DrumBeat: November 29, 2007

John Michael Greer: Lifeboat time

By this point there are few metaphors for crisis more hackneyed than the fatal conjunction of ship and iceberg, but the comparison retains its usefulness because it throws the issues surrounding crisis management into high relief. When the hull’s pierced and water’s rising belowdecks, the window of opportunity for effective action is brief, and if the water can’t be stopped very soon, it’s lifeboat time.

By almost any imaginable standard, that time has arrived for the industrial world. Debates about whether world petroleum production will peak before 2030 or not miss a point obvious to anybody who’s looked at the figures: world petroleum production peaked in November 2005 at some 86 million barrels of oil a day, and has been declining slowly ever since. So far the gap has been filled with tar sands, natural gas liquids, and other unconventional liquids, all of which cost more than ordinary petroleum in terms of money and energy input alike, and none of which can be produced at anything like the rate needed to supply the world’s rising energy demand. As depletion of existing oil fields accelerates, the struggle to prop up the current production plateau promises to become a losing battle against geological reality.

Shell fire squeezes Alberta's diesel supply

A fire at a Shell refinery east of Edmonton is partly to blame for a shortage of diesel fuel in Alberta.

Flying J Inc., which operates more than 20 diesel outlets in Alberta, said six outlets have run out of diesel and several others list their supply as "critically low."

The Epic Battle over Crude Oil and the US$

Why are Ahmadinejad and Chavez laughing? Oil prices are up 56% this year, after nearly reaching $100 per barrel. At the same time, the US Dollar is mired at a 20-year low, with the US economy teetering on the verge of a recession. The US dollar has fallen over 50% versus the Euro since 2002, and oil prices are nearly five times higher over the same time period. Increasingly, the US dollar’s reserve currency status is looking very fragile. Perhaps, all that’s left supporting the greenback is America’s military might. “They get our oil and give us a worthless piece of paper,” Ahmadinejad told OPEC ministers in the Saudi capital of Riyadh, insulting the US dollar.

Petrodollars on the Move

Citigroup may have lost its Prince (CEO Chuck, who resigned in disgrace after major sub-prime losses), but the energy-rich Gulf emirate of Abu Dhabi has come to the rescue. This is no magic lamp. It's petrodollar recycling, and it's changing the face of Arab and western economies.

Gazprom on track to reach $1 trillion market cap

Alexander Medvedev, deputy chairman of the managing committee of Russia's Gazprom said the world's largest natural gas company is on track to hit $1 trillion in market capitalization in the next few years.

In Venezuela, petrodollars breed opacity

As petrodollars stream into oil-producing countries, Western officials have begun to demand greater accountability for the way they are spent. Some corruption-plagued states, like Nigeria and Azerbaijan, have heeded the call, increasing financial transparency, or at least paying lip service to it. Hugo Chávez's Venezuela, however, appears headed in the opposite direction.

A local approach to easing gridlock

Coming soon to a bottleneck near you:

•"Queue-jumper" lanes such as one in Lee County, Fla., where harried drivers paying a 25-cent toll can get around backed-up intersections.

•Trucker toll lanes, already under consideration in Atlanta, that will in effect segregate big rigs from the rest of the freeway public.

•Privately managed zoom lanes, similar to the South Bay Expressway that opened in San Diego on Nov. 19, that allow motorists to move at a heavenly 65 miles per hour.

Are you driving yourself crazy?

"It affects people's health and family life," said commute management expert Dave Rizzo of Fullerton. "In the winter, there are some people who never see their house in the daylight. It gets to you after a while. It's very depressing."

Called "Dr. Roadmap," Rizzo is the author of "Survive the Drive: How to Beat Freeway Traffic in Southern California." He says studies show that stretch commutes can lead to mental and physical problems, including high blood pressure and increased heart rate and stress levels.

State of the Science: Beyond the Worst Case Climate Change Scenario

"The governments now require, in fact, that the authors report on risks that are high and 'key' because of their potentially very high consequence," says economist Gary Yohe, a lead author on the IPCC Synthesis Report. "They have, perhaps, given the planet a chance to save itself."

Among those risks...

Top 100 Ways Global Warming Will Change Your Life

Say goodbye to French wines, baseball and the Great Barrier Reef. Say hello to massive amounts of mosquitoes, the northwest passage and hurricanes.

Ethanol a sticking point in energy bill

With oil prices in record territory, presidential candidates stumping for votes in corn-centric Iowa, and congressional Democrats anxious to pass an energy bill to cut the nation's dependence on Mideast oil, this should be the right moment for ethanol.

But a plan to dramatically increase ethanol production has become a major sticking point in congressional negotiations to complete work on the bill. And it has created a challenge for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, whose Democratic caucus has split over the issue.

PetroEcuador President Pareja Is Fired After Protests

Ecuador removed the president of the state-owned oil company after protests in the Amazon region shut down some production.

PetroEcuador President Carlos Pareja was fired today and will be replaced by Fernando Zurita, a navy admiral, the government said in a statement. Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa declared a state of emergency for the company.

Raymond J. Learsy: Time To Tap The Strategic Petroleum Reserve As Pipeline Explosion Cuts U.S. Supplies

Will the administration, that is to say President Bush and Energy Secretary Bodman, do the needful, and immediately announce a release from our 750 million barrel Petroleum Reserve to compensate for the Canadian oil shortfall? It stands to reason that they should. But then again this is an administration so wedded to oil interests, they might well want to continue adding to the stockpile rather than releasing supplies to stabilize market disruptions. This, while American consumers, who paid for the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in the first place, continue to have their pockets picked. Here we have a real test of whether we have an administration wedded to national interests or oil interests first and foremost.

Enbridge Restores Pipelines, Confidence

Oil prices had been falling back since flirting with the $100 threshold earlier this month. Part of the pullback was attributable to speculation concerning next week's OPEC ministerial meeting, which could result in a production increase of somewhere between 500,000 barrels and 1 million barrels per day. (See "Oil Prices Ease")

But the likelihood is that OPEC will simply do nothing, preferring instead to wait and see what the global financial crisis will do to the economy at large, as well as the price of oil. If the winter is mild and macroeconomic conditions fail to support added pressure on oil, talk of crude at $100 per barrel may not become reality just yet.

Enbridge Pipe Fire Looks Like Accident, Not Violation, DOT Says

Staff for Enbridge was working to repair a leak on one of the pipelines when the fire occurred, Damon Hill, spokesman for the department's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, said today in a telephone interview. It ``looks like more of a commercial industrial accident than a pipeline safety incident,'' he said.

TAP gas pipeline project in trouble

The $4 billion Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan (TAP) gas pipeline project, which India has been invited to join, may be shelved due to a fresh pact between Russian gas giant Gazprom and Ashgabat for increased Europe-bound gas supplies at higher rates.

Enbridge says to restart all lines within days

Enbridge Pipeline said on Thursday it hopes to restart all of its crude oil pipelines within a few days after a fatal explosion in Minnesota Wednesday.

"Line 4, a heavy crude line, remains shut down but is expected to return to service later this morning as it has now been confirmed that it was not damaged as a result of the incident," the company said in a release.

"Line 3, a heavy crude line, which was directly involved in the incident, remains shut down. Based on a preliminary estimate of the repair time it is expected that it may require two to three days to return Line 3 to service."

DOE could tap oil reserve after fire

The government said Thursday it is prepared to tap emergency crude-oil stockpiles to mitigate the effects of a pipeline disruption in the Midwest.

....The U.S. has 63.5 million barrels of oil reserves in the Midwest region, which "can provide a cushion ... (and) oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve is available to alleviate a severe supply disruption and remains available if necessary," Energy Department spokeswoman Megan Barnett said Thursday.

Accidents on Enbridge oil pipeline system in 2007

Capacity on the pipeline is growing tight due to rising oil production in Alberta and Enbridge has been working to expand the pipeline. The system suffered several incidents this year prior to the blast on Wednesday. A list of these incidents follows...

Finland's Neste Oil Corporation issues profit warning

Finnish oil company Neste Oil Corporation said on Thursday (29 November) that the planned short maintenance turnaround at Neste Oil's new diesel line, commissioned at the Porvoo refinery this summer, has continued longer than expected.

Kurdish Ministers Woo U.S. Oil Firms

After more than a year of political deadlock in Iraq over a national petroleum law, the Kurdistan Regional Government unanimously adopted its own petroleum legislation in August. In the past month, it has signed a dozen oil exploration contracts and hopes that foreign firms will ultimately invest $10 billion in the oil sector and bring 1 million barrels a day of new oil production from the Kurdish region over the next five years.

West Texas residents stay grounded on oil boom

One regular customer, Ray Littlefield, toiled 40 years in the oil patch, starting at $1 an hour. The 71-year-old retiree can remember when oil cost $2.40 per barrel and the New York Yankees manager was the cantankerous and witty Casey Stengel, who made even umpires laugh. "Never make predictions," Stengel advised, "especially about the future."

Littlefield sips his oil-black coffee and prognosticates anyway.

"It'll hit a hunnerd" -- $100 a barrel -- "before the end of the year."

Russians live the caviar dream

More Russians have cars. There are 36 million registered vehicles in Russia now compared with 11 million in 1995 and 28 million two years ago, according to Russia's Interior Ministry.

US to order reduced rates on Enbridge oil pipeline

The U.S. Department of Transportation will likely order the giant Enbridge pipeline system to run at reduced pressure while an investigation into a deadly blast on the line in Minnesota is conducted.

IEA monitors Canada-U.S. oil pipeline outage

The International Energy Agency said on Thursday it was closely monitoring a pipeline outage that has halted a fifth of U.S. crude imports and added over $3 to oil prices.

The IEA, which advises 26 industrialised nations, can tap its members' emergency reserves to prevent a global energy crisis.

Lawrence Eagles, head of the IEA's oil and industry markets division, said it was too early to say how much of an impact the incident will have on the market.

Analysis: Kirkuk project battle heats up

Iraq's Oil Ministry is accusing the Kurdistan region of preventing development of one of Iraq's oldest, largest and most controversial oil fields, another dispute in the battle over control of the country's vast reserves.

While the rift has been public, the issue of the Kirkuk oil field project is starting to surface in conflicting accounts.

Venezuelan leader's power play has echoes of Castro

"Venezuela is going to be a big, big headache" for Washington if Chávez wins the referendum, says Javier Corrales, a political science professor and Chávez watcher at Amherst College.

Corrales says an emboldened Chávez could drive up energy prices through his control of Venezuela's oil industry, refuse to cooperate with U.S. anti-drug efforts and undermine the fight against Islamist militants through his economic partnership with Iran, a state sponsor of terrorism.

Maine: Logging truckers consider D.C. visit

With some facing bankruptcy, the state’s independent logging truckers are considering rolling on Washington, D.C., to protest high diesel fuel costs that they say are killing the state’s forest products industries, which pump about $11.5 billion a year into Maine’s economy.

Freeze Foreclosures, Fix Energy Mess

There should be a six-month freeze on home foreclosures while the Federal Reserve Board, Treasury secretary and congressional leaders bring together all stakeholders in the housing crisis to seek rational rescheduling of troubled loans with greater disclosure, transparency and fairness to all parties.

On the energy front, there should be an American summit meeting modeled after the Davos World Economic Forum to bring together government leaders, Wall Street firms, venture capitalists, private equity companies, consumer groups and businesses producing alternative energy and energy-conserving products to create a “JFK goes to the moon” program to address what Jimmy Carter called “the moral equivalent of war.”

PNOC-EC Exec: Data from Spratlys Oil, Gas Survey 'Encouraging'

A seismic survey jointly conducted by the Philippines, China and Vietnam to assess the potential oil an gas reserves in an area of the South China Sea including the disputed Spratlys Islands yielded "encouraging" results, prompting further exploration in the area, a Philippine executive said late Tuesday.

Is alcohol the energy answer?

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out how to free America from the grip of high-priced oil imports. Or does it?

Rocket scientist Robert Zubrin lays out the case for an alcohol-based fuel economy in a new book titled "Energy Victory" – and although ethanol is the best-known alcohol replacement for gasoline, Zubrin focuses on a different brew called methanol, also known as wood alcohol.

BP to plead guilty to environmental crime

Opening the case to the public allowed prosecutors to release photos that further belie prior claims by the company.

In one, a 7-inch layer of dull black sludge cakes the bottom of a pipeline. Others show workers cleaning spills off the high-grassed tundra.

For years, the company denied allegations that a culture of cost-cutting was hurting the quality of maintenance on the network of steel pipes at the 30-year old field.

But after the spill in March, federal prosecutors said millions of company documents and interviews with scores of North Slope employees told a different story.

Pemex: Oil Leak Might Take Months to Fix

An oil platform leak that has spilled thousands of barrels of crude into the Gulf of Mexico could take several more months to repair, state oil monopoly Petroleos Mexicanos said Wednesday.

...A fire was still raging Wednesday at the damaged well, about 20 miles offshore from the port of Dos Bocas in the Gulf coast state of Tabasco, but only faint traces of crude could be seen shimmering on the water.

Bite of high oil prices only beginning

Think oil prices are high now? According to geologist Kenneth Deffeyes, we should be thankful for low oil prices. The really high prices are yet to come.

The End of Fossil Fuels - Global Considerations

We cannot escape the fact that fossil fuels, being finite resources, will run out! Our society depends on oil, natural gas, and coal, non-renewable sources of energy created thousands of years ago. The end of supply, and more than likely society as we know it, is inevitable. The question is not 'if' but 'when'. Current controversy about increasing consumption to meet our insatiable need for growth is ridiculous. Eventually we will have to accept the fact that the way we are currently living will have to change. The changes required will not be easy.

Brazil E&P Auction Leaves Oil Heavyweights Sidelined

Brazil's oil and gas exploration and production block auction Tuesday ended in a surprise. While it earned the government a record 2.1 billion reals ($1.1 billion), the big players in the country's oil industry were sidelined.

Oil majors such as Royal Dutch Shell PLC (RDSA) and Chevron (CVX) made no bids after the government withdrew the most promising blocks from the auction earlier this month. Those blocks are in Brazil's pre-salt area.

Australia: Petrol prices in record surge

BRISBANE is poised to break its record for the highest price of unleaded petrol – 138.9¢ a litre, set in August last year - and worse is to come.

Geothermal Power vs. Conventional Power Sources

Hands down, geothermal can beat coal, natural gas and uranium. Geothermal is more than competitive when it comes to price, such as cost per kilowatt-hour. There are no massive burner systems, no tall stacks, no rail lines or pipelines, no gigantic mines and processing facilities, essentially no air pollution, no toxic waste piles and long-term repositories.

The Impact of High-Priced Oil on Solar Manufacturers

Peak oil is what makes the solar stocks an opportunity of a lifetime. For those unfamiliar with peak oil theory, Dr. M. King Hubbert famously predicted in 1956 that U.S. oil production would peak in 1970. His theory was that when half of any given location's reserves were extracted production would begin to fall at about 2% annually, which is the same rate production has typically increased at.

Roadside Solar Panels New Theft Target

It seems that even crooks have jumped on the renewable energy bandwagon.

The Oregon State Police says about a half-dozen solar panels have been stolen in the past year from changeable message signs.

Scholars use art to study climate change

The vivid sunsets painted by J.M.W. Turner are revered for their use of color and light and for their influence on the Impressionists. But could they also help global warming experts track climate change?

A group of scientists has studied the colors in more than 500 paintings of sunsets, including many of Turner's 19th-century watercolors and oils, in hopes of gaining insights into the cooling effects caused by major volcanic eruptions.

U.S. officials plan only talk at UN meet

U.S. officials intend to push at next week's United Nations climate conference for a framework for further negotiations and said Wednesday they will make no commitment to specific reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

Fever outbreak linked to climate change

An outbreak in Europe of an obscure disease from Africa is raising concerns that globalization and climate change are combining to pose a health threat to the West.

Nearly 300 cases of chikungunya fever, a virus that previously has been common only in Africa and Asia, were reported in Italy — where only isolated cases of the disease had been seen in the past.

US cuts greenhouse-gas emissions in 2006

The United States reduced greenhouse gas emissions in 2006 after four years of increases, the government said Wednesday ahead of a key United Nations meeting next week on climate change.

Climate change makes bats drop dead: study

Scorching heatwaves linked to climate change have caused thousands of Australian bats to drop dead after flapping their wings in a desperate bid to cool off, according to a study published Wednesday.

Fire shuts key Canada-US pipeline, oil soar

An explosion crippled the biggest pipeline supplying Canadian crude to U.S. Midwest refineries, shutting off more than one million barrels per day of imports to the world's biggest consumer.

