DrumBeat: December 5, 2007

Oil Will Hit $100 a Barrel Within 6 Months, Boone Pickens Says

Crude oil prices are likely to reach $100 a barrel within six months as global demand exceeds supply, Boone Pickens, chairman of Dallas-based BP Capital LLC, said today.

"You're going to $100," he said in an interview in Dallas. "There's no question about that."

Alternative Energy And The Pollyanna Principle

The problem of explaining "peak oil" does not hinge on the issue of peak oil as such, but rather on that of "alternative energy." Most people now have some idea of the concept of peak oil, but it tends to be brushed aside in conversation because of the common incantation: "It doesn’t matter if oil runs out, because by then everything will be converted to [whatever] power." Humanity’s faith in what might be called the Pollyanna Principle — everything will work out right in the end — is eternal.

The critical missing information in such a dialogue, of course, is that "alternative energy" will do little to solve the peak-oil problem, although very few people are aware of the fact.

Pinning false blame on OPEC

The stealth driver in this market is the subprime mortgage meltdown.

Money continues to flee the morass of the U.S. mortgage market. And few on Wall Street believe all the bad news is out there yet. This creates a huge incentive to chase profits elsewhere. And where better to park that cash than in a lucrative commodities market that most U.S. consumers believe is controlled by a bunch of greedy foreigners?

OPEC Secretary Gen: Shouldn't Read Trend Into Big US Oil Stock Draw

OPEC Secretary General el-Badri downplayed last week's massive decline in U.S. crude-oil inventories reported Wednesday. El-Badri said it wasn't enough to glean a longer-term trend from the figures.

"This is one week's of data following a bad incident," el-Badri told Dow Jones Newswires, referring to an explosion last week on a key pipeline network bringing crude to the U.S. From Canada. The entire network was shut down for several hours, and it took several days for one pipeline to come back into service.

IEA Head: Market Anxiety May Remain On Lack Of OPEC Hike

A decision by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries to keep current production limits unchanged may keep oil markets anxious despite the additional supplies currently coming onto the market, the head of the International Energy Agency said in a statement Wednesday.

Dow Chemical to shut plants, cut jobs, take charge

Dow Chemical Co will shut a number of plants and eliminate about 1,000 jobs to cut costs and direct capital toward businesses with better growth prospects, the largest U.S. chemical maker said on Tuesday.

...Dow this year has been hurt by soaring hydrocarbon feedstock and energy costs. It has been attempting to improve its earnings through a series of joint ventures and by expanding its more profitable specialty businesses.

Former manager critical of safety at BP refinery

The former manager of BP's Texas City refinery returned to the witness stand today to tell jurors he tried to address years of lax safety, but tragedy struck before his efforts could succeed.

"Things that occur in years, you don't turn around and correct in a day, sir," Don Parus told plaintiffs' attorney Ernest Cannon in the second civil trial to emerge from the plant's deadly 2005 explosion.

Syncrude fire chokes output

Canadian Oil Sands Trust, the biggest shareholder in the Syncrude Canada oil sands venture in Northern Alberta, said Wednesday a fire at a coker unit at the project site has cut production of synthetic crude from the unit to “minimum rates”.

The trust said a fire Tuesday night in problem-wracked Coker 8-3, part of a plant that converts tar-like bitumen from the oil sands into synthetic crude, meant production would be disrupted.

It could not say how long output would be cut back at the project, which normally produces about 350,000 barrels a day.

Fighting climate change may still cost the earth

An expansion of biofuel farming could push maize prices up more than two-thirds by 2020 - and increase oilseed costs by nearly half, the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) said.

Global cereal stocks - a key buffer used to fight famines around the world - have sunk to their lowest level since the 1980s due to reduced plantings and poor weather, said the institute's director, Joachim von Braun.

"The world eats more than it produces currently, and over the last five or six years that is reflected in the decline in stocks and storage levels. That cannot go on, and exhaustion of stocks will be reached soon," he told a conference in Beijing.

Food shortfall affects up to 60,000 homes this December

ALBUQUERQUE - Many poor families are going to be hard-pressed to put holiday fare on their tables this season because of a 200,000-pound shortfall of food at food banks statewide.

High fuel costs and rising food prices are causing the shortage.

Truckers face huge roadblock - At $1.50 a mile, detours add up

The Washington State Department of Transportation is predicting the freeway will remain closed at least through Thursday while crews wait for the Chehalis River and Dillenbaugh Creek to recede.

...Stan Vander Pol, president of Auburn-based Peninsula Truck Lines, said the closure has badly disrupted his company’s operations and is costing at least $10,000 a day in added expenses.

Diesel prices pick farmers' wallets

California farmers who are considering changing their cropping patterns due to the state's water shortage are now looking at growing crops that may also help them cushion the impact of the latest fuel crunch.

With diesel prices at record highs, California farmers and ranchers are trying to find ways to minimize fuel usage on the farm without compromising production.

Jamaicans starting to conserve

With the energy crisis continuing to hurt the pockets of consumers, residential customers of the Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS) have on average cut their electricity consumption from 190 to 175 kilowatt-hours per month over the past year - an eight per cent cut.

Critics charge ex-official uses influence to drive alternative energy policy

Pacific Ethanol was still a fledgling business in 2005 when its founder, former Secretary of State Bill Jones, persuaded state officials to give him the small but exclusive fuel deal that established his company as a player in California's burgeoning alternative fuel market.

Two years later, that company is an ethanol empire. And Jones is the fuel's most influential champion in the state, using his political connections and 21 years of Sacramento experience to shape policies that are dramatically boosting California's thirst for ethanol - stemming the state's dependence on gasoline, but at a cost of millions in taxpayer subsidies.

Iran gas refineries’ output up 11%

A National Iranian Gas Company (NIGC) official said domestic gas refineries’ production had an 11 percent increase in its current year (started March 21) when compared to that of its preceding year.

Mexico's Pemex brings fire under control after deadly accident in October

Mexico's state-run energy giant Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex) on Tuesday declared control of a fire that erupted in a deadly rig accident in the Gulf of Mexico in late October.

The company said in a statement that Pemex is now able to stop and start the fire at will to minimize damage to the environment, which was affected by the leakage of gas and oil after the accident.

A tussle over link of warming, disease

As world leaders meet in Bali this week to find new ways to battle global warming, some of the nation's top climate change scientists yesterday argued that there's little concrete evidence connecting global warming to the spread of infectious diseases, while others said the link is crystal clear.

Private sector hikes wages up to 40%, inflation bites

Several Saudi companies, including state-owned oil conglomerate Saudi Aramco, have decided to raise wages by 15-40% to offset the impact of rising inflation on employees, Al-Riyadh newspaper reported on Wednesday.

Inflation climbed to its highest in at least a decade in September, raising pressure on the world's biggest oil-exporter to heed growing discontent over prices without straining its currency peg to the dollar.

Washington County Peak Oil Reading Group

When the global oil supply dries up, Donna Maebori, 56, and Peter Lunsford, 49, will be ready. Or, at least they’ll be well-read.

This pair of suburbanites are the founders of the Washington County Peak Oil Reading Group, a collection of citizens who, since April, have been meeting monthly at the Cedar Hills Crossing Mall. While the owners of compacts, hybrids and SUVs shop and Beaverton traffic moves steadily on nearby Sunset Highway, the Peak Oil group’s 10-plus members—including a few twentysomethings but mostly middle-agers—are inside the mall’s Powell’s Books outpost reading in preparation for what they call “life after the oil crash,” or what’s commonly known as the peak oil crisis. In simplest terms, it’s when the global demand for oil exceeds the rate of oil production, and the price and scarcity of oil will increase dramatically.

Maebori and Lunsford agree that books are one of the most effective ways to educate their unprepared neighbors.

Saudi Arabia works to protect oil fields from terrorism

This OPEC superpower – producer of more than 10 percent of the world's daily oil supply – is spending billions of dollars in manpower, technology and weapons to improve its oilfield defenses against terrorism.

Gulf States should take long term view of energy demand

The United Arab Emirates and other Gulf states should continue to take a long-term view of the energy sector and not allow themselves to become distracted by demand security concerns driven by the soaring price of oil, say industry experts speaking on the sidelines of the International Petroleum Technology Conference (IPTC) taking place in Dubai this week.

China's planning agency approves Kuwait Petroleum refinery project in southern China

The Chinese government has approved plans by Chinese and Kuwaiti oil companies to build a US$5 billion refinery and chemicals project in the southern province of Guangdong, Chinese oil refiner Sinopec says.

Political stability to help increase oil production

A senior official of the world's largest oil corporation Saudi Aramco yesterday stressed the need for greater political stability in major oil producing countries such as Iran, Iraq and Venezuela to increase global production of fossil fuels.

Australia: Where to water

The inventor of permaculture is among those calling for backyard farmers to be freed from water restrictions.

Calculating Energy Bill’s Real Figures

Gas mileage would go up under the compromise reached by Congressional leaders last week, but not as high as the trumpeted numbers. And despite the tougher 35 m.p.g. standard, a growing population of drivers would push up total fuel use, as well as greenhouse gas emissions — but not as rapidly as would occur without the legislation.

Albania exploring use of renewable energy sources

Albania receives 95p.c. of its electricity from hydroelectric power plants (HPP), but a drought this year affected reservoirs levels and the plants cannot meet continually rising energy demands. As in previous winters, restrictions, blackouts and various stopgap measures are expected. The country once produced enough energy not only to meet its needs but to export to neighbouring countries. Since the early 1990s, however, demand has risen fourfold, reaching 6,800 GWh. At the same time, electricity output has shrunk by half, to around 4,000 GWh. Scant rainfall and the antiquated state of the HPPs are to blame. The power supply in Tirana and other cities has been interrupted up to eight hours a day, while some rural areas are cut off for as long as 15 hours a day. Each winter, the situation deteriorates further.

50 years on: The Keeling Curve legacy

It is a scientific icon, which belongs, some claim, alongside E=mc2 and the double helix.

Its name - the Keeling Curve - may be scarcely known outside scientific circles, but the jagged upward slope showing rising carbon dioxide (CO2) levels in the atmosphere has become one of the most famous graphs in science, and a potent symbol of our times.

Environmental group claims responsibility for bogus USCAP release

An environmental group called Rising Tide North America put out a fake press release on Monday stating that members of U.S. Climate Action Partnership had agreed to cut greenhouse gas emissions and to stop building coal-fired power plants.

US Seeks Alliance with China and India to Block Climate Protection

Officially, the US government says it wants to push in Bali for a climate protection "road map." But SPIEGEL ONLINE has learned that this may not be true. US government officials are already attempting to coordinate with China and India to prevent binding emissions limits.

Bio-fuels not an option for Africa

Speaking to Africa Science News Service, Ann Petermann, Co-Director for Global Justice Ecology Project said the use of bio-fuel could put pressure in the forests and increase conflicts in rural areas of Africa.

She says Developed countries should directly be involved in activities that would lower factors that lead to climate changing rather than advocate for clean energies like biofuel as this will do no good to the developing countries.

Feeding cattle byproduct of ethanol production causes E. coli 0157 to spike

Recent research at Kansas State University has found that cattle fed distiller's grain have an increased prevalence of E. coli 0157 in their hindgut. This particular type of E. coli is present in healthy cattle but poses a health risk to humans, who can acquire it through undercooked meat, raw dairy products and produce contaminated with cattle manure.

Australia can lead the way on climate

Even reductions consistent with a two-degree increase in global temperatures are now seen as reckless, given the risks. According to Australia's leading climate scientist, Graeme Pearman, the global climate-science community has indicated that changes of even one or two degrees have the potential to bring about significant global exposures to coastal erosion, sea-level rise, water supply and extreme climatic events. He said the number of humans affected by a two-degree change may be counted in the hundred of millions.

Oil prices soar as OPEC stands pat on output

OPEC dashed hopes that it would step up production at its meeting Wednesday, news that sent oil prices shooting back towards the $90 a barrel mark in early trading.

Up until a few days ago, investors had been hoping that the cartel made up of 13 of the world's leading oil producers would increase production by least 500,000 barrels, news that had helped send oil prices tumbling from a record high near $100 a barrel to under $90.

But the statement of the group's oil ministers released after their meeting in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, said that "market fundamentals have essentially remained unchanged, with the market continuing to be well supplied and commercial crude/product stocks remaining at comfortable levels."

OPEC maintains oil output, hands quotas to Angola, Ecuador

Angola, which joined the cartel on January 1, was handed a quota of 1.9 million barrels of oil per day. Ecuador, which rejoined OPEC last month, was given a daily quota totalling 520,000 barrels.

It was not immediately clear when the pair would begin operating their quotas, or if their output would be in addition to OPEC's official output daily output of 27.25 million barrels.

Survive Oil's Slide

There is no oil shortage, only the perception of shortage created by geopolitical uncertainties, limited surplus capacity and persistent worries about peak oil production in the face of stubbornly growing demand.

Russia increases local gas prices

Russia has approved a 25% increase in local wholesale gas prices in 2008, two days after the elections won by President Vladimir Putin's party.

The decision, taken despite rising inflationary pressures, will raise gas prices for industry and consumers.

Fukuda orders ministers to soften oil price hikes

Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda has ordered ministers to develop a policy to soften the blow of higher oil prices on consumers and businesses.

‘Ominous warning sign’ as British Gas raises tariffs

British households suffered a fresh blow to their strained finances yesterday as British Gas said that it was lifting the price of a key energy tariff by up to 15 per cent, prompting fears of a wider increase in gas and electricity bills in the new year.

First fuel price protest meeting sees farmers back direct action

“I was particularly interested to see a lot of new faces. People have just had enough. It is getting to a point where it is really hurting people.”

As well as businesses, elderly people were being badly affected by the rising fuel prices, he said.

“At the meeting I spoke to an elderly, retired farmer, who said that if he didn’t have his car to go out and buy food and so on he would starve to death.

“It is becoming more and more difficult for elderly people as there is no public transport infrastructure. They don’t have an option.”

Canada: Government hiding damaging climate report, critics charge

A new federal report is warning of an international scramble for oil and minerals under melting Arctic ice and water scarcity in the Great Lakes, but the Harper government is keeping the study on the shelf, CanWest News Service has learned.

In Alaska’s Far North, Two Cultures Collide

Each summer and fall, the Inupiat, natives of Alaska’s arid north coast, take their sealskin boats and gun-fired harpoons and go whale hunting. Kills are celebrated throughout villages as whaling captains share their catch with relatives and neighbors. Muktuk, or raw whale skin and blubber, is a prized delicacy.

But now, that traditional way of life is coming into conflict with one of the modern world’s most urgent priorities: finding more oil.

Iowans wavering on loyalty to ethanol

As White House contender John McCain learned painfully in 2000, criticizing ethanol subsidies is extremely hazardous in a state where corn is king and ethanol, a corn-based fuel substitute, has long been the crown prince.

But the 2008 field of presidential contenders is discovering that the old political rules are changing for ethanol. Some Iowans are questioning its economic, environmental and energy benefits.

France and Algeria sign nuclear deal

France and Algeria agreed to cooperate on civilian nuclear technologies Tuesday, while French oil and gas giant Total SA signed a deal to build a petrochemical complex in the North African country.

Overflow crowd greets refinery officials

When officials of Hyperion Energy told Union County Commission members of plans to ask for rezoning for a potential oil refinery, they were greeted by an overflow crowd at the Elk Point courthouse.

Nonstop service between Houston and Dubai begins

The inaugural flight of Emirates' new nonstop service between Dubai and Houston touched down here Monday, directly linking the two energy centers.

At the same time, word circulated that another Middle Eastern carrier, Qatar Airways, may be flying into Houston.

Scandal, economics deter Alaska gas line bids

Alaska's unfolding political-corruption scandal deterred one energy company from submitting a natural gas pipeline proposal to the state, while uncertain economics precluded the proposal of another.

Venezuela Will Probably Take Over Natural Gas, Analysts Say

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez will probably force natural gas projects into government-controlled joint ventures, as constitutional reforms that were rejected this week by voters weren't necessary for such action, analysts say.

Russia Classifies 32 Gas Fields as Strategic

The Russian government has classified 32 gas fields as "strategic," meaning it can choose the developer itself, without holding a tender, the Vedomosti business daily reported Tuesday.

Gas Tanker Explosion Rocks Neighborhood

A gasoline tanker truck overturned, caught fire and exploded in Everett, Mass., early Wednesday morning, destroying several multi-family homes and forcing at least a six families and a nursing home to be evacuated.

Climate change meeting adds to emissions

"Nobody denies this is an important event, but huge numbers of people are going, and their emissions are probably going to be greater than a small African country," said Chris Goodall, author of the book "How to Live a Low-Carbon Life."

In Bali, Germany takes dramatic step on climate change

This week, delegates from more than 180 countries are gathered in Bali for a United Nations-sponsored conference, where they will try to hash out a road map for a post-Kyoto climate treaty. Meanwhile, Germany is forging ahead and adopting what experts here say is the most comprehensive climate-protection package ever enacted worldwide.

Sinking islands deride climate change inaction

For nations and communities that sit only a few metres above sea level, even small ocean rises engulf their land and send destructive salty water into their food supply, leaving residents with little choice but to flee.

Danish 'best-selling' climate change sceptic swims against the tide

As world leaders scramble to address global warming, sceptical environmentalist Bjoern Lomborg finds himself increasingly alone in his claim that climate change poses no imminent threat to the planet.

Green groups say Japan, Canada wavering on climate targets

Japan and Canada appear to be backing away from mandatory emissions cuts expected to be at the heart of a new global accord on fighting global warming, environmental groups said Wednesday.

Nations divided at climate conference

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd urged the United States to follow his country's lead and ratify the Kyoto Protocol, while rich and poor nations appeared divided Wednesday over what a future climate change pact should look like.

Thomas Homer-Dixon: With cracks and holes in the Greenland ice sheet, we may well have to 'geo-engineer' the climate

Because the IPCC reports incorporate only scientific findings published up to about mid-2005, they don't reflect almost two years of extraordinarily important results from multiple streams of research. Immediately after the Working Group 1 report was released (last February), many scientists said it significantly underestimated sea-level rise this century.

Since then, we've seen sharply higher global carbon dioxide emissions than the IPCC expected (2006 emissions were almost half a billion tonnes above the worst-case IPCC prediction), while the absorptive capacity of ocean and land-based carbon sinks appears to be decreasing more rapidly than predicted.

Seven Days in December?
Published: December 5, 2007

The reporters pressed on about whether the president was troubled about a possible “credibility gap” with the American people, given that the facts had failed him on Iraq and Iran and that Harry Reid had charged that “the president is not leveling with the American people” on war spending.

Even though Norman Podhoretz is conjuring up a “Seven Days in December” spy thriller scenario in which the intelligence agencies colluded to sabotage the president and prevent him from the noble mission of air strikes on Iran, W. insisted he felt “pretty good about life.”

Gotta love this part...especially the last paragraph.

If I were looking at the latest fiasco from a Psych 101 point of view, I’d say it was another daddy issue for W.

Poppy Bush, who was once C.I.A. director, loved the agency and liked to sign notes: “Head Spook.” The C.I.A. headquarters bear his name.

W., by contrast, has voiced contempt for the intelligence community. In 2004, he dismissed a pessimistic National Intelligence Estimate that didn’t match his sunny vision of the Iraq occupation, saying that the analysts were “just guessing as to what the conditions might be like.”

When W.’s history is written, he will be seen as the rebellious teenager crashing the family station wagon into his father’s three most cherished spots — diplomacy, intelligence and the Gulf.

George W. Bush has great disdain for intelligence. And no respect for the CIA.

"Bush" and "intelligence" in the same sentence is an oxymoron.

