DrumBeat: June 21, 2008

Saudi pumping extra oil to meet demand: Saudi source

JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia (Reuters) - Top world oil exporter Saudi Arabia has decided to increase oil supply to meet demand from customers, a Saudi oil source said on Saturday.

Saudi Arabia will raise output to 9.7 million barrels per day in July, the fastest daily rate in decades.

"We increased because they (our customers) asked for it," the source said.

Saudi Arabia aims to defuse political backlash

JEDDAH // At an emergency oil summit in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia is seeking to defuse a political backlash against oil exporting nations from consumers upset at skyrocketing prices.

Australia - Government has flunked energy-saving targets: Opposition

The State Government has failed to meet its self-imposed energy saving target, despite spending the past fortnight urging WA households to cut consumption.

As the gas crisis nears the end of its third week, the State Opposition criticised the Government for “spectacularly failing” to fulfil its promise to reduce energy consumption by 12 per cent in 2006-07 or penalising those agencies which exceeded the target. Overall, a mere 2.5 per cent reduction was achieved.

Nigerian youths blow up oil pipeline, output cut

ABUJA (Reuters) - Armed youths blew up a Nigerian crude oil pipeline operated by U.S. major Chevron, a militant group said on Saturday, cutting more output from the world's eighth largest oil exporter.

The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) said it was contacted by youths claiming responsibility for Thursday's attack on Chevron's Abiteye-Olero crude pipeline and commended their action.

Shell Delays Off-shore Drilling Program

Shell has announced that it will forego its 2008 Beaufort Sea drilling program due to a lagging 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling. Shell cited a need for workers and contractors to pursue other opportunities as additional factors in the decision.

Truckers wait days for fuel - City shifts priorities to buses; drivers await tanker

TIJUANA – Public transit operated in Tijuana yesterday, but the shortage of diesel fuel continued to idle truckers. The disruption in supply is expected to last into next week.

No excuse for energy apathy

Casualty, the BBC's prime-time hospital drama, is one of my least favourite TV shows. Watching a plot develop in the knowledge that it will end in some hideous tragedy sets me on edge. I find the sense of doom deeply unsettling.

It is with a similar sense of dread that I am viewing developments in the energy market. The relentless march of wholesale gas prices continues unabated, increasing nearly threefold in a year. This can mean only one thing: another round of huge rises in domestic energy bills is imminent.

McCain's Power Outage

McCain has spent the week focusing on energy policy, making some surprising, and inaccurate, statements.

Among them: He said that ending a moratorium on offshore oil drilling "would be very helpful in the short term in resolving our energy crisis." But according to a government report, offshore oil wouldn't have much of an impact on supply or prices until 2030.

Discount Energy Rate Needed

Connecticut desperately needs a discount energy rate for the many families and elderly who are struggling to keep up with their gas and electric utility bills.

Ithaca program paves way for car sharing

Ithaca Carshare is the first communitywide, car-sharing operation in Upstate New York and is designed to serve as a model for places such as Syracuse, Auburn and Oswego.

"We're trying to learn all the hard lessons now and have this 'carshare in a box' available to other communities," said David Lieb, Ithaca Carshare's board chair. "We've looked at that as an important part of what we're doing: to prove it can work in a small market and make it easier to work in other Upstate cities."

Gas prices keeping vacationers closer to home

With gas prices burning holes in drivers' wallets, many are avoiding long distance road trips and sticking closer to home this summer.

Lately, industry experts are reviving the term "staycation" to remind families they do not have to jet off to Europe, or drive the family van across the country, to enjoy their summer holidays.

U.S. Energy Secretary says more oil needed to tame price

JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia (Reuters) - Producers must pump more to ease the pain felt in the United States and elsewhere from record fuel prices, U.S. Energy Secretary Sam Bodman said on Saturday.

He blamed tight supplies for fuelling a rally which lifted oil close to $140 a barrel this week, sparking protests across Asia and Europe.

"Anything that will add supply to the market is important," he said.

Kingdom has no magic wand: Abdulaziz

JEDDAH: Saudi officials said yesterday that the Kingdom has no “magic wand” that will resolve the skyrocketing oil prices.

Addressing a press conference ahead of tomorrow’s International Energy Conference here, Deputy Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said: “There are political, economic and regulatory factors involved.

Court ruling on energy crisis could have dramatic impact

The U.S. Supreme Court is about to make its first decision on the worst energy crisis in American history: The California energy crisis of 2000-01.

The legal repercussions of this decision could change the way energy is bought and sold in America for generations. For good or bad.

Former shepherd boy with power to pour oil on the world's troubles

There will be speeches tomorrow from King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia and Gordon Brown at the energy summit in Jeddah that could decide the future of our petrol prices and heating bills. But the few words that matter will come from a former shepherd boy, Ali Al-Naimi.

Now 73, he is the minister of petroleum and mineral resources in the world's largest crude exporting country, and if anyone can influence global energy costs it is this quietly spoken man from humble background who rose to become pre-eminent in the oil sector.

For geoengineers, all the world's a lab

The next frontier in environmental science may involve using the Earth itself as a platform. Will the costs be too great to bear?

A Green Coal Baron?

Even in this era of green evangelism, Rogers is a genuine anomaly. As the head of Duke Energy, with its dozens of coal-burning electric plants scattered around the Midwest and the Carolinas, he represents one of the country’s biggest sources of greenhouse gases. The company pumps 100 million tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere each year, making it the third-largest corporate emitter in the United States.

Yet Rogers, who makes $10 million a year, is also one of the electricity industry’s most vocal environmentalists.

Outrage: Christians Hold Prayer Vigil At Gas Station

By driving to a gas station not to fill-up but to pray, the Toledo faithful are wasting gas and thereby compounding the energy crisis.

Instead of engaging in ineffectual exercises like prayer vigils, they should trade in their SUV's for compacts or motorcycles.

These Toledo Christians are completely clueless, they are demonstrating to the world how selfish and self-absorbed they are. Instead of praying that gas will go down so they can continue to live their self-absorbed indulgent lifestyles, they should pray for the millions who are starving to death.

Fuel fears have US over a barrel

REFINED, distilled and then burnt, petrol's explosive power propels the world's largest economy. But its soaring price is punching holes in the US engine - and the rest of us are anything but immune.

The globe's thirstiest energy consumer is reeling from high petrol prices, with a barrel of oil hitting $US137 ($145) on Thursday's markets. Even if there is still division about whether the high point of global production - "peak oil" - has been reached, most analysts agree that cheap oil is finished.

Nigerian rebels declare war

Lagos - Nigeria's most active armed group on Saturday urged foreign workers to leave oil facilities in the volatile Niger Delta, warning of fresh unrest following a government crackdown on the militants.

Oil producers, users dispute price crisis ahead of summit

JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia (AFP) - Oil powers and consumer nations haggled Saturday over who is to blame for the spectacular rise in crude prices, as they prepared for a summit in Saudi Arabia on the global energy crisis.

Oil producers may cut production, Libya warns

Some oil-producing countries may defy the west by cutting production, Libya warned today, ahead of an emergency meeting of oil producers and consumers in Saudi Arabia.

Shorki Ghanem, the chairman of Libya's National Oil Corporation, told Reuters in advance of the meeting in Jeddah: "Some countries may think of increasing production, but some countries may even think of cutting production."

OPEC members to hold emergency meeting

JEDDAH, SAUDI ARABIA: The members of OPEC that have any spare pumping capacity are to hold a meeting with top oil exporter Saudi Arabia on how to increase output. A senior Gulf OPEC official said the emergency meeting is to be held at Jeddah.

Prime Minister Putin Primes the Pump

MOSCOW - On June 11, the International Energy Agency announced that Russia's oil production had hit 9.5 million barrels per day in the first quarter, edging past Saudi Arabia's 9.2 million to make the country the global King of Crude. But few in Russia are cheering because that new crown is already wobbling. After climbing for years, Russia's output has begun to drop: It was down by 0.7% in April. The problem is so serious that the new Prime Minister, former President Vladimir Putin, has said the issue is his first priority.

Angry scenes at China’s petrol pumps

Chinese motorists, knowing the price of petrol was about to jump, queued for hours at a gas station only to be told they could not be served until the price rise took effect, prompting angry scenes on the forecourt.

Canada's oil wealth strategy questioned

Canada is already the world's eighth largest exporter of oil, and the third largest exporter of natural gas – an enviable position when prices are skyrocketing and widely expected to stay high.

Yet economists and central bankers who gathered at a conference to brainstorm on how energy affects the economy sound anxious.

Canada, some argue, is “flailing” in how it handles this windfall.

The future price of oil? Pick a number

Salameh told a British parliamentary committee last month that Iraq had offered the US a deal, three years before the war, that would have opened 10 new giant oil fields on "generous" terms, in return for lifting sanctions. "This would certainly have prevented the steep rise of the oil price," he said. "But the US had a different idea. It planned to occupy Iraq and annex its oil."

Chris Skrebowski, editor of Petroleum Review, said: "If there had been a civil war in Iraq even less oil would have been produced."

So what will happen next?

Tiger in our tanks

When the first domino of an oil shock tumbles, nearly everyone feels the pain, except for the winners, of course.

The Intellectually Barren Offshore Drilling Debate

At least one of Matt Simmons’s forecasts is not yet bearing fruit — his 2006 prediction that Peak Oil would come to dominate the 2008 campaign. For the debate over offshore drilling that’s erupted this week has shed absolutely no light on the real issues.

The Post-Materialist: Design’s Past, Future

The Post-Materialist took a vacation on an island in the windswept Scottish archipelago of Orkney last week. Since the trip coincided with newspaper headlines about sharply rising oil prices, I began to see the gorgeous ancient designs on display in the museums as strangely futuristic — things we could perhaps learn from and re-use in a post-Peak Oil age. This stuff, after all, uses locally-sourced materials, recycles efficiently and gives us elegant solutions to the problems of energy conservation and high-density living.

Powering The Planet — Editor's Introduction

This special report, "Powering The Planet", aims to inform and educate about the future of energy. Now and over the coming months, you'll find useful guides on energy sources and investments, a resource center with related links on a host of subjects, as well as an diverse library of videos from CNBC. Users will also be able to access a special collection of pod cast videos for downloading.

Primer: Peak Oil

Simmons: I’m a data nut. I don’t really care what people believe [about oil supplies]. I wrote my book after reading some 200 technical reports about the declining oil fields in Saudi Arabia.

You can line up upwards of 50 to 60 individual oil fields that are of significant size, and they all have that same trajectory. (For instance, Prudhoe Bay, the largest US oil field, maintained peak production — 1.5 million barrels per day — for 11 years but is now down to 200,000 bpd, and within five years will be at 50,000 bpd.) If you look at that, it becomes more and more clear that if we are not at peak oil, we are at a mesa.

Lynch: Peakists predict a peak and it comes and goes, and then they predict a new peak and keep insisting the method is correct. It’s just a little premature. But we see oil production going up and up over time. Over the last 10 to 15 years we have had a number of peaks and declines, followed by new increases in production.

Oil, oil everywhere? Well, just maybe

Ask him about oil, and Dr. Richard Pike has a rather sunny outlook. Oil and gas, he says confidently, will be around well into the next century.

Pike can maintain his optimism because he knows something no one else knows. He believes that a simple mathematical error – the sort made by first-year university statistics students – is causing much of our panic over a worldwide oil shortage.

Primer: Oil Industry Technology

With growing talk about peak oil — when the globe’s petroleum reserves begin an inexorable decline — exploration companies are increasingly turning high-tech to delay this eventuality.

There's been stunning advances in the industry's ability to visualize what lies deep underground and to extract more of what's down there.

Financial Sense Newshour: the second hour has a long interview with Michael Klare.

Top US Oil Suppliers Struggling With Output

As the focus of the global economy tilts toward oil-price talks in Saudi Arabia this weekend, consider a chilling set of numbers that speak to why oil prices are near $140 a barrel.

Oil output in four of the top five suppliers to the U.S. - the world's biggest oil consumer - dropped by nearly 1 million barrels a day last year. Some of the declines were based on politics - Saudi Arabia, Nigeria and Venezuela - are members of OPEC, which has restrained output.

Nigeria loses 120,000 bpd after pipeline attack: industry

LAGOS (AFP) - Nigerian militants blew up a key oil supply pipeline operated by US oil group Chevron, slashing output by 120,000 barrels per day, military and industry sources said Saturday.

"The attack took place yesterday (Friday) near Escravos. The supply pipeline was blown up. The company has shut down operation in the area," military commander Brigadier-General Wuyep Rimtip told AFP.

Saudi Arabia's Khurais Oilfield to Start Next Year

(Bloomberg) -- Saudi Arabia expects work to expand the Khurais oil field to be completed by mid-2009, boosting the country's production capacity by 1.2 million barrels a day, the state-run Saudi Press Agency reported.

Former Saudi oil minister says world reaching third oil crisis

Speculation is contributing to higher world oil prices, not imbalances between supply and demand, according to Saudi Arabia's former minister of oil, Sheik Ahmed Zaki Yamani, in a published interview.

Asked if current conditions are approaching a third oil crisis, Yamani said, "Yes, I think so. This is a new oil crisis. Oil prices are very high." He said that the two earlier oil crises of the 1970s were caused by "a lack of supply, but now it is because of problems with the price-setting system" in the futures market.

Briefing: OPEC and the soaring cost of oil

As the price of oil hit an all-time high of $139 a barrel last week, some government officials pointed the finger at OPEC, the international oil cartel. Is OPEC the main culprit?

Fuel costs sending immigrants back to Mexico

Construction projects and landscaping jobs are being delayed because contractors can’t afford to pick up workers. And workers faced with additional costs for gasoline or the purchase of a car are giving up on day-labor jobs and going back to their home countries.

"Your car is your job; nothing is more true these days," said Warren Harris, human services coordinator for the center, which assists between 60 and 70 day laborers a day.

