DrumBeat: September 23, 2007

Natural Gas: A Bridge to Totally Clean Energy? - Robert Hefner says natural gas offers a bridge to a squeaky-clean 'hydrogen economy.'

At the time the Fuel Use Act was being debated, my estimates were that the U.S. had 1,500 to 2,000 trillion cubic feet of natural gas remaining. My estimates were called irresponsible, but the big oil companies were wrong. We have produced 585 trillion subsequent to that time, and today most estimators believe that we have at least 1,500 to 2,000 trillion remaining. At today's rate of consumption, that leaves [America] a 70- to 100-year supply.

Syria's oil output forecast to fall by more than half

Oil production in Syria is forecast to drop 360,000 barrels per day next year, Oil Minister Sufian Al-Allaw said on Sunday, Allaw said in a statement that the output of the crude peaked in 1995 and 1996, indicating that the output has recently dropped by 385,000 bpd recently.

UAE to cut oil output by 600,000 bpd in November

'A scheduled essential maintenance programme will take place in November 2007 at three offshore fields -- Upper Zakum, Lower Zakum and Umm Shaif. During the maintenance period, production will be reduced by approximately 600,000 bpd,' ADNOC said in a statement.

It did not specify how long the work will last but said it had taken measures to meet its commitments.

More petrol for Iranians

Motorists in Iran are to be allowed to buy an extra one-off allocation of 100 litres of petrol, in addition to their regular monthly ration of 100 litres, reported Reuters.

China potential oil reserve 65 bln tons; 39% proven - report

China's oil reserve potential stands at more than 65 bln tons, of which only 39 pct has been proven, Xinhua news agency reported, citing Wang Tao, director of the China Commission of the World Petroleum Congress.

Wang said that China's natural gas reserve potential stands at 25 trln cubic meters, with just 24.6 of them affirmed.

Foreign companies keen to tap China's coal deposits

Foreign companies that own clean coal technologies and work with their Chinese counterparts to tap China's coal reserves, one of the world's largest, may get good returns as China is seeking to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions and ease its increasing thirst for oil.

Greenspan Re-writes the History of the Invasion of Iraq

"That's silly," former US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld answered a member of the American media at a news conference at the Pentagon before the war, at the beginning of 2003. The reporter had asked Rumsfeld if the reason for the war against Iraq was US control over oil.

However, it now appears that the issue wasn't that silly, as Rumsfeld claimed at the time.

Who Said Marx Wasn't Green?

First off, with lucid logic and prosaic prose, Foster shows why and how the very nature of capitalism, the "genetic code" of capitalism, is the source and the cause of our current predicament and, most importantly, that no amount of "tinkering" with the system will solve things and, in fact, "tinkering" will, in all likelihood, increase the speed of the slide toward catastrophe through the simple expedient of delaying dealing with the inevitable consequences of an economy that can only survive by expanding its markets or, as it's euphemistically known, "growth."

A new slide into oily stagflation

THIS weekend marks the 34th anniversary of the start of the Yom Kippur war. In case you have forgotten, it triggered the world's first OPEC oil price shock and the awful era of stagflation.

And oil prices are at it again.

Energy pinch can be good news

One of the biggest question marks facing the global economy today is how we can increase energy supplies by the additional 50 per cent forecast to be needed in the next 25 years and at the same time drastically lower our dependency on hydrocarbons, which currently provide 80 per cent of the world's energy needs.

Opec intervention seen as fading force

The Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) has stepped in with 500,000 extra barrels of oil a day to calm global markets but the cartel may not have the power it used to have to provide respite for investors.

Mexico becoming one of world's more dangerous countries

"These people that are placing these devices know something about the flow of the oil and gas," said one American official who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to comment publicly. "They didn't just place it randomly in the middle of the valve system."

20,000 March Against Myanmar Government

About 20,000 people led by Buddhist monks demonstrated against Myanmar's military junta Sunday, in what has quickly become the largest anti-government demonstrations since the failed democratic uprising in 1988.

IQPC to host Security for Energy Infrastructure in the Middle East event

The security risks faced by the oil and gas industry are diverse and come in many forms. Different parts of the world are beset by geopolitical circumstances that can leave local oil and gas operations in the line of fire for those wishing to compromise operational integrity for reasons of financial gain or simply social and political instability.

The fees for the bus go up and up

Parents throughout the northwest suburbs are reeling from annual bus fees as local districts try to make their services self-sustaining. Mounting fees have fueled calls for the state to support school transportation and kindled concerns about tailpipe pollution from a crush of parents dropping off children at school.

Global Swarming: Is it time for Americans to start cutting our baby emissions?

We're obsessed with our green lifestyles—eating local, driving hybrids, paying off our excess carbon-dioxide emissions. From that perspective, voluntary familial extinction (or at least reduction) might not be such a bad idea. If you want to reduce your carbon footprint, cutting back on kids is the best choice you can possibly make.

Falling German Birthrate Dispels Baby Miracle Myth

A United Nations report this year called this global aging “a process without parallel in the history of humanity” and predicted that people older than 60 would outnumber those under 15 for the first time in 2047.

They’re Electric, but Can They Be Fantastic?

Experts say the cars’ arrival hinges on two make-or-break issues:

Developing safe, affordable lithium-ion batteries lasting 100,000 miles.

Overcoming a psychological barrier among people who can imagine the benefits — but who can also see themselves stranded with a dead battery and no place or time to recharge.

A Busy City Street Makes Room for Bikes

The city is planning to remake seven blocks of Ninth Avenue in Chelsea into what officials are billing enthusiastically, perhaps a bit hyperbolically, as the street of the future.

The most unusual aspect of the design, which will run from 16th Street to 23rd Street, is that it uses a lane of parked cars to protect cyclists from other traffic.

A Chicken on Every Plot, a Coop in Every Backyard

City dwellers who raise chickens are springing up around the country. Groups organized on the Internet in Los Angeles, Phoenix and Austin, Tex., are host to chicken-centric social events, and there are dozens of books — a whole new form of chick lit — on raising chickens, including Barbara Kilarski’s “Keep Chickens! Tending Small Flocks in Cities, Suburbs and Other Small Spaces,” and related titles like “Anyone Can Build a Tub-Style Mechanical Chicken Plucker,” by Herrick Kimball.

Winds of change are blowing in northwest Missouri

The Bluegrass Ridge farm is the first commercial wind project to open in Missouri. The wind farm could produce about 57 megawatt hours of energy — enough electricity to power 34,000 homes.

The Dutch government takes a stand -- against cars, for bikes

The Dutch government has taken a trend to promote eco-friendly cities a step further than its European neighbors by announcing firm measures to discourage cars and driving.

The rising cost of nature

A fundamental global trend nowadays is growing natural resource scarcity. Oil and natural gas prices have soared in recent years. This past year, food prices have also skyrocketed, causing hardships among the poor and large shifts in income between countries and between rural and urban areas.

The most basic reason for the rise in natural resource prices is strong growth, especially in China and India, which is hitting against the physical limits of land, timber, oil and gas reserves, and water supplies. Thus, wherever nature’s goods and services are traded in markets (as with energy and food), prices are rising. When they are not traded in markets (as with clean air), the result is pollution and depletion rather than higher prices.

Agriculture In A Post-Oil Economy

To what extent could food be produced in a world without fossil fuels? In the year 2000, humanity consumed about 30 billion barrels of oil, but the supply is starting to run out; without oil and natural gas, there will be no fuel, no asphalt, no plastics, no chemical fertilizer. Most people in modern industrial civilization live on food that was bought from a local supermarket, but such food will not always be available. Agriculture in the future will be largely a "family affair": without motorized vehicles, food will have to be produced not far from where it was consumed. But what crops should be grown? How much land would be needed? Where could people be supported by such methods of agriculture?

Australia: Group has plan if oil crisis starts to bite here

“The peak oil planning came out of oil shocks in the 1970s (when the cost of oil quadrupled),” said Ms Wallace, who has had a strong interest in peak oil since completing a permaculture course last year.

“It is all about what to do when we run out of energy.”

Access to Oil Is Bedrock of Our Middle East Policy

Should the United States invade a foreign country for its oil?

If that question were posed in a poll, the vast majority of Americans would no doubt answer with a resounding "no." We're the good guys in the world, spreading democracy, freeing the oppressed, opposing tyrants. We wouldn't invade a sovereign country strictly out of a selfish lust for its resources, would we?

Iran oil bourse 'won't undermine US instruments'

Plans for a commodity exchange for oil trading in Iran won't undermine the dollar’s supremacy in the oil markets, its architect says.

US praises deal on cutting threats to ozone

The United States on Saturday hailed an international agreement to ban chemicals threatening the ozone, saying it would bolster efforts to combat global warming.

One Effect I Expect Post-Peak Oil -

    Growing and Persistent Mental Illness

Worth a Read


A Very Good Friend is a Psychiatrist doing her Residency here, the toughest job in town


So far the toughest job I know about is to decide if a child should stay in a family that seem to be dysfunctional or moved to a foster home. Both alternatives are probably bad for the child and the question is wich is least bad.

We have a mutual friend who does that type work. It is still not as tough.

In a recent shift of 27 hours, she admitted 16 people for 24 hour observation (they stay in a cot in the hallway) because they were a danger to themselves or society, three were so violent they sedated and constrained. Dozens more were examined and not committed.

Then she had to process those at the end of their 24 hour hold and decide whether to give them a bed. If so, she must kick someone else out of a bed, since we have so VERY few beds (we had over 100 psychiatric beds pre-Katrina, we re-started with 5 and then 12 beds in a Lord & Taylor department store and are now about 30 beds I think, with massive mental health problems, see linked article).

She has guessed wrong (perhaps there is not a right answer) and had patients commit murder-suicide and psychotic suicide recently because they were not in beds getting in-hospital treatment.

Best Hopes those on the front lines,


This is a just flappin' huge issue coming right at us. Yes, New Orleans has it now, but the whole darned country is going to get it in spades over the next nine months as the mortgage scam unwinds. All we need is a little tap - a hurricane or fun new war in the ME, gas goes below MOL, stuff gets ugly fast, and things may only come back slowly if it ever comes back at all.

Are there any region wide reports? Are there any success stories?

I've made a few statements about spiritual support in coming days and this is exactly the sort of stuff I worry over - we have this whole First Church of Christ, Investment Banker mindset here now and those who've bought into this are going to get knocked down, never to recover, at least not in a context in which they're familiar. Do we pray and conserve or incite and fight? I think this may be an unspoken campaign issue for 2008 ...

Community support and our long tradition of talking to each other has kept a very bad situation from getting worse in New Orleans.

Suburban isolation is not a good thing when under stress.

Rising mental health issues and related reduced ability to cope and change will be part of the post-Peak Oil world. Self medication via substance abuse as well.


It going to be a huge problem. As the oil exploration business crashed in the late 80's and 90's, I had a lot of chronic depression and substance abuse problems. As I came back out of the problems, I inventoried my values and attitudes so I could change away from my most distruuctive problems and learned some interesting things about myself. A lot of the root problem was low self-esteem, and I acted out seeking chemical relief. But my self-esteem problem meant I had to change my behaviour to do things I liked myself for doing.

I learned that I got a huge amount of my previous self image from my profession and monetary success. The money and things gave me a place in society that I couldn't easily replace, and as I sold the big house and had my first marriage break up, i couldn't replace the interests in wells that I'd given up so easily to my first wife, whom I affectionately call ol' what's her name, and kept having reoccuring bouts of depression punctuated with bouts of substance abuse. It was a self distructive down spiral.

In order to break out of it comepletely I had to do several things. The first was to realise that no matter the cause, it was my behaviour that was the problem, and I just plain had to stop, and I did it by going to A.A. and following their directions. As I said, my reoccuring bouts of depression were a large part of my problem, and I had to get treatment for my depression which included medication for me, but it required my going to a doctor to get help. Next, i had to have the humility to be willing to listen to others and receive instruction from them. Then I had to examine my own behaviour, and change my life so that I incorporated the life lessons that I learned.

As bI noted, one of my problems was low self-esteem after my life had fallen apart. Sowhat i did was look at people that I respected and try to find out why I had these feelings about them. I discovered that they were kind and tried to help other people. They were honest, and willing to look at themselves. And the ones i respected most were creative and tried to add to life rather than take away, and they were generous rather than trying to maximize their self-interest.

At any rate these are useful life lessons for me. I try to practice them even though things have turned around and I could just go back to being a self-saisfied landman with a good hustle. Now, I never take a lease unless its going to be a good deal for the landowner as well as my employer (s) as I figure its in my employer's best interest to have a happy lessor. I'm trying to assemble a shallow oil field redevelopment deal, and i'm taking care of my investors at least as well as I take care of myself. I have a number of excellent shallow ideas, and I'm interested in building up some investors that invest in multiple prospects. And even though the idea is mine, I'm cutting in the Geologist and the Engineer when we find one, and the other guy raising money because everyone does a better job when they get an interest in the prospect Bob Ebersole

shame i am moving out of the Houston area... sounds like if I'd have run into you at the October event you could have lent some good advice right now!
All these memories will be lost in time
like tears in rain


Email and I'll send you my telehone number. My email is : Bob Ebersole two thousand and four (name lower case, numbers not words) at Yahoo.com. I don't know how good my advice is, though.

