DrumBeat: November 12, 2007

OPEC Won't Raise Output at Summit, Gulf Officials Say

OPEC, the producer of more than 40 percent of the world's oil, has no plan to discuss raising production targets at its Heads of State Summit in Riyadh on Nov. 17-18, oil officials from Iran and a Persian Gulf state said.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries won't discuss raising supply at the summit and will instead discuss that during a Dec. 5 ministerial-level meeting in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Iran's OPEC governor, Hossein Kazempour Ardebili, told the state-run Islamic Republic News Agency today.

Mars Output Near 190k BOE/D After Multiday Outage - Shell

Royal Dutch Shell Plc resumed production over the weekend at its Mars platform in the Gulf of Mexico, which was shut last week because of a faulty valve.

"Mars is expected to be back to a normal producing rate of approximately 190,000 barrels of oil equivalent over the next couple of days," said Shell spokeswoman Darci Sinclair.

Energy official calls for steps to cut speculation that has pushed oil prices to near US$100

The rampant speculation helping to push up world oil prices should be reined in by controlling energy demand with conservation and boosting supply, an energy official said Monday.

William C. Ramsay, deputy executive director of the International Energy Agency, said a growing mass of money available for speculation was fueling the trend as the cost of a barrel of oil approaches $100.

"The speculators wouldn't be in the market if the underlying conditions of the market weren't advantageous to the speculators," Ramsay told reporters in Tokyo. "Our attitude is: fix the fundamentals."

DOE's Harbert: No Commitment From OPEC To Raise Output

Despite calls for the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries to increase production quotas at its next meeting, the U.S. hasn't received any commitment from the group saying it would hike production again, a top U.S. energy official said Monday.

Karen Harbert, the Department of Energy's assistant secretary for policy and international affairs, told reporters she had been in constant contact with producing nations, including OPEC members.

"What we're hearing is that they are starting to become very concerned about price, (but) nobody has made any commitments to address it directly through additional supply," Harbert said when asked whether OPEC had indicated it would respond to calls to hike output.

Barroso warns of dwindling oil reserves

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso warned of the seriousness of the international energy situation.

$100 Oil: What, Me Worry?

Once again, thanks are due to the indomitable U.S. consumer. What's more, Standard & Poor's Economics thinks the U.S. economy will stay healthy even if prices move somewhat higher. Rising oil prices have not yet forced consumers to cut back their spending, and until they do, the U.S. economy will likely keep growing even as oil prices approach $100 a barrel.

An oil nation lifts its lid - just a little

Last month, Gholamhossein Nozari, Iran's oil minister, said oil at more than $90 "is still cheap."

That may be the view of Iran but $100 a barrel is beginning to weigh on the Western world, if not actually notably quelling economic activity. For Saudi Arabia, a lower long-term price is more likely to ensure ongoing robust demand for what is essentially the only product the kingdom sells, while the political goals of Iran versus the U.S. trumps long-term oil market strategy in Tehran.

Beijing reserves its resources

WHILE we keep happily digging up our metals and shipping them out, the Chinese are taking a slightly longer term view. The Ministry of Commerce and the National Development Reform Commission have reclassified China's tungsten, molybdenum, tin, antimony and fluorite as being in the "prohibited category".

What this means is that no foreign company can get involved in mining these metals. Add this to earlier moves to raise export taxes on metals and the message from Beijing is clear: you westerners can exhaust your deposits and in 50 years we'll still have ours.

Oil price? Check the weather

Increased global demand and dwindling reserves play their role, but don't forget the effect of weather in determining oil costs.

Baker Institute study shows 'Big Five' oil companies limit exploration

A study released today by Rice University's Baker Institute for Public Policy finds that the "Big Five" international oil companies (IOCs) are spending less money on oil exploration in real terms despite a four-fold increase in operating cash flow since the early 1990s. On the flip side, the study, "The International Oil Companies," finds that second-tier oil companies are spending more in exploration, positioning themselves to be in better shape when it comes to future oil reserves.

OPEC summit to call for consumer action on oil

An OPEC summit this week will call on consuming nations to play their part in bringing down record oil prices that are increasingly influenced by financial markets, Algerian Energy and Mines Minister Chakib Khelil said on Monday.

U.S. Digs In to Guard Iraq Oil Exports

The U.S. Navy is building a military installation atop this petroleum-export platform as the U.S. establishes a more lasting military mission in the oil-rich north Persian Gulf.

While presidential candidates debate whether to start bringing ground troops home from Iraq, the new construction suggests that one footprint of U.S. military power in Iraq isn't shrinking anytime soon: American officials are girding for an open-ended commitment to protect the country's oil industry.

Social change relies more on the easily influenced than the highly influential

An important new study appearing in the December issue of the Journal of Consumer Research finds that it is rarely the case that highly influential individuals are responsible for bringing about shifts in public opinion.

Instead, using a number of computer simulations of public opinion change, Duncan J. Watts (Columbia University) and Peter Sheridan Dodds (University of Vermont), find that it is the presence of large numbers of “easily influenced” people who bring about major shifts by influencing other easy-to-influence people.

Airlines expect 27 million Thanksgiving fliers

Airline passenger traffic around the Thanksgiving holiday is forecast to rise 4 percent from a year ago, a trade group for U.S. carriers said Monday.

Climate scepticism: The top 10

What are some of the reasons why "climate sceptics" dispute the evidence that human activities such as industrial emissions of greenhouse gases and deforestation are bringing potentially dangerous changes to the Earth's climate?

As the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) finalises its landmark report for 2007, we look at 10 of the arguments most often made against the IPCC consensus, and some of the counter-arguments made by scientists who agree with the IPCC.

Is $100 Oil As Lethal As It Looks?

Economists are more worried about housing's downturn than oil's upturn, and for good reason. According to the Federal Reserve, the U.S. has roughly $20 trillion in residential real estate wealth. A 10% price decline, which many economists consider plausible, would reduce Americans' wealth by $2 trillion, traumatizing the financial system. It's not a perfect comparison, but a 50 cents increase in the price of a gallon of gasoline would cost the economy less than a tenth as much, about $75 billion a year.

Businesses, truckers feel pain of higher diesel prices

Diesel prices have surged in recent weeks to record levels, putting a strain on truck drivers, businesses and, potentially, the economy, at a time when economic activity is already slowing.

New South Wales Plans Laws to Get Reliable Gas Supply

Australia's New South Wales state plans to introduce laws to ensure more reliable supply of natural gas to households and businesses after deliveries to some large customers were restricted in June.

Sinopec delays LNG terminal on gas shortage

Sinopec Corp has halted work on a liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal in coastal Qingdao city because it has not been able to secure gas supplies for the project after a deal with Iran foundered, an industry paper reported on Monday.

Oil tipped to hit US$100 this week

Experts said that with 42,000 options contracts to buy oil at US$100 still open, financial players might try to push oil into triple digits before the expiration.

"I think the one thing that people are continuing to eye is the options expiration," said Eric Wittenauer, analyst at AG Edwards in St Louis. "I think people would be hesitant to sell into this market."

Hows and whys of oil prices and what they mean to U.S.

Many financial analysts expect prices to break $100 a barrel before year's end. Here are answers to some questions about oil's price rise.

Qatar Min: No More OPEC Crude Needed Even with $100 Price

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries is producing enough crude oil to keep global markets well supplied, and doesn't need to pump any more oil crude oil even if prices top $100 a barrel, Qatar's Oil Minister Abdullah bin Hamad al-Attiyah said Sunday.

Saudi Arabia Pushes for Extra 500,000 b/d OPEC Hike

Saudi Arabia is to push for an extra 500,000 barrels-a-day hike in output by OPEC, or 1.8%, as soon as this week if oil prices drive toward $100 a barrel, an official familiar with the situation said Monday.

As oil flirts with $100, industry CEOs issue warnings, dead enders take cover in last foxhole

Although oil industry executives still shun the term “peak oil,” a number are flirting with the concept. At the recent Oil and Money Conference in London, Shoki Ghanem, chairman of Libya’s national oil company, said, “There is a real problem that supply may not increase beyond a certain level, say around 100 million barrels [a day]. In some countries production is going down and we are not discovering any more of those huge oil wells that we used to discover in the 1960s or the 1950s.”

Over a barrel, cruise lines boost ticket costs

Going on a cruise just got more expensive as seven cruise lines announced new fees to be imposed upon passengers to cover rising fuel costs.

BA flights to cost more as fuel charges spiral

British Airways is raising ticket prices so that it can pass on the rising costs of fuel to customers.

The airline said that it is expecting its fuel bill to rise by about £136m in the second half of this year, caused by the spiralling cost of oil, bringing its total fuel bill for the year to more than £2bn for the first time ever.

Frontier Halting Flights From San Jose To Mexico

As the price of crude oil climbs per barrel, so does the cost of jet fuel. Crude oil is almost steady at $100 per barrel. Frontier Airlines can't raise its ticket prices high enough to stay competitive and profitable at the same time.

Tourism under pressure

Crude oil is the wild card. True, roughly half of tourists interviewed for the Tourist Development Council study said rising travel costs wouldn't dampen their travel plans. But that was in the first half of this year, when statewide gas prices hovered at $3 a gallon or less. Further, it's not only that prices are rising. It's that they are rising fast.

None dare say it was for oil

Many inconvenient questions come tumbling out of the assertion that the Iraq War is about oil. This is the reason I believe that the Bush administration spends so much effort refuting such assertions. The simple fact is that if the Iraq War is really about oil (and I believe that it is), then this means that the current official story, namely, that a smooth, seamless transition to a post-oil economy is underway, is something that even the administration itself does not believe.

India - Oil: running out of options

The Union Government might have once again deferred a decision on hiking petroleum product prices but sooner rather than later it will have to confront the vexatious issue of moderating the impact of soaring world crude oil prices. In the middle of the festival season, the Government did not want to take an unpopular decision but it cannot postpone it any longer.

Japan's Wholesale Inflation Accelerates on Oil Costs

Surging raw-materials costs prompted Kirin Holdings Co. and Daio Paper Corp. to raise prices of beer and toilet paper. Oil is near $100 a barrel and grains and non-ferrous metals are becoming more expensive because of global demand. Even so, consumer prices have failed to rise this year as competition among retailers makes it hard to pass costs on to households.

How worried should you be about the financial squeeze?

Oil prices near record levels, big banks losing billions of pounds and house prices stalling. The City is jittery, but how will such market gyrations really affect consumers?

Zimbabwe returns to charcoal cooking

A survey in some of Harare's poor suburbs revealed that more and more residents have imported charcoal stoves from as far as Zambia while better off Zimbabweans use anything from gas, generators and paraffin.

Oil demand draws China into Middle East politics

China and Russia are wary of backing US-led moves to tighten international sanctions on Iran. Although they, too, suspect that Iran is seeking nuclear weapons, they say that applying extra penalties now will simply harden Iran's refusal to negotiate. Their position against tougher United Nations sanctions could change later this month if the UN nuclear watchdog makes an adverse report on its talks with Iran.

But China, a big oil and gas importer, and Russia, a major energy exporter, appear to have their own divergent interests over Iran's nuclear program.

Report: Company plans 'Islamic cars'

Malaysian national carmaker Proton plans to team up with companies in Iran and Turkey to produce "Islamic cars" for the global market, a news report said Sunday.

Proposed by Iran, the collaboration would include installing features in automobiles such as a compass to determine the direction of Mecca for prayers, and compartments for storing the Quran and headscarves, Proton's Managing Director Syed Zainal Abidin told national news agency Bernama.

Utah's Oil Shale Presents Promising Alternative Source

Years of rising energy demands have significantly depleted traditional and easily-acquired energy resources, even as large deposits of unconventional resources have remained undeveloped due to the high expense and complicated technology involved in extracting them. But with the price of crude oil and gasoline up and supply shrinking, nontraditional resources are being seriously considered as potential sources of fuel.

Grants, NM looks to reclaim title of "Uranium Capital of the World"

Grants, as the locals are proud to say, isn't dead. But its role as the uranium capital, as headquarters of a district that mined more uranium than any other in the United States, fell just as the price of the commodity plummeted in the early 1980s.

"We're talking about bringing them back."

Wind Power Beats Predictions

The U.S. wind industry announced last week that installations are projected to jump 63 percent this year, thanks in part to concern about global warming and increasing fuel prices. According to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), a nonprofit industry trade group, the U.S. will gain 4,000 megawatts worth of wind power—enough to power a million homes—in 2007. That’s double the amount the group originally predicted just a year ago. While Texas, California, Iowa and Minnesota lead the nation in new wind-based megawatts, installations have been going up in every state.

Kunstler: Peak Money

The multi-dimensional meltdown underway in the finance sector illustrates perfectly how the complex systems we depend on start to wobble and fail as soon as peak oil establishes itself as a fact in the public imagination. Mainly what it shows is that we don't have to run out of oil -- or even come close to that -- before the trouble starts. Just going over the peak and heading down the slippery slope of depletion is enough. Peak oil, it turns out, is also peak money. Or should we say, peak "money?"

PEMEX platform still leaking

As of Nov. 9, PEMEX continues to work to control the hydrocarbon leak from the Kab-121 well on the Kab-101 platform. Work has been hindered by adverse weather conditions, as have the spill recovery, containment and clean-up efforts.

Company wants to ship fuel from Europe to Juárez

Pemex, Mexico's national oil company, plans to continue to increase the amount of fuel it ships into Juárez from the Longhorn Partners Pipeline, which runs from Houston to El Paso.

That's why a Pemex subsidiary wants to build a 27-mile, multimillion-dollar pipeline from Longhorn's terminal in far East El Paso to Juárez.

...Fuel for the pipeline would mostly come from Europe, Tollefson reported.

Exxon CEO: Supply Response To Oil Price A Couple Of Yrs Away

There will be no immediate respite from current high oil prices from either an increase in supply or consumers reducing their demand, Rex Tillerson, chairman and chief executive of Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM), said Monday.

An increase in oil supplies in response to the recent record prices of over $ 98 a barrel may take a couple of years, Tillerson said at the industry's World Energy Congress in Rome.

Newcastle Coal Price Reaches Record on Supply Limits

Coal prices at Australia's Newcastle port, the world's biggest export harbor for the fuel, rose to a record because port and rail facilities limit shipments, adding to expectations annual contract prices are set to gain.

Nigeria: Surging Oil Prices; How Country Sells Cheap and Buys High

Nigeria, as a major oil exporter in OPEC, may be earning more from the surging crude oil prices. However, the ambivalence of Nigeria's situation is that while the men in the budget office may be praying for higher crude prices, the men in the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) and indeed the average Nigerian motorist, want the reverse of that. Nigeria imports virtually all its petroleum products needs which is more expensive than the crude it exports.

What Is Energy Security? ( Part III)

The energy literature and numerous statements by officials of oil-producing and oil-consuming countries indicate that the concept of energy security is elusive. Definitions of energy security range from uninterrupted oil supplies to the physical security of energy facilities to support for bio-fuels and renewable energy resources. Historically, experts and politicians referred to “security of oil supplies” as “energy security”. Only recently policy makers started worrying about the security of natural gas and LNG supplies.

Energy crisis is man-made

Sure there is an energy crisis. That is if the government and private businesses are deterred or prevented from taking advantage of domestic resources.

Oil at $100-plus a barrel is not the product of the war. It is the result of a narrow-minded attitude which refuses to responsibly tap resources at home.

Inching toward mileage sanity

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says that, before lawmakers leave Washington on Friday for a two-week holiday recess, she wants Congress to vote on an energy bill that will boost the nation's fuel-economy standards.

Pardon our lack of gratitude in this season of thanksgiving, but why the rush all of a sudden?

Grim facts on Earth in crisis

A new UN report on the state of the world’s environment warns of the dangers of climate change, water scarcity, dwindling fish stocks, pressures on the land and the extinction of species.

THE planet is in dire environmental straits and humanity is at risk if the problems are not solved, says a new report on the current state of the global environment.

Saudi Aramco will meet production targets, company insists

Saudi Aramco is replacing as much oil as it extracts through new finds, keeping its recoverable reserves steady at 259.9 billion barrels, after producing 100 billion barrels, Mr. Alshiha said.

Some of the new capacity will offset natural decline, while the rest will expand its maximum sustained production capacity, the company said.

"Our slate of mega projects also will enable us to maintain spare production capacity of 1.5 million to 2 million barrels a day above forecast production, in keeping with the Kingdom's commitment to keep world markets stable," the company said.

The mega projects include:

● The start up in 2008 of the Nuayyim oil field discovered in 1990 in Central Saudi Arabia south of Riyiadh. It will produce 100,000 b/d.

● An expansion of the Shaybah field in 2009 that will add 250,000 b/d to its current production of 500,000 b/d.

● An expansion of the Yanbu natural gas liquids plants in 2008 to boost volumes to 585,000 b/d, from 390,000 b/d.

● The start-up of the Khurais field, the fourth largest in the world. The field, the largest Saudi Aramco integrated project ever, will produce 1.2-million barrels in 2009.

Prodi: World economy jeopardized by soaring oil prices

Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi warned here on Sunday that world economy is being jeopardized by soaring oil prices.

"The price of crude oil has been doubled in 2007. The world economy is being jeopardized by high oil prices," Prodi said when addressing the opening ceremony of World Energy Congress, which was kicked off here in Rome.