The cause of the explosion on Wednesday that killed two employees was not immediately known.

... "The timing is pretty bad. We are coming to the strongest demand period for crude with the approach of the northern winter," said Mark Pervan of ANZ.

During the third quarter, the pipeline had carried around 1.5 million barrels per day of Canadian crude, or around 15 percent, of U.S. imports.

There was no word on when line 4, the biggest of the connected pipes, which ships nearly 700,000 barrels per day (bpd), would restart.

The Peak Oil Crisis: Revolt Of The Teapots

In China, small privately or locally owned oil refineries are called “teapots.” Unlike the giant ones that refine hundreds of thousands of barrels each day, these little fellows typically process about 10,000, but taken together, they produce some 10-15 percent of China’s refined products. Reduce the teapots’ production and you have a problem.

Analyst sees oil prices between $75, $85 a barrel

At a 2005 "peak oil" conference in Denver, Petrie said world oil production could peak between 2010 and 2015, with a subsequent gradual decline in oil supplies and higher prices.

"This is not a catastrophe," he said at the conference, "but the time to deal with it has come."

Intransigence in the face of energy crisis warnings

Chris Skrebowski, a former long-term planner for BP turned ‘peak oil’ theorist, who now edits the Petroleum Review, said, “I was extremely sceptical to start with,” but now admits, “We have enough capacity coming online for the next two-and-a-half years. After that the situation deteriorates.”

Vietnam to stop subsidizing oil price in 2008

Vietnam will stop subsidizing the prices of oil and petroleum products and some other industrial items such as coal and cement starting from next year, local newspaper Pioneer reported Thursday.

Currencies and oil: Countdown to lift-off

HARDLY a week goes by without a new reason to be gloomy about the dollar. The latest scare is that members of the oil-rich Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) might loosen their links to the greenback, depriving the foreign-exchange markets of a reliable buyer of the troubled currency.

Venus inferno due to 'runaway greenhouse effect', say scientists

Once styled as Earth's twin, Venus was transformed from a haven for water to a fiery hell by an unstoppable greenhouse effect, according to an investigation by the first space probe to visit our closest neighbour in more than a decade.

Report: Global warming will cost Florida

TALLAHASSEE -- Stopping global warming. The melting of the Greenland ice cap. The slide of coastal property into the sea.

It's all going to cost Floridians a lot of money, but doing nothing will only cost more.

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

March is when we realize that the dollar doesn't come back

Arlington Institute issues a Financial Alert based on M·CAM Analytics

The Chinese currency wild-card may become relevant far sooner than expected. An effort by China to convert its $1.4 trillion U.S. Treasury holdings into euros is not viable for many reasons -- not the least of which is the European Central Bank's inability to absorb such an event.

When February comes, the Chinese are going to do something as they will have to decide what the exposure is going to be with the treasury. As I see it they have to just dump the treasury. They only keep it because they can use it -- they have 43% direct/indirect of US treasuries so they'll dump them on the market.

OPEC price with the whole fluctuation of oil futures presages the event. They are going to run the price of oil as high as they can get it on the dollar, while buying US treasuries from China with the money. When the dollar does collapse, they'll flip denominations.

The wild card is long about March when the OPEC cuts spot oil off the dollar to the euro. One can look at the current oil price at close to $100/barrel and fail to see that, as this premium price is currently turning around and investing in a weakening dollar, the effective price (less the dollar investment hedge) is probably closer to $50/barrel than the spot price reflects. Currency problems will change the game -- they are financially structuring themselves to take the hit.

When we can't afford to buy oil commodities on a spot market -- it compounds the problem however the consumer that Saudi Arabia ships to is liquid (China). In the US it is a big problem. There is still a market for oil; it just changes.

When you come out of Straits of Hormuz, turn left.

An effort by China to convert its $1.4 trillion U.S. Treasury holdings

China doesn't have $1.4T in US Treasury holdings, so no such effort could exist.

The mistake that link is making is that it's taking China's total foreign reserves of $1.33T and imagining that they're all US Treasury. They're not even all US dollar. China's estimated US$ holdings are about $0.9T in all forms, of which Treasury holdings are only about half.

Or I suppose it's possible that link is taking the entire $1.44T of US Treasury debt held by all foreigners and somehow confusing "all foreigners" with "Chinese". That would be even weirder, though.

Yes, there is something wrong with those numbers, and there is something wrong with the analysis.

There has been a lot of discussion in the MSM about the US dollar losing its reserve currency status. No doubt, it should lose that status because the US has not behaved responsibly, but it is extremely difficult to shift from one reserve currency to another.

Treasuries throughout the world have US dollars. The US dollar is "legal tender" throughout the world. If the Argentines want to buy oil from Russia, they use US dollars. Russia would like Argentine to use Rubles, but Argentine doesn't have any Rubles to use. They have dollars.

There may be a gradual shift to Euros over time, but there simply are not enough Euros in the world. If the ECB were to print the Euros, they have to ensure that they are exported and remain exported. This is how Petrodollars, and to a great extent, Nikedollars work. The US buys on credit, printing money to pay for oil and cheap asian goods, while exporting the inflation, permanently.

It makes no sense for the Chinese, or any other sovereign wealth fund to "dump" US dollars. What makes far more sense is to go shopping, in the US.

What the Chinese want to buy from the US, more than anything else, is brand names, and patents. They don't like making 5 cents on the dollar making brand name products when they could make 50 cents if they owned the brand. They don't like being unable to make a good car for export, or making car engines under license with a hefty royalty, because they don't have the patents. These are things they are going to go shopping for.

Now is the time to start shopping. Citibank just sold 4.9% of itself at a huge discount (about $20/share) to the Middle East. That's Petrodollars coming back into the US.

The US is currently in a deflationary period. The credit crunch is a massive shrinking of the money supply. All those Petrodollars and Nikedollars can come back into the US without causing massive inflation. It can balance out.

It is important to never forget this one key fact. When a country exports "money," in what ever form, it is making a promise to provide equivalent goods and services some time in the future. Inflation at home is a way to reneg on the promise by devaluating the dollars abroad.

In this case, the US has miscalculated. It has caused a credit crunch at home (and world wide) which is deflationary. A lot of US assets are going to be for sale and those with liquid assets are coming shopping.

What is the full faith and credit standing behind the US dollar? Patents, brands, and if nothing else and I hate to say it, the National Forests and Wildlife Refuges. Its time to pay up.

If the ME can't ship as much oil to the US, then it will ship profits from American business back to the ME. If China can't ship as many running shoes and flat screen TVs to the US, then it will ship back a larger proportion of the profits.

The implications are discomforting. What does it feel like to live in a land where you don't own the means of production, and the profit is shipped overseas?

What does it feel like to live in a land where you don't own the means of production, and the profit is shipped overseas?

Possibly like a landless peasant in Tsar Nicholas's Russia?

Oooooh. Nasty implications there.


Hi Mcgo,

Could you tell me what is meant in that article by this: - they have 43% direct/indirect of US treasuries

Don't worry, there are no foreign powers trying to install a revolutionary regime in the USA. Totally unlike Russia in 1917 where foreign backed agents such as Lenin and Trotsky seized the moment.

You're not counting Multinational corps, right?

Oh, wait, they're already in charge, I forgot.

"What does it feel like to live in a land where you don't own the means of production, and the profit is shipped overseas?"

The folks in the U.S. south are used to it....ask folks from states that have provided the U.S. with the power for the industrial revolution for over a century in the form of coal, but can't afford electric power to their own homes....don't believe it? Go to West Virginia, Eastern Kentucky, Eastern Tennessee or North Alabama....

The poorest states in the land have long provided wood for the paper and lumber mills, grain for the food makers and breweries, coal and natural gas for the power plants (gee, why hasn't the people of Louisiana profited from all of that natural gas?), and iron ore for the skyscrapers of the world.....

This is not a new thing, folks....it's just that the Yankee intellectuals are not used to the thought that it could happen to them....


"...because the US has not behaved responsibly, but it is extremely difficult to shift from one reserve currency to another."

See the British Empire for details.

Scotland, Six Counties of Ireland, Wales and a
bunch of the Queen's "Tax Free Pirate" Islands scattered about the planet
are all that's left.

When it does balance out, the US will have paid all of it's

Or fractured. We have absolutely no intention of paying our debts.

We're all subprime now.

Depression by Christmas.

That is misleading though - it is not the case that there was no way that Britain could retain its empire. It is that the methods that would have been necessary to maintain the empire in terms of oppression were deemed no longer acceptable to the British so they chose instead to dismantle the empire.

It's easy to play it out that because empire is bad (it was) there Britain didn't make the better decision than it otherwise could have - not just in terms of self interest.

RA, I cannot agree with your take on the decline of the British Empire. I have quoted more likely scenarios below with link. At least GB was more realistic about their colonies than France. France attempted to retain Viet Nam and Algeria after WW2 and look what a mess came of those attempts.


'There are several reasons for the decline of the British Empire (fall sounds so sudden and dramatic, it was neither). They include a rise in Nationalism in the colonies of all the European powers after World War II. They saw their former masters weakened and bankrupt by the war and took the opportunity to agitate for independence. The ease in which India achieved it in 1947 encouraged the others. GB's industrial weakness after 1945 meant that financing the pre-war Empire was no longer possible, so the more important colonies were granted swift independence on favourable terms to ensure they remained friendly relations with their former Imperial masters.
Another theory is that after the war GB saw her future in Europe and took steps to divest herself of her Imperial responsibilities.
Another more controversial theory is that the undoubted world superpower after 1945, the USA, secretly encouraged the European colonies to demand their freedom so that the USA could develop new spheres of anti-Communism in Africa and Asia that she, and not GB, could control, believing GB to no longer have the strength to counter the spread of Communism.'

Depression by Christmas.

Riiiight, you realize Christmas is in 27 days? What will be your excuse when it doesn't happen? you realize every time you make a wrong prediction you lose credibility right?

Depression by Christmas.

Many people find the 'Christmas season' depressing.

So why would this statement be wrong?

you lose credibility

A topic you know all about by living it?

If you are able to forecast bouts of depression several weeks in advance you might want to get yourself to a doctor for a prescription of anti-depressants. They take a few weeks to kick in.

The US is currently in a deflationary period.

It could be argued deflation is already a global issue, not just limited to the U.S. The U.S., as always, just wants to be the biggest and the best so it’s going to run up the highest possible cliff, get to the top before anyone else gets to the top of their respective cliffs, and that way they can have the dubious honour of enjoying the longest ride down with the hardest sudden stop at the bottom. Won’t be a soft landing, despite the what Ben says.

The credit crunch is a massive shrinking of the money supply.

The money supply is currently relatively constant. The credit crunch is exactly what it says on the tin. Currently credit is contracting but money supply is remaining relatively constant (see Is the U.S. printing money like mad?).

Credit disappears in only one of two ways, it’s either paid off or written off. Right now, written off is accelerating and paid of is grinding to a halt.

hmm - the way i understood it - from the whole notion of fractional reserve banking, reduced credit and the repayment of credit DOES reduce the money supply...

Credit is not money. Money is money. The supply of money is not altered by the expansion or contraction of credit. Hence why in deflationary periods “cash is king”. Some measures of money supply, such as M2 and M3 for example, include credit transactions. But credit is not money. For a far better explanation than I could ever provide, see Is the U.S. printing money like mad?, and Money Supply and Recessions.

but there simply are not enough Euros in the world.

There’s a much bigger problem with the Euro than that, none of the Euro countries have relinquished their sovereignty to the EU. Not to mention one of the Euro eligible countries has decided to retain the Pound Sterling and its citizens would revolt if they were forced to adopt the Euro. The Euro is not the currency of a single sovereign nation, but is the currency of a collective. The members of this collective do have ways of leaving the Euro and there are growing factions in France and Germany that would very much like to see that happen. No one in their right mind is going to put their hopes in the currency of a non-sovereign entity as a reserve currency. What happens if one or two members of that collective decided they’ve had enough and return to the their national currencies?

The Euro will never be a reserve currency until the European Union is a sovereign nation ruled in Brussels. That will happen around the same time either Hell freezes over or the Second Coming has become obvious.

Great Post Goritas, I was trying to think of a way to explain this to some friends of mine, but this is a great way to do it, thanks.

You should be explaining the Amero to your buds.

Unless there is political union between Canada, Mexico, and the U.S., there will be no Amero. Since there will be no such political union, there will be no Amero.

There has been scuttlebutt about a two tier currency system for the U.S., with one currency for domestic use and another for international use. I can’t imagine that gaining much traction either.

There’s an awful lot of firepower in the hands of U.S. citizens. I can imagine any attempt to implement that above will see those weapons spending a lot less time in the gun cabinet.

I agree. The only way the Amero would gain any traction would be if there were first a complete collapse of the dollar.

Oh, wait...

Political union, and the "consent" of the masses, can be reached through economic shock treatments. You take the power out of the public's hands by inducing shock.

Just like many public systems were privatized in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.

Just like personal freedoms were curtailed after 9/11.

Read "The Shock Doctrine" by Naomi Klein.

Canada is not the U.S. Mexico has suffered unending shock for decades, so most Mexicans wouldn't even notice.

If you actually believe political union for North America could be achieved by destroying its underlying economic structure, then I would have to disagree.

There would be little point in ruining that structure because it will take an awful lot of economic output to keep the masses in line, no matter how great the shock.

One thing we might want to keep in perspective is the sheer number of people we’re talking about here. “Fascism” in the 30s required far fewer inputs to fuel itself and had far fewer people to keep under control.

Revolts would happen all over the continent, overwhelming TPTB. Oaxaca would happen again under such a scenario and succeed simply because there would be more of the same throughout Mexico, in particular southern Mexico. There just wouldn’t be enough Federales to prevent it. The cartels would simply consolidate their holdings, particularly in the north.

There have been Canadian factions demanding independence for decades. What a wonderful opportunity to press ahead.

I, frankly, don’t believe North American political union is possible. Not now. Not ever. If it was, the EU would by now be a sovereign state. It is not. Neither will North America be.

Definitely agree.

The EURO is only a temporarily way point in currency juggling.

The EU (as is already evident) may have significant fallout from the Subprime USA problem, but also housing and credit bubbles of their own making.

However, the Yuan may be in an even worse position with even the BIS stating that they are in the exact position as the US before the Great Depression (see inflation, uncontrolled credit, massive expansion).

No Currency is a shoe in for the next petro-currency....hmmm...maybe Swiss Francs. Nah.

Guessing that we will be dropping down to a more (back to the) earthy economy. I would suggest the Dung as a future currency designation after TSHTF.

The Euro will never be a reserve currency until the European Union is a sovereign nation ruled in Brussels. That will happen around the same time either Hell freezes over or the Second Coming has become obvious.

That's got nothing to do with. What really counts is what exporters are willing to accept as a currency for goods they sell. A lot of exporters already accept Euros (as well as other currencies) for payment. The currency that is most used for international trade is currency becomes the world's reserve currency.

If the US continues on its path, more and more exporters will accept payment in other currencies, eventually one currency will win over the rest and eventually become the worlds reserve currency. It could be the Euro, the Yuan or even the Canadian Loonie ("In Duck we trust!").

but there simply are not enough Euros in the world.

That's also got nothing to do with it. When demand for a currency rises, the value of the currency rises (the prices of goods exchange fall in price). More currency can be printed if desired. This is what is already happening to the Euro, as more countries are willing to accept Euros for payment, is value versus other currencies will continue to strenghten.

FWIW: Over the long term, the Euro probably doesn't fair any better than the USD. Most of the EU has embraised expensive socialistic programs and has low natural resources. I can't say whether or not the Euro or any other currency has a good chance of become the next reserve currency. All I can say that if the US does not change fiscal and monitary policies soon, the dollar risks losing its status as the worlds economy. Their may be a period where dollar is officially considered the reserve currency, but exporters decline USD over the of the major currencies. Already several OPEC members not accept payment in other currencies. This will like continue in the future and more exporters will also adopt this strategy.

As it stands, most exporters now have dollar surpluses that they must hold onto rather than use them to support their own economic development. In the past it was in the exporters interests to fix their own currency to the dollar (aka dollar peg) so they could increase exports in built up their economy. Now it no longer makes sense because holding dollars is retarding economic development as the prices of imports are rising, but the value of exports declines with the declining value of the dollar. No economy can afford to export goods if their input costs exceed the value of their exports.