Of course we have to remember that the very notion that this is all a "terrible mistake" is just another phony excuse. The ME is all about the oil and it has been for 100 years. We went into the ME because world oil production is peaking. Period.

But we'll never see that printed in the New York Times.

Never is a very long time. I could see such talk at some point in the distant future, when the NYT is looking back at current time period retrospectively.

Interesting. I can see a world without the New York Times at all.

And not in the distant future.

key word there is "moron"

Over at LATOC, Matt posted an article called

American kids, dumber than dirt

about how student's mental abilities have radically deteriorated over the years. Perhaps kids are being underestimated, though. Perhaps with GHB as a role-model, they know what it takes to succeed in the US.

Yep, Prez'dint GHB, named after the date-rape drug.....

Oops! I guess I find the guy so repugnant I even zoned his name....

This is why we have off-shored all of our manufacturing - because we will have all of these future "knowledge workers" to staff our "knowledge economy."


He may not be well educated and he may not be much of an intellectual and he certainly has difficulties with speech but it would be a mistake to call him dumb. Don't underestimate him. When pressed he can be very clever about getting his way.

Let’s not be too quick to buy the argument that the new NIE changes everything about Iran. They are continuing with their Uranium enrichment program, which they would need to do if their goal was to develop weapons. They have good reason to develop nuclear power, as are most of the other oil states, so that they can continue to export petroleum and for when it runs out in a few years but they do not need to have their own fuel cycle to have nuclear power.

You can understand their possible concern about getting the fuel they need but there are good options (like Russia, China or France) other than the Great Satan. Investing all that money in enrichment is security based at heart and the option to take it to the ultimate state of producing HEU is certainly a big part of it. They have no need to think about weaponizing until they have the facilities in place to produce enough material to make bombs and then to spin those centrifuges for a few years.

The only thing that is really important about this development is that it probably makes it impossible for Bush to attack them before the end of his term, which is a very good thing.

When countries start building reactors it typically doesn't make sense for them to enrich until they've got about twenty units in operation.

I think besides the obvious defense aspect Iran wants to stay in the energy business as their FF reserves decline. Nuclear is an obvious vehicle for them over solar and wind focus, as it solves the problem of the ongoing gamesmanship in their back yard by the rest of the world as well as being a salable product. Lets not forget the Iranian revolution means to their self determination what the U.S. revolution means to us. We are the overbearing, unjust power in their world view, just as Britain was to us ten generations ago.

Its a darned shame that stuff that is so nice for heating water to drive steam turbines can go b00m! if its highly concentrated. I think the world would be a much different place if this were not the case ...

Its a darned shame that stuff that is so nice for heating water to drive steam turbines can go b00m!

Yes, this genie has a dark side. But stopping nuclear power will not prevent bombs and building it will not significantly increase the risks of proliferation over the other ways to get these weapons.

Iran might want to get into the nuclear fuel business but they would probably be restricted to selling to other rogue states. Not much of a future in that. They might want to ensure that they could fend off pressure from the West but it is unlikely that they could develop a domestic nuclear power industry without help. Ultimately, enrichment is, for them, about making weapons.

Nuclear weapons are not useful for offense. They could not really attack Israel with its 300 or so nuclear weapons, much less the US. Individuals might be willing to die to hurt us but not an entire nation. But they could deter a US invasion. Of course, that’s what Bush wants to prevent. We cannot control the oil flows out of that region with a big independent regional power there who we cannot intimidate.

... restricted to selling to other rogue states. Not much of a future in that.

Who defines the members of this set of so called "rogue states"? George W. Bush? His successor? Right now we've got two AGW rogue states - the U.S. and Australia. And a quick Google will show how mother nature is treating them ...

The point is that the conventional wisdom of who is a rogue state goes out the window when the dollar of today is worth $0.25, and that day doesn't seem far off. Iran rising with Russia watching their back may very well become an even more significant regional power than they are now. The U.S. savaging their infrastructure would seem to be the only barrier to that, and that whole plan just got torpedoed in a big way.

Nuclear weapons are not usable for offense in today's world view and they very much serve to calcify things. No talk of regime change in North Korea, now is there? When things get really bad the long term concerns over fallout, both political and of the sort detectable with a Geiger counter, may be dramatically lessened. It'll be a progression - a 5kt starter weapon live test here, a subkiloton etiquette lesson there, and pretty soon anything goes.

We need to maintain dominance in the ME to maintain our way of life. Iran needs to come to heel. We can't allow others already at heel to watch them get away with defiance.

Once someone defies the bully without consequence, the bully is no more.

The loss has already occurred. Our armies are stranded in Afghanistan and Iraq, pinned down such that there is no withdrawal unless it is a heavily reinforced one, and even with such an approach they'll get savaged.

We have brought a focused, mechanized infantry to what should have been a long term, low intensity conflict in Afghanistan and we should have had the sense to steer clear of Iraq. But the sensible thing here would not have lined Dick Cheney's pockets ...

i think it helps to listen to leaders even where one disagrees with them

Ahmadinejad in his Columbia speech pointed out with some indignation and national hurt that the US sold them planes then refused them spare parts... let's be honest about it that is pretty terrible behaviour - but more importantly, while airlines are of strategic importance, controlling one's own energy supplies are even more so

they've learned that they cannot trust other major powers for strategically important supplies

Those planes were sold to the Shah before 1979 and are warplanes (F-15s and F-4s, I think). Whether or not it is the US's fault that Iran has been our enemy since then, a country has to be able to change it arms sales policies when governments change like they have in Iran.

I've not read that before. I understood from reading around the time that this referred to civilian airliners.

I have never heard of any airliners but I can tell you that we did supply some of our most advanced warplanes to the Shah's Air Force. After the revolution, we stopped supplying spare parts. I doubt many of them can still fly. Governments do not usually get involved with sales of airliners.

This article mentions "Throughout the 1970s, Iran purchased sophisticated aircraft for the air force. The acquisition of 77 F-14A Tomcat fighters added to 166 F-5 fighters and 190 F-4 Phantom fighter-bombers." Oops, F-14s not F-15s. ;-)

There is definitely an issue with spare parts for civilian aircraft.

This is the first link i pulled out of google. I'm posting it as a reference, certainly not as an endorsment of the point of view... However, the point of view probably is relevant to this line of discussion, and goes some way to justifying Ahmadinejad's point of view (as well as the claim).


State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said the license, approved on Sept. 29, would enable the export of spare and replacement parts and technical data for the repair and overhaul of a "limited number" of U.S.-made turbine engines on Airbus aircraft. McCormack said these aircraft have been operated by Iran Air, which has sustained several crashes over the last four years.

As we have discussed before, I really wonder if the only thing that has kept Bush/Cheney from attacking Iran is active resistance from the military and perhaps now the intelligence community.

The remarkable essay by retired three star general Greg Newbold, in which he points out that officers swear an oath not to the president, but to the Constitution:


With the encouragement of some still in positions of military leadership, I offer a challenge to those still in uniform: a leader's responsibility is to give voice to those who can't--or don't have the opportunity to--speak. Enlisted members of the armed forces swear their oath to those appointed over them; an officer swears an oath not to a person but to the Constitution. The distinction is important.

Hollywood and the more lefty press tries to stay topical/sarcastic (see John Stuart, etc.) without being openly traitorous so I think the point of making a Stauffenberg film now is apparent encouragement for dissent in the armed forces against a potential dictatorship.

There was an incident on the weekend where Tom Crusie got the German movie award "Bambi" at a big gala celbration and he cited the last words of Stauffenberg "Es lebe dass heilige Deutschland"("long live holy Germany") at the end of his rambling half hour speech and in the hall there was icy silence and it got into all the press as a scandal,as anything remotely patriotic in Germany in such an open sense is taboo since 60 years. However I think though Cruise is a bit too much into his acting role he carries the feel of true patriotism that the Ameiricans now feel in a "resistance" movement from within against the Bush regime. This is not just a lefty thing but something that common sense patriots see as destroying the credibility of America for generations similar to the results for Germany, losing effectively its sovereignty to America/Nato. America is indebting itself to Chinese and Arabs, to run this war and will effectively lose its sovereignty and perhaps if they step over a certain line(attacking Iran) be essentially destroyed and eternally labeled, like Germany, an evil agressor nation, regardless of what an individual three generations out knew of Grandpa's crimes.

Germans are down on Cruise because he is a scientologist. The German government have politely but firmly invited members of that group to go away, using laws put in place that were conceived to block the rise of totalitarian movements.

We here in Germany all know about the American totalitarian export called religion(Scientology)and that the poor nut case Tom Cruise is in their clutches. However that does nto change the meaning of the rest of what I said or its relevance.

And it's no accident that Eisenhower waited until
Stalingrad was decided to launch invasions into Africa and Italy.

Hey Galactic;
I'm sure you also have a sense of how Americans get a little excited about stories of Von Stauffenberg and others 'who tried'.. without our also realizing just how often German people are still constantly hearing references to WWII from well-meaning Americans who have little or no knowledge of life in contemporary Germany.

I'm always hungry for more contact with Germany, having been an exchange student there in the early 80's.. but it's not always easy to find here. We've been asked to host students for the program that sent me, and if we had more than an apartment, I'd love to do that sometime.

At least Cruise didn't launch into a chorus of 'Edelweiss' like Reagan did in Austria, thinking it was a real folk-tune there.

Alles Beste, (?)

Ja, ja, ja, ja
Weisst' nicht wie gut ich dir bin

Is that Madeleine Kahn? (Blazing Saddles..)

Ich bin nur ein 'Irving Berliner'.. I get no kick from Champagne!


Scientology aside,(of which I know absolutely nothing and care even less) I do hope that Cruise does justice to the man Stauffenburg. I think the German authorities will have tried to make sure of this. It has the potential to be one of the most important 'war movies' ever made:

Honour from Betrayal, rather than blindly follow orders, knowing full well that if you fail then disgrace, and death will follow and this fate may include all your family and friends and colleagues. ...never mind loss of pension and medical insurance...

And if you want a potted biography:


Not black and white.

Mostly gray.

I'm American, been in Germany since 1991 but my father faught against the Germans and my mother lived in England as a youth during the war and I have read Toland and some of Shirer and watched enough war movies as a kid to have fantasies of how it could have been if somebody had just managed to kill Hitler sometime.

This is the problem from what I perceive in America people seem to be afraid of te regime,if you say the wrong thing on the internet, "they" could target you. WTF is going on in the land of the free? Obviously the Bush regime is not one bit better than Putin, although in Russia the situation is necessary in order to stabilize chaos due to wild west capitalism of the early days like in late 19th century gilded era USA or Dickens era but in America the terror is in order to destabilize a previously good situation to promote the interests of the military industrial finance complex in the hands of a few so that they can sell more weapons and make more war in a permanent spiral of violence and instability. I just hope that this is not systemic as some like Matt Savinar believe(e.g. Obama, Clinton on their payroll too so no hope of change) but that a change of officeholder will mean a real change. Somehow I don't know. Maybe the shadow govt. in the X-files was more real than we will ever know. God help us all.

Yeah, I'm a German-American and I've wondered all my life how it was possible for the Germans to go so badly wrong in the 1930's. As I've watched shrub and his administration unfold these last 7 years it's become very clear how it was possible.

I read Shirer's 'Rise and Fall of the Third Reich' to understand that better than I did.. and what I came away with was the (20/20hindsight) realization that there were 'warning signs' throughout the 30's, all manner of appeasement and denial which amounted to 'not wanting to put a chilling effect on the economy.. that sort of thing, right up the the Chamberlain visits to Hitler in Berchetesgaden during the Anschluss and I think still before Poland..

It's a dense book, and I think it still holds a good reputation. Worth the read, but it was dark enough when looking at it 5 years ago. Today, I don't know if I could bear it without some kind of medication.


I like Shirer's observation how things would have been different if he had retained the family name - Shiklgruber. Heil Shicklgruber does not roll off the tongue does it? Another good book by Shireer and rarely read is “The Collapse of the Third Republic” which covers France’s years of political infighting and bad decisions leading up to the German invasion .

I've read both Shirer books, both are highly recommended.

Looking both at the rise of the 3rd Reich and the demise of the 3rd Republic, I think that the question of "Why?" does not lend itself to a short, simple answer. It was a lot of things. My conclusion is that neither was inevitable; any number of things could have gone differently, and it would not have taken too many key things going differently at key moments to create very different outcomes. The lesson is that even small things can matter.

WTF is going on in the land of the free?

It is not the country it used to be, unfortunately.

I just hope that this is not systemic as some like Matt Savinar believe(e.g. Obama, Clinton on their payroll too so no hope of change)

That is exactly what it is, unfortunately. As Dmitri Orlov said, in the US we have the Capitalist Party, and the OTHER Capitalist Party. Status quo guaranteed, regardless of outcome.

The Democrats are reduced to working the "capitalism with a human face" angle, but this seems to consist of getting a pretty boy like JFK or Clinton, who then "regrets" some of the awful things he must do to keep the empire running, while Nixon, Reagan and Bush reveled in them. Note how Democratic presidents are wildly popular overseas, but seem despised at home, while Republicans are somewhat the opposite. (Nixon and Bush Senior may have been popular with foreign elites, but not the masses.) So it serves imperial interests to switch back and forth, a President loved by racist, xenophobic Americans, then one loved by socialistic welfare foreigners who actually make our stuff.

I wonder if that isn't the game for all those businessmen who do support the Democrats - they keep the nasty acts of globalization and coercion in some lobe of their brain fenced in with the eternal rationalization that one day our little brown brothers will receive their just rewards. They mean well! Love them!

The game's worn thin. Clinton screwed Latin America and Russia with neoliberalization, and it's been soundly rejected. We won't elect a real leftist to repair that damage. Re-elected Bush simply taught the world the lesson it needed to learn - it's not just America's government that's bad, but an awful lot of its citizens.

You nailed it

it's all coming apart...

We're not just financially bankrupt, we're morally and spiritually bankrupt, too. That works ... for a few quarters ... and then we have what we have now.

Plague, fire, and steel are the only cures for what ail us now? I do not wish such things in my lifetime, but history tells us this is the fate of old empires ...

Galactic, Germans have every reason to consider Scientology a Fascist American import, although Americans who know about it consider it a threat too.

Hubbard was a sociopath of the first order, and cooked up quite an evil brew of Calvinism, science fiction, and plain old brain washing to come up with his evil religion.

The best site for "knowing the enemy" is www.xenu.net and the episode of South Park is pretty good too!

I got all curious about Scientology because Scientology centers are all over the place in rat-race, workaholic, loony, Silicon Valley.

Just go read the xenu site, it's a real eye opener and has a lot of stuff on the fight against Scientology in Germany.

Those folks are so nutty (don't ask me for adjectives about any other religion or you're likely to find I hold them all in equal contempt).

Downtown San Francisco finds them spreading the word all too often, giving their free "personality" tests generally close to where the tourists congegrate to ride the nice cable cars halfway to the stars.

Often they'll bug me about taking the test and I just say, "Sorry, I don't like to deal wit people in cults." They get all bent out of shape. Definitely none of that "I wanna be a martyr" complex in this group. Maybe some day I'll take it upon myself to explain peak oil to them. That'll get their thetans up.

Judging from their relatively new headquarters here in the old Transamerica Building ( http://www.scientology.org/en_US/news-media/briefing/openings/sfo/ ) , they must be doing the fundraising thing real well. Hard to say whether they or the Unification Church have done the best, economically, as new religions in my lifetime, but the latter certainly holds more sway on government of the US than the Scientologists.

Jerry Seinfeld is the latest celebrity to credit Scientology training for some of this success. He specifically stated that the communication and persuasion techniques are quite advanced. One caveat: I know next to nothing on the Scientology subject- like PO one hears dramatically different stories from the two sides of the street. The advocates describe a technology of sales/persuasion/motivation training, the critics describe a cult of wackos.

Sales/persuasion/motivation training sums up a lot of religion, business, and everything; that doesn't preclude wackos.

As with all "religions" it also doesn't preclude very nice people being involved and/or duped. I have a friend who maintains Scientology saved her life at one particularly low point. She doesn't "do it" now, but what the hell. I imagine if things are so bad at some junctures, joining an African Violet society might even save you're life.

Mentioned above was the South Park episode. A lot of the beliefs of the church are in this. And it's awfully damned funny, at least if you're a South Park fan.

Lots of the "tech" is very good. Auditing, the desensitization techniques, etc.

There are those called "squirrels" who desire to use the "tech" without the church of scientology strings, and my hat's off to them because a lot of the "tech" is good and helpful.

Even I've been helped by some basic Scientology tech years'n'years ago, amazingly. This is one reason I was interested in learning about the Scienos also, because what little I'd seen was good, but there was this .... how could I put it ... smell of sulphur....

The "tech" that works has almost totally been taken from other teachers, groups, cults, what have you. Even auditing, with the e-meter, predates Scientology and was not invented by Hubbard. In fact a workable e-meter is not hard to cobble together using any decent meter movement, batteries, a couple-few potentiometers, etc. Oh and 2 cans. Auditing at its most basic level teaches you to control your state of arousal, or nervous system excitement. Pro athletes learn this sort of thing, habitual liars, conmen leaders, visionaries, etc. It's just a type of self-control that most people don't come under pressure to learn, so they don't.

I have a REAL problem with any Church that charges people $$ to learn to worship though.

check out operation clambake - google it

they basically prey on people at vulnerable periods of their life and suck all the money they can out of them

My favorite character on South Park is "Tweek", he is the perfection representation of TOD doomer. :P

No he isn't.

He's the perfect representation of a kid raised in a coffee grinding company who huffs coffee powder in the air all day, is forced to try out his parents' "new blends" and was probably weaned on latte'

The result is/will be the same as November 8, 1942.

November 8 Events in History
November 8, 1942 Allies under Eisenhower land in N-Africa (Casablanca) November 8, 1942 Hitler proclaims fall of Stalingrad from Munich beer hall ...
www.brainyhistory.com/days/november_8.html - 32k -

Elaine Supkis has the details as usual:

"Well, it looks increasingly like Iran Kitty has won yet another round with Miz Liberty. Either way, the US has lost. Either we commit global economic suicide or we lose face as we back away from the flailing claws of the cat. We lost face in Asia big time this last month and now we lost whatever face we still have, in the Middle East. Projection of power means avoiding pies in the face. Clowns get plastered with pies, not great leaders. The US is causing considerable financial havoc still thanks to our moronic need to fight with the Cat. And this is causing increasing problems for our allies in Asia and Europe not to mention, ticking off the Chinese Dragon who doesn't want high oil prices and embargoes. On the other hand, this has pleased Putin no end. Mother Russia is much richer, thanks to these fights."

Westexas, a revelation from an ex-Italian president, which is quite remarkable if true. Cossiga seemingly said this in Italy's Corriere della Sera newspaper:

"[Bin Laden supposedly confessed] to the Qaeda September [attack] to the two towers in New York [claiming to be] the author of the attack of the 11, while all the [intelligence services] of America and Europe ... now know well that the disastrous attack has been planned and realized from the CIA American and the Mossad with the aid of the Zionist world in order to put under accusation the Arabic Countries and in order to induce the western powers to take part ... in Iraq [and] Afghanistan."

Osama-Berlusconi? «Trappola giornalistica»

Can someone who understands Italian please confirm what was said and if it is significant?

Can someone who understands Italian please confirm what was said and if it is significant?

Yes, that's what he said. Significant? Well, Cossiga is well known for his odd behavior and declarations. Nobody really pays attention at what he says anymore. Not here in Italy, at least.

