DrumBeat: December 30, 2007

Carolyn Baker: New Year's Dissolution: Surrender vs. Gtiving Up

It's almost 2008, and in the final hours of 2007, I'm reflecting on the past twelve months and what may lie ahead of us in the coming year. It's been a dreary year for planet earth-scientists telling us that climate change has passed the point of no return; the almost-daily blasting away of civil liberties in the U.S. with nary a peep from its citizens; endless war that produces little but nauseating carnage in the Middle East and a steady stream of suiciding or physically and emotionally devastated veterans, and of course, a housing bubble burst that has left thousands of families suffocating in debt, bankruptcy, and foreclosure.

Some readers would like me to stop talking about collapse and re-frame the notion into "spiritually correct" terminology that isn't as scary, daunting, and dismal. Many more of you are telling me that you do want to talk about collapse because even with all the opportunities for rebirth and transformation that it holds, the world we have known, demanded, and relied on to be there for us is crumbling. I too would love to focus only on opportunity, but opportunity offers no free lunch; it travels alongside this thing called collapse, and if you're going to embrace one, you must be prepared to invite the other.

In Units of Action, Not Just Talk, Oil Is Still King

This year, there was plenty of talk about reducing oil consumption, but let’s face it: a lot of it was probably hot air. So it should come as no surprise that a new forecast of United States energy use through 2030 shows that energy consumption is expected to rise, and to be dominated by petroleum.

Alarm at Gazprom's Serbia move

Gazprom's offer to take control of Serbia's state-owned petroleum monopoly has divided the Serbian government and sounded alarm bells about the cost of Moscow's political support.

Global gas lines remain pipedream

India’s plan to bring gas through international pipelines was reduced to mere pipe dreams in 2007. This year India lost Burma-India pipeline to China, is on the verge of being thrown out of Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) pipeline and no one knows whether Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) pipeline project is actually feasible.

Cyclone Veers Away from Australia's Northwest Coast

Oil companies have begun to resume production in Australia's remote northwest coast after government meteorologists on Sunday cancelled a cyclone warning for category two tropical cyclone Melanie.

Mexico Police Arrest Drunken Group Vandalizing Pemex Plant

Mexican authorities arrested at least 10 people vandalizing a Petroleos Mexicanos facility last week, the state-owned oil company said.

The men were drunk and caused minor damage to a pipeline at the El Salitre plant in the central state of Guanajuato, said Carlos Ramirez, spokesman for the company, in a telephone interview.

Ramirez denied a report by the Mexico City-based newspaper El Universal that the group was trying to sabotage the facility, which was the target of bombings by a rebel group earlier this year.

Venezuela economy grew 8.4 pct in 2007-central bank

Venezuela's economy expanded 8.4 percent in 2007 despite a contraction in the oil sector, the backbone of the South American nation's economy, the central bank said on Sunday.

The bank said the oil sector had shrunk 5.3 percent in the year, but 9.7 percent growth in non-oil parts of the economy had compensated.

Italy to Raise Power Rates 3.8%, Gas Prices 3.4% Next Month

Italy will raise electricity rates for households by an average 3.8 percent in the first quarter, following a surge in the price of oil.

Oil sold in New York has risen almost 60 percent in the past year. Natural gas, the fuel used to produce more than half of Italy's electricity, tracks the price paid for petroleum. Italy imports more than 85 percent of the oil and gas needed to power the country, the Authority for Electricity and Gas said in an e-mailed statement late yesterday.

A plea for population control to save the Earth

Reversing global warming requires drastically reducing the consumption of fossil fuels. This means switching to sustainable sources of energy (wind, solar, biomass) and deploying more efficient technologies in transportation (hybrid cars and light rail), climate control (passive solar and better construction techniques), agricultural and manufacturing sectors of the economy.

But we must also recognize that the swelling world population is the ultimate driver of global warming and exacerbates all of the other environmental problems we now face. Over-population promotes deforestation, air and water pollution, the production of carcinogens and toxins, soil erosion and the collapse of fisheries.

Young Swedes Flock to Newly Rich Norway for Work

Long a poor cousin in Scandinavia, Norway has surpassed Sweden to become one of the richest countries in the world — to the point where it has become a magnet for young Swedes ready to work hard to make quick money, and lots of it.

Iran says its first atom plant to start in mid-2008

Iran's first atomic power plant will start operating in mid-2008, Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said on Sunday, two days after the country received a second delivery of nuclear fuel from Russia.

Uranium outlook remains strong

An Australian firm that tracks uranium trends worldwide expects a period characterized by relatively stable uranium spot market prices. But it's likely to be a brief interlude.

Resource Capital Research of Sydney says forward indicators suggest the price will range between $90 and $100 per pound for several months, then accelerate to $125 by September 2008.

German Biodiesel Forced to Compete

Until a few months ago, the production of crop-based fuels was the best energy business imaginable in Germany, thanks to growing demand supported by the government. That's no longer the case.

Biofuels, the Biggest Scam Going

Where is agriculture headed? Can we feed a growing population and meet the demand for biofuels in the Industrialized North? Supporters of biofuel agriculture, (grain and chemical companies, Wall St. investors, politicians and most University researchers) avoid mentioning the cost of inputs, the fossil fuels, the environmental damage, the physical toll on animals and humans, and the growing problem of hunger that will accompany the switch from food to energy crop production. They want us to believe the switch to energy crops will be so easy and so practical.

Food security hobbles South Africa biofuel strategy

Worried that it may be seen as insensitive to the food needs of Africa, the South African government, which is facing a general election in 2009, has chosen food security in framing a biofuel policy.

After months of dilly-dallying, a strategy for the biofuel sector was accepted by the Cabinet at the start of December. But the government excluded maize, a life-saving export during times of recurring drought in Southern Africa.

'Green fatigue' leads to fear of backlash over climate change

British people are now convinced about the dangers of global warming but are either baffled about how to stop it or are ignoring the issue.

Analysts say few people are taking action to deal with the threat of climate change, although over the past 12 months the vast majority have come to accept that it poses a real threat to the world. Opinion polls reveal much confusion among the public about what Britain should do to combat the problem.

The climate threat to Japanese rice

In Japan government scientists are trying to find ways to reduce the impact of global warming on the country's rice crop.

There are fears that the extremes of temperature that some researchers are predicting could affect both the yield and the quality of rice, a staple of the Japanese diet.

Flowering grain crops like maize, wheat and rice are particularly vulnerable to changes in temperature.

Pakistan: Oil stocks deplete as economic shutdown continues

The crippling effect of the complete economic shutdown following Benazir Bhutto's tragic assassination is likely to impact oil refining soon if supplies of crude and furnace oil are not restored, further complicating the overall supply situation and the worsening law and order, experts and officials say.

The power crisis may worsen in the next couple of days as furnace oil supply is completely suspended and stocks would only last for a few days to continue electricity generation particularly for Punjab, NWFP and Balochistan.

14 more killed in Karachi violence Over 1,000 vehicles torched in three days; four fire stations damaged

Violence continued to grip the city on the third consecutive day on Saturday with 14 more deaths while hundreds were injured in separate incidents and shops, banks, factories and vehicles were torched. Four fire stations were also damaged with the Fire Office facing stiff resistance from miscreants in fighting fires.

Pakistan: Fuel shortage hits residents of twin cities

The fuel and food shortage in the twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi is creating problems for the residents of the twin cities for the last three days.

A Question of Blame When Societies Fall

Dragoon is also home to an archaeological research center, the Amerind Foundation, where a group of archaeologists, cultural anthropologists and historians converged in the fall for a seminar, “Choices and Fates of Human Societies.”

What the scientists held in common was a suspicion that in writing his two best-selling sagas of civilization — the other is “Guns, Germs and Steel” — Dr. Diamond washed over the details that make cultures unique to assemble a grand unified theory of history.

Kuwait''s state budget reveals more reliance on on oil revenues

Kuwait's state budget has revealed more dependence on oil revenues to make up for the deficit in the non-petroleum revenues which hit KD 9.3 billion, marking a rise of 53 percent compared to last year, the Kuwait Economic Society (KES) said on Sunday.

Iraq exports 58.9 mln bbl in November at $83.87

Iraq's monthly oil exports hit a three-year high of 58.900 million barrels in November, sold at an average price of $83.87 per barrel, the Oil Ministry said on Sunday.

India's population will harm the country and the planet

Population Control is one of India's most colossal failures, and has in the recent past been touted as a demographic dividend it will reap as the world ages. This view is over-simplistic and ignores the bigger picture.

Qatar: Imported farm products likely to cost more

Agricultural and associated products from Brazil and some other countries in the region may cost more in the near future as these countries are busy developing bio-fuel as an alternative source of energy, according to a senior business executive here.

No gas supply surprise from Russia in 2008

Russian political pragmatism is not to cause breaks in energy supplies to the CIS and European countries.

Russia and its energy partners are likely to see in 2008 without a usual energy crisis and supply cuts for the first time since 2005. This year Gazprom has done its best to avoid conflicts after the negative reaction to its failure to agree with Ukraine and Belarus the recent years, when the negotiations were held up to the first minutes of a new year.

Part of BPA Credit Could Return Soon

Bonneville Power Administration’s Residential Exchange Program was created to ensure small-farm and residential customers of investor-owned utilities in the Northwest share in the benefits of the region’s federal hydroelectric system.

That it did. But when it was halted for the first time in 30 years last summer because of a federal court decision, those customers saw their power bills rise, in some cases drastically.

Reid, Congress deserves praise for keeping Yucca nuke dump at bay

Congress, led by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., gave Nevada a most welcome Christmas present earlier this month by slashing the budget for the proposed Yucca Mountain nuclear waste dump by more than 12 percent to its lowest level in several years. Although I disagree with Sen. Reid on many issues, including illegal immigration and Iraq, we owe him and Congress a vote of thanks for keeping nearly 80 million tons of highly toxic nuclear waste out of the Silver State.

Pair hope meeting on alternative fuels will spark advances

Karrer and Robey expect the meeting to attract not only a few inventors and researchers who have studied high-mileage carburetors and cars that run on various other fuels, but a number of people who hope to learn more about experiments being done by private inventors.

Surge in Off-Roading Stirs Dust and Debate in West

The growing allure of the federal lands coincides with marked changes in how people play, with outdoor recreation now a multibillion-dollar industry. It also comes at a time, according to data compiled by Volker C. Radeloff of the University of Wisconsin, when more than 28 million homes sit less than 30 miles from federally owned land that millions of people increasingly view as their extended backyards.

On the Ground and in the Water, Tracing a Giant Wave’s Path

After a tsunami swept across the Indian Ocean in 2004 and killed an estimated 300,000 people in Indonesia, Thailand and Sri Lanka, Dr. Fernando used his amazing piece of equipment to determine why the wave was so lethal.

He and colleagues confirmed that human activities at southern Asian seashores — like coral poaching, dune destruction and mangrove harvesting — had made a natural disaster even more deadly.

Beijing’s Olympic Quest: Turn Smoggy Sky Blue

Every day, monitoring stations across the city measure air pollution to determine if the skies above this national capital can officially be designated blue. It is not an act of whimsy: with Beijing preparing to play host to the 2008 Olympic Games, the official Blue Sky ratings are the city’s own measuring stick for how well it is cleaning up its polluted air.

Conserving Cuba, After the Embargo

Cuba has not been free of development, including Soviet-style top-down agricultural and mining operations and, in recent years, an expansion of tourism. But it also has an abundance of landscapes that elsewhere in the region have been ripped up, paved over, poisoned or otherwise destroyed in the decades since the Cuban revolution, when development has been most intense. Once the embargo ends, the island could face a flood of investors from the United States and elsewhere, eager to exploit those landscapes.

Pleasure Without Guilt: Green Hotels With Comfort

The idea of luxury has long been intertwined with — even confused with — profligate waste. But with green consciousness making its way to center stage, some hotels are changing their ways. They face a delicate balance: when does greening go so far as to cut palpably into the feeling of luxury?

What the Fundamentals Say About Future Oil Prices

My thesis is based in part on the hoarding mindset that now dominates the oil market and is hardly ever discussed. Exporters (read OPEC, particularly KSA, UAE, Kuwait, and Venezuela) are now addicted to high and rising oil prices. Their ever increasing cash flows from oil have led to their making huge future capital commitments; they are not willing to see falling oil prices endanger those commitments. They also know that due to tight global supplies relatively minor production cuts are sufficient to raise prices. Finally they now believe that oil in the out years will only get more expensive. Thus near term production cuts will also be rewarded because the oil not sold now can be sold later for more money. In summary, exporters today have their hands on a hair-trigger for raising the oil price and they will not hesitate to pull it if the price falls much below $85. I summarize this series of attitudes on the part of oil exporters as the “hoarding mindset.”

2008, a Year of Petroleum Exuberance

We will witness the dawning of an era of exuberance regarding matters petroleum, a time of optimism comparable to the Roaring Twenties and the recently expired housing boom that was inflated by phony mortgages. Peak-oil theorists, those people foolish enough to believe that a nonrenewable resource is eventually exhaustible, will be vilified as alarmists. American consumers, mollified by falling petroleum prices and the promised availability of more exploitable oil reserves, will breathe sighs of relief. And they will spend the summer before November's elections wrestling with issues of gravitas, such as whether our presidential candidates, Democrat and Republican, support the right of adults to marry whom they choose to marry.

2007: year of recognition

There are three things that keep me up nights: the threat of climate change, peak oil and the mountaintop removal strip mining that is destroying Appalachia. And I have reached the conclusion that, here in the United States, there are three major causes of these problems: Our homes are too big, our food travels too far, and our entire economy is built around the automobile. American homes are twice as big as they were 30 years ago, though fewer people actually live in them. The average item on a supermarket shelf has logged 1,500 miles to get there. And the homogenous suburb has ensured that we must drive everywhere, destroying at once the traditional, walkable city and the surrounding rural landscapes. Thus we have created a consumer culture that much of the developing world -- most ominously, China -- wants to emulate. But the problem is that this culture is based entirely on carbon-emitting fossil fuels, and it is therefore a culture that has no future.

China and India to shrug off US recession

Next year, the growing - and increasingly wealthy populations of the developing world will keep global food demand rising. Global supplies - hit by more droughts, floods and the increased use of land for bio-fuel production - will struggle to keep up.

That's why, in 2008, high food prices will replace expensive oil as the bogeyman of Western consumers and central bankers. Because food accounts for a large portion of disposable incomes, escalating food prices will seriously dent consumer confidence next year, while preventing deep base rate cuts.

Oil investing: 2007 a tough act to follow

2007 was truly a banner year for the industry. The big integrated oil companies - ones that produce and refine crude - saw stock gains in the 30 percent range. Crude itself rose nearly 60 percent. The biggest winners were the oil production companies, some of which saw their stock prices double. Overall, the AMEX oil and gas index rose about 30 percent in '07, trouncing the near-stagnant S&P 500.

But most analysts say 2008 is unlikely to mimic the staggering returns of the last year. And on the heels of such a runup, some say the sector is simply overvalued.

Bin Laden remarks make Gulf dollar peg likelier

Gulf Arab oil producers may be less likely to drop their currency pegs to the weak U.S. dollar after Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden criticized dollar pegs as "unjust and arbitrary", economists said on Sunday.

The Saudi-born militant leader urged Muslims in a video recording on Saturday to support militants so they can "preserve your oil and wealth and protect your money that is slipping between your fingers due to the unjust and arbitrary dollar pegs."

Japan dependence on Kuwait, GCC oil down

Japan’s crude oil imports from Kuwait went down 1.2 percent in November from a year earlier to 9.15 million barrels but increased 10.3 percent from the previous month, according to the latest data released by a government agency. Kuwait provided 7.0 percent of nation’s crude oil in the reporting month, compared with 6.4 percent in October and 7.5 percent in the same month of last year, the Japanese Natural Resources and Energy Agency, a unit of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, said in a preliminary report. Japan is Kuwait’s largest oil buyer.

Supply of drilling rig to usher a new beginning of Sino-Pak cooperation in Oil and Gas-HH

The fully digitally controlled Oil and Gas drilling rig manufactured by a prominent Sichuan based Chinese company would be ready for delivery to Mari Gas Company Ltd. (MGCL) next month thus meeting the increasing demand of the rigs to help boost exploration and production activities in Pakistan, a senior official of the company said.

Oil Exploration Conflict With Iraq Corners SK Energy

SK Energy is still mulling over a tough call between discontinuing oil exploration in the Kurdish region and losing Iraqi oil imports. The nation's top oil refiner has been cornered to make this decision after a conflict that surfaced last week when an angered Iraqi government threatened to cut off crude exports should the Korea-Kurds oil deal continue.

Alaska: Oil companies will stay, revenue commissioner says

The three major oil companies that operate on Alaska's North Slope say they are reviewing their investments in Alaska now that they'll have to pay more taxes, but state Revenue Commissioner Pat Galvin on Friday treated the statements as a bluff.

"We believe that the incentives that are included in the tax program, the resources that are available on the North Slope, and the tremendous value that oil is getting in the market right now are all reasons why Alaska will remain a very attractive place to invest," he said. "I don't expect to see a reduction in investment, given the attractiveness of Alaska."

Global warming to alter Calif. landscape

California is defined by its scenery, from the mountains that enchanted John Muir to the wine country and beaches that define its culture around the world.

But as scientists try to forecast how global warming might affect the nation's most geographically diverse state, they envision a landscape that could look quite different by the end of this century, if not sooner.

2007 a year of weather records in U.S.

When the calendar turned to 2007, the heat went on and the weather just got weirder. January was the warmest first month on record worldwide — 1.53 degrees above normal. It was the first time since record-keeping began in 1880 that the globe's average temperature has been so far above the norm for any month of the year.

And as 2007 drew to a close, it was also shaping up to be the hottest year on record in the Northern Hemisphere.

From "What the Fundamentals Say. . . " uptop:

Fearless Prediction

Considering all of the above, my five year forecast for the oil price range is:

2008: $80 - $140

2009: $105 - $195

2010: $150 - $250

2011: $175 - $325

2012: $275 - $500

As Matt Simmons has pointed out, gasoline at the pump is currently priced at about $300 per barrel in some areas in Europe.

Interesting that the Millennium Institute T21-USA model calls for $350/barrel oil in 2011. However, the economy "cracks" that year and oil falls to below $200 in 2012 due to "reduced economic activity" conserving oil and reducing demand. By the end of 2012, oil is above $200/barrel and never drops that far again.

I saw a curve you had prepared by Khebab of a price range in Houston. I would find that of interest.

Best Hopes for Wendi & Brian (inside comment for the time being, more later),


They are really cool people, and we had a very good visit with them. They are now northbound, hoping to link up with PG.

In the old Maya culture, the end of the current world cycle (which lasted more than 5000 years) is the winter solstice 2012. How fitting ! :)
Seriously, we need alternatives NOW !

Seriously, we need alternatives NOW !

We have PLENTY of alternatives:
War (vs buying things via the petrodollar/trade)
Less consumption
Less population

Most people don't like such alternatives.


Eigenvalues. Fixed points. Stable equilibria. Mathematicians like things that stay put. And if they can't stay put, the objects of study should at least repeat themselves on a regular basis, like orbiting planets or populations of predators and prey. Even in the case of chaotic systems, mathematicians have traditionally gravitated toward invariant features, such as strange attractors, stable manifolds, and periodic points.

What makes this tradition possible is that dynamical systems---at least the ones mathematicians favor---are governed by equations that depend on time either cyclically or not at all. But nature doesn't always oblige. Many phenomena require equations whose coefficients are non-periodic functions of time. Indeed, many---arguably most---phenomena can be described not by equations at all, but only as an amalgam of time-varying data.


