DrumBeat: October 25, 2007

Oil hits record above $90 on OPEC report

NEW YORK - Oil futures jumped to a new record close of $90.46 a barrel Thursday on news that OPEC production increases aren't coming as fast as expected and that the cartel won't announce new output quotas when it meets next month.

Prices rose in early trading on growing concerns about conflict in the Middle East and declining supplies of crude in the U.S. They got a further boost after Dow Jones Newswires reported that Oil Movements, a company that tracks oil tanker traffic, said crude shipments from Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries members will grow more slowly than anticipated through early November.

...Light, sweet crude for December delivery rose $3.36 to settle at $90.46 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange after rising as high as $90.60 earlier.

Darfur rebels attack Chinese oil field

Darfur rebels launched a brazen attack on Sudan's oil fields days before peace talks are scheduled to be held with the government, kidnapping two foreign workers and giving Chinese and other oil companies a week to leave the country, a commander said Thursday.

Location, location, location

Now a study in this month’s Ecological Applications, a journal of the Ecological Society of America, finds that while cluster development is indeed much easier on the surrounding environment, the location of housing developments is key.

Oil Prices May Impact MDGs - UN Report

A new mechanism to measure the impact of rising oil prices on Asia’s poor offers a sobering forecast. There is a clear threat to the region’s gains in reducing the numbers living poverty.

Could Electricity Grid Become A Type Of Internet?

In the future everyone who is connected to the electricity grid will be able to upload and download packages of electricity to and from this network. At least, that is one of the transformations the electricity grid could undergo.

Israel: Cities find bright way to cut energy use

"The cheapest source of power today is saving energy," says Eran Tagor, CEO and founding partner of Power Electronics. "We have to optimize energy use and take better advantage of energy output, which is partially wasted, thus not creating more pollution by burning fuel, while not compromising the electricity supply."

Shell chief blames speculators for oil price

A leading oil industry executive has blamed speculators for driving the price of oil to record highs.

Peter Voser, finance director of Shell, said that he believed that soaring oil prices were being driven by speculation and political tension, not a lack of supply.

“We find it hard to explain oil at $100 a barrel. I don’t see anyone queing for fuel and nor are there any physical shortages,” Mr Voser said.

Pace of coal-power boom slackens

Rising construction costs and potential climate legislation in Congress halt at least 18 proposed power plants in the past nine months.

Notes on the Looming Global Energy Crisis

In January, the average price for a barrel of oil was just above $50, by mid-October it had reached almost $90 a barrel, an impressive 70 percent increase without there having been a major catastrophe or war in between. International investment houses, such as Merrill Lynch and Citigroup, predict the average price will reach well above $90 a barrel and do not attribute any radical change as a catalyst for this upward trend.

Peak Or Peaked Oil?

Recently we mentioned ex-Fed chief Alan Greenspan’s view. It’s not the geology, it’s the politics, says he. He believes geologically there are enough proven reserves to see us right for some years. The problem is, much of the world’s reserves belong to countries not overly sympathetic to the needs of Western 4x4 drivers.

A bleak report today disagrees. The Energy Research Group says we’re running out and “peak oil” is using the wrong tense. It’s “peaked oil”. 2006 was the high point, say these German researchers and it’s all downhill from here. Production will now fall 7% year on year, and will halve by 2030.

BP to pay record $50 mln criminal fine: sources

The U.S. government on Thursday will announce a record $50 million criminal penalty against London-based BP Plc for a massive explosion at its Texas City refinery that killed 15 people in 2005, sources familiar with the deal said.

Russia unlikely to increase diesel fuel deliveries to Europe

European oil producing and processing companies forecast a future major shortage of diesel fuel. They hope Russia will help them solve the problem.

But foreign and Russian experts say that Russian oil companies are unlikely to seriously increase the output of diesel fuel.

Wood MacKenzie, which provides a unique range of consulting services and research products to the energy and life science industries, said the shortage of diesel fuel would grow nearly fourfold by 2020, to 60 million metric tons from 17 million metric tons in 2006.

Baghdad Suffers Worst Cuts

Despite years of work and billions of dollars spent trying to repair Iraq’s decrepit electricity system, Baghdad’s power supply remains intermittent and well below pre-war levels.

Battle over Poltava oil refinery heats up

A fight for control of Ukraine’s largest oil refinery threatens the country’s oil supplies from Russia while igniting intra-governmental rivalries at home.

Pay at pump shock as £60 held by bank

The "pay at the pump" system at the re-built Esso petrol station in East Grinstead has been used for the "first and last time" by local resident Laurence Barker.

He told the East Grinstead Courier he paid for £10 worth of diesel with his debit card and was "furious" when he later went to the cashpoint to draw funds but was refused.

The reason, he discovered, was that £60 had been debited from his account as a guarantee of payment.

Widespread attention for Oakland's Green Jobs Corps

The Green Jobs Corps will provide training opportunities for hard-to-employ populations (read: at-risk youths, low-income people, and those formerly incarcerated) while supporting the development of a greener economy.

Rwandan researchers highlight mini hydropower

Rwandan researchers have urged government decision-makers to provide more support for mini hydropower plant projects, which could solve the country's energy crisis and deliver power to isolated rural areas.

A Nobel cause

When I think of it now, the issue started to get political in 1988 when Dr. James Hansen [director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies] announced to Congress that global warming had started.

...I think back then even the rest of us earth scientists were a little stunned to hear him say that. We knew by then what computer models suggested for some future, decades away, but even we thought it was a little premature to be talking about global warming starting in 1988.

It’s interesting. Now that we look back at the graphs over the last 20 years, we discovered he was right.

Saudi Arabia may hold key to oil and dollar link

After a generation on the sidelines, the US dollar has re-emerged as a central issue in the pricing of oil. Since the credit crunch in August, when the dollar has gone down, oil has gone up, by an average ratio of more than 5 to 1. Since August 21, the greenback has declined 4 per cent versus the euro; West Texas Intermediate crude, the global oil benchmark, meanwhile, is up 25 per cent.

Why are commodities traders fixated on the dollar? Like other oil market puzzles, the answer may lie in Saudi Arabia.

Regulators seek power over electronic exchanges

Federal commodity regulators asked Congress today to give them greater oversight of electronic exchanges as a way to deter potential price distortion and manipulation, and to protect consumers.

Winter energy supplies come under scrutiny

Leading energy users met officials from the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform yesterday to discuss supplies for the coming winter. The meeting took place as seven of Britain’s sixteen nuclear reactors were out of action, raising concerns that energy supply could be tight again this winter.

Two years ago many heavy energy users, including ceramic tile makers and chemical plants, were forced to stop production for short spells after threefold increases in the price of gas.

Albania faces deepening energy crisis

The energy situation in Albania is worsening, despite the recent rains and snowfalls. There is no substantial increase of the levels in main accumulations, while the consumption of electric power surged due to low temperatures, triggering prolonged restrictions.

Nepal: Petro Price Hike Sparks Protests

Kathmandu witnessed street protest marches today after the government raised the price of fuel on Wednesday to beat a shortage and reduce losses at the state-run Nepal Oil Corporation, the sole importer of petroleum products in the country.

Price hike fails to normalize fuel supply in Nepal

Despite claims by Nepali government officials to normalize supply of petroleum products after raising the fuel price Thursday, very few pump owners in capital Kathmandu dared open their pumps fearing vandalism and protest.

Saudi SABIC Sees '08 Rise in Chemical Prices

SABIC buys ethane gas from state-owned Saudi Aramco at a fixed price, while many other chemical producers, such as Japan's Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings Corp., rely for feedstock on naphtha, which is linked to oil prices.

China grants BP venture fuel storage permit

The move is part of Beijing's ongoing efforts to free up its tightly state-oil-major dominated sector in line with its commitment when it joined the World Trade Organization at the end of 2001.

Jeremy Leggett: Surrendering our future

Our common enemy is global warming, and it is already at our gates. But while our German allies are turning out the renewable energy equivalents of Messerschmitts by the factory-load, Britain is again slow to spring into action. Worse, as we learned yesterday, officials responsible for UK mobilisation have told the prime minister it is impossible for us to build modern-day Spitfires in any number. We should instead oppose European targets set recently for such mobilisation and join other laggards in order to persuade the Germans to scale back their own efforts.

Global Warming and the Politics of the California Wildfires

To cast doubt on the scientists' warnings -- and perhaps fill space -- Buchanan lists examples in history of dire predictions that didn't come true, ignoring those that did. He also tries to equate the squishy prophecies of social science with the findings of hard science, now aided by sophisticated computer modeling.

And he has found a helpful scientist, the contrarian Dr. William Gray. A meteorologist at Colorado State University, Gray holds that human-caused global warming is "a hoax." Gray has yet to publish his theory in a peer-reviewed journal -- where fellow scientists could tear it apart -- but he gets a lot of media attention, as you can imagine.

Climate expert says drought, flooding threaten Texas

James Hansen, in Houston to speak before the Progressive Forum on Wednesday night, said predictions made two decades ago about the effects of a warming world are now beginning to come true.

"Texas is in the line of fire for double-barreled climate impacts," said Hansen, who heads the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies. "What we said in the 1980s, and is beginning to come true now, is that both ends of the hydrological cycle get intensified by global warming."

If Gore Were Arrested...

Fresh from winning the Nobel Peace Prize for his climate change evangelism, Al Gore is apparently considering an invitation from a prominent environmental group to engage in civil disobedience against the construction of new coal-fired power plants.

Use these four principles for global warming bill

By taking a smart approach to global warming, we can reduce global warming emissions while curbing our dependence on fossil fuels and creating new economic opportunities for America. And while addressing global warming will cost money, the cost of inaction is greater: rising seas that threaten our coastal cities, more frequent droughts, more intense hurricanes, and a host of threats to public health and well-being.

The Peak Oil Crisis: A Message from Houston

The most ominous development for countries such as the U.S., which must import most of its oil, is the emerging concept of “peak exports” which was discussed by several speakers. Peak exports simply means that oil-producing countries are using more and more oil at home – leaving less to sell abroad. Moreover, sentiment is starting to develop in many nations that they must save some oil for future generations, not just sell it to the foreign devils as quickly as possible.

This clearly means that major oil importers will face a shortfall in their ability to obtain oil many months or years sooner than they had been anticipating. The fall in the amount of oil available for purchase is likely to drop much more quickly than declines in production. When world oil exports fall, if they have not started doing so already, effects are likely to sharp and painful.

Global over-population is the real issue

How the hell can we witter on about tackling global warming, and reducing consumption, when we are continuing to add so relentlessly to the number of consumers? The answer is politics, and political cowardice.

Oil Prices: Up to no good

One fact appears clear: no-one really knows what's happening.

Crude proposition

Though an oil price that would cause such a reaction would have to be somewhat higher than current levels, at some point it will move high enough to cancel out the cheap labour benefits of many low-cost production bases. This is increasingly true for large, bulky goods. A colleague believes that in the coming years, local manufacturing will make a come back, thanks to rising oil prices. In his view, critical goods such as electricity turbines will still be imported. But the price may be higher than we were expecting. And fridges, TVs and shoes are not likely to be imported.

Governments look at oil money and drool

The oil industry is under assault globally by nations and even provinces that want companies like Exxon Mobil and Chevron to cough up more royalties they can use to address issues like poverty and education.

Iraq oil flows to Turkey despite threats, attacks

Oil keeps flowing from Iraq to Turkey through a pipeline skirting Iraq’s Kurdish region despite threats to infrastructure from Kurdish rebels and insurgent sabotage attacks further south, an oil shipper said on Thursday.

Charges may follow BP settlement

A federal grand jury is scheduled to meet today to hear testimony in the case. The government has alleged in previous court documents that the traders tried to manipulate the price of propane flowing through a pipeline from Mont Belvieu, in Chambers County, to markets in Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York in 2004. Indictments could be issued today as well, the sources said.

ConocoPhillips CEO: To Begin Arbitration with Venezuela in 'Next Weeks'

ConocoPhillips Chief Executive Jim Mulva said Wednesday the energy company will probably file for arbitration in the next weeks over assets it formerly owned in Venezuela.

Shell Posts 16 Percent Gain in 3Q Profit

Royal Dutch Shell PLC said Thursday that third-quarter net profit rose 16 percent despite a drop in production, but it warned that the underlying performance of its refining operations was weaker than it appeared.

Organic air-freight food to be stripped of status

Three-quarters of the organic food flown in to Britain from overseas could be stripped of its valued status, as part of a plan to cut carbon emissions by eliminating air-freighted food from supermarket shelves.

World ministers set for serious environment talks: UN official

Ministers and officials from 40 nations who met in Indonesia this week are prepared to launch talks on a post-2012 climate change regime this year, a UN official said Thursday.

1200 days to peak oil (podcast)

There are only 1200 days to go until global oil production reaches its all-time peak, according to the editor of the Petroleum Review. Worse, says Chris Skrebowski, the chances are the crisis will break even sooner.

Peak oil meeting mostly discouraging (podcast)

John Kingston, director of oil, attended the ASPO meeting in Houston and reports on the theories of peak oil and the timeliness of the meeting in regards to high crude oil prices.

Brent crude price soars to record high above 86 dollars

The price of Brent crude oil struck an historic peak of 86.28 dollars per barrel in trading here Thursday on renewed concerns over tight global energy supplies.

New York crude also surged as Turkey vowed to "purge" Kurdish rebels in the northern region of oil-rich Iraq, and following news that US energy stockpiles fell sharply last week.

Death toll in Gulf oil rig accident rises to 18

At least 18 oil workers were killed when a drilling rig hit an oil platform in stormy weather, spilling gas and oil into the Gulf of Mexico, the state-owned oil company said Wednesday. Seven workers were still missing. Rescuers have pulled 61 oil workers to safety from storm-tossed waters but have yet to control the oil leak, Mexico's oil monopoly Petroleos Mexicanos, or Pemex, said in a news release.

Nigeria to Revise Foreign Company Oil Deals

Nigeria, Africa's largest oil producer, is looking to renegotiate several contracts with foreign oil companies, senior Nigerian oil officials said Wednesday, in a move to boost the government's share of oil revenues.

The planned changes will make it harder for foreign firms to pocket energy profits and to book crucial crude oil reserves in the West African nation.

Norway's StatoilHydro clinches Russian gas field deal

The Kremlin said on Thursday that Norway's StatoilHydro had won the right to join in developing the vast Shtokman gas field, ending long uncertainty over one of the world's largest untapped deposits.

Climate change a top US election theme, Gore says in Austria

Climate change will be a top theme of the American election campaign, overcoming partisan divides, former US vice president Al Gore said in Vienna Wednesday, according to Austria's chancellor.

US Senate tackles new global warming plan

Shaking off years of inaction, US senators vowed Wednesday to make the United States a world leader on climate change, at a public hearing on a new plan for mandatory cuts in greenhouse gas emissions.

Climate change will hurt NM water supply

Researchers at New Mexico's two largest universities are painting a grim picture of New Mexico's economic and agricultural future with predictions that climate change will mean less water in the Rio Grande watershed.

White House chided for editing testimony

Two chairmen of key committees in the House and Senate on Wednesday criticized the White House for editing testimony from a government expert about the health impacts of global warming and demanded documents involving the testimony he provided to Congress.


I have been lurking for a couple years, rarely post but read several hours a day...

I am working on a community-preparedness-score web application. Think "walk score" but for post peak survival.

Here are some of my underlying thoughts / assumptions

1) While I enjoy reading Kunstler, I disagree with his premise, "the suburbs will be abandoned". While I appreciate that generally speaking the suburbs currently have serious problems, I don't think giving up on them entirely is an option. Most of the suburbs will have to be salvaged.

2) Personal preparation is of limited use, community preparation should be the goal.

For example, growing my own food isn't going to be very useful if my neighbors are stealing it faster than I can grow it. If at least some of my neighbors aren't on-board, I am going to have serious problems.

3) Specialization is a better way to live than self sufficiency - I don't want to grow my own food AND make my own clothes AND build my own shelter. I would rather specialize in a few skills and trade with my neighbors. I don't want to be a frontiersman

So back to the web application...

Imagine you go to the site (maybe it could be on the oildrum?) and take a survey.

First - the survey asks is what your zip code is. This will be important for later

Second - questions about basic survival: Do you have a well, do you have a way to clean water, do you have top soil to grow a little food, can you raise rabbits etc...

Third - questions about what skills you have to offer, what tools you would be willing to share, how do you like to be paid for services? etc...

Fourth - ??

Fifth - ??

After you have answered the survey, you will get a personal score and be prompt to create an account

If you create an account, you will then be given a community score and will have access to a community inventory of skills, assets etc.

So for example, once you went through the process, you might know who within X miles of your home can make shoes, who has well water, who knows how to kill/prepare a chicken, who has a large stew pot etc...

The challenge is knowing what questions to ask, how to score the results and know where to draw the line on being too invasive.

I think this sort of application is what we really need to kickstart preparations.

If you have any thoughts, feel free to share them... I am specifically interested in knowing what criteria you think I should collect and how items should be weighted.


There is a big difference between what we want to do, and what we can do. In some circles, I am considered an optimist regarding Alan Drake's proposal. From my August, 2006 "Net Exports Revisited" article:


A Proposed Triage Plan

I believe that vast expanses of American Suburbia are going to become virtually abandoned in the years ahead. Alan Drake has noted that a good deal of suburbia was so poorly constructed that a lot of it is biodegradable. Alan has outlined how we can go back to what we used to have: electric trolley cars connected to electric light rail lines.

CBS Sunday Morning, on 8/20/06, had a segment on "tiny houses." They profiled a home designer and builder who specialized in building very small functional homes of about 100 square feet. You can find more information on his website.

What this builder has realized, and what millions of Americans are just beginning to also realize, is that anything over 100 square feet or so per person is not a necessity; it is optional consumption, a want, instead of a need.

The US is not Switzerland, but Alan Drake has described how Swiss per capita oil consumption in the Second World War was about 0.25% of current US per capita oil consumption. They did it primarily by electrifying their transportation system.

I propose a sort of triage operation: "tiny" homes and multifamily housing along electric mass transit lines. In my opinion, it is the only way that we can preserve some semblance of a civilized society. The suburbs are, by and large, a lost cause.

I caught the latter part of ‘Planet in Peril” on CNN last night. I thought of Alan as the show ended with a commercial. It was well done. If you didn’t see it…a group of animated gas cans are walking around looking woefully at traffic on the highway and seem to have no where to go as they wonder around, eventually they stumble upon a railroad track, just then a train passes by as the cans are lined up near the track. The wind from the train causes the spouts to flow in the direction of the wind and the cans lean with the wind. Then the caption “The future of transportation” or something like that…

Maybe you need to read TOD daily to get it…:-)

That's a Norfolk Southern ad. It's been running a lot.

You can watch it online here.

From an energy efficiency point of view, it would help if there were shared walls with the neighbors - i.e. something like an apartment building instead of little houses on individual little lots.

100 sq ft/person - when I was in grad school I had a bedroom about that size. In order to squeeze into something that tight, you would almost want shared bathrooms on each floor - much like a dormitory.

When I moved in with my girlfriend, we had to reduce the amount of stuff that we had by quite a bit. The hardest stuff for me to get rid of were books and papers - the rest of it, not so hard.

Ahh...books and papers. My basement stills holds mine, 20 years later. Y'a never know when you might need some notes on group theory (of the symmetry kind, not the social sciences).

As long as all building feedstock comes from salvage.

I still think the engine of the train must have multiple
on train energy sources.

Say-steam to make electricity.

Arkansaw of Samuel L Clemens

I still think the engine of the train must have multiple
on train energy sources.

Why? Such a demand would add weight.

As to the frailty of todays housing.

I built my own loghouse of roughly 4500 sq ft (under roof). I had also helped some spec. builders in the past and helped others make additons(garages,etc) to their houses. I finished basements in my own homes.

I did plumbing,dirwork,poured foundations,did all the electrical work,and so on and on....

So when my son purchased a rather new 2 story McMansion after helping him look at newer homes for a very long time...I was very dismayed over the absolutely shoddy building practices and the materials used.

Houses built in the years prior to the mid 80s were usually of pretty decent construction...Today there is no plywood used in the framing and little used elsewhere...its all chipboard(OSB by name). With this flimsy sheating a layer of Tyvex housewrap is thrown on and and rest of the walls are incredibly cheap and junky 2x4s. Everything is built and then 'hidden' behind a facade. Many of the crawl spaces have drainage problems and contain large amounts of moisture. The duct work is abysmal as is the shoddeniness of everything else. Roof included.

Yes they will fall apart rapidly. The concrete buckles. The lawn is subsoil. The fasteners are air driven and do not perform well. You see no screw fasteners in these houses.

The wifes seem to be the ones deciding on what to buy and all they see is vistages of drywall and cheap cookie cutter finish products. No real quality but with the laminate flooring , which is really a picture of wood or stone printed on a very small substrate of plastic..they think they have captured the essence of real quality. They are completely wrong and no nothing of construction.

Its just 'uuuuooooooo don't those cabinets look good? and that metal prefab fireplace?' ..which can't and couldn't burn real wood..they are only appropiate for propane fed phony gas logs.

Yes it will disappear fast. And it deserves to.


Agreed. My wife tells me the quickest way to gauge the quality of a house is to look at the amount of overhang on the eaves. Builders wishing to cut corners invariably build eaves with the most modest amount of overhang.

You, my good man, need to sit and watch TLC's Flip This House so you get up to speed on how its supposed to be done :-) I don't do TV but mom watches this show religiously. It doesn't strike her as the least bit ironic to sit in a WWI vintage brick prairie foursquare that might sell for 10% of the price of one of the "flipped" homes and watch that show, but it makes me smile every time I hear the announcer's prattle when I pass by the sewing room.

A period staying with my parents recently got me hooked on this show - it is a train wreck...

the first few episodes were improbably successful... but recently more and more are just shocking - watching these idiots lose their shirts on flips that will NEVER HAPPEN...

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

Dear Airdale,

How right you are! My father would have loved your loghouse. A really well-built loghouse can last for centuries. You've made a wise choice.

I too have done a lot of the building stuff you mentioned. I've now got the tools and ability to build a house if I had too.

