DrumBeat: December 10, 2007

States worry about federal heat aid

Bush recently vetoed a sweeping Democratic health and education spending bill that included roughly $2.4 billion heating aid for the poor this winter. The amount was $480 million more than he requested — and would have boosted the energy assistance program by about $250 million from last year.

Lawmakers from cold-weather states are still pressing for the extra money before Congress adjourns this year. They say funding has been outpaced by rising fuel prices.

"It's really kind of scary," said Mark Wolfe, executive director of the National Energy Assistance Directors' Association, which represents state-run low income energy assistance programs. "We're going to be looking at an awful lot of hardship."

McCain Calls For Freedom From Oil

Republican White House candidate John McCain said in a speech being delivered Monday that the United States needs to reduce its dependence on other parts of the world for oil and encouraged more nuclear and hydrogen power.

Production Sharing Agreements in Putin's Russia

The dynamics of the Russian energy industry have changed in the past fifteen years. Under Putin, the government has reasserted its control by restricting private and foreign investment in strategic sectors, particularly energy.

Charlotte’s rail system is carrying controversy

The Queen City opened its new light rail line two weeks ago, the first such metro system in North Carolina and one that cost more than $462 million to build.

But the big question for Charlotte, and potentially for the Triad, is whether such a system is a valuable alternative to traffic congestion or a needless affectation that just gobbles money — money that otherwise might be spent improving overburdened highways used by more people.

Gazprom Wants You

Pity the poor Russian gas titan Gazprom: it is feeling undervalued.

Despite having a market capitalization of over $330 billion, as well as access to the world's largest reserves of natural gas in Russia, Gazprom is reportedly hungry for more.

Total OPEC Oil Output Rose 40,000 Barrels Per Day in November

Overall oil production by the 12 members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) rose to 31.15 million barrels per day (b/d) in November, according to Platts' latest survey of OPEC and oil industry officials just released. This is up 40,000 b/d from October's production of 31.11 million b/d, as higher volumes from Saudi Arabia and Iraq helped offset a large field maintenance-related drop in UAE output.

Petroplus sees Coryton refinery back at full capacity by beginning next year

Petroplus Holdings AG said repairs on its Coryton refinery in Essex, UK, which caught fire in late October, are expected to be completed around 18 December.

The refinery is expected to be running at full capacity by the beginning of next year, said the Swiss oil refiner.

El Paso to partner in major northeastern gas pipeline

Houston-based El Paso Corp. and Equitable Resources plan to built a 471-mile natural gas pipeline project to connect Rocky Mountain fields to markets in the northeastern U.S., officials said today.

The pipeline, which will run from the end of the Rockies Express Pipeline project at Clarington, Ohio, to Pleasant Valley, N.Y., will deliver up to 1.1 billion cubic feet per day of gas. The project will connect with Iroquois Gas Transmission as well as Transcontinental Gas Pipeline, Texas Eastern Transmission, Algonquin Gas Transmission and Millennium Pipeline along the way.

Port Arthur refinery celebrates its expansion

A groundbreaking ceremony is being held Monday at the Motiva Port Arthur Refinery.

Officials say the refinery’s recent expansion will make it the largest in the nation. That means increased supplies of gasoline, diesel and aviation fuels in the U.S.

The expansion double’s the refinery’s capacity to 600,000 barrels a day.

Why did solar energy lose its flare?

Cells in most solar panels are made of silicon, which is abundant in sand. But demand in the electronics industry for silicon wafers has caused a shortage of high-grade silicon, which spells potential trouble for the solar industry.

Trends Affecting Oil Price

As we began 2007, crude oil was hovering around $60 a barrel. Today the price is closer to $90, and came within whiskers of $100 less than a month ago. So what’s driving crude oil to record prices? It’s easy to blame “big oil” or hedge funds and speculators for the rising price of energy, but to do so would ignore many of the fundamental changes in our world. To understand these changes we need to recognize the attributes of oil that make it different from other commodities.

Oil rises on lower dollar, Fed view

Oil futures rose Monday, extending their streak of volatility as a weaker dollar and anticipation that the Federal Reserve will cut interest rates drew buyers into the market.

Prices also drew support from news that fog has closed two Texas waterways used by oil tankers.

Kunstler: Spirit of the Season

President Bush, seeming very much the clown-in-chief, led the way last week by proposing a mortgage crisis bail-out that would appear to have no chance whatsoever of working as advertised. He called it, arrestingly, the New Hope Alliance. It blithely assumed that those "servicing" mortgages -- that is, collecting the monthly payments -- have the ability to suspend scheduled upward re-sets of adjustable mortgages for five years for certain select homeowner payees -- so that theoretically said homeowners could avoid foreclosure.

What might have worked in 1934, when the originators of mortgages were local banks that also "serviced" them (i.e. collected the monthly payments) is unlikely to avail today since the mortgages have been sold off in bunches to pension funds, hedge funds, money markets, and foreign investment funds -- none of which have an interest or the ability to renegotiate loans with millions of schlemiels from Cleveland to Denver to Fresno -- while the companies "servicing" these contacts are mere errand boys, with no say over the terms of anything they collect on.

Saudi budget surplus falls to $48bn, growth slows

Saudi Arabia expects its budget surplus to shrink by a third to $48 billion and economic growth to slow in 2007 after the world's top oil exporter cut output to meet Opec targets, raised spending and paid off debt.

Nigeria to reopen oil hub airport on Dec. 18

The main airport serving the oil-producing Niger Delta in southern Nigeria will reopen for daytime domestic flights on Dec. 18, officials said on Monday, two years after a plane crashed trying to land there.

Oil and gas: Cairo toes pragmatic line with the IOCs

Cairo needs to be pragmatic. Egypt’s demand for energy is growing exponentially as rapid industrialisation and population growth suck in oil and gas. Demand is skewed by heavy subsidies on a range of products from petrol through to domestic gas.

The pattern of energy shortfall in what are perceived as hydrocarbon-rich countries is not confined to Egypt. Other, richer, states in the Gulf are having to cope with gas shortages caused in large part by subsidies and profligate use of resources.

UK growth set to take a hit from oil and credit crunch

ERNST & Young ITEM Club has issued a warning that the UK and Scottish economies will suffer a difficult year in 2008 - but a housing-price crash and significant drop in consumer spending is unlikely north of the Border.

Iran Intelligence It's all about Oil Oil Oil

Every time one watches a T.V. show or reads a newspaper article that goes on and on about Iran and is the biggest danger in the world because they are armed to the teeth with nuclear weapons and they are terrorists and they are coming to get you, nowhere is the word “oil” ever mentioned. One gets this crippling urge to vomit all over the deceitful article.

The Iraq War and the Iran War are about one thing and one thing only and that thing is oil. Oil, oil, oil we want to steal your oil please step aside as we grab your oil. Please sir may I have some oil?

UK's official CO2 figures an illusion - study

Britain is responsible for hundreds of millions more tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions than official figures admit, according to a new report that undermines UK claims to lead the world on action against global warming.

The analysis says pollution from aviation, shipping, overseas trade and tourism, which are not measured in the official figures, means that UK carbon consumption has risen significantly over the past decade, and that the government's claims to have tackled global warming are an "illusion".

WSJ Launches Luddite Attack on Climate Scientists and Al Gore

The bar for Wall Street Journal editorials, in the journalistic equivalent of limbo dancing, keeps dropping. In a piece titled, "The Science of Gore's Nobel" (UPDATE: Open access link), Holman W. Jenkins Jr. of the WSJ ed board, manages to slander the media, Al Gore, the Nobel Committee, and all climate scientists -- without offering any facts to back up the attacks.

U.N. climate chief says science clear, move on

The science on climate change is indisputable so the world must now act to limit greenhouse gas emissions or face "abrupt and irreversible" change, the head of the Nobel prize-winning U.N. climate panel said on Sunday.

But Rajendra Pachauri, head of the United Nation's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), said the industrialized world did not have a moral right to force poorer nations to slash emissions that may stunt their growth.

Scientists: Seaweed Could Stem Warming

Slimy, green and unsightly, seaweed and algae are among the humblest of plants.

A group of scientists at a climate conference in Bali say they could also be a potent weapon against global warming, capable of sucking damaging carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere at rates comparable to the mightiest rain forests.

A Honda Civic for the age of global warming

Amid the upheaval at Tesla Motors last week, a milestone in the annals of the electric car went largely unnoticed. At Think Global’s factory in the Norwegian countryside, the first of the company’s battery-powered City urban runabouts rolled off the assembly line.

A canary-yellow two-seater sporting baby-seal-eye headlights and a bumper-to-roof glass hatch, this first production Think City will go about 112 miles (180 kilometers) on a single charge. It’s zippy, fun to drive and could well be the Honda Civic for the age of global warming.

Car makers target Saudi women despite driving ban

Saudi Arabia, which imposes a strict version of Islamic law, is the only country in the world where women are banned from driving. Religious authorities say allowing women to drive would lead to gender-mixing and take women away from their role as child-rearers.

But industry figures at the Riyadh Motor Show 2008 this week said they are already reaping the benefits from women owning cars, even if they need chauffeurs to drive them. The economy is booming in Saudi Arabia, the world's top oil exporter with a population of 24 million.

New York Times Notices Oil Export Land Model Problem

When a tree falls in a forest where no human will hear it does it make any sounds? Yes, but some like to pretend no in order to make the point that without observers sounds might as well be absent. Well, previously I've highlighted work by Peak Oil theorists "Khebab" and "westexas" on how rapidly rising internal consumption is going to cut oil exports by big oil exporters. But the mainstream media hasn't paid much attention to this problem until now. So the writings of Peak Oil theorists have until now resembled trees falling in empty forests. Finally the trees are falling within earshot of people who matter. The New York Times has a story entitled "Oil-Rich Nations Use More Energy, Cutting Exports."

Iran signals sanctions alert with $2bn China oil deal

Iran signed a $2bn oil contract with Sinopec of China on Sunday, sending a signal to western companies that they might miss out on potentially lucrative contracts with one of the world's biggest energy exporters if they continued to heed US-inspired sanctions against Tehran.

"If other countries who like to invest in oil and gas hesitate, they will lose opportunities," said Gholam-Hossein Nozari, Iran's oil minister.

UK Plans to Save North Sea Fields

The UK Treasury has announced proposals to extend the life of maturing North Sea oil fields by overhauling the current tax system.

The North Sea Fiscal Regime consultation document addresses inconsistencies in the current system, calling for further debate on issues relating to tax and the re-use of oil and gas assets for carbon or gas storage.

Belarus to produce 900,000 t oil/year in Venezuela

Belarus has begun extracting oil in Venezuela and hopes to produce 900,000 tonnes annually from next year to lessen dependence on Russian energy, the ex-Soviet state's foreign minister said on Monday.

Tensions back on the rise in Nigeria oil delta

A protest outside an oil company compound, a high-profile kidnapping and a troop incursion into a militant stronghold on Monday were all signs of the renewed tension in Nigeria's oil delta.

Gasoline Markets in Iran: An Economic Perspective On Issues And Solutions

Iran’s gasoline shortage and growing dependency on imports of this fuel have been widely discussed inside and outside Iran. The problem, which began as a result of the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war, has continued to this day and its resolution has become much more complicated due to the failure of successive post-war administrations to address the issue boldly and decisively. Today, the gasoline shortage and the enormous amount of subsidy, estimated at about $40bn a year, that the government pays for this and other fuels is a huge economic burden; and because of Iran’s controversial stance on certain international political issues, it has also become an important national security concern. Recognizing the gravity of this situation, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad recently launched a new initiative that not only raised the price of gasoline but also for the first time introduced an elaborate rationing system.

UN agencies call for Gaza fuel supplies to be restored

UN agencies appealed on Monday for full energy supplies to be restored to the Hamas-run Gaza Strip, saying they were deeply concerned over the state of the territory's health system.

"The World Health Organisation and UNRWA (the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine refugees) express their deep concern on the combined impact of the lack of electricity supply and fuel shortage on the delivery of health services," the two agencies said in a statement.

Sinopec-Kuwait joint venture nod

CHINA has approved Sinopec Corp’s US$5bil joint venture oil refinery and petrochemical project with Kuwait Petroleum Corp in the south China’s Guangdong Province.

Newcastle Coal Price Reaches Record on Supply Concern

Coal prices at Australia's Newcastle port, a benchmark for Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, gained 1.9 percent to a record on concern that demand is outpacing supply.

Namibia uranium output to jump as exploration surges

Namibia plans to open four new uranium mines by 2010 that will boost its output to 10 percent of world production, a response to a boom in uranium exploration last seen during the energy crisis of the 1970s.

Lasers point way to clean energy

Magnetic fusion has long been heralded as the future of renewable energy, but could it be lasers that hold the key?

Speculators could fuel another uranium price surge

Speculators in the uranium market could fuel a surge in spot prices next year, but over the longer term a correction is anticipated as miners ramp up production of this key ingredient for the nuclear power industry.

Many hedge funds and banks are following London-listed nuclear fuel trader Nufcor International and Canada's Uranium Participation Corp and buying uranium to hold, taking precious supplies out of the market.

S.Korea not to tighten single-hull oil tanker rules

South Korea does not intend to tighten rules on single-hulled oil tankers, the type of crude carrier involved in an oil spill disaster off the country's west coast last week, Seoul's maritime ministry said on Monday.

But it is aiming to match an international regulation that calls for the phase-out of single-hulled tankers as soon as 2010.

UK: Fuel protesters set for weekend of action

The group behind the fuel refinery blockades that gripped the country in 2000 has announced it will stage fresh protests this Saturday.

In a statement released on its website this morning, Transaction 2007 said the rise of the price of petrol to £1 a litre had caused it to take action.

"This date was decided by members as the best possible to ensure those who would normally be working during the week to attend.

This action will be initiated at a refinery or storage depot somewhere near you," the statement said. "Anyone wishing to support action is requested to make your way there at the allotted time."

Refinery firm plans public meetings

ELK POINT, S.D.- Experts from a Texas company that may build an oil refinery in Union County will be on hand to answer questions this week during a series of 3 public meetings in the area.

Petro-Canada and NOC to sign US$7B development deal in Libya

Petro-Canada plans to sign a US$7-billion long-term deal with the Libyan National Oil Corp. on energy production sharing.

Calgary-based Petro-Canada says it would pay 50 per cent of development capital costs and receive a 12 per cent share of production.

China Wholesale Inflation Up 4.6 Percent

A huge jump in oil prices helped push up Chinese wholesale prices by 4.6 percent, the biggest monthly increase in more than two years, the government said Monday.

The November figure was also up from an increase of 3.2 percent rise in October, the National Bureau of Statistics said.

China's Sinopec, Iran ink Yadavaran deal

China's biggest refiner, Sinopec, and Iran have signed a $2 billion agreement on developing the Yadavaran oil field, reports said Monday, firming Beijing's business links with Tehran despite U.S. calls for sanctions over Iran's nuclear program.

Nicaragua may nationalize oil imports

President Daniel Ortega has instructed his Cabinet to come up with a plan to nationalize the importation of oil, a duty now largely held by the U.S.-owned Esso Standard Oil.

In a televised speech late Wednesday, Ortega said the decision stemmed from a dispute with Esso, owned by Texas-based ExxonMobil.

State pensions, Brazil's oil and Iran entangled

Florida invested $112-million in Petrobras, which poses a conflict.

Analysis: Putin makes wise decision

Vladimir Putin has made a wise choice by endorsing Dmitri Medvedev as his successor to become President of Russia in elections be held in early March next year.

Young and loyal, Mr Medvedev, 42, is a safe and solid politician who has shown himself capable of running Russia’s most precious asset, Gazprom, the state owned energy giant.

