Matt Simmons, a Sasquatch, and a Chimp in Texas Monthly and History Channel 'Doomer Porn' Day

Leanan hit these briefly in the DB last week, but it deserves another look-see. Both pieces are from Texas Monthly.

First, TM called Matthew Simmons one of the "35 people who will shape our future", and then allows Matt to expound on The Gospel According to Matthew.

Second, TM then asks our own Sasquatch (aka, Nate) and Chimp (aka, Matt Savinar) to give their opinions in response to the ideas of the Simmons piece as two online energy experts concerning peak oil and the future of energy demand.

Both pieces are very much worth a read.

Then finally, Leanan notes that "It's Doomer Porn Day on The History Channel!" At 8pm tonight, "Crude" debuts in the US. (This is the same as the Australian documentary by the same name, and has been available to view online for some time. But it's the first time it's aired on US TV. Its blurbage: "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.") "Mega Disasters: Oil Apocalypse" reruns in the slot before "Crude."

Bring your popcorn and fire up the DVR.

One of the things that I find interesting about the Peak Oil debate is the number of prominent Texans, such as Simmons, Pickens and Rainwater, who have all warned about Peak Oil. I think that it is partly because they experienced a post-peak frantic drilling effort--Texas in the Seventies--first hand.

Like Texas in the Seventies, Saudi Arabia today has significantly boosted its drilling efforts in response to higher prices, and like Texas, Saudi production has trended downward, relative to 2005.

Some more highly articulate and highly compelling comments by 'our own' Nate Hagens, who has a talent for getting across some very difficult and complex concepts with great ease and clarity.

Nicely done!

One barrel of oil has the same amount of energy of up to 25,000 hours of hard human labor, which is 12.5 years of work. At $20 per hour, this is $500,000 of labor per barrel.

Is the total of 25,000 hours a miscalculation or a misprint?

Hagens figure seems to be out by a factor of 11!

One hour of “hard human labor” like general forestry, or work in a steel mill requires about 636.3 Calories for a person weighing about 175lb. [The same person doing computer work needs 119.3 Cals/hr.]

1 Calorie = 1000 cal = 4,184 joules

A barrel of oil energy equivalent = 6.1178632 × 10^9 J

(6.1178632 × 10^9 J energy of a barrel of oil) / (636.3 Calories x 4,184 joules required work energy per hour) = 2,298 hours

No of hours of hard labor according to Hagens calculation/ misprint = 25,000

The actual figure according to above calculation ~ 2,300 hours

In reply to Ywish...
"The actual figure according to above calculation ~ 2,300 hours"

This is your corrected calculation and represents the kind of numbers often seen on TOD concerning the "value" of oil. It is also the kind of arcane idiotic math that undercuts the credibility of those concerned about oil and resource depletion.

Of course, the way this is done is by totally discounting a century worth of hours already expended on the "imput side" to get the oil. The exploration, the drilling the pipelines, the pumps and water seperation units....

Never mind the hours spent in refining the oil, the processing, the man hours every single day at the refinery...yep, it's all in every ounce of "finished product" extracted from oil. Does anyone ever bother to deduct that from the "2,300" hours you mentiion?

Oh, wait, one more little item...the design and construction of the engines used to burn the oil....the hours of manufacturing that has gone into every gasoline and Diesel engine, gas turbine engine, and industrial or residential oil see, without these and the hours that have went into designing and building them, the oil would be a useless bit of smelly goo...

And if we engage in the kind of infinite "regress" that is used against the renewables, we have to count the hours in mining the steel and aluminum, smelting it, creating finished high quality steel for the engines and turbines....on and on...

The kind of "2,300" hours work calculation is among the classes of idiotic calculations that are becoming more and more popular to create a type hype and use abstract calculations that have no relation to reality in an effort, I guess, to make a point, a point which like the calculation, has no value.

