DrumBeat: February 2, 2008

A Marine’s New Mission

Vietnam vet and FedEx founder Frederick Smith wants to craft an energy policy for America.

...It shouldn't be forgotten that the proximate cause of World War II was the U.S. oil embargo against Japan, when we were an oil-exporting nation. And World War II was largely won in Europe by the United States' attack on the fuel supplies of Germany. In fact, they were making more Messerschmitt fighter planes in late 1944 and early 1945 than anywhere else in the world—they simply didn't have the fuel to train the pilots to fly them. The first gulf war was caused totally by oil—it was Saddam Hussein's insistence that he own certain oilfields that led to his invasion of Kuwait and our ouster of his forces there. The subsequent presence of the United States in the Middle East was in large measure driven by the protection of the oil trade. And a lot of analysts think that as much as 40 percent of the entire U.S. military budget can be attributed to protecting the oil trade.

What if you held a conference, and no (real) scientists came?

Over the past days, many of us have received invitations to a conference called "The 2008 International Conference on Climate Change" in New York. At first sight this may look like a scientific conference - especially to those who are not familiar with the activities of the Heartland Institute, a front group for the fossil fuel industry that is sponsoring the conference. You may remember them. They were the promoters of the Avery and Singer "Unstoppable" tour and purveyors of disinformation about numerous topics such as the demise of Kilimanjaro's ice cap.

Living Or Dying On Planet Earth!

The only real issue is that humankind can only exist on this planet in a very narrow range of conditions, and the planet is quite capable of altering those conditions in a relatively short time when stressed!

Oil Exploration In Arctic Highly Risky: 'Response Gap' In Case Of Oil Spill, According To New Report

Arctic marine conditions contribute to an oil spill “response gap” that effectively limits the ability to clean up after an oil spill.

Venezuela seeks up-front cash for $1 bln fuel oil

CARACAS (Reuters) - Venezuela's state-run oil company PDVSA is seeking a $1 billion up-front payment for several large shipments of fuel oil, El Universal newspaper reported on Saturday, in what may be a new sign of cash flow problems.

Under the deal, Venezuela is selling the fuel relatively cheaply but wants payment next week, the newspaper said.

Profits suffer at BP as high taxes hit home

BP boss Tony Hayward will dismiss claims that the UK's biggest company is profiteering from high oil prices on Tuesday when he is due to present annual figures which will be scarred by the effects of higher taxes and increased depreciation charges.

Venezuela to open bid for Orinoco oil block

CARACAS (Reuters) - Venezuela will open a bid round for private companies to develop the Carabobo I block of the OPEC nation's Orinoco heavy crude belt, state oil company PDVSA said on Saturday.

Iran wants OPEC to discuss output cut in March

TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran wants OPEC to discuss cutting crude oil output at the cartel's next meeting in March as stocks are expected to increase, Iranian Oil Minister Gholamhossein Nozari said on Saturday.

Nozari was speaking a day after OPEC, meeting in Vienna, kept oil supplies unchanged, and Iran and Venezuela said it may need to curb output in March to defend prices against a drop in demand, should the United States slip into recession.

"Our proposal ... for the upcoming meeting is that OPEC ... cuts its output capacity," Nozari told a news conference in Tehran. "Iran and Venezuela brought up this issue so that it would be discussed at OPEC's next meeting."

Running on empty

The San Francisco Peak Oil Preparedness Task Force explores life after fossil fuels — an era that may be coming sooner than most people think.

Developers hit by material price hikes

The rising cost of building materials could send Middle East property prices soaring, according to Saudi Arabia based property developer Rakaa.

A series of steep hikes in the cost of core building materials such as steel and cement, along with skyrocketing oil prices could have "huge financial implications" in the coming months, according to Rakaa Property CEO Dr Abdulrahman Al Tassan.

Pakistan: Measures to cut energy consumption by 30%

ISLAMABAD, Feb 1: In an effort to tide over the country’s worst ever energy shortage, the federal government has asked the provinces and trade and industrial bodies to strictly observe a set of energy conservation measures to reduce consumption by about 30 per cent with immediate effect.

Ugandan economy hit by Kenyan violence with attacks on trucks causing shortages, price hikes

KAMPALA, Uganda: Attacks by armed Kenyan mobs on truck convoys plying vital trade routes through the country is costing its neighbor Uganda more than US$500,000 (€330,000) daily in lost revenues, officials said Friday.

Gas prices have surged with shortages reported in many parts of the country, and a scarcity of raw materials, blamed on Kenya's postelection violence, has shut factories and caused layoffs over the border, officials said.

Iran announces new gas field in Gulf

A gas field with an estimated 11 trillion cubic feet in reserves has been discovered in the Gulf off the coast of Iran, Oil Minister Gholam Hossein Nozari said Saturday.

What's so funny about a hybrid howitzer?

A rmy green is more than a uniform color scheme -- it's the future of military vehicle technology. The Army is preparing to roll out the first of its next-generation hybrid vehicles, which will be a 155 mm, self-propelled howitzer, or short-barreled cannon.

Nobody will confuse it with a Prius.

But like a Prius, the howitzer will be powered by a fuel-electric drive train that switches back and forth between battery and liquid fuel, depending on the need of the moment. The military hybrid is a diesel-electric version.

Cleveland Rolls Out Barrels Against Big Oil

A crowd of commuters gathered on Public Square in downtown Cleveland armed with picket signs, auto parts, and a message -- it's time to Join The Ride by taking public transportation. High gas prices have put a drag on the economy, and according to the group, the best stimulus plan for the country is for Americans to incorporate a bus or train into their commutes. The demonstrators, angered by news of record profits from Exxon and Shell, caught the attention of downtown office workers. So did the oil barrels blocking off the streets and the 45-foot long buses parked in the city's busiest intersection.

A Green Energy Industry Takes Root in California

While interest in alternative energy is climbing across the United States, solar power especially is rising in California, the product of billions of dollars in investment and mountains of enthusiasm.

In recent months, the industry has added several thousand jobs in the production of solar energy cells and installation of solar panels on roofs. A spate of investment has also aimed at making solar power more efficient and less costly than natural gas and coal.

Wind power meets resistance in Maryland

McHENRY — Residents of Western Maryland's Garrett County pride themselves on their scenic byways and fall foliage, the whitewater rafting and skiing. Like others in the state and around the country, they are concerned about the environment and understand the need for renewable energy sources.

But a proposal to erect 400-foot tall wind turbines to generate clean electricity drew almost unanimous opposition at hearings this week from residents who, while supportive of alternative energy, would prefer not to spoil the scenic views of their state land.

Simmons: Not So Big Oil

I suspect that Exxon Mobil will have first rate profits because gas prices have been high. They could be hurt somewhat by the refining margins, but an oil company can’t help but make money right now, replies Simmons.

However, it’s worth noting that the amount of growth the top 5 oil companies have been able to generate has been almost negative while their spending has been higher than it’s ever been. I think the trend will accelerate.

Surviving the end of the oil age

The global energy predicament Kunstler referred to is not about when the world runs out of oil. Rather, it is about when the world reaches its maximum petroleum production rate, and enters a state of permanent decline. If consumer demand continues to rapidly grow as oil supplies dwindle, the result will be unaffordable energy prices that will force countries such as Canada and the U.S. to surrender the suburban way of life.

Shaking the foundations

The nation's manufacturing sector has been hit by a double whammy: Oil wealth has ignited the loonie, hurting exports, and the higher energy prices are squeezing profits. Now the factory-dependent provinces are looking greedily at Alberta.

Pakistan - Industry be preferred to households: experts

LAHORE: Economic experts have stressed the government to take some politically tough decisions in the energy sector in an effort to sustain growth by giving preference to the industry over domestic and commercial consumers.

They argue that stoppage of energy supply to the industry would ultimately force them to close their businesses, leading to unemployment on a mass scale. As a result, majority of the domestic consumers would be left with no money even to feed themselves.

Help for desperate refugees in Tajik winter

The unusually harsh winter in Tajikistan has frozen rivers, affected the production of hydropower and exacerbated an existing energy crisis throughout the country. Electricity is limited to one or two hours per day in the capital, Dushanbe, with further power cuts expected. Millions of Tajiks are reported to be suffering from the cold.

Among those affected are 1,088 refugees, mostly from Afghanistan. Many of them do not have enough resources to heat their homes, prepare food, buy warm clothes and access medical care. Their most urgent needs are medicines, warm clothes for children and an increase in their monthly cash assistance as prices have risen dramatically.

Nepal: Transporters call off strike as govt agrees to normalise fuel supply

The transporters called off their strike Saturday evening after the government agreed to normalise the supply of petroleum products.

The Federation of Transport Entrepreneurs of Nepal and the government reached an agreement, according to which the government will normalise the fuel supply by February 6 and the transporters will halt their strike until then.

Nepal: Power cuts, diesel crunch clobber economy

KATHMANDU, Feb 2 - Extended hours of power cut and an unprecedented shortage of diesel - the major industrial fuel - have threatened almost all vital sectors of the economy.

Energy crisis has forced some transport, manufacturing and service units to close down and compelled many others to operate below capacity. Hoteliers complained that they are finding it tough to keep the guests warm and in illuminated surroundings.

South Africa's mines battle on new low-electricity diet

Johannesburg - A week after they ground to a halt for lack of electricity at an estimated cost of nearly 200 million rand (27 million dollars) a day, South Africa's mines were struggling on a new, cut-power regimen and warning of job losses. On January 25, production at the country's biggest gold, diamond and platinum mines screeched to a halt after beleaguered state electricity supplier Eskom warned it could not guarantee their power supply.

South Africa urged to use uranium more, instead of coal

French nuclear giant Areva says South Africa should use its rich uranium resources to address its energy crisis.

As the fifth largest producer of uranium, South Africa should not see coal as the solution.

Saudi Aramco to boost capacity at offshore Karan gas field

Saudi Aramco is to increase capacity at its Karan gas field development by 50 per cent as it looks to keep pace with soaring domestic demand.

The offshore field, which is thought to contain more than 9 trillion cubic feet of gas, was originally slated to produce 1 billion cubic feet a day (cf/d) of gas, but this has now been raised to 1.5 billion cf/d.

Mexico's Pemex Signs Cooperation Agreements With Exxon Mobil

MEXICO CITY -(Dow Jones)- Mexican state oil monopoly Petroleos Mexicanos, or Pemex, said Friday it signed two cooperation agreements with U.S. major Exxon Mobil Corp.

Pemex said in a press release that one is an extension of a 2002 agreement for scientific and technological research and development and that the other is to share experiences in electromagnetic soundings to reduce exploratory risk in deep water.

Pemex said the accords are "non-commercial."

Russia: An Energy Superpower?

When Putin and other Russian officials refer to Russia as an energy superpower, they seem to mean a country that possesses a bounty of energy and will use its resources to ensure Moscow's influence on the world's stage. In contrast, the true picture of Russia's energy resources and the attempted politicization of their uses is far more nuanced and complex. Russia's energy policies -- resource and infrastructure development and its use of the energy weapon thus far -- raise major questions about Russia's energy superpower status.

Mexico's Oil Output Has Peaked, Under Current Limitations

Peak oil production occurred in Mexico in 2004-that is, under the limitations of current regulations-says George Baker, publisher of Mexico Energy Intelligence in Houston. Mexico's most important field, Cantarell, is in serious decline, and the recently announced KMZ and Chicontepec prospects are "suspect" as well, he says. A Pemex business-as-usual scenario is unlikely.

Despite a debottlenecking project in 1989 and nitrogen injection in 2000, Cantarell production peaked at slightly more than 2 million barrels per day. Consequently, Mexico's exports peaked at the same time, near some 1.88 million barrels per day. and have since fallen to just over 1.7 million barrels per day, according to Baker.

Countrywide and Chase Shut Off The Cash Spigot

It does not happen often and when it does it is usually striking: On occasion, Greenspan actually says something that makes sense. The China Post is reporting Former Chair Greenspan doubts 'major' Fed role as risk reprices:

"Global forces can now override most anything that monetary and fiscal policy can do," he said in the interview, adding it was "absolutely" more difficult for the Fed to react to financial-market turmoil than was the case 20 years ago. "The resources of central banks relative to the size of global forces have markedly diminished."

I concur with the above on account of global wage arbitrage, the ease of moving operations to another country then out again (see Dell Walks Away), and also because of peak oil and emerging market demand for global resources.

However, this is the primary reason the Fed will fail is changing social attitudes towards debt. More evidence of changing attitudes can be found in the The Business of Walking Away.

County panel pushes solar energy

An innovative program that could make homes across Alachua County more energy- efficient through the use of methods from low-tech weather stripping to cutting-edge solar cells will be a key recommendation of a committee studying ways to cut waste and greenhouse gases. Continue to 2nd paragraph

With the measures, committee members say, the county will be able to produce more jobs, trim energy costs and become a national leader in energy efficiency.

Without them, the county will have to cope with steeply rising energy costs, economic instability and a glum world of dwindling oil.

How new homes block natural air-con

A retired scientist with a passionate interest in "peak oil", Bruce is concerned about what he sees as wasteful and profligate use of energy to power air-conditioning.

"We should be adapting to the climate rather than air-conditioning everything," he said.

Experts call for alternative sources of energy by 2020

CAIRO (KUNA) -- Egyptian experts called, in an interview with the Kuwait News Agency (KUNA,) on Arab states to find secure and alternative sources of revenue than oil by 2020.

They called for the use of nuclear energy "under international supervision." "Several armed conflicts are being waged, across the world, over competition for oil and water resources," the head of the Political Science Faculty at Helwan University, Dr. Sayed Elaywa told KUNA.

He added that, within the next 50 years, the entire world will witness a "large drop in natural gas and oil resources." This is likely to trigger a real catastrophe unless suitable alternatives are found, he said.

Nigeria's Oil Morass

After insurgents attacked a link to a key oil export terminal on the Forcados River in Nigeria's Delta region in February 2006, it took a year and a half for Royal Dutch Shell to make repairs and get part of it running again. It took just two months for insurgents to shut it down again.

The result: Just when oil-consuming countries want more high-quality petroleum to cool off high oil prices, a group of insurgents in the West African nation forced oil companies to stop pumping an average of 475,000 barrels a day last year, and at times as much as 600,000 barrels a day.

Oil stocks key to OPEC March output decision -Naimi

DUBAI (Reuters) - OPEC's output policy decision in March will depend on how much crude oil stocks have been drawn down during the winter, influential Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi told Al Arabiya Television.

Naimi said predictions of output decisions at the OPEC meeting in March were premature, but inventories were currently at the low end of the five-year average range.

Oil prices lose more than $3 a barrel

NEW YORK - Oil prices fell sharply Friday, closing well under $90 a barrel after a string of dismal economic reports renewed worries that a possible U.S. recession could stunt oil demand.

Ecuador, Venezuela join hands to build huge oil refinery

QUITO (Xinhua) -- Ecuador and Venezuela have planned to jointly build a huge oil refinery with a daily processing capacity of 300,000 barrels in Ecuador's coastal province of Manabi, said Ecuador's Mines and Oil Ministry Friday.

UK: Government 'connived' with Eon over Kingsnorth

Green campaigners claim a major Government energy strategy collapsed in just six minutes following an exchange of emails between ministers and a big energy company.

Greenpeace claims the emails show Eon, the German utility giant, was dictating terms of approval of a new controversial coal-fired power it wants to build and rubbished a new technology which the Government was previously keen to push.

Montana: Gov. Schweitzer, Panelists Urge Aggressive Action on Climate Change

Naming global climate change as the most pressing issue facing the nation, Gov. Brian Schweitzer called for swift and decisive action by individuals, industry and government to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in a speech at the University of Montana Thursday night.

“The fastest way to decrease our carbon footprint is to decrease our consumption of energy,” Schweitzer said in his keynote address before a panel discussion by state and local leaders on climate change policy.

Canada learns from the US, muzzles climate scientists

It's no secret that the Bush White House hasn't been much of a friend to science during its seven-year stretch: The Republican War on Science, a book detailing various political assaults on research, is a best seller. But those of you thinking that this phenomenon is specific to the United States need to think again. An astute reader let us know that just north of the border, Environment Canada, the government department responsible for protecting the Canadian environment, has enacted Deutsch-like restrictions over researchers' access to the media.

All media requests to scientists working for Environment Canada now have to be sent to the capital, Ottawa, for approval. Journalists have to submit their questions in writing. "Sources say researchers are then asked to respond in writing to the media office, which then sends the answers to senior management for approval. If a researcher is eventually cleared to do an interview, he or she is instructed to stick to the 'approved lines.'"

“The fastest way to decrease our carbon footprint is to decrease our consumption of energy,” Schweitzer said in his keynote address before a panel discussion by state and local leaders on climate change policy.

This is the same Brian Schweitzer who thinks we should be making an all-out coal-to-liquids push. That's not exactly going to decrease the carbon footprint. In fact, I have become convinced that we are not going to address Global Warming at all, because we don't care to pay the price. And by address, I mean actually cause GHG emissions to decrease worldwide. We can pass all the Kyoto Protocols we want, but when gasoline consumption in the U.S., China, and India continue to increase - and China keeps building coal-fired power plants - then there is not much hope, IMO.

"Ecology and Capitalist Costs of Production: No Exit"
by Immanuel Wallerstein

"There are two different kinds of operations in preserving the environment. The first is the cleaning up of the negative effects of a production exercise (for example, combating chemical toxins that are a by-product of production, or removing non-biodegradable waste). The second is investment in the renewal of the natural resources that have been used (for example, replanting trees). Once again, the ecology movements have put forward a long series of specific proposals that would address these issues. In general, these proposals meet with considerable resistance on the part of the enterprises that would be affected by such proposals, on the grounds that these measures are far too costly, and would therefore lead to the curtailment of production.

The truth is that the enterprises are essentially right. These measures are indeed too costly, by and large, if we define the issue in terms of maintaining the present average worldwide rate of profit. They are too costly by far. Given the deruralization of the world and its already serious effect upon the accumulation of capital, the implementation of significant ecological measures, seriously carried out, could well serve as the coup de grƒce to the viability of the capitalist world-economy. Therefore, whatever the public relations stance of individual enterprises on these questions, we can expect unremitting foot-dragging on the part of capitalists in general. We are in fact faced with three alternatives. One, governments can insist that all enterprises internalize all costs, and we would be faced with an immediate acute profits squeeze. Or, two, governments can pay the bill for ecological measures (clean-up and restoration plus prevention), and use taxes to pay for this. But if one increases taxes, one either increases the taxes on the enterprises, which would lead to the same profits squeeze, or one raises taxes on everyone else, which would probably lead to an acute tax revolt. Or, three, we can do virtually nothing, which will lead to the various ecological catastrophes of which the ecology movements warn. So far, the third alternative has been carrying the day. In any case, this is why I say that there is "no exit," meaning by that that there is no exit within the framework of the existing historical system...."


It's really hard to argue with this. Last night I went to a presentation by a young, intense group (Cascadia Rising Tide) about global warming and carbon credit trading. They put on a superb program, and a brave face, but in the end, they were merely left with "hope" that people would wake up to the massive theft and environmental degradation that the various carbon-credit and cap-and-trade schemes produce-- and somehow get their elected representatives to stop it. The situation is even more dire than I had realized, and I'm afraid that in recent years I have always expected the worst.

Aha! The light bulb goes on!

Now think it through, all the way through. And be sure to not forget this:

People who expect "business as usual" to solve these problems are completely delusional. Chaco Canyon refutes that. The Mayans refute that. Mesopotamia refutes that.

But like good programmed homo sapiens, they will go on believing what they believe until they physically cannot believe it any longer.

P is for Piranha. Virtually everything coming out of the piranha class will make the situation worse. I qualify with "virtually" only because there is bound to be some mildly positive tertiary consequence.

cfm in Gray, ME

Hello NeverLNG,

Cascadia Rising Tide?--cool name! Once this young group realizes that 'hope' is futile: expect a shift to Secession, sequential building and enlargement of biosolar habitats, and ruthless Earthmarine mindset for optimal species protection. Just my speculation, of course.

Consider the Seed Bank now being stocked in Norway-- I suggest that any attempt by starving mobs to eat this vital reserve will be ruthlessly repelled by any and all measures from weaponized smallpox/ebola, to nukes, to snipers picking off adults to little kids-- whatever is required to protect this biota thru the coming postPeak transition.