"People are being idiots," he said, "because they say, well, `You can't say that! Let's concentrate on the facts. Let's concentrate on the facts,' is what they'll say. Now here you have, the fact is, we're in the point of a total breakdown of the international financial and monetary system. This is not a collapse; this is not a depression. It's a disintegration of the very integument upon which the whole civilization has now come to depend. That's the game. And, any developments which don't fit the game, don't explain this kind of thing. It's one thing after the other; it's a chaos operation. The tendency is to create chaos; it's a chaos operation. So, therefore, in a chaos operation,-- don't try to attribute chaos, to some individual who's not chaos.

"We don't know who the culprit is; we don't know which faction, who is the faction," LaRouche concluded. "We can identify the faction by the nature of the faction. But the identity of the faction, we don't have. The guy who's doing this, is doing something. We know what they're doing; we know what the effect is they're playing for. That's clear. WHO that someone is, we don't have."

chaotic systems have "attractors" or stable repeating phenomena by definition, pattern just has to be discovered.


Cool to read up on this.

In quantum mechanics when a quanta is released/absorbed the energy of the particle goes up/down one whole step. A gradual change from point A to B does not happen. I don't see why it should not so happen in economic cricumstances when the enrgy goes out of the system all at once. We fall to a new steady state. Economists, stock market watchers and historians have observed lots of chaotic patterns in history, the chaotic "attractors" seem to be similar to the seasons, 4 year cycle, average human life span, civilizational cycle, etc. If Larouche can't find a cyclical ("chaotic") pattern in this systemic breakdown which fits he could read Diamond.

What you are discribing is a State Change or Phase Change, Like when a whole school of fish suddenly turn right.

Liquid to solid. All at once.

Complex Systems Break Down Chaoticly

Chaotically, and in our case due to multiple forces of environmental friction and degradation, rapidly.

Lyndon LaDouche.

I sure hope you are making sweet, sweet fun of that lunatic by posting his ravings.

While what he says may or may not come to pass, it will not be due to anything he posits.

For more fun info about this fascist demagogue:


I stand with him when he's correct.

The clearest statement yet on chaos theory and the Power Laws in relation to human self organized criticality.

With chaos theory you have attractors or repellers.

The attractors, as noted above by GS in this thread, are most easily seen-as in smoke rings (the smoke particles adhere to the vapor ring).

Less easily seen are the repellers-the force leaks or repels,
say, liquid particles (blood, for instance).

You can only "see" the repellers from "future rewind".

Think an eddy. The blood hits the eddy before traveling to,
say, the face instead of the brain. Which way will the blood flow?

Same with LaRouche's statement. A repeller is forcing
chaos into a new steady state.

Ok I reread the Larouche quote then your suff again and I got the message. Thanks. Repellers forcing inot a new steady state, very good. I keep learning at TOD all the time.

Most people don't like such alternatives...
Guess you are talking about those less than 5% of the world population that just happen to live in the US ? :)
The same that consume 25% of the world's oil ? Maybe the rest of the world will adapt more easily actually ?

Exactly, STS. Thanks for saying it.

Just Heard this song on NPR: I think that if we are going to choose to listen to someone other than Uncle Dave we will surely end up nude in a cave without food. It's time to take Uncle Dave seriously. He's not a manic depressive, just a freakin realist.

Uncle Dave's Grace: lyrics by Peter Berryman, music by Lou Berryman

"We gather together to ask the Lord's blessing" Thanksgiving day, Uncle Dave was our guest

He reads the Progressive which makes him depressed

We asked Uncle Dave if he'd like to say grace,

A dark desolation crept over his face

"Thanks," he began as he gazed at his knife,

"To poor Mr. Turkey for living his life

All crowded and cramped in a great metal shed

Where life was a drag then they cut off his head"

"Thanks," he went on, "for the grapes in my wine

Picked by sick women of seventy-nine

Scrambling all morning for bunch after bunch

Then brushing the pesticides off of their lunch

Thanks for the stuffing all heaped on my fork

Shiny with sausage descended from pork

I think of the trucks full of full of pigs that I see

And can't help imagine what they think of me"

Continuing, "I'd like to thank if you please

Our salad bowl hacked out of tropical trees

And for this mahogany table and chair

We thank all the jungles that used to be there

For cream in our coffee and milk in our mugs,

We thank all the cows full of hormones and drugs

Whose calves are removed at a very young age

And force-fed as veal in a minuscule cage"

"Oh thanks for the furnace that heats up these rooms

And thanks for the rich fossil fuel it consumes

Corrupting the atmosphere ounce after ounce

But we're warm and toasty and that is what counts

I'm grateful," he said, "for these clothes on my back

Lovely and comfy and cheap off the rack

Fashioned in warehouses noisy and cold

In China by seamstresses seven years old"

"And thanks for my silverware setting that shines

In memory of miners who died in the mines

Worn down by the shovelling of tailings in piles

Whose runoff destroys all the rivers for miles

We thank the reactors for our chandelier

Although the plutonium won't disappear

For hundreds of decades it still will be there

But a few more Chernobyls and who's gonna care?"

Sighed Uncle Dave, "though there's more to be told

The wine's getting warm and the bird's getting cold"

And with that he sat down as he mumbled again

"Thank you for everything, amen"

We felt so guilty when he was all thru

It seemed there was one of two things we could do

Live without food, in the nude, in a cave,

Or next year have someone say grace besides Dave.


Now that's a magic number.


Why: Winter Solstice Sun Conjuncts The Sacred Tree in 2012 A.D.
First, the tzolkin count originated among the Olmec at least as early as 679 B.C. (see Edmonson's Book of the Year). We may suspect that astronomical observations were being made from at least that point. The tzolkin count has been followed unbroken since at least that time, up to the present day, demonstrating the high premium placed by the Maya upon continuity of tradition. In this way, star records, horizon positions of the winter solstice sun, and other pertinent observations could also have been accurately preserved. As suggested above, precession can be noticed by way of even simple horizon astronomy in as little time as 100 to 150 years. (Hipparchus, the alleged "discoverer" of precession among the Greeks, compared his own observations with data collected only 170 years before his time.) Following Edmonson, the Long Count system may have appeared as early as 355 B.C. Part of the reason for implementing the Long Count system, as I will show, was probably to calculate future winter solstice dates.

We must assume that even at this early point in Mesoamerican history, the crossing point of ecliptic and Milky Way was understood as the "Sacred Tree". Since the Sacred Tree concept is intrinsically tied into the oldest Mayan Creation Myths, this is not improbable. At the very least, the "dark rift" was already a recognized feature. Early skywatchers of this era (355 B.C.) would then observe the sun to conjunct the dark ridge in the Milky Way on or around November 18th.5 This would be easily observed in the pre-dawn sky as described above: the Milky Way points to the rising sun on this date.

So that Solaris can then walk across the Milky Way "path"
to Polarus.

Starting the new Age of Aquarius.

Thank you, GS

Did you read Polaris or see the original Russian film or just the recent hollywood version?

Are those in real 2007 US$ or nominal? If those are real, the actual numbers might have to be adjusted upwards for inflation by another 10%+ per year the way things are going.


As in, what will a bottle of beer cost at the
same time.

Or, Sudan changes over to the Euro from the $.

I found that to be a excellent analysis, I was impressed. But then, I read the first comment, and, ...wow..."...Capitalism has always worked...capitalism + technology = lower prices for everything--everything....tulips, oil, dot-com, housing-energy will be next."
It's what we're up against- an almost religious belief that 'capitalism' trumps geology, trumps climatology, trumps physics. It's 'magical' thinking-- waiting for the 'invisible hand' to bring these prices down.
Can't reason with people that invest capitalism with supernatural powers. It's a stubborn belief.
My guess is 2008 we will have continued high prices and the cargo-cultists themselves won't lose credibility.
Gas prices will stay high and the capitalism-cultists will say the answer is obvious- "More Capitalism!!"

Yeah. The Easter Islanders' reaction to impending collapse was to build even bigger stone statues. I expect we'll do the same. When capitalism doesn't work, the solution will be more capitalism. Environmentalists, government regulations, and NOCs will get the blame for "not letting capitalism work."

Yes I seem to remember reading in one of Thor Heyerdahl's books that the biggest statue of all was one that was still not completely finished. This means they were in the process of making it when their society collapsed and the work stopped.

You're right, though I read it 40 years ago I do remember that. Thanks, that's a wonderful observation to bring up in this context.

I think we should all start building giant stone heads again. Not only would be every bit as useful as most of what we're doing, but it would be cool on so many levels.

I want one.

Hello Greenish,

What I think would be really cool would be the massive stockpiling of organic and inorganic NPK, grain reserves, strategic reserves of bicycles & wheelbarrows & canoes, and the building of massive SpiderWebriding canal networks as outlined in my prior postings.

Worship of vital biosolar mission-critical items will get us further down the decline path in a more optimal fashion than dancing around stone carvings.

Although, I will grant that carving heads in the likeness of failed postPeak politicians may serve a humanure recycling purpose. Recall my previous post on animal territorial boundary marking by urination and defecation; a good way to move nutrients far from polluting water sources.

Angry postPeakers might be willing to hike the extra mile to piss or poop on these designated 'shitheads'.

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

Hey there Bob.

I agree with you entirely. The reason for building stone heads would be in the nature of performance art. A reductio ad absurdum visual aid for those who are ironically impaired when it comes to perspective on our industrialized creation of clutter. Every stone head would get local and perhaps national press, and the message would be that we're on the same path as the Easter islanders. (whether or not it happened as Diamond said, it's a good meme-set).

If there were ever to be a peak oil mascot, he should have the classic stone-head features.

I don't personally have the excess energy to carve a stone head, so perhaps I'll just have "Look upon my works, ye mighty, and despair" silkscreened on my speedo.

VIRAL SUGGESTION: get stencils and start spray-painting easter island heads on SUV's in tacky-colored paint. (always obey local laws and secure permission from the owners beforehand).

Homer-Dixon found a temple likewise abandoned. If I remember, a piece of marble something like 450 tons. He discusses it in Upside.

The whole angle where the PTBs - and maybe society as a (w)hole - try every harder to do what doesn't work fascinates me. Even now one can see that the "solutions" being advanced in the mainstream only make things worse.

cfm in Gray, ME

I expect we'll do the same. When capitalism doesn't work, the solution will be more capitalism. Environmentalists, government regulations, and NOCs will get the blame for "not letting capitalism work."

Its likely to be the exact opposite: Socialism! When things get tough, politicians promise more handouts and more subsidies as a means to get elected. "Vote for me, and I will give everyone free food/gas/whatever, but you'll need to give me more authority so I can end corruption/other lame excuse for more centralized control"

This usually causes a transition away from free markets into centralized control which can lead to totalitarianism. The countries with the highest levels of socialism and central control are the first candidates to fall into Totalitarianism. I believe at least some of Europe will swing this way. I think the US will become decentralized as Washington remains a quagmire and states are force to pick up more an more responibilty as Washington falls to accomplish anything. Another words I expect the United States to become the Divided States of America.

This usually causes a transition away from free markets into centralized control which can lead to totalitarianism.

It could be argued, and many have argued, that rather than 'free markets' we now have centralized control where control is in the hands of large banks and multi-national corporations. This is a de-facto form of totalitarianism already and appears to me to be getting worse as economies weaken.

It never ceases to bother me how people continually ignore the fact that the arguably best societies to live in today in terms of quality-of-life measures such as health care, education, low crime rate, high standard of living, are societies that are a healthy mix of socialism, free markets and democracy. About 99% of the socialism bashing I've seen on the web is totally ignorant about the current state of socialism as it is actually practiced.

Yes, but I think that, like the happy motoring lifestyle, is a brief artifact of the Age of Oil.

I hate the whole happy motoring phrase. we get it, you don't like cars and mock the idea that we were stupid enough to drive them. you're above us.

happy motoring is not dead, it's just going electric. what makes you think we need to power our cars with gas? my computer doesn't need a gas tank. my cell phone doesn't need one. my tv doesn't need one.

future generations will look back and laugh at the ICE. they'll wonder why we used such an inefficient motor with such a dirty fuel. we read on our laptop computers about computers that used to take up a whole block.

Hardly. I own a car, and I drive it.

The phrase is Kunstler's. He's not just talking about cars. He's talking about our entire unsustainable society.

"He's talking about our entire unsustainable society."

the system will correct itself and become more sustainable. won't be pretty, but it will happen.

I agree that it will correct itself, and it may not be pretty.

I don't agree that it will become more sustainable. I fear very much that it will become less sustainable. How did we deal with the gasoline shortages after Katrina? We suspended environmental regulations, allowing more polluting gasoline.

I see a lot more of that in our future. Even if we somehow resist...what about Asia? Africa? South America? Already, they are building coal plants like crazy, because there's not enough oil and natural gas.

See, this is the problem I see with capitalism. Not all costs are accounted for. The costs to the environment are paid by everyone, including future generations....not by those who are earning the profits. So what incentive is there to pursue sustainability?

People like TechGuy will never get it.

They are totally immersed in the propaganda. He needs to read Naomi Wolfe's book, "Letter to a Young Patriot."

We are already living in a fascist state. The idea that more capitalism leads to more freedom is painfully ludicrous.

Let's list the capitalist fascists:

Chancellor of Germany
Prime Minister of Italy
Prime Minister of Japan
President of Taiwan
President of South Viet Nam
President of South Korea
President of Pakistan
President of Cuba
President of the Dominican Republic
Presidents-for-Life of Haiti
President of Brazil
President of Bolivia
President of Argentina
President-for-Life of Paraguay
President of Chile
Shah of Iran, King of Kings
President of Spain
Prime Minister of Portugal
Prime Minister of Greece
President for Life, Uganda
Prime Minister of Turkey
President of the Philippines
The Sultan of Brunei
Commander, Armed Forces of Fiji
President of Indonesia
General of El Salvador
Presidents of Nicaragua
President of Guatemala
President of Honduras
Chief of Defense Forces, Panama
President of Guatemala
President of El Salvador
Emperor of Ethiopia
Prime Minister of Rhodesia
President of South Africa
President of Liberia
President of Zaire
King of Morocco
President of Pakistan
Saudi Arabia

Well, I could actually go on for some time if I included all the American governors of foreign occupied lands throughout American history. You may also note that almost all of these fascist dictators came to power with the help of the United States. Aren't we just the best ol' bunch of Democracy spreadin'weasels what money can buy?

Ahhhhh. Can't ya smell the freedom. Kinda smells like, "SHUT THE F UP AND BUY SOME MORE USELESS STUFF."

It could be argued, and many have argued, that rather than 'free markets' we now have centralized control where control is in the hands of large banks and multi-national corporations. This is a de-facto form of totalitarianism already and appears to me to be getting worse as economies weaken.

Pure BS. You haven't got the foggiest idea what totalitarianism is like. If you think Socialism is so good, then please relocate to Cuba, Venzeula, or China. I am sure they'll welcome you.

I think when ET so offended you by talking of mixed economies having the highest quality of life, he was referring to Germany, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark or Canada, all but one America's NATO allies during the Cold War, and many of them with elected Socialist governments at times.

And if you think corporations running everything is freedom, then move to the McAllen Free Trade Zone, a NAFTA artifact created on the Mexican border consisting of nothing but shoddy factories for multinational corporations. I learned about in a case of a traffic fatality that became a lawsuit because dig it, the law in the Zone is made by a council of those corporations, with number of votes depending on how much money they have invested, and it seems these bastards never bothered to work out how their 18-wheelers were supposed to park on the narrow streets. A libertarian paradise, indeed.

The McAllen Free Trade Zone is the USA's plan for the Third World, but it probably is now doomed by China's cheaper, better educated workers who have more hope for a future not under foreign domination. Its form of governance, however, may have become Bush & Cheney's plan for the USA.

Canada has never had a socialist government. We have had, and still have, the occational provincial NDP government (socialism). Some have had no choice but to govern in the middle, others, like the NDP Ontario government of the 1990s was a dismal failure. They almost bancrupted the province and spent $100 billion more than they brought in in taxes and that's after they raised taxes to record highs. The following conservative government tried to fix things by slashing the socialist programs and spending and reduced taxes, but got blamed for making the mess in the first place!! How utter common for socialists.

Federally the Liberals are slightly left of centre. They campaign from the left, but govern once in power from the right. So they con the public into making them vote Liberal as being the "socialist" compassionate party of the left, but once in power they swtich sides and govern like true capitalists and pay lip service to the politicies they claim to represent (hence the all talk about climate change, but did nothing about it in 10 years allowing emissions to increase 30%)

So yes, we do have some social programs, like health care, but be very aware that these are not cheep. There is no free health care in Canada. 5 years ago the Ontario (Liberal) government increased personal taxes by $900 per person per year to help pay for ever skyrocketing health care in the province that consumes 45% of the provinces total budget and grows at 11% per year.

Now if they did not have to spend $11B each year on interest payments on the $120B debt the province racked up because of the NDP government, they would have more money to spend on social programs.

Bottom line to this argument is that a pure capitalist government (far right) and a pure socialist government (far left) don't work. What works is a balance. A middle ground and compromise. That's what we have in Canada and you will find the other sucessfull "socialist" governments in the world are that way too.

Jr: The NDP did very poorly in Ontario-OTOH they had a lot of help from the Three Stooges-John Crow, Brian Mulroney and Michael Wilson.

Not quite, though they did help. If that was so how come the other provinces did not do as bad?

Even Bob Rea, the turn-coat to the Liberals, has admitted his NDP policies were wrong. Hence his move to the Liberals.

"When things get tough politicians promise more handouts and more subsidies as a means to get elected. 'Vote for me and I will give everyone free food/gas/whatever...' "
Hmmm, in what country? Because it occurs to me that in this country politicians compete to make life ever more difficult for the poorest citizens. Have welfare benefits expanded or contracted? Unemployment and worker's comp programs? Has bankruptcy been made simpler and easier or made almost impossible?
My point is that in this country the politicians most passionate in their embrace of 'capitalism' are also those asking us to sacrifice liberty for 'security'.
But perhaps you see Sweden as a nascent Soviet Union. whatever.

The "poorest citizens" usually don't/can't vote...

"When things get tough, politicians promise more handouts and more subsidies as a means to get elected. "Vote for me, and I will give everyone free food/gas/whatever, but you'll need to give me more authority so I can end corruption/other lame excuse for more centralized control""

Actually, recent history has not shown that. What we've seen is the 'Politics of Fear'. Politicians constantly raise fearful images and then offer to protect the cowed populace if they are given votes and more power. This is a lot cheaper and easier for politicians than actually delivering on benefits for consumers. Besides, I don't recall politicians promising free anything. They do claim they can improve the economy so that you can get a job and earn consumer goods. Medicaid and Social Security are exceptions. Here the govt is acting as a very efficient insurance company (very low overhead).

I wonder if it is likely that any stone age culture would start off building huge statues and progressively build smaller ones.

Well, I'm not sure that the biggest Egyptian pyramid was the last one.

The Chinese terracotta warriors are an example of shrinking. They started out larger than life, but later models were 1/3 life size.

You could see that happening if they ran out of resources.

It didn't happen that way, because the statues were too important, but if they weren't, you could see it going that way.

Not giant stones: new bombs, new missile systems, new surveillance systems, new "detention centers" (what did they used to call them?) Giant stones wouldn't be all that terrible.

Capitalism must expand or die, and we know what happens in that model in a finite resource base. Any smart 10 year old will tell you it won;t work, but our classical economists believe in this superstition based system, where Capital is God, and The Free Market is the chosen path. We can do much better if imagination and skill are used,. If not, we will go the way of the 99% of species that are now extinct. Extinction is the norm.

The invisible hand (&trademark;) will take care of you. Right after it gets done slapping you silly.

More like the "Invisible Fist", with the help of the State (capitalism has never existed without a strong state to enforce it's rules, as it emerged in the Italian City States of the 15th century, to the global World Bank and IMF)--
When the State collapses, so will capitalism.
Of course, this probably will be a bit messy.