I figure if there really is any cosmic meaning to life its to learn and share with others what we've learned. Alan's right about all the shock that we are all going to have as the chickens come home to roost, yet its going to also be an opportunity for positive things, too. Just helping each other learn to garden or make a grey water cistern for watering vegetables will help us meet the neighbors and make new friends-we'll get opportunities to establish local villages when all our spare time isn't spent sitting in 3 MPH traffic on the freeway.

You bring up an issue that was a big deal in our culture prior to peak oil - the whole definition of self based on the nature of our gainful employment.

I took an interest in this a few years ago and I have a sort of off an on running experiment I conduct on people depending quite strongly on the situation.

What do you do?

[deadpan]I'm a bank robber.

What do you do?

[deadpan]Perhaps a bit too much heroin.

What do you do?

I spend a few moments describing my interests and hobbies, only lightly touching on what I do for my income.

What do you do?

[the direct approach] What do I do when ... ?

I never pull this stuff when there is money on the table but casual conversations when I'm traveling almost always go along these lines. The results are amusing and revealing - I purposefully steer the conversation to this whole concept of defining self based on what is certainly a transient arrangement with an employer in this day and age.

So ... what do I do?

I'm a hiker, biker, kayaker, amateur photographer, a some times freelance journalist and compulsive scribbler, I try to work a little here and there, and right now I'm about that whole change agent business, which I can't quit even if my life depends on it.

So ... how will people define themselves when the forms of employment of yesteryear recede and one in five of us has no "daily definition"? Perhaps "peak oil activist" will be one of the phrases that one will hear?

SCT - you might consider taking a short break from posting - mostly your comments are tolerable but honestly - we don't need to know your every thought or action.

Not that most don't appreciate your comments - but I'm just saying, a break of a day or so. Like Cid.

I'm a hiker, biker, kayaker, amateur photographer, a some times freelance journalist and compulsive scribbler, ...

Some people call me Maurice. Really love your peaches,

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

I met somebody who would ask "What are you into?" as an antidote to that. I completely flubbed the response and he switched to the usual "What do you do?"


Alan, thanks for posting this. It's something I've been wondering about as I work in retail and I see people taking superficial needs too seriously all the time.

I wonder how Katrina has affected the birth rate in New Orleans?

Let them eat cake.

As it looks increasingly obvious that given the major issues facing the world population overshoot, global warming, financial games, and peak oil and others. We will be facing a crisis that effects the core tenet of our current civilization which is infinite expansion and infinite resources.

A big unknown in this probably troubled future is how the population will respond especially in the technically advanced countries since any chance of a technical miracle would most likely come from the more advanced countries. This miracle may simply be prudent use of our current knowledge base.

Given this one wonders how todays population will respond to a threat thats difficult to pin down say either peak oil or global warming since the victims are in this case the perpetrator thus its a case of suicide.

Next considering that most people put sustainable populations at much lower level then we have today easily 1 billion or more we have to consider a situation in many countries that is more akin to the Black Death than anything seen in more modern times.

Next the art of political propaganda has reached its zenith with a combination of unethical politicians and self interested populace the old Roman trick of providing bread and circus's has been refined to the point that governments have removed most constraints on their actions. This has resulted in the last big issue we have today. Which is the greatest concentration and disparity in wealth that has existed since at least the 1700's. Globalization has accomplished the task of removing wage arbitrage and enriching the wealthy while providing the poor with plastic trinkets in exchange.

So considering all the above I cannot help but feel that major rioting and the formation of various police states that attempt to blame each other for the current circumstance is all but certain. Any chance of a sort of enlightened high tech sustainable economy is in the more distant future after the worlds population is decimated and the rulers finally overthrown. I'm not saying we will loose our technology but it will probably be developed in a method similar to Nazi Germany or the USSR. Both these governments where far from free but managed to develop robust technical programs. This is not cheap solar cell and fossil fuel free crops for the poor.

If you look at the US today a major focus on our technology is the creation of armor to keep combat soldier safe and the use of robotics to keep soldiers out of harms way. We seem to be heading towards a Terminator type army.

The reason this is important is if you consider what I've outlined above the creation of a military that has the technical ability to destroy insurgencies combined with no constraints on killing and you have the makings of a very long and terrible dark age.

"...a very long and terrible dark age" or, more likely I'm afraid, a very short and terrible nuclear war.

I just finished the book 'The Road'....brutal post nuke fiction...
Makes me think you should run toward a target in the case of nuclear war.

i don't need to run. where i live right now is smack dab in between three targets forming a triangle. :P

Rule of thumb: If you are more than a few miles from ground zero, you are not going to die the way you think you are going to die. If you believe otherwise, you are living a fantasy which could turn out to be a very terrible fantasy indeed. In fact, if we want to get technical, even inside a few miles from ground zero, you are not likely to die the way you think you are going to die. If the targets that surround you are "soft" targets (extremely high probability), then the fireball will never even touch the earth's surface, which means dying will be like in a 200 mph car wreck. 

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

Fortunately, or not, the target nearest to me is the Naval Weapons Center in Earle, NJ. That's the very definition of a "hard" target, so I'm guessing that in an all-out war, a whole lot of big nukes are going there. "I've gotta get out of this place..."

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


Who wrote that?

Cormac McCarthy.

no need to argue...we could have a short and terrible nuclear war followed by a long and terrible dark age ;^)

We are no more going to have a Threads or The Day After style nuclear war than we're going to have a big thunderclap that sweeps away the remaining few genuine Christians in this country. That is more of that underlying apocalypticism that permeates our culture. The U.S. and Russia are the only possible players in such an exchange and the protocols are already in place to avoid this in the face of much higher tensions than we have today.

Pakistani nukes number in the low dozens. Indian nukes number in the low dozens. North Koreans have likely less than a dozen in inventory but they're almost certainly propagating them to their fellow members of the so called axis of evil. Syria may or may not have nuclear tips that survived the recent Israeli raid. Iran may or may not have North Korean built nuclear tips for their Sunburn missiles.

We'll see tit for tat exchanges, at least at first. Tel Aviv goes up ... promptly followed by Damascus or Tehran, or maybe both for good measure. There will be a terrible long silence as the west absorbs Jewish refugees ... even if Israel wins, Israel loses. Pakistan and India are bound to try each other sooner or later - hotter and drier will only add to the tension over Kashmir. North and South Korea make a nice proxy for China and the United States' tensions and the North Korean government is Bat Guano Crazy(tm). If someone does sneak one into a U.S. port, no matter which of the possible players was involved, even if its a false flag operation, I'd look for a measured response - low yield cobalt wrapped thermonuclear party favors will be the "return on capitol" for all investors in this particular scheme.

Or do I have a grim, doomer outlook? That copy of Hourani's A History of the Arab Peoples sitting next to Dodge's Alexander both tell me to expect the worst when such problems arise.

Actually, with a cheap, very silent submarines available, a second tier country could launch a nuclear cruise missile fairly close to our shores and hit Washington DC virtually undetected. If detonated during a vulnerable time, lets say during the State of the Union address or another event where the elites are all in town, it would be devastating. A city in the middle of the country would have been a far better geographic location purely out of the development of sub-based missiles.

Devastating? We just elect new elites and life goes on. Who's gonna miss those turkeys?


I haven't escaped from reality. I have a daypass.

Elect? Try that under the dictatorship that will follow.

we right now have a pre-ww1 type situation when it comes to nuclear weapons. if a bomb is used locally it won't stay local for long.

That reminds me - I'd like to thank whoever recommended the movie Testament. It's a great film on the aftermath of a nuclear attack and the gradual unwinding of society that follows. It'll make you want to beat the sh*t out of anyone who supports first use of nukes in warfare.

I did. Thanks. I suggested it to Chimp.

However, my resason for suggesting it wasn't about society going to pot but rather that the people were brain dead when it came to nuclear survival skills. No one had a blast or fallout map. No one knew how to build a home-made radiation monitor (out of a coffee can no less). No one had the smarts to wear any kind of mask. Finally, sort of, no one had the smarts to hike over to the ocean. The blast takes place in SF and Marin County (where the story takes place) is north of it and the west edge of the county is the Pacific ocean. The winds are usually west to east so it would seem logical to move west not stay where you are.

What no one has ever mentioned is that while they lost power, they seemed to have water. Duh.

The book, Nuclear War Survival Skills, was available at: http://www.osim.org/nwss


The book is still available:


It's on DVD, too.

"Ch. 16: Minimum Pre-Crisis Preparations
Your chances of surviving a nuclear attack will be improved if you make the following low-cost preparations before a serious crisis arises. Once many Americans become convinced that a nuclear attack is a near certainty, they will rush to stores and buy all available survival supplies. If you wait to prepare until a crisis does arise, you are likely to be among the majority who will have to make-do with inadequate supplies of water containers, food, and materials. Furthermore, even if you have the necessary materials and instructions to make the most needed survival items, you and your family are not likely to have time to make all of them during a few days of tense crisis.

The following recommendations are intended primarily for the majority who live in areas likely to be subjected to blast, fire, or extremely heavy fallout. These people should plan to evacuate to a safer area. (Many citizens living outside high-risk areas, especially homeowners with yards, can and should make better pre-crisis preparations. These would include building high-protection-factor permanent shelters covered with earth.)


Keep on hand the tools and materials your family or group will need to build or improve a high- protection-factor expedient shelter: One or more shovels, a pick (if in a hard-soil area), a bow-saw with an extra blade, a hammer, and 4-mil polyethylene film for rainproofing your planned shelter. Also store the necessary nails, wire, etc. needed for the kind of shelter you plan to build.

Keep instructions for shelter-building and other survival essentials in a safe and convenient place.


Make a homemade shelter-ventilating pump, a KAP, of the size required for the shelter you plan to build or use.


Keep on hand water containers (including at least four 30-gallon untreated polyethylene trash bags and two sacks or pillowcases for each person), a pliable garden hose or other tube for siphoning, and a plastic bottle of sodium hypochlorite bleach (such as Clorox) for disinfecting water and utensils.


Make one or two KFMs and learn how to use this simple instrument.


Store at least a 2-week supply of compact, nonperishable food. The balanced ration of basic dry foods described in Chapter 9, Food, satisfies requirements for adults and larger children at minimum cost. If your family includes babies or small children, be sure to store more milk powder, vegetable oil, and sugar.

Continuing to breast-feed babies born during an impending crisis would greatly simplify their care should the crisis develop and worsen

For preparing and cooking basic foods:

° Make a 3-Pipe Grain Mill like the one described in Chapter 9, Food, or buy a small hand-cranked grain mill, which grinds more efficiently than other expedient devices.

Book Page: 133

° Make a Bucket-Stove as described in Chapter 9. During evacuation, the stove can be used as a container. Store some kitchen-type wooden matches in a waterproof container.

° Keep essential containers and utensils on hand for storing and transporting food and for cooking and serving in a shelter.


A hose-vented 5-gallon can, with heavy plastic bags for liners, for use as a toilet. Includesome smaller plastic bags and toilet paper with these supplies. Tampons.

Insect screen or mosquito netting, and fly bait. See Chapter 12.


° Any special medications needed by family members.

° Potassium iodide, a 2-oz bottle, and a medicine- dropper, for prophylactic protection of the thyroid gland against radioactive iodines. (Described in the last section of Chapter 13, Survival Without Doctors.)

° A first-aid kit and a tube of antibiotic ointment.


° Long-burning candles (with small wicks) sufficient for at least 14 nights.

° An expedient lamp, with extra cotton-string, wicks, and cooking oil as described in Chapter 11.

° A flashlight and extra batteries.


A transistor radio with extra batteries and a metal box in which to protect it.


Review the EVACUATION CHECKLIST (developed primarily for persons who make no preparations before a crisis) and add items that are special requirements of your family."

KFM = Kearny Fallout Meter


"How to Make and Use It


Fig. (Nuclear Ground Burst Explosion - Drawing)

The complete KFM instructions include patterns to be cut out and used to construct the fallout meter. At the end of the instructions are extra patterns on 4 unnumbered pages. The reader is urged to use these extra patterns to make KFM's in normal peacetime and to keep the complete instructions intact for use during a recognized crisis period.

If Xerox copies of the patterns are used, they should be checked against the originals in order to make sure that they are the same size as the originals. Some older copiers make copies with slightly enlarged dimensions. Even slightly enlarged copies of all the KFM patterns can be made satisfactory provided: (1) on the PAPER PATTERN TO WRAP AROUND KFM CAN, the distances between the 4 marks for the HOLES FOR STOP- THREAD are corrected; and (2) the dimensions of the FINISHED-LEAF PATTERN are corrected.

