DrumBeat: July 11, 2008

Red Alert: the Saudi Princes have announced the arrival of Peak Oil

The BusinessWeek story cited below, along with King Abdullah’s April announcement that they will not be opening new fields, provides evidence that we are near — or perhaps even at — Peak Oil.

1. It may be political peaking;: perhaps the Saudi’s could invest to increase production, but choose not to (an obviously sensible decision).

2. It may be geological peaking, if the Saudi’s are unable to increase production. But whether geological or political peaking, the long-discussed event may be starting now.

Since America prefers to base its energy policy on inspired guesses, nobody has modeled the possible outcomes. A few million dollars for a multi-disciplinary team to gather and analyze data would have better prepared us for this moment.

Czechs Suspect a Retaliatory Oil Squeeze

MOSCOW: Three days after the United States signed an agreement with the Czech Republic to host a tracking radar for an antiballistic missile system that Russia vehemently opposes, the authorities in Prague on Friday said the flow of Russian oil to their country was beginning to dwindle.

The Big Secret about Peak Oil and the US Military

You see folks, as long as the world is dependent on oil, the dollar remains backed by crude since you can only buy it with the dollar (with one rare exception to be mentioned shortly). This dollar-oil link helps keep the dollar as the universal currency. And because the entire world must use the dollar, you can imagine how that dilutes the inflationary effects seen in America due to the Fed's printing presses. Thus, the dollar-oil link ensures the Fed's inflation machine is spread throughout the globe. Without the dollar's link to oil, the inflation seen in America would be much more severe.

Crude Oil Demand Destruction Stops at the US Border

What is missing from this analysis is that oil is a global commodity, and its price is not simply a function of demand in America. As demand is destroyed here, it is being created abroad. The result will be rising oil prices, despite the fact that Americans will be using much less.

Study: As gas prices go up, auto deaths decline

WASHINGTON - Today's high gas prices could cut auto deaths by nearly a third as driving decreases, with the effect particularly dramatic among price-sensitive teenage drivers, the authors of a new study said.

Professors Michael Morrisey of the University of Alabama and David Grabowski of Harvard Medical School found that for every 10 percent increase in gas prices there was a 2.3 percent decline in auto deaths. For drivers ages 15 to 17 the decline was 6 percent and for ages 18 to 21 it was 3.2 percent.

Russia's Putin tours new rig in Arctic oil drive

SEVERODVINSK, Russia (AFP) - Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on Friday toured a new Arctic oil rig intended to boost Moscow's position in the intensifying competition for northern energy reserves.

Putin also met ministers and top oil executives in the Severodvinsk shipyard to discuss prospects for developing more Arctic fields, which are estimated to contain up to a quarter of Russia's proven oil and gas reserves.

Bush urges Congress to open new areas to oil drilling

"The members of Congress, particularly the Democratic leadership, must address this issue before they go home for this upcoming August break," Bush told reporters after a briefing from his economic advisers at the Department of Energy.

"They have a responsibility to explain to their constituents why we should not be drilling for more oil here in America to take the pressure off of gasoline prices," said Bush, who announced last month he favored lifting the restrictions on offshore drilling.

Oil: Wall Street vs. Main Street

Are oil speculators just making sure they retire comfortably—or bleeding working Americans? It depends on your perspective.

Restricting Speculators Will Not Reduce Oil Prices

Commodity price shocks, like those currently rocking the oil market, inevitably lead to witch hunts. And speculators are typically among the first to be hunted down.

The joy of $8 gas

Why life would be better if the cost of fuel here were as high here as in Europe.

And you think you're trying to save gas

As he strides through Dallas-Fort Worth Airport, Scott Turner may not look like the weight of crushing oil prices rests squarely on his shoulders.

But Turner is the man American Airlines has tapped to make sure its fleet of 700 aircraft uses every drop of jet fuel as efficiently as possible. With a title of manager of flight operations efficiency, he’s painfully aware of the sight and even the sounds of fuel use.

“When you hear jet noise, that’s money being spent,” he says.

Hunger brings anguish for millions of Pakistanis

THARPARKAR, Pakistan: When Pakistani labourer Mangal Ram's children cry from hunger all he has to offer them is empty promises.

"My kids complain and cry for more food but what can I do?," said Ram, 50, a father of seven who lives in the desert village of Tharparkar, in the southern Pakistani province of Sindh.

"We say 'wait, we'll cook more', what else can we do?" he asks with a shrug.

Ram's anguish is becoming increasingly common in Pakistan where inflation is running at about 20 percent, led by fuel and food prices.

Dangerous Ground

Five months after elections brought a civilian government back to power, Pakistan is reeling. It's not just the attacks by militants. The economy, which had been growing steadily, has been hit hard by spiking fuel and food costs.

USDA Rule Change May Lead To Crops on Conserved Land

Under pressure from farmers, livestock producers and soaring food prices, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is weighing a policy change that could lead to the plowing of millions of acres of land that had been set aside for conservation.

New Prediction From ICF Energy Analyst Kevin Petak: Oil Will Correct to $70-$80 But Will Take Up To 3 Years

Everyone has an oil price prediction nowadays, but few are made by analysts as knowledgeable as Kevin Petak of ICF International, a consulting company that specializes in energy policy and markets. Petak models where energy markets are headed next – and how soon they’ll get there.

Petak’s models are telling him oil prices will “correct” down to the $70-to-$80-a-barrel range, but not nearly soon enough for price-pressured consumers and countries. He told EnergyTechStocks.com that a “depressed” economy will eventually drive prices down, helped out by the psychological uplift of the arrival of plug-in electric hybrid vehicles (PHEVs) starting in 2010.

India - Crude shock: Fuel rationing may have to be formalised

Rationing of petrol and diesel, already a de facto reality in many of the city’s petrol pumps, may well become a way of life if the authorities get emboldened to come clean on the prevailing fuel situation, which has been plaguing the city for a month now. Pune Petrol Dealers’ Association president Babasaheb Dhumal said that such a situation may come to pass soon as there is already a 25 per cent shortfall of petrol supplies while diesel supplies are down 50 per cent. “We have been told that oil companies have cut down on purchases with the rising crude oil prices and rationing of fuel is, therefore, bound to come into effect,” he explained.

New Zealand - Farms feel squeeze from costs: survey

Meat and Wool report fertiliser, lime and seed combined increased 30% in the past year, fuel 23.5% and feed and grazing 13.7%.

There is no sign of costs easing.

Since March, superphosphate had increased a further 85%, from $260 a tonne to $480 a tonne, Meat and Wool reported.

Indonesia: Minister asks royalties be paid in coal, not currency

Coal companies could pay their royalties to the government in coal, rather than in rupiah, under a proposal made by Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro in a bid to help secure domestic coal supply.

Nigeria: gunmen kidnap 2 German nationals from construction company

PORT HARCOURT, Nigeria: Police in Nigeria say gunmen have kidnapped two German nationals working for a construction company in the oil-rich south.

Rivers State police spokeswoman Rita Inoma-Abbey says the two were employed by Julius Berger Nigeria PLC, which is affiliated with German construction giant Bilfinger Berger.

Domestic automakers' survival vital to national interest

All Americans, regardless of whether they own a Honda or Hummer, should root for a resurgence of U.S.-based automakers. It’s critically important for us to maintain industrial know-how and a strong manufacturing base.

Alabama: Official suggests all county vehicles limit speed to 45 mph

Three county departments are amending their budgets in order to make up for fuel cost overruns, prompting a county commissioner to propose requiring all county vehicles to operate at reduced speeds.

Oil sands: Canada's dirty secret

As oil prices continue to reach record highs, the search for new sources of energy has led the world to Alberta, Canada, and its vast oil sands. Now the country famed for its wilderness and clean living finds itself caught between fuelling the world's oil-hungry economy and the ecological devastation and soaring greenhouse gas emissions that exploiting the tar sands produces.

Study: green jobs rising, fossil fuel jobs falling

The Worldwatch Institute released a study Thursday showing that jobs in renewable energy are expanding worldwide, while jobs in coal and natural gas are disappearing.

The report, authored by Worldwatch researcher Michael Renner, estimates that about 2.3 million people work in renewable energy, either directly or in supplier industries. This includes at least 794,000 people working in solar power, 1 million in biomass and biofuels, 39,000 in small-scale hydropower, and 25,000 in geothermal. The report projects that these figures will grow substantially in the coming decades.

High Cost of Driving Ignites Online Classes Boom

NEWTOWN, Pa. — First, Ryan Gibbons bought a Hyundai so he would not have to drive his gas-guzzling Chevy Blazer to college classes here. When fuel prices kept rising, he cut expenses again, eliminating two campus visits a week by enrolling in an online version of one of his courses.

Like Mr. Gibbons, thousands of students nationwide, including many who were previously reluctant to study online, have suddenly decided to take one or more college classes over the Internet.

South Korea: No Night Baseball Games to Save Energy?

With oil prices skyrocketing, the government is seeking ways of minimizing energy consumption. Half of the vehicles belonging to government agencies nationwide have stopped operating.

A growing number of private firms are joining in the energy-saving campaign as oil prices are expected to rise for years to come.

But here is a gas-guzzling facility nonchalant to the energy crisis: ``the baseball stadium.''

A day in the life of an energy crisis

Our hometown airline is cutting expenses, reducing flights and raising passenger fees in a desperate struggle to curb losses from record oil prices. Haven't we heard this before? The days of cheap air travel are over -- or they should be, if large U.S. airlines expect to survive. With oil at $140 a barrel, the old business model is broken.

U.S. oil reserves sought for relief

Capitol Hill Democratic leaders fired back Thursday at Republicans' accusations they have no quick fix for the nation's energy crunch, saying they support drilling in more than 88 million federal acres nationwide.

Democrats also continued to urge President Bush to tap into the nation's emergency oil reserves to help knock down the skyrocketing prices of gasoline at the pump, which is now at a nationwide average of more than $4.10 per gallon.

Indonesia to make factories work weekends to save power

JAKARTA (Reuters) - Indonesia will force some manufacturers to shift production to weekends in order to reduce peak demand during the week and stave off an electricity crisis, senior government officials said on Friday.

Southeast Asia's largest economy suffers from power shortages as demand has steadily risen while there was little new investment in power-related infrastructure.

Pemex reportedly vows to boost diesel deliveries

TIJUANA – Promising an imminent end to diesel shortages that have plagued Baja California for several weeks, top officials with the Mexican government oil monopoly, Petróleos Mexicanos, have committed to step up delivery of the fuel to stations statewide.

Nigeria tanker drivers strike over fuel prices

ABUJA (Reuters) - Nigeria's gasoline tanker drivers went on an indefinite nationwide strike on Friday in protest over high fuel prices and the state of the country's dilapidated roads, a senior union official said.

Qatar min says sees no demand for extra Saudi oil

"Even though Saudi Arabia increased production we are seeing that the demand is not there," the Qatar oil minister told Reuters during an interview at a shipyard on the South Korean coast, where he attended the launch of the world's biggest liquefied natural gas (LNG) carrier, the Q-Max Mozah.

"Saudi tried to offer extra cargoes but the refiners are full to capacity, we see they have high stocks," he said. The kingdom has pledged to pump 9.7 million barrels per day (bpd) in July, an increase of 550,000 bpd versus May, but most refiners in its biggest market, Asia, have said they're unable or unwilling to buy anything beyond their normal volumes.

Saudi keeps August crude supplies steady to East Asia

TOKYO/SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia, the world's top oil exporter, will supply full contracted volumes of crude in August to East Asia, steady to July, as refiners continue to shun extra barrels, sources with seven refiners said on Friday.

Of nations’ pride and access to resources

Indeed access to energy riches of the region is an issue running deep into the psyche of the region. And with the tightening of crude markets, access is once again under the spotlight. In the current circumstances, the issue is being painted by many as ‘the culprit’ for the market upheavals. Greater access to Saudi Arabian energy riches have been an avowed goal of successive Washington administration. It has long been a dream of oil majors too.

Experts Say High Oil Prices Here To Stay

Oil prices can't stay this high, can they? Oh yes they can, say two of the country's experts in energy. In fact, they will go higher.

