DrumBeat: October 27, 2007

Why Kuwait wants to shift to heavy oil

Last week, Kuwait announced its plans to shift into heavy oil production during an international oil conference to meet its 2020 target of producing 4 million barrels per day (bpd).

Kuwait has traditionally produced and exported mainly medium to light crude since the 1950s. Now KOC is pushing for more involvement of international oil companies in developing its heavy oil assets. But why is Kuwait shifting to heavy oil production?

The Power of Petroleum

Record-high oil prices have dramatically shifted the balance of global power. At nearly $90 a barrel, oil is more than a crucial energy source, it's a strategic commodity of central importance. The $30 per barrel rise in crude prices since last October raises the daily imported oil bills of the United States and Europe by $300 million each, while Middle East exporters collect an additional $500 million daily. These are sums with huge financial and political implications that are beginning to reverberate.

Why BP is cutting back in Aberdeen as oil prices soar

Deeper reasons lie behind the cutbacks, however, and BP's economies may just be the first of others by competitors. It is no secret that the North Sea fields are running out. Of the six BP-operated fields there, all but two - Rhum and Clair - started producing in the 1980s and 1990s. And two - Valhall and Magnus, Britain's most northerly field - date from the early 1980s. In oil terms that makes them geriatrics.

Methane Bubbling From Arctic Lakes, Now And At End Of Last Ice Age

A team of scientists led by a researcher at the University of Alaska Fairbanks has identified a new likely source of a spike in atmospheric methane coming out of the North during the end of the last ice age.

CLIMATE CHANGE: CO2 Levels Begin Accelerated Climb

Global warming has been compared to a slow-moving train wreck, in which the passengers are blissfully unaware of the coming catastrophe.

With the shocking loss of the Arctic sea ice this summer and several new reports this week that oceans and tropical forests are now absorbing less of the world's steadily rising carbon emissions, our collective train wreck appears to have already tipped into fast forward.

The Prophet of Climate Change: James Lovelock

In Lovelock's view, the scale of the catastrophe that awaits us will soon become obvious. By 2020, droughts and other extreme weather will be commonplace. By 2040, the Sahara will be moving into Europe, and Berlin will be as hot as Baghdad. Atlanta will end up a kudzu jungle. Phoenix will become uninhabitable, as will parts of Beijing (desert), Miami (rising seas) and London (floods). Food shortages will drive millions of people north, raising political tensions. "The Chinese have nowhere to go but up into Siberia," Lovelock says. "How will the Russians feel about that? I fear that war between Russia and China is probably inevitable." With hardship and mass migrations will come epidemics, which are likely to kill millions. By 2100, Lovelock believes, the Earth's population will be culled from today's 6.6 billion to as few as 500 million, with most of the survivors living in the far latitudes -- Canada, Iceland, Scandinavia, the Arctic Basin.

The Trouble with Crude Oil

Fretting about climate change, calling for conservation, and making fuel from animal fats—these days James Mulva might not sound like the chief executive of the third-largest U.S. oil company, ConocoPhillips. With 34 years in the oil business, Mulva concedes that times for his industry have changed. As crude oil prices surge—hitting yet another record on Oct. 26—and worries about global warming and China's oil thirst abound, Mulva and his peers at other energy giants are now pressing for a new federal energy policy.

Mexico To Start Booking Chicontepec Reserves In 2008 - Pemex

Petroleos Mexicanos will begin booking new reserves at the Chicontepec oil field in 2008 when the company begins exploiting new areas of the oil zone, said Pemex CEO Jesus Reyes Heroles on Friday.

Pemex's current proven reserves will only last 9.3 years at current production rates, and the company must find and tap new reserves just to keep oil production at current levels.

Airlines struggle to keep pace with soaring fuel costs

For more than three years, the nation's airlines have grappled with persistently high fuel costs. But they haven't seen prices quite like this before.

Rising cost of crude oil stirs concern at Northwest

The pilots union says it wants the airline to take a longer-term approach to controlling fuel prices - the carrier's biggest cost.

U.S. Airlines Put Off Buying New Planes

American Airlines operates a fleet of 300 older MD-80s, a model that guzzles fuel and lacks the latest in passenger comforts. And American has only a handful of replacement planes coming in the next couple of years.

Mid-Columbia farmers feel sting of rising gas prices

Each time the price of oil goes up, Eltopia farmer Gary Middleton feels the pinch, and he's been feeling the hurt a lot lately.

He uses about 30,000 gallons of fuel annually, mostly diesel, to run machinery at his 100-acre organic apple and cherry orchard. And diesel and gasoline prices have surged recently with the onset of winter and rapidly rising world oil prices.

Fearing Fuel

In sum, Republicans are trying to stop Democrats from further reducing America's production of its own fuel, placing us even more at the mercy of Middle East Arab states and oil-rich thugs like Venezuela's Hugo Chavez.

They're also trying to stop Democrats from doing something that would raise gasoline prices at the pump to an even higher level than they are now.

Will pain at the pump lower consumption?

Nationwide, hybrid-vehicle registrations climbed 49 percent in the first seven months of 2007, according to R.L. Polk & Co., an automotive data company in Southfield, Mich. Polk said hybrids account for more than 2 percent of the U.S. market.

UK: Fuel price rises are crippling us, hauliers warn Chancellor

Hauliers warned that their industry is being crippled by the increases in taxes and rising oil prices.

Pakistan: Gas loadshedding may be from mid November

The Sui Northern Gas Pipeline Limited is facing a shortage of about 700 MMCFD gas which will compel the company to continue the load management policy in the coming winter.

...Sources said the company high-ups had decided to start load management by the end of November 2007. Under the policy, the most affected industries would be of cement, power, and CNG and fertilizers.

Caribbean nations grapple with biofuel issues

The Caribbean, which includes the Dominican Republic and Central America, offers examples of the uncertainty many regions face in the global energy grid. If those regions have the resources, they have to ask whether biofuels are worth the investment.

World’s addiction to coal growing

Coal is big, and getting bigger. As oil and natural gas prices soar, the world is relying ever more on the cheap, black-burning mainstay of the Industrial Revolution. Mining companies are racing into Africa. Workers are laying miles of new railroad track to haul coal from the Powder River Basin in Wyoming and Montana.

And nowhere is coal bigger than in China.

Power Revolution

The high-rolling risk takers who brought you personal computing, the telecommunications revolution, the commercialization of the Internet, and, of course, Google now aim to do nothing less than save planet Earth—and make billions while doing it. If the venture capital industry is successful, it might be the ultimate act of "angel investing," and perhaps no one is more emblematic of this new wave of high-minded technology entrepreneurship than Vinod Khosla, who, after a failed soy milk start-up in his native India, went on to become one of the driving forces of Silicon Valley as cofounder of Sun Microsystems and later as a venture capitalist. Khosla views climate change as the gravest threat the world has ever faced, and he knows others see America's foreign oil dependence as an urgent crisis. But in his calculus, we've been pitching pebbles at these Goliath problems. "Building a biofuels plant here and a solar plant there is not enough," he says, "unless we can replace 50 percent and hopefully 100 percent of the fossil energy sources."

Juicing the System

In a yearlong trial run that ended in the spring, 200 or so homes on Washington's Olympic Peninsula engaged in a daily bidding war for electricity. It was a sort of robotic Ebay auction in which the thermostat in one house, say, bid against the clothes dryer in another for scarce electrons. The loser would turn off and wait for prices to drop before jumping back onto the grid. Engineers at the federally funded Pacific Northwest National Laboratory showed that by equipping appliances and thermostats with a few cheap microchips and Internet connections, they could cut peak demand by as much as 50%. That's a big number, because 8% to 12% of peak demand for power capacity comes during the busiest 1% of hours. Most of the extra supply comes from inefficient gas-turbine generators.

Green Grid Members Open Energy Efficient R&D Data Center

Businesses in the United States have been put on notice by the Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Energy that power used by data centers is growing at a disproportionate rate, and multiple sources within the industry have predicted a looming energy crisis that could threaten half or more of operations.

Tackling the issues will require an industry-wide and vendor-specific focus as demonstrated by the latest meeting of The Green Grid consortium this week in St. Louis, Mo., where APC-MGE and parent company Schneider Electric hosted the meeting and opened a 100,000-square-foot technology center that is dedicated to research and development of energy efficient data center equipment and design processes.

Brave B.C. talks true carbon tax

VANCOUVER -- Stephen Harper and Stéphane Dion won't do it, and most Canadian politicians won't even say it out loud.

But in British Columbia, Finance Minister Carole Taylor is merrily pursuing a carbon tax, eyeing a plan that could see the province levy substantial fees on economic choices that spew greenhouse gases, but that would slash other kinds of taxes, including income taxes.

Gulf poised to delay monetary union, official says

Gulf Arab oil producers are likely to postpone a 2010 deadline for monetary union at a meeting of central bankers and finance ministers on Saturday, an official of the region's economic bloc said.

Investors are watching the meeting in the Saudi Red Sea port city of Jeddah for any signs of a rift on currency policy, which could renew market bets on the demise of a regional exchange-rate regime pegged to the tumbling U.S. dollar.

OPEC to study currency basket for pricing: Venezuela

OPEC is likely to discuss creating a basket of currencies for oil pricing at its next summit due to the steady decline in the dollar, Venezuela's Energy Minister Rafael Ramirez said on Friday.

Iran says enough supply in oil market

‘There is no problem regarding supply. OPEC is producing at full capacity,’ caretaker Oil Minister Gholamhossein Nozari told the official daily, called Iran.

Iraq threatens to cut off oil if sanctions imposed

The speaker of Iraq's Parliament has warned Turkey that his government would cut off the flow of oil from northern Iraq if Ankara followed through on its threat to level economic sanctions against the country.

Chávez: Bush's threats are to push oil prices up

Following execution of seven memoranda of intent between Algeria and Venezuela, President Hugo Chávez insisted that oil prices would climb to USD 100 per barrel.

The Venezuelan ruler underscored that mounting oil prices are the result of the imperialist pressures. "If the United States continues to threaten or destabilize" oil exporting countries, then high prices will continue to prevail in world markets.

What Steven Landsburg doesn't understand about climate change

Landsburg claims, "Climatologists estimate what it takes to put New York underwater; economists estimate the cost of moving New York inland." No. Few, if any, economists would bother to estimate the cost of moving New York City, with its unique physical assets and vast infrastructure — let alone the billion people worldwide who would lose their homes if sea levels rose 25 meters. Economists do estimate the cost of building levees, but how do we build levees if sea levels are rising more than a foot a decade — and if many coastal cities face Katrina-like superstorms in the future?

Global Warming Alarmism Reaches A 'Tipping Point' (Sen. James Inhofe, R-OK)

An abundance of new peer-reviewed studies, analyses, and data error discoveries in the last several months has prompted scientists to declare that fear of catastrophic man-made global warming "bites the dust" and the scientific underpinnings for alarm are "falling apart."

Deeper, rougher, further - in search of the last North Sea oil

Britain is in the autumn of its North sea era. "The oil we're getting from the North Sea is in decline," says the energy minister, Malcolm Wicks. "A lot of it is getting more difficult to recover. Some of the big companies have gone away. In the last few years, our oil production has fallen by 8% or 9% annually. We aim to slow that decline to, say, 5% a year."

Last year Britain's oil output was the lowest since 1979, the first big year of North Sea production. This week BP announced it was shedding up to 350 North Sea jobs, the latest in a series of cuts in the oilfield by major companies.

China rations diesel as record oil hits supplies

China is rationing diesel at pump stations in at least four booming coastal provinces in the widest-scale rationing seen since 2003, as red-hot global oil prices hit output at loss-making Chinese refiners.

With U.S. crude soaring to new highs above $92 a barrel on Friday, the supply squeeze is a telling sign that high oil is taking its toll on demand in the world's second-largest consumer by forcing refiners to limit output.

Oil and gas rich Gulf seeks alternative energy

With booming domestic demand for power, the hydrocarbon-rich Arabian Gulf countries are exploring the use of alternative and renewable energy resources - including coal, nuclear, solar, wind and hydrogen - says a leading industry expert.

Mexico's Cantarell oil output recovers in Sept

Crude oil output from Mexico's declining Cantarell offshore field recovered to 1.461 million barrels per day in September after a hurricane knocked down August production levels to 1.319 million bpd, the energy ministry reported on Friday.

