DrumBeat: November 17, 2007

The Cowardly Giants: Bottom line obsessed, Big Oil is forsaking the future.

Today, however, with prices approaching $100 a barrel, Big Oil has failed to ride to the rescue. The leading multinationals have grown too timid to spend aggressively on oil exploration — even at a time of record oil prices. Unless Washington adopts a new national energy strategy and finds way to pressure the majors into changing tactics, Big Oil — and the United States — could face serious trouble ahead.

...Some might argue that this is nobody's fault; there's just less new oil out there to be discovered these days. But in the same period, the next 20 largest U.S. firms — companies like Marathon and Devon — steadily increased their exploration spending, and now dish out as much as the majors despite having one third the operating cash. As a result, their production has climbed from 1.55 million barrels a day in 1996 to 2.13 million today. As this suggests, there's still more oil out there for those willing to look hard enough.

Can Saudi square the oil circle? - The world's largest oil producer could soon find itself over a barrel

Yet in the heart of the empty quarter to the south, Shell and other oil majors are searching in vain for new deposits. The Saudis opened up the region to overseas exploration in the 1990s when oil prices were barely in double figures. The empty quarter was hailed as one of the few big opportunities for the majors to get a foothold on the world's largest oil producer. Yet so far the appraisal wells have come up dry. No journalists were flown out to visit this particular area last week. 'Whether that's a sign the Saudis don't have as much oil as they say they do, we just don't know,' says Samuel Ciszuk of analyst Global Insight.

How should I prepare for life without oil?

We aren't very good at envisaging a post-fossil fuel lifestyle. Although we happily talk about the price of organic vegetables or even the true cost of fish, the soaring price of oil remains anathema in lifestyle circles. Odd because there's nothing that threatens our hydrocarbon-dependent lifestyles more.

Venezuela refinery outage hits local gas market

A problem at the key cat cracker unit of the 200,000 barrels per day Puerto la Cruz refinery has hurt gasoline supply to the Venezuelan market since Friday, the state oil company PDVSA said on Saturday.

An unspecified "event" at what is a refinery's most important unit prevented PDVSA mixing gasoline at the refinery for 48 hours, the company said in a statement.

Thunder Horse platform payoff a long time coming for BP

After fiascos involving its stability and even its very name, BP finally has its eye on the silver lining — a huge deposit of oil and natural gas under the Gulf of Mexico that will boost the company's bottom line as well as the nation's declining production.

"When it's fully up to speed, it's 250,000 barrels a day. That's significant production at a time when we're trying to get as much energy security as we can," Bob Malone, chairman and president of BP America, said after his first visit to Thunder Horse last week.

It's been a long time coming, a decade since BP discovered the oil field with up to 1.5 billion barrels beneath 6,000 feet of water.

President Bush to Veto Anti-OPEC Legislation

U.S. President George Bush would still veto legislation allowing U.S. institutions to sue the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries for what some lawmakers claim are its actions in pushing up oil prices, the U.S. energy attache in Saudi Arabia said Friday.

"We don't think this legislation has a high likelihood of passage and President Bush has indicated that he will veto it if it is passed by Congress," Shannon Ross told OPEC delegates and officials at the Heads of State meeting here.

Brazil Eyes Nuclear Sub to Defend Oil

SAO PAULO, Brazil (AP) — This month's discovery of a monster offshore oil reserve justifies Brazil's plan to build a nuclear submarine because it would be used to protect the find, the defense minister said.

"When you have a large natural source of wealth discovered in the Atlantic, it's obvious you need the means to protect it," Nelson Jobim said Thursday at a defense conference in Rio de Janeiro.

US lawmakers alarmed by Chavez's plan for nuclear energy program in Venezuela

Two Florida congressmen said Friday that Washington should be alarmed by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's plans to develop a nuclear energy program while building close ties with Iran.

Oil price could hit $150 a barrel

Oil could reach $150 a barrel and needs a new system of pricing that would take the power out of the hands of financial speculators, Opec delegates at a special summit in Saudi Arabia were told today.

While no one wanted to feed further fear into the market, industry players spoke behind the scenes about prices going up to $125 or even $150, said Kuwait-based consultant Usameh Jamali.

Asian leaders aim for green region, promote nuclear energy

Asian leaders from 16 countries will pledge to increase the region's forest cover by 2020 and promote the use of nuclear energy during their annual summit here next week.

Asia's potentially dangerous oil addiction

When leaders of the world's most powerful energy cartel meet in Saudi Arabia today, it will underline Asia's increasing reliance for vital oil supplies on the politically volatile Middle East. The summit, only the third in the 47-year history of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), will seek long-term assurances of demand for OPEC oil. Only then will OPEC be prepared to invest in new production capacity.

Maine Governor moves to guard fuel supply

Record high oil prices and a desire to be prepared for potential fuel shortages this winter are prompting the state government to develop an energy emergency management plan.

Gov. John Baldacci said Friday that he is setting up an energy task force to help coordinate state resources.

Fuel shortages or price spikes during the heating season could lead Baldacci to declare energy emergencies and take steps needed to protect public welfare, such as opening shelters and monitoring price gouging.

‘Help save us from global warming disaster’ Science fiction now science prediction?

London lies devastated. Many thousands are dead and millions are homeless after a freak storm floods the city. The Millenium Wheel no longer turns as it is half submerged under water. Big Ben can only peep its head above the deluge. Trafalgar Square, Whitehall, the Docklands. All have fallen victim to the biggest natural catastrophe the earth has ever seen.

Petro-Canada Announces a Lockout at its Montreal Refinery in Hopes of Reaching a Collective Agreement

In the hopes of arriving at a collective agreement, Petro-Canada today notified the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union (CEP Local 175) at the Montreal Refinery that management is assuming operations and unionized employees will be locked out.

High food prices could help the very poor

Most of the world’s poor live in the rural backwaters of Africa, Asia and Latin America. Most of them are small farmers or landless farm workers. The overwhelming majority of them are starting to benefit from the present rise in global food prices. They would benefit even more if governments would allow markets to do their job. China for example, long ago in Maoist times the friend of the peasant, controls food prices to keep its city people happy.

Global Refining Capacity Shortage: One Way Out

Global energy needs are likely to grow steadily for at least the next 25 years. The International Energy Agency (IEA) reports that if the world continues with the current energy-related policies, its energy needs would be more than 50 percent higher in 2030 than now. Over 60 percent of that increase would be in the form of oil and natural gas; much of this demand would be centered on gasoline and distillates.

Despite this ever-rising demand, the global refining capacity has been steadily shrinking. The capacity has decreased to 103 percent of the total oil demand in 2004, down from 109 percent in 1990 and 107 percent in 2000. Prime reasons for this trend are traditionally low profit margins and stiff regulations.

Oil’s Next Big Move: The Unseen Reason Why $150 Oil May be Right around the Corner

There is at least one obvious reason why oil prices could soon hit $150 a barrel, namely: some sort of military confrontation between the United States and Iran. But there is another, unseen reason why prices could go that high in the coming months.

Oil’s Next Big Move: The Unseen Reason Why $50 Oil May be Right around the Corner

There is so much “dumb” money in the oil market right now that unsophisticated traders could suddenly “panic,” sending the price down to $50 a barrel or lower.

That’s the expert opinion of Peter Fusaro, a noted observer of energy trading markets who publishes a directory of energy hedge funds.

Global zerophobia has made a monster of $100 a barrel oil

What a difference a single dollar makes. As a matter of fact, almost like a mind-altering-shock wave, a global hysteria, a cry of the consumer to be heard around the deepest corners of the globe, in addition to being 'breaking news' to the hearts content for the glitzy-TV-media-machine.

Bahrain says oil undervalued due to weak dollar

The price of oil is undervalued due to the dollar exchange rate, Bahrain's oil minister said on Saturday, in the latest expression of concern in Gulf Arab states over the sliding U.S. currency.

"If you look at the exchange rate, of course it (the price of oil) is undervalued," Abdul-Hussain bin Ali Mirza, head of Bahrain's National Oil and Gas Authority, told reporters. He declined to say what the fair price of oil would be.

Turkmenistan energy project challenged

U.K. environmental analysts are questioning the integrity of Turkmen hydrocarbon projects.

Critics have said that deals to increase extraction of resources do not take into account environmental protection. According to the London-based Institute for War and Peace Reporting, environmentalists are calling for the authorities in Turkmenistan to conduct monitoring of the damage to the environment caused by extraction and processing. The country currently ranks fourth in the world for natural gas extraction.

Iraq says security boost helps oil flow

"The security situation in Iraq over the last year has not helped the oil industry in the country to produce as much as Iraq can produce and make available to the world market," Hussain al-Shahristani told reporters this week on the sidelines of an OPEC summit.

"However, in the last couple of months there has been very significant improvement in the security conditions in the country," he said. "We have been producing more oil. As a matter of fact our production has almost reached 2.5 million bpd, up from about 2 million a few months ago."

Employment Up On North Slope

Alaska oil production has been in a long, slow decline for years, but employment in the oil fields is booming, a state labor economist said Wednesday.

Oil and gas employment is expected to reach 11,400 people this year, up from 10,200 last year, said Neal Fried, of the state Department of Labor.

Argentina Oil, Fuel Export Tax Gives Government Short Term Gains

The Argentine government's decision this week to sharply hike oil and fuel export taxes will help fill state coffers in the near term, but is expected to further undermine much-needed investment as the nation coasts toward becoming a net oil importer.

Ecuador: Much to Gain from Rejoining OPEC

President Rafael Correa said Thursday that Ecuador stands to gain a great deal from rejoining the Organization of Oil Exporting Countries, such as access to loans from other OPEC members and to "privileged information on petroleum issues."

Pertamina looking to raise standing

Left behind by other national oil companies, Indonesia's state oil and gas company PT Pertamina is pursuing overseas expansion in Latin America, Africa and the Middle East to improve its output and global standing.

Citgo Scales Back in U.S. To Fund Chávez's Goals

In 1997, one of every 10 gallons of gasoline U.S. drivers bought came from a Venezuelan-owned refiner, Citgo Petroleum Corp. That year, a student at Oxford University wrote a thesis saying Citgo was cheating Venezuela's people by investing too much in the U.S., and should send more cash home.