That's the somewhat gloomy prediction of Mathew Simmons and Paul Anderson. Simmons is an energy investment banker, who divides his time between Texas and Maine. Paul Anderson is the retired CEO of Duke Energy and he lives in Maine full time. Both men are routinely consulted by business and government leaders in the U.S. and other countries. And both agree there is no short-term fix for our energy price crisis.

Saudis worry over high prices on oil

As prices surged upwards in the past year, the Saudis rejected pleas from Washington to increase production in order to bring down prices. But somewhere around May of this year, they had a change of heart.

The unprecedented prices were backfiring. The Saudis, unlike most other OPEC members, began to see oil prices imperiling their own long-term interests and their reputation as a reliable producer. They also began to fear that sustained high prices would spur consumer countries to get serious about developing alternative fuels on a large scale.

UK: Climate campaigners threaten to invade and shut down power plant

Green activists are vowing to force their way into one of Britain's biggest power stations next month in what will be the most serious clash yet between the burgeoning climate change protest movement and the authorities.

At least 2,000 campaigners from the 2008 Camp for Climate Action are expected to take part in the assault on Kingsnorth power station in Kent, a huge 2,000 megawatt plant that supplies electricity to 1.5 million homes in the South-east.

Too much wind in oilman's energy plan

THE MAN knows his oil. But what does T. Boone Pickens know about wind?

The Need for Expanded Rail Service Grows

With the General Assembly stymied over how to pay for a $1.1 billion shortfall for transportation, a proposal to add rail passenger service from Lynchburg to Washington, D.C., makes more sense every day.

Massachusetts: House gives green light to gas tax exemption

The House of Representatives gave the go-ahead for a state gas tax exemption that is being hailed as "a first-in-the-nation," alternative biofuel initiative today.

The proposal calls for a decrease in the state's gas sales tax - presently 21 cents per gallon - in proportion to the amount of biofuel in each gallon of gasoline.

Good Crop, Bad Crop

Once-lauded biofuels are now blamed for high food prices. But the next generation might yet work.

Oil sets new record above $147 a barrel

NEW YORK - Oil prices spiked to a new record above $147 a barrel Friday, as rising hostilities between the West and Iran and the potential for attacks on Nigerian oil facilities gave investors reason to rush back into the energy markets.

The resurgence in crude prices not only raises the concern that $4-a-gallon gasoline is here to stay for U.S. drivers — it also means that heating American homes could get significantly more expensive this winter. Heating oil futures surged on the New York Mercantile Exchange to a record of more than $4.15 a gallon, and natural gas also rose sharply.

...Light, sweet crude for August delivery jumped $4.69 to $146.34 a barrel in early trading on the Nymex, after reaching an all-time high of $147.27.

Opec sees future fall in demand for its oil

Many say Opec is being too optimistic about the ability of countries outside its club to add new barrels.

Some, such as Matthew Simmons, a Texas-based energy investment banker, have even speculated that Opec, and particularly Saudi Arabia, its biggest member, are hiding behind lower demand forecasts to obscure the fact that they will be unable to squeeze as much oil out of their ageing fields as they have claimed.

Something's Fishy: Will open ocean aquaculture feed Hawaii's people?

And, whether through eternal optimism or deep denial, many people continue to look to science and technology to help lessen the numerous impacts of humans' vast consumption of limited resources.

In the world of energy and fuel, it is hoped that advances in solar, wind, tar sands, hydrogen, and biofuels may compensate for our having reached peak oil, now that we are finding ourselves on the down slope, with higher costs and diminishing returns.

In terms of food, small farms have given way to corporate agribusiness, genetically modified foods, and huge feedlots to supply the masses, all dependent upon a streamlined transportation system to move products from here to there. In the ocean, entrepreneurs are seeking to improve upon an innovation once practiced by native Hawaiians, fishpen aquaculture.

Oil sets new record near $146 a barrel

Oil prices spiked Friday as continued tensions in the Middle East and concerns of renewed violence in Nigeria pushed the price for a barrel of oil to a record near $146.

By midday in Europe, light, sweet crude for August delivery rose $3.53 at $145.18 a barrel electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Prices at one point jumped well over $4 to a record $145.98.

Governors call for boost in home heating aid

N.H. governor: 'It's potentially a crisis and I don't use that word lightly'

BOSTON - Governors from across New England, warning that some families may have to choose between food or warmth this winter, have called for a sharp boost in federal home heating aid.

Lawmakers push new energy bill, tapping reserve

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - As the United States grapples with surging fuel costs, U.S. lawmakers on Thursday renewed calls to tap the Strategic Petroleum Reserve and will attempt to pass new energy legislation aimed at increasing domestic production as early as next week.

A Bipartisan Fix for the Oil Crisis

As president of Gulf Oil, New England's largest independent petroleum company, and as someone who has spent his life in and around energy markets, I find the tone and substance of the current debate about our energy policy to be profoundly disappointing.

Partisan sides are using a serious crisis to advance political agendas, create political attack sound bites, and launch hearings to "expose" the culprit. Pick your favorite: speculators, Big Oil, environmentalists, China, India, etc.

This is not leadership.

OPEC chief keeps mum on possible output hike

VIENNA (AFP) - OPEC secretary general Abdalla Salem El-Badri declined to say Thursday whether the cartel would be prepared to boost output at its next meeting in September in order to help curb the rise in oil prices.

"September is a long time away and we will decide at that meeting," El-Badri told a news conference here to present the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries' annual World Oil Outlook.

Brown blunders in pledge to secure Nigeria oil

Gordon Brown is being accused of preparing for a military adventure in Africa after he pledged to provide backing to the Nigerian security forces. His announcement prompted the collapse of a ceasefire in the oil-rich Niger Delta and helped to drive up crude oil prices on world markets.

Chinese provinces worst hit by power shortages

(Reuters) - Over a dozen Chinese provinces have begun rationing power supplies as coal shortages and unprofitable electricity tariffs curb generation, driving the country toward its worst summer power shortages since 2004.

The government has forecast a peak power shortfall of 10 gigawatts for the summer, about 1.4 percent of capacity, but a handful of provinces alone are forecasting more than double this.

The following table details the situation in six of the worst hit provinces.

Cotton futures fall precipitously in last fortnight

In the case of cotton this energy debacle is affecting both supply and demand. On the one hand it becomes much more expensive to grow a crop and we wonder how growers will be able to stay ahead if prices remain at 70 cents/lb. On the other hand we have textile mills that face a similar problem since they use a lot of energy to produce and transport yarn and fabrics. Without the ability to pass on these increases, we may lose bales on both sides of the balance sheet. Crop production will probably continue to decline next season, but mill use could also drop as consumers retrench and some mill capacity is being idled.

A Closer Look At Oil Speculators

In my earlier editorial for InterPress Service, “Changing Games in the Global Casino,” I called for similar measures now in the House Bill HR 6377. The damage I cited to real people and real companies is growing daily, as food prices lead to hunger and oil prices lead to bankruptcies in trucking, fishing, airlines and other industries. In the USA, the towns of Gary and Terre Haute, both in Indiana, have lost all air service due to airlines going bust. Mass transit is still crumbling and often non-existent for people trying to find other means than driving to work. Infrastructure, mass transit and energy conservation have been ignored for decades in the USA in favor of continued subsidies of some $230 billion per year to oil, gas and nuclear energy, all big political contributors and sponsors of ad campaigns to deny the realities of global warming.


If we look at the peak oil projections, we’ll be using in 2030 by their projections the same amount of oil we use today, which does mean that as the demand for energy grows around the world we will need to find more and more alternate sources. In fact, we’ll need to find those anyway, because if you look at the increase in the likely demand for energy over the next 20 odd years to 2030, it is projected that the world will be using 50 per cent more energy in 2030 than it’s using today, from all sources and our oil, whether it be 86 million barrels a day or 110, is not going to increase in line with the energy demand increases. So we need all the energy sources we can get. That is, more coal, more biofuels, more nuclear energy, more wind, more solar, and these are all based on projections by the National Petroleum Council.

Petrol report a wake-up call: environmentalists

Petroleum engineer Phil Hart from the Australian Association for the Study of Peak Oil and Gas believes it will not be long before the demand for oil will outstrip supply.

"Oil production has been essentially flat since 2005, and we have only another couple of years at this same sort of level of production before we start seeing oil production going into decline," he said.

Untapped local oil could boost fuel

UNTAPPED sources of oil within Australia could provide the country with fuel into the next century, a Queensland energy company says.

Queensland Energy Resources has called for a national focus on securing a domestic oil supply, urging the Federal Government and business sector to focus on solutions rather than gloomy outlooks.

World Made by Hand, Part I

In World Made by Hand, Kunstler answers the question posed by Rodney King in 1992 during the Los Angeles riots. “Can’t we all just get along?” Well, no. Not in an unraveling land of rapidly diminishing resources. It’s the same continent, but a different world.

Is There an Oil Shortage?

The popular perception of the recently skyrocketing oil price is that there is an oil shortage in global energy markets. The perceived shortage is generally blamed on the Organization of Petroleum Exporting countries (OPEC) for “insufficient” production, or on countries like China and India for their increased demand for energy, or on both.

This perception is reinforced—indeed, largely shaped—by the Bush administration and its neoconservative handlers who are eager to deflect attention away from war and geopolitical turbulence as driving forces behind the skyrocketing energy prices.

Campos oil basin workers could strike

BRAZIL: Oil workers on Petrobras' offshore platforms in the Campos Basin offshore Brazil have threatened to go on strike for five days, starting on July 14, according to a story from Reuters. The workers are calling the strike to force state oil company Petrobras to count the day workers leave platforms to return to shore as a full working day.

Iraq to hold major oil conference in Oct

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraq will hold a major oil and gas conference in October to allow foreign oil firms to get a better understanding of the country's energy potential, the Oil Ministry said on Wednesday.

The Oct 17-19 energy conference and exhibition will be the first event of its type in Iraq since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003. More than 50 international oil companies would take part, Oil Ministry spokesman Asim Jihad told a news conference.

ExpressJet to suspend operations as of September

WAPA) - Houston based American airline, ExpressJet Holdings, said today it would suspend branded commercial operations as of September 2nd, blaming high fuel costs.

"If we had any other choice, we would not take this difficult action", Jim Ream, ExpressJet's president and chief executive, said in a statement. "However, rising fuel prices has made the operation impossible to sustain".

Giant oilfield to raise Saudi output

The Khurais project is a key element in Saudi Arabia's $60bn plan to increase its production capacity.

The Kingdom's aim is to be able to produce 12.5 million barrels a day by the end of next year, though Saudi Arabia generally keeps some spare capacity.

Its current production is about 9.7 million barrels a day.

Chevron sees downstream loss in second quarter

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Chevron Corp said on Thursday it expects second-quarter earnings from its exploration and production operations to rise on higher oil and gas prices, but will be offset somewhat by a loss at its refining and marketing business.

Fannie and Freddie Are Surely Doomed

According to CSIRO speculation, ethanol will play a much bigger role in Australia’s fuel mix, along with fuel cells, coal-to-liquids, and plug-in-hybrids. We’ve got exposure to each of these potentially vast markets with our share tip recommendations in the small cap letter. It’s going to take a portfolio of energy experiments to get the world over the Peak Oil hump—and that’s if we get over the hump.

Thousands protest in Niger against power, food woes

NIAMEY (Reuters) - Around 30,000 people marched through Niger's capital Niamey on Thursday to protest against the high cost of living and electricity blackouts caused by disruptions in power supplies from neighbouring Nigeria.

It was one of the biggest public protests seen in recent years in the landlocked Sahel state, which is a leading world exporter of uranium but, like many African nations, has suffered the squeeze of sharp increases in oil and food prices.

Pickens' plan is bold — too bad it won't work

The proposal is typical Pickens, who's known for bold predictions and grandiose proposals. His plan for a billion-dollar water pipeline from the Texas Panhandle early in the decade still doesn't have any takers.

