DrumBeat: June 9, 2008

Oil data lag may cause sharp price fall - Lehman

Lehman analysts said they believed oil prices in the high double-digits would curb demand growth enough to allow supplies to catch up, but that it may take months for demand destruction to appear in data, and that oil traders "appear to have lost patience".

"If prices continue to rise from here, we fear that economic tipping points could be reached in Asia and the market will find itself with more demand destruction than it cares for," analysts Adam Robinson and Michael Waldron said in a report dated June 6.

"The problem, however, is that barring an economic meltdown, the data we need to verify our oil market argument is unlikely to become available until well after this summer."

China, Africa, and Oil

As global demand for energy continues to rise, major players like the United States, European Union (EU), and Japan are facing a new competitor in the race to secure long-term energy supplies: China. As its economy booms, China is intent on getting the resources needed to sustain its rapid growth, and is taking its quest to lock down sources of oil and other necessary raw materials across the globe. As part of this effort, China has turned to Africa, an oil-producing source whose risks and challenges have often caused it to be overlooked economically. Some reports describe a race between China and the United States to secure the continent's oil supplies. Others note that while Chinese interests in Africa have surged, Western states still make the vast majority of investments in Africa and remain highly influential.

Can China Keep the Lights On?

Beijing finds it difficult to reconcile its desire to supply cheap, universal electricity with the economic realities.

Saudi Arabia calls for emergency summit as oil prices soar

Saudi Arabia today called for a summit of oil producing countries and consumers to discuss how to prevent oil prices from soaring further, following last week's surge to a record high of $139 a barrel.

The country's Information and Culture Minister, Iyad Madani, said that the kingdom would work with OPEC to "guarantee the availability of oil supplies now and in the future".

In a statement following the weekly meeting of the Saudi Cabinet, Mr Madani said the current price of oil was unjustified and pledged action to prevent further "unwarranted and unnatural" price hikes.

Tinkering our way to sustainability

When we think about the scope of the ecological challenges we face--peak oil, climate change, soil degradation, water depletion and species loss--we often think of responses big enough to match them.

We might ponder large, national or international crash programs for the deployment of alternative energy; for the conservation of energy, water and habitat; and for the spread of organic agriculture and gardening. We might also think of a global agreement to slash greenhouse gas emissions deeply and quickly.

But, the larger the responses one imagines, the more improbable their implementation seems. Governments are moving only slowly or sometimes not at all in the direction of sustainability though some corporate efforts are moving much faster.

Two-day strike at Bantry Bay terminal

SIPTU workers at the Conoco Phillips storage facility in Bantry Bay are to begin a 48 hour stoppage on Wednesday.

They are seeking pay parity with workers at the National Oil Refinery Authority plant in Whitegate and the restoration of full time off in lieu for unsocial hours, including night shifts.

'Everyone's starving' in Ethiopia, aid worker says

SHASHAMANE, Ethiopia (AP) -- Like so many other victims of Ethiopia's hunger crisis, Usheto Beriso weighs just half what he should. He is always cold and swaddled in a blanket. His limbs are stick-thin.

But Usheto is not the typical face of Ethiopia's chronic food problems, the scrawny baby or the ailing toddler. At 55 years old, he is among a growing number of adults and older children -- traditionally less vulnerable groups -- who have been stricken by severe hunger because of poor rains and recent crop failure in southern Ethiopia, health workers say.

"To see adults in this condition, it's a very serious situation," nurse Mieke Steenssens, a volunteer with Doctors Without Borders, told The Associated Press as she registered the 5-foot, 4-inch Usheto's weight at just 73 pounds (33 kilograms).

High costs land on school cafeteria trays

When America’s schoolchildren return to class in the fall, they will learn a painful lesson in economics: Higher food and fuel prices are forcing up the price of school breakfasts and lunches across the country, by as much as 50 percent in some districts.

Canadian navy drowning in sky-high fuel prices

MONTREAL -- Ballooning fuel prices and recruitment problems kept Canadian navy vessels docked for much of last year, Sun Media has learned.

The 34 vessels deployed on Canada's east and west coasts, on average, spent only 81 days at sea in 2007, according to documents obtained by Sun Media through the Access to Information Act.

Fuel costs for Canada's navy ships jumped 50% last year, the documents revealed, and are expected to rise another 25% this year.

"The rapidly rising price of oil will have dramatic consequences on the 2007-2008 operations budget," said David Statham, a former Canadian naval officer. This increase will also impact on the operational capacity of the Canadian fleet.

Australia: Critical fortnight looms for gas crisis

The next two weeks will be critical in dealing with the State's energy crisis, Alan Carpenter said.

But Mr Carpenter said he had no intention of enforcing domestic electricity restrictions and there would be no blackouts or brown-outs to help cope with reduced energy supplies.

WA lost a third of its gas supplies after an explosion last Tuesday at the Varanus Island facility owned by US giant Apache Energy. It will take about two months before partial supplies at the North-West site can be restored and it is not known when full supplies will return.

WA gas blast rocks miners

MINERS are taking desperate measures to secure supplies of gas and diesel fuel in the face of at least two months of interruption to 30% of gas supplies in Western Australia following the explosion at Apache Energy's facility on Varanus Island.

A Citi analyst, Clarke Wilkins, told clients that he had heard reports of spot gas sales in WA at up to $30 a gigajoule, triple recent spot prices and five times the price of contracted gas.

Mexico rethinks fuel subsidies

Mexico's subsidies for domestic fuel are taking a growing share of government revenue, increasing the urgency for Congress to reform the state oil monopoly, said Dionisio Perez-Jacome, deputy finance minister for the budget.

President Felipe Calderon's initiative to give state oil company Pemex more leeway to hire private companies for production and refining would reduce the cost of subsidies by enabling Mexico to produce more of the gasoline it consumes, Perez-Jacome said.

French oil port strikers call for more action

PARIS (Reuters) - Striking workers at France's largest oil port of Fos-Lavera in southern France on Monday entered their third day of action, stepping up pressure on the government over its plan to privatise state-run ports.

The three-day strike at the Fos-Lavera oil port in the southern port of Marseille blocked 29 oil tankers at quay or from entering the hub, the port authority said.

Nepal to raise fuel prices to counter shortages

KATHMANDU (Reuters) - Nepal's government sanctioned a rise in fuel prices on Monday to stem losses by the state-run oil firm and overcome a domestic oil shortage caused by record-breaking fuel prices.

The government said the Nepal Oil Corporation, which has a monopoly on oil imports, would decide how much to raise prices.

Fuel Shortage Hits Nepal Ambulance Services

Fuel crisis has gripped the western region to such an extent that even the ambulance service is on hold after the Western Regional Petroleum Dealers' Association shut shop since last evening.

The association was forced to stop selling petroleum products after angry consumers coming to petrol pumps in town began attacking the petrol pump staffers when they were told that there was no petrol.

The number of vehicles plying on the roads has dropped drastically.

Iran plans at least 2.5 mln bpd oil exports in June

TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran plans to export at least 2.5 million barrels of oil per day (bpd) in June, the country's OPEC representative was quoted as saying on Sunday.

"On the basis of this program (Iran's crude export program), Iran will be exporting at least 2.5 million bpd oil in June," Mohammad Ali Khatibi was quoted as saying by the Oil Ministry's Web site Shana.

Oil Price? It's Not a Barrel of Laughs

Is this it? Have we reached peak oil; the moment when oil production starts to decline? If you've watched, aghast, as petrol prices have soared over the past year, you'd be forgiven for thinking that we have.

After all, the world has never before seen the cost of crude oil reach the recent unprecedented price of 135 a barrel.Only 10 years ago, average crude oil prices were less than 12 a barrel, or 50 years ago they were 3.

At least three airlines have gone bust this year and others are swiftly raising fares and adding fuel surcharges, meaning, in the case of British Airways, an extra £158 on the cost of a long-haul flight.

And What of Crude?

To summarize, there are available vast quantities of two substances easily refinable into crude oil at a small additional cost, and most of it is right here in North America. Peak oil, where is thy sting.

Philippines: Oil firms feel pinch from rising prices

The head of EPC, which belongs to a group of firms that blossomed after the government deregulated the downstream petroleum industry a decade ago, said that a number of companies are beginning to cut operating hours to make up for the high costs and lower revenues.

This partly explains Saudi Aramco’s departure from the Philippines’ largest oil refiner. Petron Corp., which accounts for nearly 40 percent of the local market, saw its return on equity (ROE) dip over the last five years, according to a report by Peter Lee U, dean of the University of Asia and the Pacific School of Economics.

Oil price to stay over $100-World Bank

CAPE TOWN (Reuters) - Global oil prices, around $40 up this year, will remain high in a range between $104 and $108 a barrel over the next three to five years, a World Bank official said on Monday. Oil soared more than $16 a barrel -- over 13 percent -- in a two-day rally on Thursday and Friday partly on weakness in the dollar and rising tension between Israel and Iran.

UK: Fuel...or No Fuel?

Green energy is a failure, power cuts will hit us all and the Government is covering it up.

Fuel worries prompt a 1970s flashback

WASHINGTON — The Arab oil embargo in the fall of 1973 sparked gas lines across America. Some motorists had to limit their fill-ups to odd- or even-numbered dates, and Congress lowered the national speed limit to 55 mph to conserve fuel.

When a second energy shock hit later in the decade, President Jimmy Carter ordered office buildings to kick up their thermostats in summer to 78 degrees, while then-Texas Gov. Bill Clements put the state capital on a "no-tie, no-coat basis."

Rail's use of energy subject of debate

Honolulu's planned commuter rail system will consume enough electricity each day to power about 9,250 homes, or a community the size of Hawai'i Kai.

That shouldn't pose a risk of energy shortage and could lower transportation-related air pollutants and energy use as people switch from automobiles to trains, according to the city.

Wealth Evaporates as Gas Prices Clobber McMansions, SUV Makers

Homeowners in the exurbs aren't the only ones whose assets have taken a hit because of the surge in energy costs. Companies such as General Motors Corp. and UAL Corp. are writing off billions of dollars in plants and equipment that are no longer viable in an age of dearer oil. The destruction of wealth and capital will weigh on U.S. growth for years to come.

``Our whole economy reflects the relative costs of energy: the cars we drive, the houses we occupy, the kinds of factories we have and the equipment in them,'' says Dana Johnson, chief economist at Comerica Bank in Dallas. ``I'm expecting relatively large changes in all of these things.''

Diesel Beats Gasoline as Traders Bet on Widest Spread

(Bloomberg) -- Diesel, the world's most-used transport fuel, is so prized by traders they'll pay the biggest premiums in at least 15 years to buy it.

Because refiners can't make enough, diesel sells for $145 a ton, or 14 percent, more than gasoline as China halts exports, the Middle East boosts imports and power shortages force mines from Australia to Chile to run oil-fed generators. For the first time, refiners Valero Energy Corp. and ConocoPhillips this summer will make more money from diesel than gasoline in the Northern Hemisphere, said Andrew Reed, an analyst at Energy Security Analysis Inc. in Boston.

Experts divided on when - or even if - oil bubble will burst

CALGARY — With oil prices gushing above a new record of US$139 last week, experts cannot agree on when - or if - that number will ever come down.

A barrel of crude is worth nearly 50 per cent more than in February and more than double what it was last year.

In this uncharted territory, there has been much discord among experts about whether an "oil bubble" exists - and if it does, whether it is due to burst much like dot-com tech stocks did in 2000.

Scramble for oil as price continues to rise

There is no doubt that global oil production - at about 87 million barrels a day - is sputtering. The real question is: why?

Is it, as advocates of the “peak oil theory” claim, because there is simply not enough oil left in the ground? Or is it because of other reasons, such as a lack of investment in new fields and production?

India - Oil crisis: An opportunity to cry foul?

As a matter of fact, our country is now entering a crucial phase of very difficult and trying times. It would be wishful thinking and trifle foolhardy on anyone’s part to expect the international prices of oil to come down, rather than going up further, in the future. The world’s total oil production has been stagnating around 85 million barrels a day since 2005, and there seems to be very little likelihood of a marked increase in production in the near future. Fresh explorations do not indicate substantial quantities of usable and commercially viable oil reserves. Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is unwilling to increase production any further or lower the prevailing prices. The point of peak oil production is about to be reached, although International Energy Agency and World Energy Council would have us believe that at the very least it will take a couple of decades to scale that point. Be that as it may, the oil crisis is likely to sink the world’s most advanced and developed economies, what to speak of the developing and under-developed economies. Such are the perils of the economies based on the concept of consumerism, that they are consumed by the very excesses they tout as a panacea for the economic good health of a nation!

What is the Right Price for Oil?

The world's challenge is clear enough: supply is not growing at the same pace as demand. Non-OPEC supplies are actually falling, with failing oilfields and failure to invest in necessary upgrading. OPEC suppliers have little incentive to increase supplies -- should that option be at all available to them -- since high and rising prices provide growing revenues for their economies. Revenues are growing so fast that OPEC nations can expand domestic infrastructure, and even maintain subsidies on domestic sales to consumers, while still generating surplus revenues to invest in world markets. From their perspective, if high and rising prices are likely to be sustained, why take more oil out of the ground? Why not leave it there for future generations?

Gazprom Doubles Investment to $30 Billion

(Bloomberg) -- OAO Gazprom, Russia's state-owned natural gas monopoly, plans to double investment in projects to $30 billion this year, exceeding Royal Dutch Shell Plc's plan, which the Anglo-Dutch company said was the world's largest in the oil and gas industry.

Russia and Norway tackle Arctic sea border issue

OSLO (Reuters) - Russia and Norway meet on Monday and Tuesday in the hope of making progress in a decades-old dispute over their maritime border in the Barents Sea -- a part of the Arctic that could hold large oil and gas reserves.

Officials have said the Barents Sea could become an important new source of petroleum to supply Europe, but development has been hindered by the dispute.

Trinidad & Tobago rents zoom

A week or so ago Robert Riley of bpTT warned that all those reports you read in the newspapers about oil zooming past the US$100 mark have little relevance here. It is indeed noteworthy that Mr Riley did not enlighten us on what price bpTT got for its last oil shipment.

Nigeria oil militants attack boat

Militants have ambushed a patrol vessel in Nigeria's oil-producing Niger Delta region but the authorities have denied reports that it was hijacked.

A military spokesman said the boat was providing security for oil installations in the Delta when it came under attack.

Some reports say attackers seized the boat and its crew of eight.

Nigeria must strike deal in oil rebel trial - lawyer

LAGOS (Reuters) - Nigeria must reach a political deal in the trial of a militant leader from the oil-producing Niger Delta and avoid jailing him if it is to have a chance of ending violence in the region, one of his lawyers said.

Peak oil drives energy innovation

The flipside to the pain caused by a decade of high oil prices was that it spawned an amazing number of new and exciting developments all over the Western world.

Among them were solar-powered steam turbines in the Pyrenees, solar water heating panels on private roofs in Boston, hydrogen-powered cars in Tokyo, wave energy generation off the Shetland Islands, tidal barrier power stations in France, a huge hydrothermal power station in the Gulf of Mexico, and test fields of "windmills" in France. Surprisingly, outside of Brazil, biofuel wasn't particularly favoured other than for the introduction of some tax breaks in the USA for ethanol plants.

Pressure at the pump may turn positive

This is the world's third oil shock, and the worst after allowing for inflation, but don't let that put you off.

Yet present company excepted, the world is coping much better with higher petrol prices than last time.

New Zealand, it’s time to sail to the moon

The cost of fuel is rising fast. We may be experiencing peak oil, the point where demand growth exceeds supply. Fuel will become even more expensive when a range of local and international sustainability measures kick in. Already our own government is contemplating a green tax on tourists while the EU is doing its best to ensure the concept of “food miles” gets up to protect its own inefficient production.

None of this is going to go away in a hurry and even if you don’t believe in human-induced climate change, you have to concede that New Zealand needs to manage the risk that all of this presents.

New Zealand needs to have a moment. It needs to “choose to go to the moon”. And, here comes that idea: we should make it our national mission to reintroduce sail as a means of transporting our produce around the world.

Global warming gloom - clouds have green linings

Current economic and political mindsets need to change in the face of future environmental challenges, according to the head of the United Nations environmental programme.

Executive director Dr Achim Steiner held a lecture entitled “Are we glimpsing the emergence of a green global economy” at the Maidment Theatre last Wednesday, as part of the World Environment Day celebrations.

Shell, Qatar to work on carbon dioxide storage

Royal Dutch Shell, Europe's largest oil company, and Qatar Petroleum agreed to invest as much as $70 million to research carbon dioxide storage projects in the Middle East and beyond.

Oil shortage a myth, says industry insider

There is more than twice as much oil in the ground as major producers say, according to a former industry adviser who claims there is widespread misunderstanding of the way proven reserves are calculated.

Although it is widely assumed that the world has reached a point where oil production has peaked and proven reserves have sunk to roughly half of original amounts, this idea is based on flawed thinking, said Richard Pike, a former oil industry man who is now chief executive of the Royal Society of Chemistry.

Oil seen hitting $150 this summer: Goldman analyst

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Oil prices are likely to hit $150 a barrel this summer season, the global head of commodities research at Goldman Sachs said on Monday, as tighter supplies outweigh weakening demand.

"I would suggest that the likelihood of that happening sooner has increased tremendously ... sometime in summer," Jeffrey Currie told an oil and gas conference in the Malaysian capital, referring to oil at $150 a barrel.

...Goldman Sachs forecast almost a month ago that U.S. crude would average $141 a barrel in the second half of 2008, up from a previous projection of $107, due to tight supplies.

"Demand for oil is weak but supplies are even weaker," Jeffrey Currie told the conference, citing supply disruptions in Nigeria and struggling output rise in Russia.

Spanish hauliers on fuel strike

Tens of thousands of Spanish lorry drivers have begun an indefinite strike against the soaring price of diesel, which has risen by 20% this year.

Some 90,000 hauliers stopped work at midnight on Sunday (2200 GMT) and are expected to stage blockades and demonstrations in coming days.

Their strike follows action by hauliers in France and other European countries.

Surging oil alarms Wall Street

NEW YORK — The pain at the gas pump that is emptying consumers' wallets on Main Street is starting to siphon big money from the account balances of Wall Street investors.

Indeed, the oil crisis gripping the USA is sparking fears that the economic gloom is deepening, setting off alarm bells on stock trading desks.

China: Power companies struggle with shrinking profits

The relentless rise in energy prices, particularly coal, is pushing domestic power companies to a corner with no obvious way out other than an increase in electricity charges, which are controlled by the government.

Viet Nam digging itself into a hole with coal exports

As the country is currently selling coal at a cheaper export price than import, Vietnam may end up buying back some of its coal at a higher price if national reserves are exhausted.

At the current rate of exploitation and export, supplies may run dry even earlier than 2015, experts have warned.

Airlines pay price for creating 'flying is cheap' image

The aviation industry is guilty of creating the impression that "flying is cheap" and will pay the price as rocketing oil prices in the coming months force no-frills carriers out of business, the joint head of the world's biggest airline has said.

Producer price growth at record

UK producer prices rose at a record pace in May, official figures show.

Prices jumped by 8.9% from the same month a year earlier, the Office for National Statistics said. Input prices also shot up, 27.6% higher on the year.

The quickest growth since records began in 1986, it was driven by higher food, scrap metal and energy costs.

Economy squeezes the American Dream

Work hard, play by the rules and tomorrow will be better than today. That implicit promise has been at the core of the American Experience through good times and bad.

But now, whipsawed by plummeting home values, $4-a-gallon gas, rising food prices and gyrating financial markets, Americans increasingly fear that the national bargain has unraveled, that their once-steady march toward affluence has derailed. In a new USA TODAY poll, 54% of those surveyed say their standard of living is no better today than five years ago.

UK: Rising price of oil could send our energy bills soaring even higher

Millions of householders can expect even higher fuel bills over the next 12 months, industry analysts have warned.

They say gas prices will rise by up to 43 per cent and electricity by 21 per cent.

At the same time, annual dual fuel bills are likely to jump by £360 a year, taking them above £1,400.

But some experts claim the estimates are too conservative and predict that the figures will be even worse.

Revealed: airlines' £10bn government fuel subsidy

The Government has been urged to abolish a £10bn-a-year "hidden subsidy" to the airline industry to bring it into line with hard-pressed motorists struggling with higher petrol prices.

Although the aviation industry claims it is being badly hit by the soaring price of oil, it still enjoys a double boost denied to drivers because it does not pay fuel duty or VAT on the fuel for its planes. New figures suggest this subsidy is worth £9.92bn at current levels of fuel tax.

Carolyn Baker: The Switch Has Been Flipped: It's Too Late For Solutions

I would be the first to admit the possibility that nuclear war may erase all potential for human survival as collapse more fully unfolds. However, I would also adamantly insist that it may not be inevitable and that local communities and families who have consciously prepared for collapse can not only navigate it but create mini-societies where an entirely new paradigm prevails. In the latter scenario unimaginable opportunities (a word very closely connected with "options") abound for remaking human relationships, human connection with the earth and the non-human world, and the reclaiming of our ancient memory of living within limits as partners with, not dominators of, the earth.

Biofuel backlash: High prices, pollution worries hit consumers

Metro Transit, the region's largest consumer of biodiesel, is "taking an indefinite pause" in buying the renewable fuel, said general manager Kevin Desmond.

"We're taking a hard look at it in terms of both its price and the science," he said.

World major economies see new nuclear dawn

AOMORI, Japan (AFP) - Top economic powers have declared that the world is entering a new era of nuclear energy amid rising concerns over high oil prices and global warming, but Germany stood firmly as an exception.

Kiribati president asks for climate change help

WELLINGTON, New Zealand - The president of the South Pacific nation of Kiribati, threatened by rising sea levels caused by climate change, appealed Monday for more nations to help in relocating families whose homes have been submerged or are threatened.

So far, only New Zealand has begun taking in Kiribati families, President Anote Tong said after talks with New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark.

Japan PM unveils plan to cut emissions

TOKYO (AFP) - Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda said Monday that Japan would aim to cut greenhouse gas emissions blamed for global warming by 60 to 80 percent by 2050 from current levels and launch an experimental carbon market.

Marine life is destroyed by acid environment

Traditional marine communities containing creatures such as sea urchins and snails are being destroyed as CO2 emissions make their environment more acidic.

Here is an Economic Letter from the Dallas Federal Reserve.

This is the first government assessment of EIA's ability to understand the oil market.

As the realities of higher oil prices have sunk in, EIA forecasts have marched steadily upward (Chart 5). The 2004 projection, for example, saw prices relatively flat in the $30 range through 2025. The latest forecast, issued in 2007, anticipates a price decline in upcoming years, with oil settling above $60 for the long haul out to 2030.

Spare capacity was also addressed more realistically.

Mish seems to think Bernanke can't last long. Anyone want to give odds on how long he lasts?

Ask the Bilderberg Group.

Uncle Ben visits the Bilderbergs

However they'll probably respond something like this.

Images scaled down for size from http://cryptome.info/bilderberg08/bilderberg08.htm

Btw, Ilargi argued over at the Automatic Earth that Mish (who he normally respects) has got it wrong on this one.

Ilargi: Rebellion at the Fed? No, Mish doesn’t understand what happens. Which is that the lower ranks are used to bring home the bad news, because Bernanke can’t and won’t. That the regional heads speak out all the time, is a sign that Bernanke holds the reins firmly, not the opposite.

Shhh! The Bilderberg Group doesn't exist, remember? ;)

Bilderberg Luminary To Select Obama's Running Mate


Gawd, I hope that's not true. Any chance they pick Ron Paul?

Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.

Durandal no one, to my knowledge, has ever claimed that the Bilderberg Group doesn't exist. The clame made by conspiracy theory wingnuts is that the Bilderberg Group rules the world.

Bilderberg Group

The Bilderberg Group, Bilderberg conference, or Bilderberg Club is an unofficial annual invitation-only conference of around 130 guests, most of whom are persons of influence in the fields of business, media and politics.

The elite group meets annually at luxury hotels or resorts throughout the world — normally in Europe — and once every four years in the United States or Canada. It has an office in Leiden, South Holland, Netherlands. The 2007 conference took place from May 31 to June 3 at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Istanbul, Turkey. The 2008 conference is taking place from June 5 to June 8 in Chantilly, Virginia, United States.

I guess they met in Virginia this year to give directions to all the world's leaders for the next 12 months. Oh yea, the Bilderberg Group is behind all this Peak Oil nonsense also. They are being paid by oil producers to drive up the price of oil. I mean hell, if they control the world then they sure as hell control the oil supply and the price of oil....Right?

Ron Patterson

Conspiracy or not don't you think it strange how little press it gets.

Castrated U.S. Media Remains Obediently Silent On Bilderberg

The mainstream American corporate press has once again proven itself to be no better than the state controlled media in places like Communist China or Zimbabwe, by steadfastly refusing to print even a mention of over a hundred global power brokers meeting in secret to discuss the future of the planet.