Lower oil production blamed for Royal Dutch Shell profits fall

Royal Dutch Shell yesterday blamed lower oil production, weaker refining margins and higher costs for a fall in third quarter profits.

Petrol price to hit record as oil-shortage fears bite

Petrol prices are set to hit record highs next week after escalating fears of a global oil shortage this winter pushed the price of US crude above $92 a barrel. At one point yesterday US light crude spiralled to $92.22 as world markets reacted to the US Government’s latest sanctions on Iran, a surprise fall in US stockpiles and the kidnapping of six oil workers in Nigeria.

Kevin Norrish, analyst at Barclays Capital, said: “The door to $100 a barrel oil is open. It is no longer a question of if but when.” The AA said pump prices were certain to set new records across the UK next week, placing a further strain on motorists who are paying £8.5 million more a day to fill up their cars than in January.

On the other side of the mountain

Is the British government doing enough to prepare for a future of diminishing oil production both internationally and in the North Sea? It seems a timely question as oil reached another record price of $92 yesterday, creeping closer to $100 a barrel.

Raymond J. Learsy: With Oil at Plus $90 Highs Where is the Outrage of the Press!?

It is quite incredible to me, with the price of oil at $90 a barrel plus, how benign the media has been in determining the cause these vertiginous levels. Banalities abound. Its China and India (this even though China's oil imports have been the lowest in 20 months), it's the dollar, its production constraints, its peak oil, its lack of refining capacity (the interlocutor never being asked to explain why if refining capacity is constrained, thereby limiting the consumption of its feedstock-crude oil- the price of crude should go up-Ecomomics 101?). And on.

Peak oil already arrived in 2006

Warnings that the capacity for global oil production is soon to drop off were wrong: it’s not soon, it’s now.

Bacteria species may help ethanol output

Scientists say a new bacteria species discovered in Yellowstone's thermal pools could improve the use of bacteria to produce ethanol.

UN expert seeks to halt biofuel output

A U.N. expert on Friday called the growing practice of converting food crops into biofuel "a crime against humanity," saying it is creating food shortages and price jumps that cause millions of poor people to go hungry.

Jean Ziegler, who has been the United Nations' independent expert on the right to food since the position was established in 2000, called for a five-year moratorium on biofuel production to halt what he called a growing "catastrophe" for the poor.

Senator: Global warming bill needs work

A bipartisan Senate bill to limit greenhouse gases will have a hard time getting the 60 votes needed to overcome parliamentary roadblocks unless it addresses some of industry's concerns, a Republican senator said Friday.

Dengue fever outbreak hits parts of Asia

The worst outbreak of dengue fever in years has hit Southeast Asia, prompting the World Health Organization to call for better prevention campaigns as experts question whether global warming is partly to blame.

A tax on carbon to cool the planet

Conservative and liberal economists like it. James Connaughton, President Bush's top environmental adviser, backs it. Al Gore says he's always preached it. So why isn't a carbon tax on the table in Congress as it weighs measures to curb climate change? A three-letter reason: T-A-X.

Re: A tax on carbon to cool the planet

If a carbon tax (i.e., ration-by-price) won't work, then I think the only alternative is a true rationing system, with a white market to trade allocations (or allowances, as Obama's plan labels them). Thoughts?

E. Swanson

I think it will come to that. But not until our backs are against the wall.

Not until ~we notice~ that our backs are against the wall..

yes, and for that we have to turn 180 dg, and have a look - b'cus we dont believe anyting before it is right up in our faces ...

"we are held at wall-point.." :-)

"When you've got your back against the wall, you have to turn round and fight!"

- Former British PM John Major

I think that sums up how our politicians are going to deal with peak oil.


We know that the problem is much larger than just Peak Oil, although that is the immediate manifestation. There's climate change as the longer term aspect and in both cases, there's the tremendous inertia of the system which will impede any serious attempts to address the situation. If we really had those 20 years before Peak Oil to implement Hirsch Report Wedges, things might turn out differently, but indications are that It's Too Late!!

The Senate Bill which Lieberman and Warner introduced last week is now on Thomas. I took a quick look at it and I didn't see where the "allowances" actually get passed down to where the rubber meets the road, aka, Joe Sixpack and his kid, Billy Fourwheeler. The bill is apparently directed toward industry. See for yourself (search: S. 2191):


These guys want to auction the "allowances", which would result in ever higher prices for the consumer and a perpetual upward price spiral, i.e., inflation. Perhaps worse, there will be another layer of emissions regulations for industry. Having an auction for the allowances means that there would provide another way for the big money folks to play "get rich quick", like the stock and futures markets which produced ENRON, Worldcom and Long Term Capital Management. I think the whole approach shows that the market based approach probably won't work. Take notice the names of the other sponsors...

E. Swanson

Its interesting to note that the basis of a modern rationing system would be a secure, authenticated nation ID card system...

This has been noted before in discussions about the proposed UK ID system. Coming soon.

It WILL come to this. - And is a perfect means of societal control.

No ID? - no food.

And more.

If you maintain a large information database on everyone in the country you can determine what they NEED as opposed to want. Piece of cake, only 60million records. No need for a Granny who does 2,000 miles a year to have the same fuel ration as a family man. Keep her ration at 2,000 miles worth for her car and put his at 9,000 miles worth for his. Personalised rations mean no trading on of rations you don't need for things you do.

Hmm, maybe it IS a good idea to use lot now to ensure you keep improved rights to it later. This is good civil service thinking, spend it all this year or you will only get less next time.

If you maintain a large information database on everyone in the country you can determine what they NEED as opposed to want.

Sound like central planning all over again. A tax is much more efficient in that the price system can restrict and allocate resources in a much more dynamic fashion. After all how much gasoline do you give to 100 different factory that makes 100 different chemicals and parts used in various vital industrial process that you as a central planner know nothing about? If the railroad is shipping shoes does it get more gasoline than if it is shipping plastic widgets used in 30 different sub-assemblies of industrial machines that are used to produce other vital goods? The price system figures this all out automatically. This is why the centrally planned economies could never keep up with the west.

Of course, as long as you get your ration and you get to eat you're fine and you'll defend the system to the death because it's where your food comes from.

Unfortunately its one of those myths of a growth economy that a 'free market' is more efficient. Its not. Its just a good way of playing an evolution game on a grand scale, focused around the single core concept of growth and money as a god. Take other measures and its not very efficient or optimum; tax being one of its simplistic minions of control.

It doesn't take long to realise if that god is dethroned, its minion isn't likely to the best choice for the long term either.

It was once said that the chief problem of the old soviet union was that it was born too early. Born today instead and it would be possible to model and deal with the full complexity of the whole economy, top to bottom.

While you can shudder at bureaucrats having those levers, what it does provide for is large scale optimisation around other factors than money. That after all is the purpose of rationing in the first place. The flexibility to shape an economy around other factors means that to a greater or lesser extent it will be tried as its obvious growth can no longer be the thing to lead the direction of the country.

The alternative is for those large scale entities to dissolve.

I would say that a "free market" pricing system is of course inherently more efficient, for all the reasons outlined above.

However, you need a strong central government to enforce that freedom and to create the conditions that make possible the efficiencies that a market economy can provide. If, as in the U.S. and many other places, the government surrenders the control of the free market system to the large actors in the system... they will act rapidly and forcefully to destroy the price signaling system that creates the efficiencies that justify such a system. They will behave like monopolists and monopsonists.

"Free market" advocates usually forget that someone has to set up the stalls, collect the garbage, create/maintain a currency of exchange, and define the rules of fair competition... and that someone had better not be the most powerful player in the market or the market itself quickly disappears. Market creation is an essential role for a large limited power... like a democratically elected government.

The free market is inherently a competition. In a competition there must be winners and losers. The loser is wasted effort, time, resources, money.

What the free market brings is evolution and the distributed ability to explore every niche. But that is funded, and is at the cost of 'efficiency'. Free markets are not efficient, they are essentially blind evolution machines.

As you realise, evolution can be incredibly 'effective' and what is arrived at can eventually be more efficient than a designed mechanism. However they cost in the meantime and can be slow. Its by no means certain that they would be the best approach in a time of decline where attention was placed on things other than money.

As I said, that's the what and why of rationing, and why it gets used at times of limitation.

However, you need a strong central government to enforce that freedom and to create the conditions that make possible the efficiencies that a market economy can provide.

Strong government or working courts?

What is usually lacking in these discussions is the realization that the government is only a subordinate part of the ruling class in a society. If you have a capitalist economy, the capitalists will run the society; after all, they control jobs, finance, education, the media, the election campaigns, etc., etc.. And capitalists will, indeed they must, put the pursuit of profits (to create more capital) ahead the common good (although the two may happen to coincide at times).
In a capitalist society, there cannot be real democracy, since the capitalist ruling class will never allow anything that seriously goes against their basic interests. They will sometimes have to make concessions to the people, because that's where their wealth comes from. Many of the commenters here admit that there must be a lot of planning in a postpeak world to avoid total chaos, but I would submit that the capitalists cannot be trusted to do it for the common good, and the people do not have the power to make them do it. Look at the wonderful democracy we have in the U.S. right now! Government of the people, right? People have to take power and run the government and the economy, and one of our biggest jobs is to educate them to make that possible. (How? Go back and read the Declaration of Independence.) It may even have to be an authoritarian democracy led by scientists and engineers who know what the score is. Impossible? Maybe so, and maybe civilization itself is impossible, too.


"However, you need a strong central government to enforce that freedom and to create the conditions that make possible the efficiencies that a market economy can provide."

Didn't the founding fathers in the US advocate a weak central government and strong local government? That of course has now been eroded...

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

"Didn't the founding fathers in the US advocate a weak central government and strong local government? That of course has now been eroded..."

Yes they did, and we will eventually return to it.

A tax is much more efficient in that the price system can restrict and allocate resources in a much more dynamic fashion. After all how much gasoline do you give to 100 different factory that makes 100 different chemicals and parts used in various vital industrial process that you as a central planner know nothing about?

Any honest economist will tell you that while a competitive market can be efficient*, it doesn't deal with equity at all. A politician in a democracy must be concerned at least somewhat with equitable outcomes -- not too many people must be allowed to fall too far behind. A rationing system can cap the total consumption of gasoline, while still allowing, for example, the working poor or people in rural areas where driving distances are longer to get their few gallons per week. The alternative of, say, gasoline at $20/gal, would not be noticed by Paris Hilton as she drove from club to club, but would force millions of the working poor to quit their jobs, since they simply couldn't afford the gas needed to get there. If rations can be sold, Paris will still get to the clubs, and still pay the high price, but not by pricing a large number of people out of the market entirely.

*When you take graduate-level economics, the micro class spends less than a week proving that a competitive market can produce optimal results, then spends several weeks covering all the ways that the assumptions needed for that proof can fail.

My point is is that when goods are used for their own sake, for consumption, by Paris Hilton or Granny it's easy to divide up the goods evenly. What about though when goods are used to create other goods? For instance what parts should a factory produce? What goods should a freight railroad be used to transport? How many bulldozers should be produced? Multiply that by the complexity of a modern economy and it becomes very easy to make errors and be overwhelmed no matter how moral and well meaning the planners are. Of course in the capitalist system money is used and cost accounting are used to determine all this. Which is why the mechanism for the creation of money is a very very important issue that gets far less attention than it should.


there are lots of things you can do with ID cards and the follow-on Ration Cards, both for food and carbon rations and all sorts of other measures.

And the greatest beauty of all is crushing dissent:

No ID Card and you immediately become stateless, a non person. And since the Government issue the card, which remains the property of the State, then the holder of the card becomes...the property of the State.

(BTW as free born Englishman, I am opposed to them, but as a grim realist I know they are coming).

Labour are pushing ahead with them. They call them 'entitlement cards' . This fits neatly with the highly successful world wide con of renaming Citizens as 'Consumers'.

Initially, they will be voluntary.

That will last about two days, when immediately, opening a bank account, or entering a government building, or opening a utility account or getting hospital treatment suddenly requires the presentation of your 'entitlement card'.

No card? - no entitlement.
No card? - no access.

The Tories say they will scrap them if they get in power. This is disingenuous: A) The Tories will find them as equally useful as will Labour (or any other Government) and B) The European Union want then throughout Europe.

