DrumBeat: December 4, 2007

Remembering and learning from a legend

Ali Morteza Samsam Bakhtiari, one of the world’s foremost experts on the subject of peak oil, died suddenly and unexpectedly on October 30 of a heart attack. Our thoughts go out to Amir Bahman and Golbenaz Samsam Bakhtiari and the rest of the family.

...One can’t capture the full range of Ali’s ideas in a short space. What follows are a few clips from several articles by him or about him, plus the full Commentary that he wrote for this publication 21 months ago (2/20/06). They are presented below sequentially. We’ve added an extra page to this issue’s normal 6-page length to include these items. They hold up well several years later. Indeed, whether we have reached a technical peak in world oil production or whether it comes in a few years, one suspects that Dr. Bakhtiari’s main observations will show keen foresight in the years to come.

Saudis may bigfoot OPEC and hike output

Many analysts are expecting more oil, whether OPEC sanctions it or not.

"I don't think the Saudis have been happy with the high prices," said Lou Pugliaresi, president of the Energy Policy Research Foundation, who thinks OPEC will boost production by 500,000 barrels or so.

Pugliaresi didn't elaborate on the impact on prices or what price level the Saudis might like to see, simply saying it will have a "moderating effect."

Even the U.S. government thinks OPEC will increase production, and notes that Saudi Arabia has been slowly increasing output over the last several months, even though OPEC's last official production increase wasn't slatted to take effect until November.

Suit filed to stop drilling in refuge

Lawyers for environmental and native Alaska groups are asking a federal appeals court in San Francisco to block an oil company's plans for exploratory drilling near the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Oil prices ... Wall Street and Gulf Arab States to the rescue?

WTI nearby futures, or the next month's contract price, he thought could shrink to maybe $75/bbl on the downside, but then rebound well above $101.30/bbl in the next 60 days. Why he chose $101.30 was simple: this is what Wall Street Journal calculates as the ultimate oil price in 1980, in 2007 dollars.

January or February calls at $101.30/bbl will be really cheap in the next 15 days, he said, but the 75 puts won't be cheap, so go sparingly on those.

Open letter to Kevin Rudd, Australia's new Prime Minister

Even though the effects of climate change are likely to be very serious, they are largely unknown and will play out over the coming decades. However, Peak Oil will have major consequences over the coming years – during your time as Prime Minister.

BP pumps set depth record

UK supermajor BP said it had started up the world’s deepest subsea multi-phase pumps at its King oilfield in the Gulf of Mexico.

BP said the twin pumps, 5500 feet below the surface, lie almost twice as deep as the previously record installation.

The company said the pumps also set a world record for distance from their host platform. The pumps lie 15 miles (24 kilometres) from the Marlin tension-leg platform.

BP said the breakthrough would enhance companies’ ability to recover oil from deepwater fields. The pumps would boost output from the King oilfield by 20% and extend its life by five years, it said.

US Official: Iraq Needs Oil Law

A Top US Treasury Official Says Stalled Oil Law, Not Insecurity, Hampering Iraq Oil Investment

Statoilhydro says fire put out at Troll field Songa Dee drilling rig in North Sea

Norwegian oil and gas major StatoilHydro ASA said that a fire on the Songa Dee drilling rig in the North Sea's Troll field had been put out and there had been no injuries and disruption to any production.

Islanders seek climate summit help

Squealing pigs lit out for the bush and Filomena Taroa herded the grandkids to higher ground last week when the sea rolled in deeper than anyone had ever seen.

What was happening? "I don't know," the sturdy, barefoot grandmother told a visitor. "I'd never experienced it before."

As scientists warn of rising seas from global warming, more and more reports are coming in from villages like this one on Papua New Guinea's New Britain island of flooding from unprecedented high tides. It's happening not only to low-lying atolls, but to shorelines from Alaska to India.

Five tree fee for a Java wedding

Couples in the Sragen region of Java in Indonesia have reportedly been told that they need to fund the planting of five trees if they want to get married.

State-run Antara news agency reported that couples will have to supply seedlings or pay 25,000 rupiah ($3, £1.30) under the compulsory scheme.

Couples applying for a divorce face a higher charge of 25 seedlings or over 40,000 rupiah ($4.25,£2).

District officials say the programme is aimed at combating global warming.

Australia: Rate and fuel rises hit urban fringe

PEOPLE living on Brisbane's fringe are the worst affected by increasing petrol prices and interest rates.

Griffith University's index of Vulnerability, Assessment for Mortgage, Petrol, Inflation, Risks and Expenditure (VAMPIRE) showed that between 2001 and 2006 the vulnerability rose for people in outlying areas.

"Areas that were not populated in 2001 that have since been developed all ended up with the highest vulnerability rating," researcher Jago Dodson said.

PEMEX Taking back Old Oil Fields

PEMEX (Mexican Oil) proposed the reactivation of 50 fields that are older or in the process of abandonment, since oil high international prices continue to grow.

High prices spur regional oil boom

Record high world oil prices, along with new drilling methods, are driving a boom in the oil fields of North Dakota, Montana and Wyoming, and to a lesser degree, northwest South Dakota, industry officials say.

Oil firms resist Nigerian fines for gas flaring

Oil companies operating in Nigeria complained on Tuesday about government plans to start fining them for flaring gas next year, saying the deadline was unrealistic and the economic damage would be immense.

Senate Minority Leader Calls Energy Bill 'Troublesome'

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., on Monday threw cold water on a major energy bill that Democrats are hoping to pass before the end of the year, saying it contains "troublesome" measures that would force electric utilities to generate a greater share of their power from renewable sources.

"That would be very troublesome for all of us in the Southeast," McConnell told reporters. "That's a mandatory

New Zealand: Power price rise cost of climate fight

Power prices are likely to rise after the Government took a legislative stick to electricity companies, imposing a 10-year moratorium on the construction of thermal power plants.

Taxis disappearing form Gaza streets due to Israeli fuel reduction

Mohammed Abu Shaqfa, 21, had to walk nearly 25 km to Khan Younis along with his fellow students from his university in Gaza City after a two-hour desperate wait in a Gaza street for a taxi on Tuesday.

The group of students of the Islamic University at first were very happy to see some taxis parked at a nearby square, but to their disappointment, none of the yellow Hyundai vans have enough fuel to ferry them to southern Gaza town of Khan Younis.

Nepal to pay IOC dues to end petroleum crisis

The long-running petroleum crisis in Nepal may be eased with the government deciding to pay the bills of the Indian oil supplier.

Commerce Minister Shyam Sundar Gupta said that the government would pay the outstanding dues to the Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) in order to end the petroleum shortage in the Himalayan country.

Food banks hit by supply shortage

“[Food pantries] see new faces showing up for food,” Fraser said. “We can only assume it’s for reasons like increased cost of gas, fuel, increased cost of living … A lot of states are just in catastrophic condition. Some of the food pantries have so little food that they’ve just closed down.”

Water shortages are likely to be trigger for wars, says UN chief Ban Ki Moon

A struggle by nations to secure sources of clean water will be “potent fuel” for war, the first Asia-Pacific Water Summit heard yesterday.

The Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki Moon, told delegates from across the region that the planet faced a water crisis that was especially troubling for Asia.

High population growth, rising consumption, pollution and poor water management posed significant threats, he said, adding that climate change was also making “a bad situation worse”.

Rising oil costs expected to increase heating costs in Mass.

Rising oil prices are expected to boost heating oil costs by nearly $1,000 for the average Massachusetts family this winter.

A coalition of business, labor and community organizations bases its estimate on the state's average heating oil price last week. The average is 39 percent higher than it was during the same week a year earlier.

UK: Grassroots leadership in the fight against fuel poverty

Recent figures showing that fuel poverty has almost doubled in the past few years as a result of rising energy prices have emphasised the importance of ensuring affordable warmth for all. Behind the statistics lie real people who put their health at risk because they go without heating or get into unmanageable debt just to pay the bills. Because it is a complex problem, we need all parts of government to work together with partners in the private and voluntary sectors to make a difference.

Delta, Southwest warn about fuel, demand

Waning consumer confidence and soaring fuel costs caused Delta Air Lines Inc to warn of a possible operating loss on Tuesday, while Southwest Airlines Co said it would restrict capacity growth to brace for tougher times ahead.

Democrats set milestone with automotive deal

An agreement among congressional Democrats to support a 40 percent increase in U.S. vehicle fuel efficiency by 2020 has been hailed as an historic step by both environmentalists and the automotive industry. But while the compromise seems to please both sides, it still faces substantial political hurdles.

Doomsday seed bank gears up for business

Refrigeration units on Friday begin cooling a new doomsday vault dug into an already frigid Arctic mountainside to protect the world's seeds in case of a global catastrophe.

Stuck on Coal, and Stuck for Words in a High-Tech World

Human progress, Loren Eiseley wrote in 1954, has largely been a climb up “the heat ladder” from one energy source to the next. Each has been more convenient or potent or economical than the last. No one lugs firewood to warm a high-rise apartment building in Chicago.

But the climb has stalled. The potential of the atom has been sharply limited by safety and security questions and fusion’s persistent hurdles. Sunlight, identified as far back as Thomas Edison’s time as the ultimate energy source, is still costly to transform into electricity on a large scale.

Will to power change

Author Richard Heinberg gives us reasons to be concerned, if not to be scared, about the future of our civilization in his acclaimed books Powerdown and The Party's Over. If we continue to ignore the following four factors, a dreadful ending marked by destructive war, economic collapse and environmental catastrophe is a likely consequence.

Securitisation of environment

Environmental issues are inseparable from global economic issues. Finally it can be observed that environmental issues are themselves threats to security. The concept 'resource war' is itself an indication that environmental issues can be understood as a source of political threat.

Computer servers 'as bad' for climate as SUVs

Computer servers are at least as great a threat to the climate as SUVs or the global aviation industry, warns a new report.

'Out of Balance' climate film targets ExxonMobil

Environmentalists love taking aim at ExxonMobil Corp., which many see as the biggest corporate culprit in human-fueled climate change. A documentary on global warming takes this to a new level: buy the $24.99 DVD online, and the film's distributor will donate $10 to victims of the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill.

Small Step, Big Victory on Energy

A majority in both houses of Congress, reflecting the desires of the American people, wants to shift the direction of our energy policy away from the fossil fuel past and towards a renewable energy future.

HARTline ridership continues to rise

Tampa - High gas prices appear to be driving people to try buses. Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority, which oversees the county's public bus system, reported an 11 percent jump in October ridership, compared with October 2006.

Electric cars could act as batteries for the energy grid

Electric and hybrid cars could act as energy stores for the power grid while not being driven, say US researchers.

Scientists from the University of Delaware are using a new prototype made by US company AC Propulsion to store or supply grid electricity when required.

Enel's power plant for Albania

The Italian company plans to build a thermal power plant, fuelled by imported coal with an estimated capacity of approximately 1,300 MW, which would supply electricity to both the Italian and Albanian markets.

Energy expert warns about peak oil

As you're hopping into your car, gearing up for the holidays, driving every which way to pick out shiny gifts, think about this: According to Robert Hirsch, a past senior energy program advisor for world oil production with Science Application International Corporations, the one resource that provides all those things could soon be in dangerously short supply.

Gasoline prices could fall as crude oil wavers

The price of oil — within winking distance of $100 a barrel last week — has fallen and can't get up.

...If prices continue at less than $90, gasoline retailers could afford to pass along the past week's 20-cent drop in their wholesale prices. Gasoline is made from oil. The price of oil accounts for roughly two-thirds the price of gasoline, the latest government data say.

UK: Soaring Prices Fuel Discontent

FUEL prices have reached a record high and with petrol now hitting £1.12 a litre in parts of rural Scotland, that's more than £5 a gallon. Diesel has hit a staggering 118.9p in some areas.

While the rest of the planet is allowed to guzzle gas at a fraction of the cost, our motorists are paying the price.

Iran can hike oil output if OPEC wants, says official

Iran could supply additional oil to the market if OPEC chose to increase production, Iran's OPEC governor said on Tuesday, although he said Tehran saw no need for an OPEC hike.

Gazprom receives approval to hike 2008 domestic gas prices by 25%

OAO Gazprom received approval from Russia's Federal Tariff Service to raise wholesale gas prices by 25 pct next year, a source familiar with the decision told Interfax.

Libya steps on the gas

The pace of upstream licensing in Libya is picking up: this month, Tripoli has agreed new deals with US companies Exxon Mobil and Occidental Petroleum (Oxy), and Austria’s OMV.

Climate Talks Take on Added Urgency After Report

Thousands of government officials, industry lobbyists, environmental campaigners and observers are arriving on the Indonesian island of Bali for two weeks of talks starting Monday that are aimed at breathing new life into the troubled 15-year-old global climate treaty.

A heightened sense of urgency surrounds the meeting in light of a report issued last month by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which detailed the potentially devastating effects of global warming in the panel’s strongest language yet.

Call for action to save Himalayan glaciers

As industrial powers debate global warming, some of the greatest concern lies in the remote Himalayas where melting glaciers pose catastrophic risks, experts say.