The same could be said of George Bush :)

Out of curiosity I looked up Cossiga on Wiki:


And also Operation Gladio in which he was supposedly involved:


Significant? I think this guy has some authority behind him and seems to be part of a rising tide of credible individuals saying the same thing. It seems to be an open secret in certain circles and leads credence to Westexas's view that certain arms of the military are trying to restrain wayward elements within.

I re-read the Corriere Della Sera article and also went on to read some Italian blogs that commented on the article. Apparently Cossiga's "revelations" were just sarcastic comments addressed to opposition leader Silvio Berlusconi.

Cossiga also dismissed and ridiculed "9/11 conspiracy theories" several times in the past.
Cossiga loves sarconol:)

I thought I'd heard of Gladio before but until you directed me to that link I'd never realized the vast scope of its operations.

It seems the Cold War democracies of Europe always operated with an American/Fascist gun to their heads. The Russians probably wish they'd been that subtle in their half of Europe, if only for the cost savings.

For starters you want to read Heinrich
Boll, The Lost Honour of Katarina Blum.
If you can find it see also Bommi
Baumann, Wie Alles Anfing.

Katarina Blum is non-fiction and ran
afoul of Paragraph 88a, the Spiritual
Terrorism Law.

Boll spent the last years of his life
hawking banned books on the steps of
Koln Cathedral, including of course
his own. Under the watchful eye of the
Gestapo, finally shunned even by
American tourists.

Also highly recommended Gruppenbild
mit Dame (Group Portrait With Lady)
which was the occasion of 88a.

Some not particularly distinguished
American old hippies have friends
and lovers who perished in Gladio.

Admiral Fallon is the CIC for the US forces in the Gulf, and he's stated in public that there will be no attack on Iran on his watch. It's rumoured that he is opposing Dick Cheney's plans to attack Iran, and that it the NIE was "leaked" by Fallon's people, because it's been hanging around for almost a year with the White House doing all it could to prevent publication.

NYT-again h/t Elaine Supkis:

An Assessment Jars a Foreign Policy Debate About Iran

Rarely, if ever, has a single intelligence report so completely, so suddenly, and so surprisingly altered a foreign policy debate here.

There have been alot of intel reports in US History, folks.

Leave 'Fact' aside for a moment, though, and follow the direction of the thing. It would be monumental enough for me that any part of the Iran debate could finally force an effect onto this 'Battleship with no Rudder' that is the Bush White House.

It's a comfort to know that the President says he 'Still feels fine'.. though I have a feeling he's not even telling the truth about that.


He can't be feeling fine. He can't be feeling much of anything at all.

At best he has to pretend to be stupid and even that is
temporary as the body will do it's utmost to accommodate
the wishes of it's owner.


"With very rare exceptions, the intelligence agencies always get it wrong. That they got it wrong with Iraq, and possibly with Iran (either earlier, or now, or both) is not news: that is what they do."

He was really pumping his 'Nukular' for the media today.. what an elaborate crock. Makes me sick! Talking about how 'Iran has to come clean about their Nukular program.' What about OUR Nuclear prg, D-head! And just the thought of the guy saying 'come clean'.. he kisses his mother with that mouth?


.. he kisses his mother with that mouth?

She deserves it.

Scroll down to see note from Dowd's colleague at New York Times, Scott Shane.


Shane and Bowman were nominated for a Pulitizer Prize for their NSA story.


OPEC is declining to increase production because it claims that oil inventories are just fine. But historically, as both the IEA and Energy Secretary Bodman have indicated, oil inventories are comparatively low.

US crude stocks are now about 313 million barrels, about 8 percent down from same time last year.

In addition, the figure below shows days of supply from OECD oil inventories from 1995 to 2000, from 80 to 95 days in inventory.


Today we have about a bit over 50 days of supply from OECD inventories.


“Inventories. Total OECD commercial inventories are declining. OECD commercial inventories at the end of September 2007 stood at about 2.6 billion barrels, roughly equal to the previous 5-year average. Last year at the same time, inventories were 152 million barrels above the 5-year average. Even with a moderate increase in OPEC output in the fourth quarter, EIA’s analysis indicates OECD inventories at year-end 2007 will fall below the 5-year average. EIA’s 2008 balance shows that, even with additional volumes of OPEC production that are included in our projections, inventories would fall toward the lower end of the 5-year range (Days of Supply of OECD Commercial Stocks).”

So is it credible for OPEC to say the inventories are fine?

Because of the SPR in the US, refineries here have apparently gone to a just in time inventory system, and the changes within the five year range just reflect minor variations in a thin margin of inventory in excess of the Minimum Operating Level (MOL).

I think that price is a better indication of what is going on in world export markets. My September, 2007 discussion of the issue:


"Because of the SPR in the US, refineries here have apparently gone to a just in time inventory system,..."

Maintaining minimal inventory lowers costs and enhances profits. Much of North American industry has shifted to the 'warehouse on wheels' system, thus putting the burden on society, which through the state provides the highways, cleans up the roadkill, pays the police, and so on. In the case of oil, it appears that costs are socialized not only through military expenditures, but through 'warehousing' in the SPR.

I think you're off here. When futures were higher last year refineries were happy to build large stocks; buy now while its cheap. For most of this year futures are lower, so refineries quite logically allow stocks to decline; buy the cheaper futures. The latter, of course, leads to very low stock levels, but as we all know the spr will take care of emergencies, or at least short term ones.

Thanks Westexas, I think that's a very valid point you are making. I've spent some time looking at this issue myself (for fuel stocks at local jurisdictions, etc.) and I think you are absolutely right that everyone is going to just-in-time delivery for fuel, food, everything. I'm sure it saves money for some groups (not having to handle a large inventory) but it's definitely not a great thing for looming shortages.

Smokey wrote:

OPEC is declining to increase production because it claims that oil inventories are just fine.

What I don't get is the meeky mild reaction of the markets to this news. The oil price drop of the past week was largely in anticipation that OPEC would increase quotas. Today, OPEC dashed this belief, but as I write this oil has only moved up slightly (Nymex is currently up only 18 cents to $88.50/barrel). Dow right now is up 168.35 - you'd think it would go down. Gold is down to $797.20, when you'd expect it to be up.

It's nice to know that so many people are optimistic that everything will be just fine. Very bizarre. Is Ben Bernanke handing out LSD to investors?

"Is Ben Bernanke handing out LSD to investors?"

Why drop dollars from the helicopter when a fine mist of LSD will get the job done for a fraction of the cost!

Wasn't he humming 25 or 6 to 4

RIP, Terry Kath

Compassion for the Homeless in New Orleans

Demolition of an abandoned shopping center in New Orleans East (our post-WW II sprawl in Orleans Parish) to make way for Lowe's/Home Depot, state office building, etc. has been delayed for one month to allow for the 150 homeless that have been squatting there to relocate (with some limited assistance, but resources are thin).

Meanwhile the Homeless Pride camp in the city park in front of City Hall has stabilized. They were told not to camp on one edge that state office workers use to enter their building (which, I was told, was accepted as reasonable). "Arrangements" have been made for after hours use of toilet facilities.

Look up Hoovervilles.

Best Hopes for Future Homeless Camps across the USA,


I saw Brad Pitt on CNN raising 5 million to make 150 homes in the South Ward. He means well bt I could only think of the millions of houses unneeeded and overbuilt in the ocuntry due to the housing bubble and think he was misguided and a hopeless idealist.

We have a surplus of Suburban and Exurban MacMansions in this country.

We have a shortage of modest energy efficient homes 3 or so miles from major employment centers within walking distance of a proposed streetcar line.


I saw on CNN Brad Pitt again(interview mit Larry King), apparently NO is his home town and it wa the 9th ward where he wants to build. If it is his home town I would be surprised if a person of his wealth and stature did nothing. O ocourse when Ifirst heard of his project I was cynical considering his wife's escapades to do good around the world. I wish him and NO all the best.

I have and the America of that day could be admired in their response.

BTW, New Orleans avoided flooding in that river flood and we have very minimal risk of ever being flooded by the spring Mississippi River floods ever again, due to Corps of Engineers works done in the 1920s and 1930s.


How could you admire a solution that resulted in the massive environmental destruction of wetlands?


I guess being able to saunter down the street to jazz clubs and restaurants makes it all worth it.

I'll bet it does!
You can saunter to Jazz clubs in Chicago, too. Is it the supposed self-satisfaction in the 'Sauntering' or the Jazz that you object to?

-Going out door to street. Zero FFuels consumed.

-Walking, Strolling, Sauntering to find some local music.
Zero FF consumed.

-Stopping to Talk to a friend/give someone directions/help pick up the front of a stroller at the curb. Zero FF consumed.

-Trumpets. Zero FF to operate..
-Upright Bass. Zero FF
-Banjo. Zero FF
-Piano. Zero FF
-Amplifier .. ummm,

-Getting back home the same way, late that night, without having to EVER stop to buy gas for this ritual. Priceless!

I will try and write-up my last Sunday afternoon soon.'


Actually, I no longer live in Chicago, and unless one is wealthy enough to live in the trendy neighborhoods, the place is a festering sore waiting to burst from corruption (see Urkel, I mean Stroger Jr. and Daley Jr.) and carrying the weight of an illegal immigrant population with a high criminal element (I really enjoyed looking down the barrel of a gun held by one of the “Polish mafia“ on the southwest side). I hate the place and hope to never have a reason to go back there.

Actually lots of energy consumed with live music. Without tourism and the money it brings most of these places would not exist. And I bet they walked in from all over the country. Moreover, are there just locals there? Bet they drove in big gas guzzling pickups and SUV’s.

But the point raised by the post was the environmental damage usually inflicted by the Army Corps of Engineers by building levees, channeling rivers, and damming. My Ag Law professor liked saying that the Army Corps of Engineers never saw a project they did not like. Their building of levees on the Mississippi clearly made the situation worse. So the solution? Throw more money in bad projects so that ‘Mericans could enjoy their springtime Bacchanalian fest. It would be cheaper adding another wing to
Disneyworld - New Orleans Land! Yes, the American way of life is non negotiable!

So you mean that the Corps of Engineers installed Jazz musicians instead of a properly working system of wetlands? That's just too much!

I guess my point was that you don't throw out the cultural strengths of the place with the floodwaters, just like you don't hang the SUV's of Suburbana, Illinois around the necks of the Downtown Musicians who are actually doing something useful for the culture.

Apples and Oranges, in both cases.

Huh? What kind of logic did you get that from? I'm guessing you did not look at the link in my original post about environmental damage and instead focused on New Orleans night life. Whatever.

The first comment was just being ridiculous, in a furtive attempt to say that hanging the wetlands destruction around the neck of NO's Musical culture is just as ludicrous a tie-in.

It seems to be well-enough established that the wholesale cashiering of the Wetlands ~over a dozen or more decades~ was not only a tragedy in itself, but ultimately has cost the city it's buffer-zone in the process. Why suggest that NOLA music lovers would be smugly willing to 'Pay that price' to have their music? It's just a weird value judgement..

But as you said.. Whatever. It's late. I'm delirious.


I know all about that flood.

My hometown in E Ark stayed above it.

And the only reason NO has a minimal risk
is the same reason that NO is sliding into the Gulf and the Barataria Terrebonne Estuary is disappearing.

The next flood could destroy the Old River Control Project.

The Corps cannot stop it.

Wrong, at least now.

Since the Louisiana Hydroelectric Project was installed, the energy from the spring time diversion into the Atchalaya goes into electrical wires and not into scouring. From memory 280 MW.

And 70+ years of diverting 30% of the Mississippi River into a slow, wide "river" has built up enormous sediment and the slope differential (or preference) that once existed for an alternative path to the Gulf is now equalized. Billions of tons of silt have filled in that route, 20 or so miles wide and about 100 miles long.

Per a conversation last week with a Corps of Engineers engineer.


d) a sharp fall in oil, energy, food and other commodities prices as a global slowdown emerges. We are set for the repeat of the 2000-2003 cycle when the Fed and other central banks underestimated the downside risks to growth and overestimated the upward risks to inflation and ended up having to aggressively cut rates to deal with the fall in economic activity and the deflation risks that such a US and global recession triggered.


Dec. 5 (Bloomberg) -- China's oil demand will rise 4.5 percent annually till 2015, the nation's largest oil company said in a research report today.
The nation's oil demand may reach 515 million metric tons by 2015 from 346 million tons in 2006, the CNPC Research Institute of Economic and Technology, the think-tank of China National Petroleum Corp., said in a statement today.

1 million tonnes crude = 7.3 million barrels
346 million tonnes = 346 x 7.3 = 2525.8 /365 = 6.92 million barrels/ day
515 million tonnes x 7.3 million barrels =3759.5/365 = 10.3 million barrels/day
10.3 / 6.92 = 1.488 or a 49% increase in consumption. 3.4 million barrels total.

Anyone from Germany around today?

Autofahrer stürmen Tankstellen - Experten warnen vor Panikkäufen

Babelfish translation of headline:

Drivers storm gas stations - experts warn of panic purchases.

On such an attack the oil companies had not counted: Within fewer hours drivers in the Rhine country evacuated some Aral gas stations. Also Shell announces an unusually high demand. Experts warn of panic purchases: "the stores are well filled."

I'm in Hamburg and I called my wife from work a few minutes ago and she told me of the new reports on TV. She said in the countryside this is happening as the prices are down 10 cents per liter so people are tanking up befroe the price goes back up which they all expect.

I just now read an article and they say as supe and normal were now the same price instead of super being more expensive people were buying more in hamster buying ot take advantage and that Diesel was sometimes more expensive than normal gas/petrol.

The story is about the price decrease during the weekend and this week (5-10 cent) from ca. USD 2.067 per litre that animated drivers to suck 110 petrol stations dry ;)
So its not about panic buying but about bargain hunting (pennypinching).

Regarding Thomas Homer-Dixon and geoengineering I must say that hits yesterday's question on Panama spot on and now I have the right link to February 22, 2006 Living in the Eemian where I made the most outlandish and insane geoengineering proposals so that one of the guys asked ifi was smoking something. I did a google search and it starts with comment 156 and following so you find the discussion right away (sorry Leanan about yesterday's overlong quote):


I think desalinating the Arctic to save the Thermohaline circulation by reversing the siberian rivers and thereby saving the Asians who are losing the himalayan glaciers (to which asians the rivers would be fed) is outrageous and simialr to using the widened sea level isthmus canal as a sort of thermostat directing the waters to control temperature. Also dumping Greenland and Antarctic glaciers preemptively into drying up seas(great lakes) or pumping increasing sea warters into empty aquifers to keep sea levels down are all nutty ideas. Any others?

Any others?

How about getting NASA to send up a mission to redirect a couple of comets, one into the SW USA, the other into Austraila. It would sure supply a lot of water to arid locations, and the resulting "nuclear winter" effect would cool things down quite a bit for a while.


My original post in Feb 2006 was in the sense of desperation that some scientists and politicians and military may someday soon get desperate as in the movie Armageddon and grasp to the emergency plans to "Save the Planet" as they have in the meantime neglected to do anything and that is when anything goes, even reversing rivers,a nd oepning the canal. On CNN Last mnight the jorunalist talked with Stiglitz about waht to do about GW and people going hungry due to Ethanol production,etc. and said "it's not relistic to expect people to stop driving". I jus tthink they have not seen the light yet and crazy ideas will in the end be the only way, unfortunately.

Sulphates into the atmosphere to add more aerosols.

Richard Wakefield

Sorry, no link, but sulphate aerosols now reflect about 2.1 watts/M^2 and GHGs capture about 4.0 watts/M^2. There isn't anything nutty about a global reflection program, unlike the opening the Isthmus of Panama plan, except that such things promote acid rain ... if we could do it in such a fashion that it didn't mess up other stuff a blanket atmospheric particle reflection scheme would be a great help.

Chemtrails anyone. 8D

Uhhhh....here's one:

How about at the appointed hour, all of us go outside, drop our drawers and bare our shiny hineys to the sun. Surely, the resulting increase in albedo will help to compensate for the loss of polar ice.

As a bonus, it will be fun way to show our contempt for Mother Earth.

"...and bare our shiny hineys to the sun. Surely, the resulting increase in albedo..."

You do realize some people aren't white, right?

Hey, a little glitter, a little baby oil, and you can join in the fun, too, and have a tasteful fantasy nude photo shoot as part of the process :-)

Right on SCT!

Substrate I know that some hiney's don't reflect like white folks' hineys do, but I sort of figured that there was a rough correlation between skin tone and culpability for AGW. So, I don't wanna hear any complaints from all of you white folks about the others not pulling their weight.

Zinc oxide?

OK if you guys/gals are not aware of this you should be:

There's a train that goes from Los Angeles to San Diego called the Moonlight Flyer I think. People have been getting together for something like 20 years to stand by a fence in the San Onofre region and moon the train. It's become a custom, and the movement is growing. I forget the URL but you can find this stuff by googling around. Hilarious!

Nope, can't find my tinfoil hat, so no chemtrail conspiracy theorizing for me today :-)

It's actually no problem regulating the earth's temperature. At least conceptually...

We "simply" deploy large (OK very, very large) sheets of reflective mylar into space in the direction of the sun. Then they are positioned to provide either cooling OR heating. If you want cooling, put them in front of the sun. To reduce solar input by 2%, cover 2% of the sun.

And if we cool too much (oops, sorry...), move the reflective mylar sheets to the side of the sun (from our perspective) and angle them so they reflect towards the earth. (Note: this is how they warmed Mars in Kim Stanley Robinson's excellent Mars trilogy).

I'm sure there are significant engineering challenges involved. And likely the "Laws of Unintended Consequences" would be invoked. But, theoretically, it'd work!

So I shouldn't invest in mylar factories just yet?

One of numerous ways they warmed Mars. Sax acually thought they were unnecessary in his endless battles with Ann. BTW-Stuart Saniford is Sax Russell(that's a compliment!) :)

I assume we're putting this array into a libration point so it would stay in place. In that case, why not make it thin-film solar cells instead? The problem is, we'd need a safe and useful way to bring the energy back to Earth. We've grown leery of microwaves since Gerry O'neill's heydey. Lasers would probably cost way too much.

I've got it! Let's use it to power a particle-beam weapon that will systematically target and destroy every coal mine on Earth!

Any others?

how about dealing the two crises - fuel and climate - with one solution as in here?

I followed the link, read the presentation, and while its a little too airy-fairy for my taste, the guy has some good ideas.

I put in a call to him and I'm going to suggest he update this and tune it for Iowa - we can use NH3 for fertilizer as well as fuel, and we've got plenty of shut in wind right here for generation purposes. If we put our heads together and come up with something I can defend in front of a room full of farmers I'll get with my state senator, Iowa economic development for my region, etc, and we'll maybe try to get a pilot going. There are already willing experimenters with excess wind energy just fifteen minutes north of here ...

That is hands down the coolest thing I've seen on here yet - something I can maybe act on to get the ball rolling.

you got someone right in your neighborhood doing just that, follow the link, you can find out where to put in the call from your neighbor there.

On the same line of thought (I have not read the link but I will), the best economic results come from the best environmental results.

Per my Millennium Institute T21-USA runs, a maximum push for renewables coupled with a maximum push fro non-Oil transportation will result in 2038 (Colin Campbell oil #s)

GDP +50%
GHG -50%
Oil Use -625

Best Hopes or dealing with both PO & GW,


are you part of MI or just using their simulator?

I went up and spent 4 days with them. They gave me a "freebie" because they liked my concepts. Properly done (we took shortcuts since it was a freebie) cost $250,000.


That place is about 140 miles from here, but you need an interstellar capable spaceship to get there, 'cause we're on planet rural. I'm smack in the middle of wind central here and I'd never heard of 'em.

So much to know and so little time to absorb it all ...

if you need help, send a line to sct2nh3 at google's mail server.

Any others?

