DrumBeat: April 5, 2008

Can't drive 55? How about 65 instead

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Sammy Hagar's protest ballad for speeders would need a 10-mile-per-hour update if a trucking group gets its way.

The American Trucking Associations, which represents trucking companies, is calling for the return of a uniform national speed limit, something this country hasn't seen since the 1990s. But this time the ATA is after something a little more modest: It wants to drop the limit to 65 mph for all cars and trucks.

Skybus becomes third airline this week to close

(CNN) -- Skybus Airlines announced Friday it is shutting down its passenger flights -- becoming the third airline this week to cease operations.

The low-cost carrier couldn't overcome "the combination of rising jet fuel costs and a slowing economic environment," the company said Friday. "These two issues proved to be insurmountable for a new carrier."

Diesel’s second coming - Will Americans finally warm to diesel cars?

So, two decades after vanishing in a puff of smoke, diesels seem poised to reappear on the American landscape. Your correspondent will be among the first to plonk down his cash the moment diesel versions of family runabouts arrive. But he wonders where all the fuel will come from if Americans take to diesels as much as they’ve embraced hybrids.

Fact is, there’s a global shortage of the stuff. That’s why, shorn of tax breaks, diesel costs so much more than petrol. Over the past year, the average price of diesel in America has risen by 117%—twice as fast as petrol. While both carry the same taxes in America, diesel now costs 60 to 70 cents a gallon more than regular gas.

Thailand: Bunker-oil imports to maintain power

Thailand will import 110 million litres of bunker oil to keep generating power until the broken pipeline from Burma's Yetagun gas field can be repaired in 10 days.

Tower Colliery closure prompts coal shortage

SOUTH Wales has been hit by a shortage in top quality fuel since the closure of the area’s most famous colliery.

Coalfields in the region became famous for their anthracite coal, which is the best quality and popular with householders.

But since the closure of the Tower Colliery, coal merchants say they are struggling.

Shell Trans Niger Pipeline Fully Repaired After 'Tampering'

Shell reported that the fire had been started by locals trying to steal oil from the pipeline. The individuals reportedly used a hacksaw to cut into the pipeline.

Middle East atomic moves

A period of hiatus following a wave of Arab nuclear announcements appears to have ended with the signing of a Franco-UAE atomic pact, as Egypt prepares to launch a tender for the country's first nuclear energy plant.

There are strong indications that the UAE deal could constitute the first step in a developing trend of atomic development and competition promoted both by pressing energy needs and regional instability.

Thailand: Rising rice prices fuel fears of food shortages and starvation

BANGKOK (IRIN) - International aid agencies are increasingly worried by the recent dramatic rise in food costs, and particularly rice prices, across Asia and the effect this will have on food assistance projects for the poorest people in the region.

The UN World Food Programme (WFP) is watching the rising price of rice, especially in Thailand, with alarm. “I have sleepless nights,” Jack Keulemans, regional procurement officer for the organisation, told IRIN.

Cuba's organic revolution

The collapse of the Soviet Union forced Cuba to become self-reliant in its agricultural production. The country's innovative solution was urban organic farming, the creation of 'organoponicos'. But will it survive a change of government?

Jordan faces oil price bind

The sharp rise in oil prices over the past year has provided a massive economic boost for many Arab states. In Jordan, however, it has forced the government into a delicate balancing act in order to preserve political and fiscal stability.

Unlike most of its neighbours, Jordan does not sit on vast oil and gas riches. All the same, the kingdom has for many years offered citizens generous subsidies to buy cheap petrol and heating fuel. Yet with oil climbing towards – and recently topping – the $100-a-barrel mark, the cabinet has been forced to reduce subsidies steadily to prevent soaring deficits. In February, they were eliminated entirely.

New Zealand: How long can oil fuel our leisure?

BP says that, taken together, these factors should push the price of petrol past $2 a litre, perhaps as high as $2.40.

That is going to be painful enough if you are filling the family car. What if you run a Cessna C180, a '55 Chevy dragster, a Fi-Glass Dominator outboard boat, or a Centurion battle tank at the weekend?

Is the end fast approaching for petrolheads? Or do people love their hobbies so much they will take the bus to work and save their petrol money for recreation?

Social critic warns, offers hope

WILKES-BARRE – Oil has fueled the engine driving America’s growth, but James Howard Kunstler warned it’s also greasing the nation’s slide down the slippery slope to trouble.

In a wide-ranging hour-long talk Friday morning, the social critic and author of “The Long Emergency” predicted regional fuel shortages, forecasted the end of suburbia, championed a return to railroad travel and held out hope for change.

Kunstler: Upscale

Lovins's long-running emblematic project with that outfit is something they call the "hyper-car," a car that gets such supernaturally great mileage that it will save the human race's threatened Happy Motoring program from extinction. The hyper-car program, which RMI still trumpets to this day, has, of course, the unintended consequence of promoting future car dependency -- which is about the last thing that America needs -- but that hasn't prevented RMI from pushing it. Beyond that, Lovins's RMI program-for-America resembles an actuarial exercise in "carbon credits" and other statistics-based fantasies aimed at inducing theoretically rational behavior among the WalMart executives (and "greening" up WalMart has been another of RMI's consulting projects -- I'm not kidding).

Vermont senators call for oil-price investigation

MONTPELIER -- The state Senate called this week for Attorney General William Sorrell to launch a criminal investigation of major oil companies to see if recent petroleum price increases might involve price-fixing, consumer fraud or other violations of law.

"At the same time that we are paying $3 and $4 a gallon for gas and oil, the oil companies are making record profits, billions and billions of dollars," said Senate President Pro Tem Peter Shumlin, D-Windham. "It's puzzling to us that so few politicians, both on a state and national level, are saying enough is enough."

Oil firms no longer need tax break, but renewable energy does

Bipartisanship is welcome, and renewable energy is essential. But senators shouldn't be so quick to forget about fiscal responsibility.

U.S. DOE To Continue Royalty-In-Kind Strategic Oil Stocks

The U.S. Department of Energy Friday solicited bids for royalty-in-kind, or RIK, oil to fill the Strategic Petroleum Reserve by up to 13 million barrels from August to December.

Outcry Muted Over New Colorado Oil and Gas Rules

After all the griping and gnashing of teeth over the new rules for oil and gas production in Colorado, it was perhaps inevitable that the actual draft regulations, which were released this week, were less inflammatory than the industry rhetoric would have led you to believe.

Central Asia’s Looming Water Wars

Fans of Thomas Homer-Dixon know the story—way back in 1992 (pdf), he was one of the early voices raising serious concern about conflicts arising from resource competition. And to bring things close to home for our readers, Tajikistan is thirsty, and this past winter has faced severe electricity shortages because its hydroelectric power plants froze. Indeed, since the Pamirs in Tajikistan see the head of so many rivers that flow into neighboring countries, Tajikistan has seen a rise in tension over water use rights and national boundaries along the Ferghana Valley.

A Crude Source of Welfare

"In short, apparently these countries need the price of oil to stay high to pay for their welfare expenses…which means that they will necessarily be raising oil prices again pretty soon…"

Fuel shortages cause price hikes Nigeria

With massive fuel shortages in the north of Nigeria since mid March, transport costs have doubled exacerbating food prices.

Pakistanis face food shortage

Due to the previous administration’s reluctance to reduce subsidies for food and fuel, the government is saddled with a widening fiscal deficit.

While wanting to alleviate the hardship of the poor, the new government will face some painful economic choices.

Chile sees higher diesel imports in '08

SANTIAGO (Reuters) - Chile's diesel imports should grow 5-10 percent in 2008 from a year earlier due to a domestic fuel shortage, state oil company ENAP said on Friday, with consumption expected to spike in the coming winter months.

Bangladesh: Biofuel production hits food security?

Biofuel emerged as an alternative fuel to benefit the biotech companies and the trans-national corporations (TNCs) which claim that biofuel is a unique `green innovation' of the modern technology sensitive to the environment, ecology and the poor. Refuting this TNC claim, reputed and established scientists of the world are saying that the TNC claim is contrary to the reality as biofuel production causes food scarcity and environmental degradation. That by propagating this, they are rather committing crime against humanity.

Fuel prices will make big trucker shortage even bigger

Albany-- Gas prices hit another record Friday and truck drivers say they continue to be hit the hardest. This week, many independent truckers went on strike. Some even threatened to leave the industry altogether because of rising fuel prices.

This adds to the already huge trucker shortage nationwide. It'll only get bigger. The record diesel prices even has future truckers worried about their livelihood before they even get in the cab.

Diesel fuel cost a big load for truckers

Reducing idling time can only save so much, and some drivers claim the big trucking firms are cutting corners by reducing the number of employees for whom they pay benefits.

“I’ve been a truck driver for 17 years,” said Brian Chrans, originally from Indian Harbor Beach, Fla., but now of Ludington. “Three years ago I was making $140,000 a year, plus, but now, as of about two weeks ago, the company I was working for can’t afford to pay me anymore.”

Chrans claims the trucking industry is telling the public there is a driver shortage to keep the turnover high, so they don’t have to pay benefits. “A trucking company will entice you to work with them, and in 90 days, they will look at a driver to try and see how to get him out the door,” Chrans said.

Fukuda calls for people's effort to fight global warming

"Efforts by only the government and the industry are not good enough for measures against global warming," he said after the meeting in Toyako, a mountain resort on the northern island of Hokkaido, where the next Group of Eight rich nations summit will be held in July.

"We want all the people to participate. We want them to seek a change in lifestyle," he added.

Nations take first step to climate deal

BANGKOK (AFP) - More than 160 nations agreed late Friday on the first step to drafting an ambitious new treaty on global warming after hours of haggling between rich and poor countries.

House Republican Whip Blunt says U.S. Dependence on OPEC Jumps Seven Points in a Year thanks to the majority’s misguided energy strategy.

U.S. reliance on the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) grew from 50.9 percent of total crude imports in 2006 to 57.6 percent in 2007.

That is actually an increase of 6.7 percent of our total petroleum imports that came from OPEC. The actual
barrels imported from OPEC increased slightly more. I ran the numbers and found that imports from OPEC countries increased 8.46 percent from 2006 to 2007. Imports were 2,013,603,000 barrels in 2006 and 2,183,964,000 barrels in 2007.

However I fail to see where Representative Blunt can blame this on the Democrats misguided energy strategy. I wonder what would have happened if the Republicans were in the majority? And after all, the Republicans did have the Presidency. I think it really shows a person’s ignorance when they blame the opposite party for the terrible energy mess this nation is in. The whole world is in the same mess, is the opposite party responsible for that also?

The blame, methinks, lies elsewhere.

Ron Patterson

The blame game will still be getting played a time long after people are queing for bread, rice and flour. Unfortunately as the mess unravels much of it will still not be connected (in the minds of the sheeple) to peak oil / peaking resources. Instead it will all just have been the failure of some party, some group, some government.


We would be a couple of weeks into the construction of the Tysons Corner-Dulles extension of DC Metro (thereby stimulating the economy) and saving 20,000 to 25,000 b/day of oil when completed & built out if it were not for the last minute, unexpected kill by the Bush Administration.


It is painful to think how much public transport could be added to the system if not for the war in Iraq. $600,000,000,000 - thats $1500/good bicycle and all gear required for every man woman and child in the US. God only knows how many kms of trams/busses that would have bought.

true, and add to that,that all the Iraqi oil would still reach the world market one or the other way. Status Q as for oil supply in other words, but subtract all US-military-oil used and add that to the civil market ...

Man, how bad has not that war been and still is ... in regards to all possible parameters.

BTW where is the world police (US/UN) on Zimbabwe? Mugabe is 1000-times worse than Saddam in my eyes!
....ahh stupid me, no oil !

I don't know the situation in Zimbabwe and I don't defend Mugabe. But there is no world police, only the UN and the US, and the UN follows the baton of the US, even though sometimes reluctantly. That Mugabe has gotten the media attention he's gotten means there is something in Zimbabwe the US or the western powers want -- otherwise you wouldn't be hearing about him, anymore than, say, you do about the Saudi rulers or any number of others. You can be sure the US rulers don't give a damn about the killing, whatever its scale, in Darfur -- they care about the Chinese eating "their" lunch. That's the only reason for the media blitz. Same thing too with Tibet and China. I'm sure the Tibetans are getting shat upon by the Chinese gov't. But I'm also sure that the scale of what's happening doesn't remotely compare to what the US is doing to Iraq (and Afghanistan). All this stuff is no doubt real to one extent or another, but the way media attention is portioned out is very much managed and selective, and serves ends that are far from humanitarian. Give me control of the spotlight and ...

Dave, I find your post cynical and silly, without any reason or logic, only accusatory. The media reports on Mugabe because he is news. The "rulers" of the US as you call them, do not rule the media. And the media in the US print or broadcast whatever they damn well please. Neither Bush nor Congress tell them what to print about Zimbabwe, Darfur or Tibet.

And when you say the "US" does not give a damn about the killing in Darfur, just who are you talking about? It is the Chinese who are ignoring the massive genocide in Darfur, not the US or UN. It is the Chinese who do not have a free press and are able to buy oil from the purveyors of genocide without a uttering a word of objection. And not a word of it is reported in the Chinese press.

I am just as pissed off about what is happening in Iraq as anyone, (but not Afghanistan). I think Bush is the worst President in US history but that does not lessen the horror of what is going on in Darfur, Tibet or Zimbabwe. And the US press has every right, indeed a duty, to report on atrocities going on there.

but the way media attention is portioned out is very much managed and selective, and serves ends that are far from humanitarian.

The media has two masters, its subscribers and its advertisers. And contrary to popular belief their advertisers do not control content. Witness CNN and CNBC and virtually every other media outlet chastising WalMart, one of their largest advertisers, for taking the proceeds of a lawsuit from a disable victim of an accident. Also when auto safety test are run, they give the results in great detail regardless of which of their advertisers it hurts. They are far more concerned with ratings than how the news will affect advertisers. Because if their ratings are good, the advertisers will come regardless.

If you had been following the US press you would realize that they are not at all friendly toward Bush and the Iraqi war. In fact all except Fox and a few others are usually extremely critical and continually hammer both Bush and Congress daily. So just where do you get off saying that they would not be reporting on Mugabe unless there was something there there the US wants?

Ron Patterson

Very naive, Ron.
The same interests control the media and congress / US gov. They own both. They own you too.