We increasingly live in a world where we are to become worker-slaves. A world where ration control of sufficient calories to allow us to work (but not much else) will be the norm. The coming debt - servitude, or indenture; possibly even inherited debt-servitude are almost within reach of the elite now.

At some point after the Second World War, the elite of each nation realised that they actually had more in common with each other than they had with the common ruck of their own nations. At this point, globalisation was offered to the hoi-poloi of each nation as a panacea to world problems and world wars etc.

There are two real nations in the world now.

The Elite


The Helots.

Already, it has been mooted that the 'Great and Good' will have their personal data for the up and coming UK ID Card scheme held on a separate data-base...


And by the way, there will be no place for the middle class in this brave new world.

The Elite - Helot feudal model is perfectly acceptable and pleasant to the Elite.

The evolution of the middle classes, begining as Craft-Guilds in Medieval Cities, and rural Yeoman farmers through to the religious dissenters and recusants of the Renaissance in Northern Europe have always been a pain in the arse for the elite.

People who believe in educating children, getting on, reading books and pamphlets, agitating for a fair share, agitating for the vote are really not required in this new planetary business model.

The Middle Class created lots of troublesome events for the Elite:

English Civil War
Scottish Enlightenment
French Revolution
American Revolution
The repeal of rotten boroughs and Parliamentary Representation of industrial cities
The Russian Revolution.

If you are in the Elite , why would you let these educated, sassy creatures thrive, when all you really need are 'bent backs' in the potato, cotton and bio-diesel fields...

Lawyers? Dont need Lawyers. If you are the Elite, you ARE the Law.

You might like to consider your list for the average lifespan of any 'elite' group that tries the model. Its usually about 2 weeks longer than the time it takes for people to realise they are on the bottom, their life is getting worse, and there really aren't that many of 'them'.

Not saying someone won't try it, but in the situation of a general decline in circumstances its not a stable approach or a particularly survivable one for those in control.

Playing silly dictator b*ggers is a good way of separating your head from your neck.

It depends...:-)

On your level of total control.


From The Times
October 17, 2006
The future ascent (and descent) of man
Within 100,000 years the divide between rich and poor could lead to two human sub-species
By Mark Henderson, Science Editor
The mating preferences of the rich, highly educated and well-nourished could ultimately drive their separation into a genetically distinct group that no longer interbreeds with less fortunate human beings, according to Oliver Curry.
Dr Curry, a research associate in the Centre for Philosophy of Natural and Social Science of the London School of Economics, speculated that privileged humans might over tens of thousands of years evolve into a “gracile” subspecies, tall, thin, symmetrical, intelligent and creative. The rest would be shorter and stockier, with asymmetric features and lower intelligence

Eloi vs Morlock, Elite vs Helot.

The distinctive physical features may take a wee while, but the cultural separation could occur within a generation, especially with the help of prozac and the like.

Remember, the Eloi were cultivated for the Morlock gourmet palate.

Let them eat cake.

Let them burn perfume.

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

"Playing silly dictator b*ggers is a good way of separating your head from your neck."

Those North Korean and Burmese thugocrats are 'heading' straight towards the revolutionary guillotine, Real Soon Now.





While in the US, we seem to be moving to a "caste system" of all are equal, but some more equal than others:

Feds strike ID deal over NY licenses


Hello Mudlogger,
"As a free-born Englishman"??? Are you sure about this? Last I checked Englishmen were not free-born. They are subjects of the Queen by birth and inhabitants of a country which admits no constitution that guarantees them any rights. Unless, of course, you count the Magna Carta which grants you principally three rights -

1) your freedom to belong to the Church of England (but no other religion)
2) ''all the liberties and customs" of the "City of London and all other Boroughts and Ports". Hell knows what this means, but I wouldn't like to be basing a court case on it.
3) Habeas Corpus - the right of any Freeman not be to "condemned or imprisoned" but by "lawful judgement of his peers". Suspended for the first time by the UK government during the Northern Ireland 'Troubles" of the 1970s and also the recent move by Gordon Brown to institute 56 day detention without trial for people suspected of 'terrorism'.

Don't get me weong - I live in England (London) and know all its charms as well as its deficiencies.......


Heck...screw the ID card...just put a barcode on our forehead or a microchip in our buttocks at birth!! Who will need another card again in our life? All credit deducted from our centralized monetary account. All personal information loaded (Social Security #, height, weight, parents, etc.) All locations travelled past scanner checkpoints.

This reminds me of some article I once read stating that barcodes on our arms for this purpose would be the arrival of the "sign of the beast".

Actually the ID card will have an RFID chip in it. Comes out May 2008 in the US. That chip can also be put in a grain of rice sized plastic case and injected under the skin.

The microchip can be initialized at minus forty-five thousand dollars, to reflect your share of the public debt. (or whatever your share is)

"No ID Card and you immediately become stateless, a non person. And since the Government issue the card, which remains the property of the State, then the holder of the card becomes...the property of the State."

What do you think we have now?

If you don't have a passport you cannot leave your country or enter another one.

If you don't have a state issued driver's licence you cannot use state owned roads, and if you offend your vehicle can be taken by the state.

When you are born you are given a birth certificate, without which you can't function in the bureaucracy of society.

And so it goes...

We only need those IDs because the state says so. Their necessity is simply to track people, regulate, prosecute, etc... The new ID Card schemes are just a way to increase that control.

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

I will refuse an ID card as long as feasibly possible. NO ID card, No control over me. Hopefully a subculture will exist to circumvent the "system".


French Revolution/Bastille day ring a bell?

I'm sure there will be a healthy underground/blackmarket business for hackers and forgers that can trick or otherwise falsify the information on the chip/barcodes.

The hatred of illegal immigrants will be used to win over the last redneck opposition to national ID cards. They want to bring back Jim Crow, and they can't use skin color for that purpose any more. So the ID card will be the surrogate skin.

If you don't have a state issued driver's licence you cannot use state owned roads,

I do not believe bicyclists need a license for the roads.

And the state has a 'not a drivers license card' - for all that pesky IDing needs you may have.

Hmm, maybe it IS a good idea to use lot now to ensure you keep improved rights to it later. This is good civil service thinking, spend it all this year or you will only get less next time.

Indeed! About 20 years ago or so we had a drought in Northern California, and the city of San Francisco rationed water based upon a percentage of use the previous several years, so anybody who had been careful using it (lessons learned from earlier droughts) was "punished" whereas folks who wasted water at will the previous 3 years or so had higher quotas.

Our Future = 1984 + Mad Max + Soylent Green

No ID? - no food.

"What is Soylent Green" :P

Soylent Green

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

RE: Richard Learsy, Where's the outrage of the press.

Leave it to a ef'n lefty to be the first to complain when oil gets short.

I did inhale.

He's hardly the first to complain.

But I do find him puzzling. He just refuses to believe that peak oil is real. Most lefties will admit that resources, including oil, are finite, and even welcome the idea of peak oil as an incentive to switch to cleaner sources of energy. But Learsy just thinks it's all a plot by Big Oil.

Right! It is usually the wingnuts on the right that are the biggest deniers of peak oil and it is the liberals who usually champion of peak oil. Less than two years ago, Larry Kudlow of CNBC was repeating over and over that there was no oil supply problem now or in the foreseeable future. He has been strangely silent on that subject as of late however.

However I would say that peak oil is a non-partisan subject. We have the Bible thumping right wing Republican Roscoe Bartlett joining forces with the Democrat and liberal Tom Udall in trying to inform Congress and the nation as to the realities of peak oil. But according to my unofficial survey, they are gaining far more converts from the left from the right.

Ron Patterson

Funny how we divide the world even handedly into two kinds of people: Left and Right.

How about Chemists versus Alchemists?

How about Sorcerers versus Physicists?

Who are the conjurers of psychobabble among our leaders?

Who admits to the unstoppable powers of Nature and who still aims their body's wee fire hose against the wind gales of Santa Anna?

That is the true divide.

Step: You're right- you always hear left and right but in reality there are 4 quadrants. 1 = less restriction on business, more restriction on citizens (neocon, fascist) 2= less restriction on business, less restriction on citiizens (liberterian) 3= more restricition on both business and citizens (communist) 4= more restriction on business, less restriction on citizens (liberal, commonly referred to as "left wing"). The current Republican party has almost no representation from liberterians, it is almost all fascist. The Democrats are a mix of fascist, communist and liberal.

There is another way of looking at the polarity:

The Gift Economy vs. the Market Economy.

Or if you like, Tribal organization (which administers a "commons") vs. Corporate organization -- in which everything is commodified and privatized, and the "commons" is divided up among the strongest of the individuals in the society.

There has been a lot of work on this -- it does seem that as a culture, we have become bored with the stodginess of the Gift Economy and have turned to the excitement of the Marketplace -- only to find that it is the most efficient means ever devised for destroying everything of value in the process of accumulating wealth.

They hang the man and flog the woman,
Who steals the goose from off the common,
Yet let the greater villain loose,
That steals the common from the goose.

Nice quote - where is it from?

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

It's an old political jingle from England. Several versions exist, had to do with the Inclosure Laws (when the English Commons were privatized-- a movement that started several centuries ago and continues to the present).

Step Back, we divide the political camp into two kinds because that is the way we are forced to vote. On the ballot we have the left candidate and the right candidate. There are no chemist or alchemists, sorcerers of physicists on the ballot.

Our entire political system is set up that way.....whether we like it or not. It simply works its way into our pshych. We may rail and complain about that but basically there is not much we can do about it. So you can bitch about it until the cows come home but that is just the way it is.

A joke: Basically there are two types of people in the world, there are those who divide people into two types and those who do not.

Ron Patterson

I believe if "the system" is really set up just to force us into false choices, then we should not participate in that system. It doesn't really matter which "party" controls Congress -- the result is the same -- so why vote? It only gives a veneer of respectability to the sham Republic.

Not to say that one should withdraw from public life -- there are plenty of real things to do, where participation is vital -- but only to eschew Potemkin Democracy.

A general voter strike would send a far more important message than our present self-defeating pattern of voting for the "lesser evil".

Well that's what the Nader voters said, and that's worked out really well. No difference between Gore and Bush - none that anyone could see. Looking back, I can't imagine anything that Gore may have done differently than Bush over the last 6-7 years on say energy and the environment.

Please tag the sarcasm, if that is what you mean. I actually take your statements at face value -- Gore made a movie, and got a few people chattering. And he buys some "carbon credits", for what that is worth. And he never opposed the Iraq "war" in any meaningful way.

Sorry about not marking the sarcasm. I'm not sure your assertion "And he never opposed the Iraq "war" in any meaningful way" is supported by the historical record.

/kid gloves

The voters have been striking for decades - only half of them show up.

Response by our would-be leaders? Coalitions of single-issue cults, or the creation of new foreign enemies to terrorize us into unity.

The market destroyed the public.

Other countries have adopted proportional representation, which usually causes multiparty systems and coalition governments. However, these are all parliamentary states, and I don't know how it would work in a system where the real power is not in the legislature but the executive.

But I was gratified to find that there is a movement to increase the number of congressmen so that each one would represent the same number of individuals as his counterpart in 1789 - with the requisite reduction of his revenue base and staff.


How's it go?

Under Republicans man exploits man. Under Democrats, just the opposite.


'You keep them ignorant, and I will keep them poor'.

-Said the politician to the priest...

“Overall, the Democratic progressive left refuses to acknowledge that not only do presidents and political parties not govern the United States, but they are in fact, irrelevant. The sovereignty of nations has been irreversibly eroded by corporatism and organizations such as the Bilderberg Group, the Council on Foreign Relations, and the Trilateral Commission whose agenda is the dissolution of nation-states and the global dominance of corporations. Almost all of the candidates progressives tout as capable of reversing America's descent into fascism are prominent members of one or more of these hegemonic organizations.”


As usual, Baker hits the nail on the head.

Same over here in Grosse Europa/Sub division UK by the way.

I lived in Holland once, Invited round for drinks, my Dutch neighbor and I discussed Europe. Thinking she would be very pro Europe I asked her what she thought.

She replied:

'Those in charge want to make a soup of all of us'...

Dorme bien.

The division is more like, card carrying members of the reality based community vs those who are plainly delusional and in denial. BTW history has shown over and over again that when the elites lose touch with reality they are still quite capable of bleeding like stuck pigs, when those that have nothing left to lose act accordingly.

