DrumBeat: October 17, 2007

Oil reverses course, hits new record

Oil prices surged to a new record of $89 a barrel Wednesday after Turkey's parliament authorized an incursion into northern Iraq in search of Kurdish rebels.

The vote overshadowed a U.S. government report that crude oil and gasoline inventories overall rose more than expected last week. But prices did draw some support from a 200,000 barrel decline in inventories at the closely-watched New York Mercantile Exchange delivery terminal in Cushing, Okla.

Light, sweet crude for November delivery rose $1.09 to $88.69 a barrel on the Nymex after rising to a record $89 earlier.

OPEC intervention not ruled out in Riyadh

The recent hike in oil prices is driven by speculation and a weak dollar rather than any new demand, but more intervention by OPEC exporters is not ruled out, Nigeria said on Wednesday.

Economies adjust to an oil price heading for $90 a barrel

Only a month after breaching $80, the price for a barrel of oil is now heading towards $90, scaling heights barely conceivable a few years ago.

A year ago the Inter-national Monetary Fund's economic forecasts were based on an assumption that oil would average $75.50 this year. The IMF's annual meetings are likely to take place this weekend with the price almost $15 higher.

Yet global growth has remained remarkably robust. The world has shown that it can live with oil at $70 a barrel and higher.

No long-term global oil shortage: US

THERE is no long-term global oil shortage, a senior US official said in Australia yesterday, on a day when the oil price went almost to $US87 a barrel because of the Turkey-PKK situation.

James A. Slutz, deputy assistant secretary for oil and natural gas, made it clear yesterday that the US position is that any worries about oil supply are caused more by slow technological take-up by oil explorers than by any specific oil shortage.

Or, as the industry puts it, a low rate of change in the approach to non-conventional oil.

Motley Fool: Let's Open a Foolish Mailbag

But now, Fools, I'm concerned that the world's energy situation is far more precarious than is typically understood. Certainly, the mainstream media haven't picked up on the fragile state of the world's ability to meet increasing crude oil demand with ready supplies. (But then, keeping up with Britney and Paris is a time-consuming assignment.) Nor have the powers that be in Washington displayed any sort of grasp of the true nature of the energy challenges we're already beginning to face.

Energy package is hung up on taxes

The White House is threatening to veto any energy bill that seeks to raise taxes on oil companies, prompting Democratic lawmakers Tuesday to accuse the administration of being too cozy with the industry.

When oil prices rise, so does just about everything else

When oil gets expensive, everything gets expensive. Everything.

Think about it: Almost everything we consume must be transported in boats, planes, trains or trucks that run on petroleum-based fuel. And a lot of consumer goods – and their packaging – are made of petroleum-based plastics or chemicals.

Commuting habits hard to break

Recent census data show commuting habits in Sioux Falls are difficult to break, even with unstable gas prices and global warming concerns. In 2000, 84.3 percent of workers drove alone on their daily commute. Data for 2006 shows a slight increase to 84.6 percent.

Hybrid harvest

A new crop of hybrid gas-electric vehicles will debut for 2008, upping the variety of gas-conscious conveyances while making it easier for drivers to keep their lifestyle.

U.S. Automakers Renew Small Car Efforts

U.S. automakers pretty much ceded the small car market to the Japanese during the past decade. Now, with consumers shifting toward more gas-thrifty models and the realization that a strong compact brings buyers to their brand, Detroit is trying to make yet another comeback.

Nantucket ferry fares hiked as oil price soars

The Woods Hole, Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket Steamship Authority can barely keep up.

In the month before the authority's September meeting the price of a barrel of oil jumped from $70 to $80 a barrel.

Since that meeting, the price of oil has risen $8 to a record $88 a barrel in trading yesterday just as the Steamship Authority's board voted on fare increases to make up for the earlier spike in fuel prices.

Now, increases in the cost of a ticket on the fast ferry between Hyannis and Nantucket approved by the authority's members may not be enough to right the boat line's budget for next year.

Taxi fares to increase next month

"It's been about seven years since the city's taxi fares were increased. With the recent increases in fuel prices, the city government and the taxi unions reached a consensus that it is time to raise the fee," Department of Transportation Commissioner Luo Shiaw-shyan (羅孝賢) said yesterday at Taipei City Hall.

Bush, Climate and the Technology Illusion

But most interesting of all is the way he envisages controlling the level of greenhouse gas emissions. Not by reducing energy consumption, the increase of which was, on the contrary, put forward as inescapable - "In this new century, the need for energy will only grow" - including in the most developed countries. Climate change is therefore only one of the two challenges that will confront humanity according to him - the other being "energy security." Mr. Bush continued, "For many years, those who worried about climate change and those who worried about energy security were on opposite ends of the debate. It was said that we faced a choice between protecting the environment and producing enough energy. Today we know better. These challenges share a common solution: technology. By developing new low-emission technologies, we can meet the growing demand for energy and at the same time reduce air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions." And the American president enumerated various techniques under study that would allow us to "be responsible stewards of the earth the Almighty trusted to our care."

I cannot emphasize enough the importance of this vision, very representative not only of what Mr. Bush thinks, but also of the doctrine that has developed among a broad swathe of the defenders of an economic system basically unchanged in the face of the climate change challenge.

Hidden Costs Of Climate Change In US: Major, Nationwide, Uncounted

The total economic cost of climate change in the United States will be major and nationwide in scope, but remains uncounted, unplanned for and largely hidden in public debate, says a new study from the University of Maryland.

The report, The U.S. Economic Impacts of Climate Change and the Costs of Inaction, is the first to pull together and analyze the previous economic research on the subject, along with other relevant data, in order to develop a more complete estimate of costs.

National power grid watchdog says renewable energy sources require new power lines

The watchdog that oversees North America's power grid says the full promise of renewable fuels cannot be harnessed without first building more power lines that can carry this cleaner energy to consumers.

In an annual report, the North American Electric Reliability Corp. of Princeton, N.J., said increasingly popular state government rules requiring a certain percentage of electricity to be from renewable sources will require massive investments in transmission capacity.

Oil price surge obscures emerging refinery cushion

Oil's thundering rally over the past six days may be masking a bearish turning point for the market -- the recovery in refining capacity, which could end a three-year squeeze on global fuel supplies.

If, as many analysts expect, refiners manage to bring new plants onstream on time next year, the world may enjoy its biggest margin of spare fuel supply capacity in years, relieving one of the major risk factors that has lifted oil prices.

Yemen: Energy profile

Yemen is showing political stability but security remains a concern for foreign investment.

Alaska gets tough on Big Oil

A faceoff between Alaska's governor and giant oil companies may scuttle plans to build a $25 billion natural gas pipeline.

More power to a new look at energy globally

A new study by the Australian Strategic Studies Institute states that we are in "the third energy shock of the post-war [post-1945] era".

This differs from those of 1973 and 1979 in being driven by rapidly rising demand, not constraints by suppliers.

Demand, the report says, has gone on climbing despite a huge rise in oil prices. Neither consumers nor governments have responded as they did in the 1970s shocks.

Unfair meddling in Cape Wind

TWO YEARS ago, the state's Energy Facilities Siting Board completed an exhaustive, 39-month review of the undersea cable linking the proposed Nantucket Sound wind power turbines with transmission facilities on the Cape. The board approved the cable, even though then-governor Mitt Romney was an outspoken opponent of the Cape Wind project. Now a subcommittee of the Cape Cod Commission is recommending that the commission deny approval of the cable because of "insufficient information." The commission should reject this transparent, obstructionist recommendation and approve Cape Wind's cable.

Why your electric bill is so high

In standby, a machine is not really turned off. It goes into a state of reduced activity that requires only minimal power consumption. The downside is that even at vastly reduced power levels, millions of machines running all day, every day, adds up to huge amounts of wasted energy. With oil prices at record highs and the climate under threat from excessive consumption of fossil fuels, this is neither smart nor desirable.

Global warming starts to split GOP contenders

While many conservative commentators and editorialists have mocked concerns about climate change, a different reality is emerging among Republican presidential contenders. It is a near-unanimous recognition among the leaders of the threat posed by global warming.

Within that camp, however, sharp divisions are developing. Senator John McCain of Arizona is calling for capping gas emissions linked to warming and higher fuel economy standards. Others, including Rudolph W. Giuliani and Mitt Romney, are refraining from advocating such limits and are instead emphasizing a push toward clean coal and other alternative energy sources.

All agree that nuclear power should be greatly expanded.

Climate change creating jobs for some

Climate change presents unprecedented headaches for the nation's farmers but will fuel a jobs bonanza in agriculture, according to new research.

The University of Sydney study found 123,000 jobs - mostly graduate positions - will be created in the agriculture sector during the next six years, which is a 36 per cent increase on current levels.

Better Biofuel: Corn with No Ears

Ear-less corn holds heaps of sugar that could be turned into ethanol and other biofuels, a new study finds.

When grown in the Midwest, this "tropical maize" lacks nutrient-needy cobs, so the crops require less nitrogen and other fertilizers.

Farming Faces Phosphate Shortfall

Global reserves of phosphorous, essential for agriculture, could run out in 60 to 100 years, warn experts.

Europe biofuel group threatens action on U.S. subsidy

European biodiesel makers said on Tuesday they may take a legal action against what they see as unfair subsidies for U.S. biofuel which threaten their business.

India: Import bill set to surge on use of vegetable oil as biofuel

Even as World Food Day is being celebrated on Tuesday, there is a growing concern among the vegetable oil industry in the country against the global usage of vegetable oils for fuel purpose, more so in the current scenario when crude oil prices are ruling above $85 per barrel, which has significantly scaled up the vegetable oil prices between 50% to 130% since last year.

Spike in Crude Oil Price to $88/Barrel Without New Runup in Pump Price Exposes Oil Industry Deception, Profiteering

The oil industry's longstanding argument that high gas prices in recent years were driven by the rising price of crude oil would leave motorists paying about $4.50/gallon at current oil prices if the industry claim was accurate, said the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights and its OilWatchdog.org project. The group said that the current national average of $2.76/gallon spotlights the profiteering of the spring gasoline price highs and the increasing politicization of gasoline pricing.

Oil price may cause investor pain this time

Oil's spike to all-time highs around $87 a barrel has set long-term investors wondering whether the price of crude is finally getting high enough to do economic damage.

Another oil record? Markets just yawn

Remember the good old days when the price of oil would soar, and Canada's energy-heavy stock market would rise right along with it?

Well, oil prices are soaring again. But something's gone wrong with the second part of that equation.

No viable solution to energy crisis in 20-30 years

The world is unlikely to find viable solution for the energy crisis in the next 20-30 years, Sustainable Energy Authority (SEA) Chairman, Ananda S. Gunasekera said.

"During this transition period from the depletion of the fossil fuel until the discovery of such viable renewable energy source the people have to undergo difficulties," he said.

Analysis: Iran, Syria in gas deal

A $1 billion deal to pipe natural gas to Syria from Iran announced in early October signals increasing ties between the two foes of the United States, and its path through Turkey could inflame tensions at a time when U.S.-Turkish relations are strained.

Ecuador Oil: More Trouble Ahead

Ecuadorian president Rafael Correa, inspired by policies in Venezuela, is aggressively attacking foreign oil companies in a gamble that likely will lead to further falls in oil output from Latin America's fifth-largest oil producing country. Foreign oil companies account for half of Ecuador's oil production, while state oil company Petroecuador continues to be plagued by mismanagement and a heavy debt burden.

Ecuador to halt oil drilling in pristine forest

Ecuador said on Tuesday it will not allow oil drilling in a pristine Amazon jungle area inhabited by unique tropical species and Indian tribes hidden from the outside world.

The move could hurt the operations of China's Andes Petroleum, Spain's Repsol and Brazil's Petrobras who manage oil fields partially inside the area.

5 Injured in Protest at Oil Field in Ecuador

One person was shot and four others sustained serious injuries when residents of Shushufindi, a town in the northeastern province of Sucumbios, tried to occupy an oil field being guarded by the army, Ecuadorian media reported Tuesday.

A loophole could dim impact in proposed energy-saving bill

It's not as portentous as raising fuel-efficiency standards or doling out solar-energy subsidies. Nevertheless, Congress is poised to pass a major energy-saving measure as soon as this month, if it can solve a rather glaring problem: How do you describe an energy-efficient light bulb?

That question is crucial because the new legislation would phase out energy-intensive incandescent bulbs on the basis of their size and shape rather than on the amount of power they draw. As a result, unscrupulous manufacturers could easily skirt the phase-out by changing slightly the shape of their incandescent offerings, efficiency advocates say, dramatically reducing the measure's benefits.

Leading Experts In Organic Solar Cells Say The Field Is Being Damaged By Questionable Reports

In the latest issue of Elsevier's Materials Today Dr. Gilles Dennler of Konarka Austria GmbH and twenty other experts warn that an unseemly race to report organic solar cells (OSCs) with world record efficiencies is leading to a significant number of published papers claiming unrealistic and scientifically questionable results and performances.

