DrumBeat: January 7, 2008

The Oil Drum: $100 a Barrel Quickens the Beat

After the price of oil hit $100, I checked in with The Oil Drum, a Web-based community founded a couple of years ago to discuss energy and the future. The folks who gather at the Oil Drum, by and large, agree that we're at or near "peak oil"—the moment when petroleum production will begin its inexorable decline.

This is not a site where people spout opinions on a world running out of oil. This is where geologists, physicists, and even social scientists post detailed charts and graphs and analyses on a world running out of oil. Here, you can read a technical paper on the state of depletion of Saudi Arabia's Ghawar, the world's largest oil field, or read periodic statistical updates on the status of worldwide production and how that has squared with the predictions.

Venezuelan oil output down 378,000 bpd in three years

The Oil Sowing Plan -the Venezuelan state-owned oil giant Pdvsa's business plan up to 2012- made no significant progress in 2007.

Excluding the completion of the first stretch of the Trans-Caribbean Gas Pipeline and the first phase of a plan to overhaul Cuba-based Camilo Cienfuegos refinery, the major long-term goal of the Oil Sowing Plan -namely increasing domestic oil output to 5.83 million bpd- is quite far from fulfillment.

Oil at $100 a barrel? No sweat

A sharp consumer slowdown would be bad news indeed, because the economy is already showing signs of strain. The government reported Friday that only 18,000 jobs were created last month, a mere fraction of the number needed to keep up with population growth. The Institute for Supply Management's factory index dropped below 50 in December, a sign manufacturing work is contracting.

So will $100-a-barrel oil be the straw that breaks the economy's back? Probably not.

Gazprom confirms talks with Nigeria on gas projects

Russian gas export monopoly Gazprom confirmed on Monday it is in talks with the Nigerian government to develop the African country's vast natural gas reserves. "They (Nigeria and Gazprom) have had or are having discussions about opportunities for Gazprom's participation in Africa's gas market," a Gazprom spokeswoman said, declining to name an investment figure. "In terms of sub-Saharan Africa, Nigeria is the key place," she added.

Nigeria: National Assembly Seeks Review of MoU With Oil Companies

The National Assembly, the Federal government and oil companies operating in the country may be heading for a collision course following moves by the National Assembly to dump the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between the oil companies in Nigeria and the Federal Government on the August 4, 1986 when oil sold for $9 in the international market.

Bolivia dispels fears of oil contracts' revision

The Bolivian government has dispelled apprehension that the new constitution pushed by President Evo Morales will require a revision of the new petroleum contracts signed with 12 foreign oil firms, Spain's EFE news agency reported.

'The new constitution does not generate uncertainty' in the sector, said Hydrocarbons Minister Carlos Villegas Sunday in an interview with state-run media outlet Patria Nueva, adding that the oil contracts are not going to be revised if the new charter comes into force.

Uganda: Where Did Oil Uganda's Reserves Go?

IT took only a couple of days to paralyse Uganda. Within 48 hours, the violence in Kenya had led to severe fuel shortages all over the country, pushing up oil prices, doubling bus fares, raising food prices and seriously affecting business and public life.

Dealers were greatly taking advantage of the crisis to hoard and ask exorbitant prices, up to four-fold in the case of petrol.

Contrary to other countries, which have oil reserves that can last months or even years, Uganda's reserves seem to be minimal, if existent at all. The country needs 1.2m litres of diesel per day, almost half of which is used for power generation, and 543,000 litres of petrol.

ASEAN, China, India race for energy reserve

The IEA's ability to respond to a short-term dislocation in the oil market was tested in September 2005 when Hurricane Katrina severely damaged oil production and refining infrastructure in the Gulf of Mexico, a major energy source for the U.S. When the extent of the damage became clear, the IEA reached unanimous agreement within 24 hours to make 60 million barrels of emergency oil and products available to the market. This had the desired calming effect.

Could Asia deploy a similar response mechanism? Not yet, despite efforts of Japan and other IEA members to encourage it. In Southeast Asia, Singapore and a number of other economies are heavily reliant on oil from the Middle East. Even the region's main oil producers -- Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam -- are planning for a future as net oil importers as their oil output declines and domestic demand rises.

Of black swans and greedy oilmen

It is not often that a school of thought comes along at exactly the right time that markets, economists and policymakers are worried about a specific event or crisis. When a book setting out these new views does come along, it is usually ignored, then quietly buried, and then only is quoted by increasingly esoteric sources until the work is driven to the point of irrelevance.

Such a fate is quite likely for two outstanding books released in 2007 - Black Swan and Zoom - both of which capture some original thinking on the state of the markets and the underlying economic structure that supports market mechanisms. While the authors did not in all probability set out to collaborate per se, they may have just produced classically symbiotic tomes.

Efficient Biofuel Made From Genetically Modified E. Coli Bacteria

Researchers at the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science have developed a new method for producing next-generation biofuels by genetically modifying Escherichia coli bacteria to be an efficient biofuel synthesizer. The method could lead to mass production of these biofuels.

Talisman's North Sea Ross, Blake Oilfields Remain Closed

Talisman Energy Inc., the Canadian oil company with about 30 percent of its reserves in the North Sea, said production from two fields in the region remained shut after storms over the weekend.

Output equivalent to 25,000 barrels a day at the Ross and Blake fields in the U.K. sector of the North Sea remain closed, Jonathan Moore, a Talisman spokesman in Aberdeen, Scotland, said in a telephone interview . The fields were shut on Jan. 4 because of strong winds and high waves.

Polar bears vie with oil for US government focus

The U.S. government will soon decide whether polar bears are in danger because global warming is melting their icy habitat. But last week, the government offered some of that habitat as a place to drill for oil.

Strangely enough, both those decisions are the province of the Interior Department.

The full Alberta effect

And how to offset Alberta's boom-bust cycle that invariably triggers a similar, opposing, cycle in Ontario's manufacturing industry? Fixed exchange rates with the U.S. may be the only solution: "The underlying issue here is that the overall size of the Canadian economy is far too small to accommodate both one of the world's premier energy export clusters and a world-class export-oriented manufacturing sector -- under flexible exchange rates."

Rising energy prices fuel inflation fears

With the price of crude oil hitting $100 per barrel, European citizens must prepare for large increases in gas and electricity bills in the coming weeks, with major companies in the UK and France already announcing plans to raise prices by as much as 27%.

Siberia's Tomsk enjoys oil boom

About 1,900 miles east of Moscow and sitting on a frozen swamp the size of France, the city of Tomsk has struggled economically since the Trans-Siberian Railway passed it by at the end of the 19th Century.

Now it is at the forefront of a Siberian economic boom, fuelled by the post-Soviet privatization of oil companies and, more recently, by high oil prices.

Royal Dutch Shell Shell CEO says higher oil prices delaying new projects

Royal Dutch Shell chief executive officer Jeroen van der Veer said high oil prices are slowing down new projects because governments are taking longer to negotiate their slice of revenues.

"It is evident that active government interest is delaying projects," van der Veer said in an interview published in Shell's Dutch in-house magazine this month, adding that "government negotiations for their share of the revenues are lengthier than in the past."

He refuted the idea that higher oil prices would actually accelerate decision-making, saying "in reality the opposite is true".

And ultimately this will impact on the speed at which new projects can be taken into production, van der Veer warned, although he did not specify which Shell projects might be affected.

New laws leave oil refiners uncertain

Oil refiners may reconsider plans for some refinery expansion projects in 2008 in response to new energy legislation that could reduce gasoline use in coming years, industry groups and refiners say.

While expansion projects already under way won't be affected, those in the early planning stages could be delayed or canceled, they said — continuing a pullback that began last year amid rising costs for refinery additions and uncertainty over future gasoline demand.

Iran interrupts natural gas supplies to Turkey

Iran has suspended supplies of natural gas to Turkey due to a cold weather front which brought a sharp fall in temperatures, rain and snow in the region, Turkish television reported on Monday.

Under a contract signed in 1996, Iran must ensure daily supplies of 28 million cubic meters of natural gas to Turkey via a 2,500-km pipeline connecting the two countries.

"Despite its pledge to ensure uninterrupted supply of natural gas during the winter, Iran failed to meet its obligations in the past ten days and fully stopped energy supplies on Monday," the NTV television quoted Turkey's Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Hilmi Guler as saying.

KSA ups US oil export prices

Saudi Arabia, the world's top oil exporter, raised the February official selling price of its oil to U.S. customers compared with January but cut the price to Europe, state oil firm Saudi Aramco said in a statement.

For shipments to Asian buyers, Aramco cut prices for light crude but raised prices for heavier oil.

The kingdom raised the price of Arab Light crude to refiners in the United States by $2.70 a barrel to a discount of $4.15 to WTI. It cut the price to buyers of Arab Light in the Mediterranean by 65 cents, and to buyers in Asia by 20 cents.

The Philippines: Government preparing to cut oil import tariffs anew

The government is preparing to slash tariffs anew on imported crude oil in the aftermath of the $100 per barrel oil price surge in the world market.

Fuel costs, tighter credit put a damper on expectations

AUSTRALIAN companies have lowered their expectations for business conditions at the start of the new year, with fuel prices and the credit squeeze of increasing concern.

Pakistan: Petroleum sector suffers Rs.1 billion loss following assassination

Caretaker Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources, Ahsanullah Khan said on Monday the petroleum industry suffered a loss of Rs.1 billion during countrywide protest following assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto on December 27 in Rawalpindi. Addressing a press conference, he said as an after math of December 27 incident, condensate from Zamzama and Bhit fields could not be lifted in a timely manner lowering the gas production by 150 mmcfd gas from these fields.

Sinopec expects to get state subsidy for losses

Chemical Corp, also known as Sinopec, is expected to receive a state subsidy of about 13 billion yuan (US$1.79 billion) to compensate for its losses in refining and fuel imports last year, industry sources said.

Malawi: Fuel prices set to rise as paraffin continues to be scarce

The pump price of petrol and diesel are expected to be hiked in Malawi justifying the recent scarcity of the petroleum as some traders have been holding the commodity in view of the impending hike.

Malawians have been experiencing a shortage of fuel in the recent days and investigations by Nyasa Times has shown that most pump stations have been holding the fuel waiting for the new hiked prices possibly to be affected this week.

Uganda: Govt to Sue Fuel Stations Over Prices

AS the biting fuel crisis precipitated by the political impasse in Kenya entered its fifth day, a government minister warned on Friday that speculators who have exploited the situation to charge extortionate rates will be dragged to court.

Uganda: West Nile Electricity Supply Cut to 8hrs

ELECTRICTY supply to the West Nile region has been cut to eight hours a day following the fuel shortage that has hit the country due to the post-election violence in neighbouring Kenya.

Nigeria: Nigeria Accounts for 36 Percent of Global Gas Flaring

NIGERIA now accounts for 36 per cent of global gas flaring making it one of the single largest contributors to global warming, even as government and industry stakeholders agree to establish an ad-hoc "Flare Reduction Committee" to bring routine flaring to the barest minimum within the shortest possible time frame." In the process of oil production, Nigeria flares or burns about 24 billion cubit meters (or 0.84 trillion cubic feet) of associated natural gas every year. The World Bank's GGFR estimates that globally, 150 billion cubic meters (or 5.3 trillion cubic feet) of associated natural gas are being flared and vented annually.

Albania in Big Privatization Drive

The Albanian premier also detailed plans to conclude concessionary contracts with private enterprise for the construction of new hydro-electric generating plants.

Over the past two years, Albania has been hit by an acute energy crisis, with regular power cuts throughout the country, including the capital Tirana.

Diesel popularity revs car sales

Sales of new cars rose 2.5% last year to 2.4 million vehicles, driven by the rising popularity of diesel models, said the industry's main trade body.

Diesel cars, which are more economical, now total 40% of all UK car sales, up from 10% in 2000, said the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

Consumers may foot nuclear bill

Consumers may face higher electricity bills to cover the future decommissioning costs of a new generation of nuclear power stations to be announced this week, the Guardian has learned.

UK: PM Brown faces 'carbon cop-out' claims

Environmentalists say the Prime Minister’s public stance on green issues lies in tatters this weekend after two pollution-related rows erupted in Kent.

The attack came after the introduction of Government-approved, above-inflation train fare hikes which critics warned would force rail commuters back into cars.

The Government also appeared to give tacit support to plans for a new coal-fired power station at Kingsnorth.

China seeks fusion power as shortcut to solve energy crisis

China is all set to push forward for the development of fusion power with a project called ITER, that will see it collaborating with countries like India, to seek a shortcut to solve the energy crisis.

“The project aims to find a shortcut to solve our energy shortage,” said Luo Delong, deputy director of the ITER China Office.

Oil $200 Options Rise 10-Fold in Bet on Higher Crude

The fastest-growing bet in the oil market these days is that the price of crude will double to $200 a barrel by the end of the year.

Options to buy oil for $200 on the New York Mercantile Exchange rose 10-fold in the past two months to 5,533 contracts, a record increase for any similar period. The contracts, the cheapest way to speculate in energy markets, appreciated 36 percent since early December as crude futures reached a record $100.09 on Jan. 3.

Major fire spreads at Iraq's biggest oil refinery

BAIJI, Iraq (Reuters) - An explosion at a fuel storage tank caused a huge blaze at Iraq's largest refinery on Monday, injuring at least 36 workers, and the fire was spreading, witnesses said.

A Reuters cameraman at the Baiji refinery complex, some 180 km (110 miles) north of Baghdad, said he had seen at least one dead body and had counted at least 36 others suffering from burns.

"This is the biggest fire I have ever seen at Baiji refinery. We have not had a fire like this before," said an engineer, employed at the plant since 2003, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Iran Oil Exports Continue as Heavy Winds Cause Port Closures

Iran's oil exports continued as heavy winds forced the intermittent closure of Kharg Island, Iran's primary oil export terminal, a shipping agent said.

"The two oil platforms have been closed, but exports are not seriously affected," Farhang Mir, operations manager for Kanoo Shipping Agencies, said today by telephone from Tehran. "The platforms have been closing and re-opening for the past two weeks, so tankers have been able to get in and out because the berths are not continuously closed."

[ANALYSIS] Are we running out of oil?

Developments in the oil market in recent years have helped build up a rather pessimistic and widespread perception about the future of oil and the oil industry, which is focused on one common question: Are we running out of oil? The short answer is, "No!" That is the good news.

The bad news is that each additional barrel of high-quality oil to global supply is getting more costly and difficult to find, develop, extract and bring to wherever it is demanded.

If we are not running out of oil, what else should be blamed? Two words: peak oil. The term "peak oil" has begun to enter the common vocabulary thanks to the ongoing, quite heated, debate inside and outside of the oil industry since the turn of the new century. There is no doubt that the debate will continue in the coming years and will probably become part of long-term energy and economic planning.

Iraq resumes oil delivery to Turkey

The Iraqi shipping industry announced that Iraq has resumed pumping Kirkuk crude oil at a rate of roughly 72 thousand barrels per day via the northern pipeline to Turkey, Iraq Directory reported.

Iraqi crude oil stocks in the Turkish port of Ceyhan on the Mediterranean recently hit six million barrels.

Europe Pressure Mellows Russia over Transfer Gas

Russia, willing “to punish” Ukraine in favor of the West following the orange revolution, has had to take a step back from its earlier decision to cut supply to the country from intense pressure from the European Union (EU) and the US.

Severe delays and rising costs hamper Baltic Sea gas pipeline

A landmark Gazprom pipeline project intended to bring vital new supplies of Siberian natural gas into Western Europe and, ultimately, Britain is suffering severe cost inflation and delays.

The first gas was expected to flow through Nord Stream by 2010, but completion and testing of the 746-mile (1,200km) pipeline, which runs the length of the Baltic Sea, has been delayed until 2011 and costs are rising fast.

Gazprom Nigeria move bodes ill for the west

Russia's moves to tap Nigeria's huge energy reserves will send shivers through western governments already concerned about a shortage of global gas supplies.

Darling: I want answers over energy price hikes

ALISTAIR Darling has summoned energy regulators into a Whitehall meeting to discuss the cost of power after one of the UK's biggest energy suppliers announced double-digit price increases.

Shell's outsourcing plans face legal threat

Shell is facing the threat of legal action from trade union Amicus over staff redundancy terms, which could hit the oil giant's plans to outsource up to 3,200 tech jobs.

Story time with environmental group

ENVIRONMENTAL group Transition Town Lewes is planning a season of story telling on the challenges posed by climate change.

Gilly Smith from the group said: 'The aims of the talks are to inspire us to consider the way we live in Lewes as climate change and increasingly high oil prices look set to challenge many of the things we take for granted.

'Meeting in pubs is one of the most popular Transition Town Lewes traditions and what better way to pass the winter evenings than to sit around a roaring fire, tell tales and plan a better world?'

New York: DOT sets meeting on Southside project

Former Oneonta Town Supervisor Duncan Davie had previously suggested Southside was not the place to encourage pedestrian traffic.

But Hutchison said it's time to plan for a future that may be less reliant on automobiles.

"I'm pretty well convinced peak oil is here," Hutchison said.

Peak oil refers to the point at which global oil production reaches a terminal decline.

"The days of cheap energy are past us," Hutchison said.

The hidden holocaust - our civilizational crisis, part 3: The end of the world as we know it?

This global system is hugely destructive of human life. Devoid of the capability to recognize and enact ethical values, it is driven purely by the imperatives of profit, efficiency, growth, and monopoly. Consequently, it is not only destructive of human life; it is destructive of all life, nature, and even itself.

It is now generating multiple crises across the world that over the next 20 years threaten to converge in an unprecedented and unimaginable way, unless we take drastic action now.

Malaysia: Time to rethink life’s priorities

Analysts talk of “peak oil” – the moment when world petroleum production hits its peak and then will decline, in some places steeply, from then on.

Some estimate that we have already reached that moment, while others predict it will come within a few years. Oil gets more and more difficult to extract as the best located have already been taken out. The cost of extraction and the price will thus tend to increase sharply.

The Main Problem: Thinking Too Small

One of the leading scientists today, Dr. Michio Kaku, wrote a book called Generations which argues that our development as a species is measured by how much energy we use. Specifically, Kaku argues that humanity is currently in a very primitive stage, where we are only getting energy from byproducts of the Sun (oil, gas, coal, etc.) Further down the road, Kaku argues, we'll be getting alot more energy directly from the Sun, and then by harnassing tremendous forces such as black holes or quantum fluctuations. In other words, Kaku argues that we are using so little energy the astronomical sense of things that we are barely out of diapers.

The £1,290 car delights Indians but horrifies the green lobby

After years of secret preparation, the world's cheapest car will be unveiled in Delhi this week - delighting millions of Indians as much as it is horrifying environmentalists.