The retreat of the ice causes so-called glacial lakes in the Himalayas, which are a key source of water to densely populated South Asia -- a region that already suffers deadly floods on an annual basis.

The Climate in Bali and Washington

So far, this has been an encouraging year for people who care about global warming. Governors have signed regional agreements to cap greenhouse gas emissions. The federal courts are pressing Washington to take action. Venture capitalists have poured money into cleaner fuels. Polls show rising public concern.

What’s still missing is a concrete national and international strategy for a problem that does not respect any borders. The days ahead will tell a lot about whether the world, and especially the United States, is prepared to do more than just talk about the problem.

US wants to negotiate new climate pact

American delegates at the U.N. climate conference insisted Monday they would not be a "roadblock" to a new international agreement aimed at reducing potentially catastrophic greenhouse gases.

But Washington refused to endorse mandatory emissions cuts, which are seen by many governmental delegations at the meeting as crucial for reining in rising temperatures.

Riots and hunger feared as demand for grain sends food costs soaring

The risks of food riots and malnutrition will surge in the next two years as the global supply of grain comes under more pressure than at any time in 50 years, according to one of the world's leading agricultural researchers.

Recent pasta protests in Italy, tortilla rallies in Mexico and onion demonstrations in India are just the start of the social instability to come unless there is a fundamental shift to boost production of staple foods, Joachim von Braun, the head of the International Food Policy Research Institute, warned in an interview with the Guardian.

The growing appetite of China and other fast-developing nations has combined with the expansion of biofuel programmes in the United States and Europe to transform the global food situation.

Saudis refuse to tip their hand on whether OPEC will increase output

OPEC powerhouse Saudi Arabia kept consumers guessing on the eve of a key meeting of the group Tuesday, with its oil minister refusing to tip his hand on whether he favors cranking up production to reassure skittish markets.

OPEC may hike daily output by 500,000 barrels: source

OPEC will either increase supplies by 500,000 barrels a day or maintain its oil production level, an OPEC delegate told reporters in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday ahead of the cartel's crucial output meeting.

"OPEC will either roll-over or make a gesture of 500,000 barrels per day" increase at its meeting in the Emirati capital on Wednesday, said the delegate, who requested anonymity.

He said an increase could be decided despite the market being "more than supplied," in order for OPEC to no longer be blamed for record high oil prices close to 100 dollars a barrel.

Hoaxers target Big Oil

Environmental campaigners today appeared to have opened up a new front in the battle against Big Oil over climate change when they established a bogus website and sent out a press release committing BP, Shell and others to a 90% cut in carbon outputs by 2050 with no strings attached.

The internet portal looked identical to the one run by the US Climate Action Partnership (USCAP), a consortium of 33 prominent corporations and organisations, except that the news section of the mocked-up copy included a news release proclaiming "major businesses announce commitment to reduce greenhouse emissions by 90%".

The only thing we have to fear is fear-mongering

Just before Thanksgiving, members of the Peak Oil Committee had a hearing in Hartford involving Connecticut's apparent lack of preparedness for the world running out of oil and natural gas.

The hearing featured like-minded believers of the notion that the world is about to run out of fossil fuels that power the world's economies and that Connecticut is at risk for its failure to prepare for inevitable economic depression, widespread famine and general calamity. Mind you, no mainstream energy experts participated, only those who believe the world is coming to an end. This isn't the first time this has happened.

UK: City hosts meeting on fuel costs

A conference to discuss the impact of rising oil costs on the people of Stirling is to be held in the city.

Organiser Rachel Nunn, the co-founder of Going Carbon Neutral Stirling, said the event would look at the effects of fuel costs.

Titled Peak Oil and Carbon Emissions, the conference will also focus on the consequences for every day life.

Africa: How to Light Up Africa?

The current skyrocketing world price for oil is getting closer to an unbelievable figure of $100 - the highest in recent years - and this is bringing our economies to their knees.

This increase in oil prices is fuelling economic problems and neutralising our hard-earned gains from poverty reduction programmes, international development and even debt relief efforts.

Lights out for oil-rich Nigeria

The Egbin Thermal Power Station, a few miles outside Lagos, is Nigeria's largest generating plant, with a capacity of 1,320 megawatts. It has six units, but two have been cannibalized to repair the remaining four, and at peak hours only two turbines are functioning. On bad days, like the first week in November, when the gas supply line was sabotaged, the plant shuts down altogether.

Not surprisingly, morale is low. "We are told of massive funding, but the funding never gets here," says Akintoye, an engineer at the plant. "We don't have spare parts. The contractors who built the plant are not given the maintenance contracts, which are determined by the regime in power. Even if we are operating optimally we can't serve Lagos, with a population of ten million."

Gunmen Kill Oil Worker in Nigeria

Gunmen have killed one person and seriously injured a second in an attack on a crewboat operated by Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM) in the oil-rich Niger Delta, an industry source said Tuesday.

"One crew (member) was killed and one seriously injured," said the source.

Bali climate talks advance despite squabbling

A 190-nation climate meeting in Bali took small steps towards a new global deal to fight global warming by 2009 on Tuesday amid disputes about how far China and India should curb rising greenhouse gas emissions.

Shanghai sea levels rise faster than average

THE sea level around Shanghai has risen 120 millimeters since 1977 - a level higher than the national average.

Action needs to be taken, an official of the State Oceanic Administration said yesterday.

Climate fund falls far short

Victims of climate change, real and potential, appealed Tuesday for a vast increase in international aid to protect them from and compensate them for rising seas, crop-killing drought and other likely impacts of global warming.

Maybe I missed it, but I've not seen any discussion of the Harper's Magazine December 2007 issue. Specifically, the article "The Black Box: Inside Iraq's Oil Machine" by Luke Mitchell.


Has any one else read the article?

I'm off to work all day -- for me, this means away from the computer, most likely for 8-10 hours.

I thought Mitchell's article was very well done, and especially noted the various ways in which it has been relatively easy for oil smuggling inside of Iraq and at the tanker terminal without meters to measure oil flow.

It is behind a paywall...

Sorry about that.

Well, the article is good enough to go and check out at the library, or to go to the local bookseller to sit and read, or even (gasp -- it must be good!) to buy off the magazine rack.

The description of Iraq's oil infrastructure, the corrupt USA-funded "reconstruction" of said infrastructure which allows for local and international smuggling of oil, and the obscene environmental impact of operating this oil infrastructure under the condistions of a brutal and corrupt military occupation are vital information for all of us.

Whether as USA citizens or as world citizens we need to know the facts on the ground -- not simply what Fox/CNN/Corporatist Media Dis-Info-Tainment shows like to present.

Interesting work on Walkable Cities, follow link:



AK cities are not on the list!!

Your right about Alaska perhaps they did not consider it.

When I lived Bethel, AK I walk almost everywhere and a cab when it was to cold, and when I lived in Anchorage, AK I got around on my bicycle for a good part of the year, the urban planning was well done in Anchorage, most neighborhoods had retail shops within walking distance then large park/open spaces near by. I miss living there.

This report was for cities with pop. of 10-50 units per acre, but left out how they depend on others traveling to them to make them work, and how big of parking ramps are needed, or they would most likely fail.

Most of the cities in that report are no more that urban planning vomit done by paycheck planners pushed around by bully builders. In 100 years people will look back in time as say what were they thinking.

'urban planning vomit done by paycheck planners pushed around by bully builders.'

That's my kind of in your face eloquence. Sounds just like our town. Government by Board of Variance. I'd revise that hundred years down to ten or less.

Well said.

Anchorage? Please. Just another automobile slum. (I lived there for six months in the early 1990s).

Try Tokyo:


or Florence:


Yeah I agree Anchorage is not an easy town to "walk" around in. They keep hiring consultants from Portland to try to get it right some day and now hope to develope town centers. It is a car town, make that a SUV/truck town. I have lived there for many years and just know that you need to be south in your old age. Also lived and worked in Hong Kong, now that is a fun place to move around on your feet. Like the narrow streets focus, need to have a limited land basis to get that started. It does make for a more interesting enviroment, high density and multi use. Wish we had more of it in the US.

I felt a lot of nostalgia looking at the pictures of Japan. I lived there for six years without a car. A second time I lived there three years with my family. We inherited a car from my brother but we rarely used it. We lived at the end of a really narrow street. My wife was always worried that on the way out she'd meet up with another woman coming and that neither of them being able to drive in reverse they'd be stuck there all day.

One of my fondest memories is having Sapporo ramen and a can of beer sitting under the canopy of a street vendor.

Japan is probably rather well prepared for living with fewer (not zero) fossil fuels. As you can see from the photos, it is very easy to live by walking, biking and train riding in Japan. They still have to worry about the fossil fuels needed to propel the trucks and to make plastics.

It would be really hard for the US to live like Japanese do. It would take a generational change. Living in Tokyo is like experiencing Christmas shopping every day.

Japan is probably rather well prepared for living with fewer (not zero) fossil fuels.

We are an island that imports 100% of its energy. I shudder when I think of the long term viability of Japan. Especially when Indonesia cuts off our gas in a couple of years.

As you can see from the photos, it is very easy to live by walking, biking and train riding in Japan

I must nitpick here a bit. "As you can see from the photos, it is very easy to live by walking, biking and train riding in Japan Tokyo"

Outside of Tokyo it is very much a car culture. Ask a Japanese person his/her hobbies and a common answer is driving. Japanese love to drive. And outside of Tokyo or maybe Osaka/Kyoto you must have a car to get anywhere.

It is not so hard to live without a car in the rural areas. They are well served by buses, which will take you to the local train station. I traveled all over the countryside for mountaineering/skiing/etc., including some extremely rural areas, almost entirely on public transit. It is a special pleasure to take a bus to the start of a week-long ski mountaineering trip, and then take the train back.

However, I agree fully that Japanese people love to drive around -- mostly for pleasure rather than necessity. This is a country with seven international car companies, after all.

I want to introduce several examples of real train/walking based cities, instead of the mediocre Portland.

Most countries in the world import almost all their fossil fuels. Not many countries have meaningful fossil fuel deposits. Japan is no different there than France, Italy, Thailand, Korea, Argentina, Spain, India, etc. etc.

I want to introduce several examples of real train/walking based cities, instead of the mediocre Portland.

I would like your input on real train/walking based cities. Do you feel they exist in the US? What qualities other than narrow streets do you feel make a city successful? They cannot be "winter" cities ie narrow streets make snow removal/storage pretty tough. I am living in Santiago Chile now, great town, tough air pollution in the winter, many parts are walkable & it has a good metro. Local culture here is car centered. Valparaiso on the coast is very cool and a walking city.

I found this article to be most interesting: World likely to rely on Saudi oil in the future The IEA is still saying that Saudi oil production will rise to 17.5 mb/d by 2030 and their share of world oil production will rise from 11% to 15%. The world is depending on Saudi Arabia to bail us out. Can they succeed?

They are installing down hole pumps in an attempt to increase production:

Both sides in the debate agree that Saudi Arabia is having to make greater efforts to sustain production. One supplier to Saudi Aramco says that two years ago the country had 100 electric submersible pumps, used to squeeze more oil out of a well. In two or three years, he thinks, there will be 1,000.

The question is, will these pumps actually cause the wells to produce more oil, or just act as super straws to pull the oil out faster? At any rate Saudi is pulling out all the stops to keep the oil flowing. They have plugged some wells above the high water mark, modified others from vertical wells to short arm horizontal wells. These two modifications allow them to pull oil only from the very top of the reservoir, avoiding the water just below. And all their new wells are horizontal MRC (Maximum Reservoir Contact) wells. Now, in areas where the pressure is dropping, they are installing down hole pumps.

Wood Mackenzie says they will get to 12.5 mb/d but in 2011 instead of 2009. But Matt Simmons says the argument will soon be settled.

The argument cannot go on forever, however. The development of emerging economies, led by China, will create sustained growth in oil demand, and if Saudi production really has peaked, the world will be in trouble. “The day of reckoning is when we desperately need their oil, because we have used up our stocks, and they can’t supply it,” Mr Simmons says.

Ron Patterson

It is one thing to get the commodities out of the ground, it is another to get the commodities to the destinations that require them. The world is bumping up against a lot of limiting factors including Peak Everything and Peak Port Capacities. Do TPTB spend $billions$ or $trillions$ to expand port facilities now, with the threat of rising sea level on the horizon? The perfect storm is brewing and I dont see continual economic expanison surviving it.


...snip...'And even more ominous, The Economist magazine reports that "The Baltic Dry Index, which tracks the costs of shipping 'dry' goods such as iron ore, coal and grain around the world, dipped this week after hitting an all-time high on November 13th. But it is still up 154% from a year earlier." In fact, "The cost of shipping iron ore from Brazil to China is now more than the cost of digging up the ore itself."

The reason is the same old one, "As with so much to do with commodities, the extraordinary rise in freight rates is partly because of China's appetite for raw materials."

And this means that the transportation pipeline is already too small to accommodate such a large movement of goods, as "A dearth of new ships, and flotillas waiting to berth in overcrowded ports (especially in Australia), are also driving rates higher," meaning that even if enough stuff could be grown or mined, very little of this surplus could be delivered, as the transportation system is maxed out already!...snip...