You have seen the hysteria at oil prices of barely $100 per we need not ask what would happen at an oil price of "minimum wage times 2,300 hours of labor....(what, somewhere around $16,000 bucks a barrel (!!!!). Does even wasting time making such "how many angels can dance on the head of a pin?' calculations based on idiotic assumptions produce any benefit? What it does show is an almost psychotic worship of oil above any and all other types of energy, a worship based on fiction and myth as much as on economic history. Westexas is very is interesting that most of the most hysterical reaction to changes in the energy structure of the world comes out of Texas. The Mecca of the oil industry. Very interesting indeed.

Net Oil Exports and the "Iron Triangle"
Posted by Khebab on July 13, 2007 - 8:00am
This is a post by Jeffrey J. Brown, an independent petroleum geologist in the Dallas, Texas area.

I always find it interesting that people like Matt Simmons (who are encouraging energy conservation) are widely blamed by some critics for high oil prices, while some major oil companies, some major oil exporters and some energy analysts are--in effect--encouraging increased energy consumption.

The prevailing message from some major oil companies, some major oil exporters and some energy analysts can be roughly summarized as follows “Party On Dude!”

Meanwhile, over on the other two legs of the Iron Triangle, the auto, housing and finance group is focused on selling and financing the next auto and house, and the media group just wants to sell advertising to the auto, housing and finance group. The media group is only too happy to pass on the “Party On Dude” message to consumers.

To some extent, what we are seeing across the board, from large sectors of the energy industry to the auto/housing/finance industry, media and beyond, is the "Enron Effect," i.e., many people know that we have huge problems ahead, but their paychecks are dependent on the status quo.

The suburbanites are caught in the middle of this, although they have a strong inclination to believe the prevailing message from the "Iron Triangle." As in the movie "The Sixth Sense," for most of us the automobile based suburban lifestyle is dead, but we just don't know it yet, and we see only what we want to see.

The Rainwater Prophecy (12/05)

Simmons/Kunstler Interview (11/05)

It's interesting to see how events have transpired since the Rainwater article and the Simmons/Kunstler interview were published.

ThatsItImout- good job.

Not really. Exactly the same argument can be made on the labour side. How much energy has gone into the infrastructure of the steel mill where someone is a labourer, and the energy used getting the labourers to work, and the calories burnt while they're at home watching TV or sleeping, and so on...?

Roger, I think you are overplaying your hand here. Look at how many employees a refinery employs. Several hundred? Look at how many barrels of product they produce. Several hundred thousand? Aramco employs about half a million people in their oil industry. That is just a guess that is probably way too high. They produce almost nine million million barrels per day. It takes far less than one man hour to produce and refine one barrel of oil. Okay, let's say one whole man hour. That leaves 2,299 man hours left in a barrel of oil.

Ron Patterson

There is no precise number for this calculation -but this was discussed in detail here:
where many different calculations were arrived at.

It depends a great deal on the assumptions e.g. Lance Armstrong at 600 watts for 30 minutes uses a great deal more calories than me typing this-so a barrel might be only worth 2,300 Lance Armstrong hours if he never slept, etc. - but the bigger point is that fossil fuels are orders of magnitude greater in density and quality than human labor has been in the past -if we include natural gas and coal then my numbers were conservative. In an interview, one can't reasonably spend 1/5 of the time articulating - "the energy in a barrel of oil holds the equivalent in joules of between 5,000 and 30,000 hours of human labor, depending on wattage, how hard people are working, how big they are, if they sleep, what their diet is, etc.". It's directly in the ballpark....

So just to clarify then, we are NOT taking into account the millions of man hours around the world that have been given to energy extraction, or the millions more spent in the factories to create the "conversion devices", i.e., gasoline, Diesel and oil engines and gas turbines that are the only way we have been able to power the world by way of oil and gas? Are we to assume that those blue collar lives in the oil patches of the world, the refineries of the world and the factories that are the very definition of the industrial age, these millions of hours working, bought and paid for with the sweat of the blue collar factory class, were for nothing and contributed nothing to the age of fossil fuels in your calculations?
A century of human labor in sunk costs, unaccounted for?

