DrumBeat: April 6, 2008

Rockets fired at villas housing US oilmen in Yemen

SANAA (AFP) — Three rockets were fired late on Sunday at villas where US oil experts live in Yemen's capital, next to a residential complex for other Westerners, residents said, in the latest attack to hit a country plagued by Al-Qaeda-linked violence.

Security officials confirmed that rockets had been fired but gave few other details. One security official was quoted by state media as saying there were no casualties.

Residents told AFP that three rockets struck near the villas where American oil experts from the former Hunt Oil firm, now called Safer and owned by Yemen, live.

Wanted: world environmental leader

If you wrap up what all these brains are saying, you'll conclude that we can and must reshape the world from both environmental and economic standpoints. The energy source we have relied on for so long and so much -- fossil fuel -- is getting too expensive to extract. Hence, peak-oil theories will prove out and the world's power source will dwindle even more.

Asking The Right Business Questions About High Gas Prices

(SAUSALITO, Calif.) - The notion of "peak oil" -- which holds that the world's production of oil is at it's all-time high this year, or within a few years -- has recently become credible in the business community.

While most everybody will agree that petroleum is a depleting resource with a limited supply, the question many now wrestle with is: "How much more oil is there left in the ground?" Considerable debate wages about the real level of petroleum reserves, and how many more years it will last.

Unfortunately this discussion is a distraction from the practical questions that business managers should be asking. A much better question to ask would be: "How much longer will it be before our organization starts to suffer serious adverse impacts because the world supply of oil is dwindling?"

China denies providing arms to Sudan in return for oil

KHARTOUM (KUNA) -- China anew Sunday denied providing arms for Sudan in return for oil, and asserted that it was complying with international agreements banning this method.

Cooking up a load of bioethanol

Vast volumes of potential transport fuels are being buried in refuse landfills, says a visiting United States scientist searching for non-food sources of bioethanol for petrol and diesel substitution.

Bill Orts, a Californian-based Department of Agriculture research leader, says a high proportion of cellulose from discarded paper packaging makes municipal refuse a lucrative would-be fuel source.

A Shift in the Debate Over Global Warming

With recent data showing an unexpected rise in global emissions and a decline in energy efficiency, a growing chorus of economists, scientists and students of energy policy are saying that whatever benefits the cap approach yields, it will be too little and come too late.

The economist Jeffrey D. Sachs, head of the Earth Institute at Columbia University, stated the case bluntly in a recent article in Scientific American: “Even with a cutback in wasteful energy spending, our current technologies cannot support both a decline in carbon dioxide emissions and an expanding global economy. If we try to restrain emissions without a fundamentally new set of technologies, we will end up stifling economic growth, including the development prospects for billions of people.”

Iranian Pres. calls for joint OPEC bank, currency

TEHRAN (KUNA) -- President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad Sunday called for a joint bank and currency for member states of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries' (OPEC).

...The Iranian President pointed out that the current situation in the global oil market called for such unification, noting that oil importing states were achieving more financial gain than those exporting the vital energy source.

China: Building Wonderland

According to the research firm Euromonitor International, the country added 5.5 million new housing units in 2007, nearly four times what the United States built and more than one-quarter of all new housing stock in the world. (Other analysts estimate China built even more units.) The size and value of the average Chinese home still lag far behind its U.S. equivalent. But the pace of change is so fast that China is hurtling through two periods of history at once — the industrialization of the late 19th century and the suburbanization of the mid-20th century.

Navajo to appeal order accepting Western Refining tariffs

ALBUQUERQUE (AP) - The federal government has rejected claims by the Navajo Nation that the tribe would lose millions in annual revenue because of prices set by Western Refining Pipeline Co. to transport crude oil on a pipeline stretching from West Texas to northwestern New Mexico.

Sun Is Part of the Plan for Greener Hempstead

THE Town of Hempstead deploys park officials in a fleet of electric cars to patrol its beaches and parks. A windmill atop a landfill-turned-recreation area circulates water in a nearby pond. The town is even testing hybrid garbage trucks to reduce their exhaust.

“We want to go entirely green here,” said Kate Murray, the town supervisor.

But the most ambitious of Ms. Murray’s environmental plans sits right above her head: 256 shiny blue panels on the town hall’s roof. They make up a 40-kilowatt photovoltaic — solar energy — system to power her office and a conference room next door.

Afghans Complain About Electricity Shortages in World's "Darkest" Capital

The people in Kabul complain about the lack of electricity in the capital. Such complaints are not new and government officials' reasons are repeated. However, this time the people start complaining about the lack of electricity in the first days of the New Year. Last year, at this time, the people were satisfied with the available electricity. However, officials claim that due to the lack of water it is not possible for them to provide round-the-clock electricity in all areas of Kabul.

Texans Beat Big Coal, and a Film Shows How

HOUSTON — David had only a slingshot. Texans fighting big coal have Robert Redford.

A year after an uproar over pollution forced a turnaround in plans for 19 new coal-fired power plants around the state, the battle has been recounted in a documentary, “Fighting Goliath: Texas Coal Wars,” commissioned by Mr. Redford’s Sundance Preserve. It spotlights the unlikely coalition of ranchers, big-city mayors and environmentalists that stymied Gov. Rick Perry and spurred the record $45 billion takeover of Texas’s biggest electric company, TXU.

Idea of gas line has a history

If Enstar Natural Gas Co. and Anadarko Petroleum Corp. successfully build a bullet line from the foothills of the Brooks Range to Anchorage, it would prove up an old oil patch theory.

On and off again for more than 50 years, business leaders in Alaska have wondered whether markets along the Railbelt could justify developing the Gubik gas field.

For Seattle Shoppers, Paper or Plastic Could Come with a ‘Green Fee’

Under a proposal announced this week by Mayor Greg Nickels, shoppers in Seattle would pay a 20-cent “green fee” beginning next year for every new paper or plastic bag they use to carry away goods from grocery, drug or convenience stories. They would be encouraged to bring their own bags for carrying home purchases.

Amazon’s ‘Forest Peoples’ Seek a Role in Striking Global Climate Agreements

MANAUS, Brazil — Some wore traditional headdresses, and some traveled by riverboat or canoe. But the dozens of “forest peoples” who descended on this capital of Amazonas State last week had a common goal of becoming bigger players in global climate talks.

Going Green in Australia’s Blue Mountains

I am certain, had we ended up in one of the bungalows with a composting, rather than standard, toilet, he would have vacated the premises faster than I could mutter “organic waste.” In fact, I wondered if our two-decades-long friendship could sustain this sustainable travel experience when he complained that the solar “light globes” weren’t bright enough to read by.

Dubai power shortage continues to deepen, say reports

UAE: Dubai's decision to open its power industry to foreign investors, ending a 50-year monopoly, is a sign of the Emirate's growing panic that the US$300 billion construction boom is outpacing supplies of water and electricity.

...Dubai has known for many years that its finite oil and gas resources weren't sufficient to meet the surge in demand for electricity but has done little to address the issue. Now, in the absence of an expected Iranian gas pipeline and other issues, Dubai Electricity & Water Authority is running out of cheap gas to fire its gigantic power and sea-water desalination plants.

Qatar says it will continue to peg its currency to the falling dollar

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates: Qatar will not depeg or revalue its currency despite increasing pressure on oil-rich Gulf states to sever their links to the falling dollar, Qatar's central bank governor said Sunday.

Oil is priced in dollars on the world market, but many Gulf countries rely on government-subsidized imports priced in euros and other currencies that have been rising against the greenback.

Iran: OPEC should employ capabilities to preserve exporters rights

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Sunday that it is incumbent upon OPEC to draw up a well-calculated program to preserve the rights of exporting countries.

Top Asia oil refiner Sinopec Q4 dives two-thirds

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Top Asian oil refiner Sinopec Corp posted a nearly two-thirds fall in quarterly net profit, as high oil prices squeezed its refining business into the red, and it faces an even tougher 2008.

Railroads are expanding at a record clip

America's railroads are back to laying track.

For decades, freight railroads tore up or sold stretches of rail as they lost cargo to trucking companies. But that downsizing has reversed itself in the past few years. Freight has flowed back to railroads amid the confluence of congested highways, a truck driver shortage and high fuel costs - problems not expected to fade away anytime soon.

Two bits worth

A "targeted industry analysis" unveiled by the Casper Area Economic Development Alliance last week contains the following observation:

"One interviewee suggested that the energy companies were almost panic-stricken in their desire to do business while the economic conditions are favorable."

Which brings to mind harness makers.

Malta: MIA and Enemalta blame each other for aviation fuel shortage

Although a fresh consignment of aviation fuel has reached Malta, it will only be towards the end of this month that this can be used by planes refuelling in Malta.

Meanwhile, Enemalta and MIA are still engaged in a war of words, blaming each other for the shortage that made MIA stop trips by huge cargo planes, which were leaving very remunerative revenues in Malta.

High tide for oil but choppy seas buffet region's shipping industry

When oil prices skyrocket, financial effects go beyond a fill-up at the local service station or the most recent home heating oil delivery.

With oil prices hovering at about $100 a barrel, one of the state's economic sectors keeping a close watch is the profitable shipping industry.

Thailand Rules Out Selling Rice From State Stockpile

Rice, the staple food for about 3 billion people, has nearly doubled in the past year on increased imports by the Philippines, the biggest buyer, and as China, India and Vietnam cut exports. Record food and fuel prices have stoked inflation, contributing to strikes in Argentina, riots in Ivory Coast and a crackdown on illicit exports in Pakistan.

Bread shortage tries Egypt, shows cracks in political system

Across Egypt this year, people have waited in line for hours at bakeries that sell government-subsidized bread, sign of a growing crisis over the primary foodstuff in the Arab world’s most populous country. President Hosni Mubarak has ordered Egypt’s army to bake bread for the public, following the deaths of at least six people since March 17 — some succumbing to exhaustion during the long waits, others stabbed in vicious struggles for places in line.

Gov. Palin will be the one who can unite Alaskans, Big Oil

A leader who has lots of political capital but doesn’t use it isn’t doing his or her constituents much good.

With that in mind, Alaskans should want Gov. Sarah Palin to consider using her considerable store of political authority to embrace ConocoPhillips, BP and Exxon Mobil if her own path for getting the North Slope natural gas pipeline project reaches a dead end, as a significant number of people think it soon will. To be clear, a sizable number of people have faith in the governor’s Alaska Gasline Inducement Act and the single proposal — TransCanada’s — it has produced for consideration.

Fairbanks fuel costs double during last 4 years

It’s costing us more to energize our lives these days. Twice as much, to be specific.

An analysis released last week by the Fairbanks North Star Borough estimates it cost Fairbanks residents and businesses two times as much to pay their energy bills — to heat their homes, fuel their cars and pay electric bills — in 2007 than four years ago.

Turns Out, I Can Drive 55

There’s some dispute about how much fuel ultimately was saved. Traffic fatalities did go down. Congress passed fuel efficiency rules, small cars gained stature. But drivers chafed, and as oil flowed and the memory of 1973 faded, speed limits went up. Sammy Hagar hit it big in 1984 with “I Can’t Drive 55.” In 1987 the federal government raised the limit to 65 (Hagar did a remake of his song, “I Can’t Drive 65,” but it just didn’t seem right) and in the 1990s the federal government gave power back to the states to set speed limits.

Driving's new reality

Lipsman said Iowa's recent declines suggest that drivers did not change their habits in meaningful ways until the end of last year and the first part of this year. That would make sense, he added, because gas prices did not dip as they typically do over the winter, and in fact have continued to go up.

"If they think (high prices) have been here for five or six months, they're going to do something significant," Lipsman said of drivers.

Pakistan: Aziz admits energy policy was flawed

NEW YORK: Former prime minister Shaukat Aziz said that energy consumption in Pakistan had increased rapidly and his government could not foresee the huge demand to be created by the growing economy.

In an interview with Dawn during a visit to New York, he attributed the shortage of electricity in the country to “unprecedented huge energy demands”.

Pakistan: Textile exports fell due to energy crisis, riots

KARACHI: Slowdown in Pakistan’s textile exports during the current fiscal is a result of energy crisis and violence that erupted in the wake of martyrdom of Benazir Bhutto in December 2007.

Iran: The challenge of electricity markets' competition

A modern energy service is an essential pre-requisite for increasing productivity and improving people’s livelihoods. New approaches are needed to deliver such energy services to meet the needs of the poor and support sustainable development. Policy innovation, technology access, integrated energy and development solutions and new energy investors are all required to overcome energy bottlenecks. Market mechanisms, if properly designed and complemented by regulatory measures can solve energy crisis.

Do we have the will to address energy crisis?

The Kansan, age 79 but still on the farm, said, "We burn wood for heat." I expressed surprise. "That would take a lot of wood on zero-degree nights."

"Yes," he said softly. "But propane is very high - more than 35 times what I used to pay in 1960."

Are we letting our opinions block out empiricism?

Is global warming happening? Are humans responsible? In this age of "he said, she said" journalism, when the media present virtually every issue as if there are two or more equally valid sides, how do you know what to believe?

Let's answer a different question first: Should you even have an opinion on these questions?

OPEC: Most rich nations pocket over 50% of gasoline prices

DOHA: The governments of the UK, France and Italy pocket more than 50% from a litre of gasoline, which confirms Opec’s opinion that rising crude oil prices contribute little to motorists’ pain at the petrol pumps in Europe.

The UK’s tax on a litre of oil was 55% in 2007, while France and Italy ate up 53% each, Germany (49%), Japan (38%), Canada (30%) and the US (26%), Opec said in its 2007 report: ‘Who gets what from a litre of oil in the G7’.

It said the British Government received around 1.7 times more from taxation than the Opec got from the sale of its oil and the country also had the highest industry margins among the G7.

GCC demand to curtail oil exports

Dubai: Spiralling energy demand in the Gulf states, coupled with a gas-supply crunch, might lead to oil exports from the region falling during the summer, according to energy econ-omists.

A Lehman Brothers report puts the possible Gulf export shortfall due to high domestic demand at up to one million barrels per day (bpd).

Debate to replace Saudi oil with Canadian oil sands

RIYADH: With the world looking to explore new, feasible and sustainable alternatives sources of energy, the ongoing debate -- if the Canadian oil sands is clean enough to be used or not -- has immense connotations for the energy balance of the world.

And interestingly enough, Riyadh is getting dragged, too, in the debate.