At 100,000 rupees (£1,290), the People's Car, designed and manufactured by Tata, is being marketed as a safer way of travelling for those who until now have had to transport their families balanced on the back of their motorbikes.

Gulf of Tonkin, Part Two?

CNBC just reported that oil prices were up, after being down in early trades, because of reports that three US Navy ships were "harassed" in the Persian Gulf by Iranian gunboats. The US military called it a "significant provocative act."

I just posted that one over at PeakOil.com. Here's a link:

U.S. says Iranian gunboats harassed warships

Iranian Revolutionary Guard gunboats harassed three U.S. Navy warships in the Strait of Hormuz Sunday, in what the U.S. military considers a "significant provocative act."

Military officials told NBC News that two US Navy destroyers and one frigate were heading into the Persian Gulf through the international waters of the Strait of Hormuz when five armed "fast boats" of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard approached a high speed, darting in and out of the formation.

At one point a radio message from one of the Iranian boats warned, "You are going to blow up within minutes."

That is just ducky ... will make a nice bookend to the chaos brewing in Pakistan. A clean sweep for the Bushies - trouble from the coast of the Mediterranean all the way to Kashmir. George must think he is Alexander of Macedonia or something.

Now tell me, when does Congress put a stop to this foolishness?

About the same time any of the Constitution loving canidates get on board with Impeachment. Going along with things means the Congress-kritter will trend towards keeping the lights on and their bellies full. Going against the flow trends towards unemployment, being hungry and in the dark.

(Wayne Madsen http://mp3.wtprn.com/Madsen.xml has claimed there is enough dirt on most everyone in Congress that if one goes down, they all go down)

One old candidate, George McGovern made the call yesterday. One can only hope the other Democratic candidates will sign on too.

E. Swanson

About the same time any of the Constitution loving canidates get on board with Impeachment.

You mean like Kucinich? He's introduced impeachment for Cheney... No other candidate even comes close to him on the issues. He's the only pro-Peak Oil candidate, as far as I know, and so far as I can tell, the most active on environmental issues. Here's list of issues he discusses in various videos found on youtube:

Peak Oil
- Peak oil is a fact
- being depleted faster than found
- at peak oil
- get off oil
- Government for sustainability
- Rosoe Bartlett referenced

- Free pre-school for 3-5
- Universal university/college w/ service programs
- Environmental Ed.

- massive infrastructure investment for mass transit
- energy efficient contruction
DOE: disincentives for oil, coal and nuclear incentives for wind and solar micro-technology (and businesses) to provide energy to homes and businesses across the country
- All trade agreements tied to environmental principles
- Cancel NAFTA
- Dept. of Interior: remove all incentives for natural resource extraction, including uranium to protect natvie American lands.
- NASA technology to boost green research
- Gov't as an engine of sustainability

- not-for-profit w/focus on prevention

- leave Iraq
- International security and peacekeeping simultaneous to withdrawal
- Leave it stable
- Let them keep their oil

Corporate personhood
- Regulate
- Review corporate personhood
- Hold responsible for public interest
- transparency

all for him. now who are the nominees ?

Bush arrives in the middle east for an 8 day visit - which includes Israel - this week.

One side or the other is rattling the cages in time for that.

Maybe he plans to ascend to Heaven on a mushroom-shaped cloud?

These types of feignts to guage a potential adversary's reaction have been going on forever. In the cold war US and Soviet submarines were constantly tailing and trying to intimidate each other. The US Navy might as well get used to it. The Iranians aren't going to retreat from the Persian Gulf (where would they go?), and no one is served by an over reation.

If Iran really wanted to attack an American Destroyer they would do it with a Silkworm missile barrage, not a speed boat full of trash talking Revolutionary Guards. The truth is that military tensions in the Gulf are significantly reduced from just a couple of months ago. A deal has been cut. The Iranians have stopped supplying IEDs to the Shiite militias and the US in turn has published the NIE that takes the military option off the table.

Bush is headed to the Middle East this week to wave the flag. Iran doesn't want anyone to forget that they are the emerging power in the region. But it would be foolish to misinterpret this naval gamesmanship as a genuine threat.

But it would be foolish to misinterpret this naval gamesmanship as a genuine threat.

I agree--just like the Gulf of Tonkin incident.

You totally missed the point Westexas. During the cold war these types of things happened more times than we even know. The Gulf of Tonkin incident is one of thousands of such incidents that happened in the past. While its possible this incident could turn into something, the chances are less than .1%.

IMHO, no, he didn't.

Look to the MSM now.

They are making a big deal of this.

Sure sign it was planned.

I agree, it kind of looks like the moron-in-chief and co. are looking for a new excuse to attack Iran now that their claim about nuclear weapons production has been disproven.

Didn't Iran just recently go and capture a bunch of British sailors claiming that they were in Iranian waters though? Maybe the pissing contest is on both sides.

You totally missed the point Westexas.

And you understand missing the point because?


the administration of President Lyndon Johnson deliberately triggered the Vietnam War by orchestrating the Tonkin Gulf incident and duping Congress

Lets see - fake incident

Daniel Ellsberg, at the November 1995 Vietnam Veterans Institute Conference, was far more critical of those who served in the executive branch and notably more apologetic: "What I did not reveal in the Summer of 64...was a conspiracy to manipulate the public into a war and to win an election through fraud...which had the exact horrible consequences the founders of this country envisioned when they ruled out, they thought as best they could, that an Executive Branch could secretly decide the decisions of war and peace, without public debate or vote of Congress....Senator Morse, one of the two people who voted against the Tonkin Gulf Resolution told me in 1971, '...had you given us all that information...seven years earlier, in 1964, the Tonkin Gulf Resolution would never have gotten out of Committee. And, if it had, it would never have passed....' But there was a time in my life later...knowing the consequences of all these policies...when I did say to myself that I'm never going to lie again with the justification that someone has told me I have to....I've never been sorry I've stopped doing that."

The Gulf of Tonkin incident is one of thousands of such incidents that happened in the past.

So you are claiming there are thousands of fake incidents? Incidents people 'feel bad' about later?

Oh, pray tell, do you have a list of them?

You totally missed the point Westexas. During the cold war these types of things happened more times than we even know

Do ya think?

The question is, what do Bush/Cheney plan to do. I suggest that you research the Gulf of Tonkin Incident.

Already did, and like I said it was one of hundreds of these types of military incidents that have occurred in the past. I acknowledged that it could turn into something, its just highly highly likely not to. Best hopes for TOD members not turning into this guy:


Already did, and like I said it was one of hundreds of these types of military incidents that have occurred in the past.

Great! Then share with us the benefit of your research, and list the (now down to hundreds, was thousands) other incidents of faked conflict.

Extra points if the people involved later regret involvement.

(over a day later I note you have not responded - and reasonable, informed people thank you for retreating from your incorrect statement)

You are the one missing the point. Military gamesmanship happened all the time during the cold war. What WT is referring to is that the Gulf of Tonkin was faked. Totally, corruptly faked, in order to gain support for a war that should have never occurred.

antidoomer -

I am well aware that there were plenty of cat-and-mouse games played between US and Soviet subs and aircraft during the Cold War. These perhaps served a legitimate purpose in testing each others' capabilities and defenses.

However, I get a very bad taste with this particular one. As you probably know, the Iran Navy is essentially a third-rate force consisting of 3 Russian Kilo class subs plus a handful of frigates, corvettes, fast missile boats, and a whole bunch of tiny patrol boats. So, there really wouldn't be much point in Iran's testing of our capabilities because they have to know they would get thoroughly stomped in any outright armed naval conflict with the mighty US Navy.

So, the questions in my mind are i) WHY? and ii) WHY NOW?

Given the delicate situation between Iran and the US, why would the Iranian government want to provoke the US and give the Bush regime the pretext for the attack it would love to launch against Iran? It would appear to me that the Iranians would have little motivation in creating an incident, whereas the Bush regime has plenty of motivation, much of it quite obvious.

Then we have the question of whether this incident has anything to do with Bush's upcoming visit to Israel, a visit in which what to 'do' about Iran will surely be discussed in exhaustive detail.

As with the Gulf of Tonkin incident, what is made of the incident by the US will be far more important than the physical incident itself. In this case no missiles were launched, no shots were fired, and no vessels from either side were damaged. Yet, I suspect that the Bush regime and the MSM are going to milk this one for all it's worth. How they play this will tell you a lot about what is really going on.

Given the overall situation, I am not so readily inclined to believe that this was just a case of some good 'ol boys in the Iranian Navy having a little fun with the Americans. Could it be that the Iranians have concluded they are going to be attacked by the US one way or the other, so it might be to their advantage to start trouble on their terms and their schedule rather than that of the US?

One could speculate forever, but the proof will be the degee to which this is made out to be a big deal requiring positive military action.

"Given the overall situation, I am not so readily inclined to believe that this was just a case of some good 'ol boys in the Iranian Navy having a little fun with the Americans. Could it be that the Iranians have concluded they are going to be attacked by the US one way or the other, so it might be to their advantage to start trouble on their terms and their schedule rather than that of the US?"

It's quite the opposite, tensions are lower. the Iranians know they won't be attacked, so they are feeling their oats.

Testudo -

Well, tensions at least outwardly APPEAR to be lower, partly as the result of the release of the NIE report stating that Iran ceased its nuclear weapons program in 2003.

However, this is precisely what the Bush regime does NOT want. If Iran's nuclear weapons program has turned out to be a non-existent issue, then I fear the Bush regime will be desperately searching for another justification for attacking Iran. The neocons in the Bush regime have been pressing for such an attack, as has Israel and its backers in the US. Thus, a manufactured or overblown incident would appear to fit right in with that overall strategy.

I don't know .... if I were an Iranian, I don't think I'd feel so confident about not being attacked until after Bush leaves office. Then of course we have the possibility of Israel going free-lance and making an attack all on its own, with the full expectation that the US will automatically come to Israel's defense when Iran counterattacks.

Well, I suppose that about a year from now we'll know for sure whether or not this will have turned out to be a legitimate worry.

If they did not want tensions lowered then why did they put out the NIE?

There was a battle within the Bush administration about how to deal with Iran. It was a battle between the neocons (led by Cheney) and the moderates (led by Rice). That battle is over, the moderates won. That's why most of the neocons have left the administration.

You can see the moderate foreign policy influence on the North Korean policy, and the broader Mideast policy. It is why they went back to Clinton's cash-for-disarmament agreement with North Korea, it is why they sponsored the recent Mideast Peace Conference and backed away from Israel (to a degree), it is why they engineered Bhuto's return to Pakistan to put a non-military face on the elections there.

But most critically it is why the Bush administration backed away from the precipice with Iran. It seems like Rice and Cheney were in a stalemate, but with Gates at DoD, the military clearly opposed confrontation with Iran and tipped the balance.

Is it possible that some rogue neocon (or revolutionary guard) element will try to engineer a confrontation to undermine the detente? Sure anything is possible. But the leadership in Washington and Tehran have struck their bargain. The US gets relative security in Iraq, Iran gets to keep their enrichment program, and the rest of the world gets an uneasy peace.

Possibly the neo-cons have merely been useful to the real power brokers, who did not want to invade Iran? http://dandelionsalad.wordpress.com/2007/12/30/the-post-bush-regime-a-pr...

As I've said before on this site, any rational person must come to the conclusion that an unprovoked attack on Iran by the US/Israel would be political and economic suicide. True, Iran does not have nukes. BUT, Iran has overpowering influence in Iraq. They have 2.5 mbpd export capacity of oil. They also the only bulwark of relative stability in the ME, as horrendous as the regime is.

Bush surprised some with the Iraq attack, but an attack on Iran is not even in the realm of possibility right now or the near future.

Iran may not even need nukes. The way the SCO agreements seem to be written would almost guarantee that if israel goes imperial again and attacks Iran Putin almost has to lay an egg on them.

First Iran is not a member of the SCO only an observer. Second how a link to this susposed mutual defense agreement you think exists.

So, the questions in my mind are i) WHY? and ii) WHY NOW?

Lets see debates last night. NH tomorrow, If people are feeling (because of IN THE NEWS scary stuff), Hmmm. maybe just MAYBE NH would go for a HAWK pro-lets-get-those-guys type of nominee...

Nah, that's too cynical about our Gov.

Or is it?

The Iranian coastal forces have only one capability that the US Navy might be interested in testing - the various anti-ship missiles it has obtained. Yet from what I hear of the US Navy, its leaders greatly fear any proof that missiles can defeat our ships, especially carriers. If they care more about their ship-based career tracks and their lovely fleets than Bush's schemes, then they don't want to be exposed by one of these new Iranian weapons, any more than the battleship admirals of 1941 wanted to be exposed at Pearl Harbor. Those are epochal events, the kind that renders entire categories of ship (and admiral) obsolete. Consider the likely outcomes of the public outcry of the easy sinking of a US nuclear carrier with 5000 men:

1. We launch a nuclear attack using the Air Force. Navy looks obsolete.

2. We pull back like we had to in 1942, rebuild around submarines, cruise missiles, hovercraft, you name it, and retire much of the existing Naval bureaucracy.

However, the head-on collision of two Navy F-18s in the Gulf today will probably add to the frustration and jitteriness of the crews in the fleet. This is just what the Administration wants.

Lotta point missing going on.

The 1964 Gulf of Tonkin incident, which drew the US into the Vietnam war, never happened as it was reported in the media.

The Vietnamese attack on the USS Maddox may have happened after the Maddox fired first. The attack on the USS Turner Joy didn't happen.

And we are in entirely different territory now than we were then.

710 -

I'm not exactly sure what point you think is being missed, or by whom.

If it was easy for the US to start a war based on a largely fictional incident, as in the Gulf of Tonkin incident, then why is it not possible for the US to do the same with a real but overblown incident?

The motivation for the Gulf of Tonkin incident was to make LBJ appear tough on the commies and to create a crisis and thus steal some of the thunder from Barry Goldwater in the 1964 election. The motivation for creating a crisis out of this Iranian naval incident would be enable Bush to fulfill his agenda to 'fix' Iran.

Yes, we are in different territory now, but I'm not sure if you mean that it's less or more dangerous than it was in 1964. There are parallels, albeit inexact ones.

I sincerely hope this whole thing turns out to be a big nothing, but the people currently running our country appear to be capable of anything.

I was trying to be kind regarding the single point missed by antidoomer, regarding a largely fictional incident drawing us into a war that benefited few at the cost of many.

Why is beating the war drum not as effective now with something actual but greatly exaggerated? The world has become more complex, too many masters, more people have more access to information than ever before, more distractions, many people in the US are tired of the existing war, more people are distrusting government, dissent among the military, people actually worrying about the environment, I'm guessing.

But we'll get another crisis, and more attacks that did or didn't happen, and eventually there will be war.

We are in a far worse position now than we were then.

It was worse than that.

The US Navy was being used covertly to protect commando (or terrorist) raids by the Saigon regime against the coast of the North in retaliation for guerrilla (terrorist) attacks. We lied about that, of course.

The US never even talked to the Hanoi regime as though it was a sovereign government, or ever stopped plotting violence against it, from 1954 until Hanoi came close to toppling the post-Diem junta in 1964. It was Hanoi's violence that actually got the US to acknowledge its right to exist. Yet again proving that force is the only thing the US respects - or a successful nuclear bomb program.

Careful Jeff,
Everyones being way too literal about this. That particular dog has been put to rest. Nothing to see here. Tonkin was manufactured from thin air. Tonkin had a purpose. The gubment needed it. The moneymakers needed it. The arms dealers needed it. The vested interests (pick one) needed it. Tonkin was inevitable. This is nothing. So the media makes a big deal. That's MSM. We're at the point in time where the MSM doesn't even need direction from the invisible hand. They're on auto pilot. Just doing what they're trained to do.


That's a nice story, anyway. Boys will be boys, but cooler heads prevail and all is muffled in poetic acronyms.

They'd probably use the Sunburn missile system and do their Russian and Chinese friends a favour with a field trial against US ships.

Let's not hyperventilate over the incident with the Iranian ships and the U.S. navy. No one fired a shot, and no one got hurt. It's not exactly going to change the world, and the price of oil has even dropped today.

But they almost fired a shot.

The U.S. Navy also received a radio transmission that officials believe came from the Iranian ships. The transmission said, "I am coming at you. You will explode in a couple of minutes," the U.S. military officials told CNN.

When the U.S. ships heard that radio transmission, they took up their gun positions and officers were "in the process" of giving the order to fire when the Iranians abruptly turned away, the U.S. officials said.

Traders have shrugged it off, though. Oil is down $3 on the January thaw and fear of recession.

"I am coming at you. You will explode in a couple of minutes,"

In English, right? They're c-c-c-coming to k-k-k-kill us. Right.

The more we pay attention to this sort of news, the less we know.

cfm in very Gray, ME

Oh c'mon,

Almost doesn't even count in horseshoes and hand grenades. I've almost done a million things. compared to the crap our country pulls, this doesn't even rate as a non issue.


PS No more network news for yuse guys without tunin' up the BS filters. ;^}

If I was out there on an American ship, and knew anything at all about recent naval war games I'd be changing my pants right about now.


The war game, which was called Millennium Challenge 02, took place over three weeks last July and August [2002 - GG]. Planned over a two-year period, at a cost of $250 million, the game involved 13,500 personnel from all four services—Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines—who waged mock war in 17 simulation locations and nine live-force training sites. The scenario envisioned a war in a fictitiously named Persian Gulf country that resembled Iraq.

Pentagon war games pit "Red Force" (simulating the enemy) against "Blue Force" (the United States). In this war game, as in many war games over the years, Van Riper played the Red Force commander. In his e-mail (which was promptly leaked to the Army Times then picked up, though in much less detail, by the Guardian and the Washington Post), Van Riper complained about Millennium Challenge 02, writing that, "Instead of a free-play, two-sided game … it simply became a scripted exercise." The conduct of the game did not allow "for the concepts of rapid decisive operations, effects-based operations, or operational net assessment to be properly assessed. … It was in actuality an exercise that was almost entirely scripted to ensure a Blue 'win.' "

For instance—and here is where he displayed prescience—Van Riper used motorcycle messengers to transmit orders to Red troops, thereby eluding Blue's super-sophisticated eavesdropping technology. He maneuvered Red forces constantly. At one point in the game, when Blue's fleet entered the Persian Gulf, he sank some of the ships with suicide-bombers in speed boats. (At that point, the managers stopped the game, "refloated" the Blue fleet, and resumed play.)

Tiny patrol boats are hauling Sunburn and Silkworm missiles. The heavier, supersonic Sunburn is a definite danger to a carrier and would likely take out an escort sized vessel with one strike.