Venezuelans scramble for food amid oil opulence

Venezuelan construction worker Gustavo Arteaga has no trouble finding jobs in this OPEC nation's booming economy, but on a recent Monday morning he skipped work as part of a more complicated search -- for milk.

The 37-year-old father-of-two has for months scrambled to find basic products like cooking oil, beef and milk, despite leftist President Hugo Chavez's social program that promises to provide low-cost groceries to the majority poor.

Gunshots fired outside ExxonMobil site in Nigeria; no injuries

Gunshots were fired outside ExxonMobil Corp.'s main oil export terminal in Nigeria on Monday, officials said. No injuries were reported.

Oil operations at the Qua Iboe terminal in southern Nigeria were not suspended and the situation appeared to be calm later in the day, company spokeswoman Gloria Essien-Danner said.

Earlier, there had been reports that an armed group was advancing on the facility, which has the capacity to handle more than 500,000 barrels daily, making it Nigeria's biggest export terminal.

A fit of peak

The doom-laden vision of a post-oil world put forward in a radical new documentary is as crude as the black stuff that gushes from the ground.

'Clean coal' in Colorado? Costs high, benefits in doubt

To his credit, Gov. Bill Ritter unveiled his climate-action plan last week. But when his plan discussed coal-fired power plants — Colorado's biggest single contribution to the greenhouse-gas problem — the governor fumbled.

Saudi says OPEC to discuss oil output boost

Saudi Arabia, the world's top oil exporter, said on Sunday that the exporter group would discuss an increase in oil output at an upcoming meeting in a bid to cool record prices near $100 a barrel.

OPEC heads of state will meet in Riyadh on November 17-18 and consumer countries are urging the group to lift output to avert a supply crunch. The group's oil ministers hold their next formal meeting on December 5 in Abu Dhabi.

"This is premature but we will discuss the issue when we meet," Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi told reporters after discussions with his Kuwaiti counterpart.

$100 oil overshadows OPEC summit

The prospect of $100 oil and what OPEC can -- or cannot -- do about it will loom large as leaders of major oil exporters including Saudi Arabia, Venezuela and Iran meet in Riyadh this week.

When the OPEC heads of state last met in 2000 oil was at $30, and memories still fresh of a slump to $10 in 1998 that forced them to make painful spending cuts.

Now their state coffers are bulging after years of bumper revenues and it is oil consuming countries' turn to feel the pinch.

$100 Oil May Mean Recession as U.S. Economy Hits `Danger Zone'

Rising fuel prices that businesses and consumers took in stride earlier this year may now be near the point of pushing the weakened U.S. economy into recession.

``We are in a danger zone,'' says Nariman Behravesh, chief economist at Global Insight Inc. and a former Federal Reserve economist. ``It would take two shocks to bring the economy to its knees. We got one shock in the form of the credit crunch. Oil could be that second shock.''

High Oil Prices Not Harming the Economy Yet (audio)

Oil prices are soaring to levels never anticipated – nearly $100 a barrel. While the price of oil affects just about everything that is made, transported, eaten and sold in the United States the cost hasn't had the impact on the economy many people expected.

Free Pemex

Mexico's oil production is at a seven-year low, down 8 percent since 2004. Its reserves have dropped by half since 2002, mostly because it lacks the technology and expertise to explore promising oil fields deep beneath the Gulf of Mexico. Current reserves would last only about nine years.

Nigeria: Oil Firms May Miss 2010 Target

The Federal Government's aspiration to achieve 70 per cent local content in the oil and gas sector by 2010 may not be feasible, following alleged poor compliance with the guidelines governing the Local Content policy by most International Oil Companies (IOCs) operating in the country.

High oil prices fuel winter heat fears

Nowhere in America, it seems, are people more apprehensive about the prospect of a $3-a-gallon winter than in Maine.

Motorists nationwide may grumble about gasoline prices now hovering around $3 for a gallon of regular, but home heating oil that soared this month to $3.09 a gallon — breaking the $3 barrier for the first time — is the focus of concern in Maine.

Ecological disaster fears after Black Sea storm

The bodies of three sailors washed ashore on Monday and 20 more were missing after a ferocious Black Sea storm sank five ships, including an oil tanker, raising environmental fears.

Entire crew held in Calif. oil spill criminal probe

The entire crew of the cargo ship that sideswiped a bridge, causing San Francisco Bay’s worst oil spill in nearly two decades, were being held for questioning as part of a criminal investigation, a Coast Guard official said Sunday.

Ethanol and Biodiesel: Two Very Different Biofuels

The substitution of alternative liquid fuels - ethanol and biodiesel - for petroleum-based gasoline and diesel fuel is a “fountain of youth” dream of clean, renewable resources replacing scarce, dirty ones. Is the dream practical? There are uncertainties because technology and the role of government subsidies and mandates will change. But there are clearly big differences between the two flavors, ethanol and biodiesel.

Toyota’s Green Problem

When Toyota introduced its Prius hybrid car in America seven years ago, Detroit laughed it off. With gas prices at $1.50 a gallon, they argued, no one would buy it. But Dan Becker embraced the little mileage miser. Then head of the Sierra Club's global-warming project, Becker invented an award to give Toyota: the Sierra Club Award for Excellence in Environmental Design. Then he took the Prius on a 50-city promotional tour. Finally, Becker paid Toyota the ultimate compliment; he bought a Prius. Today, Becker is still driving the car, but he's no longer praising Toyota. Instead, he now calls the automaker a "hypocrite" for siding with Detroit in opposition to tougher new gas-mileage laws. "It's embarrassing to have applauded Toyota for the Prius," says Becker, "and now to see them acting so irresponsibly."

Training the solar-tech generation

Seven years ago, the Long Island Power Authority, KeySpan Energy and a coalition of community groups joined a national drive to equip a million homes with "solar roofs" by 2010.

They set an ambitious goal for Long Island -- to have 10,000 homes with rooftop solar power systems by the end of the decade.

Don't count on it. Today they're only a little more than 1/10th of the way toward that goal, with nearly 1,100 home systems installed.

Clean tech: Ottawa's rising star

With news that six of the country's top-10 "emerging" clean technology companies hail from Ottawa, the city will likely become corporate HQ for many more as a genuine cluster takes shape, say experts.

World body warns over ocean 'fertilisation' to fix climate change

Countries gathered under an international accord on maritime pollution have warned against offbeat experiments to tackle climate change by sowing the sea with chemicals to help soak up airborne carbon dioxide (CO2).

Parties to the London Convention and London Protocol declared that they hold authority over such experiments, and "large-scale operations" of this kind "are currently not justified," according to a statement issued on Monday.

Global warming: Oceans could absorb far more CO2, says study

The ocean's plankton can suck up far more airborne carbon dioxide (CO2) than previously realised, although the marine ecoystem may suffer damage if this happens, a new study into global warming says.

The sea has soaked up nearly half of the CO2 that has been emitted by fossil fuels since the start of the Industrial Revolution.

Failure to tackle climate peril 'criminally irresponsible', IPCC told

The Nobel-winning panel of world climate experts gathered here Monday to hammer out a key report as a top UN official warned that political failure to fix global warming would be "criminally irresponsible."

"The effects of climate change are being felt already," Yvo de Boer, executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), said.

"Climate change will hit hardest the poorest and most vulnerable countries. Its overall effect, however, will be felt by everyone and will in some cases threaten people's very survival."

I find it ironic that the ipcc says it's 'Criminally Irresponsible' for people not to take on climate change. while at the same time their report was purposfully made so wildly optimistic that many people are coiming out of the wood work using the report to say that the threat is overblown.


Arkansaw of Samuel L Clemens

Don't belive me?
npr recently had on a guy calling himself a 'climate change agnostic' who wrote a book about how governments are making a mistake on how they are battling it. higher leeve's and new sea walls? he said they were a mistake and quotes the ipcc report saying the sea level will only rise a few centimeters. He basically said only higher cafe standards would be the best bet.

Oh, but I do.

I'm agreeing with you exactly.

The Arctic will be ice free by 2015.

New Orleans will have the GOM pounding it's levees.

All infrastructure w/in 18 KM of Any Continent's East Coast should be moved in or up.

Total Crop Failure in Ozzieland. Totally censored.

Tabasco Mexico is still a mess. Totally censored.

7% of Goldman Sachs wealth is fake (SIV's).

Again Totally censored.

"George Bush and Richard Cheney are literally enemies of the state; long before now and by any measure of Constitutional justice they should have been impeached and removed from office.
Abjectly, continuously, and stubbornly refusing to hold them accountable, however, the mainstream Democrats adhere to this criminal president and vice president: nothing they have asked for has been denied, no barriers placed in their way. That is giving them aid and comfort, and that is treason. "

h/t piglipstick



"...$50-million Christmas bonuses for trafficking in these inscrutable non-productive financial gimmicks, and were able to acquire fifty-room Easthampton houses, Gulfstream jets, and impressionist paintings.

Of course, the aftermath might not be so pretty for these guys, since the next thing they may acquire could be long prison sentences. If they flee prosecution in their Gulfstream jets, they will not be able to take their Hamptons estates aboard with them. Those who remain my live to see mobs with flaming torches outside their windows, as in the "Frankenstein" movies of their suburban childhoods. But this has yet to play out.

Depression by New Years.

Arkansaw of Samuel L Clemens

I like the part below from today's Kunstler. I recall Sir Greenspan thought derivatives were a good idea because they diffused the risk of the security over a broader spectrum of chumps:

The new "creatively-innovated" financial "derivatives" of recent years are now so divorced from any real activities or product that often the people trafficking in them don't understand what they're supposed to represent.

Greenspan left a toxic legacy by encouraging/employing financial WMD (he also did a good job gathering the necessary cannon fodder using the "Ha-Ha, Gotcha" loans that were sold to the "little people so they could get a piece of the american pie."

7% of Goldman Sachs wealth is fake (SIV's).

And Goldman Sachs is up 4% today on the news. The entire DJ financial index is rocketing today, and that's with "mark to market" day coming on Thursday.

"Bizarre" is putting it mildly.

Bloomberg's top story right now:

"U.S. Stocks Gain, Led by Banks; Citigroup, Wal-Mart, IBM Rise "

Actually, Goldman's valuation might be considerably worse than that, according to a recent article at Financial Armageddon that studied the proportion of assets at the major banks that are classified as "Level 3" assets, "i.e. securities where the lack of market prices allows them to use dubious 'valuation models' and 'unobservable inputs' to value such assets":

Here is the Level 3 assets to equity ratio summary:

Citigroup 105%
Goldman Sachs 185%
Morgan Stanley 251%
Bear Stearns 154%
Lehman Brothers 159%
Merrill Lynch: 38%

Note that it was Merrill who recently took a highly publicized, $8 billion write-off to rid their books of the bad loans. They're the BEST of the bunch.

Energy consultant, writer, blogger www.getreallist.com

Optimists or Plunge Protection Team at work? Below is an interesting study of optimists...

The Downside of Optimism
By Jeanna Bryner, LiveScience Staff Writer

posted: 12 November 2007 07:28 am ET


'Optimism, it turns out, is best in moderation.

'People who have a rosy outlook are more likely than others to make prudent financial decisions, but those who are extreme optimists make riskier investments and save less money than others, a new study finds.

Manju Puri and David Robinson, professors of finance at Duke University in Durham, N.C., compared statistical and self-reported life expectancies to determine people's levels of optimism.'...snip...

'The researchers compared the self-reported life expectancies with statistical ones, grouping participants who expected to live longer than the data predicted as "optimists." Participants who expected to live an average of 20 years longer than is statistically likely were labeled "extreme optimists."

In moderation, optimism can lead to sensible decision making, but extreme optimists “display financial habits and behavior that are generally not considered prudent,” the authors write in the October issue of the Journal of Financial Economics.

The results held across demographic, risk-taking dispositions and health-related issues.

They find that compared with others, optimists:

Work longer hours
Invest in individual stocks
Save more money
Are more likely to pay their credit card balances on time
Believe their income will grow over the next five years
Plan to retire later, or not at all
Are more likely to remarry if divorced
In comparison, extreme optimists:

Work significantly fewer hours
Hold a higher proportion of individual stocks in their portfolios
Are more likely to be day traders
Save less money
Are less likely to pay off their credit card balances on a regular basis
Are more likely to smoke
“The differences between optimists and extreme optimists are remarkable and suggest that over-optimism, like overconfidence, may in fact lead to behaviors that are unwise,” Puri said.'...snip...

I checked http://finance.google.com and got: (bolding mine)

Sector Change % down / up
Basic Materials -3.86%
Capital Goods -1.25%
Conglomerates -0.21%
Cons. Cyclical +0.68%
Cons. Non-Cyclical -0.14%
Energy -3.54%
Financial +0.76%

Healthcare +0.66%
Services -0.27%
Technology -0.67%
Transportation +0.84%
Utilities -0.79%

Stuff like this is puzzling to me. Every supply and demand fundamental I thought I understand flies out the window.

I guess we will be counting our money, cold, in the dark?

Maybe the economists have a way of replacing the fuel tank on our machines with a credit-card slot? We can simply tell our machines that we have money, therefore they will work. If they still refuse to work without fuel, we can always call for a court order from a judge to demand them to comply.

Strategies for a scary market
"You'll never know when the exact bottom will be reached in a falling market. But buying high-quality stocks at reasonable prices can pay off no matter what."
My response: Some of this article is just rubbish, but some of the generalizations seem obvious enough. The talk about oil dropping $20 is astounding, but if they say so, maybe ‘they’ will make it happen? I don’t know how, but that would mean oil goes back to 70s! Is there any way this could happen? Well, ‘recession’ is the other idea kicked around here, and if they ‘say so’, perhaps that’s what happens. So much of this is manipulation, and it is bizarre how disconnected it can get from reality. But I can see the recession problem as huge, and that can translate directly into a lack of confidence in the market. The only thing forcing people into the market is inflation which is not being accurately reported. But somehow, the dollar goes up against world currencies and gold? How? How do they do it? They effectively just released a bunch of funny money and now the dollar is up? On what basis? It makes no sense to me.

I suspect that this week will be really weird. I think we’re seeing signs of some sort of manipulation that makes the price of oil go down & dollar up this week, barring more storms and pipeline explosions which they still haven’t recovered from in the last round! Once again, my short term reading and trying to sort this out has me returning to what Rapier said as the best explanation for ‘real’ contrary trends, but what I’m wondering about are the manipulations that are behind the scenes and the statements (like the latest from Aramaco) that are unverifiable. If Aramaco claims they are boosting their production from 8 to 12, in the short run their recent claims affect these markets. But can they do that? It goes against all the analysis by Simmons, ASPO, EWG, etc.

The elites have an interest to keep the oil at ‘infinite’ supply, no problems ahead, and lying works in the short run. Eventually, this makes problems worse, that’s the seesaw effect. We can expect extreme volatility as they play this game of hype v. reality.

Re-reading the article above, it just seems like the claims about oil not being at ‘fair market’ are rubbish as is the claim that there is no inflation. Then again, ‘if they say so,’ perhaps they make it so? This is the surreal world of this economy.

Steady as she goes , mate. This is a very, very common market manipulation. Basically, they are shaking out what they call "the weak sisters". You'll find that the traders who do not have a true faith in their decisions will bail out on just such a minor momentum change.
Keep in mind that if a stock rallies forever, it also becomes a victim of a bubble. Be happy that oil is establishing a new basis from which to advance. Likewise gold, etc.

shargash, speaking of the accounting changes mentioned in the comments at the end of Kunstler's article, I visited the links regarding those changes.

I was sufficiently concerned that I called a relative who is an accountant in the employ of one of the US states. Listening to her was like reading an article from Daily Reckoning or Financial Sense; without any prompting from me she described some of the state's investments as "garbage", used the phrase "blow up", and concluded with "it's not good".

She's concerned about ever receiving her pension.

Now I'm scared.

Errol in Miami

If you are not right now the right age for a pension, then more likely then not you are not going to get one.

Watch Paris tonite for previews of coming attractions.

Sarkozy wants to Americanize pensions.

And a German strike has stopped 700 trains, last I heard.

Arkansaw of Samuel L Clemens

Huh, very interesting....


SAFE, Inexpensive Hydrogen Fuel For Your Car?

His process extracts hydrogen from water via what he calls plasmatic induction, a form of electrolysis, using electricty to zap water in a small reservoir tank which releases hydrogen bubbles. The bubbles, of course, become the fuel, a never-ending source as long as drinking water is in the small reserve tank. It’s a bit more complicated than that, he uses reserve batteries and solar cells along with non-radioactive carbon rods in the system. Hunt claims one fill-up of rods will power a vehicle for a year-and-a-half; the emissions, of course, are water vapor.
Hunt claims to have a lobbyist in Washington, D.C. and what he called “a couple of pending contracts.” Two major universities are testing the process and he said GM was ready to license his system right now.

I wonder: Could some one define Zap for me.
Haven't seen the word since Batman.


This is simple electrolysis of water by electricity. It is FAR more efficient just to use the electricity to drive the car via electric motors. Talk of powering the car for a year and a half using a few carbon rods is pure hogwash. It probably means the carbon rods are the electrodes and need replacing every 30,000 miles.

Only the most scientifically illiterate will be taken in by this, and that certainly doesn't include GM.

Ahh...what the hell. No point watching the beginning of economic armageddon.