I think the only way that the US can reverse the trend is to start raising interest rates and adopt fiscally responsible policies. Personally I don't see this happening until after a crisis. The FED still thinks that cutting rates is the answer to the credit crunch, but in fact cutting rates is making it worse because foriegn investors (with available capital) are losing faith in the dollar. FED rate cuts are not going to bring back Subprime lending nor is it going to restore lost jobs in real estate, auto, travel, etc. Banks and investors will continue to tighen their lending as the risks of lending continue to rise, even if the FED drops rates to Zero. If you believe the borrow has a significant chance of defaulting, or the value of the asset is going to fall, your simply not going to lend your money. What is likely to happen is that investors (both domestic and foriegn) will look outside of the US were the risks are lower.

Well, here's a different perspective for you. Needless to say, I totally disagree with your position.

Eurozone Dilemma

The credit crunch could crush the euro

The implications are discomforting. What does it feel like to live in a land where you don't own the means of production, and the profit is shipped overseas?

Ask a New Zealander. A combination of stock market crash and fire-sale liquidation of state assets in the 1980s brought about exactly that result.

Yes, I've driven past your "shaved" hills. Even so, NZ is the most beautiful place I've been, overall. Incredible land. That's saying a lot coming from a Canadian.

Yes, I believe NZ has been used a few times as an experimental country that other developed countries have watched - economic experiments, GST, etc.

Time we started buying back the land here. I have just acquired a reasonable sum of money and it is going straight into land... and not the over-priced city cubical stuff.


What does it feel like to live in a land where you don't own the means of production, and the profit is shipped overseas?

You need to look no further than the coal rich areas of Appalachia. In the 19th century coal reps went into the hills and bought up most of the mineral rights for pennies an acre. What resulted is that one of the most productive (albeit dirty) energy rich areas of the world became mired in endemic poverty.

No kidding.

There was recently a photo slideshow sort of thing on the net, I think I found it through Reddit or lifeaftertheoilcrash or someplace, the people don't have ANY medical care.

Someone like Doctors Without Borders or something went in there with medical vans, and took care of the people's problems, as much as they could during the time they were there.

Mainly the people needed eyeglasses so they could see, so they could work at a job. Or they needed dental work so they'd not be in constant pain and be able to work again. Or stuff like tumors sticking out of their back, horrible complications from pregnancy etc., your basic 3rd world stuff.

I think the title of this was "first world country, third world medical care".

I wonder who will be the Maxim Gorky of this new and frightening land?

fleam - I have a Paypal behavior problem I'm dealing with and could use some expert advise - please email me gwbush at dumbfuck dot org ...


I've never signed up for PayPal.

If you can't figure out by now that PayPal is an utter scam, there's nothing I could do even if I had climbed into bed with those scammers.

www.powersellersunite.com may have some ideas, and maybe now.

Then there's the elusive "Discuss New Features" discussion board on Ebay. I could tell you the URL, but then I'd have to kill you. If you can find it, there's some good help there.

Remember Pay Pal is Ebay.

If you used Pay Pal as your method of payment, and he used pay pal ebay will honor what few rules they have.

If you did not use ebay and the guy does not pay, tough luck all around.

I found out by selling a car. When the guy did not pay the balance which was not pay pal, they didn't do a thing.

I was the seller - the buyer has +2100 feedback and apparently lost or molested my piece of equipment. I have a civil suit started against him, Paypal account is drained, bank accounts disconnected, I closed 'em for good measure, and I'm going to cancel the associated credit card tomorrow. It was a nicety for me but if its going to support thievery and make judgments based on transaction volume rather than right and wrong ... well ... I think my lil' country judge can reach right into the Paypal sandbox and make it right.

Are you saying your paypal account is closed, or the guy that bought the gear and did not pay. Rule one, never ship until they pay. I still have the car and the other guy is out 800 bucks.

I keep a separate account for paypal. A free checking account that receives and sends money and does not keep a balance. Only money that needs to paid is put in. and when its sent, out it comes.

Ebay is losing its niche. They are not being aggressive enough to shut down and stop the scams and people using paypal to access accounts. They don't really twist arms to get your money, and that is why people are not using them anymore, plus the rates and fees, are not very good. costs 100 bucks basically to sell a car for any price and then you have to pay the commission fees, and fees for pay pal. They have adopted the US Bank model, which is you make your money by hitting the customer with more and more fee's. before I left a fortune 500 bank, most of their income was fee based.

Use a free checking account and never ship without payment.

He paid, I shipped, and then he appears to have either lost or molested the piece of equipment, and then he applied for a refund.

I complained, Paypal gave me the money back, and I drained the account. Today I killed the bank account Paypal had access to and tomorrow morning I'll whack the backing credit card as well. They would appear to have no procedural recourse and based on the facts of the matter it seems sure I'll get a judgment against the guy even if he bothers to show up.

Oh, and U.S. Bank is where I closed the accounts. I had idled them ... because they were feeing me to death :-)

Small town banks, so much nicer - I went in today to withdraw money to pay for the court filing and the same woman who took the deposit for the first cow I raised and sold in the early 1970s helped me.

There isn't squat to do here, but we sure are nice to each other :-)

It makes no sense for the Chinese, or any other sovereign wealth fund to "dump" US dollars. What makes far more sense is to go shopping, in the US.

Most likely China will convert its dollars into commodities it can use, such as oil, natural gas, and raw materials, like copper, iron, etc. They do this until the exporters call uncle (ie refuse to accept dollars) or until they exhaust their dollar reserves. I would bet that dollar will fall before China manages to exhausts its dollar reserves.

China can't really go on a US buying spree because Congress will block them from purchasing anything significant. Remember Unocal and when Dubia tried to purchase US ports?

It has caused a credit crunch at home (and world wide) which is deflationary. A lot of US assets are going to be for sale and those with liquid assets are coming shopping.

We don't have deflation because the fed keeps cutting rates sending the dollar lower. Why the US economy will contract, and unemployment will rise, the dollar will continue to fall as the world economy shifts away from the US. Its likely that the original article is correct, that the ships leaving the strait of Hormuz will be heading towards Asia and the the US.

We have a Fed and a treasury that doesn't see the risks of the US Dollar losing its world reserve currency status. Without the USD as the world reserves its in deep do-do since the US economy is dependent on imports (especially energy) and imports more than 2 billion in capital per day.

For deflation to take hold the US would need to begin raising rates and acting other fiscal policy to restore investors confidence in the greenback.

I don't see any significant amount of investment in US assets, because of protectionism and other bad policies that make long term investment in the US unsound.

The London Telegraph gives no source of the est. of .9 Trillion.

Doesn't matter.

Because China has the biggest FOREX reserves in the world.

Japan second.

BTW-the US has none.

Elaine Supkis has been following this story for over a decade.

The Chinese are buying Yen. The Japanese are freaked that their "Cheap Yen" Gambit is being closed up.

Watch the Yen. After the Yen goes below 100, then the Chinese will revalue the Yuan.

The EU is in the Trap.

To confirm, notice the Yuan and Yen have kept pace with the $ while the Euro is screaming into the Stratosphere.

Here is something from over a year ago.

Forex reserves exceed US$1 trillion
Updated: 2006-11-06 23:01

SHANGHAI - China has said that its forex reserves had shot past one trillion dollars, state television made the announcement in a brief statement quoting the State Administration of Foreign Exchange.


China doesn't have $1.4T in US Treasury holdings

The most interesting issue here is obviously not whether they have $1 or 2 trillion. Dropping half a trillion of T-bills is also more than enough to sink the US economy. The writer says: they have 43% direct/indirect of US treasuries. Maybe that clarifies it.

And if you insist on making this a point, please do some research and come with more than the US Treasury Dep. site and one article from a UK newspaper. What kind of proof is that?

Hi ilargi,

Asked above about that '43% direct/indirect' above, maybe you would you tell me what could be included as indirect?

Asked above about that '43% direct/indirect' above, maybe you would you tell me what could be included as indirect?

Amounts held by financial institutions in one country for governments of another country. The massive amount held in the UK is one example of that, although there is periodic reevaluation to improve the accuracy of listings.

Thanks for the response but this is getting about as clear as mud.

From the article you mention I got this:

China's U.S. Treasury debt holdings rose to $400.5 billion in January from the previously reported level of $353.6 billion, according to the report. This kept China as the second largest foreign holder of Treasuries after Japan, whose holdings in January dropped to $627.4 billion from a previously reported $648.8 billion.

And from another article I got this for 2006:

Forex reserves exceed US$1 trillion (AFP)
Updated: 2006-11-06 23:01

SHANGHAI - China has said that its forex reserves had shot past one trillion dollars, state television made the announcement in a brief statement quoting the State Administration of Foreign Exchange.

Then again from that article you mention:

One of the major changes was a big reduction in debt attributed to United Kingdom owners, as the survey revealed that a substantial portion of this debt was held by London-based institutions on behalf of owners in other countries, including China, a Treasury official said

I take it this is where the 600 billion shortfall between the above figures of 1 trillion and 400 billion would be held, that is, in Foreign institutions for China?

If this is how things work then China could be quietly offloading $US as we speak and no one would be wiser until the next look see by that annual Treasury International Capital report, as below ?

Benchmark revisions contained in the preliminary annual Treasury International Capital report also show that total foreign holdings of U.S. Treasuries in January were $119.4 billion less than previously reported.

Also if that 119.4 billion is 'real money' and not a bookkeeping error where has it gone? To buy up US equity perhaps?

I take it this is where the 600 billion shortfall between the above figures of 1 trillion and 400 billion would be held, that is, in Foreign institutions for China?


The difference is that not all of China's foreign exchange reserves are in US dollars, and not all of its US$ reserves are in Treasury holdings. Other possible examples are state or corporate bonds.

if that 119.4 billion is 'real money' and not a bookkeeping error where has it gone?

Nowhere - it's likely that some debt which was believed to be held by foreigners was actually held by Americans.

Figuring out who owns how much is presumably rather difficult, as debt can be bought by things like mutual funds, which are wholly private and as far as I know have no obligation to tell anyone who has invested in them or how much. So a lot of it is likely to be models and educated guesses.

Hi Pitt I could be wrong but I don't think you are addressing my question. I merely said 'held by Foreign institutions', I didn't say 'only' treasuries.

BTW I understand that China is using their US tressury holdings as collateral in order to buy in other currencies and I guess quietly dumping it's US holdings in that manner. Would you care to comment there?

The difference is that not all of China's foreign exchange reserves are in US dollars, and not all of its US$ reserves are in Treasury holdings.

I could be wrong but I don't think you are addressing my question. I merely said 'held by Foreign institutions', I didn't say 'only' treasuries.

And that's why I pointed out that China's forex reserves aren't all in US$. The $1T figure was for all forex reserves, meaning the actual-US-dollar figure would be lower (probably around $0.7T, based on its current ratio).

The fact that the amount is given in US$ means nothing, it's just for accounting purposes; you could say 0.7T Euros and it would mean the same thing.

I understand that China is using their US tressury holdings as collateral in order to buy in other currencies and I guess quietly dumping it's US holdings in that manner.

I haven't heard anything of the sort, and don't see why they'd need to use those as collateral - they can simply sell them on the open market, and have been doing exactly that from the looks of it (China's holdings of US Treasury debt are down by 5-10% from their high earlier this year).

They're also accumulating new reserves fast enough that they can easily diversify without selling a penny of what they already own, just by changing what they buy. Again, based on the anecdotal reports I've seen of sovereign wealth funds and the like, it seems like that's what they're doing.

That's just my guess, though, based on the news reports I happen to have read.

And if you insist on making this a point, please do some research and come with more than the US Treasury Dep. site and one article from a UK newspaper. What kind of proof is that?

A whole lot more than the article you quoted offered.

Maybe your link is right, but multiple other sources - most notably including the US Treasury itself - say it's not only wrong but fundamentally inconsistent with the total level of China's foreign exchange reserves, so the onus is on you to provide evidence to back it up.

That has to be the ugliest thing I've read this month. Explains what will happen and the drivers behind it.

Nothing to do but keep working and prepare as best I can, but I am very afraid ...

So what are we in for with this pipeline down? Will we tap into the SPR? Go below the MOL?

Clearbrook MN area on Google Maps.

I think we're already below the MOL in PADDII. Hence the shortages, and the complaints about having to take the "crumbs left at the end of the pipeline."

But given the chronic shortages since last spring, this probably won't be too big a deal. At least, not right away.

I think we're already below the MOL in PADDII.

FWIW, PADDII stock levels were 4Mb lower this time three years ago, 4.5Mb lower 4 years ago, and 9Mb lower 5 years ago, so it seems unlikely that the current stocks of crude in PADDII can be considered critically low.

PADDII stocks of gasoline are unusually low, but the pipeline in question pumps crude, so those are the stock levels to look at.

As Tom Whipple has pointed out...if demand is increasing, you would expect the MOL to increase. Whether more pipeline is built or more trucks used to ship the oil, the MOL is not a constant.

if demand is increasing, you would expect the MOL to increase.

Maybe or maybe not, but it doesn't matter - that 9Mb is a 17% increase over the levels in 2002, whereas the rate of consumption has increase by only about 2%.

So the odds of a crude crisis in PADDII are very low.

I could be wrong, but I don't think that oil from the SPR can be easily shipped to inland refineries in the mid-continent.

CNBC indicated that it would have to be trucked - 2 weeks minimum.

The SPR halfway between New Orleans & Baton Rouge is about 7 miles from the Mississippi River. Unsure about details of pipeline to barge loading, but I am sure that is one nearby.

Barge it up the Mississippi River to refineries along rivers.

SPR near Lake Charles Louisiana also has barge access along Intercoastal Canal (turn left & north @ New Orleans) plus some pipeline access.

Texas SPRs have pipeline access to Oklahoma AFAIK, and from there to MidWest.

Russia ships LOTS of oil to China via rail, so that option also exists. Main route would be old Illinois Central (now CN) from New Orleans to Chicago, and then in all directions. Texas SPRs via Kansas City Southern to Kansas City and then several options from there. Empty out ethanol rail cars (or burn E85 >:-)

It will take several days for bureaucracy to decide and then sell SPR oil and then days more to get it flowing. I figure two weeks before significant quantities of SPR oil are delivered to MidWest refineries, refined and delivered to gas stations. By then pipeline will be fixed and flowing @ 100%.

Complexity rears it's ugly head.

All above assumes we aren't at max capacity in trucks, rails, pipelines now.

And notice how rapidly NYMEX is discounting this.

The article states "some time to repair".

BTW Alan, two articles that might interest you.

And why, maybe, the API took you off their list.


1)“The bottom line is that for all these companies it’s about oil,” said Steve Kretzmann, executive director of D.C.-based Oil Change International. “Any attempt to sell themselves as anything other than oil companies is disingenuous.”

It becomes obvious fast that Bob isn’t in San Antonio to make any great promises about fighting Global Warming or significantly greening his company. He tells our group straightaway that the next 30 years belong to oil, natural gas, and coal. In the meantime, ConocoPhillips will be “keeping a watch on global climate change and our water resources.”

And 2)

Hansen stands by coal train ...

3 Responses to “Hansen stands by coal train/death train analogy”. Ron Says: November 26th, 2007 at 10:02 pm. I just wonder how people will build levees and ...
climateprogress.org/2007/11/26/hansen-stands-by-coal-traindeath-train-analogy/ - Similar pages - Note this

Climate Progress » Blog Archive » Hansen on “Trains of Death”
coal-train.jpg Still more from James Hansen’s email: ... we cannot stop the building of more coal-fired power plants, those coal trains will be death trains ...

climateprogress.org/2007/07/26/hansen-on-trains-of-death/ - 19k

Very little local coverage of the Minnesota pipeline fire that I have seen or heard today.

A short blurb from KARE11 did not make any note of the volume of oil normally flowing through these pipelines. Also, no mention was made of any impact this might have on oil supply in the US or in the Upper Midwest.


Unlike coverage of celebrity misdeeds and naughtyness, there is a terse "let's keep this short and move on fast" attitude in the media when covering this item.

"Middle East crude traders are bracing for higher prices after a blast crippled the main pipeline shipping Canada's heavier crude to the U.S. Midwest, anticipating refiners may have to scramble for supplies."


Hey..hey..hey!!! Don't you know that we are in a "bad news" blackout period? This is Xmas season and the US economy really needs to only hear GOOD NEWS right now.

So just hush...it will all be alright.

(ya...add sarcasm alert if you need it)

Its on MSNBC they mentioned the flow and how much was shut down.

But- 'Good News' is still one of the things we CAN manufacture here.. do you want to kill ALL our exports?

'When life gives you crap, make crap-ade'
-Matt Groening's 'life in hell'.