Set off a couple nukes in the west Antarctic ice sheet should put enough water vapor into the atmosphere to provide reflective cloud cover and increased precipitation.

Nope, sorry, time to equilibrium for water vapor is measured in hours to weeks. It isn't a long term thing like the sulfate aerosols are.

whatever is the genie you want to release, make sure first you can put it back into the bottle and the resources used are not wasted.

The other idea being kicked around is to spread small amounts of iron about in the ocean. Apparently the availability of iron is the limiting factor to the growth of ocean life in much of the world. By adding iron the oceans will blossom with life which absorbs CO2 to build shells. When the little critters die their shells fall to the ocean floor and are buried in the mud. By adding iron we could rapidly increase the amount of CO2 taken out of the air.

Of course, no one has any idea how well this would really work and no idea what unintended consequences lay waiting for us.

Sinking islands deride climate change inaction

Climate experts say that as global warming heats the Earth up, glaciers and polar ice caps will melt and sea waters will expand, sending oceans rising by at least 18 centimetres (7.2 inches) by 2100.

So much for the 21 feet in 30 years. And the "atleast" part does not mean a 30 fold difference.

When you read the rest, what is clear is that not only are the islands in trouble from this small rise in sea level, but more importantly the populations on these islands has gone way past their carrying capacity.

Richard Wakefield

The Center for Analysis of Straw Men at it again.

So much for the 21 feet in 30 years.

And the "at least" part does not mean a 30 fold difference.

And your proof for your definitive statement ? Or did you just pull it out of your ,,,, bias ?

I would say that the given the cumulative uncertainties at the various stages (temperature rise, ice dynamics, etc.) that a 1.5 order of magnitude range in estimates is responsible and reasonable.

Please note that GW denier levels of sea level rise are outside of the range.

Population density on these islands has nothing to do with sea level rise and your statement is just a mean spirited and irrelevant addendum.

Best Hopes for a Return to the Creation/Evolution discussion boards, with no Real World impacts,


I'm a big fan or yours Alan, and I do believe we are seeing global warming, but be that as it may, how do you advocate rebuilding NO, if you think it will be underwater in the near future? Are we going to build 50 foot levees and dikes?

I quizzed Alan on this once myself - the answer is oil processing, port facilities, and the people to work them. I'm skeptical, willing to see detailed plans, but I think the rail electrification must take precedence over anything in NO ...

It is extremely important to have a port at the mouth of the Mississippi river, important enough to protect from flooding. Water-based transportation will become even more important with PO. It's no coincidence that NO is one of the oldest cities in the US.

The ideal location for the port may change with sea level rise. As I understand it, NO is where it is because it is as far up the river as you can feasibly put a deepwater port. Rising sea levels may change that.

I don't discount the cultural heritage of NO. However, rising sea level is going to threaten cultural heritage sites around the world, and I just can't see a post-peak society having the resources to save places like NO and (parts of) NYC forever.

the people to work them.

You must not be reading the same internet as I do. His original claim was all about 'the culture' and 'the culture' is why, if Alan was in charge, the rest of the nation would have to be sacrificed to save New York, San Francisco and New Orleans.

That is a bit of an overstatement of my position.

A better statement is that no USA cities are as worthy of heroic efforts to save them as New Orleans, New York and San Francisco. Worthy because of their cultural value.

Many US cities are not worth bothering about (Phoenix & Las Vegas & Orange County come to mind) because of their absence of cultural value.

Others are of secondary cultural value and are well worth preserving at some cost, but not to the same heroic level, such as Boston, Savannah, St. Louis.

Best Hopes,


I think picking what stays and what goes is not a convenience we will have, regardless of the intentions involved, and I'm sure not all the folks in Phoenix or elsewhere would likely agree with what's valuable and what should be saved at all costs. If anything, I'd say it would be destined to be fairly divisive in ways that might get awfully ugly.

Our sewer system in SF is apparently going to have some large problems if there is just a 3 inch rise in ocean levels (according to the local Department of the Environment). So we just might get a fairly early infrastructure test here.

Hey I live in Orange county and I resent you saying this place is not worth bothering with. Thats not true.

All the damned houses should be destroyed and recycled and the topsoil replaced this was once a rich agricultural region and could be again one day with minimal irrigation.


I'm originally from Orange County and spent quite a lot of time in the SF Bay Area and well ..... I thought "the OC" was a cultureless wasteland, then I visited SF .....

San Francisco is all about commerce, it's one big Crate & Barrel store. "The OC" is likewise cultureless, in fact what culture there was in the US, up until maybe 50 years ago, is being busily erased.

The aim is for all places to look the same, we'll all shop at Wal-Mart, beloved parks will be turned into McParks, schools will all look the same and turn out students who don't-think the same, etc.

OC and the SF Bay area are both McSuburb sprawls, with some overcongested city areas, both lack culture to the same amazing degree, and both are full of the "obese driver-shoppers" Kunstler rants about.

The areas in the US where there's culture are the areas that are neglected, forgotten, unnoticed, etc. Hopefully they remain so through the Dieoff, because they'll be much more liveable.

I love the ocean. I love to sail small boats. But, along the coast, life is spent working 60 or more hours a week, add in more hours commuting and the essential shopping etc. and I might get my feet wet wading once a year. Maybe. Forget actually sailing a boat. But out in the Midwest, there's the highest per-capita ownership of Sunfish, a small sailboat, in the US. And people have time to sail 'em. Same with the Laser, another cool little boat.

The libraries in the backwaters still have worthwhile books in them. So do the thrift stores and so on, where out on the coasts anything classic or worthwhile is hard to get - you're supposed to spend $7 to read David Copperfield, from the mall book store.

The whole way of life is just different.

SF area needs to go back to growing prunes, and OC needs to go back to growing stuff too.

Los Angeles has the richest local culture of any city I have ever lived in (NYC, Tokyo, and Hong Kong were the last 3...), if you couldn't find culture in SoCal you were looking in the wrong places... :-)

And if you think SF is just one big Crate and Barrel store that says more about where you like to hang out than about SF fleam...

It sounded to me more or less where the tourists like to hang out (although Fisherman's Wharf is really a bigger draw than Union Square). By and large they love to stay secure within their own groups (at least the American tourists). The Europeans, now, they scatter all around and understand we have more than fancy shopping. There's also fringe shopping. They often talk to us "natives."

RE: "culture"

Depends on what is meant by the word.

"High culture" - opera, classical symphonies, art museums, etc. NYC probably comes out tops, with several other cities in the running for 2nd and 3rd place. Things have improved a lot in 2nd and 3rd tier cities over the past few decades, though.

"Cultural diversity" - meaning a patchwork of ethnicities, expressed in ecclectic food and entertainment options, and I would add not overwhelmingly dominated by any one ethnic culture, especially maintstream WASP. NYC and LA probably come out tops, although NO runs a strong contest, and several other cities are not far behind. Even a lot of smaller cities have a fair amount of ethnic diversity.

"Indigenous Folk Culture" - now here is a totally different game. Now we're talking about cultures of people rooted in their land. We're talking about a cuisine that is built around the foods that actually grow in the area, not imports, and recipies that have been handed down from generation to generation; meals, in other words, that are not different from what would have been served in the average local's homes a century ago. We're talking about folk arts, not high art; useful everyday items that have been made beautiful, rather than useless objects intended only for decor. We're talking about traditional entertainments that are not significantly different than what they might have done a century ago.

The big cities are exactly where you are NOT likely to find this type of culture; you've got to head out to flyover land to find it. Southern Appalachia is one area that comes to mind, PA Dutch/Amish country is another, and there are a few others.

The worst places to live, IMHO, are the places in the US that have none of the above. Homogenous Wonder-Bread-White McCities and McSuburbs: devoid of enlightening and inspiring high culture, devoid of the spice of ethnic diversity, devoid of the solid rootedness of traditional folk culture - UGH!

New Orleans is a necessary city. It and Chicago are are the major low energy transfer points for the USA.

We are closest to the Panama Canal, at the mouth of the Mississippi River where the Intercoastal Canal crosses the River and we are served by 6 of the 7 Class I North American Railroads (Chicago has 7, St. Louis has 5 and no one else AFAIK has more than 4) with what I was told was the world's busiest RR bridge.

New Orleans has unique cultural values and has made major contributions to world culture.

New Orleans has the unique asset of sediment from the Mississippi River, which can be diverted to build up the marshes around New Orleans if the rate of sea level rise is moderate. That is the lowest cost solution, MUCH cheaper than "moving the city" and completely destroying it in the process.

Rotterdam is 28' (from memory) below sea level and that is not the engineering limit.

The future is not yet made. We *CAN* reduce our GHG emissions (despite the best efforts by Mr. Wakefield to promote coal use) and oil use. There is substantial uncertainty about the timing and scope of sea level rise (see my 1.5 orders of magnitude remark).

If New Orleans is one day abandoned, it is better (in a social & cultural POV) and cheaper (in an economic sense) to make that later rather than sooner.

There is much that the rest of the USA could learn from New Orleans, if you do not kill us first in a rush to judgment or in a Republican driven purge of Democrats. And I will stop all my efforts to mitigate Peak Oil if I am forced out of New Orleans.

I have been looking for the time to post about last Sunday afternoon here in New Orleans.

Best Hopes for New Orleans,


While I agree that a port city at the mouth of the Mississippi is going to be very important as transportation returns to slower, more efficient modes, I don't see why New Orleans must necessarily be that city. Why continue to try and live in a place that is both sinking and vulnerable to storms and sea level rise? Instead of rebuilding the suburban areas around the city of NO, why not move most of the people to higher ground? Hasn't that already actually happened to a considerable degree, as people left and have not been able to return? How many of the people that once lived in NO were involved, either directly or indirectly in the operation of the port?

You mention allowing the sediment from the Mississippi to again flow onto the marshes thus rebuild them. Wouldn't this also be needed for areas that were built up after the levees were constructed? To allow the spring floods to deposit their sediment, those levees would need to be or removed, not rebuilt. Rebuilding those marshes would provide a buffer against future storm surges from hurricanes, but that only works if people aren't living there when the storm surge floods the marshes.

E. Swanson

Best Hopes for a Return to the Creation/Evolution discussion boards, with no Real World impacts,

Oh, he's one those! How is it that deniers usually hold some of the most unscientific faith-based beliefs?

Actually Mr. Wakefield is a switch hitter. A profound atheist he argued against Intelligent Design there, and is now arguing against GW here.

The quality of his intellectual arguments and his varying positions (as long as they are against GW) are, IMHO, not suitable for TOD.

I am also personally appalled at his anti-Wind Turbine and pro-coal campaign in Ontario.


I am also personally appalled at his anti-Wind Turbine and pro-coal campaign in Ontario.

You can be appalled all you want, that's just an opinion. It also is not correct of my view. I will state it ONE MORE TIME. At 20% output wind turbines are not as practicle as the renewable resource we aleady have. It does not make any sence at all to shut off hydro just so wind turbines can be included in the grid when hydro is nearly 1/10th the cost and is lost output when not used. It is also a gross misleading to the public to claim that WT can power X homes at their rated capacity when the actual output averages 20%. However, if WT work in other places then by all means build them. It does show, however, how desparate we have become.

As for coal. It is totally illogical to shut down our coal plants which in turn will mean having to import more expensive e- from the US that itself is produced by either coal or NG. Our current coal fired plants need to be in place until one of 2 things can be constructed: more nuke plants (in the works) and/or more hydro output, or if there is clean coal technology put into place on those coal fired plants. Should we add more caol plants? It may come to that in the future. Wind won't cut it, solar won't cut it (we are now at day 19 with only 6 sunny days).

Any further quote, Alan, of mine should refer to the above.

Richard Wakefield

NO, I will copy an earlier post of mine.

And, until you explicitly acknowledge error on a particular point, all of your prior posts are fair for quoting. I have noted multiple and contradictory positions of yours and this SHOULD be highlighted.

On November 30th DrumBeat I wrote

I didn't say run only 20% of the time, the report was clear, 20% average output over a year

From YOUR own post !!

Ontario's large wind farms completing one year of service generated on average 29% of what they could have under ideal conditions


In Ontario there is insufficient wind power to justify their installations (you never did tell me at what percent output you would consider inadequate)

29% capacity factor would be just fine. Nice if they could get up to US average 32%, but certainly not essential.

With Ontario's massive hydro power, I could see getting twice OPG's goal of 12% of annual total MWh as quite doable (i.e. 1/4th) with some transmission upgrades. That is Ontario could run off of nuclear, hydro and wind and emit no GHG for electrical production.

And, in your own words, your anti-wind campaign

Look, I've spent the last couple days asking people if they bought a product that only produce 20% output would they be happy with it. Everyone has said obviously not. When I then explain that wind turbines only produce 20% output that are taken aback, did not realize, and now don't think they are such a good thing

and your opposition to Kyoto is NOT because, despite best efforts, it is unachievable, but, in your own words,

Getting off coal completely is a big mistake

I am not twisting your words.


So Ontario wind turbines operated in their first year at 29% capacity factor, not 20% as you again allege despite your own quote from the Financial Post.

I also detailed in extreme detail all of the efforts made by OPG to increase hydroelectric output and that these would add relatively small % to hydro's share of Ontario power production.

I also detailed in extreme detail, twice how, (outside of Niagara/Sir Adam Beck), Ontario hydropower can be the "match made in heaven" with wind power. Your refusal to intellectually process this description is not my fault.

It is worth noting that THE experts, Ontario Power Generation, plan for 12% of total MWh from wind in the future. So Mr. Wakefield is right and OPG and I are wrong ?

And Mr. Wakefield earlier showed a dismal understanding of power generation in his own province with several misconceptions that I labored to correct (I was then unaware of Mr. Wakefield's immunity to reasoned engineering analysis and detail). Perhaps a full day of mine was spent in a good faith effort to educate.


The average capacity value of the wind resource in Ontario during the summer (peak load) months is approximately 17%. The capacity value ranges from 38% to 42% during the winter months (November to February) and from 16% to 19% during the summer months (June to August). Since 87% of the hits (periods within 10% of the load peak) occur during the summer months, the overall yearly capacity value is expected to be heavily weighted toward the summer. The overall yearly capacity value is approximately 20% for all wind penetration scenarios.

Page 7 of http://www.ieso.ca/imoweb/pubs/marketreports/OPA-Report-200610-1.pdf

Richard Wakefield

That would balance nicely with solar to pick up the slack in the summer.

When Dylan went electric in '65, we should'a seen the writing on the wall.

Except solar is very expensive, unless the CEO of Shell is right that they have come up with a much cheeper panels that are lighter and can produce, I think he said, 40% more power. If that can happen, then I'll seriously look at them for myself.

That said, I just spent an hour clearing my greenhouse of snow so the sun could get in. How would I do that with panels on my roof?

Richard Wakefield

I really haven't got into fighting with you but I think a skeptic is good for the soul. Too many yes men let the knife of reason get dull and you forget what oyu are fighting ofr, besides which, out htere in the real world people with oyur ideas are a dime a dozen so we need to duke it out to know how to. Of course it's just water off a duck's back to me. I'm sorry Alan is angry but I can understand. Anyway have a tabletop fusion device from Wal Mart? Mine got broke.

Solar is expensive? Please explain how taking a few photons now and making electricity is 'more expensive' than taking many, many photons, letting them be captured by plants, buring the plants for years, then extracting what is left.

How would I do that with panels on my roof?

By designing the system so it can be maintained.

As I explained before "capacity value" is *NOT* capacity factor and has no bearing on what percentage of the theoretical maximum electrical production is produced (I believe that you used the term "what percentage of the time it worked" when campaigning against wind).

My comparison to Ontario, ERCOT, the electrical island of Texas, gives wind a 10% capacity value and Texas wind averages 33% capacity factor and they are putting in massive amounts of wind into Texas (not your ultra-green state). T Boone Pickens has announced plans to build 4,000 MW of wind in Texas for $6 billion. With a capacity value of 10% (vs. 20% in Ontario).

For those wanting to learn more about capacity value (pdf warning)


In my prior explanation, Mr. Wakefield appeared to be immune from facts, such as the difference between capacity value and capacity factor.

I need to be careful myself because the Canadians occasionally use slightly different terms (British heritage).


The classical definition of capacity factor is the average power output during all the hours over a defined period of time divided by the nameplate rating of the generation resource. Capacity value is a measure of the generation resource output during critical periods throughout the year, such as when the load is within 10% of its peak. PJM and NYISO define capacity value as the capacity factor during those hours of the day when the peak load is likely to occur in the peak months of June, July, and August. In this study, the capacity value is defined as the average hourly wind power output during the periods when load is within 10% of its peak. This is per unit of the wind power output nameplate rating.


The results reported in the executive summary are the averaged capacity values calculated for each of the shifts (0, 1, 2, and 3 days) for a threshold of 0.9 per unit of
peak (within 10% of the peak). In this case, the average overall capacity value is 20%. In other words, 10,000MW of wind has a value equivalent to 2,000 MW of firm generation. As can be seen in the figure, the capacity value is relatively insensitive to the per unit peak threshold until around 0.8 per unit. After 0.8 per unit, the curves
begin to diverge and above 0.9 per unit, the curves become widely varied and separated. As the per unit of peak threshold is increased, the number of hours out of
the year that are used to calculate the capacity value decreases until, at 1.0 per unit, only a single hour out of the year is being used for the calculation. This helps to
explain why the capacity value varies significantly beyond 0.9 per unit (small number of data points). As the per-unit of peak threshold gets smaller (moving to the left
along the x-axis), more and more of the hours are used in the calculations and, therefore, the capacity value approaches the overall yearly capacity factor.

If you have a problem with the usage of Capacity Factor and Capacity Value then take it up with OPG.

When I talked with people I asked them specificically if they thought a device they bought only produced output of 20% of what it was rated at would they think it a valued purchase. Then explained what this OPG article said.

I have done nothing wrong in presenting the facts as the OPG reports show.

If Texas wants to waste $6B on 4,000 turbines that will only generate 10% of the nameplate rating, that's their problem. We'll see down the road how the public likes it.

Richard Wakefield


You appear not to comprehend the link that you quoted.

Hint: Capacity Factor involves the basic thing that you sell, electricity.

Capacity Value is an obscure utility calculation to confirm adequate generating reserves (whether they are used or not). Austin meets it's capacity value requirement with obsolete NG turbines, terribly inefficient, that went at least 8 years without generating 1 MWh (other than during periodic tests).

And it is the investment group lead by T Boone Pickens (multi-billionaire oilman and speaker at ASPO-Houston) that announced the $6 billion investment in wind turbines. His group only gets paid for actual electricity produced.

T Boone has an excellent superb record on investments.


I am a Christian. First and formost. But I am also knowlegable about us being in dieoff mode as we speak. Climate Chaos I see in my own back yard. Sea level rise and Ice melt are FACTS. I used to Work in Global Nautical Map Making, I know more than most people on this board what the coast line of the USA and the rest of the world can take as far as sea level rise, I have seen the changes myself in the datums.

Being Christian should not be the issue, being knowledgable about the coming hardships should be.

I might have faith that In God's good timing, but I don't have faith that men will do the right things if given their own way, and in an odd paradoxical sense we are given free will to screw up. Salvation is not about saving the globe it is about your soul. You might just say that living on earth for some is living in HELL, death is a better outcome than living for some people.


Charles, does you understand differ from that of Tide and Current's measurements? Such as




Richard Wakefield

Alan I knew you would not be able to resist. So what is the new concsensus on the rate change?

With cracks and holes in the Greenland ice sheet, we may well have to 'geo-engineer' the climate

The consensus now emerging is that oceans will rise by a metre this century and perhaps even two.