TAD, I am a natural sceptic when it comes to hydrogen power.

I need a little hope this morning...so here's hoping this guy is a descendant of the Wright bros.

PeakTO, the guy is more likely a descendant of the Wrong Brothers...They ran a very lucrative tent revival/snake oil sales operation out of a wagon train during the 1870s-1890s on the western frontier. It is rumored that they lost their fortune investing in electric car stocks around 1908, but later made a comeback when elected senators representing the auto manufacturing state...long winded sarconol...

But I need a little hope...trying to force myself back into denial for a day or two...k.

The next few weeks are going to be very volatile, confusing and ugly.

Damn...where did I put my blue pill? Can I get a refund on my Red pill?

Morpheus warns Neo "Remember, all I'm offering is the truth. Nothing more."

Sure...but no one told me the truth was so damned dire.

It's not the blue pill you need to eat.

Take a bite of the mushroom like Alice, and shrink down (ELP?) in order to fit through the bottleneck.

Why do you post this foolishness here?

Hydrogen when fed to a fusion reactor, the building of which we have not mastered yet, would be a source of fuel. Any other use of hydrogen is just a way to avoid putting batteries in vehicles and is subject to the same losses that charging a battery would be.

Slapping a funny, techie sounding label on electrolysis does not make it an energy source.

And you expect a response? The only time I've seen TheAntiDoomer bother to respond is to questions that have nothing to do with energy issues.

is subject to the same losses that charging a battery would be.

No, I'd say Hydrogen is worse. Batteries don't loose 5% a day (like Hydrogen is alledged to do from leakage.)


Well, as soon as I secure startup financing for my perpetual motion device, we will have unlimited pollution free energy. As soon as I can secure $100 million in financing, I will be ready to leave the country. . . ignore that . . . I meant that we will be ready to start manufacturing.

Here in NZ we have a mechanical engineer/senior lecturer who worked in the States for several years as part of a group who were working out the logistics of a hydrogen economy. She flatly states that it cannot work, and that they were kidding themselves and denying contrary data, because they were so keen for it to be possible... I'm sure there are plenty of "experts" and those seeking financial grants who are still in that same boat.

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

Would you PLEASE go read some physics primers before posting this ever-so-hopeful crap? You MUST add energy to release the hydrogen, it can never be done for "free". You put in energy to release the free hydrogen, and get it back when you burn it, with conversion losses at every step so that you can never use all of the energy to do the work you wanted to. It's just the way the universe works, no matter how much you might want it to be different.

Reminds me of the conversations I used to have with friends who bought expensive 1500W electric heaters, while I bought the cheapest ones I could find - and they would say "but mine is more efficient"......

Isn't water vapor a greenhouse gas?


Water vapor is a feedback GHG...


Just curious what effect hundreds of millions of hydrogen-powered vehicles emitting water vapor would be on the climate. ( Not that we'll ever see hydrogen vehicles on such a large scale given the challenges. )

If such were the case it be in a forcing role rather than feedback, wouldn't it?.


Depends on air temp. If the air isn't saturated, the water will stay as a gas. If the temp is lower, it will turn to particulate water and rain out. The only thing which changes WVP is the air temperature.

Think about seeing your breath on a cold day. Exhaled air is 100% saturated at 37 degrees C. If it hits 20 degree air, it condenses and you see it.

antidoomer, what is so interesting about finding yet another journalist who doesn't know anything about thermodynamics and another snake oil salesman who probably does, but who can bet on finding plenty of investors who are as ignorant as the journalist ?

How many times must it be repeated that, there is:

i) no net chemical energy in water; and
ii) no free hydrogen on this planet

I think most of us here _want_ to believe in technological fix like this one.

However, reality does not work on wants alone. Things must actually work.

Unfortunately, pouring a lot of electricity and radioactive materials into separating a some hydrogen gas is not a solution.

It's an energy loser.

It would also serve your credibility better, if you at least tried to post links that were not totally unscientific crap like this one: trying to create more of an energy carrier (hydrogen) than what is needed by the process (electricity, radioactive materials and whatnot).

I do agree that it is interesting, but perhaps for different reasons than what you think.

It is highly interesting that people keep reinventing the same inventions all over again AND thinking they've discovered something new.

It is also interesting that people still believe they can create more energy than what they put in (i.e. break first law of thermodynamics and maybe the second as well).

The author would be better off running the cars on electric batteries. He'd have roughly twice the total system efficiency of this hydrogen experiment.

And it _still_ wouldn't solve our energy problems.

On the Iowa gas problems.

“Gov. Chet Culver has temporarily lifted limits on how long gasoline and diesel truck drivers can work. “

The thing I find really interesting is that all the presidential candidates are spending a lot of time in Iowa. Not to mention the hoard of reporters that follow them. How come the emergency isn't page one news?

The independent station in Graettinger, Iowa is out of 87 octane, 89 octane, and diesel. The nearest fuel source for residents would be Estherville or Emmetsburg, both twelve miles away.

The independent station in Ruthven, Iowa is out of 87 octane and diesel but had 950 gallons of 89 octane remaining as of Sunday afternoon. The nearest fuel source for residents would be Spencer, fourteen miles away.

Regional and national chain stations in Spencer are operating all pumps. I did not inquire regarding fuel levels.

Not in Iowa, but as an interesting aside, I have an aunt in Verona, North Dakota, population 200. She says they can get neither diesel nor heating oil and that gasoline has gone to $3.35/gallon at the local independent station. She says but I cannot confirm that the reason gasoline prices and supplies are spotty is due to the lack of diesel with which to delivery the gasoline. They've gone to heating oil rationing, where customers report what their fuel levels are and then (in theory) the co-op delivers what is available to those most in need.

I wondered when this would start happening. the indipendents being cut out so the rest can have enough fuel to sell.

The tanker truck arrived here at 9:45 so the little plastic bags will be gone shortly.

The regional/nationals seem to have either better purchasing ability or better manage their deliveries here in Iowa, but in North Dakota it went the other way - BP pulled out of 350 stations leaving the owners trying to decide if they'd go independent or close up shop.

No one has mentioned this before so I will post it just as a piece of information. US crude oil production fell 144,000 barrels per day from July to August and fell below 5 million barrels per day for the first time since well before the peak in 1970 when unaffected by a hurricane.

Katrina and Rita brought US production below 5 million bp/d for four consecutive months in 2005, reaching a low of 4,204,000 bp/d in September of that year. But there have been no hurricanes to hit the US oil producing area of the GOM since. Production rose to a post Katrina high of 5,240,000 in May this year but has dropped every month since then. US production for August 2007 was 4,976,000 bp/d.


Ron Patterson

As I previously noted, in order to just keep US crude oil imports flat, our crude oil consumption has to drop at the same volumetric rate (bpd) at which our domestic crude oil production declines. Based on the HL model, conventional US crude oil reserves are about 85% depleted.

Also the total world production figure for August 2007, 72.512mbpd, is the lowest since August 2004:


graphed below. tick, tick, tick ...

Something on a different note, related to sustainability:

Japan's Sacred Bluefin, Loved Too Much

Since 1950, the global catch has risen more than tenfold, to more than 4 million tons in 2002, '03 and '04. A report this year by the World Wildlife Fund said that the tuna fishing fleet is now far larger -- in some cases 70 percent larger -- than is needed for a sustainable catch.

The consequences have been severe, especially for bluefin tuna. The total population of southern bluefin has been reduced to about 8 percent of levels before industrial fishing took off in the 1950s, according to a U.N. report.

Years ago I was in Tokyo for business, and early one morning I went to the Tsukiji market - essentially the wholesale market for all of Tokyo. The place is huge, and a beehive of activity. There were tuna all over the place - they had been caught, the fins and heads and other inedible stuff had been trimmed, and the carcases were flash-frozen. These frozen tuna were stacked like cordwood all over the place. People would come from all over the city - many by moped (with a cooler strapped to the back) - and buy the fish that they wanted for the day.

It doesn't surprise me one bit that it has come to this - I have been reading warnings in the news about overfishing of tuna for years now. They say that boats that fish for tuna arrive back at the dock higher in the water than when they left - they burn a greater weight of diesel fuel than the weight of the tuna that they catch.

Not to worry. As tuna become scarce and the price rises, tuna reproductive activity will increase, ultimately causing the market to be flooded and the price of tuna to crash. When the price crashes, fewer boats will go looking for tuna and the tuna population will increase even further. If all of this sounds like nonsense, get the antidoomer to explain it to you.

fewer boats will go looking for tuna

This statement is correct, but not for the reason the poster suggests :-)

Sarcasm often fails to convey well in the written medium but I found Peakoil Tarzan's comments to be just dripping with the stuff. ;)

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

Perhaps I need a noose graphic for the gallows humor posts? Inland sushi fans are going to need a lot of emotional support during their coming withdrawal pangs.

No shortages yet. Might be the salmon and tuna sashimi demand destruction.

Adding more wasabi paste to the mix will stretch your tunafish dollars, and a bit more pickled ginger is always a plus for the tastebuds. When your food budget is on fire and you find yourself in a pickle, creative home economics comes to the rescue.

Wasabi is hell on the ji-biru budget. :-)

I budgeted too much ji-biru into me last night, as a matter of fact. I don't have a good heloise hint for that.

Oh, I finally think I've got it! The exponential function is a Sarcastic function which makes it difficult for most people to get, right?

The Sarcastic Model:

A Bonehead Approach to Modeling Oceanic Primary Production


What!? They have no Tuna? let them eat Jellyfish...

Good analogy.

Best sarcanol-perfumed post for the day!

By the way have you heard of the rational tuna fish? It never escapes a torn net, because it knows there will be another net that will catch it sooner or later.

They say that boats that fish for tuna arrive back at the dock higher in the water than when they left - they burn a greater weight of diesel fuel than the weight of the tuna that they catch.

In general, it would seem that far-seas fisheries will eventually not be economical to exploit. That would seem to indicate that at some point after peak oil, there will be places so remote that the wildlife there will be allowed to rebuild - if it can during abrupt climate change.

However, I think there will be a nasty twist to that. As the energy crunch hits, one of the things which will be cut back is high-seas fishery enforcement; it's nearly nonexistent in many places already. Anticipating this, and realizing that far-seas fisheries will not be commercially viable in the future, there will be a strong motivation to "strip mine" various fisheries in a hit-and-run fashion with huge driftnets. These were significantly cut back in the early '90's, but they are probably on the rise again now. They provide a mechanism for one last fishing season in each remote area.

I had an interesting idea that I wanted to toss out for anyone who wants to try. I was thinking of a Firefox browser add-on (similar in principle to the ones that display current weather). Except that this one would display the current price of oil - I suppose you could configure it to display the prices on various markets. The trick will be to find a place from which realtime data can be obtained.

A 2nd generation of the thing could display futures prices of some sort.

I would attempt this myself if I had time. Real work is keeping me really busy right now however.

A good starting point is the StockTicker addon:


which actually does display oil if you use a ticker symbol of CLZ07.NYM. Only problem is that this addon makes the browser crash a lot, so it really isn't of much use, at least as it stands.

Already have a feed of the current Bloomberg Light Crude price on my desktop, courtesy of Yahoo Widgets and the oilPrice widget.

Says $93.97 at the moment and updates every 30mins.

I use the add-on "ReloadEvery", in combination with the yahoo charts. I set it to automatically update every 5min, so a get a graphical ticker. I usually keep a tab open for crude oil, $vs.Euro, $vs.YEN, and DJIA.

In combination with the session manager, running under Portable Apps with my USB flash stick, I have the same tabs available no matter what machine I'm using to browse.

I find Bar Chart to be useful. It refreshes every 5 min.

Isn't anyone doing an RSS feed with that content ?

Flaws in EM Theory

CNN is running a story about Greensburg, Kansas today. It was wiped off the map by tornados. The residents are now living in FEMA trailers, and rebuilding. They're rebuilding to match their name: they're going green. The Discovery Channel heard about it, and sent a crew out. They're filming a 13-part series about it, called Eco-Town.

They're building energy efficient houses, and trying to use "green" building materials, down to the nails. They say they're building to last a hundred years.

so when we see a proof of green house gas emit ions, we are going green, nice to know:)

Yea i heard about that.
I guess you can call any city green as long as you redefine the meaning of being green.
Some of the stuff i bet they are using is only green because it has not been widely adopted yet, other stuff is counted as green if you ignore the impact of shipping it.
I would think that before any town can be called green it must at the very least as a starting point grow all it's needed food localy.

Re: Energy efficient houses

Have monolithic domes been discussed on TOD before? I'd love to hear what TODers think of these. A spherically shaped house makes sense to me as a sphere has the highest volume to surface area ratio of any geometric shape. Don't know enough about building materials in general though to judge the rest of it.

Way cool but you'll put the seamless gutter and roofing folks out of business.

Domes also have the advantage of being able to withstand high winds as well.
~Durandal (http://www.wtdwtshtf.com/)

I think an easier transition would be, at least in this part of the world, using the existing skills of basement construction for modular homes to create most of the space, then capping it with a rounded top/rounded ends style roof. This has most of the benefit in terms of wind load reduction, skylight addition will not be difficult, etc.

But the dream of home ownership is a receding one for me, and I fear for many others, as something wicked this way comes.

''The heat is on and it is inevitable that more players will have to revalue at least a decent portion'' of assets they currently value using ''mark-to-make believe,'' Bob Janjuah, Royal Bank's chief credit strategist, reportedly wrote in a note published Wednesday.

''mark-to-make believe'' I love it.

Tim Morrison

Peak oil, global warming, and economic collapse are not the problems, they are the result of the problem. The problem is a collective action problem and an inability to make good long term plans.

I've know about them for years. They are my dream home!

I want to buy some land, put up a dome, then cover it with real tree camo. I would end up practically invisible.

Conifers to the west and north and deciduous trees to the south and east. The pines block the winter winds and snow, while the leafed trees provide summer shade and then clear off in the winter so you get the benefit of the sun's heat.

Bitteroldcoot - screw RealTree, check out the Marpat digital camo used by our armed forces now, it's good. Really good. No I mean Really REALLY good. They've finallly learned to use the same camo techniques as a moth.

I swear that Marpat pattern is eerie.

I did read that people who tried to make domes in the 1960/70's did not fair too well. Drainage is a major problem. Water just does not fall off unless the entire landscape is taken into consideration.

Some of my problems with spherical housing/monolothic domes:

- While a sphere maximizes volume per area of building material, it doesn't necessarily maximize area available for human use. If you want 7'-9' ceilings, then you are wasting area near the edges where the ceiling gets lower than that, and wasting area near the middle where it is higher. This may be aesthetically pleasing, but negates the value of maximization of volume to some degree.
- Traditional roofs/gutters present better opportunities for rainwater collection in easier/cheaper/higher potential energy above ground tanks. Irrelevant in some areas, but critical in others.
- Monolithic domes tend to be built from high thermal mass, low R-value materials (e.g. concrete). This is, again, great in some areas but very bad in others from an energy efficiency perspective. I would imagine trying to conform Insulated Concrete Forms to such a design would be difficult and costly, and I can foresee several problems with trying to adapt higher R-value vernacular materials (straw bale, wood frame) to this geometry. I have seen a barrel-vaulted straw bale building, though.

Those reservations aside, I think the design has a lot of promise for appropriate regions (e.g. hot days cold nights). Take a look at the work of Iranian architect Nader Khalili

Good point on the useful volume to sa ratio. I could see myself not minding that the ceiling was not a constant height. Also, the base of the structure could be ~ vertical at the base so the edges might not be all that wasted.

The website I posted above says standard construction of one of these domes involves spraying polyurethane foam for insulation which wikepedia says has a high R-value.

Sample edge space usage:

Think I could live with that.

Maybe it could be a curved outer wall, with a vertical inner wall leaving a cavity wall space. It could have internal and external access, and would be ideal to run as a passive ventilation system / thermal buffer, storage, worm farm or chicken coop.

Bury some air intake pipes in the ground, little wood burning stove. Could be more than happy.

Hemplime / hempcrete is a good way to lock up C02 in high qualitty building materials, we can take the carbon out the atmosphere at the same time as we are building more efficient housing. Hemp is vital as a crop for eating and building, can be grown nearly anywhere at a low cost.

I actually looked into these. Very sturdy and energy efficient. There is a company here in Central Florida called American Ingenuity that sells them. Their office is of the same construction.

My wife and I have visited the office and considered building such a house, but it's unlikely we could sell our current house given the market conditions.

From what I've read, the advantage of the shape also makes them easier both to heat and to insulate.

I just downloaded a site on calculating the parts for DIY Geodesic structures, from the fine crazies at Burning Man. (I mean crazies in a good way)
http://www.desertdomes.com/domecalc.html (very fun little site.. also look at the Bamboo Dome link in there for a supersimple structure.. lots of string and sticks, but not much else! I think it was one of Bucky Fuller's own projects.. Aww, heck.. here! http://www.desertdomes.com/bamboo.html)

As far as wind tolerance goes, I put up a very simple Teepee with only 4 poles this summer, as a sunshade over my daughter's sandbox in a VERY blustery clearing up in the White Mts along the ME/NH border, and that thing, with just two small stakes holding the tarp around it.. (Nothing holding the poles to the ground.. would not blow over! It was very instructive..


Geodesic domes play well on the playa due to their low material weight, high strength and wind resistance.