Indonesia's Budget May Face Pressure as Oil Rises

(Bloomberg) -- Indonesia's budget may come under pressure as the government prepares to increase subsidies to cap fuel prices and match a jump in crude that has more than doubled in the past year.

``If oil prices increase to $170 a barrel, of course there will be problems,'' Vice President Jusuf Kalla said in an interview in Jakarta yesterday. The government, which bases its budget assumptions for oil to average at $140, will spend more to cap pump tariffs should fuel costs extend gains, he said.

Entrepreneurs lug cheap Mexican fuel across border

TIJUANA, Mexico (Reuters) - U.S. and Mexican entrepreneurs with an eye for a quick buck are buying subsidized fuel in bulk in Mexico and hauling it across the U.S. border to make big profits, officials say.

With a yawning gap between the cost of Mexico's state-subsidized fuel and record U.S. pump prices, tanker truck owners and people doing business on the border are filling up tanks or plastic barrels with Mexican fuel and selling it in the United States.

CFTC says no evidence of oil manipulation, hoarding

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The head of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission told Congress on Thursday there is no evidence that market traders are working together to push up crude oil prices or that oil supplies are being hoarded.

"We have no evidence that people are hoarding oil," CFTC Chairman Walter Lukken told a House Appropriations subcommittee.

He also said the CFTC doesn't "see systemically in the current market" that traders are "working together" to drive up prices.

Two Takes: Energy Independence Is Neither Practical nor Attainable

There is now no liquid fuel that can largely replace oil for transportation. We are stuck because of the scale of the industry and—despite criticism—oil's efficiency. A gallon of gas, refined from African oil, is cheaper than a gallon of Maine sparkling water. Political alternatives like corn-based ethanol have required huge subsidies and convulsed food markets but produced only 430,000 barrels per day in 2007— 2 percent of U.S. oil consumption.

Brazil shifted to ethanol. But its ethanol is derived from sugar, the economics of which are dramatically different from those of corn, which has less energy content. And it explored for oil offshore, using Brazilian petrol to cut back oil imports. Commentators also omit that Brazil is a small gasoline market—4 percent the size of the United States—an ignored issue of scale.

A low carbon diet

The price of oil is only going one way: up. We literally cannot afford not to invest in renewables.

Shucking the Hype: St. Louis Fed Analyzes Ethanol

While increasing our use of ethanol for fuel may make a small dent in the demand for oil, the potential benefits must outweigh the potential costs if ethanol is going to be viable in the long-term.

Biofuels And Biodiversity Don't Mix, Ecologists Warn

Rising demand for palm oil will decimate biodiversity unless producers and politicians can work together to preserve as much remaining natural forest as possible, ecologists have warned. A new study of the potential ecological impact of various management strategies found that very little can be done to make palm oil plantations more hospitable for local birds and butterflies. The findings have major implications for the booming market in biofuels and its impact on biodiversity.

Japan's MMC to Sell Electric Cars Next Year - Nikkei

TOKYO - Mitsubishi Motors Corp will begin selling its electric car to individual customers in Japan from summer 2009, slightly ahead of schedule, banking on strong interest amid record-high fuel prices, the Nikkei business daily said.

EPA: Smog could get worse with global warming

WASHINGTON - Global warming could worsen smog and stretch what typically is a summer pollution problem into the spring and fall, government scientists predicted Thursday.

Smog is most likely to get worse in the Northeast, lower Midwest, and mid-Atlantic regions of the country, where numerous counties and cities are already struggling to clean up the air, according to a draft analysis by the Environmental Protection Agency.

In Namibian desert, the heat is on to address climate change

GOBABEB, Namibia (AFP) - It was never easy living among the Namib desert's spectacular vistas, with ancient camel thorn trees providing sparse shade and huge red sand dunes reflecting the burning hot sun.

But signs that climate change may be worsening the already harsh conditions in this patch of desert have led to novel experiments and skillful improvisation under some of the world's hottest weather.

Energy issues (or lack of):

Concerning yesterday's discussion on carrying capacity: I heard an interview with a University of Kent professor (about anti-Malthusian theory) on BBC Radio this morning. I think the following was what was referred to; it's the closest my websearch could find (I couldn't find it on the BBC site).


It's interesting that energy issues rate very few words.

Was this it?


There is no absolute right to have as many children as we want, a study from the Optimum Population Trust argues. Professor John Guillebaud, a patron of the trust, and Dominic Lawson, columnist for the Independent, discuss whether humans have a right to procreate.

Sorry I tried to post as a link but just ended up with the oildrum domain prepended to the url.

Not sure if this can be accessed from outside UK.

I can't open it.


Are you in the UK? If not try going through a UK proxy server.


Thanks for the link. I used to think Dominic Lawson was merely brain-dead -- but judging from this discussion with Professor Guillebaud he's even worse. He's a lunatic.

If only the lunatics were at the fringe rather than at the centre!


The Optimum Population Trust's site is here:


It has an excellent journal, with some first-rate articles on energy issues:


Of course there is no absolute right for anything. Rights are agreements put in place by societies and exist because we are able to use concepts and communicate them with language.

Agreements that are backed by force or consequences we call "the law."

Agreements that are widely held but can be ignored or broken without significant consequence are called "norms" or "culture."

Agreements that people feel particularly strongly about we call "rights."

Asserted agreements (i.e. they may or may not qualify in the above categories yet) are called "morality" or "ethics."

This notion that all our morals, rights, ethics, etc. are at their core just agreements set up by societies doesn't sit well with some people, and they will argue that there truly is some such thing outside of the concept (again, articulated via language). But it's quite easy to see that our whole way of relating to the world is through a filter of cognition provided by language. Take away language and the concepts disappear, as does much of what we think of as "reality."

The short way of saying that is: it's all made up.

Note that I am not saying that we don't want these agreements or that I'm against these agreements or any such nonsense. I'm merely pointing out that humans inhabit a world of agreements. The corollary to that is that people generally don't realize that it's all made up, and then proceed to take life all together too seriously, in my view.


You can access it outside of the UK. I am listening to this very interview in the BBC News Podcast at this very moment.

I think you get access if you're in Europe. Americans are out of luck.

Low temperature solar concentrator developed at MIT:

US researchers say window coating lets people see clearly and collect energy

Teslaesque UK electric supercar to launch soon.

Power of a Porsche, roar of a milk float: UK's first green supercar


Better version of the solar concentrator story on the bbc here:

Solar dyes give a guiding light

From the MIT site:
MIT opens new 'window' on solar energy - MIT News Office

And the tech details:
Fact Sheet: MIT's solar concentrators - MIT News Office

Our new devices increase the power obtained from solar cells by a factor of over 40 without needing to track the sun.

I presume this is the area of the glass versus the areas of the its edge. Because then they say:

even added onto existing solar-panel systems to increase their efficiency by 50 percent for minimal additional cost.

So placing a layer of this glass on top of an existing conventional PV cell you are able to increase overall efficiency by a factor of 1.5 - requiring a different type of high voltage cell at the rim of the glass, with its own circuit - which is receiving 40x solar energy per area to conventional cells, thus heating it up requiring possible further cooling, possibly aging the cell etc. - and the dyes aren't stable enough yet for commercial production. So, more research is needed before you can call out anything based on this...

Technology is being developed by one small company, and company itself says it will take at least 3 years to come up with anything commercial.

The problem with technocopian solutions is that they are invariably too late to implement, they are capital intensive to scale up to anything significant, and they invariably address only one aspect of the problem of peak-everything.

In this case, if we're lucky, we might get some slightly more efficient solar panels in a few years time. However it is doubtful if this increased efficiency will attract the massive capital and social investment required to bring the nation to a WWII-like effort to stop everything while we electrify our infrastructure, our transportation and food production sectors, in the how ever many years it would take, which we don't have. What is much more likely is that by this time oil will be 500USD per barrel, all capital markets will be in chaos and governments will be struggling to feed their populations.

So we have 1000 companies each attempting to be one of the hundred that will build a working product capable of solving 1% of our problem.
Look at history. Specifically, the history of technology. You think that progress comes in big chunks? It doesn't. Steam engines started at 2% in 1600 and took years to get to 20% by 1850, and then another hundred years to get to 40% of theoretical efficiency.
Solar power is doing a lot better than that. Then again, we are giving it a lot more research early on. And we will soon give it more money yet.
So don't sweat the stuff that doesn't work. Some of them will. Some of them already work. Some of them you can even buy in stores.

Just reporting the information my friend, in the spirit of drumbeat, make of it what you will.

Incidentally, perhaps you should write to them and tell them not to bother, I mean, if you can't solve the entire problem in one step, why bother. Might as well go get a cave while they're still unoccupied.

For those of you following the mortgage banking crisis, check this out:


According to Reuters, Fannie Mae shares were down 52 percent before the bell, Freddie Mac down 45 percent(!).

Fortune had an article about ING Direct's home mortgage division a few weeks ago. These numbers are little out of date, and their foreclosure rate may have increased, but the numbers looked something like this:

Total home loans made since 2000: 100,000

Total number of loans in foreclosure since 2000: 15

How did they do it? They loaned out their own money and kept the loans on the books, instead of selling them. Also, they couldn't fund 30 year mortgages, so they did a five year fixed rate, with the interest rate adjusting on an annual basis thereafter.

Thank you for that info.

My money's in ING Direct.

The irony is that ING Direct has profited by doing business pretty much the same way that the humble little S&L did in the movie, "It's a wonderful life." Nothing terribly exotic.

Cain's Law™ seems to apply to more and more of the financial industry these days: "Any situation in which it is easier to become wealthy by manipulating financial instruments than by producing the underlying goods and services will end badly."

Not really-the grifters have done very well and continue to do very well with this "financial" economy. As an example, check out upper management pay at Fannie and Freddie.

Unfortunately, this is mainly going to end badly for the taxpayers. FNM and Freedie will be bailed out and we will be billed. Further, it may end badly but this is after the top executives have made millions of dollars.

I dunno. So far, Paulson's hanging tough.

Yeah, but is Paulson the Decider?

No, but he's the mouthpiece of the decider.

True, but is the Decider a Truthspeaker? :)

Any situation in which it is easier to become wealthy by manipulating ... will end badly."

Few are the situations where someone is not "manipulating" for the purpose of gain, be it through financial instruments or by other means.

Upthread, aangel insightfully notes that everything is just an "agreement".

Quite often, an agreement is nothing more than an exchange of promises:
I promise to do/not-do "A" IF you promise to do/not-do "B".

Promising is inherently an act of "manipulating".
You are trying to get the other person to believe that you will deliver on your promise or they are doing it to you. Usually it's the latter.

Example: If elected to political office, I will do wonderful things for you.

Example: If you give me money for this slip of paper, ...err, I mean this prudent portfolio of preferred stocks, great wealth will befall you some time in the near future without you having to lift a finger.

Example: If you cease worrying about and telling me about Peak Oil you will not look silly when "they" come up with something or other to solve it you stupid,ignorant and gloomy-doomy person.

Not all manipulations are bad or filled with bad intent. Sometimes it's ignorance. Sometimes it's wishful thinking.

Example: If you do your homework George, instead of going out tonight to get drunk again, then one day when you are President, you will not be a total f**k up, this I promise you dear. We're all trying as best as we can.
Unfortunatley (or fortunately), not all promises are kept.

They where worth almost nothing, so 52% of nothing is not a lot.

There's about a billion shares of Freddie Mac. Traded above 60 for a long time. Going from 8 to 4 in a day is about four billion dollars gone. Maybe not a lot, but not exactly nothing either.

The Fannie and Freddie doomsday scenario

It's time to wonder what would happen if Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac failed.

Fannie and Freddie both just lost half their value in the the first 10 minutes of trading.

They have failed. By not admitting it, however, we can leave the body sitting in the recliner.

Exactly what the FDIC did with IndyMac.

The Zombie Solution.

Did you see this:

Office of Thrift Supervision shuts down IndyMac

The banking regulator said Friday it has transferred IndyMac's operations to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation after determining the thrift is unlikely to meet its depositors demands.

This is a link to a WSJ article that is longer. It says they have $32 billion dollars in assets, making them one of the largest S&L's in the country.