On U.S. coasts, a rethink on oil drilling?

Voter frustration with dependence on foreign oil and $4-a-gallon gas have primed political pumps for more domestic drilling. Despite the national support for drilling, the politically blue coasts hold a virtual veto in Congress. But experts say all the attention on the issue could push some of the more conservative coastal states to lift their own moratoriums.

Nigerian oil: Anger in the delta over who gets paid

Oloibiri, Nigeria - When foreign prospectors struck oil deep below the red earth and lush green forest of southern Nigeria, local residents held a wild all-night party that still brings toothless smiles to the wrinkled faces of village elders.

Decades later, a peeling signboard at Nigeria's rusted oil well No. 1 bears the name Oloibiri, after this riverside village in southern Nigeria. But villagers in nearby Otabagi say the well is on their land and they want the local Royal Dutch Shell unit, to rename it.

What's behind a naming-rights dispute after so many years? The villagers suspect that high oil prices mean that Shell may reopen the well – shut down in 1977 – and that could mean more cash payments.

On Energy: Same-Old, Same-Old

This is about more than our immediate discomfort with $4 gasoline. Embedded in the energy debate are questions about global warming, the competitiveness of the U.S. economy and the apparent decline in middle-class living standards.

So far, the responses have been colossally disappointing, with the president, the presidential candidates and party leaders in Congress all retreating back to the same hardened and hackneyed positions that have created a stalemate in energy policy for the past 20 years.

The 'Idle' Oil Field Fallacy

A bill introduced in Congress this week would "compel" oil and natural gas companies to produce from federal lands they are leasing. If only it were that easy to find and produce oil. Imagine, an act of Congress that could do what geology could not.

These lawmakers ask why oil and gas companies want more access to federal lands to drill if they aren't using all of the 68 million acres they already have? Anyone with even the most basic understanding of how oil and natural gas are produced – and this should include many members of Congress – knows that claims of "idle" leases are a diversionary feint.

Paying more at China's gas pumps

Ordinarily, an increase in the price of gasoline would not be news. But in China, it is. Gas and diesel prices went up 18 percent overnight. Here’s why that’s important.

Yes to offshore oil – but just not now

Relief at the pump soon? Hardly. In their pre-election call to lift the ban on offshore oil drilling, President Bush and John McCain are pulling a fast one on frantic car owners. This new ocean crude is years from flowing to the corner gas station. And for sensible reasons it should be.

Oil’s Perspective on What’s Behind the Energy Crisis

Q. Oil prices are headed for their seventh straight year of gains. Why such a sustained run-up in prices? (interview with David J. O’Reilly, chairman and CEO of Chevron)

A. This is a case of demand-driven increases. The time we could count on cheap oil and cheap gas is ending. In prior periods, you’ve had price spikes because of big disruptions in supplies. But in this decade, the new phenomenon is that demand has been the main driver.

Bush refuses to turn over EPA exchanges

WASHINGTON - President Bush asserted executive privilege Friday to withhold documents from a congressional investigation into whether he pressured the Environmental Protection Agency to weaken decisions on smog and greenhouse gases.

White House officials notified a House committee of the rare assertion about 15 minutes before the committee was to vote on holding the head of the EPA and a White House budget official in contempt of Congress for not providing the documents.

German town makes solar power mandatory.
The Hessian town of Marburg has decided to make the installation of solar panels compulsory on all new buildings, and any older ones which are renovated or altered.

Brown in Saudi to talk oil prices.

UK prime minister will try 'to secure a "new deal" between oil producers and consumers in the West'...

"he wants to press his Saudi hosts and the other big oil producers to consider putting some of the estimated $3 trillion they have made out of the recent "oil shock" into new nuclear technology."

"he would appeal to oil producers to invest their profits in the more stable market of renewables."

"he wanted Britain and other Western countries to be given more opportunity to invest in oil in Opec countries, which have long held massive sway over international markets via their control of oil prices."

"the cripplingly high price of fuel, largely due to the cost of Opec oil"

That's strange. Until now I've been told that it is the free market, the invisible hand of supply and demand that 'controls' the price of oil?

Why Is Oil So High? Pick a View
Published: June 21, 2008

People who have spent their careers tracking the ups and downs of the global oil markets say their compasses are spinning. Oil prices rise for reasons they cannot quite fathom, and where prices will be a year from now has become, literally, anybody’s guess.

I have an answer. Pick me! Pick me!

"I have an answer. Pick me! Pick me!"

I did. To whom it may concern, I like the Green # rating system.

Easy. Fun. Cheap.

That sounds just like the other 'expert' they had on with Robert Hirsch...'who knows, anything could happen'...hilarious...

A local TV station had a story last night about a growing problem at local animal shelters--pet owners dropping off pets that they can no longer afford (because of rising food & energy prices). Many of them have seen the number of pets dropped off increase by more than 35% at the same time that the number of adoptions is dropping off, and some have been forced to stop accepting new animals. There was a story a couple of weeks ago about a similar problem in the UK.

In some countries, dogs and cats have traditionally been fair game for the dinner table. Ditto for rats. It hasn't reached that point yet in America, but just wait.

Apart from the pros/cons of eating pets, if we are going to grow food in our gardens then cats have got to go. And I speak as someone who grew up in a house full of strays.

Aside from the opening you gave me to suggest that it's possibly time for 'See Soylent-Spot Sizzle', I have to ask as a more serious aside, Isn't one of the advantages of a 'working cat' that of rodent and pest control, which might revive the necessity of growers having them around?


Unless of course the cat prefers to stalk & eat wild birds and poultry.

Then they're just another livestock predator and decimater of the local wild bird ecosystem - and a human-introduced, nonnative, invasive species at that.

Plus, semi-feral cats roaming the wild introduce disease to human children with their fleas, parasites, rabies, cat scratch fever, and the cat-feces specific illness that endangers pregnant women who work the garden soil.


Oh but they look so cute.

Maybe. I was considering my suburban/high density amateur garden.

I think the traditional farm cat is specifically for crop stores in the countryside. It might deter foxes from chickens too.

Our street probably has a cat density of 1 per house. None of them are hard enough to take on a rat/stoat/weasel/mink etc. Their only adrenalin rush is crapping in our veg when no-one is watching..

My mum lives in a more rural setting. Losing chickens to mysterious deaths is expected. I think you would need to give a cat a hard life if you want it to work for you - they are willful sods.

Actually, here in Hawaii for at least 20 years the Humane Society has made you sign a legal agreement promising not to eat the animal you're adopting.

At $25 it's not a bad price per pound for a St. Bernard or Irish Wolfhound, but they even require it for kittens.

For their livers of course.

Kitten Livers with Onion Marmalade

A surplus of unwanted puppies and kittens, you say? Well, animal fat does make excellent biodiesel. Problem solved.

"Ditto for rats."

No, no, no. When it comes down to "eat or be eaten", Rats are gonna be fat and happy.


My answer (surprise!): Importers bidding for declining net oil exports.

The amazing thing is that the NYT didn't even bother to cite the example of our third largest supplier imported oil, Mexico.

I estimate that total net oil exports from Mexico fell from about 1.4 mbpd in 9/07 to 1.1 mbpd in 5/08. Extrapolate this out, and Mexico ceases to be a net exporter in 2010. If they fall at just half this rate, they would be at zero net oil exports in five years.

Teachers response: Yes, that's very good, but you didn't actually answer the question young WT, did you? "guess where prices will be a year from now?" Now, who else had their hand up? :-)

Well, strictly speaking, there were two parts, and part one was: "Oil prices rise for reasons they cannot quite fathom,"

Regarding the second part, I can say where oil prices will be in May, 2009 at their current rate of increase--about $250.

Don't know if that merits a gold star, or detention.

Between $189.98/bbl and $214.72/bbl

My guess is $185. at some point in May 2009

People who have spent their careers tracking the ups and downs of the global oil markets say their compasses are spinning. Oil prices rise for reasons they cannot quite fathom, and where prices will be a year from now has become, literally, anybody’s guess.

I have an answer. Pick me! Pick me!

Here's a guess from the Aussies...


From video: "We can see the future. And the future is very f*cking expensive."

from above: Yes to offshore oil - but just not now

Conserving America's offshore oil for later generations would be both wise and generous. In April, Saudi Arabia's monarch announced such a policy, saying the kingdom would preserve some of its oil wealth for the distant future.

I hold this sentiment with regard to ANWR as well. It is foolish and short-sighted to wring out all our reserves now, just so that we can continue our squandering ways.


A word about this new comment rating system. I think it's undignified for a site like TOD and better left to places like 'hot or not.' I understand that an online forum is a bit different, but if we were all sitting around a large conference table, it would be rather unseemly to have everyone hold out a thumbs up or down every time someone opened their mouth?

but if we were all sitting around a large conference table, it would be rather unseemly to have everyone hold out a thumbs up or down every time someone opened their mouth?

That pretty much happens anyway. You can generally tell whether your comments are well-received or not if you're speaking in person. It may not be as blatant as a thumbs up or down, but you know.

And you don't have to vote on every post. I kind of like the idea of limiting the number of times you can rate a comment (say, five per day).

Also, if we were at a conference table, there would be some people who would not be allowed in in the first place, and some would be kicked out when they proved disruptive...and they wouldn't be able to change their names and sneak back in.

I'm not knowledgeable about comment rating systems but in day-to-day oildrum reading the bigger issue is "earnest, annoying irrelevant" comments (things like "The proper definition of socialism is ....", "No it's not, if you look back over history it's ..." that aren't really right or wrong but highly personal assertions and, to me, pointless) rather than the kind of deliberate trolling you get on places like slashdot. In particular the way that once it infects a thread nothing of further interest is said. I don't know if this commenting system is being coded from scratch, but some way of seeing the maximum score of any further posts in the thread might be useful to know when to abandon reading the thread. I occasionally read comment threads on interesting subjects on slashdot and pruning the view by score doesn't really work because you often lose the context that a knowledgeable reply was being made to so you've got to mess around to read those lower rated comments.

(I'm putting this here for discussion rather than emailing SuperG directly.)

I think the comment rating thing is a module we purchased. So some changes are easier to make than others. Some are built-in options, some require some hacking.

You will, eventually, end up in an echo chamber of "popular" opinion.

Pleasant, but not good Science.

I agree.

The rating system tends to reward "popular" opinion, even if that opinion is flawed or based on untruths and propaganda. The result is the "Tyranny of the Majority" in which a the many can shout down the few who hold other ideas or who have a different point of view. Using this ratings system, the result will be just as pointless as are political polls for ascertaining and spreading The Truth. The ultimate question is: "What's the goal for TOD?"

E. Swanson

The ultimate question is: "What's the goal for TOD?"

In this case...I think the goal is for the comments to be somewhat readable, even if (when?) we have Slashdot or DailyKos type traffic.

I thought that was what moderation of the posts was supposed to accomplish. By going to a public polling system, you give up the focused moderation thru automation. The moderators thus lose control of the process and open the way for "gaming" the voting process. How about, at the very least, limiting the process to "1 man (OK, person), 1 vote" and give the number of positive and negative votes, instead of a total?

E. Swanson

Moderation (at least, moderation alone) is not a feasible option for sites with the kind of traffic that DailyKos and Slashdot get. That's why they use ratings.

We aren't there yet, but we're looking to the future.

It's the same reason we switched to Drupal. Yes, it was a PITA. I still like Scoop better. But we wanted "room to grow," so Drupal it was.

What about limiting voting privileges to those who have provided a verified e-mail address? That would kill lots of trolls, I would think. It would work much like the political system, where one needs to be a registered voter before being able to vote. Registration could eliminate duplicate memberships and multiple votes as well.

Please Don't Feed The Trolls...

E. Swanson

It's already like that. You can't post here unless you give an e-mail address (where the confirmation is sent).

We are considering not allowing people to register if they use free e-mail addresses like Yahoo and Gmail. Many sites do that. Kinda sucks for AOL users, though. Some of them don't have any other e-mail address, but they aren't allowed to register using it, because AOL also offer free addies.

I don't like that idea at all.
I use free email exclusively. It is my way of insulating myself from all the crazies out there.

It would not have to be a displayed address.
Lots of sites do that to register, and insist on real names, at least to the sites.
If confidentiality is needed for industry outsiders and so forth, that can be at the discretion of the moderators, but their real names would be held by the site.
It cuts out almost all abusive posting, and enables very light moderation.

We are considering not allowing people to register if they use free e-mail addresses like Yahoo and Gmail.

Well, that would knock me off the list. I have no other email address. I never use a local email addresses because I wish to check my email from many different computers. Also there are security problems. A web based email address is the ONLY way to go.

I suspect if you implemented that rule you would lose half your subscribers. But perhaps that is exactly what you wish to do. Otherwise, for the life of me, I cannot imagine what good purpose such a rule would serve.

Ron Patterson

Agree that banning free email (web mail)is a bad move.

Folks move and change ISPs. This results in new address and a new account. This is a headache for the user and for TOD. Took me 6 months to get my account working after the last TOD update.

Any email (POP3, IMAP) which uses an "address book" stored on a local host is a prime pathway for viral attack. You are dependent on everybody else knowing what they are doing and maintaining anti-virus software. With web mail I let Google address this issue and they have been very good.

I have a number of hosts at home and a number at work. I can access web mail from each. This is not possible when the account is associated with a specific host.

ISPs are not necessarily very good about maintaining something which does not generate revenue for them. I have had ISP accounts that were picked up by spammers and even on high speed cable it took half an hour to load the account due to the volume of spam sent daily. Google handles this for me and they do a very good job.

Your proposal will result in me creating an account for each iPhone and each Blackberry. Once IPv6 rolls out we should see accounts in every car, every entertainment centre, possibly every refrigerator, maybe every pair of Nikes. Who you gonna cull when everything is connected?

