DrumBeat: September 12, 2007

Oil Rises to Record $80.18 on Larger-Than-Expected Supply Drop

Crude oil rose to a record $80.18 a barrel in New York after supplies dropped the most this year.

U.S. oil inventories fell a greater-than-expected 7.01 million barrels to 322.6 million last week, the Energy Department said today. Prices also rose after OPEC said yesterday it would increase production by 500,000 barrels a day, less than is needed to meet a seasonal rise in demand.

"We've shrugged off OPEC's offer of 500,000 barrels," said Nauman Barakat, senior vice president of global energy futures at Macquarie Futures USA Inc. in New York. "There's a tropical storm in the Gulf and inventories posted a huge decline."

Crude oil for October delivery rose $1.68, or 2.2 percent, to settle at $79.91 a barrel at 2:54 p.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange, a record close. Futures also touched the highest intraday price since trading began in 1983. The previous record of $78.77 was reached on Aug. 1.

The mystery behind surging oil prices

Latest inventory report shows big drop in crude. But overall supplies are still high, and U.S. economic growth is slowing. So what's pushing prices up to $80 a barrel?

What's Behind OPEC's Production Hike?

Recent shifts in the oil market have driven the Saudis to want to cool things with a 500,000 barrel a day increase. So far, it hasn't worked.

Power prices set to surge

For a long time, conventional wisdom has held that coal would easily meet the nation's rising demand for electricity. It's cheap, and there's enough of it in the U.S. to power the country for an estimated 250 years.

But a combination of rising construction costs for coal-fired power-plants and uncertainty over whether Congress will regulate emissions of carbon dioxide - a byproduct of burning coal and one of the main gasses behind global warming - has put plans for many new plants on hold.

Google's Green Car Challenge

Hoping to jump-start innovation in "sustainable transportation," Google.org - the search giant's philanthropic arm - today issued a $10 million request for proposals for projects that will promote the commercialization of plug-in hybrid vehicles, electric cars and vehicle-to-grid technology.

High gas prices could make you skinnier

Higher gasoline prices may slim more than just wallets, according to a new study from Washington University in St. Louis.

Entitled “A Silver Lining? The Connection between Gas Prices and Obesity,” the study found that an additional $1 per gallon in real gasoline prices would reduce U.S. obesity by 15 percent after five years.

U.S. oil firm pulls out of Sudan

Two months after Fortune revealed that a Houston-based oil-services company was operating in Khartoum despite a tight U.S. embargo against Sudan, the company announced on Monday that it was withdrawing from the country, as well as from Cuba, Iran, and Syria (all of which are under U.S. sanctions).

‘Tabletop fusion’ probe turns up concerns

A Purdue University panel that reviewed misconduct allegations against a scientist who claims he produced "tabletop fusion" has concluded that "several matters merit further investigation."

Who's the greenest bank of all?

Sustainable building is all the rage - and big banks want in on the action.

Live the good life in a green mansion

In addition to eight bedrooms, 11 bathrooms, two elevators, two laundry rooms, two wine cellars (one for red, one white), a movie theater and guesthouse, the house will also have a state-of-the-art air purification system and eco-friendly light fixtures that will reduce energy consumption by 90 percent.

As commutes begin earlier, new daily routines emerge

Americans are leaving home earlier and earlier to beat the rush and get to work on time. Census data released today document the ever-lengthening commutes: In 2000, 1 worker in 9 was out the door by 6 a.m., the new data says; by 2006, it was 1 in 8. That might not seem like a big change, but it has put more than 2.7 million additional drivers — for a total of 15 million — on pre-dawn patrol.

This "commuting creep" is changing the lives of tens of millions of Americans. It affects everything from the breakfast-food industry to television viewership trends, from traffic-signal timing to newspaper delivery times, from carpooling patterns to personal fitness routines. Increasingly early commutes also are altering workers' relationships with their families.

Climate-change paradox: Greenhouse gas is Big Oil boon

With enough CO2 injected into declining oil fields, the US could see its petroleum reserves quadruple.

Matt Simmons: Take to the Water to Move People, Goods

As much as the SUV has been depicted as Public Enemy #1 in the campaign to increase the fuel efficiency of vehicles, Matthew Simmons says the SUV isn’t so bad.

What is bad, the noted Houston investment banker told EnergyTechStocks.com, is an SUV stuck in traffic. “Traffic congestion is the single biggest user of oil.”

API Economist John Felmy: Molecules there but Trillions Must be Spent

While he finds Matthew Simmons to be credible, John Felmy, chief economist at the American Petroleum Institute in Washington, DC, doesn’t agree with the Houston-based energy investment banker that the world is hitting a point of “peak oil” production. “The molecules are there,” says Felmy.

API Chief Economist John Felmy: Greater Diplomacy Needed with Mexico, Others (Part 2 of 6)

Like other energy experts, Felmy is worried about the precipitous decline in production from Mexico’s giant Cantarell oilfield. Cantarell reportedly is the world’s second biggest oil complex. It is the backbone of Mexican oil production, which provides a virtually irreplaceable source of imported crude for the United States. As Cantarell falters, Felmy sees a critical need to convince Mexico that it needs to change.

API Chief Economist John Felmy: Plug-in Hybrids Hold Promise, but Won’t be Cost-free (Part 3 of 6)

Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) are expected to be capable of going up to 40 miles or farther solely on electricity. Powering the vehicle will be as easy as plugging it in to an ordinary electrical socket. A number of manufacturers, including General Motors and Toyota, are expected to introduce plug-ins over the next few years. Surveys show that if consumers understand what a plug-in vehicle is, acceptance should be high, even with the vehicle’s expected higher price tag.

Analysis: Iran moves to ditch U.S. dollar

Faced with U.S. economic sanctions and a weak dollar, Tehran is demanding foreign energy companies do business in yen and euros, despite increasingly desperate need for investment.

Analysis: Poland's energy ambitions

Poland is one of the least energy import dependent countries in Eastern Europe, but among the fiercest when it comes to its desire to dominate energy security policy in Europe.

What a Lake Says About Climate Change

When the East German nuclear power plant Rheinsberg was shut down almost 20 years ago, environmentalists expected that fauna and flora in nearby Stechlin lake would survive without further damage.

Farms 'to see energy crop takeover'

Future demand for biofuels could see more than a million hectares of miscanthus, together with willow for coppicing, being cultivated in the UK, taking over 15% to 20% of agricultural land.

Energy efficient appliances should be made compulsory, says UN expert

Governments should make energy efficient appliances and building materials compulsory because that is the smartest way of controlling greenhouse gas emissions, a U.N. expert said Tuesday.

Mexico pipeline attacks raise fear of "new Nigeria"

A series of attacks on Mexico's fuel pipelines this summer has raised fears the key energy supplier could slide into a Nigeria-style struggle to keep its oil and gas flowing, experts said on Tuesday.

...So far, energy shipments from Mexico, the world's fifth largest oil exporter, have not suffered from the attacks, and strife in Nigeria has been much worse. Still, analysts say rising instability in Mexico, a normally reliable supplier, could add as much as $10 a barrel to world oil prices.

IEA cuts world oil demand forecasts

World oil demand will grow more slowly than expected in the last quarter of 2007 and next year, and high prices may further curb consumption, the International Energy Agency said on Wednesday.

Bubble Energy?

According to (some) wizards at Harvard, "Solar could meet one-fifth of U.S. energy needs within two decades." At least that's what they said 30 years ago in the widely acclaimed book Energy Future. What happened? If you count as solar both the obvious solar and indirect solar sources such as wind, wood, corn, geothermal and the like, America today hit a collective 4%, or one-twenty-fifth share.

Low Technologies, High Aims

M.I.T. has nurtured dozens of Nobel Prize winners in cerebral realms like astrophysics, economics and genetics. But lately, the institute has turned its attention toward concrete thinking to improve the lives of the world’s bottom billion, those who live on a dollar a day or less and who often die young.

Transport group urges petrol price rise

Petrol prices should go up to keep carbon emissions down, according to the Government's transport advisers.

The Commission for Integrated Transport (CfIT) called for a "steady increase in fuel price to help control CO2 emissions".

Free-lunch foragers

'Freegans' are a growing subculture that has opted out of capitalism by cutting spending habits and living off consumer waste.

Turning the Ride to School Into a Walk

Forty years ago, half of all students walked or bicycled to school. Today, fewer than 15 percent travel on their own steam. One-quarter take buses, and about 60 percent are transported in private automobiles, usually driven by a parent or, sometimes, a teenager.

The change was primarily motivated by parents’ safety concerns — a desire to protect their children from traffic hazards and predators. But it has had several unfortunate consequences. Children’s lives have become far more sedentary. They are fatter than ever and at greater risk of developing hypertension, diabetes and heart disease at young ages.

Oil reserves not running out anytime soon

Oil is a nonrenewable resource. Whatever we burn today for use as energy will be unavailable for future generations.

Though this is a fact, it has the tendency to spawn catastrophic predictions based on fear rather than factual evidence. For more than 150 years there has been a steady stream of scientists claiming our oil supply is running out, and we have only a few years left. The world will in actuality never run completely out of oil; the problem is people believe it will.

Cautionary Cleantech Metrics

In the influential book “Hubbert’s Peak: The Impending World Oil Shortage,” author Kenneth Deffeyes argues we are running out of oil and that a catastrophic collapse in oil supplies is inevitable. This point of view totally ignores the feasibility of extracting usable oil from the so called “heavy oil” reserves, as well as recovering oil from coal. At $70 per barrel, these technologies are viable today – and every time the price of oil rises, these technologies become more feasible. Oil from the Athabasca tar sands, for example, is recoverable at a price of $45 per barrel. Similar costs apply to the massive reserves in Venezuela’s Orinoco basin.

Power Cuts Threaten Lifeblood of Albanian Economy

Albania has been suffering from a massive power crisis since the 1990s - the result of poor strategy in the energy sector, lack of investment and fast-growing consumption.

The failure of several governments to effectively tackle the crisis jeopardizes the country’s fragile recent economic recovery, stunting the possibility of growth and making life for ordinary people hard to fathom.

Nigeria: Energy Crisis - Beyond Emergency Declaration

The chronic nature of the crisis justified the pledge by President Umaru Yar'Adua at the take-off of his administration that the situation in the sector deserved a declaration of emergency. And to be fair to Yar'Adua, a lot of activities of the government are focussed on addressing the problem. It has been explained that the perceived tardiness in the Yar'Adua approach is due to the fact that he wants to be holistic and systematic in the solutions to be proffered. He has taken his time to apprise himself with the depth of the problem while the consumers of electricity are yearning for steady power supply. The approach seems to take energy as whole, be it electricity or fuel.

Engineer says Thailand needs nuclear-powered electricity plants

Thailand needs nuclear-powered electricity generating plants due to the rising demand for electricity and to help cushion the impact of global warming, a board member of the Council of Engineers said Wednesday.

Kamol Takabut said during a seminar that a feasibility study on constructing a nuclear-powered electricity plant would be submitted to the government next month and it would be left to the new elected government to decide whether to go ahead with its construction.

Lebanon plagued by power losses

Power rationing has been stepped up in recent weeks, leaving citizens facing up to 14 hours per day without electricity. The crisis, not helped by ongoing fighting in the region, has meant reliance on generators and led to a fuel shortage. To make matters worse, there have even been reports of theft of electricity through the illegal connection of cables to power lines.

Natural gas cars on road

IF ALL GOES to plan, Barbadians may be able to operate natural gas cars and significantly reduce fuel bills by 2008.

PT OKs resolution in favor of railroad bed preservation

The Portage Township board Monday became the fifth in the area to approve a resolution in favor of preserving old railroad beds for future use.

Lisa McKenzie, representing the Keweenaw Peninsula Chamber of Commerce, said the corridors could still be used for recreational uses — or, depending on how things go, railroads.

“None of us realize how drastically things could change with the energy crisis, so who knows,” she said.

Soaring wheat, oil prices spark global inflation fears

As central banks prepare to cut interest rates to relieve a global credit crunch, they're being stalked by the threat of inflation.

Wheat prices rose to record highs on global markets today. Oil prices rose to near-record levels. And as pork prices soar, China posted its highest inflation figures in more than a decade.

The greening of nuclear energy

The nuclear power industry is riding the green wave back into public favour with its promise of a low-carbon solution to our growing energy needs. But even as the industry struggles to dictate what role nuclear can realistically play, it is bound by a global energy landscape - from solar to carbon sequestration - that is still predominantly shaped by the marketplace.

Change in political climate must inform green investments

We might have been forced to listen to nearly two years of the manure of political rhetoric to reach this point, but if the last few weeks are anything to go by the UK could soon see the green shoots of serious political action on climate change.

Beware the new world energy order

With crude oil prices strengthening and demand for oil continuing to rise, you'd expect three of the most powerful men in the global business to be thrilled with their good fortune.

Instead, Rex Tillerson, chairman and CEO of Exxon Mobil Corp., Jeroen van der Veer, chief executive of Royal Dutch Shell PLC, and Thierry Desmarest, chairman of Total S.A. -- brought together likely for the first time last Friday by Alberta utility magnate Ron Southern to address his Spruce Meadows Round Table -- are anxious about whether there's even a future for their business.

World Oil Outlook: Consumption Increases, Inventories To Decline In 4th Quarter

Announced maintenance at fields in the United Arab Emirates has lowered EIA’s projection for OPEC crude oil production in the fourth quarter by 100,000 bbl/d from last month’s Outlook to 30.9 million bbl/d. In 2008 EIA expects that OPEC will increase production slowly, to an average of 31.4 million bbl/d, in order to manage inventories and maintain prices. The economic uncertainty and risks to oil demand brought on by the turmoil in financial markets will likely reinforce OPEC’s cautious approach to production-target decision-making.

Despite expected increases in production capacity by several OPEC members, the expected gains in demand for OPEC oil will likely keep surplus capacity in the 2-to-3 million bbl/d range through 2008. Most of the surplus will remain concentrated in Saudi Arabia, leaving Riyadh with the flexibility to play a key role in influencing oil market developments. The modest level of worldwide surplus capacity makes the market vulnerable to unexpected supply disruptions.

Oil Minister: Angola May Have OPEC Oil Quota in '08, Not Now

Angola's Oil Minister Desiderio da Graca Verissimo e Costa said Tuesday that his country wouldn't be constrained by an Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries production quota this year but may have one in place in 2008.

Costa, speaking ahead of an OPEC policy meeting at which members are expected to approve a rise in quotas, said the issue of a limit for Angola, which became its 12th member at the beginning of this year, isn't on the agenda.

Preparing for the post oil era

SHETLAND and neighbouring Faroe Islands are both to spend oil revenues to create an economy eventually independent of oil.

Opening the Energy from the Edge symposium in Lerwick yesterday morning, the Faroese prime minister Joannes Eidesgaard announced that his country would spend at least 10 per cent of its oil revenues to stimulate research to become less reliant of fossil fuels.

IEA sounds 'wake-up call' on energy savings

With sustained economic growth, the rising demand for travel, homes and leisure in the developed world has led to a 14% increase in energy-use and related CO2 emissions since 1990, the International Energy Agency (IEA) has warned in a new report.