...David Rockefeller, Henry Kissinger, the secretary general of NATO, CEO’s of the world’s biggest corporations, U.S. politicians and European royalty were all there in Chantilly, but the U.S. media failed to show and did not even mention that the meeting was taking place, despite Bilderberg themselves issuing a press release!

A press release about a missing dog would make a few local newspapers, but a press release about over a hundred of the most powerful people in the world meeting in secret was completely ignored

Note: I'm not a big fan of Alex Jones - he believes Peak Oil was invented by BP and the global elite.

The clame made by conspiracy theory wingnuts is that the Bilderberg Group rules the world.

Which is not at all like the reality that the group has many members that are in the 'leadership/ruling class'. Right?

Now, why is it that Alex Jones is loudest media voice reporting on the event?

But if you don't want to answer my question(s) - how about George Ure's questions?

Rumors that Obama and Clinton were both in attendance are somewhat speculative (or are they?) but you'd think that if we had a real working/functional press corp that someone would have the balls to point out that with reported attendees like Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson and Secretary of State Condi Rice that something more than carefully massaged (sterile) press releases should be issued. Whatever happened to daylight democracy?

Alex is a bit whack in my opinion on a lot of things, but spot on in regards to a bunch of others. He's convinced that a certain fraternal order that I associate with is an evil group hellbent on global domination, and I take exception to that. Of course, his mind on it is that I'm just not filled in on the true details of the group, and I'm brainwashed or some such thing.

Even so, I listen to his radio show once a week or two, as he does a good job of keeping us updated on our loss of civil rights. I think of him for Big Brother as The Automatic Earth is to Financial Collapse. hehe

Alex is a bit whack in my opinion on a lot of things, but spot on in regards to a bunch of others.

Alex looks at the world through a filter of 'people in power lie'. And I can't fault that filter, as, from what I can tell, such a rule is right quite often.

The man makes his living pointing out all the wierd-ness of things like REXX, Adjenda 21, various bits of hardware and buildouts that are gonna put some people in a world of hurt.

He's convinced that a certain fraternal order that I associate with is an evil group hellbent on global domination,

Well, if Alex was up on his rants, he'd had one year to talk about 'old JD Van Hollen being grand master AND attorney general. (Actual active high level policos are rare) If Alex is around in a few election cycles AND JD runs for the job of El Jefe - Alex might have to take some meds to not pop a vessel. The officer line is published - you think he'd unleash his diggers VS the 50 grand lodge lines in the US of A, plus all the other grand lodges that exist.


Next time you go your lodge meeting wear one of these:

http://www.warehouse23.com/item.html?id=SJG9002I A few of your brothers will ask 'what group is that' and you can tell 'em its your illumanti pin.

At the grand lodge meeting this year no one asked. Perhaps the word is out about me. :-(



So your Subversion Division (purple) I see. I used to have a white one (Field Operations) which I bought in a sci-fi bookshop in Edinburgh about 25 years ago. Or at least I think that's how I got it :-)

So your Subversion Division (purple) I see.

Around these parts, sure. For who's end and what the grand plan is FNORD.

(I at one time had 2 complete sets. Would cycle through them - and 2 people actually asked 'why the different colors?')

Darwinian -

While the Bilderberg Group may not rule the world, I don't think you can deny that the collection of people who attend their little annual backyard barbecue pretty much do, or at least heavily influence what does or does not happen.

So, I guess you think the whole purpose is just so the likes of Henry Kissinger, Dick Chaney, oil company CEOs, et al, can eat some hot dogs together, down a few cool ones, and talk about this year's NASCAR season.

well... yeah

if you ever attend any of these gatherings that are talked about like this, or just talk to some of the people that do, you'll find it's a lot of people who share common interests eating well, chin-wagging and hearing each other's opinions on stuff...

i hear ya

the level of paranoia about these groups is crazy ... Bildeberg, Tri-lateral Commission, Bohemian Grove, etc.

people into train spotting get together every so often... people who collect Beanie Babies get together from time to time

so do rich powerful people - they have shared interests... they probably do deals... but mostly the sit around and chin wag and see what everyone else is hearing and thinking

do the attendees collectively have more influence on world affairs than you and i and our facebook friends list? of course... but that's not the same as secretly controlling the world

if you want to secretly control the world you don't need to do it at a public gathering...

Was there confirmation that Obama and McCain were in attendance?

well i'd hope they would be - i mean someone wanting to be leader of the US should take the opportunity to buttonhole these folks if they're all in one place

again - doesn't mean there's some nefarious plot

Apparently you nor anyone else here has read the Trilateral Commission's report, The Crisis of Democracy. I read it as part of my studies into the nature of the US Empire, and I suggest it be read despite its being 30 years-old. Much information about this group and its report can be gleaned from the web. I suggest this as one of several possible starting points.

An excerpt:

"The report argues that what is needed in the industrial democracies "is a greater degree of moderation in democracy" to overcome the "excess of democracy" of the past decade. "The effective operation of a democratic political system usually requires some measure of apathy and noninvolvement on the part of some individuals and groups." This recommendation recalls the analysis of Third World problems put forth by other political thinkers of the same persuasion, for example, Ithiel Pool (then chairman of the Department of Political Science at MIT), who explained some years ago that in Vietnam, the Congo, and the Dominican Republic, "order depends on somehow compelling newly mobilized strata to return to a measure of passivity and defeatism... At least temporarily the maintenance of order requires a lowering of newly acquired aspirations and levels of political activity." The Trilateral recommendations for the capitalist democracies are an application at home of the theories of "order" developed for subject societies of the Third World."

Hi Responsible,

Good point. And about

re: "...doesn't mean there's some nefarious plot."


1. Doesn't mean there is a nefarious plot.

2. Doesn't mean there is not a nefarious plot.

3. Doesn't mean there is not a plot and that its contributors share the belief that it's not at all nefarious, but rather benign.

4. Might mean there's some plot and that its contributors choose to avoid questioning the assessment of how nefarious it may be, rather see it as either A) not of a whole (no "it" there), or, B) as the only logical outcome of necessity...

5. Or whatever.

Great stuff undertow.

I was interested in the prediction as I had read following here:


The Sun represents the leader, or chairman, of the FRB. Pluto represents termination of his role or change of his duties in a substantial way, or a major transformation in the institution itself.

Natal Pluto represents the debt structure of the entity. Transiting Pluto in opposition to it might be the awareness that the FRB either does not have the money we thought it had, or its power as an independent and rather secretive institution is being threatened – and maybe successfully.

Why would this happen? Why would there be such substantial changes to the FRB? Probably because the country is in some kind of a crisis, and the political leaders want a scapegoat. Or maybe because things are being revealed about the FRB’s past history that calls into question the reason for its very existence. These revelations may create an outrage. Maybe they pertain to the sub-prime crisis we are now going through or maybe something else entirely different that creates such an outrage, and a demand for stripping its powers.

This was written beginnning of 2008 about 2008 planetyry transits and it seems to be panning out like he predicted. It would be interesting to see if th Fed and or Bernake are washed up this year. Maybe some shadowy rich people who think they are Gods have zippo influence over planetary orbits and can't make reality do what they want just as Bush could not.

I guess the astrologer's view is just as likely to be accurate as that of a certain oil expert whose name begins with a 'Y'.

I asked an astrologer friend last autumn to make a forecast for 'oil' and he muttered darkly about Pluto in Capricorn and said that the excrement would hit the fan in January (correct). His prognosis for the immediate future seems to be very gloomy indeed.

Obviously the EIA and the UK BERR look elsewhere for their rose-tinted information.


I couldn't help but notice---they're not riding their bicycles there!!! WHYEVER not??

'The latest forecast, issued in 2007, anticipates a price decline in upcoming years, with oil setteling above $60 for the long haul out to 2030'.

Above $60? EIA forecasters get actual pay checks to make such breath taking predictions? Sometimes I believe that all those making predictions of this nature live on another planet and receive data via old tv broadcasts such as 'I love Lucy'. Of course, along with those Lucy broadcasts they would see old commercials, such as Gulf gas stations with smiley faced attendants pumping gas for happy folks for $.29 cents per gallon...you remember, when Gulf was putting a little tiger tail sticking out of the gas lid of autos?

'Above $60 per gallon'??? Obviously the Fed or EIA believe the dollar is going to strengthen to some miraculous level by some miraculous mechanisim.

This is all just more talk by a bunch of azz hats that would be challenged if they attempted to work in one of those old Gulf gas stations. I would bet dollars to donuts that none of them could take a tire off a rim and put a new one on or find the gas cap on a 57 Chevy in less than 10 minutes.

Anyone that takes these clowns seriously needs professional help.

"find the gas cap on a 57 Chevy in less than 10 minutes."

Either the tail fin or license plate?

And I'll never forget 44 cent gasoline being outrageous at our local
Gulf station while drinking peanuts in coke and watching Hot (his name)
repair a 4020 tire. Memories. Thanx.

Mac...gas cap behind drivers side tailfin vertical chrome piece. Yeah, Toms Peanuts, cooked in coconut oil were by far the best when dumped into a coke. :)

Boby...you are right about the tiger tail and Esso. Gulf used twin plastic horse shoes IIRC.

At different times when in hs I worked part time in a Phillips 66, Gulf, Esso and a BP while in Newfoundland. Dad was in the air force and we moved a lot. I always found work to support my motorcycle habit.

Not to be picky but the "tiger in the tank" was Esso which later became Exxon. Slogan was popular in the early to mid-60's.

That explains why Esso gas stations in Canada look exactly like Exxons. ;)

Apparently, Esso was having trouble selling gasoline in Japan. Then, they discovered that the word "esso" was Japanese slang for a car that wouldn't start or that ran poorly (perhaps like "clunker" in English).

So, they hired a marketing firm to find a word that was meaningless in all modern languages - and the word was "Exxon".

Not so sure why "Esso" is still used in Canada. Either:

  1. they forgot about us
  2. nobody here speaks Japanese
  3. we enjoy driving clunkers

I don't think that's true at all.
First of all there are Esso gas stations in Japan.

Second of all wikipedia gives a completely different explanation.

Exxon formally replaced the Esso, Enco, and Humble brands on January 1, 1973, in the USA. The name Esso, pronounced S-O, was a trademark of Standard Oil Company of New Jersey and attracted protests from other Standard Oil spinoffs because of its similarity to the name of the parent company, Standard Oil. As a result, the company was restricted from using Esso in the USA except in those states awarded to it in the 1911 Standard Oil antitrust settlement. In states where the Esso brand was blackballed, the company marketed its gasoline under the Humble or Enco brands. The Humble brand was used at Texas stations for decades as those operations were under the direction of Jersey Standard affiliate, Humble Oil, and in the mid-to-late 1950s expanded to other Southwestern states including New Mexico, Arizona, and Oklahoma.

In 1960, Jersey Standard gained full control of Humble Oil and Refining Company and, through a reorganization of the company and the death of Janrick K. Ragnar, restructured Humble into Jersey's domestic marketing and refining division to sell and market gasoline nationwide under the Esso, Enco, and Humble brands. The Enco brand was introduced by Humble in 1960 at stations in Ohio but was soon blackballed after Standard Oil of Ohio (Sohio) protested that Enco (Humble's acronym for "ENergy COmpany") sounded and looked too much like Esso: an oval logo with blue border and red letters, with the two middle letters the only difference. At that point, the stations in Ohio would be rebranded Humble until the name change to Exxon in 1972.

Third of all, Esso doesn't mean clunker in Japanese.

Thanks for posting the additional info. I didn't think to check Wikipedia before making the post.

The story I posted was told to me by a Japanese friend many years ago.

Esso in the UK revived the tiger.
Esso and the Tiger

The oil crisis of the early 1970s meant that little advertising activity took place at that time. Soon after, Esso decided to explain the company’s pioneering role in the North Sea with a new advertising campaign.

Enter the tiger. This time the real thing. Beautiful footage, specially shot by expert cameramen using animals trained by experienced handlers, breathed new life into the Esso tiger.

"...old tv broadcasts such as 'I love Lucy'."

Or the Dinah Shore show:
See the USA
In your Chevrolet
da da da da da da ...

Texaco handing out free plastic fireman's hats to kids; everyone else giving away free glassware when you filled up; and those were "full service" gas stations.

The good old days...

This is the critical bit of reasoning behind Brown and Virmani's forecast of lower future prices:

Actual and expected costs of nonconventional resources suggest it might be difficult to sustain oil prices above $70 a barrel. However, the relatively high costs of these nonconventional oil sources could inhibit development because producers fear losses during a price collapse. The production and use of nonconventional resources would also generate more pollution, which could mean conventional oil could command a premium.

What’s the bottom line? Absent supply disruptions, it will be difficult to sustain oil prices above $100 (in 2008 dollars) over the next 10 years.

It appears to be beyond the capacity of some people to imagine that producers may not be able to infinitely expand production at the current price. To such people, only "supply disruptions" (which I take to mean above-ground factors) could possibly limit our ability to pump oil at a favorable price. This is really a staggering, almost incomprehensible blind spot (to me anyway).

The cheapest oil with the best EROI is depleting the fastest. Each new form of unconventional oil we bring online is incrementally more expensive than the last, and has a vastly worse EROI than conventional oil.

According to a 2005 DOE report, the cost per barrel of offshore (not deepwater) oil was just under $70, including exploration costs. It is certainly much higher now, because of inflation, dollar devaluation, and rising energy costs. And yet these geniuses think that it will be hard to sustain oil prices above $70, when a major portion of conventional oil can't be pumped for $70/bbl, let alone unconventional or synthetic oil.

Looking at the newsletter from the Dallas Fed, I noticed that their inflation adjusted graph begins with 1974. They completely miss the price rise after the 1973 OPEC Embargo, ignoring the fact of that first big jump in prices. Further on, they present a graph of inflation adjusted prices beginning in 1860, ignoring the fact that inflation data is rather meaningless over such a long period, given that oil didn't really begin to have a major impact on transportation until after 1900.

Then, they present Chart 2, labeled "Oil Consumption Rises with Income ", which is plotted with logarithmic axes. The fact that the U.S. consumes much more per capita compared with other industrialized nations is lost in this presentation. In this same graph, they claim that Singapore and Luxembourg have higher per capita consumption than the U.S., yet these are not nations in the traditional sense, but city-states. Data for Third World nations, which have substantial production as subsistence farming, likely ignores the value of this production to the individuals doing the farming. These folks are, in actual fact, providing their own needs directly and are less likely to be involved in the money economy, thus their production may not be quantified. To the economist who looks at national production data, their efforts are not going to be counted.

In sum, I suggest that the Dallas Fed is understating the problems we face using careful graphology. They don't even consider the possibility that resources are limited and may be past peak, as they give the EIA projections out to 2025, projections which have been boosted year after year because the previous projections were so far out of line with subsequent market prices.

E. Swanson

Graphology - I like it!

A common practice, I have noticed.

The EIA deals with future oil price much like the investment world. When oil goes to a new level, it's a spike untill it stays there a certain number of months. Then the new level is what it will be forever. Untill it goes to yet another new level. Repeat.

The move to the $100+ level was uninvestible untill just about a month or two ago. Now you see energy related stocks that were priced on $60-$80 oil breaking old (typically 2 or 3 year old) trading patterns because it is settling into many minds that we're probably not going to see the old levels much anymore. The energy stocks were drifting along with the shakey stock market, following the debt induced sell offs, for the first quarter of this year. But they are now breaking away to adjust for oil's new pricing levels that investors no longer view as a spike.

From the "Oil shortage a myth" article, linked uptop:

However, mathematically it is more accurate to add the proven oil capacity of individual fields in a probabilistic manner based on the bell-shaped statistical curve used to estimate the proven, probable and possible reserves of each field.

I'm a wee bit confused here. Based on the HL plot, which assumes approximately a bell-shaped curve (strictly speaking, parabolic I believe), the North Sea peaked when it was about 50% depleted. Note that the North Sea was developed by private companies, using the best available technology, with virtually no restriction on drilling.

In 2005, based on Deffeyes' work, the world was about 50% depleted (conventional C+C), and we have seen two years of slight C+C declines. We have seen a recent uptick, but it remains to be seen what the 2008 annual rate will be, and if subtract out unconventional, conventional crude oil production, which is what Deffeyes was modeling, is clearly down.

dr. pike doesnt seem to understand the term "proven oil reserves"

from the article:
"Proven oil reserves are likely to be far
larger than reported.....",

he then goes on to explain how adding probable and possible reserves will add up to more "proven" oil reserves. by the sec definition, proven oil reserves mean just one thing...... oil that can be economically extracted using existing technology.

the sec doesnt recognise any probable or possible reserves(others do).

any probabalistic analysis is not based on fundamental facts, only the opinions assigned by some oracle or committee or oracles. and the oracle(s) may be very knowledgable but in the final analysis, it is only an opinion.

yes, we all recognize that additional reserves are "probable" or "possible". when dr pike starts adding probable and possible with proven, he looses all credibility, imo.

dr pike has a phd and 30 yrs experience, hell, i can beat that i have a bs in engineering and a phd in bs!

Would it be practical to compile a monthly report on Total Exports as the practical measure of Peak Oil from an economic perspective. The Export Land Model seems the most realistic geological model.

Hoarding and/or long term management of a finite resource will likely curtain exports faster. I know that if I were Mexico, I would cut production in half and sell only $250 per barrel oil.

Using Total Exports from 2005, comparing subsequent Exports clarifies why oil prices seem to be riding a rocket.

  • Exports in 2005 were 46.342 mbpd (million barrels per day).
  • Exports in 2006 were 45.838 mbpd, down 1.10%, 504 mbpd or 184 million barrels below 2005.
  • Exports in 2007 were 44.832 mbpd, down 2.24%, 1,509.7 mbpd or 551 million barrels below 2005.
  • Exports in 2008 are down another million barrels per day below 2007, or about 4.5% below 2005.
  • Matt Simmons' estimates future depletion at 8% per year. Hoarding for domestic needs by exporters may accelerate this rate.

Is a Net Oil Export Hurricane Hitting the US Gulf Coast?

This is listed as deficits from 2005 as compared to the 1973 Oil Embargo deficit. The 1973 deficit is likely overstated, calculated as 4 mbpd shortfall for the entire length of the Embargo.

One of the things we noticed in our net exports work is that net export
declines tend to show approximately linear declines, i.e., something
close to a fixed volume per year, which is an accelerating decline
rate, versus an exponential decline rate.

For example, if you had $10,000 in a non-interest bearing checking
account, and you took out 5% per month, the amount of money you took
out would decline every month. i.e., a fixed decline rate, but a
declining amount per month. However, if you took $1,000 out every
month, the amount of money withdrawn would be fixed, but the decline
rate would accelerate. You would take out 10%, then 11%, then 12.5%,
then 14%, etc.

As you know, we saw an accelerating total net export decline rate from
2006 to 2007. IMO, this is the primary reason for the doubling of oil
prices, from $63 in May, 2007 to $125 in May, 2008.

The volume of 2007 decline was about one mbpd. I have three cases for
total world net oil exports out to 2031 (when our middle case shows the
top five collectively approaching zero net oil exports): 1.0 mbpd per
year (which I consider unlikely); 1.3 mbpd per year and 1.6 mbpd per year.
These declines per year respectively correspond to a 50% decline by 2031,
a 75% decline by 2031 and a 90% decline by 2031. IMO, the 75% to 90% decline
range is the most likely scenario.

An interesting line of inquiry might be to ask some of the usual
suspects where they see total world net oil exports in the 2017, given
that we have seen two years of back to back declines in net exports. I
would also ask them to document why we should see higher net exports,
if that is their position. My prediction: between 29 and 35 mbpd in 2017,
from about 45 mbpd in 2007.


I'm probably misreading your message. To use your analogy, you're saying that we are removing 5% per month... and not $1,000 per month. Correct?

I'm (probably mis-)reading your comment as a decline of $1,000 per month, but that would mean constant production rates until the well just runs dry one day. Which I don't think happens.

Otherwise, I'm interpreting that you're saying that it's a straight linear decline rate (until the very end, where it goes asymtotic).

Big difference between production declines--which tend to show something like an exponential decline (fixed rate per year) or hyperbolic decline (high initial decline rate that slows with time)--and net export declines.

Net export declines tend to show something like a linear decline, approximately a fixed volume per year, so net exporters can quickly go to zero, e.g., the UK (7 years), Indonesia (8 years) and the ELM (9 year). A current example is Mexico, which will probably approach zero in no more than six years.

In fact, we can see increasing production and declining net oil exports. If we modeled the US, we probably went from peak net exports, around 1935 I would guess, to zero, around 1946, 24 years before our oil production peaked.

I would like TOD to have persistent sidebar graph, similar to the oil price, that shows monthly Total Exports. Use that to measure Peak Oil and force EIA, IEA, CERA to justify why that is not the best measure of Peak Oil.

The data is too buried at EIA.

Rembrandt posts a monthly estimate with his periodic oil production updates.

As noted below, a dashboard that is persistent reinforces the point; we have short memories. We keep repeating oil crisis because we keep failing to remember.

Excellent suggestion. A Peak Oil dashboard if you will. Montly net exports, daily WTI spot price, Total world demand, Total world production, what else. I am sure this is probably available at some web site. But...who ya gonna believe the most? It would be nice to see a TOD sponsored and approved dashboard.

"Monthly net exports, daily WTI spot price, Total world demand, Total world production"

And a count down clock of Total world production EROEI counting down the 1 to 1 buzzer.

and wishfully, a cloud somewhere in the middle of it all where a miracle occurs!

So that's upto 50% decline in just 10 years -do you think we can survive that sort of drop? (at the very least it will sharpen the mind...!)


if I were Mexico, I would cut production in half and sell only $250 per barrel oil.

Once we are in contango I think that would be the sensible thing for all producers to do to maximise their profits - publicly owned oil companies are beholden to/incentivised by their shareholders who want maximised net profits for as long as possible - if they produce now they produce huge profits today (causing public anger aimed at them and calls for high windfall taxes) at the expense of a larger total profit spread out over a much greater number of years.

Also, once we are past peak and supply can't keep up with demand year on year on year what is the point of OPEC? ... IMO they are on a hiding to nothing, just setting themselves up as whipping boys - better for all 'net exporters' to keep a low profile and sell the story 'we're pumping as much as we can' ... even if they aren't ... and only export the amount they need to balance their trade?

sell the story 'we're pumping as much as we can' ... even if they aren't ... and only export the amount they need to balance their trade?

Every weather bump, every investment delay, etc... may be used to creep towards lower, longer outputs.

Mexico gets 40% of its federal budget from oil. Cantarell's output is 33% below its Dec 2003 peak. Mexico is as addicted to their oil revenues as we are to oil. The only way for Mexico to sustain those revenues is to slow the rate of depletion. They can site ANWR as an example of the US nurturing a resource.

Pricing power seems to be on the side of exporters.

The world may be better off facing extraordinarily high prices sooner while knowing there is spare capacity than catastrophic prices later knowing there is no spare capacity.

I don't expect to see significant witholding of production by the oil exporting nations.
The reasons are inherent in your post.
Revenues are dropping rapidly and so Mexico, for instance, has to pump every drop it can to keep political stability - if they don't they will be thrown out and someone else will.
Even Saudi with it's rapidly growing internal consumption and highly charged politics, together with it's high inflation rate and the lousy quality of the holdings it has for the money raised will likely continue to pump for all it is worth, as will, with less probability, Russia.
Norway is perhaps the exception if it makes large further discoveries, but the high political stability of Norway and high standard of living gives a strong clue to why it is unlikely elsewhere, and is in any case not significant on the world scale.
If push came to shove anyway Norway would be unable to resist pressure to maximise production.

Cantarell's output is 33% below its Dec 2003 peak.

Actually Cantarell is over 50% below its Dec 2003 peak (peak 2.192mbpd, currently 1.07mbpd):


Computer Architecture: A Quantitative Approach by Hennessy and Patterson has a very interesting discussion on the use of percentages to describe relative performance. In the end they decided they would only use percentages to describe a kind of 'faster than' relationship to avoid mathematical ambiguities. To recast your statement in their parlance...

"Cantell's Dec 2003 peak was 105% higher than current production."

I'm not one to stand on formalities, (I'm such a rebel -- yeah, right) so I'd also say...

"Cantarell is now producing at 49% of its Dec 2003 peak."

Grammar aside, either way that's a fsking scary statement.

Thank you, Joseph.

Got to spend the weekend with:
#1 - senior VP at an investment banking firm.
#2 - upper level union worker for the local power plant.
#3 - son of #2 and also worker at plant.

#3 spent his time telling us about 'the water car' and how that
will save us all.

#2 spoke of interesting conformal coatings that an engine could use if one wanted to drive a 'water car' and all the patented and 'bought out' hyper-carburetors. I asked about the 'state of the grid' - main lines are well maintained, but he agreed with me about the lack of maintenance of parts of the system. #1 brought up battery cars - so I got to ask 'can the grid at present support 'em' and was told nope.

#1 feels that GM/Toyota have 'the brightest people' and believes 'they are 'working on it'. He doesn't see any problems that won't get fixed.

De-nile was flowing all over its banks.