I agree. high oil prices will slap you in the face and say stop using so much oil. car pool. grow more of your own food. get a PHEV.

"It's what we're up against- an almost religious belief that 'capitalism' trumps geology, trumps climatology, trumps physics. It's 'magical' thinking-- waiting for the 'invisible hand' to bring these prices down.
Can't reason with people that invest capitalism with supernatural powers. It's a stubborn belief."

that's a rather misinformed view of capitalism. price takes into account all those you mentioned. when something gets scarce the price goes up, people use less of it and switch to something else or nothing at all.

higher oil prices greatly increased the MPG of cars in the 1970's. oil was phased out of the grid.

if capitalism isn't the solution we have a real big problem.

if you're a car company, rising gas prices mean you have to develop a car that uses gas more efficiently or else you won't sell cars anymore.

what you get is a $20,000 chinese PHEV that gets 100MPG.

what you get is the volvo recharge that gets over 100MPG and can travel as much as 60 miles on battery power alone.

that's twice what most people drive roundtrip for work.

if capitalism isn't the solution we have a real big problem.

Bingo. If capitalism was the solution, I doubt many of us would bother hanging out here in the first place.

I believe capitalism is the solution. higher gas prices=more efficient use of oil.

worked during the 1970's.

I believe capitalism is the solution.

Then why bother coming to this web site? There's nothing to worry about. Your online time is probably better spent on eBay or Second Life.

worked during the 1970's.

No it didn't. The '70s was just peak oil USA. We started using other people's oil, rather than our own. That won't work with the global peak.

Then why bother coming to this web site? There's nothing to worry about. Your online time is probably better spent on eBay or Second Life.

That's so not fair Leanan. So anybody who thinks that the free market could potentially solve renewable energy problems and create new transportation options is some sort of nut here and there time is better spent buying crap?

So anybody who thinks that the free market could potentially solve renewable energy problems and create new transportation options is some sort of nut

No. My point is the free market is what we are doing now. If you're confident that that's the solution, why hang out here? We're already doing what it will take to solve the problem. Nothing to see here, move along.

and there time is better spent buying crap?

No, silly. Selling crap. You can make a lot of money on eBay and Second Life. Isn't that what a good capitalist would do?

Leanan, how about this theory: For capitalism to stand a snowball's chance of addressing peak oil it needs to have the appropriate information. CERA and a lot of other groups seem to be obsessed with telling the market that the price signals we have seen over the last few years are abberations. Believers in market mechanisms who recognize the scale involved in replacing oil also recognize the need to raise peak oil awareness as we are out of time.

BTW, a belief in just in time tech isn't what I am advocating. I am advocating intelligent decisions about conservation, production / extraction and the apparently viable technologies we have in hand [rail, nukes, wind and solar if we can just keep chipping away at the cost.]

For capitalism to stand a snowball's chance of addressing peak oil it needs cradle-to-grave pricing of its products, and zero externalized costs. As the recent Bali negotiations have again illustrated, it's unlikely to happen in a manageable timeframe.

well, first of all, in relation to the '70's, I believe that CAFE standards had a little something to do with an improved market for fuel efficient vehicles, along with lowered speed limits.
Now, to illustrate your belief that capitalism is capable of responding to PO, you bring up as an example a Chinese PHEV that supposedly costs $20,000 and supposedly is capable of 100 mpg. (is that the best you can do?)
My response is basically that there is no way on God's green earth that any PHEV will be able to have a fraction of the utility and flexibility of today's ICE vehicles at any sort of mass-market price point using any present day technology.
Your asserting otherwise indicates to me, rather, a belief in some sort of divine agency. I'm sure that must be comforting.

"My response is basically that there is no way on God's green earth that any PHEV will be able to have a fraction of the utility and flexibility of today's ICE vehicles at any sort of mass-market price point using any present day technology."

you don't see how good a 100mpg car would be good? why wouldn't it have the utilty? it uses gas and electricity to get better MPG. it's perfect.

the chinese PHEV is just $20,000. many PHEVs would probably pay for themselves. we produce millions of cars, it's not going to be that hard to put batteries in them.

I do see how it would be good. I do see PHEV's as having an important niche application post-peak. I do see them dramatically increasing their market share.
But I also see that market as being a dramatically poorer market than today's car market, almost unimaginably so, due to the effects of PO.
To be clear, I think we are stuck with a basic capitalistic system for the duration-the 20th Century did clarify a few things for us.
But faith-based capitalism, this magical thinking that technological bounds are self-imposed and that all fuel sources are replaceable and substitutable , sorry, that's crap. Ethanol is not gasoline. Shale is not crude. Prototype PHEV's are not F-350's.
I think it was back in the '20's they had an expression, "Rain follows the plow." Because it seemed to.
Until it didn't anymore.

"this magical thinking that technological bounds are self-imposed and that all fuel sources are replaceable and substitutable , sorry, that's crap"

no it isn't. when the price of something goes up, in this case gasoline, people use it more efficiently. as the price of gas goes up, we'll see more and more hybrids and PHEVs because they use gas more efficiently. eventually we'll see electric cars. this is basic capitalism and supply and demand.

we can use electricity to power cars.

I'm sorry john15, but I think you're way optimistic on this one:

as the price of gas goes up, we'll see more and more hybrids and PHEVs

The price of gas has gone up dramatically. The market hasn't responded by purchasing more efficient machines but instead people are driving older ones that are paid off. That dynamic will continue until the price rises to the point where they can't drive them at all. Inflation in other areas such as food and heating/cooling expenses are also a component of the estimate.

Your statements seem to indicate you believe we'll have time to transition and no pain between now and then. Cantarell functionally goes away in twenty four to thirty six months. We don't have time for a slow migration. We're only going to need one season of crops rotting in the field due to diesel shortage before we're on a war footing with farmers getting to the head of the line no matter how much everyone else howls ... and that is the worst case. I fully expect some sort of policy change to ensure our food supply before it comes to that.

We can power cars with electricity. But cars are an artifact of the oil age and the oil age is over.

"The price of gas has gone up dramatically. The market hasn't responded by purchasing more efficient machines but instead people are driving older ones that are paid off."

It's amazing how people change their behavior when prices rise.

Buyers focus on fuel efficient cars

"Larger vehicles still sell, but it's the hybrids and other fuel efficient cars that have been going more quickly."

"But cars are an artifact of the oil age and the oil age is over."

the age of cars powered exclusively by gasoline is coming to an end. that's good because it's not as efficient as an electric motor.

the long transition resumes. for me the transition began in the 1970's.

As cars get more efficient, and the old ones truly wear out, we will see the gradual transition to them, until the capability of driving them, using any kind of energy derived from FF, makes even them impractical.

Having seen another post mentioning Kunstler, the title which has gotten him the most attention is called, after all, "The Long Emergency", and that is what it is. While things are not progresing as he would prescribe for us to avoid the pain, anguish, and mutual disaster, it is going to be long. But there is an end to it, and it will not be pretty. It will pay to get ready now, and do what you/we can to avoid as much of the problems as we may, whether in the realm of energy, CC/GW, financial disaster, food and fertilizer shortage, or whatever.

As for myself, while I am wearing the others out, I am hedging with a CNG vehicle to go with my bike and Rhoades Car, and dropping a few pounds as well.

I can't understand the thinking that electric or other more efficient personal transport will solve or ameliorate the overall or even our own personal PO problems.

What about all the utility vehicles, the vans and trailers towed by tradespeople. The small trucks for delivery and business. Where are the replacements for those. The trucks that deliver concrete, bricks and lumber and food products.
What about ambulances, fire engines, police cars and taxis. When they all stop running or just slow down the economy is for all intents and purposes, dead.

The focus should be on alternatives to what keeps us employed, not personal transport.

We won't need two cars per family and cars for pleasure, if we can't keep business, big and small viable.
We need the jobs and consumerism to maintain our way of life.

What will our need be for an electric cycle or car if we have no productive use for them?

As the price of gas goes up, you will see more and more people park them, unable to afford to drive them. People already upside down on their loans. People unable to make it in to work. Are these the people who will be rushing in to the dealerships?
I propose to you a simple exercise. Just go to an overpass over a major freeway (I have I-5 in mind, but they're all basically the same). Stand there for a few minutes and inventory the flow, from the particular to the general and back.
Now. Be honest. Can you truly envision a seamless transition to an electric powered vehicle fleet ?
If you can, then that, I would submit, is the power of faith over reason.

"As the price of gas goes up, you will see more and more people park them, unable to afford to drive them. People already upside down on their loans. People unable to make it in to work. Are these the people who will be rushing in to the dealerships?"

if people park them, I guess they aren't so important after all, right? they are just a function of the low cost of gasoline. not everyone is upside down on their loans. gasoline is still only about 3% of people's income. if oil is as important as people say then they won't park them. if they do park them, voila, there is your demand destruction. there is your post PO transition.

those that want to drive will trade in their cars for a more fuel efficient one. maybe one with an ICE. maybe a hybrid. maybe a PHEV. replacing your ICE very soon will be like replacing your furnace. it practically pays for itself. it's hedge against a rise in gasoline prices. say you bought a car that saves you $1800/year for $25,000. that's a 7% return and it just gets better if prices keep going up.

I never said it would be pretty, someone set that straw man up.

Faulty assumptions in a world with credit blowing apart. Sorry, but one dimensional analysis doesn't work in a complex world.

the world is more complex than credit is blowing apart. some can borrow. some can pay cash. houses are selling. cars are selling. they aren't selling as much but that's the point.

Capitalism is the fundamental economic relationship between humans. It's been there ever since the first man chipped more spear points than he could use or the first woman dug up more roots than she could eat. Capital comes from all the extra that humans can (and want to) produce. It is the essence of cooperation and everything that is good about people.

Disagree. You're talking about trade. That will always be around.

Capitalism is not trade. And the difference is charging interest. That is what makes an economy dependent on infinite growth. Islam permits commerce, but does not allow usury.

No, I'm not talking about trade. I'm talking about productivity, the ability to produce more than you need. That is the fundamental of capitalism. That's what allows saving and investing.

I enjoy the various icons people on this Site use such as SUV and McMansion, etc. But the quintessential icon for the American Consumer has to be the Public Storage Unit for the McMansion owner who needs the extra space.

I would still say that is not capitalism.

Usury was frowned upon in the ancient world, and not because they looked down on productivity. It was because the burden of paying interest was very heavy in a steady-state economy. And because such an economy could not support many people who didn't produce actual goods. (For example, "money-changers," who acquired wealth but didn't actually produce anything tangible to get it.)

The ability to produce more than you need...I'd call that agriculture, not capitalism. I would also argue that it was not necessarily a good thing for humanity. Agriculture - basically growing grain, since it can be stored - is great for the wealthy, but not for everyone else. Jared Diamond argues that agriculture is the worst mistake in the history of the human race.

Before agriculture, the way people "invested" a surplus was to share it with their neighbors. Most foods do not keep long, and money, jewelry, etc., don't mean much if there's not enough food to go around. So the best thing you could do with a surplus was to invest it in your neighbor's goodwill. There would then be a good chance that they would share with you, when they had plenty and you did not.

Agriculture changed that. It made hoarding possible. And the previously egalitarian societies of our hunter-gatherer past became much less so.

I'm not arguing we can or should go back to that. I seriously doubt it's possible, for one thing. But "productivity" is not a universal good. Far from it.

I have a hard time equating agriculture with producing Clovis spear points. Agriculture has to do with the production of foodstuffs.

To me, capital is the excess of production that you don't need for your own consumption. Of course, when you mix in the notion of money, the system can become wildly complicated (and corrupted when the government gets involved).

Sorry leanan I had trouble getting into my troll armor (too much xmas cheer).

OK, now.... I got your back leanan.

You take the smarter one and I will run... I mean dispense the other.


Get thee behind me as I pass gas in your general direction you Capitalist swine!


You should keep this handy for posting warnings, souperman2 :-0


You are misinformed. Capitalism emerged first in the Italian States of the 15th century, and only really took of with the industrial revolution in Europe.
The concept of ownership of the means of production, with extraction of profit through the relation of user versus exchange value is a very recent economic relationship that will possibly soon end as it crashes into resource limitations that limit a system built on expansion for survival.
But it is a good narrative to believe, as it makes life simple---

I feel the biggest problem with the current model of capitalism is the legal concept of the corporation as an immortal person with all the rights of a real person and the money and power to escape the constraints a living person would confront. Also, the modern corporation has the legal obligation, articulated by the supreme court, to pursue profit for its shareholders above every other value. This construct of the corporation is, I believe, the source of most current economic problems.

Captialism works great in theory for the production and exchange of pure private goods, as long as there is a level playing field of many buyers and many sellers, no monopolies or monopsonies, and absolutely no externalities. Unfortunately, this does not describe any place that has ever actually existed in the real world. It could work well in a computer simulation, I suppose.

Capitalism is totally inappropriate and dysfunctional when applied to the provision of public goods, toll goods, or common pool goods. The quasi-religious application of capitalism to these sectors has a lot to do with a lot of the problems that have been discussed on this thread.

Let's be blunt:
"We Have a big problem"

European petrol is heavily taxed. What do you think the price is before taxes?

Yeah - You know about another way to reduce consumption?

Reduced economic activity is a very effective means of reducing oil consumption.


While we might discuss what "economic activity" truly means, I could make a strong case that this does not apply in the US. The vast majority of the manufacturing base has been shipped abroad, and I would argue that manufacturing is true economic activity, but oil consumption has not decreased by any meaningful measure. Replacing manufacturing with burger flipping will not hold for long.

Perhaps "available funds" is a better indicator than "economic activity", and those have been procured to a large extent by borrowing and leveraging the past ten years. This society has for that period artificially separated both the individual's and society's economic productivity and the respective purchasing powers.

And that of course leads to harsh predictions for a future in which borrowing and leveraging are no longer possible. Where individual Americans will get the money from to spend on oil or much of anything else, is completely unclear. As is where society will find the funds to maintain its infrastructure.

where will we get the money? is our $10 trillion dollar economy going somewhere?

is our $10 trillion dollar economy going somewhere?

It very well might. If you've read anything by Ilargi, you'd know that that is a big concern of his.

Wealth doesn't just change hands. It can disappear, and the mortgage crisis is showing us that. And it could be just the tip of the iceberg.

And to repeat a great link from yesterday, here's an excellent primer from Market Ticker about where it can "go."


Ol' KD knows the score but he and NoThing hurt sensibilities around here. LOL.

No Thing? Who's that? And why will TOD sensibilities be hurt?

She posts on the Ticker board sometimes. Super smart. If you read around the board you figure it out.

How can I find No Thing's posts? Please give me a link. Thanks.

You sort of have to look around HERE

May have to register to access all areas.

Thank you.

"where will we get the money? is our $10 trillion dollar economy going somewhere?"

Bank of America is about to anounce layoffs amounting to (about) 10% of it's workforce. Every major homebuilder (Lennar, NVR, Hovnanian), you know, the business that has pretty much propelled the US economy with absolutely ridiculous, insane and unsustainble development/real estate prices over the past 5 years...post increasing losses every quarter. Chrysler is 'functionally bankrupt.'
A job with decent health insurance is an increasingly rare find, and the Ponzi scheme that is the Wall Street has developed a serious jones for other country's money(Singapore, Dubai, China) to inject large amounts of capital to keep the whole thing floating.

Gee, I wonder where our 10 trillion dollar economy could possibly go? By the way, I got a bridge in Minneapolis I could sell you for cheap. It's a little bit of a fixer upper, but I'm certain a man of your vision and insight could make a mint off it.

SubKommander Dred

so our GDP is going to contract 90%?

yup, and you'll be john 1,5


The economy stands at $13,675,129 million (IMF, retrieved 2007-06-17). So it's even better than you thought. Or is it?

The US borrows well over $2 billion a day from abroad, somewhere betwixt $800-900 billion per year. In 2005-6, refinancing of mortgages (MEW) provided close to $1 trillion annually in added consumer spending. We're already half way towards losing the difference between your $10 trillion and the real amount. And if we get back down to $10 trillion, there will no longer be a US economy in the sense that we know it in now. The growth system does not function in reverse. The remaining $2 trillion will be more than supplied by crashing stocks, derivatives, bank write-downs etc.

Note then, also, that you ignore what I wrote. The US doesn't make things anymore, it just buys them. But for that you need money, and to get the money, you have to make things.

Can it be simpler?

"The US doesn't make things anymore, it just buys them."

I know the US manufacturing base has been hollowed out and we need billions of dollars. we also have record exports. capitalism doesn't need growth. it needs a balance of growth and recession. growth and depression. boom and bust.

capitalism doesn't need growth.

The whole premise behind capitalism is that investment produces positive results. When investment produces negative results we see what has been happening here for the last eighteen weeks - credit markets completely frozen.

Given that energy will be increasingly dear all of those treasured "economic indicators" are just a fancy version of the chicken's entrails - don't read too much into them, as our consumption is going to forcibly shrink and any assumptions to the contrary are pure foolishness.

The only thing that counts now is consumable calories and usable BTUs. We need water, food, and shelter, in that exact order, and systems that don't support these three priorities in exactly that order are doomed.

"The whole premise behind capitalism is that investment produces positive results. When investment produces negative results we see what has been happening here for the last eighteen weeks - credit markets completely frozen."

I read over and over again about boom and bust dynamics. if something is unsustainable in a capitalist economy it corrects itself. we call those recession and depression. the housing market is too unsustainable and it's in a massive correction mode. as gas becomes more and more expensive using gas as we use it today will stop. this will be somewhat painful but it isn't the end of the world. we will find new ways of doing things. we use so much gas not because it's indispensible but because it's cheap. when it isn't cheap anymore we switch. example.

"Cotton is a good way to buy oil-- hear me out. Much apparel has been made from synthetics. Synthetics come from oil. So many textile makers are converting back to natural fibers because oil is at an all-time high. So if you want to buy oil, buy sugar [because it is easy to turn into ethanol], or buy cotton. What I'm buying right now is agriculture."


corrections, recessions and depressions are normal in capitalism. Lenin or Stalin, I forget which, thought the Great Depression was the end of captitalism. kondratiev proved otherwise. he proved boom bust was what capitalism was all about.

Around $100 per barrel wholesale for petrol, but the point is that the demand for petroleum products in Europe is still quite high, even at $300 per barrel plus at the retail level.

Could you please translate these number into estimates of the price of gasoline in todays dollars?

Drawn to an Island Life, and Seeing the Cost in Every Price Tag

“It was an entirely emotional decision,” said Mr. Rosenthal, who with his wife and his brother also acquired a Vineyard nightclub, Outerland, two years ago and began to learn at first hand about the ups and downs of the island’s seasonal economy. “If we crunched the numbers, we might not have done it. But I couldn’t imagine working in a 50-story building for the rest of my life, and we loved how we felt on the island.”

But like other islanders around the world, the Rosenthals found that their paradise came at a price. Island chambers of commerce and commissions estimate that the costs of products on islands can run from 25 percent to as much as 60 percent higher than those in nearby mainland cities, mostly because of added shipping expenses. And island services are often more expensive and sometimes exasperatingly slower in delivery than new islanders expect.

That’s not all: salaries are generally lower, and then throw in the expense of taking a ferry or plane back to the rest of the world.

WT, there was some discussion on Drum Beat yesterday about planning for the future and what strategies various posters on this site are formulating.
I dont believe that choosing an island, especially the 'flat atoll' type or the 'little beach with volcanic mountains' type is a good idea for long term survival.
I am working on a new biz model for those wishing a franchise that has survivability as its core purpose with profit and fun as a secondary consideration...I have roughed out the model and it has a working title...'Pirates and Traders of the Intercoastal'...Think Jean Lafitte...Or, Johnny Depp :)

A short synopsis of what the costs and benefits would be for the franchisee...