Oil's golden years stifled innovation

The trouble with oil and natural gas is that it runs out. Norway's energy resources in the North and Norwegian seas are already maturing. Oil production is expected to increase until 2011 and then fall gradually, while gas production is expected to increase rapidly until 2013 and then plateau, according to the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate, the government body.

KRG responds to Dr Shahristani’s recent statements on oil

The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) would like to make it clear that Dr Shahristani's recent remarks about the legality of the KRG's oil and gas contracts are totally unacceptable. His views are irrelevant to what the KRG is doing legally and constitutionally in Kurdistan. Dr Shahristani should concentrate on making a positive contribution to the country, rather than undermining the constructive work that the KRG is carrying out for the benefit of all the Iraqi people.

Mexico pipeline bombers threaten new attacks

A leftist rebel group claimed responsibility on Tuesday for bomb attacks on Mexican oil and gas pipelines earlier this week, and threatened more assaults against the state-owned oil company.

Oil and Corruption in Iraq Part III: Kurdistan's Gushing Crude Spawns Conflict

The German seismologist working in northern Iraq was not supposed to talk about his job. But after having spent nearly three months in an isolated camp near the Taq Taq oilfields, he could not contain himself.

"You can dig where you want," he said. "The crude gushes!"

African oil to increasingly fuel Asian growth - Nigerian oil executive

Africa's oil industry is set to increasingly fuel Asia's booming economies but infrastructure investment is needed to make the sector more globally competitive, an executive of a Nigerian oil company said Wednesday.

FAO Warns Climate Change Could be Major Threat to Food Security (podcast)

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization says climate change could become a “major threat to world food security.” It calls climate change one of the “main challenges humankind will have to face for many years to come.”

9/11, unity, and the chattering of chipmunks

The "chattering of chipmunks." Disagreement, doubt, frustration. It's a drag. Bykofsky caught crap for saying it and had to take it back, but I think the sentiment is fairly common. I hear echoes of it when enviros say that the American public won't rally around the climate change (peak oil / biodiversity / oceans) fight until "another Katrina" happens. Indeed, responding to Bykofsky, our own Kit Stolz said: "I'm sorry, but somebody needs to say it. We need another Katrina -- now."

Act now, eat later

The Association for the Study of Peak Oil and Gas’s (Aspo) South African chapter released its report on the country’s energy future last month and issued a caveat to the government: the country has to switch to a path of sustainability for the sake of both the economy and social stability.

Biofuels offer cure worse than the disease OECD

Biofuels, championed for reducing energy reliance, boosting farm revenues and helping fight climate change, may in fact hurt the environment and push up food prices, a study suggested on Tuesday.

In a report on the impact of biofuels, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) said biofuels may "offer a cure that is worse than the disease they seek to heal".

Sweden, Brazil sign biofuels deal during Lula visit

Sweden agreed Tuesday to abolish a tax on ethanol, which it currently purchases from Brazil, under a biofuels accord signed here during a visit of Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, officials said.

Southeast Asia gears up for palm oil boom

Southeast Asian nations are gearing up for a palm oil boom as interest in biofuels soars, but activists warn the crop may not satisfy a global thirst for energy that is both clean and green.

They caution that oil palm plantations require massive swathes of land -- either what's left of the region's disappearing forests, denuded plots that would be better off reforested, or land critical to supporting local people.

Japanese consumers feel the pinch of biofuel demand

As more people embrace ethanol and other biofuels as eco-friendly alternatives to fossil fuels in curbing global warming, the unintended consequence is a rise in food prices as demand puts pressure on agriculture.

While the most frequently voiced concern is that food will become more expensive in the developing world, the effects are already being felt in quiet ways in rich countries such as Japan, which relies on imports for most of its food needs.

Many roads lead to cleaner cars, GM and Toyota say

The world's biggest automakers, GM and Toyota, have taken different routes so far to developing cleaner vehicles but agree there is no one way to achieving lower fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.

They also agree that making the technology affordable will be a major challenge.

Mediterranean's rich marine life under threat: study

The experts said a cold current emanating from the Gulf of Trieste off northern Italy, which allowed the waters of the Adriatic and the Mediterranean to mix, had vanished since 2003 due to warming.

World likely to pass dangerous warming limits

The world will probably exceed a global warming limit which the European Union calls dangerous, scientists at Britain's MetOffice Hadley Centre said on Tuesday, presenting a new, 5-year research program.

But not all scientists agree, demonstrating a shift in debate from whether climate change is happening -- on which where there is near consensus -- to how bad it will get and what to do about it.

Alan, this Bud's for you:

Blade Runner Dual-mode vehicle (road/rail)

Flame away (or not).

I discounted the passenger version immediately. It is cheap, fairly easy and quick to transfer people from bus to rail. "Step this way ..."

Rubber tires will lose enormous energy carrying the safety requirements of passenger rail cars on freight lines. Just not practical to carry that much extra weight on rubber tires !

I could see the freight version having a niche market. No need for container handling cranes for intermodal access at small rail sidings. OTOH, excess weight and drag to carry the road wheels and axles along.

Universal shipping containers (8' x 8' x 20' or 40') are slightly undersized for the maximum allowed on US roads and much less than US railroad loading gauge (they are sized for the smallest allowed anywhere in the world, which is smaller than the USA). For domestic shipments, I could see value in larger inter-modal containers or equivalent (and Rail Runner would be equivalent).

Still the frames would be heavier than required for truck freight and this alone might kill it. Perhaps not a big deal for an 18 mile delivery run. I would like to see an American size (over sized) container be introduced.

So, interesting possibility for a niche freight market, but unlikely to be a revolution. No hope for passenger service.

Best Hopes for Good Ideas,


Here you can find an example for a larger container type, the Stora Enso SECU box for paper transports from Scandinavia to Europe...


Rex Tillerson-

I find it interesting that Mr. Tillerson says that the National Companies will come to the majors for "technology" they don't have...

It seems to me over the past 20 years the majors have abandoned technology development and research centers in exchange for quarterly earnings and outsourced this cost to Schlumberger and Halliburton....

Now it can be bought for a price because Schlumberger and Halliburton are in the business of selling it.

It's that darn vision thing again.


Tillerson sounded completely helpless in that article, didn't he?

And Halliburton is a Dubai company now, at least the oilfield services part. What country is it loyal to?

Meanwhile, a horde of Chinese engineering students toils away, waiting for their government to tell them what to specialize in...

Corporations aren't loyal to anything but their stockholders, and never have been.

Nor should they be.

...comment made as a stockholder and a citizen.

and that, in a nut shell, is the problem with contemporary corporations.

No, that is the problem with contemporary American governance. If we expect investment vehicles to deabte, define, or implement national policy we are in sad shape. ...and we are.

you missed the point (which actually further emphasizes it).

What's your point?

You must understand that 90% of the posters at TOD believe we should strive for a 'steady state' economy, where economic growth is solely measured by improvements in efficiencies, which in turn theoretically increase the lifestyle of its workers.

Yeah, you really understand the problem.

Legal entities are way for a few people to profit, while externalising costs to the rest of society/the planet. That model is beneficial to a few, harmful to many.

Society is supposed to be a way for many humans to live together in relative harmony (i.e. a way to limit intra species competition while maximising species survival through co-operation, empathy, etc.). Anyone who doesn't want to change a model that benefits a few and harms many is therefore a psychopath, by definition:


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

Right, and a steady state economy working for the benefit of all fixes that...

NZSantuary said:
"Legal entities are way for a few people to profit, while externalising costs to the rest of society/the planet. That model is beneficial to a few, harmful to many."

Only in your communist fantasy world is this true. It never ceases to amaze me the imaginary demons people create to explain things they don't understand. Sure, some people in some corporations are scumbags. But by a large margin, businesses and their owners are good people who contribute to society.

Only in your monetarist fantasy. Corporations exist to make a profit and minimize costs. A major cost is labour and that is why they fought tooth and nail to prevent workers getting a good wage for decades. Before unions the USA and Canada were third world countries with a negligible middle class. Thanks to the offshoring of skilled well-paying jobs to the third world the middle class is slowly disappearing and the USA and Canada are regressing into third world toilets. Cheap credit can't hide this degeneration for long and the illusion is already starting to fail.

I agree that the future is dim, but the problem is not corporations. The critical constraint is and always has been...mankind.

Exactly! The corporate model (the legal structure) is the product of individuals who had self-interest at the heart of their creation. What is imaginary about this? Just because you use emotive words ("communist fantasy", "imaginary demons") to raise a strawman doesn't change the fact.

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

All human economic activity is done out of self interest. You could disolve all corporations and replace them with sole proprietorships, co-ops, government organizations.... anything you desire, and the problems we have discussed would still be present. Hence the problem is not corporations, it is human nature. So if you want to start a thread ranting about how evil, wasteful, and short sited mankind is, I could probably get on board with that. By shifting the blame to corporations, we draw incorrect conclusions, which lead to sub-optimal solutions. If one assumes that mankind is a peaceful, compassionate, and wise species, and that the root of all evil is the system in which he operates, one would conclude that we can abolish corporations, and all will be right with the world. I don't beleive that for a second. Our current economic system is far from perfect, but it's still the best thing going.

Disagree. Jared Diamond talks about what it takes to be a sustainable society. It's possible, without changing human nature. People will take care of the environment and think of future generations, if they feel a sense of ownership. And not in the corporate sense.

If it's your lake, your land, your trees, and you expect your children to live off those resources (and only those resources), you will be a good steward. It's in your self-interest to do so.

Our current economic system is far from perfect, but it's still the best thing going.

It was the best thing going. It won't be, in a resource-constrained world.

This article, posted to a previous DrumBeat, illustrates clearly what's wrong with corporations.

Natural disasters, international terrorist attacks and a steep rise in oil prices top the list of the biggest near-term risks that concern US business executives, according to a study by Marsh, the insurance broker, that will be released on Thursday

...Harvey Pitt, former chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, and a council member of Marsh's newly created Center for Risk Insights, which conducted the survey, called the findings "distressing".

"You get a clear sense from people that there are real problems lurking, and yet the hope for CEOs is 'not on my watch'," he said.

That is the problem with corporations in a nutshell. If, say, it was a king, and not a CEO, he would not be thinking, "I know the spit is going to hit the fan, but hopefully I'll be retired by then." I'm not saying I want a king, but I am saying there are better models than corporations, if your goal is sustainability rather than profit.

I thought corporations existed as a legal framework for pooling capital, managing legal liability, accessing the advantages of scale and division of labor, and disconnecting the functions of management and ownership so capital can flow freely to better managers and/or better business models. And by and large (99% of the time) they do that pretty well. I rebut Moneyman's assertion that corporations are the only source of economic progress - those Roman roads got built, one way or another - but the corporate model has served us tolerably well for the past several decades.

Third World Toilets? Cutely-worded nonsense. Get a sense of perspective, man. You can find problems in any country if you look hard enough, but several thousand Mexicans a year are risking their lives because they disagree with your assertion - and Mexico ain't Third World by a long stretch.

I think the "managing legal liability" part is the problem. Corporations allow people to avoid liability. Incorporate, and, in the words of Robert Kiyosaki, you "own nothing, but control everything."

Corporations, like capitalism, are very good at quickly exploiting plentiful natural resources. They aren't good at planning long-term. And, like capitalism, I suspect they will not be good tools in the post-carbon age. IMO, it's foolishness to think that the institutions that worked well for us on the upside of the resource curve will do so on the downside.

Leanan is right Corporations exist to avoid Liability, to maximize profits by fleecing the uninformed, to influence legislation through advantages of scale in order to better avoid liability and fleece the uninformed. The corporate model has served who? The corporations, the fleecers and scammers. Mexico is currently involved in a class war. A revolution against stolen elections, disrupting energy supplies to the maquiladoras(Corporations exploiting the working class forced to work for slave wages just to feed their families.) Yes I agree with you on one point. They ARE risking their lives, to expel the exploiters and bring about a better future for their children. If only the working class in the US could learn from their example.

I think all of the anger towards corporations is usually misplaced. A corporation is a human machine designed to make profits through commerce. That's it. It's not designed to create jobs, support the economy, or worry about long term energy security. To often the shorcomings people cite are not corporate shortcomings, they are human shortcomings. So adjust your expectations with reality, and maybe you won't be so dissapointed.
As a student of business, I think that the modern corporation, properly run, is a phenominal machine. As I glance around my office, I don't see one single item not produced by a corporation. I think it is fair to say that without the "evil corporations" life on earth would be much different, in an 1800's kind of way. You wouldn't like it. If you are unhappy with a particular company, don't buy their product and don't own their stock. Problem solved.

No offense intended, but what a load of crap. What do you think a corporation is other than a collection of individuals (ie, humans)? Corporations didn't make anything in your office--people did. Without evil corporations life would be different no doubt, only better in my humble opinion.

Until you discover a way to get large groups of humans to spontaneously organize themselves to build electric grids, water supply systems, hybrid automobiles, and of course basic office supplies, corporations are the best thing going. No other structure can organize the vast amounts of financial and human capital needed to efficiently run our modern economy(pre or post peak oil). In the future, look for those evil corporations to be the ones mass producing wind turbines, solar pv systems, and building up the electrified rail system. If you want to live in a world without corporations, be my guest... go live in a hole. I'll take my chances.

Until you discover a way to get large groups of humans to spontaneously organize themselves to build electric grids, water supply systems, hybrid automobiles, and of course basic office supplies, corporations are the best thing going. No other structure can organize the vast amounts of financial and human capital needed to efficiently run our modern economy(pre or post peak oil).

History has examples of Co-ops and governments doing both electric grids, water supply systems

I agree that corporations are not inherently evil! However, they are privately-controlled entities that have tremendous economic power. Such power can be easily misused, e.g. exerting undue influence on the democratic process through manipulation of public opinion by control of popular print and broadcast media; direct influence on decisions made by politicians (campaign finance, lobbyists,etc.). If such potential for the abuse of power is not checked, what will result is a symbiotic fusion of private economic power with a government corrupted by it. Such a perversion, when government of the people becomes a servant of private interests, can be regarded as fascism.

So, corporations are not inherently evil, but they have great power that must remain under the strict control of an open and transparent government of the people with a watchdog press to ensure everyone stays honest. The survival of true democracy depends on it.

It seems your department doesn't
believe out new unit is to the
public benefit.

A humanoid robot is like any other
machine, it can be a benefit or a
hazard. If it's a benefit, it's
not our problem.

early draft,
"Blade Runner"

Moneyman wrote
"Adjust your expectations with reality.."

Han Solo - Well that's really the trick, isn't it?

The fantasy in so many of our Science Age creations is that we think we can keep things divided in their own little petri dishes, and that the 'Pure Profit' motive of this idealized corporate model of yours gets to live without any relationship, impact or responsibility towards the whole system that is around it and supports it. "The Environment IS the Economy"

Guess I'm having a Harrison Ford kind of day.. tomorrow will probably be a Ford Prefect day..


