as all other major currencies do. So far they have refused to do either. So worry not - that $25 DVD player may soon go to $15.

I'll confess up front I'm a physicist, not an economist. It always troubles me when I hear that spending of one sort or another is going down because consumers have to spend their money elsewhere. The paradox I see is that the money still goes somewhere. It doesn't vanish. Or does it?

Say a person borrows against equity and buys a new big screen TV. They now have to pay that money back through higher monthly payments.

Say that ARM rates go up by the same amount so that person doesn't buy the big screen TV. They just make the payments. However, the lender gets more money and they turn around and either use that money to lend to other people to buy homes or they take it as profit and go out and buy a Mercedes or a yacht.

Why is one different for the economy than the other?

Unlike energy, money can be spontaneously created or destroyed without changing forms (being exchanged for goods or services.)

When you buy something (like a house) and then its price drops, the money representing the difference in price is destroyed.

If we take your example forward a few steps:

The ARM rates go up by a huge amount. Millions of borrowers stop buying all products except what they need to live.

Most people work for companies that don't provide what people need to live. Nobody is buying their products anymore. Millions of borrowers who work for these companies are laid off.

Unemployed people can't afford the ARM payment anymore. They try to sell the house, but nobody else has cash either. This causes house prices to plummet, which reduces people's ability to get out of house debt by selling the house. Eventually many default on their home loan.

The lenders at first make a lot of money. The relatively few people who make yachts or Mercedes do OK as a result. As more and more borrowers default, however, the lenders begin to lose a lot of money, too. Because now the houses are worth much less, and the original borrower won't ever pay off the original debt.

However, the lender gets more money and they turn around and either use that money to lend to other people to buy homes or they take it as profit and go out and buy a Mercedes or a yacht.

What you are describing is exactly what has been happening in the US economy which is transitioning into a rentier economy in which 10% of the population owns 99% of the assets. The other 90% of the population own next to no assets and remain indebted to the property owners.

From a political economy point of view, the 10% will have effective control of all apparatus of government and will manage it to serve their interests. This is already taking place. The 90% keep running faster and faster just to stay in place and fail to understand why their effort is fruitless.

This economy is far, far different from the Jeffersonian ideal in which each citizen was a property holder and each therefore had a vested interest in the governing structure. The US is transitioning back to the very political economy that it rebelled against 200 off years ago.

The wealthy buy luxury goods and services so if you offer these goods you will do well. The wealthy also invest for the greatest return and if this turns out to be in India or China then that is where the investment flows, the factories get built, the employment increases, and the exports originate.

There is nothing inherently wrong with any of this. We are just re-arranging the chemical bonds to come up with a new molecule that contains all the original elements but which functions in a different way. This is the position of a moral relativist.

On the other hand, 10% of the population are making out like bandits and fleecing the other 90% out of their wages, their property, their communities and their avowed form of government. From the perspective of a true conservative this is an abomination, a call to arms, grounds for an attack on the ruling class and a return to the status quo.

The $800 trillion dollar question bubbles up when this state borrows, and borrows, and borrows. At a certain point the creditors have as much or more influence as the citizens, perhaps more. The creditors observe the 10% moving their funds offshore and do likewise. The result is a major economic collapse in which the 90% suffer while the 10% again make out like bandits.

What remains to be seen is how long a rentier society can continue when a significant number of the 90% own guns, many of the 10% do not, and most of the military -- including the officers -- originate from the 90% rather than the 10%.

Historically, rentier societies featured a disarmed proletariat/peasantry, and an officer corps drawn from the propertied classes. This was how social control was able to go hand-in-hand with economic control.

When there is too much of a disconnect between the ruling class and the officer corps, then the thought inevitably occurs to the officer corps that the ruling class could just as easily be THEM, and that there really is nothing to stop them from taking over. There is a lot of historical precedent for this, too.

The 10% may make out like bandits, but then again bandits make out like bandits -- until they swing from the end of a rope.


O.K., I hate to say this and seldom do, but....Is that exactly what I been trying to tell you guys since the start of this so called "crisis"? !!!

This whole thing was timed, whipped up and doled out to the public to get EXACTLY this result!

Think of this way and you willl understand.....It's an IPO to allow the mortgage lenders and their backers to cash out, with Unc' Sam to become the big buyer.....so really it's an IGO (Initial Government offering).

You get to the top of the Ponzi scheme, or "market", you've made millions in fees and closing costs, you know there's no more suckers left, you know these poor dopes you stuck with these pathetic "subprime", "interest only", "ARM" loans can't cash you out soon (which unlike legit mortgage banks, you DID NOT intend to stay around for no 30 or 40 years waiting for your money), so you tighten the screws, tighten the lending requirements, tighten the credit ratings, begin foreclosing on a few of the poor bastuurds, and let the business press and the hysterics in the market do the rest of the job for ya'....

And like magic, Uncle Sam comes in and buys your IGO, bails you azz out, and you walk away to some real estate of your own somewhere in the Bahamas, Cayman or Virgin Islands....and America tacks the bill on behind the trillion dollar Iraq war and a few other little expenses, is still in less debt per GDP than half the Euro currency Ponzi artists who have run the same game for years, the house is still standing in the suburbs on a nice big lawn, Uncle Sam signs off on the poor schmoe's debt, and the sun still rises.

The only "crisis" in this game has been the crisis of scruples.


I cannot shake my image of the CEO president looting the pension funds, stripping the corporate assets and walking out on the employees and vendors. The next step - to avert bankruptcy - is the "restructuring". If I thought there were one or two opportunities on which BushCo had passed, then I might doubt the image, but I cannot think of any.

They know the company (country) is dying, so they strip it.

cfm in Gray, ME

They know the company (country) is dying, so they strip it.


If I was a U.S. taxpayer who has been prudent with my money I would be furious. If I were a foreign lender I would pull my money out of the U.S. as fast as possible

Damn right, beyond furious.

We have become a country for Zionist bankers and welfare mobs with eternally outstretched hands.

Since the working and tax paying real citizens can't take the country back at the voting booth we should make an effort to remove any excess liquidity from the US and not spend a dime on anything other then basic food.
Let the bankers drown in their own shit and this will automatically starve the welfare mobs.

You can make your point without antisemitic epitaphs.

Nothing anti-Semitic in the post.

Please don't cry wolf with anti-Semitism and degrade its meaning. Calling a Zionist a Zionist isn't anti-Semitic. Zionism is not Judaism, although Zionists would like people to believe they are interchangeable terms, they're not.

Would you have complained if the post referred to Masonic bankers? Would that have been anti-Caucasian or whatever?

Differentiating between Zionism and Judaism doesn't make your post any less kooky.

My post? Kooky? Would you like to expand on that a little so I can understand what the hell it is you're trying to say.

Personally, I think raving about Zionist and Masonic bankers sounds equally kooky.

I wouldn't disagree with that Leanan, it wasn't me and I wasn't agreeing with the sentiment of the original post.

My rub was with the gratuitous misuse of a special term and its expansion to include an organisation for which it was not meant. The distinction is very important and should be maintained.

Masonic bankers? Please point me to 'em so I can ask 'em to help a brother.

While the post is not anti semitic, your response high lites one real major problem we have in the US these days.

Every time you have a member from any group that gets to call itself "minority" commit a crime, no matter how atrocious, even otherwise decent and educated members of that minority will call for absolution and innocence based purely on the specific minority status.

The result can only be a society without any values whatsoever.

Best hopes for a correction before we become Iraq.

Curious. If I didn't know better I'd think I've just read a comment by not just an anonymous internet blowhard but also an ignorant anti-semite.

Worse than that, Musashi. Some of those Zionist bankers are accomplices of the fugitive Emmanuel Goldstein.

