DrumBeat: September 17, 2007

Oil sets new record ahead of Fed meeting

"If the economy's going to be OK, then oil prices are probably undervalued," said Phil Flynn, an analyst at Alaron Trading Corp. in Chicago.

Oil futures rose as high as $80.70 on Monday, a trading record. Oil prices have set several new records over $80 a barrel in recent days for a number of reasons, including perceptions that problems in the subprime mortgage industry would have a minor effect on the economy. The nine-session rally reversed August's downward trend, which was based in part on concerns that the subprime problems would spread, affecting the overall economy and curbing demand for petroleum products.

Don't look to OPEC for oil price relief

But that's not the truly discouraging news from OPEC, which is consuming much higher levels of its own production, leaving less for potential export increases. In something of a vicious circle – or what CIBC World Markets chief economist Jeff Rubin describes as OPEC's "cannibalization" of its own production – record-high oil prices of recent years have sparked an economic boom among Middle East oil producers, as well as Nigeria and Venezuela.

Survive the bear with peak oil bet

Saudi Arabia, the world's biggest oil producer, is the acid test of future supply. The official line is that billions of dollars of capital spending will bring on millions of barrels of additional oil. Peak oil theorists point to petrophysicists' reports that suggest Ghawar, Saudi's biggest field, "is fading as we speak."

Are record oil prices set to torture consumers?

"We're going into this heating oil season the same way we went into the summer driving season -- with supplies well below normal," said Phil Flynn, a senior analyst at Alaron Trading.

Michael J. Economides: The Rise, Fall, and Resurrection of the NOCs

For the better part of 40 years, oil has been the great equalizer, in many ways diminishing the huge imbalance between Europeans, their American cousins, and the rest of the world – the latter on the woefully short end of great cultural and economic events such as the Renaissance, the Industrial Revolution and, certainly, colonialism.

In modern times, what separates rich countries from poor is energy consumption. Even more striking is an inverse relationship: most rich countries are poor in oil, and many poor ones are rich in oil and other energy sources.

A Peek at the Peak Oil Problem

"I mean, it doesn't make any sense. We haven't discovered any oil and gas in the Arctic. But if you're modeling and you're trying to look, you can't really say Arizona and Nevada because we've proven there isn't any oil there. So you pick an area we haven't ever been to because therefore there's no way to prove that it's not there."

How Canada Went from 21st to 2nd in World's Oil Reserves

The United States has its hopes pinned on Canada's "tar sands" for North American security in the oil market. But their "black gold" is an environmental nightmare.

Iran’s Aggressive Natural Gas Expansion Plans

As global energy demand rises, natural gas increasingly plays a strategic role. The sector is poised for tremendous growth over the next two decades and some believe that it may overtake oil as the prime fuel between 2020 and 2030. Iran’s huge proven reserves – some 28 trillion cubic meters (about 995 trillion cubic feet) ­– should make it a key player in the emerging global gas business.

An Unlikely Paul Revere

Oh, what a difference 20 months can make. When Lee Raymond retired in early 2006 after leading ExxonMobil to record profits, he was the quintessential Texas oilman. If the notion of developing alternative fuels and putting pressure on Detroit to build more fuel-efficient cars ever crossed his mind, it didn't cross his lips. But as architect of a new study by the National Petroleum Council, a federal advisory group, Raymond has become a sort of Paul Revere of energy, warning of coming shortages by 2030 if America does not act now.

Angola exports to rise to record 1.8 mln bpd

Angola is set to export a record 1.80 million barrels per day of crude oil in November, up 70,000 bpd from its previous record high set in October, traders said on Monday.

Crude shipments from OPEC's newest member have set fresh record highs in five of the last six months, according to Reuters data.

UK urged to ban petrol cars by 2040

Britain's third largest political party backed a series of radical proposals Monday to tackle climate change, including a ban on petrol powered cars by 2040.

Utilities Pare Down Lists of Coal-Fired Plants

Since the beginning of 2006, at least two dozen coal-fired plants have been canceled and another three put on hold.

EU to propose splitting energy groups to boost competition

Eager to fire up competition in the energy industry, the European Commission will unveil on Wednesday a sweeping shake-up, which already has many members up in arms over plans to split big power and gas companies.

Zimbabwe: Minister Says Walk to Save Fuel

"The country is facing critical fuel shortages and as government, we encourage all Zimbabweans to reduce the number of cars on the country's roads and walk to save the scarce fuel we have," Nyambuya said.

Analysts said Nyambuya's statement was an admission that government was failing to find a lasting solution to the country's fuel problems which started in 1999.

Minnesota Form Nation’s Largest Community Owned Wind Project

The project is also the largest community based energy development (C-BED) project in Minnesota. High Country Energy is expected to qualify for C-BED status, meaning it is owned by Minnesota residents and that 51 percent of the profits are returned to the Minnesota community members over the life of the project.

Give the Earth a Sabbath Day

If we all reduced our driving, shopping, and business by one-seventh, we'd pollute that much less.

Can this really save the planet?

We are constantly told to switch the TV off standby, recycle our plastic bags and boil less water - but does focusing on the small, easy steps distract us from the bigger picture?

The Porridge In Norway Turns Prisoners Green

Norway claims to have the world's first eco-jail. Bastoey prison, which is located on the island of the same name about 50 miles south of Oslo, has solar panels which prisoners helped to install, heats its buildings with wood-waste rather than oil, operates a strict recycling policy and is almost self-sufficient in terms of food.

Sharon Astyk: Can you spare a dime? Why we could....but won't

Klein quotes, among other figures, the observation that it would cost 1.5 *trillion* dollars in five just to get America's basic engineering infrastructure up to speed - just to keep the bridges from falling down, the sewers from backing up. Since that's a bit less than we intend to spend in Iraq, according to Joseph Steigletz, do any of us really believe that our heavily leveraged economy is going to allow us to spend trillions to fix up the existing infrastructure, much less to engage in the vastly more expensive project of adapting that infrastructure to a low energy, renewable dependent future?

That's why the gentlemen over at The Oil Drum who reply to every thread with "But all we have to do is...." and then offer some lengthy proposal about electrified rail, 500 new nuclear plants, wind farms everywhere or covering up Arizona with solar panels, so amuse me. And it isn't that I don't think that we'll ever do any of those things. Yes, we will almost certainly build new nuclear plants, wind farms and lay some new rail track. But what we won't be having is a (successful) Manhattan project for renewable energy, or any universal system that allows all of us to spend the next 35 years comfortably adapting our lives to better houses, a renewably powered grid and electrically powered cars.

After Iraq, no one should bank on cheap oil

OIL is the fuel that, by powering the industrial revolution, changed the world. The global economy's need for a secure oil supply is so obvious that former US central bank chief Alan Greenspan has expressed exasperation in his new memoir that "it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil". He does not mean an outright grab for Iraq's oil. Instead, he writes that Saddam Hussein could have brought "the industrial world to its knees" had he gained control of the Strait of Hormuz and thus of oil shipments out of the Gulf. "I cannot understand why we don't name what is evident and indeed a wholly defensible pre-emptive position," he told The Guardian.

Central Asia: Soaring Bread Prices Give Rise To Domestic Solutions

In an attempt to prevent greater public discontent over the already high food prices, Central Asian governments are struggling to find a solution to the crisis from within their countries.

The Uzbek government has put pressure on private businesses not to increase bread prices. The measure has made some vendors close down at the prospect of losing money.

Turkmenistan has even tried to begin growing its own grain. However, the domestic wheat is hugely unpopular with consumers, who complain about its extremely low quality.

Kurt Cobb: Is peak oil a guy thing?

One leader in a peak oil group with whom I spoke recently said that his group found itself split largely along gender lines on one very important issue: How confrontational should the peak oil movement be?

Opec's production capacity to rise 4.68% by 2009

The combined production capacity of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries, the group that supplies more than a third of the world's oil, is estimated to rise 4.68 per cent by the end of 2008 to 35.8 million barrels a day from the current 34.2 million bpd, says the latest oil market report of the International Energy Agency (IEA).

Venezuela to boost oil production to five mln bpd by 2012: Chavez

Venezuela will raise its production of crude oil from the current 3.2 million barrels per day (bpd) to 5 million in 2012, in order to maintain a fair price in the market, President Hugo Chavez said during his Sunday television and radio speech.

The world is facing an energy crisis since crude oil reserves are being exhausted, the president said.

S-Oil defers new S.Korea refinery decision for 2 yrs

South Korean refiner S-Oil Corp will wait at least a couple of years to reconsider a plan to build a 480,000 barrels per day new refinery because of surging construction costs, its chief said on Monday.

"In this construction cycle we will not be able to make money," said CEO Samir Tubayyeb in a university lecture. "Construction costs are going up more than three times."

Sabic mining venture cost soars to $5.6bn on construction charge

Saudi Arabian Mining Co (Maaden) said yesterday a phosphate venture it is developing with Saudi Basic Industries Corp (Sabic) will cost 21bn riyals ($5.6bn), 62% more than expected in March.

“The increase in the cost of the project ... is due to a rise in prices in the international construction market,” state-owned Maaden said.

Nepal: NOC mulling over POL price hike

The NOC has failed to purchase sufficient amount of petroleum products as the government showed reluctance to adjust the price of POL products at par with the international price, said Ickcha Bikram Thapa, spokesperson at NOC.

More Nations Back U.S. Nuclear Project

A U.S.-initiated project that aims to reduce the dangers of nuclear proliferation and control radioactive waste gained support Sunday, as 11 more nations signed on with original members Russia, China, France and Japan.

Under the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership, a limited number of countries including the U.S. and Russia would provide uranium fuel to other nations for powering reactors to generate electricity, and then retrieve the fuel for reprocessing. This would deprive those nations of their own nuclear fuel enrichment programs, which can be used to make atomic arms.

Undermining free public transport

The burning of oil and other fossil fuels is raising the levels of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere and threatening huge climate change. At the same time, peak oil -- the end of the world's cheap oil supplies -- is around the corner. Competition for what's left is fuelling wars. To tackle these major problems facing humanity, new solutions are needed.

Alternative Fuels for Jet Engines

At this year's Paris Air Show, FAA Administrator Marion Blakey described two studies then under way and intended to develop "a national roadmap on the viability of alternative fuels for aviation." Commissioned under the auspices of the FAA's Commercial Aviation Alternative Fuels Initiative (CAAFI) and scheduled for completion this month, the studies address feasibility, costs, technical issues and environmental impact of alternative fuels.

Scomi's future in monorail

SCOMI Engineering Bhd is expected to ride the hive of activity and investments ploughed into the oil and gas (O&G) sector, but it is the monorail business that is the big and lucrative wild card to its future performance.

Goldman Sachs raises year-end oil price forecast on supply worries

Goldman Sachs has raised its oil price forecast amid near record high prices as the bank reckons demand is likely to exacerbate tight supplies looking ahead.

Dale Allen Pfeiffer: In Case of Martial Law, Break Glass

Many people who follow the news are worried that Bush will declare martial law sometime in the months ahead. If natural crises prove insufficient, they are afraid that he will stage another 9/11. The current economic climate is very similar to the climate at the time of 9/11, though the present brewing economic hurricane will be much worse than the dot.com bust. The economic crises we currently face could very well result in bank closings, the crash of the US dollar, and the impoverishment of a large segment of the US population. What is more, with peak oil and the dawn of a new era of energy depletion it is unlikely that we will be able resuscitate our economy once the collapse is complete.

Osamanomics and the greens

In his latest couple of videos, the dyed one mentioned Western civilization's contribution to global warming among his list of complaints of quite what was wrong with the state of affairs, which he suggested a bout of Osamanomics could cure. The generation of largely American (which is not a comment on their girth) economists brought up on the ideas of Reaganomics who now rule the roost across the global financial system can perhaps imagine the very opposite of what they believe in, namely a demand-led reduction of Group of Seven (G7) economies that culminates in collapsing economic growth across Asia, thereby keeping billions of people mired in poverty.

Iran impatient with India over gas pipeline

Iran expressed impatience with India over the finalising of a multi-billion dollar gas pipeline deal via Pakistan, warning that it could go ahead with Pakistan alone if India procrastinated.

Mammoth dung, prehistoric goo may speed warming

For millennia, layers of animal waste and other organic matter left behind by the creatures that used to roam the Arctic tundra have been sealed inside the frozen permafrost. Now climate change is thawing the permafrost and lifting this prehistoric ooze from suspended animation.

But Zimov, a scientist who for almost 30 years has studied climate change in Russia's Arctic, believes that as this organic matter becomes exposed to the air it will accelerate global warming faster than even some of the most pessimistic forecasts.

Climate talks in Montreal to take dual aim

Representatives of 190 countries will meet in Montreal Monday for talks on the twin goals of combating global warming and restoring the ozone layer.

Greenspan clarifies Iraq war, oil link

Clarifying a controversial comment in his new memoir, former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said he told the White House before the Iraq war that removing Saddam Hussein was “essential” to secure world oil supplies, according to an interview published on Monday.

West's ravenous oil appetite may lead to tough sacrifices

One of the backdrops to the meeting was a landmark report by the U.S. National Petroleum Council entitled Hard Truths About Global Energy. The study projects global energy demand will grow by at least 50 per cent by 2030. Essentially all that growth will come from the developing world. Given that energy use is currently balanced between developed and developing countries, this means a doubling of energy use by developing countries in 23 years. Delegates from Europe, Latin America and China expressed no disagreement with the conclusions of the report.