These instructions, including the heading on this page and the illustrative photos, can be photographed without additional screening and rapidly reproduced by a newspaper or printer. If you keep the KFM instructions intact, during a worsening crisis you will be able to use them to help your friends and thousands of your fellow citizens by making them available for reproduction."

Thanks for the link, although I think you meant http://www.oism.org/nwss/ instead of 'osim'.

Regarding the movie, you're right, the people had no idea how to survive a fallout situation. But given the fact that no one had done any sort of pre-planning, I don't think they had many choices. And picking up and moving west would have been smart from a fallout point-of-view, but then they'd be on the beach with no water, food, or shelter, and no support network of neighbors and friends. They were screwed either way.

I'll have to say, when one of the kids says, "mom, the water tastes funny", it sent a chill down my spine.

And regarding the running water, I just assumed it was gravity fed from a nearby water tower... probably just my ignorance on how municipal water systems work.

Stream and Citrus,

Thanks for correcting the URL...I was looking down at my printed out copy on the floor and - obviously- screwed up.

For those who care about the future and survival, I'd like to suggest that you actually print stuff out. I have 5-3" ring binders of what I consider important survival information. For exzmple, Binder I contains: our personal security plan (what to salvage if we have to get out NOW), In The Wake - Tools for Grid Crash (52 pages), Survival links (20 pages), Survival and Austere Medicine (213 pages), Doctors for Disaster Perparedness - Basic Medical Kit (9 pages), Bacterial Warfare..What Your Family Can Do (89 pages), SF Blast and Fallout Map, US Blast and Fallout Map (6 pages), Nuclear War Survival Skills (89 pages).

The other binders contain lots of basic stuff like how to make wood bearings or raise micro-livestock and pond management.

The cost is really zip and Internet stuff comes and goes. How about building a crystal radio? Or, Possum Living (which I have posted before) http://www.f4.ca/text/possumliving.htm

Or, how about a sunflower seed huller and oil press?


You never know.


Thanks for the links... good stuff there. I'd never thought about printing all of this out, but you're right - ITSHTF internet access will be one of the first things to go. Hell, all it takes is a heavy rain to knock it out here (which in Atlanta, regrettably, was a very long time ago).

Here's one more book I can recommend - Wild Fermentation by Sandor Katz. I think food preservation skills will soon come back in a big way, and fermented food is about as easy as it gets. Just be sure to stash away a big keg of salt.

"ITSHTF internet access will be one of the first things to go."

IMO, that's the understatement of the decade.

"Globalization has accomplished the task of removing wage arbitrage "

shouldn't that be 'enabling'? - if not perhaps you could just unpack that a bit for me.

Depends on how you look at it. The US worker is competing with other workers that have a lot lower cost of living. Global wage arbitrage punishes the worker that lives in the more expensive locale. These workers can not arbitrate their wage based on cost of living or inflationary pressures. Thus inflation intrinsic in fiat money systems eventually removes their ability to also be consumers of production resulting in massive deflation. Either the cost of living becomes similar world wide or globalization ceases and local wage arbitrage based on the living regional wage is again possible.

I'm actually a bit surprised that the TPTB pulled this off its obvious that without similar standards of living open trade coupled with inflation destroys the middle class.

Sure once everyone has a living standard and more important cost of living more akin to India or China real wage competition is possible but ....

OK...I see where you're coming from, but I would suggest that the global equalisation of wage levels hasn't quite got there yet - it's still worth moving the plant from Birmingham to Beijing , globalisation is enabling this ongoing wage arbitrage to take place. It's really nothing to do with 'free trade' which is the exchange of goods and services for money. Its all to do with minimising costs - labour, tax and regulatory. The process obviously comes to an end once the wealth of the USA is tapped out, and all its assets owned by foreigners.

The process obviously comes to an end once the wealth of the USA is tapped out, and all its assets owned by foreigners.

But if the wealth of the USA is invested in derivatives leveraged 20 to 1, and its consumption is being financed by foreigners, and its actual productive capacity has already relocated to low wage locations, then what is there left to invest in?
Hedge Funds?
Commercial real estate?
Mineral resources?
Dogwalking Firms?
A percentage of Brittany Spears next gross act?

In theory new markets. The world is still haunted by the recession of the early 90's the US looked very vulnerable to succumbing to inter market competition only to be taken by the tech rush of the mid to late 90’s.

I don’t think we have any live rabbits up our sleeve this time.


The Final Frontier.

The theme to the 1960s television show "Star Trek" had lyrics. They are:

"Beyond the rim of the the starlight,
My love is wand'ring in star flight.
I know he'll find in star clustered reaches
Love strange, love a starwoman teaches.
I know his journey ends never.
His star trek will go on forever.
But tell him while he wanders his starry sea,
Remember, remember me."

no wonder they went with the instrumental version....

memmel -

It is by no means obvious to me that making a military more high-tech automatically means that it will be more effective in fighting insurgencies, guerilla war, or what in some circles is called 'fourth generational' warfare.

I think that relatively recent history confirms this point.

During the Vietnam War the US threw all the technology it could muster (short of nuclear weapons) at the low-tech Viet Cong. Yet the war dragged on and on, eventually resulting in a de facto defeat for the US.

The might of the Soviet army and air force were incapable of neutralizing the ragtag mujahadin fighters in Afganistan, and the final result was not unlike that which befell the US in Vietnam.

We are experiencing the same in Iraq, where over 200,000 of the world's best trained and equipped troops and 'contractors' have now been bogged down longer than the US involvement in WW II. Over half a trillion dollars has been spent thus far, and the financial hemorrhaging shows no sign of abating.

No, if military high-tech were the answer, the US would have won in Vietam, the Soviets would have taken over Afganistan, and Bush would have 'mission accomplished' in Iraq. There are abundant lesson to be learned from all three conflicts, but no one appears to have learned them.

There are abundant lesson to be learned . . .but no one appears to have learned them.

I think this needs qualification.

The Americans are incapable of accepting the fact that military technology and military "solutions" are not the answer. If they were to do so it would invalidate the past 50+ years of American militarism. I cannot think of any state that has willingly abandoned their immediate past history and the direction this past precedent carried them.

The "military-industrial" complex described by Eisenhower results in a system of industrial welfare that is extremely profitable for all participants. This is not going to change. American citizens may die because they lack $50 worth of medicine; this will not prevent billions being invested in the next high tech weapons system. America is a death culture.

I think other nations have learned the lessons of Afghanistan and Iraq. Strangely enough, both these countries applied lessons learned at Concord and Lexington - that a committed citzenry can defeat the greatest military power known to humanity.

Having watched a number of military films released over the last decade showing the destructive force of nuclear weapons (not the tiny ones used against Japan, but the big Mothers developed afterward), I believe that nuclear weapons would drastically change the nature of any resistance. Those weapons can wipe out entire populations in minutes: leaving little behind to fight for, and few able bodies left to do the fighting.

Those weapons can wipe out entire populations in minutes: leaving little behind to fight for, and few able bodies left to do the fighting.

A further example of American Death Culture.

Yes, that is true, but you cannot dismiss it just with a wave of the hand and calling it names. A persistent failure in these forums is to not consider the lessons of history. Prior empires did employ genocide, on both small and large scales. Rome gave conquered peoples two choices - assimilate or be destroyed. And for 400 years of the Roman Republic and another 400 years of the Roman empire, this set of choices brought Rome victory after victory, even as it brought other peoples into subjugation or death. Now I certainly oppose any such action by the United States today but will my opposition be enough to stop such an act? Are there enough people opposing such acts to matter? No one knows yet. And because the US is still tightly wrapped inside the military-industrial complex, it is moving with ever increasing velocity down the road of militarism. We are very likely close to a point where either revulsion on the part of US citizenry will finally alter our course or (and worse), US citizenry smashes through its own last vestiges of morality and wholeheartedly embraces the corpgov militarism being foisted upon us. And if the latter happens, then there is no telling where the violence will stop.

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

And because the US is still tightly wrapped inside the military-industrial complex,

Why not? It makes alot of people alot of money.

Strangely, it seems most Americans, and maybe many others around the world, no longer think that nuclear war is a threat of any kind. As if the very concept is just a relic of the sixties. I've been told that all of Russia's nuclear weapons are "just piles of rust". Where do people get these ideas??

Just for the record, the best estimates are that there are at least 20,000 nuclear weapons in the world. And that's probably as accurate as the USGS 2000 world oil figures...

Strangely, it seems most Americans, and maybe many others around the world, no longer think that nuclear war is a threat of any kind. As if the very concept is just a relic of the sixties. I've been told that all of Russia's nuclear weapons are "just piles of rust". Where do people get these ideas??

I think it's one of many defects in the way humans think. Putting unpleasant things out of mind on the thinnest of pretexts.

When you want to believe something,
any excuse will do, particularly if it becomes conventional wisdom. I mean, really, with most people in the world convinced that their own deaths are just a ticket to heaven in one way or another, why be surprised when lesser things are ignored?

Many of us could be vaporized with little or no notice just by a random mistake. I can remember old Richard Nixon, after the breakup of the USSR, raging about how frikking STUPID it was that we weren't making it a top priority to buy up EVERY soviet nuclear weapon. He said it was a once-only opportunity, and there would be hell to pay if we didn't take it.

I think the odds I'll die in a dazzling fusion flash, or shortly thereafter from its effects, are as likely as my going by a heart attack or any of the more usual culprits. So it goes.


I suspect the Iranians have some of those Russian weapons. I have an Iranian friend who says that Abimenijad has told the same to the Iranian people, and i figure thats why the US hasn't tried to conquer the Iranians yet or supported the Israelis in an invasion or big commando raid to wipe out the reactor.

Its also why they don't want him speaking in the USA. They're scared that they can't keep him from telling America just how dangerous Cheney/Bush's nuclear brinkmanship really is. With on bomb he could wipe out about 1/3 of the US combat troops and a very high percentage of the mercenaries they have hired. Bob Ebersole

With on bomb he could wipe out about 1/3 of the US combat troops and a very high percentage of the mercenaries they have hired

No, this just isn't true. What is the lethal radius of 'one bomb'? (about 2km for a modest size fission bomb, 7-10 km for a serious strategic nuke of modern size) Are 1/3rd of US troops plus mercenaries really in that radius?

Sure they could blow up Green Zone Baghdad, but the fallout would, quite literally, poison the relation with their Shia allies. And, what would happen the day after that?

If Iran has some of "those" Russian weapons then it's also quite likely they are of modern design (which means effectively post 1957 or so), which requires a significant supply of tritium (boosting in the core), which can only be manufactured in a significantly sized nuclear reactor. Tritium has a half life of 11 years, but since fission is an exponential process, a small deviation from nominal might result in a significantly lower yield down to fizzle.

There are Russian nuclear cruise missiles stationed in Iran, under Russian fire control. Sort of like US nukes in Germany.

Iran probably doesn't have anything nuclear of its own. Certainly nothing related to the Russian-built nuclear power generation facility, which must be the most-inspected place on earth.

but you cannot dismiss it just with a wave of the hand and calling it names

I don't dismiss it. I take it very seriously and believe Amerofascism to constitute a grave threat to the peoples of all nations.

In my prior posting I attempted to point out that the history of any nation has a trajectory and I know of no nation that has voluntarily abandoned its historic path. This is especially true in the case of America as the military-industrial core complex is very profitable for key participants. So I do not see America as likely to engage in any deviation from its present course but rather attempt to intensify its current pattern of conduct.

What will cause change in America will be Force Majure a set of circumstances that cannot be avoided or denied. I see three possibilities:

1) Peak Oil - We are familiar with this outcome.

2) Debt Implosion - World economic crisis and a reorganization of the world financial structure. I think this may be recognized before PO and will undermine any attempt to mitigate PO.

3) Global Warming - The fundamentals of FF based capitalism are no longer tenable and the "life world" is threatened by a disintegrating collapse.

4) All three of these factors may occur within the same time span. If so then humanity will encounter a "perfect storm." This will lessen any possibilty for mitigation or adaption. This simultaneity is a fourth factor.

5) Finally, if you have a militaristic society which believes "all your bases are us," a society which has difficulty in recognizing and understanding conventional reality, a Paris Hilton intellect which believes its way of life is pre-ordained and non-negotiable, then this further compounds the prior 4 factors. I think this is what we are facing. I don't dismiss it. I cannot see anything on the horizon which may alter the trajectory, or avert this problem set.

Do you?

On Global Warming:

If Peak Oil occurs before 2010, and Peak Gas by 2020, and Peak Coal by 2030 (as the decline of other fuels forces heavier use, e.g GTl, CTL)then the end of fossil fuels will become an urgent challenge long before GW brings famine and flood.
Loss of biodiversity isn't going to bring down America prior to 2050.

On Technology Useless for Guerilla Warfare (directed upthread, mostly agree with New Account):

Wait and see. Already we have backpack size remote controlled helicopters. Iraq is proving to be an accelerated testlab for military robotics. By 2020 we may have semi-autonomous, weaponised spiderlike & dragonflylike robots with IR and wall penetrating sensors that can be deployed by the thousands.

