DrumBeat: January 15, 2008

Experts say production only one factor in rising oil prices

Would oil prices really fall if Saudi Arabia and other OPEC countries raised their production as President George W. Bush proposed Tuesday? Some questions and answers about prices at the pump:

Q: Saudi Arabia has the world's largest oil reserves. But how much can it really ramp up production in the short-term?

A: Analysts say Saudi Arabia has the capability to boost production by up to nearly 2 million barrels per day, although the Saudis are leery of a major increase. Although a production increase would likely reduce prices in the short run, there are other factors driving up prices — including increased demand in booming economies such as China and India.

Oil and the polar bear

Although Congress and the courts have largely frustrated the Bush administration's efforts to open up Alaska to oil and gas drilling, Vice President Dick Cheney and his industry friends remain determined to lock up as many oil and gas leases as they can before the door hits them on the way out. They are certainly not going to let the struggling polar bear stand in their way.

Shell to leave oil export terminal in Niger Delta shut

Despite oil prices hovering above 90 dollars a barrel, Anglo-Dutch oil giant Shell declared in Lagos, south-west Nigeria Tuesday that its Forcadoes oil export terminal will remain shut.

Shell declared a 'Force Majeure' on the export facility on January 11, following the vandalism of two of its pipelines which carry crude oil to the offshore facility for export.

Force Majeure allows an oil company to suspend contractual obligations to clients following unforeseen or uncontrollable events without incurring penalties.

Iran, Gazprom agree to expand oil and gas cooperation

Russian energy giant Gazpromis planning to offer Tehran new prospects of oil and gas cooperation, Iran's oil minister said on Tuesday.

Brazil's Lula offers Cuba oil know-how and credit

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva offered Cuba lots of credit and commitment to help explore for oil in the Gulf of Mexico on Tuesday.

Oilfield service companies due for tough quarter

Oilfield service companies, including bellwether Schlumberger Ltd, must work harder to deliver on the bottom line in the fourth quarter due to a slowdown in North America and weather disruptions in markets such as the North Sea.

In the long haul, booming demand and tight supplies mean profit growth for most companies that help energy firms drill for and produce oil and natural gas, but the near term may be bumpy as expectations are ratcheted down after years of heady profit and revenue growth.

OPEC's Total Crude Oil Output Rose to 32 Million Barrels Per Day in December, Platts Survey Shows

The members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) produced an average 32.03 million barrels per day (b/d) of crude oil in December, according to a Platts survey of OPEC and oil industry officials January 14. This is up from November's rate of 31.65 million b/d.

Production from OPEC's ten members bound by crude output agreements averaged 27.43 million b/d in December, the survey showed. This is 460,000 b/d more than in November and 177,000 b/d higher than the group's 27.253 million b/d target which came into effect at the beginning of November.

"The increase in supply is certainly welcome to this market," said John Kingston, Platts Global Director of Oil. "It appears the group's on track to meet its January target, which is nearly 29.7 million barrels per day for 11 of the members, excluding Iraq."

Alberta crude may be too dirty, U.S. law says

Alberta's oil sands are taking a hit from new U.S. energy legislation passed last month that has an unusual wrinkle suggesting that Canadian crude might be too dirty for the U.S. government.

The legislation won't allow any U.S. federal agencies to buy vehicle fuel derived from non-conventional sources unless the life cycle of its greenhouse-gas emissions is the same or less than that of conventional petroleum.

French Fin Min Says Crude Has Led Inflation, Eyes Oil Cos

French inflation, which rose 2.6% on the year in December according to the country's statistics office, was largely driven by oil prices, Finance Minister Christine Lagarde said Tuesday, who promised to keep a close eye on a price pledge by oil companies.

Attackers bomb Nigerian port official's vehicle, killing driver

The driver had just dropped off the regional port director, Sotoye Itomi, when assailants threw an as-yet unidentified device into the vehicle late Monday, said a Rivers State police spokeswoman, Ireju Barasua. The driver died in the blast and a police guard was injured, she said.

Itomi had in recent days publicly disputed assertions by the region's main militant group that it had remotely detonated a bomb onboard a ship docked in the area.

Kurds' Kirkuk demands raised after rebuff

A top Iraqi Kurdish leader says oil-rich Kirkuk's fate will be decided in a vote, a day after a coalition of Sunni and Shiite Arabs united against Kurd plans.

"There is no turning back," Massoud Barzani, president of the Kurdistan Regional Government, told the Los Angeles Times. "The referendum must be conducted in the next six months."

Russian Oil Takes On A Refined Look

Russian oil producer West Siberian has agreed to buy refiner Alliance Oil, as part of a Kremlin push to move Russia away from being a natural resources exporter, to a supplier of refined products.

UT, Rice to work with oil firms to boost production

The University of Texas at Austin and Rice University will work with oil companies to research injecting tiny sensors into old oil wells to understand how to extract more petroleum.

The University’s Bureau of Economic Geology said in a press release Tuesday it will manage the Advanced Energy Consortium in Houston to fund research projects on using nanotechnology to boost oil and natural gas production.

Analysis: Biofuels law attracts opposition

A major energy bill signed last month by President Bush could decrease domestic oil consumption by increasing biofuels, but opposition to the new law has come hard and fast from an unusual source: environmentalists.

The Growing Power of Petro-Islam: In Saudi Arabia, Bush encounters a force more powerful than democracy

None of this would have happened had it not been for the petro-dollar. The Saudis would have stayed obscure Bedouins and Wahhabism little more than a cult. But because of their oil wealth, the Saudis were able to spread Wahhabism's seed worldwide, making it far more mainstream than it would have been otherwise. As one Egyptian intellectual described it me, "It's as if Jimmy Swaggart had come into hundreds of billions of dollars and taken over most of Christianity."

Opec's resistance to increasing production could hurt in the long run

January isn't even halfway finished, and already change is in the wind.

At the massive North American International Auto Show in Detroit, which opened to the press this week, there is a definite shift away from the gas guzzlers that roam US highways towards vehicles that use alternative fuels. At every turn, there are hybrids, new forms of diesels and other environmentally conscious vehicles.

Brazil: Land Shortage Provokes Murders of Indigenous People

In economic terms, large investments are being made to expand sugarcane cultivation amidst a surge in ethanol production as a gasoline substitute. This has resulted in a monoculture and a hike in the price of land, which is becoming the object of more intense and aggressive disputes, Heck said.

Politically, local governments are completely "aligned with the interests of agribusiness," according to Heck.

The reality of their surroundings is worsening the future prospects for indigenous people’s lives, "unleashing internal violence in the villages," he said.

Europe May Ban Imports of Some Biofuel Crops

In a sign of growing concern about the impact of supposedly “green” policies, European Union officials will propose a ban on imports of certain biofuels, according to a draft law to be unveiled next week.

If approved by European governments, the law would prohibit the importation of fuels derived from crops grown on certain kinds of land — including forests, wetlands or grasslands — into the 27-nation bloc.

Thailand: Cooking palm oil prices may be capped

The Commerce Ministry yesterday threatened to set a ceiling for retail prices of cooking palm oil if it found traders were hoarding the product.

Siripol Yodmuangcharoen, the ministry's permanent secretary, said authorities were considering setting a retail price ceiling for cooking palm oil, similar to the cap on sugar prices, if the shortage eventually hits consumers.

Slow Money Revolution: the global growth of local currencies

But there is a way to short-circuiting mainstream banking and get more oomph out of our wallets. Using local, or complementary currencies is a way of promoting local businesses, rebuilding community, and promoting relocalisation. You may already be using complementary currencies without realising it in the form of airmiles and supermarket loyalty points. But there is much more to them.

These currencies have been gaining momentum over the last 15 to 20 years: from Bali, where they have had a dual currency for centuries; to Curitiba, in Brazil, where pre-sorted rubbish earns you bus tokens. There is even an electronic currency in Japan called ‘Love’ accrued through doing social welfare activities. Over 4,000 communities worldwide use them according to Lietaer. Local currencies are part of the Slow Money Movement because they are physical money and require face-to-face contact to use, which slows down the speed that the money circulates. They complement rather than compete with national currencies and could not replace them.

Tiny Car, Tough Questions

If you haven't done so already, meet the Nano, possibly the most significant new car of the decade: Small, cute and snub-nosed, it fits four people and a duffel bag, has a single windshield wiper, travels at 65 mph -- and it's all yours for the princely sum of $2,500, roughly the same price as the DVD system in your neighbor's Lexus and about half the price of the cheapest cars on the market.

Even better, at least for the philosophically minded, the Nano comes with its own moral conundrum: What happens when the laudable, currently fashionable movement to improve the environment comes directly into conflict with the equally laudable, equally fashionable movement to improve the lives of the poor?

Grow your own way: How to join the allotment in-crowd

The plot is thickening as more people, of all ages, cultivate their own cabbages to fight global warming.

British birds face potential eco-disaster

Familiar British bird species will be driven hundreds of miles further north by the end of the century because of the "potentially disastrous" impact of global warming, according to a new book.

Another Production Record: Petrobras Lifts 2 Million bbl Christmas Day

Petrobras' oil production in Brazil, in December, was 1,854,748 barrels per day, 5.3% more than in November, 1,760,598 barrels per day. The 94,000-barrel-per-day surge was achieved as a result of platform P-54 and new wells at platforms P-52 and FPSO Cidade de Vitoria going online. The P-54 and the P-52 are in the Roncador field, in the Rio de Janeiro Sea, while the FPSO Cidade de Vitoria, in the Golfinho field, off the Espirito Santo coast.

On December 25 2007, the company set another production record, when it lifted 2,000,238 barrels, 87,500 barrels more than the previous record which had been set on October 23 2006. The average oil production in domestic fields in 2007 was 1,792,000 barrels/day, 0.7% more than a year ago, when 1,778,000 barrels/day were produced.

Fuel scarcity persists in Uganda

A number of filling stations The New Vision visited around Kampala and the suburbs had run out of diesel, paraffin and petrol yesterday. These included Shell, Total, Gapco, Kobil, PetroCity and Caltex stations.

...John Matovu, Chevron-Uganda country chairman, said tankers had delivered fuel from Kenya on Thursday and Friday. He attributed the shortage to panic buying. “Consumers who never used to fill their tanks are filling them now. The shortage is due to the less than satisfactory supply”, he said.

China: Energy demand may decrease as economy slows

China's economic growth may start to slow in the second quarter this year, leading to a decrease in energy demand. As a result Chinese energy companies should keep a close eye on the market to maintain a stable energy supply, an official from the national energy watchdog said in an interview with China Daily.

India: Left opposes hike in petroleum product prices

The Left on Monday opposed any increase in fuel prices and asked the government to remove the ad valorem surcharges on petroleum products.

"There is no question of imposing additional burden on the people till the ad valorem surcharges on the petroleum product is removed," CPI politburo member Sitaram Yechury told media.

Court Action Puts MMS 'In Holding Pattern' on Royalty Disputes

Interior Department efforts to address flawed late 1990s Gulf of Mexico oil and gas leases are on hold pending the outcome of litigation over the government's power to compel royalty payments from deepwater producers, the director of the Minerals Management Service said in a recent interview.

Fillon: France to privatise port handling activities

"First of all, we need to transfer the handling activities done by the ports to private operators," he said.

Staff at Marseille's Port Autonome (PAM), which houses the 115,000 barrels-per-day Fos-Lavera oil hub, have held several strikes in the last couple of years, causing disruption to refining and other port activities.

One 18-day strike last year at the terminal threatened to shut down some French refineries and cause a fuel shortage in south-eastern France.

Panel: Increase gas tax to fix roadways

A special commission is urging the government to raise federal gasoline taxes by as much as 40 cents per gallon over five years as part of a sweeping overhaul designed to ease traffic congestion and repair the nation's decaying bridges and roads.

The two-year study being released Tuesday by the National Surface Transportation Policy and Revenue Study Commission, the first to recommend broad changes after the devastating bridge collapse in Minnesota last August, warns that urgent action is needed to avoid future disasters.

Under the recommendation, the current tax of 18.4 cents per gallon for unleaded gasoline would be increased annually for five years -- by anywhere from 5 cents to 8 cents each year -- and then indexed to inflation afterward to help fix the infrastructure, expand public transit and highways as well as broaden railway and rural access, according to persons with direct knowledge of the report, who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the report is not yet public.

India: Govt sees $150+ oil, price hike on Jan 17th

The government estimates international oil prices will cross the $150 per barrel by next year, Union petroleum secretary M S Srinivasan said here on Monday highlighting concern on the scenario.

Nepal: Low on fuel again

A sharp rise in import prices and the government's slow action towards addressing oil losses have brought on another fuel shortage. This time it is diesel that is running low, not petrol.

If it's broken, blame Musharraf; most do

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - For much of the last month, making a successful withdrawal at the National Savings bank has required a certain amount of luck.

For half an hour at a time, four random times a day, the bank's power is cut off as part of a series of rolling blackouts spurred by a countrywide electricity shortage. When the power dies, so do the lights and access to computerized banking records.

China's coal imports surge 34% in 2007

An official statement issued in China, the world's biggest user and producer of coal, said that the nation has increased purchases of the fuel from overseas by 34 percent

Southern China Shuts Power Capacity on Coal Shortage

China has shut down more than 6 percent of the power generating capacity in its southern provinces because of a coal shortage, with the region bracing for the worst electricity shortage in at least five years.

...China burns coal to generate about 78 percent of its electricity. The nation became a net importer of coal for the first time in January last year and consumption has outpaced gains in output from Australia and Indonesia. Rising coal prices and domestic transportation bottlenecks have contributed to a lack of the fuel, Xiao said.

China has no plan to link up oil prices with international market, NDRC official

Chinese government will not liberalize oil prices in the short term fearing that the price rise would fuel already-high inflation, said Dr. Jiang Xinmin with Energy Research Institute under the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC).

"NDRC will not raise oil products price at one blow, but will follow a step-by-step way to raise the price while reinforcing subsidies to low-income group," Jiang said.

Argentina cuts local energy supply, bans exports

Argentina's President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner has blamed global warming for current energy cuts and export controls her government is imposing following a heat wave last week.

"These major changes in temperature haven't come out of nowhere, they have a direct link to the environment" said Fernandez, whose husband, former President Nestor Kirchner, has been blamed by critics for his failure to address the problem of supply.

Analyze this: How to turn the heat up (or down) on Iran without blowing hot air

Despite Ahmadinejad's recent bluster over the incident in the Gulf between Iran gunships and US naval vessels, the gas crisis in Iran's north is a sign of the underlying economic weakness of his regime. How ironic also that Israel, with almost no natural oil or gas reserves of its own, is able to supply its own citizens with heating fuel, even if it's at a relatively high price.

Don't let NSP control program: Opponents

Nova Scotia Power Inc. wants to charge its customers millions of dollars so it can help them conserve energy. Large industrial users, environmentalists and the province's consumer advocate say a demand-side management program is needed in Nova Scotia, but it has to be taken out of the utility's hands.

Sea of grasses could yield biofuels to power tomorrow

The tall grasses make a swishing sound as they bend in the breeze over a 2-acre plot of black muck in the heart of South Florida's Glades growing region.

But they're not everyday plants. These grasses - sugar cane hybrids, elephant grass and giant reed among them - could be part of the solution to the nation's energy crisis.

Wind power gains steam

Monday was a good day for the wind power business, with GE announcing a $300 million investment in Houston-based Horizon Wind and a disputed project off Cape Cod, Mass., clearing another regulatory hurdle.

Bush to OPEC: Increase oil output

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — President Bush urged OPEC nations on Tuesday to put more oil on the world market and warned that soaring prices could cause an economic slowdown in the United States.

"High energy prices can damage consuming economies," the president told a small group of reporters traveling with him in the Mideast.

"It's affected our families. Paying more for gasoline hurts some of the American families, and I'll make that clear to him," said Bush, heading into more talks with Saudi King Abdullah.

Saudi oil minister rebuffs White House

Saudi Arabia will raise oil production only when the market justifies it, the kingdom's oil minister said Tuesday, in response to President Bush's request that OPEC nations increase output to reduce world oil prices.

"Our interest is to keep oil supplies matching demand with minimum volatility in the oil market," Oil Minister Ali Naimi Naimi told reporters. "We will raise production when the market justifies it. This is our policy."

Fire breaks out in Iraqi refinery

A huge fire broke out early Tuesday in Al-Shaiba, one of Iraq's largest oil refinery located west of Basra, Iraqi Oil Ministry said.

Iraq blames coalition helicopter for refinery fire

Iraq said a helicopter from the U.S.-led coalition caused a blaze on Tuesday that shut the major Shuaiba refinery near the southern oil hub of Basra.

A spokesman for the British military denied any coalition helicopters had been involved in the incident, which took place around dawn.

A source at the state-run Southern Oil Company, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the refinery had been closed as a precautionary measure "until further notice" after the fire damaged the gas and fuel production units.

Global Oil shortage is looming large...

A multitude of world issues are converging and manifest themselves around future fossil fuel, energy resources, carbon dioxide, oxygen depletion, including water and mineral depletion. All combined alternative energy sources have limited energy potential to fulfill the needs of an existing and expanding world population.

The only energy alternative is Hydrogen Regeneration. The oceans contain 11% hydrogen. Hydrogen cannot be consumed or used up, and therefore hydrogen can be reprocessed.

Ambiguity persists over gas supplies from Iran

Tehran has not started pumping natural gas yet. Officials say there is no problem for the time being given the normal flow of gas from Russia but add negotiations are underway to buy more LNG as a precaution.

Mexico's PRI Backs Private Investment in Oil Industry

Mexico's largest opposition party will back a yet-to-be-disclosed plan for opening the state oil monopoly to outside investment in deep-water drilling and exploration as well as in pipelines and refining.

The Institutional Revolutionary Party will support President Felipe Calderon's goal of allowing outside investment in some areas of the country's oil business, easing a 69-year- old policy of exclusive state control to help reverse the country's declining output, Senator Rogelio Rueda said.

Kuwait firms plan $10 bln Philippines investments

Kuwaiti firms including logistics provider Agility plan to invest more than $10 billion in infrastructure projects in the Philippines, the company leading the group said on Tuesday.

The firms and one non-Kuwaiti company plan to develop airports, ports, railways, power stations and telecommunications in the Southeast Asian state, Kuwait investment firm Al-Abraj Holding Co said in a statement on the Kuwait bourse Web site.

Homer-Dixon to leave U of T for Balsillie centre

Professor and best-selling author Thomas Homer-Dixon plans to leave the University of Toronto to take a post at the new Balsillie School of International Affairs this summer - the first high-profile appointment for the fledgling Ontario centre created last year with the support of high-tech entrepreneur Jim Balsillie.

"He is exactly the kind of senior scholar we are looking for," said Ken Coates, dean of arts at the University of Waterloo, which runs the new Waterloo school in partnership with Wilfrid Laurier University. "He is wonderfully enthusiastic about what it is we are all about here."

Big Push Against Warming

With an urgency — and a sense of irreverence — reminiscent of the anti-war movement of the 1960s, a group of activists from Portland, Ore., has recruited students at more than 1,000 college campuses, K-12 schools, civic organizations, church groups and private companies to conduct a massive "teach-in" on global warming Jan. 31.

The storied Mediterranean faces climate change

From ancient Egypt to Rome, the fertile Mediterranean has sustained great empires for millenniums. But modern development is rapidly turning the cradle of Western civilization into a dry and inhospitable place, its coasts covered in hotels and many of its unique species driven to extinction.

In the past 30 years, coastal populations have grown some 50 percent. Coastal cities have doubled. Tourism has exploded: By 2025, 312 million tourists will visit each year. Water usage is twice that of 1950. More than 100 species are endangered.