Petroleos de Venezuela to Convert Accounts Away From Dollars

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez instructed Petroleos de Venezuela SA, the state oil company, to convert its investment accounts from dollars to euros and Asian currencies to reduce risk.

The decision may help weaken the dollar as the Federal Reserve prepares to lower interest rates this week, said Philip Wee, an economist at DBS Bank Ltd. in Singapore. The currency has fallen against 14 of the 16 most-active over the past year, partly as governments signaled they may diversify their holdings away from the U.S., the world's primary destination for reserves.

Opec's Decision is a Compromise amid Unclear Economic Conditions

The OPEC decision, based on the statement by Secretary General Abdullah al-Badri during a news conference after the meeting, represents a message to consumers that when it took the decision, the ministerial council took their point of view into consideration. This is the first increase in production in two years; industrial countries have requested such a move for a while, in order to rein in the continuing increase in the price of oil since 2004, when it reached record levels ($78.77 for Brent).

Crime in the Barnett Shale

Since 2005, Devon has reported $390,000 in stolen items and products from fields in the Barnett Shale. Almost $150,000 of that total has occurred since January 2007.

Some of the more common items stolen from the fields include flow meters, copper wire, solar panels, gates and fence panels, tubing, pipe, tools, chemical and oil pumps, trailers, large drill bits, meter runs and even oil condensate.

Iraq to boost oil output to 6m bpd in 10 yrs

The Iraqi Minister of Oil announced that Iraq is seeking to increase its oil production by 3.5 million barrels per day (bpd) by the end of 2009, increasing to 6 million bpd within the next decade, IDP reported.

Qatar constructs chlorine plant for oil producing purposes

Qatar Chlorine, a private shareholding company, will construct a world-class plant in the Mesaieed Industrial City for commercial production of hydrochloric acid and byproducts, a company spokesman said.

...Hydrochloric acid is an important chemical used in the oil and gas industry for "acidizing" wells to improve the flow rate and enhance the production capacity.

Greetings from Rüschlikon

Thinking about my presentation got me musing about the difficulty of imagining a future that's neither identical to the present, nor on the verge of apocalypse. Not a utopia, per se, but a future that gives us a bit more to hope for than to fear.

Gates rejects Greenspan claim war is about oil

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Sunday rejected former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan's statement that the Iraq war "is largely about oil."

Alaska integrity office investigates BP practices on Slope

Gov. Sarah Palin and state Resources Commissioner Tom Irwin have ordered the state's new Petroleum Systems Integrity Office to conduct a special investigation of a series of small fires in BP Exploration (Alaska) Inc.'s North Slope production facilities, the governor and Irwin announced in a Sept. 11 press conference.

Iran says Crescent should pay more for gas

Iran will find other customers for gas assigned to a deal being negotiated with Crescent Petroleum or use the fuel itself if the UAE firm does not agree to pay a higher price, Iran's oil minister said on Sunday.

Pemex to Resume Natural Gas Service a Week After Mexico Blasts

Petroleos Mexicanos, the state oil monopoly, will "gradually" resume natural gas service tomorrow, a week after guerrilla attacks on pipelines cut fuel supply to thousands of businesses across central Mexico.

Mexican Explosions and Their After Effects

A series of explosions in Mexico, on September 9th and September 10th, has raised pertinent questions about Mexican safety and security that still have not been answered.

Very Bloody Oil

Many people have been saying that the invasion (and occupation) of Iraq is about oil. I believe that there is more than oil involved, but certainly oil was a driving motivator.

Coal and nuclear options ‘must be looked at’

WESTERN countries face a politically and economically difficult future as governments are faced with finding alternatives to oil, according to a former US Secretary of Energy.

Nuclear energy and restarting coal mining are some of the realities that political parties will have to consider selling to voters, said Dr James Schlesinger.

Myanmar to auction gems, jewellery in November

Myanmar will auction off more precious gems and jewellery in November in the fifth such sale this year aimed at bringing foreign currency into the isolated nation, state media reported Sunday.

...A hike in fuel prices on August 15 left many people unable to afford even the trip to work, sparking rare demonstrations across the country.

A wealth of oil, gas and other natural resources, however, has lined the junta's coffers, with India, China and Thailand jostling to exploit their neighbor's natural wealth to fuel their growing economies.

Inflationary spiral could spell an end to era of cheap food

Parisians are bemoaning the price of a baguette, Italians have organised a pasta boycott and the Mexican public have held street protests about the cost of tortillas. Rocketing food prices are infuriating consumers and pressurising politicians worldwide. But is this a temporary blip, or has the era of cheap food come to an end?

People that say the Iraq war wasn't about oil are like people that go to strip joints "for the food".

Hear that George Will?

I did inhale.

Gotta love those spicy Iraqi chicken wings...
All these memories will be lost in time
like tears in rain

Good Morning, Leanan

Excellent compilation of articles.

From Ray McGovern-a Dirty Hippy. Right from the beginning.


But a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit forced the Commerce Department to turn over task force documents, including a map of Iraqi oilfields, pipelines, refineries, terminals, and potential areas for exploration; a Pentagon chart “Foreign Suitors for Iraqi Oilfield Contracts;” and another chart detailing Iraqi oil and gas projects—all dated March 2001.

On the 60 Minutes, program on December 15, 2002, Steve Croft asked then-defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld, “What do you say to people who think this [the coming invasion of Iraq] is about oil?” Rumsfeld replied:

“Nonsense. It just isn’t. There—there—there are certain............. things like that, myths that are floating around. I’m glad you asked. I—it has nothing to do with oil, literally nothing to do with oil.”

Arkansaw of Samuel L Clemens

Re: Inflationary spiral could spell an end to era of cheap food

So it begins. This is just a taste of the future as Peak Oil induces an ever upward oil price spiral. The market's natural response to shortage, which is, to "ration by price". We've already experienced the spiral twice, after the OPEC Oil Embargo and after the Iranian Crisis. But, those were short term events and we muddled thru (unless you were a farmer who lost his farm or a worker who lost his career). We all gotta eat and the die back from demand destruction will be the result of business as usual when TSHTF. The only hope to minimize the damage is rationing and there's little hope we will see that in time, given the politics of the matter.

E. Swanson

What I find interesting is that people complain about the price of staples, like bread and pasta. But I suspect the greatest shock is yet to come - increases in the price of meat which I suppose would lead to more and more meals with no meat involved. Or perhaps reductions in the portion sizes, which our society could really use.

I tried to interest my girlfriend in a vegetarian restaurant that is nearby - I have tried it a couple of times on my own, and the things I have tried so far seem pretty good. Unfortunately she is a meat-and-potatoes kind of girl. The first time I brought it up, she suggested some other place where she could get ribs.

According to WorldWatch:

"The raising of animals for food is behind virtually every major category of environmental damage now threatening the future of humans - deforestation, erosion, fresh water scarcity, air and water pollution, climate change, biodiversity loss, social injustice, the destabilization of communities, and the spread of disease.”

They go on to say in this report that raising animals for food creates more

The price of meat cannot go up fast enough, imho. It is perhaps more subsidized than even the automobile.


you might want to correct your statement.
it's not just raising animals for food, it's the modern industrialized version of doing it thats the problem.

You may want to clarify what it is you mean, and provide an actual argument.

I have never seen any evidence that livestock production anywhere near current scale could done in a way that improves on the status quo or is sustainable.

I deplore modern factory farming, but don't think there is any way to improve efficiencies in a non-industrial farming context. While it would be much better for the animals, it would likely be even more resource intensive.

Reducing the impact of livestock production on the climate can not be done without reducing the quantity of livestock raised and consumed.

Meat eating above a certain level is consumerism, just like using more oil than needed is.

I find it hypocritical that so many who point fingers blaming others for non-sustainable use of fuel so adamantly deny that they are equally complict with their non-sustainable consumption of meat.

You are right, there is no sensible way for most people to have meat with every meal after cheap fossil fuel.

Meat does however have a place in this world. On a small farm, an animal can inconspicuously graze grass or eat leftover human foods, and its meat is by far the most protein and nutrient dense, easily preservable food available to the small farmer.

Before agriculture, the same was true of herd animals who were hunted for their meat, skin and bones.

Chickens produce eggs and they'll eat whatever bugs don't have the sense to stay out of their way. Anything green and growing is fair game, too, so you've got to keep them out of the garden. Eggs and beans are going to be two key protein sources post peak.

The industrial farms won't survive and it'll go back to how it was when I was a kid. We'd get two hundred chicks at the beginning of spring. The males were promptly processed once they were large enough and a hundred surviving females hung out with one very busy rooster producing lots and lots of eggs. We sold a couple of dozen eggs a day at $0.50 a dozen after we'd eaten our fill. Their droppings were periodically spread on the neighbor's field, but I imagine those end up in my expanded garden going forward.

If the rest of the world can refrain from flying to bits I think things are going to be just fine here in the land that time forgot ...

"I think things are going to be just fine here in the land that time forgot ..."

Which is where? Just curious :)

"God is just an invisible friend for adults. Just-in-time techno fixes are their security blankets."

Another thing you won't see on an industrial farm....

Cannabidiol May be Effective in Preventing Bovine Spongiforme Enzephalopathy (Mad Cow Disease)

It's worked for me.

I agree. I don't have any issue with meat consumption as such. I do have problems with the conditions animals are subjected to as well as the detruction of the environmnet and waste of energy that comes from meat heavy, processed foods.

I just don't think it is fair to cast cars as a great evil and give the microwave dinner a free pass. I think diminishing energy resources will change the way we eat as much as the way we move around.

We are going to have to get used to not being able to hop in the SUV everytime we want to go anywhere and not being able to pop into McDonald's when we want a bite to eat.

Actually, I see this as fairly optimistic. The massive waste implicit in our current lifestyles means that there is a lot of low hanging fruit on the consumption side of the equation.

I do wish we were better planners, but expect that the only way these changes will take place is when the energy-intensive activities become expensive.

Blackwater security firm has been kicked out of Iraq following a Sunday incident.

Then the State Dept and other US Diplomats go as well
because Blackwater does their security.

If Blackwater goes, the US goes.

Arkansaw of Samuel L Clemens

Blackwater will have lots of work to do in North America in the year or two.

Doing what, armed robbery?

Another link to it, I was about to post the story:

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

DIYer is right - they're stung badly by this, assuming they don't manage to get it reversed or diffuse the people away to different operations. How do we get Congress to dismantle it while in transit so it doesn't reappear here?

We are the militia and the private army of some religious fanatic is not welcome in our lands.

I *HATE* Blackwater after some run-ins here in New Orleans post-Katrina !

Mercenaries ought not be used, especially on US soil !


Blackwater was used because the New Orleans police fled. They were there faster than FEMA. The worst things one can say about Blackwater in NO have been the case for decades with regular police forces in cities such as LA. At least Blackwater was well equipped. While I'm not defending either Blackwater or the use of Blackwater domestically, we shouldn't make the non-story of Blackwater after Katrina to be something it wasn't.

Discussion of this topic inevitably leads to someone invoking Halliburton/Blackwater concentration camps. This country didn't have any trouble setting up such facilities in the aftermath of Pearl Harbor. Without the help of either organization.

Blackwater was NOT "in there first". They came in later as an Occupation force and a despicable one at that. And about 80% of NOPD stayed at their posts (as did NOFD).

The Coast Guard were the shining heroes in the week following Katrina. Both the local unit and reinforcements from outside. they flew first, longer and harder than any other group of helos. It is a shame that Bush gave them no Unit Commendation Medals or individual honors.


I just think the real reason people don't like Blackwater is because they were started by Eric Prince (aka "right-wing fundamentalist Christian from a powerful Michigan Republican family") and his ties to the Bushes. Not because of anything in particular that they have done. There are hundreds of private security firms in Iraq. All kinds of organizations contract to the US government.

The real reason people don't like Blackwater (or any mercenary outfit for that matter) is they nothing more than goons with guns for hire.

Right. But this is not either surprising or alarming. Some people don't like guns or goons. Some people don't like the police. Kent State? Rodney King? Hell's Angels at Altamont?

Again - just posted this link, but it's relevant here - I think THIS is the reason people don't like Blackwater:


It isn't just who Prince is, it's what his vision is too. Don't forget this guy was behind one of the largest non military build up of arms during the Clinton years to fight against the government if they didn't toe some unspecified right wing line.
All these memories will be lost in time
like tears in rain

The Coasties are the real heroes all over the country. I just wish they weren't subsumed into Homeland Security. They have been shoehorned everywhere-the Dept of Commerce, or an agency in the Dept of Transportation. And shine wherever, at least to now, in service to the country. They are the oldest service in the country.

A recent Hollywood movie the Guardian, even if you don't care for Kevin Cosner, is worth seeing. They continually risk life and limb in the worst conditions for anyone, not just in movies.

I never got why this movie was panned. It was no cornier than any star-vehicle action movie.

