DrumBeat: September 18, 2007

Oil Prices Rise to New Records After Fed's Decision to Cut Interest Rates

NEW YORK - Oil futures rose to new records Tuesday after the Federal Reserve cut interest rates by a larger than expected half percentage point, raising market hopes that economic growth will accelerate and lift demand even as crude oil and gasoline inventories are tight.

A barrel of crude surged to a new trading high of $81.90 on the New York Mercantile Exchange in the moments immediately after the Fed's decision. While light, sweet crude for October delivery settled at $81.51 a barrel, up 94 cents, prices continued to rise after the Nymex closed, hitting $82.38 in afternoon electronic trading.

IEA urges Asian countries to lift strategic oil reserves

The International Energy Agency is urging East Asian and Asean countries to beef up oil reserves to ease the impact of oil price volatility, deputy director William Ramsay told a seminar in Bangkok yesterday.

Since oil prices fluctuate with supply, unexpected disruptions can cause prices to quickly shoot up, he said.

Oil reserves in East and Southeast Asia now stand at 30 days, five times lower than in IEA member nations, putting them at risk of a supply shortage. Energy security has been of high concern since the 1970 oil shock, he said.

Report: Average driver wastes 38 hours per year in traffic

"Things are bad and they're getting worse," said Alan Pisarski, a transportation expert and the author of "Commuting in America."

"We've used up the capacity that had been bequeathed to us by a previous generation, and we haven't replaced it," Pisarski said.

The study summed it up this way: "Too many people, too many trips over too short of a time period on a system that is too small."

The study estimates that drivers wasted 2.9 billion gallons of fuel while sitting in traffic. Together with the lost time, traffic delays cost the nation $78.2 billion, the study estimates.

Behind high oil prices

So, what exactly is behind this round of price hikes?

Firstly, an increasingly short supply of oil in the world is the fundamental cause. According to statistics from the British firm BP, the world has been demanding more oil than can be produced since 1981; and the case is still the same today. Currently, oil production in most countries has already or will soon go down – leaving less of a surplus to use – but at the same time, demand keeps increasing.

Oil price concerns airlines

The head of the International Air Transport Association says the continuing high price of oil and the turmoil in credit markets are causes for concern in 2008.

US corn farmers hit with fuel shortages, high costs

Curt Watson, the President of the Minnesota Corn Growers Association, said the fuel terminal that usually supplies his area is dry. His supplier has to drive to another area, where long lines with a wait of four hours are not uncommon.

Experts blame a variety of refinery outages for the short supply, including a wave of maintenance shutdowns coinciding with peak harvest season from mid-September through October.

"That basically created a pulldown of inventories, more so than usual, before we entered the (harvesting) season," said Joanne Shore, an oil market analyst with the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

OPEC would discuss output hike if $80 oil lasts

OPEC would likely hold consultations about boosting supply again if the price of oil stayed above $80 a barrel for more than 15-20 days, an OPEC source said on Tuesday.

Iran's IOOC to increase oil output by 2010

Iranian Offshore Oil Company (IOOC) will increase its daily out from 830 thousand to one million barrels by 2010.

The figure shows a 24 percent rise when compared to the figure of 2005 which was about 761,000 barrels per day, indicating a growing trend.

A 3.9 percent fall is predicted in the offshore oilfields by 2024.

Only threat to Alberta is onset of world peace

The future of hydrocarbon production is oil so heavy that is must be mined and separated or heated so it will move. High oil prices and massive reserves have made Alberta's non-conventional oil attractive, but right now this is surely the most expensive petroleum to develop in the world.

Politics don't help. While the public debate about whether Alberta charges enough economic rent through the lease and royalty system will go on forever, there are significant but seldom discussed soft costs that continue to drive up finding and development costs.

Attack on Kirkuk-Bayji pipeline - 26 killed in Iraq

An explosion along an oil pipeline extending from the northern Kirkuk oilfields to Bayji refineries caused damage to both the line and another parallel pipeline between Iraq and Turkey, on Tuesday.

...Firefighters were struggling to contain the damage, a source in the local oil industry said. The explosion is expected to halt production at Bayji refineries, which supply more than half of Iraq's oil products.

According to a source in the water department in Salahaddin, the explosion caused oil to seep into the Tigris river damaging water stations and triggering their temporary closure.

Mexico Risks Joining Colombia As Regular Oil Sabotage Target

As Petroleos Mexicanos resumes natural gas supplies this week after repairing pipelines damaged by a rebel group, uncertainty remains over when the next shutdown might happen.

In July, optimists saw two pipeline attacks as isolated cases of sabotage. Last week, the People`s Revolutionary Army, or EPR, buried that thesis with its third and most costly attack on energy infrastructure.

Peres says Israel to focus on green energy

President Shimon Peres Monday touted Israel as a future think thank for solutions to global warming, quipping that the sun was a more reliable resource than oil from Saudi Arabia.

BP trial ends early with four settlements

The first civil trial to emerge from the March 2005 explosion at BP's Texas City refinery ended today with settlements of undisclosed amounts to four plaintiffs.

Utility Will Use Batteries to Store Wind Power

American Electric Power, a coal-burning utility company that is looking for ways to connect more wind power to its grid, plans to announce on Tuesday that it will install huge banks of high-technology batteries.

The batteries are costly and their use at such a big scale has not been demonstrated, but they may be an essential complement to renewable power, experts say.

The 'Guilty Green' (gasp!) don't always recycle

They drive SUVs, throw perfectly recyclable bottles and cans in the trash, clean their bathrooms with — gasp — bleach and think nothing of sometimes blasting the air conditioner or taking wickedly wasteful long, hot showers.

You think you know the type: the ones who think global warming is a hoax and scarf up natural resources like candy.

Think again.

All of the above are true confessions from the Guilty Green — the same people who say they worry about the planet becoming a giant hot tub.

Vatican Penance: Forgive Us Our Carbon Output

This summer the cardinals at the Vatican accepted an unusual donation from a Hungarian start-up called Klimafa: The company said it would plant trees to restore an ancient forest on a denuded stretch of land by the Tisza River to offset the Vatican’s carbon emissions.

Why $80 oil won't mean $3 gas

"Gasoline season is over, we're going into low demand time," said Stephen Schork, publisher of the industry newsletter the Schork Report.

Schork also said the switch to winter blend gasoline should act to keep the price down, as winter blending components aren't as expensive as cleaner-burning summer blends.

"They are paying up in crude oil, but paying down in feedstocks," he said.

Heating with gas likely to cost less - But oil customers can expect bigger bills this winter

Natural gas customers in Greater Boston can expect to pay roughly 8 to 12 percent less to heat their homes this winter, but the cost of heating oil is rising as world oil prices soar.

The Philippines: Task forces secure US Embassy, oil depot

The Manila Police District has formed two task forces to safeguard the US Embassy and the oil terminal in Pandacan and Sta. Ana amid intelligence reports on possible militant activities including terrorist attacks.

Tear gas used against Myanmar protest, monks hit

Plainclothes police and members of the feared Union Solidarity and Development Association (USDA) shadowed their route. The USDA has played a prominent role in breaking up protests against soaring fuel prices that began four weeks ago.

French-kissing the war on Iran

President George W Bush goes to New York next week for the annual United Nations General Assembly to ratchet up the demonization of Iran, confident that his new French ally is doing "a heck of a job". President Nicolas Sarkozy - widely referred to in Paris as King Sarko the First - has let loose the dogs of war with more panache than a madame from the chic seventh arrondissement parading her miniature Pinscher.

Zimbabwe: Energy Crisis Threatens Environment

As can be seen in Zimbabwe, urban centres have become a lucrative market for fuelwood because it seems to be relatively available and cheaper than modern fuels. Not only will the alternative forms of energy be a major boost to national economies but such environmental damage as global warming, partly responsible for the recurrent droughts in East and Southern Africa, can also be mitigated.

Coal from Richards Bay rises as Europe demand returns

Coal for shipment from South Africa`s Richards Bay, site of the world`s largest export terminal for the fuel, rose to a three-year high as demand from European customers strengthened.

MMS Chief Defers on Offshore Royalties

The agency that oversees oil and gas drilling on federal lands has no immediate plans to try to force companies operating in the Gulf of Mexico to pay royalties on flawed offshore leases.

Mexicans pay price at the pump

Ordinary Mexicans must wonder sometimes where the benefit is in having one of the world’s major supplies of oil. They certainly don’t see it in the gas prices. Unlike other oil-producing countries, Mexico doesn’t give its citizens cheap gasoline. Whereas Venezuelans pay about 20 cents per gallon (and that pre-dates the socialistic policies of Hugo Chavez), Mexicans pay about $3 a gallon for gasoline from PEMEX, the nationalized gasoline company. And natural gas is equally pricey.

Expert calls Mexico's retooled tax code burdensome

A tax code overhaul, approved by Mexico's Congress on Friday, may fuel inflation and be a drag on growth next year because of its burden on companies, Banco UBS Pactual economist Guillermo Aboumrad said in a report Monday.

Mexico says pipeline bombs helped drug gangs

A left-wing guerrilla group that bombed fuel pipelines last week has indirectly helped Mexico's drug cartels by diverting police and army resources away from combating trafficking, the attorney general said on Monday.

Mexico has reinforced guards at its roughly 19,000 oil installations since the explosions, which followed similar attacks in July claimed by the same group, known by its Spanish initials EPR.

Europe’s New Nuclear Age?

It’s not only the prospect of death that “concentrates the mind wonderfully.” So too, it seems, does the prospect of lights going out. Faced with a looming energy crisis, anti-nuclear Europe is fast abandoning its post-Chernobyl policies and appears ready to embrace a new nuclear age.

Q&A: Wave power

The Centre for Alternative Technology analyses the technology, its benefits and drawbacks.

Oil rises to new intraday record

Oil prices climbed to a new high, above $81 a barrel, on expectations that the U.S. Federal Reserve will cut a key interest rate later Tuesday, a measure that has the potential to bolster the economy and strengthen petroleum demand in the world's largest energy consumer.

Light, sweet crude for October delivery rose as high as $81.24 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It has since retreated to $80.73, still up 16 cents midday in Europe.

We are all peakists now - Schlesinger (podcast)

Former US Energy Secretary Dr James Schlesinger today claimed that the intellectual arguments over peak oil had been won, and that in effect ‘we are all peakists now’. In the keynote speech at the first day of an oil depletion conference hosted by the Association for the Study of Peak Oil in Cork, Schlesinger said that oil industry executives now privately concede that the world faces an imminent oil production peak, and argued that a recent report by the US oil industry grouping the National Petroleum Council constituted “a backdoor admission that in the next decade or two we face a moment of truth”. In a wide-ranging interview with Lastoilshock.com, Dr Schlesinger - who was also Defence Secretary and CIA Director - explains why he thinks “the battle is over, the peakists have won”, and discusses the delusions of US energy policy, Iraq, Iran and $100 oil.

Kunstler: Shocked, shocked!

Alan Greenspan's memoirs are being flogged across the airwaves, bandwidths and printing presses, and the cohort of those who comment on public affairs in these media are shocked by the Maestro's confessions -- first, that a housing bubble emerged out of his leadership in the banking sector, and second that the Iraq war is about oil. As usual, they're getting it all wrong -- about as wrong as Al himself got it. But that is the way of things in this age of cultural dissipation and gross cognitive dissonance.

Increase in oil, gas drilling projected

Oil and gas drilling on federal lands across the Rocky Mountain West could increase by more than 160 percent over the next two decades due in part to pro-industry regulations enacted by the Bush administration, according to a report by an environmental group.

Rembrandt Koppelaar: Export declines in the era of waning oil abundance

As the era of oil abundance starts to wane, geopolitical relations between consuming countries and producing countries will grow increasingly important. Consumer countries are going to be forced to pursue substitutes and alternative ways of living. Paramount for them is the speed and manner with which their imports will decline.

"The 11th Hour" and Generation Z

But "The 11th Hour" is only one slice of a complete story. It is a parade of talking heads set in a swirling background of Koyaanisqatsi-like images of planetary beauty and destruction. Co-director Nadia Conners calls it "an experience." The images evoke various moods: horror, sublime reverence, fear, love and longing. The speakers voice words of wisdom and profound insight into the science and psychology behind our predicament. Bioneers founder Kenny Ausubel defines the quest at the beginning: It is to understand how the two most complex systems on earth - nature and the human mind - can coexist.

Can US Bully OPEC Into Submission?

The United States Senate, in a move obviously targeted at OPEC, frightened about the effects of spiralling world crude prices and the consequences for the greatest gas guzzling nation on earth, is currently pushing through a Bill to outlaw oil cartels.

Up ahead: Conservation or $100 / barrel oil?

Even more disconcerting for economists, analysts and consumers alike is the secular, long-term trend regarding oil: namely, that both OPEC and non-OPEC sources combined are unable to keep pace with rising demand.

Global warming lawsuit in Calif. tossed

It is impossible to determine to what extent automakers are responsible for global warming damages in California, a federal judge ruled in tossing out a lawsuit filed by California against the world's six largest automakers.

The Fed Will Not Cut

"It is not the responsibility of the Federal Reserve --nor would it be appropriate -- to protect lenders and investors from the consequences of their financial decisions," Bernanke said in an Aug. 31 speech in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

[On Sept 11] Bernanke said the large US deficit to the rest of the world "cannot persist indefinitely because the ability of the United States to make debt service payments and the willingness of foreigners to hold US assets in their portfolios are both limited." The process of narrowing the gap "will have both real and financial consequences." Should the U.S. deficits stay near current levels, "foreign investors would ultimately become satiated with dollar assets, and financing the deficit at a reasonable cost would become difficult."

Cutting rates would widen the gap, not narrow it, and reduce(if not drive away) foreign investment in US securities. The US Dollar has already become a Pariah.

Bernanke has repeatedly stated inflation is the focus.(Perhaps better understood had he said the decline in the US Dollar is the focus.) Bernanke has already stated no bailout.

The Fed's focus is on protecting(if not saving) the US Dollar. The Fed is also focused on preventing the loss of foreign investment in US debt which would be devastating. Far more devastating than the collapse of the financial markets. They have already ensured the survival of the major banks and consider their job done with regard to the domestic markets.

There will be no cut in the Fed Funds rate. It would result in exactly the opposite of what the Fed is attempting to do.

Bernanke will not succumb to blackmail by the US markets. The markets having 'factored in a cut', will not influence Fed policy. Bernanke is not Greenspan, and there are bigger fish to fry.

If they decide not to cut, they may as well raise it, since that is what is needed to "protect" the dollar. I dont see a neutral decision.


If I were Bernanke I would raise it 25 basis points. It would show the rest of the world we are serious.(and also give notice to US markets.)

Nice sentiment...but he has masters too.

There is no correct move anymore...raise it and it will destroy the markets and the credit/debt market...lower it and insure a rapid demise of the USD.

He is well documented about inflating things away...bad things.

So he will reduce the rates (not much) and print money like mad. Lots and lots of money.

To buy lots of worthless paper with...er...I guess it is a fair exchange after all.

World Economy at `Scariest Point Since Depression,' Says Penner


The U.S. housing market is an ``unmitigated disaster'' and will take at least another 18 months to recover, as the U.S. Federal Reserve and European Central Bank respond to turmoil in credit markets, Penner said. As foreclosures rise, lenders will try to sell the properties they acquire at depressed prices, dragging the market down further, he said.