For a nominal fee, payable only in gold, the franchisee would receive:
A fully converted pleasure sailing yacht rigged for carrying cargo. 45-85 ft in length with centerboard for shallow draft and small auxillary diesel. Sans title.
Rights to operate in a certain section of the intercoastal and to sea through one of the many inlets.
Rights to one of the many 'spoil islands' created by dredging for the intercoastal.
A 'letter of marque' addressed to the US Coast Guard explainging all rights of the franchisee.

Since this biz model is a work in progress I will gladly take under advisement all suggestions posters may submit. Disclaimer: The legality of this entire enterprise depends entirely on the state of the union. I do not recommend this franchise to the faint of heart...or those that sunburn easily.

Happy New Year To All!


First off, if you haven't already, you need to read The new age of sail by Dmitry Orlov.

ilargi, try 'Coasting Captain' by Capt. Leonard Tawes. Wow, I paid $6 for this book when it was originally published, now its $50!...And, $65 on Amazon! Tawes is from Chrisfield Md, and the book is from his actual logs. This book is the real deal, how it was really done, not someones idea of how its going to be.


Once, long ago and far away, I owned a marine engine shop in a marina on the Chesapeake Bay. We sold power and sail and so did several nearby marinas. We used to race J 24s on weekends. I had a 31 Bertram that I kept in Ocean City spring/summer and fished sail fish tournaments. Marina owned a 22 Mako that we used for fishing the Chesapeake...Back when there were still lots of Stripe Bass running. People now days dont have a clue what it was like back then...and, there was boucoup money to be made. If I had the time I would get paid well for shuttling boats to south Fl in the fall and back north in the spring. It was tough but someone had to do it. :)

Just a reminder that it now appears likely that in just a few decades, sea levels will already have risen to the point that the present intercoastal waterway will need to be completely re-engineered -- if that is even possible by that time. Don't make long-term plans for ANYTHING within 50 miles or so of the coasts being as they are now.

You miss the beauty of this opportunity. Boats are very mobile and as water rises so do the boats. There will always be islands. Ports will always be located near the mouths of navigable rivers or where there is access to deep water abuting land with shelter from the sea.
So you see, this is a portable franchise.

I'm intrigued, but a bit worried about the vulnerability of this franchise to general economic downturns. If no one's using the intercoastal waterways (or whatever replaces them after the water level goes up), what happens to my revenue?

Do you envision some sort of exchange program, where I could move the location of my franchise to follow the traffic? I also wonder if this model could be extended inland to rivers (the "robber baron in a castle" model) and for that matter to bridges (the "troll under the bridge" approach).

this is a portable franchise.

I'm sure the pun was not intended, right? ;-)

I would go long on the executive recruiters for the personnel needed to hang on to said vessels and letters of marque .... and on the providers of "hardware" for said vessels.

Pretty much like the late 70's and early 80's, eh?
River, the slow motion post PO sail version of Don Aronow?

I'm dumb, I have no idea how the cookie is going to crumble, so I might have a few alternate scenarios all laid out and mothballed.


A guy at po.com was big on life on the ocean wave: How about Sea-Steading? My only advice was to watch out for the Smokers.

He started about three different topics on this, too. Not quite the same as going about in your dhow or junk. You'll want to get some shanties under your belt if you're going that route (course?):

A is for the Anchor that lies at our bow,
B is for the Bowsprit an' the jibs all lie low,
Oh! C is for the Caps'n we all run around,
D is for the Davits to low'r the boat down.

Sooo! merrily, so merrily, so merrily sail we,
There's no mortal on earth like a sailor at sea,
Blow high or blow low! as the ship sails along,
Give a sailor his grog an' there's nothing goes wrong!

In some ways, those of us living in mountainous regions are in a similar situation. Isolation also exacts a price on us.

Double-edged sword, Isolation.
If you can pick an isolated area that has enough productivity to feed and house your people, then the boundaries might be what saves you. Ideally, you're not absolutely Cut-off, but you have a protected perimeter, and yet can still export and import tradegoods.

Strong Fences make good neighbors..? Take that NAFTA.


Bob - That's not how I read WNC's comment but rather that stuff costs more in the boondocks. Years ago in my mountianous area, "the truck" only came once a week on Thursdays. If you needed a part on Wednesday and the store disn't have it, you had to wait until the next week or drive to another town to see if they had what you wanted.

And, since everything was trucked in, the price was/is always higher. There isn't any of that going to the Big Box store for a lower price. For me, the nearest small box store is a 60 mile drive each way. The really big box stores are about 120 miles each way. It always strikes me funny when city people think that rural living is cheaper. Bullroar!


PS When we had a local food co-op, the truck only came once a month.

It always strikes me funny when city people think that rural living is cheaper. Bullroar!

Yeah. After getting over the initial flush of 'back to the land' idealism in the early 70s, my wife and I discovered this as well. Rural living can be cheaper only if a critical number of critical needs are met by personal or localized production. This seems to have been the vast exception with most younger folks moving to rural areas.

My 1st marriage split up, leaving my ex on the farm, selling real-estate to make a living, and me back to town to make another career. With a new mate, living in town for a few years, we found ourselves bringing vegetables from our backyard garden to our rural friends who didn't have time to garden because they were too busy commuting to distant jobs.

It's tough figuring out how to have your cake and eat it too.

Maybe I should have said 'Mixed Blessing'..

Yes, I recognize that imports become more expensive and more precious, sometimes less or unavailable. Did I say otherwise? Right now, even most of our households operate on a JIT Inventory system, and without imports, the whole system can fall apart.

I'm just suggesting that if you can fend for your basic needs with an area's resources, then the isolation can have benefits as well. If transp fuels start making more areas increasingly isolated, some will probably find that they can support their populations, while other cut-off areas will quickly show their shortcomings and, ahem, fade out. If that fadeout DOES include civil unrest and brigandry, then the isolation may be a lifesaver. Your mileage may vary.. very.

But don't let me undermine your opportunity to take a poke at us dumb cityfolk.


Right now, even most of our households operate on a JIT Inventory system, and without imports, the whole system can fall apart.

That's so true. Going to shops everyday to fill the fridge with 24h worth of food.

In other words we live in a world that is three meals away from anarchy.

Wonder what the sweet spot for small towns would be - just the right size, in other words. I've always figured around 3K tops. In a rural setting you could feed that many off local farms, and your basic modern amenities would be there as well. Also not such a monstrous amount that you'd never get far trying to prep people - I'd guess. All a big WAG but I agree all the way with JHK that for most of us small towns are the place to be.

Bob - Well, I certainly wasn't taking a poke at you or anyone else. But, City people have this unrealistic expectation that one can sort of live off the land.

In my area, there are two kinds of residents: Those that have been here for quite a while and stock everything up the whazoo and the "new people" who mostly came here to grow dope - which is now probably 1/3 of the population. Those folks will be gone pronto when it hits the fan.

The idea of stocking up has sort of gone out of the American vocabulary. But here, where it is a major inconvenience to drive "to town", one naturally keeps a lot of stuff on hand. This not only includes food but also just "stuff" like plumbing parts, engine oil and on and on. I think our moto would be, "Why buy just one when five is better." A good example is something as simple as nails. Why buy a few nails when you can buy a 50# box? You're going to use them eventually and they don't go bad.

This stocking up goes for tools too. I bought a couple of spoke shaves a few weeks ago. Not because I needed them but because I can think of things I might eventually need them for and they might be unavailable.

Ain't life fun?


That was very much the mindset of my grandparents at well. They lived down a long dirt road in remote valley of West Virginia. Grandad was a coal miner/ Jack of All Trades sort, Granma grew a huge garden and canned the veges for winter storage. They both had hard lives by todays standards, but with lots of free labor (my aunts and uncles totaled 9) they were able to keep both the farm and garden running. It was a very difficult life (grandad almost died in a mine accident, one of my uncles died of diptheria when he was still a kid) and I don't mean to romantatise it, but when I think of a way of living that is sustainable that pretty much what I envision. And they NEVER through anything out. Engine parts, oil cans, feed sacks...they were able to improvise and make so many things they needed. And yes, Grandad did have several #50 boxes of nails he had aquired over the years. You are right. They might rust a bit but if you keep them high and dry they never go bad.

SubKommander Dred

Read that article with interest as a friend is a past resident of Hawaii and is kinda, sorta thinking about going back.

It's interesting to speculate about Hawaii, I can make a case for it going a number of ways. (I live on Oahu at the moment).

Oahu is, to my paranoid eye, almost a perfect famine trap under 'crash' circumstances. Little food stored, little grown on the island, population quite dense.

On the other hand, it may be a useful military base on a continuing basis for sea power, in which case as long as the USA is extant it might keep basic stuff flowing.

Being on an outer isle like the big island could be alright, particularly if you stored some fertilizer pre-crash. But that island already is far behind in some ways - all the doctors are leaving. Once cheap interisle jet travel goes away, there will be increasingly separate cultures on Hawaii and Oahu.

In one way, these islands will be terribly isolated. I suppose in another way, they will be less isolated than many other places, since they're accessible by large boat from anywhere. That raises the question of whether there will BE large boats full of cargo plying the seas, or whether cargo will stay at home.

Increasingly the latter, I think.

Land is cheap now on the big isle in Puna. Any doctors out there who'd like a free homestead? I'll give you a place to build and farm...

I never have thought that living on the side of an active volcano sounded like a very good plan. . .

The odds of being engulfed by lava in Puna during a human lifetime are, I'd estimate, about ten billion times less than the odds of being killed by peak oil societal collapse.

Indeed, if you could factor that "6 billion dead" into the actuarial charts for the coming century, a lot of odds would take on a new perspective.

By the time lava rolls into Puna, it's moving at only several feet per hour. It would take a very determined suicide to manage to get under it, except in a big mauna loa eruption.


and then throw in the expense of taking a ferry or plane back to the rest of the world.

The bigger concern is that eventually the plane or ferry stops coming.

I actually live on an island close to the English mainland Isle of Wight

All what was said about the higher costs of island life is correct. However, islands have certain advantages in an age of high transport costs. Transport by water is far cheaper than the alternatives - once economies are organized differently.

A look at the history books will reveal that the Mediterranean was the highway of the Roman Empire. In a similar way, the Baltic and parts of the North Sea were the link of the Hanseatic League. Also, near here, we had the Cinque Ports

It really does not take a lot to imagine that the USA will one day revert to being a country where the wealth will concentrate on the coasts as well as the large inland lakes and waterways.

Yeah, but where will the coasts be?

Most of this island is over 20 metres high. I would not recommend the Dutch coastal islands though.

I was talking about the US. We're such a young country, and we've built so much in harm's way.

Yeah, but the Oylund is pretty damned nice.

Hollyday-ed there last summer.

During the week it did not rain :-)

RE: 2008, a Year of Petroleum Exuberance

Do I detect a hint of an early April Fool story?
The writer must have found an fresh supply of Sarcanol.

E. Swanson

"...those people foolish enough to believe that a nonrenewable resource is eventually exhaustible...."

Kinda hard to believe that a WaPo staffer is saying this with a straight face - it's self-evidently the opposite of truth.

Regards Chris

Actually I think the Post has it but the exuberance won't last the whole year, even tho the PTB will be trying very hard to steady the course until mid-november when a "Hard to Starboard" order might have to be given. In the first part of the year the "party on dude" call will be strong. I am struck by their positive presentation of you extreemists who moderate TOD and we wackos who read your great work. They subtly planted the idea that peak-oilers are going to be unfairly vilified. The MSM has reached the point of having someone sit behind home plate and hold up a big yellow "Peak Oil" sign while letting the camera linger on it slightly with no comment. By season's end the post game interviews may well have bits about how the winning pitcher bought a Prius and the Governers meeting is discussing "regional" schedules to reduce travel.
Leanan, I have always admired a woman with a great search-bot. Keep up the good work for 2008.

I googled [Warren Brown Washington Post] and read several articles by him. He is the Cars Columnist for the Post. It is my opinion that he is deadly serious with this article despite the obvious contridiction of this statement:

Peak-oil theorists, those people foolish enough to believe that a nonrenewable resource is eventually exhaustible, will be vilified as alarmists.

Think about it. Perhaps 90 percent of the population believes the exact same thing. No, Brown is serious, not joking. Bjorn Lomborg and Julian Simon were also serious when they made very even more absurd statements.

At $40 a barrel (less than one-third above the current world price), shale oil can supply oil for the next 250 years at current consumption. And all in all there is oil enough to cover our total energy needs for the next 5,000 years.
- Bjorn Lomborg, The Skeptical Environmentalist, Page 135

Ron Patterson

I think it's pretty obvious sarcasm - what else could it be the way it is written? To back this up, there is an article here with quotes confirming Warren Brown is peak oil aware:


You are correct Martinw. After reading those Energy Bulletin articles it is obvious. But it was obvious ONLY after reading those articles. I don't think it was obvious from the article posted here today, though most peak oil aware folks saw the sarcasm I was looking at it from how the average man in the street would have taken it. I simply do not think it would be obvious to the masses reading the hard copy edition of The Washington Post.

Ron Patterson

The WaPo editors really do need to start inserting emoticons into their articles to clue readers in when writers are employing satire.


we will be vilified as alarmists - by fools who will then jump from bridges and shoot themselves.

From "2007 A Year of Recognition" uptop:

"The average item on a supermarket shelve has logged 1500 miles to get there".

It's those ethanol powered trucks that are causing rising food prices.

Sarcasm off.

I'm seeing more trains with flat cars that are nothing but semi-trailer units.From ports or large warehouses trailers are loaded for a specific area then loaded on rail and dropped to maybe cover a 75-100 mile radius.I would guess this is a good time saving and fuel saving move.

The average item in my supermarket cart has probably logged less than a couple hundred miles to get there.

I'm not a full-fledged "locavore", but I am actively trying to identify and patronize the closest possible sources of supply. The Pareto principle undoubtedly applies: you can get about 80% of what you need from local (or at least regional -- for me that means the SE US) sources with 20% of the effort, while it takes an additional 80% more effort to become 100% full-fledged locavore. I've decided to settle for 80% right now.

Having spent the holidays in a variety of places over the last couple of weeks, I have to say that I find the lack of walkability in some area to be extremely frustrating. One old suburban place I stayed was only 2 miles from the wonderfully walkable downtown area, but it would take over 3 miles in a fairly circuitous route to get there by foot.

Many streets don't even have sidewalks and those that do just seem to lead in circles around the development.

The nearest cluster of stores was over a mile away and were surrounded by oceans of parking...

Does anyone have any good examples of local areas increasing physical interconnectivity for getting to destinations by foot?


This is a New Urbanism community (about five years old) between Dallas & Fort Worth north of a commuter rail line and just south of a planned light rail line. Elementary, Junior HIgh and a High School are all within walking distance.

However, in most areas, this design would be illegal because of zoning restrictions.

Thanks for the link the houses in the picture are like the ones built in the 1900 time frame.Those will give rise to the ranch style house again in a few yrs.In my 40 yrs or so working around construction and home maintenance as a pup in the 60's and 70's home owners talked of helping Dad paint those huge old boxes and moving those 40ft extension ladders and they wanted something they could take care of off an 8ft step.And as commodity prices rise the upkeep will take care of the spare change in life.Lessons lost?

In the long run, the house will be below grade with a solar panel array on top. Zoning will have line of solar laws. But in the short run we will do it somewhat less stupidly for a while.

Where I live there is a contest to see who can have the most intricate roofline with the most dormers and gratuitous geegaws. Oh, and STEEEP. Roofers nightmares. I can see the steep roof for solar retrofit, but facing North? We're probably still two or three rebuild cycles away from practicality and cooperative thinking.

In my neighborhood, we use aluminum scaffolding for outside repairs on 2 and 3 story homes. No more tall ladders.

Best Hopes for Improved Technology.


My Uncle Art used a 40ft ladder at age 82.
My colleague Debbie used a 40 at age 55, 130#
and doing chemo.
Who's a survivalist?

We all are in our wonderful Empire where we are all so happy, that we don't need sissy things like retirement and healthcare!

They built something similar to this in Charleston, SC in a place called Daniel Island. On the island/development you really don't need a car. Only problem is, the only way in or out is via car onto an elevated beltway.


New efficient bulb sees the light

A new type of super-efficient household light bulb is being developed which could spell the end of regular bulbs.

You know over xmas I was watching HGTV and they were going around the US looking at crazy xmas displays. At the end of each segment they would ask the guy what their increase in electric bill was, for most it was about 1 grand for the month. One woman had a similiar display, except should used entirely LEDs, her bill only 30$ more for the month!!! It was pretty telling for me, we really could see a 90% reduction in energy used for lighting from the widespread use of LEDs, thats a lot extra energy for the grid to supply PHEVs!!!

And then there are all the electronic goods that always stay on unless you actually pull the plugs. TVs, Stereos, Computers, not turning the heat down at night and when your not around. I wonder how much one could actually conserve?

Jevon's Paradox at work.

Nice try.

I don't think it fits 'the paradox' if the uses added through efficiency gains like LEDS are ultimately culling vehicles off the Naptha tit. Net Gain for both changes.

I don't buy an argument that suggests that we'll just end up driving more to get up to the same amount of energy consumed. The energy ain't there, but people will drive if they can. When they can't, or see a little ways ahead that they can't, THEN they'll start looking for optional routes.

I'm using some LED's this year, I think my total consumption is about 30-40 watts.. but I'll have to apologize to Jeavon that I didn't just add enough strings to get up to the same wattage as I had with incandescents.

I am still using two strings of Incandescents, which are on separate dimmers and on a Kill-a-watt meter, just to see how much they range. (Full power, 81watts. Both Strings 'Ghosting', 10watts, One String Ghosting, just the tree, 5 watts)

Paradox, or Conundrum?

As our species keeps growing and increasing the unintended consequences from a globally interactive system of unmanageable complexity, our energy and resource draw from a finite planet will necessarily increase.

The energy you save using LEDs will get eaten up somewhere else to fuel growth, not necessarily by you, or by your specific light usage.

"The energy you save using LEDs will get eaten up somewhere else to fuel growth..."

But Correlation is not Causation. Whether you drop your usage (and Utility bills) or not, the rest of the energy-consuming world will be growing or declining as it will. But this argument is Tiresomely brought up with the suggestion that there's no benefit in conservation or efficiency. 'Well it's just going to get burned anyway'.. come on! In other words, you're not creating increased usage elsewhere BECAUSE you have cut down.

As is said about the reserves argument.. it's not how much energy there IS, it's all about flow.

FWIW...my sister bought some solar-powered LED Christmas lights for her new house.

She was disappointed in how bright they were. (Not very.) So she went out and bought some more.

Well the lady on the HGTV show with the LED's house was lit up like vegas.

Yes, a blind belief in technology! will save us from doom... (or at least having to think about it).

Seriously, LEDs, just like all technologies, obey the laws of physics, and even more so the nasty engineering 'Laws' of compromises for diminishing returns.

The main problem is that the actual LED chip is very small. Light coming out from such a small point source is not ideal for most lighting situations. The light coming off the flat surface of the chip is also highly directional. Even the most common LED-component needs a large (relative to the chip) plastic lense in front of it. And that's not enough for general lighting. To get a 180 degree cone you'd need a very large and inefficient lense. Compare this to incandecents and flourecents which have effectively 360 degree pattern and actually benefit from a reflector.

Also, thermal management is problematic because you have to get the heat out from that tiny space. With a single high power chip you are limited by the cooling requirements for the chip and the efficiency and life-span suffer as the operating temperature goes up. A simple flourecent tube produces massive amounts of even light in all directions. Modules and strips with multiple low power chips cannot compete with flourecents tubes in efficiency (light production per watt) and are very expensive.