Baghdad oil refinery ablaze

Firefighters have been battling a fire at an oil refinery that supplies much of the fuel to produce power for Baghdad.

Iraqi oil officials said on Monday that the plant had been hit by a Katyusha-type rocket.

However, the US military later issued a statement saying that the blaze "was the result of an industrial accident".

India to offer 57 oil and gas blocks for auction

India will launch the latest round of its auctions for nearly 60 oil and gas exploration acreages as it seeks to decrease dependence on foreign fuel sources, a government minister said Monday.

Fuel-efficiency gauges start appearing in non-hybrids

Fancy fuel-economy gauges are so popular in gas-electric hybrid vehicles that Toyota is studying whether they might provide a cheap way for drivers of its conventional cars to save gas as well.

Measuring Footprints

While the business world is scratching its head over what exactly global warming and peak oil mean to its operations, owners of Good Company of Eugene know that, for them, it means green — as in lots of greenbacks.

Principals Joshua Skov and Joshua Proudfoot started Good Company seven years ago, and were poised to capitalize on the growing, and serious, interest in environmental issues in corporate and government offices.

South Korean spill hits seafood industry

Chung Hwan-hyang surveyed the damage from South Korea's worst oil spill, saddened by the knowledge that the oyster farm she and her husband ran for 30 years was lost.

"My oysters are all dead," the 70-year-old woman said Sunday as she and thousands of others cleaned foul-smelling oil from Shinduri Beach. "I cried and cried last night. I don't know what to do."

Gore gets Nobel, warns of ominous threat

Al Gore received his Nobel Peace Prize on Monday and urged the United States and China to make the boldest moves on climate change or "stand accountable before history for their failure to act."

U.N. climate talks under pressure to drop 2020 goals

The United States has urged a tough 2020 target for rich nations to axe greenhouse gas emissions to be dropped from a draft text at climate change talks in Bali, delegates said on Monday.

Climate change could lead to conflict, instability: UN report

Global warming could lead to internal conflict, regional unrest and war, with North Africa, the Sahel and South Asia among the hotspots, a report issued at a global climate change forum said Monday.

Just wanted to point out that Pietro Cambi has a page for the Fiat 500 on the autinev.org website: http://www.austinev.org/evalbum/1347

I like this item from the specs:

Seating Capacity: 4 ( foldable people preferred on the rear places)

Some people fold better than others.

On that note, and in reply to "A Honda Civic for the age of global warming"... I don't believe that 2-seaters will catch on in the US anytime soon, even if gas prices doubled or tripled.

For now efforts to improve mileage of existing formats are probably the most realistic change we can hope for. It will take a lot more pain to get Americans into tiny 2-seaters.

Oh Wideblack, you're so pessimistic!

Since most Americans drive alone, a 2-seater is just fine, one seat for each ass cheek

LMAO!! (Now I can get a tiny car...too bad they are made for short people.)

Do not count out tiny cars out-of-hand. Try each one. Tiny cars are being made in Europe where, due to better nutrition over the last 30-40 years, people tend to be bigger than people in the US (not wider, taller).

I know of a few rather large people (remember I am an American, when I say this) who are very happy in a Prius. The VW Golfs also work well for large people, a fellow I think of privately as "man mountain" zips around happily in his.

If the car is meant to be sold in the European market, give it a try before you give up on it. The only area where you'll run into problems is something made for the Asian market only, because while their heights have been increasing probably the fastest, most of the people are still pretty darned short.

Most Americans NEED one seat for each ass cheek.

That made me laugh out loud... However it is sad to see when I go near walmart.

Huge fat rings around one's middle keep one from folding well.

maybe it would be more efficient if they just layed down and rolled down the road.

Here in france a variety of micro-cars can be seen on the roads. Here's one, the Ligier:


Seemingly this one has a diesel engine, but I can't find out what its fuel consumption is. They also do a micro-truck, but I can't access that part of the website for some reason. I just happened to be looking at the website because I saw one of their cars this morning. They're tiny, slow and noisy, their only saving grace maybe their fuel consumption.

Ha! Those are cute! "Quadracycle"? Cool. Really folks, read the ad .... it's neat. It's a 500cc diesel twin, top speed is given as only 45kph though? A 500cc motorcycle can do 100MPH although it's not legal to go much over 70 in even the most lax areas .... hehe. This thing looks handy - bet it's a great little errand-runner.

Tiny slow and noisy is a good description of my 250cc motorcycle, and its gas mileage is its main charm too!

I wrote the following article about one year ago. The cumulative shortfall in crude oil production (relative to 5/05, instead of 12/05) has now grown to over 700 mb. If we look at average annual data (EIA, C+C), the numbers are as follows:

2005: 73.8 mbpd
2006: 73.5
2007: 73.1 (year to date through August)

Rounding off to the nearest 0.1 mbpd, the initial Texas data were as follows (the overall Lower 48 showed a similar pattern):

1972: 3.5 mbpd
1973: 3.4
1974: 3.4

In any case, we shall see what happens in the fourth quarter, but the production data so far are supporting the Hubbert/Deffeyes model and not the Yergin/Jackson model.

A Tale of Four Predictions – Hubbert, Deffeyes, Yergin & Jackson
Jeffrey J. Brown, ASPO-USA's Peak Oil Review

first published November 20, 2006.

According to the EIA the world through August 2006 has produced roughly 100 million fewer barrels of crude + condensate than if we had simply maintained the December 2005 production level. This is consistent with the Hubbert/Deffeyes model. It is not consistent with the Yergin/Jackson model.

WT, if the following quote is true a $70 floor for non-OPEC oil has been put in place...Why would OPEC do anything to remove the floor?


'Commodities Watch
December 4 – Financial Times (Javier Blas):"Exploration companies need oil prices of $70 a barrel to match the returns they made at $30 a barrel just two years ago because of the sharp increase in costs and higher government licence fees, according to analysis by a leading consultancy. The research, from Wood Mackenzie...helps explain why non-Opec oil production is failing to accelerate its annual growth significantly in spite of record prices... The inability of countries outside Opec, the oil producers’ cartel, to boost supplies substantially in the past few years has left the global economy more dependent on Opec, which ­controls 40% of world oil supplies."...snip...

This data goes hand in hand with a question I have had for some time; what is the total storage capacity worldwide for crude oil? If we have a cumulative production shortfall of over 700mb of crude to date, would we then expect to see shortages when the cumulative production shortfall exceeds
the total worldwide storage capacity? Maybe this is too simplistic, sorry if this has been discussed before and I missed it.

No shortages per se, because of higher oil prices. Or, see how much oil you can buy if you offer to buy Brent at $38 per barrel, the average price in the 20 months or so preceding May, 2005. $38 was also, as of 11/1/04, Daniel Yergin's predicted long term index price for oil--as rising production drove prices down (therefore, $38 = One Yergin).

WT, a $70 floor is a cats whisker from 2 Yergins. My WAG is oil will reach 3 Yergins before it goes below the $70 floor...I think it would take a very dramatic event to cause OPEC to drop prices that much especially when we are probably going to see 2-3 more Fed Funds cuts before the middle of summer 08. Without extreme demand destruction I see no reason for oil to go below $70...If the world economy tanks...Maybe.

thanks for the ever-helpful comparisons.

Re: UK: Fuel protesters set for weekend of action

UK readers - get ready for some anarchy!!!

It wasn't pretty in 2000, and it will ugly this time.

Although they don't say how long they will blockade for...

Markers taken on how long to the first station is closed, when the first fist is thrown, and how fast the military/police are called in to remove the blockade.


If only the general public understood how tight the current situation is. *sigh*

As the tight situation continues, there is initially likely to be a confusing mixture of protests/blockades, police crackdowns, and occasional panic runs on food stores like the one in 2000. I imagine that after more than one of these have happened in one year, people might begin to see the pattern again, like they did in the 1970's.

I cycle to work every day in London. Maybe this week is a good one to take off the sign I just pasted to the back of my bicycle basket:

Cyclists will inherit what's left of the Earth

which I got from sirbikesalot's comment on Ciclovia yesterday :-}

I do not wish suffering on the people of the U.K., but a peak oil awareness raising shock of some sort might catalyze change at a deeper level. Those reading here can look at Zimbabwe and visualize our future, but I think seeing a western country in the grip of such troubles might just awaken a few more here.


re: "...seeing a western country in the grip of such troubles might just awaken a few more here."

(IMVHO) This assumes:

1) People will have access to information in order to understand the underlying causes of "troubles". (Something that relates the "shock" to "peak oil awareness".)

2) People will have educational and emotional prerequisites for understanding such information.

2) Having such information will be helpful for meaningful and productive efforts to alleviate "troubles" -i.e., "what to do?"

It is the problem we face, no? I personally waded through a good bit of situational depression before coming to grips with the whole business and starting to move again. I do wonder how those who have not faced personal loss, or financial hardship, and lack a rural upbringing will fare in the post peak world.

Damn it, Aniya, I'm an engineer, not a head shrinker :-)

I dont know who is behind these fuel protests, but it certainly isn't the public. Last time it was "the farmers" - but they pay low fuel tax anyway [coloured fuel]. I suspect its psy ops from outside the UK

It had little to do with "the farmers." After all they pay no VAT on fuel. That's a 17.5% discount up front. It was primarily driven by the road haulage industry. Stobart et al. Whatever pond you've been slumming in it's time to return. As those British cockroaches once said "get back to where you once belonged."

As for psy ops from evil foreign intermediaries, you gotta stop listening to Alex Jones and his Prison Planet. The protests were a legitimate complaint from the road haulage industry that governmental taxes on fuel was putting British haulage at a competitive disadvantage with its European counterparts.

Broad popular support dried up rapidly once petrol station forecourts began closing, but there was a legitimate claim by the haulage industry that UK fuel taxes were inhibiting them from competing against their cheaper continental competition.

Hi Leanan, the Chinese decision to sign for Yadavaran seems to be another huge challenge to Bush on Iran policy. It's hard to see how the sanctions will stand.


I am delighted by the Iran/Sinopec deal. This further impedes the Bush administration and that is a good thing for the people of the United States.

Just a little bit more of that and our spineless Democratic majority might stop jacking around and start obeying the law of the land. We've long since passed the time for impeachment proceedings ...

Absolutely 100%, without any doubt, right on the money!!! The rats have stolen the US blind and its time for them to take their loot, their legacy, their karma, Hesus, and light out for Port-o-guay.

For those not up on the humor, it has been reported that Mullah George has purchased a last stand grade hideout in Paraguay - 98,000 acres of ranch land with a good aquifer.

All kidding aside, what do the faithful do when God's President decamps for South America just like Nazi war criminals did? I mean, he did say "Jesus" in a nationally televised debate on foreign policy and he wasn't cursing, but sooner or later that tape of the Iraqi mother being encouraged to answer questions by listening to her child being sexually assaulted will get out, and then what? Oh, and if that one turns out to be apocryphal there are many, many, many other horror stories which can be laid at the feet of the Bush administration.

There are some interesting correlations between peak oil and peak Republican party power. We're now in an undulating plateau that began 11/2006 and is certain to fall off no later than 1/2009. The big difference? No one is frantically digging for another inept source of poor domestic and embarrassing foreign policy.

The story about Bush acquiring a huge tract of land in Paraquay has been floating around the internet for quite a while now. Has this actually been verified, or is it one of those things that's become modern folklore?

I know the US has a military presence in Paraquay, ostensibly due to supposed terrorist infiltration in the tri-border region. One could also speculate that such a base could be used for a future coupe against Hugo Chavez, but that would be a not too convenient distance away. Who knows.

Anyway, if Bush does move down to Paraquay, he can alway invite his neighbors, the Mengeles, over for a nice Texas-style barbeque.

Bush family has indeed bought a large tract of land in Paraguay...

--George Sr taking 173,000 acres and George W. taking 98,842 acres

--- The land in question itself may encompass part of the Guaraní Aquifer,
which is one of the world's largest aquifer systems and may be the largest
single body of groundwater in the world.

--- This region is part of the famous "Drug corridor" which funnels south
american cocaine to the rest of the world. The Bush connection to drug
cartels has been noted before, as well as the florida flight school drug
connection involving Mohamed Atta of 9/11 infamy. There is much speculation
that FBI Whistleblower Sibel Edmonds who is being kept from speaking out has
information tying together the global drug trade, the nuclear black market
and the attacks of September 11th.

--- The extradition treaty between the U.S. and Paraguay does NOT cover
crimes of a 'political' nature.


As Attorney General, Mr. Mukasey can try to plug these holes. He may shield President Bush and others from criminal liability; he may resist appointing an independent prosecutor to investigate White House actions. But he cannot, as the 2002 Gonzales memo recognized, tie the hands of future prosecutors. In lethal cases our anti-torture laws have no statute of limitations. Sooner or later, those who violated US law will be held accountable to them, if not by Mukasey, then by some future AG.

Beyond Mukasey's Confirmation,
White House Liability Issues Loom Large
Elizabeth Holtzman
Posted November 13, 2007 | 12:26 PM (EST)


stiv: sure, water is very handy. Protection from extadition is dandy also. But consider the following:

Aren't all the nuclear weapons in the Northern hemisphere?

How much interchange is there between the atmosphere in the Northern and Southern hemispheres?

How hot will fallout be by the time it reaches Paraguay?

This is the Bush family's way of letting you know "hey, we're doomers too!"

Errol in Miami

"How much interchange is there between the atmosphere in the Northern and Southern hemispheres?"

Back in the 1980's I was very interested in the effects of fallout and came across a declassified study (based on aerial fallout sampling along the "spine" of South America).

Turns out that there is very little admixture between the two Hemispheres, from North to South.

Also as a practical matter, there are rather few military targets in the Southern Hemisphere.

Try this for a stunning visual: get a globe and change the orientation so the south pole is at the top. One quickly sees that most of the Southern Hemisphere is water...with just parts of Africa, South America, and Australia/New Zealand having land masses there.

Flavius Aetius

This story was reported by the Latin America service of UPI, although I don't have time to find the link right now.

Charles Mackay - I tracked that story down and all sources led back to La Prensa, a Socialist newspaper not known for utter objectivity.

OK, it's AP and not UPI, and something here was lost in translation from Spanish, but you'll get the drift:

10/11/06 AP Spanish 21:22:41 AP Spanish Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. Material This may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. October 11, 2006 Confused version on supposed territories of Bush in Paraguay ASUNCION_Las earth acquired by American president George W. Bush in the Paraguayan Boreal Chaco was supposedly not confirmed nor denied by ning, an official organism although the governor of the zone, Erasmo Rodriguez Acosta, in fact said that to the land seria one reserves ecologica of the Fundaci on Mother country. The matutinal asunceno the Nacion publicor Tuesday, I complete a concise report about Jenna Bush, one of the daughters of the North American agent chief executive, who visitaria the thousands property of 40 hect, area that, seg, versions, its father compror a, us atrace in the zone of Mount Olympus Fort, to about 600 kilometros to the north, in the proximities of the border with Brazil and Bolivia. The vestibule of the Neike news, of Asuncio'n, spread in the last hours of Wednesday the declarations of the governor Rodriguez Acosta on the report. "I listened to versions on presumed territories of Bush but I do not have tests on the matter", indicated. "Those earth are an ecological reserve pertaining to the Foundation Mother country and, according to versions, one of the padrinos or collaborator of the institution he would be president Bush", it added, according to that vestibule of the Internet. Rodriguez Acosta is political head of the department the High Paraguay. He has been well-known, in addition, that the Paraguayan press in general lost interest in the presence of the daughter of Bush before the difficulties to obtain data on its activities, maintained in reserve by the local office of Unicef, that adduced security reasons.