Just checking.


Wow - millions of man hours? I would guess billions... but at a few hundred barrels per million hours of labour, that's not much in return for the energy we've got from a trillion + barrels...

I think waht you are trying to get to is the term EMERGY or EMbodied enERGY as proposed by Howard T Odum.

A reply to Nate Hagens

Read the post at

According to the first comment by shargash the calculation has a long pedigree.

I think either (or both of) Matt Savinar or Roscoe Bartlett used the 25,000 number in Crude Awakening. At least the first place I saw the number was the film.

If you quoted their figure, clearly it's not a misprint or a miscalculation on your part.

To the person/persons who carried out the original calculation:

The calculator at calculates energy requirement for 222 different activities based on weight and duration.

The issue then revolves around what can be realistically defined as “hard human labor,” typing on a keyword, or doing forestry/ general work in a steel mill. Still, the energy requirement varies by much less than 11 folds.

Ywish I can see at least 1 basic error in your calculations:

"Vicki", in your reference, is supplying the calories consumed by the person doing the activity.

Assuming the numbers are right [big assumption - but they sound OK], this IS NOT the energy applied to the load, but the metabolic calories.

I have heard figures of 25% max efficiency for striated muscle eg 25% work 75% heat loss. Add in unfavourable leverages and other losses [eg friction] and 10% useful work sounds about right

pondlife --

According to my notes, the human muscle efficiency (ratio of the mechanical work performed to the metabolic cost) varies between 15% and [as much as] 30% [nearly three times the energy efficiency of average car engine.]

Here's a quote from

Only about [12.6%] of the energy from the fuel you put in your tank gets used to move your car down the road


I did a very similar calculation in an article for the oildrum a few years back.

I agree that in order to compare apples to apples, you have to measure human output, not input. I used the wattmeter on Floyd Landis' bike (the Tour de France winner accused of androgen use), which registered 230 watts average for the whole riding time of the Tour. I divided by 2 for us less-in-shape people, and then assumed you could put out that power for 6 hours a day on weekdays (not counting breaks).

On the barrel-of-oil side, I used 20 gallons of gasoline from a 42 gallon barrel. Once again, you have to measure useful power output, not input calories, so I assumed it was being burnt in a 25% efficient engine in a car or piece of oil-powered equipment.

That works out to one barrel equals one year of human work. Of course, a human with a brain (which, incidentally, runs on 5-10 watts) could use that power output more strategically -- e.g., by pulling individual weeds instead of a plow -- but sometimes, you just need the power output straight up -- like when a load of concrete is hoisted up to the top of a building, or old concrete is crushed into gravel.

In the article, I also noted the difficult situation with non-renewable helium, given that I mostly do MRI for a living.



That's good!

Incidentally, according to a number of different sources including:

1.Drubach, Daniel. The Brain Explained. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, 2000.


2.Physics of Body. Macmillan Encyclopedia of Physics. New York: Macmillan, 1996.

The average human brain runs on 20-25W.

Looks like a violation of thermodynamic laws if you truly believe humans convert energy to work at 15-30% efficiency. The temperature difference between core body temperature and the skin is only 17 kelvins. With perfect mechanical efficiency that works out to only 5.48%. As the load increases the difference between core and skin temperature may decrease causing efficiency to drop further. From this low figure the energy needed for basal metabolism needs to be included. That 12% at the wheels starts to look pretty good.

Humans are not pure heat engines. We take chemical energy that is captured by other organisms and convert it. Perhaps a wound-up spring is a useful analogy.

A reply to Nate Hagens continued...

The point raised here concerns a crisis of confidence. At stake is the credibility of person(s) who manufactured the original figure. How does a layperson factor in an 11-fold discrepancy if the same guys published a whole bunch of other predictions concerning dates, reserves, future prices...?

