DrumBeat: October 10, 2007

Is this what the world's coming to?

History is littered with lessons from once-budding civilizations that crashed from their peak of prosperity. From the Anasazi of the southwestern United States to the Mayans of Mesoamerica and the ancient dynasties of eastern China, environmental change has sounded the death knell throughout time for once-thriving civilizations already stressed by factors including high population growth, overexploitation of resources and excessive reliance on external trade. In many cases, severe drought or extreme cold has been enough to push societies to the brink of civil unrest, mass migration and warfare. Is this what the world's coming to?

But it's not necessary to look that far back into history to see how environmental change can result in conflict and the breakdown of society.

Why Global Warming and Peak Oil are Irrelevant

Peak Oil is a “distraction” and global warming? Well, global warming will take care of itself.

It’s the bottom line, stupid.

Amory Lovins makes these arguments, (without actually calling you stupid, and with a breathtaking whirlwind of statistics that he has — miraculously — cached in his brain) in the course of explaining why the energy source of the future is clean and limitless.

Because it’s no energy at all.

Five ex-communist countries sign oil pipeline deal bypassing Russia

Five former communist-bloc countries signed a deal Wednesday to extend an oil pipeline that bypasses Russia, in a move that could diversify supplies and cut Moscow's energy clout.

The presidents of Azerbaijan, Georgia, Poland, Ukraine and host nation Lithuania looked on as government ministers and state oil company bosses inked an accord creating the "Sarmatia" consortium, which is to build the new network.

Oil jumps on news of Nigerian strike

Oil futures surged Wednesday in a late rally driven by news that workers at Chevron Corp. facilities in Nigeria had staged a surprise strike and by a report that demand for gasoline is up.

Nobel for ozone layer scientist

STOCKHOLM, Sweden (AP) -- Gerhard Ertl of Germany won the 2007 Nobel Prize in chemistry on Wednesday for studies of chemical reactions on solid surfaces, which are key to understanding questions like how pollution eats away at the ozone layer.

Ertl's research laid the foundation of modern surface chemistry, which has helped explain how fuel cells produce energy without pollution, how catalytic converters clean up car exhaust and even why iron rusts, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said.

His work has paved the way for development of cleaner energy sources and will guide the development of fuel cells, said Astrid Graslund, secretary of the Nobel Committee for Chemistry.

BP Cuts Alaska Oil Output by 30,000 Barrels a Day After Fire

BP Plc, Europe's second-biggest oil company, cut production on Alaska's North Slope by 30,000 barrels a day following a fire, company spokesman Ronnie Chappell said.

...The fire occurred two months after officials at Alaska's Division of Fire and Life Safety ordered BP to improve its fire detection systems and maintenance of equipment on oil fields it operates. That order stemmed from an Aug. 6 fire.

BP also had three other fires in August as well as a flaring incident in September.

Australia approves Gorgon gas project

Australian officials gave the green light Wednesday to the giant Gorgon gas project off the coast of northwestern Australia, clearing the way for Chevron Corp. and its partners to develop the country's second liquefied natural gas plant — but with strict environmental conditions.

Oil, Israel, and America: The Root Cause of the Crisis

But the key factor in the calculus of what serves as the root cause of conflict between Iran and the United States is energy, namely Iran’s status as one of the world’s leading producers of oil and natural gas. The United States has, for some time now, placed a high emphasis on Middle Eastern and Central Asian oil and gas when it comes to determining future economic development trends. In a fossil-fuel driven global economy, energy resources have become one of the major factors in determining which nation or group of nations will be able to dominate not only economically, but also militarily and politically.

China "e" bikes silently drive lead demand

Every year, millions of Chinese are hitting the streets on "e" bikes - battery-powered contraptions that are increasingly popular as soaring fuel prices make traditional motorbikes and scooters expensive to drive.

The bikes are getting bigger, faster and more glamorous - and the growing size of their batteries is soaking up increasing amounts of lead.

Big cities try to ease way for bicyclists

Cities are accelerating their efforts to encourage commuting on two wheels, putting bike racks where cars once parked, adding bike lanes and considering European-style bike-share programs to get residents out of their cars.

UK: Stretched for cash? Flog your car

With a credit crunch looming and budgets being stretched to the limit, you need look no further than your driveway for a sure fire way to shape up those finances.

That car is your fastest depreciating asset that gets more expensive to maintain every year, and for what? Sure there are households that simply can’t function without one, but for many of us it’s little more than a convenience.

Auto industry told to focus on fuel efficiency

"Loss of market share and higher gas prices create an opportunity for the auto industry to reinvent itself. Those higher prices create an opportunity to design and sell more fuel-efficient vehicles."

Diesel Fuel Arrives in West Fargo

The fuel arrived from Montana last night at the Magellan terminal.

Trucks were in line waiting for it. About 50 tankers got loads of fuel, which is destined for Cenex stations in the region.

Diesel drought hits Plains

“We’re actually in good shape in this company,” said Kent Satrang, general manager of Petro Serve USA, which includes several Cenex stations. “But it only lasts for five days, then we need more product.”

The diesel shortage this summer and fall has been the worst Satrang has seen in 30 years.

George Monbiot: The new coal age

The government says it wants a low-carbon economy. Yet on a green hilltop in south Wales, despite huge opposition from locals, diggers have begun excavating what will be the largest opencast coal mine in Britain. Who let this happen?

International Paper revives plan to burn tires for fuel

The study of pollution control devices will likely take a year or more, Wadsworth said. After it installs the new device the company may request permission from New York state to do another test burn. Only after the results of that second test burn would the company seek permission to burn such fuels permanently, Wadsworth said.

Nuclear power under fire

Environmental campaigners have spoken out about more nuclear power stations being built in the UK on the 50th anniversary of the worst nuclear accident to occur in the west.

Half a century ago today the graphite core of the British nuclear reactor at Windscale, now called Sellafield, caught fire and released substantial amounts of radioactive contamination into the surrounding area.

World grain supply not enough to produce bio fuels

After an initial enthusiasm the world has become aware that it is not capable of producing sufficient grain to feed its population and produce biofuels. The boom in biofuels in recent years has led to sharp rice in world grain prices, with widespread grave social repercussions. David Jackson, of Lmc International Ltd London, estimates that by 2015 a further 100 million hectares of crop production (half the size of Indonesia) will be needed to meet just 5% of vehicle consumption. But to obtain this, entire forests would be decimated.

U.S. mobilization needed on energy

As pollutants warm the Earth, potentates reap the rewards, and oil consumption is the tail that wags U.S. foreign policy. "In 2005 alone, the United States sent nearly $40 billion to the Persian Gulf region to purchase oil, even as we financed a war on terror," the authors write.

China may revive energy ministry in draft law

China may re-establish an energy ministry and a sector watchdog under a draft law that could be finalised by next year, sources said, as Beijing seeks to tighten control of the strategic sector and boost efficiency.

Ohio grown, Ohio eaten

Local eaters, or "locavores," define their boundaries in various ways 100 miles from home is a common gauge. The Mathenys are defining local as within Ohio, which means one of the nation's largest breadbaskets is their shopping cart.

Technology Left in Venezuela by Exxon, Conoco May Aid Rivals

When Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM) and ConocoPhillips (COP) pulled out of projects in Venezuela, they left behind more than their rights to produce oil.

The oil giants also abandoned technology and know-how that could fall into the hands of competitors eager to discover how to maximize production of heavy oil.

Trinidad and Tobago: Fuel shortage, panic buying follow protest action

INDUSTRIAL action at State-owned oil company Petrotrin yesterday and at the Trinidad and Tobago National Petroleum Marketing Company (NP) on the weekend has resulted in a shortage of fuel in south Trinidad and panic buying in the north.

Tapping a gas gusher in Indonesia

After a series of environmental, funding and supply contract problems, surging regional demand has given new impetus to Indonesia's US$6.5 billion Tangguh liquefied natural gas (LNG) project, which with 14 trillion cubic feet of proven reserves represents one of the largest gas fields in all Asia.

Energy Minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro said last week that the first LNG deliveries from the plant are now expected to start by the end of next year. The gas will help China, the second biggest investor in the ambitious project, to meet its surging energy demand while at the same time tap a valuable new fuel source to power Indonesia’s domestic economy.

U.S. Market Stability Spurs Shell's Gulf of Mexico Push

Shell Oil Co.'s eye-catching purchase of Gulf of Mexico leases last week flows from the company's confidence in the region's resources and stability, a top Shell executive said.

Show us the green, workers say

But these days, they're not talking about money. More people are willing to work only for employers whose environmental policies match their own credo for preserving the planet.

Saudi Arabia to Keep Europe Nov. Crude Supply Steady

Saudi Arabia, the world's top oil exporter, will keep its crude supply steady to Europe in November but is expected to boost shipments to Asia, industry sources said on Wednesday.

An increase in supply would indicate that Saudi Arabia is following through on its pledge to raise crude oil output as of Nov. 1 as part of an OPEC agreement to lift production by 500,000 barrels per day.

US energy expert attacks airlines' bid to fly more Kiwis

Efforts by competing airlines to get more New Zealanders on the move are under attack by a visiting American energy expert for flying in the face of dwindling global oil reserves.

Richard Heinberg, who argues in books such as his The Party's Over that the world is approaching or has already passed its oil production peak, says New Zealand's physical isolation and associated dependence on aviation make it especially vulnerable to high fuel prices.

The Grass Roots Syndrome - James Howard Kunstler

My personal view about this is apparently radical — though I am a man of modest habits and philosophy. My view is that the suburban project, per se, in the United States is over, finished. Like, totally. You can stick a fork in it. What you see is basically all that we're going to get. Not only do we not need anymore of it, but we have way too much of what is already on the ground. We don't need anymore suburban housing pods, and the ones already out there are going to hemorrhage value (and usefulness) as far ahead as anybody can imagine. We need more retail like we need 300-million holes in our heads. Ditto suburban office capacity. Ditto new roads and highways.

Energy, climate experts search for middle ground

Michael Economides, professor of chemical and bio-molecular engineering at the University of Houston, said he doesn't believe the world has experienced peak oil.

"There is no such thing as peak as long as we keep discovering these fields and we keep developing technologies," Economides said.

Darling's Failure to Review North Sea Tax Regime a Disappointment

The failure of UK Chancellor Alistair Darling to initiate a review on the tax regime in the gas-rich North Sea in his pre-budget report is a disappointment to the UK energy industry, accounting firm Ernst & Young said.

..."The current tax regime for the North Sea is a legacy of the past and has created distortions in the market," said Derek Leith, head of E&Y's oil taxation team.

Canada's oil industry a possible al-Qaida target

A Canadian Security Intelligence Service document obtained by a Quebec newspaper says terrorists have included Canada's petroleum industry among their possible targets.

...The newspaper reports today that North America's electricity network is also a potential target.

Electricity Crisis in Syria

Since early summer 2007, Syria has been suffering from a severe electricity crisis, the worst in many years. Recurring power outages last four to 10 hours a day, and this has obviously affected the lives of Syria's citizens, as well as causing serious damage to the Syrian economy.

Repsol Cuts Back at Mexico Gas Field, Contracts Disappoint

In 2003, Repsol YPF (REP) began tapping Mexican natural gas under a contract many viewed as a launching pad for future oil and gas plays in Mexico's tightly held energy industry.

But after four years of rising costs, difficult politics, and lousy contract terms, Repsol is cutting back at the Reynosa-Monterrey block, say industry insiders.

Repsol's woes underscore how Mexico's efforts to farm out natural gas production have fallen short of expectations. The contract problems also come amid a growing natural gas import bill.

Think oil can't go higher? Think again

What's behind the recent surge in crude oil prices?

The OPEC supply increase was too little, too late. The market is in a significant deficit, the first deficit we've seen since 2003. Inventory started to drop in October of last year for two reasons. Non-OPEC supply has been extraordinarily disappointing, because those producers are hitting technical difficulties with new equipment and their existing fields are getting less productive. OPEC has the supply but hasn't brought it online. The second factor is that we're in the part of the energy cycle where extraction costs are rising and have been since 2001....

Why hasn't OPEC increased supply?

First and foremost, domestic demand is strong in the entire Gulf region. Exports from the Middle East are lower today than they were in 2000, but production is up two million barrels a day. There are serious bottlenecks preventing non-OPEC from growing supply even at $70 per barrel, so if I'm OPEC, I know I don't have significant competition for market share. The last reason, which is very important, is that if OPEC did ramp up production, they'd go to capacity, which would reduce their political negotiating position.

Saudi Arabia to Raise Oil Exports to China 9% as Demand Rises

Saudi Aramco plans to increase oil exports to China by at least 9 percent this year to meet rising demand from refiners in the world's fastest-growing major economy, said two company officials.

High crude prices shield Norwegians from sting of declining oil production

"Developments in the petroleum industry have been quite disappointing," Bank of Norway Governor Svein Gjedrum said at a briefing for the international news media. "In the past few years, we have seen quite a decline in oil production."

Norway's average daily oil production has declined to about 2.1 million barrels per day as of September, about 35 percent under peak levels of over 3.2 million barrels in late 2000 and early 2001.

"We haven't felt a negative impact because of the very high oil price," said Gjedrum.

We Are In A Bad Fix

We are witnessing nothing less than history's first confluence of unsustainable "peaks."

Perhaps, we are incapable of piecing them all, for when crude oil reached an all-time intra-day high of $84.10 per barrel on Sept 20, its entitlement to a front pager screamer was conceded to the tale of a few thousand empty -- or emptying -- American homes.

It was like the Butterfly Effect, with a twist. The flapping rooftops of confiscated homes were now whipping up an economic tsunami worldwide.

Transport crunch thwarting grain sales

Weeks after Gov. Bill Ritter signed an emergency order to help farmers move a bumper crop of wheat to markets out of state, much of the grain remains in Colorado.

...Much of the harvest is stuck in storage or on the ground, partly because of a shortage of rail cars and commercial carriers. Many carriers went out of business after six years of drought because there wasn't enough crop to haul from the state's 9,000 wheat farmers.

Shell Says Has Key to Clean Coal as Demand Soars

Royal Dutch Shell's technology to turn coal into gas to fuel power plants could allow developing countries to meet surging energy demand without a matching rise in emissions, Shell executives said on Tuesday.

China sets up expert panel on int'l fusion energy project

China on Tuesday set up a national expert committee on magnetic confinement fusion energy to ensure its implementation in the landmark multinational fusion energy project.

The International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) has been the largest ever scientific research program under multinational collaboration. The 11-billion-euro project is aimed at developing a sustained solution to energy production.

Could vertical farming be the future?

With a raft of studies suggesting farmers will be hard-pressed to feed the extra 3 billion people swelling the world’s ranks by the year 2050, Columbia University professor Dickson Despommier believes a new model of agriculture is vital to avoid an impending catastrophe.