I actually though it was great, and a good relection on the Coast Guard. I recommend watching it.
All these memories will be lost in time
like tears in rain

"The scale of operations during the Katrina response defies imagination and the statistics generated are almost unbelievable. Search and rescue operations alone saved 24,135 lives from imminent danger, usually off the roofs of the victims’ homes as flood waters lapped at their feet. Coast Guardsmen “evacuated to safety” 9,409 patients from local hospitals. In total, 33,545 souls owed their lives to the men and women of the nation’s oldest continuous-going sea service, nearly equaling the number of persons the Coast Guard saves during a calendar year."



Sure, the gummint didn't need Halliburton back in those days because the administration wasn't filled with hapless incompetents and cronies.

And I don't think there was any need to have heavily armed mercenaries roaming the streets of NOLA. The people needed help and supplies, not intimidation. I can certainly understand Alan's (and other residents') dim view of Blackwater after that. But remember that Blackwater was there on contract - politicians made the decision to put them there.

Discussion of this topic inevitably leads to someone invoking Halliburton/Blackwater concentration camps. This country didn't have any trouble setting up such facilities in the aftermath of Pearl Harbor.

Via: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Executive_Order_9066

Executive Order 9066 was finally rescinded by Gerald Ford on April 19, 1976. In 1980, Jimmy Carter signed legislation to create the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians (CWRIC). The CWRIC was appointed to conduct an official governmental study of Executive Order 9066, related wartime orders and their impact on Japanese Americans in the West and Alaska Natives in the Pribilof Islands.

In 1983, the CWRIC issued its findings in Personal Justice Denied, concluding that the incarceration of Japanese Americans had not been justified by military necessity. Rather, the report determined that the decision to incarcerate was based on "race prejudice, war hysteria, and a failure of political leadership." Lastly, the Commission recommended legislative remedies consisting of an official Government apology; redress payments of $20,000 to each of the survivors; and a public education fund to help ensure that this would not happen again (Public Law 100-383).

On August 10, 1988, the Civil Liberties Act of 1988, based on the CWRIC recommendations, was signed into law by Ronald Reagan. On November 21, 1989, George H.W. Bush signed an appropriation bill authorizing payments to be paid out between 1990 and 1998. In 1990, surviving internees began to receive individual redress payments and a letter of apology.

Letter of Apology makes it sound like you are pimp'n for a bad idea.

I think THIS is the end game here for Private Military Contractors (to pimp an essay of mine on the topic):


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

Interesting essay, btw.

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

"Blackwater will have lots of work to do in North America in the year or two."

They have lots of work in North America now. And it's not what you think. They run one of the most sought after training facilities in the country for both law enforcement and special forces. What makes it so special? Decent firing ranges.


Strangely their main page is down right now. Hmm.

Blackwater and the other contractors were hired for two major reasons:
1. An attempt to camoflage from the Congress and the people of the US exactly how many combat troops the US had in Iraq. In Viet Nam thousands of US soldiers were used for jobs done by Haliburton-kitchens, truck driving, warehousing, ect.Now US troops are all front line, and the thugs work for the security services.
2. As mercenaries, Blackwater isn't bound by the combat rules that keeps US troops from torture and murder. They provide "plausible deniability' for all kinds of evil. They kidnap Iraqiis for CIA extreme rendition. They were very much present at Abu Ghraib, yet none of them have been arrested or tried, and I feel certain many hundreds of atrocities in the war.

But with the Bush League you always need to watch the money. Bush's grandfather was chairman of the board of Dresser, which became a large part of Haliburton. George H.W. Bush had Cheney appointed as CEO of Haliburton as a reward for loyal service in times past because his family still owns controling interest. The Haliburton job was Cheney's first and only job outside of the oil business.

I'll bet if you check that the Bush family and the Carlysle Group are large investors in Blackwater Bob Ebersole

Actually Blackwater was funded by Prince's personal fortune. However doesn't invalidate your other points.
All these memories will be lost in time
like tears in rain

notalemming, a agree. I recommend reading the links to excerpts from Naomi Klein's book "The Shock Doctrine" (at the end of Sharon Astyk's artcle in Drumbeat). Klein presents evidence that the Chicago School Neocoms applaud the kind of "creative destruction" that occurred in New Orleans and Iraq because it provides a "blank slate" for privatization. If this is true, it is resonable to expect the corporatocracy to encourage riots in American cities WTSHTF.

The next bubble: police state privatized security, privatized surveilance, privatized prisons, privatized "educational reform", privatized rebuilding after the food riots....well, you get the picture.

Errol in Miami

At last--an exit strategy.

>Then the State Dept and other US Diplomats go as well
because Blackwater does their security.
If Blackwater goes, the US goes.

Unlikely. Its much more likely that Blackwater will operate through another organization. ie people, different name.

This is good, but better yet how do we kick them out of the U.S.?

This is the best news I've seen in a while - the Iraqi government just handed a gift to our Democratic Congress, may they beg, borrow, or steal enough spinal material to make use of it.

Interesting story. The Interior Minister and what army were going to kick them out? It makes one wonder why he hasn't revoked the licenses of Al Qaeda and the Sunni and Shiite militias.

Here is the most famous incident, described in detail in the recent book, "Blackwater."


It'll be a nice demonstration of the concept of sovereignty and its practical limits if Maliki goes ahead with this.

Another talking point to be dropped into the memory hole.

It makes one wonder why he hasn't revoked the licenses of Al Qaeda and the Sunni and Shiite militias.

Might that be because they don't have licenses to revoke?

If you have links to show otherwise, I'd love to see 'em.

They're not properly licensed? Shocking. Maliki should definitely throw the bunch of them out of the country then.

Article 317 pararaph z of the 2nd draft of the Iraqi Oil Law specifically states that all insurgent groups must be properly licensed and tested for TB within the last year.

You are new to this Internet thing. I asked for links.

Sorry. You don't have much of a sense of humor, do you?

Just like Rush Limbaugh - when he gets called on something he claims that he was just trying to be funny. That it was a joke.

If you couldn't see that that was a joke from the start there is something wrong with you.

Yea, just like when you are talking about the history of detention camps - its all funny!

I'm glad you think so. I'm also happy you found the link to the WWII detention camps on your own. I don't think I would have had the patience to prove that happened :)

And once again, your post just supports the 'I was wrong so I'll call it a joke' position.

When I read it, I thought it was obviously a sarcastic joke, and got a chuckle out of it. Sometimes it does seem you might be a tad too literal. Maybe you haven't been getting enough sarcanol?

I think you are both being funny.

It was fairly clear that Echelon was pointing to the irony of BlackWater having their license to make war revoked by the Iraqi government.


Side bet says this little kerfluffel is hushed up,paid off,and out of the news inside 48 hrs

I would tend to agree. But mostly because there are bigger stories in the news. Like O.J. Simpson. But more specifically, 8 dead civilians and the fact that Blackwater uses guns is hardly even news in a country where insane amounts of random violence are the norm (The U.S. or Iraq).

22 people are shot to death every day in the States. 8 in Iraq? Probably every hour.

Hard to expect much better when 10 year olds have AK-47s.

BREAKING: Britney Spears to lose kids... look over there... no really LOOK!!! (If you google you can find pictures of her hoo-hoo)

Blackwater was never in Iraq... if you are going to believe what those Left Wing Conspiracy Theorists will tell you then you are with the terrorists...

Now here's a squirrel that can waterski...
All these memories will be lost in time
like tears in rain

This morning, the CNBC talking head at the Nymex had a fleeting reference to the Export Land Model (ELM), without naming it as such. She quoted Jeff Rubin's report that consumption in many exporting countries was rising rapidly, endangering their oil export capacity.

Opec's production capacity to rise 4.68% by 2009

{sarconal drip on...}
In other news, the US has announced that its oil production capacity has increased to 14 mbpd, but that market prices are not sufficiently high to warrant putting that capacity online at the present time. The US intends to use its 9mbpd of extra capacity to continue its role as swing producer of oil...
{sarconal drip off...}

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

Back to my "Assume The Opposite Theory," to-wit, regarding Peak Oil, if one wants to ascertain the truth regarding our energy situation, one should generally, at least for now, assume the opposite of what public officials say about energy related matters.

Perhaps Greenspan, being out office, felt free to tell the truth.

Pakistan wants to buy 1 million tons of wheat.

Who will supply it?

Pakistan's Wheat Crisis Ignites Blame Game


This article sounds like Stalin 1928 and the Kulaks.

Arkansaw of Samuel L Clemens

India imported 3 million tonnes of wheat last year and is planning to import 5 million tonnes this year. This is happening when Australia, Argentina, Ukraine and possibly Russia have no wheat to export. I think we will see an export land crisis in food and grain exports very soon.

We talk a lot about oil export and usage here but much less about food. Agriculture depends on oil ... and oil producing countries, for the most part, depend on foreign agriculture. We chatter about "eating oil" but I know who will be not eating first in this episode of Cats In A Sack ...

Peak Wheat.

Wheat throws every other crop out of cycle.

We have less idea about our wheat stocks than we do about oil.

Every Ag Minister raises production figures out of hand.

Pakistan has just moved front and center.

Blackouts, grain rationing (the word "hoarding"
in the Pakistan Press should get everyone's attention),
w/ Occupied Afghanistan right next door (who's
supplying their grain?), and. of course, nukes.

"About the raids against the hoarders, the minister said that it was a provincial subject and did not fall in the domain of the federal government.

On the other hand, the Punjab rejected the allegation of Sindh that the wheat and flour crisis in smaller provinces of the country had been created by the largest federation unit, as the federal government was of the view that two million tons of wheat had been stocked by hoarders.

Punjab Food Secretary Ahmed Yar Khan and Sheikh Muhammad Shabbir rejected as baseless and unfounded the allegations leveled by the office-bearers of the Sindh Flour Mills Association in a press conference a couple of days ago.

The officials of the Sindh Flour Mills Association had alleged that the ongoing wheat and flour crisis that had led to the record price-hike in the small provinces had been created by the Punjab government."

Lost the source. Sorry.

Arkansaw of Samuel L Clemens

Does anyone know where you can find info and graphs on food production and exports? Are we in fact past Peak Wheat or Peak Grain generally already? I've heard anecdotally that grain reserves are dropping fast. I guess my general question is do the same things apply to food as to oil? Is there an Export Land Model for food? I mean I like to drive as much as the next guy, but I like to eat more.

Yes, there is.


Linda has a great chart, but doesn't quite get it.

And this does not factor in an 8 million ton drop in Ozzie Wheat.

As a result of the diversion of record acreages of US and Brazilian corn and soybeans to bio-fuel production, food reserves are literally disappearing. Global food security, according to FAO data, is at its lowest since 1972. Curiously that was just the time that Henry Kissinger and the Nixon Administration engineered, in cahoots with Cargill and ADM—the major backers of the ethanol scam today—what was called The Great Grain Robbery, sale of huge volumes of US grain to the Soviet Union in exchange for sales of record volumes of Russian oil to the West. Both oil and corn prices rose by 1975 some 300-400% as a result. Just how that worked, I treated in detail in: A Century of War: Anglo-American Oil Politics.- F. William Engdahl


Arkansaw of Samuel L Clemens

"I like to drive as much as the next guy, but I like to eat more."

Yeah, but guess what, the Ethanol gets shipped to China where they get a better price, so you don't get to do either.


There's a large batch of information available thru the UN FAO:


Also, the Worldwatch Institute's yearly State of the World report is full of information. Look at Table 1-3, page 13 and Figure 1-3, page 14:


The important metric is grain production per capita, not just total grain production. China and India's grow economy allows their populations to consume more meat per capita, which implies that their grain consumption per capita will increase faster than their population increase.

E. Swanson

Thanks y'all!

Unless there is famine on some food exporting country, there will hardly be something like ELM. Our consuption of food is limited, and stockpiling isn't as easy as oil. Of course, if there is famine, expect the affected people to continuously afford more food, leading to an ELM.

Also, I'd like to clarify that Brazil has being incresing the planted area of grains at the same time that the area of canae is increased. We still have some ununsed land, and as food gets more expensive, expect us to use it.

Unless there is famine on some food exporting country, there will hardly be something like ELM.

There is no famine in formerly wheat exporting countries.
They still stopped exporting wheat to keep domestic prices under control.

Internal consuption didn't grow. What let the exportings reducing just the same amount that production was reducing. Contrary to ELM.

ELM says that internal consuption explodes, so exports fall much faster than production.

But keep whatching. There are some food exporting countries where there is famine.

I suspect the Export Land Model for oil works just as well... plug in your own numbers and assumptions... but the principle works

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

Not so sure about this. There are historical counter-examples, such as the Irish potato famine where Ireland continued to export food to Great Britain even though people all over Ireland were starving - literally to death.

In fact, you could argue that an oil exporting nation that has other needs, such as food, may continue to export some amounts of oil at all costs in order to obtain the food in exchange.

But Ireland was a colony at the time.

Which is how Mexico will be defined if it tries
to export oil in 08.

An oil for food program indeed.

Arkansaw of Samuel L Clemens

What's critical here is what every mainstream media story on Pakistan misses:

Pakistan is not a real country.

The name itself is an acronym:

P for Punjab
A for Afghania
K for Kashmir
I for the Indus Valley

It's as artificial as no-cal sweetener.