Now, climate change is exacerbating the situation.

In warming Mediterranean, a model of energy-efficient building

A new breed of architects and engineers is beginning to tackle energy usage in buildings by adopting a variety of techniques that can dramatically reduce or even eliminate energy consumption in offices and homes, especially for heating and cooling. In the sunny, hot Mediterranean region, electricity use for air conditioning is already surging and climate models predict that even more energy will be required in the future to keep people cool. But smarter, more energy efficient buildings could be part of the answer.

"We don't want oil money. Supply gas!,"

Angry Iran warns Turkmenistan on gas

Several MPs were quoted on Monday as expressing exasperation with the government's handling of the crisis, which has seen dozens of factories shut and left people in both cities and remote villages with poor or no heating.

"Mr President, do you know how my constituency's people have lived without the least heating equipment and in the worst and most difficult conditions?" asked Vali Rayaat, MP from the northern city of Ghaemshahr. "We don't want oil money. Supply gas!," the Etemad Melli newspaper quoted him as saying. . . .

Chinese and U.S. Demand Drives Commodities Surge
Published: January 15, 2008

. . . A global boom in the cost of commodities, the staple ingredients of a modern economy, is entering its sixth year with no end in sight. Commodities have always been subject to boom-and-bust cycles, but many economists see a fundamental shift driving the markets these days.

As development rolls across once-destitute countries at a breakneck pace, lifting billions out of poverty, demand for food, metals and fuel is red-hot, and suppliers are struggling to meet it. Prices are spiraling, and Americans find themselves in what amounts to a bidding war with overseas buyers for products as diverse as milk and gasoline. . . .

. . . Now, with the United States economy slowing, the question is what happens next. One possibility is that a recession in this country, should it occur, would suppress demand enough that commodity prices would fall substantially for the first time in several years. But many economists argue that demand overseas would keep prices high even with a recession in the United States. That would compound the economic pain for Americans, forcing them to continue paying a premium at the meat counter and the gas pump even as their paychecks suffered. . . .

Edited to cut down an oversized quote.

One possibility is that a recession in this country, should it occur, would suppress demand enough that commodity prices would fall substantially for the first time in several years....That would compound the economic pain for Americans, forcing them to continue paying a premium at the meat counter and the gas pump even as their paychecks suffered. . . .

Sounds fair, spreading the worlds wealth, and it will serve the American people well in their fight against obesity.

It would also mean we would not be getting out of a recession any time soon. That's going to cause a lot of hurt, and won't be a pretty thing to be a part of.

Ah sir , you have not read the words of the wise, as quoted by the wise in the editorial sidebar this morning, have you?

“To be thrown upon one's own resources, is to be cast into the very lap of fortune; for our faculties then undergo a development and display an energy of which they were previously unsusceptible.”
—Benjamin Franklin

"Lucky, lucky, lucky ... fair fortune on Americas brow doth smile" -anon.

Poor Richard had no way of knowing what unlimited credit, 24 hour shopping and the popular media would do to the American mind.

Nice to have the "can do" spirit -- it comes in handy at times -- but if'n I were you, I'd get myself a S&W and learn to use it...

Just in case we're all thrown upon our own resources...

For us non-US people that "S&W" was an obscure reference.

What do them USA types like?
What is a popular gun in the US?
Smith & Wesson.

... or is it even more obscure?

"Smile and Wave".

I consider resource shortages to be a great gift. Without scarcity, populations consume until they die in their own wastes.

Unfortunately, it looks like we have both source and sink problems simultaneously.

"Climatic changes appear to be destabilizing vast ice sheets of western Antarctica that had previously seemed relatively protected from global warming, researchers reported yesterday, raising the prospect of faster sea-level rise than current estimates."


and it will serve the American people well in their fight against obesity.

I wonder. It's been noted that in the US, anyway, the poor are more prone to obesity than the wealthy. Is it just that the rich can afford gym memberships and personal trainers? Maybe. But there's increasing evidence that the diet recommended by the government since the '70s is bad for you. It's also rich in the carbohydrates that poor people tend to eat.

I'm currently reading Good Calories, Bad Calories, by Gary Taubes. It sounds like a diet book, but it really isn't. Rather, as you would expect from Taubes, it's a science book. In particular, it's about the "science" that led the government, the American Heart Association, etc., to recommend a low-fat diet.

I put "science" in quotation marks, because there's very little research that actually supports the idea that eating meat and fat is bad for you. Instead, it looks more and more like the real killer is carbohydrates. That it's carbs, especially refined carbohydrates like sugar and white flour, that cause obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.

Leanan, my dear, you miss the intent in my post which was merely to add a little irony to the TOD diet, but as you are on the subject of diet in the less than broad sense I would suggest the book 'End of Food by Thomas Pawlick'. He puts figures and facts to a hypothosis I have been babbling about for more years than I care to consider, that the food we eat has been so degraded that one has to eat greater amounts of calories in order to obtain the necessary vitamins minerals etc that the body needs.

"Eat drink and be merry for tomorrow we cut bait." -anon

Authorial intent is dead. Especially in an Internet forum. ;-)

Anyway, I didn't miss it, and my comment was not addressed to you in particular. This was just a convenient jumping-off point. I've been thinking about this topic a lot, since hearing of OilManBob's untimely passing from the complications of diabetes.

I thought that the most interesting part of Taubes' book was the historical aspect.

I quite liked, when it comes to books on diets, the Kurzweil book Fantastic Voyage. It is wonderfully (naively) titled how to live long enough to live forever. The main aim of it is to wrap up a whole bunch of interesting recent science on food and diet to help people make dietary changes that will help them live longer and healthier, so they will still be around at that point in time where we beat death by aging.

Of course the latter isn't going to happen... I once thought it might... I once thought we'd see the technological singularity and staggering rate of technological change. Now I think we'll never get there and it'll be one more near miss because of our greedy short sightedness overpopulating ourselves before we make the sort of future breakthroughs that might have helped us manage some of our growing pains.

But I digress... point is I thought there were many interesting dietary points in there if you are reading on diet.

Oh gosh... I missed the far bigger point.

I don't pop in every day to the Oil Drum. I didn't know that OilManBob had passed. That is sad to hear.

Hi responsible,

me, too...just heard. How sad.

This is one of my favorite posts of Bob's, and one we corresponded about:

What we eat is not really food - at least not things that humans would have consumed for the vast majority of our existence. And the idea that we know what effect this will have is absurd.

I have not had time too study, but someone told me that Vitamin C had been bred out of oranges to make way for supplements. I am sure it is possible, but is there any evidence for that kind of tactic?

I wonder, that's really interesting. I wouldn't put it past agribusiness to do that. Another scenario is the switch to N-P-K fertilizer reduced the variety of nutrients and bacteria in the soil, reducing the overall nutrition of the oranges.

So? Just eat sauerkraut.

That's just too much of a conspiracy. The fact is that sugar content in fruits has been going up through breeding to make them better sellers. In this process to reduce the acidity, vitamin C has probably been reduced as well.

I just finished GCBC, and I think it's one of the better pieces of science journalism I've read recently. I knew most of the sad history of the "Ancel Keys/AHA/McGovern hearings" low-fat ideology juggernaut and the damage it has caused from my days on the low-carb newsgroups, but it was uplifting to see the veil of respectability stripped away from that branch of "science" to reveal the rot within. For me the most edifying portions of the book were the last few chapters on carbohydrate metabolism. I now understand much more about the mechanics of the process than I ever did before.

The book raises a couple of ironic issues that are pertinent given all the discussions we've had here recently about the global food supply. The first issue is that the best diet for humans (meat) turns out to be the worst for the planet. The second is that the only way we can keep everybody alive is by increasing cereal consumption at the expense of meat, which will make us all progressively less healthy.

Perhaps a healthier "transition diet" of long pig will be a post-peak feature of some regions.

The book raises a couple of ironic issues that are pertinent given all the discussions we've had here recently about the global food supply. The first issue is that the best diet for humans (meat) turns out to be the worst for the planet. The second is that the only way we can keep everybody alive is by increasing cereal consumption at the expense of meat, which will make us all progressively less healthy.

Yes, that occurred to me, too.

Though there's the possibility of sustainable farms, with cows, chickens, goats, rabbits, etc., as well as vegetables.

And less refined carbohydrates aren't as bad for you.

One of the ironies of our modern food system is that less refined carbs can be more expensive. In my grocery store, brown rice costs twice what white rice does.

My great-grandmother, who was an born an Italian peasant so she knew some stuff about living off the land, lived to 98 never suffered any debilitating disease and could still thread a needle after she turned 90.

My mom tells me she always kept a chicken coop and vegetable garden in her city backyard her whole life and ate an egg every morning and raised a couple of chicks. Once the chickens got too old she took them to a butcher.

My mom said she hardly fed the chickens as they found worms and other bugs in the backyard that would try to get at the fruit in the fruit trees.

My great-grandmother did the same. Her small front yard was filled with a vegetable garden, with a chicken coop along one edge. I thought it was so cool.

Only she butchered the chickens herself. My mom sometimes had to help, and she hated it. Blood everywhere, and all those feathers to pluck.

The best diet for us isn't bad for the planet as long as we're hunter-gatherers with a low worldwide population compared to now.

If we returned to more traditional farming methods, where meat was raised on fallow fields and land not suitable for crops, we could still eat meat, and with the animals exercising and eating their natural diet, it would be much healthier. It would just be less available and more expensive, so we'd be eating less of it.

Pollan, in "The Omnivores Dilemma," says it's the "carbs" added to the animal diet that's at root. When combined with the info from "All Flesh is Grass," I'm very inclined to agree that corn-fed beef, and to a lesser degree overly corn-fed hogs, are quite bad for human health.

But there's increasing evidence that the diet recommended by the government since the '70s is bad for you.

I'm not sure how important that point is. Not many people actually base their diet on the government recommendations. Do you really think Americans have low-fat diet? I sure don't. I think we have both a high fat and a high carb diet.

I don't have the book with me right now, but it lays out the statistics. Americans have cut back on red meat since the government starting telling us to, and we're eating more carbs and less fat.

And we're fatter than ever. So yeah, I think it matters.

A common trend has been to make food more "healthy" by removing the fat and substituting more sugar. I went to the store yesterday to buy yoghurt (which I haven't done for a while). The "standard" yoghurt (i.e. not the "light") had 0 grams of fat and 28(!) grams of sugar in a 6oz container. The "light" yoghurt had Splenda added, which cut the sugar to 7 grams; it still had no fat.

Overweight people are drawn to these so-called healthy foods and wind up eating huge amounts of sugar. More recently it has been high-fructose corn syrup, which I assume will get a big boost with from the corn-based ethanol mandates.

Recent evidence is that certain fats are positively healthy. The reduction of fat in our regular food has, I believe, caused people to go in search of fat in junk food, effictively substituting bad fats for good fats, coupled with a big increase in sugar in both regular food and junk food. Add to that a sophisticated mass marketing campaign that starts with pre-schoolers and never lets up, and it is no wonder that Americans are obese. The rest of the world shouldn't be too smug, either. If/when American mass market consumerism comes to your country, the same thing will happen to you.

One of the points Taubes makes is that there has never been any evidence that fats were bad for us in the first place. According to Taubes in every study that pilloried fat consumption the results are better explained by the consumption of refined carbohydrates. Fat consumption is metabolically neutral, carbohydrate consumption is not.

One of the grimly amusing connections he makes is that the whole whole "fat is bad" mantra may have started with the counterculture in the '60s, when excessive consumption was identified as one of Western society's great evils. A high-fat diet as consumed by the rich became emblematic of decadence and moral failure. A great example of displacement that may have coloured a whole generation of science.

Exactly. And when you realize that, a lot of the "paradoxes" start making sense. The French Paradox (why do they have healthier hearts when they eat all that cream and butter?). The Eskimo, who don't get heart attacks on the traditional diet of meat and fat. (And I suspect it's not because of fish oil.)

There's also the isssue of eating foods that are complimentary to each other and make the combined whole greater than the sum of the parts. This is the beans, corn, squash, and quelites (initially uncultivated greens that were a part of Meso-American diets, which the Spanish called weeds and forced the natives to go without ["Food's Frontier" by Manning]) diet. Essential trace elements are added to the diet by consuming grass/natural diet fed meat and dairy products.

I spent 25+ years as a chef, restaurant manager, and Food Service Director at LTC facilities where a nutritional education was mandated. And since I retired, I've read more books about food and nutrition over the last five years than in all previous years combined. Now I've come full circle to my youth growing up the son of a UC Davis agronomist by now growing, processing and cooking my own foods.

LTC - Lakeland Tech College?

Long Term Care, specifically retirement communities with small SNF (Skilled Nursing Facilities) capabilities.

If there is any fat that is bad, it is the hydrogenised stuff. Back in 1972 I had a Biology professor who was also a nutritionist who preached that natural fats, many of which contained lecithin, were not that bad for you. Margarine on the other hand was evil stuff to be avoided. I took his lecturing to heart I never intentionally ate margarine after that day (in fact always ordered anything I ate in a restaurant without butter, but butter on the side so I could guarantee what was in my food). My suspicions are that part of the rise of heart disease corresponds to the rise in margarine use and hydrogenated oils. I avoid the stuff like the plague. I’d rather use lard or bacon fat than the hydrogenated crap. The fat is bad mantra actually started with autopsies of young men from the Korean war. It was discovered may had early signs of heart disease and fatty deposits in their arteries.

Yeah, there was at least one study that found margarine was worse for you than butter.

It was discovered may had early signs of heart disease and fatty deposits in their arteries.

Yes, but the leaps to eating fat causing the fatty deposits, and the fatty deposits causing heart disease, were not justified.

I totally agree.

Although I never personally checked it out, that study was a military study circa 1954 and should still be available. The comparison was between 18 to 20 year olds who died in the field. It showed that the hearts started to develop lesions on the arterial walls which damaged the cilia that prevent plaque adhering and causing a buildup. The combination of what was probably a viral damage brought on by stress with hydrogenated fat which is not 'native' to the system produced the beginnings of serious buildup problems even at such an early age. Hydrogenation has the effect of preventing the process of rancidity; i.e. nothing [except humans] seems to be in a hurry to work on it. There's a message here.

While the viral component of the plot is still, maybe, under investigation, I'm pretty sure that TPTB are well aware of how and why altered fats are a big part of the problem. The legal implications are colossal, so they'll ban the lot and then make the discovery - who could have known.....? Oh well, it was over a half century ago. When you consider the amount of this stuff that was/is put in your cookies and such over the years, you had to be a monk in Mongolia to miss it.

More recently it has been high-fructose corn syrup, which I assume will get a big boost with from the corn-based ethanol mandates.

Quite the opposite, as the corn sugars are fermented to make ethanol.

[deleted] The Wikipedia answered my questions. :)

I've learned to make my own yogurt - easy as can be if you get a yogurt maker and use professional dairy culture. I use whole organic milk, none of that low fat stuff. The bacteria eat all of the lactose, so there are zero carbs. I put a little fruit into it, but there is no sugar, no preservatives, no artificial flavors and colors, no guar gum or whatever junk the supermarket stuff has - just the pure thing. And yes, it is very good to eat.

I'm starting to realize just how much junk we've been putting up with in this stuff they've been selling us, and I've had enough of it. I'm starting to think about other stuff I could make myself rather than buying the processed junk.

I eat quite a bit of the "homemade" cottage cheese from my corner grocery store, Zara's. I known when they make it, always best the day made. It is edible for a while, but dries out and is not as good in about 3-4 days (but they make it at least twice a week). Borden's et al are NOT the same !

None of my avocados were ripe for lunch, so I took yesterday's cottage cheese and mixed it with 3 cut up Roma tomatoes (only decent tomatoes this time of year) plus salt & pepper (red & black).

I do understand the need for fat in the diet, and avocados are one of my main sources. Olive oil is another (I will even add a few drops of olive oil to a soup).

Best Hopes for Minimally Processed & GOOD Food,


there's very little research that actually supports the idea that eating meat and fat is bad for you.

Hmm, really?

http://www.goveg.com/healthConcerns.asp :

Research has shown that vegetarians are 50 percent less likely to develop heart disease, and they have 40 percent of the cancer rate of meat-eaters.3,4 Plus, meat-eaters are nine times more likely to be obese than vegans are.5

The consumption of meat, eggs, and dairy products has also been strongly linked to osteoporosis, Alzheimer's, asthma, and male impotence. Scientists have also found that vegetarians have stronger immune systems than their meat-eating friends; this means that they are less susceptible to everyday illnesses like the flu.7 Vegetarians and vegans live, on average, six to 10 years longer than meat-eaters.8

http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Non-meat+eaters+have+lower+rates+of+hypert... :

A large British study, with more than 2000 male and close to 9000 female participants, examined the risk of hypertension in meat eaters, fish eaters, vegetarians, and vegans. People with hypertension are at increased risk for both heart disease and stroke. Meat eaters were most likely to report that they had been diagnosed with hypertension (15% of men and 12% of women studied). Vegans were least likely to report being diagnosed with hypertension (close to 6% of men and 8% of women). Self-reported hypertension in fish eaters and vegetarians was between that of meat eaters and vegans. However, there was no significant difference in its occurrence between fish eaters and vegetarians.

In addition to examining whether people had been told they had hypertension, this study also measured blood pressures of the four groups. Meat eaters had the highest measured blood pressure, while vegans had the lowest values. Again, fish eaters and vegetarians had similar blood pressures that were between those of meat eaters and vegans. The main explanation for the differences between the groups was that non-meat eaters, especially vegans, were leaner. The results of this study suggest that a vegan diet may reduce risk of hypertension and that it is not necessary to eat fish to control blood pressure. (This has been recommended by some groups.) Vegans in this study appear to have lower risk of heart disease and stroke due to their lower blood pressure.

http://www.veganhealth.org/articles/research :

Adventist Health Study1

The Adventist Health Study is the only major study on the general health and mortality of vegetarians in the U.S. Many members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church are vegetarian. Here are some details:

Data collected from 1976-1988
34,192 participants, members of the Seventh-day Adventist church
29% were vegetarian
7-10% of the vegetarians were vegan.

Compared to the non-vegetarians, vegetarians had about:

1/2 the high blood pressure and diabetes
1/2 the colon cancer
2/3 the rheumatoid arthritis and prostate cancer
Breast, lung, and uterine cancers tended to be lower in vegetarians but could have been due to random chance.

Google it. The research is quite extensive.

Thanks for posting that information. I personally have become a "convenient" vegetarian about a year ago. Essentially, unlike some who decide to be jerks or hard-arses in regards to their vegetarian diet, I do it as long as I can do so without causing an inconvenience upon my host or a severe inconvenience upon myself. As a result, if given the choice between a Burger King and McDonalds, I'll choose Burger King as I can get a veggie burger. If McDonalds is the ONLY choice, I'll get a fish sandwich. At Thanksgiving, I'm eating only vegetables, but I won't complain about the turkey broth in the stuffing.

I don't give a rat's rear-end about the "welfare of the animals" it's purely a global warming, land use, health, antibiotics, fossil fuel use, fertilizer runoff, etc issue for me. :)

I like animals, some of them more then people, and yet think that if the DOG's hadn't meant for people to eat animals they wouldn't have made them out of meat.

Haha. You're made of meat... *grins* For some reason I'm not allowed to eat people, though.

The trick is to drink plenty of wine with it. It breaks down the fat or something.

Like Alan would say
Best wishes for BBQ in Valhalla.

If 8% of the calories in human breast milk are protein, why do adults need, say, 35-40% of their calories from protein? Until contrary evidence is presented, I think such an amount of protein would be injurious to human health.