The student, Juan Carlos Boué, drew scant attention until four years ago, when Venezuela's populist president, Hugo Chávez, took control of the state oil apparatus. Today, Mr. Boué is an influential member of Citgo's board. And Citgo, which Venezuela bought two decades ago to market its hard-to-refine heavy oil, now has a different focus: feeding cash to Mr. Chávez's program to build socialism in Venezuela.

The Philippines: Beneco 'unprepared' for energy crisis

THE Benguet Electric Cooperative (Beneco) has admitted it does not have contingency measures to address the looming energy crisis, projected to take place in 2010.

US power company linked to Bush is named in database as a top polluter

An American power company with close financial links to President George Bush has been named as one of the world's top producers of global warming pollution.

Climatologist wants halt to coal plants

At 66, one of the nation's most prominent climate-change scientists says he's more interested in finding solutions than placing blame for a warming planet.

One key solution, physicist James Hansen said Friday: No more coal-fired power plants like the one Duke Energy plans to expand 50 miles west of Charlotte.

Are Hedge Funds Summiting Peak Oil?

Oil’s recent flirtation with the $100 per barrel mark is a strong message that our country is completely reliant on “black gold” and the world’s supply is in precarious balance. Hedge fund speculators tend to aim at areas under surges in demand or shortages in supply. They don’t tend to run out and buy Florida real estate right after the bubble has been pricked. But, why oil? Why is the energy sector of hedge funds now larger than all other hedge fund-focused industry sectors combined? Is the answer Peak Oil?

Shell Restarting Ursa Oil Platform in US Gulf

Royal Dutch Shell plc (RDSB.LN) is restarting production at its Ursa platform in the Gulf of Mexico, spokeswoman Darci Sinclair said Thursday.

The platform, which produces nearly 100,000 barrels a day, was shut around Nov. 3, and a short maintenance down time was prolonged by strong ocean currents that prevented divers from making unexpected repairs.

Nigeria: Mend Breaks Militants' Deal With Gov Uduaghan

Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger-Delta (MEND) has broken the unwritten pact, which the Delta State Governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, had with militants in the state not to attack oil installations in the state following the unexpected bombing, Thursday, of the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) crude oil delivery pipeline to the Forcados Export Terminal in Delta State.

Iran Gas Plan Would Almost Double Output From Current Level

Iran plans to almost double its natural gas production to 200 billion cubic meters a year by 2012, an official at the country's national gas company said Friday.

"We are investing heavily in developing our gas sector, and increasing capacity, despite the hurdles that are facing us," Saeed Ghavampour, head of strategic studies at the National Iranian Gas Co., told Dow Jones Newswires in an interview.

Peak Oil: Global Supply Quickly Spiralling Downward

Two closely interrelated and potentially devastating crises will dominate economics, politics and daily life in the 21st century – global warming and peak oil.

Fusion vs. the Kingdom

While Saudi Arabia touts the oil reserves of its barren 'Empty Quarter', a B.C. inventor toils to turn the entire energy world on its head.

Garage scientist aims to thwart OPEC

Cold fusion would solve world's energy woes. Trouble is no one so far has made it work.

Saudi Arabia Not Alone in Defending Dollar in OPEC

Saudi Arabia's decision to exclude the falling dollar from discussions at this weekend's OPEC summit was supported by others within the producer group, Angola's Finance Minister Jose Pedro de Morais said.

OPEC summit final statement expected to include 36 articles covering axes

Final statement of the Third OPEC summit, to start here later this evening, is expected to include 36 articles covering the conference's three axes, Providing petroleum, Promoting Prosperity and Protecting the Planet.

Facing the 21st century in a mountain town

The geologists can argue until the cows come home about whether we’ve reached “peak oil,” but no one seriously argues that the stuff is going to get cheaper, aside from the usual market fluctuations, in coming years. And even if the U.S. once built a coal-powered national transportation network that used petroleum only for lubrication, the current system relies on gasoline, diesel fuel and jet fuel.

So if you need tourists to support your local economy, you have to wonder how they’ll arrive.

Civil Rights and Suppression of Terrorism

We know that peak oil is upon us. Already oil prices are skyrocketing, food prices are behaving similarly. This causes a squeeze on disposable income which will result in a recession. We can fully expect to live the rest of our lives out during a state of economic decline.

Alaska Senate Committee Reverses Decision on Tax Hike

The Senate Finance Committee reversed its course Wednesday night and decided to back Gov. Sarah Palin's tax hike on oil companies' net profits.

By agreeing to raise taxes from 22.5% to 25%, the committee essentially paved the way for the bill to pass in both houses before the session ends at midnight Friday.

Russia eyes 5.2% oil output jump

Russian oil output will jump 5.2% between now and 2010, according to the country's Energy Minister Viktor Khristenko.

...The jump in production owes itself to new projects in Eastern Siberia, offshore production at Sakhalin and the Arctic north, the paper said.

Saudi may revalue, won't drop dollar peg

Saudi Arabia could consider revaluing the riyal with other Gulf oil producers, but has no plans to drop its peg to the sliding dollar to track a currency basket, a source familiar with Saudi currency policy said.

Nigeria worried about impact of $100 oil on demand

The surge in oil to nearly 100 dollars a barrel has raised "significant" concerns that the high prices will hit demand in the longterm, Nigerian Oil Minister Odein Ajumogobia said Saturday.

The minister, speaking on the sidelines of a summit of leaders here, said: "There must be concern that the high price will eventually surpress demand."

Oil prices lower than 'real' value: Ahmadinejad

Iran's president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Saturday that crude prices, hovering close to 100 dollars a barrel, are still lower than the actual value, the state news agency IRNA reported.

"The pressure on the fossil energy (oil) market is not artificial and the price of this commodity is lower than its actual price," Ahmadinejad said before leaving Tehran for an OPEC summit in Saudi Arabia.

Chavez launches initiative to back OPEC, Iran

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez pursued an ambitious diplomatic mission Saturday aimed at persuading OPEC nations to maintain oil prices at their current level, defending Iran's nuclear program, and stepping up efforts to get Colombian rebels to release hostages.

Peak Oil Passnotes: Neo-Liberalism's Ultimate Failure Part 2

We pointed out last week that this column does not put any faith in the current system of economics loosely known as neo-liberalism or “free markets”. We have noted that despite its ideologically rigid application around the world for the last 25 years, it has done nothing to create a supply cushion in oil markets. Instead what it has done is pass giant profits to the most powerful organisations within the industry, privatising the profits and socialising the costs.

Fire erupts at Iraqi oil reservoirs in Baghdad

A huge fire erupted at oil reservoirs in southern Baghdad on Friday.

In a press statement, Iraqi security sources said the fire was caused by an exploding generator at the reservoirs' site in Al-Lateefiyah.

Peak Oil? Peak Gas May Not Be Far Behind

Is the global natural gas pipeline half full or half empty? In other words, is the world's natural gas production headed for a peak along the lines of that expected for oil? Whatever happens, and whenever it happens, industry executives, analysts and even a few ministers from gas-exporting nations are beginning to acknowledge that demand for natural gas cannot continue to increase at the accelerating rate of recent years, or that projected for the future. If gas supplies are limited in the future, whether by geology or geopolitics, consumers at all levels will effectively be challenged to find an "alternative alternative," since gas is already viewed as the preferred substitute for both oil and coal.

Kuwaiti oil official optimistic about results of Riyadh OPEC summit

Speaking to KUNA on sidelines of the summit conference, the Kuwaiti official said OPEC was capable of achieving aspired objectives, noting that the summit gained its significance as the world oil prices reached unprecedented levels.

Zambia to shut sole refinery over crude oil crunch

Zambia will shut down its sole oil refinery for 12 days due to shortages of crude oil feed stock, prompting oil marketing companies to start importing fuel from next week, a government minister said on Saturday.

Grim climate change report prompts UN call for 'breakthrough'

The world's top scientific authority on climate change published on Saturday its starkest warning yet, declaring that the impact of global warming could be "abrupt or irreversible" and no country would be spared.

Zambia is just one example of how the "rich" countries are able to outbid the "poor" countries for oil and petroleum products.

The list of countries that are now facing fuel, gasoline, diesel, oil, and other supply problems gets longer by the day. A few countries facing such issues include (in no particular order): Zimbabwe, Jamaica, China, Argentina, Ghana, Malaysia, Uganda, Trinadad & Tobago, Australia, Rwanda, Iraq, Kenya, Burma, India, Bangladesh, Niger, Nepal, Bolivia, and the Philippines. Some of these are simply have rising prices, or trouble getting diesel to needed locations. Others are being priced out of the market.

This makes me think that a hard crash is less likely, and that the world economy will probably behave similar to the way it did in the 70's. I guess we will see.

Michigan - New Culture - Value System - Local Future - Americanus
Value System: Gas Prices, Money, Peak Oil and The Future
Local Future Network

Yes. I think a lot of peak oilers underestimated how unequal the demand destruction would be.

Even within the US...there have been chronic shortages of fuel in the midwest since spring, but the rest of the country is more or less unaffected, and there doesn't seem to be any real urgency to fix the problem.

Demand destruction is already having an impact on the poor. What happens when these folks can't afford to drive to work? What happens when they stop buying at Wal*Mart and start going to thrift stores?

Again. The assumption is that we will get
a soft parachute glide to the surface.

The place we "floated" from is the problem we're
leaving behind.

Too late.

The Vortex has "sucked up", is catching, the various countries
mentioned above, being "outbid" for energy.

TPTB just injected $47 billion into the system
Thursday. Where did the Fed get $47 billion?

Meanwhile, the US OECD consumer is/has been shielded from
the $95 crude for as long as possible.

The reason the pundits, consumers have been able to
say that high energy prices haven't impacted
us OECD folks yet.

That will no longer be the case going forward.

Elaine Supkis/Reuters:

" The Fed injected $47.25 billion in temporary reserves, its biggest combined daily infusion since September 19, 2001, to calm a rise in overnight interbank lending rates."

For the Fed want to KEEP THIS GOING. They want to have us run more war costs, spend more on the military AND spend like crazy on consumer goods and real estate! This can't go on for the simple reason, wars always cause inflation since they are run by governments and there are only two ways a government can run a war: looting or taxes! We are trying the looting and it doesn't even begin to cover the costs! And we cut taxes at the beginning of these wars. So the entire model is set to failure. While trying to steal the Ring of Power from the Saddam dwarf, all we ended up doing was create this Dragon, Fafner of China. Now the dragon wants to fry us."