There are ways around what you propose to do. So you take action which causes many folks a lot of grief and in the end achieves nothing. It's like drilling the Potomac in pursuit of rumour oil. Spud it tomorrow! Go for it!!

I never use a local email addresses because I wish to check my email from many different computers.

So we are talking about IMAP here, right?

Also there are security problems.

And these problems are named ..?

A web based email address is the ONLY way to go.

If you really mean email through a web browser (that's an email client made with html), that is definitely not the best, let alone the "only" way to go (and certainly has a lot more security issues than a good email client.)

One can access email from different computers easily by using IMAP. IMAP is offered by all major email providers I know (including G**gle Mail). If you want improved security, use Encryption, Port 993. And you can even use a portable software on a USB-Stick, such as Thunderbird Portable, available from www.portableapps.com, usable on every Win***s Machine with internet connection.

What Darwinian said.

But loads of us, including many "patricians", use free email! That would be a very bad move! Please don't do it!

I was unable to rate any of the items on this thread. I've rated items on other threads previuosly.

Banning Yahoo, Gmail or AOL would eliminate all of my email addresses, I think that overall the benefit would be outweighed by the burden.

I am using the same free email address that I have now had for 9 years.

I sometimes change web service providers and it would be a problem if I had to use email with my service provider.

Well, I've been here for years, have learned a lot, and even made a comment or two. I use a free Yahoo email address. Why should I pay for one? I am retired and not a business. Why should I be barred from TOD because of this???

because it seems this place is getting tired of 'free speech'.

Please. There are many issues you might raise, some legit, some not, but raising the issue of free speech means you understand not where you are posting. It's an ignorant argument. Literally.


This new arrow system sucks.

I could go on at some logical length with specific reasons, but this is clearly more efficient as well as more easily grasped by those who are skimming. Now, If I could only make the comment anonymously multiple times each day....

No great loss, I realize, but I've had the same address for YEARS and would really not like having to change it to post here. Yes, I could get an e-mail address from my ISP, but the tiny bit of anonymity from not using my ISP's address is nice.


In reply to Leanan's post that moderation is not feasible option for high traffic sites, check out dpreview, the camera site:
If you look at the forums there are 20 or so there, and in total they generate some of the highest traffic on the web, into many, many millions of posts.
Until recently ONE man moderated it - and there are no ratings there.

This is hard to reconcile with the above argument.

i don't agree with much of what you post, but, this time i whole heartedly agree.


I have a thought on the post rating system.

What if, rather than limiting the number of ranks that can be given out etc, the numbers were only visible to the staff and the poster.

That way it avoids the public exhibitionism etc etc, and most of the criticisms being currently levied. However posters can still send a comment author a brownie point or a raspberry privately and anonymously (to the author) whenever deserved.

Basically, take any real or percieved 'popularity contest' out of the picture, while leaving a system that allows posters to get feedback, and staff to see (and have backup for when taking rewarding or corrective actions) who is highly appreciated by the community and who is seen as a waste of bitspace.

Personally, as someone who somehow manages to write posts that rarely elicit replies, it's quite nice to get that little 'read your comment, appreciated it, had nothing to add' acknowledgement.


Fantastic idea.
I don't use ratings to determine what I read at TOD; especially if the ratings are at the bottom of the comment.

Agree wholeheartedly.

Having the ratings system open on each post is IMHO going to do little to really help usefulness, but will tell us who the most entertaining posters are.

The whole point of the ratings system is to help people separate the wheat from the chaff...


you then have did the wrong thing.
better moderation does not mean handing over the controls to the masses, it means categorizing and prioritizing tasks.
a 'report this post' button would be a good start. once this button is pressed the person is taken to a screen with a short forum for him or her to fill out(or just drop boxes to choose from) in which they indicated why it was reported due to content.

then on the back end the system will send a email to the area's responsible mod's, in the subject would be the same keyword in the drop down box thus the mod can set up email rules for said emails to sort them. in the email will be the name of the reporting user, the name of the reported user, and the permalink to the offending post.

I favor the "benevolent dictatorship" form of moderation.

My own observation is Leanan is doing an excellent job, albeit I often think she is often too lenient on troublemaker posters.

Most of us here are of the right intention, often posting very insightful comments. A few people's posts here are about as welcome as dog deposits. Tolerated, but not appreciated. I am thankful Leanan deletes the mess when it gets out of hand.

You will, eventually, end up in an echo chamber of "popular" opinion.

I see that is happening already. Certain popular posters get a high score just for posting a link.

If you're talking about Darwinian yesterday...I don't think it was the poster, it was the link. Hirsch is a rockstar, and even members of the staff were pleased that that link was posted and uprated so it was easily noticed. I think it would have happened no matter who posted it.

No, it wasn't that post. I won't name names as I don't want to make it personal.

Let me rephrase to "certain popular posters are uprated for just having made a post, i.e. regardless of what they have posted".

If the staff has a list of popular posters that they feel should get a special boost they can easily tweak the code to stuff in the gift points at the time of posting.

Negative gifts can be bestowed on some other posters. ;-)

Shades of a High School Sorority!

Ooh, great idea. I like it...

I expected to see some negative green numbers to this.

But again, it seems to have been airbrushed:

Re Little Green Numbers:

Why thankyou Sir.

It went something like this: (from Memory – next time I will save my outrageous pronouncements off line)

>>Lets test the system

Anthropogenic Global Warming doesn’t exist.

The concept that a few billion Apes can by their own industry over a 100 years bring the planet to d estruction is merely a vanity of the said Apes.

It is often said that Homo Sapien is the child of the Ice age. This is wrong. Hom.Sap. is the child of the interglacial warming period.

Hom.Sap has enjoyed the benefits of an unprecedented warming phase.

Global Warming exists. It is a reality and has occurred and re-occurred throughout Geological time. In fact we enjoy the products of at least two intense periods of glogabl warming that brought about the algal blooms that later formed the hydrocarbon deposits we now exploit. Apes were not required to initiate these two prior and intense events. Both happened without our evil presence.

As Global Warming exists, so too does Global Cooling. There is evidence of major glacial epochs stretching back 3.8 billion years. Some of the oldest rocks on the planet show evidence of glaciation. At one point in the Earths History, there is evidence to suggest that the planet was effectively a snowball.

Equally, there have been times in Earths history where no pack ice or glaciation was present at either pole.

At the present time, we are climbing out of the last glaciation. In short, we are warming up. We live in an interglacial period. Given time, we will recommence a return to another glacial epoch

Global warming is more due to Planetory Physics and Solar output than the presence of a few apes.

Planet Earth has lots of time.<<

I may further irritate the powers that be:

CO2 emissions may well be a product of warming rather than a cause.

As we warm up, stuff rots.

Why should an interesting link not get a high score? Perhaps the poster is 'popular' because they bring interesting information to the table?

Because interesting is subjective, which is not what the reading guidelines are about. Interesting is a proxy for popular, so your question is redundant.

I wonder, has anyone actually bothered to read and understand the reader guidelines?

From Bob:

I wonder, has anyone actually bothered to read and understand the reader guidelines?

From the post announcing of the trial:

Comments should be rated up if they are especially insightful, informative, or interesting.

EDIT: removed attacking bit - just left rope...

These are the Reader Guidelines which I referred to:

1. When citing facts, provide references or links.
2. Make it clear when you are expressing an opinion. Do not assert opinions as facts.
3. When presenting an argument, cite supporting evidence and use logical reasoning.
4. Treat members of the community with civility and respect. If you see disrespectful behavior, report it to the staff rather than further inflaming the situation.
5. Ad hominem attacks are not acceptable. If you disagree with someone, refute their statements rather than insulting them.
6. Humor is OK, as long as it is on-topic. We all need a little levity now and then.
7. Keep all comments on non-Drumbeat stories on-topic. If you have comment that is not related to a particular story, please post it the current Drumbeat story.
8. Do not copy and paste complete copyrighted articles without permission from the copyright holder. Limited copying under the doctrine of "fair use" is OK.
9. Using comments to promote products and services for sale is prohibited. You can find information about buying an advertisement on the site in this FAQ item.

Leanan has admitted that the trial is really a popularity system, I am not disputing that. I am pointing out the hypocrisy between saying it's to enforce the Reader Guidelines, then admitting it's going to be done by popular voting.

You meanwhile are an idiot. No, that is not in the guidelines. ;)

I have started using the ratings. My way of rating is based on what I think the post adds to the discussion. There are certain posters I will tend to rate higher because they consistently add valuable information to the discussion. Many of them are on the contributors list and write pieces which invite response. However, new contributors can add value in many ways. The contributor who had a peak oil poster he had turned in as a class assignment summarized major theses of peak oil in a readable form. For me, data and analysis are most valuable, followed by clear arguments. Those who generate data have even more to offer.

It reminds too much of Luntz's focus groups, where they have a room full of average Joes twisting a knob, so the political spinmeisters can determine which messages will sell. If commenters start worrying about what ratings they will get, might that produce a tendency towards groupthink.

Of course it would. Anyway, it is time for a poll on whether this nonsense should continue. While I abhor certain posters here, I don't want the ability to rate them with a number. If we have a problem with those people, we can always comment to that effect. It is kind of fun to downgrade the baddies, though.

I think the little green numbers are distracting, and serve no purpose. Voting is somehow supposed to allow a heterogeneous group achieve some kind of decision. What is the Oil Drum deciding?

But I can learn to ignore them, just like all the other silly things that clutter up bandwidth and degrade my "surfing experience."

What is the Oil Drum deciding?

Basically, what is a waste of bandwidth and what isn't.

We're in trial mode now, and there are no consequences with the green numbers. I imagine that will change eventually, and posts will either disappear or drop to the bottom of the thread if they are poorly rated. There may also be consequences for posters (superuser status if you post a lot of highly rated comments, restrictions or banning if you clutter up the bandwidth with low-rated posts).

Sorry, but I can't tell how much I dislike the ratings system. A couple are:

1. I find it visually obtrusive.
2. I base my reading of comments based upon the poster's previous history.
3. Eventually, it's going to become "elitist." By this I mean that some people will be afraid to post an opposing comment when the previous poster has a +99.

As far as banning, etc. goes, "you" have that power now. You also have the power to delete posts. It sounds like what you want are mods. As a former mod on another forum, I think that's a bad idea too.

To me, what appears to have happened over the years is that people formerly just posted information and no one felt the need to comment. Now, everything seems to get a comment. I liked the "old" TOD better.


1. I find it visually obtrusive.

Me, too. It's especially ugly if you're using Firefox and have scripts blocked.

2. I base my reading of comments based upon the poster's previous history.

So do I, but the comments aren't just for long-time readers who know everyone. They're also for people have never been here before, and don't know the users' "reputations." Long-time users who read regularly are probably a minority of our visitors.

3. Eventually, it's going to become "elitist." By this I mean that some people will be afraid to post an opposing comment when the previous poster has a +99.

Maybe, but it's not like it's not that way now.

It sounds like what you want are mods.

No, we don't want mods. Hence the rating system.

I liked the "old" TOD better.

Me, too, but chickens can't go back into eggs. We've outgrown the old format. And we are planning to keep growing.

Kind of a bummer for those who liked it the way it was, I know. I used to like Slashdot and DailyKos. Now they are just too big. It's like trying to drink from a firehose. I rarely go to either site any more.

But I don't think they wish they were still small sites that didn't get a lot of traffic.

I guess you are honest in saying that you need a way control posts and that the new system is bad but necessary.

But I would prefer if you drop the pretence that readers will correctly apply the ratings according to the 9 "reader" guidelines. We all know that it will be a popularity rating. So why not come clean and call them "agree" and "disagree" buttons?

I used to read Slashdot too. At least they have a concept of rating according to type e.g. off topic/informative/funny etc.

As an avid TOD reader I have often wished there was some way to respond to posts that I found particularly illuminating, stimulating, or absurd without cluttering up the bandwidth with little more than my opinion.

But I agree that this system is visually annoying (at least on Firefox) and is probably not the most effective way to give feedback.

So, on balance, thumbs down.

My proposal would be to allow me to respond to posts and then choose whether or not that response would be part of the thread, or whether someone would have to click to bring it up. Capiche?

The advantage is that I would feel freer to respond to many of the brazilliant personalities who hang out here without having to provide links or citations.

My proposal would be to allow me to respond to posts and then choose whether or not that response would be part of the thread, or whether someone would have to click to bring it up. Capiche?

In other words, a self-imposed "already-collapsed" state for any comment that the commenter feels is merely an off topic footnote or endnote as opposed to a comment contributing to the main discussion?

Interesting idea.

At this point, I think the new system is a test. I wouldn't be surprised if there is a survey about how people like it at some point.

So will antidoomer be banned? ;)

Prolly not;

But, Poor ol' Kdolliso is halfway out de doah. :)

Ah, well, nobody liked him, anyway.

Pro-ethanol posters will be first.

But, Who will be "Next?"

"First" they came for the "Gypsies," and the "Jews."

I think first they came for the alchemists, then they came for the flat-earth believers, then… is more appropriate in your case. Gypsies and Jews had no choice in their status, but to hold onto non fact based beliefs on the other hand.

Yeah, I know I’ll get negs for this, but I can’t help myself sometimes.

You'll never get "Negs" for slapping a "Whiskey Warrior," around. Then again, you wouldn't have gotten negs for attacking those noted "flat-earthers," Galileo, and Copernicus, either.

Or, Ol' M. King Hubbert, for that matter.

You are correct, Kdolliso. But then, I guess you can just change your user name. I don't agree with much of what you say but people shouldn't be able to just dis you with a number system. With this system, we can get people we disagree with banned and never have to confront people or pixels directly. Well, thinking sucks, anyway. It is so much more satisfying to just zap people with my mouse. Kill, kill, kill!!

You even got a negative three with this comment. Oh yeh. People are religiously following those guidelines. The system is corrupt. Kill it in its crib.