``The effect that's going to have on the economy is sure to be bad,'' Penner said. ``I don't think we're going to have a depression-like situation, but we are going to print a lot of money, and that's going to have its consequences. The price we will pay as a society to avoid depression is high inflation.''
``It's good at this time to be a guy with no balance sheet,'' he said today



``Today's action is intended to help forestall some of the adverse effects on the broader economy that might otherwise arise from the disruptions in financial markets and to promote moderate growth over time,'' the statement said.

That ain't no good...panic anyone?!


Hehe...look at the market after the announcement...spike up


(hope this link works)

Everyone's happy.

At some point, when someone is too much of a sack of sh*t, you bury them.

Lets see what happens to the U$S now.

It went down one cent for just 5 minutes after 2.15. I think it will hit 1.40 today.

U$S dollira ?

Got help us. I'm off to find a good wheelbarrow while they are still less than million.

I'm flexible ;)

BAILOUT!: The Fed Caves to Pressure from White House and US Financial Markets

The Fed announced Tuesday that it was reducing its target for the federal funds rate, the interest that banks charge each other, from 5.25 percent to 4.75 percent.
In addition to cutting the federal funds rate by a half point, the central bank also reduced its discount rate, the interest it charges in making direct loans to banks, by a half-point as well.

Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan has sharply criticized President George W. Bush's administration and Republican congressional leaders for putting political imperatives ahead of sound economic policies.

Bernanke and the Fed just proved to the rest of the world they are NOT serious about addressing the problem of the US Dollar. If the US and the Fed will not address the problem, the world will address the problem to the detriment of the United States.


Marc Faber on Bloomberg today said a rate cut would be "suicidal" and "you cannot cure a condition by the same thing that caused it".
Are we looking at hyper-inflation? What kind of time frame?

Hyperinflation - Wikipedia

Inflation 1923-24: A German woman feeding a stove with currency notes, which burn longer than the amount of firewood they can buy.


Are we looking at hyper-inflation?

No, we are not.

The Fed continues its gutting of the US economy according to plan, but inflation is not the way to do it. And as Mish explained earlier this week in Is the U.S. printing money like mad?, the printing presses are not anywhere near full speed.

The M3 increase comes from keystroke created money, not printing presses. Much of it will soon be gone, through losses in home values, stocks and derivatives. And you can't have inflation while most of the money vanishes from your economy, let alone hyperinflation.

The rate cut will further devalue the dollar, but the Fed will not make up the difference. The average American will simply have less money to spend.

We will have deflation.

End Game: Hyperinflation
by Robert Blumen

I previously contributed to this debate with an editorial on the so-called Dollar Short Squeeze theory. In the current piece, I will take on what I consider a few of the errors and more questionable arguments that have been appearing from the deflation side.


We will have deflation to the extent that lowering stock and home values and credit defaults cause the money supply to shrink as money essentially disappears from the economy.

BUT, we will have inflation to the extent that governments attempt to print their way out of the mess we're in AND as declining primary energy causes a contraction of the producible goods and services in relation to a given supply of money.

I think in this case the irresistible force of inflation will win out over the immovable object of defaults and declining market values.

Its a bit funny in a sense. The timing of peak oil and rate of decline will determine when peak oil destroys our economy. The financial games joust to either destroy us with hyper-inflation or deflations are just plain broke no matter how you denominate it. And global warming threatens both oil supply and crops with the population straining all resources.

Maybe I'm a nut and I hope some of our writings survive since I think historians will find the battle over how the oil economy ended funny.

We are toast but is it burnt toast and are we going to land butter side up ?

We are so screwed. Seriously.

It would be wonderful if the Fed operated intelligently, but I don't see it happening.

My prediction is a 25 bp cut.

The Fed needs to calm the markets. Anything other than a cut will increase the panic in the market.

Even the Fed doesn't know the full impact of the credit woes, so they also need to buy some time. The PPI dropped in August, which gives the Fed some room on inflation.

I think it would be shocking if there was not a small cut to soothe fears in the market.

The Federal Reserve cuts its key interest rate by a half of a percentage point to 4.75 percent.

Claptrap. The dollar is propped neither by the strength of US economy, nor even by the interest rates.

It is ultimately propped by the need of reserve currency and the fear of China and Japan they could ruin their own economy if they sell their dollars.

Bernake's "We have the balls" statement was entirely predictable. Which risk is worse? The US financial sector falling into a death liquidity trap or foreigners committing financial suicide? With FED privately owned by the same banks whose pants are shaking now, which side would Benny be willing to take? I don't remember even a single case when the market did not "predict" (actually demanded) Ben to the the proper thing. For them. Since the music is already ordered it costs nothing for him to pay some lip service to maintaining dollar value and still do what he's ordered. And weak dollar is great for the US economy. It's the Chinese who will be paying this bill.

25ppc rate cut. At least.

I think 50 bp is most likely.

Nah, they are also humans and have their fears.

The recent oil run-up and the simultaneous dollar drop should have rang some bells. I would put it 70:30 for 25 vs 50bp

Congratulations. I think you're the only one who guessed correctly.

Leanan: IMHO, I think people underestimate how difficult Bernanke's job is. It is a totally different ball game from when Volcker was in charge. The level of debt in the US economy in relation to the size of the economy servicing the debt puts a ceiling on the level of interest rates- a ceiling which is getting lower each year. Persons who say raise rates to protect the US dollar do not understand that at this point raising rates will not protect the value of the US dollar because the US dollar will not hold its value while the US economy crumbles around it. Bernanke is caught in a rip tide and he is just trying to survive.

But you can also make the counter argument.

Everyone agrees that the problem is one of a lack of confidence.

The Fed just indicated that they have no confidence in the economy.


Net foreign investment in long-term US securities is $19.2 bn when $90 bn was expected.
Net foreign acquisition - $3.0 bn. Negative, not only did they not invest, they dumped $3 bn. And this is before the rate cut. Fasten your seat belts, this is like the mark telling the Soprano's payments will be cut. LOL.

From the same link:

[Foreign holdings of dollar-denominated short-term U.S. securities, including Treasury bills, and other custody liabilities increased $66.6 billion.]

666, the sign of the devil and apocalypse. How appropriate.

On the upside, at least September's numbers won't be posted until mid-November.

Confidence is nothing but a lag in time between fundamentals and perceived value, an intermediate, if you will. It can manipulate perceived value, but not forever. If the fundamentals are down, so will be the perceived value.

And everyone savvy knows that the fundamentals were bad two, three years ago.

Also, a FED that continuously tells you that everything's ok has no value at all, because you can't trust it. It has to give some of the times.


Just think, in the good old days priests examined the entrails of a sacrificed sheep to determine the future. Now, we've got the repayment rate of sub-prime borrowers as translated by the oracles of Ben Bernanke and Alan Greenspan.

What's that, god? What do you mean there's no difference...

That's the little divine revelation I had in my morning meditation today !
Bob Ebersole

Ha! :)

I hope you're right, but I have a hard time believing he won't succumb to the markets (look at Greenspan's 'irrational exuberance' speech--he folded immediately to market and political pressure). But Bernanke does face a major difficulty in that he believes in loose money in the face of recession/depression but has the issue of keeping foreign investment interested in U.S. treasuries which are already declining in value as the dollar devalues.

Could this be Alan Greenspan's (and "Helicopter Ben's") theme song?

I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles, a popular song which debuted in 1918 and was first published in 1919:

I'm forever blowing bubbles,
Pretty bubbles in the air,
They fly so high,
Nearly reach the sky,
Then like my dreams,
They fade and die.
Fortune's always hiding,
I've looked everywhere,
I'm forever blowing bubbles,
Pretty bubbles in the air.

They fly so high,
Nearly reach the sky,

Imagine an alien from outer space
landing on Wall Street today
and asking,
"Why are you humans celebrating?"

Which one of us is elected to tell the alien,
"We just discovered we can keep borrowing from the future as if there is no end to tomorrow"?

Congratulations for being one of the few to understand that ANY rate cut will flush the US$ down the toilet.

Francois is right that an increase is actually needed to truly protect the dollar. Maintaining neutrality would at least guarantee a slow and steady decline in value, though.

Forget any speculation about a rate increase, though. Given all the speculation about as much as a 50 bp cut, there is no way that they are going to spring a surprise of that magnitude on the markets. Were they seriously considering it, there would have been some trial baloons floating.

I wish I could share your optimism about the FED holding steady. Just like generals always fighting the last war, Ben Bernake is still fighting the Great Depression. If he makes a mistake, it will be on the side of easing too much.

We'll know in just a few minutes now.

50 basis points. Ouch!! Well, it will make the markets happy, but it will be interesting to see what happens to the economy overall.

The markets will get drunk with the news today and wake up tomorrow with the hangover of nothing more to look forward to and nothing solved.

Good thing I got all my money out of treasuries and deposited in Nortern Rock.

Anyone watched the release? The news are silent still.

As I'm watching the dollar/euro trade - USD dropped to 1.397 (the lowest value EVER) but regained to 1.393 in just a couple of minutes.

I'm assuming this means 50 bp cut... Helicopter Ben lives to his name.

So far today the loonie has hit a peak of $1 CAD = $0.9807 USD.

It would appear that the powers that be have decided to continue encouraging the housing and discretionary spending binges and ultimately trash the dollar and us peons along with it.

Hooray! Not!

Latest .9831

I've seen it up to 0.9865

Fed cuts 50 bp

Coming up next: Euro, Pound, Yen set record highs as US dollar plunges.

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

Northern Rock is one of the operations that "secured" their long-term loan commitments with short-term debt. Works like a charm when the markets go up, but... We've all seen pictures of the bank runs. But the crowds, or even this one bank, are not the story.

Northern Rock lost some 60% of its share value, and at least two other big UK lenders hurt as well. Alliance & Leicester (A&L) is down 36% since Sep. 12, Bradford & Bingley (B&B) 21.9%. Ratings for 7 more EU banks were downgraded, among them powerful Deutsche Bank.

The Bank of England is under siege for acting too late with their deposits guarantee, and so is the government.. Northern Rock will soon be sold, either to a group of good-old UK banks, or to foreign banks. We'd like a Chinese buyer, just for the fun of it.

The new British prime minister, Gordon Brown, was the Chancellor of the Exchequer when this mess was brewing, and that will haunt him. Perhaps the best indicator for the severity of the situation in England is that US Treasury Secretary Paulson flew to London on a Monday morning red-eye. There are even questions about the solidity of the entire UK banking and lending system. Something makes us doubt that this is over.

Next, Greenspan. The semi-mummified sorcerer is on a high-profile book tour, which provides ample press-ops for his oracle-y texts. He even had a say on the UK markets, for some reason:

Pain on way for UK homeowners: Greenspan

Greenspan predicted that Britain would be more exposed than the United States to the financial turmoil gripping global credit markets. "Britain is more exposed than we are - in the sense that you have a good deal more adjustable-rate mortgages," he said.

But he said that Britain was well placed to deal with any economic shocks because of government labour market reforms put in place in the 1980s. [ed: remember Thatcher?]

People tend to focus on his "Iraq was about oil" comment, but there was more. One, he stated that the Euro might replace the US dollar as the world reserve currency, and two, even stranger from an economics point of view, he said the following:

Greenspan says U.S. not headed for recession: report

Greenspan, in an interview in the Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad on Monday, warned inflation will rise to about 5 percent in Europe and the United States.

"The normal inflation level is closer to 5 percent than the current 2 percent," Greenspan said, adding that the 5 percent level fitted an economy with a "paper" standard where the currency is not linked to gold.

Excuse us? How does a 5% inflation rate equal a gold standard? Isn't gold supposed to prevent inflation?

We emailed the quote to some of the real experts.Calculated Risk said: "Wow. That is a dumb thing to say!". Mike 'Mish' Shedlock's reaction: "That is one of the dumbest things he has ever said." We rest our case.

Today will be big, with what some call the most important Fed meeting in a decade. The expectation is a rate cut of .25-.50%, but no-one is sure what the sorcerer's apprentices will come up with. Alan Oz himself is looking on from a safe distance, fiddling idly and signing books, while Rome burns.

Stoneleigh - Your economic orientated roundups are a regular read now for me. Thanks D

"The normal inflation level is closer to 5 percent than the current 2 percent," Greenspan said, adding that the 5 percent level fitted an economy with a "paper" standard where the currency is not linked to gold.

I believe that he is attempting to move the goal post for what is to be considered for normal inflation in the core rate, giving Ben breathing room to re-inflate. With the core rate running around 2.5-3%, and real inflation running around 10% according to Shadowstats.com, we are looking at nearly doubling the inflation rate.

This makes sense if you follow the theories for re-inflation by Financial Sense Online and iTulip. Both are predicting a signficant re-inflation effort using fiscal policy (government programs) and monitary policy (money printing) to counteract the impacts of the credit bubble popping.

Get out your disco shoes; it will be the late 70's all over again with stagflation and commodity prices exploding.

D: The difference is the late 70s had widespread unionization. It was commonplace for unionized employees to receive YOY wage increases of 11-12%. Those days are gone, probably forever.

All this means is that individuals income will not match the real inflation rate and everyone’s standard of living will be reduced proportionality.

"Get out your disco shoes; it will be the late 70's all over again with stagflation and commodity prices exploding."

There's an interesting new working paper at the National Bureau of Economic Research titled "The Macroeconomic Effects of Oil Shocks: Why are the 2000s So Different from the 1970s?". The authors are Olivier J. Blanchard of MIT and Jordi Gali of Centre de Recerca en Economia Internacional (CREI) in Spain.

The abstract reads:
"We characterize the macroeconomic performance of a set of industrialized economies in the aftermath of the oil price shocks of the 1970s and of the last decade, focusing on the differences across episodes. We examine four different hypotheses for the mild effects on inflation and economic activity of the recent increase in the price of oil: (a) good luck (i.e. lack of concurrent adverse shocks), (b) smaller share of oil in production, (c) more flexible labor markets, and (d) improvements in monetary policy. We conclude that all four have played an important role."

Interestingly, there is no mention in the entire paper of debt. My take is that stagflation requires an inflationary shock such as oil price increases that both robs the economy of discretionary income while forcing prices higher for key goods. We have that. However, stagflation also requires that consumers have no other options than to reduce their spending or bargain for higher wages. Until recently, we had a third option; people could just run up debt to maintain their lifestyle. It looks as though that option is disappearing.

Unfortunately, the option of increasing their debt load isn't slowly withdrawing, it's flushing quickly away. I expect the fed to lower by 25 basis points today, but they may end up needing a good pair of dancing shoes to dodge problems in the coming years.

I thought he was saying that 5% is appropriate where there is no gold standard, implying that with a gold standard inflation would be lower. I must have missed something that got to a position that 5% inflation equals a gold standard.


vtfarmer -You and I are on the same page. I do not know what the others are reading.

Ditto. It's a mis-reading of the argument, in my view.

That's how I'd read it too... don't know that it says much for a paper standard. Maybe he should have said 5% is normal inflation for an oil-backed economy at plateau... perhaps that'll rise post peak proper :)

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

Same here. Relief to encounter your post.

2+2 is still 4.


Thanks again for your perceptive round-up of the financial news on TOD Canada.I've thought for a number of years that because about 98% of human endeavor is concerned with money,that financial news provides a better window into understanding the human condition than any other kind.

The mainstream media censors most kinds of news, but they generally don't censor the financial news as much. This is likely because editors tend to be liberal arts majors and political science types, and so don't weight the discussion of finance very high, when its actually why many people read the news at all. And its where the lack of the King's clothing is most likely to show up.

