DrumBeat: May 11, 2008

Don't let rising gas prices push you into panic selling

Logically, the high cost of fuel doesn't justify drastic lifestyle changes, so don't be too quick to dump your SUV or your suburban home.

The rising price of gasoline offers all of us an interesting logic test. What's the right thing to do in response? Should we sell our big vehicles, give up our houses in the suburbs, or spend billions of dollars on a new transit system?

If you checked off none of the above, you're on the right track.

The End of OPEC

Churchill’s assessment applies to the current oil situation: this is the beginning of the end of OPEC. That much is obvious; the more interesting question is “why?”

Gas prices hit another record high

CNNMoney (NEW YORK) -- Retail gasoline prices jumped to yet another record high Sunday, according to drivers' advocacy group AAA's Web site.

The national average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline edged up to $3.707, topping the previous record of $3.671, set on Friday. Gas prices had been hitting almost daily record highs, most recently running up a 17-day streak that ended May 1.

Greeks queue for petrol as fuel truckers strike

ATHENS (Reuters) - Thousands of Greeks queued for hours at petrol stations to fill up their cars on Saturday as a fuel truck drivers' strike started to hit supplies.

Some 70 percent of stations around the country had run out of petrol, officials said, as the strike to press for higher distribution fees for truck drivers entered its fifth day.

Beirut Is Quiet, but Fighting Rages in Other Parts of Lebanon

BEIRUT, Lebanon (AP) -- Heavy fighting broke out Sunday between supporters of Lebanon's Western-backed government and opposition followers in the central mountains overlooking the capital, security officials said.

The violence came after overnight clashes in northern Lebanon left one woman dead, bringing the toll across the country for the past five days to 38 -- the worst sectarian violence since Lebanon's 1975-1990 civil war.

Nigeria: In His First Visit to Niger Delta - Yar'Adua Warns On Future of Oil

Yar'Adua said the Niger Delta region has the potential of becoming the petrochemical power in Africa, as no other part of the continent has the potential, but lamented that the absence of peace has retarded African development in the past 50 years.

He regretted that the increase in world crude oil price is blamed on the situation in Iran , Iraq and the lack of peace in the Niger Delta "because we, ourselves, gave them the opportunity to do so."

Nuclear Fuel Recycling: More Trouble Than It's Worth

Plans are afoot to reuse spent reactor fuel in the U.S. But the advantages of the scheme pale in comparison with its dangers.

If Your Appliances Are Avocado, They Probably Aren’t Green

I am growing a little cynical about the consumption-oriented part of the movement, the urging to buy our way out of environmental problems. From organic jeans to compact fluorescent light bulbs, it is getting harder and harder to know what represents genuine progress and what is a marketing gimmick.

The New New World

Yet Zakaria’s is not another exercise in declinism. His point is not the demise of Gulliver, but the “rise of the rest.” After all, how can this giant follow Rome and Britain onto the dust heap of empire if it can prosecute two wars at once without much notice at home? The granddaughters of those millions of Rosie the Riveters who kept the World War II economy going are off to the mall today; if they don’t shop till they drop, it’s because of recession, not rationing.

Low supply means it's the end of the road for cheap oil

Most of the world's large oil basins have been discovered and exploited. The remaining reserves are often difficult to get at, frozen in the Arctic or submerged beneath deep oceans, and tend to be smaller than previous discoveries. As a result, new production has failed to keep pace with the rate of depletion. This gap is only likely to widen.

Half of the world's current oil production comes from 500 fields, most of which are fairly mature and past their point of peak production. The most accessible oil comes out of the ground first, so future production from these fields is more challenging. While there are a number of new projects scheduled over the next seven years, they won't make up for declines in production at existing fields.

Price of fertiliser soars with food crisis

FERTILISER prices have shot up to record levels as farmers around the world scramble to grow enough to alleviate the world food shortage.

The general manager of distributor AG Plus, Matt Henry, said its two main fertilisers, MAP or monammonium phosphate and DAP or diammonium phosphate, were worth between $420 and $450 a tonne two years ago.

"Then last year they got as high as $780 to $800 a tonne," he said.

The price is now above $1400 a tonne.

Climate change key to future food crisis

But the biggest risk to agriculture may well come from climate change. No one yet knows how climate change will affect agricultural production. It’s still guesswork how will it change temperatures, precipitation, the length of growing seasons, and variability of yields.

It may be tough to predict how, and under what circumstances, will climate change increase and/or reduce production. In affected regions, it may not be easy to get farmers to shift to other crops, to adopt new cropping patterns, and to adjust production practices to the new environment.

Food crisis: Is Lanka sitting on a volcano?

A dramatic unprecedented soar in food prices in the last few years; and in particular most dramatically over the last few months, has provoked riots in many countries, mainly in the developing world. US wheat export price rose from $375 in January to $440 in March, an increase of 17%. In a period of 36 months leading up to February 2008 the world wheat price increased by 181% and overall global food prices rose by 83 %.

According to the FAO, global food prices rose by 40% in 2007, producing the highest food cost level on record making 2007 as a year of food price hyperinflation. The world's most vulnerable millions of people are facing starvation.

Surging food prices bite across Asia

SYDNEY -- From the rice paddies of Asia to the wheat fields of Australia, the soaring price of food is breaking the budgets of the poor and raising the specters of hunger and unrest, experts warn.

South Africa: Load-shedding not over yet

Eskom told the Energy Crisis Coping Forum in Durban on Saturday that it would continue what is perceived to be a stranglehold on new developments such as office blocks and housing clusters requiring more than 100KVa (enough to power a small office block).

Bangaladesh: Why this energy crisis?

The people were stunned by the recent very tough decision of the government to restrict the supply of gas to different categories of its users in the country. All concerned are protesting this decision which has been considered suicidal for the economy as a whole.

Hackers attack Mexican Congress website, opposing oil privatization

The Mexican Congress website was out of service for hours on Friday after being attacked by hackers who opposed the nation's oil industry privatization.

Why high oil prices are not squeezing us more

Indeed, why isn’t the rise in prices we have seen already having more of an effect? For those who were brought up on the rule of thumb that every 10% rise in oil prices led to a 1% drop in global growth, the resilience of economic activity in response to sky-high oil is surprising.

Obama: Solving energy crisis is going to take time

It isn't right that oil companies are making record profits at a time when ordinary Americans are going into debt just to fill up their tanks. That's why we'll put a windfall profits tax on oil companies and use it to help Oregon families reduce energy costs.

No quick fix for oil prices

It’s easy to blast George Dubya Bush, Congress, Dick Cheney, Halliburton and Big Oil for the price of gasoline as it shoots up seemingly every few days.

They certainly are all at least partially to blame, spending billions a week on war while the dollar slides, jobs are exported and nobody is coming up with a way to keep America powerful as India and China ascend into the middle-class consumerist masses.

But, if you’re of a certain age, you either sat in the gas lines of the 1970s or the classrooms where environmentalism rose into the national conscience in the 1970s.

As U.S. politicians search for a solution to high oil prices, answers evade them

But what can the White House, Congress or competing presidential candidates do to reduce gas prices in the near term? The short answer, alas, is not much.

No industrialized economy is as reliant on oil, or as obsessed with gasoline prices, as the United States, the biggest consumer of oil in the world. But the oil market is largely immune to Washington's machinations, and prices have more than quadrupled over the last six years for reasons that are increasingly disconnected from what happens in the United States.

Sudan Rebel Leader: Troops In Khartoum; Would Expel China Oil Cos

LONDON -(Dow Jones)- Sudanese rebels have entered the capital Khartoum and would replace Chinese oil companies with Western ones if they were to overthrow the current government, a rebel leader said Saturday.

The threat is bad news for China, which has become the largest buyer of crude and foreign investor in the Sudanese oil industry as it tries to fill its oil needs resulting from its fast economic growth.

France condemns Darfur rebel attack on Khartoum

"France firmly condemns the armed attack against the Sudanese capital. No circumstance can justify such actions," the foreign ministry said in a statement.

Sudan broke off diplomatic relations with Chad after the attack, which it said was supported by Chadian President Idriss Deby -- an ally of France, which has troops in Chad who have helped Deby defeat Chadian rebels he said were backed by Sudan.

All Alaskans need immediate energy cost equalization

Like a man dying of thirst in the middle of the ocean, Alaskans are adrift in a sea of state cash while our residents drown in a tidal wave of unjustified costs for heating oil and electricity for homes and businesses.

Tanzania: Many people caught up in energy use dilemma

Environmental activists may be smiling due to scarcity of charcoal, a source of energy widely used in many urban and rural areas, with producers blaming multiple taxes and other charges imposed on it as well as haulage obstacles -that together raise costs immensely.

But mostly affected are the ordinary people who have been relying on charcoal for cooking. The product has for years remained the only affordable source of energy for domestic use as the price of kerosene- the other option, remains high alongside a world-wide oil price surge.

David Attenborough: "Wasting energy is an appalling thing"

The main thing is to avoid waste, to recognize that waste is actually sinful, and it is a gross damage to the world's environment from all kinds of points of view. Wasting energy is an appalling thing to do, and the way that we have squandered energy -- and particularly fossil energy -- not knowing what we were doing, is a catastrophe.

On the Record: Vinod Khosla

Flush with money and determined to save the world, the green-tech industry stands in full flower of its giddy youth.

Venture capitalists are pumping billions into startups trying to create new fuels or energy sources. Politicians are looking to the industry for ways to fight climate change without wrecking the world's economy.

Interest in nuclear power fuels uranium rush

GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK, Ariz. - Thanks to renewed interest in nuclear power, the United States is on the verge of a uranium mining boom and nowhere is the hurry to stake claims more pronounced than in the districts flanking the Grand Canyon's storied sandstone cliffs.

Climate scientist out to change the world

At 63, Ramanathan seeks more than scientific accomplishment. He wants to use his knowledge to help poorer nations improve their quality of life and fight global warming at the same time.

His budding vision is Project Surya – Sanskrit for sun. The idea is to give about 3,500 solar and other “clean energy” cooking devices to families in Mukteshwar, a rural area in the Himalayas, and study if the smokeless cookers effectively slash levels of atmospheric soot.

Bill McKibben: Civilization's last chance

Even for Americans -- who are constitutionally convinced that there will always be a second act, and a third, and a do-over after that, and, if necessary, a little public repentance and forgiveness and a Brand New Start -- even for us, the world looks a little terminal right now.

It's not just the economy: We've gone through swoons before. It's that gas at $4 a gallon means we're running out, at least of the cheap stuff that built our sprawling society. It's that when we try to turn corn into gas, it helps send the price of a loaf of bread shooting upward and helps ignite food riots on three continents. It's that everything is so tied together. It's that, all of a sudden, those grim Club of Rome types who, way back in the 1970s, went on and on about the "limits to growth" suddenly seem ... how best to put it, right.

All of a sudden it isn't morning in America, it's dusk on planet Earth.

New NASA research shows inadequacy of Rudd's greenhouse targets

Ground-breaking new research findings posted on the internet in April have confirmed what many scientists and climate activists have already concluded — that the goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions embraced by the European Union and Australia’s Labor government are gravely inadequate.

Global climate change: What it means to Iowa

Fickle weather last year illustrated the potential for trouble, Takle said. In April 2007, a hard freeze followed an unusually warm period in March. That caused heavy damage to tree buds and fruit blossoms.

"It just zapped everything," Takle said. "I looked at a satellite map of plant productivity for the spring season of 2007. It showed a big hole in the middle of the country."

Green groups urge upholding U.S. tar sands fuel ban

A who's who of major U.S. and Canadian environmental organizations is urging the U.S. Senate to keep in place a rule banning the United States government from buying fuel from Alberta's tar sands on the grounds that it is too environmentally tainted.

Ease back on the throttle, cash-strapped airlines tell pilots

Airlines are ordering pilots to slow down in a bid to cut fuel bills and reduce emissions. The cost of jet fuel has soared by more than 70 per cent in the past year, prompting airlines to investigate every possible way of reducing their bills.

UK: Rise in fuel siphoning from cars

Police have reported an increase in thefts from vehicles in Dorset, in particular a growth in fuel siphoning.

Be on the alert for thefts of fuel, State Police say

Indiana State Police on Saturday asked gas station owners and consumers to be alert for fuel thefts in urban areas and along interstates.

Stealing fuel is a felony punishable by a maximum $10,000 fine and up to three years in jail, plus a 30-day suspension of the guilty party's driver's license, said Sgt. Rich Myers of the Greencastle post in a news release.

Australia: Families in west running on empty

SOARING fuel prices are carving into the budgets of car-dependent households in western Sydney, exacerbating problems of insufficient public transport options and long distances to workplaces.

Families in the west are driving up to 20 times the distance of those in the eastern suburbs, inner west and Lower North Shore, according to research by a PhD student at the University of Technology, Sydney, Peter Rickwood.