I don't think that makes any sense. Babies have different nutritional needs than adults.

Over half the calories in breast milk come from fat. Does that mean adults should eat that much fat? If not, what should it be replaced with?

The research is quite extensive.

It's extensive, but it's contradictory, and it may be barking up the wrong tree. For every study you find that says high-fat diets lead to increased cancer, etc., you can find one that says the opposite. Cherry-pick the studies, and you can claim anything.

And many of these studies do not control for other factors that can affect health. In particular, sugar consumption often goes up with meat consumption (when a country's standard of living increases, for example). Correlation is not causation.

Let's get our apples and oranges straight.

If we are talking about the typical western diet, high fat, high carb, with feedlot-produced meat stuffed with antibiotics and hormones, pesticide-laden, and saturated with additives and other chemicals, then yes, vegetarian/vegan does do very well against that.

If we are talking about the cuisines of traditional cultures, with very modest amounts of free-range meats & dairy, organic vegies, fruits, grains and legumes, all home-cooked from scratch, then those also do very well against the typical western diet.

It is not so clear that vegan/vegetarian does so well against the latter. With the exception of very small amounts of meat and dairy products added to the latter diet, the two diets are (or could be) very close to being identical. I would even venture to wonder if vegans/vegetarians eating a lot of highly processed "health food store fare" might actually be not faring quite as well as those in traditional cultures eating entirely homemade meals cooked entirely from scratch with whole foods.

BTW, Michael Pollan (author of The Omnivore's Dilemma) has just written a new book, In Defense of Food that somewhat addresses this issue. He was on C-Span's Book TV last weekend discussing the new book.

"I would even venture to wonder if vegans/vegetarians eating a lot of highly processed "health food store fare" might actually be not faring quite as well as those in traditional cultures eating entirely homemade meals cooked entirely from scratch with whole foods."

Exactly. A well-balanced diet of natural (unprocessed) food is what is good. And you could probably eat a lot less if you are a westerner.

That's it. Anything else is just someone trying to sell an idea/product or trying to make themselves feel better.

Reality must take precedence over public relations - as Feynman notes.

The problem with studies like this is that they tend to compare mindful vegetarian eaters with members of the general population eating their usual diet. If the usual diet is really bad for you (and we know it is), virtually any kind of careful eating will be better for you. That includes most versions of vegetarianism, as their diets tend to be higher in raw and less processed foods of lower glycemic index, and quite low in junk food, which by definition is very high in sugars and refined starches. So you can draw no conclusions about the role of meat in a diet from such studies - you can't isolate the effects of the meat from the effects of the refined carbs. The researchers can draw conclusions about the harmful effects of meat only by adopting the a priori assumption that the carbohydrates in the "usual diet" are metabolically neutral. They're not, and therein lies the rub.

There are no recent studies I'm aware of that compare a vegetarian diet of any sort to a diet that derives say 80% of its calories from meat proteins and fats. That would be a very interesting study, especially if it included a significant sample size and was of sufficient duration (say 5 to 10 years). I'd volunteer in a flash.

But the studies don’t take into account that a vegetarian has to be very conscious of what she eats to maintain a vegetarian diet and is therefore a very distinct profile with little variance of consumption, versus a meat eater who could be putting just about anything into their diet, McDonalds, Burger King, etc., so the comparisons are faulty as they are too broad. If you found meat eaters, lets say a distinct group of farmers for instance, that ate a diet consisting of meat and good old fashioned natural food, but avoided the processed junk food, I’d bet the statistics would be similar. In fact, in my farming community it is amazing how many very old people there are around her in very good health who eat “bacon with every meal” (exaggeration just to get the point across)

meat-eaters are nine times more likely to be obese than vegans are.

No cause/effect here - the ones who are vegetarian in this society are doing it because they're focused on health or they have some religious beliefs that include a minimalist approach to life. I know vegetarians who are plump, but I can't think of anyone who eats like that who is genuinely badly overweight.

I work in an SDA hospital. 2 questions always come to my mind...

How do so many of them get so fat eating only veggies, and no beer?

How come they all get sick every year, and I don't? They don't eat enuf meat.

Leanan, you are consistently sharp.

that eating meat and fat is bad for you. Instead, it looks more and more like the real killer is carbohydrates.

A little bit of meat and fat go along way to sell a book. How about a thot experiment here? maybe a mildly lewd one even. Suppose for the sake of the experiment we on TOD were to strip you naked even unto your negligent wear and drop you into the nearest jungle ( no, no, not west LA). This without even a household match to your name. I say the result would be that your diet would consist of for the main nuts berries fruit and root vegetables, with possibly a little bit of jungle roadkill and the odd grub in the way of meat and saturated fat. The carbs while filling most of our energy needs would I think, in that diet, not kill as they would be the ones we ate during our evolutionary progress. The potato in our personal diet is the equivalent of oil in our society. When processed they release great and unusual amounts of energy and are equally destructive each in their own sphere.

(Incidently, the comedy team of Cheech and Chong explore the explosive energy of the potato
in their movie The Corsican Brothers with the 'bomb de Terre';)

You mean we have to get off the see food diet?

No. The book argues that the amount you eat matters less than what you eat.

And it may be that the "see food diet" is largely due to eating too many refined carbohydrates. It screws up your body chemistry, eventually leading to obesity and diabetes.

You hear about people eating whole bags of potato chips in a sitting, or whole bags of Oreo cookies or cartons of ice cream. You don't often hear about people eating two dozen eggs at a sitting (the rough equivalent in calories). Eating protein, even not-so-lean protein like eggs, doesn't provoke binging like eating carbohydrates can.

I was just kidding.

People look at weight all the time, but that doesn't take size into consideration. On paper I would be way overweight, but my body fat is only around 10%. As long as you can keep that in check you are fine.

Good food like fish that tastes good raw and grass fed beef is getting very expensive. IMO the most important thing is to stay away from sugar, but with the notation that all substitutes are even worse.

People in South America generally eat enormous amounts of food compared to Americans, are equally lazy, and yet stay in shape well into old age.

Until recently, I used to eat, on average, a pint of Hagen Daz ice cream every night. I've never been overweight and since high school have consistently weighed between 170-175lbs. When we moved, I stopped eating ice cream and now weigh 160lbs. Over the holidays I ate lots of sweets and gained 8lbs. Got sick (from the sugar?) and lost it all. Go figure.

There are enough Iowans around here, maybe someone could confirm this for me..

I heard a discussion of Fats v. 'Lowfat' options, regarding how funny hogfarmers thought it was that people changed to Lowfat and Skimmed milks, because that is one way you can FATTEN your hogs, giving them skim milk. (Don't remember the mechanism, but the body's reaction is to hang onto what fat it can when getting such abnormally de-fatted foods)


(Mainers and Vermonsters feel free to pitch in too.. not trying to be elitist,)

I can't think of any dairy farmer that also ran hogs and I spent a couple of years as a preteen hanging out with dad cleaning milk cans at the local creamery back in the 1970s. Having dairy cows is a 7x12 job and it leaves one with little time for other activities. There is no such thing as low fat or skim milk at a dairy operation - its all rich and creamy 'cause it comes out of the teat that way :-) We'd get many cans of plain ol' whole milk and then there'd be one can with a lid painted a different color - the cream can. I don't know how they got one that was all cream (pampered cow?) but as I recall it was paid differently than the others. I remember (vaguely) a procedure for checking cream content of batches of milk, too. Every once in a while we'd get a bad one - generally one a day amongst the various dairies. I'd roll it on its edge down to the floor drain, pry the lid off, and try to not get too much on me emptying it out.

The building in the center is the hog house here on the farm. We put in a concrete floor where there had been dirt, and it was subdivided into four "sow crates" on the south side and five on the north. The south side is where the hog sized door to the outside feed lot is located, hence the reduction. Its gone now, but there was a propane tank on the north side and we had a hanging space heater. We kept nine sows and the boar would be a rented loaner - did you know that is a business in rural areas? Factory farms run one very specific breed but we little guys don't like the genetic problems that come with that, so we'd have a nice variety. As I recall Hampshire(white) females and a Poland China boar(black and white) was a common combo for us.

Once a month the feed truck would come, back up to the barn on the left side, and an auger would go through that window. There is a 12' x 12' sealed room with a waist high divider in the middle - we'd have pigs and chickens (theirs is the building on the right), so there'd be two types of feed delivered. The feed truck has four internal bins so we'd get both types at the same time. If your order is too small to warrant the bulk truck running the feed mill puts your stuff in fifty pound double walled paper bags. We'd get a protein supplement for the hogs packaged that way that had to be mixed with the ground grain we fed each morning and night.

I suppose if one had a smaller number of dairy cattle (or a larger number of boys) that running some hogs wouldn't be out of line. The smallness would imply milk cans rather than the bulk tanks the larger operations had and if you caught one that went bad before the can truck arrived it would be a normal thing to mix it with grain for the hogs ...

Barn, hog shed, chicken house

I was a teenager and living with my uncle on his farm at the time.

A farmer up the gravel road got sick and needed some one to milk his 12 cows. Me and my cousin walked each day to his farm and hand milked his cows.

We took the milk to the cream separator ,it was hand cranked. Out come what we called 'blue john' which was basically skim milk. What was seperated out was the cream. We canned up the cream and fed the blue john to the hogs.

So at least on older farms at that time(40's) you did create skim milk. And we did, as many fed it to the hogs , rather than pour it out on the ground. And the cream in milk cans was left for the milkman to pick up on his run.


That's really interesting.

I suspect hog farmers have a lot they could teach scientists about human nutrition. Pigs being omnivores, like humans.

But potato chips, sandwich cookies, and ice cream are *not* food that you could find in Mrs. Ydnurg's thot experiment. These things have been created very recently, as evolutionary time goes. Humans do not have 'evolutionary experience' eating these things, and it should be no surprise that humans have trouble eating these things.

Never underestimate the Iron Triangle. Another thot experiment: suppose there were huge corporations that sold meat and dairy. Wouldn't they do whatever it took to increase sales? And us human primates, not being born with the knowledge of what to do with these novel items, and born with the knowledge that food is *scarce!* I am sure that none of my distant ancestors ever passed up the chance to eat calorie rich, nutrient dense meat! And I am also sure that these chances didn't come often.

Another thing to worry about is bioaccumulation or biomagnification. Way back in 1962 Rachel Carson wrote "Silent Spring" and was the recipient of much bad press, even though her science checked out. DDT went from algae to zooplankton to small fish to large fish to large predatory birds, and the birds showed symptoms like infertility first, as they had the highest level of DDT in their systems. The DDT (and its breakdown product DDE) would not break down very fast, and higher and higher levels would accumulate-fastest and highest in animals with long lives and at the top of food chains. Dmitry Orlov, in his essay "The New Age Of Sail" shows that he understands this, and projects a bleak future:

The vegans abstain from eating animal flesh not because of their tastes or their sense of ethics, but because most animal flesh has become toxic. The increased mining and burning of coal, tar sands, shale, and other dirty fuels, dust storms blowing in from desertified continental interiors, and the burning and degradation of plastic trash, have released into the biosphere so much arsenic, cadmium, lead, mercury, dioxins, and numerous other toxins, that the vast majority of predatory species, non-vegan humans among them, have become extinct. Since toxin concentrations increase as they travel up the food chain, certain top predators, such as belugas and orcas, went first, followed by most non-vegetarian animals. Along with chemical toxins, the biosphere became inundated with long-lived radionucleotides from derelict nuclear installations left over from the hasty attempts to ramp up nuclear power generation. Those built near the coasts are still bubbling away underwater due to rising ocean levels. And so the only surviving humans are those clever enough to realize that only the plants remain edible.


Taubes, Atkins and others going against the high carb tide are right. Especially for people with Type II diabetes in their family tree due to the "genetic defect" of insulin resistance. But Taubes gets called a crank for spreading the truth, even if his detractors can't back up their cult dogma. The official recommendation to consume polyunsaturated fats based on their cholesterol lowering property points to who the real cranks are. The cholesterol gets diverted to reinforce cell membranes since polyunsaturated fats are structurally inferior to saturated fats. The story of Baycol is a nightmare taking this voodoo medicine to the extreme (i.e. liquifaction of tissues due to suppression of coenzyme Q10 production and hence cholesterol production by a statin). Interesting how the factors causing cholesterol oxidation and arterial wall damage (i.e. free radicals from preservatives) are not the target of concern but an essential molecule produced by the body is. Reminds me of the bleeding practiced by the doctor quacks of the past.

IMO US corn Ethanol production will cease to increase when:

Ethanol corn consumption reduces the annual crop used for other purposes to less than 9 billion Bushels.

This low number has not yet been achieved. If in the current year we produce 7.5 billion gallons that will still leave a balance greater than 10 billion bushels for other purposes.

The current gas and ethanol prices are already causing concern for new plant construction.

The need for food will drive corn prices beyond ethanol’s ability to compete with other energy products.

Suspect that today's inflation news will be on the list above, but in case it is not:

The Labor Department reported that wholesale inflation was up 6.3 percent for all of 2007, reflecting a huge increase for the year in various types of energy costs ranging from gasoline to home heating oil.

This is certainly looking like the feared "stagflation" scenario developing.

More economic sunshine...

Citigroup Posts Record Loss on $18 Billion Writedown

Citigroup Inc. posted the biggest loss in the U.S. bank's 196-year history as surging defaults on home loans forced it to write down the value of subprime-mortgage investments by $18 billion.

This was the top story on CNN this morning.

What I find fascinating about the Citigroup bailout is that the biggest source of funds by far is from ... Singapore! A small city-state that has essentially no resources - except the resourcefulness of their own people! And the Citigroup bailout isn't the only big purchase the Singaporese (or is that Singaporean?) have done lately.

Also in today's news:

Median home price plummets in [San Diego] county

San Diego County's median home price last month plunged 13 percent from year-ago levels, continuing a long downward slide that has prospective buyers and sellers wondering if it's finally time to jump back into the volatile market.

Figures released yesterday by DataQuick Information Systems show last month's median price at $430,000 – 17 percent below the November 2005 peak of $517,500.

The December decline was also the steepest drop in 20 years of record keeping at DataQuick. The overall median was down $10,000 from November and $65,000 below December 2006.

If you look at the neighborhood data for San Diego county, one discovers that many areas have dropped in price considerably more than that stated above.

So we have all the makings of an economic downturn, coupled with rising prices. As some may have noted in the past, I am not a doomer. However, reality is that we have to do with less.

I think the next shoe to drop will be when all of the homeowners demand to have their property taxes lowered by a corresponding amount. This will translate into lower revenues for schools, fire, streets,etc. which will result in fewer jobs, poorer streets, etc. which will result in even lower housing prices.

Most jurisdictions do a systematic re-appraisal on a regular schedule -- usually something between 5-10 years.

Here in Texas, the appraisal district is bound by law to lower the appraised value of a property if you purchase a property this year and can prove you paid less than the present appraised value. Also, if you can show that comparable homes in your neighborhood are selling for less than appraised value it is arguable they should reduce your appraised value also. This is harder to do but is done successfully quite often.

Property in Texas is reappraised on a yearly basis at full market value.

It could be that homeowners will demand reappraisals. But then presumably the municipality will adjust the tax rate so they maintain the income they need to operate, and will therefore end up with the same tax revenue.

Assuming all the homes lost value at the same rate, the end result would be everyone would still be paying the same amount of tax they always have.

I understand your point, but mine is at what point do people get fed up with paying more taxes on property worth less every year?

At some point you get people elected to town council on an anti-tax platform, and then the budget gets cut and the taxes go down. And, of course, the services go down to.

Another critical change that may occur is people walking away from their homes. Consider folks that now owe more than the value of there home. These folks likely have little to no equity in thier homes, and now homeowners are no longer have the Income tax penatly when the default on homes with short-sales. There is nothing to keep these people in their homes and continue to pay thier mortgages.

As more and more people, default and walk away, home inventories will only get much worse since prices much lower, leaving increasing numbers of owners in upside down loans.

The next shoe to drop is commerical real estate. A larger number of construction jobs are being supported by commerical real estate construction. With consumer spending declining, retail and commerical expansion will fall, causing lots and lots of excess inventory. More loan defaults and much more banking losses to come from the commerical side of the real estate bubble.

...people walking away from their homes.

Unfortunately, they will drive away.

TOD homes are holding their value better per reports.

Best Hopes for Shruburbs,


I am keeping a close eye on that commercial stuff. I've watched the furniture store (10 jobs?), the Ace Hardware (20 jobs?), and the cement plant (30 jobs?) go dark in Spencer over the last thirty days. Look at the sector that got hit - housing, housing, and construction including housing.

Many people who have lost their homes in foreclosures will probably--as long as they hold on to their jobs--see an increase in disposable income.

Home Sellers' Pain Is Renters' Gain
January 15, 2008; Page D1

There's one bright side to the housing crisis: some lower rents. . .

. . .Some homeowners forced out by foreclosure are finding rental deals that are at "discounts of 50% to 70% off what they were paying on their mortgages," says Brenda F. Gerdes, who owns Management Specialists Inc. in Port St. Lucie, Fla. . . .

That's the one that could smack us pretty hard. If the rental market crashed. We rent out 2 of the 3 units to pay the mortgage..

Luckily, we're in a college town, walkable and 1 block to a bus line. Also a coastal Port city with some raillines, so shipping will help keep us from total jobs isolation.. some farms nearby..

Citigroup should call Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Alsaud to the rescue:

After all, he still has his $10 billion stake in Citigroup.

It looks like the oil-rich countries have figured out what to do with their excess petrodollars.

Lose 'em in the US stock market!

Assuming all this economic bad news is leading to a recession, does anyone have a ballpark feel as to how much a typical recession would impact world oil demand?

Thinking of the U.S., I doubt the average American's direct energy use would decrease that much. As long as they still had a job they'd probably drive as much as they always did and heat their house the same amount as they always have.

Indirectly, I could see less things being purchased would result in less energy needed to create those things, so that would save energy.

But overall in an average moderate recession, would we be likely to see world oil demand drop dramatically (say, 5%), drop a smaller amount (1-2%, which would still be a lot), hold steady as demand stops increasing, or still continue to grow, just at a slower rate of growth than in the past?

Putting aside the issue that this may be anything but a typical recession, because initially the markets will assume it is a typical recession and react accordingly, does anyone have a perspective on what would happen to demand?

Here is an estimate that every 10% increase in the price of oil causes a decline in world economic growth of 1/3 of a percent: http://www.forbes.com/opinions/2007/11/07/oil-pricing-impact-oped-cx_pm_...

That's a pretty close fit for the oil demand decline rate as the oil price goes up.

I have a study from the Department of Energy on the subject that provides better info, with a range of estimates and an explanation of the factors behind the estimates. I'll try to find it and provide a link.

Here is the Department of Energy study (2005). http://www-cta.ornl.gov/cta/Publications/Reports/ORNL_TM2005_45.pdf

It focuses on the cost to US GDP of high oil prices. Of course, the US is not the world--the money for the expensive oil is going into the economies of the KSA, Russia, Brazil, etc.

Another point: People seem to get very confused about the effect of oil supply limits on the economy, and the effect of recession on oil prices. Right now in the financial world, for example, almost all commentators assume that a recession will lead to a decline in oil prices, as if oil were a consumer item like designer shoes or fancy cars.

But these commentators are confusing cause and effect. The recession is being caused by a lack of oil supply. (The housing issue is a false front.) The oil price is a reflection of this lack of supply. But it's not really the price that's hurting the economy--it's the lack of supply.