That's why TOD is such a great blog. Energy is the lifeblood of civilization, and the trends that affect energy are worldwide. I learn stuff constantly here, and TOD has changed my basic perception in a bunch of areas. I certainly would have never thought of the concept of Energy Return On Energy Invested as a method of evaluating projects like ethanol or nuclear energy, yet I now see EROEI as the most important concept for policy decisions.

So thank you, Stoneleigh, and Leanan too. Your efforts combined with the perceptiveness of the other posters and readers here makes this blog essential. Bob Ebersole

Hello TODers,

My caption for the photo of 'infinite growth'-Greenspan holding up five digits:

"I now apologize for my insane policies' effects upon our Little Blue Orb. To environmentally account for these costs: I am willing to sacrifice these fingers to amputation to make a real 'invisible hand' for our markets going forward. It will continually remind me to push for finite policies as I stump for change."

thumb: loss of polar bears and other ecosystem keystone predators

index or trigger finger: loss of gorillas and other primates to poachers for bushmeat plus habitat loss

middle finger: for previous 'flipping the bird' to untold millions of children resulting in their agonizing deaths

ring finger: for not advancing population control during his reign as head-FED

pinky finger: for the consequent Overshoot and Dieoff

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

Stone, he said exactly the opposite, that the 5 percent level fitted an economy with a "paper" standard, where currency is not linked to gold.

A pure gold-based monetary system would have been actually deflationary since the industrial revolution, most notably after WWII. During the period 1950-1975 world real GDP increased at a cumulative rate of 4.7%, while world total gold inventories rose at a cumulative rate of 1.6%. So a gold-based monetary system would have caused an annual DEFLATION rate of 3%.

Clearly that kind of deflationary pressure would have directly prevented the unprecedented economic growth rates that the world (particularly the OECD countries) experienced between 1950 and 1973. Which I think it would have been actually GOOD, given that the economic growth enabled by Keynesian monetary policies was based on the consumption (and hastening the depletion) of fossil fuels, making society ever more dependent on those fossil fuels for functioning, and all that without making any provision for establishing an alternative energy source.

Thus, when viewed with a long term perspective, it would have been preferable to have kept the gold standard and thus ended up with a much flatter upslope to Hubbert's peak and a correspondingly much flatter downslope than that we expect to face now.

DeLong, J Bradford (1998), "Estimating World GDP, One Million B.C. - Present".
http://www.j-bradford-delong.net/TCEH/1998_Draft/World_GDP/ Estimating_World_GDP.html

Butler, Marion (2000), "Ancient Prices".

Beach Boy:

There was actually gold based inflation in Europe when the conquistadors brought back all their loot from conquering the Aztecs and Incas. And there's been local gold inflation in boom towns and regions-like California in the Gold Rush. Any medium of exchange has an agreed value, except for its actual useage no utilitarian value. Gold sure has fluctuated a lot since I was a kid, and doesn't have a value as specie, you can't go buy a house or a car without changing it to our agreed upon fiat currency. I just can't see that you are right that using it for currency would have much of an effect on the shape of Hubberts peak. Oil and gold are both still commodities. Oil depletes and is used up while virtually all gold is recycled.So kindly explain yourself more, I really don't understand the point Bob Ebersole

you are right about inflation in gold terms whenever and wherever the quantity of monetary gold rose faster than the quantity of available goods. (I remember a study correlating price rises in Andalucia with the arrival of gold shiploads.) That's why I said "would have been actually deflationary since the industrial revolution", which is when the production of goods started to rise faster thanks to the progressively more efficient unleashing of energy stored in fossil fuels.

My point was: if (counterfactually) gold had been used for currency in 1950-1975, when its world inventory rose at an annual cumulative rate of 1.6% (due to mining), it would have acted as a deflationary brake to economic growth, which actually proceeded at an annual cumulative rate of 4.7% during that period. (So in the counterfactual scenario the world would not have experienced 4.7% annual GDP growth rates.)

This is a basic point in economics: if GDP grows faster than the stock of money, you get deflationary pressures.
10 breads, 10 coins => 1 bread is worth one coin
20 breads, 10 coins => 1 bread is worth a half coin

Obviously a deflationary environment encourages people to postpone consumption of discretionary items, because those items will be cheaper in the future. So, for the Keynes plea to be effective:

"oh patriotic housewives, sally out tomorrow into the streets and go to the wonderful sales which are everywhere advertised. You will do yourselves good - for never were things so cheap...And have the added joy that you are increasing employment..."

the patriotic housewives first had to be convinced that prices would not be lower tomorrow, which was achieved with the abandonment of the gold standard, unleashing monetary policy from the "golden fetters".

So what I said is that, had the gold standard been kept, it would have acted as a deflationary brake to economic growth, which would have proceeded at a much slower pace than it actually did. That would mean that the consumption (and hence the extraction) rate of fossil fuels would have risen much more slowly. A flatter and longer upslope to Hubbert's Peak (which would now be many years away in that case) would have lead to a correspondingly flatter and longer - and consequently much less traumatic - downslope than what we are about to face.

I'm aware this is just academic, but it shows that Keynesian policies were built on the assumption of a flat earth with no physical limits to growth and therefore were extremely noxious over the long term. Had Keynes been aware of those limits, he should have followed his statement that "in the long rung we are all dead" with "and we do not care much about those that will be living then".

And sadly enough, as shown today by the Fed, those policies are still in full effect.

greenspan gave an interview on npr with terri gross. this guy is so full of bulls***. aside from the fact that he denies responsibility for the housing bubble and yet to be played out meltdown, he stated that:

the clinton "surplus", if it had continued would have resulted in the entire federal debt disappearing. well, in fact greenspan doesnt seem to understand the difference between budget deficit and actual treasury deficit. in fact in clinton's last full year the debt increased by $21 billion (which is incidentally the same as one day, november 23, 2004 with elbefuddleoso at the helm). greenspan saw paying off the debt as creating a new problem ...... the federal government would have to buy private securities to store the surplus...... is this guy crazy or stupid or what ?

greenspan also made the statement that the current debt as a percent of annual gdp is not large by historical standards ! well, the debt is about $9 trillion and annual gdp is just over $ 12 trillion. the debt as a % of gdp hasnt been this high since the end of ww2. so wake up greeny get off whatever your are smoking (and i dont mean andrea mitchel).

Elwood: Interesting article on the monster Greeny nurtured (if you haven't read it) http://www.atlanticfreepress.com/content/view/2354/81/

Great job, Stoneleigh and team, with the Round-ups.

Could I make a few suggestions?

It seems as if you have two general areas of interest - economics and Canada. It would be good to have separate Round-ups, since the target audiences are different. People interested in the one area may not be interested in the other.

Maybe label them differently. Perhaps:
Round-up: Canada
Round-up: Financial

It's easier to link to you if there is a clearly defined subject.

It would be okay to have shorter Round-ups (don't have to have so many items per Round-up). People tend to get overwhelmed if there are too many items. If you post regularly, even with fewer items, it is easier to build up a readership.

Best of luck,
Energy Bulletin

And I thought it would take till Xmas to get it up to a quarter million foreclosures. MAybe it will rise to a half million by Xmas or spring. How many millions of people can sleep under bridges and overpasses in cardboard boxes with the whole family?


If you're worried about credit quality, RealtyTrac's August foreclosure figures won't give you any solace. In a word, they were ugly. Some details ...
* Foreclosure filings soared 115.3% year-over-year in August -- to 243,947 from 115,292 in the same month of 2006.
* Measured from July's reading of 179,599, filings surged 35.8%.
* If you look at filings per household, Nevada performed the worst. One in every 165 households there is in foreclosure. Other standouts include California (1 in 224), Florida (1 in 243), and Georgia (1 in 271).
August wasn't a pretty month for homeowners, with foreclosures more than doubling from a year ago. The problem? Tighter mortgage markets are cutting off refinancing opportunities for borrowers with re-setting ARMs and subprime loans. While they might have been able to refi their way out of trouble 12 or 18 months ago if they fell behind on their payments or faced an imminent reset, that's no longer the case for many borrowers. Slumping prices are also leaving more borrowers upside down, giving them an incentive to walk away in times of financial trouble. Bottom line: Until the underlying housing market finds its footing -- and the mortgage markets loosen up again -- we're going to continue to see delinquencies and foreclosures rise.

I think it was Galbraith who said (regarding the Great Depression) that "The worst continued to get worse."

Was he channelling Yogi Bera?

'I think it was Galbraith who said (regarding the Great Depression) that "The worst continued to get worse."'

I mean, that's like Deja Vu all over again.

Lender accused of taking retirement funds

Bankrupt American Home Mortgage is attempting to seize as much as $27 million that former employees set aside from paychecks for retirement, according to an attorney representing them.

Employees say Melville-based American Home Mortgage Investment wants to release retirement money from a trust fund to pay off large creditors.


But Freddie Mac recently seized $7 million from American Home Mortgage to pay back taxes since AHMIC stopped paying taxes in August. But the amazing thing is that it was payments made by homeowners (affecting almost $800 million in mortgages) and included payments for taxes and insurance so those homeowners now risk loss of insurance and tax foreclosures. The amazing thing will be that the feds use the money taken from homeowners making their payments on time to bail out homeowners who default on their payments. This is too bizarre.

Caveat: The monies involved were the "supplemental retirement plans", i.e. deferrred tax income for the high level guys... It doesn't bother me that the pigmen won't have any dessert

The people living under bridges almost universally have substance abuse problems and this is often compounded by other mental illness.

When someone who isn't a drunk, drug addict, or head case loses their home they call friends or relatives. This isn't going to be a hard call to make, because there will be lots of roomy housing owned by those under stress. We'll see doubling up ... this is already getting some news space which has been reported here - McMansions turned into rooming houses for college kids out east - this was reported a week ago or so.

I had an average monthly income of around $5,000 when I saw the July 5 PEMEX bombing and decided bunking with mom would be a good idea. She wasn't too keen on long term company, but she has warmed to the idea with an extra $1,000 in the pot for household expenses. Now I look at whats on my calendar for October ... nothing ... and I suspect that I'm not the only one having such concerns. I'm on the production side of the equation and my business will rebound as higher overhead competitors give up, but its going to be a bumpy ride ...

The Baptist Mission in New Orleans just opened up a 104 bed annex. Requirements for the new area (with slightly better facilities) and long term (up to 18 months) stays.

Clean & Sober
No fights
Have a Full Time Job
Minimum Personal Hygiene


You should ease up on the generalizations, or at least the causality implied with them..

A whole LOT of people have substance abuse and mental health problems, and this may well put some of them under bridges if their lives fall apart, as so often happens. These people may have ALSO called their families and tried to solve their problems while living with mom, etc.. as Grandfather said in Little Big Man, 'Sometimes the magic works, sometimes it doesn't.'

But when you summed up with
".. When someone who isn't a drunk, drug addict, or head case loses their home they call friends or relatives."
..You made it sound distinctly like anybody with those problems was THEM, the losers who deserve to live under bridges, or they got what was coming to them for being in that kind of trouble. Those people are US. Joe Sixpack is US, 'Rich Educated Westerner' is US (in most cases, on this site, I'd expect) ... if we're facing a crisis like the great depression or worse, you won't be able to put the chicken before the egg like that.. bad luck will put a lot of people out, will exacerbate the chronic, but moderate levels of addiction and mental distress that most of us have somewhat contained in one form or another, .. and that guy who's under the bridge just got hit with a worse string of luck and unfortunate choices than you.

As you said, it very likely is going to be a truly bumpy ride, and I'm sorry for ranting about your comment.. but it came across as really crass.

There but for the grace of.. ~a roll of the dice~ go any of us..

I'm just saying, think of ways to recognize their humanity as fully as your own.. Someone on this site a few days back gave the advice about 'not extending any offers of friendship' 'get some ammo and lock the doors' kind of thing.. Reminded me of the Short Story 'Blue Hotel', where a Swedish guy in the American Frontier gets himself killed in a gunfight as soon as he gets to town, because that is the only path he thinks exists in the "Wild West" .. It's quite possible that hammers see a bigger hammer as just another nail.. oops!

Good luck in October! Best,

People who have problems are in one class, people who cause problems for themselves and others are in another? Would that have been a less crass way of putting it? The point is that today (with the exception of New Orleans) almost everyone who is "outdoors" is there because they have trouble getting along with those who would otherwise lend a helping hand. As times get harder those who didn't drink or drug themselves into whatever trouble befalls them will likely find refuge with friends or relatives in exchange for helping to pull the load.

I've worked in a homeless shelter and I pick up everyone I see by the side of the road with their thumb out. No money if they're hungry, but I've fed a bunch of 'em ... so I'm not theorizing from inside some ivory tower by any means ...

I live in El Paso, Texas, right by the Mexican border. I've walked over the bridge (over the Rio Grande) to Ciudad Juarez many times. There are plenty of people under the bridge who, if they don't actually live there, spend plenty of time standing there with hats in hand, beckoning to tourists to throw them a few coins. Have also seen plenty of people on the street with hands out. There may be some mentally ill and there may be a few fakes, but I think the majority of them are real. They have no other choice. And this may very well be the (not too distant) future of the USA.

Those who will have caused the coming depression (the corporatocracy, the political kleptocracy) will most likely get off easy. They'll be down in Paraguay with Bush and Cheney, leading the good life.

I've been "outdoors." I was not on drugs or mentally ill. Your comments remind me of some of the people who tried to lend a helping hand for motives that I could only speculate on, and it was mortifying. Maybe you should stop picking people up and leave the good works to people who have more tact.

Those I give a ride and perhaps a meal are uniformly delighted to see me. I appear to have this sort of curious "split personality", because I draw reactions like yours online, but never in person ... and it isn't so hard to discern those who can't make it from those who've chosen the road for some reason all their own. This trio, for instance, are in the world, but very pointedly not of the world.


what the curtains

I applaud SacredCowTipper's taking action to help others, and hope he continues. If we all did this life would be a little easier for other people. Tact and understanding are social skills that we all learn with practice and honest communications with people.

As far as reasons for homelessness, they vary a lot. There are also people with horrible heath problems that can't work, victims of abuse, and even people who have chosen that lifestyle because they like it. With many illegal immigrants, there are even people who see it as a path to improvement in their circumstances.

Perhaps, if you feel mortified or humiliated by having been homeless, you need to take steps so that it doesn't happen again rather than attacking somebody who is trying to help someone else.

Bob Ebersole

Bob, homelessness itself wasn't mortifying. It was interesting the way I got used to how transparent my life was. It was the treatment from some people that was uncomfortable. Sacredcowtipper's generalizations did look bad, but I'm sure he's very respectful in person.

you need to take steps so that it doesn't happen again

Thanks for the helpful advice. Don't let me forget to return the favor after it happens to you. ;)

I just know too many addicts and really disturbed people at high levels, as well as too many folks who are homeless 'cause they just can't stand coming inside. (Lived a lot of years in Manhattan, where such things are possibly more manageable) Your statement was too willing to say that 'those outdoor people' are the druggies, the head-cases, whatever.. I had a friend who taught at Rye High School, in a pretty posh-ish part of Westchester County, North of NYC.. The amount of Drug, Psychological and Physical Abuse that many families there were living though was truly saddening.

I don't doubt your altrusism, but your comments didn't have much scope. The classes of folks you defined still seems mired in the need to figure out who to Blame their problems on. Emotional and Addiction problems come from patterns that are handed to us by an extremely distressed culture. People are fighting their way out all the time, but that doesn't give them a moral superiority to those who are drowning in it. I have a very close friend living at his folks' home, trying program after program. I don't know if he'll make it or not. We've all tried, but the ball is mostly in his court at this point..