The Panama Canal has been operating at capacity for over a decade (and Panamax size is too small for best economic operation),

The new 2014 expansion (a 3rd set of locks that can take vessels x2.5 Panamax) will fundamentally change shipping costs from Brazil to China and back. Even post-Peak Oil. Likewise Venezuela-China.

Best Hopes for Long Lived Energy Efficient Infrastructure,


New Orleans and Mobile are tied for being the closest Northern Gulf ports to the Panama Canal.

Global circulation patterns were very different when the isthmus of Panama was below sea level. Wouldn't it be interesting, in all sorts of ways, if part of AGW remediation involved simply opening all of the locks and expanding the width of the facility?


We discussed this a while back in Feb 2006

Living in the Eemian
Posted by Stuart Staniford on February 20, 2006 - 9:44pm


Whoa. You've got the link, no need to post all the comments, including the junk between them.

Edited to cut it down to just the link.

I'm only a few months old so I missed this discussion. I'm glad its already been hammered out here - definitely a last ditch sort of measure, and it would appear that the excavation required vastly exceeds our capabilities even during the time of cheap oil.

you're just a baby! :)

It's been suggested that the appearance of the Isthmus of Panama then blocked the circulation between the Atlantic and Pacific, and that this may have resulted in the beginning of the last round of Ice Ages some 3 million years ago. One way of looking at the paleoclimate record since is that we are still in an Ice Age, with the present warmth being a temporary interlude. However, re-establishing the flow might produce warmer conditions of some sort, not alleviate the warming which may result from increased CO2 and other additions to the atmosphere. The thermohaline circulation (THC) wouldn't be the same as it is now, which probably would reduce the transport of warm water from the tropical North Atlantic to higher latitudes. Other periods with reduced THC flows have been associated with a return to Ice Age conditions, such as during the 1000 year Younger Dryas period.

As for opening the locks on the Panama Canal, they function to lift the ships to higher elevations in staircase fashion, so the ships can travel across the higher elevations in the middle of the Isthmus. Open the locks and dams and the Canal would go dry, after the central lake drained. I do recall a proposed sea level canal, which was promoted as a way of moving ships without locks. That one was to traverse Nicaragua, if memory serves, the proposal being to blast the canal with nuclear explosives. I doubt that the idea would gain acceptance these days. Oh, wait, now we know why Gee Dubyah wants to buy all those "bunker buster" bombs... :-)

E. Swanson

The highest point of the Panama canal is 26m MSL so you would need to pump the water over.

Assuming the canal was dug out to sea level, I wonder how wide the canal would need to be to affect ocean circulation.

Not sure if you have been through Panama - there are the Gatun locks on the Caribbean side and the Miraflores Locks on the Pacific side. Total rise in the Gatun Locks is 85 feet, more than any sea-level rise suggested due to global warming.

Then there is the issue of tides to contend with. The Caribbean, being on the western edge of the Atlantic has minimal tides, whereas on the Pacific side Panama is on the eastern edge of that great ocean and subject to large tides. Locks would be needed just to control tidal flows through the canal, even if somehow the whole thing could be dredged down to sea level.

Is the increase in freight rates because of supply/demand, or because of fuel costs? Is fuel a significant factor in sea-borne shipping? I have a friend in the fireworks industry, and shipping costs (from China, plus rail/truck thereafter) are killing them right now. At some point the cost of shipping cheap trinkets from China half-way around the world will outweigh their labor cost advantage.

600 years ago the Chinese used to build 400 foot long sailing junks for their great trading expeditions.

Maybe time to dig out the blueprints.

It is one thing to get the commodities out of the ground, it is another to get the commodities to the destinations that require them.

Too true. This link from yesterday's FT is of interest Dry bulk bubble might have bouyancy to spare

On Friday, the Baltic Exchange, which collects information about shipping markets, was quoting the standard charter rate for a Capesize dry bulk carrier - the largest kind, so called because it has to sail around Cape Horn and the Cape of Good Hope rather than use the Panama or Suez Canals - at $179,527 per day.

The same rate a year ago was $69,235. The increase is pushing up sharply the costs of many users of the vital commodities that such ships carry - particularly coal and iron ore.

For some commodities, according to Mr Su, the cost of transport can be twice as much as the cost of the cargo when it was delivered to the ship.
He suggests that a crash could come both through the choking effect of present rates on demand from customers and because of the delivery of the hundreds of new vessels that are now on order at shipyards worldwide.

Yet market observers point out that new ships are unlikely to be delivered in one sudden splurge.

Many shipyards are full to capacity building container ships to handle China's soaring exports and tankers to meet new environmental rules.

Only 49 or the roughly 450 Capesize ships currently on order are due to be delivered during 2008.

The size of the present fleet stands at 740.

The 17.5 mbpd number, in 2030, is interesting.

Based on their 2005 to 2006 rate of increase in consumption (+5.7%/year), Saudi Arabia in order to maintain their 2005 net export level of about 9 mbpd (total liquids) would have to increase their production by close to 2% per year from 2005 to 2030, to a production level of 17.3 mbpd in 2030, which again would just maintain the 2005 net export level (based on current rate of increase in consumption).

Their 2007 total liquids production will probably be down by about 10% from 2005. We shall see what happens in 2008.

Greg and I spoke about your conversation with him. I was wondering what were your thoughts on Boone pickens idea of diverting NG to a transportation fuel.

If a push for "light hydrocarbons" (NG + propane/butane) for transportation was coupled with a push to reduce their use in other sectors.

1) Many more Wind Turbines to displace NG for electricity
1b) More nukes (long term)
1c) HV DC transmission and Pumped Storage

2) More insulation, better windows, etc to reduce demand for NG, propane/butane & electricity

3) Tankless & solar hot water heaters to reduce demand for NG, oil, electricity. propane

4) Ground loop Heat pumps to reduce demand for NG and oil in winter and electricity in summer (more efficient than standard a/c) Also solar space heating where applicable.

Conserve and displace NG faster than it depletes !

Best Hopes for a Balanced Energy Policy,


What do you reckon to using compressed air as storage to run distributed chp systems. You can dump excess wind power into them when its windy, and your chp will run at better efficiency when its cold, windy and you need the heat. Eventually it could be run on bio gas from digestion of waste or gassified biomass. You digester would produce most biogas in the summer, when the wind was at its least. You can survive it being windy and cold as you have a buffer of bio gas and compressed air.

Also what about stripping out SUVs, and fitting them with 2 electric wheel motors, connected up to a series hybrid truck which controls all the wheels on the vehicles its towing. Would be a light road train. Ideally carriages could be made for it.



I think there's a future for these things in a renewable electric grid:


They are perhaps the most convenient way to store energy from intermittent sources.

As Alan noted, to some extent it makes sense, especially for fleet users. But it's not a solution of course, since we are still talking about fossil fuel consumption.

Thanks ..Westexas & Alan

We are again thinking in the language to which we have become accustomed. "The Saudis will produce 12.5 mb/d by 2011, and they currently produce about 8.6 mb/d." Wrong on both counts. The Saudis don't "produce" oil, nor does most anyone else. We/they have harvested it from a given, limited supply.

We are picking fruit from a vast grove of nearly unimaginable size, but the grove is still limited, and we have only just begun to think about how to grow more fruit.

Can we grow the kind of fruit we need? Yes, ethanol and biodiesel for fuel, and even plastics, pharmaceuticals, and pesticides can be made from plants.

To support 6.6 billion people who require 85 million barrels per day, can we grow enough in the time frame required?


Other focuses (foci?) are needed instead, like community, networking, preparation, and ELP.

For any sustainable human endeavor, there needs to be a cycle of production, harvest, and renewal. Our crops are produced when we plant them, we eat them when we harvest them, and we renew crops with bodily wastes as fertilizer. There also needs to be an energy source. For this general situation, the sun is all that's needed.

Our industrial processes focus mainly on harvest and production. We harvest various ores, and produce them into drinking glasses and cars. We can also renew broken glass and junked cars, but that requires other energy resources like coal, methane, and oil.

The fossil fuel energy sources that power the overwhelming bulk of our society are only harvested. We overwhelmingly play zero part in their production or renewal.

So will the pumps just act as superstraws? Yes. Can the Saudis succeed in producing more oil? No. Can they harvest more oil in the near future? Time will tell. Can they indefinitely harvest more oil? No. Are we past the point where the Saudis or the world as a whole can't increase the harvest? Time will tell.

We harvest the dinosaurs and ferns from last great extinction(Dryas/Jurassic?) and we are planting the current harvest with the extinction of our own 6.6 billion selves so maybe some some future species can harvest us at the peak of their "evolutionary development". This is the meaning of true charity learned just in time forthe Christmas season.


"And so, as Tiny Tim observed, God Bless Us, Every One!"

So Literally,
"This is the Body and the Blood of 'Chris'.. who gave his own begotten self, that we may have everlasting commutes!"
- Blessed Be~

Merry Christmas, Savings and Loan! Merry Christmas, Soylent Evergreens!

"Merry Christmas, Soylent Evergreens!" LOL!

Regarding submersible pumps...

Submersible pumps have two main advantages that the Saudis are probably taking advantage of.

1) ESPs move a lot of fluid efficiently especially if you can predict the amount of fluid you have to move to keep the well pumped off. The reason you go to ESPs to move high quantities of fluid is that you don't want your conventional pumps to be bobbing up and down like sewing machines. This causes excessive wear on rods, tubing, and pumps. Especially if you have a high water cut..thus low lubrication.

2) ESPs are used in horizontal wells, since the geometry of such wells causes rods to rub against tubing and wear out the tubing and rods faster. Considering the increase in horizontal drilling and multilateral sidetrack (MRC) wells we read about in Saudi Arabia an increase in the use of ESPs is not surprising.

And yes, of course they are sucking the oil out faster.

Article in today's Financial Times discussing whether or not Saudi oil production has peaked.

The views of the IEA, Matthew Simmons, CERA and Wood Mackenzie all get discussed.

A CERA spokesman says: “Yes, the Saudis are having to invest a lot of effort in keeping production up. But that is the case everywhere,”, but what he doesn't mention is that most countries are already past peak and in decline.

Also, if Saudi Arabia are already, as CERA admit, 'investing a lot of effort in keeping production up', how are they supposed to meet the IEA's projections of 17.5m barrels per day in 2030?

What the IEA seem to be unable to grasp is that even if KSA where to magically increase its production to whatever figure they (the IEA) deems appropriate for the West to consume by whenever, KSA itself will be using up an ever increasing amount. This is the ELM in action, are they blind to the skyscrapers rising out of the sands?

Now, if KSA can only manage a fraction of the increase -say 50% to 12 or 13mbpd and we go PO, oil is going to become very very expensive and KSA will get very rich and they will probably be consuming even more of the stuff -i.e. we will get to Net exports = 0 even sooner...

One possible mitigation: Build out the nuclear option in OPEC Nations so that the the liquid fuels are not burnt to provide electricity. I suggest we rapidly explore the Thorium option to prevent proliferation of fissile materials. India could lead the way on this -they've got more Thorium than you can shake a stick at. The US has loads too. There is no Energy shortage in nature.

Regards, Nick.

Straight form Google news this morning:

Refining capacity strained to take upmore oil supplies causing a drop in price if OPEC increases supply but less gas coming to market.


Refining Capacity
Oil refiners would be unable to absorb an increase in OPEC output because of constraints on the amount of crude they can turn into fuels, potentially causing prices to drop below $80 a barrel, Merrill Lynch & Co. said in a report e-mailed yesterday.
``The incremental supply of crude oil will likely exceed the market's ability to refine it'' because of limited growth in processing capacity, Merrill analysts led by Francisco Blanch said in the report.
Refiners have limited means to increase their cracking capacity, or the ability to turn more of the heavy oil typically produced by OPEC countries into lighter fuels such as gasoline and naphtha, according to Merrill. This constraint indicates additional OPEC supply may exceed demand.

And on divorce causing smalleer households leading to GW:


As if the burden of divorce weren't bad enough, people with failed marriages can be blamed for global warming, according to a study by Michigan State University.
Divorced couples use up more space in their respective homes, which amounts to to 38 million more rooms worldwide to light, heat and cool, noted the report.

Opec does not typically produce heavy oil. It produces a wide range of grades. This seems to be even more evidence that the increase from KSA is a increment of difficult to refine heavy oil.

Gene Guilford's article on Republican American is interesting not in the misunderstandings it repeats which we've all heard before, but in the comments section beneath his article. It seems that every one of the 11 respondents so far understands what peak oil means, and disagrees with Gene.

Fear needs to be only an intermediate response before your brain kicks in and says, "so what will I do about it?"

As long as the next response is not either stick-your-head-in-the-sand denial, or omg-we're-all-gonna-die hopelessness, then we're on the right track.

But there is nothing wrong with fear in and of itself.

The only thing we have to fear is ignorance regarding the survival and motivational value of fear within the system of human experience.

Somewhat related to your comment 710 -

R.e. the announcement that Iran stopped its WMD program years ago, announced by the same folks who have been trumping it up to begin with, smacks of manipulation.