With fuel prices at about $1.50 a litre, households in the city's outer western ring - many of which are struggling with mortgage repayments - are sacrificing more than 6 per cent of their gross household income on petrol, Mr Rickwood's research shows.

Is oil headed for $200?

Twenty short weeks ago, the world was struggling to digest the idea of $100 US oil.

Today, with oil prices breaching new records almost daily, even ordinarily circumspect soothsayers are talking about the prospect of a super price spike that could cause a run to $200 -- a concept that would have been virtually unthinkable 12 months ago.

And when some of the finest economic minds on the continent -- people like Daniel Yergin, Matthew Simmons and Jeff Rubin -- are willing to openly discuss the permutations and ramifications of life in the shadow of $200 oil, it's hard not to think that a scenario that was once a pipe dream may actually be on the horizon.

Reality Bites

All speculative bubbles eventually burst, but it takes a while-- the real estate boom lasted about ten years, and the tech boom before that about six. There are, however, complications with oil. Effectively, we've reached "peak oil"-- supply might be going up a tad, here and there, but demand is increasing faster--- and it's hard to see how a drop in consumer demand will burst the bubble; while people can do without the internet or even owning their own house, the modern economy can't function without oil, at least until we build alternatives.

Colorado's oil shale lures Shell

In its quest to remove oil from western Colorado's shale, Royal Dutch Shell has been buying land and water rights in anticipation of what is likely to be a thirsty new industry.

Some officials worry that the demands of the oil-shale industry could drain every drop of the region's remaining water.

Rockefellers get more muscle in Exxon fight

The Rockefeller family and shareholders pushing Exxon Mobil to focus more on renewable energy now have the backing of a powerful advisory group for institutional investors.

South Pars phase to come on stream soon: Iran

TEHERAN - A section of the huge South Pars gas field that is operated by StatoilHydro will start production soon, a senior Iranian energy official said on Sunday, after a two-year delay of the $2.7 billion project.

Rejecting Point Thomson leases wrong move

Point Thomson gas is needed for any gas pipeline, whether the Denali project or a separate proposal being made by TransCanada Corp. If there are doubts as to the legal status of Point Thomson, no gas from that field can be committed to a pipeline until the court suits are resolved, which could be years.

Qatar Airways - Passengers will pay US$200 fuel (audio)

'The rising fuel cost will be transfered to you as a passenger - it's as simple as that' the straight talking CEO, Qatar Airways, Akbar Al Baker. Phil Blizzard looks at the impact on global aviation, should oil reach US$200 per barrel, with opinions from both Emirates and Qatar Airways, on the high cost of fuel.

Let farmers take on oil to cut gas prices

According to Merryl Lynch, without the increase in biofuels production, oil prices would have been 15 percent higher. The International Energy Agency has reiterated that biofuels are key to keeping the lid on an overheated transportation fuel market. So, keeping in mind where most of a gasoline dollar ends up, consider the irony of blaming biofuels in general and corn ethanol in particular for supposedly driving up food prices in light of the fact that at today's prices one dollar's worth of cornflakes yields only 3 cents of revenue to an American corn farmer. Increased demand for ethanol is one among several factors that have increased that American corn farmer's revenue by about one cent on every corn-flake dollar. Yes, one cent.

Competing at the pump with your supplier

A gallon of regular gasoline was selling for $3.71 late last week at the Sunoco station at 1491 N. Providence Rd. in Media.

About 270 yards away, the Sunoco station at 1300 N. Providence Rd. was selling regular for $3.68.

The two stations were selling gasoline produced by Sunoco Inc. at one of its three Philadelphia area refineries in South Philadelphia, West Deptford and Marcus Hook.

The difference? The station at 1300 is owned and operated by Sunoco. The station at 1491 is leased from Sunoco by a dealer who must compete on price with his landlord and sole supplier.

U.S. security linked to our ability to withstand shortages

Now even Daniel Yergin sees the writing on the wall. Yergin is the chair of Cambridge Energy Research Associates, and he is frequently quoted in the press as an authority on oil price developments. Oddly enough, the press turns to him for predictions despite his dismal track record. He has consistently predicted decreasing oil prices during the last decade, as oil has risen from $12 per barrel to over $120. His detractors recently commemorated "Triple Yergin Day," the day that oil first hit $114/barrel, three times the $38 mark that Yergin projected in 2005. This week, with $114 oil in the rear-view mirror, Cambridge Energy issued its first forecast for rising oil prices: the company told "The Wall Street Journal" that the price could rise to $150 before the end of the year.

Big oil now seeing green

A television commercial touting Chevron's use of clean, renewable energy ends with the tag line "imagine that, an oil company as part of the solution."

Critics call the campaign lip service. Big oil companies, however, say they are spending hundreds of millions of dollars to research and develop alternative and renewable power sources — not only as part of the green movement, but with serious hopes of cashing in when the technologies are broadly commercialized.

Energy guru to discuss oil alternatives

Longtime energy insider and alternative-energy proponent S. David Freeman believes the United States can completely wean itself from oil, coal and nuclear energy sources in 30 years, and he says the technology exists to do the job.

A step toward a more sustainable future

Democrats in Congress have blended a good idea — repealing special tax breaks for oil companies — with a bad one, a punitive "windfall profits" tax on Big Oil.

We simply don't believe in punishing business for success, as the special punitive tax on energy companies would do. But special tax breaks to old-line energy companies don't make sense either. If crude oil prices of $120 a barrel and pump prices of $4 a gallon aren't enough incentive to explore for new supplies, then no amount of corporate welfare from Washington will do the trick.

Basra, Iran... It all comes down to oil

Behind the recent fighting in Basra, which has halted the further withdrawal of British troops from Iraq, lies a three-letter word - oil. It is no coincidence that the day Iraq's prime minister Nouri al-Maliki ordered the Iraqi army into Basra to fight the militia of Moqtada al-Sadr, negotiations began in Jordan for contracts to repair and upgrade existing oil fields around Basra and exploit three huge new fields in the desert further west.

Public transport fails 26,000 students at the drive-in uni

TWENTY-FIVE years ago, I left Melbourne University for a job at Monash. "What's it like out there?" my old colleagues asked. "Much the same," I replied. "Students still looking for essay extensions. At Melbourne they always pleaded a sick grandmother; at Monash, it's a sick carburettor."

American looks to harness car power

ABU DHABI — An American inventor is in the UAE to seek partners for his method and system which, he claims, produces electricity from moving vehicular traffic on the roads.

Summitgoers push for sustainable cities

Is there life after cars? Could your house be transformed into a unit in a mixed-use, multifamily building with a vegetable garden on the roof? Would you drink "toilet to tap" water - purified, recycled sewage - or would you rather die of thirst?

A green industrial revolution?

Does it matter if some staples run out, or will the same ingenuity that produced oil refining in the late 19th century and the "green revolution" in the late 20th century save us again in the future?

Government Energy Plan Political Pandering

Whenever Congress puts together a bill attempting to find a solution to some sort of real or imagined problem, my immediate thought is that the bill do one of four things:

■ It will worsen the problem at hand

■ It will do nothing to solve the problem but instead create a new problem somewhere else

■ It will worsen the original problem and create new problems

■ In the very best case it will do nothing at all

Gravediggers of the world unite! Capitalism Must Die....

Food riots are occurring with increasing frequency around the world, food prices in the US are soaring, and 35,000 human beings starve to death each day. Yet instead of pursuing legitimate alternatives to the Peak Oil crisis, we divert significant volumes of precious sugar and corn to the manufacture of biofuels. Meanwhile, the sector of the power elite that “represents” We the People in Congress allows the major oil companies to keep record profits derived by exploiting their oligopoly on a commodity as essential to human survival as food in an industrialized society. “Our” Congress lacks the spine (or is it the will?) to compel rapacious corporate bastards like Chevron to employ reasonable portions of their staggering profits to innovate alternative energy sources. “Big Oil” has been raping the people and the planet far too long in its relentless pursuit of obscene profits.

Reduce, reuse … reboot

This being the 21st century, sharing logic on a laptop may not sound revolutionary. But the computer is among the duo’s few holdings that feed on modern power.

The 54-year-old mother and 21-year-old daughter (along with husband/father Sky Yardley and 17-year-old son/brother Sayer Dwinell-Yardley) not only eat food they grow or buy from producers within a 100-mile radius, but also live comfortably in a self-built home with wood heat, solar hot water and a monthly budget of $400.

Federal regulators close Arkansas bank ANB Financial - May 9, 2008
BENTONVILLE, Ark. (AP) — Federal regulators says they've closed ANB Financial National Association banks after discovering "unsafe and unsound" business ...
The Associated Press

"According to Merryl Lynch, without the increase in biofuels production, oil prices would have been 15 percent higher. The International Energy Agency has reiterated that biofuels are key to keeping the lid on an overheated transportation fuel market. So, keeping in mind where most of a gasoline dollar ends up, consider the irony of blaming biofuels in general and corn ethanol in particular for supposedly driving up food prices in light of the fact that at today's prices one dollar's worth of cornflakes yields only 3 cents of revenue to an American corn farmer."

From the WSJ article above.

At best this is useless info.

At worst, Agit/Prop.

We have now destroyed our grain stockpile. We can return
America to saving 10% of it's income easier than we can rebuild this

$6.76 for July CBOT corn.

We didn't plant any corn this year as well as rice.
Inputs too expensive.

National Grid in UK and US preparing for renewables and nuclear

Holliday has spent much of his time lobbying US politicians and regulators for permission to increase charges to fund investment. “The quandary that people have is that energy costs are very high,” he said. “The investment that needs to be paid for feeds into bills. If you are really worried about bills, you put off the investment as long as possible. Now is the time you can’t put it off any longer. The way to square the circle is energy efficiency. Let’s reduce the energy we use, and get the energy delivered through reliable infrastructure.”

National Grid powers up for new energy - Times Online

Is interesting the mention that grid is sized for peak load which is only required a tiny fraction of the time. I think there is big potential for small scale storage (probably batteries/ supercaps in combination) to meet peak demands. Since peak demand can be 2-5 times average demand, the savings made on sizing the network could be substantial.

Americans must learn to love dearer petrol


sarcasm on
Wow, that is a real pity. There are so many Americans who burn grain (e.g. corn) for a nice warm and toasty house. They do not burn the cob, or stalk, Oh No! - that creates messy ash, they burn the grain straight. It only costs a couple of bucks for a whole drumful you know.

Now the cost of fertilizer is up and not enough is being planted. The cost may go to $8 for a drum of corn. We cannot pay that, where is my heating fuel assistance. We burn 10 drums a day and shall not go down to 8 drums without a fight.

Oh and we heard that the government (Medicare and Medicaid) was going to limit payments for triple bypass heart surgeries to $5 million for those > 80 years old. What is the world coming to? Rationing of care for Grandma ( sotto voce - the bitch has Alzheimer's anyway). Throw the rascals out!

sarcasm off

Medicare and Medicaid will never be able to ration explicitly-- there is too much politics, too many lawyers. What they do is reduce the payments, and increase the length of time for payment, which has the same effect. (Fewer people want to provide the service.)

I think we may be approaching "peak medicine" as well as peak everything else. There is far too much medical care, and much of it goes to the wrong places, but there doesn't seem to be any greater likelihood of a rational response here than in any other complex social undertaking. Medicine has been completely corporatized, and dominated by need for short term profit.

IMHO there seems to be an irrational obsession with medical care. People realize logically that advanced medical care is not the most important contributor to human health, yet there is still this emotional attachment. Example: Michael Moore is great, and SICKO is a great movie, but logically if the guy is concerned with health he should immediately drop many pounds, because what medical spending can do to help most people is greatly exaggerated.

Absolutely true. But if you can sell people on the need for products to decrease underarm odor or fly-away hair, you can sell them on "better health" a lot more easily. Especially if they don't have to pay directly for it.

Medical care is important at a basic level (probably less so than good public health) -- but it has gone insane because the purpose of it has been forgotten in the rush to make money. "Healthcare" is right up there with "defense" as a money machine.

There was an article in the NYT that said that home oxygen companies were charging medicare twice RETAIL costs for oxygen supply/delivery. When one congressmen tried to change that, they created a whole advertizing campaign that basically made him look like he didn't about old people, and if I remember correctly, the guy lost his reelection. This is endemic in the medicare system. You also had the NY healthcare unions doing the same shtick when Spitzer tried to close underutilized hospitals. And of course, who could forget the $100+ million dollar particle accelerators to diagnose cancer, even though there's no evidence it's any better than a regular CT scan/MRI in all but a few rare cancers, that all of a sudden every hospital needs (the hospital equivilant of a Hummer, basically).

I don't see how we can switch to a universal healthcare system when the existing system in place today rips off the government for untold billions of dollars.

I don't see how we can switch to a universal healthcare system when the existing system in place today rips off the government for untold billions of dollars.