IMO, Peak Outreach is the greatest info charity to mankind and the protection of biota for future generations the greatest gift. The question to be answered: can we develop a focused conflict method [such as Asimov's Foundations, Earthmarine vs Mercs, biosolars vs detritovore, etc] for optimal Bottleneck Squeeze? Or is a full, diffuse anarchy, grinding Thermo/Gene catabolic collapse, and extinction our fate?

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


Cool group of young people who really care, and for the most part, walk the walk. Personally, I am becoming persuaded by Derik Jensen's idea that "hope is a narcotic" -- but that may be too harsh and cynical. These kids are actually making a difference in the world, and in them lies hope for the human race.

This looks cool - any sense of how many members it has? How long has it been around? The Relocalize folks have frowned on our efforts here and WiserEarth.org is huge, but I'm not having the time/sense to get any traction with it ... would be nice to expand horizons and this sounds like an intriguing group.

Consider the Seed Bank now being stocked in Norway-- I suggest that any attempt by starving mobs to eat this vital reserve will be ruthlessly repelled by any and all measures from weaponized smallpox/ebola, to nukes, to snipers picking off adults to little kids-- whatever is required to protect this biota thru the coming postPeak transition.

There was recently an article in the New Yorker about seed banks. There was(is?) one in Russia (St. Petersburg if I remember correctly) and during WWII one or more of the caretakers actually starved to death guarding the seeds from other starving people.

You must be referring to Nicolai Vavilov.

An amazing Russian scientist, his story written up
in this Russian site

No one person has ever done more to preserve biodiversity on Earth than Russian Nikolai Vavilov.

In the early 20th century he had the crucial insight that all the crops we depend on for food originated in only about a dozen regions of the earth comprising only one-fortieth of our world's land area - corn and tomatoes from Mexico, coffee from Ethiopia, wheat in Turkey, potatoes in Peru, soybeans from China, rice from Southeast Asia.

These precious areas are now called "Vavilov Centers" and are scoured for wild variants of these key plants to include in agricultural breeding efforts.

A brilliant scientist, Valivov traveled to over 65 countries in the 1920s and 1930s to gather over 50,000 seed samples. However, he fell afoul of Stalin and the loony communist science czar Trofim Lysenko; in 1940 he was arrested, and in a morbid scientific irony, died of malnutrition in Saratov prison camp in 1943.

In post-Soviet Russia and in the rest of the world where he was never scorned, Valivov is today a true scientific hero.

Valivov's original samples miraculously avoided being eaten by their starving curators during the Siege of Leningrad and became the start of theVavilov Research Institute of Plant Industry in modern-day St. Petersburg.

Their current seed collection of 380,000 gene types is by far the largest in the world and a priceless international treasure.

However, today this seed collection is under a greater threat today than during World War II. The collapse of Russian economy has left the facility short of qualified staff.

Even worse, the Institute has been ordered to evict its current building to make room for government offices and a possible presidential apartment for Russian President Vladimir Putin.

It goes on... reporting on our own Al Gore visiting the site and using American funds to try to save the collection of ancient seeds Vavilov so painstakingly amassed.

Great Reference, Hardhat, thanks!

As James Thurber said as the moral of one of his tales..

"There's no safety in numbers, or in anything else!"


Bob, I always enjoy your posts and find them upbeat, even if some others may not. I'd like to think that sort of 'planetary patriotism' will emerge but so far I haven't seen it except in a very few outliers.

Once this young group realizes that 'hope' is futile: expect a shift to Secession, sequential building and enlargement of biosolar habitats, and ruthless Earthmarine mindset for optimal species protection. Just my speculation, of course.

Hope so. I think the secession - or at least talk of it - is reasonably likely at some point, but Earthmarines don't exist now when it would be relatively painless and the information is all to be had for the taking, so I really don't see it happening. Talk is one thing, action another. Guess we'll see.

Consider the Seed Bank now being stocked in Norway-- I suggest that any attempt by starving mobs to eat this vital reserve will be ruthlessly repelled by any and all measures from weaponized smallpox/ebola, to nukes, to snipers picking off adults to little kids-- whatever is required to protect this biota thru the coming postPeak transition.

Frankly, I wish they'd hide the damn thing. Seems more pragmatic than squirting ebola on the mobs. Oh, and replicate it in about 3 dozen places including the antarctic.

I have to say that thinking of such 'seed banks' reminds me a lot of the movie "silent running" with Bruce Dern; anyone into doomer porn should see it. Be a good earthmarine recruiting film.

IMO, Peak Outreach is the greatest info charity to mankind and the protection of biota for future generations the greatest gift. The question to be answered: can we develop a focused conflict method [such as Asimov's Foundations, Earthmarine vs Mercs, biosolars vs detritovore, etc] for optimal Bottleneck Squeeze? Or is a full, diffuse anarchy, grinding Thermo/Gene catabolic collapse, and extinction our fate?

THAT should be a keypost... why don't you write it?


You might want to read this opinion about the seed bank before getting all misty eyed. If Engdahl is right - and he certain puts forth a strong case - then this seedbank is all about Monsanto and Dupont hedging their bets as they screw around with plant genetics. Sort of the ultimate DNA backup.


The misty eyes are for the preservation of species. The motivation of those doing it quite secondary, though as noted I'd like to see seed banks replicated in many places.

I don't doubt that Monsanto, Dupont, etc have their own calculations, but on brief reading Engdahl comes off as a bit nuts. I have a hard time buying this as part of a Nazi-esque eugenics program.

Saving seeds and species is a good idea.

I agree that it is a good idea - but one thing you can be sure of: those investing companies are not doing it out of the kindness of their hearts (despite what good intentions some individuals might have). They will be seeing the possibility for profit/power down the line somewhere.

Yeah, I agree, but use the term "inertia" because such exists on Nature's side too. I see two large wheels--Mill Stones--one representing BAU, the other Nature; only one is several orders of magnitude larger than the other, which makes it clear that when the wheels meet the smaller will be easily crushed by the larger. The larger wheel is Nature's Natural Systems. As noted, previous human BAU wheels--Mayan, Mesopotamian, Sarasvati (Vedic), Roman--have met the Natural Wheel and we can see the results.

good analogy. and the Way in which the larger wheel operates is called Dao. LaoZi had all this as well as the solution figured out way before the so called "Christian era."

I think any grown up over the age of 25 knows that we will choose option #3"...do virtually nothing..."

Any doomsdayer worth his oats has by now read Jared Diamonds' "Collapse". The grim conclusion that Diamond reached in his thoroughly entertaining treatise was that societies that are focused on their lifestyle and political competition will forego longterm goals for the sake of status and power.

Even his Anthropology students had to ask the inevitable question:

"What did the Easter Islander think who cut down the last tree on Easter Island?"

Currently, due to the monster of "globalization", we earthlings are accelerating our collapse and this time the collapse will not be regional but global in nature. Like the ancient Easter Islanders we are isolated on a small planet in a relatively obscure solar system , with no close neighbors. Nationalities are in fierce competition with one another for hegeomony, status and resources. Root causes: overpopulation and enviromental destruction.

One huge irony is that the consuming nations assume that there will be a winner at the end of this "competition". If we could grasp the lesson of the long extinct Norse civilization in Greenland 800 years ago:

"..the winners were the ones who had the priveledge of being the last ones to starve to death..."

Hi joemichaels and Leanan,

Every so often, I'd like to interject the article below into the discussion, when we draw on the history of "Easter Island" as an example.

"Easter Island" or Rapa Nui can still teach us a lot - it's just that its important to take an fresh, objective look at the evidence, as well. There are new lessons to be learned.

Really worth a read (IMVHO).


Rethinking the Fall of Easter Island by Terry Hunt. In the American Scientist.

Aniya - Thank-you for the aritcle in American Scientist. Although I think that the demise of the Easter Islanders may have been more complex than perhaps Diamond may have concluded, the questions that remain unanswered is if the easter Islanders were increasing at a prolific 3% annually and the maximum population that Easter Island reached was 3,000 and not 15,000 what were the factors that kept their numbers to the more sustainable level of 3,000 prior to the arrival of Europeans? War, genocide, starvation? If the Easter Islanders percieved that the rats were a danger to their survival it would have taken a relatively short time to bring the rat populations into control. After all we have to assume that the Islanders were intelligent enough to understand their delicate ecosystems better than late-coming archaeologists. Who destroyed the massive monolithic monuments? The natives or the European invaders? Why?

The thing that makes the Easter Islanders collapse even more appropriate as an example of our future collapse is the invasion of humans followed much later by the introduction of the European invaders. The impacts of Globalization and corporate slavery of less developed nations, World Bank Policies, deforestation, invasive species, mono-agriculture, Peak Oil, Global Warming...these are no doubt all complex factors that will all have to be considered when future scientists grapple with the reasons for the collapse of human society on planet Earth.

If the Easter Islanders percieved that the rats were a danger to their survival it would have taken a relatively short time to bring the rat populations into control.


You have 3,000 people and millions of rats on 160sq km of substantially-forested island, and your most sophisticated technology is an outrigger canoe. How, exactly, do you plan to reduce the rat population and prevent them from breeding to re-fill the niche?

I think you're making assumptions here that are not at all warranted. Even now, with modern technology, Australia has largely failed to control its rabbit population; there's no indication that the inhabitants of Rapa Nui would have had the ability to control the rat population of their island.

Hey Pitt - thanks for the question. You state that there were millions of rats. What do you base that assertion on other than exponential growth rates. This a a relatively small island. What were the limitations to rat populations other than human predators? Food. When rat populations overwhelms the food supply rats have a very basic form of population control: Cannibalism.

Also I suggest you re-read James Clavells' "King Rat". The basics of the story is how a large group of Allied prisoners of war on a small pacific island learned to survive using rats and cockroaches as a vital source of protien. They caged, captured and harvested the rats using very simple technologies.

The rabbits of Australia had the ready expanse of a continent to spread and seek refuge. The rats of easter Island had nowhere to go. Rat eradication is energy intensive yet a low technology endeavor. It would have required an intensive local program (remember on Easter Island everthing was local)that would have have easily curtailed rat populations to tolerable levels.

Perhaps the rats, as in the Clavell's novel, were used by the Easter islanders as a vital source of protein?

Now about that "Outrigger canoe" comment...? Please!

...we have smuggled a word into the dictionary which ought not to be there at all--Self-Sacrifice. It describes a thing which does not exist... We ignore and never mention the Sole Impulse which dictates and compels a man's every act: the imperious necessity of securing his own approval, in every emergency and at all costs.

- Mark Twain, "What is Man?"

Change is the handmaiden Nature requires to do her miracles with.

- Mark Twain, "Roughing It"

There is little that can be done to stem the tide of consumption. And, consumption is the driving force of GHG emissions. Until the issue of consumption is addressed, there is no hope of altering emissions.

Consumption will not be addressed, for it is the corner-stone of all economies. There is no courage to destroy such a fearsome beast, for we all fear that we will destroy our chances at fame and fortune along with it. If only the human race developed the ability to see beyond our own prosperity.

It does rather look as if - in a republic where all are free and equal - prosperity and position constitute rank.

- Mark Twain, "The American Claimant"

Thank you.

Mark Twain, the anti dote to the Gilded Age.

Which begat the Fed Res, Income tax, and the ability to fight

I'm confused about the relative pronoun. Are you saying Mark Twain started the Fed Res, etc., or the Gilded Age did? If the latter, it certainly didn't start there -- that was just the first flare of the resurgent sun of global empire in the USA after its early experiments with "freedom for some." I'm pretty sure that most of the founding fathers and the occasional founding mother were firmly in the camp of Empire-- they just wanted to make sure that they, not the English or the French or the Spanish or the Russians were in control. "Democracy" was exploited as a tool to get control of the continent, and having achieved that, Democracy is to be shrunk back down where it belongs and flushed down the bathtub. The program is progressing swimmingly.

There is little that can be done to stem the tide of consumption.

I know you were focused on GW, but the same thing is true of the Peak Oil debate. Consider the discussion between Simmons, Hirsch and Rubin (we are very close to or past Peak Oil) versus the positions taken by ExxonMobil, OPEC and CERA (we don't have to worry about Peak Oil for decades).

Even many of the people who believe that Simmons, et al are correct don't want to rock the boat, i.e., the "Enron Effect," they have a vested financial interest in continued consumption and they don't want to bring down the whole house of cards.

I guess that all we can do is to warn those who will listen and then continue to bail out of highly energy dependent assets like large suburban homes--via sales to the true believers in the Yerginite Community.

...they have a vested financial interest in continued consumption and they don't want to bring down the whole house of cards.

I would further say that it is not just that "they don't want to bring down the whole house of cards". But also that they have considered the options of reducing consumption and increasing consumption, and have decided that what is best for them - personally - is their perception that greater prosperity via increasing consumption allows a better defense against any changes in the future. Money is power. Power over everything, including Nature.

It is this core belief - that money and prosperity is the greatest defense - that is the essence of the human race. Nothing will (or can) abate this belief in the greater power of prosperity over all things.

And, you are correct to point out that consumption is not just about GW, but also about energy (and PO, specifically). Any discussion of reducing consumption will cause most of the human race undue discomfort. We don't want to think that tomorrow will not be easier than today.

"It is this core belief - that money and prosperity is the greatest defense - that is the essence of the human race. Nothing will (or can) abate this belief in the greater power of prosperity over all things."

Spot on! and this truth spells the end of humanity.

It seems to be the conclusion of most peakniks too. That a big part of their "plan" is to get more money as if that will insure a softer landing.

Focus more on HUMANITY and less on the dehumanizing activity of getting more money.

But money can insure a softer landing. Do you want all the capital in the hands of peak oil and global warming deniers, or do you want it in the hands of people who have come to terms with reality and are looking to put it to work in ways that improve the situation?

Westexas has it right--people who understand the situation should be unloading their SUVs and McMansions onto the Yerginites. They should be investing in oil futures contracts and solar panels on their homes. They should definitely seek to prosper at the expense of the deniers. It's nature's way of dealing with fools.

I've phrased it this way:

What is the fundamental intrinsic value of the world's 100 largest oil fields without the world's 100 largest financial institutions?

What is the fundamental intrinsic value of the world's 100 largest financial institutions without the world's 100 largest oil fields?

Careful. A variety of financial institutions existed and had intrinsic value when burning surface collected oil was little more than another way to defend the castle from attackers.

It's not evident that oil would have much value in the absence of financial institutions, and while I know you are thinking of the BofA sort of institutions, I would include money itself as the transcendant financial institution. It's not clear to me that civilisation would not be at more risk in the absence of financial institutions than it will be during the decline and eventual virtual disappearance of oil.

None of this to say that I don't believe that the share of the pie being grabbed by the rentier class needs serious cutting.

The main problem I see with solar panels is that its difficult to hide them.

I get the idea that if TSHTF, the authorities will simply take them by eminent domain. They have helicopters, and can readily fly over neighborhoods looking for them if they want to. The need the run the Police Department's air conditioners may well supercede your need of running your refrigerator. All it takes to take your system is a signature.

Otherwise, you may leave your house for a couple of hours, and when you come back, gone!

Its hard to have something if everyone else wants it and knows you have it.

In some contexts, conspicuous displays of preparedness might be inadvisable.

It's almost as if one has created a 'religon' or 'cult' based on the worship of money and prosperity. One's even built temples and shrines and sites where pilgrims can gather to pay tribute and sacrifice to their God. The Muslims have Mecca, and we have Las Vegas.

Only money, prosperity and marterialim, are probably a poor substitute for spiritual well-being. Maybe Jesus was right, and Love is what really matters, all the rest is just an illusion.

I kinda doubt it. A lot of peak oilers have fond fantasies of the filthy rich being given the Marie Antoinette treatment by hordes of angry FWOs. But the reality is likely to be different. The very rich did fine during the Great Depression, and I suspect they'll do fine in the "long emergency," too. Or at least, better than the rest of us, which is really all they need to do.

As Sharon Astyk said in a recent post in her new blog:

If you think you are likely to remain one of the rich and fortunate, there's a good chance that you don't need or want my advice. That is, even in the most collapsed of circumstances, there are always people who stay rich and priveleged. That class may be increasingly small, and who is in it may shift, but there have been rich people forever, and there will be some even if the US or the world completely collapses economically. The question, to my mind is this - what are the odds that any one of us is going to be part of the fortunate few? My own observation (backed up by plenty of studies about the consolidation of wealth) is that the fortunate tend not to be terribly uncomfortable impoverishing other people - they may later give some of their money away in the form of philanthropy, but they are pretty much ok seeing money consolidate in their hands.


Formerly Well Off

If one views history from Olympian heights and the analytical category du jour is an amorphous "the rich" then of course the rich are always with us and history is bunk and the more things change the more they remain the same.
If one is Marie Antoinette the French Revolution is a pretty big deal. The current Count of Paris cuts a rather smaller figure than did the antebellum Sun King.

For the American upper classes the Depression hardly mattered. They'd made buckets of money in the immediately preceding War and made more buckets of money in the imminent second chapter of the War. Conveniently fought elsewhere. The New Deal was a bother but the rich bided their time and started undoing it from 1968.
For the European aristocracy 1914 was the end of the world and the Depression confirmed it.

It is always easy to say nothing matters and nothing ever happens. Wealth and inertia can make those sentiments seem true. In the present circumstance I would rather be informed by Agincourt. The flower of France were convinced of their invincibility. The first alarums of battle did not disturb their equanimity. They knew their wealth and position would prevail. They stood their ground. And were slaughtered. Many great houses were extinguished. The French aristocracy was a shadow for generations and in some sense was evermore something different.

The question was whether wealth will provide a soft landing for the rich. I think in all likelihood, it will.

The question was whether wealth will provide a soft landing for the rich. I think in all likelihood, it will.

In the initial stages of collapse (i.e. the next five years or so) you are no doubt correct, if they are smart and don't lose their money in a stock market crash. The more money you have the less likely you are to lose your home to foreclosure and fall off the economic ladder as the economy tanks. But in the longer term there isn't going to be "soft landing" for anyone on the planet, the wealthy included.

I think business as usual is going to go on for a lot longer than five years. And the rich are the ones who will be able to afford solar panels, wind turbines, batteries, etc.

They'll also be the ones who can afford to relocate, should it become necessary.

My better off friends have a large photovoltaic array and a Prius. My husband and I have discussed both but have neither

Can you see the world entering a recession due to peak oil, and it ever ending? Unmitigated, Peak Oil equals permanent recession equals goodbye BAU doesn't it?

Unmitigated, Peak Oil equals permanent recession equals goodbye BAU doesn't it?

Probably yes to part 1, probably no to part 2.

When I say "BAU," I don't mean we won't notice that anything's different. I mean there won't be the kind of sharp discontinuities some are predicting (the middle class rising up to kill all the rich, mass dieoff that kills off 95% of the population before 2030, nuclear war, etc.).

How many children of the Roman Senate and Patrician class survived the fall of Rome?

How many bear latin names to this day?

Why does England offer up so many pots of treasure that were never claimed by the people who laid them down?


They did not make it. Maybe they died out. Maybe they blended in with the survivors.

Most died.

There was a Coda.



How many children of the Roman Senate and Patrician class survived the fall of Rome?

Dunno, but Tainter noted that the wealthy were the last to suffer. The poor suffered first, then the middle class, and last, the wealthy. The wealthy eventually set themselves up on country estates, with the poor to work their land for them.

How many bear latin names to this day?

Quite a few, but they are no longer recognized as Latin.

Most died.

Umm...they all died. It was a long time ago, and we all die eventually.

Anything's possible, but I think we are most likely to face the "brother in law on the couch version of the apocalypse." (Which some no doubt consider the worst possible future.) The wealthy will have more room for their brother in laws, and more means to support them.

The rich did not survive. We have exceptional examples of trashed villas here in England.

We have evidence of wooden (Saxon) buildings erected on sites that were formerly Romano-British villas.

And of course we have the periodic finds of hoards

The wealthy Romano-British got eaten by Saxon wolves, as did the Romano-British peasantry.

If you were rich enough , you got out of dodge: you did not hang around to meet the 'white socks' or to find out about the 'night of the long knives'*

*most people think that the NOLK was Hitlerian. Hitler based it on a Saxon massacre of Romano-British Royalty. A meeting was called. All weapons were forbidden. But no one checked the Saxons for the long , leaf-bladed knife (saex)that was universal among the Saxons.

They hid them in their white socks.

The rich did not survive. We have exceptional examples of trashed villas here in England.