ADHD like Memmel 8D

I suspect we may see an effect on the dollar exchange rate following the OPEC meeting, I don't think they are very happy with the current value.


interesting that you say this:

Right now Venezuela and Iran are trying to force
the meeting to issue a statement on the Dollar.

The KSA is blocking it.

" NEW YORK, Nov 15 (Reuters) - The Federal Reserve on Thursday pumped its biggest temporary daily infusion into the U.S. banking system since just after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks as short-term lending rates rose on both sides of the Atlantic.

Even though some news about bank write-downs from riskier investments was not as dismal as some investors had feared, underlying strains pushed overnight lending rates up in both the United States and Europe.

"There was a bit more focus on the Fed operations today in context of the rise in Libor (London Interbank Offered Rates)," said Tony Crescenzi, chief bond market strategist at Miller, Tabak & Co. in New York."

Arkansaw of Samuel L Clemens

You can access all of the historical data about Federal Reserve daily Temporary Open Market Operations (TOMOs) online here. (Although one wag recently nicknamed them "POMOs" - Permanent Open Market Operations.) The historical data is accessible from that link. If you go back, roughly since the end of August this year, every single Thursday has been "injection day" for the Fed. Every Thursday has seen the creation of $20-$47 billion in new money, from thin air, thrown at Ben's bankster buddies to rescue their incompetent asses. If you go back further though you see how unusual this activity actually is. The further back you go, at least until around 2001, the weekly total of injections was tiny in comparison to what we see now. And worse, the daily injections for days other than Thursday are growing in size. From nearly nothing to a few billion to several billion to now, this autumn, many daily injections are more than $10 billion per day. Ben is printing money as fast as he dares in an effort to stem the deflationary tide that is running out on him. The question is whether he can continue to print at this rate (or even faster) as losses mount up and imaginary dollars leave the financial system or whether the world may just walk away from the dollar before he has a chance to hyperinflate it.

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

My understanding is that these injections are attempts to keep interest rates down now that the economy is no longer growing and we have peak oil induced inflation. ( stagflation ) No one is willing to take risks without high returns. What these injections indicate is that the Fed has lost control of interest rates because they are going against the needs of the market. The Feds can only control to some extent the magnitude of the economy and then in general only when its growing. They cannot change the direction of the economy and they are actually as its becoming more obvious unable to control interest rates. We pretty much have no choice but to undergo a period of high interest rates so investors can recover all the capitol they have lost over the year.

The Fed in trying to stop this could well destroy itself.

TOMO's and POMO's are two completely different things.

POMO's are permanent and don't expire short term.

The last POMO was on 05032007

And the numbers you mention are wrong, they fail to consider TOMO expirations.

I just posted a link in response to someone else.

People are looking at the wrong numbers while howling for a bail out. Low interest rates just devalue the U$S. If the people whining for adjustable rate relief had any idea as far as what they are doing they would be looking at LIBOR rates that are overwhelmingly used for rate resets. People need to learn to read the papers they sign.

So far LIBOR has been going up while US rates have been going down.

That's unfair. I think the dragon just wants to lick us slowly until it gets to the soft chewy center.

Rollovers accounted for $40.5 billion of the $47.25 billion injected into the banking system. The FED consistently rolls $40-$45 billion weekly.

Wrong, they added 6.75B on thursday and removed 14B on friday.

There is also a link to the NYFed website at the bottom.

Not to say that we aren't going down like Wiley Coyote, but lots of radical political activists use incorrect data because they want to shift burden.

Wrong, $40-$45 billion is "sloshing".

Sure, but the liquidity added or withdrawn on any given day is the net.

I think we're already finding out.

But it will look like a normal recession, and probably most won't connect it to peak oil. They'll try to grow their way out of it, as usual.

There are already signs that this isn't going to be a good holiday season. Food pantries are running out of food, but have more clients than ever. Discounters like TJ Maxx and Overstock.com are flying high, because rafts of unsold merchandise allow them to offer better stuff for lower prices. Even JC Penney, a bright spot in retailing, issued a warning last week. Mall traffic is way down, and even the best products won't sell if customers aren't in the store.

And then there's heat. Every day, I come across stories about how the poor are struggling to pay for winter heating. Towns, cities, counties, and states are trying to increase heating aid to the poor.

My girlfriend is on the board of a local food pantry. They essentially serve the working poor around here, and to get food people need a referral from somewhere.

What she is seeing is that demand is way up - that started months ago. We speculated that some of it might be the crash in the housing market. Less need for the folks in the building trades and all that. But this is only a guess. Most of the clients are Hispanic - that's just the demographic of the working poor in this area.

They recently had a food drive where the Boy Scouts did the legwork of collecting the food, and for some reason donations were way down. They are still trying to get their heads around why this happened. Part of it is that some of the donations got diverted to a church - perhaps they are going to set up their own food pantry, but that doesn't explain all of it. Perhaps people who would donate are getting squeezed, and cutting back there as well.

Poor and working class are a lot more generous with in kind donations to food pantrys. Boy Scouts are a white, middle and upper class phenomenon and might not be as attentive to that type of project too. What part of the country do you live?Bob Ebersole

Arlington Virginia. Just across the river from Washington DC.

The articles I've read have blamed several factors, including increasing reluctance by supermarkets and restaurants to donate food. (Fear of lawsuits, and more efficient inventory control.) There's less food from the US government, because there's less surplus this year. But probably the biggest factor is that people are being squeezed. They aren't donating as much to churches, the United Way, and other charities that often donate to food banks. People who can't get enough gas to get to work or can't pay their mortgages can't donate as much. In May, postal workers ask people to put nonperishable foods by their mailboxes for local food pantries. They collected about half what they usually do.

I read somewhere that the poorer you are, the greater percentage of your income you donate to charity. Not sure exactly why. Part of it might be that if you're poor, any donation is a greater percentage of your income than for a rich person. Part of it might be that the poor are more likely to be sympathetic to those in need. And it might be cause and effect: generous people are more likely to be poor, because they keep giving their money away.

Whatever the cause, I suspect donations will drop as the poor and middle class are increasingly squeezed...and it won't be made up by the well off, no matter how well they are doing.


I volunteer at the local food bank. We are seeing the same story. The local "*way" won't donate due to a law suit some where in the chain. Two other regional chains won't donate for the same reason. There is also a reglious organization that has set out to dominate the local food program. They say that there should be only one food distribution point. The result is some of the local donors won't give to anyone because they don't want to be dragged into the bickering.

The demand is up also because of the housing situation and an increase in unemployed illegals that want to stay here with their familys instead of going back to Mexico when the jobs run out. With donations down and demand up the food bank is forced to rely more on purchases and government grants. That still doesn't make up for the lost donations though.

In our town, the community garden program and the local food bank are linked. In addition to the plots that people like me rent, about half of the land is dedicated to growing vegies for food bank clients. Local college and HS students provide volunteer labor to raise the food. This is an excellent program, and needs to be duplicated everywhere.

Food banks in desperate need

The drumbeat calling for donations gets louder during the holidays as food banks struggle to help people get through the winter.

Aid groups say their shelves are nearly bare, yet more people are coming to them for help as the economy sputters, fuel costs spike and food prices rise.

One family profiled in the story makes $7,500 a month, has a cow and goat for milk and chickens and ducks for eggs...and still has trouble making ends meet. Even with six kids, that's kind of hard to believe.

They are on crack.

Queen Creek is about 15 miles from here and just a little more affluent.

I can live like a king with monthly expenses of about $600.00

When you have people making $7500.00 a month taking from the food banks, then there is no wonder the homeless have to go without.

Yes, they need to cut out the cable TV, get rid of the iPhones etc cut the fat out of the budget.

they may well be paying 1/3 of their income in taxes, so you need to take that into account. May have bought their house right at the RE peak in 06 too.

But they need to do what they can.

Paying $15 for food that a "store would charge $30 for" is a scam. They pick the foods and you pay X for a basket, that sux. You can go to wal-mart etc and shopping carefully, picking the right foods and brands, come out further ahead than that.

$7500 a month is huge money, it's very hard to make that in the SF Bay Area, "physicians assistant" may mean emptying bedpans, I always knew shoveling sh!t in one form or another is better than hi-tech.

No, a "physician's assistant" is someone licensed to practice medicine under the supervision of an MD. It doesn't mean emptying bedpans. It's like being a doctor without the huge cost of an MD degree. Originally, it was a way to get medical care to rural areas, because there weren't enough doctors.

Many HMOs, including mine, allow you to choose a physician's assistant instead of a doctor as your primary care provider. Many people prefer physician's assistants, because they supposedly spend more time with patients than doctors.

Similar story in my area:

"After sending her two teenage children off to school, Mullen, of Milton, headed to the Chittenden Emergency Food Shelf in Burlington, where she hoped her holiday bird would be waiting. When she reached the food shelf, she was told she'd have to come back today to pick up her turkey. The food shelf had run out. ... because donations to the nonprofit have dropped substantially this holiday season."

The strange thing is, the woman featured ended up driving far enough, twice, to pick up her "free" turkey, that she spent as much on gasoline as a turkey would have cost at the local supermarket. (Assuming she drove a typical low-budget car for that purpose only, which I don't know she did.)

I think that many people take the gasoline expenses as a given (only grumble about the price), and don't connect them to their everyday driving choices. Thus that $7500/mo family may have many expenses that are invisible to them, e.g. cable TV and multiple cell phones... and of course 2+ cars that drive out every hour or so. And an electricity bill of hundreds a month.

I think the very poor do take gasoline into account. They have to. There was an article in the McPaper three years ago about it. The working poor were forced to change their shopping patterns, due to gas prices. No more Wal-Mart, because the cost of gas to get there was more than any savings. And they always considered distance, not just cost, when choosing a restaurant. Some were moving closer to their jobs.

Three or four years ago, Fortune ran an article warning that Wal-Mart was a company built around cheap energy prices, and might suffer if that changed. I think that's 100% true. I've pointed that out more than once, leading some to believe I have an irrational hatred of Wal-Mart. Nope. Wal-Mart is now the first to admit that high gas prices are killing them - more so than other companies, because of their structure and their customer demographics.