My understanding is that the Enbridge line goes to the Marathon refinery in Superior, WI which is, I believe, the only refinery in the US currently geared for Canadian oil sand crude. The BP proposal in Indiana is to add to this capacity, and Enbridge is presently building a 4' pipeline across the entire state, from Superior to Chicago metro, to handle this volume, but said pipeline is not complete. Long story short: I think the only refinery directly impacted is Marathon in Superior.

Exactly. And end on a positive note.

But optimism is not the opposite of pessimism.

Optimism is the opposite of reality.

All 4 pipes pump 1.5 mbopd.

2 now open.

Say 650 000 bbls per day offline for two weeks.

This had better show up in next weeks inventory data.

65(7) = 4.55 million barrel drop min.

Surely you're not suggesting that the US Gov manipulates such figures.

Say 650 000 bbls per day offline for two weeks.

You can say it, but that won't make it true:

"Oil gave back nearly all of its big gains on Thursday after Enbridge Pipeline said its fire-damaged crude pipeline in Minnesota could resume normal operations within days."

Days - still equals loss of delivery.

2 days - 1.4 Million barrels (700KBPD pipeline)
3 days - 2.1 Million barrels
4 days - 2.8 Million barrels

Should I go on.

Still a big nut to digest in a tight gasoline market!

Days - still equals loss of delivery.

Oh, absolutely. I'm just reminding people not to make unsupported assumptions, especially when they're unnecessary.

Given the recent stories of little spare pipeline capacity from Canada to the US, I suspect it'll take a while to make up for the volume of crude that isn't being pumped right now. If that's true, there's likely to be a fair-sized drop in crude stocks next week, unless imports from other sources can cover the shortfall.

Still a big nut to digest in a tight gasoline market!

Not really. PADDII is still fairly well-supplied with crude, so the refineries should still be able to produce gasoline. Moreover, the company operating the pipeline notes : "the pipeline could be closed for several days without disrupting supplies in the U.S. Midwest because the company stores oil in stations along the line and at refineries."

Not helpful, of course, but not catastrophic, either (with two notable, and sad, exceptions).

Sure enough. But given the current market, it is not likely they will *make* up the loss for sometime...if at all in the next year.

That makes this a carry forward problem. No matter how you slice it, the US will have less crude in the tanks this week, and the pipeline can't ship *extra* after it opens.

Like you say, not catastrophic.

"Optimism is the opposite of reality."

Be careful not to confuse "she'll be right / technology will solve the problem" optimism, which could be called blissful, willful or conditioned naivety, with "we'll make the best of the situation" optimism.

I know both types of people and they are very different :)

Here's MPR's story on the incident.

Not much analysis yet, but it's top of their homepage right now.

Thailand prepares for $200/barrel oil

More bio-gas, increased railroad transportation and

Conservation, public transport and improved efficiency are obviously on the radar as well, with the government considering the option of taking money from the State Oil Fund to promote these measures


Best Hopes for the Thais and the US Secretary of Energy saying anything remotely comparable,


Regarding the story about the Canadian pipeline, I notice that it has been called both a fire and an explosion. Perhaps this is just sloppy terminology, but it brings up a question I've had regarding some of these pipeline problems.

I can easily understand how a pipeline fire can start: crude spilling from a leak followed by the volatile fraction of said crude coming in contact with an ignition source. However, I have a bit more difficulty in visualizing how an actual accidental explosion can occur in or around the pipeline itself, because except for the pumping stations almost none of the pipeline is in a confined space. Or is there some other mechanism which is the culprit? (Perhaps if the fire is intense enough and flow has been shut down, it could start boiling the crude inside the pipeline and cause an over-pressure?)

Just curious, because there seems to have been a lot of pipeline problems these last few years. (Aging pipelines + poor maintenance?)

Speaking as a chemistry graduate, I view an explosion as a chemical (or nuclear) reaction which is self-catalysing. It does not need to be contained in a chamber. It can and does happen in the open air. In this case the volatile gas component (presumably) leaking from the pipeline provided the reductive component, mixed with oxygen in the air as the oxidative component in the right ratio, combined with a source of ignition (a source of 'free radicals' ). The result is a chemical reaction and release of heat that increases exponentially as the burning process itself generates more free radicals. The heat cause the mixed gases to expand rapidly, once the rate of expansion reaches the speed of sound, you get a shockwave and an explosion. Interestingly, sometimes people survive being at the very epicentre of large gas explosions, because all the
explosive forces are outwards, away from them.

Explosions do not need to be in a confined space.

It's still not clear exactly what happened, but over at PO.com some people in the area have posted reports. No one was there, but there was apparently TV video coverage, and interviews with witnesses. They said there was a huge boom and a mushroom cloud, visible from miles away. I would say that's an explosion.

One of the news stories said the pipe had been slowly leaking for several days, and there was oil pooled on the ground. While they were trying to repair it, something gave way and a mist of oil started spraying all over the place. No report on what ignited it, but it wouldn't take much.

I do think aging infrastructure is part of the problem. Simmons points out most of it was built decades ago, and is nearing or past its expected service life. Also, with supplies so tight, I suspect they are putting off routine maintenance.

Yes, I understand that a confined space is not a prerequisite for ALL explosions ...... after all, a stick of dynamite obviously does not need to be in a confined space.

However, when you are dealing with volatile hydrocarbons, it is generally not that easy to get a true explosion (i.e., a chemical reaction that propagates at a rate greater than the speed of sound) without there being some sort of at least partial confinement. If I pour a gallon of gasoline on the ground and light it, I will get a fire. But if I pour a gallon of gasoline into an empty tank, wait a few minutes for it to fill the vapor space with fumes, and then toss a match into the tank, I will get a true explosion.

Is it possible that when the leak was discovered, the pipeline was shut down and allowed to partially drain, thus creating a vapor space within the pipeline, essentially making it an elongated vessel filled with hydrocarbon vapors that could then be easily set off, even from static electricity? Just a wild-ass guess.

But if I pour a gallon of gasoline into an empty tank, wait a few minutes for it to fill the vapor space with fumes, and then toss a match into the tank, I will get a true explosion.

From reports, that is pretty much what happened. Well, without the match, presumably.

Something failed when they pressured up the pipe after doing the repairs, and fumes escaped and somehow ignited.

But if I pour a gallon of gasoline into an empty tank, wait a few minutes for it to fill the vapor space with fumes, and then toss a match into the tank, I will get a true explosion.

Actually you wont. If the fumes is greater than the oxygen content it wont explode (not between the explosive limits). Seen it myself, and was actually on MythBusters.

Gas tanks almost never explode. What happens in a car fire is that the fuel boils and is ejected out the fill pipe and you get a nice shoot of flame. Evenutally the welds in the tank fail and it ruptures sending the gasoline all around which catches fire.

I was a firefighter for 22 years before I retired and of all the car and truck fires I've never seen nor heard of one exploding.

That's not so say there can't be a BLEVE, there can in many other cases (like rail cars), just the fail level of a gas tank is way low and it just bursts and the fuel catches fire. No explosion.

Richard Wakefield

Pour it on the ground and you will get a mild explosive poof!!, it depends on the time delay of the match. Seen this, done this! In open air it is not safe to use the same gallon of gas as it might be in a contained space. Also be careful as Gasoline wicks, if you get it on you, the burning vapor cloud will catch you on fire as well.

Movie magic and reality have different outcomes.

Part-time Pyro-tech.

Keep in mind one of the US's proudest inventions in the weapons world is the Fuel-Air Explosion or FAE, also lovingly called the "poor man's atom bomb".

"High" and "Low" explosives are termed such in terms of the velocity of the reaction front, by the way. I guess a "propellent" would have a reaction front that's sub-sonic.

Cool stuff!

Quick back-of-envelope stoichiometry calculation:

  1. Air is 20% oxygen;
  2. Octane is 0.703 g/ml, liquid (wikipedia) ;
  3. 2 C8H18 + 25 O2 → 16 CO2 + 18 H2O;
  4. 2 mols octane = 325ml = 0.687 US pint;
  5. 25 mols oxygen = 2800 liters = 98.84 cu. ft.;
  6. ... calculating ... ... ...

That ratio would result in an explosion. About 100 cubic feet of air on a chilly day, combined with 2/3 pint of gasoline nicely vaporized into it.

So how does confinement cause the chemical reaction to go faster?

I also challenge you to pour 1000 gallons of gasoline on the ground and light it, then tell me how it differs from an explosion!

Explosions occur when the ideal degree of mixing is achieved, this is more likely to occur in a confined space, but confinement is not a requirement for a "true explosion".

If you have a large enough leak, you can achieve the ideal mix of air/vapor even in open air.

Guessing is not required.

Bob Cousins -

Regarding your example of pouring 1,000 gallons of gasoline on the ground and lighting it up, I would say that what happens would heavily depend on atmospheric conditions. If it is a hot day with absolutely no wind, then yes, it would be possible to have a portion of the above-ground air space with a gasoline concentration above the lower explosive limit (LEL in OSHA jargon). Then you could get a true boom if you light it up. On the other hand, if it's a cold windy day, gasoline vapors in the air space might not build up to an explosive concentration. (Having said that, this is not an experiment I would be terribly anxious to try in person!)

I would agree with you in that the vapor leak has to be pretty large and for there to be sufficient rapid air mixing to create the proper conditions for a true explosion. A large and sustained spray of crude just might do the trick.

By the way, these 'fuel/air' or 'thermobaric bombs' are a very interesting example of this effect. As I understand it, a small conventional explosion is used to disperse a spherical cloud of a highly reactive mixture of (I think) ethylene oxide plus some other components, which at the right time are ignited, thus creating a huge spherical explosive causing a wide area of highly destruction over-pressure on the ground.

About 20 years ago, I owned a Subaru Brat that developed a pinhole leak in the fuel tank. I don't recall how I discovered this, but now I just remember looking under the back end and, much to my amazement, seeing a thin stream of gasoline being forced out of the tank and onto the hot exhaust pipe below -- just evaporating as it hit.

explosions supersonic

I think we're all discussing the difference between a detonation and a deflagration:
That fuel/air flame front starts life subsonically, then as the pressure builds behind it, it's accelerated to form a shock wave, which ignites the fuel mix in front by compressional heating, aka detonating it. All in a matter of milliseconds.

However, when you are dealing with volatile hydrocarbons, it is generally not that easy to get a true explosion (i.e., a chemical reaction that propagates at a rate greater than the speed of sound) without there being some sort of at least partial confinement.

joule, I have some firsthand experience with this. Several years ago a friend of mine was trying to burn a wood pile in her back yard. She poured two-stroke gasoline on the pile as an accelerant. When she lit the match, without the flame ever coming into contact with the fuel, we got an explosion. I was stunned because I never thought this could occur in the open outdoors and I also never thought ignition could occur before the flame touched the fuel. In retrospect I think the fuel vapor-air mixture was just right for the explosion. I think she said something about the two-stroke gasoline/oil mixture being more explosive than straight gasoline, but I didn't understand this.

This pipeline didn't carry gasoline (did it). Then it's flash point (seems to me) would be high. I think in theory you could drop a match onto a pool of crude and it would not ignite.

What about the flash point and that crude being a long chain hydrocarbon, it would be hard to ignite in most circumstances.

I think using gasoline as a source to compare to raw crude is not apple to apples, or is it.

Crude oil contains a lot of lighter fractions that do not go into gasoline, so I would expect crude oil to have a greater risk of flammable vapors then gasoline, if anything.

In practice crude oil is handled with great care to avoid vapor explosions.

Thanks Bob, I don't have any experience with pipelines and crude etc. I was thinking about diesel and recalling I heard its tough to set fire to, because of the flash point. Figured crude was worse. Though I think you are saying that raw crude has enough other stuff in it to create vapor and help carry of hydrocarbons with it, so the crude has a good deal of vapor loss from the extra components mixed with it.

But does/was there enough vapor for a vapor explosion to create a mushroom cloud. I can see vapor and its flash point is much higher than the liquid. But does the liquid have a flash point when triggered by vapor that can create that kind of explosion.

I read about a mushroom cloud, hundreds of feet high flames etc,.. that is a big kaboom. My job sometimes puts me around this kind of operation, and where I live we have a refinery (I've poked my camera down into tanks (empty)) No way would I want to work at a refinery. Just me, the more I understand about my situations, the "safer" I feel.

Houston has had its share of trouble. Pipelines blown up in Mexico. Hey, I make no bones that I don't think "my" government is out to help me and really make me secure. The dudes holding the keys have only their self interest at heart. I mean its them who just put out a story that "terrorists" were just smuggled into the US to attack an army base of all things, using Mexican tunnels and the help of Mexicans. Any army base near those pipelines lol.

Sure could be maintenance, an accident, probably is, but the media and our govt are no longer given the "doubt" as a normal course. Because the media does not investigate, and it chooses what to report and not report and spin it for a benefit of someone or entity.

Crude oil contains a lot of lighter fractions that do not go into gasoline, so I would expect crude oil to have a greater risk of flammable vapors then gasoline, if anything.

It doesn't work that way Bob. Google it! ;-) No, exactly the opposite is true. Crude oil will burn, witness the Kuwaiti oil fields burning. You can light it with a flame, but you do not get the explosive vapors off crude oil like you do from gasoline.

I have worked with crude oil and it is not nearly as dangerous as gasoline. True, there is gasoline in the crude oil and you can boil the vapors out if you heat it. That is what they do in the refinery. And the lights will eventually evoperate out of crude oil if you leave it in the open. But the vapors from the lights do not evoperate nearly as quickly as they do from gasoline or napatha.

At room temperatures, vapors come off the surface of the crude or gasoline. It is the percentage of light molecules on the surface that count. But I suppose, though I am not a chemist and could not say for sure, that there is a bonding between the lights and the heavier molecules. Crude oil smells nothing like gasoline, it smells like crude oil. I think there is very little gasoline vapors or other lights that evoperate from crude. Over time yes, it will all evoperate and leave nothing but tar. But crude is not nearly as volitile as gasoline. Not even close!

Ron Patterson

So you don't think a broken crude oil pipeline could explode like this?

Perhaps PrisonerX is on to something.

If crude oil gets hot it will burn violently. As I mentioned above, witness the Kuwaiti oil well fires. We burned straight crude, after the water had been removed, in boilers in Saudi Arabia. Something very hot had to start this pipeline fire.

Early oil wells routinly "blew out" and if the workers were careful, there was never an explosion although the crude oil covered virtually everything.

My point, my only point, is that crude oil is not nearly as volitile as gasoline, not even close. You had it the opposite.

Ron Patterson

Ok, thanks for correcting my mistake.

But I'm still a little confused. If you are saying even a large crude oil spill is unlikely to explode with something like a naked flame, the question is why was there an explosion in this case? It seems very suspicious for it to happen "by accident".

I really haven's a clue as to how this particular explosion happened. But if there were a small leak, under very high pressure, the spray could come out and atomize, as explained by Joule below, then you could get enough vapor in the air to explode.

Almost anything that will burn, will explode if you have the right mixture. Grain dust is a perfect example. Grain, just lying on the ground will not explode, or hardly even burn. But in grain silos, grain dust, mixed with air, creates a very explosive mixture. A spark from static and the entire silo explodes. Such grain silo explosions have occured, causing enermous damage and loss of life.

When I was in Saudi, a sulfur pelletizing tower exploded an destroyed everything within over 100 feet of it. Heated sulfur was sprayed from rotating nozzles and fell to the floor as pellets. But too much of the stuff collected on the sides of the tower, fell off creating an enermous sulfur dust clowd. Something then set it off and we had one hell of an explosion. No one was killed fortunately as the control room was located a safe distance away.

Just a little story I thought you might enjoy.

Ron Patterson

Was the stuff coming through the Canadian pipeline normal oil field crude, or was it largely a variety of syncrude derived from tar sands? If the latter, would it necessarily have the same properties as normal crude? (I realize these questions are probably irrelevant as regards atomization.)

Darwinian -

Without trying to come off as an expert on the matter, I think that the difference between what happens with the volatiles coming off of crude oil versus what happens when gasoline volatilizes is mostly a matter of mass transfer phenomena. In crude oil, once the volatiles have volatilized from the surface exposed to the air, then there has to be a migration of additional volatiles to that same surface, and this takes time, as diffusion and convection are at play. Gasoline, on the other hand, is almost all volatiles, so it would seem that in the case of gasoline it would be a lot quicker and easier for volatiles to enter the vapor space and form an explosive mixture.

You know, the more you look at this sort of thing, the more complicated it gets. There are so many situation-specific factors involved that it becomes hard to generalize. Suffice to say, that the conditions, whatever they were, at that Canadian pipeline were necessary and sufficient to cause mucho destruction.