Bl4 or whatever you are called, Congress IS the US Government, or at least a large part of it. And it is not only extremely naive to think the government controls everything, it is just downright dumb. If the government controls the media then the media would not beat up on the government all the time. No government in the history of the world has ever taken the pounding that the press and the US mass media dishes out to our government. They hammer them every chance they get. They hammer them because they deserve it, they hammer them because they are inept and they hammer them because their reading and watching public just love it. The press cater to their subscribers at the expense of those inept fools in government who so justly deserve being exposed for what they are.

But you conspiracy theory wingnuts believe everything is controlled clandestinely by "The Powers That Be" or "The Government" or "The Elites" or " The Bilderberg Group" or "The Trilateral Commission" or "The Bankers" or "The Jewish Conspiracy" or some other crap like that.

All such positions are absolutely silly. But I guess it takes all kinds. You guys sure add a little hilarity in my life.

Ron Patterson


You are always so sure about "the world according to Ron". Maybe, just maybe, you should admit that you dont know it all.

You and I had an argument once about the FED directing the buying of shares through Repos and Pomos. You did not even know what it was then, but you argued that they are not "allowed" to do that. Except they did and they are.
Now they financed the buying of a whole company (Bear Stearns), and I have not heard you say a thing about that.

Empty pots make the most noise.


IMHO, your conspiracy theory on this subject is based totally on emotion. You strongly desire to believe that e.g. members of the US Congress or Senate are "inept fools". One could quantify exactly how much money per annum being a member of Congress or Senate is worth, and it is huge. The actual salary is dwarfed by the total amount. Inept, stupid people don't just continually fall into money as you need to believe-sure, they are hammered by the MSM for being "inept" just like they call Mozillo "inept".

As far as I am concerned, I have seen way too many laws and tax breaks passed for "special interests".

I feel most congressmen are whores, paid to do the bidding of the payer.

Any politician failing to "play the game" is economically forced to yield his power to one who will.

I do not subscribe to the concept that Members of Congress are inept fools... but I do think they are prostitutes, driven by lobbyists.

The Congressman does what he has to do in his environment to survive.

Unless the people organize a uproar, the lobbyists get their way.

This is the reason we can "justify" things like the Kelo vs. New London crap while simultaneously holding people who share music liable for criminal copyright infringement - even when we promise "justice for all" in exchange for "I pledge Allegiance".

Bit by bit the people are taxed more and more to pay for the largesse of the organizations represented by the lobbyist.

Yes, we have a good government system... but we the people MUST be vigilant. We aren't. We are allowing others to enslave us.



Thank you. One of the downsides of writing in things that talk about real issues is that they are often filled with conspiracy theory nutjobs. Politicians probably dream of having the power that people sometimes give them credit for.

This just reminded me of a story I read that some of the Taliban in Afghanistan thought that we had a kind of "smart dust" that they could get on them and we could then track them from the dust. That would be pretty interesting, wouldn't it?

But you conspiracy theory wingnuts

http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Conspiracy Features quotes from 'wingnuts' like:

- Winston Churchill, 1922
- Woodrow Wilson, The New Freedom (1913)
- Benjamin Disraeli, first Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, in a novel he published in 1844 called Coningsby, the New Generation
- Congressman Larry P. McDonald, 1976, killed in the Korean Airlines 747 that was shot down by the Soviets.
- Andrew Jackson, letter, April 26, 1824
- Thomas W. Lawson Frenzied Finance, 1905
- Reginald McKenna, President of the Midlands Bank of England
- Professor Carroll Quigley, Tradgey and Hope: A History of the World in Our Time, 1966
- Congressman Louis T. McFadden, Chairman of the House Banking and Currency Committee
- Grace Commission Report, submitted to President Ronald Reagan on January 15, 1984
- John F. Kennedy, speech at Columbia University, 10 days before his assassination
- Senator Claiborne Pell, Senate Intelligence Committe member, commenting on a USA/USSR treaty signed in 1978
- US Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter
- Congressman Louis T. McFadden, Chairman of the House Banking and Currency Committee, June 20, 1932
- John Sherman letter sent to New York bankers, Morton, and Gould, in support of the then proposed National Banking Act,June 25, 1863
― Congressman Louis T. McFadden
-Thomas Jefferson, letter to then Secretary of the Treasury, Albert Gallatin, 1802
― Sir Josiah Stamp - president of the Bank of England in the 1920’s and the second richest man in Britain
― Henry Ford, Sr. — American Developer of the Automobile (Emerging Struggle pg. 165)
― Congressman Louis T. McFadden, Chairman of House Banking Committee 1921 through 1931 — in a speech made before the House in 1934
― Robert H. Hemphill (Credit Manager of Federal Reserve Bank, Atlanta, Ga.)
― Congressman Louis McFadden, Chairman of House Comm. on Banking and Currency from 1920 to 1931 (Shadows of Power, pg. 23
― Reginald McKenna, Chancellor of England’s Exchequer, January 1924
― Willis A. Overholser, LL.B - in History of Money in the United States.

All such positions are absolutely silly

Yup. Silly. People like US Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter Winston Churchill are silly gooses.

You guys sure add a little hilarity in my life.

Well, I'm sure all the above quoted people are happy to provide you with snickers and giggles.

Ya Gonna believe me or your lying eyes?

Instead of another peak oil book, read Creature from Jekyll Island next.

I think that book was a standard part of the Liberty Dollar membership.

Ron, it is no conspiracy theory that the US gov't, Executive Branch, controls media. This is simple fact. The NYT sat on the wiretap story for a YEAR. What was the time frame, eh? Let's see they revealed it in 2005... wasn't there an election in... 2004? Given how close the election was, do you think there was a chance it might have turned out differently?

Please. Don't ignore facts due to a visceral reaction to "conspiracy theorists." A few conspiracies we know DID happen: The USS Liberty, Tonkin Gulf, NYT and warrantless wiretapping, extraordinary renditions, Saddam attacked the US!!, the Reichstag fire, Abu Ghraib cover-up, Watergate, Pentagon publishing propaganda as news (current war in Iraq), etc.

I'm always amazed by the "It can't happen NOW" response.


Ron, there's a movie call War Made Easy. I saw it a few weeks ago in NY. But it's available on DVD. Watch it.

Or google: cia media control, cia mockingbird, etc.

Or: did you see the David Frost interview with Bhutto where Bhutto identified one of her possible assassins the killer of bin Laden. No? Why not? Did you know that a former Star Wars chief, a asst tres'y secretary and father of Reaganomics (plus many, many others worth noting) accuse the gov't of complicity in 911? How much do you see about the depleted uranium being dumped over Iraq and Afghanistan? (I'm not talking about being sympathetic to any of this -- just about reporting it!)

Or try http://www.projectcensored.org/

The "rulers" of the US as you call them, do not rule the media. And the media in the US print or broadcast whatever they damn well please. Neither Bush nor Congress tell them what to print about Zimbabwe, Darfur or Tibet.

I cannot believe what I'm hearing. Do you honestly believe that there is a free press in the United States? Maybe there is in the so-called "free speech zones", where people can say what they want in the middle of nowhere so long as nobody is around to hear them. American media is consolidated into very few hands. About 6 for-profit (right-wing) corporations control the vast majority of what Americans see on television. And since 1975, 2/3 of independent newspapers have vanished. Very few liberal voices are left in main stream media. And the Bush administrarion is very supportive of loosening the rules even further to allow for more consolidation. So I believe the truth is somewhere in the middle of your arguments. It is unlikely that leading government officials sit in their thrones and dictate what will be shown on every channel and in every newspaper, but the press certainly is not free (at least the major names that are widely watched). I mean, FOX news was still reporting that WMDs had been found in Iraq as late as July 2004. It is no wonder that so many Americans live in the dark about what is actually going on in the world. Consolidation has dramatically affected the quality and diversity of information available to the public.

Okay, I am not going to respond to any more of you conspiracy theory wingnuts, people who believe everything that is printed or broadcast in the media is controlled by...by....somebody. (Almost every wingnut has a different media controller.) Hell, I do have my standards you know. I have set the bar very low as to the type of post I will respond to. And most of the responses I read are way below that.

Ron Patterson

Okay, I am not going to respond to any more of you conspiracy theory wingnuts

IS that a promise?

Hell, I do have my standards you know.

Yes, that would be calling heads of state and court members 'silly'.

Good thing we'll never hear you comment on this JFK quote about the press and government interaction:

The very word "secrecy" is repugnant in a free and open society; and we are as a people inherently and historically opposed to secret societies, to secret oaths and to secret proceedings. We decided long ago that the dangers of excessive and unwarranted concealment of pertinent facts far outweighed the dangers which are cited to justify it. Even today, there is little value in opposing the threat of a closed society by imitating its arbitrary restrictions. Even today, there is little value in insuring the survival of our nation if our traditions do not survive with it. And there is very grave danger that an announced need for increased security will be seized upon by those anxious to expand its meaning to the very limits of official censorship and concealment. That I do not intend to permit to the extent that it is in my control. And no official of my Administration, whether his rank is high or low, civilian or military, should interpret my words here tonight as an excuse to censor the news, to stifle dissent, to cover up our mistakes or to withhold from the press and the public the facts they deserve to know.

But I do ask every publisher, every editor, and every newsman in the nation to reexamine his own standards, and to recognize the nature of our country's peril. In time of war, the government and the press have customarily joined in an effort based largely on self-discipline, to prevent unauthorized disclosures to the enemy. In time of "clear and present danger," the courts have held that even the privileged rights of the First Amendment must yield to the public's need for national security

And a bit later....

It requires a change in outlook, a change in tactics, a change in missions--by the government, by the people, by every businessman or labor leader, and by every newspaper. For we are opposed around the world by a monolithic and ruthless conspiracy that relies primarily on covert means for expanding its sphere of influence--on infiltration instead of invasion, on subversion instead of elections, on intimidation instead of free choice, on guerrillas by night instead of armies by day. It is a system which has conscripted vast human and material resources into the building of a tightly knit, highly efficient machine that combines military, diplomatic, intelligence, economic, scientific and political operations.

Can't you find a different forum for this stuff?

When Ron stops with his position of 'all conspiracy talk is silly' - I won't have to dig up people for Ron to call silly.

All this conspiracy talk among people who believe in global warming? I believe in global warming myself, but there are people that say global warming doesn't exist and that it's a conspiracy to move create emissions controls that would move jobs to other countries that don't have emissions regulations, among others. The government/"others paying off scientists to say there is an issue that isn't real is more plausible than the government controling the media, the economy, and all political dialogue to serve "themselves".

Head, meet sand.

There is a free press in the United States. Just because the press isn't run the way you want, and doesn't cover the stories you want, doesn't mean there isn't a free press. If you want to know the difference between the presence and absence of a free press, there are plenty of countries you can visit. Your rhetoric comes from a seriously parochial perspective.

There is a free press in the United States.


As one of the Presidents said:

But I do ask every publisher, every editor, and every newsman in the nation to reexamine his own standards, and to recognize the nature of our country's peril. In time of war, the government and the press have customarily joined in an effort based largely on self-discipline, to prevent unauthorized disclosures to the enemy. In time of "clear and present danger," the courts have held that even the privileged rights of the First Amendment must yield to the public's need for national security

And your point is what, exactly?

A president asking reporters not to act as the enemy's forward observation officers does not mean the press isn't free. Again, if you would like to learn what it means not to have a free press, there are plenty of countries you can visit.

For the daily cost of the Iraq War ($343,000,000 per day), 9,800 homes could be electrified with 4kW solar electric systems each day. For the yearly cost of the Iraq War ($125,000,000,000 per year), 3,557,000 homes could be electrified with 4kW solar electric systems each year. For the total appropriated cost of the Iraq War ($607,000,000,000 through FY08), 17,342,857 homes could have been electrified with 4kW solar electric systems.

Sources and Calculations:
*Congressman Murtha on the daily cost of the War in Iraq: http://www.murtha.house.gov/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=39...
*Congressional Joint Economic Committee on the total appropriated cost of the War in Iraq: http://www.jec.senate.gov/Documents/Releases/11.13.07IraqReportRelease.pdf

Number of Residential Solar Electric (PV) Systems Installed
- $8.75 per Watt Installed is the current cost of residential solar electric systems
- 4,000 Watt Solar Electric System installed is $35,000 ($8.75 x 4,000)
- $343,000,000 / $35,000 = 9,800 Residential Solar Systems Installed Per Day
- $125,000,000,000 / $35,000 = 3,577,000 Residential Solar Systems Installed Per Year
- $607,000,000,000 / $35,000 = 17,342,857 Residential Solar Systems Installed through FY08

Calculating Total Solar Electric Power Production
- Total System Size (kW) Installed per Day for $393 Million = 39,200 (4kW x 9,800 systems)
- Total System Size (kW) Installed per Year for $1.25 Billion = 14,308,000 (4kW x 3,577,000 systems)
- Total System Size (kW) Installed through FY08 for $607 Billion = 69,371,429 (4kW x 17,342,857 systems)

- Hours of "Peak" Sunlight per Day = 4.47 (From NOAA Database)
- Conversion Efficiency = 0.77 (Industry standard assumption)

- kW-Hours (kWh) per Day Generated for $343 Million = 134,922 (kW Installed per Day x Peak Sun Hours per Day x Conversion Efficiency)
- kWh Generated per Day for $125 Billion = 49,246,705 (kW Installed per Year x Peak Sun Hours per Day x Conversion Efficiency)
- kWh Generated per Day for $607 Billion = 238,769,520 (Total kW Installed for $607 Billion x Peak Sun Hours per Day x Conversion Efficiency)
- kWh Generated per Year for $607 Billion = 87,150,874,800 (kWh per Day Generated for $607 Billion x 365)

- MW-Hours (MWh) Generated per Day for $343 Million = 135 (Total kWh Generated per Day for $343 Million/1000)
- MWh Generated per Day for $125 Billion = 49,247 (Total kWh Generated per Day for $125 Billion/1000)
- MWh Generated per Day for $607 Billion = 238,770 (Total kWh Generated per Day for $607 Billion/1000)
- MWh Generated per Year for $607 Billion = 87,150,875 ((Total kWh Generated per Day for $607 Billion/1000) x 365)

Solar Electric Power produced over 30 Years
- 9,800 PV Installations in kWh/Year x 30 Years = 1,477,401,156 (kWh Generated per Day for $343 Million x 365 days x 30 years)
- 3,577,000 PV Installations in kWh/Year x 30 Years = 539,251,421,970 (kWh Generated per Day for $125 Billion x 365 days x 30 years)
- 17,342,857 PV Installations in kWh/Year x 30 Years = 2,614,526,244,000 (kWh Generated per Day for $607 Billion x 365 days x 30 years)

- 9,800 PV Installations in MWh/Year x 30 Years = 1,477,401 ((kWh Generated per Day for $343 Million x 365 days x 30 years)/1000)
- 3,577,000 PV Installations in MWh/Year x 30 Years = 539,251,422 ((kWh Generated per Day for $125 Billion x 365 days x 30 years)/1000)
- 17,342,857 PV Installations in MWh/Year x 30 Years = 2,614,526,244 ((kWh Generated per Day for $607 Billion x 365 days x 30 years)/1000)

You can cut a hell of a lot of cost out of that by using micro systems and having individuals/communities build their own.