OPEC chief rejects calls for output hike

TEHRAN (AFP) - OPEC Secretary General Abdullah al-Badri has rejected calls from oil consuming states for a hike in the cartel's crude output, saying that non-fundamental factors were to blame for current high prices.

"At the moment there is enough oil in the market and no need to change OPEC's output," al-Badri said in Tehran late Saturday after arriving the day earlier for a three-day visit to the Islamic republic.

End of the world as we know it

You might feel fine, but high oil cost, scarcity mean American Empire is about to come crashing down.

Kuwait seeks international avenues for oil revenues

As oil bounces around record highs of above $100 a barrel, is the industry to blame for manipulating these prices? According to Kamel Al Harami, Kuwait oil industry analyst, the prices are down to the sub-prime crisis, the weak US dollar, and speculators. AME Info talked to Al Harami about the likely effects of inflation on the Kuwaiti economy.

Kuwait invests $800m in Visa IPO

Kuwait Investment Authority (KIA), which manages the oil producer's surplus wealth, bought almost $800 million of shares in the initial public offering of credit card firm Visa, a report said.

Nigeria: Militants Release 5 Kidnapped Oil Workers

FIVE workers of Express/Shebah Petroleum and Gas Company Limited, kidnapped by militant youths in Ilaje oil rich communities areas of Ondo State, have been released to the state government.

Meanwhile, the state government has read riot act to the militants in the oil rich area of the state.

New law would recreate Iraqi oil company

BAGHDAD - A parliamentary committee is working on a pair of oil-related draft bills, one to re-establish the state-run oil company and another to fight oil smuggling, a senior lawmaker said Saturday.

Abdul-Hadi al-Hassani, deputy chairman of the committee on oil, gas and natural resources, said legislation to re-establish the Iraqi National Oil Co., was likely to be presented to parliament on Tuesday.

Economy Q&A

Inflation in the oil sector is rampant, as there are so many projects under way around the world. That has bid up the price of oil workers, jack rigs and engineers.

Even smoke stacks for refineries are years back ordered. This all adds to the cost of exploration and production.

But the real run-up in prices has to do with the weak dollar and since oil is traded in dollars, producers are demanding more dollars to keep their earning power intact when dollars are converted back to local currency or to euros.

Oil historian Daniel Yergin, who came to our Washington offices recently, refers to oil as the new gold, a place where investors take refuge from both inflation and the weaker dollar.

Unglamorous but economical

BRUSSELS, BELGIUM — As fuel prices soar to record highs and airlines struggle to maintain profitability, the unglamorous but fuel-efficient turboprop regional airliner is making a remarkable comeback.

The revival of the propeller-driven planes, which typically consume a quarter to a third less fuel than equivalent jets, marks a significant new trend in the industry. Until recently, many commuter airlines had been determined to consign the planes to history and convert to all-jet fleets, which offer greater passenger comfort.

China’s Regulated Electricity Power Squeezed by Surging Coal Prices

China’s ever-rising coal prices and the stalled government-controlled electricity price are putting pressure on power generators, and companies are losing money. The five biggest power producers have been urging an upgrading of the coal-electricity linkage policy for some time. The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) is said to be studying the question but so far coal goes up while electricity prices remain the same.

Taiwan: The nation must diversify its coal imports

The Ministry of Economic Affairs said yesterday that since the nation relies entirely on imports for its coal supply, it has to diversify its import sources to ensure smooth operations.

Taiwan also needs to sign long-term purchase contracts to stabilize its coal supplies, ministry officials said.

Australia Needs to Boost `Frontier' Oil Exploration, Group Says

(Bloomberg) - Australia's oil explorers need to widen their search for discoveries in so-called frontier areas to avoid a A$28 billion ($26 billion) petroleum trade deficit within a decade, the nation's oil and gas industry group said.

South Africa: R2 million to clean up Ulundi sewerage mess

South Africa's sewerage systems could be the next big problem if massive and unplanned power outages continue. In Mpumalanga, several sewerage systems malfunctioned during the recent load shedding. In Mpumalanga last month, several sewerage systems malfunctioned during the recent load shedding as raw sewage spilt into several streams and rivers around Nelspruit. White River was worst affected and the health risk is high.

Aramco refinery shuts for work

Saudi Aramco will shut down its 100,000 barrels a day refinery in Jeddah for planned maintenance this week. It will be closed for about 20 days.

Food Prices To Rise For Years, Biofuel Firms Say

LONDON - Staple food prices will rise for some years, but should eventually fall to historical averages as harvests increase, biofuel company executives said on Thursday.

Seven Heresies in Energy Policy

If you want to understand some of the most challenging issues in debates about energy policy, I highly recommend reading The Bottomless Well by Peter Huber and Mark Mills. But if you’re looking for doom and gloom, you’ll be disappointed.

It's a Hand-Me-Down World

With gas prices nearing record levels, the dystopian world envisioned in Kunstler's new novel becomes less fiction than forecast. Kunstler plumbed the depths of a world out of oil in his best-selling book, "The Long Emergency," and he has now taken the premise and cast it into a not-too-distant future free of the restraints of nonfiction.

New Focus on Coal's Part in Warming

James E. Hansen, perhaps the best-known scientific advocate for curbing greenhouse-gas emissions, sent a letter recently to the head of one of the nation's largest power companies, calling on him to confront the role that his coal-fired plants play in global warming. Hansen proposed they meet.

On Wednesday, James E. Rogers of Duke Energy accepted Hansen's invitation, though he made clear he does not foresee calling off plans to build more of the power plants that Hansen considers a main culprit in climate change.

Tough road lies ahead for global climate deal

BANGKOK (AFP) - There have been numerous disagreements during a week of intense climate change talks in Bangkok but there is one point all sides agree on -- a long, tough road lies ahead.

Iceland: life on global warming's front line

REYKJAVIK (Reuters) - If any country can claim to be pitched on the global warming front line, it may be the North Atlantic island nation of Iceland.

On a purely physical level, this land of icecaps and volcanoes and home to 300,000 people is undergoing a rapid transformation as its glaciers melt and weather patterns change dramatically.

But global warming is also having a profound effect on Iceland economically -- and in many ways the effects have actually been beneficial.

Australian doctors warn of health impacts of climate change

SYDNEY (AFP) - Climate change is likely to lead to higher rates of some infectious and respiratory diseases as well as more injuries from storms and bushfires, a report by Australian doctors warned Sunday.

The Doctors for the Environment Australia report found that over the next decade, the health of children and the elderly would be most at risk from rising temperatures.

If anyone is still using older operating system software, your computer clock may have jumped forward this morning. Check it.


Average cost of raising a child to 18 in the USA in 2007 - $200,000

Average cost of a vasectomy - $500

Happiness a child can give you and your loved ones - Priceless

Then aren't you just using the child for your own benefit, consequences be damned?

To say nothing of the futureless existence you grant a new child, given what the world will look like in a few scant years.

Seems rather selfish.

You are right 710. Let's force all the males in the world to have vascetomies. We are so doomed anyway lets go ahead and ensure that we cause our species to go extint.

He didn't say anything about forcing anyone. There's a big difference between encouraging people to have fewer children and forcing them to have vasectomies.

Of course, if you do go child-free, what will you do when everyone else is practicing "swap children, then eat"?

If the intelligent people on this site don't have kids, who will keep the human race going? (This is just a funny video I thought I would share)


I don't find that a very compelling argument. Even assuming intelligence breeds true, which is highly controversial to say the least, it's our kind of intelligence that has gotten us into this mess in the first place.

OTOH, well loved children raised by two intelligent and involved parents are a likely source of "problem solvers".


But assuming that people here are 1) married and 2) would be involved parents is a big jump, wouldn't you say?

I'd like to think 'humanity' has something to do with it. Those oddball emotions like love and compassion and caring and hope. Comparing a child to a vasectomy on the basis of cost hits me as sort of creepy. Have we all just sort of descended into little calculators and cost/benefit machines??

But you don't have to have your own child to experience those things.

And you don't actually need a child at all to experience those things.

Except for hope, but I'll quiet down on the hope-bashing today.

Darn right. "intelligence" may or may not roughly breed true, but what the inheritor does with it is in any case not usefully predictable. Popping out kids as a basis for changing the world for the better has nearly always been a thin rationalization at best, hypocrisy at worst.

My wife and I did NOT have kids, though able. Instead, we have done our best to pass on our rational conclusions, methods and ethics to the children of others. Having one's thoughts and values 'inherited' in that way is perhaps more satisfying in a sense, and certainly doesn't make the problem worse.

"yi zi er shi-- swap children, then eat"... good link, L, and it's not fiction. It's what a policy of outbreeding the resources can lead to, and the world is currently heading for famines that will make the historic chinese ones look like fad diets. The fact that "children are our future" doesn't mean "more is better".

I would be quite sad now if I'd had kids, for their sakes.

Popping out kids as a basis for changing the world for the better has nearly always been a thin rationalization at best, hypocrisy at worst.

Exactly. If you want to have kids because you love kids, fine. But telling people it's their duty to have kids because the world needs their genes...uh, no. The world does not need anyone's genetic contribution that bad.

Similair conclusions - and my wife is a teacher! We may have one in due course, but we would both draw the line there. Her school holidays are fairly occupied 'helping' with her sisters' kids [all nice ones thankfully].

Comparing a child to a vasectomy on the basis of cost hits me as sort of creepy.

Well, many things in our society are rated by their cost/benefit ratio.
e.g. shitloads of money vs. an inhabitable planet

Tough decision, isn't it?

"Fck the planet! I take the money and buy me a new one!"
- some idiot

Exactly. I was saying my goodbyes to the folks at the post office, where I'd mailed so many packages out over the years while my business was going OK, and one Indian lady there said, "But don't you have children, to help you?" And I said "No, no children, American children don't help their parents." and that is the actual truth in this country. Everything's a cost-benefit analysis. It's probably one of the most atomized societies ever to exist. So, the idea of having kids to take care of you in your old age or in hard times has no meaning in the US.

I'm only stating a fact backed up by plenty of evidence, not looking for sympathy, when I say neither of my parents were involved, and the only people they ever really cared about were themselves. Heavily narcissistic, and physicians, too, to boot.

The point is that I have the emotional awareness and empathy that both of them lacked, and I'm a much better problem solver than the two of them put together. I had to be in order to survive.

I don't find that a very compelling argument. Even assuming intelligence breeds true, which is highly controversial to say the least...

You need to read "The Genetical Theory of Natural Selection" (1930) by R. A. Fisher. This classic book is probably the second most influential work in evolutionary biology, besides the "Origin" itself. As an actuary I'm sure you've heard of Fisher. He's considered the "father" of modern statistics, as well as one of the three founding fathers of population genetics. Fisher devotes the entire second half of his book to exploring mathematically the implications of intelligence (IQ) and fecundity being rather strongly negatively correlated. BTW, the heritability of IQ is ~.7.

...it's our kind of intelligence that has gotten us into this mess in the first place.

It's our kind of STUPIDITY, not intelligence, that's gotten us into this mess in the first place. The ape is crafty, cunning, clever perhaps... but NOT intelligent, and even less wise.

"intelligence" is not a scalar.

Intelligence and wisdom are two very different things. Perhaps Leanan was thinking of the latter.

Actually, I was thinking of anthropologist Marvin Harris' claim that only technology that has actually been beneficial to man in the long term is birth control.

Voluntary birth control is exponentially self-extinguishing and therefore makes the birth rate higher long term.

Evolution shows this result.

Only universal population policy, or random selection of fertility are safe for the gene pool.

People seem to find this simple logic hard to visualize.

Voluntary birth control is exponentially self-extinguishing and therefore makes the birth rate higher long term.

Sorry, I don't see that at all. It's not like desire to have children is a genetic trait. It's a lot more complex than that. (Example: it's looking more and more like homosexuality is genetic. How does that work, in your world of "simple logic"?)

Most people, given the choice (and the economic ability), have kids. Just not as many as they would have otherwise.

I don't think Leanan is an actuary. I think she's an engineer. Gail's an actuary. I used to be an actuarial student.

And what is an actuary, exactly? It's where thespians and performing artists go to die, a mortuary for actors.

I don't find that a very compelling argument. Even assuming intelligence breeds true, which is highly controversial to say the least

Sorry Leanan but you are dead wrong here. If intelligence is not heritable then there is no such thing as evolution. In the eighties there were a few who, out of their deep commitment to political correctness, objected to the heritability of intelligence. They were namely Richard Lewontin, Steven Rose, Leon J. Kamin and Stephen Jay Gould, but their arguments on the subject have since been totally discredited by Richard Dawkins, EO Wilson, Matt Ridley, Mark Ridley, John Maynard Smith and at least a dozen others.

Intelligence is simply a Darwinian adaptation. It is Homo sapiens one tool that gives them a great advantage over other animals. In our evolutionary past, when we first split off from other great apes, intelligence was our main survival tool. Only the smartest survived, and the smarter the individual the greater chance they had of surviving and reproducing. And in that way the average intelligence kept increasing over time until we arrived at our current level a few centuries ago.

On average, smarter parents have smarter kids and vise versa. But of course there is always variation. After all, natural variation, or what others may call small mutations, are the driving force of evolution.

Ron Patterson

What if intelligence is not a heritable trait, but the developmental capacity for intelligence is, and in order to fill that capacity there need to be adequate external environmental modifiers?

My mother's IQ was in the 130s, my father's in the 140s, and my IQ at last test was 169. Of course, both of my parents were also sociopaths, and I attribute my higher IQ to having to piece together critical survival skills at a very early age.

What if intelligence is not a heritable trait, but the developmental capacity for intelligence is, and in order to fill that capacity there need to be adequate external environmental modifiers?

Most heritable traits need environmental triggers. The capacity for intelligence and intelligence, in this case would be exactly the same thing.

For more than 50 years sane voices have called for an end to the debate. Nature versus nurture has been declared everything from dead and finished to futile and wrong—a false dichotomy,. Everybody with an ounce of common sense knows that human beings are a product of a transaction between the two.
Matt Ridley: Nature via Nurture

Ron Patterson

Intelligence is simply a Darwinian adaptation. It is Homo sapiens one tool that gives them a great advantage over other animals.

I beg to differ, as I don't think that it is intelligence per se that gave us a major advantage over all other animals.
Intelligence can manifest itself in many ways, which is likely the reason, why there are many, more or less different definitions of it, and the intelligence of man is a very technological one, as our anatomical features allowed us to use items as tools to solve, in a quite efficent manner, whatever problems we encountered. Thus, I think, evolution has not only favored the development of our technological way of thinking, but made it likely an innate behavior to find solutions in the creation and use of tools.

