DrumBeat: January 27, 2008

Massive delays plague Middle East expansion drive

“Despite higher capital budgets, Middle East and North Africa energy investments appear to be loosing momentum,” said an Apicorp report. “Policy makers and project sponsors who, until recently, have been boasting ambitious investment plans, have voiced concerns about two critical issues that can seriously impede future development prospects.”

On the one hand, project costs have been escalating unrelentingly and show no sign of abating. And problems in the international credit markets, which are looming larger, may also constrain capital flows into the region. Past reviews up to 2006-2010 had shown that rising capital investment was mostly matched with an increase in the number of projects.

Secret of treasure islands

The Falklands is sitting on deep-sea oil riches that could turn out to be worth a fortune.

Why Does Washington Want OPEC to Increase Supplies Despite the Decline in Price?

Amidst the decelerating US and global economies, Bush demanded that OPEC raise its production ceiling in its upcoming summit without openly setting the desired ceiling. The request was confirmed by US energy secretary Samuel Bodman during his visit to the Gulf states last week, still without announcing the desired increase in production. The American demand comes at a very unusual time as prices were already sliding before any of these statements were made and without the need for any political interference. The slide in prices is attributed to market elements dominated by the fear of a worsening and spreading economic slowdown. Interestingly, American officials have not linked highly oil prices to the current global economic crisis as if no relationship existed between high oil prices with this crisis. Nor did any prominent international economist link the slowdown in the US with high oil prices.

India: Full oil price burden cannot be passed on

Indicating a possible moderate hike in fuel rates, Finance Minister P Chidambaram has said India cannot pass the full burden of runaway rise in crude prices to consumers who will be pushed to "misery" by such a move.

Dmitry Orlov: Mind the ruins

Lists of things worth saving from collapse and destruction can be made arbitrarily long: the wetlands, the symphony orchestra, the public library, the public transportation system, the solar sewage treatment plant... the list can go on and on. Saving something generally means preserving it in some intact, functional state, and often involves some fund-raising activities, and political lobbying to secure the much-needed funds. But in the US there is one category that never makes the list, and it is the most important one: ruins.

Zimbabwe: Getting Harder To Keep Children In School

"During our time education was free," said Mufundisi. "My parents could send me and my siblings to boarding schools on my father’s civil servant salary, but now I am in danger of not being able to do the same for my children."

Schools opened in Zimbabwe on Jan. 15 and teachers in Harare have reported growing absenteeism. To make matters worse the country is facing acute shortages of food, hard currency and fuel in the economic meltdown that began in 2000.

Rethinking the Meat-Guzzler

A SEA change in the consumption of a resource that Americans take for granted may be in store — something cheap, plentiful, widely enjoyed and a part of daily life. And it isn’t oil.

It’s meat.

South Africa: Maize Farmers Lobby to Supply Biofuel Industry

South African maize farmers are pushing hard to change a government decision to exclude their crops as feedstock for bioethanol, in view of food security concerns.

India: Govt to prioritise natural gas allocation

NEW DELHI: Fertiliser plants will have the first right over domestic natural gas, followed by petrochemical and existing power units if the government approves a draft natural gas utilisation policy.

According to the draft prepared by the Petroleum Ministry, natural gas produced from fields like eastern offshore KG-D6 field of Reliance Industries or Panna/Mukta and Tapti field off Mumbai, would first be given to the fertiliser sector as existing gas-based fertiliser units were running at less than designed capacity because of shortage of gas.

Higher prices food for dismal thoughts

Until last week, I put this down to the burgeoning food demands of the fast-growing, heavily populated emerging economies of the East.

That, and the needs of the bio-fuel industry.

But a thoughtful new paper from UK-based consultants Bidwells Agribusiness suggests something else is driving global food prices higher - namely an ever more pressing world-wide shortage of both fresh water and arable land.

Official worries fuel pipeline will draw insurgents

State Rep. Chente Quintanilla says head of Texas' homeland security is ignoring his concerns that a proposed Pemex pipeline could attract leftist Mexican insurgents to the U.S.

Quintanilla, D-El Paso, worries that a proposed pipeline that would transport gasoline from stateside petroleum tanks directly through El Paso County into Juárez could be sabotaged by Mexican insurgents protesting Petroleos Mexicanos, or Pemex.

China's Snowstorms Trigger Alert, Coal-Shipment Boost

(Bloomberg) -- China issued a weather alert and boosted coal shipments as snowstorms were forecast to continue. At least 30 flights from Beijing airport were canceled and Xinhua News Agency reported about 150,000 rail passengers were stranded.

China feels new year chill as coal shortage bites

The shortage could not have come at a worse time for the ruling Communist Party. The leadership is anxious to ensure plentiful supplies of power for the most important holiday of the year, the Lunar New Year holiday,which begins on February 7, just as rising prices – particularly for food – are fuelling popular discontent.

The transport ministry has roped in two state shipping giants to help move coal more swiftly to southern China. China Shipping Group has diverted six ships from its overseas shipping fleet to queue at the ports, while Cosco has diverted 11 vessels.

Marshall Islands faces fuel shortage

For the past two years, the Majuro utility has repeatedly faced the threat of fuel shortages because its debt coupled with rising prices and an inability to generate adequate revenues from electric customers has forced it to reduce orders of diesel to minimum amounts. The utility came close to running out of diesel on several occasions in 2006-2007, but in recent months its situation stabilized after it secured a $12 million loan from the Bank of Guam allowing it to pay off some of its debt and get fuel orders regularized.

Pakistan: Shutdown of CNG stations annoys Lahoris

LAHORE: The 24-hour shutdown of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) stations on Saturday caused mayhem for the Lahoris, as massive traffic jams were observed on the major roads of the city.

Mines may remain closed next week

GOLD and platinum mines in South Africa could remain closed until well into next week while industry and government discussed ways of reducing power, the minerals and energy department (DME) said.

Solution to Eskom and mine energy problems

I have reviewed technology that solves wet coal problems as it crushers the coal it dries it from plus 15% to 5%, uses less energy to crush material hence can replace or work in tandem with mines and Eskom and mines to crush their coal and other resources, can work on a generator and can continue crushing material using a generator thus reducing mine losses during this dark time, and may be worthy of a story from your investigative team.

China: Nuclear Energy is No Solution

Developing nuclear power is obviously one route away from fossil energy and hence can be seen as environmentally sound. Given the advanced safety technology, including the inherently safe fuel designs of Generation VI Pebble-bed reactor technology, there will be far less chance of a failing that would lead to a Chernobyl style disaster again.

But the problem is how to quadruple China’s nuclear energy output in merely ten years: from approximately 10GW to 40GW during 2010-2020.

Why the Nuclear Energy Path is Suicidal

Nuclear energy is the poorest yielder in terms of investments and is also the unsafest. Its every step bristles with radioactive hazards while the solar and other forms of renewable energy are abundant producers, non-polluting, free from hazards, and are far cheaper in costs.

The following are the reasons why the nuclear path must not be trodden at all.

KEPCO Eyes 1st Atomic Power Plant in Turkey

Korea Electric Power Corp. (KEPCO) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with ENKA, the largest construction firm in Turkey, in a move to win an order to build a nuclear power plant there, according to the South Korean state-run firm.

Lead the way in cutting carbon

MBAs in carbon management will become increasingly important as companies are forced to tackle climate change.

The stuff of life

The artificial creation of, frankly, a rather dull chromosome, will not solve climate change or spark bioterrorism. Don't get so excited.

China Offers Plan to Clean Up Its Polluted Lakes

HONG KONG — The Chinese government unveiled a detailed plan on Tuesday to limit pollution in China’s lakes by 2010 and return them to their original state by 2030.

The State Council, China’s cabinet, ordered strict regulation of the release of wastewater, the closing of heavily polluting factories near lakes, the improvement of sewage treatment facilities and strict limits on fish farms, according to the official Xinhua news agency.

Plan to Extend Shanghai Rail Line Stirs Middle Class to Protest

SHANGHAI — Yang Yang, a 29-year-old saleswoman, had never imagined herself in the role of advocate.

But when she learned from her housing development’s electronic bulletin board of the city’s plans to extend Shanghai’s futuristic magnetic levitation, or maglev, train line within 30 yards of her house, she was angered about the effect on property values and began networking with other middle-class opponents both in her neighborhood and all along the planned train route.

Waving Goodbye to Hegemony

It is 2016, and the Hillary Clinton or John McCain or Barack Obama administration is nearing the end of its second term. America has pulled out of Iraq but has about 20,000 troops in the independent state of Kurdistan, as well as warships anchored at Bahrain and an Air Force presence in Qatar. Afghanistan is stable; Iran is nuclear. China has absorbed Taiwan and is steadily increasing its naval presence around the Pacific Rim and, from the Pakistani port of Gwadar, on the Arabian Sea. The European Union has expanded to well over 30 members and has secure oil and gas flows from North Africa, Russia and the Caspian Sea, as well as substantial nuclear energy. America’s standing in the world remains in steady decline.

A New France in the New Middle East: Forget Glory

The American setback in Iraq, the winding down of the Bush presidency, a longing in the region for an alternative to American power, a turn inward by Britain’s new leaders and soaring prices for oil have created opportunities for Mr. Sarkozy.

Energy crisis challenges everyone

The energy crisis is bad news for all consumers and business and hits especially hard in states like New Hampshire that rely almost exclusively on fuels imported from outside the region. Everyone is affected, but the impacts are most serious for consumers with lower or fixed incomes and for small businesses that cannot increase their prices to compensate.

Cuban permaculturalist to tour Australia

After the collapse of the Soviet Union and Eastern Bloc in the early 1990s, Cuba lost access to the oil, fertilizers and virtually all trading partners that the small island nation depended upon to survive. Cuba faced economic collapse virtually overnight.

Cuba, however, refused to give up on building a socialist society — maintaining, for example, its universal free healthcare and education — while it entered into the period of economic hardship known as the “Special Period”, and the United States tightened its decades-long blockade of the country.

A Dying Breed

In recent decades, global trade, sophisticated marketing, artificial insemination and the demands of agricultural economics have transformed the Holstein into the world’s predominant dairy breed. Indigenous animals like East Africa’s sinewy Ankole, the product of centuries of selection for traits adapted to harsh conditions, are struggling to compete with foreign imports bred for maximal production. This worries some scientists. The world’s food supply is increasingly dependent on a small and narrowing list of highly engineered breeds: the Holstein, the Large White pig and the Rhode Island Red and Leghorn chickens. There’s a risk that future diseases could ravage these homogeneous animal populations. Poor countries, which possess much of the world’s vanishing biodiversity, may also be discarding breeds that possess undiscovered genetic advantages. But farmers like Mugira say they can’t afford to wait for science. And so, on the African savanna, a competition for survival is underway.

OPEC To Keep Output Level At Feb Meeting - Gulf Delegate

DUBAI -(Dow Jones)- The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries is expected to keep its crude oil output level unchanged when the group's 13 members meet in Vienna on Feb. 1, a senior OPEC delegate told Dow Jones Newswires on Sunday.

"I don't think an action will be taken during the meeting," the Gulf-based delegate said.

"During our last meeting in December, it was agreed that any decision will be taken in March, unless something major happens that warrants action during the extraordinary meeting that was set for February. But there is no need, the market situation is still where it was in December," he added.

Pan American Energy finds oil reserve in Argentina

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - Pan American Energy has discovered an oil reserve in southern Argentina in one of the biggest such finds of recent years in the energy-hungry country, a provincial governor said on Saturday.

Open the Gulf of Mexico to oil and gas exploration

World oil supply and demand is complicated, however some bare facts are obvious; OPEC crude oil production spare capacity is barely existent, oil prices are hovering around $100 per barrel, the value of the dollar is falling, our country is on the edge of a recession, our President recently traveled to the Middle East with hat in hand asking for help and is now proposing a $150 billion tax break to avert a recession. Not good.

We cannot drill our way into energy security, but we can delay shortages for several years while new sources of energy technologies are developed. It is time to lift the moratorium in the Eastern Planning Area of the Gulf of Mexico for exploration and development.

Palin, lawmakers: Don't let Conoco derail pipeline plan

ConocoPhillips is like a kid on the playground who doesn't like the rules of the kickball game and is trying to woo kids away to create another competition it knows it can win.

When it comes to who's going to build a natural gas pipeline in Alaska, the state's largest oil producer is engaged in a sort of bullying, though far more subtle and complex than anything you'd see on a playground. A few legislators seem to be suckers for Conoco's tactics, but let's hope Gov. Sarah Palin and the majority of lawmakers have the moxie and intelligence to resist the oil company's ploys.

Iraq's Oil Ministry changes procedures of selling Kirkuk oil

(MENAFN) A statement issued by the Iraqi Oil Ministry said that the ministry has changed the procedure of selling Kirkuk crude oil to Turkey's Ceyhan port, Iraq Directory reported.

The statement also disclosed that the selling of Kirkuk crude oil by the Ceyhan port will be made on term contracts instead of auctions.

Future of Venezuelan oil company will have ripple effects far and wide

Since Chavez took power in 1999, oil production in Venezuela has declined by 28 percent, the company's debt has soared, corruption has flourished, foreign oil partners have pulled out, PDVSA's payroll has skyrocketed and the company has taken to hiring employees for their fealty to Chavez, not their expertise.

PDVSA will continue to supply mountains of money to Chavez as long as oil prices remain high, said David Mares, a professor at the University of California at San Diego who co-authored an in-depth analysis of PDVSA last March.

"But PDVSA is not generating more money through better performance," Mares told The Herald. "PDVSA is generating this money in spite of its deteriorating performance. The threat to PDVSA will be when prices go down, and I don't mean collapse. When the oil market weakens, PDVSA won't be able to increase output to keep up income."