Recently I did some research on replacing the RF-shielded flourecent tubes in our faraday chamber with LED lighting. To get the same amount of light on the working surfaces as with the two 56W full lenght fluorecent tubes, I would have to cover the ceiling with 60 high power LED modules. The cost was just ridiculous and the LEDs would actually consume over 300W of power. We weren't concerned with the cost though, but the spectra of the LEDs was just too narrow compared to the over 90 spectral index of the flourecents.

Here's an idea: insulate your house! Then all the electricity you consume with all your bulbs and gadgets goes into helping you heat the house! It's thermodynamics! Obey the Laws, or perish!

I don't usually watch TV except for news and sports, but this morning, the juxtaposition of the two top stories was just too bizarre. ("Patriots stay perfect" and "Pakistan unable to stem violence.") So I flipped over to TVLand and watched an episode of Leave It Beaver (which I've heard much about, but never seen).

The Cleavers are clearly a well-off family. They don't worry about money. They go out to eat, and little Beaver orders two shrimp cocktails and two desserts with his meal, and the parents aren't at all concerned about the bill.

But they only have one car. When Mrs. Cleaver needs the car, she drives hubby to work and picks him up at the end of the day. And the two kids share a room. It just looks so odd to me to see a teenaged boy and little boy sharing a room. These days, you'd expect kids with that much of an age difference to have separate rooms, at least in a middle class family.

This was only 50 years ago.

Part of the Leave it to Beaver lifestyle will return, with one person staying home and limited transportation options, but almost all of it can be seen as the Hollywood American myth.

China/India still thinks that we live that way, and wants to have that lifestyle, even if in reality we can no longer afford it ourselves.

Yes, even that level of affluence was a myth, at least according to Stephanie Coontz:

The golden age of the American family never existed, asserts Coontz (The Social Origns of Private Life) in a wonderfully perceptive, myth-debunking report. The "Leave It to Beaver" ideal of breadwinner father, full-time homemaker mother and dependent children was a fiction of the 1950s, she shows. Real families of that period were rife with conflict, repression and anxiety, frequently poor and much less idyllic than many assume; teen pregnancy rates in the '50s were higher than today. Further, Coontz contends, the nuclear family was elevated to a central source of personal satisfaction only in the late 19th century, thereby weakening people's community ties and sense of civic obligation.

She found that even in the '50s, most women had to work. The June Cleaver fantasy was what many aspired to, but only a certain segment of society achieved.

I lived in the suburbs in the 50's. I graduated Class of '57.

The above excerpt (within the box) its false. In my suburban neighborhood none of the housewifes worked. There was little visible strife.
Children shared bedrooms since most houses were only two bedrooms.

If you got a girl pregnant back then , then you married her.
That was the reason for teen pregnancies. Married life was good back then. I enjoyed my earlier life on the farm more but the suburb lifestyle was very nice. Little crime. Children could go anywhere. Even ride bikes to school or walk a mile or two. No school buses. Most schools were neighbor types.

Coontz apparently was not there. She has it wrong.

This was north St. Louis county. Near the bedroom community of many auto factories and McDonnell Aircraft.

Men had well paying jobs and good union benefits.

I found life and the culture very satisfying thru the 60's,and 70's but starting with the early 80's it all went to hell and then accelerated to what we have today.

A cacophony of sheer madness.

I would truly hate to be a youngster today.

And my observation was that in the 50s most women did NOT have to work.

I lived in a neighborhood of about 80 brick suburban houses, one development but surrounded by more. I visited many of those families as we all played together.

Later in the suburbs children no longer 'played' together like they once did. Everyone started to live more separate lives.

Ozzie and Harriet seemed to be closer to my memories since Leave it to Beaver came along later.

Not disagreeing with Leanan but those were my memories and observations.


Talk about children riding bikes reminded me. While in Paris (France) over Christmas I went for some long walks along the river, in a park and around a lake. In previous years there was always lots of children out with their new Christmas presents, bikes, roller skates, radio controlled cars, etc. This year, more-or-less none, just walkers like myself.

I suspect that most children were stuck in the house with their new electronic games, in an increasingly isolated world of their own.

Generation after generation has become increasingly lost in the illusion of modernity and reality doesn't exist for them. It's hard to imagine them surviving when the illusion suddenly shatters and they're left facing a reality totally and incomprehensively alien to them.

Burgundy I've expected to see a lot of new bikes motorized and not around here, and new "quads" which are those little 4-wheelers but have seen none.

I think the kids got new electronic games instead, and in fact out here people are using motorbikes and quads to make short trips to save gas or selling them to get much-needed money.

So, as you say, the kids are kept inside..... christmas for us was always going out and riding our new bike, or just going out and running around, there'd be kids outdoors all over the place just hanging out, playing with their new toys with each other, etc.

I was working for a week in Seoul this fall, and was surprised to see how many unattended kids were out in the streets, playing, walking, biking.. usually in school uniforms.

To paraphrase the line about making Predictions..
'Making Generalizations is tough, especially about everything.'


'There's a lot to be said about brevity..' Todd Fiske


Your description fits 100% my class of '63 perceptions. My Dad worked in a local family owned lumber/hardware store! He retired from there with benefits. (It went out of business in the early '89's.) My Mom went to work part-time to earn some money for our college. She also loved the work as a librarian.

Anyway, the Leave It To Beaver world was very true for me and most of my classmates in school. It started falling apart in the '80's like you said.

Digging around the web, I see statistics about working women indicating about 1/3 worked outside the house in 1950. This would vary a lot according to demographics.

In the Feminine Mystique, for what it's worth, there seemed to be some expectation that women whose husbands weren't professionals worked outside the home. Also, women doing non-domestic work may have been undercounted. Both me and my husband had grandmother's who worked in their husbands' stores.

Airdale -

I graduated high school Class of '63, so I was about 9 or 10 during the height of popularity for shows like Leave it to Beaver and Ozzie & Harriet.

Regarding women working, my recollection is pretty much the same as yours. I don't recall any of my friends having moms that worked. In fact, there was a slight stigma attached to a housewife who worked, the implication being that her husband didn't have a good enough job or that there was some sort of trouble at home. And I hardly lived in an affluent neighborhood. My town could best be described as at the upper end of the blue-collar scale and the lower end of the white-collar scale.

The Sixties were certainly an interesting time, a one-off decade, but then things started to turn to shite about halfway through the Seventies, when the best aspects of
the Sixties were abandoned and worst aspects adopted. As far as I'm concerned, it's been all downhill from there. But I suspect that's a case of old-fartism creeping in.

To me the really good years were all through the early eighties, the beginning of the end was when the big corporations started to take the casinos over from the families in Vegas.
Local point of view as I was living in Vegas then, but it really defines it better then any other point in time looking at it in hindsight.
It somewhat hovered into the 90's and then went totally to sh*t.

Most the the working women that I remember growing up were schoolteachers and librarians and nurses. A very great number of these were war widows, sadly.

Yes. The anecdote rules.

According to various government statistics, the income disparity between rich and poor was much less. Fewer women worked, and they were paid much less. People who were part of the right demographic, i.e. white, protestant, males, were able to buy affordable housing and enough stuff for their needs. Stuff lasted longer, and Bernays reprogramming of America had not gone into full tilt boogie oogie drive.

If you were not white, anglo-saxon, protestant male, then your world was quite a bit different. I imagine that blacks living at that time would take issue with the 50's as a golden period. Likewise many immigrant populations: Italians, Latin Americans, etc.

And, finally, don't forget the poor south, Appalachia, and the American Indian.

If you were June or Ward Cleaver, your life was extra-special something. If not, then "bend over, whitey's driving."

Exactly. Coontz studied a wide range of demographics, not just white, suburban families.

Which would explain the disparity between the strong anecdotal response of the posters here who grew up in the Fifties and the data put forth by Coontz.

If you were black, hispanic, or po' white trash, to the people who populated the world of Ozzie & Harriet you simply did not exist. My hometown in NJ was a stone's throw from New York City, but the only black person in town that I knew of was one of the janitors in our lily-white public school system.

One other reason why I think it's true that most middle-class mothers did not work is that the expectations of material goodies was much more modest during the Fifties. Most families only had one car, and each of the kids did not require $5,000 worth of the latest electronics. Teenage girls did not require wardrobes suitable for Hollywood super-sluts.

Another observation: many of the older middle-class suburban houses tended to be rather skimpy on closet space. I suppose less stuff to own, hence less closet space required?

Really old houses have no closets. Standalone "wardrobes" were standard furniture, rather than built-in closets.

Now, of course, closets are huge, for all our stuff.

How old is really old? This place is coming up on a century and there is about 400 square foot of closet space - three stand up bedrooms and one bedroom converted to bath on the second floor, and each has an 8'x12' space with a pitched roof. 4'x8' of the space is stand up, then the rest has a ceiling sloping from abou 7' down to 2'. The two on the west side of the house actually have their own windows.

I've never seen another house like this one. Shape wise yes, but the giant windowed closets with pitched roof? It seems fairly unique ...

How old is really old?

There are a lot of Victorian-era houses around here that have no closets. Instead, people used standalone wardrobes. As in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.

The rooms were so small back then (to make them easier to heat, or so I'm told) that some people solve the problem by using former bedrooms or nurseries as closets.

To continue the whole "anecdote" trope....

You will notice that those people who tend to remember some oppressive era fondly, tend not to be liberal. They tend not to rely upon objective information, but rather tend to believe that their local reality is an example of global reality.

This sort of parochialism tends to infect many other arguments on this site. People who drive SUVs, tend to defend them. People who use ethanol, sell grain, or live in a farming community that relies on knock-on dollars from the grain economy, tend to support ethanol.

This inability to see the bigger picture also tends to infiltrate into scientific arguments. To the engineer, every problem is solved by their particular specialty. A nuclear engineer cannot see the hazards. A windmill lover cannot gauge the true cost of each windmill when measured over ALL of its foot print.

Economists believe in magic, cause they see it everyday. ROFLMAO.

Maybe we need a course in holistic thinking for our youth?

In any event, it is probably too late.

I have one last anecdote. A penguin, a republican, and a Amway salesman walk into a bar.....

Oh Chernakov, lighten up just a little bit, PULEESE!!!

If you bothered to look beyond your own rhetoric, you would see that I was pointing out the inherent narrow-mindedness of those Ozzie & Harriet Fifties.

It is important for people to tell how things were really perceived at the time, rather than to have people such as you color everything with their own humorless ideology.

There were good and bad things about the Fifties, as there are with any era. The important thing is to understand what was going on.

OK: if it makes you happy .... if you lived in the Fifties and happened to be Ozzie Nelson, then life was grand. But if you happened to be a poor black person in the Jim Crow South, then life was pure crap.

Is this a great big revelation to you?

It's fun to put everyone into all those neat little boxes, no? Must be nice to have everyone all figured out. Do you actually believe everyone is a stereotype? It seems like Cherenkov stands apart from all the rest, free from blame for having participated in our twisted society, and ready to point out the guilt of all those who have.

Yes, in general people refuse to see the problems created by the things they have devoted their lives to doing and the ways they make their living. This is not related to any particular profession, rather just to living unexamined lives, and to simple rationalizing. Not a particularly revolutionary thought, but it did provide you with yet another opportunity to assign blame to the darn "technologists".

Teenage girls did not require wardrobes suitable for Hollywood super-sluts.

Many teenage girls were still sewing their own clothes, or their mothers were doing it for them. Almost all the girls would have had to take home ec and leared how to sew; of course, many would have already learned at home.

Not only was the income disparity between the top and bottom tier less, and not only were women paid less, remember that income tax rates were also MUCH more progressive with MUCH higher top rates. Two-earner households got hit HARD! In many cases, it was probably hardly worth while for married women to take a job, especialy if a 2nd car + after school childcare was required.

Second Airdale.

We came out of WW2 without a pot to piss in and my mom never worked a day in her life at a job. She did work very hard at home making life good for us kids.

Kids that screwed up got slapped so hard they ended up in the next county. It was good for building character. Most military careers were started as an alternative to jail.

Some stay at home moms did work at a little home-based business to bring in a few dollars. Remember Tupperware parties?

Yeah, I know what they were.

We had a little garden and we helped mom with it, but as far as I recall we never sold anything, just gave neighbors some.

Memories of the early 60's.

Mine too.

2 mile walk to school. Take your sledge if it snowed: - good hills on the way back. Or catch the bus , or save the bus money as pocket money - your choice.

Summer: Pack a lunch, get on yer bikes, dissappear for the whole day. Back at six for tea.

Bombing in the flooded quarry, catching sticklebacks and gudgeons in the canal.

Mum at home, Dad at work. Occassional absences when yer mam went to some new-fangled hospital to get yer a new sister. (I was born at home).

I am sure it wasnt perfect for all, but for me it was.

I would hate to be a Ten year old now. It must be so fookin boring for them.

Coontz apparently was not there.

Exactly. It's almost like the younger gererations try to rewrite the past to fit their misconceptions. Moms didn't work because it didn't require 2 incomes to survive.

I believe this changed because 'batchlorism' created a class of individuals with enough income to become political without being tied down by a family. The same can be said for those couples with 2 incomes before it was necessary to survive.

An afluent lower class is a threat to TPTB. They send their kids to college where they aquire 'dangerous' ideas. They also have free time to become politically active.

What is all this stuff about moms not working? Putting up food, sewing, child care, all the domestic work is plenty of real work. As if having a "paid job" is all that qualifies. Come on people, you know better.

cfm in Gray, ME

What is all this stuff about moms not working? Putting up food, sewing, child care, all the domestic work is plenty of real work. As if having a "paid job" is all that qualifies. Come on people, you know better.

You've understood this all wrong.

You're supposed to get the kids microwave their own prefab-meals or go to macdonalds, have the younger kids in commercial child care or hire a nanny and get an agency to clean your house, so that you can go out and blow more hot air into the economy. And what is this talk of sewing? You're not supposed to make anything yourself when we have global division of labor and mass markets competing for that lowest bid for your sweater!

Just like the air we breathe, and the fresh water and soil nature cleans and cycles for us, the values of family and community are ignored in our world. Since you cannot freely trade and hoard love - for your children, your elderly, your community on the open market, those things are a waste of time and missed business opportunities for the markets.

The power of human communities to provide and care for themselves is their worst nightmare...

Keep up the good work.

Children could go anywhere. Even ride bikes to school or walk a mile or two. No school buses. Most schools were neighbor types.

I'm about 13 years younger that airdale, yet my memories are not very different. I walked to school every day, from kindergarten (yes, KINDERGARTEN) to 12th grade. There were school buses, but those were just for the farm kids.

I think I'm about thirteen years younger than WNC Observer. I walked to school most every day from kindergarten to 12th grade, occasionally riding the bus if they weather was really miserable. We were the last stop on the inbound route so it was a two minute ride to school, but the return trip went the other way and it would take an hour to go four blocks - I can't recall ever riding it that direction.

My senior year my locker was directly across from the kindergarten room - all thirteen grades in one building, my graduating class was 31, my baby brother just three years younger had 22, and that trend continued until now they have an hourly bus run between this place and another school - the consolidation shuffle continues in rural Iowa.

Moving back here did require a change in driving in town - packs of unsupervised preteens still roam on bicycles during good weather. Friday evenings were the best - scoot downtown with $0.50 ($1.00 now?) and get yourself a bag of popcorn. This has to be the smallest free standing commercial property in the United States ...

popcorn stand

You would be surprised by the amount of internal strife that can be easily concealed from neighbors and community.

Well, I feel privileged then, because the "Leave it to Beaver" world was what I grew up in. One car, mom didn't have to work, kids could go anywhere without fear on their bikes, and neither shrimp nor desserts were rare, though going out to eat was a special occasion. The natural world was still as abundant in rural indiana as it is now in Costa Rica, a profusion of life. A fair number of the other kids would die of various things from childhood disease to falling through the ice, but that "leave it to beaver" world did exist for me.

Same here, before we began our descent into poverty starting in the mid-70s, it was one car, Mom stayed home, we could go anywhere without fear, trees (that we played in) and grass and stuff to eat like fruit and berries, fish to catch, etc.

We were the "vaccination generation" or something, we got all the vaccinations and the polio sugar cube. I remember one kid broke his arm and some neighbors up the way had lost a child through drowning in their swimming pool which was always covered afterward (swimming pools have long been a favored method of late-late term abortion among the middle class).

There were women who worked, like schoolteachers and the lady at the ice cream shop and all that, but moms with pre-teen children stayed home and if they could, stayed home until the kids were grown and out of the house.

Suffice it to say, Stephanie Coontz is a kook. I was born in 1941 and raised primarily in a town of 20,000 in South Dakota. Very few women worked and even fewer, a tiny minority, had a car. Heck, some of the men did not have cars. Went on two week vacations and never locked the house. No TV until I was 13, and we were one of the "rich" people in town. Kids went to bed at dark. Never knew of anyone ever having access to any drugs of any kind, except - put an aspirin in a coke. Teenage pregnancy was an occasional cheerleader - maybe 5 girls in three years of high school (classes of about 240 each year). I could write a book, but most people born after 1980 would think that it was fiction or not the United States.

Let me explain "rich." We had a small garden every year. Mother canned every year - a large pantry always full. Bought crates of peaches, apricots, pears, cherries, etc. and helped mom with the canning. Dad put us to work in 7th grade and thereafter - he managed a retail department store ($.25/hour to start and up to $.50/hour by senior in high school). Starting in 9th grade, we paid for everything except room and board - our own clothes, entertainment, toys - transistor radios, etc. Lived in an 1,800 square foot house (4 bedroom/2 bath). Rode our bikes to school thru 9th grade. Mother cooked 3 meals/day, every day for a family of 7. We ironed our own clothes starting at about 12. Mom got a washing machine and a dryer in about 1951. A freezer in about 1952 and her own car about 1954. Went out to the farms and would kill 100 chickens and spend most of a night plucking, gutting and freezing them for the
winter. Well, you get the point. It is better to be "rich" in 2007. Happy New Year!

My wife graduated in a class of 125 in 1956. There was one girl in her class that left in her senior year, however the boy left the same time and they married, raised 4 children and at my wifes 50th reunion found they had just selebrated their 50th wedding anv.

There were no pregnant girls in my class or any other that I knew of. Of course there were only 13 in my class.

Even Grandma Had Premarital Sex

More than nine out of 10 Americans, men and women alike, have had premarital sex, according to a new study. The high rates extend even to women born in the 1940s, challenging perceptions that people were more chaste in the past.

“This is reality-check research,” said the study’s author, Lawrence Finer. “Premarital sex is normal behavior for the vast majority of Americans, and has been for decades.”

I think the difference is, as others have noted, there's less pressure to have a shotgun wedding now.

I know in my family, at least one of my mother's sisters "had to get married." The funny thing is that none of her kids realized it, until the middle child went to vet school, and got to the section on gestation periods. She counted back, and realized that her older sister miraculously survived a very premature birth.

My college roommate went through a really bad time - she was suicidal, even - because she thought she'd let down her parents by sleeping with her boyfriend. (They were Methodists, and so conservative we had to hide the playing cards when they came over.) Finally her sisters-in-law told her that her parents used to meet in the woods between their rural farm towns to have sex. Yup, they "had to get married" when they were 17. She counted back and found her oldest brother also miraculously survived a very premature birth. :-)

LOL !!

She counted back,

I don't remember at what age I was, when I counted back - Folks' anniversary was Valentines Day, Feb 14, I was born Aug 14.

The old saying used to be that "the first baby doesn't always take 9 months, but all the later ones do".

That sort of thing was rare and quiet around here ... until my class came along. It had been nearly a generation (birth control!) since there'd been an unplanned pregnancy in my school and my class managed five babies between fifteen girls by graduation. A little cheating, as one had a set of twins, but we pretty much broke the mold with a 27% fertility rate.


