DrumBeat: April 3, 2008

ConocoPhillips sees refining margins squeezed in first quarter

HOUSTON — ConocoPhillips warned Thursday that higher crude prices significantly squeezed refining margins in the first quarter.

The company said domestic refining and marketing margins for the quarter are expected to be significantly lower than they were at the end of last year because of higher crude prices and lower margins for products such as fuel oil, natural gas liquids and petroleum coke.

"The prices for these products did not increase in proportion to the cost of the feedstocks used to produce them," the company said in a release Thursday.

Gas prices rise to new national record

NEW YORK - Gasoline prices extended their record run at the pump Thursday, but took a breather in futures trading as investors collected profits from the previous session's huge advance.

...At the pump, the national average price of a gallon of gas rose 0.2 cent overnight to $3.289 a gallon, according to AAA and the Oil Price Information Service. That's the latest in a string of records set as gas prices have followed surging oil futures higher.

Australian Oil, Gas Exploration Spending Jumped 70%

(Bloomberg) -- Australian spending on offshore oil and gas exploration jumped 70 percent last year to a record because of spiraling costs and equipment shortages, the national petroleum industry lobby group said.

`Oil prices won`t fall below $100 a barrel`

I have strong reasons to believe that prices are not likely to come down below $100 per barrel. The ever-growing demand for crude oil, constrained supply from existing assets and inadequate replenishment from new assets are the major reasons. At the same time, resource owners globally have started tightening control over existing and prospective resources, thereby constraining free access to these resources. The end result is that oil majors having the required technology and know-how are losing access to reserves.

Black Swans, White Knuckles

In the deeper background of all this is the all-important oil story that nobody in politics or the media wants to pay attention to. Notice that in the fervid unloading of assets this past week, as investors dumped their positions in the commodities markets, the price of oil remained stubbornly above $100-a-barrel.

Peak oil is for real. The supply can't keep up with global demand, even if the U.S. portion of global demand dips a bit. And more portentous sub-plots develop in the story every month. Export rates are falling at a steeper rate than depletion rates. In other words, the countries with all the oil aren't exporting as much of it. The exporting nations are not only buying more cars and running more air-conditioners, they also need to use more energy to lift the oil they've got out of the ground.

Resource-hungry India seeks to increase its economic ties with Africa

KAMPALA, Uganda: From scouting for diamonds in the deserts of Botswana to signing oil deals with Sudan and sending peacekeepers to volatile Congo, India is busy trying to match China's ever-growing clout in mineral-rich Africa and secure energy resources for its booming economy.

Ecuador says close to securing new oil deals

QUITO (Reuters) - Ecuador hopes to sign the first batch of agreements with foreign oil firms to increase state participation in contracts by next week, Oil Minister Galo Chiriboga said on Thursday.

Chevron could lose billions over Ecuador suit

A court-appointed expert in Ecuador has recommended that Chevron Corp. pay $7 billion to $16 billion if it loses a marathon lawsuit over oil-field contamination in the Amazon rain forest.

The estimate, contained in a report filed Tuesday in an Ecuadoran court, marks the latest twist in a bitterly fought case that has drawn international attention, with each side accusing the other of deception and dirty tricks.

The Beginning Of The End For Coal

With concerns about climate change mounting, the era of coal-fired electricity generation in the United States may be coming to a close. In early 2007, a U.S. Department of Energy report listed 151 coal-fired power plants in the planning stages in the United States. But during 2007, 59 proposed plants were either refused licenses by state governments or quietly abandoned. In addition, close to 50 coal plants are being contested in the courts, and the remaining plants will likely be challenged when they reach the permitting stage.

Dan Walters Needs Our Help on High Speed Rail in California

Walters assumes that present conditions will last for some time to come. But nowhere in his column are the words peak oil mentioned. Nor does he discuss soaring gas prices. Both will make it difficult and unattractive to continue flying between the two halves of our state, causing either supply disruption or fare increases beyond the ability of most Californians to pay. Walters may not believe in peak oil, even though it is a fact. But the constant rise in oil prices is going to have to eliminate cheap fares sooner or later.

Life without transport by oil is closer than we think

Minivans, global air travel and the transport of goods by diesel truck soon will become the stuff of yesterday as the world adapts to depleting oil reserves.

The planet, posits a new book by two Canadian academics, is on the cusp of a revolution in transportation that will steer people away from petroleum-fuelled vehicles and into ones that are either battery-powered or connected to electrical grids.

Transport Revolutions: Moving People and Freight without Oil, by Richard Gilbert and Anthony Perl, is one of the most thought-provoking books to cross my desk in a long while.

Rosneft's proven oil reserves up 8% in 2007

MOSCOW (RIA Novosti) - Russian state-controlled crude producer Rosneft said on Thursday its SEC-standard proven reserves grew 8% year-on-year in 2007 to 21.699 billion barrels of oil equivalent.

ConocoPhillips Q1 production down 2 pct

NEW YORK (Reuters) - ConocoPhillips said on Thursday its first-quarter oil and natural gas production would be down more than 2 percent from fourth quarter levels, hurt by an unplanned shutdown of a natural gas processing plant.

TNK-BP shrugs off 'one-off' raid

Russian producer TNK-BP, half-owned by BP, said today it considered recent raids by security services officers and the arrest of an employee as one-off incidents, not a broad attack on the company.

Husky's White Rose Oil Field Shut for Third Day on Heavy Ice

(Bloomberg) -- Husky Energy Inc., the Canadian oil company controlled by Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing, kept its White Rose field off Newfoundland and Labrador shut for a third day because of heavy ice in the area.

BP makes Gulf of Mexico discovery

NEW YORK (Reuters) - BP Plc on Thursday said it made an oil discovery at its Kodiak prospect in the deepwater Gulf Of Mexico, near the company's Tubular Bells discovery.

BP said it drilled a well about 60 miles southeast of the Louisiana Coast, in about 5,000 feet of water. The Kodiak well was drilled to a total depth of about 31,150 feet and encountered about 500 net feet of hydrocarbon-bearing sands.

Syria signs oil refinery deal with China

DAMASCUS (Thomson Financial) - China has signed a deal with Syria to build an oil refinery in the Arab country as part of plans to bolster cooperation in the oil and gas industry, the official SANA news agency reported on Thursday.

The refinery will have a daily refining capacity of 100,000 barrels of crude oil and is due to be completed by 2011, the agency said, adding that it will be built in the Abu Khashab region of the eastern oil hub of Deir Ezzor.

TransAlta strikes deal for large CO2 facility

CALGARY — — TransAlta Corp., facing rising unease over greenhouse-gas emissions from the coal-fired plants which provide most of its electricity generation, has announced a deal with Alstom to develop a large carbon dioxide capture and storage facility in Alberta.

The project — depending on taxpayer help — is to use the European engineering and equipment giant's proprietary chilled ammonia process, “one of the more promising and potentially lowest-cost solutions,” the companies said Thursday.

Paulson calls for green cooperation with China

BEIJING (AP) -- Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson called Thursday for closer U.S.-Chinese cooperation on energy conservation and for Beijing to cut import duties on environmental technology.

Speaking at a government think tank in the midst of a trip to discuss trade and other contentious issues, Paulson lauded China's recent steps to tighten environmental rules and said it could become a leader in deploying advanced technology for conservation.

UK: Town Gears Up For Time When Oil Has Had Its Day

We are just getting used to climate change and trying to do our bit to reduce, reuse and recycle, when it seems there's another concept to take on board, namely peak oil. Peak oil is the point in time when the maximum rate of oil production is reached, globally.

After that, the rate of production starts to decline, some say terminally.

Greer: Net energy and Jevons' Paradox

As last week’s Archdruid Report post suggested, a difficult paradox lies in wait for attempts to bail industrial society out of its peak oil predicament by bringing new energy sources online. To build the infrastructure to produce a new energy source in meaningful quantities, a great deal of energy will be needed. If the new source can’t be shipped via existing distribution networks, or used in existing end-use technology, more energy will have to be invested to provide these as well.

Until much of the new infrastructure is in place, though, the energy needed to develop it will have to come from existing sources. This is where the jaws of the trap open wide, because in a world already on the far side of Hubbert’s peak, existing energy resources are fully committed. Thus the immediate effect of launching a project to make energy more available will be to make energy less available, driving up prices even faster than they would rise under the pressure of resource depletion.

It's not a Recession or even a Depression that is coming, it is a Stagflationary Abyssal

When you have negative pressures from several of the key components, they reinforce each other and work together to drive the economy down. When it is all of them, the combined downward pressure on the economy has got to be immense. We don't know for sure how bad it is going to get because nothing like this has ever happened before. The only things that are better right now versus any other downturn is that if you compare our current issues with the 1929-1939 depression, we haven't had a major crash in stock prices and we have better regulations on the banking and financial markets (particularly on margin buying) as well as some governmental banking insurance like the FDIC. But how much ability does the FDIC/Federal government have to bail out the banks if they start failing with the severe deficits the federal government is already running? The economy is going to be at least bad enough so that we need a new name to call it. A recess is a small indentation while a depression is a larger hole, so I think this new worse economic crisis should by called an Abyssal, and since it comes with inflation, it will be a Stagflationary Abyssal.

Putin Promises Better Deal for Foreign Investors

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday promised better conditions for foreign investors, despite the approval earlier in the day of a law limiting business in strategic sectors of the economy.

"We intend to improve the climate for foreign investors, including in administrative regulation and investment laws," Putin said at the start of talks with Italian investors including the heads of energy giants ENI and Enel.

Chevron Rejects Report in Ecuadorian Court for Bias

Chevron Corporation said that it will petition the Superior Court in Lago Agrio to strike from the record a flawed and patently partisan report submitted in the ongoing environmental lawsuit filed by Ecuadorian citizens against Chevron.

"This is a defining moment for the Superior Court of Ecuador," said Ricardo Reis Veiga, managing counsel for Chevron Latin America. "The Court's appointee has knowingly violated the judge's orders and delivered a report that is biased and scientifically indefensible. No legitimate court in the world would permit such a charade. If the Court fails in this respect, it will be absolute proof that this trial has deteriorated beyond any shred of legitimacy."

Can Mexico's Pemex Be More Like Brazil's Petrobras?

Mexico is struggling with a very important question about its future. Does the country want to be Brazil or Venezuela?

On the one hand, you have authoritarian rule and government-controlled natural resources. On the other, you have a liberalization of state control and a booming economy. Hmm. That's a tough decision.

Mexico says Petrobras tie could only follow oil law

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - The head of Mexican state oil monopoly Pemex said on Wednesday a strategic alliance with Brazil's state oil company Petrobras could only be considered once a law is passed to revitalize Mexico's energy industry.

Myanmar gas pipeline leak not affecting Thai power

BANGKOK (TNA) – The Ministry of Energy insisted that leakage in the natural gas pipeline from Myanmar's Yetagun gas field won't be a burden to the Thai public's electric power bills, saying Thailand's energy giant PTT will postpone the shutdown of the Myanmar's gas pipeline and has reserved fuel oil supplies from Malaysia to take up the slack.

Power Crisis Handling Causes Tension in South Africa

The electrical power crisis in South Africa and neighboring countries has sent ripples of unrest between the South African government and other national entities. According to Engineering News, the African National Congress (ANC) and the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) issued a joint statement several days ago deeming Eskom’s request for a 53% tariff boost “not acceptable.”

Malaysia: No petrol price hike in accordance with people’s wish

DATUK Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said last week there would be no increase in the petrol price, since this was the wish of the people. The Prime Minister said his administration had accepted and recognised the strong message of voters as reflected in the result of the 2008 general election.

Maryland: Senate reverses on energy

The Maryland Senate reversed course yesterday on a key piece of Gov. Martin O'Malley's plan for reducing the state's energy consumption, giving it preliminary approval after reaching a compromise that directed more money toward financial help for lower-income families' electric bills.

Oil companies targeted in Obama's Pennsylvania ad campaign

WASHINGTON — Presidential candidate Barack Obama is vowing to take on Big Oil in a new TV ad now playing in the primary battleground state of Pennsylvania.

The Peak Oil Crisis: The Transition

While waiting for the price of gasoline to get so high that we can’t afford to drive anymore, there is still some time to ponder just how the great paradigm shift of the 21st century is going to work out.

What will life be like 40 or 50 years from now? How many of the 6.6 billion of us will still be around? Will lifestyles be an all-electric version of the 20th Century or will inability to recover from rapidly falling supplies of fossil fuels leave us with qualitatively different lifestyles?

Colin J. Campbell: Petroleum Man will be virtually extinct soon

Oil was formed in the geological past under well understood processes. In fact, the bulk of current production comes from just two epochs of extreme global warming, 90 and 150 million years ago, when algae proliferated in the warm sunlit waters, and the organic remains were preserved in the stagnant depths to be converted to oil by chemical reactions.

Natural gas was formed in a similar way save that it was derived from vegetal material. It follows that these are finite natural resources subject to depletion, which in turn means that production in any country or region starts following the initial discovery and ends when the resources are exhausted.

Could oil hit $160 a barrel – next week?

The oil price could hit $160 a barrel as soon as next week.

At least, that’s what ‘Zapata’ George Blake, the Texan oil analyst, reckons.

‘Zapata’ George has a habit of making bold calls that often seem to be proved right. I interviewed him on my radio show last week. He thinks there’s an imminent supply squeeze ahead, which will cause the oil price to spike. Daily consumption is exceeding daily production, he says. There are oil shortages now.

Gold Stocks: Too Much Speculative Risk for My Taste

I've structured my portfolio over the last several years with a healthy complement of natural resource stocks. I purchased leading companies with solid fundamentals in the oil, natural gas, base metals and timber industries. The investment themes surrounding my holdings are: (1) "Peak oil" is here or will be soon; (2) The robust growth of the Chinese and Indian economies will continue for many years; and, (3) Trees, well, they just keep growing. I do not own gold or gold stocks. The price of gold has been hitting new highs so I thought I would take another look.