That's at most a 3x the current IPCC prediction, not 30x. (which still has yet to actually appear in any measurements)

Best Hopes for a Return to the Creation/Evolution discussion boards

Alan, are you implying that I'm not welcome here? Are you saying that you and others here are intollerate of challenges or questions, or posts I present on TOD? Are you you saying that my views are to be supressed?

Richard Wakefield

I am intolerant of:

1) Your opening ad homenim attacks

2) Your intellectual position that unless GW can be proved with mathematical precision that nothing should be done about it. That this is the "scientifically safe" position and any call to action on GW is a waste of money since it is not scientifically proven (proven mathematical certainty)

3) Your continued use of rhetorical tricks rather than logical argument. Straw men are one of your favorites.

4) The low level of your intellectual analysis.

5) That you are possibly a paid troll. LOTS of linked papers etc. at short notice with minimal critical analysis.

6) The amount of my time you have wasted.

The above list is not all inclusive.


Gee Alan, you just showed you did not understand a single thing I've said.

" 1) Your opening ad homenim attacks " Other than you, which were deserved, who else? Will you say that to those who flamed me?

" 2) Your intellectual position that unless GW can be proved with mathematical precision that nothing should be done about it. That this is the "scientifically safe" position and any call to action on GW is a waste of money since it is not scientifically proven (proven mathematical certainty) " Absolutely false. My position has been clear. Those who say AGW is a fact is dogmatic and not scientific. AGW is a THEORY and with all theories one must realize that the theory could be shown to be false, hence the SAFE place to be is skeptical. That's been my postion all along.

" 3) Your continued use of rhetorical tricks rather than logical argument. Straw men are one of your favorites.

4) The low level of your intellectual analysis. " Examples?

" 5) That you are possibly a paid troll." LOLOLOL! HAHAHA!! I wish!! But just not true. I have no personal gain whatsoever making challenges to dogma where ever I find it. Only that I have a distaste of dogma of any kind.

And I think I have shown clearly that I'm quite capable of intellectual analysis. You just don't like what I present.

Richard Wakefield

"AGW is a THEORY and with all theories one must realize that the theory could be shown to be false, hence the SAFE place to be is skeptical. "

Yes it is a theory, but NO, the safe place to be is cautious. If the upper bounds turn out to be true we could be facing severe consequences world-wide - accelerated resource depletion, resource wars, etc. The precautionary principle dictates that the skeptical view is currently the wrong one, unless you can provide compelling evidence to contradict AGW.

Gravity is also a theory but y baby has it down pat not ot crawl onto a glass pane way above something due to fear of falling. I think irrational fear of death is a hell of a lot better than logical conviction any day.

The precautionary principle dictates that the skeptical view is currently the wrong one, unless you can provide compelling evidence to contradict AGW.

I am sure that the politicians who decide/negotiate on worldwide CC policies will use the 'precautionary principle' i.e. first and foremost do no harm to themselves.

So, what does that mean for the rest of us? Too little, too late would be my guess - but, like everybody else, it is only a guess as I have no idea what the future will be.

The precautionary principle dictates that the skeptical view is currently the wrong one, unless you can provide compelling evidence to contradict AGW.

You have to be really careful using the term "dictates" when using it with the precautionary principle. Such words in the past have been used to justify very nasty things, including genoside.

Using the precautionary principle as an excuse to act is an opinion, and taken to extreme can be used to justify anything.

And, oh, there is ample evidence that does not support AGW theory, nor the hyped up dogmatic alarmist consequences of climate change.

Richard Wakefield

(which still has yet to actually appear in any measurements)

And when it does appear, it will be decades too late to do anything about it.

That is the Real World consequence of your intellectual position.


Alan, the problem is you are then taking action on something that may not be true. Don't insult me just because I put out a LIGITIMATE position.

What happens if we do all this action, spend the billions and find out that the rate of change of sea level does not happen? And it should not take decades to show up. The change in rate proposed should have started to show up by now if not decades ago, should it not? Some change, even a small one? But it's not there. When will this change start to show up?

What's intellectually wrong with pointing this out? Why is it such a problem for you to have these things exposed? Because it challenges some deep belief system?

Richard Wakefield

Your position is WRONG, ethically, because your standard of proof (mathematical certainty in one of your posts) is simply not appropriate for public policy AND if we wait for proof that meets your individual standards it will be decades too late to take any effective mitigation efforts.

I will go so far as to say that your position is evil.

It is WELL worth spending tens of billions (arguably 100s of billions) and changing our "way of life" somewhat if there is a 50% probability of GW being true, unless one discounts the welfare of the future for the present.

Given the known facts of

1) the Greenhouse Gas effects of CO2 (and freon) (No one has claimed that absorption frequency measurements were in error)

2) the steadily rising rate of CO2 in the atmosphere (today is the 50th Anniversary of the best set of measurements on Muana Loa) are, in my mind, beyond dispute.

3) Mathematical calculations of 1 & 2 that show a substantial forcing (from slightly vague memory GHG warming is equal to installing 100 watt light bulbs in a grid every 25 m (N-S & E-W) over the earth's surface and leaving them on 24 hours/day for decades/centuries. We just keep adding new bulbs over time. And then saying this has and will have no effect over decades of energy input seems a violation of common sense).

It is very easy to see from 1,2 & 3 that GW is AT LEAST at the 50% probability.

I do not know why I debate you though, since you are immune to reasoned argument. Perhaps just to minimize your intellectual pollution on this board.

If you advocated a maximum push, under the precautionary principle, to minimize GHG emissions (for example pushing WTs & nukes & conservation in Ontario) whilst debating the intellectual certainty of GW, then your position would not be evil.


I will go so far as to say that your position is evil.

Evil is pretty much something defined by a social context. You may be stretching the word there a bit, Alan.

I'm concerned neither of you will survive the impending elevated levels of -- blood pressure -- to make your point.

Your position is WRONG, ethically, because your standard of proof (mathematical certainty in one of your posts) is simply not appropriate for public policy AND if we wait for proof that meets your individual standards it will be decades too late to take any effective mitigation efforts.

Ok, I'm going to throw a really big handgrenade into this. The current US government, Bush et al, have used the very same logic in their fight against terrorism. Spend the money now on military force to curtail terrorism at their bases before they do more 9/11 type attacks. Worse case scenarios is they can set off a nuclear bomb killing 10's of millions. It will be too late to see if that can happen, so we need to act now.

Very same agrument you are making, just different context.

Richard Wakefield

I was waiting for this argument to come up.

Mr. Wakefield, America spent the current-dollar equivalent of up to ten trillion dollars on the Cold War. It was justified on some probabilistic assumption that the true nature of the Soviet Union was utterly evil and insanely violent. For that amount of money, we kept an army and navy much larger than we currently have in the field, and countered a country that genuinely had thousands of nuclear warheads pointed at the United States, had a far larger army, and had a vast number of tanks waiting to swoop down on West Germany. The threat of evil Moslems is awfully tiny compared to that and should be far cheaper to live with.

Now do you think this was entirely or partly wrong?

If there was a 50% chance that the Soviets were going to enslave us at the first available opportunity, then perhaps enough weaponry to deter their known forces were justified. In fact we spent very inefficiently, and increasingly the military-industrial complex was producing gold-plated superweapons meant to keep fighting long after a supposed nuclear holocaust, which is silly. Our attempts at "brush-fire" wars to deter WW3 were also godawful messes and were known to be counterproductive in advance. But patriotism is always held to a lower standard of competence than environmentalism.

It happens I don't think there was a 50% chance the Soviets were going to enslave us at the first opportunity. I didn't think that during the Reagan era. I don't think there was even a 10% chance. There was a higher chance that Soviet power might harm, but not destroy, America in a variety of ways. I accept that is worth some spending, though. Maybe five trillion dollars?
Maybe instead of causing the deaths of two million or so Vietnamese and hundreds of thousands of others, we should have held it down to tens of thousands? Does that seem reasonable?

So then what is it worth to neutralize a 50% chance or even a 10% chance that 500 ppm of CO2 is going to start a feedback loop that will damage us just as thoroughly as a nuclear war?

Now here's our bonus question: Why is it always assumed that MILITARY spending is good for the economy, but ECOLOGICAL spending must be subtracted from economic well-being? Is it because the kinds of people associated with the war machine are Good Americans, and people who care about the environment are Bad Americans, as if a market economy gives a damn?

If the economy is neutral in regards to these agendas, spending $500 billion a year on global warming issues - over and above the value of mitigation actions that also serve to mitigate Peak Oil, local air and water pollution, and reducing OPEC's leverage on America - should produce as much economic benefit as spending $500 billion a year chasing Bin Laden and looking for a clever way to nuke Iran. But the Green movement hasn't built a Guantanamo, or caused Iraq's death rate to skyrocket to the tune of a million dead. So value that as you please.

I have no position on the validity of the current action, only to point out that the current US government is using a version of the Precautionary Principal to justify what they are doing.

The point is in the use of the Precautionary Principal. If it is a valid principal by which to make decissions, then it can be applied anywhere, and used to justify anything, depending upon one's political or religious, or personal gain, reasons.

Using the Precautionary Principal as an excuse to fight climate change falls into that as the issue has become highly politicized, and I would add, has become its own religion as long as faith based comments are used to attack people who have ligitimate challenges to the AGW orthodoxy, as we have seen here, and elsewhere.

That is the issue I wanted to show, not the actual efforts to try and stop terrorism.

Richard Wakefield

The percentage risk is higher, the cost of failure is higher and the net cost of mitigation is lower (and may be a negative cost per MI simulation, i.e. the best economic choice).

And just because the Bush Administration used it as justification (whatever their true motives are) and screwed it up with their incompetence, is hardly reason to condemn the entire concept.

GWB could screw up a two car funeral.


The Precautionary Principal can be used for any justification. It has even been used as an excuse to lock up all AIDs infected people. Thus you cannot just rely on the basic concept of the Precautionary Principal because of how it is used and twisted for what ever justification one wants. In extreme cases it has been used to justify genocide.

As for percents, give a mathematical model that shows that your justification for the use of the Precautionary Principal on AGW is higher and hence trumps other uses of the Precautionary Principal. You said "The percentage risk is higher" Let's see that actual number and how you got it. Only then can everyone here evaluate whether or not there is justification.

Certainly if I said PO was a higher risk percentage wise, you would demand from me the same thing.

Richard Wakefield

San Francisco city government adopted the Precautionary Principle. When we approached them about peak oil we used that as a reason they should err on the cautious side by considering what effects it would have on the city.

Whether or not they actually ever will of course has much room for prediction.

It appears that we will have spent about $2 trillion on Iraq war related expenses, which a much lower level of probability that there was WMD or anything creating a disaster for the U.S. At least if we spend billions fighting global warming that we will get something for our money, as opposed to hundreds of thousands of people killed, injured, maimed, and ruined for the rest of their lives.

I will spend several thousands of dollars on things like solar panels. I will leave it to my grandchildren to decide if it was worth it. It certainly beats the vast majority of things this nation pisses their money away on now.

The economic impact of global warming is already being felt here in the mountains of Colorado with loss revenues in skiing related activities. The ski season just keeps getting shorter and shorter. Sure, it could always be an anomaly, but it appears to be part of a trend. Not to mention the dozens of ski areas that have closed over the years in New England.

Alan is trying to tell you that many of us are tired of your half-baked arguments, and you might do better on a less intellectually rigourous discussion board...

Oh, for Gods sakes Man! Instead of actually challenging the overwhelming body of GW evidence, you dance around the margins like the intelligence design people - looking for small inconsistencies in the data. Your continual nitpicks don't add to anything - they simply make you appear mendacious.

Goddammit, triphop!
Now I've got to go and look up 'Mendacious'!

To lie, From Latin 'Mendax' - see mend in appendix..
If my wife knew what I've done with my morning..!!

Mendum - defect, fault Mendax, Liar

Time well spent! (Knowledge is power)

If I didn't already have a primo name here I'd have to go register MendaciousMendicant ...

they simply make you appear mendacious

I will always back my position with references. You guys did not believe me on the $50 billion, then I showed that was true. Rest assured any challenges will be with a reference backing. Thus if you think that reference is lying, then take it up with them.

Richard Wakefield

Rest assured any challenges will be with a reference backing

Where is the backing for your definitive statement, regarding a wide range in estimates in sea level rise that I asked for ?

You wrote
And the "at least" part does not mean a 30 fold difference

Where is your reference that the range of responsible forecasts for sea level rise do not vary by x30 or 1.5 orders of magnitude ?


And yes, since you asked, you are not welcome on this board by me since I have wasted too much time with you trying to patiently educate before finding you immune to facts.


No change in the rate anywhere. That's my reference. Go ahead, show why these PREDICTIONS trump the actual measurements. Why has there not been any change in the rate yet?

Richard Wakefield

That reference is not at all relevant to your claim that responsible estimates of future sea level rise could not vary by a factor of 30.

You have failed to provide references, as you promised.


Then you do not understand how science works. The people providing the POSITIVE position are responsible to provide the evidence to back up their claim. I don't have to disprove or provide negative evidence for any position put out, it's their job to justify their numbers.

And if you do not agree with that, then prove there are no Hobbits living in the hill side up the road from me.

Richard Wakefield

By references, you mean some cherry picked data, opinions and the like. You are mendacious because of this:

Climate science makes predictions based on incomplete knowledge. What we can say is that there will be climate change effects due to the fossil fuel derived CO2. What we cannot say with any kind of precision is what those effects will be.

Anyone who waits for absolute proof of AGW is a complete fool. The evidence is strong enough to act now.

I never said I was waiting for absolute proof, as that cannot happen. As I have stated many times, you CANNOT prove things in science, only mathematics. So no I'm not a fool.

So just because I post a reference that does not support AGW theory that's cherry picking? When is it not? At what point does there have to be enough contrary evidence that AGW becomes suspect and no longer strong enough? Is that even possible?

I have posted references on the rate of sea level not changing, and no one has presented ANY evidence that contradicts that (one was tried but even the authors said that their data was inconclusive).

People complain that polar bears are going to go extinct due to AGW, yet two references, one from WWF, shows the population is stable world wide and in some areas growing nicely. I was ridiculed for posting the reference. Kill the messenger instead of dealing with the message.

So show me where I cheery picked references and that those references are invalid.

Richard Wakefield

Balls. Your WWF/polar bear reference
of November 30 was actually a link to
National Center for Policy Analysis.
NCPA did a twisted, garbled cite of a
WWF report.
Basically all your references are BS.

JR: Your confidence in the experts is well placed- after all, their predictions made 93 years ago on the global climate of 2007 were so eery in their precision.

The "climate experts" the article mentions are none other than the IPCC. The claim by the climate experts that global average sea levels will rise "at minimum" 7.2 inches is found in the 2007 IPCC report released this past spring.

Since then, a number of highly regarded, internationally know climate experts have pointed out that the IPCC report's conclusions were scientifically conservative, based on data only through 2005 and did not include the effects of changes in the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets. These scientists claim that additional data not published in time to be used for the IPCC report, or collected and published since the report was drafted, show that the IPCC estimates are too low and need to be raised. Most of these scientists offer their own predictions, and most of are in the 3 to 5 foot range for the maximum increase in global average seal level.

FWIW, the only references I could find to a 21 foot sea level increases was a "worst case" scenario, and the time frame was the whole 21st century, i.e., by 2100. Give us a cite for a climatologist or glaciologist predicting a 21 foot increase in 30 years.

Do you really want to declare sea rise from global warming a non-issue because the IPCC's best case (that is what the phrase "at least" means) prediction is less than the worst case scenario conjured up by a few scientists who admit that it is so far only backed by supposition and assumption?

No. I accept the evidence that backs up the claim the rate may be much higher in the past, as I've read it before. I've also read that snow fall in the interiors of both Greenland and Antarctica has increased, enough maybe to counter the losses. We will have to wait and see.

The 21 feet in 30 years was posted here in one of the Drumbeats. I also saw one on the news.

The point is this. Inconsistencies. The new possible increase is the 3-5 feet in 100y you noted. Yet that is not what the public hears. They hear these totally outlandish predictions and the publis THINKS this comes from scientists like those in the IPCC. Hence that is what sets the tone in the public eye. What is inconsistence is that there is no counter argument of the much more moderate, yet less scary, predictions of the 3-5 feet in the media. Why is that? Simple, ratings for the media. The scarier the better for them. But also money for environmental groups. The scarier they can make out the future due to GW the more donations they get. Imagine if some group were to come out and say, "Oh, gee, our prediction of 20 feet in 30 years is not the predictions from the scientific experts. Sorry.". Their donations would evaporate.

And that is the real problem with all this AGW alarmism, and PO alarmism too for that matter, if it does not become reality then a lot of people's credibility will also evaporate.

As I have noted many many time, if AGW is a correct theory on what's happening then so be it. It's the unjustified and unsubstantiated opinions on what "will be" happening in the future I take exception to. Predictions thrown out as "will be" that are nothing more than opinions.

I also find it interesting that the dire predictions of the effects of PO, such as a 95% population die off, is rejected yet the dire predictions of AGW are embrased. However, both have no scientific ability to know the future.

And, oh, BTW, when are we going to see the change in the rate of sea level rise?

Richard Wakefield

AGW and PO are theories the way quantum mechanics is a theory. Atmospheric CO2 is the highest it has been for at least 400,000 years. All of this increase has happened in the last 100 years. So what is the big difference in the world over the last 100 years which could explain the CO2 rise? Could it be the big increase in the use of fossil fuels? Inspite of the high price of oil its rate of extraction is down over the last two years. Could this be an indication that the world simply cannot extract oil any faster than they did in 2005? Peak oil extraction in the US happened roughly 40 years after peak discovery. Peak discovery for the world happened roughly 40 years ago.

Thank you Thomas for verifying that AGW is not fact, but a theory. I did not dispute anything you said here.

Bear in mind that, yes, in the past 100 years we have been burning FF and emitting CO2, but, as you should know, those emissions have not been constant over that time, and not even increased at a constant rate, but a follows a growth curve. 50% of that emission has been in the last part of the growth, by definition. That means that the vast majority of the emissions has been since the 1970s or 1980s. I'm sure someone has the actual figures.

Since the planet has had an increase in average temp since the 1880's which stopped in the 1940s and actually dropped until the 1970s when it started up again, it begs the question. Why was it rising before we could possibly have had emissions enough to make a difference? And why, right when we started the fastest increase in oil consumption after WWII did the temp go down? Some argue that it was aerosols, and I accepted that, but now we have a recent paper that seems to contract that. So now I can't accept the aerosol notion any more.

I'm not saying we have no impact. I'm against the dogma that has infiltrated the proper scientific investigation into the causes of GW. I'm against the absolute outlandish predictions of the worse case scenario, the total emphasis on the worse case scenario, instead of the most likely scenario. I'm against the statements by many who say that such-and-such weather events are due to GW. And then there is the attacks against anyone who dares question AGW othrodoxy. I wonder how many read the raging debate between Alan and I who agree with me but fear to post anything. We'll never know until they have the guts to come forward.

Yet, some here who like to think that my challenges to the orthodoxy of AGW is intelectually dishonest and even, OOOOO, Evil. Hey, maybe I should change my user name to Dr. Evil!!! Now where did I leave Minime?

And, BTW, my position on PO is the same. I'll be just as much anti-dogmatic there too. But so far I have not seen too much of the same dogmatic beliefs in PO as we do in AGW, and I have to wonder why that is too.