I can build a solar over that will go to nearly 300F for ten bucks.

You can build a windmill for a few hundred bucks - or less.


Methinks the bad energy policy from Washington has spanned many Congresses, party majorities, and presidents since Ford and Carter. For many moons they have been going out of their way around our mountain of coal here in America and our ability to build massive solar and LNG infrastructure to make us dependent on politically unstable crude with its ELM problems. And when they do decide to take massive action, we get corn ethanol, no foreign oil displacement, and massive food inflation from them. It's like they are doing nearly all they can to create an oil crisis.

And an economic crisis.


The whole world is in the same mess, is the opposite party responsible for that also? The blame, methinks, lies elsewhere.

I guess to a turkey other turkeys look different but here in the 'whole' world Republican an Democrat birds look the same, just more trouble. War and debt, that is what the world gets from both those parties.

That American Experiment or narcissist's wet dream is some big failure. Wouldn't it be nice to sweep all it's failed apparatus into that trash can called history? Methinks, Ron Patterson, you could start looking for something that cooks the lab book for more than a select few.

Methinks, Ron Patterson, you could start looking for something that cooks the lab book for more than a select few.

CrystalRadion, did you not understand a word of that last sentence?

The whole world is in the same mess, is the opposite party responsible for that also?

Get that Crystal, the whole damn world! That was my exact point, that this is not a problem for just the US but a problem for the entire world. And the second half of that sentence was pure sarcasm. That being said, I do not need to start looking for something that cooks the lab books for the entire world, I know exactly where the fault lies. To quote John Gray: It is a consequence of the evolutionary success of an exceptionally rapacious primate.

No one is to blame CrystalRadio, the human population stumbled upon the detritus of millions of years of past life. This supplied us with massive amounts of food and energy. The extra food enabled our population to explode. Also all that extra energy enabled us to create the means by which to employ and keep alive the massive population that all that extra food begat.

There are no villains in this drama CR, only victims.

Ron Patterson

It is a consequence of the evolutionary success of an exceptionally rapacious primate.

No one is to blame CrystalRadio, the human population stumbled upon the detritus of millions of years of past life. This supplied us with massive amounts of food and energy. The extra food enabled our population to explode. Also all that extra energy enabled us to create the means by which to employ and keep alive the massive population that all that extra food begat.

There are no villains in this drama CR, only victims.

Ron Patterson

You know what, Ron Patterson? I think you just summed up the situation in a nutshell. I think yours is one of the most rational & accurate posts I've read on here. (And Nate claims I never agree with anybody...)

"There are no villains in this drama CR, only victims."

The Republican house leader sure as shit is a villain in the piece, as is everyone else engaged in the game of obfuscation in order to realize their personal aims of political power or personal wealth.
Liars are villains, not victims.

the human population stumbled upon the detritus of millions of years of past life. This supplied us with massive amounts of food and energy. The extra food enabled our population to explode. Also all that extra energy enabled us to create the means by which to employ and keep alive the massive population that all that extra food begat.

There are no villains in this drama CR, only victims

VERY good, Ron, I'm saving that paragraph to quote you, it's remarkably succint & salient....

yet what I added in my mind was that there also are no evil geniuses and massive conspiracies, only poor fools doing what it feels good to do. And the victims may be the other species.


You blame OIL!?

Sorry but without villains you have no drama, but maybe you are right and we live within a farce and we will never rise above being and making monkeys of ourselves.

In that low comedy of course we never blame ourselves or the leaders. The USA has behaved badly as a world leader and NO this is not some delusion on my part, it has played it's role worse than the British Empire did. But there can be no blame attached when the wise make and sell salad shooters of Kunstler to 'Joe Six Pack'. (By the way I really have an issue about how many on this site tend to view the common man as 'Joe Six Pack' shit when you don't have respect for your own countrymen how can anyone else have respect for you, very elitist and twerpy that!) Anyway about the US (leave Canada's sins, of which there are many, out for now) Kyoto was a real turning point and went south when the US walked away but of course it is all genetic so none to blame, God made us do it.

Sorry it won't wash, I don't buy the crap that there are no villains. To those who have been given much, much is expected. We have been given much and wasted it and we wont get it back with lame things like it aint me it's the whole world , I aint to blame Mama everybody was doing it. I think many nations would try to accept their responsibilities and many do try but the USA (and Canada) and us as individuals are not even trying, yet we use the greater part of the worlds goodies. Ah Phooey!

You blame OIL!?

CrystalRadio, either you cannot read or you cannot comprehend what you have just read. Here is what I wrote: I know exactly where the fault lies. To quote John Gray: It is a consequence of the evolutionary success of an exceptionally rapacious primate. Now does that sound like I am blaming oil?

We owe the overcrowding of the earth, the destruction of our environment, to our evolutionary success as a species. We are competing with every other species on earth for food and territory, and we are winning, big time! We behave this way because such behavior led to our survival as a species over millions of years of evolution.

It just happened. It was just natural that once we found this detritus that we spend it. We did it because it was just in our nature to do so. We used it to produce massive amounts of food and trinkets. That has made us fat and wealthy. It was just the natural thing for us to do. If there are villains then they are us. That is, the villains are Homo sapiens.

We have met the enemy and he is us. Pogo

- As for pointing to our mental failures with scorn or dismay, we might as well profess disappointment with the mechanics of gravity or the laws of thermodynamics. In other words, the degree of disillusionment we feel in response to any particular human behavior is the precise measure of our ignorance of its evolutionary and genetic origins.
- Reg Morrison, The Spirit in the Gene

Ron Patterson

John Gray is wrong.

If we were an especially rapacious primate, only concerned with bettering ourselves at someone or something else's expense, the tribal model would never have worked and we'd already have died out.

For the last several thousand years, the cooperative social structure inherent to our origins has been broken by civilization's unmanageable complexity, and we've shored up the damage through hierarchical manipulation of ever-increasing resource usurpation from outside our system.

The overcrowding, the mass extinctions, the depletion of natural resources, the soiling of the ecosystem, and the changing of the climate are all unintended consequences of our inability to effectively meet the ever-increasing levels of complexity which resulted from previous "solutions".

Unfortunately, there's no way to go back to the sustainable tribal model given where we are now.

There are only two choices:
1. A hybrid tribal-civilized model which would self-organize the way all sustainable living mechanisms do.
2. Extinction.

To meet choice #1, we would at a minimum need to give up our dreams of absolute control and our fears of the inevitable.

We are currently headed for choice #2 at blinding speed.

$deity i hate these black and white views..
'it was advantageous to fight other tribes of humans to survive'
'it was advantageous to co-operate with other tribes of humans to survive'

in reality neither are completely false, view one is true when resources were limited and 'scattered' in a wide area, in this case any two groups meeting each other can't tolerate the other's presence least it doom's BOTH to death. similar to two pack's of wolves who's territory overlap in a area that can only support one.

view two is true when either resources are abundant in a area, co-operation would allow the gathering of allot more then they would both normally be able to gather. or when resources are scarce but not scattered over a wide area, this would also allow them to maximize the use of said resources.

"Sorry but without villains you have no drama..."

"But there can be no blame attached when the wise make and sell salad shooters of Kunstler to 'Joe Six Pack'. (By the way I really have an issue about how many on this site tend to view the common man as 'Joe Six Pack' shit...very elitist and twerpy that!)"

"We have been given much and wasted it and we wont get it back with lame things like it aint me it's the whole world , I aint to blame Mama everybody was doing it."

OK, Crystal, I'll buy the implied point that absolute genetic determinism is going a little too far.

But now I've wiped away the crocodile tears for the poor, abused Joe and Jane Sixpack, Fred Nurk, M. Untel, Mme. Unetelle, Jan Janssen, or whoever, all of whom eagerly lap up Kunstler's salad shooters, to say nothing of limitless quantities of moronic teevee rubbish and much else. So I'm ready to ask: do Joe, Jane, and the others share in any way in the responsibility for their condition, or does responsibility fall only on "the wise", with Joe and Jane riding along strictly as idiot passengers? The second and third quotes from your essay seem to contradict each other on that point.

As to that second quote, I will assert that if Joe and Jane are such stupid schmucks that it is unfair to expect them to take any part of the responsibility, then they don't deserve any respect. And I will also observe that not just in the USA, but in many European and other countries, the very law holds them unworthy of respect. For one example among many, strict regulations on political campaigns, regulations that make a mockery of freedom of speech, are premised precisely on the notion that Joe, Jane, Untel, Unetelle, and all the rest, are such sorry specimens of foolish unthinking rubbish that not only is it unfair to expect that they could ever see past the money, but it is unfair to such a fantastic degree that it is actually best to have the incumbents appoint staff to commissions to ration political speech.

Given those attitudes in the law - to say nothing of simple common sense - in the event I need anything demanding knowledge and care - anything from bicycle repair to brain surgery - I will surely go to an expert - a member of the elite - and certainly not to Joe, Jane, or Untel. As will Jane, Joe, and Untel, and for even the most trivial matters. After all, they know themselves, so day in and day out, for example, they happily fork over vast sums to multimillionaires to entertain them, rather than try to set their own empty minds at finding something to do. So I airily dismiss your complaint about elitism as nothing more than politically-correct bullshnarkey.

BTW, as to Kyoto, it looks more and more like most of the European signatories are doing just what Europeans almost always seem to do: making grand pious noises in public while doing precisely as they please in private. At least the US Senate, such as it is, had the gumption to turn the stinking thing down 95-0 rather than play foolish pretend games. And anyway, who cares, as the only responsibility Kyoto assigned to most of the world was to sit around on their behinds and rake in monetary handouts (though I do wonder how much of that largess will actually be forthcoming.) IOW it's a load of cobblers.

So yes, phooey indeed!

Oh dear, I think I must be in the presence of a bloated plutocrat worth millions of dollars for every brain cell he has or else just another poor mug who has been had. I think you have made my point better than anything I could say. Thanks pal:)

Sorry PaulS, that was rather unkind and of course superficial, but go look up what has happened just since the repeal of Breton Woods as an instance. Breton Woods was good for all Americans but not so good for the few responsible for removing it. Take a snapshot of Breton Woods America and another of today's America without it and see what YOU think. The elite in America today is not an intellectual elite.

Oops that's two t's in Bretton. I must be richer than I thought!

There are no villains in this drama CR, only victims.

No, no, NO, you've got it ass-backwards. It's really 'There are no VICTIMS, only VILLAINS.'

We all deserve what we get. And we should have gotten it much, much sooner.

It looks like most of that increase in US imports from OPEC is simply due to the fact that Angola joined OPEC in 2007. So oil imports from Angola shifted from the non-OPEC column in 2006 to the OPEC column in 2007:

U.S. reliance on the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) grew from 50.9 percent of total crude imports in 2006 to 57.6 percent in 2007:
even when accounting for Angola's entry into OPEC, US dependence increased to 52.9 percent in 2007.

which implies over 2/3 of the increase in dependence is simply a result of this Angola shift. If so, it's to say the last pretty dishonest of Blunt to try to score policital points from that 57.6% number.

Indirect Transit Savings Twice Direct Savings

A new APTA article came out last week (I am still digesting it).

Most noteworthy quote

The model in the current paper confirms the hypothesis that public transportation availability has a significant secondary effect on VMT beyond the primary effect of using transit. The secondary effect is mainly generated through land use patterns. The magnitude of the secondary effect is approximately twice as large as the primary effect of actual public transit trips

A short overview by Laurence Aurbach


And the paper itself


Best Hopes for TOD,


From the release fact sheet [my bold]:

* Between 1982 and 2006, vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in the U.S. have increased by 47 percent per person, from an average of 6,800 miles per year for every man, woman and child to almost 10,000 miles per year.

* During this same period, national consumption of oil for transportation rose from 3.4 to 5.1 billion barrels per year - every additional barrel consumed results in more fuel imports, more money spent by consumers on fuel, more money sent over seas and more carbon dioxide and other pollutants emitted into the air.

* U.S. greenhouse gases (GHGs) from transportation represent 33% of total U.S. GHG emissions -automobiles and light trucks are the largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions from mobile sources.

Best Hopes for TOD,


MEED has an article about Saudi natural gas.

Gas hunt should be stepped up

It's behind a paywall, but can be read if you go in through Google News.

In Saudi Arabia alone, consumption is forecast to rise threefold to 14.5 billion cubic feet a day (cf/d) over the next two decades.

The situation is even more pressing in other Middle East states, but there is little spare export capacity. Doha is sticking by its moratorium on export schemes in its North field, while exports from Saudi Arabia, which has the world's fourth-largest proven gas reserves, remain a distant dream.

...It will take a huge discovery – perhaps twice as big as Karan – to propel the kingdom's gas industry to a level that can cope with booming industrial demand. For now, the region is being too cautious in looking for more.

Note that gas and oil exploration are not unrelated. Gas producing basins are related to oil producing basins. Problems finding natural gas imply that additional undiscovered oil reserves may also not exist.

Hey, Memmel, you're forgetting about the vast undiscovered reserves in the even vaster unexplored empty quarter. They're just waiting for new technology and US commercial stocks to decline. Then everything will be fine.

How Fast Can you Build a Subway (when you want to)

All in Madrid, pop 3.5 million (metro 6 million)

MetroSur [subway for suburb of Madrid], one of the largest ever civil engineering projects in Europe, opened on 11 April 2003. It includes 40 km of tunnel and 28 new stations, including an interchange station and an additional station on Line 10, which connects it to the city centre and stations linking to the local train network. Its construction began in June 2000 and the whole loop was completed in less than three years

And another quote from 1999 (before MetroSur)

In only four years, the Spanish capital, Madrid, has added more than 60km to its metro which has extended the network to 175.8km, with 12 lines. Work is about to start on still more extensions

And after MetroSur was finished

The recently finished 2003-2007 term, President Esperanza Aguirre funded a multi-billion dollar project, which has added to, joined, or extended almost all of the metro lines. The project included the addition of 90 km [I think 40 km is MetroSur] and the construction of 80 new stations

Best Hopes for the WILL to do something in the USA,


And there is the big question, why is will lacking. Occluded by delusions of grandeur on the part of administrators and inaccessible to the masses through lack of veracity on the part of media and a fair degree of willful ignorance on the part of the plebiscite. The USA and Money, a sad story. What was it that religious crank said 2000 years ago; oh yes! LOVE OF MONEY IS THE ROOT OF ALL EVIL. Even nut jobs have something to offer. Perhaps poverty will remedy the illness.