About the only way I can see is that the accounting for the system is 100% transparent.

Transparency is important. But the problem is that we don't live in a world where everybody has perfect information, so if a doctor tells you you need something more expesive (like a proton beam thearpy? from the $100 million particle accelerator) when you don't need it, all the transparcency in the world won't change that.

In the US:

From 1991 to 2005, only 5.9 percent of doctors were responsible for 57.8 percent of malpractice payments. Each of those doctors made at least two payments.


And yet, it it illegal to set up a database of the doctors and their malpractice rates and sell access to the public.

So yea - far from ANY 'perfect information'. Having information is needed for "the market" to work - yet the jabbering fools call for more of 'the market' as 'the solution'.

Kinda like how Creekstone farms can't advertise how they have tested their meat for BSE.

I don't see how we can switch to a universal healthcare system when the existing system in place today rips off the government for untold billions of dollars.

Ask Canada, or most of Europe.

Or Harvard Medical School, among a variety of other groups who've done studies.

The short form is that the US system is highly fragmented, which leads to a heavy paperwork load. There's also a heavy advertising overhead, which doesn't really exist in most other countries. Most of that is unnecessary, meaning literally hundreds of billions could be saved even while extending care to the tens of millions of uninsured, and keeping the quality of care as high for everyone.

So what did you plant instead of corn or rice?

Here is a nicely made 5-stage animation explaining Statoils Canadian oilsand project. It will not use strip mining as the oilsands are well beneath the surface.The oilsand is some 300-500 meters down and they will use steam to separate the oil. It seems to be a very "accurate" operation(difficult ?) Certainly it looks much cleaner (visually that is) than conventional oilsand mining. I have a problem with "through-put" and EROEI, from top of my head ....


This is the SAGD (Steam assisted gravity drainage) method, just not named as such. Nothing exotic about it far as I can see. I found it amusing that they state that brackish water will be treated initially with NG, then never mention what they intend to use long-term. Or perhaps they think the recycling process will be perfect?

Nothing exotic about it far as I can see.

Apparently, it's standard practice for SAGD to use subterranean brackish water, rather than fresh surface water, which is news to me.

Or perhaps they think the recycling process will be perfect?

Step 5 mentions that they recycle ~90% of the water, which is about the ratio I've seen mentioned elsewhere.

From the sounds of it (link above), most of the other 10% ends up underground, either because it doesn't get sucked up when the oil/water mix is pumped up or because they pump it down there for disposal.

I'm sure it's not quite as neat as all that, but it actually sounds better than I'd previously thought. The high rate of NG consumption is a problem, but otherwise it doesn't sound too unreasonable.

There are plans to use CANDU nuclear reactors to provide power - presumably that is what they are referring to long term.

Is oil headed for $200?
The above article briefly mentions air travel.
Air Canada announced substantial fuel sur-charges on Friday and the other significant carriers in Canada are indicating they will follow suit. We have seen this in the USA and europe as well.
Ironically the consumer watch dogs have expressed "dismay" at these charges, I guess prefering no airlines at all to ones trying to survive. Hopefully those who believe in the efficiency of free markets will advocate that market forces dictate the future of air travel. The company I used to work for supplies its sales force in North America from European and Asian factories mainly by air. When the number of partly loaded passenger planes (with the extra cargo space available) crossing the Atlantic decreases the business plan for these large international corps will change fundamentally.
We should watch for a lot of turmoil on the air carrier front over the next few weeks. I know some links have been on TOD relating to air courier company fuel issues and the rapidly rising usage of regional rail. The world is indeed entering its' "special period".

Ironically the consumer watch dogs have expressed "dismay" at these charges, I guess prefering no airlines at all to ones trying to survive.

Dunno about the consumer watch dogs, but my objection is that it's sneaky. If you have to charge more, fine, but don't tack it on as a "fee." Give it to us as part of the price.

au contraire in the interests of full disclosure this is more information and better.

Passenger cost: $1000, of which

Fuel $400
Taxes: $200
911-Security: $75
Net to airline: $325

I prefer that to:
Your cost: $1000

Two faced politician: Those greedy airlines are raping hard working Americans.

"Net to airline: $325"

I don't think so.
Capital costs..............
Wages and salaries.............

"Greedy airlines"..............
The supporting industries for airlines, keeps plenty of money in the economy, tourism not being the least.

I am with you & is what I meant to imply, i.e., airlines are financially strapped and they get a very small percentage of the total ticket price to run their operations (as you enumerate).

How about just a "free choice?" A menu: You can buy a seat on an airliner, and sit on the ground and watch movies and drink, but if you want the plane to travel with fuel, you have to pay ala carte for that.

In principle there is nothing wrong with that service. In practice there would be little demand for that service in the United States, unless it was some theme type thing, like a restaurant with an outside airliner shape. There are already other themed restaurants, e.g. Planet Hollywood...

There is some person in India who has purchased an old airliner and charges school kid parties a couple of bucks to get the "flying" experience without liftoff. (Not able to find the link now, but there was some news on this a year or so ago)

I think having a weight surcharge would be proper. Have a basic fare between two points, then add in for weight of passenger and baggage. So the passenger pays the set fare, then after weighing at the check in he/she gets a rebate or pays a surcharge. With $200 per barrel oil ($5.10 jet fuel) this may make sense. Thus the family four with small kids would travel for less than a group of four adults.

In the long run as high fuel prices turn to shortages that require rationing or allocations by the government, the airlines will not have enough fuel to operate the level of service they have today. I foresee air travel carrying only half the passengers in 2025 as they carry today. If carbon taxes are imposed, maybe only one quarter as many passengers.

Carbon tax? A normal fuel tax would be nice to see for a start, instead of getting away with it scot free.

He-he, that idea is actually a possibility in a not so distant future. It may slim nations “in a pen’s stroke” and reduce medicare combo insurance accordingly.

"I foresee air travel carrying only half the passengers in 2025 as they carry today. "

I agree, and probably would guesstimate even fewer passengers in a shorter time frame... but what is peculiar to me is why all the airports around us are in the midst of HUGE expansions. I guess they must be cornucopians?


Well, the runways will end up being good places for putting up solar panels and wind towers.

I just love the thought that a gut bucket would have to pay more:-)

The price effect is the same but at least it highlights the fundamental cost pressure. Just adding it onto the price hides that.

It's hidden anyway. It's not like the "fuel surcharge" actually reflects the true cost of fuel. It's just a way to increase the price without it looking like a price increase.

I would think there is a time factor here. You can book a flight 8 months ahead for a given price. In the meantime, fuel goes way up in price, a surcharge gets added. Isn't that more sensible than charging based on a maximum estimated future fuel cost?

Well, maybe. But the problem is that now you're reserving nothing but a lottery ticket for an unlimited financial liability (the monumentally one-sided verbiage in the disclaimers is very clear that you're not actually reserving a seat, but only the liability for the price of a ticket and surcharges.) So at the very minimum, the airline should be required by law to allow you to back out without penalty if you decide that the surcharge is too much, as of the date it actually becomes due.

This whole business strikes me as one-sided anti-customer flimflammery that might be deservedly treated as actionable fraud in some other industries and ought to be outlawed in transportation as well. After all, the insurance principle (law of averages), plus hedging as needed, protects the airline, which has loads of executives paid massive obscene sums to manage such things. So there is little reason to allow the airline to shift risks unfairly to individual customers who have no reasonable way available to control or manage them.

It sounds to me like air transport is another one of those too-cheap things, like corn and gasoline, that Americans regard as a "human right."

I would weep a little harder if airlines actually made money. As it is, they're sort of a charity organization.

PaulS, what a bunch pf drivel.

Well, gee, yeah, it's just terribly unfair to the massively overpaid execs who have run the airlines into the ground and made "airline service" into yet another oxymoron, to allege that airline passengers ought to be treated like human beings instead of like so much rubbish, and by law since the execs apparently will never do it on their own. Isn't it?

I've got a very simple and effective solution to this - I don't travel by airline anymore.

Once you pay for a ticket you fly at that price, does not matter how far into the future you bought your ticket for. Fuel surcharges are for new ticket purchases.

And ChemE is perfectly correct. You pay for your ticket months ahead, and the airline has your money, so in principle could buy fuel futures. It is the airlines internal business whether they hedge or not, not the customers responsibility.

Thanks for including this link in the beat Leanan.

I very much like Jason Miller.

"The truly scary part is that there is a little Cheney in all of us. (Fortunately there is a lot more in some than in others). But take heart. You can minimize the damage your inner Cheney does. When he steps to the forefront of your psyche, simply envision your superego quail hunting with him, shooting him as he did his “friend,” and unceremoniously stuffing him and his badly mutilated face back into the inner recesses of your unconscious."

From the "Gravediggers unite..." up top.

Alright! Jason Miller's rant was a fun read 1st thing on a Sunday morning. My "Inner Cheney" wanted a bird to kill; I gave him a hug instead.. Thanks for the link! ;)

Let farmers take on oil to cut gas prices

That article is full of misinformation. I counted a number of errors in there. For example:

More than 90 percent of new cars sold in Brazil this year are flex fuel, driving fuel competition at the pump to the point where the Brazilian oil industry has had to keep gasoline prices sufficiently low to compete with ethanol and not lose even more market share.

Gasoline prices in Brazil are higher than in the U.S., and they are set by the government. This, from an article on May 1st:

Gas Prices in Brazil

One liter of gasoline is currently sold at petrol stations for approximately 2.60 reais (1.56 dollars), and that of diesel for 1.90 reais (1.14 dollars).

$1.56 a liter is almost $6.00 a gallon.

I guess I should have known when the author made two typos trying to spell Merrill Lynch.

LoL Bill McKibben thinks it's possible that CO2 will be <350 ppm by century's end. I bet it's >500 a lot sooner than that! Some fun reads this morning..

Fun reading indeed.

After laying out a reasonably coherent picture of the problem, pointing out the necessity to not only stop further CO2 emissions, but somehow reduce the amount present in the atmosphere to a substantially lower level, McKibben goes on to offer up such gut busters as:

"It means making car factories turn out efficient hybrids next year, just the way U.S. automakers made them turn out tanks in six months at the start of World War II."
I suppose that implies making everyone buy one as well. WTF?

Let me also make a suggestion:
Ninety percent of the world population should be made to "voluntarily" off themselves by tomorrow morning.

Hey, it's much more effective, and just as likely to be implemented.
Humor is all that's keeping me going. Problem is, there's no more light to pull out of it.

Let me also make a suggestion:
Ninety percent of the world population should be made to "voluntarily" off themselves by tomorrow morning.

The remaining 670 million people would STILL be in excess of the carrying capacity of the biosphere sans fossil fuel inputs.

Damn, I'm just always too optimistic it seems.
Will I ever learn?

Oh yeah. Suicide pact. You go first.

OTC : $100 trillion needed to rebuild energy infrastructure - Oil & Gas Journal

HOUSTON, May 5 -- The oil and gas industry will need to invest $50-100 trillion to rebuild its aging infrastructure within the next 7 years and stave off a serious drop in oil and gas production, Matt Simmons, chairman of Simmons & Co. International, told OGJ May 5 at the Offshore Technology Conference in Houston.

In a worst-case scenario, Simmons said, oil and gas output could fall by 10-20% by 2013 if industry does not replace its rusting, corroded assets. Spare capacity also has run out because formerly cheap prices for oil and gas precluded upgrading and construction of new facilities .

The average age of offshore rigs is 25 years, and oil companies have ignored the problem for the past few decades because of the low energy prices, which meant that maintenance has been expensive.

However, the upward trend in prices can help pay for the rebuilding of the energy system, Simmons stated.

"There is no blueprint in place, and this is a global problem. The longer the blueprint is postponed, the more acute the crisis will get," he said.

We'll be down 8 mb/d in five years if we don't spend 50 trillion? If this has been an ongoing problem how come it hasn't affected output in the past?

He of course brings up the 2005 peak and how we will likely continue to lose production, making you wonder why we should go to the bother of rebuilding infrastructure in the first place, if PO is a fait accompli.

Dude - "If this has been an ongoing problem how come it hasn't affected output in the past?"

Maybe it is kind of like:
Doctor - "If you do not have a heart bypass, you will be dead in 5 years."
Patient - "If this has been an ongoing problem how come it hasn't affected me in the past?"

Maybe it is kind of like:
Doctor - "If you do not have a heart bypass, you will be dead in 5 years."
Patient - "If this has been an ongoing problem how come it hasn't affected me in the past?"

That analogy only holds if you apply it to a single rig, not the multitude of rigs in the entire industry. A more reasonable analogy would be:

Doctor: "If you don't all have heart bypasses, 10-20% of you will die from heart attacks in 5 years."
Auditorium full of patients of different ages and health backgrounds: "If this has been an ongoing problem, how come only 1-2% of us have died from heart attacks in the last 5 years? Why the sudden change?"

i.e., aging hearts/rigs give an increased chance of death/failure. The effect happens suddenly for an individual, but the statistical average effect across a large, varied population will not suddenly change.