The effect on the general Q public?

Yeah, the world is a safe place again. I can go ahead and buy that "insert consumable here". I can run up my cc and insure a $upper great Xma$ for the whole family. YEA!!!

Fear on
Fear off

Jump through the hoop sparkey

I missed one thing we need to be aware of when confronted with fear, prompted by your comment. Namely, the belief that someone or something else ("the government", "technology", "they") will solve the problems you face personally.

The list of PO aware people dissing him gets longer all the time under the article. Maybe we activists are doing that loudly and all the same people as we alsways look for such articles in a targeted manner. This could however help the average Joe who just happens to read the article to decide whether it is BS or not be and discredit the opinion of the journalist. A very good tactic.

In some sense of the word "good" perhaps. In other senses they could just be trolls. You have to make the effort to keep the discourse civil.

You said, and all the same people as we alsways look for such articles in a targeted manner. — well, duh. Leanan looks for such articles in a targeted manner every morning.

[edit] Now that I've read the article and the comments, I have to agree. The article was the troll :)

Did I miss the discussion on Iran's nuclear non-capability?

This, surely, pulls the plug on residual fears of another Gulf War. Which should, at least, take some tension out of the market.

During the run-up to the invasion of Iraq, I formed the opinion that Saddam was double-bluffing : denying that he had weapons of mass delusion, while hinting that he really had them... while actually not having any.

Ahmadinedjad has been playing much the same game. Like Saddam, he was convinced that Bush would blink in the end... and unlike Saddam, he was right.

(All hail to the US "intelligence community" for regaining its honour in the face of political pressure.)

It may pull the plug on residual fears; whether it pulls the plug on an attack is in no way assured. My guess is that it is postponed to April. Relax and shop.

'It aint over till the fat lady sings'...

Because the 'intelligence apparatus' (sorry for the oxymoron) of the US now estimates that Iran stopped working on 'Nukler Wepins' in 2003 does not mean that the drumbeat for war against Iran will stop forever. 'The whole world is but a stage...' There are many possibilities for the release of this particular 'intel estimate' at this time. As geopolitics and geoeconomics change, the list of those rating the label 'axis of evil' changes to fit current circumstances.

Pakistan has recently moved closer to center stage as has Turkey and the Kurds. Afganistan continues to heat up, and Chevez lost his bid, for now, to become the second coming of Castro. Israel has not figured out how to defuse the threat of Hezzbolah. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, some cooler heads have no doubt decided that a possible shut down of ME oil exports would not do Wall St and prospects for more globalization a lot of good.

We certainly live in interesting times...:)

Hmm, Libya stopped working on nuclear weapons in 2003, Iran stopped working on nuclear weapons in 2003. What else happened in 2003 that could have caused this?

A political coup for McCain if he plays it well.

Iran and Libya are very different places and the Iranians are very different peoples from the Libyans and with very different governments.

The one thing that you can be quite sure of is that the Iranians (if they really had such work going on and did indeed stop it) would not have stopped it if they felt under pressure to do so.

Personally, I suspect that the media circus tap was switched off by the same people who turned it on in the first place.

Guys, don't forget, it took the Arabs a few years to conquer what is now Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine/Israel, Egypt, Sudan, Yemen, Oman, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria and Morrocco (some of these countries were Christian at the time) using horse and camel power. However, they spent 100 years trying to conquer Iran and ended up having to make a deal with the Iranians of the North and East whereby, if they were to convert to Islam (from Zoroastrianism) they would be left alone. These Iranians went along with it and invented Shiaism to distingish themselves from the Arabs of Arabia.

When you have that sort of history, you don't care too much about what some guys 10 time zones to the west of you think.

That's what Dim Son's presser was all about. Or:

"When did Iran stop beating it's wife".

Everyone now assumes that Iran called off it's nuke development.

War dead ahead as the $500 Trillion Derivatives debacle unravels.

Depression by Christmas.

The most concise history for WWI, 1929, WWII, and Vietnam here:

From Elaine Supkis:

" At the beginning of the Great Depression, the biggest international banking enterprise was still in London. The British Empire was even bigger than before WWI. The British Empire was also BANKRUPT. It still sailed the Seven Seas and it still marched about Africa, Asia, the Americas. But the banking system COLLAPSED. Since the £ was used for international trade, the collapse of the banking system meant a collapse of trade. And this was fixed only through the expedient of having a massive World War as everyone fought over the corpse of the British Empire. The only reason any bits survived was due to the new empire, the USA, stepping in and taking over the Seven Seas and Britain as well as half of Europe. We lost most of Asia through a long, grinding war called 'The Cold War' but we held onto Japan. After Russia fell, we ended up ruling the Earth.

And driving straight into bankruptcy, ourselves. Now we are seeing a repeat of that time period. The Great Depression was not started by US consumers buying radios, cars and houses. How on earth could that cause world banking to collapse? But when Germany refused to pay Britain reparations, the whole INTERNATIONAL banking system went kaput. As it is, today. Banks trade with each other and this is now collapsing. And not due to homeowners walking away from outsized mortgages. The numbers are still rather puny. Compared to our trade deficit. And our war expenditures. And our budget deficits. As well as a thing created by bankers and financiers, a thing that dwarfs all other things on earth, the biggest, ugliest thing of them all: $500 TRILLION in derivatives!"

That's it in a nutshell right there.

And the press conference just now was about TPTB saying they'll bomb Iran before giving it up, IMHO.

mcgowanjm posted on 2007-12-04

Depression within three weeks? Valentine's Day, maybe, Xmas 2008, almost certainly.

But three weeks? Ouch.

I think due to the nature of the crisis, which is a crisis of the entire economy and monetary system, the result will be a quick descent into major depression. The major losses have so far been covered up, but there is a reason why the credit markets are largely frozen, and that is not because the financial community is "unsure of their market value". The truth is that they know that these SIV assets are worth far less than they valued them at. Nobody wants to purchase these assets because nobody is sure how far their asset values have to drop.

The end result, is that the government chooses between allowing deflation to occur or inflating the money supply to keep the artifical boom going. Clearly, the facade of a strong American economy will continue, but at some point a Depression/recession will arrive.

The important thing to remember is that the US has been able to keep this boom going because foreigners were willing to buy their debt. At some point, they will stop buying this debt, the US interest rates will rise and America will face a terrible depression.

I wouldn't bet on this happening before Christmas. When the real crisis hits however, I think it will be triggered by a single event which will start the ball rolling. If I had to guess I would say that the collapse will only be allowed to happen once Bush leaves office.

Depression is past now for those being laid off
by the thousands.

I mean, what is the definition of Depression.

I would argue that it means a "Bank Holiday" at the least.

And "when script/barter comes to be acceptable in lieu of
Federal Notes/Coinage.

One of these two will have to happen over Christmas
when a growing number of "full payment" people only
pay like 1/2 of their credit card balance.

See Florida BlackRock fund's value is indeterminate.

I have no idea who Elaine Supkis is, but so far I'm not impressed. I'll grant that summing up the twentieth century in a couple of paragraphs is not easy - which is why I wouldn't even begin. If she wishes to attempt such a thing, fine.

Quite where the British Empire was marching about in the Americas is hard to fathom unless she thinks that Canada still considered itself a colony at that time. That officially ended in 1931 but the reality had manifested itself far earlier. As for South America, ??? British Guyana, I suppose, makes her technically correct but it hardly qualifies as imperial majesty.

Japan headed for the coal of Manchuria and the oil of Indonesia and control of the Straits of Malacca. Germany, having lost its bid for the Berlin to Baghdad railway in the first war, headed for the Suez. Rommel wasn't trying to corner the market for camels and figs.

As for Russia falling, it seems like they have the European gas market firmly under control; so much for 'losing'. They are also the world's largest oil exporter for the moment anyway.

I could go on, but Supkis doesn't seem worth the bother. I hope she isn't an expert.

Petrosaurus, I agree. Never heard of Elaine Supkis but her version of history between the wars is very sketchy and contains many half-truths. History is very complex, as is the human mind, and cannot be summed up in a few sentences...to attempt it is folly.
Truth is, GB and America were continuing to follow the Mackinder Theory, known as the 'Heartland Theory', and it was this belief in Mackinder that brought on the extreme reparations leveled against Germany following WW1, the 'buffer' created between Germany and Russia following WW1, and was one of the biggest reasons that an impoverished Germany launched WW2 (without consent of the German People). Ms. Supkis is correct about GB being in dire straights economically and as I have pointed out before this is the primary reason that Chamberlain followed a course of 'appeasment' tword Nazi Germany.


Mackinder said: "Who rules East Europe commands the Heartland; Who rules the heartland commands the World Island; Who rules the World Island commands the World."...snip..." Mackinder is also credited with introducing two new terms into the dictionary : "manpower" , "heartland"...snip...

'Enter the Nazis
The Heartland Theory was enthusiastically taken up by the German school of Geopolitik, in particular by its main proponent Karl Haushofer. Whilst Geopolitik was later embraced by the German Nazi regime in the 1930s, Mackinder was always extremely critical of the German exploitation of his ideas. The German interpretation of the Heartland Theory is referred to explicitly (without mentioning the connection to Mackinder) in The Nazis Strike, the second of Frank Capra's Why We Fight series of American World War II propaganda films.'

...''And this was fixed only through the expedient of having a massive World War as everyone fought over the corpse of the British Empire...''

Whomsoever this Ellen Soupkitchen woman is, she needs to read around a bit more.

1. Correct, Britain and Empire was on the ropes after The Great War a) because of The Great War and b) because of the depression.The UK entered the Second World War in an enervated condition and facing independence movements throughout the Empire, most notably India.

2. The Second world war was not started by 'tptb' to break up the British Empire. The Second World War was started by Nazis, Fascists and Imperial Japan, as wars of conquests in spheres of influence.

-Germany in Europe, because if no war of conquest then she would have been economically bust by 1942-1943.

-Japan in Asia-Pacific for raw materials and oil.

Britain in Europe and Britain in Asia / Australasia got in the way and reluctantly immolated it's own Empire in both spheres, standing fast until something turned up (USSR and USA)

The USSR went to war in its own defence. A racial war of Genetic Extermination against it, starting in 1941.

The USA went to war in retaliation against Japan, who had committed the second most stupid strategic mistake in History. The first most stupid strategic mistake being commencing Operation Barbarossa 1941 , before completing Operation Sea lion - 1940.

Britain gave up many of its imperial holdings for lend-lease and US involvement. The alternative was submission, invasion and as Churchill put it better than any man alive, 'a new dark age illuminated by the light of perverted science'.

Truly, our grandparents had no choice.

Shit happens - deal with it. There was no 'conspiracy'.

It was just a war to the death, started by maniacs, gamblers and desperados.

I doubt you will get much applause for this comment, however I always enjoy reading your comments for their pragmatic observations. IMO this tends to be the whole truth, even though I suspect you are a subject of the Crown. Cheers.

WWII is a fascinating subject - it's quite different than what we usually get told, and many aspects of the political mascinations are quite relevant today.

Poland and Hungary invaded and took parts of Czechoslovakia, before Hitler signed the Munich Agreement with Britain and France to take his share. Russia helped Germany invade Poland in 1939 (in fact Russia invaded many countries around that time). Japan invaded Mancuria in 1931, and mainland China in 1937. America probably had a good idea Japan was likely to attack pearl harbour (some historians suggest the US encouraged the attack) - and it was a good excuse to get into the war.

All interesting stuff. Things are never quite as black and white as we get led to believe.

It was just a war to the death, started by maniacs, gamblers and desperados.

I think the whole point of the OP was just that — look around, the maniacs, gamblers and desperadoes are running the show again.


Here is the top story on MSNBC right now:
Bush: Iran report a 'warning signal'.

It looks like another push for Apocalypse is on!

Happy Holidays!

OMG what a clown - how in the world did we end up with that guy in office again in 2004? No, wait, Republican election rigging and a bunch of discharged U.S. Attorneys who wouldn't help???

Man, is it 1/20/2009 yet? I think I am gonna be sick ...

Don't forget the 270 million Americans that didn't do squat either time they stole the election. Heck, when they did absolutely nothing after the second time, it was Carte Blanche for the Bush administration to do ANYTHING THEY WANT, since the American people have shown themselves to be too cowed, too spineless, or too ignorant to be capable of defending their freedoms. As John Lennon said in 'Working Class Hero', "you're still f___in' peasants, as far as I can see." Serfdom is YOUR CHILDREN'S future.



Here is the CNN version of the latest drumming for war:
Bush: Nuke-less Iran remains dangerous

Looks like we are going to get our war on one way or another...

One interesting wrinkle is that Vladimir Putin has been arguably vindicated -- he's asserted for years that the case against Iran is exaggerated. In this case, the Bush administration has supplied a public relations coup for Putin.


For two years now, we've had a number of posters here breathlessly predicting that the Bush administration was planning an imminent attack on Iran. Some folks have even suggested that this would be done with tactical nuclear weapons. Perhaps it's time to consider that this judgment might be wrong.