Some comments, since we're talking about the review system again.

  • Putting the rating number at the end of the comment instead of the beginning reduces its value. I, for one, would prefer to have it included up with the author's name, where it helps me decide if I want to read on.
  • Two things that I think are important lessons from Slashdot: (1) mod points need to be a scarce resource, so people think before they apply them; and (2) meta-moderation, in which members rate the use of mod points, so that people who abuse the privilege lose it.
  • Collapsing a poorly rated comment to a single line (author, rating) is useful; moving them to the end of a thread so comments appear out of temporal sequence is not.

All reasonable suggestions. I'm leaning toward hiding low-rated comments rather than moving them. Like dKos does.

However, European Tribune sinks the low-rated comments (while keeping the thread structure), and it seems to work well for them.

If you are going to hide low rated comments I think that the rating system should show both pluses and minuses, a post that is controversial, one that might have a lot of support might also have a lot of those who dissent washing out the up ticks with down ticks.

This would mean that a post that has an equal number of those who agree with it as who disagree with it would have few over all points and would be hidden, this would, I think, tend to stifle debate.

Also, how long would a comment have before its low rating hides it? Hiding a post too quickly would prevent it from being read and rated.

I suggest that hiding any low rated post be based upon the age of the post not the thread, otherwise a new post to an older thread would be automatically hidden.

I do understand that there is a desire to limit the bandwidth of unpopular postings. Unfortunately new ideas and/or complex and easy to misunderstand concepts are almost always disliked. From what I see the high scoring posts have a tendency to be reiterations of ideas the majority of the readers are familiar with and like. So it gives self-inforcing feedback on the group think content- and style-wise. Other benefits? I don't see them.

This has happened already to me under the "old" TOD.

I wanted to bring into the discussion the multiple impacts of the mental health crisis post=Peak Oil (mainly amongst the FWOs (formerly Well Offs)).

Suicides quickly eliminate the problem from a societal POV, but there are many more "walking wounded" that take more on-going resources. Lowered productivity, erratic behavior, impacting those close to them are all part of it.

I think that there are lessons to be learned from New Orleans post-Katrina, but Leanan deleted my posts two or three times, so I gave up.


Hi Alan,

I support your observation - trauma is expensive. And crippling. It's expensive in many ways. This (and prevention) is a discussion I'd like to have.

Instead of a post, could you possibly write up an article and ask the editors to run it as such? Then we could talk about it.

I also remember when Memmel first began posting here. His first posts were overlong and incoherent, for good reasons he himself has explained. He is, IMO, a truly valuable contributor. TOD would be the poorer if he had been reduced to a footnote because folks didn't understand his comments.

I liked the old system when, usually after waiting too long, Leanan would simply cause obnoxious posters to disappear. That usually resulted in a feeling of great relief, like Alka Seltzer.

Is this going to be the sort of "trial" here you wait til the complaints have died down, then implement it anyway?

looks like it to me..

Hi Leanan,

re: "Basically, what is a waste of bandwidth and what isn't."

A waste in what sense, and for whom?

Then, is there some method to "save" the bandwidth that would otherwise be "wasted" and what then happens to that bandwidth?

'Also, if we were at a conference table, there would be some people who would not be allowed in in the first place, and some would be kicked out when they proved disruptive...'

Yes, you are correct. This is known as group think. That is exactly what your new comment system will cause this forum to evolve into.

Take a look at how well GM/Ford/Chrysler, the financial sector, retail, RE, etc, are doing these days based on the outcome of 'people sitting around conference tables making decisions'.

'GM Death Watch

GM sunk to new all time lows on news S&P puts automakers on watch list.

Standard & Poor's Ratings Services has placed the corporate credit ratings of automakers General Motors (GM), Ford Motor (F) and Chrysler on CreditWatch with negative implications. A negative CreditWatch means ratings have a one-in-two chance of being downgraded in the next three months.

S&P suggests that the companies' sales will continue to be hurt through 2009 by "deteriorating U.S. industry conditions," largely the result of high fuel prices.'


Shall we also consider the Federal Reserve Board of Govs sitting around a table making decisions to let low interest rates prevail and encouraging any one with a pulse to purchase a home? Now the dollar is plummeting and the interest rates are still low...A board has made that decision.

Or...what about the decision/non-decision to build out US refinery capacity to handle more heavy/sour crude oil?

The point is that 'group think' is dangerous. The more an institution ages the more it becomes hide-bound in it's thinking and business approaches, unless new ideas are considered and given a chance to be heard.

If you want a forum that 'stays on topic' and excludes discussion about outside influences on PO then you will get exactly that with group think.

We saw excellent examples yesterday. Darwinian linked a couple of sites and got a +30 something rating. Without making a comment! We saw WT (great poster with great stats/charts) make a post that was a rehash of many of his previous posts and he got a +30 something rating. Well, that is rock star status. People will see their names and automatically devote one of their (5?) rationed ratings to them. Is that what you want?

'You can generally tell if your comments are well received or not...'

Should one tell the truth even if their comments are not well received? Is that what TOD wants? I don't care if my comments are 'well received'. I have a point of view, a question, a fact that I have found, a comment, and I would like it to be thrown out for discussion. I do not care if it is 'well received'...well received is another way of saying group think.

Recently we had a poster that worked at GM. He/she said that the institution did not welcome new ideas...GM has group think. That is working out well isn't it?

Yes, you are correct. This is known as group think. That is exactly what your new comment system will cause this forum to evolve into.

And that's different from the current situation how? Whether disapproval is expressed via a look across a conference table, a rating, or 20 posters piling on and telling you you're an idiot...there's a certain amount of group think.

You're setting up a false dichotomy. It's not group think vs. no group think. It's group think expressed one way vs. group think expressed another way.

No, it is you that are 'setting up a false dichotomy'. Now posters, when they have a difference of opinion with a post, will comment saying why they have a difference of opinion. Then the person that made the original post has an opportunity to defend his position or admit that 'I was wrong', or, 'yes, I see your point of view but disagree because_____.' In any case a discussion ensues and many times valuable information is gleened from discussion. There is an exchange of ideas. During an exchange of ideas no one's opinion might be altered in the moment...But, some that participate in the exchange of ideas might, after consideration, change their opinion. This is the value of what you have now. You do not realize the value of what you have.

With the 'numbers system' if someone disagrees with a poster or dislikes their abrupt way of posting they will take the easy way out and deliver the post a neg. Others will see the neg and add more negs probably before reading the post! I know, the rules say that is not the way it's supposed to work...But, that is the way it will work.

You will have group think.

Eh. We have group think now. A certain amount is unavoidable, and perhaps even necessary.

MyDD enforces the "no downrating for disagreement" rule. I don't know how, but they do. People who commit ratings abuse get temporarily banned unless they agree to stop. If they continue, they get booted.

And I think limiting the number of ratings one can give each day would go a long way toward limiting ratings abuse.

'MyDD enforces the "no downrating for disagreement" rule. I dont know how, but they do.'

First, I don't know what your DD is. Second, I don't believe you have a system that will enforce a 'no downrating for disagreement' rule. You are basically saying 'trust me'. I am saying prove it.

Yesterday, during the trial, I downrated numerous posts to see what would happen...it was a 'trial'. Well, nothing happened because I blatantly broke the rule.

If your system were working I would have been tossed or given a warning!

MyDD is a political site.


Yesterday, during the trial, I downrated numerous posts to see what would happen...it was a 'trial'. Well, nothing happened because I blatantly broke the rule.

Nothing happened because it was a trial. We told you all that there would be no consequences. It would be kind of unfair of us to ban you for downrating posts when we said there would be no consequences, right?

Would not a 'trial' include notifying posters that were downrating posts because of disagreement? What sort of trial is that?

BTW, I just downrated your above post. Did your DD notify you of this fact? Just curious.

Would not a 'trial' include notifying posters that were downrating posts because of disagreement?

It's a trial. That includes trying "break" the system by rating as a troll might rate. Why should we tell you to stop?

As far as I'm concerned, it seemed to work. People seemed to jump in and rectify the unfair ratings by uprating the posts you downrated.

I want to understand how the system works...So, yesterday if I, and others, downrated posts for experimental purposes, others 'jumped in and rectified the unfair ratings by uprating the posts you downrated'.

What you just said is that it is ok for a poster to jump in and uprate a post that 'has been unfairly downrated'. This means that posters are allowed to uprate posts out of sympathy. You have just admitted that this whole ratings system is a popularity contest. You said that the rule states that no one is to rate a post based on content...But, what about uprating posts because of sympathy. Thats OK?

Other posters during the day noted that when they gave WT and uprating that his score jumped up by 6 ratings! No answer was provided for this little glich.

Your 'system' is as full of holes as a Swiss Cheese and if you are an engineer you know it.

Your 'system' is as full of holes as a Swiss Cheese and if you are an engineer you know it.

Yes, of course I do. I also know that the system as it currently exists is also full of holes, and will be wholly inadequate as the site grows.

Hi Leanan,

Could you possibly explain a little further why you anticipate the current system as being "inadequate as the site grows"?

This is what I don't understand.

To me, besides everything else said, the ratings means...people focus on judging, as opposed to listening.

Listening to try to understand.

Also, what happens to someone who wishes to ignore the activity of participating in the ratings?

Also, if you decide to move or hide or do something w. downrated or small rated comments...does this not discourage participation?

So, really, does this mean that the users are more or less compelled to rate? Even if most choose not to? Because otherwise comments will be lost?

What are the current holes? This is what I don't understand - and, of course, can't since I'm here enjoying the fruits of your labor, for which I'm, of course, most grateful.

Other posters during the day noted that when they gave WT and uprating that his score jumped up by 6 ratings! No answer was provided for this little glich.

The rating number you see when you read the page is the number at the time the page was loaded.
The numbers do not update in real time, but will update when you press an arrow. So... if 5 people happen to have have pressed the up arrow since you loaded the page, you will see it jump +6.

Leanan, I have downrated the above post, as it was clear from the original article that the purpose of the system was to be to give negative ratings only to those posts that contravene site rules and standards.
It appears that you are not in agreement with that, and wish to use it as an approval rating.
Therefore a downrating seems called for, as firstly it is apparently against the site standards which specify how the ratings are to be used, and secondly since it advocates some standard of mediocrity and changes things midway I would also disagree with it.

Hi River,

Yes, Leanan set up a false dichotomy, IMVHO.

Yes, discussion results in a whole that is much more than the "sum of its parts".

Yes, further...I'd add, it's not merely "agreement" or "disagreement". Entirely new ideas can come out of a discussion that began originally as merely "opposition" and "opposing viewpoints".

Leanan, I'd say that to use words provides more opportunity for meaning and more opportunity for something entirely new to come into existence.

The "black swan"'s mate that may help us. Is how I see conversation.

The Black Swan's mate that may help us. Is how I see conversation.

Not Black Swan, but rather "Lateral Thinking" by de BoNo. Provocative ideas might break one out of the rut and into new patterns of thought.

"You do not realize the value of what you have."

I second that!

Hi River. I'd rather reply than add a positive or negative tick to your comment - for the very reason you mention.

Simply giving a positive or negative tick requires no justification. Although written criticism/support is not always justified, at least the lack of justification can then be challenged or seen by those reading the thread.

I think this rating system will detract from debate, and encourage popularity.

Simply giving a positive or negative tick requires no justification.

I agree with NZ.
It's all too easy and convenient to click and run without having thought the position out.
Exactly "why" are you giving one comment a thumbs up and the next a Roman's quick departure from this mortal coil?
After a while it becomes a self-reinforcing habit.
I click the little arrow thingy's just to prove to myself that I matter, that Kilroy was here. Who cares what the unjustified ups and downs mean to others? Who cares if I spent time thinking before reacting?

If the ratings system is being used to indicate disapproval or disagreement, and you are clearly right that it is, it is plain from the original write up that that was not the intention, and indeed is against the guidelines, where negative ratings are only to be given to posts which breached site rules.
Are you seeking to defend it as a popularity contest, and if so why do you disagree with the ostensible purpose as presented in the thread where it was introduced?

DaveMart...In a very long thread it would help a lot if you would indicate who you are addressing. Thanks.

Good point. I was addressing Leanan, as in some of the posts she seems to be indicating that using ratings as a popularity contest would be OK, but it is not too clear as in others she seem to be arguing against this.
So I am seeking clarification.

Brother, so am I! But not having a lot of luck getting any clarification so far.

From what I can gather the system is 1) Designed (purposefully or not) to institute group think. 2) designed to allow posts to be uprated or downrated based on content (I believe this because the system failed to pass a real stress test) 3) The entire site will be a popularity contest with 'rock star posters' receiving the alloted (5?) posts per day. 4) The entire site will be a place where I will no longer visit because eventually I will be tossed for saying what I think, because it will not always meet with group approval. 5) I have grave doubts about a site management that wants to 'grow bigger' at the expense of tossing a great product that is in their hand. Bigger is seldom better.

I have some other reservations but will save them untill I find out more, if possible, about the 'system'.

Gotta shut down the computer now. Severe thunderstorms/lightning in area. Later.

This whole thread reminds me of my last job where we used to have meetings to discuss meetings.

It's called "meta." ;-) But yeah, it might be best to confine discussion of the ratings system to its dedicated thread in the future, just for bandwidth's sake.

Yeah, so far today at 6pm there are 138~ posts on DB. I guess your bandwidth isn't being strained from the 'heavy posting'.

Do not bs us about the way the 'system' works. It is not worth losing your credibility.

River my friend we don't agree often but you nailed it here. The amount of "bandwith" a simple text posting takes up is laughable, so small its not even a issue. Now if people are posting videos, pics, thats another story, but simple text?!?! HA, you are right to think something more sinister is afoot. Oh well, I guess its not too much of a stretch to go from Professor Goose to Professor Goebbels.