Crude may not be volatile, but when it sprays out a small orifice it can be 'atomized' which greatly increases its surface area. A building around a leak can concentrate those vapors. Crude spraying on hot machinery would also gas off higher fractions first. I'm also not sure what sort of diluents they put in with the tarsands stuff to make it flow better and those could gas off in a hurry. Who's to know unless you were there.

Explosions also tend to occur if the volumes are large enough to get a really fast flame front going. A big enough gas cloud with an ignition in its center seems a good candidate for accelerated activity. Not an area of science that one wants to know about firsthand.

Petrosaurus has the explanation - don't know if everyone noticed, but the reported failure mode (from a guy who lives near the event?) was that the line ruptured, and a geyser of oil shot into the air. Atomization occurred to a degree and the lighter fractions must have formed an explosive mixture.

I've set lots of gasoline fires to finish off brush piles after cutting wood, generally with about a gallon of liquid spread in a arc 10' - 15' long. You throw a match from a distance and then there is a big whoosh followed by a mushroom cloud of flame. Best to be standing well back when it goes :-)

Okay, but does this only cover the portion outside the pipeline where the atomization took place. This destroyed the pipeline which would seem like it would need to explode from the inside, not the outside.

would the fire follow the down thru the small opening and then to the inside of the line.

Another point that to me is odd, but don't know the process.

If they were working on the line why was there such high pressure inside the pipe. Seems that the line would need plenty of fuel to reach enough pressure to rupture and then shoot a leak high into the air. I would think that they would use valves and release pressure in the section for safety.

It reports that there was already a pool of oil on the ground. This shows other leaking, and leaks mean loss of pressure. So if its the same line how was it maintaining such a high pressure with oil pooling, but enough for a new leak to shoot high into the air.

The "explosion" may have been a short term whoosh, but there was a large fire as seen by the photo posted. Fire = heat = vapor inside the pipeline, and if the hole melted and opened ...

Detailed photos would be good to help understand. This site is detail oriented enough that perhaps they'll appear.

Well I am now reading on news sites that the "explosion" did not happen, that there was only a fire. Those reports are now claimed to be incorrect. Perhaps the issue of what "is" means is also being applied to loud "booms' now and what is technically an explosion or not.

Sorry, but when the story starts to change then that is not a good sign for trying to find out what happened. This is beginning to be an all to common occurrence with "accidents" lately it seems.

I did some research looking into heaters that used, used auto oil from changes. One thing I kept finding on the sites that had guys working on their own designs was the issue of keeping the fire going. The best design had a guy that started the process and used a large "bolt" to use to keep the oil 'catching fire". They started the flow and used an outside source to ignite the oil which was slightly atomized. This flame hit the bolt and was kept on until the bolt grew red hot and then the outside source was stopped. with the right flow and atomization he claimed he could keep it going, but it did have quirks etc.


Man this stuff is just getting out of hand. The NFL wants the games on the free side of cable, dish. The cable dish guys want to charge you for it. Go figure.

We think explosion and its the movie bang! but the real world is not so tidy. There is a continuum from plastic explosive type sharp blast with pressure wave down to a nice, smooth burn front, and all sorts of things in between. The small gas fires I've set to burn brush have a definitely whoosh, pressure wave, and mushroom cloud, but they aren't an "explosion". A large scale event like that would look and sound very impressive.

Whatever the case, two men are dead and 1/6th of our national imported oil is now shut in until repairs are completed. This will be interesting to see, given the chronic shortages in North Dakota and recent spot shortages in Iowa. Assuming a relatively even consumption per capita if one draws a circle around the refinery covering 1/6th of the U.S. population its a large area that is going to be short fuel for a little bit.

1/6th of our national imported oil is now shut in until repairs are completed.

Repairs are completed.

All the lines except the one being worked on were restored yesterday, and the one that's out had been out since mid-November.

So the impact to oil supplies should be minimal.

Repairs are completed. This is not what the article says PtE. In fact this article goes against what was reported yesterday. There is one line to be repaired and it was stated in reports yesterday posted here that the most damaged line was the largest and carried the largest percentage of the oil. The article you posted seems to argue the others were and the left over line is small.

another case of the media not having the same story on this event.

"Two of the pipelines are already back up and running. The third is expected to be back in business as soon as it's inspected, which should be soon.

The fourth pipeline is the largest, and will be down indefinitely. Possibly weeks."

This statement above is from Leanan further down in this thread commenting on the condition.

Repairs are completed. This is not what the article says PtE.

I can only assume you didn't read the article, then:

"All but one of Enbridge Inc.'s four key oil and gas pipelines to the United States are now back in service....
This leaves only the Line 3....
Line 3 had been closed since mid-November"

Repairs on the lines which were closed due to the explosion are completed and those lines are operational again. The only line that's still closed was already closed, meaning we're back to where we were before the explosion.

another case of the media not having the same story on this event.

Why is that surprising? Do you think they all share notes? Do you think there's a central clearing-house where they all go to get the true facts about events?

Reports vary at first, and then tend to converge on the truth as more becomes known; I'm surprised you haven't noticed this before.

This statement above is from Leanan further down in this thread commenting on the condition.

She's wrong:

"three of the four lines shut down - three as a precaution - were operating by that afternoon.

Enbridge Energy, a Houston-based unit of Calgary-headquartered Enbridge Inc., said the fourth line, where the fire occurred, would probably be usable in two or three days."


EDIT: this article on falling crude prices not only confirms the above, but adds another tidbit:

"U.S. demand for oil fell 0.8 per cent in September compared with a year ago and is at its lowest level since April 2006"

So much for people not responding to high prices.

Yes but to add to the confusion. They reported a "mushroom" cloud. I am not an explosive expert, but to create a mushroom cloud would seem to require a very hot intense event in a single place. Lots of material for the cloud and the force for the explosion.


sorry dial ups, 3-4 min music video.

Will just posting something like this be a terrorist act soon.

HR 1955 and its companion S. 1959 appear to be ready to pass. i think this has been briefly mentioned in a couple of posts. These bills are just downright scary, and they appear ready to pass them.

They reported a "mushroom" cloud. I am not an explosive expert, but to create a mushroom cloud would seem to require a very hot intense event in a single place.

Or SacredCowTipper starting a brush fire with a little gasoline and a match. Mushroom clouds aren't that hard to create.

Go read the wikipedia article if you want more confirmation of that, as well as an explanation of the physics, and why those physics can come from all kinds of explosions.


How do you claim that the article you posted is THE ONE with the correct information. You claim that the articles that Leanan used to make her statement that were read by others "also were wrong, but your source is correct.

Really a mushroom shaped cloud is easy to make.

this is what Wiki says"

A mushroom cloud is a distinctive mushroom-shaped cloud of condensed water vapor, or debris resulting from a very large explosion. They are most commonly associated with nuclear explosions, but any sufficiently large blast will produce the same sort of effect. Volcano eruptions and impact events can produce natural mushroom clouds.

Mushroom clouds form as a result of the sudden formation of a large mass of hot low-density gases near the ground creating a Rayleigh-Taylor instability. The mass of gas rises rapidly, resulting in turbulent vortices curling downward around its edges and drawing up a column of additional smoke and debris in the center to form its "stem". The mass of gas eventually reaches an altitude where it is no longer less dense than the surrounding air and disperses, the debris drawn upward from the ground scattering and drifting back down "

Note it says "explosion" not fire.

gasoline, is pretty powerful stuff, but this was crude, your changing the parameters again,..as usual.

As I said, it had to be powerful enough to pull in lots of debris and carry it high into the air.

Now point out where wiki and others say that mushroom clouds are easy to create. You mean IF you have enough powerful explosive material, and the correct conditions, and either water vapor or debris, sure, go build one in your back yard. Let us know how that works out for you.

How do you claim that the article you posted is THE ONE with the correct information. You claim that the articles that Leanan used to make her statement that were read by others "also were wrong, but your source is correct.

The three, you mean, all of which were more recent than the one Leanan used.

But go take a look yourself, be my guest, and tell us what news reports are saying now. Fact of the matter is that none of the ones I've seen have said what Leanan did, and all of the ones I saw when I went looking said what I said (which is why I said it).

gasoline, is pretty powerful stuff, but this was crude, your changing the parameters again,..as usual.

No, you're just not paying attention.

Someone expressed surprise at a mushroom cloud. I pointed out that mushroom clouds are easy to make. Your fretting over "fire" or "crude" has nothing to do with that point.

Now point out where wiki and others say that mushroom clouds are easy to create. You mean IF you have enough powerful explosive material, and the correct conditions, and either water vapor or debris

Look, read their description of the physics; none of that is needed. Fundamentally, all that's needed for a mushroom-shaped cloud is that the centre be rising faster than the edges, and that's common enough - the hot gas in the centre cools as it interacts with the air around it, pretty much automatically making that shape. That's why people observe mushroom-shaped fire clouds all the time, such as SCT in his back yard.

They only sound unusual because people think of nukes when they hear "mushroom cloud", but they're really not that uncommon.

A literal fuel/air bomb.

Such a damning post.

Hope just has no place here.

On the contrary, I find this all very hopeful.

The sooner this farce we call "global capitalism" comes to an end, the better off our progeny will be. Yes, I'm saddened that so many will die ugly deaths in the process, buts it too late to stop that. The sooner the process begins, the fewer who will suffer (would you rather get to 2 billion from 6.5 or from 9?)


Matt Lavin lives a half-mile from the site of the explosion.

“I was walking to my deer stand,” he said late Wednesday. “I could smell oil, so I looked over there and saw the oil leak shoot up in the air.”

He said the oil looked black. “Then it exploded, kind of a whoosh and a boom. The flames went up, I would say, 200 feet in the air.”

He was about 600 yards away when the explosion happened."

Good article. The guy owns the land evidently.

And Enbridge is contradicting him.

Oh yeah. On the "hopeful" thing. I'm with you.

That's what I keep trying to bring up, but folks
just don't want to think about it.


The Deer Factor ~or~ Bambi vs The Collapse of Civilization

joule -- As I understand it, a repair was underway when this happened. If I understand correctly, oil flow was restored prior to finishing some welds on the exterior of the pipe, there was a leak through a fitting, and an explosion.

There was an initial "big" explosion, but then eventually only fire.

I'm not real sure how the terminology works, but it does seem like this was a result of the risks of doing repairs on the pipeline.

Again, questions of aging infrastructure and the like certainly arise here.

Even though "Inquiring Minds Want to Know" are the media asking questions today? I don't get cable TeeVee.

My initial (and somewhat morbid) thought was "who made that bet with Robert" and were they recently in Minnesota?

Aha! By George, you've got it!

Heh. Jeffrey? You haven't been to Minnesota recently have you?

Line 3, with capacity of nearly 450,000 barrels per day (bpd) had been shut earlier to inspect a leak and was also still out of action.

From the above quoted Yahoo article on the Canada-US pipline.

Listen to what Matt Simmons has to say about the condition of the oil infrastructure. I would give the video the headline:

"We are living on borrowed dreams since 2005"

"The Black Box: Inside Iraq's Oil Machine" by Luke Mitchell, for Harper's Magazine, December 2007.


Mitchell, a senior editor of Harper's, was inside Iraq and got a close up tour of the oil infrastructure there.

He states that there were simply no functioning meters to tell how much oil was flowing. Even at the El-Basra Oil Terminal in 2,006, the workers "guess-timated" how much oil was being loaded onto tankers by multiplying the number of centimeters that the tankers lowered into the water as they were loaded.

They figured that for each centimeter the tanker sank into the water, about 6,000 barrels had been loaded.

Margin for error, but also margin for smuggling?

Additionally, Mitchell talks about smugglers drilling holes into pipes in the system and skimming off oil that way, and even some lining up tanker trucks, paying off the local workers, and filling up the tankers with oil.

There is much more about the aging infrastructure in Iraq, as well as the local issues related to the flow of oil from Iraq.

Iraq has had to pump oil back into the ground because they cannot process the oil that they are able to pump so far.

So have they said how long the pipeline will be down? Seems this could push oil back towards the $100 mark!


Two of the pipelines are already back up and running. The third is expected to be back in business as soon as it's inspected, which should be soon.

The fourth pipeline is the largest, and will be down indefinitely. Possibly weeks.

I found this paragraph at Global Guerrillas, John Robbs site...There is a map of the area if you go to the link...

JOURNAL: A Demonstration US of Network Vulnerability


'An explosion and consequent fire shut down four oil pipelines that together carry 1.5 million barrels a day, or 15% of US imports (the Endbridge system), from Canada to the US. Two of the pipelines have been restarted, but the third and fourth (at 450,000 bpd and 700,000 bpd respectively) are still inactive. Besides the significant "co-location" vulnerability shown here (as in multiple pipelines damaged by a single explosion/fire/leak), another key element is the "input" vulnerability of maxed out refineries (see the brief: "Infrastructure Meltdowns" for an overview of the different types of network vulnerabilities) -- these pipelines feed landlocked refiners in the Midwest, beholden to Canadian supplies of crude.'

Number 4 the 700,000 bpd one!

So, that is 4.9 Million barrels not arrive for the next week, and then the possibly the week after that.

That's alot of trucks, if it could be replaced.

The markets are definitely reacting (or not) feeblily.

So no worries I guess :P

Time for some math:

googled some tanker sizes - didn't find a standard size (so if you know I will modify calc). Gonna us 15,000 gallons.

15,000 gallons = 357 barrels (at 42 per barrel)

So, 700,000 barrels per day - 1960 trucks per day.

Return trip - assuming 24 duty.

3921 trucks needed to move this much oil. Running continuous each and every day.

Hmmm...estimates on distances and fuel efficiency...how much diesel will be needed to move it.

Let's hope they have a few Crude tanker RAIL cars still kicking around from the 60s somewhere!!! For Rail, it would be around 23 - 100 car trains moving back and forth.

NB: If capacity per truck is more then a few less trucks (largest truck I see is around 25,000 gallons - so 1176 and 2352 trucks)

Your basic flaw in this assumption is that you believe the markets are rational and free.

I couldn't find a link.

OPEC Says Higher Production Won't Reduce Oil Price (Update2)
2007-11-28 11:28 (New York)
By Ayesha Daya and Christian Schmollinger

Nov. 28 (Bloomberg) -- OPEC nations dismissed consumers'
calls to increase output, saying foreign exchange stability
rather than additional oil is needed to bring down oil prices
from record levels near $100 a barrel.

Members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting
Countries have already increased output to satisfy demand,
Libya's top oil official said. Any further increases will have
to be justified by the data they study when they meet in Abu
Dhabi on Dec. 5, he said.

``There is no relationship between the fundamentals today
and the price,'' Saudi Arabian Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi said at
a conference in Singapore today. ``There is a mismatch and
anyone that tells you otherwise is wrong.''

Crude has surged 54 percent in New York this year and
reached a record $99.29 a barrel on Nov. 21. The dollar has
fallen on speculation the Federal Reserve will cut interest
rates amid rising defaults on subprime mortgages, making oil
cheaper for buyers paying in pounds and euros and reducing
revenue for crude producers who are paid in the U.S. currency.

``I don't think that there is a big room to increase output
because OPEC is meeting demand,'' Libya's Shokri Ghanem said in
a telephone interview today from Tripoli. ``OPEC is selling to
anybody who wants to buy. It is doing all it can.''

So let me get this straight: the price has *nothing* to do with the fundamentals. Am I actually reading that correctly? I mean, do people actually believe this?

Of course, I started a petition to line up all speculators and shoot them.


That would cut the lurker readership on TOD by half !

THINK of the impact on the ad revenue that supports this site if we lost ALL of the speculators that come here !

Best Hopes for economic optimization,


Oops, sorry.

Let's hope than in the next decades, people will realize that these 'speculators' saw the writing on the wall and pushed prices up to where they should be earlier so we could react and reorganize.

``There is no relationship between the fundamentals today
and the price,'' Saudi Arabian Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi said at
a conference in Singapore today. ``There is a mismatch and
anyone that tells you otherwise is wrong.''

Based on the most recent EIA data, the cumulative shortfall between what the world would have produced at the 5/05 rate and what we actually produced is in excess of 700 mb (C+C). The average Brent crude oil price in the 18 months prior to 5/05 was $38, versus $91.50 this morning.

I guess you would have to put me in the "wrong" category.

----- Original Message -----
From: "bill payne"
Sent: Thursday, November 29, 2007 8:41 AM
Subject: Re: The article deadine for this week is Thursday morning.