Corporations are used to gain advantage and to mitigate against consequences. They have been extremely effective in this, so effective that "they" have managed to secure government sanction to enhance these functions to the point were they are the only game in town, an anti competetive anti capitalist hegemony. If they were only "a human machine designed to make profits through commerce" there wouldn't be a problem, but the legal entity status of corportaions has allowed an elite to used them as a screen to act with impunity, citing "free market forces" as justification. I don't think you'd be able to find even a small piece of the "market" that hasn't been regulated in some way, often to the advantage of corporations and the people that control them.
*edited for spelling

exactly right
All these memories will be lost in time
like tears in rain

"as a student of business"

kinda says it all...

the fact is that a corporation - like a market - is a machine programmed for a single purpose... this is why you get the externalization of costs wherever possible... because they find the most efficient way of concentrating capital for the stockholders - that's their purpose... they are a structure for controlling the labour inputs on resources to "add value"...

the problem is that they find the most efficient mechanism for doing it within very simplistic programming - you don't have a great degree of granularity telling markets what to do - so because you cannot predict every possible idea and legislate for it you get myriad unintended consequences...

It's like the introduction of bio controls for pests - where they find the predator they bring in prefers the native flora and fauna to what it's supposed to eradicate, and becomes a bigger pest...

i am not sure what the items produced by corporations line of argument does for you... that's just a comment on how things work today

it is exactly because corporations are efficient at concentrating human shortcomings... for example a human shortcoming may be a certain amount of callousness but only a corporation and the efficient market system of decision making could come up with such end results as, for example, putting out a harmful product because the cost of litigation for the few cases of death is lower than the likely cost of refitting the product... because they concentrate these shortcomings they are a problem - they are worse than the worst psycopath in their behaviour but are protected in ways individuals are not, and they don't have the same vulnerabilities of individuals like keeling over and dying

All these memories will be lost in time
like tears in rain

"as a student of business"

kinda says it all... "

-Right... because those who have studied, have worked in, and who understand business clearly have nothing of value to add to an "evil corporation" thread.

My point is that for all of the shortcomings and all of the mis-steps, the world is still a better off with companies than we would be without them. I would venture to say that life as we know it wouldn't be feasible without corporations. For some, that may seem desirable, at least until they try to plow an acre with a mule and need a refill for their Viagra.

So... for all of those who have a deep hatred for the C-corp.... does anyone actually have a better idea, or do you just like to complain?

I think the better idea is for the government to do a better job of thinking long term. Its true that corporations are a great way to create jobs and wealth in general. The problem is that the concentration of wealth that goes to the investors and managers tends to take power away from the rest of society. I suppose that is partially a human failure. Unfortunately for us humans the result is that "externalizing costs" becomes things like global warming and the destruction of the Mississippi delta.

Yet with the citizenry generally hypnotized with advertising, dumb media and their own laziness (30% of Americans still think Iraq was responsible for the 9/11 attack)we will probably never have a government in this society that can create an environment for corporations to do more good than harm.

Yes, actually, I have a better idea.

To cut to the chase see an earlier post here and here.

We live in an industrial society. The structure and nature of those industries determine to a large extent the structure and nature of the society, and vice versa. All the TODders here are understandably ticked off that this world we live in is steaming for PO full speed with out a plan. This also holds for climate change, government ineptitude and the Growing inequality in the distribution of wealth. This is of course the reason for all the angst towards "Evil Corporations" as they are the dominant economic actors in the global economy.

A note, in fairness and in point of fact, quality of living has improved substantially since the advent of corporations. Quality of living has been rising for centuries, and the corporation was in important step, but it is not the end of the line.

To reiterate: PO, GW, inequality, government gridlock, etc. are not the problem, they are the result of the problem. The problem is our current modus operandi.

The solution is to change the nature of business, industry, societal organization. If we change the structure and nature of the actors in the system we change the overall system and we get different results.

I think the solution is to replace corporations with worker owned businesses. There are several different business models and legal structures to do this. The one I like best is still a corporation but without stock where ownership is vested in employment and thus non transferable.

The example I always give for this is the Mondragon Corporation. In essence worker owned businesses socialize ownership but retain the market environment. Changing the ownership structure changes the decision making process and converts a business from planning for a single bottom line (profit denominated in dollars) to planning for multiple bottom lines (profit, employee wellbeing, social cohesion, environmental integrity, etc.) The thing I like best about worker owned businesses is the daily practice with democracy and governance that is required when running your own business with several equal partners.

That's my two cents.


PS Since the first half of the fossil fuel age is coming to an end tomorrow or the next day, the question is: What is going to replace it?

Nice post Tim.

My point above was that corporations are flawed models (in the sense that overall they benefit few and harm many), and not ones we should be promoting.

The worker-owned business you mention is one of many innovations that should be explored. The rigid thinking that keeps people's views ingrained in the status quo will lead to ever growing economic/social/environmental problems. We need to be open to large-scale change - otherwise we will continue merely to scramble to plug the million holes springing leaks in our dike.

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

Thanks NZ,

First off, hyperlink correction from the above post: economic inequality

The rigid thinking that keeps people's views ingrained in the status quo will lead to ever growing economic/social/environmental problems.

I agree with you on this. If we somehow solve peak oil, global warming and the war on terror, but we fail to change our mind set in any meaningful way then we will be faced with something else. Ocean collapse, peak phosphorus and top soil erosion on the environmental side of things, riots, crime and loss of community on the social and market instability, corruption and exploitation on the economic side of things.

We have to fundamentally restructure our mindset. I think the most direct way to accomplish this is by changing the ownership and structure of industry, the means of production. From that everything else will follow. I struggled for a long time with the notion of changing our mind set from the other end, be it media, government or individual. I worked with Indymedia, the Green Party, the IMF/WTO protestors but it never went anywhere. Indymedia is still marginal, the Green Party is in horrible shape, and the protesters mostly went on to work for the man.

In essence all the groups are defined by their enemies. To really change the world you have to build something, you have to be for, not against. So the conclusion: build something good and out compete you rivals, thus worker owned businesses.


MBA - Masterful Bu11sh1t1ng A$$h0le

Hi Substrate,

I used to agree with you, holding business majors in the highest contempt. The antithesis of all that was good and wholesome in this world. then I came to understand the wisdom of this quote:

“If you want a symbolic gesture, don't burn the flag; wash it.” -Norman Thomas

Business isn't the problem. The things businesses do, the way they operate is the problem. And I realized that to fix the problem I needed to get into business. To set things right I would need to drive the Masterful Bu11sh1t1ng A$$h0les out of town. The only way I can think do accomplish this is by building a better a better mouse trap, beating them at their own game. Which shouldn't be that hard. To the extent that modern business is flawed, it is unsustainable. And, after all by definition unsustainable things can't last.

So I need to build sustainable businesses, socially, environmentally, economically and in all other ways. I think worker owned businesses will come closer to that metric than corporations are capable of giving them the competitive advantage.

And nor should corporations be considered "persons" in the eyes of the law, and nor should money equal "speech".

All the priveleges, none of the responsibilities. T'was ever thus.

I don't even think they are always loyal to their stockholders in this day and age. Not every move made is to please the shareholders.

I think the corporations must make their shareholders happy enough, but ultimately are loyal only to themselves.

Corporations are run by and for the benefit of a small number of people in the upper management. They don't give a sh^%&^t about share holders, employees or anyone else. When times are good, the CEO and people under him take credit and pay themselves huge bonuses. When times are bad they don't take the blame and fire people at the bottom. When times are really bad they pay themselves huge "retention bonuses" because obviously they don't want to lose "precious talent" which is needed to steer the corporate ship out of troubled waters :-)

Either way, regardless of what happens, they win!

People in upper management of large corporations are almost invariably also shareholders in the company. Why? Because for-profit corporations under the U.S. legal system are hemmed in by case law that requires that the corporation hold profit and the bottom line above all else, even above the public good.

People in upper management of large corporations are almost invariably also shareholders in the company.

Yes, but unlike regular shareholders they don't buy stock in the open market with their life savings. The compensation committee (or board of directors) - which consists mostly of their golf buddies - grants them stock and stock options. There is tremendous incentive for the upper management to do whatever it takes to move the stock price up in the short term & cash out even if it is harmful for the corporation in the long term. If you don't understand what I am saying just talk to any employee or ex-employee of Lucent Technologies.

The problem is not that corporations try to maximize profits. The problem is that:
1. The focus is very short term.
2. A very large CEO/peon compensation ratio (in US) compared to other countries.
3. The CEO and upper management make a large amount of money and have good job security even when they perform poorly.
4. Even when they get fired for poor performance, they get paid an obscene amount of money as "severance package" (a la the ex-CEO of Home Depot).

Hence my contention that corporations are run by and for the benefit of upper management.

Along those lines...

Employees sue Countrywide over 401k plan


Some Countrywide Financial Corp. employees sued the mortgage lender Wednesday, claiming they suffered heavy losses in their 401k retirement accounts after the company failed to warn them about the depth of its financial troubles.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Santa Ana, seeks class-action status and names as defendants Countrywide Chairman and Chief Executive Angelo Mozilo and benefits committee members in charge of the retirement plan, according to attorney Steve Berman, who is representing the plaintiffs.

He said employees decided how much of their salary to set aside in their retirement plan based in large part on their understanding of the company's financial health.

But those overseeing the plan failed to warn workers or intentionally concealed key information, the lawsuit claims.

"Most of these employees weren't risk-takers, rather claims processors and line staff who go to work every morning, putting a little away every month for retirement, or to finance a child's education," Berman said in a statement.

"With Countrywide's demise, they've seen their retirement funds decimated," he said.

Enron lite.

Yes, yes, yes. Except for it's for the primary benefit of the major stockholders, many of whom are in upper management.

But it's also true that power has its perks.

It's good to be the king.

Anyone who thinks that the executives and board of a publicly held corporation acts ONLY in the interests of a broad shareholder class is off their rocker, and has certainly never sat on the board of a public company
All these memories will be lost in time
like tears in rain

Can anyone shed some light on this?

HPCL sells oil to Mideast after 3 years

Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited has sold via tender 30,000-40,000 tonnes of September/October-loading fuel oil into the Middle East, the first Indian cargo sold to the region in over three years amid an acute supply shortage in Fujairah, traders said on Tuesday.

Bunkerworld and other subscription sites have been reporting on a severe shortage of fuel oil in Fujairah (and in Asia). Haven't seen much mention of it elsewhere.

Why would there be a shortage of any kind of oil in the Middle East? Do they mean a shortage of oil to sell to Asia?

This is refined fuel oil if I read correctly.

Other areas had small refining problems in the region this year...looks like a refining issue...not an oil one.

One article (behind a paywall, alas) said something about more heavy crude being refined into gasoline and other products, resulting in less fuel oil. Or something like that.

I'm wondering if it might also be a demand thing, because in Asia, fuel oil is used to generate electricity.

Definitely a demand thing. Whether for electricity, or some other use...do they heat at night in the winter?

I know deserts can get very cold at night...but don't know if they actually heat in some cases. Anyone know?

I'm going to write a little missive for Graphoilogy on this topic, which I have addressed before, to-wit, refiners will not let their crude oil inventories drop below critical levels.

If refiners can't afford to bid the price of crude up enough to keep their inventories in a comfortable range, it stands to reason that they would reduce crude oil input, thus reducing product output.

So, I expect to see crude oil inventories more or less staying in a "comfortable" range (48 to 96 hours of supply in excess of MOL), with declining product inventories, and flat to falling refinery utilization numbers.

westexas, thank you for your insights. Your posts have been very valuable to me.

Like most people, I'm building on prior work by others, especially Simmons & Deffeyes, in my case.

If refiners can't afford to bid the price of crude up enough to keep their inventories in a comfortable range...

I wonder why that would be the case. Even at $3/gallon, there is barely any reduction in the VMT in the US. Clearly, most people can afford to pay more. So I don't understand why the refineries can't afford to bid up the price of crude if the consumer can afford more expensive gasoline.

It's more an observation than a statement of current circumstances.

If a gas station runs out of gas, they just put up a sign saying no gas today.

It's very difficult to stop and restart refineries and unplanned reductions in crude oil input can cause damage to the equipment. So, on a given day, assuming declining crude oil exports, a given refiner can bid the price of crude up, or he can do a planned reduction of crude oil input.

However, one limiting factor on a refiner's ability to bid the price of crude oil up is the current crack spread between crude and refined products, which (for some reason) is quite low.

We may be seeing the early stages of the US beginning to lose the bidding war for declining crude + product exports. If so, it will be interesting to see if Bush/Cheney start talking about the implied use of military force to keep the petroleum coming our way.

Force? But, what about the free market?

However, one limiting factor on a refiner's ability to bid the price of crude oil up is the current crack spread between crude and refined products, which (for some reason) is quite low.

Yes, it is a big mystery why gasoline is cheap when crude oil is making new records. I think in a few days or weeks, price of gasoline will catch up with the price of crude oil.

You are assuming that all oil is sold to the highest bidder. It would seem to me that this is not the case. Most oil sales do not appear to take place on an "open market" at all. The commodity market in oil defines the upper bound of what people can pay for the limited quantity of oil that is not spoken for by prior contracts. Most produced oil seems to be locked in to deliver and a price range by prior contracts. Thus, the commodity oil represents a small fraction of total oil produced per day so no matter how high someone bids they may not be able to get the oil they seek if total production is flat or even declining.

If the size of the commodity market is very small with respect to the total oil produced, then it becomes a disadvantage to me to bid $90 to get 500,000 barrels per day when none of my competitors can get more oil at all. In that case my competitors will simply have no extra gasoline but their prices will (at least initially) reflect what they paid for contract oil. And my prices will be seriously out of whack compared to my competitor's prices. This would most likely produce political demagoguery and attacks on my company to no advantage to me.

If the political situation is sufficiently hostile to oil refiners the refiner may choose to face spot shortages rather than push prices too high. Then when people come screaming, the refiner can shrug and point the blame elsewhere (at producers) for shortages and/or high prices.

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

Hi Grey,

Thanks, this is interesting. Could you possibly expand upon it a little more?

re: "If the size of the commodity market is very small with respect to the total oil produced"

Is this the case? Can you paint a little more of a picture?

re: "then it becomes a disadvantage to me to bid $90 to get 500,000 barrels per day when none of my competitors can get more oil at all."

In this sentence, do you mean the same entity is the entity with a locked-in (I assume), prior contract? And this entity would be seeking to add to its supply by (in addition) obtaining oil from the "commodity market"?

Or, are these different players altogether - the contract players v. commodity players, in terms of acquisition of oil?

So, are you talking about refiners here?

And so, one refiner would have some contract oil and some commodity oil?

re: when you say "out of whack" - you mean higher?

And the "demagoguery" is a result of...?

Anyway, I appreciate your filling in, if possible. Thanks.

For most households gasoline is a priority purchase. The more they pay for gas means less spent elsewhere. They will skip lunch at a restaurant and brown bag it. They will put off buying clothing or new appliances. Even at $5 a gallon we won't see much of a drop in gas purchases. It will be other areas of the economy which will suffer.