This is why it's absurd to claim that Islamist extremists are about to overthrow the government and conquer the entire country, and thus its nuclear arsenal, all at once. The conflicts are between different peoples who were never fairly represented by the central government and don't even speak the same language. The Army manufactured its own brand of Islamist extremism to get those sweet Saudi handouts and strengthen the rationale for acronym-land's existence. And the Army recruits heavily from the Pashtun hillbillies near the Afghan border. Not surprising that outnumbered Pashtuns came to embrace hard-line Islamism as a way of expressing or redirecting their sense of alienation from Pakistan's peon/sweatshop economy.

But when it gets to be about which provincial government has enough electricity or enough food, that's when regional conflicts hardly need to co-opt religious factionalism to achieve resort to violence. No one is loyal to the Army once food is on the line. We need to find out what the media won't explore: how will Pakistan fall apart into Punjabstan, Kashmirstan, Indusstan and whatever the hell we call the Pashtun blob that spills over into the equally fake country of Afghanistan. Then we can worry where the warheads are located. The only way nukes are getting into the hands of Pashtun Islamists is if the Army hands them over, and no one has done more to enable the Army than the United States of America.

The name itself is an acronym:

Not true. "Pak" in Urdu means "pure" and "stan" means "land". "Pakistan" means "land of the pure".

I agree with the rest of your post.

The real danger is that some Major or General or Brigadier might take matters in his own hands and launch a nuke without Musharraf's approval. I don't think they have a sophisticated command and control system that could prevent launch by a rogue officer.

You mean as opposed to our sophisticated command and control system that would never allow our nuclear weapons to be moved or handled without layers of approval and certainly would never allow them to be loaded externally on the wings of a B-52 and flown across the country accidentally?

The Air Force Academy is totally infested with this Christian Embassy bunch ... take the next step, vtfarmer, and talk about religious extremists here with nuclear weapons.

If forced to choose I'd take the Muslims over the Christians - I can revert to Islam (one is born Muslim and goofs) and get into Sufism, and I can toss a stone from where I stand and hit their beliefs. The Christians are downright scary, with this whole burning at the stake for heretics and the end of days myth ...

Hi SCT--

I am not aware of the "Christian Embassy", but the Academy certainly had a lot of Christian ministries when I was there (as well as mandatory chapel), and there have recently been scandals associated with pressure by the chain of command to attend prayer groups, bible study, etc. I still have a hard time making the leap to fearing religious zealots in the AF wielding nuclear weapons to further Christianity (but I am naive about many things relating to human nature, and I sure can't explain how nukes were loaded on a B-52 without the higher ups finding out about it). I know zip about muslim beliefs, but became a 'born-again' Christian at the Academy long enough to have gotten fairly well acquainted with scripture (although not the book of Revelations) but have since moved on.


I dated an army reserve captain and she was positively inflamed over this sort of thing. Her unit was a small specialty detachment and she set the tone there but she fretted about the overall attitude within the military. The lines between the rule of the law and the rules in Leviticus appear to be blurring with each passing day ...

Well, I will continue to live in my fantasy world and believe that even if their evangelical nature causes them to minister inappropriately, they still don't believe in furthering the 'end times' or the cause of Christianity with war. It's bad enough they are still willing to follow 'orders' (to perform a tour of duty in Iraq) without questioning the legitimacy (or lawfulness to use the military term) of those orders.

I find this whole issue very alarming. It's not a coincidence. Evangelicals are trying to take over the country piece by piece. And the culture of the military makes it hard to resist peer pressure, let alone pressure from higher-ups.

Hi Leanan--

You are right: the culture of the military makes it especially hard to resist pressure from superiors, and the pressure put on people regarding Christianity is troubling to me also. But there is also still a strong culture about initializing the use of force. Although under GW, we are far more willing to adopt a first-strike strategy than in the past, the resistance to that approach is still ingrained in the current military (not civilian) leadership. So, hopefully, with a change in administration, we can return to an appropriate use of force.

But I agree with your concerns about the evangelicals, and not just for the military. Our people are becoming very complacent and are willing either to be told what to do and when (thanks to the advertising business for conditioning us) or to ignore what is going on and pretend it isn't happening (shades of late-Weimar Germany). At a minimum, we are exceedingly averse to critical thinking and analysis, and that puts us at risk from the evangelicals.


PublicEye.org provides as good a taxonomy as I've seen for the American Right. Christian Evangelicals are not monolithic - as I recall the big split is pre-millennial/post-millennial. One group believes they make the world a great place then Jesus comes, the other believes Jesus comes and then the golden millennium begins.

I believe there those who would happily instigate a nuclear conflict with Iran, believing that this would somehow bring them "rapture".


Interesting link. I like the WOG (Word of God) acronym; it reminds me of WAG (Wild Ass Guess). Maybe it's a freudian connection.

In the Air Force in Basic, If you did not go to church services on Sunday Morning you remained in the Barracks mopping floors and cleaning bathrooms. I don't remember there being a choice beyond Christian or Jewish. This was Decades ago, so things may have changed now. We didn't fill out our paperwork til after the first Sunday so I said I was Buddhist and request a place to meditate while everyone was at church. They called me 'Ching-ching' but let me have my space instead of cleaning bathrooms.

This is all baloney. Evangelicals are not about to take over the country (I am an evangelical). On the contrary, over the last 50 years, the culture in the U.S. has moved in a direction almost entirely contrary to the values of evangelicals: 50 years ago, there was no legal abortion and no one even dreamed of homosexual marriage, most states had blue laws, laws against legalized gambling, there was no need for a movie rating system in Hollywood because everything was so square, etc. Many more examples can be given. Since evangelical values have been almost completely steamrolled out of the public square, it should not be surprising to find that the evangelicals have tried to push back a little through the political process. For the most part, it's not working. As far as the military is concerned, 50 years ago, everyone at a military academy had to attend chapel (Protestant Catholic or Jewish). They don't have to do that any more.

sufis really are interesting in their beliefs and if forced under pain of the sword to take Islam it's certainly an interesting route

people with my views though, they execute us...
All these memories will be lost in time
like tears in rain

Source? According to this, it is true.

... Pakistan is a bit of an exception; its name was coined in 1933 using the suffix -istan from Baluchistan preceded by the initial letters of Punjab, Afghanistan, and Kashmir. ...

They were apparently careful to choose and order the letters to spell out the word for "pure"; strained acronyms are created all the time and all across the world.

And cobbling together unsustainable states out of incompatible nations was common practice during de-colonialization. And we aren't allowed to criticize it, since it is now a deeply held tenet of Political Correctness that one ought to dump nations together within states, utterly without regard to whether they can actually get along with each other.

Except that they 'were' India until decolonisation was apparent. Then a pain in the arse subset wanted their own place, caused a stink [and much bloodshed], complained after they got what they asked for that we had given them it too quickly!..then fell out in their own country and split into 2..My sympathy to the indians, the Banladeshis etc. but they were largely looking for trouble from day -1

Just like Palestine/Israel etc IMNSHO

suyog, a retired Pakistani Bigadier General has already proposed nuclear strikes to reduce the population. An excerpt:

"There is no future here, and we need to start over. So many people think that. Have you been to the villages of Pakistan, the interior? There is nothing but dire poverty and pain. The children have no education; there is nothing to look forward to."

He is deadly serious, and has more to say:

Allah help them.

Errol in Miami

I read that many years ago. He must be crazy if he thinks that the solution to poverty and hopelessness is a nuclear war.

It had been my observation that he never attempted to hide this particular truth. In fact, he has made reference to looming energy problems (read Peak Oil) while addressing Congress, more than once. I loved watching him present to Congress, he was so much ahead of all of them intellectually it was laughable. Obfuscation? Nah, just take your time, work through the transcripts, he had the handle alright. View it from the right perspective, willing to work at reading between the lines.

I believe Greenie had it figured out for some time, probably at least 8 or 9 years now. His dive of the interest rate was a calculated move to kick the economy into high gear one last time to prepare it for the worst ahead.

The problems in mortgage-land were most likely foreseen, he had to know there are unscrupulous people everywhere, but particularly high concentrations gather around money-troughs, er, banks. But he likely saw it as a necessary side effect.

His 'abdication' came at the time when he saw his job was mainly done. What can a man in that position accomplish now?

I do think he would now be most helpful in the upper echelon of the military, lol. They are going to need every brain cell available from here on out.

If you speak in riddles, one can interpret them to mean whatever you want, paticularly after the fact. He did some good things, but always did the same thing - slash interest rates if there is any problem, at all cost keep the markets happy, not least because they can do no wrong. In his irrational exuberance phase he rejected the idea of reducing leverage in buying stocks... thereby doing nothing ot avoid the dotcom crash. This, in turn, led him to drop interest rates to negative territory, then neglected to concern himself regarding borrowers ability to pay, thereby leading to the present crisis.

Could have done much better. Bernanke looks to be better, but the bar is not very high.

But Greenspan took a major political hit from his 'irrational exuberance' speech and bowed to the pressure, thereby showing the Fed was not the independent body it was claimed to be. And Bernanke's basic position is that the Great Depression was extended needlessly due to tight monetary policies (primarily continued adherence to the gold standard--i.e. economies that decoupled from gold earlier had earlier recoveries). So his first instinct will be to continue lowering interest rates to deal with the recession/depression. His problem is the amount of our debt held by foreign countries: as his lowers interest paid on a devaluing dollar, why should they roll over their treasuries as they come due? Maybe GW can declare that not buying U.S. treasuries is an act of terrorism, and we will bomb countries until they buy more.

Interesting program on US Sub Prime Market on ABC Australia 4 Corners.


This is the juiciest Drum Beat so far in the two months I've been reading.

Venezuela will no longer keep dollar reserves but instead move to yen and euro. Not unexpected but *gulp* there it is.

PEMEX resumes service. But if they're on a forty five day cycle of blasts how many more before factories start to close?

Someone the Republicans can't swiftboat has called them on their BS. Say what you will about motivation, when Alan talks, people listen.

The end of cheap meat is the end of fast food is the end of the tier of employment keeping many from the streets. Coming soon to an urban area near you - a United States' interpretation of Mexican tortilla riots.

Gonna go hide under the bed now ... y'all have a nice day here.

The end of cheap meat is the end of fast food is the end of the tier of employment keeping many from the streets. Coming soon to an urban area near you - a United States' interpretation of Mexican tortilla riots.

From flipping houses to flipping burgers to .... flipping tofu?

No, tofu comes from soy which requires oil to grow. I think the next step in that progression is flipping police cars, which four adult men can do, so long as they rock it a few times to get up the kinetic energy required to get it up on its side. I saw this done in fun during student riots at Iowa State a few decades ago ... the next time it happens it'll be deadly serious :-(

Actually, it is perfectly possible to grow soy without oil. Indeed, there is a fairly large market already for organically grown soybeans (check out the Silk company). Now while it is true that it still requires oil to transport the soy products, that isn't quite the same thing.

On a side note - do you really think Americans have it in them to sustain any police car flipping? I think it unlikely, but I'm willing to be convinced otherwise.

Organic soy beans are grown with oil just like conventionally grown ones. It is possible to grow food without oil - in very small quantities in your backyard. Not going to feed the masses that way.

Care to explain this? You can't get certified organic if you are using either NG based fertilizers or petrochemicals.

But, gee, small quantities? maybe you're on to something there. ;-)

But you can grow organic with these thingies called "tractors." As I seem to recall they use this substance called "oil" to lubricate their engine parts and provide the feedstock to make a fuel called "diesel."

- Scott
"Try sour grapes; you might like them."

you are correct - but the original statement was that soy "required" oil. That is why I asked SolarDude to explain when he changed the formulation to soybeans "are" grown with oil. If you'll note, I acknowledged the role of transportation in soybean distribution

Again - a good argument for going small? Let's face it, the entirety of modern agriculture is dependent on oil. But that doesn't mean you can't do agriculture without it.

In typical mass-production organic agriculture like the Silk company you referred to massive quantities of oil are used to plow the fields, plant the crops, harvest the crops, process the soybeans into soy milk or whatever, tranport the finished products to market, package the product, refrigeration, and so on. There's really no difference in oil use between mass-produced organic agriculture and conventional agriculture.

Now I grow soybeans in my garden using my own compost and hand tools. I do use a little propane to cook them with I admit.

Around here I've noticed that the organic is also irrigated. That takes fossil fuels too, and uses water which is in limited supply.

[It is possible to grow food without oil - in very small quantities in your backyard. Not going to feed the masses that way.]

You can increase the scale slightly using horses or oxen (see yesterday's link to the article on Fair Winds Farm), but it won't feed the numbers of people we have today. It will help locally though.

I've watched police cars go inverted over nothing more than the irrational exuberance of youth. Do I think that what happened in New Orleans will play out in every big urban area once times get tough? Yes, to the degree that I packed up and got out of a small urban area ahead of the troubles ... I wasn't silly enough to think I'd get twelve years, but I was really hoping for twelve months to prep. Seems like twelve weeks may be a more accurate estimate ...

I hate tofu, and big AG is clearing out the peasants in Paraguay just so they can convert it all to soy production.
Being forced to eat Tofu is my idea of Hell.

And remember, Monday is Soylent White Day!

Tell me this future is not happening.

I'm going out for a steak and a jar of strawberry preserves.

I've said before that the dollar will be unaffected by decisions by certain parties to require oil payments in Yen or Euros. However, decisions like the one in Venezuela to move dollar reserves to Yen or Euros are different, and will have the effect of weakening the dollar. Venezuela by itself will not make a big impact, but if other larger actors follow suit, it will.