> Dear John
> Just saw this email after I sent.
> http://www.prosefights.org/thecanadian/thecanadian.htm#gotstarted
> Best
> bill
>> Dear Bill,
>> Cool. The deadline would be 7:00 PM this coming Thursday.
>> John Stokes
>> The Canadian

RE: Report: Global warming will cost Florida

I read this report with some amusement. The Florida Legislature are for the most part inept...to put it mildly. The tax revenue system and collection in Florida is badly in need of overhaul, top to bottom, but so many special interest groups stand to have their toes stepped on that nothing is happening. The Fl State Legislature just concluded another 'special session' to attempt to 'fix' the taxation problems in the state and, instead, globbed more tax laws onto the already teetering system. To believe for a moment that this group of mostly incompetent legislators, primarily former ambulance chasers and real estate salesmen, could do anything to positively effect climate change is beyond credibility, imo.
At this moment the one thing on the minds of most Fl legislators is 'we have a $1+ billion shortfall in the new budget, houses are not selling, people are moving out of the state, tourisim is taking a hit, and we have lived like fat cats for so long that we dont have a clue about how to fix any of this stuff'... Trust me, those azz hats are not concerned about CC in any real sense, although they may give a bit of lip service.

I'm planning to build my year round retirement home on the lake next year. There are only two regularly used sources of heat used in this area of Quebec. Wood (primary) and electricity (secondary).

Electric heat is very expensive, but wood is getting there. Last year, split seasoned wood was $65/cord (18"x4'x8', a "face cord"). This year it is $100. Ouch. I have enough wood for this winter so I'm taking a pass. Next year I will buy logs and split them myself. Logs are $35/cord this year.

With the cost of energy soaring, I started looking at the lake (large and deep) and wondering about all the heat there for the taking. This got me looking at heat pumps.

A heat pump will let me take energy from the lake to cool my home in the summer and heat in the winter. As I researched the concept I found out that Canada is heavily promoting "earth energy" heating and cooling. The term earth energy is being used at the residential level, as opposed to geothermal which has implications for industrial applications.

I visited a very good friend last week who manages the physical plant for a Canadian museum. I was surprised to find that the entire museum uses earth energy for heating and cooling. They have drilled 16 wells under the museum.

The most common earth energy system for residential heat pumps is tubes buried in the back yard. This technique hasn't been particularly successful in Canada as the winters are too cold and the cold penetrates too deep in February. However, closed systems using wells and lakes are proving to be a success.

Using a heat pump drawing energy from the lake I can expect a 350 to 400% gain (COP) over electric heat alone. The initial installation cost will be higher than an electric furnace/air conditioner, but monthly costs and maintenance will be significantly lower.

I haven't checked yet, but there are generally grants for installing energy saving systems. Greater use of earth energy systems in residential construction can generate significant reductions in fossil fuel use and reduction of green house gasses.

For a good overview, see:

An Introduction to Residential Earth Energy Systems published by Natural Resources Canada

I am not sure about Quebec. But in Ontario, IIRC the rebate is up to $7500(it might be Federal money).

Goes a fair way to paying for the system, especially if you use a lake loop (cheap).

Good Luck.

There was an extensive discussion about ground source heat pumps three days ago here. I expressed some skepticism about the energy savings, but I think they are a good choice in certain situations, including new construction, being a heavy user of air conditioning, or when electricity is cheap compared to fossil fuels.

Pay attention to the heat distribution system as well. Radiant floor heat might be best for heating because of the efficiency of hydronic heating and the low water temperature of radiant heating, but forced air might be the most capital-cost effective because you can use a single distribution system for heating in the winter and cooling in the summer.

Since you'll be doing new construction, you might also consider a passive solar house with a masonry heater, with the masonry heater doubling as your thermal mass for solar heat.

I've been reading the book Natural Home Heating by Greg Pahl, which has sections on solar (passive and active), wood, biomass (e.g. corn), and heat pumps.

Of course, good air sealing and insulation are still prerequisites for anything you choose to do.


Thanks for the link to "Natural Home Heating", I am also a fan of masonry heaters, if one has woodland, this is a great heat source.

Two points on hydronic heating:

If you choose to put the tubing (Pex) in the concrete slab whether it be a slab on grade or a basement slab, make sure there is plenty of insulation (expanded or extruded polystyrene) under the slab. More than one person has found out that without this thermal break, you have significant deep earth losses.

From an energy perspective, pumping water through a hydronic system uses less energy than a forced air furnace, although with the ECM fan motors the difference may be slight.

Just adding my comments (building upon radiant heating): I did post a lengthly message on Wednesday's Drumbeat.

1. Forced Air need a big blower unless the home is very small since you need to push the air to every room. Radiant heating can use low power circulation pumps to move heat in larger homes more efficiently. A radiant system can be powered on batteries (ie if you are concerned about the possibly of frequent blackouts).

2. A Radiant heating system can draw upon solar thermal panels mounted on your roof. Radiate works well with solar thermal since it can heat homes with low thermal differences. Traditional baseboard radiators require much hotter water temperature to function in a home. Force air systems significantly reduce humidity (nose bleeds and other health issues unless you have a humidifier).

3. Radiant heat can also be coupled with wood stoves, coal fired, natural gas and oil fired furnances and you can store heat in a parafin phase cycling tank or even a tank filed with water and gravel. A thermal tank can be used to store excess heat from the sun (if using Solar thermal panels) or Wood/coal fired systems to increase its efficiency. Thermal storage does make sense for Gas/Oil fired systems since those can be immediate cycled on or off. Coal and wood are on until they burn out.

For new home construction, I would recommend radiant heating over electric, or heat pump systems. Electric and Heat pumps are 100% dependant on the grid, and the current demand is usually to high off-grid/backup power systems. Plus if you have some land you can always grown your own biomass to fuel your wood/coal stove, where as electric, oil or gas, your pretty much dependent on someone.

The best option would probably be a radiant heating system with wood/coal fired furnance (outdoor if you don't like to deal with wood ashes inside your home) and solar panels on your roof (assuming your rooftop gets ample sun light). You could probably do some of the installation yourself (ie installing the PEX tubing), and perhaps add on the Solar panels later (just run the Piping tubing to the roof before you put up the dry wall. The Solar panels probably won't be too useful in deep winter if your up north and get lots of snowfall, but they probably would work nicely during the spring and fall. You might be able to use solar during the summer for domestic hot water.

I would also max out the insulation in your walls and ceiling, either with blown fiber glass or the applied poly eurthane expanding foam. I don't like the cellose because If it gets wet it can lead to mold, and settles over time. I would also calk all the plywood and seal all of the framing holes (for electrical, piping etc). to mimimize drafts and limit moisture from accumulating in your walls. The Calking you can do yourself after electrical and pumbing, and before you put in insulation). Frame your outside walls with 2X6 studs (or better) to increase your insulation area in your walls. The 2x6 studs can be spaced further apart than 2x4 studs this will help reduce your overall material costs, but the costs won't be less then 2x4 stud construction. You can also add exterior ridge foam to improve your insulation too.

Another construction tip, when you pour your foundation, level it off before you start framing. it will save hours of construction time (and less contractor $$$ spent during construction). You also want to seal the frame to the foundation. If your doing slab construction, be sure to include rigid foam insulation before you pour the slab. FWIW: don't bother with the bubble foam for slab insulation. it doesn't work.

I hope some of this discuss was useful to you.

John, Just curious, which museum?

Dang, I don't know. It is in Hamilton, Ontario. I wanted to go with my friend to see his operation, but instead we went out to an old WW II era tug and cut the galley stove out to put into the HMCS Haida, another "museum." The Haida is decommissioned destroyer.

Speaking of the cost of geothermal or earth energy heat pumps, rural Quebec is a bit different from, say, urban Ottawa. There isn't much money, but there is time and friends. My next door neighbor owns a back hoe. He does things for me, I do things for him. Money doesn't come into it because people in rural Quebec don't have much money. Barter is the name of the game.

So, I'll pay for the equipment, but installation isn't going to cost much even if I have to bury the loop, which I don't expect to do.

It costs a lot to live in the city. You have to pay for everything. In the country "people do for each other." In the country, just like with the old fashioned barn raising, when someone calls for labor, people respond. What goes around, comes around.

There should be a six-month freeze on home foreclosures while the Federal Reserve Board, Treasury secretary and congressional leaders bring together all stakeholders in the housing crisis to seek rational rescheduling of troubled loans with greater disclosure, transparency and fairness to all parties

No! NO! A thousand times NO! I purchased a house within my budget, I had the sense to not get an Ajustable Rate Mortgage, and I can live within my means. This business of stalling foreclosures and such because a bunch of people decided to get homes they couldn't afford is junk! If I'm 10 days late on my mortgage, the guys are calling me multiple times a day, and no forgiveness for those who buy $200,000 homes with a $45,0000 income! They should have saved up for a larger down payment or gotten a smaller house!

[/end rant]

Seriously though, there was a lot of predatory lending going on, but plenty of it has to do with consumers not reading the fine print. Loans are services that you pay for, and essentially you purchase them. The terms were spelled out for these people if they would have just read the contract that they signed. It irks me when people do irresponsible things, then whine about it when they get thorns all in them after they run through a bunch of brambles while wearing only underwear!

You and legions more like you share this opinion - "I was responsible, and now I pay my mortgage and theirs via taxes? NO WAY."

Its going to be a political circus in time for the 2008 election ...

Yeah, I've tried to do the same - 30yr fixed, no points, decent equity. Why should I be screwed because others were reckless?

But then I think about the people I meet and see out and about, and I wonder how many of them have ANY of the skills needed to understand even the simple concepts in a mortgage - let alone the stuff the predators tried to hide. There are plenty of common folk who are very sharp, and many could and should have known better. But there are also many who have been utterly failed by our educational system, and for whom there was no-one looking out for. And hey, everyone else was doing it.

Ask yourself if you would really be better off in a society that is collapsing (OK, it will be anyway), even if you can keep your home while others fail?

On one hand, there is the argument that "I was responsible, why should I have to cover someone else's irresponsibility?"

On the other hand, there are specific reasons Twilight described, and generally it comes down to a problem of unmanageable complexity. For any individual to be "responsible", s/he has to either undo the damage of an incompetent educational system, or poor parenting, or exaggerated claims of misleading religious leaders, or the false promises of manipulative media, or oppressive Rube Goldberg governmental procedures. Or s/he has to undo all of the above. Or be incredibly lucky to get the right set of life-management, money-management, and socialization from the beginning.

It's an interesting parallel to the transition from oil problem, the transition from misinformation. There are many claims that, even given a petroleum-dependent system built up over the last four to six human generations, we can use that petroleum-dependent system to transition away from oil, after the oil has already started to run short.

Transition from misinformation has the same kind of problem. The individual's lifestyle and beliefs are dependent on that lifelong stream of misinformation. Yet a path to "responsibility" is demanded of that misinformed individual, with zero understanding of the levels of bullcrap threaded through his/her belief system and lifestyle.

The proof is in the pudding. No person is an island, entire unto themselves. It may be a fair claim that some of these people were "irresponsible", but who were responsible for making these people who they are? The parents, media, community, government, schools, and churches. It may be a fair cop, but society is to blame. Since before the Code of Hammurabi, we have been isolating individuals from the systems that engender their lives and then blaming the individuals alone, designating them as criminals and then punishing them for their crimes. And for over 3,500 years this system has continually miserably failed to address society's underlying problems.

If Einstein was on the right track, that we cannot solve problems on the level on which they are created, then placing narrow individual blame, "irresponsibility", for a problem that is wide and inherently systemic, is really unlikely to ever have the effects we want.

Like continually relying on painkillers, rather than addressing the source of what's causing the pain. The painkillers mask the underlying problems, and cause damage themselves which is unseen for long periods, and do not ever prevent the pain from returning.

Well said!

Yeah nice post!

Why should I be screwed because others were reckless?

Because you were not reckless and connected to the polititions who can write out a check to bail you out.

Don't worry about it so much.
Lots of this stuff is put out by radical activists without any basis in law.

They think they are smart by staying a few months rent free, but in reality the only real victimizing happens at the hands of their own ambulance chasers. They simply waste precious time they could be using to get back on their feet if they were productive. Pure ignorance.

It is very simple, first thing to claim victim hood is the ability to show a loss, if they went into the deal with no money there can be no loss, if the depreciation of the property is more then their down payment, then there is no loss.

They can burn the houses down if they want to, but they are not going to keep them. If they had any brains at all they would just mail the keys in.

Well Musashi...I hear lots of them are leaving the keys under the doormat to save a stamp...Or, is that just a Florida tradition? :)

That works, but why not at least drop a dime and leave in good terms and have a record.

By giving official notice they would protect themselves if the property gets vandalized.

Depending on laws getting left alone or rewritten it could make a big difference as far as tax liabilities down the road because it can very much affect the amount of debt forgiveness. Taxes are not dischargeable in BK.

When it became apparent that I could not continue to pay my $1000+ rent on my 600 sw ft apartment in Silly-Con Valley, I found someone to take over the lease, and told the manager the situation, right out in the open. I had the apartment all ready for move-in too. I actually got some of my deposit back, $210 I think, and at least don't have a black mark on my record for *that*.

Just leaving in the middle of the night was an option, and even sounded kind of fun, but I still have the flaw of honesty...

You CAN discharge IRS debt in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, but the debt has to be a few years old, I forward anyone interested in this subject to the excellent books by the Nolo Press.

No! NO! A thousand times NO! I purchased a house within my budget, I had the sense to not get an Ajustable Rate Mortgage, and I can live within my means

I'm with you, but of course this isn't going to happen, I am almost certain that we'll see gov't bailouts.

I also hate that gov't spends beyonds its means, but that doesn't stop americans from voting for politicans that spend, spend, spend!

We live in a country full of spoiled people that can't live within their means, when tough times come, they whine to the gov't asking for handouts and someone to save them from thier poor judgement.

Seriously though, there was a lot of predatory lending going on, but plenty of it has to do with consumers not reading the fine print.

There was also a lot of people that took advantage of the system that already had bad credit and knew that they would end up in foreclosure. But until the creditors came knocking they could live in a nice home and use home equity loans to pay for nice vacations, new cars, etc. They didn't have anything to lose, but everything to gain. Now that the home ATM is out of cash, they simply walk away, go back to their old lifestyle. At least it was fun while it lasted. Maybe they'll score a gov't handout and get to keep the home for even longer.

Some photos of the Enbridge explosion have been posted at PeakOil.com in this thread.

RE: Venezuelan leader's power play has echoes of Castro

This article is very interesting when viewed with other developments in the Mid East. William S. Lind believes that the Iranians believe that an attack on Iran is a certainty. In response the Iranians have taken some steps in Iraq to prepare for such an eventuality. Is Chevez attempting to bring more pressure to bear on the US, in concert with Iran, to stop a US attack on Iran?


...snip...'The Sunday, November 18 New York Times made passing mention of a possible clue. It suggested that the Mahdi Army and some other Shiites have backed away from confronting the U.S. because Iran asked them to.

If that is true, it bumps the same question up a level. Why are the Iranians asking their allies in Iraq to give us a break? I doubt it is out of charity, or fear, although elements within Iran that do not want a war with the United States seem to be gaining political strength.

Here's a hypothesis. What if the Iranians had determined, rightly or wrongly (and I suspect rightly), that the Bush administration has already decided to attack Iran before the end of its term? Two actions would seem logical on their part. First, try to maneuver the Americans into the worst possible position on the moral level by denying them pretexts for an attack. Telling their allied Shiite militias in Iraq to cool it would be part of that, as would reducing the flow of Iranian arms to Iraqi insurgents and improving cooperation with the international community on the nuclear issue. We see evidence of the latter two actions as well as the first.

Second, they would tell their allies in Iraq to keep their powder dry. Back off for now, train, build up stocks of weapons and explosives and work out plans for what they will do as their part of the Iranian counter-attack. Counter-attack there will certainly be, on the ground against our forces in Iraq, in one form or another. In almost all possible counter-attack scenarios, it would be highly valuable to Iran if the Mahdi Army and other Shiite militias could cut the Americans' supply lines running up from Kuwait and slow down their movements so that they could not mass their widely dispersed forces. In John Boyd's phrase, it would be a classic Cheng-Chi operation.

Again, I cannot say this is what lies behind the Mahdi Army's stand-down; Zeppelin reconnaissance over Iran has been inconclusive. But it is consistent with three probabilities: that the Bush administration has decided to bomb Iran, that the Iranians plan in response to roll up our army in Iraq and that Muqtada al-Sadr and other Iraqi Shiite leaders coordinate their actions closely with Tehran.