Bulgarian president reassures EU over gas project

SOFIA (AFP) - Bulgaria is still committed to the EU's Nabucco gas pipeline project despite signing a deal with Russia on its South Stream pipeline, President Georgy Parvanov said Sunday.

"Bulgaria will play an active role in the Nabucco project," Parvanov told reporters on the first anniversary of his second mandate as president.

Pakistan & Indian petroleum ministers discuss gas pipeline project

LONDON: Petroleum Ministers of India and Pakistan held discussions here on a multi-billion-dollar gas pipeline project involving the two countries and Iran, with both sides expressing their keenness to put it on stream.

Australia: Fuel crisis looms by 2015

Australian Association for the Study of Peak Oil and Gas Brisbane spokesman Stuart McCarthy said yesterday it was time for governments to act, now that big businesses were speaking openly about the problem.

..."We need the Government to act. This will impact far sooner than climate change," Mr McCarthy said.

UK: Wind farms turn huge profit with help of subsidies

According to new industry figures, a typical 2 megawatt (2MW) turbine can now generate power worth £200,000 on the wholesale markets - plus another £300,000 of subsidy from taxpayers.

Since such turbines cost around £2m to build and last for 20 or more years, it means they can pay for themselves in just 4-5 years and then produce nothing but profit.

Green daze

The fashion industry has caught the eco bug and is blinding us with a barrage of ethical products. Is this really going to save the planet?

The greening of nuclear power

A founder of Greenpeace has done an about-face on nuclear power, and now says building new plants to help the United States overcome its dependence on foreign oil for its energy needs is the way to go.

Japan, Denmark set new climate goals

DAVOS, Switzerland - The United States, China and India must be part of the follow-up treaty to the Kyoto Protocol and agree to cut carbon emissions, Denmark's prime minister said Saturday. Japan's leader offered them a bold strategy for doing it.

Climate change returned to the fore at the World Economic Forum's annual meeting, where Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda proposed a 2020 deadline for countries to boost their energy efficiency by 30 percent. He added that Japan would try to spread its high-quality environmental technology around the world.

Big business says addressing climate change 'rates very low on agenda'

Global warming ranks far down the concerns of the world's biggest companies, despite world leaders' hopes that they will pioneer solutions to the impending climate crisis, a startling survey will reveal this week.

Nearly nine in 10 of them do not rate it as a priority, says the study, which canvassed more than 500 big businesses in Britain, the US, Germany, Japan, India and China. Nearly twice as many see climate change as imposing costs on their business as those who believe it presents an opportunity to make money. And the report's publishers believe that big business will concentrate even less on climate change as the world economy deteriorates.

Some one over at R Squared’s blog is insisting that gasoline demand was down in 2007 and also in 2008.
Here is the data from EIA Average annual weekly demand in barrels per day.

Y 2000 8433
Y 2001 8547
Y 2002 8764
Y 2003 8881
Y 2004 9067
Y 2005 9149
Y 2006 9282
Y 2007 9355

Y 2007 9090
Y 2008 9128

Also avg. demand is up for first three weeks of 2008.
Avg. demand was down only in the past week and that was no doubt due to whether.
Benny needs to tell us from where he gets his data.

Maybe he's confused. There have been a lot of articles about how demand is slowing. The increase is smaller than expected, given the increase in population, etc.

You know, kind of like the way Congress cuts spending. They don't actually reduce anything, they just cut future increases.

It should have read:

Avg. demand was down only in the past week (Y on Y) and that was no doubt due to whether.

[..] and that was no doubt due to whether.


Or "weather"?

Demand increase is slowing. or we are on a demand plateau...

Dipchip - I have been thinking about your propane comment from Thurs. Can you link the data you are using?

EIA clearly is indicating we are WAY below 2006. 15.6% as of the 18th. So, seasonal draws accounted for, something is significantly out of wack with propane...unless you are calling the EIA data out(sure there could be some error there...but 15.6% is a big error).



The problem is that the EIA can't even get its own figures straight. In some places, the EIA provides data that show gasoline consumption on the increase. In other places, the same organization provides data that show gasoline consumption on the decline.

All data sources on oil and gas production, inventories and consumption are terrible, and most people don't seem to realize this. There aren't any reliable sources of information at this time.

And the concept of "demand" is grossly misunderstood by most people. If "demand" were really falling off, as "Benny" suggests (I don't read that blog, but I'll take your word for it), prices wouldn't be rising. A 2% drop in demand would cause more than a 30% decline in price. Prices are rising because there is increased competition for supply.

Most people would understand the concept of demand better if we used the term "competition" instead. There is more competition for the available supply now. The price shows this. Not all of the people competing for the available supply are going to receive supply, because there isn't enough supply for all of them. Some of them will get priced out, so the product supplied to them can go into decline even as "demand" goes up.

People like "Benny" want to believe that we are rapidly moving to increased efficiency and that this will take care of prices. There is some movement toward efficiency, but it's terribly slow. If we were getting more efficient at a decent pace, we wouldn't be seeing the problems with the economy that we're seeing.

Another factor in the price rise of the past year is that supply is on the decline. Even if production is flat (and we don't really know what production is, because we don't have reliable data) supply is actually in decline, because it is taking more oil to get the same production. But that factor in itself probably hasn't changed quickly enough to produce the magnitude of the price change we've seen.

I have never used those numbers because I don't know what the hell they mean.

If you divide those numbers by 42 it only amounts to about 1.5 million barrels per day

If they mean barrels per month it is also about 2 million per day. Perhaps someone can explain it to this slow mind.

One of the conclusions I've come to since browsing TOD is that the data (particuarly short-term data) on energy production, inventories, and consumption are not to be totally trusted. As I undertand it, much of this data is self-reported with little or no third-party auditing. I'm not neccesarily saying that the parties reporting the data are being deliberately misleading, only that when you see a production number like 3, 246, 700 bbls, you should take the last five digits with a big grain of salt.

Though I have no way of proving it, I strongly suspect that the margin of error in the data is far greater than many would like to admit and that many of the conclusions regarding small increases or decrease in production or inventories are probably unjustified as they fall close to or within that margin of error.

And saying that's the only data we've got so we have to work with it only makes things worse. If you have poor data, it's sometime best not to even attempt an analysis, as the results will give an illusion of certainty that is not justified. Over the long term, however, mnay of these errors probably cancel out, but it's in the short term where the numbers can get dodgy.


From MonteQuest at PO:


"Jevon's Paradox ... It says that increased efficiency leads to greater use of a resource.

Conservation leads to increased use by lowering the price.

If a community conserves, those outside it will consume the savings while those inside will see their jobs disappear as the consumption that employed them disappears.

We have to grow under our economic system or the house of cards falls.

Individuals can see immediate economic benefit until someone else within their community conserves what they make or do for a living."

Tragedy of the Commons

My post on US Petroleum Supply is talking about some of these same issues.

This is a graph of what I call "US Gasoline Supplied" from that post. Some would call this gasoline demand, since it is what people purchased. Clearly there the amount of gasoline supplied / used has not risen as fast in the past three years as it did previously.

The post gives more information for all oil products in total, and for distillate and other products.

"eastern planing area" that would be like....................uh,....florida ?

re: open gom to drilling

Why wait around and save any oil in the GOM for future generations? Lets use it all now. We need to invade Venesuela, keep our SUVs full, keep the 18 wheelers on the move to Swell Marts, continue commuting 140 miles to our jobs that pay peanuts (or cashews if you are lucky), and continue BAU.

Since the kids of today are getting fine educations, insured by government testing, they will be lots smarter than we are and will easily find alternative fuel sources that us dimwits have yet to think of.

Once every last drop of oil in the US and its territorial waters are used then we can invade other countries for their oil...In certainty that we have no more and therefore, no choice but to take theirs. Why should we let those pesky natives sit on our oil and use it foolishly?

This is a no-brainer and will fit nicely with the rest of the current administrations agenda.

I guess it is fashionable that people keep saying "the current administration" like it is really different from previous administrations. Like anyone so far has actually done anything to address the energy problems, or any of the other problems we face. In 1948 US written policy was established which was echoed by Jimmy Carter. "We will use force to maintain oil supplies from the middle east". Other than a couple of wackos like those of us who frequent sites like this, the US public does not want us to change. As prices increase, they will en mass DEMAND that we drill in the eastern GOM, off the Atlantic coast, off the Pacific coast, in ANWR, and anywhere else oil or gas might be.
In 1999 a poll in the San Francisco bay area found that only 23% of the respondents were in favor of nuclear power to increase electricity generation. Three months later, same poll, same geographic area, 57% were in favor. Why? Because they were then two months into the blackouts. When it is your ox thats being gored your attitudes will change. I think it was Charles Colson, Nixon's "hatchet man", who said " When you got em by the balls their hearts and minds will follow." Personally, I don't see anyone running today who will address these issues either. We are on the downward slope, and I'm not talking about Hubbert's curve.

ESPECIALLY the rich liberals in the SF area do not want to cut back. They'll never give up their high-end Volvos, their illegal-immigrant nannies, their exotic foods imported from all over the globe. Tahiti Water, a brand of bottled water imported from Tahiti, is the type of product they like. The more exotic and more traveled a foodstuff, the more they like it. They're very good at talking about others cutting back, but the reaction to the idea that they should lead the way by cutting back is uniform horror.

Jeez, Fleam, do you think you could have worked a few more stereotypes in there?

It's Fiji water, btw, and it is everywhere in the US I've been. What makes you think it is more popular with people from SF, or with liberals, than anyone else?

It's Fiji water, more popular with people

At $5 a bottle in the theater - it better be damn good water.

I guess it is fashionable that people keep saying "the current administration" like it is really different from previous administrations.

I guess that might be the point. In so many ways, the "current administration" started with FDR at the latest -- some might extend that back to Teddy Roosevelt.

For better or worse, each administration has dovetailed into the previous, and the American public has for the most part accepted the supposed fact that the world was an American oyster. The premises on which this worldview was based have begun to seem a little thin. I personally think the evolution is quite exciting, and filled with promise. There remains the possibility that things will spiral into chaos or even nuclear disaster -- I believe not. Cooler heads will ultimately prevail, now as in the past.

You know, I felt like the Clinton administration showed that it didn't matter who the president was. And then, we got GW Bush. It matters.

Amen. It matters who the President is.

For many years the state of Florida has fought offshore oil exploration/drilling. There are agreements with the feds and laws to prevent it, however there is no doubt in my mind that when shortages start to appear there will be a move to explore for energy resources off the Florida coast, even among those in Florida, because there are millions of people who want to drive everywhere, public transit is a joke, they will want the oil produced. Especially if the drilling is only on the gulf coast side, the state government is always in one budget crises or another big checks from big oil will start to look good, they will be able to keep building up the road networks and all that goes with big projects. Also those who live inland and those on the Atlantic coast will be enticed by the all mighty dollar and will toss the gulf coasters under the bus for tax rebates and dividend checks.

That is if there is oil etc. and if there are enough rigs and people to develop these resources,


"The rich get richer and the poor get children"

I used to think this was just a saying until I travelled the world and saw it with my own eyes. Pay heed to it.

Another fringer on TOD.

Britain 'facing energy shortfall'

Britain is likely to face a shortfall in electricity generation within five to seven years, a report concludes.

Energy and environment consultancy firm Inenco says that the number of nuclear and coal plants coming out of service over the period makes shortages likely. Old coal plants, whose operating hours are limited under European legislation, have been running more than expected because of higher gas prices.

The article reports:

The most obvious way to fill this "energy gap" would be to build new gas-fired power stations; but Inenco (reports authors)doubts this will happen quickly enough.

But the UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC), believes Inenco is presenting a worst-case scenario.

"there is no reason to expect that new gas plant cannot be constructed quickly."
Currently, he said, gas plants with a combined capacity of about 7GW are going through the consent procedure"

Building the plants is fine but aren't we currently using coal because of lack of availability of gas in the UK? I live within two miles of a gas power station only a few years old. And yet in the past two years I could probably count on my fingers the number of times it has been generating. What planet are these people living on? I can't see the UK closing this gap and expect the lights starting to dim maybe permanently in the next 5 years.

Canada and the USA will face a gas crunch by 2015 so there will be a lot of competition for LNG. Qatar and Algeria cannot possibly service the EU and North America. The only real choice the UK has is to speed up the building of the new nuclear power plants. Instead of 2020 they should target 2015.

When the dash for gas was made it was pointed out it would put our energy future in the hands of Russia and Algeria. It caused us te deplete the North Sea quickly, which we will pay for, as it should have been saved for the coming crunch. We need to start building the nuclear stations as soon as possible.

''I could probably count on my fingers the number of times it has been generating. ''

Maybe it is an auxilliary plant for peak demand? (gas can fire up and generate quickly).

As for building more gas fired stations: Fine in theory, but where does the gas come from?

If we build more gas fired stations, we will need considerably more strategic gas storage facilities than we presently enjoy.

Gas power stations would be a quick fix, but only if access to gas was secure.

You want secure?

Then it is NUKES. Lots of luvverly NUKES

Maybe it is an auxilliary plant for peak demand? (gas can fire up and generate quickly).

Today it is only powered up for peak demand. Notably when we have cold spells, just before Christmas was one such period and demand was very strong. This was certainly not the situation 4 to 5 years ago when the facility was regularly in operation.

Gas is no answer and what is so suprising that the above organisations can so easily suggest it is.

Not without breeder reactors. Worldwide demand for Uranium will outstrip supply in 2008, and that's without building any new ones (http://www.moneyweek.com/file/25277/seven-reasons-the-uranium-price-will...). Any world-wide push for new reactors will push U prices through the roof.