I did notice that Israel did not exactly agree with the U.S. assessment:

"Perhaps it's time to consider that this judgment might be wrong."

Why? Bush just said that the new NIE changes nothing. If he is trying to spin this revelation as meaning Iran is still an immediate danger, that seems to me to indicate that he is bound and determined to attack Iran, no matter what. Facts have never counted much with this guy. Just as he was determined to attack Iraq, no matter how much ignoring of the facts, and cooking up lies, it took to sell it.

But I hope you're right.

We should draw a distinction between the statements and actions the government made leading up to Gulf Wars 1 and 2, and the statements the government constantly makes about Iran. Most importantly, prior to the two Iraq wars, the administration went to congress and got a congressional vote of approval authorizing military action. That hasn't happened with Iran, and is definitely not going to happen in anything like the current environment. On the contrary, some in congress would push for impeachment if we attacked Iran without a congressional vote, and rightfully so.

The rhetoric is different too. Anyone who watched Bush's State of the Union address in 2003 had to know that barring a radical change in events, the U.S. was about to attack Iraq. The warnings today about Iran are all of the vague "all options are on the table" variety that have commonly been used by U.S. governments for as long as I can recall. The government commonly uses passive tense sentences when it wants to affect things but doesn't intend to act dramatically. "It is unacceptable for North Korea to develop nuclear weapons."

By the way, on confessing that previous judgments were wrong, I admit that I thought Chavez would steal the Venezuelan election this last weekend. I was wrong, happily. We tend to make politicians we disagree with into one-dimensional villains, and this is usually not right.

Perhaps the new NIE is the excuse for
not attacking?

Naa, it will be the reason we have to attack. It proves that they might have a bomb someday.

Heck, Paraguay or Gabon might have the bomb -- SOMEDAY.

Maybe we'll need to destroy the globe to save it. . .

Iran definitely has nuclear capable cruise missiles in their possession:


And recently Putin met with Ahmadinejad and stated "an attack on Iran is an attack on Russia".

Given the insanity of the Bush administration what are the odds the Russians transfered a dozen 200kt nuclear tips for those missiles? Given that the Chinese have received the same missiles, and that it is in their interest to continue receiving large amounts of FF energy from Iran, what are the odds the two powers are working together in the face of the menacing behavior of our current administration?

We grew up, most of us, in the bipolar world of U.S. vs. U.S.S.R. We are badly handicapped by this legacy, as things have changed. The United States in its current configuration as the world's only superpower is as odd as a magnetic monopole, and the laws of international physics are moving to correct this imbalance. Instead of mutually assured destruction from diametrically opposite forces we face the much simpler assured destruction, in which our teeth are pulled by the collapse of the dollar.

Strange days, people, strange days ...


There should be zero doubt in anyone's mind that the Bush regime has been dying to 'fix' Iran ever since they took power. Talk of an attack on Iran is hardly the stuff of conspiracy theory paranoia, because time and time again high-ranking members of this regime have made increasingly strident not-so-subtle threats against Iran and have taken every opportunity to rachet up tensions and to portray Iran as the greatest threat to the world since Nazi Germany. If that's not bellicose, I don't know what is.

The only question is: What has been stopping them thus far?

Some possibilites:

1) The twin debacle of Iraq and Afganistan have given them pause for thought.

2) They want to wait until the winding down of this administration so the political fall-out will be minimal (except for the 2008 Republican candidates, for which they could care less).

3) They are worried about the effect on the economy and the world's oil situtation.

4) Israel really doesn't want them to (at least right now).

5) High-ranking military brass have told Bush they won't obey orders to attack Iran.

6) Russia has made explicit warnings that it would get involved militarily if we did attack Iran.

So, take your pick.

I think that of the above, only No. 6 would constitute the necessary and sufficient condition to kill the whole plan.

But delusional and ruthless people do delusional and ruthless things. I think the next six months or so are going to be an extremely dangerous period for the entire world.

I wish We, The People would do something about this. If we all picked up the phone just once a day and called our respective Congresscritters Bush and Cheney would be cuffed, stuffed, and shipped off to The Hague in short order. Heck, it wouldn't even need to be universal, if just the 75% that want them gone did it we'd see some action. I very much fear 1/1/2008, 4/1/2008, and 7/1/2008 - the financial effects of the ARM scam coming apart will put a lot of energy into the system, but who can tell which way the voters will push given the constant diet of news junk food they're fed by corporatist media. When the voters are enraged the attack on Iran is just that much closer ...

I find it interesting that no one can elucidate what the strategy might be. Invade and control? Not without a draft. Stop their WMD? Easily done, as they don't seem to have anything in development at Natanz, but there is that nagging dozen nuclear capable cruise missiles they own. Perhaps the idea is to savage their refining infrastructure and overall economy? That way they'd be forced to sell their oil and gas to us on the cheap, having lost the ability to resist. How that benefits the U.S. as opposed to China and Russia I can't fathom.

I really need to renew my subscription to the CFR's Foreign Affairs, but I fear I'd find the same head scratching in their publication as is seen here. No one can tell what goes on in the locked ward where the Bush administration plans its next misstep.

I think #5 is also just as powerful. Fallon: "Not on My Watch".

Google 'B52s' 'Minot' 'Nukes' and follow the story.
here's one.

Alot of weird things going on.

Here's one spelled with a capitol W eird.


Includes 'suspicious deaths' aspect that was new to me.

...It was just a war to the death, started by maniacs, gamblers and desperados...

Well then...Thank God for Putin's Nuclear tipped oil power...

Otherwise Bush and Cheney would press the button. They are simply religious enough, dumb enough and ignorant enough and desperate enough to think they could take Iran on after the debacles of Iraq and Afganistan.

Thankfully, I think it has become more remote, but it still might go down to the wire, where a member of the US Army Officer Corps rediscovers a sense of honour and pulls a side arm on these two maniacs at the last possible minute.
...some times you got to sacrifice the pension for the greater good and let history be the judge.

Would make good 'Hollywood History' though.

Perhaps that is the hidden message in the up and coming Stauffenburg bomb plot movie :-)

Well said!

It just goes to show how things can flip-flop over a period of time. As a person coming of age during those tumultuous 1960s, I have an almost genetic adversion to the military and the 'establishment' in general. Yet, in this case, and quite ironically, it just might be the military that comes to the rescue of what of little remains of our once fair republic. While at one time the phrase, "Honor, duty, country", might have seemed hopelessly 'square', today one hopes for people who have a sense of value and decency.

So, here's to all the men and women of good will who value freedom .... let's all work together to pull this mess out of the hole that has been dug for us by the fools, knaves, and villians in our midst.

Sorry guys, but I must caution that such talk may well result in a visit from the Secret Service guys. Advocating, or even just kinda sounding like you're advocating, the death of of a POTUS does tend to attract their attention. I think it can be assumed that they CAN figure out who you are and where you can be found. Sorry if you don't like that fact, but I'm afraid that a fact is what it is.

Leanan, I'm not advocating censorship, but do be aware that there could be issues here for TOD and its staff as well. Also, it could become difficult or even dangerous for many of us who are USA citizens/residents to continue posting here if TOD gets flagged as a "domestic terrorist" site. Again, I'm sorry if people don't like what I just wrote - I don't like it myself, but somebody needs to throw out a red flag here.

Your POTUS And his cabal of freaks has already decided that UK Subjects (and EC Citizens) can be kidnapped and rendered for 'trial' or 'containment' in the US without so much as a by-your-leave from the lick spittle running-dogs in UKGov.

So what is left?

...at least you have the right to bear arms.

Iran definitely has nuclear capable cruise missiles

Some private citizen for $5000 put together his own 'cruise missle'


And over at global gorrillas they had a link to a sub $5000 "aviation brains" thing - they text implied that could be used in a cruise missile type thing.

Building a 'cruise missile' looks to be a low bar.

Getting the fissionable material - its not like you can store that in an old Buick or get it from the local Junior Achievement.

Climate change sure changed this year.

For several years we have had almost no snow in Ottawa and usually wonder if we will have a white Christmas. I used the snow blower only once last year. The ice froze on the lake January 15, three weeks later than usual. Going to the local ski hills has been a waste of time for several years.

This year, we have had our first winter storm with 12" of snow on the ground, 18" at the lake. This past weekend was 0°F. The lake is already starting to freeze over, three weeks ahead of schedule. Another week and I'll be able to walk across.

One other curious tidbit. The water is 18" lower than usual. I've never seen it anywhere near this low at this time of year.

Weather is not climate, John.

The warming trend is clear enough, as you state yourself... Regional and annual variations are the rule, not the exception. If it's colder where you're sitting, it'll be warmer somewhere else.

From my selfish personal perspective, I have no objection to a year-round warming of a couple of degrees. It would improve the productivity of my vege garden a lot. On the other hand, it would be nice if there were snow for Christmas.

Oh, I know weather isn't climate. I have just become used to not having to shovel snow. Personally, I'd like some banana trees in my back yard.

The early snow just caught me by surprise. Now I have to go "dig out" my snowblower ;)

If weather is is a group of local observations in a limited time frame, climate would be patterns of weather. Climate encompasses weather, weather is a subset of climate.

I did just plant some banana trees in my backyard with the full expectation of getting them to produce. Use to be that here (zone 9 - central florida) getting production from bananas was kind of iffy, but recently the number of sub freezing days has been so minimal that the bananas are doing quite well. Long term the question for this region, in light of warmer whether, is weather we get rain and go subtropical or lose rain and go desert.


I live in the same area and have been having much the same thoughts. I heard Frostproof used to be on the dividing line where it would never go below freezing, but I wonder where that line is now. I read something yesterday that said the Tropics had expanded some 170 miles beyond what they were previously. I might try some coconut palms in the yard.

The lakes in the area are pretty low, and we seem to missing our regular afternoon storms in the summer. I hope this trend doesn't continue but my hope may be misplaced.


Shaman, a bit of anecdotal evidence. From DB International Airport rainfall reports. 2005 DB was down 17 inches from normal yearly rainfall. 2006 DB was down 14 inches. 2007 year to date DB is down about 3 inches compared to normal for this date.

When I moved here in 1979 it was very rare to catch a Snook (fish) north of Sebastian Inlet. Now it is common to catch Snook as far north as St. Augustine and many are caught in the Jacksonville waterways. Snook are not cold tolerant, I have seen them floating belly up with their gills barely moving after a hard freeze in the late seventies-early eighties. Although there are now many more Snook in this area I have not seen any stunned by cold in many years. We rarely have winter frosts now.

I did a little more reading on the subject and apparently the loss of wetlands may have driven the frost line further south, which is why the citrus growers have been disappearing here in Central Florida. Unfortunately this causes further loss of wetlands.

If the frost line has moved north lately, then this would mean it would have moved much further had it not been for the loss of the water that helps warm the air at night.


[Edit: Here's another good paper ]


Historic Great Lakes Water Level Data

Duluth, MN Duluth, Lake Superior 1900-present

It was lower in the mid 1920's than it is today.

Cleveland, OH Cleveland, Lake Erie 1900-2007

Erie was considerably lower during the 1920-1930s

Niagara Intake, NY, 1960-present (no data prior)

Considerably lower in the 1960s, constant since 1970s.

Richard Wakefield


Puts the current low level of the lakes, blamed on climate change, into a long term perspective. The current low level has been here before, hence one cannot just point to climate change as the only cause for the current low levels he is seeing.


Dunno where you got any reference to Great Lakes. Ottawa is not on a Great Lake...

True, but where does the Great Lakes get their source of water from? Rivers like the Ottawa, which are seeing the same change in reduced flow.

Richard Wakefield

Hello Jrwakefield,

The important thing to remember about the Great Lakes being so low in those earlier times is that giant regional watershed droughts reduced inflow from reduced snow/rainfall. Consider pop. levels back then, with large numbers of self-sufficent rural lifestyles for resiliency, then compare to carrying-capacity Overshoot numbers now.

Widespread crop failures, especially if depleted aquifer pumping is energetic history postPeak, combined with non-sufficient distribution of NPK to add to the cascading blowbacks, will hammerblow us very early in the CC & PO scenario precisely because continental stockpile reserves of seeds, NPK, wheelbarrows, and food reserves are so low.

The CC scenario predicts much greater weather volativity--droughts, frosts, and floods whipsawing the populace. Ongoing desertification, topsoil depletion, pavement & concrete, pollution, and deforestation will further leverage these untimely events.

IMO, the many TOD weblinked postings of fertilizers with rapidly rising prices and/or allocation, rationing, or just outright unavailability, to be necessarily time-synchronized with critical planting cycles is very worrisome. Vietnam is reduced to moving alluvium from urban confines to gardens and farms to try to recover above Liebig Minimums, both societal and agricultural:

Floods leave trail of fertilizer
I bet the comparative 'real value' of a wheelbarrow to a Hue citizen is much greater than an SUVs value to an American. I still hope that North America will understand the need for strategic reserves of wheelbarrows and bicycles, plus lots of spare parts, for the coming paradigm shift.