How does a layperson factor in an 11-fold discrepancy...

You already explained 1/2 of the 11 fold discrepancy in your first post:

One hour of “hard human labor” like general forestry, or work in a steel mill requires about 636.3 Calories for a person weighing about 175lb. [The same person doing computer work needs 119.3 Cals/hr.]

636.3/119.3=5.33. The rest can be explained by the fact that people currently only work 8-10 hours a day in modern society - though they still burn calories during the other 14-16. They work 5 days per week and 50 weeks per year. The number quoted was 12.5 years, which working 40 hours per week equates to 25,000 hours. This becomes very conservative if we change total energy use into barrel of oil equivalents, because then we (an average american) use 57 boe (2005). This calculation is not a precise number and never can be, due to the higher energy quality of fossil fuels (how could you run a city like New York on a human labor with its current energy dense infrastructure?)

I don't know where the original quote came from, but since I have used this number myself, I've looked into it and am comfortable that 12.5 years/ 25,000 hours is in the ballpark. Even if that is off by a factor of 2, does it change anything?

I will write a short post on this in the future and you can add whatever calculations you wish into the comments. The point is we have moved up the energy quality and quantity ladder like a rocket compared to a few centuries ago. 99.9% of our past history we dealt directly with solar flows - now we are burning very valuable, in dollar and energy terms, fossil stocks.

You already explained 1/2 of the 11 fold discrepancy in your first post: 636.3/119.3=5.33.

No I haven’t. Your data refers to “hard human labor.” Computer work is not hard human labor. You are transforming the argument into the Sorites paradox (Continuum fallacy!) Does 1,000 hours added to the calculation make any difference? Then 2, 5, or 10,000 hours... shouldn't change the outcome either [sic.]

The rest can be explained by the fact that people currently only work 8-10 hours a day in modern society - they still burn calories during the other 14-16.

So do their neighbors and spouses, they all burn calories throughout the day, but that has nothing to do with your calculation!

One barrel of oil has the same amount of energy of up to 25,000 hours of hard human labor, which is 12.5 years of work.

I have shown that it has the same amount of energy of about 2,300 hours of "hard human labor," which is about 57.5 weeks (5 days x 8 hours).

I will write a short post on this in the future and you can add whatever calculations you wish into the comments.

Sure, if I get the time!

The point is we have moved up the energy quality and quantity ladder like a rocket compared to a few centuries ago. 99.9% of our past history we dealt directly with solar flows - now we are burning very valuable, in dollar and energy terms, fossil stocks.

On that we agree!

The grandfather keeps steam engines [they ate all the forests], the son keeps cars [they guzzled all the oil], the grandson keeps nothing [save for a bare, polluted, diseased, globally warmed planet.]

A variation on Richard St. Barbe Baker, My life My Trees

Ywish - I hear your points. Had I to do that magazine interview again, I would not have used the word 'hard' preceding human labor. But in calculating how many energy 'slaves' we have, I ignored coal and natural gas, etc. So the number of 'laborers' we have, unseen, behind us numbers in the hundreds per year. Whether its 100, or 438.6, is beyond my ken, and depends almost completely on assumptions. But at 60 barrel of oil equivalent per year, even using your numbers, which are not adjusted for energy quality which counts a great deal, we arrive at 70 years of labor behind each Americans annual use of fossil fuels.

Nate Hagens:

Had I to do that magazine interview again, I would not have used the word 'hard' preceding human labor.

I hear you!

But at 60 barrel of oil equivalent per year [...] we arrive at 70 years of labor

In my book, that's sheer unadulterated malevolence, and crime against nature!

Comments can no longer be added to this subthread.

Even if that is off by a factor of 2, does it change anything?


Seriously nitpicking about the numbers as you say is pointless its the message here :)
If Oil goes byebye good comes labor intensive.. Go ahead and try to Flintstones that car aye?

Can someone tell me how many workers I will need to hire to replace my tractor that burns 50 gallons of Diesel to bring in my hay crop in one day?