I was born in 1953. Into a suburban world of stay at home moms and all the kids in the neighborhood playing together. Ms. Coontz is somewhat more accurate than CERA, but is IMO carefully only writing about the empty part of the glass.

Okay, I've gotten sucked into this wrangle of dueling anecdotes.
I haven't read the two Coontz books, but they've been put on my reading list. They sound very interesting, thanks Leanan.
I think your familiarity with women working really depends on your background. I suspect many oil drummer posters are coming from a white American upper middle class family.
In my family: not-so white grandmother worked while married once it became legal for her to work at what she was trained for: being a schoolteacher. Married women had to quit teaching. Her mother was a dairy farmer with her husband (miserable job). Not-so white grandfather's mother raised 10 kids alone as a subsistence farmer (her husband was shot at an early age in mysterious circumstances). On the other side of the family, white urban immigrant grandmother worked part or full time as did her mother (urban immigrant). Her mother-in-law (white urban immigrant)worked full time, sole support of two sons, and probably other family members.
Spouse's Mennonite older female relatives were all fermieres (farm-women), farming with or without husbands.
The only thing that's changed is that some of the better paying jobs are now open to the women in my family, and lower parental mortality now too. I can't say the "Leave it to Beaver" model ever applied in my family or my spouse's.

Some good points. A lot of "women's work" was not necessarily the kind that would show up in the official stats. They worked on the family farm. They worked in family businesses (my grandmother ran a restaurant, with her husband). They took in washing and sewing. They did babysitting. (I noticed on Leave It To Beaver today that the baby-sitter was an older married woman, not a teenager, and that's how it was when I was a kid, too. My babysitters were older women, not kids.)

Yes, and a very critical observation - there were very few 'Jobs' available for women until very recently, and those that were available didn't have a commensurate pay scale with 'male' jobs. If there were children at home and if there wasn't a job within walking distance - or public transportation wasn't available - it simply wasn't cost effective for the wife/mother to 'get a job'.

As stated below, there was a serious, useful need for one adult to stay at home and take care of the homestead chores - even in 'blessed suburbia', and to a greater extent in rural areas. Inner city or industrial areas where 'education' and skills and the lack thereof, was a barrier to getting a job - and then there was the small issue of one's sex. "Rosie the Riveter" became unemployed in 1945.

Both over generalization and testimonial advocacy oft times miss the realities that exist between...

When a household is trying to raise a lot of vegies and fruits, and raise some chickens and other small stock, and heat with a wood stove, it really is easier to do if you have at least one person at home during the day.

And where does Mr Cleaver work?

I've always wanted to know.


I think he's an accountant.

Sounds good.

He's always got the tie. In a good mood.

Never exhausted from a tough day at the job.

I grew up during those now mythical Fifties and used to watch Leave it to Beaver and the Ozzie & Harriet Show faithfully. I don't recall ever knowing what Ward Cleaver did for a living (nor did anyone really care). He just went off to work in the morning with a suit and white shirt and nice big smile and came home from work looking the same way.

The Cleavers and Ozzie & Harriet were the model of what the ideal American family during the 1950s should be like, and the general atmosphere almost perfectly reflected contemporary American values: decorum, respect for authority, conformity, total trust in the government, a desire to be popular and to fit in, a strong sense of community, and a complete lack of interest in anything remotely controversial or unpleasant. Ditto for Ozzie & Harriet, perhaps even more so.

The basic presumption was that the Fifties adult male was a responsible bread winner, faithful family man, had a stable job which he enjoyed and which assured him a comfortable living as long as he behaved and kept his nose to the grindstone. The Fifties woman was supposed to be a happily married homemaker who was thrilled with all the goodies that the Post-War prosperity provided.

Essentially, everyone was supposed to be happy, content, and approving of the status quo. If you only watched Fifties TV, you would not know that blacks and other minorities even existed, nor would you be aware of poor people, substance abuse, family strife, or the fact that the US and Rooskies were on hair-trigger alert to nuke each other.

Unfortunately, reality was not quite like that. As someone quipped, 'Even Ozzie and Harriet didn't live like Ozzie & Harriet.'

Much of what occured during those turbulent Sixties can be explained by examining what the Fifties were like. If you were captain of the football tean, the Fifties were nirvana; but if you were an artsy, questioning, non-conformist, they were not so great.

(By the way, Ozzie Nelson hailed from my hometown in northern New Jersey, which at the time was not unlike that of the TV show, though not quite as prosperous or antiseptic.)

We were really innocent then. When I saw the JFK thing on TV I was shocked, after that everything was different. Maybe that was another big fork in the road.

Yeah, if someone asked me when the Sixties really started, that is the cultural Sixties as opposed to the chronological Sixties, I would have to peg the date as November 22, 1963, the day JFK was killed. From that point on it was one wild roller coaster ride until the tacky Seventies fully set in, circa 1973 or so.

Then, less than two months after the Kennedy assassination we had the British Invasion, and the Beatles would render American rock n' roll totally obsolete. Things started to move in an 'unlinear' fashion from that point on. Cause and effect? Probably not, but perhaps a convergence of diverse things that just insisted upon happening. For someone who hasn't lived through the Sixties ,it's hard to convey the mindset of the time ....... sort of a weird combination of cynicism and hope. There was an expectation that thing would somehow radically change for the better, but sadly that change never happened.

The Sixties can best be characterized by three main things: the Vietnam War, the civil rights/black power movement, and the emergence of the so-called
counterculture. As it turns out, it was really just a bump in history, slightly more prominent than the usual bumps ... but just a bump nonetheless.

The Age of Aquarius never took place.

For me the early 60's to the early 80's went pretty quick as I was for the most part stationed overseas, then it took me a while to get back into the hang of things.

I would say maybe the Watts Riots to the US defeat in Vietnam. The Kennedy assassination was paramount, but the Free Speech movement in Berkeley politicized a emerging educated proletariat.
What differentiated the 60's for me was it was the last time I had hope that things were possibly getting better.
Also, you could get away with things that you would be locked up for today, it was open and free.

The real joke was that Ozzie never apparently had any sort of visible employment - he was ALWAYS home!

The real Ozzie was a bandleader, and I think Harriet was a singer. They had originally been in a radio show where he simply played himself, so he was a bandleader like Desi Arnaz. I think in the 1940s, and even a little while after that, the wartime generation was still young enough to think sitcoms about musicians were cool. The deeper they went into the '50s, the more important it was that sitcoms be about "normal" fathers with hidden jobs, Victorian-style compartmentalization.

The workplace reappeared in TV with the "Dick Van Dyke Show" in the early '60s, about a TV comedy writer of all things. But this show was considered symbolic of a new generation, and this couple didn't even live in the suburbs. You might say that his co-star Mary Tyler Moore took that to the next level with her own show at the end of that decade about a single working woman in her 30s.

Barometer or fantasy?

Really? I thought he was a hit man for the Bonanno crime family...

SubKommander Dred

Wikipedia sez:

Ward's exact profession is never specified on the show, but he works in an office, wears a suit, has a secretary named Grace, and carries a briefcase. In one early episode, he is working at home on a women's marketing survey.

There were storm clouds of substance abuse on the horizon, too:

Ward has a meerschaum pipe (the gift of Fred Rutherford) which Beaver and Larry fill with coffee grounds and smoke.

An office job of some sort? ... and I think Fred McMurray was an aircraft engineer in My Three Sons.

But what the heck did Ozzie Nelson do? I never saw that guy go to work at all :)

Military-Industrial Complex.

Cubicle # AX4-L393758.

HE was in charge of left-handed gonculators.

Leave It To Beaver Fans might enjoy SCTV's LITB 25th Anniversary Special - a parody done over 25 years ago, aw jeez...

Watched A Christmas Story this week. Set in the late 30s/early 40s. Damn, just a step away from the Waltons. Cramped little house, everything seems to be brown or black, fuses constantly blow, snoopy neighbors.

Mr. Cleaver did have what appeared to be a fairly well-paying office job. If anything, the lifestyle of the Cleaver family as depicted on the show suggested that they might be living a bit below their means. That would not have been an unheard-of phenomenon back then. Lots of people still had fresh memories of the Great Depression, so it was not all "spend, spend, spend!"

The newer suburbia homes did tend to be smallish ranchers; people living in small towns often had larger homes, left over from the era of larger families.

While there were women that worked, it is true that the stay at home mom was closer to being the norm back then, at least until the kids got older. My mom was a nurse, but stayed at home until I was old enough to fend for myself after school, then she returned to work.

I think that sharing bedrooms is more common than one would think. My sister's 4 children share 2 bedrooms; my brother's 17-year-old daughter moved back home to an apartment and shared a bedroom with her 10-year old brother for nearly a year; my two sons, even though having separate rooms, slept in the same room until the oldest was 17 years old; my niece sleeps with her three young kids (1 month, 3 and 5 years old) all in the same bed and Sharon Astyk's 4 children all sleep together (in the same bed no less) even though they have a five-bedroom house. It's one of those topics that we don't talk very openly about.

No real surprise and just in case it hasn't been posted already:

Sudan's Central Bank opts for euro

The Central Bank of Sudan will deal only in the euro beginning in 2008 and advised local commercial banks to opt for convertible currencies other than the U.S. dollar.

And so it goes on....

I expect the USD to become less popular than the Reichmark was in the 1940s..... the Germans after all still had people who'd trade with them.....


When a crappy disfunctional Third World country like Sudan no longer wants our dollars, then you know the party's over for the US and a mega hangover is soon to follow.

Couple of firsthand observations to report from here (Central Texas):

Three weeks ago, I flew to Maine doing some lifeboat research (I'd say I'm at about defcon 1.5 or so)... anyway, on the way back I watched the east Texas countryside roll by below, and remarked on Durandal's forum that it was like a phosphorescent fungus, there was no area untouched by night-time light pollution. My take: there are no wild areas left in East Texas nor just about anywhere with arable land. We are screwed.

This past week, we made our annual journey to the mother-in-law's place in Mississippi. We made it, but there were only a few filling stations open along the interstate on Christmas Day. Many of the open ones had bags over some of their nozzles. Coming back yesterday (Saturday), stations were open but the ones we stopped at in Ruston, LA and Lorena, TX also had bags over some of the pump nozzles. Prices are inching back up toward $3/g in this area.

Driving through the same area I had observed from the air, I could see that there is open space between the dusk-to-dawn lights of the east Texas country, but there is enough population density here to make it tough as we go into the squeeze.

Of course we could also see some drilling rigs along the road here and there as well. It's encouraging to see that there may be patches of FF energy for some time to come (thanks WT!) As we drove through Powell (Google Maps), we could see a flare going by those storage tanks at the middle of that map. Isn't that a horrific waste of fossil fuel? I'm surprised to see natural gas, or whatever, still being flared off. WTF? Is there not some value to that stuff?

Just before Christmas I went up to Paris (France). I stopped at one of the major supermarkets on the way to fill up, but they had no petrol. On the way back I stopped at another major supermarket to fill up and they had no diesel. This is not the first time either, it seems to be coming much more common for stations to be out of fuel.

At some point in the near future the world's central banks will have to learn the difference between Geology and Economics. To my knowledge there are no central bankers with a major in one and a minor in the other. Absurd? Not really. Since oil is the lifeblood that keeps the world rolling one would hope that someone currently in power would have been enchanted with these two fields of study. (BTW the protagonists in the timeless classic “Atlas Shrugged” majored in 2 such apparently conflicting fields, Physics and Philosophy simultaneously). One teaches that the well once dry is dry. The other teaches that if we stand in front of the dry well with a large enough check, things can change. Hence their inability to understand the intractability of the problem.


I've posed the following two questions:

(1) What would be the value of the 100 largest oil fields without the 100 largest financial institutions?

(2) What would be the value of the 100 largest financial institutions without the 100 largest oil fields?

That is a priceless duo of questions. I am going to use them.

That's a great pair. I'm reading Milton Friedman's "Money Mischief" right now. He addresses exactly that pair in the opening. Leaving aside the meaning of "value", one could take his argument to say the banks make the oil fields worth less by pricing them higher. [Not entirely tongue-in-cheek and I'm not convinced I understand his argument.]

cfm in Gray, ME

Since energy and resources are what humans really need to make a human society function, and money is only a tool that lubricates the complex energy- and resource-exchange interactions that take place ...

(1) The "value" of the 100 largest fields could still be evaluated in terms of human production, and would still be a considerable, significant amount, but would be less without the financial institutions taking their cut.

(2) The value of the 100 largest financial institutions, without the 100 largest fields, without the stuff that actually creates the bulk of value in our society, would be infinitesimal compared to present value.

We need the oil overwhelmingly more than we need the money, and I'll bet few financial institutions are acutely aware of this.


Police die in Mexico convoy raid

Seven police officers have died after gunmen attacked a convoy carrying three alleged kidnappers arrested in northern Mexico, officials have said.

Nasty business, when the cops are targeted in armed assaults. It's as if there are (at least) two competing power centers struggling for dominance, but it's not the Nortenos versus the Surenos this time around.

I wonder how often this will happen in the wonderful world of alternate fuels? People will quickly realize that pipelines work a lot better for transporting large volumes of liquid fuel.


Freight train derails; ethanol fire contained

A freight train transporting flammable ethanol derailed yesterday afternoon in Indiana County.

Members of the state DEP's emergency response team were dispatched to the derailment site at the request of Indiana County officials.

The 41-car eastbound Norfolk Southern train was heading from Conway to Newark, N.J., when six cars went off the tracks at 1:45 p.m. in West Wheatfield near the Conemaugh River.

Until you've handled absolute ethanol, you can't begin to appreciate how hygroscopic it is. That 95% azeotrope of EtOH:water is so stable that the moisture practically jumps out of the air into the anhydrous ethanol.
There's little prospect of being able to ship absolute ethanol by pipeline, ever; it would come out the far end with 5% water in it, and be immiscible with hydrocarbons. The only way out - aside from the logical but less profitable step of abandoning a loser technology - would be to focus on butanol, which is not hygroscopic, and barely dissolves in water at all. But I sure wouldn't want to live downwind of a biobutanol plant!

Ethanol's hydrophilic properties mean it needs to be transported by rail.


:) :) :) Hey now! The kids are around! No need to discuss hydrophilia. We discuss ethanol like guys down on "The Nickel" who haven't got enough to buy any ethanol, and then we throw in hydrophilia right into the middle of that. Let;s get back to good, clean discussion of geology ... and uh, the geopolitics of oil, ethanol, and, uh water ... :)

Man, how will we make enough nails for this corn ethanol coffin?

So that's what we do with all the empty bottled water bottles.

Commondreams has a NYT article up here:


It is by Peter S. Goodman, entitled "Free Market: A False Idol After All?"

It is a predictably mellow critique of contemporary capitalism. The author is walking on eggshells, but at least the economics of Milton Friedman married with Reaganomic "Morning In America" fascism is getting some questions in the MSM.

Big oil is fused into contemporary capitalism and de facto fascist politics -- read Klein's "The Shock Doctrine" and Wolf's "The End of America."

I can't think of a way to extricate ourselves from the present corrupt morass of politics and corporate cronyism, so in between bouts of severe depression I try to keep going with my meager attempts at sustainability -- such as they are.

What a strange world. Superstition-based economics in an age of science and reason. Superstitious religious leaders ascend to the hypocritical heights and bring the world to the brink of Armageddon. Meanwhile, the planet is burning up beneath us, but do the Boards of Directors of the Big Oil Companies discuss this at all or make plans to avert disaster or to help us mitigate the consequences?

Can "Big Tobacco" be held responsible for knowingly harming people? Can "Big Oil" be held responsible for knowingly harming not only people, but for contributing to the Sixth Great Extinction?

No, we would not want to handcuff the Invisible Hand of the Free Market with such thoughts,, would we?

Here's another face of "The End of America" for you:


New cars that are fully loaded — with debt

When Jennifer and Bobby Post traded in their 2001 Chevy Suburban last year for a shiny new Ford F-350 turbo diesel with an extended cab, it seemed like a great deal. Even though they still owed $9,500 on their SUV after the trade-in value, they didn't have to put a penny down.
The dealership, near the Posts' home in Victorville, made it easy; it just added the old debt to the price of the new truck and gave the couple a seven-year, $44,276 loan.
Gone are the days of the three-year car loan. The length of the average automobile loan hit five years, four months in October, up more than six months from 2002, according to the Federal Reserve. And nearly 45% of loans written today are for longer than six years. Even some staid lenders owned by the carmakers, such as Toyota Financial Services and Ford Credit, are offering seven-year financing. And a few credit unions, particularly in the West, are tinkering with the eight-year note.

At the same time, the amount of money drivers owe on their cars is soaring. In October, the average amount financed hit $30,738, up $3,500 in just a year and nearly 40% in the last decade, according to the Fed. More troubling, today's average car owner owes $4,221 more than the vehicle is worth at the time it's sold -- up from $3,529 in 2002, according to industry analyst Edmunds.

The AVERAGE car owner owes thousands more at resale than the vehicle's worth?!
How many structural problems can you spot in one article?
- Chevy Suburban vs. F350
- trading in a six-year-old truck with a seven-year note on it?
- a car loan of over $44k!

This is not an economic system that's moving in a sensible, much less sustainable direction.

When I got my car repo'd (OK called the repo guys and had 'em come git it) I was about $5k in the hole, and this was a Prius, payed on for close to 2 years. A year and a half anyway.

So I talked a bit with a friend who'd had a couple of cars repo'd over the years and he had these observations:

(1) Most cars are "underwater" on the loan right up until the end of the loan. That's right, by the time the loan's done, the car's worth a few hundred dollars maybe.

(2) Unless you have the money to put a HUGE down payment on the car, even if you don't think you are, you're in huge danger of losing the car to the repo man.

Sigh. I think only the recent invention of the house-ATM has changed this, and I think now that the house-ATM has been un-invented, things in the car loan industry are going back to normal. Where normal is, car loans mean throwing yourself to the sharks.

The two previous comments make me really appreciate my 1999 Ford Escort 2L manual 5 speed... fully paid! Runs great. I think I'll keep for a while, heck might be the last car I'll ever buy ;-)

A few years back I had a visit from the friendly neigborhood repo man. Actually, he really was friendly, and I eagerly gave him the keys to the 2005 Corolla I could no longer afford (back injury and out of work for a bit). It's only within the past week I bought a new set of wheels, a 1995 Ford Aerostar with 100,000 on the odometer. Price...650 bucks. So, it's a beater, but it's paid for. As for gas, I live about 4 miles from work, and my primary ride is a Dakar 650 (motorcycle) that gets 70mpg. The van is good for grocery shopping or moving large bits or driving when the weather is bad, otherwise it remains parked in the driveway, which is 95% of the time.

Great stuff, Dred!

My little honda rebel is a very common machine, been made 20+ years and still going strong for Honda, so no problems getting parts. Cheap to fuel, repair, insure, you name it. Good little errand-runner and I plan to make a sort of platform on the back with the capability to carry a banana box. That means I can carry a banana box of laundry or groceries, or tie my guitar case down and go into town to busk, etc.

I'd like to get a van suitable for camping out in, that can be used to go places and stay over, haul large loads, be able to get around in the winter better, etc.

The total cost of the motorcycle is less than insuring a car, remember that car insurance it about $100 a month in the US these days. So when I get a van I'll have to have enough income to pay for that and maintenance, gas etc.

The busking etc may in fact be better in someplace like Santa Cruz than here, and a van will enable me to move there and provide me a place to live at least initially.

No more car loans though, no more, no way.