Britons named world's biggest emitters of CO2 from air travel

Britons produce more carbon emissions from air travel a head than any other country, a study reveals today, citing the country's predilection for low-cost airlines as a major factor.

The average carbon emission for each British flyer was 603kg (1329lb) a year, more than a third higher than Ireland in second place with 434kg and more than double that of the US at 275kg, in third place.

As a land thaws, so do Greenland's aspirations for independence

As global warming makes Greenland's mineral wealth more accessible, talk of independence from Denmark is also heating up.

Record Price of Oil Raises New Fears

The price of oil jumped to yet another record yesterday, sparking predictions that motorists would see sharply higher gasoline prices by Thanksgiving — and fears that $100-a-barrel oil is no longer such a distant prospect.

Crude Oil Price Up, IEA Says Production Must Rise 45% to Meet Demand

You can also put the “challenging supply situation” in perspective with the image below, taken from the executive summary of the report. The forecast for demand of 124 million barrels per day comes from the International Energy Agency. Keep in mind the IEA expects production to increase by 45% to meet expected demand.

'A Crude Awakening': The film and the science

Looking around, it is easy to get the feeling that nobody really knows how much oil is left - or at least, no-one who is willing to speak in earnest.

Putting focus on a new fund

Heebner's approach is to make an assessment of global trends and then invest in companies that stand to capitalize on those trends. A book by Matt Simmons, "Twilight in the Desert," chronicles the poor quality and grossly inflated estimates of what remains in Middle Eastern oil fields. If that's true, you can understand why a third of CGM Focus is invested in energy stocks.

New Zealand Oil and Gas on the hunt for funds and offshore oil fields

New Zealand Oil and Gas is seeking more oil assets and is prepared to look offshore.

With a new chief executive and oil revenues beginning to flow, the company has set itself the ambitious target of nearly doubling next year's production of more than 1.1 million equivalent barrels of oil in just four years.

Bracing for Potential Energy Crisis in Argentina

While Argentine consumers have been buffered from price-hikes thus far, as tax-payers they could yet be saddled with a hefty bill. Indeed, Argentina faces a string of lawsuits from multinational corporations with investments in Argentina's public utilities and the country's oil and gas sector.

We Need Al Gore, Because Global Warming Truly Threatens Peace

America’s love affair with petroleum will soon come to an end, either because of peak oil or because the rest of the world will simply catch up with how much we consume, thus driving up prices. Sing a dirge for cheap oil, because it’s dead and gone.

Global warming itself is a problem like no other that we’ve faced. That helps explain why it’s taken so long for us to take it seriously – comparatively few people have educated themselves on what it is and what it could mean.

Saudi Arabia to open oil taps

Top oil exporter Saudi Arabia is set to pump at least 8.7 million barrels per day this month, and is likely to raise that to about 9 million bpd in November when Opec's supply increase takes effect, an Opec source said today.

Last month Opec agreed to raise supply by 500,000 bpd from 1 November in an attempt to soothe consumer concerns over tight supplies and high prices.

Under the agreement, Riyadh has a supply target of 8.943 million bpd, a Reuters report said.

OPEC exports jump 609,000 bpd in Sept against Aug

OPEC seaborne oil exports, excluding Angola, jumped 609,000 barrels per day (bpd) in September versus August, according to newly released data by Lloyd's Marine Intelligence Unit (LMIU) on Wednesday.

Aramco to shut Rabigh refinery

Saudi Aramco will shut down its 400,000 barrels per day (bpd) Rabigh refinery for at least a month for routine maintenance from early next week, industry sources said on Wednesday.

The shutdown could last longer than a month because it also includes works that will link the plant to its new $10 billion joint-venture petrochemical complex with Japan's Sumitomo Chemical.

Iran produces 4m barrels of oil per day

The Islamic Republic of Iran produces four million barrels of crude oil per day, the Iranian National Oil Company's Marketing Manager, Sayed Mohammad Khatibi, announced on Wednesday.

Speaking to IRIB reporter, Khatibi rejected the false estimate about IRI oil production capacity which has been provided by certain international sources and raised in the last OPEC meeting.

For accessing a true statistic about oil production capacity of a certain country, it's better to refer to that country's official statistics, Khatibi noted.

Oil Peak or Peak Oil?

The United States consumes about 21 million barrels of petroleum every day. About 85 million barrels a day is produced in the entire world. The US thus consumes about a fourth of the supply, even though it has only 5 percent of the world’s population. The US only produces about 7.5 million barrels a day, so it has to import some 13 million. the geniuses in the White House have so alienated some US suppliers, like Venezuela, that Caracas is planning to sell nearly half of its over 2 mn. b/d to China rather than selling it all to the US. Since petroleum is now increasingly scarce and is a seller’s market, Chavez’s plan would cut down on the amount of petroleum available to the US.

Soaring oil prices have yet to derail economy

With oil prices touching new highs above $88 a barrel Tuesday, the financial markets and the economy seem to be largely unfazed — at least so far. And despite the rapid run-up in the cost of crude from about $60 just two months ago, motorists have been watching pump prices fall. What’s going on here?

Eni Inks a 25-Year Deal with Libya

Italian oil and gas company Eni has signed an agreement with NOC to improve oil and gas production in Libya. The agreement calls for a 10-year investment of U.S. $28 billion.

The 25-year renewable agreement converts the existing petroleum contracts to the most recent contractual model. Eni and NOC plan to maximize the recovery of their existing wells, namely El Feel and Western Libya Gas Project, by applying the most up-to-date technologies possible. Additionally, they will start a new drilling campaign in nearby fields.

Britain to claim more than 1m sq km of Antarctica

The United Kingdom is planning to claim sovereign rights over a vast area of the remote seabed off Antarctica, the Guardian has learned. The submission to the United Nations covers more than 1m sq km (386,000 sq miles) of seabed, and is likely to signal a quickening of the race for territory around the south pole in the world's least explored continent.

EU and Russia Agree on Early Warning System for Energy

Top EU and Russian energy officials meeting in Brussels agreed to postpone a dispute over investment access in the gas and electricity sector and showed a united front on gas prices and secure supplies.

Canada's Oil Province Alberta Seeks Chinese Investment

A senior official from Canada's Alberta Province said on Tuesday she hoped more Chinese investment would be made in Alberta, home to rich oil sand reserves.

"In all our meetings, we have been encouraging Chinese investment in Alberta," said Alberta's Minister of Employment, Immigration and Industry Iris Evans at a press conference at the Canadian Embassy in Beijing.

Canada says can't meet Kyoto targets

Canada has no chance of meeting its commitments to cut emissions of greenhouse gases laid down by the Kyoto climate change protocol, the minority Conservative government said in a policy speech on Tuesday.

Human waste can help save planet: Indian expert

A cheap system to recycle human waste into biogas and fertiliser may allow 2.6 billion people in the world access to toilets and reduce global warming, an Indian environmental expert said Tuesday.

Coastal planners ready for sea-level rise

This fall, the state agency that regulates coastal development in Rhode Island plans to become one of the first local regulatory agencies in the country to officially recognize the likelihood of sea-level rise and write policies and regulations to prepare for higher water.

The rising waters will require that new buildings in flood zones be constructed at higher elevations, says Grover Fugate, executive director of the Coastal Resources Management Council. He says there should also be changes in the state building code for coastal development and different rules for septic systems. Sewer outfalls and bridges may be affected.

A new Finance Round-Up has been posted at TOD:Canada.

A bailout of sorts appears to be underway for the Enron-esque off balance sheet financial conduits known as Structured Investment Vehicles (SIVs), similar to the on-going Canadian attempt to rescue frozen Asset-Backed Commercial Paper (ABCP). However, the US Treasury-supported use of Frankenstein finance to bail out the effects of past Frankenstein finance smacks of desperation rather than inspiring confidence.

Something had to be done to forestall a looming firesale of assets that none of the banks want marked to market, but 90 days may well be too long to wait when a crunch period is fast approaching, and $100 billion may not be enough. With problems emerging for both commercial real estate and consumer spending, as well as ARMs resetting, all on top of the SIV/ABCP deepfreeze, it's hardly surprising that this rescue plan has been described as "rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic".

New! Master-Liquidity Enabler Conduit

S&L may yet be eclipsed. "The cost of the subprime crisis continues to mount on Wall Street. To date, the total stands at nearly $20 billion." (CNNMoney.com) Other estimates go far higher, dwarfing the S&L's $125 billion. "Ultimately, the total cost to ride out the storm would be more than any consortium of banks could afford." (USA Today)

The latest "Super-SIV" emergency financing scheme is an effort to enable the continuation of the credit binge. Some of the world's biggest banks plan to put about $100 billion in a fund that will be used to replace the investors who have stopped buying SIV-affiliated commercial paper.

"Details are still being worked out but the oversight committee of the three banks [Citigroup, J.P. Morgan and Bank of America] will set criteria for what the new fund, to be called the Master-Liquidity Enhancement Conduit, will buy." (Wall Street Journal)

If investors don't want the stuff, banks have to put it on their balance sheets and take the loss unless they can find another buyer, which it appears they intend to create.

Mary Shelley would be proud. Where did I leave my pitchfork?

This effort looks eerily similar to 1929, when the Rockefellers and William C. Durant pooled capital to buy large quantities of stocks to demonstrate their confidence in the markets to the public. The crash continued and the market lost $30 billion that week, ten times the annual budget of the federal government and more than the U.S. spent in World War I.

Stoneleigh: Here is another good take on this scam-the term "Banana Republic" does come to mind when you have the Treasury dept involved in such shenanagins. Ah, the glory of the all mighty "free market". http://www.marketoracle.co.uk/Article2481.html

Maybe they can get Andy Fastow to run the fund. It's right up his baliwork. The market won't buy toxic mortgage backed CDOs? What if we put lipstick on it?


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

They have got a whole gang of Andy Fastows. IMO, they are going to have difficulty getting their cronies managing pension funds to buy any more of this crap, so the shmuck taxpayer is going to have to pick up the tab for this drunken spree. The US dollar will pay the price for the contamination of regulators by the connected.

Who do you think gets the sticky end when your pension fund buys this crap? More lipstick please.


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

The market won't buy toxic mortgage backed CDOs? What if we put lipstick on it?

The market won't buy them, but I bet the US government will.

However, the US Treasury-supported use of Frankenstein finance to bail out the effects of past Frankenstein finance smacks of desperation rather than inspiring confidence.

Buried amongst your hysteria is the crucial fact that the neither Treasury Department nor any other U.S. government agency is spending one penny on this fund.

This appears to be a case of Citibank spending Citibank's money to bail out Citibank. JP Morgan and Bank of America are charging fees for the deal and not putting any money into it, as far as I can tell. The purpose appears to be to take assets off of their balance sheets or to avoid having to transact them publicly.

The Treasury Departments is merely putting their name behind it, inappropriately in my view.

Oddly, the AEI guy seems to be the only one who got it right:

A visiting scholar with the conservative American Enterprise Institute said, "I have never seen Treasury play this kind of role." [The banks made] "riskier investments that didn't work out. They should now put it back on their balance sheet." (WSJ)

Thanks for the word by word reprint of every article on this subject in the MSM (CNN Money, Yahoo Finance, etc. etc.). I am not even sure that you comprehend that the AEI guy is implying corruption. It is possible you understand that the US Treasury department was not intended to facilitate business dealings between private corporations, with the intention of improving their profitability. Someone is eventually going to have to take the hit for this scam-so far the US Treasury has participated in a scheme to stick third parties with it. If this scheme is unsuccessful, possibly the US taxpayer will eat it.

Sorry for letting the facts ruin your fun. I do hope you can continue to shelter yourself from reality and its unpleasant messenger the MSM. Why don't you just spend all of your time on the gold bug websites with no comments?

Science fiction author and futurist Bruce Sterling (a.k.a. the Viridian Pope-Emperor) reports from Torino, Italy:

I'm now living in Torino, where the locals are vigorously rebuilding their former fossil-fuel car capital into an artsy creative-class design metropolis.

Amazingly, even Fiat, whose decline nearly wrecked this city, has a design hit in their new small urban car. What luck! Or was it design skill?

It's fabulous to be on the ground where Europeans are visibly re-creating their infrastructure in such a design-centric, immediate fashion. There's something exhilarating about it... because it's not a Viridian Pope-Emperor theoretical design engagement; I mean, they're literally ripping up the street outside here and installing light urban rail. I wouldn't call it Oz; it's just an Italian industrial burg; but their previous situation was just so grim, glum, unbearable, palpably doomed and clearly unsustainable that they pretty much had to swallow the blue pill and leap for the unknown. So they suffered -- but changed. Now one sees eerie stuff like THIS -- a smokestack turned into a steeple dedicated to the Shroud of Turin.