I think it's pretty clear Leanan didn't mean 'bandwidth' in the technology-bits sense, but in it's common metaphorical usage (eg: the amount of time it takes members to utilise and staff to organise the site, etc - the amount of information the site carries vs the amount it can usefully carry)

I, for one, would greatly appreciate any system that reduces bandwidth wastage on the Oil Drum, which has become very cluttered in the past few months - mostly, dare I say it, in many cases (not all) by those most vocally saying what a bad idea a rating system is. I don't think the arrows will work as implemented, but it's a first, tentative, trial step towards finding a way to sort something that needs sorting.

Hi Jaymax,

re: "trial step towards finding a way to sort something that needs sorting."

Could you possibly explain what it is that "need sorting"?

Further down, you ask for feedback on a project, do you not?

Did you receive the feedback and thus, the support, you asked for?

Was it helpful?

Did it waste the time of the posters who took the trouble to respond?

re: "I, for one, would greatly appreciate any system that reduces bandwidth wastage on the Oil Drum, which has become very cluttered in the past few months - mostly, dare I say it, in many cases (not all) by those most vocally saying what a bad idea a rating system is."

Then, are you saying that the "rating system" concept is the cause of the "cluttered" and "bandwidth wastage" problem (I would put "problem" in quotes, because I have yet to receive an explanation about the problem, but I have already used quotes.)

In other words, my efforts to explain why I value TOD as a site for the possibilities of new ideas and the possibility to create something new - and the importance of process in that - (tried to explain this) - my comments are causing the problem?

Even though I've only done this since I saw these little green numbers and arrows and things?

To me, this is a Catch-22, what you say here. It doesn't explain anything to me. I feel frustrated by it. Plus you have received two points. My little nominal zero is a dough-nut in comparison.

Aniya, hi.

Dunno if you'll see this, these old drumbeats tend to get behind fairly quickly.

I see you've been around here at TOD for a while as well.

When I say I feel that it 'needs sorting', this is what is in my head: A while back, the DrumBeat threads used to be one of my favorite parts of TOD. They were fresh, informative, informed, analytical, and they made me think.

Now, it's not that that aspect of them has really disappeared, but rather I feel diluted in a huge morass of twaddle. The same few names pop up keeping low-content discussions which go nowhere, and add nothing to anyone's understanding of the energy situation, but cause low-level aggravation, and mean that the really interesting and useful stuff gets missed.

(nb: when I talk about 'bandwidth' I don't mean technology and bytes, I mean brains, time, and content)

It's like people see the ability to post on TOD as somehow their right, rather than a privilege granted us by Prof G and the others, which (and who) we should treat with due respect.

I'm not sure if that made anything any clearer - I guess I didn't quite understand what you were asking either, so I've just tried to lay out my thoughts behind the areas you touched on.

FWIW: The feedback on the poster was great.

It seems that nearly everyone commenting on this feels that the whole ratings idea sucks.

When even Kdolliso and the Antidoomer are also in agreement with this vast majority, it appears evident, that it does indeed suck Dead Rat's Ass.

The jury is in. It's time to scrap this entire failed experiment, end the trial period and continue on as we have.

Most of us have made clear in one post or another, that one cannot have infinite economic growth in a world of finite oil reserves and other resources. It seems that The Oil Drum has come up against its own Limits to Growth. If the number of registered posters is becoming too much to handle, any continued growth will end up becoming a cancer. Maybe it would be preferable to just place an upper cap on the number of posters the site can accommodate, and new posters only be registered as others drop out.

Unfortunately it seems that Leanan is determined to shove this down everyone's throat regardless of the opposition to it; virtually every thread, regardless of its actual subject has this topic crop up with numerous people squawking about the rating system. If this ratings system is imposed in spite of the unanimity of opposition, I fear it will indeed ruin the site. Too bad, because this is (still) the best site out here.

I happen to be in Philadelphia right now, but to-morrow I will be getting aboard the Amtrak machine to return to San Francisco, so I will be off-line until sometime Thursday. Hopefully when I return to The Oil Drum then, this lunacy will have been abandoned and the site returned to normal.

Keep your fingers crossed, and hope that sanity returns.

Antoinetta III

We really need to give it a go. After a while I'm sure you will warm to the idea. Please continue to read and post and see.
Resistance to change is inherent in every system and department.
I would be one of the biggest a-holes posting, it will curb my ego a bit, which is what is intended I think.
I'm willing to give it a go, after all I don't own the place. We will pass judgement eventually, by our behaviour.

Anonymous peer review of hard-to-grasp and controversial subject matter by anyone smart enough to click a button. What could possibly be wrong with that scheme?

Of course, anything I post from Hawaii's timezone will start and stay low, but I'll be less likely to do so, so there's an efficiency gain right there.

I think what creeps me out is the implication that this is an inevitable consequence of success. No, this is simply pilot error.

Hi greenish,

Yes, it's hard for me to imagine how this system will save time and for whom (exactly) will the time be saved.

I'd like clarification on what is bothering the editors - what they anticipate, what they want. (Anyway, I've asked for this.)

Rather than rate your comment, I respond to it.

Oh yes, and peer review is invaluable. It's what makes this site so special.

Go, bro. This system will lobotomize TOD. Monkeys clicking mice on little arrows.

I think the font size of your posts should be determined by the popularity of your historical ratings. If over time an individuals input is deemed unvaluable by the TOD population they will soon be unheard. This system has proven sooo effective by the republican party over the last 8 years. Even better, expanding on the republican party example we could have one person working in the background determine everyones input.
Any disagreement with this idea is obviously subversive and will be dealt with harshly.


Indeed group-think is dangerous, the US auto industry needed unconventional thinkers.

Henry Ford spent some of his personal fortune experimenting with various transportation alternatives such as methanol from wood waste, just out of pure curiousity. If he still ran Ford Motor Co, I doubt he would have been caught flat-footed by PO and Japanese hybids.

Similarly, EPCOT was supposed to be Experimental Prototype Community Of Tomorrow, where Disney employees would live and commute to Disney World by monorail. But once the Visionary died, the been-counters took over and took the 'Experimental' right the hell out of it.

Most of my comments here are about half-a-bubble off the mainstream; I hope that ocassionally I irritate another to produce a pearl.

Errol in Miami

Gail the Actuary had information here on TOD a short while back about ANWR.
If I remember correctly it advised that the Alaska Pipeline that ships Prudhoe Bay oil south has a Minimum Operating Level (MOL). When the Prudhoe Bay oil fields decline to the Pipeline MOL the pipeline would shut down stranding the remaining low volume production capacity of Prudhoe Bay.
If we started drill ANWR now the oil would begin to flow from ANWR about the time Prudhoe was reaching MOL levels of the pipeline. The oil from ANWR would allow extraction of the remaining Prudhoe oil and shipment south at a time when we are really going to need that oil.
If we do not start drilling ANWR now then the pipeline may be shut down when Prudhow reaches MOL of the pipeline and a non-operating pipeline would deteriorate much faster than an operating one. If the pipeline deteriorates beyond use then it is likely that the ANWR oil will be permanently stranded because we could not afford to build a new pipeline to transport the ANWR oil south.
So ANWR may be a case of drill it now or never?
I hope I have correctly and accurately stated the case originally presented by Gail the Actuary.

because we could not afford to build a new pipeline to transport the ANWR oil south

Unlikely. The existing pipeline is getting close to the design life. Remember BP had to scrap a gathering pipeline and replace it with a smaller diameter one ?

If ANWR is not drilled, build a new one with 1/8th or so the capacity. Convert part of the old oil pipeline to gas for part of the length till EOL (if there is enough life left with more benign natural gas flow).

A new pipeline will likely be needed before before ANWR is completely drained in any case. Use extra thick pipeline walls for the new smaller pipeline so that it will last till ANWR is drained.

Or extend the Alaska Railroad to Prudhoe Bay (perhaps on the road bed of the existing road).


I don't know enough about local conditions to say what ought to be done, but it occurs to me that with arctic sea ice becoming less of an obstacle to shipping, a new pipeline may not be necessary to get future oil from the north slope. I guess it also depends on determining whether there's enough oil in ANWR to warrant the capital expense of building another pipeline.

Alan, Had a guest stay with us, two weeks ago, who had built the Alaska pipeline and continues to work on it. He stated that already about one third of the pipe has been relined . Areas where there was the potential for leakage but still basically structurally intact.He did not seem to think that relining the rest would be a significant problem, or expense relative to the value of ANWR's projected delivery.

Thanks ! Good information.

Still the best strategy to drain either the last precious drops of Prudhoe Bay & nearby fields and/or ANWR, would be to build a new pipeline with, say, the capacity of 70% of the current pipelines MOL.

When production drops below current pipeline MOL, throttle the wells back a little and put them into the new, smaller pipeline. Depletion will make maximum production = new pipeline capacity in a few years. And run the wells down to the MOL of the new pipeline.

Or extend the Alaskan RR up there, or run a new pipeline to the Arctic Ocean.


The EIA claims that drilling ANWR will extend the lifetime of Trans-Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS). According to it

The development of ANWR oil resources potentially extends the lifetime operation of TAPS. Currently, TAPS is believed to be uneconomic to operate once the oil throughput falls below 200,000 barrels per day.20 Although the reference case projects North Slope production to be above this minimum level, at about 280,000 barrels per day in 2030, the development of ANWR oil resources extends the life of this pipeline well beyond 2030. Greater TAPS throughput also reduces oil transportation rates, thereby prolonging the life of existing oil fields and encouraging the development of new, small North Slope oil fields.

I think there may also by some truth to what Alan says below about the TAPS pipeline already being nearing the end of its life. My concern is that we need to group together whatever we are pumping out, and use the same infrastructure for all of it. This may be TAPS; it may also be a smaller replacement pipe.

Pipelines work better if we have something like a level flow. I don't know that we have the option of letting the current flow run out, waiting several years, and then trying to send the ANWR oil through it. Wouldn't we lose the last of the earlier oil, because it was below the pipeline's minimum operating level? Is it really possible to leave a pipeline empty for several years, and then restart using it?

How about staff? Where does one find trained engineers, if we wait until the current oil runs out? Don't we need to pay staff twice for monitoring the pipeline flow? At some point, the EROEI becomes too low for ANWR oil, if it has to support all of its own infrastructure costs.

In my experience: Obviously pablum, mainstream, conventional comments get many votes, as does the scientific looking one, no matter the content, and of course, as ppl want to be fair, and kind, the personal anecdote told in a lively fashion. Any post that reinforces the main opinion or stances of the board gets at least a few votes, or a lot, just for being there and ‘doing good.’ All that encourages the posters to continue to write what pleases and aim for scores.

Galileo, Einstein would have lucked out. Lamarck might have found a lot of support. (Not that I would have disapproved) Enough... But any innovation or contrary nay-saying may fliply be judged as inconvenient, off topic, or worse, not PC, and so sink. However, on some boards ppl manage to simply ignore the scores, read everything, or most of it, and only give a mark when they particularly approve, for whatever reason. This means that the no. of votes is always very low and is no guide to anything. So, fine.

Pols like Obama know exactly how to appeal to the greatest number to get votes, with rallys, flags, slogans, and temporary adherence to specific preoccupations (nafta, gas prices, Iraq, etc.) Ok, it is perhaps nasty to compare TOD posters and readers to the adoring clueless crowds, they would be better (see above.)

Personally, I refuse to mark or vote on posts. The bigger the readership, the no. of votes, the less interest the score has.


Hey, vote for me please! I’m a woman! That makes me special! (I read there were almost none here!) Sisters unite! etc etc. Nobody needs this kind of stuff... ;)

I also won't be marking up or down posts. If I need to post a response one way or the other, I have the integrity to sign it.

I have left other websites for their lack of integrity and breaches of netiquette.
Oildrum seemed a safer haven for civil group participation. This new judgemental rating system makes me feel sick to my stomach.

You have to drill and prove the reserves first.

Then you can decide to produce or keep.

Dont assume Florida, California, East Coast or the ANWR are any kind of white knight in this regard.

You should drill them now. While you still have a drilling industry and can afford to drill.

It wonder if it ever occurs to the "DRILL HERE, DRILL NOW, PAY LESS" crowd that oil is needed for make such things as plastics and nylon.

We should have stopped burning oil years ago. The limited and declining amount we have left would be better saved to produce synthetics.

I have no hope whatsoever that people will put aside their short-term interests for the long-term good.

I wonder if the DRILL HERE drive is sponsored by Oil Co who want to lock up long term leases on the cheap before Bush leaves office. We know they don't have the equipment to drill now but if they wait until a democrat gets in they would probably have to pay higher royalties even if they got the permits.

Even though they don't have enough rigs, wouldn't having more choice of where to use them likely result in greater average thoughput per well? All things being equal, I would rather select three out of my top thirty prospects than three out of my top twenty. So I don't think the argument that there would be no effect holds up. Although, perhaps the effect of somewhat greater selectivity would be pretty small. Certainly, if the limited number of deep water rigs are already going overseas (for example to Brazil), opening up deepwater would have no effect for a long time.

For the most part the biggest impact is politics. Repubs trying to paint Democrats as obstructing domestic energy. And the fact that some people have taken the attitude that "they won't allow drilling, so I won't conserve". IMHO we have a chance to finally bury the myth that we could drill our way out of our oil problems. Possibly we could extract some proconservation concessions at the same time. If that were the case, the increased conservation would have a greater impact than the marginally greater oil production.

To save it for your children or grandchildren, you first have to prove it exists, and this is done by basin analysis, seismics and exploratory drilling.

You should do this now. While you still can. You cannot save that which may not exist in any great quantity, but not to delineate fields leaves the US a hostage to fortune.

Once you have found it, then you can decide what to do with it.


Based on the time-honored geological principle of 'nearology', it is very unlikely any giant field will be found off the coast of Florida. The sooner people stop believing there is a Ghawar on the Florida continental shelf, the sooner they will start making other arrangements.