It's amazing that people confuse "globalist" with "nationalist".

Talk about looking at the wrong side of the coin.

The story about Bush acquiring a huge tract of land in Paraquay has been floating around the internet for quite a while now. Has this actually been verified, or is it one of those things that's become modern folklore?

Folklore. The link below also addresses the U.S. military in Paraguay story.

I'll concur on this one - it has been reported in blogs quite a lot, but there has always been some question as to the veracity. One has to admit that it is in character for the people involved ...

bush has lied about many things and yet you take his word on this? thats the only source listed in the link for claiming the rumor false.

I'm a native English speaker, I read and write daily, I've studied transformational grammar, and I still can't make out exactly what it is you're saying.

I find Bush to be a lying, cheating scumbag.

I have heard that he has 98,000 acres in Paraguay and that much funny business has been done in the realm of foreign aid to ensure it is a safe harbor for him.

I think something like this is entirely within his character but I do not have what I consider to be conclusive proof that this has happened. I am inclined to believe ... but ready for refutation, although I am not sure exactly how this would be refuted, as disproving would be a good bit of investigative work.

W may have 100.000 acres in the Triple Frontera, but the Reverend Moon has 1.500.000 acres. The US military airport being built in the area is one of the biggest in the world, strategically positioned with regards to Bolivia and Venezuela.

There's one little caveat for the boys in the vast still mostly lawless ancient smuggling routes: a large Arab population, as explained in this excellent 2006 Asia Times article:

Hezbollah south of the border

CIUDAD DEL ESTE, at the triple border of Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay - This is the way savage globalization ends - at least 20,000 shops, stalls, tin shacks and mini-malls crammed into 15 blocks selling everything under the (tropical) sun. There's Little Asia - thousands of Taiwanese, mainland Chinese and Koreans.

But above all there are some 20,000 Arabs of Syrian and mostly Lebanese descent (another 12,000 live in the Brazilian resort of Foz do Iguacu, across the Friendship Bridge).

From what I've heard of the GOP candidates' debates, the Republicans ARE looking for another inept source of poor domestic and foreign policy. They're in an auction over who can commit the most torture, even namechecking Jack Bauer as an example! Only one is against the war. Energy policy? What's that?

But the Democrats will cut a dirty, stupid deal with the outgoing gang to not bring up too many of their vast array of crimes, corruptions and screwups, preventing any public education on the need for new policies. Reason: "national unity", meaning obediance to the big corporations that can always unleash another Monicagate campaign to paralyze a Democrat who, unlike Clinton(s), actually organizes the evidence on his predecessor's Constitutional crimes. (Where was Bill on Iran-Contra and the S&L bailout - oh yeah, he was governor of a state with CIA airfields and lots of S&Ls!)

Bush-Clinton-Bush-Clinton. Yeah, that leadership sequence sounds like we're about to get an honest account of historical misdeeds.

Besides, if a President were to poke around too much on Jack Abramoff, he might stumble onto more Florida ties to Mohammad Atta, and then the entire American political system would be under mortal threat. (See www.madcowprod.com for some possibilities.)


Don't believe what the media tells you - Hillary in front by an unclipped nose hair, Obama half a step behind, and the Edwards people have their fingers crossed. The ones who like Edwards are highly unlikely to pick Clinton and if they don't like how things are shaping up for Edwards Obama gets their votes.

The media, they are relatively powerless when it comes to primaries, as the people who drag themselves out into a subzero night to go make a choice generally have a very specific objective in mind when they do so.

I agree re: deals to not dig too deep - its way icky, Kucinich and Paul are the only ones not totally whored out, and I'm hoping for something a little less harmful on many fronts, which is what even the worst Democrat will achieve.

And, of course, Bloomberg could always decide to step in and make things really interesting. . .

I think the Primary process ruins any prospects for this kind of thing... one could say the same about Gore for the Democrats, but it won't happen.

If Bloomberg runs it would be as an independent in the general election. I think he is holding off to see who he would be going against. If it ends up being Clinton vs. Huckabee, I think he might very well see a good window of opportunity, and he might very well be right.

"The rats have stolen the US blind"

They be weasels, not rats.

Thank you very much.

Rodney DangerRat

Now now. Do not slander the noble weasel.

Oh, I'm so sorry. Didn't realize we had one.I most humblely apologize.

How about gerbils?

Don't make me get down out of this exercise wheel ...

...and don't even think about dragonflies or we will come down on your head like a swarm of locusts...

While the US is busy making war, the Chinese are busy making deals.

"Make Deals, Not War"

Here is a shocker: Grabbing for oil

"Since operations began in 1978, we've moved over 1.4 billion tons of overburden," the sign reads, referring to the rock and soil over bitumen deposits. "This is more dirt than was moved for the Great Wall of China, the Suez Canal, the Great Pyramid of Cheops and the 10 largest dams in the world, combined!"

They are, of course, referring to the amount of overburden moved to get to the Alberta Tar Sands.

Ron Patterson

Hi Ron,

Couldn't see this in the roundup above, front page article in the UK Independent today:

BP, the British oil giant that pledged to move "Beyond Petroleum" by finding cleaner ways to produce fossil fuels, is being accused of abandoning its "green sheen" by investing nearly £1.5bn to extract oil from the Canadian wilderness using methods which environmentalists say are part of the "biggest global warming crime" in history.


Don't suppose they're planning to move it back when they're done w. it :) (?)

UBS writes down $10B from subprime losses

Swiss banking giant UBS AG (UBS) said Monday it will write off a further $10 billion on losses in the U.S. subprime lending market and will raise capital by selling shares to Singapore and an unnamed investor in the Middle East.

UBS will now record a loss for the fourth quarter and a net loss attributable to shareholders for the full year, the bank said.

Losing Control Of Monetary Policy...


'Merrill Lynch's (MER) North America economist David Rosenberg presented an almost unremittingly gloomy forecast for the US economy next year. 'The U.S. consumer is on the precipice of experiencing its first recessionary phase since 1991 - the last time we had the combination of high, punishing energy prices; weakening employment conditions; real estate deflation and tightening credit conditions' he said.'...snip...

Does this situation remind anyone else of the black knight from montey python and the holy grail?

Realtors insist U.S. housing market is stabilizing

Bucking conventional wisdom, a trade group for real estate agents on Monday said the battered housing market is on the verge of stabilizing and inched-up its outlook for 2007 and 2008 home sales.

It's only a flesh wound...

I think these folks disagree.



The middle class, they are going to be more than a little offended when they fully understand what has happened. The Paulson bail out is a symbolic noise making effort that does little for those in trouble. There isn't any fix available, but there is a process of deciding who gets the dirtiest end of the stick ...

Not to worry SCT...The Fed is going to cut rates another 1/4-1/2% and everything will be all better. I know 'cause the talking heads on Squeak Blab said so this morning. :)

I get the feeling that if they only raise .25, then a sizable fall in the dow will immediately follow.

I believe doing such a thing would send a chill through the economy such that the tills of the Cash Registers of America will be full of snow this Christmas season.

Followed by lots of form 1040's next April with lots of -0- in them. That is - those forms filed from what addresses still exist.

A flesh wound? Yeah, sometimes they are called tracks...But these folks have to be doing something besides riding the horse? :)

to continue the analogy it seems we are at the point where one arm has been cut off. the other is about to be or in the process of being cut off, soon to follow will be the bisecting cut.

Good front page story in the WSJ on the mortgage meltdown:

Loan Mess Rivals S&L Meltdown
The U.S. mortgage crisis looks manageable compared with the savings-and-loan crisis of the 1980s, but its economic toll could linger for years.

Echoes of Japan. OTOH, has everyone noticed that we had a housing crash and recession in the early 70s, but still ended up with stagflation?

At the St. Louis Fed.

Notice that for that recession, peak to trough, the housing crash was much worse (in terms of housing starts) than what we're experiencing so far. Given what Prof. Shiller has found, I expect this housing crash to turn out just as badly.

That recession was actually a quite painful one in terms of employment:

From the San Francisco Fed.

This makes me think that we're about as likely to be repeating the 70s stagflation in general as heading for a Japan-style deflation as Stoneleigh and Ilargi seem to think. I've thought for a long time that stagflation is what you get when the Fed does a good job balancing unemployment and inflation during an external energy price shock. We'll see.

Kjm: Check out the stats on ave wage growth during the 70s stagflation. Compared to today, the USA was a socialist wet dream during the 70s. If people are looking for inflation to devalue all this debt a la the 70s, they should figure out how the ave home owner in the USA is going to increase his wage 10-15% per annum as the inflation solution works through the system. Simply put, your home value depends upon the financial situation of the persons who would like to live on your street. What the inflation solution WILL do is to drive the value of prime USA real estate to insane heights(any real estate with sizeable foreign interest).

You mean like this?

Data from Workinglife.com. Sorry, couldn't find a direct source.

As far as wage increases go, this doesn't look like a "socialist wet dream" to me. It looks like wage increases generally didn't keep up with inflation - often by a longshot. I see no reason to believe that the Government will deal with the retirement of the baby boomers and increasing medicare spending by defaulting. Both of the last two Fed chairs have made it clear, in deeds and words (so far) respectively, that they have no intention of allowing 90s Japan to happen here.

The upper levels of the wage spectrum are already receiving greater wage growth than the early 70s. With a Democrat president and Democrat Congress, I expect tax increases on the upper income levels. If those wages are no longer going to the upper incomes, they could start going to the lower incomes again. Further, with the baby boomers retiring, the next generation (mine) is much smaller. Add in significant dollar depreciation price increases and we have many of the makings for higher wages.

I've said before I think we're in a similar situation to the early 70s. We'll see how it plays out.

"Come back here and fight, you coward! I'll bite your kneecaps off!

More details from Forbes:

Singapore Investment Arm To Sink Billions Into UBS

UBS is raising a total of 13 billion Swiss francs ($11.48 billion) in fresh capital from two investors, primarily the Government of Singapore Investment Corp., the city-state’s investment agency responsible for reinvesting its foreign reserves, which will contribute 11 billion Swiss francs ($9.75 billion). The other investor was not identified but was said according to Reuters to be the government of Oman, which has been attempting to diversify its economy away from reliance on oil production.

On CNN's breaking news banner:

Washington Mutual said it would cut it's dividend to 15 cents from 56; slash more than 3000 jobs citing mortgage woes. Stock tumbles.

I wonder if they've figured out that CC I had with them with the rate jacked up to 34%, plus fees, will never be paid off?

Falling tax collections and bad investments. Not a good mix for many US states:

Bloomberg: Housing Slump Pinches Almost Half of State Budgets, Report Says

If you don’t see it, it must not be there...

by Richard Benson


BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics) continues to revise their employment figures. Why are all the revisions always down?

...snip...'By the time the dust settles, and later benchmark revisions come in for the whole year, it is likely that all of the jobs added by the BLS Birth/Death Model in 2007 will be fictitious. This could mean there hasn’t been any job growth at all!'

...snip...'The reason employment is weak is because at least 40 percent of all job growth was tied directly or indirectly to housing. With housing in free fall, the solid job growth reported by the BLS Payroll Survey simply does not make sense.'

The Department of Commerce is doing some serious fudging on their stats as well...The DOC base their income data on BLS jobs data...No jobs, no income increases...So all stats are revised down months or years after the initial reporting dates.

...snip...'This is also a reminder that for statistics, the government's game is to report the false glowing numbers to the financial markets in the full light of day, and then report the corrections and horrible truth in the dead of night, and hope no one notices'...snip...

You have to remember that it's not the stats themselves that they view as importent, but the veiw they give on how well the economy is. Thats why the inital release of the stats are hyped up but very few people even mention the later revisions.

Monday, December 10, 2007




$12 billion in assets. No one can take any money out. No small retail investors, supposedly.

I was refering to the employment numbers. not the losses of the banks due to whats happening.
it's like the old saying for salesmen. exeagerate the positive, minimize the obvious negative, don't mention the not obvious negative.

And Bank of America shares (BAC) are up on the news.

The market is completely disconnected from reality.

TK, not to sound short, but the intent of my post was to show exactly what you posted...And, it is the later revisions that are felt in the economy, not the pie in the sky baloney initial stats.

Thats why the inital release of the stats are hyped up but very few people even mention the later revisions.

As Tom Waits said;

Step Right Up

You got it Buddy, The Large Print Giveth, and the Small Print Taketh Away

"You have to remember that it's not the stats themselves that they view as importent, but..."

Did you mean "important" or "impotent".

Personally, I think the latter works well (no pun intended) :)

yea they both work very well :P

And the debt implosion continues:

Bank of America Corp. (BAC) has frozen its Columbia Strategic Cash Portfolio, a product designed for institutional and high-net-worth investors, reports CNBC's Charlie Gasparino. Unnamed money-market managers received a letter from Bank of America explaining that the fund will "no longer take subscriptions or redemptions," Gasparino says. He also says the fund had invested in debt securities that are now being squeezed in the current credit crunch. Gasparino says Bank of America sources emphasize that this fund isn't marketed to retail investors

One of my Wall Street correspondents for some time has been warning me to avoid money market funds like the plague, unless they are 100% invested in short term Treasuries.

Hey, at least we can say we don't live in boring times.

You know, that made me check mine. I was surprised to find a good-sized Countrywide position until this summer. That makes me wonder what other bombs are in there that I'll have to dig around to find. What a pain. I'd hate to have to move to their treasuries fund, since I'd have to get new checks etc. OTOH, I'd also hate to find out that I can't make any withdrawals. Thanks for the heads-up.

World population trends favor farmers - 12/05/07 Roy Roberson, Delta Farm Press

If current population trends continue, our world will face the challenge in the next 10 to 15 years of feeding another China, or about another 1 billion people. . . .

Chrosniak, senior economic planner for DuPont, says, “The current middle class in China exceeds 300 million people — more than the total population of the United States. These people want to drive cars and eat more meat. Right now Brazilian soybeans are feeding Chinese livestock that provides meat for China’s middle class.” . . .

In addition to demand for better food and fiber products, the rapidly growing middle class of countries from Mexico to China will demand better transportation and that means more competition for finite sources of petroleum products. . . .

Worldwide, farm acreage has increased by only 2 percent over the past decade, while in the United States acreage is down. At the same time, the world population has increased by 12 percent, consumption of pork has increased 27 percent, chicken 28 percent, soybeans 40 percent, and corn 22 percent. . . .

A limiting factor in increasing farm productivity may be water. A recent United Nations report says, the world’s sources of freshwater, such as rivers, lakes and groundwater reservoirs, will not be able to sustain future generations if they continue to be overexploited.

The report, “Let It Reign: The New Water Paradigm for Global Food Security,” warns that without major reform in water management, by 2050 the world may require twice as much water to sustain its projected global population of 9 billion . . . .

addendum: Let It Reign: The New Water Paradigm for Global Food Security (2005) - pdf

A report commissioned by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) as input into the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) and its 2004–2005 focus on water and related issues.

This is an open question to all those wringing their hands about the current economic situation.

We all (well, except for a few of the more incorrigible techno-enthusiasts) know and accept that any sustainable future means an end to the growth obsessed economy - so, why are you so concerned that economic growth is threatened?

Some of you are even co-travellers on the belief path that we need to get to a much reduced material life-style - and yet you are sounding as though the reduced economic activity needed to get there is unwelcome. Why?

(And yes, I know that recession/depression is going to cause a lot of pain. There isn't anyway we get to 2050 without a whole lot of pain and death - there isn't any avoiding that now.)

Denial, even by yours truly, is not just a river in Egypt.