Agrium in bid to build giant farm business

The bid came as Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan Inc. consolidated its new position as the country's largest mining company when its shares hit another in a series of record highs. The company passed Barrick Gold Corp. as Canada's largest miner on Wednesday and its $39.02-billion (Canadian) market value now makes it the ninth-largest weighted company on the S&P/TSX composite.

"Potash prices are up, fertilizer prices are up and they look like they are going to keep going higher and higher. It's just very positive fundamentals that are driving it," Robert Mantse of DBRS said in an interview.
This only makes sense as biosolar mission-critical investing, at every scale, moves ahead. Gold can't grow food, only organic and non-organic NPK can. Recall my earlier posting predicting that the last operating mines will be P & K mines, powered by humans, if required, because there is no substitutes for these Elements.

Agricultural fertiliser prices set to remain high

Price pressures have been compounded by a limited world supply of key fertiliser ingredients –nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium – with structural constraints on the speed at which the fertiliser industry can increase production.
IMO, the Fertiliser Facts bulleted in the above article is required info for NPK newbies.

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

I don't disagree with any of this. Seems to me the underlying cause is overpopulation. Seems no matter what we try and do to "fix" things, over population just swamps it. Imagine the UN prediction of some 50% more people will have as an effect on all of what you noted.

Richard Wakefield

Wait for the thaw. We're going to 50+ today, after several weeks of subfreezing with frozen ponds and snowstorms. 12-18 snow inches gone. Temps will be in the upper forties's across much of the northwest, in eastern Mt. too. I remember checking Fairbanks, AK just after Thanksgiving-they were in the forties. Is it normal?

Edit-Sunday I was cursing as the tractor spun trying to plow too much snow atop a ice lense, today it is mud.

Did anyone see this? I have a number of questions of solutions he presented. First of which is how would one get any flow of oil from the "oil shale" simply by heating it to 700F? How many holes would be required? How much energy would be required to heat it up? How much flow would result?

Second question, how much proven reserves is off the east coast of the US?

Richard Wakefield

Leanan the "Hoaxers" artilce linkis for the BBC CITy PO conference.

Here is the right one:


Give the gift of gas!

By Jim Mullen
"With oil close to $100 a barrel and Christmas right around the corner, gasoline may turn out to be this year's Tickle Me Elmo."

EDIT: Of course, the one I heard on the Radio this morning was the best, as it was being offered by Citgo. Thought maybe it was a Parting Shot by Sr. Chavez.


LOL that was brilliant.

Electric Car Show in Anaheim thru Tomorrow..


- The Friend who emailed me this announcement reviewed a few of the cars shown there, and I'll see if he minds my posting it up later on.


"And we'll have fun, fun, fun till her daddy takes the Mustang away!" - Hootie and the Blowfish

OK. Dave was fine sharing this. Take a look at the site linked above for more info!

EDIT: This is the Blog that Dave runs, and is the original source of this post, so do please give it a look.
Thanks, Dave!



I had the opportunity to attend EVS 23 today and see what the world of EVs (and now hybrids, diesels, and fuel cell vehicles as well) has to offer now and in the coming years. I was fairly excited as for some reason Toyota thinks I am VIP enough to have called and offered me a test drive in one of the two prototype plug in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV) that they are presently testing (my wife called and assured them that I am not). So without further ado, my thoughts on the show, the good, the bad, and the ugly. Sorry to say that you will have to scroll down to The Bad to see the Prius review.

The problem with the plug in prius is the batteries. These new wonder batteries are just not proven yet.

The big car makers can't afford to go with these newer batteries. Even a relativly small failure rate could end up costing hundreds of millions. Enough to serioulsy hurt if not even sink one of the big guys. No CEO is going to risk that.

But these fly by night startups like Phoneix can get away with that. If a small startup takes a gamble with an unproven battery (and working in a drill is not proven) and it doesn't pan out, no big deal.

The exception is GM, which is so desperate at the moment they look like they are going with the newer batteries in the Volt. If it ever does come out and its not just a PR stunt.

So don't knock Toyota on the plug in prius. They are just showing basic buissness sense.

Last year Wagoner came out and said that as a company GM could no longer count on there being enough FF to sufficiently grow the bidness.
So they are re-exploring all alternative fuels.
I'll say it again, GM is taking a huge gamble on the Volt, trying to hit a moving target with the batteries (which IMO is sorta kinda why they lumped it in with the E Flex and are co-developing the fuel celled version).
I sure hope they can pull it off.

On a separate note an acquaintance is a VP in a company that makes ethanol capable fuel dispensers for gas stations but they earn their money converting vehicles to run on propane.
You'd think they'd have orders up the wazoo for the ethanol pumps but so far, low demand.
I'm going to try and find out if in-ground storage negatively affects ethanol and if the tanks themselves need special modifications over in-ground gasoline storage tanks.
Might be one reason besides cost why more stations aren't installing them.

Also Jim Cramer said on Mad Money tonight that "investors should back their tankers up to the spigots" on the dip in oil prices and "fill up" cause it was going to take off again and that he didn't think high oil was being caused "by demand but supply".

Great Lakes see a future beyond industry

The conflict in Waukegan symbolizes the dramatic changes sweeping across the five Great Lakes, a region that is trying to reinvent itself in a way that could have major implications for the nation. Attitudes about the Great Lakes have changed so drastically during the past three decades that manufacturers are finding themselves unwelcome even in cities they once ruled.

...The five lakes — Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie and Ontario — cover an area equal in size to New England and half of New York state. Some heavy industry is still attracted to the lakes. Two oil companies want to spend $10 billion on mammoth refinery expansions, one on the shore of Lake Michigan, the other on Lake Superior. What's changed the region, however, are foreign competition, politics and lifestyles.

Today, the political and economic clout of tourism and real estate development is rising, especially at the state and local level. The influence of heavy industry has been sapped by the decline of industrial jobs through factory closings, automation and foreign competition.

On the one hand, you can't blame them for not wanting their nice lakes filled up with toxic waste. OTOH, planning your future on tourism might not be the greatest idea...

Ugh not more refinery expansions...I'd rather see more emphasis on water-borne transport. It should become a more competitive alternative as liquid fuels become more expensive.

German institute predicts 'crisis' of Russian oil production.

The German Institute for economy research (DIW) warns of possible disruptions of Russian oil supply. At current production levels oil would be exhausted in 22 years.

"Heavy subsidizing of the domestic market, poor investment in exploration could lead to a stop of deliveries from of Russia, especially to Europe."

DER SPIEGEL (in German)

I have been warned to be dubious of any organization that feels the need to call itself an institute. That said, they're probably right. However, the US wakes up each morning needing to liberate about fifteen million barrels from its friends, acquaintances and occupied enemies.

Another day, another fifteen million. Plata o plomo.

I have been warned to be dubious of any organization that feels the need to call itself an institute

Right you are, but I think the DIW is not all that bad.


The claim that there are oil subsidies in Russia is pure drivel. If Russian gasoline consumers are paying American prices (even if they earn tiny fractions of American incomes) then who is left to subsidize? The private trucking industry? Perhaps the private shipping industry? This "institute" is obviously mixing up (probably deliberately) the regulated domestic natural gas price with oil prices. Gazprom has been allowed to increase its domestic natural gas price by 25% in 2008. At this rate Russian consumers will be paying export price levels in a few years. As for poor investment in exploration, let's see some evidence. Lukoil (e.g.) spends massive amounts on exploration and field development in Russia and abroad. This is the standard cheap excuse why oil production is stalling or declining, we all know there is an infinite supply and it problems are all political.

THE sea level around Shanghai has risen 120 millimeters since 1977 - a level higher than the national average.

Mean Sea Level Trend
610-005 Xiamen, China

Can't blame it on climate change, as the article is also clear land use is a problem. Since Shanghai is also at the mouth of a river that is dammed up, capturing sediments that should have gone to the delta, one has to wonder if that has any effect.

Richard Wakefield

Suspended load sediment debauching in deltas or river mouths increases the overburden and induces crustal warping and relative sea level increases. In short, they are sinking.

See London and the South East*, Holland*, New Orleans.Niger delta, Nile delta, Meekong Delta.

*Isostatic readjustment due to ice loss 10000 yeas ago plays its part as well as Scotland continues to rebound wrt Southern England - Holland.

Nothing to see here, move along.

Ukraine agrees to pay 38 pct more for Russian gas

Ukraine has agreed to raise payments for Russian gas by 38 percent in 2008, Russian gas export monopoly Gazprom said on Tuesday in a deal likely to remove the threat of supply disruptions to Europe.

Gazprom, which supplies a quarter of Europe's gas, said in a statement the deal had been reached at a meeting with Ukraine's Energy Minister Yuri Boiko and the price of gas would rise to $179.5 per 1,000 cubic metres from $130 this year.

The gas market and analysts follow closely pricing talks between Russia and Kiev as Ukraine accounts for 80 percent of Russian gas transit to Europe and a price dispute two years ago fully cut supplies for several days.

"Fully cut" is an outright lie. Gazprom cut Ukraine's fraction of the export flow. So Ukraine decided to grab the amount it wanted and there were supply disruptions to the EU. Gazprom hired an independent Swiss firm to monitor the meters at both the entry point and exit points on Ukraine's borders. If the flow had been fully cut there would be no flow to the EU. For some reason Ukraine is acting differently in response to price increases of the same size that it refused to accept before.

Falling dollar continues its path of destruction through the U.S. economy

Airbus could make commercial jets in the United States, with Mobile being a likely choice for the work, a German business publication reported Monday.

Wirtschafts Woche said Airbus is looking into the possibility of establishing an assembly operation in the United States or Russia to lessen the impact the falling dollar is having on its finances. The weekly said Mobile is the most likely choice for setting up Airbus's fourth assembly plant.


Building a new buggy whip factory would make a lot more sense. There might actually be a growing demand for buggy whips in a few years. Large passenger airplanes, on the other hand. . .

There will be a market for airplanes *and* buggy whips. The question is when the traditional airline model falls apart. At the very least, the military will keep flying as well as the rich.

This issue is a little bit complex.

Airbus bet that size trumped anything else and built the giant A380 with an eye on servicing long distance routes in the booming Pacific rim. Boeing has seemingly bet the farm on the 787 Dreamliner, a smaller, fuel efficient plane that can hold about 40% of the passengers the A380 can take.

Now consider this in light of the dynamics we face - rising fuel prices, declining global economy, and declining travel due to the rising ticket prices and fewer business opportunities requiring air travel. Oh, and then look at the dollar - suddenly operating in the United States is much cheaper than Europe.

I think Airbus have themselves a rather rotund white elephant in the A380, but like that whole peak oil plateau, we'll only know in retrospect.

i don't agree with the analysis

i think that few long distance journeys will replace a lot of shorter distance ones

people will still travel between countries, but not so much domestically

i suspect... who knows

Did you really mean to say that domestic travel would take a back seat to long distance trips, or that domestic travel would be accomplished by other modes (car, bus, rail) due to increased fuel costs?

Whatever the case I think its going to pretty quickly turn miserable for the Airbus and Boeing type companies, where the bulk of the work is civilian equipment. The Lockheed Martin Northrop Grumman Etc Etc Etc type operations will get some ongoing work for air force but even that should slow in favor of unmanned/remote pilot drones.

i suspect domestic travel to be accomplished other ways as i expect the cost of air travel to increase

but i can imagine scheduled service of very expensive flights between the worlds metropolises during the period of exaggerated disparities in wealth if there is a protracted period before the hard crash (at which time no flights apart from military)

once upon a time flights were for the rich elite

they will be again, but their global ties will remain longer than my ability to move around a single US state - but even for them private jets will become less viable

I am not sure how this is a bad thing? In fact, a cheap dollar is boon for export driven manufacturing. In many ways, a strong dollar has led to the current hubris.

Fascinating article about what drives people to give their lives for others:

The hidden cost of heroism

One theory is that it's a holdover from the days when you were related to everyone you knew. (A similar mechanism may be behind adoption.)

Interesting datapoint: 80% of such heroes hail from small towns - the kind of place where everyone knows everyone.

Pretty lousy article. The opposite of heroism is not brutality, it is cowardice. Because they didn't get that right, they missed an important clue. Sure, being a coward rather than a hero might be the "safe" choice, but just how "successful" are cowards going to be when it comes to adding to the gene pool? Sure, being a coward might save your life, for one day; but how will it be to live life after that, knowing that you are a coward, and knowing that everyone that knows you knows that you are a coward? Cowards don't really fare all that well, which just might perhaps be one of the reasons why some guys (and this is a guy thing we are talking about) grab for the brass ring of heroism when presented with the opportunity to do so.

This whole dimension was left out of the article, resulting in a bunch of utter garbage.

Maybe they had to bring it to their level, so that the line

"But what accounts for someone who cares too much?" fits.

That was the line that really grabbed me. What of the obvious choice-"But what accounts for someone who gives their life for another?"

They didn't say brutality was the opposite of heroism. They said it was its "evil twin," which is not remotely the same thing.

Being a coward really hurt George W. Bush, especially with military personnel.