Of course maybe Uranium supply can be pushed upwards indefinitely, just like CERA says oil can.

Yes, uranium supply can be increased indefinitely, but oil can't. Uranium obey's Lasky's Law, with an arithmetic decrease in ore quality matched by a geometric increase in ore quanitity. Shale oil also obeys Lasky's Law because it is an oil ore.
Think of oil as being like placer gold or tin. When you find placer gold, that's all their is. You dredge and it's gone. When you find rock gold, the lower the grade, the bigger the tonnage by far. Oil fields are sort of like upside down placers, the place where the shale was buried deep enough to make oil but not deep enough to be burnt to gas and leak away.
Since it's so easy to prospect for uranium with a geiger counter or equivalent, we know where the low grade prospects are. Like the uranium shales of Sweden and the uranium phosphates of pretty much everywere. We can mine and process the low grade uranium shales in breeder reactors much more cheaply than anything we haven't tapped yet. They are the future of baseload power.
Solar, wind, and hydro have their place at about 20% of demand each, but it's nukes after that. Coal and gas are cheaper only if you don't count CO2 pollution.

Even without charging for CO2 nuclear should be cheaper than coal if coal was charged for it's other emissions and to clean up it's wastes.
Lost in the mix of people's understandable concerns about nuclear energy - because it is only right that people should be asking if it is safe and what happens to the wastes - is the enormous impact of coal, causing huge numbers of deaths a year, emitting vast amounts of pollutants (including scattering uranium out of the chimney!), aside from the CO2.
Gas is much better in all respects, although CO2 is a concern, but security of supply and resource depletion is a major issue there.
Renewables are the hope for the long term future, but the technologies are pretty immature.
Wind turbines will eat up vast resources in metal and so on to construct, far more than a nuclear program, and without expensive and unproven storage will not even provide reliable power.
Although it is very reasonable for people to question safety and waste issues, when you look at the actual facts they are relatively small problems.
Proliferation - anyone who thinks that the West can stop other nations from developing nuclear weapons if they want them is living in the past.
Regardless of what happens about civil nuclear power, any nation which wants nuclear weapons will be able to develop them.
It is not the 1940's - the knowledge is out there, and that genii won't go back in the bottle.
Waste- after reprocessing the entire waste form the last many decades of powering most electricity in France occupies an area of around 3 basketball courts.
Safety - no proven deaths in the west, against umpteen from coal.
Don't build reactors like Chernobyl, absolutely without containment.
Even with the worst possible management, and without having any form of containment, the proven death toll from Chernobyl is around 100 according to the World Health Organisation.
Greenpeace says differently, but then it is difficult to conceive of their making any statements in favour of nuclear power whatever the circumstances. Many prominent figures have left the organisation for this reason.
wkwillis has already dealt with resource issues in a very able post to which this responds.
Nuclear is the cheapest, safest, most affordable solution to energy needs for the first half of the 21st century.

[renewable] and without expensive and unproven storage will not even provide reliable power.

Simply wrong. Pumped storage is a completely mature technology with quite reasonable costs (costs are site specific of course).

Nuclear is AMONG the cheapest, safest, most affordable solutions to energy needs for the second quarter of the 21st century.

Nuclear is slow to market and costs for new nukes are unknown in many nations. The US Dept. of Energy estimates that, best case, the USA has the skilled manpower to build eight new nukes in ten years. The situation in Europe cannot be much better (France is perhaps an exception since they finished the last 4 N4 nukes only a decade ago).


Noted and retracted for the proven capability of pumped storage, Alan.
I was thinking of some of the larger schemes out there, to do things like build energy islands in the North sea, where wind would power pumping in an artificial lagoon - although certainly technically feasible, maintenance in that environment could be a nightmare, and so could construction costs.
I wrote in a fairly condensed form, and should have been more specific.
Sure you can store a few hours worth of energy, but the problem is specifically wind intermittency, and that is the major renewable resource we are talking about at the moment, can have far greater intermittency, with periods of low wind for substantial periods of time.
Denmark uses the vast hydroelectric resources of Scandanavia to even things out, but that is a resource on an altogether different scale to any economic proposal for new construction of pumped storage.
You are really getting into the realms of supergrids to balance things, and whilst I am not against proposals to develop them, we are talking about way after 2020.
I should make it clear that I am not against wind turbine power, but am in favour of making sure that we don't proceed regardless of cost, and try to run before we can walk.
I agree that it will be challenging to ramp up nuclear fast, and that a vigorous program of conservation is needed to help.
That in my view would give far better value for money than too extensive a wind power program at this stage, but that is specific to the UK and in a lot of areas of the States, it seems to me that a much greater development of wind power would be both sensible and cost-effective.

IMHO, the UK cannot wait for nuke. Conservation can be implemented soon enough to have an impact.

HV DC to Norway as well as Iceland appears to be a "good thing". Denmark, Sweden (half nuke, half hydro) and Finland (moving to mostly nuke, some thermal FF) have not depleted the load balancing abilities of Norwegian hydro. Iceland could serve as a mini-Norway as well, with 2 way flows between them & Scotland.

Getting, say, 20% of the MWh of British power from wind by 2018 appears

1) doable with changes in siting permissions

2) It would significantly extend limited NG supplies (wind supplants NG almost 1:1 in Texas so far)

3) makes the winter grid much less prone to blackouts while doing relatively less for the summer grid. A July blackout is to be preferred to a February one, and the UK appears headed for both.

4) Would be needed by the grid for their expected lifespan (20 to 25 years) for "enough nukes" will not be on-line in that time. I suspect that "enough nukes" will not be on-line until the second generation of WTs.

Pumped storage could supply peak demand for a week or so of calm winds.

Best Hopes for a Rush to Wind,


but am in favour of making sure that we don't proceed regardless of cost, and try to run before we can walk.

An unneeded concern.

The USA installed 5.25 GW on new wind in 2007 and will install more this year, with much of this in Texas (about 40% from memory). Germany installed over 3 GW in one year.

The UK should be able to install at least 3 GW in 2010. And the cost of NG shortfalls and resulting blackouts will make wind look like a true bargain !

You want secure?
Then it is NUKES.

Sure. So long as the 'rules' for operation are followed. And correct.

It must be great to live in a place where such happens. Where low-bidders don't 'skirt' the building 'rules'. Where the waste is disposed of according to the 'rules'.

And none of them thar 'rule breaking' 'terrorists'.

what terrorists?

Nukes can be hardened.

terrorists go for soft targets

What weapons would you propose that terrorists use to break the construction vessel in a nuclear plant? They are darned tough, and essentially you are likely to need something on the order of a nuclear weapon, and since reactors are sited away from city centre locations you would get a lower death toll than if they just used it slap bang on the middle of a city.
Now if you were talking about a LNG tanker, then there you have a really soft target - they contain comparable energy to a nuclear weapon, and sail into ports.

Someone sitting in the plant, especially supervisory grade - after all, that tends to be how all the really big nuclear accidents happen - by management not following the rules.

Nuclear isn't safe because of the human element, the problem isn't really a technical one per se.

''Someone sitting in the plant, especially supervisory grade ''

Well then, if you want to worry about something, how about a jihadist crew member of an LNG tanker armed with some easily smuggled explosives?

I think on the whole I would rather put up with a release form a nuclear plant, where most of the damage can be avoided by staying in for a few days with the especially vulnerable taking iodine tablets, than one from some of the chemical plants around - low-lying clouds of poisonous chemicals, which could certainly kill you no matter how tight you tried to seal the house.
The point is that radiation and so on is not some kind of unique magical risk, there are lots of things out there that can kill you.
The difference is that is is much easier to have a good degree of control in a hardened nuclear site, which produces a lot of power in a small area.
Most things are a lot tougher to reach the same level of security on.

"I think on the whole I would rather put up with a release form a nuclear plant, where most of the damage can be avoided by staying in for a few days with the especially vulnerable taking iodine tablets"

That's ridiculous.

Check out the pictures of the nearby town at Chernobyl. Why did the 50,000 residents leave? And why haven't they returned 20 years later? Perhaps they just should have staying indoors for a few days?

And why would anyone attack a nuclear reactor? Why not just destroy the water delivery system to the plant, or the cooling ponds, or fuel or high level waste in transit? Nuclear has plenty of "soft" targets.

What weapons would you propose that terrorists use to break the construction vessel in a nuclear plant?

I'm not in the business of figuring out how to break containment vessels, thank you very much.

Others have expressed concern however.

Besides - who needs a bomb when you have a gun?

98% of antiterror measures are conceived to control a population without enough food, fuel, and a chance to make a living. So ... we'll use that concern to stop building something that produces food, and fuel, and economic opportunity?

Does the oat field where you get the straw for these little men have a goodly supply of water?

98% of antiterror measures are conceived

What I find more interesting is the 98% you list.

Care to show how that is not 'made of straw'? Or is that just something you like because it fills your belly?

building something that produces food, and fuel, and economic opportunity?

So in YOUR world Fission plants "produce food"?


Does the oat field where you get the straw for these little men have a goodly supply of water?

Seems someone cares:

All the other replies do not touch the other point of my post. Understanding the history of failure of man's machines must be happening.

similar news stories here in Germany last week saying electricity shortages in 2015 in Germany due to taking nukes out of service and not commissioning new coal due to environmental restrictions.

Perhaps you can talk EdF into building a few new nukes on the south shore of the Rhine. They are building one just for England on the shore of La Manche/Normandie.

Best Hopes for French, Polish, Swiss, Swedish, Czech, etc. nukes so Germany can go nuke free !


Well spotted.

I read that press story in Germany last week on nukes and 2015 and it was based on a press release from Enbw, a big German enrgy company, obviously mixing it up for Roland Koch, of CDU, who is supporting coal and nukes. Koch just lost to today to the SPD, as he led a campaign based on racism and crime and lost 12% over his result from last time. It seems that sort of nonsense does not cut it here, too controversial. Also the energy industry is trying to scare the population into accepting their candidate and theri solution for the future. In England labour has accepted that solution. Without the election system here, proportional representation, no independt Green party would exist and the SPD would be alot more cosy witht he nergy companies for sure. The CDU want to win the next election all out withthe FDP and let the nukes and coal get built out. The greens will block whatever they can for sure. They are also the reason that all the windmills and solar are built. Now we have ex communists in three regional govts. starting today and next week Habmurg will vote and thy will probably get in here too. The mistrust against corporate dominace of society and politics, corruption is very large. 5% barrier is larg enough to prevent idiot parties adn make only serious parties part of the system. First past th post likein Anglosaxon does not allow th flexibliity we are experiencing here. Last summer two nuke plants went down near HAmbrg due to technical failure and will go up sometime in Feb or MArch again. Lots of nukes are very old and have to be taken down. Last summer or so in Sweden a big accident was just barely avoided due to fast thinking of an employee who shut the system down by hand. I prefer freezing in the dark to glowing. The large scale failures in UK could be just aging of infrastructure generally, lack of investment, like with sewage, roads, bridges in USA.

''I prefer freezing in the dark to glowing.''

No you wont.

At first you will be confused and at a loss that nothing works, then, as the power stays off and flicking a switch just doesnt work you will get angry.

But you will pull yourself together and take stock of your resources.

The water tank is the last safe, clean drinking water you may see for a while: RATION IT. Forget showers - hot or cold. Remember your National Service days in the Bundeswehr? They taught you how to shave and bathe in the field? Start thinking about that again. Also DONT FLUSH THE LOO

Now look around and see what you got for food:

Ok, everything in the fridge is perishable. So you start there first. Then the freezer. A tub freezer will give you a day or so longer, but it needs eating or disposing of. If its a German Winter, then pack your freezer with Snow and Ice - this will help keeping it cool for longer.

So, what else you got? Rice? good . now you need water and some means of heating it up. Spaghetti? Good, still need water though . Boy that German Snow and Ice will be handy. Hope my neighbors have not worked this out as well...

You have a few cans, sugar, tea, coffee, Germans still have a good larder - History taught them well. BUT YOU LET IT SLIP! Over the years, what with access to Lidl and Aldi and the fall of the wall you did not stock up the way that Mutti and Papa did - nicht wahr?

And anyway, the gas is off: 'cos in a general blackout, the gas companies computerised systems suffer a single point failure.

So, you drag out the barbeque, and go to cut some trees. BUT WHATS THIS? Neighbors are in the street arguing and fighting over who owns the small pine that one cut down. Another neighbor comes over, and with the same axe used for the tree, the man pulling on the pine is felled.


Maybe we could burn our wooden furniture. Yes! we can do this!

But the chemicals in the wood make the food smell funny.

And you are worried about a non-existant problem like 'glowing in the dark'?

To read someone's apparently real experience of such a situation, in Serbia, check out this post on a UK forum called Ludlow Survivor's Group.

To read about Ludlow, a lovely English country town at the very peak of the oil age, blissfully unconscious of its impending trials (apart from the survivors' group), visit http://www.ludlow.org.uk/

I see people on here agonizing about growing and storing food on a personal basis, but they seem to be, as a rule, not experienced in what is actually involved. We had a garden of about 1/6th of an acre and several hundred chickens pretty much all along as I was growing up. You hustle a bit to plant, then you pull weeds a bit in the AM and PM, chickens get fed twice a day, and once every few weeks some lucky fellow gets to brave the chicken house with a pitch fork and shovel. Egg collection in the evening is a ten minute job.

There is some real work at planting and then a more spread out set of activities at harvest. The only unpleasant physical labor in the whole business is cleaning up after the birds, and for several hundred we're talking a few hours doing the fork & shovel shuffle.