How well would a resistance movement fare against the technology seen in Minority Report? Imagine thousands of surveillence drones circling overheads, little electronic roaches crawling round by the hundred thousand, hovering weapons platforms at every street corner? Facial recognition software, electronic eavesdropping, data mining.

The military-industrial complex is spending billions developing this stuff now. You think they'll get nowhere given a decade to work on the problem?

Whatever the flaws and vulnerabilities of the USA it has been getting steadily more sophisticated in its capacity for destruction.

If we are to believe in things we cannot see or touch, how do we tell the true belief from the false belief?

... long before GW brings famine and flood

Uhh, if this summer's arctic ice melt is any indication PO and serious AGW stuff are gonna land on us before we have time to learn all of the acronyms here on TOD, let alone develop any indistinguishable from magic weapons systems.

I don't think the whole technocornucopia thing is gonna happen. All of that stuff takes lots of time, money, and energy, both mental and BTUs. "Machete Mosh Pit" is a lot more likely.

"How well would a resistance movement fare against the technology seen in Minority Report? Imagine thousands of surveillence drones circling overheads, little electronic roaches crawling round by the hundred thousand, hovering weapons platforms at every street corner? Facial recognition software, electronic eavesdropping, data mining."

Three words: spark gap transmitter.

Two words: post elsewhere.

Come on, John, at least try and educate it a little bit before you drop a GBU-82 on its domicile, shutting in those valuable contributions and blocking foot/wheel traffic at the same time ...

I'm just thinking, hey, a week or so. First day of Fall, not too hot.. not too cool. Ithaca. Gorge. You know, that's where I'm coming from.

The serious artillery has been harnessed. Can we play pool in Lake Placid?

(this, of course, now looks like coded message. BTW, the will is exnay upstairs leftnay top desk drawer).

Okay, not a week, but a couple'a days.

surely you mean

All Your Base Are Belong To Us


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

well, actually, no.
"Myth: In theworst-hit parts of Hiroshima and Nagasaki where all buildings were demolished, everyone was killed by blast, radiation, or fire.

° Facts: InNagasaki, some people survived uninjured who were far inside tunnel shelters built for conventional air raids and located as close as one-third mile from ground zero (the point directly below the explosion). This was true even though these long, large shelters lacked blast doors and were deep inside the zone within which all buildings were destroyed. (People far inside long, large, open shelters are better protected than are those inside small, open shelters.)

Fig. 1.5. Undamaged earth-covered family shelter in Nagasaki.

Many earth-covered family shelters were essentially undamaged in areas where blast and fire destroyed all buildings. Figure 1.5 shows a typical earth covered, backyard family shelter with a crude wooden frame. This shelter was essentially undamaged, although less than 100 yards from ground zero at Nagasaki.4 The calculated maximum overpressure (pressure above the normal air pressure) was about 65 pounds per square inch (65 psi). Persons inside so small a shelter without a blast doorwould have been killed by blast pressure at this distance from the explosion. However, in a recent blast test,5 an earth-covered, expedient Small-Pole Shelter equipped with blast doors was undamaged at 53 psi. The pressure rise inside was slight not even enough to have damaged occupants' eardrums. If poles are available, field tests have indicated that many families can build such shelters in a few days.

The great life-saving potential of blast-protective shelters has been proven in war and confirmed by blast tests and calculations. For example, the area in which the air bursting of a 1-megaton weapon would wreck a 50-psi shelter with blast doors in about 2.7 square miles. Within this roughly circular area, practically all them occupants of wrecked shelters would be killed by blast, carbon monoxide from fires, or radiation. The same blast effects would kill most people who were using basements affording 5 psi protection, over an area of about 58 square miles.6

° Myth: Because some modern H-bombs are over 1000 times as powerful as the A-bomb that destroyed most of Hiroshima, these H-bombs are 1000 times as deadly and destructive.

° Facts: A nuclear weapon 1000 times as powerful as the one that blasted Hiroshima, if exploded under comparable conditions, produces equally serious blast damage to wood-frame houses over an area up to about 130 times as large, not 1000 times as large."

The Nagasaki bomb had a yield of the equivalent of 21 kilotons of TNT. 50 times this is 1 megaton, 250 times this is 5 megatons. Most warheads delivered by ICBM (intercontinental ballistic missile) are of 1 megaton yield; at the end of the cold war, the strategy was to deliver a pattern of warheads to a target to ensure redundancy and a positive kill. Using the fact on blast area above, depending on terrain and altitude of explosion, a 1 MT blast would produce equally serious blast damage to wood-frame houses over an area up to about 50*(130/1000) = 6.5 times as large as the area damaged at Nagasaki.

airbursts and ground bursts produce different amounts of fallout, too. have a look at Nuclear War Survival Skills at http://www.oism.org/nwss

When multiple 500 kiloton plus nuclear warheads hit a town near you, there will be little left afterward and few able bodied people to pick up the pieces. Thoughts of surviving modern nuclear war, where cities are reduced to massive deep craters and less-than-unrecognizable rubble, are worthy only of ridicule.

Craters are caused by ground bursts and this is the least effective use of a thermonuclear weapon, unless one's intent is to make the biggest mess possible downwind. I believe the typical warhead detonation height is set such that there isn't so much stuff dug up, as this wastes energy that could go into flattening things.

So ... no massive deep craters unless its Omaha and they're hunting bunkers at Offutt.

Get a copy of Glasstone's The Effects of Nuclear Weapons. It contains a circular slide rule type calculator for making quick estimates of such things. Of course, the book also contains all the math necessary to do the detailed calculations should you wish to do so.

In general you will find that "optimum height of burst" for 200KT to 500K weapons is a height far higher than the radius of the fireball, meaning that the fireball will never touch the earth's surface. I am recalling from memory here but Russian strategic warheads have an optimum height of burst of around 10,000 to 11,000 feet but a fireball radius of less than 4000 feet. (Plus the fireball rises once it has formed.) If I remember, I will try to look that number up this evening and post the exact information.

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

The only thing worthy of ridicule here is your post, which displays massive ignorance about the effects of nuclear weapons. I suggest that you please educate yourself on this topic rather than posting based on what you saw in Terminator 3.

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

Pentagon sending a message to the White House?

US military chief foresees no war with Iran
Admiral William Fallon tells al-Jazeera 'constant drum beat of conflict not helpful'
Associated Press
09.23.07, 16:42 / Israel News

America's top military man in the Middle East does not think the US is headed to war with Iran.
Admiral William Fallon, who heads the US Central Command, speaks out in an interview with Al-Jazeera.
Fallon says there needs to be a greater emphasis on dialogue and diplomacy.
The military commander is in Iraq today and taped his interview with the Arab cable channel Friday at its headquarters in Qatar (GUH'-tur).
Fallon decries what he says has been a "constant drum beat of conflict," calling it "not helpful and not useful."

He adds that he expects "there will be no war" and says "that (no war) is what we ought to be working for."


Retired three star general Greg Newbold (April, 2006):

I am driven to action now by the missteps and misjudgments of the White House and the Pentagon, and by my many painful visits to our military hospitals. In those places, I have been both inspired and shaken by the broken bodies but unbroken spirits of soldiers, Marines and corpsmen returning from this war. The cost of flawed leadership continues to be paid in blood. The willingness of our forces to shoulder such a load should make it a sacred obligation for civilian and military leaders to get our defense policy right. They must be absolutely sure that the commitment is for a cause as honorable as the sacrifice.

With the encouragement of some still in positions of military leadership, I offer a challenge to those still in uniform: a leader's responsibility is to give voice to those who can't--or don't have the opportunity to--speak. Enlisted members of the armed forces swear their oath to those appointed over them; an officer swears an oath not to a person but to the Constitution. The distinction is important.

Those fart knockers in the White House planned a strike on al Jazeera's broadcasting facilities as part of the wind up to the Iraqi civil war. Someone finally noticed that Qatar was not part of Iraq and that this might cause us further trouble in oil producing countries.

That might be just a dab of hyperbole, but I clearly recall the story that they (maybe the Pentagon?) were considering this move.

(went Googling to make sure Qatar was the HQ and I found this)


Re - Pentagon sending a message to the White House?

Taking today's article in the context of this week's cough, cough Mideast peace conference, Fallon's comments may be seen as softening up the diplomatic battlefield in a way that no Bush Administration official can credibly accomplish at this time.

OTOH, given recent public display of contentious leaks, claims, and counterclaims surrounding Fallon, there's a serious battle going on for how the next 16 months are going to play out.

Fallon is the voice of reason here. Other blogs have him 'resigning' in the next few weeks. I suspect that would lead to full out revolt from a substantial part of the military, with the battlecry: We sacrificed Eric Shinsheki for five-deferment Cheney; Hell no we won't go.

Now about the Minot story today....

Regarding Iran, it appears that Admiral Fallon hasn't got with the program, or to use perhaps a more apropos term, is not yet on board.

The fact that he's made these type of very public comments to
al-Jazeera strikes me as quite strange.

For one thing, it clearly violates the unspoken rule that senior military people do not publically make pronouncements on major foreign policy issues.

Second, by saying there is going to be no war against Iran, he's effectively pre-empting Bush, as it's the president, 'the decider', not a high-ranking officer who makes that sort of decision.

The other thing that strikes me as strange is that, in light of the above, he has not yet been relieved of his command. Other top brass have been canned for a lot less.

Only two explanations come to mind.

One is that this statement is part of a deliberate disinformation campaign to keep both Iran and the rest of the world off balance until the time we do strike. The other is that the dissension in the ranks is a lot worse than we think, and as a result Bush dare not fire Fallon for fear of precipating a mass mutiny among the top brass.

Perhaps Bush, et al have been trying to quietly purge the military of high-ranking commanders opposed to war with Iran but it just isn't working out as planned. It would be well worth carefully following what sort of public statements other top brass make with regard to Iran over the coming weeks.

Second, by saying there is going to be no war against Iran, he's effectively pre-empting Bush, as it's the president, 'the decider', not a high-ranking officer who makes that sort of decision.

Here you are incorrect. It is not the president who makes a decision to go to war it is Congress.

As WesTexas post upthread indicates, the officer corps are sworn to uphold the constitution and not blindly follow Der BushFurher and his renegade band of neo-cons.

When I interviewed for a Navy ROTC scholarship back in the Seventies, one of the first questions the naval officers asked me was if I would ever disobey a direct order. I said I would refuse to obey an illegal order, to which the officers replied, "Good answer." (I got the scholarship)

Well, regarding constitutional theory I am incorrect, but in reality, Congress is pretty much out of the loop when it comes to war.

The last time that Congress actually declared war was December 8, 1941. See, we don't actually declare wars anymore, we just have them.

The Korean War, the Vietnam War, Iraq I, and Iraq II were all undeclared wars. As things are right now, the president has de facto total power to engage the US in a major armed conflct (but let's not actually call it war).

If there is to be a war with Iran, Congress, through it's deafening silence has given its tacit approval. The neocon wing of the Republican Party wants to roll the dice one more time, while the Democrats don't want to rock the boat till after the 2008 elections. So, we are likely to have an armed conflict with Iran, but it will never be declared or even called 'war'.

I could of course be wrong, I think that it is increasingly likely that there will be some form of outright refusal to carry out orders to attack Iran, perhaps via mass resignations and/or appeals to Congress.

We have already had a retired three star general broadly hinting that senior officers have a constitutional duty to disobey some orders.

It's kind of funny, other than Tom Clancy, I don't recall any other works of fiction that portray the Pentagon and other agencies refusing to obey orders by an out of control president--usually it's been the "Seven Days in May" or "Dr. Strangelove" approaches.

"Here you are incorrect. It is not the president who makes a decision to go to war it is Congress."

Yes but if the US comes under 'attack' it'll be fire first and tell congress later. No wars declared. We've done it before. Hell, we're doing it now.

Try here to see the Bush/Cheney mindset on Presidential Powers:

The superb Charlie Savage of The Boston Globe reported last November that Vice President Cheney actually urged the first President Bush (when Cheney was his Defense Secretary) not to seek Congressional approval for the Persian Gulf War, arguing that the President had the power to start whatever wars he wanted regardless of whether Congress approved or not:

"I was not enthusiastic about going to Congress for an additional grant of authority," Cheney recalled in a 1996 PBS "Frontline" documentary. "I was concerned that they might well vote 'no' and that would make life more difficult for us."

I considered the disinformation possibility, but I think that it is unlikely in light of comments by Newbold, and others. I think that the military is beginning to realize that they are fighting, dying and being maimed in order to keep the oil flowing to suburban drivers for a little longer.

One of my pet theories is that Tom Clancy is a pretty good predictor of future events, e.g., a terrorist flying a commercial airliner into the Capitol Building (which would have happened if not for the courage of the passengers and crew of Flight 93). In any case, Clancy wrote about a president ordering a nuclear strike on Iran, with the Jack Ryan character refusing to confirm the order. (I have no idea if this is accurate, but the story line was that a first strike has to be confirmed by someone who was confirmed by the Senate). Ryan then went on to advise the Pentagon that in his opinion, the president was not in full possession of his faculties.