Even the folks IN those ivory towers are surely no strangers to Addictions or Mental Health problems in their world.. just as the rest of us are susceptible to the arbitrary, conceptual division of people into neat groups, to try to make sense of things..

Anyway.. this is quibbling.. I just think it's important how people are described and categorized, and that they are not being idealized or demonized.


what ?????? you mean bonzo's sitter was lying when he said they are homeless because they want to be ?

And I thought it would take till Xmas to get it up to a quarter million foreclosures. Maybe it will rise to a half million by Xmas or spring. How many millions of people can sleep under bridges and overpasses in cardboard boxes with the whole family?

I have no data to back this assertion, but my impression has always been a significant percentage of foreclosures are not families losing their homes, but real estate speculators. The guy that bought the house to flip it but only has a few thousand dollars of equity in it. He paid $200K, has a $190K mortgage, and the most he could hope to sell it for now is $170K. Why wouldn't he just walk away?

Certainly large numbers of people are still losing their houses, but I don't think it's nearly as bad as the raw number make it appear. In the past there wasn't nearly as many real estate investors inspired by watching one of those house flipping shows that would just walk away at the first sign of trouble. That's why the foreclosure rates are so much higher than previous down housing markets in my opinion.

I've pretty much had it with the 'oil rises to $XX.67 on fears of bklah blah and blah in some gulf' . As if there has to be some reason other than supply and demand and the normal ongoing workings of the marketplace. Fears of this and fears of that, but never on fears that the potential supply is getting short.

I'm still waiting for these analyst guys' spike to start having a point at the top. I'd love to hear, 'oil continues it's inclined plane today...' . What about the raptor references to plunging and soaring every time it goes up or down a couple of percent.

I'm almost at the point of considering that this commodity could be somewhat different from other commodities if they keep this up. Nah, couldn't be..

Sorry if I missed this earlier, but I didn't see anyone pick up on a couple of things with the OPEC quotas. If I'm reading this correctly:


it looks like Venezuela's quota was cut from around 3m bpd to 2.4m. Since previously Venezuela claimed to be pumping 3m but nobody else believed them, this seems like a face-saving way out of the situation - they can now claim they are dropping to 2.4 in order to meet their quota.

Similarly I note Indonesia's quota dropped way down from 1.4 to 0.85, matching their current production rate, thus sparing them the embarrassment of being unable to meet their allocation.

Not really face-saving. I posted an article about that a couple of days ago. OPEC flat out said that they were adjusting the quotas to reality, and therefore Venezuela and Indonesia had theirs cut instead of increased.

HOUSTON -(Dow Jones)- Crude production at Prudhoe Bay has dropped by 120,000 barrels a day since Sept. 4, according to Alaska state data.

The decline, from 307,000 barrels on Sept. 4 to 186,000 barrels on Sept. 10, was due to "normal field variability and...planned maintenance activity," said BP PLC (BP) spokesman Daren Beaudo.


Courtesy Tom Whipple and EnergyBulletin

Arkansaw of Samuel L Clemens

[The United States Senate, in a move obviously targeted at OPEC, ... is currently pushing through a Bill to outlaw oil cartels.]

This move is obviously targeted at the American voters to make them think their 'representatives' are actually doing something. Isn't this a rehash of S.2557 that the Senate judiciary committee passed last year (but which then failed to go anywhere) that would allow the U.S. to sue OPEC or anyone else for withholding oil with the intent of affecting prices? Interestingly, that ridiculous proposal used the same bill number (S.2557) in the 109th congress as a 106th congress bill in 2000 that would have required the U.S. to cut its energy dependency on foreign oil sources by 50% by the year 2010. Wish that one had passed.

Note to the US Senate: US laws stop at US borders.

If OPEC is declared a terror organization like we just did for the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, then I think this U.S. law stoppage is not the case.

Can't you just see it? Extraordinary rendition of oil ministers from select OPEC countries, a "little dunk in the water" at some undisclosed location, and our non-negotiable lifestyle continues just as it has ...

I can't wait for them to repeal the law of gravity so I can pedal up hills easier.

What's the enforcement mechanism - an embargo on OPEC crude? Sadly, we pay these guys in Congress.

And equally sadly, in a democracy you get what you deserve.

That would be a really interesting experiment - we should try it sometime.

All the HR666 Gravity Repeal Act is going to promise is that you will have 'recourse to sue' Mother Nature through the EPA when biking up hills proves to be just as hard as before.

Sadly, we pay these guys in Congress.

Not surprising that a list of collective nouns includes (my favorite) "congress of baboons"

On second thought.... might be an insult to baboons.

'On second thought... might be an insult to baboons.'

It is, without a doubt, an insult to baboons. Baboons know what they are doing. Baboons know what they want to accomplish. Baboons dont commit group suicide. Baboons dont have to consider what effect a rate hike by the Fed will have on their lives.

Oh to be an albatross

to fly the seven seas

and skim the oceans all

with no use for land atall

and see my friends but once per year

when absence has made them much more dear

...by me

Can you imagine working for a company that has a little more than 500 employees and has the following statistics:

- 29 have been accused of spousal abuse
- 7 have been arrested for fraud
- 19 have been accused of writing bad checks
- 117 have directly or indirectly bankrupted at least 2 businesses
- 3 have done time for assault
- 71 cannot get a credit card due to bad credit
- 14 have been arrested on drug-related charges
- 8 have been arrested for shoplifting
- 21 are currently defendants in lawsuits
- 84 have been arrested for drunk driving in the last year

Can you guess which organization this is?

Give up yet?

It's the 535 members of the United States Congress. The same group that cranks out hundreds of new laws each year designed to keep the rest of us in line.

(from http://www.thefleecingofamerica.com/credibility/index.htm )

To the extent that any law will authorize suit against an OPEC nation, the enforcement mechanism is the ability to seize property of that nation that is within the US. Take, for example, CITGO and all of its refineries that are owned by Venezuela. I'm not suggesting that this makes sense (it would just cause capital flight of nations "guilty" of cartel behavior, and in the PdVSA case cause potentially catastrophic problems for the refining sector if all CITGO's refineries got held up in some kind of injunction).

"I can't wait for them to repeal the law of gravity so I can pedal up hills easier."

And define Pi as '3' so their kids will have an easier time in math class....

From EB's post of 11th Hour review:

"The 11th Hour" and Generation Z
Kelpie Wilson, Truthout
Leonardo DiCaprio's documentary The 11th Hour is a valuable film and everyone who can get to a theater should go and see it. A more personal treatment of the same ground can be found in What a Way to Go: Life at the End of Empire.

The latter can be seen tomorrow for those near Raleigh, NC

7 PM WEDNESDAY, September 19
Campus Cinema
117 Witherspoon Center
2810 CatesAvenue
Raleigh, North Carolina
(nearest intersection is Cates Avenue and Dan Allen Drive)
Parking is free after 5 PM in the Student Health parking lot.

“Perhaps the most important media message of our time”
~Jan Lundberg at CultureChange.org


Edited to fix extremely screwed up HTML coding.

Sounds good. I like his comment about not putting a feel good ending on it. (host of peak moment bugs me)

Peak Moment: "What a Way to Go" - Meet the Filmmakers


Tim Bennett and Sally Erickson discuss the influences behind this heartfelt and riveting documentary on "Life at the End of Empire." Framed in Tim's personal story of awakening to the big global issues threatening everyone's survival. It will touch you and make you think. Episode 72.

Deleted triple post (slaps self with wet noodle...)

As long as I'm here - oil at record highs, arctic sea ice at record lows, and we humans are the arbiters of both. Peak everything, as Heinberg writes, is upon us, by our own doing of course. Except the peak in what we consider to be everything important coincides with the literal death valley for things like arctic sea ice and countless species. It all shares the same root - the stories we tell ourselves. See the big picture. See WAWTG.

WAWTG = What a way to go. I think. Link anyone? What's Clifman talking about?

Look upthread.

Thanks :)

Mogambo's story today for the Asia times is on PEAK OIL!

A peek at the peak oil problem

Still he can't stay away from the economy for long:

The inflation of the American government and its lackey, the corrupt Federal Reserve, is going steal all of your Christmas presents and then use the ribbons to strangle to death you and your stupid little family by killing your money and wealth by creating too much money and credit!

I think he drinks too much coffee.

Yeah, I saw that yesterday when it was posted to Daily Reckoning. But it was so bizarre I decided not to post it. I usually like his stuff, off the wall as it is, but this one...I wasn't sure what he was trying to say.

IMO he just has a different sense of humor and in a way it is brilliant.

He posted one interacting with an older Kunstler Charlie Fox article,


Agree. Just thought that his rant I quoted was a little more intense than usual.

He should be happy...being the goldbug that he is...gold is climbing nicely.

In view of the 50 bp rate cut spot on, eh? :-)

Sure gold goes up, but so will everything else except wages.

Saw a link this morning showing that foreign investment in treasuries was falling like a rock even before the cut.

'He should be happy...being the goldbug that he is...'

Or, could be, he can afford more of whatever his stimulant of choice happens to be.

I like reading his column but seldom post anything in it to this site...Really,...no reason not to. He isnt any crazier than some others that I come across.

N.Y. Times to stop charging for site content

As of midnight Tuesday, access to nearly all of the material that had been limited to TimesSelect users will be free. Article archives going back the last 20 years will be free, and so will older archives from 1851 and 1923, which are in the public domain. The Times will still charge a fee for access to archived stories published between 1923 and 1986.

Very cool!

But why still charge for '23-'86?

Probably because they can. The people interested in those articles are likely researchers who are able and willing to pay. The more recent articles will be supported by advertising to the masses.

There was a time when I would have cared, but they waited too long.

OFF TOPIC: Leanan, yesterday you mentioned that you were somewhat concerned about religious fundamentalism in the military...Here is a very good interview of a man that knows the subject...And, on topic.


James Carroll, American Fundamentalisms
[Note to Tomdispatch readers: After a long break, this is the thirteenth in a series of interviews at the site. The previous twelve were collected in the book Mission Unaccomplished: Tomdispatch Interviews with American Iconoclasts and Dissenters.]

American Exceptionalism Meets Team Jesus
A Tomdispatch Interview with James Carroll

'He's a man who knows something about the dangers of mixing religious fervor, war, and the crusading spirit, a subject he dealt with eloquently in his book Constantine's Sword: The Church and the Jews. A former Catholic priest turned antiwar activist in the Vietnam era, James Carroll also wrote a moving memoir about his relationship to his father, the founding director of the Pentagon's Defense Intelligence Agency. Carroll essentially grew up in that five-sided monument to American imperial power. For him, as a boy, the Pentagon was "the largest playhouse in the world" and he can still remember sliding down its ramps in his stocking feet, as he's written in the introduction to his recent, magisterial history of that building and the institution it holds, House of War.'...snip...

For those who develop circumscribed interests in such things Political Research Associates' PublicEye.org is a wonderful resource ...



Thanks for linking up that interview, that's spectacular clear analysis of the crusader mentality that's brought the whole world to the freefall towards disaster in Iraq and elsewhere.

That's the reason why many of the neocons are telling the truth when they say the attempted conquest of Iraq wasn't about oil. It really wasn't for a very high percentage of the people that supported the war from the beginning, but the manipulators that run the Bush administation hooked up with the crusader mentality of the military in the US in order to justify the war. I think this is the greatest danger to the US republic since the Civil War, and since we have nuclear weapons, the greatest danger to the world in general.
Bob Ebersole

Thanks from me too, for linking to discussion of the Christian project at the Air Force Academy, and its dangerous historical context.

While I think many of us reading of these conspirings assume that the Christians want to get their agents into the Air Force command structure to get access to nuclear weapons, I believe there's an additional reason. About 20 years ago, I was working on some fictional stories about a second American Civil War along racial lines, and I realized that a right-wing government could never trust the US Army to reliably fire upon black civilians when it was at the time over 30% black. If some American Franco were to attempt a fascist coup, he would face the same problem. Even before the Christians began their Air Force project, it was apparent that the Air Force was the one branch of the military that would be willing to commit mass terror against the populace in a right-wing cause.

This is because the Air Force's original religion is not Christianity, but the writings of Douhet and Mitchell. These bastards sanctified the terror-bombing of foreign civilians as the solution to every problem. USAF keeps trying again and again to terror-bomb a foreign society into early surrender. Twisted as it may seem, USAF believed its own lies about its effectiveness during the First Iraq War and the Kosovo bombing campaign - at the very time the Christians made their move in Colorado Springs. The two religions merged at that moment - the right to terror-bomb people into conversion to our faith.

But a religion that denigrates the value of the lives of foreign civilians must ultimately erode one's respect for his own civilians. Both Christianity and Bombology denigrate the value of the lives of ordinary people who refuse to obey.

I said nearly 20 years ago that one day the United States Air Force would bomb an American city. I stand by it, more so than ever now.

And Peak Oil won't stop these guys - why are they working so hard on flying killer robots with low fuel consumption?

This reply is not so much to super390's post but more to the thread in general.

It is frustrating to read these posts since I do not believe the have an ounce of truth. My perception is that people who have an agenda against Christianity write false articles. People end up reading them, before long the theory takes on a life of its own. Now we have these ideas how about violent militant Christians trying to destroy the nuke the world and brainwash every one with violent video games.

Please, make the distinction between people in power who, under the guise of Christianity, try to maintain or gain power for whatever purposes they have.

In over 25 years of being an 'evangelical' Christian I have yet to hear one sermon advocating violence, conversion by force or for that matter converion by any method other than love and presentation of the gospel.

What Christians who really believe in the bible believe is loving others, trying to become more like Christ and trying to live at peace with others. Christianity transcends politics and patriotism. Personally I could care less about politics, partiotism, apple pie, and what ever else we are sold. None of that matters.

Having served in the first gulf war with 1st Infantry, I understand a thing or two about war. I also know I don't know if I could do it over. I think there is a place for self defense either at the individual or national level when justified, but I certainly don't believe in this war. And I also am coming more to the belief in 'turning the other check' no matter what. I'm not a pacifist yet, but I do believe that love trumps all.

So my request would be not to use anecdotal stories of people in power doing something to judge Christianity.

If you would like to hear examples of sermons I am thinking of from where I attend church you can hear them here:


There is a great gulf between Christians, who follow the teachings of a guy named Jesus, and the Christian Right, who say the man's name but take their every move from the National Socialist party's playbook.

When will Christians clean house on the Christian Right? Those of us who don't believe in the master religion get the usual "war on Christmas" claptrap if we say anything ...

Good post, and much better as a heartfelt response from one who believes rather than the theoretical thing I was pondering as I drove home this morning.

"I said nearly 20 years ago that one day the United States Air Force would bomb an American city. I stand by it, more so than ever now."

It already happened in Logan County WV during the Coal Fields wars in August of 1921. Marching miners were bombed and machine gunned.

It almost became a true montrosity when "the Secretary of War ordered Brigadier General Billy Mitchell (later called the father of the United States Air Force) and his 88th Light Bomber Squadron to Charleston complete with chemical weapons and the authorization to use them."

Due to technical difficulties, the gassing of US citizens was postponed.

Haing served 8 years in the United States Marine Corps, seen combat on 3 continents and decorated in 2 of these actions I will state without reservation that the United States military will not turn against the people of the United States.
There are a lot of valid worries in the world, what is detailed in this tinfoil , moronic thread is not one of them.

I will state without reservation that the United States military will not turn against the people of the United States

However, the United States Army will kill over 1,100 American civilians (directly, several thousand more indirectly) and devastate 80% of a major American city and accept responsibility for their actions on page 300 of a 600+ page report and take no other action.