Accordingly the development of a mind that searches for solutions in technology would be completely useless, without the hand, as a species without the physical capabilities to use tools wouldn't benefit from the mental ability to do so.

I don't doubt that the development of hand and brain were reinforcing each other, but I want to note that our way of thinking would be a evolutionary dead end without the hand to perform and that the evolution of our intelligence might have gone a completely different way, if we weren't furnished with that little multi-purpose tool, as we couldn't manipulate things in the way we can now.

This would also explain, why so many people are so stubbornly clinging to the faith that technology will be the solution of our problems, even if they should know better.

Only the smartest survived, and the smarter the individual the greater chance they had of surviving and reproducing.

I have severe doubts that it is that easy. Even an intelligent specimen would have to have a minimum of physical strenght to survive and dominate his male rivals.

I beg to differ, as I don't think that it is intelligence per se that gave us a major advantage over all other animals.

Okay, I'll bite, what was it that gave such a major advantage over other animals? Was it our sense of smell? Was it our strength? Was it our ability to run extremely fast? Was it our our super sense of hearing? Or was it our ability to fly???

Clearly FalloutMonkey, we have one weapon and one weapon only, our brains. Otherwise we would have been toast. To claim that it was not our intelligence that gave us an advantage then it would behoove you to tell us what was. Everything we have not, technology, finding solutions to complicated problems and sophisticated tool use it the result of our superior intelligence!

I have severe doubts that it is that easy. Even an intelligent specimen would have to have a minimum of physical strenght to survive and dominate his male rivals.

FalloutMonkey, we are not talking about what gave us an advantage over our male rivals of our own species, we are talking about what gave us such a huge advantage over other animals! Please try to understand what the subject is man. Then explain how we, the only great ape without an opposing big toe, who could not climb very well, or run very fast, or no huge teeth or claws, and not very strong, could have had such a huge success in surviving and reproducing. What gave us such a great advantage over other great apes?

That being said, all other things being equal, a high intelligence would always give a man the advantage over other males in any tribe. There is no law that says smart men would be weaklings while dumb brutes would be large and muscular. The smart ones would be just as likely to possess brawn as the dumb ones. And of course cunning and stealth would usually win out over brute strength in any case. In this never ending battle for survival, that we lived in for the first few million years of our existence as a species, we needed to use every item in our arsenal, brains and brawn. It was never either this weapon or that weapon, it was every weapon we possessed.

Just answer that question FM, then tell me again that our intelligence gave us no advantage over other animals in general and other great apes in particular?

We have one weapon FM, one huge advantage over all other animals on earth, that is our brains, our ability to think, to plan for the future, to make tools that trap or kill other animals, to plant crops, and to pass on this knowledge to our children that they may have a far better chance of survival.

Damn man, to say that our brains gives no advantage over other animals is just down in the dirt dumb!

Ron Patterson

Darwinian I agree with you 100%, and humans' ability to work together, language to converse with and come up with strategies, to all occupy pretty much the same "mindspace" as we plot how to get the baby mammoth away from the herd, etc that is a huge advantage for us. If I go out and chase lizards, forget it, I can't catch one - they're fast enough to deal with kestrels and roadrunners, it's a piece of cake for one to run away from me. But if a friend and I go out, and team up, we can catch 'em all day. And come up to them, and even keep their little mental computers jammed up to the extent that my friend's reached his hand out and gently rubbed the lizard under the chin! Hilarious! Needless to say we were able to get some great photos of the little fellows. Now, animals *can* work together. Wolves, falcons, etc. but not to the fine degree that we can. We're kinda good runners, kinda OK climbers, can swim, actually the best throwers in the animal kingdom, but we're classic generalists - kinda good at a lot of things, not super-good at any. But our intelligence is a sort of uber-skill, where we can become a super-organism that can encircle prey, coordinate running a camp (some stay and take care of the kids, some go out one way and gather, others go the other way and hunt) and this is a HUGE advantage.

More hard science and less PC, I say.

Okay, I'll bite, what was it that gave such a major advantage over other animals? Was it our sense of smell? Was it our strength? Was it our ability to run extremely fast? Was it our our super sense of hearing? Or was it our ability to fly???

Well, I have to assume that you didn't even try to read my post, because I gave you the answer already and you prefer to give me that drivel without even mentioning it. But here we go again.

It was our hand that gave us the significant advantage over all other beings. Should I be more clearly?

The HAND! <-Look here!

How did you manage to read over that one in my first post?

You might disagree with me, but first cut off your fingers and show me what you can do then with all your intelligence. You couldn't use or make a single tool, and thus, you would be easy meat for every predator out there. All your intelligence wouldn't help you a lot.
And to spin this further, if all our ancestors hadn't been equipped with the hand, no tool would've ever been invented, as it would've been utterly pointless, simply because we couldn't use them.
Is it so hard for you to imagine how difficult it would've been for us smarty smarts to make those first tools out of stone without our petty little fingers?
No matter how intelligent we might be, we would certainly not be where we are now, if we had paws or claws or fins instead of hands.

I don't doubt that we do pretty well in using our hands, but to be so adamant that our intelligence is the dominant, even sole feature that gave us an advantage over all other animals is leaving out the fact that you have to have the ability to use this intelligence.

Evolution favours those who make the best out of their physical capabilities. So what you call intelligence, I call adaption.

And where is this intelligence anyway?
The one who took a stone back then and thought "Hey, I can make something out of that" was intelligent, all the others who adopted his crafting of tools, did nothing more than imitating. And imitating has, as far as I know, not a lot to do with intelligence. And look around you, what most people do is imitating, only few are really creating.

And if it was intelligence that made us so superior, how did that work out? You state yourself that the most intelligent specimen are those who are more likely to survive, so this must be true for all beings and not only for us. So why aren't we dominated by species who had much more time to evolve their intelligence?

I wouldn't mind if you'd say that it was our ability to manipulate our environment that made us the dominant species on this planet, because this is actually true, but to say that it was solely and only our intelligence is just crap.

FalloutMonkey, we are not talking about what gave us an advantage over our male rivals of our own species, we are talking about what gave us such a huge advantage over other animals!

No, actually we were talking about reproduction and evolution.

You said:
"Only the smartest survived..."

Exchange smartest with fittest and you got a point, because this would actually include mental and physical abilities, but smartness alone won't get you very far. This was the point I wanted to make.

We have one weapon FM, one huge advantage over all other animals on earth, that is our brains,

You know that I don't agree with you on that one. Our big advantage is our ability to manipulate (you see the word "manus" in there?) the environment. And that is mostly possible, because of our hand and not our brain. I don't say that the adaption of our brain doesn't play a role, but this adaption would've never occured without the hand in the first place.

our ability to think

You are assuming that only humans are able to think. I'm sure you won't find a lot of credible scientific papers that will underpin your claim. On the other hand I fear this ability isn't very prevalent in our species, when I look at all those sheeple out there who are still thinking that BAU can go on indefinitely.

to plan for the future

Yeah, we do a lot of planning for our future? Not that it is very effective though, otherwise we wouldn't be in the mess we are now.

to make tools that trap or kill other animals

No hand, no traps 'n tools, I dare to say.

to plant crops,

Whoever found out the connection between the planting of seeds and growing of plants, must've been one hell of a smart individual. But as soon as it was known how it worked, all what was needed for further use was imitation.
And though it has certainly helped us to dominate the planet, it has also helped a great lot in severly overpopulating it.

and to pass on this knowledge to our children that they may have a far better chance of survival.

The development of a sophisticated language required that people had to pass on complex issues. Most animals don't have to teach their cubs many complex things, so simple forms of communication are fairly sufficent.
On the other hand, to teach your children how to craft a huge variety of tools, language is almost a necessity. So one leads to another.

Damn man, to say that our brains gives no advantage over other animals is just down in the dirt dumb!

You can say things really nice, can you? Especially things that I have never, not with a single word mentioned in my post. Either you didn't understand what I wanted to say and thus jump to whatever conclusion you like, or you didn't even try to read my post.

So, here again: Evolution granted man the favour of the hand and he started to use it. Those humans who used their hands more efficently than others survived. Of course this process shaped our brains!
And I have said before that the development of hand and brain reinforced each other!
So both, our hand and the ability to use it, made us the dominant species on this planet.

But if you prefer to believe that man could dominate this world with his current intellect alone, even if it would be placed in the body of a Paramecium, well, then go on and do so.

Hmm, I'm not so sure about this Ron.

Doesn't regression to the mean actually predict that the children of highly intelligent parents are more likely to be less intelligent than their parents?


Seems to me that intelligence is both highly complex and poorly understood, and likely to be the product of a number of factors, many of which are social and environmental.


Then pray tell Bados, how did we get so smart? How did intelligence evolve. Was it just an accident?

I am well aware of regression to the mean. I think it is better referred to as regression toward the mean. But regression seldom, if ever, reaches the mean. If it did then there would be no such thing as evolution, as change over time.

Ron Patterson

Intelligent Design

Response to environmental triggers resulting in selection bias.


Bados, you have said nothing. If intelligence is not heritable then it could not possibly evolve. WHAT responds to environmental triggers? Genes? Then that IS heritability .

But your response is really confusing. I really don't think you are sure of what you think you might be saying and are perhaps totally unaware that you are not really saying anything. ;-)

Ron Patterson


Even assuming intelligence breeds true,

Its possible that while the genes 'breed true' - the diet of the grandmother can effect how the expression will happen in the child.

The amount of the unknown in how genes work is staggering.

"The amount of the unknown in how genes work is staggering."

No kidding! And the hubris of people who think they are doing genetic "engineering" is mind-boggling.

Epigenetic influences, pleiotropic effects, structural vs. regulatory genes, etc., etc., on and on. It's very, very complicated.

(I worked for some time doing population genetics research.)

the hubris of people who think they are doing genetic "engineering" is mind-boggling.

Yes, most people have no idea how crude the methods used are - which is why Europeans and others are letting the genetically engineered foods be tested on the US population - good luck.

For example how is knowing how to build a nest from the appropriate materials coded into a bird's DNA - there is much we do not know!

Exactly. The general consensus is that intelligence is about half heredity and half environment. Which means trying to breed for it is problematic at best.

I see little reason to believe that people here have more innate intelligence than the general population. We're probably self-selected for a certain technerdal bent, but that's not the same thing as being "more intelligent." Maybe we're just more privileged.

And hey, "The Bell Curve" guys say Asians are smarter than whites. So if IQ can save the world, why not leave it up to a billion Chinese?

And hey, "The Bell Curve" guys say Asians are smarter than whites.

Ha ha, nice one Leanan. Of course the guy had to say that as a cop-out against the accusations of racism: 'Hey I didn't say white people were the smartest, so it must be objective!'

Asians, or at least the ones he is talking about, put immense effort into academic work and spend much of their early lives learning to defeat tests. Of course they look smart.

But as you have pointed out already, there are many different types of 'smart', and IQ alone ain't gonna save the world. This supposed intelligence didn't stop the Chinese getting stomped by the Mongols, and then by the Europeans, did it?

We might also remember that intelligent people are sometimes startlingly stupid in some very important respects.

This supposed intelligence didn't stop the Chinese getting stomped by the Mongols, and then by the Europeans, did it?

Now I'm not sure about the mongols, but the Europeans had drugs to give to the masses.
Feel good drugs.

Homebrew, thanks a million. Best damn video I have watched all year. This is exactly what is happening and this is exactly why it is happening! I have been trying to explain this phenomenon to people for years and this YouTube video does it far better than my explanations ever did.

In times of plenty natural selection eases its grip and things can regress. And in this case, things are definitely regressing.

Ron Patterson

We are Devo.

J.R. "Bob" Dobbs

"You'll pay to know what you really think."

This is the intro to a full length feature film. So you have plenty more to enjoy if you rent it Ron!

"Of course, if you do go child-free, what will you do when everyone else is practicing "swap children, then eat"?

Borrow a kid from somebody with too many and eat him.
What's yer favorite recipe?

lets go ahead and ensure that we cause our species to go extint.

Yup, I should think the rest of
the universe would be quite grateful !!

And if forced vasectomies didn't result in homo sapien extinction, then it would seem reasonable to
expect a more advanced and enlightened species.

Disclosure: My father had a vasectomy in ~'63, thus my bias.

I think the merits of the argument stand quite well on their own, though :)

Yup, I should think the rest of
the universe would be quite grateful !!

I guess the rest of the universe couldn't care less about what's going on on that watery planet somwhere in the outer skirts of the milky way.
But many of the non-human inhabitants of Earth might actually be quite cheerful when the great oppressor is gone for good.

But many of the non-human inhabitants of Earth might actually be quite cheerful when the great oppressor is gone for good.

Or at least left alive, if they're lucky. "Intelligence" is a slippery term even within a single human culture; but one of the things I've done is study nonhuman cognition, and in the process gotten to know a number of dolphins and similar critters. They have quite complex "intelligence" analgous to our own in some convergent-evolution ways and in some ways different. They don't have thumbs, hydrodynamics has shaped them, and they could never discover fire or work metals. This shows, among other things, that it's not 'intelligence' per se which is toxic to the earth and its owner, but the confluence of our sort of intelligence with the random and coincidental opportunities which have been provided.

The dieoff of the dolphins, the other apes, the elephants, the whales, the (fill in the blank with other probably self-aware thinking species) has been ongoing for some time now, and there's no doubt as to the cause. This is not our world or our universe, we just have a hard time getting beyond our monkey hardwiring. I like humans fine, but we're a plague species even upon ourselves. For those looking for a possibly brighter side of peak oil, look beyond short-term monkeybusiness and at where the world could be in a million years, or even 50,000. The world of that time is as real as the world of Monday, and we are greatly limiting its options.

Yikes! Not a shred of compassion in about the last 30 posts to this thread. Genetics and cost benefit. I don't see any human beings here.

Anyone got a good relationship out there that really means something to them?? Connected, supportive, loving. Anyone love their kid even though they are not a Supergenetic marvel? Does anyone in this thread HAVE kids?

Sorry, its all just hitting me really wrong.

Good thread topic to scroll past. Brings out the worst around here.

My wife and daughter and I went and sang songs in a friend's living room tonight. Homemade food, acoustic entertainment, no internet required.

Telling this bunch not to over-reproduce is about as productive for world population as telling Buster Keaton to stand further from the microphone.