And I've also become paranoid about not having everything in one place. If I moved to Santa Cruz I'd put my stuff in a storage, have the van to live in and also see about finding a room to rent. If I needed a small office that would be in a different location. Have everything all spread out - if I'd followed this tactic out in California I'd have been a lot harder to displace. Can't keep the apartment or room you sleep in your office for a bit, or in your van. Lose the van you still have your office and your rented room. Make it so they have to hit your several times not just once and you're down. Also, decentralize ways to make a living - say you have a job but you also play drums for bands around town. Or you're married but when the jerk leaves you you still have your manicure biz or can cut hair. Or you sell stuff at swapmeets but you also know how to play violin well enough to make a decent wage at that in case your swapmeet operation gets cratered.

I think this will be the wave of the future, being very paranoid and not using the credit system and if possible not even the banking system.

Well I must say I'm glad I'm in good company. Back injury in June, about the time I started reading here, and finally had to invent my own PT and it seems to be working a bit. Work started flowing again around 12/1/2007 but the man came for my ride earlier this week. Its just crazy - got a Chevy Impala rental, made 2x what I owed to be current working one day, customers took pity and set me up for a nice run next week, and I see the bankruptcy attorney tomorrow.

I am uncertain of what to do. Work keeps coming it isn't a big deal and I exceed the cutoff for easy bankruptcy. Work isn't steady and I'll be below the income level. I wish I had a crystal ball for 2008 ... and we'll see, given the months of instability they may not even want to reconsider. Chase is probably scrambling for cash so perhaps liquidating it is best for them ... and then I manage income to the $39.5k mark and ensure they get $0 from me :-(

I feel bad about that in advance 'cause I think it is coming, but I've fought the good fight these last five years since divorce. I don't feel like there is a lot of shame in a medical driven bankruptcy.

SCT you will feel SO MUCH better when it's done though, I know I will! I've talked to people who've done theirs and it's just a huge weight off of their back.

I can't claim to have as "noble" a cause as medical for mine, just bad decisions. But I worked and worked and worked for 5 years trying to get out of the hole and could not, then sales just imploded.

There are two Nolo Press books out about BK, you might want to buy 'em both, they'll cost you about $50 for the two.

I plan to buy them too once I have some money coming in. I really need to get something coming in, this way of life sux.

Yeah, the one thing that is missing is that a vehicle can be worth a lot more than it is "worth"! My '99 Hyundai is technically worthless, and has been for a long time. But it runs great, gets decent mileage (always more than 30mpg), and was payed off long ago. So it is worth a lot to me as economical (in several ways) transportation, but not much to those who would reduce everything to a simple $ value.

I tend to think that as times get tougher, the way we value things will change quite a bit - including the way we value people's abilities as well as objects. Unfortunately, just as many vehicles will suddenly become next-to-worthless, there will be a lot of people who find their "skills" are no longer valued by anyone.

We are going to have some tremendous social troubles when these things people do for a living are suddenly of no value or there are only 10% of them able to find work in their given field. So much of a man's sense of self worth is tied up in his career here in the United States and to take that away without hope of return is going to be a hard, hard thing. Some will jump from high places, others will drown their sorrows such as money allows, and I foresee a flood of new antidepressant prescriptions in our already overmedicated society.


FWO = Formerly Well Off

Hell hath no fury like a FWO who has just seen his McMansion foreclosed and his SUV repossessed.

Oh, I married Miss FWO and I know this one up close and personal. Baby of four from a wealthy Jewish family, the other three through personal efforts or marrying well have a combined net worth somewhere between $50M and $500M (impolite to ask details) and we just didn't fit when each of us was in the upper 5% of wage earners.

9/11 came and ate my job with an international telco, the flood of bankruptcies and associated windfalls for the knowledgeable telecom equipment dealer dried up as the dot com bust came to a close, and I was an FWO myself. My father was disabled when I was thirteen; if you have less you just spend less. Despite the masters in business administration that whole concept escaped her.

Now five years have gone by and things were really starting to get better for me before I got hurt. She still has the snug 1950s ranch I found on a street two blocks from a golf course where the neighboring homes get purchased, gutted, and doubled in size ... don't know details but I got clear signs earlier this year the place was ARMed and in danger.

I worry about her. I mean, some days I want to spank her, but she is the mother of my children and they seem happy and healthy. Her recent behavior towards me indicates she is already feeling the heat ...

Holy crap. That doesn't bode well for a smooth transition to electric cars or whatever.

A lot of people are going to be driving gas-guzzlers because the upfront cost is cheaper.

Like someone here noted, poverty isn't efficient.

I drive a 1986 toy tercel that cost me $650.00 probably 4th hand.I have put close to $3500 into it for a total investment of nearly $4200.New front end,new engine,clutch ect.I get between 35-37mpg,and insurance is maybe $600 a year.We have three ,and will buy more for parts as time goes along.

If your ego requires a Hummer thats your problem.

I drive an '87 Accord with only 115K miles so far. I expect I'll be driving it when the pumps run dry.

Folks who trade a Suburban for an F-350 deserve to still owe money on it in 2013! To quote the Mogambo: "HAHAHA! Idiots!".

Errol in Miami

Did the '86 have the 12-valve? Those are nice
little cars in most ways but the engines start
burning lots of oil young - say 100 to 150k.
Went through 2 of 'em exact same way.
Some say Mobil 1 or similar extends life??
I say buy low miles only, don't pay too much.
Corollas go much longer & at that age there's no
price diff, just a hunt.

"Superstition-based economics in an age of science and reason"

I often wonder whether "science and reason" were just the replacement religion. The agenda of the new religion being to replace Nature's work with Man's artificial facsimile.

Unfortunately, man can only use what Nature gives him and the more successful he becomes in creating his artificial world, the nearer to extinction he gets.

Perhaps it is time to change religion again :)

Something Dharma based?

I think there is going to be an immense amount of renunciation here in the very near future, motivated by many lessons on impermanence over a short period of time.

Time to change religion again? Sure, why not?

"Unfortunately, man can only use what Nature gives him and the more successful he becomes in creating his artificial world, the nearer to extinction he gets."

This is at the core of our problem. The artificial world separates us from the much larger world upon which it depends, and which we are destroying quite thoroughly.

Those who benefit most from our artificial world have the most difficult time seeing this, and continue to believe in the superstitions promoted to keep up BAU.

I wonder how many Avatars are going to be at my funeral?

I'm interested in articles analyzing vehicle fleet turnover. Any good links to share? We need to know how long it'll take to transition - or whether it will happen at all.

I think it has always been the case that collapse=change needed.The wreckage is what the next cycle is built on.In other words,we cant change big bidness,corp.dinosaurs will exist until they cant,then they will disappear,like snow on a spring day.Along with the whole of the power structure that exists now.
The trick,as Laz Long sez is to live through the change.

economics in an age of science and reason

What bizarre framing of one mind-bending frame inside another.

We have no proof that "we" live in an "age" of science or reason.

Last I looked, a large percentage of American believe in ghosts and other occult systems.

Economics is just another name for belief in occult and dismal mysticism.

The mere fact that so many people believe "economics" is some sort of science steeped in deep math tells you how unreasonable and unscientific our age is.

Call for reviewers on rail electrification discussion

Alan and I have begun a discussion about rail electrification that is going to lead to a pro forma economic plan for the electrification of a particular rail line in Iowa and a generalized attempt at writing law to provide an incentive for all of them to do so.

He has expertise in some areas, I have a bit in others, but what really truly need are non expert opinions.

At some point in the very near future I have to talk this stuff with people who have only a sketchy knowledge of the terrain. If you're here, interested, but basically clueless we'd really like you to pop over and ask for clarification of the parts that aren't clear :-)


Hello TODers,

Regarding Leanan's toplinks on Pakistan's cascading blowbacks and machete' moshpit violence: IMO, it is too bad this country didn't earlier go to full Peak Outreach, it would have done much to mitigate the destruction and violence. Here is a Stratfor damage assessment link:

Pakistan: List of Riots by City, Dec. 27-28

Global food prices rise 40% in 2007 to new record

As world food prices continue to surge, 37 countries are facing critical food crises due to conflict and disasters, according to a report from the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

FAO's global food price index rose 40 percent this year to the highest level on record. Food costs in the world's poorest countries — including Iraq, Afghanistan, Nepal, Pakistan, and 20 African countries — rose 25 percent to $107 billion.

If Pakistan had practiced full Outreach the people would be saving bottles to make solar water heaters, instead of throwing them as Molotov Cocktails. Burning rail infrastructure, cars and buses, and gas-stations only makes walking more likely in the future. I bet the price of a bicycle with sturdy baskets has skyrocketed overnight [recall that a Zimbabwe bicycle was the leading inflationary item].

What will be interesting to see, in the months to come, is if the country's shutdown of its distribution logistics prevents biosolar mission-critical synchronicity of NPK and seeds with the seasonal planting cycles; the coming harvest yields may be especially dire:

Fertilizer recommendations for Pakistan crops

A Peak Outreached Pakistan should be going full-tilt into organic NPK ASAP, but unfortunately:

Animal wastes and farm yard manure [FYM]

Pakistan has a huge population of livestock. It has been estimated that about 50 percent of animal wastes are not collected. About 50 percent of the quantity recovered is used as fuel. Thus scarcely a quarter of the animal wastes are available for use as organic sources of plant nutrients. The animal wastes together with an equal quantity of stable bedding material, left-over fodder and household wastes provide the total quantity of FYM available. Based on different assumptions, it is estimated that about 1.5 million tonnes of nutrients are available from FYM. Of this quantity, nitrogen accounts for 726 thousand tonnes, P2O5 for 191 thousand tonnes and K2O for about 617 thousand tonnes.

Poultry manure
Poultry manure is rich in nutrients. The estimates show that if poultry manure is properly managed it can contribute about 101 thousand tonnes of nitrogen, 58 thousand tonnes of P2O5 and 26 thousand tonnes of K2O.

Crop residues
A huge quantity of crop residues such as wheat straw, cotton stems, sugar cane trash/tops and rice husks, is available. But due to economic necessities such as the need for animal fodder and fuel, the crop residues cannot be recycled in the soil.
Recall the massive damage inflicted by the last typhoon. The initial and ongoing residual effects from this, plus the present crisis must really be leveraging blowbacks into a powerful, overall decline force. The additional lack of NPK, FFs, good clean water, and electricity will only make things worse. Sadly, Pakistan is in for a hell of a downslope ride.

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

Sorry in advance if this is too conspiritorial but...

All those Pakistan stories up top sure make it look like fairly successful Demand Distruction.

It seems certain to me that nothing the good ol' US of A has done in Pakistan has helped things.

Makes me wonder if TPTB have a list of possible situations that can effectively be manipulated to this end.

Buy US some time.


From this Oil Production and Price graph, it seems to me that if production had kept increasing like it did between 2003 and early 2005, we would have about 93mbpd being produced today. Instead it is 86mbpd (in a good month), and WTI is $96. How the hell this graph isn't all over the MSM when they attempt to explain the increasing oil price is a mystery to me.

The MSM is not some charitable foundation which exists for the sole purpose of informing the sheeple about reality. The MSM is very busy- a Tiger got loose, you have the college bowl games, big NFL games this weekend-hopefully some housewife in Alabama will find a vision of Jesus in her Cheerios so they can really get the ratings up.

The Senator who opposes the N-waste site appears to have popular support for now. Whether or not it is the right site I believe post-Peak some communities will welcome the jobs and revenue. When one town (perhaps overseas) is seen to do OK then others might decide N-dumps aren't so bad after all, a kind of reverse NIMBYism. I think this will happen sooner than later.

It already happens all the time. That's why pollution is concentrated next to the communities of the poor. Not that anyone informed the poor what the consequences would be.

I hadn’t heard of Valley Fever until a recent trip to Arizona. Apparently, it’s a big problem in new construction areas around Phoenix.

December 30, 2007
Infection Hits a California Prison Hard

Endemic to parts of the Southwest, valley fever has been reported in recent years in a widening belt from South Texas to Northern California. The disease has infected archaeologists digging at the Dinosaur National Monument in Utah and dogs that have inhaled the spores while sniffing for illegal drugs along the Mexican border.

In most cases, the infection starts in the lungs and is usually handled by the body without permanent damage. But serious complications can arise, including meningitis; and, at Pleasant Valley, the scope of the outbreak has left some inmates permanently disabled, confined to wheelchairs and interned in expensive long-term hospital stays.

About 80 prison employees have also contracted the fever, Pleasant Valley officials say, including a corrections officer who died of the disease in 2005.

What makes the disease all the more troubling is that its cause is literally underfoot: the spores that cause the infection reside in the region’s soil. When that soil is disturbed, something that happens regularly where houses are being built, crops are being sown and a steady wind churns, those spores are inhaled. The spores can also be kicked up by Mother Nature including earthquakes and dust storms.

“It doesn’t matter whether you’re custody staff, it doesn’t matter if you’re a plumber or an electrician,” said James A. Yates, the warden at Pleasant Valley. “You breathe the same air as you walk around out there.”

Hello WT,

Usually not a big deal if one's immune system is strong and a balanced diet. I got a few spots in my lungs from Valley Fever, but no ill effects--never knew I had an infection. I needed a chest x-ray to get admitted to high school decades ago: the doctor first thought I might have TB, which of course upset my mother, but a specific secondary test just showed that I had Valley Fever earlier.

Infection in the twenty-first century: predictions and postulates

The bigger North American postPeak threat will be lack of effective antibiotics, potable water, and vitamins [from poor nutrition or starvation] to combat all the new bugs from Climate Change. Everything from Malaria, West Nile Virus, Lyme Disease, etc; the water-borne and other pest vectors will be tremendous.

BTW, natural anthrax in Texas and other locales [PDF warning]:

Epizootiology and Ecology of Anthrax

Anthrax epizootics in livestock and wildlife are restricted to specific geographical regions, regardless of continent, country, or geopolitical unit within a given country. Epizootics in livestock in the US are restricted to states west of the Mississippi River. Albeit somewhat speculative, the location of epizootics within these western states parallels the movement of cattle that may have become infected with anthrax during cattle drives and during the westward migration of pioneers and their livestock. Similarly, epizootics of anthrax in livestock and bison in Canada have been restricted to the western provinces for decades.
With all the trucking of livestock and manures, combined with the SE drought and ongoing climate change: it will be interesting to see if anthrax can take root further east.

Recall my earlier post speculating that we should be willing to gradually amputate our fingers based upon specie extinction rates to fully appreciate, then limit our exosomatic reach and powers. Failing this, Mother Nature has an effective way to limit the usage of our hands with malnutrition and infection [WARNING: Alarming Pictures, but no gore]:


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

I'm pretty sure I've had it, when I moved from Prescott down to Scottsdale years and years ago, I promptly got something that was in my lungs, I coughed a lot, big deal. Never got it again, guess it was my intro to that area lol.

And living there, well, you might as well "do lines" of the dust, there are dust storms all the time, you WILL huff that dust lol.

My family and I have been battling Lyme for years - we've all had it multiple times. It is one of my biggest concerns if we should have a severe collapse where ABX are no longer available. There simply is no way to live in the northeast if you are active outdoors and not get it eventually. And I know a lot of people who would have vehemently disputed that, until they found out up-close and personal what it was all about. I'd love to come up with a non-ABX treatment that could be grown locally, but no luck so far.

I live in an area that has an extremely high rate of Lyme disease.

It's nasty, no doubt. Even fatal. I know people who died of it, because it went undiagnosed for so long.

However, I also suspect that certain people are a lot more vulnerable than others, probably for genetic reasons. One of my best friends has had Lyme multiple times...and she hardly ever goes outdoors. Basically, she's gotten it by crossing from her front door to her car in the driveway. While her husband, who does all the yardwork, walks the dogs in the woods, cuts firewood, hunts, etc., has never gotten it.

We have several survey crews at my office, and they are at extremely high risk. (Because they spend all day at the edges of highways, yards, etc. - the brushy zone at the edges of cleared areas is the riskiest.) And you see the same pattern: some people get it again and again, and others, who have the same or greater risk of exposure, never get it.

On the bright side...if people start poaching deer again, like during the Great Depression, the tick population will probably crash along with the deer population.

Maybe there is a genetic link. However, some of those who get it again and again have probably never successfully gotten rid of it. It seems like in some cases it can be very difficult to really kill it - more so if you've had it a long time.

As for the deer - it's really the rodents and birds that are a problem. I doubt that even if all the deer were gone that it would affect the ticks much, as they are already here now and there is lots to feed on.

When I was a kid we played in the woods and fields all the time, and we would constantly get dog ticks. We'd just pluck them off. Once my sister got Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, but that was it. Now I look at the woods and I know there is a grave danger lurking in there, and I'm always aware of it.

The possibility of a serious injury is always present, and any such injury could transform me from an asset to my family to a liability. Still, it is not inevitable. But measured on a span of years, it appears Lyme is close to a sure bet, which means that without ABX it is close to inevitable that my entire family would be rendered invalid with a chronic, incurable disease. That is a pretty stark concept, and one that I have not found any plan to deal with.

But hey, ticks don't like it dry, so maybe we should move to Atlanta.

However, some of those who get it again and again have probably never successfully gotten rid of it.

My friend was told that she may never get rid of it. If her immune system is stressed, it will come back.

However, she's actually gotten it multiple times. The tick bite, the bullseye rash, etc.

If it's really a concern, it might be worth moving. Lyme disease is primarily found in the northeast and in Michigan, Wisconsin, etc.

I visited a friend who lives in Ohio, and we drove up to Michigan, hiking nature trails along the way. I was used to tucking my pants in my socks for fear of ticks, etc. and Michigan had strong warnings about Lyme disease posted. My friend thought I was nuts. She had never heard of it. It's really weird, because Ohio lies between Michigan and the northeast - the Lyme hotspots. But it's just not a problem in Ohio.

Anyone with Lyme Disease should Google: "Samento, TOA free Cat's Claw". I have no commercial interest whatsoever but it worked extremely well for my wife. Highly recommended, pass this info on if you know any Lyme disease victims! My sympathies to all Lyme disease sufferers; we live about 20 miles from Lyme, CT and have largely stopped hiking in this area in favor of kayaking to minimize potential exposure.

I also think that some people have much more genetic resistance to the spirochetes that cause Lyme disease. I've had several deer tick bites over the years that resulted in a tender red welt about size of a cooked barely kernal, but I have not developed Lyme disease. These bites were picked up in an area rife with the disease (my uncle - married to my aunt - got it in his heart and it attacked his sinus node, he ended up in the ER with a heart rate of 20 and unable to sit up without passing out).

Leanan, I bet your indoor friend whose husband does the yard work is picking up ticks from her outdoorsy man. I've found as many as six of the little buggers on myself at a time after just an hour in the yard doing yardwork.

Lastly - despite their name, "deer tick", eating all the deer in N. America would not solve the Lyme problem because the ticks actually pick up the spirochetes primarily from mice. I think Lyme is around to stay for a while...

the ticks actually pick up the spirochetes primarily from mice.

Calling all cats! For those living in risk areas, it probably would be a good idea to have cats outdoors and indoors to keep your small rodent population at a minimum.

You are really going to laugh at this, but the one thing that works like a dream against ticks when hunting is womens nylon's.

Yeah, whatever. I have been coming to AZ for over 30 years and know a lot of people that play hard in open land, dirt bikes and that sort of thing, lots of dust.
Seems like the ones getting disabled by Valley fever are the ones that were going to find a way to get disabled on paper one way or another.

Just a friendly reminder that:
1. We humans are food to disease. Disease is our only remaining natural predator.

2. Disease spreads quickly and easily using disease vectors (insects, rodents, birds, other humans) in the absence of preventive or reactive care.

3. Cheap energy provides nearly all of our preventive care (hygiene; refrigeration and cooking food; pumping, purifying, and heating water; septic treatment; waste disposal; insecticide and pesticide) and reactive response (antibiotics; healthcare; quarantine; more insecticide and pesticide).