Errol in Miami

Said Michael Lynch of CERA in Primer: Peak Oil about there being yet more oil:

"People like Simmons ask how is that possible; well, it's down in the ground, you can’t really see it."

That comment by Lynch also caught my attention. Hasn’t this idiot ever heard of seismic testing? His contempt for the science of geology is astounding.

Said Michael Lynch of CERA ...

Michael Lynch is not associated with CERA. He has his own company called: STRATEGIC ENERGY & ECONOMIC RESEARCH Inc. (SEER) No doubt Michael chose that name with an eye on the SEER acronym. A Seer is a psychic who supposedly can see into the future. And that is exactly what Michael claims he can do. He claims to be an energy seer who knows the future of oil, natural gas and the future price trends of both.

Mike is one psychic who has a terrible forecasting record however.

Ron Patterson

Bu**er - now I feel stupid don't I.

Mike is one psychic who has a terrible forecasting record however.

Hence my getting them confused at 3am.

This comment relates to new features in TOD. I have long wished that the time stamp on each post be annotated with the time zone of the poster. This post puzzles me. I had thought that the printed time was the local time as sent to the server by the poster's computer. This post proves me wrong. But however the time stamp is generated, I think it would be nice to have it indicate local time in the poster's locale and the timezone of that locale. That would give the reader useful information as to the poster's state of mind. (not definitive, but useful)

Geek, I think the time at the top of each post represents the time of the post Eastern Daylight Time (USA time), (or Standard in the winter). It is not all that complicated. If the time stamp represented the time zone of the poster then that would really confuse things. We would have replies to posts at a time before the time of the post replied to.

The only alternative to this system, as I see it, would be to use Greenwich Mean Time. As for myself I prefer Eastern time as opposed to Greenwich Mean Time. But then if I were a Brit I would prefer Greenwich Mean Time. However nothing is perfect so let's just keep it as it is.

Edit: I was wrong. I posted this post from the Central Time Zone and the time posted reflected the Central Time Zone. Now I don't know what the hell is going on. Perhaps the time stamp at the top of each post represents the time in the time zone of the person accessing the post.

Ron Patterson

It's the server clock time that ends up in the time stamp of everything posted on this site. It might have seemed confusing, because for awhile, the server clock was off by 15 or 20 minutes.

I think now it's set to Eastern Standard Time (server didn't do daylight savings time), so it looks like Central Time.

Ron and Leanan, you can set the time zone that you live within in 'My Account - Edit'. The time of comments' postings will be adjusted to that in your zone.

Leaked report warns of Murray damage threat

Posted Wed Jun 18, 2008 1:21pm AEST

* Map: Wagga Wagga 2650

A leaked scientific report has warned there is a critical six month window to save key parts of the Murray-Darling Basin.

The report says certain parts of the river system will be "beyond the point of recovery" unless they get water by October, and it warns native fish and wetlands will be permanently lost.

A panel of scientists presented the report to a ministerial council last month, but the state and territory water ministers will not be discussing their options until a meeting in November.

Dr Arlene Buchan from the Australian Conservation Foundation says that will be too late.

"You don't often hear a scientist using language of this strength and they're being crystal clear about the need for water, the short period of time, the urgency of the problem and the consequences of not acting," she said.


Professor David Paton from Adelaide University, who has studied the decline of bird life in the lower reaches of the River Murray, now says the Mount Lofty Ranges region is showing similar problems.

He says 10 bird species have become extinct and another 60 or so are on the brink.

"There's a real risk that you'll lose half the bird species from this region. I think that's something should no longer be tolerated by any society," he said.

"This generation of South Australians can make a difference we can try and stop those losses.

"But if we leave it too late then, just like the river collapsing, the natural systems around us will collapse."


A further report due in three years will analyse trends in the river system during drought.

Only a day earlier, a leaked report warned there were only months left to save some parts of the Murray-Darling system.

I guess we can forget about that "further report" then. eh?



Forget 23 MMT of wheat from the Ozzies.

14MMT is their new avg. Maybe.

This is the collapse of a major food bowl we are talking about. Yet people are preoccupied with driving their kids to soccer. The Murray Darling basin in Australia looks like the first to go. The next could be an irrigation region perhaps in the southern US. Maybe we should worry about this more than fuel prices.

It would help if we weren't growing things like rice in the driest, non-glaciated landmass on earth.

We've oversold Water Rights and encouraged blatant misuse, and now it's coming back to bite us.

1999 comments by Michael C Lynch (mclynch) on the USENET at sci.geo.petroleum Peak oil may occur in the 22nd Century.
or: http://tinyurl.com/4z6yuh

From your link - I liked Lynch's comment from 1999:

"We have huge amounts of petroleum resources left and there is no constraint on the ability to deliver oil products (gasoline, etc., which is what counts) for an extremely long time, easily more than 100 years."


And I read the other day people accusing WT and others here of having a poor record of predictions... well, those predicting the current or imminent decline in oil extraction and exports may be out by a month or a year or even five - depending on their level of doom - but not by 90 years! :)

For my University 'Science Communication' course, I had to put together an 'academic poster' - Now, I've never done anything like this before, but I got quite a good mark, so, I'd like some feedback here. If it's useful, then I'll make suggested accuracy corrections or simple improvements, before sending it on its GPL way.

Hopefully, clicking on the image below will take you to webpicassa which should let anyone interested download the full 4MB version.

On the off-chance people like it, for the moment, please don't duplicate.

Hi Jay,

You got me! I'm obsessive-compulsive about data display and design. Focussing on just the graph, here are some detailed criticisms. Overall it's not bad - I know a bad graph when I see it, believe me. However, it could be improved.

- Increase point size of axis labels and tick labels slightly

- Y axis should be "barrels per day" - I know you mention this in the text, but you should put the "per day" where it is most relevant. Or even just "Million Barrels Per Day" - why split the axis label up?

- Why bother abbreviating "US Dollars per barrel" to "$US/Barrel" when there is space for the full name of the currency? Balances other axis label better, too.

- IMPORTANT Add a real-price line (dotted?). The 70s were a period of high inflation.

- It's good to annotate points on the graph, but why do the arrows bend around so much? It's distracting and unnecessary. Also, make the arrows half a point or a point thicker.

- The highlight on the oildrop is a bit obtrusive. Does it really make the poster better? If you must have it, put it somewhere less distracting.

- Why "Approximately 160 litres"? Why not just say "159.0 litres"? - saves space, too!

- Could you squeeze in an inset graph showing events of the past 5 years in more detail? Monthly, say? At the moment the proportion of text to data graphics is a bit high for a scientific poster - it's just words words words. Plus the price right now is almost twice what you show for average 2007 (I know it's an average).

- Does that production profile line join the points with a curve? Naughty naughty.

Have you read Edward Tufte's books? Start with this one - it's his best IMHO.


Your school should have it in their library if they have a Science Communications program. Tufte emphasises the importance of always putting real prices in financial graphs.

Hope this helps,


PUD, thanks. Accept and will do most of what you say, on the others:

- IMPORTANT Add a real-price line (dotted?). The 70s were a period of high inflation.

No no NO! There is no available and agreed-as-meaningful inflation adjusted energy price that is relevant for the duration. Energy prices are such an input into all inflation indices that any numbers that come out are somewhat justifiably described as inherently flawed. So sticking with true and accurate data, with it's limitations acknowledged. Thought and discussion already went into this point - I'm quite comfortable with the conclusion arisen at earlier.

why do the arrows bend around so much? It's distracting and unnecessary.

Stupid Excel 2007 callout thigamies insist the arrow emerges from the upper part of the callout. I'll replace with textboxes and arrows or something.

Could you squeeze in an inset graph showing events of the past 5 years in more detail? Monthly, say?

To what purpose? The last five years are only pertinent in the context and message of the poster when plotted in series and scale with earlier history.

it's just words words words

Too wordy at times was feedback on the marksheet also. While adding another chart for it's own sake wouldn't help - reducing the wordcount might.

- Does that production profile line join the points with a curve? Naughty naughty.

Both lines are Excel smoothed. Can you explain WHY this is regarded as wrong. Again, thought and consideration went into this, because of this 'perception' - but looking at the charts smoothed and unsmoothed, the smoothed version conveys the message of the chart better - the jaggedness of the un-smoothed annual average datapoints distracts from the message of the data, which is that the deviations from the trend are, until recently, explainable through geo-political and economic drivers.

I've yet to be presented a convincing, rational argument why a smoothed curve is always inappropriate.

On "The Visual Display of Quantitative Information" - my brother has it - but I won't be reading it, other more 'important' (to me) things to occupy my time. But if you want to give me a page ref on smoothing being bad, that'd be cool.

Thanks again...

Hi Jay,

No no NO! There is no available and agreed-as-meaningful inflation adjusted energy price that is relevant for the duration

If we all had the same amount of money in our pockets as in 1970, oil would be a luxury item by now. World oil production rates are themselves open to debate, certainly within +-5%. Use your deflator of choice, just as long as you quote your source (which you are doing anyway).

Stupid Excel 2007 callout thigamies insist the arrow emerges from the upper part of the callout.

Yes, it's awful, isn't it? You can produce a slightly more friendly callout with a flowchart box plus a connector, but for really good-looking results I'm afraid you have to work by hand.

The last five years are only pertinent in the context and message of the poster when plotted in series and scale with earlier history.

Only if you consider the past five years to be "business as usual". A disaster is different, by definition, and needs to be viewed on its own terms. However, I acknowledge that this doesn't fit your request for suggestions for small adjustments.

Words words words - I actually wish I hadn't made that comment. Going slightly OT though, long lines of text should be set in a font with serifs - that's what they're for, to guide the eye along the line and reduce reader fatigue.

Smoothed lines - You're putting another layer of processing between your raw data and the reader. This is almost never A Good Thing, and in this case, just remember who wrote the software that is doing the processing.

Tufte - just pick it up and leaf through it, you don't have to read it from end to end.



(These will be the last comments from me - it's still a pretty good poster anyway)

Thanks once more for taking the time.

I like it. I would like to hang it up in my teenage son's room next to his sports posters. Maybe even get it plastered in the high school hallways if they would let me.

For my grade school age daughters...this would not work however. Which is one area I struggle with...how to educate the younger ones. They understand that gas is expensive...we've played games like who can spot the highest gas price signs. But they don't really understand how much we depend on the stuff.

How to educate the younger ones - especially girls!

Buy them [or better, borrow from a library] the 'Kit' doll book series from American Girl Doll store online. Give them the Laura Ingall's Wilder 'Little House...' books too.
Bring them and their friends to the Kit movie opening July 2nd.
Hopefully the producers didn't water down the message from the books too much.
Get them to imitate the examples [penny-pinching party!] from the book series which chronicles an American girl's experiences in the Great Depression.

Hi Jaymax,
Absolutely fantastic idea. This is a must have product and you've clearly put a lot of work in it. Your assignment was to create an academic poster, which you did. If your goal was to get a good grade, I hope you got it. If your goal was to also communicate PO to an intelligent novice in a one page broadsheet, or poster, I'd change it's focus from pleasing your professor to communicating facts. Please know I'm not criticizing your work, which is astounding, I'm merely excited about it. When I was in school decades ago there were certain "must have" posters we all had on our walls. I see your poster potentially being the same.

FWIW, here are thoughts you can take or leave:

Your first sentence is weak: "For over a decade, 'an increasingly vociferous contingent, mainly geologists' (as described by the the journal Science) has been expressing a concern that the world will face peak oil at around this time."

What time? Are you referring to a date on the poster? The date of the Science quote? The date written? What date is that? I found myself asking so many questions at this point I "popped out" of your informational flow. Also, since space is at premium, the Science reference might be more effective as a footnote than included in the sentence. This includes most of your references--you repeat a lot of data twice, once in a sentence and again in the References section. For me, keep your references in the Reference section and have more confidence in your "facts." As it is, your poster seems more verbose than necessary. You're not letting facts (which you can cite) speak for themselves.

I don't see the need for the Introduction section at all. You're telling them what they are going to look at when they have already looked at the poster and are now reading more closely. Your title is all the introduction needed. "Are the doomsayer's predictions coming true?" Everything in this poster is to help the viewer think about this question.

Your first heading, Hubbert's Peak, is not sufficiently preparing us to answer your central question because it's relation to the potential production plateau, or peak, on the central graph is unclear. Many uninformed people assume PO is a theory--and on this basis would discount the whole section. I'd want to see "proof"--graphs of US peak, Cantarell peak, etc. Once peaking is shown as a geological fact, then you're ready to present the next big question: When is world peak?

The Early Warning section is historical, and again, not directly addressing the poster's central question: "Are the doomsayer's predictions coming true?" I see the poster as a snapshot of what we know "today." As a result, I see this as a good place to present Khebab's spaghetti chart of World C&C production projections. Your "Recent Projections" section can then reflect Khebab's chart.

Once the concept of fields peaking is established and current projections shown, you're ready to present the question that the central production/price chart is addressing: is the 2005 production data the start of a plateau or a peak?

That's just how one person sees it. Either way, it's great work.

Also, I'd make the conclusion proactive, with something like:

But you have something these analysts did not have when they did their projections. You have current data. Look up the latest mean daily global crude oil production at www.eia... and today's price for a barrel of West Texas crude at www... Enter the data into the spreadsheet at www.theoildrum.com/jaymax. Has world production of C&C peaked?

Thanks for the feedback!

Appreciate your concerns on weak wording - feedback from Uni was mainly along those lines ... "EDIT!!" - I quite liked the intro quote, but will look at it again.

You're telling them what they are going to look at when they have already looked at the poster and are now reading more closely.

Hmm - we are taught this is important, so I will leave the summarising introduction in place...

Your title is all the introduction needed. "Are the doomsayer's predictions coming true?"

I don't think that's true - we need to assume that readers may not be clear who the doomsayers are, or what doom they say.