The fact that they are temporary, and essentially a tent-form of the dome negates some of the issues with a perma-dome.

Burning Man is a great place to develop tech: water conservation and re-use, solar anything, wind anything. The conditions can be just miserable (this year plenty of wind and dust). I can't wait to go back :-)

Other engineering issues with monolithic domes include ground settling and earthquake resistance, getting a mortgage (where applicable) and insuring it. It's not possible (or easy at least) to build in a Trombe wall or other solar design manifestations.

I wonder if a semi-permanent fabric-covered yurtish-dome would be possible?


I'm jealous! I hope to go one day.. but maybe we'll just have to create the 'Freezing Man' festival up in the Desert of Maine or something.. why should the westies have all the fun?

The UBER-yurt.. I'm all over it.
Your semi-permanent thought is what I'll be trying out next spring/summer. Looking into ways of making each Panel indiv. insulated and assembling as a series of panels instead of poles.. Probably a bit of a combination of both.

I've been shopping for exterior Fabrics from a discount fabric warehouse in Maine that carries a lot of a brand called 'Sunbrella', made for Awnings, Deck Umbrellas, etc..


You might consider insulating the dome with [insert liability and consequential damages disclaimer] XPS or foil-backed isocyanurate. Or something less toxic and more fire-safe. Wool is popular in some parts of the world, and is biodegradable. I'd like to find rock wool for our house but just cannot (midwest). It's rodent resistant and insulates when wet.

cardboard (!) dome:

foil-back isocyaurate (probably dangerous when burning),
The HexaYurt:

I have been in one, and they are cool in the desert.

2-story ply-dome, in the North East:


Let us know how you do with all this.


This site has some pix of earthbag buildings, and the dome is the shape they use. If a person was willing to put in many many hours of labor filling bags with subsoil, the construction costs would be minimal, especially if used feed sacks or some other source of woven polypropylene bags were available.

They had one of the HexaYurts at Burning Man this past year. I was rather fond of it myself, especially as a short term housing solution for refugees in hot places.

Hi Bob,

One non-scientific anecdote: My only firsthand experience w. domes came from visiting a friend who was dome-sitting for the owners. I found the place had some very strange acoustics. (Uncomfortable.) My suggestion would be to actually spend time in one or more before making a decision in this direction.

Exciting things happen in domes, acoustically speaking.

If you create the right sounds, you can set up standing waves. Kick up some dust, shine a light across it and you can see the antinodes.

There is evidence our prehistoric ancestors did this, as they drew patterns which look exactly like those of the standing waves, something they wouldn't draw by chance. I guess they imagined these patterns where the spirits of the dead.

Hey, Aniya!
Something about the term 'Dome-sitting' has a ring to it, and I got a picture of someone sitting Lotus-position on the peak, and 'Om'-sitting.. as it were, while the acoustics might make it enticing to do the chanting inside! (Pardon the giddiness.. I must be in an untimely good mood!)

I do take the point, however, as well as that made by Todd yesterday, advising one to get a little experience with them before 'pre-ordering your Dome-curtains' as it were. My own project will be a fairly lightweight model, somewhere between a tent and a cabin, to have some semi-permanent shelter up on our bit of land in the White Mts. There's a great, steep hillside where I will place a sizable Tent-platform, which will remain useful even if the dome doesn't end up being the right fit.. Our walls will mostly be soft, so I'd be surprised if the acoustics are as pronounced (so to speak) as the ones you experienced.


I always liked these.

RE monolithic domes

Polyurethane foam is probably the vital ingredient. I haven't researched it too deeply, but I know foam-core/spray-on-concrete seems to be a good combination combining the high R value of foam with the fire-resistance of the concrete. Keep in mind that this type of construction can be free-form, so one could easily free-form a house with straight walls and domed roof, or whatever. The high strength/weight of the materials provides much leeway in terms of shape design.

Now about those building codes.....

I built a 40' diameter one on a 3' riser wall in 1974. It was fully code and permitted - but I fought the building department for 6 months to get a permit.

Frankly, it was a pain to build. And, even with the riser wall, it was also a pain to place furniture and cabinets and just about impossible to hang pictures except on the verticle interior walls.

I used rigid urethane foan and sytrafoam for insulation in the dome portion and fiberglass for the floors. I don't think is was as economical to heat as our current house (which I also designed and built). A guy I knew built a 60' one and he used urethane insulation that was bonded to sheet rock. That might have been OK for a big dome but would have lost too much space on my size.

I'd be concerned about delamination of spray on foam on concrete since it could be about impossible to repair.

One final thing, in California at least, wodden domes are now impossible to get insurance on because it is so costly to repair them. I don't know about concerete ones.

Domes may sound neat but I'd never build or live in another one.


looks like a teletubby house ta me!

I always expect to see someone throwing a sabertooth cat out one of the windows :)

Do a google for Buckminster Fuller

The dome is perfectly suited for a world with few inhabitants. Compared to other bungalow type lodgings, it appears to save both construction material and heating/cooling energy. In our world, it should be a powerful contributor to urban - or other - sprawl.

There is footage from the aftermath of the Greensburg tornado on the new "Storm Chasers" series on DSC. They missed it, went the wrong way that day. Great series if you haven't caught it, the hyper guy who built the tank (Tornado Intercept Vehicle) and the scientist with the portable Doppler radar. Quite the adventure!

And if it hasn't been mentioned here yet - I've been busy -
Tuesday's "Megadisasters" on the History Channel features the oil crisis. Heinberg is on the promo!!!

We sort of have buildings like that on our "square" in Central Texas. Large rock buildings that have 1 ft. thick walls. I did some renovation on one several years ago and it was quite amazing to see what was done with such simple building materials. All of them are well over a hundred years old as well. John

Another rock house....

Hi blue,

What town would this be, if you don't mind my asking?

Is anyone else seeing massive misbehavior on the part of cellular carriers?

We used to have five lines with Sprint. About two year ago their methods ... became unsound. We closed them down, expecting a $600 bill and they managed to fumble and fee their way to a $2,000 number. I finally took up the dispute with their investor relations, copying a couple of telecom operations mailing lists as part of the effort, and they settled for the original agreed upon amount.

My Verizon phone has been off for a few weeks and I just went to reconnect it, expecting a $400 bill. I called them a month ago to get it turned down to a level appropriate for a single light user and they made the change retroactive, so instead of a $70 bill for this month I got a $70 bill plus $200 in overage charges and they'd done the same thing the previous month - almost $1,000 due.

I canceled immediately and I'm going to get something local instead. I do believe I'm also going to make it a prepayment type connection and/or go with a carrier that is in state so I can sue them pro se if they misbehave. Relocalization comes in many forms, no?

This looks very much like the corrupt piling on of fees that mortgage holders are experiencing.

If you absolutely need a cell phone i guess a pay as you go phone would be the best option.

Yes do what the wetbacks do, get a nontraceable pay as you go fone.

Right now I don't have a cell, I'm on the borrow someone's fone or use a payfone or just go over there method. And land line.

If you don't like them, why keep feeding them? Cell fone co's, credit card sharks, fill in the blank.

I'm not so troubled business wise as you are - I hate Verizon ... but I made many multiples of my current debt to them by using the high speed data service on my Blackberry. It was a good investment at the time.

Ditto the credit card - I was a 'deadbeat' of the worst sort until two months ago and I do believe I will regain that status soon, and I may just cancel the thing once its paid off.

This is not a reccommendation, simply information. My wife and I took a two year contract with Cingular (now AT&T Wireless) many years ago and have had no trouble with their company or service. We have two seperate phones with different numbers, unlimited calls and minutes anywhere in the US, get new free phones every two years when we sign a new contract, at a cost of $84.22 per month. I dont think the price of our service has changed. I think that after a few years we became 'regulars' and no company wants to lose a customer that pays on time and is reliable...well, no company except the credit card nuts, sub-prime lenders, et al...lol.

I was a Sprint customer for five years. I called six months in a row begging for them to fix their stuff. We basically got into a situation where they could bill us for two phones correctly, or the other three correctly, but they could never bill all five as they were supposed to be. This trouble slopped over into being unable to provision things correctly and when you've got to spend two hours every month to get a $100 mistake corrected one eventually grows tired of it.

So Sprint is the exception to that rule. Verizon's behavior is just downright slimy from what I can see. My credit was already not so hot ... think I'll let this one go ninety days before I pay anything on it, and then its gonna be a settlement offer for what I think I owe 'em.

I've had Sprint for over 9 years and had very few problems with them. I recently also added a Wireless broadband card with them as well. I've been very pleased. I've never had a problem with any telecommunication groups though, as I know how their schemes operate. You MUST read the fine print. Essentially, as long as ALL the cell providers screw you, none of them will step up to offer better service.

If you're in a large metropolitan area, there are alternative cell providers with all you can eat plans, such as Cricket, and Metro PCS.
~Durandal (http://www.wtdwtshtf.com/)

I've heard nothing but bad things about sprint and their billing practices.

Had a friend who also couldn't get her bill straightened out.

I had internet service with them for a while. They REFUSED to let me cancel. I didn't have a contract, it was just a monthly service.

That was the strangest conversation I ever had with a customer rep. Finally told them to cancel or I would simply block their payments.

Sprint has nasty systemic problems. They got so bad about six months ago they began cutting customers who were "using too much support time". They couldn't admit their internal mess, but instead just started dropping those who wouldn't put up with the chaos.

I'm hoping for some catabolic deflation in the telecom front rather than a high speed collapse. The big ones will sell off the stuff that doesn't support their high overhead and then many small players will emerge, which creates more opportunity for me.

I live here in Overland Park, KS where the Sprint campus is and I have lunch with a bunch of Sprint/Ex Sprint people every week.

What Sprint did is drop a few people who had been scamming the company for years. They would call up every month and complain so they could get a month or two of service free. When someone was running the numbers they found a bunch of people who hadn't payed for service for over 5 years so they dropped them.

Now, I've heard plenty of horror stories from many Sprint insiders and they are no angels but, in this case, they were right to dump them.

Hey WebWeasel...I grew up in Overland Park, moved around the country and then settled down in Lee's Summit. I now work at Hallmark. Fun times lately with Business Transformation and all. Nice to see another KC local on TOD.

Hope some form of light rail makes it to reality here. They are already scaling back the package that was approved by voters (but never funded). Right now the KC newspaper is advocating building just the core spine of the system with local funding instead of waiting for a larger plan and having to wait for federal funding.

We'll see if it ever materializes.

Get a letter from the FTA that the first section built can serve as a local match for a second section later (after you jump through innumerable hoops and wait years, you MIGHT get a second section).

I hope & pray that the "rules will change" before you even cut the ribbon for the first section.

Best Hopes,


yea. if it ever gets built(not likely) it will not go any where near lee summit, or olathe, or overland park.

Ya...and Lee's Summit has an Amtrak station downtown...all I ask for is a couple of stops of a commuter train in the morning and afternoon that drop off at Union Station...is that too much to ask?

That is very interesting - I was definitely not on the scam front and I've heard from others in similar situations - miserable performance on Sprint's part, and then they got dropped. That sounds believable, but at the same time rather party line-ish.

Heh. Years ago I had a problem where they had taken my payment, and instead of subtracting it from the balance, they added that amount to the balance. Thus the bill was double the previous month's bill.

You would think that such an error would be easy to correct, but you would be wrong. It took months, with hours wasted on hold waiting to be told that the computers were down. I thought I had it straightened out, but then a few months later it arose from the dead when they sent it out for collection at one point and I started to receive harassing phone calls. I finally started to deal with someone in the CEO's office, and *finally* got it straightened out.

This all started about a month after I had switched *to* Sprint - after a few days of this nonsense I switched back. I have vowed that I would never have anything at all to do with Sprint ever again.

The whole family is on the ex's corporate account with Verizon and in more then 10 years we never had a problem and they always send us what we want for free.
Maybe we are just lucky, never paid a cent in charges or service fees to banks either.

I have good news to report for a change. I have the cheapest deal I could find, a Verizon plan for which I pay $16.24 a month total that gets me 150 minutes each month. But I also roll over unused minutes as long as I pay on time, so I've made those automatic. I have no service or billing problems at all, just the very annoying delay as the synthetic voice tells me how many minutes I have left on my account before I can complete my call. I now have a backlog of over 20 hours of unused time. By juggling this with the cheapest AT&T land line service, a Lifeline that runs about $15 and gives me about 80 free calls, I give myself a little protection against infrastructure breakdowns here in hurricane country. I don't use the phone much since I got a cable modem.

Eventual goal: get my phone service from the cable TV company and my cable TV from the phone company. That oughtta send a message.

I ended up with a $50/mo prepaid phone from a local carrier - two hours of driving will have me at their HQ. That is good - no frills, and each customer is precious to them.

As long as I don't go outside their network I can call I want for that price - I lost the cost of a year's service this weekend by not being accessible when a customer needed me ...

RE: $100 oil may mean recession as US economy hits 'danger zone'

Talk of Worst Recession Since the 1930s
November 12, 2007


While Nariman Behravesh believes that oil is the 'second shock' that could bring our economy to its knees', Jim Melcher, one of the few stars on Wall St this year, believes otherwise. Melcher sees a recession worse than 1929 on our near horizon and severe demand destruction for oil, causing prices to drop drastically...like 50%

...snip...'Noting that consumption is already slowing, Mr. Melcher figures sharply rising unemployment is inevitable. Another of his worries is that central banks around the globe, America's included, are debasing their currencies, which is setting the stage for a new round of higher inflation. Our bear figures the next six to 12 months will be awful for investors as the market goes down "pretty substantially." His frightening outlook calls for an additional 20% to 30% decline from current levels. A drop of that magnitude would put the Dow down in a range of roughly 9,100 to 10,400.'...snip...

'As of now, his portfolio is pretty much devoid of stocks, save for an exchange-traded fund focused on leading companies in oil services, which he regards as an ongoing growth industry. The ETF, the Oil Services Holders Trust, trades on the American Stock Exchange under the symbol OIH. Although enthusiastic about the industry's growth prospects, Mr. Melcher says he would be reluctant to recommend oil services stock because he believes the price of oil could easily drop 50% in the recession he envisions.

Another danger he sees for the market is the prospect of huge withdrawals of funds from America by foreign investors due to the falling dollar, the credit crisis, and a slowing economy.'...snip...

The clouds on the economic horizon are getting pretty scary. You wonder if even cash is safe. The FDIC bailed out my bank, Netbank, but what if a Citi or a Morgan Stanley goes belly-up? They can't bail out a bank that size...can they? And even if the banking system stays intact, inflation could eat your savings away. And what about all those retired people, who are living off their investments?

It just seems like people always do what their parents should have done, financially-speaking. We now have a generation of people who were raised to believe that you can't go wrong by investing in real estate or buying and holding stock. We could all be in for a rude surprise.

They can't bail out a bank that size...can they?

They make the rules, they enforce the rules. So why can't they walk away - if that is the simplist solution?

Why should you trust what they say?

And what about all those retired people, who are living off their investments?

Exist in a scaled back level. Or, be part of the same mental health issues that New Orleans have shown.

The government has little say in the matter. the federal reserve dispite it's name is no more federal then federal express.

The bigger cloud in terms of social stability are the twin hammers of price increase and falling return for those on a pension.

Everything is going to go up up up ... except that pension check. And if your pension fund got heavily into CDOs ... well ... the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation was stressed before all of this stuff became apparent.

There are older people who have a decent, stable life today that may very well go out from under them in the very near future. A look at what happened to Russian pensioners after the collapse of the Soviet Union would be instructive ... sad, but instructive.

Everything is going to go up up up ... except that pension check.

This is why the FED is LYING about CPI and Inflation.
If they had the CPI calc'ed like in the 70's,80's Pension checks would be about 30% - 50% higher.

The FED and CB's ARE the enemy. (well represent them anyway).

A large number of boomers are seriously unprepared to stop working ... ever ... based on their investments.

You may have seen the bls number of a mean investment for boomers in the $49k range, which is too small already, but a little poking reveals major disparities between mean and median.

The median retirement account for boomers is *wait* $2000! http://www.bls.gov/opub/cwc/tables/cm20050114ar01t3.htm

That's the moral equivalent of planning to live for 20 years off a couple of boxes of macaroni.

That means the average number is being biased up by the few people with gigantic retirement accounts.

This is before the $2000 in the 401k loses 50% of its value due to currency depreciation and inflation.

Aw, nuts. I'm depressing myself thinking about this.

In my misspent youth, I worked as a math and science tutor at a community college. My boss was a Boomer. He was not a stupid man. In fact, he was a math professor. But he didn't believe in saving. He used to make fun of his sister, who saved like crazy. He said with inflation, your money was always worth less tomorrow, so you might as well spend it now.

One day, I mentioned to him that the reason his sister was a saver might be because she was older than him - old enough to remember the Great Depression. That was deflation, not inflation.

He didn't believe there was such a thing as deflation. He honestly thought inflation was a natural law of the universe or something. Finally, we called someone in the Economics dept. over to mediate. Who said, "She's right," and went back to his office, leaving my boss with his mouth hanging open.

There may be a thing such as deflation, but Bernanke is on record saying he will fight it at all costs. Monetization of bad debt is happening now and is expected to continue.

There is an on-going argument at a financial site I frequently read about whether we will see deflation or not. It looks to me that arguments for inflation have the upper hand, but noone knows for sure.