That means their villas did not survive. It doesn't mean they did not. Being wealthy means having the means to escape, if necessary. Things could very well have been even worse for the poor.

A better support for your view is the Maya. It was the elite who appear to have either died or left. However, even the Maya had a "catabolic collapse." It took a couple of centuries for them to collapse, with the elite probably doing quite well for most of that time.

They fled or died. Rich or Poor, the Romano-British got changed out:


It must have been quite nasty for the RB's.

Not according to the genetic record they didn't.
The population of the British Isles has remained substantially similar since the close of the last Ice Age when it was repopulated.
They weren't all killed by the Saxons, they just changed their customs, and carried right on speaking the Germanic language they always had in England, not Celtic.

'The other myth I was taught at school, one which persists to this day, is that the English are almost all descended from 5th-century invaders, the Angles, Saxons and Jutes, from the Danish peninsula, who wiped out the indigenous Celtic population of England.'

One guy who lies in the village of Cheddar proved to be very closely related to a 9,000 year old skeleton, in the same location!

'This is my favorite, maybe because of the name. He is a 9,000-year-old skeleton who lived in a cave, and who has a distant male relative living right down the street in Cheddar, England. Cheddar Man was a Stone Age hunter-gatherer who lived in southwestern England. Scientists from Oxford University's Institute of Molecular Medicine, led by Dr. Sykes, analyzed mitochondrial DNA extracted from one of Cheddar Man's molar teeth. The results were compared to those of 20 people in the area. Researchers say that it shows that Britons descended from European hunter-gatherers rather than Middle Eastern farmers. I would note that since mtDNA analyses were done, we cannot say that Cheddar Man fathered any children since the mtDNA of Cheddar would have been passed down by his mother. The living relative and Cheddar had a most recent common ancestor 10,000 years ago.'

I remember that "Cheddar Man" story. Great stuff.

I've been tempted to get a DNA analysis, flawed as they are. Haven't quite been able to justify the expense, all things considered.

Fun, isn't it? I couldn't believe it when they reconstructed the face of the Cheddar man - he could have been the brother of the guy closely related by mitochondrial DNA!

Actually, I overstated my case about no die off when the Saxon's came, which was based on Stephen Oppenheimer's writings in the links I gave, or rather the book.

He got a bit confused about whether he was writing a popularisation or a thesis, and not a very well indexed one at that, so I couldn't be bothered in a subject of passing interest to me to put in the effort needed to follow properly.

I found his arguments based on language quite persuasive though - the first English we are aware of is quite a bit different from that in the areas it was supposed to have come from in a short time in the 5th and 6th century, and appears to be a separate branch of the Germanic languages which had been around in England since the ice age.

The English are most closely related to the Belgiums according to his analysis, but I believe that there is still a lot of academic debate about the extent of displacement.


There have a lot of postings using the past as a gague to the future. I think one thing that undercuts the idea that the well off will do well is the complexity of society and the reality that there are many skilled (in technology and tactics) and seriously armed.

Certainly some rich people will, indeed, have "bunkers", armoured vehicles and a private security force. But, the remainder will be as exposed as the next person in the tract house. It doesn't take much to screw up the sewer, the power, the water and communications. And, it's certainly easy to whack people from a distance (or, at the very least, make their lives untenable) or use IEDs.

To me, the only thing that possibly prevents this is "hope" among those who are impacted. Hope may be the overthrow of TPTB or another shippment of food on the way. But, were people to believe that there is nothing to lose, then they will destroy whatever appears to causing their pain.


Yeah, well, I think the "hope" might go on for a very long time. It did during the Great Depression. And it is in the countries that are currently having difficulties. People get upset, block the street, burn a few tires, maybe trash a utility truck and a few transformers...then go back home and wait for the power to come back on so they can watch TV.

Also, that technology you speak of could well be used to control the population. Cameras watching you everywhere, the FBI monitoring your phone calls and Internet use, perhaps mass use of psychoactive drugs. I suspect there's still a lot of low-handing fruit in that department.

People get upset, block the street, burn a few tires, maybe trash a utility truck and a few transformers...then go back home and wait for the power to come back on so they can watch TV.

Yeah, in Rwanda people burned a few tires, blocked a few streets, and went home all right.. After slaughtering about 800,000 people. Just imagine what would have happened had their country been saturated with guns.

Also, that technology you speak of could well be used to control the population. Cameras watching you everywhere, the FBI monitoring your phone calls and Internet use, perhaps mass use of psychoactive drugs. I suspect there's still a lot of low-handing fruit in that department.

Sure, right up until the time that cheap energy ceases to be plentiful. Then I think we'll see the playing field leveled. In this sense, energy depletion may turn out to be a pretty significant equalizer, and the 270 million guns owned by private American citizens may become much more relevant. Just think back to how effective the Redcoats(with all their technological superiority) were in controlling their rebellious New World colony (poorly armed relative to the British).

U.S. citizens own 270 million of the world's 875 million known firearms, according to the Small Arms Survey 2007 by the Geneva-based Graduate Institute of International Studies.

The report, which relied on government data, surveys and media reports to estimate the size of world arsenals, estimated there were 650 million civilian firearms worldwide, and 225 million held by law enforcement and military forces.

"Civilian holdings of weapons worldwide are much larger than we previously believed," Krause said, attributing the increase largely to better research and more data on weapon distribution networks.

Only about 12 percent of civilian weapons are thought to be registered with authorities.

This is another reason I wouldn't mind moving to New Zealand. I want no part in this.

Rwanda is not peak oil related. They had a long and bloody history of conflict. And even in Rwanda...only about a tenth of the population died. A far cry from the 95% dieoff some are expecting. Today, they are continuing on more or less as usual.

Which is what I expect for us. Yes, there will be "points of discontinuity"...but we'll recover, settle in at a lower energy state, and continue on...until the next crisis.

Sure, right up until the time that cheap energy ceases to be plentiful. Then I think we'll see the playing field leveled.

Disagree. Cost won't enter into if the government is involved. It'll just be a matter of priorities...and control of the population will be a priority.

Rwanda is not peak oil related.

You're right, it is not directly related. But if you flip through Diamond's chapter on Rwanda in "Collapse," some of the contributing factors (there seem to have been many) stemmed from overpopulation. There were just "too many people on too little land." Peak oil means peak food, meaning there will be too many people and not enough food. Which is just as bad of a scenario, and probably worse.

They [Rwanda] had a long and bloody history of conflict..

Well the 300+ years of U.S. History haven't exactly been conflict-free.

And even in Rwanda...only about a tenth of the population died. A far cry from the 95% dieoff some are expecting. Today, they are continuing on more or less as usual.

The ecological stressors in Rwanda's case will pale in comparison to those stemming from peak oil and climate change. The U.S. (and the world) will soon face a multitude of ecological threats, including topsoil depletion, aquifer and water table drawdown, massive erosion, drought, fertilizer shortage, and much more. In short, the Perfect Storm.

According to the media, liberal intellectuals and Hollywood, the Hutu militias' mass murder of Tutsi civilians was the consequence of evil men manipulating ethnic hatreds, while the United Nations and the United States stood by and did nothing. As Collapse indicates, that interpretation is accurate and places the moral responsibility squarely where it belongs. Nevertheless, it is far from complete.

In perhaps the wisest and most all-encompassing short summary of why genocide occurred in Rwanda, Diamond observes that pre-genocide Rwanda had a population density approaching that of Holland, supported by Stone Age agriculture: In the years preceding the genocide, Rwanda suffered a precipitous decline in per capita food production because of drought and overworked soil, which in turn caused massive deforestation. The upshot was dramatically rising levels of theft and violence perpetrated by landless and hungry young men.
The Crash of Civilizations

Diamond's take on Rwanda is controversial; not everyone agrees with it.

The ecological stressors in Rwanda's case will pale in comparison to those stemming from peak oil and climate change.

We simply don't know that.

In the long run...very probably. But in the short term (i.e., our lifetimes), who knows?

Maybe the “soft landing” for the rich will be a designer pillow under the guillotine. The one thing the aristocracy (the rich) in the United States have had too worry about, unlike their European counterparts, is fear for their necks. They have always successfully used force to squash the masses. A European aristocrat could look at the painting of his ancestor on his wall and ponder the torment of seeing his namesake’s whole family slain by peasants; a scion of old American wealth could look at the painting of his forbearers and chuckle how easy it was for the Pinkertons to crush a worker uprising, and how easy it is to keep the foot on the neck to this day. However, as the French aristocracy found out in 1789, this situation could change in a heartbeat.

However, as the French aristocracy found out in 1789, this situation could change in a heartbeat.

I wonder about that. There are a lot of very poor people in the world, living in societies with a great deal of inequality. Why don't they revolt?

I suspect it is because their expectations are extremely low. Expectations and the failure of the governing class to fulfill them is very important for revolt. People in despair don’t revolt, or vote. Most revolts actually happen in the middle classes. Raise the hope and living standards of the lower classes, give them the taste of the “good life’, take it away, and then see what happens.

I'd heard the theory that the reason the French revolution happened is that some of the elite joined in.

Dunno if I buy it.

I suspect speed matters. If the collapse is really fast, people will be too beat down to revolt. Similarly, if it happens really slowly, they won't even notice that their expectations are ever lower.

I think the latter is more likely. In fact, I think it's been happening since the early '70s - peak oil USA. With very little protest.

Are you being serious Leanan? I know you know better :)

Sure, it would be nice if the latter happened. But comparing the next 10 years to the early 70's is just silly! Yes, the U.S. peaked in the 1970's. But Saudi Arabia has done a fine job of picking up the loose slack. World oil production has continued to rise, right up until 2006-06. So it's really no surprise that Americans have not protested (though the economy has been run into the ground, savings are negative, debts of all kinds have gone through the roof etc.).

The upcoming years will be an altogether different story. World oil production will soon fall off the plateau, taking the world's GDP with it. And if this isn't bad enough, U.S. domestic imports will fall even more precipitously, again taking the U.S. GDP with it. Millions of "service jobs" will disappear. In fact, Friday's unemployment figures suggest this process may already be underway.

Over the next 15 years, as the U.S. economy shrinks in direct proportion to dwindling fuel supplies (as Hirsch concluded), huge chunks of the poor, the middle, and to some extent, the lower-upper classes, are going to be blindsided by the dismal future of no work, no means to get to work even if they found a job, and no way to feed their families. And unlike the Great Depression, or even the French Revolution, things will only worsen, year after year after year, for many decades. Or until the population reaches a sustainable level.

Sounds like fun, doesn't it? :)

Are you being serious Leanan?


Sure, it would be nice if the latter happened.

No, it wouldn't. I think I'm more of a doomer than you are, because I think BAU will go on long enough for us to really screw things up.

Ok, here we are in total agreement. As one poster said, the only thing worse than Peak Oil is no Peak Oil. That would truly be the Gaia's worst nightmare.

Because if it were business as usual for the next few decades... well, we could kiss the Amazon goodbye, along with what remains of the world's fisheries and topsoil. And we would probably hunt every edible species to extinction, including ourselves.


Hillary wants "clean coal." Obama's a big fan of CTL. McCain wants lots and lots of nukes. Romney wants to drill in ANWR, offshore, and anywhere else there might be oil.

Nobody's talking "powerdown," and I don't think anyone will be, any time soon.

That is posturing - they can't say it until after the election and then someone else has to bring it up. Once this happens then we start to see some movement. Knowing our government it'll be a focused effort on the top six stupid ideas that come up, but at least we'd have an admission of the problem ...

I don't think they'll say it even after the election. Since they'll want to be re-elected.

I agree. I think we see this a lot in Africa, the extreme being refugee camps.

Although I suppose another way of looking at why poor people don't revolt may be exactly the opposite, that is, that expectations are relatively high. If it can communicated that upward mobility is possible, in a semi-convincing manner, then the poor will work to increase their fitness by conventional, traditional means.

But if the poor come to understand that the energy pie (and the food pie, the plastic pumpkin pie, deodorant pie, and most certainly the gasoline pie) will now begin to shrink, and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future, then things could fall apart pretty quickly. This has important implications for "Peak Outreach," as Peak Oil (and all its nasty repercussions) must be presented to the public delicately. And some would say the masses shouldn't be informed at all.

I still like my example of Agincourt. The rich at Agincourt could have fled the field of battle. Those who survived were mostly those who fled. If they made no trouble for their new Angevin rulers, they were OK in the end.

Those who fled were a minority. In the face of an enemy they did not understand, in the face of an enemy who "logically" could not have prevailed, the flower of France stood and died. That was the majority of the noble-born in France. I do not see our rich behaving in a sensible manner when TSHTF. I can hardly claim to know what the S will look like when it hits the F, I can't see the future. I don't know the specific challenge that brings all to a head.
I do know what a brain dead rich f*** looks like, I do know a pigface. They're toast.

Why do the poor not revolt? Lack of physical energy. Lack of ideas. Good Lord, the French Revolution was a bougeois revolution, the poor briefly had a minor position of honour, then they were willing cannon fodder, merely on the hope that the new bourgeois masters could not be worse than aristocrats and priests.

I don't see the rich agreeing to go into harm's way this time. At least, not our rich.

'There are a lot of very poor people in the world, living in societies with a great deal of inequality. Why dont they revolt?'

There is a great deal of difference between a down trodden poor population that have lived in abject poverty for a very long time, are unarmed, and expect nothing better...and a bunch of American recently FWOs who happen to be well armed, most of whom were (probably) in need of professional help before they became poor, and are now watching their kids go without food.

If the economy declines to the point where the cops are no longer being paid by the governments because there is no money all hell is going to break loose. Lest we forget, one of the first items on the agenda of the American landed gentry was protection of property rights and construction of a 'middle or bureaucratic' class to enforce those rights. Without rule of law there are no property rights nor even a state, only anarchy.

Those that havent read Howard Zinn recently should brush up on just what can happen and how fast.

Gee Whiz, I had thought that was exactly precisely the question I addressed.Something about internet dialogue eludes me.

To tell you the truth, OH, I don't understand half the things you post. Sounds very poetic, but I can't make hide nor hair out of it.

I'm figuring that out.
Simpler: Our curent rich have faced few challenges. They're fat and dumb. I don't see them surviving.
In challenging circumstances a simple bag of money goes quick enough. The rich who have done well in the past also needed to work hard, get lucky, be quick on their feet. I don't see it.

I don't think they're fat and dumb.

I think hell will freeze over before they volunteer to go fight or otherwise put themselves in harm's way. It'll be just like it was in Vietnam, and like it is now. The poor and middle class will bear the burden. The rich will pull strings so they and their kids are safe.

They drank the kool-aid. They believe in their own propaganda. When faced by something new they will be clueless.
Big ships with big keels do well at riding out storms. Us in the little boats always look like Chicken Little. Then the storm blows over.
Big ships sink on reefs.


I think most people would rather be on the big ship if they have a choice.

It's a dead thread. Guess my interlocutor got it. Tho she disagrees. She may.
I never had any faith in the master of the big ship. Never wanted to be near him or with him. And in the end, since I think he's running us aground, I'm glad not to be there. That others see it as their shot, OK.

Note to self: Stop assuming your readers know Shakespeare. Does not mean I will stop using him, or other referents, just adjust expectations.

The problem is not your references. It's that you read into them things that are not immediately obvious to anyone outside your head.

Take "Agincourt." The problem is not that no one ever heard of it. It's that you (near as I can tell) see it as an example of rich people dying during bad times.

I, on the other hand, see it as an example of how different our rich people are now. If the government called for the elite to go to war now, the elite would all run in the opposite direction. They aren't going to rush to the front, any more than George W. Bush rushed to Vietnam.

The rich leading from the front tends to occur in societies which are homogenous in religion and race - examples would include the British in the First World War or the Japanese in the Second.

The idea of the chinless aristocrat and generals hiding from the front line in the British Army in WW1 is simply inaccurate - an awful lot of generals died on the front line, when perhaps duty strictly speaking may have indicated that they should have been further back, and the death rate in the upper classes was far higher than in the working class - the aristocracy was much more than decimated.

A British Lieutenant had a life expectancy of around 20 minutes once 'over the top' I understand, although perhaps that is an exaggeration.

For better or worse, British society is certainly not so homogenous now.

In America there are not only wide divergence in racial origin and faith within society at large but also wide differences in the composition of the elite and the rest of the population in both respects.

The degree of social identification needed to 'lead from the front' is in my view less likely under those circumstances.

I think there's more to it than that. For whatever reason, we no longer feel like citizenship carries responsibilities. Everyone cheats on their taxes if they can get away with it. People who join the military often do it for financial reasons, not out of patriotism (and there's no draft any more). People don't vote, don't join civic organizations, and do everything they can to get out of jury duty.

I really think Vietnam was the turning point. Before then, even the "elite" - the wealthy, movie stars and star athletes - did their time in the military. They sometimes got cushy assignments, but the idea of not doing it was never considered. Now, can you imagine Derek Jeter taking time off from baseball to serve his country in the Army?

Roger Staubach was a star for Annapolis and won the Heisman, but he still had to do his time in the military, including a tour of Vietnam. His glorious football career had to wait until after his military service was done. Now, few NFL-quality players go to the military academies, and when they do, they find a way to pursue their NFL careers along with or instead of military service.

I agree that there is more to it.
Just the same I think it is an important factor.

I doubt that being called up to fight for England would enjoy quite the degree of universal support in the muslim community for instance, as it did in most sections of society in 1914.

Disagree. Well, I don't know anything about UK Muslims, but ethnic minorities in the US have been as supportive as anyone else. It's been a path to assimilation, in fact. (Right now, there are a lot of Latino immigrants in the military.)

The classic example is the most decorated military unit in US history: 442nd Regimental Combat Team. It was basically an all Japanese-American unit. This despite the US government interning many Japanese-American families.

All that I was thinking is this:
Agincourt was the self-immolation of the feudal ruling class of France. Henry V was not even that different from the French - you can make a case that he was somehow early or pre-modern but so what. The French were full of themselves. And died. They could've run. They could've isolated the English and watched them die of hunger and cold. They could've marched to the English rear. They could've done all kinds of things. They were 15 or 20 thousand, the English 400. Ten thousand men of quality died that day. Presented themselves for slaughter. The French could not change their thinking.
Our current rulers do not see or understand or have an idea how to cope with the obvious and copious challenges discussed on this site everyday. They are locked in amazingly rigid orthodoxies. Most all of us - I am no exception - have minds that run in ruts. The objective challenges being posed are serious, large, will not submit to the same old same old remedies. The weariest and most tedious of all are those who now rule.

Hi oldhippie,

Re: The above exchanges. I'm aware of how much I don't know - and wish I did. (It's impossible to catch up, past a certain point.) I appreciate fuller explanations - when you can provide them. Just like you do here.

They were 15 or 20 thousand, the English 400.

That's simply not true:

"The lack of reliable and consistent sources makes it very difficult to accurately estimate the numbers on both sides. Estimates used by recent historians vary from 6,000 to 9,000 for the English, and from about 12,000 to about 36,000 for the French. Some modern research has questioned whether the English were as outnumbered as traditionally thought (see below). The English were probably not outnumbered as badly as the legend would have it; many modern British historians (for example, Juliet Barker, Christopher Hibbert) would accept that they were outnumbered by three to one or more, although Anne Curry estimates the odds were much more even than that."

There's an entire discussion of how the odds in the battle have been systematically overstated, in part for obvious political gain. Nobody puts the number of English forces at just 400, though; indeed, the only place a similar number shows up is in the approximate number of English casualties.

The French were full of themselves. And died. They could've run. They could've isolated the English and watched them die of hunger and cold. They could've marched to the English rear. They could've done all kinds of things.

The English were marching for Calais (a safe stronghold), so the French couldn't simply wait them out. The French actually did delay battle a few times, as they were awaiting reinforcements. Those reinforcements are in large part why Henry forced the issue.

Certainly, at the actual battle there was a certain amount of arrogance that hampered the French (they blocked their own bombards, crowded towards the front so closely they hampered each others' mobility, and generally displayed terrible discipline), but it's far too simplistic to ascribe the loss to an inability to change their thinking.

Prior to the New Deal Policies of Roosevelt in the 30's the fear of a Bolshevik style revolt in the U.S. was so real that all of the Vanderbilts, Rockefellers, and their ilk kept a fleet of ships anchored and staffed off of Long Island to facilitate a hasty exit from America the beautiful in the event of a revolt. Is it any wonder that the U.S. has spent the last 3 score years brainswashing Americans to the "evils of Communism". Post war egalitariansism has lulled Americans into a Nationally induced trance fed by cheeseburgers and infotainment.