“The reason why we need vertical farming is that horizontal farming is failing,” he said. If current practices don’t change by mid-century, he points outs, an area bigger than Brazil would need to become farmland just to keep pace with the demand.

Global warming puts winter fashion out in the cold

The heavy winter coat is not only out -- it may be a thing of the past in Australia as temperatures rise and summers lengthen due to global warming.

Australian Fashion Week, which kicked off Tuesday in Sydney, has ditched the traditional autumn/winter tag in favour of "trans-seasonal" runway shows full of clothes that can be worn year-round.

"We just don't have a need to do it any more," Fashion Week founder Simon Lock told AFP.

Agency: Pollution cuts Europe lifespans

Poor air and water quality, and environmental changes blamed on global warming, have cut Europeans' life expectancy by nearly a year, Europe's environmental agency warned Wednesday.

Green chemistry joins college curriculum

Terry Collins sounds like the world's most dour pessimist. The Carnegie Mellon University chemistry professor paints a bleak picture of the Earth's future, a planet damaged by global warming and ravaged by toxins, with a population sickened by poisonous chemicals.

"We are practicing time-limited technologies that cause all sorts of environmental damage, and are damaging to the species, to our very civilization," said Collins, director of Carnegie Mellon's Institute for Green Oxidation Chemistry in Pittsburgh.

But Collins also is an optimist, hoping science can solve those problems. He is encouraged by an increasing number of colleges and universities that incorporate the principles of green chemistry — the idea that chemical processes and products can be designed without using toxins or generating hazardous waste.

Heat may kill hundreds of New Yorkers

The number of heat-related deaths in and around New York City will nearly double by 2050 - and could rise as high as 95 percent -- due to global warming if no efforts are made to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, a new study shows.

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

In Alberta, the debate of the the tar sands royalty review is heating up. Major companies are threatening to pull investments in the province, while other point out that a peaking world offers them few other options. The environmental effects of large-scale bitumen mining, which are not considered often enough, are discussed in detail in journalist Willam Marsden's new book.

On the other side of the country, LNG shipments seem set to ignite a political row over safety in narrow shipping lanes. Nuclear appears to be approaching a revival, although cost is an issue.

The effects of climate change are making themselves felt across the globe, notably in the Australia and in the Arctic, where Inuit climate change campaigner Sheila Watt-Cloutier could be about to share the Nobel Peace Prize with Al Gore.

Lazy-Ass Nation

In 1883, Charles Stillwell of Philadelphia invented a machine to produce the brown paper bag—or, as he called it, "the Self-Opening Sack, the first bag to stand upright by itself." Without Stillwell's invention, the self-service supermarket, created in 1916 by Clarence Saunders, of Piggly Wiggly fame, might not have amounted to much. The sometimes startling transition from a class of invention that solved serious problems to the type that made life a little more convenient was already apparent with the 1891 creation of the escalator by Kansas-born patent holder Jesse W. Reno: those reaching the top of this "inclined conveyor belt" were offered brandy to help them get over the shock of rising 45 feet above ground level.

Alarmed by such tendencies, Teddy Roosevelt, in a 1917 letter, weighed in thusly: "The things that will destroy America are … the love of soft living and the get rich quick theory of life." T.R.'s fears of what the typical American might become are perhaps best embodied by our current national mascot, Homer Simpson, a man not too proud to drink his beer from a helmet equipped with two cup holders and several feet of tubing.

Cup holders, by the way, are everywhere. Can we step back from the pseudo-serious tone of this article a minute to ask: Cup holders? What, you can't hold your ... cup? There is an extremely rich man in China who laughs long and hard every time he tells his friends how he made his fortune.

Snapshot of Millennium Institute Results

I recently spent a week in the Washington DC area working with the Millennium Institute on a series of runs of their T21 model with my scenarios. The results fill several large files and will be discussed in much more detail on Wednesday at the ASPO-Houston conference during a 1.5 hour presentation.

However, I can disclose a small snapshot of the data.

Oil availability is based upon the ASPO-Ireland (Colin Campbell) projections. A Peak in 2011 (oil at $250 to $300/barrel).

Reference case is a market based reaction to higher oil prices.

Transportation is my best realistic case for electrifying freight rail and build-out of Urban Rail and TOD. No expanded bicycling adjustment.

Transportation + Renewable Energy is as above plus a major move towards renewable energy.

All of my scenarios were done as “freebies” with simplifications and short-cuts to cut costs. Millennium Institute is looking for funding for a more complex and complete model & scenarios.

All data was normalized to 1.0 for 2007.

Time (Year}......... 2007....2025.. 2038

Transportation liquid fuel demand
Trans + Renew En.1.00....0.50.... 0.40
Transportation...... 1.00....0.47.... 0.35
Reference.............. 1.00....0.67.... 0.55

Total petroleum demand
Trans + Renew En.1.00....0.46.... 0.38
Transportation...... 1.00....0.44.... 0.35
Reference.............. 1.00....0.57.... 0.47

Real GDP at market prices
Trans + Renew En.1.00....1.18.... 1.50
Transportation...... 1.00....1.18.... 1.46
Reference.............. 1.00....1.09.... 1.19

Fossil Fuel GHGas Emissions
Trans + Renew En.1.00....0.57.... 0.50
Transportation...... 1.00....0.77.... 0.73
Reference.............. 1.00....0.79.... 0.69

Best Hopes,


Congratulations are due to Alan and the Millennium Institute modelers. Those are some significant silver BBs for petroleum demand reduction.

The Millennium Institute T21 modeling software is an extraordinarily comprehensive and powerful tool for understanding future development scenarios. This page gives an overview of the model, and this page explains its modeling capabilities. The model can deliver extremely detailed results that account for a broad variety of feedback loops across different spheres.

The full modeling process involves a lot of information gathering and customization. Once the foundation has been laid, the model results can be used to inform and underpin policy. IMO, funding for the completion of this initiative will reap sizable benefits in the decision making and advocacy realms.

It should be mentioned that Laurence Aurbach and Ed Tennyson also attended and helped in the development of the scenarios :-)

Kudos to both of them as well !


Have you tried running scenarios based on some of Amory Lovins' proposals? Those would seem to be similar in the sense they rely on efficiency. I.e., ultralight materials, electric cars, etc.

Maybe Lovins might want to pay you to do this?

Three words:

Club of Rome

The Malthusians have been predicting 23,759 of the last 3 disasters.

The only way oil will be a problem is if government interferes with supply and demand.

Do you realize how much oil is out there at $200 a bbl? Lots.

The USA alone has 6X as much oil in the ground as has already been produced.


You have no idea what you are talking about.

Please go and read several months prior posts (scan titles for relevant material) and lurk for a couple of months before posting again.

For one, oil supply is price in-elastic. Higher prices bring forth very little new oil. Proof ?

The Texas oil industry knows all about peak oil, because we've already gone through it.

In 1972, Texas was king of the oil world. We had increased our oil production by 40 percent during the previous 10 years at relatively low prices. Texas producers were poised for surging production as oil prices exploded and rose tenfold by 1980. The state underwent its biggest drilling boom in history. The number of producing wells jumped 14 percent by 1982. The industry consensus was that oil production would increase dramatically. To general astonishment, it fell instead, despite dramatically higher prices, frantic drilling and improving technology. By 1982, production had dropped to almost exactly what it had been in 1962


Best Hopes,


Alan, thanks for the snapshot peek. Your $250 to $300/barrel at any point in the future seems unanticipated. Perhaps I'm just naive but wouldn't demand destruction preclude that? Thanks for all your hard work.

From informal verbal discussions (i.e. NOT from the horse's mouth), they anticipate a spike to $250 to $300/barrel which results in about -5% GDP shrinkage. This demand destruction allows oil to drop below $200/barrel and a +2% GDP rebound the following year. This in turn leads to +$200/barrel prices and stagnant economic growth thereafter as oil becomes scarcer and more expensive.

I try, with limited success, to reduce oil demand faster than depletion via higher efficiency and substitution. In the Colin Campbell world, it is a close race ! In the Jeffrey Brown ELM world, I would likely lose (not yet modeled).

The default oil conservation strategy, if all else fails, is reduced economic activity. In the ELM world, I strongly suspect that all the EOT efforts would do is reduce the rate of economic shrinkage and provide a non-oil transportation base with which to one day rebuild the economy around.

Best Hopes,


Alan - you probably didn't see last nights Republican debate, and I only skimmed through snippets, but one thing I did notice is that oil and dealing with our dependence upon imported oil played a (non-trivial) part in the overall discussion. It was heartening to see a couple of the candidates (including the leading one) mention electrification of vehicles. However, rail was not mentioned.

Also, Instapundit today is writing on the PopMech conference

He [Lovins] also says -- and I agree -- that it doesn't matter whether you believe "peak oil" catastrophe scenarios because you ought to be doing the same thing anyway. Likewise the global warming debate, which I also agree with. "The debate about energy conservation is about costs, but it's not about costs -- everybody who saves energy makes money on it."

The overall social and political winds are changing in favor of your emphases, I believe. Let's hope that we can speed up the necessary changes for our society to remain productive and rewarding for all.

Some days, I see it as a race to pre-position my meme before the panic sets in (remember the quote in the upper right corner on TOD that we have two modes for energy policy; complacency and panic ?)

And just how does one direct a panicking herd towards the right gate ? It is going to be a mess, but with proper preparation ...

Best Hopes (and I *MEAN* it !)


Meme's are devilishly difficult to work with. But you're right, at the point people panic, they'll work with the memes they already have.

How about a series of popular jokes? I'm only half kidding.

Or the threat of an "electrified transportation gap" which the 'terrorists' are secretly rooting for to starve our children.


Maybe "Who is Alan Drake?"

(Readers of Ayn Rand will get this)

"Maybe "Who is Alan Drake?"

I like that oh so well!!!!!!!!

I am a big advocate of gorilla marketing (not what they write about in books by the by).

Alan you need to put your name as an up front tag on your new web site because this could work.

I have seen viral branding/marketing at work and it blows anything else you could do right out of the water, I don't care how much money you throw at it. (also your name is great).

I'm cranking up my bumper sticker maker.

A bit of irony if stickers on cars bumpers spreads your message far and wide?

P.S. I vote for railClimate dot com


HopefortheFuture dott conn is leading the pack ATM. HopeforFuture dott conn is up for sale.

I do not want to limit myself to rail. My vision is larger than that, but I saw rail as the best "leading edge" and most salable component of my vision.

I think hope will be a scarce commodity one day. Best to corner the market while I can ;-P

Best Hopes,


First Draft of website home page

Will we run in panic for life and beauty ?

{French Tram Pic}

Or run towards death and destruction ?

{Strip Mining Pic}

One day we will panic over the availability of oil and/or the "in our face" results of Global Warming.

There are many responses possible. Some responses are ineffectual snake oil that will waste precious time and energy. Other responses are self destructive. They may work for a time, but they condemn us and those that may follow us to a degraded world and destruction of much of what we hold dear.

This website is devoted to those few REAL solutions that can improve our quality of life, and the lives of those that will follow us.

Best Hopes,

Alan Drake

We don't need hope. We need despair. From despair we might get desperate action.

Hope suggests merely hanging on and that is not helpful.

cfm in Gray, ME

Hope, the last and worst of the evils in Pandora's box.

"Foresight & greed" is similar to hope, and can also lead to quick action; whether positively or not is to be determined. A greedy bastard thinks "Hmm -- situation is coming. How can I profit?"

An "EBay" of ride sharing might help. Maybe a better way of finding roommates.

Of course, greed can also lead to negative actions; it seems likely that a greedy demagogue might find a use for hordes of disaffected sub-prime borrowers.

how can i profit is not just about greed

right now i am thinking what can i do that makes me money so that i am not left behind resourceless - i have a 4yo with special needs who will NOT make it in the sort of dog-eat-dog world coming, on his own
All these memories will be lost in time
like tears in rain

This is an important and difficult thing to do. The best thought i have on this is to be part of a community that may survive. I don't see how one can get through this alone unless you have multi-millions.

I would say your best investment is skills. Who knows if money or real estate or gold or any other material goods will be worth anything in the future? It could all end up being about as valuable as shares of Enron or Pets.com.

The medical field might be worth getting into. EMT, nurse, veterinary technician, something like that. They are likely to do well if the happy motoring continues, with our aging population increasingly devoted to pets. If TSHTF, medical skills will still be in demand, and people likely won't care too much if you don't have an MD.

And in that vein don't overlook a career as a physician's assistant, chiefly because in most states you can prescribe/order medications (ref):

Q: Can P.A.'s prescribe medications?
Thirty-nine states and the District of Columbia and Guam allow P.A.'s to write and sign prescriptions without a physician cosignature. These prescriptions will be filled by pharmacists.

Those who can care for others will do well, now or post-peak.

don't knock Pets.com - i actually have an autographed photo of the Pets.com sock puppet dedicated to my then cats! (long not-that-interesting story)
All these memories will be lost in time
like tears in rain

Has anyone come up with a top ten list of post peak careers? I'm casting about for new things to learn as I think we've pretty much hit peak voice/data networks.

Gardening gets a nod, the medical training will be invaluable, animal husbandry, that handy man skill set as applied to energy conservation, small engine mechanics(cars will die - too complex after about 1975 to be kept up), and every form of cobbling, crafting, and making, just as we did a century ago. It would be nice to see this expanded on, chewed over, and turned into a set of vocational programs for the high school and two year college level.

I hated growing up here, but I give thanks now every day for my rural upbringing - most of what is needed post peak is to dust off things in the basement, hunt down the tools that aren't where I put them down in the mid 1980s, and start acting like my parents did when my brother and I were children ...

Gardening gets a nod, the medical training will be invaluable, animal husbandry, that handy man skill set as applied to energy conservation, small engine mechanics(cars will die - too complex after about 1975 to be kept up), and every form of cobbling, crafting, and making, just as we did a century ago.

One of the TOD staffers - I won't say who, because I'm not sure he meant it for public consumption - said recently that he thinks gardening/farming will not be a desirable skill. He thinks the future will be one where the government uses technology, not to pursue alternate energy, but to control the people, Brave New World-style. And the elite and middle class will be supported by a permanent underclass. He believes having skills like gardening will just mean you end up in the slave class.

So the skill set for future inclusion in the upper class would be MANIPULATOR.

Master manipulator of people, money, and resources.

I guess it always has been for that matter.

He argued that it would be carried to a whole new level. We're unlikely to see high returns on investments into alternate energy, efficiency, etc. But there may still be a lot of low-hanging fruit when it comes to psychoactive drugs, technology used to spy on people, and that kind of thing.

Blackwater drill instructor.

Railway engineer, backhoe driver, nuclear engineer, scrap sorter, chemical engineer, forestry worker, bicycle repairman, railcar builder, auto mechanic specilized on ultralight cars and plug-in hybrids, carpenter, plumber, dressmaker, school teacher, and on and on...