For me, it's not recession that I'm worried about. It's the failure of our financial institutions. Not being able to get your money out of the bank, losing all your life savings even if you never had a mortgage or an investment riskier than a savings account, etc. Or, even if you invested all your money in the Bank of Serta, having the dollar collapse to the point that you're better off using it for insulation than spending it.

I'm also concerned that recession might hide peak oil...forever. No one will ever recognize what the real problem is.

I have corresponded with two Peak Oil aware oil traders. One has already acquired a small farm. The other one is shopping for one.

Leanan - this I understand. It is also why I've been been buying as much gold and silver as I can without my wife complaining.

Yes, but if it is hidden for ever then it is not any longer the main problem.

Disagree. Knowing the cause is important if you want to solve the problem.

While I do mostly agree with PO and WT export land theory, I'm not 100% convinced of how much is geological and how much is political.

The relationship of PO and the coming dance can be discussed forever and it is sort of like the chicken and egg deal.

The % of probability that if one group had engineered the economic collapse of the world (even if just a unintended consequence) it would find PO convenient is hard to determine but it is more then zero.

Doesn't matter on a individual level, when one is hungry most thought is given to how to provide food for the day.

So, I'm not really disagreeing with you, just saying that we have to wait and see how it plays out. One thing is to know the overall picture, another entirely different, and much more critical, is to know the timing.

I know this will show my ignorance - and I freely admit it.

Peak oil, I get it. I used to work in that industry with the geologists. I've seen the raw data. I've seen the core samples. I've had lots and lots of discussions with the world's best scientists, who I know were telling me the unmitigitated truth as they saw it through their eyes.

This financial crap, I don't get it.

Its MONEY, for crying out loud. We can print as much of it as we want. So some loans went bad - I have food that goes bad in the fridge all the time. I simply throw it out. Its not like I can't go get some more.

We have bad loans. Get on the computer and wipe the debt. Its just a number - its not like its a physical thing that there is a finite amount of. I'd much rather have 10 trillion barrels of oil given to the Earth than have 10 trillion dollars.

A "dollar" doesn't cost anything to create - they are created out of nothing.

Given all my technology - I cannot as much as create a drop of water out of nothing.

In my opinion, this financial quagmire is the most synthetic non-existent problem - ever. Nothing was destroyed or created - we just had a bunch of people give away to others something that wasn't theirs to give. Or, put another way, we just had a redistribution of resources.

When these "toxic loans" first came out, people recognized them for what they were - why isn't anyone holding those responsible for verifying probability of repayment accountable for the losses? I have to do that routinely in my personal life, and I take the hit personally if I misestimate the value of the product against the value of the surrendered currency.

The biggest problem I see is the famous "hold harmless" clauses we allow in legal contracts.

rant off.



2 things should make this clearer:

1/ When Jane Winecooler buys a $250.000 home with a 100% mortgage, which subsequently loses 50% of its "value", she has to pay mortgage fees over an amount twice as high as the property she "holds". She cannot print money to smoothen this out, and neither can she "go get some more".

2/ If a basket of the "real things" you talk about costs, say, $100 today, they will cost $1000 tomorrow, if our central banks decide to print/fabricate 10 times as much money (which, according to you, is no big deal).

If the extra money would be evenly divided among all world citizens, that might not hurt too much. But it never is. And more importantly, if it were, printing more would be a futile exercise, wouldn't it? Hence, the surge in credit we have seen in the past decade only serves to transfer wealth from the population at large to a small group. "We" can print no extra money.

Thanks, Ilargi.

Thing 1 is the "redistribution of resources" I alluded to. This is flat downright theft from Jane.

Thing 2:

We all will take it in the shorts for the irresponsibility of the loan originators, in exactly the way you stated.

Thats why I was so bitter as to note that I felt the "hold harmless" clause in legal contracts lets the irresponsible parties off the hook for the ensuing mayhem of their action. Everyone from the bankers, to the loan originators, to the rating agencies.

I consider the rating agencies much like I view CERA. I see them as nothing but a paid head - paid to hock up whatever words the customer wants to hear - the customer purchases plausible deniability. The head-hocker uses creative legal phrases - similar to a EULA - to hold itself harmless from whatever mayhem ensues from its advice, which gives it freedom to hock up whatever the payer wants it to hock up.

I know better than to wedge people into intractible situations. There was a lot of money "made" by others doing just that.

We won't hold the party responsible for these "creative financing" schemes nearly as accountable as we would hold an engineer who had "creatively" fouled up a bridge design.

The rest of us eat the mayhem while the priviledged few executives who engineered this mess bask in their bonuses.

I'm a little angry over this whole mess, designed by profit-takers for profit, at all of our expense. We have pointed this out since day one, but nothing was done until now. If I got too overheated, Leanan is free to delete this, but by golly, this is just my way of calling a spade a spade.

Again, thanks for your explanation - as I do need a sanity check once in a while.

Thing 1 is the "redistribution of resources" I alluded to. This is flat downright theft from Jane.

No, it isn't.
Jane's mother bought a house for 25K and sold it for 250K.
Instead of saving she spent the paper profit on a SUV and a bunch of fuel. This is how non productive profits enabled by government policy of low interest rates consume real stores of value above and beyond what was earned in a productive way.

Now the non productive profits stop, because earning capability can't make the payments on the inflated prices. The prices have to fall back in line with what wages can support.

Jane had bad timing and bad judgment. She bought because she thought that the gravy train would go on and never complained about being able to get into the deal with no down payment and at very low rates. In fact she was smiling like the cat that ate the canary all the way to the bank until the music stopped. In the meantime she HELOC'd future imagined profits into the present. That makes her even worse then her mother.

In a more conservative society Jane's mother would just have given the house to Jane, both would have lived within their means, no one would have lost a thing and they would have consumed a lot less.

I can see close to a 50% demand destruction at the bottom of the curve. Anything close to that and PO is history for a generation or two.

This doesn't mean that the loan originators aren't guilty, but the real enablers were a few people that created government policy in the form of low rates and in the form of social programs promoting home ownership among people that never qualified to begin with based on their productive capability. Just to keep the bubble going for a while.

Interesting insight, Musashi.

I wonder how we as a nation survive with so much smoke and mirror financial manipulation instead of plain productivity.

We outsource everything, and expect to get paid for our "investment". Our workforce trains for jobs like "financial advisor" instead of "engineering".

I picked on engineering because I was one... but being involved in investments was far more financially rewarding - but thats not to say I still don't do engineering just for fun. ;)


Yeah it puzzling isn't it.

Like a month ago a dozen eggs cost me a little over a dollar.
More like $1.23..and sometimes $0.93..depending on the grade ,size ,etc.

Today I have to pay $2.49 for the same eggs.

I am on a fixed pension and SS.

Next will be $10 cornflakes and $5.00 bread.

Soon enough and I won't be buying anything anymore.

Get it?

People will get poor all due to everything increasing in price.

There are economic names, terms and fancy talk about it all but the fact remains that some people are going to get screwed royally while others will figure a way to get rich.

I hope every McMansion owner and SUV driver gets it right in the ass. So they are whining? Tough..suck it up like the rest of us have been doing since we passed the hiring age and now have to do menial shit jobs just to keep it together while the CEOs check out with millions.

I look forward to this election. I hope someone with a few functional synapses steps up to the plate and realized we are in shitcity and going down fast.

I just made a loan the other day. 9.25 percent and I had almost the highest credit score of my whole life. Did those FED rate cuts help me? Nope. Its must help someone somewhere...but it sure didn't me.

After one week I paid the loan off and it cost me $147 just in interest for a little while. Not even two weeks.

My garbage pickup is costing me $6.37 for each pickup and thats to get my trash scattered along the road way by a lazy ass dork...So I stopped it and go back to burning it like we did back in the 50's.

Next summer I hatch some eggs and raise some hens. What else can one do.

Welcome to reality. Reality is they are stealing this country blind and cover it up with economic bullshit talk.
They win..we lose.


I agree with you 100%, Airdale.

This is the "redistribution of resources" I alluded to. This is what I meant when people give away things that are not theirs to give. Your resources, mine, everyone else's too.

I feel doing business with these "businessmen" is like being required to sign a waiver of food poisoning liability before a restaurant will serve me. And know full good and well that the "health inspector" is also held harmless and is on the restaurants payroll.

I considered doing a "fast one" with business, taking the fine print on their form, rewording it to my liking - but making it look just like their form - then send it back.

I find out that they won't be held to the form, as I had violated the law by making a "derivative work" of their copyrighted form. We obey law that will hold ME responsible for not reading the fine print, but not THEM.

Its OK for business to try to trick ME with illusions, but not OK for me to do the same to them.

Like, does the phrase "never change your flashlight bulb again" on the packaging of a LED flashlight sound like an implied lifetime warranty? It does to me.

But legally, I guess it carries as much weight as "trustworthy computing" on virus prone software or "plays for sure" on a media player. Its just a business phrase.

A collection of baboons is known as a Congress. At least that portion of our government is accurately named. We are just as bad for not holding them to it. Why is it so "disrespectful" to "The Honorable So-and-so" to hold them accountable to the American Public whom they supposedly represent?

They did not stop this mess. Now we ALL have to pay to clean it up. And the people who caused all this mess bask in the bonuses while they figure out another angle - while lowlife like me get nailed for as little as driving solo in the carpool lane.


Seems to me a problem is harder to fix if underlying causes are unknown. If financial institutions do collapse, the hope for a societal response to PO and "fixing" our unsustainable systems becomes moot because fixes would be harder to finance. Each attempt to rebuild will be thwarted by increasing costs of energy, which will be blamed on above-ground factors. Governments won't try to fix problems as much as repeat them. Fortunes will be created all the way down, but it won't help society.

I'm reminded of Orwell's 1984, where the Ministry of Truth rewrites history and continually reassures people that production is increasing and the war is being won.

...the hope for a societal response...

Not to be glib, but if at this late date we are still "hoping" for a societal response, then I think you can pretty much give up on one. Or maybe we can have all the gov't get together and come up with some plan, I think they should all meet in some resort area.

Each attempt to rebuild will be thwarted...

Good! Why should we "rebuild" something that has been an unmitigated disaster?

Governments won't try to fix problems...

This would be a good thing.

Let us assume that many banks do fail..

So let us ask then what happens to all those EFTs..electronic fund transfers...which are the way a large bit of the population now receive their paychecks....

and for those on pensions and Social Security? They get all to that via EFTs..or at least I do and most I know do.

So ..so...what then?

Well surely there will be a mad scramble to bring it all back to the US Postal Service..but can they do that? With most all of this being highly automated and computerized? How then can it not take a very long long time..and those who need to eat and pay bills?

So once more..I see it as a doomer situation...there being many many more that can knock the milkcrate out from under our feet ..all due to the Corporations who have shaved everything so very very thin.

And now the bank you had a mortgage with has closed its doors? And then the CC companies go belly up? This I would not find too distressing but somehow someone has to pay sometime , somewhere and its usually those who can least afford it.

I see wheels within wheels within wheels and I am not even a
mentat. I just see bad news all around.

Sure banks collapsed in the past but everyones paycheck or pension check wasn't hanging out that much. In fact way back I used to get my check handed to me at work. I am talking the 70s here.


It's occurred to me that EFTs might be the only way the economy keeps running.

If there's a physical run on the bank, they will run out of cash. You present your check, they can't cash it.

But if it's all electronic? You keep getting paid in electrons, you keep paying your bills with electrons, and if the government doesn't mind that the bank is in negative electrons, the game could go on for quite awhile.


That's a point worth considering.

Hypothetically, if your bank sends you a flood of email statements about your EFT activity.. all those electrons would leave you with a negative charge.

You've got to AC-Centuate the positrons,
E-LIMinate the Negatrons,
Hang On, to the Affirmatrons
Don't mess with Mr. EFT

Hmm good point Leanan - my food stamps aren't different-colored bills like in the 1970s, they're in an account somewhere that I used a card, like a credit card, to draw on.

Essentially the gov't decides so many digital 1's and 0's are worth so much eggs, milk, etc.

I wonder if we'll end up with parallel systems? EFT-cards from the, or backed by the, gov't, and metal coins and barter for person to person transactions?

Fleam - is there an rfid chip in that food stamp swipe card you have?

just saying...


Hm, I doubt it but then I don't have a reader ..... what would they do, track where I go? Not much to track, I stick around here, go to the "village" a bit and to "town" occasionally. I shop at Safeway a lot. There's not much an RFID chip would give them that they don't already know about me.

My first sentence said the banks FAILED(or more precisely 'yours' failed,,the one that gets your EFTs.

No EFTs.No place to get your money due you.

Who takes care of all this? No one I think or they look the other way.

A bank going broke does not imply an immediate shutdown.

During the late 90s I worked for an auto parts supplier that went bankrupt. We knew it was coming, there was some maneuvering before the fall, but one day we came in and found dozens of huge trash bags in the hallway. Our office was the admin center for 700 stores with 4,000 employees. Two managers had been there well into the night, wearing out two shredders as they processed all of the company's checks. The company had entered receivership. Later that week we got checks labeled "DIP" - debtor in possession financing.

The United States today is like that company in the summer of 1997. The management tried this and that, but the fundamentals of that sector were against them. Bernanke and Paulson have many more zeros than our finance people, but they're making the same noises.

When a bank lets go the people who work there are still going to show up for work (unless there is total social disintegration). When a company goes bankrupt a few people will just scoot for the door, perhaps without a plan. Many more will wait and see what the deal is. Some will soldier through no matter what, mostly because they're those who hate loose ends.

I hated loose ends. I worked a week without pay during one period because I suspected I'd get picked up by one of the companies who acquired some of our assets. They did, I did, and I had two more months living costs at the end of the process.

There are protections in place. Bank systems are pretty well proofed against power outages and its highly unlikely that any except the very smallest would lose data due to a disgruntled employee. That EFT you're so worried about goes through a hardened telco grade bunker with -48dc battery banks, backup generators, and if the first fails there is a second in a geographically separate area. Here we want things to be at least ten miles apart on a north to south line, no east to west allowed; tornadoes typically run south west to north east.

The banking system is going to contract. Where a hundred stood only a dozen may remain. Some people will get stung, but many will not.

I feel good about my position. I have an account at one national bank and two others each at a small regionals right here. I spread my money around so if something happens to any one of them I still have something that works.

If you want to fret, worry about something bad in Omaha ... I strongly suspect the entire credit card processing infrastructure for the country could be knocked flat with one phosphorus grenade down one particular manhole.

As we all know, people kept on working in the falling USSR and in the falling Iraq for months just in the hopes of being paid ...... same in the falling Yugoslavia too - they'd work because there wasn't anything else for them to do, and if they walked off the job they know for sure they'd NOT get paid.

Yes these are all valid comparisons for how the US may be in a few years if not sooner.

The system will keep going, perhaps like Leanan says, with electronic money. They are going to keep a couple of big banks open for as long as they can, even if the Feds have to take them over.

The big depositors lose and they may restrict withdrawals to basic amounts.

The way they really rob the people is by devaluing the money, COLA's of 2 or 3% when real inflation is 15%+, courtesy of the Fed lowering interest rates.

The inability of the federal government to pass a balanced budget is the culprit behind the falling dollar. The war costs were ten times more than Bush had hoped for. The war has brought much misery abroad and on the domestic scene. While complaining about tax and spend Democrats, the Republicans have pushed spending to an unprecedented level. Washington grows rich and the poor taxpayer gets no relief from the constant threat of monetary inflation.


When the history is written, the invasion of Iraq will stand out as the triggering event for much of what will follow: militarily, financially, politically, economically.