Some times I wonder if we live in the same universe as journalists, considering the way we use terminology and language so differently.

If you consider Pakistan a Middle Eastern country, which is plausible and defensable, then there could very well be a shortage of crude in the Middle East, because Pakistan has no oil production to speak of, and the same is true of Turkey .

Bob Ebersole


CBOT Wheat at $9.06. Australia lowers production
to 15 million tons.

From Avg of 23.

Worst case-US can't fill export quotas.

Hi Arkansawyer,

Could you possibly fill in some background, so I know I get it? Is AU production off because...of water? And the US not filling export quotas - why?

Tropical storm update:

Two areas to watch:


One of the coast of Texas...might become tropical..but little expected.

Houston radar:

The other heading for the lesser antillies again...91L Invest...NHC calling for development to storm in a day or so. Roughly the same place Dean and Felix formed.
Hurricane Hunters may investigate today.

Current estimate tracks (early): http://www.wunderground.com/tropical/tracking/at200791_model.html

Nothing to get concerned about yet. I will update if 91L is upgraded(Humberto is next).


91L in the Altantic - NOW TD8

90L off Houston - NOW TD9

EDIT: NHC is out.


Calling TD9 - Special Tropical disturbance (due to its proximity to coast)


It's been raining in Southeast Houston since early morning because of this system.

It's been raining as far up as IAH most of the morning too - can see it out of the window.
All these memories will be lost in time
like tears in rain

TD9 is now Humberto.

Humberto looks like it will be a short-lived and probably pretty weak tropical storm.

But it does look like it will be heading into/near the heart of the gulf's oil infrastructure.

Anyone think there will be any impact on production?

There should be none from a simple tropical storm, unless it causes an accident somewhere. But it lacks the power to directly damage almost any of the refining and production infrastructure as a tropical storm (winds up to 73 mph max and currently at 45 mph as I write this).

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

Thanks GZ. And to answer my own question, there's also this:

Texas prepares for Tropical Storm Humberto

Humberto already was affecting the Houston Ship Channel, which serves one of the United States' busiest ports and primary oil-refining centers.

Pilots, who guide ships through the 50-mile (80-km) waterway, halted boarding ships at the channel entrance at midday on Wednesday due to rough seas.

The U.S. Coast Guard said pilots planned not to resume guiding ships up the channel until after Humberto passes.

Boy, gone all day..and look at all the interesting stuff.

I didn't personally think it would make it to TS strength...

TD8 is worrisome and one to watch...although a long way out, could do anything.

Oil above $80...I still think that some traders can read after all.

Humberto is now a Cat 1 hurricane.

Please keep your eye on the price of wheat and crude today...they are pushing higher. The US$ is also falling just as fast.

Could be a bumpy ride today.

["[S]omebody needs to say it. We need another Katrina -- now."]

This implies that something will change if we have another Katrina, but that seems quite a leap of faith since nothing changed after the original Katrina. We are still blasé about climate change, a sense reinforced by two relatively mild hurricane summers (for the U.S., obviously not for the Yucatan peninsula) despite predictions how bad hurricane seasons would be because of global warming (and I know this season is not over). The article focuses on 9/11 and its 'bracing' effect, an effect we have now lost. But considering our rather misguided militant response to 9/11, maybe our recent complacency is not a bad thing.

That is exactly the point that essay makes. Did anything good come out of 9/11? Wishing for another one, in hopes of "waking people up," is delusional.

We need another Katrina -- now.

This is much the case Milton Friedman made and what Naomi Klein discusses in detail in Disaster Capitalism. In yesterday's Drumbeat someone posted a link to collection of Naomi Klein talks on youtube. Well worth listening to them. A "shock" like 9/11 or Katrina is an opportunity for the monied interests - who are prepared - and the rest of us lose. Work like Alan is doing on rail - all that stuff needs to be forced onto the agenda now so that the options are right there, otherwise it will be privatize and loot.

Homer-Dixon makes the same argument - that we won't move until we are forced to. Preparation means putting together the ideas and plans now, even planting some kernels. That's exactly what the free-market fundamentalists are doing. They were ready to privatize the schools in New Orleans.

Disaster and shock are opportunities for social and cultural change and the change will not be for the better without preparation.

The other point Klein makes is how profitable disaster and destruction have become over the past decade. The caviar index - the ratio of corporate jets to military jets - used to be negatively correlated. Now it is positively correlated. The implication is the worse things get the more money there is to be made. [Probably within limits.] Vietnam ended, I'm told, when it was no longer profitable. Why would Iraq occupation end if it only gets more and more profitable the worse it gets? That creates a serious systemic incentive of the worst kind. It is, of course, why the Democrats will not get us out of Iraq; their sponsors and political class make too much money. Those scenes from Amazing Grace of the English Parliament refusing for so long to end the slave trade come to mind.

cfm in Gray, ME

Look to Naomi Klein's new book: Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, as featured prominently in yesterday's Round-Up, to know who really wishes for the next hit. It's the Milton Friedman Chicago School model: break a society, country, down to the core of its bone, and then build a whole new one on the ashes that suits your free-market demands. It has been most prominently practised in Chili, Iraq and New Orleans.

The news racing around the shelter that day was that the Republican Congressman Richard Baker had told a group of lobbyists, "We finally cleaned up public housing in New Orleans."

"We couldn't do it, but God did."

Joseph Canizaro, one of New Orleans' wealthiest developers, had just expressed a similar sentiment: "I think we have a clean sheet to start again. And with that clean sheet we have some very big opportunities."

NB: for those who don't know Naomi Klein, her latest major book, No Logo, was such a success that The Shock Doctrine will be published in 7 languages simultaneously. Which, from a commercial point of view, puts her somewhere close to Harry Potter territory.

Only, Klein doesn't do fiction for children, she does non-fiction raging against the machine. And is a huge success in the commercial fold she attacks. An interesting phenomenon.

Hello Ilargi,

Thxs for this info. I think Naomi is doing an outstanding job of expressing Asimov's Foundation concepts of predictive collapse and directed decline to help speed the Paradigm Shift transition. A direct hand for radical reform and transformational design is merely a Humanimal biological outgrowth of keystone predation.

Recall my earlier postings on the re-introduction of wolves into Yellowstone resulting in overall habitat re-equilibration and better food-chain resource optimization. Optimal Foundation seeks the same Humanimal Ecosystem keystone predation goals plus tight & close feedback loop reintegration into the underlying Natural Ecosystem.

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

Oh, "the people" will "wake up", at least to a certain extent. Problem is, they're going to be really, really pissed off! We're probably better off having them groggy from their ipods and video games.

Jeffrey J. Brown on The Reality Report


Jeffrey J. Brown is an oil exploration geoscientist, primarily in Texas. This episode of the Reality Report looks at "net oil exports," and how the energy crisis creates the need to transform from an economy of mass global consumers to one of local producers. His website is: http://graphoilogy.blogspot.com/.

Jason Bradford hosts The Reality Report, broadcast on KZYX&Z in Mendocino County, CA.

Don't see any credit to WT in this but we know the source. To bad you couldn't get a trademark on the Export Land or ELP.



I believe WT is AKA Jeffrey Brown.


That's just a vicious rumor.

The only Jeff referenced in the article I linked is one named Rubin at CIBC. Didn't mean to confuse with the other article link. I know WT has to use the Clark Kent type moniker "Jeffrey Brown" to remain aynonomous and disguise his super HL powers.

It is a good find regardless, vicious rumours or not, based on the same CIBC report that was in the Round-Up yesterday, but with far more details (this writer took the time to read the report). Canada has 50-70% of the remaining "investable" oil in the world. It's all that's left for Exxon, Shell, etc. They are awash in cash, and Alberta is the only place they can park it in. Think back to Chris Nelder's The Oil Junkie's Last Fix articles.

OPEC exports predicted to fall putting Canadian oil sands in global energy spotlight

OPEC, Russia and Mexico export capacity to drop 2.5 million barrels a day by 2010

Soaring rates of domestic oil consumption will reduce crude exports from OPEC, Russia and Mexico by 2.5 million barrels per day by the end of this decade, predicts a new CIBC World Markets study. Currently these countries account for roughly 60 per cent of global production.

The study found that suddenly oil producing countries are themselves becoming major oil consumers. Last year, OPEC members together with independent producers Russia and Mexico consumed over 12 million barrels per day, surpassing Western Europe to become the second largest oil market in the world. The CIBC World Markets report found that highly subsidized gasoline prices are often a significant factor in surging rates of domestic oil consumption found in many major oil producing countries.

But does he wear his underwear on the outside?

Perhaps I am really Jeff Rubin.

Two penguins. One says to the other: "you know, you look like you're wearing a tuxedo". The other replies, "well maybe I am".

That's just a vicious rumor.

Ha ha. As if we were gullible enough to believe in rumors.
(BTW, the word "gullible" is no longer in the dictionary.)

Or it has just been replaced with a tiny mirror.

Or the definition has just been replaced with a tiny mirror.

Hello TODers,

I am unaware of the full developmental history of ExportLand Model [ELM], but if Jeff Rubin discovered it by reading WT's postings here on TOD, EB, or by a google: I think Jeff Rubin should publicly acknowledge Jeffrey Brown's original contribution to clarify history, instead of giving ELM his own naming convention, then stealing some of WT's thunder.

Although it is not impossible for Jeff Rubin to have independently conceived his own net export theory [without ever encountering WT's postings], I think the history of ELM needs to be time-frame clarified by us TODers & the MSM so that proper attribution is achieved.

The debate over who invented Calculus: Liebniz or Newton still rages:


I would like to avoid the same controversy regarding ELM.

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

Of course, I was building on prior work by Simmons, but I think that a key contribution that I made is to point out that once production starts declining in an exporting country, the net export decline tends to accelerate with time, while almost everyone, even in the Peak Oil community (Simmons excluded), is primarily focused on total world production.

I have previously compared the final decline in Indonesian exports to the ELM, in terms of annual exponential decline rates. Well, take a look at the Texas production decline rate versus UK year over year changes in net exports (exponential decline rate per year). Notice a slight difference?

Texas/UK (starting in 1973 and 2000 respectively, following 1972 and 1999 peaks):

-6.0%/Net Importer

This is what I think Jeff Rubin is still missing, i.e., the net export decline rate tends to accelerate with time.

Rumours of my decline have been greatly exaggerated

Summary of Weekly Petroleum Data for the Week Ending September 7, 2007

U.S. commercial crude oil inventories (excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve) fell by 7.1 million barrels compared to the previous week. However, at 322.6 million barrels, U.S. crude oil inventories remain above the upper end of the average range for this time of year. Total motor gasoline inventories dropped by 0.7 million barrels last week,and are well below the lower end of the average range. Finished gasoline inventories fell last week while gasoline blending components rose. Distillate fuel inventories increased by 1.8 million barrels, and are in the upper half of the average range for this time of year. Propane/propylene inventories increased 2.2 million barrels last week. Total commercial petroleum inventories declined by 3.4 million barrels last week, but remain in the upper half of the average range for this time of year.

Nothing terribly out of line with 2006.

Inventory of Gasoline is at 190.4 Million barrels. (or 13.5 hours over MOL, and 5.4 Million barrels over MOL of 185)

Roughly 8 Million barrels less crude on hand than 2006.(322.6/311.5)

Fuel oil is still 11 Million barrels less than last year (134/145)...so the build of almost 2 million barrels is needed.

Propane is still 8.2 Million barrels less than 2006...so a build there is needed as well.

Gasoline demand held steady(no surprise) at 9.6 MMBPD (or 0.9% above 2006)

Note that refinery utilization dropped. As I noted up the thread, with declining world oil exports, refiners have two options, if they want to keep their crude oil inventories above MOL: (1) Bid the price of crude oil up and/or (2) Reduce crude oil input, and thus product output.

It looks like the spot gasoline shortages will be on the Gulf Coast and East Coast.

But by definition we should be above the average if we have had growth for the last 5 years, so saying we are above the average range isn't very meaningful. This is always one of OPEC's arguments as to why they shouldn't increase production: oil stocks are above 5-year averages. But if oil use allegedly mirrors economic growth, then given a 1.5% annual economic growth rate (and presumably oil use growth rate) would put oil stocks at 3 3/4% above the 5 year average or about 2 1/2 times the growth rate.

As I have previously noted, IMO, focusing on crude oil inventories is the wrong way to evaluate world oil markets.

First, the industry has gone to a Just In Time inventory system in the US. What the five year range inventory numbers reflect are minor changes in Days (or hours) of supply in excess of Minimum Operating Level (MOL).

Second, refiners will not allow their crude oil inventories to fall below certain critical levels. If they can't bid the price of oil up enough to keep their crude oil inventories up, they will reduce crude oil input, thus reducing product output.

Carried to its logical extreme, OPEC could point to "healthy" crude oil inventory levels and say that there is no need to increase oil production, despite $200 oil.

If you are a major oil exporter and you can't increase your production, do you admit it, or do you claim that you are "voluntarily" reducing your production?

Do we have a guesstimate of MOL for crude oil?

Probably about 270 mb for crude (about 185 mb for gasoline). So, I think that we have about 84 hours or so of crude oil supply in excess of MOL. We used to carry about 8-10 days of supply in excess of MOL, in the early Eighties.

It is likely most of those pipes have not undergone major capacity revisions in 25 years. In those 25 years oil and gasoline consumption has increased at 2%/year.

Ergo the pipes are where they were 25 years ago, and have simply not upgraded. This does make them more vulnerable to depletion below MOL, because the draw is heavier from the population.

Compare apples with apples, it seems slightly disingenuous to me to compare 80's consumption to 2007 consumption, and then talk about MOL decreasing as if the change directly implies peak oil.

This phenomenon is caused by increasing consumption from a fixed rate of delivery. As the consumption rises the pipeline will be less stable in operation. A supply disruption will pretty much screw over the pipeline and the SPR will have to be opened.


My point is that the industry has deliberately lowered inventories, especially crude oil inventories, to a Just In Time inventory system--check out the crude oil inventories in the Eighties, both in terms of absolute values and in Days of Supply.

So, the recent five year historical records are really only showing minor fluctuations in a narrow range above MOL.

Hello WT,

In direct contrast to drastically low FF-MOL inventories is overflow sewage inventory levels due to insufficent maintenance and spiderweb investment [poached from Matt's LATOC]:

Corroding sewers, not Alaskan oil pipes, are the real danger

The oil pipes received a lot of attention. But remember this: No one died. No one got sick. No pristine land was despoiled. It will cost us some money.

But only a few people are talking about the broken pipes that really hurt our environment, get people sick, cause people to die, and cost even more money than oil pipeline shutdowns.

We are talking about sewer pipes, of course. Even the worst Alaskan oil pipe is in better shape than your average city sewer pipe, including cities like Boston, where the first sewer system was installed in the 1800s and the harbor is still recovering from decades of dumped sewage. Say what you will about oil spills, but they are usually small and in remote places where damage to human life, property, and wildlife is minimal. I've seen enough of both to know this: Crude oil is much cleaner and less toxic than sewage. And oil spills are a lot less common. Yet oil gets all the ink, while sewage escapes scrutiny.
Recall that our investment in water & sewage spiderwebs dwarfs our FF-investment by four to five times. Recall my numerous speculative composting and Humanure strategies. I doubt if anyone is going to paint, "I am going to Disneyland" on the side of their wheelbarrow.