Richard Wakefield

jrwakefield -

I find your skeptic's view on AGW quite refreshing. You might be correct or you might be very wrong, but at least you are questioning the prevailing scientific orthodoxy. While the scientific community would like the general public to believe that all their findings have been arrrived at as the result of pure objective research free from any biases, the hard truth is quite different. And a large chunk of the hard truth has to do with ensuring a steady stream of funding, not rocking the boat, and avoiding even the study of subjects that go against the grain of prevailing scientific orthodoxy, anything outside of which is automatically branded as 'crackpot'. Thus, we have a self-reinforcing process in which those studies that tend to support the prevailing orthodoxy get funding while those that are contrary do not, the result of which is the accumulation of a large body of 'evidence' supporting the othodoxy and a dearth of evidence for the contrarian view.

Personally, I am somewhat of an agnostic when it comes to AGW, largely because I admittedly haven't rigorously scrutinized the many technical studies on the subject, which is an extremely complex and confusing one indeed. And even if I did, I think I would still have a great deal of uncertainty. I am just as ready to accept the worst predictions as I am the notion that the problem has been way overblown.

In my view, the certain regarding AGW is about an order of magnitude less than the certainty that there are going to be serious global energy and economic dislocations in the not too distant future. For that reason AGW is a few notches down on my worry list.

Thankyou for airing your position. It's the only real rational position one can take.

Richard Wakefield

Someone needs to take remedial science again, because a theory IS fact as well.

I'm sick of how Cretinists have used this "ZOMG!11! EVILUTION IS TEH THEORY, N0T FACT!!1" attack so much that it seems to infect other scientific arguments now.

Guess what? Gravity is a mere theory too. Any volunteers to jump off a nearby cliff to prove Newton wrong?

Didn't think so. Leave the science to the scientists. A crazy suggestion, I know.

OMG Cretinists! Do they have a web site? Can you get a complementary membership just to see what its all about?

I'm against the absolute outlandish predictions of the worse case scenario, the total emphasis on the worse case scenario, instead of the most likely scenario."

Hi JR,
When you buy home owner's insurance, do you buy enough to cover the "most likely" event or the "worst case" event?

If you've bought your insurance with the same reasoning you apply to AGW, then you will receive about $500 if your house burns down, right?

I buy insurance on what I can afford and on the most likely event. I don't have flood insurance because the likelihood of a flood here is virtually zero. My fire insurance covers the house and about 50% of the content. It's not worth 100% to pay the premiums over decades. You end up paying more in premiums than the actual value of the content.

I don't have collision insurance on my car because it doubles my premiums and if I have an accident, it is cheeper to fix my own vehicle than it is to pay decades of collision insurance.

Bad analogy because the vast majority of people do indeed evaluate the amount of insurance based on the percieved threat level. In fact, insurance companies base their premiums on exactly that. Not the worse cases, but on the likley cases.

Richard Wakefield

It was a simple point, but you missed it entirely. Since you imply that you buy insurance to cover the full value of your home plus some of the contents, you have not, in fact, bought coverage for the most likely event.

The most likely event is some minor damage from a tree branch or a stray baseball. You are, in fact, insuring against some very UNLIKELY events - such as a catastrophic fire, or some other total loss of your home. Those are quite rare.

Kudos for using past history to judge that flood insurance is not neccessary. If it has never happened where you live, why buy it?

If there were no evidence of past Global Climate disasters, I would similarly argue there is little chance that anthropogenic CO2 poses a danger, and there would be no need to limit its output rate. But there is and it does, and we should.

It's simple Risk Management 101.

It was a simple point, but you missed it entirely. Since you imply that you buy insurance to cover the full value of your home plus some of the contents, you have not, in fact, bought coverage for the most likely event.

Because the bank requires 100% coverage for the mortgage first off. Second, house fires are not as rare as you might think. They are a significant concern. I've seen housefires where people don't have any content insurance at all and have lost everything.

Richard Wakefield

You completely misunderstood what I wrote. To a scientific mind a theory is something that has repeatedly shown to be a reliable predictor of a phenomenon. THEORY IS FACT!!!


Main Entry: the·o·ry
Pronunciation: \ˈthē-ə-rē, ˈthir-ē\
Function: noun
Inflected Form(s): plural the·o·ries
Etymology: Late Latin theoria, from Greek theōria, from theōrein
Date: 1592
1: the analysis of a set of facts in their relation to one another
2: abstract thought : speculation
3: the general or abstract principles of a body of fact, a science, or an art
4 a: a belief, policy, or procedure proposed or followed as the basis of action b: an ideal or hypothetical set of facts, principles, or circumstances —often used in the phrase in theory
5: a plausible or scientifically acceptable general principle or body of principles offered to explain phenomena
6 a: a hypothesis assumed for the sake of argument or investigation b: an unproved assumption : conjecture c: a body of theorems presenting a concise systematic view of a subject
synonyms see hypothesis


In scientific usage, a theory does not mean an unsubstantiated guess or hunch, as it can in everyday speech. A theory is a logically self-consistent model or framework for describing the behavior of a related set of natural or social phenomena. It originates from or is supported by experimental evidence (see scientific method). In this sense, a theory is a systematic and formalized expression of all previous observations, and is predictive, logical, and testable. As such, scientific theories are essentially the equivalent of what everyday speech refers to as facts. In principle, scientific theories are always tentative, and subject to corrections or inclusion in a yet wider theory. Commonly, a large number of more specific hypotheses may be logically bound together by just one or two theories. As a general rule for use of the term, theories tend to deal with much broader sets of universals than do hypotheses, which ordinarily deal with much more specific sets of phenomena or specific applications of a theory.

You are using theory in the context of every day speech, not the scientific use of theory.

Richard Wakefield

... PCC's best case (that is what the phrase "at least" means) ...

Actually "at least" doesn't mean that in a scientific document. If a proper scientific document contains the statement "sea level rise will be at least 60cm" that means that with some (low, but not negligible probability) it could turn out to be 6m or 60m or even 6km - any value in the range from 60cm to infinity. In other words, at least is the same as 'not less than'. Wakefield's position on this issue fails the test of accepted scientific usage. His failure to recognize this puts him in the special class of people for whom the special olimpics were created. Please stop beating on him. Such behavior is unseemly.

As for New Orleans being special because it is at the mouth of the Mississippi River - where will that mouth be with a few meters of sealevel rise? Could we put it on a few thousand barges and float it to its new home?

You are correct regarding the use of "at least" in scientific papers. I was being overly simplistic. Besides, IIRC, the 2007 IPCC report gives a range of possible values for the minimum sea level rise, with 19 cm being the median. I cannot recall that they even use the term "at least" in the report itself.

it could turn out to be 6m or 60m or even 6km - any value in the range from 60cm to infinity

It has no meaning unless some percent possibility is added. Correct? What if the statement was 90% around the "at least" and 1% at 60m? What is the likelihood of the range of possibilities? Since that is not there then what value as a scientific statement does "at least" have? None. Completely meaningless and cannot in any way be used to justify higher values.

It's no different than saying "at least 1 person will die due to oil depletion." Meaningless statement.

Stop with the insults please. It doesn't do anything to me, just shows your bias.

Richard Wakefield

MSNBC again this morning explaining high oil prices as being caused by refinery bottlenecks. How can they continue to parrot this b.s.? If you have a cap on production of any product in the world it will cause the price of the raw material used to make it to drop. Come on people the emperor has no clothes!

Good point. The media has also not explained how pump prices for gas are relatively low in the USA while oil prices are very high.

Strange days -- the media spews nonsense about refinery bottlenecks causing high oil prices, while ignoring the apparent disconnect between the low pump prices and high raw material prices.....?

Speaking of MSNBC, I JUST heard Chris Matthews ask Presidential Candidate Bill Richardson, [paraphrased], "So, if Iran is sitting on such a huge amount of oil, then why are they pursuing an alternate form of energy?". Bill's response...[paraphrased], "I don't know. Maybe there is some underlying reason why they are developing it."

Yea....like declining production, maybe?

I hope that someone out there might have it taped and can check my recollection. It was at about 5:45 pm Eastern.

Also, off topic, but I just want to say that a smile comes to my face every time I see that Dodge Ram Chassis Cab ad on the left. Thanks for supporting TOD, Dodge !

Summary of Weekly Petroleum Data for the Week Ending November 30, 2007

U.S. commercial crude oil inventories (excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve) dropped by 8.0 million barrels compared to the previous week. At 305.2 million barrels, U.S. crude oil inventories are in the upper half of the average range for this time of year. Total motor gasoline inventories increased by 4.0 million barrels last week, and are below the lower end of the average range. Both finished gasoline inventories and gasoline blending components inventories increased during this period. Distillate fuel inventories increased by 1.4 million barrels, but are in the middle of the average range for this time of year. propane/propylene inventories decreased by 0.5 million barrels last week. Total commercial petroleum inventories decreased by 3.8 million barrels last week, and are in the upper middle of the average range for this time of year.

Crude - down 8.0 Million barrels

I guess pipeline #4 had some impact!

Gasoline - up 4.0 Million barrels. Utilization 89.4% again (flat)

Gasoline Demand - 9.3 MMBPD up 0.2% over 2006.

Distillates - up 1.4 Million. But Distillate demand is up 5.9% over last year (cold cold weather....burr)

Propane - down 0.5 Million barrels (and the cold is here) Still 12.4% lower than 2006 at this time.

Jet fuel shows no signs of slowing either - up 2.0% over 2006.

Overall stocks - down 3.8 Million barrels.

Any guesses on how long pipeline #4 will be down?

To find a week ending when crude stocks were lower we must go back to the week ending March 4, 2005, two years and nine months ago.

Ron Patterson

It looks like the big draws were on the Gulf Coast and East Coast.

Prices shot up this morning on the news of the draw of 8 million barrels in inventoriy but then dropped back down to up about half a buck on the news that inventories in Cushing Oklahoma were up by 600,000 barrels.

I just did a quick calculation. Only about 5 percent of the total inventory of crude oil held in the US is held in Cushing Oklahoma. (15.9 million barrels out of a total of 305.2 million barrels.) And this is a much smaller fraction of total world inventories. How on earth can such a small inventory change of such a tiny fraction of total inventories swing the world price in oil?

And another question. October was supposed to be the record month for oil production, up 1.4 million barrels per day from September. That oil has had plenty of time to hit world ports. Why are inventories dropping? Where are those missing barrels?

Ron Patterson


The last few weeks have made me believe that there is a certain amount of 'collective denial' underway.

It shows itself in exactly this, a frantic search and then piling upon of whatever 'bit' of good news there is in the weekly report.

I think it is just a case of - 'let's not worry about it until after Christmas mindset'.

Still we watch and wonder how they could find this to be 'good' news. The same news in October would have sent Crude up $5...and fundamentals are arguably worse at the moment.

Cushing is delivery point for WTI traded futures.

Geese, we all know that Maven. That does not answer the question. How can 5% of the US oil inventories or about 1% of the world oil inventories, swing the world price of oil? The obvious, but unstated question, I was posing was why does everyone pay so much attention to WTI when it is such a very tiny portion of world oil?

I know, we need a benchmark but shouldn’t that benchmark be more representive of world oil. Inventories are falling just everywhere in the world. Well, at least OECD oil stocks are at a three year low.

Earlier Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Energy's EIA said oil stocks in the countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development are forecast to fall this winter, ending the year at the lowest level since January 2005.

And stocks in the US were down 8 million barrels. But not to worry folks! Inventory at Cushing, Oklahoma was up a tad this week so there should be very little rise, if any, in the price of oil worldwide. Cushing stocks are the tail that wags the dog.

Ron Patterson

So the question is this: "Is Cushing a good proxy for global oil supplies?"

When oil was plentiful apparently the answer was yes. When supplies are less than demand a basket of test points may be needed to draw any conclusion about the state of affairs.

For better or worse,a lot of other grades of crude are priced off of WTI.That is how the mkt has developed.Other regions in the world use other crude benchmarks.The most visible electronic mkt(futures) is the US one and gets all the press..for better or worse...

Perhaps the better question is:

If they are just interested in Cushing stocks, why don't we JUST report those?

Hmmm....opportunistic selective focus. Visual Agnosia in the oil world.

Are you talking about WTI prices, which as I understand it is based on the price of oil at Cushing? So the inventory levels at Cushing will have a large impact. If you want to talk about the world price of oil then you should track something like Brent. Because it is defined at a port (I think Rotterdam) it is less susceptible to local inventories.

I just found a good site for charting the Brent price.

Today's brent chart also decreased when the cushing numbers came out, but not by much.

Brent was at a prem to WTI in the Feb-May /07 period when Cushing Inv were at 21-28mm bl.You would have to back to Apr/04 to get lower inv levels(12-15mm).Brent prem now has more to do with NS tanker deliveries.

Are you talking about WTI prices, which as I understand it is based on the price of oil at Cushing?

I am talking about world prices Prager. But you have it backwards, the price at Cushing is based on the price set on the NYMEX. That's another tail wagging another dog. The price on the NYMEX should be based on the spot price at Cushing, not vise versa as it is.

But when the price falls on the NYMEX, then prices around the world follow, with a slight delay. And yes there is often a disconnect, but it is never complete. When prices on the NYMEX fall, Tapis prices fall also but sometimes not as much. Ditto with Brent. If prices on the NYMEX fall fast enough, then Brent prices will often rise above WTI, as it stands right now because it does not fall quite as fast. But when WTI prices started falling early last week, prices around the world fell in right behind them. WTI is more volitile and falls and rises faster than Brent or Tapis or any of the others. But they do follow like ducks follow the hen. WTI sets the pace for the world. Which means 5% of us stocks or 1% of world stocks set the pace for world oil price.

Ron Patterson

Let's consider a range of prices for gasoline--$2.5, $5, $10, $20 . . .

At each doubling in the retail price, the number of people who can and will pay the market price for gasoline gets smaller, in other words demand destruction.

As importers bid against each other for declining oil exports, they have to consider the declining number of buyers in their countries that can and will pay a retail price high enough to yield a minimal profit for the refiner.

I expect refineries to show a lower utilization rate trend, and in time, smaller less efficient refineries in importing countries will start shutting down.

Went back into service Mon Dec3/07(450m bl/da of various crudes).

As I understood from downstream reporting when I was with the WSJ (and I am guessing you fellows are disagreeing with this prevailing wisdom), there is a mismatch between the type of supply and the world's refinery capability. The Saudis for instance produce plenty of heavy oil, more than can be processed by incompatible U.S. refineries. So that, when oil demand goes up, there's a rush for the lighter crude varieties that the refineries can process. So until 2012, when the current run of refinery re-configuration and new construction begins to come on line, there's going to be this bottleneck, and higher prices for the lighter crudes.

As for gasoline prices -- I don't know what you regard as high, but I live in Dallas, and $3 for a gallon of regular is pretty steep in my estimation.

Steve LeVine, author
The Oil and the Glory

$3 a gallon is steep? You ain't seen nothing, yet.

$3 for a gallon of regular is pretty steep in my estimation.

$8.05 today here in Aberystwyth, UK. Pretty reasonable in my estimation.

Isn't refinery re-configuration an on-going process? Is there a list somewhere of refinery projects that will come on line in 2012? That would be interesting to see.

Would you say that the light/heavy crude production capability differences explain the OPEC statements that seem like so much nonsense? Statements like "The oil market does not need more supplies," (Qatar's Minister of Oil Abdallah al-Atiya). If OPEC were to produce more supplies, would you say that they would be heavy oil that can't be processed in additional quantities? So perhaps a better statement would be "We could supply more, but it would be heavy crude and no one seems to want more of that, so you must not really need more."

Sorry, I missed your introduction. I would like to pick your brain a bit while you're still here and I haven't had a chance to read your book yet.

Does it make sense to do partial processing in KSA and other warm, sunny points, and then ship the results to destinations for finishing?

There is plenty of solar energy in KSA - heavy oil could be pumped the last kilometer (WAG) in a pipeline with Sterling engine style collectors preheating it, and perhaps even some of the final processing could be done in this fashion - maybe Stirling collectors driving pressurized liquid sodium through a heat exchanger placed in the oil. There is some 'cleaning' to be done from Manifa oil, high vanadium content from an asteroid strike during formation if I recall correctly, and that could be done there, leaving only the clean outputs to be sent to market.

Just a theory - I spent a few hours reading about the various processing they do to oil on Wikipedia - fascinating stuff. Maybe an expert in the area will weigh in?

If I were King Abdullah I would be building silicon reduction plants all over the rub right now. That is, as time permitted between dealing with Murkan azzhats, crazy religious fanatics, and a population so far into overshoot it makes the bottom of the wine barrel look like a nice place to start a yeast colony.

But your plan sounds like a lot of fancy delicate plumbing for the oil industry. Heat exchanger? Stirling?

That said, I would guess they're hard at work on ways to process the Manifa oil even as we speak.

A Stirling collector ... a fancy, fragile piece of ... polished metal :-) Just focus it on the line and you're preheating the mix. This is not rocket science. And if you look at a refinery there are lots of tubes and tanks and stuff already there - not such a big deal to add one more set to collect solar heat.

I bet some wise guy who knows the stuff will come back with a "stranded NG is burned for heat and the CO2 is better than just releasing methane", but we need to be thinking along these lines. As less energy is available we have to be more efficient, and Saudi's solar is begging for exploitation.

Yes I suppose that pricing shock is relative. Here in Dallas, there are such low taxes, and far less stringent environmental requirements than, say, California, so for us $3 is a lot. But I see what you mean.

As for the Saudis and Kuwaitis, absolutely they could do much better at explaining what they mean. They tend to speak in abbreviations. The quote you suggest would be perfect.

And both the Saudis and Kuwaitis have enormous refineries on the drawing board; these are among those that will come on line in the 2012-2015 period. Then they will start shipping finished product.

The next phase in that regard as far as I can tell is that the oil-producing countries get more of the profit stream by producing and refining the whole product line, including chemicals. That will really shift Big Oil into a fix as, because of the reserve replacement crisis, all that will be left for them down the road is technology and retail.

I'm on the road right now but can get a list of those refineries once I'm in the office. I'm on TOD quite a bit so am glad to get into any conversation.


Wasn't it just a month or two ago that OPEC was talking about holding a special meeting to discuss production if the price of oil stayed over $80 for two weeks?

As I understood from downstream reporting when I was with the WSJ

Did you work for WSJ? or other large MSM outlets?

I'm more interested in your opinions on what the "Selection" process is/was on major stories like Peak Oil?

If you came at them with a hard hitting, factual story, would it make the Printer?

Or any other light you could throw on that process.


Yes I wrote for a bunch of them over the years: New York Times, Washington Post, Financial Times, Newsweek, and finally the Journal. On the Journal, I was on the oil team (through this last January). My impression is that there is skepticism about peak oil, but they still write about it (hence Russell Gold and Ann Davis' really good story a couple of weeks ago on plateau oil). The answer to your question on a hard-hitting, factual story -- absolutely they would go with it. On the news pages, there is no ideology at all. If you have an idea, give me your email address, and I'll pass it along to the right person.

Incidentally, I wanted to tell the TOD crowd that the book -- The Oil and the Glory -- this week was named a Top Ten Business Book of 2007 by Business Week.


Here's a link to some refinery data. The embedded link within this top story goes region by region with planned refineries. Could not immediately find the actual list of individual refineries. Anyone else?


If you look on Google Earth's community there is a very dated global refinery map file.

This product would seem to be full of all sorts of information, but I've not ordered it yet ...


Yes I saw info on current refineries (Wikipedia has one too). Reuters puts out a regular list of planned refineries but I would need to track.


My Future Tech masterwork story line, solved all our problems 20 years ago. Back then we knew of most of what is going on today.

I have never put most of it to paper, because I created it while I was doing otherwise boring jobs mostly in my head, building the infastructure of my world view time line bit by bit.

The point is we still can do some of it to limit the distructions us gloomers know are just around the bend and SacredCowTipper is so afraid of all the time and Darwinian and Bob Shaw sees as bloody moshpits of human nature.