If they're gonna pull something they'll pull it when a carrier is transiting the straight ...


I believe the "real" Silkworm (a name given by the west to the original HY-1) is too heavy to be toted around in patrol boats. It's 2500kg.

HY-1: http://www.fas.org/man/dod-101/sys/missile/row/hy-1.htm

Probably couldn't even get up on skis behind a boat w/something like that :-)

HY-2: http://www.fas.org/man/dod-101/sys/missile/row/c-201.htm

I'm quite certain the radars on the HY series are profiled and jamming and other defensive measures are ready. I wouldn't be surprised at all if all the games are just an attempt to get the latest paint colors off the missiles by the US.


How the heck do you get more info? There's no link on the CNN website, just a large banner! =/

Cheney & Blackwater subcontractors are busy making some right now. Please be patient and feel secure that we will not run short of sarconol no matter the other shortages that may appear.

Best Hopes for the next 379 days,



You had me for a minute there...379 days? Next inauguration!?

Inauguration Day, January 20, 2009

It ain't over till it's over.

A historical footnote. It is my understanding that there appears to be no provision in the Constitution if something happens to the president elect between the election and Inauguration Day.

As far as I can tell, there is no change in power anyways. The same people will charge after the inauguration, so is there any importance to the date.

Ron Paul isn't likely to win, and even if he did, he would just get assassinated for his anti-Fed (NWO) attitude. The *REAL* powers that be won't let that happen.

I get the feeling (more and more lately) that these events are *scripted* and we are just along for the ride.

One of the many reasons I worry that GWB will supply a world war - it will answer many challenges provided by the current situation and make him and his colleagues even richer. Then he can move to Paraguay (but you have to wonder what wonderful things you have planned to need that move).

/tin hat off

Ron Paul isn't likely to win

I don't care if he wins, I wanna see the national discussion about money, the worldwide base network, et la.

To see laid bare - The worldwide base network allows you to have X, Y and Z. The money system means G, H, I.

It is quite possible the military base network *IS* wanted because it DOES keep the lights on and the bellies full.

It is possible that inflation destruction of savings is good.

But I'd like to see the discussion.

I get the feeling (more and more lately) that these events are *scripted* and we are just along for the ride.,

This script started a very long time ago.

Classic study of fascism creeping into American Democracy was written in the middle of WWII, and is available (free) in pdf format As We Go Marching, by John T. Flynn http://blog.mises.org/archives/005772.asp

Flynn suffered mightily for his efforts, as have more recent commentators (Michael Rupert comes to mind) which might explain the dearth of serious attempts to unhorse these riders.

If you want to read a real stunner, check out the Drudge Report:


God I hope it's true. Go OBAMA.

Well, Drudge doesn't have a lot of credibility....

You should read the post.

Obama is a freight train, and Hillary's polling numbers are collapsing across the board. I think that Hillary has two huge strikes against her: her vote for the war and the BC/BC factor. If she were to serve 8 years, we would have had a Bush or Clinton in office for 28 years.

My own gut is that all you say is correct. And for that matter, I am quite delighted with this turn of events. My only point is that Drudge isn't always reliable, and if there is something breaking in the news it is probably better to find a more mainstream source.

And my own gut says that it is premature to talk of a Hillary exit.

All the Democratic candidates took a pledge, along with Ron Paul, to reverse some of the constitutional offenses of Bush. Clinton was the last Democrat to do so.

If Obama would make the forefront of his campaign that pledge and the need for further limitations on arbitrary executive power it would be reason enough for me to wholeheartedly support him. But the public actually seems to support the drift to dictatorship; it only resents the war because it doesn't work. The faltering economy and sense of crisis over the next 11 months will destroy any incentive for candidates to campaign on restoring the Constitution.

We will need a strong President in 2009 but not in the ways that the public wants.

Maybe she'll finally get around to baking that batch of cookies she was always talking about.

Make a deal with Obama for the VP slot, while she still has bargaining chips ?

I was hoping for Richardson as VP with "whoever" won D nomination. Between Iraq, recession, high oil and general disgust with GWB, the R candidate seems unlikely to win IMHO.

Best Hopes for ???


I was hoping for Richardson as VP with "whoever" won D nomination.

Oh man, Obama/Richardson would be most excellent.

I agree regarding Obama/Richadson--and think of the demographics, an African-American/Hispanic ticket.

Obama \ Gore, with Big Al providing some experience and keeping busy with environmental issues.

Yes!!! I keep telling people I'm voting Gore regardless of whether he is running or not. Time will tell if I have the nerve to do it on election day, I think it depends how close the race is and how disgusted I am with the D campaign.

I can remember that one of Gore's campaign issues in 2000 was that he was going to do something about suburban sprawl. Can you imagine how different things could have been?! If Gore had won the SCOTUS vote and gotten his way, maybe we wouldn't have seen $100 a barrel oil when we did. The thought just boggles the mind.

an African-American/Hispanic ticket

That is the reason I suspect that ticket would never happen, there could be the perception that one minority on the ticket would be enough - two would be pushing it.

I'm inclined to agree.

But honestly, I really don't care any more. I used to be really interested in politics, but now...I just don't see how any of these candidates (Ron Paul included) is going to make a difference. None of them seem to have a clue about the real problems we're facing.

And I find myself hoping the candidates that I like personally do not win, because whoever is in the White House is going to take the fall when TSHTF. And it looks more and more like it's going to happen in the term of our next president. If not a full-blown energy crisis or economic collapse, then at least a bad recession. Obama, Edwards, Hillary...they don't have a clue what they're in for, or they'd be running away, not running.

Which is probably why we haven't seen Big Al in the ring.

My guess is Gore is waiting. By 2012 the oil issue and the climate issue will be fully ripened.

None of them seem to have a clue about the real problems we're facing.

I wouldn't say that's completely true, Richardson at least has a plan, and i'd love for him to be VP and be the anti-cheney on energy issues.


Richardson at least has a plan, and i'd love for him to be VP and be the anti-cheney on energy issues.


Just a footnote to your argument: it's interesting that these days the vice-president seems to be running things. I had that impression during the Reagan regime as well. At least during Reagan and Bush Jr, the role of the president appears to be a PR person, while big business manages (or mismanages) the country.

Geez, I don't support somebody because I personally like them or feel affection for them. Rather, it's because I think they are what the country needs (from the choice available).

That they might be thrown into a meatgrinder isn't an issue. They tend to be tough SOBs anyway. No point feeling sorry for them.

Geez, I don't support somebody because I personally like them or feel affection for them.

If that's true, you are highly unusual for an American voter. As Mark Crispin Miller pointed out in The Bush Dyslexicon, we've become a country that votes for people who seem like someone we'd like to have a beer with, not people who are qualified for the job. When Bush and Gore debated, did CNN, ABC, etc., talk about their stands on the issues or their knowledge of world affairs? No. The top story was Gore sighing and looking at his watch. And we ended up with the guy who thought the Taliban was a band.

In any case, I didn't say I was going to support anyone based on personal affection. But I'm a human being (contrary to popular belief ;-) and I like some people better than others. And I freely admit it. Frankly, I feel sorry for whoever gets the job. I even feel sorry for Dubya. I think he was half-hoping he'd lose the last election.

True, if Ron Paul had the looks, speech and delivery of a Fred Thompson then he would have a much better chance.

if he wasn't a racist bigoted crackpot he'd have a better chance

i find people's affection for Paul and Kucinich odd - they have one or two issues they talk about so people seem blind to everything else about them

i find people's affection for... Kucinich odd - they have one or two issues they talk about so people seem blind to everything else about them

How so? Kucinich is the only candidate I know of that is aware of and has spoken about Peak Oil. He's very pro-Constitution, anti-PA and MCA, he's the only one against the war from beginning to end that has actually voted that way every chance he's gotten, he's for true universal health care, he's pro-environment.

What I can't figure out is why people are NOT all over Kucinich...

What I can't figure out is why people are NOT all over Kucinich...

What was that you said? I can't hear you over FOX news playing on my home theater system. Could you pass me the bowl of chips? Were out? Could you get in the SUV and go to WalMart and get some for me, I'm too fat to get up from the couch.

Now there is your average voter!

Turnout has been higher than expected in both Iowa and now it looks like NH. A small awakening? Too little, too late, I fear.

Leanan: "In any case, I didn't say I was going to support anyone based on personal affection. But I'm a human being (contrary to popular belief ;-) and I like some people better than others. And I freely admit it. Frankly, I feel sorry for whoever gets the job. I even feel sorry for Dubya. I think he was half-hoping he'd lose the last election."

Though it appears to be better with numerous candidates I make the suggestion that just before the November election we here at the TOD should hold a straw election using the APPROVAL method. That method is where voters get to vote for their top 2 or 3 candidates in a weighted, descending order. The candidate with the most votes, even if always second, wins our vote.

It'd be interesting to see how the APPROVAL voting method plays out among our readers.

Just before the November election, there will be only two candidates. Unless we get an independent like Bloomberg, the others will drop out.

The time for Aussie-style voting is now, IMO.

As an Australian, I can assure you it doesn't make a difference, our leaders are almost as clueless :)

As an Aussie who lived in the states for 7 years I can assure you that it makes an enormous difference. Imagine an Australia in which Howard lost the last election but stayed PM nonetheless. Imagine one in which your vote was systematically defrauded by the Libs hacking the vote counting machines. Imagine one in which Howard could veto legislation on a per-paragraph basis, or simply take out his pen and rewrite it to say whatever he wanted before he signed it.

Democracy in Australia may be flawed ... but it is still democracy. The USA is a rhinocracy.

In the approval voting system I have read about, one can vote for as many candidates as one likes, and there is no ranking or weighting at all. One is simply spliting the candidates into two groups - acceptable, and not acceptable. One can draw that line wherever one likes.

From what I've heard, it is a very effective way to pick the best person for the job. I think, though, that for every system there will be some situations where it doesn't work well. It's just that the approval method works well more often and fails less abysmally that most other systems.

For the record, I've never doubted your humanity. :-)

But I have worried that the Dark Muse was becoming unduly pessimistic, perhaps on account of the company she keeps! That's gotta take a toll.

If history is any guide, a real crisis will push some of the current politicos to permanent superstar status. They will find their moment. Lincoln was widely perceived to be an oafish idiot and often gravely doubted by his own supporters.

I cannot remember the exact stats but Lincoln was the most prolific trial lawyer in Illinois history -- everybody on his staff considered him a genius from what I have read.

If Bill Clinton knows about Peak Oil, I gaureentee Hilary knows too.

There's a difference between knowing about peak oil and really understanding it.

Very few people think oil is truly limitless. But most think it will be at most a minor inconvenience when it gets scarce. High prices, then we'll switch to ethanol or PHEVs or aircars. Or teleport, like on Star Trek!

Very few people think oil is truly limitless. But most think it will be at most a minor inconvenience when it gets scarce. High prices, then we'll switch to ethanol or PHEVs or aircars. Or teleport, like on Star Trek!

Kind of just a tad bit unfair to simply group together those of us who back PHEVs, and next generation biofuels (not ethanol) with those who believe in aircars and teleporation. Best hopes for less unfair grouping of people.

If you really thought PHEVs were the answer, you wouldn't be hanging around here. You'd be at Green Car or something instead.

Actually I really do think that PHEVs along with Alan's electric rail are two possible answers. Are you suggesting everyone who writes on the oildrum deep down believes we are screwed and there is no chance of a brighter future? So writing on the TOD automatically makes you a doomer?

I would say most are deeply concerned - so deeply concerned you would consider them doomers.

Some are just trolls. They could post at WorldChanging or Green Car or similar sites instead, but that's no fun, because they really don't care about the issues. They just want to tick people off.

And some haven't decided yet. They're here to learn, and make up their minds. But they tend to not to post much.

Then why is the motto of TOD "Discussions about Energy and Our Future?" why not make it "Discussions about how we will life in a post carbon/low energy world"? I have seen featured post on TOD made by Chris Vernon specifically on PHEVs, and Alan Drake on EOT. If these are not issues to discuss as possible solutions to the energy crisis, why are they in featured post on TOD?!?!

Then why is the motto of TOD "Discussions about Energy and Our Future?" why not make it "Discussions about how we will life in a post carbon/low energy world"?

Doesn't sound as good. But I think the majority of the staff, if not all of them, would agree that the future will be a low-energy world.

If these are not issues to discuss as possible solutions to the energy crisis, why are they in featured post on TOD?!?!

I don't think anyone, even Alan, sees them as solutions. They are "silver BBs" - maybe, possibly, partial solutions. Nowhere near a solution to the larger problem of peak oil and energy decline. (And sometimes, we do articles to debunk the idea. We've discussed Steorn here, too, but nobody with two neurons to rub together believes that's a solution.)

I found this in a newsletter giving advice to MLM organisers, aka confidence tricksters.

There are 3 categories of marks - I mean reader :)

1) Faithful supporters. They've bought the con, you can sell them anything. Ha, suckers!

2) Trouble makers. They are disgruntled marks you already ripped off, or are sent by competitors, and hang around causing trouble. Chase them off with threats.

3) Potential new marks. Needed to keep up the pyramid scheme. Welcome them, but if they don't become buyers quickly they are probably going to be in 2).

OH man Bob, I can't stop laughing at that one.

There's a big difference between believing society is completely doomed (which is what you seem to define as being a doomer) and believing that a future society will be sufficiently energy constrained that huge scale personal car (particularly the modern version where there's 90 percent of the time there's one driver in a hatchback car/SUV) transport will not be possible.

And you know what: the second option wouldn't to me be a "darker future". I can live perfectly happily without personal cars as long as there's medium-range goods transport (for things like food, manufactured goods like bicycles, hardware goods, etc) and large scale mass transport. Some of my family would have big problems because they've got jobs an hour/hour and a half commute from where they live and get in their cars (alone) to drive to work. Figuring out how to solve reorganise their lives will be a big problem, but when it's done I don't think they'd feel hugely deprived by not having a personal car.

Thinking we won't have a summer driving holidays in the future is entirely different from thinking everything is completely doomed.

My 2c worth. Unlike a lot of people who proudly proclaim that they vote for the 'person not the party' I vote for the party. There are lots of appointments, Supreme Court only being the tip of the iceberg, in the judicial branch, that the Pres. is responsible for. There are hundreds, if not thousands of executive orders and regulations controlled by the Pres. The overall tilt of the US govt. is led by both the majority congressional party as well as the executive branch. I can't think of any R candidate I'd vote for over any D candidate, regardless of the gag reflex with almost all of them.

OTOH, I agree with Leanan that the candidate that gets in now is going to face some real S**T in their administration. Maybe someone with steel balls (like Hillary ;)) would be good.

Then there is Douglas Adams line, "Anyone who desires to be president is ipso-facto disqualified."

I can't help but think this is not going to play out the way we think it will.

Gotta go park cars now... pain in all the diodes down my left side.

cfm at Milliways, Frogstar B

Agreed that presidents/Congress can't really turn around economic cycles, but at least a new president could start building the energy efficiency/rail transit/solar/wind economy that we are likely to eventually end up with. Whoever is president will likely face wrenching economic transitions, but the Dem's are at least a little closer to facing reality in terms of supporting transit, urban design, energy efficiency and renewables.
I expect oil prices to increase to whatever number is required to reduce the US oil consumption, since that is the largest global chunk of discretionary consumption. Whoever is president when that happens will have to preside over adaptation,voluntary or not.

I don't care anymore either.

The tail's wagging the dog. "Congratulations sir on your election to the highest office in the nation, we look forward to working with you. Now if you'll please follow us, we'll head over to the office of the invisible hand and discuss how you'll be running the show for the next 4 years."


I feel the same about the recent Aussie elections, the winning Labor Party were set up to take the fall. Obviously GW's good mate John Howard had inside info & did not really try after 12 years in office (though i don't think he expected to lose his own seat in the lower house).
Also have you Yanks ever had a legit war, where you didn't lie, provoke, initiate, pre-empt etc. (and don't pretend Pearl Habour was a surprise)

Not as excellent as Edwards/Richardson ...

I would definitely agree on that one. Or even Obama/Edwards would be acceptable. Edwards could engage the Gore role of pushing a passionate interest - in Edward’s case eliminating corporate malfeasance and influence.

Edwards might be the least objectionable on his side providing one believes what he says, hard to do when he comes across as having a couple of gallons of Red Bull before each debate.

I scribbled a bit about why Edwards will never be President ...


Then you have to see that what the radicals here want isn't such a sure thing.

If no Edwards, and Walking Eagle being unelectable despite people already counting the taxpayer $$ they will put in their pockets to pretend to re float "Atlantis on the Gulf", I would wager a large amount of money that a black like Obama isn't electable, maybe a Colin Powell, but not Obama.
Can you see it? Vote for Hussein? It never happen, even though the candidates on the other side are incredibly weak and all have at least one major liability.

Kunstler likes Edwards. He thinks Edwards is the only one who can kick GM's butt.

I dunno. I know you shouldn't judge a book by its cover, but he doesn't look like he could kick anyone's butt, let alone GM's.

IMO it is still a two horse race, Obama and Edwards-they might end up teaming up. Hillary is finished-she doesn't have the likability of her husband and her lying skills are not inherent, they are forced. Edwards could sell ice to Eskimos.

Edwards could sell ice to Eskimos.

As they might need it, thats a good skill to have..

Nate,as someone who has spent some time selling things, I can assure that if your customer REALLY needs it, it's not that hard to sell it to him. But I'd hate to be in the customer service dept when the shipment arrives melted...that's where your going to need the real people skills. ;-)

The clincher's gonna be Bohemian Grove. If he's ever been there, he's a Bush of a different color. Let's go all the way...watch for his secret Freemason signs and handshake. ;^] / :-| / :^[ / >^O


i like Edwards for the same reasons - he has taken corporations to the woodshed for years and beaten the crap out of them time after time

he knows that cowboy posture like Bush/Cheney got us nowhere - he knows how to fight on the terrain you need to fight the corporate kleptocracy

I don't see how anyone on this site can support Edwards - he is not telling the truth about the energy situation. He blames the "insane gas prices" on the oil companies. Which, as most of us know here, is simply not true.

I'll support the candidate who tells us the truth about the real problems facing the country and the world, the "three E's", Economy, Energy, and Environment. I hear nothing of any substance from any of them.

I don't see how anyone on this site can support Edwards - he is not telling the truth about the energy situation. He blames the "insane gas prices" on the oil companies. Which, as most of us know here, is simply not true.

I'll support the candidate who tells us the truth about the real problems facing the country and the world, the "three E's", Economy, Energy, and Environment. I hear nothing of any substance from any of them.

All politicans lie. That's how they get elected.