This is a really BAD idea. This kind of crap keeps up there won't be a election next year - there'll be some lynchings.

..., and weren't showing up at the auctions.

I've always wanted to hear the soundtrack from one of those auctions: "Who-da-gimme $17,455,273,675,498.50?" I sadistically want to hear the auctioneer's tongue blow up.

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

The Myth of the Slow Crash

Just because it's big, doesn't mean it can't go down fast. In a credit contraction, the extreme rate of change even fools central bankers.

The business press this morning attributed the 280 point DOW rout yesterday afternoon to investors' worries that the ongoing credit crunch and declining housing market may damage the so-called real economy. But the timing says the drop was a reaction to the release of the Fed's meeting minutes.

Second Officer David Blair. Before the Titanic sailed, he left with the key to the locker that contained the pair of binoculars for the designated lookout. Historians believe that if the crew had access to the binoculars the iceberg would have been seen in time to avoid the collision that sank the ship.

The minutes of the early August 2007 closed-door meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee were released late in the afternoon. The markets plunged shortly thereafter.

The Fed's stated hope for a "return to more normal market conditions" without intervention is not what investors wanted to hear. They were hoping to read the words of a Fed expressing worries that justified the move to cut the discount rate and pour tens of billions into the banking system ten days later. The minutes imply that the Fed was surprised.

The heart if not the soul of the Fed's role in the system is as the all-knowing Wizard of Oz. How can the Wizard be surprised and still be the Wizard? Is the Fed really on top of this?

Global warming will make severe thunderstorms and tornadoes a more common feature of U.S. weather, NASA scientists said today.

These the same scientists who told us last year (2006) would be such a bad hurricane season??? This year is kind of dud too - only a couple of months left. What were the initial predictions for this year - anyone remember?

The thing to keep in mind is that these predictions are essentially probabilistic. It was likely 2006 would be a bad hurricane year; just because that didn't happen, it doesn't mean they were wrong. The media may report the predictions as "10-12 hurricanes in 2006" (or whatever it was), but the actual predictions are more like "60-70% of 10-12 hurricanes in 2006". It's essentially similar to daily forecasts : if the forecast says 20% chance of rain, and it rains, that's not wrong, it's just unlucky if you hoped for no rain. A more extreme probability example: If I say there's only a small chance of winning the lottery, and then you win, I wasn't wrong. You were lucky.

The same thing applies to things like more tornadoes and thunderstorms. It may not happen this year, or next year, but should current conditions and trends persist, more storms will happen more often. That doesn't mean there won't be years with fewer than normal.

One further example that got a lot of attention was a few years ago when the possibility of a Flu pandemic was being reported. Scientists were basically saying it could happen, some current data doesn't look good, and we should prepare for it. Then it didn't happen right away, and it gets spun as "fear mongering scientists". Scientists are far more precise with their language than ever makes it to most media reports, who tend to take "more likely" and print/show it as "FOR SURE!".

Bingo. Predicting the number of storms for a given season is like making a long-term weather prediction.

As the saying goes, you expect climate, you get weather.

2006 a dud year? Maybe you need to keep track of the global hurricane picture (hence the term Global Warming). The 2006 year was not good if you consider the pacific hurricanes. This year has not been much better so far.

I am guessing you are an American. Americans tend to not notice things outside their country (let alone their state). It really is a wider world out there.

It really is hotting up:

Weather Underground

So true and poignant. And don't tell me you live anywhere near the gulf either beecher, only a fool would call a season a dud when were really only 1/2 way through the Atlantic hurricane season.
history shows again and again how nature points out the folly of men

We ask, no insist, that meteorologists predict the future for us, and they surely do the best they can.. but we have noone but ourselves to blame if we are disappointed by faulty mispredictions.

'Magic is everywhere' Doug Henning

A very eye opening presentation about the relationship of water and energy;

The Nexus of Water, Energy and Climate
Heather Cooley discusses The Nexus of Water, Energy and Climate.


Water management is a HUGE net consumer of energy.

Q & A at the end is interesting.

Addresses desalination, population, other Countries, compost toilets, drought.

Bottom line….

Shower with a friend!

One thing about Capitalist, they have no shame:
Lehman taps Jeb Bush for private equity
Nicolette Davey
31 Aug 2007
Lehman Brothers has appointed Jeb Bush to its private equity advisory board in the latest attempt by a buyout group to influence Capitol Hill.

Lehman's move to hire the former Governor of Florida and brother of President Bush follows buyout giant Kohlberg Kravis Roberts hiring two former White House aides to lobby the US federal government on tax and regulatory matters affecting private equity.

US Congress is currently reviewing measures to raise taxes paid by local private equity firms and proposing fund manager’s bonuses are classed as ordinary income instead of capital gains, which would result in the tax rate increasing from 15% to 35%.

According to reports filed with the US Senate, private equity firms spent $1.4m (€1m) on lobbying in 2006. In the first half of this year, the figure has almost quadrupled to about $5.5m, according to a Bloomberg report.

Data from Thomson Financial’s peHub.com showed over 254 contributions from partners at private equity firms have been made during the US presidential campaign including Apollo Management, Bain Capital, The Blackstone Group and The Carlyle Group.

Mitt Romney, founder of US group Bain Capital, has raised over $326,200 for his US presidential campaign, the most popular candidate among buyout houses, according to peHub.com.

Bush, the younger brother of current US President George W Bush and tipped to be a future presidential candidate, was the 43rd Governor of Florida, holding the post for eight years until January. In April he joined the board of the largest US publicly owned hospital operator Tenet Healthcare.

In May last year Lehman appointed Bush’s cousin, George Walker, to head up the bank’s asset management division after recruiting him from Goldman Sachs where he was co-head of the bank’s hedge fund strategies group.

In a growing world, milk is the new oil
By Wayne Arnold
Published: August 31, 2007

HAMILTON, New Zealand: After years of saving, Geoff Irwin finally scraped up enough money to buy his parents' dairy farm near here in 2003. Now his parents have retired to a house nearby and Irwin, 45, runs the farm with its 300 cows.

It is hard work, 12 hours a day, but already it looks as though it has paid off: Just four years later, the farm is worth more than twice what he paid for it. Prices for dairy farms in New Zealand are soaring along with dairy incomes, thanks to a global milk boom.

"It feels really good," Irwin said. "It feels like we're going to be earning and be rewarded the way we should."

Driven by a combination of climate change, trade policies and competition for cattle feed from biofuel producers, global milk prices have doubled over the past two years. In parts of the United States, milk is more expensive than gasoline. There are reports of cows being stolen on Wisconsin dairy farms.

"There's a world shortage of milk," said Philip Goode, manager of international policy at Dairy Australia in Canberra.

I saw a headline flash by a few days ago, if I remember well it was from Holland, that bread prices there are expected to rise by 6-20%. Milk was cited as one of the main reasons for the increase.

Looks like, just as we're one GOM hurricane away from $100 oil, we're one bad harvest away from food prices that millions simply won't be able to afford, not even here at home.

Stoneleigh has an article about Australia's present drought in today's Round-Up. If there's a repeat of last year's harvest down under, that will be disastrous. We'll know in a few weeks. From comments by US farmers/gardeners such as Airdale, I understand we may have a bad year here as well. Haven't yet seen a world grain update for 2007 from Lester Brown, but it's not very likely that world reserves have increased from last year's ultra-low numbers.

Farmers who say "It feels really good" have no idea what they wish for.

"Farmers who say "It feels really good" have no idea what they wish for."

What do you mean by that? It sounds a little like you're beating the guy up for doing well and being happy about it. Sure, he may get slammed by a drought, he may be supplying a material that will seem cruel in its brutal unavailability, but in fact, he IS supplying it, and I don't see a double-edge on that blade.