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

Exactly. OPEC has come up with many, many excuses why they don't need to increase production: crude stocks, the weak dollar, the market is well-supplied so prices don't reflect market fundamentals, geopolitical events are the cause of high prices, refining bottlenecks, and, more recently, the fiasco in the financial markets threatens a recession and slowdown in demand. Yesterday's 500k increase was merely symbolic, if that, since it only replaced what they took off the market effective Feb. 1, 2007. They still haven't replaced the 1.2 mbpd they took off the market effective Nov. 1, 2006 (although arguably 400k of that has come back on outside quota and will be included in the target 27,253 mbpd).

So it is hard to say if they are not increasing production because they can't or if there is simply no need: if oil goes to $100, 150, or 200 and OECD economies hold together, why would OPEC want to have pumped more at $80, especially if that takes the price back down to $70? Western economies have so far been remarkably resilient to price increases.

The inventory watchers over at PO.com seem to think this Dean, finally showing up in the numbers.

Re: 'Mexico pipeline bombers threaten new attacks'...


snip...'Is this the start of the "Breaking Mexico" scenario? The sophistication of the earlier attack (given that it targeted critical valves -- systempunkts) and the ability to repeat the assault (so far, nobody has been caught) indicates that it has the potential to be: Here's on potential method of how it could happen. Analysis of critical Mexican infrastructure reveals a critical flaw. Due to its history as an oil exporter, nearly all domestic fuels and most of its electricity is generated from oil and natural gas delivered by pipelines radiating from the oil producing region in the southeastern corner of the country. Low tech attacks along a 300-400 mile stretch of pipeline would quickly starve the country of the oil needed to generate electricity and refine fuels (the current system has been inadvertently built to maximize cascading failures across multiple infrastructures if properly disrupted). Further, analysis of the pipeline infrastructure would also quickly reveal junctions and pumping equipment that would be extremely difficult to replace (systempunkts). As we have seen in Iraq, Nigeria, India, Pakistan, etc. these anonymous attacks could be frequent, effective, and nearly impossible to interdict. They would also result in an immediate expansion of black markets for fuels imported from the US, generating a useful feedback loop for continued disruption.

Given the level of gang and criminal violence currently challenging the Mexican state [which has been militarized and thereby converted into a war between the state and non-state groups] for supremacy, there is already a large subset of actors that could quickly seize upon this opportunity. Their access to arms (often much better than the Mexican military) and to sources of income independent of the state's function (smuggling of all types into the US) would allow them to thrive at double and triple digit growth rates as state power began to fail. They also have access to a huge pool of people that would be easily enticed to disrupt infrastructure for a few dollars (enabling the costs inflicted by disruption to top $200,000 for every $1 invested in the activity). In short, the dynamic that is produced would be similar to the models of state failure we have seen elsewhere. It would also be almost impossible to stop once it becomes entrenched.
NOTE: the cascade of failure from these attacks has forced Volkswagen to close its car assembly plant in Puebla for 5 days -- at a loss of 7,200 assembled vehicles. In a JIT (just in time) global economy, the impact from systems disruption can travel quickly.'

WT, it might be very difficult to plug these types of disruptions into the ELM. Of course, all black swans are...black swans.

River: What is interesting is that the USA is proceeding steadily toward economic and societal integration with a country that is clearly going down the tubes-not advancing economically or socially. It appears that this realization is considered almost a form of racism or bigotry in the American MSM (thus it is rarely discussed-exceptions are Pat Buchanan and Lou Dobbs). Fascinating.

One could argue that Mexico is proceeding steadily toward economic and social integration with a country that is clearly going down the tubes also. Also fascinating, but due to the doctrine of American Exceptionalism, not likely to be discussed either.

"What is interesting is that the USA is proceeding steadily toward economic and societal integration with a country that is clearly going down the tubes-not advancing economically or socially."

"One could argue that Mexico is proceeding steadily toward economic and social integration with a country that is clearly going down the tubes also."

Both seem already quite integrated to me...

Actually you have sources like Reuters acknowledge that Mexico is for all practical purposes "New Nigeria"



This is unbelievably bad news. We now have close to 10% of our population in the United States as first and second generation Mexican immigrants with friends and relatives in Mexico. The military is so hog tied in Iraq that we can't intervine in any real measure, especially considering the large proportion of Latinos in the US military.

To a large extent we can blame the xenophobia stirred up by Lou Dobbs et al. The remittances to Mexico have kept millions from starvation, and the lay-offs in the construction industry combined with the crack downs on illegal immigrants have really cut down on the dollars flowing south, and its a large part of the rapidly increasing misery of the Mexican masses. The relief valve is stuck shut while the boiler pressure mounts.

Here's an interesting set of statistics for the paranoids in the crew. Houston is now over 40% Latino, and 80% of them are Mexican in the first or second generation category (source: Houston Chronicle). The US imports more oil through the Port of Houston than any other US port. When the troubles start to be exported to the US, the Houston area is an extremely likely place for the problems to start. And Los Angeles and southern California have very heavy ties to Mexico,too and huge imports of oil and refined fuels.
Bob Ebersole

I don't know about pipeline imports, but I know at other areas of the Port of Houston Latinos are under-represented in the highly unionized workforce with a strong bias against "letting them in". The language I heard at a union meeting on the subject would make, well a docker blush.
All these memories will be lost in time
like tears in rain

I think one of the key reasons America's owners targeted Mexico for exploitation is the fantastic lack of unity among its ordinary workers. The Nortenos are utterly coopted by American media into macho greed, the giant pickup truck bought with home equity loans. They might as well be Alabamans. The Indians in the South, however, reflect the experience with American capitalism suffered by Guatemalans and other Central Americans, and that makes them a threat to our plans.

Notice that when all else fails, America's solution for a disobedient nation is fomenting civil war. It's our hammer, so everything looks like a nail. Getting Nortenos to support crushing a leftist uprising should be pathetically easy. Problem is, none of them will actually want to do any of the fighting.

And if things go wrong and a revolution spreads, the Nortenos will cut and run across the Rio Grande. But will they be greeted by us as the most pro-American, pro-capitalist, pro-consumption Mexicans, our allies against godless socialism? Hell no. We see all Mexicans as failures, who lacked that special white man's entrepreneurial gene (hey, it's statistically proven!).

So long before the revolution spreads, Americans will freak out, demand mass expulsions and far more troops on the border and wreck the NAFTA-sweatshop economy. If that fails, we start bombing (no troops to spare). Which is the only thing that might actually cause Mexicans to unify against us.

But if our leaders' goal is actually to use panic to create a dictatorship, a war in Mexico serves admirably to cover our retreat from Iraq while enabling a system of (labor camp?) persecution of 40 million Hispanic Americans, who in reality have contempt for the people still in Mexico and would never have resorted to anti-American terrorism to support their resistance.

Twisted, isn't it?

and then american farming will collapse, brought on by a shortage of labour!

And prices for foods will explode, and many will starve while food rots on the vines for lack of pickers.

the NAFTA legislation which bombed the average mexican farmer has forced these people into america to work for a living. If the USA did not use NAFTA as a hammer, you guys would not have a problem.

Bob, you have heard my views of Lou Dobbs...Rush with a tv network at his disposal and many 'FWOs now flipping burgers' hanging on his irrationality, hoping Lou is going to get their former job at the _____ back. He isnt.

I have no idea what group is blowing pipelines and infrastructure in Mexico but they are striking at the heart of the Mexican economy and that is 3rd-4th generation warfare. Hollow out the state and show the population the states impotence. It could be they learned by watching what is going on in Nigeria, Iraq, et al, or it could be a few foreign fighters were sent in as trainers. The perps are good with timers and good at picking sites that will do the most damage...biggest bang for the buck, and, they are not being apprehended.

If we put ourselves in Irans shoes for a moment we can see another possibility. Force the US to be very dependent on ME oil. The more dependent the US is on ME oil the less likely we will do anything to disrupt the supply from the Persian Gulf. So, the steps are straightforward...disrupt Nigeria, Columbia, Venesuela (Chevez is doing it), Sudan/Darfur, and really close to home...Mexico. Make the US dependent on Gulf Oil and tar sands/US production to force a reconsideration of an attack on Iran/Syria... Just a possibility.

We (the US) has made so many enemies in the world on Bushs watch that a list of possible enablers is unwieldly and hard to whittle down. A collapsed state on our southern border would be a far larger disaster than a collapsed Iraq. Perhaps Syria, Iran, Pakistan, etc, would like the Americans to see first hand what it is like to have a collapsed state on ones border and millions of refugees flooding across? Then there is the little matter of Cortez that our southern bretheren have yet to forgive. And the last Mexican presidential election that was 'suspect'. Whatever happens in Mexico is going to be felt here in a very big way...As the police chief in 'Millers Crossing' said: 'Hell, I am just speculating on a hypothesis.'

Among my many interests is the construction of high availability networks for small voice carriers in rural areas. They've had an internet "sloperation" for years and they're always quite surprised to find that they need two of everything, with service contracts, and the resident network experts are generally frightened and intimidated by me. We start talking about change management and continuity planning and then they really get wound up.

There was an above ground data center right in the middle of this mess before an F3 picked the contents of the building up, shredded it, and dumped it in a thousand yard long debris field. The customer's employees walked fingertip to fingertip, found everything electronic that had been in the building, and when we put it back together everything worked. They lost one drive in one server's raid array and the protection function meant no data loss. I show this and explain that the one customer I've had who could use clean living as a business continuity plan had already used up the available good karma in this area.


My friends tell me that I run a massive karma surplus and have a enormous reserve built, more than any human being can use in one lifetime.

I think I will need all of it and more in the coming post-Peak Oil Years,

Best Hopes,


Hello River,

I think if one has an expansive, all-inclusive Thermo/Gene Collision viewpoint: the growth of 4th GW warfare is not a 'black swan' event, but an entirely natural Humanimal Ecosystemic response to maximize detritus MPP in the face of FF-decline.

Lions and Hyenas, among other African keystone predators, have always competed in a ruthless bloodsport for the right to biosolar harvest lesser resources from down the foodchain. In short, keystone specie blowback by intra-specie violence is the natural way.

In the following 4 minute YouTube video, please consider the male lion 'Intwidimala' [He who greets with Fire!] as a Humanimal PTB, and the matriarch hyena as a 4th GW Humanimal participant:

Eternal Enemies: Lions & Hyenas

IMO, we can expect much more conflict like this as contending forces compete over a shrinking FF-energy pie, but I hope Peakoil Outreach, Foundation, and the sequential building of biosolar habitats can optimally shrink top-level predation and parasitic top-loaded numbers; if 60-75% of us quickly revert to relocalized permaculturist humanimal gazelles, zebras, and wildebeests. Wheelbarrows, bicycles, and electrified rail for all [Go Alan Drake!].

Currently, we are globally overloaded with humanimal lions, hyenas, crocs, bears, and wolves, etc. My speculative Earthmarine vs Merc Dynamic is a mechanism to hopefully and speedily re-equilibrate a proper sized and proportionately numbered biodiverse Humanimal Ecosystem tightly interwoven into the Natural System.

Earthmarines just protecting tall trees so that we can later windsail for Moroccan phosphates [estimated 85% of world reserves] could do much to keep North American civilization viable.

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

totoneila, I did not say that 4th genreation warfare is a black swan event. 4th generation warfare is comprised of logistics, tactics and strategy, like any other form of war but it is not fought by set piece battles. Anyone seeking background on 4th GW war can google it and read till hearts content. But the attacks on Mexican oil/gas infrastructure are black swan events to the government of Mexico Especially the first event.

I am well aware of the animosity that exists between hyenas and lions.

I see little hope for changing the nature of lions, hyenas, or humans.

If I were you I would spend more time considering how to cover my own ass when the shtf and less considering the fate of the other 6+ billion inhabitants of this little ball. Remember, when tshtf it will be the top predators that will do whatever it takes to survive. If that means killing and eating you, so be it. That is the way nature works.

Personally, I have little concern for Moroccan phosphates or any other form of agriculture untill after the great die off is over...probably a year will do it. Find a good place to hide out with plenty of water, plenty of food that will last for a couple of years, lots of good reading material, and keep your head down. Do not befriend passers by, do not go for strolls in former cities, do not look for company because you become bored, do be carefull. Good luck.

A cohesive community will do much better. It is quite hard to stay undiscovered as desperate people search for food and other goods for survival.


I agree

Personally I believe in working to try to help the broader community make changes to soften the blow - but in the end being a hard-core doomer, and worrying about my kids, I am trying to make my own lifeboat plans. And I think it helps to have a big boat with lots of people to make it through
All these memories will be lost in time
like tears in rain

I disagree that 'it is hard to stay undiscovered.'...and, anyone that does discover me will not be the better off for their find.

I believe it is best to have several options. As I have said before we have a tight knit community that will probably hang together and cooperate. My wife and I have worked tword creating this community for many years. We have an 18 hole golf course surrounded by homes that will be converted to garden plots. There is only one entrance to this community.

Plan B: We will use a 46' double ender sailboat to conduct costal trade. The owner lives in NY, will not be here wtshtf, and I keep it well stocked and am able to single hand it if necessary. A year at sea will not be a problem for this boat and there are several off shore springs that well up in the shallow Atlantic off St Augustine where plenty of fresh water can be brought aboard...these springs were discovered by the Spanish long ago. I forsee the St Johns River becoming the main 'highway' of Florida once again and there will be ample opportunity for trade to flourish via waterways.

Plan C: We have joint interest in a small home and property with a spring in the vicinity of Ashville NC. Our youngest daughter and family live on this property and we currently have a mobile home there with plans to build a small cabin. This was purchased primarily in case of a fast meltdown of the Greenland/Antartic ice sheets.

If none of these preparations work out then we are probably all in big trouble.

You're pretty much deluded if you believe you can stay undiscovered. It's like terrorism. You have to be right all the time, and they only have to be right once. You must defend 100% of any attacks, because if you're only 99.99%, that 0.01% will finish you.

And Asheville's spelled with an "e" ;)

I have seen this mentioned before - this Earthmarine vs Mercenary thing - do you have a link so I know what prior comments you are referring to?
All these memories will be lost in time
like tears in rain

Hello ResponsibleAccountable,

Google's advanced search option is your friend =)


Basically, Earthmarines realize that the ecosystem is more important than anything else and will go to great lengths to protect it postPeak. A simple example is Cascadia refusing to be overrun by 50 million US Southwesterners plus 50 million more from Mexico WTSHTF.

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


Sergei Morozov wants couples to take the day off work to have sex. If a baby is born on national day, they will receive cars, TVs or other prizes.

This year, a couple won the grand prize of a sports utility vehicle (SUV).