I think that the Pentagon is scared to death of the consequences of an attack on Iran, especially in light of the ongoing problems in Iraq. A recent WSJ story:

WSJ: Critiques of Iraq War Reveal
Rifts Among Army Officers

Colonel's Essay Draws
Rebuttal From General;
Captains Losing Faith
June 29, 2007; Page A1


. . . The controversy over Col. Yingling's essay is part of a broader debate within the military over why the Army has struggled in Iraq, what it should look like going forward, and how it should be led. It's a fight being hashed out in the form of what one Pentagon official calls "failure narratives.. . .”

The conflicting theories on Iraq reflect growing divisions within the military along generational lines, pitting young officers, exhausted by multiple Iraq tours and eager for change, against more conservative generals.. . . .

. . . At Fort Hood, Maj. Gen. Jeff Hammond, the top general at the sprawling base, summoned all of the captains to hear his response to Col. Yingling's critique. . .

. . . The captains' reactions highlighted the growing gap between some junior officers and the generals. "If we are not qualified to judge, who is?" says one Iraq veteran who was at the meeting. Another officer in attendance says that he and his colleagues didn't want to hear a defense of the Army's senior officers. "We want someone at higher levels to take accountability for what went wrong in Iraq," he says.. . .

. . . .Late last month, Col. J.B. Burton, who commands a 7,000-soldier brigade in Baghdad, warned in a memo to the Army's top generals of a looming crisis in the junior officer corps. Today's officers "have spent the past four years in a continuous cycle of fighting, training, deploying, fighting etc. and they see no end in sight. They have seen their closest friends killed and maimed, leaving young spouses and children as widows and single parent kids," he wrote.

Admiral Fallon stated emphatically when he accepted his current job that he would resign if ordered to attack Iran. He has called Patraeus everything that would make any man with a spine resign his position. Fallon is a man known for stating his beliefs and sticking to his principles. Anything Fallon said was from his rational mind. That he had to go to Al Jeezera and make such statements about war with Iran is nothing less than stunning and indicates exactly what a battle is going on in our own Administrative Branch and the US Military. Bush/Cheney seem to have the US Air Force on their side, but not the Army, Navy, Marine Corps...except for the lackey, Patraeus.

Gates was not the choice of Bush/Cheney, but hand picked by the 'old guard.' Scrowcroft, Zbig, Lee Hamilton, James Baker, Bush 1, and many other 'old guard' heavy hitters are doing their best to stop Cheney and the remainder of the Neo Cons from attacking Iran.

I do not think that Bush/Cheney can order a war on Iran because I think Gates, Fallon and many, many other top officers would resign in open revolt. Bush/Cheney might have the backing of the AF, but I do not think that they will risk going to war without the other services. Just my opinion. I hope that I am right because I believe that an attack on Iran would be far more disasterous than most realize.

This is the happiest interpretation I've seen in months and months. All the world seems to be crowding around to put an end to the tyrant's plans.

GWB is truly out of control just like Domitian ...

Hello River,

I must admit: I would turn on my TV again to watch Bush1, the Joint Chiefs, and the Secret Service, arrest Bush2 and Cheney.

"I'm very sorry, my Prodigal Son, but it is now Over."

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

As much as I would like to agree with WT and you re the hope that the military and some in the diplomatic corps might prevent an Iran attack with their dissent, I simply believe that Cheney and his "followers" are too entrenched in the government, military and administration to allow dissenters to derail the plan/project. There are too many interests behind the pro-attack Iran position such that they will likely steamroll any dissenters. The dissenters will be marginalized, eradicated and overtaken by events.

For a great discussion on this with links to numerous sites on the issue see the September 19th entry on Steve Clemons' washingtonnote:


Actually that's a bullshit link. You need to work a lot harder to make whatever your point is.

Romney...Cofer Black ... Blackwater...

Ambassador Cofer Black Becomes Vice-Chairman at Blackwater USA

Blackwater USA proudly announces that Ambassador Cofer Black, former Coordinator for Counterterrorism at the U. S. State Department, and former Director of the CIA's Counterterrorism Center has joined our team as Vice Chairman.


Yes that J. Cofer Black:

J. Cofer Black later said that "[t]he only thing we didn't do was pull the trigger to the gun we were holding to her head."

So what's the point. Blackwater is a mercenary group? Black is advising Romney? It's all connected? BFD.

Sorry, watching the Bataan Death March on Ken Burns' work. Am looking for substance, at scale.

Here's a lovely boot to the nuts for the neocons - Brzesinki calls adult male cow droppings on the stampede to attack Iran, likening it to the mad rush that got us into Iraq.


OK, CNN needs some fact checkers, because its expatriate, not ex-patriot (way too much Republican coverage on their part, it would seem), but its a nice story ...

Agriculture In A Post-Oil Economy

Central limit theorem and about peak anything

I agree with this article in general. However when stating that future food production for humans must not include meat ignores the fact that much of our land would not support vegetable /grain production because it is too rocky, dry, salty etc. In addition, ruminant animals such as goats, sheep and cattle have the ability to utilize as food materials we cannot handle our digestive systems and others such as swine and fowl can scavage in the barnyard and the woodlot.

If we are going back to a smaller scale in agriculture then we must utilize all options.

If a population has a finite variance [sigma squared] and mean [mu] then the distribution of the sample mean approaches the Normal distribution with variance [sigma squared over n] and mean [mu] as the sample size n increases.

The population from which we are sampling does not have a finite variance or mean, because with each "sampling" we change the underlying nature of the population, thus changing the representative variance and mean of the population.

We are sampling colored balls from a bag, not replacing the sampled balls, and instead adding new balls to the bag from an unknown population.

The long-term nonlinear system in which we live does not approach long-term means or definable variances.

The Central Limit Theorem does not apply to our current situation.

The backside of the oil production curve will not look remotely like the front side.

The Iranian Bitumen Bourse? From the link above on the Iranian Oil Bourse:

We aim to start with creating a ‘Pool’ of an uncontroversial oil product like bitumen – basically the crap left at the bottom of the barrel after it’s been refined. This ‘pool’ will consist of a corporate vehicle which owns bitumen, or rights to bitumen, and which issues redeemable ‘units’ or ‘shares’ denominated not in cash, but in (say) tonnes of bitumen.

I have been hearing about this Iranian Oil Bourse for years and it appears to be no closer to fruition than it was back then. Now we have this news that it is to be a bourse for trading "crap left at the bottom of the barrel!" Well hell, I guess you gotta start somewhere.

Ron Patterson

You've been hearing it for years, but this is the first time you've heard it with the dollar on the skids and the Europeans and Japanese not caring if they wee in our morning coffee.

Tighter and tighter the noose draws, but it isn't Iran's head, its the depraved Bush administration getting the attention, and they literally have no support left either domestically or internationally, with the sole exception of a religious fanatic minority of the population. That no support includes our former allies looking at our balance sheet, behavior, and saying "We can't be seen with these guys".

Taken in the historic oil trader's context I'd agree that another announcement of this bourse creation ought to be treated as a nonevent per your argument. Take this statement in context with other things and maybe we're seeing a two step: A.) create bourse for junk product B.) redefine junk to be everything except methane. Once the structure is in place it'll flex with the times, no?

That's why I have been calling the story the Iranian Oil Bore for about 2 1/2 years.

US Senator and Electrification of Transportation Plan

Grey Zone wrote recently

I agree that massive rail (urban and inter-city) is one of the core solutions to bridging the gap from where we are to a sustainable society. I wish you all the best luck in your pursuit of this goal, Alan, yet I remain convinced that you will fail, not because of the technical solution, but because of the nature of our society and those in power now and in the near future.

I hope you make me very wrong! :) But I am not going to plan on that

An out-of-state friend that I once did a large favor for had an opportunity to spend 45 minutes one on one with a US Senator. He presented two local concerns and my plan. He was extremely disappointed with the response. His interpretation was if it had no effect by November 2008, it was off the radar and not worth worrying about.

I will not name the Senator (burn no bridges) but he has a better than average reputation for integrity and concern for the public welfare.

Best Hopes for SOME Politicians being better,


His interpretation was if it had no effect by November 2008, it was off the radar and not worth worrying about

We have corporations that cannot look past the next quarter and politicians that cannot look past the next election.

There is going to be NO organized public preparation for a post-PO world. There will, however, be much private preparation by the rich and powerful.

Our politicians are not allowed to ignore the near future and make "expensive" long term decisions. They have to stand for reelection every 2/4/6 years.

The CEOs of publicly held corporations can't ignore the current quarter and next quarter's bottom lines. The market traders won't allow it.

Change is more likely to originate with privately held, smaller companies. Larger corporations will jump on board when they can see shorter term payoffs for their investments.

And it might be a good thing if there is no "organized" public preparation for the upcoming transition away from oil.

You want someone making firm plans based on what we know today?

Or would you rather we stay flexible and let new ideas/products/approaches emerge?

You want someone making firm plans based on what we know today ?

Y E S !!

Plans that relie upon the Just-in-Time Technology Fairy delivering what we need WHEN we need it are doomed to failure IMHO.

As deliveries are, in fact, made, plans can be adjusted to accommodate the new reality.

Since no one plan is a silver bullet, but we have an assortment of different caliber silver BBs, and all plans take longer to implement than we have (except possibly bicycles), starting now on what works today, with mature technology, seems only reasonable.

Best Hopes for Reality Based Planning,


and this is where the business opportunity lies
still trying to figure it out exactly - but there is one
All these memories will be lost in time
like tears in rain

I've had the same sort of responses in the UK ... but, in my experience, at least the politicians are being honest when they say they won't consider it.

Most humans don't understand the big picture and politicians are humans too ... so it's no surprise that they act the way they do.

I think I know more than most people about Peak Oil but it has taken me hundreds of hours of study to even start to understand it's terrible implications ... let alone Climate Change ... sigh!


Most humans don't understand the big picture and politicians are humans too ... so it's no surprise that they act the way they do.

yeah xeroid .. the human mind works along the lines of what is reality today - will also apply tomorrow ...

NEW REALITIES has to be proven beyond reasonable doubt - before realization is sinking in - EVEN THOUGH nature itself works along 'rigid and fixed procedures' - which can be revealed by science, IF science is putting a hard effort to the issues in question ....(!)

.. but as for the gasoline price at the pump – which is 'the least common multiple'-point for a society to study whether there is cause for “a new reality” … or not - everything seem all fine.

The “minor” price hikes at the pump in the west resent years – are not significant at all to start a fable of new realities "anytime soon" – for that we have to look up some 3rd world newspapers .... or read some stories on Northern Rock

As it happens, I've worked on several political campaigns. While I was only a "worker bee" at the time, I've watched the political process much more closely than most folks.

When working on a single issue campaign, such as a California initiative, the campaign can be rather clearly defined such that people can decide whether to accept the idea or not. Politicians, on the other hand, need to present their views on many issues at the same time. On any question, there's a hard core supporters on either side who would make their voting decision based on that one single issue. The politician's game is to try and strike a balance on all the main issues such that they attract one more vote in total than those of their opposition. All it takes to get elected (in theory) is that last vote. Your average U.S. senator has honed his/her message to the point that there's no "wiggle room" left for anything outside of the mainstream issues of the day.

As a result, there's nobody in Washington that really wants to address the problem of Peak Oil (or any other unpleasant problems thought to be far into the future) until TSHTF in some obvious crisis. Of course, by then it will be too late to mitigate the problem(s), such as Peak Oil, which will require decades and the diversion of lots of resources to truly fix.

E. Swanson

Alan - The next best thing to seeing your plan implemented is having the plan ready to go wtshtf.

Not much consolation, I suppose, right now.

Ah humanity!

I have almost given up on preparation and am now preparing for including viable plans in the public arena for early reaction to post-Peak Oil.

The work with Millennium Institute has been good work in filling in conceptual gaps & details.

Best Hopes,


The only hope for your plan happening before TSHTF is to have some forward-thinking billionaire, like Buffet or Rainwater, decides it's time to run with it because there is a profit to be generated.

It ought to be a good idea for pension funds. Not the largest but a sure ROI and it keeps the beneficiaries society rolling making the pension system meaningfull.

It is only before we have a(n) 'insert disaster here' that we have the luxury of time and money to be able to afford a large scale plan such as elecrification of railway, large nuclear build or renewables ramp up. Due to the effects of peak everything and the economic slowdown/credit crunch any scheme is going to become more expensive as time goes on, I bet it already costs dramaticaly more now than it would have done 5 years ago. This is all the more reason to get these things started as soon as possible.

Hows about a crazy idea of legalising and taxing drugs to pay for peak oil mitigation schemes? or is that a different story altogether?