Will the massive shift in wealth and loss of solvency of the middle class lead to civil unrest?

It is dangerous to assume that wealth can insulate certain groups from a collapse. Russian aristocracy was virtually eliminated after 1917. In this country there are far too many handguns in the hands of individuals who could easily become a powerful insurgency in the event of collapse.

Those guard gated estates will offer little protection to those privelidged occupants when events overwhelm communities.

You hit the nail on the head. Our culture has become one of seeking ever higher levels of wealth, by way of size of home, size of vehicles, electronic distractions, glitz and bling that all move away from spiritual love interaction.

My belief is humans are best when they are humbled, and worse when given an opportunity for greed and ego gratification. And what we will inevitably face in the coming crises of Peak Oil is the demise of our cultural hold on the things that seperate us, and humble us back to the roots of who we really should be, a loving interactive community.

The ultimate unfortunate challenge with Peak Oil will be the wholesale reduction of Peak Population, which will be forced into retreat on a scale never before seen in a relatively short time frame.

Only money, prosperity and marterialim, are probably a poor substitute for spiritual well-being.

Yeah, but it's not like we'd have the spiritual well-being if we were suddenly poorer. I view American culture as being crushed between mindless religion and spiritless materialism.

"...One's even built temples and shrines and sites where pilgrims can gather to pay tribute and sacrifice to their God. The Muslims have Mecca, and we have Las Vegas..."

First time poster here. I must commend this message board for its clearmindedness. I have been avidly reading the posts here for sometime, and get most of my news stories from this site. Kudos gentlemen (and ladies).

I can certainly attest to the comment above, for I live in Las Vegas. Though we hardly ever frequent the strip here, the last time I was down there I had an epiphany of sorts. We were in the Caesars Palace Forum Shops and I could not help but to recognize the 'gods' that are being glorified within our culture.The theme of this resort and shops is that of ancient Rome, before Christianity, and all of the Gods of Rome are present in image and charaterology. They ,the Roman gods, are being glorified along with their ideology. Their ideology is exemplified in commerce i.e. Mercury - the god of commerce, Zeus - the supreme ruler of Nations, and Nike - the god of victory. These gods are the gods of our culture, and the God of the Bible certainly has no place within our society despite all of the protestations to the contrary by the 'christian right' and their moral majority b.s.

The truth of the matter is no one within the main stream christian mega McChurches are teaching what the Bible actually predicates. We have all heard the famous phrase - "the love of money is the root of ALL evil", heck even Pink Floyd knows that verse. Or what came right out of the mouth of Jesus Christ Himself - "You cannot serve God and money, you will either love one and hate the other, or you will hold to one and despise the other." You will never hear these verses quoted in these mega McChurches, for if they did, they would be admitting to their rebellion against the very commands they claim to uphold.I do not advocate church attendance, unless you like going to crappy social clubs, or worse, corporate controlled entities.Read the Bible for yorself...

This thread concerns itself with the cause of wars, and the cause of wars in relation to oil in the 20th century finds its correlation with the love of money - unequivocally.

When I first learned of peak oil in 2002 I knew right then that this would be the catalyst that would ignite the last world war (there are not enough concerned people out there like the ones on this board percentage wise to make a difference - you probably make up 1% or less of the population).This conflagration is not the will of God nor does he have anything to do with it. And even though the so called christian right in America are nothing less that the war mongers they claim to oppose (i.e. the Muslims) the truth is they all have the same ideology and very few of them have the slightest idea of what Jesus really taught. What ever happened to turn the cheek the other way and do good to those who persecute you? What worries me is that the answer to peak oil is not in the development of ever increasing technologies, in particular nuclear technologies and all of their self-evident dangers, but people will fail to see the need to the acknowledgment that God was right and we are wrong.Lest we forget contemporaneous 20th Century history after another world war...In with the new boss - same as the old boss.

"The Muslims have Mecca, and we have Las Vegas...": Dubai = Las Vegas

It seems to me the same can be said of the Middle East. The reformation of a religion on the threshold of change, shifting from Mecca to Dubai. When will the pilgrimage to Dubai exceed that to Mecca? Of course for other reasons.

Sampson - If you have been considering Peak Oil since 2002 and continue to live in Las Vegas in 2008 I have to ask...why? Las Vegas is a myth built on pure speculation and an unhealthy suspension of disbelief. I am one of the few people you'll ever meet that grew up in Las Vegas in the early 60's and seventies. I moved to LA in the 80's and then late in the 90's returned to Vegas. What was an eye opener for me was the mallaise of Lake Mead that I had grown up around and was a large part of my life growing up. The Lake is now hopelessly polluted and down 200 feet. Now due to rapid expansion of local (unsustainable BTW) populations they are looking to siphon off the last ancient aquifier in the Great Basin National Park area 400 miles North of Vegas. They will drain it in 7 years and forever destroy delicate ecosystems that tourists and residents are blissfully ignorant of. Who in Vegas gives a F###?

There is a house of cards in Vegas (no pun intended) that Peak Oil will deal Vegas as the first casualty of collapse. I started selling out 5 years ago and I have left for good 2 years ago.

That is one sinking ship that is not worth saving.

There is another factor to be mulled over in relation to reducing consumption, and the paradigm of economic growth at all costs. That is, the social implications of a 'static' society. What does this mean for social mobility in society that isn't consuming/growing continually?

Americans seem to have invested a great deal, ideologically and emotionally in the idea of an open society with high, real or imagined, levels of social mobility. Indeed, seen from my detached perspective, it appears to be one of the cornerstones of what it means to be an American. It has cultural importance.

As a rule of thumb, growth and social mobility go together like a horse and carriage. But what happens if the cake of society were to stop growing?

There are also profound implications for social cohesion and political stability in a low-growth society. For example the distribution of wealth and power are very, colossaly, unevenly distributed in the United States. However, it seems that this enequality, and its effects and consequences are often disguised in a society that is growing, because 'everyone' is apparently getting richer and movin' on up. At least that's the theory. But in a society where the cake isn't getting bigger or even shrinking, the difference between the size of the slices different social groups are allocated become profoundly more important, and questions relating to social justice and the distribution of wealth push there way resolutely out of the shadows.

Your conundrum is an example of one of the reasons why "there is no courage to destroy such a fearsome beast, for we all fear that we will destroy our chances at fame and fortune along with it."

The human race does not really want equality - just enough of the appearance of equality to soothe one's conscience. The human race relentlessly pursues an imbalance that favors one group over another. It is who we are.

We lack the ability for true equality - and Americans, more so. Every human finds a reason to look down on a group they find disagreement with. We do not want equality. We want the chance to be better than someone else. That is the American Dream.

There are many humorous things in the world: among them the white man's notion that he is less savage than the other savages.

- Mark Twain, "Following the Equator"

'There are two things which cannot be attacked in front: ignorance and narrow-mindedness. They can only be shaken by the simple development of the contrary qualities. They will not bear discussion.'
Lord Acton

WT, this one is for your described reasoning of those that have, and those that will, realize that the Titanic is going to sink after striking an iceburg...

'A wise person does at once, what a fool does at last. Both do the same thing; only at different times.'
Lord Acton

The human race does not really want equality - just enough of the appearance of equality to soothe one's conscience. The human race relentlessly pursues an imbalance that favors one group over another. It is who we are.

This is the old 'human nature' canard, thinly disguised. Human beings tend to want what they are taught to want, they accept as 'normal' what they are taught to accept. A given society might accept a great deal more equality and fairness than we have in the US because, in aggregate, its members grow up in a culture where this equality and fairness are accepted. Then, in comparison with other societies, it becomes easy to see why this attitude produces a more desirable society in which to live. We frequently have our European contributors pointing this out on the list to our American contributors. While Mark Twain was a trenchant observer of human society, he was American-Centric and bound by these attitudes.

Attempts have been made throughout history to teach large groups of humans to serve the needs of the elite who have power over them. Feudal Europe, early China and Japan and the African slave trade are obvious examples. However, those humans who were taught to accept slavery or servitude did not long accept those teachings. It does not appear that humans are as good at learning to accept what they are taught as you claim.

Capitalism cannot exist within a frame of equality (though some will argue that the equality of Capitalism is that everyone "has the same chance at success" - a lie told to the lower classes by the elite). I do not see many countries (in Europe or elsewhere) that do not practice some version of Capitalism. This leaves equality distant to progress and prosperity.

Europe is filled with humans who desire to "get ahead" within the constraints of Capitalism. This is not equality. Do not mistake Capitalism for Democracy, for they are unrelated species and cannot coexist peacefully. One must always fall under the rule of the other.

Does each country of the European Union work tirelessly for the advancement of their citizens - often at a cost to citizens of another country? Are there disagreements within the EU about money, laws, tariffs, and such? Of course. This is human nature. Not thinly disguised, but broadly open and obvious.

It seems that you are trying to say that some societies are more equal to members of the same society than in the U.S. (which I agree with). Yet, an individual society is not the entirety of the human race. While some societies might be more equal, that equality rarely ventures beyond their borders or includes unwanted groups of humans (such as immigrants and minorities).

Mainly what I'm trying to say is that many Americans seem to accept the American 'way of life' as representative of 'human nature' when it is only a manifestation of one of the many possibilities.

I suppose this ties in with the tendency of every tribe to see itself as 'the human beings' (ala the Cheyenne in 'Little Big Man') while the other tribes are somehow lesser than human. We have just modified that to seeing ourselves (Americans) as the prime manifestation of the traits of human nature that all will follow. It is especially troublesome to see intelligent and thoughtful people falling into this trap even while claiming to transcend this sort of herd thinking.

Putting oneself into another's shoes remains one of the most difficult things for humans to accomplish.

This requires some degree of brass neck on your part. If you remember it is socialism which is incompatable with democracy. It needed a one party state to enforce it.People who disbelived in eqality were branded lunitics and had nasty things done to them. In the end it disfuntioned anyway. Anybody thought why?

"If you remember it is socialism which is incompatable with democracy"

nonsense - France, the Netherlands and the Scandanavian countries are doing quite well with democracy and socialism - in fact, many would argue better than the US is doing.

EU countries have not had 7 years of erosion of liberties like the US has had, the EU has a better distribution of wealth, many EU countries are preparing for peak oil better than the US, EU contries do much better at providing health care for all of their citizens


most of the EU nations have a system of Government that doesn't limit choices of representatives to two corporate sponsored parties - so one could easily argue that they have a MORE representative form of democracy than the US

Speaking an unpleasant truth is often considered impudence (brass neck). Democracy is incompatible with many things - not the least of which is Aristocratic Capitalism.

Human nature being what it is, I suppose we must expect to drift into monarchy by and by. It is a saddening thought; but we cannot change our nature; we are all alike, we human beings; and in our blood and bone, and ineradicable, we carry the seeds out of which monarchies and aristocracies are grown: worship of gauds, titles, distinctions, power....We have to be despised by somebody whom we regard as above us, or we are not happy; we have to have somebody to worship and envy, or we cannot be content.

In America we manifest this in all the ancient and customary ways. In public we scoff at titles and hereditary privilege; but privately we hanker after them and when we get a chance we buy them for cash and a daughter....And when we get them the whole nation publicly chaffs and scoffs - and privately envies - and also is proud of the honor which has been conferred upon us. We run over our list of titled purchases every now and then in the newspapers, and discuss them and caress them, and are thankful and happy.

Like all the other nations, we worship money and the possessors of it - they being our aristocracy, and we have to have one. We like to read about rich people in the papers; the papers know it, and they do their best to keep this appetite liberally fed. Then even leave out a football bullfight now and then to get room for all the particulars of how, according to the display heading, 'Rich Woman Fell Down Cellar - Not Hurt.' The falling down the cellar is of no interest to us when the woman is not rich; but no rich woman can fall down cellar and we not yearn to know all about it and wish it was us...

I suppose we must expect that unavoidable and irresistible circumstances will gradually take away the powers of the States and concentrate them in the central Government, and that the Republic will then repeat the history of all time and become a monarchy, but I believe that if we obstruct these encroachments and steadily resist them the monarchy can be postponed for a good while yet.

- Mark Twain's Autobiography

Hey, Twain. Great pull, up there!
I do think we still yearn for Royalty and a Pantheon of Gods to smite us and dazzle us. Twain, as ever is so right. I also wonder if we recognize our continued desire for servants and slaves? Every time I see the Vacuuming 'Roomba' 'bots, the Drink Server Bots, and even hear 'The customer is always right.', I have to wonder if the obvious euphemisms are really lost on everyone else?

PS, Have you got a quote from Mr Clemens about the 'Jury System depending on folks who don't know anything, etc etc..' ?? Saw it flash by on a movie screen once.. loved it.


We have a criminal jury system which is superior to any in the world; and its efficiency is only marred by the difficulty of finding twelve men every day who don't know anything and can't read.

- Mark Twain, speech (July 4, 1873)

Nice one :)

One could write something similar about our scientific establishment and our inability to find scientists without bias/"careers" to pursue/etc...

Actually, the US is significantly more static than even what we might think are ossified EU countries. Social mobility is a myth. At least the upward side.

The rising tide lifts all boats idea was a way of finessing distribution. Time to address distribution. Daly writes of distribution, allocation and scale. [The market only deals with allocation.] Gross economic inequality has destroyed our ability to deal with distribution and scale civilly within the political system. That leaves us where JFK feared - all avenues of peaceful change are closed off.

Whose first strike is it anyway?

cfm in Gray, ME

Social mobility is a myth. At least the upward side.

No, it isn't.

What's a myth is the idea that upward mobility is a birthright. We're already among the richest people in the world. And yet we expect to keep getting richer.

General Social Survey? How is it determined if someone is upwardly mobile? By asking him/her? Also seems upward mobility was better for those born before 1960.

The link (and some discussion) is in yesterday's DrumBeat.

And yes, there was more upward mobility before the early 1970s. That's because the economy was growing faster.

In a perfectly mobile society, each person born would have equal chances of upward mobility, downward mobility, and remaining the same. The fact that we have had slightly better chances of upward mobility is because the economy was growing.

I'll agree with that, Leanan. We've just started having as much downward mobility in the last 10 years as upward, where from the end of WWII up into the mid-70s at least, upward mobility could be pretty much counted on. For instance, people used to get "raises" which was, more money the longer they'd been working at a job, even if it was the same job all along - we know that's all past, now they just keep you at the same pay and if you complain you're gone.

With the economy shrinking, we can expect more downward mobility than upward. And it's also become very hereditary - if your parents did well, you will. If they did badly, too bad for you!

About the only way to "beat" this is to learn to live better on a little money than you used to on a lot. As many who have done it testify, you can have a much nicer, richer, life if you humble yourself a bit. I've had some awfully good sushi in the past, but the spam and onion tacos I made myself for lunch today still have me smiling.

And it's also become very hereditary - if your parents did well, you will. If they did badly, too bad for you!

Even the rich are worried about their children's prospects:

But if you are worried about your children's future, you are not alone.

The millionaires and billionaires attending last week's World Economic Forum in Davos are just as concerned about their offspring.

A lunchtime session called "What Job Should My Child Take in a Globalizing Economy?" was completely booked out, filled with mothers and fathers at a loss of what to do.

However, those hoping for clear answers were quickly disappointed.

"Don't tell your child to be an engineer or be this or that, because we have no clue where future jobs will be," warned one participant.

"The world is developing so rapidly, whichever job you recommend now will be out-of-date by the time they are out of university," another chimed in. And all agreed that the notion of a lifelong job with the same company was obsolete.


First question with any study like that is methodology. This bunch is including as hard data mobility for men born in 1979 when the study is over in 2004. The data points would be for men who are in first jobs or still in professional school. Or thinking of applying to professional school. On that, I don't read further.
Mass biography is a better technique. Not done often.

Writerman - Years ago I was living in Las Vegas and a friend called me and told me to get to a particular suite at the Luxor Hotel and bring $5,000 in cash. I reluctantly did so. When I got to the Hotel room there was a "party" going on with liqour and a private blackjack dealer. After you got there you had a limited amount of time to "invest". Once you "invested" you were supposed to watch the board as the people rose from the bottom to the top. When you got to the top you cashed out $50,000. Theoretically this could go on forever save for one limiting factor: you run out of people at the bottom of the pyrimid.

I lost and I was good and P.O.d and I let my friend know about it. My point is: I don't see much difference between this (illegal) "party" and the legalized gambling known as the stock market. In a lot of ways that "party" was far more transparent than a lot of the Ponzi schemes they are selling on Wall Street.

During a recent discussion of this very subject (growth in the economy) with my sister (an economist with a PHD) she finally said in exasperation that she needed the economy to grow at a healthy 3.5% annually to fund her IRA so she can retire on time.

At this point I stopped arguing. You cannot fight the "psycology of previous investment".

It is common sense to me that the equation of growth will eventually come to a stop and then there will be a lot of unhappy players.

Do not fear the enemy, for your enemy can only take your life. It is far better that you fear the media, for they will steal your HONOR. That awful power, the public opinion of a nation, is created in America by a horde of ignorant, self-complacent simpletons who failed at ditching and shoemaking and fetched up in journalism on their way to the poorhouse.

Mark Twain

This is why I rarely browse the energy bulletin.


Us seniors sometimes think we have too many projects going.

We all hope for peaceful settlement of these unfortunate matters soon.

By the way, the quote is incorrect. Mr. Twain never said (or wrote):

Do not fear the enemy, for your enemy can only take your life. It is far better that you fear the media, for they will steal your HONOR.

At least, not in my copy of speeches from UC Berkeley Press.

.....The newspaper that obstructs the law on a trivial pretext, for money's sake, is a dangerous enemy to the public weal.

That awful power, the public opinion of a nation, is created in America by a horde of ignorant, self-complacent simpletons who failed at ditching and shoemaking and fetched up in jounalism on their way to the poorhouse. I am personally acquanted with hundreds of journalists, and the opinion of the majority of them would not be worth tuppence in private, but when they speak in print it is the newspaper that is talking (the pygmy scribe is not visible) and then their utterances shake the community like the thunders of prophecy.

I know from personal experience the proneness of journalists to lie. I once started a peculiar and picturesque fashion of lying myself on the Pacific coast, and it is not dead there to this day.....

That haphazard addition seems of military origin.

There is one way to reduce consumption: birth control.

"Notably absent from his discussion was any mention of coal gasification technology, long the foundation of Schweitzer’s energy plan."

I met Brian when he was first running for Senator and was impressed. His later cheerleading for coal, though predictable in many ways, altered that. I hope the new absence of coal talk in his speeches signals a change in stance, but that remains to be seen.

It strikes me to hear Matt Simmons talk about how climate change won't affect us for 50-100 years (the implication being that he thinks we don't need to address it for decades).

While China is going whole hog building coal power plants, they are also burning a significant fraction of their reserves every year. At current consumption rates the existing reserves will be depleted by about 2050. Which of course assumes they don't find more, of course. Many of the usual things we talk about involving resource depletion start to come into play - the extraction rates will peak at some point not to far in the future, and then life gets real complicated.

The tar sands concern me a lot more (related to climate change), actually, but the scalability problems may mean that they don't end up creating that much oil for us.

Climate change is occurring now, it's just semantics to say its not affecting us. I think most people mean that it's not crushing us, and so far, many like what is happening.

That will change, including Matt. His fight is peak and his axe is sharpened for oil. He swings it well, and in doing helps climate change concerns take hold.

I have also been surprised by Simmons inability to accept Climate Change as just as much a threat as peak oil. Despite his calls for assessing threats based on empirical evidence, he just can't seem to get past denial on CC. Perhaps it is because his solution to adapting to peak oil cannot work if CC has to be included in the equation.

IPCC models that assume no near term Peak Oil use unrealistically high future CO2 emissions.

To make the case for global warming one has to argue that coal reserves are high enough to cause the continued rise in CO2 emissions. Someone who makes that argument has to address the Energy Watch Group, David Rutledge, and others who argue for an earlier Peak Coal.

"Climate Change": Look, the climate is always changing. Of course it is going to change. Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) is a more accurate term.

And that is just one of the uncertainties. I think that anthropogenic GW is probably happening, and that it is worth addressing because many of the measures that are needed would be worth doing anyway, as fossil fuels won't last forever and coal is a dirty killer.

The IPCC with their fake certainty are an annoying irrelevance, as are those who wish to brand people 'deniers'

They have left the world of science behind by the use of such terms - there is a a reason scientists strive towards scientific impartiality, and that is because you have ceased to think when you state that something is unquestionable.