True to some extent. The neo cons are democratic liberals in drag, but if they had held or raised interest rates it would bring in foreign investment.

Now you have the ever growing deficit and capital flight.

Much better to feel sharp pain for a short period of time then the current policy which will guarantee being stuck in the doldrums for half a generation.

This is an open question to all those wringing their hands about the current economic situation.

I do not worry about the current 'economic situation' - I worry about my fellow man's reaction to the 'coming attractions'.

For me, it's not recession that I'm worried about. It's the failure of our financial institutions...

Leanan, you summed up my concerns rather sucinctly.

I understand - but, still, it's all got to come apart at some point - why not now?

I think gradual is better than sudden and catastrophic, at least if we're talking financial institutions.

It's not just personal. A financial collapse could mean no one will be able or willing to fund the new world order...whether you think that will be solar panels, nuclear power plants, or organic farms.

I'm not sure that there is a way for the financial system to collapse gradually. Though I can see that collapse as part of an overall gradual or catastrophic collapse.

And then, part of me thinks that any gradual collapse is only consistent with remediation efforts, and I have little faith that any such efforts will actually occur.

I guess that some of that results from what your preferred new world order looks like. Personally, I don't want nuclear, don't believe solar is sustainable and organic is less important than local and small (those usually being organic).

I haven't said much about this but I'm with shaman on this one - "local and small" very much trumps organic in my mind. The organic folks are obviously going to be the first to fall upon the whole permaculture thing, but what it will come to is needing to survive, rather than being healthy, chemical free, politically motivated, etc.

The Great Depression was pretty gradual, IMO.

I'm not as keen on local and small as you are. In the end, I think that's where we'll end up, but we can't go directly from here to there. There are too many problems that grassroots cannot handle.

The Depression was gradual, if by that you mean drawn out - but the financial collapse was pretty sudden (Black Tuesday).

I respect your vision for a wind down. Undoubtedly that would be easier. I'm just not sure we'll have that option - and not because of technical ability, but because I don't think we will ever admit that there is a problem. During the Great Depression their was lots of movement toward less straight up global capitalist ideas, but the underlying belief in long term growth seems to have never been questioned. Will we, twenty years from now, still be talking about the impending "recovery" being just a couple quarters away?

Will we, twenty years from now, still be talking about the impending "recovery" being just a couple quarters away?

My guess would be yes, though I wouldn't be surprised by anything, to tell you the truth.

However, I don't see "instant localization" as being a good outcome in the long term. Grassroots cannot handle the tragedy of the commons, which we would be facing in spades. Even now, we have states fighting over water. Fish, power plants, irrigation, drinking - who gets priority? Are those downstream just out of luck? We have California complaining that Utah is dumping radiation in their river, New England complaining that Ohio's emissions are killing trees in Massachusetts, etc. It's only going to get worse as energy gets more expensive.

Then there's the rest of the world. China will be burning coal like crazy, and it will be blackening our skies, changing our climate, raising our sea level. And what about the Middle East? Will the Israelis and the Palestinians lay down their helicopter gunships and suicide vests, and peaceably farm side by side? Not bloody likely. I think there's a good chance someone is going to decide "We'll all go together when we go" and press the button.

"We'll all go together when we go"

LOL, I haven't heard that song by Tom Lehrer in a long time. It's becoming more appropriate.

Hey Leanan - don't know if you ever go back to yesterday's Drum Beat, but just wanted to let you know I enjoyed this little exchange.

I don't disagree with any of the concerns you raise. My only comment would be that all of this is going to happen anyway. I'd prefer it happen in one short lived tumult than have it occur slowly over decades. Take the China and coal example. They've got enough of the dirty stuff to burn for years, if they are capable of digging it out. But if the financial collapse is significant enough, the central government fails, spare parts are not available, much of that digging comes to an end. Sure, this means that 100s of millions die. But that happens in the slow collapse as well.

Another thing to note, the quick (or even just sooner) collapse may not be better for human suffering, but it almost certainly would be better for the environment.

Another thing to note, the quick (or even just sooner) collapse may not be better for human suffering, but it almost certainly would be better for the environment.

I agree with that, and have posted it myself many a time here. I think catabolic collapse, a la Greer, is our most likely fate...and the one that would be the best for me personally, but the very worst for the environment.

But I don't necessarily put financial collapse in that basket. Financial collapses have happened before, and they don't lead to societal collapse. Though they do lead to all kinds of unpleasantness.

Financial collapses have happened before, and they don't lead to societal collapse.

True. I am guilty of assuming that a current economic collapse will be the tipping point for the societal collapse, and clearly that is not established.

Exactly! That's why we are going to have to get through economic meltdown, climate change and energy descent with what we have. Time for preparation has come to an end, time for action has begun. People really should be panic mode by now. There's certainly enough prima facie evidence around to justify it.

I know nobody is 100% ready, but if people haven't got to stage one, re-location (being in the right place), then they're likely stuffed. People cannot move if they cannot sell their home or raise finance to buy one. People in debt will not accept gold or silver for their property, land or goods, they'll need cash to pay off their debt. People with money may find they cannot access it, as it's frozen in illiquid assets or accounts or just simply gone.

As the deflationary depression approaches defaults, bankruptcies and economic contraction will balloon the ranks of the unemployed. Shortages will be manifest due to the loss of production and falling yields for food, inventories will have long gone to raise cash. People really need to snap out of it and get a move on.

People cannot move if they cannot sell their home or raise finance to buy one.

Sure they can. They can just walk away, which I expect a lot of people will do. What else is there to do, if they owe more than the place is worth and can't make the payments?

No, they can't buy a new place. But why do they have to? Probably most of the people in the world do not own the land they are living on.

No, they can't buy a new place. But why do they have to? Probably most of the people in the world do not own the land they are living on.

And I suspect that it won't just be rent paying, but squatting that becomes more and more common.

Say you're living in a subdivision with 30% vacancies or more. No one's sold a house in more than a year. Then a new family suddenly moves into that ranch down the street. Whose going to go ask them if they actually are paying for the house?

I suspect in some areas, the local residents might even welcome squatters with open arms, as long as they don't trash the house they're living in.

EDIT: I've already got my eye on a house over a block as a source of "replacement" parts ;-)

There have been a bunch of articles about neighborhoods near Philadelphia, Cleveland, etc., where many homes are vacant and squatters are very common.

But they are not welcomed by the neighbors, because they are drug dealers and prostitutes. It just makes people even more anxious to move out.

Squatting is certainly a possibility, but I think most people will simply move in with family and friends. At least at first. The help with the rent/mortgage and heating bills will probably be welcome.

I've also read stories about squatters in European cities, same results, mostly drug dealers, their customers, prostitutes etc. Is this a function of their location in cities? Would the same happen in the better to do suburbs? One thing about being a drug dealer, they tend to want to be near their customers.

But you got me thinking about the black market in a post peak world. Sure I expect that, say, gasoline and other items in short supply, but what happens to that black market in drugs that we have so vilified? Will dealers change over to, say, copper tubing because the profits are better? What happens to the market for pharmaceuticals when those companies go belly up? Certainly something like meth will become more available until the the companies that make the products with the base ingredients go under. What about the high value transportables like heroin and cocaine, do those markets dry up because money isn't available? Just wondering. But certainly, the answers will tell us what some of our neighborhoods will look like as I suspect we are going to see an increase in attempts to "escape" via substance abuse.

One thing about being a drug dealer, they tend to want to be near their customers.

Not necessary now. I used to work NYC. I remember seeing the drug dealers in Washington Heights, with lines going around the block. Their customers. Who were driving luxury cars with plates from tony Westchester County.

Maybe in the oil-poor future, they won't want to drive that far. ;-)

Sure I expect that, say, gasoline and other items in short supply, but what happens to that black market in drugs that we have so vilified?

I think we saw a taste of it in New Orleans, after Katrina. It's one thing that makes me think being a medical professional might not be a great post-peak career.

I remember seeing the drug dealers in Washington Heights, with lines going around the block.

Ah yes. I live for awhile up around 116th and Broadway back in the early 80's. Folks there thought it "normal" to go into false store fronts (a "boutique," a "candy store") to buy their dope. Don't know if it's still like that. But it seemed so... I don't know... sane?

It's like a drive-through in Washington Heights. They don't even have to get out of their cars.

Drugs are the poor man's vacation, and prostitutes are just people who are reduced to their last option for financial survival. What the homeowners see (rightly) as a blight on the neighborhood is also desperation, pure and simple, from those with nothing left to lose.
Mercy, please, for the hopeless, hungry, exhausted masses; it'll only get worse.

The people buying those bags of white powder to take back to their ritzy suburban homes are neighbors of Hillary Rodham Clinton. They drive cars worth more than many people's houses. They make more money than I'll ever see.

They're many things, but they ain't poor.

Yup. The dealer is a hooker of another sort, doomed to be rousted and jailed, while the cash customers of both types of criminal usually walk.
But who knows what the demographic is for drug users? My model is the USSR: hopelessness breeds depression, addiction, and suicide.

I've scoured Richard Heinberg's "the party's over," for answers, and am not impressed by wind. However, Heinberg says something interesting on pg. 148, line 17. "The fuel supply for nuclear power is virtually limitless if we use fast-breeder reactors"

I've scoured Richard Heinberg's "the party's over," for answers, and am not impressed by wind. However, Heinberg says something interesting on pg. 148, line 17. "The fuel supply for nuclear power is virtually limitless if we use fast-breeder reactors"

I've scoured Richard Heinberg's "the party's over," for answers, and am not impressed by wind. However, Heinberg says something interesting on pg. 148, line 17. "The fuel supply for nuclear power is virtually limitless if we use fast-breeder reactors"

But how will you get your water and electricity turned on in the Burbs without "proof" of some kind of ownership? John

I've gotten water and electric turned on without proof of ownership numerous times. All I had to do was come up with the deposit.

When I worked in construction, most people I worked with knew how to turn on the utilities themselves. Didn't used to be hard.

Oddly enough, I have been thinking much the same thing for the past year or so. Indeed, for a while there I was touring the local countryside on my Dakar, checking out the local prospects for squatting in some McMansion in a half finished subdivision, with enough land to start a good sized garden. However, for a variety of reasons, I think it better to stay in town (Charlottesville, Virginia) and away from the suburbs and exurbs. But I've still been looking for some nice place to squat, should times end up taking a turn in that direction. Of note, there are 17 houses for sale, 4 for rent, and 2 outright abandoned within a 10 minute walk of my house. And I live in a nice, older neighborhood of 1950's era ranchers about 2 miles from downtown (and a 50 minute walk to the Medical Center where I work). If things get that bad, I don't think the medical-industrial complex that we have set up for ourselves to provide health care for our citizens is going to fare that much better than the rest of the economy (Insurance companies and Banking concerns seem to go hand in hand, and God only knows how much of the Universities Endowment and capital are stranded in some "Special Investment Vehicle" with bad breaks, commanded by sleazoid CEO (with an MBA from Harvard, no doubt)and crossing the double yellow, just in time to run head on into Dick Cheney's "Non negoitable way of life."
I would think as an RN I have some kind skills, and as long as people keep getting hurt or sick I'll have some kind of a job, just not in the large white factory type building that passes for a hospital these days.

SubKommander Dred

"Sure they can. They can just walk away, which I expect a lot of people will do"

Exactly! Because they've found themselves in the wrong place when the SHTF. What I'm saying is that people should have already moved or be in the process of moving now, so they don't have to walk away and become a refugee. I'm not talking about everyone, just those that know what's coming, but haven't done anything yet to prepare.

Squatters will only end up in places that no one else wants, which will be places with the least chance of survival. Not a very good preparation plan IMO.

What I'm saying is that people should have already moved or be in the process of moving now, so they don't have to walk away and become a refugee.

Disagree. There's no way to know where will be a good place. Especially when you take climate change into account. Better to be mobile, IMO.

"Better to be mobile, IMO."

Sounds good in theory, that was my initial plan. In practice however, it probably won't work. When systems cease to function reliably, the lifeline that allows mobility is cut and then your left immobile with no means of support (along with many others in the same situation). Mobility then only becomes possible through crime (eg. a bandit).

You may be less mobile, but with certain exceptions, you can still move. We've seen it in many other catastrophes, in the past and in other countries. The Mayans fled to the cities. The Romans fled first to the cities, then to the country. Even now, people are fleeing war, famine, and poverty, on foot if necessary.

The exception is places like Hawaii, where it's a long swim if things start going Easter Island. And the end of mobility could be quite sudden. Both 9/11 and the earthquake that shut down the power plants cut Hawaii off very suddenly and unexpectedly.

That is one reason I think Jay Hanson and others who see Hawaii as a post-peak paradise are wrong. They seem to hoping that everyone else will leave before things get really bad. But it could go to heck so fast that no one can leave.

I agree - I was living on Oahu when the earthquake hit. The first afternoon after the quake I walked into a Safeway grocery store to buy some batteries.

It was nuts. People were running around with flashlights (the power was out), frantically scooping up anything and everything they could get their hands on. The panic was contagious. Bottled water was gone, batteries were gone, even the beer!

This was less than 12 hours after the lights went out. Regular radio broadcasts said the power would be back on in a few hours. I don't know if it was just the dynamics of that particular urban location or what, but it scared me. What would it have looked like after two weeks without power?

Up until then, I had planned on bugging out to the Na Pali Coast with a friend whose family lives in a town near there. But this was the straw that broke the camel's back. I finished up school and moved back to the mainland.

Burgundy, sometimes the best bandits are the ones that survive. For examples simply look at Wall St and our various governments. A monopoly on violence has become the hallmark of our government...and it hands 'get out of jail free' cards to the criminals (privateers in days of yore) that can afford them or that are in positions to help the gov remain in power.

'Better to be mobile in my opinion'...Yes, it is.

I continue to say that marinas will be full of big yachts that are going no where...most will be abandoned because most have leins against them. The fuel tanks on these boats are kept full, or should be, to prevent condensation forming in the tanks. A large sail boat can travel the St Johns, Intercoastal Waterway, and many other waterways without the need for rail lines to be laid. The yachts can be easily modified for carrying enough cargo to make a living while carrying out coastal trade. Who will question what cargo is aboard if one avoids large ports with customs officals? Oranges and orange juice, smoked meat, veggies, lumber, salted fish, sugar from sugarcane, rum, and many other items will still be in demand as people realize that the only form of reliable and relatively safe transport is by water. Small ports will thrive because they will be the hubs that they once were...before rail. A very small crew will be needed and around the clock watches are absolutely necessary on vessels under way or at anchorage. All hands should be trained to repel boarders. This is exactly what myself and wife will do wtshtf. We have enough dry provisions to last a couple of years and have stored trade goods to get the venture under way. It might sound a bit nuts but we think it a practical solution in our circumstance. Our two homes are paid for but I have no qualms about walking away from them when the time is right. At least we have a plan and that is more than most can say.

"no way to know of a good place"


Think water, timber and decent soil. That leaves a heck of a lot of areas off the list.

I own my own place. Living quarters and land are owned by me free and unencumbered and I pay no taxes on it due to the Homestead Exemption.

Its feels damn good too.

I planned it this way starting back in the 80's when I brought this place.

If you ain't making plans and implementing them RIGHT NOW?

Then you may not have time to do all thats necesary. Its not a trivial undertaking. I spent 18 yrs getting to this point even after I brought the farm. And I am still not totally prepared but I am way ,way far,far down into it.

Think water, timber and decent soil.

Many think that way. I don't. I don't think a homestead in the country is necessarily going to be a better choice than Kunstler's small town or Alan's urban community. In fact, based on history, I'd say the odds are against it.