PetroChina plant adds diesel unit, eyes Saudi oil

BEIJING (Reuters) - PetroChina's Dalian refinery, one of China's largest by capacity, has added a major diesel unit as part of a wider expansion programme, and expects to process its first Saudi crude oil in September, industry officials said.

Ventura not quite all aboard: Public transportation on the table

Two key factors are generating discussion about mass transit and making it a more socially acceptable trend, he said. First, the next generation is adopting a more urban lifestyle that is more conducive to public transportation, and second, “mega trends” and “big picture issues” such as global warming and the implications of peak oil have recently become topics that are being taken more seriously.

“We are using a fossil fuel to fuel our economy, and that fuel does have a danger of running out,” Hales said. “There is now a national understanding that we are running out of the fuel that powers our system.”

Australia: Right track but wrong assumptions

THE Eddington report contains the right approach to reducing greenhouse emissions from transport, but the assumptions it makes deserve to be challenged.

They are, in some cases, far too timid, in other cases over-optimistic and, in general, heavily biased towards business as usual. Eddington's approach, which is correct, is to propose a bundle of changes that could lead to a reduction in emissions from transport.

These changes are: reducing travel demand, boosting public transport share, improving vehicle technologies, and increasing vehicle occupancy.

With gas costly, drivers finally cut back

New York - For the first time since 1980, when long lines sprouted at gasoline stations, Americans are beginning to cut down on their driving.

The slight decline in total miles driven – apparent first in December – may indicate that the twin forces of high gasoline prices and a struggling economy are starting to affect the US lifestyle. Surveys find that Americans now consider gasoline prices a "financial hardship."

If Americans are still balking at prices at the pump by Memorial Day, the effect on the economy may be wider – ranging from how people take vacations to how many trips to the mall they make.

Arabs without oil hard hit by food price spiral

BEIRUT (Reuters) - While Gulf Arab oil producers reap windfall earnings, their poorer cousins elsewhere in the Arab world are struggling with soaring energy and food bills.

Inflation has surged in Gulf countries, fuelled partly by lavish spending of record oil and gas revenues. This is also spurring demand for everything from housing to power and water.

Gulf states with currencies pegged to the dollar have also been hit by the global weakness of the U.S. currency, which is driving inflation by making some imports more expensive.

But wrestling with rising prices is a grimmer business in Arab capitals not cushioned by oil wealth. From Cairo in Egypt to Sanaa in Yemen, mostly authoritarian governments have to weigh the fiscal costs of subsidising fuel and food against the explosive political risks of social discontent.

Record oil prices spark Venezuela "windfall" tax

CARACAS (Reuters) - Venezuela is preparing a "windfall" oil tax to boost the OPEC nation's revenues from record crude prices, only months after leftist President Hugo Chavez's nationalization crusade forced out two of the world's largest energy companies.

The move extends Chavez's broad campaign to boost state control over oil operations that led to legal battles with Exxon Mobil (XOM.N) and ConocoPhillips (COP.N) and helped spark a wave of resource nationalism throughout the Andes.

The Silent Side of Oil

Oil has always been a big story for obvious economic, environmental, political, and technological reasons. For decades, Americans have read about tanker spills, rising oil prices, shortages at the pumps, and delicate trade relations. More recently, the press has swarmed the story of prices topping $100 a barrel and OPEC’s refusal of President Bush’s request to increase production. But throughout the history of oil reporting, there has been one major aspect that the press has remained largely silent on: peak oil.

The Philippines: What is peak oil?

That exotic phrase – peak oil – was completely new to me until I heard it from historian Dr. Floro Quibuyen, a renowned Rizalist.

He explained that peak oil is the year in which oil production reaches its maximum and in which half the oil in the world will have been burned; henceforth, there will be a continuous decrease in oil production.

However, Dr. Quibuyen clarified that peak oil does not mean "running out of oil, but rather a steadily decreasing supply, increasing costs and causing major changes in the way we live." He warned that without timely mitigation, the economic, social, and political costs of the peak oil phenomenon will be unprecedented.

Seeking a more stable oil market

Volatility in oil prices has been persistent in the last few years, but the trend has pointed upwards. The reasons have included healthy economic growth and demand, especially in China and India, in addition to limited spare capacity, increased speculation, weak dollar, limitations of the global refining industry and the fear factor created by the geostrategic situation around the world. There are also the trouble spots engulfing some of the producing countries as exemplified by the invasion and occupation of Iraq.

Electric Vehicles, Diesel Cars, Peak Oil, Tesla and the Oil Companies.

I'm shopping for a new car at the moment. Two years ago I made a promise to myself that I'd not buy a gasoline car ever again. If I ever do it'll be a collective item and not my primary car.

Back in 2006 when I understood the energy crisis that humanity is going to face (and many will argue we are already facing it - I'm referring to Peak Oil) I already knew that EV technology was far superior to the conventional cars that use the greatly obsolete Internal Combustion Engine. So I started promoting EVs, and researching the market and EV technology.

Peak Oil May Worsen the Climate Crisis

It's hard to know whether we should be more worried that consuming oil is killing the planet or that there's way too little of this killer oil left.

Peak Oil 101: The road could be very much downhill for current cars

If Peak Oil pundits are right, it spells the end forever of cheap fuel for internal combustion engine cars. Here's the perspective in one simple and quick read.

Dell Powers Headquarters With Green Energy

Dell is now powering 100 percent of its 2.1 million square-foot global headquarters campus with 100 percent green power, the latest step in meeting the company’s 2008 carbon neutral commitment.

Dell is using all of the power generated from Waste Management’s Austin Community Landfill gas-to-energy plant, meeting 40 percent of Dell headquarters’ campus power needs. The remaining 60 percent comes from existing wind farms and is provided by TXU Energy.

Obama would find Cabinet post for Gore

WALLINGFORD, Pa. - Sen. Barack Obama said Wednesday he would give Al Gore, a Nobel prize winner, a major role in an Obama administration to address the problem of global warming.

Extreme weather starving Uganda's pastoralists

LOKUPOI, Uganda (AFP) - John Lochaon does not just survive on less than one dollar a day. He has streched out 15 dollars for nine months in a part of Uganda that climate change is plunging into famine.

...Drought forces the one million-plus people in this northeastern region bordering Kenya and Sudan to constantly move around searching for food.

African activists urge 1% GDP to fight global warming

BANGKOK, April 3, 2008 (AFP) - African activists, saying the continent is getting a "raw deal" in climate talks, called Thursday for major polluters to commit one percent of GDP to fight the ravages of global warming.

The bloody Darfur conflict has been termed the world's first war triggered by climate change but campaigners here said few of the internationally funded projects to curb gas emissions have gone to Africa.

World grapples with aviation's climate change footprint

BANGKOK (AFP) - Air travel is booming as the world's population grows and fares fall, but its impact on Earth's sensitive climate must be taken into account in any new global warming pact, green groups say.

More than 900 delegates flew into Bangkok this week for a UN-led meeting on global warming, spewing about 4,181 tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, an official from the United Nations climate body estimated.

Food & energy boys and girls. . . food & energy

The first paragraph of this article is priceless--basically a perfect description of the Export Land Model (ELM), except that it applies to food: FELM.

IMO, we are headed at hyperspeed to an emerging bilateral trade system where food exporters trade with energy exporters. Not a good time to be both a net food importer and a net energy importer, or for that matter, a net food consumer and a net energy consumer. Have I mentioned ELP in the last 30 minutes?

Rice Jumps to Record, Corn Near High as Demand Outpaces Supply
2008-04-03 07:31 (New York)
By Glenys Sim

April 3 (Bloomberg) -- Rice climbed to a record and corn traded near its highest ever on speculation the 3 percent annual increase in global demand for cereals will outstrip supply as governments curb exports to prevent protests.

You beat me on that one ;-). Note the 33 countries in danger of unrest and the potential problems of midwest flooding delaying planting - what happens if we have another flood year, like 1993?


If you have a link, you might post it. I don't get links from my Wall Street source. BTW, I don't know if you saw the following article about a CSA operation just outside Dallas:


Also, I quoted you at a Casey Research symposium. I described the Brother In Law On the Couch (BOC) Syndrome, as potentially "The most serious problem we face." I described BOC as an excellent reason to own a small organic garden/farm. You can put the in-laws and unemployed college graduates to work on the farm when they move in with you.

Here you go, found the article on http://news.google.com , entering "rice jumps" in the search field

The article cites a 3% annual increase in grain demand, and an expected 3.5% decrease in rice exports. Why does this scenario seem so familiar?

Actually both observations come from the article you posted that I was going to - they are quoted in your link ;-).

I'm currently writing an article about the Land Export Food Model, so the quoting will be mutual ;-).


- what happens if we have another flood year, like 1993?

The way the Corp of Engineers has mismanaged the Mississippi floodplain the past century, massive floods are inevitable. Mark Twain himself warned about how stupid it is to try to "control" the mighty Mississip. What needs to be done is to rip the levees out & let the big ole river act like a river's supposed to. Farm the flood plain but don't live there. If people are stupid enuf to "develop" the floodplain, they shouldn't expect any taxpayer funded bailout when the river whacks them for their stupidity. Furthermore, the same mismanagement that has ruined the Mississippi floodplain has also ruined the delta buffer zone that once protected NOLA from hurricanes. Anyone dumb enuf to live in NOLA following Katrina deserves what they get when a cat 5 or 6 makes a direct hit one of these years.

The point is that if that section of the country faces flooding and therefore and inability to produce substantial amounts of crops, everyone in the US suffers, and therefore everyone in the world suffers (as food supply drops and therefore food prices skyrocket). It's not a case of "Us vs. Them," or "thats what you get for living there," its a case of, "we all need that area to grow our food."

The point is that if that section of the country faces flooding and therefore and inability to produce substantial amounts of crops, everyone... suffers

Allowing the river to periodically inundate its floodplain would renew the fertility of the alluvial soils. This would increase agricultural productivity in the North American Midwest, while reducing the amount of artificial fertilizer required. It would also allow the Mississippi to renew its delta, protecting the Gulf coastal plain from storm surges during hurricanes. Channelizing the Mississip only allows the precious topsoil that erodes due to agroindustrial stupidity to reach deep water. Eroded topsoil should be redeposited over the floodplain and in the delta, where it would do some good.

Oh don't get me wrong, restoring the natural flooding cycle of the floodplain would be hugely beneficial to long term crop production from the area.

What the thread has been referring to is a summer where flooding ruins crop production for that year and how devastating that would be to our food supplies. It only takes 1 winter for people without food to starve.

Okay, gotcha. But even in '93 farmers managed to grow a crop on the floodplain. Taking out the levees & allowing snowmelt to renew the floodplain might preclude winter wheat and delay working the fields some years, but it wouldn't eliminate an entire growing season's crop. The occasional short-term detriment to agriculture would be enormously offset by the long-term benefit.

Your ignorance of hydrology, economics, culture, public law and value is astounding !

For he knew the price of everything and the value of nothing


A rise in food prices is a good thing because it will curb the obesity epidemic. We should use more corn and sugar for ethanol so food prices rise and people eat less.

Poor people are more prone to obesity than well-off people. Obesity has very little to do with how much you eat and very much to do with what you eat. Rising food prices effectively makes people poorer, which is far more likely to lead to an increase in obesity than a decrease, except of course for those who actually starve.

Obesity has very little to do with how much you eat and very much to do with what you eat.

This is not exactly true. While it is true that the poor who eat a lot of cheap fatty foods have a tendency to be obese it is absolutely not true that obesity has little to do with how much you eat. The more fatty foods you eat the more obese you become and vise versa. And you don't necessarily need to be starving not to be obese. Just burning slightly more calories every day than you consume will make you skinny. I grew up in poor rural Alabama. I knew a few really poor people who were obese but far, far more who were not obese. And our diet consisted mostly of cornbread, beans and taters with a little meat on Sunday.

Ron Patterson

The more fatty foods you eat the more obese you become and vise versa.

This is simply untrue. Go ask the Inuit or the Masai who eat native diets. Or ask the Pima Indians once they went off a natural diet and started to eat the white man's food.

It is refined carbohydrates, especially sugar, that causes obesity.

Obesity is a disease of civilization. What is unique to civilized diets is refined carbohydrates, especially with excessive amounts of sugar. Many populations eat extraordinarily high concentrations of fat in their diet (the Inuit and Masai, for example), and obesity is virutally unknown among, until they change their diet to eat the food brought by "civilized" people.

People have been peddling the "fat makes you obese" snake oil for decades, and all it has done is to make Americans eat more carbohydrates and get fatter and fatter.

It is refined carbohydrates, especially sugar, that causes obesity.

Doubly untrue! Obesity is caused by consuming more calories than you burn. Yes, it is that simple. Your body burns carbohydrates. They are oxidized in your blood and expelled via the lungs. You breath in oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide and water vapor. Some of the water is expelled via the kidneys. The carbon in carbohydrates becomes carbon dioxide and the hydrogen in carbohydrates becomes water.

When you consume more calories than you burn your body stores them in the form of fat for later use. It doesn't matter whether those calories comes from Granola bars or seal blubber you will still get fat. A calorie is a unit of energy and must either be burned or stored. (Sometimes calories are excreted without either being burned of stored but that is another story.)

The so called "fat gene" that a lot of people have is a Darwinian adaptation. They are able to store fat in times of plenty and burn them in leaner times. But when most all times are times of plenty, they simply get obese. This is why many Native Americans, especially those that lived in the desert climes of the Southwest, have a strong tendency to become obese. They had a lot of very lean times in their past and only those who were able to store a lot of fat were the only ones who survived.

(Actually there is no such thing as a fat gene, it is a combination of several genes, but that is a thread for another day.)