In past wars, quiet periods at the front have often preceded a "big push" by one side or both. Such may prove to be the case in Iraq as well, at least as far as Muqtada al-Sadr and his Mahdi Army are concerned. If so, in view of the situations in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Lebanon and the almost certain failure of the Tea Lady's Annapolis initiative, 2008 may see the Islamic world in flames from the Himalayas to the Mediterranean.'...snip...

Graveyard shift linked to cancer risk

It is a surprising twist for an idea that scientists first described as "wacky," said Richard Stevens, a cancer epidemiologist and professor at the University of Connecticut Health Center. In 1987, Stevens published a paper suggesting a link between light at night and breast cancer.

Back then, he was trying to figure out why breast cancer incidence suddenly shot up starting in the 1930s in industrialized societies, where nighttime work was considered a hallmark of progress. Most scientists were bewildered by his proposal.

There's been some fascinating research recently about the dangers of being exposed to light at night time. It puts you at risk for everything from myopia to cancer.

Now that would be an interesting angle on conservation. Turn off the lights, for your health! ;-)

I think a more plausible explanation is that women working at night, and sleeping during the day, are not being exposed to enough sunlight, and thus their Vitamin D levels drop, weakening their immune systems. There is some evidence to suggest that a key contributor to the flu/cold season in winter is a lack of sunlight.

If you read the article, they think the mechanism is lack of darkness, not lack of light. Something to do with melatonin levels.

I'm a security guard. I work night shift. The lack of sunlight and vitamin D or the upset of biorythms may be a cause, but I suspect that the decrease in ventilation in the buildings at night might also correlate. Lots of solvents evaporating from synthetics in the building.
Also, night shift people tend to work in well lighted and heated buildings. That also might correlate.
Then again, we are definitely exposed to fewer viruses and bacteria...

This is interesting and explains something that was puzzling me. I am participating in a study of women whose sisters have breast cancer. Many of the questions had to do how much and what kinds of light I was exposed to at night. Now I know why they were asking.

This is an an area I work in . A fact which is far for 'secret' but which is still not generally well known (odly enough in particular it is not widely known in the medical profession) is that there is a strong inverse correlation between UV exposure and overall incidence and mortality from cancer. The data shows very clearly that whilst a singificant increase in UV exposure doubles the risks of getting melanoma, it also reduces by about 30% the risks of dying from much more common cancers such as breast cancer, collorectal cancer, and prostate cancer. As melanomas consitute only about 2% of all cancers, on balance higher exposures to UV saves about 10 lives for every extra life lost to melanoma. The benefit depends on having a white skin. Whilst much of the scientific discussion attributes this benefit to vitamin D levels, in fact the data only directly shows that sunlight is good for you - in almost all circumstances vitamin D levels are essentially a surogate measure of sunlight.

I'm surprised that they didn't mention the D3 aspect:

Sunlight emerging as proven treatment for breast cancer, prostate cancer and other cancers
Monday, July 11, 2005 by: Staff writer

Taking a daily 10 to 15 minute walk in the sun not only clears your head, relieves stress and increases circulation – it could also cut your risk of breast cancer in half. At least that's what Esther John, an epidemiologist at the Northern California Cancer Center, recommends. And there's plenty of proof to back her up. One study found that sunlight exposure lowered the risk of breast cancer by 30 to 40 percent. In The Breast Cancer Prevention Diet, Dr. Robert Arnot claims that national rates of breast cancer inversely correlate to solar radiation exposure. In other words, breast cancer occurs at a much higher rate in colder, cloudier northern regions than in sunnier southern regions. Johns Hopkins University Medical School conducted a ten-year epidemiological study that showed exposure to full-spectrum light (including the ultraviolet frequencies) is positively related to the prevention of breast, colon and rectal cancers.

How does this work? There is in fact a scientific answer. The sun stimulates production of a hormone in your skin. Ultraviolet B rays, the kind of rays that give you sunburns, interact with a special cholesterol in unblocked skin. Once stimulated, this cholesterol triggers your liver and kidney to make vitamin D3. Vitamin D3 isn't exactly a vitamin, but rather a type of steroid hormone that can drastically improve your immune system function.

That has been long known, though, so presumably they controlled for it.

And it probably wouldn't apply to the lab animals they used for the animal studies.

Leanan you are quite right that convincing and quality analyses showing the overall beneficial correlation between UV exposure and lower cancer mortality have been published for some decades. However, unfortunately, as I said in my reply above, until very recently, the data was virtually unknown in most of the medical profession and the medical research community. I work in cancer research in the UK, in particular on melanoma, and still until very recently, I did not find a single colleague who had read the UV related research, and who knew of the phenomenon.

There is are serious comercial interests in maintian the myth that uV exposure without barrier cream is to be avoided at all costs. One of the key contributors to the 'new' approach, Dr. Michael Holick, had to resign a professorship in dermatology at Boston through being one of the first people to point the facts out and suggest that some UV exposure was good for you! Dr Holick has some experineces in common with peak oilers, even though in his case he is only analysing actual data of what has already happened.

Very fascinating research indeed!

My unfounded hunch would be that the night-time exposure to light is merely a correlation rather than the actual causative agent. Some people I've known who had to do shift work have said that they never really got used to it. Perhaps the disturbance of natural biorhythms has something to do with it.

What I'd like to see is a study on people who have done lots of business travel their whole career. I've done enough of it over the years, and I know that for me at least it was not healthy ..... rushed chaotic schedules, lack of exercise, too much eating, jet lag, and poor sleep patterns, all on top of the normal stress of conducting business.

If declining economic activity means less shift work, and if declining fuel availability means less business travel, I think we'd be healthier (all ofther things being equal, which they of course won't).

I know in Silicon Valley I've seen tons of cases of overwork (60+ hour workweeks) correlated with obesity and rapid aging. That area is a good place to observe these things.

Now out here in horse'n'cow country, there are a lot of OLD folks, 70s and 80s, who are out working, with horses or cows or tractors and such, who are in good shape and healthy. And something unusual - happy.

They'd be in old folks' veal-for-profit pens in the Bay Area or in any large city.

Old farmers never retire: they just work slightly less as they approach 90 :) The first job I had off my parents farm was helping an old farmer of (I think) 78 with the harvest. He wasn't in very good shape (He could hardly walk, and moaned and sighed constantly), but he did work from 9 to 6 with a 2-3 hour break at midday for weeks at a time. He took the sundays off, I think he was religious, or else perhaps just oldfashioned. He worked very slowly compared to a man in his prime, but he did work, he was friendly, in a good mood and talked non stop about the past, wich I enjoyed.

I know of several other old bachelor farmers of the same age still going strong. They have probably been doing this kind of work since they were old enough to walk. It seems to me that at about 80 years of age they will often downsize, get rid of the cows, but many will still be tending a couple of sheep for as long as they can manage. It's the only life they know how to live.

My paternal grandfather started on his own at age 14. At age 78 was the last winter he tossed 6 tons (5.4 metric tons) of hay to his cattle in the winter.

After that he said "I am too old and worn out to do this any more", so he hired someone to throw 4 tons of hay each day and tossed only 2 tons each day during the winter until the year before his death at age 85.

I well remember him backing up his small truck to the barn full of hay, tossing a ton onto the truck, and with grandmother driving, tossing it off the back of the truck in broken up bales. then going back and doing another ton.

Best Hopes for Genetics,


There is mounting evidence of this effect, the Framingham study also shows a significant increase in heart attacks for people who work at night.

This is bad news for me, since I've been working at night for the last 30 years. Computing resources and networks were historically much more available during those times.

I'm hoping there's a link to vitamin-D deficiences which are rampant in North America, and which would likely be exacerbated by reduced incidental exposure to the sun going to work.

Time for some vitamin D and a nap :-!

Tapis & WTI Spread

Tapis 99.30
WTI 90.82
Minas 97.55


One to watch!!!

Methanol economy

While methanol is a rich hydrogen carrier at room temperature and pressure and can be made from a variety of feedstocks, it also has major drawbacks. It is poisonous both inhaled and absorbed though the skin. It has only about 60% of the energy density of petrol or diesel. Used in piston engines it seems to need supercharging. In larger PEM fuel cells it apparently seeps through the membrane spoiling the boundary effect. This is apparently not so much the case in small cartridge cells used for laptops. These are some of the reasons the methanol economy hasn't progressed.

I've read that methanol and ethanol are corrosive, but those sources didn't state how or why that is. Does anyone have an answer? Thanks.

I've read the same, but don't the answer. Robert Rapier would definitely know as well as some the chemist types around here. I do know that butanol is not so corrosive, has more BTU per gallon than either methanol or ethanol. It does not yet appear easy to mass produce.

Butanol has many advantages. Easy to separate from water. Does not absorb water so quickly. Closer to gasoline and easier to mix with gasoline than methanol & ethanol.

But my favorite advantage is that one of the combustion by-products is butyric acid. Even at very low concentrations, it would make "auto sewers" smell the part >:-)

Perfectly acceptable deep post-Peak for an ambulance, a fire engine or even Farmer Jones on his bi-weekly trip to town, to leave a faint odoriferous trail behind, but few would want to be stuck in an 8 lane traffic jam with everyone burning butanol !

Best Hopes for Bio-Butanol,


'faint odoriferous trail' ???

Have you ever smelled that stuff? Even in small amounts, disgusting is the word to use!

The likely smell of exhausts alone probably makes bio-butanol a non-starter as an alternative fuel.

Yes I have.

A single car, well tuned, should emit so few molecules of butyric acid as it motors by that your nose and olfactory organs will get just an occasional stimulation. Butyric acid will not be the dominant combustion byproduct, but the occasional, small % part of the exhaust.

IMHO, bio-butanol will be suitable for "occasional" use, ambulance, fire engine, and "Farmer Joe" making his twice a month trip to town.

Mass use of millions of barrels/day will "change the environment".

Best Hopes for Priority Uses of Motor Fuel,


From Wikipedia, methanol can corrode aluminum at high concentrations. I think that flex-fuel cars had different fuel lines and carbs to handle the methanol. Until recently, most cars (flex or non-flex) were warranteed to handle a few percent methanol in the fuel.

My understanding is that a fair bit of the corrosion is due to water, and acidic / sulphurous impurities commonly found in these fuels, rather than from the alcohols themselves, but there is also direct reaction with certain metals, like this one for methanol in an aluminum container:
6 CH3OH + 2 Al → 2 Al(OCH3)3 + 3 H2

In the world of alcohols, you have R-OH. The more carbons in the R, the more like a hydrocarbon. The fewer carbons in R, the more it is like water. If R = H, it is water.

In sheer corrosiveness, water is ahead of most things, beaten only by the likes of the mineral acids. Since we are mostly made of it and surround ourselves with compatible things, we don't usually think of it as corrosive. Try telling that to a lump of sodium :)

As you go down the list, you find that methanol, ethanol, and propanol are soluble in water in any proportion. These alcohols most strongly resemble water.

Further down the list, butanol, pentanol, hexanol, etc. have only limited water solubility. The carbon chain dominates their physical properties and they resemble hydrocarbons.

"It is poisonous both inhaled and absorbed though the skin."
- Did you know that methanol is a natural product of fermentation, so that whenever you drink beer or wine you are ingesting methanol along with your ethanol? Good moonshiners make sure not to use the first liquid that comes out of the still, since that is the part that is highest in methanol. Methanol toxicity is on par with the toxicity of gasoline. Where are the arguments that we shouldn't use gasoline because it is so toxic? Overall mortality from methanol fuel is lower than for gasoline for two reasons. First, it biodegrades readily, so that a spill is less likely to poison primates (most other creatures find methanol digestible.) Second, burning methanol can be extinguished with water, so methanol fires are much easier to put out compared to gasoline fires.

"It has only about 60% of the energy density of petrol or diesel."
- So, given the same ICE we can only drive 200 miles instead of 300 miles between refills. I could live with that. Of course, with a bigger tank, typically taking up 5 or 10 cubic feet of trunk space, we can get the same per tank range. If we are willing to assume some commitment to developing better methanol fuel cells, we could have a methanol > electric power cycle that would probably be twice as efficient as our current ICEs, so the effective energy density would then be 120% of gasoline or diesel fuels.

"Used in piston engines it seems to need supercharging."
- Methanol has a very high octane rating. Methanol fuel ALLOWS your engine to use a high compression ratio and/or supercharging. This increases the efficiency of the engine, so maybe that 60% energy density compared to gasoline goes up to maybe 70% effective energy density. Methanol injection in a gasoline ICE can dampen autoignition and raise efficiency.

"In larger PEM fuel cells it apparently seeps through the membrane spoiling the boundary effect."
- We need more research to either create a fuel cell membrane between anode and cathode that is impermeable to methanol, or to develop a cathode that does not react directly with methanol, obviating the need for a membrane. It would be nice if we spent some money on this sort of research.

"These are some of the reasons the methanol economy hasn't progressed."
- I think the real reason the methanol economy hasn't progressed is because there are so many vested interests for the current fossil fuel economy and the ethanol economy that don't want to compete on a level playing field with a viable alternative. Vested experts say, "It's poisonous!", but how many of us are into drinking motor fuel anyway? Vested experts say, "It's low energy!", but don't mention it can be consumed with greater efficiency, raising the effective energy density.

Thanks for that, very thorough and much needed rebuttal.

IMO the biggest problem would be corrosiveness, but there are plenty of options to go around this one.

Methanol is an outstanding solvent, bridging the gap between polars like water and nonpolars like FF. That's not a good quality in your fuel system: Methanol acts as a flux that cleans surfaces, and transports solutes into intimate contact with those surfaces.
So it's not "corrosive" per se, but it catalyzes corrosion by allowing contaminants in, and by rinsing away oxidation products that might otherwise coat surfaces, slowing further attack.

If you raise the compression ratio or supercharge / turbocharge an ICE there will be a corresponding drop in engine reliability unless maintenence schedules are shortened and complete overhauls are done more often. Same thing happens with water injection. If you dont believe me check with Wright, Pratt & Whitney, or any other aircraft engine manufacturer. Its easy to pull lots more horse power out of the same amount of cubic inches but at a cost of shorter engine lifespan. There are no free lunches.

With aircraft engines, the power to weight ratio is important, so they are made to run closer to the "edge" than most automobile engines. For ground transport, diesels are high compression ratio engines that don't seem to have exceptional reliability issues. For a car, a slightly heavier engine that has more pressure and heat resistant cylinders would be justified.

Toxicity, low energy density, corrosiveness are cited as reasons why alcohols are not drop-in replacements for gasoline, and they are indeed not drop-ins. Butanol probably is, but that's another story. And toxicity is a side issue, since gasoline isn't all that drinkable either. There isn't any large scale fully compatible drop-in for liquid hydrocarbon fuel.

And with alcohols you're just talking about swapping out liquid petroleum for natural gas to power our fleet of ICEs, and answering the wrong question.

If we really wish to have widespread personal and commercial transport post-peak, we should be looking to use electricity. Either directly through wires or stored in rechargeable cells, anything else just involves too many inefficient steps to be scaled up to continent-wide transport for millions of vehicles.


For what it's worth, if you are interested, I have posted another Peak Oil themed diary over at DailyKos... it's a bit doomerish for some, but on that site if you make it any less sensational you won't get ANYONE reading it... (having said that it doesn't involve touting my favourite political candidate or trashing another, and the title is probably not hyperbolic enough to get much viewing in the middle of a day anyway)

It relates to the current Bush/Maliki talks for an end-2008 withdrawal. Just pointing out that perhaps someone is expecting some sort of social unrest in the US by then.

The Energy Blog has a nice new post on the THAI process:


New UK Heavy Oil Recovery System Could Unleash Generations of Production of Inexpensive Oil

This does not appear to be pie in the sky, as they already have a 3,000 bpd pilot plant in operation. Since oil for transportation systems is becoming very expensive (relatively, especially in the US and other dollar denominated countries) and our current development of alternative liquid fuels and/or electrically fueled vehicles is not currently moving ahead fast enough to have a significant impact on oil prices in the near future, (nor would this process in the short term) should we celebrate such a process as a possible constraint on oil prices?

You are a friggin' broken record.

Instead of an insult how about your take on the post? Personally it looks promising to me, since they have put the system into small time operation with success. The biggest question marks I see are Can it be done on a larger scale with similar success? What are the resource constraints to turning THAI into a larger operation? How effective will it be on the billions of barrels of oil left in place in US wells?

You've posted about this more than once. And so have I; I posted the original press release yesterday, and I've posted other articles about it before (as have you). There's even a whole thread dedicated to it. Enough, already. If people wanted to discuss it, they'd be discussing it already.