I'm trying to figure out what I can do to help. I hope to learn something useful about real-world, hands-on, down-and-dirty, urban sociotechnical transitions. Practically every city in the world has got Torino's former problems, because they're all unsustainable. Changing that is the work of the world. It's happening.

...The Turinese are certainly changing their local piece of the world -- but they got scourged into changing. The bright spots here now are an inverse reflection of their sorrow and mayhem fifteen years ago.

Bruce Sterling rocks!

May I strongly recommend Distraction, a political thriller set in post peak everything Louisiana. Everything else he has done is written to the same marvelous standard, but that one will resonate quite well with you peakers. Oh, and don't skip Heavy Weather, which is another fine adventure set in the time after things ... change.

I agree- along with Gibson, he was the cyberpunk writer I read the most-
I liked his early writings best (The Artificial Kid , Schismatrix), but he got seduced by the techno fix when writing for wired, and became shallow and engrossed with adolescents writing code.
Seems to be re-connecting with the real world.

Have you read Vernor Vinge? He is definitely the godfather with True Names.

No I haven't---
I will take a look-
Thanks for the tip-

True Names is a nice, tidy read, but if you're a conspicuous consumer pick up Across Realtime, A Fire On The Deep, and A Deepness In The Sky, which are equally good.

In an interview from a few years back Bruce mentioned that Heavy Weather seemed to be his most accurate prognostication...unfortunately. The central story is about a bunch of people chasing huge storms in the American SW. I think part of the plot was the potential for a Terran equivalent of the Great Red Spot to form!

I bet if he were asked today he'd say Distraction is tied with Heavy Weather.

BS seems like an honest guy and he's done a lot with Viridian and other movements. Points for him.

I'm a little weary of his stand though. He thinks we can solve everything through techno-fix and über-conscious consumers & green-spending. Spend our way to a new belle époque. All problems solved: climate, energy, food, water, wars, whatever.

Now, he's a smart and well read man, he could be right.

I just don't see the evidence myself to support such an unbridled optimism.

But it's good that there are optimistic people out there, reporting the good news as well.

The world at large really isn't only as doom & gloom as one might think from a quick reading of TOD news. Not that I'm against knowing the unpleasant stuff. Keeps the reality checked, constantly.

The approach that Sterling advocates goes under a variety of headings like Viridian Design and Bright Green and Cradle to Cradle -- and is sympathetic with many others, such as CleanTech. Some of it involves cool green consumer gizmos, sure, but it also involves simplifying and relaxing:

"Viridian Inactivism"

Activism is an attention hog, and very time and energy intensive. A better approach is to find the things you are doing that intensify the problem, and just cease doing them. Put in less overtime. Sleep late. Have a nap after lunch. Burn less midnight oil. Park your car, turn off all the lights in your apartment, and go outside in the sunshine and read a book. Spend an hour on your mascara if you feel like it. Don't allow yourself to be spooked into Stakhanovite overdrive; seek command of your own life, and enjoy being yourself.

"Do Less With Less"

We're altering the climate by burning too much fossil fuel. We should struggle valiantly to find alternative sources of energy, but it's rather more gratifying to simply become less frenetic. What exactly are we doing at the moment that is worth ruining the climate for? Relax.

And Sterling has never said Viridian Design is going to solve all the world's problems. That's awfully far from the mark.

It's easy to get transfixed by romantic ideas of historical inevitability: glamorous marches of progress, or gruesome congenital declines. But your own epoch is your own problem. If you call yourself "post" or "former," or "neo" or "retro," you are begging for someone else's troubles.

"What exactly are we doing at the moment that is worth ruining the climate for? Relax."

I like the relax theme. Good set of ideas to keep in the forefront of my mind.

I heard of an Indian (Native American) adage that suggests that upon dying, most souls would look back at their lives and ask 'Why didn't I laugh more?'


RE: article linked above: "Human Waste can help save planet..."

Not a very long article. No words wasted, as it were.

Oddly, the most encouraging article today has to do with the "World Toilet Summit" being held in New Delhi at the end og October.

It is of course long overdue that we mainstream this idea of recycling human waste as a resource rather than using resources to flush waste "away" and "treat" it using energy-intensive, water-intensive, and chemical-intensive processes.

Buckminster Fuller, where are you?

Using anerobic generators to produce biogas (methane) from human & ag wastes is not a new idea, it has been around quite a while. India has actually been a leader in developing and deploying it. Not the silver bullet, but more than just a silver BB, it absolutely must become mainstream and a part of the mix. This is what we are going to be using to replace Nat Gas in the not-to-distant future; it is the only feasible renewable alternative available. It won't replace 100% of the NG we're using now, but with max development it should be able to supply a respectable fraction of current use.

I live in the country down a dead-end road with few neighbors so I can and do pee outside often. I wondered how much water I was leaving in the well versus flushing 6 liters into the septic each time, so... the last few days I peed in a 3 liter plastic jug. It took 13 times to fill the container. That comes to about 4.33 tinkles per liter. Average tinkle = .23 liters. That's 6 liters to flush .23 liters. Or, if you like, 1 liter to flush .038 liters.

Now, what to do with all that pee... oh yeah!, use it for fertilizer. What a concept.

I read in a book called Solviva that you mix 8 parts water to 1 part urine makes a great fertilizer.

The lady in the book used it for the tree farm she had going.

They had funny names for the 'magic' solution incorporating the words urine and p or pee into the jingle. Damn I can't think of the names. At least I remembered the utility.

Recipient of AA, Alberta Advantage

What about cat urine? My neighbor's cats use my garden as a bathroom and love any piles or pots of unused dirt. Since I often mix different dirt and compost into piles and leave it lying around, they have plenty of targets.

I had heard that cat urine kills plans, but I have had no ill effects so far. However, it is pretty well diluted.

Yes, it is indeed quite insane - if one thinks globally - that the rich north (you & me) are flushing crap away with purified drinking water that the poorer south has trouble getting for basic daily needs.

Two water systems should have been installed two decades ago at least.

The grey-water system output could be processed into almost 100% pure edible protein, some fertilizers, biogas and some gunk we'd probably have to still do away with like we do today.

Similar radical plans could be done with transport ships (Colani), building (Tsui), basic design process (McDonough), , basic living & industrial processes (Schmidt-Bleek), etc.

The plans have been there for at least 15 years (even I can remember that far and I'm sure I wasn't the first one who heard of those plans).

It just hasn't happened and probably will not happen, untill there is a real crisis forcing us to do something about it.

The systemic, cultural and behavioral inertia is just too big.

And yes, Bucky please come back. We miss guys & gals who think like you did.

Of course, the bottom line is:

How have gasoline prices been divorced from crude?

And who's paying the difference?

"Katrina obscured that fact that we're already past peak."
-Gail of TOD

Arkansaw of Samuel L Clemens

Courtesy Tom Whipple:

"The recent surge in crude oil prices came at a bad time for US refiners, causing profits to slump. Higher oil prices not only drove up the costs of making gasoline and other fuels, they came during a period of weaker demand for those fuels, when refiners' ability to pass on added costs was limited."

The cost of gasoline production cannot be passed thru.


Even though we're at MOL the cost of gasoline production cannot be passed thru.

Just like Alberta's NatGas production is dropping
and use is increasing from the Tar Sands, but the
cost of production cannot be passed thru.

That's another definition of deflation.

Arkansaw of Samuel L Clemens

In fact prices here locally have gone down a few cents over the last week or so. Not that I drive anymore, van wreck and all, But I still notice things when riding with my dad. There seems to be an under current because of all the congress Critters talk of thinking about holding the Oil companies to the fire for profits they made there is a reluctance to raise prices.

I don't think they can afford to pass the cost to much for fear of the "McCarthy" style witch hunts in people's minds. I have not noticed Deflation in the food buying world. I applied for food stamps and got them, Which in a way surprised me. But still costs for foods have gone up to the point that if I did not have food stamps I would be eating a lot less. The poor are getting bitten by the run up in food prices. The Homeless see very little of the inflation or deflation and could care less most times. It all depends on how active the person is in the governmental scene. The poor that I am talking about are the ones that are working but hanging onto the edges of the life raft and getting a bit wet everytime someone moves.

Best, Charles.

God Grant you peace.
God Grant you Love of your fellow man.
God Grant you Faith and Trust.
Write in Candidate for President 2008.
Free Right Now party. No donations.
Term limits for congress, Min wage for them too
Charles Edward Owens Jr.

Regular unleaded jumped overnight about $0.12 overnight in the Kansas City Metro area. We are at around $2.57 right now. Diesel broke over three and sits at around $3.05.

I noticed a jump yesterday from the day before of around .04 here in the Florida panhandle.

A slowly ramping, revenue neutral fuel tax can be sold on the strong emotions that cause those witchhunts.

Next time average gas prices hit $4/gallon, and there is panic on the streets, Congress introduces an "Oil Emergency Rebate and Stability Act:"

Part 1) Congress plunks down a onetime budget expenditure of 100 billion dollars in order to relieve the Americans hit hard by prices, and establishes a special government account.
Part 2) It is all divided into equal (roughly $400) amounts and sent out as a bulk check to every adult American citizen, or the person filing them as a dependent.
Part 3) This payout will be repeated annually, with corrections for inflation, plus a 10% annual increase to account for ever shrinking supplies.
Part 4) A note: this cannot be simply a repeatable handout to oil companies which can raise their prices, and so a tax rate is applied to oil companies for every gallon of crude they pump into the economy, the rate being enough to pay for last year's rebate.
Part 5) An extremely large bundle of miscellaneous policies on other energy types to ensure that we don't simply substitute with other fossil fuels or energy intensive goods.
Part 6) A reserve requirement is imposed on any fossil fuel importer - they are required to store 1 week's average supply in a distribution-ready condition, starting 1 year after the bill passes. By 2 years, it is raised to 2 week's supply, and so on, maxing out after 8 years.

We follow this(after creating a political atmosphere conducive to progress) with policies on protecting manufacturing, mass transit matching, environmental concerns with coal, retrofitting efficient housing, indexing a tax on CO2 in general, increasing renewable research, et cetera, et cetera.

If you approach the issue completely backwards, and try to make it workable afterwards, you can actually approximate rhetoric that the American Public can accept.

A revenue neutral pigouvian tax is just so much more... capitalist... than any of the alternatives. Capitalism works extremely well at finding novel innovations and adaptations like we need to do to adapt to a lower energy usage.

$200/BBL+ oil a few years after the peak regressively restricts oil usage to the rich, and turns oil companies into imperialist zaibatsu who can make a case to their shareholders on fielding a private army to quash a river delta insurgency.

Rationing is an incredible bureaucratic semicommunist mess, and always will be.

A cap-and-trade scheme based on prior usage simply establishes aristocratic economies - company X burned oil last year, so they get to this year as well. Company X didn't do anything new. It's less just than rationing, and equally hard to arbitrate, in different ways.

A non-revenue neutral tax is nearly impossible to get passed, and very highly regressive - it restricts oil usage to the rich.

Last month Opec agreed to raise supply by 500,000 bpd from 1 November in an attempt to soothe consumer concerns over tight supplies and high prices.

Saudi Aramco will shut down its 400,000 barrels per day (bpd) Rabigh refinery for at least a month for routine maintenance from early next week, industry sources said on Wednesday.
The shutdown could last longer than a month because it also includes works that will link the plant to its new $10 billion joint-venture petrochemical complex with Japan's Sumitomo Chemical.


Would SA reduce internal consumption (short term) just to raise their headline export quotas?

whilst quietly buying back the missing refined product on the open market...


Abu Dhabi to slash output
Adnoc’s project to slash emirate’s crude production by 600,000 bpd
Posted: 01 October 2007
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Abu Dhabi will soon launch a major maintenance programme at its key oilfields and officials said it would slash output by nearly 600,000 bpd.
The Abu Dhabi National Oil Company said the scheduled maintenance would be carried out at three major offshore oil fields in November.
“ Adnoc will carry out the maintenance program, which has been under planning for more than a year, at its Upper Zakum, Lower Zakum and Umm Shaif fields,” the government-controlled company said last month.
Upper Zakum , located in the Gulf, is the world's second-largest offshore oil field with an estimated 20 billion barrels of crude in place.
The reduction in output comes at a time when oil prices have hit record highs, partly on concerns over tight supplies ahead of the approaching winter season in the U.S. and Europe .
"Adnoc has worked closely with its term clients to ensure there is minimal disruption to operations, which also coincides with the scheduled seasonal refinery maintenance in the market," Adnoc said.
"Adnoc's commitments to its term clients are all met by advancing the majority of liftings, and some deferments that have been rescheduled by mutual agreement.”
Adnoc's refining subsidiary Takreer will implement a scheduled maintenance program at its Ruwais refinery between Dec. 22 and Feb. 25, ADNOC said.
The shutdown will release about 5 million barrels of crude to the market, the company added.