Savers are certainly being punished, the interest rates have been too low for years to reward saving. If saving was encouraged we would see a severe recession, but perhaps also a return to sanity. This will never happen though. The only saving being encouraged is to buy stocks through a 401 plan, and this is only because it benefits the financial sector.

I have my doubts about even a 401K plan with a company match. A good argument was made by someone that if the professional investors that managed pension plans couldn't make it work, what chance does an amateur have? The tax future is also suspect.

I could be too pessimistic, I have certainly missed out on nice returns from the major indices. But now I am seeing some things predicted years ago come to pass, so I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop.

[Edit. I just saw the story you posted about the "indomitable U.S. consumer" . I wonder if people will ever wake up? ]


Nothing to be depressed about Nervous! The younger generations will simply be saddled with 95% tax rates to ensure that each and every Boomer will have the comfortable, luxurious retirement they deserve!

As a member of one of those generations, I certainly can't wait for this development! ;)

After hearing about what happened to you and netbank, I've started keeping a couple hundred in cash and even more in gold and silver.

The financial markets are like a wobbling top, just before it falls. Recession or inflation? Worthless money or no money?

Best to hedge against both. Better yet don't trust a bank at all.

I always thought my grandparents were weird for not trusting banks, not anymore.

I've had yet more banking fun. I have a checking account with monster international bank HSBC (which swallowed a bunch of local banks a few years ago, including mine). I went to get some cash from the ATM, and it told me my bank card was expired. I didn't remember getting a new one, and searched the house, just in case I'd overlooked it, dropped it behind the desk, etc. No dice. So I called HSBC, worried that it had been stolen.

Nope. They confessed that they just plain forgot to send out replacement cards. They're going out a month late. There were thousands of customers in my shoes - expired ATM/credit card, no replacement.

I'm about ready to put my money in the Bank of Serta...

Are you sure someone didn't put a banking curse on you?

"Even a woman who is pure of heart, And says her prayers by night, May loose ATM access when the sub-primes blooms And the autumn moon shines bright.... "

Ten days ago I signed up for an account in the town where I've just started working. I was introduced to everyone who worked behind the counter (all three!) then marched to the branch manager's office so I could meet him.

Last Friday I went in with my second check, was greeted by name before they saw the check, and I walked out with $400 cash after making my deposit without having to present any identification.

There isn't squat to do up here, but we're all very pleasant to each other, and its very much like being transported back to the 1950s in terms of how people (and businesses) handle each other.

Oh, and at the local grocery store if you forget your wallet they will write your name, the amount, and the date on what looks like a little library card, then place it in a small metal file on a shelf. Many older people on a fixed income run a tab during the month and pay it off when the social security or pension check appears. The prices are a little bit higher, but not all that much ...

Different, these rural folk, aren't they?

After 15 years at BofA, I'm still just 10 digits and a dash.

But they haven't made a single mistake in all that time, hence the 15 years, so I guess I can live with that.

I keep a mound of cash under my mattress all the same.

LOL! You're describing my town, Toledo Illinois.

[heated agreement]

When we looked for our house I noticed that in rural areas, farmers sometimes would wave at me while I was driving by.

At first, I thought they mistook me for someone else. It felt a little creepy and weird. But I don't really *look* like many other people, and my cars are always odd in some way, so that wasn't it.

It turned out, they were just being friendly. They waved because they were nice. Holy crop rotation, Batman.

So I found the local centroid of waving humans and got land. And started waving too. It's heaven.

And it turns out, there are different kinds of waves, the single finger up, the full hand (newbie!) the surreptitious peace-sign-masquerading-as-a-howdy wave. The dwell times are important too :-)

That's one part of driving I'm going to miss. Maybe it can be ported to horses in rev 2.0 (or .1 alpha c. 1800).


Yeah, I grew up in a rural area, and folks do that sort of thing. And when you go into town, there is a tacit understanding that you greet and chat with the folks you encounter.

In the city, the only wave I usually ever see is the one-fingered variety...

I checked on a second trip to Zara's. I got one "good afternoon" and one "Boy, this is beautiful weather" going to the store and one "Great Day but DAMM the Saints stunk yesterday" on the way back. One person said nothing.


I am a rural dweller in NH, and indeed, there are all sorts of waves.

And I'm here to tell you that road-friendliness ports to horses just beautifully. In fact, when I'm driving my cart down the road, people usually drop what they're doing to come out and say howdy. It's how I stay in touch with my sparsely populated "neighborhood".

Smile when passing someone in the store or street. Maybe nod your head. It'll be returned. I bet in the city too.

I imagine 9/10's of folks here realize this, but hand waving is thought too have come from demonstrating you are unarmed and mean no trouble.

Hand waving is thought to be actually instinctive in humans. A waving empty hand can't throw a rock that's been concealed, and there's a theory I happen to believe in that humans evolved to be bipedal so we could capitalize on the rudimentary rock throwing abilities of other apes and become Nature's "rock-snipers".

And yeah I'm in a kinda rural area and damn, people are nice here. You're expected to be nice, you're expected, well, no, you're not expected you just DO favors, tons ride horses, or putt around on ATVs etc., and did I mention that damn, they're nice?

Hi Nervous and Alan,

After spending some time in an area where everyone waves (it was new to me, too), I started doing it once I was back "home". Usually wave while walking - To people in cars, trucks, bicycles or the rare others on foot.

After a while (maybe a year or more?) it caught on, and I smiled the day I realized people were now the first to wave to me, and I was no longer the one taking the initiative.

Best hopes for exporting pleasant cultural practices...


Next step, learn to talk to strangers :-)

Best Hopes for Soc 102 - Intermediate Level Social Contact,


Yes, we are. John

Zara's Grocery (corner of Prytania & Josephine in New Orleans, 2.5 blocks away, 2nd generation with the 3rd working there, his brother has another grocery store).

Just ate a ripe red Creole tomato from a local farmer with home made cottage cheese (made in store every day or two) for lunch :-)

He has a comparable policy, and will feed just about anybody that asks nicely. But their milk is cheaper than WalMart's (7 blocks away the other direction) and other prices "vary" between the two.

Zara has a real New Orleans deli in the back, with a lunch special every day. WalMart's has one of our 4 McDonalds in store.

Different, these city folk, aren't they ?


Yup, and statistically they are more likely to murder you.


New Orleans is different than anywhere else in the U.S. - I got that from the one rainy evening I spent there a year ago. Sounds like there is some of that social bond we have in rural areas.

The murder rate comes from density - folks there who go off have their counterparts here, but without the anonymity of the big city our potential killers seldom go down that path.

Growing up in Chicago we had that local feeling in our distinct neighborhoods. Everyone knew each other. Helped each other. Married each other. Lived in the hood all their life. It was normal to have three generations of a family living on the same block. That started changing about thirty years ago. White flight. The loss of good blue collar employment in the city. The massive influx of immigrants who were arrogant, obnoxious, and hated everything American (I’m talking about Euro trash as well as the usual suspects) The escalation of real estate prices was the nail in the coffin. I was able to ignore the crime as long as Chicago was affordable and offered pleasant neighborhoods to live in. Now the city is an armpit once you get out of downtown and the trendy expensive areas, and it is unaffordable to enjoy the distinct qualities of living in a big metropolis without earning a large income and fighting through massive congestion (don‘t get me started about the CTA). I didn‘t really notice how bad it got until I lived in Minneapolis for three years. I was seeing an idealized version of Chicago influenced by my past.

Leanan- It's interesting you say this because we have been getting more and more customers paying with temporary CCs. You know those heavy card stock cards that some of the banks put in their solicitation mailers to trick you into thinking you got a real CC, only there is a mag strip on it.

First one I got I laughed at her say ing "nice try" but she said that her bank gave her this until they could send out the plastic. And I'm all like WTF? fer shur.

There have several since, from different banks too.

Two thirds of all credit cards are processed by First Data in Omaha, Nebraska. The cards are (or at least used to be) created at Card Services in Starwood, in the northwest quarter of Omaha.

First Data is up for sale and I would not be at all surprised if vast numbers of customers jump ship - this may be what is behind your temporary card customers.


When I was in grad school, a student made a bet with another student. The bet was that he could write out his own check on a blackboard, and the bank would have to take it.

They did exactly this, and then the two of them carried the blackboard down to the bank. It took a long time, and a lot of fussing, but the bank eventually did cash the thing. Although they did call up a day or two later and ask them to retrieve it as they weren't about to mail it back.

If I was that branch manager, I might inform the customer that this branch would insist on the right to charge 'unusual check-processing fees' in reasonable proportion to the unusual-ness of the check that has been offered, and the amount of extra staff-time that is required in processing it.

1) And this stops a person from going to a different branch?
2) If the action is legal and one takes an action to block a legal action, one does open themselves up for a lawsuit.

If you were my customer, I'd be on a constant watch for lawsuits.

As my dad likes to say, laws were made to serve people, not the other way around. If you have a legal right to write a check on any substrate you can find, then it is an obligation to honor that, but if this check-writing is clearly frivolous or contentious, and not done for need, then I think I'd be willing to take the risk and implement a FAIR processing fee for clearly extraordinary submissions, or at very least inform the customer that future repetitions would be charged a 'nuisance fee'.

If the customer threatens to take his blackboards to another branch, would I really be worried about losing that account? Maybe I didn't outrun the Lion, but at that point, I would know that I had at least outrun one of the other Impala..


Just one UK bank called Northern Rock, which should perhaps be renamed Nothing Crock, has recieved a very "socialist" handout from the UK government over the last couple of months of almost $50 billion dollars. Because in reality it's bust. Now that's just one bank, the first, and maybe not the worst. It's hard to know precisely, but my friends in the City are very nervous.

They say the financial markets have only two modes, euphoria and panic!

They are trying to sell Nothern Rock to somebody, only when it owes the Bank of England £23 billion buyers are a tad wary!

The problem is the US housing bubble is collapsing and literally billions are disappearing into almost thin air.

Americans have financed their living standards by the greatest debt bubble in history, borrowing against the value of property and massive credit-card debt. The US has become the largest borrower ever, something like $2 billion a day, do we at TOD see a pattern here?

But now the debt-well is running dry and things are going to get rough.

Many American banks have huge hidden loses which don't appear on the official books. These suspect transactions and huge loses, have been moved over to other, overseas banks, which aren't officially part of the "mother" bank at all! This makes official oversight very difficult indeed! Most American banks are now, in reality, insolvent. Their cash reserves are probably around 1% so don't all ask for your money at once. It isn't there! The deregulation of the last couple of decades has been a gamble of vast proportions, but it has given people the impression of real economic well-being, but the whole thing has been built upon a foundation of sand, a giant scam.

It's almost as if the entire US financial system has degenerated into a enormous chain-letter scam, where fortunes are made by the guys at the beginning, but watch out if your the sucker at the end! Get rid of the debt, before it gets you! Unfortunaetly, the house of cards is now slowly collapsing, with potentially disasterous consequences.

Kinda like a pass the parcel with a mailbomb?

Financial upper deckers is the best definition I have seen.

I bank with HSBC, and my debit card and credit card with them are both up for renewal this coming January. I haven't seen any mailings from them with new cards, and searching their website reveals absolutely nothing about their card renewal policy. I seem to remember some problem with renewing my debit card back in early '05...hopefully things go more smoothly this time around...

Yeah about a week ago, my ATM card expired. I found out late on a Friday afternoon, and was able to call them just before they closed. At that point I didn't even know what the problem was - all I knew was there was some vague error. I had thought my account got locked for some stupid reason.

Of course they tell me they had never sent out a new card, and had no plans to do so. I could go in to the Credit Union and get a new one, but that's really inconvenient right now. They wanted to know why I don't use the debit card instead in the ATM - well, if I could remember the (&(*&( PIN number, I would do that. Fortunately I had the slip of paper squirreled away (took me over an hour to find it though), so I eventually got things working again.

Leanan, I wanted to ask what happened to your account at Netbank, but thought it too personal a question. Glad to hear that it worked out ok.

My wife and I are definitely concerned about the future. We are both retired, have investments in major cap stocks, receive retirement incomes, receive SS incomes, own a couple of houses outright, dont owe anything...But, we can see everything vanishing quickly in an economic meltdown. I have actually hidden some cash in a secure place but, as you mentioned, it might soon be near worthless. We have some gold and silver but not enough. If I were smart or had a good crystal ball I would have bought more gold three years ago.

We are conservative with money and can live with little or no gasoline, we are the offspring of depression era parents, we cook at home, rarely eat out, have stored lots of food, have sturdy bicycles, motorcycles and have taken what precautions we can...But, we are still as vulnerable as anyone else. We have the feeling that we are in a sinking boat with lots of people and there is nothing to bail water with. One good thing about our situation is that we were poor when we grew up and know how to get by with little so being FWOs will not bother us like it might some of the later generations, although that isnt much consolation...

I did not lose any money in the Netbank failure. I was under the FDIC limit (well under, LOL).

My accounts were switched to ING Direct, and they are phasing them out. I was told Netbank ATM cards won't be accepted after this month, and in early December, my Netbank checking account will become an "Electric Orange" checking account. I haven't decided whether I should open a new checking account elsewhere, or try to live with Electric Orange (which is all online - no paper checks).

Right now BofA has a special web only offer where you can open one of the accounts that normally are free with direct deposit and minimum balances, totally free with no restrictions. 25 bucks to open it.

If a bank is left standing other then private banks like JP Morgan, it's going to be the really big boys based in the US.

Actually, I think the big banks are more at risk than well-run small banks and credit unions (with the understanding that the government is more likely to bail out a failed big bank than a little one). It is the big banks that have dropped their reserves to the minimum required by law and tanked up on the toxic CDOs. Some of them (Citi, frex) may be insolvent even as we speak. BoA had a smaller exposure to the sub-prime (supposedly anyway), but I suspect they won't go under as fast as Citi. We'll learn a lot more after Thursday when the level 3 assets are supposed to be marked to market (though if the big boys can wiggle out of doing that, they will).

I will also point out that by putting your money in a megabank like BoA, you're funding some not-so-nice social and political policies.

I'd say there are quite a few insolvencies waiting in the wings, but it will be an iterative process. The lowest of the low caught in the ARM scam go under, the backlash from this takes out the highest of the high in the banking field, we get a moment to draw our breath, then the next wave of trouble arrives repeating this exact cycle.

This is a positive feedback loop - a neighborhood of construction workers and landscaping employees beat down takes out the corner grocery and the local bar, and the mortgage sales people who were making their way on subprime sales. Add enough of these together and it gets the bankers behind the mortgage salesmen, which then takes out ... another neighborhood full of construction and landscaping company employees.

Janjuah noted that, for example, Morgan Stanley has the equivalent of 251 percent of its equity in Level 3 assets, Goldman Sachs has 185 percent, Lehman Brothers has 159 percent and Citigroup has 105 percent, according to Bloomberg.

On the other hand, Merrill Lynch has Level 3 assets equal to 38 percent of its equity. As a result, Janjuah believes Merrill ''may well come out of all of this in the best health.''


Sounds like a good case for buying gold and silver. Down today, but the money I have put into it several years ago has more than kept up with inflation.

I know some here are not trusting the run up in gold and silver due to the losses experienced in the eighties, but I think it is prudent to have at least some. There was a time when financial advisors recommended having a portion of your investments in precious metals, but of course that is no longer the case.


Personally I think that when all is said and done, and while everyone is going to take some damage, and providing the decision has been made to reside in the US long term, then for someone that doesn't have the time to follow developments play by play the dollar might turn out to be a good place to be, relatively speaking.
Providing one can physically hang on to them.

Everyone is getting out of them because sheep panic in the first inning and/or can't see more then one or two moves ahead. It ain't over until the fat lady sings.

I've been studying this current financial crisis, and it's almost as scary as Peak Oil, and the standard of coverage in the MSM is comparable to the way they dealt with PO a couple of years ago. Now doesn't that sound scary?

This are far more serious and unstable than they appear. We are just at the beginning of the crisis. What we can see is the tip of a very large and hidden iceberg.

The sub-prime scandal is not confined to the US alone, but approximately 50% of this debt has been sold on outside the US. Nobody really knows how much the major financial institutions have lost, and where the loses are, and who has been left holding worthless paper at the end of the line. Privately friends of mine in the financial sector have told me about numbers in the many, many trillions.

One guy said he was praying the invisible hand would intervene and save us before we all go over the edge!

The FED has been injecting cash to try to stabilize the banking system. The dollar has fallen 8% compared to a basket of other currencies since January 1, 2007. Am not sure if that will show up in the government inflation reports, yet people might remember when things were cheaper.

Cheney claimed the U.S. was winning in Iraq. I heard a report that the Shiites were winning in Baghdad and had driven out the Sunnis. Am not sure the U.S. taxpayer won a single dinar from Iraq, rather lost hundreds of billions of dollars in taxpayer contributions. Got some people with missing limbs who are in need of government assistance at a time when the SSI fund is about to be tested by a record number of retirements.

Fishermen have been upset over the rising costs of fuel for their boats, yet the tuna are not safe. The New England cod is not as easy to find these days.

I sort of have the feeling that the reason Bush and the MSM are hitting PO is because they realized that there is no stopping the financial debacle, so by hitting on PO they remove the blame from the usual suspects on Wall Street and pin it on the Muslim "evil doers".

Basically they kill two birds with one stone.