Edwards talks about more hard issues than the others and he is going a better direction, IMHO. I think peak oil is one that they'll all wait on - we here know the reaction that comes in talking to friends and family - imagine doing that to a hundred million who voted, and only 60% of them voting for you. Yikes.

In the debate the other night it seemed like Richardson was aligning with Hillary (attacking Obama, for example) while Edwards was aligning with Obama (defending him). So Obama / Edwards?

Make a deal with Obama for the VP slot, while she still has bargaining chips ?

I was hoping for Richardson as VP with "whoever" won D nomination. Between Iraq, recession, high oil and general disgust with GWB, the R candidate seems unlikely to win IMHO.

Best Hopes for ???


Oh, I wouldn't count out the Republicans just yet. With a little help from a certain voting machine company, they may have a chance.

There may be some intellectual property violation going on here.

That kind of picture can land you in jail.

I think that the ACLU could mount an able defense based on political speech and the 1st Amendment.


parody is considered "fair use"

Has anyone other than John McCain come out against ethanol subsidies?


Ron Paul is also against Ethanol subsidies,

McCain - I can understand due to the lack of corn in his state.

Dr. No - cuz, well, he's Dr. No.

Except. When Dr. No votes yes.

For the oil subsidies. He is from Texas.

Hey! All politics are local bay-bee!

No, you should make Edwards your VP candidate as assassination insurance. The counterparts of the people involved in the JFK assassination (CIA, fascist Cubans, psycho Texan billionaires) would consider populist Edwards very bad for business, if for no other crime than telling the American people that the rich are indeed waging class war against them.

Edwards is rich. He is a populist like Kennedy.

It's possible to be rich and fight on the side of the poor.

Could someone's eyeball count be down for the month so far and they need more hits?

That's a graph of Hillary's odds of becoming the Dem nominee, expressed as a percentage, from the betting site, Intrade.

Massive change over the last few days. This is big.

Twentieth Amendment. The Vice president elect becomes president.

It is my understanding that there appears to be no provision in the Constitution if something happens to the president elect between the election and Inauguration Day.

"If, at the time fixed for the beginning of the term of the President, the President elect shall have died, the Vice President elect shall become President." U.S. Constitution Amendment 20, item 3.

That's the danger of posting based on half-remembered comments. I think that William Safire had some kind of scenario that concerned him--perhaps the simultaneous death of both the president and vice-president elect, although there does seem some provision for Congress choosing the president in that case. Perhaps he thought the clause was much too vague. I tried to find a link, but couldn't.

and the great thing is that William Safire knows the folks that could make it happen

This is why the wise VP choice is to pick someone LESS tolerable to the opposition than the Pres. (or in our current situation, to pick a more tolerable Pres.)

I think Obama's wise choice would be Kucinich.

You're right. I forgot about Kucinich.

But then that was the problem with Kucinich, wasn't it?

The response to the death or disability of a president elect after the election but before inauguration day would be driven by a number of factors.

First if the president elect were to die before the electoral college were to meet then the voters while free to vote for whom ever they wished would most likely vote for the vice presidential candidate of the winning party, the vice presidential voters would also be free to vote for the candidate of their choice. Probably voting for a person chosen by the original vp candidate now president presumptive.

If however there was no consensus among the electors then the us house of reps would choose the president, and or the senate would choose the new vp as the vp is the titular head of that body.

Although the house would vote for the president, it would be by state not individual member, which means that Bernie Sanders of vt would have one vote as would the whole California delegation.

Any state that had a evenly split delegation and could not agree would not have a vote.

This scenario almost played out in each of the last two elections as a shift of less than 1% in two or three states would have tied the electoral college.

If the electoral college has already voted and the president elect dies then the vp would move up to the presidency and then nominate his or her replacement.

If the president elect were to be permanently disabled after the electors meet, but before being sworn in presumably the vp would then become president, as not having been sworn in the office is technically vacant, however the argument could be made that the vp would only be acting president.

If the president elect were to be permanently disabled before the electors were to meet and would be unable to perform his or her duties then the electoral college would be in a quandary, some state require their electors to vote for the winner of their election, while others do not. Some electors may vote for the vp and others may have to vote for the disabled presidential candidate or will do so out of loyalty, also the vice presidential electors would probably vote for the original vp candidate, so the vp would probably be elected and the choice of president could again end up with the house of representatives,

Bernie's in the Senate now. Peter Welch would have that vote...

If the electoral college hasn't met yet, then the electors pledged to the dead candidate may vote for someone else instead. Presumably the dead candidate's party would scramble to designate a replacement ticket.

If the electoral college has met, then the highest number of votes transmitted to congress would be for a dead candidate. Congress at that point would probably handle that the same way they would if there were no electoral college winner, following procedures that are explicitly detailed in the constitution. The house delegations would vote by state, with the majority of states deciding a winner (which could be anyone, even someone that had not been running), while the senate would select the VP.

There are only a few days between this point and the January 20th inaugural, but that is the window of time that really is interesting. You are right in that, during that window, there really are no constitutional provisions covering a president-elect's death. My guess is that the congress would just re-vote in that case, and the Supremes would probably support them in that.

January 20 - January 7 + 366 (Leap Year). Of course by noon January 20, 2009 GWB will belong to history (and the Int'l Court of Justice ?) but I decided not to count the hours just yet.

Best Hopes for Incompetence in all things till then (including provoking a war),


Bush Begins Preparations For Nation's Final Year

January 5, 2008

WASHINGTON—As his last term in office winds to a close, President Bush has directed White House aids and Cabinet staff to begin preparing for 2008, the nation's 232nd and final year in existence.

"Our great nation will be a shining, then blinking, then slowly fading beacon to the world," Bush said. "As our time as a sovereign country with borders and currency comes to a close, let us hope we will be remembered for all the great things we accomplished, and not for the 1960s."

"We sure did have some good times, didn't we?" Bush added.

To help the members of Congress pass the time until both houses are a jagged shell of concrete and marble, looted of valuables by roving bands of nomadic warlords to sell for spears and kerosene, Bush submitted to the Senate a short list of what he called "Dream Projects" to be carried out in the tenuous weeks following Dec. 9, 2008.


As long as potus is in the ME we're safe.

Suppose Cheney has him bumped off by an "Iranian" hit man? Just joking.

Don't joke. Al Qaeda released a video stating that they were ready for Bush's arrival and would be going for him with bombs and guns.

I predict an Iranian shaped charge IED will put an end to the life of one GWB and his long silver-foot in his mouth existence.

Talk about your Gulf of Tonkin incident.

French Rent-a-Bike Expands to New Cities

A resident of Toulouse told me that the city-wide rent a bike program had expanded to Toulouse in November, as well as several other cities (he could remember only Nancy).

I would VERY much like more details.

Best Hopes for Non-Oil Transportation,


Meanwhile Alan, here in Orlando we're spending $900k to put 'ambassadors' downtown on Segways, no one is really sure what for. I suppose to direct 'tourists' to the nearest bar, but there aren't tourists in downtown, they are all at disney and universal. First time I heard this I thought of the rent-a-bike program and what a better use of that money that would be...

neon9: "Meanwhile Alan, here in Orlando we're spending $900k to put 'ambassadors' downtown on Segways, no one is really sure what for"

Ambassadors have been here in Atlanta since the Olympics of `96. They help direct people around and watch for crime. Their functioning as the eyes and ears of the public safety dept. is a pretty good thing if you ask me. Anyway crime seems to be down where ever they are visible.

Yeah, but local interests have tried hard to keep all the tourists in Disney and Universal. When people travel to Atlanta, they are probably going to DT. Not so much here.

Ideally we'd have mass transit so people could travel from the theme parks to the airport and downtown, but that plan died a while back. I don't know how you'd get that past the rental car co.'s now.

The money would be better spent putting in some sidewalks, and improving pedestrian safety, the last time I was in downtown Orlando, about a year ago, I found it almost impossible to walk from the Federal building to the post office which are about four or five blocks apart, in many places there were no side walks they were ripped up or blocked off and even where they existed, to cross a street is a life threatening experience as the drivers seem to think that right turn on red means that you look left and then drive right, through a pedestrian filled crosswalk with impunity.

If you speak French, the web site is here:

I could translate some of the details if you're interested.

Toulouse will eventually grow to 253 stations and 2,400 rent-a-bikes per my understanding (I can kind of read French, as for speaking it, we in New Orleans have had our revenge for being sold to the Amis >:-) We do strange things to French names).

What other French cities have gotten rent-a-bikes ?



Here you go Alan, info on city bike hire here:
You gotta love Google!

"This is the biggest fire I have ever seen at Baiji refinery. We have not had a fire like this before," said an engineer, employed at the plant since 2003, who spoke on condition of anonymity."

And then:

"The Iraqi shipping industry announced that Iraq has resumed pumping Kirkuk crude oil at a rate of roughly 72 thousand barrels per day via the northern pipeline to Turkey, Iraq Directory reported."

According to may handy dandy Newsweek Map from March 2003,
the only way Kirkuk oil gets to Turkey is thru Baiji.

Feel free to correct.

Then there's this:

Iraq power line bombed by insurgents

Saboteurs brought down a power line, cutting all electricity from the northern town of Baiji, Iraq, to areas south, an Electricity Ministry spokesman said.

and it's already been said that US/UK special forces are operating inside Iran...

...how does McCain (probable R nominee in my estimation) beat Obama (probably Democratic nominee)?

by the election moving sharply away from the politics of hope back to a war against an existential threat - and who can deliver on this? the same folks that want a President elected that won't shake things up too much

RE: "Burger Flippers" in Manufacturing (previous discussions - re: River, et al

Reply received from Bureau of Labor Statistics regarding above -

There was an Economic Report of the President a few years ago questioning the blurriness of how manufacturing is defined, and used the example of a hamburger (see pages 73-74: http://www.gpoaccess.gov/usbudget/fy05/pdf/2004_erp.pdf). This was given a fair amount of media coverage. Indeed, "food manufacturing" (NAICS 311) represents about 10 percent of manufaturing employment and would cover the "production of ground beef, ketchup, buns, etc." The combining of all three at a fast food restaurant, however, is still classified in limited-service restaurants (NAICS 722211), a part of the leisure and hospitality industry in the "service-producing sector."

According to data from another survey here at BLS, the Occupational Employment Statistics program, as of May 2006, 577,290 fast food cooks were employed in "food services" and drinking places (NAICS 722) out of a national total of 612,020. The number employed in manufacturing was too low to meet publication standards.

Current employment statistics: http://www.bls.gov/ces/
Occupational employment statistics: http://www.bls.gov/oes/
North American Industry Classification System: http://www.census.gov/epcd/www/naics.html

Back to me - so the "burger flippers" are in the service sector under leisure and hospitality industry.

Oil surpassed $100 a barrel on January 4th. Is there a cure? The one-word answer really does seem to be Iraq.

Sadly, when the next US president takes office, he/she may well come to the same conclusion. Be prepared for Surge 2.0.

I have heard Obama and Edwards speak in length about conservation and I hope most Americans will be ready by then -- pray for over $4 gasoline this summer.

Regarding the above news story:

New Laws Leave Oil Refiners Uncertain

Oil refiners may reconsider plans for some refinery expansion projects in 2008 in response to new energy legislation that could reduce gasoline use in coming years, industry groups and refiners say.

This strikes me as just a lame excuse for refiners to do what they wanted to do anyway (not expand production, because it's costly, it lowers profit margins, and oil supplies may be drying up). Blaming it on government regulation is the easy way out. We should be so lucky that there will be enough oil around 10 years from now that refiners will get any benefit by expanding their operations.

In a related note, I was listening to right-wing nutcase radio this morning, and they seem to be working overtime now to convince everyone that the only reason oil prices are rising is because of "wacko environmentalists" who prevent patriotic oil companies from drilling in ANWR. If we could drill there, we'd have all the energy we'll ever need, forever and ever (so they say). Indeed, they claim that we wouldn't need to import any oil at all.

It's probably time for me to buy a bicycle.

"Indeed, they claim that we wouldn't need to import any oil at all."

My developing theme is that Peak Oilers should try to unload all of their highly energy dependent assets, e.g., SUV's & large suburban homes, on the Yerginites.

Mate, I'm in the heavy construction industry and I'm trying to convince the father to sell off the equipment while he can. No luck so far.

Interesting that world wide Google searches for Peak Oil rose only slightly even with all the current media coverage of high oil prices.


But Canada, and the UK, saw a huge increase in searches

But not the US.

Dirty deeds - As housing crisis deepens, cities fight lenders over abandoned homes

In Buffalo and other Rust Belt cities, the problem has been particularly acute, because in many cases banks are abandoning the houses, too, after determining that their value is so low that it's not worth laying claim to them. When city officials try to hold someone responsible for dilapidated properties, they often find the homeowner and bank pointing fingers at each other. Indeed, the houses fall into a kind of legal limbo that Cleveland housing attorney Kermit J. Lind calls "toxic title". While formal ownership remains with a borrower who has fled, the bank retains its lien on the property. That opens up a dispute over who is responsible for taxes and maintenance. Even when lenders do complete the foreclosure, they may walk away from the property, leaving it to be taken by a city for unpaid taxes, a process that can take years. Orphaned properties quickly fall into disrepair, the deterioration sometimes hastened by vandals who trash the interiors, lighting fires and ripping out wiring and pipes to sell for scrap. Squatters or drug dealers may move in.

"squatters and drug dealers may move in...." Then come the grass, the trees, the squirrels, and someday you have a forest again.

Then come the grass, the trees, the squirrels, and someday you have a forest again

There was a report about Detroit just an hour ago in German TV. Grass, trees and squirrels all over the place, street after street. I couldn't believe it. I think I must go there some day and look at it myself. Something like that seems impossible im Europe.
An american writer from D. said that when things don't go well in a city in the US you simply build another one next to it.
They also showed the spreading of agriculture within the abandoned city quarters, people growing lettuce and beets.

There are squirrels just about everywhere in the US. Even in downtown Manhattan.

I remember a few years back, a squirrel ran across the seat backs of some young German women at a US Open tennis match in Flushing Meadows. They screamed bloody murder. Later, they explained that they just didn't expect to see a squirrel in NYC.

New Yorkers, of course, know they're everywhere.

There are squirrels just about everywhere in the US. Even in downtown Manhattan.

Just about everywhere, except in rural areas where the population of foxes, racoons and cougars are greater. We see very few squirrels or rabbits where I live.

A friend of mine in nearby Eugene was in a downtown neighborhood and got chased around her car by a flock of wild turkeys. Cities have become refuges for certain widely preyed upon species.

Photos taken on the road in front of my parents' house:

Darn critters come around every morning and wake people up with their gobbling and stomping around on the roof. (Amazing, how much noise a turkey makes walking on your roof.)

Egads! Are they not hunted in their neck of the woods?

Our turkeys in Ontario are very wary beasts.

Can't look at those photos without getting hungry.

Fantastic article that really illustrates how the banking industry is attempting to socialize the costs of the mortgage crisis and privatize any profits or assets that may be had.

On the other hand, in our current environment, it truly amazes me that any governmental unit at any level is attempting to stymie the deluge of corporate welfare that is drowning this country.

When city officials try to hold someone responsible for dilapidated properties, they often find the homeowner and bank pointing fingers at each other.

If I understood this right, no-one wants responsibility for the property.

I would think "eminent domain" proceedings would find out really fast if anyone wants the property.

If either party steps up to contest the proceedings, that party gets the property with the obligation to maintain it.

If neither party contests the proceedings, then the city takes the property and sells it at any price it wants to someone who will. A public auction might be a good way for the city to dispose of the property.

Normally, I am highly against "eminent domain", when used to forcibly evict a property owner from his own property, but in a case like this, something has to be done to settle who is responsible for the property.

I see no logic in forcing either party who does not lay claim to the property to maintain it.

Peak Oil vs. the world we live in

Does anyone else here feel like they are living in The Matrix? I come here for a daily reality check on what's happening on the energy front, as well as visit a couple other non-mainstream websites: Financial Sense and Jim Sinclair's MineSet.

However, NONE of my co-workers want to talk about Peak Oil and think I'm "one of those characters" when I speak of PO. My friends are all focused on football and basketball. My family is interested on the latest movies, TV shows, etc.

Add in the financial crisis the US is having with hyperinflation & massive debt and the "real world" is so very, very, very different than what nearly everyone else thinks they live in. How do you guys deal with these dual-realities, especially when your friends and family don't care about it?

PedalPusher, I feel your pain. My family thinks I'm nuts. I think they all are infected with some sort of contagious pre-frontal lobotomy.

I like your analogy of the Matrix. Yes, TOD is my daily dose of reality. Maybe some of us need to get together in person and hang out a bit, to keep our sanity, and lay our plans for the (very uncertain future). I'm in Texas (El Paso at the moment, but might move towards the center of the state - better for agriculture). Anyone interested in forming a Peak Oil Support Group? If we've got to helplessly watch the Apocalypse unfold, might as well do it with like-minded friends.


This sounds like a great idea! Sadly, I'm in western NY state these days. Also, is there any chance we can get OilyCassandra to join this support group? She's fantastic!

Hi Wolverine. I'm in western NY (Rochester) as well. There's a couple of us hanging around.

TOD is the post Peak Oil support group of the internet age. It doesn't get any better than this.

When I get together with my friends and/or family, just one other person who was also peak-oil aware would do wonders for my sanity and for opening the eyes of others. One person saying it is just a fringe nutter. Two people saying it is cause for concern.

We're all a bit off our rocker, we aren't NORMAL. NORMAL people worry about who won the game last night, NORMAL people care what Britney Spears is doing, NORMAL people keep "Dancing with the Stars" a top rated program, NORMAL people don't save for a rainy day they spend it all on plasma tvs using their 33.5% interest credit card.

I have a simple solution that I use when dealing with anyone regarding Peak Oil. If they care to listen I try to educate, if they don't care I just write them off as dead already. Simple isn't it? Prepare for yourself and your family, that really is the best we can hope for. It took 5 days to get water to the convention center during Katrina, what makes us think we can solve a global energy crisis when not even 1 in a 100 people know there is a problem?

Atlanta has how many days left of water? Do we see anyone making backup plans for that contingency? If they are, no one seems to be reporting it.

We're not crazy, we're the sane ones in an insane world.

FYI Oily Cassandra website:


normal people know who Perez Hilton is and that his website got 10million hits in one day after Britney was stretchered away...

Mamushka, anyone?

You should start a Meetup group.

Kris Kristofferson summed it up decades ago:

"If you waste your time in talkin'
To the people who don't listen
To the things that you are sayin'
Who do you think's gonna hear?

And if you should die explainin'
How the things that they complain about
Are things they could be changin'
Who do you think's gonna care?