Each time I read about production going off-line or coming on-line I wonder, Is there a comprehensive report that tracks information at the 'big picture' level? Is anybody tracking new production coming online, decrease/increase in current production, production going off-line due to (fill in the blank), off-line production coming back on-line?

Would SA reduce internal consumption (short term) just to raise their headline export quotas?

Ralph, nice catch, thanks. It just makes perfect sense doesn't it. Saudi shuts down 400,000 barrels of refinery input and at the same time increases exports by a similar amount. And then they say "See, we told you we would increase exports to Asia."

Ron Patterson

72myz, I don't believe for one minute that Saudi is importing fuel oil for power generation as the blob, pointed to by your URL, says. The power plants in Saudi are natural gas with oil injectors. That is, they can switch from natural gas to crude oil any time they wish. The oil injected into the boilers does not need to be refined. Raw crude right from the wells works just fine. "Fuel oil," in this case, is "crude oil" pure and simple. And no, that is not a typo. The gas or oil is injected in the boilers, not under the boilers. The boiler is a chamber lined with water filled tubes or pipes.

I worked at Ghazlan power plant for two years, 1980 to 1982. (Now Ghazlan I as Ghazlan II has now been built.) Ghazlan had four 400 megawatt generators. Ghazlan II has four 600 megawatt generators. (I then, for ARAMCO, left Ghazlan and worked in Safaniya for the last three years I was in Saudi.)

The MHI scope of supply included procurement and installation of four 600MW dual oil and gas-fired steam turbines and generators, a high-voltage substation, storage and pipeline systems for fuel gas and crude oil, and several auxiliary installations.

So this blog says Saudi is importing crude oil for power generation. That is absurd.

Ron Patterson

"It last sold about 150,000 tonnes per month of the A316 naphtha grade, for October-March loading from Rabigh, at a premium of $14.00 a tonne, free on board (FOB) basis, down from $25.00 previously.

Most of the kingdom's fuel oil, which is used for power generation, also comes from the facility. Saudi Arabia uses rare low-metals fuel oil of the 380-centistoke grade.

The refiner is seeking up to two 80,000-tonne parcels of the product, of below 5 ppm aluminium, for November delivery to Rabigh.

The imports, rare outside Saudi Arabia's peak summer demand season between June and August, are part of a process to optimise profits in which Aramco sells its own cargoes into a tight Middle East market and buying back utility-grade fuel oil."


I guess the highest value has to be stripped from the crude these days. Can't afford to burn uncracked crude?


Chinese women in no hurry to wed

For centuries, Chinese women were expected to raise families and cater to their husbands, but that attitude is fading fast. In a 2004 survey by the Asian Women’s Forum and the Women’s Studies Center at Peking University, 45.3 percent of women said they did not think they should have to give up a career for a family life.

In a 2004 report, sociologists at China’s National Population and Family Planning Commission traced the new attitude to the one family-one child policies of the 1980s. The traditional Chinese preference for sons over daughters led to an epidemic of illegal gender-related abortion, creating a significant imbalance among young adults today. In some parts of the country, men outnumber women by as much as 20 percent.

In families that did have daughters, the one-child policy meant most girls were raised as only children, lavished with esteem-boosting attention from parents, grandparents and even great-grandparents in China’s multi-generational households.

As a result, China now boasts a generation of educated career women in great demand by suitors. But that interest isn’t always reciprocated.

Two-thirds, in fact, said they wouldn’t mind if their husbands brought home less money than they did.

Well those are the sames ones that say looks and dick size don't matter either . . .

Here in the states they've done similar studies. Women tend to SAY the same thing but the reality is different. Does any woman every say to themselves "I'm hoping for a man who is intelligent, funny, sweet, and who makes 20% less than me."? (Of course not)

It's like when they ask guys about the importance of looks. Most will downplay it when asked by the researcher but what we do is often different than what we say we do.

They've done studies on marital happiness and income. I recall one in particular that found the happiest couples were ones in which the man earned 2/3 of the income and the woman 1/3. Amazingly, this trumped all other indicators of marital happiness. I'll have to dig the study up, don't have it handy.

I have some theories as to why the 2/3-1/3 ratio seems to be the best ratio but that's another post.

Inevitably somebody is going to say "Chimp, you're wrong. My wife makes 2x as much as me and we're totally happy!" Yes, of course you are but that doens't mean you're representative of couples in the aggregate.

Yeah, yeah, Matt, that's all nice and fine, but there's also plenty studies that say that the link between wealth and happiness abruptly stops once basic needs have been fulfilled, as well as others that indicate very convincingly that North Americans are quite unhappy compared to people living in much poorer societies.

So maybe the 2/3-1/3 women you cite also have trouble saying what really makes them happy. Since we are group mammals, keeping up with our Joneses has a large role in there somewhere. That, though, might lead to the idea that a woman says she 's quite happy with a guy who beats her up routinely, as long as he makes up for it with jewellery and a fancy car that she can show off to her neighbors and friends.

There was a study recently that found that both men and women do not tell the truth when asked what they find attractive. Not that they're necessarily lying; they may simply be unaware of what they are really attracted to.

Not surprisingly, women want security and commitment. "Security" may involve money...but it may not, if the woman is self-supporting.

Men, also not surprisingly, want hot babes.

What I found most interesting was that women were much more practical than men. Women were aware of their own attractiveness, and didn't bother to go after men who were "out of their league." While men dream big. They'll go after any woman who meets a certain minimum standard of attractiveness, even they're not likely to get the time of day from her.

I've read somewhere that that behavior fulfills each gender's agenda: send its genes safely into the future.

Women tend to seek the best male (go for quality), men tend to look for as many women as they can (go for quantity).

Women tend to be selective, men not so.

Considering how evolution shaped each gender's biology, it's no surprise.


Saw a story today about an Israeli Arab who has 67 children by 9 different women. He has one more wife in his sites.

A surprising amount of history, culture, behavior, et cetera can be attributed to the fact that to pass on their genes, a woman requires a decade of care and two or three years of intense physical nurture.

They're required to be virtually incapacitated for pregnancy, nursing and care of an infant, which men are anatomically unable to do. Historically, they've been required to chance a dice roll that they would die in pregnancy, and in order to maintain populations with short life expectancies and huge infant/child mortality rates, be pregnant basically back-to-back.

A man has always required about 3 minutes and someone to support his mate. It doesn't matter who, and that someone could be supporting others as well.

The selection inherent in this fact shaped who went to war, who went to work, who got commoditized (sparing women in warfare has always had the pragmatic benefit of doubling the birthrate if one tribe kills the males of the other), who hunted, who built things, who fetishized means, who fetishized physical attributes, and current norms and expectation.

This is why matriarchal societies are so rare.


I've had the seeds of this idea for a while, but only fully appreciated it when a professor asked us to justify gender equality/inequality - here's what I came up with:

Propagation of the collective genepool is a hell of a pragmatic concern for a tribe (a theoretical sizeless unit of civilization) when crafting its culture - and until recently, this made necessary the ability to:
Send all your males to conquer the next tribe
Justify plundering the next tribe's women to double your tribe's birthrate
Justify polygamous coupling of the surviving females to the remaining males
Justify unpaid care + feeding of all the infants
Essentially, take care of women as a resource to be used to make more tribesmen - livestock

Any matriarchal societies that emerged quickly found that sending females into battle has a much more destructive effect on the tribe's population than treating them like livestock. And so that culture dies.

This has only been repaired with the march of progress - sanitary conditions, abundant food, synthetic/hired/prescheduled nursing, life expectancy, infant mortality rates, et cetera. Basically, when a society reaches a certain point in statistically improving a women's ability to raise children, it no longer has to treat them like livestock in order to survive. Indeed, they become uncompetitive with other societies who give women enough rights to, say, work in factories. They especially become uncompetitive when a woman's life expectancy extends beyond childbearing years - all that work that they could be allowed to do as equals is free over what they would be allowed to do as livestock, since they can't raise any more children.

In developed societies, treating women as equal is more productive, while in primitive societies, it is much less productive.

In the superpowers, we've reached the technological/logistical point where male populations are not even decimated by largescale warfare - which is one of the last big steps towards erasing any need for inequality. Social services are another.


Whether mating behavior is cultural or instinctual is a very difficult neurological question; But we're slowly trending towards answering it - those who practice gender-dependent abortion/infanticide enough to have such a backwards(historically) sex ratio all the faster.

You jumped the gun here bigtime. The ratios would apply whether the combined income was $15,000 or $150,000.

To illustrate:

Take 100 couples in the U.S., earning a combined income of $50,000. The couples in which the 2/3-1/3 ratio applies would, on average be happiest within that income range.

The same would be true for similar couples in the $100,000 range. Those with the 2/3-1/3 ratio would be happier than other $100,000 couples with say 95/5 ratios.

You may be correct in that the a representative sample of $100,000 copules with the 2/3 ratio would not be any happier than a represenstative sample of $50,000 couples who also have the 2/3 ratio.

From the tone of your post, I'm going to guess these distinctions are a bit too complex for you to comprehend.

I tried to explain why focusing on US only is not very effective, if you want to talk general human behavior and motivation.

And then I'm the one who doesn't comprehend? That kind of talk is far too weak for you. You get stuck in numbers, and you wish to see them confirmed. That's not very interesting or convincing.

I think maybe you need to widen your perspective a bit. The ratio is set by the Joneses, not the genes.

There's plenty societies where men just sit on their asses all day long, simply because there's an abundance of things. So what if some -ologist came up with a bunch of numbers and ratio's? Why would either you or me care about that? What's next, Milton Friedman's ratio's?

That whole 2/3 thing is probably true in Orange County, but OC is not the whole world. They're not even part of a real world, as you know well.

Both men and women can be, and are, quite able to be very content with their lives on either side of the ratio spectrum, as long as it allows them to have a meaningful social life, without being worked to death. Andf that's what's mssiing in OC, and why these silly numbers come up: people live a life that's way outside what their genes are set for. But that's all just false flags, and it'll be over soon, and they can go back to meaningful lives.

I think maybe you need to widen your perspective a bit. The ratio is set by the Joneses, not the genes.

Actually, I think the ratio has something to do with our genes. But you have to noodle it through a bit. Here goes, try to keep up if you can:

Consider the environment in which we evolved: the women gathered about 80-95% of the calories. The men hunted meat, which only accounted for 5-20% of the total energy intake.

However, in terms of importance to survival, each gender was equally important. The men may have only gathered 5% of the calories from their meat-hunting but this 5% contained something very important generally not found in abundance in the 80% gathered by the women: iron, which is lost whenever a person bleeds.

Point is there was a natural dependence on each gender. So one gender could not usurp the other.

Now think about the effect of the 2/3 ratio would have on the typical modern (western) couple. With this ratio, the man can think "he's the big game hunter!" but the reality is the woman accounts for enough of the income that she has veto power over any major decisions. So, within the context of the American way of life, the 2/3 ratio actually creates a type of equality betweent the two partners.

Consider the environment in which we evolved: the women gathered about 80-95% of the calories. The men hunted meat, which only accounted for 5-20% of the total energy intake.

We don't know that that is true. Behavior doesn't fossilize.

We don't know that that is true. Behavior doesn't fossilize.

Leanan, best damn quote I have read all week. I am saving this one for those "noble savage" arguments.

And by the way, not only does behavior not fossilize, but neither does diet, at least not in percentages. We actually have no idea what percentage of hunter-gatherer's diet was meat and how much was grubs, roots or berries. It could have been 50-50 or even 60-40, or greater, in favor of meat.

All we know about hunter-gatherer is found in their rock or cave art and from the bones and stone tools they left around their caves or campsites.

Ron Patterson

Perhaps diet doesn't fossilize, but it can freeze. The stomach content of ötzi and the Grauballe man I think were analyzed and their last meal reconstructed. Ötzi is thought to be a fugitive since he was shot in the back, and mr. Grauballe was either executed or sacrificed, so their diet is perhaps not representative, but with all the melting of ice and digging up of bogs and marshes going on we can hope for more such discoveries.

They are old bodies, but not our hunter-gatherer ancestors. Their digestive tracts contained highly processed grain, which probably was not a typical hunter-gatherer meal.

But there's coprolites. That's how they proved it was cannibalism at that Anasazi site, and not just extreme mortuary practices. They've been used to determine what dinosaurs ate, so presumably, if you found some old enough, you could do the same with human coprolites.

We don't know that that is true. Behavior doesn't fossilize.

Though it does make for a nice quote, it's not quite true. The interplay between genetics and culture is complex, but they do feed on each other. And we all carry in our genes (and in the pattern of our brain circuits) fossilised remains of stone-age (and further beyond in the past) behaviour.