The post you're replying to is full of compassion, just not as you (apparently) narrowly define it.

I gave up the joy of having a family because it wouldn't be fair to force extra kids into a world of famine, and because it would negatively impact all the other kids who didn't ask to be brought into a dieoff. I regret that necessity a LOT, as does my wife, and we currently care for my disabled mom and help her ill dad. So please, screw your condescention very much. If you have kids, they have a slightly better chance due to our sacrifice.

You really expect compassion from specimen of a species that kills animals and his own kind for pleasure and profit, a species that is on the way to destroy its own habitat for a little bit of fun and an easy life and doesn't even show the slightes signs of remorse?

Anyway, I'm pretty sure that everybody who posted here feels compassion for those who are close to them. This doesn't change the fact though that we are choking this planet to death by our sheer numbers and every child that is born increases the preassure on the already fragile system.
If you don't mind that your children and grandchildren might live a horrible and miserable life in a devastated ecosystem, well go forth and breed.
But then I may ask: Where is your compassion?

pain caused by an unwanted child who becomes drug-addicted or violent -- measureless

I knew someone whose vasectomy gave him happiness; but worryingly so did black rubber and whips.

Unhappiness, grief and sadness provided by a pair of unloving, uncaring and worthless leeches that were brought into this world by my neighbor who will not admit it to us or herself: unbelievable.

For many it seems that they assume that children will grow up to be loving and caring and will take care of them when they get older. There's no guaranty.

I don't have kids for one huge reason. Never had stable employment due to physical disability. I decided a long time ago that if I could not afford them, despite trying for 30+ years to do so, that I would not have them.

Selfishness works both ways.

Same here - I looked at how things were growing up, generally one parent gets stuck raising the kids, on a steadily - decreasing wage, and in general having kids meant you were on Welfare. I decided no kids unless I could afford to raise them decently, no Welfare, all on my own since that's the social norm in the US now.

Hence, no kids!

In our society, the chance of anyone in your family giving a damn about you is remote anyway. You may find a few, a very few, people who'll give a damn, and they'll be no relation to you - they're much more likely to share experiences than genes. Being the 14-year-old breadwinner. Having worked in similar fields or having similar interests. Things like that.

We are also the most class-ridden of the industrialized nations, and if you make more or less money than someone else, that can be an unscaleable wall between you. Lose your job, and you'll find, if you're lucky, maybe one or two people out of many you may know, who won't tell you to go to hell because you're now poor. We have to have this kind of class-hatred to run a proper Empire, after all. (I think this increasing class-bias in the US is interesting, as we head into Depression; the working-class really doesn't hate those richer than themselves in the US, not nearly as much as they should, so it seems the Haves are doing their best to shit on the workers to make sure the working-class will be ready to storm their McBastilles with torches and pitchforks when the time comes.)

So there's really much more to argue against having kids in the US than for it. I'm reminded of how the Hawaiians coped with the invasion of the whites, and everyone else, to their islands and the topsy-turvy world they found themselves in. They tended to practice birth control, infanticide, or just plain old suicide. The dieoff rate was 90% and this is found all through the Pacific.

why create a new one when there are literally millions who want but don't have loving parents?

How about enforcing ongoing education at all levels that drums in the fact that WE LIVE ON A FINITE PLANET, with finite resources, only able to support a finite population at a certain level of existence.

How is it that this message gets removed from our education and understanding of the world?

Is it because then we would then have to look closer at the huge discrepancy in lifestyle between rich and poor? 99% just existing, 1% living large?

Is this, dare I say it, a conspiracy by the rich? Nawwwwwwwww

This is an excellent fact that can't be stressed enough. Too bad if people don't like the implications this sort of cost-benefit analysis raises. It's the truth. And no, having children is not a sacred obligation that can't be critiqued by a monetary analysis or something, however much certain religions might like to argue otherwise.

Human society has two options:
*A high birth/high death society.
*A low birth/low death society.

For most of human history, humans have lived in a high birth/high death society, arguably because there was no other way for human civilization to stay alive (high death was an incontestable fact of life, and a low birth/high death combination would have led to gradual extinction).

Then during the industrial revolution, the possibility of some sort of low death society became a reality. We stuck to our old ways of high births, though, so we ended up with this high birth/low death society. This is unsustainable. Either we will rationally and consciously change our ways by getting vasectomies and slapping on condoms when we have sex (it's not like we are asking people to deny their biological, instinctual imperative to have sex! This shouldn't be biologically impossible!), or we don't change our ways and nature transforms our society, against our will, back into a high birth/high death society. That means dieoff.

If it is impossible to become a low birth society, then a dieoff at some point is assured, and all this fiddling around with the peak oil issue is pointless because even if we somehow temporarily mitigate the shortage of this resource, we will very soon come up against other, even more severe resource limits.

But I don't think it is impossible to become a low birth society. Many societies in Europe, as well as some developed Asian countries, have already done so. They just need to stay on this course with fertility below replacement level, and promote economic development (not necessarily the same as "growth") in order to bring about demographic transitions in those countries and in order to lessen the incentive for immigration...and then after the populations of Europe, Russia, Asia, etc. have declined to maybe 50% of their current levels, people can rationally take stock of their situation and just remove some of their condoms and have a few more kids to bring the fertility rate right up to the replacement level, and they will be fine. If population goes too low for a time, people can rationally figure out that they need a short period (a generation or two) of above-replacement-level fertility, and bring things back to a healthy, prosperous, sustainable level. I don't know where some people get this alarmist idea that since Europe is currently below replacement level, that it will stay that way until the very point that the last human being in Europe dies out. That is clearly an irrational extrapolation that people formulate in order to foster alarmism and promote their own narrow economic or religious agenda.

The one instinct that I could see as getting in the way is the alleged "maternal instinct." However, we're not asking everyone to go childless. Those who really really want kids can have a clean conscience in having only two kids, as the small numbers of natural pre-reproductive deaths in that new generation, as well as the people who inevitably won't want to have any kids, will ensure that the overall fertility rate stays below replacement level. And if a person has an instinctual drive to have more than two kids...they can get a dog. Or three. Or ten. Or a cat. Whatever. Just no more humans!

Because we can't just kill humans (at least not according to current laws and morality). If the dog population really goes out of control, I could see us coming to grips with euthanizing a portion of the dog population, as awful as that would seem. But we have agreed that we won't do that with humans. So once a human is born, that human is here to stay, and either suffer or prosper, but either way use tremendous resources, until that human's natural death. The birth of a human is almost like the construction of a coal plant--that single event locks in an estimated 60 years of resource use and carbon emissions. Think carefully before engaging in such an action!

As for the economic incentives against voluntary below-replacement-level fertility...well, just pose people with these two economic alternatives:
*Have 5 kids now, and have those kids help you on the farm and in the house and on the job market...and contribute to a dieoff in which you and your kids are likely to suffer or die (especially if it is socially known that you have a family of 5 kids and have contributed so much to the dieoff problem...you will be first on the dieoff chopping block, unless you are particularly skilled with firearms)
*Have 2 kids now, and have those kids help you on the farm and in the house and on the job market...and not contribute so much to a dieoff. Maybe there will still be a dieoff, in which case you will be more socially favored because you didn't contribute to the problem so much, and you will be more likely to survive. But if this sort of attitude becomes a mass paradigm shift, then you won't have a dieoff, and you'll be much better off economically, not to mention in many other ways.

As for me personally, I'm going to try to get a vasectomy this summer. I just hope I can find a doctor willing to perform it (I'm 20 years old and have not had kids yet...but believe me, I've thought this issue over for the last 5 years and have always come to the same conclusion). If a "paternal instinct" suddenly strikes later in life...I'll adopt a kid. Or get a dog. Dogs are nice. I like dogs. A dog would make me pretty happy. And so many fewer obligations (both socially and monetarily)!!!

This thread is laugh-out-loud funny at a nest of would-be hardcore sociobio types such as the TOD readership.

Er, folks ... organisms have evolved TO BREED. That includes humans, who are not immune from such elementary facts of evolution. By and large, people ARE going to want to have kids ... it's actually their f**** raison d'etre for heaven's sake. What is an adult human being for? To make a child. That's Darwin, and the rest is commentary.

Another thing to remember is this: many people that harp on about the importance of not having children will eventually have them. I've seen this with my own friends, who swore blind they would never brings kids into a world such as this, it was environmentally irresponsible etc. ... now the proud parents of five!

There is no basis for complaining about people that have children. Yeah too bad about the problems it causes. No one has the right to tell anyone else that they can't breed. Breeding is what people are for.

"A zygote is a gamete's way of producing more gametes. This may be the purpose of the universe." - Robert Heinlein. ;)

No one has the right to tell anyone else that they can't breed. Breeding is what people are for.

So you're saying, basically, dumb as yeast? Guess that answers that question.

And no organism has "rights" to do anything in the real world. That's Darwin, and the rest is hubris.

Er, folks ... organisms have evolved TO BREED.

Not really. We like to have sex. We like to have social connections, including nurturing those who need us. But those two elements need not be connected. Nature intended them to be, of course, but it doesn't have to be that way for us.

Another thing to remember is this: many people that harp on about the importance of not having children will eventually have them.

It appears to be too late for many in this thread, who, judging from what they've said here and elsewhere, are well above the age of usual first parenthood.

The fact is, people are having fewer kids. In Japan and in some European countries, the birthrate has dropped below replacement level. Without any government coercion. Indeed, to the distress of the government. How did that happen, if it's so natural for humans to breed?

And the complaints, near as I can tell, are about people who don't have kids, not about those that do have them. As Greenish said...be grateful to those who don't have kids, because they've given your kids a better chance.

If a gallon of gasoline (roughly 3.8 liters) contains 31000 Kcals, then it has the same energy content as 212 12 ounce cans of Coke, 17.7 pounds of sugar, or about 15 and a half days worth of food for the American with a 2000 Kcal per day diet-enough calories to support someone who stays on a sofa most of the day. A person pushing a dog sled in the Arctic needs 10,000 calories a day. A gallon of gasoline is the equivalent of about 3 days worth of food for such a person. Switching from gasoline to ethanol made from grain stocks is causing a food deficit and a drawing down of food stocks.

Our UK gallon is 4.5l. Shame on me (i'm an engineer) and had always compared MPG like for like UK/american cars. OOoops.

If my car gets 35MPG in the UK
then it would only get 30 MPG in the US


And it'll drive on the wrong (by which I mean the right) side of the road too!

Worlds center-left leaders meet once a year to discuss their progress and issues ...

This year is different apparently as -

GORDON Brown has called for an overhaul of international institutions to cope with the twin threats of global economic turmoil and climate change ……..
(Fill in for the dots, something is missing here … no ?.... PO maybe)

“We now have to reshape our global rules and global institutions for this new era.

“We are facing a global financial crisis which is probably the first truly global financial crisis of the modern world.


another place he says -

Brown says the sub-prime mortgage scandal is triggering what he thinks is the biggest global economic restructuring since the Industrial Revolution.


I think Mr Brown is on to something here ...

Wow. An enlightened leader. Who would have thought......

Now we are talking sense at last.


Centrica in talks with French over £10bn nuclear bid

By Katherine Griffiths and Mark Kleinman

Last Updated: 2:13am BST 06/04/2008

Centrica has begun secret talks with EDF, the giant French utility, aimed at securing a £10bn "British-led solution" to the future of the country's nuclear power generator, British Energy.
· Comment: We need a British solution for British Energy
· Analysis: Squeezed Centrica forced to go for the nuclear option

The Government is sensitive to vociferous lobbying that a foreign takeover of British Energy would pose a risk to British jobs
Centrica, which owns British Gas, is in talks with EDF about structuring a deal that would involve buying the Government's 35 per cent stake in British Energy as well as the company's listed majority stake. The Government was notified yesterday of the dialogue between Centrica and EDF.

Tokyo Steel stops exports due to unfavorable exchange rate, rising scrap prices

TOKYO (AP) -- Tokyo Steel Manufacturing Co. has stopped all exports because soaring steel scrap prices and the strong yen are making such contracts unprofitable, a company spokesman said Friday.

Japan's top maker of steel girders has ceased signing any new contracts from February, said Nobuaki Nara, the spokesman.


In addition, prices of raw materials, including steel scrap, have surged in recent months.


The other day I linked to a piece commenting upon the rise in the cost to roll out windmills. The question that must be asked is how much will it really cost to do the remediation to our economy to adjust for the loss of fossil fuels.

Very interesting. One wonders how Japan's steel industry will survive as costs continue to rise and the yen strengthens if it is incapable of pricing its contracts accordingly.


Maybe 5 or 6 months ago one of the regular posters/writers put up an "overlay" of 2004/2005 Oil production in GOM" that could be used in Google Earth.

Can someone tell me where the writer got this? Can I browse a selection of "overlays" like this somewhere on GoogleEarth, or was this overlay developed on some company's website?

I was particularly looking for something that might help indicate where possible activity may take place in oil/gas prod. off the coast of Florida in the future.

Also, it would be great to SEE this type of information for offshore Mexico in order to better understand the possible fertility of the entire GOM.

It's kind of hard to believe that this stuff is free.


NYT: The Boomtown Mirage

Good story about a desolate, once boomtown, exurban community about 45 minutes outside Phoenix.

Although it was exciting to experience features you don’t often see in New York apartments, like the “great room” and the “media room,” it was kind of spooky being in a giant house with no furniture. Once the sun went down, the street was very dark and very quiet; the blank faces of empty houses were only occasionally lit by garage lights. There was nowhere to go and no one on the street. The brick walls on both sides of my house meant I couldn’t see my neighbors and they couldn’t see me. So I began to spend my evenings at Fry’s, the supermarket in the main strip mall on Highway 347. Fry’s had couches and wireless Internet and a flat-screen TV — and, more important, people. As it turned out, I was not the only person in Maricopa who thought Fry’s was a pretty great place to spend an evening.

At Fry’s, I met Adrianna Roberts, who is 16 and recently moved to Maricopa from Illinois. Her parents had wanted to get out of a bad neighborhood and into a bigger house, and her older sister, a real estate agent, had recommended Maricopa. Roberts and her friend Alajeda Howard, a recent transplant from Missouri, bagged groceries at the store, and they came to Fry’s even when they weren’t scheduled to work, because, they said, there was nothing else to do.

It is surprising to me that Arizona is edging toward a lead in reporting less than good news and less than rosy outlooks.