Good attitude. An optimistic search for opportunity is a major survival trait. Most of us have two avenues to explore: 1) how can I make more efficient use of what I have? (Things like "get a job closer to home/get a home closer to the job", "get back to a healthy weight", "live simply", and 2) how can I get more stuff. "2" is also a valid approach.

i couldn't agree with you more - you are spot on

global warming has been ignored largely based on hope

now Peak Oil is being ignored based on hope

hope is a destructive response to the level of threat that exists today IMHO

a plan for the future is fine - but hope for the future? i don't like the branding that represents
All these memories will be lost in time
like tears in rain

The word on hope has long been spoken.

The hope that kills

Despite the madness of war, we lived for a world that would be different. For a better world to come when all this is over. And perhaps even our being here is a step towards that world.

Do you really think that, without the hope that such a world is possible, that the rights of man will be restored again, we could stand the concentration camp even for one day?

It is that very hope that makes people go without a murmur to the gas chambers, keeps them from risking a revolt, paralyses them into numb inactivity. It is hope that breaks down family ties, makes mothers renounce their children, or wives sell their bodies for bread, or husbands kill.

It is hope that compels man to hold on to one more day of life, because that day may be the day of liberation. Ah, and not even the hope for a different, better world, but simply for life, a life of peace and rest.

Never before in the history of mankind has hope been stronger than man, but never also has it done so much harm as it has in this war, in this concentration camp. We were never taught how to give up hope, and this is why today we perish in gas chambers.

Borowski, pp. 121-122.

and continues to be spoken

The hope that sustains

Let me see your arm....Hmmm....Your number starts with seventeen. In Hebrew, that's "K'Minyan Tov". Seventeen is a very good omen...

(He was a priest. He wasn't Jewish--but very intelligent!)

It ends with 13, the day a Jewish boy becomes a man...And look! Added together it totals 18. That's "Chai", the Hebrew number of life. I can't know if I'll survive this hell, but I'm certain you'll come through all this alive!

(I started to believe. I tell you, he put another life in me. And whenver it was very bad I looked and said:"Yes. The priest was right! It totals eighteen.")

Art Spiegelman, Maus II, p. 28.

My source of hope is clearly and tightly tied to effective action. BAU results in a continued slide towards "death and destruction" as outlined on my proposed home page.

People's primary sources of hope and despair will NOT come from me, but from other sources. Only when their primary source of hope is dimmed or extinguished, might they see and turn towards this as a source of hope. And hope is coupled with positive actions.

IMHO, 99+% of those that look at the website in the near future will not get a strong emotional imprint from it. Rather a subtle. largely subconscious, connection between "hope" and that pretty French cityscape. Intellectually, hopefully, they will see a series of positive actions that will "make a difference" and make the world slightly better than it would have otherwise have been.

Reactions will vary significantly across the spectrum, but when faced with the intractable problems we are headed towards, many of those that visit the site will not automatically turn towards "ethanol", or "coal-to-liquids" or "tar sands" or "just raise CAFE" but towards more effective sets of solutions. I expect the linkage between "hope" and my ideas to be weak and not dominant. But a weak linkage can give the ideas a much stronger and more effective impact than an intellectual problem solving only appeal, IMHO.

Best Hopes,


BAU = Business as Usual

My source of hope is that I am absolutely sure that a lot of things can be done, I can from the inside of a small part of our political system see the system chew thru problems at a slow paceand it is chewing on todays climate and resource problems. Unfortunately we have buerocracy and inertia and fallout from toying with socialism in the way in Sweden but also those problems are being worked on.

little advice.... if there are any other domains you think you MIGHT want, snag 'em.


Could vertical farming be the future?

Only if somehow the energy to do such can be found.

(I notice how there is little mention of diease and insects are avoided)

The most obvious killer for this idea is the energy needed to run the thing. The light for growing the plants must be provided by electricity. As the comment in the article pointed out:

Bugbee’s chief objection is the exorbitant power requirement for such a vertical structure. Plants on the lower floors would require artificial light year-round or expensive mechanical systems to get more light to them. And during a typical winter in northern U.S. cities, he said, average sunlight is only 5 percent to 10 percent of peak summer levels due to sapped intensity and shorter days.

It's highly unlikely that the energy saved by cutting the transport requirement from the farm to the city will offset the primary energy used to make the electricity. The solar energy available from roof top PV or the wind mills that were proposed won't cut it. I think the professor needs to go back to school.

E. Swanson

To my mind, a reasonable design puts the crops on the outside of the building, and people on the inside.

Vertical farming: another incredibly dumb idea out of Ivy League academia, which will no doubt receive some juicy government funding for continued development. This will keep a bunch of graduate students busy and no doubt generate a bunch of papers which the good professor will present at international conferences attended by like people with similar silly ideas.

Hey, I just got an equally brilliant idea!

How about putting solar cells on the roof of one of these monstrosities to generate electricity to power lights so you can grow corn to make into ethanol to power your car? I'm writing a proposal seeking goverment funding for this 'concept' the minute I go off line!

Too true. Incredibly dumb.

And even though you're kidding, you actually COULD get venture capital and public funds for your own 'brilliant' idea. It seems there is nearly nothing stupid enough not to be taken seriously.

Perhaps someday a key-thread could be started to solicit ideas which would sound good to the public and MSM. Then roll them into a different website, write press releases and get a bunch of positive news.

And then the press release which points out why such projects, and any of their ilk, are bogus.

Alternately, I suppose we could just get the grants and shut the hell up.

As my favorite curmudgeon, H.L. Mencken, once said, "Nothing is as durable as a bad idea."

I do like your idea of putting together some pseudo-science 'concepts' and then seeing how long it takes some of these technically illiterate journalists to realize they were being played with.

While on the subjects of spoofs, during the 1980s somebody came out with parody of the technical and scientific literature called, "The Journal of Irreproducible Results." It's a Monty Python-esque collection of articles written in high-sounding scientific jargon but all of which are about utter nonsense.

On a more serious note, back in the 1970s I was heavily involved in doing studies for the US Environmental Protection Agency, and you wouldn't believe the pointless, obviously fatally-flawed concepts they were pissing away money on studying and restudying.

The energy field is no different. Think I could get some developmental funding for i) a magnetic moonbeam multiiplier, or ii) a feasibility study on a proposed Titan-to-Earth methane pipeline?

The energy field is no different. Think I could get some developmental funding for i) a magnetic moonbeam multiiplier, or ii) a feasibility study on a proposed Titan-to-Earth methane pipeline?

Hey, do 'em both, they sound like winners!

Y'know, if some dastardly spoofers kept a steady stream of bogus press-releases coming, it might actually force the MSM to hire someone who understands thermodynamics.

Though if you can't prove you're dumb enough to believe what you're saying, it's probably illegal. Yelling "energy" in a crowded theater.

Still, probably worth doing...

Here's my fav by him.

As my favorite curmudgeon, H.L. Mencken

. all the odds are on the man who is, intrinsically, the most devious and mediocre — the man who can most easily (and) adeptly disperse the notion that his mind is a virtual vacuum. The presidency tends, year by year, to go to such men.

As democracy is perfected, the office represents, more closely, the inner soul of the people. We move toward a lofty ideal.

On some great and glorious day, the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron."

-- H.L. Mencken July 26, 1920, wrote in The Baltimore Sun: " .

I have an even better approach. Forget the solar cells, they cost too much and they're too limiting.

Yes, grow corn in the damned thing and make ethanol from the corn. But fuel plug-in hybrid cars with the ethanol. Run the engines to charge the cars' batteries. Discharge the batteries into the electricity grid as needed. Power the grow lights over the corn with the electricity.

Voila, perpetual motion, in a form that the farm and construction lobbies will absolutely love.

By George, you've got it!

Be sure to file a patent application immediately! You'll soon become the Bill Gates of alternative energy.

Too late, he's published it in a public forum. He would have needed to have filed a provisional patent application first. Stupid patent laws.

that assumes the patent office does its job

10 years working with Silicon Valley start-ups here and elsewhere has given me a more cynical impression of how well the patent office deals with its own rules
All these memories will be lost in time
like tears in rain

sorry, the patent office no longer exits

you "obviously" are not keeping up to date with "novel" and "useful" improvements being made thereto by the current administration

the agency (formerly USPTO) is now a days called the "IIII"

(Independent Inventor's Inquisition Institute)

Welcome to the future.
It happened while you were asleep.

how orwellian

that'll help things - a name change
All these memories will be lost in time
like tears in rain

I see that their only problem is they need a little more money.

Wasn't that the same problem the Irish perpetual motion wheel had?

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

A wall of Non-OPEC oil coming down the pike?

From the ODAC newsletter on the European Oil Drum link:

With maintenance out of the way in most of the non-Opec countries, a fourth-quarter supply spurt is expected that could add as much as 2 million b/d to the third-quarter totals.

World oil supply in the third quarter is expected to be around 84.5 mb/d with only about 300k barrels per day offline due to maintanance. Much more during August but much less during July and September. Maintenance season started in May and is pretty well completed by September.

But if Non-OPEC increases by 2 mb/d during the fourth quarter, and OPEC nations increase by half a million bp/d by December, then that puts world oil production at about 87 mb/d by the end of the year, breaching the 06 peak by about 1.5 mb/d

Don't bet on it!

Ron Patterson

From a correspondent on Wall Street. I don't have a link.

Persian Gulf Oil-Tanker Rates May Extend Drop on OPEC Cargoes
2007-10-10 04:08 (New York)
By Alaric Nightingale

Oct. 10 (Bloomberg) -- The cost of shipping Middle East
crude to Asia, the world's busiest market for supertankers, may
fall for a 10th day on speculation that OPEC won't make good on a
pledge to increase production from next month.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries said Sept.
11 that it would increase crude oil output by 500,000 barrels a
day starting next month. The resulting rise in cargo demand
should ``definitely'' be boosting the tanker rates by now, said
Halvor Ellefsen, a shipbroker for SeaLeague AS in Oslo.

``It really is dismal,'' Ellefsen said by phone today. ``We
all hoped the market was going to come up in October. Now that
prospect has been postponed until November and there is still'' a
glut of vessels.

Have you guys read this interesting article? Any comments from the Oil Drum experts? The article is about the success Russian geologists have had in finding oil using the abiotic theory.

"Russia is far from oil's peak"

Here is a discussion of Engdahl's new stance, complete with a fervent abiotic devotee: Confessions of an “ex” Peak Oil Believer - Engdahl. Eng doesn't bring anything new to the table that isn't addressed in the debunking papers by Heinberg et al.

I knew about Heinberg's refutation, but I was unware of the fact that Russian and Soviet geologists were using the abiotic theory with a lot of success in finding new fields. Wouldn't that give abiotic theory some credibility?

If you define "success" as a slowing rate of increase in production, with crude oil production being basically flat since late last year, I guess that they had a lot of success.

In Defense of the Hubbert Linearization Method
June 24, 2007

At my request, Khebab generated a post-1970 production profile for the Lower 48 and a post-1984 production profile for Russia, using only production data through 1970 for the Lower 48 and through 1984 for Russia to generate the models.

The post-1970 cumulative Lower 48 production, through 2004, was 99% of what the model predicted it would be.

The post-1984 cumulative Russian production, through 2004, was 95% of what the model predicted it would be. In other words, Russia was "underproduced" through 2004.

In 2006, Russia "caught up" to where it should be. Now, as Russia has approached the 100% mark (100% of what it should have produced based on the HL model), its year over year increase in production has been slowing appreciably, and since October, 2006, the EIA has been showing basically flat production for Russia.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007. Issue 3695. Page 5.
The Moscow Times: Alfa Report Sees Trouble Looming in Russian Oil Sector
By Anatoly Medetsky
Staff Writer

Alfa Bank warned on Monday that "production stagnation is unavoidable" at the country's oil fields and further downgraded its target prices for shares in most Russian oil companies. . .

. . . The increasing proportion of water in total output was a major source of concern, the bank's analysts wrote. This causes a quickening in the rate of natural production decline at most fields.

27/09/2007 | Moscow News,№38 2007
Russia's Geology in Dire Straits

The shortage of qualified geologists, coupled with the trend of the past decade when oil companies pumped as much crude as possible neglecting exploration, have brought about a crisis in oil reserves replenishment, thinks Yevgeny Kozlovsky, head of RGGRU's Optimization Chair.

Enough of this.

Oil, biogenic oil can be trapped in Basement Rocks.

Not common.

Usually found by accident

But it does happen.

It is still biogenic, just trapped in basement. The basement is usually a fossil landscape.

Crystalline basement is non porous and impermeable that nothing can be trapped or migrate into , or out of it:
Think of Granite, Gniess, Schists. However, eroded or fractured granites etc can provide an environment for trapping.

See this pdf: 'dont forget to look in the basement':


I have seen basement traps in the Gulf of Suez.

Oil, biogenic oil can be trapped in Basement Rocks.

Underneath basement rock perhaps, but in basement rock? Just how porous is granite or basalt? I don't think it could hold much oil.

Ron Patterson


Essentially, the source rock and the seal rock is ABOVE Basement.

The source and seal sediments formed later.

Imagine basement rock at surface: Fenno-Scandian and Laurentian Sheilds are good contemporary examples. At surface, this weathers, slowly near the poles and very fast in the tropics. And in the tropics weathering can go to 200 metres in Granite. Same kind of erosional ansd weathering patterns occured in the geological past as can be seen today.

So imagine this happening throughout geological time and undergoing cycles of marine incursions and sedimentary deposition of suitable candidate material - organic rich, with clay seals. Oil is cooked from the source rocks, and migrates to a reservoir of fractured and / or weathered basement which is a former land mass (fossil landscape).
And there it remains until the drill bit finds it.

This is why Abiotic nuts always allude to 'granite' or 'basement reservoirs'. And why they assume that oil and gas is percolated up from the Magma (how this happens, nobody knows, perhaps devils, neibelungen or angels do it for us)

They are wrong on just about every count.

1. Carbon is not common within the Magma...at all. Google or Wiki Basalt, Peridotite, Rhyolite, Granite, Gniess, Schist, The Andesite Line, Magma geochemistry etc, etc.
2. Wax and other materials found within oilfields contain LSA (Low specific activity)Radio Active Matter. Radio Active decay does not match a geological age as would be seen if generated within the deep earth.
3. Oil can and does migrate downwards from a source in overburden sediments into Granite outwash gravels, fractured basement reservoirs etc.
4. If true, why are we not up to our knees in abiotic oil?
If it is a function of chemical process under extreme temperature and heat and is a continuous process, we should at least (after 3.9 billion years) have a fairly thick tar mat...
5. Beyond about 35 000 feet, oil cooks out to gas
6. A big deal is made regarding Siberian Abiotic oil. Doh!
Siberia has intra-cratonic (shield) sedimentary basins as does africa. Eroded basement created reservoir opportunities in these basins and guess what? That is where the oil is found.