I could include a chart of the US peak, being directly relevant to the text and the thrust of the poster in the early parts... I'll consider that, I'd like feedback from others if they agree with this, because that's a big layout change.

The Early Warning section is historical, and again, not directly addressing the poster's central question: "Are the doomsayer's predictions coming true?"

As TOD people, the backstory may be less pertinent to us - but one of the key themes of this poster is where the Peak Oil doomstory right-here-today fits in or comes from - for many people it's appeared out of nowhere - the poster sets out to show how current events were long expected in some quarters - thoughts?

I think a key aspect of the 'central question' is (again) who are these doomsayers and where did they come from?

Thanks again for taking the time with the feedback - it's been very useful!

Opening areas to offshore drilling off the coast of Northern Florida might help ease declining conventional North American natural gas production. These North Florida shelf areas were found to be gas prone. The price of natural gas was increasing.

The Lower Tertiary Trend in the Gulf of Mexico is the site of numerous discoveries containing billions of barrels of oil in place; including the 300 square mile Chevron Jack discovery that might contain up to 15 billion barrels of oil. There is a growing list of Lower Tertiary GOM discoveries with hydrocarbon columns in excess of 300 feet that cannot be developed until more deep drilling rigs are acquired and capital expenditures are approved.

Previous U.S. Atlantic shelf drilling disappointed. Some unexplored Atlantic shelf areas may be potential hydrocarbon discoveries.

There are large areas in the Rocky Mtns. of interest to natural gas exploration and development professionals.

Any ideas on when that Jack project will be coming on line?

Primer: Peak Oil

One has to wonder what motivates a guy like Michael Lynch.

The subtext of his discourse is that not only can world oil production be increased indefinitely, but that it can be done so at a price of $60 or $70 per barrel.

This is just pure madness, and serves only one purpose, which is to encourage denial and wishful thinking amongst the electorate.

This is incredibly destructive behavior, as it impedes the United States from doing what it needs to do, which is to embark on a crash program of conservation, developing its own oil and gas resources and looking for alternative energy sources.

So can someone please enlighten me? What are this guy's motives for spreading lies and misinformation?

It is only a lie if he knows his statements are false. Lynch may actually believe he is right. For all we know he may have sold futures for 2009 for $60 and now looks like he will lose everything if prices don't collapse.

Thomas, you are exactly correct. Michael Lynch actually believes the crap he spouts. I have been having on line discussions with Mike for several years now, mostly on lists such as Energy Resources and Power to the People. When oil first reached $35 a barrel Mike predicted it would soon drop back to $25 a barrel. And when it hit $50 a barrel he was sure the price was about to crash.

Mike's missed prognosis have cost him dearly. His company, STRATEGIC ENERGY & ECONOMIC RESEARCH Inc. (SEER) has a vested interest in making correct calls. And all his bad calls have cost his company many good customers.

Mike told me once that he was going to have some business cards printed up with the caption: I Told You So! printed on them. If he did then those cards are gathering dust because he has not been able to use them yet.

Ron Patterson

Reminds me of the Medieval mind:

"The Church is not susceptible of being reformed in her doctrines. The Church is the work of an Incarnate God. Like all God's works, it is perfect. It is, therefore, incapable of reform."

"The Catholic Church holds it better that the entire population of the world should die of starvation in extremest agony...than that one soul, I will not say should be lost, but should commit one sing.e venial sin."

--William Manchester, "A World Lit Only by Fire"

Michael Klare’s comments on Financial Sense are interesting.

He cites the figures for US Dept of Defence oil use in war. 1 gallon for soldier in field in WWII, 4 gallons for Gulf War 1, 16 gallons currently. This poses vast problems for future US force projection, logistics and force readiness. Airlift is worst effected of course, however it is easy to imagine US Naval power to be heavily curtailed as well (The French Navy is already cutting back its patrols). Training for armoured and air units will have to be scaled back. Air cover for ground units scaled back. Logistical advantages that are the hallmark of the American way of war will be significantly eroded. This will weaken the US military but the question is by how much? Will it be weakened enough to allow regional powers greater scope for military action in their local sphere of influence?

Currently in South East Asia, US naval power and carrier groups mean that military action is a bad strategy cost-benefit wise. What happens if the US moves forces from Pacific command and the region begins to become unstable under energy and food shortages? Think a desperate China sabre rattling to force trade terms with Australia, or Indonesia annexing West Papua or East Timor for their marginal oil and gas reserves. It is funny that conflict scenarios that most analysts would find absurd today suddenly become very possible in a world of scarcity.

The ultimate Irony must be those nuclear powered aircraft carriers carrying all those FF powered aircraft!

only because the military tried 'nuclear powered aircraft' but the weight from all shielding needed killed the idea.

You raised some pertinent points there,cluster.The cat could certainly get among the pigeons in Oceania and Uncle Sam may not be a position to respond.

Just a correction-Indonesia annexed West Papua (then Dutch New Guinea) back in the 60s.The eastern half of the island is an independent country,New Guinea and it does have oil and gas resources.

And there's been a Secessionist war in one of PNG's islands, Bouganville, for many years now.

Funny how resources do that...

Think a desperate China sabre rattling to force trade terms with Australia,

If it comes to that, they'll just come and take it (assuming they can gather the fuel to get the manpower over here). Most of our resource centres are well away from the population, and in pretty inhospitable terrain, so there wouldn't be much 'disorganised' resistance. The Army units up in the North are able to wipe the floor with any similarly sized and equippen force, but you can always go around them. Australia just doesn't have the capacity to defend itself against a conventional invasion (especially since we're scrapping the F-111, replacing it with the much much shorter-range/throw weight F-35, and practically handing the Air-Sea Gap to Russian designed aircraft).

or Indonesia annexing West Papua or East Timor for their marginal oil and gas reserves.

They already did that (Indonesia gave ET away, but it's a basket case, and they still hold West Papua (Irian Jaya) and have no plans to relinquish hold of it (nor are any countries agitating for it to do so).

Panama announces energy subsidies to cap inflation

"Panamanian President Martin Torrijos said on Friday he would boost subsidies on gasoline and electricity in a bid to prevent further price increases and stem inflation."

There's been riots and demonstrations in Panama City due to the rapidly rising cost of fuel and food. It's an election year here also, and TPTB has to do something, even if it's little more than symbolic.

It looks like most of the subsidies will go to truckers and public transportation.

Boosting Subsidies to "Stem" inflation?!?

Jeez Loooize - Talk about burning the village down to save it!

Travelers Shift to Rail as Cost of Fuel Rises

"But the railroad, and its suppliers, have shrunk so much, largely because of financial constraints, that they would have difficulty growing quickly to meet the demand."


Step Five – Create a Strategic Railcar Reserve (SRR) to Supplement the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR)


Designed for specifically this case. BTW, this is just the first hint of what is to come.

Best Hopes for Preparing in Advance,


A person from near Camp Pendleton has posted over at the Housing Bubble Blog several times recently and says that there has been a marked increase in ordnance testing at the base. For Iran perhaps ?

In her words it seems "...that we are building up for a biggy." and that the "...bombs are being dropped in double time now."

She also said that when she starts hearing the choppers flying over in the middle of the night then she knows that more troops are being deployed. She claims it hasn't reached that point yet but I'm sure she'll update if these deployments start.

I've got a bad feeling about this

I've had a bad feeling about Bush and Iran for several years. I have developed "worry fatigue".

Time is running out for Bush. Will he try to force Obama's hand (I don't give McCain a snowball's chance in the election) by engaging Iran? Would an October Surprise be enough to throw the election to the Republicans? Or, at least, could the Bush regime convince themselves that it might?

I think a better question would be "if Bush gave the orders to attack, would the military commit suicide by following them?". Fallon might have resisted, and has been retired.

Too many variables, not enough information.

It may just be my worry fatigue talking, but I am starting to think the clock will run out without WW3 starting. This time.

I agree...I think BushCo. missed the window to start something with Iran without it looking like he's doing it for domestic political reasons (i.e., to bolster McCain's chances of winning). If he goes anytime between now and elections in November, I think the strategy will backfire on the Republicans and drive people to big time change with Obama.

If you have a bad feeling about that, then you will really hate this (if true):

Israel practices an air assault:


It's all over CNN too.
I am thinking of setting up a business selling tin helmets.
Mudlogger: drop me an e-mail at brittanicone2007 at yahoo dot co dot uk
Seems my last communication about this got zapped!

Wall Street Journal: Ford Reels as Truck Sales Plunge

"[The Big Three's] wiggle room right now is almost nonexistent," said Tad Howard, president of financial consulting firm Nassau Financial LLC in Potomac, Md. "I think it's a hopeless situation short of two things -- a government bailout or additional cooperation from the [United Auto Workers union]. So in some ways, bankruptcy may be an attractive alternative."


Consumers' shift from trucks to cars comes as total vehicle sales already are slumping to lows not seen in decades. In the first half of June, normally a strong month, U.S. light vehicle sales were running at an annualized rate of just 12.5 million, down from 16.4 million a year ago, according to J.D. Power.

Americans are tightening their belts. The fact that light vehicle sales are already plummeting isn't a good sign for the future prospects of the PHEV. In 3-5 years, if oil is anywhere near $550 a barrel like Dr. Hirsch predicts, total vehicle sales will be nearing zero.

An interesting little tidbit from my neck o' the woods:

U.S. motorists brave Mexico border violence for fuel

Reminds me of a lyric from a song by Lard: "If you love your car, die for it!"

If you haven't seen it, this CNN news video is an absolute must see


Although this is only a 1-minute and 53-second clip, it is loaded with important information. For instance:

In China, trucks wait for hours to buy diesel.

When they finally arrive at the pump, the diesel is often rationed and they can buy only enough diesel to go 45 miles.

But much more ominous for U.S. interests is the fact that China and Venezuela have entered into an agreement to build a new refinery in China that can refine heavy, sour crude. As the video points out, the U.S. has the most sophisticated refinery system in the world. It is one of the very few countries that can refine lower-grade oils, which sell at a deep discount to light sweet crude. This gives the U.S. almost monopoly status on the purchase of this low-priced crude. But this competitive edge is soon to disappear when China's new refinery comes on stream.

This portends only one thing for Americans--higher gasoline prices at the pump.

Just a few days ago they were trying to sell the lie that Chinese demand will decline because of higher prices-it is my understanding they raised the price 18% because of severe shortages of fuel in China (demand greatly exceeding supply)-hard to see how an 18% price increase puts a dent in that situation. By the way, for all the talk of subsidized Chinese consumers, it isn't Venezeula-now they are paying almost as much as Americans.

Todd Benjamin of CNN argues that the refineries may have restricted supply as they were selling at a loss:

First of all, even though its a big hike, it may not be enough to discourage people from driving. Secondly, refiners who have to pay world prices for oil have been operating at losses because they haven’t been able to pass on the true cost. Refiners have cut production. Now, that prices are higher production could actually rise, helping to meet demand where they have been shortages and rationing.


This has similarities to jeffvail's argument on this forum recently.
It should be noted though that later he mentions that if all the subsidies were stopped this might moderate demand, but that is politically very difficult.

Barring outright shortages, I doubt that new car owners in China, or anywhere else in the developing world, will be much deterred by higher prices. These are people who vaulted the huge capital expense hurdle of getting into their first cars. They're eager to enjoy some happy motoring - pricey petrol be damned.

True, but it might slow down their development of bad habits like ours.


Do most Chinese pay cash for their new cars, or do they finance them like most Americans ?

I suspect that they are still developing the infrastructure and cultural knowledge (change the oil and air cleaners for example, best to replace brakes before wear goes TOO far, etc.).

If they are cash buyers, slightly higher prices will have little impact. Fuel shortages will though.

Best Hopes for Slow Growth in Chinese Car Ownership,


I suspect that they are still developing the infrastructure and cultural knowledge (change the oil and air cleaners for example, best to replace brakes before wear goes TOO far, etc.).

There was a story on Foreign Correspondent, I believe, detailing how Chinese car owners have even less clue about preventative manintainence than your average 16-year-old California girl. There was an Aussie bloke doing a roaring trade with a fleet of tilt-trays, picking up stranded cars and teaching the basics to the owners.

On Saturday 'Dateline London' on BBC news 24 moderated by Nick Gowing included Johann Hari, columnist from 'The Independent' amongst it's panellists.
He was talking about peak oil changing everything from now on.
I believe the program may be repeated on Sunday.
Here are his ideas on oil:

On Sunday, at 9.30 and 21.30 GMT. Thanks for the tip, will watch it tomorrow.

Regarding the rating system:

I am afraid that a simple rating system may create as many problems as it solves.

What are our design goals? Leanne, you mentioned "bandwidth". While dial-up folks may disagree with me, I certainly hope that you are not referring to simple internet bandwidth. If you are having problems paying for server bandwidth, I would rather see a subscription option to help defray costs.

I am assuming the bandwidth in question refers to the time readers have to wade through comments. Certainly, that is my concern.

Before we make any final decisions, can we demo a tagging system for comments? This implies that users can filter by tag.

Crazy idea warning:

Though I have never seen one, you might try implementing a tagging system in which the tags (not the post) are rated. The system might define a handful of standard tags such as "ethanol", "Saudi Arabia", "ELM", "spam", "troll", "nuclear", "economics", etc. Perhaps all tags are available for each post, with a rating of zero to start with. Or the author of the comment might give an initial "ELM" rating to get things started. Or only "spam and "troll" are required, with the comment author selecting appropriate subject tags.

People, if they are so inclined, could increment (probably not decrement) the various tags. The ratings for multiple tags for a given comment could be expressed as a percentage. I, as a user, might be able to set up my filter to not show comments with more than 15% troll ratings. I might be interested in ethanol posts, but not in nuclear posts.


Follow the link below


And scroll down to the third diagram showing development in global net oil exports for the years 1965 – 2007 with countries or regions being net exporters in 2007.
Diagram based upon data from BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2008.