RE: 'End Of The World As We Know It' (in initial stories by Leanan above) as found in The Arizona Republic. Some might quibble about the details contained in this story but the overall theme is accurate and very hard hitting for a Sunday op/ed. In fact, this op/ed sounds more like comments heard daily on TOD than most would expect to find in a mostly 'red' state newspaper. I believe the economic downturn we are entering is causing some to awake to systemic cause. One can focus much of a person's attention by taking a little of a their money...Interesting times indeed.

...snip...'The bell-shaped curve applies at all levels, from field to country to planet. After discovery, production ramps up relatively quickly. But when the light, sweet crude on top of the field runs out, increased energy and expense are required to extract the underlying heavy, sour crude. At some point, the energy required to extract a barrel of oil exceeds the energy contained in barrel of oil, so the pumps shut down.

Most of the world's oil pumps are about to shut down.

We have sufficient supply to keep the world running for 30 years or so, at the current level of demand. But that's irrelevant because the days of inexpensive oil are behind us. And the American Empire absolutely demands cheap oil. Never mind the 3,000-mile Caesar salad to which we've become accustomed. Cheap oil forms the basis for the 12,000-mile supply chain underlying the "just-in-time" delivery of plastic toys from China.

There goes next year's iPod.'...snip...


It also surprises me that the AZ Republic is printing an op/ed piece that is much less than good news. However, I fear that Professor McPherson has presented such a negative view that he will reinforce the idea that the followers of peak oil are nothing but a bunch of kooks. He certainly presents the current situation correctly, but then jumps almost directly to the end of oil.

I agree with him when he says "At some point the energy required to extract a barrel of oil exceeds the energy contained in a barrel of oil , so the pumps shut down." His next sentence "Most of the world's oil pumps are about to shut down." is simply not the case. Many on TOD have tried to explain that "peak oil" is not about the end of oil but is about an inevitable and permanent decline in the rate of production. I'm disappointed that McPherson jumps right past this.

The AZ Republic says the Professor McPherson will be available to answer questions about his article on Wednesday at aztalk.azcentral.com

It will be interesting to see what sort of a response he gets.

Jack Edmonds
Phoenix, AZ

Dr. Guy also has a blog, http://blog.ltc.arizona.edu/naturebatslast/ where I asked him where his info came for the massive falloff in crude plus condensate he forecasts for later this year. I'm also curious if his op/ed was published in the AZ Republic's print edition. If he posts an answer to my question on his blog, I will add it to this thread.

My comment on the Az Republic (yes it is dead !)

here is Hope !

Just do what the French are doing, just twice as fast (after all they take all of August off for vacation, and work 37 hours/week the rest of the time).

And what are the French doing?

Building 1,500 km of new tram liens in a decade (adjust for population and August, and this would be more than 4,000 miles of Light Rail in the USA).

Putting velibs, rental bicycles, every 600 m all over French cities (first half hour free). 20,000 velibs in Paris and another 6,000 more on order.

Electrifying every meter of French railroads, so that they "burn not one drop of oil". And encourage freight to go by rail instead of truck.

For 30 years, France would build one TGV line at a time, finish it, and then start another. Today they have 3 TGV lines under construction.

They just started work on a next generation 1,600 MW nuclear reactor.

A good first step for the USA is my plan


The future will be tough, but we CAN meet the challenge if we try.

Best Hopes,

Alan Drake

A calculated response for those that have never heard of Peak Oil. I do NOT expect immediate buy-in, but to plant a seed for "later".


The good professor replied to my query via email: "The oil-supply cliff is based on Hubbert's bell-shaped curve: We peaked in mid-2005, indicating production in 2008 should match that of 2002 (which was about 67 million bbl/day, according to EIA (see column "F" in these data: http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/ipsr/t11d.xls). Also see
http://www.lifeaftertheoilcrash.net/, including each day's breaking news
at http://www.lifeaftertheoilcrash.net/BreakingNews.html."

I sent him a curteous reply, a link to this subthread, and a link to ASPO's latest monthly newsletter with its big chart gracing the mast. He now has a blog entry about his op/ed that I find interesting.

Perhaps the large numbers of academia here would drop him a line letting him know he has many allies amid the Ivory Towers.

First, he's a UofA professor, not an ASU professor, huge difference.

Secondly, the crash is affecting AZ quite a bit. Gas has gone up maybe 3X since I lived here last, but it *feels* like 10X. I think it does for most everyone because most everyone has lost their job and had to work for much less, and there's much less of a feeling of optimism. AZ was going to be the US's feedlot for its retirees, but this real estate crash is so bad, and the spending among the "We're Spending Our Kids' Inheritance" crowd so high, that most retirees have been HELOC'ing their way to hell, so they simply can't move here. To hell. They're already there! All hell needs is a little A/C and the cost of THAT is up too.

The number of people here on gov't benefits and food stamps is amazing. It's a way of life, where in blue-state California food stamps are something to be embarrassed of.

True, there's denial, then anger, but then there's a sigh of relief, as you read in the paper that it's not all your fault for a change. The whole system really *is* being squeezed, and you along with it.

Because of this, I can expect a lot more doomy-gloomy news in the "news" papers here.

His next sentence "Most of the world's oil pumps are about to shut down." is simply not the case

While technically I would agree with you, from a pragmatic timespan perspective I would say that he is right.

The Petro age is something like 130 years long.
We are just a few years away from Export Land Model's timescale critical decline.

Then, Pragmatically it is about to run out for a good portion of the world's population.

For the vast majority of the world's population the end of oil is happening as we speak.

Ha. Just sent him an email giving him some encouragement. He is in the same field as my husband (wildlife biology, range ecology). Generally, people in this field tend to understand what's going on. Population dynamics, overshoot, peak oil, etc.

A key paragraph

By 1996, one developer, Mike Ingram, had amassed with his business partners 18,000 acres — an area larger than the island of Manhattan — most of it purchased for $500 an acre or less. He had a vision of Maricopa’s future, and he helped persuade the state to widen the two-lane road to Phoenix, turning it into a four-lane divided highway. That year, Ingram and his partners announced plans to build a 6,000-acre community in Maricopa. They cleared farmland, brought in utilities and designed a maze of cul-de-sacs, drives, circles and courts oriented around a golf course. They sold building rights to a variety of “superbuilders” like KB Homes, Hacienda Builders and Continental Homes, and in the fall of 2001, the first houses went on sale, while they were still being built

A cycle that is ending,


Hey! I found the place, just north of Pheonix!

Here it is on Google maps!

I had to zoom out quite alot to get the whole thing in frame. Sure enough, a golf course runs all throughout it. What a terrible way to build...

Funny enough, all I did was type in Arizona into google maps and zoom in on the first misshapen loop of road I saw off the main highway out of Pheonix. Very first place I looked, its hard to miss.

What a terrible way to build.

On closer inspection, theres other, even more sickening places there:

Sun City


Fountain Hills

US golf lovers like to have a golf course within walking distance? Or am I being too positive? ;-)

Yes yes!! We walk to our golf courses.... and then drive around them in golf carts!!!???

I forgot about that, over here colf carts are for disabled people.

But seriously, I find building houses around a golf course a lovely idea. Add some football fields etc and its perfect for keeping both kinds and grownups happy.

Golf courses use to have a good lunch restaurant, make that double size and deliver to a local school and a small facility for elderly people. Add some small shops, a building with telecommuting offices and you got a nice local center.

Most of my McNeighbors here in Jollyville just drive their carts over to the country club.


My inlaws moved to Litchfield Park, NW of Phoenix.

Huge house on golfcourse.

They have purchased two other houses on their block as they "got them for a song" and can "make a killing reselling them soon".

I have been talking to him about what is happening but he just thinks it is a small business lead recession that will pass then his area will increase in value for ever as he says "who wouldn't want to live here in paradise".

They think I am doing all the wrong things for my family and future, downsizing, simplifying, localizing, etc.


They could partition them for generation living and let them to people who has a reasonable job but too much credit trouble to buy a house? Perhaps also share a fat internet conenction between the houses and add some some office spaces?

It could turn out well if they can get their capital to work instead of wait for better times.

In that part of Arizona? If the rule of law keeps hold, the local farmers or the local tribes will calmly wait until the area is uninhabited, then pounce on the water rights to keep it that way. If the residents are smart they'll get a few pennies on the dollar inviting the copper strippers in beforehand. Enough gas money to somewhere with adequate water.


Maricopa is south of Phoenix, not north of it. I think you've found Anthem, another subdivision of about the age. Anthem was started by the Del Web Corp. before it was bought out. Maricopa is south of the Gila River Indian Reservation, which appears on Google Earth as a large, empty area to the south of Phoenix.

Such subdivisions can be found in almost all directions from Phoenix.

The long, skinny golf course that runs through Scottsdale provides drainage during the monsoons. After a storm the course is feet-deep in water, the roads across it closed. It flows down to the Salt River.

Oh yeah that thing is cool!! I've seen it with 6 feet of water in it, of course they won't let you swim in it, and the water's generally COLD when it's flowing like that. They call it .... the Green Zone I shit you not. Pretty neat idea actually, the floodwater has a place to go, and the rest of the time it's a place to run around, ride your Rollerblades, have a picnic, play frisbee, etc just a huge park. Play an informal game of football. Sit under a tree and play a flute. Anything. It's one of the few cool things AZ's done.

I think it'd be fun to float down it on something, when it's flooding, and see where I end up, but I'd probably get into all kinds of trouble.

Sit under a tree and play a flute

Are you sure it wasn't "Sit in a Tree, Take off my shoes and learn to play the flute" ?

Good grief. What is it with the lawn obsession? I have a couple of friend in Phoenix, and they and their neighbors have landscaped their yards with native plants that don't need watering. A conventional lawn would look really out of place in their neighborhoods.

Completely Agree. If you're going to live in Arizona and use water on any plants, it should at least be fruit trees, at least they give something back.

My parents spend most winters close to 56th & Cactus near Phoenix/Scottsdale border. They pay a homeowners fee for access to a community pool (never used) and lawn care. No drought resistant species and they circulated a letter a few years ago asking people not to pick the fruit off the trees in the common areas (Ok to eat your own) since it detracts from the beauty.

All walled off, NO ONE walks anywhere (police slowed down when they saw me engaging in suspicious activity).

Not much hope for Bob's Asphalt Wonderland,


I was speaking with a MD who retired to Phoenix. His utility bill for AC last year averaged $600 a month.

Good grief. I spend less than $600.00 to heat my home for the entire year and I live in Canada! How is this possible?


Hello HereinHalifax,

Perhaps termites have already reduced his earlier superinsulation efforts by more than 75%? I hope every TODer studies this crucial linked info!


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

"How is this possible?"

I am guessing most US surgeons buy homes with square footages well beyond anything a Canadian surgeon could acquire. And most of have multiple homes to boot.

No doubt a home so big the bedroom extension has a different area code.

Whatever floats your boat, I guess. Oh, btw, he might want to book an appointment with the Orkin Man.


On a somewhat related note, here's a 11,500 sq. ft. starter home you can buy on ebay for under a million:


The master bedroom at 1,700 sq. ft. is twice the size of the average home built in 1950.


Pea gravel spray painted green would make a lot more sense

Regarding the declining oil exports story, linked uptop, note that Lehman Brothers felt compelled to assure us, in effect, that high oil prices are temporary:

Despite the temporary shortfall, Lehman's Morse expects the region's output capacity to catch up with domestic demand in 2009, probably making the mid-2009 summer season much less tight when it comes to Gulf crude exports.

It appears that a recent ruling by FASB might leave many investment banks in dire straights...IOWs, Lehman Bros and others might not survive to see the outcome of their predictions...

Any still heavy in financials might consider the following...and also consider that Bernanke and Paulson are not exactly on the same page as the testimony of Bernanke made evident.

'It appears that the FASB has removed the concept of QSPEs, which is the enabling "piece" to make off-balance-sheet securitizations possible, from the FASB set of regulations, specifically, FAS 140.

This appears to have happened TODAY.

As such it appears that all financial institutions will have to reclaim all SIVs back onto their balance sheets no later than the start of 2009.

This is a watershed event, in that these vehicles, when they are reclaimed onto bank balance sheets, is likely to lead to the P/Es of these firms skyrocketing north, and consequently, a far more realistic view of both share price AND capitalization.

In short Investment Banks have ~6 months to get their act together and their capital up, and then they are going to have to start integrating these vehicles back onto their consolidated financial statements.

I'm impressed.

Beware - the XLF and BIX are not cheap or even reasonably priced with this change coming down the tube.

The next step of rationalization of the share prices of Investment Banks is about to begin.'


As mentioned in above post regarding Lehman Bros, Paulson and Bernanke seem to be trending in opposite directions...If you want a chuckle go to the site and look at the 'photos' of the two plans.


'Bernanke Displeased With Paulson's Plan

On April 2nd, testifying before Congress Bernanke Nods at Possibility of a Recession while hinting he was not quite pleased with Paulson's plan. Let's take a look:

Even without additional authority from Congress, Mr. Bernanke said the Fed had already established “on-site” teams of monitors for investment banks to make sure that they adhered to sound practices, and he urged Congress not to dilute the Fed’s authority on such matters.

By the end of his comments, it was also clear that he and the Fed were not entirely pleased with the “blueprint” for regulatory changes issued on Monday by the Treasury secretary, Henry M. Paulson Jr.

That proposal called for an overhaul and consolidation of the financial regulatory system. The Fed chief, in an almost classic case of damning with faint praise, said Mr. Paulson’s blueprint was “a very interesting and useful first step” for Congress to consider.
Paulson Plan vs. Bernanke Plan

In an exclusive report, and with a big tip of the hat to Keith Taylor, I have obtained a graphical representation of both the Paulson Plan and the alternative Bernanke Plan.

These are just the kinds of plans that emerge when one never bothers to figure out exactly what the problem is.'



I am looking for some advice from the wise readers of theoildrum.com.

I purchased a townhouse in the Washington DC area (just outside dulles airport) in 2001 for $230k. Over the next few years I put $100k of upgrades into the house financed by a home equity line, meanwhile the value of the house went up to about $480k peaking in 2005. When I moved to Atlanta, I started renting the house out.

The area is loosely urban... There are plenty of 10 story office buildings surrounded by tiny parks and posh little bricked out shopping areas. Townhouses as far as the eye can see. The median family income here is around 95k.

I knew that 2005 was likely the top of the bubble but I didn't sell my house as I was hoping peak oil would save me in that people from suburbia would be moving closer in to the city which would push the value of my home up.