The abiotic types keep drawing attention to oil-in granite etc.

It is, as we say a complete load of bollocks.

And they always wheel out the same nutters: ODELL, KENNY,JEROME CORSE and now this guy. You know your dealing with a moron when they mention any of the following: Dinosaur bones, Dinosaur shit, Dinosaur Blood. 'Dinosaurs never walked at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico' (no shit Sherlock...)

Not for nothing that fundamentlist Christians grab at abiotic oil: They can believe in God's bounty for mankind and at the same time hold onto creationism and a creation date of 0600, 4th October 4004 BC...

It makes you weep at the lack of basic Science education going around these days.

rant / off

That was all good until the last line - you're not ranting, not even a little bit, and you're right about weeping for our education system ... one more thing poisoned by the Bush administration.

Abiotic types really do my head in. They are dangerously stupid to peddle this BS. Problem is, MSM and John Q. Public lap it all up when peddled and neither have the critical faculties to smell a rat.

I am all over my kids on that critical thinking stuff - I may have overdone it, because they hardly believe a word I say on how things work, and will insist on being shown and asking questions :-)

How come nobody here mentions all the porphyrins and porphins that are found in oil? 'Splain that one to me, you abiotic types, how magma can spontaneously generate chlorophyll-related complex molecules.

and psst.... "chirality"

Not for nothing that fundamentlist Christians grab at abiotic oil: They can believe in God's bounty for mankind and at the same time hold onto creationism and a creation date of 0600, 4th October 4004 BC...

I think all the prominent young-earth creation organizations hold to an organic origin for oil, as opposed to this abiotic stuff. A quote from one article: "Nevertheless, the weight of evidence favors an organic origin, most petroleum coming from plants and perhaps also animals, which were buried and fossilized in sedimentary source rocks." http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/am/v2/n1/origin-of-oil

I knew about Heinberg's refutation, but I was unware of the fact that Russian and Soviet geologists were using the abiotic theory with a lot of success in finding new fields.

There is absoluely no evidence that Russia and Soviet geologists are using abiotic theory or that they are having any success in finding new "abiotic" oil fields. All this crap about "Russian abiotic success" is nothing more than an urban myth. There is no existing evidence to support it.

But of course that could all be part of a conspiracy on the part of the Russians. They are not going to tell anyone how to find this abiotic oil so they can keep it all to themselves. This makes a great conspiracy theory doesn't it? It ranks right up there with Engdahl's conspiracy theory that "Big Oil" is financing the Peak Oil Scam.

Ron Patterson

Silly people, don't you know that John Galt's static electricity engine will save us all? A is A, even when A is imaginary!

Russians are not finding lots of oil fields with abiotic theory. Go check the Russian announcements about oil and gas yourself. They are very dire and negative. Engdahl is making things up out of whole cloth.

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

In this MP3 radio interview, Engdahl calls Peak Oil a scam that is covertly being financed by "Big Oil".


If big oil is financing this "Peak Oil Scam" who is receiving the money? Is The Oil Drum getting any of it? I think I am helping perpetuate the peak oil story so should I apply to “Big Oil” for a cut of those funds? If so, to whom should I address my request?

Ron Patterson

Why did the USSR fail?

The Soviet could not deliver the Energy/oil
necessary to hold it's Empire.

The USSR peaked. They couldn't pull the oil
up. Where ever it came from.

And I've read an article that the abiotic wells never
developed a pipeline collection system which
they would have if abiotic oil was feasible.

Arkansaw of Samuel L Clemens

I just got my Big Oil "Peak Oil" cheque... I got a double payment because I am a doomer (you get extra).

I'm off to spend it on cocaine and strippers...
All these memories will be lost in time
like tears in rain

We have a postal strike in the UK right now.

That may explain why my cheque is late.

Still, I hear that if we keep oil up artificially above 80, then we get an extra special Xmas bonus this year.

Which stripper club?

The Yellow Rose?

The Spearmint Rhino, northwest of the Las Vegas strip, and we'll have the limo driver keep it at fast idle while we're inside. I get the rural doomer hazard pay differential so the first round is on me :-)


Like I said, my cheque is in the post so you will be good for the tab?

Or shall I just bill Exxon?



stretch Hummer... for me and me alone - get your own... Jevons' Paradox all the way - burn the oil as inefficiently as possible is my plan...

if I was still in Houston though it'd have been the Ritz... cannot drive anywhere in Houston without bumping into a strip club... hell you cannot do business with the local judge and some dodgy back-room investors without strippers turning up - but that's a whole other story (more tales of petty corruption in Texas)...

here in Silicon Valley - i dunno... i think the Kit-Kat club is round the corner...

perhaps i'll just go blow my check on a big barrel of oil and burn it just for fun...
All these memories will be lost in time
like tears in rain

While I agree that a stretch Hummer for each of us is the way to go the parking lot there can handle about two vehicles that size and then the congestion starts. I think a good fraction of any money spent on lap dances there would eventually make its way to the Mexican drug transport cartels, and that would up our sleaze factor to the point where we might be mistaken for clean cut freshman Republican Congressmen ... oh, wait, there aren't any freshman Republican Congressmen this crop, are there?

:-) :-) :-)

ResponsibleAccountable you must be in Sunnyvale since you pretty much have to live there to know about the Kit-Kat club. It takes fair amounts of time trolling along Arques Avenue to know where it is.

I can't believe they built all those condos along there and that of course a whole lot of faceless/soulless yups bought them and moved right in.

just round the corner from Fry's... it's impossible not to know where it is if you take your geek seriously... the only way to/from Fry's from Central is past the KK

i doubt ANYONE going to buy their techie bits and pieces doesn't know where it is... my first week in Silicon Valley back in 1999 and my first trip to Fry's - an experience in itself - led to the question: "a strip club next to Fry's? what's the point in that?"
All these memories will be lost in time
like tears in rain

...but yeah, just moved back to Silicon Valley from Houston... now I'd better get a damn job since moving all this way across the country to use my skills & experience (high-tech startups) that seemed to be not-in-demand in Houston... of course I'd rather be on the non-discretionary side of the economy - but first things first - pay the bills

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

All us geeks know where Kit-Kat is because we pass it on the way to Fry's.

Where do I sign up?

Is there a sliding scale of payments, you know X for a posting, 5X for a story on Digg, 50X for a newspaper article.

So far the only people I can see making money are those that forecast no problem and oil below $40 by Christmas.

Don't worry. This guy says that the reality check is in the mail.

Ice Caps Melting Fast: Say Goodbye to the Big Apple?

It is hard to shock journalists and at the same time leave them in awe of the power of nature. A group returning from a helicopter trip flying over, then landing on, the Greenland ice cap at the time of maximum ice melt last month were shaken. One shrugged and said:"It is too late already."

What they were all talking about was the moulins, not one moulin but hundreds, possibly thousands. "Moulin" is a word I had only just become familiar with. It is the name for a giant hole in a glacier through which millions of gallons of melt water cascade through to the rock below. The water has the effect of lubricating the glaciers so they move at three times the rate that they did previously.

The talk of sea level rise should not be in centuries, it should be decades or perhaps even single years. And coastal regions like New York and Florida are in the front line for devastation.

After the arctic ice melt stories, I guess we shouldn't be too surprised to hear this next.

Yikes. Some people are saying the New York Yankees should have included a retractable roof on their new stadium. Climate change is supposed to increase rain in the northeast. Forget that, they should have built it on stilts.

I pulled this from your Katrina article yesterday:

" Tim Flannery, a world recognised climate change scientist and Australian of the Year in 2007, said a UN international climate change report due in November will show that greenhouse gases have already reached a dangerous level.

Flannery said the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report will show that greenhouse gas in the atmosphere in mid-2005 had reached about 455 parts per million of carbon dioxide equivalent -- a level not expected for another 10 years.

"We thought we'd be at that threshold within about a decade," Flannery told Australian television late on Monday.

"We thought we had that much time. But the new data indicates that in about mid-2005 we crossed that threshold," he said. "

The Greenland/Arctic ice melt is exactly what
we should've expected once Tipping Point occurred
mid 05.

We're at single digit years where one day
we hit the Time Wall. Where collapse is
greeted by a complete silence of wonder.

And the people in charge of trains/wheat coops
in Colorado should all be fired now.

The system is bankrupt.

Arkansaw of Samuel L Clemens

Changing sea level, IMO, is one one the least worrisome aspects of climate change. Unfortunately, its the headline grabber, while the far more destructive aspects are shelved.

Part of the denial is the thinking we'll just shift north. The north is forest-derived podzol soil, we won't continue ag on those in any way close to the yields we have on grasslands.

Stump farmer, as was used to designate the fringe producer, barely eking out a crop. Our ecosystems and soils evolved together over eons.

Piles of wheat stored on the open ground is nothing new. Many the small town over the last 10-15 years have seen their elevators overflow, and grain piled openly in civic and church lots. As the rail, esp the the spur, system has been abandoned, we've found trucking isn't what it was cracked up to be, even with $12 oil.

But now we're in "just in time" globalization.

Colorado's talking approx 3 million tons on the ground
which you can add to the Ozzie's 20 million tons that won't
be available for export.

As with PO, the endusers won't care whether it's "above ground" or "below ground" reasons, the bottom line will be that they still don't have the product at hand.

The CO deal is outrageous. Heads should roll.

The US wheat crop was below avg. While CO has
mts on the ground.

Last I looked, KS and OK are right next door.

It's still listed at 59 million tons.

Where I see us being lucky to break 50.

Arkansaw of Samuel L Clemens

There is the detail of a huge number of our cities, and much of the world's population near the coast. If we are talking about a 20 foot rise in sea level, a huge number of people to move elsewhere, and build new infrastructure.

The possibility of such changes should make people rethink long term plans for everything from nuclear reactors to trains. And what do we do with all the displaced people?

''And what do we do with all the displaced people?''

Well Gail, the Dutch will have to become Germans, but perhaps the Germans will give the Dutch their bicycles back.

But look on the bright side: My village will be a Mediterranean style fishing village, and we could paddle across to Bennachie and grow vines on the south slope...

In terms of climate change, it remains a detail.

"If you want to get some idea of what much of the Earth might look like in 50 years’ time then, says James Lovelock, get hold of a powerful telescope or log onto Nasa’s Mars website. That arid, empty, lifeless landscape is, he believes, how most of Earth’s equatorial lands will be looking by 2050. A few decades later and that same uninhabitable desert will have extended into Spain, Italy, Australia and much of the southern United States.
“We are on the edge of the greatest die-off humanity has ever seen,” said Lovelock. “We will be lucky if 20% of us survive what is coming. We should be scared stiff.”

That was his thoughts before this summer's record ice loss in the Arctic. Some may dislike Lovelock for his views on solar and wind vs nuclear. Others may think he is too much an enviromentalist.

Perhaps a refresher on earlier work. In 1974, James Lovelock and Lynn Margulis advanced their now famous Gaia theory. (She was the first wife of Carl Sagan) But this was predicated on their earlier work, the endosymbiotic theory, stating prokaryotic cells engulfed one another to evolve into eukaryotic cells. That the cell organelles of mitochondria and chloroplasts were originally free living organisms, symbiotically existing today. It is difficult to describe just what a slap in the face this was to the then nearly sole of view of evolution, that tooth and claw version of Ernst Mayr and George Gaylord Simpson.

Thinking back to the 60's and 70's, when biology was still much confined to systematics and taxonomy, with an occasional iron lung or germ poison/antibiotic thrown in, it is amazing to see where we've come. Biological systems, interdependency, ecology, all took off from here. And from the work of these two. Their vision should not be discounted.

Here in north it will be just better. But we must defend our selves against the southerners.

Professor Correll, who is also director of the global change programme at the Heinz Centre in Washington said the estimates of sea level rise in the IPCC report in February had been "conservative" and based on data two years old. The range of rise this century had been predicted to be 20 to 60 centimetres, but would be the upper end of this range at a minimum and some now believed it could be two metres. This would have catastrophic effects for European and US coastlines.

Two meter rise this century. Levees aren't going to fix that.

And they keep putting question marks in the title.

Same with PO. Or the MSM just shuts "it" down.

And every bit of "thinking" out of DC must be about
keeping the status quo or it's thrown out of hand.

The only planning seems to be military abroad,
police state at home.

Arkansaw of Samuel L Clemens

Two meter rise this century.

That is by no means the end of the story. Nor is this poorly written article, which, for starters, fails to explain where the 2 meter estimate comes from.

The February IPCC report's initial upper limit was 59 cm, which was subsequently revised to 88 cm (with a lower limit of 18cm). RealClimate had an excellent review of the report in March: The IPCC sea level numbers.

In July, George Monbiot wrote about a new study by James Hansen and his team of scientists, based not on models, but on evaluation of historic ice cores:

Reading a scientific paper on the train this weekend, I found, to my amazement, that my hands were shaking. This has never happened to me before, but nor have I ever read anything like it. Published by a team led by James Hansen at Nasa, it suggests that the grim reports issued by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change could be absurdly optimistic.

The IPCC predicts that sea levels could rise by as much as 59cm this century. Hansen's paper argues that the slow melting of ice sheets the panel expects doesn't fit the data. The geological record suggests that ice at the poles does not melt in a gradual and linear fashion, but flips suddenly from one state to another. When temperatures increased to between two and three degrees above today's level 3.5 million years ago, sea levels rose not by 59cm but by 25 metres. The ice responded immediately to changes in temperature.

We now have a pretty good idea of why ice sheets collapse. The buttresses that prevent them from sliding into the sea break up; meltwater trickles down to their base causing them suddenly to slip; and pools of water form on the surface, making the ice darker so that it absorbs more heat. These processes are already taking place in Greenland and west Antarctica.

Rather than taking thousands of years to melt, as the IPCC predicts, Hansen and his team find it "implausible" that the expected warming before 2100 "would permit a west Antarctic ice sheet of present size to survive even for a century"

As well as drowning most of the world's centres of population, a sudden disintegration could lead to much higher rises in global temperature, because less ice means less heat reflected back into space. The new paper suggests that the temperature could therefore be twice as sensitive to rising greenhouse gases than the IPCC assumes. "Civilisation developed," Hansen writes, "during a period of unusual climate stability, the Holocene, now almost 12,000 years in duration. That period is about to end."

From the study itself:
Climate change and trace gases (PDF)

Climate forcing of this century under BAU would dwarf natural forcings of the past million years, indeed it would probably exceed climate forcing of the middle Pliocene, when the planet was not more than 2-3C warmer and sea level 25±10 m higher.

Hansen says the lower limit to sea level rise by 2100 is 15 meters (± 50 feet). Paul Brown doesn't do anyone a favour by not addressing this.

Firetree is going to have to fix their sea level rise mapper. It only goes up to 14m.

Louisiana won't look like a boot any more.