GE's renewable building will be powered entirely by, you guessed it, renewables. note that renovating the building will save all the oil and gasoline that originally went into construction of the building, mining of the materials and so on. while we have only half our oil left we still have a tremendous oil legacy. if you think about it everything around us is due in some part to oil. we haven't really consumed the oil in that sense.

"We wanted to make sure it was totally a renewables building," Rumsey said.

Rumsey said the general public will not be able to hear the swooshing of the wind turbine blades, and he said it will not interfere with the view of the iconic GE logo sign that lights up the city skyline at night.

Rumsey said GE's renewable energy business is going to be able to show the turbine to vendors and customers who otherwise would have to visit a wind farm or other site to view a turbine in action.

"Part of the reason we're putting it there is letting our customers see it first hand," Rumsey said. "There's going to be a good amount of traffic to it."

"we haven't really consumed the oil in that sense."

sure... that's right, we're surrounded by the carbon dioxide.

"sure... that's right, we're surrounded by the carbon dioxide."

I don't even know what that means. do you understand though? if build a garage you use oil but in the end you still have a garage. the oil is gone but the garage is still there ready to be used for as long as you keep it up. the oil has just been converted so to speak into a garage. this just shows we need to produce things that are will last for a long time and can be reused or recycled.

"we need to produce things that - will last for a long time and can be reused or recycled."

I'm glad to hear you say that. I just took great exception to the way you worded your earlier post, saying
"we haven't really consumed the oil in that sense.."

- which doesn't seem to acknowledge the mindnumbing amount that we have and still do consume with no thought to keeping a legacy of that expenditure. We throw away plastic and wood and metal and glass, thinking that the labor saved is worth more than the embedded energy of these products.. a belief born from the distorted economics of cheap-seeming energy supplies.

I can only hope that the blossoming prices will be translated into the right lessons about where this precious energy must be invested, and not twisted into some strange economic abberation that produces another year or five of absurd waste.

Hoping for truly durable goods and quality replacement parts!


We throw away plastic and wood and metal and glass, thinking that the labor saved is worth more than the embedded energy of these products

I don't know about you but in New York we recycle glass, plastic and metal. wood and other waste often goes into a landfill that is now being tapped to provide energy. recycling saves tons of energy.

Waste Management To Fuel Altamont California Area Trucks With Landfill-Harvested Liquid Natural Gas

Waste Management, North America’s largest waste management company, and Linde North America have announced a joint venture to build a liquefied natural gas (LNG) facility, located at the Altamont Landfill near Livermore, California to convert landfill gas into a clean vehicle fuel. The project offers a unique opportunity to “close the loop” by fueling hundreds of collection trucks with clean fuel produced from garbage.


In a way it's a renewable garbage dump. the garbage powers the trucks which bring in garbage to power the trucks. however, best hopes for not needing landfills anymore...

I appreciate the efforts New York has made (here and there) to prevent or reuse waste. When I lived in NYC, I donated regularly to 'Materials for the Arts', which received construction debris, office and other leftovers and redistributed them to Non-Profits like small theaters, etc.. that said, the City, County or State of New York has not really even trimmed the whiskers of wasted fuels and fuel-intensive materials. As before, you rightly celebrate the moves that head in the right direction, but seem to blithely ignore how much IS being consumed, disposed and so then lost. The little bit of recapture gained in CoGeneration waste facilities, similarly, is just table-scraps from a gluttonous feast that we've had on advance-loan from our kids and grandkids.


GE is a financial company pretending to still be a manufacturer. Finding out this little factoid has cost a lot of GE stock holders a lot of money...including me. Some years ago GE announced that they were 'shedding financial sectors of thier business'...that was bs.

It appears the Japanese banks are jealous that US and international banks have been able to make bad loans and get bailed out, amd that they want to get involved before all the sub-primes are gone:

Japan has given its official blessing to a new mood of “aggression” in its banking sector as the country’s huge financial institutions turn their sights on deals with the outside world.
Japan’s financial services minister, Yoshimi Watanabe told The Times that because the nation’s largest megabanks had so far emerged from the sub-prime crisis relatively unscathed, they were now well-positioned to adopt a bolder stance when approaching deals with their western counterparts.


I had hoped that the Japanese banks would be one of the main sources of financing for renewables and nuclear.
It seems that they feel that they can make a killing in some sort of dodgy dealing instead.
Is this Taleb's assymetric risk, where bankers are rewarded for the short term, whereas catastrophic losses are more likely over a rather longer time, or do they simply feel that they can finance anything and rely on being too big to be allowed to fail?

Can someone explain to a simple fellow what in the world is the rationale here?

Rating system FUBAR.

Alright this is really something. I'm running MS Vista and FoxPro 2.0. Let me 'splain what's happening when I rate someone, I gave someone with a net negative rating an up arrow. Their green colored negative rating INCREASED by one. (up arrow resulted in green -3 -> green -4) I gave someone with a negative rating a down arrow. Their rating changed sign and color (down arrow resulted in green -2 -> red 1) I gave someone with a positive rating an up arrow. Their rating increased by 2 (up arrow gave green +2 -> green +4) So before anyone jumps out a window or applies for a public speaking position these ratings may possibly just be the equivalent of a random number generator :0) Anyone else having these problems? If by chance the rating system needs to be re-worked, I would also second what LevinK said on the rating related thread that the positive and negative ratings should be broken into two separate categories. This allows you to see which comments are generating discussion (i.e. a 0 rating may be no ratings or 150+ and 150-). I'd give his comment an up arrow, but I think I don't dare ;)

WT, specifically gets a plus three when I click the up arrow. Couldn't happen to a better poster. Not that I care because I think the whole system should be scrapped.

That is really funny, it was WT who got the +2 error from me. Don't know if he bribed someone, but considering some of the recent baseless attacks on him more power to him. This could get very funny, some of his recent detractors will be pulling their hair out when he gets +99 for sneezing and hitting a reply button. I think I'll up arrow more of his posts. But really I don't think we need the whole system, the merit of someone's argument isn't a matter of popularity and it just seems a little silly to rate some of the great work people have done.

“The truth is not always the same as the majority decision.” John Paul II

Why would the detractors pull their hair out? It would just confirm what the detractors suspect. TOD is gripped by groupthink and hero worship. Opinions marked as very popular are probably worthless.

So you turned TOD into Fox News for Peak Oilers. That's good?

tstreat writes:

WT, specifically gets a plus three when I click the up arrow. Couldn't happen to a better poster. Not that I care because I think the whole system should be scrapped.

I've seen that happen a lot for different posters. Your screen won't refresh until you start a process that will refresh it. During that time several others have cast votes that you haven't seen. When you finally refresh you see the larger than expected jump.

It's not magic. It's how technology works.

Thanks for that :)

One possible explanation is that there was an activity on those comments you rated and someone rated them in the meantime between you loading the page the first time and clicking on the rating button. The ratings do not update realtime when someone else rates, so it's possible.

But it could also be a bug, I suggest you try reloading the page before rating somewhere to make sure this is not the reason.

I reloaded the pages between each of the three rating attempts. I think it was a bug. In fairness, when I exited the browser completely and then logged back in, it worked fine for three times. Still my vote is scrap the system. It just seems rather silly to me. The Oil Drum has always been controversial in comparison to most mainstream opinion, maybe a little less so now, my point just being that if the views of TOD had been rated by the mainstream, a lot of important posts might have been viewed very negatively.

I am beginning to believe that this entire ratings nonsense was instigated by a post grad doc student testing us for response to a 'random generator number system'. Perhaps even Leanan? After all, it's not a bad concept for a thesis.

I dont know about you guys but I am moving here

LONDON (Reuters) - The owner of a tiny island in off Scotland declared its independence from the United Kingdom on Saturday, saying he wanted the territory, population one, to be a crown dependency like the Channel Islands.
Hill said he had written to the Queen offering his services as "steward" and recognising her as head of state.

"I also invite anyone from any country in the world, who supports these aims, namely to become free of liars, thieves and tyrants in government, to become a citizen of Forvik," he added.

Sounds appealing?

Peak Grid?

Power grid bottleneck stalls Maine project
"MILLINOCKET, Maine—A gridlocked New England power grid in Maine has stalled a Harpswell developer's plan for a $50 million biomass boiler in Millinocket.

Jerry Tudan, of Peregrine Technologies, had already lined up financing for the 17-megawatt project that would bring 45 jobs to the Katahdin region when he got the bad news from the grid manager.

Tudan said his company sought to register the site with ISO-New England, only to be told that a northern Maine wind farm project had registered earlier and had "maxed out" any available access to the grid at this time."


I've a small portion of my garden to vetch, I'm letting it go to seed. Today I was checking on it's progress and noticed one pollinator, a bumble bee, this is 750 sq' of in bloom bee forage. It was certainly reason to pause and certainly reason to go scout pollinators. 1200 acres rendered 16, 1 honey bee, 3 bumble bees, and 12 carpenter bees. Should I call someone?


for 2 yrs. i notice less & less wasps & bees here in the midwest. i do see a no. of bumble bees & a few honey bees.

it is striking that i have had hornets, & a lot of wasp on nests & i have yet to see anything but old nests this year.

only a few acres here but i usually get a rude surprise from a wasp nest i don't see. i would guess in the past i could have found readily a dozen or so; none currently!

From today's issue of The Economist, special report on energy: In the concluding section, titled Flights of Fancy, revealingly subtitled "the world of energy must change if things are to continue as before":

... "you are not going to conserve your way out of the problem." The need to keep doing the same thing - consuming energy in ever larger quantities - is a force for change. Price, political security and environmental pressures are all pushing in the same direction. How quickly that change will happen is hard to tell, but it is wise to remember the power of compound interest.

So there you have it. As usual, economists that understand "compound interest" are blind to the inevitable fate of the attempt to continue infinite exponential growth on a finite planet.

"The members of OPEC that have any spare pumping capacity are to hold a meeting with top oil exporter Saudi Arabia on how to increase output."

Wouldn't such a meeting require at least two countries? Why doesn't our intrepid reporter tell us who besides KSA has spare capacity? Everything I have read says KSA is the only OPEC member with spare capacity.

Dang...with the way Bodman is rattling off these days...we couldn't ask for better if we had our own TOD reporter in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia to cover the meeting tomorrow. He's sounding pretty much in line with the TOD average opinion, isn't he? Don't know about others here, but I like this guy!!!

Oil production lagging - U.S. official
Energy secretary says that United States and other nations must conserve more. Speculators not to blame for high prices, he adds.

The reason for record-high oil prices, which are putting the squeeze on the United States and others worldwide, is that oil production has not kept pace with increasing demands, U.S. Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman said Saturday.

"All nations must be better at conservation, and the U.S. is at the top of that list," said Bodman, who met with journalists ahead of a Sunday international meeting of oil producing and consuming nations focusing on high oil prices.

While some have blamed speculators for driving up oil prices, Bodman said he did not believe they are the cause.

Since 2003, he said, global demand for oil has increased because of industry in China, India and the Middle East. But from 2005 to 2007, there was very little increase in supply.

Nations need an additional supply of energy to market, whether that energy is nuclear, coal, fossil fuels, solar or wind power, Bodman said.

But, "we spent 30 years digging ourselves into this hole," he said. "It won't be solved soon."

Cement Contributes to China's Bad Climate Rap

"China, the world's most populous nation, also holds the top spot in another category: carbon dioxide emissions. That's partly because China produces and consumes more cement than the rest of the world combined. Kyle Saunders, [ed: aka Professor Goose], a professor at Colorado State University and the editor of the energy blog "The Oil Drum," talks about how cement production relates to global warming."

Saudi assistant oil minister, Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said it would be "wrong" to judge the success of the meeting by oil prices the day after it ends.


What does that mean ??


I'm not sure, but the headline of Saudi going to 9.7 million barrels is very interesting to me. This would weigh against a Saudi peak. I'm very suprised there have been no comments on this. Anyone smarter than me care to comment?

Oil prices are not going to drop -$11 Monday.



bloomberg had an interviewer on friday - an investment in oil/energy person - who said the past two weeks the price would have been higher if it hadn't been for expectations of the upcoming saudi meeting. he said he was grateful for even just this.appeared he didn't believe i peak oil but a current tight market.

It means he knows that Oil prices aren't coming down.

Time of OPEC Meeting in Saudi Arabia today ?

I know they meet today, and they are several hours before GMT, but exactly when will the 3 hour meeting be ?

I am up about to catch the restart of the complete St. Charles Streetcar Line at 3:15 AM :-)

Remember GWBs promise in Jackson Square that the "streetcars will return to St. Charles" ? Seven months before he leaves office, it is coming to pass.

St. Charles Streetcar Line is the world's oldest Urban Railway (opened 1834/35) with the world's oldest operating fleet of streetcars (built 1923/24).

Best Hopes,


I don't see how Leanan, Prof Goose or whoever can mod DB,etc. 7 days/week anbd still have a life. It takes hours just to read a DB with comments through without commenting myself. Total automation seems ideal timewise. However we all know that Mcdonalds was the prefect concept to Ray Kroc in the 50s and we see where that got us, uniform, fast, clean ...

You are assuming a perfect moderation system is either needed or desirable, and also no system of feedback.
A complaint button takes care of the first, and taking action against mainly against repeat offenders the second.
As I pointed out up thread, it is difficult to sustain the argument that moderation is impossible as the site is getting 'too large' as dpreview, one of the biggest sites on the web, had until recently one moderator.
This seems to be rather arising form a wish to control the debate by the setting up of an opaque system which will stifle debate and reward mediocrity than having much to do with its ostensible purpose.
I doubt that heavy traffic will continue to be a problem for long, as any worthwhile and productive disagreement will be killed at birth.
The internet itself would probably not exist in anything like its present form were it subject to controlling and normative systems like this.