This townhouse is in the heart of the dulles rail corridor. One metro-rail stop (3 miles from my house) was to have been built by 2011. Two more metro rail stops were supposed to be built within one mile of my house by 2015. As you may have heard, these plans are now on hold because the federal government backed out on their funding commitment. We do have a decent bus system here though.

Generally, when metro comes into your neighborhood, the home prices go up quite a bit. I was expecting rail to come in and save the day. It looks like this is not going to happen so I think I might be screwed...

So today my house is worth.. maybe $380k and dropping. My total payments on the place (mortgage + property manager + hoa) are $2400 / month and I think I can rent it for $1800 or $1900 / month.

So my question is ... should I continue to rent the place out or should I sell?

Either choice is going to cost me money immediately as I need to get the place fixed up and cleaned (previous renters trashed it). I am more concerned with long term projections.


Right now, the only real estate I would buy would be agricultural land. When we put our little piece of the American Suburban Dream up for sale (hopefully soon, if we can resolve Spousal Nesting Syndrome issues), I plan to price the house at 5% less than recent comparable sales and keep lowering the price if necessary to 5% below the last comparable sale.

I agree with you that this is the smart thing to do. I've just put home up for sale this weekend and pricing was a hard task. The new way of thinking really does conflict with long-established values of the past. I feel like I have waited too long, but it took time for preparations to be done. Hopefully, the house will sell before the market gets worse which it seems to be doing daily.

Whereas in the past we had too many "buyers" chasing too few sellers, we now have too many sellers chasing too few buyers. Of course, on the upside of the boom, many "buyers" were using virtually unlimited credit to buy properties.

You have to get ahead of the stampeding herd of sellers--many of whom are still in denial, so you need to take advantage of their cognitive dissonance while you can.

Hello WT,

I think that is safe advice, but maybe an even safer and cheaper strategy is my speculative partnership of a NPK investor joining up with a farmer to help defray costs by mutual early fertilizer purchase.

NPK-Powering the topsoil maybe be more important soon than merely holding title to land. Lots of farmers around the world now cannot afford I-NPK:

Most farmers, they noted, had drastically reduced their acreage under maize and beans because productivity costs are out of their reach.

“I used to plant nine acres of maize but now I will only have four acres of the crop, just to take care of my family throughout the year,” said Mr Kigen.

“So long as production costs are higher than the returns at the end of the day, we have no reason engaging in commercial agriculture."
Wait til that happens here in the US--huge disaster!

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

Forty years ago when I did the math I realized that a parabolic curve was a form of the exponential curve. Both approach infinity only it takes longer for the parabolic depending on the rate of growth. Therefore continueous growth is an illusion where the expansion of the currency supply is called economic growth but is to pay the intrest on the debt owed the banks. Unlimited growth in nature is called cancer. After 2000 years the score remains male virgin births-1;sucessful fiat currencys-0. The politicans promise to do with the Nations wealth what Jesus Christ did with the five loaves and three fishes will not materialize.

Hope for the best but prepare for the worst. In light of peak oil who's life style is the same today as it was prior to 1859 Titusville? To subsist you need three acres according to books I've read. You also need one acre per chord of firewood. I heat 3000 sq ft with three chords of wood over 6000 degree days.

First drill your well and install a hand pump. Around here, 40 mi N of Harrisburg PA, the Mennonites are the only ones who know how.

I bought the land before I retired from the USAF and built the house while living in town. If land that meets this criteria is to far away, sell your house, rent and slowly build. Do not save in "paper money" but put it into your retirement or survival home. If the worst comes you will be prepared to live like the Amish and old order Mennoites as they did prior to 1859.

I'm Alfred E Neuman and I approve this message.

Everyone will probably give you different advice but I think the advice from most peak oil aware people will be to sell. That would be my advice also.

My son, who works in Saudi Arabia, bought a condo in Orange Beach, Alabama about 5 years ago. He paid about $350,000 for it. a couple of years ago he could have sold it for over $600,000. But then the bottom fell out. I told him to sell then and have been telling him to sell ever since. Of course he ignores my advice. His agent tells him that prices will soon go back up and he is waiting for that. I tell him prices are never likely to go back up but of course he simply does not believe me. Hope springs eternal.

We will, within the next five years, move into a different world. What will happen is absolutely unpredictable but one thing that is extremely unlikely to happen is a new housing price boom.

Ron Patterson

Without all the facts and direct, real experience of the locale it is wrong for someone to give hard information or good opinions but I can tell you what I am doing, right now in Scotland.

I live in a very prosperous commuter town near Aberdeen that is growing in size (if not in beauty...). Prices increased in my postcode by an incredible 40 % last year. Houses are currently at a peak or 'stall rate'. We have 75% equity / 25 % debt on this nice house which allowed us to bring up two kids.

Should I worry?
I am probably only 5 years from paying the debt?
In a dynamic and prosperous oil town?

I am ejecting.


We can downsize to another town with good public transport links.

What Alen from Big Easy would call a walkable community.

The house bubble has not quite burst here yet. But overpriced houses are starting to stick a little. Realistic prices still sell.
The job market and oil services industry in Aberdeenshire is bouyant and dynamic with no layoffs.

Its time to get out of Dodge.


In 5-8 years time, we will be pumping about half the oil we currently pump on a bbl/day basis (forget reserves - its flow that keeps an oil co interested).

Any recession could wipe out all gains, kill my job, trash my equity, leave me and my wife trapped.

But the biggest reason to eject? People think I am mad :-)

And just like the old adage that when your mailman, milkman or taxi driver starts to try and discuss hot stock tips, then you know its time to sell.

I will keep ya all informed. Maybe just too late, maybe just in time.

We were due to do it anyway, but the credit crunch caught me on the hop... (So big, so fast - like it was almost planned from the start.)


If you can still make a modest profit on a sale, or at the worst break even / have small loss, then you are liquid, mobile and able to re-enter the market later.

And you dont have the shear terror of watching your life's hard work evapourate in front of your eyes, while too young to start over, in an oil town that can no longer even raffle foreclosed houses.

They are still building McMansions hereabouts that will never, ever be paid off.

Good luck!

My sister and her husband are building a McMansion in a gated golf course development outside of Bend Oregon. When I try to talk to them about lowering the square footage, building with passive solar, and super insulation they get offended.

I design and install solar electric systems for a living and they get offended when I try to give them advice about building wisely considering what is going on with energy and other non-renewable resources?

What is it going to take to wake these mindless consumers up? It is sad for me to see good people making such foolish decisions.


Yikes. I could declining to take your advice, but why get offended?

Hi shastatodd--Bend is a sorry situation that will worsen as more exiles/escapees from other states continue to flock there. It has the dubiuos distinction of becoming as bad as Colorado Springs. For those that don't know, Bend, OR is located in high mountain desert that exhibits very recent volcanism and has no sustainable industry capable of supporting the current, let alone future, population. Often, the only times humans learn is by making mistakes; I'm reminded of the Three Little Pigs story. A lot of people will see Oregon as a place to move to, and the cheap areas east of the Cascades look good on the surface, but in terms of sustainability are big losers at populations larger than current. Perhaps your sister and brother-in-law will learn their lesson soon enough and won't be hurt too badly.

"What will it take to wake these mindless consumers up?"

I'm just wondering if your Bro-in-Law and Sis will get just as offended when you try to wake them up as they are sleeping on your couch someday..

I guess, a little more seriously, I wonder about the 'Told Ya So' versus the 'Olive Branch' options that might face us if we're terribly, terribly right on this one. My gift-giving has been more and more energy related in the last few years. Working with Mom to get some Solar Heat onto her house (which does NOT offend her, in this case), considering something for my Brother's coming Nuptials that could adorn their new household to give them a little energy resilience, and a 'virtual' gift of BOE for the forseeable coming winters. (Like a Solar Hot Air or Water Collector)

Maybe in a moment of Angelic Generousity, you could put some PV aside for your sister (ie, at Today's prices.. since I personally figure they'll be going up, not down.. investment!(?)) .. and don't bother her with it until she has had her rude awakening, and is ready to recieve them and a slice of humble-pie, perhaps.. Win, Win.


'Maybe in a moment of Angelic Generousity, you could put some PV aside for your sister (ie, at Today's prices.. since I personally figure they'll be going up, not down.. investment!(?)) .. and don't bother her with it until she has had her rude awakening, and is ready to recieve them and a slice of humble-pie, perhaps.. Win, Win.'

a type of shock doctrine ala naomi klein .i also plan to utilize; patience i says to myself.

Can you recommend someone in our area to design and install a solar system (including solar pump). We are rural, in Glenwood, New Mexico. There is one guy here who advertises, but he is a con-man and not trustworthy. We have the money, and could provide housing for the duration of the installation. We do know of one person in nearby Silver City, but he is so busy that we can't get his attention. We are hungry for someone who is competent and knows what they are doing. (This is a help wanted ad I guess.)

Hi prairiedog--These folks are not local, but they might be able to help your inquiries, http://www.solarliving.org/ Although they do installation, they primarilly promote DIYers by offering numerous workshops and the yearly SolFest event. If I recall from my visits to New Mexico, there's a lot of wind available for harvest, which is something else you might investigate. Further, depending on your water situation, you might look into a solar powered well pump.

Thanks. We have located a solar powered well pump (Gruensfeld), but are having trouble getting someone to install it. Main problem here is lack of competent help. All the good guys are busy, busy, busy. No lack of work for them.

I see you are about equidistant from Las Cruces and Tucson. Perhaps you're best off paying for a long distance service call by a reputable electrician. Or you might consider self-installation by first viewing this http://www.revver.com/video/330492/from-the-ground-up-grundfos-solar-pum...

Best of luck with your plans.

Living in the DC area no way I would sell your place right now. The Dulles Rail corrider will be built and when it does your place will be GOLD. I see housing units within walking distance to metro making significant gains.

Well, that settles it. You should definitely sell now.

Really. I actually have only made one prediction before, and that was that the weather patterns of the southeast were changing and drought situation would improve over the next 4 months. Well damn, guess I was right.

yes, theantidoomer is TODs local Taxi-driver

Didn't you say you only gave facts not opinion?

Obsess much? Guess I have decided to add my 2 cents.

Living in the DC area no way I would sell your place right now. The Dulles Rail corrider will be built and when it does your place will be GOLD. I see housing units within walking distance to metro making significant gains.

I just had a fantastic idea! Anti-Doomer, Why don't you buy his property! You can't lose!

Thanks Techguy, but not exactly what I am looking for for my situation. I need something currently near metro in the form of a condo, we don't need a ton of space. Braddock Road, King Street, or Van Dorn Metro's are my preferable choices. Hop and a skip to my work in Crystal City.

Crystal City. That explains a lot.

Yeah, its a area of Arlington, VA. Care what it explains sir?

Incoming Lawsuits

NYT: A Road Not Taken by Lenders

This is a very interesting article about "Liar's Loans," i.e., stated income loans. It turns out that lenders could have verified income with the IRS by paying a $20 fee, with the results in one business day. Only a tiny percentage of lenders doing liar's loans did so--a don't ask don't tell policy, as the author puts it. Also, as the author noted, one can hear the sound of incoming lawsuits.

Generally (pre-Peak Oil), the transit effect began to wane a half mile from the station (I would consult local realtor to find results in N VA).

Your gamble is two fold, one that Stage II of Dulles extension gets built (or at least announced, funded and construction starts) and your townhouse is close enough to benefit.

Would it be a safe and pleasant bicycle ride or walk to either "2015" station ?

Would it be better to sell now, save the cash and buy another condo better situated for TOD in the future (say late 2009/2010) ? Perhaps "Crummy" neighborhood today, but 1/4 mile from station (in Atlanta or DC or ...) ?

Just thoughts.

BTW, put your cash in something other than US $.

Best Hopes,


Thanks Alan,

I was hoping you would weigh in...

Yes, I am currently heavy in silver..

Yes, it is a nice walk plus we have bus service from my front door to where metro rail is coming in...

Unfortunately walking doesn't work well here in Herndon as sidewalks are missing in critical areas but I imagine that will change at some point.

What do you think the odds are that they will build this thing? Do you think in an emergency it might come in faster? I know that they could put it in really fast if they really wanted to / were willing to take some land and cut some corners.

The only hang-up on it getting built post-GWB is the R legislature in VA. They could not pass a nickel/gallon tax phased in over 5 years (will we even notice 5 cents/gallon in 2014 ?).

Given the likely D landslide in 2008 (state & national), I see an OK under the Obama Adminstration. Maybe finished before 2015.

But would buying near slum housing in Anacostia a 1/4 mile from the Green Line, or comparable in Atlanta, be a better investment ?

Just a thought,


So today my house is worth.. maybe $380k and dropping. My total payments on the place (mortgage + property manager + hoa) are $2400 / month and I think I can rent it for $1800 or $1900 / month.

Unless you can make a profit from renting it out, you would be better off selling. Lets ignore PO for the moment and just consider the length of time for previous housing down turns. They average about 7 years. Considering the extent of this housing bubble, it will will likely last 10 years or more. The US economy is just entering a recession. Over the next year I expect the number of foreclosures to rise substaintial as more and more workers lose their jobs, or experience wage cuts. The Real Estate market is about to take another tumble because of rising unemployment.

“A banker is a man who lends you an umbrella when the weather is fair, and takes it away from you when it rains.”

Banks will be much less interested in making new loans during a recession. I suspect that they will only make new loans on REOs (or banked owned properties collected from foreclosures). I suspect that even if you put your home up for sale today at the market prices you'll have a very difficult time to sell. As Westexas stated earlier, you would need to list your property below market value to get it to sell. Consider that every month that goes by, the market value will slip. Which means if You try to sell it at the current market value, you keep having to lower the price month by month to stay current with market prices. You will likely need an advantage over other properties for sale to get a buyer.

The only hope for a near term housing recovery is if the gov't monetizes the dollar (ie inflates away the debt). This would cause real estate prices to rise and allegedly result in higher wages causing your rental loss into a rental profit. But I doubt it will happen that way. I think we will see higher inflation, but wages will remain flat. Costs for critical goods (food and energy) would rise causing staginflation, and prevent economic growth. For the economy to grow, there needs to be an abundant supply of cheap energy.

FWIW: from the news articles and blogs I've read recently. People and Businesses are starting to relocating away from expensive locations (ie Big Cities) into lower cost regions. As more people and jobs leave, big cities will be forced to raise taxes and cut services (like less law enforcement). This is a bad situation since, during these periods big cities experience a jump in crime and drug abuse.