15 meters minimum? Basically 45 feet, at least? New Orleans is toast in less than 100 years. And no, Alan Drake, I don't want to hear about how we can build 50 foot taller dikes. Because once we get that 15 meters, we're very likely to get even more melt as well.

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

Capitol Hill = Capitol Island?

The map for Europe shows Holland as about 100% toast, not surprisingly. What I hadn't seen anywhere yet is the effect on the Caspian Sea: a huge amount of land will be flooded in that region, looks like entire countries will be under water, and Tehran becomes a sort of coastal town. I don't think they're aware of that down there.

Why would ice sheets melting raise the level of the Caspian Sea? It's landlocked, essentially a giant salt water lake.

Increased precipitation in it's watershed could the size of the Caspian, but I don't think a sea level rise would.

Wow, according this map I'm going to soon be living just a few blocks from the ocean. Maybe I should open a B&B in my house.

Perhaps we can drop the idea of electric trains and start "workin on sum dem electric pirogues"


Paul Brown doesn't do anyone a favour by not addressing this.

Not so. We need to focus on whole ecosystem destruction, not shifting habitation a mile inland.

I've wondered if the description you give of ice sheets collapse could lead to a massive failure of a portion of the Greenland ice sheet causing it to sudden slide into the sea. Many cubic miles suddenly slipping into the ocean could create a enormous tsunami.

But since I've never heard it raised as a concern, I assume it's not considered a plausible fear.

E = 1/2M * V^2

The V in question when ice sheets move in a catastrophic fashion is kilometers a day instead of kilometers a year - no tsunamis.

The big events with draining ice sheets are when ice dams cut loose - a jökulhlaup:


These are quite exciting for things downstream, but there isn't much in Greenland and mostly we're talking about tidewater glaciers.

I've actually been in a small tsunami caused by a glacier face collapse. We were cruising Resurrection Bay southwest of Seward about a mile off the face of a massive tidewater glacier. The ice face was maybe 3/4ths of a mile tall and a little sliver came off - about a quarter mile tall and two hundred yards in diameter. Eleven million tons of ice dropping an average of about seven hundred feet makes a pretty good splash and we had to scoot to get out of the way of the roughly 2' wave that followed the event.

Believe it or not:

People are SURFING these waves. The movie should be out soon. I saw a little clip. They tow in to the wave with jet-skis or maybe a zodiac. Probably Google-able.

That couldn't get any more ironic unless the board rider was wearing a vest and hat made out of polar bear skin over the wet suit ...


But the melting Ice could unlock millions of tons of unstable rock, formerly held together by ice or under it.

Large slabs of the Alps are now unstable because of ice loss

Same could happen in Greenland.

This would give you tsunamis.

It happens once in a while here in norway when the snow melts away that avalanches reach the fjord causing a small tsunami: if you're at the shore on the other side you risk getting knocked out and washed away, but I can't remember hearing about anyone perishing. I have read an anecdote of a close call though. The bigger danger is that there is usually a road winding along the shore on either side of a fjord. When an avalanche crosses a road, as they do several times every winter, the question always is: Did a car go to the bottom this time?

The most awe-inspiring experience I ever had was on a spring skiing trip as a child, I was looking at a frozen waterfall perhaps 200 meters away when suddenly the whole thing dropped. Large pieces of ice slid on the coarsegrained, wet snow down from where the huge slab of ice first made contact with the slope. I can't imagine how a real glacier calving looks though, this was probably just a few 10s of cubic meters.

In Iceland, volcanoes erupt under glaciers. The worst of these send floods equal to the Amazon River down small rivers.


yea, I remember the last time it happened, it was well covered by norwegian media. I get a mental image now of watching a TV showing a torrent of grey water sweep away bridges and roads. A good thing Iceland is sparsely populated, and that the eruption that melts all the ice can be detected.

Hansen says the lower limit to sea level rise by 2100 is 15 meters (± 50 feet).

I just got back from a talk tonight by Mark Bowen, author of "Thin Ice" and a forthcoming book, completed just day before yesterday, on Hansen. I mentioned that 15 meters number and Bowen didn't think it sounded right - though he did say he wanted to return to it later. Unfortunately my son has two tests tomorrow so we had to leave a bit early. I'll get a DVD of the q&a in the next couple of days.

A quick scan of that PDF didn't give me the lower limit. Reference? [Personally, I don't doubt it - around every corner there is more positive feedback.]

cfm in Gray, ME


From Climate change and trace gases (PDF), as I quoted above:

Climate forcing of this century under BAU would dwarf natural forcings of the past million years, indeed it would probably exceed climate forcing of the middle Pliocene, when the planet was not more than 2-3C warmer and sea level 25±10 m higher.

It's that simple: the lower limit for 25±10 m is 15 meters. The upper one is 35m. Note: don't ignore the would probably exceed line. The lower limit of 15m is really the minimum.

Scary when the lower limit is far beyond anyone else's upper limit, ain't it?

I don't see where Hansen et al would be wrong. Their point, abbreviated, is that since climate forcing in the Pliocene, with a temperature 2-3C degrees higher than today, led to sea levels that much higher (the 25±10 m), there is no rational reason to assume it won't be the same shortly.

They then attempted to find how the forcing would take place, and at what speed. Centuries or years? And they think they largely answered those questions. (Maybe some of us would need to look up a definition of climate forcing.)

Sure, many people will agree to disagree, but we should keep in mind that 95% of predictions are based on computer modeling (which depend 100% on our input of variables), while the NASA study is based on hands-on "archeological" research.

People like Bowen, and Prof. Correll, cited in the article that started this thread, need to, in my opinion, address this report by Hansen and his team. They've set the standard.

Any report that doesn't even acknowledge that standard is suspect right off the bat. Hansen is not some amateur. He's a class or two, or six, ahead of all these other people. And they know that too.

Can someone comment on the latent heat absorbed by the ice as it melts - i.e. once it stops melting, dont we loose a significant heat sink?


... once it stops melting, don't we lose a significant heat sink?

I don't think so. Water absorbs heat just fine.

One point (among many) that is ignored by most climate studies is the added sea level rise caused by thermal expansion, which nonetheless will contribute significantly.

Latent heat is the additional heat absorbed by ice as it changes phase to a liquid - i.e. there is a step function involved. E.g. as you slowly add heat to ice, the temperature of the ice rises until it reaches zero Celcius, and then it stays there, absorbing additional heat without a temperature rise, until its "latent heat value" has been absorbed, at which point the ice melts.

My question is just one of impact - this whole lot of ice in Greenland is aborbing latent heat without melting, but once it is melted, we are going to loose the ice as a heat sink - the meltwater will rise in temperature linearly as it absorbs further heat, and not stay at zero Celcius as the ice did.

Will one see the effect of this as a sudden rise in temperature locally or even globally?


Francois, this seems to be an important point, at least in my educated layman's point of view. Looking at the earth's icecaps in a holistic way, one would expect that a globally rising average temperature would, for a length of time, be moderated, in part, by the amount of heat being 'soaked up' by the polar ice caps. After the upper limit of the latent heat of melting began to be reached, one would expect to see a relatively 'sudden' melting of the ice caps, which seems to be what we are seeing now. I don't know if climate scientists have done calculations of the effects of the latent heat capacity of the ice caps on the whole climate change picture, but I would be very surprised if they haven't.

"After the upper limit of the latent heat of melting began to be reached, one would expect to see a relatively 'sudden' melting of the ice caps, which seems to be what we are seeing now."

Of course, we'll only know if it is sudden enough when the melting stops growing. What didn't happen untill now.

Stil not a convict doomer :)


I think you have a very good point. Raising one gram of water one degree C takes only one calorie. Melting one gram of ice already at 0 degrees C to water requires 80 calories.

You are on the right track with this idea and it has twin effects. Dramatically different albedo (increases energy absorption) and the energy that is absorbed is more quickly translated into measurable temperature effects and the interaction between air and water.

Since the high latitudes are the areas where the greatest temperature changes are projected, the consequences of this phenomena are likely to be more dramatic. The energy required for phase change is one source of stabilty in temperatures but once it's gone you lose that source of stability.

One of Hansen's points is that model projection probably do not adequately address this phenomena and as a result we may very likely see what looks like a nearly discontinous step function as we lose the enrgy absorption phenomena associated with high latitude ice.

I worked some numbers out about two months ago for the phase change of the entire Greenland ice sheet. My numbers for volume of ice sheet, heats of various events and solar heat gain are from web sources, in particular Wikipedia. There may be errors.

It’s a big number for the number of BTU’s needed to convert the entire Greenland ice sheet from solid to liquid, maintaining 0 degrees C. I calculated the Greenland ice sheet would need to absorb a total of 8.27E+20 BTU’s of heat, or 872 EXAJoules (872E+20 KJ) of energy.

For comparison I calculated that this is equivalent to 16% of all the solar energy that is absorbed by the entire Earth in one year, or 2049 times the amount of energy used by all of mankind in a year, or 10430 times the energy in the entire nuclear arsenal of mankind, or 1.75 times the energy probably released by the Chixulub meteor that likely killed off the dinosaurs.

My base numbers are: Volume of Greenland Ice Sheet: 2.85E6 km^3, Density of water ice: 0.917 g/cm^3, latent heat of fusion for water 334 kj/kg.

I’ve sat on these numbers for a while and cannot find any large errors, doesn’t mean there isn’t any though.

I have troubles believing that the Greenland Ice sheet is able to absorb that much energy out of the surroundings in any time that is conceivable. I’m not saying that Hanson and others are wrong, it’s just that the numbers are so incredible.

Here’s the text output from my spreadsheet:

step 1: convert km^3 to cm^3
2850000 km^3
100000 cm per km
1E+15 cm^3 per km^3
2.85E+21 cm^3 of Greenland Ice Sheet

step 2: convert volume into mass (kg)
2.85E+21 cm^3 of Greenland Ice Sheet
0.917 g/(cm^3)density of water ice
2.61345E+21 gram mass of Greenland Ice Sheet
2.61345E+18 kg mass of Greenland Ice Sheet

Step 3: calculate heat needed to melt ice to water at 0 deg C
2.61345E+18 kg mass of Greenland Ice Sheet
334 kJ/kg latent heat of fusion for water
8.72892E+20 Kj heat needed to melt GIS

Reference data for the spreadsheet, mostly values from Wikipedia and other internet sources:

Joules Kj
1.05E+20 1.05E+17 energy consumed by United States in one year (2001) (Wikipedia)
4.26E+20 4.26E+17 energy consumed by World in one year (2001) (Wikipedia)
6.2E+20 6.2E+17 energy from Sun that hits Earth in one hour (Wikipedia)
5.4312E+24 5.4312E+21 energy from sun that hits Earth in one year
5E+23 5E+20 Chixlub meteor impact 65millions years before present

8.73E+20 How many kJ of heat needed to melt Greenland Ice Sheet
8.27E+20 BTU 0.9478 BTU per KJ
2.42E+17 Kwhr 0.00027777KWhr per KJ

872.89 ExaJoules 1E+18 joules per exajoule
1.75 times the energy of Chixulub meteor impact
10431 times the energy of worlds nuclear arsenal
2049 times the energy used by mankind in one year
16% of the sunlight energy that hits the earth in one year

…. Just to melt the Greenland ice sheet from water ice to water liquid, maintaining 0 degrees celcius

Hope this is readable.


Nice work. But regarding sea level rise, what energy is required for the bulk of the ice to simply slide into the sea, and thus remaining as ice for a long time?

It seems to me this would result in the feared sea level rise without the required energy for complete melting.

Exactly. That's what's wrong with the models. They looked at the Greenland ice as just a solid hunk of ice, melting like a big ice cube.

It's not. The meltwater is falling through holes in the ice, lubricating the slide into the sea, and speeding it up at a shocking rate. This is why Hansen is so worried.

also from wikipedia:

"The total area of Greenland measures 2,166,086 km² (836,109 sq mi), of which the Greenland ice sheet covers 1,755,637 km² (677,676 sq mi) (81%)."

Assume the melt will take 10 years, what would be the required net heat flux? using your numbers for Energy

Area of GIS (m²) 1755637000000
Energy required (J) 8.73E+020
Time (s) 315360000
Required power (W/m², or J/sm²) 1.58

This is neglecting precipitation and the fact that the ice tends to flow towards the sea by itself to be carried away and melt at sea. Beware of errors in my calculations.


My basic physics is rusty but unless I am mistaken, when water freezes it expands. I would take it that converting from solid ice to water would actually cause a slight shrinkage in volumes. Water has a tendency to increase density as it gets cooler up until approximately 34 Degf, then it decreases. volumetrically the vast majority of water would be in the ocean basins below the permanent thermocline and the shallower volumes would not increase substantially that warm surface temperatures would cause warmth expansion of any consequence. The biggest volmetric changes would most likely be when land locked ice melts and is discharged into the sea. Even floating ice caps would not contribute a huge amount as they are already displacing water in which they are floating. of course my old brain is cornfused and I could be mistaken,


Floating ice (sea ice) certainly displaces its mass in the water - it is not the problem. The problem is icecaps on land. I.e., Greenland, etc. It's all about the landlocked ice, of which there is a lot.

Thermal expansion of the ocean due to increased temperature is definitely a component of the observed increases so far, but as grounded ice begins draining into the seas it will become much less prominent - I don't have a link but I believe its on the order of some number of millimeters so far ...

Floating ice displaces its weight in water, then becomes its weight in water when it melts, resulting in absolutely no change in volume (ignoring thermal expansion effects).


This is a joint press release between the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC), a part of the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences at the University of Colorado, Boulder; NASA; and the University of Washington.

Media Relations Contacts:
Stephanie Renfrow, NSIDC, 303-492-1497 (se habla Espanol)
Jim Scott, University of Colorado at Boulder, 303-492-3114

"The trend in sea ice decline, lack of winter recovery, early onset of spring melting, and warmer-than-average temperatures suggest a system that is trapped in a loop of positive feedbacks, in which responses to inputs into the system cause it to shift even further away from normal.

One of these positive feedbacks centers on increasingly warm temperatures. Serreze explained that as sea ice declines because of warmer temperatures, the loss of ice is likely to lead to still-further ice losses. Sea ice reflects much of the sun's radiation back into space, whereas dark ice-free ocean absorbs more of the sun's energy. As sea ice melts, Earth's overall albedo, the fraction of energy reflected away from the planet, decreases. The increased absorption of energy further warms the planet.

“Feedbacks in the system are starting to take hold,” argues NSIDC Lead Scientist Ted Scambos. Moreover, these feedbacks could change our estimate of the rate of decline of sea ice. “Right now, our projections for the future use a steady linear decline, but when feedbacks are involved the decline is not necessarily steady—it could pick up speed.”

2 years old.

Positive feedback loops have kicked in.

Bifurcation has begun. Expect Non-linear Change.

Civilization will have to collapse to stop it.

And then it will take 100 k years to normalize.