The farmers who are choosing to plant and water Corn for Ethanol might seem to fit that comment, but not the dairy farmers. But maybe I've just missed your point.



I don't think there's anything wrong with a farmer making a bit more money. The problem lies in the reasons why the prices are rising. They will lead to a lot of human misery, and the farmer, looking at the bigger picture, may well wish to have a little less money, if that means a lot less misery around him. His increase in income doesn't occur in a void or a vacuum.

Should the farmer be happy with the added cash in his account, when he realizes that it makes his products unaffordable for ever more people?

I also don't think the farmer will be really better off, because the factors that make milk prices rise, will also raise the cost of things, that he has to buy, and there goes his extra money right out the door..

In a free market system, if farmers produce too much, this forces prices down, so they make little (or no) money. If there's a bad crop, prices go up, so they may make more money than they did for greater production. This is one of the great contradictions of capitalism, which is why you need socialism if you want to have an efficient farming system. (In our capitalist system, it's done by using socialist methods such as government subsidies and price supports, which benefit the big capitalist farmers).

Farmers don't decide what happens to their crop after it is sold. Out here in the uncivilzed world of Decatur County, Iowa there are a lot of cornfields and a lot of cows. I haven't seen any signs saying this field is for ethanol and that field is for cattle feed.

So all of the arctic ice disappears next year (or this year at the rate its going), our rainfall patterns totally change, and suddenly things get ugly. Wonderful.

For a glimpse of what we face regarding problems with food production then check out this site and scroll down to "CROP FAILURE/FOOD SHORTAGES":


Food and water trump all other problems in the end. We can live without oil. I believe that we are going to have to devote much more of our shrinking economy to food and water supply, leaving increasingly less for other areas of the economy. Whole sections of the existing non-productive parts of the economy (basically businesses where everyone sits on their ass all day tapping keys or providing services) will get crushed.

Hey, that's a great website. Thanks for the link. Another one to check every day and keep me motivated to plant seeds and pull weeds.

I think that what we have seen so far is just a mild preview of "coming attractions."

ELP Plan (April, 2007)

I have been advising for anyone who would listen to voluntarily cut back on their consumption, based on the premise that we were probably headed, in a post-Peak Oil environment, for a prolonged period of deflation in the auto/housing/finance sectors and inflation in food and energy prices.

"Driven by a combination of climate change, trade policies and competition for cattle feed from biofuel producers,"

These snippets of rationality really get old. Reporters continue to blame the recent increases in food on everything but the primary cause. Excessive world overpopulation has consumed all stock piles. State that first, then add in climate change, trade policies, biofuels, whatever. If we still had 300+ days of feed stockpiles left, none of this would be occurring.

Biofuels, at this point, wouldn't be on the radar. Our total corn use for biofuels last year (high est 2.1 billion bu) was less than the predicted difference in harvest yields between 06 and 07. 10.5 billion bushels vs 13.3 billion bushels.

I realize that yields (ie acreage planted) probably wouldn't be as high this year without ethanol. Or that the problem for the future isn't dramatic. But for today, biofuels account for a small portion of that increase, and the number one cause, never mentioned, is the end of surplus and overpopulation.

I thought this was an interesting graph on the Opinion page of today's WSJ.

I can imagine the spike going down just as fast as it went up, especially if interest rates rise.

In regard to the ratio going down, consider the effect of the ongoing increases in food and energy prices.

In parts of the UK , the average family home is now 7 - 8 times the average salary.

See, we can beat you on some things!

In Bulgaria, which recently joined the EU, I'm estimating this number to around 10 times for most of the country. Similar situation in the other Eastern European countries that joined the EU recently. One more of the gifts globalization brought to the local people. Unfortunately I don't expect unwinding of the bubble over there - the prices are held up because of expectations for them to approach EU levels. The whole EU zone has to go down before they come down too.

Wealthy Westerners coming in and buying up properties for second homes?

I think it is mostly for investment than for second homes... a 2 bedroom apartment in a decent location could cost as low as euro 60-70K. You don't have to be that wealthy to invest in this but still it is way beyond the means of an average family.

There are many people from UK buying second or vocation homes, but they (rightfully) prefer the countryside or near the sea. There are whole english-speaking villages in Bulgaria :)

IMO the overall share of this buying is small, but it is creating the expectations for further price rise, which in turn stimulates buying from local speculators errr investors and from the immigrants.

Overall the prices are headed to closing the gap with the rest of EU and I guess this is normal.

Only if prices fall and median family income doesn't.

The 500,000 bpd decline in production by the OPEC 10 since November probably corresponds to a decline of about 700,000 bpd in net exports. IMO, the net export decline will accelerate with time.

OPEC keeps lid on oil output in Aug - Petrologistics
Thu 30 Aug 2007, 9:46 GMT

LONDON (Reuters) - OPEC oil output, excluding Iraq and Angola, is expected to remain steady in August as members keep a cap on output despite a jump in prices, a consultant said on Thursday.

OPEC's 10 members subject to output limits, all except Iraq and Angola, are set to pump 27.03 million barrels per day, little changed from 27.02 million bpd in July, said Conrad Gerber of Petrologistics, which tracks tanker shipments.

The estimate indicates that the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries is holding the line on output limits even after a rise in crude oil prices, which hit a record high near $79 a barrel on August 1.

"They are keeping it very tight," Gerber said. "There is not much extra coming out."

. . . Output remains lower than when OPEC started cutting production in November. OPEC said the 10 were pumping 27.5 million bpd before the cutbacks began.

OPEC has rebuffed calls from consumer countries, as represented by the International Energy Agency, for more oil output to lower prices, saying crude oil supply is adequate. . .

I like how you stay on-message :)


I wish he wouldn't copy/paste his points though :/

A follow-on to yesterday's Saudi reserve piece by EM: EM and WT were duelling over SA reserve estimates (and HL's validity.) My point was (and is) that potential hoarding (necessarily covert) makes getting accurate reserve estimates extremely difficult. I want to add that hoarding can also cause a virtual peak that is distinct and prior to from a geological peak. This is unlike the US peak in '70 where the world reserves were accessible (ultimately) and still far from peak. Another corollary is a possibly much steeper descent than geology alone would dictate, punctuated by grabs -- i.e. wars (which have already started, one may has noticed).

The technical estimates of reserves are extremely important, but because we are in the end game and the players know it, things will not play out in near accordance with any underlying curve reflecting depletion the resource.

What is hoarding, if not ANTICIPATION ?

The example of the US peak is one I use all the time. As we approached that peak, there was no price signal. Oil prices barely budged, which meant there was no incentive to exploit expensive reserves, so we had a "pure" geological peak playing out against a relatively calm economic backdrop.

The world situation is vastly different, as we're already well into the oil crunch phase, and the altered economics will change the behavior of all entities in the market. Economics and game theory will be as important as geology in determining supply and demand in the short- to mid-term.

Re: Economic Warfare in the Final Phase

The author of the article doesn't seem to realise that Europe needs Russia and Russia needs Europe and neither needs the US. It's very unfortunate that France and Europe has been saddled with the neocon trouble maker Sarkosy, it will make it much more difficult for Europe to get through the coming collapse.

I just hope that Bush takes Sarkosy with him when he eventually falls on his sword or the French wake up to what he is and hit the streets.

Vive La Revolution!

That article reminded me of the worst days of the Cold War when the US - Soviet tensions were at its height. The two propaganda machines were working at full steam and fearmongering was the main tactic employed. How little things have changed.

I Googled the author of that piece. He appears to be a raging nutcase. I wouldn't take anything that he said seriously.