And the Army will buy single source replacement pumps from a major political contributer, said pumps will be defective and the US Army will hide this fact until exposed by a foreign visitor (a visiting Dutch engineer). Said pumps are vital for the preservation of life and property.


Kent state?


Hey y'all -

Long time reader, first time commenter.

Came across this in the morning paper and almost spit my coffee all over my 3-year old.

"Diesel urged on Northwest rail"


I live along the proposed route and while I am not entirely shocked by the direction RTD is heading in (pun-intended), I am determined to give them some advice about why they have it bass-ackwards. But I could use some help from you all.

I understand the pollution and noise factors are important - and in and of themselves present issues for using diesel, especially for all the people that live next to the tracks - however, it is apparent that the main reason they are not considering electric is from a purely financial perspective.

Again, not suprising, and like most economic decisions on the micro and macro level it is only looking at things from a short-term perspective. In other words, put off today what we will have to do tomorrow lest we incur the wrath of taxpayers by raising the cost of building an electric rail system. Obviously, it is easier to take an existing rail system and put a vehicle on it that doesn't require costly modifications to the infrastructure, but here are my two questions:

1) As the general consensus is that we are at or very near PO, and oil is hitting $80 a barrel, wouldn't it be relatively safe to assume that Diesel will cost much more in 5-10 years and thereby erase all savings from going diesel instead of going eletric?

2) Have there been any studies or review of studies that show the short and long term economic consequences of diesel versus eletric rail systems, especially in light of PO?

I'd be particularly interested in Alan Drakes input as he, from what I can tell, has done a lot of research on rail electrification.

Just want to thank all of you for sharing your experiences, expertise and knowledge. I enjoy the comments and free banter as much as the Round Up.

There may be a law of receding horizons, but every day you expand mine.


Some comments:

1) Electric is faster. Faster is cheaper (lower cost/unit for fixed costs like labor & equipment). Faster attracts more riders and more revenue.

The Greenbush commuter rail line outside Boston would have been 11 minutes faster if it were electrified.

2) Electric locomotives last longer with less maintenance.

3) No refueling infrastructure (and wasted time & labor) with electrics.

4) EMUs, rather than trains, can be used. This allows 2 car service (locos are uneconomic below 4 car service) off-peak, so trains twice as often and ~15% faster to downtown !

The "deal breaker" here is highway bridges that were built too low over the tracks.

Electrifying the train line also might require RTD to reconstruct nine bridges in the corridor, Quinn said. That could add as much as $565 million in additional costs to the line, scheduled to open in 2015.

Since the RR was there first, the CoDOT should pay for this upgrade (and the bridges are probably old).

At a minimum get the transit agency to issue a demand letter to CoDOT that ANY major bridge repairs on any of these nine bridges should include raising them to clear electric trains.

Ed Tennyson just did a study of Houston-Galveston commuter rail. "Not worth doing" with diesel, but quite viable with EMUs (faster, cheaper, much higher ridership).

Best Hopes for Electrified Rail,


totally off-topic:

A video clip from a recent major league baseball game. Titled "The Magic Bat". Worth 11 seconds of your time:


Sept. 18 (Bloomberg) -- Jens Ehrhardt, manager of Germany's best-performing major international stock fund, drives a yellow Porsche convertible. He refuses to buy the stock because, he says, the automaker is too dependent on debt-ridden Americans.

Ehrhardt, 65, is shunning all U.S.-related investments. He started dumping U.S. shares early in 2006 on concern that American debt was too high and by year-end was down from 10 percent of assets to zero. Now he is selling non-U.S. companies with large portions of sales in America, such as BMW AG.

The biggest piece of his Dividende & Substanz fund, 35 percent, is in German stocks, including the country's largest utility, E.ON AG, and fertilizer maker K+S AG. He's sticking with them because their cash flows don't depend on U.S. consumers, whose $9 trillion in debt has doubled in the last 10 years.

``The consumer credit bubble will weigh on the U.S. for the next five years, as it's a consumer-driven economy,'' said Ehrhardt, who oversees a total of $12 billion for Munich-based Dr. Jens Ehrhardt Kapital AG. ``Indebtedness has reached the limit.''

Recently I've noticed a wide gap open up between what I read in the FT and the WSJ. In the FT, there's near panic on page after page while at the WSJ things are much more muted. They used to be much more in sync. Is this just me or do others see it also?

Dave, The FT is published in a more 'reality based' community. The WSJ on the other hand is published in Oz, where reality can, and does, vary. America today is like living in 'Alice In Wonderland.'

Rising Surface Temperatures Drive Back Winter Ice in Barents Sea

Rising sea-surface temperatures in the Barents Sea, northeast of Scandinavia, are the prime cause of the retreating winter ice edge over the past 26 years, according to research by Jennifer Francis, associate research professor at Rutgers’ Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences (IMCS). The recent decreases in winter ice cover is clear evidence that Arctic pack ice will continue on its trajectory of rapid decline, Francis said.

In a paper published in Geophysical Review Letters, Francis and Elias Hunter, a research specialist in Francis’ laboratory, found that the rising average winter-time sea-surface temperature of the Barents Sea – up 3 degrees Celsius since 1980 – is likely driven by increasing greenhouse gases, which in turn are melting more ice. Francis and Hunter used satellite information dating back 26 years to perform their study.

As wheat speeds back up towards $9, the first anticipated reaction is occurring. More is projected for planting next year. And I believe most other grains will follow suit. European growers will have acreage limitations relaxed, and as set aside contracts expire in the US, more land will go into production.


Given “normal” rainfall, this additional acreage will suffice for the present. Prices can be expected to retreat next year. Except...

Normal is not to be found. Diminished worldwide yields this year are a consequence mainly of drought, some of temperature and moisture aberrations. Locally, this summer is of the driest and hottest. At this point, normally a relatively easy month for pasture, I'm fighting to keep the cattle from breaking newly rebuilt fences. Most of us are running out of grass, many have been feeding hay for some time. And that hay is awful expensive this year, when you can find it. There should have been summer-fall changeover precip, which would give one last spurt of grass before the cold. Not yet. I anticipate a dip in cattle prices this fall, as many will sell animals that they otherwise would keep. Maybe our conditions aren't widespread enough to effect a price drop, we'll see.

Past threads have commented on the the completely unanticipated speed that climate change is occurring. It has baffled all. From my perspective, I'm beginning to see climate change completely trumping peak oil. We still have half the oil left, at a price. Mitigation efforts and alternative energy schemes (some are just that) are gearing up. The worst seems to be as yet some time in the future.

Climate change is roaring ahead though. We can handle, or at least reasonably postpone, catastrophic effects of increasing population, normal yield fluctuations, changing diets. What we can't handle is yield drops of 10 per cent or more worldwide every year or so. New acreage, improved varieties, etc won't compensate. There aren't any mitigation efforts for climate change, our “half left” in terms of ppm CO2 looks to be a miscalculation. I'm afraid the unprecedented melt of the polar ice caps this year will mark only more trouble for next year's food supply. Hopefully, my limited local perspective is causing undue alarm.

Hello Doug Fir,

Thxs for your posting and analysis. IMO, it is also critically important to consider the cascading blowbacks resulting from intermingled FF-energies [depleting] to mine, process, then distribute NPK and other topsoil essentials [also depleting]. Climate change effects upon food source harvest-yields are getting additional wrong-direction leveraging:

Potash Corp expects robust demand through 2008

"Our customers right now are on allocation. We're having a hard time meeting demand in 2007," Wayne Brownlee told analysts at a Bank of America investment conference in San Francisco.

"We expect that allocation process is going to continue in 2008, and even into 2009," Brownlee said, noting potash buyers currently have to wait about two months longer than usual to receive fertilizer because of strong demand.
Untimely droughts, floods, and cold spikes can play havoc with farmers' fields and subsequent yields, but if fertilizer, seeds, herbicide, and pesticide delivery comes too late for the natural planting cycles: yields will drop even more.

Leanan's toplinks on fuel shortages in the farming belt is very worrisome to me. Recall my earlier postings advocating the stockpiling of fertilizers and how potash was 2007-equivalent $10,500/ton in 1914. Wheat prices high? Yes, but I don't think we have seen anything yet compared to what is coming down the pike.

I wouldn't be surprised to see Heartland Governors mobilizing their National Guard units to express-deliver NPK if the delivery timing gets too far out-of-sync with planting cycles. The sooner 60-75% of the labor force moves to relocalized permaculture, the greater the societal resiliency for optimal decline.

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

Totonila...The 'heartland governors' are no longer in charge of 'their' national guards. Control of all national guard units in all states was one more little usurptation by your president. I dont know what process governors must now use to mobilize 'their' national guards.

Hello River,

Thxs for the correction--I forgot the policy change. Oh well, maybe we can still muster unemployed white collar workers to captain cameltrains across the Dustbowl as they transport NPK from Saskatchewan to the Southeastern US. It has to eventually rain there as more hurricanes are predicted to attack the GoM and Eastern seaboard.


My long-range goal, if I live that long, is to use my prized wheelbarrow 3300ft underground in the potash mines. I hate the cold: I cannot see myself generator-pedaling on the surface thru an Arctic blizzard at -20 below.

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

Hello TODers,

I fear trade wars from many commodity cartels will arise in the future. Could a Russian fertilizer and grain cartel become even more powerful than OPEC?:


World potash prices could rocket on Sibur plan

A takeover plan by Sibur-Mineral Fertilizers to consolidate Russian mineral and chemical fertilizers will press upward on the international potash price.


One of the world's largest plays in consolidating mineral and chemical fertilizer assets is under way in Russia.

The outcome of this almost unrecognized, and unreported, contest could wind up restricting the flow of mined potash to major international consumers. And because Russia has become the swing producer and international market-maker in the commodity, what is happening now could light a rocket under the price of potash in the coming year.


It also happens that, at the beginning of time, the great global manure god favoured the production of nitrogen fertilizer in Russia as well. That's because Russia is endowed with the world's largest reserves of natural gas, and the world's largest producer and exporter of gas, Gazprom.
It would not surprise me at all if Russia determines the pace of our global decline and biosolar paradigm shift.

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

Regarding Climate Chaos overtaking Peak Oil in significance over the short and medium term:

I said exactly that in a talk I gave last week on the intersection of threats facing global industrial civilization. I used to think that Climate Chaos was mainly a medium to long-term threat. I thought that at the most it would make trying to mitigate other problems a bit more difficult. Over the last two months I've completely changed my mind.

After reading books like Joseph Romm's "Hell and High Water", Peter Ward's "Under a Green Sky" and Fred Pearce's "With Speed and Violence" while watching the disintegration of the Arctic ice caps, the Australian drought, the European wildfires and flooding and even the drought that is bracketing the American heartland, I'm convinced that we will need to cope with both Climate Chaos and Peak Oil simultaneously. Climate Chaos is now a primary threat to civilization at least on a par with oil depletion.

Actually, it's worse than that. A report out of the UK last week indicated that the fertility of arable land world-wide has fallen by 30% or more since the end of WWII, putting even more pressure on fertilizer supplies. Aquifers are being pumped out at an alarming rate - Indian farmers have used oil well technology to drill well over 20 million water wells, many going down over 1000 feet. Out of those they pump 200 cubic kilometers of aquifer water a year...

All this means that we are set up for an imminent failure cascade triggered by consecutive-year crop losses due to Climate Chaos, declining soil fertility and irrigation water shortages. This situation is developing as world grain reserves have fallen to their lowest level since 1973 as a result of us eating more grain than we have grown in 7 of the last 8 years.

And all of this is happening at the same time as world-wide economic instability due to the American mortgage problems, international political and military tensions (anyone want to buy a nuclear armed B-52? Only used once...) and increasing above ground oil disruptions that threaten to affect gasoline supplies and disrupt transportation networks.


If we had unlimited access to energy and other resources, climate change would be little more than an inconvenience for some time yet. The reason it is such a threat is precisely because we do not have access to unlimited resources. Climate change will, IMO, magnify the problems of resource depletion - PO being one of those. Fresh water and food will be the other biggies.

So goes the over-populated chimp...

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


I'm not sure that's the right approach, thinking that climate change will trump peak oil. If you say:"we'll still have half the oil left", I'd reply:"we'd still have half the climate left". I think the big hit is the convergence of multiple winds of change.

Just as the climate is taking its toll on harvests, we manage to make matters much worse by claiming fast increasing amounts of land for biofuel production. The price increases we see today are already enough to push millions over the hunger edge, and really, we have only just begun.

Plans for biofuels far exceed today's production, which means less land for food, and much higher prices. It's a legalized version of murder. And then of course, the climate deterioration won't stop either. All trends in the past five years, and likely before, point at exponentially accelerating trends, whether it's drought, ice melt or floods.

And now we have a third factor that will make it much harder to mitigate any of this: the economy is running out of money to finance projects that could save us from many of the direct effects of climate change and peaking energy resources. We will never build the train and tram lines, nor the necessary amounts of wind turbines and solar panels.

It would take an Apollo-like project, to the tune of trillions of dollars, as Sharon Astyk's piece in yesterday's Drumbeat rigtly states, and that money is simply not there anymore. On the contrary, we will see as many trillions disappear into thin air in the near future,as we would need to mitigate our way out of the most dire disasters.

This economy is dying, and there ain't no cure. No Fed rate cut can revive it, just like as we can't stop the climate from changing any longer, or our society from being addicted to energy slaves.

All that you report above is of itself valid, but pales in comparison to climate change reducing yields xteen% year after year, until grassland is desert, forest is range. None of it holds a candle. The speed that we are observing in climate change this year, if continued, is tantamount.

NASA's Hansen predicted about a year ago, as I recall, a 50% loss of diversity at 450 ppm atmospheric carbon. To me, that also means profound changes in crops yield also. That was before the warming we are noting in the poles currently. With our current CO2 at 380, there isn't the climate "half" or at least the buffer we just recently expected.

For truly catastrophic effects, I count bales in the barn, bushels in the hopper. Maybe I'm more visually oriented, but those speak to me. On the financial side, perhaps erroneously, I feel that the Fed can continue to postpone the mess via inflation. I see climate change as the demon we can't outrun, can't inflate our way out.

With climate change, with drought or excessive heat or excessive moisture, the sobering results in harvest are only months away. But it requires another year to replant and try again. Not like Helicopter Ben, who can switch gears in 8 days. And the effects are gruesome. Look at Australia, going from a harvest of approx. 25 million metric tons to 10 MMT on drought. (To be fair, some say gov policy should be included) It's the speed that this change is occurring, there's no reload time, can't grab another gun like in energy.

There's not much to do about a parched field. Or one whose once vibrant green seedlings are damping off and turning yellow. We all go hungry. No magical inflation, no new schemes or trying to predict, on a worldwide basis, which areas to plant next year. We'll go hungry the winter and replant the same area, the seeds that are left drilled into the dust.

I spent most of the day on a combine.
I saw some decent ears coming thru the corn header but this was on nice creek bottom ground.

There is not a single farmer I know crowing about great yields, not out in the fields and not in the coffee shop.

That aside, and I hate to break my rules on posting here but,but someone is going to have to break it to folks ,,that out here we are seeing things dying. Lots died this crazy spring,,and lots more died this hot and very dry summer.
Many cattle may die this winter..there is ZERO carryover pasture. There is little hay.they are rolling up and baling trash and its selling very very dear at that.

This is what I see in my region,,the upper Mississippi Valley.

But you will NOT see this living in beautiful foolish suburbia nor in the cities..nor with your bod sitting most of the time in front of the computer.

You will only see this if your out and about in nature and looking.