Arkansaw of Samuel L Clemens

In round numbers:

Ice requires 0.5 cal/g to raise it by 1°C for temperatures ranging from -40°C to 0°C.

Phase change ice to water at 0°C =80 cal/g (heat of fusion)

Water from 0°C to 100°C requires 1 cal/g to raise by 1°C.

i find it funny that the majority of posts under the article on the site is screaming about the site doing 'scaremongering' tactics.
why? because if you look at the on the ground science of it you should be scared, very scared.

I know I am. I wasn't before this summer. But now...

All we need to put a stop to it is an 80% cut in greenhouse gas emissions. Shouldn't be too tall an order.

But they're Nihilists, Donny.

They're a bunch of f***in amateurs!

Anybody catch the corn-ethanol story on the MacNeil-Lehrer News Hour last night? It was a glowing tribute to American ingenuity and the multipurposing of all the waste streams for maximum efficiency. Nobody, not even their official sceptic, so much as mentioned the energy required to distill the product, or the sustainability of soils deprived of all stover for year after year.

I saw it and was deeply saddened by the tone of the piece and the failure to examine any of the underlying assumptions (ie., that everyone needs to drive everywhere whenever they want). They admit that there is not enough crop land to grow enough corn to fill the fleet. But look! There’s crop residues, and forestry products, and yard waste, and prairie grasses, and switchgrass, and we can turn it all into ethanol! Happy Day!

So basically, if you can’t eat it, we can make ethanol from it. Let’s take the entire biosphere and put it to human uses. Let’s take every blade of grass, every twig and tree, every living thing, and use it to make ethanol so we can keep driving.

This meme that we can keep going by just switching to another fuel has got to be stopped. All it does is keep us going head-long over the cliff. I suppose that story was comforting to a lot of people. For me, it brought out the doomer.

Alan - what is your take on trolleybuses? Never hear you discuss them, just light rail; a search of the site reveals only a few passing mentions. I started a topic on them at po.com a few months ago: Cars operating on the trolleybus principle. Installing trolleybuses makes much more sense to me than trying to install light rail right now - we don't have enough time for rail projects with oil peaking in the next few years (if it hasn't already), trolleybuses seem much easier to implement, and simpler/cheaper projects that use as much of the existing infrastructure are the way to go, methinks.

Negatives of ETBs (electric trolley buses)

1) The use more energy. 2x to 5x more than streetcars (depending on how calculated, I think closer to 2x)

2) They generate no TOD (the other one), and that is more than half the savings from Urban Rail long term.

3) They cost more long term except on the lightest routes. The buses last 12 to 15 years vs. 40+ years. They wear out asphalt (read very heavy oil) streets and require more asphalt for repair (buses supposedly use "free" streets). City street engineers can tell which lanes have buses and which do not.

The French are able to build new tram lines for 20 to 25 million euros/km; not that much more than a trolley bus would cost. Light Rail costs so much in this country because of the political "Ration by Queue" system (including consultants) we have developed here. ETBs that went through the same system would have the saem cost escalations IMO.

4) ETBs are significantly less safe than rail (but much safer than cars).

5) ETBs require two wires and twice the copper. Rail uses the rails for the return circuit.

6) ETBs attract about 3% more riders than regular buses, rail about 45% more riders.

I am ADAMANTLY opposed to untrained operators hooking up to 600 or 750 V DC ! I also do not think it worthwhile to support 1 and 2 person vehicles with increased wear on the wire. However, the Soviets did operate some trucks on ETB wires (including dump trucks).

More later on the Positives.


As you know Alan here (Geneva) we have plenty of both, and right now there are tremendous public quarrels about trolleys vs. trams.

The State favors trams, and is installing them hastily all over, has been doing so for about 8 years now, reviving the defunct tram routes, with at the moment, mad frenzy, endless streets are dug up and it has become impossible to drive around.. Their rationale is a 2x (see Alan's post) rule of thumb, I am sure they keep it low so as not to enter into useless quarrels.

The pro-trolley crowd (besides the usual suspects, eg. those who manufacture or otherwise deal in them) is composed of:

1) passengers. a) Trolleys really do offer a smooth, silent ride. b) Snarls and accidents don’t lead to pile ups and so trolleys are more reliable, which is *vital* for workers, mothers, etc. c) it appears that the idea of a responsible driver and lack of automation is reassuring, or at least appreciated by the passengers. 2) Motorists who have status (police, ambulance, taxis, etc.) and those who do not, therefore car vendors and all of them etc as well; trolleys don’t inevitably require a dedicated lane, whereas a tram requires two, which, on many roads built in say 1850 means that no other traffic can pass, or can only follow behind the tram, which is phase one in forbidding cars. 3) Nearby dwellers - trolleys are really quiet, though modern trams are doing well (I have no decibel figures to hand.) 3) Town planners. Trolley routes are flexible, they are realtively easy to set up, in comparison with trams. The idea of ‘fixed tram lines’ repels many - property prices on the tram line (down when on the street, up when 50 meters distant, all of wildly gyrating, creating difficulties, etc.), the social aspects (I’m on tram 3 etc), the differences between districts, those who obtain state largesse or not, etc. alarm many - the trolley is favored by libertarians and as I said, many town planners, the tram is seen as ‘Soviet’ with triple quotes, of course.

So the Trolley Lobby packs quite a punch.

(Hope that was of some interest.)

I’d have more to say, your life of trolleys doesn’t match Swiss folklore but for now:

this chap does a 100 meter sea level rise.


Probably more than half the people on this board would be underwater, as the rich tend to live on or near coasts.

Positives of ETBs,

1) ETBs run on electricity, and have the efficiency and "no refueling" operational savings of running off grid power.

2) ETBs can serve streets where trams/streetcars cannot.

3) ETBs are quieter than any other mode.

4) ETBs can go "off wire" with a small on-board generator and get around accidents, road work, etc. sat slow speed.

5) Buses are familiar to Americans and may face less NIMBY response.

6) ETBs have lower first costs and are faster to build.

7) ETBs

yes alll of that etc...

But these days, they're not talking about money. More people are willing to work only for employers whose environmental policies match their own credo for preserving the planet.

For me it's still about greenbacks. I work for a company that is one of the many companies responsible for the destruction of the planet. If I didn't have this job, someone else would. However, unlike others who feel the need to purchase products from the company they work for, I feel free NOT to, and openly talk poorly of the company's products while at work.
I'd love for this company to become green, as they might have a chance of surviving the next 20 years if they do so. I don't see it happening though, as the corporate culture is certainly from the age of dinosaurs.
~Durandal (http://www.wtdwtshtf.com/)

We already got a couple hundred heat related deaths a year from people running the Sonora desert super-marathon. They start in Nogalas, Mexico and try to make it to Tucson and we find their bones in the desert. Who the crap cares about New Yorkers anyways.


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

Chicago's annual marathon was shut down early on Sunday due to oppressive heat and humidity, which led to dozens of hospitalizations. Grister Sarah Hardin was on the scene and offers this first-hand report:

China vs the US The Battle For Oil – Is at google video for easy viewing.


Very interesting but very Amero-centric.

Message is China is unscrupulous in its pursuit of resources where as the beneficent US along with IMF promotes Democracy (there’s that word again) and free trade in their global efforts for oil.

I watched 1/2 of this yesterday. Gave me a new perspective of the success China has had feeding the machine. I liked to hear the personal accounts of international dealings.

I also watched Darwin's Nightmare on the weekend. Harrowing.


Amazon link:


Recipient of AA, Alberta Advantage

Well clearly this Chinese kid didn't get the memo re doing a degree and stealing Western Jobs:


He has gone back to pig farming.

A lot more money in it...:-)

Peak petroleum and public health" (excerpts at Energy Bulletin)

Important article just published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) - "the largest circulation of any medical journal."

At some point early in the 21st century, likely well before mid-century, petroleum production will peak and begin to decline. This will increase prices for petroleum and for the many goods and services that require petroleum for their production and transport. This transition will have far-reaching effects across society. Within the health sector, direct and indirect effects will be felt on medical supplies and equipment, transportation, energy, and food. Health professionals need to anticipate, prepare for, reduce, and adapt to petroleum scarcity to protect public health in coming decades.

JAMA. Wow, that's pretty impressive.

I'm with you, Leanan. Double-Wow. With a circulation of 350,000 at the higher end of the societial benefit scale, anticipating mitigation of peak oil from healthcare perspective seems quite significant.

Jama means crap in Estonian.

Holy Cow! That's the most important medical journal in the world.

I think the Lancet gets more respect.

Just my HO. ;}

Arkansaw of Samuel L Clemens

I should have wrote "in my Midwestern American work world" where the journal is ubiquitous. This article means I no longer have to feel like a nutcase for worrying about oil supply!

Then again...

Thanks for a link to a very informative summary.

It brought to my mind the question of what effect (and when) PO might have on birth control. As our supplies of energy and food drop, the big elephant in the room is the overshoot of world population. I don't know how important birth control pills and condoms have been to limit growth in the past, but if we start losing those products, might we see a surge in births in the midst of a population re-adjustment?

It also brings to mind a vital occupation for the future: midwifery.

Sam Penny
the Prudent RVer

Prudent: It is funny- everyone notes that fertility rates decline as populations become wealthier-the flip side would also hold true-fertility rates increasing as the global population becomes poorer.

Prudent: It is funny- everyone notes that fertility rates decline as populations become wealthier-the flip side would also hold true-fertility rates increasing as the global population becomes poorer.

I don't see this necessarily following. Can you find any evidence of a society or country whose economic level drops and fertility rate rises at the same time?

Unlikely, at least for the first generation. Fertility plummeted during the Great Depression,

Some social changes took hold. Now if we take away women's right to vote and outlaw abortion (perhaps a dress code as well),,,



Well, everyone should start noticing that the population of
Saudi Arabia has tripled since the 1970's on the back of
rising oil revenues, and the same thing has happened in other Middle Eastern oil producing countries.

Another bit of 'Liberal' wishful thinking bites the dust.

I think it's important to distinguish between fertility rate and population growth. It's possible to have a high fertility rate - each woman has a lot of kids - without having a high population growth (because the kids do not survive).

Indeed, this is one of the mechanisms that is reducing the fertility rate throughout the world, including Saudi Arabia. If you are more confident that your children will survive (due to better sanitation, nutrition, and healthcare), you have fewer of them.

It all depends on the level of ‘wealth’ one is considering. Starving and dispossessed ppl - such as ‘lost’ tribes - have no or few children - in the sense of children over 2-4 who have a future - they don’t want them, can’t feed them, can’t keep them alive. The children are either not conceived, or not born, or die young. (Not all naturally.)

In a more medium range, with the basics available, that is food and a summary roof, and a stable home caretaker or social circuit that will provide, many children are born, they represent an investment, cheap labor, but not only that; hope for the future, the creation of a ‘family’, etc. The Green Revolution upped pop. stats. Oil revenues as well. See for ex. pop. stats for Saudi.

In the ‘West’ both the economic advantages and the kudos of having children has diminished - the drive forward, making the effort to bring up a child to perform in modern society; housing, care, education, etc. are crippling financially (not to mention state controlled by social services.) Many couples can’t afford more than one or two, or don’t want to make those sacrifices; and many ppl have no children, don’t marry, etc., for lack of funds.

Recently, in the US, having many children, amongst the upper classes, has become a status sign - signaling that the costs can be borne and there are no limits. 5 or even 8 college educations to pay for? We love our kids!

I call them Ikea children, sweet tykes with blond hair, posing in a group, assured of a future. Adoption is still all the rage, accepted. But that is for the rich. The middle classes have a sinking birth rate. Not all over, or course, as natalist policies (eg France) keep the birth / survival rate up.

The Green Revolution upped pop. stats. Oil revenues as well. See for ex. pop. stats for Saudi.

I keep trying to get people to look at the data. 'pop.stats' (TFR and crude birthrate) have gone down since around 1950 (beginning of the green revolution) in virtually all countries. Saudi Arabia's fertility and birthrates have dropped sharply since around 1980, exactly when oil revenues begin soaring.

Make of these data what you will, but please don't be making these statements without doing some homework.

Someone has, er, "liberated" the complete text.

There was mention on the DrumBeat yesterday suggesting that someone have a contest as to when oil will hit $100/barrel. So, I've created such a contest. Guess the date that oil hits $100/barrel on the NYMEX, and you score yourself a $100 gift card to Amazon or iTunes, fronted just by little ole me.


Enjoy! Good Luck!

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

And if you like that game, you might like crude call options. Dec 2011 100 call at $2490 if you can find one for sale. If WTI is $200 then, that under-3k investment would be worth 100 grand then.

Not that a gift certificate is anything to sneeze at. I'll get my guess in...

Can you recomend a site for purchasing options?

I'm too ignorant to give recommendations; I'll risk my own money but wouldn't want to risk yours.

There are any number of places which will help you do it; I opted for one that hand-holds a bit and costs a little more. I'd say to ask people who really know what they're doing - but if you wish to click on my name and email me at that address, I'll let you know the place I chose, as long as you realize it isn't an endorsement, and that I wouldn't be competent to give one anyhow.

Still, I can help thinking that options are a decent way for a small investor to play the game for $2000 or so per bet. Just realize you'll probably either lose it all, or MAYbe cash in. I'm doing it with 5% of my wife's and my savings, and realize it may all be lost.

But the flip side is, I see everything as a risk. Even holding US treasuries has its downside... as the US dollar drops further below the loonie, I mentally wince about my I bonds. And call options are just as much about the dropping dollar as rising oil...

best of luck.

Hello TODers,

As mentioned before: I am 100% behind Alan Drake's RR & Urban-Transit full-scale proposals if we have adequate time and resources. My earlier postings on narrow gauge minitrains and/or pickup trucks pulling trailers to support free-riding hitch-hiking bicycle pelotons is a backup or augmentive idea [ 'ribs' to Alan's urban-dense RR & TOD 'spine' ] to help us ultimately bridge to suburban steelwheel-on-steelrail-on-pipeline SpiderWebRiding with lightweight railbikes and railPHEVs.

I see this Powerdown-migration path as inevitable for many rural and suburban areas because of the lack of human-habitation density/mile compared to the megadensity of New York, NY. If we move to the recommended action plan of Relocalized Permaculture: we will still need an energy-efficient way to aggregate the diffuse geo-density of harvested food products to the railhead depot or urban depot for final redistribution to the relocalized urban TOD masses. My prior speculative proposals may address this food-to-market need plus provide the answer to long daily commuting to workplaces in large megaburbs and/or outlying fields, gardens, and animal pasturages.

As posted earlier: I submitted to the Arizona Department of Transportation [the chief engineers of my Asphalt Wonderland] a very-inexpensive funding request to try my hitch-hiking peloton idea with my pickup truck slowly pulling some lightweight, custom-made trailers for the volunteer bicyclists. I was hoping to prove the superiorty of my idea to the prevailing Phoenix transit mode of buses. Sadly, I was denied my $50,000 or less request with an automated response that even included word miss-spellings:

ADOT Response ~ Request ID: 0726204430
Mr. Shaw,

Unforunatly, ADOT would be unable to offer funding for an experimental concept of this scale.