I do have an intense dislike for WalMart and all it represents, if they fail due to peak oil or another major disturbance, the party is on me.

We shop at Wally's but don't buy anything from China. Gotta be product of USA or Europe, but basically USA is what we look for. Yes, we're the ones inspecting the cans of blackeyed peas to see where they're from. (All either don't say or say product of USA.)

The local Wally's employs a lot of nice people, will hire old people, offers cheap eye exams and other medical treatment, and in general allows poor people to get things they may not get at all otherwise. Like enough dry milk to last the month or a pair of glasses.

Try explaining to the same poor people that they're poor because of unbridled capitalism ..... I don't even want to try.

Collapse may finally bring to the USA the kind of system, Autarky, that we need.

the cure for antrax is death
the cure for igc is collapse

and that is why peak oil is a hard sell

(igc = infinite growth capitalism, or infinite growth canabalism)

With the creeping corporatism of the past decades, you can't even rely on "Made in" statements anymore. Standards have been modified to such a great extent, at the insistence of multinational food processors, that a product can be simply wrapped in Canada and bear the Made in Canada stamp when the points of origination and processing are all otherwise offshore.

The solution is to ban labelling then. After all, in a free market society if people choose to spend extra on something (in this case milk) because it's got something in it they don't like (in this case bovine growth hormone), what is an industrial ag farmer to do and how best to fight back?

Pennsylvania Bars Hormone-Free Milk Labels


This one is particularly choice.

"Just as the consumer has choices, the dairy producer should be able to choose to use approved technologies based on sound science to sustain their businesses."


as long as they dont accept govt subsidies, but that would be a REAL free market system now wouldnt it.

Here's an interesting article from Ontario, Canada.


"The high value of the dollar, coupled with high feed and input costs, is hammering hog across the country."

"Cressman says it costs $125 to $140 to raise a pig to full size. At one point last week, the price for a market hog was around $87, which meant producers were losing about $50 on every pig sold."

And I thought that the strength of the Canadian dollar was bad news for us... apparently, its bad news all around.

The pigs however could be heard cheering the news :)

Not when it gets cheaper to slaughter them than feed them - as has happened in past depressions.

Now if it were me I'd turn the bastards loose in our abandoned subdivisions and other wastelands. Our offspring might need to hunt their offspring one day.

On further thought the pigs cheering soon turned into cries of terror.

I wouldn’t have given this much thought, but I had dinner with a Canadian Tuesday night. He said that his dad could not sell 75 calves in Edmonton recently. He said this was a first. There were no buyers because in Canada it costs too much to raise them for slaughter! Very strange. His dad had to truck the calves back home and will feed them at a projected loss.

I wonder how long the right-wing media refused to report the growing suffering of the population after the 1929 stock market crash. One year? Two years? Looking back we assume that everyone knew everything that we see in old movies. What's worse, back then we had a serious radical movement that worked hard to publicize this suffering so that people would see that their problems were not due to their individual failures but were systemic. Who's going to do that now?

Was it Milton Friedman's dream to lie our way through a depression without that nasty democracy ever getting involved?

[i]What happens when these folks can't afford to drive to work?[/i]

Depends how necessary and large scale the jobs are: if signficant, the companies will build cheap dormitories for workers on-site, and bus them into town on the weekends.

Otherwise they'll be unemployed and desperate. Some will gain employment as domestics where they don't have to drive anywhere, or if they do, the driving is subsidized by their employer. Maybe they'll be working in Dubai and Saudi Arabia like the masses from India, Pakistan, Indonesia and Phillipines. But I doubt most will be hired.

The formerly middle class and affluent will be buying from Walmart.

The hyper rich will continue to be buying from Neiman Marcus.

I think people will move to where the jobs are. If it means foreclosure, so be it. Or it may mean families divided. Even now, I know families where the father rents a motel room near his workplace while the rest of the family lives elsewhere.

There are a few people I know of at my workplace who do that. Their families are, on average, 4 or 5 hours away and they only go back on weekends. Considering the distances, I think that one trip home costs them the same as a regular commuter coming daily from the surrounding area - and I don't think they even live close enough not to do that too.

We've had incidents of slave camps in Houston already. Back in the '90s Taiwanese businessmen cut deals with the right people in mainland China, who lured in jobseekers, shipped them off to Texas, and then imprisoned them in an industrial park, kept in locked buildings at night and then working all day. Their Central American co-workers at the factory were able to piece the story together by sign language, and it got out to the alternative Houston Press. Very much like the Dubai-run slave labor scam on the US embassy in Baghdad.

Test runs?

Slave camps like that get discovered in the Los Angeles area periodically too.

What happens when these folks can't afford to drive to work?

There's always a lot of TOD discussionn as to what happens when... Here's the way it was in the past in my timber area of northern California.

A looong time ago, ~20's: Families lived in the lumber camp. The new arrivals lived in wall tents; husband, wife and kids. When you got enough seniority and if an old timer left, they'd get a company shack. I know many who lived there at that time. And, BTW, they all bought their stuff at the company store.

More recently, until the spotted owl pretty much shut down logging : The fellers and equipment operators would live in their own campers near the area that was being logged. They would be hauled out to the site in the company "crummy."

My point is that is wasn't unusual to live in less than hard surroundings. And, even now, it isn't that unusual for men to live out in the woods and only get home weekends. So, it wouldn't surprise me if some like this occured in the future.


What happens when they stop buying at Wal*Mart and start going to thrift stores?

One of my few shopping experiences will see rising prices.

Some of us never stopped going to thrift stores.

I got a pair of Wrangler "pro rodeo" copper-rivit pants for 50 cents today. Oh and an interesting book, for 10 cents. And an invite to T-giving dinner at a local church on Tuesday night for free.

We already got bay area inflation then.

Probably still got some time before the excess runs out though. Here's a rather humorous indictment of exuberance to rid ourselves of our excess trash:

(November 15)
Mall of America: Free electronics recycling

It's Green Thursday today at the Mall of America, kicking off a three-day free electronics recycling event billed as the largest ever undertaken in the United States. [snip]

(Off to China. Better to pollute far away...)


(November 16)

Public has need to be freed of tech trash

A three-day effort at the Mall of America to collect electronics for recycling was cut short Friday because of the overwhelming public need to jettison old stuff.

More than 1 million pounds were collected before the company decided it was all they could handle, said an official with Materials Processing Corp. (MPC) of Eagan. The collection filled 86 trucks. [snip]

I read the article on recycling it talks of the new digital standard as a factor, So now those of us without cable or digital tvs are going to need to either replace millions of tv sets at a cost of how much of our oil legacy or we will need Digital-to-Analog Converter Boxes. The Digital-to-Analog Converter Box is an alternative waste of energy.

From this recycling article comes this quote,

In February 2009, as a result of a federal telecommunications law, television stations will switch from analog signals to digital signals, which means consumers will either have to get cable or satellite television, purchase a digital converter box, or get a new TV set....

And combined with this quote from the DOE
at http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=dta.pr_dta

In the U.S. alone, depending on viewer behavior and product design, EPA estimates that conventional DTAs could consume more than 3 billion kilowatt hours (kWh) per year and cost Americans $270 million annually in additional electricity bills.

Of course the electronics industry will make a killing either way. As for me I will give up my Philco TV right after they pull my pre gps chip cell phone out of my cold cheap hands.

Or we could just shut the blasted things off and chuck them out. Good way to save some energy, that.

Yes and now. I remember some months ago where we heard stories about fuel being trucked to Chicago from Houston to correct an imbalance. I don't remember why it was that Chicago was running short in the first place, and yes it is horribly inefficient to truck fuel that far, but to some degree the imbalances can be corrected.

What concerns me is that if farmers start to have chronic fuel shortages, that it will lead to food shortages in the future. This is the sort of thing that could probably be corrected with a quick phone call from some high administration official however. Not that the shortages can be corrected, but food producing regions shouldn't be experiencing these types of shortages.

I have heard some say that biofuels (particularly biodiesel) might make sense if it were entirely used by farmers. Thus a farmer might have an oilseed crop in the regular rotation, and the theory is that they would be able to grow enough fuel to properly raise the rest of the crops. I don't know whether there is general agreement about this point here though. Perhaps there are counter-arguments that would mean that this idea won't work.

"I have heard some say that biofuels (particularly biodiesel) might make sense if it were entirely used by farmers. Thus a farmer might have an oilseed crop in the regular rotation, and the theory is that they would be able to grow enough fuel to properly raise the rest of the crops. I don't know whether there is general agreement about this point here though. Perhaps there are counter-arguments that would mean that this idea won't work."

Counter Arguement here.

See Pimentel Cornell for the exact numbers on why biofuels
are a non starter.

Any farmer being able to do what you suggested above
would be off grid by definition and not have any use
for any state.

Arkansaw of Samuel L Clemens

The EROEI is considerably different for biodiesel versus ethanol, mcgowanmc. While you could not conduct modern farm operations (green revolution farming) on biodiesel, Rudolph Diesel fully intended his engine to be used by farmers growing a biodiesel crop to assist with other farming activities. While you could not drive the massive farm vehicles of today with a biodiesel crop, you could certainly utilize a smaller tractor on a lower utilization schedule. Now the fact that this is possible doesn't mean it is necessarily economical. What I have not seen for biodiesel is any analysis of economies of scale - what size farm benefits from this versus simply reverting to draft animal power. Ethanol fully appears to be a non-starter but I have not seen any such analysis of biodiesel, particularly using biodiesel coupled with a move away from green revolution farming techniques. If you are aware of such an analysis please provide a URL. All of Pimentel's work that I have read seems to have been focused on ethanol and ethanol's issues.

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

I practice horticulture on three acres with only 25,000 sq.' in intensive growing beds. this year I used 18 gallons of diesel for my two wheel tractor. From all my research that's about 4 times the amount of fuel used in conventional farming. [no real good data to pull from there] but my yields are 8 times that of conventional. [again fuzzy numbers]
the other 2.5 acres are used as green manure crops. alfalfa mostly and am trying to establish a comfrey zone. I want to be able to show that dedicating one of those acres to a fuel crop would be economic, but I've looked into it and how much more time it would take out of my day. my conclusion is the price of off road diesel would have to be somewhere in the $20-$30 range for my to try it. and that is of course a different world.

p.s. I think the future for ethanol has to be the potato


Yeah, vodka makes bicyclists pedal extra hard, don't ask me how I know!