That should be pretty easy to guess if we use the "2,300 hours" given in the discussion above...50 gallon is just over a barrel (42 gallon) say about one fifth (1.2 barrel) and then take the 2,300 hours divide by a 10 hour day (common enough on a farm) and you get about 240-250 men working a ten hour day, right?

From the sound of that I assume you have a large hayfield. In my youth, a team of about 4 guys could bring in hay throughout the late summer, I know because I was one of the 4 guys! We used to bring it in for a farmer who sold it, but we had a tractor (not a big one, but a tractor nonetheless) and we were not trying to bring it in all in one day. These were the old small square bales, hand loaded and unloaded, and even in those days, finding enough labor to do the job was becoming very hard. That is of course why the big round bales that could be handled by a tractor and driver only (no hand handling) came into being. Needless to say, when I was doing it, using 50 gallons of Diesel in one day would have been unheard of, but the baler and the tractors were much smaller than today!

This brings up what could be an interesting challenge/test: I and others on TOD often talk about solar or would be interesting to attempt to build a hay handling "system" using only electric power and or solar and see how much be required to bring a hayfield of X number of acres!
Hay is relatively plant, you hope for rain, you mow and row it, and bale it. It could be a fascinating comparison to see what the numbers would look like in kilowatts and square feet of solar collector of whateve type to do the job. Likewise, using captured methane could be attempted.

I once saw, in a book showing historic railroad equipment, such a thing as a "boilerless locomotive". Steam was created at a stationary site, and pumped into a yard locomotive with an insulated tank. The little locomotive was able to work all day on the charge of steam! The next shift, it was pumped full of steam again for another day of work. That could be interesting in a farm tractor. This could be fun, just to see if it would really work!

My guess is that we will never return to bringing in hay (or any other crop) by way of labor. The supply of strong young workers is simply not available anymore, and in an aging country, will not be again in our lifetime in the U.S.


ThatsItMount said:
'This brings up what could be an interesting challenge/test: I and others on TOD often talk about solar or would be interesting to attempt to build a hay handling "system" using only electric power and or solar and see how much be required to bring a hayfield of X number of acres!'
This would be a truly interesting and informative test, and if I might suggest a variant would also be interesting - using pyrolysis to produce charcoal and biofuel, and using the agrichar to enrich the soil and the biofuel to power the farm machinery.
this sort of data would give real insight into how easy/difficult it would be to maintain agriculture in a more ofssil fuel constrained world.
Theories are OK, but the whole pile of them don't add up to one case of jumping in and finding out!

Interesting question. I have a recently purchased small (38 acre) farm in NE Iowa. We raise organic chickens, and we're adding a small number of grass fed Dexter cattle. I think we might well abandon the notion of "bringing hay in." Even with round bales, many farmers concerned with sustainability prefer to feed the hay where it was harvested so that minimal nutrients are removed from the soil, and the cattle's rumen bacteria contribute to enriching the soil; organic matter is added to the soil. Of course, phosphorous and potassium and sulfur and calcium are largely returned to the soil.

I plan to use management intensive rotational grazing, which maximizes the grass production and enriches the soil. MIRG moves the cattle frequently (sometimes several times per day) and allows the grass time to recover before being grazed again.

I will need some hay for the winter months when the cattle can no longer break through the snow, though some kinds of grasses and legumes stand up well in the snow (e.g., yellow sweet clover) and even become more palatable as the snow softens them.

I want to experiment with re-learning the art of making hay stacks. One experienced man can mow one acre per day with a scythe. That's a lever that makes good use of human energy, and one cutting on an acre might be enough hay for two of my miniature (Dexter) cattle for the winter. (Sorry, I don't have accurate numbers immediately available. Depends on grass productivity, the winter's severity, and the cattle's size.) One Dexter per year (three years to mature on grass) produces roughly 400# net (healthy) grass fed beef, and the process sequesters carbon while enriching the soil.