I am getting so much e-mail about that dopey water car thing. Not to mention article submissions and outright spam. Maybe we should put up a FAQ or something.

What would you do - hit them with some facts, or physics, or thermodynamics? There is nothing you can say or do, these people are not interested in understanding, and will not read anyone's FAQ - their way of life is changing and they are furious and want someone to make it all better. Lacking that they'll want someone to blame, and that they shall have. These are the reasons our society will be paralyzed and unable to form any reasonable response.

It is not about understanding, it is about beliefs. Most people can believe things just because they want them to be true - it goes back to yesterday's discussion about wishing, and ultimately to magical thinking.

There really is very little difference between waving a wand of the correct types of wood while saying the appropriate magic words, and the things that most people do every day to make things happen in the world around them. The fact that you or I may understand how it works is irrelevant - for all intents and purposes our world really does work by magic. So make more of it, dammit.

Doesn't matter if they read it or not. I just want something to point them at, so they stop bugging me. It may be because they decide I'm "one of them" and in on the conspiracy, but so what, as long as they quit sending me the stuff.


The water fuel cell is a device invented by American Stanley Meyer, which he claimed could convert water into its component elements, hydrogen and oxygen, using less energy than can be obtained by the subsequent combustion of those elements, a process that results the reconstitution of the water molecules. Thus, if the device operated as claimed, the combustion cycle would start and end in the same state while extracting usable energy, thereby violating the first law of thermodynamics and allowing operation as a perpetual motion machine. Meyer's claims about the Water Fuel Cell and the car that it powered were found to be fraudulent by an Ohio court in 1996.

Amusingly enough, this came up during a dinner conversation at a scientific conference I recently attended. I wondered aloud how energy could be extracted from water, and an analytical chemist at the table pointed out that it actually involved a fuel cell. I was about to ask where we would get the hydrogen from (and perhaps oxygen?), but the topic moved on before this uncomfortable question could be voiced... :-)

There really is very little difference between waving a wand of the correct types of wood while saying the appropriate magic words, and the things that most people do every day to make things happen in the world around them.


Just thought of a great business opportunity, all I have to do is fine tune this wonderful divining rod to help humanity find all the abiotic oil in those hidden deposits.

I won't be able to keep this amazing thing all to myself so I plan to sell share these, umm let me see, what shall I call them, Ah, I know, "Doil Rods"

Come take advantage of this once in a lifetime opportunity, purchase the only genuine deeply penetrating "Doil Rods" guaranteed to dectect oil where it has never been found before. Only $34.95 plus shipping. Visa, Mastercard and Amex accepted. Get it now before shipping increases.

Hey, it sure beats holding a prayer vigil at your local gas station to pray for the price of gas to come down.

Speaking of fantastical ideas...although this looks more plausible. I thought this was pretty cool..and kind of hilarious. Sorry if it has been discussed here already:

The inflatible EV cars:


Leanan -

Part of the blame for the proliferation of this sort of nonsense rests squarely on our increasingly technically illiterate journalists, who fall over each other in the hope of scooping the 'next big thing'.

Like clockwork, every couple of years or so a huge amount of ink is ejaculated over some crackpot with a secret magnet-powered device that produces more energy than it consumes and will therefore solve our energy problems. For reasons I don't quite fathom, a lot of these things seem to originate in the UK, perhaps because the English probably have the highest per capita rate of eccentrics in the world.

I have an interesting book on the history of perpetual motion machines, and as late as the early 1900s there were still many educated and sophisticated people who fell for all sorts of whacko perpetual motion schemes, perhaps thus proving that wishful thinking trumps reason almost every time.

There is a certain relation between weird new energy technologies and the Nigerian 'advance fee' scam.

The Nigerian scam goes: I've got $99 million in an unclaimed bank account. I need your help to get access to it. If you reply I'll ask you for $1000 to pay some 'release fee' or something. That's the last you'll see of your money.

The weird technology scam is the same: I've got a fantastic new technology that will save the world. But I just need $1000 to 'help develop it'. Again that's the last you'll see of your $1000.

I met a purveyor of something that seemed to be 'thick hydrogen' at a trade fair about 5 years ago. He was looking for franchisees. Alas he looked the spitting image of Sgt Bilko which didn't help. I haven't seen him or it since - maybe it really worked and has been bought up by the military.


The Museum of Unworkable Devices is a very entertaining compendium of such things. It can be good mental exercise to determine why the various devices won't work, or better yet, to figure out exactly what they actually will do.

I've always thought that you can determine much about a person's intelligence by his/her age when s/he first 'invents' perpetual motion. The scary ones are those who never stop 'inventing' them.

Cool site :)

Perhaps what would be most scary/disturbing is if a free energy/perpetual motion device worked. Consider the consequences. Say, just for example placing the energy in a huge capacitor -> indefinitely. The capacity for destruction from such a device would be astonishing to say the least. Good thing we've got consistent laws in nature.

That said I certainly do try to keep an open mind to our lack of anything approaching a full and fundamental understanding of nature. Who in 1800 could have ever imagined not simply large ocean going submarines but that what (WAG) 300-600 lbs of fuel could power one for six months underwater and create breathable air. (then again their existence also leads rather pointedly to our apparant lack of understanding as well of our place in nature)

the UK has an institutionalized bias towards arts graduates over science graduates in journalism and the media - and in fact in most areas: the City (financial sector and the captains of industry), Whitehall (civil service) and Government

it's a cultural thing and i don't see it getting significantly better

sadly it isn't just our eccentricities - it's a complex set of historical circumstances that has led to our entire national leadership lacking in technical literacy (hence the brain drain and why Silicon Valley is stacked to the gills with Brits)

Dear Leanan,

I'm in favor of anything that brightens your day.

You really need some sort of formalized article submissions process. Or at the very least some guidelines.

CPSR--Cornucopian Primal Scream Response, i.e., there must be some way, somehow that we can maintain an infinite rate of increase in our consumption of a finite energy resource base.

As I have previously suggested, perhaps we should view the CPSR & the Yerginites as a business opportunity, i.e., a chance to unload highly energy dependent assets on the true believers in the Yerginite Community.

Primal Scream was a good hint. I thought you'd been shuffling through my notes, as I've only just submitted my patent for the upcoming 'Perpetual Emotion Machine' ..

Shhh! Don't tell a soul! (Got the inspiration from 'Monsters, Inc', where they collected SCREAM for an energy source)

It doesn't matter what one believes about water-cars that's not going to change physics:

H2 + 0.5O2 = H2O Delta-G = -238.9 kJ/mol

The negative sign means you ain't gettin' no energy from splitting water.

Moreover, it's funny how people act so irrationally sometimes. I was thinking of Player Piano by Kurt Vonnegut. In that one, the main character is a guy who leads a rebellion modeled after the ghost shirts. They were Sioux who, facing life on the reservation, decided that wearing magical ghost shirts would protect them from bullets and rebelled. He doesn't find out until after his rebellion what happened to the ghost shirts:

"'What became of the Indians?' said Paul.

'What Indians?' said Lasher wearily.

'The original Ghost Shirt Society--the Ghost Dance Indians,' said Finnerty. 'Eighteen-ninety and all that.'

'They found out the shirts weren't bulletproof, and magic didn't bother the U.S. Cavalry at all.'

These guys who flatly refuse to believe in the possibility of peak oil, or global climate change, or whatever the newest disaster potentially threatening their way of life is, they remind me of these ghost shirt dancers. The last time I ever tried to convince a skeptic about peak oil, it was in 2003 and the guy was a post-doctoral researcher in physics. This guy was one of those like John Tierney who stubbornly clung to the belief human ingenuity would see us through no matter what happens (and it may yet, but the jury is still out). Nowadays, if someone doesn't believe me when I talk about peak oil, I just let them be. Of course, I haven't had anyone argue with me since the price of oil has been going up. :)

I have a friend that insists if we put small wind generators on our cars we could greatly reduce the energy they need to operate. I have tried to explain how that would not work, but he doesn't seem to get it. I think this is typical of the 'murican public that has no clue about how things work or how to even think logically.


Sadly, this magical thinking is not limited to the developed world. I visited a remote Himalayan village where they wanted to build a water mill to grind flour, because they couldn't afford fuel for their diesel powered one and all wheat had to be carried by hand, 1000M down the mountain to the nearest water mill, and back up again.

Unfortunately they had no local streams to power it. They showed me plans to build a large rain water capture system and storage tank. However, they realised they couldn't catch enough rain to supply the mill AND their water needs. So they were going to add a winch system to their mill, so that the falling water could lift some of the water back up to the top again, in buckets....

What is truly terrifying is that, as we head down the slope of Energy Descent, people in general will rely even more on magical thinking and cults (all religions are simply mature cults). The fact that we are probably at Peak Atheists, Peak Rationalists, etc., is not a comforting thought for us freaks who base our opinions upon evidence, regardless of the status quo. For example, if a person chooses prolonged and painful death from chronic disease via a meat/dairy rich diet, you can point to all the scientific evidence, to all the millions of people who cure themselves via simple dietary change - it won't change their minds. They choose Big Macs, Milkshakes, and Death over beans and rice. The worship of the scamming medical industry, and the worship of nutritionally ignorant Drs., is nothing compared to the DNA-ingrained belief that past experience is the best guide to future actions. And therein lies the downfall of mankind - the inability to control overpopulation due to a steep discount rate.

How much scientific evidence would it take for you to accept that that it's refined carbs, not meat or fat, that cause health problems?

An all beef chili dog with mustard and onions is not the same without a bun.

Well, it would take more than one article/book written for popular consumption by a non-scientist.

The idea that refined carbohydrates are unhealthy has been around for decades, but does seem to have been gaining recently.

The idea that meat and (animal or saturated) fats are not bad for you in the quantities eaten in the US flies in the face of a large amount of science.

I think it's good that someone is presenting heretical ideas on nutrition--the idea the vegetarianism could be healthy has been heretical in the past. But, the ideas have to ultimately stand up in practice.

Actually, the link I posted talks about some research that supports Taubes' work.

The idea that meat and (animal or saturated) fats are not bad for you in the quantities eaten in the US flies in the face of a large amount of science.

That's what I used to think.

But it turns out, the so-called "evidence" is flimsy indeed. The politics got way ahead of the science.

If meat is so bad for you, why are Inuit so healthy on their traditional diet of meat and blubber? Ditto the Masai, on their diet of blood, milk, and meat.

The data was so cherry-picked it's mind-boggling.

The trouble is most of the big studies are funded by pharmas or agribiz companies. For some odd reason they all say you need to take drugs to lower cholesterol and eat all kinds of processed foods (low in fat of course).

But nobody has a study out there saying you should avoid HFCS or refined high-carb grains or whatever. I guess reading Michael Pollan or Taubes or maybe Sally Fallon helps some. There are starting to be quite a few good books on this. What I'm missing, though, is any quantitative research.

Lacking the hard science, which is safer?

- To eat all kinds of refined processed low fat foods

- or to eat organically grown whole foods, grass-fed meat, fresh milk, butter, and yogurt from cows you can touch?

I don't especially want to be a guinea pig for someone's science experiment, so I'm tending to opt for the latter.


We've been following the Weston Price ideas (Sally Fallon, et al) for a little more than a year now. FWIW, my last two dental visits have shown my gums to be UNreceeding, and plaque was minimal. I don't floss. I have yet to check my Cholesterol and other blood details, but have had no noticable health issues.

Main changes are whey-soaked grains, Raw unpasturized Milk, raw pickles and sauerkraut (not vinegar), dropping most vegetable oils, save Olive oil and then palm for some hi-heat dishes, no white sugar or hfcs (or brown sugar, which is white sugar plus Molasses).. etc, etc

Without an occasional dose of chocolate, I wouldn't be able to read TOD.
("Occasional" means "down from my peak TOD-associated chocolate consumption rate".)

If meat is so bad for you,

It may very well be bad for you - your example people had genetically self-selected for meat eating. Generations of selection.

The effects of taking in more calories than burned is known to be bad - and meat is a quick way to add calories to the diet.

(I now eat butter because Dal is REALLY nasty w/o the ghee)

I don't think selection has made that much of a difference. In particular, the results of the typical American diet seem to be the same, no matter the ethnic background of people who switch to it. French, Inuit, Japanese, Mexican, Polynesian - it seems to be bad for everyone, whether their "historic" diet was all meat or meatless, high fat or low fat, etc.

You are probably right WRT to the American diet, but selection seems to be a factor in most dietary response. Gary Paul Nabban had a great book on a few years ago called Why Some Like it Hot. Nabban has written some excellent books on the ethno-botany of the SW US.

We have seen some clusters among American Indians that seem to indicate selection can be important. Particularly the Papago in southern Arizona were heavily selected to maximize metabolic efficiency because of the locally sparse food sources. Now that they eat a typical American diet that have a massively high rate of obesity and diabetes.

Taubes covers this in his book. He doesn't buy the "thrifty gene" theory.

Your logic is flawed. Selection hasn't occurred *for* the American diet, but for other diets that have been eaten for many, many more years. Even saying "an American" diet is misleading. Do all Americans eat the same diet? Not even close. Is it possible the "American" diet is unhealthy for anybody? Yup. Might it still be for Americans of 500 years from now? Who knows?

What yo do find is well-established, old cultures that have, indeed, adapted to their diets. I don't have a link because I read about this years ago, but there was a native tribe in Mexico that the authorities wanted to "help" with an "improved" diet. These were pretty healthy people. I imagine not quite as full figured as most of us, so thus not healthy.

You know where this is going.... changed their diet and they got pretty unhealthy pretty quickly.


The effects of taking in more calories than burned is known to be bad - and meat is a quick way to add calories to the diet.

It is nearly impossible to eat more calories than you burn if you eat an all-meat diet. One over-eating study found that the people who were fed the all-meat diet were unable to go over 3,000 calories/day, and they lost weight. The high-carb dieters were able to eat up to 10,000 calories/day, and still reported being hungry.

Obesity is not caused by over-eating. It is caused by a metabolic imbalance created by hyperinsulinemia coupled with insulin resistance.

The Inuit diet story is an urban myth. Read the full answer from New Scientist.

1) Inuit eat a lot of meat, but also a lot of fish with heart-protecting Omega-3.
2) Inuit get plenty of exercise, unlike your average 'mercan.
3) They don't just eat meat, berries grow above the Arctic Circle in summer. They import foods too.
4) Inuit are spread over a vast area and are organised into diverse tribes. Some of these eat mostly fish, some mostly meat. The figures depend greatly on which subgroup is studied.

(These aren't my answers, just copied from the New Scientist article; but #4 in particular seems plausible)

Inuit eat a lot of meat, but also a lot of fish with heart-protecting Omega-3.

It was the supposed paradox - how can they eat so much meat and fat, and not have heart disease - that led to the idea that Omega-3 was protective. But newer research has not found Omega-3 to be protective. And if in fact meat is not unhealthy, the Omega-3 theory is the answer to a problem that doesn't exist.

Leanan, I hope there is more to the research than citing such silly examples as:

"If meat is so bad for you, why are Inuit so healthy on their traditional diet of meat and blubber?"

As modern Arctic/Antarctic explorers know, you need to eat a bucket load of fat to survive the long treks in the snow. Your body burns so much energy due to the double-whammy of keeping warm and physical exercise. Explorers of old often died because they thought it was mainly protein that was important on such expeditions. These days large quantities of chocolate, butter and cheese are taken out in the field in Antarctica.

Of course the Inuit survive well on large quantities of meat and blubber. That is the required diet for living in extremely cold conditions. Now, for those of us in air conditioned/heated homes, offices and cars, who do only a mild amount of exercise, that is definitely NOT the case! Different lifestyles require different diets.

I've eaten blubber (while visiting a diamond exploration project above the Arctic Circle). You're welcome to it -- it tastes terrible. Try chewing on a big piece of fat that is attached to a piece of whale flesh of the same flexibility and thickness as your average car tire. I'd bet the Inuit eat blubber because they've always eaten it, but the younger generation is probably fast picking up our unhealthy fast food habits.

People, young as well as old, still eat what is widely rated as the most revolting food in the world in Iceland - rotted shark.
Never underestimate the power of social group tastes.

If it's "silly" - then so was the research this entire "fat causes obesity and heart disease" theory was based upon. Because that's basically what they did. Looked at what people ate all over the world, compared the diets, and found the "healthiest."

Only the data were cherry-picked. The countries that didn't match the researchers' theory were ignored in favor of ones that supported it. There was major selection bias.

I think there is more to our general unhealth than just the food we eat, but why look at other societies such as the Inuit and Masai, when they do not have the same lifestyle as most people in the West, nor live in the same climate? That is silly. Exercise and your day-to-day environmental temperature are huge factors in governing the type of diet you require. We should be studying non-exercising air-conditioned people – us! – not native tribes in the Arctic or Africa.

The Mongolian nomad eats practically nothing but meat and dairy products and is known for his longevity.

Did you read the book? I'm betting not.

It occurs to me that there is one point of commonality between the refined-carbs-is-bad and the meat/dairy is bad groups: the omega-3 to omega-6 ratio. The way our meat is raised these days (on corn and oats and other grains, which are omega-6 rich) leads to animals that have low amounts of omega-3 fats. Same with chickens fed grains. They end up being high in omega-6 and laying eggs that are likewise higher in omega-6. Inuit eat whale blubber, and their diet is so high in omega-3 they often get nosebleeds as a result. Refined carbs, and in fact, all our cereal/grain based carbs are high in omega-6 (grains are high in omega-6 whereas grasses are high in omega-3). So, a vegan, who eats a healthy vegetarian diet is getting a lot of leafy vegetables, and thus getting more omega-3s. Their ratio will be healthier than a normal American's. An indigenous native with a high fat, high animal/dairy diet is probably eating animals that ate grass, which is high in omega-3. A grass-fed cow's fat content is quite similar to the fat of fish, in terms of the omega-3 content. Therefore, their animal-based diet also ends up being more healthy that a normal American's.

Take it for what it's worth, I find both sides have some pretty solid evidence to support what they say, but it may be a result of the omega ratios, and not for the reasons given by either side..

PS, in any case, I wish vegan-dude could make at least one post that didn't bring up the evils of animal/dairy diets. Would make for a nice change of pace!

Thank you, speek:
Omega-6's lead to inflammation, often caused by an autoimmune response, where omega-3's are positively good for cardiovascular health.

The fact that refined carbs - especially HFCS - cause so much ill health does not in any way mitigate the harm caused by eating meat the way it is farmed in the industrialized world.

We often talk on these boards about fighting our genetic heritage, whether it's about tribalism, the hyperbolic future discount function, or a tendency toward violence. I submit that our reflexive attraction toward grease and sweets in our diet is just one more of these harmful anachronisms.

"Omega-6's lead to inflammation..."

Yes, exactly, I didn't want to get into it in my first post, but apparently, a stress response of the body is to release fats into the bloodstream, and if one's diet is omega-6 rich, then a lot of those fats are omega-6 and are inflammatory to the cardiovascular system. Inflammation leads to high blood pressure leads to damage to the arteries, leads to plaque build-up.

I have evolved my personal diet by trial and error.

  • no refined sugar
  • no white bread
  • no potatoes
  • no *diet* drinks
  • drink lots of water or green tea
  • eat as much meat (any kind) as desired
  • eat nuts (mostly cashews & almonds) as desired
  • eat dark chocolate (85%+ cacao) in moderation
  • eat some yogurt & cheese daily
  • eat fruits & dried fruits as desired
  • snack on salads, carrots sticks or celery
  • eat very small quantities several times a day

I am almost never hungry, my body fat is very low, and I have plenty of energy. It also helps that I walk 20-30km a day and lead a generally low-stress lifestyle.

Anyway, it works for me.

Hi calgary,

Interesting. I've had a problem finding footwear that allows me to cover more than about 6 - 7 miles without troubles of one sort or another. In case you have any suggestion. (Regular hiking boots are too heavy for my situation.)

Nike Frees. Or slippers. Or barefoot. Thin sole, no support. Make your feet strong instead.

The harder the surface, the softer the shoe. Hard soles are only good for soft surfaces.

Perhaps this sounds crazy to you, but I walked 1200km once. So I'm crazy but experienced. Learnt a lot about blisters.

Similar to me.

I eat meat, fish, eggs, vegetables, fruit, nuts. That's it. No grains, dairy, or legumes.Paleolithic or "Stone Age" diet in other words.

Based on what? Evolutionary biology. Eat the stuff your ancestors ate for a million years, and you can't go wrong. Avoid foods introduced into the food supply in the last 10,000 years as your genes may not have adapted yet.

I actually drifted into this looking for help with my acne. The "better" my diet got, the worse my face got. At one stage I was only eating 5% fat, lots of rice and lentils, my skin really sucked. Eventually I worked out the more meat I ate, the stronger my immune system got. Went the other way.

Of course grass fed beef is way better than chicken or ham - I avoid anything raised in a factory. Chickens and pigs aren't meant to eat grain either. Beef, salmon and free range eggs are the mainstay. I also eat a kilo of vegetables and another kilo of fruit per day - not many calories in that stuff.

Very easy to gain muscle and lose fat on this diet, as it is low GI.

Costs a fortune of course. If everyone ate like this, the world could only support 500 million people. Because of the need for grazing land.

The only way we can feed 6 billion people is by terracing hillsides in rice paddies and then feeding billions on a nutrient poor subsistence diet. Rice at breakfast, rice and lunch, rice at dinner. Or in the west, wheat at breakfast (toast), wheat at lunch (sandwich), wheat at dinner (pasta). That's overpopulation for you.

Then we kid ourselves about how "advanced" we are, while we eat stuff our ancestors would not even recognise as food.

One of the difficulties is those who have "made a discovery", whether they've been tinkering in their garage or read some exciting literature, and then view everything through a filter that this viewpoint is definitely, assuredly right and those who are not in accord with this view must be loudly and roundly castigated in no uncertain terms. I'm not sure that there are any conclusive experiments yet, but, eg, Steffansson studies ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vilhjalmur_Stefansson ) suggest that non-processed meat (as opposed to heavily preserved meat) consumption is not particularly deleterous. Leanan's link is part of the body of research that suggests that refined carbohydrates are a much bigger problem, although I'm partial to the view that it's a combination of that with overall much lower activity levels than normal on evolutionary timescale and that food simply is available 24 hours a day without effort (which it wasn't evolutionarily) are also very important factors in causing health problems. (There's also the inevitable confounding factor that people don't make just one change in their lives and then retrospectively choose the change they have most emotionally invested in to thank for their health changes.) The excessive absorption of heavy metals such as arsenic by rice ( http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/main.jhtml?xml=/earth/2007/08/29/eababy... ) also make me wary of eating rice with extreme frequency. But I don't think the comprehensive experimental data is available yet, and I'm open to more evidence rather than blazing righteous wrath down on those who don't take my view.

I read a diet book that was base on all the various bodily systems, maybe 9 of them, like blood type and hormones and stuff, I can't remeber what all and can't find the book. But anyway you were supposed ot do a test or go to the institute and fill out a long questionaire and then get a very specific diet for you. Their point was that no two people process food the same way as they are different. I notice how my family is and everyone is very different in metabolism speed and preferences and how they utilize energy and hold or lose weight. I think these people are basically right and one size fits all is bunk. Such a concept is more close to astrology concept where everyone is unique but there are a couple dozen variables which are determinable to find out just how each person is in their own particular way, unique. This is waht attracts me to such an idea, as it is realistic to real world,like astrolgoy if you take it more seriously. Ask Euan , I bet every damn oil well boared has its own personality, depth, thickness, porosity, what all, completely unique. You have to get used to it and get to know that damned well, just like you have to get to know an individual human or a fricking hound dog. No two beings or things are just the same. This I could call the reality theory and tell people to get used to reality and live life as it comes to you. Theories only fit what they fit and then you can throw them away.

Hi Ralph,

To me, this looks like a good start...they're thinking. I mean trying to figure it out. They just maybe need some small scale models to see if it works, and then someone offers a little theory...

My 9 year old son suggested that one the other day - I explained it to him, and he got it. He also suggested we put pedals in the backseat for kids to use while driving. I had no arguments about that one.

I have made this suggestion before (the pedals). I think it would be a good way to charge the batteries on a PHEV. Also helps the kids get some exercise.


had this very conversation 3 days ago
brought up that pesky 2nd law and eyes glazed over
I don't know if it's true but I've heard that when the Spanish were "exploring" S. America, the shaman had to point out the boats off shore. The natives couldn't imagine such a thing and therefor couldn't see them.

re: "2nd law"..

I have to suggest that anytime we start explaining things with any mention of a 'Law of Thermodynamics', we have ourselves to thank when those laypeople's eyes glaze over. Using officious, technical language is an invitation to a snoozefest. It's going to be essential to learn to paraphrase what we need to explain into the most available language possible. Use examples that make it accessible, instead of using somewhat exclusive language and insinuating that the listener doesn't belong to the cogniscenti..