How Fast Can you Build a Subway (when you want to)

I'd feel better about this if there wasn't a nagging suspicion that state appropriation of land by eminent domain in these situations gives extremely short shrift to individual rights (maybe Alan can set me right on this). It may be that it is worth it in the big picture to sacrifice individual rights for the common good, however, the tendency of fascist economic powers to ride the backs of these 'common good' causes, especially in the US, gives me the willies.

There is more to life than making the trains run on time.

I prefer (as do EU transit planners) to use existing ROWs, our streets.

Take lanes away from rubber tires if surface.

With this approach, the issue is corners, where rail equipment used cannot fit into existing ROW as it turns. Sometimes a few parking spaces, sometimes a corner gas station. etc.

Some subways go under existing buildings, but without harming structural integrity. Early London subways still have unexpected jogs where ROW issues (some buildings would not sell rights) forced changes.

New Orleans built the Canal & Riverfront Streetcar Lines without taking any privately owned land. A new terminus for the Canal Line will take derelict property (bought by mutual agreement).

What is the difference between building the Interstate Highway system (the most massive condemnation in US history, which destroyed hundreds/thousands of neighborhoods) and minor takings of Urban Rail, other than scale ?

We have already decimated much of Urban America for the highways. Urban Rail can revitalize Urban America.


What is the difference between building the Interstate Highway system (the most massive condemnation in US history, which destroyed hundreds/thousands of neighborhoods) and minor takings of Urban Rail, other than scale ?

Perhaps justification. From reading briefly about the Intertstate Highway System, Eisenhower intended it primarily as a defense transportation network (originally called "the National Defense Highway System.").

I agree that it's a shame the will does not exist for urban rail.

The difference, IMO, is that the country was different then. Mostly, it was emptier. The new highways mostly went through the middle of nowhere. You look at the old interstate blueprints, and the landmarks are things like "6 in. dia. apple tree" or "Farmer Brown's Chicken Coop." If there are any landmarks to speak of.

This, IMO, is related to Tainter's declining marginal returns. It's much harder to build anything now, for a variety of reasons. And the more populated an area is, the more difficult it is to build things. (Compare building a new highway in NY vs. building one in Texas.) This is why I am unimpressed at how fast we built infrastructure in the past.

The Urban Interstates (and other limited access highways) tore the guts out of one neighborhood after another.

Robert Moses destroyed the Bronx, and created the wasteland we have today. A process repeated many times.

France is planning on building 1,500 km of tram lines in a decade (and has 3 new TGV lines under construction). Adjust for population and the month of August and that is comparable to the USA building over 4,000 miles of Light Rail.

You are looking at blueprints of rural highways. Truly rural areas are LOWER density today than in 1958. It is just that Suburbia & Exurbia have sprawled so much.

One truth is that to increase capacity for rubber tires by 50% is significantly more expensive (due to development created by the road, bridges, etc) than the original 100%. My "feeling" is a 50% increase doubles the cost, raising the average cost (in $ for new roads or time for congestion) of transportation as volume grows.

In contrast, a 50% increase in rail transportation# costs significantly less than the original cost/unit. thereby lowering the average unit cost. My "feeling" is that a 50% increase in volume increases costs by 15% (just add rolling stock) to 25% (structural increases in capacity).

Furthermore, increased volumes of rail transport reduces travel times, not increase them, because increased volumes lead to shorter headways. The opposite is true of rubber tires.

# except for Lexington Ave. subway, the only saturated rail line in USA.

Best Hopes for Fewer Lane Miles and Removing Interstates,


Because for the last 60 or so years, the cliche' has been, 'We had to move because there was a new overpass, highway widening, cloverleaf being built where my house is sitting..'

We've already got the fascism, we're soaking in it. Rail ROW's may play this game again, but the amount of airplay that this theme gets will be unfortunately OVERPLAYED above the volume of all the other Corporate Sweetheart deals that are being offered from our private and common properties as we sit here.

How about Bandwidth?

Rail ROW is worth doing, and if we can get a jump on it as citizens, maybe most of it can be kept from being TOO messy, with a little Vigilance and Involvement.


Purely FYI: The Korean government once released an analysis that stated those who lived in Seoul during the building of the subway system (then 4 lines, now 9 or ten) would never live long enough torecover in new efficiency the time lost during construction.

So, one can consider the public's approval of such projects an act of altruism.

Awww... ain't that sweet?


I suspect that if one factors in increased congestion over time, that the calcs would show subways to be a good investment of "time".

Reduced travel times are not the only benefit of subways. Non-oil transportation, more walkable neighborhoods and cleaner air are also benefits.

DC Metro was a pain going into Washington DC, but no one would dispute the benefits.

Best Hopes for More Subways,


Dallas Morning News Editorial: The up side of high food prices
Local produce and meat can now compete
12:00 AM CDT on Saturday, April 5, 2008

As long as petroleum prices stay high, so will the price of staple foods. Rising oil and food demand in the developing world does not bode well for U.S. supermarket shoppers in the long run.

There is, however, a silver lining in all this. Prices for locally grown produce and locally raised (usually grass-fed) meat are becoming more economically competitive with factory-farmed rivals. Typically, consumers who buy meat and produce directly from local farmers do so because of taste and health – and are willing to pay a premium. Now, though, best-selling food writer Michael Pollan tells The New York Times that higher bills for conventionally raised staples "level the playing field for sustainable food that doesn't rely on fossil fuels."

I went grocery shopping this morning as I do every Saturday morning and in the last 6 months a major transformation has taken place in the supermarket at the street level below our apartment. Lots of things now have the "Bio" label (central govt. approved standard in Germany, maybe EU wide).

I bought as follows Bio, most of my family's foodstuffs at this store:

Brown Rice
Strawberry marmelade
apple juice
Bell peppers (not in stock but sign was there)
Irish butter-not labeled bio but presumably grassgrazed cows
Eggs - from non caged chickens (not freerange though- that cost 25 cents more per 10 pc. package)
Strawberries (unfortunately from distant Morocco).

Much of the food is just for our kids as we are wary of long term damage due to pesticides, etc. and we eat normal apples ourselves for example. We started buying to encourage the trend (if we didn't buy they would take it out of the product range). It seems many other people thought the same. The more we buy, the wider the product range and the cheaper the prices.

Besides that I bought regualr chocolate and as it is much more expensive as bio article I bought it normal. No bananas or melons, broccoli, cauliflower or Iceberg or other salad as bio. The list of goods available is growing regularly since introduction of these products and price difference from conventional has been shrinking. There is also a Bio store chain which has been around for awhile but keep in mind that this is a discount supermarket chain where I shop like Safeway in USA or Walmart.

Looking more closely at the label it seems they have their own specific Bio label for the supermarket for foodstuffs. This means no Nestle's, etc. just a generic Bio label for this supermarket chain.

The biggest chain here, Aldi, is really cheap and does not have such a label for Bio, but my wife informs me that they apparently have the lowest tested level of pesticides for conventional crops, and have their own big operations, for tomatoes, etc. closely supervised. Once they start offering s aline of bio foods then it is truly mainstream here in every sense. My wife informs me we paid €8,00 more this week due to buying Bio, out of say €60,00. I think the price difference narrows from both ends. Conventional produce,etc. becomes more expensive due to oil input costs and Bio prices come down due to scale of production increasing and getting away from niche marketing.

The next step in this transformation at the supermarket level will probably be local bio, 100 KM bio diet. This will come later I suppose after USD 200/ barrel.

My thrifty mate regularly goes to the Grocery Outlet (TM) (friends call it the 'used food' store:)
There are frequently tremendous bargains on organic goods. There are still bargains to be had in the quest for a better diet.

'Used Food Store' is good, Cash and Carry (TM) located in the NW and California are great for now also. Value on bulk produce, cereal/grains, dairy and #10 canned goods. There's a lot of transport in there so not the long term play of course. We bulk buy and split it up with friends.

U.S. DOE To Continue Royalty-In-Kind Strategic Oil Stocks:

Over a period of 6 months the US will put 16 hours of consumption in storage.

Tales from the front...

My dad has been following the airline saga. He sent me this e-mail:

Guess you heard that ATA went bankrupt. They had a heavy presence in Hawaii. Some Aloha ground staff who serviced other airlines planes lost their jobs today because the loss of ATA. This was the last day for people holding Aloha tickets to fly Hawaiian and Go! interisland. Hawaiian is flying another load of stranded passengers, this time ATA's and bringing home locals stranded on the mainland.

A Kahuku High girls wrestling team got stranded in Vegas. One parent bought tickets on Hawaiian for the whole team to bring them home. $4000 worth.

Tourism officials are now worried because with Aloha and ATA out people planning to come here may have to cancel. Japan tourism is down and they were banking on mainland tourists this summer. Our economy might take a hit.

Forced energy conservation moving up the food chain. . .

A reminder: When oil exporters start showing lower oil exports, the net export decline rate tends to accelerate with time.

"Ask not for whom forced conservation comes, it comes for thee." (continuing apologies to several authors)

BTW, this is why I think that refiners, airlines and industrial farmers are, to some extent, in the same boat. They are caught between the rising price of crude oil and petroleum, versus the volume of refined product, airline tickets and conventional food (respectively) that consumers can and will buy.

Copper and corn led the Commodities higher last

Looks like another leg up by these two coming.

Normally the cheapest gas in Arkansas (Russellville)
had $3.24.

I expect NW AR to tack on 20 cents to the $3.19 here.

That's the usual spread between the two.

Some conclusions from Roger Bezdek's presentation at ASPO US 2007, entitled:
"AVIATION AND PEAK OIL - Why the Conventional Wisdom is Wrong"

• Current aviation forecasts are unrealistic
• Direct effects of fuel prices much less important for aviation than impact on GDP and travel and cargo demand
• Aviation sector must accelerate fuel efficiency and synfuel alternatives; however, these are necessary but not sufficient
• Peak oil will transform aviation sector from a rapidly growing to a declining industry
• Some aviation firms will survive and adapt; others will not
• Implications are dire for aviation and all travel dependent industries
• Implications for world economies of declining GDP are severe
• Nevertheless, a large aviation industry will survive, and
“forecasts of its death have been greatly exaggerated”
• We will still be able to get “fresh strawberries in February” – but they
will be fewer and much more expensive

The airline industry is in for some tough times . . . . . .

"Nevertheless, a large aviation industry will survive"

How does he know this? We have airlines going out of business @ $100 oil. What is it going to be like when prices are $400? How many people will be able to afford to fly when the country is in depression? I have to say "large" is not how I would describe what I envision the airline industry to be in 5 to 10 years...

Large as in comparison to other industries surviving.

The industry will be large but they'll be flying people around in Cessnas.

Yeah, I agree with you. The airline industry is going to shrink big time.

The sad part of this is that our families and friends have scattered to the four winds while flying was cheap. There's no way to unscatter them as flying becomes unaffordable. On the other hand, this is middle class whining on my part. Filipinos, Mexicans and many others are scattered around the world, separated from immediate family for years. One more respect in which we are going to find out what it's actually like.

One of my co-workers is back in the Philippines this weekend. She had to go back to cement her dual citizenship status so she can retain ownership of some stuff inherited from her late dad.

In another couple years, that'll be harder to do, but I expressed my envy that she and her US family will have someplace to head for if the going gets rough. She already knows the local language and culture unlike some US expats I've heard about.

There's no way to unscatter them as flying becomes unaffordable

no way? you can't drive across the country? you can't take a train? just how unaffordable is air travel going to be that you can't take a plane to once in your life to spend the rest of your years by your family?

It is a LONG swim to the mainland, and a pretty long sail, too.

Most people don't appreciate just how isolated the Hawaiian islands really are. Take away airplanes and FF-powered boats, and the people left there truly are stranded.

Easter Island 2

Guys: Maybe-what I can tell you is that at $106 oil EVERYTHING is far less expensive in Honolulu than Toronto. Re Aloha, what isn`t mentioned is the crazy price war-at one point some seats were $9 interisland-I flew them a few weeks ago-it was $70 one way. I was wondering how you can run an airline like that-in Toronto the cab ride to the airport from downtown is $50.

and maybe without bananas? Isn't that like Idaho not being able to grow potatoes? Or Antarctica not being able to grow ice? Or the Gobi Desert not being able to further expand?

The Big Island's Mauna Kea Banana Co. is ending its banana production operations after more than 30 years in business.

Rising costs, particularly skyrocketing energy prices, has led to increased costs for fertilizer and materials in general, said Richard Ha, company president.

I agree.

Having spent my first 25 years in Alaska I can appreciate the isolation. Going "outside" was expensive (plane) or a long and tiring trip (bus or car via Alcan highway). Not being from a wealthy family I only left Alaska a few times in this time and the plane I took to Europe twice(when I left for good and at 16 years as a tourist). This was pre 90s however and Nowadays my brothers and their families get lots of mileage counted and fly out yearly or more often to catch some rays against the deep winter depression. I just think the isolation will be total like in the 50s and earlier within 5-10 years (per jumbo jetliner). I recall that my mother came to Canada in a ship in the 50s. Intercontinaental trips will be a big deal soon for those wanting to emigrate who have a concrete job offer as my mother had and all the visas done.

Since Alaska is os vast the mnetality in the state was similar. Airplane if oyu live in a community without road access or stay isolated. Driving hundreds of miles to the next community a bit of a bitch (like wasteland between LA and Frisco for example). I bet only in Siberia are they really worse off or maybe in darkest Africa or the Outback. This is what relocalization is all about. then take away the mass media and telephones and you have a local culture again.

I bet only in Siberia are they really worse off

The vast majority of the population of Siberia lives along the (hydro) electrified Trans-Siberian Railroad. 6 days, 6 hours, 6 minutes from Moscow to Vladivostok on the Pacific. Several passenger trains (express, local, etc) every day.

Spurs (BAM, Trans-Turk, links to China, etc.) serve additional cities.