Ethanol Man.

OK. Agriculture IMHO is merely a time machine whn it comes
to manufacturing a fuel for an internal combustion engine.

I had two conversations this week end on our farm, relating
to this.

1-We had to put lime out to neutralize the acid in order to get a certain amt of cotton per acre.

2-We will have to buy ammonium nitrate at maybe $400
per ton to fertilize wheat.

Not our wheat, we're not growing any. But my Bro in Law's
a crop duster and he's fertilizing today for others.
He priced the ammonium.

Just two of many inputs, all from fossil fuel(nitrate can only be made from NatGas) needed to maintain production at current levels.

My point is that anything removed from the soil must be put back in order to get similar y/y results.

The "feedstock" for biodiesel has already been "spoken for".

There is no such thing as crop waste/residue on a farm.

Yes. Farms can generate the same kind of income on a smaller scale, but the $ will come from higher per unit prices.

Or adding value, but that will entail extra energy.

Again, we can be "off the grid". But no individuals/states
will benefit from it.

This URL will lead you to Pimentel's 2005 study including biofuel:

It Takes Energy to Make Energy
by Doug Pibel


"Tom, I reckon you've got to pack up and go down to Arkansaw- your aunt Sally wants you."-Tom Sawyer :)

We did some work on this on some threads a few months ago. It appears that it would require that approximately 5-10% of total crop acreage would have to be dedicated to oilseed production to fuel typical mechanized farm operations.

It probably would make sense for certain farmers in a locality to specialize in biodiesel production rather than every farmer doing it themselves.

But getting farmers to share the biodiesel when fuel is short and commodity prices are rising as a result, I think I would like to have my own supply.

See Pimentel Cornell for the exact numbers on why biofuels are a non starter.

Do you have links to back up the oil claim?

Oh, and please feel free to show how growing oilseeds is worse than a bunch of draft animals.

Any farmer being able to do what you suggested above would be off grid by definition and not have any use for any state.

Alas, The Soverign has a different vision.

From Wikipedia:

Biodiesel is a renewable fuel that can be manufactured from algae, vegetable oils, animal fats or recycled restaurant greases.

Everyone agree on this?
H/T yesmagazine:


"The biggest nay-sayers are David Pimentel and Tad W. Patzek. You can read their 2005 study in which they conclude that no biofuel has positive EROEI."

The 2005 Study is a PDF file:


Ethanol Production Using Corn, Switchgrass, and Wood;
Biodiesel Production Using Soybean and Sunflower
David Pimentel1,3 and Tad W. Patzek2
Received and accepted 30 January 2005
Energy outputs from ethanol produced using corn, switchgrass, and wood biomass were each
less than the respective fossil energy inputs.

The same was true for producing biodiesel using
soybeans and sunflower, however, the energy cost for producing soybean biodiesel was
only slightly negative compared with ethanol production.

Findings in terms of energy outputs
compared with the energy inputs were: • Ethanol production using corn grain required 29%
more fossil energy than the ethanol fuel produced. • Ethanol production using switchgrass
required 50% more fossil energy than the ethanol fuel produced. • Ethanol production using
wood biomass required 57% more fossil energy than the ethanol fuel produced. •

BIODIEL (my caps)
production using soybean required 27% more fossil energy than the biodiesel fuel produced
(Note, the energy yield from soy oil per hectare is far lower than the ethanol yield from corn).

Biodiesel production using sunflower required 118% more fossil energy than the biodiesel
fuel produced.

KEYWORDS: Energy, biomass, fuel, natural resources, ethanol, biodiesel.

"Oh, and please feel free to show how growing oilseeds is worse than a bunch of draft animals."

Are you addressing me here?

ADHD like Memmel :)

David Pimentel and Tad W. Patzek.
covers a rebuttal of their work.

Pimentel still used the antiquated data from his 1979 study. Some insight into Patzek's bias against ethanol can be found on his own website: http://petroleum.berkeley.edu/patzek/index.htm.

Patzek worked for Shell Oil Company as a researcher, consultant, and expert witness. He founded and directs the UC Oil Consortium, which is mainly funded by the oil industry at the rate of US$60,000-120,000 per company per year.

Pimptel's study - does it include feeding the seedcake to the critters on the farm - the ones who were going to be eating the oilseed anyway?

Hrmmmm. A study claiming less than 1:1 EROEI or greater than 3:1.

And while looking for an older reference to Russian sunflower oil production (Some work by Lenin as I remember talking about farm mechinization) (Oh, and considering the water useage of sunflowers they are a bad choice for all but swampland you might want to dry out):

The Kazakh ministry of industry and trade, however, has been told to devise a plan for buying several months-worth of basic food supplies to stabilise prices in the future. This week exports of sunflower oil were banned.

Biodiesel production using sunflower required 118% more fossil energy than the biodiesel fuel produced.

Yet one CAN burn the veggie oil straight - no need for making it into biodiesel. One can also use solar energy for the heating part of making biodiesel - another FF input removed.

"Oh, and please feel free to show how growing oilseeds is worse than a bunch of draft animals."
Are you addressing me here?

Yea, because what are the alternatives if one is suddenly not going to have diesel farm equipment? Human power?

One thing to be said in favor of sunflowers as an oiseed crop is that they are particularly easy to grow on a small scale. As the typical mechanized farm would only need about 5% of its crop acreage dedicated to oilseed production -- IF the oil is produced and consumed right on the farm and no transport back and forth to a processing plant (right there is where a lot of Pimptel's analysis turns negative) -- on all but the largest farms we're only talking about a small field of a few acres or so. It is quite feasible for a handful of workers to hand-harvest a sunflower crop of a few acres with at most a couple of days of work. One can manually remove the seeds from the flower heads by scraping them across wire fence stretched over an open barrel. As someone else mentioned, one can rig up a solar roaster to pre-heat the seeds prior to pressing. Seed presses are relatively low tech things -- humans have been pressing oils from seeds for thousands of years -- and could be built on a home-brew basis. In spite of the fact that sunflowers are somewhat thirsty (but it is not at all true that they need to be grown on swampland, COME ON NOW!), they would be a feasible oilseed feedstock to grow and process on a small-scale, appropriate technology basis.

If the choice for a small farmer is between producing his own fuel in this manner, or having to give up all of his mechanization, I suspect that this wouldn't look like such a bad alternative.

Silver bullet it is not, though. At best, it is one possible alternative to add to the mix of options.

(I'm certain that now someone will chime in with a comment in favor of electric tractors - they always do. And I'll respond in advance:

Yes, solar-recharged electric tractors are another option, and have something to say in their favor. However, if you are a poor small farmer, and can no longer afford to buy diesel for your tractor, how likely is it that you are going to be able to buy the batteries, PV panels, and electric motors necessary? On the other hand, you already have everything you need (except the seed, which is cheap) to go out and plant a few acres of sunflower seed - by hand if you have to. While it is growing, you can scrounge up some scrap materials and build a home-brew solar roaster and seed press. Again, you can harvest the sunflowers by hand if you have to. And thus you can start producing your own oil yourself, in ONE SEASON. And this is why farm-produced oilseeds are likely to be the more immediate solution to petrodiesel shortages.)

I'd just as soon want to set up a still and
sell the home-brew for human consumption.

Easier and more $.

Which is what the Whiskey Rebellion was all about anyway.

Direct human consumption is the most energy efficient way
to go.

AAMOF, I think force will be required to keep this from happening.

Arkansaw of Samuel L Clemens

Errr, are you advocating breaking the law via tax evasion AND violation of the fuel distallation permit?

Where can I buy?

Sunflowers are relatively easy to grow and can produce a substantial yield without irrigation. The one drawback I can think of is the sunflower seeds you plant are hybrid, there are wild sunflowers, Maximillian Sunflower for example but the seedheads are small and the yield per acre would be slight. You will have to purchase hybrid sunflower seed every year or go to non-GMO soybeans or open pollinated corn, don't know if canola is OP, the goal being to keep the Monsanto's out of the picture.

Again IMHO, we're so close as to be agreeing with each other.

Anything less than 3:1 dooms the status quo.

Crude is what, 25:1 ?

""Oh, and please feel free to show how growing oilseeds is worse than a bunch of draft animals."
Are you addressing me here?

Yea, because what are the alternatives if one is suddenly not going to have diesel farm equipment? Human power?

See my Mule Breeding Program. Jokingly called the MBP

And yes, I used the word "slaves".

I can make the case that we've never left slavery behind BTW. Minimum Wage and Non Farm Payrolls.

And non mechanized will be the least of our problems.

No fossil fuel fertilizers, glyphosates and GM seed
with no means to irrigate will leave us with 1/2 bale
per acre cotton, 65 bu corn, 20 bu beans, 15 bu wheat.

"Two hundred species a day we are losing. Two hundred. As Daniel Quinn says in the movie, “This is calamitous.”

But feral hogs are making a comeback. :)

Anything less than 3:1 dooms the status quo.

Biodiesel is rated at 3.2:1. And the status quo is still doomed - not due to oil but the funky money situation. (Funk as in not take a shower)

See my Mule Breeding Program. Jokingly called the MBP

Lets see - feed draft animals seeds OR extract the oil from the seeds and feed the seedcake to animals to be used for feed.


'Even within the US...there have been chronic shortages of fuel in the midwest since spring,'

Not to sound like a smart alec but its the midwest that is making ethonol, getting tax subsidies to make ethonol, causing food shortages because of ethonol production, etc. Perhaps the fuel shortage in the midwest is karma?...And, if ethonol is supposedly the end-all do-all, why is the midwest having fuel shortages? Before I hear a response like 'they are not producing the diesel necessary to transport the corn to ethonol refineries', I will respond in advance...Why was this problem not forseen and why didnt they produce biodiesel along with ethonol?

Imo, ethonol is a scam and if a certain midwest primary was not so important to wannabe presidents ethonol would still be a non starter. The Chinese continue to beat our brains out economically because we cannot think and plan beyond the next election cycle. Rant over :)

within the US...there have been chronic shortages of fuel in the midwest

How ever can this be? Isn't the midwest the very fount of corn? I thought we were going to supplant Saudi Arabia with ethanol production...

Don't forget North Dakota!