Oil creates wealth. Oil creates growth. Now the supply of oil is no longer growing. (And despite roughly flat recent production, I would argue that supply is actually decreasing, because it is taking more oil to get the oil we're getting.) When you can't grow the energy supply, you can't grow the economy either, unless you can make it more energy efficient, and that takes time and lots of capital. When people talk about demand elasticity, that's what they're talking about--how long it takes to increase efficiency.

Since it's oil (energy) that creates wealth, people are going to continue to compete for the supply. Less efficient uses of oil will slowly painfully be squeezed out as the price rises, but since the price increases reflect decreasing supply, all this will do is stabilize demand to fit the supply at the moment.

In recessions of the past, when oil prices fell due to declining demand, there was plenty of oil. There was much more supply available than demand, except for during short supply shocks arising from political disruptions. That was why prices fell.

It's like this: If there were a limited number of magic wands available that created wealth, would their price fall during a recession or would people be willing to devote an increasing percentage of their wealth to an attempt to obtain one of the magic wands?

Hey Moe, How about a prediction that Jan. 15th's price of oil(today) will be the low for the month.

Have you looked at the graph of Oil Prices noting the points when when the PPI sampling data is gathered? Take a pop over to this link and look at the graph of the Price of oil and how it hit a low every time there was a Fed Sampling date arriving.

Reading Tea Leaves
As I reported last month in an article titled The Invisible Hand, in recent months the “sample date” on which crude oil prices are measured as inputs into the PPI tend to be the “lows” for the month.


But these commentators are confusing cause and effect. The recession is being caused by a lack of oil supply. (The housing issue is a false front.) The oil price is a reflection of this lack of supply. But it's not really the price that's hurting the economy--it's the lack of supply.

Sorry but thats not true. Housing prices soared as credit standards took a nose dive.The fuel to the housing bubble was the easy and abundant credit available, Housing prices continued to rise even as the price of energy climbed. If banks and mortgage originators keep the original lending standards and practices, housing prices would not have endure the steep declines of today. Although, without the credit boom, the US would probably remained in a recession after the dot-com bust of 2000. It was the credit boom which got the US out of the recession. The cost of energy has an impact, but it was by no means the primary cause of the collapse of the housing bubble.

Overall, its likely the the price of energy will remain high even in a recession. This will be because of a collection of issues including supply constraints, declining US dollar, and geopolitical changes. I think we will probably see the prices gyrate between $70 and $98 in 2008. We should see some demand destruction, but I think the declining dollar and Geopolitical pressures will keep prices in check. I think that sometime between 2009 and 2010, global production will begin to decline much more rapidity and prices will start to rise again, even if the entire globe enters a recession. I expect the recession in the US to continue to grow much worse. The US simply faces too many issues to dig itself out of a recession. The housing downturn will last for more than a decade (as have all past real estate downturn periods). We have boomers retiring, massive unsustainable trade deficits, and of course declining global energy production. In my opinion this is likely the begining of a perminent economic decline, that will last until the globe reaches a sustainable population level.


In 2007, crude foodstuffs and feedstuffs prices jumped 25.2 percent following a 2.8-percent increase in 2006.

In 2007, prices for crude energy materials advanced 17.2 percent following a 15.7-percent drop in 2006.

The basic industrial materials index climbed 16.8 percent in 2007, slightly less than the 17.0-percent rise in 2006.

Total changes in prices of crude goods entering the manufacturing pipeline rose 20.6% over the 12 months of 2007.

Now what is really interesting is what the BLS put in Table B but did not state loudly.

The seasonally adjusted 3 month inflation rate for October-December 2007 was:
19.2% for foodstuffs and feedstuffs
59.6% for crude materials for further processing
and a whopping 129.5% for crude energy materials.

Hello stagflation! (Rising prices, economic recession, and stagnant-to-declining wages.)

May you live in interesting times.

I'll be on the radio discussing our monetary system, and its relationship to Peak Oil, tomorrow (Wednesday) morning. Join in if you feel like making the call.

Kurt L. aka Rototillerman
Portland, Oregon

Russian oil only for Russia

According to the Russian Ministry of Industry, the oil production volume increased by approximately 10 million tons in 2007, but the export remained the same…..

There is also another reason for processing oil at Russian oil plants: the growth rates of oil production are dropping, oil is gradually running out. In 2003 the oil production increased by 11%, in 2005 it went up 9%, in 2006-2007 – 2.2-2.3% only, the worst is ahead. In this situation Russian drivers can only hope for more gasoline of better quality for their cars.

And so far January Russian Oil Production is down about 150 thousand barrels per day from December.

Ron Patterson


Check out the quote up the thread from Iran, which can be paraphrased as "We don't want your stinking money. We want energy!"

What is the value of money if there is no food or energy to buy?

As I have previously noted, perhaps world stock markets are not properly discounting future earnings by public companies--given the constrained energy future we face.

Thanks Jeff, looks like a full scale resource war may be brewing in that area. All this should alert the world that supplies of both oil and gas are getting very tight and exports will drop as a result. How about this line from the Russian article:

The experts are confirmed that the export of fuel will be sinking, since the oil companies are likely to supply the domestic filling stations with their products, especially if take into account transportation expenses and export duties.

I think that shines the light of stark reality on the subject. The world's second largest exporter will be exporting a lot less oil in the future. And so will Iran and just about everyone else. Cheap fuel prices along with a massive infusion of petrodollars are fueling runaway domestic growth in oil exporting nations. And we all know where this will lead.

Ron Patterson

And this is why, even though we may see deflation elsewhere (i.e. house prices), the price of precious commodities may actually go up. Even if demand goes down worldwide, countries that own the resources may start holding back on exports because they would rather be energy secure than cash rich and energy insecure.

I am one of those who defines inflation as an increase in the money supply and deflation as a contraction of the money supply. I know that many others define inflation as any increase in price but throwing out the word inflation for every price increase masks two different but major causes of price increases. The first major cause is inflation of a currency. The second major cause of price increases has nothing whatsoever to do with money, per se, at all. The second major cause is quite simply scarcity. This is why we might have deflation generally but rising prices for scarce goods.

I know you didn't say anything about inflation or deflation and money supply, Dragonfly41, but I wanted to raise the issue to demonstrate why some of us think it is important to keep price changes caused by money supply changes separate from price changes caused by scarcity/plenty. If everything is just inflation/deflation and the central banks are assumed to control all aspects of inflation/deflation, then that lulls us all into a false sense of security. Other things than central bank actions can govern price more and thus surprise people who expect central banks to "be in control".

English is a crazy language. We have lots of words with more than one meaning, and lots of meanings with more than one word.

Using the modifier "monetary inflation" or "price level inflation" would provide considerable clarity.

GZ I posted this after the original thread had died.

Notice that Before, Greenspan, Rubin, Bernanke we had one definition.
Then Just before everything went crazy, the definition changed.
How suprising.

So those of us old enough learned a "Different" definition.

What is the Real Definition of Inflation?

Webster's 1983 Definition of Inflation

According to Webster's New Universal Unabridged Dictionary published in 1983 the second definition of "inflation" after "the act of inflating or the condition of being inflated" is:

"An increase in the amount of currency in circulation, resulting in a relatively sharp and sudden fall in its value and rise in prices: it may be caused by an increase in the volume of paper money issued or of gold mined, or a relative increase in expenditures as when the supply of goods fails to meet the demand.

This definition includes some of the basic economics of inflation and would seem to indicate that inflation is not defined as the increase in prices but as the increase in the supply of money that causes the increase in prices i.e. inflation is a cause rather than an effect.

Webster's 2000 Definition of Inflation

However, The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition, Copyright © 2000 Published by Houghton Mifflin Company says:


2) A persistent increase in the level of consumer prices or a persistent decline in the purchasing power of money, caused by an increase in available currency and credit beyond the proportion of available goods and services.

In this definition, inflation would appear to be the consequence or result (rising prices) rather than the cause.

Shifty Words

So between 1983 and 2000 the definition appears to have shifted from the cause to the result. Also note that the cause could be either an increase in money supply or a decrease in available goods and services.


Interesting point, but note that there are a number keypost articles on inflation and they all discuss the overall rate of price increase, which is what matters to most of us non-economists. After all, if one's savings would purchase less this year than last, one experiences that as a debauching of the currency regardless of the exact cause. And that moralistic word is appropriate, since if one were holding an appropriate basket of tangible stuff instead of symbols for that very same tangible stuff, there would have been no loss.

There is certainly nothing to stop a central bank from pegging its currency to actual purchasing power in some manner. After all, the USA used to have gold and silver certificates until it became expedient in the 1970s to debauch the dollar in order to obfuscate a drop in living standards. It's simply that if things are a bit tough, then when crooked politicians wish to garner votes from consumers (citizens having long since departed the scene) it's far more effective to "raise" incomes in currency and take back the purchasing power and more through the back door, than it is to actually lower incomes in currency.

To add to the confusion, economists themselves, when they use "real" dollars, or "2001" dollars, usually specify what they are using for what they call a "deflator." Even they use the current lay meaning in this context.

And maybe to add further confusion, it's money supply times velocity, rather than money supply itself, that often matters most.

So it probably would be best to be specific any time one is using inflation to denote an increase in money supply, rather than a general decrease in purchasing power, at least when conversing with non-economists.

And so it would (will) be here - it only takes a short while without electricity or access to other energy to make people focus on their real needs. Energy, food, water, and shelter - somehow these things are not as assured as they once were.

The fact of anticipation would seem to dictate conservation of vital resources for producer-country use...where the producer-country is able to make its own decisions. Anticipation of loss of a vital resource will minimize export of such. Ain't it the truth?

Ontario to approve Great Lakes wind power

Ministry of Natural Resources official says the department is "getting ready" to make an announcement and that new minister Donna Cansfield is "anxious to demonstrate leadership in the area."

Jamie Rilett, a spokesperson in Cansfield's office, confirmed that the ministry is currently revisiting the moratorium. He said a decision would be made "shortly."

Industry sources also confirmed the moratorium's end is imminent.

Offshore wind energy, while typically associated with ocean projects, offers significant opportunities in the Great Lakes. According to one study by Helimax Energy Inc., the strong and consistent winds typically over the lakes could generate up to 47,000 megawatts of clean electricity – nearly double Ontario's existing power capacity.

The ministry put a halt to all offshore development in November 2006 to give the government more time to study the potential environmental impact of such projects on bats, butterflies, aquatic species and bird migration routes.

Let's see, 47,000 MW would mean 31,000 turbines at name plate capacity. Being very generous at 30% actual output would mean 63,000 turbines. Being generous again if it takes 2 years to erect 100 thats 630 years to build them all.

jrwakefield -

I suppose the purpose of your little back-of-the-envelope calculation was to show that a massive investment in wind power in the Great Lakes area is not practical. Right? You appear to be taking the most extreme outlying estimate and using that as a sort of straw man.

First off, if 47,000 MW is twice Ontario's existing generating capacity, why would anyone think of installing anything even close to that amount, be it coal, natural gas, nuclear, or wind?

An ambitious but realistic plan might be to install say 10,000 (name plate) MW over a 10 year period. That would be 1,000 MW per year. And if we assume large turbines of 2.5 MW each, this would require installing 400 turbines per year. If this effort were to be spread out over four simulataneously executed projects, each project would need to install 100 turbines per year, which to me is a very large construction effort but clearly in the realm of what's doable.

For all its faults, one of the nice things about wind power is that it is inherently modularized. By that I mean, instead of having to complete a single huge construction project (as in the case of a nuclear power plant), wind power can be added in groups of turbines at a time.

I was just showing the scope of the issue. The Star article gives the impression that one can simply build a bunch of wind turbines and pooof, we double our capacity. Why would they leave that tidbit of information out? Why would they not include how many turbines that would take to actually achieve that? Leaving it out gives the wrong impression.

What also gives the wrong impression is name plate capacty. According to the 2006 report (and I know Alan will pounce on this) http://www.ieso.ca/imoweb/pubs/marketreports/OPA-Report-200610-1.pdf

"The average capacity value of the wind resource in Ontario during the
summer (peak load) months is approximately 17%. The capacity value ranges
from 38% to 42% during the winter months (November to February) and from
16% to 19% during the summer months (June to August)."


"Capacity Value (%) = Average hourly wind power output during the periods
when load is within 10% of its peak. This is per unit of wind nameplate rating."

Thus on average the actual output is 20% or less than the name plate, so you need to multiply your turbines by 5 to get to that capacity, or 2000 turbines per year by your reconing. By actual construction, the 110 that were built in the Bruce area took 4 years.

Mr. Wakefield is immune to facts.

Please be aware of that when reading any of his posts. And it is not an attribute that I credit to any other frequent poster here, however much we may disagree.

I do not have the time (or inclination) to discredit once again his misuse of "capacity value" as "capacity factor".

Earlier I quoted first year results (quoted in a virulently anti-wind article first linked by Mr. Wakefield) that gave Ontario wind farms a capacity factor of 29%.

From memory, I linked to a PR release from a company that just started a new wind farm in Ontario that they anticipated a capacity factor of 32%.

Please ignore Mr. Wakefield, he is immune to facts.


BTW, ERCOT (Electricity Reliability Council of Texas or close) gives Texas WTs a capacity value of 10% (last I heard) and they average 33% capacity factor (Annual MWh = 365/366 x 24 x nameplate x 0.33) and Texas is installing them at a rapid pace.

Ok Alan, your so damn smart on the subject, how many turbines would be required then?

I believe you meant "you're", not "your".

I assume you will nitpick others' typos too?

"anticipated a capacity factor of 32%."

Anticipated is not actual. From the same report:

Capacity Value Analysis

The true capacity value of wind generators is often a source of great debate and
concern among system operators. Wind generators are non-dispatchable resources
because their power output varies according to the wind conditions at any given
instant in time, and is difficult to predict or forecast with any degree of accuracy. The
unpredictability of the wind is a reasonable concern that certainly has an impact on
the overall value of the resource. Calculating the value of the wind during the highest
risk periods throughout the year provides an assessment the value of the wind
resource. The classical definition of capacity factor is the average power output
during all the hours over a defined period of time divided by the nameplate rating of
the generation resource. Capacity value is a measure of the generation resource
output during critical periods throughout the year, such as when the load is within
10% of its peak. PJM and NYISO define capacity value as the capacity factor during
those hours of the day when the peak load is likely to occur in the peak months of
June, July, and August. In this study, the capacity value is defined as the average
hourly wind power output during the periods when load is within 10% of its peak. This
is per unit of the wind power output nameplate rating.
Unlike firm, dispatchable generation resources, wind generator output varies on a
continuous basis. Due to this variation, the value of the wind generator is a smaller
percentage of the installed nameplate value when compared to fully dispatchable
generators. In this study, the capacity value of wind is calculated as the average
hourly wind power output during the periods when the load is within 10% of its peak.
This value is presented as a percentage of the total installed nameplate value of the
wind resources. Based upon previous study3 results, this method of calculating
capacity value has been found to provide results comparable to traditional loss of
load expectation (LOLE) methods.


The overall yearly capacity value is approximately 20% for all
scenarios. In other words, 10,000 MW of installed nameplate wind capacity is
equivalent to approximately 2,000 MW of firm generation capacity. The average
capacity value of 20% was arrived at both by looking at the contribution of wind
when the loads were within 10% of the peak load as well as looking at the
contribution during pre-selected hours in June, July and August. Both of these
methodologies look at the timing of the wind and are not sensitive to penetration


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


I know I'm going to regret this since I'm sure you'll come back with some anti-wind spin on this information, but all your arguments about the problems of intermittent power generation from wind will soon be a moot point. The mere fact that wind and most other alternative electricity generation methods are intermittent is providing a huge incentive to develop energy storage solutions that will minimize the impact of intermittent power generation. Like this Canadian company which has technology that is ready to implement and able to store hundreds of MWhr during off-peak hours and use it to make the power output from intermittent sources very realiable.

But I guess you would prefer we spend our money and time trying to prolong the life of traditional energy generation technologies, rather than invest for the future.

Not at all. You misunderstand my position completely. I never said I was against wind power per se. I'm against wind power that is thrust upon the public as a "save all", where they never give the actual output of turbines, but always the maximum capacity.

Example, from that Star article we have this:

“A more ambitious project by Trillium Power Energy Corp. would involve 140 turbines erected along a shallow stretch of Lake Ontario, about 15 kilometres offshore from Prince Edward County. The wind farm would have a capacity of 710 megawatts, the largest in Ontario.”

That’s 5MW nameplate capacity. But as the report clearly shows what the actual output will be is 20% of that 710MW. So in reality the actual output will be only 142MW. But you never see that printed. Why? Why can’t the public be told what the actual output will be? Why give an output that will never be reached? Thus the public never hears the true story.

I'm against them if they are erected in places where the output is not worth the effort (as too many would have to be built driving up the costs and the extending the timeline).

The question then becomes at what actual output makes them worth the effort? 10%, 20%, 30%? Each location will have to judge that for themselves.

I read the site. Interesting to see if it would be able to scale up. Especially using Vanadium, not a very widely available metal. Also, how much would it add to the cost? Like all technologies, they look great but can it be scaled up? I'd like to see one actually working in situ before making any judgment.

Just like ethanol was once thought to solve the liquid fuels issue in the minds of the public, we now see the reality of the situation. Same goes for wind power. It may turn out to be a huge white elephant in some areas, like Ontario, where a single nuke plant could do the same in less time, less money, and be reliable. Besides, how many people are going to like to see thousands of wind turbines along the shores of the lakes? Does this not look like desperation for energy? Absolutely! In the long run they will be idle monuments to that desperation.

I read the site. Interesting to see if it would be able to scale up. Especially using Vanadium, not a very widely available metal. Also, how much would it add to the cost? Like all technologies, they look great but can it be scaled up? I'd like to see one actually working in situ before making any judgment.

Nice try, but you need to read some more. They already have large units installed in several areas. Scale up is not an issue with this particular technology - the amount of energy storage is simply related to the volume of the electrolyte tank. Vanadium is more common than you think - it is already used in many industries. In this particular energy storage techology it is not consumed or degraded, so it would last almost indefinitely.

I won't bother replying to any other nickpicking points.

I think the potential for the intermittent alternatives -- wind + solar + storage -- is huge. First the energy is easy to find. Second, the erected infrastructure constantly generates energy for the lifetime of the equipment as opposed to the lifetime of the resource (i.e. oil, gas, coal). In all, it takes steps out of the process. With fossil fuels, you must first extract the resource, then you must process the resource to convert it to a usable form, then you must develop some kind of infrastructure to use the resource to generate energy.

Overall, the total infrastructure is huge. I think renewable energy detractors often ignore the sunk costs in the traditional fossil fuel infrastructure. Over the lifecycle solar and wind energy costs vrs energy return are favorable.

One other point -- wind energy is already cost competitive when compared to oil. The amount of electrical energy in a barrel of oil is approximately 700 kw(h). If the cost of a barrel of oil is $100 dollars the the cost of one kilowatt is 14 cents. At approximately 6 cents per kw(h) wind is far less expensive than oil. In other words, wind is a more valuable form of energy because it costs less to produce. For wind and oil to be of equivalent value, it needs to cost about $40 per barrel.

What has happened is, through political and economic manipulation, the world has become addicted to oil. So oil can command a higher price for our addiction.

But how valuable would oil be if we could run our cars on wind generated electricity? I bet we'd see $20 a barrel again real quick. Better yet, we wouldn't have the ridiculously distorted geopolitical situation, risk of war, and massive ongoing environmental damage.

My cynical view is that wind and solar power is too easy to produce, in the long run, for the capitalists to stomach. Once economies of scale set in it's tough to enforce scarcity. What you end up with is an energy break out that's difficult to control. As far as I'm concerned, renewables = energy independence and security for the world population. Cheap, clean, safe and peaceful for as far as we can see into the future. All we need to do now is build it.