Gasoline prices could rise to about $9 per gallon if the United States withdraws troops from Iraq prematurely, Rep. Jon Porter said he was told on a trip to Iraq that ended this week.

$9/gal gas? Bring it! I drive 60 miles a week now on my car that gets 45-50mpg. So I'll spend $12/week in gasoline. Big deal. Plus, prices wouldn't last that long before they brought our economy down in flames, which would bring the price down right along with it.

What do you mean that's a bad thing? Wait, let me sell my house first! Oh, and liquidate all of my mutual funds! Maybe I should find a government job first too. Oh well.

$9/gal gasoline in the U.S? There would be rioting in the streets by all of those Type-A personality people complaining that they're spending $1,000/mo on gasoline for their H2 to get to their job where they make $8,000/mo. It's amazing how much rich people whine.
~Durandal (http://www.wtdwtshtf.com/)

Rep. Porter is a neo_____. We don't get a lot of Iraqi oil here. Al Qaeda will be driven out by Iraqi's if we leave. Iraq will still produce and sell oil after we leave, but will not sell to the US because of the unprovoked war on the Iraqi people. The Iraq war is a oil war and the Neo____'s will stop at nothing to keep the American people from forcing the end of the war, including fear mongering, lies, and intimidation. His statement is boiler plate fear mongering. "You can fool some of the people all the time, and fool all the people some of the time. But you can't fool all the people all the time"

"You can fool some of the people all the time, and fool all the people some of the time, and those aren't bad odds."

-- Bart Maverick

"You can fool some of the people all of the time; and that's our target market!"

Beer Bash Marketing Slogans, 1989

If I recall various sources correctly, $9/gal gas in the US corresponds to roughly $250/bbl crude. Guesses about world demand for crude at that price point are indeed guesses, but my own guess would be that demand would fall far enough that it could be met without ME supplies. That is, you have to predict that the US leaving Iraq will result in halting all exports from Saudi Arabia, Iran, the UAE, and Kuwait. While there may scenarios with that outcome, they strike me as unlikely (to say the least).

$9/gal will result in "rationing by price". If prices are headed for that level on a sharp rise, it seems more likely to me that Congress will impose price controls and "rationing by coupon" instead.

$9/gal gas? Bring it!

I'd be happy to 'bring it' to YOUR version of 'reality' - provided that you, and ONLY you, get to experience your request.

Alas, your desire can not be satisfied w/o effecting me and the many ppl I give a damn about.

Much of the pyramid of the economy (and the bottom tier who have guns/knives/clubs/1.75x3.75 lumber w-nails) will be willing to take a swing at those who have more than they have. Thus your "bring it" echo's in my ears the same way when "leadership" says "bring them on"

I look forward to your white paper about how your desire for $9 per gallon of gas works out.

This is not directed at you, Eric; it's just a follow up to your comment with several rhetorical questions. In other words, warning: rant ahead...

Why cite USA Today? It's right on the White House web site, with video and subtitles!

Just search for "bring" or go about half way into the video. Here's the context of the infamous "Bring 'em on" remark:

And as I said yesterday, anybody who wants to harm American troops will be found and brought to justice. There are some who feel like that if they attack us that we may decide to leave prematurely. They don't understand what they're talking about, if that's the case.

There's that word "prematurely" again. Rather, there it is the first time, only to be repeated many times in the 4+ years since, most recently in Rep. Porter's dribble this week. When, exactly, is a U.S. withdrawal from Iraq not considered "premature"? Contrary to the President's claims, I think I do understand correctly. A full withdrawal will never be premature. A couple of years ago Unknown News linked to some story about Iraq -- I can't find the link now and I forget the precise subject matter, but it was bad news for Iraqi people -- and in the sidebar there was a comment along the lines of, "We are raping that country. Every day we stay there the rape continues. The only way to move forward is to withdraw." As unpleasant as the rape metaphor is, it seems entirely accurate. If and when the U.S. military and its corporate mercenaries are withdrawn from Iraq, it will be late, not premature. Bush continued...

Let me finish. There are some who feel like -- that the conditions are such that they can attack us there. My answer is, bring them on. We've got the force necessary to deal with the security situation. Of course we want other countries to help us -- Great Britain is there, Poland is there, Ukraine is there, you mentioned. Anybody who wants to help, we'll welcome the help. But we've got plenty tough force there right now to make sure the situation is secure.

How's that going, Mr. President? Poland is gone. Ukraine is gone. Great Britain is on the way out. An estimated million Iraqis are dead. Heckuva job.

Blah, I'm going to bed. I've got to see if I get up early enough to make it down to the farmer's market tomorrow and then finish separating my red worms from their lovely pile of "castings."

Why cite USA Today?

It was the 1st link that met the search criteria.

And when the level of the responses is 'sun shines on crops therefore you are wrong' - why invest a whole lotta time

The hypothetical misfortune of living in the US with gas at $9 on one hand.

The not-so-hypothetical misfortune of losing a limb to an IED in Iraq.

Screw it. Bring on the pricy gas.

Agreed. I've always said I'm willing to pay as much as required to get a 1/3 reduction in miles driven.


Random comments:

This week the French President, Nicolas Sarkozy, warned against Russia’s use of energy as an instrument of foreign policy. ...

How do you say poodle in French?

At most, 10% of suburban households face incipient crisis in the short-term.

Whew! And I thought there was a problem.

Peak Oil may have put the United States on a collision course with China as the two nations compete for African oil reserves.

What a bold speculation!

Gasoline prices could rise to about $9 per gallon if the United States withdraws troops from Iraq prematurely, Rep. Jon Porter said he was told on a trip to Iraq that ended this week.

WT recently speculated, and I agree, that the gov't would more openly pitch the war as for oil.

This week the French President, Nicolas Sarkozy, warned against Russia’s use of energy as an instrument of foreign policy. ...

How do you say poodle in French?


WT recently speculated, and I agree, that the gov't would more openly pitch the war as for oil.

The minute a $9 gasoline scenario goes public, the non-negotiable American Way of Life becomes a laughable oxymoron.

The national politicians will not like the results.

Enjoy the Labor Day weekend, because after that the Bush Regime propaganda machine is going into hyper-drive to drum up a pretext for a massive air attack against Iran.

So, if one wants to worry about $9 gasoline, forget Iraq and start worrying about what the global oil supply situation is going to look like after a US attack on Iran. Evidenly, some people supposedly in the know think it's not a matter of if but rather when. Time will tell, probably sooner than later.

Do you have a crystal ball or is there some more conventional basis for this prediction?

Two comments -

About the Chattak gas field:
"But more importantly, since the drill-hole was not cased by the drilling company, the gas from this layer found an easy way out of the open hole into the sandy porous layer above."
Who ever drilled a production gas well that wasn't cased?

And about the threat of $9 gasoline:
As usual, WT beats everybody to the punch. It's astonishing that the neocons can instantly, completely reverse their positions, from initially insisting that any connection between the Iraq invasion and oil security was blasphemous nonsense, to using that oil to threaten our American Way of Life if we fail to cooperate.


They say:
''There is perhaps another way of looking at it. The gas reserve in the Chattak gas field is divided into four layers at four depth levels. The top gas layer is at a depth of 550 m, with an estimated reserve of 115 Bcf. This is the one which was involved in the blow-out accidents, and a large amount of gas from this layer escaped to the surface through the drill pipe.''

KEY PHRASE: THRU THE DRILL PIPE: Sounds like they were drilling ahead in open hole (you have to reach section TD , pull drill pipe and THEN run casing) Shallow gas blow out then shut in and gas leaks into other, low pressure horizons .

This is then an underground blow out.

If they had a surface blow out from 550m, then it is more likely to have cratered (quite literally )and taken the well, the rig and any unhappy soul on board.