Ron Patterson

In his book 'Good Calories, Bad Calories' Gary Taubes thoroughly refutes virtually every claim you make here. He does a comprehensive review and analysis of nutritional research since the late 19th century and finds that the current conventional wisdom of what constitutes a healthy diet is simply wrong. Also wrong are our notions about obesity and what causes it (for example, puncturing the 'thrifty gene' hypothesis).

Read the book. Learn something.

At a certain basic level, the "calories are calories, input>output = weight gain" argument is certainly true. However, it appears to be quite likely that something more complex than that is going on.

What causes people to eat what they do? What causes them to feel full and quit eating - or to keep on eating when they should have already eaten enough to feel full? What causes people to favor and eat more of some types of foods than others. Do some foods cause people to feel more energetic and to become more active, while others cause people to feel and act lethargic? Does the body metabolize all Kcals equally fast, or do the Kcals from some types of foods get metabolized faster than others? Does the combination of foods eaten make a difference?

These are all interesting questions, and I'm not at all sure that we've got the final answers for them yet. However, I suspect that they do touch upon what is really going on with the food consumption & weight gain issue.

It is refined carbohydrates, especially sugar, that causes obesity.

Get real:

Carbs: 4 Kcal g^-1
Proteins: 4 Kcal g^-1
Ethanol: 7 Kcal g^-1
Lipids: 9 Kcal g^-1

You didn't buy into that Atkins nonsense, did you? He's dead you know.

He's probably right, see my comments below.

And by the way, Atkins died of a head injury, completely unrelated to his dietary habits.

Phineas Gage, MD

9 > 4 QED

And dead is dead.

It's looking more and more like Atkins was right. I'm with ET. Read Good Calories, Bad Calories. It's an amazing book.

I call the ideal diet "meat and leaves" which these days means you have to be either quite wealthy, or living so far out in the boonies/bush/bayou that you're gathering and catching your own food.

The "Paleolithic" diet is a good example, except a lot of Paleo enthusiasts go overboard and think it means all-raw and extremes like that.

9 is greater than 4. but when you eat 4 it stimulates your appetite and you eat even more. when you eat the 9 you feel sated and will in the end eat less. I you are so certain, how about citing some scientific studies to back up your position as I have done below. I can provide references to hundreds of other research articles from medical journals, dietetician journals and basic science journals.

Phineas Gage, MD

A small amount of fat will satisfy your hunger, so eating fat may actually make you consume fewer calories. Eating carbohydrates, especially sugar, generates a surge in insulin production, which then lowers your blood sugar and makes you hungry again. So eating sweets can actually result in "binge eating", in an effort to get your blood sugar back up and keep it there. (Low blood sugar produces hunger).

I grew up in poor rural Alabama. I knew a few really poor people who were obese but far, far more who were not obese.

Ron, when I was recently in India, I certainly didn't see too many fat people - and saw a heck of a lot of people. Many of them were bone-thin.

That's the difference between first-world poor and third-world poor. If the people you saw were averaging $1 a day in current $, then they were making the equivalent of about a dime per day in Depression $. That just wasn't enough to survive back then. To help nail down the difference, can anyone recall what the original national minimum wage was?

Sorry, my math was off; it was 5 cents per day in Depression $.

I grew up when and where there was a mix of first-world poor and third-world, or Depression, type poor. We were the 2nd type. But we had neighbors and friends who were poor but not nearly as poor as us, still considered poor though, who could afford enough food to get quite fat.

In general though in the 1970s there were just not as many fat people as now, and a degree of thinness I considered "normal" in myself, looking at old photos now, looks medically malnourished.

The more fatty foods you eat the more obese you become and vise versa.

Hi Ron. I see a lot of new research suggesting processed carbohydrates may be the biggest culprit in the poor/obese problem...in the US. I don't see many fat poor people we I travel abroad.

My battle is with local cuisine.

Last night lightly fried calamari (best calamari I have ever had !) followed by roast ducks in plum sauce and pumpkin seeds :-)

Superb !

Best Hopes for BMI < 27


I did walk 7 blocks to restaurant, friend took streetcar.

Thank You! Why do discussions of obesity always devolve into a shouting match over eating, with no one discussing the lack of exercise? I have no reason to believe that food prices are going to reduce obesity problems, but if people have to get off their butts and walk/bike again for all or part of their transportation, I predict obesity problems will go away.

Taubes found there wasn't much evidence that exercise helped with obesity. There may be other good reasons to exercise, of course.

Such as the beauty of the walk. I went up on Prytania and came back on St. Charles.

The last of the azalea blooms are left, but others are flowering.

Best Hopes for Daily Beauty in One's Life,


More Photos at


Of course, Taubes is a very good journalist - not a researcher, so "found" may not be the best word to use. His "favorite" study, as he indicates in the New York Magazine article he wrote based on his book, found that at least for non-athletic men being trained for running a marathon, the men did indeed lose body fat, though there was no body composition change for the women. I assume that study didn't look at overweight people, or he would have indicated that.

I'll have to read his book at some point to see if he makes more of a case there. Between this article and his article in Science, he seems to conclude that the problem is carbohydrates.

I think "found" is a pretty good word to use. He may not have done the research, but he looked at it with fresh eyes, and saw things that would be obvious to anyone - if not for "confirmation bias."

The example he starts the book with is of William Banting, who did try exercise to lose weight, but found that his appetite increased to make up for the calories expended.

And you see professional athletes struggling with their weight all the time. You'd think if exercise was the solution, a pro athlete wouldn't have to worry about weight.

What about the Danish study that he points out and that I mentioned above?

Many professional athletes are required as part of their sport to maintain unusually low body fat for performance reasons. Professional cyclists maintain low body fat levels because body fat is extra weight that slows you down with no benefit. Same for swimmers and runners. In sports where body fat is not an issue, like sumo wrestling, they don't worry about it.


UCSD study cites lack of vigorous exercise as primary factor in adolescent obesity

Lack of vigorous physical activity is the main contributor to obesity in adolescents ages 11 to 15, according to a study of 878 adolescents by researchers at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) School of Medicine, in collaboration with investigators at San Diego State University.

One of the largest studies ever to look at the multiple factors of diet, physical activity and sedentary behavior on obesity in adolescents, the report was published in the April 2004 issue of the American Medical Association's Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine.

at Eurekalert.org.

Are you sure Taubes hasn't cherry-picked a little to make his case?

Actually, the main argument Taubes makes is that we just don't know. His interest is not in nutrition per se, but in science, and how it goes wrong. When it comes to human health, it's very difficult to do the kind of scientific studies needed to tease apart correlation and causation. Studies are often contradictory, and even scientists who should know better end up just ignoring the ones that don't support the results they expect to get.

For example, in the study you quote...isn't it possible that cause and effect are reversed? Maybe overweight children are more likely to be sedentary, rather than lack of exercise causing them to be overweight.

Similarly, studies have shown that people who have lost a lot of weight are more likely to keep it off if they exercise...but it's possible that exercising regularly is linked with more dedication to maintaining the weight loss, rather than being beneficial in and of itself.

""Actually, the main argument Taubes makes is that we just don't know.""

Actually, we do know, but don't want to.

Take hominids that evolved to live on whatever it scrounged from an African savanna, let it live with an uncertain food supply and many other dangers, allow it to breed freely to ensure that its poplation reaches carrying capacity quickly, as geologic time goes. Then, due to its 'intelligence,' it will eventually figure out a way to store information outside of its brain. Hominid-developed cultures can grow at exponential rates.

Some of these cultures allow members of a hominid species to eat whatever they want, whenever they want. Genetically controlled desires plus nutritional ignorance is a guarantee that 'bad' choices will be made. Throw in a sound and light box that entertains so well that the average TV viewer is burning as many calories awake or asleep for hours each day (Sitting and doing nothing burns more calories). Add a concentrated energy source or two that is easily harvested, so machines can do most of the work.

That is one massive gorilla to overlook.

I don't think it's as simple as that.

Obesity among Americans exploded in the '80s...right about when eating less fat and more carbs became conventional wisdom. There was no corresponding drop in activity levels. TV had been invented decades before. While there were some bells and whistles added - Atari, cable, more use of remote controls - it wasn't nearly of the magnitude to explain the increase in obesity. Activity levels had been dropping slowly for decades, and continued to do so at a gradual rate. Obesity increased far out of proportion to that drop.

Say, the Hawaii library system has the Taubes book.... and I was able to order it with a few clicks to be shipped to my branch and held for me at no cost. One of the real guilty pleasures of this complex society. Oahu may soon be reduced to cannibalism (good calories?), but the online book-reserving system is darn good still.

I've come to have a high regard for your BS-detecting ability across multiple disciplines, L. Thanks for the book review.

Yes, the book has been out long enough that it should be readily available through libraries.

It really is thought-provoking. I was frankly astonished to find out how little real evidence there is for the current dietary recommendations.

And it seems that every day, there's more evidence that Taubes is right: there's something we're not getting about diet, fat, and heart disease. For example, this recent study that showed two popular cholesterol-lowering drubs, Vytorin and Zetia, don't work. They lowered the three risk factors they were supposed to: LDL, triglycerides and inflammation. But they did not improve heart disease. That says to me that there's something fundamental that we're missing.

Taubes points out that the evidence for lowering cholesterol is very poor. Studies have shown that it doesn't help when it comes to heart disease, and it seems to actually increase your risk of cancer. Statins do seem to be beneficial, but it's looking more and more like it's for other reasons than cholesterol.

Hi Alan,

The menu sounds great, particularly the duck in plum sauce.

About BMI, I found myself hitting 24 and thinking "No way", so in five weeks came down to under 22.5 and staying there.

As Leanan mentions down thread, it certainly feels like eating less is good for you.

We will probably all come down in the years to come, but the feeling of lean lightness is worth the effort now.

Any takers ?


Roast ducks in plum sauce and pumpkin seeds!

You're killin' me Alan!

Hi Ron. I see a lot of new research suggesting processed carbohydrates may be the biggest culprit in the poor/obese problem.

Bryant, of course you are correct. I should have said "The more food you eat the more obese you become and vise versa." It is total caloric intake that makes the difference, and whether you burn those calories of store them. It doesn't matter whether the calories are from fat or lean.

Ron Patterson

It's definitely true that a strict accounting of calories consumed versus calories burned will fully explain obesity. However, what types of food people consume does seem to have a powerful indirect effect by influencing metabolism and appetite. I think most of us have noticed that if we eat 500 calories of pop-tarts at 7 a.m., we feel starving again by 10 a.m., whereas if we consume 500 calories of bacon and eggs we don't feel hungry again for much longer. The reason for this is an active area of research. The Adkins diet people contended that sugar stimulate insulin and insulin somehow paradoxically stimulates appetite creating a feed-forward loop of sugar consumption -->increased appetite --> more sugar consumption... Certainly when diabetics are started on injected insulin, they almost always gain more weight. But insulin is probably not directly to blame. It seems that other factors are also released when carbohydrates are consumed and (at least in regards to appetite) insulin levels are a confounding variable.

Here are a few articles about this:



Phineas Gage, MD

It's definitely true that a strict accounting of calories consumed versus calories burned will fully explain obesity.

Should've been 'nuff said. But nope, on this board 4 > 9 & the 2nd Law can be discounted in EROEI analysis cuz the "sun's free."

The 9 > 4 argument is a big reason for the low-fat diet recommendation. There was no proof it actually worked; it just "seemed to make sense."

And no one is saying 4 > 9. If diet is strictly controlled (if you're in a mental institution, say, or are so poor you can't afford much food), it doesn't matter what kind of calories you eat. A calorie is a calorie.

But if you're not - and most of us are not - then the kind of calories you eat can make a big difference.

Yes, 9 > 4. But it's carbs that cause overeating. People eat a whole bag of potato chips, or a whole carton of ice cream, or mountains of pasta. You rarely hear about someone eating a dozen boiled eggs at a sitting. Eggs are very high in protein and fat, and don't stimulate your appetite like sugar does. It's hard to eat more than a few. Not so with simple carbs like white rice, pasta, bread, candy, etc.

Hello Ron,
You say "It is total caloric intake that makes the difference"
Does it mean I can survive on e.g. .5kg sugar per day?
That would greatly simplify my diet:)

nothing but Pepsi and happy meals
And three squares for about $11

Troll and Phineas, of course we need a lot more than calories to survive. Vitamins and minerals are a necessity, along with water, fiber and a host of other things. That was never the point. The point was, and is, a calorie is a unit of energy and unless that calorie is burned it will be stored by the body as fat. Obesity is simply stored unburnt calories. That is the point. That is the only point I was making!

And yes Troll, it is total caloric intake above what is burned by the body that causes obesity. Being poor does not cause obesity. Eating too many calories and spending too little of those calories causes obesity. That takes care of the "exercise" question that has been pointed out.

Ron Patterson

Hello Ron,

Your line "It is total caloric intake that makes the difference" sounds simplistic even when applied to much simpler notion of internal combustion engine.
When applied to human being, it brings to memory an anecdote about a physicist which says "Assume a spherical cow in a vacuum ...".

I assert that origination of those calories also makes a difference.

It would simplify your diet in another way. You would not need to do it for too long :) A rather horrible death would await you.

Ron is right. he is not talking about how healthy your diet is. For whatever reason (carbohydrates making you hungry quickly, etc.), if you consume more calories than you need, you will put on weight. Mere hunger does not cause obesity. Consumption of calories does. BTW. you can be thin and still be very unhealthy. India has 35 million diabetics.

As a person who is 38 years old, 1.80m tall and 64 kg (142 lbs), I can share with you how to stay lean (I have put on 8 kgs since I left high school)

a. Eat wholemeal (unrefined stuff) as much as possible
b. Eat lots of veggies, they provide bulk and fill your stomach
c. Eat fruit rather than drink fruit juice. Juices enter the blood stream quickly.
d. Walk wherever possible. Exercise 30mins a day.
e. Eat 5-6 small meals a day rather than 3 big ones. Smaller lot sizes help any inventory situation.