There were other lonely singers
In a world turned deaf and blind
Who were crucified for what
They tried to show

And their voices have been scattered
By the swirlin' winds of time
Cos the truth remains that

Sadly, this is where we are so often stuck in trying to get the message out.


I've posted before about the Titanic & Thomas Andrews analogy. In the most recent movie, the actor playing Andrews was walking about the ship in wonderment that it would soon be at the bottom of the Atlantic and at how oblivious most of the passengers were to the danger that they were in. He was an engineer, and he was well aware of the simple physics.

Shortly after the Titanic hit the iceberg, there were two types of passengers: those who then realized that the ship would sink and those who would realize that the ship would sink.

Today, there are two types of people: those who now realize that we can't have an infinite rate of increase in our consumption of a finite resource base and those who will realize that we can't have an infinite rate of increase in our consumption of a finite resource base.

All I can advise people to do is to prepare as best they can, for example via ELP, and if nothing else, you might be able to unload your highly energy dependent assets--like large suburban homes--on the Yerginites.

As for preparations by 'those who are willing to look at (The possibility of..) PO', I have been thinking along the lines of Totoniela's wheelbarrows and your Strategic Railcar Reserves. I've always been a packrat anyway, but I guess the shorthand for me is 'Contingency Plan', both in materials or books/skills/tools at the personal level, or contingencies of 'Emergency Labor/Cash systems' that would allow a suddenly stricken community to give people something meaningful to do, if the BAU systems and rules left everyone 'fibrillating', so to speak. Sort of a 'crash WPA' plan which would let people quickly start earning food credits or housing credits when their 'Nonessential Jobs' had evaporated, while at the same time activating the labor needed to tackle a number of suddenly pressing local needs.

Examples might be building 'PolyTunnel' greenhouses in Parks or other public space to start some more local food production. etc..

But initially, to just look at variations on such plans to anticipate what would be necessary to allow them to be quickly implemented, how to best get the word out to people, how to train for both the work itself, and for identifying and coordinating those who can teach and lead these efforts.. how they can teach the next tier of teachers, since the numbers would be a fast-growth and need as smooth a process as could be devised. .. How to introduce an 'alternate' credit system, so a lot of time isn't wasted worrying that 'I'm being used, I'm not getting my share here..' ie, make it very simple, clear and fair..


(sigh! sorry if that was totally scattered. I'm building an insulation blower, and don't have time to flesh this notion out into a really clear form.._)


"Today, there are two types of people: those who now realize that we can't have an infinite rate of increase in our consumption of a finite resource base and those who will realize that we can't have an infinite rate of increase in our consumption of a finite resource base."

You've said this before and I didn't agree with it then either. Some people will never realize the reasons for what happens. They may experience the results of it but they will not realize anything.

I agree. And TPTB may well encourage that blindness. Blame is so much easier. People will be blaming the Republicans, the Democrats, the President, the oil companies, the Arabs, the Chinese, the Canadians, the environmentalists, the rich, the French, the car companies, Iran, Al Gore, etc.

You missed one. They will blame the peak oilers. Shooting the messenger is always in vogue.

"I didn't say it would be easy. I only said it would be the truth." -- Morpheus, "The Matrix"

You nod, smile, and go about your work. There are *plenty* of people you can call who get it, people with money, people working for your elected officials, people with "Ph.D." after their names.

Meme positioning at the national level for the inevitable panic seems to be the only sensible strategy.

Two different things are going on here:
Willful Ignorance, and tied to it, Denial.

There are the people who know, but block it away, and then there are those who don't know but refuse to know, as they block it away before they get the chance to know.

As I try to point out to people in reagards to making change in your life and in social policy based upon Peak Oil, if we're right and we make the changes in time, we win. If we're wrong, and Peak Oil isn't true, we still win, as we will have transitioned to cleaner sources of energy and higher levels of preparedness.

If you go and buy 3 months of food right now so that way you can eat well if there was a flu pandemic, you're not out anything if you decide that it's not worth it. All you do is not go to the grocery store for 3 months. :)

I've found if I can sell a small part of the whole pie, I can eventually sell the whole pie. If I sell the idea of moving to renewable energy based upon its environmental standings compared to coal and oil, later on, it's easier to sell the rest of it. :)

Almost all humans are cognitively irrational, and live in a world assembled by symbol and myth (you can see how sports and shows fit into this evolutionary developed way of interpret reality).
If the narrative that is being played in their heads does not conform to what they are processing, it will be ignored or incorporated into the story in a way that keeps the story line intact.
Unfortunately, the evolutionary skills that have kept us alive are now a liability.

A couple quotes are in order.

Ordinary people have the ability not to think about things they do not want to think about.
- Blaise Pascal

“It's difficult to get a man to understand something if his salary depends on him not understanding it.”
—Upton Sinclair

When the wise man points to the moon, the fool sees the finger
-- Lao Tse

How do you guys deal with these dual-realities, especially when your friends and family don't care about it?

Pedal Pusher,

The human mind is well equipped to deal with dual-realities, or triple realities or what have you. So it's no problem at all. I easily flip between Matrix world and PO world at the flip of a mental switch.

First off, the real "reality" is that we humans are social creatures and we rely on acceptance within our social circle in order to survive on a day to day basis.

(Imagine for example that the folk at work or at home suddenly tell you, you are no longer welcome within our circles, go away. How will you survive? You can't. You need to trade and interact with others to survive in the modern jungle.)

So in order for you to survive on a day to day basis in the now (in the current reality), you must conform to the society around you no matter how insane that is. If you don't conform and survive within the current Matrix, there is no point to worrying about the far off tomorrow. That tomorrow won't happen for you.

The real challenge is to slowly bring friends, family and society in general into thinking that they thought of it first, that they had the sudden insight all on their own that energy is finite and that "we" are at the cusp of an energy crisis.

My antidote is reality, post-K reality.

A few days ago I bought warm clothing ($5 fleece tops & bottoms plus socks from Walmart) for a group of street musicians and artists huddled in a kind persons house (14 one night, including three sleeping on the kitchen floor and 4 more on the group bedroom floor) as well as caulk and insulation. Today I will stop by and deliver a canvas to an artist who lost her home downriver, with almost all of her belongings and who has been homeless for months now. I am trying to scrounge up some bunk beds now.

I listen to their stories, accept their pain, and do what little I can.

Post-Peak reality and my current reality are not badly out-of-phase.


Best Hopes for Making the Future a LITTLE better, and perhaps a lot better,


Sorry to learn about your acquaintances problems. But, "starving" and "artist" are words intimately connected. Musicians and graphic artists tend to live off the excesses of society and when that's gone, well, it's back on the street. Remember the old saying in the music world, "Don't give up your day job". The simple fact is that there aren't as many people (or tourists?) in NO these days to enjoy the music and "consume" the production from the graphic artists, so it would appear prudent that they moved on to the proverbial greener (or maybe, dryer) pastures. When the Boom turns to Bust, many people move on to the Next Big Thing. The rest are left behind to sit beside the empty road wondering where everybody went.

Alan, please wake up. New Orleans is a sinking city, not unlike the Titanic, the only difference being the rate of sinking. Even if the levees are successfully reconstructed, the fact is the surrounding marshes are subsiding and won't be around much longer to serve as a buffer against future storms. Then too, there's the Atchafalaya River:


Your artist friend, being female, could surely find some fellow who appreciated her companionship, if she she still had some life left in her. There's lots of older guys (like me) out here in the woods who might be interested...

E. Swanson

It will be multiple centuries before New Orleans is as far beneath sea level as Rotterdam is today, and we have a unique tool to establish a safety zone around us, the annual silt deposited by the Mississippi River.

For 70+ years, 30% of the Mississippi River has been diverted down the wide, slow moving Atchafalaya Basin where silt has been deposited. According to a conversation with a US Army Corps engineer, they no longer worry about an accidental diversion during a spring flood. Silt has raised the swamps below the Old River Diversion and the Atchafalaya Delta is the only growing part of the Louisiana coastline (some dozen miles further out). The fast moving and deep Mississippi River is once again the "natural" path.

In addition, there is no more scouring action as Mississippi River water is diverted into the Atchafalaya Basin. It is harnessed as up to 280 MW of hydroelectric power.

As far as moving out to the sticks, I will not and I doubt that she will either. Places are not fungible and New Orleans has a special value, worth the sacrifice for many. Rural communities are very lacking in several qualities that I, and other New Orleanians, deeply cherish. Even other major US cities lack the qualities that we cherish. Almsot no one here today could not have found a better/easier life elsewhere, by the metrics of American Suburbia. But those are not the values we cherish and are willing to sacrifice for.#

For myself, if I am forced out of New Orleans, I will try and leave the United States and leave all my mitigation efforts behind (except perhaps in my new homeland).

# One unique value of New Orleans is a lack of pressure to conform. This makes us extremely tolerant of mental illness, and it also is a wellspring of creativity. Jazz could not have been invented anywhere else. I could simply not do what I do in my former home of Austin for example. I would lack the mental freedom to think.

My, how you are a serious NO booster. I do hope you are right about the Atchafalaya, but that was just one of the problems I learned of some 20 years ago. The rest of the delta is washing away from what I've seen of satellite data. The areas which are lost to the Gulf are closer to NO and are the buffers I was thinking of. Of course, with lots of money, something could be done to retard the loss of those marshes.

You are quite right that living in a city does have lots of good qualities to hold one there. Cities are great if you have the money. Life in the country has different enticements, especially those not made by human hand. I did find it difficult to put up with the smog and the noise from the freeway 150 feet from my house, but that wasn't typical for most others in town. Where I live now, last week my neighbors went on vacation and for about 5 days, there were no (zero) vehicles which passed my house. On a clear night, I can go outside and see uncounted numbers of stars, which I could not see in the city because of light pollution. Each to his own, I suppose.

E. Swanson

"Each to his own, I suppose."

Yup. As I was saying downthread, since long before Rome, people have moved to the town or city whenever they possibly could. For almost all, the country seems to be terminally boring. Even a small-ish city will not do nowadays - as John Denver sang it, "Saturday night in Toledo, Ohio is like being nowhere at all. All through the day how the hours rush by, you sit in the park and you watch the grass die..."

That sounds like a song complaining that the city is boring.

Especially since John Denver is best known for singing paeons to the rural life, like "Take Me Home, Country Roads," "Rocky Mountain High" and "Back Home Again."



You are reality. Keep up the good work.


Welcome to my nightmare. Ha Ha
well not really mine alone

Some find that heavy doses of sarcasm aka sarcanol are usefull

Something that a TODer said to me the other day has helped me put things into perspective a bit.

Something like...

"Being at peak means the highest level of (fill in blank)" which to me means peak activity, energy, intensity, etc.

And this peak is most likely an extended plateau. Until it's not.

Hat tip to Graywolf:-)

With this in mind it makes sense that what the average person sees vs what an aware person sees is so much at odds.

Warning; Another source of potential schizophrenia is sensing/feeling doomie and at the same time optimistically doing everything possible to prepare via ELP and community.


The difference between the welfare lovin' D's and the freedumb loving' R's is that the former hope the government will ride to the rescue, while the latter hope the market will ride in to the rescue.
The famously independent rugged individual is a myth.

Lifestyle adjustment is not part of the dialog, though Richardson in the debate did mention conservation, and higher mpg choices by the general population. When the question of $100 oil was asked of the R's it quickly trailed off into all other forms of energy, coal to gas, wind,nuclear, and the familiar we have not built a refinery in 30 years - instead of liquid fuels.
People however are competitive, and maybe encouraging your family to look at these kinds of groups may help.

1. http://www.riot4austerity.org/blog/
2. http://crunchychicken.blogspot.com/2007/10/freeze-yer-buns-challenge.html
When energy prices are high, and your energy needs are low, you are relatively more secure.

There's a bit of a community starting to discuss this sort of thing at http://www.whatawaytogonetwork.org/ as a result of their having viewed this documentary http://www.whatawaytogomovie.com the director of which, Tim Bennett, oft-cites The Matrix in his analysis of our predicament.

Hey Pedal Pusher,
I completely relate to your situation. I first found out about PO about a year ago. Since then I've steadily found out more and more detail. Looked at every angle, read almost every PO book and relevant topics. Geology, collapses of civilizations central bank history, Fiat currency, geoploitics, gold, modern economic history, ancient civilizations, exponential equation, die off and much more. Its basically a full time job at this stage. Searching for truth. I read every single article I can get my hands on that denies or attempts to tear down PO. They're either ignorant or illogical arguments.

I've alienated myself from most of my friends and things are very shakey with my family. They all think I'm nuts and can handle about 3 sentences before they shut down. I recently lost my good, high paying job for personality issues despite phenomenal personal performance. I'm trying to help everyone around me. But all it does is make me deeply unpopular.

I am planning for this with one very good friend. But we don't really know what to do. We're both pretty scared to be honest. We watched the movie ZEITGEIST last night with one of her friends (whom I will never see again) This movie is terrifying. It answered the questions that had been perplexing me. The 'real world' is a total myth. Modern media is controlled, The central banks and the people behind it control everything and are orchestrating this. They're above governments. They've killed anyone thats stepped out of line. They will eventually put chips in us?!

This sounds nuts. No wonder everyone thinks I'm crazy (I've never mentioned the chip thing to anyone by the way, first heard about that idea last night). But it doesn't mean its not true. The more I read the more this seems like the case.

There are some brilliant posters on this site. Can someone watch this Movie and please tear it down. Explain away the central bank and fractional reserve system. Tell me that the Rockefellers, Bushes, Rothschilds, Warburgs etc aren't pulling the strings. I love this site and respect the people on it because there is a level of sharp, educated open mindedness and a love of the truth.

I don't like the truth I'm finding. I'm praying that my reasoning and logic are flawed. But the data flowing into my mind every day is like an avalance of truth for my mind to sort through. I'd almost find comfort in someone telling me I'm crazy.

If this is real. We need to look after each other. I have figured out a big piece of this, I think I came up with a brilliant phase one for my plan to protect myself that will help so many people with the financial side of things. I could use help with the subsequent phases. I put a post on a few days ago attempting to get this community to DO SOMETHING together but got a weak response. We need to put our great, creative, open, awake minds together and come up with something. This is the only advantage we humans have got. We're just hoping other smart people are on it. Why don't WE get on it. I can help


you must learn to relax. try yoga or something.
I'm pretty negative about the future (so i should talk), but try not to let PO be you're entire life.

light rail is good
redesign of cities good.
may not happen in time but ok....

even in the event of collapse, there manage to be people who manage to survive in 3rd world conditons using much less energy around the world.

you haven't reached acceptance yet but when you do..., the whole thing kind of becomes funny.

Boy people really aren't as smart as they think they are, are they?

Is that relaxation or just fatalism talking? I agree more with escapeartist. Sometimes the most sane response is one of alarm rather than reaching for some other self-calming technique. Yoga, shopping, whatever does the trick, right?

It's often people that get alarmed and impatient that end up accomplishing something.


Thanks for your thoughts.

I understand how deep the fear can go with PO and the countless issues that it affects. If, however, I were to try to make my wife spend her time thinking about all of that, she would truly freeze up in fear, and our family would cease to function. She knows we are in trouble around energy.. but to paraphrase an old line..
'I think about Peak Oil and the 'weighty thoughts', while my wife just worries about what's in the fridge, and what she, me and the kid ate today..' I hope the sarcanol is abundantly clear in that line. For my part, I start to freeze up when she asks me to schedule a dental visit, plan dinner, or make a salad.. (I CAN manage these 'Hazardous Duties', but I don't take to them naturally..)

I need nourishing food to keep me healthy, and my two girls to cuddle with at night. We have to plan for the 'Iceberg', but we can't pull the hull apart as part of those preparations. We are already out at sea, and need the crew to keep things running, need the cooks to keep cooking, etc..

As far as TOD 'doing something'.. I think TOD does what it should do, by facilitating the juggling of countless ideas. The plans that grow from this process probably need to sprout in their own forums.. but this is Debate and Data-acquisiton.. (AKA, 'Contradiction', 'Arguments' is down the hall)

As Alan from Big Easy was saying, keep a foot in the ideas, but the other foot on solid ground. The world of ideas can easily impel you to Doubt EVERYTHING.. Your senses and experience, work and human contact can keep you grounded.

Remember; Shakespeare never burned a barrel of oil.. there is the possibility of life beyond the Matrix.

Sir John Falstaff

My wife and I both understand what is happening, and discuss it often. We have both moved far from the mainstream in what we think, but this does not make life easy or "normal". It is tough when you're still focussed in the old world economy, commuting 25mi each way, and the kids want to live a "normal" life. There are many things we'd like to do to get better positioned for what we think is coming, but life marches on and there never seems to be enough spare time or money. It is not at all clear that knowing about it will make us any less vulnerable. How does one devote the time to learning to grow food properly when one is busy working to buy the food needed now? Sure we've made many changes, but they never seem to be enough.

But the worst is that with one foot stuck in the past, and not able to make better progress toward a lifestyle we think more sustainable, it's tough to find something to believe in. And it sure is depressing to watch the crap that is happening now.

I'm in total sympathy with your situation, escapeartist. I found out about PO about 3 years ago, and dived into the deep end of the information pool as well. I was so amazed by what I was finding out that I wanted to share it with everybody. It almost cost me my partner, it alienated two of her three daughters, and it put me into a clinical depression for almost two years.

I've written a bit about about my experience in The Spiritual Effects of Comprehending the Global Crisis. I now define my spiritual position as Deep Ecology rather than pantheism, but I hadn't heard of DE at the time I made my breakout.

I wrote about another of the reasons I found to be hopeful at the end of Population Decline - Red Herrings and Hope.

Basically I have found solace in taking the long view - accepting that the lot of humanity has always been hard, that death is our constant companion, but that the species and even some form of civilization will endure. We're two-legged cockroaches - you can't kill us all.

Poking around in here lead to http://wiserearth.org - thank you very much :-)


First, thanks for the movie tip and your honesty.

Finally I've decided just to change myself and my close family members and friends, and to give books to everyone else I talk with. I still like Deffeyes because he doesn't pretend to make answers where none exist.

We got our solar thermal panels today. They're heavy and it'll take a lot of work to mount them on the roof. I hope to have it running in a week or two. Winter is a terrible time to do construction, especially if you're trying to save energy!


p.s., It's OK to be down sometimes but if anyone's suicidal or losing jobs and family over any of this it's time to get help, now. The problems (and love, and life) will still be here when you are back.

I recently lost my good, high paying job

You have just been liberated! Now you can be a true escape artist. I guess there are many people in TOD would like to escape had not for the job that pays - for now - knowing time is running out.

If this is real. We need to look after each other.