They can't bail out a bank that size...can they? And even if the banking system stays intact, inflation could eat your savings away. And what about all those retired people, who are living off their investments?

Bailouts are coming. I am not sure how the US economy will whether an economic depression if congress decides to pour trillions in gov't guarenteed loans and other forms of bailout money. Certain, Oversea's Investors, and gov't won't take kindly if the US tries to inflates its way out. Nor am I sure that even Trillions will stop a depression. But I know that the Fed, White House, Congress will not permit a major bank failure.

I now believe that when US economy declines, that China, India and probably the Middle East will simply take up any slack demand from US demand destruction. China has a new SPR that is just waiting for a dip in prices to begin filling up. I think China and India have developed enough to drive internal demand for much of their industrial production capacity. A US fall, will probably result in a weaker dollar. Oil prices outside of the US will probably fall, but a declining dollar might cause oil prices to remain high.

And what about all those retired people, who are living off their investments?

Its extremely likely that in 2009, the Democrats will take over the White house, the Congress and the Senate. I have no doubt that once they have the majority, they will vote for much higher taxes and increased entitlements. The core voters of the Democrat party are retirees, unions and the poor. I doubt that they will invest in infrastructure mitigation or other critical changes required. I think they'll move available capital to pay for entitlements and other wealthfare, instead of infrastructure investment.

A puntive tax on Energy companies will simply force companies to move out of the US and sell their non-domestic oil production to Asia, or other foriegn markets for a better deal. I doubt oil companies will invest in new developments under draconian taxes. It wouldn't suprise me to see more oil companies follow Haliburtan (moved to Dubai) and relocate overseas, as we get closer to 2009. Plus, there isn't too much remaining to be developed in the US anyway, except perhaps in Alaska (which may also be iffy). Considering the instablity of storms and the cost of deep water production, I doubt that Oil companies will invest significantly in new GOM production. US oil companies would probably have to import workers anyway do to an aging US workforce. the US lacks younger skilled labor for the energy sector.

The big if, is that major exporters begin to grasp the colamity of Peak Oil and start cutting back on production. I don't think any changes will happen in 2008, but sometime before 2011, I think at least one major exporter will cut back. When one cuts, others are bound to follow.

I worry about this bailout business - how do they bail out those who are going to lose their homes, which will be a definitely political sort of thing, without offending those who have been responsible? And how will said bailout contribute to the much needed abandonment of the housing that won't make the transit oriented development cut?

The federal government's response will just as likely make the problem worse as do anything to help ... both engines are sputtering and rather than looking for a safe place to make a dead stick approach Congress will just ram the throttles full forward and hope the market for avgas will magically fill the tanks.

I disagree with a number of your conclusions, especially the one that democrats are the party of the retirees and unions.
The overwhelming majority of retirees or near retirees and skilled union members I talk to are republicans. Lots of people that want to return to life in a honorable country support Ron Paul.
IMO the major support for democrats comes from lawyers, health insurance corporations, minorities, illegal aliens and the welfare establishment.
Maybe someone independent like Kucinich would work, but crowning the Hillabeast is a guarantee of further fall into Zimbabwe like government corruption and war with Iran.

I'm not a lawyer, a health insurance corporation, or an illegal alien. Once upon a time I was a registered Republican, but its become the party of religious fanatics and sleaze bags who ride into power pandering to their prejudices.

Stuff like this makes me confused like I wandered into RedState.com by mistake ...

Well, in another place and time under different conditions I could easily be a democrat or populist. If I were looking at it strictly from the point of view of what would benefit me financially odds are I would be better off with the democrats.
Bottom line, some of the things they stand for are so unacceptable to me from a intellectual point of view that I would become a instant expat if the wrong one gets crowned.

would it be too much to ask for you to remove that eric cartman logo ?

Who is Eric Cartman?

And how do you come to the conclusion that it would be his logo?


Would you consider dropping the motion graphic? It's distracting. I'm sure you can imagine how difficult it would be to read here if more folks adopted the practice.


(who is also tired of dancing aliens and tattoo pens selling mortgages)

No problem.

I think you meant to spell it "calamity."

The largest bloc of core voters of the Democratic party are social progressives. I would say that they are more likely than any other group in the US to push for "infrastructure mitigation or other critical changes required-" or maybe you believe mouth-breathing social conservatives are about to stop caring about abortion and instead ask "WWJD" and come up with light rail as the answer?

The complete failure of the Republican party to take any steps towards mitigation over the last 8 years (besides a disastrously bungled military occupation in the Middle East, which could only arguably be described as an attempt at mitigation, and of course would never be described as such by the people who planned it) leaves the burden of proof on this issue (and most others) firmly with the Republicans. They sucked so bad for 8 years now, who the hell would expect them to stop screwing things up?

In response to SA's recent claims, here's an old quote:

U.S. oil experts always come back to the same point: Saudi oil managers "are confident in their ability" to achieve significantly higher levels of output well into the future. In no instance, however, have they provided independent verification of this capacity; they simply rely on the word of those oil officials, who have every incentive to assure us of their future reliability as suppliers. In the end, therefore, it comes down to this: America's entire energy strategy, with its commitment to an increased reliance on petroleum as the major source of our energy, rests on the unproven claims of Saudi oil producers that they can, in fact, continuously increase Saudi output in accordance with the DoE's predictions.

And this is where Matthew Simmons enters the picture, with his meticulously documented book showing that Saudi producers cannot be trusted to tell the truth about future Saudi oil output.


The Saudi observation that they've replaced all the oil they've ever extracted through reserve growth, thus ever maintaining that same 260Bbbl amount, and that they will continue to find as much oil as they extract has got to be the most extreme howler I've ever seen. Why believe anything they say? Better to look at behavior/performance and work backwards.

An oft-repeated quote by the Texas State Geologist, at an industry meeting in 2005, in response to a question from me:

"While Texas may not be able to equal its peak oil production, we can, with the use of better technology, significantly increase our production."

With some minor exceptions, and some brief periods of flat production, Texas oil production has fallen since peaking in 1972. We can find and we are finding new oil fields in Texas, but we can't offset the declines from the old, large oil fields.

While we have been mesmorized in recent weeks by the high crude oil prices and record high heating oil prices, comparitively little attention seems to be paid to the North America natural gas situation. The price seems high but not extraordinarily so. What is the outlook for natural gas in North America this winter?

Hey Pepper2000--The most recent report I saw mentioned a new post-peak injected reserves amount, and this was only a couple of days ago. Sorry, no link, but I'm sure I saw it in one of the last days' Drumbeats. This link shows what the story mentioned, http://www.eia.doe.gov/oil_gas/natural_gas/ngs/ngs.html This item about radioactive natural gas was quite interesting, http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/news/localnews/stories/DN-no...

Given the amount of inventory, I would expect nat gas prices to remain stable for the winter, relative to fuel oil.

Thanks for the links. It looks like we'll be in decent shape at least with gas, as long as the gas doesn't turn us into green mutants.

Prediction: If I make it past tomorrow, I will win my bet against $100 oil this year.

The majority of 360,000 contracts have to be sold by Friday. On the other hand, 42,000 options expire worthless if oil is below $100 at tomorrow's close:

Prepare for Volatility

Some are of the opinion that speculators will try to talk up prices so they can cash in, but with 360,000 contracts selling into any market strength, I think it will be tough sledding. I expect this to all trump this week's inventory report (even though I think oil will drop again this week).

Woah! Not so fast Robert. That is not what the language of your bet says:

After seeing a number of predictions for very high crude oil prices this year – including many from people who believe that world oil production has peaked and $100/bbl this year is a sure thing – I offered up a $1,000 bet that front month WTI would not reach $100 in 2007.

If the front month contract reaches $100 any time during the year of 2007, you lose your bet. On December 31, of 2007, the front month contract will be the February contract. Nevertheless it will still be 2007! If the front month contract reaches $100 on or before December 31st, you lose your bet.

Ron Patterson


I am not implying that the bet is over at the end of this week. But I think I will have navigated the riskiest waters, IMO. I think we are highly likely to see prices ease between now and the end of the year, but then continue the assault on $100 next year.

I am sometimes curious to know where some of you assumptions come from (not that you are wrong), but why have we traversed the riskiest waters already?

Are inventories going to reverse? Demand substantially back off?

Are inventories going to reverse? Demand substantially back off?

No, the market has just gotten ahead of itself. And I know that even TOD staff members who think we have peaked agree with me on this point. Remember, I am long-term very bullish on oil. I have been for 5 years. But a 30% run in a short period of time will almost inevitably see a correction. Historically, it has happened again and again - no matter how iron-clad is the reasoning for a continued upward climb. We have recently gone through a period in which all the oil-related news appeared to be bad, and when we were at $98, all it would have taken was a single bit of bad geopolitical news to push oil to $100.

But prices have pulled back a bit, and I think they are likely to continue trending down for a while. Add to that the possibility that OPEC will announce a production boost this weekend - a wild card that I would not want as a part of my investment risk - and prices could quickly back off. In fact, the reason that prices are falling today has been explained away as being due to the comments from Saudi that they will "discuss" boosting production. If they come out of the weekend and actually make an announcement, do you think prices will continue to race up? I think the march to $100 will take a breather.

OK...I can buy that. It is an intangible, rather than fact...above ground if you like.

I definitely agree prices will bounce all over the place...just wanted to see if you had a production/demand reasoning for the price retreat.

The 30% run-up in the price of oil was due to the sharp decline in inventories.

The reason you will probably win your bet is because the stock market is collapsing and that is running up the dollar (http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=anvcLaDLJ4s0&refer=home).

Gold went down today too, by 3.23%, while oil went down only 1.76%. Since the move of both was chiefly the result of a rally in the dollar, and since no speculator in his right mind has been buying oil for weeks, that suggests commercial buyers who really needed oil and were waiting for any break in the price.

The 30% run-up in the price of oil was due to the sharp decline in inventories.

I disagree. We have seen many sharper draws on inventories without a 30% run-up in price. I would agree that oil prices moved upward as a result of a decline in inventories - not particularly sharp by historical standards (in fact, in December last year we shaved off 25 million barrels in one month). But there were a number of other factors that resulted in the 30% run-up that go well beyond fundamentals. There was and continues to be a lot of fear around whether Saudi actually has any more production. That fear is putting pressure on prices. A load of new speculators have entered the market. I have never had so many novices ask me how to buy a crude contract as I have over the past 2 months.

So yes, there are some fundamental reasons, but not enough to warrant such a fast run-up.

Boy, they had certainly better get a more knowledgeable advisor than you. Are you informing them that you know nothing whatsoever about trading these contracts?

You are right, you did not imply it. Your statement was explicit.

The "explicit statement" was a prediction. Ron understood it to be "I will have won my bet on Friday." Much different than "I predict that if I make it to Friday, I will win my bet." Nowhere does that imply that the bet is over on Friday.

I don't know why I didn't see that the first time. Too much cold medicine I guess.

Please accept my apology.

No problem. In fact, enough people misunderstood what I was saying, that I looked again at what I wrote, and I can see that I wasn't all that clear. My fault.

My firm prediction for oil prices is that they will fluctuate, with an upward bias, but I don't think that I expressed an opinion in early 2007 about oil hitting $100 oil in 2007.

However, Robert's premise was that oil would not hit $100 because he doesn't think that the world has peaked. In other words, his premise was that rising production would keep prices below $100.

If memory serves, the WTI record so far this year was just over $98, versus about $60 in early January. So, if we look at it in terms of the incremental increase necessary to cross the $100 mark, WTI has advanced about 95% of the way so far, about $38 out of $40 necessary to cross the $100 mark. And Tapis crude did cross the $100 mark.

Note that the EIA shows that world crude + condensate production continues to be below the 2005 level. The cumulative shortfall between what the world would have produced at the 5/05 rate and what we actually produced is now in excess of 700 mb, closing in on on the billion barrel mark (C+C), despite the highest nominal oil prices in history (note that Brent averaged $38 per barrel in the 18 months preceding 5/05).

My premise, and in hindsight this is what I should have bet - is that Saudi production would not continue to decline. I felt if Saudi production did continue to decline, $100 was a no-brainer. If it didn't continue to decline, I thought we wouldn't have a chance to reach $100. And this was the primary reason for making the bet, which I outlined at the time.

What happened is that I was correct - Saudi didn't continue to decline. Despite that, we nearly reached $100.

What happened is that I was correct - Saudi didn't continue to decline. Despite that, we nearly reached $100.

We nearly reached $100 because KSA has demonstrated(effectively) that they are NO LONGER a swing producer.

Peak, plateau, peaklite...same net effect. Production growth has ceased effectively.

Or, do you see this differently?

It's not the direction that's the issue. It's the magnitude. I agree, Peak Lite will drive prices higher, and if the market as a whole doesn't yet recognize peak, they are starting to recognize Peak Lite. And that will drive prices higher. So the bet wasn't that prices wouldn't go higher. I thought they would. The bet was that they wouldn't see an unprecedented climb in 2007.

Hehe...I was commenting on KSA, not your comments or the bet. Or at least that is the way I meant it (me<---not english major)

Love to see you win the bet, but figure it is 50/50 at this point.

We will have to revisit the Peak, Plateau, and Peaklite with more data under our belt - maybe in May before next summer.

Love to see you win the bet

I suspect you are in the small minority. :-)

but figure it is 50/50 at this point

I would probably agree with that. If I make it through this week, though, I think the odds will swing in my favor. On the other hand, if OPEC doesn't agree to boost production at their meeting this weekend - or at least take some significant steps to placate the market, then the odds will swing against me.

But if I lose, the true losers are those who may come visit Aberdeen. Because that $1,000 was going into a beer fund, with beers on me for any readers who come by Aberdeen, until the $1,000 is exhausted. Although I won't buy someone $1,000 worth of beers at one sitting. I need to put that warning in there for any of the Scots here, as some of those guys can put it away.

Ha, as an American of Scottish decent, I was thinking "I could put away a LOT of beer in one sitting - and I really like visiting Scotland...."

Yes...this week will be interesting, but something tells me (gut) that economic(other) factors will keep the $100 daemon away for a couple more weeks.

Making in past Oct 31 without a striking(but damned close) has made me re-evaluate the impact of the economic tsunami that is currently underway.

BTW, just in case, for those who tune in:

Notice: The Weekly Petroleum Status Report will be released on Thursday, November 15, 2007 at
10:30 A.M. (Eastern Time) due to the closure of the Federal government on Monday, November 12.

However, if oil starts playing with $97-98 again this week, anything is possible. Volatile moves lately $2-$3 at a splash.

Have you made it to the Kintore Arms Inn? Fine little place with friendly folks and rather rural.

You may make it through this week, however the Tabasco outcome may throw a monkey wrench into your luck in the coming weeks. If you win I shall tip one for you at my local hangout. Folks there have been gaining more respect for my views on PO lately.

Here's hoping for lower crude, Cheers

You should have fixed the value of dollar in Your bet. When oil will
reach 100$ it will be significantly devalued 100$
(in comparison with 100$ from Your bet)

My Bet!

No money involved but I am going out on a limb and say oil will hit $100 this year. I think OPEC will be the key. I have studied every OPEC chart and concluded that only Saudi Arabia, of the OPEC 10, has any spare capacity, and I am not sure that they have that much.

Anyway, when the November OPEC production numbers come out in December, the cat will be out of the bag. And OPEC at their December 5 meeting, will come up with some lame excuse as to why they will not increase supplies. The market is fully supplied, speculators are driving up the price. Yeah, that would be a good one.

OPEC's October production numbers will be out Thursday and they should tell us something. That is the numbers contained in OPEC's Monthly Oil Market Report will be out Thursday. Though they make sure to point out that these numbers are according to secondary sources they are nevertheless the numbers OPEC used when setting quotas this past September.

Ron Patterson

Well, I am not betting against you. I agree $100 oil still has a better than even chance (leaving it at 60% since July).

And I am holding my triple Yergin ($114) by Jan 30, 2008, at 80%.

The next few weeks will be volatile as economic conditions could throw a wrench in the whole system. But, I think they will and can hold it together until after xmas.

The other element of course is the weather, which always makes oil traders nervous (or opportunistic). If we hear of a nasty old fashioned cold front swinging down from Canada in mid-December $100 would likely follow close behind.

Even if Saudi Arabia had maintained their 2005 rate, current world crude oil production would still be down relative to 2005.

Robert, a couple of things on your post that are not quite right:

The Open Interest on Dec. 2007 may well be 360,000, however a massive portion of that number will be hedges against in the money options (for example the 38,000 lots of 90.00 strike options open). So the real number of open contracts is significantly lower than 360,000.

Furthermore, for every "long" out there, there is also a "short". Therefore the comment regarding "360,000 contracts selling into any market strength" ought to also mention "360,0000 contracts buying into market weakness".

Lastly, both longs and shorts have the option of rolling their open position into the January 2008 contract. The longs are in better shape on that basis, as they can sell December and buy January back cheaper, whereas the shorts have to buy back the more expensive contract and sell out a cheaper one.

Furthermore, for every "long" out there, there is also a "short".

Then how do longs outnumber shorts, per this OPIS report that I discussed? I am not saying that you are wrong, as I don't trade commodities, but I have read much about longs outnumbering shorts. How can this be if for every long, there is a short?

Since the numbers must match, it is impossible for there to be more longs than shorts (after all, every contract traded must have a buyer and a seller).