The problem is not your solution, Alan, but the political system. It has devolved into getting elected. As soon as a politician is elected, he begins plotting to get re-elected. Even presidents on their second term do this to some degree, hoping to hold the office for their party (normally, Bush seems to be an exception). But the mechanism now is all about getting re-elected, thus anything that does not immediately contribute to getting re-elected is ignored as it is not relevant to political survival.

Your subsequent comment downstream about reacting to post-peak will face the same obstacles - political. Here is what I expect to happen - political response will be delayed because of the onset of economic difficulties which will mask peak to all but a few technical observers. Thus, as production declines, it will be assumed to have an economic cause, not vice-versa. Thus the focus will be on "restarting" the economic "engine" to create capital and growth. And logically (to the high priests of modern theology) the easiest way to invoke growth will be to build more suburbia, more cars, more of everything that violates the idea of walkable, usable communities. Couple this with ELM and we may find ourselves in quite a bind before the public finally realizes what is happening. And at that point, our options may be so narrow that it causes reaction and social upheaval. This is why I have urged you to focus on doing as much locally as you can. Assume Washington, DC, does not exist, or is useless. Try to find other ways, because in the end, that is what will have to be done, if you are to succeed at all.

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

Care And Feeding Instructions
by Hunter
Sun Sep 23, 2007 at 05:15:38 PM PDT

Congratulations on your purchase of your new 110th Congress! These care and feeding instructions will help ensure many years of future enjoyment of your Congress: please read them carefully.


As packaged, your new Congress contains:

1 Capitol (white)
435 live Representatives (also mostly white)
100 live Senators (mostly blazingly, translucently white)
Congress Chow, in the form of hundreds of billions of dollars in cash
A variety of checks and balances. You may set these aside: they don't actually do anything.

Soon after installing your new Congress, a green, cash-rich buildup may occur. This buildup is a normal part of the ecological balance in your Congress; the murky green colors will fade slightly as the ratio of legislators to beneficial lobbyists finds a natural balance.
Do not expose your Congress to direct sunlight, as this may cause excessive "loss" of Senators and Representatives. In order to best ensure the health of your Congress, keep it in a dimly lit place, preferably near a variety of restaurants.
If your Congress begins looking drab, place an American flag behind the tank. This will stimulate your Congressmen into a variety of unusual displays. When the effect fades, add more flags.
Do not taunt your Congress. Their feelings are easily hurt, and may result in uncontrollable, deafening wailing. If this happens, add additional flags.
A certain amount of sexual perversion is normal. If your household includes children, place your Congress in a location where children will not have direct access to it. Positioning your Congress away from telephone and other communications equipment will help prevent a buildup of prostitutes.
As normal behavior, your Senators and Representatives will travel in schools. You may notice portions of your Congress from time to time erupt in panic over an unseen enemy, usually hippies or communists. This is normal, and will usually resolve itself through a series of sternly worded but ineffectual bills.
Your Congress is a carefully organized hierarchical society. Watch them work together to build highways, bridges, and overfunded vanity projects. Do not, however, expect them to show interest in you or acknowledge your presence in any way. If that's what you wanted, you should have bought a dog.
Under optimal conditions, your Congress may develop one or two Presidential Candidates. The bright colors and dramatic displays of these creatures can provide hours of entertainment. While Presidential Candidates may add excitement to your Congress, note that they are territorial and prone to fighting: keep Candidates separate as much as possible. Also, be aware that Presidential Candidates require ten times the amount of nutrition of other legislators, so feed regularly.
Clean your Congress every two years to remove buildup and prevent disease. Wipe your Congress with a disinfecting solution made up of cursory debate, weakly contested primaries, and embarrassingly shallow campaign coverage. It won't make the slightest bit of difference, but what the hell -- it will give you something to do.
All sales final. No refunds. May exchange for identically dysfunctional Congress only.

It is strange that Bush doesn't appear to be working the system for his party or for the next president.

Maybe he's thinking there won't be a next election or a next president?

And of course that wasn't the intention or plan from the beginning, because the US is obviously very serious about the democratic process what with already having presidential debates a mere 14 months before the election.

Things that make you go ... hide under the bed.


Where are electric rail engines built? Which states make steel for rails? I wouldn't be talking to those that need the service, I'd be talking to those who build the bits that go into the service - this is politics after all, not business :-)

We have that one map of rail lines to be electrified, but is there a composite map of lines and generating facilities? There is no better case than having one here up and running. The light rail in New Mexico seems a perfect starting point - Richardson needs to make a splash and its all built but for the power cables ...


And behind those questions, who knows what is our potential capacity for steel production itself at this point?

Rail rolling mills are surprisingly cheap.

Austria just built a high tech one for 66 million euros.


An Indiana plant just announced an expansion to 2 million tons for $75 million (rail & structural steel)


The Russians bought the highest tech and largest (?) rail rolling mill in Colorado


One part of a larger set of steel plants for $2.3 billion.

The US can produce over 100 million tons of raw steel/year and imports steel from Brazil, etc. for rolling and fabricating here.

A standard size rail in the USA is 136 lb/yard.

With a few years warning to ramp up production, I do not see rail or steel as significant limiting factors.

Best Hopes,


Ah, but which politician will get behind the plan because the rail production will be in his district? Answer that and a few more similar questions and you start getting that electrified rail stuff done ... and job creation will be an issue for the 2008 election.

Here is Phase I of Urban Rail.


Add inter-city rail lines being expanded and electrified (minor local impact as done, but some impact).

Best Hopes for Jobs,


Alan says 136lbs/yard. That means every SUV melted down should produce twenty yards of rail ...

So 20 yards per SUV into 1760 yards/mile is 88 SUVs/rail mile or 176 per complete mile, as two rails are needed.

I think I recall seeing some figures from Alan to the tune of 25,000 miles of track by year five. 25,000 x 176 is 4,400,000.

The Google is not so helpful on production volume, but I found an article indicating the big three do about 725,000 vehicles a month. Assuming 40% of those are SUVs we're building 2,900,000 annually or about 16,500 miles of track a year going into SUVs alone.

So ... offer a screamin' tax deal on anything with less than 2.0 liters, and we've got enough steel to do it up right while getting the old, inefficient stuff off the road or we can just put an end to the new ones being built. I'd like to do both ...

Its will that we lack today ... and I fret the will to do what is needed will come the day after remediation slips through our grasp due to increasing costs.

>He was extremely disappointed with the response. His interpretation was if it had no effect by November 2008, it was off the radar and not worth worrying about.

This is why all this hopes and planning for a future revival are pointless. Even after the crisis begins the politicians will act in the opposite direction. For instance, Congress will enact price controls, raise taxes on big oil, and increase entitlement spending, all in the name to get elected another term. All these policies will exerbate the problems by taking way money that is needed to redevelop infrastructure for a long term Post PO civilization. "We''ll keep warm one more night by burning down the house."

>"Best Hopes for SOME Politicians being better"

That would be called denial. If you want to make a difference start at home, and then the neighbor, don't waste your time tring to fix the world as it won't change a darn thing, expect perhaps increase the risk of your own peril.

Best hopes that people start making there own preprations,to save themselves and stop trying to save the world.

I have chosen a different path.

There are historic examples of sudden and dramatic social and political changes and "doing the right thing". The only sure way to fail is to not try.


TechGuy - I'm with Alan on this one.

Besides, you're speaking from ignorance, but of course that is your right.

Backwardation easing up?

Friday, on the NYMEX, the near term contract, November, closed down sixteen cents. The December contract was unchanged and all other contracts closed up. The December 2010 contract closed up 86 cents. If this trend continues we will move from backwardation into contagion in a month or two.

This makes perfect sense. A corporation like Valero, who sees the futures contract six month out several dollars cheaper than the spot price of oil, would simply purchase enough contracts at the much cheaper price rather than buying oil and storing it.

This does not mean that Valero would take delivery of this oil because they use mostly heavy sour crude, not WTI. But if the price of sour crude, as well as WTI, went up between now and May, they could simply take cash profit for their WTI contracts and use the difference to buy heavy sour crude at the November 07 price. (That is the way most all hedges are handled instead of actually taking delivery, or making delivery, of any oil.)

If enough companies do this, buy the future instead of buying the physical oil and storing it, then this would have the effect of driving the current price down while driving further out futures contracts up. Perhaps this is exactly what is happening.

But if the supply of oil is very tight, then the spot price is unlikely to fall much at all while the more distant contracts rise.

This leads me to make a bold prediction. I predict that by the first of the year, we will have moved completely out of backwardation and into contagion. (We moved from contagion into backwardation this past summer in a lot less time than that.)

Ron Patterson

Interesting I suspect your right. One thing to note is that if the market starts oscillating between backwardation and contango its probably unstable. This might actually be more important than the actual price of oil since it signal the chance for violent market swings if you think that the oscillation means the market is unable to assess the fair price of the product. Effectively this means none of the market participants believe they have enough information.

So my guess is we will probably see a major move in the price of oil in the next few months and my guess is actually down by up to 20 dollars a barrel with probably a small upward move to 85-90 proceeding it. So expect 60 dollar oil by Christmas. If I'm right I'll tell you why its actually pretty funny a bit of a duh.. moment.

And I'll tell you why later :)

Long term oscillation is normal in oil futures. There is an interesting graph in this pdf: http://www.etfsecurities.com/en/document/downloads/ETFS_Total_Return_Fac... showing how the roll return has alternatively been positive and negative over the years. Roll return is positive when in backwardation, and negative when in contango.

The catch here of course, during these oscillations, is that the lows and highs keep stair-stepping up. Yes, we may go back down in the $60+ price range, but this low will be higher than the low last year.

And next spring/summer highs will be higher than in 2007.


Some interesting spot prices. Tapis closed over $85.

Contagion. An interesting slip of words.

Perhaps if one barrel goes up in price, soon all the barrels will go up in price. Until we're all sick of the price.

RE: 'Mexico becoming one of the world's more dangerous countries'

MEXICO: The ROI (return on investment) for disruption
Global Gurrillas by John Robb

MEXICO: The ROI (return on investment) for disruption
"Investment likes silence" Mexican Economy Secretary Carlos Arce on the negative impact these attacks could have on foreign direct investment (FDI) in Mexico.
New ROI estimates for the September attacks on Mexican natural gas pipelines:
Over 2,500 business will suffer severe harm in 11 of Mexico's 32 states. 1,100 companies have shut down production. Key industries impacted: Auto, glass, food, and cement. For example: Volkswagen (1,780 cars a day, 81% of which is for export).
Revised estimate of $200 million a day in costs.
Impact expected to last for a week.
ROI for an attack that cost less than estimated $10,000 to accomplish? Rough estimate: 1.4 million percent. Welcome to modern war.

And more on the same subject from the same source...

On June 22, 2006 the New York Times (Lichtblau and Risen) broke the story that the US government had a deal with Swift (a Belgium-based company that routes global transactions -- $6 trillion is transferred through 11 million transactions between 7,800 member banks/brokerages a day) to get data on transactions that may be related to terrorism -- it is the "gold" data on global financial flows. While the leaked story was certainly a blow to efforts to track large money transfers related to terrorism (under the assumption that these transactions would flow to the informal banking system), the more interesting aspect of this was that it put a focus on Swift as a global financial systempunkt.'...snip...

'NOTE: There's a common misperception among old guard warfare theorists that disruption doesn't produce any meaningful results. The most potent evidence for this line of reasoning is the post WW2 strategic bombing survey (which demonstrated that the nation-state can mobilize sufficiently to neutralize the deleterious effects of large scale disruption). Unfortunately, this conventional wisdom doesn't apply to the modern context. Several important factors have changed:

Most conflicts are now fought while in a peacetime posture...snip...

The global economic environment is viciously competitive...snip...

It can put nation-states onto a path of financial ruin. Global competition is forcing nation-states to run increasingly lean/efficient budgets. Increases in tax rates can force companies and individuals to flee (movement in a globalized world is quick). Given this situation, nation-states can quickly find that open-ended defense expenditures (to compensate for disruptions) a path to financial ruin. For example: Despite the fact that 40% of Mexico's federal budget is funded by oil revenues that are in a steep decline (due to past peak drop offs in its oil fields), the country has increased defense spending by 24% to fight narco-guerrillas and other internal foes.'

"The truth is that I am the head of a state that is in a state of bankruptcy due to its financing plan," Prime Minister Francois Fillon said in the Corsican city of Calvi.


Interesting story on a "financial engineer" who helped create the derivatives market.

Rather than joining the crowd that blames the mess on American slobs who took on more mortgage debt than they could afford and have endangered the world by stiffing lenders, he points a finger at three parties: regulators who stood by as U.S. banks developed ingenious but dangerous ways of shifting trillions of dollars of credit risk off their balance sheets and into the hands of unsophisticated foreign investors; hedge and pension fund managers who gorged on high-yield debt instruments they didn't understand; and financial engineers who built towers of "securitized" debt with math models that were fundamentally flawed. snip

When you add it all up, according to Das' research, a single dollar of "real" capital supports $20 to $30 of loans. This spiral of borrowing on an increasingly thin base of real assets, writ large and in nearly infinite variety, ultimately created a world in which derivatives outstanding earlier this year stood at $485 trillion -- or eight times total global gross domestic product of $60 trillion.