Venezuela has been blamed by the Mexican intelligence services for stirring up the guys who bombed the pipelines. The US froze the assets of Iran in the US after the overthrow of the Shah and the Iranian hostage crisis. Likewise they froze the asets of Iraq after the invasion of Kuwait. The Iraqii assets were given to the new puppet government last year, but were frozen for about 15 years. The Iranian assets are still frozen.

Also, ConnocoPhillips has threatened to sue over the "expropriation" and if they win the assets can be attached. They might even be frozen by a court order.

So my guess is the Venezuelans are repatriating their money while they can do so. Bob Ebersole

Hi Bob,

re: "The Iraqii assets were given to the new puppet government last year..."

Or...given to... someone...or, something.

From www.DemocracyNow.org for
Wednesday, September 12th, 2007
Billions Over Baghdad: How Did $9B in Cash Airlifted From the Fed to Iraq Go Missing?

One month after the invasion of Iraq, the United States began airlifting planeloads of cash to Baghdad. Between April 2003 and June 2004, a total of $12 billion dollars of US currency was shipped to Iraq where it was to be dispensed by the Coalition Provisional Authority for reconstruction. To date, at least $9 billion dollars cannot be accounted for. In a startling new expose in Vanity Fair, Pulitzer Prize winning investigative journalists Donald Barlett and James Steele follow the money trail from the Federal Reserve to Iraq.


from "Mammoth Dung..."

"U.S. government statistics show mankind emits about 7 billion tonnes of carbon a year.

"Permafrost areas hold 500 billion tonnes of carbon, which can fast turn into greenhouse gases," Zimov said.

(((holy crap!)))

Or maybe unholy crap. ;-)

I fear climate change is happening a lot faster than even the pessimistic among us believe.

Gristmill posted about a Science article arguing that even scientists are underestimating the impact of climate change.

...The estimated uncertainty in this effect is based largely on models that omit a number of poorly understood processes, such as feedbacks on carbon contained in permafrost; changes in marine ecosystem structure; and responses to land-use history, nutrient limitation, and air-pollution effects. These models also share similar assumptions about the temperature sensitivity of carbon fluxes from soils based on experimental results that cannot be reliably scaled to the ecosystem level. A fuller accounting of uncertainty would be more appropriate ...

Maybe the movie "The Day After Tomorrow" wasn't quite as hyperbolic as critics claimed.

The Cryosphere Today's most recent reports document that we have reached record lows in Arctic sea ice at the same time that we have reached record highs in Antarctic sea ice (see September 12th entry). In other words, extremes of weather (and climate) appear to be starting to oscillate into wider and more violent bands of differences. This is exactly the sort of scenario that Dr. Lovelock has been speaking about when he says that homo sapiens will be reduced to "a few million breeding pairs" scavenging a meager existence near the Arctic circle by 2100.

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

Reading your post about the sea ice at the poles brought to mind some (what I assumed to be )nonsense I saw the other day about a change in the Earth's axis. The writer was suggesting that a change in the axis was responsible for the weird weather the planet is witnessing. Also that the changes would be concentrated at the poles and the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn would relocate nearer the poles.

My assumption was that a change in the axis tilt would have been noticed and reported therefore the story was nonsense. I assume actual observations and measurements are made and that astronomers et al, don't simply rely on pre-calculated tables. Apart from that though, it does seem a bit uncanny from a purely theoretical point of view.

With almost the entire scientific community on the same side of the boat regarding climate change, I do sometimes wonder about such unanimous certainty.

The earth's tilt moves on a 27,000 year cycle and is referred to as precession - like a top winding down. This is a very well known motion and any sudden changes would be immediately known globally. A major asteroid impact is the only thing I can think of that would do something like that.

We are due for a magnetic pole flip and in fact magnetic pole strength has been dropping dramatically in recent decades ... but there is little or no correlation between this and temperature in either direction.

'We are due for a magnetic pole flip and in fact magnetic pole strength has been dropping dramatically in recent decades...but there is little or no correlation between this and temperature in either direction.'

SCT, there is absolutely no evidence to support your contention that 'there is little or no correlation between this and temperature in either direction.'

No pole shift has occured during written history. Absolutely no one knows what happened or what will happen during a pole shift...But, a little common sense should alert us that the huge quantity of metal in the earths core is going to respond to a pole shift in some manner...And, there are many volcanic lava sites that have been tested for magnetic orientation during pole shifts. The results have shown wide divergence in magnetic variation within a few hours of the lava erupting and cooling...Suggesting that the eruptions may have been linked to the pole shifts. Pole shifts might be accompanied by a great deal of volcanic activity...No one knows at this time.

I don't think you can even say there's a causal relation btw eruptions and magnetic activity.

It's just that geologists have gone to places like Hawaiʻi where lava spewage is more or less continuous. They found what amounts to a tape recording of the magnetosphere. It shows a series of flips, with brief bursts of chaos punctuating long intervals of apparent stability. The lava merely records the activity over time.

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

I agree re: volcanic issues - who knows what might happen there. I think not a lot, but I'm less of a geologist than I am a climatologist.

My concern is that this stuff will get all swirled in with that "Mars is warming, too" nonsense ... there is an astonishing lack of knowledge in this country that goes hand in hand with the endemic lack of critical thinking, present company excepted.

in fact magnetic pole strength has been dropping dramatically in recent decades ...

Didn't you see "The Core" where he used the flammable spray can and an orange as the earth? We need our magnetic field to protect us from solar radiation.

"The Core" was really funny. The Earth's magnetic field shunts the solar electrons and protons into the polar regions. Sometimes the auroral NOx produced in the upper mesosphere and lower thermosphere gets into the stratosphere if the transport conditions are right and enough of it stays in the polar night (otherwise photolysis reconverts it back to N2) and the ozone layer is negatively affected. Solar flares can dump a lot of high energy protons into the upper stratosphere, but these events are sporadic. X-rays are obviously not affected by the magnetic field. What protects us from solar radiation is the atmosphere itself.

What Global Warming Looks Like
New Report Visualizes Impact of Sea Level Rise on U.S. Coastal Cities
Architecture 2030, in a partnership with Google Maps, determined how American coastal cities would be affected by predicted sea level rise.
"Wal-Mart is investing a half billion dollars to reduce the energy consumption and CO2 emissions of their existing buildings by 20 percent over the next seven years," the report stated. "If every Wal-Mart Supercenter met this target, the CO2 emissions from only one medium-sized coal-fired power plant, in just one month of operation each year, would negate this entire effort."

"California passed legislation to cut CO2 emissions in new cars by 25 percent and in SUVs by 18 percent, starting in 2009. If every car and SUV sold in California in 2009 met this standard, the CO2 emissions from only one medium-sized coal-fired power plant, in just eight months of operation each year, would negate this entire effort."

Targets and such are generally nonsense - look up thread to the actual Drum Beat - "... a ban on petrol powered cars by 2040". It would appear we don't have thirty three months to deal with the things coming at us, let alone thirty three years.

The Wal-Mart but is slightly encouraging but the California stuff? Starting in 2009? If its a worthy goal why not get after it today, instead of setting the law to begin after the current state representation leaves office?

why not get after it today,

Shrub's EPA is in the way.

2009 model year is about next Sept or Oct. But, even if it started a year ago, one coal generator would still negate the entire new fleet in 8 months.

It is unfortunate to bring to light the threat from what is a major positive feedback loop with a headline that seems to make light of it and treat it trivially.

"Permafrost areas hold 500 billion tonnes of carbon, which can fast turn into greenhouse gases," Zimov said.

And a large part of it will come out as methane, which is another multiplier.

Hard to know whether to fear the bird flu or cheer it on at this point.

Excuse me while I go into fetal position.

This "7 billion" figure is not legitimate showing that the journalist is engaging in spin.


"In 2004 we released about 26 billion metric tons (28.7 billion U.S. tons) of CO2" by fossil fuel burning.

Permafrost holds 500 billion tons but what is the rate of release? Unless all permafrost disappears, which it will not, only a fraction of this total will be relased in the next 50 years. The burning of fossil fuels remains the main source of the problem. We are releasing more than half of this hyped permafrost total every 10 years.

As Greenish noted, the carbon in permafrost will come out as methane, which has 20x the effect on warming compared to CO2. So yes rates matter, but quite quickly they could go nonlinear in time - with really bad consequences for somebody.

I'm having a little trouble understanding the comment about Saddam getting control of the Strait of Hormouz. First, Iraq is nowhere near the Strait, and had no navy and no missles to enforce some 'blockade' even if they were. How can Alan Greenspan say that with a straight face? Sounds like he's backpedaling on that comment in his book. With all the horrible things we heard Saddam was cooking up, this is a new one to me.

A rate cut with a shoeshine and a smile
By Julian Delasantellis

That's the real function of the modern-day American central banker, to be a traveling salesman for his true employers, the US financial-services industry. That's the exact reason a Federal Reserve interest-rate cut coming out of Tuesday's Federal Reserve Board meeting is a certainty.

--From Asia Times

Edited to remove excessive quoting, and to add a link to the original article.

I will be more mindful in the future-

Of course. The Fed is privately owned/run, despite its appearance of neutrality. There are only a few people who hold stocks in the reserve banks, and they cannot be sold on the stockmarket.

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

Well, I guess the sub-text is that Iran, which does control the Northern Half of the Straits of Hormuz, may actually be in a position to do so.

Whether this is a subtle piece of advocacy for doing something about Iran's strategic leverage in this respect or is a subtle warning shot against another slice of reckless militarism is, I guess, in the eye of the beholder.

Alan was always a bit obtuse. I don't know if he's being serious or if it is perhaps some comment on Iran or what...

I didn't see this one yesterday or today, so let me add one.

Rig owners leave gulf for longer-term deals


This quote halfway down caught my eye.

But Steve Lawrence, chief executive of Clarksons Offshore in Houston, a company that brokers deals between offshore drilling companies, said the reason the gulf is being abandoned is because the reserves are drying up.

Hello TODers,

Northern Rock Share Trading Suspended

LONDON (AP) -- Shares of Northern Rock PLC, one of Britain's largest mortgage lenders, tumbled another 30 percent Monday as customers, driven by fears of insolvency, made a run on the bank and withdrew billions.
Bob Shaw in Phx,Az Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

When does it start here with Countrywide? Not ... as long as this is kept out of the MSM? Or are we going to have the decency to wait for 10/1 and the end of quarter results before we follow suit?

Hello SacredCowTipper,

Thxs for responding. Yep, amazing how fast things changed at Northern Rock--stock value just vaporized by a 'financial nuke'--I don't think a bunch of arsonists trying to burn their offices and branches could have reduced the asset value as fast as the stock-selling of nervous stockholders and savings depositers wanting their cash.

Anyhow, Northern Rock was correctly named--sunk like a stone.

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

Hello TODers,

I am not an economist, so maybe this is not relevant, but consider:

We generally think of the people queued up in a bank run as strictly depositors wanting to withdraw their hard-earned funds, plus some % in folding cash for personal liquidity.

But what if, during a widespread panic: even those with no-savings [but credit left on their banking charge cards] also queue up with the depositors to get the cold, hard cash? Is it fair for someone to borrow cash during this panic period, thereby denying a saving depositor a chance for access to his/her real funds?

I am imagining a situation, like a bad hurricane or earthquake hit, or a prolonged initial Olduvai-event, where most merchants will only conduct cash purchases due to outright power outages or frequent intermittent power.

During this period, your local, assigned bank can work from printouts to let you withdraw some cash from the valid accounts. But they could also fill outs paper forms that let creditors withdraw cash too. Couldn't this really help fuel local inflation just when necessities are hard to buy anyhow; is a local bank leveraging price-gouging by loaning cash to non-savers during a regional liquidity crunch?

Recall when the FEDs gave out credit cards in NOLA. Did this cause a lot of local inflation? I can't remember the details now, but I don't think this credit card dispersal will happen again as we go postPeak. It will be just you dealing with a local banker.

I can imagine your local bank being like the ancient banks: you deposit in the bank's vault so many bags of NPK fertilizer, or bushels of grain, then the banker takes his physical vigorish %, then issues a scrip that you can use to shop with. Thus the Walmart Superstores might be converted into the banking vaults for our postPeak future when electronic banking goes kaput. You do your shopping downtown near the railroad station and/or seaport.

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

The sh*t doesn't even start til the quarterly reports start coming in, but the propaganda on the street has been trying to put across that it's over and contained. Such BS has never been seen. Lets see where we stand come next April. November through March will feel like Winter '29-30. Then follows the next DECADE of USD collapse along with Post Peak Oil and Global Roasting.

We are going to be seeing Peak ARM Reset and unlike Peak Oil the details of this are known well in advance.


I've been misquoting - I thought the ARM resets would go up to $20B/mo starting in January and continuing into mid summer, but it appears that the $20B/mo figure is now and it shoots up to $80B/mo for about seven months - that is a full half a trillion in real live real estate ... which will be worth beans without buyers to purchase it and FF to heat, cool, and transport the owners.

I've read the phrase "wasteful suburban build out" dozens of times but its not really going to sink in, at least for me, till I see urban ghost town videos on YouTube ... rows of McMansions being stripped for glass, metal, and what can be used as fuel.

Does anyone here have a feel for whether or not Northern Rock will go under? They are still keeping the doors open, though their share price is plummeting.