They say:
''But more importantly, since the drill-hole was not cased by the drilling company, the gas from this layer found an easy way out of the open hole into the sandy porous layer above. Thus, a huge amount of gas moved to the sandy layer in an uncontrolled way to form numerous gas pockets.''

No IADC driller or tool pusher would ever produce from an un-cased and un-cemented hole. Ever.

No Drilling Engineer would produce gas from an open hole. Ever.

This was uncontrolled, gas blow out. Shit Happens, sounds like low mud weight and loss of well control.

Sounds like BS to me.

What do you think of this?


"...if the United States withdraws troops from Iraq prematurely...'

Obvious politically motivated scare tactics. Anyone who still believes that the US military is going to withdraw from the Middle East while sitting on top of the biggest and best oil fields in the world is living on another planet.

CNN is covering the disturbance in the force that will soon be known as Felix. At least, Chad Myers "guarantees" that it will eventually become a named storm.

Oil prices higher on storm threat

LONDON (AFP) — World oil prices climbed on fears that a severe storm is threatening Gulf of Mexico energy installations amid already tight supplies in the United States, analysts said Friday.

...Oil prices were well underpinned by a potential storm forming in the Atlantic which re-ignited fears that supply from Gulf of Mexico oil installations could be squeezed.

"Its calculated path still takes it to the eastern Caribbean, an area favourable for strengthening and historically a highway to the US or Mexican Gulf," said Petromatrix analyst Olivier Jakob.

And inventories are also a worry:

A weekly US inventory report released earlier this week lent some support to oil futures. The data showed that gasoline supplies remain well below average and that crude fell by more than the market had expected.

"The situation in gasoline looks particularly alarming," Barclays Capital analysts said Friday. "Demand has remained relentlessly strong, whereas production and imports have failed to keep up with growth in demand in the absence of the necessary price signals."

Gov. Heineman extends waiver for fuel haulers
By Richard Pierson/Lee Enterprises
LINCOLN - The whereases all add up to continued tight supplies of gasoline and diesel fuel, forcing longer trips to farther away fuel terminals.

Gov. Dave Heineman on Thursday extended until Oct. 10 his waiver issued earlier this summer on hours of service for commercial truck drivers carrying motor fuel.

The extra service hours allow truckers to fetch and deliver fuel from farther away, in a regional fuel market bottleneck that some are calling the worst since the Arab oil embargo of the 1970s.

In North Dakota, the Environmental Protection Agency waived summer gas standards so the state could import gasoline from Canada.

Supply shortages continued to “run rampant” in many pockets of the Midwest this week, with some North Dakota stations out of gasoline just ahead of the last major driving weekend of the year, reported the Oil Price Information Service.

“There is a major shortage going on right now,” said Mike Rud, president of the North Dakota Petroleum Marketers Association.

The supply squeeze shows little let-up in South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa and Minnesota, sources told the information service.

Drive your car to death, save $31,000

I'm 66. I've spent, net, less than $20k on the purchase price of cars in my entire life. (Net? My daughter totalled one car but walked away unscratched. Subtract the insurance payment of 7k against 13k, by far the most expensive car I ever bought.)

I buy only old high-end cars with more than 100,000 miles on them, stick shift, foreign of course, and (in recent years) carry only liability -- no theft or collision.

My favorite was the one before this -- an '84 Cressida, $2800. I took it on back roads many people wouldn't take their Jeeps on. Current is a '93 BMW, $8k with 130k+ mi, now 175k, still a baby, just shy of 35 mpg at 65.

Yep, I have to spend maybe 1k/yr on repairs. So? I am at least 100-200k ahead of where I might have been. Also true, my wife and I are hikers, so if we break down and have to walk a few miles, no biggie. This happened with the Cressida a few times.

Yep, I have to spend maybe 1k/yr on repairs. So?

I think a lot of people would have problems with that. If your car starts stranding you, it's at best inconvenient. If you have kids, are single, and/or drive at night, it's downright hazardous.

I didn't mind driving an old car, and I didn't mind paying for repairs. But when the car started stranding me unpredictably, it was time to buy another one.

Pumped Up: Chevron Drills Down 30,000 Feet to Tap Oil-Rich Gulf of Mexico


Next time you look up and see airliner contrails overhead, realize that they are about as far UP as this is talking about drilling DOWN.

At more than a mile under the sea they have been having problems with the steel on the ocean floor when welds ruptured. Think there might have been bubbles in the welds that exploded under pressure.

Bubbles don't explode under pressure, they collapse.

But steel rusts on the ocean floor. Ever seen those pictures of the Titanic?

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

Ditto. But it works just fine if you have a family - then you may need just one reliable car and drive the other to death.

Agreed, it's not for everyone. But my worst stranding was with my only new car, a 72 Datsun (2k) -- right in the middle of the Lincoln Tunnel!

If your car leaves you stranded, it means you haven't been maintaining it properly. When the radiator hose bursts, it's because you didn't change out the hoses at 100,000 miles. When your timing belt breaks, it's because you didn't do it at 100,000 miles. When your alternator belt breaks, it's likely that you didn't replace it at 60,000 miles. When your transmission goes out, did you replace the fluid every 30,000 miles, and did you have it worked on after the gears started slipping, or did you "wait" until "later"?

Your car will give you plenty of warning signs that something needs to be done, with a few exceptions. If your ignitor coil goes out, that's pretty spontaneous, but if you're worried about it, spend the $60 every 100,000 miles to replace it.

But, I might not know anything. :P I have 3 cars with 565,000 miles between 3 of them.

Happy Motoring!

~Durandal (http://www.wtdwtshtf.com/)

Kinda like the man that has been using the same axe for 70 years: replaced the handle 8 times and the head twice.


I took very good care of my car. I drove it until it was 16 years old, and it was my only car. Someone else is still driving it, and it's 18 years old now.

But even if you take care of it, it will start failing randomly after it's over ten years old. The first time it was the alternator, I think. No warning, the car just died at the light one day. Boy, that made the other drivers happy. I wasn't very happy, either. I wasn't too far from home, and could have walked, but there was no place to push the car so it was out of the way. And it was a hot summer day, and the car was full of groceries that were melting/spoiling in the heat. Fun, fun, fun.

Your car will give you plenty of warning signs that something needs to be done

Opal Cadet. The OEM EQ was a generator, not an alternator. No seat belts OEM. 55 MPH was 'hope' with a head-wind nope.

My old man picked this stick shift (best mileage car I've owned piece of crap, 5 football tackles moved in out of the parking lot and between 2 trees so I had to have the car dragged out) and did a spot o transmission work done on it.

One day, the clutch was shot. Went to start it, and could not shift it. Now, the old man blamed my 'driving technique' and gave me quite the tounge lashing. The only time he's EVER been humble is when, after dropping the tranny, found a broken spring.

No warning sign - the sway bar on a 1969 Dodge dart can break at any time, thus causing the suspension to collapse. (left side - used a 2x6 that started off dimensionally correct, ended up as a roundish collection of splinters, the right side failed 2.5 miles from the old man so I drove it home)

To say 'no warning sign' - I'm gonna call bullshit. Given the present electronic level in cars, again - gotta call bullshit on the 'no warning sign'.

Mom had an Opal Cadet. At the time I had two different 1972 Subarus. Both could exceed 55mph on a reasonable downhill. Without warning, both caught on fire and burned up at 102,xxx - can't remember exactly the xxx, but it happened within 100 miles of each other. I suppose one could say I had been warned on the second.