If the average age of this equipment is 25 years, it's likely that a substantial chunk of it is already 30 or more years old. If that extra 5 years made a massive difference in failure rates, people in the industry would already know.

Do they? Is there such a problem? I don't know, but I'm not willing to take Simmons's word on something that appears so statistically improbable.

Well, but much of the oil infrastructure was built during the vast expansion in scale a few decades ago, so a big uptick in failures would not be a surprise. And failures have become far more unacceptable politically - to wit, ducks in Alberta. Ducks do nothing but make noise and crap all over everything, and yet a few hundred ducks are apparently worthy of far more intense furor than are tens or even hundreds of thousands of people in Darfur or wherever.

So maybe Simmons is wrong, but consider the interstate highway system, much of which was built in about the same era. Now it's falling to pieces, with orange barrels everywhere, and a smooth, efficient trip an utter impossibility. (Heck, the spaghetti bowl south of Chicago has been "under construction" with massive delays for around ten years now and it's still not done - it's a mystery to me why the signs say road "work" when no work ever seems to be accomplished.) And the bills are staggering, so we have our dodgy politicians rushing into all manner of cockamamie schemes rather than face them.

consider the interstate highway system, much of which was built in about the same era. Now it's falling to pieces, with orange barrels everywhere, and a smooth, efficient trip an utter impossibility. (Heck, the spaghetti bowl south of Chicago has been "under construction" with massive delays for around ten years now and it's still not done - it's a mystery to me why the signs say road "work" when no work ever seems to be accomplished.)

Expand that until it covers the whole U.S. and you've just described our future.

Ducks do nothing but make noise and crap all over everything, and yet a few hundred ducks are apparently worthy of far more intense furor than are tens or even hundreds of thousands of people in Darfur or wherever.

I've already mentally triaged places like Darfur into the 'there's nothing we can do for them' category.
It's harsh, maybe cruel, but it's also honest.

Here's a thought:

1) With high crude prices, oil companies are making big profits.
2) There's a threat of tax on these profits.
3) "Wait, we need the money to keep our infrastructure going!"


4) This is a way of presenting the reality of peak oil production to those in the oil business, in terms they understand.

Or something entirely different, of course. :o)




"All MegaProjects not 65% complete should now be abandoned."

At $126 the bbl, I think Bakhtiari would say we've moved to

Aug 2006-http://www.energybulletin.net/19180.html

"In a recent public address to the Senate of Australia, Bakhtiari stated that "I can see a range of $100-150 [per barrel of oil] not very far into the future." He amplified this statement as follows:

"We are entering an era in which we know nothing much, where we have a brand-new set of rules...One of these new rules, in my opinion, is that there will be in the very near future nothing like business as usual. In my opinion, nothing is usual from now on for any of the countries involved. And the lower you are in the pile, the worse it is going to get."

Bakhtiari believes that the world is at Peak Oil, producing about as much conventional oil on a daily basis as will ever be produced, now about 84 million barrels per day. From here on, the oil markets of the world will be dealing with the ongoing effects of oil field depletion and irreversible production decline. By 2025, Bakhtiari expects that the world's daily production of conventional oil will fall to a level between 50-55 million barrels of oil per day. Bakhtiari counsels that the world's governments, industries, and people accept the fact and begin to prepare. There is no time to lose."

When did Bakhtiari make this statement? Can't find the like Googling around and it isn't in the EB article. He is lumping decade-long unconventional projects like CTL in with deepwater too. Not sure what the average for DW but Tupi will come on line next year, a year and a half after announcement of the discovery. Of course various phases will produce first oil for a couple years afterwards, but the whole thing isn't requiring a decade.

Dude - "If this has been an ongoing problem how come it hasn't affected output in the past?"

Maybe it is kind of like:
Doctor - "If you do not have a heart bypass, you will be dead in 5 years."
Patient - "If this has been an ongoing problem how come it hasn't affected me in the past?"

Simmons's patient has already been presented with a terminal diagnosis though. Give him a few stints and some meds, but hold on the Jarvik, the hot nurse, the power scooter...geez, what ISN'T this patient springing for? A $50-100 trillion bill is pretty absurd at this stage.

Samsam Bakhtiari died last year on the 30th of October.

I couldn't find it either, but since someone is interested, I'll look harder.

He would agree with it, whether he said it or not.

Because the EROEI is rapidly going negative on all of these

Just look at any of Mexico's Deepwater Projects, for example.

But to cancel any of these projects is socially impossible.

We must use up all of our "seed corn" to find more corn,
or collapse.

Who wants to fund collapse? It's entirely counter-intuitive.

"Ali Samsam Bakhtiari, a retired vice president of the National Iranian Oil Company, reported that two differently formulated computer simulations of world oil production had given very similar predictions - peak oil production in 2007 followed by a decrease of 33% by 2020. As Bakhtiari wrote,

"The similarity of the results obtained by two very different models - the WOCAP and the GBM - should help bring ’Peak Oil’ modeling to a close, as according to these models the peak of global oil production has now been reached. Furthermore, the two models’ similar forecast for a global oil supply of 55 mb/d by 2020 can now be considered as being the most accurate and reliable forecast for the future production of the international oil industry."

The implications of this simple statement are staggering and yet unappreciated by the general public. What Bakhtiari is saying essentially is that, quite soon, world economic growth ends - forever."

"We will simply have to learn to live with less energy. So, in 2007 with energy still cheap, we should seize the opportunity to prepare for an eventful ride on the slippery slope of energy decline. Buying a bicycle and growing some vegetables in the backyard would be a good start.
Michael Lardelli"

Here's Bakhtiari's Transition Phases:

"The problem is that we now are in 'Post-Peak' mode, and that none of [the] above applies anymore.

"The fact of being in 'Post-Peak' will bring about explosive disruptions we know little about, and which are extremely difficult to foresee. And the shock waves from these explosions rippling throughout the financial and industrial infrastructure could have myriad unintended consequences for which we have no precedent and little experience.

"So the only Transition we can see rather clearly (or rather, we hope to be able to comprehend) is T1."


You've got to understand that every business school graduate (i.e., ALL the decision makers at the major oil cos) have been trained for thirty or forty years now to classify something like a refinery or oil platform or pipeline as a cash cow and not a rising star. You pour all of your investment dollars into rising stars (i.e., new ventures with a good potential for growing revenues and market share), not cash cows. Cash cows you just milk for all you can get out of them, putting as little into them as you can possibly get away with. This is the conventional wisdom, considered by them to be holy scripture and not subject to contradiction.

This explains a lot.

Happy Mother's Day to all the Moms on the board here!! Take this day to relax and be recognized for what you do for families, the community and the planet.

Let's all reflect on the concept of "Mother" as well today. A "Mother" is what we really need to nurture our planetary wounds right now. Someone to be tough on us all and give us our bitter medicine, but then protect us and comfort us afterward.

So today, think of your real Mom, but also think about Gaia, Mother Nature, etc. Listen to the planet some time and try to hear what it's telling you. She can bring forth incredible beauty and love, but unleash a most devastating lesson as well.

P.S. Don't construe my portraying of the planet as a female entity as a dissing of religion. In my brain, they are not mutually exclusive and I don't want to begin a thread on religious concepts of the planet.

It wasn't Lovelock's fault that some people attributed consciousness & intentionality to "Gaia." His was a pretty straight forward & conventional rendition of mainstream biogeochemical cycling dynamics in somewhat poetic terms. Arguably, such popularizations are useful; people who aren't going to read Schlesinger might read Lovelock & learn something. OTOH, he might have anticipated that supernaturalist kooks would misinterpret his approach, and have desisted from taking that tack. Oh well, what's done is done. The wet space rock infested with organic redox slime doesn't care what we do or don't do. It doesn't need "saved" from our stupidity. It'll just keep spinning mindlessly in its orbit 'til something really big busts it up or its star becomes a red giant. Biodiversity will recover following the anthropogenic mass extinction episode. "Gaia," our "Mother," would just as soon feed us as kill us. She neither knows nor cares.

I'm not talking about "reality", I'm talking about what we need and hope for. The world needs a "Mother" right now to beat us over the head and then say "It's OK, just listen to me next time". That's all I'm saying.

And...Happy Mother's Day to the real homo sapien Moms out there.

Dragonfly41, I would argue that the problem is the opposite -- too many mothers => too many people. Face it, any woman can go down to her local bar pick up a suitable seeming male, take him home and create a baby. Then her maternal instincts will turn on, and she'll want to protect and nurture her child, so she'll trade her Mata for an Excursion, increase the house size and keep it warmer, buy all sorts of junk for the child's amusement, etc., etc., etc..

This is not a put down of women nor of mother's, but rather the whole idea of celebrating motherhood as if it was actually as rare ss in Margaret Atwood's novel The Handmaid's Tale.

Read Lovelock again.

Something is regulating the climate.

In spite of many shocks to it's system.

Something is regulating the climate.

Sure. A complex network of interacting homeorrhetic feedback mechanisms is regulating the climate. No consciousness or intentionality implied. Just as mindless natural selection can result in emergent complexity & adaptation, so can mindless feedback loops regulate climate.

If you're feeling a need to worship a goddess, however, let me recommend Eris & her daughter Dysnomia, over Gaia. In the coming Meltdown, they will be invoked often!

It's only a few ppm and a few letters to move from Lovelock to Lovecraft.

The stars are right!

"If you're feeling a need to worship a goddess, however, let me recommend Eris & her daughter Dysnomia, over Gaia. In the coming Meltdown, they will be invoked often!"

You're missing my point.

"The report, published in the current issue of Nature, was carried out by Professor Richard Muller and Robert Rohde also from the Berkeley campus. They studied the disappearances of thousands of different marine species (whose fossils are better preserved than terrestrial species) over the past 500m years.

Their results were completely unexpected. It was known that mass extinctions have occurred in the past. During the Permian extinction, 250m years ago, more than 70 per cent of all species were wiped out, for example. But most research suggested that these were linked to asteroid collisions and other random events.

But Muller and Rohde found that, far from being unpredictable, mass extinctions occur every 62m years, a pattern that is 'striking and compelling', according to Kirchner.

But what is responsible? Here, researchers ran into problems. They considered the passage of the solar system through gas clouds that permeate the galaxy. These clouds could trigger climatic mayhem. However, there is no known mechanism to explain why the passage might occur only every 62m years."

Self Organized Criticality violates the Second Law of Thermodynamics.

Humans are part of the planet.

You're missing my point.

That's probably because you're wrong:

But Muller and Rohde found that, far from being unpredictable, mass extinctions occur every 62m years, a pattern that is 'striking and compelling', according to Kirchner.

There have been five major extinction events; their dates were:

  • Cretaceous-Tertiary extinction, about 65 million years ago (asteroid)
  • End Triassic extinction, roughly 199 million to 214 million years ago (volcanism)
  • Permian-Triassic extinction, about 251 million years ago (unknown cause)
  • Late Devonian extinction, about 364 million years ago (unknown cause)
  • Ordovician-Silurian extinction, about 439 million years ago (glaciation)

The number of millions of years between these extinction events is 143, 43, 113, and 75. That is not "every 62 million years".

Self Organized Criticality violates the Second Law of Thermodynamics.

Don't be absurd. One obvious counter-example would be the cyclic nature of the standard predator-prey model.

The average length of time is around that 62m/y number.

That was pretty obvious. Why not break out your calculator before posting?


mass extinctions occur every 62m years, a pattern that is 'striking and compelling'

The number of millions of years between these extinction events is 143, 43, 113, and 75. That is not "every 62 million years".

The average length of time is around that 62m/y number.


Any four random numbers will have some average value, but that doesn't mean there's a "pattern" to them.


Your original claim was that mass extinction events "occur every 62m years". That claim is false.

Your new claim appears to be that the average time between mass extinction events is 62m years. That claim is boring - that four integers have an average value is not news.

If you want to claim there's some kind of pattern, you're not going to find it there.

Why not break out your calculator before posting?

The average of those numbers is 94, not 62. You have very little scope to be complaining.

When a layman speaks one must listen with a layman's ears. He meant exactly what you called him on. That should be obvious to you. It is to me because I am a teacher. I am constantly "interpreting" what students are meaning to say vs. what they do say. I doubt this is beyond your skill set.

The avg. depends on how many you divide by. You can legitimately use 4 or 5. You used 4, I used 5.

I have every scope: your response to him was argumentative or lacking in insight.


I just rung up "Mums" Gaia; and she told me to buy some new Long-Johns. She said it's gonna be getting cold for the next thirty, or so, years. Somethin about Solar Cycles. :)

We thought we had her under our thumb for all these years-delusions are fun until they end.

Yeah, kinda like Unlimited Oil, and Gas.

If you Really Loved your Mom, you wouldn't do THIS to her.