Cultural, I am not buying it. DNA is not a fossil. And I don't think you can glean from our current behavior, the diet of hunter-gatherers.

But of course you may claim that we can glean from our current behavior, the behavior of hunter-gatherers. But there is a caveat here. If you agree with me that our behavior is determined by our genes and our environment then you must also agree that our environment is nothing like the environment of hunter-gatherers.

Until we live like hunter-gathers, grubbing and hunting every day for our food and living in constant fear of attack by a neighboring tribe, then we cannot say how they might have behaved.

Ron Patterson

I think it likely that humans' genome contains "phase shift" characteristics which allow one genome to express in multiple ways depending on context.

This is a bit analagous to the phase shift seen in insects like locusts, which is both behaviorial and physiological. Even many reptiles and mammals have different phases of behavior, metabolism, etc. Peaceful tribalism and machete massacre are two coexisting modes out of many. We deal with that poorly because we think one is more desirable, but it's all context.

If you look for it, you'll see it.


however, on a personal note, I would be delighted for my wife to make a thousand times what I do. What's the downside? The male lions just seem to sleep & screw and occasionally fight. Works for me.

You might want to read The Red Queen: Sex and the Evolution of Human Nature by Matt Ridley

He does an excellent job of distilling many years of research into a very readable book.

Behaviour doesn't fossilize. If all
we had was fossil remains that wd
be more important. Tools, artifacts
campsites, dwellings, refuse tips
and more I'm not thinking of just

But you can't tell which gender was using which tools, living in which dwellings, etc.

Except when you can. And except
when it doesn't matter.

i seem to recall one Weston A. Price before many traditional cultures were heavily influenced by modern foods(if at all) went to study their diets. it's as close as we can come to ancient diets and is not surprising to be almost completely opposite of what we are told to eat today.

Behaviour darn well does fossilize. Wear on
teeth. Habitual wear and load from muscle is
preserved on bone. All kinds of dietary info
can be gleaned from skeletal remains. Even
after fossilization. Trauma is plain enough in
bome and there is forensic and behavioral value
in that.
Behaviour doesn't fossilize has a nice ring and
sold well on this thread but not factual.

Yes of course, but strength and bones do....I am laughing bigtime. St Matthewchimp you are up against it, but you are most certainly correct nonetheless. Pissin' matches rarely revolve around any semblance of truth unless we replace all those recent law degrees/decrees with common sense that works and builds from something beyond the funny munny they steal and are duly paid with in more green smeared bails.

If a nation wants to see what happens when they are overtly sidetracked by the cheap mammon of easy oil energy and central banking easy credit - then all a person has to do is open their eyes every morning and ask the real energy vanity goddess "where do we go from here"? How do we get there? Can the infinite growth model survive without the energy?

One final note. Good women are tough and become more beautiful with this God given trait of sustainment. They also are team mate for life and represent the positive opposites of our faults... All of those thousand floozies that catch the sexual eye of men usually end up with dented chrome penises and positively enhanced fiat statements that allow for the next prey.....So, everything does have a purpose in the greater scope in life after all.


Man, I love that post

sorry, I was out drinking with my crew

a male thing, you know, what can I say, real life

Matt, you proved all I was saying in your response, thank you for that

you're a brave man to admit your errors

now get rid of the 2/3 and that sort of numbers

and get thee a woman

Dick size doesn't matter...to women. It matters to men.

Oh, and chicks don't dig the long ball, either. ;-)

Yes, it's very helpful for knocking down trees when my chainsaw won't start.

Oh, and chicks don't dig the long ball, either

I seem to have led a sheltered life until now. Does this refer to duration of an activity, some physiological peculiarity, both, or to something that wasn't yet common in 1977 when I stopped being allowed to roam freely? And do I even WANT to know how it relates to energy and my future?

I seem to have led a sheltered life until now. Does this refer to duration of an activity, some physiological peculiarity, both, or to something that wasn't yet common in 1977 when I stopped being allowed to roam freely? And do I even WANT to know how it relates to energy and my future?

Video from 1998 safe for work: "Chicks dig the long ball"


Backstory: one of the pitchers ask "how much longer are they going to worship this guy?" The answer would be 7 years. In 2005, the guy got hauled before congress and his reputation shredded. "I'm not here to talk about the past":


Then why do my lesbian friends own
such oversize toys?

please allow Antidoomer to defend its statements VS the normal "post the run away" behavior.


"Chimp, you're wrong!" There, feel better?
Maybe there are absolute levels at work in addition to the relative incomes.
If you're making ten bucks an hour and your honey is making twenty, she has no reason to be happy. But if you both pull down six figures, she probably figures that it's okay if her wad trumps yours. Based on my personal experience, anyway.

There's also the fact that conforming to the societal standard - whatever that is - is just easier and less stressful. Traditional marriage is a pretty good deal for men, but not so much for women. I think that's why so many women in Japan and China, which are still very traditional, resist marriage. Heck, even in the US, young women are less interested in marriage than young men - the opposite of the old stereotype. There's a reason married men are the happiest men, while single women are the happiest women. So it wouldn't be a surprise to me if the happiest marriages are those where the participants are most traditional, i.e., the man earns more.

I find the idea that the happiest men are married hard to comprehend. I know that anecdote does not equal data, but I am far happier after ending my engagement than I was during the engagment period itself.

I think one of the major items that depressed me was the fact that marriage was going to be the end of my active lifestyle. I was on track to trade that for a lifestyle watching the Food Network and all the shows about cake, cake competitions, brownie competitions, confectionary competitions, cheese competitions, etc....

Another one of your gems Leanan:

"...conforming to the societal standard - whatever that is - is just easier and less stressful. "

I think this is the core of chimps's ratio theorem and other notions that marriages of folks with different means/incomes are not normal (in a statistical way ;-))

The trends in China once women become educated and don't have their self-esteem beaten down are a real ray of sunshine. Education and knowledge may yet save us, but I think it will be a long slow trend (possibly a fragile one if PO leads to Die-Off quickly)

Good, happy relations between people are not easy or the norm. And I agree that spouses with wide differences in income will cause stress. It's not the END, and if it hits unexpectedly it might possibly lead to a re-birth of the marriage, but I bet it will end up killing about 2/3 of most relationships. The 1/3 survivors though will be the mutant-seed that could lead us to ways to survive the coming discontinuities in society and income.

Robert Pirsig in "Lilla" makes a good case for how people not in the "norm" are ostracized. The more radical the idea the more they are pushed out and demonized. Yet it is these free-radicals/mutants that provide the hope for society surviving catastrophic change. The same system works with human genetics and the immune system. (Remember who survived in the "Andromeda Strain?")

The bottom line to my point is that like in the Delphi Method (which helped the US invent the Atomic Bomb first) you are best off ignoring the center of most statistical distributions of human behavior and opinion. The "center" 2-3 sigma are the SHEEPLE. To get new ideas or see emerging trends... you've got to strike up a dialogue between the two tails of the distribution in opinion.

I think The Oil Drum is one of those tails (the pro PO one) and actually a great place for different ideas to collide. But to get the bigger picture I still sample Debka, FOX, CERA, and Pacifica Radio.... The truth is out there... well maybe.

married men are the happiest men

I think this statement is meritous of challenge
All these memories will be lost in time
like tears in rain


Like I predicted, there would be somebody who chimes in with his own personal experience as "proof", seemingly oblivious to the fact that an individual's personal experience is not necessarily representative of behavior in the aggregate.

Just pointing out that there's another dimension to probe before generalizing.

Sort of related.

I had a thought come to me the other day concerning the gender roles in the peak oil debacle. We like to point fingers at the boomers so I decided to take things a step further.

Is the glass ceiling and lack of women in scientific professions a big reason we may have peaked without even knowing it?

Warning: Possible sexism ahead as I am talking entirely out of my arse

My theory is that women traditionally had been in charge of keeping track of food stores and (energy) inventories. Also I believe they were the gathering component of the hunter gatherer relationship.

With men dominating the industry supplying the NEW source of energy, have we been missing the important female component to the equation here monitoring inventories? What are the consequences for us now that 'Women run with the wolves'? I suppose(hopefully) the innate strengths of each gender will reappear down the road.

Again, apologies if I have offended anyone. Just wanted to contribute to the open discussion.

Recipient of AA, Alberta Advantage

In other words: men are optimists, thinking that there must be more prey out there somewhere, if they just look a little farther, longer, better; women are pessimists, worrying how much longer the nuts and berries in the basket are going to hold out?

It may not be PC, but it sounds reasonable.
The problem with incorporating women into the gears of the corporatocracy has been that they're only allowed to become men inside the system. Anybody would be eaten alive who looked too far beyond this quarter's numbers, or otherwise sought quality over quantity in the Great Race.

I (a man) will probably get crucified for saying this but I think that Men are often competitive in order to impress and get women. Women (but not my girl) often encourage this type of behaviour to see which of their suitors is fittest or encourage her man to compete with the neighbours. So women may also drive optimism and excess consumption by proxy.

Just to mention again: My fiancee is currently tolerating my ELP efforts very well for which I am grateful.

Carbon - Coventry UK

The decision to mate has less biological cost for a man than it does for a woman, so women need to be far more choosy and selective than men do in choosing a potential partner.

Women tend to look for behavior, men tend to look for appearance, because women want someone to be an active provider, and men are evaluating the physical health necessary for bearing children.

Men tend to be more visual, women tend to be more aural and tactile.

Men and women also tend to have different genitalia.

These are not all hard and fast rules, but they work much of the time.

Somethign to incorporate into your theory: women gathered the majority of the food (energy) back in the "old" days.

As I mentioned up top, men only brought in 5% or so, although the 5% was equally important to survival since it contained iron and other substances lost during blood loss. But in terms of actual energy content, the women were the most responsbile of the two genders. Now, the vast majority of our energy comes from sources where men are pretty much running everything.

I hunt and provide nearly all the animal protein my family eats. My wife loves elk and antelope even though she is pretty squeamish and opposed to most violence. Her admonition to me last weekend was not "have a nice hunt" or "have a good time with our son", it was "bring us back some steaks... the freezer is getting empty". Ah yes, to get laid one must bring home the bacon protein & iron. ;-)

That it would be desired by so many women to:
* wear the same kind of monkey suit that men wear,
* while emulating all the worst qualities and behaviors of men in the corporate world,
* in pursuit of the same fleeting illusion of happiness through advancement and consumption,
* all available through abandoning their own children at daycare or in front of the TV ...

It's just one more sign of how backward and dysfunctional our society has become.

Maybe pointless careerism is not a goal worthy of that gender which actually brings forth new life for our species.

Just a small addition to this enjoyable but rather stereotypical discussion about gender roles. It has been stressed that to bring up children (in the sense of feeding them, protecting them, till age say 5 or 6, and keeping them safe and fed for some years thereafter - without Barbie dolls, etc.) a collaborative network, cooperation, and an atmosphere of trust are required, ie. some sort of friendly, non violent, participatory culture. And it is women, overall, who care for small children. So women set up cooperation, uphold moral rules, etc. and tend to do that all the time. Their non-competitive ‘nature’ (hah, you should have seen my ex-boss!) endures. This is surely more important than their contributions in terms of berries and roots etc.

Hi Noizette,

re: "...some sort of friendly, non violent, participatory culture."

Another significant (and poetic) post from Noizette.

Dear 710,

You broke the code sir.

Yet its something most of us men already knew down at some deep level.

airdale-married 46 yrs ,wife still not too bad

Based on these numbers, total liquids consumption in Venezuela is going up at close to 9%/year.

Consumption of Venezuelan crude oil and petroleum products rising sharply

Caracas Daily Journal (Jeremy Morgan): Consumption of crude oil and petroleum products is rising sharply on the back of a growing economy and improving standards of living -- not to mention some of the cheapest gasoline in the world.

At the same time, the state oil corporation, Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA), has been able to cut back export shipments without apparently doing serious damage to the balance sheet.

* The reason for that, of course, is sky-high world oil export prices, even with demand down in the United States.

According to a study by a petroleum economist, Ramon Espinasa, cited in in the newspaper, El Nacional, consumption in Venezuela of all types of oil products including crude averaged 780,000 barrels per day (bpd) in the third quarter of this year.

That was 56% above the average of around half a million bpd recorded five years ago. PDVSA reckons domestic consumption now accounts for the equivalent of around 33% of national output -- more than twice the 16% seen five years ago.

Which raises a litle bit of a chicken v. egg question:

Is it the case that increasing domestic consumption drives declining exports in exporting nations?


Is it the case that rising global prices enable exporting nations to cut back their exports without losing revenues, thus leaving more available for domestic consumption?

Or is it the case that some nations (Indonesia, UK?) follow one model, and other nations (Venezuela?) follow the other?


Can you comment on this story?


Thanks for any input.