I am rather busy today, so without looking at the link you provided, I would guess that the non-commercial long position is greater than the non-commerical short position. IE there are more speculative (non-commercial) longs than there are shorts. This means that there must be more commercial shorts (ie hedgers) in the market than there are commercial longs.

Given that stocks at Cushing (ie stocks deliverable vs short positions on NYMEX) are in the region of only 14 million barrels (14,000 lots), that means that there are a hell of lot of commercial hedgers out there who have hedged crude in the futures market that they cannot deliver against their short position. These shorts either have to buy back their short position or roll it into January.

Since the market is in backwardation, rolling positions is financially unpleasant for the short in the market, but profitable for the longs. Therefore I would argue that there is more pressure on the naked shorts in the market than there is on the naked longs.

I believe the naked shorts (commercial hedgers) are mostly probably refining companies who have hedged their crude stocks using WTI prices on NYMEX. But here we are getting into territory that you are probably far more familiar with then me.

IE there are more speculative (non-commercial) longs than there are shorts.

That may be the key, because I have seen that phrase - speculative longs - frequently mentioned in conjuction with this issue. It never made sense to me that there could be more longs than shorts, but I have heard many people say this. But I bet you are right - speculative is the key.

Thanks, RR

Robert, Bunyonhead is exactly correct. I have traded futures and I was, albeit for a very short time, a commodities broker. One contract consists of one long and one short. That would be one contract, not two although two people are involved. That is, it would add only one to the “open interest”. And when that contract closes, one will be subtracted from the open interest.

There are often more institutional or hedge fund longs than shorts. In that case more speculators must hold the shorts. In that case there would be more speculative shorts than longs.

A one sided contract would be an impossibility. That is there could not possibly be a long without a corresponding short. Someone must always hold the opposite side of every contract.

Ron Patterson

Oh brother. There is no opposite side of a contract, only of a sale. That's why they call it a contract and not some other word. If you were correct, all securities would have a short interest of exactly 50%. I sold a position today to a buyer. I'm not now short the position, I simply don't own it.

These contracts aren't ether. They require somebody to physically deliver the commodity at the agreed upon settlement date. That's the only contract. PEMEX isn't short oil, they sell it.

You're confusing buying and selling with long and short.

Jteehan, I am not confusing anything, you are the only one confused here. We are not talking about securities here, we are talking about commodity futures! Being short a securities position and being short a commodities contract are two entirely different things!

I have been both a stock broker and a commodities broker and I know what the hell I am talking about. Every commodities contract has two sides, the long side and the short side. That makes up one contract. Being short a securities an equities position is another thing entirely. When you are short a stock, equities, or securities position, (three different words for exactly the same thing), is another matter entirely.

When you are short any stock, you must borrow that stock from the brokerage house. Then you sell that stock. When you sell borrowed stock, that is called "selling short". And there is not an opposite to this because it is not a commodities contract, it is a sale of securities pure and simple. You sold borrowed stock and sooner or later you must buy back that stock and replace it to the brokerage house which you borrowed it from.

That is how a short sale of securities works. Shorting a commodities contract is not remotely related to the shorting of a stock.

And you Jteehan, are the one who is confused! What the hell does PEMEX have to do with anything being discussed here. The fact that you brought up PEMEX at all is a testament as to just how confused you really are.

These contracts aren't ether. They require somebody to physically deliver the commodity at the agreed upon settlement date.

Only a tiny fraction of all commodities contracts end in the actual delivery of any commodity. The vast majority of all contracts are settled in cash. Even if you are holding a long or short contract at expiration, you can still settle in cash. It is a misconception by most novices that if you hold a contract at expiration that you must take, or make delivery of that commodity. You can still, even at that late a date, still settle in cash.

I would suggest that you study up on the futures market Jteehan because it is obvious that you haven't a clue as to what the hell you are talking about.

Ron Patterson

Wrongo a futures contract must have a buyer and a seller. Only a hedger would in effect be in a "neutral" position if he sells a contract for the underlying commodity in the case of a producer,(farmer, oil producer) or buys one in the case of a user.(Refiner,Pepsico) For a hedger the effect of not having a futures position as a long hedger or short hedger really puts you in the position of being a speculator if you have not made pricing arrangements for the underlying commodity. As you have no protection for the price you are getting or paying for your commodity. In effect gambling as you know the cost of production (farmer, oil man), or the cost of your sales (Refiner, McDonalds) and are betting on increasing your margins by improving the price direction to your benefit.
The discussion upthread about the specutalor balancing out the trades of the commercials is spot on. If producer hedgers are wanting to price by going short (thus pricing there exposure)but the commercials don't want to then the speculator will step in to balance out the trades. Without the speculator the short hedger cannot price his commodity if the commerical long doesn't want the trade and vice versa.
Your comment that if you own a position and sell it you are not short is correct you are now in a neutral position. Pemex is in effect always long as a producer and would be a short hedger in the marketplace. If they so desire and wish to take a position in the market they are effectively by selling now neutral as they have priced their long position. By taking this short position they are neutralizing any price future movements until they deliver the commodity. I.e. if price goes up they lose money on their paper trade make it up when they sell the physical, or if the price goes down they make money on their paper and lose it when they deliver the commodity. None of this is possible if an offsetting trade is not made.

The reason for the discrepancy is that the Commitment of Trader reports break the open interest down into separate categories; non-commercial(funds), commercial(hedgers), and nonreportable positions(usually considered small spec). The positions do balance out.

This will be a photo finish. Having fun:)? Always appreciate your efforts on this site. I'm a car nut and am currently arguing about the energy situation over on an automotive site or two. Just wish I had the cerebral hp and expertise of the TOD posters.

I had a long heart to heart with my Mom yesterday over Peak Oil, and told her that I want to address it with the extended family when I fly home for Christmas. She said "Well, I will be praying. I don't know what you will be doing." I told her "I will be planning, and working on solutions. But we will have to get accustomed to a much different way of life."

Would you consider writing a post about how that meeting with the extended family goes? I'd be interested in reading that.

Last month I passed on my copy of the Sci American article from the late 90's on avoid the next energy crunch. He "got it" immediately. I still remember reading that article and being amazed by the implications. The timeline suggested by it (for global peaking/plateau) has yet to be proven incorrect.

Robert: I had that Christmas chat with my family last year. They're all conservative Christian Republicans and not exactly inclined to believe anything contrary to what the White House says, for example. But over the last year I have noticed a distinct change in their attitudes. They're thinking about relocalization, shopping for farmland, getting more energy conscious, and thinking about how to fend for themselves rather than trusting that Big Oil will find solutions. They've come a long way in their thinking, and I am curious to see what our conversations will be like this Christmas. Good luck with yours. If at first you meet with resistance, don't worry...you may find that in time, they will come around.


Let's see.

You concluded your bet in January, when as you report, WTI was trading at $54.55/bbl.

To date, WTI has traded as high as $98.62/bbl, earlier this month.

Seems to me the price of oil did essentially what you predicted it wouldn't, but technically as of yet you have not lost your bet. You're getting seven-figure offers?

See my response to WT above. The price bet was a proxy for a bet on Saudi production. Saudi production did what I said it would do. Price has gone up despite Saudi production doing what I said it would do. My mistake there was not betting on the actual issue instead of the proxy.

Also, if you have read my writings, you will see that among other things, I have been correct this year on 1). Gasoline prices hitting record highs (predicted far in advance of it happening based on inventory trends). 2). Ethanol stocks crashing (I predicted that PEIX was poised to fall, and it has fallen 69% since my prediction).

You can see a documented list of my predictions here:

Hits, Misses, and Pending

Furthermore, my track record is much, much better than the 52% record of analysts. So if you are an energy fund employing a bunch of analysts hitting 52% of the time, and you are paying them 7 figures, is it surprising that I would be approached with those kinds of figures?

I would also add that even T. Boone Pickens wasn't predicting $100 oil this year. In fact, in August he was predicting $80 oil by his birthday next year. So if oil hits $100, I will have plenty of company among people who didn't predict it. And there is no shame in that. But I can already see that if I do win my bet, the response from some is going to be "Yeah, but you almost lost it."

Well, with so many self-serving comments and links, I suppose I'll just let my original post stand, and you can whiff all you want for the readers.

Sure, feel free to let your initial implication stand - despite evidence to the contrary. And most evidence against a personal cheap shot will be self-serving by definition. Your cheap shot, after all, was aimed at my SELF.

Why not take another pot-shot in lieu of a rebuttal? That's mighty charitable of you, John.

Robert, let's review:

You: "Prediction: If I make it past tomorrow, I will win my bet against $100 oil this year."

Darwinian: "Woah! Not so fast Robert. That is not what the language of your bet says:"

You: "Ron,
I am not implying that the bet is over at the end of this week."

How do you think that looks to the Oil Drum reader? IMO, like mealy-mouthed self-serving words. What's wrong with "You're right, Ron. I misspoke" But why ever admit you are wrong, when you can like a lawyer go back and finely parse your statements to shreds of truthiness. It's the same with calling your bet a proxy for Saudi production, but making the bet about oil price, then calling it a mistake to cover your reputation in case you lose the bet.

BTW, I had respected much of your work on biofuels.

What's wrong with "You're right, Ron. I misspoke" But why ever admit you are wrong, when you can like a lawyer go back and finely parse your statements to shreds of truthiness.

Given that the sentence started with Prediction, I didn't misspeak. It is not my fault that you or anyone else misread it. If I had said "I will have won my bet by Friday", then you would have a point. Given that I predicted that I would win, you do not. And it is not "finely parsing" statements to point out that it was a prediction, especially given the word "Prediction." I am comfortable enough that most people probably understand how the word "Prediction" modifies the sentence that follows it. My assumption is that Ron just missed the word prediction. Clearly you did not, but still want to argue that I misspoke. These sorts of time-wasting arguments are one reason I greatly scaled back my posting here.

BTW, I had respected much of your work on biofuels.

If your respect is so easily lost - especially on an issue unrelated to what we are discussing - then I won't lose sleep over that. I can't please all of the people all of the time, and I have learned to stop trying.

EDIT: Looking back at the initial post, I can see that it could have been easily misunderstood. I had linked to the essay in which I was very explicit, but I can see how someone might read the above and think that I was suggesting that I would have won my bet by Friday, instead of predicting that I thought I would be past a danger area.

Apologies if anyone misunderstood what I was saying (which some clearly did).

wrote up but deleted after your edit.

EDIT: Looking back at the initial post, I can see that it could have been easily misunderstood.

I took it as 'If this week ends under $100 - I'm a shoe in for the win'.

And the bragging of both sides of the bet doesn't strike me as 'gentlemanly behavior'

Robert - it is not worth the effort. You will not be able to teach people to READ by responding to their posts on this site. Most of them appear to be of an age where the only thing that they understand is FU.

To be honest I don't give a shit about the bet (I refuse to bet over a nickel, I ALWAYS lose, no matter what) but I do think the pissing contest is getting way out of hand over much that seems to me to be nothing. It was pretty easy to understand what Robert meant on first read for me but anyway now it's pretty well clarified beyond anything I could have imagined.

The bigger picture might be we have bigger problems y'all can teach me and others about with the vast knowledge reservoirs here. I can watch internet fights almost anyplace else.

Hey hey hey...we only fight when the stakes are so small.

wow - when you generate even HALF of the informed posts that Robert does, then you could maybe be this smug and nasty

I may not always agree with Robert's position (a lot closer to Westexas' with moments of The Chimp Who Can Drive "OH MY GOD WE'RE ALL GONNA DIE!") - but Robert is always well thought, well-documented and interesting in his posts - and avoids your kind of snark

what have you contributed here that can compare?

have I just missed your well-researched articles somehow?

Have any thoughts on my post yesterday (Sorry, my mistake) Saturday?

If ref. to your Saturday post on the bill in Congress removing investment credits for Solar and Wind.

Clearly fossil fuels and traditional infrastructure is running scared. The fossil folks have direct competition. Additionally distribution folks (i.e. utilities) will also have competition because of the distributed nature of elec. power generation that is possible in Solar. They are going to use all possible means to kill Solar and Wind.

However, it looks like they are not as entrenched in Europe, but may be able to dely Solar in places like India.

yep - put a couple of calls in - won't do any good at all - I'm not a big corporate supporter offering loads of cash - but at least I tried (gives me the right to complain latter in my world)

that was a valuable post - and to me implies that Jared Diamond is correct - and societies go down CHOOSING the wrong path - and that powerful corporations have all the power and will fight to keep it as long as possible (big energy companies don't get a check every month if you are in a sunny climate producing more PV electricity than you use - so their income is threatened)

which brings me to the state of "WE'RE ALL GONNA DIE!" all over again

now where are those MRE's and bulk .223 ammo I ordered online?

Well, starting tomorrow you'll get to talk to some live operators. I had planned to update the story in tomorrow's Drumbeat.

So to see what kind of attention this is getting, google "energy bill" or any similar word in Google News. You'll be done in well under an hour or shorter if you ignore duplicates.

You'd think there would be more discussion lately on this site for Discussions About Energy and Our Future of an energy bill that is quietly being bought tweaked for passage this week.

For background from TOD, see Prof. G's posts post House and Senate votes in August (here, most relevant), and before the House bill was passed in June(here, more historical).

Incidentally, along the same theme of "do you actually know what you are talking about?", I had a recent post in which I just documented my visitors for a Friday a couple of weeks ago. Very interesting group, and a lot of financial players, including Mellon Bank, Goldman Sachs, T. Rowe Price, Salomon (since been bought out, but still shows up as Salomon), Merrill Lynch, Khosla Ventures, Vulcan Northwest (Paul Allen's VC firm), and Price Waterhouse.

Here is a sampling from today, pulled off my StatCounter:

Saudi Aramco
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Choice! Energy
USA Today
Bank One
Merrill Lynch
Oak Ridge National Laboratory
3m Company
Coast Consulting
Booz Allen Hamilton
Sun Microsystems Inc
Washington Post
Kashner Davidson
Khosla Ventures

Beyond that are scads of universities, hedge funds, consultants, etc. The Oil Drum has the same kinds of visitors, and certainly in greater numbers than my blog. Some of these visitors are looking for information - information they will sell. And it is of great interest to me to see who is visiting, and what they are reading (which the StatCounter tells me). And one of the brokerages recently told me that they had used some of my ethanol writings to advise clients to sell ethanol stocks. Sadly, they forgot to mail me a check.

But seriously, you wonder why anyone is making 7-figure overtures? Not that I think anyone is worth that, but they are paying people 7-figures right now, and getting mediocre advice. It wouldn't surprise me at all to see Stuart, Nate, Professor Goose, or any of the staff members to get those kinds of offers - based on that list of visitors. (In fact, Nate's already been there, done that, and given it up, and it was after consulting with him that I decided to take a pass).

I suggested to PG that he should start TOD consulting, because there are large sums of money being made off of what people - and not just staff members - write here.

I suggested to PG that he should start TOD consulting, because there are large sums of money being made off of what people - and not just staff members - write here.

When people start thinking about profits, that is when the best intentions start going awry. Just look at Danny Yergen

RR, when you say you have visitors from all these sites, I assume that when you say "Merryl Lynch" it could be some intern surfin' the net on the company dime, not necessarily some exectives?

No, I don’t expect it is their executives. I suspect it is their analysts and/or brokers. I have logged nearly 300 visits from Merrill Lynch in just the past 6 months, from a number of different IP addresses. The same is true for Goldman Sachs, T. Rowe Price, CitiCorp – numerous return visits. And as I said, at least one has admitted to me that their brokerage made money from some of my ethanol writings. (I have been advised that I need to put disclaimers all over the place, in case someone acts on something I said, and decides later they don’t like the result).

The point is, I think that a lot of what we discuss here ends up trickling into the financial institutions. For instance, I have long suspected that Jeff Rubin of CIBC lifted his export cannibalization argument from WT’s ELM. After all, it had been discussed here at length, and then there Rubin is on CNBC making the same arguments using the same analogies. I don’t know how many times I have seen something in the media – particularly esoteric stuff – and I thought “We were just discussing that at TOD. I wonder if that’s where they got it?”

I beginning to think you may win, but not because of anything oil related.

The financial flimflam of Wallstreet's mortgage mess is going to push us into recession, demand will drop and you will win.

I would say that the flimflam is one of the reasons for the price close to 100.00. If the mess had not occurred, the the dollar would have retained its strength and oil would not have risen to the current level.

And Dec 11. :-)



In an interview with the Financial Times, Ali Naimi, the Saudi oil minister, said “there will be absolutely no discussion” by heads of states or their oil ministers on short-term supply and demand at the organisation’s summit, which will concentrate on with longer-term strategies of producers.
Mr Naimi criticised what he called “pessimistic” views about the adequacy of future supplies, saying they were causing “fear” and sending funds and speculators rushing for crude oil futures.

So there you have it... the reason oil prices are so high is because of all of you peak-oil fear mongers! The only threat to Robert losing his beat is the hoard of worry-warts at TOD driving up oil prices.

Those of you who proclaim that government economic statistics are remotely reliable and keep shouting down those of us who say otherwise can read John Crudele's piece in the New York Post, which also references the New York Times discussing the government's manipulation of economic data and the fact that our lies are so good that other foreign governments are now considering using them for the exact same reasons - to make job creation look better and inflation look lower. We've reached the point where our government's lies are so blatant that they are being adopted by other nations for the exact same reasons - to control the sheeple who choose to believe these BS numbers.