The Washington Post had a housing outlook for 2008 recently:

It breaks out the outlook by county. I live along the Orange Line in Arlington County. I thought they had an an intersting take on Arlington:

Buck, who topped $23 million in sales last year -- all but a few in Arlington -- said many of the buyers he worked with moved to Arlington from Loudoun County and western Fairfax County, looking to eliminate their two-hour commutes and gain quality of life. "They're trading a three-car garage and 6,000 square feet in Ashburn for 2,700 square feet and a one-car garage with no commute," he said.

Thanks for the link Rage. Your blockquote says exactly what I was trying to tell people. As folks from Ashburn, Burke, etc, move in closer demand in arlington, alexandria, and close to other metro stops will rise in price over time.

Or more likely, the prices in close in areas may not decline as quickly as in outlying areas.

Prices may decline close in a little more (it's always hard to find the bottom) but rising demand close to the job centers, where one can access mass transit to work is a good bet. More likely I believe.

Well I just had a two paragraph reply that got lost with a network glitch...dammit. Anyway, I "ejected" last fall and made a pretty sweet nut. But the combination of the market, the fact that a significant gold rise has already happened, and the dollar devaluation means that your paper profit, when converted to cash, may be no more real. And it's easy to sit in the armchair and "know" where the market is going. When you have the actual money in hand will you have the balls to put it where your mouth is? I find it difficult.

For what it's worth, my opinion - sell. Exactly as has been noted, underprice the market slightly, that's how I have been backing out of my cheap lots on the big isle. And I've been selling on Craigslist via direct cash sale contract vs. using realtors, though that would be harder in your case.

IMO real estate in general will probably drop a LONG way before 'peak oil' concerns cause some to pick up value again. Get what the market will bear, snag some crude futures staggered from now until 2015 or so with part of the proceeds, and prepare to buy what you want at a much lower price in the future.

YMMV, I don't know the area well, but if I didn't co-own I'd have sold my primary residence in 2004 and now be renting, with the proceeds in futures, options, POT stock, silver in a foreign vault, and cash/treasuries for deflationary episodes bargain-hunting.

Just take this as one POV... best of luck.

Kohesian - if you're a real American you'll ride that sucker all the way down until you effectively have to give it away, or actually take a loss and in effect go slinking away in a trenchcoat, hat, and disguise, telling the Amtrak conductor on your way far, far from there that your name is Jose Jimenez.

Wow, 90k median family income? It's only a hair above 50k in the San Francisco Bay Area, and look how high their housing prices are!

If I were you I'd start reading the real estate bubble-expose' sites regularly. It's looking like the right thing to do is sell it, get your money out while you can, and get an old farm or farmland with part of it, some place you can at least visit regularly and start learning to be self-sufficient.

An article about how Catholicism is fading in Japan: On Japan’s Catholic Outposts, Faith Abides Even as the Churches Dwindle

Most interesting is the reason one priest gives for the decline:

Here in Shinkamigoto, many say growing wealth has sapped the people’s faith. Catholics were far poorer than non-Catholics, occupying villages along this district’s harsh, western shore, or on its fringes, some more accessible by water than by land.

But starting three decades ago, roads were built linking the most remote villages. Catholics began making economic strides, erasing the gap between them and non-Catholics. Interest in the church began declining.

“The same thing happened in Europe,” said the Rev. Yasuhiko Hamasaki, a priest at the Kamigoto Catholic Center here. “When people start gaining material wealth, they end up seeking comfort and healing in material things.”

yet no mention of how hard the Japanese fought to keep them out..

Actually, there is, if you read the whole article.

It's kind of ironic. Catholicism persisted there through centuries of persecution, but is fading now, perhaps because they are no longer being persecuted.

Yesterday TOD's Driving Chimp made a post about how man is doomed via a fine nuke war.

And a few days ago a europe.theoildrum.com post was made about how safe nuke power is.

Well - the fates let us combine 2 N 1!

The summary of:
At slashdot

Hellman therefore did a preliminary analysis and found the risk to be 'equivalent to having your home surrounded by thousands of nuclear power plants.'

(WHEEEE! Why am I in this handbasket, and think the Earth is warming?!?!)

I'm catching up on several days of TOD reading, and this caught my eye in yesterday's Drumbeat:

From Westexas: "I'm giving a presentation at UCSB on April 15th..."

WT, will this be recorded for airing on UCTV? This is sometimes available on our local community access channel, and it appears that UCTV also has podcasts available on their website. In any case, I would very much like to see or hear your upcoming presentation.

There was some discussion of showing it on, I think, a community access channel. I'll let you know if I find anything out. A TOD'er is primarily organizing the event. She might want to comment.

In any case, three parts to the presentation: Peak Oil; Peak Exports (and so not to have people committing suicide in the aisles) a discussion of Alan Drake's work and ELP.

Where/when is that?

UC at Santa Barbara, 7:00 P.M., April 15th, Corwin Pavillion

It will be on UCTV.

ELM verification from today's ASPO-USA's Peak Oil Daily:

"Dubai: Spiralling [sic] energy demand in the Gulf states, coupled with a gas-supply crunch, might lead to oil exports from the region falling during the summer, according to energy economists. A Lehman Brothers report puts the possible Gulf export shortfall due to high domestic demand at up to one million barrels per day (bpd). According to Edward Morse, Lehman's chief energy economist, the world markets faced a shortfall of about one million barrels per day last July and August, and it could be repeated this year. "The Middle East now appears to require more hydrocarbons being devoted to power generation than had been the case historically, as power needs to grow," said Morse. While many expansion projects are being pursued across the region, the fear is that export capacity might not grow enough in the coming six months, leading to an increasingly tight market."

The above did not come from the item linked, whose headline discusses Dubai's electricity problem; it may have come from an earlier version, although the overall synopsis is correct. The 1Mbpd "shortfall" in exports is big, which is exacerbated by the USA's economic war against Iran as it keeps Iranian hydrocarbons from entering the market. I found Bush/Cheney's pleas to KSA for increased production to be crocodile tears as it's their policy of waging economic war against Iran that's one of the main price drivers; just as Iraqi production is stiffled by essentially the same policies.

In like manner, the Des Moines Register's op/ed is interesting, as are its comments, since it was the major factor in excluding Kucinich--who knows well peak oil and the escalating energy crisis and had detailed policy solutions that went further than the op/ed--from the final debate prior to the caucases.

And for those looking at the clusterfuck that's metro Pheonix, turn your google gaze to the deserts east, north and south of Barstow/Ontario, California or the suburban mass congealed around downtown Lost Wages. Moe_Gamble thinks his area can survive, a belief I would deeply question.

Looks like it came from another article posted up top, "GCC demand to curtail oil exports."

And "spiralling" is the correct spelling in the UK.

Thankyou Leanan,

Your recognition of English spelling is exemplary.

Oh, BTW:

There is no 'UK spelling'.

The UK is a political construct; some would say an abstract.

There is in fact only English spelling. :-)

And eaven wen oiu are ronge we ar rijtte.

Ask Sheakspeare, Sheikspere, or Shakespier, or Shakespere or any of the other remayninge wayes which may spelth his nayme.

Sleep in the bussum of Goddes Mither tonitte


(Of wych i am won.)


According the The Story of English, Shakespeare would find American English more recognizable than modern British English. We've preserved elements of 16th century English here in the colonies that have been lost in the homeland.

Excellent book by H.L, Mencken on American vs British English. Must reading, really. I thought it was just a few words that were different, like rubber for eraser and so on. But it's not, it's rather deep differences and I never thought anyone would be able to accuse we Americans of speaking Shakespearean stuff, but Mencken's done it and made it stick.

PS - you're supposed to know to find the free book online. Happy reading!

Yeah, that reminds me. One of my cow-orkers, about 15 years ago, was a Brit living in Plano, TX.

His son was doing a report on the "aeroplane" for his elementary school. I remember thinking to myself "Yah, I bet you think they're made of aluminium, don'tcha" but kept mouth shut, since said cow-orker outranked me.

A quick question. The article says oil production will be reduced because they are using more gas for themselves and so reducing the amount that is used for oilfield injection. Is the gas that has been used for injection recoverable economically later once the oilfield is depleted, or is it effectively lost? Is there a significant amount of gas worldwide that is currently used for injection that will eventually be freed up in this way? From the article it sounds like the amounts are quite sizable given the impact it is having.

Its recoverable wich is reasonable since it flows easier then oil thru the pores in the rock.

"Blowing off the gas cap" is the last stage of depletion. Brent in UK North Sea is doing this now. Prudhoe Bay will do this when natural gas pipeline gets there.

Yes, significant amounts of NG are recovered. AFAIK, often rich in NGL.


Gas injection is not near as popular as it used to be. There once was a glut of gas. I read somewhere a few year ago that oil field workers, after drilling a dry hole, would report the news. "There is good news and bad news. The bad news is we did we didn't find any oil. The good news is we didn't find any gas either."

The re-injection was a way to keep the pressure up. But now water injection has replaced natural gas as the pressure-keeper-upper of choice. In a few places, like Cantarell, nitrogen is used.

Yes, the gas can be re-recovered, but there is very little gas being re-injected these days so it will not amount to one hell of a lot.

Saudi uses a tremendous amount of natural gas for both power generation and water desalination. When I was there in the early eighties they exported a lot of LNG. I doubt that they are exporting very much, if any, these days.

Ron Patterson

Holy Moly! This is a NYT frontpage story today:

Duck and Cover: It’s the New Survivalism


"THE traditional face of survivalism is that of a shaggy loner in camouflage, holed up in a cabin in the wilderness and surrounded by cases of canned goods and ammunition.

It is not that of Barton M. Biggs, the former chief global strategist at Morgan Stanley. Yet in Mr. Biggs’s new book, “Wealth, War and Wisdom,” he says people should “assume the possibility of a breakdown of the civilized infrastructure.”

“Your safe haven must be self-sufficient and capable of growing some kind of food,” Mr. Biggs writes. “It should be well-stocked with seed, fertilizer, canned food, wine, medicine, clothes, etc. Think Swiss Family Robinson. Even in America and Europe there could be moments of riot and rebellion when law and order temporarily completely breaks down.”

IMO, we entered the geometric progression phase in food and energy prices around October 1, 2007--because prices are being set at the margin, as importers bid against each other for declining food and energy exports.

Who knows what the future holds, but at the rate of increase in oil prices that we saw in the past six months, oil prices would double every 18 months.

Food and Oil, being the two new emerging 'Super' currencies, will eviscerate the Pound, Euro, Yuan, Yen and Dollar.

The new global model of money/value/capital will be a function of the possessing (controlling) of Food and Oil, not the perverse manipulations and distortions of fiat currency that presently pass themselves off as 'modern economic theory'.

Food and Oil will be interchangeable and become the primary 'monetary' transaction medium for the 21 century, all economic models (and currencies) will wither beneath their absolute gaze.

If you got um, you will be an all powerful "Master of the Universe".

If you don't, you won't.

Once upon a time, the US penny's obverse was graced by wheat sheaves. As with China and Russia, the USA was an agrarian empire before it became an industrialized Empire.

The dime's obverse was graced with fasces. I didn't know what They were until someone told me quite recently.

Have you seen Rice jumps as Africa joins race for supplies? It's 2 days old so it might have been posted and I missed it.

Anyway, it perfectly fits your description of the export land model for oil. It is happening now for rice.

Getting yourself named in a NY Times article seems like a poor survivalist plan. In the event that "law and order temporarily completely breaks down", it just ensures that government troops, out-of-control rioters, or both, will know where to come for your stash.

Now, the people who keep their yaps shut, and who are therefore NOT in Times articles, might do better. But even then, if you live in the city but your hiding place is readily accessible to you, then isn't it every bit as readily accessible to troops and rioters? And if the rioters have turned your car into a flaming hulk or the National Guard has barricaded you in, you won't be bugging out - so do you use a crystal ball to tell you when to go? So aside from providing a news hook on a slow Sunday, just what does this do and how does this work?

"Getting yourself named in a NY Times article seems like a poor survivalist plan."

No kidding, eh? The whole article was somehow surreal and naive.

It just seemed odd that it should appear on the front page of the NYT...

NYTimes New Survivalism;

Ah, I think the word is now ....umm... Out. You had better have made your plans. It doesn't matter right or wrong. Many other people will now start to take actions.
If 1% if the population does that, That would be 3 Million people starting to "Act Different" and start "Making New Accomodations"

Articles appearing in the NYTimes means that it is now Officially OK to talk about and debate and start "Softening Up" the target. This is how you plant/build on a Meme.

Who's the target?


In the coming 18 months you will see this "Topic" come up more and more. Be observent of how it will come to be treated by the Official outlets like CNNNBCFAUX

Interesting Times.

I'm breaking one of my rules here

this is why I read The Oil Drum ever day, But I don't post very offen any more.

Ed in the Bahamas

Hello Sgage,

Regarding the NYT's survivalism headline: Once the present President or the future President announces to all Americans to start serious Victory Gardening-- that giant sucking sound you will hear will be the First World's mad rush to buy & hoard I-NPK. It will instantly price much of the Third World out of I-NPK setting off mind-boggling amounts of global starvation. How much I-NPK can a poor person buy if your daily income is $2 and prices return to the 1914 level of $10,500/ton [or higher in the postPeak era]?

Since we now have instant MSM globalization: it may not even take an American leader to start this cascading blowback. It could come from a leader from Ozzieland, the UK, Russia, Japan, etc, telling their people to start growing veggies. It might even be a rumor that suddenly takes a viral growth of its own nearly instantaneously around our little blue marble. Recall how just a mere joke by Johnny Carson set off a national toilet paper shortage years ago.

It may be happening even now, but it is just 'below the MSM-radar' of the ignorant masses as it is still gaining steam. We have had many postings about how gardening is the fastest growing hobby in many places. Now picture all these people suddenly deciding to buy a 5 or 10 year supply of I-NPK.

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

This one is for Darwinian. (scroll down to update)

"The U.S. establishment media in a nutshell"


Here are the number of times, according to NEXIS, that various topics have been mentioned in the media over the past thirty days:

"Yoo and torture" - 102

"Mukasey and 9/11" -- 73

"Yoo and Fourth Amendment" -- 16

"Obama and bowling" -- 1,043

"Obama and Wright" -- More than 3,000 (too many to be counted)

"Obama and patriotism" - 1,607

"Clinton and Lewinsky" -- 1,079

Thanks a million Souperman2, this article made my point exactly. Here is my favorite quote from it.