Many people are not going to speak in technical terms, they just don't and we can decide to accept this or we won't.. but most people can still understand you saying "You don't get out what you're putting in.." If they really need to see the formula or further proof, hand them a baloon with a hole in it, and ask them to fill it up. (or find a similar, intuitive example of fruitless efforts.. tell them it's like taking out $20 from an ATM that charges you $22 for the exchange, and so then, even taking out $40 is no great bargain..)

We have to choose to communicate, not just get frustrated because 'they don't speak our language'..


EDIT: Another classic for the "Windmill on a Car" notion is the guy whose blanket was too short to cover his shoulders, so he cuts a strip off the bottom where his feet are and there's plenty, and sewing it onto the top, to cover his shoulders. Robbing Peter to pay Paul..

Any source for this fable? Tantalizing but implausible. Ocean-going rafts well known in NW South America, and coastal watercraft well known farther south on west coast to at least northern Chile. I would think coastal craft would have been known on north coast of South America east at least to Guianas.

No, can't back it up. Maybe the movie What The Bleep Do We Know?
But all the same, interesting

During WWII the Germans mounted small prop-driven sirens on the wheel-pants of their Stukas to create a terror-inducing scream as the plane dove for it's target. Perhaps peakoilers (has that word been coined yet?) could mount peak-oil primal-scream-producers (inducers?) on their vehicles (bikes, cars, motorcycles, scooters, SUVs, Hummers, clapped-out Bugs) to announce their comings and goings. Might be be a very effective PO advert, especially with Peak Oil bumper-stickers mounted fore and aft.

Of course, it could also land you in jail...

I met a friend over the weekend who asked me if I was elated about the sudden rise in gas prices. I said '...of course not, I have to buy the same gas you do.'

What is interesting today is an article by a main-stream economist reporting trouble ahead:

"The Economy Why It's Worse Than You think For months, economic Pollyannas have looked beyond the dismal headlines and promised a quick recovery in the second half. They're dead wrong....today banks are acting more like dried sponges, absorbing the liquidity the Fed is providing to shore up their balance sheets and make up for losses, rather than releasing the cash into the economy."


This ties into the Carolyn Baker essay liked up top on "solutions" versus "options." As a society, we have a meme that every problem has a solution. In the case of peak energy one can only say that there are no "solutions" that will allow BAU to continue but that there are options to avoid the total societal collapse.

In a way, it parallels my post the other day that people are deluding themselves when they believe they can become self-sufficient rather than striving to become self-reliant; the first is solution oriented while the second is option oriented.


...people are deluding themselves when they believe they can become self-sufficient rather than striving to become self-reliant; the first is solution oriented while the second is option oriented.

This is a very insightful observation Todd, I think it clarifies a lot of things.

Here 's another one, from a friend in the US, angry when I explained peak oil yet one more time: "No! We're going to produce gasoline from nuclear power stations. I could design such a system tomorrow and so could you!"

Oh my. I was an English major. I'm afraid he's going to have a long wait. Is this even possible? "Gasoline from nuclear power stations???"

But seriously, this person loves engines of all kinds: outboard boat engines, car engines. What will he do with his time if such things become too expensive to run?

No. Your friend is in for it. Either he'll figure out something to do with his time, or his wife will.

You can produce liquid fuel from electricity, whether generated by nuclear plants or renewables, wind and so forth, but that is hardly our immediate problem.
An easier target is to replace heating fuels, and to run vehicles with electricity.
That is all going to take some doing, and we would need serious cost reductions to consider in a realistic way having enough excess capacity for the production of liquid fuels for purposes which it is difficult or impossible to substitute.

Is this even possible? "Gasoline from nuclear power stations???"

Yes. You can make hydrogen from thermochemical process heat from high temperature reactors or high temperature electrolysis.

The hydrogen can be used with CO2 sources such as the output of a cement plant. Today limeburning alone pumps out over 500 million tons per year of CO2 that could be used as feedstock.

And the process of turning CO2 and H into gasoline, diesel fuel, alchohol, wax, or whatever is chemistry Sasol has been doing for decades.

In the short run it'll be cheaper to continue to pump oil, mine the tar sands, then do coal liquefaction though. The problem is the infrastructure even for CTL takes decades to build, and nuclear thermochemical hydrogen production on a scale to replace liquid fuels would take probably 25 years to implement if you devoted a nations economy to making it a dominant strategy. Thats not gonna happen, so we're in for a rough ride.

Some mitigation will be done, but allways a good decade too late for pain. We'll get those nuclear hydrogen to gasoline plants up and running sometime in fifty to sixty years also, but we'll wish we had them in twenty five.

and all the patented and 'bought out' hyper-carburetors.

It seems most people have no idea how patents actually work. A good answer to such a person might be to point out that

1. Patents have to be published and the original documentation must be made available publicly via the patent office. If one of these mythical patents really exists, the claimant should simply be able to point to the original documentation at http://uspto.gov/ or other national patent office sites to prove their case.

2. Patents expire, usually in 14-20 years (US), so many of these magical devices should by now be off-patent and therefore freely available to anyone to manufacture.

3. I'm not even sure if it is possible for a company to buy out a patent from another. But even if they could, it would still expire in the same timeframe and then become public.

Of course it doesn't really help, the myth has taken on a life of its own by now and will never die.

Over at snopes.com they debunk the 'miracle' carburatuer.


Actually deliberately getting a patent to prevent something from being marketed is a violation of patent law and grounds for voiding a patent.

If you follow the link to Stanley Meyer's water fuel cell, there is a list of patents relating to the miracle invention. I've had believers point out these patents and say; "It's been patented, therefore it must be true!" How can I refute this claim?

Well the first step might be to point out that his claims were found fraudulent by a court. And the second might be to point out that even though all his plans are available online, nobody has yet managed to build one. Most of those patents must have expired by now, and since all the details are public, anyone is free to read them and build their own miracle water fuel cell. The lack of such miraculous products on the market should be a good clue that it is all bogus.

Next time ask them how much physics they learned in school. I have been conducting a casual survey among friends and colleagues (college professors, mind you). Whenever the topic of high gas/oil prices comes up I ask them if they can explain why. The usual suspects raise their heads, of course. Everybody knows what they read or hear in the media. I then ask them if they knew how much energy it takes to capture the energy we use. I generally get blank stares, which gives me an opening to asking things like what is energy, what is work, etc. Eventually we get to the crux. Among the non-natural scientists, almost no one has taken a serious (meaning lab-based, calculus-based) physics course. Even among some natural scientists there is a clear lack of understanding of the second law of thermo. They might know it as the entropy thing.

Ignorance is pandemic in this country. People believe they understand energy because they don't know what they don't know. Every time I hear a state senator (just last week) who is all for fixing our energy crises say something like, "... all we need to do is ..." (fill in the rest), I choke. People really do believe in a free(ish) lunch in this country (US). Because they don't know better. That is when faith takes over.


What Arthur Clarke did not say:

When technology becomes indistinguishable from magic, most people will give up trying to grasp its basic principles and just believe that there's a wizard somewhere who can use it to solve every problem.

Being surrounded by GM luddites by working in the GM towers, I can tell you that while they may have SOME of the brightest people working for them, those are NOT the people who make the decisions. Corporate culture spawned from dinosaur management is the source of a lot of these problems. On the other hand, lots of people are retiring, and dead weight being cut loose. There's a lot of fresh blood rolling in, and a lot of them are able to think outside of the box.

see: Far Side's 'School for gifted Children', where the Wee Genius is trying desperately to push open the "Pull" door.

That must have been excruciating - I hope next weekend is better.

I stayed for a beer, then left to be with my consort. #2, being diabetic was the least hung over and his son was a hurting unit.

Sometimes a little empirical experience can help:

Here you hold this closed container with just 1 tsp of gasoline inside. I will hold an identical container with 1 tsp of water inside. Now shake it up and swirl it around a bit to get the liquid to evaporate a bit. Hold the container close, make a small hole in the end there, that's it ... Now, take this lighter, I will use this other lighter. now light the lighter and hold it next to this little hole, I will do the same. Let's see what happens to your container and to mine....


Ah, you might not even want to mention that as a joke. When I was a kid, two friends decided to make a "flame thrower." They poured some gas into an old inner tube. One kid held a match by the open valve stem and the other kid jumped on it. The kid holding the match only got a few burns but the kid who jumped was blown 20' into the air and spent a month in the hospital with serious burns.


This gives me such hope for the future of mankind...

The Pogue Vapor Carburetor is real. The claims made about it are probably exaggerated. The patent rights were sold. It was never put into production, possibly because of the fire risk associated with having a tank of boiling gasoline in your engine compartment,and because it is complicated.

The means of achieving high fuel performance was probably in the way it was to be used. The car was accelerated to cruising speed, then the mixture was leaned until the car began to slow. This is how you fly a Cessna (with a conventional carb) and yes, it saves gas.

Modern fuel injection systems probably do the same thing electronically, using the EGO sensor for mixture feedback, but in the '30s vapor control would have been a huge improvement

Most fuel injected cars that I know of try to keep the mixture stoichiometric. They actually kind of fluctuate around it a bit, but it's the purpose of the oxygen sensor to tell where it is at any given moment. When you romp on the gas pedal (and at some other times), most of them default to a "fuel map"...a predetermined injector pulse-width based on temperature, pressure, RPM, and throttle position while leaving out the trimming influence of the oxygen sensor. That's referred to as "open loop" and generally tends to run the car a little rich. There have been very few cars made which actually run lean-burn cycles...most notably that come to mind is the Honda VX, HX and Insight, and they do indeed benefit by lean burn but it only kicks in under certain conditions.


PARIS (Reuters) - Lack of stock building ahead of the summer driving season in the U.S. is the main reason behind the record jump in oil prices seen on Friday, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said on Monday.

"The fact that we can't see a stock build says very clearly that this is not a speculative issue," he added.

The IEA, adviser to 27 industrialized countries on energy policy, is due to release its monthly oil market report on Tuesday.

Helpful link. Thanks.

This caught my eye in the article you reference:

The inevitability of an attack on Iran was also a key factor, Eagles said.

Whoa! So the IEA, about as establishment as you can get, takes it as a given that Iran will be attacked.
It's a done deal.

I suspect the article was referring to Israel saying an attack was inevitable.

Maybe. I can't find another link to his actual comments.
This strikes me a bit more like Greenspan's comments on the war in iraq though - that it was common knowledge at the top that it was for oil, and 9/11 was just the rationale.
In a inadvertent moment of honesty, McCain also said that Americans were dying for oil.
It very much sounds to me as though all the guys at the top know that an Iran attack is when, not if.

'Pentagon blocked Cheney's attack on Iran
United States Vice President Dick Cheney's plan in August 2007 to launch airstrikes against the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps was blocked by the Pentagon over concerns about Iran's retaliation capabilities. But Cheney's close alliance with Centcom chief General David Petraeus gives him the option of ignoring his opponents in Washington during the final months of the George W Bush administration. - Gareth Porter (Jun 9, '08)'...snip...

and at the same link...

... but the hawks are still circling
Vice President Dick Cheney and his daughter Elizabeth, who has been particularly vocal ("We do not have the luxury of time"), appear to have gained ground over realists in the Bush administration in pushing the line that confrontation with Iran is inevitable. The Cheneys could be playing psychological warfare. Then again, the vice president has clear views on bombing Iran. - Jim Lobe (Jun 9, '08)...snip...


I have a hunch that the firing of the top level US Air Force personnel had something to do with behind the scenes minipulation by Cheney and/or the neo-cons. I do not see how the AF could move nukes around the US without permission and oversight from someone very high up. When I was on a flight crew in the navy we occasionally would fly with nukes, especially when conducting joint NATO exercises, but it required extreme oversight to carry out such an exercise. For instance, our aircraft was surrounded by a detachment of US Marines when loading and unloading the weapons and during these missions we always had a couple of high level armed 'observers' aboard.

The removal of top air force personnel is plainly a political manoeuvre. How the heck they are being silenced I can't imagine, but military personnel often have very misplaced senses of loyalty, or perhaps they have been the victims of entrapment.
I can't see any other reason for it than to clear the way for an attack on Iran.

"I do not see how the AF could move nukes around the US without permission and oversight from someone very high up."

My thoughts also, and that of a close friend, USAF, retired. He was in Intelligence, starting in early Vietnam, continuing to retirement after Desert Storm. Included in the links he sent the other day regarding this USAF shakeup.

Twenty-five U.S. Military Officers Challenge Official Account of 9/11

by Alan Miller


Rising fuel costs take the drive out of the US

It has hurtled along in top gear for decades but at last it seems that America’s love affair with the automobile could be coming to the end of the road.


As energy bills soar, Japanese test fuel of future

As world oil prices skyrocket, thousands of households in energy-poor Japan are taking part in an ambitious experiment to use fuel cells to light and heat their homes.
Since the prime minister's official residence became the first house in the world to be equipped with a domestic fuel cell in 2005, about 3,000 households have signed up to have the grey boxes installed outside their homes.
The project aims to thrust Japan to the forefront of a "hydrogen society" that has kicked its addiction to fossil fuels and produces affordable energy while spewing out far less of the greenhouse gas that is blamed for global warming.


Project Green Jet - a vision of the future of sailing

Going several steps further than the breathtaking, already-in-the-water 88 m Maltese Falcon, Green Jet uses automated systems controlling non-conventional sails to offer a glimpse of the future of sail – faster, more efficient, less labour intensive with minimal environmental impact. The vision is a superyacht sailed by one man with a touchscreen.


I bet they are trying everything they can. The number of cars whizzing down the road past where I live is now about half of what it used to be 4 or 5 months ago before 170¥/liter gas. I think it is great. I bike and walk everywhere so it's MUCH easier for me to get around these days. Thank you Peak Oil!!!!!!

On this date in 1943 Congress passed the "Current Tax Payment Act" which provide for income taxes on wages and salaries to be withheld by emplorers making all employers tax collectors.

More than any other event this act accounts for the uncontrolled growth of government. The legal tender ("money") collected from the income tax does not quite cover the intrest on the National Debt paid to the Banks on "mony" the Banks created from nothing. We may be reaching Peak Debt.

Work your butt off, get paid now, get taxed now, buy your land, make your home totally off-grid, get off all utilities, pay off EVERYTHING, then you can live below the poverty line and stop paying extortion money to the Feds. Well, that's my plan, at least. If your income is "too low" then they can't tax it! (Well, until they change the tax laws to tax the peasants heavily once more.)

There's still "property taxes".

And don't forget "special assessments"; that's how cities and counties will deal with the impending and accelerating revenue shortfalls.

Just got notice in the mail that I will now have to pay RENT for the square footage of sidewalk I have a few tables on.

Sidewalks are 12' wide.

Leanan, here's another story from today's NYT which might fit up top:

Rural U.S. Takes Worst Hit as Gas Tops $4 Average

Looks like the Invisible Hand is creating Demand Destruction, as expected. Will we also see similar impacts for those who have chosen to live far out in suburbia? And the price of gasoline is still going up.

E. Swanson

I kind of figured it would go this way.

The pain is not being felt uniformly. Across broad swaths of the South, Southwest and the upper Great Plains, the combination of low incomes, high gas prices and heavy dependence on pickup trucks and vans is putting an even tighter squeeze on family budgets.

Rural areas are also where "food deserts" are often a problem. (Places where it's hard to buy food, because of distribution issues.)

Sucks to be at the end of the supply line.

This map from the NYTimes is illuminating. It is ironic that where gas is cheapest, it takes the biggest % of income. Good reason in graphic form for why demand is slow to be affected.


EDIT: What I should have said is that where gas is highest, it takes the least % of income. *This* would tend to not affect demand as much.

How many of those people smoke? There's your gas money right there.

When I used to work landscaping, the guys were always complaining about money, then smoking two $5 packs of cigarettes a day.

This is why I'm not a fan of the addiction-to-oil analogy.

An addiction is something one can (in theory) give up without harm. (Caveats: w. possible harm in short term, harm that requires intervention to keep from becoming permanent, etc.).

Anyway, both are tough situations. (ie., Addiction and a means of survival that's oil dependent.)

On the other hand, the article talked about parts of the country where fuel costs were less than 2% of after tax income. The demand destruction is taking place in the most rural, poor parts of the country where people live far from work and drive pick up trucks. These people did not see this coming and nothing is being done to attenuate their problems.

These people are "adjusting" to the new energy reality whether they like it or not. One of their "adjustments" is to eat less meat, which, in itself, is not necessarily a bad things. Other adjustments necessary will to be to get more fuel efficient vehicles and live closer to work. Government has a role but it shouldn't include reducing gas taxes or subsidizing fuel purchases. Government could help those at the bottom by providing subsidies or credits to help them move closer to work and to buy more fuel efficient cars. Something like a feebate approach would be useful in this regard and should not just apply to new vehicles.

I note that, in the story, one of the "solutions" included an employer who loaned his employee who lived far from work a pickup truck. Great.

Best hopes for adjustments that make sense.

Many folks who chose to live in exurbia did so because of the fact that land costs less and newer houses being built there were also less expensive. As long as gasoline was cheap, one could "drive till you qualify" to get the necessary funds to buy a house. The cost of land (and real estate in general) rises the closer one is to the center of the town or city where the jobs are. If one is no longer able to pay for the gas and the value of his house has fallen into the dumpster, then they are trapped and can't buy another place closer in, even if they could sell their house. They might as well mail in the keys and look for an apartment in town, as they can never expect to be able to buy another house. If they don't move, they may lose their job as well.

Worse yet, if we are at Peak Oil, the long term trend in the price of oil is upwards. Things won't get any better, even were these folks able to find an affordable vehicle with high gas mileage. Those who have greater incomes can still afford to buy new vehicles, but their older SUV's and PU's, which would normally be traded and sold down the line, won't help those who can't pay for the gas to run them.

We have "painted ourselves into a corner", as the old saying goes. Getting out of this mess won't be neat and easy, nor will it be painless. "Government" has been a big part of the problem and it's not likely that government can rise to the occasion with proper solutions. We've got to undo more than 30 years of stupidity, IMHO.

E. Swanson

Worse yet, if we are at Peak Oil, the long term trend in the price of oil is upwards. Things won't get any better, even were these folks able to find an affordable vehicle with high gas mileage. Those who have greater incomes can still afford to buy new vehicles, but their older SUV's and PU's, which would normally be traded and sold down the line, won't help those who can't pay for the gas to run them.

1. things will get better. oil won't be high forever. we aren't going to have a permanent plateau for oil as we were supposed to with housing and stocks. if you have a high mpg vehicle that's great, that's what we need.

2. those who can't pay for gas will have to short-sale gasoline and get a loan to cover the difference. that's what dave ramsey always tells people. either that or your SUV is going to sell for a very low price. I see the same mistakes in SUVs that I see for houses. yes you can sell your house. it won't sell because the price is too high. yes you can sell your SUV but you have to lower the price. you may just have it repoed.

Well, since many rural dwellers are tied by family and work low wage, insecure jobs, moving them closer to their jobs probably won't help them that much. Because they still depend on family ties - these are people who don't put Mom in the nursing home, but take care of her themselves, because they can't afford otherwise. If they live near their job, they won't be near their sister who does daycare, and when they lose that job, which they almost certainly will, they will have to move again - which has costs.

Moreover, moving low wage urban dwellers into population centers is a bad idea - it creates more permanent underclass members in cities. What is needed are services to rural areas - public transport or even carpools to where the jobs are (usually in rural areas all the jobs are in a few locations) and much more support for rural self-sufficiency, local economies and rural food production. Stripping the countryside is the last thing we can afford to do in the face of the growing food crisis.


JF - "moving low wage urban dwellers into population centers is a bad idea - it creates more permanent underclass members in cities."

From a perspective of Peak Oil or "expensive energy" the suburban paradigm doesn't work. For one the road maintenance with scarce revenues will become all but imposible. Already municipalities are having a difficult time paying for asphalt which is skyrocketing in price. IMO small to medium sized cities with good access to water and farmland will be the most survivable cities. The "permanent underclass" is about to get a lot bigger so there will be plenty of company.

The problem in the SW United States is all about water, even more than gas. In CA Schwarzenager has already declared a drought. Water deliveries to So CA are down 30% this year, and all they are telling you to do is take shorter showers.

I don't trust the government to do anything to mitigate these problems...

Eventually, we will move out to the rural areas, but I think the immediate effect will be people moving to the cities. It happened as Rome collapsed, it happened as the Maya collapsed, it's happening now in Africa and Asia. People go to the cities because that's where the jobs are.

Leanan -

That 'people go to the cities because that's where the jobs are' is one of the main reasons that almost every major city in the developing world (as well as many in the so-called developed world) has turned into a dysfunctional hell hole. The people go to the city for jobs, can't find many, but wind up staying. Instant ghetto.

Many of the social pathologies endemic to US inner cities were the result of Afro-Americans from the rural South migrating north to cities like Detroit during the period from WW I through the Fifties to take jobs in a booming industrial economy. When the jobs evaporated, the people stayed and became a permanent underclass. Major northern US cities have largely become a two-tiered culture consisting of prosperous business/commercial centers and upscale neighborhoods populated by middle-class white-collar and professional types and run-down ghettos or near ghettos populated by poor Afro-Americans, hispanics, and other minorities. In between these two you have marginal neighborhoods largely consisting of beleagered working-class whites trying to hang on and hoping to one day being able to move to the burbs.

Having more displaced rural people and suburbanites migrating into the cities is going to make an already bad situation intolerable.

I don't disagree. It's not what I want. It's what I think will happen, based on what is already happening in other countries now, and what has happened in the past.

Many of the social pathologies endemic to US inner cities were the result of Afro-Americans from the rural South migrating north to cities like Detroit during the period from WW I through the Fifties to take jobs in a booming industrial economy.

Dno't forget that rascism, inflation and our war on drugs have helped make that happen.

John15 -

I totally agree.

I know from personal experience that some of the first- and second-generation urban white immigrant communities, who experienced discrimination not very long before, were some of the worst offenders as far as racial prejudice is concerned.

There was also a high level of hypocrisy. Many people who complained about those 'lazy good-for-nothing' blacks and hispanics living on welfare were the same people who faught tooth and nail to deny them membership in the local trade unions, which would enable them to obtain high-paying jobs. Ditto for urban police and fire departments.

But the tables have turned, and now with affirmative action and the fact that many US urban cities now have minority-dominated administrations, it is often very difficult for a young white man to get on the fire department of a multi-racial city like say Jersey City or Newark.

So, cramming more people who can't stand each other into an urban environment strikes me as a recipe for disaster. Urban environments tend to magnify what is best and worst of human nature.

Tolerance is a virtue.

That, rather than the % of this group or that group, helps determine civic comity.

Best Hopes for "Can't we all just get along",


In the case of Rome, people went to the city because that's where the government handouts were. The plebes had jobs on farms, but got booted from the land (whether it was theirs or they were sharecroppers didn't seem to matter much to the patricians doing the booting). Faced with the influx of hundreds of thousands of unemployed, the government had little choice but to feed and entertain the masses (bread & circuses).

I could definitely see us heading down that road.

Not entirely...the legal basis of serfdom originated during the declining years of the Roman Empire. In order to keep people farming and producing food despite very high inflation, farmers were forbidden to leave the land.

And very high taxation. It was easier to get food in Rome than it was on the farms that grew it, because of high taxes. That's why they passed laws saying farmer's sons had to be farmers, too.

Well, I both agree with Leanan and not - some people with enough money will move into cities, while the poor will move out of them, into rural areas, by necessity. Put 6 people in a Geo Prism and it is amazing what great mileage it gets.

The suburbs are over-maligned. That's not to say that the roads and infrastructure won't fall apart, but it is also true that by 2030, we're only going to have .6 acres of arable land per American to grow food on - less probably since industrial agriculture is increasingly unconnected to actual food, and producing fuel, and also less because this analysis came before the full implications of climate change hit. Your diet now probably uses between 1.2 and 1.8 acres to produce your food. Without the suburban land, people will starve - and since we already ration food by price, probably not that long into the process. I don't think the "land=food" equation is going to take that long to penetrate - not at this rate of destabilization.

There will be plenty of problems with suburban infrastructure, but in many areas they can be overcome - many US suburbs have the population density of small cities in the 19th century.


Well, I both agree with Leanan and not - some people with enough money will move into cities, while the poor will move out of them, into rural areas, by necessity

Exactly the opposite will happen. The poor will move into cities because that were they can get social services (public transportation) and food and other basic goods are delivered. The poor will not be able to afford cars, and rural regions have no or very little public transportation. The wealthly will move out of the cities as cities raise taxes (to pay for higer social services for the poor and decreasing business activity). The rich will be able to afford to pay for fuel and therefore will not have difficulty in rural areas. The poor will simply pack as may people as the can into small apartments and split the rent. Cities will enact laws to cap rent prices increases (some already do that today).

In the not so distance past, the Middle class and wealth left the cities as social problems and economic policies made cities unpopular. The inner cities were populated mostly by the poor. Over the past 25-30 years, it changed direction as real estate development projects favored the Wealthly, and a significant number of the poor became part of the middle class and moved out to the suburbs. However, the pendulum is swinging back because of the energy and credit crunches. We are now starting to see some of middle class falling into poverty. Most of which are remaining or relocating to cities and heavy populated suburbs. because they have better access to public transportation and there are more social services than rural regions. Urban regions almost always offer better job opportunities than rural regions which attract the poor. Also consider that during the great depression, large number of the poor fled rural regions to the cities in search of work.