There are regular cases of practical heroism in Austria.
In wine producing areas we have old wine cellars that at certain production stages simply SHOULD not be entered without protection or people will not make it back again (the same is true for feed silos). Everyone using a wine cellar knows that. Still the average -nothing will happen- person enters the cellar to pick something up, and dies, the next person on the farm realizes that the person is missing goes down to help too (often 2 people) without protection and dies too, once the count is up to 2 or 3 dead in the cellar people are usually reluctant to go down and wait for professional help. At least the early ones didn`t die as cowards?

Could you elaborate? How are they dying? This is very interesting and something I have never heard before.

Maybe there is a Balrog down there.

Its a grue of course. They should have brought a lamp.

Sounds like YOU have some issues regarding this. Childhood trauma? Only allowed to read DC comics? Raised by a right wing fanatic? You obviously haven't a clue about combat.
If I save my friends from a meaningless death while saving my own butt, Is that heroism? If I act because I am pissed off at the enemy and the whole situtation around me, does that make me brave? Is anger courage?
Cowardice does not exist. It is a phony word, intended to get you to throw away your life to progress some politician's agenda or some general's career. It is a chain for them to pull at the appropriate time.
How many scared young men have lost their lives because they were afraid to be called a coward?
You can take your cowardice and put it where the sun don't shine.

If we define heroism as an act taken by one person, in the face of extreme danger, to save another or others, then I would say that the instinct to act heroically is just that - instinctual. This issue is discussed at length in the book The Power of Myth by Moyers and Joseph Campbell. I think it is based on the subconscious understanding that we as humans and humanity are really one - a collective. I think that subconsciously we understand that our survival depends on the survival of the "tribe." We cannot survive alone for very long. We need a tribe or society. So it's in our DNA and it shows up stronger in those we see as heros.

I'll probably get slammed for this, but there is simply no evidence that behaviors, of any kind, are genetically based. All arguments for genetically based behaviors are simply arguments of last resort. No one has ever even attempted mapping behaviors to specific genes. We're just beginning to understand how a complex relationship of gene's can impact things like aging and disease. How much more complicated would something like a behavior be? But of course, the reductionist argument allows the discussion to come to an end. Everything else is genetic ("and nurture!" I can hear Ron calling out), so why wouldn't behavior be also?

This is not to say that behavior might be selected for, as evolution seems an appropriate way to understand changes in the social/cultural realm as well as in the biological. But that's not the same as a genetic origin. But for the particulars of heroism, it is difficult to see what the survival value of such behavior might be.

I'll probably get slammed for this, but there is simply no evidence that behaviors, of any kind, are genetically based.

As you should, because it is untrue. There is plenty of evidence linking behaviours to genes.

As for complexity, behaviour can be influenced by some very simple factors. For example, there is a hormone that affects risk taking behaviour. Both the burglar and executive fraudster have one thing in common, a high tolerance to risk.

I find it pretty easy to see the survival value of heroism, but you have to think in terms of genes not individuals.

A hormone is not a gene. Please try again. (and just to throw you a loop, are you really sure that the hormone causes the behavior or the other way around?)

If its so easy to see the survival value of heroism, care to enlighten me rather than being cryptic? (oh, and just a clue, its not the gene that needs to survive, its the behavior.)

Are you saying that sleep and appetite cause the production of serotonin (hormone) or would you agree that serotonin affects sleep, mood and appetite?

Perhaps "heroism" is a hormonal response as opposed to genetically based, however, although I'm not a scientist, aren't hormones derived from genes?

Its the genes that manufacture the Serotonin.

If you want to learn a little about your serotonin (not a hormone, but a neurotransmitter) go drop about 250 mcg of LSD and watch from inside what happens when it briefly "augments" the neuro-pathways, convincing your serotonin to mimic it's affects on your perception. The LSD is gone out of your brain before you notice any impact. But the serotonin "remembers."

As for the direction of causality between hormones (or neurotransmitters) and behavior, feelings, etc., I don't think that philosophy has come up with a definitive explanation for causality in general, so I'd like to keep the specifics open for discussion.

As for the relationship between genes and hormones, no genes do not manufacture hormones. Those who posit a genetic source to everything human would have us believe that the genes determine how hormone production proceeds within any particular being.

I want to be clear about this - I am not opposed to genetic research and am not trying to say that there is no explanatory power in genetic explanations (there certainly is). What I am oppossed to is reductive arguments about human behavior and human nature. Saying that we are the way we are because of X - whether X is genes, god, culture, great literature, whatever - is not good science, not good logic and not good reasoning. It is only an attempt to shut the debate down by declaring the explanation complete. It's sort of like the parent who says, in answer to the 50th "why" in a row from their toddler, "because I said so."

Shaman: You summed it up.

This is where we see that Richard Dawkins, a world-famous scientist, is a nobody in the US and his theories are unknown.

In the US it's Gawd and de Debbil, you see....

do you have any idea how poorly that comment reflects upon you in this context?

The behaviors shared by humans and chimps? Genetic basis I think. I think the problem here is semantics, having a genetic basis is different than genes causing behaviors. Had we evolved from termites, I think our behaviors would be different even given the evolution of a similar intelligence. I think that had we evolved from birds, or ruminants with four stomach chambers.

The intense anger I feel when I bump my head on a cupboard, a vestige of fight or flight. Holding a hand up to my eyes in bright sunlight is a behavior. If we evolved from chickens we would feel fear at the shadow of a hawk. Instead, youngsters feel intense fear of snakes, the primal enemy of chimps. The sucking reflex, the gripping reflex of babies. Crying. Dislike of being alone, and the seeking of social interaction. That would not be the same were we evolved from cats.

Look at the breeds of dogs and cats. Whole classes of personality cluster around certain breeds and colors. You can get books about cats that discuss their personality based on whether they are white or black or tortie in color. Why the distinction between other animals and ourselves. We are animals after all. I want to piss, and crap and fuck and fart. I was genetically structured to do those things, behaviors I think? Dreaming. Is that a vestige of the working of the mind. Running. The way we swing our arms. It is endless really. I know the fact that I think about sex every couple of hours is written in my genes, tricking me into breeding!!

As far as genetic selection of heroes, that is harder to understand, but I like the Joseph Campbell mythic thinking. And remember it is the stories of heroes that resonate with us, the feeling of helping. The fact we remember, can know language, hear words, animate ourselves with mental images, all ties to the brain we have inherited and which by the way is entirely assembled by genes.

Not a big deal really.

Scotjen - appreciate the level headed response. Not sure I can go along with all the sociobiology, though. I mean, if all you're telling me is that we act certain ways because we're human, have you really told me anything? I could go through each of your examples, but I don't think that would accomplish anything. For you have not tied any behavior to our genetics, merely made observations about things that animals do. That's fine as far as it goes, but doesn't do anything to deal with exceptions. Nor is it explanatory of some original cause. The origin is only assumed not proven. In other words, I could claim that your examples demonstrate that this is the way the Giant Spaghetti Monster made us and you would have no more ability to disprove that than your own posited connection to genetics.

cool thread,

on heroism "discretion is the better part of valour"

I suppose the more experience a good soldier (or businessman or surgeon,etc.) has the more he can take calculated risks where he has a higher chance of survival. Recklessness is not heroism. Shirking responsibility towards the group when in legitimate need could be called cowardice depending on whether you really need the group for physcial survival or can get away with it somehow(desertion to other country, etc.) determines its usefulness to you as an organism.

Regarding nature/nurture- Reading the Strauss and Howe books they say that 1 whole generation out of 4 in a historical cycle are bred to be idealistic heroes, namely the current youth generation(millenials) who fight under leadership of the current visionary generation(boomers), so hence the prediction for a crisis war / WWIII by say 2020 corresponding to this theory. I remember articles on the Kennedies having a gene that predisposed them to risk,hence their high rate of violent death and success, also an interesting theory, maybe Bush family is similar for example explaining their success.

As I am a true believer in "something" I would say that the soul directs the body to do what the soul has as goals in this life. The body/mind is a tool and retraining fo the occupied body can use it in a quite flexible manner depending on need. Obviously you can't make yourself grow taller or change your eye color,etc. but there are lots of things you can change if you are willing and extremely determined. This is heroism of a sort. Resignation to perceiveed fate is true cowardice.

Genetics and evolutionary biology are interesting scientific theories with lots of practical application however connecting them to psychology, a very murky discipline is a hard slog. I prefer using personal astrology to psychology as I can use it better and there is lots of use in Buddhist and similar religious schools of thought for self motivation and analysis that is very similar to psychological schools of thought and philosophy. Each person is unique so one size fits all is a waste of time and philosophies in science and religion and politics and society over relevance of particular schools of thought change so fast that in the course of a lifetime you could change stripes so many times on this that being totally committed to something so uncertain and vague as behaviour/nature of soul, etc. is dogdy at best. I think we can agree more on when oil will crash and that is very concrete and nobody agrees really on that even here at TOD.

To today's soldier, war is every bit as bad as the Somme

As Lord Moran, Winston Churchill's doctor, memorably wrote, courage is capital, not income – a quality of which all men have variable but expendable amounts. Some endure longer than others, but all can endure only just so much.

I didn't know that biodiesel could be made from the distiller's grain co-product of ethanol production, but evidently it can. One of the local ethanol plants is to start production in the fall of 2008. Seems to me this would increase the energy output of ethanol plants, since feeding distillers grains to cattle and such has got to be a loser energy wise. This would be the third biodiesel facility that I know of around here. The other two use soybean oil as the primary feed stock. Since there are several other ethanol plants nearby, there will be an ample supply of distillers grains to keep the new facility going if their own production is insufficient.


No words on EROI, volume of water used, or even a ratio of ethanol produced to corn oil produced, but this is the kind of thinking we need. The 1.3:1 at best ethanol EROI makes no sense, but if combining the two pushes it to 5:1 we'd be doing as well as the Brazilians are with their sugarcane based efforts.

Now if we can just get mobs of wind turbines in place to produce ammonia using the waste water from that process we'd need only solve for P & K to have something sustainable ...

I see many many problems with this, at least scaled up. Small production is one thing, admirable, but when you start removing the ddg from feed producers in addition to the corn already lost, they'll be big fights.

Most talks on ddg and feed center on cattle, and rightfully note that only a small proportion of ddg, at 27% protein, can be incorporated in the complete ration.

What is often lost is poultry, which gets 60% or better of it's feed from corn. They work better with the ddg, and have a nice niche here. Compared to corn, there's only a small loss in energy, but it takes 3 pounds of corn to produce one of ddg. So they are still clamoring for an energy source to make up the loss. Alot of attention is focused on fats and oils, with better than 2x the energy of corn. Robbing this, along with the original corn for etoh and also the ddg, for fuel is going to start a melee, and I'm sure the pork industry will jump in too.

The oil needs to be removed from the distillers grains so they can be fed to hogs. Distillers grains can be fed to cows at high rates (as much as 40% Wet DG's according to ISU) without a problem. Not so with pigs.

Too much fat (oil) in distillers grains makes for mushy pork texture. So in Iowa the logical step is to remove most of the oil to get a better protein ration for pigs. A lot more pigs to feed in Iowa than chickens.

This is why biodiesel from distillers grains makes economic sense. Because the co-product protein will have more value locally than straight distillers grains.

What hurts ethanol from corn right now is all the energy used to dry the distillers grains so it can be shipped to Idaho, New York, New Mexico and California where all the dairy herds are located. Recalculate EROEI for ethanol if you don't have to dry and see what you get.

You know as soon as ethanol plants started going into the area we got these enormous chicken confinement places.

You guys seem to have detail knowledge on this - I would love to see a guest post done up on this since its so important to me here locally. If the ethanol to corn oil to feed circuit can be made sensible that would be a very nice outcome and if the nondrying of the distiller's grain fixes the EROI I am all ears (no pun intended).

My point was that the poultry industry and others are looking for alternate forms of feed now, and are working to utilize the protein afforded by ddg. They like that part.

Using wet distiller grain for fuel as opposed to the dry distiller grains I was referring to may require less energy, but what then is the new energy required to replace that feed value which is lost?

And that is the point-that there will be fights for that distillers grain wet or dry. Already I hear of talk to give the feed industry the same subsidy as the fuel-they not only want the 51 cent subsidy and 51 cent tariff on imported etoh removed, but they'd like their own subsidy, which they say that its better to feed the populace than transport it.

Recommendations for feeding cattle I have are a max of 20% crude protein from ddgs for growing heifers if access is provided to pasture for required roughage. My understanding is that feed efficiency decreases above this, making it uneconomical, and other problems may appear.

As for hogs, they're already too mushy from industrial hog farm conditions and I believe from selected genetics, but those observations are neither here nor there. Maybe it is that of too much oil in the ration, but gain per unit time is the major selection criteria.

"Recommendations for feeding cattle"

Here's a model you're welcome to use use:


the BESS model

Life-Cycle Energy & Emissions Analysis Model for Corn-Ethanol Biofuel Production Systems

The BESS model is a software tool to calculate the energy efficiency, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and natural resource requirements of corn–to-ethanol biofuel production systems. The model provides a “cradle-to-grave” analysis of the production life-cycle of biofuels from the creation of material inputs to finished products. The model parameters can be set by the user to achieve the highest accuracy in evaluating a single corn-ethanol biorefinery and its surrounding feedstock crop production zone. The model equations and summary reports are unalterable, providing the characteristics needed to serve as certification software to evaluate the environmental impact of biofuels for industry advancement.