The Government are now panicing as well by coming on the primetime evening news and telling the depositors not to panic ... setting a good example ... don't do as I do, do as I say!

They are changing the rules (just for now, and only for the Northern Rock!) so that no depositor will lose any money ... how about the people who bought the CDOs etc (where most of the funds have come from)? ... well that's maybe a different matter!

It seems several other banks may be wobbling as well judging by the share price drops today!

The Government says the Northern Rock is solvent ... so it must be true! ... politicians always tell the truth don't they? Anyway, they also say that the bank has plenty of cash, which is good ... so all those people still queueing will be able to take out all their money ... phew!

Apparently the public really should trust the banks (even though the banks don't trust each other, it seems, and won't lend any money amongst themselves!)


I am too lazy to look (other priorities, just like our slimy vice president) but I wonder if the wobbles have started for our banks here in the U.S.?

The whole leverage thing depends on solid assets beneath the leverage ... and deposits, such as they are in this country, would be one of those solid assets. Oh, wait, we don't save here ... proof against bank runs? We shall see ...


Adding fuel for the fire, the LIBOR is hitting relative highs due to the uncertainties caused by adjustable rate mortgage failures, but many ARMs are indexed to LIBOR so as new waves of ARMs reset, they will reset even higher (subject to annual limitations) than the ARMs that are failing now.

378 and counting?

Edit: 156... my Mac at work shows a different amount to my PC at home O.o

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

What? No comment on Sharon's article? She mentions TOD.

Isn't this the point where the cornucopians swarm out of the woodwork and declare her a full-on lunatic, a doomer?

Or has TOD reached that final stage of organizational senescence where only good news and information that comports with the corporate motto (Engineers Can Solve Anything, BY GUM!!) is allowed to be acknowledged?

Is it that blind faith and optimism, ala Reagan's "Morning in America" campaign, has finally infected this last bastion of reality-based thinkers?

No. I am afraid the outcome was never in doubt here. Technology is a sweet, sweet whore, a slut with six-inch heels and fishnet stockings, who we keep giving our treasure to in the infantile belief that she will turn into our mommy rather than Beezlbub.

I have news. Earth is your mama, not the slut.

Cherenkov: I disagree. The USA has not given the treasure to the tramp, they have given it to the pimp (Wall Street) and he takes 97% while throwing a pittance to the source of the wealth.

I thought Astyk's article was well done. The following reflects my experience.

One of the most interesting aspects of editing my own older writings on peak oil for my book is how often I find myself change "may" or "could be" or "has been predicted" to "is." That is, it is striking even to me how rapidly we have moved from the realm of prediction to observed phenomena.

Also, this speaks to me as a father:

...we probably won't ever stop the growth machine voluntarily - we *can't* - but once things fall apart, we have no choice but to start again. And as difficult as that will be, and as little as I relish it, I believe my children's future is more secure in a world where can't afford to burn as much fossil fuel as we like, and where we have to leave some resources in the ground for future generations. That may seem a small hope, but it is actually a vast one. I do not propose that peak oil will make us better people - hardly. But since we appear entirely unable to put the brakes on ourselves, I have come, reluctantly, to the conclusion that better now than later.

I found her article sincere and thoughtful and I agree with her premises. I, for one, have not been infected by blind faith and optimism, although I think my life would be easier if I were.

Tom A-B

I have to say this is my feeling on the hard crash too - it is inevitable but perhaps it will leave some resources for the future, and a chance to build SOMETHING of a functioning civilization... hopefully with the lifeboat communities imparting the message of sustainability.
All these memories will be lost in time
like tears in rain

Hello Cherenkov,

Well, as a fast crash realist, I have to agree with your points. Living in an Asphalt Wonderland in a vast desert--I expect to be an early victim--such is life.

Despite my best Peakoil Outreach efforts to alert the masses, I don't think biosolar change and protection is happening fast enough, but I could be wrong. Maybe a small window to optimize our decline still exists, otherwise the full impact of Jay Hanson's Thermo/Gene Collision will arise.

As we well know: the Grim Reaper's Wicked Blade doesn't take prisoners, but does take heads off quite well. I was hoping to mitigate his swing whereby many of us could struggle forward after only receiving a glancing blow such as a gaping gut wound or loss of a limb.

Recall my much earlier posting where we all start cutting off fingers based upon the rate of ecosystem specie extinction. I think this would wise us up pretty fast to altering our present course and greatly reduce our capability to inflict lethality upon each other. A win-win for all-->it would then be difficult to angrily swing 'Lucifer's SledgeHummer' against a foe wielding 'God's Rav4Blood' if both had fingerless stumps.

Full Credit for my speculative idea to primitive New Guinea Tribeswomen: they cutoff a finger when they lose a relative:

A Glimpse of the Stone Age

Historically, death of a relative resulted in the amputation of a woman's finger. No anesthetic was used, but the woman was slapped for distraction immediately before the ax's blow. Many of the elder women we saw had less than ten digits remaining.

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


Sorry to paint all with my often too quickly drawn broad brush.

Mr. Shaw, your insights have always been that, insights. Not hackneyed retellings of previous information but genuine analysis of information leading to new understandings. My hat is off to you, sir.

I must confess that, given the convergence of negative events and symptoms, I find little hope for anything other than a thorough and swift crash. The only question is, will we survive as a species? I had at one time believed that we must preserve the species, but now I have my doubts. As long as people continue to believe in magical physics like infinite economic growth, we will be doomed to repeated crashes and suffering. Will it end as Lovelace suggests, the Earth devolving into another sterile Mars? I hope not. Not so much for the sake of humanity but for the millions, if not billions, of species who have had no choice in this massive and ongoing ecocide.

Apparently Agent Smith was right.

The Matrix (1999)
Agent Smith: I'd like to share a revelation that I've had during my time here. It came to me when I tried to classify your species and I realized that you're not actually mammals. Every mammal on this planet instinctively develops a natural equilibrium with the surrounding environment but you humans do not. You move to an area and you multiply and multiply until every natural resource is consumed and the only way you can survive is to spread to another area. There is another organism on this planet that follows the same pattern. Do you know what it is? A virus. Human beings are a disease, a cancer of this planet. You're a plague and we are the cure.

Truthful words but not quite correct. Multiplication and exhaustion of the resources is not a monopoly of viruses, and certainly mammals don't develop equilibrium with nature "instinctively". Watch for example the population of hares in Australia after humans introduced them to their ecosystem.

Reaching equilibrium is a function of the ecosystem not the individual species, as any ecologist will confirm. We humans have placed ourselves apart from our ecosystem and that's why we are unable to reach equilibrium... no predators to limit us, other than ourselves.

Yep. Good distinction. The ecosystem will limit us in the end, though, but through geological and other means. We separated ourselves through the use of exosomatic energy... but that can only last so long.

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

Cherenkov, over 98% of all species that have evolved on earth are long extinct. If longevity of species is to decide a winner, then dinosaurs, birds , crocks, turtles, and millions of other species will win the award with ease...Humans time on earth is but a blink compared to so many other species.

What have humans accomplished that is so wonderful that they should be exempt from extinction? If we are so stupid to cherish a system that requires continual crapping on our on nest, perhaps we deserve extinction? The earth certainly does not need humans. In a few million years >< earth might heal itself, and once again be the beautiful, blue orb with scattered clouds drifting across its surface.

Whatever happens, I am thankful for the brief time that I was privilaged to live here and I hope the next inhabitants treat this wonderful blue ball with more respect than we have.

The end of our species is not "the end of the world", its just the end of our species. We either deserve to continue or we don't. The fact that we're self aware does not confer any magical "right of continuity" to us as individuals or as a type of primate. We can use our self awareness and intellectual powers to try to assure some sort of continuity for some of our offspring, or we can try to use it to ensure that no one survives. No one wants to be the one tossed out of the life boat after straws are drawn so I bet that Cats In A Sack(tm) leads to the latter.

Unless we hit that whole chemocline reaching the ocean's surface reseting the earth to 700M years ago in terms of atmosphere humans will continue in some fashion, but that continuation may be hunter/gatherer bands and the occasional stable farming/hunting area. We've used all the easy energy and who or whatever follows in our footsteps will be on a much different path should they try to climb as we did.

I find us pretty disgusting most of the time. But there is Mozart, and Shakspeare and Bob Dylan. I adore the Saturn 5 and the Apollo program. Watch a 747 take off and tell me that we aren't special. I love the European cathedrals and micro brew beer. A hand formed surf board is more spiritual than any god.

If there are a million million planets and a dozen million with life on them very, very few, maybe none will be able to demonstrate the beauty and grace that humans have in them. But I believe all of them will be as red in tooth and claw as we, too, are.

If it all crashes down tomorrow those of us who are seniors today will have enjoyed the very best of it.

And will that life have been given the luxury of millions of years of bottled sunshine (oil, gas and coal)in abounding supply?
Will they, have they squandered it like humans?
If they have squandered it, how are they making out?
I think an alien race would deem the human race to be psychopathic.

I think an alien race would deem the human race to be thermodynamic and would have the same problems wherever they came from.

Sharon's article and the eds at EB both mention Naomi Klein and her article on Disaster Capitalism, published in this month's Harpers. (paywall)

That piece and the gist of her research is quite frightening both for New Orleans stories and the next step beyond gated communities. For a fee, CH2M Hill will relieve your community from paying any taxes outside it.

But Klein's push against the oil industry makes me surprised it was pushed at EB or here, or at least the push mentioned.

"The oil and gas industry is so intimately entwined with the economy of disaster-both as a root cause behind many disasters and as a beneficiary from them-that it deserves to be treated as an honorary adjunct of the disaster-capitalism complex"

OTOH, the other article in the magazine, on life in the Congo, is a perfect present day example of what the doomers fear in societal collapse. Just substitute oil for Belgium.

But Klein's push against the oil industry makes me surprised it was pushed at EB or here


Good question. Perhaps a poorly worded statement. I know you and the staff at TOD showcase both sides-whether Raymond Learsy or Kunstler.

Her thesis is not energy; the oil portion reads almost as a dig to gather readership. The big bad oil companies, awash in profits. TOD and EB are looking to solutions, and most here realize the oil cos are a big part, even if they are roundly criticized.

And that the section I quoted above, Klein's most succinct oil statement in the article, is not mentioned.

I do not wish to either belittle the insights her research gives on disaster capitalism, nor her thesis. It is a very sobering and important analysis, just look at the length of today's TOD thread given to Blackwater and other facets.

Naomi Klein was interviewed by Amy Goodman for 45 minutes tonight on Democracy Now. No mention of oil. Lots of coverage re: Disaster Capitalisim. Excellent interview and Naomi has a good mind.

Or has TOD reached that final stage of organizational senescence where only good news and information that comports with the corporate motto (Engineers Can Solve Anything, BY GUM!!) is allowed to be acknowledged?

but Cherenkov, Master-Blaster run bartertown.

Sarkozy or spin?


This article seems ... funny ... to me. The French have been dead set against U.S. adventures in the ME but now they say there will be a war? Seems like this article was written to spin statements out of context - the French worry war is very possible, and CNN twists it around to make it look like they support the move.

The French have been dead set against U.S. adventures in the ME but now they say there will be a war?

The prior French adminsitration was against US military intervention in Iraq. Sarkozy is the new leader and is a right wing Bush-lite.

The problem for Sarkozy is that France has a very large muslim population and this population has been excluded from the mainstream of French society. There have been riots and civil unrest in the past year. The electorate's response to the unrest was to elect tough guy, pro-Bush Sarkozy.

Sarkozy is fast becoming Tony Blair incarnate. The temporary poodle.

The nuclear powers US, France and Russia are dead serious they don't want Iran to get the bomb.

I mean - if they are certain Iran is building it, they will endorse anything - including military action. You can not compare this to Iraq, where anyone with his right mind knew that the so called "evidence" was fabricated and US had decided to go to war beforehand.

The reasons are manyfold:
1) The region is already severely destabilized, not without the help of US policy. If Iran initiates a nuclear race... noone knows what will happen. Israel is just a nuclear missile away.
2) They already made the mistake of letting Pakistan and India out of hands, somehow handled N.Korea. If relatively weak country like Iran does it, what will stop the others? How long before we get a nuclear exchange in some of the hot spots of the world?

At the same time I can not help but put myself in the shoes of Iranians. If I was bordering 2 nuclear tipped hostile powers on the West and East (Israel and US) and 4 nuclear armed relatively neutral powers on the East and North (Russia, China, India & Pakistan) I would probably want the bomb too. Clearly Iran needs some guarantees for its survival, and the West is not offering anything, esp. guarantees against Israeli aggression.

Personally I am absolutely sure that Iran's uranium enrichment is for energy for the time being, but they want to be in position to obtain nuclear deterrent if they decide they need it. For me the big unknown and the ultimate destabilizing factor in the region is the country noone speaks of - Israel. If the West provides some guarantees against Israeli/US aggression, Iran will cancel its program. But it will not, because as we all know, USA and Israel are above and beyond any international laws and they can do whatever they want. It is "the right thing" and is legal by default.

And thus falls the argument for 'the peaceful atom'.

Next up: A discussion on Law and what trade can be done with declared VS un-declared nuclear powers. I look forward to your post on the subject LevinK

And thus falls the argument for 'the peaceful atom'.