We have had a few years here for the elite to have forgotten that lesson.They use propaganda ,and marketing to sell their bill of goods,but a hungry belly and no job in the "land of plenty"can lead to the same reaction as a pressure cooker full of gasoline.

The right never used to be the party of anti-empircism. Now, in the USA, at least they are.

Remember when liberals were the "fuzzy-headed" people who thought with their heart and not their head?

Now it's the right that goes into wars without empirically tested strategic planning and researched historical insight.

The "tax cuts pay for themselves" BS has been completely repudiated by every analysis using mathematics, arithemetic and logic. And yet it is now considered an ideological *requirement* by Republican politicians to bow down to that.

No amount of data will convince Inhofe, and so many others.

To be blunt, why no action on MPG or peak oil? Truck and SUV owners vote Republican.

And if confronted the inevitable response will be "it's liberals fault we can't drill in X,Y,Z and if we did we'd have plenty of oil until Jesus comes."

More on Learsy

Learsy writes:

one simple question could have been asked. "Why can not OPEC at the very least , reinstitute the total 1.7 million barrels of daily output they cut from their production quota earlier this year?

Actually it was November of last year when those cuts were doled out. And OPEC never lived up to those promised cuts. In October of 2006, the month before the cuts went into effect, the OPEC 10 pumped 27,500,000 barrels of C+C per day. Last month they pumped 26,720,000 barrels per day, down 780,000 bp/d from October of 2006. That was about 46 percent of the cuts promised.

Learsy should get his facts straight. In October of 2006, the OPEC 10 was already down 840,000 barrels per day from their peak in September of 2005, before any cuts went effect. In September, even after being up 340,000 barrels per day in the last three months, the OPEC 10 was still down 1,620,000 bp/d from their peak in September of 2005.

But watch this space in about one month. I am predicting that Saudi Arabia will be able to increase production by between 200 kb/d and 250 kb/d. A couple of others will kick in perhaps another 50 kb/d and that will be it. Saudi will still be down three quarters of a million barrels per day from their peak and the rest of OPEC will still be in decline.

Ron Patterson

Above and beyond their long term rate of increase in consumption, there is a report out that Saudi Arabia will have to shift 500,000 bpd of liquids production to domestic consumption in power plants and desalination plants in 2007 and 2008, because of a shortfall in natural gas production.

Or you can put it this way, OPEC probably needs to boost net exports by about 500,000 bpd just to offset the one year increase in consumption by the top five net exporters.

I think most run of the mill lefties would accept the concept of peak oil.

It's just that the Left leaning politicians and political commentators are caught in a bit of a dilemma when it comes to the issue of peak oil and big oil companies. If they acknowledge that high oil prices are due to peak oil, that lets big oil off the hook in large part. Some would rather fire up their constituents by bashing big oil, than lose that tool in acknowledging peak oil.

In Switz. and France, ecological considerations (from silly green, to climate, to energy, agri, transport, etc.) are almost entirely the property of the ‘left.’ In effect, green parties and socialist ones are often identical, with slight differences only in discourse, emphasis, -image- and propositions that they know won’t fly. That is now changing, with growing awareness of climate change and energy difficulties. A new Party, the Liberal Ecologists (liberal in french meaning the exact opposite of liberal in English, pro-business and maybe libertarian around the edges) has sprung up here (CH), they got 3 seats in the lower house (out of 200.) It will be interesting to see what tortuous knots they get themselves into.

As for peak oil awareness, I don’t know of any study, and it doesn’t seem to be correlated (afaics - can see, observe) to any political stance; what varies is the attitude towards it, such as laissez faire, techno fix, vs. doomerism, strict controls, etc. With one peculiar exception, the Black Block - which has a far left core, satellites groups that are libertarian and/or anarchist, with even some migrants from the neo’nazis, and a definite gothic tinge in appearance, and no elected representatives. They simply represent young opposition, and can be very violent. These guys and the few gals, are amazingly up on all kinds of things, including peak oil, which to them is a self evident truth.

They are soldered as a group not by general political stance, they despise traditional parties, but their attitudes towards facts, issues, other countries, etc. Eg. they are anti corp, anti Zionist; possibly quite racist (this is hard to scope out); at the same time, they are very tolerant of diversity of opinion, eg. towards unions, blacks, Russia, etc. Although they have no political weight, I think this is quite interesting, because it is quite typical of 15-25 year olds, where the distinction between left and right has all but disappeared to be replaced by a sort of community belonging that revolves around opinion on various matters, issues, which can change very rapidly.

Well that was a bit of a long ramble. Needless to say my knowledge is very partial and very local (geneva, switzerland, i deal with young ppl all the time.)

it's all a plot by Big Oil.

Hate to tell ya this - but anyone who believes in 'some kind of conspiracy' existing has historical conspiracies to show that yes, they do happen. So people are using past data to predict what the future behavior is. (Go ahead people who think there are no conspiracies - explain the convictions and entries in the law books for, say RICO. Why does riCo laws exist if there are no conspiracies?)


In the last couple of years, did not BP traders get busted for a conspiracy to corner the propane market and trying to push the price of gas higher?

Left or right, there is still human nature to deal with. By historical standards, we all have very comfortable lives, and there are lots of people who subconsciously realize that peak oil, if true, would probably mean giving up a lot of the stuff we have become accustomed to, and are desperately looking for reasons why it isn't true.

There is a woman on the Sirius Left channel (she comes across as a crackpot, really) who is a big global warming denier. She doesn't want anyone telling her what she can and can't do, and refuses to look at the evidence, and refuses to see "An Inconvenient Truth".

Part of what we are fighting here is that while the actions of an individual really don't matter that much, the collective actions of everyone on the planet are making a big difference. Be it CO2 levels, or oil depletion.

"desperately looking for reasons why it isn't true."

Yup. Like those illegal immigrants who refuse to believe the train no longer runs. It hasn't run since July, and it's been widely publicized, but they think it's a false rumor, spread by the authorities to discourage them from coming. OTOH, they believe the rumors that it will start up again Monday. Or that if they only walk to the next station, they'll find it's still running. Some have walked 200 miles, hoping to find the train.

Is there really no other way to get through Mexico? Like hitch-hiking, or stowing away on a boat, anything? I'm just wondering, presumably the stuff that the train took through Mexico still gets to the US somehow.

I trying to explain to my family how oil is at a record high, but they don't understand how that can be when gas prices are in the $2.60-$2.80 range right now?

Is this just a lag? Or is there something going on with refineries or the relatively warm fall we've had in the Northeast?

Why isn't gas near $4 yet?

It'll be there soon enough. Companies can't sell refined products for the same cost as the unrefined precursor for long.

I did inhale.

The phrases "crack spread" and "shoe drop" are starting to go together in my mind. Anyone have ideas how, or why, they've kept it up this long?

Same question I have about the credit and housing markets.

But, they have great will to make it work and to avoid new legislation that will tax them further.

It is my guess that they expected a larger slow down in demand this fall...which didn't materialize. They can't ship these volumes at this spread much longer...couple weeks at best.

Still holding good odds on $100 oil by Wednesday nite(trick or treat?). It will be a very volatile week with the economic calendar planned.

What's planned?

Perhaps companies are waiting for the BIS and central banks to push the price of oil down [again]...

BIS derivatives - see table 19

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

$92 is the current price; long term contracts for supply have been hedged at prices reflecting the average price a while back. If these prices 'stick' then the renewals will be more reflective of the shortage/glut at the present. Just because today's future is in the nineties doesn't mean all oil changes hands for that. Plus, the owner of the store can sell for what he wants as long as his costs are met and there is still a lot of production coming from old cheap holes owned by the 'store' , i.e. Exxon, Shell etc. However, the refined and taxed price is getting awfully close to the raw crude future price per gallon these days.

What is Shell really paying for Nigerian crude? Good question. Who are they paying it to? Ditto.

I was thinking this as well, but I think there is another aspect - even if (say) Shell has access to cheaper crude through forward contracts or owened facilities, they are still faced with the choice to refine it or sell it, and will presumably do whatever maximizes profit.

So - I think it is valid to look at the crack spread based on spot prices for oil and gasoline, given the arbitrage opportunities.


Crude oil and gasoline are two different products, produced by two separate competitive businesses that must be profitable in the long term to survive. (One company may do both business’ but this is not necessary (or even normal?), the only thing that is necessary is for any company to make a profit. from whatever their business is.)

The prices of crude and gasoline are decided by the invisible hand of their own world markets. The only link between the two products is that crude (as well as many other things e.g. refineries, labor, capital etc) is used in the manufacture of gasoline at a profit. There is no direct link in the prices of the two different products. As well as gasoline, crude is made into many of the products we use in our daily lives and each has it’s own world market price, which may (or may not) be profitable.

As with every business, a risk is taken and a product or service is provided to the market at least cost … it is only when the product or service is finally paid for that it is known whether a profit has actually been made.

The need to make a profit from supplying crude oil is the part that the IEA (or anybody, including oil companies, predicting the future) can’t predict with any precision … hence their predictions will always be wrong … the only question is how wrong?

Predictions of Geologic Peak Oil based on guesses of ultimate recoverable reserves (URR) are the outer boundary. In the real world where companies have to make a profit (to say nothing of other above ground factors) supply will almost certainly be much less than URR which inevitably brings the peak of production forward in time … sadly, it is looking increasingly likely that 2005 was the time of peak supply, not 20 or more years ahead.


That said there has still been a relatively good correlation between Crude price and gasoline. If you check out Gasbuddy.com at set the graph to 6 years to also show crude price it's fairly clear that there has been strong divergence recently WRT the previous years. It has been said before on this site that we are not actually sure aboutt the API spread in the world total C+C - which will affect pricing of gasoline through refining differences.


Actually, on an ongoing basis, across the world the price of gasoline paid by the consumer varies from a few cents, in places like the KSA, to a few dollars in places like Norway.

Don't forget that the USA isn't the 'world' and the costs of producing crude (agreed a major cost of gasoline) in, say, KSA are much less than those in, say, the GOM.

So, for example it may well not be profitable to refine GOM crude, but gasoline made from cheaper to produce crude from elsewhere may well be.

Which type of crude is being used to make US gasoline and where is it being made? I doubt gasoline is being sold at a loss.


I realise this, but Glenn was referring to the price spread in the US. My relative working for PDO in Oman is filling their rather large SUV's for the evivelant of $12!

a good chart was posted last week of gas prices around the world.


That's a great price for gas. Where, exactly, are you going to drive to from Oman?

Other than in and around Muscat?

Nowhere without a weeks supply of water!

You can drive to Dubai, that oasis of sustainability!

Dubai, the strangest place I ever went. Sort of a Las Vegas of the Middle East (but without the Colorado River or any fresh water nearby.)

A bizarre mixture of seven star hotels for the super rich and nearby, slaves constructing the worlds largest indoor snow slope, in the middle of one of the hottest and most humid places on Earth. I wonder what happens to all their man made islands if the sea level rises as much as some say it might?

A pragmatic, benign, Muslim dictatorship? With dwindling reserves of oil?

e.g Unlike Saudi, non-muslims can have a licence to buy alcohol or drink in the bar of a hotel ... the local muslims however, can't.


With polar melting running about 30 years ahead of the climate models, they're going to need one heckuva lot of fill dirt to maintain those palm tree shaped islands ...

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

Fill dirt? They're just made from compacted sand! They require sea walls around them to stop gentle tidal/wave action washing them away... madness.

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

I wanted to make this minor remark re some post in a past thread concerning the staggering difference in gas prices (at the pump for the individual consumer) in different countries - eg. Iran to Norway.

It is not *that* important, because the high prices are due to slapped on tax, and the low prices rest on plentiful local supply and even Gvmt. subsidies. The high taxes are recycled back down in the form of social services, infrastructure, education, or what not, if things are working as they are supposed to do; the rock bottom prices permit lower salaries and less perks. Each national economy adapts to that. That is only one aspect I realize, as it does relate to ‘real price’ whatever that is, i.e. general world exchange mechanisms...

Sure, with lower gas prices ppl will drive more, say. But to what degree? Mostly they drive because they ‘have’ to, or have no other way of getting about. And, lower as compared to exactly what? What it was last year, measured how? Granny’s health care? The price of apples?


As nearly as I can figure out, a big part of the difference in oil prices is the difference in cost between summer and winter blend gasoline products.