Anyway, I want only to suggest that we don't want to imitate the way we do it with tractors and combines, but to find ways that suit the soil and our energy resources.

Here you go, how to make a traditional haystack:

In general, running tools on the tractor's PTO sucks Diesel. A baler running on a PTO is a merry-go-round of flywheels, rams, belts, knotters, and other moving parts.

In thinking about this and as mentioned by other posters, modern farm equipment changed the way, in this case, hay is farmed and used; making the process far more energy intensive than it used to be but allowing hay to be easily stored and transported. What the baler does is make it possible to store and transport large amounts of hay at a cost of enormous amounts of energy. Without the baler its just a pile that must be consumed at the place where it is grown. I'm guessing that farms will have to become more self sufficient with growing their own animal feed. Just transporting hay a couple of miles down the road is significant considering it has to be baled.

Let us not forget the windmill needed to power irrigation pumps and cost of fertilizer which is made from natural gas.

My neighbor uses four horse drawn sickle mowers to cut his hay. I could do the same and that would save me about a third of the Diesel I use; however, those horses will themselves consume a significant part of my harvest! So probably the energy use equation horses vs. tractor is somehow balanced by the hay that the horses would consume out of my crop.

The other thing that comes out of this is that tiny hobby ranches with recreational horseback riding, pet llamas, miniature goats, horses, and donkeys will become very expensive.

One thing that I find interesting is that there are many people out there who have a incorrect understanding of what exactly peak oil means. I had a woman just today who told me that she didn't believe it because she didn't think there would be a catastrophic problem with oil supply. She admitted that there might be all kinds of problems as demand grew too much or some such - I never did really get what her true meaning was.

Well I suppose one counterpoint to that is that some people would say that any supply problem would be catastrophic...

History channel, 46
Sunday January 27, 2008

5-6 PM Megadisasters: Oil Apocalypse (CC) 2023534
6-8 PM Crude The history of oil(N)(CC) 3626263

cheers from high school classmate [1956] Gus [Canadian].

wow, I almost want to get a tv. between all the doomer porn on the history channel and that new show "Operation Repo", I have to say this might just be a new golden age of television.

"Operation Repo", for those who don't know:

Try this

RE: Foreclosure of property located in Bernalillo County, New Mexico for collection of Judgment Civil No. 97-266 MCA/LFG

We hopefully have this matter under control.


It looks like you are in a lot of serious shit. Hang in there. BUt what has this got to do with Peak OIl?

Well thanks to the doomsters at the oildrum we don't have cable anymore! Now we spend our spare cash on flourescent lightbulbs, canned beets and assault rifles!

"Operation Repo"

What total crap. Our country is truly doomed...

SubKommander Dred

Don't get a tv. All studies have found that the more you watch, the less you know. I worked in brain research, and all our studies confirmed that content was less important that the medium itself. Marshall McLuhan was entirely right.


I agree, don't worry I won't be getting one. I've read the studies, the books, etc. I honestly think it prevents one from coming up with ideas that can help you leverage you way out of your problems, be they financial or otherwise.

I'm sorry, I'm a proud Canadian, but McLuhan was an idiot. How can TV be a "cold" medium and books a "hot" medium?

McLuhan also claimed in the first part of Understanding Media, that different media invite different degrees of participation on the part of a person who chooses to consume a medium. Some media, like the movies, enhance one single sense, in this case vision, in such a manner that a person does not need to exert much effort in filling in the details of a movie image. McLuhan contrasted this with TV, which he claimed requires more effort on the part of viewer to determine meaning, and comics, which due to their minimal presentation of visual detail require a high degree of effort to fill in details that the cartoonist may have intended to portray. A movie is thus said by McLuhan to be "hot", intensifying one single sense "high definition", demanding a viewer's attention, and a comic book to be "cool" and "low definition", requiring much more conscious participation by the reader to extract value.