Perfectly reasonable. Come to farm with me in Brazil or cross border in Venezuela.

I have figured out a big piece of this, I think I came up with a brilliant phase one for my plan to protect myself that will help so many people with the financial side of things.

Now that does sound a bit crazy even though it could be very true. It will sound more reasonable if you can avoid using the words like big and brilliant.

"Does anyone else here feel like they are living in The Matrix?"

Exactly the discussion I had with a doomer friend here in UK yesterday.

Mention Peak Oil & people treat me like a head case, or say "there, there, it's alright really; the scientists will come up with a technology solution".

I won't be sharing my foodstore with them when TSHTF..

"...the scientists will come up with a technology solution".

Dammit, we ARE the scientists!!!

And thusly ... solutions!


I hope I am not violating any norms mentioning this here as this is something I helped set in motion, but it feels darned good to have something to do after wallowing in despair. If I can get up and get moving given health & finances there is simply no reason anyone else here can not do the same.

So no moping, you lurkers - go and make yourselves useful :-)

Peak Oil vs. the world we live in.

Hey -- my world's very similar. Next stop willoughby.

Yep given enough time we'll all be living in an Amish paradise. That's when everyone will be on the same page.

Try reading Doris Lessing, Briefing For a Descent
Into Hell. Imagine you have been aware for 30 or 40
years. Consider that so far you are dealing with
a subset of narrow-gauge doomers.

Now think of those already dying in resource wars.
Think a minute of how little those on these boards give a sh*t for those already losing their lives in the scenarios gassed about as being in future.

Try philosophy.

Grow up.

To quote a great man in a very serious movie: I feel like I am taking crazy pills

I dont have a problem dealing with the coming train wreck and day to day life. One doesnt need to stop living to prepare.

Today I ordered two cases of canned butter (from New Zeland) for our food storage, journeyed to GI Jeffs and bought two led head mount flashlights and lots of extra batteries (this head light idea came from the link provided by Leanan...Written by the man in Argentina). Of course all this stuff comes in handy for hurricane caused power outages as well.

Then some friends and I dranks some brews while watching LSU kick Ohio States butts. GEAUX TIGERS!!! NATIONAL CHAMPS!!! I had LSU and gave up 4 points...easy money. Ohio State is now 0-9 against SEC teams.

"How do you guys deal with these dual-realities, especially when your friends and family don't care about it?"

I come here. I take solice in the knowledge that I'm not the only one who thinks (knows)things are in need of fixing. Concerning family and friends, as somebody on this thread just wrote, "they're already dead". And they are. But they are still worth all the love you care to give 'em. Make preparations on your own, when the time comes, you will be their shining light. The people on this site will, at the drop of a hat, direct you to a variety of very informative sites with loads of info on what to do and how to prepare for wtshtf. Don't worry about debating or convincing your fellows. Live according to what is espoused here, and eventually, they will notice. They may not change, but you'll get gold stars for effort. And keep in mind, when the evidence is overwhelming that we're not in Kansas anymore, your fellows (most, not all) will be running in circles screaming WTF, WTF !!! It will be you who puts your arm around them, calms them down, and leads them to the answers. Till then my friend, I find a few beers every now and again takes the edge off. ;^)


And keep in mind, when the evidence is overwhelming that we're not in Kansas anymore, your fellows (most, not all) will be running in circles screaming WTF, WTF !!! It will be you who puts your arm around them, calms them down, and leads them to the answers.


One of the conclusions I sadly come to from my study of Peak Oil is that it isn't going to happen that way.

If you are not already the leader of your small subsection of the mainstream herd, PO is not going to transform you into leadership material.

There is no "I told you so" reward at the bottom of the cliff. Remember the old saw from your ring-around the rosie days at little lemming school: Ashes ashes, we all fall down.

P.S. Ever wonder about the Pocket full of posies? Look here. (Then again, snopes discounts the theory.)

"Ring around the rosie" = a redish rash or legions would be the first sign of infection.

"A pocket full of posies" = people, desperate to ward off infection or cure themselves, would carry around various concoctions of flowers and herbs in their pockets.

"Ashes, Ashes" = originally "Ahh-CHOO! Ahh-CHOO!" = the infection spreading into the respiratory system

"We all fall down" = estimated mortality across Europe ~33%

There must be some 'balance' in each life or individuals run the risk of developing mental problems that can manifest themselves in many ways. Everyone has a different approach dealing with PO, GW, and impending economic disaster that confront all the people of the world but no single person or government is going to solve these problems. I dont think the future is going to play out well and I feel certain that life as we know it is going to change dramatically.

That said, what steps can each of us reasonably take in an attempt to mitigate what lies ahead? Each must decide for themself what are the immediate threats, interim threats, long term threats, and attempt to prepare. There are no guarantees that any particular scenario is going to play out...too many variables involved. There are no guarantees that anyones preparation is going to be helpfull in various future possibilities. But for the sake of sanity I think its best for an individual to decide on threats and then decide on steps to mitigate. Perhaps none of the steps will prove effective but at least one has made an attempt and remorse will be avoided...remorse after tshtf could be another source of mental instability.

Do a few things each week, dont panic and try to accomplish all preparations at once. Keep some balance in life and continue to enjoy life as we know it while preparing for the future. Do not panic family and friends for this will probably be interpreted as mental instability. Its one thing to discuss PO, GW and economic collapse on TOD, another to discuss such an agenda with people that are attempting to remain in denial. If family and friends fail to follow your lead there is little that can be done. You can lead horses to water, but you cant make them drink. Once you have gone on record by telling friends and family you are preparing for a very uncertain future and they fail to change their own course and begin preparation, your duty is over, done, fini. Stop worrying about them for there is little else you can do. You should know that your duty is done and set your own mind at ease. Dont let their inaction drive you to mental instability...And, when tshtf dont tell them 'I told you so', this will not make them like you or admire your preparation.

For those of you who didn't know already:

US and UK rival China for government surveillance
11:05 07 January 2008
NewScientist.com news service

The US, the UK, China and Russia are "endemic surveillance societies", according to a recent study examining privacy protection around the world that gave the four nations the lowest possible rating.


Wow, we've recreated the Big Four!*

Except the war is now for fascism, not against.

*Chiang Kai-Shek was sometimes counted along with FDR, Churchill and Stalin as the major allies.

What caused oil to drop $4 today? Dow is now up, FTSE not too badly down.

The news wasn't exacly brimming with stories of pleniful oil.....and the boat incident in the busiest oil shipping lane in teh world should hardly make the sheep bullish, if you pardon my phrase!


Heat wave that has traders anticipating a drop in energy consumption.

And a lot of fear about looming recession.

New hydro scheme in Scotland, first for 50 years. Do you think there is anymore in the pipeline (pun intended)

Preventative healthcare seems to be the political buzzword of the moment. How much does the ELP plan play into that, less stress, better diet, excercise, better ties with local communities. The U.K's aging population is a recepie for bad news especially with price rises in food and energy and financial troubles likely to effect pensions. Sounds 'robust' to me.

Congrats to the PTB at Oil Drum for the great article in U.S. News and World Report. Nate, nice interview. A lot of good info in a concise way. Well done.

I thought Nate Hagens did a nice job on the interview.

Leanan has the link above. Here it is again, for those who missed it.


Quote from the article:

There's now four editors and 24 contributors, the majority Ph.D.'s, and every person has volunteered their time. Some of them, 30 hours a week.

I would bet that several are volunteering over 30 hours a week. It would be hard to believe that Leanan could do what she does in 30 hours a week - also Stuart Staniford and Euan Mearns, not to mention some of the work that goes on behind the scenes.

ya - that was off top of head - I didnt know she was taping me.
Certainly PG and Super and Leanan probably have AVERAGED 30+ hours a week. So yes, that was an understatement. But some people are kind of superhuman so comparisons like these are like comparing crude oil and corn ethanol.

I also made a factual error that PG and HO met at an energy conference, which I have subsequently found out not to be true (they were bloggers who just connected forces). The articles author seemed to be quite well versed in these issues and asked alot of good questions - she told me she's been reading TOD for a while now...

...Leanan probably have AVERAGED 30+ hours a week.

Leanan really is the secret identity of Wonder Woman. She is just the 21st century version.
She fly's around the internet at night in her invisible plane corralling stories with her magic lasso to post on drumbeats every a.m.

No mere human could do this.

Don't burst my bubble!

Synthetic DNA prospects raise hopes, apprehensions


But the hurdles are not insurmountable. LS9 Inc., a company in San Carlos, Calif., is already using E. coli bacteria that have been reprogrammed with synthetic DNA to produce a fuel alternative from a diet of corn syrup and sugar cane. So efficient are the bugs’ synthetic metabolisms that LS9 predicts it will be able to sell the fuel for just $1.25 a gallon.

Venter has already shown that he can insert a “natural” chromosome into a cell and bring it to life. If a synthetic chromosome works the same way, as expected, the first living cells with fully artificial genomes could be growing in dishes by the end of 2008.

I'm not normally too squeamish about genetic engineering, but reprogramming an organism such as bacteria, which could mutate, scares the crap out of me.

Especially if it's a bacterium that specialized in turning cellulose into alcohol. We may have already had a close call. Has anyone heard about klebsiella planticola? Let's set the wayback machine for the early 1990's:

Klebsiella planticola is an interesting bacterium. It seems to be a normal bacterium with an uninteresting life, but then some scientists in Germany found out how to genetically engineer it for greater purposes, with devastating consequences. The GM (genetically modified) strain was rushed through testing and could have lead to devastating terrestrial problems if it had been left unchecked.

K. planticola is of the genus Klebsiella, which is a non-motile rod-shaped gram-negative enterobacterium . This is one of the exceptions to the enterobacteria family, which are mainly mammalian, gut-inhabiting bacteria. This however resides on the root systems of plants. K. planticola of strain SDF 15 is the environmentally-safe, natural bacterial strain. K. planticola (SDF 15) is the parent cell line for another strain, which is called K. planticola (SDF 20). K. planticola (SDF 20) is a genetically engineered version from Germany which was designed to increase the production of lactose fermentation of agricultural wastes .

Careless testing of this strain of K. planticola allowed it to almost enter the public domain, before research by independent scientists (Dr. Elaine Ingham, et al.; Oregon State University) showed that this GM-strain actually killed any wheat planted into the soil where the GM-strain was dispersed. Plant matter was to be collected along with GM K. planticola in large containers for ethanol production. After the plant matter was decomposed, there would be a deposit left over that would be rich in nitrogen, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and sulfur-basically a good fertilizer. It was after this residue was redistributed on the fields that it would do its damaging deed. K. planticola actually sticks to the root system of plants by creating a slime-like layer. The GM- K. planticola would then be connected to the plants root system and while it is there it would produce ethanol in levels of 17 ppm (~1-2 ppm ethanol is deadly for plants) , . K. planticola can attach to any plants, not just wheat, so essentially all global plant life could have been put into jeopardy because of a genetically altered bacteria.

The classic "gray goo" scenario. A wilding would be inconceivable AND THEREFORE will not happen. Move along.

Every time this GMO to make fuel idea is brought up - a past effort should be mentioned.


Klebsiella planticola

In the early 1990s a European genetic engineering company was preparing to field test and then commercialize on a major scale a genetically engineered soil bacteria called Klebsiella planticola.

A different way was needed to get rid of crop residues. If we had an organism that could decompose the plant material and produce alcohol from it; then we'd have a win-win situation. A sellable product and get rid of plant residues without burning.

So what does Klebsiella-planticola do in root systems? The parent bacterium makes a slime layer that helps it stick to the plant's roots. The engineered bacterium makes about 17 parts per million alcohol. What is the level of alcohol that is toxic to roots? About one part per million. The engineered bacterium makes the plants drunk, and kills them.

Busy day in the gulf today eh? Im gonna start some good ol fashioned TOD rabblerousing and say...



The rabble sees your comment but is tired.

Rouse us later, or something.

You couldnt make this up:




Well, there was a story here in Texas about a guy that killed his girlfriend, and then proceeded to eat her, saying "God told me to do it." I thought that cannibalism wouldn't break out until after 2010 at the earliest.

Wasn't that the line from "Lucifer's Hammer?"
The only thing the escaping scientist thought when confronted with cannibalism was, "So soon?"

CSP crematorium?

After all the sun gave us all our heavy elements it may as well send us on our way.

IMO it all went wrong when we stopped worshipping the sun.


Throw another body on the fire, will ya?

Hello TODers,

This reads as a well-balanced article:

A scramble to understand Greenland's melting ice sheets
Bob Shaw in Phx,AZ Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

That is a pretty good article.

All of these changes have many glaciologists "a little nervous these days - shell-shocked," said Ted Scambos, the lead scientist at the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colorado, and a veteran of both Greenland and Antarctic studies.

Some say they fear that the rise in seas in a warming world could be much greater than the upper estimate of about two feet in this century made last year by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. (Seas rose less than a foot, or 30 centimeters, in the 20th century.) The panel's assessment did not include factors known to contribute to ice flows but not understood well enough to estimate with confidence. All the panel could say was, "Larger values cannot be excluded."

That is the impression I get - that reality has gotten way ahead of scientists and their models, and they are chasing after it.

it's time to use the world's biggest stranded wind to make ice (PDF warning!) now before all is too late.

Cleveland's homeless sleeping in abandoned houses
Advocate says street people taking shelter in empty houses
Monday, January 07, 2008
Michael O'Malley
Plain Dealer Reporter

Social workers have been baffled of late by the disappearance of many homeless people sleeping on the streets of Cleveland at night.

But Brian Davis, director of the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless, said he has solved the mystery. Street people have sought shelter in some of the 10,000 houses abandoned as a result of the city's foreclosure crisis.....

Folks that are starry-eyed about country living should read this...

From the New York Times:

Energy Costs a Top Concern for New Hampshire Voters

They welcome winter, and consider their distance from urban sprawl a clear advantage.

But for many, the benefits of living in rural New Hampshire have also become burdens. Gasoline and home heating oil are no longer comfortably affordable, especially for the roughly 60 percent of residents who commute more than 25 miles to work.

From Nate's recent interview:

Can you give me some examples of the impact you think the Oil Drum has had?

We get E-mails from people who have left or changed their jobs to better prepare for a world of high energy prices. Some people have downsized, or moved to the country and tried to grow some of their own food. [my emphasis]

Upthread Leanan suggested some general categories that readers fall into. But she missed one main category that I'm in.

There is a fanatical element here that is just as unreasoning and blind about the brute facts of life as any business-as-usual cornucopian. And they tend to promote moving to the country and growing your own food, a potentially catastrophic and foolhardy error especially if energy does become very expensive.

Don't fall for it folks. It's a completely nutso idea. And some of the people who advocate it here, really ought to know better. You need people like Roger Conner and I to remind you of that. :-)

George: I agree. On the energy side, the analysis is logical and well thought out consistently. On the sociological response to oil depletion, there is a very strong bias in the posts towards negative thinking, IMO. If something can be quantified, it is (at a very high level). If it cannot be quantified, almost always the posts veer off into an assumption of the worst happening. No site is perfect-no one would read this one if it wasn't one of the best.

If it cannot be quantified, almost always the posts veer off into an assumption of the worst happening.

For some people. For most, I think it's more like "plan for the worst." Because something might not happen is no reason to act as if it won't happen.

I would also argue that there's scientific reason to assume the worst: Optimism bias. In fact, I sometimes wonder if even the doomers are being too optimistic. Because it's human nature to be unreasonably optimistic.

Because it's human nature to be unreasonably optimistic.

i pondered on this before and believe there must be a reason - the reasonable ones (assuming they existed before) somehow didn't get through that "population bottleneck" 50 to 100 TYBP. a natural question then follows, assuming there is another such bottleneck in the not too distant future, who will most likely squeeze through and what kind of genes will be passed on to the future humanity after the bottleneck?

I think some of those who will be selected are those least connected to the failing system. Us fringe, "nutter" types. Those who see through the facade like thin swiss cheese. Those of us getting the hell out of Dodge. The meek will inherit the yada yada, and all that.

"Because it's human nature to be unreasonably optimistic."

I often think about those who departed overpopulated South Pacific islands in ocean-going canoes with (presumably) a few chickens, some seeds, and what must have been a lot of optimism. Imagine heading out into a million square miles of ocean hoping you'll find another island. Easter Island, for example - 1500 miles or more from anywhere.

Occasionally the stresses of trying to survive in extremely difficult circumstances may differentiate between those who keep on fighting, and those who give up; the fighters, with a little luck and a refusal to quit, were the survivors and our ancestors. We have their (what I call) irrational optimism genes.

Look at Las Vegas. Most people who play there know the odds. But they gamble anyway. Probe a gambler and many will say "I feel lucky". How could Vegas survive without irrational optimism? Like music, language, religion, and making beer - there is gambling of some form in just about every human culture.

Dick Lawrence

Diamond suggests that, at least for some societies, such ocean voyages were essentially socially-sanctioned suicide. A way of keeping the population from growing.

And I don't think "optimism bias" is a quality of humans alone. There's plenty of evidence that other animals, like dogs and rats, need to believe they have more control over their situations than they actually do. If you take that away from them, they go crazy.

George, you are assuming that these people have started to grow their own food because they believe food won't be available. While this is one explanation, another(more likely) one is that they have 'understood' our social traps, and realize they have to satisfy their appetite for work, relationships and accomplishments in a different way. This is not easily expressed in one sentence, let alone a several paragraph email.

It's a bait-and-switch, Nate. You are using oil depletion to hawk an ideology or perhaps a therapy -- certainly an alt lifestyle -- that doesn't have that much to do with peak oil. i.e. Even in ancient Chinese texts like Chuang Tzu we read of people leaving the city in order to seek better relations with each other and the earth in the countryside.

It's a classic case of confusing the inner with the outer. i.e. Thinking that something you and I might do for our souls is actually a practical solution to a nuts and bolts problem that affects everybody.

But in this case the therapy might cook your goose. Sort of like obeying Jesus's instruction to give all that you have to the poor and follow him. There are people who find profound fulfillment as wandering beggars. But it's a practical solution to exactly nothing and very dangerous advice for almost everyone.

Please stop putting words in my mouth. I was asked what kind of impact TOD was having, so while we (clearly) did not impact the recent energy bill, I reported on messages we get in the editors box, from readers. I did not advocate anything at all in that interview, other than people getting aware and locally active. And if memory serves, you are the poster imagining some grand 'anarchy scheme' at TOD. Get real.

Your therapy is clearly not my own. On this much we agree. And the ideology of being happier using less energy will become a necessity, whether its in a country, a city, or something in between.

What impact has TOD had on you and your life?, so that if I get called for an interview again, I can be more adequately prepared.