Zambia's a train wreck all the way. Forty percent HIV positive! Bob Ebersole

Um... don't read too much into numbers like that. HIV tests are not common in Africa, despite the claimed numbers of victims. AIDS is often diagnosed when the following symptoms present - fever, cough, weight loss and diarrhea. These are indistinguishable from symptoms of malnutrition, malaria, TB, etc. There are plenty of official poorly-backed guesses made to hype the AIDS/HIV fear.

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

Is there a particular reason Australia is on this list?

It is by far the richest per capita of those mentioned, and its relationship - plus strategic response - to peak oil and problems of supply are much more akin to other wealthy OECD countries, such as US, Canada, Europe and Japan. Australia can buy its way out of trouble for quite a while yet - and is not particularly prone to developing-country demand destruction, or supply difficulties.

Is there a particular reason Australia is on this list?

I think it's because of the reported fuel shortages in Victoria. There were news stories about ambulances being parked because they had no fuel.

He's just keeping track of places where fuel shortages have been reported.

Hi Michigan,

The list of countries that are now facing fuel, gasoline, diesel, oil, and other supply problems gets longer by the day. A few countries facing such issues include (in no particular order): Zimbabwe, Jamaica, China, Argentina, Ghana, Malaysia, Uganda, Trinadad & Tobago, Australia, Rwanda, Iraq, Kenya, Burma, India, Bangladesh, Niger, Nepal, Bolivia, and the Philippines.

I do a little blog that tracks these kinds of stories:


I took a drive to San Antonio last night to catch an early screening of No Country For Old Men. The movie was great, (but dark--true to the book).

The reals story was the trip. I was stuck in traffic for hours: between road constuction and the sheer amount of cars, I felt like I was trapped in some sci-fi film of a dying planet.

We're in for some terrible changes, disproportionally so, here in the United States. The way our cities are designed, it not only is incovenient to walk or ride a bike, it is impossible.

A real, unfolding horror story.

I did inhale.

Nice website
I inhaled too.

San Antonio has been ruined by the automobile, IMHO. When I was a kid it had the air of a truly different place, it was the gateway to the Latino South Texas, the regional center for ranching and oil for the southern half of Texas and had beautiful architechture. I've always had relatives living around S.A. and was raised in Houston, 210 miles east on IH 10.

Now its become another suburban/exurban freeway of ugliness. Houston was always a town without much character except a passionate commitment to overexpansion, like Dallas, but many cities in Texas had some character and were true local centers. I live in Galveston, which has still retained a local flavor.

What seems to help a city retain a local flavor is if the Interstate terminates there rather than go through. El Paso and the Rio Grande valley are still regional centers, but so is Fort Worth.I guess all the walled cities like Arlington stave off the tide of parking lots and motel chains that blight most Suburban areas.BI'm not going to miss the car homogenisation that in the last 40 years has blighted America. Alan Drake's Electrification of Transportation has the potential to give us back the joys of regionalism by restricting the spread of national chain restaurants and other suburban curses.
Bob Ebersole

Compare Vancouver, B.C. and Seattle --

Many differences, of course, but one of the most striking is that there is no freeway in Vancouver, and Seattle is totally sliced and diced by I-5 and its approaches, making it extremely unpleasant to get around in.

Vancouver is served by great bus lines and is totally walkable -- and car traffic is accommodated by a gridwork of streets, not just a few major arteries, so it is not all chopped up. Much more pleasant town for that reason, if nothing else.

That's not all that is vastly different.
Visiting in Seattle one year I compared crime statistics for Vancouver. Seattle had on the order of 120 homicides for the previous year. Vancouver had something like 6. Maybe a correlation with freeways ?:->

We've had some pretty horific gang violence up Vancouver way recently. Probably 10 murders in the last month.

We're lying to ourselves if we think things are so different up here in Canada.

Also, the RCMP killed a guy with their tasers at the airport a month ago, it's been pretty big news up here. There is video and coverage here:


Recipient of AA, Alberta Advantage

I think Michael Moore's trip into Canada in "Bowling for Columbine" is a good starting point on the US-Canada cultural differences about violence. Guns do not equate to property, prosperity or freedom in Canada, for either law-abiders or disgruntled outlaws. They're not an all-purpose problem-solver, just something you use to shoot elk.

As the bumper sticker says,

"God, Guts & Guns: What Made America Great".

Actually Moore's interactions with people in that area sounds like a similar type of interactions with people out where I am now. Sure there are tons of guns in this area, and a few, really a very few, political crazy types, just like Canada has some of too.

But by and large, the only national difference he's exploring is Small Town People vs. Big City People.

There was a plan to build a freeway into downtown Vancouver, (in 1968?). A large cross-section of the population came out to protest; hippies, homeowners, academics, and they got the march on the evening news. Organizers handed out big "stop the freeway" buttons. There was a lot of letters and editorial discussion in the Vancouver Sun. IOW, a well planned civil protest.

That didn't happen in Portland or Seattle -- and the consequences are dire. Gridlock in both cities, and a beautiful area ruined by freeways and automobiles.

I don't know if that has anything to do with crime, but I do suspect that the alienation caused by chopping up neighborhoods, and the road rage and the totally anonymous nature of driving instead of walking or riding public transportation (where you often have to actually acknowledge other human beings!) might indeed have something to do with it.

Police tasering people in the US hardly even makes the news, let alone something anyone worries much about. But it does look as though Canada is indeed going through something of that transformation.

That didn't happen in Portland or Seattle -- and the consequences are dire. Gridlock in both cities, and a beautiful area ruined by freeways and automobiles.

Er, I highly doubt driving on city streets and highways with the endless stop and go is really superior to freeways. I'd way rather take I-5 from Everett to Seattle or 405 from Bellevue than try to navigate Highway-99 or take the long way around Juanita and the rest.

If I-5 and 405 had never been built, then you would be less likely to take that trip by car. Perhaps you would find the trip unnecessary (our society might not "demand" that you make the trip), or you could take Urban Rail (oops we didn't build that and tore up what we had).

As Vancouver shows, and GM knew decades ago, building highways CREATES demand.

Best Hopes for selective Highway Removal,


Sure, people would move where there are accessible freeways.

Actually, in city after city, existing neighborhoods were destroyed by slicing through them with auto sewers. The Bronx of NYC is the most famous example of a livable neighborhood destroyed by freeways, for the convenience of the suburbanites. In New Orleans, Claiborne Avenue was a vibrant, beautiful commericial corridor with magnificent live oaks completely destroyed by I-10. Slums replaced what was the center of African-American commerce after the Interstate went through.

To restore these damaged and destroyed neighborhoods is why urban freeways should be removed. If it makes the Suburbanite commute more difficult, too bad.


Half: Same thing happened in Toronto. I remember viewing the 1949? official plan for the city and it had two superhighways right through downtown (down Spadina and along Bloor). The place isn't perfect, but the planners almost destroyed it completely.

Leanan - Don't forget Starbucks. For many this is the canary in the coal mine.

"Its U.S. traffic slowing, Starbucks to run first national TV campaign"



Without mentioning by name rivals McDonald's and Dunkin' Donuts, Schultz said consumers over time would not be satisfied with a "commoditized experience or flavor" and they would trade up to the company that built the industry.

"And that, ladies and gentlemen, is Starbucks," Schultz said.

Then again, at $4 for a cup of coffee when you can't pay your mortgage or your fuel bill...maybe there's something to be said for a commoditized experience. Better yet, make your own coffee at home.

At 12-15000 stores Starbucks is pretty commoditized too. They are just smart enough to charge more for their coffee - so it is cooler to be seen with a Starbucks coffee cup :-).

Maybe as they open more stores the cool factor is getting old. Perhaps SBUX should focus on keeping the # of stores steady and raising prices. You can't sell cool if everyone has it.


Regarding Russia, from the draft of our Net Exports paper:

This summer Alfa Bank warned of problems with mature Russian oil fields because of rapidly rising water cuts. Just recently, Renaissance Capital brokerage said that excluding the Sakhalin-1 Field, daily crude output in Russia has been down year-on-year since May. And there have been recent warnings that new fields in Eastern Siberia are too small and being developed too slowly to offset the production declines in Western Siberia.

A 5% increase in Russian production is roughly 500,000 bopd. This obviously is a drop in the bucket compared to the volume needed to offset

a) increasing demand to achieve BAU
b) field declines in the rest of the world
c) decreasing exports due to increased internal consumption as indicated by the ELM.

If I'm not mistaken, there are few other countries projecting any increase, much less an increase on the order of 500,000 bopd.

I'm thinking that the Russians released this info so that the members of OPEC can have some accurate figures to use to set production quotas. Watching prices bounce around this spring should pretty well settle whether we are past peak. If they level out maybe OPEC still has control.
Bob Ebersole

We should also remember that 500,000 barrels per day of Russian production is by 2010. On an annual basis, the increase is more like 170,000 barrels per day.

If world demand is 85 million bpd and growing 2% per year, the needed increase would be 1.7 million barrels per day per year. Even if we lower it a bit from that, the needed increase (not counting the amount to offset depletion) is something like 1.3 to 1.5 million barrels per day. The 170,000 barrels per day doesn't get us very far.

There aren't many countries increasing, and there are more and more countries decreasing.

Russia has a lot of fields in decline. This year new production has barely kept up with declines. For the last 12 months, Russia's production has averaged 9,415,000 barrels per day. In August they produced 9,390,000 barrels per day. They have been on a plateau for a year now.

Yet in that time Russia has still put on new production. Also in that time Russia has lost a lot of production to declines. Gains are just barely keeping up with declines.

I have no doubt that Russia will put on a lot of new production between now and the end of 2010. And I have no doubt that in the same period, Russia will suffer steep declines in some of its very old fields. Will new production offset declines to the tune of an extra 500,000 barrels per day. Don't bet on it. Sometimes when people talk about new production the completely forget about declines.

Ron Patterson

WaPost: KSA says "We have huge areas still [to explore]"


It is simply not so that the western desert of the Rub al-Khali has not been explored. True, it has not been explored as through as the eastern half, but there is a very good reason for that. There is no oil in the western Rub al-Khali for the same reason that there is no oil in Arizona.

During the Jurassic and Cretaceous there were two periods of intense global warming. There were huge algae blooms in areas of shallow seas, all over the world. But during neither of these two periods, were there shallow seas in the western half of the Rub al-Khali, nor in Arizona. The same is true for the vast areas along the northern border with Iraq. The vast empty space on both sides of the border is said to be "unexplored".