Hot media are usually, but not always, visual media; for example, print occupies visual space and is "hot". Hot media favour analytical precision, quantitative analysis and sequential ordering, as they are usually sequential, linear and logical. They emphasize one sense (for example, of sight or sound) over the others. For this reason, hot media also include radio, as well as film, the lecture and photograph.

Cool media, on the other hand, are usually, but not always, associated with the sense of hearing. They require more active participation on the part of the user, including the perception of abstract patterning and simultaneous comprehension of all parts. Cool media, according to McLuhan, therefore include television, as well as the seminar and cartoons.

This concept appears to force media into binary categories. However, McLuhan's "hot" and "cool" exist on a continuum: they are more correctly measured on a scale than dichotomous terms.


There is an entire area of research regarding the impact of television on brain waves, etc.

This is reminding me of what Thom Hartmann talks about in 'Breaking the Code' (Haven't read it, only heard him referring to it), where his focus is in understanding whether a person you're communicating with uses visual, aural or (other?) senses to make sense of what you say to them.

Sounds like some of McLuhan's points saw these senses as universal instead of personal tendencies. (While I recognize the caveat about taking the 'Hot and Cold' or any other simplification as a Black and White analysis)


NBC News just had a segment on the booming economy in the Permian Basin area--Midland, Texas and surrounding areas. It's interesting to contrast Midland, Texas to Midland, Michigan. Kind of an internal ELM effect. I would expect to see a migration of people to food and energy producing areas.

I wonder if this isn't just a bit overhyped? The NY Times had an article a while back that said, in so many words, yes the economy in Midland is doing better but the boom is a "muted" one.

There is a lot of (justified) caution). A couple of the Oil Patch guys they interviewed had paid off all of their debts, and one guy was saving 25% of his paycheck, but as I said, compare Midland, Texas to Midland, Michigan.

the oil patch has seemed to learn from the last bust. for now. in 5 years when everyone is screaming how the oil price will never go down because everyone acknowledges peak oil will they remember the last bust? probably not.

I am watching abq 5 pm history channel program.

It is about peak oil.

Ah ha! Simmons, writer of 'Twilight in the Desert', whom I view as a solid authority on Peak Oil, says in one of the links from this article, that in his opinion peak occurred in 2005.

Since that year we have been in a plateau of production, with demand outpacing production. I think the only hope is for a new generation of oil production by way of microbes. We started out using wood, followed by coal, then oil & natural gas, and the next evolution must be (MMOSG) mass microbe oil substitute generation, such as algae-ethanol or E-coli synthesized fuel.

Think about it as an evolution, and you realize ethanol from food is old because the Nazi's did that in WWII, and it could never be scaled up enough to supply world oil supply. Fossil fuels are out because they have peaked or will in the not too distant future, and cause global warming, so the only alternative is a revolution in oil production by way of manufacturing the stuff on a microbrial level. Do a Google search on UCLA E-Coli synthesized fuel. Look up Algae ethanol or read an archived story about it in the National Geographic. That's the future!

Maybe grandma will be able to drive to wal-mart after all.

Scott on Wednesday also laid out ideas for ways to supply energy to consumers, proposing wind turbines and solar panels to generate power so customers can charge electric cars in parking lots at the world's biggest retailer.

On Friday, the oil futures markets closed a dollar-and-change away from the all-time record high price (the same day the Dow Jones Industrial Index fell 250 points.) Today's (Monday's) lead headline in the NY Times Business Section is "Disney to Test Character Toys for Lead Paint." Well, I hope we get that situation straightened out so that civilization can continue with a full supply of Disney action figures under the Christmas trees -- and forget for a minute whether Grandma will be able to drive to the WalMart in December, or whether WalMart will be able to keep the diesel tanks filled for their "warehouse-on-wheels, or whether both Grandma and the Assistant Manager of her local WalMart are three months in arrears on their re-set mortgage payments, and maxed out on their Discover cards. . . .

what if wal-mart went a step further and had solar parking lots?