Summer blend gasoline now generally contains ethanol. An oil company cannot just add ethanol to the gasoline base that is used in the winter, because doing so would cause serious smog problems. To stop the smog problems, the oil company has to first remove the lighter fractions from the summer base, since these are the fractions that tend to evaporate and cause smog problems. The combination of removing these lighter fractions in summer and adding the ethanol (even with the big subsidy) results in significantly higher gasoline cost in summer. I am sure higher demand also plays somewhat of a role.

In fall and winter, much less ethanol is used. Since evaporation is less of an issue with cooler temperatures, it is possible to adjust the gasoline base by adding the lighter fractions (stored from the summer) back in. These lighter fractions are cheaper, and also tend to increase the quantity of gasoline. These factors, plus the lower demand, tend to lower the price of the fall/winter blend.

Ethanol has only played a significant role in the last few years. Before that, MTBE (derived from natural gas) was used instead of ethanol as a summer additive. It was not necessary to remove as many lighter fractions in summer with MTBE as with ethanol, so there was less of a price swing.

I have commented before that the Energy Information Administration expected that substituting ethanol for MTBE would decrease the supply of gasoline in the summer, and increase its cost. Up through 2006, the quantity of ethanol that was available was such that this substitution was pretty much all that was done with ethanol. See Supply Impacts of an MTBE Ban.

The lighter fractions are cheaper? That hardly fits with the oft repeated claim that light crude is declining and the available mix of crude oil is getting heavier.

Just a thought about the relativly low gas prices. The congress is working on a new energy bill. Proposed new taxes on the oil companies and much higher fuel efficiencies for autos. Would this be a good time to raise gas prices to $4/Gal? This would have the public on back of Congress and make oil and auto companies the bad guys. We couldn't have that when they are trying to keep the energy and climate issues in the status quo category.

We have to remember that this time of year is close to the traditional low gasoline demand period out of the year. Imagine next May as crude stubbornly refuses to dip in price and gasoline demand tries to ratchet back up.

It should blow right through $4/gallon.

I doubt that the switchover from summer to winter blend has had a big effect on the price. It originally had nothing to do with EPA requirements, but only how easily the liquid can vaporize at low temps for starting purposes, example- Minnesota in January.

Hard time remembering now, but isn't the required date October 15?

The Guardian has a story on the price of oil and has a comments column attached asking if readers think the UK government is doing enough to prepare for a world of diminishing oil


I put in a modest comment but a somthing from a TOD heavyweight would be more effective

My comment:-We rely on oil not just for transportation on air land and sea , but for tractor fuel, fertilizers, medicine, plastics, and some heating and power generation.

As we saw last week more and more responsible agencies are predicting the decline of production. This is not only due to old and depleted oilfields but rising world demand especially from China and India, add to that the fact that rising demand in the countries that are doing the exporting means that they have less to send to the world markets and you have the makings of a situation that should cause our government a lot of concern.

The present. everything is fine assurances, that we are getting do not seem to accord with the facts and I worry that here, as in global warming our government is lagging well behind the real situation.

Good concise comment. Will it get anyone's attention? Maybe a few people will look further into it, and if you'd written anything more extreme than that, most people would probably write it off as being a comment from a crackpot... it's a hard one to sell.

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

Global Guerrillas has a nice write up on security and oil.


This is one of the sites I monitor. It's usually got good information on tactical and fourth generation war.

"Peak Oil?

If the current assumptions and the theories that are derived from them aren't very good at explaining current events (let alone predictive), then it is smart to look for alternative theories. One alternative (perhaps better) explanation for the conditions we currently see in the oil market can be found in the thinking being done on peak oil. This theory's foundational assumption is that we have already pumped almost all of the easy to produce oil out of the ground and that the complexity of extracting the remaining oil will advance along a exponential curve of difficulty and expense."

Give it a look.

Early exit urged on BP chairman:


I think this is going to be an ever re-occuring theme for the big multinationals. However shareholders are going to be a bit disappointed when the successor doesn't arrest decline rates or post ever large reserves.


"Meet the new boss...Same as the old boss"

Applies to upcoming US Prez election as well!

I think you are right but a small part of me hopes that she is just pretending to toe the line with the pointy hat cabal until she gets into power - then she can start making proper screw ups of her own volition:-).


I have to imagine that this is her hope as well..

Countrywide Financial shares soared 32 per cent on Friday after the biggest US mortgage lender said it would return to profitability this quarter following a $1.2bn third-quarter loss


Hmm. The words books and cooking spring to mind. Whatch out for execs bailing out of large amounts of shares just after the new year!

It certainly is possible to make a profit somewhere at the expense of huge losses elsewhere.

As we speak, the ghost of Charles Ponzi stalks the land: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Ponzi

Of course it is.
Why do you think company's like Microsoft have kept afloat with year after year of carrying the lead weights of their game console division and music player division?

yes i know Microsoft's xbox division posted it's first in the black report, though it's pretty small compared to the years of it having to be supported by Microsoft's monopoly on the desktop market and office market. Not to mention the years of them spending millions on advertising for a very mediocre shooter game which they got by buying out a mac os software developer.

As has often been the case in china over the past couple of years, price controls limits the amount of fuel available on the market, truckers cannot get enough diesel to make deliveries even after wating in long lines. Companies are taking losses as workers stand around or are laid off. Refiners are therefore exporting product (to the US) that their citizens cannot buy... eventually price and demand will rise together. On the capitalist road, but not yet capitalists...

Unlike the USA (LOL). Next thing you know, some yellow peril commies will have their Treasury dept orchestrating scams to bail out their banking cronies. Long live freedom fries.

The International Herald Tribune in editorial comments takes Paulson and the Fed to task for bailing out those who made bad bets. Exactly what Rubin was scolding the Asians for doing ten years ago.

Viewpoint: As Asians did a decade ago, the U.S. is bailing out financiers who made bad decisions


'Take the Federal Reserve, which cut interest rates twice and hinted at doing more. The investor Marc Faber is absolutely right when he says the Fed acted "like a bartender" and that its actions are contributing to asset bubbles. The United States also has avoided reining in imbalances, including huge current-account and budget deficits.'...snip...

'It's one thing for Bank of America to throw Countrywide Financial a $2 billion lifeline. It's another thing for the Treasury to involve itself in creating a company that will buy assets from structured investment vehicles, which were set up to purchase securities such as bank bonds and subprime mortgage debt.

Paulson and Robert Steel, the Treasury's top domestic finance official, seem to think the end justifies the means. Their plan would help SIVs to avoid dumping their $320 billion in holdings, further roiling the credit markets. The banks would instead create a fund to absorb the debt, using the proceeds of new commercial paper sales to finance the purchases. The new assets would be financed by selling medium-term notes and commercial paper to investors.

Appearances matter. To many Asians, there's a whiff of two former Goldman Sachs guys - Paulson and Steel - helping their buddies out of a rough spot, including Rubin, now head of the executive committee of Citigroup, the bank that stands to gain most from such a bailout.'...snip...

River: It isn't just appearances. The stuff is crap. It is being placed in a conduit to sell to "investors". The Treasury dept (Goldman) set up the scheme. Are there currently any "investors" on planet Earth that would buy this crap? No. It will be purchased by cronies of the guys controlling the banks on behalf on small fry schmucks that aren't even aware they are buying the crap. In other words, money "managers" are going to buy this crap knowing it is crap because the managers will gain real or perceived benefits from doing so. It is called corruption.

BrianT, you are exactly right, the stuff is crap. I suspect that Countrywides rosy prediction of Q4 profits have much to do with the resale of the crap to the unsuspecting small fry 'investor.' Then there are the resales to cronies of Goldman, Citibank, et al, to other cronies in charge of large pension funds, etc. As we all know they are not going to mark this crap to market.

It is interesting to carry this train of action to conclusion. If bail outs continue then eventually all the assets will be in the hands of a few people. Imagine yourself in a casino and the house continues to give you chips...Eventually you will hit a lucky streak and break the house. Voila! you own the casino. I see no difference in hiring Paulson to run the Treasury and simply handing over the Treasury to Wall St.

I see no difference in hiring Paulson to run the Treasury and simply handing over the Treasury to Wall St.

Wall St. was handed over the Treasury long ago.


The First National Bank of Montgomery v. Jerome Daly

The Illuminati and the House of Rothschild


Cold Call Business meeting;

Take a look at this one. Great Picture of (ex)NYSE Chairman Richard Grasso Embracing A FARC Commander
(By Cathrine Austin Fitts)

Brian, this is going to get worse before it gets better.

Looks like some rating agencies have been downgrading senior level tranches, which was above AAA paper.

Check this site out for some insight. (Bad language warning)


Also, some may be inclined to sign his petition for Financial Responsibility. He takes the time and expense to fax them all to appropriate Congress members for your district.


I'm plugging this guy because he is trying to make a difference. Just like I spread the work of TOD.

Our banking system and financial markets are in trouble because regulation has not been enforced.

Does anyone ever stop to wonder how the Royal Family got Royal? They had to figure out a way to get the poor schmucks to fund their wars and excesses, and pay for business losses-- and make it all seem to be the will of a Divine Providence.

It takes many generations to accomplish (that is called "history") and it requires a multi-generational willingness to eat your children when necessary.

Why wonder?

“By the 1830's, the English had become the major drug-trafficking criminal organization in the world; very few drug cartels of the twentieth century can even touch the England of the early nineteenth century in sheer size of criminality.”

The fundamental lie of free market democracy is:

"We are all independent actors in the marketplace and equal in the eyes of the law."

The fundamental truth of human nature is:

"He who has the gold makes the rules."

Libertarianism is the rankest crap because whoever obtains the most gold will rule, even if the evil government is weakened or abolished. Sovereign power will simply migrate to whatever institution is preferred by the predominant economic power. Which the above story indicates is the big US investment banks and their pet Fed.

Now tell me what these bankers' plans are for Peak Oil, and I can tell you what we will be ordered to do by the "government".

"He who has the gold makes the rules."

I kind of like that better than

"He who has the gun makes the rules."


"The party make the rules"

but I don't like it quite as much as

"I make the rules"

He who buys the people with the guns and the party makes the rules.

The FEMA we know and love so well

The Federal Emergency Management Agency had a staged news conference Tuesday in which FEMA employees posed as reporters while real reporters listened on a telephone conference line and were barred from asking questions.



I am reminded of Michael Brown's sworn testimony before Congress, "My biggest mistake was not holding enough press conferences".

Best Hopes for 15 more months,


What the hell has happened to the United States of America?

The same thing that has happened for most likely longer then your life. the slow deliberate take over by the top 1% wealthiest families after their failed coup attempt in the great depression. In fact peal off all the patriotism and you will find a system of command and control of it's citizenry very similar if not exactly alike the dictatorship of the cold war ussr(no it was not a communist nation it was only called that, it by text book definition was a one party dictatorship like north chorea is and iraq was)

It is a dirty war against ...everybody!
Naomi Klein’s Shock Doctrine

Top 1%? I think it would more accurate to call it a hostile takeover of the United States of America by the top 0.01%. The top 1% are simply riding shotgun, co-oped with the promise of tax cuts, corporate pork, etc., and that they too can join the "elite" someday...

The Bush family rose to ultimate power through international banking, national security / CIA apparatus, defense and oil industries. These are the wellsprings of the evil running amok today, which may well destroy us all if not stopped. IF power ever returns to the people through honest democracy, the unfettered power wielded by these sectors needs to be ripped apart so they may never again threaten Liberty and Freedom!!!!

i really don't think the general population has had power for a long time if at all.

I noticed that nice Mr. Bush showed his face in California while the fires are still burning ... presumably a different sort of people live there compared to NO?


The US Marine Corps was used to clear out (at gunpoint) the remaining residents of the apartments overlooking Jackson Square before his speech there. Generators were flown in for the speech, and flown right out again (we could have used them !)


Actually, Louisiana voted for Bush twice while California went to Gore and then Kerry.

Orleans Parish went heavily against Bush, while our suburb Metairie, is a Republican stronghold.

This may explain why evacuation buses arrived Wednesday morning (with ice & Port-a-lets) in Metairie, to evacuate those that got inches of rainwater in their homes. It was a dry walk (about 8 miles) from the Convention Center to the white R evac point. Those that tried to walk there were chased back by police gun-fire. The Convention Center had to wait till Friday evening, two hours before GWB's Jackson Square speech, for first relief.