A map of Siberia with every city of 80,000 noted, and rail lines in red. Thick red is Trans-Siberian RR.


a week of travel for visitors between isolated settlements to the main cultural centers is certainly better than months/years of uncertain wandering across the arctic/outback/central Africa for a few adventurers. We have to hope that with Peak fossil fuels the transport infrastructure in such isolated areas is maintained so that civilization can be maintained so far from the center of civilization. Alcan highway/Transiberian railway could fall into disrepair and the isolated populations be abandoned to their fate. Will Wal Mart food still be shipped to Alaska/Hawaii or supplies/fuels get through to large Siberian cities? The center of power is the priority, as with Katrina you know all too well. Incompetence and negligence do the rest. Localization and long term survivability of a location independent of the originating civilization could be critical if the only connection is a thread of a road/railway/sealane over thousands of miles. North and South America became independent from Europe after settlement. Perhaps Siberia/Alaska/Hawaii will be independent or conquered by others when the European powers have less resources and problems of their own. This is all specualtion and I am more worried about my family's survival in such an isolated area. I know volcanic soil there grows huge plants in a very short summer and wood is enough but the people are living like in LA with suburbia and Wal Mart and credit cards and obesity and internet and cable TV so when the next transport of goods doesn't show up they might not be ready for subusistence and end up starving.

The Trans-Siberian is the most strategically vital railroad in the world. As long as Russia controls Siberia, it will stay operational (if perhaps degraded a bit).

If China gains control, I think most of the TransSib will stay open (useful to bring resources back to the mother country.

Best Hopes for Durable Infrastructure,


"Take away airplanes and FF-powered boats, and the people left there truly are stranded."

well yeah. that's obvious. the problem is those things won't be taken away.

Right. FF's will last forever...

Please don't feed the trolls, clifman. It's hard, I know how it feels. Every time he, or one of the other few choice trolls, posted something, I wanted to respond as well.

But then I realized that he's not ... "playing the same game" that we are.

So the ad-hoc rules the rest of us use for investigation, cooperation, and interactive discourse are not the rules he's using. He's either a shill, a charlatan, or a "chaotic" computer player like in the old Risk computer game.

Please don't feed the trolls, clifman. It's hard, I know how it feels. Every time he, or one of the other few choice trolls, posted something,

I understand why you'd want to call me a troll, you wouldn't have to actually think about what I was saying.

we don't know the future. what about running the island on sugar ethanol? maybe we'll run boats, planes and cars on sugar? maybe we'll burn the sugar for electricity to use in cars and in boats? maybe we'll have solar boats? maybe we;ll have boats that run on waves?


I am just trying to get you to think outside the box.

Well john15,

if there's anyone on the planet thinking outside the box, it's the fine people at theoildrum. You are inside, inside the box of perpetual growth and perpetual techno fixes. This box is shrinking ...

Best regards,

J. Daehn, Hannover, Germany

You are inside, inside the box of perpetual growth and perpetual techno fixes. This box is shrinking ...

you're wrong.

why would I have to read about how we can't have perpetual growth when I have never said either way if we can have perpetual growth? I am not however, dumb enough to predict how we will or won't get around hawaii at some undetermined point.

Best hopes for the TOD brushing up on their anti-knowledge from their anti-library.


we have to feed 6.8 billion people and we can only do so because of fossil fuels. We are eating fossil fuels. We are very probably into overshoot. The first food riots have happened. Where in this world do you see any space for ferries powered by ethanol? Please elaborate.




Read and understand. Draw your conclusions, for your own and your family's good.

As noted by me from time to time, I'm on Oahu across the mountains from Honolulu. I agree with you: as the world becomes a larger place with airlines rapidly coming unglued, Hawaii will have unique problems. I see it as a potential famine trap. Unlike Cuba, there's noplace nearby to raft to, and nearly all the food and energy are imported. We burn oil for electricity, for heavens' sakes.

Am I freaked by the loss of Aloha and ATA? No. Inevitable that airlines will go away, and travel to Hawaii is not only long-haul but also primarily a luxury. The loss of Aloha and ATA means that Hawaiian Air should be relatively stable for a few years, and it would have been my choice. "Go" airlines seems a bit sleazy as the minor player and there have recently been stories of their pilots falling asleep on inter-isle runs and overshooting their destinations, and lawsuits may knock them out... there should be a niche for one jet carrier, Hawaiian, and one smaller turboprop carrier like the former "Mahalo Air". That will last a fairly short time, and in a decade my guess is that there will only be turboprop service at premium prices, probably with a federal subsidy if Daniel Inouye is still alive.

And I think the story that few are aware of - that most airlines have stopped hedging oil prices by buying futures - is huge. There will, IMO, be a lot of jet airliners parked within 5 years or sooner. Eventually people will be living out of them as in the former soviet union.

Whether folks on Oahu will starve (and when) is an open question, not predictable. If the USA retains any sort of world clout, famine probably won't be allowed. But it may not. Hawaii is well-situated for various sorts of alternative energy, but near as I can tell there's nobody who understands even rudimentary thermodynamics in any sort of decision-making role here.

The big isle would have great promise IF there was investment in advance, but pro-active infrastructure investment is probably not gonna happen. There should be no famine on the big isle, but it will be third world in many ways... I wonder if we could import some of those Cuban doctors?... prices for land there will get damn cheap in the coming decade, it'd be a good spot for a billionaire to set up shop with a colony; lots of geothermal, wind, otec, solar and every other kind of alternative energy, and if a bit of NPK were stored, a lot of land, rainfall, and sunlight. (Possible place for a TOD planned community, anyone up for it?). I think that Hawaii COULD be food and energy self-sufficient by barging food from the big isle to Oahu, but again that would be hard to do right in the context of a complexity crash. And I think Thomas Edison and King David Kalakaua discussed laying cables to power the entire state from the big isle geothermal fields, so that's hardly a new idea... but again, it'd take investment and energy beforehand, and what now passes for proactive thinking is local ethanol distilled with imported coal!

I've been a conservation activist, as well as a science teacher here in past lives, and it seems nearly hopeless... they ain't gonna learn science. And Geothermal is opposed by what passes for local 'greens' so they don't piss off the Hawaiian volcano god... very un-PC doncha know.

Then again... in a real sense everyone everywhere is about to be stranded. When thinking about where to run to, I reflect on the fact that my large airy (self-built) house needs no heating or cooling, that my roof is rated for 50+years and set up for water catchment, and that the US empire will probably be around in some form for the next 20+ years, after which I'll probably be dead, and I purposely had no kids to worry about.

Is this actually a worse place to be stranded than, say, Atlanta or Chicago? True I can't walk out of here, but then again, other hordes can't walk here either. My toes will never freeze.

Anyone who wants to start an NPK warehouse on the big isle is welcome to use my Puna land. It may not be the worst place to be... and may long-term be one of the best.

Still, I've started prioritizing which neighbors to eat first. Early adopters generally have an edge.


with available RE and plenty of water around, NH3 can be produced locally which then can be used not only as N but also as fuel for farming vehicles and ocean going vessels. are I-PK really needed for the soil on the big island?

are I-PK really needed for the soil on the big island?

Leanan says the land needs fertilizer and that's good enough for me.... and consistent with what I've seen. Still, the place isn't bad. And if one wanted to make NH3, a volcano's worth of heat energy is a mighty big resource.

And even bad volcanic soil kicks out food with plenty of rain and sun, as my neglected backyard of fill soil shows.

I think the Big Island will turn into a third world hell-hole . . . which means it stands a chance of being WAY better off than most of the American mainland.

The day the ships and planes stop pulling into the BI is probably only 6-18 months, if even that, from the day they stop pulling into most of the mainland.

Don't forget the lack of nuclear targets, at least according to the most recent maps we have which may be totally out of date for better or for worseL


Oahu, by contrast, will be glass. But at least it will be over quick.

We've discussed this pretty extensively at the LATOC forum:


If I had a ton of money and could "import" a small army/community with me I would consider the BI as a possible post peak oil haven. Yes, it will be hell on earth. But,, again, that's probably better than "beyond hell" which is what most of the mainland will be.

Chimp at the very least you have one heckuva imagination.

Right, because there has NEVER been a global oil war that STARTED with an oil import crisis on the part of one superpower and ENDED with nuclear weapons being set off by another one . . .

(Rolling eyes emoticon goes here)

As far as unrealistic postings go:

Pot kettle black.

As Matt has pointed out in another thread a while back, if Rome had nukes 2000 years ago, is there any way they would not have been used by now? I mean it's not like a madman could get to be emperor of Rome or anything? (ever see I, Claudius?)

And then just transpose that thought to today ...

well, ok, it's late on a Saturday night, I'll clue y'all to my post-peak hidey-hole...the antipodal penguin paradise, the Crozet Isles Never gets above 64degrees in summer, or below 45 in winter. Rains 300 days a year so I should feel right at home. It's uninhabited. It's located in the 'roaring '40's', so there is huge wind turbine potential. Southern hemisphere location away from nuke fallout. And just look at all those cute lil rascal penguins! Turtle soup, lots of bird eggs, get me some pigs, do some raised beds, maybe a little greenhouse...just a few details to work out.

"The big isle would have great promise IF there was investment in advance, but pro-active infrastructure investment is probably not gonna happen. There should be no famine on the big isle, but it will be third world in many ways... I wonder if we could import some of those Cuban doctors?... prices for land there will get damn cheap in the coming decade, it'd be a good spot for a billionaire to set up shop with a colony; lots of geothermal, wind, otec, solar and every other kind of alternative energy, and if a bit of NPK were stored, a lot of land, rainfall, and sunlight. (Possible place for a TOD planned community, anyone up for it?)."

Go ahead and ask Jay Hanson (dieoff.org). He resides in Hawaii.

Go ahead and ask Jay Hanson (dieoff.org). He resides in Hawaii.

In continual touch with him, thanks. We could get an interesting gang together there...

Just wait until this happens with FedEx and the 5000 mile Caesar salad. The secondary melt-down is phenomenal. Commercial real estate is not where I'd want to put my money.

I just started a whole lot more seeds - thinking to start selling produce at roadside or farmer's market this year. I wasn't really planning on that for a couple of more years but need to move up the "make mistakes early" part of learning curve.

cfm in Gray, ME

Suggestion. Try food club.

Have your market come to you. And pick your crop.

Within 25 Klicks of urban area preferable.

"Just wait until this happens with FedEx and the 5000 mile Caesar salad."

what's the date of that happening? the problem is the 5,000 mill salad and Fedex KNOW they are hurt by high oil prices therefore they can do things to curb the effects of high oil prices.

FedEx plans California's largest corporate solar power system

A high school girls wrestling team? Modern education is something else.


I've also been following the airlines saga and think that will be continuing airline bankruptcies as oil prices stay high (due to peak oil) and consumers have less money to spend.

Smaller airline carriers, Aloha, Champion and ATA are in bankruptcy.

Alitalia with annual revenues of over 4 billion euros may also go into bankruptcy.

Alitalia Shares to Be Suspended Until April 8 Board Meeting Apr 4, 2008

Alitalia SpA shares and convertible bonds will be suspended by the Italian Stock Exchange until April 8, when the airline's directors will review whether they can continue operating.

Alitalia, which is losing more than $1.6 million a day, moved closer to bankruptcy after Air France-KLM Group broke off takeover talks, scuttling a 15-month effort by Italy to find a buyer for the airline.

Rome, Alitalia unions want Air France-KLM to come back to table Apr 5, 2008

The crisis for Alitalia, which is facing a painful restructuring or outright bankruptcy, came as general elections loomed in less than two weeks. The unions, widely blamed for the breakdown, made conciliatory remarks on Thursday after previously decrying the ""arrogance"" of the Air France-KLM ""take-it-or-leave-it"" approach.
In the end, Alitalia boss Prato was quoted as telling the unions that the company is ""cursed and only an exorcist could save it.""
On Wednesday, Economy Minister Tommaso Padoa-Schioppa warned that in the absence of a deal with Air France-KLM, Alitalia would likely undergo bankruptcy proceedings similar to those that allowed the Parmalat food group to restructure and downsize following its 2003 corruption scandal.
Alitalia is losing about one million euros (1.6 million dollars) a day and to help stanch the bleeding it has slashed some two-thirds of its operations at northern Milan's Malpensa airport.
French brokers Oddo Securities wondered in a note to clients: ""Is this the end of the Alitalia file or a means of putting pressure on the unions?""

The market value of Alitalia is now small at just less than 700 million euros.

Here's the pain that shareholders have felt - 95% share price fall! The Italian government is a big shareholder at 49.9% of the airline.

Peak oil, decreasing discretionary expenditure and the credit crunch could cause a series of airline collapses.

IATA's websites has lots of info about the airlines industry.

Their 2008 forecast for the airlines industry is sales $US508 billion and a decreased net profit of only $4.5b, margin of 0.9%. This net profit is based on a fuel cost of $136b in 2007 increasing to $156b in 2008. If fuel costs increase by another 15% in 2009 due to peak oil, then fuel costs will be $24b more at about $180b.

Not all airlines will be able to recover this extra $24b cost from increasing air fares or decreasing non fuel costs, like union wages. There are likely to be many more airline bankruptcies. I think this is called oil demand destruction.

China has placed a moratorium on corn ethanol production due to food shortages.

Their original goal was to use 10 percent renewables similar to plans put in place by the United States and some EU nations.

China has been flexible enough to change their plans as they have seen the results of converting food to fuel. They now need more grain imports than they had forseen when they started requiring ethanol usage.


Wonder when the United States follows China's lead?

A long history of selling marginal real estate land, think swamp, has swelled Florida's population with grifters that are well versed in a wide variety of real estate scams. The grifters talents were put to best use during the big real estate bubble and as a result Florida leads the nation in real estate fraud.

It has come to light recently that some properties in Florida changed hands three or four times in a single day, with each successive 'buyer' making a profit on the purchase and sale.

As King Solomon said: 'There is nothing new under the sun.' No doubt the Marx Brothers would have agreed as they made the movie 'Coconuts', which poked fun equally at the grifters and the marks, way back when.

Reports of mortgage fraud rise 42% in '07

'WASHINGTON -- Reports of suspected mortgage fraud rose 42% last year as banks became more leery of lies on loan applications.

The Treasury Department's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network said Thursday that there were 52,868 reports of mortgage fraud in 2007, up from 37,313 a year earlier. Mortgage fraud reports were the third-most common type of suspicious activity.'...snip...

'The report comes a month after the industry-funded Mortgage Asset Research Institute said FLORIDA led the nation in mortgage fraud in 2007 for the second-straight year, followed by Nevada, Michigan, California, Utah and Georgia.'