Folks...its getting worse...the commodities market is going nuts. The farmers are wondering WTF.

Like Doug says,cattle are running loose to find something to just nibble on here,,they are out and stay out now, even my neighbor using a shotgun to sting them won't get them back in. The ground is so dry the fence chargers don't work on the grounding terminal. Ponds that have never dried up are now dried up.

What more do you need to hit yall upside the head?

Get worried,,,get real worried.Pray for normalcy. This winter may be very warm,,if so the insects will rip out asses out on top of everything else...its nearing time for the Asian imported lady bugs to swarm and so we will be injesting them in our food and vacumning them off the walls,,no thanks to the ignorant USDA folks. Or maybe a sharp freeze might kill the little bastards.

Airdale-"you may say I'm a doomer,
,but I'm not the only one"

Hello Airdale,

Welcome back!!!!

I always look forward to your reports on rural conditions. Log-in & post anytime you can please. I think you can spread 'Peak Everything Outreach' must faster than I can because an expert farmer has much greater credibility than a hopeless city-boy* trapped in a scorching & parched Asphalt Wonderland.

* I'm actually 52, but feeling like I am 100 today. =(

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

Away from the financial realm, the real world keeps doing what it does...



Well...now that the FOMC announcement is out of the way (see upthread).

What's still ahead this week:

Quadruple witching(Thurs/Fri)

Multiple earnings reports from financials

Ben on the Hill

and more: http://biz.yahoo.com/c/e.html

Something to watch (maybe nothing, too early) but NHC just invest 93L off the east coast of Florida. (#1 on the experimental below)


#2 is Ingrid (a long way from reforming), #3 another wave to watch.


Worth watching...but just rain at the moment.

I miss TOD's hurricane assessments. Wipha looks well positioned to do some serious damage. I hope they can move people as fast as they move products.

And pity Korea. IIRC, they were already having flooding problems. Now this.

Jeff Masters is a good source for an early heads-up on storms


The best thing the US can do to mitigate inflation, our debt, balance of trade, security, Peak Oil and Global Warming issues is to re-tool for solar based transportation.

These networks are not a universal solution, but they are a very good solution for high repetitive, congested travel. This is about 4 billion of the 8 billion miles Americans drive daily.

According to AAA cost just to operate a car in 2004 was 57 cents per mile. These networks operate at about 2 cents per mile. The cost to finance, build, operate and maintain these networks is about 18 cents per mile.

Power Demand 4,000 watts Move up to 4 people or pallet of cargo at 24 mph
Includes air condition, heat and accessory power
Speed 24 mph Non-stop travel from origin to destination
Time 0.04 hours Time to travel a mile (2.4 minutes)
Consumption 160 W-hr equals 4,000 W x 0.04 hr
Collectors 6 feet Width of 16 watts per square foot collectors
Time 5 hours Typical effective hours of solar collection in a day
Energy Available 2,534,400 W-hr/day Energy collected per mile of JPods rail
Neutral 15,840 JPods/day
Capital & Interest  $         2,740 $/day/mile Cost to build, operate and maintain per day per mile
 $          0.17 $/JPod/mile Capital and Interest Cost per JPod per mile
Energy costs $0.07 kW-hour Typical cost of electricity
$0.012 $/JPod/mile
Total  $          0.18 Energy neural cost to move loaded JPods per mile
           1,200 Max Payload
 $     0.00015 $/lb/mile Cost to move a pound, energy neutral

Re-tooling mobility infrasture with Just-in-Time principle will also create significant numbers of manufacturing jobs.

It costs less to move less.


The best thing the US can do to mitigate inflation, our debt, balance of trade, security, Peak Oil and Global Warming issues is to re-tool for solar based transportation.

Really? This will change the debt based economy model? It will prevent the printing of more money (the definition of inflation)? It will somehow the exchange of money for overseas mal-wart goods? This would prevent elected leaders
from sending troops overseas? Oil production won't peak, and the globe won't warm JUST BECAUSE of solar transportation?

I find your claims to be, well, hard to believe. But go ahead, back up each of your claims, with actual facts VS hand waving buzzword spews.

How about business models based on government patronage? Is that OK to keep about?

Re-tooling mobility infrasture with Just-in-Time principle will also create significant numbers of manufacturing jobs

You just spewing buss words, or do you have a point to make? Just in time principles are already applied to transportation.

Wal*mart 'warehouse on wheels' and the present American 'hop in your car and go' are all JIT - yet the manufacturing jobs have dropped.

From what I can tell, you are just spewing buzzwords, with no actual point to make.

(Management: is there a TOD policy about pimp'n your business model?)

There is an interesting quote from PT Barnum, "There is no need to protect a truly unique idea. You will be lucky if you can shove it down people's throats."

US debt, balance of payments, Greenspan comments about coming double-digit interest rates would seem to encourage many to look at as many options as possible.

More of what is not working, is not likely to work.

When asked direct questions, you opt to not answer them.

It matters not to me if you opt or not opt to answer direct questions in a direct manner.

But I'm sure such matters to people who would want to spend tax dollars on such a plan.


I disagree with your transportation solution and also your politics, but what I really admire about you is that you are taking a positive action towards recognising the real problems in our society. You perservere in coming back and presenting them to others in a forum where others mostly disagree with you in a polite and well presented manner. Thanks!
Bob Ebersole

VS a huckster trying to pedal his idea so he can get The Government to write him a check?

The government has no imagination.

I am pretty sure these networks will be privately financed.

I am pretty sure they won't be.

Why? The one being built at Heathrow is privately funded. Our effort at the Mall of America is privately funded.

The economic disruptions caused by peak oil will mean nobody will want to invest in building new infrastructure. Except possibly the government, as they did during the Great Depression. (Though whether they'll be able to is whole 'nother kettle of fish.)

I agree that as we slide into the abyss, it will get harder to rally resources. We are not in the pit yet. Action in advance is critical. We cannot prevent real hardship. We can create hope.

The Transcontinental Railroads are a good example of how private capital built significant infrastructure when the government did not have the capital.

Airlines are private. Cabs are private.

Create hope. You mean like the abiotic oil folks?

Sorry, but I don't think your gadget has any real relevance to peak oil. It's not going to make even a dent in energy consumption, assuming it even works. (Which is a big assumption. They've been talking about this for at least 20 years. Like nuclear fusion, it always seems to be the technology of the future.)

I think you're in it to make money, not to offer people hope or real solutions. That being the case, I'm asking you to tone it down. Posting about it every day or even every week is too much. Bordering on spam.

Your thoughts seem to be fairly repetitive.

I posted this today to show how we can move half a ton a mile with 160 W-hrs.

My hope was that some open minds reading this site might find value in that. Instead, inquiring about what and how, there seem nearly universal condemnation of any idea that is not already your own.

As fast a people think technology progresses, there is almost always significant gestation periods. Goodyear expend his life promoting rubber. It was only after he die poor that vulcanized rubber became something our lives seem unable to live without. I hope my efforts do not consume my whole life. But if they do, I will be satisfied that I did not wallow in self-pity that there was nothing to be done in the face of catastrophe.

I am not much in favor of censorship and it seems to be something supported here by mutual emotion condemnation of ideas or out right threat from the moderator.

It must be a kind of hell to live in a circle of ever more restrictive feedback of only like-minded thoughts.

A certain amount of repetitiveness is okay, as long is not for-profit repetiveness. Then it's spam.

My hope was that some open minds reading this site might find value in that.

Then buy an ad. That's the honest way to do it.

You do not want people with open minds?

You do not want people to find value?

You are hostile to creating hope?

Surely you mis-spoke.

How about people who answer direct questions with direct answers?

But, how DARE you question the open mindedness of Leanan.

How dare you attempt to claim that jpods 'fight inflation' and call that value.

How DARE you lie to the members of TOD, and call that hope.

You Sir, are a shill of the most base type, telling TOD members that jpods are somehow an answer to inflation - while anyone with an education beyond the 5th grade knows that inflation is caused by an increasing money supply.

I formally call you out to retract your statements on inflation and the open mind state of Leanan.
*slaps bill with a glove*

Hear, hear!! Nicely stated, Sir Eric! Now, back to back and 20 paces.

*goes 15 steps*
*turns and shoots*
*pulls out a carrot*
*muches the carrot for a bit*
Ain't I a stinker?

I just quoted back. Ideas not your own are not lies.

As for questioning ideas, I cannot imagine how uninteresting it would be for everyone to agree with me. I am curious as to why you seek such?

As for inflation, rising oil prices increases inflationary pressures. Relieve that pressure and inflation will diminish.

Since we need only 160 watt-hours to move people and cargo a mile, since we can capture 2.5 million watt-hours per day with collectors 6 feet wide in that mile, there is plenty of power delivered right where we use it. We do not even have to pay to transport it to where it is needed.

Go stand barefoot on a paved, sunny street and tell me there is no power available.

As for inflation, rising oil prices increases inflationary pressures. Relieve that pressure and inflation will diminish.

What part of

caused by an increase in available currency and credit beyond the proportion of available goods and services.

are you not understanding?

Ok how about:

Economics. a persistent, substantial rise in the general level of prices related to an increase in the volume of money and resulting in the loss of value of currency

The 'rising prices of oil' have nothing to do wit h it.

Given your poor grasp of economics as demonstrated on TOD - how do you expect to get investors?

You might wanna hold out for that government paycheck.

Peddling wares in a public forum for free rather than buying advertising does not create open minds. Most people can tell plainly what is happening, and without another word simply ignore those posts.

Value is where people find it, not where you show it.

Hope is irrelevant, as it does not exist. There is action and there is inaction. One leads to change, the other leads to insanity.

Leanan didn't mis-speak. She was right on the money.

That's just too much. The transcontinental railroad was financed with a government land give-away. After the completion of the railway the railroad companys forever after considered themselves land development companies not transportation companies.

Shhhh, don't break the myth of free markets with facts.

Airlines are private.

The Dutch government's share of KLM was reduced to 54.8 percent in 1986,
KLM would continue as an operating company, which would legally (not economically) be in 51% Dutch ownership

Except possibly the government, as they did during the Great Depression.

Alas, if "the people" come to think "the government" can not provide safety or services like clean water/clean environment via regulation - why would 'the people' follow/help 'the government' build out infrastructure?

Others have pointed to the State of Mexico as a rather 'local' example of collapse.

If "the citizens" were to believe in 'the government vision' the state could provide the tools, meals, shelter and safety for people in the work gangs and be able to get people to work.

Right now, people sign up to be in a 'work gang' called 'the military' or 'americore'. and others commit crimes to enter prison for shelter and food.

Huh. Arn't airplanes and big malls featuring overconsumption on the list of 'soon to be dead' as the economic side of PEak Oil arrives?

But perhaps I'm confused on such matters, what with Jpods solving inflation.

If 10% of trips can be powered by solar, then we will substantially lower inflationary pressure.

If we do not need to buy as much oil, trade balance improves.

Small steps can make a difference.

If 10% of trips can be powered by solar, then we will substantially lower inflationary pressure.

I challenge you to prove your blovation correct.

Sow how inflation is not tied to an expansion to the money supply.

Indeed. The only difference between him and WT and Alan is the number of us who agree with his monotonous message vs the number who disagree. Since I was little, I have always envisioned a transportation system just like BillJames describes - ie, no damn paved roads, just grass and trees, and a track where little cars all controlled by a centralized computer move individuals around where they need to go. Now, just because I envisioned it doesn't make it a good idea, but frankly, the only thing I can see wrong with it is that it seems too good to be true, and little "out there" compared with what people normally talk about.

I expect for something like that to work, some billionaire will have to build an entire town/city from scratch to demonstrate the system. Imagine an HOA (Home-Owner's-Association) that covered an entire small city wherein one of it's major rules was that cars were not allowed. No roads, no driveways, no paving of any sort.

the only thing I can see wrong with it is that it seems too good to be true, and little "out there" compared with what people normally talk about.

Issues to start with:
1) failure modes. If the 'pod stops moving based on the picture you are hanging in the air as an example.
2) Assumption that "Just in time" transportation will be needed or that "the masses" will want to pay for it
3) abandonment of past infrastructure - at least the ruf design allows for past infrastructure.
4) the old 'spoiling of the commons' - how useful is a jpod smeared with fecal material to you? How about trash?

Now to say 'too good to be true' Bill has made a claim about how 'if we'd only accept his vision, this would end inflation!' Yea, it is too good to be true. "monetary inflation" is the "increase in the amount of currency in circulation". Exactly how does a Jpod effect the printing of more money?

The last pitch was 'personal transportation' and now it is 4 person transport or for cargo. Nice to see that he's willing to change his position. But how does 'now has 4 person support' square with the old sales pitch of 'get your own personal pod' pitch?

1. Airplanes hang in the air. They seem to move people and goods.
2. Cars have a 97% market share. They are a Just-in-Time, packet of mobility. We also do not believe there are "masses". There are the many, vast numbers of people, to whom their time is important. Cars are the right answer, just the wrong mass and random behavior for highly repetitive, congested travel.
3. Based on riders per day, the elevator is the most successful form of public transportation. Why would applying horizontal mobility to what works vertically be an abandoning of what is known?
4. It is likely that people will treat PRT type transit as they treat trains and buses. Fortunately, individual pods can be set to be cleaned instead of forcing many to share an ugly experience.

You do not have to accept anything I say, and by the response dominated by emotion, are not likely to.

I am hopeful in participating on TOD to find people who want to do something about the arriving crisis.

I did not understand your last point about 4 people pods.

1. Airplanes hang in the air.

I thought we were gonna discuss the shortcoming of the jpod. Now you want to talk about airplanes?

2. Cars have a 97% market share. They are a Just-in-Time, packet of mobility.

So then to claim that jpods are the answer to this issue is only true if jpod tracks go everywhere cars go. Yet, you do not argue that Jpods will have the coverage of the present road system.

3. Based on riders per day, the elevator is the most successful form of public transportation. Why would applying horizontal mobility to what works vertically be an abandoning of what is known?

So you want The Government to write out checks so you can personally benefit as the 'jpod creator'

You do not have to accept anything I say,

And if you can't answer straigh forward questions in a straight forward way, its no wonder you see others as 'emotional'.

I did not understand your last point about 4 people pods.

If you don't understand your own product - as evident by talking about airplanes or saying "Move up to 4 people" less than 3 hours ago VS 'artists drawings' showing one seat and calling them 'personal'

If one want to see others who MIGHT be talking about jpods ....
I can go here http://www.cprt.org/PressReleases.htm and see that they were pimp'n in 2003.
http://www.cprt-sc.com/ and see that they have no Why on their Why page
And the last happenings for http://www.acprt.org/ was in may 2004.

In fact, the only places where such things are being deployed is an airport - so perhaps that is why airplanes were mentioned? http://money.cnn.com/magazines/business2/business2_archive/2007/06/01/10...

1. Airplanes hang in the air.
I am just trying to answer your rejection that JPods will not work because they are in the air. Elevated trains work, airplanes work. Roller coaster are elevated. They seem to work. To say something will not work when other mobility modes work in that space seems unfounded.

It would be great if we could build at or near the current ground space. But that space is already congested. We can tunnel but that is expensive.

2. Cars have a 97% market share. They are a Just-in-Time, packet of mobility.

So then to claim that jpods are the answer to this issue is only true if jpod tracks go everywhere cars go. Yet, you do not argue that Jpods will have the coverage of the present road system.

Horse, not cars went more places than cars when we first started to implement automobiles. The Internet did not go everywhere as it grew. As networks grow they become more valuable and less costly per node. The fact that niches are commercial viable even in small limited networks is a great place to start.