I think the big barriers, roughly in order, are having the space to do this, having the right tools, and then its all knowledge issues. Now there are some systemic concerns, like what happens if the country suddenly decides to plant forty million new gardens (I'm ordering seed early this year) but that can be dealt with, assuming we don't fall on our collective behinds this year.

"Now there are some systemic concerns, like what happens if the country suddenly decides to plant forty million new gardens (I'm ordering seed early this year)"

Among other reasons, that's why, for the past several years, I've been planting open-pollinated varieties and saving seed. And finding out what varieties really work around here (central NH, USA). I didn't buy any seeds at all last year, but may buy some new things to try this year. But I don't need to, in a pinch.

Really, it's quite easy. Like you say, it's mostly just know-how. And now is the time to start developing that know-how...

We'd always used hybrids but I got into Seed Savers a few months back (http://seedsaver.org). I dunno if I am going to do it - assuming I get a mix of telecom and wind related work going forward I think I'll encourage someone else to do these things that I can trade with ...

Need I point out that one doesn't necessarilly need to get into saving seeds for everything that one grows. Specialize in a few plants, and save enough so that you'll have plenty to trade. Find others in your community doing the same thing, and start working things out so that different people are specializing in different things. An annual swap should leave you with just about everything you need.

I think there are also concerns for those of us who don't live where the standard varieties grow well. In Georgia, we have to contend with heavy clay soil and likely not enough rain. I don't think we can count on irrigation, except perhaps from what we can capture in rain barrels. Because of this, I suspect we will have to use food crops that we are not as used to eating--
including perhaps amaranth, okra, collard greens, figs, sorghum, and some kinds of beans. Besides figuring out what will grow, we will also have to learn how to prepare the food in ways that are reasonably palatable.

Because of this, I suspect we will have to use food crops that we are not as used to eating--
including perhaps amaranth, okra, collard greens, figs, sorghum, and some kinds of beans. Besides figuring out what will grow, we will also have to learn how to prepare the food in ways that are reasonably palatable.

Okra? Collard Greens? Figs? Exotic crops for sure. I'd recommend peanuts but that's getting real exotic for Georgia.

Forgive the snark but learn what grows for you; I have.

Okra and greens of all types plus beans have long been staples of the Southern diet.


The missing links between locally-adapted foodstuffs and recipies are traditional regional cuisines.

Traditional regional cuisines evolved around the foods that were grown locally, and thus are adapted to the local environment. Cuisines are not just an arbitrary mix of recipes - the recipes mesh together in a complementary way.

The US, being a relatively new country, has not had a lot of time to develop traditional cuisines yet, but we do have some. Notice I used the plural, because the US is far to big of a country with a geography far to diverse to support a single traditional cuisine. We should have at least a dozen or so regional cuisines, absent the homogenizing force of mass marketing.

You are right, we need to adapt ourselves to the foods that are adapted to growing in our regions, and that adaptation includes becoming proficient in the collection of recipies that use just those foodstuffs in an authentic regional cuisine.

Thanks for that find from Serbia. A real fire-drill.

Actually, German energy policy, apart from that aspect which is set by the major energy companies, is focused quite concretely on reducing consumption, in part through efficiency (which is not technically a reduction), and in part by reduction.

As anyone can easily imagine, a company that sells a product based on consumption will fight like a trapped animal against any policy that leads to reduced sales - such as forcing highly efficient heating systems coupled with mandatory higher levels of home insulation. Or banning vampire power supply systems (according to the German government, the output of two nuclear plants would not be needed if vampire/phantom power supplies were banned, and hot water no longer heated for no purpose, as in espresso machines that are on all day - unfortunately, the study didn't break down the figures).

German society, broadly speaking, is attempting to restructure its energy supply - in part, because growing reliance on Russia as an energy supplier is not considered good, in part because Germans on the whole reject nuclear power (repeatedly, in election after election), and in part because climate change is a growing problem. (We haven't had any snow or ice this winter around here, for example.)

We can discuss whether a nation that leads in renewable energy but is also hevily reliant on coal and its autombile industry is facing contradictions which can't be reconciled. We can further discuss about how EnBW, which is in truth owned by the world's largest nuclear generating company, EdF, is anything but a disinterested player.

Germans are at least attempting to change how they live, and regardless of how well that attempt is going, or even how hypocritical (enough people in this region use French nuclear power without a moment's thought about it), having other people at least try to do the same would be a massive improvement. Unless you work for a major energy company, in which case, it would look like a disaster.

Because really, not being able to pop a frozen pizza into the microwave is the end of civilization.

''Because really, not being able to pop a frozen pizza into the microwave is the end of civilization.''

I dont think we are talking about frozen pizza.

Think: Lifts that dont work, think hospitals that power down, think traffic lights that fail, think electric trains that stop. Think petrol pumps that fail. Think about everything that needs a computer chip to work.

We are hundreds of millions in Europe and we live in and advanced civilisation and everything we do requires electricity.

No electricity? No BMWs for export.

We are mostly 3 to 5 generations away from the land and agriculture, but we are only 3 to 5 square meals away from barbarism.

What happens to an advanced society where blackouts start ? First infrequently and then more and more frequently?

Everything just grinds to a halt. Workers get laid off, stop turning up to work even when the power is on because when the power comes back on, you have more important things to go about than struggling into work.

Slowly at first, but surely, it all falls apart. Then, you have 300 million Europeans, the bulk of which are completely urbanised (and used to shopping in just-in-time-delivery supermarkets)with no visible means of support and less than 21 days of water and food.

Will there be enough time to put in place any mitigation strategies?
Can Europe feed itself from within?
How do you completely re-order a capitalist mixed society ?
Are people who cannot pay mortgages going to be de-housed? - and how do you control the millions who, when disenfranchised from society riot?
Is food and fuel going to be rationed - or will it be 'devil take the hindmost'?

I came here because of Peak Oil. I am rapidly drawing a conclusion it is a lot, lot worse than PO.

It is Peak Energy.

And by not facing up to it by not addressing Nukes and Coal and deluding ourselves that Wind and Solar will address the issue we are rendering an impossible future to the next generation.

'...but we are only 3 to 5 square meals away from barbarism.'

No we aren't, at least not where I live. And not from what history has shown - the barbarism generally comes long before the missing meals.

The rest of the list is not wrong, it is simply a way to frame perspectives. Will a city center convulse if the power goes off for more than 24 hours? The blackout has happened, actually, and NYC is still there - but then, New Yorkers are used to walking - and a number did, the same way they did after September 11 shut down most transportation.

Or in terms of the Soviet Union (not a perfect analogy, admittedly), the Russians didn't simply disappear as their government broke down.

I truly think that the English language press is being consumed with visions of The End.

However, if you substitute war for peak, then I'll be in some agreement - but war is the state where people are actively trying to make things as bad as possible for their opponents. Peak may lead to war, certainly.

But a few riots in Paris do not mean the end of France - though it may mean the end of those who thought they ruled France. Centuries of experience buttress that view. And yet, in the end, Paris is still there.

I just don't buy the view that all men are beasts. Some are, some aren't - and generally, any society that thinks all men are beasts is already far gone along the path to barbarism. In part, because that is a society that justifies its own evil by saying that anyone would do the same thing, if they had the chance.

1. New York - The power came back on.

What about the 3 - 5 day on , week off , 3 day on 5 off scenario as access to power generating fuels such as gas or coal becomes a feature of life? When that happens the activity of commerce and production stalls.

2. Russia and the post soviet collapse.

Russians were already used to a tough life. Many had vegetable plots. Most lived in state accomodation (that is to say not able to be de-housed)

3. French Riots.
Were a small hiccup - in a relatively rich and functioning society.
That may not always be the case if prosperity declines in countries that suddenly become reduced to poverty.

4. Barbarism.
We are seeing it in Kenya, Darfur, Zimbabwe. The biggest surprise (to me at least) is how fast Kenya is going down.

5 years might be a bit optimistic. From one of the stories on yesterday's drumbeat:

U.K. power for delivery on the next working day rose as the network operator said a third of Britain's coal-fired electricity-generation units are halted...

...There were 19 out of 59 coal-fired units off line as of 8:30 a.m. today, according to data on a Web site run by National Grid Plc, the manager of Britain's power-transmission network. Six of British Energy Group Plc's 16 nuclear reactors are also halted

What struck me as interesting was the nature of an electrical crisis in one country replicating itself (via coal) to another country, even though there is no direct electrical link between them. Like an emergent behaviour, evolving by chance within a complex system. Quite scary!

and we have enjoyed a very mild winter.

Why would the lights dim in the UK ? The only way I see this happening is if the UK government institutes some kind of price controls. If not, a shortfall of electricity generation will just lead to higher prices, until demand drops again.

The bulk of our power is generated by Coal, Gas, then Nukes.

Our Coal fleet is about to fall short of emmissions legislation. Our nuke fleet is about to go into decommissioning, and our gas fleet is now increasingly dependant on imported gas.

Mitigation would of course include rationing. Either by controlled effort ('Dunkirk Spirit'), government inspired shut downs etc. Or rationing by price. Rationing by price is a fine way to cull the elderly, infirm and young. Churchill once said that you can judge a civilisation by the way it treats its prisoners. I would posit you can judge a civilisation by the way it treats its elderly.

So, what would happen?

First off in what would be seen as a temporary emergency, power would be saved by big ticket users 'voluntarily' shutting down industry. This would save power to keep the general population going, but the big ticket users would first off go to a 3-day week (been there) then general shut downs and mass unemployment.

This would be followed by a general recession , the collapse of the stock exchange, withdrawl of confidence, tight money, and a general lack of ability to pay for foreign supplies of gas, coal, or any other vital resource such as food, grain, milk, meat etc.

Its called a feed back loop.

Though others call it a death spiral.

Mudlogger asked:
'So, what would happen?'
I would suggest that the first thing to be relaxed would be the emissions legislation on coal.
That should buy enough time for a crash program to build nukes.

Perhaps if what you are describing is the inevitable result of the legislation, then the sensible thing to do is to ignore the legislation - or, if necessary, simply pull out of the European Union and tell them to get stuffed. What has the European Union ever done for any of its members anyhow, except to smother them under vast piles of useless and sometimes contradictory rules and regulations?

A Karachi friend told me some months back that all his friends either had or were spending $100 for a Chinese-made conversion kit to make their cars work on CNG. He said they saved a lot of money. That sounds great until one reads about the natural gas shortages across that part of the world -- Pakistan, Iran, Turkey, Greece, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and so on. The Lahore traffic jams over the last two days are a case in point.

Steve LeVine, author
The Oil and the Glory

A taxi drive in Chengdu, Sichuan told me last year that most cabs there were set up to run both CNG and gasoline. Methane is cheaper but only gives him about 120km of range, while the petrol lasts over 200km, for about 50% higher per-mile cost.

A Russian friend told me in the latter years of the USSR he converted his car to natural gas. He could more easily buy natural gas than gasoline in Moscow. So he converted his car and cruised around using natural gas.

You can get natural gas Honda cars by special ordering btw.

The high costs of subsidizing ethanol:


Selling off vital food stockpiles to prop up usage of an inefficient fuel.

Re: Nuclear Energy is No Solution

What an absurd article. "Nuclear fusion" and "fuel cells". Wow, what nonsense. China's only two options until 2020 are buisness as usual coal, oil and gas and fission nuclear. When somebody designs and builds a viable clean coal plant of the right scale then I am sure that it will become an option. Fuel cells are not an energy source. If you want to use them in transport then why not force commuters to use plug in hybrids or pure electric (I think that typical commute distances in China are shorter than in the USA, where over 70% are within 40 miles of their workplace). Nuclear fusion is not a legitimate planning target in the next 40 years, and during this period China and the rest of the world will face a serious/cataclysmic energy crunch.

why not force commuters to use plug in hybrids or pure electric

China is THE world leader in e-bicycles, and Shanghai is building out 17 subways lines (first one opened about 7 years ago, 5 open today (maybe 6)) which will make them the worlds #1 subway city by every metric. Beijing a dozen or more subway lines, etc.

No need for fuel cells.


Hey, what happened to the posts before dissident's. Are former Greenpeace members backing nuclear power off limits for discussion?

No, but I had complaints about one of the post's crude language, and I had to agree it was a bit much. Unfortunately, when you delete a post, all its replies go, too.

Please, folks - try to maintain a somewhat professional tone. If it's not a word you would use in the workplace or to a prospective customer, don't use it here. Even if you're just joking. There's too much room for misunderstanding. And we don't want to end up filtered by schools and libraries.

The school where I teach filters out dieoff.org under the "denied" category of "Political Organization."

The restrictions are increasing on controversial issues. Kunstler is "denied" also, probably because of CF Nation blog title.

Hi Leanan,

Thanks for the reminder.

I've recommended TOD to people from vastly different backgrounds - (and done so at times with some hesitation and/or "warning", then, as things seemed to become more respectful, I dropped the "warning".) Something that may be a silly off-color joke or a common adjective to one person, can be interpreted as a put-down, or deliberate disrespect to another.

To me, it's not a matter of (as I was replied to once) of being "too sensitive", it's an effort to invite people into a discussion.

''Are former Greenpeace members backing nuclear power off limits for discussion?''

What you promulgate is grave heresy my child. You have one chance to recant, and if not, you will be forced to wear the hat of the heretic and be paraded through the streets as one fallen from the grace of the new holy mother.

Remember the credo my child:

No to nukes
No to carbon capture
No to Severn Barrages
And now the new addition: no to Wind farms on the Isle of Lewis if it ruins my view.

You must recant and make penance my child.

alan -

Oh dear, what have I done!

Looks like my snarky little riff on the stereotypical Greenpeacer got some people's knickers in a bind. My purpose wasn't so much to insult Greenpeacers (which I don't mind doing), but rather to colorfully contrast the Greenpeace image with the prospect of coming out for nukes.