I friend of mine told me about checking out (in the Fifties) some land in Florida that his father bought in the Thirties, after the Twenties Florida real estate boom collapsed. His dad paid pennies on the dollar, and I have forgotten, but the cost my have been cents per acre. In any case, he said that something about the terrain was vaguely familiar. They he realized what he was looking at. It was a golf course that had been reclaimed by the forest.

In the 1970's while living in Minneapolis I foolishly answered an add in the Star-Tribune offering 10% "mortgages" backed by land around Lake Havasu City Arizona. Being relatively young, from the Midwest and naive besides I took the bait and "invested" $2000 which at the time was worth a lot more than now. The company paid the 10% interest for about a year and a half if I remember right.

Then it declared bankruptcy. The crooks running the fraud had obviously absconded with my money. After it seems like years and years I was finally awarded title to the land. Of course it was a worthless piece of sand in the desert. I had been taken. I wrote the whole thing off to experience, resolved never to pay the taxes on it and never to believe people from Arizona. I have never paid property taxes on that land in 30 years.

The county regularly sent notices of taxes due which I filed in the circular file. Often it threatened to put the land up for sheriff's sale to collect past due taxes on it.

Finally in the recent big real estate bubble in the southwest I began to get all kinds of offers for it, which I ignored figuring it was just more crooks from Arizona pulling another scam. Some were as high as $4000 sent on a form letter format. But the offers came form all over including from as far away as California and Washington State. I ignored them all since I new the land was worthless.

Finally I was sent a Registered letter that the land would be sold by court order at auction. The local sheriff served notification papers from the court that I had to sign. I was delighted. Finally I would be rid of it. I would no more have any relationship to that state full of con artists specializing in land fraud and selling scenery over and over again.

But lo and behold nothing happened. As the months went by I began to receive bills for taxes due again. I could hardly believe it. All the hoopla was a fraud to scare money out of idiots like me who were suckered in more than 30 years ago. I still own that worthless piece of sand baking in 110 degree heat, with no water within miles and miles and being crossed regularly by desperate Mexicans looking for a better life.

Of course this is the main reason I can not stand Sen. John McCain.
He is a fraud as far as I am concerned and from a state that is full of crooks in my opinion. How else can people live in a place with no water like Arizona. I've been burnt by that state and resolved not to get burnt again. If the Unites States elects John McCain President it will find out what I'm talking about.

Hello X,

Good post! I might further add that multi-millions currently living in the North American Southwest will feel fraudulently taken when the house of cards collapses due to FF-depletion and climate change. It will be a god-awful mess. Is Cascadia, and other Northern lifeboats, ready for the coming postPeak hordes from Mexico and the US Southwest?

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

Hi Bob.

If swamp / coolers evaporative were employed instead of refidgerative cooling, the energy consumption for home use would probably still be lower in Phoenix than most of Cascadia.

Water is still an issue, transit is a mess and the place just isn't that appealing to me, but as long as the water and electricity are on ...

Putting on my Alan Drake hat [sorry Alan] if you really wanted to retrofit a place with street cars Phoenix might be high on the list. Most of the valley is flat, and the major streets are wide, straight and laid out in grids.

For what it is worth. GJ

Hello R W Reactionary,

Thxs for responding. No disagreement from me, but I sure don't see people racing to install swamp coolers. In an earlier post: I used to live in a neighborhood that was originally built shortly after the first energy crunch with both A/C & Swamp, plus sporadic roofs of solar water heaters. If you drove through this neighborhood today: basically just A/C units.

What is popular is rollable swamp coolers so people can sit on their back porches during our blazing summers--burning water & electricity as they try to cool the whole planet's atmosphere down!

On a visit to Phoenix some years ago, I was given the impression that human activity had considerably raised the dew point so that swamp coolers were no longer anything like as effective as they used to be...?

On a visit to Phoenix some years ago, I was given the impression that human activity had considerably raised the dew point so that swamp coolers were no longer anything like as effective as they used to be...?

Not only that, but mosquitos breed in swamp coolers. Malaria was endemic to the North American SW in the 19th century. It will likely make a comeback in the 21st.

I can't find the link I want, but this one is related.

In Weston (South East Florida) a foreign (investor-speculator) bought several homes and rented them out. He collected the rent but did not pay the mortgages so the renters are SOL with no recourse to the creep who is not paying the mortgages.


Diesel vs. Gasoline Refining Yields

It doesn’t help that the catalytic crackers used by oil refineries in America are optimised to produce as much petrol as possible—typically about 50% of every barrel. Diesel accounts for only 15% of the rest, with the balance used to produce heating oil, jet fuel, heavy fuel, liquid petroleum gas, asphalt and other products.

Refineries in Europe and elsewhere tend to use hydrocrackers that produce 25% petrol and 25% diesel.


Rebuild a few US refineries to EU specs, and cut gasoline yields from 50% to 25%. At current differentials, such changes should pay for themselves quickly.

Best Hopes for Gasoline Priced Higher than Diesel >:-)


Very interesting on diesel/gasoline yield/price. The rise of trucking in America in favor of rail surely must conribute mightily to the the squeeze on tight diesel supplies.
85 million trucks doing 1.1 trillion miles by 2002

Truck miles tripled between 1977 and 2002 The advent of the diesel p/u truck certainly a contributer. Lots more since then.

And it's much easier to import gasoline from Europe rather than diesel. US trucking and diesel price are cerainly on a collision course. Three airlines down in three days. Similar area of the fractioning tower. No rest for diesel, jet fuel and heating oil.

Revolutionary solar technology is set to transform energy generation


This is a revolution as fundamental to power generation as the integrated circuit was to computing, or the assembly line to the making of cars and everything else. Forward-looking communities will be putting their investment money not in coal-fired power plants, but in solar energy companies.

Nanosolar has been all over these forums. Can't you do better than that?




In the past 10 years there have been amazing breakthroughs in R&D for photovoltaics. Concept to production timespans are horribly long.

Say it takes 5-8 (at best) years for this stuff and similar technologies to feed down to the consumer - then we have to hope that we have an infrastructure that will survive whatever the energy crisis is about to throw is in the next 5-10 years.

Im guessing oil at $200-$500 is going to hurt any manufacturing and so we have the law of receding horizons whereby technology that looks viable now beceomes more out of reach further down the line.

Incidentally I share your enthusiasm for new technology but I just do not have enough faith in mankind to see any coherent mitigation of energy crisis taking place.

You would do well to take a read of the Hirch report antidoomer. I say this not to 'doom you up' but to try and bring you round to the idea that it isn't technology or the capability to get over this problem that is the problem - it is the fact that the problem is not even widely accepted or acknowleged. until that happens we cannot (as a collective world) start mitigation procedures which [by the way judging by the oil production curves] should have started around 15 years ago!


Well said Marco, the Hirsch report is "the quick path to energy-nirvana".

By Energy Nirvana here I mean -
full enlightenment as to the magnitudes of current fossil energy-usage in regards to consumed BTUs/calories/kwhours vs. future theoretical consumption for the same. The stupid idea of time also comes into play here ... f***k the time !

Today 90% of techno-energy comes from digging/pumping enormous volumes of READY-MADE-FOSSILS …….. In 100 years or so ….. after some sort of transition-time ….. we (or they) will run this world at twice the speed – it all made possible due to the systems presented by theantidoomer today (!)

Thank you TAD ! (was a Sarcalol alert really necessary her?)

Im guessing oil at $200-$500 is going to hurt any manufacturing and so we have the law of receding horizons whereby technology that looks viable now beceomes more out of reach further down the line.

Well there's another side to that coin Marco. As oil continues to go up in price, alternative energy sources become more economically viable. What that means is that there will be less of a market for consumer products like DVD players and LCD TV's because there no point in having those if you don't have any electricity to run them!

As a result, the sector that can still make a profit in manufacturing are the renewable energy companies. In effect, there will be a squeeze where oil is used only for the most important manufacturing- manufacturing that has a net energy return.

That's not to say that the situation will correct itself. It's all a matter of how quickly world production declines, and if the different industries can keep up. Right now, it doesn't look too good, for the reasons you outlined (lack of acceptance of the problem).

In effect, there will be a squeeze where oil is used only for the most important manufacturing- manufacturing that has a net energy return.

and manufacturers of energy will use the solar panels or wind that they produce to produce more solar and wind. this is why I ask will we even need oil in the future?

how many are sweating it out in the dark because of a whale oil shortage?

We certainly could operate our economy without any oil, but the time it would take to make such a transition is (as far as I've heard around the oil drum, and it makes sense) about 20 years, because we have so much oil dependant infrastructre in operation right now.

Agriculture is even harder to transition because it would require alot of rethinking the way we manage waste and how we can get that waste back into the agricultural cycle.

So the problem as I see it isn't that we can't make these transitions, its that we may not be able to make them fast enough as oil supply slows down.

it isn't technology or the capability to get over this problem that is the problem - it is the fact that the problem is not even widely accepted or acknowleged. until that happens we cannot (as a collective world) start mitigation procedures which [by the way judging by the oil production curves] should have started around 15 years ago!

I agree with this statement completely Marco. I would also like to add that the acceptance/acknowledgment of this problem is not the only issue. There have been countless comparisons drawn between the deniers of climate change and the deniers of tabacco's harmful effects. I would like to draw a comparison between the public's reaction to both these issues. Even as people accepted the fact that tabacco kills, many continued to smoke because it is an addiction so powerful that it outweighs a distant possibility of death. I believe we are addicted to our modern lifestyles and all the luxuries that accompany it in a very similar way. So even as more and more people begin to accept and acknowledge the reality of the problems we face, many will not change their behaviour. This distant fear of a possible disaster of monstrous proportions, does not override our will to be comfortable and happy now. Sadly, we will have to be forced to change.

Ya, sure, hey. No engineering samples. No data sheets. Just hype and unsubstantiated claims. Nah, we can't tell you nothin', 'cuz it's a secret. But we'll show you videos of rolling mills that could be producing anything for all you can know, ya sure. So maybe the claims are true. Maybe not. Maybe the secret is it doesn't work consistently. Maybe the secret is that the lifetime under sunlight is 5000 hours, the sort of thing that made electroluminescent lighting forever the wave of the distant future. Maybe there is no secret at all and it's just peachy keen. But they won't say, so it's all science fiction. So why bother? Who knows?

What I hate is when I cannot even get a demonstration.

"They" always seem to claim its proprietary technology, and I have to pay first before I am going to be allowed to see what I am going to get.

Reminds me of a circus sideshow.

The circus sideshow isn't complete until there is a caucus of clowns dressed up in suit and tie chanting "business opportunity! Unlimited Profits! Act NOW!, Don't miss this business opportunity and watch OTHERS get rich! Just DO IT! etc. in locksync with the presenter.

Its been my observation that business chicanery is one of the top irritants of the technical community. The methods of making MONEY are often far from the methods of manufacturing robust PRODUCT.


I have not looked at TOD for a couple of days and so was surprised to see the "new look". I expect a lot of people have already commented on it. However, in my very personal opinion, mixing a non-serif and a serif font on the same page is not a good idea as it is more difficult to read - especially when you are 50+

May I humbly suggest that you revert to Verdana throughout as it is a pleasant and easy-to-read font?

Huh? It doesn't look any different to me.

The font has changed for me as well. I thought it was just my computer.

Looks the same for me. I'm using mozilla.

Me too. I thought I hit a setting accidentally, but no, font's changed!!

Probably some of you have your browsers set to override a site's font selections, and some of you don't.

In Firefox, it's in


There's a checkbox for "Allow pages to choose their own fonts..."

I use both Firefox and IE7 and the same thing has happened in both browsers. Nothing has changed on any other sites that I visit. My computers are the same ones.

I suspect the CSS that TOD uses have been altered in some way.

Please go back to what we had before.

Safari is the same

We want VERANDA now :-)
Fonts changed yesterday for me also ..... smaller and bolded stuff. (I was pissed)
All my other daily regular bookmarked sites are unchanged, so my nose tell me THAT some settings are changed at TOD ... no?

I'm using : Opera ,Version 9.26,Build 8835 , UNCHANGED FOR SOME MONTHS ....

Changed for me too... on a refresh... about an hour into Thurday's Drumbeat... thought it might be a IE7 on Vista thing... but same on FF...

Wider default blog width?... fills full 1280 px widescreen notebook... smaller/"thinner" font in the text area?... headers/sidebars are unchanged...(previous font always displayed rather "heavy" in IE7)

I was surprised no-one had commented...

Nice photos Leanan...Brown Pelican is correct. The youngsters have white/yellowish feathers on head, maturity brings the brown feathers on head.

The reason that the pelicans hang around bridges and piers...They wait untill the anglers are busy fishing and then steal bait from the bait buckets. A pelican can be very stealthy when approaching a bait bucket on foot. In Florida no one has to 'go fishing'...instead one just stops about anywhere and starts fihsing.

You also have photos of snowy egrets...the brownish one is a so called cattle egret and are often seen inland in fields with livestock.

I fell for Florida in 1963, my first trip here. It was a very different place then but it's still great. I cannot force myself to leave so will probably be treading water someday. Most of the great seafood restaurants have given way to chain garbage. The Keys have gone from a sleepy, cheap, backwater to lunacy. :)

BTW, there is a Salvadore Dali museum in S Tampa that is worth a look. Also, in Sarasota there is the Ringling Bros College...liberal arts. Ft Walton Beach...where the film 'Body Heat' was made. St Augustine and the old Spanish Fort are worth a visit if you have not been there. Anything but dizzy world.

I am running K-Meleon ( AKA Firefox lite ). No change noted.

( Nor do I want it to change. Its perfect as it is. )

EDIT: I did have [Tools|Advanced Preferences|BLOCK sites from altering browser settings] checked...

If you do not like a font used on a web page use Firefox.

Go to "Tools"->"Options" and click "Content". Click "Advanced" on the right and uncheck "Allow pages to use their own font ..." Click "OK" and that's it.

Good advice. TOD on my Windows machine changed on Thursday, too. On my Linux machine nothing has changed, though.

I have changed the serif font to Cambria for those who have it (mostly people with Windows Vista). For those who don't, the serif font is still Georgia.

I briefly changed the sans serif font to Corbel, but I decided to change it back to Verdana. The complaints seem to be about this change. Although the change has been undone, some people may be seeing cached versions of the stylesheet.

i use bitstream vera serif and vera sans.

I am fairly sure the fonts changed months ago when the new version of the site came out.