Perhaps at the factory-authorized 100k checkup the self-destruct link would have been replaced.

cfm in Gray, ME

The scenario is most feasible for those who live in small towns (like me) or in big cities (like Alan Drake) -- help is not far away, and getting home is not that hard. Obviously, for people living way, way out in the boonies, a breakdown could mean being stranded for a very long time. Suburbia may not be much better either.

My way to avoid getting stranded is to always rent cars for out of town trips.

Except that with the car you had for a long time you pretty much know what it does, buying another used car may be buying someone else's problem.

As far as repairing them I just drive them until they croak, maybe some maintenance parts if it becomes obvious and I can do it myself, but I'm a firm believer that putting a car in a shop is bad ju-ju.

Yes, you do need to either be a very good DIY mechanic or else live near a very good, very trustworthy shop. Such do exist, just ask around. If you are so unfortunate as to not have any good repair shops in your area, then that is a different and difficult situation.

Driving well-maintained older cars is great, if you need cars at all - and face it, most of us do. I did my 'town' errands yesterday in our vintage '89 Integra hatchback which has 72k actual miles on it and averages 35mpg. It also has plant life - some kind of staghorn fern or epiphyte like grows on coconut trees is thriving just in front of the driver's door, about a foot in diameter, and in front of the passenger door there's a wood-rose vine with marijuana-looking leaves which we need to prune when it wraps around the windshield wiper. But it's a safe, reliable car with new brakes and rubber hoses that may go another 100k miles, my wife's baby.

My other car I got late last year - I look for damaged ones, and got a 2003 Hyundai Accent 5-speed hatch with 80k miles which had been sideswiped and vandalized but which had mostly cosmetic problems. Got it for $1100, glued a piece of plexiglas on the open hold where the sunroof used to be, spent a total of about $75 on it, and now it's great, I've been averaging over 44mpg.

Inasmuch as our family only puts a total of 1000 miles or less total on its cars these days, this beats the heck out of buying Priuses. The cars seem entirely reliable, too. I highly recommend 'blemished' cars like this for those who need 'em. Gasoline could go to $20/gallon without being a direct impact to us. Of couse, the indirect impacts would probably do us in.

Last night I went and filled mine up for the month (a few days early just in case there is a shortage over the weekend) and it only took 11$

Too lazy to fill the bike up but I'm sure it will take less then 5$

9$/gal? what's the problem? I can probably come up with 30$. :-)

I remember there was a cartoon in the old "How to Keep your VW Alive " guide about changing the fuel in one's rabbit diesel (they would get about 52 right out of the box in 79 or whatever the first year was).

Actually I've found that cars go through a period of unreliability in the 80-100k range and then tend to stabilize. Cars that have had extensive work by qualified mechanics tend to be better put together than those from the factory. They are essentially "hand built." I don't really agree that newer cars are more reliable except for the first year or two.

I seems to me that while the USA was affluent there was a large flow of income-redistribution in the form of hand-me-downs. When I go "garage sailing" I call it "feeding on the crumbs off of the affluent society".

In particular, poor people got to buy the still-good 5-year-old cars traded in by the richer people when the latter bought new cars. The market was such that used cars were very cheap.

Things are a-changing. I hear that used small cars are now scarce and more expensive. I predict that before long, as the economy declines and fuel prices rise further, the used-car market will get tighter yet, and will be largely comprised of gas guzzlers that the poor will not be able to fuel. The rich will buy hybrids and the poor will walk.

Yes, 3 year old Civics are selling more than a brand new Chevy Aveo. Go figure.

One of our cars is a 1990 Civic, now has ~170K miles and still running well. We are hoping to keep it going for at least another 3-5 years. We're only putting on a couple thousand miles per year at most, so unless something drastic happens, we should make 20 years. They are good little cars.

I have an '88 CRX which has the 1.6 liter instead of the 1.5 in the Civics and multipoint FI instead of the dual point throttle body injection, but elsewise basically the same block and setup which is going on about 270,000 miles these days...just keep it in fresh oil, timing belts and water pumps and you should be able to get similar mileage.

Hello Vtpeaknik,

Your Quote:"The rich will buy hybrids and the poor will walk."

Recall my earlier post suggesting that limited and depleting lithium reserves for batteries will probably and rapidly force any batteries made to be used for truck-PHEVs for NPK multi-ton transport. Check the stock price rise of SQM.

Eventually, and hopefully: 60-75% of us will push wheelbarrows ahead of ourselves while we walk, and bicycles will be the faster method of transport. I really hope a National Biosolar Emergency is declared: stockpiling of NPK, Strategic Reserves of bicycles & wheelbarrows, and whole hog mindset for Alan Drake's RR electrification and relocalized permaculture. View of our future:


If not, then a fast-crash into a machete' moshpit to determine the new equilibrium. Such is life. My feeble speculation.

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

Dad, is that you?

Kudos to you. I think it's really smart if that's your choice. That Cressida I believe had the Z engine in it. I drove one once and it was quite a surprise.

Me personally, I love a new car. I can afford a new car.

I think what people lose site of the most around here is that when indeed TSHTF, all that saved money is going to be worthless. Your paid off mortgage won't stop the government from taking it when property taxes go through the roof. Your 401K will only be an 01K by then.

To the extent you can stock up on knives, bicycle parts, seeds, etc. is probably a worthwhile endeavor. Otherwise, I think most of use are in it for the duration and might as well keep going business as usual until it changes.

Just make sure when the panic hits, you panic first!


Re: blackouts, whether in Albania or California.

When a region has less electricity supply than the "demand", the people in the region have two choices:

* use less individually, leaving their essential uses supplied. E.g., forego (or reduce) air conditioning, keep the lights on and the food in the freezer from spoiling. Or:

* continue BAU (business as usual), resulting on rolling blackouts.

The latter is probably the worse outcome for almost everybody, and yet is the most common outcome.

Similarly, if gasoline rationing (whether formal or self-imposed) can avoid actual shortages.

This points out the psychological / social aspect of energy shortages. Unless we figure out how to tackle that, then small additions of renewable energy sources or efficiency gains will make no difference.

From individual point of view it does not make sense to reduce your personal consumption if you don't know that all the rest will do the same. If I know that the water supply will stop and if I don't fill my bath tube, the most likely outcome will be that I will be with an empty bath tube and still the water will stop.

Personally I favor tiered rationing - applying a normal rate up to a certain limit and a higher rate above that. We already have something similar for many products - for example for cell phone minutes, but somehow we are used to it and consider it normal - why not applying that for energy?

I too am in favor of tiered pricing, making the marginal unit cost more as consumption increases. But this will not help much in avoiding shortages in periods of low supply relative to demand.

"From individual point of view it does not make sense to reduce your personal consumption if you don't know that all the rest will do the same."

- that's really the problem, an instance of "the prisoner's dilemma". So the question is, how to modify "the system" to avoid the selfish (and ultimately self-defeating) behavior. The modification may be in:

* the resource delivery system itself (as in reduced pressure in water pipes, but electrical brownouts are not a good idea, perhaps smart meters will some day be able to enforce an individual amperage quota at peak times),

* in feasible enforcement of conservation (as in bans on watering lawns in some drought areas: violations are publicly visible - air conditioners are visible/audible too!), or

* in peoples' psychology itself. E.g., in California several years ago appeals for electricity conservation did result in significant reductions (10%).

Electricity shortage is harder to manage than, e.g., liquid fuels, since blackouts affect whole neighborhoods (or cities). If you know that the gas stations are out of gas, have long lines, or charge a premium, you are likely to drive sparingly so as to stretch the supply in your tank. But you cannot (as a typical grid consumer) store any electricity, you can't predict when the power will be cut off, and you can't even clearly perceive the cost until the bill arrives weeks later.