Your diet now probably uses between 1.2 and 1.8 acres to produce your food

The deterioration of the green revolution (fossil fuel based Fertializers and Pesticides) will radically alter the amount of food produced per acre. Pre-green revolution farms need at least four times the land to grow the same food they do today. They will need revert back to crop rotation and accomidate for lower crop yields cause by increased losses from pests, disease due to lack of fungicides, and lower soil nuetrient levels). We also been breeding crops for the past 50 years to maximize the green revolution. Crops today are more dependant on chemical inputs to produce bigger yields at a cost of less resistance to disease, drought and don't produce any food unless the ground is saturated with fertializers. As the costs rises and availability declines for agraculture chemicals, it will take a deep toll of crop production.

Without the suburban land, people will starve

Disease and violence will cull large urban regions before starvation will. As more and more people slip into poverty, healthcare will decline. Low Healthcare services + higher population (as poor leave suburbs for cities) + lower food nutrition = pandemics. Crime and violence will also soar as more people turn to drug abuse (self-medicated for depression). Riots will become the norm instead of the rare exception.

The poor will move into cities [...]

This is the story of the industrial revolution. When farms are mechanized, agricultural workers are no longer employed so they migrate to the cities in search of work. This happened in Britain in the 18th and 19th centuries; it happened in the US after 1865 (blacks moving north); and it's happening in China today.

The important thing is how countries handle this internal migration. Life was grim in Britain's early industrial cities with their overcrowded homes and polluted air. It took a long time to develop the infrastructure (sewers, roads, transport, housing, electricity) to cope with the influx.

In the present day, China is handling its urbanisation very well. Latin America is not - think of the notorious 'favelas' of Brazil. These shanty-towns are home to disease, violence, crime, and low life expectancy. If we manage Peak Oil properly, we can avoid this; if we ignore it until it becomes a crisis, then millions of us will be living in shanty towns too.

In the not so distance past, the Middle class and wealth left the cities as social problems and economic policies made cities unpopular

This was not some natural force at work, but the direct result of a series of government policies. VA loans only for post-WW II built homes, massive highway projects, desegregation, home mortgage tax deductions, federal subsidies to build new schools and sewer systems, etc.

The same can, and will, happen in reverse due to natural forces. Empty and abandoned homes (even 20%) result in poorer schools, fewer services and less infrastructure maintenance AND "the wrong people" moving in.

Every aspect of life in Suburbia will become less viable for the "Drive or Starve" Americans living there, from driving Johnny and Susie to school, to pizza delivery to home repair to getting maids and home health care out there.


As more and more people slip into poverty, healthcare will decline

True, but the for profit hospitals in Suburbia will close first while the Medical Schools in Urban Areas will be among the very last to go (if ever).

Home health care, with a nurse traveling from patient to patient, is not going to be viable in Suburbia for long. Likewise, clinics are a much more viable model in Urban than Suburban areas.

And once one grows too old to drive, what then ? Meals on Wheels is shutting down as we write.


True, but the for profit hospitals in Suburbia will close first while the Medical Schools in Urban Areas will be among the very last to go (if ever).

I wasn't debating Cities vs Suburbia. Both Cities and Surburbian dwells are doomed.

Unless there is huge subsidies for Medical School, Enrollment will plummet. We are in a credit crunch which has already affect availability of student loans. Public schools are turning out sub-par students, as schools have made classes very easy. Math and Science is at a all time low. Medical school isn't easy.

Modern Medical knowledge is nearly useless without access to modern medicines and medical supplies. Healthcare is depend on the availability of drugs and plastics. As the cost for energy soars, and unemployment also soars, drugs will become unobtainable. Many Drug companies will reduce production to meet demand. Some drug companies will also go bankrupt. What we will probably end up with is very simple drugs that are easy and cheap to manufacture. Advanced antibiotics and medicines will disappear as the market is no longer able to afford them. Drug companies pour billions into developing new antibiotics to stay on top of superbugs, and the researchcosts keep going up every year, and the bugs grow stronger. Without a healthy economy to support them, they will be forced to cut or terminate research. The Bugs will win.

The Production of Foods rich in nutrition will plummet and will be replaced with low cost grains and starches. Without a diet rich in vitamins the Human immunune system degrades and has less capacity to fight diseases.

Doctors working in cities will be more likely to flee the cities as City healthcare systems become over loaded and the doctors lack the capability to treat diseases (lack of medicine and other medical supplies). With the rise of superbugs, doctors will be more inclined to bug out of the cities before they become infected too. Only the true die-hard doctors will remain, but they will eventually become ill.

And once one grows too old to drive, what then ? Meals on Wheels is shutting down as we write.

The Average Age of American Farmers is 61. I would be much more worried who is going to be driving the tractor, than Meals on wheels.I doubt many americans will become so old that they can't drive. They are more likely to expire before they get close.

Many of the rural population is Exurban. They work in town and live in the country (often on what my grandfather called 5 acre toy farms). Long commutes are the price they pay for "country living".

Moving them close to work will be a good and easy (from a social POV) mitigation strategy.


PS: Many of their jobs are stable. Nurses, utility workers, food processing/handling, gov't, etc.

I think we're talking about two different groups here. There's the exurban middle class, and then the rural poor and working class (effectively the same thing in many places these days). The Times article was speaking of the rural poor, whereas the article listed above about "wealth destruction" was about the exurban middle class. I'm talking about the rural poor. The exurban middle class probably will move, although I think many of them will lose their jobs in the coming years, and stop being middle class. But as you say, there's no real reason in many cases for them to be where they are.

The rural poor can't and probably shouldn't move - there aren't jobs that will enable them to survive well in the cities, they can't afford the move, and they can't afford to leave their families and communities which provide many of the services they can't afford. The only way that most of the rural poor in my area get along as well as they do is because of strong family ties - grandparents provide daycare, kids provide elder care to parents, etc... So breaking up rural communities is a bad idea in the face of PO, because the already strained social welfare networks, never secure in the US to begin with, are already going to be past absorbing new participants.

There's also the fact that most generations of American rural dwellers are only a generation or so removed from food production. The people who've lived out in an area a long time are precisely the ones who will do best as we transition to growing food for people to eat - while industrial farming grows it to feed the middle classes's cars and meat.


Nice insights. Bottom line - when push comes to shove, social capital trumps all other forms of capital.

"The rural poor can't and probably shouldn't move - there aren't jobs that will enable them to survive well in the cities, they can't afford the move"

the US has an incredibly long history of rural poor moving to the cities and making it. my family moved over a hundred years ago from a small city in Northern Europe to New York CIty and did pretty well. the Irish Immigrated in massive waves to the cities and made it after a struggle.

Most of the Irish who came to New Orleans died.

Best guess 8,000 to 20,000 for one canal.



"Best guess 8,000 to 20,000 for one canal."

wow. I never knew that. just look at all those who worked in NYC though. many did get out of the slums.

About 1,000 died building the Rideau Canal. Suprisingly, a large number died of malaria.

Rideau Canal

So much for the joys of pre-industrial society.

The rural poor can't and probably shouldn't move - there aren't jobs that will enable them to survive well in the cities, they can't afford the move, and they can't afford to leave their families and communities which provide many of the services they can't afford

The Rural poor will migrate to the cities (if on foot if necessary), as they did during the 1930's. The communties that provide services will simply disappear. Unless these people adopt a subsistance farming lifestyle they'll either leave or die. Much of the rural poor also depend on gov't subsidies and have jobs. This source of revenue will dry up pretty fast once fuel shortages begin.

Its likely that gov't will nationalize farming (the biggest farms) in order to keep the food moving to the cities. The gov't will cut subsidies in rural regions and direct the poor to relocate to the cities to reduce distribution costs. So unless the poor can land a gov't agraculture job, or as a farm hand working on a private farm (perhaps the return of plantation farming), they will have no choice to relocate.

The people who've lived out in an area a long time are precisely the ones who will do best as we transition to growing food for people to eat - while industrial farming grows it to feed the middle classes's cars and meat.

One generation is an eternity. If your a farmer you should reconize that enormous amount of knowledge required. Farming isn't just about planting seeds in the ground.

Consider that during the expansion of America in the 19th Century, when immigrants were gov't granted land. A large number of them failed, even if they were raised on a farm. These poor also lack the land, tools, and equipment required to support farming. Consider some basics, like the lack of fuel and electricity to power equipment, and the lack of draft animals. All of these things will play an critical role. It would take considerable time to restock draft animals to meet the needs of the poor living in rural regions. The poor couldn't afford them anyway.

While a small household might be able to theoretically subsist on a five acre small holding, what they won't be able to do is to produce enough of a surplus to earn enough cash to pay for property taxes, health insurance, property insurance, transport, or any of the other stuff that has become semi-mandatory in our modern society. That is what forces such people into finding jobs, and in turn of needing to commute long distances (as the jobs are not nearby).

what they won't be able to do is to produce enough of a surplus to earn enough cash to pay for property taxes, health insurance, property insurance, transport, or any of the other stuff that has become semi-mandatory in our modern society.

And I am not convinced that one could produce enough of a surplus from capturing photons alone to cover the 'stuff'.

That's the thing a lot of people don't understand: One can live on almost nothing in some rural areas a lot easier than one can live on minimum wage - or even quite a bit above minimum wage - in the cities. There are rural areas where one can buy a beat-up old mobile home on a piece of land for almost nothing. Put in a wood stove, get oneself an axe, chain saw, and an old beat-up pick up truck, and one can get all the firewood one needs to heat oneself for just a couple of gallons of gas. Pick up a few garden tools at the local auction, put in a garden, raise a few chickens, and one can supplement the staples one can buy with food stamps pretty well. Get a fishing rod and a shotgun and one can eat very well. There are lots of ways to live really cheap in some rural areas - cheap enough that a person just might be able to get by with odd jobs, seasonal works, and maybe one or two little self-employment enterprises on the side, all without having to drive hours per day to a lousy, low-paying job. City people look down their noses at that type of poor-folks, backwoods lifestyle, but I wonder who will find it easier to cope with the consequences of peak oil?

Unless you can grow your own food - and these days, even rural people usually don't - I see distribution as a problem.

It's already a problem. Food deserts are places where there are no grocery stores. They are often in rural areas, and the people are left eating food from gas station convenience stores, because that's all that's available.

As fuel prices increase, there will be even less incentive to service these areas. Even the government may not bother. So...what if there are no food stamps, or no food to buy with them?

Then people will grow food or starve. But equally likely - or perhaps more - is that there will be people starving in rural, urban and suburban places - with plenty of food in the stores. The difference is that there's hope for the rural dwellers with little money.

We're in the midst of a gigantic shift - the poorest people in the world are no longer poor farmers ,they are poor urban dwellers. I don't see why the US will be different.


We're in the midst of a gigantic shift - the poorest people in the world are no longer poor farmers ,they are poor urban dwellers. I don't see why the US will be different.

I actually agree with that. In the long run.

But in the short and medium term - in the time anyone alive now has to worry about - I think the trend will be towards cities.

You see this even in Africa, where people are going to even very troubled cities like Harare, and living in slums and tent cities. The government keeps trying to get them to back to the rural areas, but they won't.

If people knew what you know - shared your vision of the future - they would do as you are doing.

But most people are not going to give up the American dream (even in Mongolia). As services contract - doctors, grocery stores, gas stations, government handouts, phone service, etc. - they'll follow them toward the population centers, rather than go without.

You are correct I think. Here is Tokyo exurbs, along train lines there are new condo high rises filled with people who can't afford to buy houses too far away because of gas costs. They stay in the shopping centers on the weekends (shopping centers are on same train lines). Mobbed, just mobbed now. Doctors are there too. Post offices, schools, etc.

But as food costs go higher and higher they are going to have to leave and go back to the rural towns where the elderly parents are farming one tiny plot of land. This is a very unpopular idea....for 70 years "coming to Tokyo" has been the dream of success. One wants to always wear high heels, work in an office, have a new sofa and a cell phone. The rural life with its mud, lack of fashion, limited food variety and shops is considered a total waste of time by many here.

These people are going to have to focus on growing all of their own perishables - fresh fruits & vegies, eggs, dairy products, meats. They are going to learn how to preserve surplus perishables for the lean winter months. They are going to have to learn to do their own baking.

I can see neighbors forming buying clubs or local food co-ops to make big buying trips a few times per year to stock up on non-perishable staples.

This is getting back to the way it was in frontier days. There were no nearby grocery stores back then, either. People were not necessarilly 100% "self-sufficient", they did buy (or barter for) some things that were not easily produced on the farm, but these were non-perishable staples that were bought in bulk, brought in from a distance.

There was a diary found a couple of years ago, written by a man in the 19th century. He lived in Indiana, I think, and kept track of everything he did every day.

One surprising thing was that he ate a lot more imported food than they had ever imagined. Things like peaches, brought in via train. I really wonder if "frontier days" are a good analogy of what the post-carbon age will be like. There are a lot more people now, and they are living places that aren't easily serviced by the transportation of the past (waterways and trains). Between fuel shortages and climate change, I think a lot of people are going to end up moving, if not to the cities, to more accessible or more temperate parts of the country.

The other surprising thing was the sheer amount of time he spent pumping water every day. It took up a huge chunk of his life.

Well, it is worth remembering that the 19th century was an energy boom time - so yes, I agree it isn't a perfect analogy. And it depends on when you are talking about. In the later homesteading period, a lot of land that really wasn't that good for farming was being settled by fairly middle class people (it wasn't dirt poor folks, like one imagines) - so yes, they were importing food - in part because much of the land simply wasn't suited to the kind of uses it was being put into. For example, many regions had "tree claim" requirements - in areas that simply don't grow trees - too dry.

I suspect this will be a parallel in many ways - there will be people attempting to farm certain kinds of land that won't succeed.

I really think it is a bad idea to speak of the suburbs, or the country as a monolith - there are a lot of variations on the theme - suburbs with quite large density in areas where transport can work, suburbs in places that are completely ridiculous that can't survive, - there's a huge range. But as we're talking about the near term, the simple fact is that gas isn't nearly expensive enough or scarce enough to keep people except in the very outermost rural areas of the west completely isolated from the supply chain - even if a rural dweller can only shop two or three times a year, and has to pile a bunch of people into that truck to get there, they will. If the gas deliveries stop, it will still pay for some time for someone to take the truck and some tanks into town and sell it at ridiculous prices.

If the supply actually dries up, or there are widespread shortages, then the picture changes, but then it changes for urban dwellers as well. I wrote recently about the problem of the Great Depression, where there was massive agricultural overproduction and the costs of getting it to the cities meant that farmers would shoot their sheep and cattle and let them rot rather than sending them to the cities. That problem runs both ways.

Don't get me wrong - I'm not not doctrinaire about city/country/suburb. I think all three have a post-peak future, simply because all three existed before in some form or another - the average farm worldwide is less than 4 acres, and some 20% of all farms worldwide are less than 1 acre. But it will depend on how people adapt and live in these places - the cities will be a disaster for those who, for example, don't know how to move within rapidly changing economies, while the rural areas will be tough for people who can't deal with shortages and make do in a lot of ways - the suburbs may have some of the best and worst of both.


In the more remote suburbs in America biogas would seem a viable alternative to run a communal truck to town to do some shopping a couple of times a months.
Biofuels are a silly idea to substitute for billions of passenger movements in tens of millions of cars, but they can provide small amounts of fuel for rural areas, and biogas is much more efficient than ethanol from corn.

I want to start growing my own food in the very small yard space I have available. Can anyone recommend a good, comprehensive book or online resource that will help me get started? Thanks

How to Grow More Vegetables by John Jeavons.

When it comes to small-scale vegetable production, it's the Bible, the Constitution and Kama Sutra all rolled into one.

"All New Square Foot Gardening" by Mel Bartholomew is a classic.

John Seymour's The Self Sufficient Gardener is pretty good - a new edition is just out.

A book that is out of print but worth getting if you can is High Yield Gardening by Hunt & Bortz.

I would also definitely recommend Eliot Coleman's Four Season Harvest.

All three of the above books emphasize making the most of a limited amount of land, which is exactly what you need to do. These three are my mainstays.

I'd also suggest checking out your local public library. Almost anything put out by Rodale is at least worth a look.

Finally, find your state's cooperative extension service website, and pay a visit to their local office. They don't tend to be oriented to organic gardening, but nevertheless have some good info that will be specific to your area.

Another poster mentioned Jeavons. I would offer a little caution. The yields he claims are only achievable from soil that has been worked and heavily amended with organic matter for years. His yields are also only achievable if one devotes many, many hours of work weekly hand weeding, interplanting, and irrigating. His is a highly labor intensive form of gardening. Planting on a hexagonal grid pattern makes a great deal of sense in theory, but also makes it a lot more difficult to plant and to weed compared to more traditional methods. If you have nothing else to do all day, great. For those of us still working, you are probably not going to be able to come close.

Someone else mentioned Bartholomew's Square Foot Gardening. I once used his methods exclusively, and still do on a few beds. Bartholomew has essentially taken Jeavons and simplified him a bit, working with square foot grids rather than hexagonal grids, which is a little bit easier to work with. Again, the high yields claimed are only possible with well-worked soil that is rich in organic matter, and with lots of weeding and watering. The interplanting of different crops within the same square foot is also a lot more difficult to do in practice than Bartholomew claims. Plant leaves have a habit of not ending up where you would like them to be, some things come up to quickly and others not at all; it is easy for plans that look neat on paper to become a mess on the ground. I've found that square foot gardening works best when you monocrop an entire bed or a solid block of several square feet within a bed.

One final bit of advice: MULCH! A heavy layer of organic mulch is your friend - it will conserve soil moisture, cut way down on the weeding, and eventually break down and help build up the soil.

What is left off all these comments on land use evolution due to peak oil is time. When are all these changes to occur. 2010, 2015, 2030, 2060, 3000?

Looking at today, with gas from $4-$5 rural, the effects aren't quite as devastating as one might have thought at $1-$2. Soon the clunkers will switch from vans and pickups to imports and "fuel efficient" sedans. Taking mileage from 15 to near 30 mpg, and requiring $8-$10 gas or $250 oil to bite the driver as strong. And what happens in that interval as subsidies, and hence demand, evaporates in Asian or other undeveloped nations? Or US demand. How long does the undulating plateau waver?

The NYT article highlights present rural problems today, your distinctions as to variations in the burbs is important, but I bet the NYT article by fall will be the effect of higher food prices among the urban poor, with the heating costs thrown in. And here the real differences between the town mouse and the country mouse will be seen.

The rural poor will eat much better. I watch many extended families where food production has been, and no doubt will continue, to be shared even among 2nd cousins. And by no stretch are these Amish or even highly religious folks. Large gardens are cared for, harvested, by elder members, cattle are raised and slaughtered, hay is cut and delivered to somenes' barn by another family. All fall and winter, the rewards are shuffled between the family. Over the years, I hear alot of bickering, complaining, that "I'm doing to much work," esp among the gardening components, but every spring, that half to two acre garden is tilled and planted. Manure is dumped over the fence, hay is dropped at uncle's barn.

What is left off all these comments on land use evolution due to peak oil is time. When are all these changes to occur. 2010, 2015, 2030, 2060, 3000?

Looking at today, with gas from $4-$5 rural, the effects aren't quite as devastating as one might have thought at $1-$2.

Time has a way of changing perceptions...


Here in the PNW (including parts of northern CA) there are literally thousands of people utilizing gathering of wild resources as a component of a livelihood strategy. Gather ferns, moss, salal and other floral greens in the spring and summer, edible mushrooms in the fall, food stamps in the winter, odd jobs sprinkled throughout the year, fishing, shoot a deer or elk (in or out of season) to lay away meat, gather firewood from clearcuts, etc. Gas to get to places do continue doing these things is getting more expensive, though.

Also UP of Michigan, upstate New York. Raises challenging commons questions.

Obviously, the hunter-gatherer lifestyle cannot be an option for more than a few people, the carrying capacity of our remaining wild areas just isn't there.

Right now there is a window of opportunity for those looking for ways to be frugal. It is the same window of opportunity that the people burning used vegetable oil in their diesel engines are exploiting. Good for them, but obviously we can't all be doing that. As hard times impact more people, this window of opportunity will close as too many people try to forage or scrounge. Thus, this is not really a sustainable survival strategy. It might be a good transitional strategy, though, if it gets one used to doing more with less and learning to think outside of the box.

Good points, Sharon,

re: "moving low wage urban dwellers into population centers is a bad idea"

You mean "low wage suburban/or rural" dwellers?

re: "public transport or even carpools to where the jobs are (usually in rural areas all the jobs are in a few locations)"

I wonder if Alan Drake has an idea for this.

"These people are "adjusting" to the new energy reality whether they like it or not.,

this is why I say it doesn't matter if people are peak oil aware or not, the market will get them to conserve.

"this is why I say it doesn't matter if people are peak oil aware or not, the market will get them to conserve."

Then the markets will take their oil dependent jobs away and they won't have money to consume oil. Then the market will price them out of the food market and poof, less people to contend with.

Good plan, let the market tell them.

Then the markets will take their oil dependent jobs away and they won't have money to consume oil. Then the market will price them out of the food market and poof, less people to contend with.

people will find work. the economy will recover. what you talked about is demand destruction. people can also grow food and there is always food banks. rural people need to get high MPG cars.

True, but those who can manage to get ahead of the curve and invest in conservation before they absolutely have to might find life a little less unpleasant.

anyone notice the orange areas are where there was no bubble yet they pay more of their incomes for gas where the purple areas have a housing bubble but pay almost none of their income to gas?

When people become a liability.

There have been roits in Algeria, terroist attacks in Nigera. Both will probably result in a rise in the price of oil. The problem is oil brings in wealth, but doesn;t create a lot of jobs. So - there a lot of disenfranchised people that feel they should benefit from the new wealth, but are not needed to get the oil. Unfortunately their governments are not inclined to share the wealth. Mexico is attempting to solve their problem by encouraging their excess labor to go North.
The way I see it - the only answer for these governments is to do what we did during the depression - massive public works projects. Will they do it - probably not! So - look for more troubles.

Dubai is well known.

Russia a massive set of infrastructure projects in advanced planning and is considering a 40% increase in domestic energy prices to help pay for it (reduce waste and stabilize exports). More subways are on list (not so much in Moscow, which has a good system, but elsewhere).

Chavez has a number of massive projects, including more subways (completion dates are always a few months before election dates).



Anyone else see this?


"Bangladesh police have detained or arrested more than 18,000 people in the last 11 days in a crackdown on crime they say is aimed at improving security ahead of December elections."

18000? Do they have that much room in their jails?

You do not want to see the inside of a Bangladeshi jail, especially after a crackdown.


Hilarious. I must be a very cynical person for laughing while I browse TOD.


This points out one of the great fallacies of western capitalist thought: that every dollar of economic activity is as beneficial as every other. It is a great barrier to western understanding of 3rd World problems that we believe any foreign aid, any corporate investment, any import or export will have positive effects measured by simple maximization of GNP. I've heard of massive US aid during the Cold War unleashing high inflation in South Vietnam and Honduras; the reason for that is probably similar to the reason that oil wealth doesn't get processed into forms of economic activity that help normal citizens but does create inflation. Then there's the attendant corruption.

Within America, the worst part of the fallacy is that it's assumed a dollar spent on guns is as beneficial as a dollar spent on butter, bridges, or schools.

There are good calories and bad calories, good fats and bad fats, and good work and bad work.

Good point.

Good Day,

I am adding the impact on the airline industry to my PO presentations. This is my collection of bad news - did I miss any?

Thanks - Dave

12-31 - MaxJet ceases operations - 450 employees

03-31 - Champion Air shuts down - 55 employees

04-01 - Aloha Airlines ceases operations - 1900 employees

04-03 - ATA Airlines gone - 2200 employees

04-05 - SkyBus closes - 450 employees

04-08 - Oasis Airlines - 700 employees

04-11 - Frontier Airlines - 6,000 employees - files for Chapter 11

04-27 - Eos Airlines - files for Chapter 11

05-27 - American Airlines cuts flights by 12%

05-31 - Champion Airlines shuts down - 735 employees

06-30 - Air Midwest - Shut down (Subsidiary of Mesa Air Lines)

06-03 - SilverJet - 300 employees

06-04 - TED Airlines shuts down (United Division)

06-04 - United retires 100 planes and cuts 1,100 employees - cuts flights by 14%

06-05 - Continental retires 67 planes an cuts 3,000 employees - cuts flights by 11%

06-06 - Air Lingus cuts flights by 15%

06-07 - China Airlines cuts flights by 10%

Claude Akil Debussy. Died, 1918.

Giacommo Meiabier. Still alive, 1863.
Not still alive, 1864.

Modest Mussorgsky. 1880, going to parties.
No fun anymore, 1881.

Johann Neopok Hummel. Chattin' away 19 'an a dozen with his friends down at
the Pub every evenin', 1836.
1837, nuffin'.