But if you do, that's great. I understand why you think that way.

I just don't think it's so obvious that anyone not doing it is some kind of idiot.

We can live part of our lives semi-independently, but most of us will "reach an age" (or accident or disease) where living as part of a community is essential.

Not to mention medical care (acute & chronic), speciality trades and skills that even loners sometimes need.

I find it {not sure of the word} that the Peak Oil aware so often trend towards lifestyles that use MORE oil and not less, living in the country/Exurbia.

Best Hopes,


In fact, based on history, I'd say the odds are against it.

But looking at history, something is definitely different this time around. In the past cities were the centers of industry, food storage and power. As centers of production there was much incentive to keep these areas supplied to keep any semblance of the economy going. Where is that industry now? It is scattered in the hinterlands for the most part. The cities are now the bastion of the service industry, an industry that will be pretty much useless after the economy can no longer be grown and has gone kaput. Legions of paper shufflers and keyboard punchers now a drain on public funds. It would not surprise me that in the future a politician or ruler asking her advisors, “We are keeping these people alive in these metropolitan centers for what?” “Quietly evacuate the useful and stop shipments.”

But looking at history, something is definitely different this time around.

It's always a possibility that "it will be different this time." All the more reason to keep your walking shoes ready.

However, I don't think it's that different. Yet. Tainter claims that 1/3 of the citizens of Rome were on the dole by the end. That's productive?

And the reason the Mayans clustered in the cities had nothing to do with productivity. It was all about defense. Individual farms and even villages were too vulnerable to attack.

Yes, a very true as to why I would want to get into a city for defense - especially if my only weapon was an old sword or pitchfork. But that was before Mr. Winchester made men equal. It is not like the movies, when someone gets shot at they go elsewhere. Moreover, do you really feel more secure in a city today? In Illinois almost every city, possibly save Champaign, is a rathole infested with gangs and crime. Some of the mid size cities are the worst - Rockford, Peoria - Ugh! Also, when the shit hit’s the fan many cops will cut and run; look what happened in New Orleans.

Champaign is a rathole infested with gangs and crime. If you get away from campus.

I stand corrected. Down by me they have nickname for the town of Mattoon - Methtoon.

Well, I'll put it this way: I don't feel any less secure in the city than I do in small towns or suburbs. That guy who lived through the Argentina financial crisis said both urban and rural were really bad, just in different ways. He couldn't recommend either choice.

look what happened in New Orleans.

But it was arguably worse in the small towns away from New Orleans. Many of them were hit harder by Katrina, but because they were so thinly populated, they got no attention from the government or aid groups.

My place has all the necessities you mentioned. The problem I see is transportation. If supplies are available, the nearest large cities are 20-30 miles away, and bicycling is not an option. I guess I should be thinking electric bicycle with a large basket or trailer.

Hi Airdale,

What's "homestead" exemption? (Do you pay taxes on the home/house itself?)

All I can say to the following excerpt from The Housing Bubble Blog is "wow."

The Journal Star reports from Illinois. “We’re not supposed to have much of a sub-prime crisis here. So an ad for a real estate auction caught my eye. ‘In a buyer’s market, YOU should be BUYING!!!’ it said. If the stony-faced buyers gathered last Wednesday are any indicator, be glad that Peoria is supposedly doing well.”

“The auction company will take the top bids to the seller. A minimum has been set. But sometimes the sellers will take less. The first house on his slate has two bedrooms, hardwood floors, one bath and a concrete block garage out back.”

“‘How much? What will you give for it?’ auctioneer Joe Cotten cajoles, and the sing-song begins. ‘How-much? How-much-will-you-give-for-it? One hundred thousand dollars? I see smiles. It’s a buyer’s market.’”

“A grin flickers here and there, but that is the last of the frivolity. Even for a first-time buyer, even for a rental property, Cotten can’t get a bid until he drops the price to $30,000. There is a brief flurry of activity. It stops at $48,000, which is less than the seller’s minimum. No sale.”

“House Two has three bedrooms and one bath, a new roof, siding and windows. Bidding stops at $15,500. ‘You can make it up in six months rent!’ Cotten pleads. No takers.”

“House Three has three to four bedrooms, a bath and a 2001 furnace. It rented for $525 a month. Bidding starts at $10,000. No one bites. No bids at all.”

“And so it goes. At the end of the first round of bidding, none of them sells, even at prices less than a good used car. Contacted later, Cotten says he ended up selling four of the 17 houses after some haggling in a later round of auctions. He did not think it was appropriate for him to comment much, but this was one of the worst sales he’s had in almost 30 years of business. Things have slowed.”

“‘I don’t know why people aren’t buying. Interest is good. There’s plenty to choose from out there,’ Cotten muses. ‘It’s a buyer’s market. They should be buying.’”

Westexas, I was looking through a UK housing auction website the other day, all houses in the last auction with a minimum weren't sold - none of them. The auction was for the whole of the UK and we're only 3 months into the housing bust. The ones being sold by the banks (ie. due to foreclosure) were sold without minimum.

If you think the US has problems, wait until the UK hits the buffers. I was wondering whether the BOE's (Bank of England) sudden interest rate cut was more about bring it in line with the Euro zone rate, with a view to joining the Euro.

Exactly. Panic will not lead to the most efficient or most just reduced-wealth arrangments. Yet panic is clearly what it will take to get any action at all.

With the capital markets wiped out by a panic, how will any alternative energy research get funded? How will we afford new energy-efficient cars and houses? And after we've tossed all the Mexicans into Halliburton camps who will actually put up the windmills?

In my case it's also bad because it's unclear that saving more money does me any good if the entire financial system is rigged, and if the "safest" investments are the ones most rigged. My Mom had a ton of CMOs back before they were irretrievably corrupted, because they were safe investments back then. She also had utilities, which were corrupted by deregulation. Now we're getting warnings about AAA bonds and money market funds. Money market funds are the only sort of investment most older Americans think are safe! When those are all wiped out, how will individuals even pony up the cash for a fireplace?

What makes you think that most people that try to understand the collapse are "concerned" about it.

A cleansing based on the rule of law would be welcome.

The difference is in how we see the other side.

I wasn't asking anything of those that are not concerned. I was asking this of those who clearly are concerned, as demonstrated by the angst demonstrated in comments here.

As for a cleansing based on the rule of law - don't count on it. We have the rule of law now - laws that give corporations the rights of people, laws that marginalize segments of our population, laws that establish minimal pay at about half of the "official" poverty level.

I could go on about enforcement as well, but why belabor the point. The rule of law is only is as good/bad as the people who make and enforce them.

Or fail to enforce them.

The main reason I'm not concerned is because I'm convinced it is coming. The time to be concerned is when there is a chance to stop it.

All one can do now is to spend ones efforts in making it to the other side. What happens then we worry about when we get there.

Although we need the economy overall to stop growing, we do crucially need a few growth industries - ie, wind, solar, nuclear, batteries, rail, books on how to garden, etc. A monetary collapse could severely hamper such large-scale efforts.

Graph of Wind as a Growth Industry


Please note that graph is as of June 30, 2007. Today over 14 GW installed.

Solar has faster growth but a lower total.

Best Hopes for Growth in Specific Sectors,


There was some talk about inexpensive solar yesterday - some organic or thin film some such that would allow $0.33/watt flexible panels.

Can anyone confirm or deny this? Do I need to have my credit card standing by so I can get some, or shall I just keep reading Scientific American for updates on the promising research?

Nanosolar has suggested they will hit this price point sans packaging & installation.

Suggested? Every forward looking statement snake oil salesman has suggested the second law of thermodynamics doesn't apply to their product - where are the rolls of product? Can I at least get an engineering sample?

We have a barn with 2,040' square of roof on the south side that receives sun from mid morning until sundown. I can conservatively fit 12kW of traditional solar panels up there with plenty of room for service access. If I can do that for $6k including all the fixings as opposed to the $58k+ just for panels I'd be selling plasma and barn cats to raise the funds.

So, where's the beef?

I was in R & D (technician) for 2 yr. in CdTe thin film PV
There's no beef on a snake.


You make my heart heavy, coiled child's toy :-( Now go play on an escalator somewhere and trouble the good folk here no more this fine evening ...

Iowa's position on your chart showing a large percentage increase in recent years is part of the state's strategy to be a leader in alternative energy. Northern Iowa has the most favorable wind resources in the state. There are three wind farms nearby at Joice, Ventura, and Duncan. A fourth is being built by FPL right now near Crystal Lake. FPL wanted to place a high voltage transmission line about 50 ft. from my sister's living room window. We had to make quite a fuss to get them to move it to the other side of the road. FPL flashes $1000 bills and is use to getting it's way. They are tearing up corn fields for access roads to the towers now and putting in the tower bases. There are suppose to be 200 towers in this farm which will make it the largest of the four. FPL offered $1000 for options for tower locations on some of our land. We turned it down partly because of the fuss about locating the transmission line from the Crystal Lake wind farm so close to my sister's house. It's interesting to check out the progress though. Today they were working on it even though the temperature is about 15 degrees Fahrenheit.

They're hustling over here, too - this is in Clay county but they're obviously bound for a project in Dickinson.

Wind Turbine Blades

Hello practical,

I appears I have some little responsibility for FPL's behavior. You see, I give them $10 extra bucks each month (and $10 for a PO aware friend as well), with the understanding that they use the money to generate renewable electricity, somewhere practical, in my behalf to offset my usage here in Florida.

I apologize for their heavy-handed tactics. But this is one of the smaller things I'm doing regarding PO; my intentions are good.

Errol in Miami

Perhaps it has something to do with the multi-faceted nature of the way we deal with grief and pain. When my father died, the business part of me took care of his affairs, the mature part of me was grateful he was no longer in pain, and the son part of me was devastated.

It's been in the news more and more, but today's story

U.N. climate talks under pressure to drop 2020 goals

again brought to my mind the fact that this country needs a new political agenda. I have seen many posts about what the individual can do, but not many on just exactly what our nation and its leaders can do. Here is what I want to see from an upcoming Presidential candidate and his/her party's planks.

My candidate expresses a strong sense of urgency and determination to mitigate the effects of climate change and resource depletion on the world's civilization. He/she recognizes that changes are required to adapt to the upcoming environment, some sacrifices will be required, and a number of established conventions will not survive.

My candidate offers a pragmatic vision of the new world to come, explaining to the US citizens what they must do to mitigate the problems and achieve the best they can without destroying the rest of the world. He/she outlines a plan to use the mitigation efforts to revitalize the US economy while ensuring the nation's security, emphasizing conservation & efficiency while discouraging consumption.

My candidate leads the movement in the US to support a world-wide Kyoto-style Protocol to halt the emissions of GHGs. He/she plays a leadership role in the program and uses diplomatic muscle to bring all nations of the world into agreement.

A primary plank for my political party is to balance the government budget by limiting subsidies to projects that support the remediation and mitigation of resource depletion and climate change effects. This means dropping subsidies for existing programs that should no longer require support or that contribute to the problems of resource depletion and climate change, such as oil companies and highway expansion. A key method for raising money for new programs is to enact a CO2 production tax that normalizes the cost of energy sources to match the present and future cost of the energy, considering the impact of climate change.

Another plank for my political party is to immediately increase the CAFE standards to a level that discourages the internal combustion engine, while providing subsidies to conservation/efficiency and alternate technologies that will sharply reduce the need for transport energy. Electrified rail is a strong candidate for expansion.

A third plank of my political party is to accelerate research on improved forms of alternative energy (such as solar, wind, tide, hydrogen, fusion, nuclear), more efficient products (such as large electric storage, hydrogen storage, LEDs, and more efficient solar panels), and improved methods for eliminating GHGs (such as carbon sequestering for coal plants).

A fourth plank of my political party is to accelerate the development of alternative energy sources within the US and accelerate improvement to the infrastructure. This includes fast-track development of new solar farms in the southwest, wind farms in the midwest and off-shore, enhanced electric power distribution lines, and electrified rail lines.

A fifth plank of my political party is to establish a rational, sustainable water and food supply program for the nation by supporting local food production and water conservation.

Oh well, I know it is overly optimistic, but maybe I will get lucky on part of it.

Sam Penny
the Prudent RVer

Your candidate receives no media coverage, get's little funding and becomes the butt of jokes currently being thrown at Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich.

Agreed, but how do we change that? Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich are trying, but even more positive effort is needed if this country is to make it to a "successful" future.

IMHO, one of the problems some in this forum have is to focus on what is wrong and how bad things will be and not on more positive action proposals. Some are doing a great job, like Alan is on electrified rail, but more action is required.

BTW, part of my reason for writing the political agenda was to put down in words a means [for me] to identify a good candidate or party plank. Now I have something to compare with. And thanks for identifying two possibilities. Wonder if there is a way to get more of the politicians out there to buy in to some of these ideas.


How do we change that? Simple answer, we don't.

At the more detailed level, you have to begin looking at our form of governance as it relates to our society and economy more generally. The parts are interlocking. To move one piece you must move all of it.

Electrified rail is an excellent example of the problem. Even without P.O. or C.C., it is an eminently reasonable idea. But it doesn't fit with the way our "cultural system" (for shorthand) works or is headed. And that is why, despite it's reasonableness, little headway is being made on the effort (and where it is, it is usually promoted as traffic congestion reduction because that IS something our "cultural system" is interested in.

I understand your desire to have an action plan. But unless you can find away to get yourself appointed king, working through the existing governmental institutions will only lead to frustration. (And even as king you'd likely be deposed ;-).)

The best action plan is going to be working on your own life and showing by example what the alternative can be.

This is beautiful ... but I think just as unreasonable as the plans for solar power being beamed down from orbit. The gravity well of corruption in D.C. ensures that no such fine vision will reach escape velocity. Yes, it'll implode into a black hole and sooner rather than later, taking all of us with it, but for black hole dwellers that is TEOTWAWKI so what do they care?

A few days back I sent a note to Jerome a Paris about getting involved in http://ea2020.org - and I'll let them speak for themselves.

Energize America is a comprehensive and compelling 20-point plan developed by informed citizen activists to wean the U.S. from its fossil fuel addiction and provide the U.S. with Energy Security by 2020, and Energy Freedom by 2040.

I am focusing on stranded wind to ammonia here in the upper Midwest and other issues affecting this region, but overall there appears to be plenty of room for volunteer effort at EA2020.

I'll admit to spending some time each day wishing for a nice, easy solution to all of this stuff, but we're going to need the right legislation to have any hope, and the ingredients to bills are rather famously like the input to sausage. I can only hope that a nice, tidy picture of what could be built here won't get too mangled in the process ...

Given my opening statement why is there any hope at all? For the solution I've chosen to focus on I think its a happy set of circumstances: Iowa has wind, Iowa has five wind turbine manufacturers, Iowa has plenty of people that know how to handle ammonia safely, Iowa has 800 ammonia stations already in operation, Iowa is the nexus of the national ammonia pipeline network, and Iowa has in the Hydrogen Engine Center a manufacturer that has done the R&D work to make ammonia power a reality.

They already call us the Saudi Arabia of corn and I'd like to add the Saudi Arabia of wind produced ammonia to that list. This can be accomplished with resources almost entirely within our state borders.

I don't have to go to a federal level and face well funded oil company lobbyists - all I have to do is convince some farmers that on an individual level a new set of piston rings and a different controller in their combine gets them free of foreign oil, and as a group their coop might want to look into placing some wind turbines.

So ... does this give you any ideas? Count your TOD time, divide it in half, and put the savings towards some part of the problem you can help solve?

bravo! SCT.

SCT, NH3, thought you might be interested in this link:


Interesting - a longer term, currently theoretical outlet for locally generated ammonia.