Perhaps you''d care to contact area bicycle clubs to enlist the participation of "seasoned area bicyclists"

Please refer to http://www.azbikeped.org/bicycle-organizations.html#local_clubs for further assistance.
Note: This is an automated response system, please do not respond to this email.
ADOT is unable respond to emails that are sent to this return address.

If this response was not helpful or the ADOT representative requested additional information,
this link will take you back to the automated system.


Since I am an currently unemployed and a non-TopTODer: perhaps TopTODers such as Robert Rapier, Alan Drake, Westexas, and Gail the Actuary could email their well-funded Peaknik contacts such as Vinod Khosla, Richard Rainwater, Matt Simmons, T. Boone Pickens, or insurance companies to underwrite the experimentation and evaluation of my peleton idea. Since I retain all possible patent rights to this simple hitch-hiking invention: I might share a percentage with a motivated investor. Any help or replies posted here on TOD will be appreciated.

As I am still busy re-organizing my Phx lifestyle: my response most likely will be time-delayed. Thxs for your support.

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

I'm one of the most aggressive bicyclists I know.

I've been hit 3 times (all in cross walks when I was obeying the rules)

My theory is the more aggressive you are about riding your bike in traffic the more you are noticed and the less likely you are to get hit.

There is not enough money in the world to make me try this insane idea of yours. It is a license to commit suicide in a very public and painful way. I'll stick to a nice boring idea like a train car that has space to hang my bike on it.


Sacred Cow Tipper, you expressed yesterday the kind of enthusiasm for Ebay that is only seen in those with little or no experience with it.

I have sold on Ebay for a little over 10 years. Over that time, I have bought, according to the feedback records, 45 items. I stopped buying on there cold a couple of years ago since I found that I could find things I wanted, from a pair of pants to an oscilloscope, much more cheaply, conveniently, and with a TON less hassle locally.

I no longer sell on Ebay. My sales went down to 1/3 what I was used to, and this has happened to everyone. I suspect even the Nigerian laptop scammers are experiencing lean times right now. The number of listings are at 2002 levels, and falling. Sell-through, or the amount of items sold per 100, or per 10, the percentage, is falling. Fees are up - they are always up, well, they are up again. Ebay how has a thing called the "Ebay Desktop" which you will have to use now, instead of your browser. They want your computer!

They also want every penny you earn - you can't use Ebay without signing up for PayPal, the scam-ridden bank-that-is-not-a-bank. I am convinced that Ebay auctions/Stores are merely a lead-in for PayPal, the way GM was making cars to get people using GMAC. They lost money on the cars. Ebay, likewise, loses money, or at least doesn't make that much, on their sales of actual items. One they get you on PayPal, they can collect that 30% interest (PayPal credit card) for the rest of your life.

Ebay is not the 1909 Sears Catalog, a thing that allowed the nation to buy things "by remote" no matter how remote people were. This is not the era of huge expansion and cheap rail transport. I made the mistake myself of assuming that as things got worse, Ebay would actually prove to be a better way to sell things. It's not turned out that way at all. Between the roughly doubled shipping fees, huge Ebay fees, PayPal fees, and everyone going broke, people are doing what I did a couple of years ago - deciding that Ebay's not worth it and buying local or just not buying.

If you have a product, set up a webpage. Pay a webmaster $100 a month to run it for you if needed, that will be far less of a money sink than Ebay is.

I also used to sell on eBay, and stopped after fees became outrageous. What service, exactly, do they provide? Oh yeah, they're a gigantic messageboard for selling products. After the eBay fees, PayPal fees, etc, you can't make jack. that's why everybody on eBay sells their products for $0.99 with $40 "shipping" because they don't put fees on shipping.
~Durandal (http://www.wtdwtshtf.com/)

My STBE-wife runs an eBay store, "successfully" though I don't get to see all the numbers involved. I just see every now and again huge fees and PayPal does seem to be very hard to work with and costly.

The thing that gets me though is the random shutting of accounts. Or worse, when selling her OWN property - items bought form Louis Vuitton or elsewhere - eBay can just shut her down and freeze her assets arbitrarily without explanation because of what she's selling.

Sounds a bit dodgy to me...

I am trying to figure out a Peak-oil business strategy myself at the moment. It's hard to do with few assets (see the reference to my wife's Louis Vuitton habit above). I don't want to go uber-cynical and profit directly from the fall, though I've ideas in that direction too...

I just want to pay the bills and if/when the business collapses be left with assets that are valuable post-peak... I expect a rapid hard crash really kicking in in the 3-5 year timeframe followed by a long period of die-off...
All these memories will be lost in time
like tears in rain

Yes I want to mention, my post is for ALL of you out there unreasonably enthusiastic about Ebay.

The best Ebay essays are at Don Lancaster's site, www.tinaja.com - two good points are that he aims for a 30-to-1 ratio of cost to profit (not sure if he gets that!) and that most Ebay sellers pay themselves "slave" wages.

Another good site is www.powersellersunite.com - you don't have to be a powerseller to read or join!

My house partner and essentially benefactor here just got another job - both involve cleaning horse stables and feeing horses, etc., and are not glamorous. Or on the books. Or lucrative, although I sure remember working my bloody ass off for the amount of money these random chores add up to.

I suspect if I spend enough time here I'll develop a network of people to work for and find enough "shit" jobs to keep me going too. I say "shit" jobs because if shit's not directly involved it's not far away lol. This type of work, working on or with horses and other animals, fixing stuff, etc., is much more sustainable than anything high-tech and listen up good now because the Internet may not be around in even a few years to natter on about this stuff on.

I pushed a couple of hundred thousand dollars worth of networking equipment through Ebay back in the late nineties. I saw the occasional fraud and I didn't sweat the fees when the profit on a transaction was at least a three digit number after all was said and done. I agree that its a crock in a number of ways and growing worse, but the point is that heavy, perishable, etc are local products, and expensive, light, and durable will be found via the internet.

Actually I'd love to sell HP vector network analyzers on Ebay if I could get the things for a decent price - they are HEAVY but the profit ratio can be very good.

On the other end of things, I was selling a lot of small, light, durable items. Packages of 100 solder turret terminals for $10, packages of 50 vintage short-leg LEDS, a roll of Kapton tape, etc. All easy and small and cheap to ship but PEOPLE STOPPED BUYING.

I was beginning to realize I'd be better off with a van going to the local swapmeet anyway.

But, sales on Ebay are 1/3 what they were a couple of years ago, yes it's really that bad.

It was not like it was in the late 90s, I remember the late 90s on Ebay and those were GOOD times.

Don Lancaster advises not selling anything on Ebay that you can't hold out at arm's length.

I advocate staying far the hell away from Ebay and finding a way to make a living honestly (honestly in not dealing with that crookfest and honestly in terms of not screwing yourself.)

Ebay became a liquidation vehicle for me some time ago ... excess bits of Cisco gear seem to breed in my storage area and I have periodic pogroms to free up shelf space. I believe it could still work as an advertising vehicle, but I have other nutty ideas, too :-)

All easy and small and cheap to ship but PEOPLE STOPPED BUYING.

They have stopped buying because the vast majority of stuff offered for sale on e-bay are DISCRETIONARY PURCHASES. Remember WT's ELM advice: "Get thee to the non-discretionary side of the economy."

It sounds to me like we may have in e-bay a canary in the mine, and the canary has stopped singing.

I sold on Ebay from 1998 till 9-11 with very good success...Then it went down hill fast. I sold antique pocket and hunting knives from the 1700s till 1960s. I had 3-4 good sales years before it tanked so I did well while it lasted. I attempted again in the prime sales season of 2003 and again in 2005 and then got out of Ebay sales. Now I buy an occasional book or dvd on half.com and occasionally a part for my motorcycles but not much. Once I found a seller that had some terrific old style (discontinued made in USA) LL Bean sweat pants made from very heavy cotton and I bought three pair of those for $8 per. Just the odd item now. I used to buy vintage Harley Ts from the 50s-70s but I got some fakes and stopped buying those. Lots of con guys out there selling fakes. After 9-11 it was never the same.

My sister has been selling on Ebay for 5 years and with some success. She has 470 positive rating and 100%. I thought about trying it too, but it's a lot of work for sellers. They have to find the right product and get it at very low price so that there's a gain after all the work, cost and hassle. There are fads on Ebay. You have to figure out what is in demand and not just list what you happen to want to get rid of.

Ebay is a much better deal for buyers than for sellers IMO. The buyer knows what the item would cost him locally and with a few clicks can choose among all the seller's offerings. He sets the price not the seller. In retail the seller usually sets the price. A good trick is to watch the item until it is near the end of the auction and then put your bid in slightly higher than the last bid. Doesn't work all the time, but often it does. You have to be willing to lose some items.

The last item I bought on Ebay was a code reader for my Ford Ranger when the check engine light came on. The local NAPA store wanted $130 for one. Other stores wanted from about $70 to $80. I got one on Ebay for $30 plus shipping. It was cheap, made in China, but it worked and I found out what was causing the check engine light to come on.

Practical, there are many types of sellers on Ebay. I was selling antique pocket and hunting knives and a thorough knowledge was mandatory. I have been a pocket knife collector since a child. Almost every equestrian carried a pocket knife with 'hoof cleaner' prior to motorcycles then autos. Even 'gentlemen' carried expensive ivory or pearl handled knives. Hundreds of knife factories existed throughout the US, each with its own trademark 'tang stamp.' Then there is condition to consider. Antique knives are graded much like antique coins.

Many of the knives that I sold were in the $700-$3000 range but there were also lots of sales in the $80-$300 range and all in between. The most difficult part of selling items that are all different, like antique knives, is writing an interesting and educational description and taking very good photos to go with the listing. Listings are time consuming. I spent many 12 hour or longer days on my listings and email with customers. Making money on Ebay consistently is not a walk in the park. Then there was the expense of travel to knife shows, the danger of carrying lots of cash to purchase knives, time away from home, hiring a bean counter so that the IRS wouldnt be shorted, dealing with new collectors that didnt know the first thing about antique knives, etc. Eventually I started buying antique knife books by the case and selling them to wannabe collectors. I figured I was clearing $100,000 a year for approx 3,300 hours of work not counting travel time...With travel time it would be about $25 per hour...Peanuts. I have a friend that is working as an inspector on a pipeline job in Kansas that is grossing over $500 per day including per diem. He seldom gets out of his truck! I still have my personal knife collection but will not attempt to sell anything else on Ebay.

I may be going to a Stanford event titled: "Courting Disaster: The Fight for Oil, Water and a Healthy Planet"

The panelists "include Hoover visiting fellow Gen. John Abizaid, Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, and School of Earth Sciences Dean Pamela Matson. Former CNN political analyst Carlos Watson, JD '95, will be the moderator."

So, the question for you lot is when it comes to Q&A if I can get called on, what do I ask... I want a Peak Oil question that is brief enough that I can ask it but that pre-empts the hand waiving dismissal one can expect of Tom Freidman...

Any thoughts?
All these memories will be lost in time
like tears in rain

"World oil exports are currently declining and some models suggest that leading exporters such as Saudi Arabia could cease exporting oil in as little as 20 years, in much the same way that the US stopped exporting oil in the late Forties.

Shouldn't we be making preparations for moving back to the electrified mass transit that we used to have in this country?"

Question. Many serious people have pointed out that solar energy is the one clean energy source that is more than copious enough to entirely replace ALL fossil fuels (cite for example Nathan Lewis "powering the Planet" in Caltech mag Engineering and Science, 2007 No.2. http://nsl.caltech.edu.)

Q- Why aren't we going for solar, Banzai?.

You could preface it with the obvious fact that FF costs have to include the costs of ruining the planet, or they are absolutely meaningless. There is no such thing as "cheap" fossil fuels

Going solar faces the barrier of the Law of Receding Horizons. As oil gets more expensive the cost of materials used for solar also get more expensive. For solar to pay off in the long term means having the ability to sit on the investment while inflation causes oil prices to go even higher. If inflation doesn't happen in a big way you lose big. I believe that solar needs to be a big public works project on a scale similar to WW II.

Your comment about the cost of materials being a function of the present price of energy is correct, except that the same comment also applies to all the other alternatives available. The cost of electricity generated by today's nuclear power plants is the result of capital spending decades ago. Building new nuclear power plants will produce electricity at a much higher price, even if efforts are made to standardize on a few designs.

And I disagree about solar, as I'm living in a solar heated house which costs less than heating with oil or electricity in today's market. It works because the design includes a major conservation effort, as well as a very cheap solar thermal system. It's not "high tech" and if I can build it, using basic hand tools and readily available building materials, anybody can.

I see it as a problem of education and motivation. In our recent fast moving world, people don't stay in one place long enough to make such an investment and our real estate world doesn't place high value on solar or conservation. Our entire economy is structured around consumption and we don't know how to say "Enough is enough" until we get to retirement when it's game over time. As oil and other fossil fuels become more difficult to produce, all this will change, because we won't have any other choice.

E. Swanson

I agree solar thermal is cost effective in particular passive solar buildings. It is one of those mysteries of the building code that solar thermal isn't mandatory. I was thinking more about electricity production and liquid fuels when I cited the Law of Receding Horizons.

Solar pays off in the long term because it allows a planet my grandkids can live on. I have already lost big.

Looks like an interesting discussion to happen:


How about a topical question:

"Scientists who have studied man made climate change have pointed out that very large reductions in emissions of greenhouse gases will be necessary to keep climate change to a small 2 degrees C. A recent report released by the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee echoed these findings, laying the framework for a 60 to 80% reduction in emissions by 2050. One Democratic Party candidate for President has offered a plan which it is claimed will achieve such a reduction for the U.S., including a strict allocation program for reducing fossil carbon emissions. Any such plan will require major changes in the basic structure of the American Economy, with attendant dislocations and economic pain for many people. What are the panelists thoughts about how we are to achieve these reductions, given that world oil production is said to be close to peak and the most likely immediate substitute for oil is coal, which may be used in ways that emit even more CO2 than is currently being emitted by oil and natural gas?"

Of course, adjust wording to follow on from the panel discussion. Mention the Export Land Model if they don't, etc.

Having not been back to visit The Farm since passing by in 1980 on the way to a AAAS Convention, I guess I'll miss this gathering too. Do they still have more cows than students?

E. Swanson

the framework for a 60 to 80% reduction in emissions by 2050

Please note the MI model for the "Transportation + Renewable Energy" scenario. 50.3% of 2007 GHG in 2038. How much more in a dozen more years ?

This model can be DYNAMITE in showing achievable goals and means and methods of achieving them !