One of the biggest impacts TOD has had on me is the realization that oil depletion is being used by many fringe groups to advance their particular agendas.

Yes.. anarchists (Jeff Vail - who accepts the label), human-caused global warming deniers (HeadingOut), survivalists, anti-free market folks, neoagrarians (Heinberg), anti-democracy folks (Jay Hanson) etc etc.

That this is true is not controversial.

People who visit the site should have some idea what they are getting into. (It can take awhile to figure it out)

There is no conspiracy at TOD. But many commentators in the peak oil movement are primarily social critics from the fringe. They jumped on the peak oil bandwagon to advance their cause. It's a conversion tool.

People should know.... because following their advice can be catastrophic. (individually and collectively)

EDIT: Let me be clear that I'm not saying that the TOD editors are primarily proselytizing for fringe movements. But I am saying that many commentators are.

thats the benefit that TOD has had on you? To learn that humans are pursuing their own interests? Did you not learn that at your job, or in high school, or at a pub?

I could recommend many places to better spend your time to discover human nature than here...

Nate,of George,I think That his opinion of the many is so low it would make one wonder why he hangs here.
My own reasons are simple.A lot of rational,smart,savey folks post here ,and give their take on what they see coming down the pike.

I did emergency management c/105 radcon, 12 years ,37re-fuelings @17 nuke power stations.One thing I learned is to talk to folks.You may save your ass by knowing a bit of info that is not generally known.
Lotsa that kinda info here.
Which is why I have hung around for a couple of years,and intend to continue

While George has his opinion,I have my common sense.I live closer than I like to a metro area,but as far away as I could afford to commute.I have the the advantage of good neighbors,clean water,privacy,security,and the best pears,apples,and berries on the plant...soon to include kiwi,grape and asparagus to kill for.

Explain to me again about the "nutso" part.I understand your belief that we are "fringe"type,but then those who are on the leading edge,{or the bleeding edge}are just that.
The leaders

I could recommend many places to better spend your time to discover human nature than here... [at TOD]

Actually Nate, this is a perfect place to study human nature.

We TODders are supposedly the more rational and scientifically oriented samples of our species and yet we often disagree and dive into flaming wars even amongst ourselves. Then we mock the less informed among our species mates. We, in fact, are no better than they. We are all sheeple.

Enjoy it. :-)

Is it possible to be a more equal sheeple?

to be a more equal sheeple

Except for genetically identical twins, no two sheeple are equal (and even identical twins may not be exactly equal).

We are each born with a random toss of the DNA dice. We are each an evolutionary mutation. However our brains are generally the result of random evolutionary forces that make us a mixture of lizard, sheep and rational thinker.

The lizard part is quickly moved by fear.
The sheep part yearns for being part of the herd (the mainstream).
The rational part doesn't get much of vote in most sheeple.

We have a lot of the people who advocate a so-called simpler life. they dream about some time decades ago when we all knew each other and lived local and everything was just so gosh-darned swell. sorry for my profane language.

kunstler definately falls into this. when his Y2K thesis didn't pan out he literally went right on to peak oil as that fit right into his previous work telling us how bad the suburbs are. this is what he says about Y2K.

I believe it will deeply affect the economies-of-scale of virtually all activities in the United States, essentially requiring us to downsize and localize everything from government to retail merchandising to farming. Particulars below.

The aftermath of Y2K will require us to do things differently. We are going to have to live more locally, and more self-dependently. All our activities will have to be conducted on a finer scale. The "move to quality" that is sometimes invoked in discussions of financial investments will apply across the cultural and economic board. There will be less room in our lives for junk of all kinds: junk food, junk merchandise, junk entertainment, junk relationships. We are going to have to re-invent smaller-scaled farms (with value-adding activities), and we’re going to have to localize, or at least regionalize, commerce. We may have to start making some things again ourselves, or do without them for a while.

Meanwhile his Wal-Mart prediction hasn't panned out yet.

I doubt that the WalMarts and K-Marts of the land will survive Y2K...What happens to their profit margin if the price of truck fuel goes up even modestly - say 30 cents a gallon (which by international standards would be a tiny increase)?

Indeed, Kunstler has been writing book-length diatribes against the suburbs since the early '90s. Long before Y2K even.

I don't like them either. They are a problem.

But there is no way I would trust his assessment of their future viability. He has loathed them for decades and if we muddle through peak oil with them intact, he'll still be hating them as long as he lives.

"oil depletion is being used by many fringe groups to advance their particular agendas."

While those 'Debunking' oil depletion and clinging what's left of the Oil-lifestyle is similarly being used to advance any number of Mainstream Corporate Agendas.. only those are usually called 'reasonable business practises' instead of 'Agendas'..

People will attach their solutions/worldviews to the problems at hand, and so while you may find the links to be sketchy or culturally distateful, the cry of 'beware the advancing agendas' makes it sound a lot more ominous than it needs to.

Of course there will be calls for more independence and local or self-production of food supplies, challenges to the Commuting/Stripmall-topia that so many people drive through and through every day, both consuming mass quantities and remaining dislocated from contact with either the earth or their bodies in so many ways. There should be little surprise that Capitalism or Corporatism will be challenged in this process, since these stalwarts have been solidly at the helm and flying their freemarket banner while ignoring and obscuring any signs that there might be icebergs out there.

Yes, there are Jackals out there, waiting to feed on the falling beast, if that is what is going to happen, and they are right to do so. Calling them 'Jackals' of course plays the same game as referring to 'agendas' with the implication of something duplicitous or underhanded about it. We adore the Lions and glower at the Hyaenas, when in fact both species will scavenge and steal each others' kills, neither is 'better' than the other.

What are those two characters in Chinese (?) that combine to say Crisis? I think it's 'Danger and Opportunity' .. and this is clearly an opportunity for anyone who has a plan to step it up and see if it can run the distance. Sure, many will fail, and some will have their day.

Okay, George Asebius,

Since you have dismissed practically the entire spectrum of human endeavor, what do you consider to be non-fringe?

I mean, the Spanish anarchists lasted from 1868-1936 and did just fine. Global warming deniers are hardly an organized group, or a lifestyle. I mean they're just hanging around being republicans, eating fast food, and bitching about climate change. The survivalists are motivated by many things, even peak oil, but their gig revolves around various back-to-nature scenarios that ironically often rely upon oil-based tech. Fringe to be sure. The anti-free market folks have very salient points, in fact so many good points that entire countries have adopted these points. Ironically their people are better educated, make more money, and have less social violence. And god help us if we should want to go back to the farm. As you know since the invention of the tractor 10000 years ago, we have had agriculture and without those fossil fuel guzzling industrial farming tools, we would simply die, just die. There has never been a period in our history where people primarily lived on farms. We have always lived in cities and will always live in cities. .....Ahem. And, of course, there are anti-democracy people like......JAY HANSEN!!???!?!?


George, you are one wild and wacky guy!!!

And, of course, there are anti-democracy people like......JAY HANSEN!!???!?!?


George, you are one wild and wacky guy!!!

Yes, Jay Hanson of dieoff.org. He's against democracy. Read his stuff re government. Nate knows him personally. He won't dispute it.

Doesn't make him "evil", whatever that means. Doesn't mean he should be censored. Like Prof Goose, I'm fond of heretics.

But is it an issue? Obviously.

Who has made the greatest progress so far re emissions and renewables? Some European democracies.

So, when somebody goes around saying we are all going to die and our core freedoms have to go, makes sense to raise an eyebrow.


Yes, Jay Hanson of dieoff.org. He's against democracy.

Being 'not in favor of Democracy' is a fine place. The founders of the US of A did not think Democracy was a good idea.

That is why the USA was founded as a Republic.

... because following their advice can be catastrophic. (individually and collectively)

please elaborate.

Just a small example re country living.

Medical care in the countryside. Think of what it's going to be like when gas is $10 - $20 per gallon.

I've noticed that older folks often need a lot of specialists to keep on ticking. In many rural areas it's hard to find a doctor now.

But it's not just older people. Watch the film, "The Village". They get it right. There are huge personal costs with pre-industrial living.

Basically the problem with country living is that except for your home grown veggies, you are at the end of some very long supply lines for all goods and services. Fossils power those supply lines and they become increasingly inefficient the further into the countryside you go.

i couldn't see the collectively catastrophic consequence from the example. to the contrary, if natural selection is a healthy process for any evolutionary species, it may turns out to be collectively beneficial. some human societies are becoming quite cancerous now - old and diseased ones refuse to die or not even allowed to die by their own wishes and new ones are keep coming and with increasingly bigger "foot print" in resource consumption.

try to be able to live without relying on the supply line is one of the point to move away from the population centers.

One of the biggest impacts TOD has had on me is the realization that oil depletion is being used by many fringe groups to advance their particular agendas.

And you post in order to...? I don't know what each person's agenda is. As Hagens pointed out, you might not know, either. Making a declarative about the inner lives of others is a bit dangerous proposition, I'd think. At any rate, how do you separate a person's beliefs from their actions? Unless you are trying to claim people are intentionally being deceptive or self-deceiving, what is your point? I think Nate asked the same question.

Yes.. anarchists (Jeff Vail - who accepts the label), human-caused global warming deniers (HeadingOut), survivalists, anti-free market folks, neoagrarians (Heinberg), anti-democracy folks (Jay Hanson) etc etc.

That this is true is not controversial.

People who visit the site should have some idea what they are getting into. (It can take awhile to figure it out)

And what is that? They are meeting people acting on their beliefs and convictions? Again, unless you are accusing people of some form of dishonesty, I don't see the point of your comments.

There is no conspiracy at TOD. But many commentators in the peak oil movement are primarily social critics from the fringe. They jumped on the peak oil bandwagon to advance their cause. It's a conversion tool.

Hmmm... I'd be interested in seeing the citations that back this. Take myself. Peak Oil attracted me when I heard about it because it made sense. I imagine there are a few more like me about. not that there aren't people grinding an ax here. There almost certainly are, but so what? If a person really believes there is going to be a hard crash and a reordering of society, would they not be morally obligated, at least in their own minds, to say so? Sure, it's a bit of zealotry, but it might save lives. Of course, it might not. Some people are perhaps not cut out for the sort of lives they see being discussed here and might flame out in the attempt to replicate the actions of others, but that is part of the equation, is it not? Survival of the fittest is not just being the strongest or smartest, but also finding the right niche. Some never do. We should not even attempt to help them find their way? And doing so makes one a zealot?

People should know.... because following their advice can be catastrophic. (individually and collectively)

As alluded above, how is your seeming advice not to listen to the zealots any different an agenda than telling to listen to them? Does it not come with its own set of assumptions? Its own crystal ball of what the future holds and how to handle it?

EDIT: Let me be clear that I'm not saying that the TOD editors are primarily proselytizing for fringe movements. But I am saying that many commentators are.

Global warming was a fringe movement; it ain't now. Being against the Iraq War was a fringe movement; it ain't now. False flag events "conspiracy theorists" used to be fringe; they ain't necessarily now (Pueblo). Maybe the fringe ain't so bad, friend.


When you see something as ridiculous as "moving to the country and growing your own food" continuously proposed as a viable response to peak oil against all reason and analysis, I'm sorry, but our inner lives are on the table!!

Nate writes stuff about psychology all the time. So, is it open season on the inner lives of mainstream folks, but we can't talk about the fringes??

My agenda is simple: I think people make better choices when they know where the advice is coming from.

And, like Joseph Tainter, I don't believe long-time social critics are a good source for technical analysis of our viable options for handling peak oil.

I view the future as a probabilistic function, one that changes (usually only slightly) week-to-week by the information I glean from this site and from other reading/conversations. I don't know what the future brings, but I have reasonable confidence in what the possibilities are.

My own agenda is to not suffer fools, and save the natural world for future generations of ours and other species as best as possible. Defining 'best' is why I contribute here and spend time in the community discussions - because the unknowns still outweigh the knowns, and while that is the time of greatest uncertainty, it is also the time of greatest hope.

Combining the above, the probability is very high that I will not be replying to your comments in the future. Gresham's law and such..

If your point is to cause offense, unfortunately none taken. Getting a good handle on things and sharing it with others is an agonistic process. And I expect to take my lumps.

Allow me to finish with a couple of quotations from Tainter. The second one is more important.

One is either an impartial social scientist or a social critic, and the latter should not masquerade as the former. Collapse of Complex Societies p84

This second quotation is from a paper of his that also references the work of Campbell and Laharrere.


....this is the green energy scenario that many think would be a desirable future, or even preferable today. Unlike many commentators, we take care not to impute morality to preferences regarding energy production systems. Without judgment, therefore, we point out that green energy would encompass its own costs and its own winners and losers. For many people, the transformation would be catastrophic because a decentralized production system would make many infrastructure workers redundant. Urban decay would accompany increased rural settlement. At the same time, new opportunities would emerge in the manufacture and repair of small, dispersed sources of energy production. Hydrogen might be generated as part of local energy-capture systems (Barbir 2001), so that at least some high-quality energy would be available for tasks that require it. Many people might prefer such a decentralized existence, but others would find it wrenching. It would require capital investment by each family or community. These investments would be largely redundant, with high energy-opportunity costs, and would not initially enjoy economies of scale. Living standards, as currently defined, would likely decline.

Renewable energy is a popular concept, but there is a certain irony in this. Although environmentalists are quick to blame industry and fossil fuels, the environmental damage done to the world is only partly from industrial sources. The energy used in the industrial world is principally of high quality. It works in a focused fashion with concentrated side effects. In contrast, low-gain agriculture, a highly dispersed activity, is causing a substantial loss of species as well as environmental degradation. The distributed nature of agriculture means that habitat is removed and landscapes are greatly altered. Increased flooding, soil loss, and nonpoint sources of pollution are to a large extent caused by agriculture, as exemplified by the flooding of the Mississippi River in 1993 and the Ohio River in 1997. Although some observers criticize the environmental effects of agribusiness, Third World peasants at their present population levels have an aggregate effect that is substantial, and perhaps comparable.

We don't have a hope of clearly delineating real viable options for the future until we adopt that state of mind in our analysis. We have to be honest about the tradeoffs. We have to avoid promoting romantic solutions that don't accomplish anything except the possible improved spiritual well-being of a few at the cost of great risks (even to those few).

Just skimming here, but it's my impression that you've rather mischaracterized a number of people and their positions.

You label Jay Hanson anti-democracy. That's hardly the case, I think he greatly regrets his conclusion that democracy as it manifests in the real world isn't likely to save us. He can and does speak for himself, but it seems to me that he shines a light at reality and then doesn't shrink from reporting what he concludes, even though it's obvious to me that his conclusions disturb him greatly. You might want to actually read his stuff.

Tainter's core thesis is brilliant. I haven't read much of his stuff, but as for this quote,

One is either an impartial social scientist or a social critic, and the latter should not masquerade as the former. Collapse of Complex Societies p84

There's a difference between 'masquerading' and simply being a scientist with opinions. A scientist without personal opinions is an incomplete being. The implication that any normal scientist (or scientifically-literate layerson) will always distort science to advocate those opinions is simply wrong. Indeed, since most people have them, when a person is upfront about their opinions - as those you mention are - that disclosure may be taken into account by others, so is hardly a masquerade, and their work may be read in that light. Frankly, Hanson is dead right about logical implications of peak oil to dieoff, and shows his thinking in detail, so citing him as some kind of opportunist is fairly shallow. If you want to refute those conclusions, do so directly please.

Your second Tainter quote makes sweeping statements about what "environmentalists" want, just showing, I guess, that even brilliant guys say some stuff that isn't. And say, for the record, most would consider Tainter 'fringe', and they'd be just as wrong.

I've generally enjoyed Nate's stuff largely because his thinking is refreshingly unconstrained by bias, which may be an artifact of his study of bias in Humans. And by the way, I think he nailed that interview; the density of good information he managed to get into it was great. I don't know how often you may have been interviewed on radio or TV, but it's an art to get that kind of signal-to-noise ratio into the final product.

I'm not growing veggies in the country, but I own some land there. I tend to think that there will be a sliding list of benefits/liabilities to being in any given situation as a collapse progresses.

"Fringe" as you use it here - to disparage - is a subjective call, and seemingly not all that useful. You do so at your own reputational risk....


There must have been a canonization ceremony and for obvious reasons I wasn't invited.

Some Hanson quotes:

We might as well start thinking about life without current ideologies and rights, because sooner-or-later they will be replaced by a military dictatorship -- it's just a matter of time.....

Moreover, if a military dictatorship is inevitable
anyway, I believe that the sooner the better.....

The time has come to replace our current system of "process" politics with a new "systems" politics. It must be administered by most-qualified entity we have: the Joint Chiefs (and obviously many more details I haven't considered

Those are the holy words of St. Jay in late 2005, a couple of years after he relinquished die-off.org.


Are we to genuflect or salute?

A year and a half ago, I spent quite a bit of time on his site once I learned he was held in high regard by some peak oilers. Truthfully, I thought I was in the presence of a madman.

One thing really stood out: an incredibly narrow view of 'human nature'. Simplistic to the point of near idiocy.

At the time, I commented on this site:

In the Jay Hanson interview linked to above, he mentions many academic disciplines he has tapped into. But I could find no mention of anthropology. Which is a pity because researchers in that discipline actually spend time in the field documenting how people live and think. The sheer variety of ways-of-life, ways-of-thought, ways-of-being practiced by humans is overwhelming, even in our own society.

Sometimes Hanson seems open to that mind-boggling complexity and at other times he retreats behind the simple abstractions.

"Every time anthropologists have attempted to generate universal rules governing human behaviour, the rules have been proven emperically wrong or so trivial as to be uninteresting." -- Social & Cultural Anthropology: A Very Short Introduction by John Monaghan & Peter Just

The most bizarre societal arrangements have been known to exist and persist for centuries. Generalizations about what people will or will not tolerate are almost always false.

Sure dieoff is a possibility, especially on a local basis, but any dogmatism about it bespeaks an incredibly blinkered view of how curious our world actually is.

I stand by that.

You are welcome to your madman-saint.

EDIT: Actually, a year and a half later, having spent much time investigating peak oil, I think world wide dieoff from peak oil much less a possibility.

Calling bullshit on that, I listened to Jimmy Carter, endured the gas shortages, and then recession.
I took off for the woods back then and it was the best thing I ever did. I live in a house I built, that I own, not the bank. I have provided my own fuel from the woodlot for the last 25 years.
We have an abundance of crops, probably dull fare after a while without the grocery store but we wouldn't be hungry. Raised 2 kids just fine. And I am beholden to no one.

You made the decision and transistion many years ago, with the benefit of many years of cheap and plentiful energy. Leanan's point is that someone making the transistion today, will probably face high energy costs or shortages (EDIT: while trying to learn a new challenging lifestyle).