GW has been elevated to that status by many.

How do you assess new data if you already 'know' what it will show?

The answer to that is 'unfairly' - you are going to bend the data to your preconceptions, unconsciously as you are a prisoner of your elevation of GW to a tenant of belief.

These certainties and the emotional security they give are the realm of children, the old and mentally inflexible and of priests. They have nothing to do with science, although odd bits of data will be grasped on to 'prove' that their preconceptions are correct, their prior surrender of critical evaluation in favour of the move to unchallengeable certainties has in fact make it impossible for them to fairly judge.

I hope I don't 'believe' in the Laws of Thermodynamics in that sense - I just have an extremely high level of confidence that they are valid, to 99% and several decimal places.

Most adults have to live with various degrees of uncertainty about a variety of issues, and still act.

Whacking out a few scenarios which rely on data where the small difference between very large numbers can lead to very different results, and where the overall system is very poorly understood does not remotely inspire those sorts of levels of confidence in man-made GW.

Just the same, it is the best theory we have.

Importantly, the emphasis of GW has led in my view to underemphasis on other human impacts on the environment which could be just as serious.

In short, those who wish to infer that GW is beyond and above all question, and use labels like 'denier' have severely hampered their ability for critical thinking, and have moved beyond science to faith.

Science continually questions it's conclusions, and attempts to avoid emotional polemic.

Simmons, while informed about peak oil, is simply uninformed about climate change. He's seeing the "disagreement" by a very few scientists coupled with the wide range of forecasts and has concluded that it's not that big a deal.

I strongly suspect that if Simmons devoted half as much energy to climate change for just six months as he has devoted to peak oil over a like period that his view would change. Of course, Simmons may be trapped by his own sociological and psychological makeup -a belief in capitalism as the cure for anything and everything. If that is the case then he cannot wake up until he receives a personal mental shock that invalidates his belief system directly.

“Simmons, while informed about peak oil, is simply uninformed about climate change. He's seeing the "disagreement" by a very few scientists coupled with the wide range of forecasts and has concluded that it's not that big a deal.”

The media contributes to this dissonance all the time with their need to present “balanced” coverage:
500 climate scientists and some Nobel laureates on one side, a dentist, speaking outside of his expertise, denying global warming on the other. A classic public relations con.

Simmons gets it, he just refuses to get drug into the whole AGW "debate" - a wise position. I think ethanol stinks, but I am not gonna say that out loud in this state, or they'll have my private parts dangling from the tassel of a corn plant before the summer is out. Why pick a fight over an issue that already has a large, ferocious advocacy taking care of business?

Robert, My sentiments exactly. The thread the other day on coal fires was particularly distressing. If I remember correctly the largest coal fire in China is producing as much CO2 as our US car fleet does. Correct me if it is a senior moment. Bill

I can understand why people with enough political or economic power to actually influence important national and international decisions to even a marginal extent -- uniformly people in at least their 40s and more likely 50s or 60s or even older -- might figure that they'll be long dead before the consequences of GCC become truly catastrophic. Thus, in that respect I totally share RR's pessimism. What I can't understand is why people in their teens and twenties are not rioting in the streets and calling for the aforementioned people's heads. They are just young enough that they might very well live to experience some serious consquences.

The Financial Sense NewsHour(s) is excellent today - thought I would post a reminder...worth a listen.

Especially Hour 2 - Energy Roundtable with Simmons, Jeff Rubin and Hirsch.

Not terribly optimistic - but what did I expect.


The Big Picture Hour 3 is always good too.

At the end, Simmons and Hirsch were not quite in the Matt Savinar (nuclear war over energy supplies) camp, but they were in line of sight of Matt's campfire.

WT: Two points: 1. Jeff Rubin sounds like he reads your posts exclusively 2. Jim Rogers should have been on the show, Hirsch made a point about how the USA can adapt quickly-he mentioned WW 2 and the Apollo moon program. The problem is that both of those programs were more than 35 years ago. That USA doesn't exist anymore (which is why Rogers says we should be learning Chinese).

The sort of Americans who could do an Apollo program still exist. They just don't work for NASA or for NASA contractors. They more likely work in Silicon Valley.

There's been a big change in terms of what sorts of projects attract the best minds. There are fewer brains going into metal bending and concrete pouring. Given different circumstances that could change pretty rapidly.

The Financial Sense NewsHour(s) is excellent today - thought I would post a reminder...worth a listen.

Especially Hour 2 - Energy Roundtable with Simmons, Jeff Rubin and Hirsch.

Not terribly optimistic - but what did I expect.

To say the least. It was nothing new, but it was interesting to hear two "giants" in the field discussing things conversationally. The amount of agreement between them was a little surprising. Rubin, however, expressed his trust in the market and I almost reached through the internet and slapped him upside the head... How can grown people still believe the market manages issues of public commons? It just doesn't. It fails miserably...

Changing topic, I found the comments by the two Egyptian fellows refreshing. The first is still looking through rose-colored glasses, but the second's comment, in the present continuous, that production *is falling* around the world was rather astounding.

The dominoes are falling fast. The powers that be appear to be getting a little nervous for so many to be suddenly speaking up on this issue.


I second that although I don't buy their 'pay cuts are good' line. Simmons was on in the 2nd hour but he didn't have anything new to say.

I think they were too much in line to be comfortable.

In the end, their solutions were all delusional to be honest - however being the doomer I am, maybe my optimism is not there.

Carbon cap and trade, Immediate tariffs on Oil from non-information providing countries...gads.

I think Rubin's(economically rooted) price signal is going to be obscured for many reasons and it will aggravate the situation further. This would be coupled with belief that Oil demand is largely inelastic and will NOT reduce much in the early days of Recession or Depression (if it sufficiently long enough it will).

But, then again, I think they are just trying to find something to stave off an immediate problem (and they all seen it as immediate).

Sometime in the next 3-5 years this mess is going to slap us, collectively globally, in the face with a very large telephone pole. Then the catabolic collapse we see from the economic degradation will turn to full on systemic/overnite chaotic collapse.

These very knowledgeable guys said nothing today to make me believe we had more time than that.

Listening to the radio today tuned into the public news station, and all the interlocution was about alternatives to oil and gas for electrical power including further development of coal and nuclear.Is it just me, or is this a horrendous idea? Do not people realize the problems with nuclear power, such as the Superphenix breeder plant in France or the mess in Hanford - yet to be cleaned up?

Yep, more tech = more problems.

I see problems hitting us right now, but the corporate world forbid that we should become an agrarian society again.The way I see it, it aint gonna happen until Heaven puts a stop to this madness.The green movement is a joke, it reminds me of another social club.

I agree. A very good show at financial sense.

I intend to get as many people as possible to listen to this.

When asked what is the first thing you would do if elected prez, Matt said "cry". lol

I'm glad Simmons spoke about President Clinton being aware of Peak Oil. I read last night that President Clinton read Chasing the Sun by Neville Williams.

I really loved your book. It's really a great story. You've done good work. I was like a little kid reading it, telling everyone I knew about it. I told Hillary and Chelsea read it, and made everyone at the Clinton Foundation read it."

I don't expect either Republican or Democratic Nominee to specifically address Peak Oil because they'll lose the election. My Congressman, Roscoe Bartlett, has gone into his shell because it's an election year. Best hopes for 3rd Party candidates to force discussion on the issue.


About 15 minutes on the banking system...

This is well worth the effort.
Not really oil related but scary.. Not in the mainstream media yet but it will be...

This doesn't play for me -- any suggestions?

What a horrible public speaker!!! It was so painful listening to him I closed the page.


Why not go here:


Fed. Reserve Base Stats (latest release).

Look at the page and the negative number at the bottom (COLUMN THREE) indicating the non-borrowed reserve (capital) of the bank system.

If this gets your attention (it will) and you want an intelligent review of what it may mean... listen to the presentation (it's here on You Tube.) It starts with a general review of the Fed Funds Rate, moves into Reserves and closes with FOREX implications.


Let's talk about the weather...

We are seeing unusually cold weather across the whole of central and eastern Asia - China, Iran, Northern India, snow in Baghdad for the first time in 100 years. Then there is the rapid build up of ice in the arctic during this winter. Are these events related?

I'm wondering if this is weather or climate. Here are two possible forcings that may be pushing us into a period of global cooling.

1. It's the arctic. There was large scale melting of sea ice during the summer but it has come back with a vengeance. Ice reflects sunlight which keeps the arctic ocean cool but it also acts as a blanket which keeps it warmer during the winter. Ice absorbs less AND radiates less. Sea water absorbs more AND radiates more. Did the exposed ocean cool down rapidly after the onset of winter due to increased radiation and evaporation? Is the cooling effect greater than the warming effect through the year?

2. It's China's sulfate exports. They don't appear in the trade surplus but China is putting out more and more sulfate and particulate pollution that extends out across the Pacific. Is this cooling the oceans via the mechanism called global dimming http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sulfate#Main_effects_on_climate

I can't finds any links to discussions on this (not surprising as Global Warmers hate winter ;-)). Anyone on TOD today with a handle on this stuff?

First, the Antarctic is melting faster than ever now.

Putting out as much water as Greenland.

Second, the planet is rocking. Methane/CO2 is now entering the atmosphere in
amounts that cannot be accounted for, except by "runaway".

With a trillion bbls of oil burned into the atmosphere something is going to

We have left the Holocene.

We are now in the Antropocene.

Whatever happens at bifurcation, the planet won't be able to
sustain but maybe a billion humans after, be it desert earth or
ice covered.

Want to talk some more about weather?

I still find it amusing that people think that we have more control over the weather than the sun. I understand that people want to be more than in control but wow..

I have posted several things regrading solar cycles and weather. It is very convenient that the Medieval Warming Period was warmer than now without the fossil fuels. It is also convenient that the Little Ice age was controlled or looks to be controlled by solar variability.

Either way given that lately the sunspots were at a maximum and that heat was at maximum you must give credit. Every second the sun belts out more energy than all fuels on the planet. We have not warmed since 1998 either... The global warming theory died in 1998 so far. That means 10 years without median temp rise... And more to the point there are very credible scientists that say it can take as little as 10 years for the climate to change violently from cool to warm and warm to cool. 60-70's anyone? 1998-2008? Cause I am going to tell you that I have never seen it as cold as I have here lately.. Its colder than hell in Albuquerque.. I am sure that William Payne can attest to this as well.

OMG short term weather does not prove global cooling or warming. Well if it does not then AGW people need to shut their flan holes and stop claiming every event under the sun is global warming... It irks me to no end...

Snowing, Must be global warming
Raining, Global warming
Cold snap kills in russia/china global warming
Drought OMG global warming.

But many of these things lets put into perspective. 2000 years ago there was forests in israel, Drought in USA can last 60 years!!! this is treering data that is very reliable... AGW be dammed.

That is my biggest problem is the anthropogenic part of the global warming. I do agree that global warming/cooling occurs but due to natural variability. Yep AGW denier here. I am hoping that the scientists TRUE scientists that have been balked at and laughed at for years talking about this are vindicated. I hope that they are vindicated like the scientists who proposed the theory of continental drift. Reputations were trashed over that with people using junk science too.

When the cold gets on due to the solar cycle

Ohh and what really set me off here.. The arctic melting ROFL... Its adding more ice than ever same with antarctica. Look into the true science of it they are gaining mass. But they are melting along the edges but the interior snowfall has jumped way high. At least 3x the snowfall since observations have started.

once again junk science.

With Solar Variability something is going to happen. don't you agree mcg?

Snowing, Must be global warming
Raining, Global warming
Cold snap kills in russia/china global warming
Drought OMG global warming.

Like that :-). They take one point in time and call it normal. We are both sick of being force fed GW propaganda with all the smug certainty and none of the real world variability. I have read lots of books and wikis on GW. Besides the sun, I think the climate models are too weak on a number of negative feedback mechanisms which MAY be coming into play now.

OK, so you can read, use the internet, have opinions and feel abused. Do you have any climate science credentials?

I'l believe in Global warming when we have heat waves in January.

You seem a lot brighter than this. Why even say it?

Because I am getting fed up of this. All the polititians are getting in on the act. Even the EU has a grand scheme which could cripple the British economy. The worst thing is that without the US China and India on board it's just gesture politics. The 3 aforementioned refuse point blank, the latter 2 not willing to forego development to please western greens. But we swill till pay a heavy bill for our polititans vanity.

You also know that heat waves in January have nothing to do with global temperature means. By repeating denialist crap you prevent anyone from listening to your other arguments. Those points are interesting, don't have yourself marginalized by being a member of the flat earth club.

The point is a solution to emisions is in the hands of the US China and India. Grandstanding Euro polititions think they can make a difference. They can't.

The main problem with the Global Warming debate is that it isn't. A debate that is, between open minds leaning to either side of the fence. Instead it's basically a bunch of your typical H. Sapiens Know-it-alls who are totally sure they are right. So arrogant. Such tiny minds. Without a doubt the worst aspect of our "intelligent" species. (Intelligent yes, Wise... I think not). The only way to regard GW is as a very real POTENTIAL threat and to act accordingly. We won't do this. My evidence? 10,000 years plus of human nature, as exposed in all our history books.

Spot on. On balance I think that GW is probably occurring and it is probably anthropogenic.
Just as bad as the frontmen for the coal industry who are saying coal dust is good for you and the planet though are the IPCC, devaluing science.

The refuse to make much of the detailing of their modelling public, although they are publicly funded.

They consistently rely on appeals to authority instead of argument - if that were a valid scientific method, then Galileo lived in vain.

The claim they give of 90% certainty is simply absurd.
That would mean that if there were 10 inputs to climate, then they were all understood to an accuracy of 99%

In fact, some of the uncertainties include:

We have no idea how greenhouse gasses can have such a large effect as that hypothesised.

We do not have good values for reflectivity, or know how it varies.

We do not know if the heat from the earth is constant, or varies.

We do not have good models for cloud cover, or for ocean currents.

We do not know what positive or negative feedbacks there are, or their amount.

Both sides are playing fast and loose with the scientific method, which since we are relying on science to provide solutions is unfortunate to say the least.

Science and politics rarely mix successfully.

The debate went on for over 20 years. I followed it,

The debate is now over, GW won,


You mean like... New York city having its first January ever with no snow?

Did you know that 24 states set there all time high temperature records in the 1930's and only 6 states have set new high records since 1990, however 7 states have set all time record low temperatures since 1990? Credit the 2005 world almanac for the data.

What does that have to do with global climate data? Sounds like someone stating baseball trivia.

That's exactly right, just like no snow in NY in January this year or even heat waves in January. They are all statistical trivia by themselves but the denialists love to point out every single such bit of trivia as a "refutation" of climate change, which is why I threw out counter trivia waiting to see if any of the denialists in this thread would admit as such or not.

And for weatherman, who apparently does not know any better, the issue is climate change. Global warming is simply the driver of climate change. How climate will actually change in specific locations is dependent on many factors but global warming is the main driver that is changing our climate. Some places will become generally wetter, others hotter, some drier, and a few colder.

But the denialists will continue to stare at specific trees rather than look at the forest as a whole.

Do you realise how odd it is to use terminology like 'denialist' in what purports to be a scientific debate?

It is the job of scientists to be sceptical.

You would be happier in religious discussion, and pretty fundamentalist discussion at that.

I use the term "denialist" to describe people who repeatedly present disinformation and lies in an effort to discredit the science behind the questions about Climate Change. Many of then are professionals, actually paid to do this. They do not engage in what one might think of as a logical debate, as they continue to repeat their lies and distortions long after the scientific questions they lean on have been answered.

Your post above provides a list of such questions, almost all of which are not issues except on the denialist web sites, conservative blogs and media such as FoxNews. I considered answering your claims and have done so many times before, but I doubt that you would agree that you are seriously misguided, so why bother?

Here's a couple of points:

The(sic) refuse to make much of the detailing of their modelling public, although they are publicly funded.

There are several web sites where the models are available to the public. Anyone can download the code and run these models themselves, given the proper computer equipment.

We do not have good values for reflectivity, or know how it varies.

The Earth's albedo has been measured from satellite in space as far back as the 1980's. Little doubt to be found there.

We do not know if the heat from the earth is constant, or varies.

The heat from the inside of the Earth has been measured using borehole temperature data. the amount of thermal energy produced is a very small fraction of the solar energy which reaches the Earth.

That you think the denialist have any place in the discussions about Climate Change just shows your ignorance of the science.

E. Swanson

The whole idea of science seems to have passed you by, so there is little point in discussion, any more than with any other devotee of a particular religion.

I trust you find your faith comforting, most adults can live with rational uncertainty.

I believe I have already stated that I thought anthopogenic climate change likely.

However, I do not hold it as an article of faith.

Maybe so. After all, I've only got 2 science degrees (in engineering) and have only been a member of AAAS for 31 years. Well, for starters, I know your previous comments proved that you don't know the difference between good science and junk science propaganda. I know a bit about climate data too, so I don't take such things on faith.

I suppose you hold a PhD in some hard science field, perhaps?

E. Swanson

I wondered when the argument of authority would surface.
You are fortunate that your studies have led you from the details of the disciplines you studied to a position of infallibility in all matters of science, of whatever discipline.

I repeat that your use of terms like 'deniers' means that you have injured your own critical faculties, by moving emotionally to a position where any new data will be adjusted by your preconceptions.

I also happen to think that GW is likely, and likely anthropogenic, but hold that as a matter of reason, and subject to argument or change if other data comes in, not as an article of faith.

Your qualifications make it even more sad that on this issue you have entirely abandoned the spirit of scientific enquiry and willingness to continually question your premises and instead have moved to political polemic which seeks to bully and denigrate by your use of terms such as 'denier' suitable to a madrasah rather to Universities since time of the Enlightenment.

I also happen to think that GW is likely, and likely anthropogenic, but hold that as a matter of reason, and subject to argument or change if other data comes in, not as an article of faith.

As, it appears, does he.

He's not been saying "Science is omniscient!!" He was explaining what he means by a term, and addressing specific questions of yours.

From an outsider's perspective, you're the one being irrational and oddly defensive here.

(Plus, I question your view of "the scientific method". One thing it does not mean is "we don't say anything until we're 100% sure of all the parameters in the model". Scientists make and test provisional models all the time, and strive to provide how likely it is that that model is correct. Statistics and probability is one of the keystones of modern science, and you may be pleased to note that the findings of the IPCC are largely framed in terms of probabilities.)

I think that you don't yet understand the difference between a skeptic and a denialist.

Being a skeptic is an important aspect of a scientist, as you noted. There would be no progress in the sciences if there were no one to challenge the prevailing world view. I was very skeptical of some portions of the climate problem for many years and I still think there are problems yet to be resolved. However, there are other folks whose challenges are based on disinformation and outright lies is the reason I use the term "denialist" (which was coined about than 10 years ago). I've had many opportunities to witness the results of their efforts to spread anti-science propaganda about the problem of climate change and I do not hesitate to express my revulsion for them or for their methods.

Since you offered several of the stock "talking points" of the denialist fraternity without any effort to respond to my rebuttal comments, I suspected that you were either part of the smear campaign directed at the science or were ignorant of the issues and history. I would hope for your sake that it's the latter, but have no way to discern which is correct.

For example, there's a recent claim about some 400 scientists who have supposedly agreed that there is no problem with climate change. Do you know where that claim originated? It was a PR release put out by Marc Morano at Senator Inhofe's office. It's complete BS, but the anti-science propaganda machine has spread it around thru various blogs and web sites, including some local newspapers. The conservatives latch on to that kind of BS and repeat it endlessly, with the usual "a lie repeated often enough becomes the truth" propaganda result.

E. Swanson

I differ from you essentially on two points:

I do not consider it useful or appropriate to use terms like 'denialist' in any science based debate - it clouds any debate rather than clarifying, and above all clouds the judgement of those thinking in those terms.

There is an awful lot of time and money that has been lost by scientists going down a certain route, and forgetting to check their assumptions, then eventually saying, 'darn! missed that!'

Staying loose and staying flexible would seem to be the better route.

As for rebutting point by point, the fact is that I also feel GW is likely, and likely man-made, so I obviously have come to the same general conclusions as yourself overall.

But my second point. and the reason for my list, is simply to point out that we are considering a very complex system here with multiple inputs, and one which is poorly understood, including the feedback mechanisms and to be too definitive about what is happening seems to me simply absurd.