The overhead shot of trucks going through water was pure PR. There is a bridge ramp straight into the middle of the Convention Center. No need to get your feet or tires wet from there to Mississippi.

Michael Brown later said that he was told to make Democratic elected officials look bad.


yes they were. mostly well to do almost wealthy white, the ruins of the home he stood in was probably worth more then a few million.

But the really rich folk had their own fire services to protect their homes. That's in addition to the public fire department. You pay $10,000, and private contractors come out and spray fire retardant foam all around your house.

$10k is a bar tip out in real estate bubble California.

I was thinking, why hasn't anyone worked out a way to spray foam or something on a house when a fire's approaching? Even though there's such thing as fire insurance, there's all that personal stuff that insurance can't replace.

Yeah! Like indoor sprinklers, but under the eaves. Why not?

Amoung my many hats, I am a fire protection engineer. The national fire sprinkler standard, NFPA 13, contains a description of exposure protection fire extinguishers. They are only used when buildings are too close to each other.

Make that "exposure protection sprinkler" not "fire extinguishers".

mmm, Okay. What if your building is at the top of a chaparral field?

I still think a tile roof, a little brush clearance, and sprinklers under the eaves would be pretty good fire protection.

The areas which burned in San Diego (i'm a local) are all wealthy, almost all white (+ a little Asian) suburbs which vote reliably Republican.

Especially Rancho Santa Fe.


The Rancho Santa Fe Golf & Tennis Club extends on-approval membership to all Covenant residents, with some exceptions. The notoriously strict policies of the Club include the denial of membership to residents of the condominiums constructed in the Village during the 1970s. The Club board's dislike of the condominium complexes extends to the blackballing of any current member who moves into one. Such strict regulations are not restricted to residency; they also apply to behavior on (and off) Club grounds.<?i>

Ok, now...what do you suggest for accountability?

I've just published a substantial re-working of my strongly-critiqued article "World Energy and Population: Trends to 2100". Thanks to the constructive input I received from many Oil Drummers, it has undergone a significant transmogrification, and all for the better.

I've limited the time horizon to 2050, explicitly incorporated the EWG projections for Peak Oil and coal and have done a much more careful analysis of nuclear power and renewable energy sources.

Gone is any discussion of an apocalyptic die-off, though there is a still a hint of spreading famine in the air. I briefly examine the implications of energy decline if the UN’s Medium Fertility Case for population turns out to be correct and there are indeed 9 billion of us stomping around on the planet in 2050.


Throughout history, the expansion of human civilization has been supported by a steady growth in our use of high-quality exosomatic energy. This has been due to both our increasing population and our increasing level of activity. As we learned to harness the energy sources around us we progressed from horse-drawn plows, hand forges and wood fires to our present level of mechanization with its wide variety of high-density energy sources. As industrialization has progressed around the world, the amount of energy each one of us uses has also increased, with the global average per capita consumption of all forms of energy rising by 50% in the last 40 years alone.

This rosy vision of continuous growth has recently been challenged by the theory of "Peak Oil", which concludes that the amount of oil and natural gas being extracted from the earth will shortly start an irreversible decline. AS that happens we will have to depend increasingly on other energy sources to power our civilization. In this article I will offer a glimpse into that changed energy future. I hope to be able to provide a realistic assessment of the evolution of the global energy supply picture, and to estimate how much of the various types of energy we will have available to us in the coming decades.

The article is at: World Energy to 2050

I'd be delighted to hear your thoughts.


IMO it's unfortunate that "discussion of an apocalyptic die-off" is such a turn-off for most people; that's what finally got me off my ass about PO. I first learned of PO in 2000, but my social circle was completely complacent when I mentioned it, so I put it on a way, way, way back burner. About a year ago, in a Rolling Stone article Al Gore mentioned Lovelock; I googled Lovelock and finally "got it". I guess I just have a "doomer" gene that makes me able to plan for long-lasting disasters. Nonetheless, I owe a special debt of gratitude to Rolling Stone and Lovelock.

One quick comment re the Lovelock article above: the good Doctor seems to have blinders on in one area - he doesn't want to acknowledge that war is one of the natural feedback systems used by the H sapiens animals to control their numbers.

Hmmm, I also want to thank Leanan, Prof Goose, and all the folks at TOD who've helped me understand why the vast majority of humanity will intentionally close their eyes as they approach a cliff.

Errol in Miami

The question for me is how to lead those horses that don't have a "doomer gene" a little closer to the water. I'm hoping that a series of gentle tugs on the bridle will work better than trying to shove them into the waters of the River Styx in one fell swoop.

Accomplishing that goal may require presenting the chain of evidence one link at a time. You have to do it in such a way that people say, "Yes, that's reasonable", "OK, that follows from what you showed me before", "Yup, that's a logical extension of the argument, fully supported by the facts", "...Ohmygod, that means that the only possible conclusion is..."

I look on this reworked article as one of the early steps in that process. Now I'm looking for the next step. I think it has something to do with the rising cost of fertilizer and the state of the world's topsoil.

What exactly are you hoping to accomplish by trying to lead these horses to water? It's pretty obvious to me that a planet with 9 billion of our kind stomping around would be a pretty damned miserable place to be even without an apocalyptic dieoff. Hell, it's getting pretty miserable already with 6.6 billion. If people can't see that for themselves I doubt your scholarly articles will persuade them. Best of luck to you.

Hey, everyone needs a hobby...

I've been thinking of doing a YouTube video question for the upcoming Republican debate, so I thought I'd run the script past the drumbeat readers for comments, criticism and ideas...

(Black screen)
(Sound of Basketball bouncing three times)
(dissolve to questioner holding basketball and a salt shaker)

Let's talk about oil.
Supposing this basketball were the Earth,
how much oil do you think there would be?
One shake? Two? Three?

(Questioner salts the basketball)
(sound of game show buzzer BZZZT!)

The answer is that a single crystal of salt...

(zoom to photomicrograph of single crystal of salt on basketball)

represents more than the entire one-time endowment of oil to the world. That's it. That's all we've got.

(dissolve to questioner)
Full sized, that cube would be a little more than 4 miles on a side. Sounds a lot better that way, doesn't it? Except - we've already used up half of it.

With the first half, we've built our great cities and towns, and the roads and the highways between them. We built the sprawling suburbs, with thier strip malls, and big box discount stores. We built cars, trucks and SUVs to take us from place to place.

We used the first half of the oil to build an America that runs on oil.

My question for the candidates is this: How shall we use the second half of the oil?

Do it. Unfortunately if the question is asked the candidates, except Ron Paul, who has other defects, will obfuscate, deny, or pontificate how we must develop our energy independence by drilling more holes.

Then the question will have served two purposes.

First, it will reveal the contents of the little pre-taped message the candidates have to playback on energy...

Second, I hope the juxtaposition of the two very familiar household objects will have a certain shock value to the public in general.

Perhaps I should reword the final question to something like...

"My question for the candidates, and indeed for all of us, is this: How shall we use the second half of the oil?"

Ron Paul, who has other defects, will obfuscate, deny,

What is better? Seeming to lack the defect of obfuscate and denial, or (seeming) to be up front and wrong on more than a few points?

Dr. Paul still thinks that energy is a 'market solvable' problem.

Dr. Paul still thinks that energy is a 'market solvable' problem

I say support Ron Paul, Everything else he has stood for and voted against(patriot act, wiretaps, Budget, executive power, etc) is a good starting point. Energy, He can learn about. He is HONEST. That alone sets him apart from nearly everyone else(except Dennis and a couple others).

He will DRIVE THEM NUTS. He will dismantle the FED and many other things. He can learn about Peak Oil.

Everything else he has stood for and voted against

I'm in agreement about voting Dr. Paul - but one must remember why he's Dr. No. Its because he doesn't see the Feds in the roll of whatever the law is he says no.

He is HONEST. That alone sets him apart from nearly everyone else(except Dennis

He does SEEM to be honest. Even if he's a crooked SOB, a smaller Fed would tend to limit the crooked options however.....

He can learn about Peak Oil.

He might be able to 'learn' about PO - but I have a feeling it'll be the hard way - like most of us.

Question for the [Republican] candidates:
How shall we use the second half of the oil [cube]?

I think they already have pre-canned answers.

Something about "human ingenuity".
Something about "the marketplace".

And something about how it's always worked for us before.

In order to resonate with the Republican mind, you need to use certain comfort noises that appeal to them. Try this instead:

Spock: Jim, you hold in your hand a powerful RAYGUN.

Kirk: Why yes Spock, this RAYGUN
is indeed powerful. It is the product of a free intergalactic marketplace. It is the result of letting loose the ingenuity of the human mind (and sometimes a Vulcan mind here and there).
With ingenuity we can do anything.

Spock: Jim, my Vulcan mind is unable to accept the hypothesis that a mere RAYGUN
can do anything and everything. For example, it could not solve the oil depletion problem on Earth, which is why we are out here in the first place, going from one deity-forsaken planet to a next, where no humanoid has dared go to before; constantly looking for a fresh supply of Di-Lithium Crystals.

Kirk: Spock you're such a Geek.
If we get enough of these big RAYGUNs together, the critical mass will generate more energy than humanity might need for another 1000 years. Such is the power of RAYGUN economics. A small trickle here, a small trickle there, and then shazam; the hockey stick let's loose with all its might.

Spock: If my head was as pointed as my ears, I might believe you.

Not sure what to make of this story from India...

Export of perishables to be suspended from midnight

Thiruvananthapuram: Export of fresh fruits and vegetables to various destinations in West Asia from the three airports in the State will come to a standstill from midnight on Friday.

The exporters based in Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi, and Karipur airports have resorted to this step in view of the severe financial crisis faced by them due to the steep fall in dollar value and appreciation of the rupee and spiralling prices of perishables.

Exporters who send shipments to destinations in the Middle East and other countries against realisation of dollar had been incurring heavy loss as dollar rates declined.

freight rates, which was about Rs.38-40 per kg including security and fuel surcharges for perishables, had come as a setback for exporters from the State and was unaffordable.

It looks like fuel surcharges are an additional factor. As Jim Kunstler said, we are no longer going to have the 3,000 mile Caesar salad.

BTW, good discussion on hour three on Financial Sense, about having a "Get the hell out of Dodge plan."


These are the mechanisms, I am quite convinced, that will be determining our future. Today it's the customers in Oman or Quatar who get less fresh fruit, and those 10,000 farmers in Kerala and Tamilnadu, tomorrow it will be us.

Thanks for finding this report which again shows it's not political speeches or smart newspaper comments which count.
As I, again, read above: “Men argue; nature acts.”

I've been suspicious that the falling dollar was a very intentional way of dealing with peak oil, while not having the admit it is occurring.

Stories like this reinforce that perception.

I've posted items on this site and others about the declining value of the US $. I like to think I am pretty aware of it's ramifications but a poster over at LATOC brought something to my attention I had not considered.
US military troops and families stationed overseas are paid in US $'s. Most have to buy a portion or a large part of their necessities in local currencies. Depending on the specific families circumstances they may have to buy food, fuel and pay rent in euros for example.
The mismanagement of our countries currencie by our politicians has resulted in a large pay cut for our overseas service people and their families.
Another thing to make your teeth grind the next time you see a "Support our troops " bumper sticker on some SUV.

You seem to be unaware of the PX and Commissary systems.
They function as grocery stores and department stores for troops stationed overseas and inside the USA.


but a large portion of overseas troops, with families, live in the local communities in off-base accomodation and relying purely on the PX and Commissary is just not realistic in places like Germany for example
All these memories will be lost in time
like tears in rain

I believe one of the drivers is the fact that some Middle Eastern countries are pegged to the dollar.

The peg induces inflation in the ME currency and puts India at a disadvantage since they do not peg to the dollar.

It sounds like a renegotiation along with some idea what to put in the empty return flights is what is required to make the food move again. I don't see a direct oil story here, but may be missing something.

Genetically Modified Algae Stores Energy as Hydrogen Fuel


Prof. Hankamer said, in order to harvest hydrogen gas from a bioreactor, a concentrated mass of algae in sealed vats could be stored that would pump out hydrogen each time the Sun is shining. He said, as the algae were inefficient at capturing sunlight, with 90 percent of the light falling on them given off as heat or fluorescence, the team used RNA interference (RNAi) to engineer a strain of algae to make the process more efficient.The result – the team engineered a strain of algae that only used the light it needed, rather than wasting it as fluorescence and heat.