Well, according to OPEC’s own MONTHLY OIL MARKET REPORT September crude production was not up at all for the OPEC 10. However both August and September were up 150,000 barrels per day over July for the OPEC 10. You will notice this report says September was down about a quarter million bp/d from July and August was down about 850,000 bp/d from July. The numbers in this report are just so far removed from OPEC’s own numbers, as well as the numbers from all other sources, as to make them suspect.

Iraq was up 190,000 barrels per day in September. Iraq is not part of the OPEC 10 and not subject to quotas however they were part of this report. So there is about one third of the increase. Also notice that is this report deals with exports and not production. They could very easily be pumping from their tank farms.

Ron Patterson


Thanks for the input. I was mostly interested in comments on their exports increasing and how that related to the ELM. Didn't think about them pumping from their tank farms.


WT, several times you have offered an explanation for why crude inventories are high and yet crude prices stay high and finished product prices are relatively low at the same time finished product inventories remain very low.

I wonder if the J curve effect might have something to do with at least the persistently high crude inventories, as well as the high crude prices. The reasoning would be as follows:

Domestic importers of crude would want to keep inventories topped up as much as possible with the dollar in a falling mode because tomorrow the same crude will cost more. While the actual relative value of the dollar might play a smaller part in the daily price rise of crude, the buying pressure because of the falling dollar would have a larger effect (the j-curve). If the dollar 'bottoms out' and remains stable for a length of time, one would expect crude traders to go back to a just-in-time inventory for crude, dropping inventories to within or below average. Of course by the time the dollar stabilizes, if it ever does, supply constraints on crude would probably have a much greater effect than the relative value of the dollar.

As for low refined product inventory, I can't think of anything other than a world-wide refinery bottleneck. Witness KSA's refinery building spree and sharply rising consumption of refined products all across the globe. The real mystery remains the relatively low price of refined product at this point. At some point, probably fairly soon, the spread will have to shrink, or the refiners will really be hurting.

Summary of Weekly Petroleum Data for the Week Ending October 12, 2007

U.S. commercial crude oil inventories (excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve) rose by 1.8 million barrels compared to the previous week. At 321.9 million barrels, U.S. crude oil inventories are above the upper end of the average range for this time of year. Total motor gasoline inventories increased by 2.8 million barrels last week, and are just at the lower end of the average range. Finished gasoline inventories fell last week while gasoline blending components rose. Distillate fuel inventories increased by 1.0 million barrels, and are at the upper limit of the average range for this time of year. Propane/propylene inventories decreased 0.1 million barrels last week. Total commercial petroleum inventories increased by 2.6 million barrels last week, but are in the upper half of the average range for this time of year.

"Finished gasoline inventories fell last week...."

And the 300kpd Wilmington Refineries being offline
were made up where?

And so ethanol's doing what the Birth/Death Model does for
the BLS.

And since when have we not been importing the Max amount of crude that this week allowed us to import 1.8 mil over the
previous week.

Can someone point me to a site that discusses this report?

Thank you. "Cause I don't believe it.

Arkansaw of Samuel L Clemens

Edited - Better Post below.

I just heard Tom Petrie of Merrill Lynch talking about peak oil on CNBC. He said, something to the effect, in his last line before being thanked and cut off:

All this points to the practicality of Peak Oil sometime in the next few years.

Who is Tom Petrie?

Tom Petrie, the CEO and co-founder of Petrie Parkman, will become a vice chairman of Merrill Lynch and a member of the Executive Client Coverage Group.

Merrill Lynch bought out Petrie Parkman and made the CEO at Petrie Parkman their Vice Chairman.

Since the company was founded, Petrie Parkman has advised on more than 200 energy deals with a combined value of $84 billion.

Petrie, like Boone Pickens and Matt Simmons, knows energy.

I will post a video link as quick as it comes up.

Ron Patterson

The Tom Petrie “Peak Oil” video is now up:

Oil's Breaking Point

Discussing whether there's a breaking point for oil prices, with Tom Petrie, Merrill Lynch vice chairman, and CNBC's Erin Burnett

Except it is not Erin Burnett, it's Mark Haines.

Ron Patterson

Thanks for the link.

It's interesting that he made the statment about Peak Oil, and that the "interviewer" did not respond to it at all.

No he did not respond at all. In fact the interview ended at that point. I don't think that was a coincidence. Most interviews last four or five minutes, sometimes longer. This one lasted just a few seconds over two minutes.

I believe the people at CNBC have been read the riot act. They are not to discuss Peak Oil under any circumstances. You can understand their reasoning. Peak oil discussions might cause panic, it might cause the market to crash. That must be avoided at all cost. Therefore once the term "Peak Oil" is mentioned they are to instantly change the subject.

Notice that Boone Pickens never uses the term however he has said, on CNBC many times, that we are producing 85 million barrels per day and it will not go any higher.

Ron Patterson

I'm not so sure. I'm pretty sure I've heard the words "Peak Oil" every day this week on CNBC from one analyst or another. They're not bringing this up on a lark, or to make fun of it. It's becoming a common narrative.

They keep coaching it as a "theory", of course, but with every passing day it's looking more like "history".

CNBC is owned by General Electric:


dont get too in love with tom petrie, you could ask him about gas reserves for the whitney canyon field in sw wyoming.

Elwood, there is no need to play guessing games. None on this list are in personal contact with Petri, so we cannot ask him anything. If you have something to say about his opinion of gas reserves anywhere then tell us what it was and give us a link.

Ron Patteson

Petrie, like Boone Pickens and Matt Simmons, knows energy.

I heard Boone talking on CNBC today and he commented (in other words) that domestic corn ethanol business is GOOD energy? I was waiting for the glass half-full explanation but the topic changed..

As Prices Climb, Asia's Shrinking Stockpiles Cause Unease

It's behind a paywall, but can be read for free if you go in through Google News.

As oil prices tick higher, Asia's import-dependent consumer nations are feeling less secure about their energy supplies by the day.

Oil's march to record highs this week is set to further tighten the region's supply, put the brakes on long-term plans to build emergency reserves, and pile further pressure on governments to abandon state fuel subsidies -- a move that in turn could cause political instability.

Although high oil prices may open the door to increased use of alternative energy products, the fact remains that developments in ethanol blending, solar energy, and wind and nuclear power have far too long a lead time to make any difference in meeting supply over the next few months.

from the article

It isn't just in China, or neighboring Japan, where oil stocks are running unseasonably low: Inventories in the U.S. and Europe's Antwerp-Rotterdam-Amsterdam hub have also been draining away.
"At the current pace, we maintain that global inventories are poised to reach critically low levels by year end," analysts at Goldman Sachs said in a report.

Thanks for helping to throw some light on the apparent disconnect between the US inventory figures - which haven't fallen significantly recently and the OECD draw of 26 million barrels in September reported by the IEA.
Does this mean that whilst the US has been keeping up its purchases regardless of cost ( the trade deficit is so bad anyway, a few trillion $ more probably doesn't matter ), other OECD nations have reduced their imports and are therefore taking a disproportionate inventory hit ?
Does this also mean that if shortages develop later this winter, it wont be in the US, but somewhere else ?

It isn't just in China, or neighboring Japan, where oil stocks are running unseasonably low: Inventories in the U.S. and Europe's Antwerp-Rotterdam-Amsterdam hub have also been draining away.

"At the current pace, we maintain that global inventories are poised to reach critically low levels by year end," analysts at Goldman Sachs said in a report.

So - who will get the demand destruction - the far east or Europe or USA?
So far the USA is simply printing money to stop the people noticing that the economy is imploding, resulting in ever more expensive oil - in dollar terms.
European prices are only now approaching the previous record.

I have to disagree that saying the magic word "technology" is the solution. Over time technology will improve and standard of living will rise but we don't have time for that. Right now "technology" is a buzz word to avoid having a Carter cardigan sweater moment.

What we need right now is government that pays more heed to thermodynamics than campaign contributions. They are part of the problem not the solution. Somebody needs to tell the Big Babies which is what the Boomers grew up to be that there ain't no more. Now put away your SUV toys and share.

You can fool some of the people all the time but you can't fool ma nature.


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

The answer to today's Phosphorus article:

A Carbon-Negative Fuel


We've mentioned terra preta before: it's a human-made soil or fertilizer. "Three times richer in nitrogen and phosphorous, and twenty times the carbon of normal soils, terra preta is the legacy of ancient Amazonians who predate Western civilization." Although we don't know how it was made back then, we do know how to make it now: burn biomass (preferably agricultural waste) in a special way that pyrolisizes it, breaking down long hydrocarbon chains like cellulose into shorter, simpler molecules. These simpler molecules are more easily broken down by microbes and plants as food, and bond more easily with key nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus. This is what makes terra preta such good fertilizer.

The answer to what? I'm a Terra Preta fan, but TP only has phosphorous in it because it came from somewhere else (and it retains P better than other soils.)

TP + recycled urine could go a long way towards reducing phosphate demand, as part of an ELP program.

I pee in my compost (that's why you should locate it in a secluded corner of the yard). It helps with the nitrogen and feeding the micro-beasties that turn waste into plant food. I keep planning to try terra preta. I found out some tree waste companies deliver free tree mulch in our area (I just got 14 cu yds for my house). I hope to try making charcoal out of the more woody "chunk" that the chipper missed.

Hello Leanan & Theantidoomer,

My thxs for these links. I have been flogging the Yahoo Finance POT message board for some time now trying to alert short-term investors to the need for long-term, biosolar mission-critical, fundamental NPK investing.

Since 42% of world phosphate reserves are located in Morocco, it is only natural that many "Grand Chessboard" moves will be for control over this vital resource. Posted below is a copy of my latest POT addition:
Fertilizer OPEC centered on Phosphate?

Just some more info: in case you are wondering, US Special Forces and other elements of PsyOps and statecraft have been operating in Morocco for some time because 42% of global phosphate reserves are located there. Never forget that 3 Moroccons were implicated in the March 11th Madrid train bombings, just as many Saudi citizens were named as key players in the 9/11 attack.

The 'Grand Chessboard' for global resource control needs to be monitored by all as we go postPeak. Who cares who wins the World Series, or what Hollywood starlet is DUI? This is just modern day equivalents for the Roman Circus to prevent the uninformed from being aware of the Thermo/Gene Collision.

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

The answer to today's Phosphorus article:

Is it? Please explain how, because I'm not seeing it.

I've never seen any studies which show it works to increase yields in temperate areas, only in the tropics, and there the data could be better.

The results seem linked to microbial activity, much faster and more active in the tropics.

Any studies showing increased yields in temperate areas would be appreciated.

I have a feeling this isn't going to end well...

Narcissists in Neverland: Gen-Yers say they are willing to make financial sacrifices to make the world a better place. But how long can they really expect to work less, volunteer more - and count on their aging parents to push back retirement?

"Generation Me" author Twenge says that, anecdotally, her research suggests that the day of reckoning for many young adults may be coming even sooner. Some parents, she says, are drawing the line at 30; others are deciding to kick their kids out when they try to let a boyfriend or girlfriend move into the family home.

Such evictions aren't easy for Gen-Yers to take. They've been raised, says Twenge, on "bad advice," like "believe in yourself and you can do anything," leaving many with deeply unrealistic expectations about their lives. Indeed, in a massive new research project on the ever-growing narcissism of today's young adults set to be published early next year, Twenge has found that the gap between expectation and reality is immense for Generation Y. One example: in 1975, 24 percent of American high-school students believed that they would earn a graduate degree; today 50 percent of high-school students think the same thing. In reality just 9 percent of students both then and now actually go on to accomplish this goal. Twenge thinks that such overblown expectations are largely to blame for the well-documented rise in anxiety and depression in young adults. "It's depressing to realize that your unrealistic dreams are never going to come true," says Twenge.

I read this piece, and it is terrible. It is dripping with boomer and Amero-centric bias and it takes a generally reactionary, unhelpful tone with young people such as myself.

For many who have graduated college with high levels of student loan debt it makes perfect sense for them to remain under their parents' roof to attempt to keep their costs under control. In many parts of the world other than America it is expected that children will reside with their parents until their late 20s or early 30s.

Personally, I was lucky enough to have parents and a job that allowed me to pay my way through school and have no debt at the end. I have also been lucky enough to find a job that lets me live on my own.

I would advise the author of that Newsweek hitpiece, and those who share her opinions, to do some serious introspection. She seems to have forgotten that time, the most important advantage, is on the side of the younger generations she wastes ink lambasting.

Time isn't on anyone's side. Unfortunately.

And I think we're all going to end up living with relatives and/or friends we didn't expect to.

But I also think Twenge is correct that Generation Y and younger have much higher expectations than previous generations. It's not their fault, obviously. It's their parents' fault. American families these days are kid-centric to an amazing degree. This has some advantages...but also some disadvantages. I fear these kids are being raised for a world that will no longer exist. As it is, GenY has high rates of depression due to unmet expectations. Peak oil is not going to help.