Most new houses seem to sell because the kitchen and the bathroom look nice. This apparently appeals to women. One is often given the advice to bake some fresh bread when a potential buyer is coming to look the place over, or install a large, flat-screen television, or a very fancy refridgerator in the kitchen, that people would 'aspire' to own. Selling property is often about selling a perception or an idea.

It's a shame we don't produce and value quality as much as we used to. Of course this would slow things down too much, but maybe we need to slow things down a bit?

I bought a second-hand McIntosh 275 valve amplifier which is almost thirty years old. It's really, really, heavy. It's American quality and engineering. The circuit design is fifty years old at least and the sound is absolutely fabulous. Most people are simply awstruck when they hear the music it makes. It blows most modern amps away.

So maybe we haven't really been 'progressing' as much as we thought. Maybe we've been buying quantity and not quality and wasting vast ammounts of energy and other resources in the process.

Peak amplifier?

Amplifiers that would turn up to eleven, obviously. I saw a made for T.V. movie about this particular resource some years ago :-)

What you're remembering is the movie This is Spinal Tap.

Here's a feed of the famous clip:


Amplifiers Schmamplifiers ..... I have some personal-life sorting out to do, but one thing I may end up doing is making bits and pieces for, maybe even the whole things, involving musical instruments. Strictly acoustic.

Amplification is very very young, and according to the Olduvai Theory won't be a part of our lives for much longer. In fact guitars and violins etc may well be back to gut strings not all that far in the future.

As a professional musician(classical guitarist)

my mind wanders to this thought occasionaly.

So I always have at least a couple years worth of

modern nylon strings at hand.

It is not just houses or hi-fi equipment -- EVERYTHING is cheap junk these days. "Value Engineering", it's called.

One really has to look hard to find well-made stuff. It does exist, but it takes a lot of effort to find it. Good starting tip: skip Sprawl-Mart.

It isn't just your McIntosh amp or old houses - for lots of things, well-maintained used goods will often be the better buy compared to brand-new value engineered crap.

One thing I admire greatly about traditional (pre-industrial) Japanese culture, or the Shakers for that matter, is the antithesis of our "clutter-junk" culture. Have just a few, supurbly crafted things, and keep them out of the way when not in use.

I always regretted getting rid of my old SAE amp. While not a tube amp, it was stone reliable and American made. Its' replacement, a Sanyo freon cooled unit, died after five years.

I'm sure some EE guys will jump on and explain all the ways why ICs are so much of an improvement on the old vacuum tubes. I have absolutely no doubt that they are a great improvement for the manufacturers.

The thing is, though, is that you could actually REPAIR the old vacuum tube equipment. If you were handy with a soldering gun and knew a little bit about basic electronics, you could even order a kit and build it yourself (which even I have done). Anything you build yourself you should be able to repair yourself (which even I have done), and keep running for as long as spare parts are available (a lifetime, if you stockpile them).

Now, if an electronic device goes on the blink, it usually goes in the trash and a replacement is bought. It is getting increasingly difficult to find anyone that can repair anything anymore -- especially for less than the cost of buying a brand new replacement.


Nothing to repairing electronic stuff designed to be repaired. Much of the consumer stuff is specifically designed with encapsulated components so that it can not be repaired and whole modules have to be replaced, and this leads to total replacement.

so in other words, what we are doing is taking concentrated resources and dispersing them. mostly in the landfill. not unrelated to the discussion about phosphate on here a few days ago.

I bought a second-hand McIntosh 275 valve amplifier which is almost thirty years old. It's really, really, heavy

Amp Archecture.

The heavyness is the amp. The Mac passed the signal thru the amp ONCE to get it's power, modern (TEAC and since) pump the signal thru multiple times to get the same power out of it. Feedback . Macs Were WAY better. Does it have tubes?

The british refer to vacumn tubes as valves.

Tubes I have read seem to produce more fidelity..which was once what everyone was looking for.

I also heard or read that vinyl records produce more authentic fidelity than CDs or mag tape or whatever else(Ipods?)..and I have a huge number of Bluegrass records and well ..all that I ever brought thru the years..and do have several turntables.

Its supposed to reproduce the various instruments frequencies better.

So perhaps the past was better in many products and cheap dumbed down manufactured products are not that good.

I used to work on a lot of discrete board products. Yet I do like the ability to have a complete morse code keyer on a chip..and just build the rest myself, like I did. A Curtis chip it was.

I do also like the huge number of functions on my Kenwood hf rig..vs the old Yaseu FT101 I used to have way back where you had to manually load the finals then resonate the load to the output..so on.

Yet the Kenwood weighs a ton..and its of very good quality..yet its mhhh maybe 10 to 15 years since they came out with this model.


Ahh the good ole analog vs digital debate....

The problem with early CD's was the filtering and converters.

Plus records/tapes have that high fidelity...

hisssssssssssssssssssssss........and crackle/pop.


I'm sorry, but Vacuum Tube amplifiers simply do not produce better 'fidelity' than modern amplifiers. In fact, the accuracy and range of a tube amplifier is significantly less than a comparable modern, transistor amplifier.

The only advantage that tube amplifiers have over modern amplifiers is that when they are overdriven they produce distortion that is 'warm' and 'pleasant'. The distortion produced by modern amplifiers is quite unpleasant by comparison.
All distortion is bad however. Distortion represents a failure of the system to accurately reproduce the sound that was recorded. The solution is not to switch to a different type of amp, but to get an amp that has enough power to create the desired volume without distorting.

Of course, few people seem to notice distortion anyway, so your mileage may vary, but I like my sound systems to produce sounds as close to the source material as possible, that way, if a particular CD sounds terrible, I can blame it on the band or on their sound engineer and not on an antiquated amplifier.

Also, regarding the weight of amplifiers, I have noticed that the weight of a given amplifier is not so much a function of the actual amplifiers contained within, or even of the heat-sinks attached to those amplifiers, but of the power supply (mainly the transformer) for the amp. If the power supply is on the left side of the case, the left side will weigh twice as much as the right.

However, Although the quality of the sound produced by the modern amplifier may be substantially better than the tube amplifier, I expect the tube amplifier would last a lot longer than its modern brother. The modern consumer equipment just isn't built with a long service life in mind.
I have gone though quite enough electronics to learn this lesson very well: The word consume isn't in the phrase 'consumer electronics' by accident.

Pickyreader said:
"but I like my sound systems to produce sounds as close to the source material as possible,"...plus a lot more..

BUT my contention as to the quality of vinyl holds some water as you can read by this link:


Which explains that digital sampling leaves out some of the original while the grooves in vinyl contain all the original...granted that dust , etc may have a spoiling effect..note MAY....

As to vacumn tubes...I haven't tried to back up my claim but I suppose that some googles would be informative.

I am an acoustic instrument player,an electronics technician and a ham radio operator. Have been all these for mhhh...about 40 years. Not that this means much but I have seen and experienced the complete span,from vinyl to 8 trks to cds to dvds and so forth. Of course for the best in fidelity one must listen to real instruments played live.
However for me the next best is vinyl with a set of good speakers. Surely Ipods with tinny tiny speakers on headphones must be about as bad as it can get. Given that very expensive headphones might be better but you won't find them on Ipods nor much else today.

What is your background , if I may ask?

airdale-yes vacumn tubes are surely dead but ...

Realistically, this is an issue that has been absolutely beaten to death, although it usually receives poor coverage/understanding.

The link you provided was an excellent example. The author of that piece focused on a single issue and ignored the big contrasting points. Although vinyl records have better accuracy because they don't have to deal with Analog to Digital back to Analog conversion, this is an issue that has been largely fixed because the modern Digital to Analog converters are so good. Also, in order to hear the difference, you would need to have an obscenely expensive sound system to begin with, so this is an issue that is encountered by very few.
The point that the author ignored, is that Compact Discs have a much greater dynamic range than vinyl. This is the difference between the intensity of the greatest possible signal and total silence. For a vinyl record to have a similar range, it would probably need to be about a full inch thick.
The counterpoint to this however, is that modern sound engineers usually give up most of this range to make their albums sound 'louder'. They crank up the volume of the quiet parts so that their album will sound louder than others owned by the listener. This means that when the band wants to get louder, they don't have anywhere to go.
(Roger Waters used this to great effect on "The Pros and Cons of Hitchhiking": one has to keep the volume quite high to hear his whispered lyrics, so that when he starts shouting, it really blows your ears off. I don't believe that could be done with vinyl.)

This isn't really related to energy though, so we should take this discussion to email if you want to continue.

As for my background, as I am in my early twenties, so I have no background compared to you, but I did live sound reinforcement for concerts and theatre at a community theater operated by my high school, and have been studying Civil Engineering since then, now on the path to med. school.
My email address is listed on my user page.

In my opinion such a radical realignment of expectations can't be made in a single generation. This might be an eventual outcome due to intractable realities, but it won't come about through any sort of reasoned large-scale planning. My 2¢ anyway. Societal adaptation seems reactionary to me and not a planned process. Forward looking individuals may be able to put themselves at the front of the parade by planning for such an eventuality but society as a whole will be slow to adapt and will fight tooth and nail to maintain old expected ways of life. It will take a lot of pain to force people to move in such a direction and there isn't anywhere near enough yet.

I like the way you think! Will be back with comments after I've had my coffee. Would you mind giving out an email address in case the threads get unwieldy?


My name is Matt Baker, my email is
mbaker at kohesion daught net

Three things:

1) In general you've highlighted and recognised a number of the important system effects that many miss, well done!

2) You're jumping from 'post peak' to 'skinning rabbits'. There are many stages to survive between the two and many of the capabilities and positioning elements are not what you are thinking of. Those stages will see out the lifespans of many here.

3) There is a tendency to assume that a post peak world is simply a reversing of the clock. That's unrealistic. The knowledge we have, plus more, will be available. In particular there is no reason to expect the telecoms/Internet will not still be in force, and even to grow. Don't get seduced by the 'living in the past' wrong turn.


The goal should be to prepare for a variety of scenarios. Perhaps I gave away my personal bias a little to strongly.

Think of it this way...

The survey could start with the essentials: water, food, shelter, heat.

Once staying alive is out of the way, later steps of the survey could focus on things like transportation, tools, books , community organization etc..

Think more about what people will give up and what they won't. There are a variety of reasons why people moved from the countryside to the towns during the industrial revolution. It certainly wasn't because it was a lovely place to live, or because they could be self sufficient in towns - but they did it anyway.

As a pointer, the first thing to go is long distance transport - think what that means for commuting and holidays and what it means for survival scenarios.

As a pointer, the first thing to go is long distance transport

Most likely not.
Only recreational long distance transport, tourism and e.g. foreign mineral water.
From many previous posts at TOD it has been shown that the energy cost of transport is mostly incurred in local distribution not in the long distance bulk transport of reasonably valuable goods.
However long distance transport does depend on safety of travel which may disappear in some areas.

I was talking mainly about the 100 mile daily commutes, the regular trips to family, the regular overseas flights, holidays, breaks, etc.

The cut that takes the average US mileage and slices double digit percentages off it at the same time as making flights a 'once a year' events.

There is much talk about changing transportation but it always seems centered around business as usual, only scale it all back. If we treat the effects of PO+AGW like a life and death struggle like WW II what we will see is ...

The blue one on the right broken up for scrap:

Graettinger, Iowa (900)

While this blue one gets any remaining diesel:


All uses of FF are not equal. Current wealth and power will not dictate how this resource is used once the masses become aware of what has happened. I would point to South Africa as a model for the social dynamics that come with a wealthy person driving a nice vehicle past someone who can't make it no matter how hard they work.

I appreciate the invitation to do some creative/structural thinking this morning.

My main response to the data-gathering is to shift the focus of the web's advantages a little bit. I am very appreciative of the ability of networked computers to share vital information, but it is also potentially hazardous, and I don't want to create channels for the dark side, if I can avoid it. The two aspects already used in the web that I think give us some powerful tools in the way you are describing are things like Craig's List or Freecycle, and also for broad-based education, for basics, for specialty skills and for communicating successful projects/initiatives from one region to another, so that they can be quickly shared, checked and adopted far afield. This is already happening, of course. I regularly download websites from all around the globe of peoples' attempts at windpower, solarpower, converting cars and tractors and scooters to electric, biogas, gardening, etc..

My reaction to a database of 'I've got water', 'I've got a toolshop' , 'my garden is full of tomatoes' etc.. got me a little anxious about this data being skewed towards the ability to conveniently map resources by those who would, ahem, take them.. I'm not usually big on the 'band of roving brigands' Murals of our prospective future, but piracy is even common today, while the colorful costumes may have been exchanged for t-shirts or Business suits.
The more protectionist angle does, however point to another benefit of networked communications, as they can also be a way to rally defenses, and they can be a way to stay connected with out-of-sight neighbors, in order to PREEMPT the souring of relations that could lead to rivaries and resource conflicts. As with many things, the poison can also be used as a cure.

Finally, the specialization you mention strikes me as the ultimate balancing act. There will be a lot more necessary skills people will benefit from learning, even in the current stages of energy-depletion, like cooking, storing foods without refrigeration, gardening, etc.. so I think there will be pressure to learn many more DIY skills.. but those will serve a person/family as a reduction in 'Imports'.. or paying some other Specialist to do such things for you, while we will also benefit from HAVING a Specialty which we know that other will come to us as our valued EXport(s). Increase earnings, reduce expenditures..

Bob Fiske

My main response to the data-gathering is to shift the focus of the web's advantages a little bit. I am very appreciative of the ability of networked computers to share vital information, but it is also potentially hazardous, and I don't want to create channels for the dark side, if I can avoid it.

The internet world will likely move more in the direction of a bifurcated web in which there are highly secure corporate run web sites and networks and then the much more hazardous public web for the great unwashed. Just like in the real world, security tools are a booming industry. Also, like in the real world, the wealthy private corporate interests get the best goodies. The only realistic counter to the seems to be the open-source movement.

Thats only if net nuetrality gets put in place otherwise it's back to the 'walled off garden' system like it was back in early dialup, where if you want anything outside of that garden you would have to pay per protocol and pay per mb.

Open Source kills that and kills it dead. You're reading and discussing here, not passively consuming the crapflood from the main stream media. I rest my case :-)

open source is NOT going to fix that. I am talking about ISP's wanting to create a walled off garden like set up for it's customers. kind of like how aol and compuserve used to be but in this case you have bradband. the isp will give you a connection and you can use that full speed only to the site's it aproves of(this is the walled off part of it) you will have to pay extra though to reach other sites at full speed if at all. same goes for protocol's. this can all be done in the router level and is os agnostic(meaning it doesn't care if your running windows, mac os, linux, bsd, os/2, etc)

In case you hadn't noticed the last one like that, AOL, has moved its HQ to be closer to the advertising business in New York. The dying are clustering together for comfort.

Bandwidth enforcement is not done at the router level. I don't know about the big boys but in the 20,000 subscribers and smaller ISPs one often sees a stinking Allot Netenforcer, which stink because they get under foot when one wishes to make the network redundant. This could be used to constrain bandwidth so that only local prefixes are fast ... but these sized ISPs are 95% consumers and need access to hosting companies' content to be of any use to their customers.

The whole net neutrality debate is about Verizon losing four million regulated land lines a month and looking for the next cash cow. I think Qwest was losing about a million monthly at the time I heard the Verizon figure. The internet is simply too diverse for such a ploy to work. They knocked down Napster and it went underground, encrypted, and social. Less capacity, true, but an utter PITA for an entity like the RIAA.

Unless all ISPs did this all at once it simply wouldn't work very well, and a federal reg towards this would blow up in their faces, with all sorts of unintended consequences and the associated enraged electorate.

Just my inflation adjusted $0.02, and I will now return to working on ISP and hosting company infrastructure ...

First i have to say that you do not know what routers can do, i am not talking about those dinky ones you can buy at best buy or circut city. i am talking about the multi thousand dollar ones. They can do stuff like traffic shaping which is basicly determining the order in which packets are routed by any number of factors from addresses to protocols. blocking all forms of traffic either to specific ip addresses or all of them on any protocol.

also from your post i can tell you do not know what the issue is with net nuetrality. basicly the advocates want the isp's to treat the net connections like telephone companys treat their lines. in excange for federal and civil imunity from procicution if someone is found to use thier lines for a crime like say a phone scam. they have to treat all calls equally. no specail lanes for higher paying customers then safting the quality on the less expencive lines. they want this for the isp's and the backbone handelers. treat all their trafic equally. give all traffic the right to use how much speed they need. no prioritizing in favor of their own services like voip vs a third party app. It's not well known but many isp's have tons of whats called dark fiber, basicly fiber they put in place but are not using to absolutlely minimize the matainence costs.


I find visual aids sometimes help when I am posting. Here is a nice example of a small ISP's infrastructure. Strictly speaking the only multi-thousand dollar router in this picture is the Cisco 7206 at the bottom of the left hand stack, but the two Catalyst 3550 layer three switches in the middle handle all of the internal routing duties. This is the next to smallest of the five ISPs where I serve as designer and second level tech support for the full time staff. They have just four thousand customers, while my larger customers each have ten to twenty thousand.


There are three quality of service models for IP traffic. The internet we all know and tolerate today is a best effort system. What you are describing is a differentiated service, which we would refer to with the shorthand term "diffserv", and this involves sorting traffic into classes which receive varying levels of service but no guarantees. There is a third mode known as integrated service. This guarantees bandwidth but is resource intensive to manage and does not scale well without much attention. Telcos use this in their cores as they migrate TDM and cell traffic to pure IP with a protocol known as pseudowire emulation.

Network neutrality is a political buzzword. As I've said previously, the whole idea is that the traditional wired line carriers, who are facing precipitous declines in their revenues due to customers migrating to cellular service and VoIP solutions, wish to "tax" the businesses which are successful on the best effort internet by imposing fees for them to transit their networks. This is politically acceptable to some of the parties involved, not to others, and pure foolishness from the perspective of network operations.

You're right about the dark fiber. The phone companies started talking about taxing Google and whatnot, and Google went out and brought lots and lots and lots of it :-) If the phone companies act stupid Google has the power to simply treat them stupid, and they're not the only ones who have done this. Neutral exchange points are already popular and in the event the carriers become unusable they'll simply be circumvented.


the carriers become unusable they'll simply be circumvented.

The carriers own the last mile because they opted to be a regulated and protected business so the scarce resource of copper could be conserved.

The facts of ownership over right of ways and paid off infrastructure will keep 'em right where they are.

I've tried to answer this three times and I keep getting confused about what you're getting at here.

Badly behaved bits of the internet are shunned - I dropped RBN for my customers last week (technical) and its often a long, hard day when one is a salesman for Cogent. They've cleaned up their act a good bit, but people have long memories for misbehavior (stability, financial shenanigans). The only way a nonneutral net will accomplish anything is if everyone everywhere all at once is forced to do a lot of really stupid, expensive, revenue wrecking stuff and I mean everyone. Its hard enough for the whole internet to do good and sensible things and I can't imagine blatant stupidity not being promptly punished in a variety of ways.

I used to maintain servers(usenet mostly) for an ISP..the photo you show is about correct for a smallish(several thou subscribers) ISP. Mine had a tad more equipment but some of it was dedicated to other tasks as well. Boiled down its suprising small.

A group of investors wanted to start up a local ISP(in a nearby city) and asked if I would engineer it..I agreed and they paid a couple million for the real estate but then I got into a fist fight with an excon who was somehow mixed in with the others and told them to shove it. They sold out the real estate and made a bundle.

I never wanted to do it anyway. Dealing with customers would be the worst part and that would have fallen on me as well.

As far as the other ISP I set up remote service and did it all from home in my spare time.


True enough. As with transportation, I suspect our great digital interconnectedness could become as clearly fragile as the grid and the highways, and whether by economic, political or strictly physical causes, we can quickly see this shattering us into small pools.

Luckily, the 'legacy-compliant' evolution of the PC didn't move towards 'dumb terminals', and we have all these machines with the capacity to operate as stand-alone hosts. We have, for now, millions of Gutenberg presses out among the populace, which can talk via radio, telephone or the more specialized high-speed routes like cable and DSL. Now as well, there are PDA's, Pocket PC's, VideoGames and Cell Phones that can tie into this kind of Ad-Hoc Networking, some with renewed standards for Packet Radio Comm programs. We're not done with our hackers yet, I'd wager.

'Here on the outer rim, there's not much worry about the Empire's Rules .. You do have to deal with (or avoid) the Hutts somehow, but at least the Stormtroopers know how outnumbered they are, and don't get too involved in local matters..'


Hackers always exist. HAM radio and model trains were there before internet and solar panels and wind turbines will draw our eyes next.

It isn't really good until you get to take it apart and make improvements :-)

Do not imagine that it is so hard to learn to garden, raise animals, or prepare food for long term storage. The only really specialized tasks and associated capital investment I can think of are the handling of large meat animals and grinding grain. Chickens are simply and easily handled at home by the hundreds with nothing more than sharp knives, a big pot of boiling water, and old pie tins full of rubbing alcohol. Canning requires pots, pans, jars, and maybe a pressure cooker. All of the gear needed to plant, harvest, and prepare for a family of four would fit easily into my little car.

The knowledge is also different than what our schools teach now at all levels. There is just a little bit of theory for gardening, and then endless situational judgment. Keeping animals is the same - anyone can run off to the auction barn, buy a few feeder hogs, and big them home in a dog carrier, but there are a lot of niggling details that are best resolved by having the phone number of some old fellow who has raised a hog or two.

The things that worry me are not this stuff, its the next level that is dangerously under served. Do we have enough veterinarians and are they dispersed in the right areas? Are there enough butchers? Our service based economy has wrecked a vital class of services - all of the young men who might have become machinists in the 1950s are now computer programmers. There is a lot of local manufacturing that requires skilled tradesmen rather than the technology and service professionals we turn out now. There must be a massive retraining in this area or things that would simply fray are going to break completely.


I routinely escort old hens into the afterlife, and while I use sharp knives and boiling water, I never use old pie tins of rubbing alcohol. I am feeling "butchering envy"; what is the rubbing alcohol for?

You don't singe the carcass to get rid of the really fine feathers you can't pluck properly? You take an old pie tin, set it on a board so you don't burn the counter top, then fill it with rubbing alcohol and light. Grasp the feet in one hand, the neck in the other, and slowly rotate the carcass over the flame until you no longer hear the crack snapple of the fine feathers burning. Fills the house with a certain smell, it does, but its a wonderful labor saver.