There is also the possibility that GW is much more severe than median projections.

There is a bell-curve of likely future temperatures, and I accept that the median point of the bell-curve is rather higher than at present.
There remains a substantial possibility that median temperatures could be a lot higher or lower, and to categorise those who feel that lower, perhaps because we might be entering a Global cooling phase were it not for man-made GW, is the answer seems to me neither sensible nor useful, and as I stated contrary to the spirit of scientific debate.

I repeat, I also think GW likely, which is the reason for not seeking to rebut that, but I strongly object to your terminology which seeks to preclude further debate, and to your assumption of a degree of certainty wholly inappropriate in assessing such a complex system.

This year they just sent what little snow they would get in a typical low-snow January to Wisconsin and Michigan, where it started snowing last December 1, hasn't really quit since, and has a reasonable chance of breaking all-time records by the time the season is done. That's to say nothing of China and the Middle East.

So it means nothing, zero, zip, nada, either way. Which is the problem with looking for experiential evidence of AGW effects. Weather is incredibly noisy and we only have a couple of centuries of real records, with the early ones only in a few spots. The rest is all proxy and hearsay. So we don't even begin to know how large even the purely natural range of variability might be. Some of the proxy stuff that's been emerging about the Great Plains in the last few years is both suggestive and mind boggling and still says essentially nothing about what a worst-case month might really be like.

So it's beyond farce when TV weather forecasters, say, routinely sum up rainfall from January 1 from a particular rain gauge, and work themselves into a lather if, by August, the total deviates even 10% - just one thunderstorm - from average. It's as if everyone ought to think there is some green-eyeshaded accountant in the sky magically metering out the same rainfall (or snowfall) each year, each century, and each millennium.

Which all means AGW will have to be very, very far along indeed before anyone can look at just a month's weather in one spot - especially a quirky spot like Central Park, which is called "New York City" in weather records and is deep down in a pocket in the middle of Manhattan, the most built-up area on the planet - and say, oh, yeah, this is clearly AGW, can't really be natural variation.

Solar cannot account for heat since 1770. IPCC

"We have not warmed since 1998 either... The global warming theory died in 1998 so far."

2007 was the 2nd hottest year ever.

2006 the hottest.

10 of the hottest years ever have been in the last 15.


I have other information. last year was the 8th warmest.

Everyone has a different set of data it all depends on their agenda.

How about getting the data from www.ncdc.noaa.gov (National Climatic Data Center)? Or is it not reliable?

I'll go with NASA/Goddard on this one:

Even an “unusually cold” December, would only drop 2007 to the third warmest year ever. NASA points out:

The six warmest years in the GISS record have all occurred since 1998, and the 15 warmest years in the record have all occurred since 1988.

Anyone notice a trend? And the most warming is far from the urban heat islands of major cities:



You point to British data whose own graph validates global warming?

For those who did not click on the link here is the graph from his URL:

And the paper containing the graph discusses air temperatures as well as quoting the IPCC directly and agreeing with the IPCC! Yet weatherman uses this as part of his "data" refuting global warming!?

I am laughing my ass off here. I couldn't make this up, yet weatherman does it for real.

This is a prime example of a climate change denialist at work!

This graph shows there has been no warming trend since 2000. Make of it what you will.

Take a look at the variation on the 5-10 year timescale in the rest of the graph and come back again with the "no warming trend" claim.

previously the 5-10 year timescle was upwards. Now it has levelled off. In fact it looks suspiciously like the first part of a bell curve. That would leave a lot of red faces.

I've asked this before with no answer.

What scientific proof do you have to offer to support your claim that the so-called MWP was actually warmer than the recent past? By support, I mean published data in a peer reviewed scientific journal. If you can't provide supporting data, you are just pissing into the wind.

As for the solar cycles, the sunspot cycle may explain some of the variation, but that does not explain the ongoing warming seen in the temperature records. AGW did not "die" in 1998, but the denialist camp has repeatedly taken that single year as proof, which is just cherry picking. One must look at long term trends that extend beyond the 11 year (mol) sunspot cycles. The minimum in the sunspot cycle just passed, so now one would expect to see temperatures "catch up" with the variation from sunspots adding warmth to the long term trend, IMHO.

E. Swanson

False statement, SlicerDicer. Total ice mass is decreasing. If you actually read the Danish and NASA scientific papers, you would know this. The last time I heard this nonsense it was coming from Rush Limbaugh, who refused to reply to repeated attempts to correct his false statements when provided the actual data.

Try this simple explanation:

From a letter to the editor of the New York Sun:

My Dear Sir:

But you are proceeding upon the superstition that Moral Courage and a Hankering to Learn the Truth are ingredients in the human being's makeup. Your premises being wild and foolish, you naturally and properly get wild and foolish results. If you will now reform, and in future proceed upon the sane and unchallengeable hypothesis that those two ingredients are on vacation in our race, and have been from the start, you will be able to account for some things which seem to puzzle you now.

Sincerely yours,


Perhaps this might help to explain the reluctance to look at actual data by Mr. Limbaugh and others.

Glad to see you included methane. I agree that a methane burp from the tundra decomposing and the breakdown of methane clathrates is the really big risk for us. It's a species killer. We are totally dependent on the grasses for food (wheat, rice, maize, sorghum , sugar cane) but the grasses are temperate crops. They would not grow if the entire world went over to a hot, humid, tropical climate. Shrubs and trees would take over and the grasses would rot. We really would be stuffed.

However, I do think the weather this winter is a real outlier which is why I'm asking if it's weather or climate. When climatologists make weather forecasts 50 years out with great certainty I generally don't believe them because they cannot possibly know. Media scare stories are so common now that I turn off. Real research scientists
have error bars and probabilities, not certainty. Their models are not good enough for weather forecasting.

When climatologists make weather forecasts 50 years out with great certainty I generally don't believe them because they cannot possibly know.

Climatologists don't make weather forecasts.



I think the changes so far of the artic melting, etc has created a difference in the systems (heat movement and distribution, equlization).

I think we will have larger amplitude weather systems. Larger Wind Storms, Bigger Cold Fronts, Bigger Droughts, Bigger Hurricanes, etc.

Bigger systems in general. New record highs and lows maybe.

I wonder if there is any weight changes that would effect the crust's techtonic plates ?

Methane levels have hit a plateau

Grasses won't grow in the tropics? When I was a kid in the tropics I used to cross valley bottoms suspended several feet above the ground on the "mat" of elephant grass. We chewed on sugarcane and wrestled on St Augustine grass. Rice is a grass.

Go study mammalian dieoffs under similar population curves. Upper bound for surviving species members - 25%. Lower bound is about 1%. And the great majority of such dieoffs, under curves as bad as ours, have been in the 96%-99% dieoff range, i.e. 1%-4% survival. In other words, the upper bound (which I think we will not achieve at all) is about 1.5 billion people. The lower bound is about 60 million. And occasionally a species simply dies out entirely.

As M. King Hubbert noted, our enemy is the existing caveman heritage of "economics", a voodoo sauce of pseudo-psychology and religious mantras used to enslave masses of people. Until we replace the nonsense we currently call economics with a real science of economics, any hope of stopping what is coming is doomed to failure.

The inability of most people to even grasp this is the insurance that it will come to pass.

Grey: It won't happen very easily. You need a global life expectancy of approx 38 yrs for population to start decreasing (currently it is 64). Which means most of the planet has to be like Zimbabwe just to get the global population to stabilize, not decrease. Re the lower bound, the USA has the most obese population in history. Obese humans are literally designed to survive food restriction.

If you look at the human population curve since about 10,000 BC, what would a drop from 7 billion to 1 billion in 100 years look like on that curve? It would look like a line going straight down. So would a 200 year drop. By the time you reach 300 years it's no longer quite straight down but it's still hugely steep.

My point is that this dieoff can occur in anything from a few years to a few centuries and when historians look back they will see this extremely steep and rapid descent (historically speaking). And I guarantee you that a world going from 7 billion to 1 billion, even if it took 200 years, would suffer greatly through that period.

So don't focus too much on today. The wheels are already in motion. What is not clear to those riding this wagon is how fast or slow it is actually going. But that will all become apparent in time. And the dieoff comes with it, regardless of whether it is 10 years, 100 years, or 200 years in the making (only about 8-10 generations max of homo sapiens even in 200 years).

Excuse me, I prefer the Ohshitocene.

For this I login.

Kudos, Sir! This is how I too shall now refer to our brave new epoch.

OMG is that funny. Sad, but funny.

Regarding #1. A. Extreme variability will be the norm under Climate Change, not the exception.

B. After the previous heavy dip in the ice pack in 2005 you had a good rebound in 2006. I posted months ago in another place that I would not be surprised to see the same here. Natural systems tend to equilibrium. With the Arctic warmer than it is "supposed" to be, it makes sense that the global energy balance is seeking to restore itself. I don't think it can beat the long-term trend, though.

C. You noted above the ice acts as an insulator, so the warm energy deep down might lead to a faster thaw this summer by your reasoning, no?

Personally, I expect a rebound to be followed by more severe drops over the next few years. Bear in mind a big part of the melt this year was due to unusual wind conditions. If those return, you may see a melt similar to this past summer. If they don't, you'll almost certainly see a decent rebound.


Rather than just looking at it from above, I think what is important is the extent and thickness of the multi year ice. The extent of increase of annual ice over one winter isn't as significant as how far it melts back and approaches the multi year ice. I hear reports that the multi year portion has thinned greatly but you can't see that from above. This is why observations that are not three dimensional are anecdotal rather than scientific. By August we'll know whether the ice is gaining or losing in the big picture.

I do expect to see a rapid thaw in the summer but I'm curious as to how much the ocean cooled from radiation and evaporation before the ice blanket came back. We should know in August.

I am reluctant to get involved in climate change discussions anymore (since they have devolved into little more than partisan politics), but on the off chance you are really just seeking knowledge, here are a couple of links and an opinion.


It has been years since I really dug into chaos and nonlinear dynamical systems, but my recollection is that chaotic systems are very robust (stable), you can pump in energy, but they will not change. However when you get to a certain point they wobble dramatically in all directions while trying to find a new stable state. Anomalous weather is just what I have been expecting.

The world is not just the northern hemisphere.
Where I live down under is supposed to get 1500mm or 60" of rain a year. Nothing fell in January with temperatures up to 15C/27F above average.

Power could resume shortly in worst-hit area by snow

BEIJING - The National Grid of China said power could be restored partially within the day in the worst-hit region in central China's Hunan Province, ending the eight-day blackout caused by snow.

"Many power facilities in Hunan were damaged due to repeated extreme weather changes," said Yin Jijun, deputy director of the international liaison department of the National Grid. "As the weather deteriorated again, the regional power grid, in particular the southern grid in the province, is facing acute challenges."

A new round of snow started to hit central, south and east China regions on Friday, adding to the woes caused by previous snowfalls.

Severe winter weather may last for another week

BEIJING -- The worst winter weather to hit central, eastern and southern China in decades could persist into the Year of the Rat, weather officials said.

The severe weather, which has killed at least 60 people and left millions facing a cold, dark Lunar New Year holiday, could last until February 8 or 9, according to the latest forecasts from the Central Meteorological Station on Saturday morning.

Re: Wind power meets resistance in Maryland

North Atlantic—Passengers on the White Star Lines Ship Titanic, after reviewing initial reports of a collision with an iceberg, expressed some concern about the reports.

But a proposal to board lifeboats met with almost unanimous opposition from passengers, who, while supportive of the concept of saving their lives, would prefer not to spoil their trip by boarding lifeboats.

Don't worry, they will find a poor black community downwind to saddle with another coal plant.


Then the NYT can report on the disgusting mercury in their sushi.

Yes, we all know how the poor black community subsists on sushi! ;-)

"Well they built another ship, that they called Titanic II,
and again it was ' A Ship that the sea could not break through',
But they christened it with Beer and it sank right off the Pier;
We were Glad when the Great Ship went down! "


Building a Kayak in Maine, as part of my ELP.. what should I name it? .. and do I build lifeboats for my lifeboats?


you could call it the valdez, exxon no longer uses that one.

Why job market is even worse than you think

The number of Americans out of work for at least six months is rising - reaching levels more typically seen deep into a recession or period of job contraction, not at the beginning.

And while some economists believe that the drop in jobs reported in January might later be revised away to show a narrow gain, it's clear that the rise in long-term unemployment is a far more established trend and one economists say isn't going away anytime soon.

EBay fee hike sparks seller rebellion

EBay's new fee structure has small stores fearful about their survival.

I had over a thousand items in my eBay store. Started ending them back in May. Found that some months I paid more in eBay and Paypal fees then what I actually took in. I was paying eBay to lose money.

Only do 10 cent listing days now. eBay will fall, it is only a matter of time. There are a tonne of sites offering free listing fees and almost non-existant final value fees.

You can't repeatedly anally rape your seller base and expect them to smile about it.

Well put, shankland.

I sold on Ebay for exactly 10 years, professionally, for a living.

Things were pretty good up until 2005 - for some reason, Katrina seems to mark the point where things stopped going up, and started going down, gently. 2006 was one long downhill coast. 2007 started slow, then one good month, then sales just plummeted. Ebay fees kept going up, shipping fees doubled. Now this effectively doubles fees for me if I were to break my oath and start selling on there again, since almost all of my stuff's less than $25, and I believe they've found a way to force everyone to take PayPal. Also, Search is much harder to use, there are perverse ranking systems for whose items show in up Search, etc.

Ebay's been dying for a couple of years now. Interestingly, two years ago was the last time I bought anything on there.

The people weathering the horrible economy right now are doing maybe some Ebay, as a "teaser" to get people to their own page, doing swap meets, doing person to person sales, doing odd one-off flea markets and conventions, and yeah, just what it sounds like, jumping out of their own asshole to keep up with it all. And they're getting less and less over time.

Meanwhile, when I could get over there early enough, I'd go to the Sunnyvale farmer's market and find a face-painter and a balloon-twisting clown, and a banjo player looking like something out of the 1930s, and lots of people selling veggies of course, and I'd hang out, maybe Cello Joe would be there, with his little manual typewriter doing poems for tips. No kidding. And even Cello Joe would make $30 or so, the banjo guy would make hundreds. No overhead, or very little. I'm sure a good street performer keeps their little book keeping track of income and expenses....

The point is, these "professional bums" were making better coin than working far, far more hours on Ebay would, and having fun doing it.

Interesting. It looks as though there is a "Peak eBay" that parallels Peak Oil.

As westexas (and others) have pointed out on TOD, the peak of exploration was a couple of years after the peak of production.

In the UK, there has been a flurry of TV ads for eBay of late (a few years back, it barely needed to advertise - it was all "word of mouth". Then they had small (6" by 2") newspaper ads. Now, either they are blowing significantly more money on marketing because they want to grow the business, or (as your story with increased sellers' fees alludes to), they are getting increasingly desperate to maintain revenues in the face of inexorable decline.


They're frantically chasing the $34 I owe them, but until the Paypal fraud problem I have is resolved they're not getting it. They threaten to suspend my account ... as if the privilege of being subjects to administrative justice based on transaction volumes at all interests me.

They have a big name, but IPv4 is a corrosive gas under tremendous pressure, and it'll get into their business model in a thousand different ways when the pressure differential is too great ... which seems to be the case now.

Re: Maryland opposition to windpower.
I have just published a critique of windpower as proposed for the UK off-shore.

Of course, on-shore is not off-shore, and the US may have different costs to the UK, and certainly has a very good wind resource in many areas and better siting opportunities than in the crowded UK.

Just the same, were I a US resident I would look with a very suspicious eye at windpower proposals, and would watch the costs like a hawk to make sure I was not paying huge amounts of subsidy - windpower so far has only been built when subsidised, and often legislated for with quotas and such.

I have based my figures on UK Department of Trade figures, to which I give a link in the blog:

I stand to be shot at! :-)

This should give you a giggle. An economy parody of the song "Cherish", it's called "Bearish".

Traders Narrative has a nice graph (1957 to present) of long term fed funds rates.

Initial Jobless Claims are at Highest Levels Since Katrina, Bespoke has the graph. (2003 to present)

For those who want to keep up with the latest economic data, here are three really nice links: Yahoo, Marketwatch, Barron's.

Another interesting graph is the Baltic Exchange Dry Index. "The Baltic Dry Index is an index covering dry bulk shipping rates and managed by the Baltic Exchange in London." (Wikipedia) Looks like things are slowing down. Why the Baltic Dry Index matters

For those wondering how the current round of banking problems will go down, Beat the Press talks about the US Savings and Loan crisis of the 1980s.

While Jim Jubak wonders if the USA is repeating Japans mistakes of the in the early 1990s.

The Big Picture notices the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics problem with statistics.

Then there is the disturbing trend of central banks trying to hide failed banks. Although the current fuss is about the Bank of England. Hasn't the Fed been doing this since last December, with its anonymous Term Auction Facility? (wikipedia link)

The Ron Paul War Room talks about bank solvency. Very wordy but worth reading.

You also might want to take a look at this thread from tickerforum.org. As the try to figure out what the reserve numbers really mean.

The economic crisis the United States is now entering with a vengence, is analogous to the debate and controversy surrounding Peak Oil which we on TOD are so aware of.

If one had produced a 'Hirsch Report' on the US economy ten years ago, a sober, balanced and non-partisan report, the report would have concluded that an urgent programme of 'mitigation' was required to offset the worst effects of unbridled and unregulated Capitalism. Looking forward one would have seen structural problems on the horizon, which threatened the very stability of the 'free market economy'. But, as with PO, the report would have been ignored until...

American doesn't just risk sliding into a temporary 'recession' but a Depression, the like of which hasn't been seen since the thirties. It could conceivably be far worse. It all depends. The current crisis is far worse than the mainstream media understand, though having talked to couple of financial journalists at a dinner party last week in London, they are trying desparately to hang on to their optimistic facade, despite what they know and despite what they fear is happening.

What's happening then? The beginning of the potential meltdown of the American financial system, a structural collapse, into a hole that has no bottom. The word is, that most of America's largest banks, are in reality, bust. As are the major insurance companies and bond insurers, and that's just for starters. The true extent of the disaster is being hidden and understandably so.

Is there an alternative to a 'Depression'. Yes, but Bush won't take it, and he wouldn't even if he understood it, and it might not work. It may be too late to avoid the financial meltdown spreading to the rest of the 'real economy'. Maybe a whole group of new people are required to impliment the new solutions that are needed to get us out of the hole we are falling into.

But, as with PO, the report would have been ignored until...

The same thing occurred to me.

BTW, I heard the tail end of a debate on CNBC last week on proposals to "bailout" homeowners (i.e., bailout financial institutions).

The guy speaking in favor of the proposal warned--with a sense of panic in his voice--of millions of Americans becoming homeless because of increasing foreclosures. Of course, this is bogus, because in virtually all cases former homeowners, post-foreclosure, can cut their monthly housing payments by renting, instead of trying to hang on to their overpriced suburban houses.

In reality, I suspect that the guy was worried about millions of former employees of financial institutions becoming homeless.

I tend to look at our current financial mess as the inevitable next stop in American history.

When you think about it, there seems to be the logical historical progression.

Young America was as a producer of raw materials and food.
Middle aged America was industrial.
Senior America has squandered it resources on wild living and is now broke.

But if we con the new kids on the block out of their raw material, by involving them in a financial engineering scheme, we can still live the good life till we die.

During a financial holiday awhile back, CNBC spent the entire day running a series on the history of Wallstreet. What it amounted to, was a parade of fraud and con games designed to relieve the suckers of their money. It was a very eye opening program.

I tend to look at our current financial mess as the inevitable next stop in American history. When you think about it, there seems to be the logical historical progression.

Young America was as a producer of raw materials and food.
Middle aged America was industrial.
Senior America has squandered it resources on wild living and is now broke.

I see natural progression in American history as well, only in more Cantonian terms:

1. Takeover (as in "cleaning" the new house of
potential competitors)

2. Drawdown (as in pillaging the land of coal, timber,
fish, oil, etc.)

3. Rationalization (as in lying to ourselves about the
current realities, and coming up with ingenious ways (e.g.,
financial gymnastics) to transfer the costs over to future

The third category, rationalization, seems to be what sets human beings apart. Of course in the final analysis, rationalization does little other than stall the inevitable, and effectively guarantees that the consequences of our overshoot will be all the more horrific.