This attitude regarding parenting just amazes me. Maybe I'm some sort of mutant, having been raised by depression babies, but kids are supposed to go to school, play until they're too tired to bother mom and dad, and then go to bed. This business of hyperscheduling, overstimulating, and playing chauffeur that my ex does just drives me to distraction. When he was younger my son was afraid to go into high grass ... he'd never played anywhere but a groomed city park.

An end to flitting about in SUVs and an end to compulsively groomed city parks will fix that right up, and everyone needing a garden will do wonders for childrens' work ethic.

And all that scheduled and patterned upbringing really does wonders for developing free thought, imagination, and creativity. When I was growing up we made our own push carts and toys invented our own games, and had a lot of fun with no adult supervision. Sometimes we would get into trouble, but that was part of the learning process. I watch kids today who have no idea what to do unless they have some sort of video game or pre-made stimulation to pass the time. The legendary American free spirit and individuality is dead with the youngest generations.

I still see packs of preteens here roaming the streets unsupervised like we did when we were kids. No way would a pack of eight year olds just take off on their bikes for hours at a time in an urban area, eh? Here its called "go outside and play". But you'll have that in a town where you can park crosswise on the busiest street at midnight on a Thursday, take a picture, and then drive off without anyone even noticing you're there :-0

This town is so small ...

I'm mostly thinking of the suburbs where everything is according to a schedule to guarantee their “success” . You’re right about urban areas such as Chicago, there the kids that do roam generally come from the worst households and are usually destined for the charm school at Stateville. Even in the small towns such as the one I live near now, I have to wonder, why are kids today so fat? I only remember one or two obese kids in my class when I was a kid. Now it looks like at least half.

Hello Bruce from Chicago,

Good points. Compare with the legendary African Thermo/Gene free spirit and individuality expressed in the following photo. Physical fitness & Recess the hard way. =(


My favorite photo, posted by some other TODer much earlier, was a warrior-child with AK47, and a pink bunny backpack to carry the extra bullet clips.

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

Sometimes it works out.

We spent lots of time taking the kids to little league games and such.

They got full scholarships and good paying jobs out of it.

That was then and this is now though. It used to be a good country before all the third world imports with bad attitudes.

Yay! Blame it on the brown people!

If the US were a meritocracy like it used to be we would have much less problems.

'all the third world imports with bad attitudes..'

Unsupported Correlation, Musashi..

A lot of good-old-boys, D.A.R. Country Clubbers and other established 'natives' have had pretty bad attitudes and activities through the centuries too. And the people I meet here in Portland (Somali, Arabic, Farsi, Khmer, Spanish, Serbian are a few languages common in our school system now). Are not the ones showing 'bad attitudes'..

It's still a country with wild contrasts, great hopes and sad hypocrises. Lots of idealism, lots of corruption... land that I love.


I agree it is a poor article. as a 42 year old in the UK, I am damn pleased I do not have the problems of younger people. Why does the author think people WANT to live with parents?? In the UK, 18 - 30's can't get out. They can't even afford car insurance [eg 18 is about $3000 pr yr!]

What you are describing is yet another one of neo-Victorian America's little scams for hiding the fall in real hourly wages and attendant polarization of wealth. Our working class forebears fought, sometimes literally, for:

40-hour workweek
medical benefits
wages high enough for single-wage, nuclear families

By dismantling each of these, ordinary Americans are returned to Reagan's 1920s fantasy land. But that is a concscious, planned betrayal of promises made to the working class to get them to put down their Red banners during the crisis of the Great Depression. How do you turn the clock back 80 years on my standard of living without me getting radical ideas again?

The high student debt was caused because the cost of college education went up faster than ordinary income. The structuring of student debt, like mortgage debt, let the fatcats put off the reckoning into the future. The mortgage debt let parents buy overly-large houses, which in turn reduced the social pressure caused by grads moving back in with the parents. The educations thus made possible created a generation of salesmen, in one form or another, selling slave-wage imported crap to each other while the elites collected fees and dividends. The worst people to hit with a looming economic/ecological crisis - not only do they lack useful post-collapse skills, but they're intellectually incapable of imagining the failure of their God of prosperity until they see enough bad things personally, which is too late.

Your generation was the victim of a treason too vast for you to have recognized, but ultimately you will be judged by whether you try to keep the treason going for a few more years of familiar comforts or you consider revolutionary change for the long run.

On the other hand the only reason the mouse gets caught in the trap is the want of free cheese.

Kids figured out that people are living longer and the odds of inheriting before their 50's is pretty slim.

So now they try and get the funds up front.

An interesting article. I'd like to point out though, that it's probably a lot more sensible for young people not to have children and get mortgages as soon as they get their first proper job. After all, any sensible person should know by now that employers don't care about the people who work for them, all they care about are profits and the satisfaction of shareholders.

I witnessed a tragedy quite recently, somebody I know finished university, got a good job at Nokia and went on quickly to get a mortgage, get married and have a baby. Then he lost his job, all of a sudden, after a while lost his house and finally his marriage fell apart. AFAIK alcohol is his main comfort now...

It's not the twentysomethings who created this bubble and pyramid scheme, and they're just being realistic when they don't want to live by the rules of their parents' times.

From a PO perspective, there many things to do that seem a lot more sensible than getting into debt and tied down, both physically and financially, by children. One of those is having fun and enjoying life while it's still possible. Another would be to prepare by relocating, learning farming etc.

Surely it's not a bad thing if young people don't think making money is the be all and end all of life? Parents may resent it if their adult children rely on their support, but don't you think baby boomers have actually got so rich by essentially borrowing from future generations?

Well - Gen X had "issues" with reality. Our lives would see the decline and fall of the american dream.

Spot on but just a decade late due to the Clinton/ late 1990s nap time interlude.

Why bother to work hard in school? Everybody's financial plan is simply to win the lottery! Or that big score at the casino. Any day now, any day now...

I'm in my 40's. I expect my children may need to stay at home for quite some time before they can get by independently, and I do not ever expect to retire in leisure. I fully expect to have to work and contribute to my family's survival in whatever capacity I can until I die, and one of my biggest fears is that I might someday become more of a drain than a benefit. I get some of my greatest enjoyment from work (whether physical or mental, or done alone or with others) that is well done and successful.

One of the best ways one can prepare for the future is to adjusts one's own ways of thinking. The ideas of retirement and leisure are a recent creation and entirely an artifact of excess productive capacity, mostly driven by easy access to fossil fuels.

I have decidedly mixed emotions about telling a group of college students tonight at Texas A&M what I think is in store for them.

Be honest and tell them what you believe the future holds.

Please share with us what you have to say.

You must be the change you wish to see.

I'm in a position in which I'm sought out for advice by young people who are sincere, well-motivated, and optimistic.

I've tried being honest with a few of them, and it was rather awful. I'm not doing it anymore except indirectly. It's painful to see kids like that come up against reality so abruptly. And of course, the smarter they are the harder it hits. Aesthetically it's about like strangling puppies.

Sharon Astyk took a break from writing her blog, Casaubansbook.blogspot.com, because she doesn't see it anymore. She also ponders abandoning her austerity project, 90% energy use reduction in 52 weeks.

Her reasons were coming from the latest climate reports (only zero emissions will suffice). Throw your export models on top of that. And then finish it off with some finance. That's their future.

Very few people are assembling the entire picture, ilargi. And those that do are immediately ridiculed and attacked by those who have not.

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


As you can see the other replies to Jeff's conundrum suggest he be honest. Maybe speaking like Socrates is the way to go.

If you are really that much smarter than everyone else, why can't you figure out how to be persuasive too?

You are assuming that there is some advantage to be gained by persuading you and people like you. Reassess your assumptions.

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

FWIW, Sharon blogged again today, about the climate change predictions.

Trying to take on these projects in the hopes that one can change the world is sure to end up being a downer. The world IS changing, and individual efforts are powerless to make any real difference. One might as well try to mitigate a tsunami with a paper cup.

There is a difference between what I would call "bargaining stage" projects and "acceptance stage" projects. The "depression stage" is sandwiched between those two stages, so it sounds like Sharon's may actually have been a "bargaining stage" project. Wrong move.

Best to just accept that the whole world is going to hell in a handbasket. Somehow, against all odds, it might end up a little less bad than what the worst case analyses predict, but then again, maybe not. We've got a rough ride ahead of us no matter what we do, so the sooner we accept that as a given, the better. To the extent that the opportunity presents itself, by all means try to be part of the solution rather than part of the problem. But sanity is only to be found in accepting the reality that even being part of the solution might not be enough, that there may not in fact BE a solution.

On the other hand, it makes all the sense in the world to engage one's self in a project to change one's lifestyle in order to ADAPT as best as one can to this changing world. Accept the reality as it is and try to get on with coping with it as best as one can. It might even be useful and helpful to share one's experiences with others as one gets on with one's adaptation project. Ultimately, taking on these adaptation projects can and should be pretty much one and the same with "being part of the solution". And while it might very well end up making no difference to the fate of the world, it can and should make a difference to you.

that there may not in fact BE a solution

that though is so far out of so many people's minds that the majority of the population will try anything, and i mean anything to solve the problems. it has been drilled into there minds for so long by just about everything that if there is a problem it automatically means there has to be a solution somewhere they just arn't looking hard enough for it.

this is what i fear will spell the end of us not climate change or peak oil, but ourselves in the foolish pursuit of a solution that doesn't exist to these upheavals in our world.

...there may not in fact BE a solution.

There are no solutions, only strategies.

The austerity budget is hard to justify. There is the "walk the walk" argument, but if one wants to prepare, one should use energy as best as one can. At this stage of the game, I consider my energy reductions experimental - how would I do such-and-such without electricity. Everything takes SOOO much longer that trying to live right off on an austere energy budget prevents one from getting important preparations done.

cfm in Gray, ME

Be honest. Be direct. They are our future, what there may be of it, and the sooner they get through the grief over a lifestyle they'll never have the sooner they start contributing to the solutions.


Be prepared for unpleasantness. A friend of mine teaches at a junior college in the A&M area, and ran into a firestorm in the late '90s when he dared say something to his class about the Civil War. The kids laid into him with claims that the Secession was about states' rights (meaning freedom in their redneck minds) and that racism had nothing to do with the Confederacy. I was so outraged by this that I went to the Rice University library and dug up quotes and newspaper articles from the South during the Secession debates that proved newspaper editors in major Southern cities were claiming that the choice was literally between secession and being raped by emancipated black men. (Also dug up a beauty about Jefferson Davis arguing that the South should demand to invade one Northern state to enforce the Fugitive Slave Act at gunpoint before giving up on the Union. He was the moderate!)

Conversely, I've heard from others that nowdays A&M students are a lot more normal than they used to be (Texans will understand what that means). But that may just mean they've swapped white supremacy for easy greed, which they will cling to with just as much stubborness.

I think the A&M area is truly the heart of American reactionary insanity, where capitalist, Christian and militarist ideology have merged into an incipient fascism. I hope YMMV.

A short documentary from student perspectives;
(Warning reading required)

A Vision of Students Today


Most telling was the one,

"I didn't make all the problems in the world, but all the problems are mine" or something like that.

'I think the A&M area is truly the heart of American reactionary insanity, where capitalist, christian and militarist ideology have merged into an incipient fascism. I hope YMMV.'

I dont believe A&M is the heart of the lunacy. Lunacy has expanded geographacally each year that I have been aware of it. The mega churches can now be found in parts of the US where they were not found 15 years ago, and where the mega churches are found the lunacy accompanies them...Or, is it that the lunacy is present and leads to the formation of mega churches? In any case I can no longer even discuss the most mundane subjects with any of the people that profess to believe the bs that is expounded daily in right wing religious and political media. I have found that the only way to maintain my own rationality is to avoid the lunatics like the plague...Which, in a very real sense, is what they are. WT, if I were you I would not discuss the time of day with students at A&M...But, since you are obligated, please avoid going near the giant log burnings designed by those brilliant engineering students attending A&M.


Remember the Kubler-Ross 5 stages of grief. You'll only be seeing #1 (denial), #2 (anger), and #3 (bargaining) tonight. Depression (#4) won't start setting in until after you've left, and acceptance (#5) is still a longer ways away.

Have fun!


John Michael Greer's lastest blog entry discusses the application of the Kubler-Ross stages to the coming transition:


They'll get over it. I had some old army general telling us that the world was coming to an end at my high school graduation in 1983. My aunt and I were laughing about it just the other day.

The Latte Era Grinds Down

Brian LaCroix, a 34-year-old computer engineer, developed a taste for expensive coffees. Earlier this year, however, he stopped frequenting a French coffee shop in Dallas and bought an espresso machine, slashing the daily cost for deux lattes from $8 to $1. The newlywed and his wife, who have a combined income of about $200,000, have also cut spending by mowing their own lawn. And Brian asked to work from home two days a week to save on gas for his 2002 Ford Ranger. The LaCroixs have been motivated by a combination of factors: frugality, environmentalism and concern about the job and real-estate markets. (Earlier in the decade Yvette, now an operations manager for Fannie Mae, lost her job in the telecom bust.) "We want to be sure that we can afford our home on just one salary without having to dip into savings," says Brian.