I guess I got a little carried away and really should have known better, as it appears that maybe some people need new batteries in their irony meter and/or need to recalibrate their tongue-in-cheek detector.

I promise to play nice.

So were you being tongue in cheek? Or I ? Or both?...:-)

Re: Washington requesting KSA to increase exports...but price is down.

This plus BODMAN stating 'supplies are tight' last week.

Are they falling out of step with the wag team?

Psst...guys...you are not supposed to mention supplies are tight. It's speculators...er...was.

US Energy Secretary Sam Bodman agreed the world was in an "energy crisis" in an interview with CNN's Richard Quest at Davos (early Friday morning) when the question was put to him. It went out live on CNN International. Don't know if it was carried by CNN Domestic. Anybody else catch it?

Damn speculators are driving the price down now.

Non-state actors directly challenging their government's power:

"Gunmen in Guyana have gone on a rampage, killing 11 people, including five children, police say."
"Hours before the village massacre, heavily armed gunmen had also attacked the headquarters of the Guyana police force, injuring two policemen."
"On Wednesday, in the criminal haven of Buxton, east of Georgetown, gunmen engaged Guyanese soldiers in a firefight that left one soldier dead and another seriously injured."


A gang leader wants his moll sprung from the slammer, and he's going to shoot up police stations and villages until he gets his way. Not exactly an ideologically driven conflict.
Sudan, Pakistan, Guyana, ... Mexico next?

I know this is way OT but I'm pulling my hair out.

My daughter is in a Choir. She even has some solos.

The Choir is going to UK and France in july to sing at Notre Dame and although she is the youngest at 11 the director has (pleaded) asked that she be included.

Though I am so proud, I just think that the timming is terrible.

My wife would go also, which almost makes it worst in some ways.

It's not the money although I can think of hundreds of other ways to spend 6 to 8K, it's just all of the open hostility directed towards the US from all corners of the globe. The spring loaded Global economic situation. Airline fuel and dependability. Basically EVERYTHING.

If anyone has any info, thoughts, suspisions, etc. I would love some input.

5 years ago this would be a no-brainer (wow! I have always hated that term but in this case it is accurate).


6 to 8K? Holy crap!!! It's never cost me anything near that much to vacation in the UK.

I wouldn't worry. I went to London with a friend when Bush launched the war on Iraq. I think the news broke while we were en route. We had been a little concerned, but had planned the trip months in advance, and couldn't back out.

It was fine. Everyone was really nice to us (and no, we didn't pretend to be Canadians). Even the French people we met at our favorite French restaurant were very kind.

My daughters package is $3500. all inclusive 2 weeks and I figure my wife about the same (probably more with shopping).

Leanan & Webjazz - I wish I could be as light hearted and optimistic as as you all but I think it's about a hell of a lot more than just the money (by the way the money is a huge issue too).

Regarding the attitudes in Europe: there's a reasonable amount of despair, which transforms into anger and equally pity, about "America the nation-state". But the overwhelming majority of people will distinguish this from their attitude to particular Americans, particularly ones who don't have the stereotypical gung-ho "I know best about everything" attitude and I really don't think they're going to get any trouble individually. If you're travelling as a choir group, there may be a certain amount of flag-waving behaviour by the organisers but even then I'd be surprised if there were any issues with that.

If the money is not a big enough problem to put off the trip, I'd say it's a good experience for a young adult.

I highly recommend a book called Great Eats (used to be Cheap Eats). We tried her recommendations in Paris, Venice Florence and Rome, and we never have had a bad experience--always very good food at reasonable prices. Her recommended restaurants are generally small, family run places.

In Venice, I tracked down one place--Al Covo, which is probably now my all time favorite restaurant--where the wife of the co-owner turned out to be from Lubbock, Texas. After she came over and gave me a hug, and we talked, we decided that her brother and I probably played tennis in the same high school tournaments in the Seventies. We were having dinner with a British couple we met the night before, and I told them that you cannot imagine two more radically different places than Venice, Italy and Lubbock, Texas.

Hi Souperman, sorry man, you look to be a fine and caring parent, but your fears about hostility outside your country towards individual Americans is strictly paranoia and you feed Bush and his ilk by buying into that crap. My American cousin and her son missed out on a school trip to France because of fear of that outer world. I feel it was too bad as I am pretty sure that nontrip will colour his world-view for a long time, maybe always.

About the rest of your worries about economy etc. that is a question of timing. If you really feel that things are likely to break down, within the time frame of that visit, I would save the loot and use money as an excuse to your daughter why it is a no go to a civilized country like France.

BTW Just reading a book on food preservation by the Gardeners and Farmers of Terre Vivante in France and from the reading, if you do decide to send your daughter you might worry about packing some woolies for her, as a method in the book for preserving tomatoes involves keeping them at room temperature which they state to be between 57 and 62 degrees Fahrenheit.

You're fine in the UK there's no anti US sentiment here. Most of the population couldn't pass an opinion on anything outside of the latest soap sagas. Fed a constant diet of US tv junk programes its the 51st state in everything but name anyway.

Being serious though you have nothing to fear in the UK from what you mention. Like most places in the world it just a case of taking care of personal safety which in most towns and cities is generally not a problem.

souperman2, France is fine, don't worry. Remember there's a Disneyland in Paris too. People may dislike the US administration's foreign policy, but that doesn't mean they don't like people from the US :)

The bigger problem will be the Dollar, it's devalued enormously against the Euro and Paris is not a cheap city either.

Burgundy - thanks for responding.

I am less concerned about anti-americanism than I am about political/economic turmoil in said countries.

From what I read France is broke (US too as well as others) and that can trigger crisis.

I know about the Euro which is part of the high cost issue, though I have hegged on that a bit.

If I were going along I would not worry as I have been in some tight spots in some of the 4 corners of the world and know how to make like water but alas I can not.

I guess I need to get a grip and stop seeing crisis lurking behind every corner but I want to tell you....

a votre sante

"Political/economic turmoil"

Things are a lot less advanced here, turmoil wise, than in the US. There is no outward signs of the growing global crisis yet. France has been stress tested over several centuries by all manner of crises, so its evolved into quite a robust nation state. Strikes, street protests, etc. are all part of the system, part of its internal dynamic, not signs that it is failing.

After all, I chose France as my lifeboat, I expect it to stay afloat and function in rough seas :)

Unless you are posting from 20 years into the future, I really don't see what you are worried about.

1) There isn't anything in Western Europe which could be described as "turmoil", and won't be for years.

2) Lots of French people eat hamburgers and listen to rap music, which is disappointing really. French hip-hop sucks,in my opinion.

3) The murder rate is about 1/3 of that in the USA. You'll be much safer than if you'd stayed at home.

4) France has been "broke" for the last 300 years, but still does fine. They should manage to stay in denial for the rest of the decade, at least.

You've been "in some tight spots" in the the "4 corners of the world" and you think France is dangerous? WTF?

Hi souper,

Good luck w. this. (I'd be happy to talk more off-line, if this would be helpful.)

From a more objective perspective, the only rational argument you have for not letting her go is the money. If that's really not an issue, you should let her go. Think of it this way, it may be the last chance she gets to see something of the world at large.
The airline fuel and dependability thing should not affect the overall decision. Same with the concerns about terrorism. If things suddenly deteriorate significantly before they leave, you can always change your mind although you may be out some money.
Regardless of all the doomy and gloomy predictions, the world isn't goint to stop turning. People will be traveling and flying and sight seeing the world over for a good while to come.
And congratulations!


If things deteriorate sharply, I expect the trip will be cancelled by the organizers.

Travel insurance might be a good investment.

We were in Italy last fall, and we only saw one overt sign of hostility, when an Italian gentleman came up to us and said "Bush is shit." I told him I agreed with him. There may be some reasons not to go to Europe, but I would put I would put anti-American attitudes at the bottom of the list.

In fact, if you want to go, and it won't strain the family budget, IMO go now. It's only going to get increasingly expensive in future years.

That 'open hostility?' Something I keep running against in the American media, and somehow, never experience in my life, which is lived outside of the U.S. - mainly Germany, but vacation last summer in France, for example.

Let's just say that there seems to be a long term current flowing through the U.S., one which leaves Americans without any involvement in a larger world, the world which exists beyond the boundaries of malls and cable TV.

As for disruptions during travelling - a reasonable enough concern, actually. Though in my case, it was in leaving the U.S., because Homeland Security had to resecure the plane, Heathrow was a disaster, though by the time we arrived in Frankfurt, sanity returned - even if our luggage didn't, not for a couple of weeks.

A few years ago, my wife offered our house any time my brother's children might want to visit us in Germany. His wife replied that it was likely they would meet strangers, and thus travelling to a foreign country was simply not practical. My wife, who thought the entire point of travelling was to meet strangers, was essentially beyond words.

Obviously, a few days in Europe, jet lagged scheduling included, is not really travelling, but simply spending a few days outside of the U.S. might be eye-opening enough to be worth it.

But please, don't even begin to think anti-American hostility is a reason not to travel.

I was in Paris last August & Lyon in '06 and didn't encounter any hostility. Everyone was very pleasant even when I speaking my poor French.

I'd say go for it, its the chance of a lifetime. It will change the way she looks at the world for the whole rest of her life. My excursions to Europe in the 60's and 70's did that for me. You look at the world with a much broader perspective.

There is no such thing as anti-American hostility in Europe. There is definitely an anger against the US policy, usually identified with Bush recently. But this is entirely separate from the attitude towards Americans (though it is quite popular to mock on you for electing such an dumba**).

You don't really have what to worry about, your wife and daughter are likely to be even safer there than here.

If the Choir is in London and Paris she will love it. Hopefully they will organise to see some sights while she is here. As others have said there may be no better time - what if the dollar/Euro collapses in the future?

Inform the director about your fears, then tell him it will be a last minute decision based on world events. If you pay the money, then pull out at the last minute, everyone may think your an SOB, but at that point all you will have lost is money. Family is way more important than money.

What's the deadline for commitment? IMHO, by summer thing will either be a train wreck, or have stabilized.


My daughter returned last fall from a year's study in England, she had no problems, although the car bomb at Picadilly was found one week to the hour after she had been on that same block.

My son just got back from a university band trip in Italy and Greece, although I did warn him to not be blatant about being an American in public, he had no problems. Even in bars.

I consider the use of fuel to fly for such purposes to be almost wasteful, but I consider the education they get from seeing other countries to be incredibly valuable.

The additional probability of any specific harm impacting her is minute, especially with her mother along, relative to the scale of probabilities of harms coming as she goes through her day to day life here. I would go for it for the educational value.

If there is open hostility to the US, I don't see it. I seriously don't think you have to worry about anything like that. I appreciate the cost issue, but the chance to sing in Notre Dame is priceless.

I would like to echo that I think you should let her go. We are a British/American family, living here in the US. We have NEVER met with the remotest anti-American hostility,in the UK or elsewhere in Europe, and I know my kids (now 11 and 13) have a very different world-view than many of their peers. For example, they don't believe any baloney about the American way of life being the only way--they were the only kids in our socioeconomic group to use public transportation in our Midwestern small city, for example---and now some of their friends are starting to follow suit. They sometimes complain about our one-car family, but pretty much everyone we know from Europe is a one- or zero-car family, so they understand that on a world scale, we are hardly anomalies. I could go on--eating homegrown; in-season vegetables; mistrusting flag-waving patriotism, knowing smaller houses and greater use of public spaces is a pleasant way to live, compared to everyone having their own entertainment rooms and backyard play palaces---. We are so far choosing to stay here in the USA, and there are many things we like over here, but we are much more aware than most people in our very red state that ours is not only not the only way, there are better ways to do many things. I think this country would be a lot better off if MORE Americans travelled, or better yet spent time living in many other parts of the world. Of course, I would caution her that it's just polite not to talk about being from the "greatest country in the world" or any such nonsense (and I have to wonder at all the American tourists who seem to buy whole wardrobes of American-flag decorated clothing for travel in Europe!)

Here in the UK I think its the US foreign policy which attracts hostility from part of the population, But I assure you the individual American will be judged on what kind of person they are, certainly one of the couples we know best is an English/American marriage, and she (the American) is greatly liked by everyone we know. Like I say, It all depends on the person not the nationality,

Dont stay in the big hotels in the centre of London, try smaller places like Ealing on the outskirts but nice. where you can get good bed and breakfast or small hotel accommodation for much less.

There is no sign of any let up in airline flights to the UK. Indeed another runway is being proposed at Heathrow, My guess is that you would not be stranded. Anyway I may be wrong but I would think a scheduled flight would be the last to be canncelled in an emergency situation

If the S is going to HTF it would be great if your daughter could have the opportunity to travel a little before then, She might not have that many more chances in the future.

Of course you have to make the decision, but I hope you and your family make it over here and to France.

Hi Souper,

Don't be silly. (not to be disrepectful)

Let them travel..go with them. While you still can!

We are not yet at the point when we shouldn't travel, a few more years...enjoy them while you and your family can.

Things will change...but not yet.

Please no reference to soupy sales unless you want to see a troll turn green and go all HULK on your A$$;)

i agree with all those who say it's an opportunity for her and if
you can, then you go too.....
i live in France, though not in Paris, ( out in the country in the South) 1/2 the time ..... what i have found is that French people generally love americans who don't come on as superior to them.... if your daughter learns to say bonjour madame, merci and maybe 4 other polite words, they'll love her....especially if she's bringing them music...... like Kunstler's advice for the future --"learn to play a musical instrument "( or sing )

dadco - thank you

Yes my daughter (and wife) speak a bit of french as we have several native French friends. She even sings a little french.