4. We have overpopulated the planet, tightly packing us in close together. We have never been more densely populated worldwide than we are now.

5. Disease spreads more quickly and easily the higher the population density.

6. Disease spreads more quickly as the population becomes malnourished. Large segments of the population are already malnourished with diets high in carbohydrates and fats, and under an onslaught of additives (HFCS) and environmental pollutants. Then factor in that ongoing food shortages lead to famine, and famine leads to even more vulnerability to disease.

7. We needn't be as concerned with what just one disease will do, we're more concerned with what all of them will do with declining resources to keep them and their vectors in check.

Barring an early, single pandemic such as H5N1, disease in multiple forms will play a large part in the middle and later stages of collapse.

Disease is one of the forces of inertia against which we continually expend cheap energy in order to maintain growth.

Sorry if this has already been posted,
A serious PO mention in the MSM
Article by Liam Halligan in The Telegraph
Quote from page 2

"Time to take a peak at our oil supplies

What will happen to oil prices in 2008? My long-standing view is that crude prices will remain high for years to come.
I have also long believed in “peak-oil” – the notion that global oil production will peak around 2015 and then start falling rapidly.
Until recently, such theories were (almost!) entirely confined to conspiracy theorists and cranks. But I’d say 2007 was the year such thinking went mainstream and started dominating global oil markets.
During the second half of 2006, crude prices fell from $78 to $60 a barrel – the biggest drop in 15 years. Numerous commentators forecast a further fall to $40 or even lower – and how wrong they were.
Throughout 2007, oil prices have ballooned – finishing the year once again pushing $100 a barrel.
When you think that many of the world’s biggest oil users have stalled in recent months – so are using less crude – this persistently high price is truly alarming.
In previous American recessions, for instance, the slowdown of the world’s largest oil importer has caused the crude price itself to fall. That “automatic” adjustment has tended to help the US recover.
But the way oil prices are currently behaving suggests the States will have to learn to face the twin problems of a serious growth slowdown and ultra-expensive crude.
the rising pressures on global oil demand, of course, are well known.
Everyone now understands that as the fast-growing developing world gets richer, its energy needs go up.
But much less is made of the inability of the world’s biggest oil companies to find extra crude supplies in the face of this rising demand.
For my money, that will emerge as a major story during 2008."


Please forgive for an OT posting:

For any dial-up people who are able (and willing) to get ISDN service in their area, I have an ISDN modem I would be willing to give away. 2 channel 128K usually 3x-4x faster than dial-up. I got a year and a half good service and then Qest put in DSL faster than I figured they would. Also was a business write-off.

Make it easier to cruise The Oil Drum



Don’t waste yer time reading this screed from David Smith of the Sunday Times, but look at number 10 on his post script list:

‘’Anyway, here are my top 10 reader-response subjects for 2007.
1. House prices – no surprise there. After a period of hibernation, the bears have wandered out of the woods again.
2. Gordon Brown’s economic record.
3. Inflation, and whether you can believe the official figures.
4. Immigration and the economy.
5. The Bank of England and whether it is (a) ignoring the pain out there in the real economy or (b) ignoring its duty to keep inflation under control.
6. Tax and, over the past few weeks, Alistair Darling’s capital-gains-tax reforms.
7. The rise of China and India.
8. Northern Rock.
9. Britain’s gaping trade gap, what it might mean for the pound and the decline of UK manufacturing.

AND: (Drum roll...)

10. Oil prices and “peak” oil. ‘’

If you want to make it number 1 for next new year, here is his email address:

Like he says:

‘’Keep the responses coming.’’

dorme bien.

Sorry to backtrack on this subject but.....

On yesterdays Drum Beat there was a small discussion about the grid and its stability.
Some believed it could easily fail and others believed it would persist.

So I have a true story. Sometime last year(2006) we had some high winds during the nite. When I woke up the power was out.

I live near the end of a longish run and often can drive a distance and see all the poles supporting the lines that feed to my farm. Oh...say about 8 miles of line and about 40 houses I know of on this particuliar line. Maybe more.

Anyway I waiting for the linemen to start driving the roads and finally finding the problem.

I waited about an hour or more and then walked out to my pole. I figure the electricity had been off for perhaps 4 hours already. Linemen don't like to get up in the middle of the night and my supplier is a co-op and small time. Buys power from TVA and resells it. Lots of those entities around here.

Anyway I am at my meter base and look up to the next pole where my 15kva transformer is hung. I see a very small object near a wire coming out of the top of the transformer. It looks like a small stick.

Get my big ladder out and a long pvc pipe and climbing up knock it down. It was about 10 or 12 inches long and about thick as a pencil. The nearby tree had shed it in the wind and it lodged there. I could see a small burned spot on it.

The power was still off and I went on about my business around the farm. About an hour later two linemen in a truck with the usual cherry picker comes down the driveway and sees the ladder laying there by the pole and the pvc pipe. Stop by me and ask "hey are you fixing our problems for us?"

My cousin is a lineman for this co-op and they likely know that and are pulling my leg.

I say "come here and look at this"..I show them the stick and they say..."well thats what caused this outage"..."No kidding?" I say..."a stick that small could produce that large of an outage..all the way from the river , along the bottoms and up the bluffs and to my farm?"..

"Yep they say..thats all it takes".

I was amazed. They pointed to the small burned spot on the dead stick.

So the grid, at least a normal setup of electric poles hung with aluminum or copper and a core or whatever can be easily
shut down with just a very small stick touching a lead on a transformer.

At my neighbors I have seen where a line rubs against a pecan tree and his whole electrical system went haywire. We shook it loose and everything was ok. This was downstream of the pole transformer.

I believe that without constant attention and care that the grid won't last very long at all.

In the burbs its different. Most are underground. Here in the outback its not. Its up in the air and running thru woodlands.

What I'm saying is just a very small windblown stick caused a fairly large outage in my area. Here in the outback where we farm a long outage can shut us down very fast. Bin blower s stop working. Gas pumps don't work. Shop lights are out.The list is large.


Yes, it does need constant attention. More than most people realize. Not just electricity, but water, sewer, roads, bridges, phone, Internet, etc.

However, I think it will be a priority, at least for awhile.

I do think when the lights go out, they'll go out in poor and rural areas first. Sort of in the reverse that the system was built.

You see that after natural disasters that take down power lines (such as ice storms). The towns and cities get their power back in a few hours. The farms and trailer parks may have to wait weeks. Eventually, they won't bother to do repairs there at all. And the "won't bother" areas will grow, every year.

I think that is a conventional view of things. We simply aren't going to be the same after the public at large realizes what peak oil means. There are enough old folks who recall the New Deal that it isn't going to take five years before Washington figures it out - Edwards and Obama are already laying the groundwork to play that card when the moment comes. Clinton I am less certain of - she seems as corporate to me as any of the Republicans.

Unless we get hit hard and fast part of the adaptation will be ensuring that basic services remain in place. Gas and lights on, a tiered billing system so people unplug stuff they aren't using, put in CFL bulbs, and insulate. There will be "back to work" programs like the WPA and one will be energy audit squads with insulation, caulk, and such going over every occupied house. They'll probably do passive solar collector construction and other things not requiring much investment beyond sweat equity.

Fuel oil is a little different - lots of new wood cutters are being hatched even as we speak. I've learned I don't dare do the physical work any more but I laid in a new chain saw myself when I moved up here and I'm holding it for trade or for someone to cut my wood, assuming I find a place amenable to such things. This house did have and it still well configured for a wood burner, but mom would have to have that "Oh, shit!" moment when she gets that she isn't getting a small fortune out of this place and we'd better stay put. We shall see ...

The road use will change. Hauling people around in your minivan is a job after the crash - dramatic increase in mileage if you take three with you to do your collective grocery shopping. They'll start to fray a bit, traffic will slow, semi traffic will drop as rail takes more of the load ...

I hate to see the suffering, but I very much wish for a nonlethal but messy event ... say a couple of giant banks going teller windows up here in the next few weeks ... so that people get that things are changing ... and not even coming back.

We simply aren't going to be the same after the public at large realizes what peak oil means.

I fear that may never happen. If we didn't "get it" after Katrina, we're never going to.

Katrina was acute, local, and similar to other events - 2004 was a rockin' year for hurricanes. The whole finance/peak oil muddle will be chronic, national, and its similarities will be to the events of 1929 ... we have some direct and much institutional/historical memory of how to handle such a thing. You can change the channel on Katrina coverage, but you can't change the channel on national financial disaster when your big screen goes in a sheriff's auction, you're living with family, and the cable is shut off because even all together you can't afford to run it.

The whole finance/peak oil muddle will be chronic, national, and its similarities will be to the events of 1929 ... we have some direct and much institutional/historical memory of how to handle such a thing.

Exactly. And people will think since we got through the Great Depression all right, we can get through the Greater Depression.

"Chronic" is very much the word for it. I'm not ruling out a catastrophic collapse, but I think the future is more likely to be "chronic." We'll get used to shortages. We'll get used to rationing. We'll get used to intermittent electricity. TPTB will promise us a plasma TV in every living room...as soon as the war is won, or the nuclear power plants are built, or the new currency is issued. The return of prosperity will always be just around the corner. Few will understand that something fundamental has changed. That this time, it really is different.

I'm cool with that - as long as the situation permits the construction of wind turbines, solar collection schemes, and dams/tide energy collection where sensible.

The situation you describe is malleable for the renewable fuels/sustainable agriculture activist. So what if we never say "peak oil" just as long as we're making the right moves to prepare our children for it?

So what if we never say "peak oil" just as long as we're making the right moves to prepare our children for it?

Because I don't think we will. In this case, the "why" makes a big difference. The choices you make if you think it's just a temporary bump in the road will be very different than the choices you make if you think you're going permanently downhill.

As an extreme example...if we're running out of oil, it makes sense to invest in wind turbines. If it's just those America-hating Arabs holding out, investing in weapons systems may be more appealing.

How many Native American tribes were assimilated or annihilated by the encroaching European settlers before they realized something fundamental had changed to their living environment?

And how many generations did it take them to realize?

And upon realization, were their responses able to maintain their remaining cultures and their ways of life?

We will fare even more poorly than they did.

I'm going to throw this out – even though knowing about your geographical location – there may be a slim to none chance to implement it. Nor may it apply.

Swimming. Yeah, I know, in Iowa and all and whatever specific back problem you have.

The background to this crazy idea is swimming helped a friend. He was on the verge of having his spine welded in a single spot. He hesitated cause the Doc said if he didn't get better then all the was left to do was weld the next spot ... and so on. He stated swimming ( in Omaha BTW ) and within a year he swore by it.

Biking, kayaking, hiking, and yoga. I spend at least half an hour a day on a set of stretches that work my back and I should be spending at least that much time on yoga, too. And you're right - no chance for swimming here until its warm enough and then I'd be the only forty something in a pool full of children unless I want to drive six miles to swim in the lake.

I am a firm believer in flexibility to prevent back problems. Yoga is great for this.

If your pain is severe and intractable looking into the work that Hans Kraus developed would be worthwhile. So far I haven't had much back pain, but if I ever do you better believe I'll be trying the treatments he developed for a long time before I'd let a surgeon anywhere near my spine.

It isn't severe, but is a severe nuisance. I get up and move around during the day and I can do short term stuff online, like writing this post, but its really intruded on being able to sit and do analytical work :-(

I'll check into this Hans Kraus thing - thanks for the tip.

AHA!, here's my chance to really do good for the world. Back-achers of the world, of whom I used to be one, take notice, listen to the glad word of good tidings from deep in the hills of appalachia- Backwise, badly designed wood stoves are the answer!!

I used to modify my wood stove every year, so, in the natural progression of evolution, I got it so good that it would successfully eat very big logs. My son-in-law, he of the strong back and big chain saw, realized that all he had to do to make his annual fuel commitment easy was to cut fewer but really big logs for me to stuff into my now- omnivorous wood stove.

But then the law of unintended consequence soon raised its Janus visage. The logs were so big that I had to adopt the gorilla stance of all three ( two knees and a knuckle) while the fourth appendage just barely handled the really big log long enough to stuff it into the maw of the hellisly hot primary burn box, This posture, while perhaps disconcerting to effete visitors, did great theraputic work on my formerly highly untrustworthy spine.

And even more, in the usual 3AM visit, when nought but a thin veneer of coals might remain, starting the really big log required that I prostrate myself on the floor, so as to be able to stuff an edition of the otherwise worthless local newspaper into the ash discharge, & strike a light to it to induce the desired blowtorch effect on the otherwise too-torpid way too big log.

This rolling around in the dust and ashes before the stove has worked further unintended wonders on my back. I stand, painfree, to testify to the effacacy of bad stove tending as a near-certain method of avoiding the otherwise life threatening inducements of the spine surgeons.

And as a further gratuity to all you good badback folks, I add the observation that one does not actually have to feed a bad stove big logs, but in fact, the mere mimicking of the required motions with an ersatz too-big log, perhaps with a photograph of a bad stove tacked on the wall for guidance to the imagination, might give the same benefit. Maybe.

Sounds kind of like a story a computer-geek friend told me a few years back. When he lived in Southern California one time there was a brief power surge and blackout at the server farm. He talked to a friend in the power company who said that sometimes when the birds migrate a whole lot of them perch along a cable and when they take flight simultaneously, the cable oscillates up and down rather vigorously relative to the opposite cable, creating an inductive power surge that can be strong enough to trip breakers.

The book "The World Without Us" is a great read and very instructive in describing how quickly various infrastructure systems would break down without constant human attention.

The world turns, with or without US........

Here in South Florida, when the power goes out, it is best to stay indoors. The SUV crowd drives like maniacs free from the asylum...survival of the fit.....

And in the coming days, more will begin to understand what "fit" really means. Sorry to Abe, but "all men" are not created equal.


Iran and the United States are at odds over who is to blame for the bloodshed in Iraq and are also embroiled in a dispute over Tehran's nuclear ambitions. Washington suspects Iran wants to build a bomb, a charge the Islamic state denies.

Ludwig De Braeckeleer December 29, 2007.

The NSA-Crypto AG Sting

J Orlin Grabbe posted link.

For years US eavesdroppers could read encrypted messages without the least difficulty.

We advocate peaceful settlement of these unfortunate matters.


Hello TODers,

GOOGLE's founders are big investors in Nanosolar:

Nanosolar starts sales of cheaper solar panels

The company, which got early stage financing from Google Inc co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page, uses a thin-film technology that requires only a fraction of the amount of silicon needed in conventional solar cells.

If this is a viable product, and the company decides to do an IPO: they could easily make Nanosolar's IPO the most successful in history by the early positioning of the 'Unlucky' button on the Google search homepage. Recall my earlier request for TODers to email Google asking for this clickable button that would immediately take the websurfer to Dieoff.com.

The new and massive readership of Jay Hanson's Thermo/Gene Collision and Dr. Duncan's Olduvai Gorge Theory will then be incredibly prepared to send Nanosolar's stock price skyrocketing much faster than even FirstSolar's incredible stock run. Could this be a plausible method to really help jumpstart more biosolar mission-critical investing?

Consider that this simple idea, and the investing frenzy it could potentially create, might double the wealth of Brin & Page once again, virtually overnight.

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

At the very least Bob you can say Brin & Page are smarter than yeast. ;)

There is a chart that went virtually unnoticed (at least it was uncommented on) in the New York Times story linked in today's The Oil Drum "Oil is still king.

it was the story linked here:


Note the nice upturn on "other renewables" in the chart! Now of course, the NYT pronounced "non-hydro renewables" as insignificant, not just now but in the future.

It is interesting to me that the one thing the MSM and TOD can agree on is that renewables just are not going to happen. That's interesting, it creats a wall of absolutism clear across the spectrum...it's oil or nothing. Even though the renewables are still a tiny percent of total energy consumed, they are coming onto the radar fast.

Another interesting chart:

As a percent of world consumption, North America will drop. This is caused by the increasing oil consmption in Asia. So the job of non-hydro renewables is to simply continue doing what it is doing.

With the nano technology coming on strong in solar and battery design, what we are seeing is the EROEI of renewables increasing while the EROEI of petroleum is decreasing. Technically the curve is in favor of the renwables, and the speed of development is increasing as money pours in from silicon valley.

This brings to mind an interesting question: If we in the U.S. do what we should do, and continue development of alternative renewables and work to reduce waste in petroleum consumption, does "peak oil" become essentially a Chinese/Indian problem?

I know that some here will consider such thinking nothing more than "Yankee" nationalism, but it is well known that we in the U.S. use a disproportionate amount of pretroleum given the size of our population.

Wouldn't it be something if for once we could do the right thing as world citizens, reduce petroleum consumption, and that would also be the "right" thing for the future of the prosperity of the United States?

It is not often that you can do the right thing and it also makes you richer and stronger....this may be one of those happy times. :-)


And hey, it's probably late enough in the news day for:


Happy New Year!

Grim Brown warns of a bleak year for Britain

Gordon Brown today issues a bleak assessment of the world economy as he braces Britain for a year of belt tightening in the wake of the credit crunch.

In a strong warning, which sets the backdrop for a campaign to revive his premiership, Brown tells Britain to prepare for 'global financial turbulence' in 2008.

And he's got an answer for energy supply and climate change:

Brown indicates that ministers will soon embrace a new generation of nuclear power stations. The government believes that renewing Britain's civil nuclear power programme is the most effective way of guaranteeing security of supply while tackling climate change. 'Because a good environment is good economics, we will take the difficult decisions on energy security - on nuclear power and renewables - so British invention and innovation can claim new markets for new technologies and create hundreds of thousands of new jobs.'

Brown indicates that ministers will soon embrace a new generation of nuclear power stations.

That's great news. Hopefully with Brown's leadership he can get the world over the nuclear power fears and squash the nuclear fuel shortage myth.

These are interesting times for sure. Gordon Brown sounds like the Grinch trying to spoil the New Year's Eve party. Actually in Australia GW may have helped with functions cancelled due to heat waves and cyclones. I'm staying home with one eye on the TV celebrations the other on the bushfire report. It will be interesting to get a take on the mood to see if it is different this year. For some the alcohol and fireworks will dull the senses enough to get through 2008. I'm sensing though the parties this year will be subdued.

Actually in Australia GW may have helped with functions cancelled due to heat waves and cyclones.

Here in SE Queensland, we're dealing with 100kmh winds, torrential rain, 21 degree (in summer!) temperatures, and half the beaches just eroded away. Of course, all the rain is missing the dams, but my backyard in 5cm deep in water. The Masked Lapwing chicks picked the wrong time to hatch.

Some words of wisdom....
Alternative Affirmations for the New Year...

1. As I let go of my feelings of guilt, I am in touch with my inner sociopath.

2. I have the power to channel my imagination into ever-soaring levels of suspicion and paranoia.

3. I assume full responsibility for my actions, except the ones that are someone else's fault.

4. In some cultures what I do would be considered normal.

5. My intuition nearly makes up for my lack of wisdom and judgment.

6. I need not suffer in silence while I can still moan, whimper, and complain.

7. When someone hurts me, I know that forgiveness is cheaper than a lawsuit, but not nearly as rewarding.

8. I am at one with my duality.

9. Blessed are the flexible, for they can tie themselves in knots.

10. I will strive to live each day as if it were my 50th birthday.

11. I honor and express all facets of my being, regardless of state and local laws.

12. Today I will gladly share my experience and advice, for there are no sweeter words than "I told you so!"

13. A scapegoat is almost as good as a solution.

14. Just for today, I will not sit in my living room all day in my underwear. Instead, I will move my computer into the bedroom.

15. I will no longer waste my time reliving the past; I will spend it worrying about the future?

16. The complete lack of evidence is the surest proof that the conspiracy is working.

17. Before I criticize a man, I walk a mile in his shoes. That way, if he gets angry, he's a mile away and barefoot


absolutely precious!