I am pretty much not interested in the passenger vehicle market - ammonia as a fuel starts in combines and tractors with those who already know how to handle it safely, then perhaps it fuels locomotives or highway/rail hybrid freight handling vehicles later. There I am thinking those Suburbans with setups to get on the train tracks pulling a few light carriages for local delivery routes.

If fuel cell use of ammonia is perfected that'll be slick, if not its still no disturbance to the things I envision ...

Sometimes I wonder if I'm just plain invisible here. A few days ago I showed a computation of the enthalpy change for combustion of NH3 versus CH4. I got not one comment in response.
It works out as follows:

Heats of formation from Wiki:
Methane -17.9kcal/mol
Ammonia -45.9kcal/mol
Steam -240.8kcal/mol
Carbon dioxide -393.5kcal/mol

After some cranking:
CH4 yields 53.6 kcal/g;
NH3 only 20.2 kcal/g.

Results for combustion of octane are similar to methane.

Ammonia stinks as a fuel, and not just because of its toxicity and poor energy density. The Haber-Bosch catalysis typically requires 500C, which means you'd better have a plan for a lot of waste heat before you fire it up. It also means that there's a significant economy of scale, as the relative surface area for heat loss declines with increasing plant size.

Best hopes for dinky ammonia-fixing infrastructure! Nature knew best when she gave us soya and clover.

You're not invisible.

I heard the complaint - ammonia having 40% of the energy of gasoline is a well known design constraint.

I'm also aware of the heat and catalyst requirements for the formation of ammonia. That it requires a large scale operation is plainly obvious.

The beginnings of this may be nothing more impressive that H2 from hydrolysis going into an existing plant rigged for NG input. That alone will be a huge victory ... if it fits. I've not dug far enough into the energy requirements vs. NG costs to examine if the savings exceeds the depreciation on the WT setup. Obviously once NG is gone or so dear as to be functionally gone a hydrolysis input and all electric operation is highly desirable.

So ... are you complaining, or are you volunteering subject matter expertise in the review of any plan involving stranded wind to ammonia production? There is plenty to chew on for anyone who cares to take the time ...

I'm just whining about having nobody to converse with, SCT.

IMO, ammonia, like crude oil, is too valuable to burn. Given the inefficiencies of the ICE, it would seem that the best approach to off-grid wind capture may be electric, either through batteries or hydrogen for fuel cells. Sure, there's a lot of ICE-driven farm equipment to decommission, but at least that gives us the opportunity to downscale to more human-sized farms.

So let's use that wind to pump water uphill, spin old SUV alternators, and yes, make ammonia, but please, that bioavailable nitrogen is so precious and hard-won, it'd be a damn shame to piss it away for so little heat.

Ammonia from NG is too valuable to burn today, but what I'm suggesting is this - capital investment now, and then Iowa and surrounding regions become vertically integrated, producing a steady outward flow of corn, soy, and perhaps meat, with inputs being the P &K from NPK and metals enough to maintain the fleet of ag machinery.

This seems to me to potentially be a very, very good thing for the people of North America, so much so that I'm going to go so far as to cut in to my Second Life time in order to sort it all out :-)

Here is a scenario that I have not the wits to finish yet:

Farmers in Palo Alto county just south of Virgin Lake banded together and bought ten 2.0MW wind turbines. Lets assume they're getting 20% of the faceplate number or 4.0MW average out of this plant. The total cost was $20M. The turbines have a twenty five year lifespan before they need major repairs so our depreciation is $67,000/mo. The current rate for NH3 in the area is $500/ton.

There are thirty days in a month, twenty four hours in a day, and thusly 2,880MW hours available.

$67,000/$500 = 134 tons to break even.

How many tons of ammonia can be produced using the stated amount of electricity.

We're not talking R&D here, we're talking engineering worst case like we're prepping to go in front of money guys and coax their check books open.

All electricity does not have equal value.

3 AM vs. 6 PM

A heat wave or blizzard vs. a nice spring day.

Less than maximum production (adequate transmission out to Chicago) vs. maximum production and "Stranded".

Key figure is cheap capital costs so low capacity factor production still works economically.

Best Hopes,


The electricity of a wind turbine plant purpose built to produce ammonia does indeed have the same value.

I am very mindful of what you're getting at, but I won't use it in an economic analysis of stranded wind to ammonia :-) I do hope that the power companies catch on and start soaking up their excess in this fashion. The ammonia formation building block will, of course, be publicized to our utilities in the region ...

you're thinking along the right lines i think

even in these times one can get funding for all sorts of things... in certain specific arenas

A dollar per watt installed is awfully good. 4 MW means, at 15 cents per kWh, that it makes $432,000 a month. They should use or sell the electricity themselves before trying to convert any to solid matter.

Not to be overly nitpicking, but in comparing the relative merits of ammonia versus methane as a fuel, shouldn't you be comparing the respective heats of combustion rather than just the heats of formation? The heat of combustion would be the difference in the heat of formation of the reactants and the products of combustion. I don't know whether this would make it better or worse for ammonia, but I believe that's the way the comparison should be made.

Overall, though, I agree with you that for many reasons ammonia is a rather dubious choice for a fuel, particularly in an internal combustion engine intended for vehicles.

We're not going to put it in minivans. I could care less about the car/SUV market, because they are dead, they've just not stopped moving ... yet.

Farmers here are already used to handling ammonia safely. It is potentially a good alternative for combines, tractors, and such. We have 800 stations for it in this state alone, a pipeline network, and legions of nurse tanks for delivery. Production is the only missing piece.

I have not heard anything yet that gives me the slightest pause in pursuing a detailed operational and economic analysis of this alternative. I am starting to get the feeling that some people *cough* auto industry trolls *cough* are very uncomfortable. No, it won't directly threaten things as they are now, but one large scale alternative fuels solution is the hole in the dike that will wipe them out ...

IIRC, haven't people on this board stated that ICE's are around 15% efficient?
Would you opt for diesel-hybrid combines and tractors to bring that figure up?
If we're building new engines, aren't there better choices than even the bestest ICE?

As a guiding principle for my efforts with the stranded wind to ammonia economy I am not going to consider any technology development that A.) can't be done in Iowa and B.) can't be done in thirty days and C.) can't be easily explained to an Iowa farmer in five minutes or less.

The fellows at the Hydrogen Engine Center took twenty three days start to finish to turn a Ford 300-6 block into a three cylinder prototype engine. I'm confident that if the heat were on they could go into the back room with a John Deere 6620, four cases of Mountain Dew, some odds and ends from around the shop, and come out with a machine capable of burning ammonia for fuel less than a month later. Wouldn't be perfect, likely wouldn't even be pretty, but the seed crystal would be set and soon mechanics all over the state would be busy converting combines and tractors.

I like the hybrid stuff for locomotive replacement. We've got lots of local railroads, those guys can throw down a chunk of money to make an engine that runs twelve hours a day seven days a week the best it can be, and that platform is already hybrid diesel/electric.

I'm more of an artistic recycler than an inventor ...

haven't people on this board stated that ICE's are around 15% efficient?

surely look like a good source of "peer reviewed" material to be used as reference.

Yes, exactly, Joule:
That's how the computation was carried out, and I'd appreciate it if you'd plug through the numbers yourself as a check.
To nitpick, ammonia combustion and methane combustion yield different gas volume increases, so a proper comparison would include the entropy contribution to the Gibbs free energy change, but to get that you'd have to stipulate a temperature.

who is talking about making NH3 from CH4 then burn it? who is even suggesting to use the H from CH4 to fix N?

Ammonia stinks as a fuel, and not just because of its toxicity and poor energy density.

just like what is being produced by our body everyday, without it, we'll be very sick. a Frenchman once said while leaving Beijing back to Provance that he would rather live poor in clean air than die rich from suffocation.

to folks more interested in fuel cells, here is an ammonia fuel cell under development.

The content to your link has been moved.

Suggest you check all your
energy.iastate.edu links ;)

thanks! here is the new link to the ammonia fuel cell.


I've read all the papers re wind/Ammonia, but I'm very unsure about small or modest scale Ammonia production. Could you email me re this at: paulne at primus dot ca.



I am certain that we have a lot of stranded wind and I'm sure we have the ability to distribute and safely handle ammonia. I'm not thinking small scale ammonia production, I'm thinking regional sized facilities, matched to existing rail and pipeline resources. I agree that the electric to ammonia process is not clearly defined at this time, but certainly a hydrolysis H2 prep feeding a traditional gas powered Haber Bosch process is a step up from the way we do it now.

Email on its way to you momentarily, titled "Stranded Wind" just in case your spam filter hates me ...

A comment on ammonia costs:

At $1000 per kW of wind turbine generation capacity wind costs are usually quoted to be $0.04/kWh. Alkaline electrolyzers around cost $3000/kW (Yes, I know GE is working on a low cost version. I am doing a calculation based what is available today.). Alkaline electrolyzers are 70% efficient. When hydrogen and nitrogen form ammonia via the reaction 3H2 + N2 ==> 2NH3 the resulting ammonia contains only 46% (HHV) of the energy content in the input hydrogen. Therefore the cost per kilowatt hour of ammonia chemical energy (I know that kWh are unusual units for chemical potential energy) from this synthesis route (excluding the capital and labor cost of chemical synthesis) is given by:

Cost/kWh = $0.16/(0.7*0.46) = $0.50/kWh

$0.115/kWh is approximately $3.00/gallon of gasoline equivalent. Therefore $0.50/kWh is $13.04/gallon of gasoline equivalent. This is not cheap fuel and it is inferior to gasoline or diesel fuel for running ICE engines. Of course ammonia may have some marginal utility as a fuel even at this price, and we can always hope the GE is successful in reducing electrolyzer costs.

Iowa also uses ammonia for other applications besides fuel :-)

Uses for which gasoline & diesel are ill suited.


Roger K,

can you please show us how the following conclusion is reached?

When hydrogen and nitrogen form ammonia via the reaction 3H2 + N2 ==> 2NH3 the resulting ammonia contains only 46% (HHV) of the energy content in the input hydrogen.

for convenience, here are the relevant numbers:
H-------HHV=141.8MJ/kg-----atomic weight=1.0g/mol
NH3---HHV=22.5MJ/kg------atomic weight=17.0g/mol

Edit: the reason your statement is questionable:
1 kg of H will make 5 and 2/3 kg of NH3 if we agree this is a chemical reaction not an atomic one.
5 and 2/3 kg of NH3 has HHV of 127.5MJ
the ratio of 127.5/141.8 is 0.899 or 89.9%.

You are right and I am wrong. This mistake I made is embarassing so I will not give the details.


This statement presumes that crude oil derived fuels are available. This will not always be the case, perhaps sooner rather than later. This move makes sense in my area because ...

ammonia is a fuel and a fertilizer

we already have 800 stations for ammonia in the state

we already have pipelines for ammonia

ammonia can be generated using wind energy

Iowa has lots of stranded wind

our farmers are trained to handle it safely

So ... I'm not so interested in economics in one sense, as the same voodoo has brought us the Federal Reserve and banknotes backed with the full faith and credit of the United States which will soon be suitable for wiping after they been handled a bit to soften them. Ensuring the people of North America stay fed is what this is about ...

If you put your faith in politicians then you're doomed. Only your individual actions are going to get you through what's coming. Don't waste time and energy on pointless diversions, politics is a dead end.

When the entire country looks like New Orleans and is racked by financial collapse, devastated by climate change, brought to its knees by energy scarcity and civil strife. Do you really believe the politicians will be able to help you, even if they wanted to? Make your own policies and carry them through personally, then you will at least have some control over your own future.

Presumably your party would not be either of the two official status quo parties. I don't think that their owners -- the ones that have bought and paid for those two parties -- would approve.

USDA predicts wheat to continue to rise to new records next year in spite of increased plantings worldwide.


If new records are set, it really bucks the usual of high prices one year spurring plantings the second and falling prices.

The cereal is one of the best-performing commodities this year as adverse weather cut output in major producing countries

Maybe from a trader's perspective this is "best-performing", for many poor people in the poor countries it is devastating.
This world is really strange and sometimes without any purpose cynical.

An implied statement within is that not many are expecting Australia to peg big increases, even tho they are down ~50% from recent highs.

All grains are tight, as I've posted before, oats locally are up effectively here from $100/ton to over $400/ton. Local bulk sales are gone, all sold, and the alternative is local bagged at $16.60/80 lbs. Current national market price around 2.65 bu, or 165/ton. Someone is cleaning up for running a grain over a screen and bagging.

Next year will be tough for all-farmer or rancher or consumer. Now it looks that food prices will not slow their rate of increase by much. I think irrigaters, at least in the west, could have some of the hardest times. Lenders are refusing to lend without a water plan. Water supply looks dicey at present.

Edit-should modify the above to just livestock growers (ranchers) and consumers. But there are plenty of what ifs for row crop farmers-price and availability of fertilizer and fuel, water supply in much of the west, and drought/weather concerns for many.

Down here in farmland I am expecting commodity(mostly grains) to go thru the roof next year.

Then we can start to get real scared about this countries future and the future of those who are already starving but by then we won't care anymore about the starving,,we will care only about those that can pay.

The 'input' costs are going to be huge. Seed,fertilizer,fuel,herbicides,pesticides,etc...its going to get way up their..does anyone expect it to fall? Nope.

Different subject:
I know a farm worker. He has 5 little kids. Even his wife works at a very menial job. Both make just a tad over minimum wage. They have no or little insurance. His teeth are nothing but rotten stumps and he's in his 30's. They live in a very worn out house trailer that they rent.

If he loses this job he might just have to go to jail for inability to pay support to his previous wife. He has been in jail several times already for this. He wears dirty clothes constantly. He is a volunteer fireman , no pay for that.
Might could say its his own fault but there are plenty more just like him. When things get real rough? He might just blow his head off. Some do that. These people work to produce food on the land. All they know is hard work and poor living conditions.

If his boss wasn't a nice guy he would replace him with a Hispanic. His boss owns some land and farms more. He gets by but is in so much debt that he might never pay it off.

This worker fella will never own land. They will die poor. That is what I see a lot of in farming country. Yet he is always joking and laughing. His wife comes to my church and she somehow keeps her head up. She is good looking but has a bad weight problem.

Why am I posting all this? Just so people will know that its not all a bed of roses out here where we work and till the land.

So if your planning on coming out this way to forge a sustainable life? Don't think it will be easy. This is "easy" times. Bad times are not here yet but they will be.

A snapshot of what I see around me.


Your farmworker friend is worse off than any sharecropper Steinbeck or Faulkner wrote about. Your friend is essentially a work-to-death slave on a monoculture gulag.

This is a far cry from even Steinbeck's poor 'croppers, who raised a pig on the side, grew greens and veggies and stuff for themselves, then were in halves on cotton or beans or something.

Amish and the real old-time farmers were not slaving away growing cotton or beans only and owing their soul the the company store. They grow everything they need and trade between neighbors. They had a damn good life and that's why more than one US Administration has tried to put the Amish behind bars (ostensibly for ducking the draft).

Well said airdale,

Keeping up the farm and working the land is hard work, and much of it you don't get paid for. I currently live in the city but have land that is debt free and have been planning my retreat to the farm for the last 15 years. Planting trees, pulling weeds, trapping pocket gophers, lining ravines with rock to prevent erosion, all hard work but satisfying too. My land is organic and mother nature has rewarded me handsomely for my efforts, is many respects, the land is as vibrant as when my great-grandfather homesteaded in 1880. I do worry for others when times get tough but I don't worry for myself, I have a plan and I have land and that's all I need.