Cost of one 3.6 MW wind turbine = approx $90 million dollars.
Amount of energy produced by one 3.6 MW wind turbine in one year in a high wind resource area (intermittence factored in) = 15,000 MW(h).
Total cost of world oil infrastructure = approx 3 trillion dollars.
Total oil output in one year = approx 74 mbpd C+C.
Optimistic lifetime of 74 mbpd C+C production = approx 10 years.
Cost of 500,000 3.6 MW wind turbines = approx 3 trillion dollars (current cost does not factor in economy of massively scaled production).
BOe output of 500,000 3.6 MW wind turbines = 40 mbpd (BOe)
Optimistic lifetime of 40 mbpd BOe electricity production = indefinite.
Efficiency gain of electric engines vrs ICE = 2 to 1.
Total BOe from 500,000 3.6 MW wind turbines with electric engine efficiency gain = 80 mbpd (BOe + efficiency gain)
Cost of saving the planet from runaway global warming = Priceless.
Cost of saving this generation from a decline of modern civilization brought about by Peak Oil = Priceless.
Cost of saving one soldier's life by bringing him home from Iraq = Priceless.
Cost of making the US energy independent again = Priceless.
Total Cost of War in Iraq to date = 1.2 trillion dollars.
Total Cost of building enough Wind Generating Capacity in the US to replace 10 mbpd of imported oil in equivalent energy = approx 400 billion dollars with efficiency gains factored in.

Need I continue...

Looking at the above analysis, you can make a pretty strong case of wind vrs oil NOW. Look for solar to have a similar strength in the future. As for folk who say wind is too costly... With oil breaking $100 per barrel, they don't have much of a leg to stand on. Put oil at $150 dollars per barrel and it's more expensive than equivalent solar energy.

Robert sounds nice. I'd like nothing more than to see a future for my grandchildren that is better, or at least the same, as what we have now. The problem with your scenario is not that it is theoretically unachievable, but that the time required to switch over makes it unachievable. The other serious flaw with the scenario is that we have reached, or exceeded more likely, the carrying capacity of the planet in terms of our sheer numbers. Alowing the party to continue will only mean more population growth, which eventually must crash. The further along this way of life continues the more people in the future will be affected by the crash.

This, sadly, is true.

It is good to look at different PO mitigation strategies, but we have to keep them in perspective - i.e. how would they be implemented in light of the problem of sustaining 7-10 billion of us over the next century...


Again, capacity factor (actual energy production) is not capacity value.

You are immune to facts and prove it once again.


Alan, if you have an issue with their use of the terms, take it up with the authors. I just quoted from their paper. So why does the paper put so much emphasis on capacity value then? There is no Capacity Factor number given in the paper anywhere. They rely soley on the capacty value. Why?

And you did not answer my question, what then would the number of turbines be?

Now you've got me really confused. I looked it up, and it says in part, "A separate issue is the “capacity value” which is the percent of nameplate capacity that is typically available during peak load, based on statistical analysis of wind and load at a particular location."

Surely, if I don't want my aged mother to die during a heat wave, isn't "capacity value", as defined in that sentence, all I really care about? Until we know how to create truly whopping energy storage that carries across seasons, not just a few hours, it doesn't matter that the average capacity factor is high, say because it's boosted by seasonally windy weather in the late winter and early spring. If the design is driven by that deceptively high average, the system is apt to fail on the next dangerously hot, humid, still day in July. So why isn't the capacity value, the ability to carry peak load, the limiting factor that ought to drive the design?

You will find that most systems have plenty of capacity value. Twenty years of building cheap NG power plants (simple turbines & combined cycle) has assured that in most areas.

An idle natural gas plant has zero capacity factor and near 100% capacity value. Most hydropower plants have capacity factors of 60% or so and capacity values of 100%. Etc.

If there is a natural gas shortage the first users cut-off will be industrial users. The second users to be cut off will be NG fired electrical power units.

If there is no wind on the grid during a long hard cold spell (Ontario still gets those), the hydro reservoirs will be drained (no new water till solid water goes liquid) and NG supplies from the west will be at physical maximum in the pipelines and NG in storage will be drained till cut-offs are required. Your aged mother dies in a rotating blackout. PLENTY of "capacity value" in those NG and hydro plants, just no fuel for either.

If, on the other hand, there is large wind component in the grid, water and natural gas is conserved every time the wind blows (almost continuous during the winter, although not at max all the time) and the blackouts due to lack of fuel are averted.

And no NG shortages next summer due to reduced winter demand.

In summary, utilities need to be concerned with both metrics, but capacity value is rarely a concern for most utilities, except those with high population and hence load growth. And a call to GE or Siemens can erect a new NG turbine plant in short order (as little as 1 year I have heard) and for few $. A more efficient combined cycle plant is the best choice if the utility expects to actually use it (3 years, more $).


"So why isn't the capacity value, the ability to carry peak load, the limiting factor that ought to drive the design?"

Paul, you are absolutely correct. That is what the report is about. The capacity value is the more important because it is the measure of the output from the turbines when the load is within 10% of the peak. That's when the turbines would be needed the most. To top up due to insufficient output from other sources. It makes no sence at all to cut back on one renewable resource that is cheeper to operate, like hydropower, over the more expensive wind output that is intermittent. The water will still go over the falls at Niagara whether we use that potential or not.

The problem with turbines will grow more as more of them come on line. Imagine a high pressure ridge on a hot and muggy 33C day with everyone sucking the juice at maximum with no wind and the turbines are all idle (according to the report there is some 80% chance of that happening).

To be clear, I'm not against wind turbines if they can do the job in places where there is sufficient wind and other sources of power are limited. But in Ontario we have the mix of hydro, nuclear and coal. The only thing that wind can replace is the coal if one wants to stop that use. But coal plants are a core output, able to come on line quickly to top up at maximum load. Turbines can't do that. You are at the mercy of the wind, or lack of it.

In high wind areas, capacity factor is nowhere near so dismal as 20%.

And the prime sites in Ontario is not a dismal area for wind.


So go through that report and show us where the capacity factor is mentioned above the 20% average for the year. It's not there. The report mentions capacity factor 4 times, but several times more for capacity value. The report clearly uses capacity value as the prime calculation of the actual output at any given time. Thus, when needing to figure out how many turbines would be needed to obtain a certain percent of the total mix one would have to use what they concider the most important measure of output. The 20% yearly average capacity value.

If this is not correct, please show me where it says otherwise.

They are obviously going to have to ramp up their capacity to erect far more than 50/yr. Given sufficient commitment (especially $$$ commitment), that can be done.

Recently 66 1.5MW turbines were erected near my cottage on Lake Erie. It did not take long, and now they are building more directly behind my cottage. I'm loving it.


Out of curiosity, where on Lake Erie do you live? I live just outside Rondeau Provincial Park and there is a lot of windfarm building/planning going on in the agricultural areas around here as well. Unfortunately there are some local anti-wind groups spreading misinformation, which I'm trying to combat by talking with people and writing letters in the local papers.

What is not long? The one's in shelbourne took 2 years. The 110 in the Bruce will be coming up to 4 years. Image 10 times that many or more having to be built.

"Image 10 times that many or more having to be built."

Imagine 10 times as many people manufacturing and installing them.

So then why isn't it happening?

Cuz there are too many people like you saying,
"Imagine there is no problem, and imagine there are no solutions even if there was a problem."

It's called "Lack of Will".

More like there is a lack of resources and money. You can't just will things to happen when you want.

Not a comment but a "resource" question - what are the URLs (or other sources) for the graphs of the various energy source EROEI trends over time, particularly for the fossil fuels? Tables I can find but the plots that visualize the concept really well seem to have disappeared at the moment (or at least my ability to find them has). Thanks.

Chinese car firms hit brakes

DETROIT–More Chinese automakers are popping up here to show off their models, but some are tempering their enthusiasm and saying market realities mean it will take three or more years before they can start selling on this continent.

"It will be 2011 at the earliest before we sell in North America," Frank Xu, sales director for Geely International Corp., said yesterday as his Shanghai-based company unveiled more cars at the North American International Auto Show.

"Right now, it's too early. We're being careful. We want to be prepared so the quality of our products is good enough."

Earlier reports indicated Geely models would be on sale in Canada sometime next year. The company was the first Chinese automaker to appear at the show, with a single car in a modest exhibit off the main floor in 2006.

In a news report last night the cars may be as low as $6,000.

In a news report last night the cars may be as low as $6,000.

Which means you'll soon see them in the center aisles of your local Sprawl-Mart for $3999.99

Hoax or Real ?

The quote in the Australian paper from GMs CEO acknowledging Peak Oil ?

Just wondering,


Alan, for the life of me I cannot figure out which quote you are talking about. I searched on "Australia, GM, CEO and Peak Oil" but still could not find the link or quote. Could you give us a hint.

Ron Patterson


Here are more of Rick's quotes. I would have loved to hear this speech in person!

The weird thing is, all the reports have come from Australia. It's not mentioned in any other source. I didn't think it was too strange yesterday, because Australia often publishes stories first, just because of the way the news cycle works. But today, two Australian sources remain the only sources of this story. Quite strange.

GTrout, thanks for the link. It is no doubt real and not a hoax. As Matt Simmons would say, it is just one more nail in the coffin of the peak oil deniers. It has took GM a long while to realize that those giant gas hogs are going the way of the dinosaurs but perhaps now that fact has sank in.

Ron Patterson

Absolutely real. Leanan, maybe this one is worth putting up?
Video link supplied by DaveMart yesterday

You might want to post that over at TOD:ANZ. They have a dedicated thread about it.

I still think it's weird that only Australia sees fit to mention it. Okay, maybe our media doesn't want to hear it, but what about Canada, Europe, etc.?

Ok if it's not there already.
You have the top US auto exec telling he sees a fundamental change coming. 1000 barrels a second of oil consumtion is outstripping the discovery/productive capacity of the oil industry and has been for some time.
MSNBC spent an hour or so on the Auto show last night and not a hint of his speech.
They chose to focus instead on whether or not Wagoner could do the 'Moon Walk' at the gala bash.
It's possible that the power behind the media is not ready for consumer patterns both in fuel and auto purchases to be disrupted (further)just yet.

IMO Mr. Wagoner just told his customers that the cars they have been purchasing won't be worth doodly squat soon.

You bet. If buyers start focusing on how much more the fuel costs than the vehicle they're putting it through what is to be the fate of all those shiny new P/U, SUV's and Fifth Wheels lining the automarts of America.
My wife says, "You offering a full gas tank with that one"?

Yesterday, I sent the GM story to my favorite local cornucopian here in Dallas, Ed--We Won't Peak For 50 Years--Wallace. He usually never responds to my e-mails. This time he sent a one word response: "Thanks."

Like Jeopardy - He states the definition, but the question is never given. He does allude to the energy challenge of providing 70% more energy in 2030 than in 2004.

So he has talked about peak oil and population overshoot , indirectly, but they are never named as such.

Hoax. The reporter is reading *far* between the lines. Look at the actual quotes, not the reporter's conjecture. Wagoner said that demand is outstripping supply, which is just peak lite. Even Yergin would agree with that. The best way to read what he said is that "demand [increase] is outpacing supply [increase]", which fits with the rest of his quote "There is no doubt demand for oil is outpacing supply at a rapid pace, and has been for some time now."

Wagoner didn't say or imply that oil production is peaking, just that it's going to get more expensive. Duh.

I think the Aussies are moving back to fear-of-Mad-Max.

Here's Wagoner's statement from the North American International Auto Show 2008:

Earlier this month, the price of oil hit a hundred dollars a barrel, as demand for energy around the world is growing faster than supply. And that's not just a cyclical phenomenon; it's structural, given the growth in emerging economies, which we fully expect to continue.

Wagoner is quoted in the Royal Oak, MI Daily Tribune (15 Jan. 2008) saying:

As we look at the global energy and environmental picture today and consider the future of the automobile, one fact stands out above all others: the auto industry can no longer rely almost exclusively on oil to supply the world's future automotive energy requirements.

CNET is running an interview with Wagoner that took place just before the auto show and was published today (15 Jan. 2008):

Can this CEO paint GM green?

CNET: How do the petroleum companies feel about some of the things that General Motors is doing to shift the auto industry away from petroleum?

Wagoner: To be honest, I haven't really had direct conversations with them. It's a fairly broad-based issue. We're not saying that we don't see our sector continuing to use petroleum. But with the cost of petroleum these days and broader sensitivity and ever increasing demand for it, alternatives have to be developed. I note with interest a number of the oil companies talk about their positions as energy providers, rather then just oil companies. I'm not in that business, that's the way to think about the future.


CNET: Is the relatively high price of crude oil causing different planning in General Motors than ordinarily is the case. Are you now feeling a certain urgency to provide these alternative vehicles?

Wagoner: My sense is there's a fundamental change here and simply stated it's the growth of the emerging markets in places like China, which are huge consumers of energy and I don't see anything which is going to diminish that over time.

Recession Worries Grow As Retail Sales Decline 0.4%

Recession looming, oil prices collapsing.

The majority of traders believe demand will drop enough in a slowdown to cause oil prices to collapse. Yesterday one guy thought oil might go down to $30/bbl. Most of these folks are unaware of (or discount) peak oil, so I don't believe their predictions any more than I believe Yergin's.

I've been trying to figure out just how much effect a US recession will have on oil demand. I think if just the US goes into recession, the answer is "not much". Even if global GDP shrinks by 1 or 2 per cent, that might not be enough to bring supply & demand back in balance. While that might prevent a huge spike in oil in the next year or two, it probably won't do much to bring down prices.

On the other hand, Oil consumption tracks GDP pretty well historically. During the Great Depression US GNP shrank about 25%. If we have a global depression, and oil consumption shrinks by 25%, then we would have a glut of oil at current production, and prices will go down a lot.

IMO, despite stretching out our oil resserves for a bit, this would be really bad in the long run. We already have people trashing peak oil for its bad predictions, when its predictions have actually been pretty good. People are listening now to talk of $150 or $200 per barrel oil. If oil goes down to $50 or $60, it is going to be very hard to get an audience next time around.

I haven't seen an oil consumption chart, but the Great Depression was just a blip on the upward trend in world oil production from 1930 to 1940.

This article has a chart correlating fossil fuel consumption with GDP: http://www.marketoracle.co.uk/Article3349.html. You're right that a dip in GDP doesn't mean a direct drop in GDP. In general, the chart shows no more than a flattening of fossil fuel consumption when GDP goes down.

In the final part of my post I was trying to play devil's advocate. I've been assuming that, no matter what happens economically, there will continue to be upward pressure on oil prices. Lately I've been wondering if there is an alternative scenario in which the collapse of the Ponzi economy is so dramatic that demand actually drops significantly.

If there is an argument for that, it must be the "GDP tracking" argument. However, as you point out & the chart shows, there is not actually a drop in fossil fuel use during economic downturns, just a slowing in the rate of growth. Add to that the likelihood that large amounts of production would come offline if oil prices were to drop drop (both as a price control measure and because some production isn't profitable at $60/bbl), and I think my original thoughts are closer to how things will play out.

AS I recall, when the depression happened the oil age was just getting in to its stride, displacing coal for a lot of uses.Therefore the effect of the depression on oil was limited. In fact Texas boomed in the 1930's, due to oil.

True, we had millions of people in the Twenties and Thirties that wanted to acquire cars for the first time. Today, we have billions of people that want to acquire cars for the first time.

This recession is being caused by lack of oil supply. The people who think that the economic slowdown will lower energy prices have it backwards. They think that it's the economy that gives oil value, when really it's the energy itself that is the source of wealth for the economy.

The demand that's being wrenched out of the system, resulting in recession, is the amount of demand it's necessary to destroy to bring demand in line with current supply. Since supply continues to shrink (even though production has been flat, supply is actually in decline because it is taking more oil to get the same amount of production), prices will continue to go up to wrench out more demand.

The only way to stop the process (end the price increases and recession) is to increase our energy efficiency faster than the rate of energy supply decline.

Strange how few see it that way.
Since oil is the base energy and lowest common denominator in our economy, anytime its supply decreases - prices increase.
So the underlying force behind inflation is the declining supply of our base energy, oil.

But every Wednesday (Thursdays on Holiday) the inventory levels will continue to drop.

Just where did we get 1 million bbls of gasoline per day extra last week?

Anybody ever figure that out?


BTW-the Stock Market shuts down when price falls to where?

And isn't Meredith Whitney just too intelligent?

Meredith WhitneyRemember, last October, when analyst Meredith Whitney received death threats after predicting Citi would have to cut their dividend? From BusinessWeek: The Analyst Who Rocked Citi.

Whitney reasoned that given the current economy, the bank didn't have the means to boost its capital ratios through organic growth. She argued that cutting the dividend or selling assets was the only quick way to raise cash. She predicts that "in six to 18 months, Citi will look nothing like it does now. Citi's position is precarious, and I don't use that word lightly," she says. "It has real capital issues."

If anything, Meredith was too optimistic."

Posted by CalculatedRisk

I think the extra refinery utilization brought that about. It also accounts for the crude reductions.

Shargash: If Chinese GDP slows to 7% YOY growth, all the pundits are going to be crowing about having successfully predicted the China "crash". China is still going to be demanding a lot more oil. Few things are impossible, but with the monkeyed guv stats and the continued printing of all currencies (including the Yuan supply which is up 18.5% YOY), a 25% Global GDP contraction YOY is definitely impossible. Realistically, at this point a barrel of oil costs whatever China wants it to cost. Most agree that the Yuan is undervalued by at least 40%- when the Yuan hits 5.00 what do you think that will do to the cost of oil?

Most of the junk on the shelves of a Sprawl-Mart or hanging on the racks of the MegaMall stores are things that just about every American COULD live without for at least a year or more, if they really had to. A profound truth, in the process of being discovered.

Last panel many provide a quote for the regulars here to use:


"Ed Giorgio, who is working with McConnell on the plan, said that would mean giving the government the authority to examine the content of any e-mail, file transfer or Web search," author Lawrence Wright pens.

(errr, what do they plan to do? have some kind of key escrow thing? How do they plan on keeping tabs on this? And what happens when "the terrorists" start using "spam" to "encode" their messages? The Gov. is gonna have to buy hard drives a plenty so they can save the spam? Were are the PEOPLE to manage this plan gonna come from and who's going to feed 'em?)


“I think the time has come to bite the bullet,” Chertoff continued, “and get the kind of secure identification I am convinced the American public wants to have,” or rather the government tells them they must have, as most people hate the idea and eighteen states have passed legislation rejecting the law and Congress has refused to put any money into implementing it.

Combine with: http://www.tbrnews.org/Archives/a2808.htm

Operation ARGUS consists of having unmanned video cameras installed over all Federal highways and toll roads. These cameras work 24/7 to video all passing vehicles, trucks, private cars and busses. The information is passed to a central data bank and entered into it for governmental use. This material may be shown, upon request of any authorized law enforcement agency to include private investigative and credit agencies licensed to work with Federal law enforcement information on any user of the road systems under surveillance.

Where, exactly, is this survelance society gonna come up with the excess energy to run this protection rackett?

eric blair -

The logical end point of the growing surveillance society in the US is where you have half the population employed watching the other half. Sort of like in the good ol' days of the former Soviet Union ..... nothing functioned, but at least the government knew what its people were up to. (Or did it?)

Of course, half of that surveillance agency is tasked with keeping an eye on the OTHER half of itself.. this becomes too costly and reminiscent of big-gov't, and is outsourced to call centers in India and SriLanka..