Housing costs punish family budgets

What was most surprising to Rachel Drew, research analyst at the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University, was a sharp rise in the number of financially strained homeowners from 2005 to 2006. In that one year, more than 1.5 million additional homeowners with mortgages began spending 30% or more of their income on housing, including 680,000 who are spending more than half.

Drew expects the number of financially squeezed homeowners to continue to rise, in part because millions of loans have adjustable rates that will rise this year and next, adding hundreds of dollars to monthly mortgage payments. At the same time, the slowdown in the real estate market and troubles in the mortgage industry will make it harder for homeowners to sell or refinance, because it's harder to get a loan now.

"It's amazing — you would think that declining house prices would offset (high housing costs)," but they don't, says Drew, who analyzed the census data for USA TODAY. Slipping home prices are "only beneficial to someone who is buying a house, and a small number of homeowners move or buy in any one year."

Why on earth was this surprising to her?

And few people would think that today's declining prices are helping the people who refinanced a year ago.

What is amazing is how many Harvard experts show up in the MSM stating the obvious after the fact.

Does the mortgage melt-down work to the advantage of monied interests? On the surface, it would seem not since it can lead to bank and finance center insolvency or, at the least, lenders being saddled with foreclosed properties that they can do little with.
Take a hypothetical situation with a number of homeowners with reasonable mortgages that have payments within the abilities of the owners to make. Then create a housing price bubble that induces these owners to began refinancing and flipping, buying into the 'myth' that their homes are doubling and tripling in value. What is actually happening is that the lenders are ending up with a larger and larger piece of the home equity pie. You end up with an enormous transfer of wealth from the homeowners, who used to have a healthy percentage of equity, to the lenders (monied interests). The whole thing looks like the 'icing on the cake' for the top 2 or 3 % of the economic population who began looting the country in earnest around 1980 or so. What else was there to loot except the people's homes, and that taking place under the guise of increasing home ownership!? People have 'squandered their resistance for a pocketful of mumbles such are promises.'

I'm beginning to sound like fellow commie-rat-bastard oilmanbob here, but the situation stinks.

But equity is fluid and unrealized equity is worthless. The homeowners realized their equity when they refinanced. The lenders (can't really say banks anymore) were actually out cash and now have houses that are worth far less than the cash the lenders are out and will continue going down so they will be dumping them as quickly as possible to get them off their books. Hard to imaging anyone conspiring to produce massive losses for themselves. It does the 'money-class' little good to accumulate garbage houses (or even McMansions in suburbia).

"Hard to imaging anyone conspiring to produce massive losses for themselves."

Which is why I don't subscribe to a conspiracy angle on this. Yes, the lenders are shooting themselves in the foot in terms of coming into possession of real wealth. But in the final wash (if it ever happens) there will be a greater proportion of actual wealth that has been transferred from former home owners to lenders. This kind of condition could lead to slave like conditions for those who owe. I have no idea how things will pan out, but I don't think it's going to be pretty and I don't want to be on the owing end.

ET: Suyog explained this further up the page. Mozilla cashed out in excess of $100 mill in the last year (from memory). Sometimes I think the word "conspiracy" should be banned from this site. Almost everyone in the USA is trying to make some more money (even the people like Angelo that already have a lot of money). But no, they would never put their personal financial well-being ahead of the "company" only a conspiracy nut would think like that. The "lenders" that are shot in the foot by and large don't even know that they own stock in the company-they have faithfully contributed every month to their pension fund or mutual fund plan.

It all depends on how long the 'money class' is willing to hold onto these houses. It is rumored that the Kennedy's wealth was rooted in buying up foreclosures in the 30s and selling in the late 40s while collecting what rent they could in between. We may be entering a deep long lasting recession which will turn even more voters toward the progressive agenda. Laws will change to favor fair trade practices over the unilateral free trade of today. The unions will be reborn and our regressive tax structure will be reversed. Better paid workers will then be able to buy homes again based on sound credit practices. Over time the 'money class' turns a big profit.

"It all depends on how long the 'money class' is willing to hold onto these houses. It is rumored that the Kennedy's wealth was rooted in buying up foreclosures in the 30s and selling in the late 40s while collecting what rent they could in between."

Old man Kennedy made his fortune as a bootlegger during probition

Kennedy, as a good investor, believed in diversification.

Foreclosed property seems like a good place to put earnings, especially since Prohibition ended December 5, 1933 and there were no reinvestment opportunities in bootlegging after that.


Alan, there is a story this morning in the Daytona News Journal about reverse mortgages. The same companies that brought us the no-tell, no confirm, teaser rate, arm mortgages are mining the rolls of the retired folks for those with homes that are paid for (no mortgage) and attempting to sell them on 'reverse-mortgages.' Basically the way it works is the retired or older working people give their house to a mortgage company and then receive a monthly payment for however long the contract runs or the equity in their home lasts. The old folks are betting that they will die before the equity in their home is used up in monthly payments. The photo with the article showed an older man and his wife...they had just gotten the reverse mortgage deal done and had bought a new Cadillac. The man said 'its nice to have a little change jingling in my pocket.' After reading the article I wondered if the couple had a real estate attorney go over the contract that they signed.

I do not recognize what I see around me as America. This is a place of mental sickness and it is depressing to watch. Greed gone wild.

But at the same time reverse mortgages can be a benefit to the elderly. As the man said, it is nice to have some change in his pocket. Many elderly are sitting on paid for houses as their only asset, but that asset doesn't help them pay for medical bills or medicine. So other than selling the house, reverse mortgages are one way to pay for monthly expenses (social security rarely covers all of their expenses). Obviously another way is to re-fi the house if they have the discipline to park the money somewhere and draw off what they need to help them monthly (including the new mortgage payment). But even this is risky as we have seen with money market funds tanking because of the sub-prime-based cdo and derivatives markets. But, yes, the mortgage companies will take advantage if possible, so the elderly should have someone advising them before giving up or encumbering their only asset.

Reverse mortgages are not new, and done correctly, can be a good option for older people who don't want to hand down their property to their kids (or don't have any kids).

They are quite common in Europe, where they are seen as a convenience for older people, and a way for younger people to buy homes without putting down a huge down payment. The oldest person in the world, Jean Calumet of France, had a reverse mortgage. Hers paid her until she died. The doctor who held the mortgage ended up paying three or four times what her property was worth, simply because she lived so long. She ended up outliving him, in fact, and his son, too, I think. His grandson ended up taking over the property when she died at age 122.


Russian 'sex day' to boost births

The governor of Ulyanovsk region in Russia is offering prizes to couples who have babies in exactly nine months - on Russia's national day on 12 June.

Sergei Morozov wants couples to take the day off work to have sex. If a baby is born on national day, they will receive cars, TVs or other prizes.

Mr Morozov has declared Wednesday "family contact day" as part of efforts to fight Russia's demographic crisis.

The population has sharply declined since the Soviet Union collapsed.

This is the third year that Ulyanovsk, in central Russia, is offering prizes for babies born on 12 June.

This year, a couple won the grand prize of a sports utility vehicle (SUV)...


More cannon fodder for the coming resource wars.

Russia Reveals New Super Bomb

It doesn't look that super on video, but apparently the pressure wave extends a lot further than the blast radius...

I don't know that calling a bomb "green" makes sense on any level, tho :|

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

Not to purposefully bring optimism into this forum, but regarding the article about the MIT/Caltech Design forum:
I remember talking to Amy Smith about its potential last fall when she came to Caltech, and although we don't seem to have a need for something like it in America *at the moment*, I foresee more of these things happening in the future. A group of engineers/scientists/ordinary people getting together to solve Austin/Portland/LA's problem in [insert here] using sustainable materials and methods that city has at its disposal.

I really like the kind of design projects they are doing for Africa and other Third World countries. They are designed to be simple, durable, and resilient. No experts around to care for the products, no clean rooms or temperature controlled environments to run them, intermittent (if any) access to electricity and spare parts. Maybe they won't survive past the end of the age of oil forever, but they'll last a long time, and fail gracefully when the time comes.

The framework is sound, that is...building things small, cheap, of local materials and easily maintained. But then you see what they've actually designed (at least what they show on that website there) and it's palm-to-forehead. Take for example the "water backpack." That thing will last all of about 5 minutes or less before someone snags it on a branch or something and it goes all to hell. Plus, where are they going to get PVC, sheet plastic, and tape in Africa? If it lasts more than five minutes, the plastic is going to fatigue in the sun and fail. PVC also doesn't stand up to the sun very well. If they have PVC pipe available, they'd be better off using a stacked set of 3 10" pipes...might last a little while, especially if painted. But they probably don't have PVC. The people in "third world" countries aren't dumb, they just don't have the resources available to them. Those MIT folks need to spend some time with those people in those environments before they go making dumb junk that won't work.

My experience with PVC pipe is that it will last forever, unless you burn it.

I used to live in a house in Hawaii where the water came through white PVC pipe that just lay on the surface of the ground along the side of the road. Decades in the tropical sun. And the ground was mostly lava rock in this area. People entering their driveways drove over it (though it was usually buried to get past driveways - though not very deeply). Never had a problem, and we were near the end of the line.

My experience with plastic pipe is that gophers gnaw on/thru roll black poly more than pvc. But the pvc is more likely to split after gnaw.

Green Design expos seem to be increasing. I went to one last spring where a sediment filter for drinking water was made using the crushed hulls of a local seed pod in Africa. Quite effective and durable. There's many low tech solutions for water that don't require Millipore.

There'll be a bunch of new recipes coming down the line for Gopher cuisine, however. Then, you can use the PVC as bait.

ya in order from top to bottom.

addwater+bad bugs
smaller rocks
even smaller rocks
and then some activated carbon, or even soil will work.

build a frigging container for it. run water through it. each layer acts as a filter, progressively stopping smaller and smaller particles. The rock top layer should also be pondlike so the organisms within out compete and biologically degrade any pathogens than enter the water.

this may not work on arsensic, but it will stop you from getting the dip, poo's, squirts, and hurls. (the biggest killers in the world are always polluted water from dense human populations causing fluid loss through diarrhea and vomiting)

I built a mobile chicken coop out of PVC and after about two years, main structural supports began failing. They were failing near the joints so it may have just been fatigue, but the pipes overall aren't quite as bouncy as they used to be.

My point, really, was that the things they were designing were basically an insult. It's saying "oh, these people are too stupid to figure out something this simple." No...throw a pile of odds and ends in front of a lot of these people in ultra-poor nations and you're likely to crap yourself at the innovative ways they come up with to use the stuff.

Well, I wasn't really talking about the water backpack in particular. I was thinking of fairly durable and useful things that have been designed in the past, like the Lifestraw, and the wet sand refrigerator, and the pedal-driven water pump.

Fear and loathing at the airport

If you think the Summer from Hell is over, fasten your seat belt. The FAA predicts 1 billion passengers a year will take to the skies by 2015, a 36 percent increase from the current level. FAA officials say this year's Labor Day crunch could become an everyday flying fiasco within eight years, costing America's economy $22 billion annually.

There was a time not long ago when the head of the FAA would be the last person you'd expect to express public doubts about potential catastrophe. Today, Blakey is unabashed about the rising risk of flying. There have been 339 incidents so far this year where planes got too close to each other or to objects on the ground, up from 297 in the same period last year. On Aug. 16 a passenger jet on the runway at Los Angeles International Airport came within just 37 feet of another airliner — the eighth such incident this year at LAX alone. "While it is the safest form of transportation," Blakey says, "deep in your heart you still know that [when you're] flying at 30,000 feet with no safety net you're counting on the system — a system that is at the breaking point."

A past and, future (electrified), form of transportation:

Can anyone tell me what the following line means:
"When you hear the whistle blowin’ eight to the bar"

BTW, I believe that this song was first performed in the movie "Sun Valley Serenade." Good movie--Glenn Miller at the height of his popularity, just before Pearl Harbor and just before Miller joined the Air Force.

Hey there Tex, what you say?
Step aside partner, it's my day
Lend an ear and listen to my version
(Of a really solid, Tennessee excursion)
Pardon me boys, is that the Chattanooga Choo Choo?
(Yes Yes) Track 29!
Boy you can give me a shine
(Can you afford to board, the Chattanooga Choo Choo?)
I've got my fare
And just a trifle to spare
You leave the Pennsylvania station 'bout a quarter to four
Read a magazine and then you're in Baltimore
Dinner in the diner, nothin’ could be finer
(then to have your ham and eggs in Carolina)
When you hear the whistle blowin’ eight to the bar
Then you know that Tennessee is not very far
Shovel all the coal in
Gotta keep it rollin'
(Whoo Whoo Chattanooga there you are)
There's gonna be, a certain party at the station
Satin and Lace
I used to call funny face
She's gonna cry
Until I tell her that I’ll never roam
(So Chattanooga Choo Choo)
Won't you choo choo me home.
Get aboard...
All aboard...
Chattanooga choo choo
Won’t you choo choo me home

In case you didn't know, the Chattanooga Choo Choo is now a Holiday Inn where you can actually sleep or eat in a railroad car, but you can't go anywhere in it.

Speaking of the Second World War, I highly recommend the following program: "The War," by Ken Burns, on PBS, September 23rd:

I saw a preview of it a few weeks ago, where Ken Burns spoke. He said that he finally decided to do the documentary for two reasons: (1) The number of WW II veterans that are passing away each day and (2) A significant number of US high school students think that the US fought with Germany against the Soviet Union.

He also noted that the Second World War was the last time that the US was truly united.

BTW--great soundtrack, especially a song sung by Norah Jones, "American Anthem." You can listen to a sample at Amazon:

". . . what shall be our legacy, what will our children say . . . "

A significant number of US high school students think that the US fought with Germany against the Soviet Union.

I hope that's not true. I know they don't teach much in HighSchool any more that's worthwhile, but I would sincerely hope that HS studens should at least know that much. The sad part is, any teenager should know that much if they'd played any of those WWII combat games that are on the market today. (Practically flooding the market a couple of years ago.)

I guess it doesn't really matter what current high school kids think, we're screwed anyhow.

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

"what will our children say"

A son is teaching middle school, low income ag workers, southern CA. Only 4 in his class had ever heard of Hitler.

Hi Doug,

Whoa. This reminds me of a conversation recently, where I was wondering if people can protect things like "freedom of speech", if they don't know what it is.

Editorial note: This is the conclusion of Mario Savio's memorable speech, before Free Speech Movement demonstrators entered Sproul Hall to begin their sit-in on December 3, 1964. His climactic words about "the operation of the machine" have been quoted widely ever since, out of context, as the existential emblem of the FSM. (Or mis-quoted, since he said "passively" rather than "tacitly.") The beginning of Savio's talk -- about the technical details of the failed negotiations and the administration's reprisal --has never been transcribed. We hope to make it available soon, for it provides a fuller view of the balance of thought and feeling in his speech, and in the FSM.