Apart from the disclaimer at top left "The contents below are paid..", which is barely readable, the layout/fonts look fine on my browser (Firefox 2).

Some of you asked about my recent vacation. I've posted some thoughts about it (and some photos) here.

nice pics

I spent my college years in Sarasota at New College. With some friend, rented a house a couple of blocks from Siesta Key beach for $125/mo. Gives you an idea of when I was there. Way too developed the last time I was there 15 years ago.

Grin - I like the title of the first post. Sounds as though it was largely fun, but having made trips of about the same length (but with 2 small kids in the back) to the same general destination I sympathize over the drive.

I believe your bird IDs were about right. Pelicans. And egrets, Cattle Egrets I think. A Sandpiper and a Tern I guess. Welcome back. <3

On second look, there are several different Egret species there. Not sure what they all are. Texas has Cattle Egrets wherever their friends the cattle live.

Thanks. Now that I think about it, we do have those white egrets in Hawai`i. You see them sitting on the backs of cattle every once in awhile. They are rare enough that people get kind of excited to see one, though. In Sarasota, nobody batted an eyelash. They were everywhere, like pigeons in NYC.

I also saw a similar-looking bird that was grayish-green. A green heron, maybe? It was washing itself at a dripping outdoor faucet.

Here in kailua we seem to have as many white cattle egrets as pigeons, they're everywhere. But scary... in my backyard they seem to be eating lizards and mice, I'm glad they aren't 12 ft tall. Down by the canals there are cool large-headed great blue herons eating the tilapia and looking scornful.

I see two types of egret: the great egret(long yellow bill, black legs and feet), snowy egret (black bill, yellow feet). I'm not not seeing a cattle egret, its bill is shorter than those I see in the pictures. The black capped bird with the two egrets is a black crowned night heron. The 'sandpiper' looks like a willet, it looks quite plain when its wings are folded but has a distinct black and white wing pattern thats visible when its flying. The 'tern' is probably a laughing gull.

Is the title of your blog homage to the "Restaurant at the End of the Universe" from "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy"?

Dementia! I saw the Cuba's organic revolution link, linked to it, read it, decided to include the link in my email list to friends, and then the thought occurs to me -- I should also post this at Drumbeat. I skim down -- there it is! -- that's where I got it in first place. Oh well.

Many of us know this effect as a senior moment. Happens all the time.

My aunt had a query on a phone bill, so she called the number on the bill to complain. It was busy, and continued to be busy every time she called. She eventually realized the number she was calling was her own.

Late UK cold-snap

From : Power System Manager - National Grid Electricity Control Centre NATIONAL GRID NOTIFICATION Nature of Notification Due to a higher than usual level of uncertainty around forecast conditions for Monday we request all parties to review their station availability submissions to National Grid under OC2. This is due to a forecast high demand caused by colder than normal temperatures coincident with a number of generators on outage or about to go on outage. Forecast margins are just adequate but there is uncertainty as to GB-France flows next week and the indicated surplus assumes a float condition. Notification Issued at 15:00 hrs on 04/04/2008 Issued by Lewis Gent National Grid Electricity Control Centre.

This doesn't mean the lights will likely go out in the UK on Monday but it does show things are tight.

The lights did go out in Sweden...

Electrocuted rat causes central Stockholm power outage

STOCKHOLM, Sweden: The electrocution of a fat rat in an electric station Saturday caused a three-hour power outage in Stockholm's central train station.

The early morning outage led to some delays in train traffic, since the rat's 11,000 voltage blowout led to a blackout in the station and halted elevators and escalators, Jesper Ekenlund, a spokesman for power company Fortum said.

It's interesting how a cold snap can cause problems so quickly. I work in the electricity industry, but not in the UK. Problems are only really likely at the evening peak 6 - 6.30pm, and there will usually be interruptible load customers who can drop load if necessary (they will be reimbursed accordingly). As I understand it, there's a nuclear plant in France which sends most of its output to the UK - maybe it's on a scheduled outage. On the bright side, if there's a storm coming, there should be plenty of wind power!

As long as none of Leanan's Stockholm super-rats gnaw through the UK-France cable this weekend everything should be fine. In the UK that would be reported as "the wrong kind of rat" in any official statement :-)

I'm surprised they found any rodent remains, fat or thin. 11kV across a rat should leave nothing but charred whiskers.

It was a large rat, and BTW, Nancy Pelosi is now next in line for the presidency.

HAHAHA, that was actually a really good one. :) 9 long months to go.

Hello Leanan,

Thxs for the toplink about truckers wanting to slow down. If only they truly knew what Really-Slowing-Down to say 10 MPH would do to the country and their personal cash flow. We should encourage every corporate trucking delivery operation and independent trucker to cooperatively go real slow.

If every trucker and delivery driver was to go this slow: the traffic logjams in the cities and highways would be unbelievable; people would say, "I can pedal my bicycle faster [or take the subway], or grow my own crops faster than the truckers move groceries to the store. Duh, precisely what we need!

The first Presidential-candidate to promise to make this a rule, by promising to issue a National Security Directive [NSD] to make all trucking at 10 mph, would instantly jumpstart the paradigm shift and would additionally be instantly seen as a strong working class union advocate for the common working man and women! It would let the permaculture and local produce CSAs rapidly ramp virtually overnight. The demand for garden tools, wheelbarrows, bicycles, and railbikes for O-NPK recycling would create lots of employment in Exactly the Right Direction.

From the trucker side: drastically slowing down would not only reduce their fuel usage [and increase safety], but their stress levels too; they would have a great time laughing at the traffic logjams as their trucking rates went through the roof because at 10MPH--we would need six times the truckers to move the goods--simply not possible, even the RRs would not be able to ramp up additional railtrack and container-railcar transport fast enough. Yet this is exactly what we need to do! More employment as we rush to buildout Alan Drake's RR & TOD ideas.

The truckers' profitability [reduced diesel usage + skyhigh rates] would make it easy for them to carry an additional passenger to 'ride shotgun'. They could have a great time yakking while the extra protection would prevent attacks from the few remaining enraged motorists, who feel birthright entitled to high speed easy motoring and cannot mentally accept the idea of a bicycle or scooter, or mass-transit as alternative transportation.

I just picked 10 mph for example. If shortages become too great nationwide, then increase the speed to 15 mph for awhile by NSD, then lower the trucking speed back down after a certain time period.

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

BTW: I hope everyone reads the article posted by me [at the bottom of yesterday's DB] about how termites can rapidly make your super-insulation efforts futile.


I noted that with extreme interest since I am considering new construction once building dies down here.

Good to know that termites like Styrofoam for nests :-((



Do you monitor these websites, "Crop moisture index", other than your normal drought website? It seems the SE severe drought may not be so severe, as the crop moisture is normal or above normal.




Yup. And they got absolutely swamped the past couple of days on top of that. It also looks like the area should stay wet this season. Great news for crops in the SE.

We could at least try 55 mph ...

and "greening" up WalMart has been another of RMI's consulting projects -- I'm not kidding

Kunstler just doesn't get it. I wish he would just say he hates the suburbs, hates cars(oh wait, probably owns a car so that means he doesn't hate them!) and hates wal-mart and just leave it at that. don't bring oil into it. don't bring Y2k into it.

Let's not forget that the stock market closed at 3.15 Kuntslers on Friday. Who knows by the end of the year we could be celebrating quadruple kuntsler day!

I agree that JHK has been pretty "subtle" regarding suburbs: "The biggest misallocation of resources in the history of the world." Perhaps he should try to be more explicit about what he thinks.

In any case, IMO you guys seem to be constantly attacking Jim Kunstler not because he was wrong about our post-World War Two suburban experiment, but because he appears to be right. We now have a low density, highly energy dependent system that has no real future, with the added bonus that US total energy consumption per capita is twice what it is in the EU.

I always wonder about people's motives when they attack someone because their central thesis appears to be correct.

It is interesting how things have transpired since End of Suburbia: Oil Depletion and the Collapse of the American Dream was released, in 2004. In retrospect, if one had built an investment portfolio based on this DVD--go short on auto, housing, finance & go long on food & energy--one would have done quite well.

The EOS trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qHr8OzaloLM

Jim has done more for the Peak Oil movement than anyone else on the planet. He may go overboard from time-to-time with his visions, but he turns out to be disturbingly correct on this one. I love ya, Jim! I think you're super too, WT!

He may go overboard from time-to-time with his visions, but he turns out to be disturbingly correct on this one.

The only thing he has been "correct" on is the housing bubble and that hasn't exclusively hit the suburbs. he also wasn't the only one to opine about the housing bubble. I heard about the housing bubble way before I heard about Kunstler's peak oil rants. I would give at least 10 other people credit for informing me about the housing bubble before I'd give kunstler credit. I can see how someone who didn't read a lot of other financial websites and only read kunstler could believe he was so prescient but many others were too and before him.

In any case, IMO you guys seem to be constantly attacking Jim Kunstler not because he was wrong about our post-World War Two suburban experiment, but because he appears to be right.

no, it's because he's been so wrong. about wal-mart, about Y2K and etc. about suburbia. the suburbs aren't dead. the suburbs are going through a housing bust, that's about it. peak oil ranks about 4th or 5th on the list of problems that the suburbs have. it might do worse because of gasoline prices in the future but we don't know yet.

if one had built an investment portfolio based on this DVD--go short on auto, housing, finance & go long on food & energy--one would have done quite well.

with the exception of maybe the auto industry and san diego housing(which is back to it's 2004 levels) you would have been too early and you would have had massive losses waiting for the top.

if you had taken kunstler's Y2K advice and sold your suburban house you would have lost a lot of money. same if you listened to his advice about how wal-mart probably couldn't survive a 30 cent increase in diesel prices.

my point is the world is more complicated than the suburbs use gas therefore the suburbs have no future. that goes for ANY sector that uses energy. the world changes, it reacts to events like higher gas prices. society is very resilient.

My Y2K - A Personal Statement

Pirates Seize French Yacht Off Somalia

The article notes that reported pirate attacks were up 10% worldwide in 2007.

Hello WT,

Beautiful Sailboat! Makes sense to me for pirates to quickly grab this ship for first-mover status, proudly fly the 'skull & crossbones', then quickly fill it full of human bones for the coming postPeak market demand for easy minerals for topsoil replenishment.

This is much more environmentally sound than their current fraudulent practice of loading living people aboard a boat for cash with the promise of easy immigration to another country, then forcing them to walk the plank into the deep blue.

Recall my earlier postings on Britain's massive industrial bone transport. Do the nautical terms: deadweight, dead-heading, and dead-reckoning ring a bell?

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

This is much more environmentally sound than their current fraudulent practice of loading living people aboard a boat for cash with the promise of easy immigration to another country, then forcing them to walk the plank into the deep blue.

Really, the plank thing might have some merit. By enriching the deep blue with micronutrients from the victims, you could be encouraging carbon sequestration. (sorry, Nature just gives you the abstract free; you have to subscribe to read the whole article)

Reported US Sales of Hybrids Up 10% in March; Total LDV Sales Down 12%


Reported US sales of hybrids climbed 10% in March 2008 year-on-year to 38,214 units—the second highest total yet, behind only the results from May 2007. Total light-duty vehicle US sales in March dropped 12%, according to figures from Autodata, with total passenger car sales dropping 5.4% and total light truck sales dropping 17.8% from March 2006.

The other cool thing about higher gas prices for us who own high mileage vehicles, is that our vehicles will likely retain most of their value as long as they are in good condition.

Can't drive 55? How about 65 instead

I drove my Toyota Tacoma PU from Seattle to Eugene and back at 60-65 mph on I5 this last weekend. I was passed by EVERYBODY including the semi's. As a reward, my PU gave me 29+ mpg, the best it's ever done. Usually I only get 27 mpg. Should I be happy?

Hello TODers,

As posted before, I am not an engineer or scientist, but I have lots of 'wild & crazy' ideas. My hope is that scientists and engineers look at my speculation, then improve it to where it becomes ERoEI-feasible.

Consider my earlier postings on 'Steelies' [one link posted below for newbies]:


What if we took all this metal from the soon to be abandoned 'jillions' of cars and basically steel-plated the Rockies and the Sierra Nevadas? I believe we will stupidly harvest and/or burn the trees down anyway, ala Haiti, or the bark beetle and climate change will do them in anyhow. So instead of just accepting the massive erosion and floods quickly silting up the rivers and hydrodams, we could make 'lemonade from lemons'.

The steel-plating might have other beneficial effects:

1. Daytime Super-Giant heat island effect would create monster updrafts for powering mountaintop windturbines, and since the steel cools quickly after dark--monster downdrafts nightly would continue to power the windmills.

2. Instead of postPeak foothiking like tlamemes, or rail-biking over these mountains: gliders could easily transport high-value goods and people by utilizing these updrafts & downdrafts.

3. If the wind effects are sufficiently turbulent: the jetstream would oscillate over a greater continental area. This might more evenly distribute weather preventing huge and nearly stationary eddies causing flooding events and/or huge dustbowls where the eddies don't go; more even rain and snowfall over a greater area to help keep Central Plains farming viable as the aquifers deplete.

4. Could this have enough strength to rapidly decrease tornados' numbers and F-5 ratings in the Tornado Belt? Much less infrastructure destruction could be possible.

5. During the winter: would all this cold steel attract increased snowpack versus bare land? Then in the spring: would the rapid, but clear, silt-free snowmelt help self-dredge rivers to keep them navigable to barge-shipping? I doubt if we will have the postPeak FFs to continue river-dredging, yet this is the most cost-effective way to move goods.

6. The increased amounts of clear water would quickly fill hydrodams; the higher the head pressure the more efficient the water turbines generate electrojuice.

7. Could the steel route the excess runoff towards the mountain railroads? Imagine massive electrified trains of empty tanker-cars filling up with this water at the summit, then generating extra juice by regenerative braking as they ran down the downslope. At the bottom, the water could be quickly drained into a river to provide for a thirsty city or recharge an aquifer.

8. If the excess snowpack actually starts to regenerate glaciers: workers could harvest the ice, then pack it into boxcars for city use where food-refrigeration is un-affordable. Also make electrojuice by more regenerative braking on the downhill glide.

9. If the steel is concave shaped: it easily collects the water so it can be routed for downhill micro-hydro generation before being routed to the tanker-cars. Once drained, cover the surface with tinfoil for an easy reflective solar dish to enhance more heat island effect or to melt more junked cars for further mountainous steel-plating.

10. The dishes that are decaying can serve as convenient planters for the new-climate adapted seedlings. These can later be transplanted to encourage reforestation on these mountain ranges when no more junk cars can be brought to the mountains [ERoEI <1].