The things you learn at TOD.. Oh boy. :)

Ok. I do the same, but I use my 50,000 btu weed dragon at about 4 feet...rubbing alcohol it is from now on.

the essentials: water, food, shelter, heat.
transportation, tools, books , community organization etc..

Nope, the "essentials" is community organization first.

1) the organization is not tangible/visible even now, you have to investigate, think deeply and not be delusional to figure out what's really going on right now, what makes current society "work".

2) the needed changes will be even more obscure to assess and cannot be foreseen.


There's no reason that even existing suburban homes can't be made "post-oil" usable. Take a core, well insulated portion and bring only that part up to a comfortable temperature level in the coldest parts of the year. Ground loop heat pumps could do the heating.

There's no reason why people couldn't live in the 'burbs' and commute to work. Energy efficient mass transportation can do the longer distance. Super-lite personal vehicles can move them from their doors to the terminals.

Both heating/AC and transportation can be powered by electricity and we don't need oil for electricity.

There is a tendency to assume that a post peak world is simply a reversing of the clock. That's unrealistic. The knowledge we have, plus more, will be available. In particular there is no reason to expect the telecoms/Internet will not still be in force, and even to grow.

You make the same error in forgetting to account for the exponentially larger population and vastly larger energy inputs required to maintain modern day civilization. This oversimplification cuts both ways.

Yup. And the loss of resources. Topsoil exhaused, water polluted, fish stocks depleted, etc. We can't just go back to living like Laura Ingalls. Not all 300 million of us.

Sorry the internet will be the first thing to go.

The Internet will be one of the last things to go, if ever. It's too valuable for avoiding travel. There is no reason to think that electricity will peak. Computer system will continue to grow indefinately even if there are some setbacks.

I think a lot of new investment will come to a screeching, permanent halt, and we'll all get very interested in maintenance. Old retired systems that would be melted down will be squirreled away for ongoing support. This is done ad hoc now by lots of little equipment dealers, but we'll see corporate entities who wish to continue in any fashion slash their staff dramatically and focus on what money can be made by producing the same product as last year. Here I am thinking about the core IP and voice carrier gear, rather than any of the edge stuff.

The advance in chip fab capabilities is a real concern. I think we may very well be at peak transistor density already as part of peak everything. Electronic components last a long while with clean power and good cooling but that will get harder to come by and component vendor failure is no joke. Few here would know the name Altera, but none of us would be having this discussion without them. The odds are pretty much 100% any packet traversing any part of the internet will go through at least one chip they build on the way.

Do you have any older electronic devices that still work? I've got a few, but the majority of them have failed. It's tough to build them to last (it's what I do), and for the most part consumer electronics is not made well enough to last. The PC boards are crap and the soldering quality is poor (leading to corrosion and broken joints). Electrolytic capacitors fail, especially if they were of low quality to begin with, and are pushed too close to their voltage and temperature limits. Engine controls in American cars appear to be pretty well made, but are of limited use without that fuel stuff.

Commercial servers MAY be better built, I don't have any experience there, but I have noticed a distinct drop in the quality of PC parts of late, due to two factors I think: First, the new lead-free solder is crap - it's simply not as reliable as the tin/lead stuff. Second, the outsourcing thing has been taken to whole new levels, where the entire design and manufacture of a given line is farmed out. Next variation goes to someone else, lock, stock, and barrel, so there is no evolution or continuous improvement.

It's a constant battle to keep my stuff running, and I'm not beyond running a bad motherboard back through the reflow oven at work to fix it, or substituting newer parts for old obsolete stuff. I would not count on most electronics lasting for long periods.

By the way - my oldest system runs a 200MHz IDT WinChip processor! The quality of the parts in that system is noticeably higher than the new stuff. But it is still not that old.

I have lots of Cisco stuff from a decade ago and it just keeps trucking along. Routers and switches and stuff are built to take abuse in ways that desktops are not :-)

I run Thinkpads for laptop duty and I break 'em before they burn up. My desktops I build to be quiet and cool. They hold up well and its pretty nontraumatic to deal with a mainboard that has capacitors go funny, as I'm running Linux or FreeBSD - move the drive to a new OS and it shuffles its feet a bit, then comes right to life.

The best servers are the all metal Compaq boxes from the mid nineties, which just keep on running until you can't stand the heat/noise any more :-) Dell seems to be building solid stuff these days, but I'll agree that I hate cheap caps and poorly done solder jobs.

It's not too bad to deal with things like bad caps, as long as you have the parts - but keep in mind that we don't build much in the US anymore. The parts distributors I talk to are really hurting from lack of business. Add in a serious economic downturn, and a lot of that stuff may be hard to get. Take one more step - a military conflict where parts of the world does not want to trade with us - and parts shortages could easily become reality.

I am thinking of investing in a de-soldering station so I can salvage parts. There might be a period where one can help support oneself salvaging and repairing electronics.

Lead-free solder is also a nasty thermal shock, so even new out the box equipment has been compromised. At least 20C hotter, probably 30 to 50C depending on the mix.

Abit and Asus make pretty decent mobos. I try to stick with Intel for processors.

If you build your own PC then you can put in some good quality and it will last a long time. I have several quite old IBM PCs that have excellent quality and are still going strong. Not the Aptiva stuff..before that. In fact I still have the original PC with only floppy drives..7 inch floppies at that. But its mostly just in the way...yet I can fire it up.

I still have some 80xx stuff. I have ham gear that goes way back and even a Kim microprocessor SBC(single board computer).
Its still runs but been a long time since I tried it.

Had a IBM PC-XT that with two emulators ran IBM VM. Machine language code in BAL. Could code up REXX execs as well. I threw it out finally for lack of space.

As to the continued viability of the net after the chaos starts...outages of electricity,people not showing up,financial chaos,etc......

IMO its not the hardware,,though cooling fans have a limited life,dust does collect on the HSF of the processors and in the rest,contact resistance does occur,yet...its the software glitches and failures that I think will be more of a problem.

In working for over 30 years in computers and the latter part of that time on personal computers(helped in design and development of same) and even today I find many that fail from hardware...disk drive components are mechanical as well as the power supply and other parts.

I can keep some of my older stuff going but I have to work at it. Even my newest MOBO has problems in microcode and must be flashed sometimes.

Windows in all its versions is very prone to failures and has basically zero recovery. Yesterday I shot a minidump on a XP SP3 system that was going BSOD due to a protection check in a firewall file....specifically FWDRV.SYS... a Kerio Firewall file. Forced reboots after the BSOD and dump...this to me is stoneage code...that can't recover the system due to an application blowing off. But that the way its marketed.

So IMO the software and hardware do not run unattended. 40 years in this field and thats my opinion. It still takes geeks and techies to keep it glued together.


The Internet will be one of the last things to go, if ever.

I can see the large search engines just not being able to be powered, and the crap-fest of streaming media going away.

But for getting data about - yea there will be "an internet" even if its back to using UUCP.

I don't see bandwidth dropping unless there is a last mile issue - cell and old DSL perhaps changing as people go back to dial, but on the insides networks just keep getting faster. You can't even buy the stuff to do 100 mbit links any more - make it gigabit or just stay on the porch.

Parts of the net will break down. Much of it as you so succinctly put it is a "crap-fest", but good stuff that isn't viable will die as well. I think the William Gibson model of frayed infrastructure infested with hackers of all sorts is probably a pretty accurate characterization of how things will progress. We're already seeing it in the mobs of Windows zombies being bought and sold like any other commodity.

I'd like to see Usenet back to what it was and this seems doable - the spamming will drop when there are fewer marks and reduced income gets us there. Maybe B1FF will be back as a shiny new convert to kibology and there will be a holy war against the members of the Church of the SubGenius? Well, I can hope, can't I?

While I enjoy reading Kunstler, I disagree with his premise, "the suburbs will be abandoned". While I appreciate that generally speaking the suburbs currently have serious problems, I don't think giving up on them entirely is an option. Most of the suburbs will have to be salvaged.

I think you talk differently about it. I think you are saying that you would like to save suburbs, but Kunstler is saying that Suburbs can not be saved.

Suburbs are designed on the premise of cheap transportation. People need to be transported to work and goods must be delivered to suburbs. If transportation becomes very expensive , then it might not be economically viable to sustain suburbs. In older ages there were no suburbs not becasue people did not like the concept, but becasue transportation was not efficient enough (cost and speed of transportation).

Quite the opposite actually..

I would love for the suburbs to disappear but I don't think it is feasible.

I'm not saying the suburbs in 10 years will remain as they are today. Maybe 30% of the people will leave, maybe the poor will migrate from the inner-city out to the suburbs, many things could happen. Regardless of the exact outcome, I believe people will live in the suburbs for the foreseeable future because it will take time for urban housing to catch up to demand.

Unfortunately, there is no place for those living in the suburbs to go. They aren't going to just disappear. The city can't absorb all of them right now. Certainly most people won't flee to the country for agriculture jobs if they can avoid it.

I am not assuming people in the suburbs will commute to work. I am assuming that many people in the suburbs will not have traditional careers or even 9/5 jobs.

We need to have a plan to salvage at least some of suburbia because I am convinced many people will live there.

Kohesion: Yes, many will live there. Many live in Flint, Michigan. I don't think Kunstler meant literal abandonment, more of a Flint or Detroit scenario.

Whipple from ASPO Houston:

"The peak oil problem is not that most of us don’t recognize a transition is coming – if for no other reason than reducing our dependence on “foreign oil” – it is that we don’t recognize that the transition will come soon and will inflict more economic pain and social dislocation on the American people than we have experienced since the Civil War or perhaps ever.

Thus the message from Houston was “it will be soon and it will be bad, very bad,” much sooner and much worse than 99 percent of the American people realize.

Earlier this week, a European Organization called Energy Watch released a paper concluding as many others have done that world oil production peaked last year and will decline steeply over the next 22 years so that by 2030 production will be in the vicinity of 40 million barrels per day which is less than half of current production. In ten years production will be down on the order of 20 million barrels per day.

What we in America have not yet begun to grasp is that numbers like this imply the near total demise of the private internal combustion powered automobile."

You can walk maybe 6 miles roundtrip.

Horse and buggy 12.

Suburbs are 60 miles out.

Australia will not be exporting wheat as the US is cutting it's food aid in 1/2.

We're in 1974 heading to 1933 by 08.

With a track open to 1886.

The suburbs will be salvaged for feedstock.

Arkansaw of Samuel L Clemens

I would like to comment on the suburb/city debate we frequently have here. Cities if you think about it really are settlements that exceed the carrying capacity of the land they are on and greatly need resource imports. Can someone tell me how we can possibly grow the population of cities going into resource depletion? How can we overlook that? What possibly could the city offer to people in a resource depleted world that would be better than staying in the suburbs? Suburbs have enough people today for the most part to be thriving communities all by themselves. There are alot more people on the planet now before suburbs existed. The suburb I live in has over 30,000 people and is a hell of a lot less crowded than the nearest major city. Why does everyone assume you will be driving into the nearest major city for communting? Why not just work from home and not drive at all?

no the point of the matter is that there are too many people for many area's to support at all period.

Cities will offer what they have always offered: jobs. Maybe the internet will allow enough people to work from home, but most people today aren't able to do that, even though the technology is pretty good already.

Cities existed for that very reason long before we had fossil fuels. If you're right, they shouldn't have existed at all. They did exist because they're the most transportation energy efficient form of living. They always have been.

Jobs? What jobs? In Dallas most people work in high rises. We are mainly a service based economy. Will those services still be offered? In addition cities developed on the growth of cheap energy not the depletion of it. And they certianly did not have the population numbers they do know nor the large amount of imports. In the past most cities imported food from surround rural areas and not from 3000 miles away. I am not saying suburbs will be any better I don't see the cities offering a better option.

Let's just say that your experience then flys in the face of 3000 years of human history and most of the energy poor rest of the world. You explain the contradiction.

3000 years doesn't sound like a long time to me in regard to human history. The contradiction is obvious. Never before have there been this many people on the planet using the amount of resources we do. In addition history does not have an example of resource depletion. Basically what I am trying to say is that for 3000 years we were able to grow and the future has the possibility that that will not be possible. Therefore past performance does not predict future performance. If history told us the future we would know exactly what will happen which is ridiculous.

Actually, we've had many examples of resource depletion, but not many examples of non-renewable resource depletion. It sounds to me like you're talking about a pre-agriculture situation. Since we've had agriculture, we've had cities to facilitate trading goods. So if you think we're going to collapse to hunting and gathering societies, I have to agree with you. Otherwise I think you're writing off too many examples from the past. I would recommend that you start with Jared Diamond's "Collapse", then his "Guns, Germs, and Steel", and then Tainter's "Collapse of Complex Societies."

Sorry having to type fast but what I am talking about is non-renewable resource depletion in conjunction with population levels of today. I have read "Collapse" and agreed with most of the conclusions. I guess first we should be defining what we mean by suburbs. I also think we need to define a timeline on what we are talking about. Suburbs can have many shapes and forms. For the most part though I am not talking about the exurbs. In addition I am not talking about 400 years from now. I am talking about the next 50 years. To be honest I do not know what is going to happen but the possibility of suburbs becoming sustainable communities is not out of the question. It depends on the location and other factors but what I read on here all the time is suburbs=doomed and in fact alot of suburbs today are the size of cities from years ago. A city like Dallas requires huge amounts of imports. Rather it be food, energy, water or whatever if you add more people to the mix and subtract it's imports that is going to be a problem. I just don't think there will be this mas migration to cities because quite honestly I don't think they will be able to support the population most of them have know in a non-renewable resource depleting world.

OK, I can agree with more of this. I'll agree that suburbs that were once standalone cities may be fine. I think it depends on how much of the original dense core remains and how much of the surrounding land could be made productive again. I'd say that is more important than most other factors.

As for how much population a city could support on declining resources, I'd point to a few factors. Cities usually have their own water systems, they are usually rail and often water transportation hubs, and they usually have a better mix of light manufacturing and life-sustaining services than suburbs have.

Thinking of my own region, the Detroit water system serves Detroit and almost all of its suburbs. If the Detroit system has to start shedding capacity to deal with various systemic breakdowns, the central part of the system will be the last to go, which leaves the vast suburban area around the city of Detroit without potable water. Dallas has the Trinity River, which I bet was part of the reason it was located there. My map shows an unusual amount of fresh water for Texas in the immediate area as well.

Rail and water transportation are doubly important because they use far less liquid fuels to move a ton of goods, and because you can cheaply transport tremendous amounts of food that way. Imagine how much food you can transport on a 100 car train or a single barge. I count five rail lines heading out from Dallas Union Station on my map.

Finally, Detroit itself has at least four major medical centers I can think of. The area also has tremendous amounts of light manufacturing capacity. I'd bet Dallas has a better mix of these features than most rural areas in Texas as well.

All good points. I think we agree more so than not. In my neighboorhood for example I live 1 street over from one of the largest lakes in Texas, I have rail going thru the back of my neighboorhood and I have a hospital within 5 miles. In addition within 3 miles there is rural area as well with some farming. So like I said I think we should look at this as a case by case basis instead of saying suburbs=gone.

Cities will offer what they have always offered: jobs.

there have been many cases in history in various places of the world where cities did not provide many jobs... Well not paying jobs, anyway (in currency that farmers will be filling to accept). Furthermore when energy becomes scarce/expensive there will be far less things that can be produced economically in the city. Farmers will also have way less surplus after they produced enough to feed their families (try plowing a field without a tractor/harvester or growing food without fertilizers).

All of this calls for a major redistribution back to farming. Of course there is a very obvious problem: people from cities will not have enough money to buy the land for farming. So many people in cities will have have a job that will feed them and will not be able to go back to farming. Maybe there will be return of serfdom after initial starvation?

people from cities will not have enough money to buy the land for farming

And what makes you think that land will be expensive?

The Land is cheap. What one needs to do to 'be in code' and keep paying the taxes is what gets expensive.

Who wants to be a 'price taker' (aka farmer) and try to live off that - after paying the taxes and putting in all the infrastructure to be a farmer?

2 reasons:
1. We (city dwellers) will have no money to pay for that land. Jobs will pay relatively little. I doubt there will be mortgages. Savings will dissapear fast when inflation goes up (but most people in US have higher dept then saving, so that's not an option even if there would be no inflation).
2. We will need way more land to grow food in the future.

I hope I didn't say that the cities would have a paying job for everyone who wanted one :-)

As for people shifting back to rural areas, we're talking about two different time frames. When fuel is no longer available for agriculture, I quite agree with you. As I noted below, I think liquid fuels will evaporate for just about everything else before agriculture loses liquid fuels.

I keep looking at the late Roman Empire for these questions. Early on, the wealthy kept increasing the size of their rural estates, latifundia, since they could more efficiently operate than small land holders. Also, the small land holders weren't as able to deal with their tax burdens compared to their small revenues from farming. I think modern agribusiness is similar.

As things fell apart, there was still a fairly constant cycle of people leaving the countryside because of lack of opportunity and heading to the city. There they would find jobs and do well for a while, until the next epidemic wiped out large populations, usually more in the cities than in the country, and then more people would move to the cities. Declines in city population were more due to disease than outmigration most of the time.

As far as what farmers are willing to accept, they will need clothes, tools, pots, stoves, etc. right? Those things have always been manufactured/traded in cities when possible. You have to go way back in history to get to a point when pots were made on farms. I'm not saying we definitely won't get there, but you'll be able to buy pots salvaged in suburbs and sold in city markets for quite a while.

It was not uncommon for farms to have farmhands. Part of their compensation in exchange for work would be room & board. Even on farms with big extended families, farmhands would often be needed for the jobs that the kids were not old enough or big enough to do, and that gramps was too feeble to do. There are plenty of people living in the cities that would be clueless about setting up their own farm, but are able-bodied enough to be trained to become halfway decent farmhands. A few of those might even, after a few years of experience, become competent enough farmers to set out on their own. That used to be one pathway toward becoming a farmer.

Kjm: The Internet does allow people to work from home, especially if your home is in the Punjab.

Kjm: The Internet does allow people to work from home, especially if your home is in the Punjab.

Exactly. I have a friend who has made tens of millions facilitating the export of jobs to India. He started in Pittsburgh with medical transcription jobs, but he's expanding.

I think you mean it allows *some* people to work from home. I agree with that. OTOH, if your job involves assembling tractors, it's a bit harder to do that at home. Barbers can only work at home if their clients are able to transport themselves to the barber. I don't see a good way to do that by internet, do you? I haven't seen any good waitressing online either. It's hard to cut someone's lawn on line, etc.

We've discussed this many times before here. While there are certainly a subset of jobs that can be done from home, it isn't as many as most of us in the IT industry tend to think. And many of those jobs that are are easy outsourced or likely to just go away as nonessential jobs if TSHTF.

During WW11 Germany manufactured thousands of airplanes and other war material using basement shops in homes. Substitute garages for basements and suburbia could become work at home manufacturing centers for all manner of goods including tractors. Even now complete airplanes are being built from kits and plans in peoples homes.

Refugees are a form of growth, no? Syrian population is "growing", but its because we made a mess right next door, not because of any increase in GDP. Our cities can and will grow ... or fade ... depending on what they offer their residents.

Cities are a locus of activity. You need a certain amount of people to support a specialist like a doctor, or a veterinarian, and the same thing goes for certain economic activities. Once upon a time a village wasn't a village unless it had a resident blacksmith.

The megalopolis serves no purpose. The activities available in a place like San Francisco or Seattle are something I enjoy, but they enrich life, they do not sustain it. Surviving cities must sustain and that means basics first. If the city core is too far from farmland ... well ... why be there?

The dollar as a measure of production is dead. What counts now are calories and usable(EROI) BTUs. Humans will try to "grow" along these lines, as much as the land and weather permit. The measurement of this "progress", should it happen at all, will be in babies' birth weight, fresh eggs consumed per capita, and how comfortable we make the aging as they pass from this world.

Ok, but:
120 mile commute round-trip using:
Solo SUV (16mpg): 7.5 gal/day/person
Solo small efficient sedan(40mpg): 3 gal/day/person
Carpool SUV (3 people): 2.5 gal/day/person
Carpool SUV (6 people): 1.25 gal/day/person
Walk/bike to bus to work (20 people, 5mpg): 1.2 gal/day/person

Initially, the problems in the suburbs won't be that they can't afford to get to work, it will be that they can't afford a solo commute. If things crash fast, they won't be able to adjust quickly enough to the required commute mode change, but there are ample opportunities to wring consumption out of commute patterns.

The bigger problem is that as changes are needed, the value of those houses will fall. That will just exacerbate the existing problems in housing. Remember that inner cities like Detroit were gutted because of falling housing prices.

Same result, the suburbs will be salvaged for feedstock, but it will be seen as part of the housing debacle more than an energy crisis. Notice that the exurbs are already being gutted, and people are attributing it more to the housing crash than the tripling of oil prices in the past few years.

Don't forget:
Small diesel(solo) (50mpg): 2.4 gal/day/person
(4 people)(50mpg): 0.6 gal/day/person
250cc motorbike (70mpg): 1.7 gal/day/person

which are much more the european type solutions. Getting down to the 1 to 2.5 gal type region is relatively easy, particularly when you include working from home x days a week, rail, and even moving closer to the job !

I think that a lot of people are overestimating the amount of resistance that there is going to be to carpooling. I just don't believe that more than a few nutcases are really going to lose their jobs, their homes, and allow their entire lives to come crashing down around them rather than give in and share a ride with a couple of co-workers.

When it comes to holding on to their jobs and their homes, most people will do whatever it takes. If "whatever it takes" requires carpooling, then they'll get serious about carpooling.

I began my working career in Indianapolis in the mid 70s, and saw lots of carpooling going on. I participated in one for a while, until I moved & could take the bus to work.

That was all before the internet. It was really hard back then to find people other than co-workers to carpool with. Now we have the internet, there are websites to link people up, and it is a snap.

Ahhh..yes a real cornucopian love and feeding fest!!

Reality will be far far different.

All these 'data points', power point presentations, community walk-score, whatever...

..the web and internet will drop like a rock. Telephones and cells will be gone.