Not enough for me, I appreciate his posts. There's a guy named Westexas though who does get a little redundant. Maybe you should go bug him.

Don't think we haven't.

you say EVERYTHING looks promising with little evidence of critical thought being applied

some people may give you the benefit of the stopped clock level of accuracy i guess - you can keep reaching out to them i suppose

One possible problem with THAI that I wonder about is this. The process depends on burning some of the tar sands using air. That is, air is pumped into the formation under pressure and ignited, which results in the combining of the carbon with the oxygen in the air, thus either CO or CO2 will result. But, what happens to the nitrogen? Would some form of CN be produced as well as the CO2 and CO? And, after a while, where do the gases go? Will the various CN compounds migrate to the surface and cause problems? I'd rather not be around the area if they did.


E. Swanson

No, you're not going to get cyanide, which is incredibly reactive and energetic, much more so than methane, for example. IIRC, cyanogen, (CN)2, burns hotter than any other gas.
Now, could we get some nasty amines, like fused heterocycles, out of a THAI system? You bet, and they'd be likely carcinogenic, but what part of tar-sands combustion isn't?

Maybe so. I'm not much on chemistry. However, the graphic I've seen showing the THAI system appears to suggest that the fire will be fed with air from some vertical well and the liquid FF removed from the bottom.


These cartoons don't provide mention of the fact that there must be an exhaust to remove the N2 and whatever else has become part of the volatile mix of gases. Thus, there would be a need to have other holes drilled for this exhaust to flow out. Else, the O2 would be quickly consumed near the fire and the remaining N2 would smother the fire, I think. They do claim that the greenhouse gas emissions are 50% less than conventional systems.

E. Swanson

3,000 barrels a day?

We're saved! I'll go get a H3 (on credit of course) and apply for a job with a nice long commute now....

I'd much rather listen to WT's broken record about being prepared for the worst than yours about every (so-called) techno-save out there

put it this way - when I see C+C hit 90mbd for a few months straight as a result of any of your little pet anti-doom projects, I'll look on your postings with a tad more favor

The worst thing that can happen by listening to WT is that you end up like me - hundreds of pounds of staples, ammunition for years, and spare fuel stashed. Listen to TAD and you're living large like the grasshopper in that one old fable while the ants are prepping for cold & snow.

And in other news I have bunkered & stored enough to limp through a winter and I am now starting to do other activities to prepare. This is sad and happy all at once - I had another talk with my girlfriend at 6:00 about the possibility of kids coming back home despite being college age, and at 7:00 the oldest called saying he'd just lost his job at one of those big box hardware places. She and I are meeting for lunch and we'll be calling her mortgage company to find out about the payoff, which she has the funds to make.

Strange days for those of us used to seeing growth here at the end of the oil age.

Just read the press release on THAI and was about to post on it, but have been beaten to it. It seems our problems are over. Now all we have to worry about is frying the planet.

On a trans-Afghan pipeline from Turkmenistan (the TAP piece posted by Leanan): Gazprom's agreement to pay $130 a thousand cubic meters complicates efforts by the EU and U.S. to divert Turkmenistan's attention to the West. But it has no impact on a southern route, which is out of the question as long as the Taliban remain a force to reckon with.

Steve LeVine, author
The Oil and the Glory

Steve, the Pashtuns were a 'force to be reckoned with' long before any western power considered building a pipeline through Afganistan, exiting at a port in Pakistan. I suspect that the Pashtun will be around a lot longer that the US $.

Hi River, I agree with you about the Pashtuns, but it's not them as a whole who are problematic, but simply the Taliban combatants among them. The problem is their incentive for sabotage given the current power arrangement. I've met plenty of Pashtun since first being posted out there in 1988, and they are not as a people anti-American, or necessarily adherents of the philosophy of the Taliban (who as you know hail from Kandahar). All this said -- the Taliban, too, seem likely to be around for a long time. In Pakistan as well as Pakistan it seems. Thanks


Hello Leanan,

Thxs for the toplink: "Climate change makes bats drop dead: study"

This Dieoff is not good news for Austalia ecosystem, and these animals cannot very well migrate further south by flying the very long distance to Antarctica to cool off either. Makes me wonder if these animals can be saved by building insulated and/or cooled bat-shelters, or by building water-misting systems atop some designated forest canopies to help them survive another heatwave. This would be far cheaper than requiring thousands of Ozzies to hand-pollinate plants, then hand-disperse the seeds.

Before postPeak A/C becomes unaffordable for most people: will we just continue to 'flap ourselves to death', or get serious with massive Peak Outreach and moving multi-millions to cooler areas with plentiful permaculture food & water?

Just updated US Drought Monitor Map:


Cascadia, The Great Lakes, and the New Vermont Republic are still looking pretty good for water survival--Will they welcome migrating multi-millions when the South is in a combo Dust Bowl & Olduvai Gorge situation?

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

saved by building insulated and/or cooled bat-shelters, or by building water-misting systems atop some designated forest canopies to help them survive

I don't know Bob. This sounds like the kind of "we can engineer our way out" thinking that has lead to so many of our current problems. And won't we need solutions that use minimal power and other resources? Last I heard they were a little short on water for misting forest canopies down there.

Much as I hate exotic species, maybe they need to look for a new species of bat. Hopefully, something from elsewhere on the continent.

I totally disagree with this line of thinking. If bats are in trouble in their normal habitat it is a fine thing to build them a way to survive.

Simplistically a bat house with a reflective metal roof would provide a lower temperature resting place during the daytime. If one were feeling wealthy and playful perhaps solar cells on the roof, a pump to draw a bit of water for them, lights for after dark to ensure that insects congregate, etc ...

Tiny little changes can have big results ... and it is good that we start thinking along the lines of how we can fit in now, rather than when the heat is on, no pun intended.

"Much as I hate exotic species, maybe they need to look for a new species of bat. Hopefully, something from elsewhere on the continent."

The Precautionary Principle should most definitely be applied when considering the introduction of new species into any environment, doing so may be as bad or worse than trying to engineering our way out of our problems. I could be construed as a form of environmental engineering.

Having said that it is possible that their environment, (our environment) is all ready completely FUBAR, in which case the point is moot. Cheers!

The Precautionary Principle should most definitely be applied when considering the introduction of new species into any environment

Totally agree. I guess the point I was trying to make is that we need to work WITH natural systems, rather than think we can solve the problem with a new gadget.

I do like the idea of bat houses with reflective roofs, though.

Only time will tell what the bats think.

You must remember that drought is only relative. If the US Southeast got 40" in a year it would be in extreme drought. Your not talking Sahal exactly. Also when extreme droughts happen it will take months of above average rainfall to remove it from the map. In the South that would mean floods.
If the climate warms up a lot North America may become monsoonal. Perhaps the problem may be too much water.

Hello Weatherman,

Thxs for responding. If your 'handle' is true you may know more about this than me--I will gladly defer to your expertise.

But, IMO, the South doesn't have to degrade to Sahel sand dune conditions before their cities collapse and massive out-migration begins--look at Zimbabwe for example: high unemployment and migration of millions to South Africa and other areas. Once a 'brain-drain' in an area begins--it is very difficult to reverse.

So let's say the SE & SW are going to get whipsawed with severe drought periods followed by massive monsoonal floods. If they can't afford the habitat & associated infrastructure to easily weather the drought, or prevent flooding from further wrecking the habitat and infrastructure--people will migrate to areas where you are not at a dire societal Liebig Minimum so they can maximize their MPP.

As mentioned before: living in a tiny, rundown Detroit housing project that has plenty of clean tap water will be much easier than living in a southern McMansion with oozing, odiferous slop barely dripping from the tap, followed by floodwaters full of sewage.

Tabasco & Chiapas, Mexico is another good example. Carrying a five gallon jug of clean water a couple of miles is difficult even on firm dry ground--now imagine holding the same jug while slogging through three feet of contaminated water. Is it any wonder that we don't see many millions more from Mexico heading to El Norte'?

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

Hello TODers,

Standard Disclaimer: I am no investing guru!

As you know: I am in big favor of biosolar mission-critical investing at every scale from stockpiling NPK & seeds, bikes & 'barrows, on up the scale to owning NPK mining & solar mfg stock companies.

Thus, IMO, Leanan's toplink: "The Impact of High-Priced Oil on Solar Manufacturers' is especially good advice. What worries me is if our US economy starts collapsing--will the need for immediate cash be so high that these biosolar stocks will plummet just as fast as companies making pointless plastic salad shooters and suntanning booths?

If so, does this makes it easier for Sovereign Investment Funds [SIFs] to come in at the market bottom, then buy controlling interest in these vital companies for pennies on the dollar? For example: could First Solar in Phx,Az [FSLR-new record price today-up 10%] be making PV-panels with almost the entire output being shipped to the oil-exporters that followed my earlier advice posted below?

An exporter of one-time use FF-energy that strictly trades for long-term use biosolar goods will enjoy a long-term advantage.

Doesn't owning the NPK & PV 'hens' pretty much guarantee the right to purchase most of the postPeak 'eggs'? Isn't this a fundamental property right--I can't imagine the US & Canada passing laws forbidding the export of NPK & solar panels. If KSA buys every acre in Iowa to guarantee their massive need for grain imports--I can't imagine the US stopping them from loading the grain on ships.

Or was preventing China's CNOOC from buying Unocal the model going forward? How many times can we do this to prevent the selling of North American real-value assets if our money is worthless?

A Wal-Mart Walton heir is the largest stockholder in FSLR. If things get bad here in the US: can we stop him from selling his shares to the SIFs of possibly Chavez, Ahmadinejad, Putin, and the Princes of KSA & the U.A.E.? Do we even want to try, as that might depress the dollar even further?

Are there any econ-experts out there that could clarify this high-finance for me?

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

When those who own the means of production get hungry enough they'll force change - recall a few generations back when farmers were encouraged to "raise less corn and more hell". Physical proximity does equal ownership - look at the Iraqis and their views on their oil for a lesson in how that works.

It will be politically unacceptable for U.S. citizens to suffer while goods are exported to other countries. That is a sure recipe for regime change here ... and perhaps a guaranty that we use our military before finances and oil prices pull its teeth.

Its a mad, mad, mad world, and I want someone to make it all stop. Nonsense wish, I know, but its how I feel ...

I just received this from the EIA.

Join us for EIA's annual energy conference, commemorating 30 years of
providing energy data, information and analysis.

In 2008 we are expanding our usual one-day Data and Outlook Conference
to two days to include more sessions on a wider range of energy-related

April 7 and 8, 2008

Washington Convention Center, Washington, DC

For more information on sessions and confirmed speakers visit

Note: Everyone else who signed up for the EIA mailing list got one too. It is not that I am special. ;-)

Ron Patterson

It is a pity that it was not for the weekend before. April Fool's day being such a good weekend to hold things concerning the future of OIL.

But you are Special, You read my blog. BIG grin.

" Analyst sees oil prices between $75, $85 a barrel "

Funny thing is, he says 'there's enough oil'.

People in the west, and especially highly paid stupid managers and analysts, keep forgetting that already there is MASSIVE demand destruction in the third world happening.

Because oil that used to go to third world countries is now being diverted to rich countries, it appears to the rich countries that there is enough oil.

But there isn't. Plain and simple.

Yes, that is the part of the supply and demand equation that OPEC always leaves out of their press statements.

"There is enough oil. Anyone who wants to buy oil can get it" (paraphrase from memory)

Should read - Anyone who can afford to pay the current prices can get it.

Which explains their '$100 is a fair price' position.

Fair as in it balances supply and demand. No need to produce more.

already there is MASSIVE demand destruction in the third world happening.

Because oil that used to go to third world countries is now being diverted to rich countries, it appears to the rich countries that there is enough oil.

Oil consumption data doesn't agree with you.

Based on EIA quarterly consumption data, the rich countries - the OECD - had their oil consumption rise by just 0.02Mb/d (Q2 this year vs. Q2 last year), while the poor countries - non-OECD - saw their consumption rise by 1.02Mb/d, or 50x as much. Even factoring out the former USSR and China leave an increase of 0.55Mb/d, or 25x as much.

The IEA tells the same story. Q3 this year vs. last year, OECD consumption is down 0.12Mb/d, whereas non-OECD consumption is up 1.14Mb/d.

So evidence suggests that much of the demand destruction is happening in the rich countries, rather than the poor ones.

Hi --

I just wanted to post this news item below in case it is of interest to someone(s) w. means or involvement in "silver BB techno-fixes".

I skimmed Leanan's DB news items of today and yesterday and didn't see it - (apologies if it was mentioned in the discussion, as I haven't had time to keep up.) It looks like Mr. Nunez could use some help. It sounds like he doesn't trust many people. Also, looks like (possibly) the concept could be incorporated into a safer design.


SAN SALVADOR -- In a makeshift laboratory equipped with little more than a battered chair and a cheap kitchen scale, inventor Rene Nuñez Suarez displays the contraption that has become his life's obsession.

It's a stainless-steel cooker that uses about 95% less fuel than conventional wood stoves, with minimal pollution. It would seem to be a can't-miss technology in a country where millions still cook with wood and most forests have been destroyed.

Even admirers say Nuñez's cautiousness is largely to blame for the fact that his cooker is still locked in the lab. American environmental consultant Lilia Abron, who promotes green technology in the developing world, said she could sell plenty of Turbococinas if Nuñez would just get them into mass production.

Musashi, what could this man have that would be more economical than a stove top pressure cooker? A pressure cooker will cook with a candle if need be!

Good Story Aniya;
Sounds like a Rocket-Stove.. I didn't have LA times Security Clearance, so I found the same story here..


Which has one comment below it with links to other, less secretive stove designs. This poor guy sounds like a Poe character. Combine that tragic Irony with River waiting the inevitable week and a half in a pile of Candle-stubs for his Pot Roast to be done, and you've got a fine, bittersweet feature film!


Hi Bob, mus and River,

Apologies about the link - it wasn't doing that when I first found it. (Registration w. LAT is free - don't suppose it could add any more info to my file than might already exist.)

In any case, it seems this stove requires electricity to run.

More excepts:

A description:

The device consists of a metal work table fitted with two 6-inch-high, 6-inch-wide stainless steel cylinders, spaced about a foot apart and rigged with air injectors and electric fans underneath. Finger-sized slivers of wood are fed into small openings in the sides of the cylinders. Pots and pans balance on top of these metal silos, which are essentially raised burners.

And report from one Ms. Erazo:

Erazo said the cooker wasn't perfect. She wishes it had three burners instead of two. She said pots could topple from the cylinders if she was not careful. And when the electricity goes out, she can't use the Turbococina because it needs the fans to move air into the combustion chambers.

Thanks for the followup.

Yes, there are a few people developing this kind of unit, and the fan is fairly small, energy-wise (in the units I've seen descriptions of.. akin to the 'muffin' fan that cools your computer.) It's too bad that Ms. Erazo gets stuck on that one little hitch. It wouldn't be too hard to lift a weight on a pulley that could spin a small fan for a reasonable number of minutes.. or get a kid to turn a crank, pedal a flywheel by foot every now and then etc.. once the stove is running, you've also got the potential for a cheap(ish) Thermo-electric or Peltier Junction to use a bit of the stove's heat to run this fan.


Of course the design that makes it really sturdy and dependable for daily use will be absolutely critical

When you really get down to it, and if you leave the little electric fan out of it, you have the type of cooking device that is exactly like the "thingie" you can buy at Home Depot for 5$ to start charcoal for barbecue with wadded newspaper.

No problem at all to cook with one of those, it takes a little bit longer then with the fan and battery but it works.

If Mr Nunez really spent 2.5 m on this charcoal starter look alike, then the result was very foreseeable and he is either a fraud or an idiot.

Naomi Klein (The Shock Doctrine) is on Olbermann now.

Regarding Leanan's post on BP's remarks about the skilled labor shortage in oil: The last few years I was based on the Caspian (the late 1990s through 2005 or so), the oil companies were training up the Kazakhs, Azeris and Russians. Fresh oil projects were mushrooming in the former Soviet Union, and I was told routinely that now was the time for young people to train as engineers and geologists.

So my question is: Given that long lead time, why is there a skilled labor shortage in oil? Why do we need seven to nine years to train up a new generation, if BP's claims are accurate, which as far as I've heard they are?

Steve LeVine, author
The Oil and the Glory

Many years ago I told one of my acquaintances that PO means planes will be falling out of the sky (not literally, but rather financially).

They laughed.

Ha. He who laughs last laughs not.

"He who laughs last thinks slowest."

Give me a couple more days to understand what you're saying.