CNN just broke into regular programming to say Indymac is dead.

They hold 5000 Billion dollars in mortgages. Home prices down 18%. What could possibly go wrong?

But really, the bonds are holding up nicely since they're guaranteed by me, Leanan, antidoomer, ...

Emotional responses aside, they only hold conforming loans, which means the don't hold anything from California, Las Vegas, Florida, and that most of the mortgages require 20% down. So the stock goes to zero, big deal. If you buy the bonds and short the stock, you will probably make some decent money. Enough to fuel a motorhome for 10 years at any price, for example.

One should keep in mind that while Bear Stearns died, not a single bond is in default.

Requiring 20% down isn't going to help much when house prices are down 70%.

If you want to see the future, look at Japan. Everyone says the US is different - but they would say that, wouldn't they? Everyone says the US is different - but we are going down the same road.

18 years after housing peaked in 1990, how are things looking in Japan?

I agree with you about the taxpayer footing the bill. I expect those bonds will lose most of their face value and the citizens of the USA will pony up for the whole $3 trillion or so.

IMO the real estate bubble crash in the main similarity between the two. Saying Japan is the future for the USA is extremely optimistic-Japan has a strong currency, a huge middle class and is the most technologically advanced nation overall. IMO you are looking at a mix of Argentina/Mexico, with a relatively large superrich (>30 million) class and a very small, struggling middle class.

There is an important difference between Japan and the US.

Japan is (still) the worlds largest creditor nation. http://www.reuters.com/article/economicNews/idUST2258720070524

Whereas the US has gone from being the worlds largest creditor nation directly after WW2 to being the worlds largest debtor nation (since the 1990's).

So looking at it this way, the US is in a much, much worse position than Japan.

On the other hand the US has at least two things going for it. One it has the most powerful military in the world, and two the US owes US dollars which it can print (electronically) at virtually no cost.

For these reasons high inflation (in commodity prices like oil) is more likely to occur in the US (well look it's happening). I wouldn't be surprised if the Fed (a consortium of banks) continue to bail out the banks, thus causing inflation, and the govt issues more and larger handouts to help (voting) citizens cope with this.

This will mainly penalize non voting holders of US dollars, specifically China, Japan and some Oil exporting countries.

Leanan, technically both Fan and Fred are already bk. Combined they have ~$4-5 Trillion in off balance sheet garbage. Under a new rule (FAS 140, I think) that garbage is going to come back on their balance sheets and when it does there will no longer be any reason for anyone to claim that Fan and Fred are 'adequately capitalized'.

Time for popcorn, roll film.

"Technically", they are not in default. Otherwise, one would find a default notice.

yeah, but they are "literally" up shit creek without a paddle.

IMO they will get an exemption from this rule. I might be wrong.

Hey River,

Did you have a nice outing yesterday?

Great day! Two other guys rode with me. We did about 170 miles, had great blue crabs and beer...and some spicy steamed shrimp, peel and eat. Stopped by Henry's to see how his 57 chevy drag car is coming along. If anyone says peak oil to Henry he starts telling them about the old Borg Warner T 10 tranny that he bought for a song at the East Bunnel swap meet. Henry joined us for the last 50 miles and we had to slow a bit...he usually rides a 1953 Pan Head springer rigid that his father willed to him. It isn't a bike to ride at 75mph for distance.

We wound up at the Oyster Bay on beachside in Daytona and then went to the Boot Hill. It was Liz's birthday and she was gooned. Lot of laughs about the old days and the new days. Good friends, nothin' like em.

Glad to hear you had a good trip.

The US financial system is in shambles, the world economy is crashing, oil has become painfully expensive and millions may starve; Film at 11:00...

They will be bailed out, for one, courtesy of the U.S. taxpayer. Not to worry, though, we will just issue more debt.

Gail says it would more than double the US debt if that happens.

That's never stopped us before (Reagan tax cuts + star wars; Bush tax cuts + Iraq).

The problem is actually the "publicly held' portion of the debt would more than double. This is a quote from a WSJ editorial.

Fannie and Freddie are among the largest financial companies in the world. Their liabilities – mortgage-backed securities (MBSs) and other debt – add up to some $5 trillion. To put that in perspective, consider that total U.S. federal debt is about $9.5 trillion, compared to a total U.S. GDP of $14 trillion. About $5.3 trillion of that debt is held by the public (in the form of Treasury bonds and the like), while $4.2 trillion is intragovernment debt such as Social Security IOUs. This is the liability side of America's federal balance sheet, and its condition influences how much the government can borrow and at what rates.

The liabilities of Fan and Fred are currently not on this U.S. balance sheet. But one danger is a run on the debt of either company, putting pressure on the Treasury and Federal Reserve to publicly guarantee that debt to prevent a systemic financial collapse. In an instant, what has long been an implicit taxpayer guarantee for both companies would be made explicit – committing American taxpayers to honoring as much as $5 trillion in new liabilities. U.S. debt held by the public would more than double, and the national balance sheet would look very ugly.

Ouch. Thanks for clearing this up for me. So it's really not Fannie and Freddie who are bankrupt, it's REALY the US Government... which is you and me. Once they publicly are seen as a black hole I suspect the US economy and treasury notes will be viewed differently too.

I'm still hoping for a slower catabolic system collapse but I fear the fast collapse model could win out. Having followed PO for the past 10 years, the financial mess and the whole Middle East fiasco look like so many dominoes all lined up waiting for a one small push...

Bring on hyperinflation!

Speaking of hyperinflation and a bankrupt US gov't, try this sucker on for size.

Hyperinflation Special Report from John Williams' Shadow Government Statistics

Chris: Thanks. Heavy stuff.

Yes thanks for the link.

It comes down to US Govt. Obligations being ridiculously high. Once you realize that it can't be paid back, hyperinflation seems the rational response. The only upside I see is that IF my wife or I can stay employed and IF our income rises even a fraction of the hyperinflation rate, then paying off the home loan could get pretty easy. I remember in the 70's my parents home becoming absurdly cheap because Dad had locked in a low fixed rate loan back in 1969 before the inflation really took off and interest rates jumped too.

The real problem in many hyperinflation cases is that income doesn't rise along with costs, so most of your income goes to food, water, heat... essentials and your leftover "disposable income" goes to zero.

We're in for a wild ride!!

So it's really not Fannie and Freddie who are bankrupt, it's REALY the US Government...

Yes, and since F&F are really the US Gov, it makes since that an entity won't let itself fail. The US Gov has used many so-called non-government entities to run its business outside of constitutional law for a long time now...the Fed, F&F, Blackwater, KBR, etc. They are just doing the proxy work that gov can't do.

Oh yeah, this is why Mish has been talking this up today...sounds bad. Garbage in, garbage out. Bailouts are coming, no doubt.

Bailouts! When I hear that I get a visual of a sinking supertanker in the middle of hurricane Bertha, and Ben Bernake with a one gallon bucket. No way you can keep the beast afloat. On paper perhaps, but with a big enough hole she's going down...

"...the "publicly held' portion..."

and the NOT publicly held portion is money paid in for a specific purpose like say .....social security, and borrowed to pay for say..... the search for wmds.

and the supreme court can rationalize it however they want, but the money is still owed to the recipiants and future recipiants of social security(i.e. the public).

up until a few months ago the treasury dept web site didn't distinguish between "publicly held" and "agency held". and i wonder who was the architect of that neoCON spin ?

and finally, to claim that the not "publicly held" debt is not debt amounts to theft. that social security check you were counting on..................sorry, that was given away to those patriotic looters of the treasury.

No one is showing up at the debt auctions anymore. No way the US can finance a bailout. No one is willing to loan us money anymore. This myth of infinite bailout, or just charging it to the 5th and 6th generation down the line, is nonsense.

The United States is beyond insolvent. Why the US dollar still has any value at all is one of the great mysteries of our times. That situation certainly can't last much longer.

That will mean we cannot afford to import ANYTHING anymore. Think of the implications of that.

It's more efficient send raw materials to China and gets goods.
US can't afford importing oil, but can afford more efficient Chinese goods. In the future post dollar era most likely US sell out factory capacity to China for Chinese goods.

Do you have any links on the debt auctions? I haven't been following the debt auctions part of the story. I thought the auctions were down somewhat, but still not too bad. If these stop, I would agree you that the consequences would be pretty dire.

I came across a few stories awhile back about auctions being canceled due to lack of interest. Literally. Nobody was buying because the interest offered was too low. I assume they offered higher rates to get around the problem.

Gail I too lack links, but remember readeing the same as leahan.

George Ure at urbansurbviaval.com may ber able to help.

Thanks. It is curious that there aren't more recent stories about the problem. One of them seems to be from February 2008, the other from September 2007. It sounds like there are enough US buyers to make up for the lack of foreign buyers. I wonder what is going on. Perhaps US folks trying to stay away from questionable corporate bonds and structured securities are providing enough of a market.

60% of US Debt Due by 2011

On February 7th, the US Treasury sold $9 billion of 30-year bonds at a yield of 4.45%, the lowest yield ever. Overall investor demand was tepid. Foreign investor demand was virtually non-existent. "Indirect bidders, a group that includes foreign central banks, bought 10.7% of the amount sold," Bloomberg News reports, "compared with 31.6% percent in the prior auction."

Perhaps that's why the Federal Reserve, the US central bank itself, stepped in and bought half the auction. Yes, Peter borrowed from Paul to pay Paul.

"Would you lend money to the US government for 30 years to receive about 4.45% in interest?" asks Dan Denning, editor of the Australian Daily Reckoning and a professional worrywart. "No? Well then, you speak for most institutional investors as well, who were not interested in buying the low-yielding bonds of a big-spending government."

One auction does not a trend make. But we would note that the 30-year bond yield has jumped from 4.45% to 4.65% since that auction...and that is a trend – a disturbing one.

The US Treasury can ill afford rising rates or skittish bond buyers...or both at once.

America's precarious fiscal condition now means funding her multi-trillion-dollar, long-term liabilities with multi-trillion-dollar, short-term borrowings.

That's a timeworn recipe for disaster.

The amount of marketable public debt that the US government will have to "roll over" during the next few years is massive.

"Of the marketable securities currently held by the public as of September 30, 2007," the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) reports, "$2,838 billion or 64% will mature within the next 4 years."

If the Fed hadn't stepped in, it would not have been fully subscribed, i.e. failed.

What has happened since February 7?

Foreign investors veto Fed rescue

As feared, foreign bond holders have begun to exercise a collective vote of no confidence in the devaluation policies of the US government.

Asian, Mid East and European investors stood aside at last week's auction of 10-year US Treasury notes. "It was a disaster," said Ray Attrill from 4castweb. "We may be close to the point where the uglier consequences of benign neglect towards the currency are revealed."

The share of foreign buyers ("indirect bidders") plummeted to 5.8pc, from an average 25pc over the last eight weeks. On the Richter Scale of unfolding dramas, this matches the death of Bear Stearns.

Is this the moment when America finally discovers the meaning of the Faustian pact it signed so blithely with Asian creditors?

As the Wall Street Journal wrote this weekend, the entire country is facing a "margin call".


Imagine the shock when the day arrives that a US Treasury auction of new debt instruments is not fully subscribed.

The fact of the matter is that the US is bankrupt. David M. Walker, Comptroller General of the US and head of the Government Accountability Office, in his December 17, 2007, report to the US Congress on the financial statements of the US government noted that "the federal government did not maintain effective internal control over financial reporting (including safeguarding assets) and compliance with significant laws and regulations as of September 30, 2007." In everyday language, the US government cannot pass an audit.

Moreover, the GAO report pointed out that the accrued liabilities of the federal government "totaled approximately $53 trillion as of September 30, 2007." No funds have been set aside against this mind boggling liability.

Just so the reader understands, $53 trillion is $53,000 billion.

The US will never repay the loans. The dollar is failing in its role as reserve currency and will soon be abandoned.

When the dollar ceases to be the reserve currency, the US will no longer be able to pay its bills by borrowing more from foreigners.


I know- it is too wild-approx $400000 owed by each American family on top of their personal debt.