LOL limimits to growth, say it aint so Marx could not have been right. :) Time to dust off that copy of Das Kapital and find out what this Monarchist economist really did say. From Capitalism in one country, post ww2, to Capitalism in one world, The Neo-Liberal revolution on the early 1980's it all went exact;y as he said it would. Time to replace it with something better.

Marx actually proves there is time travel, as no one could be that right in his predictions of outcome for capitalism. He must of traveled into the future and cheated on his predictions and analysis.
Even The New Yorker stated that Mark was the thinker of the future.

Marx... no one could be that right in his predictions of outcome for capitalism.

Darwin, Marx & Freud (in roughly that order) were the most influential thinkers of the 19th century. (I'd include Mendel except his work was soundly ignored until 1900.) Marx failed to anticipate the rise of the middle class and he failed to predict the association of Communist economics with Totalitarianism in the former Soviet Union & in 1960s China. This didn't make him "wrong," it merely threw his timing off. The same thing could be said of Paul & Anne Ehrlich: Their timing was off by a couple of decades but this doesn't mean they were incorrect about the dynamics of the situation. The shits beginning to hit the fan now, rather than in the 1980s or '90s, is all. Too bad the Reckoning has been postponed, since the longer delayed it is the worse it's going to be - contrary to the expectations of many posters on TOD. The larger the population & more depleted the resources the more suffering, desperation, & deprivation there's going to be. Marx proving right after all is going to be cold comfort as Capitalist & Communist economies alike come crashing down.

"Too bad the Reckoning has been postponed, since the longer delayed it is the worse it's going to be -"

Up-thread I speculated that I must be too optimistic. Now I'm thinking maybe I'm too pessimistic. Which is it? I can't be both -- can I?
This is too hard for me.

Up-thread I speculated that I must be too optimistic. Now I'm thinking maybe I'm too pessimistic. Which is it? I can't be both -- can I?
This is too hard for me.

You'll find it easier if you fact-check your beliefs.

Think you're too optimistic or pessimistic on a topic? Set out to gather evidence regarding your belief on that topic, making sure to spend equal time trying to find data to prove and to disprove your belief.

Then put the data in a pile, weigh it against your belief, and see in which direction you need to revise your belief to be in agreement with the evidence. Checking your beliefs against the available data and evidence - and looking specifically for evidence that runs against your belief - is the only reliable way to tell whether you're too optimistic or too pessimistic, and to ground your beliefs in reality.

In particular, "testing" your beliefs by seeing whether you can find people who agree with you is not reliable. Only data will do.

(Although, as a general rule of thumb, the guy jumping up and down while making wild claims is almost always wrong, regardless of whether you like the sound of his claims.)

The scale on which to weigh the data against your belief is itself a scale of belief. So it always comes back around to belief; belief that the weight of the data justifies the belief in one supposition or hypothesis or theory, or another.

On TOD we are dealing with complex systems that don't lend themselves to easy analysis. The engineers like getting picky about things they understand, such as the energy necessary to slice an ingot of silicon. They (we) are rather more helpless in trying to figure out how, say, PV energy production will fare in the whole system. The 'facts' or the 'data' may ground you in reality, but this reality is still complex enough to allow vastly divergent beliefs as to what the future holds for the human race.

The scale on which to weigh the data against your belief is itself a scale of belief. So it always comes back around to belief; belief that the weight of the data justifies the belief in one supposition or hypothesis or theory, or another.

Yes; so?

Belief based on evidence is much more reasonable than belief based on nothing. The more evidence your beliefs survive without being fatally contradicted, the more well-founded those beliefs are likely to be.

For example, suppose I believed that world oil supply had been growing super-fast in recent years. If I went and checked the IEA or EIA production data, I'd find evidence regarding that belief. I would then assess whether I believed their data was trustworthy, and then re-assess my belief about oil supply growth based on this evidence and my beliefs about that evidence. Since the IEA and EIA are quite reputable, I'd then be forced to conclude that my initial belief was incorrect, and that world oil supply had not been growing super-fast.

Belief plays a strong role, but that doesn't mean it invalidates the process.

The 'facts' or the 'data' may ground you in reality, but this reality is still complex enough to allow vastly divergent beliefs as to what the future holds for the human race.

Oh, absolutely.

I'm not arguing that people need to come to the same conclusions I do; I'm just arguing that people should use a reasonable method for coming to their conclusions, whatever they may be.

Pitt, I can agree with this concerning historical data

Since the IEA and EIA are quite reputable ...

but my grandmother's projections regarding future production is a better guess than both that of IEA and EIA combined, let alone CERA.

These institutions have been serving their member-contries very badly in recent years. The mega-projects-people seems to understand the magnitude to the situation much better, not to mention ASPO.
Afterall they are watch-dogs no ? IEA should "cry wolf" now B/C the tell-tell signs are here now. They may miss PO with some short years (it seems like they aim for this before they will alert) ..... I'd say better safe than sorry!

Is the IEA aware of the Hirsch-report ? EIA ? What do these organisations do for a living, what's their fu**** purpose ? They report "yesterdays news/weather" quite well (agree) but what is this really worth today? NOTHING!

Up-thread I speculated that I must be too optimistic. Now I'm thinking maybe I'm too pessimistic. Which is it?

I see optimism & pessimism as two poles of a continuum. But for the life of me I can't decide which pole is which. What may be "pessimistic" for humanity may be "optimistic" for the biosphere. It all depends on where your interest or focus or allegiance lies. This is the same reason why "doomer" vs "cornucopian" labels are stupid.

Thanks both. I thought I was kidding, but who knows?

The Russians have a saying these days: "Everything Marx told us about Communism was wrong, while everything Marx told us about Capitalism was right."

With the United States and Canada trying to switch to 10 percent biofuels, food prices increase at double digit rates. A Canadian Sierra Club official denounced biofuels usage:


The concept of converting cellulose from wood, grass, and/or timber milling byproducts to sugar has not been proven, else they would have switched from sugar cane and sugar beets to wood based sugar production long ago. Initial estimates of the viability of this process were akin to much guesswork.

The taking of 40% of the United States grain harvest to meet grain ethanol production caps set by the Congress and Presidential administrations of 2005 & 2007 is likely to cause food shortages. One might deduce such with simple Jr. High school math processes. While it is true that attempts to bring more land under cultivation are occurring the government grain ethanol requirements outpaced such growth. Wheat stocks have reached near record lows in terms of days of coverage. The last time it was this bad was during WWII and the government encouraged home owners to grow victory gardens in their yards to feed themselves.

Wheat Prices have Plummeted.


Down almost 50% off their highs.

I think I read, somewhere, that the average bakery has more money invested in the plastic wrapper (petroleum product) than in the wheat in a loaf of bread. We won't even talk about diesel for transportation, etc.

The Hard Red Spring Wheat price is still listed as
$21.20 cash.

KC at $12.37 cash.

Kearney, NE - Fri May 09, 2008 - USDA NE Dept of Ag Market News

Nebraska Rural Elevators:

Spot Cash Grain Prices: Prices bid or paid per bushel, except grain
Sorghum per CWT., at rural Nebraska elevators as of 2:00 P.M. today.

US No 1 Hard Red Winter Wheat, Ord. Prot: 7.60-8.20. 22 to 23 lower.
Hastings 8.20
Beatrice, Dorchester, Plymouth 8.16
Grand Island 8.01
Lexington 8.00

$8 is still 50% over last year.

Yeah, I didn't say they were giving it away; but, it is affordable.

We Need a decent price to keep "Supply" up. Some people will starve due to "No Wheat;" but, I doubt many will starve as a result of Seven, or Eight dollar Wheat. I imagine the cost of wheat in a loaf of bread is still less than $0.10.

Actually, kdolliso, the cost of wheat in your average loaf of mass produced bread is closer to $.50 these days. Walk the bread aisle. The crap-o-la bread with the heart heathy logo and the laboratory traces of oat bran and wheat germ, are $3.50. The good bread is more.

Actually, we're Both Wrong:(

But, I'm closer:)

About $0.20 - up from about $0.12 last year.


That was March. Looks like it might be more like $0.16 or $0.17, now.


A forecast of a larger wheat harvest is not the same as grain in the elevator. There were yet worldwide food shortages being published and some states and nations will not harvest grain for months.

Corn prices moved sharply higher as the Dept. of Agriculture expected corn production to be down 7 percent this year. Was that because of the high prices of soybeans and wheat that the farmers will grow less corn? The grain ethanol caps have not been reached and the cellulosic ethanol industry has not the ability to produce enough ethanol to satisfy the ethanol blending law. In fact no cellulosic ethanol industry exists.


No doubt the average American family can afford bread. The poorer classes of underdeveloped nations like Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Mali are the ones feeling more pain as most of their annual income was spent to buy food. A doubling of wheat and rice prices at the wholesale level might affect poor people than those who ate filet mignon, caviar, sushi, and champagne.

Grocery store prices rising faster than incomes is no cause of celebration. The amount of corn taken for ethanol is scheduled to increase rather than decrease. It is true cows and termites can digest cellulose. You cannot get far down the road with a gallon of milk in the gas tank. Nor can you efficiently duplicate the process of a cow chewing and digesting all day to make some milk sugar. Cellulosic ethanol production is not efficent enough to relieve people of high gas prices. Like higher oil prices rippling through the world economy, higher food prices have a similar affect. I noticed retail prices for vegetable oil were rising quickly. Others noticed eggs were more expensive. How much corn is in the cost of an egg, how much ethanol?

There is some concern that the ethanol and biofuels laws in the U.S., Canada, and E.U. nations will require more extra grain than can be produced within a short amount of time.

It seems odd to me that planes use less fuel when they fly slower, and ships do the same (up top) http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2008/may/11/theairlineindustry.flight... , but knowledgeable people keep telling us we don't save any gasoline by driving slower. Must be true -- the average speed out there doesn't seem to have decreased.

I haven't heard many saying that driving slower doesn't conserve gas. What some argue is that lowering the speed limit doesn't conserve gas.

My Honda Civic Hybrid provides constant MPG feedback, and I absolutely get better mileage at 55 mph than at 65 or above. Better yet, let's enforce a 45 MPH speed limit. Then we'll see some serious conservation.

....knowledgeable people keep telling us we don't save any gasoline by driving slower

Only true at low to moderate speeds - above about 60MPH economy begins to drop off pretty fast.

A long time ago, UK car ads used to quote 3 different ecomony figures, one of them was a constant 56MPH (presumably in top gear). I remember when the Mini Metro (small 1-litre economy hatchback) first came out about 1978 or so, the 56MPH figure was >80MPG (UK gallons).

I still see 25% of the traffic on UK motorways doing 85 - not for much longer I suspect. I should know, I'm one of 'em.

Regards Chris

I believe it is not so critical to be in the right gear in a plane or ship....:-)

Air resistance is one component of the power consumption needed to move a car. At low speeds it is small compared to other losses but since it is proportional to the square of velocity it becomes the predominant contributor at high speeds. 40 mph is a good rule of thumb for the point where air resistance becomes significant. 85 mph really does use a great deal more power than 55 mph.

I doubt the average American driver has any understanding of the concept of aerodynamic drag or what the specific drag coefficients are for the vehicles they drive. Most of them don't even bother to check the air pressure in their tires. I recently had to drive across my home state of Florida via the Tamiami trail from Fort Lauderdale to Naples, we took my girlfriend's well maintained 1997 Honda CRV, and decided to do an experiment we set the cruise control to 60 mph. The posted speed limit along most of this road is 70 mph and I conservatively guess the average driver is probably doing 80 plus mph.
I wasn't at all surprised that the average driver passed us by as if we were standing still, yet I wasn't quite prepared that all the tractor trailers doing the same. The kicker was when two wide load haulers with houses on them did it. I had to wonder what kind of urgency there was for a house to get somewhere at over 80 mph. I think we are still going to see a lot of resistance to the idea of slowing down and it won't just be from the air.

I recently made friends and influenced people - I drove east from Des Moines, Iowa, along I-80 with the cruise control in my 2007 Nissan Versa resolutely set to 55 mph. I had my bike on my carrier hitch thing and I experienced ... about 1/2mpg improvement over 65mph without the bike. I made long runs so I was putting in 3/4th tanks of gas. It was a good mindfulness exercise, trying to avoid getting killed by semi drivers, but other than that it didn't seem to serve any useful purpose.

Oh, and I've got the Versa with the continuously variable transmission ... maybe a computer change for improved mileage is needed?

Take 2 lane state and county roads for that type of driving.

If I put myself to the test and keep the car under 1900 rpms and/or 51mph, with everthing in check and the car waxed I can clear 63.4mpg. Now don't get me wrong I like to go fast too, on an avg tank I can clear 49-53mpg going close to normal highway speeds.

You have to choose a wise route to where you are going.



Take care of your shoes because you never know where they might take you.