That is simply not so. It has been explored but not extensively. Once geologists determined that the strata there was not oil bearing strata, they abounded all further attempts. There were no shallow seas there during the periods when most oil bearing strata were laid down.

Okay, the USA has vast areas of Arizona that is virtually unexplored. This is very true. And it shall remain unexplored because geologists are not idiots. The oil is now where the shallow seas were then and after a few test wells these areas can be easily identified.

And by the way, the area where I grew up, northern Alabama, has never been explored at all. Not one test well has ever been drilled. That is because the top strata was deposited during the Carboniferous era, strata that was laid dowm many millions of years before any oil bearing strata was deposited.

Ron Patterson

well, you are mistaken on at least two (2) points: arizona has some oil production in the ne corner, the san juan basin (but i dont think that is what you really meant). and there is a lot of oil bearing strata older than the carboniferous. mid continent us (kansas, oklahoma, nebraska for example), the williston basin, permian basin, big horn basin and overthrust of wyoming, to name a few. there is oil production from the cambrian and i believe the pre-cambrian as well. the conditions may not have been right in the mideast for oil to form there, i dunno.

And so, how much oil production comes from the mid continent area of the US (older than carboniferous)? only state that had much oil of those you mention is Oklahoma and it produces less oil now than in early 1900's. I have traveled much in Kansas and Nebraska and know that oil production is low, considering the use of walking beam oil pumps (not enough pressure for it to rise to the surface).

Bottom line is that if KSA has some oil in the western quarter, the amount is unlikely to be a super giant field or even anything to stave off their expected production decline. Also the former head of exploration and production for ARAMCO (Al-Husseini) says that OPEC's reserves are overstated by 300 billion barrels. Same guy has said that KSA's upper limit for production is 12mb/d and that comes only after huge additional investment. He also said two or three years ago that KSA reaching 15 mb/d (as expected by IEA) is "very unlikely". He was quoted in an article on energybulletin.net

Mark in St Louis, USA

i dont know if ksa has the potential to produce oil from rocks older than carboniferous. and for all i know there may be no sedimentary rocks of that age in sa. and if someone has this knowledge,please respond. the point i
was trying to make is that older rocks DO have potential for oil production, contrary to the claim by the original poster.

your post opens a whole new can of worms.

There can be oil from any period that produce algae. And there are tiny pockets of oil from much older periods and some from even younger periods. But the conditions that produced a lot of oil, oil like that found in the triangle area of the Persian Gulf, only existed during a short period of the Jurassic and the Cretaceous, two periods of intense global warming. All the oil found in that area came from those two periods. Oil south of about where Bahrain is came from the Jurassic. Oil north of that point was deposited during the Creataceous. Ghawar oil is from the late Jurassic.


You may notice that now there are occasionally algae blooms but nothing that would settle, and eventually form a few billion barrels of oil. That takes a lot of algae, and I do mean a lot of algae. Times that generated such prolonged and enermous algae blooms were, historically, very infrequent. In other eras algae blooms formed, for sure, but nothing compared to these two eras.

Ron Patterson

Now when there is any kind of an algae bloom we treat it with chemicals, forget about more oil formation.

Darwinian there were sure those who thought there was oil up here! There are still old buildings and signs saying this'n'that oil and petroleum mining company! Hilarious! In fact a friend of ours' well goes into one of the old shafts, a hollow place that's filled with water.

It all turned out to be just as productive as the ventures set up to mine for the iron that just "had" to be in meteor crater.

Hello TODers,

It now appears that Pakistan is going for a full-on civil war:

Pakistan Army Masses for Assault

Pasha, director general of military operations, said the army had assembled about 15,000 troops in Mingora, the valley's main town and would launch its main offensive within days.

"We will bottle up as many of them as possible and then eliminate them," Pasha said. "This is our killing ground."
Project Murambatsvina scaled up to fast acting military execution? My earlier posting predicting this timeframe was much too optimistic. Yikes! =(

I would assume US UAVs and other recon assets will help the military. What will be interesting is if this army gets trapped somehow-- will the US use carpet-bombing B-52s from Diego Garcia and other airborne weaponry to rescue them?

Wild & Crazy Speculation: What if the plan is to purposely let this army get trapped so the US can cross-border escalate from Afghanistan into the wild regions of Pakistan?

I can't imagine anybody wanting the radical fringe to get hold of Pakistan's fifty nukes. I bet India and Israel are watching this very, very carefully.

Just imagine what a single atomic missile detonation on a major city could do to global stock markets. Carpet-bombing a local or regional population into extinction, although very sad, is cheap compared to the alternative.

Too bad that Pakistan didn't start full Peak Outreach years ago to help forestall this trend towards a machete' moshpit. Wise Foundation planning could have helped protect the ecosystem too. Bombs & artillery only make things ecologically worse--suboptimal decline, IMO.

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

Grim climate change report prompts UN call for 'breakthrough'

So they finally released the summary of their overly conservative and seriously outdated report.

Here in my part of France we've been doing a little climate record breaking. On Thursday the record low temperature set in 1919 for November was broken when we reached -4.85c. Last night my thermometer recorded a low of -9c, so bye bye new record too.

I can't help thinking about the Medieval Warm period and the following Little Ice Age in Europe. Perhaps it wasn't due to the disrupted thermohaline circulation as assumed but due to changes in the upper air circulation (ie. the Jet Stream). Or perhaps something has happend to disrupt the thermohaline circulation and what we are seeing is the results.

Something happened in April/May that altered the climate here in Europe, which has now continued into Autumn and presumably Winter. No way of knowing if it is a random bit of climatic volatility or the beginning of a trend. Either way, the tempo is speeding up and we are getting closer to some defining event that changes humanity's priorities.

TPTB are losing control over finance, energy and now the climate. One can only assume they will soon also lose control over just about everything else of importance too.

"This month's discovery of a monster offshore oil reserve justifies Brazil's plan to build a nuclear submarine because it would be used to protect the find, the defense minister said."

This is pure baloney. Nuclear subs are pure attack weapons and cost a fortune (billions of USD) to build and maintain on top of the very expensive nuclear missiles that are generally loaded into them. They're unsurpassed as a nuclear delivery mechanism, but I don't see how it relates to a few billion barrels of high-cost and uncontested crude.

There are no near-term military threats to Brazil at this time, so a nuclear (or conventional) buildup is just going to raise tensions and worsen the outcome for the whole region. Wars always come with advance warning, often years of warning, and having a large standing army before you need one not only costs a fortune, but leaves with an obsolete army should the time come and encourages military adventurism.

There are no near-term military threats to Brazil at this time

The US is a threat to everyone (friend or foe) and the one thing that makes them back off is nuclear weapons. As long as the US is a threat, everyone needs nuclear weapons so proliferation is a given.

My view is that the US is tied down militarily much like the USSR was in Afghanistan back in the 1980s. I expect our military might to collapse rapidly following economic collapse in the near future. We might invade Iran, but after that I think that will be it for our empire.

Our terrible excess of consumerism and the consequently lousy national balance sheet already puts us just one crisis of confidence away from an empire ending inflationary spiral, but peak oil is going to hit us very, very hard on the way down.

The military taking a higher share of GDP trying to compensate will just hasten the decline, as has occurred to North Korea.

The US military won't collapse outright, but it's unstated mission will. And that mission is to solve America's energy problem by militarily dominating the Middle East so as to install puppet regimes that will guarantee continued access to their oil under favorable terms to US-based oil companies. The corollary to that policy is to deny China, India, et al, of same access.

I think that once it becomes undeniably obvious to even the most ardent true believe that this mission has turned out to be a total and irreversible failure, then, and ONLY then, will the US get serious about conservation and alternative energy (and by alternative energy I don't mean ethanol from corn).

The US is never going to actually invade Iran, as it simply can't, given the fact that it's seriously tied down in Iraq and Afganistan. But it very well might bomb the crap out of Iran, and be totally oblivious of the short- and long-term consequences of such an insane act.

It's going to take a major change in thinking to get anything positive accomplished, so I am quite pessimistic. For example, right now there is a major offshore wind farm project under consideration for southern Delaware. The price tag of $1.6 billion has a lot of people spooked and the vested interests are desperately trying their best to scuttle it before it is even launched. Yet, $1.5 billion is roughly the cost of maintaining the occupation of Iraq and Afganistan for one single week. However, few seem to see the irony.

Very, very, sad - but true!

What a huge waste of resources!


I agree that every oil producer needs a nuclear deterrent now, but all you need to deter the US is the ability to hit a couple of our cities. Brazil could find many simpler ways to deliver the weapon than this. It should build a fleet of tankers that can carry either ethanol or oil, and then (here's the sneaky part) find a way to shield their contents from any known US scanning technology. Is there a nuke floating in that bunker of oil sailing up the Houston Ship Channel, or isn't there?

A nuclear powered sub does not have to have a nuclear missile.

Some are attack subs and some are ballistic missile subs.

To build one sub they would need to d their own r and d, for one boat I doubt it. In addition they would have to vet and train their crews, which means that they would have to have a nuclear power A school set up with trained instructors and up to date facilities, I doubt if the USN will send any their way, we like to keep our secrets to ourselves, in excess of 400 feet. And neither will the Russian Navy, and would they really want the same gang that sank the Kursk i.e. Oscar II to train them?

More likely would be that they buy a conventional boat from another power who would also help train the crew i.e. the French (after all they sold them a carrier) and use it as part of their carrier battle group, to help that carrier protect their interests this would be a more likely scenario.

A fleet of a dozen or more first class conventional submarines, preferably of different types (makes the problems on the other side more complex) could do the near coast protection required.

And a neutral oil exporting nation (Brazil has no real obstacles and is on no one's blacklist) should have no problems getting the best conventional subs.

Add some really good long range anti-shipping missiles and SAMs, long range naval bombers and even the US Navy would take pause.

Plus deep sea oil infrastructure is hard to take over intact, and it would take many years to repair/replace.


OPEC discusses dumping US Dollar - accidentally broadcast

Journalists covering an OPEC meeting in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on Friday were treated to something special: ministers speaking their minds.

Behind closed doors, OPEC officials were arguing about whether the oil they pump, which represents 40 percent of world supply, should still be priced using the dollar, which has weakened steadily over the last three years.