Communications will be no longer. The geeks to keep them greased and running won't be there. When the money stops being useful and worthless then all the above will be also.

Its best not to plan on all these things being there and since as a society we have almost zero cohesion and interplay like we once did, you will not be able to count on much else than yourself,,and not hold out too much for family members..heck most can't even control their teenagers. Nor their wives or husbands...what cha gonna do? Chain them down? Rule with a whip?

We can't even control our political entities..they do exactly as they wish and care little about what you think...well up til just before and election then they might find enough time to shake your paw..and then apply a liberal amount of disinfectant with handiwipes.

I just posted this in the midst of the feeding fest.not pointed to anyone but to everyone.

airdale-extreme weather here..5 straight days of rain..8 inches so far..6 in two days...still raining and now maybe some crops are going under water...its weird I say, weird.

I disagree with this. Operations will continue, new investment will cease, and those with a talent to scrounge will become the most valuable flavor of geek to have about.

I suspect we'll see a lot more cellular and specifically EVDO data rates - instead of a massive build of fiber to the home data rates will drop and the customer will bear the cost of the build in the form of their handset which will double as internet access. This is the African model.

I have associates in Romania. The young people there can afford neither computer nor high speed data connections. The clever ones go and work for free at cybercafes to fund their online adventures. Communal handling of computing resources already exist here in the form of people going to the library when they can't afford it at home. This will spread.

"Communications will be no longer."
You can say that again, even broadcast it, far and wide!

Which is to say.. I don't really agree. Certain systems are fragile, countless phone lines will fall, fiber-optic links will glaze over, satellites will plunge.. etc.. but basic radio communications, from cordless in-house devices to walkie-talkies, CB's, Shortwave and so on.. these are so incredibly valuable for us, and they require a fairly modest amount of decades-old technology to function.. I have to say there is very little likelihood that we'll lose it altogether. A crystal radio can be created from any number of junk bits from old TV's and car-radios..

Even if things actually went 'dark' on all of North America and Europe, say, for a century or four, the fact that mass production and mass communications have left copies of the products, the schematics, the textbooks and the materials knowledge on literally every continent of the planet in any number of potentially isolated corners is a virtual guarantee that these tools will be kept in service and evolving in a few different Galapagos puddles. Not everyone is going to face starvation, civil war or economic genocide.. I daresay that there will be producing regions who will have great, spoiling piles of food that they can't transport to any viable markets.. and even under warlords and rival regions, people will keep feeding the geeks just like the doctors and the grease-monkeys. Hephaestus won't be out of a job..

I'm reminded of my Brother's line again..
'You never told me you couldn't communicate!'


I am not assuming people in the suburbs will commute to work. I am assuming that many people in the suburbs will not have traditional careers or even 9/5 jobs.

But you are assuming that they will continue to pay their mortgages, electric and water bills and continue to travel to the grocery store, by bike perhaps, and continue on with their lives, a little more frugally perhaps. That is a huge assumption. Just what will these people use for money? Do you expect them to take in each other’s washing and ironing?

It is not that we can’t afford to abandon the suburbs, the point is we cannot afford to keep them. People will have move to wherever they can find work or to wherever they can scratch or grub for a little food.

In the old days people lived within walking distance of the factory, mill or mine. They could walk to the grocery store and the dry goods store. Farmers would drive a wagon into town once a month or so and pick up supplies. We will not return to those days because there are just too many people to do so and besides all the individual skills that people had in those days are now gone.

The idea that we will just keep on with business as usual, with everyone being just a little poorer is a great thought. It has no basis in reality however.

Ron Patterson

I think the Amish would have a good shot at returning to the old ways. The Amish community to the north of me uses draft animals for all their agriculture.

Perhaps it is wishful thinking but I was actually assuming that massive home loan defaults would collapse the monetary system and we would all get to keep our houses.

Very wishful thinking, IMO. Massive defaults didn't let people keep their homes and farms in the '30s.

Yeah, but there's a lot more 'prospective housing' out there now, too. You may not be able to 'keep' your own home, but I bet there will be some fantastic growth in 'Squatting' in someone else's unsold, desertified development..


A slightly better hope (if you've got a fixed rate mortgage and are not on a fixed income) is that hyperinflation will leave you able to pay off your mortgage with pocket change.

Make sure you've got a wheelbarrow in good working order. You'll need it to haul around the cash.


I agree with you on this completely. But the prior poster has an unstated assumption that is false and upon which his entire argument is based - to wit, that those living in the suburbs will be allowed to stay in the suburbs even if they are not paying their mortgages. I've seen this assumption stated many ways. Sometimes the argument goes that there will be so many defaulters that they cannot throw them all out. Sometimes the argument goes that the government would not let that many people be thrown out of "their" homes. But in all cases the argument assumes that people will continue to be allowed to live in those suburban dwellings even when they cannot make the payments on the dwelling. This assumption is false and a review of the Great Depression should demonstrate that. Central Park in New York was a shanty town. Shanty towns were common through out the nation. Tent cities existed where people lived in refugee-like squalor. And those people did this because the banks threw them out of the homes which they could no longer afford to "own". Given that today we have far more people owing the banks large amounts on their homes, the number of displaced will likely be larger than the Great Depression if things get that bad economically again.

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

I remember reading that most mortages have a clause that allows the bank to call in the loan. Some of us will be able to continue making payments having employment on the non-discretionary side of the economy, but few can pay off the full amount due at a moment's notice. (Unless there is hyperinflation and we have other assets such as gold that can cover the amount.) Am I remembering correctly about this? Or is it only losing our jobs or not being able to travel the distance to work that are the perceived risks? BTW I live reasonably close to the city and my work, I could bike there if I had to.

I remember reading that most mortages have a clause that allows the bank to call in the loan.

that's wrong. Most mortgages do not allow bank to call it. I actually never heard of mortgage like that. Corporate bonds are often callable, but not mortgages.

Thanks. I wasn't sure of the veracity and didn't research it myself (shame on me) but I do remember hearing this somewhere. Glad to hear that its BS.

I dunno. Finance is not my forte, but people who do know this stuff (Stoneleigh, maybe?) have that it is possible to get a margin call on your house.

I had some time to look and found out it's called a "demand clause". It's required by law to be stated on the Truth in Lending page here in the States that the mortgage has a demand clause and a checkbox indicating the buyer's acceptance. I guess that means some mortgages have them, but probably more of the shady type of mortgage lenders. Probably people with standard fixed-rate mortgages don't need to worry about it, but I don't really know either.

Something else I just read was that during the depression this happened a lot. People never thought the banks would call their mortgages, but when it came down to it the banks did it. This was given as a reason for the conventional wisdom of paying a mortgage down as soon as possible, which of course is no longer the case. Interesting...

In the depression, many homes were simply abandoned. Banks would let you live in them to reduce the 'salvage' problem of unemployed people ripping out the plumbing.
What happened was that the unemployed people moved in with their relatives, reducing demand for housing.
You may wind up living in a room in the flyover when we reindustrialise, with most of your possessions left behind in the suburban metrocoastal area in some friend's basement or spare room. The thermal inertia of your possessions will reduce day-night temperature swings in the rest of your friend's house, and the storage fee you pay will help him pay the mortgage, or might be the mortgage payment, after inflation.

And this time around, the dispossessed won't be so nice and well-behaved about it. Many of those empty foreclosed homes will be stripped of their copper, then torched.


New plumbing is often food-grade tubing on the clean side, PVC on the dirty side.

That and particle board. You can't even salvage a new house.

Thanks, Ron,

re: "Given that today we have far more people owing the banks large amounts on their homes, the number of displaced will likely be larger."

No quarrels, just Qs:

1) What will the banks do with the houses they have repossessed?
2) How will they secure them?

In a way, allowing someone to live in something (or, allowing at a reduced rate, or however one might state it) - is a way to keep it intact. It seems this latter might be a problem.

Also, I'm wondering...well, at what point or percentage does it become just unworkable to have lots of empty dwellings and many campers?

Hi Aniya

I'm not a banker but if I was, I don't think I could set a precedent, which in any way allowed mortgagees to default and remain living in that same dwelling.

If the word got out I would be inundated with defaulters immediately.

As a banker I would have no option but to evict all defaulters and then expect the law to protect my property.

If there was to be a large collapse, how could police keep up with enforcing evictions?
I don't think the government would use the army.
Maybe private security for the bank would be an option.

The way I see it, if the collapse is big, we all get to keep our homes but we probably wont be able to live in them any way.
If we just have an exceedingly bad recession, defaulters will be evicted.

I think those with mortgages they can't renegotiate or pay out are screwed whatever happens, we probably all are.

Of course that was all speculation, I was just making observation/conversation. I would hope not to be ridiculed over it.

Hi Bandits,

Thanks for your reply.

re: "I would hope not to be ridiculed over it."

I can sure relate to the caution, even the concern, of how my posts might be taken - let alone responded to. If it's any reassurance, I think most people here assume the best and do their best to communicate and share - in this medium that can be less-than-ideal. (Ideal would be a friendly dinner, after which Jeffrey also buys me a pecan pie! :))

re: "I don't think I could set a precedent, which in any way allowed mortgagees to default and remain living in that same dwelling."

I'd like to respond to this, and to all the other posts, Leanan's and others - that follow on the topic of abandoned suburbs and housing developments.

Here's what I was trying to say:

1) Yes, I entirely agree that a single banker could not set a precedent.

2) On the other hand, at some point, it is going to occur to the holders of mortgages, collectively or in some fashion, that they are facing the complete and total destruction of their assets.

What to do?

I don't know. I'm not suggesting anything. I'm only saying that it seems to me that it might be interesting, not to mention prudent, for those who hold mortgages to stop and think this over.

From the point of view of the mortgage holder, it seems to me that at some stage it will occur to him/her/them that processing defaults is:

1) costly
2) leaves one with an "asset" that is no longer an "asset" but is rather a liability - (and a rather large liability, if one intends to try to defend it)
3) ...a liability from which how much of value (?) - and in what terms/under what conditions (?) can value be salvaged?

Given this option, it might be that something else begins to look like a better idea.

I'm trying to think of parallels, and can't really - not on this scale.

The city can't absorb all of them right now.

Sorry for sounding harsh, but that irrelevant. Presence or luck of space will not alter the reality. And the reality is that if food is not delivered and can not be grown in sufficient quantities there will be starvation. Most suburb homes that I've seen do not have required amount of land to grow food to last a year, and even more of them will not be able to provide enough water for plants if water pipes fail, which they eventually will (as you said, people will not have 8-5 jobs so there will be way less heavy machinery to dig trenches for pipes or to produce pipes or manage water supply and so on). Supply and demand is always in balance and not only with food. If there is not enough food in suburbs something will have to give and I am pretty sure it's the demand that will have to shrink somehow...

Maybe its a crazy idea, but I was thinking people with swimming pools could farm Tilapia.

Usually in nature this would be a far too small of a place to grow fish. The would be nowhere near the amount of food generated in the average pool to feed a sustanable fish population. And feeding some kind of manufactured feed is probably be vry expensive proposition.

Another problem is water cleaning. Larger amounts of water can be self-cleaning. But here one would need pumps, filters (that would need to be replaced every so often.)

"In older ages there were no suburbs not becasue people did not like the concept, but becasue transportation was not efficient enough (cost and speed of transportation)."

Hifi, not sure what you mean by older ages, but the house I live in today was built as part of a suburb (yes, they used that term in their advertising)of my town back in 1900. Although the area today has built up in between, at that time it was across the tracks in a rural area north of the town proper and considered a high falutin' area - populated by doctors, lawyers and other wealthier folks - by most of the "city dwellers". Their mode of transportation? Horse and buggy mostly. And they lived "out here" for most of the same reasons suburban dwellers today live in their suburbs.

Who knows, maybe the horse and buggy will save the suburbs of today - LOL.


If population decreases significantly and if distances shrink back, then yes I think horses will be fine.
But that big and rather painful if's. I am looking at LA freeways and I can't imagine it being filled with horses as they are filled with cars right now. And not only becasue we will not have the food to feed these horses (especially in LA)...

So your thinking is that people will abandon 200-300K houses because the cost of transportation will become prohibitive?

Here is a simple calculation:
- Let's say your house costs $300K
- You are a family of 2 and each of you drives 15,000 miles per year
- Both of you drive 50MPG hybrids (you could buy those any time the gas price rises)
- After you buy a condo downtown both of you each drive just 5,000 miles py
- If you "firesale" your house you lose half its value

Given the above parameters it will take $19/gallon over 20 years in fuel expenses to pay for the immediate loss of selling your house (no discounting here).

Now it would take a while to contemplate what it would take the gas to get to ~$20/gallon so that you leave your house, but my guess would be that long before it gets there we will be having many other options, much more easier and cheaper than that - like taking the bus for example.

But who am I to know... people of course will prefer to collapse, eat each other and die-out rather that taking those stinking buses.

I see it more like, one or both of you lose your jobs, can't pay the mortgage, and get foreclosed on. You move in with your parents or kids or brother - whoever still has a job.

Eventually, so many houses stand empty, that even people who can afford to stay don't want to, because they don't feel safe.

Even a foreclosed house will not be abandoned, the new buyers will come to live in it or rent it out. The bottom line is that the cost of energy is too low compared to housing and this is unlikely to change that much.

What will happen IMO is that Suburbia will evolve into something else which would better fit the new circumstances. It could very well be that the "white flight" is reversed and the poor will be going into the suburbs while the more affluent move to more central locations. Over time subdivisions may form walkable neighborhoods with small shops and businesses moving nearby. But it is unlikely that such a huge investment in buildings and infrastructure will simply be "abandoned". The alternative cost of rebuilding it all is just way too huge - especially if we are going to face more difficult economic conditions.

Even a foreclosed house will not be abandoned, the new buyers will come to live in it or rent it out.

Wrong. It's happening right now. There are neighborhoods where hundreds of homes are empty.

"We have found neighborhoods with abandoned homes, 200 at a shot," said Louise Gissendaner, senior vice president and director of community development in Cleveland at Fifth Third Bancorp, the 10th-biggest U.S. bank by assets. She said abandoned housing has "devastated our city to a great degree."

Sure, under a BAU model, you would expect the market to recover eventually. But with peak oil, it won't be BAU.

Unless you have personally been in one of those ghost town suburbs you have no idea how unsafe and haunting they are. I was in Austin back in the late 80's and there were massive subdivisions with very few people living in them. It is very spooky... once the panic sets in and multiple homes are vacant with their lots unmowed and in general all gone to hell, watch out. The momentum can be almost as impossible to stop as the Red Sox were last night... ;-)

What we see now is obviously a crisis of oversupply - in certain locations there are much more houses than people who would want them (and who could afford them).

But my question is where did those people go after they foreclosed? Let me guess - another suburbs. Most of them did not move into some small downtown apartment, just picked a better area to go. This is happening all the time - for example Detroit deteriorates, but Atlanta strives.

For a mass-scale, US-wide "abandoning Suburbia" to happen someone has to explain, where will all those 200-250mln.people living in the suburbs go. Are they going to be packed in the already built up, unsafe and commercialized downtowns? I doubt it - there is not enough room or infrastructure for all of them. Are they going to hit the streets? Die? How many options are there?

What we see now is obviously a crisis of oversupply - in certain locations there are much more houses than people who would want them (and who could afford them).

"And who could afford them" being the key words.

But my question is where did those people go after they foreclosed? Let me guess - another suburbs.

No. There was an article about a Philadelphia neighborhood where half the houses were abandoned. They were a canary in the coal mine for the mortgage crisis, being a low-income minority neighborhood. They tracked what happened to a sampling of those who left, and no, they didn't move into another suburb. At least, not by themselves. They did what people do when they lose their homes. They moved into homeless shelters in the city. They moved in with relatives. They lived in their cars. They rented...you guess it...a tiny apartment in the city, where they wouldn't need a car (since it had been repossessed). They moved into public housing...in the city.

If you suggest that this is the future of 70-80% of Americans... I'd rather prefer the fast crash/nuclear war/die off thing...

Seriously, I don't see a reason for being as pessimistic as that. It is obvious that during hard times the poorest will suffer and probably we will have neighborhood scale or even town or city scale collapses. But if this thing reaches say 10% of the population, then we are going to have a revolution and TPTB don't want that. Some form of social state and safety network will be established, like they did during the Great Depression; otherwise it will simply get out of control - a last man standing scenario.

Now you know why I say "catabolic collapse" is the most doomerish of all fates.

But if this thing reaches say 10% of the population, then we are going to have a revolution and TPTB don't want that.

I think it will reach more than 10% of the population.

They'll try to create some kind of safety net. (Hence my belief that people will cluster around the cities. As with Rome, that's where the handouts will be.) But it won't be enough.

I don't know, Leanan, how "it won't be enough". It costs almost nothing to keep people alive.

Absolute worst case you have shanty towns where people live at a cost of a couple hundred a month.

More likely are slums where people have a little more.

Let's be generous and say $500 a month. (I have personally lived on less in much better than shanty towns digs)

30,000,000 rock bottom penniless poor (no income and no prospects) times $6000 year handout = 180 billion

Total state and federal budgets are currently about 4 trillion. If these budgets were slashed in half, 180 billions is still very bearable.

Remember there are *tons* of wealthy Americans who can afford higher taxes. Will the rich pay? Historically they have in the West. People don't starve unless done in by occupying powers. (Ireland I regard as occupied)

Of course, I would see the odds of this catastrophic scenario within a decade as being almost zero.

Remember too that when falling into utter poverty becomes more of a random event (like in the Great Depression) the quality of the culture of the poor improves. The poor now are almost always defective from an economic standpoint. In a depression scenario, many of poor are just unlucky. There are no prospects for many disciplined and talented people. And the presence of the "gentil poor" in slums has been to known have a positive effect. Now the talented poor escape their roots and are a loss to their communities further damaging the inner city. Under catastrophic scenarios, that won't be possible.

I don't know, Leanan, how "it won't be enough". It costs almost nothing to keep people alive.

That's not what I meant when it said "it won't be enough." Levin was saying that the suburbs would never be abandoned because the government wouldn't allow more than 10% of the people to lose their houses.

I was saying that the government will try to do something about that, but it won't be enough. More than 10% of the people are going to lose their houses, and probably their jobs, too - despite government bailout attempts.

I am not expecting a dieoff any time soon (at least not in the US). I am expecting people in the US to live a lot more like people in a Third World country. A one-bedroom apartment with 15 people sharing it. A widening chasm between the rich and the rest, with the middle class vanishing.

That is what the government will try to do something about, and fail.

You are basically saying that we will suffer severe economic depression, such that most people will end up unemployed and homeless.

While of course this is possible (say in a hyperinflation scenario), I don't see a reason it has to be that way. From a pure economical point of view we have the resources to keep those 300mln. people fed and with shelter above their heads. Actually we have a glut of certain resources like housing. And we have enough arable land to probably feed the world (if it goes vegetarian). As far as energy goes - people don't die if they take mass transit, neither if they lower the thermostat a little. It's inconvenient, yes, but you don't die from it. Like the previous poster said, providing the necessities of life is easy... it would cost how much? $500/month?

You are essentially saying that our system and state will so miserably fail to allocate our readily available resources that it will eventually leave almost everyone on the street and starving. In the same time the privileged few that have access to our resources will be roaming around in bulletproof limos and hiding in their fortified neighborhoods. While the hungry crowd outside is scavenging the remains of Suburbia... and you are not calling yourself a doomer?

I agree that life will become harder, but from hard to miserable the leap is very long and there are many stages and shades in between. I've been there, seen that... even through the hyperinflation years in Bulgaria people did not lose shelter and hardly anyone starved... yes it was not pretty, but it certainly was not a die-off type of collapse.

You are basically saying that we will suffer severe economic depression, such that most people will end up unemployed and homeless.

Correct on the first part, not necessarily on the second (though I'm not ruling it out).

I don't think all the suburbs will be abandoned. Some will be close enough to the city or along transit lines. Some will return to being the small towns and cities they used to be.

But I would not be surprised if we go through a "Greater Depresssion." During the Great Depression, unemployment was 50% in some areas, and somewhere between 20% and 30% nationwide. So yeah, a lot of people may end up unemployed. Maybe not "most," but a lot. And a lot more may be "underemployed," not working as much as they want to.

As for homeless...not necessarily. Most of us, if we had to, would move in with friends or family...or welcome our own family into our homes if they needed somewhere to go. Especially if they could contribute to the household. Taking in boarders is almost a joke these days, but it was a perfectly normal way to make extra money a few decades ago.

There are ~100mln. houses in the US, even if half the people lost heir jobs and houses and moved with other people, this leaves us with ~50mln houses, most of which still in the suburbs. You don't choose where the relative or friend that helps you lives - and we are assuming he/she can take you for a long period of time.

I agree that Suburbia may contract as people need to share living space and some places could be abandoned, but I don't see it abandoned altogether - we don't have an alternative for it, if you don't count crowds of homeless people on the street as an alternative.

It is not just houses, and even houses are the cheapest part - all the infrastructure - streets, electricity, water, schools, hospitals, commercial areas - all of that will be just too costly to abandon. At some point regulations will kick in that people could continue to live in their foreclosed houses - if it becomes apparent that the same houses will be worthless to sell eventually.

If they can't rebuild it, people will just make do with what they have, at least this is the rational approach. Which is not to say that is impossible nobody does a thing and it ends up with a very ugly and irrational outcome. Stupidy is never to underestimate.

You don't choose where the relative or friend that helps you lives - and we are assuming he/she can take you for a long period of time.

Yup. But that's how much of the world lives right now.

It is not just houses, and even houses are the cheapest part - all the infrastructure - streets, electricity, water, schools, hospitals, commercial areas - all of that will be just too costly to abandon.

Disagree. It's all cheap and will crumble soon enough. Especially the newer stuff. And especially if people scavenge it. They're already ripping the pipe and wiring out of unoccupied houses and stealing the wire from utility poles and train signals. They'll burn the asphalt and PVC pipe for heat, too. (They're already doing it in some countries.)

People won't stay in far-flung suburbs if there's nothing for them there. And I think we see how it's going to go. Supplies - food, fuel, etc. - will go to the densely populated areas first. Tainter found that people clustered close to the cities as collapse neared - for safety, and because it was easier to get government assistance there. The same thing happened during the Great Depression: people went to the towns and cities, hoping to find work. I think that's going to happen again.