Hi Bob,

re: "...and is outsourced to call centers in India and SriLanka."

Good one, :).

I wonder...in a way, the point of the identity-tracking may not be so much the actual "keeping track of", which, as others have pointed out, is energy intensive - (not that energy conservation is a priority)...the point is: what is a human being? What is our fundamental identity? Human first, or "rule" first?

It's almost more of a cultural or philosophical move than any kind of practical move. And one that undermines traditional notions of civil liberties.

Though, taken together with the many encroachments on basic rights in the US (www.projectcensored.org) - it may be practical as well.

Exactly. Another unfunded mandate from the City on the Hill.

Watch "States Rights" start appearing.

DC seems to think this is outmoded thinking.

Cameras are not the half of it my friends.
Within 5 to 8 years I predict all new drivers licenses (ie National Identity Card) will have a RFID chip and you will be REQUIRED to place your drivers license in a clear plastic holder on the front windshield of your car whenever your are driving on the road. This so any law enforcement officer can "Read" your license without stopping the car AND so it can be read from all the roadside readers along all the public roads in every city in every county in every state in the entire Country.
Big Brother will be watching you everywhere you go all the time. And that is just the start?
Translation - 1984 = 2014. Date was only 30 years off?
Sure hope I am wrong!

If your drivers license has an embedded RFID chip broadcasting your identity and patriotism level, why do they need the clear plastic holder?

Because some Congressman's brother will own a plant that manufactures them.

I predict all new drivers licenses (ie National Identity Card) will have a RFID chip...
Sure hope I am wrong!

For such remote reading, the card would have to be active and not passive, or have a re-broadcater in the car.

The way you portray it, not likely. The end effect - sure why not.

Hi Jon,


First, your farm (or garden) animals.

Then, your person.

"Britain to Implant Prisoners With Spychips
The British government is planning to begin implanting machine readable microchips under the skin of thousands of convicts to help enforce home curfews. The Independent of London reports radio frequency identification or RFID tags would be surgically inserted into the former prisoners. The spychips would contain scannable personal information about individuals, including their identities, address and criminal record. The government is also investigating how it could use satellite and radio-wave technology to monitor the released prisoners."

Next stop:

Ex-prisoners (both are included in this summary, not sure of the difference between "home curfews" and "ex-prisoners") - and those on parole.


Participating in a peaceful public demonstration and being arrested? (How about arrested and held without charges?)

Or, is any offense really needed?

NASA climatologist James Hansen has come out with his report on temperature analysis for 2007:

The year 2007 tied for second warmest in the period of instrumental data, behind the record warmth of 2005, in the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) analysis. 2007 tied 1998, which had leapt a
remarkable 0.2°C above the prior record with the help of the “El Nino of the century”. The unusual warmth in 2007 is noteworthy because it occurs at a time when solar irradiance is at a minimum and the equatorial Pacific Ocean is in the cool phase of its natural El Nino – La Nina cycle.

Discussion of 2007 GISS global temperature analysis is posted at Solar and Southern Oscillations

Thanks Matt.

I think part of the summary bears repeating, that our high 2007 temps were in spite of 2 factors that should have lowered temps.

"Summary. The Southern Oscillation and the solar cycle have significant effects on yearto-
year global temperature change. Because both of these natural effects were in their cool
phases in 2007, the unusual warmth of 2007 is all the more notable. It is apparent that there is no letup in the steep global warming trend of the past 30 years (see 5-year mean curve in Figure 1a).

“Global warming stopped in 1998” has become a recent mantra of those who wish to
deny the reality of human-caused global warming. The continued rapid increase of the five-year
running mean temperature exposes this assertion as nonsense. In reality, global temperature
jumped two standard deviations above the trend line in 1998 because the “El Nino of the
century” coincided with the calendar year, but there has been no lessening of the underlying
warming trend...."


According to this the warming trend graph is slackening off. From what I have heard 2007 is the coolest since 2001, so no spike there.

Give a citation for "what you heard".

From what I have heard

Huh. Well *I* at least will quote a source for a 6 inch water rise.


It is designed to sooth any public concerns because at this point, the rapidly-increasing melting of glaciers and icecaps worldwide has already raised the sea levels by six inches in the last year alone. Given the known rate of current melting and the very well-known shrinking of glaciers and ice caps, there should be a nine foot rise in the world’s overall sea levels before the end of this decade, not the end of the century.

Bullet meet foot:

"Iraq said a helicopter from the U.S.-led coalition caused a blaze on Tuesday that shut the major Shuaiba refinery near the southern oil hub of Basra.

A spokesman for the British military denied any coalition helicopters had been involved in the incident, which took place around dawn."

Reminds me of Aliens: 8D

When Ripley notices where the Marines are, in relation to the cooling tower & primary heat exchangers, she asks Gorman, "Lieutenant, what do those pulse rifles fire?" What is Gorman's reply?

"10 milimeter, explosive tip, caseless, light, armor piercing rounds.". Ripley replys, "Look at your team, Gorman, they're right under the primary heat exchangers!"

Thing about fighting fire with fire, is that fire is like a puppy, and just loves every bit of it!

'We're all gonna die here!'

'Stay Frosty..'

Ripley-"These people are here to protect you. They're soldiers."
Newt-"It won't make any difference."

Great movie, a favorite.

behindthecurtain: Aliens [is that the second?] is just another horror/slasher flick with a different dark place - another planet, and a different [evil] monster, so other than being well done, it's not 'great'.

Have all Americans withdrawn into a fantasy world? The use of quotations from second rate movies as illustrations suggest that some have.

Some Hybrids at the Detroit Auto show:

Saturn Vue Green Line Plug-In Hybrid SUV May Begin Production In 2010

Fisker Coachworks Karma will do for the plug-in electric vehicle what the Tesla Roadster has done for the electric car - raise the bar of what is possible with green technology while making it sexy. The company claims the car's lithium-ion batteries provide 50 miles of emissions-free full-electric driving, and the Q-Drive hybrid drivetrain — a small four-cylinder engine attached to a very large generator — purportedly propel the Karma from zero to 60 in 5.8 seconds and to a top speed of 125 mph.

So 0 to 60 acceleration times are still the important measure? We need to go 125mph? These stats say "toy".

Notice that most of the big 3 are putting most of their effort into bring out hybrid SUVs, not smallish hybrid compacts? Am I correct that this is mostly because this will help them the most with the CAFE levels? Also, maybe transform the SUV into a little less of a swear word for a while?

Well, that's traditionally where the profits are. The big 3 have seldom made much money on small cars. Apparently they aren't really thinking very differently, or they don't really expect any big changes in the car buying habits of the US population - they're just looking for a new fuel/powertrain to swap in to keep the old paradigm going.

While I suspect that Detroit's motives are profitability (i.e. larger vehicle = greater profit margin) it is true that efficiency gains at the lower end are of much greater value.

For example, a vehicle that gets 15 mpg consumes 66.7 gals per 1,000 miles. Increasing the efficiency of that vehicle by 5 mpg to 20 mpg reduces its consumption to 50 gals per 1,000 miles. In a typical 15,000 mile driving year, that's a savings of 250 gals. The same 5 mpg efficiency increase in a vehicle that already achieves 40 mpg only decreases its consumption by 2.8 gals per 1,000 miles, or 42 gals in a typical year.

Your point still stands either way, but it's a little better than you make it out to be. If you are increasing the efficiency of the 15 mpg vehicle by 33% by adding 5 mpg, why are you only increasing the efficiency 40 mpg vehicle by 12.5% adding the same 5 mpg?

In fairness, both vehicles should get the same percentage increase in efficiency. Running those numbers I come up with a 94 gallon per year savings for the 40 mpg car, which still far less than the other vehicle in your example.

Over here in London the tiny G-Wiz car has a top speed of about 50mph. Interesting enough, statistics collected from service logs on the London 'fleet' show that they travel at an average speed of 10 mph (same as the rest of the cars!) and the average journey is just over 6 miles. 'Performance' vehicles are not a very high priority for London drivers...

GM news has reached the Australian Sydney Morning Herald:

Time's up for petrol cars, says GM chief

THE world's biggest car maker, General Motors, believes global oil supply has peaked and a switch to electric cars is inevitable.

In a stunning announcement at the opening of the Detroit motor show, Rick Wagoner, GM's chairman and chief executive, also said ethanol was an "important interim solution" to the world's demand for oil, until battery technology improved to give electric cars the same driving range as petrol-powered cars.

If the GM chairman sees ethanol as an interim solution to peak oil until we have an electric car fleet we are in big trouble. All Australian sugarcane distilled into ethanol will yield in the order of 5 litres ethanol per week per car. There are estimates from Geoscience Australia that Australian oil production will be half in just 10 years. And where will the renewable energy come from for those electric cars even if we had them available at the car dealers tomorrow?

No matter what desperate attempts will be made to rescue the status quo of car usage, we have to immediately start building the last line of defence and in urban areas that is electric light rail. That can be built right on the freeways, replacing car lanes which will no longer be needed in future. Perth has already done that and I encourage everyone to go on google map and look at the Whitford station on the Mitchell freeway. A picture book example. Bus interchange on top of rail station. Kiss&ride and park&ride nearby.

We'll have a tough time to get clean energy for rail as at the same time we must replace all our coal fired power plants by whatever CO2 free sources of energy we can find.

Apart from peak oil, expect some nasty climate change event(s) in the next 10 years which will force us to do this.

Scrap in the Time of Scarcity
Richard Karn
Emerging Trends Report
January 14, 2008

comprehensive article about a lot more than scrape.

'In response to the deflationary pressures exerted by the Credit Crisis, central banks globally are expanding money supply at unprecedented rates, which assuming their efforts are successful can only result in higher energy and commodity prices-where the rubber (fiat currency purchasing power) meets the road (hard assets). As has consistently been the case for the last twenty years, however, reflation efforts will also produce a host of unintended consequences, a few of which from the last effort are even today serving to impede the progress of a number of energy and commodity mega-projects widely expected to ease existing supply constraints...

that as strange as it may seem, the scrap metal industry is green.'

RE: Bush To OPEC: Increase Oil Output...and...Saudi Oil Minister Rebuffs White House...

A very interesting contrast exists between American MSM reporting on Bushs visit to the KSA and that reported in the publication that is the kingdoms largest newspaper, and printed only by permission and approval of King Abdullah of SA. Check out the POLITICAL CARTOON that appears at the head of this article plus the '5 Thinks' that appear in the body of the article...(picked up stateside by the Baltimore Sun)...

'Cowboy Bush: The 'Arab Street' perspective'


...snip...'“Bush, a born-again Christian, is the strongest and staunchest supporter of the Israeli state and Zionists in particular,’’ the paper reports. “During his rule, the Israeli Zionist cabal in Washington, or ‘neo-cons,’ as they are also known, managed to influence and command U.S. foreign policy.’’ That’s “think’’ No. 1.'...snip...

The other 4 'Thinks' are equally interesting and, apparently, represent the 'thinking' of King Abdullah, if not the entire population of SA... 'It wasn’t readily known what Bush might think of this (newspaper article), or even if he had read the glossy morning paper at the royal guest palace where he and his entourage spent the night. But this morning, the president was introducing himself at a breakfast of businessmen, and offering a preview of what he plans to take up with the king today, during his second day of talks here.'

He held his meeting with 11 entrepreneurs, including a stockbroker and lawyer, at the American embassy in Riyadh.
...snip...'The president, who dined with the king last night and then entered both group and private meetings that lasted until 11 pm local time – pretty late for what the White House spokesman calls “our early-to-bed president’’ – reported on those talks today.

“I've got very close relations with His Majesty,’’ Bush said. “We had a good visit last night on a variety of subjects.

“We talked about Palestinian peace; we talked about the security issues of the region,’’ he said. “I talked to the ambassador and will again talk to His Majesty tonight about the fact that oil prices are very high, which is tough on our economy, and that I would hope, as OPEC considers different production levels, that they understand that if their -- one of their biggest consumers' economy suffers, it will mean less purchases, less oil and gas sold'...snip...

What do you suppose that Abdullah thought of the plea from Bush? Are Abdullahs economists telling him 'dont be too concerned about a fall off in USA oil consumption for the emerging economies will take up most of the slack?' Or, were Abdullahs economists (and military/political strategists) saying 'You better cut this guy a little slack on oil prices if you want the US Military presence to remain in the area to save us from our enemies?' I did notice that the King did not present Bush with one of his 150 prized Arabian stallions. Sometimes things that dont happen are more telling than things that do.

My take, for what it's worth, is that Bush is regarded as an irrelevance on the Arab street and pretty much everywhere else! Also his agressive remarks about Iran are regarded as unhelpful, devisive and potentially destabilizing. What the people of the region, the Gulf, want is less tension not more. So Bush is treading on a lot of toes, why?

Well, there are people who believe the real purpose of his tour is to drum up support and gauge the reaction among the Arab elites towards an American attack on Iran. Supposedly the reaction is universally negative and hostile. While Bush will be gone in year, the Arabs and the Gulf are not going anywhere!

Iran is not seen as a threat by most Arabs. The Americans and Israel are seen as the main threat to peace and stability in the Middle East. So Bush is really wasting his time trying to tell the entire region how to live or who their main foe is. Most people don't believe he understands the complexities of the Middle East and the history and deeply ingrained attitudes of the people at all. He is an embarrasment for the United States.

For example, many of the smaller gulf states have had a close cultural and economic ties to Iran and have minorities who are Shia Muslims, like in Iran. They don't see Iranians as enemies at all. The entire area has a complex religious and ethnic mix. There have been rising tensions in Kuwait recently between Shia and Suni elements. Bahrain has seen some trouble too between rival groups. Saudi Arabia has a substantial Shia minority concentrated in the coastal area and near to Kuwait. So Bush's remarks have not gone down well at all. Here's a half-wit smoking in a tinder-dry cabin!

You are confusing the attitude in smaller gulf states, like UAE, towards Shia Muslims and Iranian people with attitude towards Iran's current government. There is active worry and hostility towards the current Iranian government though the Iranian people are well liked generally.

re the Political Cartoon in the KSA daily...Did u not notice the shape of the rope cowboy Bush is using in tying-up the world?

Bad link:
Grow your own way: How to join the allotment in-crowd

The link is good. The Independent is just buggy as a picnic in July. Half the time you get a 404 or something from them, but if you keep hitting "refresh," the article appears.

Those allotments are HUGE! 10m X 25m = 250 sq. m = 2640 sq. ft.

I rent TWO plots at our community Garden and they are only 300 sf each -- and people think I have a huge garden!

I have an allotment over here in the UK, dimensions around 6m x 40m (give or take). Rent around £35.00 per annum, with a discount taking it to nearly half as part of a council 'active' (helping the community get fit) programme.

A wonderful place to destress and learn how to grow organically wonderful tasting food. The allotments have been part of the UK landscape for a long time helping families grow their own food. Became especialy important during the war time. Despite pressures to utilise city paces for building the growing movement and interest in allotments is helping preserve this unique local growing culture.

That is so cool. I wish we had that tradition in the U.S.

Interesting article posted on Mortgage Lender Implode-O-Meter":

Stocks, Bonds, LBO's, and PPT's

It is a matter of definition as to what or who exactly is the PPT but, as I have said before, the market is now easier than ever to "steer", strictly from a means and methods standpoint. These are the reasons:

1. Individual investors and speculators have mostly departed the scene, leaving the game to the professionals (pls. refer to post from May 18, 2007). This is important because it is impossible to consistently predict and control the actions of millions of individuals holding thousands of different shares. The best example is what happened during the 2000-01 day-trader craze.

2. The market has become derivativized to an unprecedented extent. On any given day the top most active issues are the various trackers (QQQ, Russell, super-shorts, etc.). This is a market where the derivative tail wags the cash-market dog, at least for the index-heavy issues.

3. The emergence of highly capitalized hedge, private and sovereign funds has concentrated the market into the hands of fewer players, in combination with the few global prime brokers, who also actively trade for their own account.

Request for Help

I need an Acronym or Other Catchy Phrase

Work with the Millennium Institute T21 model is showing that the best results BY EVERY METRIC come from a maximum push for renewable energy plus nukes combined with a maximum push for electrified rail & associated TOD plus a push for bicycles (still trying to model bikes).

So far I have (acronym challenged) come up with the Best Economic Policy = Best Environment Policy = Best Energy Policy = Best National Defense Policy (is the Best of all possible policies ?)

Souperman, where are you ? (Source of sarcanol & Terrible Tens to describe 2010-2019)

Best Hopes for Better Word Smiths,


Souperman, where are you ? (Source of sarcanol & Terrible Tens to describe 2010-2019)

And don't forget, his word for modern-day hoovervilles: Shruburbs.

As if we needed or wanted another acronym.

Welcome to the meme farming club :-) Let me know if you want a Drupal site to go along with the idea and I'll help with implantation once Souperman performs his magic.

Who are you trying to convince of what? And what do they care about?

This is marketing/branding.

Anyone interested in public policy in economics, environment, energy and national defense/survival.

Those fixated on Britney and Paris (Hilton, not the Capital of France) are not part of the demographic.


Hmm, doesn't say what you are trying to convince them of - but I'll guess its a strategic direction which emphasises the elements you mentioned.

In general renewables and nukes is relatively easy (I did say relatively), whereas public transport, bikes, etc. are not. The US is unlikely to take to those as straight items, the love affair with the car is too deep and the association of public transport with lower class to strong.

I'd suggest something that, say, emphasised a bike as exercise and a way to reduce the obesity issue would find an easier takeup.

As for some simple tags, there are ideas like:

"Best to the Future"
"Best feet forward"

which riff on the "Best" wording you used. There are also ideas like:

"Future Approach to Strategic Transformation with Environmental Resources" - FASTER
"Maintainable US Independence Concept" - MUSIC

since there seems to be a love of naff word acronyms in the US.

However to really get traction you need to identify 'pain' in the grouping you are targeting and to propose something that 'feels' like it would address that pain. I don't think as yet you have identified that and so need to spend some more time thinking it from their point of view before worrying about words. Energy security isn't it unless you have something concrete and near term to hang it on.

working on it.

P.S. terrible 10s not mine

If you need further explanation of the concepts, please let me know.

Best Hopes for the Shruburbs,


HI Alan,

re: "If you need further explanation of the concepts, please let me know."

Yes, please.

They had earlier modeled a maximum practical push for renewable energy (I think we could push a little harder, but it was "on the shelf").

I proposed a maximum push for electrified rail. Called up best consultant I know for 2.5 hour chat on electrifying freight rail lines. We came up with "maximum commercial effort" schedule (tar sands are being developed today with maximum commercial effort).

We used 80:20 rule for tracks electrified and tons moved. No increased pax rail use beyond commuter rail in model (a weakness).

The 33,000 miles of rail classified by Dept of Defense as "strategic" were judged to carry 80% of total rail ton-miles.

At same time. over 15 years (from memory) 83% of inter-city heavy truck ton-miles would be transfered to rail.

Urban Rail was put on a crash effort (see 1897-1916). Today, 0.19% of US electricity is used for transportation. We increased that by 0.05% every year ! TOD followed with (memory) 5 year delay.

We failed to model increased transportation bicycling. Any ideas on how to do that ?

Best Hopes,


I think I'm the one that suggested "Terrible Tens"

Yes, upon Reflection, I believe so.

How does it feel to name a decade ?

Gay Nineties, Roaring Twenties, "the Sixties", and few others !


don 'ferget the go-go '80's

Just giving it a couple of minutes thought, GREENPATH is about the best I could come up with. Not sure if that is quite what you are looking for.

Greentracks?....Eco Tracking...EconoTracking...Ecoiltrack ok, enough, back to the barn for me.