And in other news, plants store energy in hydrocarbons!

Even if they manage to coax the chlorophyll molecule to push the electrons directly onto a wire, it'll still convert < 3% of the incoming sunlight into energy.

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

The goal of the program is to convert 50% of the conversion to into hydrogen, where as now the Alge only convert 3% to Hydrogen. Which in turn would be able to make 1kg of H2 for about 3bucks. Trust me much smarter people than us working on this.

This is another interesting development, looks good if they can increase the efficiency:

Semiconductor splits water with sunlight


Scientists in Germany have developed a promising new catalyst that splits water using sunlight -and stores the hydrogen and oxygen produced. The research combines two important energy sources of the future: solar power and hydrogen fuel. The team at the Max Planck Institute for Bioinorganic Chemistry in Mülheim found that titanium disilicide (TiSi2) could split water using a photocatalytic process akin to photosynthesis - where chlorophyll molecules use light energy to convert water and carbon dioxide into glucose at room temperature.

You missed the whole point. You can't get 50% conversion out of chlorophyll, because 80% of photons just fly right by it. The other 20% are degraded from visible to infrared, only extracting part of their energy. So, even if you hook up little teeny tiny wires to the chlorophyll molecules and collect 100% of the electrons they extract from water molecules, you won't have 50% efficiency. Period.

At least with silicon photovoltaics you get 10-15% efficiency. And you get energy in a very usable form. Hydrogen is hard to store, hard to transport, and tends to leak out of things. You can store it in chemical form, but the conversion efficiency is low. Or it requires exotic chemicals. Or both.

Keep the ideas coming ... nothing to see yet!


Don't let facts get in the way of the ANTI DOOM!

Hello TODers,

More wild and crazy speculation on my Foundation paradigm shift optimization thinking:

Recall my prior postings on NPK certificates, keystone predation for habitat optimization, and the gradual remelding of the humanimal ecosystem back into tight feedback loops with the natural ecosystem by sequential building of biosolar habitats, leveraged by biosolar mission-critical investing.

Nature's tight feedback loop of thermodynamically constrained territoriality in keystone predators is evidenced by urination and scat marking along a desired defensive perimeter. In essence: the animals' instinctively calculate, then mark optimal territory size based on somatic energy levels and border patrol frequency, and then are willing to battle competing intruders in defense, not only for themself, but for continued access to all resources within that territory. This real-time process thus helps to hold amd mold ideal habitat equilibrium and tight feedback flows across multi-territory watersheds and migratory prey somatic patterns.

This boundary defecation and urination chemical enrichment transport process leverages perimeter plant growth, while at the same time minimizes undesired pollution of water supplies because the watering hole or creek is probably central to the defined territory, and provides the most energy-efficient hunting opportunites [easy harvesting of prey animals seeking a drink--see Battle of Kruger video]. Thus, the geographical rainflow distance allows maximal opportunity for ground absorption before it gets back to pollute a water reservoir.

We, the stupid humans, do the exact reverse. We have no instinctive or higher brain somatic concepts of all-inclusive biosolar resource territoriality. If we did, local battle would have long ago instantly broken out once watershed pop. density and/or human-powered food harvest density reached our somatic thermo-territory limit; we would have not continued into Overshoot and unsustainably large ecological footprints.

What is worse: exosomatic FF-use has even less possible recognition, then mental assimilation into a real-time thermo-calculation into what constitutes a reasonably sized territory for habitat optimization, minimal waste, and thermo-contrained defense.

My hope is that a Earthmarine vanguard, highly knowledgeable in Foundation concepts for optimal paradigm shift, will quickly establish themselves as keystone predators in defensible boundaries [Cascadia, Great Lakes, New Vermont Republic?]initially FF-exosomatically contrained, but later biosolar-exosomatically constrained.

The invading Mercs will pay a heavy cost due to stretched, thermo-depleting supply line logistics [both exo & somatic], unfamiliar territory, and the Earthmarine advantage in territorial pre-positioning.

If the biosolar habitats also have early and optimal Humanure recycling, composting, crop rotation, and wise-usage of NPK and food stockpiles, combined with biodiversity protection schemes [Recall earlier posting on tall trees]: this would promote boundary growth for greater defensive protection, less watershed pollution blowback, and greatly extend NPK supplies beyond present high rate FF to NPK usage.

The political drive towards Secession and restructuring to relocalized permaculture, buttressed by biosolar infrastructure from PV, Wind, TOD, etc, from fundamental, biosolar mission-critical investors, can rapidly concentrate initial outgrowth territorial pockets to help drive further paradigm change and habitat re-equilibration at both the somatic and exosomatic levels.

Compare this brief, and quickly sketched strategy above with the ongoing and mindless FF-detritovore strategy:

We don't even accept current and natural somatic limitations on reproduction. A couple with weak sperm and/or weak eggs won't even accept this obvious clue provided by Mother Nature, but will apply huge amounts of exosomatic energy and natural resources to overcome this micrometer barrier:

What are the costs of IVF?

The average cost of a single IVF procedure in the U.S. is $12,500 on average (it can vary significantly, depending on where and what doctor) and many insurers provide zero or minimal coverage. If you are using an egg donor, compensation for the donor and the egg-donation agency can double the costs. Because success is not assured, remember that you may need to pay for multiple attempts. When you are quoted a price, remember to ask what the costs cover, including pre and post care, the actual procedure, drugs, and any associated lab and ultrasound fees.
At $100/bbl: does it make any sense to burn the FF-equivalent of 125 barrels of crude to make a single sperm move that last micrometer?

How many MPG or Kilometers/liter is that--My guess is that 100 giant cruise ships would burn less total fuel to each move a micrometer compared to that single sperm being exosomatically boosted into the egg!

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

Hello TODers,

Trying to figure out IVF sperm exo-movement mileage, then compare to a cruise ship's mileage:

125 barrels X 42 gal/barrel = 5,280 gallons per micrometer

It takes a 1,000 micrometers to equal one meter, and 1,000 meters to equal one kilometer = so one million micrometers per kilometer. Thus:

one million X 5,280 gal = 5,280,000,000 gallons/kilometer or 5.28 billion gallons/kilometer.

Another way to look at this is if we exo-created a million IVF babies: it requires burning the equivalent of 5.28 billion gallons of gasoline, or even more natgas, just to jumpstart the babies cooking in their mother's womb! That is a huge, fireball of a 'pilot ignition flame' to light the IVF pregnancy oven!!!

1 kilometer = 0.621371192 of a mile, also 1 US gallon = 3.7854118 liter

So 5.28 billion gallons X 3.7854118 =

19,986,970,000 liters/kilometer for an IVF baby

or 5.28 billion gallons divided by 0.621371192 =

8,497,336,323 gallons/mile for an IVF baby.

Lets round that off to 8.5 billion gallons/mile to create an IVF baby. Remember, Mother Nature normally does this exosomatically-free, with very little somatic caloric expenditure!

Maybe a cruise ship comparison isn't very good, lets compare with a NASA Saturn 5 rocket for fuel efficiency and eneergy-intensity:

The first stage of the Saturn V rocket used 2000 metric tonnes of RP-1 Fuel and LOX, at some 0.81 g/ml that means there was 1'620'000L or 427'958.723 US gallons, and you know how far that first stage went? 61km, or 37.9036427 mi
So, the first stage of the Saturn V got 0.0000886mpg
Yes, we can put a man on the moon, but that sure as hell doesn't help us to make cars do 35mpg.
So, 0.0000886 mpg is equal to 5280 ft X 12 inches X 0.0000886 or 5.61 inches/gallon or 12/5.61 or 2.14 gallons burned to lift the Sat5 one foot. Then 2.14 gals/ft X 5,280 ft/mile = 11,294 gals/mile per Saturn 5 rocket.

Finally, 8.5 billion gals/mile baby divided by 11,294 gals/mile of SAT5 = 752,612 Saturn 5 rockets going straight up one mile apiece to equal the energy intensity/distance of creating an IVF baby!

Perhaps visualizing the entire state of Florida being rocket-lifted one mile up might be the best way to visualize the energy-intensity concentration of an IVF baby process.

Hope my math is correct!

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

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

From this link [please see the photo];

Size of eggs
A human oocyte is about 100 micrometers in diameter, which is large for a cell. If it is not fertilized within a day of its ejection from the ovary, it dies.

My guess is an egg is about the size of this letter o'
and sperm is much smaller. The IVF process uses the exosomatic equivalent of 5,280 gallons of gas to make the apostrophe [sperm] finally penetrate the 1 micrometer black outline to get to the white center of the egg.

Compare to Mother Nature's somatic efficiency to repeat this process: just add a sixpack of beer split between a carefree teenage boy and girl, then a 'quickie' in the bedroom while the parents are out to dinner.

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

My guess is an egg is about the size of this letter o' and sperm is much smaller.

You must be viewing in a much smaller font than I am. Good eyes!

IVF certainly uses an obscene amount of energy, but of course the really obscene part is how much that little o will burn in its privileged lifetime.

Hello Greenish,

Thxs for responding. OOPs, I'm wrong--You are correct--the egg is even smaller than a .

Hello TODers,

Here is a little more on how we FF-detritovores are unnaturally and exosomatically Thermo/Gene leveraging the human pop. into XXXtreme Overshoot:

Health workers express concern with growing number of multiple births

As women delay having babies and - consequently, since fertility decreases with age - more couples turn to in-vitro fertilization, numbers of multiple births are increasing.

Since 1979, the number of multiple-birth babies has increased 35 per cent, while the total number of births has decreased 7.7 per cent, according to Statistics Canada.

In 1982 there were 6,794 twins born in Canada, 138 triplets and four quads. By 1990 that had grown to 8,322 twins, 237 triplets, and 32 quads. In 1999, there were 8,867 twins, 375 triplets, 20 quads and five quintuplets.

Nearly half the women in Canada who gave birth in 2003 were 30 or older; that same year, Nova Scotia recorded 8,706 births - including 269 multiples. The following year, there were 300 multiple births here.
The first successful IVF treatment in the USA (producing Elizabeth Jordan Carr) took place in 1981 under the direction of Doctors Howard Jones and Georgeanna Seegar Jones in Norfolk, Virginia. Since then IVF has exploded in popularity, with as many as 1% of all births now being conceived in-vitro, with over 115,000 born in the USA to date. At present, the percentage of children born after IVF or intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) has been up to 4% of all babies born in Denmark.
115,000 IVF-babies @ 125 barrels of crude apiece, just to conceive, not counting the energy to raise equals

115,000 X 125 = 14,375,000 barrels of crude equivalent

that could have gone to other uses like providing clean water, medicine, and food to already living babies.

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

My guess is an egg is about the size of this letter o'
and sperm is much smaller.

Not even close. A micron is one millionth of a meter. That means there would be 10,000 microns in one centimeter. 100 microns would be one 100th of a centimeter. Line up 100 female eggs and they would make a line one centimeter long. Or, line up 254 of them and they would make a line one inch long. That would mean each one would be much smaller than the period at the end of this line.

I remember reading somewhere that the female egg is the largest cell in the human body and that the male sperm cell is the smallest.

Ron Patterson

> Yes, we can put a man on the moon, but that sure as hell doesn't help us to make cars do 35mpg.

Cars doing 35 mpg is no big deal whatsoever. In fact many "family cars" sold in Europe today use about 5 liter /100 Km or less, which should be about 45 mpg according to my quick estimate. This is not hybrid cars or any other alternative technology, but ordinary cars usually bought for budget reasons rather than environmental reasons. It not small two-seaters or similar either, but can even be station wagons. Such cars do have small engines though (like 1300 cc). Now you pay about the same for a liter of fuel in many European countries as you do for a gallon in the US, and this is what stop the 35+ mpg car rather than technology. Rising oil prices may fix that.

Hi Bob, I'm a fan of your posts, and think that by any non-arbitrary criteria humans are dumber than yeast.

Humans need predation but don't like predation. Not an unusual subjective feeling on the part of a prey animal, but we've done away with predation temporarily. This will be shown to have been an outstandingly poor idea; we're setting up billions of dominoes for viral and bacterial 'predators' to knock over.