Using a lot while the power is sitll on is a form of storage for the subsequent blackout, if you manage to start the blackout with a cool house, clean body and clothes, cooked dinner, etc. Thus the system is a form of "scramble competition" (in ecological terms), the faster you grab it the more you end up with, without any direct interaction with your competitors other than the depletion of the resource.

... until the bill arrives weeks later.

Brown-outs [voltage drop below standards] are NOT desireable. E.g. any voltage drop >10% will stress the insulation capacity of all motors, increasing as the %age brown-out increases. The bill will arrive later.

The article about the prisoner dilemma states that the parties may choose cooperation if information is freely distributed between participants across many cycles of the game. And when a significant portion of the players follows some simple moral guidlines, namely: to be nice, retaliating, forgiving and non-envious.

We clearly lack the ethics for this to happen today. Clearly in todays society it is not considered unethical to consume more, just the oposite - it is encouraged to consume more. But if the ethics changes and a certain mechanism to maintain it is created this may go into the other direction. Imagine for example the newspaper publishing the names of the 10 most wastful and the 10 most conserving families in your neighbourhood... if the same neghbourhood is plagued by shortages you can imagine what would be the effect over the social status of the people envolved, and how everyone will voluntary try to reduce their consumption.

I'd say we have more a classic "Tragedy of the Commons" here than a PD game. Garrett Hardin's classic essay by that name (http://dieoff.org/page95.htm) is well worth reading, again and again IMO. The gist of the argument:

"The tragedy of the commons develops in this way. Picture a pasture open to all. It is to be expected that each herdsman will try to keep as many cattle as possible on the commons. Such an arrangement may work reasonably satisfactorily for centuries because tribal wars, poaching, and disease keep the numbers of both man and beast well below the carrying capacity of the land. Finally, however, comes the day of reckoning, that is, the day when the long-desired goal of social stability becomes a reality. At this point, the inherent logic of the commons remorselessly generates tragedy.

As a rational being, each herdsman seeks to maximize his gain. Explicitly or implicitly, more or less consciously, he asks, "What is the utility to me of adding one more animal to my herd?" This utility has one negative and one positive component.

1. The positive component is a function of the increment of one animal. Since the herdsman receives all the proceeds from the sale of the additional animal, the positive utility is nearly + 1.

2. The negative component is a function of the additional overgrazing created by one more animal. Since, however, the effects of overgrazing are shared by all the herdsmen, the negative utility for any particular decision­making herdsman is only a fraction of - 1.

Adding together the component partial utilities, the rational herdsman concludes that the only sensible course for him to pursue is to add another animal to his herd. And another.... But this is the conclusion reached by each and every rational herdsman sharing a commons. Therein is the tragedy. Each man is locked into a system that compels him to increase his herd without limit -- in a world that is limited."

Hardin's preferred solution is population reduction through "mutual coercion, mutually agreed upon". A "correction", anyone?

Sounds more like the tragedy of living in an economy rather than a society. If we're ever to get through the coming collapse we will have to rid ourselves of the faux science of "Economics" and favour a more social and natural way of living.

Unfortunately, that isn't going to happen overnight and humanity will probably suffer greatly as people try and make the synthetic and broken economic model work, long after its obvious failure.

Economy is an indispensable part of the society. Something has to serve to produce the goods people need. Even the native indians had a primitive economy and market mechanisms to support it.

"it does not make sense to reduce your personal consumption if you don't know that all the rest will do the same.."

There are at least two good reasons for an individual to reduce their consumption, regardless of what others may or may not still consume.

1) The change implements habits and systems that allow them to get by with less, making them more resilient to shortages or price hikes.

2) Using less can save them money, leastwise operating expenses. The capital costs might take some time to be repaid, (ie, Insulation, Efficient Appliances) but once they do, they will easily justify the expense.

This suggestion that someone else will just use the 'oil' you didn't is a decoy argument. It plays on jealousy more than logic. As with the fallacy of your bathtub analogy, this argument confuses flows with reserves. You can still have a full bathtub (backup storage) and yet have chosen to go through your energy supplies slowly in any case. This means your bathtub will last longer than someone else who has a tub, but uses it up faster. So the 'oil' that you and the other conservers aren't using WILL get used later, but you've helped reduce the flow (and your fuel bills) It's not a matter of someone else getting what 'shoulda/coulda been yours', but one of bringing overall demand closer in line with supply.

Tiered pricing sounds sensible, though.

Hi Bob,

Excellent points.


3) Using your oil quota - AKA money - you have now to implement person "TOD" (as part of ELP), buy a bicycle, start a community garden or put solar panels on your city water processing facility - will start a fad.

According to this real-time graph, demand looks like exceeding supply in California sometime soon now, although it's also near peak demand too:


Not much of a supply cushion there. Looks very much like business as usual is the approach until the system breaks.


I've had this link for years. The Green supply line includes the buffer. If you click on the graph, and then scroll down on the page that loads, you'll see that the available resources includes the Operating Reserve Requirement, which at 4pm today was 3189 MWs.

Just FYI. At first glance it looks really bad. It is bad, just not really bad. Look how much we import around the clock!

Also, as a point of reference, back in 01 during the blackouts, it was in the spring and the blackouts occurred at 35000. Lot's has changed since then.

August 29th, 3PM:

Demand Forecast 47790
Actual Demand 47848
Available Resources Forecast 48511
Reserve Requirement 3106
Surplus/Deficiency 721

The surplus, more accurately buffer, is apparently forecast supply minus forecast demand.

Sorry, but you're not adding it up right.

The available resources is 51817, minus the 3106 = 48511.

You're double subtracting. If you were right, we would have hit a stage 3 alert. Read the charge again, you'll see it.

Say, here's a question on crude options for the futures cognoscenti on the list.

I'm an amateur, but have bought a few out-of-the-money crude call options to hedge myself against some (certainly not all) oil scenarios.

Four months ago, a Dec 09 100 crude call on the NYMEX went for $1800, and that's what I paid. Today I got a couple more for $1300 each.

That's a significant difference, and I'm at a bit of a loss to understand it.

Of course, it could be that various holders of subprime debt are selling calls to get more liquid, or it could be that more people expect a recession that drives down prices. Still, anyone have a better guess?

PS: I'm not trying to get rich, just less poor, I'm a very small investor.

The little man inside says to pay closer attention to this. Something about signs of things to come.

"More pain in U.S. showrooms". What a strange expression.


Cutbacks At Ontario Pickup Plant Could Set Tone For Worst Sales Year In Decade

General Motors Corp. and other automakers are bracing for more pain in U.S. showrooms as a crumbling housing market stalls sales in what could turn out to be the worst year for auto retailing in nearly a decade.

GM is taking immediate steps to adjust to a weakening U.S. market, confirming yesterday it will slash nearly 1,100 hourly and 55 salaried jobs at its Oshawa, Ont., pickup plant in January as output moves from three shifts to two. The factory builds GMC Sierra and Chevrolet Silverado trucks, mostly for export to the United States. Plant volume will go from 300,000 vehicles per year to 210,000 vehicles after the cuts take effect, GM said.

Buzz Hargrove, president of the Canadian Auto Workers Union, said GM offered no sign the cuts were coming[..]"They shocked the living hell out of us," he said. The CAW said the job losses could wipe out an additional 8,000 jobs at GM's suppliers and other companies dependent on assembly work, including Lear Corp. and Woodbridge Group.

The job cuts are in January, sales are collapsing now despite huge cash incentives.

Contract negotiations are under way and somewhere today I saw an article where now the union is bit(*ing about VEBA's. Sounds like strike.

GM putting the blame on the mortgage mess for their poor sales, which then lead to job losses shows just how screwed up this country is - all wrapped up in in a neat little package...