There is no way we can roll over that amount of debt, in this environment, in that amount of time. The US will be in default by 2011. Remember, we have to borrow billions every week just to keep the lights on.

thank you for posting this...I needed the reminder.

Cid, I'm not doubting, I'm honestly curious: how does one find out whether people are showing up for the debt auctions? Do we infer that because of low actual sales of the debt?

You can find out whether buyers are turning up by looking at the interest rates on long term US govt bonds. No buyers means higher interest rates.

Higher interest rates are equivalent to lower bond prices. See the weekly chart here http://stockcharts.com/charts/gallery.html?$USB or here http://quotes.ino.com/chart/?s=CBOT_US.U08&v=d12

Beware the Cayman Island buyers though, anonymous buyers have been buying large amounts of long term US govt bonds keeping the price from collapsing. I have no idea who they are, or what their motives are.

On a grim looking day, a pretty funny article that discusses uses for abandoned SUV's:

Futility Vehicle

. . . the government could just buy back our Land Rover. They could make us a gun-buyback kind of a deal. We’d bring the car in, no questions asked. Perhaps it could be recycled for use in the Iraqi desert. (“She loves the sand.”) We’d get a little reward – the downpayment, perhaps, on a Prius or a Mini Cooper. I think that these are good ideas.

I think that any one of these very visible, easily replicable, greatly inspiring, teachable examples of large-scale recycling could go a long way toward repaying our debt to society for having bought the big gas guzzler in the first place. At the very least, they should earn us a tax break.

What, you have a problem with the idea of our government subsidizing selfish, wasteful, short-sighted people?

Don’t make me laugh.

My neighbor has one of those. I think she is in hiding as I haven't seen her for months. Witness protection program or something.

The initiative of the ‘young greens’ for forbidding SUVs in Switzerland has been lodged. We will vote on it.

(The text is in terms of pollution, danger, etc. and does not only concern what Americans call SUVs. Agri. machines, and others, would be exempt.)

westexas -

Though it's only a hunch, I think that severely marked-down used SUVs will eventually get a second life as commercial vehicles. By removing the rear seats and possibly making a few sheet metal modifications, you can have a decent vehicle for independent contractors such as plumbers, eletricians, etc.

And if you want to get creative, you could even convert some of them into a sort of half-assed pickup by removing even more sheet metal and adding structural bracing. After all, the full-size American SUV is little more than a pickup truck chassis with a passenger vehicle body.

At least this would be a much more legitimate use for an SUV than chauffeuring the dog to the vet.

Before I bought my T100 Toyota I used to take all of the passenger seats out of my Neon to fit lumber, electrical, and plumbing supplies in it. People’s eyes would pop out when they would see me pull out ten foot 2X4’s or sticks of schedule 40 PVC pipe out of my car. On my farmette it is virtually impossible to get along without the pickup. Yeah, I guess someone will take an unwanted SUV and make it into a mule.

I used to pull the front passenger seat on my '83 Honda prelude (4 bolts) and head off to the lumber yard. Once I came back with 6 4x4s, 6 4x6s 15 2x4s (all 8' long) and a bale of 4' redwood lath. Neighbors literally came out of their houses to watch as I pulled all this stuff from a sporty "compact" car.

In Europe I saw a lot of compact cars with trailer hitches. It makes more sense to have a small, light trailer for the occasional bulky loads - kind of like leaving the empty part of your pickup truck at home.

Here in California, it seems that most SUVs have a battle-bots hard attach point in the back strategically positioned to do the maximum damage to a passenger car in a low speed bumper to bumper incident. Some of theme even populate the hard point with a trailer hitch - usually designed to maximize property damage - which they then use twice a year.

Ah yes, towing trailers with tiny cars in Europe. I have German friends with a trailer and a little VW with an engine that's very, very tiny by US standards. Seems to work fine. After all, without the trailer, that tiny engine is good for 170 km/hr, as they've demonstrated for me.

Ahh! Now if we could repeat your experience 300 million plus times and somehow engineer a change in US consumer consciousness, transportation fuel consumption in the US could plunge dramatically over the next few years.

Hey! I'm a dreamer and if I can't think of something positive I might as well go hang a short rope on a tall tree......

Hope springs eternal (if nothing else).

Alan from the islands

Japanese tradesmen use the little Suzuki mini-vans and mini-pickups. I've driven them. Nice! Four-wheel drive, 40mpg, and they cost about $11,000 new. For big stuff, you can put it on the roof racks.

I once borrowed one when I was moving to a new apartment. I made about four round trips, perhaps 6 miles each way, in heavy traffic. Afterwards, I filled up the tank. The gasoline attendant informed me that he had put in 1.5 LITERS of gasoline. I paid my 150 yen and said thanks! (I know the math doesn't work out -- that would be about 160 mpg, in city traffic. I'm just saying what happened.)


I would buy one in a minute, or a Volkswagen Lupo for that matter, if I could license it for Illinois roads.

Well, it's your lucky day.


I have seen this site, I do like the vehicle, but unfortunately I cannot drive it on Illinois roads. Maybe in the future.

Hey, bruce from Chicago -- those gas-burning vehicles look decent, but are promoted for golf courses and college campuses and the like.

On the other hand, my electric Zap Xebra costs about 12,500 to buy, 185/year to insure, and about a penny and a half per mile to power.

Top speed on my Zap Xebra PK (pick-up_ is 40 mph. It is a short-range and street legal vehicle in all but 4 states. At least one is running on lithium-ion batteries for longer range, but that is still expensive.

I plan to add another battery for some additional power and range. The Zap Xebra works well with stock equipment, but is also a good platform for modifications and experimentation.

If you need distance travel and highway speed for significant distances, I guess a fossil fuel vehicle is the option. I can't think of any electric vehicles ready to go.

rock and roller Niel Young has recently outfitted a car ('57 Lincoln?) as an electric car, and is rumored to be outfitting a truck as well.

If a bunch of city folks bought Zap Xebras for the many short trips we urban folks take, then we would make a dent in gasoline consumption. IIRC, b-f-c, you are out in the countryside now?

Yeah, I'm way in the countryside. Anywhere I go is at least seven miles, so I now limit trips accordingly. If I didn't have a vehicle that could at least do 70mph,the grain trucks would literally flatten me. Those guys are nuts. Being an ex motorcycle racer and builder I'm sure I could tweek some extra horsepower out of the small engines in the mini vehicles.

IF you "tweek some extra horsepower out of the small engines", you are likely to find that your gas mileage declines as a result, since one way to increase HP is to richen the mixture in order to be sure you are burning all the oxygen in the cylinder. Your emissions of nasty CO is also likely to increase on that one. Boost your compression ratio and your NOx emissions will also increase. Lastly, boosting HP tends to increase wear on the drive line and motor, shortening the life. Sorry, there's no free lunch in engineering and science...

E. Swanson

Not necessarily. My Neon is modified, computer, free flowing header and exhaust, and cold air intake to get a few extra horsepower and gets extra mileage to boot. I’m looking for a better cam grind currently to lower the power band. However, I live in an area where testing is not required. Every consumer vehicle is a compromise, I just compromise it a little more toward my needs.

A free flow header and exhaust might help a little, but removing the cat makes the emissions skyrocket. Going to a smoother exhaust flow, including head work and port matching can cut the pumping losses a bit. The cold air intake makes the air pollution problem worse, as it's more difficult to vaporize the fuel in the cold air. That may trick the ECU into thinking that the system is running lean, thus increasing the amount of fuel injected. Again, that makes the emissions worse, as the hydrocarbons going out the tailpipe increase. In winter, a cold air intake may make starting and running more difficult, as the system is designed to run with that warmed air going into the engine. Cars are designed to run with air pollution controls in place because most cars are operated in (or near) urban environments. The air in a city doesn't originate there, but is moved thru the area with the winds. People in the country don't understand that they are polluting the air for everybody who lives downwind. Air pollution is not just a problem of rules or laws or inspection, but of overall long term environmental health due to the sum of emissions.

Remember that power is the time rate of utilization of energy. The more power you make use of, the more energy is consumed. Aerodynamic drag begins to increase steeply as speeds climb above 40 MPH or so. The faster you go, the more energy it takes to get you there, other things being equal. You were thinking about making a small, low power vehicle go faster, which necessarily implies lower MPG as a result.

E. Swanson

Yup, no doubt about that. And country folk DO understand that taking off the emission controls result in greater emissions, but overall they care more about their pocketbook. One thing about moving to the sticks is noticing how many older cars are owned here by the working class, the people who earn $15,000.00 or less a year. How many of these people will be buying a Prius or the latest new fangled hybrid? None. And this population is growing, today’s well paid service sector employee is tomorrow’s “trailer trash” or worse. What is needed is a new “Volkswagen”, a very low priced Spartan vehicle for the masses. We’ll never see it, because of the profit margins needed to prop up corporations won’t allow it. It won’t be long before we start seeing vehicles like the ones in videos seen on Youtube in Bosnia. So suck down your lattes, drink your fancy micro brews, and snub your noses at the lower classes, but until it is realized by the elitist environmentally minded professional class that it is important that the bottom rungs society can’t afford the latest techno-vehicles, we will further slide into environmental degradation. Kind of funny, that all of the ridicule of Cheney’s remark about American lifestyle being negotiable, it is the professional class that confirms it the most.

End of rant. Sorry for that. But the working class is severely under represented on this board.

The working class are the working class because they don't have the education that the upper class has. Or, if you believe "The Bell Curve", it's because the working class isn't as smart as the college boys. Sure, it's "elitist" to worry about the environment and that's because it takes a fair amount of education to understand the math, physics, chemistry and biology of our environmental problems. Around here, any high school student with smarts goes away to college and never looks back. In this area of Appalachia, any body with the get-up-and-go done got-up-and-went long ago. What's left in the area are what you would call trailer park trash, aka, rednecks.

Lost in Space: Does the Earth Orbit the Sun?

I've been worrying about pollution problems since I found out in the late 1960's that I could not live in the pollution of Northern California. There was no way in hell I could have lived in Southern Cal, where there were lots of jobs. The environmentalist made enough noise about air pollution that things have improved since then. There are, however, still many folks living out in the country that haven't directly felt that pain from the pollution they produce, so they think they can ignore it. Sort of like smokers that keep smoking, even though they know it's causing them harm.

Having been unemployed for most of the past 33 years, I think I have some sense of the problems of the working man, even though I made it past 2 college engineering degrees before I went screaming out to the woods. As I write, I just got back from a trip to check my mail, driving the 1997 junker I picked up from eBay for $200 + parts and (my) labor. I haven't bought a new car since 1970, yet, there are 4 cars, a truck and 3 motorcycles parked in the yard. I think I know about car crazy...

E. Swanson

That may trick the ECU into thinking that the system is running lean, thus increasing the amount of fuel injected.

How so? AFAIK cars with ECUs typicaly have an O2 sensor that, detects the presence of oxygen in the exhaust. The higher the oxygen levels, the more lean you are running and the ECU compensates by adjusting the fuel mixture until there is almost no oxygen in the exhaust meaning, you still get a complete burn but, are not running too lean. At least, that is how Bosch fuel injection systems work.

Going to a smoother exhaust flow, including head work and port matching can cut the pumping losses a bit.

Part of modifying a motor has to do with reducing losses and hence, increasing the efficiency of the motor. The other part has to do with increasing the volume of the fuel air mixture for a given displacement. This also tends to increase the efficiency of the motor.

For example, the whole principle of turbocharging which just pumps air into the motor under pressure. If turbocharging did not increase efficiencies it would not be an increasing trend as it is now. Bruces cold air intake probably gives him a few percent more units of volume of air going into his motor, actually increasing its efficiency and his mileage. It is the same reason why many turbocharged motors have intercoolers to cool the incoming air.

Remember that power is the time rate of utilization of energy. The more power you make use of, the more energy is consumed.

There are two basic ways to increase power; increase efficiency or increase displacement. To take a dig at the US auto industry, they have traditionally favored the latter. Europe and Japan on the other hand have definitely adopted the former. The net result is some pretty amazing horsepower figures posted by relatively small displacement European and Japanese motors.