We have an autocracy which runs this university. It's managed. We asked the following: if President Kerr actually tried to get something more liberal out of the Regents in his telephone conversation, why didn't he make some public statement to that effect? And the answer we received -- from a well-meaning liberal -- was the following: He said, "Would you ever imagine the manager of a firm making a statement publicly in opposition to his board of directors?" That's the answer! Now, I ask you to consider: if this is a firm, and if the Board of Regents are the board of directors, and if President Kerr in fact is the manager, then I'll tell you something: the faculty are a bunch of employees, and we're the raw material! But we're a bunch of raw material[s] that don't mean to have any process upon us, don't mean to be made into any product, don't mean to end up being bought by some clients of the University, be they the government, be they industry, be they organized labor, be they anyone! We're human beings!

[Wild applause.]

There is a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can't take part; you can't even passively take part, and you've got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you've got to make it stop. And you've got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it, that unless you're free, the machine will be prevented from working at all!

[Prolonged applause.]

Now, no more talking. We're going to march in singing "We Shall Overcome." Slowly; there are a lot of us. Up here to the left -- I didn't mean the pun.


RIP, Mario
Rat '66

Thank You. Those that were not there, don't grasp what has happened, what has been lost. Perhaps because they have never known it. My Lavender knows. I gave her "The Worldly Philosophers" by Robert L. Heilbroner as soon as she could grasp it, I also gave her "Tao of Pooh". She is also Peak Oil aware and US Dollar aware. She is enjoying the prime of her life as what she has now will be the technological peak of her lifetime, but she is also learning skills to survive the diminished future. I am so proud of her. I hope it will be enough.

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

Can anyone tell me what the following line means:
"When you hear the whistle blowin’ eight to the bar"

"Eight to the bar" = a musical rhythm in which the a rhythm instrument, often a piano left-hand, carries a beat with eight notes per bar of music in 4/4 time. A defining component of the "boogie woogie" genre.

For more:


Thanks for the info--obviously, I didn't major in music.

BTW, just got my my copy of "The War" soundtrack. "American Anthem" is amazing. Ken Burns played it for us at the preview a few weeks ago. I hadn't heard it since then.

Can anyone tell me what the following line means:

"When you hear the whistle blowin’ eight to the bar"

Listen to the bass line of the song. The bass line of Chattanooga choo choo has a swing bass line of 8 quick notes. That's what it refers to.

"Eight to the bar" is referring to the meter or rhythm of the music, similar to this lyric from "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy":

A-toot, a-toot, a-toot-diddelyada-toot
He blows it eight-to-the-bar, in boogie rhythm
He can't blow a note unless the bass and guitar is playing with him
He makes the company jump when he plays reveille
He's the boogie woogie bugle boy of Company B

I'm not sure there's any connection with Tennessee getting closer, but it does make a catchy lyric.

Can anyone tell me what the following line means:
"When you hear the whistle blowin’ eight to the bar"

Seems like time or duration of the trip.

You leave the Pennsylvania station 'bout a quarter to four
Read a magazine and then you're in Baltimore
Dinner in the diner, nothin’ could be finer
(then to have your ham and eggs in Carolina)...

When you hear the whistle blowin’ eight to the bar... Tennessee...Chattanooga (eight o'clock)

If people are into streaming music, including the Glenn Miller era, check out: http://www.aarp.org/fun/music

While you can't select particular songs, you can select artists. The program then picks other artists similar to your first choice. From this you can select whether you liked the selection and add it to your "play list" or not. The program does a lot more. It's worth a look.

We've had good luck with older artists. As far as "modern" stuff goes, we've only gone as far as the folk era. My next try will be Lynrd Skynrd since I like southern rock.

I've found southern rock very impervious.

Can anyone tell me what the following line means:
"When you hear the whistle blowin’ eight to the bar"

Just a stab here, but it might refer to a music bar, and if I can assume 4/4 time, then 8 in a bar would be eighth notes (ie, 2 to a beat) (geez, and people think english measurements are weird). Anyway, if the train whistle blows doo-doo doo-doo doo-doo doo-doo, then I guess you know you're almost to Tennessee.

API economist Felmy contends that there are 70 billion barrels awaiting in the Arctic Ocean area. He's probably right, but at world consumption of 25 billion a year or more and rising, that will buy us three years, over time. See, there's nothing to worry about.

Rex and the boys can deploy all the money they like and the Athabasca River will keep flowing at the same limiting rate as it has for centuries. Without some new 'breakthrough' extraction system, the limiting factors of natural gas supply and water constraints will limit the flow. The current water slurry system will need to be replaced with an alternative, or the North Saskatchewan River diverted north - hush my mouth.

It is possible that the Oilsands may just have hit a 2 million barrel a day limit, which is fine by me. That's about three gallons per person per day for the US and Canada. Why not just adapt to that reality, relax, and make solar the priority?


(Yep, every once in a while I submit a drumbeat, just for ha-ha's! Cheers!)

Please join me on LinkedIn.com

Go to the site, sign up, and then search for "theoildrum.com" and you'll find my profile. I've posted a question there this morning about adapting to peak oil and I'd like to see some expert opinions mixed in with the "you crazy doomer responses I'm going to get".



Though I have to say I get annoyed by LinkedIn and how hard it makes it for you to add people.

They don't seem to get the dynamics that make things like Facebook worth so much for its networking effects.
All these memories will be lost in time
like tears in rain

I'm told contacts are like neutrons and once when gets to a certain level there are various reactions that can occur. Word was this happens somewhere between 100 and 200. So if anyone here needs to build high availability networks to carry voice now would be the time to speak up, because stuff just slowed dramatically for me ...

Should put some thought into how you can make this into a service/product for planning for lifeboat communities to survive the fall.

I'm putting thought right now into how to do all sorts of things like that - then sell directly to the mid-range rich or groups - not the billionnaires who already have exit plans, but those with enough resources to do serious planning today, but above those who are gonna fall back into the slave class with the rest of us. Just thinking aloud.
All these memories will be lost in time
like tears in rain

Community Survival Specialist program at the local two year school? I'm thinking energy efficiency, organic gardening, post peak law enforcement, etc, etc.

We are living in interesting times ...

Hi. Please forgive me if this is a dumb question or has been addressed elsewhere. Can anyone make sense out of what looks like a widening gap between crude oil and gasoline prices?


(Select US national average, check crude oil and go back 6 years.)

Thank you!

"Crack Spread", the margin for refining has gone from historic highs to very low levels, particularly for gasoline as gasoline inventories go to record lows.

Meanwhile ULS diesel is higher with "OK" levels of inventories.

My guess is politics, but I do NOT know why.


I wonder with the current state of real estae and credit/hedge markets, if it isn't wrapped to maintaining consumer confidence, kind of the third leg of the stool.

Nothing in this country seems to trash consumer confidence more than rising fuel prices.

Not a dumb question at all since no one else seems to know either. I think politics of some kind is playing a role.
Another factor may be that gas prices rose unnecessarilly in the past and this time they're being more restrained.
That being said, I find it difficult to believe that gas prices won't respond in kind if crude goes above 80.


Thanks Alan and Don. I was wondering if it might be a market anomaly similar to the recent housing bubble and if so, I wonder how long before gas prices snap back up to reflect oil prices? I'm new to all this, and it's all so mysterious.

The US/Israeli threat to Syria and Iran is heating up with news reports that the Syrians have nuclear bases supplied by Iran and North Korea, that Israel bombed a nuclear related base last week and that the US administration is seriously gearing up for the bombing of Iran, especially in light of Germany’s stated unwillingness to support further sanctions. I heard on Fox news this morning a report that Germany publicly opposes US action and sanctions against Iran, but privately welcomes US bombing plans.


Fox News reports:

Consequently, according to a well-placed Bush administration source, "everyone in town" is now participating in a broad discussion about the costs and benefits of military action against Iran, with the likely timeframe for any such course of action being over the next eight to 10 months, after the presidential primaries have probably been decided, but well before the November 2008 elections.

The discussions are now focused on two basic options: less invasive scenarios under which the U.S. might blockade Iranian imports of gasoline or exports of oil, actions generally thought to exact too high a cost on the Iranian people but not enough on the regime in Tehran; and full-scale aerial bombardment.

On the latter course, active consideration is being given as to how long it would take to degrade Iranian air defenses before American air superiority could be established and U.S. fighter jets could then begin a systematic attack on Iran's known nuclear targets.

Most relevant parties have concluded such a comprehensive attack plan would require at least a week of sustained bombing runs, and would at best set the Iranian nuclear program back a number of years — but not destroy it forever. Other considerations include the likelihood of Iranian reprisals against Tel Aviv and other Israeli population centers; and the effects on American troops in Iraq. There, officials have concluded that the Iranians are unlikely to do much more damage than they already have been able to inflict through their supply of explosives and training of insurgents in Iraq.

The drama continues to unfold.


Oh, and UK troops are being redeployed from Basra to the Iranian border.


officials have concluded that the Iranians are unlikely to do much more damage than they already have been able to inflict through their supply of explosives and training of insurgents in Iraq

History will rank that judgment with "Mission Accomplished", "Cakewalk in Iraq", "Greeted with flower as liberators", "Let's disband the Iraqi Army and rebuild it from the ground up" and "We don't need more troops to occupy Iraq".

Our supply lines go through heavily Shia areas. 3/4s of the fighting so far has been the Sunnis, who are perhaps 1/4th of the population.

No Hopes for GWB & Cheney but hopefully GWB talks occasionally with his dad,


I noticed that too. Talk about miscalculations.

Apparently not too many people are aware of the massive size and vulnerability of our supply lines in Iraq extending into Kuwait.

It takes an almost continuous convoy of trucks running 24/7 to keep some 160,000 troops plus another 120,000 contractors supplied with food, fuel, ammo, etc.

None other than respected military historian and analyst, William S. Lind, has warned on several occasions that this supply chain could easily be disrupted or even totally cut by a combination of insurgent guerrilla attacks and infiltrated Iranian forces. I myself find it hard to believe that with its total air superiority the US couldn't keep the lines open, but people like Lind think otherwise. In fact, he's gone so far as to raise the possibility that our forces could become totally encircled.

So, whatever happens between the US and Iran, it's certainly not going to be a 'cakewalk', and a massive US bombing campaign will not be the end of the matter but rather will mark the point when the real fun just gets started.

Very good interview with Tommy Lee Jones:


Tommy Lee Jones ready for any 'Elah' fallout

. . . A few war supporters have attacked the movie. Conservative columnist Debbie Schlussel labeled it "Bin Laden cinema" and called for a boycott of the actors. The conservative NewsMax.com categorized it as an "anti-war, anti-U.S. flick."

Jones dismisses any backlash.

"The tactic of leading people into … a war that doesn't make any sense by telling them they are under attack, and if they raise any objection they're unpatriotic, is a very old tactic," he says, his cowboy drawl a low rumble. "And it doesn't intimidate me."

As another Texan said: Bring it on. . . .

. . . "That question is: To what extent are you engaged in a fraudulent war, you as an American citizen?"

The thought hangs there, daring for an attempted answer. Jones forges even further: "The other questions fall right behind it. To what extent was al-Qaeda embedded in Saddam Hussein's government before we invaded? To what extent did the Hussein government's program to develop weapons of mass destruction pose a threat to your freedoms? … How prepared was our army for that invasion? … Was there a good plan of what to do once we inevitably defeated them militarily? … Were our soldiers sufficiently equipped? …Was that a wise choice, to wage that war?" . .

. . . "And coming around full circle, to the original question: To what extent was it a fraudulent enterprise?" he says.

There is no blame, no vitriol against President Bush or other politicians. He speaks of respect for the troops, who were sent on orders, and says we all have to evaluate our personal responsibility for why.

"You have to ask yourself that. There are good reasons to ask yourself that. And if you can't ask yourself that, in the face of these children coming home in various states of disrepair — young women with one of her legs blown off, young men with their faces burned off — in the face of who-knows-how-many dead Iraqi schoolchildren and wives and old people … if you can't ask yourself those questions, you're not paying attention."

Fox News ... isn't. Call it Faux News if you must refer to it at all. I've seen "reporters" on there carrying on about stuff that has been completely and utterly debunked by the people who were involved in the event itself. They fact check ... but only to achieve "truthiness" in their reporting.

http://dailykos.com - this one has its quota of liberals (a liberal is a progressive with a poor grasp on cause and effect) but in general stories show up, they get fact checked to death, and one can easily discern what is reporting vs. editorializing.

I'm not a fan of Fox News. Unlike the lead up to the attack on Iraq, Fox seems to be the only major news outlet beating the Iran war drums to date. CNN and the others have yet to follow suit in any meaningful way. That may change in the months ahead depending on how the Administration pushes this time. I wouldn't discount these reports, however, just because Fox News is essentially an arm of the neocon right wing/Bush Administration. In fact, for that very reason, the reports should be taken with some degree of seriousness.

I don't watch much TV. So saying, the other day my wife turned the tube on and watched a fellow named Keith Olberman doing a show called "countdown" (I think) on msnbc. I have no idea what his journalistic standards may be, but I was entertained by his rants against Faux News, Prez Bush, etc. It's like a novelty seeing a news source critical of the neocons on our regular TV instead of in tiny internet windows watching foreign news.

Check it out.

Olberman is entertaining. A favorite of the lefties.

He started out as a sportscaster, I think, and still does some sports.

More a hero than a favorite.
Good night and Good luck.

Olbermann is mopping the floor with that disgusting little troll Bill O"Reilly. I believe his ratings just passed O'Reilly's a few weeks back. I also believe O'Reilly should be spending 84 days doing public service in the form of scrubbing toilets at Fort Bragg, but I'm a cowardly, terrorist supporting leftist like that ...

Olbermann is mopping the floor with that disgusting little troll Bill O"Reilly.

O'Reilly? Must be some new use of mops.

From a list I'm on:

Well, the viewership number are in....and Bill OReilly doubled the audience of the next nearest host (Shep.) across all cable news.

VIEWERS, SEPT. 10, 2007

FNC PETRAEUS 1,451,000
FNC SHEP SMITH 1,210,000
FNC GRETA 1,180,000
FNC HUME 1,156,000
CNN DOBBS 839,000
CNN KING 834,000
CNN COOPER 651,000


Holy crap! Lou Dobbs has more viewers than Larry King? That's incredible, considering that he airs at 6pm and Larry's in prime time. Last time I checked, Larry King was far and away CNN's best rated show.

I guess Lou's really hit a nerve. (Unlike others here, I love Lou Dobbs.)

Kinda scary that Nancy Grace is so high on the list, though...

At least that bozo Beck didn't make the list at all.

Is there actually a news channel out there anymore. I haven't been able to find done so quit bothering with the tv. I figure this site and Energy Bulletin will have links to any news of real relevance.

Or fox noise.

I think a lot of the personalities at faux have about as much journalistic training as some of the weather announcers on the Weather Channel have meteorological training.


You're not implying that Abrams & Bettes are CNBC/Entertainment Tonight wannabes, are you?

Ah.. so Germany is opposed to further sanctions because of the economic damage that it would do, but, according to Fox, is ok with a war as it will have, presumably, no economic impacts. If anyone can explain the logic in Fox's reportage then please supply me with the decoder ring.

Ah.. the British are deploying some troops to the Iranian border...again. In August last year, after being mortared out of their base in Amara, the MoD sent 500 troops to the Iranian border in order to stop weapons smuggling.