If you eat 100 calories more than you need every day (5-6 teaspoons of sugar), you would have put on 4 kgs a year (9 lbs). Do that for 3 years and you will see a visible difference. It is a quasistatic process and unless you weigh yourself every month, you can suddenly find yourself out of control (it happened to me in 2005 when I put on 12 kgs and I got most of it off by following what I recommended).


Just a related observation from yesterday. I ran to the store real quick for lunch to grab an apple to go with some things I brought from home. I paid a $1.50 for an organic apple at Whole Foods. I could just as easily have gone to McDonalds and got two apple pies for .99 cents. The healthy apple was 50% more expensive for far less calories.

And whether Atkins was right or not, there is no way that anybody but a few rich bastards will be eating mostly-meat post peak. With overpopulaton and scarce energy we'll be hard put to feed everybody enough rice and beans to survive. If obesity is still a problem then (I doubt it, given that people will need to walk, and work physically harder) then the challenge is to figure out how to avoid obesity while still eating low on the food chain, not how we theoretically could have subsisted on pure meat.

There's increasing evidence that caloric restriction is good for you. Indeed, Taubes points to that effect as a possible explanation for why low-fat diets (in some places) appeared to be healthy. In Asia, while the studies were done, many people were chronically undernourished. The healthy thing was not eating much, not eating lots of carbs. There was correlation, since poor people don't eat a lot of meat or fat, but not causation.

It's still really early, especially as it applies to humans, but one of the theories about why caloric restriction prolongs life is that our bodies are making a choice between cell repair and reproduction. If we are well-fed, it seems like a good time to reproduce. We let cell repair go, and pour our energy into the hormones, etc., that allow reproduction. If we are underfed, it seems like a poor time to reproduce. Less energy goes into reproduction, and more goes into cell repair - so we'll still be alive to try again later.

I'm not going to get into the food fight up thread but I would like to mention that it is important for people to understand nutrition - especially if they plan on "growing their own" if it hits the fan.

Is it going to be corn, beans and squash? Cereal grains plus animal protein? Acorns, seeds from wild grasses and game? Or, what? I am really concerned that many people have not thought through what is involved in assuring an adequate diet that they can actually grow in their climate, soil conditions and water availability.


Is it going to be corn, beans and squash? Cereal grains plus animal protein? Acorns, seeds from wild grasses and game? Or, what?

It depends on where one lives, of course. Where I live I can and do grow lots of corn, beans and squash, so much of the latter I usually give much of it away. Cereal grains are more problematic and I couldn't grow rice if I wanted to. Potatos are easy to grow, however, and gardeners should devote more space to them. I think they will end up being a staple for many ppl in the US. I currently eat virtually no meat (some turkey on T'giving or goose for Yule, some years) but rock squirrels, mt. rabbits & Gambel's quail are abundant on my property. I imagine that I will start harvesting them once I get good & hungry. Foraging for acorns, wild grass seed, etc., is labor intensive & few have the skills for finding, harvesting & processing them. Lacking those skills, I would guess that foraging for them would expend more calories than they would provide. Crayfish are common in the irrigation ditch, and mice, prairie dogs & pocket gophers are abundant. Left to my own devices I don't think I will starve. It's ravenous hordes of formerly obese refugees from the fast food nation raiding my larder that will be the worst problem, I imagine. I'm armed, but so will many of them be and there are more of them than there are of me & my family.

I live within an Old Order Mennonite community. There are no overweight children or men.

I'd like to hear more about this if you'd like to share more sometime (perhaps in a guest post?)...your thoughts on how people see things, do you talk about "peak oil"?, what strengths (and non) do you see WRT to your community and the possibility of the larger US economy faltering (or however one wishes to say it)...

But there are overweight women?

A few of the older women are overweight. I suspect having ten or more offspring is a major contributing factor. I will write up an epistle on the past as represented by the Old Order Mennonites and Amish morphing into our future. I guess I E-mail it to editors at theoildrum dot com?

Hi Roysyl,

Thanks. I'm not an editor, though I'd like to see it - so I'd say "Yes, please do mail it to them."

If you like you could also mail me a copy at aniyacafe (at) yahoo (dot) com.

...there is no way that anybody but a few rich bastards will be eating mostly-meat post peak.

You don't think cannibalism will become rife?

What a BS line that is.."Poor people are more prone to obesity than well-off people)....spend a little time out of the Political Cesspool of the U.S. and you will see things quite differently.

Obesity, much like Poverty, has almost nothing to do with money. Only those who rechew the Pablum spread by the PC, believe this crapola.

It's about Biology.

I hate to tell you this. but this is a cesspoolcentric problem. When we start exporting our highly processed corn food to Iraq you'll know we are serious about the war.

maybe a podcast is better
I don't know how to make my link open to the right spot on the page. scroll down to the 6th podcast. The Pollan interview.

I'll remember this crapola when the food riots begin.

A rise in food prices is a good thing because it will curb the obesity epidemic.

Repeat after me: The US is not the world. But the policies in the US are impacting food prices around the world.

I do not agree with this.

As a disabled individual in California, I watch people all day long. Can't help it. I can do little else at the moment.

They drive their "Fuel efficient" cars that they purchased to save money, at well over the legal limit, despite rising fuel costs.

They smoke, despite the fact that they cost more and the health consequences are lethal.

They purchase things, despite the fact that they cannot afford them (most recent example is housing).

They sit on the couch when they arrive at home instead of going for a brisk 30 minute walk to help their heart.

Price seems to have little to do with getting fat.

It seems to be more of an emotional and irrational way of life for many people.

Traders who hoard Philippine rice face life imprisonment, government warns

MANILA, Philippines (AP) - Traders found hoarding rice while the country struggles to maintain sufficient stocks of its staple grain could be charged with economic sabotage, a crime that carries a life sentence, the justice secretary said Thursday.

Government agents have been raiding warehouses in a hunt for unscrupulous traders and warehouse owners holding on
to rice stocks amid spiraling prices and fears of a shortage, Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez said.

...Rice prices have jumped 50 percent in the past two months on world markets and at least doubled since 2004. Experts blame rising fuel and fertilizer costs as well as the effect of disease, pests and climate change on crops. Farmers' groups have warned that prices could rise a further 40 percent in coming months.

Bankers hoarding and manipulating the cost of money, interest, are not prosecuted for anything, yet the guys trying to make a buck by driving up the price of rice are facing life in prison? Sounds fair.

Everyone understands hunger pangs. Not everyone understands commodities trading and all the financial bushwhacking you can do.

Food, energy, and one other fungible, highly mobile and adaptable commodity. Frederick Pohl saw it coming 30 years ago.

  • The Fats produce food...
  • The Greasies produce oil...
  • And the Peeps produce people.
  • Reading Jem was what made me want to go into the oil business - into a dystopian near-future cyberpunk apocalypse. Yay!

    http://www.theoildrum.com/node/2369#comment-169942 ...is it bad etiquette to link yourself?


    ...Is commercial fusion power worth getting impatient about? After all, there are lots of other energy sources out there, ranging from biofuels and cleaner coal to resurgent nuclear fission power and renewable solar and wind power.

    Sauthoff agrees that fusion won't be the magic solution to the energy problems, even in the year 2050. "This problem is bigger than what any single technology will solve," he said....

    Hometown airline goes down. Last fall, I was telling family that by 2012 there would be a significant drop-off in air travel and they laughed at me.

    ATA Discontinues All Operations

    ATA currently is unable to provide refunds to customers who purchased tickets directly from ATA with cash or a check. These customers may be able to obtain a full or partial refund for their unused tickets by submitting a claim in ATA's Chapter 11 proceedings.

    Most US airlines are in a tenuous position right now. A JP Morgan industry analyst recently projected that of the ten largest US Airlines, only Southwest will turn a profit this year.


    Are corporate bankruptcy laws similar to personal bankruptcy in that you can only file for bankruptcy once every seven years? Since several have been in bankruptcy in the past few years, I wonder what options they have if they can't get prices up to cover the rising fuel costs?

    Time for a death watch? Which one will shut down first (or rather, next)?

    ladies and gentlemen, step right up. Place your bets!

    Mission Aviation Planes Grounded Due to Lack of Fuel

    NAMPA, Idaho /Christian Newswire/ -- A shortage of aviation fuel -- or "av gas" -- has grounded missionary pilots of Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF), a faith-based, non-profit ministry that serves missions and isolated people around the world with aviation, communications and learning technologies.

    Because of the shortage, some 150 air strips currently are without service, according to John Boyd, president of MAF.

    'a faith-based, non-profit ministry that serves missions and isolated people around the world'...

    Is this ministry really non-profit? What is the purpose of these missions? Do these missions hope to convert native populations to Christianity? To what end?

    I believe that these ministries are defered profit enterprises, not non-profits. Once the natives are converted to whatever particular sect of Christianity is desired, they will be asked to contribute 10% of their gross earnings to the mission. At that point the mission is a for profit business, just as any church anywhere is a for profit business. Without a profit, or donations of time by their membership (time is money), and a tax exempt status, they would cease to exist.

    The natives will be better off if MAF never receives another drop of avgas...They will be spared the lunacy of Christianity and, left in their native state, and will be better prepared for a post PO world.

    Well said. Of course it is all for profit.

    Not sure how we can say it is for profit, unless one uses a twisted interpretation of "profit". Missionaries, including these pilots, are low-paid individuals, especially in comparison with what pilots can make working for an airline company. The missionary organization doesn't make money for any shareholders. If donations to the mission organization falter, the Fed doesn't bail them out and the chief executives do not get a golden parachute.

    Just because a business does not have shareholders does not mean it is a not-for-profit business. Most businesses in the US do not have shareholders.

    Do you believe that the mom and pop owners of any small business is bailed out by the Fed and given golden parachutes if their business fails?

    Pilots flying for low pay in MAF jobs might have various reasons for taking the job. They could be recent grads of aeronautical universities attempting to log enough commercial hours to apply at an airline. They could be ex pilots of an airline that have been let go because of redundency or incompetence. They could be extremely religious and do the flying in hopes of buying a stairway to heaven. They could be adventurers that are running supplies to the missions and running dope out. They might be pilots as well as scientists that are using the pay to fund a research project. Etc...

    Profit is profit, there is no 'twisted interpretation' involved.

    For profit, yes, in a wider definition of profit: something is being exchanged, in these cases somewhat abstract things like feel-good feelings, or furthering a spiritual aims, or even, maybe offering alms/charity, purely to benefit another, against money.

    Still, it is an exchange, and the organisors profit, if only by getting a salary, a position, etc. I’m not implying many missionaries (to take the typical case) aren’t selfless and devoted and sincere, nor that some heathens may benefit - in instruction, love of Jesus (or other), or even material advantages, etc. Actually, what galls me more, are the modern versions, humanitarian NGOs - some of these are outright scams. And today all that is mixed up together - doing material good, evangelizing for some religion, and pushing forward various ideologies, like the ‘free market’, or even direct political meddling.

    - probably too late as a response, but really, why all these people get a free pass is a scandal. I see some below make sorta similar points.

    Though I am a very bitter ex-Baptist, I think the mechanics of the missionary scam work differently. The game is not to make money directly off the 3rd world poor.

    The big profits in American religion come from my suburban redneck relatives, in all states. The plan seems to be to convert chuch into an alternate government that in all ways biases to the right - the Biblical patriarchy that keeps manifesting in America's dark corners. The parishioners, then, are a kind of "citizen", who wants to see his Sunday "tax" go to things that swell up his pride - just like governments do: impressive monuments, TV propaganda, and crusades. The "rulers", the fatcat chief evangelists and their Scaife/Coors/GOP secular allies, logically want to spend on projects that also obtain them a secondary gain.

    If citizens of secular states are willing to sacrifice so much for empire, it's because of their urges for control and power, the belief that their taxes will lead to world domination and (perhaps) future rewards. The American evangelical, in my opinion, has a vague awareness that American empire, American cultural domination, and Americanized Protestantism march together and should all be supported. Missionaries are absolutely intended as American agents. These jerks were obsessed with using Iraq as a missionary base to destroy Islam, yet were completely indifferent to the resulting destruction of the Iraqi Christians. They cheer on white, American-acting Israelis eradicating Palestinian Christians. What they really worship is Americanness, and they're willing to pay for it in church just as they pay their war taxes.

    None of these converts are profitable, any more than the Pentecostal takeover of Africa and parts of Latin America, because the converts are going to remain horribly poor. However, the benefits of this for right-wing despots may lead to lucrative business deals for Pat Robertson (who was involved in mining with the bloody regimes of Zaire and Liberia). Guatemala, whose worst junta ever was run by evangelical Protestant generals, probably put some money in some pockets here. But the big payoff is the drug of triumph that the Christian Right provides the GOP.

    The biggest gleaming prize would be to destroy America's public school system and replace it with Protestant madrassas with government funding forever. The government funding part is the key; they don't really believe in laissez faire. The model is in place; the Catholics are closing inner-city schools because they have to pay actual wages, while the Protestants charge dirt-low tuitions by siphoning church donations and (I assume) volunteer labor. Then again, what made Pakistani madrassas so cheap? You paid for them at the pump, via Saudi Arabia.

    Let us pray the fall of suburbia wakes up the faithful.

    super390, I come from another splinter of the American Protestant Fundamentalist collection of Heresies. It's been a long time digging out of that.

    The passion for power, profit, and pleasure has married religious fanaticism, secular wealth, political influence, and military power in the Christo-fascism of the USA.