Alan from the islands

An O2 sensor can't tell how much unburned fuel is going out the exhaust. With a cold intake temperature, the fuel won't be vaporized as much as the ECU expects, therefore extra fuel would be needed to reduce the O2 in the exhaust to the desired amount. It's true that a colder charge will be more dense and thus contain more O2, so the effective compression ratio will increase slightly and the amount of energy which can be added to the mixture when the fuel burns will be greater. This would raise the power out of the engine somewhat.

Your notion that increasing the power out of the engine does not mean that the efficiency increases. Stuffing more air/fuel into the cylinder with a turbocharger increases the effective compression ratio, which will result in greater thermodynamic efficiency, but with the resulting problems of pre-ignition and more rapid engine wear. A turbocharged motor acts like a larger displacement engine in that more fuel/air mixture can be forced thru the engine at a particular RPM. One may also increase displacement by running the engine at higher speed, after changing cams, valves and increasing the intake flow. That's how the Japanese and the Europeans have traditionally achieved good performance with small engines.

Those approaches are well known. However, increasing the power of the engine on a vehicle is likely to reduce the MPG as a result. This is due to two factors, first, the old lead foot can be applied for more frequent acceleration and second, at constant speed, the throttle opening needed will be less. The maximum efficiency is usually achieved when the engine is operating at nearly full throttle, but the gearing on most cars would place that point at a rather high speed, thus the aero drag would be too large. The old saying is that it takes about 10 HP to push a car down the road at 60 MPH, but the engine is capable of producing much higher HP output in most cars at that speed. The extra power available is the reason the car can still accelerate or climb hills without downshifting. The best MPG is obtained by matching the smallest engine with a transmission such that the thing is running at wide open throttle on the freeway. Rather like the old 1300cc VW, 850cc Mini or the first 1300cc Honda Civic...

E. Swanson

The Japanese mini-trucks are entirely street-capable. You can drive them on the expressway at 70mph, and they also go off-road pretty well too. However, apparently they are not licensed yet for street use in most states.

Bruce, me too. I have a couple of rentals on beachside and there is always something breaking or wearing out there or here. Just a couple of days ago I had to take my Dodge Dakota to Home Depot and pick up a new hw heater, drive it to beachside, take out the old one and install the new. Stoves, dishwashers, all sorts of appliances, lumber, etc. Sometimes a little pick up is easier than an SUV for bulky items. My Dakota is a 2001 stick, v6, and has 28 thousand and change since I purchased it. It gets pretty good mileage but I usually ride a mc if I am not carrying a load. Come August I will have been riding for 51 years...unless one of those pesky terrorists steals my bikes!

Whatever happened to putting a couple of roof bars on top and taking 3-400 pounds of lumber back home on the top? Always worked for me. That and asking the merchant to deliver - for a fee of of 10 of 20 quid. No need for a 4x4 on the flat or on tarmac, or for an engine bigger than 2 litres. The current car runs fine on 800cc - okay it doesn't cruise much above 75mph. Anything else is pandering to machismo. Rarely have I seen the need for enough horse power to tow a small house up a hill.

Your right, for most people owning a car with a rack or trailer is more than enough. For my purposes it would be uneconomical. Where I live out in the super sticks having lumber delivered would cost a fortune, if they would at all. Just this week I’ve hauled hundreds of pounds of trees I’ve been cutting down on my fence row for firewood. Next week I’ll be picking up a large load of horse manure. This truck gets plenty of use. The T100 is a nice compromise between large pickups and small compact ones. For non hauling I use my 1996 Neon.

I don't have to take anything out of my Prius (just fold down half of the back seat) to carry a 7 foot Christmas tree or a huge bale of straw.

'Course I'm not a contractor or handyman, but so far the Prius has hauled what I need.

westexas -

Though it's only a hunch, I think that severely marked-down used SUVs will eventually get a second life as commercial vehicles. By removing the rear seats and possibly making a few sheet metal modifications, you can have a decent vehicle for independent contractors such as plumbers, eletricians, etc.

And if you want to get creative, you could even convert some of them into a sort of half-assed pickup by removing even more sheet metal and adding structural bracing. After all, the full-size American SUV is little more than a pickup truck chassis with a passenger vehicle body.

At least this would be a much more legitimate use for an SUV than chauffeuring the dog to the vet.

With all these creative modifications possible and something like 800,000 SUVs coming off lease this year alone (worth as much as $6000 less on the open market than the stated lease residual), how is GM (for instance) going to sell any new SUVs?

A 2008 Suburban 2500 with a 6.0-liter V8, four-wheel drive, automatic transmission and leather sells new for $43,235; a two-year-old model with 24,000 miles in excellent condition can be yours for less than $20,000.



Recently, I was telling somebody how I thought Jamaicans who were taking advantage of the deep discounts on new SUVs in the US were making a very big mistake. During the conversation I mentioned how dismal the resale values for used SUVs are and a the thought occurred to me. It is going to be very difficult to sell new SUVs with so many people anxious to get rid of used ones, including many that are fairly new.

Alan from the islands

We see alot of them running around here filled up with people, basically a small mini bus. Fill a Suburban up with 8 or 10 people, gas gets pretty cheap and you can ride in comfort. We've been thinking about buying a couple and starting a "carpool/taxi" service with a couple of coworkers who live in the boondox and the other side of the city.

Perhaps we could use them for this?


I agree they won't sell many new SUVs. I also don't think there will be many conversions of used SUVs to work trucks. Reason: people with the need for such already have the truck. Also, there are many used trucks on the market too. Minivans, unmodified, will be useful as jitneys. The SUVs will become chicken coops.

Boeing won't sell many new airplanes either. Even if they are a bit more fuel efficient.

Chickencoops... never thought of that before.

Have thought of SUV's as minicampers for homeless /tent cities. Just park it in the woods near a RR track.

Put one thousand pounds of lead acid batteries in the middle seat area, and then put a wheel with an electric motor (sort of like an outboard motor) on the back. Five wheel drive!

Israeli warplanes rebase to US bases in Iraq

Israel Air Force (IAF) war planes are practicing in Iraqi airspace and land in US airbases on the country as preparation for a potential strike on Iran, sources in the Iraqi Defense Ministry told a local news network, Friday.

The report, carried also by Iranian news outlets, claimed that recently massive nocturnal activity by IAF craft was noted in several American held airbases, including measures by the US army to increase security around the bases.

According to the sources, former military officers in the Anbar province said IAF jets arrive during the night from Jordanian airspace, enter Iraq's airspace and land on a runway near the city of Hadita. The sources estimated the jets were practicing for a raid on Iran's nuclear sites.

The sources also said the American bases in Iraq might serve as a platform for the IAF from which to attack Iran. If Israeli warplanes will take off from Iraq, they can reach Bushehr in five minutes - a "record time," the sources said.


According to Press TV, the Iraqi Ministry of Defence told Iraqi news network, Nahrainnet, that suspected Israeli warplanes had landed at the al-Assad American airbase near Haditha, in western Anbar province, as well as a base in Nassiriya in the country's south.

Iran's Press TV also reported that the US had boosted security arrangements around the bases allegedly used by Israel.

According to retired Iraqi army officials, fighter jets have been entering Iraqi airspace from Jordan.


The activities and traffic of warplanes- especially at nights- has lately increased in the US airbases in Nasiriya southeast of Baghdad and Haditha a city in the western Iraq province of Al Anbar, the Iraqi residents and sources said.

They said the U.S. fighters, cargo planes, helicopters and unmanned planes have intensified their flights in the last three weeks.

The US military officials have imposed severe security measures around the bases, they said.

They said some aircraft suspected to be Israeli warplanes coming from Jordan, have landed in the U.S. controlled al-Assad airbase near Haditha.

It is believed that these activities are parts of a joint Israeli-US training, preparation and coordination to launch an air raid against Iran's nuclear plants.


I just wish this were a Tom Clancy novel, instead of reality. . .

BTW, for what it's worth, Clancy was opposed to the US invasion of Iraq.

If I were Iran I'ld target those two bases right now instead of waiting til they've been attacked. It's obvious it's about to happen. I'm surprised the Iraqis are'nt making a bigger stink.

Crude just crossed 147.00

I think they recently made their "Yankee go home" ploy. Blown in the wind...

I guess their concerns about 'Iraqi Sovereignty' were warranted.

Must really stick it the craw for a Muslim nation to be forced to host Israeli warplanes.

Must really stick it the craw for a Muslim nation to be forced to host Israeli warplanes."

worse than that.

These two bases are now the premier targets in Iraq.

The Star of David on warplanes in Iraq?

Remember when we thought we had a no bid contract wrapped up?

Way back on July 3rd?

and the AgitProp that will come out of this.

Remember when the US tried to pose as a neutral arbiter?

Another interesting factor here is the story is being run on the Iraqi news network, Nahrainnet and on Iranian television which is watched by Iraqis.

Whether an attack occurs or not, or even if it's propaganda or not, the Iraqi people are foaming at the mouth about the continued presence of American forces in Iraq. This will just push it over the edge.

No amount of excuses, explanations or denials by either Al-Maliki or the US, will curb the wave of outrage that will certainly swell.

You know that scene in 'When Worlds Collide' when the mobs tear down the fences, even as they are being mowed down by machine guns and mortars, just before the space ships launch?

I wouldn't want to be one of the defenders of these bases.

Must really stick it the craw for a Muslim nation to be forced to host Israeli warplanes.

I live in Latin America, and I will assure you it's not only the Muslims that are surreptiously cheering on Iran. There's a saying here, Todos dicen que maten al toro, pero que el toro no mate a nadie, that I think pretty much sums up the sentiment. It roughly translates to "Everybody says 'kill the bull,' but that the bull kill nobody."

I know it's hard for people who live in the U.S. to conceive, but in the eyes of probably 90% of the world's population, the U.S. has become the bull.

Well, we ought to be the bull, because we're full of it.

Taking the bull analogy. I think that the Israeli planes are the red cape in front of the Iranians and the Shiite Iraqis.

Their presence may have been purposefully leaked to the Iraqi press to drive the Iranians and Shiites to create an incident (attack the bases maybe) that would justify the bombing.

The Israeli planes don't significantly add to the strategic assets of the United States. If they bomb then the U.S. will be dragged into the war anyway, So logically why were they brought in? The answer seems to be to add to the tension in the region and hopefully(for Cheney) provide the spark so that he can get his war on. I smell the putrid machinations of that huge rat in the Office of the Vice President.

This provides a thin shred of optimism. Maybe the decision hasn't been made. They need the incident first before they can move. Chances are they will get their incident but then again maybe not.

Hasn't it been argued that a similar ploy was used to provoke Saddam into attacking Kuwait? That seems to stick in the back of my mind.

Anyway, a historical precedent for the sort of gamesmanship and yellow journalism you suggest can be found in the USS Maine incident that preceded the Spanish American War:


Every war when it comes, or before it comes, is represented not as a war but as an act of self-defense against a homicidal maniac.

~George Orwell

But we have no opinion on the Arab-Arab conflicts, like your border disagreement with Kuwait. I was in the American Embassy in Kuwait during the late '60s. The instruction we had during this period was that we should express no opinion on this issue and that the issue is not associated with America. James Baker has directed our official spokesmen to emphasize this instruction. We hope you can solve this problem using any suitable methods via Klibi [Chadli Klibi, Secretary General of the Arab League] or via President Mubarak. All that we hope is that these issues are solved quickly.

-April Glaspie

What gives me hope about the incidents that Cheney and his Likudnik army are trying to create is that they are so transparently desperate. Perhaps Cheney is in his last throes. The war won't come without an incident because the adults in the foreign establishment don't want a war. This article offered me a little hope.


Here's a few comments from the article in the Jerusalem Post.