We may end up spread out in the boonies again, as happened with the Maya and the Romans, but that is likely far in the future.

"...but that is likely far in the future."

I can only speak for South Florida, I think it will depopulate fairly soon in the future.

* There are three million people in the Greater Miami/Greater Ft Lauderdale megalopolis alone, at the end of a long penninsula.

* The entire penninsula consists of fossil coral reefs and/or sand (due to very low elevations and higher sea levels in the past). The soil is thin and sandy; crops grow only with fertilizer and irrigation. Even with petrochemial inputs and mechanized farming Florida does not feed itself.

* South Florida supported only a small sea-oriented population until cheap electricity made mechanical air conditioning possible. Most of our building inventory is useable only with air conditioning.

IMO, even if the Federal Gov't were to consolidate people in order to make feeding them easier, hauling food to the far end of a long penninsula won't make much sense. I believe a huge amount of South Florida real estate will be abandoned before the middle of this century. I guess folks here may as well stay in denial - who wants to think about a future as a Georgia or Alabama agricultural laborer?

Errol in Miami

I agree with you. Some areas of the country are only livable because of a temporary climate fluke and/or cheap energy. They will abandoned more quickly than others.

The Gulf Coast and the southwest are among the areas I expect to become depopulated.

I really have to stand by Leanan on this long, long thread.

Whole neighborhoods are already being abandoned. Whole neighborhoods are already empty and creepy and eerie. Whole neighborhoods' worth of people are already sleeping in their cars or on friends' couches.

This has happened over and over again, and we're about to see it happening the most extremely, and the government and the owning class won't change their way of doing things one iota.

I saw a little taste of this in the mid-90s, imagine a "normally" high-dollar area, namely, Santa Ana, California, with 2/3rds of the business real estate empty, abandoned shopping malls, abandoned supermarkets, etc all around. We used to do our laundry at the laundromat which was next to an empty supermarket. Sparrows were gradually colonizing its 20-foot+ ceilings. We were of a very small english-speaking minority. All was peaceful, all was squalid, all was relaxed. My God spoken Spanish is the language of angels. We saw a crow flying about 2' off of the ground holding an empty paper cup in its beak, obscuring its vision, across the parking lot. No worry; little traffic.

"From a pure economical point of view we have the resources to keep those 300mln. people fed and with shelter above their heads."

First, imagine that we have a can opener..

But if this thing reaches say 10% of the population, then we are going to have a revolution and TPTB don't want that.... otherwise it will simply get out of control ...

That is one possible future reality scenario that has thought out I believe.

Deeply Think about what you just said at the street level.

That is the possible reality that absolutely terrifies the Gov(s). Now think about the laws being passed. Pre-emptive tactical moves on a board to set the stage with the right props removed. Like Hapus Corpus, etc.

What scenarios would control or arrest the above from happening? Well one scenario would be for some plague Flu/Toxin Natural/UnNatural in origin happens to arise that would force the Gov to enforce quarantines on the population via martial law. What others?

If you are some think tank, Those are the types of questions/scenarios you can run if you have the fast supercomputers at your disposal.

Conspiracy theory at its finest. I don't doubt they talk about it, but look at the execution in Iraq and Katrina. They can't do it because they're lazy, corrupt, and inept.

The Bush administration's behavior feels for all the world like executives at a public company that is about to go under. They wiggle and twist, trying to figure out how they still get to make decisions when the bankruptcy begins, but the creditor's committee is the one in charge and the employees get quickly very critical of obviously stupid decisions. I've been there twice and the neocon/disloyal Christian Right axis have no choice but the follow their shadow coup with the real thing, because otherwise they'll be swept away in 2008. Angry global creditors on one side, angry, disillusioned citizens on the other ... not a good time to have been the author of such miseries.

But my question is where did those people go after they foreclosed? Let me guess - another suburbs.

My guess would be moving in with family or friends that have a house and have offered them to stay over for awhile.

Exactly. The "brother in law on the couch" version of the apocalypse, far scarier than Mad Max chaos. ;-)

By coincidence, Lou Dobbs had some guy from the WSJ on his show tonight. WSJ guy had criticized Lou for saying the middle class was struggling.

So they got into a debate, flinging numbers around. WSJ guy admitted that the economy really didn't look like it has done much. But, he said, the economy really did grow just as robustly as before, we just didn't see it. Why not? It was hidden in smaller households.

In the old days, there were multigenerational households, see. Now it's the nuclear family or smaller: singles living alone, couples without children, single parents, retired couples living on their own instead with one of their children. He claims that that ate up the economic growth.

So, when we're forced to move back in with mom and dad, I guess we can look forward to that "economic growth" being freed up by larger households...

"The Contraction of the American Family" ... God, does this mean I have to get along with my siblings and their offspring now?

Fleam might have some trouble doing that given his post below... :)

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

^What we see now is obviously a crisis of oversupply - in certain locations there are much more houses than people who would want them (and who could afford them).

Says whom? Adam Smith?

My older sister (the bitch who went to the elite private school and will never let anyone forget that) has with her husband 2 cars, and wants a third one because for her it's anything, anything at all, rather than take the excellent bus system where she is. And her daily route from coffee shop to art gallery to bank etc onle encompasses a few miles.

Hi Kohesion,

I would be willing to give up some privacy and contribute money if your site includes a functioning networking/matchmaking facility. I say this because despite talking to friends and family about PO for several years, none of them can (crushing debt) or will make meaningful preparations until a contracting economy makes the situation undeniable (and preparations doubly difficult).

Errol in Miami

How about raising chickens?

That is cheap and fun. You can do it in most cities as long as you don't have a rooster.

As to matchmaking... babes dig guys with chickens.

A confined chicken eats about a bushel of grain a year. Where are these people going to get the grain? This isn't some kind of off the wall question but rather why I belive urban areas are dead meat because the people living there have zero useful skill sets.

And, roosterless? Where are the replacement hens going to come from? Right, they'll just go out to where they buy their grain and pick-up hens too.

I'm sorry to sound snarky but your statement is the kind of thing that some people will read and think, "Gee, that's a great idea."


Why confine the chickens? Let them range a little and fill up on bugs, etc.

The grain can be corn, that would be the easiest for most people to grow & harvest. Unless one has a very big yard it would be difficult to both grow enough people food and enough animal feed; if there are a lot of vacant lots or vacant houses in the neighborhood, though, perhaps one could take a chance with "borrowing" the land to try to produce a corn crop. On the other hand, there will probably be people growing surplus to trade. The question becomes: if you don't have money, what will you produce so that you can make the trade?

It is relatively easy to get into the fertilized egg or chick hatching business. My guess is that as things change, lots of people will do it. It doesn't really make sense to keep a rooster if you can only maintain a few chickens, better to let someone else specialize in maintaining a breeding flock and concentrate on eggs + meat.

What no rooster fries?

A friend sells eggs and his rooster is at the hens..so I just need a egg turner and a brooder to get my own flock. Then I can have those good ole rooster fries..yum.

You just can't compare the taste of range fryers to that storebrought confinement fed chickens..the breasts are huge and tough and rather tasteless.

Someone gave me some frozen beef slaughtered and packaged by the Amish near here. It just showed me how really really bad the meat in the stores has become...especially the ground beef. We are being swindled on meat. The ground beef is somehow adulterated or mixed with something else..It doesn't taste or cook like real beef. Something is changed markedly over the years with beef,pork and chicken..its rank and not very tasteful.For $3.00 the bacon is worthless, and rancid in a short time. Some kind of pink goo is shed off it as it frys. Some of it I throw away. Its just that bad.

The Amish processed ground beef was just like the hamburgers I ate as a kid at the drive-ins and restaurants.


I tell you what, if I stay here and I just might, there are two things I want to specialize in: chickens and peppers.

As for chickens, I'd feed 'em on the grasshoppers around here, there are tons of 'em, enough to feed many many chickens. The chickens might have to be kept in cages or even inside the house like the rabbits in "possum living" but I can harvest tons of grasshoppers and dry 'em to last all year. That can be the basic staple for them. I'm willing to bet I could raise chickens "off of the land" between 'hoppers, fresh greens gathered, and acorns.

As for peppers, within the pepper family you have just about all you could want or need for veggies, flavor, fruit, spicyness, etc.

It might take me a few years to get settled in where I am, but the "outside world" might get bad enough in the meantime that I may have made out the best for myself.

Forget the chickens, how about stir fry hoppers, greens, and peppers, maybe with the hoppers dipped in acorn flour batter?

Airdale, you got that right about the beef. I grew up in Chicago when the stockyards and slaughterhouses were still going and every neighborhood had a butcher who got his meat from a local packer who lived in the area and did not skimp on the quality. Many of my neighbors worked in the packing houses and the meat they got still brings back fond memories of tasty steaks. Even the cheap round steaks were great. The crap I now get from the local stores (south central Illinois), especially IGA, is so bad I’ve resorted to eating pork - while not top notch is much better than the beef around these parts. I think I’m going to have to consider raising a cow for slaughter if I'm going to have good beef.

Many years ago I stayed a night at a Muslim friend's place in south London, and for breakfast he served me "macon", which was Zimbabwean halal beef (which his father had bought in Harare) processed to resemble bacon. That was probably the most delicious meat I have ever had. Yeah, there is something wrong with the mass-produced meat we have in Europe and America. Before that breakfast I didn't even know it, but I sure have done ever since.

Ok, let me answer for a hypothetical person:

My zip code is 60608, renting in the center of Chicago. I have no well, no topsoil and my landlord does not permit animals. I am a salesman, and this is the only type of employment I have ever engaged in (I am a real good bullshitter), and do not know what end of a hammer to hold. Needless to say I have no tools. I would like to be paid a high five figure salary for my sales skills.

Now here is the problem with your enquiry - the person above does not totally misrepresent a major portion of people inhabiting a very large metropolis in today‘s service economy (or many small ones for that matter) These people are going to contribute how? That is the major shortcoming of any “community” solution, the large potential “free riders’ of any plan. And the larger the “community” the more likely the free rider problem is going to occur. So someone like myself, who has arable land with a well, who has skills in carpentry, farming, plumbing, mechanics, and metalwork is supposed to agree to bring on these parasites? I don’t think so.

And yet, if you insist on seeing these people simply as 'parasites', then that is very likely what you'll get. One thing we will likely have is a lot of people who need retraining, people who will want to eat and have a place to live. Those who have skills, farms or tool shops, bakeries, etc.. they will be spending as much of the rest of their career Teaching as doing whatever was the 'work' their trade called for.

Yes, there will be LOTS of resistance. Change is hard, and there are people who will have a really tough time figuring out that it's time to change course.. Salespeople though? That might have been an off example, as the salespeople I know have to think on their feet, be able to take refusal after refusal, come back smiling. Not to say there aren't softies out there.. but that's quibbling.


The teaching point brings the discussion to "my bunch". I'm 70, good health, etc. Grew up on a farm, worked in stone quarries, have built houses, tapped maple trees, butchered animals etc. I have the knowledge - lots of us old guys do. Stuff no one wanted to learn from us, stuff that our suburban living hasn't called for in decades. But it is a resource from the past that is fast becoming needed in the near future.

Part of the zipcode community effort might well be a specific inquiry into obsolete skills that need passing on.

There have been several books devoted to capturing those old time skills. The "Fox Fire" series was written as a class project started by Eliot Wigginton in North Georgia, beginning back in 1966. Those skills aren't lost and such books can be printed and distributed rather quickly.


There are many people who still practice these skills. A few weeks ago, I attended a sorghum cane processing "party" where several young students helped a friend make several small batches of cane syrup boiling down the cane juice over a wood fire. If you happen to think your skill set will be lost in time, why not write them down? You might simply build a web site devoted to skill saving, or something similar. The beauty of the Web is how cheap it is to "publish".

E. Swanson

This is one of the central reasons we moved back to Maine. There's still a skillset up here, tho' I don't want to dismiss the smart, capable and continually learning folks I was around in Manhattan.

Thing is, I think we're in a sort of 'Happy Days- Gatsbyville' time.. Roaring Twenties, Vapid Cute 50's.. and yet we have (we ARE) the dissidents who will show up, first in front of HUAC and Joe McCarthy, and then Marching in Selma or writing 'The Jungle', or 'M.A.S.H', or 'Blazing Saddles' ( "Sorry about the 'Up yours, Nigger!'.. " - who would do that in mainstream today? Ok, the Simpsons might.. and I'm not talking about cursing, I'm talking about communicating. Facing it.) Many, many people are disconnected. Again. But the 'connecting' people are out there, too.. many of them are ready and getting readier, but the call hasn't come, the time isn't there yet for the next burst to start. Who knows if PO and CC are going to trigger it, or just some new Britney foolishness will tip the balance..

The tide is out, and it smells BAD right now.. but there actually ARE good, smart, devoted people out there who are Storming the walls and keeping our back.. and I'm sure that I'm talking to several of them right now.

"The odds are all against them. The stars are high, life is short, and the house always takes a percentage. But Man himself is so unlikely that if he did not exist, his possibility would not be worth discussing." R.A. Heinlein


And why should they train these masses of people? Yeah, there will suddenly be huge programs to retrain these people, with a limited number of those with the necessary skills to train them. And they will do so for the benefit of “society”, not because they will be needed in a shrinking economy where the slice of the pie is getting smaller. Get real. People with skills will be training the young and the members of their already existing closely knit communities like they always have. Not a member? Who ever said life was fair. The river of denial runs deep on this site.

And why should they train these masses of people?

They'll need the muscle.

People with skills will be training the young and the members of their already existing closely knit communities like they always have.

What's changed is that families are small and dispersed, and many people do not have their own children or "members of their community" to train.

Remove the BS rules of engagement and then we see how far "muscle" goes against trained tactically efficient forces.

I suspect the rules of engagement will be removed or ignored very early in the game.

I don't think there will be any tactically trained efficient forces in such places. Why would there be?

In some places there most likely will be.

No one forms random networks or drafts a team at random, they usually are along old professional contacts or other such criteria with known capabilities.

Even groups drafted for their craft skills will always consider the secondary ability to function in an organized defensive environment. Either that or their survival odds go way down.

Just as example in todays world, who is going to go against the local 1% motorcycle club?

This is the frame of reference when setting communal farms or whatever up.

Okay, I think I understand where you're coming from.

Muscle will still be needed. Not necessarily to defend the community, but to do other things.

A year or two ago, they found a diary written by a man in Indiana or some such place, in the 1800s. He kept track of everything he did every day, and there were some surprises. He ate more food imported from far away than expected. And he spent far more time every day drawing water than they ever imagined.

If he wrote down everything he did, he probably had some form of compulsive disorder. That may explain the excessive water usage. :-)

You're looking at it from a modern point of view. He was a lifelong bachelor. (Not uncommon; in some areas, there just weren't many women.) He was an outsider to the area, and didn't have a family (though he did have a lot of friends in the town nearby). No TV or movies, either. No Internet. :) What else are you going to do but write? There's a reason why people wrote such long, beautiful letters back then.

For sure.

Being an anthropologist at heart, such documents as that diary are pure gold. If the source comes to you, please share!

"Why should they train these masses of people?"

Because it's a job - Teaching pays.. and IF someone can't pay for a class, they can barter or offer labor in exchange. As Leanan said, Muscle.. especially since the muscle from ICE's will be pricey and limited, and the muscle from people will be waiting at the corners for work every morning. But that's farther down the road. Earlier on, it will be 'Adult Ed' programs blossoming, 'Community Workshops', State Incentive Programs.. as it was said above somewhere, you don't jump right into Mad Max / Lord of the Flies world right away or in every community. There will be all sorts of flurrying activity to try to keep the boat(S) from going over the waterfall, and some places will immediately be clannish and fighting, while others will have a mix, or will be trying to work together, as Unreal as you might think that option sounds.

Not a member? There's an old, sophomoric German joke I heard once.. "Bist du mitglied oder ohne glied?" (Which I think means "Are you a member, or 'Memberless'?")

- Dodging Icebergs, Rearranging Deckchairs and correcting Grammatical errors on my 'Riverboat named Denial'.. send in the Clowns!


It seems to me that many of these so-called "outcasted" people with so-called non skills beyond pieholed swifty-shifty salesmanshipery might really discover something about themselves they long ago cerebrally pushed aside - whilst honest inclinations were being taken over and thee tease of the chase required pixelated prospects of the almighty dollarized dreams.

Getting real is a huge requirement on a society that avows the boobtube as a god to soothe real otherwise brain activity.

To get real, in the best case, would require a deliberate
false disruption of liquid fuel... (a real or imagined inverted energy crunch)

Sheep are flockingly stupid, but, assmonkee fiat supervision has learned how to herd stupidity through the fiat broadcasting system...

Talent may indeed resurface in more actual usefulness...Brainwashing usually can be easily corrected with thee current msm TV programming being properly placed into thee recycled bin of useless claptrap

I see your very valid points...Yet, overall I disagree. I still believe in the kind*ness of mankind. Besides, those well taught young will not be as corrupted by papered dreams of mammonized greengreed promises if they were to be brought up in the environment of hands on learning and are not overrun with the future mishaps of lessoned liquid energy of useless mobility too quickly...

Yes the youth, with boundless energy and enthusiasm would make fine teachers once coupled with the wisdom and experience of our brushed aside elders and those lost skills. I think a real chemistry can then again build a foundation of solutions without a "must need ipod esteem", and subsequently provide worthwhile solutions. BTW, the real genius of the here and now rest with thee average age of this thread.

Words are cheap, takecare of the inner ripples first and the outer will reflect it back.

You appear to have brushed up against totoneila at some point in your life. I think I like it :-)

I tried for a long time, with todays sloppiness, thought processes and work ethic there is much less then 1 in 10 young people worth teaching a trade to.

Some of that will change when they start getting hungry.

He seems to be talking about suburbia, not the city, which will doubtless have its own problems and solutions.

Personally, I think large swaths of suburbia will be abandoned. And no, it won't involved dieoff or massive building of infrastructure. Rather, it will be the "brother in law on the couch" version of the apocalypse, as Sharon Astyk put it.

That said...the average "free rider" may have more to offer than you think. If only in the skills they learned for their hobbies.

My coworkers are a typical lot of SUV-driving, keyboard-pounding, McMansion-living suburbanites. Yet, they possess many skills that may be useful in a powerdown situation. Raising chickens has become wildly popular, and many of them have fairly large flocks on their small lots, and are constantly trying to give away eggs and even chickens. They have gardens. Even the ones who only have some tomato plants in a tub on the balcony have tons of tomatoes to give away in the summer. Hunting is popular. Many of the women and some of the men knit, sew, quilt, or crochet as hobbies. One even spins raw wool into yarn (with a pedal-powered portable spinning wheel). Some keep fish in tanks and ponds, and understand the nitrogen cycle that's so essential for success. A couple are into Civil War re-enacting, and do everything from black powder shooting to sewing authentic clothing (no zippers or elastic) to cooking over open fires. The older ones still remember living without indoor plumbing, and trapping and hunting in the morning before school.

Oops, I should remember reading is a skill. The large cities, however, are the 900 pound gorilla in the room. It is where the bulk of the population lives. Leanan, I suspect your co-workers have more varying interests than people who exist in the dumbed down workplace that has come to dominate today‘s society. The sad fact is the hobby of a large percentage the people in the US is watching reality shows on the boob tube. Coming from a working class background and having daily exposure to these people over the years greatly contributes to my doomer mindset.

Retired on the river

I'am retired, retired from engineering and ranching. I grew up on a ranch and retired from a ranch. City people have no clue to what it takes to live off the land. We raised our own feed, had huge gardens, pigs, chickens, ducks, cattle. We had very good water rights, soil so rich it was priceless.
Our bottom land was reserved for alfalfa and hay while the upper pastures were dedicated to corn, grain, and feed.
We ran a very efficient operation, one that allowed me to work 14-16 hours a day, day in, day out preping the ground, sowing, reaping and taking care oof the animals. It required a tremendous amount of fuel, electricity (irrigation=$1.5k/month), fertilizers and herbicides.
My wife had as rigorous a schedule as mine, just less
muscle demands.
Luckily we had sold our business's and had an early
retirement because if we had just bought the ranch and had
to rely on it's output to pay the mortgage, we'd have been in trouble. Figure good acreage in a moderate climate with
irrigation is worth about $6-7,000 per and you have between
100- 160 acres. That's over a million bucks spent so you
can work yourself to death. You'd need the land free and clear to just feed yourself and have a little left over.

Post peak is going to be a disaster. Farmers and ranchers are going to have a hard enough time taking care of their own families when fertilizers and fuel go through the roof.

We sold, bought a place hidden away next to town, enough
acreage for a good large garden, chickens, with plenty of free water and lots of privacy... This is where we'll be for the rest of our time.

Suburbanites are so out of luck it's unbelievable.


I'd say that the one and only hope for your hypothetical salesman is to reinvent himself into a community activist. Massive numbers of people are going to have to be "sold" on the idea of chaning their attitudes, changing their lifestyles, and entering into a more cooperative mode with their neighbors. It isn't going to just happen, and in many places it won't happen because everybody remains in their hyperindividualistic mindset. Neighborhoods and communities actually can use outgoing, introverted people with a gift of gab and the ability to befriend people and bring them into cooperative endeavors. Community activists can earn their keep by just making the right things happen.

But then the community activists then become corrupt politicians, hire their relatives and friends, get bought out by the corporations and the cycle starts all over again. Sorry, can’t help myself, it’s a Chicago thing.

Yeah, Bruce.
Sorry for my earlier snarkiness. You're definitely in a mood today. Go hand out some sandwiches at a food bank. It'll cheer you up. DON'T go to any malls.


Oh that's alright I had it coming, just in one of my doomer moods! I guess it was the lack of sleep from the four kittens biting my toes and reading "The World Without Us" late last night. Many of the posts in response to Kohesion’s post today do hold some justifiable optimism. Some things I did not consider when I made my first post today. Maybe some fresh blood posting here would help the jaded ones like myself. I’ve been beating my head against the wall trying to talk about peak oil to friends for the last five years. Much derision even though I have a good track record of making predictions - I called the housing bubble to my friends and even after I cashed out big and the crash started they still won’t listen. Surprisingly, my neighbor down the road brought up declining resources when I drove him into town to pick up a used water heater from a government project. Just figured this out on his own with no internet. Damn. Why can’t others see it with so much information in front of them?