Is this about Iran in particular (which I could join to some extent) or are you talking in general?

If you are talking about Iran, I made it clear that I think they want to use the uranium for energy. OK, for now. If they go ahead to build the bomb it won't be because they are particularly fond of it, but because they are afraid of being nuked first.

If you are talking in general there is a bunch of dual purpose technologies we already live with - microbiology can produce both bio-weapons and food, chemical factories can produce poisonous gases etc. It is not the technology, but the people that use it and how they are controlled.

Is this about Iran in particular (which I could join to some extent) or are you talking in general?

More 'in general' - hard for one nation to be pushing for fission power and bombing other nations for their fission programs.

If one wants to 'remove cover' for nuclear weapons:
1) fission reactors for civilian purposes are not an option
2) the existing laws on the books about who has declared VS non declared nuclear programs being enforced.

It would be good for humanity to have such discussions and come to resolution before nuclear weapons being tossed about.

Iran could easily aquire a nuclear warhead from Pakistan or North Korea if they wanted one, a lot easier than making them themselves. Who can say if they haven't already aquired at least one. Not exactly something they would advertise.(Deterence apparently will not work, as Syria lost their's with days of aquiring it.)

Iran could easily aquire a nuclear warhead from Pakistan or North Korea

I'm not at all certain that this is "easy". And even if this was achievable how do you imagine them going out and saying "We have the bomb", after all they've said so far. Nuclear deterrence does not work if your enemies - real or potential don't know you have it.

I won't even contemplate on how stupid you must be to sell nukes to other countries or to whomever for that matter.

I won't even contemplate on how stupid you must be to sell nukes to other countries or to whomever for that matter.

Like the actions of Andy Fastow did not reflect most Enron linemen, crooked cops, or whatever 'anomaly' one opts to choose - while a Nation-State might not logically choose X, that does not mean that some individuals within nation-state Y will choose action X.

We, the posters on TOD, just don't know. (and the readers who don't post who do know are just not letting us know that they know. *Waves to the various governments who read our postings*)

I've an Iranian-American friend who says that Iran already has some nuclear warheads, but its not reported in the US press, but says that it is the claim of the Iranian Government to the people in Iran. It certainly explains why the Israeli's haven't bombed the reactor sites this time as they did 15 years ago when they attacked the first reactor being built in Iran.

My friend's an American now that has no love for fundementalists of any kind, and is a very perceptive person. His personal religeous beliefs are atheist or perhaps just doesn't care, but he is a very moral person in how he leads his life. His biggest fear right now seems to be that a war with Iran will cause a real flare up against Iranian immigrants. He's never told me that, but I can read his general drift sometimes.
Bob Ebersole

The U.S. pronounced the axis of evil, and one of the axis members who desperately needs food and fuel built the bomb, and one of the other two has fuel.

Are there any existing trade ties between North Korea and Iran? No, not really? The North Koreans get their fuel from ... the Chinese. Who have a tight and growing relationship with the Iranians. And they don't want the U.S. meddling in the ME ...

There are many scenarios where a cautious, calculating China could arrange for proliferation with plausible denial, and given their historic occasional dust up with India do you think they're thrilled that the U.S. violated nonproliferation protocol there?

Everything is connected. We're like the crazy guy who accosts a woman on the street, then puzzles over the maglite shaped dent in his head and the shiny handcuffs he gets ten minutes later, never putting the stimulus together with the response.

We're not omnipotent not matter what GWB's ego tells him. We're not back in the bipolar cold war world our tired leadership recalls so fondly. Things on the global stage today are like France a thousand years ago, where there were many players of differing sizes, alliances both open and secret, and no one could make a move one direction without causing a vacuum in another.

Following the cold war fixated neocons into this is like taking checkers to a chess game. Their limited moves are of little value in a complex, shifting environment.


Israel bombed an Iraqi reactor, not an Iranian one.

But El Cid...but you were not there. You cannot say what Syria did or did not lose. Unless you choose to believe Fox or one of the other unspeakables. Somehow I find it difficult to swallow the story that the country that trained and supplied the fighters in Southern Lebanon, yes, the same fighters that kicked the israelis collective asses, would be so foolish to let the Israelis bomb their nuclear weapons...assuming that the Syrians actually had any nuclear weapons.

A more likely interpretation of this "raid" is that the IAF was "spoofing" the Syrian air defences in order to collect data about those defenses. Syria is presently taking delivery of Russian AA missiles. The same AA weapons are also being supplied to Iran. If you want to defeat them then you need to interact with them, capture the signals emitted and then develop countermeasures.

This is conjecture but is more likely than any actual "bombing raid." You want to tickle the defenses before they are fully mobilized.

Looks like my conjecture is incorrect. See the NYT:


The WaPo article from Saturday, and The Sunday Times article, are more informative.

Or the thread from yesterday on time line of events during the weeks before and after.

There is no more spin in the US than in France on this one.

I don't post often enough but I've already written a few times that N. Sarkozy is a pro-bush pro-Us even more than Tony Blair if he hadn't to deal with a nationalist fringe in his own party. Even before his election he has travelled often to Washingtion and New York and he has made no mystery about the fact that he took his orders directly from the White House. When he was elected, G. Bush was one of the first leaders to congratulate him. Then Sarkozy took his holidays in the USA (almost 3 weeks) and has met with GW.

France has never been against the US. Jacques Chirac, France's former president, had more ties with the french oil industry than N. Sarkozy. That is why he felt compelled to defend the interests of Elf-Fina-Total now Total, when the US dissolved the deals between Iraq and Total. This is why he opposed vehemently the war in Iraq.

N. Sarkozy has never been very clear about the war in Iraq. He has less ties with Total, more with Lagardère, Vinci and the media. But he has appointed B. Kouchner as foreign minister who is a left wing former opponent to Sarkozy but definitely pro-war in Iraq (as he was for Bosnia etc ...). This should clarify things greatly for every one.

This is also why I believe that the merger Suez-gaz de France is not a move against the US. In fact quite the contrary is true, it will be now far more easy to control suez' activities and give them a more pro-US color.

The article in CNN is quite right about Kouchner's declarations. What I've heard on the Radio yesterday evening was an outright call directed at French CEOs asking them not to conclude any new deals in Iran. "We should get ready for the worst to happen" he said. For now it seems France wants to lead the european diplomacy against Iran. They want to implement more severe sanctions against Iran, more strict than the UNO enforced.

What I doubt is the timing. Perhaps B. Kouchner came about a bit fast in a sort of blunder which is actually the rule among the French government. Sarkozy is such an autocrat that most of the ministers feel a bit idle and tend to give away the directions N. Sarkozy has implemented. In that way they get the feeling they've grasped a handle but most often Sarkozy scolds them for talking to early without preparing the public. But for the time beeing Sarkozy hasn't yet refuted Kouchner's words despite the ongoing political turmoil they have set in motion.

No, no -- there's no such thing as the French position -- the French people, yes, but not the gov't. In both France and Germany there has been a change in leadership, and the new leaders are much more accommodating to the neocons here. Still, you might be somewhat right, i.e. the article may be exaggerating even Sarkozy's enthusiasm for a new "adventure".

Britain's Brown, on the other hand, doesn't seem to have as much stomach for this stuff as the poodle.

Oil Hording is a Growing Trend

Oil Hits $80: What’s Different This Time?

B. The dominance of national oil companies (“NOCs”) and rise of oil hoarding is becoming a generally recognized reality. I suggest you take a minute to read the following account of a discussion of this topic by the CEOs of three oil majors. In fact, you might take another minute to look at my essay on hoarding oil. I won’t repeat the logic that underlies oil hoarding, which is discussed in detail in the referenced essay. But please note that the combination of hoarding by some NOCs and the supplanting of private corporations by NOCs in global oil production, it is clear that oil hoarding is a growing trend.

I predicted this years ago but no one paid any attention. Now it is happening. Exporting countries are exporting less because of local consumption but they are also exporting less because they will deliberately be producing less. It is called hording. They can see the handwriting on the wall, their oil supply is dwindling and to keep peace and prosperity at home, they will start saving the oil in the ground for future years.

It just makes sense but because people expected oil to last forever no one has been doing it. But now there is a new paradigm, people know oil will not last forever and they are beginning to look out for number one.

Ron Patterson

There are fields in Texas that only gave up a fraction of the available oil due to poor reservoir management and tax law changes making investment unwise. I know there are downsides to trying to drain a reservoir too quickly - one can waste the natural pressure - but are there downsides to taking the oil too slowly?

I would think not, but perhaps someone from the industry can comment???

There may be some downsides to producing oil slower, but I can't think of any. Based on my understanding of reservoir dynamics, slower production should maximize ultimate recovery and minimize unwanted gas or oil production. This is an ideal producing situation, that isn't often achieved because of the desire to produce reserves as fast as possible.

The biggest impetus behind producing quickly is economics - get your invested funds plus a profit, back as quickly as possible. But as has been pointed out in several TOD posts, the whole game changes when there is greater economic incentive to save resources.

I was sure of this myself when you raised the issue.At some stage of the game the "every man[country]for his self" kicks in,and thats when endgame starts.I think we are there now,but I wish it was 10 years from now.

That is the interesting question. When does it kick in? I see at least 3 factors at play for producing countries: consumption (the need to keep your population happy), exports (a need for hard currency and also related to keeping the population happy), and then hoarding.

Perhaps the ELM could be modified to incorporate the consumption/export tradeoff as a function of the relative size of oil exports to GDP. The larger the petroleum percentage, the more dependant the company is on exports and the less flexibility that country would have to hoard.

Strange day here in Minneapolis, oil hits $80 and the price of gas drops to $2.75. The pricing was uniform in the southwest metro at about 10 gas stations. Gas has been right at $3 for the last week or so.

Could this be due to the switch from summer blends to winter blends?


Uhm, why do you think the enviro crowd was allowed to have their way re no drilling in ANWR and offshore FL and then CA?
(Among other places)

Video of Worlds Fastest Electric Motorcycle...and the inventor

wrecking it.


Which brings up an interesting thought. There are quite a few people here that think two wheels is the way of the future, whether motorcycle or bicycle (e-bike,etc). These things crash - (realistically) most vehicles do at some point or another. When you crash these things at some rate of speed you start invoking injuries. Just loosely I'd rate 15mph-25mph as potentially breaking something, 25mph-40mph as potentially breaking lots of things, 40+mph breaking lots of things/death-y. As age increases, the speeds to invoke those injuries goes down. In a land that is supposedly going to need able bodied people, where health care is going down the tubes...how is society going to fare when you get millions of clumsy people breaking all sorts of bones, and crashing all over the place, and filling up the hospitals?

You are not going to see the vast majority of >middle age Americans on anything with two wheels. Not going to happen. These people have lived the good life for so long that there is no way that they will take such drastic steps to adapt. They will be hindered from that kind of adaptation by both physiological and psychological conditioning.

A population decline will hit the older end of the population harder. That's why third world countries and nations in collapse have large amounts of young people and not much else.

Yeah, bikes really scare the wee outta me...Turned 63 in August, been riding since 13, have two Harleys-a Kawi 650 twin-a Honda Trail 120 that gets almost 100 mpg...Have logged close to half a million miles on bikes since I started keepin' track...Have owned over 40 bikes...Gonna hang up the old frazzled leather flight jacket, trade the bikes for some rockin' chairs, stop drinkin brews with the buds, start prayin' to dog...Turn over a new leaf...In my next life...Maybe.

When the butt heads are using their SUVs for dog houses I will still be ridin'...Our governor said 'keep plenty of fuel on hand for hurricane preparedness...gotta keep those home generators runnin'...Yaknow?

Wake up folks.

Obviously most things do not have this kind of power though... that is the reality of bikes.

You don't really need a lot of power for things to get out of hand. Going down a hill and hitting a patch of sand or gravel a storm has deposited in the road is enough to wipe you out. I've hit 57mph going downhill on a mountain bike before. Obviously that's a little extreme, but 35 - 45mph on a decent hill is certainly not a rarity.

A quote from "United States of America - 2034" that I have been writing.

Electric assisted tricycles have become the icon of aging baby boomers, and the constant butt of jokes on late night TV talk shows. They are the ULTIMATE un-cool means of transportation and NO self-respecting teenager would EVER be caught on one !

The “in ride” is a recumbent bicycle with an oversized rear tire and fairings painted in iridescent (or black) paint, preferably with a matching single wheel trailer for “stuff”.

Early in the Post-Peak Oil Era, many turned to gasoline powered scooters and small motorcycles, but first public policy and then economics turned against them when it was realized that 100 mpg was not good enough (and accidents mounted). Instead electric assist bicycles were encouraged and many two ways streets were turned into one way streets with the other lane becoming a two way bike lane. Segways also developed a loyal following


Since 2005, Devon has reported $390,000 in stolen items and products from fields in the Barnett Shale. Almost $150,000 of that total has occurred since January 2007.

There's a gas well right next to some land where I often camp, that is on my grandmother's land. Not only do they proceed to steal from the oil/gas wells, but then they proceed to litter the ground with Busch beer cans and burn down the cabin that my brother and I re-roofed and completely re-did the interior. $4k in materials down the drain, and we're *still* trying to clean up where the cabin's shell remains.

A bar with a lock is their security? Why not spend $600 for a webcam, a small computer, and a cellphone upload connection to upload security footage?