Needless to say, these serious and accomplished political journalists are only focusing on these stupid and trivial matters because this is what the Regular Folk care about.

Sad, very sad, but true.

Ron Patterson

Yes but then he goes on to say...

"Our nation's coddled, insulated journalist class reaches these conclusions about what Regular Folk think using the most self-referential, self-absorbed thought process imaginable. The proof that the Regular People are interested in these things is that . . . the journalists themselves chatter about it endlessly."

But more important to me is what came first, people not interested in truth and important issues, or the media not reporting these things?


State of Rhode Island Seeks Bids for Off-Shore Wind Farm Development

Governor Donald L. Carcieri today announced that the State of Rhode Island is seeking bids from private companies to construct and operate an off-shore wind farm designed to generate 1.3 million megawatt-hours per year of renewable energy. The wind farm would be located in an area just south of Block Island.

Excellent! I grew up in Rhode Island, and I love to hear about this type of stuff! Gives me a bit of hope, and I do hope it goes through ASAP.

One major bit of concern I hear about it is that it will drive taxes up for a while. If only people knew how important this project really was...

VERY good news !

That comes to about 425 MW of new wind turbines, which would put RI in the top 10 states for installed wind :-)

Best Hopes for Windy RI,


Hello TODers,

My thxs to Leanan for the toplink:

R2 million to clean up Ulundi sewerage mess
Sadly, as far as I could discern from my reading of the article, there was no discussion of abandoning toilets and moving to municipal humanure O-NPK recycling. This must infuriate the homeowners with crap inside their housing, and the farmers whose livestock are sick from the polluted waters. Meanwhile, I-NPK prices continue their rocket ride...

My bet is that 'Murkans will be the most resistant culture on the planet to adopt widespread O-NPK recycling. Better buy your rubber wading boots and disinfectants for every family member while you can.

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

Of course, if toxic crap commonly starts erupting like in the following video:


...maybe toplevel BioSafety 4 HazMat suits will be the standard fashion.

Another YouTube video, "It's blowing chunks!":


Hey Bob, Explain to me why we have to abandon toilets? I'm all for recycling NPK, but I do not see why it can't be collected at the wastewater treatment plant then recycled into fertilizer. Hell the cities could sell the crap (literally) and keep our water bill down.

You actually do not read this site where you post.

The use of sewage as fertilizer has been discussed in the past.

Do you try to attack me just for fun?? My god maybe I missed a few days and haven't seen that discussion before. Seriously I know you are obsessed with me, but find something more constructive to write about. Anyway, I asked why do we have to get rid our toilets in order to recycle NPK are fertilizer. I did not get that part.

Pissle and poop don't really mix in a fertilization situation. You want urine to be added to a high carbon source (like straw or newspaper) to break it down so it can be returned to the soil rich in N, and you want *DRY* poop to be broken down by the ambient bacteria and microorganisms for humus and small amounts of trace minerals. Once you mix them by defecation and urination in the same place, the mix of the two quickly becomes anerobic and stinky, which no-one wants. Hence the hygenic way of disposing of the two together is then to use a water-flushed drainage system, but that needs a lot of water and a maintained, pumped infrastructure, which is exactly what is disappearing from the places written about.

If you still have the infrastructure, any fertiliser recovered via a sewage treatment plant is not really desired due to the aggregation of wastes from people with hep C, HIV, chemo treatments etc.

Basically individually households have the chance to recycle NPK by modifying their toilet use, but you can't scale the collection of human waste and still use it for fertilising food crops.

Other flaws with the antidoomer way:

1) Using potable water to create non-potable water. (Which goes to show how The Antidooomer is not here for an actual education or can read - because that is what Bob said)

Examining this more in depth:
Pumps driven by electric motors SO big that the electric company needs to be notified when the motors are turned on or off so the electric company move the water into a plant where more money/time/material treat this water. After being flushed, the sewage is moved with pumps (needing the same kind of power requirements to get the water so the water can become waste)

2) The contents of sewage systems is not just 'pissle and poop'. You have drugs flushed, paint, oil, metals like lead, plastic and the occasional body part. Magical thinking allows such to go on crops.

At present, sewage treatment plants produce concentrated sludge, which contains organic nutrients plus the heavy metals and other toxic substances from industry. Sludge typically contains:
Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs);
Chlorinated pesticides—DDT, dieldrin, 2,4,5-T, 2,4,D;
Chlorinated compounds such as dioxins; polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons;
Heavy metals—arsenic, cadmium, lead, mercury;
Miscellaneous—asbestos, petroleum products, industrial solvents.
The sludge from the Milwaukee sewage treatment plant has been sold for seventy years as "Milorganite" with a warning not to use it when growing food.

3) Sewage treatment uses energy to add oxygen to the sewage, to move it about the plant. Skilled people to watch the process, then add chemicals to adjust the process. (Adding MORE energy to something that can

4) When one thinks the issue of SELLING the output of from a sewage plant - that output would have to be dried, assayed, bagged then transported.

Now Bob's original postion:

there was no discussion of abandoning toilets and moving to municipal humanure O-NPK recycling.

The alternative of 'night soil' is documented all over the world. One does not have to expend the energy to pump about the potable water, the sewage, then de-water the water diluted material.

Lanterne Rogue, you should check out The Humanure Handbook, by Joe Jenkins. An excellent reference on composting (unseparated) urine and feces. Works great: no smell, great garden soil and excellent veggies. I've been doing it(composting humanure) for years.

Humanure Handbook Free PDF Download

Where there is no Doctor/Dentist and other free books

(Note that these links have been posted many times - so if the antidoomer was an actual reader of this site and took advantage of the education the many posters provide via links to such resources - the antidoomer would be able to ask informed questions VS the position normally taken by the antidoomer of 'change makes me scared - so everyone find ways so things won't change for me')

I tried to defend myself against you but my post was deleted and i've wasted enough time with you. Have a good one.

I tried to defend myself against you

You don't need to 'defend', all you have to do is actually bother reading what others have posted, then ask questions VS keep repeating your same dull point over and over. The waste treatment thread is the latest example - Bob points out he'
s in an area where water matters and you keep posting 'solutions' that use more water.

How exactly are you going to excuse such behavior?

(Now I was guilty of that on the nuke threads - but I'm waiting for the pro-nukers to explain why sleeping security guards is a good thing)

i've wasted enough time with you.


Do you try to attack me just for fun??


Seriously I know you are obsessed with me,

(This will be good for a giggle)

Then explain it.

I asked why do we have to get rid our toilets in order to recycle NPK are fertilizer. I did not get that part.

Many people have spent many bytes trying to explain things to you - and you have shown no signs of actual understanding.

Hello Theantidoomer,

Thxs for responding. Basically, it revolves around keeping drinkable water drinkable; the less entropy, the better. Huge amounts of energy and resources go into providing us with convenient tapwater--not sustainable postPeak as the problems in Zimbabwe, South Africa, and other places clearly show.

The cascading blowback health effects of stagnant sewage is clear, but lots of drugs, soaps, and other chemicals are also introduced into American municipal sewage, making it even more expensive to repure the runoff water and sanitize the residue suitable for topsoil replenishment.

Google images of water & sewage infrastructure: huge, and technically specialized valve castings, pumps, pipelines, etc, then imagine the electrojuice and additional resources to keep it functioning. The countless miles of water & sewage piping simply dwarf by at least a magnitude the total of all the oil & natgas piping, which Simmons says is basically the outside paint-coating holding rust together.

A recent link reposted again:

City facing skyrocketing costs to treat water supply

The main culprit of the price increases, Rau said, has been sulfuric acid, a component of many of the chemicals used in water treatment.

...And vendors won’t even consider a year-long contract because of the volatility of the market, Rau added.
I would expect future pricing to get even worse on the sewage end unless we change. I have posted much before on using purposely directed sewage overflows as a very cheap weapon for the military or other orgs. You can safely be miles away; just remotely cut the power to some valving or maceration lift pump, then watch the sewage overflow into the targeted area.

Thanks for the civil good response Bob. Have you read this essay yet? They seem to think that modern sewage systems could be used to recycle manure:


In both rural and urban environments, flush toilets can be used to a greater advantage as a means of returning sewage nutrients (fertilizers) back to the farmland than the dry composting toilets such as a Clivus Multrum. This is true because dry fertilizer requires the addition of adequate water through irrigation to be effective for plant absorption of nutrients - besides the fact that 90% of Ecotopians already have flush toilets.

Thanks for the civil good response Bob.

But did you LEARN anything? Did you understand the comment about taking potable water and making it not drinkable?

In both rural and urban environments, flush toilets can be used

No, no you did not.

Do you understand that Arizona is in a dry area - thus drinkable water has a value? (Anyone who's actually READ this forum for any length of time has read that Bob is in a dry area)

It seems not because your response is 'here is an example of management using Aquatic plants, particularly tropical ones'

Like most of your posts - not helpful to Bob's case....what with that desert and all.

Why do your posts revolve around the theme 'don't change my lifestyle'? 1st wanting cars to continue as they have and the latest 'I want a flush toilet - make it happen' Lifestyles are GOING to change. Local governments are going to find it hard to keep roads and water/sewage treatment going - as a simple example.

IT may be possible to use this idea
as the core of an indoor composting toilet so long as you have urine diversion.

Once again I will note that my post was censored.

Because it was unhelpful. If you want to troll or insult others, go somewhere else. It's not welcome here.

At our last Landcare (a farmers/conservation group) AGM we had a presentation from our local waste water treatment authority on the use of biosolids and waste water. With standard biotreatment only some of the phosphate of retrieved, most of it is in the urine stream and fully dissolved. At this plant the raw sewage is innoculated with specific microorganisms that bind and settle out most of the disolved material. The waste water is then pumped for agricultural use. One limit to its application is the salt content. The biosolids, currently trucked out to air dry, will soon be dried on site in new a plant that will burn some of the end product, pelletised bio-mass, as its sole fuel source. The pelletised biosolids will then available for application as fertiliser but only after rigorous soil testing of the target land and then only at a rate that is determined by the individual limiting concentration of specific heavy metals. Both the biosolids and the target soil will be tested , so that no single contaminant can reach threshold danger levels. The other big user of the biomass will soon be the local cement industry which will burn the stuff as fuel, it has the same energy density as brown coal. It is a fascinating subject.

phosphate ....most of it is in the urine stream ... One limit to its application is the salt content.

Alas, the only ways I've found to 'solve' the Sodium problem is de-hydrated urine (one looses the Nitrogen), then expose that to heat + sand to yield the unsafe white form of Phosphor or to try the route of making an organic pile to try and make black powder - and the Sodium would still be bio-aviable.

What a loser. Typical loose thinking.

You don't loose the nitrogen - you might lose it though.

That particular Internetism always comes across as breathlessly adolescent, like dotting the letter I with a little heart.

I'll wager the Yemen rocket assault will be blamed on Iran, although AFP says it's "the latest attack to hit a country plagued by Al-Qaeda-linked violence."

Compare this article from yesterdays Drumbeat
with this version that appeared in the paper itself.
Notice the difference in the peak oil coverage?
Good editing by some asshat. :)

Edit: Clicking on the first link may cause a print window to pop up.

Hello TODers,

You can't make this stuff up; nothing is stranger than the truth:

Machete-wielding teens attack Australian school
I would be fascinated to know what names they gave their weapons to mythically imbue them with extra power. Recall the hypothetical weapon names I created in earlier postings.

Too bad their parents didn't give them wheelbarrows and garden tools much earlier. I bet they played video games instead.

Fears rise with violence in Zimbabwe

Eighteen farmers were threatened and several were forced to flee their properties as they were besieged by chanting, drum-beating mobs. Representatives of the farmers said there was no police response even as the situation worsened late Sunday.

Mugabe has encouraged the seizure of land from white farmers in the past as part of his land reform program, with the property being turned over to his supporters.

At one of the Masvingo farms, a crew from the state-owned television station ZBC was present when a mob demanded the farmer leave, leading to fears the operation was state-organized.

He said in some cases invaders had tried to force their way into houses, including one that a farmer and his family fled. "The people want to move into his house," he said. "They're running around the house banging on the windows. I don't need to tell you what effect that has on a family.
I eventually expect the same to happen here in the postPeak US. Imagine Congressional members and MSM-heads like possibly Hannity, O'Reilly, and Rush Limbaugh all joining forces to create detritovore mobs to forcibly confiscate desirable properties postPeak. Why buy the farm when it is much easier to just take it?

Hopefully, the farmers and their I-NPK investors will be ready to oppose the detritovores. Recall my earlier posts on this biosolar mission-critical topic.

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

Hello TODers,

Recall my earlier post on HF-acid and its lethality as compared to sulfuric acid:


I wonder if some people in this town read my posting above:

Residents, firefighters oppose refinery's proposed use of chemical

The company decided against using sulfuric acid because it’s more costly, uses more energy and requires more acid, according to Californian archives.

“Hydrofluoric acid is hydrofluoric acid,” he said of the refinery’s plans to use the modified version. “The refinery is in the heart of town and could potentially affect thousands of people in a matter of minutes.”
Some earlier posts on HF by TODers ET & PickyReader:

Indeed, no nightmare is complete without a nice splash of hydrofluoric acid.

I can't imagine working defensive ops on a large hydrofluoric acid spill. I would rather have an ebola patient cough blood in my eyes. I think I would just run away.
Isn't it amazing how the rising price of sulphur is rippling through the entire I-NPK and industrial supply chain?

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

From the NYTimes:

PDF Warning for the next link:

I wonder if Gazprom has read this much earlier dated article as they seek monopoly control to raise sulfur pricing Sevenfold? I doubt if Putin will bust up Gazprom like we busted up Standard Oil.

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

HF is one of those things that refuse to work around. I know too many people that have been burned or have had their lungs burned by HF vapor. HF eats its way through flesh and then reacts with the calcium in bones. No man should be any where near the stuff. We have technology to make alkylate with other oxidizers.

Hello TODers,

Uh-oh! Dr. James Hansen says it is worse than we thought:

Climate target is not radical enough - study
Nasa scientist warns the world must urgently make huge CO2 reductions

One of the world's leading climate scientists warns today that the EU and its international partners must urgently rethink targets for cutting carbon dioxide in the atmosphere because of fears they have grossly underestimated the scale of the problem.

In a startling reappraisal of the threat, James Hansen, head of the Nasa Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York, calls for a sharp reduction in C02 limits.