Went to visit my parents yesterday for Mom's day, driving 60 mph in a 60 mph zone, constantly being passed by SUVs driving 65-70+ mph.

Gasoline is still VERY cheap in the USA.

i always find these existential discussions interesting. Perhaps they provide a sort of feedback mechanism to participating humans. I don't know if is positive or negative feedback, but they sure ground one in the reality of what is before us. Deep down this PO stuff creates a kind of angst, which is probably healthy in many respects, but fruitless in the final analysis. Me i hope it is quick, which i think it will be, because leaving maximum diversity will make the next iteration much more interesting. But then we are all only stardust after all. What a ride.

... leaving maximum diversity will make the next iteration much more interesting

Yes, but we won't be around to see it so what difference does it make?

you know it does. Kind of comforting to know life will go on awhile longer even though i won't be here to enjoy it. Maybe its sort of like that thing that makes an old man plant a tree or vine knowing he will never enjoy the shade or the wine.

Kind of comforting to know life will go on awhile longer even though i won't be here to enjoy it. Maybe its sort of like that thing that makes an old man plant a tree...

I hear ya. Your heart's in the right place man. Please overlook my cynicism. Thanks.

thank you for your thoughts. Cynicism is often my trade and it is one of the things i like in your missives.. I read this stuff all the time i am not on the farm and find the ideas for tuning, and managing the system and technology extremely interesting. PO has been on my mind for over thirty years. Spent the first 25 looking for the magic elixir. Finally realized it ain't there. Retired several decades ago and have a pretty good PO plan for my children and grand children, but they don't seem to really get it yet and I'm afraid the limited knowledge i possess may not be passed alone. I grew up during the depression and know it can be a good life if you adjust your desires. Maybe the mechanism for controlling our desires can be adjusted back to address basic needs. The 6.7 billion of us on the planet does not bode well for us humans however therefore the cynicism is often a way to cope. Peace.

A French company is introducing new solar-wind street lamps - http://www.windela.fr/ - street and highway lights account cca. for 12 % of electricity use...

Or, to save 100% turn them off completely:-)

Losing a Home, Then Losing All Out of Storage

ELK GROVE VILLAGE, Ill. — The foreclosure crisis is hitting yet another American locale: the self-storage center.

As they lose their homes, people are turning to these humble cinderblock and sheet-metal boxes to store their stuff. But some people cannot keep up with their storage bills any better than they could handle their mortgage payments, and storage companies are auctioning off their property for a pittance.

Gives a new meaning to the term "downsizing" does it not?

I foresee a new reality show: "Storage Auction Make Over."

Or how about "Storage Treasures Road Show" to replace the "Antiques Road Show" on PBS?

We are being introduced to reality in a great variety of ways.

Whether or not we choose to understand that reality remains to be seen.

It seems so strange to me, that people would pay at least $50 a month to store stuff that the auctioneer can't even get a $1 bid for. I think I would sell or give away my stuff before paying for a storage unit.

Some people are preparing for peak oil by gathering stuff. Tools, solar panels, clothes, equipment, etc. I'm taking the opposite tack. I'm getting rid of stuff. To make room for possible friends or family who need to move in, and to lighten my load in case I'm the one who has to move.

I suppose I might regret not having some of the things I'm getting rid of. But I have a feeling there will be a lot of stuff that's cheaply available in the future, if you don't mind second hand.

hi Leanan,

IMHO discretionary stuff that ends up in landfill will be cheap but stuff that is difficult to do without will become expensive.

But we can surely do without most of the "stuff", see


A 20-minute animation of the consumerist society.

Best hopes for less useless stuff.

Last night I saw "Iron Man" (#1 at the box office last weekend) and feel the need to pop off to my online community.

What an amazing piece of techno-cornucopian propaganda! One or more laws of physics were broken every five minutes or so, and the power source for this was a wet-dream of a "flux reactor" or some such. So we got to follow the adventures of a billionare brilliant engineer who drives his turbo Bentley to his private jet on the way to making the world safe for Americans. Oh, and Homeland Security is a very benevolent helper!

Before the movie was a trailer for the latest installment of the "Batman" franchise; it looked like yet another exposition of "white man with lots of technology and exosomatic power saves the world".

IMO this movie plants a meme that rich white techno males will save us. I guess that means they need to keep that Bentley and Jetstream in order to be be able to save us just in time!

Errol in Miami

I agree with your assessment. I had similar thoughts after watching Iron Man.

My kids loved it and left the theater feeling like the future looks so bright.

Myself, I have been rigorously researching the future via the grueling viewing of every post-apocalyptic movie I can find at the local video store.

The one thing that I can say for certain is we will all be wearing gloves with the fingers cut off.


Why fund the MPAA? Why take your money and place it in the pockets of the industries that pay for laws like the DMCA?

If one wants to wrap themselfs in the warm blanket of entertainment - fine.

Not gonna stop the cold wind.

One or more laws of physics were broken every five minutes

What, in a superhero movie?! The horror!!

Thank heavens Spiderman, X-Men, Fantastic Four, The Hulk, and Superman were so utterly realistic or I'd really start to question this genre of documentary...

Some of us will have some more down to earth choices to make. BTW in case anyone knows or cares, this coming week is bike to work week. http://www.bikeleague.org/programs/bikemonth/
I'v also taken the liberty of attempting to design a TShirt to go with the concept of being peak oil aware, feel free to criticize it,it is still just a comp.

over the top reaction. The film was an updated version of a 1960's cartoon character. In the original he was powered by micro transistors, then the latest thing. To make a film in the 2000's they had to update it somehow. Nothing more to it than that.


Maybe you're right, but I'm not so sure.

While Superman was always a supernatural creature from another world, Iron Man is portrayed as near-future science fiction. Intentional or not, I still feel that what the subconscious will take away from Iron Man is that we can all relax because Rich White Man Technology will save us at the last minute.

Or maybe that's just the cartoonists' fevered hope...


To make the film work they had to give him some tecnological edge, whether it was feasable or not. They couldn't have him zooming about with a gas turbine could they?

[IronMan's] power source for this was a wet-dream of a "flux reactor"

Rather than wasting gas this weekend, I stayed home and watched a rerun of Back to the Future (Part 1).

The "flux reactor" sounds like a copy cat of Doc Brown's "flux capacitor".

One point five jig-a-watts of electricity! Marty, where can someone in the 1950's get 1.5GW? Why only a bolt of lightening can provide that and you never know where and when one is going to hit.

Well you do now Doc. Look here.

"jig-a-watts" should be gigawatts?

Yes. And pronounced "gig ah". (kilowatts, megawatts, giga...) But what can you expect of those Hollywood actors? You want them to know technical terms? Next you'll be asking them to be Peak Oil aware! (on Oscar night)

I suppose there are those dumber than yeast who will think a comic book hero is a real person and that his gizmos are real, too, but I somehow doubt it. Subconsciously, perhaps you have a point: a little pap for the masses.

But, dude, can't a comic book just be a comic book, even if in a movie? I don't recall a lot of new vigilantism after the Batman movies came out. Nor do I recall a lot of people getting genetically altered after watching X-Men. Etc.


IMO this movie plants a meme that rich white techno males will save us.

What about the black dude in The Core who designed/invented the borer? :)

Fellow TODers:

This week I am going to talk to my son's 5th and 6th grade class about the environment and our future.

I will show them my little electric Zap Xebra whiuch I now use to haul my tools on short trips as a handy person and "sustainable household helper." I work mostly within a five mile radius of my home.

The students have almost all seen my cargo trikes and pedicabs -- many have gotten rides on the pedicab. This year I hope to bring an electric scooter and an electric bike along.

My goal is to introduce them to as many kinds of energy efficient transportation as possible, and to get them to think about walking, biking, and then about the most efficient kinds of motorized transportation as alternatives to using ICE vehicles for every trip.

Also, I hope to introduce the students to some of the latest science on Global Warming and Resource Depletion issues. Nothing too heavy, but I feel that we owe it to students to start talking about these things openly so that they can ask questions and begin to think about choices they might need to consider over the next few years.

My past experience is that the students are very glad to talk about all of this, and like to have fun but also have a need to talk about what the world they are growing up into will look like.

If you know of resources or have any ideas about what to say to 10, 11, and 12 year-old students, please chime in and let me know.

I am always looking for new ideas and perspectives to help with this kind of presentation.

Thanks in advance! -- Gary Hoover -- aka -- Beggar

I don't have anything useful to suggest, but wanted to say "good job" - in all likelihood you will be the only one giving them a peek at what life will be like, as the rest of the world is blasting "up, up, and away" at them as hard as possible. Plant the seed, and even if they think you're nuts (though I'd bet the kids are more receptive than their parents), maybe enough will stick with them to help mitigate the shock when BAU doesn't pan out.

If you can make a page with drawings of your vehicles and give a copy to each student they can show their parents. Why not include peak oil/alt. transp. websites on the hand-out? (i know using paper isn't environmentally great but if you try to fit everything on one sheet (both sides) you'll be able to reach the grownups too.)

Hi Beggar,

I'm a phd student at Imperial College (in London, UK). Here we have the Energy Futures Labs which does some outreach activities.
On their site,
you can find some stuff to download and some good ideas (about energy, etc). They also collaborate with E-on (which generates 10% of UK's electricity) which has some good teaching materials,

Hope that helps and good luck with it.

my advice, Watch out for their parent's the day after your talks.

Hello Leanan,

Terrific collection of DB toplinks to consider today--thxs!

Hopefully, you will eventually encounter weblinks for my speculative Hell's Angels gas-stations and interviews from two-wheeled enthusiasts: not only enjoying the high MPG of having their knees in the breeze, but while doing so--> saving nearly $1/gallon too for having the foresight to safely store cheaper gasoline early.

So far, I haven't had any luck convincing my local M/C dealers that this idea could be a terrific way for them to build a highly loyal clientele-- but maybe some other biker in another location may achieve a breakthrough. Time will tell as gasoline prices keep ramping.

Even more importantly: I hope you someday encounter weblinks on farmer/investor biosolar combos crowing about how they had the foresight to buy a multi-year supply of NPK and are now reaping the benefits of proactive early purchase. The stunning rise of I-NPK prices [as evidenced in your toplink today] should give every thoughtful TODer a shudder. Recall my numerous postings on the postPeak need for my speculative 'Fed Reserve Banks of I-NPK'.

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

I may have missed this but have you or anyone else projected NPK prices, or in general, are NPK prices expected to more or less follow the price of energy upward?

Hello Charles Mackay,

Thxs for responding. I don't have the data-skills, but hopefully a TopTODer will eventually give this NPK price projection a critical look.

In the meantime, I will refer you to a guy, who has nearly a billion buck$$$ riding on the postPeak outcome, and who probably has an army of statistical analysts and data-freaks equal to the skill level of our much admired TopTODer Stuart Staniford [42-page PDF Warning, but cool photos and charts]:

In the words of Nobel Prize winner Norman Borlaug, “This is a basic
problem...without fertilizer, forget it. The game is over.”
We can always substitute human energy for depleting FF-energy, but there are No Substitutes for the Elements NPK to leverage plant growth.

It I-NPK and O-NPK, or else we get: No Way Jose'. :(

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

We are observing one of the single most evil applications of political power in my lifetime, and the number of deaths likely to occur without assistance to the Burmese people could approach over a million by the end of the month, potentially more. As we observed last week, the monsoon season begins near the end of the month, although weather forecasts for next week may signal an early monsoon season. With those regions already flooded by the cyclone, the monsoon season will likely wash out the areas where there are survivors, and will create devastating effects to the millions who lost their homes to the cyclone.

It is also now clear that next years rice crop will not be laid down in time. This is a critical aspect of the discussion of the Myanmar tragedy that we have not observed analyzed in the media reporting or public statements, but it may explain the behavior of the junta in Myanmar. While the rice not being laid down will not create an immediate food shortage, it will create a massive food shortage next year, as 40% of the rice grown in Myanmar is grown in the devastated areas. While no one is saying it out loud, the strategy we observe unfolding appears to be to allow as many people as possible die, thus fewer people to feed next year when shortages will occur.


Hello Alan,

This is obviously an emotional, gut-wrenching report. Perhaps the world has now entered the Thermo/Gene decision-domain of Garrett Hardin's 'Hard Choices'?

Interestingly enough, has OPEC already voted for the hard and fast crash?

A Gulf in Giving: Oil-Rich States Starve the World Food Program

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and his top lieutenants on Monday are convening the first meeting of the U.N.’s Task Force on the Global Food Crisis. Ban says it will “study the root causes of the crisis,” and propose solutions for “coordinated global action” at a summit of world leaders in June.

Ban might want to consider convincing the oil-rich nations of the Middle East to provide more than the near-invisible amount of money they currently give to the World Food Program (WFP), the U.N.’s food-giving arm, which is charged with alleviating the food crisis.