Israeli warplanes practice in Iraq'

30. May God be with Israel.
One of the reasons Israel is having such a problem is that they have been giving up more and more of their territory instead of holding the line and saying no more. They should not give in to the people who are saying peace at any price such as Condelezza Rice. I think people have forgotten 67 and what happened back then. Israel is Gods chosen people. For those who doubt just look it up in the Old Testament and see what God did when He said in Leviticus 26 v. 8 Five of you will chase a hundred, and a hundred will chase ten thousand, and your enemies will fall by the sword before you.
Frank Fawcett - USA (07/11/2008 15:27)

43. Good mula's are dead ones
Our friends there in isreal need to protect themself and at the same time kick some Iranian ass in the process. Who knows, you folks there in Isreal get a dust up started in Iran and it might help us keep the closet Muslim Obama out of the our Whitehouse. Help us Help you guys, ruin the towelhead mulas and old ahba-dirtyjeans day!
Headshot-408 - USA (07/11/2008 15:36)

77. you people are crazy
all you war mongering, bomb dropping, evangelistic, apocalyptic, psycho babbling nut bags are certifiable.
your all insane - (07/11/2008 16:24)

Just who are the religious fanatics in the Middle East ? In the last 10 years of Jewish life I have seen nothing but a small handful of opponents to Israel's policies.
Everyone tuts and preaches tolerance and justice in public but puts the money in the box and when pushed is deeply tolerant only of Jews and Israel and to hell with anyone else.
I'm getting sick of it and when it all goes up and my synagogue is attacked then I for one won't be one tiny bit surprised.

It gets more depressing

219. IAF in Iraq
Israel is not just another country. They are the Chosen to bring about the knowledge and soon presence of the Living God of all Creation. While the kingdoms of earth plot the destruction of each other, foolishlly delusional that they within their power can bring about evil changes without having to answer to Jehovah, will soon find out the truth. It will be WWIII and The LIving God of Israel will intervene on behalf of Israel and according to the Bible, if he would not, no flesh would survive. It is time to repent, and face the SON as Saviour and not as judge. Maranatha! God bless Israel.
NDM - USA (07/11/2008 19:51)

197. Good Bye
I hope President Ahmadinejad is proud and ready to accept his so popular belief that Jihad is about to be reign down on him!
Nuke Iran - (07/11/2008 18:33)

St. Stephen's Full Gospel Church just had a fire in their new church (previous one was flooded out). Temple Sinai (Conservative, the largest synagogue in New Orleans, next door to a Jesuit University) has offered to let the black church have Sunday services in their synagogue.

Best Hopes,


Americans should be grateful to muslims that we done a very big part of work of collapsing soviet union. After extremely shameful defeat of american aggression in vietnam in 1975 we muslims fought soviet union in afghanistan for 10 years (1979: soviet invasion in afghanistan - 1989: capture of kabul by mujahiddins) that suck up soviet power and ran its budget dry. On the economic front middle eastern countries boasted the oil production so high that its price fall so low that soviets economy fall.

Instead of being grateful to us the americans thought its an opportunity for them to start eating up muslim countries one by one. 2001 : afghanistan; 2003 : iraq; 2005 : iran; and so on. The americans did the same mistake soviets did, actually three times that mistake. Afghanistan alone was enough to collapse soviet union, see what will happen to america which has its both legs trapped in afghanistan and iraq and willing to muscle both of its arms in iran.

Soviet fall was due to economic disaster. Americans are following its footsteps and much faster. The collapse of real estate bubble, the collapse or atleast contraction of decades old formerly very strong giants like general electric, general motors, two dozen airlines, almost all banks and finally the fed all show that GOD's stick not make noise.

Wisdom: Yep. That about sums it up. We learned nothing from the Soviet experience.

Some time within the next 10 years we will most likely see the fall of the American Empire. The Soviet Collapse was isolated to them and their surrounding territories.

A collapse of the United States empire will be more complex. What does the collapse of the American Empire mean?

1. A worthless dollar?
2. Most of our 730 bases throughout the world shut down?
3. An end to our role of protecting oil shipments?
That's just for starters.

The only thing that is certain is that it will come as a great shock to Joe sixpack.

If I were Iran I would have Iraqi Army checkpoints politely turn back US Army supply convoys from Kuwait.

No violence, just a point made.


Are you kidding? What do you think would happen if Iran did that? Yeah... that's not a good idea. Iran would be subject to the most massive bombing raid the U.S. Air Force could muster.

To me it looks like Iran is caught in the same trap that Hussein got caught in. They want to save face with their people and the world, so they think they have to put up a strong showing and hopefully wait for the diplomatic envoys to come up to some sort of arrangement that allows both parties to declare victory and peace be preserved. The only problem is, Bush is too [insert deragatory comment here] to bluff. He doesn't care, he doesn't think about consequences of his actions, he will let the Israelis bomb them and dare Iran to do anything.

No, No, No

That's just what the some in the US & Israeli wants.

Remember Pearl Harbor and “A Date Which Will Live in Infamy"

Why give them an excuse to put the whole country on a full WWII type war footing. Think of what that would mean......

I don't want to think about it. Going for a walk on the beach


Going for a walk on the beach.

Yeah, Yeah. Rub it in Bahamas Ed. I'm so far offshore in my yacht, I can't even see the beach.

Both you guys are rubbing it in for the rest of us - beaches and yachts! Guess I'll just go outside and rest on the hammock under the hickory tree with my cat Hubbert and a pitcher of cold lemonade and watch the hummingbirds fight over the nectar in the feeder. Too damn hot to work today pulling down the old fencerow.

Tonight I'm driving up to Northern Minnesota, and spending the weekend camping on the shores of Lake Superior. I'll be hiking by waterfalls in the North woods.

One of the nicest places on the planet IMO. I was there a few years ago and I was surprised how much Lake Superior had warmed up though. Sigh...

Years ago I used to cast for salmon and trout wading at the mouth of the Brule River on Lake Superior. After a while the legs would be so numb I would have to get out to warm up. I imagine it is still pretty cold.

Beautiful area! My sister lives up there during the summer near Grand Marias in the Superior National Forest. Her husband’s brother owns a well known bait shop called the Beaver House in Grand Marais. Which waterfalls, as there are many?

Cascade River state park. We are driving up to Duluth tonight (hotel), and then on to the park tomorrow. Camping at the park for two nights, then coming back on Monday. I've never been up that way, so I'm really looking forward to it.

600 miles @ 30 mpg should cost a little less than $100 in gas.

Very familiar with it. I used to go up that way during the summer almost every year for about ten years. Got to get back there sometime and see old friends. Enjoy yourself.

No. The first person to strike loses.

See Pearl Harbor.

And this is now a fight in our gas station.

Iran wins by doing nothing.

Iran wins by doing nothing.

Yup. Often here on TOD comments are made that in the future of a lack of energy at prices 'we' are used to and with the money system looking to blow up, one had best start cultivating personal relationships.

America has been doing a poor job of that. Slapping around Iran won't help in a 'you have no energy to strike us and your money is no good' future.

Cid Yama writes -

If I were Iran I'd target those two bases right now instead of waiting til they've been attacked. It's obvious it's about to happen. I'm surprised the Iraqis are'nt making a bigger stink.

Seems like that would be exactly the "stupid" move the US would want Iran to make.

Well, I hope they can find a away of improving accuracy...



US 'killed 47 Afghan civilians'

Medical staff help a boy injured in Sunday's attack
A US air strike in eastern Afghanistan on Sunday killed 47 civilians, 39 of them women and children, an Afghan government investigating team says.
Reports at the time said that 20 people were killed in the airstrike in Nangarhar province. The US military said they were militants.

But local people said the dead were wedding party guests.

What is it with the US massacring guests at wedding parties? This must have been about the trillionth time I've seen this kind of report. Even going back all the way to the Korean conflict. It's weird?

I know,

You would think they would be pro-marriage and family and all that.

What a way to win friends and influence people.

I imagine when the Redcoats banned "unlawful gatherings" there were a few colonial weddings busted up by British infantry. Some things never change.

Except we're now the Redcoats. Probably inevitable.

I forgot to mention that the Redcoats might have beaten up a few wedding-goers, but nowdays you're using a killer robot five thousand feet in altitude armed with Hellfire missiles. So that's different.

Hey, got to put those video game skills and values to use!

Apparently one problem is that it is traditional to fire guns in the air as a celebration at some Afghan weddings (I don't know how old this tradition could be). This happened a couple of years ago, and the US bombed the wedding party, as they saw a bunch of guys waving AK-47's in the air. They interviewed some of the survivors, and they said "yeah, we always do that at weddings".

Seems that information would be the key here. US pilots need to realize that people do this, and not bomb them; and the Afghans need to realize that it's not a good idea to get together and fire weapons into the air in the middle of a war zone.

I was in Jordan when the Iraqis won a big football game. The celebratory gunfire was amazing. No way to change that behaviour - just stay indoors (or away from balconies) until the fall out and cross fire has ceased.

Impossible. The free nation of Iraq (they even had elections) would never allow such a thing.

If this is true, it would explain the Iranian missile firings. It also means the Iraqi government, such as it is, is going to try to boot our asses out before we do something even stupider.

It's just a case of "You show me yours, I'll show you mine." However, it may be that show-time is over. Hope I'm wrong, but the reaper may be about to collect. Dow off 172; oil up to 146.

If this is true, and can be proved, it will instantly lead to the fall of the existing Iraqi government. I'm hoping this is just an exceptionally imbecilic propaganda move by Bush/Cheney. Hopefully the Iranians will only call the bet and not raise.

Golly. One of the fun details that the unnamed source from the Iraqi defense ministry reveals is that Israeli planes can reach Bushehr from Haditha in 5 minutes - that means that they must have the capacity to travel at 12,000 km per hour!

Even if he was mistaken and meant that they could travel from Nassiriyah to Bushehr in 5 minutes, they'd still be travelling at 5,500 km per hour!

Who knew that the Israelis had converted their F-15's and F-16's into speedsters that can fly at escape velocities!

It seems pretty unlikely that Israeli jets would rebase to US bases in Iraq. They can hit Iran directly from Israel if they want to, and why would they want to telegraph their intentions in this was and introduce the complication of joint operations with the US?

It seems more likely that this is a "strategic leak" by those opposed to any strike on Iran.

Cid Yama -

If these developments are indeed true, then it would appear that a decision may already have been made by the Bush Regime to have an attack on Iran by the US and/or Israel.

However, given the source, coupled with the penchant of Middle Easterners to often embelish reality, I myself would like to see some third-party confirmation before I go into full worry mode.

I think the most interesting outcome of this recent posturing between US/Israel/Iran is that demand for oil is skyrocketing, driving prices up almost weekly. Those Israeli jets must be burning a LOT of JP.

Perhaps President Cheney is accomplishing exactly what his friend George wants?

This just stuns me. It completely puts the lie to any iota of Iraqi sovereignty, and it's practically guaranteed to set off the powder keg in the Middle East...

Your sacrcasm is very subtle.

I don't believe this particular story yet - there are less provocative ways for Israel to carry out this attack, like having US refueling tankers refuel the fighters on their way to Iran.

However, the significance is having a Ministry of Defense whose personnel are willing to tell such stories to their media. These are not folks who will react kindly to any Israeli overflight when it finally happens. The individual involved might belong to a political party that is opposed to the ruling government's accommodation of the US, or he might represent the attitudes of some part of Iraq's actual combat forces.

Now since the Iraqi media itself largely belongs to armed political factions, we must consider the story in that light too.

I do believe, though would rather take your side of the argument. Basing in the location mentioned in the stories would allow multiple sorties. Also, I don't think the Israli aircraft were supposed to be spotted, given the nighttime flights and heavy security. Also, the story has been reported by multiple sources. Denial by Israel and the U.S. are worthless; if you had asked the Japanese on December 6 if they were going to attack the U.S., they would have denied that also.

We'll eventually find out, and I'll gladly eat my straw hat if I'm wrong!

You've got a good point about the multiple stikes, though if we're going that far we might as well use our own planes and kiss our asses goodbye.

Any sequence of events spinning out from an Israeli strike launched from Iraq is so heinous that, bluntly put, Bush might as well use nukes and destroy Tehran instead. Reasons:

1. Many, many right-wingers are sick of our relationship with Israel, though they're never heard in the media except Pat Buchanan. Many of them might have voted for McCain, but after a joint US-Israeli strike some will take up arms against what they believe is a Washington controlled by Jews. It won't look good in November.