My Wife 'knows', but I can't share much of it with her.. really by mutual understanding.

She is keeping my daughter fed, planning how to keep our life moving forward, this would freeze her up in preoccupation.. it's daddy's project, and in a way, this makes sense to me.. she's keeping the jeep on the road, keeping it in gear.. I'm aiming the flame-thrower at the T-rex. (Sorry Spielberg, re-wrote your scene, there.) Now if I only had a Flame-thrower.. well, my solar-powered Bic-Lighter will just have to do!

I've made a couple 'ehnn..!' bumperstickers and tried out some 'messages', notes to congresspeople, etc.. but I think that 'getting the word out' has to be done with a curveball. That is to say, curveballs after curveballs until the right ones get the giant to awaken. Working right now on a block grant to get PV/Solar Heating onto our school rooftops, both for city-owned generating capacity and as benefits to the school energy budgets, PLUS for the side-boon of having independently powered community centers for FEMA sitations. (And finally as a community teaching-opportunity, to encourage families to look at self-generation) With luck, I'll be able to use these multiple departments and multiple school-systems to combine some separate funding streams as well as getting better pricing from a large-scale order.

Even if it fails bigtime, maybe I can get some sympathy press out of it! Then I'll have some good 'energy future' statements ready!

"There's no greatness without audacity." - Oscar Wilde

Bob Fiske

Good work, Bob. Sounds like you should get some press. Perhaps some third party oil drum reader from the great state of Maine could call your local news/local department and make them aware. If we knew the name of the paper.

Thanks, John.

When I've moved past the exploratory emails into an actual proposal, I will share it with TOD, and the Mainers I know who frequent this site. (You in Maine?)

The Portland Press Herald is the biggest Southern Maine paper, but I'll include links to the statewide spread of news outlets when I do this.


"Now here is the problem with your enquiry - the person above does not totally misrepresent a major portion of people inhabiting a very large metropolis in today‘s service economy (or many small ones for that matter) These people are going to contribute how?"

We call them "dinner".

You might want to refer to a fairly new book that could have some helpful ideas in this regard:

Supurbia! 31 Ways to create sustainable neighborhoods

I'm not totally sold on this book. They essential use co-housing communities as a model and suggest how suburban neighborhoods (or urban or small town neighborhoods, for that matter) might transform themselves into something that looks and feels a lot like a co-housing community. I'm not totally convinced that this is as feasible as the authors suggest; there must not be more than one in a hundred neighborhoods that would have a sufficient critical mass of people willing to be that cooperative. Nor am I necessarilly convinced that a co-housing village is the best or only model that might be conceived. Nevertheless, there are some interesting ideas contained within. It might give you some ideas for things to measure how far along a particular neighborhood is in becoming more sustainable.

You might also look at some of the material put out by communitysolution.org, the relocalization network (relocalize.net), and the Peak Moment programs. Bill McKibbin's book Deep Economy also has some good ideas.

I see no reason not to grow your own food I am doing so with Hydrooponics and aquaponics. This allows me to use far less water than convential gardening. I can do this in the desert and save huge amounts of water and grow quite a bit more food thant I would otherwise but I see no reason to not prepare.

The attractiveness of Aquaponics is its not derived from Fossil' fuels and anything that allows me to free myself from that for growing food is great. I figure if Iget enough together to allow for me and neighbors I will be fine. Nothing else they will will all ask me for help due to me knowing how to survive :)

Note all my neighbors just about know that I am doing hydro I have gotten a few interested and 1 is going to be using my guidance to build a 20x30 greenhouse on hydro.

Aquaponics ROCK! I would look into it as a truely sustainable resource

What's the difference between hydroponics and aquaponics?

I looked at aquaponics and am very interested in setting this up on my 1.59 acres in the Willamette Valley. I haven't figured out yet how to provide a sustainable home grown food source for the fish.

My nearest small town is 3 miles away with 3100 residents currently but growing. Knowing what's coming I view them as my future customers.


Well if you do it right you can grow duckweed that is INSANELY fast growing for tiliapia.

It is quite interesting. I am doing a 200sqft garden inside and will expand it to about 400sqft in the summer outdoors. So it will be a indoor system during the winter and outdoor/indoor in the summer. It will be a total of about 600sqft of garden space. Now considering this is Aquaponic or Hydroponic the growth rates should be very good. I have a 1100 gallon tank for rearing tiliapia in.

Ideal for me would be to convert about half of my back yard into growing. That would total for about 800 sqft then have 200sqft inside. That is my ultimate goal but I will start out with 400 sqft in the back yard.

I started with Hydro got pissed at the cost of nutrients so now I am doing Aqua :) Its no easy task working on getting a prohibited fish either... Department of Fish and Game can be a pain to work with.

Can you give details on your setup? Sounds like an interesting addition to traditional farming.

I immediately thought "peak rabbits", but then flipped back to when my Granddad raised rabbits and realized that was ridiculous, and I am a part-time gardener in the country. Peak squirrels won't happen either.

A lot of us who work everyday but are still are classified as obese will not be in the future. But, when that future will begin remains the real question.

I saw a note yesterday on the CA fire calamity about how would those fires be fought with hand tools, and immediately thereafter wondered how we could ever hope to stop such an event without massive amounts of transportation to get there and fight them in the first place. Surely, if things become as dire as you are wanting to prepare for, the calamity will be solved only by Nature can do, with rain.

you will have to get some other kind of meat to eat other then rabits since they are lean meat they lack the needed fat's a human needs to eat for certain essentail vitamains and minirals. otherwise you will get whats called 'rabbit starvation'

I tried this community organizing idea myself a couple of years ago and gave up. What you have is only a small minority who are even tuned into this problem and want to do something about it. And even among those only a small portion have the free time and money to make serious preparations. Most people just get depressed and angry at you for trying to alert them.

I live in a rural area with good land, water and timber resources. We have a better chance than most. But even my immediate neighbors, with one exception, are either too old or too uninterested in doing any community preparedness.

My advice is to:
1. Move to a safer location as far away from major population centers as possible if you can.
2. Prepare yourself and your family as best as possible.
3. Network with any immediate neighbors who might be receptive.

If no mitigation is coming from the top down we are all on our own.

It's the advice I've taken, and give out. Not that anyone listens.

When you draft a team you pick the best from all over, not the ones that just happen to be there.

Now, to make sure EVERYONE can have the proper level of doom, surgery can be an option.
Yup, Science has given us the region of the brain that is responsible for optimism.


In the IAEA´s high projection - which adds in additional reasonable and promising projects and plans - global nuclear capacity is estimated to rise to 679 GW(e) in 2030. That would be an average growth rate of about 2.5%/yr.

"Our job is not so much to predict the future but to prepare for it," explains the IAEA´s Alan McDonald, Nuclear Energy Analyst. "To that end we update each year a high and low projection to establish the range of uncertainty we ought to be prepared for."

Seems to me that the "optimistic" part of the brain is about all some people ever use. After all, a high percentage of the human race genuinely believes that death is merely a phase we go through in our eternal life. Now that's optimistic! Sounds good to me, but I doubt it.

///totally off-topic///

I'm no sports fanatic, but it sure is good to be a Boston sports watcher these days! (now I've jinxed it...) I don't expect professional sports to last much longer, so it's nice to go out with a bang.

Seems to me that the "optimistic" part of the brain is about all some people ever use. After all, a high percentage of the human race genuinely believes that death is merely a phase we go through in our eternal life. Now that's optimistic! Sounds good to me, but I doubt it.


this is the icing on Malthus' cake.

I've been considering professional sports, too, being a sports fan. The flying all over the place and playing games in Tokyo and London may end, but I think sports may continue. The Yankees used to take the train for three days to play St. Louis.

The salaries may not be what they were, though. And the first chip might be "a la carte" pricing for cable. The pressure for a la carte pricing is growing, and will probably get worse as the economy tanks. Sports is by far the priciest item on the menu, but since everyone pays for it, no one notices. If non-sports fans are allowed to opt out, will the 1 out of 5 people who are sports fans be willing to pay five times as much, to keep Derek Jeter in Armani?

As for Boston...it pains my pinstriped heart, but I almost have to root for them. The Rockies are one of those "God is on our side 'cause we're more moral" kind of teams. (Never mind that Dan O'Dowd has a repuation for being the slimiest guy in baseball.) Funny how when they win, it's a sign from god, but they never say that when they lose. :)

There's a bit more evidence for that concept than you might

be aware of....


Newsweek's take on it:

We humans tend to be an optimistic bunch. In fact, it's long been established by psychologists that most people are likely to be irrationally positive. The optimism bias, as it's called, accounts for the fact that we expect to live longer and be more successful than the average and we tend to underestimate the likelihood of getting a serious disease or a divorce.

I sometimes wonder if even the doomers amongst us are being "irrationally positive." Since it's human nature, and all...

well i am irrationally positive that homo sapians as a speices will survive(not saying how many) no matter what short of a large asteroid or commet impact.

You may be right.
If 99.99% of the world population dies off there will still be several hundred million remaining to continue the family name.

I sometimes wonder if even the doomers amongst us are being "irrationally positive." Since it's human nature, and all...

and well you might. While 'doomerism' may be a bit desperate, participating in discussions like these is fundamentally an optimistic social exchange in which those who have come to dire conclusions hope to be shown wrong (or less completely right) by those they can respect.

With perhaps a bit of instinctive tribe-seeking behavior thrown in, like a lone caged parakeet trying to make friends with a mirror.

"not that there's anything wrong with it".

You need to explain why you think such projections are baseless.

For 20 years - between 1960 and 1980 nuclear generation worldwide rose from virtually zero to about the current 370GW. Asserting it can't grow another 300GW for a period which is even longer length (23 years to 2030) need some more substance, not just hand waving.

Personally I think 300GW is a pretty conservative estimate. Within a few years (once shortages begin) it will become apparent that fossil fuels are depleting and renewables are just a limited and costly replacement. Consequently we will witness a virtual "nuclear rush". Actually this is what worries me most - I wouldn't want it to happen like that, potentially compromising safety and non-proliferation measures.

Personally I'm not worried about nuclear power's future but it's timing makes me nervous. The "green" delusionals that think they could stop it using delay tactics don't realise they work for the coal industry and for a nuclear rush in the end - but this is the only thing they will achieve (and maybe this is their goal, who knows?). I hope they sleep well.

I just can't see where the funding is going to come from.

If we experiencing, depression, recession or hyper inflation post PO, it will more than likely mean huge unemployment and a huge reduction in consumerism. There will likely be business defaulters and a banking crisis.

One minute we are talking about people getting kicked out of their homes and the next we are dreaming up scenarios that will power all the empty homes and shut down businesses.

After power down we will be able to cope easily with the current infrastructure, especially with businesses not needing power and homes being unoccupied.

Who is going to finance these nuclear plants and/or windmills and PV farms? Business needs some sort of return on investment. These grandiose projects should have been started decades ago. They didn't do it then because there was no money in it and I can't see the reasoning being any different in the future.

I suppose some people think they will be constructed and financed by the philanthropic rich or by large altruistic corporations with money to spare.
They damn well should because it will be in THEIR best interest......but they wont.

Maybe the government will do it all with the extra taxes they will be collecting from the funeral parlours doing a roaring trade.

Funding? At $2000/kW the amount of money we are talking about is $600bln. (Actually China and Russia are building for about $1500/kW, but let's not be picky)

$600 bln. is just a chump change, a minor part of the 40 trillion, which EIA projects will be needed in investment in energy up to 2030 - just to keep up with the rising demand of oil, gas, nuclear, renewables etc... So the world can't find $600 bln. or $25bln/year, but Americans alone can spend $31bln/year just to visit porn sites!

Within a few years (once shortages begin) it will become apparent that fossil fuels are depleting and renewables are just a limited and costly replacement.

Does anyone here have a half-way believable source (prefer journals) on Uranium URR vs $$/ton? Or just URR at any cost.

Since my optimism genes are expressing themselves today, I'll just laugh at the statement "renewables are just a limited and costly replacement". Hehehe.

Opps, I was wrong. That's my alcohol dehydrogenase genes that were expressing themselves.

"Hehehe" - is this your best argument?

My |ABSOLUTE| best.

But seriously, right now I'm just looking for a fair assessment of Uranium resources, or years remaining at current consumption. I know you've linked to sources in past discussions.

Heck I should just read what the Energy Watch Group report states.

RE: US Senate tackles new global warming plan

Here's Liberman's press release for the "America's Climate Security Act" (S. 2191):


The text of the bill is not yet available thru THOMAS.

E. Swanson

Yep, a little skinny on the details, for now, I hope.

I like the way it mentions "Protecting low- and middle-income Americans from higher energy costs".

God forbid they may have to hang out the laundry instead of using a dryer .... ( I could go on, but I'll spare you)

While I applaud the Senator for trying something, I can see where this is going.

And why is the word "Security" in the title anyway? Ahhh, marketing!

Anything from Lieberman is bad news. If it's not yet apparent why, trust that it will become apparent in time.

Kind of makes me wonder what the Gore-Lieberman chit-chat was like back on the old 2000 campaign bus.. boy, that seems like a different world now, doesn't it?

Just to make sure I didn't remember things completely askew.. I went back in the www~time machine...

"Gore then set out to heap praise upon his new partner prior to Lieberman's first public address as the Democratic Party's No. 2 man. "

"When I set out to choose a running mate," Gore said, "I wanted someone who could work with me as a partner, someone who shares my values and believes in the promise of America. I wanted someone who would fight right alongside me for the people and not the powerful. "

.. "I respect Senator Lieberman for his convictions, his strong faith, and his record on Social Security, missile defense and reforming our public schools," Bush said in a statement -- making a slim reference to the Bush campaign's insistence Monday that Lieberman and Bush see eye-to-eye on a number of issues.

"I hope he will run a positive campaign and that the vice president will use this opportunity to change his tone to that of Senator Lieberman's level," the Bush statement continued. "


'Life is High School' - attrib. to Vonnegut

The good news is that kids' pedestrian deaths are dropping. The bad news is that it's because they're not walking.

the bad news is headlines like this

and this: "Iran is a major obstacle to the U.S. vision of a Middle East in which nations will "trade more, invest more, talk more and work more constructively to solve problems," Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says."

Yeah, the US vision. That's a good one.

Good God...that Yahoo article just shows the global arrogance of this administration. No wonder a good fraction of the world does not like the US any more.

Like they own the g*d d*mn world! Let me tell you this, Iran is toast. The war will start when ELM begins to bite in earnest(soon, 2008 I guess). The "arabs" will be blamed for fuel shortages. How convenient.

WWIII anyone? Oh no, that is what is being prevented by this action, off course!

Sorry for the sarcasm.

Good luck, all.

When I was a kid, I was revolted by WWII-era images of Luftwaffe Ju 87s, dive bombing nearly-defenseless Polish troops.

Now it is my country that does the dive-bombing.

Everyone, feel free to tell me when you're tired of my posting this link suggesting that attacking Iran could be a disaster for the US Navy:


Errol in Miami

If Argentina was attacking a US carrier group in the 80's the outcome would have been far different that what they achieved against the British. (Tom Cat's and F15's).

A US nuclear carrier group has AWAK's and a CAP in place at all times.
A first strike had better be a good one because $1.1 billion B2 stealth bombers can blow anything up in any country at any time.
They have completed 44 hour missions from within the USA. F117 Stealths will clean up anything still functioning.
A plethora of cruise missile will be launched from numerous submarines.
I don't think Iran could hit a bull in the ass with a hand full of wheat, let alone any part of the US navy.

Hollywood breeds such grand fantasies... reality is a lot more dirty.

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

too bad he can't seem to get Von Ripen(r)'s name right

There is a huge infrastructure supporting suburbs that is not going to be just abandoned. Houses, streets, water delivery, sewage treatment, grid, commercial centers, etc.
In evaluating the future viability of a suburb, the main factors would be:
--Reasonable assurance of adequate water for survival, assuming that we don't have complete anarchy and destruction of infrastructure.
--Climate that is survivable with minimal heating and no air conditioning.
--Minimal to moderate exposure to natural disasters, including mainly fire and flood.
--Essential services within bicycling distance, or at least within electric bicycling distance.
Believe it or not, most of Southern California meets these criteria and should be survivable barring a complete breakdown of law and order.

Foreclosures Spurring Blight In Central Valley
Oct 9, 2007 6:33 pm US/Pacific

(CBS) MANTECA In the Central Valley community of Manteca, police have a new job: patrolling hundreds of foreclosed houses left empty and abandoned. They are half million dollar houses, often bought with nothing down, turned into suburban blight. 

To get a firsthand look, CBS News correspondent John Blackstone rode along on patrol with Manteca Police officer Rex Osborn, who explained, "you make one right-hand turn and immediately this is what we see - dead grass, bushes are dying, trees are dying. The next thing you know you have squatters in the house..."

Owned rental houses in that area back during the late 1980s spike/crash.

Same scenerio. Literly 80% of the houses in the eight blocks surrounding one of my houses (south Manteca) had HUD 'For Sale' signs on them. Houses back then were bought with cheap HUD loans.)

I dropped my rents to keep tenants in, rode it out, and made a bunch of money when the market came back.

Some people have low risk tolerance and think the world has ended every time the graph doesn't go up.

Some people can't look at the need to quit doing things as we always have and envision a different way. A way that might even be an improvement.

This is the point that Jim Kunstler hammered on at the ASPO-USA conference. He attacked the prevailing opinion that we can maintain our suburban infrastructure, just with more efficient vehicles.

The key difference between Eighties and now is that energy prices were then in the middle of about a 20 year period of low prices, so the cost of commuting to and from suburban homes (and heating and cooling them) was quite low. That is not the case now.

I think that suburban home values will be the mirror image of oil prices.

BTW, another negative factor for suburban family homes is the ticking demographic time bomb. In 2010, there will be 50% more people aged 50 to 60 than in 2000. The empty nester Baby Boomers will be trying to unload their large suburban family homes on the much smaller Baby Bust generation, as the cost of commuting to and from, and the cost of heating an cooling large suburban family homes increases dramatically

Another quote from the captioned story:

"You can’t give these houses away," Osborn said.

And neighborhoods are left with the wounds of a mortgage meltdown: the houses nobody wants.

"I think that suburban home values will be the mirror image of oil prices."

And as you bring up the Boomers, I have to wonder if the 'Coral Reefs' of our Suburban Developments won't also deplete as much from a population decline as from the inability of our economy to support it.. I think the global population graph will be reflective of our energy supply, if perhaps lagging by a few years.

Don't know if US pop. decline is believable yet to most people.. but if our economy tanks, then the immigration factor might balance out.


BTW, another negative factor for suburban family homes is the ticking demographic time bomb. In 2010, there will be 50% more people aged 50 to 60 than in 2000. The empty nester Baby Boomers will be trying to unload their large suburban family homes on the much smaller Baby Bust generation, as the cost of commuting to and from, and the cost of heating an cooling large suburban family homes increases dramatically

Yep, you've hit on something very big here. It really surprises me that NOTHING is ever said about this.

Many boomers won't be going anywhere, they will be aging in place whether they planned to or not.

I think the really big development will be that a lot of boomers stuck in too-big houses that they can't unload will have to remodel their houses so that they can rent out rooms or appartments. This is how areas that are not going to be abandoned will expand their capacity to absorb the people relocating from the places that must be abandoned.

Many of the people that qualified to buy now wouldn't even have qualified to rent then.

Right, homes abandoned as a result of the housing bubble will be the first indicator that the suburbs are in trouble. During the bubble many McMansions were constructed too far away from jobs, and priced way above what people can afford. In contrast, foreclosed urban homes will be quickly reoccupied once the bank marks the price down to what the market will pay.

(CBS) MANTECA In the Central Valley community of Manteca, police have a new job: patrolling hundreds of foreclosed houses left empty and abandoned.

Manteca: Spanish word for lard.

Gives a new meaning to the phrase 'cutting the fat.'

This is rural rather than suburban, but I think the same principle applies. As we made the transition from horse and wagon to tractor and wagon and then finally to semi at the edge of the field picking up grain for transport the rural housing density in Iowa has been steadily dropping. You might want to click the "map" link to get an idea of geographic distribution.


The area where I shot these abandoned farms is in no way blighted. The land here is good, the towns with rail service are thriving, and the move to wind and ethanol has lit a fire under our economy. This is just the nature of aging homes (think: poorly built McMansions) and increased mobility over the last century(think: decreased mobility due to peak oil).

So ... it is possible for swaths of housing to simply stand open to the elements once they're no longer needed.

Getting a zillion tons of food to it will also be a necessity. Keeping theinmates from beating each other to death during the transition will be the greatest social balancing act of history. We haven't been good at that up until the oil boom and George Monbiot's cats in a sack analogy comes to mind. Getting what appears to be nothing for something is not in the current social repertoire.

LA on no oil? This is a country that can't even organize health care. I'm yet to be convinced it can organize a war. We're left with the sound of one invisible hand clapping.

Again. Australia will not be exporting wheat in 08.

See beer prices to rise Australia.

We're below MOL with wheat.

World Wheat Harvest for 07/08 is being hidden.

Arkansaw of Samuel L Clemens

I really don't think you understand.
Just because they don't want to abandon them doesn't mean they will not be.
As a poster above you stated the whole suburban infrastructure NEEDS cheap enegry not only to move the people around but to maintain and run the mentioned infrastructure. People won't stay in their homes when the electricty is shut off because it's not worth it for the power companys to provide it no matter how much you pay. same with water and sewage. Also if that was not enough there will be at the same time(though some of it is happening now) people who will purposfully tear up these systems for the materials they are made of, because of either forgin demand(like right now) or some missguided 'recovery' program to try to keep bau going like certain posters here have done.

And how does a mega city like Houston, Dallas, Chicago, New York, etc. not need cheap energy to function? Cities where created by cheap energy not by resource depletion.

depends on the city. if it existed before cheap enegry took hold it will most likely survie all be it at a small fraction of the current population. 1/7~ or is my ball park guess. this is because they were built in areas with readly accsessable fresh water and close to food sources. citys that were born after this point, many of which are classified as suburbs because of the ammount of population in them will not because these factors were not taken into account.