Feel free to add more or refute as I am no expert.

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

You missed out on the post where higher steel prices means Fe is getting sent in for scrap value. Thus the old cars have been declared "no problem" by another TODer.

If you want to 'keep' the run-off - Might I suggest you add rainwater harvesting to your normal PNK postings?


(Besides - shouldn't excess Iron be used to build Wind turbines or even your spiderwebs?)

OPEC pumped an average 32.35 million barrels a day last month, down 85,000 barrels from February, according to the survey of oil companies, producers and analysts. February output was revised up by 160,000 barrels a day. Production by the 12 members with quotas, all except Iraq, fell 30,000 barrels to 29.97 million barrels a day.

The decline in March was the first monthly drop since August, as producers took advantage of surging prices.

No one commented on this yesterday. To me, I thought it was significant because the rise has stopped and the plataeu has returned. Thus, it appears to me that we will see a flat production curve the rest of the year from OPEC. That leaves Non-OPEC.

Does anyone have a good estimate of the Non-OPEC production curve for the rest of the year? My guess is that they are going to surprise to the upside (because of the numerous projects this year) and prices are going to drop back into the $90s, maybe even the high $80s. However, by year end I think prices will surge back and reach $120 by year end. I also think we reach $150 by Jan 1, 2010 (a very conservative estimate).

NewAger, of course everything is just a guess but I do not see any surprise surge to the upside. In fact I believe Non-OPEC production to be down slightly this year. Russia will be down by about 200,000 barrels per day. China will be down, Canada will be down, Mexico will be down and the entire North Sea will be down. The USA is already down about 200,000 barrels per day from the high of last year. Thunder Horse will come on line late this year but not in time to make much of a difference.

However I do expect the plateau to continue through 2008 and most of 2009. After that I expect a drop in both Non-OPEC and OPEC production. By the middle of 2010 everyone will be painfully aware that peak oil is in the rear view mirror.

Ron Patterson

Ron, thanks for you comments.

I'm aware of the problems in Mexico and the apparent possible peak in Russia, as I am an avid reader of this blog. But this year, there is a lot of new oil coming on-line. After this year, we will likely never again see this much new oil. It is supposed to be at least 5 mbd (the net increase could be 1 mbd). I think OPEC is maxed out, so if Non-OPEC does not deliver an increase this year, prices are going to rocket next year.

I'm with you, I think the crisis is in 2010. That is when everyone realizes that we are post-peak.

I think we are right at the edge of peak oil, but everyone still wants proof.

I think you're on the right track newager. With the current pressure in the oil market there will be one final push that either keeps production on the plateau for the next 2 years or perhaps a modest increase in production. Then all the new drilling projects that could possibly be dreampt up won't save the oil markets. I think 2010 is a pretty good estimate.

Exports boys & girls. . . exports.

I estimate that the top five net exports dropped at an average rate of 900,000 bpd in 2006 and 2007. I see no reason that the decline won't continue, especially with Russia showing declining production and exports. Among the smaller exporters, for every Angola, we have a Mexico--on track to approach zero net exports in 2014.

In past six months, oil prices have risen at a rate that would produce a doubling every 18 months if it continues at the same rate.

BTW, if the HL model for Russia is only partially correct, the production decline could be pretty severe.

Westexas, I enjoy your posts the best of anyone on this site.

I agree with you that exports have been declining, but exports are taking a back seat to production numbers. In fact, export numbers are NEVER mentioned in the mainstream media. Whenever I tell someone that exports peaked in 2005, they look at me with a look of bewilderment.

So while export numbers are much more important than production numbers, the only thing anyone cares about currently is production numbers. I think this will change once everyone understands we have reached peak. Then people will care much more about what is available to purchase.

Thus, you are way ahead of the curve. Your ELM will be taught in schools. Your ideas about living simply will be all the rage. Are you writing a book? You definately should. Self-Publish it.

Again, I think the time frame for declining exports to reach the collective conscious will be in 2010.

Thanks for the kind words, but my usual disclaimer, Matt Simmons pointed out the problem with rising consumption in exporting some time ago, and Nate highlighted some prior work on the same subject, and most of my analysis has been based on Khebab's work.

Having said that, I remain amazed that net export capacity is not the #1 story in the world. I'm giving a presentation at UCSB on April 15th, and I did the second of three radio interviews today, leading up to the talk. The response so far has been absolute shock at the time frame we are talking about.


More info on Russia from ASPO International

Future of Russian Oil Production April 4, 2008

Recent reports have shown that Russia have not been able to increase its oil production for three months in a row now (Reuters). The production have been hanging slightly below the maximum of 9,93 Mbpd that was reached last year in October.

Russia is also the worlds second largest oil exporter and the impact from a staggering Russian oil production would be significant. Output has declined with between 0.5% to 1.5% for most major Russian producers, including the state-controlled Rosneft. Only LUKOIL and Tatneft managed to increase their output by 0.1% and 0.6% respectively.

ASPO also did a comprehensive 100 page study on Russia on October 2007

Russian Oil - a Depletion Rate Model estimate of the future Russian oil production and export

Oil is a heavily used natural resource with a limited supply. Russia is one of the largest oil producers and the second largest oil exporting country in the world. Many surrounding countries are dependent on Russian energy. Swedish oil import from Russia has grown from 5% to 35% during 2001-2005.

The fall of the Soviet Union in 1991 caused the Russian oil production to drop by 50%. The production is currently growing again – but how will it develop in the future?

This report studies different scenarios for Russian oil production and export based on three different estimates of how much oil Russia has left today (70, 120 or 170 Gb), combined with estimates about how fast Russia can produce the oil (a depletion rate of 3%, 4.5% or 6%).

In the worst case, Russian oil production and also the oil export will peak very soon or has already done so in 2006. In the best case, a constant export can be held until 2036. It is not likely that the Russian production will increase more than 5-10% over today’s level.

Have you factored in OPEC supply cuts when the price breaks $90?

Hello TODers,

More bad news for grain prices:

Pakistan Wheat crop estimates lowered to 22m tonnes
From two days earlier:

Nearly half of Pakistan's 160 million people are at risk of going short of food due to a surge in prices, the World Food Programme said on Friday.

The WFP survey covering the year to March showed the number of people deemed "food insecure" had risen 28 percent to 77 million from 60 million in the previous year.
So the crop problems in the first link will only exacerbate the problems in the second link.

Recall that the CEO of Potash earlier said we need record crops everywhere if we hope to avoid the BIG HURT.

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

Didn't Richard Duncan put the start of the dieoff in 2008?

I think Duncan predicted that the first permanent blackouts would appear this year, and mark the beginning of the "Decline" period. From the graph in his recent update, it looks like he expects population to start falling around 2010-2014.

It's been a while since I read it, but here's the most recent update.


Malthus' Theories Revisited As Global Grain Prices Rise

With world grain prices soaring to unprecedented levels, a familiar name is starting to make the rounds again after some 200 years on the shelf – Thomas Malthus.

At the beginning of the 19th century, the English demographer predicted that the exponential growth of the human population would outstrip our ability to increase food production. The result: widespread famine will cause the Earth's population to plunge.
Nothing to see here, move along...March Madness, the upcoming Masters Golf Tournament, and the new Spring Fashions at your local mall should be your only concern.

Compressed Air Cars (again)

There was a previous item here on TOD about compressed air cars, with people scoffing at them and calling them "bombs" etc. Now it seems some of the the problems have been ironed out. Could this be one of the answers to transport, post peak oil?

Please watch video here or here or here

See this website: http://www.itmdi-energy.com/

If I understood correctly, a 4 hour electric charge gives about 120 miles.
Doesn't it have the same limitations as other electricity-based solutions?

This thread on TOD Australia from mid January 2008 seems to answer a lot of our questions. Apparently Tata of India will be selling a car like this soon.

Air Car recently unveiled at New York Auto Show March 2008.

The air car should have a place in the high priced oil future, especially if air refilling stations are available.

Refilling station infrastructure would need to be built to provide the high pressure air required, which could be expensive.

It appears more likely that the air car will be sold first in "multi fuel mode". In other words a small motor running on LPG, diesel, or petrol would compress the air within the car.

Compressed air car shown at New York show March 27, 2008

"ZPM said it plans to produce a six-seat, four-door family-sized version of its compressed air vehicle to the U.S. market. The ZPM model will achieve over 100 mpg US equivalent and over 90 mph (145 km/h) capability, have zero to low CO2 emissions, offer plenty of space for luggage, meet all safety requirements, and cost no more than an average economy to midsize vehicle. The first ZPM-manufactured compressed air car is expected to roll off the production line in 2010 and cost around US$18,000."

The fuel economy of 100 mpg above is the same as 2.35 L/100 km. This Oil Drum story says that an air car could cost $AU1.70/100 km, the equivalent of 1.1 L/100 km, if compressed air refilling stations are used.

For comparison, this Smart forTwo turbo diesel used 3.3 L/100 km.

Back in the year 2000, the Volkswagen Lupo, using a similar motor as the Smart forTwo, a three cylinder 1.2L turbocharged diesel, achieved 2.5 L/100 km on the highway.

Later, in 2002, Volkswagen had prototype car which used 0.89 L/100 km, called the "1 liter" car.

The 1-liter car uses a 0.3-liter, one-cylinder diesel engine, centrally positioned in front of the rear axle and combined with an automated direct shift gearbox. The crankcase and cylinder head of the engine are of an aluminium monoblock construction. The naturally aspirated, direct-injection diesel engine generates 6.3 kW (8.44 hp) at 4,000 rpm, with a top speed of 120 km/h (75 mph). Since the vehicle weights just 290 kg, it is “astonishingly lively”.

But Volkswagen now says that it could not produce an ultra-economical car for less than €20,000 ($25,900)—too expensive for its target market.

Now, the CEO Martin Winterkorn has revived the 1-liter car and has claimed that the car would be available by the end of the decade.


"First up Winterkorn stressed that the 1-Liter “would not be a best seller” and thus will only be produced in limited numbers. Its body will be constructed from plastic and magnesium and its power source will be a one-cylinder engine displacing just 0.3L. Top speed will be 120km/h and consumption will fall around the 1L/100km mark (235mpg), reports AFX."


I'd rather drive the VW's new car.

I'd rather drive the VW's new car.

Agreed. I like my current car, a 2007 VW Golf diesel, and would stay with VW if they could come out with this vehicle inside 10 years.

I bet Detroit wishes it was in a situation to pump vehicles out like this. The ethanol subsidy redirected could have kick started a program like this easilly. Smaller cars would be much easier to load onto electric rail transport like the Eurostar does. If the vehicles where electric also, the train could charge them for the final part of the journey.

Small fuel efficient cars would be perfect to roll out as a sort of bus/taxi intermediate. The cars follow a set route and will stop to pick people up on that route as they go. With GPS/ mobile communication devices the day of a H2G2 digital thumb may not be that far away.

There are some interesting electric vehicles on youtube, not least the 900W self balancing electric unicycle.

Will be interesting to see if the development of PV and electric vehicles results in a battery / PV powered encolsed velo-rail-bike.

Cooking oil is £1 a litre at the supermarkets now.
I hope the sewers keep working or we are in real trouble.

638 pounds, 240mpg diesel - had we done this ten years ago we'd have a little more room to maneuver, both literally and figuratively. I wonder how much it costs ...

Compressed air is an inefficient way to store energy since the heat energy from the compression usually is lost. The only good thing with it is that the technology is simple. Its "woodstove" technology, simple and lossy.

Btw, one method to save energy in light industry is to discard compressed air tools and replace them with electric tools that now are more or less as compact and light as compressed air tools. Also large compressed air systems tend to leak a little and that can add upp to major losses.

Of all the civilizations that have inhabited this planet, we are going to leave the biggest assortment of interesting junk around.

The airlines saga continues. Soon, somebody will set up a website like "Implode-o-Meter" to keep track of airline collapses. High oil prices, high borrowing costs and falling consumer discretionary spending are placing high financial pressures on the global airline industry.

Which Airlines Will Collapse Next? Apr 5, 2008

Fox business.com had a story Friday morning that addressed the question of which airline would collapse next, after the sudden deaths of Aloha and ATA. Its expert picks: Frontier and AirTran.
Not quite. By the end of the day Skybus had bitten the dust.
Of course, there's trouble all across the industry, even internationally. Alitalia is in a deep crisis, losing $1.5 million a day, and its talks with KLM/Air France recently disintegrated.
Unable to raise fares sufficiently to cover their costs, airlines must try to survive massive losses and wait for weaker competitors to collapse.

This was Fox's story mentioned above

Cash-Strapped Airlines: Who’s Next to Fall? April 4, 2008

Aloha Airlines and ATA Airlines might just be the first of several airlines to go belly up.
And the current credit crunch makes it more difficult for airlines to borrow to raise money when the cash coffers run empty.
“We found that all the airlines would survive 2008 but cash levels would be at alarming levels for the majority of the carriers if current trends continue through 2009,” said Ray Neidl, an airline analyst with Calyon Securities
The problem for these airlines, from small to big carriers, is the credit crunch and liquidity troubles that hit Wall Street investment banks like Bear Stearns
In an industry with such massive fixed costs like airlines, the biggest variable cost for the industry is fuel.
According to data provided by Neidl, the smaller airlines would be the first to reach critical levels of cash if oil remains above $110 a barrel and the economy continues to deteriorate into 2009 - the first being Frontier Airlines (FRNT: 2.17, +0.05, +2.35%) and then Airtran (AAI: 6.51, -0.04, -0.61%).
The big legacy carriers will be able to "survive" in all of 2008 and into part of 2009, experts said. But at some point rising fuel costs will eventually conquer the big airlines as well.
According to Neidl and Mann, the legacy carrier with the biggest cash problem is United Airlines (UAUA: 21.20, -0.59, -2.70%), which could buckle by the end of 2008 at $105-a-barrel oil, compared with Delta (DAL: 8.75, -0.06, -0.68%) or Northwest (NWA: 9.45, +0.24, +2.60%), which could weather an average $120 a barrel of oil.

Collapsing airlines is exactly what peak oil would predict as oil prices continue rising causing jet fuel to increase. However, the current US recession will accelerate the rate of airline collapses.

This is obviously quite sad for those who work there, but we really need a "wake up" type event so that the peak oil effects aren't lost in the noise of the economic crash. I guess maybe folks who know it and who are driving local development will cast their solutions as recovery and local job growth, thereby insulating their homes from the troubles?

That's my theory and I'm stickin' to it.