"...Verdi and Wagner delighted the crowds
With their highly original sounds.
The pianos they play are still working,
But they're both six feet underground.

"The decomposing composers,
There's less of them every year.
You can say what you like to Debussy
But there's not much of him left to hear. .."

Michael Palin - 'The Decomposing Composers' (Monty Python)

Are those dates on the left side. I would also like to use these examples.

Yes, those are the dates - 12-31 is 2007, the rest obviously 2008.

Qantas announced a 5% cut in flight capacity, as well as other cost cutting measures due to rising fuel costs, on 5/28/08.

QANTAS have announced some substantial cuts, aiming to reduce capacity by 5%.


I just renewed my subscription to Aviation Week more out of morbid curiosity than anything else. It's pretty grim.

Perhaps a rename - 'That Was The Week That Was?'

"That was the Weak that Flew"?

Am I missing something? I don't see any bad news there.

Around here flying is mostly for entertainment (vacations) or for frivolous business trips which could have been handled via phone conferencing and internet.

Yep, you are missing the many thousands of people and whole cities and states dependent on people taking vacations, and the many thousands who will be thrown out of work in the airline and aeroplane construction industry.
There is a world of pain to come for a lot of folk, and serves them right is not a good attitude to have.

But you have to count in the many thousands who will be brought in to work in the train industry etc. In fact, I'd say the airline industry doesn't give that many jobs compared to the amount of fuel it guzzles; plenty of other industries provide more jobs with less fuel. Wouldn't it be better to have more of those jobs and fewer of the airline jobs?

I'll agree that the tightening of energy markets will cause "a world of pain to come for a lot of folk." However, the airline part of it is more like "a world of change for a lot of folk."

There would seem to be no possibility for many years that we will be in anything but a severe deflationary environment, and that getting the train industry and so on going on any comparable scale will take a long time.
More obviously, what do you imagine will happen to Hawaii, say?
What will happen to real estate there?
How will folk pay for their food there, which is mostly imported, without a tourist industry?

Change might be inevitable, but if you imagine it will be any less painful than the changes that were outlined in 'The Grapes of Wrath' you are grievously mistaken,

Hi Dave--Did you see the item about Honolulu's mayor's proposed rail initiative? Did you read the commentary? I posted two comments. A few folks get the fact that it's a boondoggle, typical Honolulu political cronyism on a grand scale. It will be interesting to see the comments after folks get off work, get home and onto the computer, about another two hours from now.

No, I missed it, or at least most of the comments - pretty difficult sort of thing to evaluate if you are not familiar with the area - I had a look under your name but I did not spot your comments.

Well, it's rather unfortunate. Once upon a time there was a rail line that girded and crisscrossed Oahu (this was similar on the other islands, what remains is a tourist attraction) to haul the cane from the fields to its refineries. These rail lines also hauled freight and people. As on the mainland, they were torn out and replaced by roads. The plantations restricted development, so the suburban sprawl spread mostly to the east of downtown toward Kokohead and bloomed out around Pearl Harbor. Once the plantations started to fail, Hawaii-style exurbs bloomed in the island's center around the engineered town of Mililani and toward Ewa in the west around Kapolei. The Google Map for Oahu makes for interesting viewing (it's the only one I've seen with clouds!) and shows very well the urban/suburban/exurb distribution patterns, which provides a great deal of context for the news item. As can be seen by the satellite imagry, Oahu is densely settled and its bus system services it very well already. I argue it should be expanded and electrified, as I did when I lived there.

Alan won't like hearing this, but it's best for Hawaiians that the rail project be denied funding. The future revenue base is going to struggle to cope with the economic fallout of Peak Oil and will not be in any shape to repay the bonds needed to finance the mayor's choo choo. It makes more sense to put monies into making Hawaii self reliant for its food and electricity.

I'd see the population of Hawaii falling anyway - a lot of folk will likely try somewhere else when tourism goes kaput.
The little I know about Hawaii indicates that it costs a fortune to import food and that there is no possibility of becoming self-sufficient anyway.
That's not the best recipe for a lot of fixed investment.

Actually, Hawaii could become self-reliant on food now that most of the monocrop plantations are gone. What's lacking is the political will to make it so, as many interests are vested in maintaining the status quo. I left in 1996. The vast amount of lost potential amidst enormous beauty makes me rather sad.

SunnyvaleCA, go out to SJC or SFO, walk around and really LOOK at all the folks working at those facilities. They will be the ones out of work and unable to find any. The staff at airlines is miniscule compared to those supporting airports. The folks with hope are highly skilled who work in aerospace and can remain at work for their companies when they retool to manufacture alt. energy and transport. Then there're all the folks who work at jobs supported by the spending of those who no longer work at the airport. And so forth. Do you get the BIG picture now? And thanks to Clinton and Gingrich, such common folk won't have the same amount of support as those thrown out of work during the 1970s oil shocks.

Actually, I think the "BIG" picture is that the world is going to have to reduce energy use. The airline industry uses a huge amount of energy compared to the number of jobs it provides. If some industries are going to have to downsize because of energy costs, this seems like one of the better places to start.

Tourism-dependent cities like Las Vegas and Orlando will be first to suffer. Hawaii is in trouble too. Tourism always takes a hit during a recession but this time peak oil makes it worse. Can anyone think of other heavily tourism-dependent places?

Greece, Malta, Mauritius, Seychelles, Kenya.....
Those which are within range of cruise ships like Greece should do rather better than those that are not.
The Caribbean is amongst those areas.

You missed the scariest news of all! US Airways is cutting out inflight snacks. Oh the horror!


Seriously though, this might be useful if you're doing a PO presentation, which is inevitably going to be depressing, to elicit a chuckle to lighten the mood.

I think you missed this on JAL

Tokyo, May 14, 2008 (Jiji Press) - Japan Airlines <9205> plans to cut basic salaries and allowances each by 5 pct for about 17,000 employees of its core unit, company sources said Wednesday.

JAL expects the new pay cut for Japan Airlines International Co. to reduce its group labor cost by 10 billion yen a year. The airline is negotiating with labor unions to start the pay cut in October, the sources said.

Annual wages are estimated to decrease by about 500,000 yen for ground workers on average, by one million yen for pilots, and by 300,000 yen for cabin attendants.

JAL has been cutting basic salaries by an average of 10 pct since fiscal 2006 and halving bonuses since fiscal 2007.

The company's business performance is rapidly recovering thanks to strong international flight operations and cost reduction efforts.

But JAL found the wage cut inevitable because it faces continued surges in fuel prices and fierce competition and needs an estimated 6 billion yen a year for dividend payments for preferred shares it issued in March in its capital hike, according to the sources.

I like what you are doing. We need an airline implode meter. Wouldn't be tough to turn this list into a blog.

Thanks to all for the input.

When I gave my first presentation in September of last year I cautioned that the airline industry would be one of the first canaries in the mineshaft to sing. At that point, however, I didn't have a single example to offer. What a difference a few months makes.

Yes, a "Airline Implode-O-Meter" would be interesting...


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Ultimately, we are unlikely to stop using oil simply because we run out.

from Scramble for oil... above

Don't you just love that determination? We are not going to let a little thing like no more oil stop us from using oil.

I bought a push mower this weekend, (the only one in my neighborhood) and as I was mowing some of the kids ran over to check it out.

They all wanted to try it and the lawn was done in no time. My daughter and her friend both 11 wanted to mow other lawns so we went around the neighborhood.

They mowed 6 yards and at every one the owners said “oh, no its too hard to mow my lawn with a push mower”. Then the girls finished it off in just a matter of minutes.

Just about everyone talked about how much they HATE their power mowers.

You can go through a Lehmans (http://www.lehmans.com/) catalogue and find a hand powered replacement for just about any household appliance and it’s sometimes faster and easier to use and clean but we are trained to believe that it’s “just too hard”.

Funny storey- We had a power out the other day and I dug out an old knuckle buster credit card imprinter and some OSU students said “whats that?” when I explained it they asked “well how does the money get in the bank then?” LOL

wow. thanks for the heads up on this. I was asking my g/f about a "true" push mower yesterday. it is nice to hear it works so well. thanks for the link.

edit: so which one do you own? the razorcut premium or the economical reel mower?

I can't recommend, since I have a different one than they offer, but the example I often use is that my 2 1/2 year old can successfully push the push mower (does have to get that handle real low) and can do a good bit of the lawn. He thinks it is a blast, too.

Among the Amish, hand mowing is considered an appropriate chore for very young girls.


So we have 2-11 year old girls and a 2 1/2 toddler that find grass cutting "the good ole fashioned way" to be fun. That IS impressive. Hmmmm.

I can see the headlines now...

"Mower Mania - Cure for Child Obesity in America?"

re the reel mowers.
another + is u can mow at night[cooler] because it's quiet.

but terrible if u let the grass get long.

re kids enjoying the novelty; my grandson has just gotten strong enough to split wood [the easy pieces] & i recently got a gas splitter.i was using it with him helping & he wanted to do it by hand instead. i used the gas splitter to get some easy pieces prepped, then in 30 min or so he wanted to go in & get back on the computer as usual. i have to drag/con him outside but he does enjoy it some when he gets there.

but terrible if u let the grass get long.

Another argument in favor of a scythe: it is more forgiving should you not be able to get to your mowing as timely as you should.

Reel mowers aren't so great if you have a lot of twigs. Your yard has to be fairly clean, the grass not too long, and the lawn mostly grass (especially not a lot of tough, broad leaf weeds). Still, I think it would be worth the effort, and it's been on my list of things to get for a while.

I am thinking that a scythe (the good European style, not the horrible back-breaking American version) would be a better investment. There are a lot more things you can do with a scythe, including cutting fodder for livestock and harvesting grains.

There is a nice film about a family that uses scythe's to farm their land:


Living Lightly offers a magical glimpse into a world where one 21st century family lives with the land in its seasons. On their farm, the Vidos practise the ancient craft of scything as meditation in action. Robin Burke's poetic debut, filmed on their farm in a corner of New Brunswick, Canada explores a way of relating to and loving the land.

Peter Vido, originally from Slovakia, is a master of his craft as are his wife Faye and their three children, Ashley, Kai and Fairlight - a family whose love and care for each other, rooted in their daily work together, strengthens and feeds them. The scythe is their instrument and their passion, its whispering sound the idyllic leitmotif of a truly inspiring ensemble. Against a stunning landscape the Vidos live lightly among their fields, pastures and animals, taking as little as they need for a fulfilled simple existence.

See also the website http://www.scytheconnection.com/index.html where you can buy a scythe from the folks in the film.

I wanted to see how you use a scythe, so I went to youtube and found this:


I bought a couple of beautiful European scythes recently from http://scythesupply.com/ - I can't recommend them highly enough :)

Once you've cut a 2.5 yard swath in a single pass, you'll never want to be stuck behind a push mower and its' 20" cut again ;-)

And you can take it on a pushbike.

Can you elaborate on the difference between the two versions? I know what they look like, I'm more interested in what makes one better from a functional point of view. A lot of the American variations of earlier European tool designs were improvements, so I'm curious about this one.

I grew up with a push mower.

I'll put livestock on mine or let it grow up before I use one again.

Those memories again. 8D

Actually, it needs to be very well lubed and the blades sharpened or it does indeed quickly become an instrument of torture. Brand new out of the box it is well lubed and sharpened, but it does take some time and effort and skill to keep it that way.

That's one reason why I am thinking that a scythe might be the better way to go. Sharpening is critical, but you've only got one blade to sharpen, and if you are doing it right you'll be carying a stone with you and touching up the sharpening as you go along. Avoid dinging the blade on rocks, etc., and you won't often need to do much more than that.

gosh I hate to be contrarian in all of this feel good but Why do you have grass?

Preparing for the future. Grass now ... vegetable gardens later.

Do you really want to mow your vegetables when they're only a few inches tall?
Now having used a scythe to clear six foot tall reeds by the shore of lake in Brazil to create a fishing beach, I can attest to the fact that it makes short shrift of venomous snakes as well. However severed snake heads can still bite so it helps if you're a good golfer.

Obviously, to give poor people worldwide a big middle-finger salute! Same reason people drive SUVS & eat high on the food chain - because that's the status quo - so they go with the flow. (Most people's "opinions" are simply a collection of status-quo memes they can recite easily: unfortunately, truthful memes are usually outcompeted via false, but easy-to-remember, memes).

"truthful memes are usually outcompeted via false, but easy-to-remember, memes.."

.. and then there's the challenge of telling the one from the other. It's worth it for all of us to keep a degree of humility about the 'more perfect meme' that we have been carrying. Ideologues abound today, and this abundance of 'adamant certainty' is killing the ability to openly compare notes..

"I refuse to believe I KNOW anything, because then, I have stopped thinking about it."
-attrib. to Einstein, through the Nick Roeg film INSIGNIFIGANCE


Because it is too hard to make it go away on 27 acres. Plus the sheep and other animals eat it.


Grass is OK.. but just like eating meat, or using electricity.. it's got to be in a reasonable proportion, which today it clearly is not. A little lawn is a very nice place to play, picnic, hang out.. I wouldn't plant one in Arizona, however.

Now fess up.. do you REALLY hate to be contrarian? I have my doubts..


'That man is so contrary, if I heard he'd drowned in the river, I'd look for the body upstream!'

Jokuhl - "do you REALLY hate to be contrarian? I have my doubts.."

You caught me there in an obvious lie (LOL). Truthfully I avoid situations where I might have confrontations. For instance I stay away from my sister and her family because I don't care to contradict their comfortable stories:

She shops at the grocery store with resusable bags, recycles and she planted some tomatoes in her backyard. She thinks she is a strong environmentalist.

I see someone who drives a gas guzzler, eats meat, lives in a large suburban home with one grown daughter, takes airline trips and luxury cruises 1/2 dozen times a year. I think she's delusional.

My dad used to say "If you don't want to know the answer don't ask the question." If you want comfortable answers TOD may not be the proper site...

It was a jab with a smirk, I admit..

I don't even object to contrariness as that goes. There is a good bit of snarkiness that seems to be essential to the proper functioning of this site.. as long as we can still call each other on it.

Best hopes for an honest exchange!

Jokuhl - I appreciate that. I can get a little full of myself so I need an elbow in the ribs now and then.

Regards -


Here in Oray-Gun grass is everywhere. No need to water.

Drive 10 minutes in any direction and you see rolling lawn as far as the eye can see. We are the KSA of Grass seed.

Hey! maybe ethanol feed stock. Oops! planting less because of sky high inputs.

P.S. House 900 sq' footprint - veg garden 1200 sq'

A greenroof would give you 2100 sq'.
Might need to strengthen the walls some though.
Mud and straw walls would do this, and provide superb insulation.

Why have grass?

Pasture for livestock

Fodder for livestock

Green manure for compost

Mulch for gardens

Hold soil and prevent erosion on slopes

Recreational space for kids/families to play

Those are about the only legitimate reasons I can think of - but they are legitimate, IF actually used for one or more of those purposes.

The best and most important reason is as a soil binder. Soil even on level ground blows away without it, esp in the west. As GW progresses you will learn of these.

"Why do you have grass?"

ha ha. on Fast Money that would be a Takedown!

So the dog has someplace to poop.

Robert a Tucson

"Why do you have grass?"

If you don't mind being contrarian, the question should be why must I cut it? Not having only solves half of the problem.

Lawns are planted and cut for aesthetics, forgo the cutting, but keep the utility of grass.

I used a push mower all through my teens, now my sister is using the same mower for the lawn at her house.

Beautiful, reliable, long-lived, and easy to use. What's not to like about them?

I refuse to mow my lawn. As far as I'm concerned, my grass can be 5 feet tall. However, my house mates mow. I suggested that they get an electric mower instead of gasoline, but they opted for the gasoline. I will likely procure an electric mower in addition to the goats I will have for my land soon. (I could "not have grass" I'm sure, but this is for mowing weeds.. There's no real "grass".)

Goats will absolutely not eat what you want them to, and will eat what you don't want them to. That's the only rule with goats.

Same with sheep. The best mower I've found is my horse - she sticks to the grass, and does a remarkably even job.

souperman2 -

Wow, I haven't had a conscious though about a push mower in at least several decades! A blast from the past.

From what I remember about mowing our lawn with one as a kid growing up in those now mythical 1950s, the thing I liked best about them was that satisfying whirring sound when you were at the end of a long vigorous push and the mower stopped but the blades still kept on spinning for another few seconds.

You know, since they were so light, and if you kept them sharp and the grass wasn't too high or thick, the amount of effort expended wasn't all that much more than trudging a heavy power mower around.

I wish we still had our old one. I think I'll get one!

The fuel protests are coming to Spain: Spanish hauliers on fuel strike (BBC).

In Catalunya, where I live, 40% of petrol stations have run out of fuel, and empty shelves are starting to appear in markets and supermarkets. The strike was to start today, but last Friday there were road cuts already in many places.

Edit: sorry, I see now that Leanan already picked up the news (I did a search for Spain, not Spanish!!)

For those interested, we are following the news in Crisis Energética (Spanish).

JH Kunstsler's monday morning rant takes special delight in telling Suburban America I told you so:

"The Dukes of Hazard show is now drawing to a close...in the big southern states where wages are low and the distances are vast, there's a reason why Nascar is the second-biggest religion down there: the automobile rescued southerners from the tyranny of geography. Cheap gas allowed them to build a "new " economy based mainly on the construction of suburban sprawl. In the process it deified the pickup truck."


Kunstler writes great stuff, but he frequently manages to shoot himself in the foot by making stock market predictions (ie always predicting imminent collapse). He predicted that the DOW would end 2007 at 4000, which was off by more than 8000 points. Back around March, he figured the market would collapse in less than 3 weeks. Today, he's doing it again (though trying to sound a little less certain):

Well, here we are about twenty minutes from Wall Street's Monday open. I imagine it's going to be quite a day. Over 90-degrees and oil cutting its overnight losses. Praise the lord and pass the Xanax.

As I write this, the DOW is up 61 points, oil is down $1.74/barrel. But who knows what the closing prices will be?

Personally, I think the US stock market will eventually collapse, along much of the US economy. Oil prices will soar, but may fall first because of the collapsing economy. However, it's very difficult to put a timetable on this, and anyone who tries to runs the risk of looking like a fool when the market doesn't move as predicted.

Bernanke keeps pulling rabbits out of his hat with government loans (that will never be repaid). Fox News and Clear Channel (also known as "Pravda") keep pumping up confidence with exciting reports like "geologists just announced the discovery of 450 billion barrels in the Bakken formation" (failing to mention that less than 1% can be recovered, and even that will take 20 or more years). Wall Street continues the game of creative accounting.

How long can these follies continue? I don't know, and nobody else does either. Tomorrow could see the DOW fall 50%. Or it might take a year, or two. More likely, expect a roller coaster ride. I'm convinced that the goal of the Bush administration is to use any trick in the book to keep up the appearance of prosperity long enough to hand over the reigns of power to the next president, who will take the blame for the collapse. This is Enron on steroids.

But if I knew economic history in advance, I'd be rich. Maybe I should go into the fortune telling business. As someone else said, even a stopped clock is right twice a day.

It may not really matter. Remember, the Dow is not adjusted for inflation. So if Shadowstats is right, the Dow has lost an awful lot of value over the years even if it's at 13,000.

Now what I'd like to know is whether a stock index can be considered an objective measure of value when most of the speculators who drive it are unaware that they should consider inflation in their decisions. Would they have panicked if they had known how much value has actually been lost, and then crashed the market much lower?

The money changer (financial class) parasites are sucking on the fumes of a zero-sum economy. (We don't produce anything) If they collapse the dollar and bankrupt the government (which is likely within the next 3 to 5 years)they will suffer just like the rest of us. Sure ,there will be the wealthy who own the infrastructure who will be fine, but the bankers, lenders and stockbrokers will be looking for gainful employment.

The Great Bernake has no cards left to play, no more rabbits in the hat. Game (almost) over!

I believe there are a lot of people who think they will be wealthy enough to make it through as part of the elite class. In truth, that is rarefied air, and there won't be enough chairs when the music stops. I'm well aware that I will not ever be wealthy enough, so I am not planning on it. We'll have to make it out here with the rest.

"We don't produce anything"

the US has record exports.

"Kunstler writes great stuff, but he frequently manages to shoot himself in the foot by making stock market predictions"

and there is the whole Y2K and wal-mart deal. wal-mart is actually benefiting as of now from peak oil.

Yeah, best hopes for repairing all these broken records. (cough! cough!)

jokuhl- all I ask for a place that worships Kunstler is to apply the same standards to his record as we do to Daniel Yergin's record.

Believe me, I'm no JHK acolyte.. but you've railed on his Y2K thing over and over, and it's been well addressed many times over.. The Y2K issue could have been serious, but a lot of work was done to preempt it.. so we'll never know. Now, however, we might just find out, since preps are not being taken with anywhere near the same urgency.

I think he has greater and more current faults to point to, anyhow.

The Y2K issue could have been serious, but a lot of work was done to preempt it.. so we'll never know. Now, however, we might just find out, since preps are not being taken with anywhere near the same urgency.

Y2k was a specific date in time. peak oil is not. peak oil is different for everyone.

my point is that kunslter took his same arguements from Y2k and just swtiched them right over to peak oil. if he can't get y2k right how can he get peak oil right? he wrote about y2k in the spring of 1999 so it's not like he wrote it in 1995 and we had this huge program to deal with it. he wrote literally months before it hit.

Writing this in April of ‘99, I believe that we are in for a serious event. Systems will fail, crash, seize up, cease to function. Not all systems, maybe only a fraction, but enough, and enough interdependent systems to affect many other systems. Y2K is real. Y2K is going to rock our world.

not very ambiguous, huh? no hedges about how we'll sidestep it with some mitigation program?

it gets better though.

This leads to another major aspect of Y2K. I believe it will deeply affect the economies-of-scale of virtually all activities in the United States, essentially requiring us to downsize and localize everything from government to retail merchandising to farming.

If nothing else, I expect Y2K to destabilize world petroleum markets. These disruptions will be at least as bad as those produced by the 1973 OPEC oil embargo (so-called).

it was actually growth that began this commodity boom.

I doubt that the WalMarts and K-Marts of the land will survive Y2K.

in this recent quarter wal-mart was benefiting from higher gas prices are people moved from shopping at the high end to saving money at places like wal-mart.

The aftermath of Y2K will require us to do things differently. We are going to have to live more locally, and more self-dependently.

actually globalization kept marching on.


And what makes you think your perception of reality is any better?

Fine. Kunstler made predictions that were better informed than most reporters looking at Y2K. He homed in on the right sector where there was a serious risk of Y2k-related disruptions (financial transactions processed in COBOL) and predicted not the end of civilization, but a recession.

If he had known back then what I had known back then (I had friends working in Y2K remediation), he would not have predicted what he did. But that would mean he would have been in receipt of information given in blatant betrayal of trade-secret obligations.

Yergin has no such excuse.

"Yergin has no such excuse."

why do people spend so much time defending kunslter? he was wrong, very very wrong. deal with it.

Because some of us actually spent 1999 with our noses to the grindstone and know that Kunstler had justification for saying what he said at the time.

He didn't scare-monger about elevators dropping or planes dropping out of the sky. He homed right in on where there was serious risk, and figured out exactly what it would lead to if it wasn't fixed: major disruption of financial transaction processing.

At the time, the transactions processors (VISA et al) were sending out their PR flaks to reassure everyone that the problem would be addressed, but being very secretive about HOW it would be addressed. So Kunstler chose not to take them at their word. A justifiable choice given what he knew.


"Cheap gas allowed them to build a "new " economy based mainly on the construction of suburban sprawl. "

these rural people in the article don't work in suburbia. they work in small towns in the south. suburbia is in New York, New Jersey and California.

the reason rural people love cars and NASCAR is because they live in rural areas and are around machinery all the time. they grew up with tractors on the farm. it's also because there is nothing to do out there. I don't four wheel and snowmobile but I would if I lived in the country.

what this articles shows is that if you live in suburbia you actually have more options than other places. in suburbia those people could car pool. they can't in the country.

"suburbia is in New York, New Jersey and California"


What about Atlanta, Houston, Phoenix, Seattle, Minneapolis, Chicago, the endless Washington DC conurbation, large chunks of Florida, and countless other places in between and beyond?

Now, quite likely, in addition to all that, cheap oil has allowed a good many small towns to go on existing when no reason aside from inertia remains for them to continue to exist.

I've been to the South. They've got plenty of suburbia there. On a recent trip to South Carolina, that's about all I saw. Florida has been a horrible sprawl for 20 years.

I've been to the South. They've got plenty of suburbia there. On a recent trip to South Carolina, that's about all I saw. Florida has been a horrible sprawl for 20 years.

yes, but true rural areas aren't near the cities almost by definition. even in florida you can see the areas that are purple and the areas that are orange. florida is a huge state.

And now a few words from people that actually live in Florida and are watching the train wreck from the front row...