    McCain and Clinton are hip-deep in this. Obama comes from a different strain of American religious heresy that actually challenges the Christo-fascist narrative, but Obama -- and this is a stunning thing to me -- publicly repudiates that challenge to the dominant "Big Lie." Obama knows that he must bow before the God of Jueo-Christian fascism if he is to have a chance to become POTUS.

    Barbara Ehrenreich's article on "Hillary's nasty pastorate" for The Nation digs into this.


    Also, Jeff Sharlet's upcoming book "The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power" describes the nexus of power comprised of slimy and dubious right wing religious "leaders," global fascism and neo-fascism, and the American political Establishment.


    Ehrenreich and Sharlet both have great credentials as thoughtful writers and investigative journalists.

    The power games of any military or political establishment always need a religious narrative to seduce and manipulate many people into compliance.

    I saw Moliere's "Tartuffe" done very well by theatre de june lune here in Minneapolis, and was impressed by its relevance to today: use of fear and shame and promises of relief from the fear and shame all in God's name to seduce and manipulate people into a state of compliance.

    In the USA, "The Family" includes the big name self-identified right-wing politicians as well as many of the Democrats who are right-wing but do not identify themselves as such openly.

    Oil is power. Water is power. Food is power. A powerful religious narrative provides a means to control people and use them to seize and control the oil and water and food supply.

    According to common language, these are non-profits. Your personal definitions, which include marking existing churches as "for profit" entities when they are in fact not (according to common parlance) demonstrates your personal biases. While your personal biases may have relevance, weaving them into the discussion via altered use of common language does nothing to advance your case and simply paints you as... odd.

    GZ, that is the lamest retort that I have ever heard.

    The Wright Brothers, Michealangelo, Columbus, Jules Verne, Galelieo, Einstein, et al, were odd. Paint me into their company any day.

    'Common parlance' is bs. Call churches what they are...grifters. When churches like the LDS purchase thousands of acres of land in many different places and run them as for profit farms they should be taxed as any other biz. If not, the LDS is creating unfair competition for all the other farmers who are taxed as ag.

    When a church moves into a locality and purchases land that is then removed from the tax base because a church is built upon the property they are causing taxes to be higher for all in that taxing district.

    Churches have had a free ride for far too long...and they are getting far too cozy with government.

    Recently the State of Fl convened it's review board to scrutinize state tax collections and to recommend changes where necessary. The board is convened every twenty years and has strict guidlines and rules to follow. Instead of doing the much needed job that is their mandate the board took it upon themselves to recommend more money be spent on the school voucher program...waaay outside their jurisdiction...This would allow public funds to be channeled into religious schools. Just what the US needs, more brainwashed little kids that grow up to be brain washed adults. This very same proposal was shot down when Jeb Bush was Governor, now it is being tried again.

    I agree. None of the contributions used to sustain the church itself, its personnel, structures or missionary work should be deductible. Only that which directly goes to charitable work should be deductible, such as food shelters, homeless shelters, etc.

    Around here they are still expanding the airports... don't these folks have the ability to think??? Sheesh!

    Troubled Alitalia edges toward bankruptcy

    ROME - Trading in shares of Alitalia was suspended Thursday and the company board called an emergency meeting as the troubled Italian air carrier edged toward bankruptcy.

    When I flew Alitalia in the mid 80s, I had a counterperson tell me that it stood for Always Late in Takeoff, Always Late in arrival.

    On board, smokers sat on the right and non-smokers sat on the left.

    They had good wine though!

    One of my favorite airline stories comes from the director of End of Suburbia and Escape from Suburbia, Gregory Green, who was somehow hired by Jet Blue to document their new giant terminal in New York.

    What film did he submit to show his credentials?

    End of Suburbia.

    They liked his style.

    They know that he thinks he is documenting the end of the commercial airline age!

    "They liked his style.

    They know that he thinks he is documenting the end of the commercial airline age!"

    possibly. we'll probably be flying forever it's just flying will be more and more for the rich.

    Hawaii increasingly isolated:

    ATA Airlines canceled all flights Thursday after filing for bankruptcy ...
    The airline had approximately 50 flights per day, mostly between Hawaii and four west coast cities ...
    ATA came out of bankruptcy with several other carriers two years ago, and it became the second to declare bankruptcy in just the past two weeks, both with operations in Hawaii. Aloha Airlines filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last month ...

    See? This is why I, and probably Leanan also, are just not going to head back there any time soon. We may live to see that place go Easter Island.

    Hello Fleam,

    PM me on LATOC. Yep, if Hawaii is smart they should immediately abolish motorized pleasure cruising. A wholesale move to sailing ships for the remaining tourists and eventual conversion of these sailboats for later coastal fishing. This would also help drive the price skyhigh of tall trees suitable for masts and yardarms, and encourage the huge investment in planting more of these trees.

    Recall my earlier posts of essential Earthmarines to protect these forests, at all costs, so later generations can again build clipper ships for global trade. I expect the postPeak global movement of NPK to rival the earlier days of transoceanic guano movement and Guano Wars.

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

    And here I sit on Oahu. It's obvious that the airlines will be the canaries in the liquid-fuels coal mine, and that Hawaii's economy will tank from it first in the USA. Jetting between islands will be rapidly winding down this decade. Probably we'll wind up with one carrier in each market, ultimately nationalized and petering down to fewer and fewer flites.

    Already the medical care on the big isle and Maui are poor as doctors leave, and now they're leaving Oahu. Partly lack of tort reform, partly high cost of living, but you can't find a doctor here who'll take a new patient and more are gone every month. It's becoming more third-world as I watch.

    Just today, I put an ad on craigslist for someone to do general labor for my mom at $10/hr. Even a year ago such an ad would get two derisive answers for every inquiry. Today, I had to cancel the ad after it being out 8 hours because there were 15 people wanting the cheap yard labor, most with their own trucks out of work and looking for odd jobs. There are still the very-rich, and soon there will be only them, the military, and the people working 5 jobs to pay the taxes on their devalued tract housing. Even so, none of them will freeze, but as the tax base crumbles the roads and power and sewage systems will do likewise. Be interesting to see whether the military presence goes up or down. Probably down, which will also hit the state... unless the US decides to do more military stuff in the pacific. Interesting times.

    Maybe it'll be like Cuba but with noplace nearby to paddle to...

    Three cheers for the earthmarines.... wherever they are.

    And say, here's a kick-ass metal-hulled sailing ship I used to rent to hold events on - I think I heard it will be scrapped. Someone really oughta use it as a template and build more!


    Wish us luck for no descent into cannibalism prior to 2020; I'm stocked up for gecko musubi and coconut guacamole.



    Thank you for uncensored news from a frontier of the empire. Keep a stiff upper lip and carry on!

    Errol in Miami

    Toto I *think* I've managed to get signed up on LATOC, and have successfully PM'd you. I think.

    I could send an email to the address you have in your profile there, would that work?

    Nice day up here, we got some rain.

    Anyone on this list know anything about the US Geological Survey report that is coming out about the Bakken Formation's oil reserves?

    Research on Bakken Formation's Oil Reserves Nearly Completed

    I am hearing rumors of hundreds of billions of barrels of oil.

    I think a better estimate is thousands of billions of barrels of oil--maybe tens of thousands of billions of barrels of oil. Pretty soon, oil will be so cheap that gas stations won't even charge a per gallon price for gasoline. Just pay a flat monthly fee and drive to your heart's content.

    BTW, I almost missed the obvious connection. How about if we take a poll and determine what long time readers think of your strong buy recommendation for Pacific Ethanol stock?

    How about if we take a poll and determine what long time readers think of your strong buy recommendation for Pacific Ethanol stock?

    LOL! I just blogged on Pacific Ethanol a couple of days ago. They are definitely flirting with bankruptcy. Even so, I had people on my blog making strong buy recommendations every time I wrote something negative. It happened at $20, $15, $10, $7, but seems to have stopped now at less than $5.

    By the way, I got a house in Prosper. Foreclosure. About 60 cents on the dollar. More house than I care for, but in a good spot for the family. Most importantly, it is a quick trip to hundreds of arable acres on the family farm in Oklahoma.

    Did you meet the previous owners, the family who lost everything?

    Why should he have too? Robert is just making a buisness decision that works for him. Is it Roberts fault the people before him lost on their business decision? I'm close to buying a condo on a electric transit line in foreclosure, does that mean I have to meet the people who bought the condo at ridiculous prices? They made a bad business decision pure and simple.

    When the armed losers outnumber the armed winners in a country, it becomes a practical concern. See The Bonus Army, 1932.

    See The Bonus Army, 1932.

    The Army kicked the Bonus Army out of Washington though.

    Actually, it's a pretty good bet that the prior owner had little or no equity in the home, so the true loser was the lending institution, their stockholders and ultimately all of us. In most cases, prior homeowners, who lost their houses, probably have an increase in disposable income because they are probably now renting something much less expensive (provided they still have their job).

    BTW, ING Direct is an interesting case history. They lend their own money out, but they only do five year fixed interest loans, which reset annually after five years (they can't internally fund 30 year mortgages). According to Fortune Magazine, they have made 100,000 loans since the year 2000, and a total of fifteen (15) have gone into foreclosure proceedings (about 0.02%).

    I have a hard time saying that the true losers are the lending institution, etc. My parents still live in the same house I grew up in, and their great-grandchildren come to visit them now. In parent's house, there is a spot on the closet door in one of the upstairs bedrooms where my little sister wrote "I hate Mom." It is written on the part of the door where it closes against the jamb, and was only discovered a few years ago during re-carpeting. There are memories all around that house.

    Saying that the loss of a family home is not a true loss is hard for me to swallow.

    And yes, the people at Bear Stearns who lost their life savings and their jobs are true losers as well-- but the biggest, true Losers of all (and I mean Losers with a capital L) were those politicians who altered the rules so that our banks and financial institutions could engage in these shenanigans. Someone has mentioned the photo-op from 2002 or 2003 where a bunch of cabinet secretaries and other Republicans chopped up banking regulations with an axe.

    (and I mean Losers with a capital L)

    No one loses, no one wins. Everyone breaks exactly even.

    Did you meet the previous owners, the family who lost everything?

    If it makes you feel any better, it was actually a home builder who built the house for profit, had made millions in the past, couldn't move the house because of the downturn, and ultimately went bankrupt because his inventory wasn't moving. The house is two years old, but has never been lived in.

    Oh, puh-leeze, spare me, lest my lunch be soaked in crocodile tears.

    Look, in nearly every instance, those getting foreclosed had mortgaged themselves to the hilt and then some and then some more, and then more beyond that, liar loan, zero down, interest-only, 110% of collateral, you name it, utterly heedless of even the most elementary prudence.

    The entire intent, of course, was to levitate themselves by sheer prestidigitation into lifelong joyrides of effortless luxury and hallucinated wealth aboard the self-fueling magic carpet of "home" "ownership". The siren calls of bent bankers peddling mirages suggested an easy alternative to actually getting off their enormous bums and bringing something of value to the societal table in exchange for the limitless array of goods and services they felt entitled to receive.

    Now, instead of the joyride, some of the would-be freeloaders have got nothing much, only the mirage, exactly the same as before and thus no loss. But it's an election year, so cue another round of crocodile tears: we must all watch the nauseating spectacle of our bent presidential candidates and bent Congresscritters falling all over themselves in a fierce bidding war to see who will hand the most lavish gifts to the freeloaders. Which only means the freeloaders who are able to hold out just a little longer will get rich off that prize chump, ever ripe for the picking, the taxpayer, while everyone else - including followers of "ELP" advice, retirees who are renting because keeping up a house and yard has become too much, and many others - will get left holding bags of worthless dollars.

    Which only means that no one will want to get off his or her bum and contribute only to have one's earnings therefrom handed over to parasites, which only closes the circle. Argentina (i.e. their 20th century downward spiral from one of the world's highest living standards) here we come.


    "...getting off their enormous bums and bringing something of value to the societal table in exchange for the limitless array of goods and services they felt entitled to receive."

    Yep, that pretty much describes bankers, traders, pretty much the whole financial system.

    I disagree, souperman2. Those that took those loans are very often as described. And I would not use the notion of lazy to describe bankers.

    No indeed - my opinion of the banking community is apparently far lower than yours. The words I would use are fraudulent, lying, criminal gangsters. But that's my opinion.

    While those who took the loans might be called foolish or any number of other things, those who repackaged and sold those loans as "AAA" financial instruments need to be in jail. With all personal possessions seized. But again, that's just my opinion.

    Yes GZ.

    I often wonder how much effort it takes to bilk the masses, ( I actually don’t spend much time wondering about this to be honest).

    I guess my point was;

    Who controls lending standards? Banks.

    Who controls lending rates? Banks (FED).

    Who establishes unreal tax incentives for home buyers? Gov.

    Who creates high inflation and wage stagnation making it so tight that if you do not take advantage of the above you are visibly falling behind while working harder and harder?
    Banks, Fed, Gov.

    Now I am not absolving home buyers of responsibility in this mess but IMO the lions share of blame rests on the shoulders of TPTB.

    Best hopes for understanding wtf is tanking the economy. (directed to PaulS not you GZ)

    TPTB keep changing the rules of the game as the game progresses. all of our speculation of a potential fallout means nothing when TPTB change the rules!

    Which goes to show ya, that when the masses default on a house mortgage, enter this country illegally, or whatever in enough masses. the government will step in and make a correction to try and protect the economy. taxes are coming up, so if we all were to not file our taxes, would the government step in and give us all interest free penalties for a late filing? or excuse us for filing?

    there is a saying......."it hurts when you hit'em in the pocketbook."

    But then again this is election year!

    Nice turn of phrase, PaulS !


    Every time I see one of these stories comparing oil from a sometimes fractured virtually zero permeability shale to Saudi oil reserves, especially when a specific company is mentioned, I get a very strong whiff of Pacific Ethanol in the air.