She is also very present, perhaps more so than mom at times.

So the consensus is no bottleneck for a year or two?

Looks like the trip is on pending developing events.
I might even bite the bullet and "live large" one last time.

Thanks to all.

RE: Zimbabwe: Getting Harder To Keep Children In School

Educational standards have been on a free fall since the beginning of an unprecedented economic collapse that started in 2000, with often-violent seizures of thousands of white-owned commercial farms in the former regional breadbasket.

How can somebody write an article and say the collapse started in 2000? The collapse started in the eighties coinciding with the increase of HIV infections. Zimbabwe had a pro-western economy until becoming overburdened in debt by 1995. It really irritates me that the media blames collapse on kicking out WHITE people.

Right, Zimbabwe's health system became overburdened with the AIDS epidemic. Their governmental infrastructure started to collapse way back in 1987 when Robert Mugabe became president. Their food and agricultural production started to collapsed a few years later when Mugabe started kicking out of the white farmers.

It is not that their color had anything to do with it but the land was turned over, mostly to Mugabe supporters or who could grab what. These people had absolutely no knowledge of farming and production collapsed all over Zimbabwe.

It is just stupid to try to make this a racial thing, though that is no doubt what Mugabe had in mind. That is, he wished to replace white with black, and he did. Food and other agricultural production collapsed because those taking over the agricultural production had about as much knowledge about agricultural production as I do about quantum physic...absolutely none!

Had Mugabe had black people trained in agricultural production, and installed them as overseers of the confiscated farms, production would not have suffered nearly as much. But he did not and it did.

The problem lies with Mugabe. He is a power hungry despot. He does not care how many of his people die of starvation as long as he remains in power.

Ron Patterson

"Had Mugabe had black people trained in agricultural production, and installed them as overseers of the confiscated farms."

My understanding is that it's even worse than that: Mugabe's key aim was to reward/pacify soldiers who'd supported him. There were black workers on the farms and, for the sake of argument assuming that confiscation of farms from whites was justified, if some of the workers on the farms had been promoted and tax/collective farming been used to distribute profits to the soldiers things might have worked reasonably for a bit longer. But he gave the most vociferous soldiers "their piece of land" ignoring the fact these were precisely the people who had no idea how to run it and no inclination to learn from those who did.

Mugabe is probably not the worst despot ever to rule in Africa, Uganda's Idi Amin would probably take that prize. But Mugabe is right up there among them. But I had it wrong above. Mugabe took power in 1980 as Prime Minister and made himself president in 1987. He has ruled for 27 years. During that 27 year reign he has made Zimbabwe Life Expectancy Lowest In The World. True, Zimbabwe has a serious AIDS problem but many African nations have an even higher AIDS rate than Zimbabwe but still have a higher life expectancy.

In Zimbabwe, female life expectancy stands at 34 years, while for males it is 37 years.

It is a very sad state of affairs. Zimbabwe used to be one of the richest countries in Africa.

'Zimbabwe used to be a place with so much hope, its future looked wonderful. As a black woman I really felt we were going somewhere. A man took over and gradually turned into a monster. He has torn the place to pieces - like a cat playing with a squeaking mouse. It is a tragedy.'

The primary reason Zimbabwe has such a low life expectancy is mostly due to deaths related to malnutrition. While Idi Amin killed people with a machete or a gun, Mugabe just starves them to death.

All that being said however, Zimbabwe today probably looks much like the rest of the world will in twenty years.

Ron Patterson

Oh! The Irony! On this day in 1980


1980: Exiled Mugabe returns to Rhodesia
Rhodesia opposition leader Robert Mugabe has made a triumphant return to his home country after five years in exile.
Cheering crowds greeted Mr Mugabe's arrival in the capital, Salisbury, from Mozambique where he has been gathering support for his Zimbabwe African National government, told a tumultuous rally of supporters there would be no more Union (Patriotic Front) or Zanu (PF) party.
The Rhodesian black nationalist leader, who spearheaded a guerrilla war against the Salisbury injustice based on race and colour.


Nobody has decent numbers on HIV infections in Africa, right? But Zimbabwe's life expectancy in the year 2000 was slightly higher than the surrounding countries -- 37.2. Obviously, kicking out the WHITE farmers had nothing to do with the life expectancy rate.

The Western countries (UK and US) pressured Libya to stop supplying Zimbabwe with oil which brought about the complete collapse that started in 2002. Mugabe had no choice but to kick the Westerners out by the late Nineties, the country had fallen apart and the citizens wanted change. Mugabe did what he had to and nothing you wrote makes me think otherwise.



Mugabe is a psychotic tribal nutter who wrecked a nice little country that was once known as the market garden of Africa.

I correct myself, Zimbabwe had a slightly lower life expectancy than most surrounding countries invalidating your whole argument that it was caused by kicking out WHITES.

Life expectancies

You can't explain it to this board.
If race is involved, they think the tail wags the dog.
Nice try.

With all respect, try to keep the strokes a little less broad, ok? There is a pretty wide range of experience here, and as many views.


I do respect you jokuhl, yes it was a broad stroke, yes there is diversity here.
There is also endless racism here and race-baiting here and rarely a voice raised against it.
I see this board rejoicing in the suffering of Zimbabwe. No one knows or cares a rat's behind about African history. The slave trade never existed. Imperialism and colonialism are just fairy tales at TOD.
It's always open season on Arabs and Islam. No one objects. Has anyone here ever pointed out that that before oil men (us good old boys) and the Great Powers the House of Saud and the Wahhabi cult were nothing special? That us white folks always arm the most regressive and brutal thugs we can find and then tell stories about native savages?
I could rant on.
You will notice there are no dark voices here. Wonder why?

Sorry, OH, but I don't think this is correct. Yes, there's a lot of ignorance here. But people have spoken up against it. (Darwinian had the opposite complaint: that he couldn't explain Arab culture without the PC police jumping all over him.) We have certainly discussed colonialism here. I have deleted comments I thought crossed the line. There are "dark voices" here; you just haven't noticed them. ("White male" is the default setting for human. Everyone is assumed to be one until proven otherwise. I'm telling you: a lot of the people assumed to be white males here are not.)

I know it may not seem like enough to you, but really, I think most people are just tired of arguing about race. They don't speak up because they know it won't change anyone's mind at this point.

Zimbabwe is down the tubes. If you squint hard in proves certain pet theories. History begins in 1980. Break out the Champagne.

Race is tiresome for me too. When posters wallow in their prejudices and everyone stays quiet, occasionally, very occasionally something should be said. But no one does. It's called consensus.

If you don't go along with the consensus you're a PC jerk.

If there is anyone of color here they are certainly sucking up a lot of abuse. I've always assumed there are more females here than yourself and Gail.

Hey, OH.
If I have desisted from commenting on this particular topic, it is largely, as Leanan suggested due to a kind of 'Endless Battle Fatigue' .. not that it's not worth fighting, but that some forms such fights take are particularly interminable, and unlikely to move the discussion forward.

I take on some of these.. often the inflammatory class-statements that I think create an unhelpful division in the conversations here, as with JHK's 'Nascar' rants, etc.

Maybe I should come up with some kind of shorthand for replying to comments that are objectionable and deserve to be defied, but in a way that doesn't turn it all into an 'oh yeah?!!' -fest.


Thank you.
Work on it.
If I had a better idea..........

You forgot the whole 'The Jews are the problem' thread a while ago.

Plenty of racism ON ALL SIDES to go about to mix in with other bits to make up doomer stew.

Gog, your post does not make a lot of sense. Zimbabwe's life expectancy was once one of the highest in Africa. But now it is the lowest in the world. But Mugabe had no choice? Absurd! You wrote:

Obviously, kicking out the WHITE farmers had nothing to do with the life expectancy rate.

By what stretch of convoluted logic did you arrive at that conclusion? Mugabe kicked the white farmers out and give the land to his army cronies. Production dropped to near zero and people started to starve. They are still starving because Zimbabwe does no longer produces enough food to feed its people and Zimbabwe has no money to buy imported food. Before Mugabe Zimbabwe produced enough food to feed all its people then still had plenty of food to export. Zimbabwe, at that time, was the richest non oil producing country in Africa! And as a result of Mugabe's policies the people are now starving to death. And this has nothing to do with the life expectancy dropping? Good Lord man, 2+2=4. How far did you get in school anyway?

And just where did you get the information that the US and UK pressured Libya to stop supplying Zimbabwe with oil. Do you have a source for that bit of information? Was Libya just giving oil to Zimbabwe? If Zimbabwe has the money to buy oil any exporting nation will gladly be obliged to sell it to them. Methinks you are just making crap up.

Mugabe did what he had to and nothing you wrote makes me think otherwise.

Of course he did. Zimbabwe is desperately overpopulated and Mugabe needed to reduce the population. So he is starving people to death. That makes him a hero in your eyes....Right? And it was not my writing! It was a black Zimbabwe woman who wrote:

'Zimbabwe used to be a place with so much hope, its future looked wonderful. As a black Zimbabwe woman I really felt we were going somewhere. A man took over and gradually turned into a monster. He has torn the place to pieces - like a cat playing with a squeaking mouse. It is a tragedy.'

Ron Patterson

Under Ian Smith I would expect the stats on the lifespan of Rhodesian cattle mere more accurate and meaningful than any numbers concerning the native population.

I've no brief for Mugabe. But argument from stereotypes and mythology is sad.

Old Hippie, the argument from stereotypes and mythology is all in your head. Point to anywhere in my argument where I have argued from stereotypes of mythology. Everything I wrote I derived from the data found on the links I posted and from the lips of Zimbabwe citizens.

I have never defended the regime of Ian Smith. In fact I never even mentioned him once. But the people under Ian Smith were well fed. And the people under Robert Mugabe could have been just as well fed if he had only managed the country a little better. He could have replaced the white farmers with black farmers who were competent and everything might have gone very smoothly.

It really pisses me off when people play the race card first then accuse others of being the instigator of racism. Which is exactly what you have done. It is all in your head Ole Hippie.

No one gives a crap what color Mugabe is. No one cares what color the farmers are. They only care as to whether they are competent at running farms or not. There are plenty of black farmers capable of doing very well on Zimbabwe's farms. But Mugabe did not choose to place them in charge. Instead he put his cronies in charge. And as a result his people are starving.

If I had criticized Idi Amen for hacking people to death with machetes would you have accused me of stereotyping him? Well, that is exactly what he had his henchmen do. But is that is an argument from stereotype? Or is it an argument from mythology?

What is the stereotype in the Mugabe story? What is myth? If you make an accusation Old Hippie, you should have the facts to back it up? Since I see no data or even an argument in your post, what you did was nothing more than a cheap shot.

Ron Patterson

Under white rule there is no black society.
Under white rule there is no black polity.
Under white rule there are only white people and natives.

Under white rule the only incubator for black leadership is the resistance movement.
Under white rule the only school of government is the resistance movement.
Under white rule the only educational institution is the resistance movement.

This story has played enough times that we know how horrible resistance fighters are at governing.
It is always the case that the former rulers make endless mischief from their safe lairs thousands of miles away.

Why would anyone imagine that those who have known only subjection and fighting would be good at civil administration?

That is the whole history of the past century. How you remain ignorant of it is beyond me. All you want to do is place blame and thunder like some Old Testament prophet. And hit convenient targets.

You want a citation? Not in internet fashion to a few paragraphs at some webpage. Read Fanon. Read Said. Read C.L.R. James. Even read Conrad.

Targets that he was fed misinformation to hit, like the article that started this -- just a bunch of misinformation.

Guys, get a life! This is not a Black-White argument. South Africa and Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) both had white rule. Both converted to black rule. South Africa is now in very good shape. Zimbabwe is now a basket case. The difference.....Mugabe.

Mugabe is the problem. Mugabe is the argument. Don't argue black or white, argue Robert Mugabe verses Thabo Mbeki and Nelson Mandela.

But noooooooh, you guys just gotta drag race into it.

As I said, get a life!

Ron Patterson

Ron, that is not even an argument. It's a scapegoat.
An excuse for falling back on preconceived notions.
You cannot seriously suggest that a transition can be made from white rule to black rule without dragging race into it. Pretending this is not about race is exhibit #1 of where you are in your thinking.

South Africa is in fair condition. Special graces have benefited S. Africa as special graces were given to America when America dumped the British. And if you ever read any of the literature of S. African liberation you would what I was talking about. You have not done the reading.

Yeah, things would turn out better if there were more often great men like Mandela.

Kenya had, and kept an almost 1% white population after independence. Even a couple of white cabinet ministers (from memory). All in all it was a good thing for all concerned from what I can see.


South Africa had a large swathe of the white population that participated in the ANC and the liberation struggle. And an enormous international movement conspicuously including whites. And we were labelled terrorists along with Mandela and paid a price for that. Such things do help.

Okay Old Hippie, I will grant that you have won the argument. Mugabe is a great leader. Mugabe is a hero! But he is your hero, he is not my hero and I think he is no leader at all but a despot. I say he is starving people and does not even give a damn. But all you can see is that he drove out white farmers. That makes him your hero.

The welfare of African nations can be measured by those who lead them. Zimbabwe is in worse shape than any other nation of Africa. Zimbabwe is a total absolute basket case. That is all that need be said.

I am watching "Crude" and have no more time for such very, very stupid arguments, arguments that make heroes out of despots simply because they drove out the white farmers and gave the land to people who have no clue as to what to do with it, and wound up starving their people.

Ron Patterson

[ edited to avoid having to say that Darwinian comes across like a petulant teenager in his argumentative style lately. Whoops! I said it. ]

You have no argument whatsoever. You have a bogeyman.
You have slandered me with an accusation that I am saying positive things about Mugabe. I have put forth an argument, a very well-known argument, as to why post-colonial leaders are so very bad and you have ignored it entirely.