The problem is we are the ones that have to work on it. I see that when helping the homeless. There are just some homeless that would rather be homeless than be under someone else's rules. They are just one layer in a big huge layer cake we call society.

The TOD is filled with willing Shock Troops doing things in their own lives to mitigate damage in the big crash we see as peak oil, climate chaos and dieoff due to food system failures and overshoot.

Work local, get your neighbors involved, get the towns involved, or start your own small projects to build survivablity. I know a lot of you are doing it already. Others should start. I know every plant in its season that I can eat to survive without Wally-world for myself in about a 5 mile radius of my house, mapping it on my walks.

I live in a city, not much more than a few people's food here, and pretty slim pickings, but for what I know I can eat on the lower food chain. That is why I talk about eat your yard growing systems, not just crops, but whole yards of edible plants for your growing areas. Knowledge is key here, I also can fix just about anything in my house with hand tools, of which I have many in my Father's tool sheds, he is waning, 72 and his health is finally failing him, but he retired and that is killing him slowly. When the manure hits the fan in full force I am still not sure if I want them here, to help or to be gone so they don't suffer much. I try to be medicine free, they are not, to many health issues.

Our system of government lacks the needed skills and want to fix any of these problems, to many layers in that cake to really get anything done, I see that while working with city government.

Grass roots is what it is all about. And knowing which grass's roots you can eat and which are just compost fodder.


Thanks Charles; Good thoughts.

One thing my wife and I have done this year is start to look at food requirements, and how to get the most nutrition and overall quality from our food as possible. With more nutritious foods, you need less volume in many cases, and will have a stronger immune system, less exposure to chronic illnesses that western people (and increasingly 'westernized' chinese, etc) are so hurt by, so less dependence on various levels of healthcare that many now consider normal. (For example, a guest at a recent Weston Price Potluck dinner Leslie went to was from Africa, and in a discussion about dentistry, he said that they had no dentists in his part of the country.. but his teeth were fine, maybe even perfect. It was not Poverty that kept dentists away, but a lack of necessity, since their diet did not leave them with the decalcified and underdeveloped (braces?)teeth and facial structure that creates dental specialties.)

We were introduced to 'Nourishing Traditions', which follows the research of Weston Price, a dentist who went out to find traditional cultures who were not afflicted by dental decay, poor skeletal development, obesity, cardiovascular issues, etc.. and studied how ancient food knowledge had been forgotten and purged by industrialized food production.

It may be better in some areas and challengable in others (like anything, really).. but I think it has some significant perspectives on food and health.

http://www.westonaprice.org/splash_2.htm (Home)
http://www.westonaprice.org/traditional_diets/ancient_dietary_wisdom.html (Basic Overview of Dr. Price's studies)

Bob Fiske

I had to drop in a quote from the second link.

" No one can look at the handsome photographs of so-called primitive people--faces that are broad, well-formed and noble--without realizing that there is something very wrong with the development of modern children. In every isolated region he visited, Price found tribes or villages where virtually every individual exhibited genuine physical perfection. In such groups, tooth decay was rare and dental crowding and occlusions--the kind of problems that keep American orthodontists in yachts and vacation homes--non existent. Price took photograph after photograph of beautiful smiles, and noted that the natives were invariably cheerful and optimistic. Such people were characterized by "splendid physical development" and an almost complete absence of disease, even those living in physical environments that were extremely harsh."

It refers to Dr. Price's book 'Nutrition and Physical Degradation' , 1939 14th printing, 2000 http://www.amazon.com/Nutrition-Physical-Degeneration-Weston-Andrew/dp/0...

If the claims are to be believed, then we are truly living in a time that will be seen as 'Brutish, Nasty and Long'..


Thank Darwin for that. In a society without orthodontics naturally straight teeth are a clear survival advantage. Of course a low sugar diet doesn't hurt either.

Without getting into philosophy, the Mornons offer a food storage calculator. (BTW, I'm not LDS.) You set the number of people and time and it gives quanities in the following groups: Grains, Legumes, Fats and Oils, Milk group, Sugars, Misc.

The link to the calculator is:


It has one of those "secure link" things so I don't know if the abvoe URL will work directly. If not just go to http://www.providentliving.org and you'll find the calculator on right on about the third page you go to.


Good grief! How did anyone live 1000 years ago without a food calculator! The human race could not survive without one. I now believe in creationism.

Eating the natural world around you and not the box you can put in the microwave is something that both me and my dad practice in our cooking. My dad never much a fan boxed prepackaged foods, buys fresh everything and cooks mostly by smell and taste and the talent of 66 years of cooking, learning how to cook at age six from his aunt who was his mother. Chef training took that further and a love for cookbooks and my introducing him to foods he would have never bought. My spice collection is near 160 spices, some are still packed away, but I have used whole foods for years.

Native peoples use whole foods, not super processed sugar encased foods.

High Fructose corn syrup is a killer.


Yes. The Sugars and HFCS are pretty awful, leaving us exposed to Diabetes and Calcium-losses (ie proper bone and tooth development.

They also suggest looking at the stuff on 'Grandma's Table', where there were various side-dishes that were Pickled and otherwise naturally fermented, Sauerkraut, Pickles, Cheeses.. and that these provided a range of enzymes and nutrients that the modern versions do not.. they've just been fabricated to essentially mimic their model foods.

There is also a very different take on Cholesterol, which is described as a basic repair mechanism of the human body, and not a substance to hide from, which does little good, since our bodies produce more in a day than we could ever eat. http://www.westonaprice.org/moderndiseases/benefits_cholest.html

Anyway, some interesting info on 'How Food Works' in our systems. Challengers, please take note, since I can't defend their claims.. I'd love to hear other 'sides' of this issue.

Bob Fiske

'Grandma Knew Best! Butter!'
- German Magazine ad from the 1980's

If you're interested in more about cholesterol and how it is not really that bad there's a book (that I happen to be reading right now) called "The Cholesterol Myths" by Uffe Ravnskov. He's a Swedish MD.

Now having an MD after your name by no means is an assurance that your hypothesis or thesis is correct. I've read some hogwash by MDs over the years, but this guy is pretty careful with his numbers and consistenly points out weaknesses in the lipid hypothesis of heart disease.

I'm not finished the book yet, and I haven't checked out his claims on some of teh papers he critiques for myself, but if he is correct my level of concern about serum cholesterol levels will be dramatically reduced.

Don't know if this is old news already but am short of time to check:

TORONTO, Dec 5 (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange's main index jumped out of the starting block on Wednesday, driven higher by rising energy shares after OPEC decided to leave crude output levels unchanged.


Yawn. Autumn in Washington D.C. this year was the all-time warmest autumn on record. Nothing to see here, move along, keep shopping.

Way ahead of you :) 2006 was the warmest autumn on record many (most?) places in Norway. It was amazingly comfortable. The meteorological summer (the period of time when the temperature doesn't go below 10 degrees Celius) lasted from early june untill early October.

Was looking at the referrals today and among the smattering of kunstler.com and energybulletin.net refs there is an unusually high amount of traffic coming from www.stumbleupon.com and also being directed from google searches. Also, oddly enough, www.radiohead.com

It's not odd. Radiohead has us linked.

Should have taken the previous exit...

Just-in-time transport isn't faring too well today, with I-5 under 10 feet of water in between Seattle and Portland, questionable railroad track conditions, and the only viable trucking route being a 400+ mile detour on what is usually a 3-4 hour drive.


I suppose packing things on shipping containers and sending them up/down the coast port to port is one option.

I wonder how vulnerable the Olympic pipeline is to natural disasters such as this (flooding, earthquake, lehar (giant mudflow) from Mt. Rainier). This pipeline supplies Seattle and then Portland with gasoline from the Washington refineries. If that were disabled now, Portland would have an interesting few days.

I spend a lot of time in a boat like that. Look at that wake - five or six boat lengths behind him and its a sweeping turn. I'm not sure what is on the surface, but I'd guess just a leetle beet of oil, which his passage has disturbed.

Best hopes for not falling into that crud ...

It has been estimated that the pollution due to runoff into Puget Sound is equal to one half of an Exxon Valdez per year. The flooded freeway is in a much less populated area, but I suppose there is muck everywhere.


There is, perhaps, an upside:

That was quite a storm.

The death toll is 7 and may rise. I read a rescue helicopter is lost over Prince William Sound, AK waters. Apparently in Centralia, WA, the hospital is on an island in the floodwaters, with patients ferried by helicopter, and personnel unable to leave.

Damage to I-5 is feared extensive. I haven't read any on the pipeline.

I keep reading of dead rats everywhere.

Hello TODers,

Glad to see a TODer posting a photo of a human-powered watercraft as it directly leads to my Wild & Crazy speculation on SpiderWebriding!

As a fast-crash realist: I thereby focus my preventative Peak Outreach efforts on potential cooperative plans, thereby reducing our tendency towards postPeak machete' moshpits and optimizing our paradigm shift. Recall my previous postings on relocalized permaculture lifestyles, with 60-75% of us engaged in manual labor, as geologic FF-decline will force the substitution of human power for much of the previous luxury of combustive FF-power.

During the cheap oil age: ships and barges could energy-efficiently move tons/mile cheaper than RRs, and RRs can move tons/mile cheaper than trucks. Thus, my endorsement of AlanfromBigEasy's electrified RR & TOD proposals. We need to build this standard-gauge network out to the greatest extent possible, while we still can, to reap the energy savings as far into the future as we can, while our population totals adjusts downward.

Alan and Jim Kunstler have also expertly expressed the necessity of redesigning seaports on river & canal outlets for optimal postPeak oceanic/riverine trade movements. Again, to offset inevitably declining FF-power: these ideas logically incorporate much more windsail and muscle-power because it still remains highly speculative to what extent alternative energy strategies will power shipping.

Note that nobody is currently promoting the use of nanophosphate supercapacitors or lithium-ion batteries for powering postPeak transoceanic crossings of large trading ships. Building even better-designed, speedy Clipper Ships, like in the olden days would be much more cost-effective anyway, especially if ELM rapidly curtails most ICEs from ever restarting in importing countries. We need plans that extend far beyond the declining possibilities of the very small chainsaw ICEs and the largest [50,000 hp or more] ICEs in the megaships.

Once most cars are forever parked, and amusement parks have long been kaput: the Disneyland E-ticket ride of the future will be the pure adrenaline rush of reefing sails, high above deck in the yardarms, during a hurricane. Who knows, they might have safer and sleek, hi-tech aerofoil ships for the Northwest Passage of Waterworld, but the sailors might still have the occasional, painful drudgery of pounding ice off with sledgehammers to keep the ship from keeling over. Will future 'Dodgeball' be the sport of trying to avoid 20 lbs chunks of ice falling from the aerofoil far above? See The Discovery Channel show: "The Deadliest Catch" for Pacific specifics to get your wintry Bering's Strait.

IMO, Alan Drake's ideas are great for urban densities and transcontinental movement of goods and people; the TOD-spine & RR-limbs to keep the economic-being alive. If we can find the postPeak energy to build RR & TOD Everywhere, along with massive industrial-size shipping canals for even more efficiency gains--so much the Better.

But sadly, IMO, current trends seem to indicate that we are not moving in this direction anywhere quickly enough as the Thermo/Gene detritovore desire for FF-MPP is clearly expressed in lavish, airborne vacations, so that they can enjoy an SUV ride to a manicured golf course.

I wonder if it ever occurs to golfers that everytime they hit that little white ball it might be removing a week of their grandchildren's future? Is using a 7-iron, to spring off a cute, dimpled sphere, an ironclad guaran-tee of carbon & fiber 7-day decline in their cute and dimpled planetary offspring? Kind of gives a new meaning to the golfer's typical bragging description of just delivering a crushing blow, resulting in a well-hit ball: "I just absolutely, positively KILLED IT."

Even Zimbabwe's remaining corrupt elite prefer an 18-hole chase on Harare National instead of proactively Peak Outreach dealing with 80% unemployment, runaway inflation, 30 year life-expectancies, and collapsing infrastructure. Such is life--I would expect the same trends to playout globably going forward until the Peak of Everything is obvious in the golfcart's rear view mirror. The Grim Reaper clearing a swath of delusional heads may finally clear the green course forward for last-gasp paradigm shift.

Therefore, with possibly postPeak stunted transport 'spines & limbs': my earlier posting proposals of 'a ribcage' to help keep this economic-being alive and breathing for a little bit longer. The vital essential of keeping NPK moving to the rural areas, then food back out; so food surpluses might be possible to allow continued job specialization, with many of us engaged on strategic movement by bicycle and wheelbarrow, narrow gauge minitrains and SpiderWebRiding.

For those TOD newbies unfamilar with my speculative SpiderWebRiding idea: it is simple to see that most of our present underground spiderweb was only possible to build with lots of cheap energy powering mechanical trenchers, backhoes, bulldozers, etc. Please go out and hand dig a fifty foot long and six foot deep trench with pick & shovel to get an idea of the energy required. Then multiply by the huge global mileage of decrepit, rusting FF-pipelines, water pipelines, sewage pipelines, underground electrical pipelines, etc, etc, that will need eventual replacement.

Doesn't it make more energy sense to keep the replacement system above ground, wherever possible, to save this postPeak digging effort? Any leaks can be quickly noticed and repaired before costly losses result. It also can serve as the postPeak roadbed for lightweight railbikes and railbarrows; the 'ribs' to attach to the endpoints of Alan's ideas. My hope is that we could get a massive SpiderWebRiding network built long before US oil usage is less than 3 million barrels/day.

It should be abundently clear that bicycles and wheelbarrows greatly leverage human effort, but even before these were invented: small boats and canoes were widely used to leverage human power: but it needs to be remembered that a person's legs are much stronger, and provide more reliable endurance than a person's arms.

So what I am proposing in the paragraphs to come is hopefully the maximum efficient, human-scale, non-FF transport network for the postPeak age. It might even scale up to be spiderweb larger than many watersheds, so if a drought occurs in one watershed: it can still facilitate the minimum transfer of vital goods to prevent widespread machete' moshpit violence. I also hope to prove that it can be built quickly, and then easily maintained, with local materials with low energy inputs.

An average walking speed is about 5 km/h (3 mph), although this depends heavily on factors such as height, weight, age and terrain.
TopTODer Heading Out's recent keypost that discussed porters moving loads without wheels showed how geographically limited this network can be.

Please imagine a steelwheel-on-steelrail pedal railbike, straddling atop a narrow canal, pulling a canoe behind in the water. This accomplishes many things:

1. Weight of canoeist is transferred out of the displacement hull to railbike: this reduces wasteful boat loading and water drag, increasing the effective canoe payload, or increasing the canoe's average speed as it will now ride higher in the water.

2. Canoeist is now using his legs on railbike for movement. This is much less tiring than armstroking with a paddle. Additional power, if desired, can be generated by a ergonomically smooth combo arm/leg mechanical movement, such as illustrated in this photo of a Schwinn Airdyne exercycle:


3. The canoe, down below the railbike, is wind-protected by the canal walls: this reduces energy wasting sidedrafts. The uplift tugging from the railbike-to-bow towline also helps the canoe minimize the buildup of the energy-wasting bowwave thus increasing effective speed per energy input.

4. Railbike selectable gearsets will allow much better human power matching to headwinds/tailwinds, upstream/downstream current flowrates, payload to optimal speed matching, and dryland traverses where waterlocks are not used [explained in greater detail later].

5. Mounting of railbike sidewind and/or downwind spinnaker-sails is more feasible because no energy-wasting from a drag-inducing deep keel or bottom-board is required as on a sailboat or canoe.

6. Railbike ergonomic design [upright or recumbent], is less muscle and joint wearing than the inherently awkward design of canoe stroke movement. It also offers greater energy savings through inherently smoother body-positioning aerodynamics than the upright, herky-jerky movement of paddling or rowing.

7. Hopefully wise planning eliminates any requirement for dead-heading an empty canoe, but my SpiderWebRiding System, in this advanced form, allows the strapping of the canoe upside down under the railbike, so that it is free of the water's drag, and also prevents internal water buildup from rain, snow, leaky canoe seams, etc. Additional dead-heading canoes could also be towed behind.

8. A canoe requires your hands to be busy holding a paddle. A recumbent railbike, since it uses your legs, and doesn't require constant steering inputs [duh, you are on a fixed track afterall!]: frees your hands to read a book, watch the scenery or the opposite sex along the canal, use a cellphone, watch movies, eat and drink without stopping, wipe off sweat, and other useful tasks.

9. Imagine a bicycle loaded down with 1,000 lbs of cargo--it would be a heavy frame to handle the load, even if the rider could keep it upright! Yet a lightweight canoe can easily hold 1,000 lbs plus riders:


The Viking canoe has a 16' hull, 41" beam, 26" bow, 15" side wall and carries 1000 lbs. of payload. Even with its overwhelming ability to carry such large, heavy loads, it only weighs 89 lbs., making it easy to load and unload for convenient transportation and portage to and from your favorite recreational spot.


Rule One: Other things being equal, the longer the canoe, the faster it will be. And if you want the best shallow water performance, opt for asymmetry below the waterline.

Other things being equal, the longer the canoe, the faster it will be. Canoes are displacement hulls; their maximum speed (displacement speed), which says nothing about the effort required to reach that speed, is determined by the formula; S (speed) equals 1.55 times the square root of the waterline length. Simple math reveals that an 18 1/2-foot canoe can be driven 6.7 miles per hour, while a 15-footer, can be driven 6.0 miles per hour.


Please see the GPS charting in the following link:


This person was going approx. 5 mph: covering 18 miles in four hours, but he admits to not being in very good shape. Unfortunately for my essay, he did not have a fully laden canoe, so I have no idea how much distance/time he could cover with a heavy payload.

Therefore, can a SpiderWeb bike/canoe payload setup can go nearly twice as fast as walking?. Removing the canoeist to the railbike allows optimal hull design to take the best advantage of the payload/speed/stability tradeoffs. I am not an engineer or expert biomechanist, but could a railbike-canoe combo allow a person to easily pedal a 1,000 pound 25 foot-long waterborne payload at 6 mph? Or even faster--9 mph? For example: in an 8-hour postPeak journey, what would be the increased value of these goods moved 6 x 8 = 48 miles to a place than desperately needed them? At 9 mph: Round the clock, multi-shift, for a week equals 72 x 3 x 7 = 1,512 movement miles of 1,000 lbs, and not using any FFs. Compare to the vastly smaller poundage over a vastly smaller distance of the ancient method in HO's posting.

Recall that it costs alot more to move non-substitutable NPK inland, than it costs to move it to the seaport by ship. Zimbabwe is a land-locked country, yet if they had the foresight to go SpiderWebRiding: I would suggest their dire agricultural situation could be much different. An easily built stone or adobe narrow canal, filled with freshwater and/or seawater injected by windturbines, could offer much employment, and allow the cheap movement of vital goods overland.

Okay, I have alot more to say on this subject, but this post is getting too long, and I have to go. As usual, I retain any possible patent rights to SpiderWebRiding, but I really could use expert TODer input because I am not an engineer, ergonomic design expert, or scientist.

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

Fannie Mae news from The Housing Bubble Blog. When the housing cheerleaders start talking like this. . .

Severe Correction Is Expected To Be Nationwide

Some housing bubble news from Wall Street and Washington. MarketWatch, “Mortgage giant Fannie Mae Wednesday said it sees increased credit losses and falling home prices next year as the housing correction continues to play out. Fannie Mae is forecasting a peak-to-trough decline of between 10% and 12% in home prices for this housing cycle. The lender said it expects 2008 credit losses to be between 8 and 10 basis points, up from a range of 4 to 6 basis points this year.”