Best Hopes,


"How can we get the type of people that charge thousands of dollars in speaking fees to start talking about something that really matters, like the survival of civilization as oil supplies decline?"

Okay - sorry, I am all questions today: I have noticed postings every now and again about buying Gold or Silver, and was talking about this with someone I know who is convinced he should have bought Google early and now wants to invest a few grand in the stock market (the guy is a Coastguard so this money is a huge amount of his net worth - I am saying DON'T do it)

But the question comes up - in small chunks how and from where does one buy silver, without being ripped off... I see prices bandied around like $15 per ounce for silver (don't recall gold off the top of my head), but that doesn't seem to reflect retail prices for silver...
All these memories will be lost in time
like tears in rain

While I agree with the comments about eBay up thread (and shuttered a failing eBay business a year ago), coins are one of the few niche markets where eBay is working - at least for me as a buyer.

I have been able to buy small quantities of "junk silver" (primarily pre-1965 washington quarters and 1964 Kennedy half dollars) for less than I would pay at a coin shop (b&m or online).

But even if you want to skip eBay. "Junk Silver" is an excellent way of holding silver as the content is established, the mint is well known, and you won't be paying for numismatic value. You can buy silver bars from independent mints, many are imprinted with fancy pictures, and while I do have some of these, I worry about the legitimacy factor. You can also buy "Silver Eagles" - 1 oz. bullion coins from the US mint. Beautiful coins, but the mark up on these is typically much larger than on the other types of silver.

You should be able to buy or sell "junk silver" at any reputable coin shop. Just be sure to track the "spot" price and learn what the dealer uses as a mark up.

I asked this yesterday - how does one spend $100 to $500 without payinga 250% "collectible coin" tax? I don't care if its plain silver ingots, I just want the silver for the content ...

I've never heard of that tax, but then I don't collect coins.

There are places like this that sell bags of silver for not much above spot price.
I bought a few of their silver bullion rounds a couple years ago.

I think it's a bit of a ripoff that coins are taxed as collectibles, but I thought that just meant at the short-terms capital gain rate. But if you don't spend them until after the government collapses, that would presumably not be a problem.

The idea of a silver dime being worth more than a 20-dollar bill may or may not fly with your average post-crash pumpkin farmer, which is why I went with silver rounds with a picture of south american miners on it - sort of a "treasure of sierra madre" novelty factor. Though .22LR will probably hold value a lot better.


I believe that 'bricks' of .22 cal. (500 rounds) will be just as good as holding silver after a currency collapse. The .22 ammo will keep for very many years if it isnt left out in the weather. In the 1960s I was using 'Peters High Velocity' .22 ammo that was made prior to WW1 and it functioned like new, although it had been on a closet shelf in a non ac farmhouse for over 40 years. .22 ammo is a store of value and has the added benefit of being of some use if need be...what can one do with silver other than use it as a store of value?

I think he just meant a "TAX" in the sense that one pays over the odds for collectible coins compared to the spot silver price at the time
All these memories will be lost in time
like tears in rain

Yeah, that is what I meant - I don't care if its pretty or if the silver atoms are part of a limited set of silver atoms arrange in a certain way, I just want them for value holding ...

Y'all really think .22LR is a good value holder? I buy another box every time I pass the store just in case but silver seems a whole lot denser and more likely to be usable for buying land and larger purchases like that.

Yeah - this is what I wanted - $991 for a minimum is a bit rich for my blood given all the other needs at this point, but we'll see what the future holds ...

I have used USA Gold. Good people, Quote you a price on the phone and you can mail a personal check. Coins will be mailed to you. Don't know what their mininum amount is though. Otherwise, buy individual coins etc at a coin/pawn shop. I have noticed that their prices is just a tad over silver price.


Trading Desk
Extension 100

YOu visit a site such as www.golddealer.com and decide what you want to buy. It is normal to have a higher premium for silver that gold:

Premium Quality-$2000 Order Free Shipping
Our Buy Price
Our Sell Price

$1000 Face 90% Ave Circ Silver Coin Pre-65 (715 Oz)

$1000 Face 40% Ave Circ Silver Halves (295 Oz)

100 Oz Johnson Matthey/Engelhard Bars (.999 Fine)

1000* Oz Comex Acceptable Bar (.999 Fine/Per Oz)

1 Oz Generic Silver Rounds (.999 Fine)
At Spot
Spot + 60¢

10 Oz Generic Silver Bars (.999 Fine)
At Spot
Spot + 60¢

10 Oz Wall Street Silver Bars (.999 Fine)
Spot + 10¢
Spot + 80¢

US Silver Eagles 1 Oz 2007 Box of 500


200 Silver Coins (2007 Canadian Maple Leaf or Eagle)

Canadian Silver Maple Leaf 1 Oz 2007 Boxes Of 500

Once you know what you want, you call them up, and the price gets locked in. You send them a check or wire the money, and then a few days after your funds cleared, the bullion shows up in the mail. It is all registered and insured.


If you buy directly from a coin dealer, you avoid shipping and handling charges.
In California, there is sales tax if you buy less than $1000. If you buy more than that, no tax.


My local coin dealer sells "junk silver" at spot. I believe we are just "over-the-hill" from where you are, so there must be someone on your side of the hill that does the same (or maybe it is CA law?).

Apparently, he buys for spot minus 7%.

your aquaintance can buy worn out silver dollars and half dollars from a coin dealer in an antique mall for example. you can pick up the worn out ones for not much more than the price of silver ($6 for a half $12 for a dollar) as far as i can tell a worn out dollar has about 0.75 oz silver. no self respecting coin collector would have any use for them. but the question is what can you do with them other than hold onto them ?

The Gorgon CO2 separation plant is not a model for coal fired power stations. A membrane separates CO2 from wet gas, not boiling hot, dusty flue gas. The remaining hydrocarbons are yet to be converted to CO2 when burned by the customer. Pumping the CO2 under remote Barrow Island is not as risky as a site near a city. Memo to politicians; this doesn't yet prove clean coal is viable.

Historical footnote: both this area and the region of Olympic Dam down south were used by the Brits for A-bomb testing in the 60s. Must have been a magic wand now both locations have energy bonanzas.

Canadian Natural Gas Output May Decline 15% by 2009 (Update1)


Production of gas from conventional fields in western Canada, which accounts for about 98 percent of the country's output, may fall to 13.7 billion cubic feet a day by 2009 from 16.2 billion last year, the National Energy Board said.

Higher labor costs, competition from oil-sands investments and smaller finds from mature fields contribute to the decline. The number of gas wells drilled this year may fall to about 11,900, a 28 percent drop from 2006, Ken Martin, a supply analyst at the regulatory agency, said in a telephone interview.

I think it is clear enough that it will be either US exports or Tar sands expansion..

I counted noses this morning - 428 empty canning jars in the basement. The doomer in me was quivering with anticipation - farmer's market Saturday, and my pockets are full of silver.

Watching TSHTF will be easier on a full tummy ...

428 empty canning jars

Y'all don't be shy - how are your preparations coming?

6 chords of dry fitted hardwood in the yard. That's a 2 year supply for our tiny well insulated salt box.

Generator was tuned and oil changed just last week.

30 gals of treated gas stored in shed.

1 pig and 5 small grill type tanks of propane stored as well. We cook with propane.

2 gallons of lamp oil.

Battery bank ( 4 100amp hour agms ) fully charged and we have a spare inverter on hand.

All lights have cfls.

Have an airx small wind machine in storage, kind of an in case we need it thing.

We have a hand pump stored as well, with extra leathers.

We sold off a large percentage of our business, and now our office is at home.

We could expand the food storage, presently about a 2 month supply, that could probably strecth to 3 months if needed.

How's that?

Sounds fine Don In Maine. Some things that I think will be good to eat and valuable trade goods. Large jars of Jif peanut butter. Large jars of Hellmans Real Mayonaise. Many boxes of Saltines (Ritz cost more but have a longer shelf life). Many cans of King Oscar Sardines (my personal favorite brand). Many vacuum packed Tuna and Salmon. Many tinned Danish Hams. Many Hersheys syrup (good shelf life without fridge). Many large jars of various Jam. Gallons of medium quality ev olive oil. Many tinned brown bread. Many cans of fruit and various veggies...I could go on but you get the picture.

Even if you dont drink stock up on cheap burbon or vodka or rum just for trading material...it will be worth a fortune in trade for anything you might need. Same with bottles of cheap asprin, various other over the counter meds, sulfa powder, antihistemenes, etc. Everything will be valuable for trade.

Although there are dozens of excellent lists on the Internet, I'd suggest that serious people spend twenty bucks and buy Making the Best of Basics - Family Preparedness Handbook by James Stevens, ISBN 1-882723-25-2 as a start. It is several hundred pages and covers just about everything from how much food to stock to how long it lasts to how cook it to personal essentials.

I'd also suggest The Encyclopedia of Country Living by Carla Emery. I've loaned my copy so I don't have the ISBN.

And, FWIW, figure about 300 quart canning jars of fruit and vegetables per adult per year.

Preparedness is serious business...don't skimp!


How about seeds for growing heirloom vegetables? And don't forget the legumes for nitrogen fixing. I will be starting to learn about seed saving this year, as just ordering a new supply of seeds every spring may become a thing of the past fairly rapidly.

During the winter you can grow winter wheat or rye and hairy vetch, which will help to improve the soil.

And, knowing how to build a fire without matches/lighter may be a really good idea too.


Heirloom seeds???

http://seedsavers.org - perfect for me, as they're on the same latitude as us and only 180 miles east.

So many things to know and do and so little time. There is a propane powered heater we used in our hog house back when that is in storage ... need to get a small cylinder and see if it still works.

I feel just a little mental doing all this stuff ... family totally not buying into it, many people I talk to willing to allow that "something" will happen later this year or early next year. I hope I'm really, really, really wrong and that it'll be a slow slide and I'm on the right side of production, but I guess we shall see ...

Y'all don't be shy - how are your preparations coming?

Not doing too badly....


But it really helps for us guys to have a very capable mate...



At least I get braggin' rights...

Just wanted to say hi to everyone. I've been lurking for over two years and feel like I know many of you personally. Keep up the great work everyone, especially Leanan and the rest of the TOD staff! (Apparently) I can't make it through without you.

Atlanta's main source of water, has about three months of storage left.


I had always assumed that some of southwest cities would eventually have to be abandoned, but Atlanta?

What happens if a major US city runs out of water? Does everyone just leave?

I've read of towns being swallowed by the dust during the dust bowl, but this......

Large parts of the US, cities and countryside, will have severe water problems within 5 years. Yes, large groups of people will leave. Or at least they'll try. However, many have homes and mortgages that won't be easy to sell.

Vegas is the fastest growing city in the country, and will be the first one to collapse. That's ironic, isn't it? Agriculture in the southwest? With what water?

The Australian government has started offering farmers hundreds of thousands of dollars just to get off their own land, just so they stop using the water.

No one here has a clue how bad this is about to get. And don't forget this: water equals electricity. Droughts mean power-outs too.

Will Southwest's economy dry up?

STACEY VANEK SMITH: Climate models by U.S. academics project a 15 percent decrease in moisture in the Southwest between the years 2021 and 2040. That might not sound so bad, but the same drop in precipitation led to the great Dust Bowl in the 1930s.

Jeffrey Mount directs the Center for Watershed Sciences at U.C. Davis. He's been researching the drought's future effects on hydropower:

JEFFREY MOUNT: The immediate and most severe impacts are brownouts.

Mount says those brownouts will likely become more and more frequent. As snowpacks recede, he says, dam levels will drop and strain the region's power grid.

MOUNT: One of the things that tend to come with drought tends to be heat waves -- and the demand for electricity is very very high during those heat waves. And the hydropower system is one of our great buffers there, because they can spin it up very fast.

Mount says the Southwest's growth is directly tied to the ability to move water around cheaply, to very dry cities like Phoenix and L.A. Mount says the price of the energy needed to move that water will rise stratospherically as states go to the open market to buy extra energy.

Those higher prices for water and energy could affect everything from hi-tech to agriculture. Farming is a $40-billion industry in the Southwest. It also drinks up about 80 percent of the available water. Farmers are trying to conserve.

Nevada farmer Dean Baker watches his massive sprinkler system move slowly over an alfalfa field. He says farmers are using low-hanging, rotating sprinklers like these to stretch their water supply.

DEAN BAKER: Used to be, we had the big sprinklers that went swish, swish, swish in this extreme low humidity, it evaporated before it ever hit the ground. These are hugely more efficient with water use.

Some doomsday scenarios predict agriculture will disappear entirely in the Southwest as water prices rise.

You said "some doomsday" and I think you meant "all objective".

I was on Lake Mead a few months back - down 90' from its peak and never going back again, at least not with humans looking on. Upstream from there is Glen Canyon Dam - they're getting 70% of their normal power output due to low water levels.

The Glen Canyon dam produces ten cubic kilometers of water each year for the states of California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Nevada, with 85% of that going to irrigation. There is much room for improvement in irrigation practices and the whole golf course/lawn stuff is going to come to a screeching halt - why water it if you can't afford the gas to mow it?

The disintegration of the Mexican state, the drying of the region, and the collapse of the economy will all collaborate to empty that region ...

(I looked at Google earth after posting this and came back to edit - the satellite imagery shows the lake full. How often do they update their stuff? Do they have a fixed method or do they adapt to where the news is happening?)

Another aspect of this is that many dams are used to supply power solely for the purpose of driving electric water pumps elsewhere. When this hydropower is reduced they will try to replace it with electricity and FF adding even more strain to the system.

The California Energy Commission reported that "total water-related energy consumption is large, using roughly 19 percent of all electricity used in California, approximately 32 percent of all natural gas, and 88 million gallons of diesel fuel. [per year]"


What happens if a major US city runs out of water? Does everyone just leave?

Nah. I think that article shows how it's going to go. First they'll try to gut the environmental regulations. ("What more important, fish or people?") They'll blame the Army Corps of Engineers for screwing up. They'll fight with other states over water. Industries that use a lot of water will be forced to move away. They'll pray for rain, and maybe they'll get reprieve this time, and the next. But eventually, they'll have to change their lifestyles and get used to water restrictions.

Social norms change so there is no shame in having a dried brown lawn. In fact if you have a green lawn inspectors can call round and put flow restrictors in your taps. The bigger problem I think is that we need vitamins and calcium from irrigated veg and dairy.

Iran is spending its oil money on terrorism not maintenance and expansion of its oil fields.

It will cease to be a net producer of oil in about 5 years.

Oil Outlook

Link is to your personal blog.

Tell us, M. Simon, what do you know about the progression of governments in Iran since WWII?

progression of governments in Iran

Yes, Specifically the period 1950-1954 would be nice to revisit.

Mr. Simon?

Will this affect his new funding with the navy Simon?

There is a way out. Nuclear is co2 free and sustainable assuming Fast-Breeder reactors (which literally produce more fissile material than they consume).