"The welfare of African nations can be measured by those who lead them." What does that mean? Devoid of content so far as I can see. Mr. Bush has an effect on my welfare, but America is not measured by an impression of one man. It must be different in Africa.

I have said nothing of white farmers. You have no basis whatever for claiming blacks were well off in Rhodesia. None. And yes you are defending Ian Smith and apartheid.

I could care less about winning an argument. Believe it or not I actually respect you. If your fulminations are annoying you have also demonstrated a capacity for reconsidering your positions, something rare in a strong minded man of your years.

Hopefully when you find yourself in a position so untenable you will read and reflect.

It is not about race.

It is about psychotic nutters.

Would it help if one listed the craptackular White rulers?

I say again:

It has nothing to do with race. The man is a thieving, murdering maniac who will starve people to stay in power.

You have never defended the regime of Ian Smith?
But under Ian Smith "the people" were well fed?
All your arguments are like that. Clumsy apologetics and worse.
Under Ian Smith the natives were not defined as "people".

Old Hippie wrote:

But under Ian Smith "the people" were well fed?

Yes, and now those same well fed people are dead. Mugabe starved them to death. Are they better off now?

Ron Patterson

If you white you right.

Must have been a fashion statement, that thing about self-rule. Why would anyone want to be free, or human, when we treat them so good?

Dead by 34: How Aids and starvation condemn Zimbabwe's women to early grave

The reasons for this plunge are several. Zimbabwe has found itself at the nexus of an Aids pandemic, a food crisis and an economic meltdown that is killing an estimated 3,500 people every week. That figure is more than those dying in Iraq, Darfur or Lebanon. In war-torn Afghanistan, where women's plight has received global attention, life expectancy is still above 40.

This cull is not an act of God. It is a catastrophe aggravated by the ruthless, kleptocratic reign of Robert Mugabe, in power since independence in 1980. The Mugabe regime has succeeded in turning a country once fêted as the breadbasket of Africa into a famished and demoralised land deserted by its men of working age, with its women left to die a silent death.

What a hero this man is!

Ron Patterson

Lordy, why would I want to make up anything? I have read media reports stating that the UK and US pressured Libya to cut off oil supply to Zimbabwe. If I find some links, I'll post 'em.

Their food and agricultural production started to collapsed a few years later when Mugabe started kicking out of the white farmers.

Some of the WHITE farmers were kicked out starting in 2000 (see article in Drumbeat that started this). The average life expectancy was already at 37.2 and the trend was down. There is no way you can blame this on WHITE farmers. Sure there are millions of people starving, we would be too without any oil after being modernized.

EDIT:Some evidence.

Sources said that Colonel Gaddafi's "misguided support" for Mr Mugabe had brought one of his state oil companies, Tamoil, to the verge of bankruptcy. Tamoil's European investors and creditors - the company has
offices in Monaco, London, Milan and Geneva - had also been placed in a vulnerable position by the Libyan leader's political manoeuvres, the
sources said.

As far as I can tell, NO ONE is BLAMING WHITE farmers. They're BLAMING the LACK of WHITE FARMERS, since they were driven off by Mugabe.

How about this casting of the data:

The new ruling class drove off the skilled class from the farms. Without a skilled farming class, the food production dropped.

That better? (Class war!)

Yes, that is what they are blaming, the lack of white farmers, and that is what is so wrong. The life expectancy rate was already down before the Colonial farmers were kicked out. Kicking out the farmers annoyed the Western poweres so they cut off the oil supply. Libya wanted to support their fellow Africans but were not allowed to do so because of Western pressures.

That is what I have determined, it may be subject to change as since I am far from an expert on Zimbabwe. I did change my way of thinking on this subject due to Oldhippie's posts. The broad strokes he painted to describe African problems have left me a lot to sadly ponder...

"Nobody has decent numbers on HIV infections in Africa, right?"

No. Recent numbers have been revised downwards, partially, I suspect, due to the absurdity of how they are calculated finally getting some air on the Internet. But that is another issue...

It seems to me that proximity to supply of water for field pressurization, while not initially a requirement, would tend to be a factor in whether explorations would be economical in the longer run. In this regard, it would seem that North Africa is at a disadvantage having a rather meager watershed already exploited for agriculture.

Is it possible that after the exploitation of offshore, where there is no shortage of injectable water, will we see major pumping of seawater to the interior of arid regions? It would certainly be energy intensive to pump uphill and then 'downhill' and limit the water cut.

Also, why did Cantarell go to nitrogen injection? I know the reservoir is anomalous and highly fractured, but this seems pretty high tech for the supposedly primitive and socialistically encumbered Pemex.

In a place like Algeria, it would seem that they could burn crude at the field, put the electricity in the proposed DC transmission system to Europe, and sequester the CO2 as a pressurizing and scouring agent.

I realize that none of this would affect peak production, but could elongate the tail and kickstart solar electric in North Africa which is in a very good strategic location for it. In the long run the equatorial desert areas of the world should have an advantage that currently doesn't exist.

Pemex is next to the US. It is very easy for Mexican engineers to go to Houston and New Orleans and the most sophisticated oil engineering firms and people in the world and tap their skills and advice. It's not 1930 anymore.

All I know about that area is what I read here, but I recall seeing that PEMEX has never mastered deep water operations the way the U.S. companies have. Is this true? Someone here should know in detail ...

Concerning the Alaska Gas Pipeline and the anti-ConocoPhillips article. ConocoPhillips has consistently said the same thing - They want to know the future tax rates up front so that they can do the math. It's a perfectly legitimate concern. The TransCanada proposal short-listed by Governor Palin's AGIA team also includes tricky assumptions.

To put ConocoPhillips concerns in perspective - Answer this question: Would you sign a long term commitment, like a home mortgage if you did not know the payments in the the out years?

Are the major North Slope producers supposed to commit gas to a third party pipeline and just hope for the best?


To put ConocoPhillips concerns in perspective - Answer this question: Would you sign a long term commitment, like a home mortgage if you did not know the payments in the the out years?

I imagine that would depend on how desperate I was for a house, and how profitable I thought owning it would be.

Look at all the oil companies who are willing deal with countries that change the rules whenever they feel like it. Obviously, they still think it's worth it, because they keep going back for more.

If they are willing to build the pipeline without assistance from the government and actually pay a royalty for the gas that is indexed to inflation, why not?
But if they want the government to give them the gas without royalties, and to actually pay for the pipeline, they they are going to have a bit of a problem.
Alaska has an attitude. It's their gas. You have to pay them for it.

Re: Energy Crisis Challenges Everyone

I saved this article because it identifies conservation as the correct response to the energy "crisis". Higher energy prices and dwindling supplies will force everyone to conserve, very unAmerican but our only option going forward. The article basically states a plan of action is needed at local, state and federal levels, the same might be said for individual neighborhoods. If every home in a neighborhood went on an energy diet, every home becomes more valuable to the tune of about $20 in appraised value for every dollar saved in annual energy costs.

The real "crisis" is the fact we have ignored energy conservation over the last 30+ years as the proper reaction to the oil embargo that saddled the US with high inflation and interest rates for many years. It's easy to say we should have started the conservation movement decades ago, we didn't, today the choice is simple, conserve or do without.

btu -[The real "crisis" is the fact we have ignored energy conservation over the last 30+ years]

I do not think that is quite right. We have responded to price signals. From the Oil & Gas Journal issue of 1/21/08:

Total energy use in trillions of btu's -

1973 75,808
1983 73,066 down 3.6%

1991 84,522 (Last year of Bush 1)
2000 98,976 (Last year of Clinton 1) up 17.1%

2008 100,560 projected (Last year of Bush 2)
up 1.6% over year 2000

Energy units per GDP 1973 = 17.5; 2000 = 10.1; 2008 = 8.5

It is difficult to imagine that with 50% more people, longer commutes, larger cars, larger houses, a magnitude greater of air travel and leisure travel, vacation houses, internet electricity use, etc.,etc. that conservation has not played a role in keeping the numbers down. We may all say that they are still too high, but they would have been twice what they are without the attention to efficient energy use that is pervasive now in our culture.

Let's all conserve - unplug our cell phones; unplug our computers (shut down TOD); unplug our blackberry's; unplug our flat panel tv's; exchange addresses and communicate using the postal service. I wonder - would energy use go up or down?

I do not dispute your numbers, but we still use twice as much energy per dollar of GDP as does western Europe and 3 times as much as Japan. We have made virtually no progress in reducing residential energy usage for heating and cooling in 25 years, only HVAC equipment has improved. I do not see a pervasive movement towards energy efficiency in the US today, please cite some specific examples.

Part of it too is that we have transformed ourselves into a service economy. We import steel and all manner of products from overseas. We export things like insurance policies and computer software. All of our imports don't get counted in our BTU consumption.

I fully agree.

We might be able to get a better handle on the true US GDP/energy consumption ratio by adding the US energy consumption to the energy consumption of China and then allocating back to the US the energy content of our main energy-intensive imports from China. This would give a more true picture.

I'm not smart enough to know how to do this, but I'm sure someone out there is. Furthermore, GDP appears to be an increasingly poor indicator of what is phsyically going on in terms of energy (e.g., two people selling the same house back and forth to each other through a real estate agent will increase the GDP while physically doing nothing).

Gail and joule,

You make a good point about imports and I have said as much about measuring CO2 emission reductions, imports must be included. For the sake of accuracy, the EIA primary energy consumption per dollar of GDP I cited was measured in 1995 dollars, the more recent measure in 2000 dollars tightens it up a bit, but we still use twice the energy per capita of Germany, France and Japan.

I'll be graduating soon and I'm considering my housing options. I see the wisdom in renting at the moment, however it would be far less expensive on a monthly basis to finance a small condo.

Around here, rent for an apartment can be found around $450 a month. On the other hand, I can buy a condo in a somewhat decent area within walking distance of a grocery and within biking distance of the bike trail for as little as $30,000. A 30 year mortgage would be something like $150 a month, taxes about $60, homeowners association fees about $10 a month, and utilities likely about $50. Thats about $270 a month. There would probably also be some insurance owed too but it wouldn't be that much.

The way I see this is this. If we have business as usual for several years/decade then I can save tons of mulla in this way. If we see deflation, my monthly payments are at a minimum and I keep as much as I can in cash. If we see hyper-inflation in the long run then what I owe on my mortgage is worthless. If tshtf and it's impossible for me to make payments, I end up losing an investment not worth a whole of a hell lot in the first place. Make sense?

Mark: Where are you living-the condo sounds almost free. Those numbers are unbelieveable, but if they are accurate you should buy more than one.

I'm in the midwest. 30k-40k is the list price for many condos on the market now, however most of these are ones built in the 70s (They aren't crappy even though old, and some have been renovated). The large number available makes me wonder if I could make a lowball offer and get one for even less. As far as buying more than one, I'm not entirely certain my job will be secure, so I'm trying to ensure I can make monthly payments for extended periods even if I'm sans job. Owning more than one doesn't really fit in with that strategy.

There are a number of potentially thorny issues that can come up, and it depends on what the mix of renters/owners is in the development, and what the price history is.

If these prices are far below what people paid in the past, that implies that there are owners out there who are underwater. That can mean that they might just let the thing go to foreclosure rather than try and sell it at a loss. Or when people move they may be forced to find renters rather than try and sell.

Too many renters can mean a difficulty in getting a conventional loan, which will depress the prices even further. And it can also imply that owners will start to get really tightfisted about what types of work they are willing to pay for, and if that happens then it is possible that maintenance standards will decline overall. And if that starts to happen, then the quality of the renters can start to decline, which will lead to even more property damage, and an increase in the sorts of activity that require that the police get involved.

The management company ought to be able to tell you the percentage of renter-occupied units. The lower this number the better. I don't recall how high this number has to be before you start to have trouble obtaining a mortgage.


I'd put the chances of deflation to 1%. No, I'd rather put them even to 0%. Look back - did the US ever had deflation in the last 70 years?

My advice - if you don't plan to move and are certain to be around this place for the foreseeable future go for it. IMO with such ridiculous prices you can never go wrong. PO or not, people will always need where to live.

US ever had deflation in the last 70 years?

Yes. 2 Gig of data storage used to be $1000+ dollars. Now its $14.99 on sale.

Actually, most of the time the US was on the gold standard we were in what was pretty much a deflationary regime. That's what "Free Silver" was all about during the Populist era. That all ended in 1933, and we've never looked backwards.

We may have deflation again, but it most likely will only happen as the aftermath to a hyperinflation.

What's the rush?

Making a long term commitment during financial chaos doesn't seem like a good idea. The housing market has become kind of like the computer market, with prices dropping every week. Give it a year before committing.

(: No rush. I'm thinking this type of purchase will be available over the next several years. Presently, I imagine I'll live with my parents over the summer and evaluate housing possibilities slowly. However, living with my parents will be socially acceptable for about the length of the summer and then I'm renting or buying.

Ideally, I'd time it so as to purchase something towards the bottom of the housing crash, renting in the meantime. However, given the difference in monthly payments for renting vs. buying, the loss in value of the purchase over the next year or so might be made up from the saved money not spent on rent.

i dont see anything for maintenance in your budget.

I'm seeing decent apartments in reasonable locations in the city of Chicago at prices only slightly above what you quote. The big difference would be in the management fee. What do you know about the management company? What is and is not included? Is the place maintained? Are special assessments on the way? How stable are the other owners?
Asset deflation can go until the condo seems almost free but operating costs have to be paid in ordinary current funds.