“The lender said there is a ’severe correction’ in the U.S. housing market. ‘The decline is expected to be nationwide and is estimated at about one-half of the magnitude of the decline experienced in Southern California in the early 1990s,’ it said.”

“The information was posted on Fannie Mae’s Web site in a road-show presentation supporting its offering of $7 billion in non-convertible preferred stock, which the company unveiled on Tuesday. Fannie Mae is also slashing its dividend by 30%.”

“Daniel Mudd, Fannie’s president and CEO, said the steps are designed to serve the mortgage market. ‘The market needs us to be there — and we believe this plan will help us do that,’ Mudd said in a statement.”

Daniel Mudd??? How appropriate.

They're everywhere! They're everywhere!...Paulson exclaimed as reporters advised him of the latest discoveries of toxic SIVs showing up in STATE FUNDS across America. As Paulson calmed a grin crossed his face and he exclaimed 'Man, I taught those bond salesmen right and I told them the state fund managers were a bunch of dumb azz political hacks with degrees in basket weaving.' Of course Paulson didnt really say that...but, he was probably thinking it :)


'Speaking of systemic stress... remember Orange County, CA? We alluded to it last week when first discussing the Florida State Board of Administration fund debacle.

According to Bloomberg, Orange County, California, the same Orange County that was bankrupted in 1994 by bad derivatives bets tied to interest rates, apparently bought structured investment vehicles (SIVs) similar to the ones that have caused losses in the Florida public investment pool.
According to Bloomberg, $460 million, 20% of the county's $2.3 billion Extended Fund is invested in SIVs that may face credit-rating cuts.
The county overall holds a total of $837 million of SIV debt, including $152 million in its $3.5 billion of money-market funds that isn't under ratings review, Bloomberg reported.
Florida, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Montana, Maine and King County, Washington also have disclosed investments in SIVs.'

As Warren Buffet said, when the tide goes out you find out who has been skinny dipping.

WT, some would call the Fannie Mae outlook optomistic...


'The Financial Times went on, not about this terrific joke, but about economist Nouriel Roubini, of Roubini Global Economics and former director of the US Treasury Department's Office of Policy Development and Review, who "has long been positioned firmly on the gloomy side of the outlook scale - but the past week's batch of predictions has been ominous even by his own dark standards. In fact, they're nigh on apocalyptic. Or, in other words, a 'generalized systemic financial meltdown'."

In his own words, Mr Roubini said, "Losses due to subprime alone will be as high as $400 to $500 billion and this does not count losses due to near prime, prime mortgages, auto loans, credit cards, commercial real estate, leveraged loans, loans to the corporate system; if added all up losses could end up - in a US recession - as being as high as $1,000 billion or $1 trillion. The financial bloodbath thus has only started and a hard landing of the economy is clearly ahead of us."'...snip...

'A trillion? It used to be that a trillion was a lot of money, but my eyes opened when I saw the Opednews.com article by Sharon Kayser, titled, "Hey Buddy, Can You Spare $1,000 Trillion?"'...snip...

'The actual excerpt is that "there is currently at least a $1,000 trillion black hole in the world economy", what with "$600 trillion in world liabilities, plus more than a $400 trillion derivatives neutron bomb, all of which will go off when the Westerners (from EU and US) will no longer be able to borrow."

So, with trembling hands I feverishly punched the calculator, adding 400 trillion plus 600 trillion, which is 400,000,000,000,000 and 600,000,000,000,000, and then I think, "That's too many zeroes! It won't even fit on my calculator screen, for God's sake!"

So I do it by hand, and it keeps coming out as "1,000,000,000,000,000", and it looks so weird that I knew it has to be wrong. It can't have that many zeroes in it!

So, I go to the dictionary and look up "quadrillion", and it says that it is "a one followed by fifteen zeroes". Except in Britain, where it is 24 zeroes, for some reason.

Anyway, it really IS written out as $1,000,000,000,000,000!'...snip...

People who post about derivatives should have to take an exam that proves that they know what they are talking about. Most, if not all, of the posters on this site know about as much about derivatives as I do about string theory in 12 dimensions.

A few too many dimensions there, jbunt-san :-(


Thanks for proving my point!

Werner Nahm showed that 11 dimensions was the largest number of dimensions consistent with a single graviton, and that a theory with more dimensions would also have particles with spins greater than 2. These problems are avoided in 12 dimensions if two of these dimensions are timelike, as has been often emphasized by Itzhak Bars[citation needed].

Area of expertise? You should update Scientific American on this point :-)

For some reason, That statement reminded me of what a women I know said about her sons.

"My boys know a lot, just ain't no one paying for what they know"

Jbunt: A lot of people who are among the most knowledgeable on the planet on this subject of derivatives and their investment use have managed to lose one hell of a lot of other people's money, while richly rewarding themselves. If you have evidence that financial "engineering" is not primarily snake oil sales, feel free to present it.

Let us assume you sold a plot of land for $1 million on a 15 year installment note, with fixed interest to you of 6%. Shortly thereafter, rates start rising and you decide that you would rather have a floating interest rate. In exchange for receiving a floating rate, you agree to pay a counterparty 6 1/2% fixed. You own a $1 million derivative. Your counterparty owns a $1 million derivative. A year later, rates have fallen to 5 1/2% fixed. The counterparty decides to lock in his 1% spread, so he enters into a derivative with a 2nd counter party to pay 5 1/2% fixed - and receive floating. Now there is $4 million of derivatives on the original $1 million. And the only exposure is the rate of interest on the $1 million - not the $1 million or the $4 million. For example, your worst case exposure is that interest rates go to zero - so you are receiving 6% from the land buyer and paying 6 1/2% to the counterparty and getting 0% back from the counterparty. So, instead of receiving 6% interest on the installment note, you are paying 1/2%. Your conterparty is both paying and receiving floating - a wash; and receiving 6 1/2% fixed and paying 5 1/2% fixed, thereby netting a 1% spread. The second counterparty is in the opposite position of you, only from a base of 5 1/2%. At 0%, he pays 0 and receives 5 1/2%.

Jbunt: What a joke. Who is going to pay you (assuming you win your bet) when your counterparty is flat broke because he lost at other tables in the casino? Are you even aware how many financial institutions have "hedged" exposure that isn't looking so "hedged" anymore because the counterparty who is contracted to provide an umbrella when it starts to pour is looking like he might be out of umbrellas. It is an unregulated industry- it appears that you are unaware of the implications of this.

If I sold the land, I am worried about the guy paying me the $1 million, so I keep a mortgage on it. If my counterparty defaults on my swap, I get the 6% fixed interest that I originally bargained for. And none of this is a "bet." Suppose the guy who bought my land wanted to pay in Euro,s, but I wanted $,s. Well, there is another derivative to get my money in $,s. If you want to say all this is betting - fine. But, that means that when you are buying anything, you are betting that the price will not go down tomorrow. And, when you are selling, you are betting that it will not go up. I am guessing that you probably want to exchange seashells or something other than paper money. Without money, nothing else has much value. A $30 million Picasso - worthless if there is no money and you need food. And, if as many here posit the SHTF, a little mountain top with a food garden will be worthless. Property records will disappear and you will be as the Indians were when the white settlers arrived. Good luck.

Jbunt: Actually, "betting" is the accurate term- more esoteric terms are being invented daily, but "betting" is still the most accurate term for these activities. If you place a bet with a bookie, there are 2 risks: 1. you lose the bet 2. the bookie will not pay if you win the bet (likely because he does not have the capital to pay all the winners). You place a bet with this bookie and call it a "hedge" because if your bet with the guy at the other sports book goes wrong, this one will offset it perfectly. So now you tell investors that your second bet is perfectly "hedged" by the first bet (it is until it isn't).

The first sentence in any decent hedging book - "There is no such thing as a perfect hedge."

'People who post about derivatives should have to take an exam that porves that they know what they are talking about.'

Let me make sure I have this right...In future on TOD anyone that posts on a topic must take an exam to prove that they are well grounded in that topic.

That rule should thin out the ranks considerably :)

Is the government flooding the banks with easy money? It is not as if the bankers could lose more in giving bad loans if they had half the chance. Giving jumbo loans to people with a history of not paying back in order for them to buy property more expensive to own than to rent is not prudent lending strategy. Foreclosures are occurring.

The economy is overheating.

Benjamin Franklin warned that deceit leads to poverty. We were getting our full share of deceit from democratically elected leaders. Democracy in and of its self is not sufficient. Honesty is required for a nation to become great.

WT, since you mentioned Mr. Buffet and this story is unfolding in your neck of the woods perhaps you can shed a little light on it?


'Dec 3 2007 3:54PM EST
Why is Warren Buffett Buying $2.1 Billion of Super-Junky TXU Debt?
Warren Buffett just bought a huge chunk of TXU debt at a $125 million discount to face value:

Berkshire bought into two issues by TXU. It purchased $1.1 billion of 10.25% bonds at 95 cents on the dollar to give Buffett an effective yield of 11.2%. And Berkshire bought $1 billion of 10.5% PIK-toggle bonds (bonds whose interest can be paid out in cash or more bonds) for 93 cents on the dollar, producing an effective yield of 11.8%.

According to a wire story by Matt Fuller which isn't online, the 10.25% bonds mature in 2015 and are rated CCC, while the PIK-toggle bonds mature in 2016 but are callable after 2012, which is also the date at which the PIK toggle is activated. The issuer is not actually TXU but a subsidiary, Texas Competitive Electric Holdings.

This is really junky debt. This is what S&P has to say about what a CCC rating means:

An obligation rated 'CCC' is currently vulnerable to nonpayment, and is dependent upon favorable business, financial, and economic conditions for the obligor to meet its financial commitment on the obligation. In the event of adverse business, financial, or economic conditions, the obligor is not likely to have the capacity to meet its financial commitment on the obligation.

The PIK toggle (which stands for "payment in kind") is particularly toxic, especially on a deal as junky as this one. (My favorite part of the whole story comes in Matt Fuller's wire story, where he refers to the first bond as a "cash-pay tranche". Now that's what I call a retronym.)

In any case, it's fascinating to me that Warren Buffett seems perfectly happy to buy up $2.1 billion of this paper. Maybe he thinks that TXU is too politcally well-connected to be allowed to default, and he's making a moral-hazard play. Or... maybe he's making a stealth takeover bid for TXU himself, buying up the senior debt in the expectation that it will default and that he will be able to convert it into cheap equity.'

.Update: The stealth-equity theory gets some support. DealBook says CNBC is reporting that Buffett isn't interested in junk debt generally, only TXU's in particular.'

I'm no expert on utilities, but didn't the LBO of TXU just close?

In any case, I would classify his move as "Becoming involved in and/or investing in" the non-discretionary side of the economy.

Start with the premise that Warren knows what he is doing. TXU operates only in Texas, one of only a few states that is energy self-sufficient. *If one believes that petroleum product prices will continue to rise, then the economy of Texas will be just fine - which, means that the average Texas consumer will be able to pay increasing utility bills. This means that TXU will be able to meet its debt obligations. Not exactly rocket science. But, none of what Warren does is rocket science - e.g. insurance, Coca Cola, Dairy Queen, mobile homes, carpet, etc.

Electrically speaking I do believe the U.S. is roughly divided into East, West, and Texas. Texas has its own generation and transport, but not a lot of cross connects to the other regions.

Sorry, no link, from memory of a story I read some years ago, around the time there were spectacular outages in the upper Northeast.

I wonder how hard it would be to find out what our own particular counties and municipalities are invested in.

I'm already paying enough property tax. I don't want to do any emergency bailouts of idiot county treasurers.

It would seem even the wise ones have been caught up in this - the facade was very, very good for a long, long time :-(

True, SCT, but I know my county treasurer. He's only there because he's active in party politics. I would be very surprised if he didn't get involved in this stuff just because "the good ol' boys" advised him to pick up on some of these instruments.

I still remember when Orange County went bankrupt playing with derivatives.

"Account Overdrawn," from "Atlas Shrugged," by Ayn Rand:

Winter had come early, in the last days of November. People said that it was the hardest winter on record and that no one could be blamed for the unusual severity of the snowstorm. They did not care to remember that there had been a time when snowstorms did not sweep, unresisted, down unlighted roads, and upon the roofs of unheated houses, did not stop the movement of trains, did not leave behind a wake of corpses counted in the hundreds.

Record home foreclosures cause snow removal problems

The snow brings a new problem with the high number of foreclosures in the Twin Cities. All those empty homes mean no one is around to clear the sidewalks.

Kathy Nitschke shovels out her own property, but sees that no one is looking after the vacant home in her Minneapolis neighborhood.

"A lot of traffic through here, so it's unfortunate when they don't clean things up," said Nitschke.

In Minneapolis, there are 50 percent more homes in foreclosures this year than last. In St. Paul, there are four times more vacant homes than in 2006.

I went into, through, and out of my Rand period pretty quickly, but some of the things she says are certainly true. The whole idea of "Atlas", or the energetic, creative, individuals shrugging off their burden (which they'd originally gladly shouldered) and going to go work at lunch counters or such jobs, or not at all, is certainly happening.

In my own case, for the next 2-3 years, if I work I will be punished for it. After 2-3 years, jobs in the conventional sense may be damned hard to get. Much better to hang out here in horse'n'cow country, take it easy, and work on such skills as are productive at a basic level (hunting foraging farming etc) and deprive the system of the energy and creativity it lives on.

Come the Revolution, there will be a lot of erstwhile techies who've been farming or repairing junk cars or something, who will know the soft points in the system and help bring it down just for the fun and giggles of it....

"Account Overdrawn," from "Atlas Shrugged," by Ayn Rand:


Ha ha. Well that's it by golly.

I'm moving my family to Galt's Gulch so we can escape the pain of the Peak.

After all, Galt's Gulch is powered by the cold fusion static energy machines that John Galt himself invented. There is no energy shortage in Galt's Gulch and never will be thanks to the "ingenuity" of Ayn Rand and the power of the free markets.

Long live Ayn Rand. Long live objectivism and the free markets. Long live the perpetual compound interest and the unlimited blessings it bestows upon us and on our progeny.

(Click on image of Galt Gulch to read about Ayn Rand)

Days Supply of crude oil here in the States is now 10.25% below last year's levels. Gasoline Days Supply is now basically at last year's levels. And Distillate Days Supply is also basically at last year's levels. (2.00% below, but this is bouncing around). What's more to the point is that the Distillate Supply is now fractured by sulfur content, and the complex has obviously made plenty of ULSD all year, but still needs to making Heating Oil.

My analysis of HO here in the States, GASOIL in Europe, and global diesel/distillate tells me that we are going much higher this Winter. For the first time in 2+ Winters, we are going to have some real weather-driven pricing.


Re The comment on shipping post peak will steam ships return? How big do ships have to be for nuclear reactors to be practicable? Expert required

Size isn't such a big deal - we have great big carriers and itty bitty submarines with nuclear reactors. The issue is its radiological material and there must be operating discipline associated with it. There will be a tiny window of opportunity between the end of FF power and the return of sail when it'll make economic sense, but it won't make operational sense.

Unless, of course, those ten nuclear powered carriers we have end up doing cargo hauler duty ...

submarines use nuke power because no oxygen is needed. This feature makes them vastly superior to ff power plants for underwater use, and justifies essentially any price penalty caused by cheap fossil fuels (or, rather, cheap fossil power plant/expensive fuel vs. expensive nuke power plant/cheap fuel.)

no need to dig up the coal or chop down the trees - store wind energy into a liquid fuel called ammonia, you can power your ships and fly your planes. when all the options are exhausted, ammonia will be there ready to power either diesel engines or turbines.

What is the energy capture or conversion ratio from electricity to ammonia ?

I meant to mention earlier thatNH3 was mentioned as a use for excess electricity from the proposed Grand Inga 44 GW hydroelectric project (by comparison, 3 Gorges is ~12 GW and Niagara Falls is 5.x GW). It is a run-of-river facility with very limited storage capacity and coudl run much of Africa.

The flow is remarkably constant, but it does vary some. They were looking for a cheap (capital cost) and productive sink for the excess interruptible power and NH3 was chosen.

Also, what is the capital cost of an electricity > ammonia facility ?

Best Hopes for Innovation,


the answers to most of your questions can be found in here.

in short, using the heating value of 6.25MWh/t with energy input of 7-8MWh/t needed by the new technology (page 13), the conversion ratio is somewhere between 80 to 90%.

the cost for per tonne/day facility is less than $200k according to the same source.

My SWAG is a combination of 5 masted schooners (say 7,000 tons) and nuclear powered ships.

The nukes would be post-2014 Panamax and bigger (today only one container ship is too big for the new Panama Canal, but many "Capesize" ships, about 700+.

Typical might be one nuke reactor (say 11 MW like Seawolf sub nuke) with a FF auxiliary (to get you home).

The nukes would move faster than FF ships today, so fewer would be needed. And shipping costs would be higher than today, but perhaps not more than double.

Great Lakes shipping would suffer. Seawaymax is pretty small (to small for nuke power) and sailing in the Great Lakes with heavy cargo could be "challenging".

Just thoughts,


Size limit #1. Big enough to fight off how ever many pirates you think might want their own personal nuke.

Size limit #2. Nukes hate waves. Even small fairly highly enriched pressurized water reactors. The result of #2 is that nukes work ok in submarines, aircraft carriers and large arctic icebreakers. It is very difficult to design a nuke where both it's usual cooling system and it's emergency cooling system are completely impervious to sloshing and having its cooling water intakes exposed.

Size limit #3. Big enough not to be trashed when the drunk skipper of the Exxon Valdez bumps it into something.

Other problems dept. Umhhh Mr. Harbormaster sir, we're having a little problem here. (or) Yes. Honestly we're the original crew. Just ignore those bodies on the deck and let us come in and tie up.

Note. Physically small PW nukes usually use considerably more than the 4% enrichment of large civilian nukes. 35% is not unheard of. Nice stuff if you can get your hands on it.


Crafting a plan to slow foreclosures - with public money:


"...three to six years' extension of ARM teaser rates."

last line:
"Paulson also said he wants state and local governments to be allowed to issue tax-exempt bonds to "temporarily" raise money to help some struggling subprime borrowers refinance."

This would be a usable tool if there were transit oriented development in the works and there were a bias towards saving walking distance homes. It'll be political rather than sensible if it comes to pass, and thusly it'll be more money pissed away.

Nelsone:Based on his track record, I would assume the esteemed Treasury Secretary has a plan in place to short this scheme, making sizeable moolah for himself and his cronies as the Hindenburg plummets.

As if things aren't bad enough. Lets get a new breed of suckers to join the fools who have consumed far more kool-aid than they should have. John

Paulson Strikes Out

The Bush / Paulson Mortgage Freeze Plan

Hillary Clinton and George Bush: Two of a Kind

I will consider legislation that enables lenders to convert unworkable mortgages into stable, affordable loans without the permission of investors. Protection from lawsuits will remove the obstacle that keeps lenders, servicers and others...

...Protection from lawsuits could enable the servicers to help homeowners avoid foreclosures, help investors avoid the losses they would otherwise suffer,(oh ya, as an after thought) and help the economy.


Chris Matthews interviewing Presidential candidate Bill Richardson earlier today:

Matthews: "Iran has all the oil in the world, why would they want nuclear power"

Richardson: something about how there are elements that secretly just want the nuclear bomb

This is how our smart thought leaders think about the world and about future oil supplies.

Oil is in the 86's now. Doesn't that make it time for a new professor goose price poll? I think the 86 before 100 crowd wins this round.

That might be right.

Thank the powers above!

We try to base conclusions on evidence and fundamentals available.

Frankly, it still should be at or near $100.

Fundamentals are not necessarily in play at the moment.

However, that being said, I will gladly take $86 for a couple more years, if you can arrange it.