'You want a bit of reality from Florida? Don't read Mike Morgan's entries in his blog. Here's the latest, entitled "Florida At The Precipice of Depression":

"I was going to call this "Banks March Us Into Depression," or maybe more fitting is . . . "Complete Collapse of US Banking System." Folks, that is what we are looking at. I don't see any way around it. What we're seeing here in Florida, is your crystal ball. And what happens here, is coming to a town near you . . . soon."
Of course you won't hear THAT on CNBC.


'the regional and community banks that have funded the real estate boom (and guys, they're still building commercial and residential around here, believe it or not, in the Panhandle) are going to die. It is an unavoidable reality; you can't take 20, 30, 40% haircuts on mortgages and survive unless that part of your book is a minuscule part of the whole. The problem is that its not - with an average 7-year turnover in residential real estate, when you look back over the last seven years you find that about 30-50% of the "book" turned during the height of the boom years - which means that the real whack to value is going to be in the 10-25% area all-in on a gross basis.

This is enough to sink damn near anyone, in any business, simply because your overhead remains while your profits evaporate. Death in that scenario doesn't necessarily come fast, but it does come certain. But when you're a bank and geared from 10-12:1 (if you're not cheating with swaps and such) all the way to 40:1 (if you are, and most of them are) you're dead and gone with a 10% real loss against your credit book.'


The biggest industry in Florida since Flagler built the railroad has been construction. That will soon be dead as a door nail. Second biggest industry is tourisim. Dying with rising airfares, stagnant wages and increasing fuel prices. Third is agriculture and for now it appears to be hanging in there but with difficulties. Let alone the fact that a lot of the land in Florida will be underwater with a small rise in sea level.

Anyone contemplating a retirement to Florida should give it a lot of thought. I have heard talk about the State of California being a likely candidate for bankruptcy...I believe Florida is a more likely candidate.

I have lived here since 1979 but have owned property here since the 1960s. I have watched as one blue collar resort town from Lauderdale north attempted to reinvent itself as a 'Lauderdale North'. Now the old, reasonably priced, mom and pop motels and ocean front carnies are gone, many taken by 'emminent domain' to be replaced by high rise hotels and condos. The old places were torn down but the new condos did not replace them because the timing was just a little too late. Caught in the credit crunch. Now there are many 'empty holes' on the beach where foundations were dug for the new places. The beach front is, in many places, empty holes surrounded by orange plastic construction fencing. Oh, and guess what? The blue collar tourists have been priced out of this area. Some still come but they do not spend nearly the money that they did in the past. I don't see any way for some of the tourist towns to remain out of bankruptcy. Virtually all of the city fathers are former real estate developers and know squat about running a town on a restricted budget in tough times. On the local news I hear that Orlando is having tougher times but is doing ok because the weak dollar has attracted more foreign tourists. Maybe so but I believe nothing that I hear on tv news. I do know that a lot of smaller tourist attractions in the Orlando have already gone belly up.

Hi River--With all that economic "success," how will Florida vote this year?

Thanks for your observations.

karlof1...'With all that economic success, how will Florida vote this year?'

I don't know. My wife and I always vote although it seems a futile gesture after the last two presidential 'elections'. We voted in the primary, both of us voted for Obama, but as you probably know the Florida primary election was thrown out by the democratic party because Florida changed the primary election date. Lots of voters were ticked off about this stupid move by the party.

Florida is really three different states. The panhandle, streching to Jacksonville, is similar to Georgia. Central Florida along the I 4 corridor votes republican but the coasts are about evenly split. South Florida would be heavily democratic if the elections officials would count the vote correctly...or count the vote at all.

Neither my wife or I believe that the next president will have the leeway to make much of an impact. We simply voted for Obama because we thought he was the least likely candidate to start more wars. Of course, we could be totally wrong about that.

Even if Obama cannot stop the economic train wreck at least he can string together some words that become a sentence that is comprehensible, an ability that we feel should be mandatory for a president. We are hoping that when Obama must lie that he will be more convincing than Bush. Hillary has her nose so far up AIPACs butt that she didn't even appear on our radar. If Hillary had admitted that her vote on the Iraq war was a mistake I believe the admission might have garnered her a lot of votes but that is just my take on it, an admission of such a mistake might have cost her a lot of votes. McCain...Senile old man that will be propped up by an army of 'handlers'. He is another Regan, imo. A McCain presidency might have one benefit...the pain might be over quickly and not drawn out.

I am certain of one thing: I would not take the job if it was offered on a silver platter (not that I am qualified or have ever considered running for any public office) and anyone that does become the next pres will probably regret their decision. I think that as the presidential election draws nearer that the economy will become THE issue with voters. People usually vote their pocketbook. If the republicans can figure out a way to blame the democrats for the economic disaster they will win, and vice versa. Bernanke and Paulson are doing their best to forestall the economic collapse past the election but I don't think they can pull it off. In any event, this train wreck is like nothing that I have seen in my lifetime and I do not see any way for it to end well.

Well, those holes will be filled in soon enough - with seawater. And the beachfront locations too.

"What about"

I couldn't name all of them.

Right, so why write that "suburbia is in New York, New Jersey and California" as if it didn't surround just about every city of any size???

And if the small Southern towns in the Times article no longer have economies save for what they get from commuters to the nearest big town or city, then functionally they're suburbs of those towns or cities, like it or not - even if once upon a time in the bygone days of some other century, they used to be functional towns.

Right, so why write that "suburbia is in New York, New Jersey and California" as if it didn't surround just about every city of any size???

I don't know because they have the biggest suburbs? suburbs are dense, I doubt those in this article live in a dense suburb. they just live in a rural area far away from a small town.

these people will just have get a job closer to town. the suburbs around here are literally 5 minutes from where I live, that's not a suburb. the suburbs are like new jersey and conn. as compared to NYC.

Suburbs are dense

Suburbs vary in density from moderate to low. The newer and outer ones are typically the least dense.

A society made up of 2,500 sq ft single family residences (current average) and "ample" roads and parking# (lots sizes do vary) with massive amounts of retail (10x per capita 1950 levels) is NOT dense by any measure.

# Many suburbs devote almost half the total sq ft to the automobile.


Of course, once most of the garages and basements have been converted into accessory apartments, that will all change. (I refer only to those suburbs that will NOT be depopulated and abandoned, of course.)

I've lived in the country most all of my life, and I've never been on a snowmobile of fourwheeler, nor do I care to (though I'd use one if I needed to for some reason). Tractors, yes.

the only time I've been on a snowmobile is in the summer...

Yesterday my wife bribed me to go to the Ft. Lauderdale (Florida USA) home Remodeling Expo - free tickets. Sorry - to far to bike.

I figured there HAD TO BE many solar power, attic insulation, etc vendors.

Not that many - maybe two with solar powered water heaters. No home insulation people unless you count the (legitimate) window replacement or window coatings people.

Plenty of pretty much useless stuff although the closet sized safes might come in handy.

Had to drag the wife aways from the $10,000 black lacquer Yamaha baby grand.

All in all I was disappointed.


NYTimes has an excellent graphic up on percent of income spent on gasoline. It also has tabs for the gas prices and income natio-wide. The thing I found strange was that California has some of the highest gas prices, also taxes on gas, but their income is so much greater on average they aren't spending as much on gasoline.

That's because in Cali we are use that special reformulated gas. Also, we are dependent on the west coast refinery production for our gasoline inventory.

"California has some of the highest gas prices, also taxes on gas, but their income is so much greater on average they aren't spending as much on gasoline."

We also consume a bit less gasoline per person than those people in most other states.

I would expect a state with higher incomes would consume more fuel per person, but that chart linked below seems to indicate exactly the opposite.


Bicycles and tricycles including electric
I haven't seen anything posted on what is available in the way of bikes and trikes, so here is a bit og info for the UK:

High payload, easy access and flexible weather-proof covering make the Cargo Trike the ideal
choice for urban delivery and carriage applications. Bikes are often as fast as vans in town centres,
and with freedom from parking restrictions, fossil fuels, driving licence and road tax, the Maximus
Cargo Trike is a clear winner


Ninja LPB With Lithium Battery Electric Scooter Road Legal



This one might be the most suitable for me - it folds so could be got up the stairs to my flat.
I am not sure how it would cope with Bristol hills though.

It occurs that many here think that there might be substantial deterioration in our roads shortly.
Bikes could obviously be built which would cope well, using the suspension from mountain bikes.

My wife has arthritis and rides an electric trike about two miles a day to escort the kids to school. We are in flat country, but they have plenty of power to go up hills. Reduces range, obviously, but I think at least one US company offers a bike with regenerative braking. Can't find the link just now... Speed is not great on electric trikes, but that is not an issue for my wife.

I posted this upthread...and you may have read about this already...it just is an idea that tickles me. A pup tent on wheels.

The backpack EV car: http://www.xpcarteam.com/

I have been looking at electric bicycle conversions for several months now and have yet to find exactly what I want. Most of the chinese bikes and conversions will be vastly underpowered in the US because of the increased average passenger weight and distances traveled. I weigh 220 lb. and 200 watts is not going to do me much good. The Wilderness Energy conversion is probably the minimum at 600 watts. The most powerful I have found is the Crystalyte Phoenix (and most expensive) which will power a bike to +30 mph. If anyone knows of a kit that is more powerful I would appreciate hearing of it.

I found this:

Not quite as powerful, but it as another alternative

Cyclone has a 1000W motor .. Chain drive is more efficient

I did my own conversion

In my view your bigger body is an advantage, not a disadvantage - as long as you pedal. I.e., electric assist rather than pure electric. In my ride - Giant Lite (no longer sold) the motor works through the gearing, thus provides a lot of uphill torque despite lowish power. Meaning lighter overall weight and longer range. But it's still much heavier than a non-motorized bike, and that's where my lightweight body is a disadvantage, as my leg muscles are weak relative to the weight of the bike. Still it's a lot easier than a non-assisted bike.

Not trying for a sales push here, but we recently became reps for Zero Electric Motorcycles , in my opinion, the PERFECT personal post peak form of transportation. All electric, non-toxic lithium pack and only 140lbs. Also, the BionX electric motor conversion for your mountain bike.


I happened to be in London last week… and got to “test drive” two electric bikes at the Electric Bike Shop
in Camden.

The Wisper 905 Sport… manufactured in Kent… 200W, 36v Lithium Manganese battery… but not cheap ~£1200


Interesting experience… but not what I expected… pedal assist at all times… not just for hills. Great for setting off at traffic lights… but a strange sense of “not contributing much to the motion”… and obviously not much of a workout…

They are opening a Bristol branch soon…


(Incidentally, in a previous life… I used to be a cyclist based in Clifton Wood… so don’t mention hills to me!!)

I'm too fat and old, and my breathing is not good enough to pedal anywhere, so I figure I would need at least a 600watt motor.
The trouble is that I would also need it to fold, to get it up to my flat.
I am in the St Anne's area, not as bad as the Alpine Cliftonwood, but still a little hilly.
The other real reason that I do not get on and buy one is security - if you can't detach the motor and battery they would be stolen in no time - you really need a detachable, wheeled pannier to take that off and get your shopping or whatever.

Hi Dave,

The Kahlkoff range sold by 50cycles.com would be my personal pick - German build quality and a pretty neat battery pack that can be removed whenever you're away from the bike, or just don't need it. The powabykes are a bit previous generation by comparison. Most electric bikes will cope with Bristol, or Bradford hills, though I imagine motor wear would be worse long-term.

Sounds a bit under-powered and non-folding?


Seems like everyone is going doomerish of late due to the onslaught of bad news from all corners of the globe. Makes you wonder where the next straw is coming from.

"Seventy percent of the readers of this opinion piece will be dead, wounded, captured or conformists once events take their final devastating spiral in North American and the world.".........

"We can call this period of time we are approaching “Peak Crisis” in honor of peak oil, peak food and peak stupidity in our political capitols."........

"Those who think you shall meet the barbarians at the gate and offer them tea and crumpets are not only fools, but dangerous to your family.".........

Can you imagine if blogs had existed during the great depression or even the world wars or back further to the plagues sweeping Europe, before even the black and white days:-)

President of The New York Fed, Timothy Geithner was just asked about speculation in the oil price. He replied very clearly that their analysis (by some "very clever people") was that it's not speculation but rather a fundamental supply/demand problem with an expectation that the problem was going to worsen in the future.

-Source live coverage from Economic Club of New York.

Geithner is just back from the Bilderberg Group meeting.

Is this the first time that a head of major oil company has admitted to supply problems?

Oil volatile as markets not well supplied: BP CEO
Mon Jun 9, 2008 7:37am EDT
By Ramthan Hussain

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Oil prices are unstable because markets are not well supplied, and higher taxes in producing countries are not conducive to investing in new output, the head of energy major BP said on Monday.

Tony Hayward, CEO of BP, whose Russian joint venture TNK-BP is the subject of a dispute over strategy and ownership between the major and its Russian shareholders, also called for new forms of contractual relationships between national oil companies (NOCs) and global majors. "In a well functioning market where supply and demand are balanced, prices should be stable. Where prices are high, however, they show that supply is not responding adequately to rising demand ... and that is where we find ourselves today," Hayward told an oil and gas conference in the Malaysian capital.

I've got 23 items in my inbox today from "analysts" telling me that oil prices are in a spec bubble and about to crash, and zero telling me that oil prices are due to fundamentals or going up. Yet the bubble guys all insist that everyone else is bullish on oil, lol.

Meanwhile, speculators continue to take profits today while commercials close out shorts.

And today Ron Paul says its the falling dollar and calls for an investigation.


Oil prices are on the minds of many Americans as gas hits $4 a gallon, and continues to surge. How high can prices go? How can we solve these problems? What, or who, is to blame?
Part of the answer lies in understanding bubbles and monetary inflation, but especially the Federal Reserve System. The Federal Reserve is charged with controlling inflation through interest rate manipulation, however, many fail to realize that creating money, and therefore inflation, is really its only tool.

He also said

We will see an overinvestment in these commodities as solutions are desperately sought for a supply shortage, which is only part of the problem. Make no mistake, though, this is not the free market at work. Government manipulations have added levels of complication and unintended consequences to the marketplace.

Although he's been aware of the possibility of Peak Oil for some years, I think the implications have still to fully penetrate. He's an intelligent guy though and I think he's starting to get it - "desperately sought"...

Here are the prepared remarks. Unfortunately, there's nothing in the speech about the oil price. It must have been part of the Q&A.

I sure wish the media would start listening to people like Geithner and the IEA.

Yes, it was in the Q&A. Was live on Bloomberg and probably elsewhere. Anyone have the video?

In today's links section, there is an entry titled "And What of Crude?".

The author states:

"...there is in Alberta, Canada a substance called bitumen (tar sands) which can be refined into crude oil at a small additional cost."

That will certainly come as a big surprise to a lot of companies around here. His other sources of crude at "a small additonal cost" include Bakken shale, Orinoco tar, and Utah shale.

Oil? No problemo.

There should be a "Dude, What Planet Are You From?" award for people like this.

At least last year, bitumen didn't help a whole lot. 2007 net oil export decline rates for Canada & Venezuela respectively: -1.3%/year and -7.5%/year.

Ah, ye of little faith...

We all just need to wish a little harder :)

That one blew my mind. It's just completely irrensponsible research and writing - but yet people believe this garbage! As Matt Simmons once said, the reserve amounts when it comes to stuff like the tar sands is virtually irrelevant. Though who knows - maybe he's been there and found six new Athabasca rivers lurking in the boreal forest nobody knows about.

I live in New England now, but still work for a Houston drilling equipment manufacturer. I drive zero miles to work :)

I had some money in a CD at 4.4% until May, when it switched to 2.6%. Being a true believer in TOD, I pulled the money out and started preparing for the ride. This morning they installed two wood burning stove inserts. Stocked up on Meds and dry foods, etc. I am ordering about two years of wine so I can sleep at night. Can I get some good ideas on what else to do? Please don't jump all the way to the farm thing, I am looking for the next two-three years plan (no joke).

Could you shoot me an email? westexas at aol.com

Too bad about the inserts. A free-standing stove (if installationally viable) would halve your wood consumption.

That wine sounds like a good idea. What's your favorite? I've become a real fan of Bonair reds here in Washington state, but every time my wife sees me on TOD, she hides the key to the wine cellar...

Trader Joe's has a really good IMO Chianti for $5.50 a bottle. I buy 5 or 6 bottles every time I go. It's the one with a shield pressed into the glass. It's called Chianti Riserva I think.

It's the one with a shield pressed into the glass. It's called Chianti Riserva I think.

I bought some in the Netherlands last week. Paid 6 Euros, so $5.50 is a really good deal. As you say, it was really good.

What side of WA are you on? I like the wines from China Bend Winery up in Kettle Falls...unusual cool and high altitude varieties like Marshal Foch, Luci Kohlman and Lemberger. It is all sulfite-free and organic. Helps keep the Peak Oil blues(like DTs, but different) away. Or at least that's what I tell the wife. ;>)

Welcome to Yankeeville!

I would suggest looking at Solar Hot Water, which has both a good payback and improves the value of the home, possibly in excess of the cost of the system (but this based on a CA study. Sorry no link)

Home Energy Audit as well. Try to find the leaks and weak spots that will be costing you. How old are the appliances?

Bob in Maine

ps (EDIT): A Texan and a Mainer were comparing their hometowns.. The Texan says "We've got a Steer in my Town whose Horns measured a good 18 axehandles across!" The Mainer nods appreciatively, thinking for a minute. "You know, in our Town Common, we've got this old Metal Drum that HAS to measure at least 23 Axehandles across it, yuh." The Texan looks baffled and non-plussed. "Well what in Hell would you do with a big ol' drum like that anyway?" .. And the Mainer smiles, "Well, we could cook your cow!"

Does it pay to have money? I mean I have dabbled with the idea of getting my money out of my retirement plan and selling the house while it still has value. But if things are to get as bad as some of the TODers believe, does it really matter if I have a sock full of paper?

I don't think it will pay to have money in a few years, so I am paying of my house and buying things that will be hard to find soon. While I was buying the wood burning stoves, the wait time for installation went from just five days to 3 and a half weeks. As they stop trucking things so far, you will only find the things they make locally (even with money). So, I am trying to spend some money now on things I would need in 3 years, but can't get.

P.S. I am keeping enough money to pay the property taxes, because I want to stay here.

It is really tricky right now knowing what to do. If we have hyperinflation, then that sock full of paper money will be worthless, and you'll really be wishing you still owned that house. On the other hand, if we have deflation, that sock full of paper money will be enough to buy you ten houses. The trouble is, you can't really cover both contingencies, investment strategies that work well for one scenario work badly for the other.

Hello TODers,

As most know, I have been posting extensively on TOD my concerns with global postPeak fertilizer flowrates. Job specialization is only possible with food surpluses so a decrease in fertilizers presents huge problems to the Overshoot population, aka Dieoff.

I think the word is now starting to get out into the investment world as evidenced by the recent frenzy in Potash North stock [Please newsgoogle and check recent market action, stk symbol: PON.V]. This company was recently granted a mining permit; they are years away, if ever, from actually producing a product.

Their stock has gone from twenty cents a share to currently $3.18 per share in the past week [sixteenfold increase]--IMO, asshattery of the finest vintage-- I just wanted to warn people that this meteoric rise cannot be sustained. Your family would be better off buying fertilizer than trying to time the market in Potash North stock. Caveat emptor.

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

Re: Saudi call for emergency summit between producers and consumers

I believe historians will later write that this announcement by Saudi Arabia marked a sea change in the debate about the existence of peak oil. Rather than trying to talk down the price of oil by announcing an increase in production which they undoubtedly cannot provide on a sustained basis, the Saudis have taken the first step in conditioning the world for the eventual announcement that they cannot (or will not) increase production. Thanks to Matt Simmons and others such as those at this site, the Saudis must realize that they have an irreplaceable and precious resource which will never be duplicated in the history of mankind. They must also realize that the American consumer is wasting that resource as a result of our "live for today, future generations be damned", culture. Further, the Saudis realize the US spends more than all other nations combined on its military and has the ability to incinerate large parts of the planet to get what it wants. Finally, it realizes the American politicians are easily swayed by an anti-Arab electorate.

In light of the above, the Saudis must very carefully wean Americans from wasting the lion's share of this precious resource before it is too late. Short of rationing, the only way to do this is to have the value of the American dollar decrease drastically against the value of all other major currencies so that oil costs much more for Americans but not more for the less gluttonous countries. The riyal/dollar peg must end - but the Saudis must bring about this end in a way which doesn't disrupt all world economies and which does not threaten the corrupt Saudi rulers. A summit involving the consuming nations which are currently getting hammered by the high price of oil even though they are not wasteful may be the best way to do this. The will lessen the negative political consequences of the inevitable decline in oil production. It may be a first step in implementation of a form of Colin Campbell's Oil Depletion Protocol.

Agreed. My interpretation also of the Saudi Oil Summit is to prepare the world as gently as they can for the news. Knowing the Saudi's, they will split the message in the following two directions. 1. They will say they have tons and tons of undeveloped resources, that can take the Kingdom's ability to expand production well into the future. 2. However, they will say, the Kingdom can no longer be thought of as the ready-scalable supplier to a world that wants to grow demand at any rate it pleases.

Lurking behind the message will be the implication of Hotelling's Rule: their resources conserved in the ground are compounding at a better rate of return than alternatives provided by converting those resources into cash, and investing in other asset classes.

Welcome to Peak. It sure is windy up here.


Speaking of the price of crude I have a suspicion. When people like the CEO of American Airlines tells us that no airline can survive $100 per barrel of crude he's really saying that averaged over some period of time, say a year, the price has to be below $100. We're never told what their hedges are and what they really pay. That's a corporate secret. But I can get the information on pure spot price from the link below.


So here's what I got as average prices of WTI crude for these years.

2007 = $72.25
2008 = $107.13

While prices are rising we aren't too far over the $100 line in the sand that American Airlines CEO drew.

BTW, kerosene based jet fuel delivered on the Gulf coast averaged these.

2007 = $2.1383
2008 = $3.2298

Wow, that Carolyn Baker is quite the doomer. She's even convinced her students not to have children. That must be one depressing class.

Average peoples' stories of hardship, collected by Bernie Sanders, US senator from Vermont:
http://www.sanders.senate.gov/files/middle-class-booklet%20.pdf [not-too-large PDF]

The letters are mostly from Vermonters, some from other states.

Table of contents:

“We have at times had to choose between baby food and heating fuel.” Page 5
“By February we ran out of wood and I burned my mother's dining room furniture.” Page 5
“Not spending those ten hours at home with my husband and son makes a big difference.” Page 6
“I want to drop everything I am doing and go visit him.” Page 6
“We also only eat two meals a day to conserve.” Page 7
“My husband and I are very nervous about what will happen to us when we are old.” Page 7
“The pennies have all but dried up….Today I am sad, broken, and very discouraged.” Page 8
“I don't go to church many Sundays, because the gasoline is too expensive to drive there.” Page 8
“At the rate we are going we will be destitute in just a few years.” Page 9
“I am just tired….I work 12 to 14 hours daily and it just doesn't help.” Page 9
“Now we find that instead of a feeling of comfort, we have a feeling of dread.” Page 10
“Some nights we eat cereal and toast for dinner because that's all I have.” Page 10
“Insurance costs continue to rise causing some to forgo insurance to pay for groceries.” Page 11
“Dentistry is expensive and people are opting not to come to the dentist.” Page 11
“How devastating it has been for folks who travel great distances to get to their cancer treatment.”
Page 12
“I feel as though I am between a rock and a hard place no matter how hard I try.” Page 13
“I have been forced to go back to work.” Page 13
“We would like to not have to worry about where our next meal will come from.” Page 14
“My husband and I followed all the rules…. Slowly, though, we have sunk back to the 'poor' days.”
Page 14
“It costs me so much money in gas that my wife and I live on $6 per day to eat.” Page 15
“How much more of a hit can people take? The future looks extremely bleak to me.” Page 15
“I am now living out of my car.” Page 16
“Our life style has drastically changed in the past 12 months.” Page 16
“My mortgage is behind, we are at risk for foreclosure, and I can't keep up with my car payments.”
Page 17
“We are barely staying afloat.” Page 17
“I wonder some times if we should try to follow our dreams - decide to have children?” Page 18
“People say, ‘Cut back.’” Page 19
“Does anybody have a solution? Does anybody in Washington care?” Page 19

(Alas Bernie does not "get" peak oil)

That was some of the most depressing stuff I have read in a while.

Puts a human face on Demand Destruction, don't it.

Effing hell does it ever. I sometimes wonder why I read stuff like that...I know it's out there, but it's just so paralyzing. Especially when you know all this is just starting.

The real world beyond the Beltway. Welcome to it, Bernie.

We have to chose between baby food and heating oil....?

No they don't, they could have chose not to have a child, but people are too stupid to understand that. Idiots..

You, sir, are without understanding of human nature, and without comprehension of the courage that people display which led to you being able to walk the earth.
Do you imagine things were never tough for our ancestors?
The folly is entirely yours, not that of those people who are doing their human best under difficult circumstances.