It wasn't cheap then, the 80 recession, high unemployment, the collapse of High Tech rt 128 in Mass. I did it by working two jobs, one pumping gas, and the other washing dishes. Financed the land thru the real estate agent himself (5 years of payments), not many were buying. Saved enough to put in a 24'x24' foundation. Capped it in another 3 months, and then moved my wife and 2 kids in diapers into a hole in the ground. No power, a hand pump, and an outhouse. Best thing I ever did.

Don't fall for it folks. It's a completely nutso idea.

Maybe it is, if it only relies on a fear of peak oil.

But there's more in moving to the country than peak oil..

Many people enjoy living in the countryside, near nature and fresh air.
A lot of people feel them selves alienated from large city-communities today because of the anonymity. Nobody knows their neighbors, people on the street are potential maniacs, the staff at the supermarket doesn't know you or say hello to you. Everything is very impersonal, everyone is a stranger and people feel they're disconnected from a sense of togetherness, community, warmth and respect for each other in cities.
Some doesn't feel that they get any meaningful life in a city, working 8 hours in mindboggling boring offices and commuting endless hours with trains, buses or cars. They consider working less and living more, in the countryside, but in general lack the courage, financial means or something other to take the leap.
A few of my friends even doubt man was ever made to live in these cement and asphalt complexes.

Peak oil is just another excuse to move out of the city.

A few days ago we had ice storms that cut the electrical power to my city. That made it painfully obvious how vulnerable we are in the city. With electricity gone, you can't cook, your apartment has no heat, you have no ventilation, you have no light and no hot water. The food in your freezer melts. Everything we take as granted, gone in a fraction of a second (if only for a limited period).

That makes me feel vulnerable. I don't want to feel that way.

None of the negatives of Urban living listed apply to me. Of course, New Orleans has it's own very unique set of negatives !

Zara's Grocery employees and 2nd & 3rd generation owners know me and joke with me. They know no plastic bags and set aside some corn on the cob unshucked for me out of every shipment (I put it in the microwave in God's green wrapper for 3 minutes). I know my neighbors (and dislike a couple of them) and truly enjoy walking the streets and enjoying the greenery and flowers. I am more alive and creative here than anywhere else I have ever lived.

Vulnerable ? Perhaps, but we survived it.

Best Hopes for rediscovering Old Urbanism,


Ah the ice storms, reminds me of the big one up here, we did not have power for 16 days, I heard tell of exploding transformers setting off a vet, and he was out in the street shooting back.

Not trying to come accross harsh, but I've been living it for quite some time. Let me introduce a concept I see little of here, self-reliance. When I made the jump, I really saw no way for my family to prosper unless I cut free from the system somewhat. Where I was in Mass. there was huge unemployment, jobs were few and far between and if you fucked up there was someone waiting to replace you. IOW, the system owned you, you had no choices. Believe me, standing in line to kiss ass so they might consider giving you a little overtime is no way to live. I see that coming again.

Once you can make the change to providing as much as you can for yourself and your family, a change takes place. You don't have to kiss anyones ass. Yeah you even become a little willfull. Once you can actually be a provider for your family the atmosphere changes.

Alan knows about self reliance, NO learned that quick, self reliance is not sitting in your cold dark house hoping someone else is doing something about it. Self reliance is not bitching about the price of fuel. Self reliance is not waiting for a government policy.

I remember the great blizard in Mass. wached the cars get buried on the street and then the snomobiles sailing over them. They grocery store was walking distance and just to get out we took a walk. Milk, eggs bread were cleaned from the shelves by the 2'nd day. Yet there was plenty of flour, yeast, dry milk etc.. and a ton of people complaining at the poor clerks who had hiked to work.

Self reliance is spot the fire pig, and an 8 year old telling his grand parents he always knew spot was going to taste great.

Not that we provide everything we use, but we come close to providing our very basic needs. Better people with words could try to explain it, but there is a joy, a contentment, a peace, to actually building your own life. Sitting in a house you built while gale force winds howl around you. Throwing another log on the fire, and feeling the wamth of the brick chimney you built.Stars at night
and the wind in the trees.

Gee you know how I did it, someone taught me how to read. Pre-internet, its amazing what you can learn from a book. wood frame house construction, masonary, plumbing, electrical, gardening. Inter-library loan works even way out here, and it's free.

I had plenty of what were considered to be "shit" jobs, but you know my job did not define me, who I was, what my life was like, it defined my need for some cash and that was all. Easy come easy go, worked till I had what I needed. I have never had a credit card, and I have never taken a government handout.

I will tell you that first winter, in the capped foundation, we were toasty as hell, and I can't find it now but I have a picture of a forest glade, covered in snow with a chimney sticking out of the center of it, with no other sign of man.

It is impossible to extend help to others, when you are the one in need and hopefully waiting for someone to help you.

Don in Maine,

This is the best most inspiring thing I have ever read here.

Second that. Very good to hear, and while someone said that this happened during a time of plenty, I don't care. I've built and heated homes in the woods too. It really lets you know what YOU are capable of. Like Don said about reading. There are a lot of things that are plentiful in the world around us, and a lot of advantages to be gained by knowing how to use tools, by talking to people and asking the right question as Fluffy? said above somewhere, by asking friends to help.. which frequently pays of in numerous ways.

Our family never disconnected as much as I thought we would.. we went less far out on that spectrum of Self-reliance, but that's part of the point, too. You find your balance. It's just that a great many people don't KNOW what they are personally capable of. What is possible to provide for onesself, what is out there to learn and discover..

You go, Don!

50 deg and Sunny in Portland, Maine

You hit it, spot on Don.Thats what its ALL about.The "garden of delights",and blisters.The house at the end of the road.That you know better than any other 'cause you built it.Fruit from the trees You planted.And when the avalanche of fresh food comes...sharing.
The best security a person can have is what a small farm place can supply in so many ways.

The best apple you have ever eaten...

The pure wonderment in the voice of a new acquaintance when he finds out "you built this whole place?by yourself? {this is when you are allowed a certain small amount of pride}

Everything we take as granted, gone in a fraction of a second (if only for a limited period).

That makes me feel vulnerable. I don't want to feel that way.

If you want to cook in the city when the power goes out, may I suggest a camp stove for your balcony. May contravene a bylaw but nobody will even notice or care during a blackout.

But the only city that lost power for a long time has been New Orleans, which was friggin' SUBMERGED!!

Even in Baghdad most people have some electricity.

There is no way that the answer to our vulnerabilities is to embrace even greater ones.

And they tend to promote moving to the country and growing your own food, a potentially catastrophic and foolhardy error especially if energy does become very expensive.

I can see where advocating this might be risky for the totally uninitiated. As a veteran of the 70's 'back to the land' era, I have been through the uninitiated phase, got my knuckles thoroughly barked and moved on from there. Fortunately, the energy situation wasn't as critical then as it may get in the near future.

However.... what do you advocate? Moving to the inner city within walking distance of a supermarket? I don't mean to be flip, but there are no easy choices that I see in the future of energy starved civilization. I may have made a foolhardy error moving back to the country and I may be making a foolhardy error building up my fertilizer stocks and building up the raised-bed garden, but I see lot's more foolhardy choices I could have made, especially with 30 odd years of gardening experience behind me and a fair understanding of the energy flows necessary to sustain my lifestyle.

There is a fanatical element here that is just as unreasoning and blind about the brute facts of life as any business-as-usual cornucopian. And they tend to promote moving to the country and growing your own food, a potentially catastrophic and foolhardy error especially if energy does become very expensive.

Don't fall for it folks. It's a completely nutso idea. And some of the people who advocate it here, really ought to know better. You need people like Roger Conner and I to remind you of that. :-)

TOD and blogs like The Archdruid Report have inspired me to get in touch with my inner hillbilly.

I haven't just packed up and moved to the country, nor will I go alone and live like some wacked-out hermit, but I have spent some vacation time shopping around for some affordable land, and frankly the idea of a dacha really has a lot of appeal right now. The folks in the state I investigated were quite friendly. Thanks, guys. You know who you are.

I respectfully disagree that rural land is "nutso". What are ya gonna eat in the city when the produce trucks stop showing up? Did you think food comes from the grocery store? Believe it, George, some people do grow their own food.

It sounds nuts unless you've lived it. Growing your own food means:

Prepping the garden - rototiller back when, next time I do it its raised beds. Dad ran the tiller ... unruly beast.

Planting seeds you selected, putting a little stick in the ground at the end of the row, and leaving the seed packet on the stick so you know what it is. As I recall this is an all day affair with corn planter, fingers, small trowel, etc, etc - mom, me, and my brother.

Wandering out for an hour or so every morning, pulling up things that don't look edible, and occasionally supervising Saturday morning punishment duty for poorly behaved children, again with them removing the inedible. This is the time requirement for a garden that feeds a family of four.

Some times insects take an interest in your stuff. Administer punishment as needed.

Bunnies, always the bunnies. Barn cats help, so does a noisy dog ... but they're 24/7 eating machines. Hate to hurt 'em, but frisky lad /w pellet gun is a good thing in this case :-(

Pay attention to progress, eat fresh vegetables.

Canning is big batches - quarts of this one day, quarts of that another day. This is the most labor intensive part.

We grew all of our own vegetables, raised cattle or hogs for sale and butcher, raised chickens for eggs and butcher, baled our own hay, cut wood for heat, I worked as a farm hand every chance I got, and I still pretty much had my weekends to myself unless I was messing up, which always seemed to coincide with the cow pens needing cleaning.

All you get out of living like this is a body the guys at the gym are jealous of and an intolerance for those who don't hustle when there is work to be done.

And if you've got a choice, remember its better to live with a pig than clean up after a cow, and a chicken is a small, stupid, two legged cow with feathers. They're nasty creatures and we'd exterminate the species if it weren't for the eggs they produce. Imagine a building full of skittish birds, dust, 105 degrees, and lots of ammonia in the air ... that was my lot in life, two weekends a month from the late 1970s to mid 1980s.

Right there with you, I do not like chickens, and our pigs have always been fastidious. One spot to poop and pee.Breeding smarter pigs though. Going for the corner posts and shorting the electric fence. Dump it on the ground and it shorts out. Then you get to do the pig rodeo.

How about a pig that wants to be eaten like in Hitchhiker's Guide?

*clap* *clap*

Now, the difference between starving and not starving if the fecal matter does impact the rotational cooling device as hard as many claim would be the ability to produce and process your own calories.

In America today - the above is a labor of love - or a desire to avoid what agri-business puts out.

First, commuting is idiotic. Commuting 25+ miles each way is terminally stupid.

Second, I live in the country and don't commute, been doing same for 25 years.

Third, if motor fuel is a dominant expense for you in 2007 (and you're not a truck driver or pizza delivery person) you don't need to buy a house. You need a better job or a credit counselor.

Is 25+ miles an arbitrary number or did you reason that out somehow?

It's in the article linked and quoted above. The one that started this discussion.

Around here the towns with serious industry (Spencer, Emmetsburg, Estherville, etc) are ... 25 miles apart. Its a relic of the rail expansion here - we had six mile towns when tractors were small and slow. Those have withered, leaving twelve mile towns of 200 - 1000, and then the county seats tend to be larger.

If I want to do anything other than watch gas pumps or build trusses for prefab hog confinement buildings I have at least fifteen miles to drive and the one most likely to engage me in my skilled trade in 24 miles from the house. Oh, but mostly I telecommute in an arc from New Mexico to Virginia, which is nice ...

I haven't heard anyone talking sense about what transportation is going to be like here in corn country ... and I've got no clear mental picture of it myself. I try the exercise of adding a dollar a gallon to gas prices then trying to see what happens, but I think there are some out of area trade issues that get us first. If the Stylecraft furniture plant closes suddenly there are hundreds out of work and that cascades taking out all of the services and stores they use.

Hrm, best to get back to work on things that will add jobs to my area ...

First, commuting is idiotic. Commuting 25+ miles each way is terminally stupid.

Blanket assertions of that sort are unwise too. There's never been a time when everybody lived in a loft right over their place of business. Even many medieval peasants would have spent considerable time walking from the village to whichever of their lord's fields they were going to be working on a given day.

So really, I'd look more at tradeoffs of cost and time, rather than silly magic numbers measuring an irrelevant quantity, distance. Distance matters only to the extent it contributes to cost and time, there's no need to double-count it. Where I live, I can go 25 miles in 30 minutes if I'm going in the correct direction, but there is a monetary cost. The time is no big deal: where I grew up, it takes 25 minutes to go 3 miles during the day - on the other hand, the monetary cost is less. And going crosstown in Manhattan, it takes 25 minutes to go about 0.6 miles; the choices are walking - and waiting at every corner - or driving or riding a bus that creeps at a near standstill.

Many who commute at relatively high cost would find themselves in a worse job, not a "better job", if they took one closer to home. We live in a hyper-specialized credentials-and-lawsuits-obsessed economy, which means the vast majority of jobs do not match up, making it likely that the nearest available good job is not just around the corner. This is widely aggravated by strict zoning - i.e. the legally mandated widely spread-out single-use pods Jim Kunstler constantly pans, so starving the ravenous beast that is government would actually help. (Sigh: and a lot of would-be social engineers here just can't seem to get enough big obnoxious meddlesome government.)

In addition, most folks have never wanted to live out in the country (Kunstler's "cartoon of the country", yes, real country absolutely not.) Since long before Rome, they've moved to the town or city whenever they possibly could. For almost all, the real country seems to be terminally boring. Even a small-ish city will not do nowadays - as John Denver sang,

Saturday night in Toledo, Ohio is like being nowhere at all. All through the day how the hours rush by, you sit in the park and you watch the grass die.

Now, when motor fuel is $10/gal (2007$) - or demagoguing Congresscritters have created shortages that cause $10/gal worth of inconvenience - the tradeoffs will be different. But it seems futile, even a bit silly, to expect folks to act as if it's already $10 when isn't yet. Why would you expect anyone to take a worse job that offers an inferior living standard or more guff from the boss, before it actually becomes necessary? And maybe they'll get themselves a minicar, then they might not have to put up with the guff until motor fuel is $20.


I'm not sure anyone will see this, it's a day later, but I agree with your detailed description of the tradeoffs.

And perhaps even more importantly you point out that the real kicker for behavior change hasn't kicked in ... price! While all of us feed-forward thinkers are worried about the future, several hundred million people in the US are thinking about a lot of other things. When gas is $10/gal I hope we can revisit this.

Lastly, I've commuted and not, and done it on rail, car, bike and walking, and of all of the modes and places being in a car was the most dangerous, isochronously unreliable and frustrating. The only thing good about a car is you can fart in it without offending anyone (unless you carpool).


Is the world running out of new oil/gas fields to develop?

Maybe oil services companies are not going to be a good investment...

Technip 'to lay off 640 at Pori'

Jan 7, 2008

French engineering giant Technip will temporarily lay off 640 workers in Finland because its shipyard in Pori has not received any new orders, a workers' representative was reported as saying today.

As I noted elsewhere, Louisiana shipyards underbid them. More experienced in offshore rig construction and a cheaper US $.

I can promise you that they are busy.


Here's what the NC national guard is now flying over contented citizens while resting from its exertions in the Resource War zone.

Guard shows off new helicopters
Jim Wise, Staff Writer (News and Observer, Raleigh NC)
MORRISVILLE - Leighton Harrell has some things to share at school today.

"Hellfire missiles!" he said. ...

Got to love this duel (err, dual) use.

Oil down below $96.

Petrobank Resources announces plans to build May River Project:


Congrats to TOD and Nate Hagens on the US News and World Report interview...that is good press.

Also interesting is the oil price going down, because of employment news, despite the Iran thing this morning. That pokes a hole in the idea, which we've seen batted around in the MSM, that the oil price is all pumped up by "risk premium". Most of today's articles on the oil price have something to the effect of "that Iran thing turned out not to be important." Intelligent readers of the business press may notice that "fundamentals" mattered more today.

I hope that both of these are a sign that these issues are going to go more mainstream. Another good sign is that there's too much discussion here for me to keep up with. ;-)


The root cause of rising oil prices must be addressed
if we are to provide a Sustainable Future for Our Grandchildren

by Michael Hampton

The comfortable fantasies that have sustained the American Dream for several decades, are fading fast. 2007 was the year when we took a peek behind the curtain, and saw what financial machinations are sustaining the world's largest economy. American consumer spending represents 25-30% of global GNP, but the money that Americans are spending is not all their own, nor is much of the energy we are using. Keeping the oil and the money flowing relies on spin, financial manipulation, and statistical adjustments which are now being exposed as fiction. If the dollar loses its purchasing power, how will US energy consumers go on importing the oil they need to maintain an extravagant lifestyle?

Very nice summary of the situation we find ourselves in, which touches on many of the points frequently made here on the Oil Drum. I found it to be both broad in topics and concise in analysis. Might be a nice introductory article for some people.

Hello Wideblacksky,

Excellent article--mucho thxs!

Quote from last paragraph: "What we need now is an army of vigorous truth tellers (Al Gore, Matt Simmons, Ron Paul, JH Kunstler, and Jim Puplava come to mind) and an uncorrupted mainstream media willing to report their views."

I think Google unveiling the 'unlucky button' on their search homepage is still the best way to instantly and massively leverage truthful Peak Outreach.

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

Electric dreams: Plug-in cars are picking up speed and credibility

The place is Buck's of Woodside, a Silicon Valley café whose slogan is "flapjacks and tomfoolery". Executives from the area's technology and venture capital companies frequent the whimsically decorated restaurant, alongside characters clearly inspired by California's 1960s counterculture. Felix Kramer, an entrepreneur-turned-environmental activist, is expounding on his favourite topic: electric cars, and the big carmakers' reluctance to build them commercially until they are cheaper and more reliable. "If the cell phone companies had said they wouldn't make them because they weighed as much as a brick and would cost $1,000, we wouldn't have them now," he declares. "It's arrogant to say you won't build the version 1.0 car until it's perfect."

Mr Kramer's pressure group, the Palo Alto-based California Cars Initiative (CalCars), has been taking matters into its own hands. The non-profit group dispenses advice on retrofitting Toyota Prius cars to convert them into plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), which are capable of driving longer distances on battery power than conventional hybrid cars.



I noted the comment you made on Stuart/TOD "not making a dime from this" and have a suggestion to change that. The flow of articles to TOD could be delayed by an hour or so and this information could be charged for...

1. The hedge funds can then get their info slightly early and act on it if they wish (at a price!)
2. TOD gets a source of income by which to fund even deeper analysis/articles/server capacity/whatever/etc.
3. The information gets out anyway...

It looks like a win-win to me.