I suspect that this debt balloon is going to explode into people's conciousness before PO makes itself felt and known. If the world is absorbed in trying to deal with a financial meltdown I do not see how it will address the issues of PO and AGW at the same time.

Of course, if you are living under a bridge then you don't need much FF and this will be positive for both FF demand and for CO2 emissions. The question you need to answer is: "The peoples of what nation are most likely to be found living under bridges after a world debt implosion?"

Hello New Account,

Living under our bridges won't be much fun when they start collapsing like the I35 bridge in Minneapolis.

Edit: for grammatical error

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

I'm currently reading Brave New War by John Robb. It's excellent, and I'd recommend it to everyone at TOD. Most people couldn't handle it, but we're a little more used to uncomfortable ideas about the future.

thanks for the tip - looks excellent
All these memories will be lost in time
like tears in rain

The link above Opec intervention seen as fading force contains a gross error:

This will render the cartel powerless to calm the global economy. Opec accounts for around 40% of global output but ten years ago it accounted for over 70%.

How can anyone get anything so horribly wrong? Ten years ago, in 1997, output from the OPEC 11 nations produced 42.15% of the world’s oil. For the first six months of this year they produced 40.5% of the world’s oil. Down 1.65% but that is a far cry from 30% that the article claims.

If we add Angola to the mix, counting them ten years ago and today, the difference is even less, 43.23% ten years ago verses 42.75% today. Down by less than than one half of one percent.

This is such a gross error it is hard to see how anyone would make it. The data is available for anyone who would check it. And they should check the data before posting such absurd numbers.

And how about this quote from the same piece:

The increase will begin on 1 November but analysts believe that the oil export growth from non-Opec countries such as Russia, Venezuela and Iran has diluted the effectiveness of a sudden surge of extra oil from the Opec nations.

Non-OPEC countries such as Venezuela and Iran? Wow! This guy is not the brightes bulb in the chandelier that is for sure.

Ron Patterson

So Iranians are being given a one-time additional allotment of 100 liters of gasoline. Does this sound like encouraging everyone to store some gasoline or what? Why would they do THAT? This reminds me of a matter-of-fact statement I heard on NPR yesterday to the effect that the US and France are preparing to shut down the Iranian nuclear program, or some such.

Witty, but serious one here from DailyKos about how the USian automotive ecosystem has changed over the past 30 years in terms of vehicle types and sizes. Tasty teaser:

...the beautiful little Fiat X 1/9 from which I will [learn] the joy of driving a light, agile, mid-engine car (and I learned how to replace a carburetor float, how to solder snapped electrical lines, how to replace a fuel pump, how to replace a fuel pump, how to replace another damn fuel pump, how to weld structural members – including an axle that snapped while traveling at speed, and how to curse in Italian).

I'd hate to have to handle an X 1/9 after a major structural failure at speed! Read the whole thing: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2007/9/23/123752/593

Kingdom’s Economic Growth Is Par Excellence
K.S. Ramkumar, Arab News

This article goes on and on about fabulous business opportunities in Saudi Arabia. I didn't find any mention of trying to increase oil exports. It almost seems if they are making plans to diversity their economy away from a reliance on oil exports. Note that the US transitioned from net oil exporter to net oil importer around 1949.

I wonder if net oil exporters are beginning to look at the net export numbers and concluding that the only reasonable thing to do is to curtail exports, since it is a question of how fast, not if, that net export capacity crashes. Should they export as fast as possible, to keep the illusion of infinite energy consumption growth intact for a little longer, or should they conserve their remaining oil as much as possible, in order to give them a better chance at transitioning to a less oil dependent lifestyle?

Meanwhile, back in the good old USA, we motor on--oblivious to the rapidly developing net oil export crisis.

From yesterday's thread:

Michael Economides, an oil expert at the University of Houston, said the market has become largely desensitized to upward movement.

Also, politically volatile yet oil-rich countries that have squeezed foreign access to their resources, like Venezuela and Russia, could restrict access further to maintain high oil prices, he said.

"The price of oil is on its way to $100. I am convinced," Economides said.

Economides is an odd guy. He is in the anti-Peak Oil camp, but, unlike Michael "$45 oil is right around the corner" Lynch, Economides tends to be bullish on energy prices.

In any case, I am supposed to participate with him in a Peak Oil discussion at Texas A&M University (otherwise known as the center of all Western Culture and Learning), right before the ASPO-USA conference.

Ask him if he still thinks this:

One petroleum engineer— Michael Economides of the University of Houston—calls peak oil predictions “the figments of the imaginations of born-again pessimist geologists.” Like Lynch, Economides, who worked in Russia to boost that country’s oil production in the last decade, rejects Simmons’ analysis. Saudi Arabia, which currently produces about 10 million barrels of oil a day, “is underproducing every one of their wells,” he claims. “I can produce 20 million barrels of oil in Saudi Arabia.”

DO NOT join in the pep-rally around the bon-fire of logs.

Apparently a revised spending bill goes before Congress for the 'war' to the tune of 200 billion for 2008. If we were to get three million barrels a day out of this 'export land' at some point in the occupation, it would work out to about $200 a barrel if the oil were free. Mind you, the bulk of that 200 is deployed internally on such things as mineproof vehicles where we spend a couple of million to thwart a fifty dollar bomb. Sabotage is close to free.

If, as Greenspan says, the war is about oil, then it's been expensive oil so far, or a failure. Of course, it isn't about price but about security of access. When demand isn't flexible without huge knock on effects, then price becomes a war zone. Perhaps the US sees itself as better tooled up for a military war than an economic one.

Given that Vladimir has the handle on ten million barrels a day, the strategic position of being down 15 million a day does not look like a good hand to play. Quite apart from all the rhetoric on both sides, this is becoming a far too fascinating conflict and situation from a historical point of view.

Oil is no more a component of this war than of WW1 or 2, meaning that it's all about oil. Which explains why the Japanese were in Indonesia and Lawrence was in Arabia and Rommel was tooling about in Egypt. This time around the history books will probably be forced to admit that it wasn't about figs and dates.

Until we have alternative sustainable energy there will be no peace dividend.

USA Today Review of “The War”
(Starts tonight on PBS)

The film's focus on the last "good war" and the sacrifice, unity and patriotism it inspired does contrast sharply with Americans' attitudes about Iraq. But Burns insists The War, which was conceived before 9/11, isn't a political statement.

About 75% of those in the film were interviewed before the 2003 Iraq invasion. "There's not a political bone in this film," he says. "It's about the reality of war."

Burns says screenings have been met with enthusiasm, including among West Point, Air Force and Naval Academy students. "These are intelligent kids who know what they're heading for," he says. "We showed them brutal footage. We were anxious. But many thanked us and loved the honesty."

Burns says he understands The War may draw comparisons to Iraq, but he notes how the homefront isn't the same.

"Instead of the shared sacrifices World War II demanded that created community and made us spiritually richer, we're so lacking today," he says. "We aren't asked to give up anything. We're narcissistic free agents. Surfing the Internet alone. Watching TV alone. Driving alone. There's too much Pluribus and not enough Unum."

Thanks for your tireless efforts, Leanan - and the secret team that must be working with you :)

I've had this growing feeling for a while now, that keeping up with the news is becoming increasingly more difficult timewise.

There are just more energy/oil/gas related news, more important new data and esp. more policy/political/geostrategy related pieces.

Are you feeling the same or can you just brush off the current load of news as 'normal' and 'you haven't seen anything yet'?

It's cyclical. Some times are busier than others. This is a busy time, but there have been busy times before. Tends to follow oil prices. Lots of news when prices are high and rising, much less when prices are lower and falling.

It's worse than first reported.

Take a pick: Fail Safe, Seven Days in May, or the Virtual Coup d'etat?

By 5:12 p.m., the B-52 was fully loaded. The plane then sat on the tarmac overnight without special guards, protected for 15 hours by only the base's exterior chain-link fence and roving security patrols.

Missteps in the Bunker
By Joby Warrick and Walter Pincus
Washington Post Staff Writers
Sunday, September 23, 2007; Page A01

The warheads were attached to the plane in Minot without special guard for more than 15 hours, and they remained on the plane in Louisiana for nearly nine hours more before being discovered. In total, the warheads slipped from the Air Force's nuclear safety net for more than a day without anyone's knowledge.

"I have been in the nuclear business since 1966 and am not aware of any incident more disturbing," retired Air Force Gen. Eugene Habiger, who served as U.S. Strategic Command chief from 1996 to 1998, said in an interview.

Full article here.

Good article. The fact that the full story, warts and all, is entering the public domain is reassuring even if the facts are worrisome.

What I find interesting is that this occured within a relatively well run military organization, one with good morale, generally diligent personnel and well established procedures.

Think back to the collapse of the USSR where none of the above applied. Contemplate as well the amount of money to be earned if "something" slipped from inventory and passed out into the night.

If Minot was the result of an "accident," what are the probabilites of a similar event when the participants are unpaid peasant soldiers motivated to undertake something similar by the prospect of black market earnings ?


And what could never happen just did. And no one f**ing cares. (okay, maybe a few.)

Take everything about this story with a kg of salt.

Ah, yes, that innocent mix up at Minot. Just a minor slip, storing nuclear armed cruse missiles mounted on a pylon in the same bunker as a similar number of already de-nuked cruse missiles also mounted on a pylon ready to be shipped by that great all purpose transport plane, the B-52. Obviously, just a "A simple error in a missile storage room", right?

"By Aug. 29, its crews had already sent more than 200 missiles to Barksdale and knew the drill by heart".

So, they had lots of space left over after those 200 missiles had been removed. Who do these guys think they are kidding?

E. Swanson

Ya...MSNBC ran that story front and center for about 1 hour this morning, then quickly replaced it with another. It kinda threw me for a second because I thought the MSM had let the story just die out. Somehow, it's being kept in play.

The "UAE to cut oil output by 600,000 bpd in November" story is a bit of a shocker....

....we're supposed to breath a sigh of relief that OPEC is going to bump up its output (though from just where isn't explained) in order to calm the world oil market, starting in November. But are they accounting for this in their master-plan? OPEC seem to be talking up the prospects, whilst wilfully ignoring the facts under the ground.

Maybe I should book an intercontinental holiday tomorrow, it may be the last chance I ever get to do so, within reasonable budgetary limitations......

Regards Chris

Talk about bait and switch. Further evidence that there will be no more true output hikes in the future. It looks like KSA is borrowing from Peter to pay Paul so to speak. I keep looking at that graph of Ace's and feel like it is right on track. KSA up 500k and UAE down 600k in the month of november. No wonder the oil market has no faith!

Maybe UAE has already peaked.

This page is from the 1975 Rand Report and says 42.8 Gb recoverable reserves - Abu Dhabi has almost all of UAE's oil.

click to enlarge

BP 2006 says proven reserves of 97.8 Gb at end of 2006. OPEC's annual statistical bulletin says UAE has produced 25 Gb to the end of 2006. This implies that UAE has proven reserves of 123 Gb, almost triple Rand's number.

Energyfiles says Zakum has recoverable reserves of 16 to 20 Gb.
If another 10 Gb is added for improved recovery rates at Bu Hasa, Asab and Bab, and Dubai oil that gives an corrected Rand recoverable reserves number of about 60 Gb for UAE. Given that UAE has produced 25 Gb, UAE has probably just passed peak or will pass peak in the short term.

The 42.8 Gb figure is consistent with Khebab's HL work. If the HL plot is anywhere close to correct, the UAE are headed for a very sharp production decline. BTW, I think that there were some reports that one of the emirates (I think Dubai) has been exaggerating their production.

Thanks for pointing out Khebab's work! I found his HL here
which indicates a URR of about 44 Gb.

I also found this MIT report from August 1977 by Adelman and Jacoby
page 49 had this table and they estimated a URR of 49 Gb for Abu Dhabi. If 3 Gb is added for Dubai then 52 Gb could be a good estimate for UAE URR.

click to enlarge

UAE has produced 25 Gb to date. 25 Gb is almost half of the 52 Gb. The second half is usually harder to extract than the first half and this indicates that UAE has probably passed peak production of 2.7 mbd (C&C EIA) in middle of 2006.

Also this article http://www.gulf-daily-news.com/Story.asp?Article=194798&Sn=BUSI&IssueID=...
not only says that 600,000 b/d will be cut from UAE production in November, but also that "At its peak, the maintenance would cut 810,000 bpd of output from the world's sixth-largest oil exporter". This is significant maintenance project.

Re the natural gas bridge to a low carbon future.

The lead article says that the US has a 70 year supply of deepwater NG which can easily be switched over to hydrogen, as if. Others say the switch can be to coalbed methane. The Brits probably once thought their North Sea gas would last several lifetimes and now in Australia the anti-nuclear lobby is pushing natural gas for baseload electrical generation.