Ahead of tomorrow's Finance Round Up, here are the top financial stories so far. The world's biggest bank is imploding, an entire class of investment vehicles has been read the last rites, and jail time looms in the Hamptons.

Interest rate 'freeze' - the real story is fraud

It sounds good: For five years, mortgage lenders will freeze interest rates on a limited number of "teaser" subprime loans. Other homeowners facing foreclosure will be offered assistance from the Federal Housing Administration.

But unfortunately, the "freeze" is just another fraud - and like the other bailout proposals, it has nothing to do with U.S. house prices, with "working families," keeping people in their homes or any of that nonsense.

The sole goal of the freeze is to prevent owners of mortgage-backed securities, many of them foreigners, from suing U.S. banks and forcing them to buy back worthless mortgage securities at face value - right now almost 10 times their market worth.

There are lots of people who would like to muzzle subpoena-happy New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo to buy time and make this all go away. Cuomo is just inches from getting what he needs to start putting a lot of people in prison.

We are on the cusp of a mammoth financial crisis, and the Federal Reserve and the U.S. Treasury are trying to limit the liability of their banking friends under the guise of trying to help borrowers.

At stake is nothing short of the continued existence of the U.S. banking system.

Takeover or breakup for Citi

As Citi struggles to break free from the grip of its writedowns, and with capital levels hovering dangerously low, a takeover by a smaller banking rival is a distinct possibility, warn CreditSights.

In a gutsy - and perhaps mercurial - call, analysts at CreditSights say a takeover from JPMorgan isn’t unlikely, given the outlook for Citi. Otherwise, there’s also the threat of a breakup.

It will take Citi three years to recoup losses on CDO writedowns, according to the report, and problems may get much, much worse.

S&P calls the death of the SIV

On Friday, S&P cut the credit ratings on the capital notes all of the SIVs it rates, and said it did not expect the asset class to survive.

"Cuomo is just inches from getting what he needs to start putting a lot of people in prison" - good man!

I wonder if these white collar terrorists will be whisked off to unnamed countries for torture? One can only hope :)

I see another bank (UBS) has had to be re-liquefied by foreigners. All very deflationary; flogging off whatever assets are available to raise cash. I wonder when we will see the money supply start to contract? Did you see the other day that Fannie Mae managed to raise $7 billion selling preference stock with an 8.5% dividend. It would be cheaper for them to get a mortgage :)

A couple good posts by Mish and Calc.Risk. on the subject.

Looks like we Will have bank failures soon. (watch the LIBOR in the next couple weeks)



I have been watching LIBOR every day. It is the only 'stat' that I believe to be untainted by meddeling ninnies at the behest of central bankers. LIBOR has already reached uncharted territory.

The investigation and imprisonment of the culprits, should the application of the rule of law yield such a thing, would be a fine, fine outcome.

I think we need to take a giant step back from this desire to torment our fellow man, even if they have done something heinous, because that sort of thing always blows up in the face of those who engage in such things sooner or later. I am guilty of such suggestions myself at times, but that doesn't make it right.

If we are unable to restore our sense of right and wrong after Bush has gone we might as well set him up as president for life; the outcomes will be as if we had done so anyway.

Don't worry SCT I was only joking.

BTW, any idea where I can find plans for a guillotine?


The article in SFGate is mostly a Jesse Jackson style radical left wing infomercial.


Here is Mish's take on it. 

Here's one to watch also.

CNBC Reports Bank of America Freezes $12 Billion Money Market


Damn Interesting - The Ethyl-Poisoned Earth

Link http://www.damninteresting.com/?p=932

Very well-written, interesting, article on why the earth has 1000 times the normal lead level in the air ....... from the site "Damn Interesting"

"Patterson found himself ostracized from government and corporate sponsored research projects, including the a National Research Council panel on atmospheric lead contamination."

The same thing is still happening with previously highly honoured scientists in many fields who have spoken out with concerns or rejected industry funded science and are now ostracized from the world of funding. It is one of the saddest clouds over modern scientific endeavour... Corporate and government funded science is essentially the new Church.

Hey everybody -

Don't get so excited about the oil price, shorter term natural gas looks a lot cheaper. See http://humblestudentofthemarkets.blogspot.com/2007/12/interesting-oil-an...


Eco-Alternatives: Top Congressman Skips Bali, Addresses UN Climate Change from Second Life Instead

"Criticism of the carbon footprint of the UN conference has been rife," reads an announcement I just got from reps with OneClimate island run by an NGO of the same name and produced in collaboration with Cisco. "Congressman Markey’s decision not to fly but attend virtually will stand as an example for many future participants who want to interact without emitting flight-generated carbon." He'll do that tomorrow at 5:30PM SLT, and you can attend the event in Second Life by going to One Climate's island. Even cooler, questions from the audience there are related directly to the UN panel in Bali.

Doomer real estate special! They're asking $29,900, 856 square feet, two bedrooms, one third acre lot, and it already has a very nice chicken coop!

Small blue house #1

Small blue house #2

You will get a good deal of dryer noise coming off that grain elevator in the background for two months of the year but the rest of the time things would be pretty quiet.

All kidding aside you can find a dozen houses like this per thousand residents in any small town in Iowa. This one is on the other side of the block and I think its a good bit more, perhaps as much as $60,000.


This one is on the opposite side of town - very sturdy construction, but a tiny yard. Also $60,000.


If you fancy a couple of acres, a storage shed with loading dock already set up for rail, a giant two car garage, and a 600' square foot office that could be easily converted to a house all you need is $75,000 and I am sure that number is negotiable. The shed with dock is the one on the right and the Union Pacific local route runs daily from Eagle Grove to Estherville, passing just a few yards behind the building.


If you don't want to get caught up in any mortgage company implosion silliness you're in luck - the local bank, with branches in four towns, is happy to write and service a mortgage.

SCT - might want to check your camera - the grass in all your pictures looks white. ;-)

-22C here this AM and something like 10cm of new powder on top of the ice we received a few days back. There are reasons a $300K California house sells for $30k here :-)

Albino grass? What is that white stuff? Looking at those photos makes me want to watch some old xmas movies on TCM...and reminds me of joint pain! It was close to or a bit over 80F today and very humid...I was just out front with the cats...wearing shorts, t, flip-flops. :)

Best hopes for a good harvest of the white alfalfa!

Absolutely, River, We don't want any of that Albino alfalfa out here in southern Arizona where I live. It wasn't quite that warm out here today but we did have light rain all day, and that was good. Been a long time sense I've seen the ground this wet. Now I can do some dusting and it will last for a couple of days at least. LOL

Decoupling dies as half the globe hits crunch

For now, consensus has settled on the view that subprime losses will total $500bn, and crimp lending by $2 trillion as bank multiples kick into reverse.

This assumes there are no more shoes to drop. Yet shoes are dangling precariously across the global credit system. We may soon have to add the terms HELOCs and 'monoline insurers' to our crunch lexicon.

HELOCs are home equity loans, the money extracted from houses to pay bills and keep shopping. Many borrowers pushed their debt to 110pc of house values at the top of the bubble.

Moody's says 16.5pc of these loans are in arrears beyond 60 days. The HELOC market is roughly $600bn, so add another $100bn to the funeral pyre. These niches add up.

Monoliners are specialist insurers who earn fees by lending their AAA ratings to US states, counties, and cities for bond issues - the safest corner of the credit industry.

The nasty twist is that most have ventured into mortgage debt to spice returns. They now face enough losses to threaten their AAA standing.

A downgrade means that every bond bearing their guarantee must be downgraded pari passu. Pension funds and institutions will be forced to liquidate sub-AAA holdings. A fresh cascade of distress sales will ravage the $2,400bn 'muni' market

Hello Leanan,

Is there any way you could retrieve my deleted comment and paste it in my blog?


I know it my own fault for not saving my comment on my computer before getting dinner--but I am kinda bummed at the loss of that work--it was going to be a 'hook' for alot more postings. I appreciate any help.

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

Your best bet is to find it stored on your computer. Go back and look through your browser's history when you posted your comment. Your browser should have stored a local copy in your cache.

Hi Bob,

I always run Home Key Logger v1.70. It stuffs every keystroke into a text file. It has saved me more than a few times. If you are the only person using your PC, it isn't unethical, IMO.


Sorry if this has been covered already.

Petrobras strikes gas, light oil in Espirito Santo

From last Thursday, Reuters UK.

RIO DE JANEIRO, Dec 6 (Reuters) - Brazil's state oil company Petrobras (PETR4.SA: Quote, Profile, Research)(PBR.N: Quote, Profile, Research) said on Thursday it struck natural gas and light oil in two wells in the offshore Espirito Santo basin.

It provided no reserve estimates, but said the finds confirmed high oil and gas potential in the area and should boost recoverable reserves there.

The pioneering 4-ESS-177 well drilled at the water depth of 708 meters (2,322 feet) off the Espirito Santo state coast, in the BM-ES-5 block, found natural gas at a depth of 3,417 meters, Petrobras said. U.S. company El Paso (EP.N: Quote, Profile, Research) is Petrobras' partner in the block with a 35 percent stake.

The same well discovered light oil presence at a depth of 2,416 meters. Petrobras also successfully drilled exploration well 6-ESS-168 in the area, it said.

This board has postings both about peak oil and global warming. They can't both be right. According to the peakists we don't have enough FF's left to fry ourselves, and we will hit a train wreck well before then anyway.
The global warming crowd happily talk about levels of emissions in 2100. Can we decide on a common approach?

We have more than enough coal and lignite to fry ourselves with.


You're confused, weatherman.

CO2 is at 380ppm - no more inputs needed to make one heck of a mess.

Oil is at peak, most likely as of 9/2005. The effects of this along with warming and the mortgage mess all hit pretty much simultaneously.

The statement that you can't have one without the other simply does not stand up to inspection.

Re Allan from Big Easy
According to recent articles on this board World coal reserves are nothing like as big as is usually thought.
We are likely to hit peak coal in less than 20 years.
While I admit there has been enough emissions already to cause problems the greens should not make such a song and dance about cutting them. They will soon decline sharply whatever we do. The problem is to keep civilsation from collapsing until renewables are ready to take the load.

I think those articles are misleading. They are based on current environmental standards. Environmental standards will be the first thing thrown overboard. And the coal reserves that are now "too dirty" to use will be used.

True, L:
The other point is that as we slide down the razor blade of the PO backside, we'll be burning fuels with lower and lower H:C ratio. Each unit of energy will release more CO2 than the previous one.
Just wait 'til the Western Sedimentary Basin methane heels over and plunges.

What everyone seems to ignore is that we are at the breaking point logistically of how much coal can be delivered. Rail systems will have to provide more coal cars, more handling facilities, more locomotives, and more rail to stay up with any increase in coal handling, something that have not been willing to spend big money on this point. This is already creating strain, as witness the press release blow by the head of the National Rural Electric Cooperatives Assosiation:

The complete text of his remarks can be accessed in PDF format to the right of the page. Expect to see more of these types of inter-industry strains as we stretch coal hauling ability to the limit.

One thing is already clear: The cost of moving coal is going up, the cost of trying to clean up powerplants to burn it is going up, a renewable mandate of 15% production by renewables for utilities is in the energy bill, at the frightening prospect (to the utilities that is) of a carbon tax is always possible....at some point, coal just is not going to seem worth it.

That point may be sooner than we think.


You drive down highway 30 in western Iowa and the coal trains run pretty much nonstop. When diesel is dear it hurts because everything on the railroad except the little pickup trucks is a diesel machine. Ties don't get replaced, spikes work loose, and pretty soon ... Power River Basin's finest, scattered all over just fifty yards short of a trestle over a busy four lane in Omaha. This one isn't due to lack of maintenance, but rather poor procedure. The week before a trackhoe was up there, spreading rock around on the ties after repairs. Something was either not secured or slightly out of alignment ...


Per my memory of a PR release, the USA RRs spent $10 billion on capital improvements in 2006, way up from 2000.'

Not enough, but getting there.

The Powder River line (coal) is all triple track and sections of quad track are going in (RRs want wider ROW for that).

BN-SF is 99% to 100% double track LA to Chicago, UP is 2/3rds complete double track LA to El Paso (line splits into 3 single tracks there).

Kansas City finished a double track overpass (N-S over E-W) a couple of years ago. Chicago has the CREATE program to reduce bottlenecks.

Railroad capacity IS increasing, even of not enough.

Best Hopes for at least $25 billion/year in RR improvements,


The problem is to keep civilsation from collapsing until renewables are ready to take the load.

But if civilization is the problem?

Well, it would appear that my shameless promotion of the Iowa Great Lakes region is working. I just took my first "order" from a Drum Beat regular for a small farm up here - based on my frequent posting of the photo of this little beauty, which sold for $10k with two acres of land.

Recently Sold

If ya'll want me to play acreage hunter thats cool with me - but you should be thinking about $10k acquisition plus another $10k for wind and fix up work to make sure its livable. Don't have a good sense of what doomer retreat sitting is going to cost, but not much - I can stop by every week or so, check propane levels, flick the lights, etc. I am thinking many people who owe me fresh vegetables for the long haul would be a fine thing ...

gwbush at dumbfuck dot. org is a fine way to reach me.

Nice price with acreage! Needs a little mowing.

Yeah, and its not uncommon - two other decent ones went for less than $10k in towns recently.

I gotta get me one of those ... I hope things slide nice and slow rather than letting go with a bang ... it goes down like that and I'll figure it out somehow.

And that one has properly green colored grass :-)


Looks like it has lightning rods too! What a buy.

Grazing, Bruce, grazing ...

I actually mow my grass with a sycthe so I can have the option of using the grass for hay or compost.

Reminds me of a joke I heard while going to school in Minnesota: Why do the have astroturf in the stadiums in Iowa? So the cheerleaders won't graze.

Or if you want to live in the city....


Just more proof, you don't need a $900,000 mortgage out in real America...

(Shoot, give most Southerners $900,000, they will buy a house with 1/10th of it (at most) and put the rest in bonds or an annuity and live shooting the breeze at the tavern and going fishing on their prize $400 dollar bass boat until they are carted off to the old geezer home...)
(most times I don't talk about how well central KY is going to do in whatever circumstances because I don't want the place overrun with doomers, but it's late at night, so the audience is small....:-)


Malaysia is seeing diminishing production of biodiesel from palm oil as palm oil prices surged.


Converting vegetable oils to diesel and sugars to ethanol has created havoc in the food markets and made major renewable energy projects not feasible.

Unfortunately, we ARE going to un-sequester and burn every last hydrocarbon that we can get our hands on, and it IS going to result in climate change along the lines of the worst case analyses. It is all going to be so very sad and tragic, but no sense thinking it isn't going to happen.

There are very good reasons for trying to live a more energy-efficient lifestyle (reducing my vulnerability to energy price increases and supply shortagegs are at the top of my list), but no one should be under any illusion that doing so is going to make any difference when it comes to global climate change. A hydrocarbon molecule not burned by one person just leaves it available to be burned by someone else, and burn it they will.

We are piloting a megaship that needs 2 knotical miles to change course, having just sighted an iceburg through the fog looming 500 yards dead ahead. The time for mitigating changes to avoid the worst of it passed decades ago. It is too late now.

Global climate change is "baked into the pie" at this point, and we'd better start thinking about how we're going to cope with it. At the top of the priority list is preserving as much biodiversity and carrying capacity as we can. As far as individual households are concerned, the priorities are clearly: a) minimizing one's exposure to risks of rising sea levels, hurricanes, floods, wildfires, droughts, and other climate-related hazards; and b) securing supplies of fresh water and food.

Sadly, lots of people are not going to end up finding places for themselves in lifeboats.