How about:

'BEEEP' screw the homeland security connection...when presenting to those people...do this:

BEEEP = HS(Homeland Security)

Use as in:

BEEEP if you love Ron Paul!

BEEEP for your kids future!

*just in case it is not obvious - "Best Economic Environment & Energy Policy" = BEEEP

Certainly a contender !


oooh...another version of the tag:

BEEEP for Homeland Security.

Robert Ebersole, known here as oilmanbob, died on December 13th due to complications from diabetes.


I've spoken with his sister yesterday and the family is quite curious about what he was up to here at TOD. I'm sending her a letter and they would welcome anecdotes about him, particularly for the sake of his twenty year old son. If you have a paragraph or two you'd like to share I can be reached via sct at strandedwind dot org. I'll give it a week, then print what I've received and send it off.

I thought Bob was one of the best non-staff contributors to this site. He'll be sorely missed. Best wishes to his family.

Oilmanbob was one of the posters I ALWAYS stopped at and read as I scrolled through TOD.

PO has lost a dilligent footsoldier.

He may like the idea of possibly adding to the FF of the future.

I hope he at least gets a wellhead named after him.


"Robert Ebersole, known here as oilmanbob, died on December 13th due to complications from diabetes."

That so totally sucks. I really enjoyed his postings. I feel sorry for his family.

SubKommander Dred

I am very surprised to hear the news about Bob's passing. I would have never guessed he was ill as his postings were always intellectually sharp. I made a point of reading every one of Bob's postings when I came across them. I feel like we have lost an important voice here at The Oil Drum.

That is sad news. He will be missed here. Thanks for everything, Bob.

Yes I really liked Bob even though I didn't know him. We all die but we all are not kind like Bob. Rest sound Bob.

I thought something was off with him when he reacted so strongly to The Chimp Who Can Drives' tweaking, a few months back.

Indeed, Bob was an articulate and intelligent voice here. I enjoyed and learned from his insights.

Rest eternal grant unto him, O Lord, and let light perpetual shine upon him. Amen.

I will miss Bob's postings. His humanity definitely shone through. Sad he was taken before his time.

Another reminder of our mortality. Make the best of your life while you can.

Bob Ebersole was a frequent contributor here when I first arrived. He, with a few others, gave this website a credibility about oil from a down to earth perspective and coming off the front lines that I hope the editors acknowledge to his family, and might support with a section off to the right of the page: In Memory of ...

Bob was not a man without demons - he was pretty hard on himself, but he shot straight, apologized when he crossed certain lines, and spoke his mind clearly and frequently.

I will miss him for that. Bob gave more here than he took. There is no higher praise I can offer.


Thank you for posting this, despite the sadness it brings.

I was hoping to meet oilmanbob in person some day.

He brought a lot of intelligence, humor, humility and humanity to this world.

Rest in Peace, Bob.


From the Anne Applebaum column at the Washington Post:

There must be a way to reconcile mass car ownership with global warming, but, at the moment, we haven't found it.

What *is* it with Americans and cars? This otherwise smart person somehow can't imagine the possibility that we can't all drive cars *and* solve our climate change problems. The idea that we might end up on trains, streetcars, buses, bikes, and on foot just doesn't register, even though it should be obvious that we could solve the transportation part of our problem that way. Why is it that life without a car is no life at all?

Look at the bright side. It gives the Peak Oil Aware an opportunity to unload highly energy dependent assets on the true believers in the Yerginite Community.

There is a way to reconcile the two. Manufatcurers / auto engineers are more than capable of delivering 'vehicles' that get 100's of MPG / OR// loads of miles per Watt hours AND are cheap to manufacture. If these can be accepted as 'cars' then we are a step closer to bridging the energy gap!

If this guy doesn't like that solution and still want's to reconcile 4 ton 8l V6 engined behemoths with global warming rather than the bubble looking blob with wheels hanging out the side then he will find out the hard way.......when fuel is $10 per gallon.


You've put your finger on the spot. In the USA at least (and maybe some other places?), cars are not just about getting from point A to point B as cheaply as possible.

This is getting deep now, but I suspect one of the reasons why some people are so hostile to smallish, energy-efficient vehicles (and maybe to bicycles as well) is that they bring this burried truth out into the open - they put the lie to the notion that they really NEED that oversized, overpowered, gas-guzzling monster. They expose the truth: that for a lot of people, cars are all about vanity, and ego, and one-upmanship, etc. They are about all types of stuff other than basic transport - all types of stuff that is utterly discretionary, utterly dispensible.

Yes it's a natural selection process. There are MANY americans who are now way beyond the 'car as an expression of oneself' stage and have moved on to utter dependence.
Morbidly obese and hopelessly accustomed to the ease of it all they literally may not survive without cheap fuel and easy money.
What happens when mobility, food, and income vanish?
Will they garden, ride bikes, and barter services? Some will and some won't. Trying to maintain the car culture, which will occupy many americans in the coming years, if done w/o taking very low energy inputs into account will result in an unaffordable, unprofitable, economic chaos both for producers and consumers.
Emphasising the health beneifits of HPV's and building grid-tied solar parking lot's for EV employees (you've been advocating, I think) are realistic solutions IMO.
For cultures who insist on personal expression via consumer excess the sides of the jar are there to keep it in check.

i bought a metro in '97 (when the price of gas was closer to $1). people at work made fun of me for it (the ones with powerSTROKES, RAMS and silveRODo's). i wore that metro out and bought another one which i recently sold to a former co-worker who must have "saw the light".

I remember an animated movie from when I was a kid, to the effect that aliens had mistaken cars as real life form, and humans were some sort of parasite. Apparently this must have been seen by a lot of people who did not realize it was a joke, and have spent their lives making it come true. It is apparent that we will sacrifice ourselves to preserve the automobile, and that most find this to be perfectly reasonable.

Someday our descendants will carve giant stone automobiles to worship as gods - even if it kills them to do it.

That was a classic from the National Film Board of Canada, "What on Earth", 1966.


Thanks! I'm not 100% sure that is the same film from looking at the stills, but then I was pretty young when I saw it. Funny how memories fade.

Here is a link to said animated movie.

i think they already have http://www.carhenge.com/

.......sort of

Americans may be the worst, but the general urge seems to be much broader than that. Pick a developing country; when wealth reaches a certain point, people begin buying all-weather personal transportation and larger personal spaces.

Ummm...well, in part because the tumultuous weather across much of North America makes you a hermit if you haven't got all-weather transportation. Did that as a student, but access to the U ameliorated the unpleasantness. Definitely don't want to repeat it as an adult without such access.

Of course, if all 300 million of us could pile into a place where there is no hazardous summertime heat and no frost, then we could all ride bikes, oops, except for the 60+ million (WAG) of us who are too old, infirm, or whatever to do so safely or perhaps at all. I wonder what Wellington, New Zealand, would look like with a population of 300 million... maybe stuff everyone into a vast array of William Gibson 'arcologies'...

And I suppose that if we were all willing to be herded into claustrophobic, unrelievedly gray urban areas as in Europe, we'd all be packed in close enough to sustain bus or streetcar service. And if we dropped all our social activities and did nothing but go to work, maybe we'd have time for all the waiting and delays when the damned things don't show up at all, or show up late and miss connections.

And I suppose that if we became willing to put up with body odors, it would become socially OK to show up someplace smelling like we had just waited an hour for a tardy unreliable bus, or we ridden a half hour on a bike, in the 90F+ heat that is completely routine in nearly all of the country.

Oh, and I was forgetting: if you're writing this glib stuff from California, Florida, or someplace else with no winter, you really should come to the upper Midwest right about now, try out that bike idea at 10F (or -10F this weekend) on roads decorated with two inches of rutted glare ice, and let us know how it works for you. Consider bringing a pair of the tires made by the crazy Finns at Nokian, or similar, they are not magic but they help a bit.

I'm not sure your proposal is put out of bounds by any one of its disadvantages taken singly. But even small components add up. Politically, I think it's unsalable. Which is why all the presidential candidates promise to lower prices at the pump by magic.

Gotcha Capitalism: Why hidden fees are a big deal

As a too-sticky summer night breeds mosquitoes, today’s business environment breeds sneakiness. Companies under pressure to keep advertised prices low have seized on trickery to pump profits up. The most successful firms are now the ones that hide their prices best: Under asterisks, deep inside terms and conditions, in fees they call taxes, bills that come months after the fact, or around a dark corners in auto dealerships where the manager’s office is. Then, right when you think you just got a good deal, an unexpected bill comes, or a car salesman jumps out from behind the corner and yells: GOTCHA!

Hard to say how much money consumers lose to such fees, but Consumer Reports estimates it's about $4,000/family a year.

That $4,000 annual drain is nothing compared to what Gotcha Capitalism is doing to your retirement. In the biggest fee swindle ever invented, hidden fees — siphoned off in total silence by Wall Street — will force you to work four, five, even six year longer than you should. They’re stealing roughly one-third of the money the average American has set aside for old-age. And get this: The better the investor, the greater the penalty. Later in this book, I’ll show you how Wall Street fees can suck up fully 80 percent of the money a 20-year-old invests for retirement. Eighty percent!

Hidden fees are so drastic now that they may even be screwing with the national inflation rate. Companies often don’t supply surcharges and fee data to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, so when it computes inflation rates, fees aren’t reflected. As a result, our national inflation rate is held artificially low.

The good old American Free Enterprize system, where businesses earn money the old-fashioned way: they rip off their customers.

Notice that it is big corporations doing this. Locally-owned small businesses can't get away with this way of doing business. They have to look their customers in the eye time and time again, and if they get a bad reputation in the local community, they are toast.

This is a constant theme in dealing with big business. You agree to exchange money for goods or services ... and then you get worked if the time comes to terminate the agreement. I booted Sprint for cause three years ago ... and they waited ninety days then sent me a $2,000 bill. I pilloried them in public, assured them I'd pay ... by writing freelance articles about their crappy service ... communicated that by writing investor relations ... and the bill magically went back to the $600 that I genuinely owed. Verizon is next in line for a public flogging and the numbers are identical, $300 owed and it magically ballooned by 3x.

The conduct of big business is exactly that one gets in dealing with a con man - you make the mistake of having anything to do with them and then you're entangled for a while and they crap on your reputation for a long time after.

I switched to prepaid cell service, dropped every single thing attached to any credit card, and canceled my one credit and all debit cards over sixty days last fall. I am buying local as much as I can and paying cash. Pretty soon most everyone else will be doing this too, although perhaps for different reasons.

Good going SCTV!

We Had our card paid off, but it's got a balance again.. Luck be a lady tonight! (This year..)

In addition to stranded wind, think about stranded coin, too. There was an article above about local currencies, and one of the hitches I worry about is people sitting on inventory, including perishable foods, while neighbors are hungry, kept apart by BAU policies, simply because they don't have a ready alternative to the US$. I'm sure lots of people will figure out workarounds in a timely, humane and respectful way.. I just hope some folks will also have Already created contingency plans that can be dropped in quick, before frayed nerves have to do the thinking.


Leanan, I figured this one out on my own a long time ago.Any sort of real wealth I accrued would be subject to inflation,and/or various sharpshooters who looked for ways to separate me and whatever retirement egg I came up with.I have heard so many stories of those who got hurt by enron,or other shaky gigs that I decided that "retirement"was not going to be the type that my folks had...I intent to garden for money and play with sailboats.As long as I can.
I think soooo may people are going to have a evil surprise.What they thought was a secure retirement was fully invested....in CDOs or MBSs and worth 10c on the dollar
There is a terrible reckoning coming.Honest ,decent people will be hurt so very badly by this,due to the greed of a industry.My bet is the true size will be kept hidden as much as possible,to forestall the political fallout.

Auto-Sales Angst Reaches the High End

Luxury car segment shows some weakness as pessimism deepens.
DETROIT - Several auto-industry executives are signaling increasing pessimism over what is already expected to be a weak year for car and truck sales, with some suggesting that economic difficulties could be affecting upscale consumers more than expected.

Peak Luxury Cars

Peak Luxury

It would be interesting to have a TOD poll on car intentions...

As in:

Will respondent buy a car in: 2008, 2009, never again.

If purchasing, what is your plan? G-Wiz type car, Nano type, SameOldSameOld, etc.

If not purchasing, what is your plan? SameOldTillItDies, walk, bike, scooter, bus, train, bunker down with OilyCassandra...

Before Cherenkov blasts me... I am in the "never again" class.
I also believe the U.S. auto industry will never see another growth year. I suspect I am in the minority here. But I'd like to be wrong.

My plan is "never again," but in practice...never say never.

I have a fairly new car (a Corolla), that I chose with peak oil in mind. I don't drive much, so I didn't think a Prius was worth the extra money. Plus, I hope to drive this sucker for 25 years or more. Corollas have a long history, and a ton of available spare parts. I wasn't sure how well a Prius would age.

I live in walking distance of work, the grocery store, the CSA farm and farmer's market, etc. I will probably buy an electric-assist bike eventually.

I hope my car will last until the gas stations go dry, or I retire/move, whichever comes first. But if it doesn't - if it gets totalled tomorrow, say - I will probably buy another one. I gave serious consideration to going car-free before I bought it, but came to the conclusion that it is simply not possible here. Mostly because of the SUV drivers who drive like freakin' maniacs.

Well, I just bought a 1990 Dodge Ram 1 ton 4x4 pick-up yesterday. I bought it because it was just about as cheap as getting the motor repaired on my 1987 Mazda 4x4 and it had 100,000 less miles. Having a 4x4 is one of the realities of living in the boondocks where it snows. FWIW, we were snowed in for 6 1/2 days recently where my old 1984 Subaru 4x4 car wouldn't hack the 18" deep snow. I'll have more to say about being snowed in in a few days.


PS I'm sorry to hear of Bob's death. My thoughts are with his family.

I'm riding, once in a while, my 250cc motorcycle and may in the future if needed get some older Toyota from the 80s or 90s. I try to avoid driving as much as possible, if I find myself happier in the Big City (Prescott) I'll just rent a room or apartment there.

I know what you mean about living in the boondocks Todd - I live in a sparsely populated rural Illinois county - and that is why I have a 1993 Toyota T100 4X4. It has 175,000 and crossing my fingers and knocking on wood still going very strong. I do all of my own mechanical work, major and minor, including engine rebuilds ( I used to race and build cars and motorcycles). My long distance transportation is a 1996 Neon with 150,00 miles that I’ve owned since new and is mechanically perfect as all defects (head gasket) have been d=corrected and maintenance religiously adhered to. Ill run then both until they cannot be repaired or unless a good deal on another vehicle comes along. I cannot ever justify buying anything new.

Hi Bruce - Well, my old Mazda has over 225,000 miles on it. I have a pretty decent shop and have overhauled other motors - mostly tractors. But, in this case, I simply didn't have time to do it - or so I thought. So, it's sat at the repair shop for about 8 months with lots of promises that work will start any day. In retorspect, ugh!!! I'll have it towed back and eventually throw in a short block and use it as a ranch truck since it will never smog in California.

My real stupid monent was getting rid of my CAT because my neighbor had a road grader to deal with our snow. Not only did he get kicked out by his wife because he couldn't keep it in his pants but he died two years ago at 49 of a heart attack.

Ah, the joys of the country.


I'm driving a 91 Acura Integra with 150K that, at my current 5K/year, should be good for the forseeable future. Needed a car for my wife - looked at hybrids, but for the same outlay instead I bought a Honda Fit and a 3KW solar system for my house (solar net cost was only $5K after Austin's generous rebate and a federal tax credit). The Fit is getting 30/40 mpg, plus all the electricity my panels will generate over the next few decades.

Hey, just for you.


A LMAO Brazilian Toyota commercial. 

That is pretty funny. Yes, that is one reason I chose Toyota. :-)

We've got two cars in my household, a 1990 Honda Civic with 170K miles, and a 1995 Subaru Impreza with 200K miles. Both paid for years ago, both get somewhat good but not absolutely tops mileage. We live and work in a small town, we've arranged our lifestyle to the point where we are only putting on about 5K miles per year between the two cars; that works out to about 200 gal per year total for these two cars. Any trip > 100 miles away, we rent.

I'd like to eventually replace one of these two cars with a GEM NEV or something like it. That's probably a couple of years away yet; I've got some higher financial priorities to attend to first.

I'd like to keep whichever of the two we retain for as long as we can. Since we're only using about 100 gal per vehicle per year, I doubt that there would be any combination of motor fuel prices and replacement car price (even used) and replacement car mpg that would make it worth my while to proceed with replacement. If we have a wreck or are facing a megabuck repair bill, then we might be forced to shop around for a replacement; in that case, it would be used, fuel-efficient, and super cheap.

In my planning, I am assuming that we'll probably start seeing motor fuel rationing no later than 2013; I'll be surprised if there will be any motor fuel left that will be either available or affordable for an ordinary person like myself after about 2020 or so. Those dates could very well be too optimistic. Considering that one of the cars we are driving we've already had for 17 years, and it has many years of service left, that twelve year horizon does make a difference.

Leanan mentioned getting an electric assist bike. I'd like one too, but like her I'm also concerned about safety as long as cheap-gas-fueled idiots rule the road. I'm deferring that purchase for the time being, but hopefully won't miss my opportunity to order before the wait lists stretch into years. Tricky thing getting that one right.

I'm actually hoping electric bikes will improve if I wait. I did a lot of research on them last year, and every model recommended to me was available only in Europe or Asia. Maybe we'll eventually catch up.

One of my fellow PO aware MySpace advocates owns UrbanScooters.com. The electric bikes and bike conversion kits page is http://urbanscooters.com/P/electric-bikes.html.

Check out the Chopper Edition...

Does a leather jacket come with it?

It can play MP3 files that sounds like you put a Playing Card in the spokes..

The Horn plays 'La Grange' by zz top.

Nice. But there's not too many places in the USA that are nice and sunny like that at this time of year. Not much use in freezing cold on glare ice. Oh, and I can't quite tell, but with such a long wheelbase I think I'd want more pedal clearance. I wonder about dragging a pedal and flipping over on a bad road, or on one of those slightly hazardous speed bump thingies that have become so popular with city council people who think the streets should be a playground instead of a means of transportation.

The problem is, I want a folder. One you can carry on the bus or throw in the trunk of your car with ease. And one that fits in my tiny foyer (because otherwise I'll have to carry it up a steep, narrow staircase).

The problem is, I want a folder.

ASCII and Ye shall receive.


Absent an accident, my 1982 Mercedes Benz 240D (manual transmission, 30 to 31 mpg in the city) will be my last car. It just rolled over 89,000 miles.

Decent mileage and the perfect "grease" car.

The most durable and dependable model (81-83 240Ds) car M-B ever built.

Best Hopes for Avoiding Accidents,


Both my fiancee and I have VW diesels. Mine gets about 48 average city/highway. Hers gets somewhat less (PD model). Both have about 90K miles on them, and should be good for quite a few years.

I used to use 100% biodiesel in mine, but the food vs fuel thing has been weighing on my mind more and more, and I am slowly switching back to petrodiesel (the ULSD changeover caused some seal shrinkage in the fuel pump that caused a minor leak, and if I run a B20 blend it doesn't leak and the situation is stable. Eventually I will need to get that fixed).

A VW TDI doesn't do well as a greasecar - people have tried, and most have eventually come to regret it. Biodiesel on the other hand seems to work OK.

I have been working to get myself into better shape so I can use a bicycle for more of my transportation needs. I have really good headlights, but I still don't have quite the right cold weather gear, so I don't ride as much as I probably could.