That's a powerful model-thanks, tho it doesn't address feeding amounts on pasture or not connected with the etoh plant.

It bolsters NC's above comments in that energy savings from wet dg vs ddg have a large value, but in the model that value is recaptured by cattle with a cap and trade CO2 plan. It is with this in mind that the model was developed and is geared towards. With all eyes shifting to cap and trade, it shows that wet dg will be even more coveted for cattle feedlots large enough to handle all the wet dg produced.

Model tracks fert inputs individually, irrigation inputs, fuel, transport distances, and others. It projects some low net energy values, and life cycle values of CO2, CH4 and N2O, for those interested.

The authors mention the E3 plant, but if I'm not mistaken, that plant is under bankruptcy protection. Checking around, I find 8-16% ddg recommended for young calves on pasture, and that above 20% ddg, feed efficiency falls and carcass grade declines. There is a problem in excess nutrients in the cattle waste, along with a preliminary finding of double E coli 0157 in high dg cattle.

I'm wearing two hats here, for I'd much rather see cattle grass fed. Period. But wishing doesn't get you far, and I think all the feed industries are coming to highly value the ddg as a protein supplement and feed source.

The E3 plant is near Mead, Nebraska just west of Omaha on highway 92. The University of Nebraska Agricultural Research and Development Center is six miles south of Mead.

I just spent a few minutes with Google Earth and I'm pretty sure this is the E3 plant with the bulk of the processing equipment being at 41 11' 44'' -96 28' 46''

E3 Ethanol Plant, Mead, Nebraska

I am absolutely certain this one at 41 08' 27'' -96 28' 54'' isn't E3 - its the ARDC's feed mill and hog confinement facility. I've spent too many hours shivering on the top of that grain elevator over the years, spanking their extremely naughty wireless data collection system ...

ARDC feed mill and hog confinement

Here is an overall map of the area showing Mead, the E3 plant, a couple of ARDC things, and an outline showing roughly the land associated with the ARDC. FYI its an annual ritual in the Nebraska legislature - they attempt to sell the sixteen square miles of ARDC land to balance the budget, and they get taken out behind the woodshed for even bringing it up.


If you dig around with Google Earth you'll find things like "national guard training area" and "military reservation" labels for the area. These are historical - the ARDC farm housed a massive ammunition plant during world war II, and the land was given over to the university system after the war.

doesn't address feeding amounts on pasture or not connected with the etoh plant.

Precisely. It is designed with a focus. Use it within that set of constraints.

I wasn't sure how it would work regarding NC's comments as I haven't dug into BESS at all.

My neighbor showed it to me. He had some input in development. This is one of his tools as ruminant tech at UNL. E3 is one of his 'clients'.

Chinese auto sales surged 24% in the first nine months of 2007.


This type of growth was sustained by price controls. This growth is putting intense pressure on world oil supplies. Normally the world had to draw down oil and product stocks during the winter to fuel homes, this winter the acceleration of auto sales in China, Russia, OPEC, and India is likely to prevent a major collapse of oil prices.

chinese price controls are decreasing chinese consumption of oil products because chinese oil companies, eg ptr, are losing money. Accordingly they export as much product is possible, and avoid importing as much as possible, which starves the home market resulting in dry gas stations and/or de facto rationing... in fact, rationing has included diesel, used by trucks transporting goods and taxis transporting people; trucks have been stuck in places for days at at time. China recently allowed 10% price increase to help producers but this is not sufficient to avoid profit collapse at producers... note that buffett sold his ptr stake because of lack of profits/bubbly share price.

Slowly, to avoid revolution, china will allow price to increase to world levels, and when this happens there will be unlimited product available there, just like here. At this point wannabe drivers will finally be able to take their status symbols out of the garage and drive them around as much as they like, naturally raising already unacceptable air pollution/congestion.

Stratfor is reporting that that Mexican guerrilla group just issued a communique threatening new attacks. (Behind a paywall, unfortunately.)

Any word on which group? Where they intend to strike? Why?

The PEMEX bombings of 7/5/2007 really got me moving. I'd been paying attention to the situation in Nigeria and when I saw Mexico moving that way I thought "Oh, no ..."

The Chinese will sink us. If they don't raise their prices they will drink the World dry. We need a source of oil secure from the Chinese. We should stay in Iraq.

The best source of oil we have is conservation. We electrify rail and *poof* we don't care what others are doing, because our domestic production exceeds the need for feedstocks for plastics and medicines. We take the money we'd piss away staying in Iraq for another six months and it gets the rail electrification done. The next six months worth? Spend it on wind turbines - two million gets a two megawatt turbine, and $IRAQ_COST gets lots of alternative energy.

Won't fly, as I recall reading that 10% of our total economy is vehicle transport related - sales, service, gas stations, etc, but this is the objective right solution going forward. It'll take an economy killing oil shock to push something like that through, and by the time it arrives it'll likely be too late ...

Yes, those evil Chinese. How dare they want the same things that we want! And your definitely right about Iraq, we stole that oil fair and square.

Weatherman: Unless you happen to know Hank Paulson personally, there ain't no "we" in America, paleface.

Yea, what a plan! Now, how will that oil get to market if the pipelines and plants keep getting bombed?

I was thinking more of Europe. All the EU should have supported the war and sent troops. That way we would have a source of oil safe from the rapacious Chinese.
The US will be all right in an oil crisis with the right measures. Europe doesn't realise what a hole it is in.

Europe is not in a hole. They'll just do the same thing they've done for the last fifty years. Pay more than the other guy.

Europe is in better shape that we are. They have high speed rail and mass transit systems that work and Europeans do not think cycling is some sort of deviant behavior.

We have SUVs, 4X4 pickemups and 18 wheelers...But we have god on our side so why are you concerned? Have you lost your faith?

Is it just me, or does anyone else think that vehicle to grid will never happen? Who wants to spend all night powering up their electric car, only to have the grid suck half of it away right before the morning commute? I'm still trying to figure out why I keep seeing articles about this. I suppose a small percentage of people will do it, the same way a few people allow their excess CPU cycles to be used for folding at home (http://folding.stanford.edu/). But I think it will be so few people as to not make any difference.

The saga of the Florida Fund meltdown continues and now has spread to the Florida Retirement Fund and Citizens State Insurance Fund (an insurer of last resort created because so many Floridians insurance policies were cancelled after the hurricanes of '04. BTW, none of these stories are appearing on any of three local tv news stations.


Florida Pension Fund Has `Suspect' Debt Held by Pool (Update2)

By David Evans

' Dec. 4 (Bloomberg) -- Florida's pension fund owns more than $1 billion of the same downgraded and defaulted debt that sparked a run on a state investment pool for local governments and led officials to freeze withdrawals, according to documents obtained by Bloomberg News through an open records request.

The State Board of Administration, manager of $37 billion in short-term assets, including the pool, also oversees the $138 billion Florida Retirement System. The board purchased $3.3 billion of debt whose top ratings were reduced following the collapse of the subprime mortgage market.

Head of the Florida Investment Fund quits amid controversy...BTW, why would a person with a degree and background in criminology be put in charge of a state mutual fund...Well, he did work on Jeb Bushs campaign...Like Warren Buffet said, when the tide goes out we will find out who is swimming naked. :)


Florida Investment Chief Quits; Fund Rescue Approved (Update4)

By David Evans and Darrell Preston

' Dec. 4 (Bloomberg) -- Coleman Stipanovich, the head of an agency managing a troubled $14 billion Florida investment pool for local governments, quit as officials approved a plan by BlackRock Inc. to salvage the fund.'...snip...

'Stipanovich Resignation

Stipanovich's resignation came after the meeting when he stood up and said it ``was time to do the right thing'' to ``instill the confidence of the'' administration.

``He had to do what he thinks is right,'' Crist said.

State board trustees halted withdrawals last week after governments from Orange County to Pompano Beach asked for their money back amid disclosures that the fund held $1.5 billion of downgraded and defaulted debt.

In a previous post I stated 90% of the stuff society makes is crap.
Should have been 99%.

Today a commercial delivery vehicle brought a large parcel and left it at our front entrance. The driver rang the door bell but by the time that I answered it the truck was gone. On the outside of the large, heavy box left by the vehicle was the logo 'Celestron'. I brought the box in and called the delivery company. The owner of the box (which, she explained, contained a large telescope) arrived this evening to collect her husbands xmas gift. Turned out the lady that arrived to collect the box lived only one block away on a street with a similar name. I helped her put the box in the back of here 4X4 truck and away she went. The woman thanked me and said that she had paid $800 for the telescope and that her hubby is interested in 'space'. I see similar large telescopes at garage sales all time, with prices never over $100 (or best offer).

All of this odd activity brought a couple of questions to mind. 1) Observing 'space' from my neighborhood, with giant live oaks covered in Spanish Moss, does not present much of an opportunity for good viewing. 2) observing 'space' from Florida, with its high humidity and frequent clouds does not present good viewing. 3) Why didnt she visit a yard sale and save herself at least $700? 4) If given a choice would her husband prefer a telescope or a gasoline credit card with an $800 pre-paid credit for an xmas gift? 5) I wonder if the giver realizes that she has just changed the balance of payments between the US and whoever made the telescope?

Spaceman, this definitely fall into your 99% catagory...

And now for something completely different (well not completely)


Here's hoping we have more Pedestrian friendly communities.

Damn, that lady rocks!

My office has announced two new "missions." Call them "sustainability" and "self-sustainability." We're trying to go green. They're trying to get people to sign up for four-day work weeks (or nine days every two weeks), in order to reduce CO2 emissions. No telecommuting; we tried it before, and it was a pain. You'd make up for the day off with longer work days the rest of the time.

"Self-sustainability" means moving away from contracting out work, and doing it more "in-house." I guess it's seen as a way to cut costs, as well as a way to deal with unreliable suppliers.

I'm seeing much movement here as well - customers calling wanting to get stuff done inexpensively, two businesses facing significant changes due to the economic collapse ... I don't have a winning lottery ticket or anything, but I'm glad to have some work and work that involves adjusting to what is to come rather than denying/covering up the situation ...

Yes...businesses are changing the ways they do business slowly but surely.

My company is now in its second year of "Business Transformation"...a euphemism for many things.

Sounds like Jeffrey Brown's ELP, applied to a business.

May I recommend Linux and F/OSS as well? :)

I'm going to take a stab at a theory I've been ruminating upon lately...watching the after hours trading of crude, gasoline, gold (which are creeping up) and the US dollar (which is creeping down)....I am going to say that the weekly EIA Petro report will be slightly negative in tone tomorrow.

I am basing this theory on the guess that those trading or controlling the trading of the above commodities and currency have foreknowledge of the report.

So much for going out on the limb...let's see what happens tomorrow.

Cascadia misery:


So large portions of Washington and Oregon are flooded. Homes and businesses are destroyed. What happens next?

Federal funds? Certainly, but too little and too late as always, and a declining dollar to boot.

Insurance? How many there have flood insurance? Its a special thing, as I recall. I've never owned/lived in a house that wasn't a sensible level above the river, but I've had a basement full of water twice - no fun at all. Oh, and do the insurance companies have their funds tied up in SIV messes? Most likely, as they were sold as conservative, risk spreading investments.

It'll take until after 1/1/2008 to assess the mess and by then the shoes start dropping. Does this environmental event take a huge bite out of the region that can never be repaired due to economic collapse and peak oil?

Hello TODers,

Somehow, I don't think this bodes well for grains in general, and ethanol-corn in particular:

OUT OF CONTROL! Fertilizer costs spiral ever higher

Farmers Change Crop Plans over High N Costs

Online survey shows high anhydrous prices drive farmers to cut rates or switch more acres to soybeans. Nearly nine out of ten farmers say they will change crop rotation choices or modify input rates due to high anhydrous prices.

According to the online poll posted by www.FarmFutures.com from Nov. 15 to Dec. 1, 88.46% of farmers would change practices or rotation choices when anhydrous prices hit $550 per ton. The poll attracted more than 2,600 replies.

Currently many Midwest fertilizer dealers are pricing anhydrous well above the $550 per ton figure.

Many surveyed expressed frustration at the current fertilizer situation. "Early pay in my area is already $650 per ton, and in-season (price) is unknown," said one farmer who responded to the poll. "All fertilizer prices are a complete rip-off," said another. "Everyone I have talk to is cutting back 10 to 20%, some even more on everything!" Still another said, "We can't justify the input cost!"
Recall my earlier posting on how a massive switch in crop rotation to offset Haber-Bosch N can cause a dramatic drop in total harvest tonnage. You got to plow and/or mulch the mature legumes to get the maximum N benefit back into the soil for your next crop of wheat or corn.

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

If N goes above a certain number the corn crop is instantly cut in half as farmers return to a corn/soy rotation instead of this corn on corn madness.

This would be one of those sledgehammer from the shadows moments for biofuels ... ethanol knocked down, biodiesel up?