"Buying" a house for five times what it's actually worth then using the BS "home equity" to go out and buy that fancy $40,000 extended cab earth mover has been pretty much marketed as a package deal. Nevermind the fact that half these people could barely legitimetly buy the house even if was offered for the price of the vehicle.

And now GM warns everyone about their sales dropping off - well now, what a shocker. My parents bought a house back in 1975 and my Dad was about midway through his career at GM at that point. Funny thing is we never had a shiny new car (let alone truck or SUV) in our driveway until almost 15 years later - my parents drove one beater after another - why ? Because they used the money they earned for a real down payment on the house and to really BUY it rather than rent it through paying interest only...

What a joke this so called "economy" is - good thing my Dad paid off the house and has a bit of land with it because it looks like his GM pension's days are numbered...

What the article fails to mention is that Social Security funds have been completely plundered by the government (they call it borrowing). There's effectively nothing left. Still, there's no shortage of people who claim the Fed can print all debt away.. In reality, though, the US no longer has a functioning economy. It's hunger and warfare all the way from here, no other options remain. Even the kids' piggy banks have been emptied.

Here's thinking we'll need real big helicopters. Apaches.

Rules 'hiding' trillions in debt

Liability $516,348 per U.S. household

The federal government recorded a $1.3 trillion loss last year — far more than the official $248 billion deficit — when corporate-style accounting standards are used, a USA TODAY analysis shows.

The loss reflects a continued deterioration in the finances of Social Security and government retirement programs for civil servants and military personnel. The loss — equal to $11,434 per household — is more than Americans paid in income taxes in 2006.

"We're on an unsustainable path and doing a great disservice to future generations," says Chris Chocola, a former Republican member of Congress from Indiana and corporate chief executive who is pushing for more accurate federal accounting.

Modern accounting requires that corporations, state governments and local governments count expenses immediately when a transaction occurs, even if the payment will be made later.The federal government does not follow the rule, so promises for Social Security and Medicare don't show up when the government reports its financial condition.

Bottom line: Taxpayers are now on the hook for a record $59.1 trillion in liabilities, a 2.3% increase from 2006. That amount is equal to $516,348 for every U.S. household. By comparison, U.S. households owe an average of $112,043 for mortgages, car loans, credit cards and all other debt combined.

Unfunded promises made for Medicare, Social Security and federal retirement programs account for 85% of taxpayer liabilities. State and local government retirement plans account for much of the rest.

This hidden debt is the amount taxpayers would have to pay immediately to cover government's financial obligations. Like a mortgage, it will cost more to repay the debt over time. Every U.S. household would have to pay about $31,000 a year to do so in 75 years.

Ilargi: The situation is very bad, but the numbers ($516000 per household) are somewhat misleading, IMO. I don't foresee these obligations being paid- the likely outcome is a gradual increase in the minimum age for entitlement for all these programs, which does wonders in balancing the books (humans don't live that long). Most of these programs are fundable if the minimum age to collect is 72-73 years old (which I think it will eventually become).

Here's thinking we'll need real big helicopters. Apaches.

National Geographic's first choice for "sound of America" - a Blackhawk helicopter.

cfm in Gray, ME

Most discussions of economics are more fruitful if the participants can agree on a few minimum assumptions. Beyond that it's always beneficial if we also can agree that a certain set of data is relevant to the question at hand and reliable. Neither assumptions nor data can be taken for granted, so the possibilities for disagreements are numerous.

Here is the US national debt taken from the Department of Treasury, from 1970 to 2006. Very impressive numbers, and the rate of increase is not only positive, it's explosive.



It can be argued, and often is, that compared to GDP or total international trade, the national debt is nothing to worry about. Maybe. But you have to admit the trend does not look healthy.

When shills for the administration talk about how great the economy is doing, I can't help thinking of the above little graph and wonder why they never refer to it. I don't know -- maybe the national debt is irrelevant to the health of the economy.

Exactly, if we're so wealthy, then why are we so much in debt. Debt is not wealth and going deeper into debt is not a sign of growing wealth but of diminishing wealth.

Having a debt based currency obviously doesn't help matters either. The money supply has to grow simply to enable the debt plus interest to be paid off, but the money supply grows by increasing the amount of debt. Great system! No surprise that just about everything and everyone has a big lump of debt hanging around their necks.

Re mysterious NSW energy blueprint

I’m expecting a gala awards ceremony. The emcee will walk onstage, open an envelope, and announce
And the winner is ... coal !

Yesterday the power went out here in San Jose. It wasn’t unexpected: With the temp over a hundred in the theoretical shade, a Level 1 alert had already been called by PG&E. But when that odd metallic music resounded across the neighborhood at ten in the morning, I thought it was a steel storage container being dragged over pavement, until my laptop gave me the news: transformer down - You’re off the grid for the duration.

Well, not entirely grid-free, of course; the cell service was functioning, allowing me to determine that at least the whole city hadn’t gone down. But my favorite daily diversions had all quit, so I was forced out of my home into the world shared by others: my neighbors.

Three hot blocks to the grocery store later I met Alex, hiding in the strip-mall shade. Pretty typical-looking, -acting, and -sounding guy, at least if you hail from the good ole US of A. Underemployed, in debt, he’s a Marlboro man sporting a gut who’s a few years younger than me but looks like plus ten. We quickly decided that the world hadn’t ended, and settled down to the business of whiling away three hours, until the power came back on.

Alex caught the slightest whiff of a self-employed independent, and was soon DEMANDING investment advice, so I ultimately complied:
*Get out of debt! Fortunately, he isn’t in too deep, so his savings that are currently earning 5% will be annihilating some 15% credit cards.
*Build a disaster kit: water and water filters; food, fuel, and stove; plastic sheet and tape. Buy cans of your favorite foods. Spend up to a thousand of your meagre savings, if you feel the need.
*Make a plan, with short- and long-term contingencies for meeting places and refuges. Where are your family and closest friends living?
*As it happens, Alex is also holding some gold scrap, so he’s going to see about upgrading that to coin now.

Beyond that, Alex, you’re on your own. I sure couldn’t go telling some poor novice to start buying paper assets right now. And I didn’t think it was an opportune moment to try ‘splainin’ ProShares Inverse QQQ to anybody. That’s traded as QID, BTW, but don’t go tellin’ nobody.

So, lights restored, I toddle home, ready to be immersed in the synthetic universe again, none the wiser for the brief, unwelcome brush with reality that intruded on my “productive” day. There’s no way I could be convinced that I hadn’t earned my keep yesterday – I have the printouts! No, knuckleheads like me are doomed to worship our own idols to the exclusion of all external reality, convinced that we can “game the game,” just because our screens tell us so. Delayed gratification? Honest labor? Natural selection? Bah! But the uncomfortably public world outside my door tells a more traditional tale: “Once the last tree is cut and the last river poisoned, you will find that you cannot eat your money.”

Sure is hot here again today.

And DXD = inverse DJIA ...
and SDS = inverse S&P etc.

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

Tropical Depression 6

That is almost the same track as Dean, but Dean was a hurricane by that longitude.

pretty much same track as Dean, maybe Texas will get more rain? As if we need it!

The China one-child rule has resulted in a 6/10 of a percent population growth rate.


The Chinese population was 1,321,851,888 (July 2007 est.) -- CIA Factbook.

This population times the 6/10 of a percent growth rate = 7.9 million population growth per year. This is higher than the number of people being added to the United States each year. If China did not have a law designed to almost cut their population in half within a generation they might double their population within a generation.

If the first child is not a boy, the couple may have a second child, some rural people were ignorant of the law and people were living longer. The rural agrarians kept their animals tied near the back porch for fear their neighbors might steal them. They heated their beds before sleeping in the winter, but were unable to afford central heat.