4. Goto #1 as in trying to takeover ME oil and clean it of potential competitors.

'This One' has the potential to be far worse than 1929 because of factors that exist now that did not exist in 1929. To list just a few...We were not the worlds largest debtor nation in '29, we did not have expensive on-going wars for control of 'influence over' mid east oil in 1929, we were not a net oil importer in '29, we did not have a gigantic national debt, personal debt, unfunded liabilitites, and balance of payments in '29. SWFs did not hold trillions of US dollars in 1929. We were not facing PO and CC in 1929. We did not have a negative savings rate in 1929. I could continue but I think we all get the picture.

I have negotiated a renewal for the lease for my 'banana and fish stand' so I will continue to be a trader excapitalist after the collapse...but I will only take things of like value for bananas and fish...like veggies, meat, flour, corn meal, silver, gold and dvds of film noir movies. I have installed a wood fired grill and now sell a terrific blackened Red Fish sandwich with fried plantains on the side. :)

It seems as if the PPT is helping keep the monoline insurers afloat - wonder how it will play out.

I had to chuckle at this one from the LA Times although I feel sorry for the individuals involved...but, had the same individuals been born a few centuries earlier they would no doubt have been caught up in the raging tulip bulb speculation...I wonder if Thaleia has been living in a cave on Mt Kilamanjaro to be so ignorant of what is happening in an industry she is employed in.

'"We didn't deserve this," Thaleia Georgiades, a real estate agent in El Dorado, Calif., said Thursday, two days after she and her husband, a builder, learned that their Countrywide credit line had been frozen.

"When you are self-employed, that's the money you count on to bridge the gap during tough times. And this is a particularly tough time in both the building and housing industries," Georgiades said.

In Phoenix, Kristen McEntire said she received a letter from San Antonio-based USAA Federal Savings Bank about two months ago saying the credit limit on her home equity line had been slashed by $40,000 because the value of her home had declined.

"They froze everything but about $5," she said. "That's what I had left in the line of credit" after the bank's action.'


...snip...'Trying to tap into home equity? We'll see
Countrywide and others tell thousands of homeowners that they can no longer borrow against their credit lines as the companies tighten standards.
By Kathy M. Kristof,, E. Scott Reckard and David Colker, Los Angeles Times Staff Writers
February 1, 2008
Tens of thousands of homeowners with home equity lines of credit are getting a rude surprise: They've been told by their lender that they can no longer take money out on their credit lines because sinking home prices have left them with little or no equity.

Among the lenders taking such action is Countrywide Financial Corp., which sent 122,000 letters to customers last week telling them they could no longer borrow against their credit lines. In some cases, according to the company, the borrowers are now "upside down" -- the total debt on the home exceeds the market value of the property.'...snip...

Here is one that is really bizarre:

Home owners are not allowed to bid on their own mortgages when they are being sold.

"If homeowners were allowed to participate at such auctions, she said, they would easily be able to arrange the financing to pay off their loans. "At 50 cents on the dollar, anyone would buy out their loan," she said in an interview Friday."



Reminds me of the penny sales that used to take place in the depression. Neighbors would bid one penny for everything, and that's all the banks got. The neighbors would then sell it back to the original owner for a penny just to make it legal, and the banks got screwed in the deal.

I suppose it would raise the possibility that someone who is underwater but still able to pay the mortgage would simply stop paying, force the thing to foreclosure, and then buy back the loan for less with new financing.

We don't have that level of solidarity these days - someone will figure out a way to profit ... unless there is a neighborhood 'union' to ensure everyone follows community standards.

Mother Earth News has put a lot of their old articles online. Or at least, they flooded Google News this morning, even though many of them are over a decade old.

Still useful, though, like this one:

Save the Chickens!

A home chicken flock is the first (and easiest) step toward self-sufficiency in animal food raising, and has long been the culmination of the country-living dream for city folks.

But in your wildest dreams, could you have imagined that keeping chickens can help preserve endangered species?

More anti-Russian propaganda. Ukraine was cut off in 2006 since it refused to pay the bill. Raising the gas price from the joke $65 to $95 is hardly blackmail. If Ukraine could not accept this price increase then, how come it can accept an increase from $130 to $180 now? Ukraine gets most of its gas from Turkmenistan.

Also, I challenge anyone to quote Putin or Russian government officials saying "Russia is an energy superpower". The only leader that claimed this is Stephen Harper the Canadian Prime Minister who thinks bitumen sands are oil sands.

This whole "Russia is using its energy resources for influence" tripe is quite hypocritical. The US uses its military might and acts of aggression (e.g. Iraq) to spread its influence and interests. To accuse Russia of malfeasance via price increases of its own goods is beyond obscene. You are all free to shop elsewhere, but Iraqis have to die to get you off their backs.

Well, Russia is an energy superpower. That is neither a positive nor a negative statement in itself, just an acknowledgment of Russia's vast reserves of hydrocarbons.

As for the rest of your statement, I mostly agree. Ukraine? Even at $95 that was below market rates and you are correct in pointing that out. As for the US and its intervention everywhere, I definitely agree there. The best thing for the US itself would to let the vision of empire go and just attend to its own needs at home, withdraw troops from the 100+ countries in which we have bases, and stop threatening other nations for the benefit of giant multi-national corporations.

Unfortunately, dissident, I don't think that will happen in the US without bloodshed.

I mostly agree with both of you. But I beg you, GreyZone, please do not use the word 'vast' in reference to energy resources. It's bad enough to see or hear it everyday in almost every media report dealing with energy. It reminds me of the use of the work 'buff' to describe proponents of rail transport. The other day, I saw a piece which referred to peak oil buffs. Oh my.

Space is vast. Even the Pacific Ocean is a vast expanse of water. Russia still has significant, though steadily declining, amounts of hydrocarbons.

It would be a good thing for everyone if the EU actually did something to not be reliant on Russia for energy. Russia cannot supply the EU and itself for decades. It will have a hard time by 2015 already. Instead the discussion about the EU's energy security is nothing more than Russia bashing.

re: A Marine's New Mission

Robert Newmann --British standup comic -- has made the point so very accessibly, and with such deft humor.

This is the age of oil, of course. Previous and future wars were and will be fought for other reasons.

The article says many analysts think 40% of the military budget goes to protect the oil trade. The military budget is $550 Billion not counting the trillion dollars that will be spent on Iraq before its over if I'm not mistaken. Is this a subsidy for oil? I think so. Now compare that to the pittance spent on the blending credit for ethanol. And the military expenditures are only a part of the subsidies received by oil companies. Keep your eye on the money, especially the big money. Exxon Mobile's record profits can only be earned in a non competitive, monopolistic environment or with subsidies or both. It's the competition at the margin from ethanol that they fear. It's the only thing holding gas prices down at the moment IMO.

Now compare that to the pittance spent on the blending credit for ethanol.

One waste of money and energy does not justify another waste of money and energy !

Now compare the ongoing ethanol subsidies to the refused $900 million federal subsidy to build the DC subway to Tysons Corner and Dulles (it should be extended to downtown Leesburg BTW). 20 to 25,000 barrels/day saved for well over a century.

Stop wasting money on ethanol subsidies and start subsidizing REAL solutions !


Not only oil, but other natural resources too. That's what came to mind reading this article about new troop transport:

The JHSV will be able to transport Army and Marine Corps company-sized units with their vehicles, or become a troop transport for an infantry battalion. The ships' off-load ramps "will be suitable for the types of austere piers and quay walls common in developing countries[sic]," the Navy said, and its under-15-foot draft "will further enhance littoral operations and port access."

The article is in the business section of the paper. Maybe it's as simple as faux-local company (BIW is General Dynamics) loots the US Treasury again. But it also suggested to me that it must be reassuring to the business community to know that the military is building new high-speed troop transports capable of unloading at "austere piers" in developing countries. More likely near the bombed out pier of an undeveloping country. All to secure the resources to keep Business As Usual going.

cfm in Gray, ME

Exxon Mobile's record profits can only be earned in a non competitive, monopolistic environment or with subsidies or both.

You forgot one. It can be earned when they are extracting a highly sought after substance whose price shot up because people recognized late last year that we are close to peaking in production - and that this substance underlies our entire economy.

As I have pointed out before, no doubt the military expenditures in the ME are primarily due to oil. What they aren't is expenditures for the oil companies. They are expenditures which were in theory to secure supplies for Joe Public. Even Joe Ethanol runs his tractors and trucks on the oil that flows out of the ME.

Thanks for that link - of all the links I have ever seen on TOD that one has to be the most thought provoking!

He should have been a history teacher as well as comic.

How to use electronics without energy.

A good example about how to use electronics that consumes no electric current.

Russia, U.S. sign $5 bln uranium sales deal

"The deal is worth $5-6 billion over the next 10 years," said Kiriyenko, after signing the document together with Carlos Gutierrez.

The deal allows for sales of Russian enriched uranium directly to U.S. utilities. Previously, such direct transactions were not permitted.

Well, it appears as if the US nuclear industry will continue to have ready access to fuel. One thing I noticed is that this story doesn't appear in my usually perused MSM sites. Energy doesn't have much of a cross section as a subject, until there is a crisis.

Mixer/Ejector Wind Turbine to produce 50% more power!


The expert team working on this design seems to be quite confident about its producing more than 50% of power in comparison to the conventional wind turbines. It is not only 50% smaller in size than the 3-Bladed Horizontal Axis Wind Turbine or HAWT but would even cost less by 25% to 35%, smaller yet very cost-effective.

You're in fine form today. I see an artist's drawing of this gadget and the staff's background indicates they're used to building jet engines. That is all well and good, but there is a direct correlation between swept area and the amount of power produced. This thing might be a competitor at the novelty turbine to small installation size, but I don't find it likely that anyone is going to put up a steel ring 200' in diameter to support a bunch of composite vanes when three fiberglass blades on a relatively small steel hub are going to do the same job. A small efficiency improvement at that scale in exchange for a 5x increase in mass with the attendant wind load issues is a nonstarter.

Do keep looking, as you occasionally find cool stuff.

After SCT commented, I took a look. Yikes. After his remark about a 200 foot ring I was expecting maybe some sort of vertical axis turbine. But nooo. That thing is going to need one hell of a massive pole, or else the first thunderstorm or howling blizzard that comes along will waft it off to the Land of Oz, probably in many shards. The wind load on the pole would be absolutely phenomenal. But the artwork is charming in a retro sort of way. Cropped properly, it would grace the cover of a 1950s issue of Popular Science or Popular Mechanics quite nicely.

I looked again myself and I don't think its a novelty turbine - too many seriously qualified folks involved and their background indicates they can design cool new stuff meant to interface with moving air.

The artist's sketch of the turbines lacks a tail, which indicates a steered device, which indicates large scale ... but I don't think they're going to hang all of that goo on a megawatt class turbine tower for the reasons PaulS describes.

What might make more sense given the size of plants these guys have worked on - aircraft engines with diameters in the range of 1M - is that this is a possible player in the micro turbine to small turbine range. If you could get 50% more output, or better output at lower speeds, or both of those things, and you could keep the costs inline with existing turbines this would be a good thing, as it isn't a crazy additional amount of money to build a slightly heavier tower to support that shape. If that is the case they need only add a tail so it self aligns to the wind and then they can go to town building them.

Using a shroud can improve the "efficiency", that is, the maximum possible energy produced from the rotor area. This idea may be a bit better than a simple duct, but the main problem with such designs is the fact that the cost will be rather larger than what one would spend for the usual 3 blade device. There is also likely to be a big problem resulting from the need to change the pitch of the blades to adjust for varying wind speeds. Also, the extra mass will be difficult to move around the central tower, which will be necessary to orient the device towards the incoming wind. I seriously doubt we will see any of these with diameters above a few tens of feet.

E. Swanson

I continue to feel sorry for the eventual "winner" of the US presidential election (when asked what he would do if he were in charge, Matt Simmons said he would "cry"). In any case, Obama is picking up some interesting support. Both Caroline Kennedy and Susan Eisenhower have endorsed him:


Westexas, what's your opinion about natural gas worldwide?, I need an educated guess about Russia's oil and natural gas.
Keep up the good work ! Thanks!

I'm no expert on natural gas worldwide, but I suspect that the world peak of natural gas is not very far away. If memory serves, there was a pretty good article on gas in the Energy Bulletin not too long ago.

Regarding Russian oil production, our estimate is in this paper:


Thanks a lot, there is so much information and often I use you r post as a lighthouse

I'm a little uneasy about Obama, simply because of his inexperience. He's very intelligent and knowledgeable, but the blunders his campaign has made aren't very reassuring.

I favor Hillary so far, if only because we know Bill Clinton knows about peak oil. He's read "The Empty Tank: Oil, Gas, Hot Air, and the Coming Global Financial Catastrophe" and "Twilight In the Desert." He's talked about Ghawar water cuts and how that means there might not be as much oil as we think. He predicted in 2006 that we'd see $100 oil "in 2 or 3 years."

I figure Hillary must know about peak oil, even if she can't talk about it in public.

Bush knew about peak oil what difference made.

I'm not sure Bush knew about peak oil. Simmons was asked what Bush said when he told him about peak oil. He said he looked very puzzled. The old "dog trying to understand calculus" expression.

That's why I support Hilary too. She's been through the mill and "vetted" as she says. All the mud has been thrown at her by the Republican slam machine and Bill has put her through hell. She's tough as nails which scares me she won't withdraw from Iraq. But Obama is unknown at least to me. How would he react to the pressure of the mud fights and "Swift Boating" the Republicans are sure to do?
We don't know. The Presidency is no place for on the job training.

I think people will come to regret Bush, he ruled over Peak Amerika! Matt said if would be president would cry, is natural to cry is like becoming president, and then being informed that was a farse.

Iraq? It appears that she is itching for Iran also. I just can't picture her as a reasonable alternative to the current regime. It appears that her and Bill have turned a lot more neocon in the last couple years (probably because it is necessary to get elected). Obama and Edwards appear to have at least a minimum level of personal integrity-nothing against Hillary-she is ruthless and cunning, but I don't think anyone would accuse her of having integrity. Just my opinion.

What were the blunders? Anyway, I'm having some difficulty caring what happens in this election. Drawing distinctions between Obama, Clinton, ( or for that matter even McCain and Romney ) and Bush Jr. is like drawing distinctions between an accomplished Mathematician, an accomplished Physicist, and a kid with down syndrome that just got ran over by a semi.

2 1/2 of your scientists support everything the down syndrome kid has done. The demonization of George Bush has gone a little far- the guy didn't screw up the USA by himself-he had a lot of help.

2 1/2 of your scientists support everything the down syndrome kid has done.

No idea what this means. 2.5 scientists of the hundreds of thousands in the U.S. supported him? I hope that's right.

As far as demonizing Bush, this is not what I intended above. I don't view Bush as evil or something like that. I view him as someone who is way, way in above his head.

You compared those four salespersons to scientists. Two of them publicly support everything your demon did, Hillary supports maybe half of it (especially the war mongering part).

Ah, gotcha. I meant it as an analogy to represent my view of their varying competencies, not as a valuation on their agreement with Bush (i.e. if Mittens had been president and decided to go into Iraq, it would have ended up a tad better).

What were the blunders?

The biggest one was inviting a man who claims homosexuality can be cured to tour with him. That might work for a Republican, but is a terrible idea for a Democrat.

He said Reagan was a better president than Clinton. Again, not something likely to go over well with Democrats.

More recently...he snubbed Hillary at the State of the Union address. She came over, and he turned his back on her. He snubbed her earlier, too. The Democratic party asked Hillary and Obama to sit together during the SOTU speech, in order to demonstrate party unity. Obama refused, because "he already promised to sit next to Kennedy." I don't blame him for disliking her, but jeez, that struck me as so middle school.

Yeah, inviting the "gay cure" preacher was stupid, but it seems kind of on par with the perception that Hillary has done some race baiting.

The bit about Reagan is sort of misleading:

I think Ronald Reagan changed the trajectory of America in a way that Richard Nixon did not and in a way that Bill Clinton did not. He put us on a fundamentally different path because the country was ready for it. I think they felt like with all the excesses of the 1960s and 1970s and government had grown and grown but there wasn't much sense of accountability in terms of how it was operating. I think people, he just tapped into what people were already feeling, which was we want clarity we want optimism, we want a return to that sense of dynamism and entrepreneurship that had been missing.

More like he was saying he thought Reagan was more "in tune" with the masses.

Hadn't heard of the third.

Yeah, inviting the "gay cure" preacher was stupid, but it seems kind of on par with the perception that Hillary has done some race baiting.

Not even close. The comments the Clintons made were spun into "race-baiting" (often taken out of context). There's no spin with McClurkin. Being "ex-gay" is what he's famous for.

The bit about Reagan is sort of misleading

It was dumb thing to say. Democrats hate Reagan.

Not even close. The comments the Clintons made were spun into "race-baiting" (often taken out of context). There's no spin with McClurkin. Being "ex-gay" is what he's famous for.

This is why I said "perception." I don't think most people pay close enough attention to unspin this stuff.

I completely agree the Reagan fawning should have waited until after the nomination. It was stupid.

Hillary fawns over Reagan too. And over Thatcher.
Bill eulogized Nixon.
Maybe safer to do a write-in for FDR.

Hillary is not Bill. She is an unknown. Who know how many times Bill told her to shut up and leave the room?
W isn't compassionate or a fiscal conservative.
Bill is sleazy
Bush 41 bumbled his way into war with Saddam.
Reagan was senile.
Carter wasn't any good at Washington politics.
Nixon was a drug addict.

I'm not going to do the whole list, but people who seek this office tend to be kind of evil/insane. I've had experience dealing with politicians and federal bureaucrats. These are not the kind of people you want to leave alone with your children.

You are only allowed to see a facade of their true selves, serving mankind is not on their "todo" list.
(unless you mean it like that one twilight zone episode.)

At this point, what I want is competence.

Competent at what?
Getting elected?

That, and other things.

No point in voting for a politician who can't get elected, is there?

As I think about it, about the only candidate I could label as competent would be Ron Paul.

But that only had to do with being a doctor.

Competence can mean legally qualified but it can also mean capable in a general sort of way. A lot of people around me (myself included) give the same one-liner Leanan gave above mostly as a backlash to the past 8 years. We want a president who won't screw up every last thing they're responsible for taking care of.

Hi Mark and Leanan,

re: "every last thing they're responsible for taking care of."

It depends on what one considers the goals and objectives to be.

Incompetence or deliberate dysfunction?

Measured by what standard in relation to what goal?

(If you see what I mean. Only the questions some people have raised.)

The whole issue of 'incompetence' is relation to the Bush administration is very problematic in my opinion.

There have been times, (as an outsider, observing the United States, which has always meant to much to me, so that culturally I've always felt half-American) watching the debacle and chaos after Katrina, that I felt like weeping or raging. God these guys are incompetent, and it's costing lives!

Then there's the disaster of Iraq, God these guys are so incompetent! Can't they get anything right? If we're going to have a friggin' empire let's do it right!

I'm sure Hilary Clinton would be a far better and more competent 'Empress' than George Bush, though paradoxically, this could lead to more wars and a even deeper involvement in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere.

Bush is perhaps far less 'incompetent' than his style, or lack of it, would lead one to assume.

I think he's a throwback to another age. A kind of old-skool British Tory. He's a believer in a strong, centralized, state. Where the police and the military have a central role. This kind of hard power is good and necessary. In contrast he doesn't support the 'socialized' part of the state apparatus, and doesn't really mind if it whithers away and doesn't really function properly - FEMA. He and his supporters don't really believe in the state being involved in these areas of activity. The state should take care of law and order, protecting the country and projecting its interests abroad, and pretty much everything else can be left the market to take care of.

This ideology is, of course, rather old fashioned, and it's debatable whether the so-called 'free market' has ever, or can function, without massive state intervention and support. For example, if the true level of US military expenditure is two trillion dollars a year, this functions as collosal 'state sudsidy' for the American private enterprise economy. But I'm straying, sorry!

What I'm trying to say is that Bush's apparent 'incompetence' is perhaps far more a product of his ideological position than a reflection of his abilities as a leader.

Leaders should be searched for, found and dragged kicking and screaming from where they are happily and competently doing their life's work, this in order for them to do public service. Those that push themselves forward into the role of 'leader' should be taken out and shot, as a public service.

Take this as mere opinion or a course of action as you will:)

Your bit about state intervention and support is strange. All the money for the state subsidy comes ultimatly from private business in the first place. The free market is bieng subsidised with it's own money. It's just a financial revolving door.