I'm delurker to ask for a clarification--how do you folks classify a 'suburb'? As in the surroundings of a major city like Chicago? Would a city of 250,000 like Madison WI count as a 'suburb'? Does location of a suburb (say, next to fresh water supply) give it advantage over distant rural, no fresh water?
Much appreciated.

That's a good question, since there are regions around a NYC or a Boston that were independent communities with water-supply and some forms of food and manufacture that allowed them to get along.. I have to suspect that there are communities now called suburbs which will gradually reform themselves and redesignate back into 'towns' again, reclaiming arable land and redeveloping such forms of production (ELP) and sustenance that they can..

I don't have a definition to offer, however, while I'm more than happy to challenge the current, overbroad and homogeneous ones.. 'No Angels, No Demons'..


I find this logic rather strange (well, at least to me). Lets imagine that suburb are build on a hill and later is is discovered that that hill will become an active volcano in a few days. Woulds you still apply the same logic in this case? :

There is a huge infrastructure supporting suburbs that is not going to be just abandoned. Houses, streets, water delivery, sewage treatment, grid, commercial centers, etc.

So say the worst is the reality. Nobody is willing to deliver any food for suburbs (as fuel and correspondingly everything else is very expensive: delivery trucks, food, everything, and suburbs have nothing of value to pay for that food anyway). People will have to starve. And then who is going to maintain all that infrastructure that you mention?

From Tom Whipple's piece today:

If gasoline available for distribution in the U.S. were to fall from 9 million barrels a day to the order of 5 million through a combination of declining production and declining exports, it is not hard to figure out what would happen when the government gets around to prioritizing uses.

Food production and distribution would come first, then public health (clean water, sewage, sanitation, medical services), then public safety including the armed forces, and finally some level of economic activity that uses petroleum products.

Who would have thought Tom Whipple would be such an optimist! I would expect the priority to be:
1. Fuel for wealthy and well-connected
2. Military and Police
3. Agriculture
4. Anything else

Yeah, I'm inclined to agree. That's how North Korea avoided a revolt. They fed the army first.

Be careful citizen!

`(2) VIOLENT RADICALIZATION- The term `violent radicalization' means the process of adopting or promoting an extremist belief system for the purpose of facilitating ideologically based violence to advance political, religious, or social change.

Is that what happened to Dick Cheney?

Yup that pretty much shuts this site down.

That is a most disturbing bill, is it not. All wrapped up as being for your good, but takes away your rights to dissent. Funny you say. History says this is normal for doing away with a democracy.

This is a link to a talk recently by Naomi Wolf on her new book about the Ten steps taken from history as to how to shut down a democracy. Its 47 minutes and on you tube for the dial ups.

She makes a statement about 20 minutes in about her standing there now and is still able to talk about this. She tells the audience though that the day she reads someone that edits, publishes, writes something and is declared an enemy, combatant is the day she stops, she tells them she will at that point,.. be to scared. She also speaks later about being on the "list". She is very uncomfortable when she mentions it, and does not go into much detail. But enough to let you know some of what is now happening to her.


This is a link to a news story discussing the book and a good "shorthand" for the ten things she discusses in her talk. The video has her discussing details and history of each one of the points in the news article. The backbone of book/talk


At the beginning of her talk, Naomi discusses why she wrote the book. What lead here to look at and find what is happening right now. This bill is Number 9 in the list and spills into 10 on the list imo, and elsewhere.

All ten on the list are in the US now. Please think about this when trying to play out how the crash will happen.

yea, and i think they know what they want to really use it for.

because it has this at the top of it.

To prevent homegrown terrorism, and for other purposes.

Interesting link...this bill was introduced by a Democrat and enjoyed broad bipartisan support. I for one am not surprised by this.

The bill talks mostly about 'homegrown terrorists' and 'violent radicalization,' but I wonder how long it will take before it is expanded to include less violent forms of dissent? If Tom Whipple's article referenced above comes close to being true, there will be plenty of angry people in the streets militating for change to one degree or another.

I think Benjamin Franklin said something to the effect of:
A people that trades freedom for security will have neither..

That thought sems very applicable in these times.

How will resources be allocated?

It depends entirely on political will. If we have a weak democracy, then yes, the resources will go to power elites and the military. But it's self-defeating cynicism to assume that this is a foregone conclusion.

I feel impatient with this cynicism. In contrast to many regimes and periods of history, the political opportunities are there in front of us. In the past, people went to prison and were shot for things that we can easily do.

Bart / Energy Bulletin

Actually, that allocation is what we have today. I was just projecting into the future with much higher prices. The wealthy will be able to afford to get theirs. The well connected will get subsidized fuel (they get it paid for free by their employers at this point). The military will get fuel even if we have to raise taxes to get it for them. Right now the administration just sends the bill to Congress for them to borrow. Ditto for the police. Agriculture will get tax-free and/or subsidized fuel as they have now. If necessary, agricultural products will rise in price to cover the extra costs. That's happening to some extent now.

Everyone else will pay the market price as long as they can afford it. I'm not proposing anything radical, just describing our market-based system with much higher prices.

You're not the only one impatient with this system. I'm looking forward to higher prices so we can start to deal with climate change. Also, with more people on bikes maybe we can get rid of some of the anti-bicycle bigotry out there. I'd like a less contentious ride to work!

WTI Spot and Tapis Spot are both over $90. Tapis is knocking on $91. It would appear that the physical market is screaming for light, sweet crude.

An oil trader friend at ASPO told me that India is trying to buy any cargo of light, sweet anywhere in the world, regardless of the shipping costs.

Did you read the Shell exec's comments? When are these guys going to stop blaming speculators and start drilling for the more expensive oil?

Net Oil Exports and the “Iron Triangle” (July, 2007)

As Matt Simmons pointed out several years ago, the critical problem with post-peak exporting regions is that we would have two exponential functions (declining production and generally increasing consumption) working against net exports. From the point of view of importers, it is quite likely that we are facing a crash in oil supplies. In my opinion, what I have described as the “Iron Triangle” is doing everything possible to keep this message from reaching consumers.

Tapis and WTI spot are currently 1¢ apart. $90.85 for Tapis, $90.84 for WTI.

Make that 92.09 for WTI.


What were the terms of RR's bet?

(nymex front month or WTI spot?)

Wow. I would assume that part of this must be a short squeeze.

Naw, this is the spot market, not the NYMEX. You cannot short the spot market. The NYMEX December contract closed at $90.46, up $3.36 on the day. Tomorrow the Spot and the December contract will close at the same price.

Ron Patterson

Thanks, obviously I don't trade oil contracts.

The one time I argued for hedging was in early 1991. During Gulf War One, we had a new field producing over 1,000 BOPD, and I argued that at as soon as the air war war launched, it would become apparent that Iraq could not stand up to a US attack and that there was no threat to oil supplies--and oil prices were sure to fall.

We getting ready to do a hedge, locking in the oil price for something like two years or so, when the air campaign started, and as I feared, oil prices fell.

BTW, WTI spot is just a few cents short of $93.

WT...this a bit off topic of this thread, but I thought you might know the answer to this question. I know our imports fell on the last Weekly Petro Report, but can we see the imports broken out by exporting country? I'm just curious if we are starting to feel the effects of PEMEX field declines or is it another specific country that is shorting us?

The EIA reports oil imports into the US by country of origin (I'm not sure how frequently is is updated).

But once the oil is offered for sale, it is--for now--more or less fungible, largely going to the highest bidder.

BTW, the WSJ is reporting that the estimated increase in OPEC exports is only about 20,000 bpd through the middle of November.

Where's PartyGuy these days? Dave Cohen?

But I thought I've seen something posted saying what percentage we import from which countries...it was probably at a larger time frame than weekly so we may not be seeing patterns at this point in time.

interesting, during this time, i was working on a newly responding waterflood and i was arguing that we should get an internet connection in our office so we could track the spot price and better manage our oil sales.

My guess is that the most recently built suburbs will be the first to be abandoned...

Thousands moved into fire-risk areas

The fires scorching Southern California are burning their way into fast-growing neighborhoods where thousands of new homes spring up each year in some of the West's worst wildfire hot spots, a USA TODAY analysis shows.

Since 2000, more than 55,000 people have moved to the neighborhoods touched by this week's fires, according to the analysis. Many settled in some of the riskiest wildfire areas vulnerable to the types of firestorms now raging through pine forests and dry scrub from San Diego to the mountains north of Los Angeles.

Such growth helped push the federal government's firefighting costs above $2 billion last year, and in the most extreme cases, it can put homeowners and firefighters in danger.

I wonder if any one of the homes which burned were in danger of foreclosure, and given some "help".

Possible. They do think at least one of the wildfires was arson.

Fox news is floating the word 'terrorism' and brining out a 2-3 year old questonable memo to prove it..

Four of them have been ruled as arson so far.

In 30 years of living on and off in CA the problem has always been surrounding brush catching fire and setting the house off, now there have been several images on the news where the houses went and the surrounding brush is untouched, but they are isolated.

It also is the first time they actually let houses burn without defending them.

There may have been technical reasons, and as always there will be winners and losers, but it most certainly is a huge helicopter drop for the local economy and survival for local construction and real estate jobs.
They will make out much better then even the people that were upside down, hard to imagine the banks would let insurance payments go to homeowners without first satisfying the terms of the loan in case of a total loss, so at best they would save themselves the BK, but you never know.

The real victims are the long term residents, even if their homes are not damaged they will significantly drop in value and insurance premiums will go through the roof.

The one arson was a thrill job - three simultaneous outbreaks in wild lands - no obvious home target.

I think a lot of people's mortgage problems went up in a puff of smoke this week, but we'll never know exactly which ones.

The banks will know. They are used to arson for profit situations.

Arson for profit when the whole subdivision has cooked off? I don't think they'll have the energy. Many of those home owners were already in trouble - say 10%. Are they really going to be able to dig into it?

If you've got a tile roof and your house is the only thing for a thousand yards that went, yes, you get attention. A shake roof anywhere downwind of a fire in a subdivision letting no? No one will have the time or energy to check ...

United Nations Calls Overshoot

My apologies for linking to the NY Times (registration), but this was just posted minutes ago.

U.N. Warns of Environmental Threats

PARIS, Oct. 25 — The human population is living far beyond its means and inflicting damage to the environment that could pass points of no return, according to a major report being issued today by the United Nations.

Climate change, the rate of extinction of species, and the challenge of feeding a growing population are among the threats putting humanity at risk, according to the United Nations Environment Program in its fourth Global Environmental Outlook since 1997.

“The human population is now so large that the amount of resources needed to sustain it exceeds what is available at current consumption patterns,” Achim Steiner, the executive director of the Environment Program, said in a telephone interview. Efficient use of resources and reducing waste now are “among the greatest challenges at the beginning in of 21st century,” he said.

Great article BKhere, thanks for posting it. This report is saying that the world is in overshoot, that there are not currently enough resources to sustain it. And they don't even consider the coming decline in fossil fuels. We are destroying the ability of the earth to support such a huge population. And that will be the understatement of the century when people discover that even those resources are fast declining.

Our current enormous population was made possible by abundant cheap oil.

The abundant, cheap energy provided by fossil fuels has made it possible for humans to exploit a staggering variety of resources, effectively expanding their resource base. In particular, the development of mechanized agriculture has allowed relatively few farmers to work vast tracts of land, producing an abundance of food and making possible a wild growth of population.
Energy and Human Evolution

The collapse would come even if we never ran out of oil. Read the article, it explains why. But with the decline of fossil fuels, the collapse will be dramatically accelerated.

Ron Patterson

One thing the decline in fossil fuels may do is help send the right signals to people. Massive changes must happen, and anything that at least gets us pointed in the right direction makes it more likely some systems will be put in place that will be able to withstand a diminished fossil fuel load.

The only thing worse than running out of fossil fuels would be never running out of fossil fuels. Can you even imagine the devastation we would inflict on the world if oil actually did run forever? The sooner a collapse happens, the less pain it will be. Of course, maybe scientists will come up with a series of almost magical marvelous technologies and bail us all out of trouble. Let's see, to maintain the population and avoid catatrosphe(s) right now we need:

1. An energy source that can be upscaled quickly and lasts forever (or several thousand years at least). Fusion? Vacuum energy? Magical crystals and antimatter? I of course don't think renewables/nuclear can take over at a large enough scale.
2. A way to remove carbon from the atmosphere and ocean (which are nearing/reaching saturation and acidifying) that doesn't make things worse. Good luck with that chemists, we're counting on you.
3. A way to replenish soil nutrients for agriculture that doesn't involve fossil fuels (fertilizer). Needs to be useful on a massive cross-climate basis. The old system of fields being left fallow won't work, since we don't have the arable land to spare a large amount for recovery each year.
4. A way to convince people in all countries that they should stop having so many kids. This falls under a scientific miracle request since some sort of mind-control machine may be needed to successfully suppress the reproductive instinct. Or to quickly grant women through out the world greater control over their child bearing choices.
5. An entirely new transportation infrastructure once fossil fuels runs down. Roads built from oil and driven on by oil need replacing, obviously. What can be scaled up on a world-wide level (if transport fails, people die from lack of food)?

If #1 was to exist (too cheap to meter power) then #3 is not a problem, #4 would have a fair shot of happening, #5 would have the spare energy to happen.

#3 is "solveable" via mineral extraction from water.

#2 is "solveable" via biochar placed into the soil. Terra Perta.

Beginning to look as if the first assault on 100/b oil will be this year... will probably get nose bleed and fall back, maybe not for long. It took 1/3 century to go 33x, how long to get to 200? Any bets on the next milestone?

At what point would China's wannabe new drivers leave their new cars in the garage? How about US drivers leaving theirs parked in theirs? And, which manufacturers are best prepared to sell cars in a 200/b environment?

At what point would China's wannabe new drivers leave their new cars in the garage?

China's still subsidizing fuel. PTR and others are providing it at a loss (which is why Buffet sold).

Jk: China's wannabe drivers will be fine. Your politicians are pushing for a major decrease in Chinese oil prices via a major upward revision to the Yuan valuation. I am not sure that 100 US/barrel is that much of a milestone-some estimates are calling for the Cdn dollar to hit 1.20 US in 2008. The US dollar is very weak and getting weaker.

china very fond of stability, but gov everywhere, even oil exporters, finding subsidies increasingly unaffordable. Policies will change, even in formerly communist/socialist countries like china/india. Rationing/person is far more costly to an economy that rationing by price...

Kj: Labels are fine and dandy, but the reality is that China is kicking the living crap out of the USA. Call it socialism, call it communism, call it planet Earth.

Good Question. I just got a call from the shipper to set up a time to deliver my new 250 scooter I ordered last week! My truck will be in the driveway more.

I work for myself so I record the mileage for IRS reasons and the mileage a day adds up...Post Office, Bank and meeting = 24 miles. I cant always use the scooter, but on a day like yesterday I could.

Not as much outlay for fuel.

heh heh but same tax deduction eh?

Does the tax deduction depend purely on mileage, or is engine size a factor? (it is where I'm sitting in France, i.e. the bigger the vehicle the larger the tax deduction, which is perverse and has to change, but won't for obvious electoral reasons)

Has anyone done studies on alternative transportation models for cities & their suburbs using non-electric? For example, suppose a city banned all cars (licensed cabs would be excepted). Into/out of the city is permitted only by walking, biking, motor-biking, corporate buses or by mass transit. The busineses are responsible for getting their workers in by bus. The bus, using routing software, would park overnight at the farthest person's place (the business would establish a limit for the "farthest" and the suburb would allow the bus to park at that point, even if residential - which, the suburb would do since it does not want to lose residents, and the bus driver would drive to his starting point and park there)and pick up workers along a route in (hopefully, buses would average getting 30 each) and park at work. Then depart in reverse order. The cloest person gets picked up last and dropped off first - an incentive over time for some so move in closer. But, with cellphones, PDA's, portable computers, etc., some people would be able to get a lot of work done on the trip. Smaller employers in the city would have to combine with other smaller ones so that there are no 5 person buses, e.g. Major employers in the suburbs would be required to do the same thing - e.g., if over 100 employees, no one is permitted to drive to work. Over time, people would live closer to work - kind of like the school bus model, where you go to a school in your district and ride a school bus.

Obviously, something like this would be a transition "war mode" solution until, and if, technology ultimately can solve the "transportation" fuel problem.

Pickup and delivery to the employee's front door is pretty difficult and inefficient. Routing through a number of neighborhood nodes makes a lot more sense.

In your scenario, more likely your hypothetical city would be subdivided into several districts with distinct boundaries and some natural choke points that could be controlled. Thus, one might be able to drive to the neighborhood store or to the local park & ride, but not between districts.

Something about this post reminds me of EPOCT - the original city envisioned by Disney

BP fined $373m by US government

The US Department of Justice has fined oil giant BP $373m (£182m), for fraud and environmental violations.

9 month Russian oil output is higher then the same period a year ago:

From January to September 2007, Russia produced 366.74m tonnes of oil and gas condensate, up 2.4 percent from the same period a year earlier

and exports have increased even faster (which is surprising to me):

According to Russia's Federal Customs Service, within the first nine months of 2007 Russia exported 166.42m tonnes of oil (up 4.8 percent from the same period a year earlier) to countries outside the CIS, and 27.73m tonnes (down 2.4 percent) to the CIS.

The EIA shows Russian crude oil production to be basically flat since October, 2006. Notice how they talk about year to date, but not recent monthly data?

From the Energy Bulletin:

RenCap again cuts Russian oil output forecast
Renaissance Capital brokerage said on Thursday it had cut its Russian oil output forecast for 2007 for a second time this year and saw minimal growth in 2008.

The brokerage, which had in the past issued aggressive forecasts for Russian oil production, said growth would amount to 2.5 percent this year, down from the previously forecast 3.2 percent and the initial 3.7 percent.

"We believe this was driven by the delayed drilling campaign earlier this year, when unusually warm weather held back ice-road building, pad construction and rig mobilisation," Renaissance said in written research.

Excluding the Exxon Mobil's (XOM.N: Quote, Profile, Research) Sakhalin-1, daily crude output in Russia, the world's second biggest crude exporter after Saudi Arabia, has been down year-on-year since May, it said.
(18 October 2007)

Contributor Jeffrey J. Brown writes:

"If, as Alfa Bank recently warned, older Russian oil fields are in rapid decline because of rising water cuts, the underlying decline rate in older fields will probably be quite rapid. My take on the Russian situation is in the post:

In Defense of the Hubbert Linearization Method
(June 18, 2007):

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

The post-1970 cumulative Lower 48 production, through 2004, was 99% of what the model predicted it would be, see Figure One, Hubbert Linearization technique applied to the Lower-48. Only the data between 1942 and 1970 (green points) are used to perform the fit (red curve).

The post-1984 cumulative Russian production, through 2004, was 95% of what the model predicted it would be. In other words, Russia was "underproduced" through 2004, see Figure Two, Hubbert Linearization technique applied to Russia. Only the data through 1984 (green points) are used to perform the fit (red curve).

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

What's strange in that report is that oil exports have grown faster then oil production/extraction. And that with booming cars market (I believe Russia was on track to greatly increase car sales and to overtake UK on number of cars sold this year). It does not add up in my view... It does not seem to add up on surface.

In the future I don't see how Russia's Oil Consumption rises much at all. Russia is losing population at a fairly rapid clip.

According to the most recent forecasts, Russia's population of 143 million people is expected to decrease by 22 percent between now and the year 2050. If the figures are borne out, Russia could lose up to 42 percent of its active working population.

The process is slowly being reversed. This year Russia had the highest birth rate since it became an independent country. Infant mortality have decreased and overall death rate have decreased quite significantly. I think that without counting immigration (Russia has the second highest number of immigrants after the US) Russia is still losing it's population but at much slower rate (and is probably gaining if immigration is taken into an account).

But regardless of population size, the number of cars per capita is way less then say in the US so there is plenty opportunity to grow oil consumption if economy keeps it's rapid expansion.

Ironically, I (and the ASPO guys) gave Khebab some grief over his projections for Russian consumption, using a Monte Carlo analysis

He showed a very low predicted rate of increase in consumption. Scroll down to Net Exports paper:


Two points: (1) they don't give total exports (they were up to non-CIS countries, down to CIS countries); (2) they don't show net exports--I don't know if Russia imports refined products in some areas.

Russian oil exports soar

Russian oil exports via major ports and pipelines soared in September, despite lower output, as oil firms rushed to export crude before the introduction of higher oil export duty, energy ministry data showed on Tuesday.

I've just read Bloomberg article on proposed higher royalties in Alberta:

An interesting quote:

Higher royalties paid by companies to extract the resource, would accelerate a production decline in Alberta, said Peter Linder, an energy analyst and senior adviser with Calgary-based DeltaOne Energy Fund. Canadian output is about 600 million cubic feet a day less than a year earlier because of rising production costs and lower prices, he said.

It looks like Honest Ed hits the Tarsands pretty hard but leaves the juniors alone for the most part.

Royalties are sliding scale up to $120/per barrel.

Gas royalties slide starting at $7 to $16 max.

Syncrude and Suncore contracts are NOT grandfathered and will apply Jan 1 2009.

I think it sounds worse that it actually is for oil business.

I'm pretty hippie and I think it sounds mostly fair. <- this could mean that Ed has gone over the top with this one. It's all really spin and perspective anyways.

Here is a running commentary on the announcement from the Calgary Flames off topic forum I visit.


Go Flames Go!

Recipient of AA, Alberta Advantage

From the link on top:

a company that tracks oil tanker traffic, reported that crude shipments from Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries members will grow more slowly than anticipated through early November, according to Dow Jones Newswires.

Does anybody know what's the official reason for the "slowness"?

They aren't slow. Pay no attention to those independent oil trackers. It's the official government figures that are the most accurate. Who knows better how much was produced than the country that produced it?

Or so Iran says...

OPEC Has Apologized Over Oil Quota Change

Independent estimates have consistently calculated Venezuela's output to be about a third lower than the country's state official oil production level, and OPEC's head of data services, Fuad Al-Zayer, said this month that its staff have met with Venezuelan officials to try and bridge that gap.

re: slow oil tanker traffic

MPH has been devalued and now reached parity with Knots. Many tankers are contemplating measuring nautical speed in KPH.
Thanks again Ben.