WFP internal documents show that the major oil producing nations of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) gives almost nothing to the food organization, even as skyrocketing oil prices and swollen oil revenues contribute to the very crisis that the U.N. claims could soon add 100 million more people to the world’s starving masses.
Yet KSA recently gave $500 million to Morocco. Consider the postPeak consequences.

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

Oops, forgot the link for newbies:

Equity is determinable by law and custom; equality is determined by nature. - Garrett Hardin
Bioethics is a difficult topic.

Is there a racial thing at play here? Maybe the ruling Junta is of one race and the people dying are of another or mixed race??

The world is complex.

The end-of-the-suburbs doomsdayers tend to forget that other popular destinations, such as the grocery store and the hockey rink, are actually quite close to suburban homes. And where do we think all of these people from the suburbs would go? Accommodation closer to the centre of the city is costly and in limited supply. For that matter, when suburban people retire, the cost of commuting downtown becomes irrelevant.


Having worked in the suburbs I can say this is true. what's the model of many suburbs? busy roads lined with strip malls for miles and when you turn off road it's almost immediately quiet suburbn streets. what if you live and work in the suburbs? the

what this article really points out is that giving up your car in a peak oil doomer situation would put $8,000 a year in your pocket! peak oil could be good not for weaning us off gasoline but for detaching us from our cars that are holding us back from getting out of debt and building wealth.

the world is complex.

Think what it must be like for an oil refiner. Diesel use is UP. Gasoline Demand is DOWN ("BEFORE" the 500,000 bbl/day of mandated ethanol use.) And, Oil prices are going through the roof. Sheesh.

Poor babies. I'm convinced that is what is behind all the anti ethanol propaganda.

I seems to be too well orchestrated to be spontaneous. I believe there is a sophisticated PR company behind it hired by Big Oil. They probably did surveys to find out what would scare people the most and settled on rising food prices.

Then they decided to connect ethanol to rising food prices since most people think of corn as that tender yellow stuff on a cob or in a can. In fact the corn produced and used for ethanol is not like that at all. It is animal feed for the most part.

But the clever PR guys know this is to subtle for the masses to grasp. Starting with the internet the idea was sown and gained momentum feeding off weather problems and riots in dysfunctional third countries as back up scares.

As the anti ethanol hysteria reached a fever peak, Texas Sen. Huchison, a notorious spokesperson for oil, announces that she and other senators from non ethanol producing states will introduce legislation to change the ethanol mandates.

The comes the Governor of Texas requesting an exemption from ethanol mandates due to its affect on food prices. This can not all be coincidence in my view.

It is happening too fast. The sleepy farmers and ethanol producers have been caught off guard. They have underestimated the power of Big Oil. There is big money to be made if ethanol can be stopped.

Gas prices can then be raised without fear of competition in a market in short supply of liquid fuel for transport. If ethanol is slowed down or stopped expect gas prices to rise even faster.

The ethanol lobby and PR had better get on the ball or it will happen. Fortunately there are enough Senior Senators from farm states like Sen. Grassley and Harkin on key committees to stop Big Oil.

But the battle lines are being drawn. There is desperation in the oil patch as domestic oil production falls and profits can not be increased in refining due to competition from ethanol and the ever increasing cost of imported oil.

It was similar desperation due to low corn prices 20-25 years ago that led to the development of ethanol as an outlet for corn surpluses.

"It is animal feed for the most part."

when it costs more to feed the animals prices will necessarily rise and still effect the price of what we eat. if more ethanol crops are grown at the expense of the crops we eat that also raises prices.

John, in reality we've been paying farmers NOT to farm so much land, for so long, that it's going to take awhile to gear up.

The Farmers have seen these Price Spikes in grains, before. Many are going to want to observe for a couple of years to see if this one is "for real." It's no Small thang to pull a sizable chunk of land out of storage and start farming it.

There will be new equipment to buy, long conversations with the friendly banker, ag agent, and fertilizer salesman, and THEN you get to talk to the "Little Woman." If it's in Conservation Reserve you have to wait for your contract to expire, or you pay a hefty Penalty.

In the end, though, have no fear. We have SCADS of good land available for all the food, and energy we could possibly want to grow.

Rick Tolman, NCGA Spokesman, stated, recently, that, indeed, big oil had hired several Large PR Firms to push the "starving children in Africa" meme. It's illogical, but damned effective.

It's, also, unwise to overlook the Sauds' connections to Fox News, and, I suppose, some other networks.

Rick Tolman, NCGA Spokesman, stated, recently, that, indeed, big oil had hired several Large PR Firms to push the "starving children in Africa" meme. It's illogical, but damned effective.

I gotta tell you, if you aren't any good at anything else, you are certainly good at spreading misinformation. Yesterday, you had Tad Patzek getting hundreds of thousands of dollars to lobby for Big Oil, and Shell as the controlling interest in Iogen. Both false, yet you shamelessly spread this misinformation. Now we have the CEO of the National Corn Growers Association making wild claims - and of course you swallow it hook, line, and sinker and help spread the story. As I have said, your burden of proof is very low when the matter is pro-ethanol, anti-oil.

Imagine your outrage if the president of the API came out and said that corn growers were hiring lobbyists to spread false information about what's driving high corn prices. Now, remind me again: You sure you aren't pushing an agenda here? Because your bias is certainly over the top.


If that $120,000.00 his consortium is getting from Shell, and Phillips Petroleum isn't affecting his statements then why hasn't he come back and corrected all of the Out of Date (I'm giving him a lot of slack with that representation) Statements on yield/acre, yield/bushel, energy inputs, etc?

Shell may not have the majority of shares in Iogen; but, they have ALL of the Money. Do you honestly believe they're not calling the shots?

Now, you know from past experience that I will, eventually, track down the name of the Lobbying Firms that oil hired for this meme. You should realize that there is no chance, whatsoever, that Rick Tolman made that up (any more than that Keith Kor made up stories about the performance of the $100 Million/Yr Corn Plus Ethanol operation that he's running.

Stay Tuned :)

Now, you know from past experience that I will, eventually, track down the name of the Lobbying Firms that oil hired for this meme.

You mean the same way you "showed" that Tad Patzek is making hundreds of thousands of dollars in lobbying for Big Oil, and that Iogen is controlled by Shell? All you keep doing is repeating a false claim, in the hopes that it will stick. Much like the behavior of an ethanol lobbyist.

Now, you know from past experience that I will, eventually, track down the name of the Lobbying Firms that oil hired for this meme.

No, I don't know this. But don't you think it would be a good idea, if you are going to smear someone, that you have some supporting evidence at the time - instead of smearing and then saying you will track down a source?

You should realize that there is no chance, whatsoever, that Rick Tolman made that up...

Oh, please. I read some of his editorials yesterday. There was a lot of fictional content in there. I suppose I could be like you, though, and just assert that everything he says is made up, since the corn growers are paying for him to promote corn. If you ask for proof, I will just repeat my claim.

I am puzzled, though. If you don't think the API is a good source of information, why do you think the corn lobby is?

Robert, while we all appreciate a sincere discussion and your articles and comments appear to be of that ilk, the same cannot be said for others. There is so much information, misinformation and egocentric information on the net that I find the need to discern is higher than ever. Finally, I don't yet have high blood pressure and in the past I found that "feeding the trolls" contributed to a very hopeless and unsettling feeling. My discerment skills have since improved and so has my sense of humour and my number one rule is still, "Do not feed the trolls"!



I think this sums up RR pretty well

The Iowa primary is over, and the anti-ethanol talk started up pretty soon after that.

I have to say I was a little dismayed that a Randall Denley article was the topmost link when I logged on today. I had to check a calendar to make sure it wasn't April Fools.

Denley is the 'star' city editorial writer for the Ottawa Citizen and is a very confused fellow. He's very knowledgeable about city finances, but otherwise doesn't make a whole lot of sense. The one glimmer of hope I saw in his writing was during the last mayoral race he was initially fawning over our eventual mayor (a 'good old private sector boy') until he met him. Denley was so appalled at the soon-to-be mayor's complete lack of understanding of what it takes to finance and run a city, that he ended up endorsing the left-most and most bullish on transit candidate. This was in spite of Denley's rabid hatred of transit in any form (I imagine that a bus had it's way with his mom when he was little, I don't know).

I assume he went to Kunstler's recent talk and felt the need to issue a rebuttal, but as John15 pointed out he really makes a better case FOR car-ditching and transit than against.

does anyone know if reseach has been done on the effect of removing countless billions of units of crude from the earth.

surely there should be some reaction to our action of extracting it. we can see the human reaction: many millions dead from 20th/21st century wars over it, among other things.

but what natural/earth reaction has there been? to say there's none would be a refutation of one of the basic laws of physics - action/reaction.

That's a very good question and I've wondered about it myself. Beyond obvious hydrological, subsidience & carbon balance issues, what are the geophysical & tectonic consequences of large scale fossil fuel extraction from the crust? I'm no geologist but I am interested in historical geology, paleontology & phylogeography. I've read a bit & my Vernadskian bias also leads me to suspect that there are substantial consequences, at least over Time. The biosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere & at least upper lithosphere are intergrated, interacting units. AGW makes this integration apparent. My take is that no one has any clue as to how resource exploitation affects many of the interactions, feedbacks & exchanges between these units. Since no one knows, potential costs of disruption can't be valued. Yet, these costs would have to be included for any ERoEI analysis to be meaningful & useful. When I've tried to make this point in the past, certain posters apparently with vested interests have resented it.

yes, it would not suprise me in the least if the petroleum layer acts/acted like an insulator between higher interior temperatures and the earth's surface.

if so, its removal would result in gradual elevated temperaures or what is now called 'global warming'.

food for thought, surely.

Surely you must understand that the 'petroleum layer' represents a tiny fraction of the area of the earth's surface. Hard to see how its removal could affect global climate except in burning it to produce CO2.

Hi, ... just a back of the envelope calculation. I have no idea about Geology, but still the proportions are quite astounding.

Say we have extracted 1.27 Trillion barrels (just a rough estimate to make numbers neat, but I think in reality it's a bit less), that's around 200km^3.

So a long cube of about 1km x 2km x 10km. (or a cube of 0.6 miles x 1.24 miles x 6.2 miles). That's a pretty big long cube. In fact, remember that mount Everest is 8km high, so this mile broad slab is comparable in height with mount everest. But one has to remember too that this oil comes from "little puddles" scattered all around the world. So the effect of extraction is very localized (at least from the Geology point of view). From a single field (Take for example the rough estimate of 70 billion barrels in Cantarell) it still represents a big volume (about 11km^3):

It is equivalent to a 200m deep (218yards)pool, extending over a surface 5km by 10km (3.1mi x 6.2mi).
So presumably if you take out of the earth a block 5km x 10km x 0.2km you might cause some havoc.

Another question is that this oil might not be in a pool under enormous pressure holding rocks in place. I know nothing of petroleum geology, but I believe it can be in small pockets, pores, etc... which would be left unaltered whether there is fluid in them or not. (but again a geologist will know better).

Hi, ... just a back of the envelope calculation. I have no idea about Geology, but still the proportions are quite astounding.

Yes - astoundingly small.

Assume the average thickness of an oil layer in a well is 400m; 200km^3 of oil is 500km^2 layered 400m deep, meaning oil has been removed from under the surface of about 500km^2.

The surface area of the earth is 500 million km^2.

So oil production has affected, roughly, one millionth of the surface area of the earth.

Accordingly, any disruptions are going to be very localized, and effectively irrelevant to the planet as a whole. And, as it turns out, that's exactly what we find - localized disturbances (subsidence, etc.), and no other observable effects from the extraction of miniscule amounts of the earth's crust.

Agreed. It is very small from a geological perspective (and could only have "small" local consequences). I still find the volumes extracted impressive (even having studyied astrophysics where the earth is astoundingly small too :) )

Geophysical and tectonic consequences?

Fair question.

No Effect worth a damn.

The removal of all the worlds hydrocarbon resources from the planet would have the same effect as a mosquito extracting blood from a man.

For some , unknown reason , man seems to have an ego of such size that he thinks that everything we do has an impact on the planet.

Compare your speculation regarding removal of oil with that of the rapid reduction of ice-mass over Scotland and Northern Europe, Canada and the US - possibly tens of hundreds of thousands of cubic miles of shifting mass from land to sea..

We got some raised beaches in Scotland and some drowned river valleys in South West England. You got some nice lakes

Stick around a while. We are in an interglacial. Northern Europe has gone from minus 20 to plus 10 since the last glacial maximum
ca 20 000 years ago - a blink of an eye.

Truly, dont worry about tectonics or global warming.

Stay focussed on Peak Oil - we screw this up and we could be all but over in less than 100 years.

Onr thing is that the ammount of oil involved is suprisingly small in volume. People get the idea that the Worlds oil reserves are like the Great Lakes or the Caspian Sea. In fact all the oil in existance would fit in a cube 5 miles high and with the bases 4 miles wide. The ammount of oil removed will be half that. In proportion to the Earths crust it is not that great.