If mine got totalled tomorrow, I am not sure what I would do. A VW diesel or a Prius, I suppose, but those are hard to come by these days. An all electric, or a PHEV would be better, but such a thing doesn't really exist. Maybe an old Prius and retrofit as a PHEV like they do in California.

Actually any Mercedes before or including your W123-chassis will do for that eternity-factor. I have a 1966 Mercedes, swapped in a 300D-engine from the W123 and it gets about 34mpg (mixed driving). Engine is too worn to throw in a vegetable oil kit but I have a spare one in better shape and all the needed parts. This car, as any Mercedes from those years are built to last. Amazing quality, really. Compare to any American car from the same year, the Mercedes is almost bullet-proof in comparison.

We currently have 2 cars in my household.

My wife's is a 1997 Dodge Neon. It's a lemon, really, but we've got it working well enough now that we'll probably keep running it for a while longer.

My car, which is currently unplated and occupying the garage until I can sell it, is a 2005 Mazda RX-8. I got it when I got my first job out of university and before I was peak-aware. I now wish I had gone with my other choice of a VW Golf TDI.

Our current plan is to get rid of the RX-8 and the Neon, and get a more fuel efficient vehicle like the Golf. I like the TDI because you can run it on biodiesel and it's very efficient, but given the way regular diesel has been moving supply and price-wise I'm not sure that's the best option.

In any case, lately I've been avoiding driving. My license expired on Dec 31st and I keep forgetting to go in and get it renewed, because it's no longer a priority.

Most of my getting around has been by foot and by bus. Where I live now is on a direct bus line to where I work, and it's about 6km to walk to work, which I sometimes do. Once the winter is over (winter storm warning in effect here today) I plan to ditch the bus and bike most days.

The best part of ditching my car has been that I seem to be a lot calmer. Whenever I get in a car and have to deal with the awful drivers around here my blood pressure seems to go up a few notches and my mood gets sour. I'd rather walk thank you very much. :)

I traded a 2000 BMW 540i/6 in on a used Jetta TDI. I intended to run it on biodiesel, but I'm now such a vehement opponent of agrofuels that I've accepted that petro-diesel is in fact the lesser of two evils. I do penance by driving a lot less than I used to, and taking pubic [sic] transit to work..

Sure don't miss that Bimmer, though. What a piece of unmitigated crap. Really fast, smooth crap, but crap all the same.

I agree that petro-diesel is the lesser evil. I believe we should use food crops to feed us, not personal vehicles. If we must use biofuel, it should be used to power public transport, freight trains, and farm equipment.

I do like the extra efficiency of the diesel engines, but given that diesel often seems to be in shorter supply than gas, I would be a bit worried about being able to fuel the thing if supply gets even tighter in the future (something I fully expect).

If I could, I'd probably do without a car at altogether (provided I could convince my wife, which would be the hardest part). I live within easy walking distance from pretty much anything I need as I live 5 minutes walk from a mall with a grocery store, and have a corner store about 45 seconds walk from my front door. I quite like the location I'm in in that regard, although they don't allow me to have a garden in the condo complex I'm currently living in.

Work is about 6 km away along a very nice bike/pedestrian path that I can access about 0.5km along a relatively quiet road, and the bus option works very well for me too.

My wife's is a 1997 Dodge Neon. It's a lemon, really, but we've got it working well enough now that we'll probably keep running it for a while longer.

Let me guess, head gasket went out, paint flaked, electrical problems too many to list, door windows scratched from window guide, front wheel bearings go bad, disk calipers lock up, coil leaks, shift linkage deteriorates, front tires wear prematurely because of alignment problems, heater motor gives up, evaporator in the air conditioning system leaks, fuel pump goes south, are there any problems I’ve missed? If I wasn’t a mechanic and to cheap to buy a new car I would have gotten rid of my 1996 Neon long ago. Kind of grows on you though, kind of like trying to keep a Harley running.

I bought my first hybrid (Honda) in 2002 and my Prius in 2005. If Toyota comes out with a decently priced plug-in in 2010, I will probably trade in for that.

In order to forego whatever car I owned pretty much entirely, I need to move. My wife and I continue to search for an acceptable alternative to where we are now. There are many constraints which have to do with my wife's chemical sensitivity.

If it were just me, I would immediately move to a location that did not require an auto to get around for my basic needs. I still have pleasant memories of living in Germany without a car and would like to return to that reality. Just rent them when you really need them.

I have a 2001 Dodge Dakota. Owned it about 8 years and it just turned over 28,000 miles. Works out to about 3,500 mp year but most of that was put on while I was working in Georgia for about a 6 month period and was transporting tools back and forth. I have 4 motorcycles that I ride most of the time. My 1984 Honda on/off road 110 cc single cylinder gets about 85-90 mp gallon. 2 Harleys for long trips get about 44-48 mp gallon. W650 Kawi gets about 65-70 mp gallon. I have stashed lots of spares, tires, oil, filters, etc, for the bikes so if there is any gas available they will be running long after I am gone.

Wife has a 2001 Dodge Intrepid that is rarely driven. She goes to a summer art retreat in the mountains of NC for a couple of weeks a year and to visit our daughters in Ashville and Atlanta on occasion. Her car has about 31,000 miles on it.

We never plan on buying more vehicles unless these are stolen or get totaled. What we have is paid for, well maintained, and seldom used, why trade them?

I don't ever plan to buy a new car again. I can keep my present collection of older vehicles running at least until fuel is no longer available. Our one "good" car is a small 2L 5-dr which we downsized to over a year ago to reduce payments and fuel consumption, and I would expect it to last a very long time.

However, our tow vehicle is old, and while I can always fix it and keep it running I expect that soon there will be some very good deals on much newer replacements. I would really rather tow with a diesel, so I'll keep my eyes open - unfortunately diesels will probably still command a premium.

What I really want is a smaller draft horse and a good farm wagon, but I have some logistical issues to solve before I can take that on

I hope not to buy another car for a long time, maybe never. I currently drive the 1994 Lexus that my former law firm bought for me as a partner and I bought from them when I left.

When I moved back here I deliberately picked out my home and office to be close (2 miles). I have some problems with mobility because a bout of severe arthritis a decade ago seriously injured my knee but have worked up to walking about 1-1/2 mile at a time so hope to walk to work some this summer. Already I won't drive anywhere within a mile unless it is a stop on a longer trip. Some in my neighborhood (a 1950s close-in suburb) do as I do - walking to church, the store, the coffee shope, drug store and restaurant all within 3 blocks. And, I have a policy of not driving on Sunday.

Until we get a comprehensive transport policy I will probably always have to drive some. I am a lawyer and have to appear at the county courthouse 15 miles away a couple of times a month. There is no practical alternative transportation there.

Also a Vespa type vehicle is impractical while my parents are living as I need to be able to transport them in a vehicle they can get into and out of.

PHEV is a possibility. Prius carpooling more likely. My work vehicle is a Schwinn with studded tires. Parked the other 4 months ago thanks to associating with the likes of you all :-)

I don't drive a car at all and have no intention of buying one. I live in Sydney and there are parts of Sydney that have excellent public transport. I intend to continue to live at those centres.

There are many parts of Sydney where you would have to drive a car to get anywhere.

We have an old Corolla with 97000 on the clock, We wont buy until we see what technology wins out for the future, If this car goes belly up before then, its another Corolla

We would like to be without a car but we live deep rural UK and our wise Governments (rot their souls) have ripped out most of what was the finest rail network in the world and there is no other public transport of any sort where we are

Not planning on buying anytime soon, unless forced to due to loss. The family car (2000 passat wagon) is the only one we'd likely replace with a newer car if we had to. Don't like the extent of non-user-friendly electronics, but that seems to be the norm for today's cars. The other is an 1980 and would probaly get replaced with like-kind if damaged beyond repair.

I bike to work (2.5 miles each way) in the summer and whenever my daughter isn't in school and the weather permits, and am considering adding an electric assist for the ride back up the steep hill because it really kicks my butt and would encourage me to do more by bike. If I can arrange car pooling/school bussing for my daughter, I'll take the bus when the weather is bad (bus stop right outside my house, drops me one block from the office).


Judging by the above replies, there's little wonder why we're losing our manufacturing base.

In a fit of techie toy lust, bought a Honda Insight in 2000. Used it to long distance commute for a couple of years (avg over 70mpg). Now, moved to Oregon, spouse uses it to commute 25 mi. part time (now I call it my Honda ForeSight). Also have a Nissan pickup, 4 cyl. which we use for hauling stuff. Total gasoline bill usually runs ~$40/month. Bike a lot in summer to town 7mi away. My telecommute job disappears in a few months so I gotta scare up some local cash jobs to keep some income.

FYI - Saudis refusal to increase production was discussed on CNBC. Vince Farrel quoted Matthew Simmons on Saudis inability to increase production and Kingston from Platts referenced a session from the APSO conference concerning the Ghawar.

Yes .. I caught that spot too ...
Thought I was listening to one of Stuart's posts ...
Hit all the highlights concerning production constraints ...

Triff ..

The video is on the right side of http://www.cnbc.com/id/22654310. I haven't found it on YouTube or LiveLeak yet. The Simmons and Ghawar references start about 3 minutes into the clip.

I have been asked to give a guest lecture on energy to an undergraduate forest ecology class next week. Didn't Gail put together a rather general powerpoint presentation on our predicament? I have looked around in the faqs and in her previous posts but have been unable to locate it. Any ideas?

You should look at the presentation Lou worked up on The Cost of Energy. Look in the archives for The Energy Crunch. It is a PDF file sith his powerpoint slides and his comments. Sorry i couldn't link it here.

How do folks here feel about the 54 cent tariff that prevents Brazillian ethanol from entering the USA?

Will the end of this tariff show up in the next State of the Union address?

To learn more about the tariff against Brazil ethanol go to;


Hosted the Ten Rivers local food network meeting last night.

The Willamette valley currently only producing somewhere between 10 to 15% of food.

The largest percentage of agriculture is grass seed and ornamentals for garden/nursery market. (Which is really hurting due to economic situ.)

The good news is that this last season the Willamette valley planted less grass seed and about 125,000 acres more wheat than the previous season.

The reason stated for this was an extreme increase in agriculture inputs. Primarily fertilizer, pesticides, and diesel fuel. Wheat is apparently more cost effective to grow.

Ammonium nitrate currently selling at $600 per ton and supply is limited.

Similar constraints for both phosphate and potassium production. Labled on fertilizer as NPK

The up side is that this situation makes locally produced goods much more competitive.

Talked about climate change impacting agriculture yields worldwide, peak oil increasing the cost of fuel and other inputs, The criminal expansion of bio-fuels taking a huge amount of food off line, and the economy effecting the market for grass seed and ornamentals, the time is right for the Willamette valley to increase food production significantly.

Organizing county wide, valley wide composting (couldn’t bring myself to bring up Pee)
Motto: Compost not Biofuel

Talked about my other project for getting rail service in town restored. It’s all still in place, even a cool station but just used for wood products once a week or so.

After words a woman came up to me and said she was with the planning commission and that I should expect good news on the Rail issue soon. She said she can not announce anything at this time but said that congressman Defazzio is onboard too (hey do I get partial credit for a pun there?). Defazzio quoted as saying “now is not the worst possible time to be decommissioning rail…”.

Now if I can just figure out a scheme for the population thingy.

P.S. kinda like BEEEP

Defazzio quoted as saying “now is not the worst possible time to be decommissioning rail…”.

Are you sure that is the exact quote. Or could you possibly have added the word "not" to the sentence when typing it. Look at the sentence real closly.

oops! the "not" is not supposed to be in there.

(couldn’t bring myself to bring up Pee)

Why not, you probably buy it. Sold as Granulite, Soil Rich, Milorganite, Vita Cycle at many of your local big box retailers. It's dried and pelleted NYC sewage, and the business is big. The Carlyle Group (Jim Baker's haunt I believe) bought it for 776 million recently.


Hello TODers,

We might see NPK price increases far outstrip FFs this year as we head into recession [depression?]. People can cut back on a lot of purchases and trips, but food is a necessity:

Plan Now For Fertilizer Needs, Tight Supply Could Leave Producers Short

In fact, it is currently difficult to buy fertilizer nitrogen for winter wheat topdressing and/or this spring´s row crops unless the supply has already been lined up - regardless of what the posted prices are, said Dale Leikam, K-State Research and Extension nutrient management specialist.

RBC’s potash price assumptions for 2008 were raised to US$300 from US$275 per tonne, and to US$350 from US$300 for 2009. However, Mr. Lee said these estimates could be on the conservative side and realized prices could climb as high as US$495 by 2009.

Russian potash firms seen gaining from high prices

Analysts said on Tuesday prices could rise as much as 90 percent this year as production would remain stable while farmers require more fertiliser to grow grain.

"Potash fertiliser prices rocketed upward in 2007, but demand for this product is not falling and that will lead to a long-term increase in prices," analysts from Lefko-Bank wrote.

The four-fold increase in the price of rock phosphate in the past 12 months has sent the share price of the company developing Australia's newest phosphate project soaring.

Rock phosphate prices have leapt from $US50 per tonne to $US200 per tonne in the past year.

Fertiliser price climbs to new record high

Despite the overly high prices, farmers still cannot buy fertilizer due to the short supply.

Analysts said that the domestic demand for fertilizer would see continuous sharp increases since the paddy fields in Mekong River Delta are ‘thirsty for fertiliser’.

IMO, this is getting pretty damn scary. IF a BigBuck$$$ hedge fund started hoarding NPK, and First World homeowners suddenly decided to put a wheelbarrow with 200lbs of NPK inside their garage for safe-keeping--NPK prices would get really ugly overnight. Armed guards in the Home Depot Gardening Center?

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

Hello TODers,

Hopefully some other TODers can find more info, but I seem to recall reading that gardening was the largest US hobby, but it lately seems to be the fastest growing once again:

The Census Bureau estimates that 65 million Americans have given bird feeding a try — that’s nearly half of all households — and spend $2 billion each year on birdseed. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says bird watching is second only to gardening as the nation’s fastest-growing hobby.

It also appears the UK is having a jump in gardening:

Gardening Express Reports Buoyant 2007, Optimistic on outlook for 2008

Performance had been well ahead of expectations earlier in the year, with sales rises up as much as 130% month on month, but this came ahead of the companies implementation of systems that could deal with the huge volumes of sales it was receiving.

Although we had a good year, with continual month on month sales rises there was noticeable belt tightening in November & December, although I feel that with our customers they are simply delaying spending plans and waiting for Spring; sales in the first week of January are up over 40% on last year.” Historically the gardening sector shows resilience in hard times with consumers spending more at home for example if they decide they can’t afford a holiday.

A great Quote:

In 2008, grain will become recognized as the new gold, agriculture companies as the new tech stocks and the Mississippi basin as the new Silicon Valley. Many fertilizer and seed companies' shares did very well in 2007, yet you ain't seen nothin' yet. Farm-focused companies combine innovation with scarcity, and the result is strong growth that's unlikely to abate.
Bob Shaw in Phx,Az Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

I started birding two years ago and started gardening last year -- looks like I am a follower.

The communists in Washington DC are real good at it also.

Every year they cut already meager military pensions by under reporting inflation by at least 10%

Wait and see what happens to the expensive German cars when their currency exchange policies expire.

Just listened to an interview with Bush, in Saudi Arabia, on ABC. I believe that this is an accurate transcription of what Bush said in response to a question about trying to get the Saudis to increase their production:

If they don’t have a lot of additional oil to put on the market, it’s hard to ask them to do something that they can’t do.

Apparently the full interview is going to be on Nightline tonight.

Yes, I just was going to report the same item. This is perhaps one of the most significant things that Bush has ever said. MUST have been a slip up and it is clearly a recognition that he knows that Saudi has essentially peaked. This recognition should have impact.

I have been speculating for months that Bush & Cheney were going to come out of the Peak Oil closet and admit that the US is in Iraq to secure/protect oil supplies for, drumroll please, "The American Way of Life."

Three years ago if they had done that there would have been upheaval. Today, as they say in the markets, it is factored in. Everyone that I know, whether conservative or liberal, readily admits at this point that the only plausible reason for being there is to exert strategic leverage on the oil supplies. Raw crude..err..politics!!

I was visiting an older lady, mid 80's, the other day, and we were chatting about sundry topics. Out of the blue she commented on the U.S. involvement in Iraq.

"Bush didn't go into Iraq b/c of weapons of mass destruction, he went in b/c the fuel contracts were about to expire."

I said to her, "yep, that sounds like a good explanation to me!" She floored me with her matter-of-fact appraisal of the situation.

This lady lives alone in rural Nova Scotia.

Bush admitting the obvious will not come as any earth-shattering surprise to anyone except perhaps the spin doctors who think that they're still controlling the message or to those whose vested interested may blind them to what's really happening in the world.

Most thinking people have already figured it out. It's the oil stupid.

Yeah, I had lunch with a neocon the other day and was very, very surprised when this person said the Iraq war was about oil.

Are you surprised it was about oil, or were you surprised that he was honest enough to say so?

I was surprised that he no longer believed the major motivation was to save us from being attacked. Most of the Americans I come in contact with still believe that the war was justified due to the terrorist threat from Iraq.

Hello WT,

Thxs for this important info. This revelation plus the global natgas situation is going to make for some real interesting choices in many countries this coming year. Sad as it is for some areas not being able to get gas/electricity for heating and cooking, I bet the next thing that pops into their leaders' minds is looming nitrogen shortages arising from insufficient inputs for the Haber-Bosch natgas process [source of the N in NPK].

Harvest yields will plummet if the N price increase heads towards Unobtainium. The chemical shortages are popping up all over:

Costly Chemicals

The once abundant and relatively cheap chemicals indispensable for the production of ethanol are now hard to get and expensive. Although the rapid rise of the industry is partly to blame for this, other factors are influencing the increasing cost of these compounds including high natural gas prices, the demands of the metal industry and incresing demand for fertilizer.

In addition, what once seemed to be a mutual interaction between the farmer and ethanol producer is now becoming a competitive one. “What you have here are two industries that are kind of cannibalizing themselves,” Grohs says. “In a weird way they’re competing with each other for the same products. The ethanol guys need the sulfuric acid but so do the fertilizer guys so they can make fertilizer for the farmers growing the corn. Ethanol guys need the urea but so do the farmers. It’s going to be very interesting to see what happens in 2008 because at this point there’s really no sign of any of this escalation in pricing or supply shortages changing.”
This is a fascinating link well worth reading in its entirety.

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

Just listened the Nightline interview. The above quote is pretty accurate. It's interesting that what Bush said is not materially different from what Matt Simmons would have said.

all i'm getting on abc today is the sound bite ' talked to saudi's -hopeful opec will increase oil supply to bring down price. early abc barely gave any time and focused on next stop- egypt.

typical editing/focus.

btw i tend to think bush/chaney will not let peak oil come to forefront; unless forced by some media or leader. i do see leaks as u & others have pointed to.

I couldn't find the key excerpt on the ABC website. It was on the evening news and on Nightline.

i watched the main early tv. couple of networks.

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Why now? Well, as we’re heading into this new year there is a
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NBC just projected Mitt Romney winner here in Michigan, does anyone know if Matt Simmons is still part of his campaign?

If he is, certainly Gov. Romney did not vet his car speeches (made in Michigan) past Simmons. Also, this graph from Romney's site:
magically showing US oil production increasing over the next few years (up to around 9 mbpd) and plateauing there through 2030 certainly does not follow the doctrine of Simmons over the years.

Just saw him on Hannity and Colmes.
Romneys plan for energy independence:
Drill in ANWAR
Drill everywhere else
More nukes
Clean coal
Renewables are cute but would only supply 5% of our needs

Matt! Are you hearing this?