The participants, including Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal, were unaware that their talks were being televised accidentally to more than 20 journalists in the next room. By the time two Saudi officials, realizing that maybe none of this should come out, rushed to unplug the 50-inch Samsung flat-screen TV, the damage was done.

The accidental airing of a closed OPEC session Friday provided a surprise glimpse into a sensitive debate over the weakening U.S. dollar, with Saudi Arabia's foreign minister warning that even talking publicly about the currency's decline could further hurt its value.

He warned that if the mention appeared in the communique, "there's going to be a bad reaction to it and the dollar could collapse."

OPEC is discussing dropping the US dollar and using a basket of currencies to price/sell oil. This will effectively end USD hegemony as the world's reserve currency.




Monday's markets should really be something to watch!

All of a sudden there are a lot of stories out there that it won't be mentioned in the final communique. Jeez, like that's gonna put the cat back in the bag?!!?

Do you think it will be a Black Monday?

Perhaps the Black Friday, scheduled for later in the week, will take on a whole new meaning.

There was some discussion of this in yesterday's DrumBeat. Some don't believe it was really an accident.

I'll hear no talk of conspiracy. The Saudi's are our friends and only want the best for us. ;)

"Tell me, over and over and over again, my friend. That you don't believe we're on the eve of destruction."

Maybe they're trying to prove they're our friends. See? We're the ones who are defending your currency!

"They doth protest too much, methinks."

Urbansurvival and halfpasthuman have been predicting for months a dollar melt down happening next week.


Why next week?

Halfpasthuman has software that monitors the "chatter" on the web and uses it to predict future events.

It doesn't really supply a "why", just a "when" and "what".

The reports samples seem to read like an astrology forecast or the I ching.

I've been monitoring their forecasts for a while. They have me about 50% convinced they are on to something.

Considering how the markets are so spooked, anything could set them off.

Take a look at the calendar of evens for next week and toss a dart.

The History Channel had something on that. It was on their "end of the world" documentary, IIRC. Some think the Maya were right: the world is ending Dec. 2012. At least according to the chatter on the net.

At the end of Hour Three of Puplava's webcast on Financial Sense, in the caller section, he put 2012 as the outer limit for when the Post-Peak Oil SHTF.

He said he is planning a how to cope with Post-Peak Oil seminar, but he didn't want to ruin everyone's Thanksgiving celebration.

BTW, at our current rate of world consumption, in four years we will consume about 100 Gb of C+C, roughly what Saudi Arabia produced through 2005.

I guess that would be ok. I don't want to live through the no electricity, no food, no heat part anyway. I've lived a full life.

"Tell me, over and over and over again, my friend. That you don't believe we're on the eve of destruction."

The problem with using chatter: If enough people talk about something, the software thinks it is going to happen.

Maybe if enough people talk about it, they make it happen.

Well, that might not apply to the end of the world, but I could sure see it applying to things like a stock market or currency collapse.

And since we are talking about it, and the lurkers are reading it, we have added to the momentum.

I think there is a paradox in here somewhere, but it is to late in the evening to articulate it.

It sounds more like a self feeding feedback loop.

Leanan, talking of the Mayan, I came across this bit of curiosity the other day (written in 2004):

November 19th, 2007

Unfortunately, precisely on November 19th 2007 (according to the Mayan Calendar) forces will kick in which will cause the economic infrastructure to start unravelling. It is on that day (according to Calleman's interpretation) that the collapse of the financial infrastructure will manifest.

I know nothing about the Mayan Calendar, but complete nonsense or not, either way we don't have long to wait :)

A little googling reveals that 11/19/2007 begins the night of Day 5 of the Galactic Underworld in the Mayan calendar. This time is supposedly ruled by Tezcatlipoca, lord of darkness for the fifth night.

If that means anything to you, prepare for it.

Or, use it as a line at a cocktail party. It's sure to inspire ... blank stares.

I suppose this really means I need to quit reading here today and make the stuff I'm taking to next week's Thunk-giving.

Halfpasthuman has software that monitors the "chatter" on the web and uses it to predict future events.

Does he work for the NSA?

Not to my knowledge, but supposedly the Chinese liked his ideas so much, they stole them.

George Ure [Urban Survival] seems to be a very bright guy ... but the Web Bot forecasts come up empty for me because part of the premise is that humans collectively [but not necessarily individually] can foresee major earthquakes and floods a few months in advance.

Although I am not willing to mindlessly accept the whole concept, I'm not willing to just dismiss it.

After all, geologists and meteorologist also talk on the web, and they would know about earthquakes and floods.

Or if you want an alternative explanation, read The "Emperor's New Mind" by Roger Penrose.



well didnt the cia have a program in place to monitor financial transactions prior to 911, and did they not detect unusual trading in airline and insurance stocks. and did the "media" not just drop the story after it was revealed that much of the short selling of airlines and insurance was done by duetches bank, at that time headed by the now #3 guy at the cia (buzz conrad or some such). lots of people dont seem to connect that bush sr was once head of the cia. imo, the cia is running the country. maybe it is time to re-read 1984.

The other side of the deal.

Also Russia now released the nuclear fuel for Bushehr, not reported in the MSM

Someone familiar with Arab culture once stated that one way their culture differs from western culture is the significance of saying something in private versus saying it publicly. In western culture, a politician is likely to say what he thinks people want to hear when he speaks publicly, and say what he really thinks when he speaks privately. In an Arab culture it is reversed: an Arab politician will say what he really thinks when he speaks publicly, but when the mike is off and he is speaking to his colleagues, he will say what he thinks they want to hear. Maybe someone else who is more familiar with this culture can comment on whether or not this is true.

If it is true, there is no great significance to the mike-off conversation.

My experience is that the people in KSA are very secretive.

Things go on, and they live, behind high walls that you can't see through.

But, do not assume that they are either stupid or put the interests of infidels before themselves.


I imagine this will be in the next financial roundup from TOD Canada, but this makes for a very good Saturday read:


I hope this magically turns into a web-link.

This is an investigative piece in today's Globe and Mail on the story around the toxic bundles of paper that have been polluting the financial sector of late. It makes the whole mess a lot clearer (though no less worrisome).

24 Hours in a Walkable City

About this time last night I was walking out the door to catch a free encore (every year after Katrina) jazz performance at Christ Episcopal Church of "All the Saints" by Irwin Mayfield and his 16 piece New Orleans Jazz Orchestra.

The piece was commissioned by the church for it's 200th Anniversary and was the first "major" performance in New Orleans after Katrina. It is based on a Jazz Funeral, but it was for the city.

I took the newly reopened streetcar to the church and truly enjoyed it ! Superb musicians, superb acoustics, profound location and very well written and performed with meaning ! I was touched enough not to go out to eat afterwards but just walked a bit. Took the streetcar home.

Got up this morning, had breakfast and my TOD fix. Did some work, took a break for lunch and went over to Zara's undecided on what to eat. They had homemade vegetable soup which I bought but put in the fridge but I chose fresh homemade cottage cheese and a red ripe Creole tomato (local) that had been picked yesterday, full red, from the vine. I got a soft one that would be spoiled tomorrow.

Mixed the two together for much. A couple more hours of work, adn then time to walk to my cobbler (lost a heel last weekend at the performance of A South African musical)

The cobbler is about 1.5 miles up Magazine from me (Magazine is 5 miles of small, almost all local shops, difficult to drive & park but nice to walk). 73 F when I left. I window shopped for food on the way up from the specials boards. Had a nice chat with Jim about the election, saw a friend on the way back and chatted, had crab & brie soup (good !) for $10 and then detoured to the polls to vote. Then stopped by Sophie's for a scoop of mango sorbet, stopped by Zara's to pick up more food (they are closed Sunday) and just got home.

I am going to microwave some fresh corn of the cob that just came in and then decide what else to eat :-)

My car has not moved in 3 days.

Best Hopes for a Good Life with very little oil,


Preach it, brother! You're the man :)

lost a heel last weekend


Forgot to mention that a single family house along Magazine is being condoized into 4 condos. More customers for the businesses along Magazine.

And a duplex is being built 100 feet from Zara's Grocery on what used to be a parking lot (50 years ago it was a house). Two 2 story condos, 1,080 sq ft each I was told.

Best Hopes for Moderately Higher Density,


Has anyone else heard this "peak moment" program?

Permaculturist David Blume discusses alcohol's low emissions, and producing alcohol as a biological complex in which wastes become raw materials for other processes. He claims that with one year of the U.S. Defense budget, the entire world could be set up to produce alcohol and permanently replace oil for transportation. He discusses vehicle conversion, and how citizens can undertake alcohol fuel distribution. Episode 79.

Janaia Donaldson hosts Peak Moment, a television series emphasizing positive responses to energy decline and climate change through local community action. How can we thrive, build stronger communities, and help one another in the transition from a fossil fuel-based lifestyle?
Also at:
And his book:

I listened only half-way, but main impression is this guy is a big time bullshitter, too confidently playing up the idea that alcohol can replace current petroleum consumption. The interviewer, Janaia Donaldson, had no interest in challenging a word he said. I can't tell his game, whether he knows how much he's bullshitting, or maybe he really believes in Santa Claus.

I don't trust anyone with too much hype, and mostly pissed and wish for someone to challenge his claims. The best lies are half-truths, and the best liars believe everything they say.

Myself, my only defendable transportation revolution is to get on my bicycle, and anyone who says biofuels will power a world of 10 billion cars, and every other energy need is wacko.

I refused to watch it, I'd just seen the snake oil salesman on Portland Teevee doing an interview. I know Janaia and wrote her about it.

Refer to this Drum Beat and search for Blume (starts at message 245790):



Peak Moment is a pretty good program, but they could sometimes benefit from being a little bit more critically selective about the guests that they feature.

Peak oil makes all of us go "all over the map" at times. We're making it up as we go.

My late father-in-law was a local supplier of moonshine courtesy of a still in his basement. Blue flame Christmas Cheer was how it was described.

A bit of potatoe mash, some down home expertese and voilà, our energy dilemma is solved. Too bad he didn't leave me his recipe.

Who would have thunk it that Steve Earl's Copperhead Road could inspire the next industrial revolution?

Bush in the Gore VS Bush debate:
"I'll use the political capital I'll earn with the Saudis to have them turn on the tap"