RE: Waving Goodbye To Hegemony...great catch Leanan...The author of this NYT reviewed book, Parag Khanna, is very intelligent and is an excellent writer. This rather lengthy review sums up where the world is, where it is going and what the US roll in the new world order will be, with some possible options and suggestions for the US to alter its place in the world-to-be. This book review embodies the 'above ground factors' in a nut shell. Although I agree with Mr Khannas analysis of the problems the world faces, I do not agree with all of his suggestions of how to fix them.


...snip...' Make no mistake: America was never all powerful only because of its military dominance; strategic leverage must have an economic basis. A major common denominator among key second-world countries is the need for each of the Big Three to put its money where its mouth is'...snip...

'What is more, China is pulling off the most difficult of superpower feats: simultaneously maintaining positive ties with the world’s crucial pairs of regional rivals: Venezuela and Brazil, Saudi Arabia and Iran, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, India and Pakistan. At this stage, Western diplomats have only mustered the wherewithal to quietly denounce Chinese aid policies and value-neutral alliances, but they are far from being able to do much of anything about them'...snip...

'To understand the second world, you have to start to think like a second-world country. What I have seen in these and dozens of other countries is that globalization is not synonymous with Americanization; in fact, nothing has brought about the erosion of American primacy faster than globalization. While European nations redistribute wealth to secure or maintain first-world living standards, on the battlefield of globalization second-world countries’ state-backed firms either outhustle or snap up American companies, leaving their workers to fend for themselves. The second world’s first priority is not to become America but to succeed by any means necessary'...snip...

'The rise of China in the East and of the European Union within the West has fundamentally altered a globe that recently appeared to have only an American gravity — pro or anti. As Europe’s and China’s spirits rise with every move into new domains of influence, America’s spirit is weakened. The E.U. may uphold the principles of the United Nations that America once dominated, but how much longer will it do so as its own social standards rise far above this lowest common denominator? And why should China or other Asian countries become “responsible stakeholders,” in former Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick’s words, in an American-led international order when they had no seat at the table when the rules were drafted? Even as America stumbles back toward multilateralism, others are walking away from the American game and playing by their own rules'...snip...

'We have learned the hard way that what others want for themselves trumps what we want for them — always. Neither America nor the world needs more competing ideologies, and moralizing exhortations are only useful if they point toward goals that are actually attainable. This new attitude must be more than an act: to obey this modest, hands-off principle is what would actually make America the exceptional empire it purports to be. It would also be something every other empire in history has failed to do'...snip...

I read the whole article,actually a book excerpt, and find that leaving Russia as a non-contender for 1st world status behind the EU, USA and China is based on today. Article never mentions resource wars but just considers crrent trajectory of grwoing Chinese and European infleunce due to trade while Russian population falls and their importance thefore declines as "Sino-Finnish border" remains quiet. Quite an obvious dissing of Russian importance globally and accuracy/usefulness of this analysis could change fairly quickly depending on what happens in the next few years.

Re: Meat

I recently asked a cattle buyer about keeping my calves on grass until they weighed a thousand pounds or so and selling them as grass-fattened beef. He says there's no market of any size for grass-fattened cattle and that the huge commercial feeders want uniform sized animals. In other words buyers will discount calves for being too large.

Somehow, this needs to change.

When you consider existing shortages of nitrogen fertilizer, the cost of growing grain is about to get real expensive. Absent fertilizer, the cost of production will go down but yields will fall exponentially, meaning less grain to sell.

It's time we reconsider feeding grain to cattle.

In Kentucky, there used to be a discount/lb for 700 lb feeder calves (over 500 lb), but no more. My father is altering the herd to meet this new "demand curve". They still feed them, just not as much.


The network of food co-ops in the Twin Cities prominently labels and sells grass fed beef. I believe the retail price is the same or slighlty greater than the regular beef which is of high quality.

My financee works in the food business, and I asked her about 100% grass-fed beef. She claims it has a flavor that people don't like very much, so it will never really catch on. I gather however that you can "finish" the cattle on grain right at the very end, and that fixes the flavor problem. Right now they switch the cattle over to grain far earlier than they really need to.

It has a flavor most Americans don't like. You can taste the chlorophyll. (I confess, I don't care for it myself. It has a definite bite.)

However, some people prefer it. Even some Americans. I would say people who eat venison wouldn't mind grass-fed beef.

And if necessary, we'd get used to it.

You need to treat yourself to Grass Fed Aberdeen Angus Fillet Steak.

While you still can.

3 minutes a side.

3 minutes to rest.

Asparagus goes well with it.

No sauce, maybe a Djon Mustard.

And of course a good red Burgundy.

I have been eating grass fed beef for years (in Northern California), but lived on Elk in Montana, and have eaten my share of venison also (much on Maui, where deer are rats with better press), so the taste may be more familiar.
Lose the grains, they are poison slave food.

We buy grass fed beef for our dog and pay a hefty premium, but this is from a cattle ranch that slaughters and process their own cattle and ships directly to the consumer. So, I guess it depends upon what part of the country you live in.

I switched to buying grass fed a couple of years ago. It takes a while to get used to it. Now conventionally finished beef tastes "funny" to me.

What does non grass fed beef taste like?

It's a lot smoother and sweeter. More tender, too, because of the fat. You would probably find it bland.

Most of the grass-fed beef I've eaten was from New Zealand. I lived in the Philippines for awhile when I was a kid, and New Zealand beef was what was available. (The locals generally ate carabao instead.) My mom used to marinate it before cooking, both to tenderize it and to try and disguise the grassy flavor.

It's time we reconsider feeding grain to cattle.

Anybody want to make a bid on my bull crickets? They are purebred with an excellent pedigree.
Reasonable stud fee.

Insects as protein supplements, the future?

I'd like to try raising mealworms or something and trying them out, I bet they're good. Flour beetles are good. And a friend of mine and I were discussion an always-fascinating subject, that of taking on wasps' nests with the ol' lighter+aerosol can of something flammable flamethrower. I was thinking to myself that in times past, a wasps' nest at the right stage of development was full of morsels to be toasted and savored. Once you'd defeated the adults in fair battle, at least.

Cultural taboos are strong though. One rare find recently was a book of Kipling's short stories that he was writing while on duty in India helping to keep the savages under the British thumb. He tells of a famine, and the British bringing in millet or something, some grain the Indians were not familiar with. The Indians, though starving, would not touch it - the solution became to feed the grain to goats, and the Indians would eat the goats.

Nope things get bad, the vast majority of Americans are just going to sit down and die rather than break a cultural taboo.

And a friend of mine and I were discussion an always-fascinating subject, that of taking on wasps' nests with the ol' lighter+aerosol can of something flammable flamethrower.

Soapy water next to the enteryway. Meat hung over soap water. Poke the wasps with a soaped up sponge to 'mop up' a few of the straglers. The soap causes the water repelling coating to go away.

Read about the last emperor of Japan - he liked rice+wasp larve.

And yes, mealworms are good. (a fine way to convert the spent brewing grain to food)

I could point you to at least a dozen places on-line where you can buy grass-fed beef. I have done so, so I don't get the "no market of any size" line. I can go to my local mega-grocery store and buy grassfed beef (I'm in Rochester, NY, so this is perhaps a bit unique to my area). I can buy grass-fed beef or bison at a local co-op. I can go to the farmer's market and buy chicken and pork that were fed no grains.

The best part about grass-fed beef is that its fat content resembles the fat of fish. Ie, high in omega-3's. It just kills me* that we consider "red-meat" so bad for us because its fat is bad for our hearts when it is only so because we feed the cows on omega-6 rich grains rather than the omega-3 rich grasses. All meat would be fantastically heart-healthy if fed the foods the animals were evolved to eat.

* - pun intended!

Over here, in the UK, meat from grass-fed cattle sells at a substantial premium.

In Australia grass fed beef has the bulk of the market and is the norm. There are some feedlots but that meat is destined mainly for export. Our place, 25 acres, will produce one grass fed yearling steer and half a dozen lambs a year as well as most of our fruit and vegetables. Maybe I'm prejudiced because our stuff doesn't go through the meatworks and get all the flavour hosed out with hot chlorinated water. I just kill it, hang it and cut it up for the freezer myself. The heavily marbled grain fed beef I have had in the US is nowhere near as nice as our tender home butchered lean meat. The same is true of our dairy products which are almost completely from grass fed herds. This means that the taste of the milk varies a bit with the seasons but I much prefer it to the milk of barn fed cattle. We are planning to get back into home milk production next year, we've done it before, it's a lot of work. We will probably get a couple of pigs to take the excess milk and make it worthwhile.

We are interested in rare breeds conservation. What are the threatened breeds of pigs and dual purpose cattle in the US?

We are interested in rare breeds conservation. What are the threatened breeds of pigs and dual purpose cattle in the US?

Check these folks out. I get their newsletter.

the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy's

I not sure how efficient this would be. This is a video about individual motorized rail cars.

Probably not very efficient. With these little things, you would lose most of the aerodynamic advantage that you could get from a long train.

Hello Ericy,

Yep, gotta agree there. Too bad the video didn't give any MPG info, top speeds, ICE size, if some were batt-powered, etc. It would have been interesting to compare these 'steel wheels on steel rails' to conventional asphalt road vehicles.

It was a neat idea with the pullout wheelbarrow handle concept to quickly reverse direction on the smaller vehicles, and the underframe roundtable jackup on the heavier vehicles to quickly spin it around was the coolest!

It would be a blast to build a high-tech streamlined version, maybe powered by a 100cc motorcycle engine, or batteries for silent running.

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

Mayan Doomsday Prophecy just aired on The History Channel. At the end, they mentioned peak oil. Not by name, but they said one way the world might end is nuclear war over oil. Because "we're not prepared for the end of oil."

Which reminds me...Crude airs tonight on The History Channel (8pm ET).

Drilling into the story of oil lays out where it comes from, the ways it's used, how it affects life and environment, and what will happen when it runs out.

Dmitry Orlov's Mind the ruins posted above made me think of Shelley's Ozymandias:

I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
Half sunk, a shatter'd visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamp'd on these lifeless things,
The hand that mock'd them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
"My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!"
Nothing beside remains: round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away.

An interesting companion to Dmitry's piece
7 Abandoned Wonders of the Former Soviet Union: From Submarine Stations to Unfinished Structures

An interesting read for those that say suburbia will never be abandoned.

Later this year, the Falklands’ 3,000 islanders should learn whether it will become the richest nation on earth.

Experts at the British Geological Survey (BGS) have estimated that the geological conditions in the North Falkland Basin alone could have created about 100 billion barrels’ worth of oil

So the Second Malvinas Falklands War starts in 2009 then.

I dont know where this quote about 100 billion barrels comes from.

There is a failed rift system near the Falklands of the right age, depth and temperatures, but it is a lacustrine and riperian depositional envirionment: This tends to towards smaller, multiple fields, with maybe the odd elephant.

A campaign of 6 exploration wells was conducted. Traces of hydrocarbons were detected. But AFAIK no massive oil columns

There is a long way to go before anyone can make any claims.

Drilling will re-commence soon, so we may know a bit more in the next few years.

They might have to fly the oil out of the Falklands Malvinas.

Maybe Mercosur cuts their food off, the balance of power has shifted.

If they have that much oil 3,000 will be supplied by airlift from whomever benefits from the field. And the residents of the island care not at all for Argentina's claims, they're British as far as they're concerned, and that is that.

Seven people have been killed in the Lebanese capital, Beirut, after a demonstration against power cuts descended into violence.


The demonstration had been against chronic electricity cuts in predominantly Shia areas of southern Beirut.

Hello Sangiovese,

As posted before: Peak Outreach could help. Instead of people rioting and trashing the place, imagine if the human energy in this crowd worked to build a community solar hot water shower and laundry instead. Every Molotov Cocktail thrown is one less bottle or jar that could have been used for some kind of energy mitigation.

Must we run this path to its full and bitter end?

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

Hi Bob,

You're quite right. Communities working together can achieve anything. The problem is that we live in a world of self interest and one that is quickly losing the meaning of self sacrifice. For community effort to work indivuduals need to pull together and work for the common good. Its not a philosphy thats holds in a world of competition and self attainment. I want it, can get it and to hell with everyone else.

Must we run this path to the bitter end? - It saddens me but I see little in human nature today to think otherwise. This Beirut incident is one just one more marker on the road and the scenes out of Kenya today another.

Karl UK - and collectively humans are no smarter that yeast!

Dear Sangiovese and Bob,

Thanks for your comments.

While we are here talking (which is good, too), many communities are organizing- and having a great time at it.

Bob, I really encourage you to check out this website below. The photos are finally up, and this is just a glimpse of all the things these people are learning to do - together. Every imaginable kind of community disaster planning, working together on everything from sandbagging to emergency shelters for people without homes to radio to water systems and beyond...

re: "It saddens me but I see little in human nature today to think otherwise."

I suggest taking a look.


"The key to a community's survival during and in the aftermath of a disaster is found in the resilience of the community. Participation in the CERT program creates resilient individuals and families, and they in turn create resilient communities." Keith Woodley, Ashland Fire Chief

And...also, check out the website of www.combatantsforpeace.org. The photo of the men talking is one of my all-time favorites. (They were once combatants on opposing sides.)

Anyone can do this (in theory). Anyone can take the initiatve and begin it. People are doing this and much more.

Hello TODers,

Leanan's toplink, "India: Govt to prioritise natural gas allocation" to fertilizer Mfgs makes sense to me. As posted before: we should gladly accept the natural darkness if it helps keep the food and water coming.

Asian stock markets down 3-6% Monday so far. Gold up another $10.
We're in for another interesting week.

China is now the world's leading gold producer. Higher gold prices might increase investment in gold mines and bring higher production. Gold is not totally safe.