They did this with a lot of fanfare as part of a heroic PR offensive to convince everyone that being kicked out of Amara wasn't a tactical defeat ( the base was looted and burned within 24 hours ) - a few months later, they quietly packed up, having intercepted precisely zero weapons, but taking a couple of fatalities and losing a transport plane in the process.

I take the TV report that Germany is publicly against, but privately for an attack on Iran with a huge grain of salt. I believe that Germany is legitimately against further Iranian sanctions - and against an attack.

Obama set to give a major speech in Iowa today over warning against war with Iran. Here’s an excerpt:

We hear eerie echoes of the run-up to the war in Iraq in the way that the President and Vice President talk about Iran. They conflate Iran and al Qaeda. They issue veiled threats. They suggest that the time for diplomacy and pressure is running out when we haven't even tried direct diplomacy. Well George Bush and Dick Cheney must hear - loud and clear - from the American people and the Congress: you don't have our support, and you don't have our authorization for another war.


Maybe he’s hearing some things in Washington that are putting him particularly on edge.

Larry Kudlow, on CNBC, was talking about an air attack on Iran followed up by a naval blockade. I didn't hear the full discussion.

At this rate, Canada better watch out. They may become Part of the Axis of Evil before too long.

Canada better watch out.

Ve haf zecret weapon. Ve vait for you mitt piping hot plates of poutine. First ve get you addicted, then ve get your arteries so clogged your bloob supply is zilch, and then you get so round about the belly that ve can just roll you all back across der border.

I've been writing letters to Senators about not expanding the Bush administration's adventures in the ME since they first dispatched those minesweepers to the Persian Gulf a little over a year ago. Iran is a rational actor, the Bush administration isn't, and this statement stands even if we all agree that its fine to use the concept of armed robbery as the basis of foreign policy, because they Bush administration can't even do a B&E properly.

I am teaching about Peak Oil this fall in a Philosophy course entitled "Science, Technology, and Values," and one of my students just sent me the following link, which claims that it is possible to burn seawater:


Any thoughts out there about whether this is at all viable as a solution to Peak Oil?

(Please be rigorous in your critiques, but gentle; I wouldn't want to drive my students away from this site - especially since not a single one of them had heard of Peak Oil before I mentioned it during the first lecture two weeks ago.)

That story was discussed in yesterday's DrumBeat.

Thanks for the reference, Leanan.

I didn't see a discussion of what actually was produced by this process. I think that water may have been dissociated into hydrogen and oxygen, but the two gases were mixed. That's why the resulting gas burned so easily. There was no calculation of net energy produced, nor was there any mention of the primary energy input to make the electricity, which is often much larger than the electrical energy.

There was a similar idea several years back where a fellow in Florida was going to use an arc welding rig under water to produce a similar gas. He used two carbon rods to make the arc and the gas was a mixture of H2 and CO, as the carbon rod was partially consumed in the process. I suspect that the net energy produced was much lower than the energy which went into the process, especially as the carbon rods would need to be considered in the calculation.

E. Swanson

"I suspect that the net energy produced was much lower than the energy which went into the process"

You don't suspect - you know darn well. There's this little thing called the "2nd Law of Thermodynamics". How could it be otherwise?

There is NO technique by which you can break the bonds of H2O to make free hydrogen, burn that hydrogen, and get more energy back out than you put in to break the bonds. NO WAY! Come on people! Snap out of it! Let's be good citizens of the Reality Based Community, 'kay?

(Black_Dog - this is not directed at you, because from your previous postings I get the impression that you well know how the world works.)

I spent half an hour yesterday in my Env. Sci. class trying to explain to my students why this "burning seawater" thing is total, utter, bunk as an energy "source".

Things are getting desperate indeed when people give this crap the time of day. We're talking highschool chemistry here. For f**k's sake, do they even teach chemistry in highschool any more?


"I suspect that the net energy produced was much lower than the energy which went into the process"

You don't suspect - you know darn well. There's this little thing called the "2nd Law of Thermodynamics".

Energy conservation is the First Law. The Second Law can be framed in terms of entropy increase, but originally was considered to place an upper limit on the efficiency of a heat engine (converts heat into work).

You can take a look at yesterday's DrumBeat, there is a thread about it.

It can become a better way of gathering hydrongen than electrolisis, but it is usefull for energy storage, not generation.

Hi PhilRelig,

Thanks, that's great you're including "peak" in your course. I'd be very interested in more details about it, if you can give them - perhaps, eg., a syllabus? (you could block out identifying features, FOIA-style, if you like.)

Meanwhile, back at

re: "...viable as a solution to Peak Oil?"

Have you talked about the ideas of context and interconnectedness? And perhaps used Albert Barlett's talk and or video on the "exponential function"? (Greyzone's tag line).

The problem with a "solution" is...it would lead to other "peaks", in the sense that an infinite energy resource base would have the earth's other resources used up by humans double quick, absent some kind of constraints...(etc.)

BTW, I'd like to suggest including "legal rights of women" and human rights of women (and children) as a topic/(dare I say "solution"?) in addressing population growth.

I'm looking for references, but short on time at the moment:
New population policies: Advancing women's health and rights
Population Bulletin, Mar 2001 by Ashford, Lori S

Bank of England Governor Mervyn King

"although injecting extra cheap money into the financial system, as the European Central Bank and the Federal Reserve have done, would help calm markets down in the short term, "the provision of such liquidity support undermines the efficient pricing of risk by providing ex post insurance for risky behaviour. That encourages excessive risk-taking, and sows the seeds of a future financial crisis."

From http://www.telegraph.co.uk/money/main.jhtml?xml=/money/2007/09/12/bcnmer...

We are having rising food and oil prices at a time of huge credit problems, and that little global warming tipping point thing.

Could be possible strike action for various parts of the UK public sector too, joys.

Quite interesting

Solar plane

Any one have any thoughts on the potential impact of this event?

Putin Dissolves Government...

Dissolving the Govt 3 months before the scheduled elections may present an opportunity to seat a new one for a couple of months, or stack it with cronies to support a potential power grab? Perhaps power grab is a mis-statement. Mr. Putin already has power but this could work to conserve it or maintain it even it a new govt is elected? I am not sure, but with the control of oil and gas that Russia has and with Europe's needs, this may signal something ominous.


It almost certainly means that Putin has decided that Ivanov is going to be his successor. They are not going to allow the globalists to steal Russian resources.

Oil touched $80. As JoeWP of PO.com put it, "Give T. Boone Pickens a cigar."

I really thought he was going out on a limb when he said that. And I figured that $80 would be later in the year.

Nice line!

$80 seemed to be pretty much a given for 2007, I still put better than 60% prob on $100 oil in 2007.

We shall see how TPTB handle this winter's demand...not much wiggle room anymore.

BTW, $100 oil still only 14.28 cents per cup.
At those rates, Coca cola is making a killing...how about a windfall profits tax?!

But not all scientists agree, demonstrating a shift in debate from whether climate change is happening -- on which where there is near consensus -- to how bad it will get and what to do about it.

Scientists will be the death of us. Or rather the quotation "not all scientists agree" which must be used by the MSM in any story with scientific content will be the death of us.

I was talking to a guy the other day who'd seen some Discovery Channel special on warming and he was all sure that "stuff" from diesel in Asia was cooling off big portions of the planet. I wanted to whack him, but then I thought "Why expend my energy for something peak oil and global warming will do for me in short order anyway?"

What he was talking about is 'Global Dimming'.


Global dimming creates a cooling effect that may have partially masked the effect of greenhouse gases on global warming - mostly in industrial parts of the world.

This is particularly worrying as the current catastrophic warming in the Arctic is happening despite the global dimming - if the Asians ever clean up their industries we are definitely going to warm up ... a lot!


Indeed. Instead of wasting your time showing idiots that they are idiots, you can instead spend your time preparing. Now, it's off to make some money so I can buy some land so I can build my small home and learn to grow my own food. :)
~Durandal (http://www.wtdwtshtf.com/)

Maybe he had in mind particulates from diesel exhaust. Aerosols are believed to have slowed down warming in the middle 1/3rd of last century.


Global dimming is a real and verified issue. Here's the problem that recent research shows - global dimming has cooled the planet at almost the same rate that CO2 has warmed it but not quite, so there has been a slight warming trend. Now what does that tell you?

It tells you that if you clean up the air of particulate pollution but keep belching CO2 then warming will be hugely worse. And here is the ugly kicker - particulate pollution comes out of the air in a matter of weeks to a few years at most while CO2's lifecycle runs into the centuries timeframe. So even if you clean up the particulate pollution today AND stop belching CO2, you still have a massive problem. How large is that problem? The one chance to test this came on 9/11 when aircraft were grounded across the entire United States. Climatologists expected a change over that few days of a few hundredths of a degree Centigrade. But what actually happened? What actually happened was an almost immediate increase of 3 degrees Centigrade nationwide and on 9/14 shortly after flights resumed, a 3 degree Centigrade drop.

In other words, the IPCC's 3-5 degree Centigrade increase is already here and being masked by particulate pollution. Anything that lowers that particulate pollution, from environmental friendly laws to economical contraction to war will produce massive heat increases.

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

Now isn't that a conundrum!

Speechless...damned if you do, damned if you don't.

If you're bored and can't sleep, which happens to me fairly often, one can go read gruesomely detailed climatology research at http://realclimate.org

I'm a mental packrat but not a link packrat so I can't provide references, but this is what I recall.

Total climate forcing from greenhouse gases is something like 4.1 watts/M^2. Total cooling from aerosols, primarily sulfates from diesel, is about 2.0 watts/M^2.

There is a well documented drop in solar inputs due to reflection from diesel produced sulfate aerosols from 1940 to about 1970. We cleaned up our fuels and the world became a brighter place.

Yeah the US is under 10% global dimming effects while Asia is under nearly 30% (something like 28% as I recall but not sure of the actual number). If/when the particulate comes out of the air over Asia, there are going to be 3.5 billion very warm human beings on a continent that is ecologically ravaged.

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

I watched this a while back, VERY good.

350mb : http://www.demonoid.com/files/details/1254136/7932408/

700 mb public tracker : http://www.mininova.org/tor/879279

utorrent seems to work ok as a windows torrent client.



TV : Documentary : VHS quality : English
"Dimming the Sun" investigates the discovery that the sunlight reaching Earth has been growing dimmer, which may seem surprising given all the international concern over global warming. At first glance, less sunlight might hardly seem to matter when our planet is stewing in greenhouse gases. But the discovery of global dimming has led several scientists to revise their models of the climate and how fast it's changing. According to one recent and highly controversial model, the worst-case warming scenario could be worse than anyone has predicted. "Dimming the Sun" unravels this baffling climate conundrum and the implications for Earth's future.

Recipient of AA, Alberta Advantage

Thanks, Grey,

- for the clear, concise explanation, w. a good example. (I appreciate this as I realize I'm once again in shock.)

Separated at birth??

M. King Hubbert

Samuel Beckett

CNN "journalist" justifys $80 oil without reference to PO

But overall supplies are still high,


Mexico risk pricing. One more significant bombing and it might add another 5 or 10$

"Oil reserves not running out anytime soon"

The article's author fails to show even a rudimentary understanding of rates versus absolute quantities. This even shows in the title of the article. Sad, very sad...

Forest clearing for oil palm plantations.

At the APEC meeting Indonesia accepted big bucks
not to clear forests on one island. Now it seems they will just cut down the forest on other islands. That is make money from both palms and not-palms. I guess that leaves two options
1) if nobody notices run both lines of revenue
2) if they do notice demand another bribe.

I despair; here is the FT telling us that Norwegian oil production will peak some 5 years or so down the line:

Or is it the Norwegian oil directorate that is incapable of analysing its own statistics? Every metric I have seen show clearly Norway peaking a couple of years back (with major declines since) and yet here is the FT saying otherwise. What to do in the fact of such reportage? We are powerless in the face of this are we not?

Nova had a show on global dimming last week. Pretty scary stuff. I could almost hear the Mogambo Guru shrieking, "We're freaking doomed!

BTW, anyone here have any thoughts on that B52 bomber that flew from Minot in ND to Barksdale AFB (the staging base for many of the middle east bombers) loaded for bear with 6 armed nuclear tipped missiles attached to the pylons? "Accidentally" of course.

Not sure how one accidentally loads six nukes on a bomber and flies across the country with them. Just wondered if anyone had heard anymore or what you all thought. Lots of rumors flying around the net.

And as a result of the "accident" there's a commandwide standdown (including Langley) for the 14th for "retraining".

Can't quite figure this out, but it does sort of smell bad. Just my HO.


Hi theoz,

I think www.democracynow.org had something on this.

I heard they lost one so they sent out Steve Fossett to get lost as a cover story for a massive search

Aniya, thanks. I checked their list, but didn't find anything.

jmygann, yeah the blogs have tied it in with everything from the mysterious put options that seem to bet the market will crash by the 21st, the death of Senator Gillmor - who was apparently getting ready to investigate the put options when he suddenly died from a massive head injury in a fall down the stairs at his home, to Fossett's disappearance as an excuse for the miltary to get into a massive search for the "missing" missile.

Apparently the report out of Minot had said their were six missiles while the one from Barksdale said it had five?

The AF story was that they were part of a group of nukes that were being decommissioned and were accidently loaded onto the pylons of the B52 instead of being sent inside a C 30 cargo plane as is customary. But even if such a mistake could be made, why Barksdale instead of the base in Texas where they are usually taken apart?

Someone said this happened while Bush was in Australlia. So if it was ordered rather than an accident, my guess would be Darth Cheney was attempting to sneak nukes out while Prince George, the dufus, was away playing prez in Aussieland - in preparation for an attack on Iran.

Sure is peculiar, since they haven't been allowed to carry live nukes on a plane for transfer in the US since the sixties(?).

I think I'll be checking NPR hourly on Friday for news of anything untoward during that command-wide standown, though. :>(


Hi Linda,

I'm sorry I can't find where I heard commentary about it - perhaps on "Air America"? (When I looked at DN, they just had the news story itself on Sept. 6, you're right.) Anyway, just heard a minute or two...whoever it was said it was impossible for it to have been an accident. It might have been a former military person calling in to the Thom Hartmann show. If you're really interested, perhaps there's a way to browse and/or email to find it.

They originally had orders to nuke Iran but was later told to stand down.


I haven`t escaped from reality. I have a daypass.

Hello TODers,

Sulfuric acid is suddenly scarce and expensive

Increased demand for biofuels like ethanol tighten supply of sulfuric acid for chemical buyers.

Vigorous demand, a static supply and declining imports have combined to drive up U.S. sulfuric acid prices for much of this year. And market watchers say these conditions are likely to continue for at least another year.

Not only is sulfuric acid supply tight, but there is a scarcity of railcars to deliver the chemical, prompting concern among some buyers.

Agriculture and metals processing are the two hottest markets for sulfuric acid right now. Roughly 60% of sulfuric acid produced goes into agriculture, primarily in the manufacture of phosphate fertilizers.
How soon will NPK go to $10,500/ton again?

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