I think we should make the remaining gas last for centuries not decades. It will too valuable to use in baseload generation or boiling up tar sands. Rather it should be used for nitrogen fertiliser production, food processing, combined cycle peak generators and compressed in tanks (CNG) as a diesel replacement in trucks. I note China is building 10 LNG receiving terminals on their coastline apparently confident that it can suck in much of future world production. I believe every gas producing country should formulate some kind of depletion protocol and think about its long term needs.

That article on Syrian output halving is gobblydegook. Recent production (EIA) is around 400,000bpd and falling, so we can only assume that its a poor translation, and what it REALLY meant was that they are estimating production to fall TO either 360,000 or 380,000 bpd next year (which would be an acceleration in decline but would fit the pattern of the past few years). Dont know where the halving bit came in.


Not related to any of the news stories today, but I was just wondering where I could find info on oil production in Alaska? My parents live there.


I think that Table 5.2 has the info. I believe that Alaskan production has dropped at a -5.5%/year rate since peaking in 1988.

Wow! At least we don't have to apply your ELM to those numbers. My brother-in-law, who works turn arounds at refineries here in Washington state, has been told that he will need to travel out of state to find work this winter. My brother is an operator at one of the refineries and I've heard nothing but smooth sailing from him.

This year's dividend is $1654 per resident. Still not bad. Alaska Airlines used to trade your check for 10 flights on Alaska air. Great deal, wonder if they still do it.

And that dividend with North Slope production down 9% this year from state projected levels.


The oil price news at close of play on Friday said prices were falling due to a storm receeding in the GOM. Looks like the opposite will happen when the market opens tomorrow - 3 tropical lows all predicted to develop into depressions, either in the Gulf or heading there! http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/gtwo_atl.shtml


I always hated the old bromide, “History always repeats itself”. I found it to be simple minded in the extreme, completely unprovable and even if it true, completely unusable.
If history did repeat itself, at what frequency? 20, 40 years...or very long wave, 2 or 3 centuries? It always seemed to be “just like the Romans”...no, “just like the depression”...no, “just like the civil war”.....to the repeating history thinkers, and of course it was actually “just like the (insert favorite period)....well, except...”, in other words, all things being equal....but they never are.

Now however, it is almost uncanny. The return to almost every single issue, every single pattern of the 1970’s is nothing short of astounding, almost awe inspiring to watch!

Fuel shortages and rising prices....check. Housing crisis, with people walking away from mortgages they can’t pay, check. (I often wonder what ever became of those young home starters of the 1970’s who fell on their face that first time around?), declining dollar, check, declining auto industry, check, the ruturn of OPEC, check, Crisis in the Middle East, check, potential confilct with Iran check, resurging tension with Russia (not the U.S.S.R., but...) check. Again, we see the return to the fear/fascination with nuclear war, something virtually forgotten about during the 1990’s.

For those of us who were students of the energy situation then, the trip back around is all the more interesting. We are seeing the return to almost every attempted program and “solution” that was suggested and discussed back in the day....solar, wind, geothermal, ethanol, bioDiesel, Gas to Liquid, Coal to Liquid, the tar sands and the shale oil, deep offshore drilling, and on and on.

As we see above in links in this very string, clean abundant natural gas is again being touted in a new dash for gas, with the claim that “At today's rate of consumption, that leaves [America] a 70- to 100-year supply.” (??????) I will return to the natural gas issue in a seperate post, but the differences in the numbers given on the U.S. natural gas situation, depending on the source, are so extreme as to render any real understanding of the issue completely impossible.

More fun to look at are the little things, with references to long forgotten 1970’s cars

For those not familiar with the Fiat X 1/9, take a look..




In my ancient copy of “The World Of Automobiles, an illustrated encyclopia of the Motor Car”, published by the British in the late 1970’s, the dry weight of the Fiat X 1/9 was given as 1940 pounds, top speed of 105 miles per hour, and fuel consumption of 30 miles per gallon. I drove one once, when I was in the auto service business, a customer’s car that we were putting new tires on.

It was a joy to drive, not big and fast like a Corvette or Camaro, but quick as a snap of electricity in corners and braking, compact and small to park and to place exactly where you wanted it.

I have often wondered what one would be like with an electric motor, and rack of A123 litium ion batteries. And really trick, perhaps a one cylinder Propane engine/alternator set to recharge, making for a quick little hybrid electric. Born from a design 35 years old, in the days of fear but of creativity that was the 1970’s. It could be done, the “car hackers” dream.

Roger Conner Jr.

I have been thinking of 70's redux since first studying aspo letters end 04. However, regarding the middle east, when was there no tension there? For differences in energy, consider that a) we were ablt to switch away from oil, eg for elect gen, and thereby slash our oil demand, but now we are left with subsidized ethanol. And b) what 'saved' us when the 70's were over was new production from the far north, the north slope, the north sea, and siberia. It is not so clear what region will save us from very high prices this time.

I do not see why 'history repeating itself' should strike anyone as an oddity. Certainly history can not repeat itself precisely in most instances because technology has changed in the past few hundred years but human nature has not. Human nature and catastrophic natural events are the makers of history.

With human nature unchanged and few really large natural catastrophies, like a large meteor impact or a mega volcanic eruption, why shouldnt history repeat itself? I think that it would be very strange if history did not repeat itself or, come very close to doing so, given the nearly static conditions we are in.

With CC, PO and an economy nearing free fall we will soon be seeing some history that no one has yet encountered... And I dont believe that we will be fond of interesting times...I hear some very excited comments by some that post here. They are constantly talking about possible wars, doomsday scenarios, crashing economies, rising sea levels, and there is a notable air of excitement in their posts...Sort of like young soldiers getting ready for their first experience of war, dreaming of being heros, and killing the bad guys. After a few years of the savagery and privation of war those same youthfull soldiers are no longer full of piss and vinegar, but are ready for some peace on earth. Enjoy our beautiful world and the peace while it lasts!

We have a peaceful planet, but for our problematic lifestyle here in the west. Solve that and most of the trouble goes away ... when I seem excited about the stuff coming at us its because the only real hope we have is for a collective "ah ha!" moment in which we, as a society, decide its time to do things a different way.

Hello TODers,

I must admit I am confused why Greenspan is fear-mongering in the MSM. To me, it seems totally cross-purpose to what Bernanke and other global bankers are trying to accomplish: which is trying to calm the markets down, and reduce any short-term panic.

World markets still affected by fear: Greenspan
Does someone have a good explanation? How about Jim Rodgers in the OUTSTANDING Bloomberg video below? He says the FED should be raising interest rates, not lowering them.


EDIT: Do we even know if Greenspan and Bernanke are allowed to telephone each other? Or is this forbidden?

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

I think Greenspan is aligning himself with the old school Republicans (Baker, Bush Sr., Kissinger, Brzezinski....Fallon?)

Is there a schism going on or not? It feels more and more like something is brewing behind the curtains.

Brzezinski: U.S. in danger of 'stampeding' to war with Iran


Former National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski likened U.S. officials' saber rattling about Iran's alleged nuclear ambitions to similar bellicose statements made before the start of the Iraq war.

"I think the administration, the president and the vice president particularly, are trying to hype the atmosphere, and that is reminiscent of what preceded the war in Iraq," Brzezinski told CNN's "Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer" on Sunday.

Greenspan appears to be trying to distance himself from Bushco, in order to make his place in history distinct from that of Bush/Cheney. I don't think he has to worry though - Greenspan's place in history is very liable to be... unique.

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

It's late in the day, but I thought I would post this re a 1900 article with predictions for 2001 from the Ladies Home Journal.

Of interest to the TOD community is the prediction that Coal would no longer be used for cooking or heating. Coal would be scarce, but not entirely exhausted. The Earth's "hard coal" would last until 2050 or 2100 and "soft coal" mines to 2200 or 2300. Meanwhile both kinds of coal will become more and more expensive. Electricity will become much cheaper and will be the major source of energy.

It is interesting that there is no mention of oil, unless "soft coal" is the term that was used for oil in 1900. However, an understanding of resource depletion is certainly implicit in this prediction.

Fascinating read:


GLT149, your right, it is absolutely fascinating! :-)
Just three things that were very interesting....

(a) The guess on U.S. population. We have actually stayed to the low side of the projection. Of course, pharmacautical birth control was unheard of in 1901

(b) The failure to predict developments that were to occur very soon after the predictions were made and would completely alter the nature of many of the longer range forecasts, these being the heavier than air flying machine and the radio. By the nineteen teens these would be extreme growth industries. A ten year old child in 1901 would come to adulthood dealing with two industries that were not predicted to exist even in the next 100 years!

(c) Absolutely no mention of computers and information technology. Alvin Toffler asserts that the industrial era actually ended in 1954, the first time more people in the U.S. became involved in handling information than in handling "things", i.e., the information handling employment of the U.S. first exceeded both agriculture and manufacturing employment combined.

It would be fun to do one of these "world in 100 years" here on TOD, but the view would surely be slanted, as many here seem to feel that the world in 100 years will like more like the world of 1000 AD than 2100 AD! Perhaps to keep it balanced we could have a "dark side" column and a "bright side" column. Would anybody here put anything in the "bright side" column?
You folks know I would! :-)

Roger Conner Jr.

Roger: Glad you enjoyed it. I saw the article and couldn't resist. I knew it would be of interest to many here. Your obseravtions are very interesting - and I, for one, would be interested to see the results of a TOD predictions thread for 2100.

Another late-in-the-day post of interest. The geopolitical interests of Russia, the US and of European nations in the Middle East in relation to oil continue to amaze. Putin is said to visit Tehran on Oct 16 and will have bilateral talks with Iran much to the consternation of the Bush Admin. Although Moscow is against a nuclear Iran, Moscow is also apparently (for the time being) against US military action. Putin's decision to upgrade Russian/Iranian relations hopefully will serve to lessen the chances of a US strike as it is unclear how Russia may react.

In the meantime, it appears that French policy in Iraq is increasingly tied to Total Oil's interests in Iraq and the US oil industry's willingness to share.

If Kouchner's visit to Moscow was to persuade Russia to fall in line with the US move to introduce a new Security Council resolution, things didn't quite work that way. (Kouchner was scheduled to arrive in Washington on Friday; French President Nicolas Sarkozy is due to visit Moscow on October 11-12.)

Russia couldn't be unaware that France is playing a double game. On the one hand, Sarkozy is closing ranks with the Bush administration's policies toward Iran. On the other hand, France is using US-French rapprochement to share the spoils of Iraq's oil wealth with US oil interests. France's Total and the United States' Chevron have agreed to collaborate on the Majnoon oilfields in Iraq.

The San Francisco Chronicle recently wrote, "The building of a US-French consensus on Iraq is largely the result of the willingness of US oil interests to share the spoils with their European counterparts in exchange for their military and military backing of Washington's foreign policy in the Middle East." In the coming period, Moscow will have to factor the "trans-Atlantic partnership" in dealing with the Iran nuclear issue.


When have the French ever done a thing but entangle and chatter when presented with problems like this? That isn't critical, I'm darned glad they're involved and I see what they're up to - Bush alone with his own thoughts is a dangerous thing for us and with Blair going over the event horizon he literally has no one in his corner.

Hrm ... maybe our spineless Democratic Congress is playing a wise and careful game behind the scenes, reputation be damned? I sure hope that is what we're seeing here ...

Off to see the Wizard, the Wizard in the Wonderful City of Oz ...err DC

Leaving this morning for a week in DC working with the Millennium Institute on modeling my scenario on thier T21 model.



Limited on-line till next Sunday.

Best Hopes,


Good luck with your work with the Millennium Institute.

Your posts will be missed.

Electric Godspeed, Alan.

Good luck.

Hello TODers,

Agriculture In A Post-Oil Economy
IMO: an Excellent read.

With many consumers but ONLY A FEW PRODUCERS, global
potash trade is significant. Close to 80% of global potash
production is traded across borders.
It is my conjecture that probably the very last mines to run on mechanized power will be potash and phosphate mines. Even postPeak goldmines will be long converted to manual labor before fertilizer source mines use picks, shovel, and wheelbarrows. Recall my earlier post on comparing human-recovered bat guano to mechanized synthethic fertilizer.

Also, have you ever considered what an earthquake could do to soft evaporite deposits [carnalites, sylvites, sylvinites, etc] already punctured with lots of mining tunnels? Let's hope an earthquake avoids Saskatchewan, Germany, and Belarus & Russia. A major tectonic event in just one of these areas would send NPK prices skyrocketing. Self-induced mining tremors called 'bumps' are bad enough.

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

We need a series on Peak X. In this case X = K. The current thinking is we will get potassium in order from
1) evaporites -- fast depleting salt domes
2) greensands -- major crushing, transport
3) feldspars -- prohibitively expensive.
If charcoal and solubilising bacteria as developed by the Cubans don't get us there I think sewage recycling may be our only solution. Close the loop as near as possible with minor top-ups from the expensive sources. That means living close to where your food is grown.

Doesn't peak [X] ensure we have to live close to where our food is grown, no matter which variable we substitute?