Better yet, why not autoturrets? Stupid laws against making man-traps, I swear. (A small bit of sarcanol, but not much.)

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

Behavior like that will be a shooting offense again in very short order. Its way too easy to tear stuff up that will be difficult or impossible to replace. Even with such precautions just look at Mexico - pluck one or two strands from the spider web of pipelines and it takes a week to repair.

Standing on the fantail of the Titanic, wishing $1,000 in evening clothes was $1,000 worth of dry suit and kayak ...

You have my sympathies. Senseless vandalism has occurred to my families property as well. Does make you want to shoot on sight. not much sarcanol here either.

Has anyone added sarcanol to Wikipedia yet?

I had to put up a gate to the east half of my property because someone poached a deer about 10 days ago. Keep out signs are posted but this means little to poachers, brazen they are.

Speech by John Hofmeister, President of Shell Oil Tomorrow in New Orleans

I will be attending. Has anyone else heard his stump speech ?

Any suggestions for questions to ask him ?

Best Hopes for the reception beforehand,


Consistent with Peak Oil Theory, Since peaking in 1999 North Sea crude oil production has declined at close to 5% per year.

Consistent with Peak Oil Theory, world crude oil production, has declined since May, 2005 (EIA data in both cases).

If private companies can't reverse the North Sea decline, why would we be able to reverse the ongoing world crude oil production decline?

If private companies can't reverse the North Sea decline, why would we be able to reverse the ongoing world crude oil production decline?

Because the Market will deliver a just-in-time cross-over technology.

(I'm thinking of Valium pills with time-delayed release of poison to help us all "cross over" to the energy independent existence on the other side of Hale Bobb. Go see On the Beach all over again. Replace nuclear winter with PO winter.)


The daughter of the judge for my divorce was one of the ones who died in the Heaven's Gate suicide.

You'll see a whole bunch of this in the coming years as people who can't envision their life changing ... don't.

Hi Alan,

Good luck.

Q: "What are your ideas for how the global economy and the world's peoples can best mitigate the consequences of 'peak oil'?"

"What does Shell plan to do in the face of 'peak oil'?"

"What national energy policy would be help the US..." (etc.)

(I'm sure you can phrase it better than I can.)

Is this ridiculous ( abiotic oil once more ) ?
Thanks for your comments .

Yes, its stupid - "We have a political problem" - straight rationale for big daddy Republicans with neocon puppet masters staying around to "be tough" for us.

We have a lack of critical thinking in this country and its going to get a lot more people killed before we either run out of juice or come to our collective senses.

What the article somehow omits to mention is that the supposed beneficiary of the abiotic oil theory - Russia, has also peaked. From 12 mln.bbd in mid 80s to about 9mln.bpd. now. If they know some way to find unlimited amounts of oil, why don't they just boost it back to 12mln.? This could increase their export revenues by almost 50%!

One more thing - Russia has an agressive plan to build nuclear power stations, second only to China. This will cost tens of billions for a country which is not that rich altogether. Why don't they just burn their unlimited oil instead?

IMO it is not ridiculous - it is sad that these things keep popping up all the time.

Oh, yay. The Creamy Nougat Theory.

- Scott
"Try sour grapes; you might like them."

One problem with the abiotic oil hypothesis is that even if true, it doesn't change the situation in our favour. The processes of replenishing the known reservoirs will require millenia or even milliards of years, so we're sill left with peak oil.

[Note to Leanan: can you upgrade the dictionary to one that is for the actual English language? This one flags both millenia and favour.]

James Gervais

Nymex Crude new record, $ 80.53 at the moment


Plenty of hurricane fuel out there in the GOM, too. Ingrid doesn't seem to be in a hurry, but she is just coming up on the 85F+ water ...


I walked over 7 miles yesterday and over 10 miles today, even with my head cold. The major thing I noticed is a full 90% of every last one of the cars that passed me this morning had a single person behind the wheel. Only later did I start to notice 2's and 3's. SUV's were driven by little old ladies and middle age men, most of them going off to city jobs.

At 5 am when I started out, knowing I had to walk more than 5 miles from my house to the downtown section of Little Rock and get there by 7:30 to meet someone I do work for, I noticed the cool clean air of the predawn morning. By the time I was walking back home the same route, the smog was thick enough at times to almost gag me. Over 2 miles of the route has no sidewalks, and certainly no bike lanes. Just me and a 15 pound pack and my walking stick, only two or three people were on each of the city buses that passed me and though I could have ridden on one part of the way, I liked the exercise.

Now if only I can get more Americans to walk like that African nation that is having so many trouble with it's petrol supply. Imagine the fuel savings then!


Little Rock, especially west Little Rock, sucks for pedestrians. Downtown isn't bad in most places. I used to do plenty of walking downtown. Oddly enough, it wasn't the smog, the traffic of cars zooming by, or the people giving you dirty looks because you were walking. It was the beggars.

The sad thing is, they couldn't come up with a good story. A few blocks from the downtown Methodist church that runs the soup kitchen, and they're asking me for money so they can buy food. What?! Go get some food down there.

2 weeks ago I was down on Asher picking up some pants @ Armadillo's Hands and a guy walked by, asked if he could have some money to buy a beer. I did a double take. He asked for money for beer. I have him a fiver because of his honesty. Otherwise he would have gotten nil.

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

Same thing happened to me in Greenwich Village, 20 yrs ago ..
'I'm thirsty and really just want a beer.' He said..

I was a poor undergrad, so I don't know if I gave him money or not.. but it sure was a refreshing approach.

Hat's off Charles! As a European pedestrian/public transport user, I admire US citizens who are radical enough to walk. It ain't easy.

It's not just the lack of sidewalks, it's the traffic lights. Even in the most remote suburb/dysurb you'll hit these every hundred paces or so. In every case the computer-in-charge seems to be programmed solely for motorised traffic and to have no ability to receive input from pedestrians.

It's also the total lack of useful-to-pedestrains signposting. You're in oh so wonderful, leading edge Silicon Valley taking your habitual guerilla stroll along the non-sidewalk of yet another NW 5633 LotsaCubicles(ManyEmpty) Avenue NW, when, wham, you meets another avenue of the same ilk. Your map shows an intersection that looks like it should be crossable. Reality says otherwise, but no signs offer a feasible alternative route. There's a deathtrap ramp taking one avenue over the other that only a person who has inhaled a lot of petroleum fumes would be crazed enough to approach, but nothing else.

The upside of walking in the US is the quality of the people that you meet. I've had all kinds of wonderful encounters (e.g. waiting for the lights to change in Las Vegas - definitely not pedestrian, or anything else, heaven). I doubt if queuing at the gas pump compares. Non-car-owning immigrants and heroic native eccentrics who hike a mile or two to the nearest bus stop/shop/place of work tend to be a lot more resourceful and interesting than the solo drivers who toot you as dare to risk crossing the road in front of their sacred machines.

I salute you, and wish you many more miles of happy walking ...

Putin comments on Russian oil and gas production:


Scathing criticism of oil price analysis 9article is a few days old, apologies if maybe already posted, hadnt seen it):


There was a nice, succinct "dollar rot" article linked to this one ... worth a thousand words of reading - good reference to send to those not keeping up with the situation.

Excellent "dollar rot" article. Two excerpts:

Underneath, the sub-prime meltdown is continuing to weaken the USA's ability to grow. The scale of the problem is frightening. It's looking much larger than any crisis to hit since the Second World War, which makes it increasingly unlikely that a printing press intervention is going to do anything other than trash Bernanke's Dollars. . .

Our central bankers are already leaning in the wrong direction. They are trying to avoid the mistakes which led to the 1930s' Great Depression, whereas we are facing something even more serious – the permanent loss of the Western world's position at the top of the economic heap. . .


I don't think anyone has yet factored the US economic situation into the PO scenario. Current price projections assume the dollar retains its current valuation. If the dollar were to decline by 50% (not impossible) then the US price would be near $200 per bbl with the Euro countries facing a price of roughly half that amount.

Countries with real assets (oil, iron, potash, etc) will do well. Countries that produce needed products will also do well. Countries that lead the world in financial innovation and sell "risk free" mortgages to people unable to repay either principal or interest, those countries may come to resemble NO after Katrina, or Bagdhad after being Bushwacked.

We are potentially looking at a "perfect storm" for the western mode of lifestyle: 1) Peak resources; 2) A revaluation of global relationships; 3) Forced change due to AGW.

Any one of those three is a game changer. Encountering all three of them . . .

Peak Wheat.

We need to reassess where we are and the unidimensional DJIA number is only relevant to the asset inflation crowd. They're dead and they just don't have the sense to stop twitching yet. A daily hammering from Day 1 Q1 2008 to the close of Q2 2008 should get them pretty well tenderized.

I would contend that the world is made up of three substances - retrievable BTUs, consumable calories, and various bullshit leftovers from the previous age. There is a pretty strong negative correlation between land that produces oil and land that produces food. We fret and fret here about our oil driven agriculture but look at it from the Saudis' perspective - you can't make an energy drink out of light, sweet crude and give it to a hungry child.

Those with oil and/or food are going to be making choices for those who have neither. May $DEITY have mercy on the souls who believe in such things, and may the rest of us skillfully help the suffering as best we are able.

Some interesting technical developments. This could have interesting applications with both ICEs, power plants of all types and concentrated solar arrays.

New Device Turns Waste Heat Into Electricity

Re: New Device Turns Waste Heat Into Electricity

The description sounds like the device is some sort of heat engine. The waste heat flowing thru it likely excites some resonance within the internal gas. Thus, the whole thing is likely to have the usual Carnot efficiency limit and produce very little electric energy from the low temperature "waste" heat.

E. Swanson

All thermodynamic processes lose some energy as rejected heat. This includes ICE, steam cycle engines (power plant), brayton cycle engines (jet engine or gas turbine), air conditioners, plus any electro-mechanical device such as a motor, solenoid, or electromagnet. On average 60 to 80% of all chemical energy (fuel) is lost in conversion to mechanical or kinetc energy, which can do work. The losss is usually heat from exhaust, rejected heat from a condonsor or heat from electrical resistance.

So, the potential for saving this lost energy energy is great with this type of device. Only problem I see here is the efficiency of the conversion being low and the cost per KW hour recovered being very high.

On a side note, the microphone developed by Thomas Edison is a piezo electric device that converts sound waves to electrical energy.

Neat link PGuy, Thanks.

I have also been playing with Peltier Junctions, which are used to cool IC's, Solid State Car fridges, etc.. and when you heat one face and cool the other, the thing will output a current, which is used in some fancy setups for getting some power off the back face of a woodstove and that sort of thing. Also called 'Thermo-electric Generation'.. or TEG.


The government might as well admit that peak oil is here and we're about to lose our democracy.

Executive summary - DHS will stick its grubby mitts all over your domestic travel plans, too, so as to stop terrorists from moving. This means Islamic extremists, registered Democratic party member extremists, and the like. Accelerated boarding for Republican party loyalists isn't explicitly mentioned but that provision will be slipped in anonymously during the process of rule making.


Off Topic - K-Ville of Fox Better than Expected

Cop show, Reality on Steroids but the writers have tapped into much of the emotions here.

Henchmen of villain were "BlackRiver Security" moonlighting which pleased me :-)

Several strong emotional threads, which somehow feels real to me.


Alan: Since we are reviewing video, I just rented a George Carlin standup on HBO that was hilarious. He has been doing stand up for 50 years now- unbelieveable. His humour has gotten darker and more biting with age- I swear some of his rants sounded like they were lifted right off the threads of TOD. It is a must see for anyone that wants to laugh.

Under the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership, a limited number of countries including the U.S. and Russia would provide uranium fuel to other nations... This would deprive those nations of their own nuclear fuel enrichment programs, which can be used to make atomic arms.

Wonder what Canada thinks of this? Last I knew they were still selling CANDU heavy-water reactors, with at least one of the talking points being that you could use your local uranium resources without enrichment.

Newer CANDUs are designed for slightly enriched uranium fuel. "Do it yourself" just doesn't seem such a great selling feature anymore, I guess.

Oil Exceeds $81 as Rising Demand May Reduce Supplies for Winter


``There is not a whole lot of crude to go around,'' said Tom Hartmann, commodity broker at Altavest Worldwide Trading Inc. in Mission Viejo, California. ``From a technical standpoint, this market probably has the legs to get up to $83-$84.''

After hours electronic trading has NYMEX crude up 55 cents at $81.12. Of course it could be down that much tomorrow morning. But there does not seem to be a lot of bears in the market.


Ron Patterson

Iraqi outrage with western security contractors is well-justified. Witness this video posted by Aegis Defence Services on its own website back in 2004.


Background from the Telegraph

The sign of a truly educated man is to be deeply moved by statistics. - George Bernard Shaw

There are way to many cars on the road for that to be in Iraq :P

Ah. What? It is impossible to tell where it is with certainty, but I read an article by a journalist who was in Iraq a few years back who talked of the crazy (to us) traffic flows on the highways there - there were no shortage of vehicles. He also mentioned military and security forces regularly pointed machine guns at traffic behind them to keep them at a "safe" distance.

That video is terrible, no matter who it is shooting.

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

You idiot. This is not a humorous matter.
All these memories will be lost in time
like tears in rain

Breaking News: Major Typhoon racing toward China's financial district and most densely populated areas.