Oh give me a damn break, my parents would have not had me unless they were sure they would be financially capable of doing so. Look, at the people over there, poor as dirt and starving in Somalia and Ethiopia and they still have children, they are stupid and selfish. Human stupidity makes us easily predictable when people like Malthus look at the rabble.

If everyone had waited until they were financially comfortable before having children there would not be any people.
If you live in a system without social security and modern pension arrangements then if you don't have children you will starve in old age.
You are the one who is reluctant to give anyone a break, and your critique is life-denying and based on a narrow viewpoint derived form a comfortable middle class existence.
It obviously makes you feel better to blame the poor for their predicament, but you must excuse the rest of us if we feel that the selfishness and blind stupidity lies with yourself rather than those you are judging from on high on your comfortable seat.

Why would the poor have children, when they know there is almost no hope for them? It is irresponsible, to have a child when all the children aound you are starving to death as you speak. Old people made it by long before social security, their children took car of them, and I know what you would say and it does not take more than 2 children to take car of their parents. The poor should be blamed for their ignorance, I doesn't matter because this "high comfortable seat," will be gone with the rest of this impending Malthusian catastrophe.

They weren't starving when they had the children.
The body won't allow it.
They had children and then a misfortune arose, drought or whatever.
You don't need two children to survive in old age - you need two surviving children, which when mortality is high can mean that you have to insure by having a lot.
In earlier tribal societies you did not need so many, as the tribe would often take some degree of care for it's members, and so the impact of our society in part accounts for their actions, so any inherent vice may be as attributable to our ancestors as to them.
People often make smart, rational choices when you understand their circumstances.
For many years the poor agriculturalists were berated by the half educated ideologues in charge of agricultural reform in the NGO's and aid organisations for being tardy in taking up new 'miracle' crops.
Of course, since it was their survival that was at stake they could not afford to just risk everything on unproven technology, and subsequently the high cost and need for fertilisers of this option has proven their caution justified.
It was the half-educated people who were keen on patronising them who were being stupid, as they had not considered all the factors.
Similarly your rush to judgement on people whose exact circumstances you do not know and moralising tone, when it seems perhaps unlikely that you would do as well as they in their situation does not speak well of either your judgement or your humanity.
Regardless of your opinion, you are not above them, and your rush to facile judgement shows a lack of humanity which hopefully is merely the result of immaturity rather than the much more distasteful failure of empathy and condescension which would otherwise be indicated.

Yeah.. tell it to your own folks.

Tell it to their kid.

what are you even talking about?

You can't be that dim. Think about it.
Or perhaps you can.

In spite of population being the real heart of the entire problem, the right to reproduce should be a sacrosanct, fundamental human right. I have no children, and am quite strongly opposed to having any, but I would never seek to impose that POV on others.

Now...having a brood of five or six? There might be some conversation there.

The EIA's new International Petroleum Monthly is just out.

No big surprises. World oil (C+C) production in March was down by 134,000 barrels per day to 74,494,000 barrels per day. January and February were revised down somewhat. January was revised down to 74,303,000 bp/d from 74,341,000 bp/d and February was revised to 74,628,000 bp/d down from 74,657,000 bp/d.

OPEC was down 110,000 bp/d and non-OPEC was down 24,000 bp/d.

Ron Patterson

With OPEC production down, either they don't give a *HIT or they can't raise production.
Which one is it or is it both??????

all #'s revised downward. Is this typical?

Occasionally there are upward revisions but by far, most revisions are downward. When the EIA does not have the actual data they just guess. And far more often than not their guesses are too high. So when they do get the actual data, they make corrections.

Ron Patterson

Hello TODers,

Focus on the China Sulfur Market Report, 2008

...China's phosphatic compound fertilizer industry will maintain a rapid development in the following several years. China's demand for sulfur will be further enlarged. Therefore, the following issues in China's sulfur industry requires urgent solution that how to use sulfur resources reasonably, control vicious price hikes, decrease the dependence on sulfur import and promote a healthy development of the market.
As far as I could tell, the summary of this report had no included Peakoil analysis, but I did not spend $2,000 to get the full details. But, as evidenced by the continuing rise in fertilizer corporate stocks and rising product prices, I suspect lots of fund managers and bigbuck-investors bought this report. Time will tell.

Have you hugged your bag of NPK today?

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

...In a recent presentation on the Commodity Price "Supercycle" to the Association for Mineral Exploration BC in Vancouver, Mohr noted that the California Public Employees' Retirement System alone will increase its investment in commodities by as much as US$7.2 billion over the next two years.

...Surging biofuel global interest as well as tight world supplies of grains and oilseeds are driving potash prices to record levels. Mohr noted that Potash prices at the Port of Vancouver increased 187% yr/yr to US$525 in May. "Spot prices are likely to advance to at least US$700 in 2008:H2."

Meanwhile, spot sulphur prices jumped to US$660 per tonne in May, up 1,100% from US$55 a year ago, "This represents the biggest yr/yr spike of any commodity in the Scotiabank Commodity Price Index-surpassing the Hunt Brothers' silver squeeze in 1980 and the nickel price run-up in May 2007 (in data back to 1972)."
Somehow, I don't think the sour oil refineries & sour natgas producers are going to let sulfur prices slip much in the postPeak years ahead. I think they fully understand how this sulfur element is a crucial strategic lynchpin to control I-NPK and industrial output--it is truly an industrial lifeblood to our civilization.

Feel free to elaborate or dispute.

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

From Bloomberg in story re Saudi call for emergency meeting:

"Saudi Arabia said it had increased production this month and has told all the oil companies it deals with that it's ready to provide them with additional supplies, if needed."

Query: If Saudi Arabia is concerned about the price being too high and has plenty of oil it is willing to supply, then why don't they just lower the price they charge?

Saudis don't set the price. Price is set by the commodities market.
The only way Saudi can lower price is increase production.

I assume that the Saudis receive money from whomever they deliver their oil to once it comes out of the ground. If they didn't, they would not have such a large current account surplus. Consequently, I don't understand why you think they can't sell it for less. Please advise as to why you think a seller can't sell for less. I've heard the statement before and it just doesn't make sense to me.

If you had an ounce of Gold, how much below market would you be willing to sell it?
If Saudis sell for less than market, then the middle man will just absorb the extra profits.
Consumers will see no break.

The Saudis are complaining about the price being too high. Why don't they cut out the middleman by selling directly to the refiners? i am sure large companies such as Exxon, BP etc are very capable of buying direct.

In order to deliver oil at a price lower than the spot market, you enter into a longterm bilateral contract. This is what Chavez has done to sell oil to poor countries and heating oil to poor US folks at below market rates. For doing this, he is demonized.

Remember the capitalist dicta: Charge whatever the market will bear.

The Saudis do alter the price on a small scale to the customers they sell to directly. It gets the occasional mention in the DB when it occurs. I believe what you are suggesting is for oil exporters to offer rebates.

On the other hand, surely medical insurance prices are way out of control, so why aren't they being railed at for windfall profits, causing economic pain and facing demands from government to lower their rates or up their supply? See second paragraph for answer.

Most oil prices are not set by the commodities market. Most oil is sold by private contract. The Saudis decide (by fiat, I presume) what they will charge. Sometimes they vary it. I remember two stories this year, one from early in the year where they lowered it a bit, and then one from later in the year where they raised it substantially. They do not charge the US the same as other customers.

Amateur Economist asks,
"Query: If Saudi Arabia is concerned about the price being too high and has plenty of oil it is willing to supply, then why don't they just lower the price they charge?"

So, how about another "query": What price do "they" (the Saudi's) charge?

Do they charge Brent crude price, or West Texas Intermediate, or Chicago Commodity Board of some kind...?

But yeah, I want the Saudi's to cut prices so then I could buy the oil and resell it to all those hysterics who think it should be some $200 or $300 per barrel....oh wait, there's folks already doing that! Darn...


Is there a middleman in the system that is making an inordinate profit as a result of the oil price run-up that has occurred in the last year or so? What I mean is, did the oil producers such as Saudi Arabia only raise the price they charge by, for example, $20 per barrel in the last year, while a middleman increased the price charged to refiners such as Exxon by $50 a barrel. If so, it seems the powers that be could easily reduce the price by cutting out the middleman, especially if the Saudis have a lot of extra oil available to sell as they publicly proclaim.

Any comments on this question would be graetly appreciated.

To GougedbytheSystem:

Here is what OPEC says:
Recent OPEC basket price history

So OPEC would let the markets set the price, and if they felt prices were getting too low, they could ease off production and tighten supplies.
The argument that OPEC is making (accept it at your own discretion, buyer beware) is that they are keeping the world well supplied, and that others are driving up the price through speculation and hysteria. Thus in their view there is no need to change production levels, because the problem is not a lack of supply.
Note that the OPEC basket price has not yet been above $130 per barrel.


Thank you for info and the thougfhtful response.

I guess the question someone from the news media should ask the Saudis is: why are the oil refiners offering you such a high price for your crude if 1) you are willing to sell it for less and 2) you have excess supply to sell if the refiners would just ask you to sell it to them.

I believe the Saudis could never give a logical answer to such a question. The true answer must be that there is not enough supply to meet demand at a lower price, therefore, they must ration it by charging a higher price. It is apparent from the info you provided that there is no middleman taking undue advantage of the crude oil producers or the gasoline refiners.

gougedbythesystem...Thanks for joining the discussion.

You have asked a question that many on this board and individuals around the world have been pondering for a very long time.

You have not found the answer to the question that you asked. Oil prices are not so easily pigeon holed... but effected by many factors...lots of variables are involved. To list a few:

No one outside a few in OPEC know what the real reserves of OPEC are. Your question seems to be limited to the US oil price increases but oil is bid for by many growing economies, some with more assets than the US has. Part of the 'floor price' of oil is set by how much it costs oil companies to extract the oil and get it to market. All 'floor prices' are not the same. Oil raised from great ocean depths is more expensive than oil on land and near the surface. The ELM export land model reveals that various countries use more oil for their own internal needs and therefore have less to export...also, above ground factors such as Nigerian rebels and Iraqi dissidents, etc, sometimes blow up oil infrastructure causing delays in oil delivery. Economics plays a role in the price of oil. Since most oil is sold in dollars if the value of the dollar rises or falls the price of oil is effected. Fear of war can move oil prices drastically. Crude oil is not all equal...sweet light is generally more valuable than sour crude. Many factors go into setting the price for oil...I have touched on only a few. In other words, there is no simple answer. If you stick around this board you will probably learn a lot from the various experts that post here. I am not an expert, just a person that is curious about many topics...but oil is high on my list of curiousities.

Good luck in your quest for an answer.

But yeah, I want the Saudi's to cut prices so then I could buy the oil and resell it to all those hysterics who think it should be some $200 or $300 per barrel....oh wait, there's folks already doing that!

So who do you think is buying oil so they can resell it? And where do you think they are storing this oil?

And what hysterics do you think are buying oil at $200-$300/bbl? As far as I know, the people who think oil is too cheap aren't buying oil at all, except to the extent that they buy petroleum based products for consumption.

The people who are going to pay $200-$300/bbl for oil are refiners and governments stocking their SPRs. Are you saying they are hysterics? That may be true, but I don't think they are "hysterics who think it should be some $200 or $300 per barrel." Actually, I had a hard time figuring out just what it was you were trying to say.

Well, I was intending to be a bit ironic and sarcastic, but it apparently missed it's mark.

My reference was to the speculators, who must think crude oil is cheap or they wouldn't keep buying futures that are higher.

To explain, when I referred to "oil" I was using the slang for oil futures and prices, which a person wouldn't have to store. The joke was based on the idea that....oh, never mind, sorry to bother ya'


if the local store sells diamonds at 5c a pound, how does it decide which of the customers in line it sells them to before it runs out of stock?

"if the local store sells diamonds at 5c a pound, how does it decide which of the customers in line it sells them to before it runs out of stock?'

Simple. By open auction. They would not set a 5 cent price, but instead open auction the item and let the market set the price. Which is pretty much how commodities work.


For those with a passion for street cars (and old cars in general), this video of San Francisco dating back to 1940 has some interesting footage; in particular, starting at about 4:45. One thing you notice is the sheer vibrancy of the cityscape that seems to have been largely lost in the auto age.



Hello TODers,

I expect this to become commonplace worldwide as depleting postPeak energy creates ever less I-NPK:

Fertilizer shortage triggers violence in Dharwad
As posted before: I expect the postPeak violence over I-NPK to absolutely, by magnitudes, to dwarf the violence of the earlier guano period.

I sure hope the TOD engineers are working on ways to rapidly ramp O-NPK recycling. Again, may I suggest my archived SpiderWebRiding proposals and humanure ideas?

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

After reading a repeated postings about the Bilderbergers and water cars, I thought I would kind of come back to some of the interesting stories Leanan found for us on todays Oil Drum.

The article concerning the Saudi call for an oil summit is fascinating, to my mind of a stroke of genuis on the part of the KSA:


It would be interesting to see if they would be willing to lay out tables and stats showing EXACTLY where Saudi production will come from, and more interestingly, EXACTLY how much money they will have to spend to get it over the next decade or so. There are charts all over the TOD almost daily showing that Saudi "spare capacity" has decreased in the last several years, but when someone points out that maintaining "spare capacity" costs spare money and asks who is going to pay, the answer is one of the few unified ones you will hear: "Not us."

Of course, if we just conserve, right? Of course, sometimes statistics get in the way of a good story, and a number slaps you right across the race:


"After six years of rallying oil prices, demand destruction is now becoming apparent in the United States, whose gasoline use is more than one-tenth of the world's oil consumption."

Whoa! One tenth! And that includes the army of SUV's, the pickup trucks, and the 3/4 megawatt rocketships on the highway...and we come out to the fantastic number of a bit over one tenth!

If you accept the projections by ASPO, Simmons, tex and others, we will be dropping one tenth a year on oil production soon, so what we can extract from this little tidbit of info is this: You can drive around on a mono cylinder enlarged lawn mower, or you can drive the last of the giant SUV road locamotives, it's your choice, but it will have absolutely no freakin' effect on "peak oil".

One last little thought regarding the Saudi's, oil, and money, quoting from Euan Mearns article,

"Why oil costs over $130 per barrel: the decline of North Sea Oil"
By Euan Mearns,

"Rising North Sea Oil production contributed to the oil price crash of 1986. Deferred investment resulting from this is the principal reason for decline in 1987. This was made worse by the Piper Alpha oil rig explosion of 1988. These are above ground factors."

Ahhh, that old bugbear, "Deferred Investment". Now that I think about it, maybe at the oil conference the Saudi's would like to show us not only what they intend to spend over the next 10 years but also compare it to what they have spent over the last ten. It could be interesting.


US gas use is 10% of the global amount. But what of diesel? Wouldn't that also be close to 10%. So, the USA uses 20% of global transport fuels, and you say that conservation will do nothing? I suggest you rethink this.

I too would be interested in the sort of transparency you're goading the Saaudi's to provide. If I'm correct and light-sweet has peaked, then their spare capacity is likely heavy and heavy-sour that has no buyers. Thus their statement about keeping their buyers well supplied--they don't want the heavy and heavy-sour.


I thought that 10% of "A" + 10% of "B" = 10% (A +B). Not 20% of the total.

But, then I took algebra over 50 years ago.

A;most 11% of All Liquids production is burned as gasoline in the USA (85 million b/day All Liquids, 9.3 million b/day just for USA gasoline - latest #s, down from 9.4 last year).

The USA uses less in jet fuel (1.6 million b/day) and distillates (4.1 million b/day) but STILL a good % of total world production.


Sorry karlof1, I really have enough going on without trying to conserve Diesel for the truckers...they can do that if they want to.

And my view is that conservation is important to buy time and as a national security/economic issue, but that U.S. automobiles, despite the massive amount of publicity they get as the cause of "peak oil" and the devil responsible for all problems in the world are in fact marginal consumers, so changing the cars will change nothing concerning "peak oil" in the larger sense. The gasoline consumption of U.S. automobiles will certainly drop as a percentage of world oil consumption over the next decade due to increasing consumption in the rest of the world and technical breakthroughs in the automotive sector, and become a continually decreasing factor in world oil consumption.


Hmmm.... The USA uses about 25% of the crude oil extracted on the planet. Roughly 20% of global extraction becomes USA transport fuels, the remainder heating oil and feedstock for numerous petroleum based products. I argee that Jevons Paradox comes into play as any country tries to conserve and demand destruction occurs, thus keeping overall demand and therefore oil price high/er. Seems to me like a Catch-22 situation where we're damned if we do and damned if we don't.

Some problems can't be solved, they can only be coped with. Peak Oil is definitely one of those problems. Coping with the consequences is the name of the game from here on out.

Man, the latest top article, "Oil data lag may cause sharp price fall - Lehman," reminds me of a runaway oscillation from overcompensation in a controller! I never thought of the market as having the ability to insert inertia in the control signal, but that's what we could see.

PS. these systems generally blow up!


4 months ago, during the month of February 2008, WTI averaged $95 per barrel.

And one year ago we were all a-twitter because it had rose above - what was it? $70?

This article indicates that 75% of the increase in corn production has been swallowed by U.S.A. ethanol production in the past three years:


What is scary is that while the United States was yet rapidly expanding ethanol production; numerous other nations have laws on the books requiring ethanol use also. A poor family is crushed by an athanol pincer movement. Ethanol was being made from corn, sugar, wheat, cassava, etc.

India requires 5% ethanol blending with a goal of 10% ethanol blending by October of this year.



Missouri requires a 10% ethanol blend and along with Minnesota and Hawaii exceeds the conversion of grain to fuel required by the Federal government.


With this widespread adoptation of legal requirements to convert vast quantities of food stocks into low yield energy programs, the United Nations is dealing with reports of widespread hunger.

If you have Microsoft PowerPoint you might like this presentation about ethanol and the world food supply:


The United States supplies 2/3 of the world's corn exports.

The United States used 20% of its harvest to produce 3% of it fuel (by volume?) in 2007.

The 2008 situation is such that 25% of the harvest might be used for ethanol and fewer acres of corn were planted.

My knowledge of the list of other nations who switched to ethanol after 2005 is growing. Another nation found to be using ethanol is Japan. They use a 3% ethanol blend.

If you have Microsoft PowerPoint you might like this presentation about ethanol and the world food supply:


The United States supplies 2/3 of the world's corn exports.

The United States used 20% of its harvest to produce 3% of it fuel (by volume?) in 2007.

The 2008 situation is such that 25% of the harvest might be used for ethanol and fewer acres of corn were planted.

My knowledge of the list of other nations who switched to ethanol after 2005 is growing. Another nation found to be using ethanol is Japan. They use a 3% ethanol blend.

American Outrage: Ridiculously High Gas - Just When It Seems Like the Price at the Pump Can't Get Any Higher, It Does.

Clueless Americans bitching about the price of gas, looking to "leaders" in Washington to solve the problem, and not a word about peak oil or supply side problems. The lead is "fueling anger", and I suspect that a convenient and misleading outlet will be provided for the growing anger of American consumers.

It's not like it's that hard for the media to find out what is really going on. The rcent WSJ story was not exactly subtle:

"Net oil exporters unable to keep up with demand"

One begins to think that they don't want to ask some questions, because they don't want to know the answers.

Thanks to all the contributors and editors at The Oil Drum for the time they take to make this site so great. The news section on the daily Drumbeat is very impressive with the amount of topical articles posted every morning. I have no idea how Leanan can find so many news stories from different sources everyday (although I bet it is getting easier now with $135 oil). The analyses on this site have helped me make personal decisions in my life that I hope will make things easier as more hardships develop due to increasingly expensive and scarce oil (especially for us oil importers).

Tonight I was listening to conservative talk radio host Neil Boortz (why I don’t know), and he was talking about US Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) oil and how it was going to save the day. The mantra being pressed now by Boortz, Hannity and probably other conservative talk radio hosts is “drill here, drill now”. While listening to Boortz’s show, he stated that some 90 percent of the US OCS is restricted to exploration and drilling and the only thing preventing us from having low oil prices now were the “enviroweenies” and that we needed to contact our congress people and have restrictions removed to start drilling so we can get back to BAU.

I didn’t know enough about US OCS oil to have a comeback to his argument (I wasn’t on air, just thinking to myself) so when I got back to my computer I searched for US outer continental shelf oil, and I was directed to an article on The Oil Drum to let me know how much is, or isn’t there. I read The Oil Drum pretty much everyday, but the article about US OCS oil had apparently gotten by me. My point is, I was able to read and learn about the US OCS due to the contributors and editors at The Oil Drum, so, once again, thank you for the effort and time put in to this site.

Columbia, MO

BTW, this is the story I was referring to


Sierra Club on OCS


Big Oil is making a big push now to drill US OCS & ANWR because that is about all they have left. Once those are done, they are done, and they know it.

We probably will eventually drill these, whether we want to or not. The only question is: how desperate will we have to be before we do it. If there isn't enough fuel to keep ambulances running, that is one thing. If SUV owners are having to pay $4 or $5 per gallon, that is quite another. We are nowhere close to being in a true national emergency yet. Since we don't have government and corporate leadership that can see two minutes ahead of themselves and make wise decisions about our future, we are going to need these last remaining reserves to supply the transition while we make the emergency mitigation measures in a panic that we should have been making in a more planned and methodical manner. The last thing we want to do right now is to deplete them a moment before we absolutely have to.

Worries Mount as Farmers Push for Big Harvest

At a moment when the country’s corn should be flourishing, one plant in 10 has not even emerged from the ground, the Agriculture Department said Monday.


From EIA IPM released today

Brazil's declining crude and condensate (C&C) production, month to month

Dec 2007, 1,806 kbd
Jan 2008, 1,776 kbd
Feb 2008, 1,772 kbd
Mar 2008, 1,750 kbd

I'm sure this trend is just an anomaly, but these are Brazil's recent startups, representing 460 kbd in total capacity (peak basis). C&C production still declines.

Nov 2007, Roncador P52, 180 kbd (peak)
Nov 2007, Golfinho Mod 2, 100 kbd
Dec 2007, Roncador P54, 180 kbd


Petrobras was to start Marlim Sul P51 and Marlim Leste P53 by now but instead are delayed.


I suspect that a lot of people have the impression that Brazil is on track to rival Saudi Arabia as a net oil exporter, while the truth is that in 2007 Brazil was still a net importer (small amounts, but still an importer). It will be quite some time before Brazill hits major net oil exporter status--in the one mbpd per day range.

Hello TODers,

Finally, the I-NPK problem makes the front homepage of Yahoo and is also featured in their most popular section:

New threat to food system: pricey fertilizer

WASHINGTON/WINNIPEG (Reuters) - It powered the Green Revolution and helped save millions from starvation, but now one of the most important tools on the farm is being priced out of reach for many of the world's growers.
I have been trying to alert the world to this problem for a long time, and I expect it to only get worse as cascading postPeak blowbacks come to the fore.

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

Hello TODers,

Corn Deluged by Iowa, Illinois Rain Cuts Yields, Boosts Prices

..."It's already a disaster," said Palle Pedersen, an agronomist at Iowa State University in Ames...

..."The crop is in serious trouble," said Jim Stephens, president of Farmers National Commodities Inc. in Omaha, Nebraska, who helps manage more than 3,600 farms across the Midwest. He said corn will top $8 a bushel this year.
Bob Shaw in Phx,Az Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

IEA's Chief Economist, Fatih Birol, talks about forecast oil demand and supply. He says more investment is needed to increase production capacity and decline rates from Russia and Mexico were worse than he expected. However, he hopes that Brazil and West Africa will increase production in the second half of 2008. He also hopes that biofuels production will increase.

Birol of IEA Says Asian Subsidies Supporting Oil Demand

Iran is needing to raise wheat imports as it suffers from drought:


There is a shortage of food grade shipping containers in Australia preventing some export of wheat:


Australia's forecast of a bumper crop of wheat is contingent on more rain:


Wheat was used to make ethanol biofuels in some countries.

I just posted this here on 'Feels like a recession' by Todd Benjamin:

I was nodding along to your commentary, including when you spoke about the oil price being due to supply and demand, with little OPEC can do about it, and then came to the bit where you said that as petrol taxes in many consuming countries are high, including in the UK, that if Governments were concerned they could reduce them.
What in the world? This would have. of course the effect of increasing demand, and so the price would, in a restricted supply situation, lead to increased prices, with the difference accruing to the oil exporting nations, whilst countries like the UK and US would now still be paying the same high price but would no longer have the funds their governments would have got from the tax.
Not too good an idea, I would have thought!
The way to economise would be to INCREASE taxes on petrol, and distribute that via cheques or rebates so that there was no adverse overall effect on the economy, but people would have every incentive to not use more than they had to of the commodity in short supply, oil.

bloomberg fixin to focus on matt's bet re crude i presume.

wasn't matt simmons' bet.

a new one & they gave it a seconds, just describing [what a teaser].

the bet was head of BP with i think an ASPO expert re no. of barrels in 2018 being less than 2010. they quoted the 2010 as predicted peak. like i said a few sentences.

there is a reason i don't frequently turn tv on!