There will also be human "predation". I think it's fairly clear that there are multiple behavioral regimes in all of us as there are in many animals. There aren't, for the most part, good and evil people... rather the regimes are triggered by context. The mass killings of history have historically been conducted by masses of ordinary people with just a bit of a nudge. As disturbing as it is, this is probably a normal and healthy part of what it means to be human. Many animals will alter behavior to limit their own numbers in response to environmental cues. Just think how much better off the reindeer on St. Matthew Island would have been if they had been equipped with behavioral triggers which made them murderous to one another past a crucial level of population density. The Stanford Prison Experiment shows how utterly ubiquitous is the willingness to kill based on social cues, among even the most well-adjusted and unstressed. So the microbial and viral predators will have some help.

The currently dominant human cultures tend to have a very f*kked-up view of personal death and predation. Arguably and ironically, that probably has been the biggest impediment to millions of generations of healthy humans living on a bountiful planet indefinitely. It is a flaw unique to humans, not shared by yeast or others. Our fears have harnessed fire; our intellects play little part except in rationalizing and occasionally as commentators.

Energy slaves may have done more than just pump our water and grind our grain; they may have also muted the natural triggers of behavioral phase shift. If so, we haven't killed the predators at all; they're hiding, waiting, in our own minds and genomes. Behind our own eyelashes in the mirror.

The EarthMarines scenarios are interesting, but my experience leads me to think things won't be that organized. EarthMarines would mostly end up competing with and killing off one another over minor points of philosophical disagreement.

Keep up the good work.

Hello Greenish,

Thxs for the thoughtful reply.

Your quote: "The EarthMarines scenarios are interesting, but my experience leads me to think things won't be that organized. EarthMarines would mostly end up competing with and killing off one another over minor points of philosophical disagreement."

Maybe or maybe not. Remember that societal Liebig Minimums can rapidly galvanize competing groups. Recall my long ago posting series on Sri Lanka: Two groups, one upstream, the other downstream quickly fought to the death over control of a mere water sluicegate. Or the brother Somali clans that engaged in a brutal firefight over a stand of trees.

Now extrapolate that to Leanan's downthread link:

Crisis feared as U.S. water supplies dry up
If 36 states start having severe shortages--will the remaining 14 welcome them with open arms, or firearms? The Earthmarines in Cascadia, Great Lakes, or other biosolar watershed habitats, might be so busy trying to survive that philosophical differences will be seen as a waste of breath. In Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs....


...Self-actualization and transcendance come long after trying to keep sufficient water and food to stay alive.

EDIT: the Civil War was also quite effective in drawing Continental battlelines over whether human-slave powered lifestyles, or energy-slave powered lifestyles would ultimately dominate.

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

"EarthMarines would mostly end up competing with and killing off one another over minor points of philosophical disagreement."

Maybe or maybe not. Remember that societal Liebig Minimums can rapidly galvanize competing groups.

If 36 states start having severe shortages--will the remaining 14 welcome them with open arms, or firearms? The Earthmarines in Cascadia, Great Lakes, or other biosolar watershed habitats, might be so busy trying to survive that philosophical differences will be seen as a waste of breath.

EDIT: the Civil War was also quite effective in drawing Continental battlelines over whether human-slave powered lifestyles, or energy-slave powered lifestyles would ultimately dominate.

(quote edited for brevity)

I don't doubt that there will be some resistance to increase in population density from encroachment, I just doubt that there will be any "EarthMarines" per se, or any force with complex organizing principles. What passes for radical environmentalists are for the most part fractious posers, and I say that with no little regret since the nation and world would be more interesting otherwise.

I don't see people of "Cascadia", for instance, as pulling together. They won't have your overview; they'll be pissed off, and you fight with people you interact with, not those over the horizon. The "EarthMarines" would be considered opponents by most Cascadians.

There probably WILL be civil wars a-comin' once the energy slaves run off. But the battle lines will almost certainly be drawn over other issues. Secession will probably suffice, as it did in the Civil War; with maybe an EarthMarine theme tacked on for moral high ground. But I think the hordes from the south will not be repelled by militant tofu-and-granola eaters running into battle in green uniforms yelling " FOR GAIA!", Braveheart style. Not that this is what you suggest, it's my own fantasy du jour.

May simply be a matter of which warlords get their act together first; who starts thinking tactically and strategically.

Ever seen the movie Land & Freedom, about the Spanish civil war, and the leftist groups spending more time in-fighting and purging those that disagreed here and there than they did actually fighting the fascists at times.

Not surprising they lost.
All these memories will be lost in time
like tears in rain

That is the nature of such groups. Don't doubt it.

Self-organizing militias seldom survive contact with partial victory. Once utter desperation passes, the members realize they really hate one another and don't actually have the same motivations at all.

From the power revolution in US News

one reason pump prices have not skyrocketed along with the price of crude oil is that so much fuel is blended with 10 percent ethanol

Thank God for ethanol. ;-)

Global Warming Alarmism Reaches A 'Tipping Point' (Sen. James Inhofe, R-OK)

I really hope Inhofe is correct about this but I really doubt it.

The Religion of Galactic Climate Change is not likely to die such an easy death. As long as the celebrities and the media have gullible young people and commercials to sell...

I wonder what the James Gang (Lovelock and Hansen) would do if their life-long obsessions went back to comic book land?

I wonder what Al "Man-Bear-Pig" Gore will do to get attention next???

If only the 1st world took a small fraction of the time and energy spent on the climate change crusade and instead spent the same on the Peak Oil mitigation...

You did this last week, too.

If you have an objection to the CC arguments, state them. You don't add much to your cred as a poster by calling Gore a bunch of wacky names.. or frankly by running with Inhofe's ilk. His methods of objecting to CC have left him with no workable footholds, either. If there are some literate and legitimate objections, do please offer them up.

It seems clear to me that both 'likelihoods' (PO, CC) have similarly dire potential and it's just possible we'll be fighting a two-front war. So yes, we need to address energy in all haste.. but that's no reason to let down what little alarm has been raised on the climate concerns.. neither is really being addressed seriously yet, just because there is actually 'some' regular attention given to the Climate now.

Wow, sendoilplease, you've really got your right-wing talking points down. Oh please, do regale us with some more! Don't bother backing up anything you say with any real evidence. We just love hearing the same crazy claims made over...and over...and over...

Oh, those sneaky physical chemists, faking the IR spectrum of CO2 all the last century!

And how did the laser scientists ever get it to fire at the 10.3 micron emission peak! They must have substituted something else as a laser medium ...

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

Article above "Iran says enough supply in oil market - newspaper"

Iran's caretaker Oil Minister Nozari actually said "OPEC is producing at full capacity". Did he mean all of OPEC or just Iran? If he really means all of OPEC, prices may reach $US100/barrel within the next few months as supply is highly likely to not satisfy demand.

Crisis feared as U.S. water supplies dry up - Government projects at least 36 states will face shortages within five years

An epic drought in Georgia threatens the water supply for millions. Florida doesn’t have nearly enough water for its expected population boom. The Great Lakes are shrinking. Upstate New York’s reservoirs have dropped to record lows. And in the West, the Sierra Nevada snowpack is melting faster each year.

Across America, the picture is critically clear — the nation’s freshwater supplies can no longer quench its thirst.

The government projects that at least 36 states will face water shortages within five years because of a combination of rising temperatures, drought, population growth, urban sprawl, waste and excess.

We just need to make the requisite hedonic adjustments. A cheaper substitute for clean fresh water will be found, right?

I haven't seen this mentioned yet but a new tropical depression (soon to be a storm) has formed south of Hispaniola:


Its 3 day forecast shows it heading in the direction of the GOM, but then it is predicted to turn sharp right and head north between days 3-5 so not an immediate cause of worry if so (as far as oil is concerned at least). Worth watching however...........

Aww jeeze Leanan, you had to go and put that whack job Inhofe in here and stink up the joint. He thinks warming and peak oil are both liberal plots to overthrow our great american lifestyle. He's also convinced Iraq is going great and Bush is the best prez since Nixon.

There is no cure for stupid.

I'm just curious, but do you have any evidence that debunks any of the points in that Article? Surely a highly intelligent person, such as yourself, could half-hearted show us all where hes wrong?

For a start his reference to 1934 being the US's hottest year is misleading rubbish. As is his claim that we have been cooling since 1998. Utter crap basically.

James Inhofe has well-known links to Exxon funded anti climate change organisations... follow the money.

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

There's of course other stuff.

He misrepresents the Tsonis et paper as proof of what is is not. It is a paper about natural climate cycle frequencies, which have not been denied by anyone. It is a correlation model, offering no proof of a physical causation (i.e. what really drives it) and as such is not directly against/for AGW model. The paper itself is not denialist propaganda, but Inhofe's representation of it clearly is.

The same goes for the "Deep sea temperature rises for 1300 years" paper, which is not a conclusive proof either way, although it does again shed new light onto the issue.

Also, I do agree that Inhofe appears to be no more than an irate ideologically charged, well lubricated politician who cherry picks his data, misrepresents it the way he wants and uses really childish rhetoric in his dichotomic either/or argumentation. That or he really thinks he is right and that his reasoning is somehow based on science.

Scratch the last part. It appears he's self-proclaimed believer in a world government conspiracy against the freedoms of United States. Right... so much for that theory of scientific thought.

He clearly is not interested in the scientific truth, but pressing on with his political agenda. A classic politician, so don't read the science literature off his speech, just like you shouldn't do it with any politician, if you want the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

But if people want to take his word as gospel, so be it. Who am I to argue.

* Again I restate, this is not an either/or argument. AGW can exist while several other climate warming trends AT THE SAME TIME. Also, for all I know, AGW predictive models can be A LOT off, but currently the real observable data from the field is enough on it's own for some concerns on it's own. Also, the models could be CORRECT. We have to account for that possibility as well. To claim that the whole AGW model is bunk and all the scientists modeling it are stupid/paid/wrong, without having proper scientific proof of _that_ argument... well that's not just unscientific, it's insane or political spin (pick your poison).

Mid-Columbia farmers feel sting of rising gas prices
...He uses about 30,000 gallons of fuel annually,

Ok, does anyone else think this is unbelievable?

82 gallons of diesel or gasoline per day for 100 acres?

Is he synthesizing apples directly from hydrocarbons?!

Doomy, not gloomy.

I have a 120-acre farm and doubt I use more than 400-500 gallons of gasoline and diesel a year.

Hay, corn, cows ...

"I have a 120-acre farm and doubt I use more than 400-500 gallons of gasoline and diesel a year."

500/120 = 4.2 gal per acre

"He uses about 30,000 gallons of fuel annually, mostly diesel, to run machinery at his 100-acre organic apple and cherry orchard."

30,000/100 = 300 gal per acre

Hmm...Slight difference. I think that guy needs an energy audit.

30,000 gals. annually on 100 acres of apples has got to be a mistake. I noticed it earlier in the day and decided not to comment. There is so much misinformation on the Internet, including here at TOD, that you just have to let most of it pass. I try to save my comments for something that matters to me. Correcting all the misstatements and lies would be a full time job.

It's an organic farm, and I gather organic farms use more fuel. Instead of spraying weeds, they mow instead. Less chemicals, more climate change. Yay.

Dunno if it's that much more fuel, though.

So I keep reading articles on here about banking and how the system works and its imminent collapse. I also read about people on here wondering how to buy the sorts of resources they need for disaster planning.

Ignoring the start-up capital costs (not as big a problem to solve as others) why can I not just do the following:

Set up a bank (seems straightforward: paperwork, business plan, experienced team, start-up capital) with one target audience. People who wish to borrow to purchase assets that are likely to leap in value as Peak really hits.

I mean, I seem to be able to create money out of thin air as a bank, according to the links on here (just go with the fact that I'd get a license here for the moment).

So, lend against assets like NPK, arable land etc. In a total collapse people are left with assets and the bank is unlikely to collect, I understand that challenge - but that will be a much bigger societal problem. In the interim, people get to borrow from a bank that buys into their story that they're buying assets that will appreciate faster than the interest rate costs them money.

I mean - surely there's a customer base for me on here.

Anyone want to tell me why that isn't a good idea?

(Now to the q of capital - with the right business plan and idea, there is ALWAYS capital out there... there'll be a few million bucks worth of investors that'll take a punt on a new business that could at least leave them some valuable assets if it doesn't work out.)
All these memories will be lost in time
like tears in rain

An actual bank? Not with a few million, but you might be able to start some megre finance company :)