    We are still debating where to settle for the short to medium term (and more importantly, how big a nest). My inclination is downtown Fort Worth--the Bass Police Force is omnipresent, and the Barnett Shale provide a ready supply of long term natural gas (which really holds true for the entire North Texas area), and we are seeing more and more CSA efforts.

    Interesting to read of more starting/looking to hunker down.

    I suspect most will gravitate to areas they are familiar with, and nearly every area has a couple pluses. It's the minuses rolling up that matter, and once again, its familiarity that allows your most accurate count.

    If the S really does hit the fan, what is it really going to mean to "own" a home anyway? Is there even going to be police and court systems left over to enforce property rights?

    It worked out for me.....

    Isn't it amazing the government is going to recognize the location of a zillion barrels of oil that has been sitting right under the noses of thousands and thousands of private sector geologists for so many years? How could they be so stupid! What we need now is a report from the government on the zillions of ounces of gold contained in the worlds oceans...wait..

    From what I have heard finding the oil is one thing, getting it out is another. it's only with modern technology that it's become remotely feasable. Though one account says they do not expect to extract much before 2015. Too late?

    I think 2015 is a good date to start extracting that. By then, other power systems will (hopefully) be picking up alot of that slack, and that oil could then be utilized largely for making plastics.

    Yeah, a couple of shares of a company participating in the Bakken play and I will be rolling in dough. Hey, maybe just one share will do it? No sense commiting too much when each share will be split multiple times while topping the charts in share gain.

    BTW, Keithster100, How much have you invested in the Bakken play? I will follow your lead on this one since you have done the research already. After you put your money where your mouth is I will do likewise.

    The Bakken is the real deal several companies are already exploiting the Bakken with its 42 API Sweet Crude there are billions of barrels of oil in the formation but its extremely tough to get to. Halliburton is up there fracing the heck out of the formation to get it out mainly with horizonal drilling (they have some new tech they are using). The companies I invest in that are drilling it up and are continually adding more Bakken leases and land to their portfolio's. They assure me that the Bakken presents them with the highest netbacks in their U.S. or Canadian properties. WT do you know anybody that works for Sleeping Giant or Lyco? Both are Texas drillers that have been quite active in the Bakken.
    The only downside I have heard is the recovery rates are low with only about 13-18% of the OOIP being recoverable. My guess is that at least 100 billion barrels of U.S. Bakken with up to 15 billion recoverable with current tech. Not sure how much is on the Canadian side maybe comparable quantities.

    13% of oil recoverable? See the correct info here:

    www.ndoil.org Then go to 2nd newsletter.

    NOT anywhere near 13% according to this site. More like only 1% is recoverable. And cost for each well will be more like $10 million each (based non 2006 price of $6 million and petro extraction inflation running around 25%).

    I suspect that the higher recoveries refer to the middle sandstone/siltstone member, which is only productive in discrete traps, and the two shale members themselves may only be commercially productive where there is sufficient fracturing. None of this is to say that oil companies are not making money (I'm making money in Texas), but there is a huge difference between making money and making a real difference in total oil production.

    Well they are just talking North Dakota and the Bakken is huge take a look at this presentation by Petrobank bottom of the page 7 mg. The Bakken info is up front in the presentation several slides including a sensitivity showing incredible IRR on the wells. A very good set of info on the THAI process is towards the back. When I mentioned the 100 billion I am talking about the drillable resource that will yield the 10-15% of the OOIP. That figure is also supported in the document. Another company reporting similar figures is Enerplus.

    I think the Bakken will be a slow producer 15 billion barrels over a long long period of time. Heck thats still only a couple of years demand for the U.S. or 6 months for the world.


    At this point everybody can yell back and forth and it means nothing. Let's wait for the USGS report then we can debate its meaning.

    And the USGS has such a good track record when it comes to reserve estimates.

    I guess the markets don't believe my Bakken Formation estimate of tens of thousands of billions of barrels of oil, since WTI is up to $106. Something going on?

    I'm sure it has everything to do with USGS and nothing to do with saber rattling in the middle east. Give me a break. Where are eye rolling smiley faces when you need them.

    Although I don't recall answering in the affirmative to a "Ghostbusters type question" (Are you a God?), Bob Cousins felt it necessary to deny that I was in fact a God, but ever since then I have felt that I at least have near-deity like status, so I was both surprised and hurt this morning when markets did not pay any attention to my Bakken based prediction that gasoline will soon be too cheap to meter.

    "saber rattling in the middle east"

    (from MSN - no worries clogging Microsquash's servers.)

    You mean the same USGS that puts peak oil at 2037?

    A few things...

    1. The SPR was scheduled to be 100% filled in April of 2008
    2. Retrofitting of our Strategic bombers to house bunker buster "nukes" was scheduled to be completed in April.
    3. Dick Cheney takes a tour of Middle Eastern Allies, after which, Saudi Arabia and Israel both started preparing their populations for "non-conventional attacks". Gas masks in Israel, Nuclear Fallout in Saudi Arabia.
    4. The "retirement" of Fallon last month, in light of a "disagreement" in the policy towards Iran.
    5. The government's soon press release of the possibility of "billions of barrels of oil" in North Dakota.
    6. Our continued build-up of destroyers, subs, and aircraft carriers in the Persian Gulf.

    Then, one night in April, as we're sitting in front of our TV's watching 30Rock or some other sitcom, when suddenly there is an interruption and a presidential address: "I have given the order to our nation's air force and navy, to commence bombing of the nuclear facilities within Iran. We have billions of barrels of oil in North Dakota, enough to fulfill America's needs for the next 2 decades, in the mean time, we have the strategic reserve to hold us off until the oil from this source comes online. Iran must not be permitted to have nuclear weapons"

    I should write a book :) The question is, Fiction or Non-Fiction?

    Fiction. Both about the billions of barrels of oil in North Dakota and the attack on Iran. But the book might sell well. :)

    Israel is conducting nationwide exercises April 6-10, a what-if senario based on Hezbollah, Syria, and Iran launching chemical warhead missile attacks against Israel. During this time all citizens will be hunkering down or prepared to at a moments notice.

    Preparation for retaliation following a strike against Iran's nuclear facilities? Sure would be convenient that the entire population was in practice mode when it happened. All those anti-missile systems already manned and fired up for the exercise.

    Seems Saudia Arabia is preparing for fallout at the same time.

    London-based Al-Quds al-Arabi newspaper reported on Wednesday that Syria had deployed three armored divisions and nine infantry brigades near the border with Lebanon's Bekaa Valley, fearing an Israeli invasion via that route.

    and this

    “Iran has already done ... necessary vacuum tests, including leakage checks, to make sure the (latest) centrifuges are in working order and to activate them,” he said.

    “The two new cascades were installed to comply with a directive from President (Mahmoud) Ahmadinejad that on April 8, a date Iran has marked as National Nuclear Technology Day, a significant achievement would be displayed.”


    General William Odom Tells Senate Rapid Withdrawal Is Only Solution
    Submitted by davidswanson on Wed, 2008-04-02 20:45. Petraeus
    Two related audio files:

    Media conference call with StandUpCongress.org on April 1st.

    Radio show with ThePeopleSpeakRadio.net on March 17th.

    Testimony before Senate Commitee on Foreign Relations:

    Here's the PDF.

    By William E. Odom, LT General, USA, Ret.

    2 April 2008

    'Good morning Mr. Chairman and members of the committee. It is an honor to appear before you again. The last occasion was in January 2007, when the topic was the troop surge. Today you are asking if it has worked. Last year I rejected the claim that it was a new strategy. Rather, I said, it is a new tactic used to achieve the same old strategic aim, political stability. And I foresaw no serious prospects for success.

    I see no reason to change my judgment now. The surge is prolonging instability, not creating the conditions for unity as the president claims.'...snip...

    'More disturbing, Prime Minister Maliki has initiated military action and then dragged in US forces to help his own troops destroy his Shiite competitors. This is a political setback, not a political
    solution. Such is the result of the surge tactic.'...snip...

    'The only sensible strategy is to withdraw rapidly but in good order. Only that step can break the paralysis now gripping US
    strategy in the region. The next step is to choose a new aim, regional
    stability, not a meaningless victory in Iraq. And progress toward that
    goal requires revising our policy toward Iran.'...snip...


    EV technology might not be supportable in areas where peak power consumption is already straining exisiting facilities. It may seem fine to some until they might have to endure rolling blackouts, brownouts, and sky-rocketing electricity bills.

    The Energy Policy Act of 2005 mandates ethanol be used as a fuel mixed with gasoline:

    "Increases the amount of biofuel (usually ethanol) that must be mixed with gasoline sold in the United States to 4 billion gallons by 2006, 6.1 billion gallons by 2009 and 7.5 billion gallons by 2012" Wiki.

    Due in part to the United States diverting almost a fifth of its corn + wheat harvests to biofuels there are current food shortages around the world. Shortages of soybean oil (vegetable oil) occured in Asia. Russia banned exporting grains to conserve its food reserves. More recently rice in India are the apparent results of ill conceived ethanol policies.

    Picked up more news about China. It is difficult to ascertain whether or not these are valid numbers. Some internet info was not valid. Comparing reports of rapidly increasing auto sales, GDP growth, and manufactured goods export capacity seem to give credence to reports of increased petroleum imports into China during 2007.


    Some of the gasoline price woes in the United States are directly linked to high government deficits, dollar devaluation, and the enormous fiscal burden of the war in Iraq. Five years into the war and the war has not been won. It is a great drain on the treasury.

    Apologies if this has been posted previously...

    The EIA's 2008 Energy conference is being held next week in washington DC. One of the sessions is titled, "Peak Oil: Has the world's oil production peaked?" Panelists include Matt Simmons and Peter Jackson of CERA. Daniel Yergin is a keynote speaker for the conference. Presentations will be posted after the conference, but no word on whether discussion will be recorded/captured.


    Two BBC stories that may be of interest

    Funds for greenhouse gas storage

    The UK government has announced £25m of funding for a plan to capture greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and store them under the North Sea...

    ....you do get a return by increasing oil recovery. The question is to compare burning fossil fuels with carbon capture and storage against other technologies.

    'No Sun link' to climate change

    The research contradicts a favoured theory of climate "sceptics", that changes in cosmic rays coming to Earth determine cloudiness and temperature....

    ...Lancaster University scientists found there has been no significant link between them in the last 20 years.

    ....you do get a return by increasing oil recovery.

    And this additional oil is then burnt to form ... carbon dioxide!

    I do hate greenwash.

    So a little contraindicative research on the cosmic ray / sun theory adds weight to the CO2 NuReligion?

    The case against AGW/CO2 is based on analysis of the base data, sensor location, collection procedures, algorithms and software math, fudged modelling, data manipulation, lack of scientific rigour and peer review, predictive failure, biassed media reporting, misinformation, disinformation, junkscience and hysteria.

    And Carbon Sequestration, I've never heard of anything that is so utterly pointless. Adding a huge energy burden as we become more energy constrained, where's the sense in that? CO2 is plant food, spend £25 million planting trees!

    The case against AGW/CO2 is based on analysis of the base data [...]

    So, I take it you don't believe in the conservation of energy, thermodynamics, or quantum mechanics either?

    Let's crank it up to 500 parts per million and see what happens!

    Play with the toy until it breaks, kid.

    "Hey, watch this!"

    Kazakhstan Oil Production Historical and Projected

    Source: United States Energy Information Agency

    It is worth noting that Kazakhstan is investing $1 billion/yr (and growing as oil revenues grow) in it's rail lines. Some major investments are

    1) A standard gauge rail link between China & EU (recently broke ground). (Russian Empire used broad gauge).

    2) Electrification of main lines

    3) Rebuilding 250 Soviet era locos with GE "tops" for greater reliability, less pollution and 1/3rd less fuel use.

    Best Hopes for Kazakh Railroads,


    Kazakhstan - a net food and energy exporter. A post-peak oil safe haven?

    ALSO a major phosphate and uranium exporter !

    Best Hopes for Kazakhstan,


    I estimate that the top five net exports dropped at an average rate of about 900,000 bpd per year in 2006 and 2007 (down about 1.8 mbpd from their 2005 peak).

    NG storage report Summary:

    Working gas in storage was 1,248 Bcf as of Friday, March 28, 2008, according to EIA estimates. This represents a net decline of 29 Bcf from the previous week. Stocks were 304 Bcf less than last year at this time and 6 Bcf above the 5-year average of 1,242 Bcf. In the East Region, stocks were 2 Bcf below the 5-year average following net withdrawals of 32 Bcf. Stocks in the Producing Region were 33 Bcf above the 5-year average of 465 Bcf after a net injection of 4 Bcf. Stocks in the West Region were 25 Bcf below the 5-year average after a net drawdown of 1 Bcf. At 1,248 Bcf, total working gas is within the 5-year historical range.


    Agflation will change the course of history

    2 April 2008

    Agflation will change international politics, redefine economic models and trigger regime changes across the emerging markets. Far more than crude oil or even bullion, price rises in the supermarket trigger mass consumer inflation psychology. So central bankers at the Fed, the ECB, the Bank of Japan, RBI, PBOC and SAMA will be powerless to prevent food prices from accelerating the embryonic global inflation nightmare. Global warming, the destruction of the rain forest, carbon emissions and black swan (rare high impact events with fat statistical tail) events like Mad cow’s disease, avian flu and Australian droughts will make agflation as compelling a global issue, at Davos or the UN, as climate change.

    The price of rice is the most accurate gauge of social stability for almost three billion Asians. Since Egypt, India and Vietnam banned exports to bring down local prices, the global price of rice has skyrocketed. If India restricts Basmati rice exports, a worldwide panic is inevitable. I believe Thai rice will prove a far bigger money maker for investors than Saudi sour crude. As rice prices double, the poor of Southeast Asia will go ballistic, threatening the government of countries like the Philippines, Burma and Vietnam. With water scarce, low investment in agriculture and dependence on imported food is a disaster for the Arab world.