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

Manipulating statistics? I'm shocked. How 'bout redefining whole sectors of employment.

Wasn't it just a few years back when the Commerce Dept decided to call employment at McDonald's a manufacturing job (you now, you have to put together a bun and a burger and secret sauce and so on).

Or was I dreaming. It's hard any more to distinguish what has happened these past seven years with what I have dreamt.

call employment at McDonald's a manufacturing job....Or was I dreaming

No dream - that was reported in 2002 I believe. I have no idea if it was implemented.

Chemical industry.

waste management

I have a question about Mexican production. Oil production is currently around 3.2mbpd, exports are around 1.7mbpd and domestic consumption is presumably the remaining 1.5mbpd. The article above ("Company wants to ship fuel from Europe to Juárez") has these numbers for fuel imports:

Fuel imported into Mexico by Pemex in recent years:

# 2001: 382,000 barrels.

# 2002: 350,000 barrels.

# 2003: 287,000 barrels.

# 2004: 310,000 barrels.

# 2005: 392,000 barrels.

# 2006: 430,000 barrels.

My question is, are these numbers included in the 1.5mbpd of domestic consumption derived above? I assume not. If so, then the effective exports of oil, and net income, are a lot lower and dropping faster than would be suggested by simply looking at the headline 1.7mbpd oil export numbers from PEMEX, right? And the domestic consumption figure of 1.5mbpd is limited by refinery capacity and cannot easily go higher?

"Fit of Peak" rebuttal (sorry, couldn't help myself)

The arguments against a peak oil scenario in this article rehash the same old tired retorts that have come before. The free market will make alternatives economical. Apparently the free market is still working on this solution, since near $100 oil has not coaxed production greater than 85MBD in over two years. For some reason the author thinks that the salvation is still to come.

Then there is more bashing of actually entertaining the idea that reality could mean declining complexity as opposed to increasing complexity. It is stunning that so many people are unable to comprehend that fact that every energy source used in the old "the X age didn't end because we ran out of X" quote has been a better energy source, that is more dense than the previous. The *next* better energy source is not mentioned.

Reference to the next energy source that will provide the solution is given with the phrase, "along with technologies that have not yet been developed." We are assured, "Long before supplies completely run out, oil and the technologies that demand it, like the internal combustion engine, will be replaced by something else. In all likelihood, those substitutes will be better than the technology we currently have." There is currently *absolutely* no justification for that likelihood besides the fact that it has happened a few times in the past. I guess I'll just have to trust the author.

Finally, the smug "Oil production has almost certainly not peaked. Even if it has, it’s high time we moved on to smarter technologies." In other words, I have no justification for this hypothesis, but trust me, I'm right. But, even if I'm not, I'm still right. Again, absolutely no justification for this optimistic statement besides hope. And yes, it *is* high time to move on. But it is again inconceivable to the author that oil is the best that there is.


some interesting points to be sure....

Anyway, I was talking to my female friend who bought the Camry Hybrid...she is absolutely in love with the car...

Because it uses less fuel and costs her less? Well, that's good she says, but she is a professional woman, frankly, she can afford the gas, even if it were twice as high as now...

Because it is cleaner and puts out less greenhouse gas? Well, that's good too, although when she bought the car, she really knew nothing about that issue, and still knows little, by her own admission....

So what was the big selling point? The car has a 17 gallon tank. It gets about 38 miles per gallon in most driving....that's a range of 650 plus miles.

My lady friend is beside herself about how much less time she spends standing in the cold or in 100 degree heat refueling the car. To her, that alone is worth the extra price of the car. Beside Kentucky, one of my favorite places in the world is Wisconsin, where I have been on past occasions (and is so pretty and the people so nice to me, I call it an honorary Southern State :-), and I couldn't help but notice the middle aged professional women at convenience stores, in their nice clothes and shoes, standing beside cars and SUV's refueling....then it hit me....they have to do that up here, and in January! Ouch!

THAT'S how you sell efficiency. Will the future technology be better than the old internal combustion engine? Who knows, but it's hard picturing it being worse.


Interesting. I wonder how that demographic feels about plugging the car into an electrical outlet when they get home.

Heck, years ago when I lived in Iowa everyone plugged in their DIPSTICK to keep the oil from seizing up! That was an eye-opener to me (at the time a Florida transplant). Plugging in to put juice in the car instead of gas is nothing.

then there should be a correlation between mileage range for vehicles and cold assed wind locations.

Oil Prices and Yeargin on NPR right now.

"It is up to the most conscious member of the relationship to create the space for the relationship to grow." Ram Dass

Great quote.


I'm trying to figure out at what point gasoline prices need to be at before I radically change my transportation habits. It's going to be a progressive thing, even now I tend to combine trips to cut down my milage. I have the option of public transportation to work, but it costs me a hour and a half of time each day. It will be interesting to see if there is a point at which the extra time spent becomes worth it to me. I have a feeling that this is the type of situation most people find themselves in, at what price is the extra time worth less to me than the fuel cost.

I'm a student who lives alone in a one bedroom apartment and commutes each day to work and school and I don't make a whole lot. I fill up my prizm twice a month at about $30 per fill up. For me to go into negative monthly cash flow the cost of gasoline would have to increase by about 6x or around $20 a gallon. And that's if I made no other cutbacks. It amazes me that $3.00 gasoline gets whined about.

I think you're right about the 'price' issue ..
People will whine .. The 'crunch' comes when
demand exceeds supply to the point that availability
becomes an issue .. ie you can't get it at any price ..
See WT's ELM ..

Triff ..


a really useful youtube video, three people talk about energy future.

David Goldwyn, President of Goldwyn International Strategies LLC; Senior Fellow in the Energy Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies; former Assistant Secretary of Energy for International Affairs;

Scott Nauman, Manager of Economics and Energy in Corporate Planning for ExxonMobil Corporation;

Michael Klare, Five College Professor of Peace and World Security Studies

You tube is a very good way to spread info and ideas. Its vital people understand EROEI, the laws of thermodynamic, net exports and the scale & efficiency of energy use.

A goood lesson on how to continue giving wrong messages in the face of adversity.

What to do in water-starved Atlanta when the ice rink is in doubt? Why, import water 500 miles from Kentucky for the ice rink. "We're trying to be as civic-minded as we can be."

Rink avoids thin ice, imports water

I can't find the link, but did anyone else see the story about the very wealthy Atlanta citizen who is using 400,000 gallons of water per month that was shown on ABC Nightly News?

Other's in Atlanta were very resentful, and he is hid out for now, but it was the county that built him a "water super highway" of a 2" water main right to his mansion, three times the size of a normal water line.

Even though this guy is wealthy, the disgust of his fellow citizens have him hid out. Kind of gives you an idea of what would happen to the massively consuming wealthy if we do run into real energy shortages....even if they can afford the fuel (which I assure, enough money will still buy enough energy) can they survive the wrath of their neighbors? Where will they be safe? hmmmm


It was on CNN also. FYI I think an acre foot is 326,000 gallons ... that is an amazing amount of water to run through in a month.


"a 2" water main right to his mansion, three times the size of a normal water line"

I think it's worse than that, actually...the flow through a pipe depends on the cross sectional area (pi*R^2). If most residents have a 3/4" pipe that means (3.14*0.75^2)=1.766 sq.in. a 2" pipe, OTOH, (3.14*2^2)=12.56 sq.in. Over 7 times as large as a standard connection.

Linked from Drudge: FT says Saudi oil minister rejects Opec raise
Article requires registration.

{Hope this isn't too big of a quotation, Leanan.}

Saudi Arabia on Monday made clear Opec would not announce a production increase at this weekend’s Riyadh summit.

In an interview with the Financial Times, Ali Naimi, the Saudi oil minister, said “there will be absolutely no discussion” by heads of states or their oil ministers on short-term supply and demand at the organisation’s summit, which will concentrate on with longer-term strategies of producers.

But with prices close to $100 a barrel, Mr Naimi left the door open to action when the oil cartel meets in Abu Dhabi next month, signalling the group was “watching” the market very carefully and Saudi Arabia would “look at all the information available”.

Nonetheless, he said a decision on a rise at the Abu Dhabi meeting was still “premature”.

Repeating Saudi Arabia’s argument that Opec had “nothing to do with where the price is today”, Mr Naimi said oil inventory levels were still comfortable.

Needles, CA Monday November 12, 2007

Diesel started at $3.35 and unleaded at about $3.03 in abq and rose to about diesel $3.47 but fell to about $2.97 for unleaded in Arizona.


Energy Bill to Sacrifice Renewables (Kelpie Wilson, truthout)

The big sticking points for Republicans have been support for renewable energy and ending billions of dollars in subsidies for oil companies. Democrats would like to use the oil subsidy money to support solar and wind power.

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

Good article except it doesn't question a so-called poll of american voters on fuel economy. Well, the poll was conducted by the Mellman Group, who's homepage states in no uncertain terms that:

"The Mellman Group ... have extensive experience developing effective communications strategies that lead people to choose our client's product or service, join their organization, hold their opinion, or vote as we would like."

"or vote as we would like." Nice. Why care?

This is the same polling group who found a large majority of Americans support renewable fuels, aka ethanol. But of course the poll was commissioned by the Renewable Fuels Association, so what to expect? When sources of 'poll' data are not mentioned, nor the phrasing of questions, and you read a majority favors "renewable fuels", look who's polling and who's paying.

I did polling like that for a while - big political pollster here in Socal - it was a pretty awful introduction to manipulation of results based on how you ask the questions...

Candidate A, who wants to raise your taxes and goes puppy hunting on weekends, thinks renewables are a great idea while Candidate B who wants to lower your taxes and keep your gasoline flowing cheaply so you can be a man thinks renewables are a bad idea. Do you want your taxes raised by the evil Candidate A or do you prefer Candidate B's positions?

At least the impending sovereign default of the United States will put an end to that sort of foolishness ...

Shell finally released their long-promised statement on Mars. Sounds like it was shut in for eight days or so.

According to a rig worker who posts at PO.com, Mars' neighbor, Ursa, was also shut in. He had some interesting comments today:

HA!! Ursa wishes it was still producing 150,000

I was out there 2 years ago it was producing around 125,000 a day. My brother was there till just a couple of months ago and it was down to around 75 to 80,000 a day. (how's that for a decline rate)

The reason the Ursa platform was shut in was due to construction. They are adding a couple of more decks to the TLP to make room for water injection equipment. In other words last ditch effort to keep the numbers up.

Which makes me wonder about Mars it has to have a simmilar decline rate due to the fact the two platforms are close together, so close you can see the helicopter lift off one platform from the other.

...let there be no wonderment that the moneyed players read the site.


New Method Uses Bacteria to Generate Hydrogen Gas

blockquote> Researchers at Penn State University say they've developed a way to use bacteria to extract hydrogen from almost any biodegradable organic substance, from grass clippings to wastewater.

Now this is actually decent - credible institutions, statements indicating it might be feasible to commercialize, doesn't depend on subtle effects missed by all other scientists, no silly collision based buzzwords ...

Logan and his research assistant Shaoan Cheng's method uses bacteria called exoelectrogens to break down acetic acid -- produced by fermenting cellulose, glucose or other biodegradable organic matter -- in a microbial electrolysis cell to create hydrogen.

I went and read up on the chemistry behind this. My organic chemistry is weak, which is why I'm a network engineer today instead of a chemical engineer, but I'm confused. Wikipedia says this about ethanol production:

C6H12O6 → 2 CH3CH2OH + 2 CO2

I don't see where acetic acid appears as a by-product in the ethanol production process. It would appear, based on acetic acid's structure, that this is another possible output from the sugar metabolism of bacteria. This means the hydrogen production happens in lieu of ethanol production - not a good thing, as ethanol already fits our existing infrastructure, while hydrogen does not.

If there are processes that produce acetic acid easily which are not amenable to ethanol production then this could be a nice silver BB - diesel engines apparently experience pretty dramatic efficiency improvements with just a little hydrogen injection. This article is an infomercial, but the facts are fundamentally correct and its a nice, clean presentation for those not familiar with the concept.


The big question is whether tanked hydrogen trumps on board electrolysis ...

Love the cornucopian disclaimers in this:

Although widespread adoption of hydrogen won't happen for at least a generation, if it happens at all...

I don't usually bother to read these, but for some reason tonight I was in the mood for some kind of fictional "if only" story. If only I had a real life, I'd probably not have bothered, but thanks, um, for the chuckle.

We aren't going to click our heels together three times then all go out in get in our hydrogen powered cars. It will make its way into use as one of many technologies. Hydrogen proven itself as a combustion efficiency booster in conventional ICE engines. There is ongoing work on using hydrolysis to soak up excess wind turbine electricity during light load times for later use in dispatchable power generation.

The article has no major technical flaws and hydrogen is a component of the debate on what to do about our energy requirements ...

I'm skeptical of using biomass as a "solution" even though the reality of it is we will do it if we can.

Eventually, sans fertilizers, I'm thinking the more biomass we return to our depleted soils to try to restore them to some semblance of natural fertility would seem to offer a better hope for less future human misery than our desire to postpone the very likely collapse of the automobile.

Maybe they can do this once their "better than corn ethanol" gas is made?

And heh, even if we could click our heels and wake up home free, the dream we have been having may have been someone else's nightmare.

Somehow comparing the EROEI to the lowest common denominator of the biofuels rush doesn't sound really encouraging.

It might be interesting to check through Wired science breakthroughs of the last 10 years to see how many of them actually have proven useful, practical, and have been adapted... Has anyone ever tried doing anything like that?

And how did your event with the Democrats go yesterday?

Why Words are a Waste of Time:

The Skeptics Guide to the Universe Presents our Top 20 Logical Fallacies

No wonder most people aren't interested or listening with regards to peak oil. How can you really tell who is talking straight and who is talking bullshit?

More often, of course, bullshit is not true, in the same sense that a stopped clock is wrong 1,438 out of 1,440 minutes per day. Is bullshit as bad as a lie? Frankfurt thinks it's worse:

Both in lying and in telling the truth people are guided by their beliefs concerning the way things are. These guide them as they endeavor either to describe the world correctly or to describe it deceitfully. For this reason, telling lies does not tend to unfit a person for telling the truth in the same way that bullshitting tends to. ...The bullshitter ignores these demands altogether. He does not reject the authority of the truth, as the liar does, and oppose himself to it. He pays no attention to it at all. By virtue of this, bullshit is a greater enemy of the truth than lies are.

Bullshit, Frankfurt notes, is an inevitable byproduct of public life, "where people are frequently impelled—whether by their own propensities or by the demands of others—to speak extensively about matters of which they are to some degree ignorant." But politics is not a creation of the modern era; it's been around for centuries.

Why should bullshit be so prevalent now? The obvious answer is the communications revolution. Cable television and the Internet have created an unending demand for information, and there simply isn't enough truth to go around. So, we get bullshit instead. Indeed, there are some troubling signs that the consumer has come to prefer bullshit. In choosing guests to appear on cable news, bookers will almost always choose a glib ignoramus over an expert who can't talk in clipped sentences. In his underappreciated book Public Intellectuals: A Study of Decline, Richard Posner found a negative correlation between media mentions and scholarly citations for the 100 public intellectuals most mentioned in the media—and these 100 accounted for 67.5 percent of all media mentions!

There's nothing quite as bad as listening to someone on TV or reading them quoted in articles and knowing full well that they are talking bullshit. Alas, I have a bad feeling that over the next year or 2, we are about to undergo a massive increase in the amount of it in the media. I won't be surprise if Geologic Peak Oil never even gets declared. Yes, World Oil will be in decline, but only and always because of Above Ground factors. Yergin et al. will never be proven wrong.


This song was in the news recently because that pupil in Finland who when on the 'wrong' kind of spree used to listen to it. So I had a listen to it on Youtube and looked up the lyrics. It instantly became my Peak Oil anthem song, it's so easy to imagine thats it's a message from Oil / Peak Oil saying 'Ha Ha' you're doomed / Here I come
The genre is 'Industrial Rock'

Lyrics http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/kmfdm/straybullet.html

Youtube http://youtube.com/watch?v=TS1W2xboKSA


It's good to see philosophers taking on the problems of real life!

However, I quibble with the idea that bullshit is becoming more prevalent, and that truth (or lies) are losing out. Bullshit has always been the normal mode, and truth a distant second.

Bullshit is about persuading others, and must be as old as language. It arose well before most truths about the Universe were known. True, many of the areas of bullshit have been eroded, no one really believes in curses anymore. But there an infinite number of half-truths, and the expansion of bullshit into new areas is unlimited "global warming is just natural variation".

Human culture is adapted to generate and accept bullshit as standard discourse. Sticking to the truth is a sideline.

"expansion of bullshit into new areas is unlimited "global warming is just natural variation"."

Well we really have to learn to differentiate between ordinary cow piles originating from the male of the species B. taurus, as opposed to very highly refined Yak Dung, which is what the AGW denialists tend to spout.

The Self Denial Gene.

We BullShit ourselves better than anyone else.

Arkansaw of Samuel L Clemens

"I quibble with the idea that bullshit is becoming more prevalent"

You may be correct, but I would quibble that bullshit as an art has become highly refined by the corporatocracy, and is now often claimed to be backed by the new religion of the day - science.

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