[What's] the effect of removing countless billions of units of crude from the earth ?

Giant sinkhole swallows oil equipment in southeastern Texas

Removing all the oil would result in increasingly severe earthquakes, as the fault boundaries between continental plates would no longer be lubricated.

(With tongue firmly in cheek)

Thanks for the link to Obama's plans for a windfall profits tax, Leanan.

The WPT didn't work the last time it was proposed, way back when we were producing 60% plus of our domestic demand, and it will be ridiculous this time as well. I am one of those little producers who was around last time and have somehow stuck it out through $8.00 oil, with no contribution to my financial situation then. My solution was $8.00 beans, based on the then-price of oil. Spiced them up with some onions when the price got over $10 a barrel, and added some hamburger meat when they got over $12 a barrel.

But, now that we are importing almost 70% of the liquid fuels or their components, let's look at the impact on the domestic producer. First, the price for gas and diesel we will pay at the pump will remain at market. Add to that, we will be constrained in wages while our employees also pay the pump price, and domestic producers have to hold down wages and bonuses while the NOC's keep all of their revenues to support terrorism. Eventually, if it is like the last go-round, we will get all of the WPT assessments back, and whatever programs the government spent the $'s on just adds to the federal debt.

Just like so many of the other areas, I wish Obama would tell us what we are going to change to, not just that we are going to change.

Another offshoot of the talk of WPT's will almost certainly be the re-election of one James Inhofe as the senior Senator from OK.

The basic argument against a windfall profits tax is that it will discourage production. At $120 plus oil, I find this difficult to believe. The increases we have seen just over the last year are more than enough to encourage production. When they cut out all the buybacks and reduce the multimillion salaries, then I will believe that they are serious about real production, not to mention all the infrastructure that is supposedly needed.

But really, the WPT will make absolutely no difference in production and even if it did so what. Is the argument against it that otherwise peak oil will be with us? It will be with us regardless, so the worst case is that a WPT will speed it up by a few weeks.

Regardless, we must leave oil before it leaves us. Everything else is just denial and delay.

You are talking about a WPT at $8 oil. That seems like a completely irrelevant analysis.

Peak business opportunity...

Gas prices knock bicycle sales, repairs into higher gear


BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) -- Four-dollar-a-gallon gas is good for business -- if you run a bike shop. Commuters around the country are dusting off their old two-wheelers -- or buying new ones -- to cope with rising fuel prices, bicycle dealers say.

"Everyone that comes in the shop is talking about the gas prices," said Barry Dahl, who opened Barry's Bikes in Bismarck in April. He sold more than 50 bicycles in the first month, double the projections in his business plan.

but but but where are we going to get all the metal to build all those new bikes? bikes are a pipe dream. where are we going to get all that rubber? oh yeah, how are we going to get bikes to the stores w/o oil? how are we going to heat and cool at these new bike shops and how are they going to work? bike? let's face it bikes are the problem too we have to walk. we shouldn't just go from cars to a bike dependent society!

but but but where are we going to get all the metal to build all those new bikes?

Metal? http://www.bamboobike.org/Home.html

where are we going to get all that rubber?

Alcohol - as done in WWII.

oh yeah, how are we going to get bikes to the stores w/o oil?

Why 'stores'? Seems you can't think outside the little box, can you?

how are we going to heat and cool at these new bike shops

Passive solar and open windows.

Perhaps burning your diaries?

how are they going to work?

By Bike, of course.

let's face it bikes are the problem too

Now, here you've made a claim. I'm gonna have to ask you to prove your claim. Come on, man up. Show how your statement is true.

we shouldn't just go from cars to a bike dependent society!

And yet - that's the way things will go. Too bad for the pro-car people's ego's.

eric- I was making a joke about all those doomers who say where will we get all the metal for wind turbines or the silicon for PV.

I was making a joke

Oh I get it. So when you talk about 'the market' you are also trying to be funny.

Your joke was a joke :-)

How about pedal powered cars? It seems that this could solve our obesity and oil problems at the same time. I don't mean using the pedals to move the car, but if you took a PHEV and installed pedals in the passenger and rear seats, the passengers could help recharge the batteries while you drove. They would also become less obese.

From Paul Krugman:


The Danes, the Dutch and the Swedes got it figured out!

Here's hoping that Canadians decide to follow the example of their neighbours to the East (Denmark, via Greenland) than their neighbours to the South.

Maybe our two nations can set aside all the fussin' and the feudin' over Hans Island* and learn from each other.

* http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hans_Island

I doubt that they've got much "figured out". What they do have is historical accident - high cram-and-jam indices, i.e. tremendous population density in the tiny regions where their people actually live. In The Netherlands, that's pretty much the whole minute country, which utterly lacks anything an American or Canadian would recognize as a truly rural area (yes there are cow pastures, but even a bicycle will often take you to the next village - or city - in maybe three minutes.) Denmark is not too far behind in that respect. Sweden has plenty of extremely rugged terrain, with confines the population mainly to a few small areas (a phenomenon also seen in the US Rocky Mountains.)

Krugman is actually writing about Canada, which has vast empty spaces, but he conveniently fails to mention that most of those spaces are extremely bleak, and essentially all are extremely frigid and hazardous in winter. So almost everyone is crammed into the narrow strip by the US border. Despite Canada's staggering gross land area, two fifths of the national population lives in Ontario alone, with one-fifth jammed into the Greater Toronto Area alone. So while Krugman's assertion about Canadian open space is literally true, it is functionally and societally meaningless.

And in his table, Krugman seems to have neglected Japan, which may be the ultimate cram-and-jam locale with loads and loads of transit (that actually runs on time, a capability beyond the ken of the massively overpaid shiftless jobsworths typically running such systems as exist in the USA.) But in the greater Tokyo region, one encounters a population equal that of all of Canada, wedged into a land area the size of a middling US county. Even New York City has nothing on it. So I dunno, it's nice to make airy assertions, but how many Americans want to live that way?

I suppose that in these terms, one might "solve" the USA's predicament by abolishing what's left of the democracy, in order to forcibly herd everyone into the cities. As it stands now, we simply no longer have many locations where masses of people all head for the same place at the same time, the way it was back in the presumably good old days of giant factories where vast herds marched in and out on rigid shift schedules. Instead, people head in all directions at all hours, without a lot of mass focus in either time or space.

Maybe the barrier to mass transit is that the very paradigm can only work outside limited areas by converting the population from human beings with aspirations into a mass to be herded willy-nilly.

Paul: Your comment-"how many Americans want to live that way?" is the point Kunstler makes over and over. Of course, Americans want suburban sprawl-why do you think that desire is relevant or worth mentioning? If the fuel is there to power suburban sprawl, it can survive or even expand. If it isn't it won't, and all the Jimminy Cricket wish upon a star nonsense won't make any difference. I have no idea why you feel it necessary to herd people into the cities- people will live where they want to, however, it is probable the lifestyle will include driving maybe 2000 miles per annum. If that is impossible where you live, then most people aren't going to want to live there.

Oh, I'm not looking to herd people into the cities at all, I was being a bit snarky there. Sorry if that wasn't clear enough.

But I was asserting that if you want to take Krugman's argument and run with it, you've got to herd people into the cities, because there is no other way to make mass transit widely workable. Right now, for the most part, and with a few exceptions like lower Manhattan and the Chicago loop, we really don't have masses of people seeking to go together in the same direction in sufficient numbers to support usefully frequent mass transit. That was the model of the early to mid 20th century, and it's long gone now. In the 21st century, we basically have quasi-random travel from scattered origins to scattered destinations at scattered times all around the clock. That means it takes very high density to support transit, to find enough people to fill a tram or bus going a particular way at a particular time, which is probably why every place I've ever visited that had good or excellent transit also had wall-to-wall people.

Suburban sprawl doesn't necessarily mean you can't walk or bike. You just have to live near where you work.

I live in a city 80km across. But I walk to an office 3km away - takes me 30 minutes. There's a major shopping centre and train station 2km away. In fact there are 3 different shopping complexes within 2km in different directions.
Within a 30 minute walk there are residential areas, office parks, factories, cinemas, sporting grounds, hardware and furniture stores, etc etc.

It's basically a small, walkable city embedded in a large sprawling metropolis. There are dozens of similar walkable cities in this metropolis.

At the moment, most people here don't live anywhere near where they walk and drive all over town. If oil gets pricey enough to hurt, there is scope for a dramatic reduction in distance travelled by shuffling people round so that they live near where they work.
This doesn't have to mean selling - you can rent your house out and live in another more convenient location.

One thing I learned from SimCity - if people can live near their workplace, traffic isn't an issue.

Ahh, yes, the old "but we're so different!! excuse.

Let's compare the population densities of US states to the country of France, which according to that list has four times the proportion of non-car trips that the US has:

Here we have 120 million Americans living in population densities similar to those in France. Any solution that is geographically plausible in France is geographically plausible for the majority of the US.

So I dunno, it's nice to make airy assertions, but how many Americans want to live that way?

Considering how high rents have been pushed in NYC and SF, apparently quite a few.

Maybe the barrier to mass transit is that the very paradigm can only work outside limited areas by converting the population from human beings with aspirations into a mass to be herded willy-nilly.

You've obviously never seen a good public transit system. Don't think that means they don't exist. There's a reason the European countries on that list have much higher transit riderships than the US, and it's not geography.

Its flat in Holland, Denmark and a lot of Sweden.

In some ways this is a shocking piece of information. The Netherlands, bicycle heaven, with only 28%. Switzerland, with rail transportation everywhere, running like clockwork, at only 20%. Healthy, fit Swedes, walking only 33%.

Add these three "best cases" up, and you only come to 81%. So where does the other 19% go in a post-automobile world? Can enough NEVs be built, bought, and kept recharged for that 19%?

Or will those 19% of all trips simply go away as people cut back on their travel and stay put?

This might actually be good news for Alan Drake and his EOT plans. We won't need mass transit capacity to replace all of that 89% of US trips presently taken by automobile. We might only need to expand rail transit capacity by maybe 10X instead of 50X. A tenfold increase over the next 10-15 years is challenging but not impossible. Fifty-fold? Forget it.

Obviously I'm being overly simplistic here, yet I do think there is something of a point to be made. It would make an interesting exercise, though: imagine living in a society where 20% of the trips are by mass transit, 28% by bike, 19% by NEV, and 33% on foot.

Despite high gas prices, big swaths of suburban Germany and Austria have adopted something close to American-style retail/residential sprawl in less urban areas. People hop in a car and drive to the big box electronic outlet or the supermarket or the department store, just like they do in the U.S.

The main difference is that public transportation in medium sized cities/larger towns is so much better than it is in the U.S. In Austria you have small cities like Graz with a phenomenal public transportation system - something you'd never see in the U.S. in a town of comparable size.

i really can't understand one thing. the drumbeat is getting more and more apocalyptic, which is probably true, but in the mean time, there are many new articles that say "don't worry", in one way or another. weahter it's about the dollar, or the tar sands, or the bakken a couple of weeks ago, or the brazilian fields, and so on.

is this a form of denial or cherry-picking? some of them aren't really worthy of being posted here. especially the article with the title: "Don't let rising gas prices push you into panic selling"

the drumbeat is getting more and more apocalyptic,

Is it? Or is the drumbeat just getting more from the MSM and other internet sources and they are less upbeat?

here are many new articles that say "don't worry" (and 2x times the good Dr. provides!)

De Nile is not just a river in Egypt.

Peak Oil aware people talk a lot about the 'denial' of the mainstream with respect to peak oil being a major threat. This suggests that they are fully informed, subconsciously realize the 'truth' and reject it. Or that that choose to remain uninformed because they know that becoming informed with be painful.

IMO denial is not the issue. The actual problem is addiction, and an utter lack of awareness at the gargantuan addiction modern societies have to oil. The issues are:
1)What "addicted to oil" actually means
2)The epic size of this dependency
3)The size of the turbulence a reduction in supply will cause to modern economies.

I suspect that most people are not so much 'in denial' as utterly unaware. Forecasting the future post peak oil, I find myself wondering if 'doomers' are possibly the most aware of the enormous scale of our dependency?

I would like to see more discussion about addiction in the context of a society addicted to oil and how this can be used to predict the future course of events.

Addicts are not nice people. If there is one thing that they don't want to talk about, it's their addiction.

they will talk about it, sooner or later. and addicts are proven to jump in the "i told you so" group so fast you'll wonder if they are the same person as one month ago.

maybe there's a good side to this denial thing. wtshtf, and starts biting them in the as$, they'll be the ones screaming murder and asking for radical changes. i'm not so sure that there will be much to be done though, but they'll start thinking for themselves

Paul Krugman took a break from bashing the candidate who opposes the gas tax holiday long enough to say that oil prices are not a bubble. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/12/opinion/12krugman.html