    Obviously these SE Asian nations are not as sophisticated as the US Fed when halting inflation in food and energy is a priority.

    If the costs of food and energy are removed from core inflation calculations by the Fed, or any government, then there is no reported inflation in food and energy prices (or, none that matters)...Hence, food price increases do not exist. Those that get hungry need only look at the statistics published by their governments to reassure them that there is no reason for them to be hungry. Using this circular logic a government bureaucrat would probably say hunger is the fault of the consumers since it certainly is not the fault of government policies.

    one of my survival strategies is counterfeit rice, my best feed stock so far is Styrofoam. still working on the density, way to light :~)

    Well, it works if you have credit cards.

    Tapping the Power of the Mighty Mississippi: Thousands of Hydrokinetic Turbines Could Generate 1600 MW


    Proposed hydrokinetic projects are just part of the untapped potential for hydropower, according to a 2007 study by the Electric Power Research Institute. According to the study, the United States has the resource potential to develop an additional 23,000 megawatts of hydropower by 2025, including 3,000 megawatts from new hydrokinetic technologies and 10,000 megawatts from ocean wave energy devices.

    that looks awesome antidoomer.

    I read that very few of the 80,000 dams we have produce power. we should get working on that.

    Lock and dam no. 26 in Alton, IL on the Mississippi will be rebuilt with hydroelectric power capability. The drop is around 20 feet (my guess from seeing the current spillway), but the volume is vary large, especially this time of year. Over 1 million gallons per second.

    This hydroelectric plant could easily produce 100 MW at max flow rate.

    Fossil Fool Awards 2008: And the Winners are-

    This year's winner is Ken Lewis, CEO of Bank of America, " for the global financial institution's massive support for dirty coal. Bank of America is the leading financial backer of mountaintop removal coal mining in the United States and a top funder of new coal-fired power plants."

    ..and here's the entire site with runners and voting

    This was inevitable. I'm just very surprised we didn't see more of it last year, when the record for corn planted acres came in part at cotton's expense.

    "Cotton rose on speculation U.S. farmers may further reduce acres planted with the fiber as grains and soybeans extend rallies."

    "U.S. farmers will cut cotton plantings 13 percent this year to 9.39 million acres as growers switch to grains and oilseeds."



    And could it possibly foreshadow a long overdue increase in wool prices? Or do the markets still expect petrofibers to fill the void.

    There Is No Gas Shortage: BusinessWeek


    TOD has made terrific progress in the past year in getting the Peak Oil message out. But articles like this really stick in my craw. How do people get to write garbage like this?

    Instead, the Bush administration is protecting those responsible for creating yet another speculative bubble in oil futures, and is protecting investors in the ethanol industry—much to the detriment of food-processing companies such as Pilgrim's Pride. And the net result of all this is that the prices of crude and gasoline rise ever higher thanks to a "shortage" that does not exist, while food costs are soaring thanks in part to the ethanol mandate."

    "The Federal Reserve lowers interest rates, but the cost of mortgages goes up six weeks in a row—and last month Bank of America (BAC) credit-card holders started being charged more than 24% interest on new purchases."

    Writing and thinking like this is dangerous and at best irresponsible. The mixing of half truths with fiction is the most poisonous kind.

    Ed Wallace (another Car Guy) seems to have completely missed the fact that oil is priced on the world market, thus the price is set by conditions beyond the storage situation within the U.S. We are bidding against other nations, especially China and India, who's peoples also want to become automobile drivers just like US. The big U.S. shortage lately has been diesel fuel, particularly the low sulfur variety, and heating oil. That's due to the fact that in Europe, there's been a major shift toward diesel powered vehicles, which are much more efficient in MPG. The high tax levels in Europe are causing this change and the cost increase due to rising oil prices does not hit as hard when there's a big fuel tax. For a while, the Europeans had excess gasoline, which they shipped to the U.S., which kept our prices low.

    I suspect that this summer, we will see higher gasoline prices as the extra gasoline is used up by summer drivers. Unless, of course, the "recession" becomes a much bigger event by then, thanks to the Bubble Heads in Washington and New York.

    E. Swanson

    Given the profile of a refined barrel of oil, are not the European refiners, as they produce for the diesel market, going to find themselves with a great deal of gasoline they will have to bring to market? Will this not stabilize pump prices in the US?


    Just over the wire now. These refiners are still not making a profit wait till they start pricing 100.00 dpb plus oil.

    What happens to the refiner's business plan in a market with rising demand for diesel and falling, or even flat, demand for gasoline?

    Diesel demand can only rise so much. The price pressure would be too great. Whatsmore diesel is a smaller percentage of the total crack spread in oil. 19.4 % vs 7.6 %


    So as people adopt diesel cars the diesel price per gallon will go up.

    One thing is certain oil is finite and the price of fuel will go up...sooner than later.

    That would be gallons per barrel, not Per Cent

    Jobs numbers are coming in...

    'U.S. weekly initial jobless claims rise to 407,000
    Highest level since mid-September 2005; continuing claims also spike
    By Robert Schroeder, MarketWatch
    Last update: 8:49 a.m. EDT April 3,

    WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) -- First-time applications for state unemployment benefits rose last week, the Labor Department reported Thursday -- the eve of the release of pivotal data on the state of the nation's job market.

    Claims for the week ended March 29 rose by 38,000 to reach 407,000, marking the highest level seen for this economic indicator since mid-September 2005.

    The four-week average of initial claims also rose, increasing by 15,750 to 374,500, and thus hit the highest since the beginning of October 2005.

    Economists see readings consistently higher than 350,000 as signaling significant weakening in the labor market. Initial claims ranging from about 300,000 to 325,000 are consistent with a healthy rate of U.S. employment growth.'...snip...


    Medical Emergency?
    Who do you call?
    RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil (AP) -- A Brazilian official says he is considering asking Cuba to send doctors to help care for the victims of a burgeoning dengue epidemic that has infected more than 45,000 people, killing at least 67.

    Rio de Janeiro Gov. Sergio Cabral said he would wait until the weekend to decide whether it was necessary to ask for help from abroad.

    Earlier this week, the government appealed to other Brazilian states to send 154 pediatricians to help out with the epidemic.

    The military has also been called up to help fight the mosquito-borne disease that causes high fever, headaches and joint pains but is not usually fatal.


    The way you make your 3rd world country attractive to short-sighted capitalist investors is to cut education, cut nutrition, cut health care. Then when you get hit with the consequences for acting as though there are no public goods, you have to turn to Commies who sacrificed all profits to taking care of the poor.

    There is no such thing as a healthy economy.

    Someone just posted this over at PO.com:

    Are we too connected?

    Remember those old gas hot-water boilers with a constantly burning pilot light? My house used to have one, which was not only wasteful, but a pain because the pilot light kept going out.

    A new boiler with automatic ignition seemed like a huge improvement - until we had a series of power cuts one winter and found ourselves without heating or hot water. The old boiler needed only gas to work; the new one needs electricity as well. During those power cuts I realised that, unlike older ones, our telephone depends on mains electricity as well.

    Anyone have a subscription to New Scientist? I'm kind of curious about this article:

    Why the demise of civilisation may be inevitable

    I'm guessing it's related to Homer-Dixon's ideas, since the editorial (the first link) mentions the value of resilience.

    A backup wood stove, with a supply of wood, is probably a pretty good investment, especially in colder climates--the kind where winters can kill you.

    A real time (1:00 P.M. Central, over at 2:00) interview with an off grid guy that wrote "Farewell My Subaru." You can listen online at: http://www.kera.org/

    Really interesting guy. His website: http://dougfine.com/

    thanks for this
    great interview

    I now live in Japan and people (the older generation but also most younger people too) would probably feel terribly sorry for this man (Doug Fine) for coming down in the world. In their opinion (but not in mine) a car is a status symbol, farming is for hicks, suburbs and big cities are places of elegance and culture full of "erai hito" (the status classes: doctors, lawyers, etc.)

    I want to dismiss their attitude as ignorant, but it is so widespread so I tried to understand it. After reading two books by Dr. Junichi Saga about life here 100 years ago I think I could understand better. Farmers live with dirt. Farmers live without much access to the outside world (fashion, healthcare, culture), and when farming families dole out inheritances, the children who don't get the land are extremely poor. The ones who do stay on the land have to live with the older generation bossing them around, often in irrational ways. There are a lot of family farms here. Young people mostly still want to leave them and go to Tokyo (although I think that is probably not going to be possible for much longer if the economy withers slowly.)

    In the past here, government workers (and pre-Meiji, war lord govt. workers) , geisha (singers and dancers who provided entertainment in pre-TV days), kimono makers, craftsmen of all kinds (carpenters, potters, etc.), Buddhist priests, Shinto priests, tutors, merchants, doctors etc, all seemed to have had more status than farmers, fishermen and loggers (the basic -- or primary-- collection of energy level of society). But farmers would be higher than some other, little-skilled service jobs, I suppose. I am by no means an expert on this topic. But most people here aim to be "erai hito" at all costs (they want education, a desk job, nice shoes, a beautiful coat, new condo) and have a horror of the kind of life Doug Fine enjoys. But I admire his life and I wish him success!

    And I believe that people here will be subject to the same economic forces as everywhere, not immune. More people will become producers of food here too. But I guess many are not looking forward to it or would be glum if one explained this to them.

    the kind where winters can kill you.

    Bah, the freezing temps are worse on the buildings where the bursting pipes and water contents of the walls won't help ya. Plenty of winter camping books will show you how to be warm in your cold home. A canopy bed with a mylar/air bubble canopy does wonders.

    Now some places like Eau Claire have banned wood stoves - so a stove may not work out for ya.

    My hot water heater has a battery powered pilot light, functions on demand, and will work as long as the NG flows. Saves me a bundle as well.

    The new Bosch tankless hot water heaters have a miniature hydroelectric generator to provide power for the spark ignition from the flow of water.

    Best Hopes,


    Amazing... how much power does this mini hydroelectric generator produce?

    For anyone interested, you can buy them at amazon.com:

    Bosch AquaStar Natural Gas Tankless Water Heater #125HX-NG


    "Unique hydro-generated ignition allows operation without standing pilot, electricity, or battery"

    My heating and hot water is the old-fashioned kind with pilot lights referred to in the article. So in the event of a power outage, I will still have heat and hot water.

    The evolution of central heating is a classic example of trading off resilience for increased efficiency (and comfort). Most systems these days use forced hot air or forced hot water, and these require electrically operated pumps and blowers. Gas boilers with electronic ignition also require electricity to function. My heating contractor informs me that the 750 millivolt systems (which require no electricity) are no longer available.

    That said, I don't think this is an irreversible situation. As soon as utilities are viewed by their customers as being unreliable, redundancy and resilience will quickly make a comeback. If electricity starts to become spotty, boilers which can generate their own power will once again become available.

    RE: Why the demise of civilisation may be inevitable

    Is there a misspelling in the title (and on the web site)?

    Civilisation should have a "z" instead of an "s", or is that a British spelling like "sceptic" instead of "skeptic"?

    E. Swanson

    Yup, it's a British spelling. They use s's in a lot of places we use z's. ("Realise," etc.) And they are a British publication.

    Love the cover...

    Funny on that on the bottom they have "Telepathy, Time travel, and Perpetual Motion" I guess one crazy idea balances out another. ;)

    You are obviously not familiar with The New Scientist. Why would those three things be placed together except to be debunked?

    Small point of order here...

    We dont 'use' s where we should use z.

    You use z where you should use s.

    It is the English language, not the American Language.

    But of course Homer Simpson may be right:

    ' Why do I need to learn English? Its not like I will ever visit England!'.

    We dont 'use' s where we should use z.

    I didn't say you did. I said you use s's where we use z's. Big difference.

    Both forms are actually valid in the UK

    -ise, -ize

    American spelling accepts only -ize endings in most cases, such as organize, recognize, and realize. British usage accepts both -ize and the more French-looking -ise (organise, recognise, realise). However, the -ize spelling is now rarely used in the UK in the mass media and newspapers, and is hence often incorrectly regarded as an Americanism,[35] despite being preferred by some authoritative British sources, including Fowler's Modern English Usage and the Oxford English Dictionary, which until recently did not list the -ise form of many individual words, even as an alternative. Indeed, it firmly deprecates this usage, stating, "[T]he suffix…, whatever the element to which it is added, is in its origin the Gr[eek] -ιζειν, L[atin] -izāre; and, as the pronunciation is also with z, there is no reason why in English the special French spelling in -iser should be followed, in opposition to that which is at once etymological and phonetic."[36] Noah Webster rejected -ise for the same reasons.[37]

    I prefer z's, they make a more phonetic spelling, plus z's are underused in EN-UK ;). It's handy, coz I instal the en-us dictionary.

    Z's are also worth more in Scrabble.

    Then there is the matter of the side of the road you drive on. I spent what seemed like a couple of days trying to drive out of a rental car parking lot (or carpark) in York, when I realized too late that one had to specify an automatic transmission. For those of you have not tried shifting with your left hand, sitting on the right hand side of the car, and driving on the left side of the road (and turning left on a red light, into the left lane), you are in for a real treat. Cars driven by Yanks in the UK should come with large red rotating warning beacons.

    BTW, at the rate that airlines (and dollar) are collapsing, if anyone wants, and can afford, to go to Europe, I would do it sooner, rather than later.

    (and turning left on a red light, into the left lane),

    Mmm, did nobody tell you, Westexas... that is actually ILLEGAL in UK... (and most other places)

    A uniquely N American innovation, in my experience.

    Likewise overtaking on either side!!!

    Maybe that was why everyone was honking at me. It's been a while, it may have just been the left turn into the left lane that fried my brain (not many brain cells left to fry at this point).