Actually, the upbeat thing about this article is that people aren't just "trading down" for financial reasons. They are also doing it because of environmental concerns. And because they realize they just don't need all this stuff. Do you really need a house so big you don't enter certain rooms for months at a time?

If you think I'm repetitive here, take pity on my poor daughter and son-in-law . . .

However, lots of their friends who told them that they were nuts for not splurging on new cars and for not buying a house are now complaining about monthly bills eating them alive, while layoffs are spreading.

Anyway, I'm off to College Station and then Houston. I plan to meet JHK and Alan Drake for dinner--should be interesting conversation.

When you see our projected top five net export curve versus current and projected US total petroleum imports, I think that you will conclude--as Matt Simmons warned--that Jim was an optimist, assuming that our (i.e., Khebab did almost all the work) projections are anywhere close to correct.

Daily acknowledgment: when I grow up, I want to be as smart as Khebab.

Don't grow up - it's not all it's cracked up to be!

I've been preaching the "buy less" model for quite some time and few people manage to listen. My new coworker just came over from Germany. I gave him the best advice I could, which was to buy a small used vehicle. What did he get? A Trailblazer. However, the second vehicle purchase was a smaller Chevy Tracker. If he had gotten a Tracker and something smaller, that would have been good.

Instead of trying to present Peak Oil to him, I merely suggested that he purchase something that he can have paid off in 2 years or less. He asked why. I said, "Because it's likely that you'll be laid off in the next 2 years." If you don't think you can get peak oil into someone's head, just get recession into their head. They can swallow that more easily. Sure, they'll think it's temporary, but they know rough times are ahead, so it's time to act more sensibly.
~Durandal (http://www.wtdwtshtf.com/)

Hello WT,

Holy Crap! You, Alan, and JHK for dinner?--please record the conversation for later TOD posting PLEASE! Don't forget to shoutout Peakoil when your glasses reach half-empty too.

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

I agree, a video of that could be the new "My diner with Andre"

That would be amazing if you could record some of your diner conversation. Impossible in a busy restaurant though. It's amazing how much ambient noise there can be when dining out.

Recipient of AA, Alberta Advantage

If the people in that restaurant really knew who was dining there and the import of what was being talked about, you would be able to hear a pin drop.

I second that! I'll send you $50 cash right now if you set up a video or audio recorder and just let it roll. ( I do think it would be best after 1/2 the beer/scotch/etc. has been consumed!). It's not that hard. Please consider doing it!

I plan to meet JHK and Alan Drake for dinner--should be interesting conversation.

Oh, to be the proverbial fly on the wall...

Westexas - your dinner with JHK and Alan Drake..

Why not complete the set and invite James Hansen!

I would also love to hear what ideas come from that dinner.

Carbon, Coventry UK

-Take on an apocalyptic horseman each!

"Do you really need a house so big...?"

OTOH, where else is a U.S. retail investor to go? The dollar is tanking and another bubbleicious interest-rate cut seems to be in the works. So non-house asset classes are once again going to be looted out by inflation - as in the 1970s, when people learned that a house is the only investment. On top of that, non-house asset portfolios typically have to be managed, generating taxable churn, while mortgages on houses generate tax deductions instead.

Of course, houses guzzle energy directly and indirectly, both during construction and during use, but that's never been an issue, has it? And it's not really possible that the latest bubble would raise the cost of carrying a big house by inflating commodities including gas and oil, is it?

(P.S. ya gotta love the cartoon that leads the article.)

Edit - and on top of everything else, the house is partially or completely invisible when the time comes to send the kids to college. Other assets are simply confiscated...


Combined income of $200,000.00 a year. My heart really bleeds for them. Where does Newsweek find these people? I remember they did a story a while back about people dropping out of the rat race. Almost all of the people in the article were wealthier than the entire town they moved to. Oh please!

Bruce - couldn't agree more! I take home about $45k after taxes and I can pay for my housing, transport, utilities, health care, savings, and still have plenty left over for discretionary spending without going into debt!

If the $200k couple lived in my area they would bring home about $130k after taxes. I can't even imagine what I would do with an additional $100k of income other than watch the magic of compound interest build my savings faster and farther!

No kidding. But Newsweek is in the biz of selling stories. Someone gets an idea that might sell, sends another out to find a couple friends, or whoever to fit the bill, and presto, instant story, new "trend."

These are fluff pieces IMO, and you can't read much into them other the lifestyle of a few individuals. There may be a trend, but the story is no evidence.

There have been a couple of good gw blogs on weather.com this week by their meteorologists.

The cause of global warming is not a political or special-interest issue. It's a scientific one. Similarly, the projections of our global climatic future are not politically- or special interest-driven. They're the products of science. They may be right or wrong, but they spring from our knowledge and technology, not our subjective biases and political bents.


This is just a note to those of you viewing (hopefully with amusement) the media's pronouncements that we still have not cracked the old 1981 "inflation adjusted price". According to the inflation calculator at the Minneapolis branch of the Federal Reserve, the $38 per barrel price of 1981 is equivalent to $85.91 in 2007.

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

Thank you for the information, I recently have noticed diverging data about this point.

The inflation adjusted price changes by the day and newsfeed. Rueters, in their reporting the runup yesterday, had 2 different figures above 88, while Bloomberg had another:

"On Oct. 15, prices passed the previous all-time inflation- adjusted record reached in 1981, when Iran cut oil exports. The cost of oil used by U.S. refiners averaged $37.48 a barrel in March 1981, according to the Energy Department, or $84.73 in today's dollars."

I'd like so see a sampling of the numbers from last spring's runup again. See if they're even in line with 6 mos inflation and the new figures.

Oops. Looks like the Ministry of Truth forgot to re-truthify that calculator out there in Minneapolis. We'll get to it shortly. Truth is a hard thing to manage. In the mean time please ignore what you're seeing. It never happened.

Readjusting history, one page at a time --Our Mission Statement


HTI's revolutionary forward osmosis filtration system

US based HTI have developed what it believes is the world’s first commercially viable forward osmosis membrane. This membrane has been used by NASA, the US Department of Defense, branches of the US military and is now available to the public.

The system can even convert sea water, although a special “SeaPack” containing substantially more sugars is needed to cope with the inherently very high osmotic pressure of water containing salt.

Sounds cool, until you run out of Gatorade syrup. Or cannot afford to buy it. Whatever. I'm sure the sports drink industry is thrilled by this.

I don't get the "revolutionary" part to this. It'll work with any semipermeable membrane, provided you have a carrier for it that's rugged enough to treat like a bota bag.
My hand-pumped water filter derives its energy from sugar, too - my breakfast. In this HTI device, the water seeks to equilibrate the osmolality of the solutions on both sides, driven by the increase in entropy of the sugar solution.
There's no magic to the Gibbs Free Energy - You're trading the enthalpy it took to dry the sugar for the entropy increase as it redissolves.
What won't happen under any circumstances is the water spontaneously flowing from the high-solute-concentration side to the low-concentration side. So fuggedabout making seawater drinkable without plenty of elbow grease.
I'll bet my hand pump fills the bag a lot quicker, too.

theantidoomer - your a little late on the up take.

By the by could you find that new tech that renders blood from a turnup for me?

I think there is going to be an awful lot of folks finding it tough to make ends meet in the near future.


Mysterious man lives rent-free in business attic

They kept hearing noises upstairs, so they went to check. It wasn't a raccoon or a squirrel, but a squatter. He'd made himself an apartment in the attic, complete with flatscreen TV, track lighting, air-conditioning, and a bathroom.

Store owners suspect the man has been living on the roof of their building for over a year. They say he's stealing electricity, making them feel unsafe and creating a fire hazard. These owners have called police several times. In fact, HPD confirms they've had more than a dozen calls to the building over the last year, but the man has yet to be kicked out.

They can't kick him out because they can't catch him. Every time they call the cops, he rappels down the building and escapes.

Sort of like the guy in Brazil, dropping in out of the blue, and making things work.

Now if here were a real hero he'd add nice, neat solar, hook it back into the system, and balance out what he is using :-)


The country would be a better place if Monty Python were running it.

Voice of America is covering the Houston conference, here's their prologue:


Matt Simmons, an oil industry analyst based here in Houston, is one of the best known advocates of the peak oil idea. He notes that demand for oil on a worldwide basis has grown from ten million barrels a day in 1950 to an estimated 88 million barrels a day projected for next year. He says demand will grow even more in the decades ahead.

"Almost all the long-term forecasts look out to 2020 and then 2030 and see a world that is going to need 115 to 120 million barrels a day of oil by 2020 and 120 to 130 by 2030," said Matt Simmons.

But Simmons says even those predictions may not fully capture the danger ahead. He notes that the fast-growing economies of India and China have reached only one third of Mexico's per-capita consumption of oil. If they were to reach Mexico's level of use, the world would require an additional 45 million barrels a day in output.

"I happen to think that this issue will soon overwhelm global warming as the single biggest threat to sustaining the 21st century," he said. "But I am amazed that it still lurks in the shadows and amazed at the debate as to whether it is even a real issue."

Looks like my road-side cafe, the one where I sell Florida bananas and fresh sardines, will have to weather a stretch of rough times. I have noticed a drop off traffic and biz recently so I added a peanut butter/jam/banana and sardine sandwich special with a raw sweet potato as a free side... Maybe I should add Little Macs to the menue? I have a 10 cent bowl of chili...hot water with ketchup...And the wife has decorated the place with depression era memorabilia. If you are driving down US1 and want a ten cent cup of chicory coffee look for 'Ricks Place.'


"Japan and China lead flight from the dollar
By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, International Business Editor

Data from the US Treasury showed outflows of $163bn (£80bn) from all forms of US investments. "These numbers are absolutely stunning," said Marc Ostwald, an economist at Insinger de Beaufort.

Asian investors dumped $52bn worth of US Treasury bonds alone, led by Japan ($23bn), China ($14.2bn) and Taiwan ($5bn). It is the first time since 1998 that foreigners have, on balance, sold Treasuries.

Mr Ostwald warned that US bond yields could start to rise again unless the outflows reverse quickly. "Woe betide US Treasuries if inflation does not remain benign," he said.

The release comes a day after the IMF warned that the dollar was still overvalued and likely to face "some depreciation in the medium term".

Bush: Threat of World War III if Iran goes nuclear. The war rhetoric just moved up a notch.

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

that would be funny if he was not sitting on the launch button for thousands upon thousands of nukes himself..


The United States is no longer a rational actor in the realm of foreign affairs :-(

Rhetoric remains rhetoric whether it is stupid or brilliant.

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

Turkey closes airspace for flights to northern Iraq in advance of military action

The chief commanding officer of the Turkish Armed Forces, General Yasar Buyukanit, is expected to hold a press conference from Rome in the coming hours. An invasion of northern Iraq is considered imminent.

General Buyukanit is in Rome as the official guest of the Italian military's General Staff headquarters.

Expanded Coverage

The Post Peak Oil Historian

I'm pretty beat after long trip, and the debate with Michael Economides, but I have an interesting story to tell.

He went first. Then I did my quantitative case for Peak Oil/Peak Exports. A really interesting exchange followed (based on recollections, not a literal transcript):

Dr.E: Whatt's this about a Saudi decline? Their production is up.

JB: I look at the numbers all the time. Their crude production is currently down by one mbpd.

Dr. E: No it's not, it's up. I have it on my computer (goes to get his computer).

JB: Does someone have an Internet connection? Someone in the audience says yes. I ask them to search for Saudi data. Dr. E loads his Saudi chart. It's from EIA showing total liquids production up for 2006.

JB: I don't know where this came from, but production is down.

Dr. E: The EIA says production is up.

JB: Okay, I will bet you $1,000 that Saudi production is down relative to 2005.

Dr. E: Fine

JB: Just so that we understand each other, if I can show you that Saudi oil production is down relative to 2005, you pay me $1,000. Agreed?

Dr. E: Well (low voice) I was talking about productive capacity.

JB: Could you say that into the microphone? (He repeats it for the audience)

JB: (To the audience). Just so you know what is going on. I have the capacity to date Julia Roberts, whether she will respond in the affirmative to my request is another matter.

Dr. E: I dated Julia Roberts (general laughter).

So now I'm really confused..

There's Production, 'Productive Capacity', and now "Reproductive Capacity"?

So which was it, Up or Down?
~ and was the meeting conducted under Roberts' rules?

Sorry, I'm a little delirious.. also on the road.
Good luck with the rest of it! I look forward to hearing all about it!

Bob Fiske