The commercial districts seem a great place to network just as more businesses than homes were early users of other computer networks.

3. Based on riders per day, the elevator is the most successful form of public transportation. Why would applying horizontal mobility to what works vertically be an abandoning of what is known?

So you want The Government to write out checks so you can personally benefit as the 'jpod creator'

I do not get this? I have tried hard to get the government thinking about alternatives just as I imagine many of you would have liked the government to act on Peak Oil far before this late date. We are commercial people. Our approach to the world is to build commercial networks. Our focus is to solve someone's. I believe it will increment and spread but that will depend on paybacks.

I am just trying to answer your rejection that JPods will not work because they are in the air.

Errrp, thanks for playing. You don't even get Rice-O-Roni, the San Francisco treat.

The failure mode was the topic. As in Question:'what happen when the system fails' Answer:'you are stuck many feet above ground' based on your pictures, what with the lack of actual systems showing the actual situation.

We are commercial people. Our approach to the world is to build commercial networks

Really? Then just build 'em.


Yet, the businesses who are providing security in Iraq and road building make the same kinda claims. Now, why is it that the checks they get come from "the government"?

Your snarking on him today is FAR more tiresome than the occasional repetition of his project. I didn't follow Leanan's (?) links some months ago about why this was so unreasonable a system, while I don't know that it would be extremely widespread, I can see it being a useful link to some locations.. I mean, it's not really different in usage from a Gondola. One of these going East/West over 57th Street or Canal St./Chinatown and Fare-linked to the MTA would be both useful and probably a great Tourist feature.

Whatever.. I don't see why you're being so snyde. Like, what's really wrong with changing from a one to a four-seat design? It's like the stupid 'flip-flopping' stuff in the '04 elections.. is it worth objecting to?

Personally I'd think if you're going to build the tracks, why not fly a few more people per vehicle, like Subways and Trolleys.. but lighten up the designs perhaps to Aircraft weights if possible to make the loading a bit more efficient. I'm sure this design is not meant to preclude the existence of Bikes, Trains, Trolleys etc..


I don't see why you're being so snyde

I have a low tolerance for people who can not answer direct questions and spend their time making obviously false statements.

What should I do? Let it pass, or mock 'em. I go for the mocking.

If Bill was all for PRT's VS pimp'n for his own pocketbook - why hasn't bill mentioned these:
Cabin Taxi

Coaster PRT (German)

Kinetic PRT, Seattle

Magtube PRT by Launchpoint Technologies

Micro Rail

Mister PRT (Poland)

Monic PRT (Singapore)

PRT International


Skytran ( Unimodal )

Skyweb Express (formerly Taxi-2000)


Vectus Website (in English)

Most are listed on JPods website. I am interested in the industry moving forward. A considerable number of studies are also listed on this page.

Looking at our economy as an organism there seem a radical difference between our nervous system (communications/electronics) and our circulatory system (energy/transportation). Both are networks.

Communications is widely creative, with a try a lot of stuff and keep what works approach. The result is ever better service and ever lower costs.

Our circulatory system has Leukemia (it is killing our planet) and heart attacks (unstable, leading to oil price shock). This network is rigid and centrally planned with ever higher costs with ever poorer service such as congestion.

You are hostile that I am trying something. It seems a symptom of why we are where we are. We planned to be here. Not since the Wright Brothers have there been a lot of crazy ideas. Probably the last original idea was the Autobahn.

How dare I question rigid thinking? Quite easily being neither risk averse or timid about making mistakes.

Our circulatory system has Leukemia...


You are hostile that I am trying something.

Not at all. Tying something is fine. Being wrong outta the gate on basic definitions - expect to be called out.

Lying is not something I am willing to pass though the ages. It would seem that you are OK with being braned a lyiar - but hey - you moiihgt get to cross your palm with silver so its all good.

Quite easily being neither risk averse or timid about making mistakes.

Risk? from what I can see, you have not capitol at "risk" when you blovate. And your "mistake" about "inflation" is well documentated.

How dare I question rigid thinking?

How "dare" you have the testicals to answer direct questions posed to you.

Thus far, on the simple question of inflation, you've been wrong. Woe be to your other delectations.

It would seem the goal here is to be as rude to him as possible in the hopes that he'll be rude back, and then everyone can scream about how rude he is and Leanan will happily ban him.

I find it pretty sad, all in all.

It's not necessary to be rude to be banned. In fact, many rude people post here all the time, while most of those banned were not rude.

Basically, it's signal to noise ratio, and so far, he's all noise and no signal. I am not trying to goad him to be rude. I am giving him a warning, and a chance to change his ways.

Leanan, I have always wondered what happened to "InfinitePossibilities". He used to post here all the time. Then he disappeared at the same time dmathews, hothgor, et al were banned. Was he banned too?


The final straw was when someone produced the TODban extension, and using it on just three people removed 150 posts from a 300-post thread. I think that convinced some of the staff who had been reluctant to ban anyone that ignoring them wasn't going to work.

he's all noise and no signal

That is such bull I don't even know what to say. If you liked jpods, you wouldn't consider it noise.

Nope. As I said before, it's the WAY he expresses himself. One, he's pushing his own company. Nobody wants TOD to turn into a bunch of hucksters all pushing their products. Two, he avoids any real discussion on the merits. When challenged, he ignores it, tapdances around it, or launches personal attacks. That results in long threads that generate heat, not light. That is not what people come to TOD for.

Alan talks a lot about rail. It seems an acceptable topic.

I talk about solar powered transportation networks. There are only a couple of us who are working on this so the examples are fairly limited. That the ideas are condemned seems odd.

If I understand your censorship rules, the Wright Brothers would not be able to talk about flight.

Since we have not solved the problem of Peak Oil, how can you condemn efforts? Edison, questioned about all the failures to make a light bulb, returned that with each attempt he learned how not to make one.

Since you have not solved Peak Oil, condemning efforts seems rude. My comments have been controlled and civil.

I do not think I will post here again. It is such a hostile place to ideas.

As I have noted before, The Oil Drum is a meatgrinder (I think I first made that claim).

I have criticized some of the ideas (most I agree with) of a personal friend, Jeffrey Brown/WesTexas. Truth and the search for truth, is of greater value here.

I spent several months of detailed and aggressive questioning here before my concepts became generally accepted (many still doubt the political will to do so, and some prefer EVs with Urban Rail as a supplement).

Other venues may accept rah-rah PR smoke & mirrors uncritically. TOD will not, which is it's strength ! MASSIVE technical expertise in a variety of areas here.

Your only hope for sales are to the unsophisticated with more dollars than sense. One sale, a failure and then a wrap-up is the best that you can reasonably hope for.

Seriously, and without animus, your jPod system will never work in the real world at economic costs. I have an engineering understanding as well as a knowledge of historic developments and the many stages of development that innovative transportation concepts go through.

No PRT has ever worked properly in revenue service despite decades of effort. There are significant and unresolved scheduling issues for independently routed pods (one mathematician says the problem is insoluable). Denver Airport had PRT for luggage, a massive failure that ended up being sold for scrap.

It is better to recognize this earlier than later.

Visit Miami and see the Westinghouse MetroMover in operation. It seemed like a great innovative idea at the time with a Big League supporter ! The most expensive per pax-mile system in the USA. No #2 MetroMover was ever built.

I don't think Bill's product is the universal solution he'd like to think it is, but I suspect it would be a good move in many urban area. The mode of construction is totally different from the requirements for light rail and there are many peripheral benefits.

Just think ... open, easily accessible above ground construction in high density business/industrial/residential areas. What a perfect place to put ... street lights. Fiber optic cable. Solar power panels. A graywater distribution system for a community agriculture area. Antennas for cellular or some community wireless access. You solve the right of way problem just once and then many other things become possible.

We have small scale people movers in Iowa that are just for fun - one at the Clay County Fair and another at Adventureland in Des Moines. Des Moines also has a skywalk system tying most of the downtown buildings with twelve month walkable corridors. It isn't a big jump to meld what has been done with the skywalks to a jpod style transit system that would get people to stop parking in the congested downtown.

I think one of the biggest problems with the product is the movable horizon - building a system to eliminate auto congestion when demand destruction is going to take care of that for us in short order???

Its a little puzzle and no mistake about that. I think I'll go read my SeedSavers.org catalog for a while now ...

I also think it is a niche product for highly repetitive, congested travel. In that niche this is much better that SUV's.

Hello BillJames,

I speculate that WT's ELM, plus other cascading blowbacks, will arrive so fast that we are better off going straight to emphasizing heavy freight RR buildout and local delivery truck PHEVS-- that bicycles, 200 mpg ICE mopeds, and batt-scooters will be the predominate forms of localized mass-transit for most urban & suburban areas [plus a very limited buildout of mass-transit].

Thus, my hope for bicycle peleton hitch-hiking on narrow-gauge express minitrains and/or pickup pulled trailer-trains for road-based hitch-hiking bicycle peletons. Seems like the cheapest way to quickly provide broad geo-coverage. No heavy infrastructure or control equipment required; highly resilient IMO.

Of course, steel wheels on steel rails for max efficiency should be the preferred option. Then when energy to even run the minitrains becomes insufficient: the narrow gauge tracks will be right-sized for pedaling railbicycles or rail-Phevs.

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

Hi Bob

I think we should try as many options as possible. We are in the mess we are today because we planned it. All the infrastructure we have and do not have is part of multi-year plans. If we allow free markets to try a lot of stuff and kee what works we might have lots of choices today.

I think our efforts are going to support bike paths many places where they are not today. I think it is an important aspect of things that might work.

Even, light rail at a price tag 10-15 times JPods and a capacity of 25% of JPods will have a place. I would not condemn anyone from trying almost anything.

The choice to exclude options seem arrogant to me. We have not solved the problem; so we cannot guarantee we know the answer.

Hello BillJames,

Yep, gotta agree--we need as many options as possible-- best engineering, system resiliency, and ERoEI will winout.

Where I see your J-Pods having the greatest future applicability is not for the relocalized moving of people postPeak, but for local moving of very high-value freight from the outlying and heavily-guarded stored 'physical asset banks' [converted Walmart Superstores], to the downtown area when it is time-determined to sell some of these 'real goods'.

The aboveground movement of grains, NPK fertilizer, recycled metals, biofuels, etc, above the reach of the huddled masses below, maybe much safer than trying to transport these goods at ground level [consider the problems with Iraqi IEDs for a ground-based counter-example]. Precision 'One shot-One kill' snipers in the J-Pod towers could easily and cheaply insure that the automated dispersal goes smoothly by keeping any potential attackers over a mile away, if required, from the limited J-Pod spiderweb.

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

My best guess is that freight in the model you mention will happen.

But I disagree about localization. Development follows mobility. Heavy rail is pretty good a moving a lot. Our type of ultra-light, cheap rail can pallets of this to local distribution. These networks will spider web. To ever more localized neighborhood distribution. It is a Physical-Internet.

My guess is a lot of very last mile deliveries will be made by electric "mule" vehicles. Trash can flow in the reverse direction.

This distributed model also applies to existing passenger rail. For instance, Caltrain goes from Sacramento to Freemont through Pleaston. Three miles to the north of that line BART ends in Dublin. Since we have no substantial real estate requirements, we can connect those nodes, expanding the value of both lines. There are vast numbers of such cross-mode connections waiting to be linked.

Linking assisted living facilities to a hospital. Many examples where Horizontal-Elevators can provide service.

Even, light rail at a price tag 10-15 times JPods and a capacity of 25% of JPods will have a place. I would not condemn anyone from trying almost anything

Complete and utter BS !


Thanks. Being positive and taking action seem to be necessary.

I am pretty sure the Wright Brothers would were not widely agreed with. I know Henry Ford's decision to pay people a fair wage was not well received.

Time will tell where we are on the right track.


The cost to finance, build, operate and maintain these networks is about 18 cents per mile

Take $20 and build me a 109 mile system and operate & maintain it for 20 years. Keep the change.

I assume that you meant to say passenger/pax-mile. Sloppy wording like all else.

Or did you mean seat mile ? What load factor ? What % dead head ?

Are these #s from an operating system with a decade or more experience ? Or are these promoter "estimates" cooked up to make sales ?

Past PRT gadgetbahn (backed by heavyweights like Westinghouse & Boeing) came up with real world operating costs THREE TIMES bid estimates. That is why only one of each type was built.

You are required to meet ADA requirements. How can a wheel chair pax, traveling alone, evacuate ? You cannot legally build it until you answer that question.

How would you prevent prostitutes from using a jPod for work, and leaving a used condom behind ?

How do you bypass a broken down jPod(s) ?

Other analysis have shown intractable problems with scheduling (see luggage handling at new Denver airport).

Your solar panels are just a gimmick. Why add them to your structure, raising costs & weight ? Extra structure will be needed for the wind & snow loading, raising costs.

Some panels will apparently be pointed due north, very few of the panels will be close to optimum orientation. Since you are grid tied anyway (or do you shut down at dusk ?), why not put them somewhere else at optimum orientation ?

And why not use wind turbines in Minnesota ? Calgary Light Rail runs off of them. Solar panels will be covered with snow a couple of months/year there.

I could waste more time debunking your concept, but I am busy today.

No Hope for jPods,


War and Remembrance
Ken Burns's in-your-face documentary on World War II revisits the battlefield and home front of yesteryear. But for viewers, the subtext will inevitably be today—and Iraq.
By David Gates

Sept. 24, 2007 issue - "The thing that really got me mad," Ken Burns says in explaining why he felt called to begin "The War," his forthcoming documentary series, "was finding out that a huge number of our high-school graduates think that we fought with the Germans against the Russians in the second world war. It's so unbelievable. . . “

. . . Burns took pains to make "The War" judiciously enough so it won't be put to jingoistic use. "I hope it makes people ask questions about war, and make sure that our governments fight only necessary wars. They'll have to make their own decisions about which those are." But hearing the theme song, "America," an obscure old number sung on the soundtrack by Norah Jones—"America, America, I gave my best to you"—doesn't inspire much confidence. It's all too easy to imagine it emanating from a beribboned SUV, or an underarmored Humvee. Will one listener in a hundred pick up on the misty wistfulness in Jones's voice, suggesting that self-sacrifice in a necessary war has become a thing of the distant past—except arguably in the case of Afghanistan—like a nickel Coke or a deal sealed with a handshake? But Burns is an optimist. He truly believes that a mass audience—if you call PBS viewers a mass audience—will understand a story and its implications, provided you tell it clearly. . .

. . . FDR might have played fast and loose with some inconvenient truths, but no administration official would have boasted, as one senior adviser anonymously did in 2002, that "we create our own reality." How quixotic of Burns to make a film to show what the worst war in history actually was, back when we agreed that things actually were. And we knew what bound us together: if not goodness, at least necessity. If Burns gets lucky, his contribution to our understanding of American history will haunt viewers for days. Did I call him a practical man? The sand keeps giving way, and he keeps on marching.

"American Anthem" Lyrics:

All we've been given by those who came before,

The dream of a nation where freedom would endure.

The works and prayers of centuries have brought us to this place.

What shall be our legacy? What will our children say?

Let them say of me, I am one who believes in sharing the blessings I receive.

Let me know in my heart when my days are through, America, I gave my best to you.

Each generation from the plains to distant shore,

With the gifts that they were given, were determined to leave more.

Valiant battles fought together, acts of conscience fought alone,

These are the seeds from which America has grown.

Let them say of me, I am one who believes in sharing the blessings I receive.

Let me know in my heart when my days are through, America, I gave my best to you.