No, my bit about subsidies and state intervention isn't strange at all. All the money for state subsidies doesn't ultimately come from private business in the first place. The so-called 'free market' is not free or a market. That's the whole point of what I'm saying. The 'free market' is a myth, political dogman disguised as economic theory.

Your arguments don't hold up, though I'm not sure your making an argument, but rather proclaiming an attitude or a belief, which is simplistic in the extreme. You surely cannot be serious?

Surely you don't mean that state intervention and support for US industry, doesn't occur? All the money for state subsidies doesn't ultimately come from private business. This is close to meaningless, or at least a gross oversimplification. One could just as easily say that ultimately all money comes from the tax payer, or that ultimately it comes from the state. Why choose only one factor among many as the 'ultimate' or 'original' source of money or wealth? Or do you really, honestly, mean that the source of wealth in society is created by private industry?

If you believe the 'free market' is being subsidized with its own money, how can the market possibly be described as being 'free', and what about competition in a market that would appear, using your logic, to be internally rigged, and little more than a huge monopoly. So everyone is 'borrowing' wealth temporarily from private business, that is the source ultimately of all money. You have to be joking, surely?

Hillary is a consummate politician and a fallible human being. Obama is a consummate leader and a fallible human being. I disagree with aspects of both of them. Right now, I'd prefer a leader to another politician.

History has tried hard to teach us that we can't have good government under politicians. Now, to go and stick one at the very head of the government couldn't be wise.

- Mark Twain, letter to the New York Herald

I would prefer a politician. We had a leader for eight years. The problem with leaders is you don't know where they'll lead you. Especially when their public life has been relatively brief.

But, the politician has clearly shown where they'll lead you? And, we trust the politician to mean what they say?

You are correct. Democracy is already dead when we stoop to trusting the politicians.



This seems like democracy to you? To my eyes, it seems the road to monarchy.

Monarchy has speech, and by it has been able to persuade man that it differs somehow from the rattlesnake, has something valuable about it somewhere, something worth preserving, something even good and high and fine, when properly "modified," something entitling it to protection from the club of the first comer who catches it out of its hole.

- Mark Twain, Letter to the Czar (unpublished)

Honestly...I don't care. I think democracy is doomed anyway, in the long term.

And voting for someone just because "his name is different" is silly.

"If voting could really change the system, it would be illegal"
--Theodor W. Adorno

Voting for someone just because "her name is the same" would not be silly?

It would be, if anyone was doing that.

Forgive my impertinence, but I fail to see where her competence comes from, other than from her name and what it implies. To deny that connection is to bury one's head in the sand. A vote for a politician over a leader is a vote for "business as usual" over a vote for change.

Perhaps that change might not be as much as everyone wants, but, at least it is not a vote for more of the same.

I tire of discussing politics. It only causes despair.

I've been very pleased with her performance as New York's senator.

Except that Iraq vote thing. But really, only the total leftwing nuts voted against it.

And I see no reason to vote for change for change's sake. Tell me "what change" first, please.

With the (rightful) fear of having this post deleted for being off-topic, this is an example of "what change", I think.

I think that what we need is good judgment; Obama was right from Day One regarding Iraq.

Bull crap. The only reason he's off the hook on Iraq is that he wasn't a congressman when the vote came up. If he had been, I bet he'd have voted the same way Hillary and Edwards did. The Democrats were in a panic about seeming "soft on terrorism."

In 2004, he said he wasn't sure how he'd have voted if he had been a senator when the vote came up.

He's no different than Hillary on the war.

Here is the New York Times analysis of his 2004 comments, in the context of the 2004 presidential election. Note that the Clinton talking points are leaving off the last sentence. In any case, at the time of the vote, Barack Obama was opposed to the war, HIllary voted for it.

"And when it comes to judgment, Barack Obama made the right call on the most important issue of our time by opposing the war in Iraq from the beginning."--Caroline Kennedy


Clinton Camp Challenges Obama on Iraq

Published: March 22, 2007

Indeed, reporters asked Mr. Obama about the Democratic presidential ticket throughout the 2004 campaign, because Senators John Kerry and John Edwards had both voted for the Iraq war resolution. In an interview with The New York Times in July 2004, he declined to criticize Mr. Kerry or Mr. Edwards over the Iraq vote, but also said that he would not have voted as they had based on the information he had at the time.

''But, I'm not privy to the Senate intelligence reports,'' Mr. Obama said. ''What would I have done? I don't know. What I know is that from my vantage point the case was not made.''

I think that proves the point. He wasn't in the US senate at the time. His vote would have been the same as Hillary's and Edwards' if he were. At that time, in that political climate, any politician with national aspirations would have voted for it.


Writing on the next day and might not be seen by anybody, but to be clear , I think that I feel better about Obama, along with all the guys here, because he is male and you feel more comfortable with Hillary Clinton as she is female.

This has not been said here although it seems quite obvious to me and is maybe not politically correct (let us say "impolite") but I think this factor will decide the primaries. Men will pick him and women will pick her. I bet polls could show that already. Only black females will pick Obama overwhelmingly. There might also be that age factor in there too with older boomers and older Dems generally, regardless of sex picking Clinton and younger people of both sexes picking Obama. I would like to see a break down in a poll.

In Nov. Mccain against Clinton would have a similar breakdown of male vs. female and old vs. younger voters and Mccain against Obama would be man to man but the race and age question would be more critical, as no president ever got into office starting at 72 years old adn Obama is ubeelow average age for a starting President.

The perfect Democratic candidate, historically speaking, would have been Edwards, mid 50s, white male.

The presumption by the dems seems to be that whoever gets the nomination is a shoe-in winner in November.

Writing on the next day and might not be seen by anybody, but to be clear , I think that I feel better about Obama, along with all the guys here, because he is male and you feel more comfortable with Hillary Clinton as she is female.

Pretty sad if that's true.

And I don't think it is. It's a lot more complex than that. Hillary is drawing support from a lot of the traditional Democratic demographics: Latinos, unions, working class. Obama is drawing younger voters, independents, professionals, and blacks.

Only black females will pick Obama overwhelmingly.

Why? According to your theory, some of the women should vote for Hillary.

(In South Carolina, Obama won 80% of blacks, both male and female.)

There might also be that age factor in there too with older boomers and older Dems generally, regardless of sex picking

There is, and that's a big advantage, because old people vote in much higher numbers than young people.

The perfect Democratic candidate, historically speaking, would have been Edwards, mid 50s, white male.

I agree. In the general, I think both Obama and Clinton face headwinds that are only faintly visible now.

There are a lot of people in the country (not just men) who think "girls can't be president." And a lot of people who might tell pollsters they'll vote for Obama, but in the privacy of the voting both, won't pull the lever for a black guy. (He won only 24% of the white vote in South Carolina. His "landslide" victory was because he took 80% of the black vote, and half the voters were black. Projected to the rest of the country, those numbers don't add up to a win.)

The presumption by the dems seems to be that whoever gets the nomination is a shoe-in winner in November.

Disagree. They aren't taking the general election for granted. Especially with McCain the apparent nominee.

But last time, they voted for the guy who was "electable." And he didn't win. I think they learned their lesson from that.

(He won only 24% of the white vote in South Carolina. His "landslide" victory was because he took 80% of the black vote, and half the voters were black. Projected to the rest of the country, those numbers don't add up to a win.)

Iowa is 93% white. Obama won Iowa by 6 points over Clinton. In Nevada, Clinton tied Obama in rural areas (white voters), Clinton won Vegas by 14 points (white voters), and Clinton lost Reno by 14 points (white voters).

If one uses all the numbers (not just South Carolina), it certainly seems to show that Obama is just as "electable" as Clinton (white voters).

Or, should we not count the numbers that are unfavorable to Clinton?

The big difference: Iowa and Nevada were caucuses, not elections.

In a caucus, everyone knows how you vote. There's no secret ballot. You have to get up, walk to the area of the room designated for your candidates' supporters, and stand there for all to see. For as long as it takes to sort everyone out. (Which could be all day.)

So the "Bradley effect" doesn't enter into it.

Does this eliminate any significance to those numbers? Should they be entirely discounted and remain undiscussed when quoting specific percentages? Are they immaterial to thoughts of "electability"?

It seems, in your posts, that you are saying yes to those questions.

I am saying no to those questions.

I think you believe too many Clinton talking points. Clinton is the most divisive candidate in the race. For success in addressing big changes (like PO or GW), the country needs to be brought together - not further splintered apart.

I distrust caucuses for a lot of reasons, not just the possible "Bradley effect." IMO, they should be eliminated.

I don't deny that Clinton has headwinds of her own. I said so.

But I think Obama does, too, and they are not as visible right now. They will be, if he becomes the nominee (or even the frontrunner, probably).

Inherent in your comments seems to be the belief that Clinton could bring the country together to address big issues (PO and GW). Not political majorities to enact legislation, but significant majorities of plain folks, since these big issues cannot be addressed solely through legislation.

However, it is possible that I am reading too much into your comments.

Other comments have been about Clinton choosing the politically possible over principle (the Iraq War vote). This seems to be counter to the idea of standing on principle and motivating a majority to address difficult problems.

To my view, Clinton has always chosen the politically possible over principle. As such, I fail to see how big issues (PO and GW) will be addressed by Clinton, since they are not politically possible.

Further, the narrative of many of your posts seems to be a simple statement: Clinton is more electable than Obama. However, I don't think that your support of Clinton is that simple. For example, if Obama becomes the frontrunner (thereby proving his electability), I don't see you changing your mind suddenly. You also seem to be more acquainted with Clinton's history than with Obama's.

You asked: "what change". I would say change from "business as usual", change from only attempting the politically possible, change from the corporate sponsored politics of Bush and Clinton, change to an active and involved populace - a step away from oligarchy and plutocracy. History has shown that great presidents are those who have offered hope, have brought the country together, and have laid out bold ideas (though not always during the nominating process). Real change rarely comes from political competence, but from reminding the people that they have the power, not the politicians. Oftentimes, this is accomplished by a gifted speaker who puts into words the feelings we hide in our hearts for fear of disappointment.

Inherent in your comments seems to be the belief that Clinton could bring the country together to address big issues (PO and GW).

No. I don't think anybody can. That is expecting too much of any human being.

I am just hoping for someone who won't make it worse than it has to be. I don't have much hope, to tell you the truth, but OTOH...surely anyone will be better than W.

I am suprised caucuses have survived. The y are open to manipulation. In 1988 Jesse Jackson won Michigan by getting black voters from Detroit to flood the caucuses. Also in Iowa the caucusus are decided by those willing to attend them in an Iowa winter evening. The people who do will not be representative.

At that time, in that political climate, any politician with national aspirations would have voted for it.

At one time Russ Feingold was being mentioned for a national run.

And Dr. Paul didn't vote for it.

Neither Feingold nor Paul had a snowball's chance in hell. Ditto Kucinich. They're popular with the true believers in their parties, but they can't win in the general, for the same reasons they're popular with their supporters.

This seems like democracy to you?

No Mr. Twain, no it does not.

But the US of A was never a Democracy.

Bill should have researched the (peak oil) topic while still President. The SUV became popular during his years, and he did little with regard to alternative energy and mileage standards.

The first real world indication of a problem was Sec. of Energy Bill Richardson's OPEC tour of February/March 2000 where he discovered that there was very little surplus /reserve oil production capacity.

This was after the New Hampshire primary and too late for a major, long term shift in policy by an almost lame duck President (with Congress controlled by the opposition party).

Apparently there was some inter-Administration communication because GWB quickly appointed the infamous Cheney Energy Task Force. See their conclusion in Iraq.

This one's on GWB (and Cheney),


Apparently there was some inter-Administration communication because GWB quickly appointed the infamous Cheney Energy Task Force. See their conclusion in Iraq.

If you want to understand that process, do some reading up on Jim Baker's Energy Report. That is the report

Strategic Energy Policy Challenges for the 21st Century

'Oil War' Questions Surround Cheney Energy Group

....Early in the Bush presidency the influential Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) had joined with the James A Baker III Institute for Public Policy to draft an energy proposal for the new administration.

'Strategic Energy Policy Challenges for the 21st Century' was the result. It forecast critical energy shortages unless oil and gas production was substantively boosted or conservation measures pursued, calling upon the administration to admit ''these agonising truths to the American people''.

The report also saw both Caspian and Iraqi oil as answers to the projected crisis, additionally citing the possible need for ''military intervention'' to secure energy supplies.....


Those watching and noticing the oil industry in the 1990's remembers the Goldrush feeling about the Caspian Sea area. There was Afghanistan.

... American interests in the region were promoted by an organization called the Foreign Oil Companies Group. Among its most active members were Henry Kissinger, a former secretary of state but now an advisor to the Unocal Corp.; Alexander Haig, another former secretary of state but now a lobbyist for Turkmenistan; and Richard Cheney, a former secretary of defense, but now the CEO of the Halliburton Corp.

Late in 1996, however, the Bridas Corp. of Argentina finally signed contracts with the Taliban and with Gen. Dostum of the Northern Alliance to build the pipeline.

(note: this was a couple of years before Argentina's currency was distroyed. Hmm

One American company in particular, Unocal, found that intolerable and fought back vigorously, hiring a number of consultants in addition to Kissinger: Hamid Karzai, Richard Armitage, and Zalmay Khalilzad. (Armitage and Khalilzad would join the George W. Bush administration in 2001.)

Unocal wooed Taliban officials at its headquarters in Texas and in Washington, D.C., seeking to have the Bridas contract voided, but the Taliban refused. Finally, in February of 1998, John J. Maresca, a Unocal vice president, asked in a congressional hearing to have the Taliban replaced by a more stable regime.

Note this is the Maresca's Congressional record:
Read this report and the last 10 years of geopolitical history will make sense.


This is the above article

Then, in around the year 2001ish they found out Not Much Oil in Caspian Sea. And Jim Baker's Task Force Findings came out, We took out Afghanistan(Originally for the pipeline), then since the Caspian wasn't a Saudi Arabia, they went for the next biggest(Easiest they thought) reserve of Oil.


I am meeting with representatives of our local Municipal Council next week to discuss the idea of a peak oil vulnerability analysis and later in the month I hope there will be another planning meeting with a state government organisation on the same topic. At each of these meetings the people in the room will probably cover the whole range from ignorant to informed on PO issues. The Municipal Council meeting has been organised by one person who knows what is going on, but others in the room might have to be convinced. The later meeting will be a greater challenge with much less acceptance of PO and considerable resistance possible. I have a couple of prepared PO presentations that I have used on different occasions but it seems to me that we are entering a new phase in overall PO awareness, with a number of PO pronouncements from people of influence and importance. I am thinking of the CEOs of Shell, GM and Talisman Energy.(? Others.)

Rather than go through the PO whole argument once more from the ground up, which takes me about 30 minutes, it seems to me that a lot of time could be saved and impact added if the presentation started off a few basic facts and charts, then followed up with with several such authoritative statements and went on to 'Take it as read' that PO is both real and imminent. This would allow for a lot more time getting down to the actual nuts and bolts of the plan. I suppose it is vulnerable to challenge by 'authoritative' statements by Yergin etal and while these can be easily shot down, the whole thing could be derailed into a 'He said/She said' scenario. The presentations will have to be individually tailored and are both still 'a work in progress'. What do felow TODDERs think of this strategy and which recent pronouncements do you think carry the most weight?

How about making a list of places where "the debate is over"?
1. Mexico
2. North Sea
3. USA lower 48

This Little Piggy Shortage

A new breed of criminal has emerged in China: "pigjackers." Soaring pork prices in the People's Republic have sent thieves roaring off with truckloads of hogs—and sometimes with smaller hauls, as was the case with the gang that was busted last year in Shenzhen trying to make off with 275 pounds of pork on a motorbike. A local newspaper valued the meat at upwards of $420, or roughly three times what a stolen motorbike might fetch in the city. Police easily caught the getaway bike; it couldn't handle all that weight.

The porcine crime wave is no joke to China's leaders. They see it as a sign of a much larger problem: even more than they worry about a repetition of Tiananmen Square, they dread the kind of mass unrest that could erupt out of a spike in pork prices.

peak pork?

peak pork pilferage?

to be followed by Peak Pork Pilferage Prosecutions

Isn't it possible, if the USA enters recession this year, that is will never end?

Thats the downside after the peak/plateau.

The rate of decline is either a recession (gradual slope)or a deprecession if it is steep

The Time & Pressure of geology formed oil over 10's of millions of years, and the Time & Pressure of current higher energy costs will erode our global economy bit by bit, as we can see from this impressive list of negative recent worldwide energy news, and unchanged, will over time cause the economy to grind to a standstill.

OPEC supplies 40% of the world's oil. With recent skyrocketing oil prices, a worldwide recession has initiated (US housing crunch only exacerbates situation but is not cause), and OPEC's apparent intention to reduce production in response to a reduction in the price of a barrel of oil, is cause for great concern. If OPEC is spoiled by 90 plus bucks per barrel of oil, and continues to regulate exportation based on the need for that much per barrel, then Time & Pressure will continue to degrade the economy and even less oil will be used. The result will be an ever decreasing supply at an artificially established price.

I state artificially, because the price of oil should take into account the price point needed for a healthy world economy. If a recession is taking hold, it's because the price is too high, not because the supply is too great, which seems to be OPEC's interpretation. If they maintain that position of demanding 90 bucks plus a barrel, the world economy will tank, guaranteed.

And with this prospect one must wonder if this is a form of terrorism. Afterall it's rogue Nigeria and terrorist state Iran that are calling for reduced ouput. Does this situation fall into the guise of a legal form of terrorism? Is the World economy being held hostage by power hungry suppliers? If there is nothing we can do to control their output, then aren't we subject to their rule? Doesn't that make them Kings and us pawns?

Cs: They consider the relentless devaluation of the greenback to be your homegrown style of terrorism practiced against them.

If there is nothing we can do to control their output, then aren't we subject to their rule? Doesn't that make them Kings and us pawns?

It's not as if they didn't give a good 35 years' warning.

With recent skyrocketing oil prices, a worldwide recession has initiated

Don't confuse the problems in the US and UK with the world.

World GDP growth was 5.2% in 2007, which is one of the fastest rates ever, and China's 11.2% rate at the end of 2007 was still blisteringly high.

The US may be in a recession, but the US isn't the world.

The first gulf war was caused totally by oil—it was Saddam Hussein's insistence that he own certain oilfields that led to his invasion of Kuwait and our ouster of his forces there.

Seems a bit light. As I 'memer - slant drilling from Kuwait into Iraq was an issue.

Something like this maybe. The Classic Sucker Punch ....

....Kuwait was "slant drilling" in order to exploit Iraq's Rumaila oilfield, while President Bush's National Security Advisor, Brent Scowcroft, owned the company which sold the special drilling equipment to the Emir of Kuwait? Furthermore, in addition to Iraq's troubles, Kuwait began demanding repayment of loans from the war-torn country....

Eight days before Iraq invaded Kuwait, on July 25, 1990, U.S. Ambassador April Glaspie met with Saddam Hussein speaking with direct instruction from President Bush to "improve our relations with Iraq." Glaspie expressed the U.S.'s "considerable sympathy" for Iraq's situation at that time, and personal admiration for Hussein's "efforts to rebuild [his] country." Saddam explained to Glaspie that if a solution for the Kuwait dispute could not be found, "then it will be natural that Iraq will not accept death" -- a reference to Iraq's fate if its abilities to export oil (necessary for rebuilding the war-torn economy) were not improved; abilities highly dependent upon access to the Persian Gulf. After Saddam further explained what he thought might be acceptable solutions, he asked Glaspie, "What is the United States' opinion on this?" Glaspie replied,

We have no opinion on your Arab-Arab conflicts, such as your dispute with Kuwait. Secretary [of State James] Baker has directed me to emphasize the instruction, first given to Iraq in the 1960's that the Kuwait issue is not associated with America.

Then, two days before the invasion, on July 31, Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs John Kelly testified to Congress that the "United States has no commitment to defend Kuwait and the U.S. has no intention of defending Kuwait if it is attacked by Iraq." Later, when journalists confronted Glaspie about the transcript from her meeting with Saddam, the question was asked, "You encouraged this aggression—his invasion. What were you thinking?" Glaspie responded, "Obviously, I didn't think, and nobody else did, that the Iraqis were going to take all of Kuwait." [15]

Google 'Scrowcroft Iraq kuwait war slant drilling apache'
and things like that.

If we can do that, doncha think MSM reporters could have done that???