    I wonder how many hours a typical computer UPS would give you on those things? There must not be that much of a current draw.

    The weekly natural gas storage numbers:

    Working gas in storage was 1,248 Bcf as of Friday, March 28, 2008, according to EIA estimates. This represents a net decline of 29 Bcf from the previous week. Stocks were 304 Bcf less than last year at this time and 6 Bcf above the 5-year average of 1,242 Bcf.

    We had a drop again this week, unlike last year, when stocks began to build in this period.

    Here's an article about gasoline demand from the Christian Science Monitor:

    With gas costly, drivers finally cut back

    One might also note that with the cost of flying going up due to higher fuel prices (and two airlines bankrupt this week) more people might choose to drive instead of flying on vacations. It's cheaper to drive than fly especially if more than one person is in the car. The price of gasoline is at a record high and the driving season hasn't even started yet.

    E. Swanson

    You can cut your use of gasoline even further by brown-bagging your lunch. I did a simple analysis years ago to find out how much, and have been trying to get everyone I know to do this. The most recent version of this analysis is available at my blog: http://thepoliticaledly.blogspot.com/

    Send it to people you know that think there's nothing that the individual can do. Then ask them to do more.

    On the comedy front, today Hank Paulson is lecturing China on how to properly manage their economy and make their financial markets more "efficient"-I am sure they are hanging on every word from the guru.

    Nothing makes America angrier than people making money free of American interference.

    The Mouth of the South billionaire Ted Turner gets it right but the AJC reports it as a climate change problem.


    "Failure to address global warming will have us all dead or eating each other by mid-century.

    So says Ted Turner, the restaurateur, environmentalist and former media mogul whose controversial comments have earned him the nickname "Mouth of the South."

    "If steps aren't taken to stem global warming, "We'll be eight degrees hotter in 30 or 40 years and basically none of the crops will grow," Turner said during a wide-ranging, hour-long interview with PBS's Charlie Rose that aired Tuesday.

    "Most of the people will have died and the rest of us will be cannibals," said Turner, 69. "Civilization will have broken down. The few people left will be living in a failed state — like Somalia or Sudan — and living conditions will be intolerable."

    One way to combat global warming, Turner said, is to stabilize the population.

    "We're too many people; that's why we have global warming," he said. "Too many people are using too much stuff."

    And I thought Jay Hanson was the doomer's doomer. Hey Ted! Do you read TOD?? B^)

    "Most of the people will have died and the rest of us will be cannibals," said Turner, 69.

    I often call Anthropus ecocidus (or "Homo sapiens" as the species used to be misnamed) the "cannibal ape." Until quite recently, and perhaps even to this day, there have been tribal peoples for whom eating members of their own species was a cultural norm. Sometimes cannibalism had ritualistic overtones and sometimes it was motivated by plain ole hunger. In the more remote past, cannibalism was the norm for most if not all "human" cultures. The congeners A. neandertalensis & A. erectus likewise ate their own kind, and no doubt the three species routinely dined on one another. Cannibalism lingers on symbolically in the eucharist and continues to crop up in the "mentally ill" and in survival situations. The current nearly universal cultural taboo against cannibalism would seem to be an aberration and I have little doubt but what Turner is correct in predicting that biology will reassert itself and the taboo will break down in the post-peak oil world.

    "Most of the people will have died and the rest of us will be cannibals," said Turner, 69

    I think at that age, some people start convincing themselves the future is so dire, dying soon is really not so bad. Either that, or they just delight in messing with our heads ;)

    I think at that age, some people start convincing themselves the future is so dire, dying soon is really not so bad. Either that, or they just delight in messing with our heads ;)

    Well, that's one possibility. Another possibility is that younger people refuse to admit the reality of the coming collapse because they have so much longer to live and hope they can live it in the lap of luxury. The very idea of living in a hell on earth, struggling to for every morsel of food and hoping that someone will not make them their next meal, is just so horrible that they deny, deny and deny the obvious coming reality.

    Said Ron Patterson, 69.


    It is my habit to bring up PO at about every opportunity, so I have had extended discussions with maybe 20 people. I will generally take it as far as they can stand, as I'm, well, not into denial.

    The only two persons with whom the discussion finally came around to cannibalism happened to both be about 25, one male and one female (don't know each other). They seem resigned to the idea. The female, who is a high-school dropout, understands on a conscious level that her purpose in life is to keep her two children alive regardless.

    I think plenty of people have access to that part of their mind that has been selected over centuries to assure their survival and that of their children.

    Errol in Miami

    I'd recommend watching the interview,


    Turner is a lot less dire than these pulled quotes make him sound, while he is clearly very concerned about the many dangerous paths we are on..

    At the end of yesterday's drumbeat, this report was linked from WorldnetDaily, I believe, which had an incredible way with slanting their line. Gotta be careful who you dine with. or on.


    It was just an interesting interview from a really rich guy talking like a doomer-I figured most readers would be intelligent enough to make up their own opinion, numbskull.

    Sorry Brian;
    Wasn't meant as a slam on you. Sorry if it came out that way, but if you're pulling from a source as one-sided as they are, it might not hurt to toss in a light disclaimer. I'd thought you hadn't noticed, or hadn't seen how extreme they've been in the past (which flavored my read of the Turner article.. their relevant history and all)


    No worries-sorry about the extremely dated insult.

    Y'know, could be Turner is just at peace with the inevitability of eating people. If you'd ever negotiated a contract with him you'd believe it.

    And really, why is cannibalism worse than organ donation? An "ethical cannibalism" movement could be a reasonable answer to a lot of things; but it's just a little too sane to advocate, and TOD probably isn't ready for a keypost on it for another 3 years yet, give or take.

    Kudos to Turner; he's nuts, but he gets things done.

    Hello TODers,

    Does General Electric read TOD? Should sulphur go for food or preventing genplant cascading blowbacks towards Olduvai?

    There is a severe global sulfuric acid shortage, driven by several factors including high phosphate fertilizer demand and H2SO4 plant outages across the globe. Prices in some areas have more than doubled. Supply is dwindling. GE Water & Process Technologies can help those who use sulfuric acid in their cooling towers with the following programs....
    I couldn't figure out the original publication date for this link. My guess it is at least a year old.

    EDIT: ..because prices have much more than doubled in many places.

    EDIT2: It does not make me feel any better when a huge company like GE sounds more doomerish than me. Just imagine what their market analysts with access to the latest high-priced statistical reports can do compared to my feeble googling efforts. :(

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

    FYI, I will be giving a talk (presenting Khebab's work) on Peak Oil/Peak Exports at UCSB in Santa Barbara, CA on April 15th:

    For Immediate Release from EnergyClub at UCSB

    Petroleum Geologist Jeffrey J. Brown to talk on
    the impact of “Peak Oil Exports,” April 15 at UCSB

    “Peak Oil: How soon? How serious?” is the title of a free public event to be held on the UCSB campus Tuesday, April 15, at 7 p.m. in Corwin Pavilion.

    Petroleum Geologist Jeffrey J. Brown will discuss the impact of “peak oil exports,” and explain the crucial difference between total world oil supply and the availability of oil for export, including how this difference might affect consumers in the U.S.

    By coincidence I recently attended a two day meeting at this beautiful location. Peak oil was barely mentioned.


    I've been there as well. The campus is basically on the beach, bordered by the Pacific on two sides. They use a overhead photo of the csmpus for recruitment. Very nice.

    I graduated from there--
    Ah, yes Santa Barbara in the 60's and 70's.
    A land far far away, in a much more wonderful time.

    Grateful Dead in the Stadium - I remember bits of it well ...

    I hope you guys weren't the ones who burned the bank. Incidently if westtexas has not been there before he should make a point to arrive early and sit on the student union patio nest door to the meeting to enjoy the view of the lagoon. I hope to be at the lecture though there is some uncertainty that day.

    "Dell Powers Headquarters With Green Energy"

    So much for peak tech, huh Kunstler?

    Hello TODers,

    If outright grain shortages is not enough, how about this additional hammer blow?

    Rust to fertilize food price surge
    By F William Engdahl

    A deadly fungus, known as Ug99, which kills wheat, has likely spread to Pakistan from Africa, according to reports in the British New Scientist. If true, that threatens the vital Asian bread basket, including the Punjab region.

    The spread of the deadly virus, stem rust, against which an effective fungicide does not exist, comes as world grain stocks reach the lowest in four decades and government subsidized bio-ethanol production, especially in the United States, Brazil and the European Union, are taking land out of food production at alarming rates.

    Even if a new resistant variety [of GMO wheat] were ready to be released today it would take two or three years' seed increase in order to have just enough wheat seed for 20% of the acres planted to wheat in the world, CIMMYT agronomists estimate.

    Yes, I mentioned this tho other day, but it bears repeating due to the intersection with ethanol production.

    Pakistan and India produce 100 million tonnes of wheat per year between them. Ug99 is expect to reach India by 2011 and reduce yields by 40-70%.

    Suppose it isn't that bad - only 20%. A 20 million tonne shortfall represents food for 100 million people.

    One would expect wheat, rice and corn prices to soar, and millions to be threaten with starvation. Can you image how popular ethanol is going to be at this point?

    I found this interesting. greening the burbs. seems like something that could happen in the future if needed.

    Permablitz: Near Instant Permaculture for the ‘Burbs

    Hello TODers,

    Lawmakers want to be free from voter restraints

    Staring down a deficit abyss of about $3 billion for this year and next, Arizona lawmakers complain that their efforts to cut spending and balance the budget are stymied by voters.

    Health care for the poor. Spending on schools. Money for clean elections and land conservation. Early-education and health programs for kids, funded by tobacco taxes. Major state programs and big bucks - all off-limits because they are protected by voter-approved initiatives.
    All things considered: if the legislators just abolished flush toilets, then setup huge municipal O-NPK recycling networks--they probably wouldn't have to go against the voters' will for these favored programs plus the budget would probably grow an instant surplus.

    The difficult part is convincing people to strive for reasonable ends versus continuing BAU.

    More likely: My Asphaltistan will crumble in the worst possible manner WTSHTF.

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

    you mentioned that insulin mediated stimulation of the appetite is paradoxical. I would suggest otherwise. Eons ago, when food was plentiful, if there happened to be a brief period of plenty, the members who consumed more (and stored it as fat) would presumably be better able to last through the lean times. Insulin stimulating the appetite would encourage eating as much as possible when food was available. Hence, when petroleum man notes that high insulin levels seem to stimulate the appetite and facilitate fat storage, that's because insulin is working exactly as designed. Most of us reading here probably have NOT been personally involved in any famines, causing us to maintain our fat stores. Hence, the surge in obesity (and diabetes etc, etc) is as predictable as the day following the night as our diet has gradually moved more towards fructose corn syrup ladden consumables.

    As for studies, this one shows that if you have two groups : one can eat whatever they want; the other can eat what ever they want, except no high carb foods. Just write down was was eated. The results showed that eat-what-you-want consumed 3100 calories a day. The eat-what-you-want-but-no-carbs consumed 2100 calories a day.


    After reading Taube's book I have thought about this a lot and I agree with you. It makes sense from an evolutionary perspective. The starches in the diet would be seasonal and therefore having a physiology that could take those calories and store them would be advantageous. Meat on the other hand is much less seasonal.

    81% of Americans polled say the country is off course, the highest ever (poll started in 86)-I wonder what the ceiling is? 99%? http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/04/03/opinion/polls/main3992628.shtml

    Off course ya say...

    We all live in a yellow submarine
    Yellow submarine, yellow submarine
    We all live in a yellow submarine
    Yellow submarine, yellow submarine

    (Full speed ahead Mr. Boatswain, full speed ahead
    Full speed ahead it is, Sgt.
    Cut the cable, drop the cable
    Aye, Sir, aye
    Captain, captain)

    Yellow Submarine

    (I agree that we are way off course).


    Hello TODers,

    As if things aren't already bad enough in Zimbabwe, here is some additional breaking news:

    Zimbabwe police raid Mugabe's rivals and arrest journalists as crackdown begins

    "It is quite clear he has unleashed a war."
    As time goes on, I expect that this could be quite a machete' moshpit.

    See this following link for a photo of a Zim ambulance [I hope it makes you go out and purchase a sleek and sturdy wheelbarrow for your postPeak loved ones]:

    People caked in filth and dressed in rags crowd around the car pressing their faces against the windows, trying to see what the rubbish bags in the back might hold. They are part of a growing army of scavengers who have come to the last place in this collapsing country where they might find something for nothing.
    'Something for nothing'--gee, isn't that Kunstler's basic description of 'Murkans?

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

    Long live Jimmy Carter.
    The man who brought Mugabe to the dead, dying and tortured citizens of Zimbabwe

    The man who brought Hugo Chavez to the citizens of Venezuela -
    in his own words

    And NOW who is enthusiastic about transforming Nepal into another Zimbabwe like paradise*

    Go Jimmy go, show the commoners who is Boss.

    *{Because history has shown that whenever Carter touches an election, a brutal dictator is elected. No doubt with Carter's help, that will be the fate of Nepal}

    Sorry dude, that is pure right-wing drivel. He has observed elections around the world, and what he and other observors attest too is that the elections were fair.

    Kind of wish someone would effing observe ours because our system is completely broken.

    And BTW, Viva Chavez!

    You are an idiot !

    In over two years on TOD, that is the first time that I have made such a declarative statement about anyone, but you deserve it.

    The international observers, of which Jimmy Carter is a prominent member, have observed scores of elections, of which you cherry picked three.

    The role of the international observers is to determine just how fair and honest the elections are, or are not,

    If the people of a nation chose to elect crooks or idiots or people that will strip their civil rights away, that is their choice.

    After all, the United States of America elected GWB and Cheney once.


    Wow, Kunstler is even weirder than I thought!!!