Hot asphalt tapped for its solar power
Dutch company uses pipes under roads to heat water for use elsewhere

what if wal-mart went a step further and had solar parking lots?
Hot asphalt tapped for its solar power

Yet another 'solution' that allocates a bunch of resources to capture the diffuse solar power VS the present low cost of old captured solar power.

Oh, pray tell, how do you plan on SELLING such an idea? In a way the consumers can afford?

I don't really see a point in your response. perhaps I missed something? wal-mart could turn something like a parking lot into an energy producer that one day could help power it's stores and maybe charge customer's cars.

what the doomers don't understand is that wal-mart knows a lot better than you do that it lives on cheap oil. wal-mart has enough money to do something about it.

Oh geez. They went and had it re-narrated. I guess they figured American audiences couldn't understand an Australian accent.

That's standard practice actually. They even dubbed Mad Max when Mel Gibson still had an Australian accent :)

The MSM has erected a cultural iron curtain around America that prevents its citizens from hearing other accents or being exposured to other cultures.

For the most part they are faithful to the original, so I guess I cannot complain too much. I liked Smith as a narrator better. This guy seems to folksy.

The new narrator needs to keep introducing him when he appears on camera to try and preserve some sense of continuity.

Oh, well - they just wrapped up part 1. On to part 2.

When I lived in Japan years ago, we were sitting around after class and an Aussie and a Brit were having a conversation. My Canadian friend, from Saskatchewan, couldn't understand a word. Luckily for me, having grown up with a family that watched much public TV that included British shows (Dr. Who, Monty Python, Malice Aforethought, and All Creatures Great and Small) I was able to translate for him. These days, of course, you can get BBC America...

And his accent really wasn't really much stronger than it is today.

The second two hours of the history channel were more scary than the first hour.

I went through 4 AA batttries photographing.

But now to think before posting.

The "Crude" DVD is up on the History Channel Store website:

it says that it is only 50 minutes, but that must be a misprint.

Having been peak oil aware for more than 10 years now and following this board (and others in the past) daily, one would think you wouldn't get quite as freaked out anymore about the implications of peak oil. But, seeing this Crude program along with Crude Awakening for the first time this weekend has got me all freaked out all over again. Guess its the suspensful music and vivid imagery of depleted oil fields and their decrepid old machinery and traffic jams scenes (imagining them multiplied by every city in the US and many more across the world).

Dang, I missed the 8 o'clock show.

But I see it repeats at midnight [eastern]for peaknik night owls.
I probably shouldn't on a work night.....

yeah did the same for me, a good vizualization. About half way thru I started having the old Tears for Fears song going on in my head over and over.

All around me are familiar faces
Worn out places, worn out faces
Bright and early for their daily races
Going nowhere, going nowhere
Their tears are filling up their glasses
No expression, no expression
Hide my head I want to drown my sorrow
No tomorrow, no tomorrow
And I find it kind of funny
I find it kind of sad
The dreams in which I'm dying
Are the best I've ever had
I find it hard to tell you
I find it hard to take
When people run in circles
It's a very, very
Mad World
Mad world

As a lurker here rather than an expert/oil insider, I found the History Channel program to be fairly complete without too much Kunstler rolled in.

But more importantly, it gives credibility to peek oil which has not been given by the MSM. History channel draws an audience that would not normally spend a lot of time considering PO.

I also got a kick out of seeing Matt Simmons, now I can put a face with the things he writes. Was that really his office?

You can catch all of these Peakniks on YouTube - Google Video is the best place to search, though.

Been listening to some of Jason Bradshaw's interviews with Nate Hagens from Global Public Media, if you want to hear them. Jason also had a chat with Stu Staniford. You can download torrents of C2C if you want to hear a Chimp in action.

"Crude"'s a pretty good show for petroleum neophytes. They should've called me for the uilleann pipes for introducing Colin Campbell, though. I can play rings around the piper they used.