For those who think they have nothing to share,

Who fear in their hearts there is no hero there.

Know that quiet acts of dignity are that which fortifies

The soul of a nation that never dies.

Let them say of me, I am one who believes in sharing the blessings I receive.

Let me know in my heart when my days are through, America, I gave my best to you.

So many contrasts between then and now:

A military in which people of all classes serve vs. one in which the upper crust have largely excluded themselves.

A military supplemented by volunteer auxiliaries vs. one that is supplemented by paid mercenaries.

Home front sacrificial frugality in support of the troops -- rationing, victory gardens, travel restrictions, etc. --vs. "keep the consumer economy going as if nothing out of the ordinary was happening."

Civilian-led "Civil Defense" - practice blackouts, spotters, Red Cross volunteers, etc. -- vs. "Homeland Security."

A war in which we were clearly in the right, and behind which the country was united in its support vs. a war of which none are really proud and many are ashamed.

And perhaps to best sum it all up:

FDR, one of America's greatest Presidents vs. GWB, whom increasing numbers consider to be America's worst.

Oh, and one more contrast I forgot:

Save money and buy war bonds vs. drop interest rates so that people can go even deeper into debt to goose the economy.

Yet another contrast I forgot:

"Arsenal of Democracy", "Work Where You Are Most Needed", all out production so your factory can earn its Navy "E" pennant vs. globalization, offshoring, and the gutting of America's industrial economy.

The First Amendment is Dying

A Florida Student was asking John Kerry why he conceded the election, when evidence at the time show election fraud and that he had actually won. When he asked if Kerry belonged to Skull and Bones, He was grabbed by police taken to the ground and tasered repeatedly, even though Kerry is heard in the background asking the Police to stop and that he wanted to answer the question.


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

Pure Baloney!

The man was tryint to disrupt everything. He was supposed to be asking a question instead he wanted to take over the forum and make a speech. Kerry had nothing to do with it but the police acted properly in removing the loudmouth from the place. If you can't act like a responsible human being and become a thug instead you deserve to be tasered.


Ron Patterson

And if I don't like the question you are asking or the way you are asking it, I'm free to Taser you, right? Kerry asked them to stop and let him answer his question. The question was already asked when they grabbed him. There was no "disruption" except that caused by the police.

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

CNN interviewed some people who were there, and some said they'd have tasered him long before the police did. Everyone seems to agree the guy was annoying little twit.

Right, everyone cheered when the thug was removed from the scene. But he kept fighting and insisting on his right to disrupt the entire meeting. He was only tasered when he kept battling the security guards.

Ron Patterson

I'm sure there were plenty of Neocons in the room that wanted to shut him up the second the words came out of his mouth. "Everyone" did not cheer. He was NOT insisting on his right to "disrupt the entire meeting". He was insisting on his right to free discourse. When it's OK to Taser loud(or just plain nervous) people expecting their constitutional rights to be respected, We are already so far down the path towards Fascism we may already be lost.
We've had 2 stolen Presidential elections and our Constitutional Rights are being ripped to shreds. I get pretty loud and excited about that myself. Especially if I were is his position of having the police closing in to shut me up about it.
If you wait until they have taken away your First Amendment rights to speak up, you will no longer be able to.


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

I think he planned it. He's apparently known for taping himself carrying out practical jokes and posting them on his web site.

I treasure my first amendments rights as much as anyone. It would never cross my mind to abuse them, though, by effectively infringing on other's first amendment rights. I may not agree with other people's speech, but that does not give me the right to disrupt and shout down their speech. My rights end where the other person's rights begin.

May I suggest that a little bit of civility and mutual respect would go a long way, and is very badly needed in this country?

CNN interviewed some people who were there, and some said they'd have tasered him long before the police did. Everyone seems to agree the guy was annoying little twit.

So, you are saying you would approve of a law allowing annoying people to be Tasered? Who decides what or how much is annoying?

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

He was allowed to speak. They dragged him out because he went over his time and resisted when they took him away from the mike.

If you want to argue police brutality, you may have a case. But not censorship. He got to say his piece.

Like I said, I think he planned it. Not the tasering, probably, but the ruckus. I doubt he really cared about talking to Kerry or hearing his answers. He just wanted to get a funny video to put on the Internet. He was trying to be as obnoxious as he could.

HE was the one taking away others' right to speak.

I wanted to hear the answer to his questions. Kerry asked the police to stop, He wanted to answer his question. The police disregarded Kerry's wishes and proceeded to take him down and Taser him. You can speculate on his intentions. There is nothing to support your conjecture except opinions of people(according to your previous post) who wanted to taser him and shut him up.
I saw him nervous, perhaps lacking perfect social skills, stumbling over his words as the police closed in. His question WAS too long, but he got it out. I did not see anyone there with a stopwatch saying he was over his time. Pehaps turning the microphone off would have been a more measured response.
When Kerry said, "Stop I will answer his question." The police should have let him go, and that would have been the end of it. The police ensured we did not get to hear the answer. I call that censorship.

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

You can speculate on his intentions. There is nothing to support your conjecture except opinions of people(according to your previous post) who wanted to taser him and shut him up.

Well, there's his web site, which has several video pranks. And there's the fact that he brought a video camera and asked a total stranger to videotape him while he was asking his question.

It's HIS fault you didn't get to hear Kerry's answers. If he'd obeyed the rules, asked his question, and allowed Kerry to answer, you'd have heard what you wanted to hear.

And how would you feel, if you were behind him in line, waiting for your turn to ask Kerry a question, and you didn't get to, because he hogged the microphone and wouldn't let anyone else talk...all so he could get a funny video to put on YouTube?

His wanting to film himself asking Kerry a question is irrelevant. His rights were violated and I'll bet he has lawyers lining up wanting to take his case. Already the University is kissing his angus because they have been made aware of their potential liability.

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

His wanting to film himself asking Kerry a question is irrelevant.

I don't think it is. One, why did he need to ask a total stranger to run the video camera? It's a college campus. If he were really interested in politics, he'd likely have friends who were, too, who would have gone with him. He wouldn't have had to ask a total stranger. That tells me he's not really interested in politics. Two, I think he was playing to the camera with all that yelling and screaming.

His rights were violated and I'll bet he has lawyers lining up wanting to take his case. Already the University is kissing his angus because they have been made aware of their potential liability.

If that's true, then the system is working, and no one is losing their rights.

I don't think it is. One, why did he need to ask a total stranger to run the video camera? It's a college campus. If he were really interested in politics, he'd likely have friends who were, too, who would have gone with him.

So essentially you're saying that if he had gone for legitimate reasons he would have friends, but instead he couldn't find one college student to take part, risk free mind you, in a prank, is that what you're trying to say?

I am a bit late to this thread. I saw the video of the latter part of the "speech" and the arrest afterwards. As a lawyer who represented peace officers for more than 6 years in the 1990's regarding many labor related issues including allegations of use of excessive force, I do not believe that the force used against this fellow amounted to excessive force. The officers actually stood by while he rambled on and on and clearly gave him warnings that he was being disruptive and that he had to give up the microphone. When they tried to escort him out, he was the one who began to physically resist arrest. I believe that the officers' actions were justified and actually restrained. As far as the taser - it's a compliance tool and was used sparingly as I saw it in the video.

I do not see it as a free speech issue either as the guy was allowed to stand and rant for more time than most would have been allowed. It was not his venue or event.

He actually ended up being a sorry spectacle of one who appears to have tried to get across a valid point and otherwise address serious issues.

Yeah, that's pretty much how I see it.

Except I still suspect it was a YouTube prank that didn't turn out as funny as he thought it would be.

You don't suspend the officers involved and launch an investigation unless there is potential liability involved.

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

Whenever there is an allegation of excessive force, an investigation is always conducted as a matter of course. A suspension in this case is likely a precautionary measure in light of the publicity involved. Since this appears to have been a set up, a law suit is a foregone conclusion.

If that's true, then the system is working, and no one is losing their rights.

No, his rights were violated. Hopefully, justice will be served up with a big fat check.

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

He was violating everybody else's rights. Including the people he crowded ahead of in line.

On the video, he is waiting patiently at the microphone until Kerry points to him directly and asks him for his question. How is that crowding ahead of people in line. People, including CNN, are making stuff up in line with their own politics.(CNN said he stormed the microphone after questions were over, the video shows that was clearly not the case.)

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

why did he need to ask a total stranger to run the video camera?


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

CNN interviewed the girl who shot the video. She said he asked her to do it, and that she didn't know his name until she saw it on the news.

Taser incident, student's behavior under scrutiny

...The student's behavior and past activities are prompting questions about whether the incident was part of a stunt.

... "You will take my question because I have been listening to your crap for two hours," Meyer told Kerry, according to the police report of the incident.

He then turned to a woman and said "Are you taping this? Do you have this? You ready?" the report said.

Clarissa Jessup, who contributed I-Report video of the incident to CNN, said Meyer gave her his camera and asked her to shoot video of him posing his questions to Kerry.

... Police noted that his demeanor "completely changed once the cameras were not in sight" and described him as laughing and being lighthearted as he was being driven to the Alachua County Detention Center.

"I am not mad at you guys, you didn't do anything wrong. You were just trying to do your job," Meyer said, according to the police report.

At one point, he asked whether there were going to be cameras at the jail, according to the report.

... Meyer was carrying a business card advertising "TheAndrewMeyer.com 'Speak My Mind,' " the police report said.

The Web site features videos of Meyer taking part in several practical jokes.

"You will take my question because I have been listening to your crap for two hours," Meyer told Kerry, according to the police report of the incident.

Bull Crap

What he said is clear on the video(see above) He thanked Kerry for taking time to speak to them and for being open and honest with them. He was very respectful to him. When he mentioned the disenfranchising of black voters in Florida, a police officer stepped forward and put their hand on him. That was 30 seconds into his question(there is a timer on the video, look for yourself). He said to the police officer, "He's been talking for 2 hours, I think I can have 2 minutes."(Again look for yourself) 1:20 into his question(1:40 on the video) he mentioned Skull and Bones and was seized by police officers.

The video is irrefutable and damning for the actions(and official statement) of the police officers.

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

Well, if the police report is correct, he said that before the camera started rolling.

In any case, I think it's a tempest in a teacup. Right up there with Paris and Britney and Anna Nicole.

And OJ. :-P

Dang, Leanan. Look at the video. there was no before. Kerry was finishing his speech as the video started. He was the first to ask a question.

He also asked "Is anybody getting this?" after he was being dragged away. I would LOVE to be his Lawyer.

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

Cid Yama,
go to law school then. Its not too late.

I see several things wrong with this as a case. First, the young man asked a question, and then refused to surrender the microphone or allow Senator Kerry to answer the question. Its hard to see that his free speech rights were violated. Freedom of speech is not the freedom to disrupt

Secondly, the people who escorted the young man out were security guards, probably not licensed police officers. Its not apparent who the security guards worked for

Third, its not clear to me that the security guards used excessive force. The young man appeared to be assaulting the guards, and they used a non-lethal weapon to prevent injury to either him or themselves.

Bob Ebersole

I'm about ready to taser Cid Yama.

Dozens of posts every day and virtually none on energy. It seems to me to be a planned distruption just to promote his or her own website.

I like Cid's posts. Most involve geopolitical issues that are related to oil issues. Caveat: I do, however, disagree with his opinion re the taser incident however. And I agree that the taser incident is not oil related. The Peru meteor story is off subject as well.

Agreed. Can't blame him for being in a pissy mood , after publicly soiling himself this morning on Fed cut. Don't wanna pick a fight with Leanan though. Wouldn't be prudent, as Rummy used to say.

I trust and respect Leanan and enjoy our reparte. Yes, I am greatly disappointed that the Fed cut. It really didn't matter anyway. We are so far gone, nothing the Fed can do will save us. This winter appears to be a crisis point with regards to energy. No fiscal policy will be able to manage the effects of that. Peak Oil(and probably peak energy) are here to stay. The world we have known will be no more. I am old enough to remember what life was like before even Pong existed. My teenage years growing up in a small town with nothing but reading and the 3 channels of TV between dawn and midnight to fill the hours. Life was BORING back then. The future will be worse.

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

Who decides what or how much is annoying?

I do. And it depends on my mood.

Scores ill in Peru 'meteor crash'

Some 600 people in Peru have required treatment after an object from space - said to be a meteorite - plummeted to Earth in a remote area, officials say. A bull is dead and some other animals are already sick," he said.

The incident began on Saturday night, when people near Carancas in the Puno region, some 1,300km (800 miles) south of Lima, reported seeing a fireball in the sky coming towards them.


Hello Cid Yama,

Fascinating! Speculation: maybe a trial US military hyper-velocity test of 'The Rods from God' before we attack Iran?


Does the Peruvian latitude and geology approximate likely target Iranian latitude and geology?

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

Reminds me of a favorite SciFi book.

Evolution's Shore - Ian Mcdonald

Highly recommended!


Hello TODers,

BBC photo series on Zimbabwe. As you look at the photos and read the captions: Imagine how different things could be if Zimbabwe just had more bicycles, wheelbarrows, solar cooking ovens, PV panels, and other biosolar goods.


Will postPeak North America be any different?

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

Our good friend Daniel Yergin resurfaced on CSPAN today to help America's Commerce Dept. improve our "Competitiveness" and regain our Commanding Heights.

(The show itself is a bore. However listening to these masters of corporate and government double speak display their skills may be of interest for those who enjoy this type of forked-tongue craftsmanship. Yes, that's the way forward. "Education" will save us. "Technology" will save us. "Corporate R&D" will save us.)

Daniel Yergin, Chairman, Cambridge Energy Research
Panel #1 “The Competitive Challenge for America in the 21st Century”

Daniel Yergin is a highly respected authority on energy, international politics and economics. Dr. Yergin is a Pulitzer Prize winner and recipient of the United States Energy Award for “lifelong achievements in energy and the promotion of international understanding.” He is both a world-recognized author and a business leader, as Chairman of Cambridge Energy Research Associates (CERA), one of the world’s leading consulting and research firms in its field. He is also Executive Vice President of ... Dr. Yergin was awarded the Medal of the President of the Republic of Italy for combining “an understanding of the dynamics of the market with a broad view of the forces of geopolitics as he seeks to point the way to the positive outcomes for the world community.”

Hello TODers,

Copied below is my recent email to the Arizona Department of Transportation's contact website:

SUBJECT: $ Request for Bicycle Peloton Hitchhiking Research

I have been a multiyear reader and blogger to Peakoil websites such as TheOilDrum.com [TOD], Dieoff.com, EnergyBulletin.net, and LifeAfterTheOilCrash.net, and also many Yahoo energy forums too.

I believe I have conceived a breakthrough idea in urban mobility, but I am seeking very minor research funding to test my concept-- could you be of assistance? I believe it could be quickly accomplished for less than $50,000 in materials, plus very brief volunteer help from seasoned area bicyclists.

I won't go into great detail in this posting as I would prefer a brief phone discussion or meeting with a qualified transport engineer. My vastly simplified concept involves a constantly slow-moving pickup-truck, pulling a series of modified trailers, so that a constantly re-arranging bicycle peloton of constantly varying size and commuting distances can easily hook up to conserve personal pedal energy over each bicyclist's unique commuting route. I wish to retain any patent rights, but this idea is so simple and effective: probably nothing is patentable. Thxs for any reply by email, phone, or letter.

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

I wish to retain any patent rights, but this idea is so simple and effective: probably nothing is patentable.

Almost everything is patentable if it has some nonobvious twist to it.
Consult with a local patent attorney before spilling your beans.