Does anybody know what's the official reason for the "slowness"?

The reason for the slowness is that the half a million barrel increase was parialed out among all of the OPEC 10 nations according to how much they produced in August. Since most of the OPEC nations were already producing flat out, those nations will not be able to increase any at all. Even Indonesia was given an amount to increase and they have been in decline for years.

A couple of weeks after the September meeting OPEC pulled all references to individual quotas.

I expect Saudi to increase production but not the almost 300,000 bp/d that they are allotted. At any rate it is going to get very interesting.

Ron Patterson

UAE is cutting production in November by 600,000 barrels per day for field maintenance (http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5iAD9j5mug5ji3c0WzJj6xAXSgVsw, also reported at Rigzone, Bloomberg, and elsewhere).

Saudi Arabia announced that it would be closing down a refinery in November, thereby releasing 500,000 barrels of oil per day into the market to help make up the shortfall. (Note, the only way to make up the shortfall was to close a refinery for the month, which means Saudi production declines were almost certainly not voluntary--someone should point that out to Robert Rapier and friends).

But tanker reservations for November are still way down, which means OPEC production increases promised for November were something of a whopper.

(Note, the only way to make up the shortfall was to close a refinery for the month, which means Saudi production declines were almost certainly not voluntary--someone should point that out to Robert Rapier and friends).

I am here, just for today. So you can explain it to me yourself. But your explanation must also take into account the fact that Saudi production has been drawing a straight line since February, and this is entirely inconsistent with involuntary decline. In fact, many here were making predictions of Saudi's production later in the year based on that involuntary decline scenario. Those predictions have turned out to be wrong. Why? Because Saudi was clearly setting on some spare capacity, meaning they were managing their production.

We will soon know how much spare production they have, but the claim that "Saudi production declines were almost certainly not voluntary" is just not credible. We can argue whether it was completely or partially voluntary, but to deny that it was in any part voluntary is just wishful thinking.

But your explanation must also take into account the fact that Saudi production has been drawing a straight line since February, and this is entirely inconsistent with involuntary decline.

Minor quibble--rounding off to the nearest 0.1 mbpd, Saudi production was 9.6 mbpd in 2005, 9.2 mbpd in 2006 and to date 8.6 mbpd in 2007 (EIA, C+C). Fourth quarter Saudi production will determine how sharp the decline is for 2007.

However, in further support of Robert's overall point (flat production means no peak), I present the Lower 48 C+C production numbers for 1970, 1971 and 1972:

1970: 9.408 mbpd
1971: 9.245
1972: 9.243

As you can see, 1972 production was basically flat with 1971, conclusively supporting Robert's view that flat post-peak production means that a region has not peaked. For further data showing the non-decline Lower 48 decline, you can review it at the following website:


As I have said, I am willing to bet you that in 2008 production will be higher than in 2007. You didn't respond. I would point out that in the first quarter, one of us correctly predicted that Saudi production would stop declining soon. Do you want to remind us what you predicted? Do you want to state for the record where you projected Saudi production to be right now? And explain, with the benefit of hindsight, why that projection was wrong? By no means were you alone in incorrectly predicting what would happen with Saudi production this year, but you were wrong.

As I have said, I am writing a post in which I pull up the predictions. At that point, I expect the excuses to fly.

For the benefit of the audience, Robert's proposed bet was in response to my proposed bet, which was as follows:

If average Saudi crude oil production for 2008 is at or above 9.6 mbpd (EIA, C+C), I would pay Robert $10,000. If average Saudi crude oil production for 2008 is below 2008, he would pay me $10,000.

My premise is the only thing that refutes a peak is a higher peak. Robert declined to take my bet.

"If average Saudi crude oil production for 2008 is at or above 9.6 mbpd (EIA, C+C), I would pay Robert $10,000. If average Saudi crude oil production for 2008 is below 2008, he would pay me $10,000."

Since average production for 2008 won't likely be below 2008, this would be a pretty safe bet for RR. ;o)


graywulffe in CVO, OR

My bad. Robert should have taken me up on the offer. Corrected: If average Saudi production for 2008 is below 9.6 mbpd, he would pay me $10,000.

In any case, at least for the time being Robert apparently agrees with me that Saudi Arabia will not be exceeding 9.6 mbpd (C+C). So, Robert is apparently predicting that 2006, 2007 and 2008 production will be below the 2005 production rate.

Regarding predictions, perhaps you were thinking of my comments on Stuart’s March, 2007 posts? And when you say I was wrong about Saudi production, are you saying that 2006 was not lower than 2005 and that 2007 will not be lower than 2006?

March 2, 2007:


This is why I have been speculating for a while about a future rebound in Saudi production, albeit to a level much lower than their peak.

What we may see is a very sharp decline, because of a crash at Ghawar, followed by a rebound as some smaller fields come on line.

March 8, 2007:


The P/Q intercept for Saudi Arabia is less than for Texas, which suggests a somewhat lower decline rate. However, the wild card is Ghawar. The largest field in Texas at peak production was only about 7% of total production.

On an average annual basis, the Saudi decline from 2005 to 2006 was 4.3% (C+C), which is quite close to the long term Texas decline rate of about 4%.

However, as I pointed out up the thread, the key factor to keep an eye on is Net Oil Exports.

Many of these post-peak regions showing single digit decline rates are going to show double digit decline rates in net oil exports.

For example, the decline rate in net oil exports in the UK (with a single digit production decline rate) was probably on the order of 40% per year--they went from exporting one mbpd in 1999 to being a net importer in 2005 (I assumed 1.0 mbpd net exports in 1999 and 0.1 mbpd net exports in 2004).

Texas & Saudi HL plots: http://www.energybulletin.net/16459.ht

And the best part is, they're making up for the lost production from the refinery by buying refined product on the open market.

The WSJ puts the increase in OPEC exports at 20,000 bpd, through the middle of November.

Saudi Arabia announced that it would be closing down a refinery in November, thereby releasing 500,000 barrels of oil per day into the market to help make up the shortfall.

Do you have a reference for that claim? I have read that one of their refineries is coming down for maintenance, which is very common this time of year. But you are suggesting that they are closing down the refinery to meet the shortfall. If you are speculating, that's fine, but make it clear that's what you are doing. I have seen lots of this already from people who should have learned their lesson after predicting steep production falls from Saudi this year. Now that Saudi says they will increase production, they jump to the conclusion that they can only do this because they are shutting down a refinery. For a month of maintenance. So, we will know that if Saudi doesn't argue to cut quotas back after the refinery comes back up, that this was just another case of wishful thinking. The problem here is that instead of letting evidence guide one to the answer, some presume they already know the answer and just look for evidence to support that answer.

I wrote down a note from a Bloomberg report, and used it to make a trading decision, which is how I make my money. I don't have the link, because I never intended to post about it anywhere. But I did bet very differently from you on the price of oil, and my bets have certainly paid well.

The Saudis announced the refinery would close in November within a day or two after the announcement of the UAE November production cuts.

Also, the Saudis announced repeatedly in August, when the price hit $78, that they considered $80 too high a price for oil, and that they were prepared to produce more immediately to prevent the price from going that high. Now the spot price is close to $93, and there's no sign whatsoever of any reversal of "voluntary" cuts in production.

And there's further evidence of Saudi decline--they just announced that the 2009 megaproject, which is the only one scheduled after the December 2007 megaproject, would not boost daily production, but would only help compensate for declines. Check the Drumbeats of the past two days for the link.

And I am not saying that the Saudis can't get a temporary boost in production in December. They have a megaproject coming online then, and they will probably get a small temporary leg up from that. The megaproject has nothing whatsoever to do with the refinery closing. The refinery closing has to do with the fact that they have no other way to boost production in November to make up for the UAE shortfall.

Robert, in my opinion as a professional gambler who's made a fortune betting on oil prices, you made a terrible bet, and the source of your mistake was your refusal to grasp the reality of Saudi production declines.

But hey, it's your money.

Here's the link:

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.

And this bit:

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.

Traders said the imports could also be due to the shutdown.

It doesn't say the refinery was shut down to make more oil available for export. But what are they going to do with that 400,000 barrels per day?

And now Oil Movements says OPEC's not shipping the oil they said they would.

Just to note: the information I relied on came from a different source, with slightly different figures for everything, which is typical of information on oil production and shipments. Which, by the way, is why nobody, including Robert, really knows exactly what Saudi production has been this past year.

It doesn't say the refinery was shut down to make more oil available for export. But what are they going to do with that 400,000 barrels per day?

Leanan, as an engineer - albeit I don't know how much involvement you have had with major projects - it should be clear that they aren't shutting down on short notice given that they are tying in a new petrochemical complex. Those things take many months, and realistically probably over a year, of planning.

As far as the imports go, all refiners have to make those sorts of moves during extended outages. You have to do the maintenance, but you still have to supply your customers. Sometimes that means you have to secure product elsewhere.

And now Oil Movements says OPEC's not shipping the oil they said they would.

That's a bit misleading, don't you think? Those new quotas go into effect November 1. We won't know until later in November whether they did what they said they would do. Oil Movements attempts to estimate oil shipments, but we have already heard from Asian refiners that they are being bumped back up to 100% allocation. Do you completely discount that, and instead place your faith in Oil Movements?

In my opinion, you are not looking at these reports objectively, but are instead looking for news items that can support the view that you have already adopted.

Leanan, as an engineer - albeit I don't know how much involvement you have had with major projects - it should be clear that they aren't shutting down on short notice given that they are tying in a new petrochemical complex. Those things take many months, and realistically probably over a year, of planning.

I know that. I'm just not sure maintaining supply was a priority for them. The UAE actually announced their shutdown last summer, and we've been wondering ever since how they're going to make up the production. They said they would. But whether they actually did is still in dispute. Talk is cheap.

In my opinion, you are not looking at these reports objectively, but are instead looking for news items that can support the view that you have already adopted.

Perhaps, in the sense that every human does that. If you say you're not, you're fooling yourself.

But unlike you or Westexas, I don't really have a dog in this fight. I have not committed to "peak now" or "peak later." Because I don't know, and I don't think anyone else does, either.

But I do think the evidence is tipping toward Simmons, Deffeyes, etc., being right. That being the case, it's natural to ponder the smoke signals coming from OPEC. That is what makes the human mind superior to computers: we jump to conclusions. Sometimes erroneously, but that's the price we pay. Expecting people not to speculate is just plain silly. It's what people do.

We probably won't know for sure that peak oil is in the rear view mirror until five years or more after the actual peak. Expect a whole lotta speculation during that time.

iea has been bleating for months that opec should produce more this q, the response is to shut production and/or refineries for maintenance. I expect sa to produce around 9mb/d for a while with the new project, their new quota scheduled to increase just as the project comes on line. More than this except maybe briefly is imo doubtful regardless of how high the price goes.

I bought into po from reading aspo newsletters end 2004, rashly bet the ranch on small e&p's. From experience in the 70's, US recession will not cut price, for that we need more supply.

But I did bet very differently from you on the price of oil, and my bets have certainly paid well.

You make that assessment on the basis of a single bet? Friend, my entire life since 2001 has been geared toward the assumption of much higher oil prices. And that bet has certainly paid well. The bet for this year was even-odds on a price rise that would be unprecedented, and yet a price rise that I am well-hedged against.

The Saudis announced the refinery would close in November within a day or two after the announcement of the UAE November production cuts.

I think you are confused. UAE announcement was on September 21, which was about the time Saudi called for putting more oil on the market. Saudi announced the refinery closure in mid-October. But as someone who has been through lots of turnarounds, those things have to be planned months in advance. In fact, we start planning our extended maintenance a year in advance. You have to for logistical reasons. And if you look at why they are taking the refinery down: The closure will enable the plant to be linked up to Aramco's new $10bn joint venture petrochemical complex alongside Japan's Sumitomo Chemical, I can assure you that this is something that has been planned for well over a year. So, it would appear that you made your trading decision based on a misunderstanding of how things work. All indications are that this would not have been a recent decision, so would not be a result of the UAE shutdown. So, I will chalk up your comment to anecdotal evidence that you can't back up.

Now the spot price is close to $93, and there's no sign whatsoever of any reversal of "voluntary" cuts in production.

Are you unaware of the OPEC meeting in which they argued for – and got – an agreement to boost production, which will mostly be borne by Saudi? I think to most people, that is a "sign whatsoever" of a reversal. I think they waited too long to make that announcement, and they may not be able to reign prices in quickly enough. But as I told Jeffrey, and I will tell you the same: I bet that 2008 Saudi production is higher than 2007 Saudi production. It should be a safe bet for the "Ghawar is crashing" crowd. As I have heard on numerous occasions, nothing can stem Ghawar's decline for long – not even megaprojects. But it should be obvious to anyone that at least a part of the decline – we don't have enough evidence to say all – but at least a part of the decline was managed.

The refinery closing has to do with the fact that they have no other way to boost production in November to make up for the UAE shortfall.

Again, your speculation, which you have not been able to support with any references. As I have pointed out, Saudi production – by any number of measures – has been stable all year. That is not the sign of someone experiencing the sort of crashing production that so many predicted back in the spring.

Robert, in my opinion as a professional gambler who's made a fortune betting on oil prices, you made a terrible bet, and the source of your mistake was your refusal to grasp the reality of Saudi production declines.

Of all the silly things you said, that was the silliest. As several pointed out, in January the market placed a 6% chance on crude hitting $100 this year. That price move would be unprecedented. Yet I got even money on that bet. The guy who made the bet actually made a terrible bet, because had he put that money into the NYMEX, right now he would be up 10x his money instead of still waiting for that $1000 payoff. Terrible bet? And you are a professional gambler? Do you not understand probabilities? The bet I made was essentially equivalent to someone betting on a specific Superbowl winner, and giving me even odds. I don't care who you pick to win the Superbowl: Colts, Patriots… If you give me even odds, I will take that. Even if I ultimately lose, it's a good bet. Vegas can't get odds that good.

Ultimately, I will close with some advice. I had friends who made a lot of money in the tech stock boom, which they attributed to their financial acumen. Two years later, they had lost it all. Why? Bottom line, they were exposed to risks that they didn't appreciate. After having read what you have written, especially the bit about Saudi closing down because of the UAE deal, you are also exposed to risks that you don't appreciate. You are making at least some trading decisions – at least that one – based on an incorrect fundamental understanding of what happens inside the fences. There is no way, based on the scope of that turnaround, that it was a recent decision. Yet you made a bet based on your understanding that it was. You can get away with mistaken logic like that during a general bull market, but when the market becomes more volatile, those are the kinds of mistakes that wipe people out.


General Motors is ramping up the Chevy Volt

Venture capital is flowing, engineers are chomping at the bit and layman sources claim that mechanical components of the Chevy Volt are already being road tested on the streets of Detroit. General Motors (NYSE: GM) is not letting anything get in the way of its plans to place a successful electric car on the streets of America and the world by 2010. A report by RedHerring outlines the broad and powerful collection of top tier companies which are coming together to help GM bring its mission to fruition.

Those are pretty cool - perhaps the electrical work can be adapted for building street cars?

If we have 20% unemployment and everything else is shaky no one is going to buy a new car. I've got a six month old Nissan Versa sitting outside and I'm debating letting the bank have it back and finding something tiny, old, and simple to repair.

Put this in context and its no more useful than the plans to build space based solar collectors to help us gather helium three on the moon.

Do not underestimate what the PHEV could do for this country. Pure electric cars with range extender generators are the answer. If we started now and all cars could use such technology we could drastically reduce our oil consumption. Like all new things, the price of these vehicles will go down with competition and mass production. And don't sell your VERSA, you're gettinga great 38mpg, and trust me the chance of anything breaking before you pay off your loan are pretty slim (Nissan, Toyota, and Honda all make a high quality product). I have a corolla almost 6 years old now and have not had one problem yet. Why get a clunker and be working on it all the time.

Could you define what it is they are the answer to, and how drastically they will reduce our consumption? At what rate can we expect these new electric vehicles to penetrate the market? Also, how much will they increase our coal consumption in the process?

I think there are an enormous number of guesses and assumptions built into your statements - prove me wrong!

Pure electric cars with range extender generators are the answer.

The Answer? Ok, why don't you tell us what The Question was so we can judge how your claim holds up?

Pure electric cars with range extender generators are the answer.

The Answer? Ok, why don't you tell us what The Question was so we can judge how your claim holds up?

"If we have 20% unemployment and everything else is shaky no one is going to buy a new car."

No One? Sacred, you are one of the posters whose comments tend to be so self-assured and leaning on extreme statements like this, that I'm frequently resisting taking you seriously. Show a little humility, you're no more an oracle than any of us.

Electric cars will sell. I don't know about the Volt yet, but there are people stuck with gas cars who REALLY want out, and will take the plunge. As with the hyperbole coming back at any 'BB', there's no point in suggesting that any one of these things 'Is the Answer', or 'Will justify BAU', or defends 'Happy Motoring' .. It's not really a function of 'the whole fleet'.. it's an option, it'll work as well as it works. I'd say it's a good bit closer to being useful than H3 from the moon.. tho' my preference at this point would be to make an EV Conversion for myself. I already have two or three of my own sources to help charge it, too.

Electric cars will sell. I don't know about the Volt yet, but there are people stuck with gas cars who REALLY want out, and will take the plunge.

Indeed, there's existing demand. From here:

Survey: Americans Want To Phase Out Fossil Fuels, Phase In Alternative Sources

"Americans may be addicted to coal, gasoline and other fossil fuels today, but a survey from the Opinion Research Corporation finds that that the public is ready to go 'cold turkey' and put an end to its dependence on fossil fuels."

You don't need to be a weatherman ...

Potash suspends new sales, eyes Russian mine flood

Potash Corp of Saskatchewan is suspending new sales because a flood at major Russian competitor Silvinit could further tighten already tight world supplies, the world's biggest fertilizer company said on Thursday.

In the past day, Potash Corp learned that Silvinit, one of Russia's largest potash fertilizer producers, is concerned that a sinkhole caused by mine flooding is threatening the railway it uses to ship potash.

More information and Agrium Inc. follows suit.

Anyone got an idea how much impact this will have, if that sinkhole really does disrupt the rail line? Sounds tight, but then again I haven't been watching potash very closely, it only dropping in my inbox due to the sinkhole connection.

Growing Ethanol Use May Eliminate U.S. Gasoline Imports by 2020

Gasoline imports into the U.S. could be eliminated by 2020 if the use of corn-based ethanol continues to make inroads, potentially leaving many European refiners without a primary export market, Wood Mackenzie said.

I think I need a drink.

I think that was a typo. The real headline was

Lack of Gasoline will eliminate US Gasoline imports by 2020

When oil hits $100, its war with Iran. Simple as that. The media wants an excuse to explain away the high prices, and Bush wants the oil. Iraq is already the 7th largest oil exporter to the U.S., Iran will be next. Plus, Iran has weakened the dollar by trading oil in Euros and Yen, which hasn't helped much either. We've been preparing for war by rapidly increasing the strategic petroleum reserves.

We only get the oil if we exterminate the Iranians. You think the U.S. will settle for a policy of genocide? You think the rest of the world will trade with us? We'll be shunned and its started already ... Bush has turned us from policeman for the world into a rogue state little better than North Korea in conduct.

As long as there is one Iranian male between twelve and ninety two still breathing we will never have a moments peace there.

CNN is running a longer story about the Energy Watch report. They've had a couple of brief blurbs, but they're kind of playing it up tonight. (Probably because of the record high oil prices.) "An alarming report about oil supplies!"

I there was something on the crawl, but nothing in the live coverage (so far).

When I searched for "Peak Oil" on the CNN website, the first thing that came up in the block of Sponsored Links was...

Peak Oil Theory Flawed
www.CERA.com CERA's view of the Myths, Legends, and the Future of Oil Resources

Sorry mates, I haven't got a spare $499.00 for your report, but I've already placed my order for the 2007 ASPO DVDs.)

Is a report being drawn up on the recent Energy report, that states that Oil has peaked. I herd Chris Skebowski (that has to be spelt wrong) speaking on it, was not really giving much away, is it correct, or are they going for the first mainstream group to claim peak.
Memorial gifts

The report has been released. It's a downloadable PDF.

There's a 13-page summary and a full 100 page report. You can download them here.

I'm not sure you can call these people "mainstream." They're peak oilers. But they sure are garnering mainstream attention.

Interesting article by Michael Klare

Beyond the Age of Petroleum

last sentence of the article:
"The safest and most morally defensible course is to repudiate any "consensus" calling for the use of force to protect overseas petroleum supplies and to strive to conserve what remains of the world's oil by using less of it. "

Marlboro College is launching an MBA in Managing for Sustainability



The last sentence of the course description actually references peak oil!

Now, especially in view of concerns about global warming and peak oil, some argue that evolving public policies and social movements will accelerate requirements that companies and other organizations operate in more sustainable ways.

Ah...just in time..crude$ continues its march upward.

Bloomberg: Oil Rises to Record Above $91 on Supply Drop, Iran Sanctions

Still climbing after hours....

Oil Rises to Record Above $91 on Supply Drop, Iran Sanctions

Crude oil for December delivery rose as much as 64 cents, or 0.7 percent, to $91.10 a barrel in after-hours electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the highest since trading began in 1983. It traded at $90.78 at 7:36 a.m. Singapore time.

And Bloomberg has

WTI Cushing Spot 92.81
Nymex RBOB Gasoline Future 224.05

Folks might fill up their cars tonight, the major oil companies can only absorb so much of the cost.

Darn you "Lighting Leanan"...you beat my post.

New open thread, folks! We've about filled this one up!


Time Russert Transcript now up here

Some Tid-Bits:


You know, there are other options, but I agree with Erin. It’s going to be very difficult to be energy oil independent in this country. It’s just not going to happen.

And you asked what the market says. Look, we know what the market’s saying. We’re already at $90 a barrel. So the market is saying that we’ve got a serious supply-demand gap.

You don’t have the ability to drill and find oil in this country where you want. And by the way, the same senators and congressmen who say we need an energy plan are saying you can’t drill in ANWR, you can’t go to the Everglades, you can’t go off the coast of Florida. So you do have that issue going on as well.