2. If he uses our own nukes, he automatically will proceed to martial law, meaning no election. The shock effect of such a horrific crime will paralyze America long enough for him to sign an executive order. The current economic crisis gives him a further excuse. At least he postures as a seizer of initiative instead of a passive wimp and lackey of Israel.

I think the owners of the chimp boy know that he has outlived his purpose. They need the election to have a good front man for their dictatorship.

But if they overstretch and call off the election it will be a good thing because there will be no way for them to maintain order. The Ron Paul people would show up at the White House millions strong armed with pitch forks and automatic weapons.

I think the owners of the chimp boy know that he has outlived his purpose. They need the election to have a good front man for their dictatorship.

That's what Obama is for.

Cheney could technically serve as VP til he dies. The new President just has choose him. The power behind the throne. Frankly, Cheney is the Anti-Christ and Bush is just his diminutive demon sidekick.

I agree. How do we shackle the Anti-Christ and his merry band of war profiteers? They have six long months in office to start a war with Iran.

If Cheney gets his incident no one at TOD will be surprised. They could have an incident at the border of Iran and Iraq after all we are sending commandos over the border. They could have an incident with Israel. They could have a confrontation in the Straight or anywhere in the Gulf. They could have a running of the blockade after the passage of HR 362 which at this point looks like it will pass. They could go for broke in Iraq-- create an incident with Sadre and then when the body bags pile up they could say "How many of our soldiers need to die before we attack Iran?" I think as Cheney's time in office begins to wind down, we will see increasingly desperate moves. They are throwing the spaghetti against the wall and seeing what sticks and they will continue to do so until they leave office.

They are not leaving office. It is just that the personnel are changing a bit.

When of the two 'liberals' in the campaign Clinton threatens a nation that America is not at war with, Iran, with nuclear obliteration and it arouses no adverse comment, and when the other, Obama, basically pledges undying allegiance to a foreign power, Israel, then your choice has boiled down to who declares war on your behalf, or more likely launches a Pearl-harbour style sneak attack.

Britain has already apparently decided that fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan is not enough, and is going into Nigeria.

You could be right but I think the jury is still out on Obama. Good ol' Zbiniew Brezinski, Obama's main foreign policy adviser, does not appear to want to bomb Iran.

I think Obama wants to slip the velvet glove back on the iron fist instead of running around like a madmen with a razor blade.

Would this prove that Dubya really is the Anti-Christ?
Spawn of Satan?? What threw me was that he looks so much like Bush41.

Only proves, IMO, that random variables do occasionally coincide. Even wingnuts can be right at times, albeit for all the wrong reasons.

I used to work at AIG (yes, the now-troubled insurance company) as a temp. The permanent employees in that department were a group of African-American women, mostly middle-aged, very religious, and apparently all from the same neighborhood, who had worked there for many years. The day after 9/11, they were talking about the attacks, and instead of the usual patriotic crap spouting from all the whites, they were expressing deep misgivings about the whole deal, even hinting that the attacks were some kind of government conspiracy. Suddenly, the youngest of them exclaimed, "You know, Bush is the Anti-Christ!" The others did not disagree.

My reaction was: If he's the Anti-Christ, his number is 66 point 6.

But in subsequent years I've come to feel these ladies were more right than just about everyone else.

super390, so much of the Bush presidency has been smoke and mirrors, it is refreshing to know that there were those who could spot the deception early.

If the devil's chief attribute is the twisting of truth -- as in the "father of lies" -- then the Washington spin doctors have mastered the diabolical in a very concrete non-metaphysical way. No wonder so many Americans see conspiracies and demons everywhere. What is known is that the line between disclosure and deception has been blurred for a long time. This leaves the field open to innuendo and speculation as to how wide the spread between truth and lies has become.

It is a sad reflection on how great the fall has been.


Thanks for finding and posting this awful, yet crucial piece of news.

This effectively destroys of the main objections regularly argued by those who think the US would not allow Israel to strike Iran. With this development it can no longer be said that, "Oh, well the US controls Iraqi airspace and they would have to give them permission to use it, blah blah blah..."

My point is that rebasing goes way, way beyond allowing Israeli attack and refueling aircraft to merely cross Iraqi airspace on their way to hit Iran.

Meanwhile Kucinich's dogged pursuit of impeachment and an honest investigation of 9/11 are the only signs of REAL leadership within the Beltway black hole...

Another reason for an Israeli attack

More Olmert corruption surfaces.


I also noted that the last USN carrier was moved out of the Persian Gulf a few days ago. Firepower not needed and remove a high value target.


I've always thought it would be nuts to launch an attack with carriers in the gulf itself. They would definitely be moved out to sea beforehand. Bad karma this.

A few weeks ago I submitted a short reference to a post someone from the Camp Pendleton area put on the Housing Bubble Blog. She had been hearing a marked uptick in the ordnance testing at the proving grounds near where she lives (San Diego).

She also said that she would provide an update as to when she starts to hear the helicopters flying during the night because that’s her proven indicator that the boys are shipping out for some action.

In the last couple days she has posted that the helicopters have been flying continuously night and day recently…

This looks like Black Friday. Even the happy talk folks on CNBC seem to be losing it over the perfect storm of oil prices, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac. Oh, I wish I owned SKF today.

Oh, I wish I owned SKF today

*sigh* I had some until 2 days ago, when my "stops" triggered and the shares sold. I was thinking about buying it back yesterday, but it was up a few bucks, so I didn't pull the trigger. Oh, well. C'est la vie en le casino de Wall Street.

Me too. My stop triggered also, one day too early.

Right there with ya...bah! I bought it back...

These are terrifically difficult markets to trade.

Naw, the trading as as easy as it ever was. If you want to make a profit.....that becomes hard in a rigged game where you are not the mark.

I'm not really complaining (at least not much). My stop got me out right before SKF dropped 20 points on Monday, and I got back in almost at the low, right before it went up 14. When I moved the stop up to reflect the gain, I just put it a little too tight.

But, you're right: it is tough out there right now.

It's not worth risking a chunk of your capital just to get in a day trade. Dow slipped below 11,000.

I know there are black swans out there. I can almost see them through the thin fog...almost see them.

Black swans are the only kind there are any more. The world's upside down, and we're down under. It is the white swans I worry about. But then I don't really believe in the white swans of the Goldilocks economy.

Seeking the roots of collective cooperation

...diversity also plays an important role in what concerns the wealth distribution in populations, when one interprets their results in a more economically-oriented perspective. Their results suggest that cooperation blooms whenever the act of giving is more important than the amount given.

Some useful points, maybe, towards getting people to change their behaviours towards less destructive approaches. The Telegraph certainly thinks so with regard to climate change.


Is this turning into a doomers forum, or what? How about a bit of chin-up, here's some problem solving. C'mon...

Regards, Matt B

You first.

Daily, mankind adds 200,000 extra mouths-to-feed to the system. How about we start there? (In Oz, the "baby bonus" exceeds $6000 now. Scrap it! Too many people consuming too many things). How about restricting credit card limits to 2% of income (or something). Ban the sale of sub four-star appliances. Etc.

Oh, wait. Sorry, did you mean things that could actually get done?

Regards, Matt B
Perhaps someone needs to organise a PO rally

One good thing about all this is that US dependence on foreign oil is falling rather rapidly.

I'll have a couple of graphs a little later.

Key point: in order to keep imports flat, our consumption has to fall at the same volumetric rate that our domestic crude production declines.

Domestic production was down pretty significantly in the most recent TWIP. If that is a trend, things could get really ugly. I hope it is just a blip.

That's currently not a constraint. Consumption is actually falling significantly faster than declines in domestic production.

And thus imports are falling. (Not slowly either)

As I have previously said, it is a horserace between declining demand and falling net oil exports worldwide. The problem of course is that I don't expect to see a positive export response. We will probably see very brief periods of equilibrium, and then net exports fall again, requiring another price increase to balance supply & demand. All that has happened is that forced energy conservation has moved up the foodchain, from poor Third World consumers in prior years to some consumers in developed and developing countries this year.

And BTW, our model, recent case histories and the data table that you prepared show that net export decline rates tend to accelerate with time.

I just updated the Energy Export Databrowser to include the BP 2008 data on coal. As oil and gas get expensive it'll be important to keep tabs on import/export volumes of all three fossil fuels. In the databrowser you can see that all the European nations are well past peak coal and that the Chinese expansion is truly crazy!


Your databrowser is fantastic. Are you a fan of Edward Tufte or does it just come naturally?



Thanks so much for what I consider the highest possible compliment.

Here are some sources of inspiration for my work:

  • Edward Tufte!!!
  • NYT datagraphics (Tufte has consulted with them)
  • Donald Norman (Psychology of Everyday Things)
  • Richard Feynman (His papers can be beacons of simplicity in a world of complexity.)
  • Scott Mcloud (Understanding Comics)
  • the iPhone (My wife hates gadgets but loves her iPhone.)
  • My goal is to create "NYT quality datagraphics within an iPhone simple interface".

    I am deeply committed to removing the hurdles to working with the raw data. I find that people become much more engaged when they can explore the data themselves rather than being told what it says. That's why the databrowser doesn't have much commentary. You can put whatever spin on it you want. (But I hope the underlying message of unsustainability should come through on its own.)

    Happy exploring!

We've got about 4.2 billion gpy of ethanol coming online in the next year, or so. What's that? 274,ooo bpd?

That should keep us about even for a year, No?

Is that 4.2 billion gpy of ethanol production figure before or after the bankruptcies of those marginal distillers?

E. Swanson

Margins are "Real" tight for the corn ethanol industry, right now; but, unless the EPA cuts the mandates it will, probably, mostly work out. Some are restructuring debt, etc; but the price of corn is falling, and with it's lower price relative to gasoline demand should pick up a bit following the EPA ruling.

Kdolliso...'Some are restructuring debt, etc'...

They might have more luck with the 'etc' than debt restructuring. Going forward raising capital for marginal biz of any kind will be...ah, shall we say problamatic. If Sam pulls their subsidies they are dead meat.

Actually, it's the Mandates that are critical. The tax credit, basically, goes to the blenders/oil companies. Kind of a "bribe" to take the sting out of the mandates (and, loss of profit from their oil business.)

BUT, if the EPA cuts the Mandate in half you can kiss the American ethanol industry Goodbye for a long time. Regardless of how you feel about "corn" ethanol you need to realize that a halving of the mandates will also kill all investment in Cellulosic ethanol for the rest of your lifetime. Even Brazilian Cane ethanol would probably be stopped dead in it's tracks for at least a decade, or more.

Good. Cellulosic a crock, too.

I think Stuart is right! Switchgrass will Not be a big "Crop" in Iowa. Probably, not in Oklahoma, either. Tennessee, and South? Good chance. Better growing climate for switchgrass; not so much for corn.

Iowa will use corn cobs, and maybe some stover. Oklahoma, and Tx, probably more Sorghum. The East, and Northwest, forestry products. Landfills, Everywhere.

It won't scale up. There's less energy in cellulose, which means the EROEI is inherently poorer than for corn or sugar cane.

And it's still unsustainable, no matter what crop is used. The grain for the farmer, the straw for the land. We can get around that now because of petroleum-based fertilizers. I doubt we'll be able to continue that way forever, let alone scale up to produce fuel as well as food.

The best use for cellulose is probably to burn it locally for heat. They are already doing it in some parts of Europe. The thermodynamics are much better than converting it to ethanol, and the ash can be returned to the land to minimize nutrient loss.

Leanan, you only use the starch. All of the other "nutrients" are still available. As for "ash," everything is going to gassification, anyway. Produces the same ash.

You must guard against predicting the past. Even the present.

Yes, the "nutrients" are still available...but with the low EROEI, it won't be worth trucking the ash back where it came from. (This is also why harvesting weeds growing along the road or on the edge of fields won't work, either. Too diffuse.)

And people are misguided if they think cellulosic ethanol (Vinod, I'm talking to you) will relieve pressure on food crops.

As I point out in my primer,

Energy from biomass (biodiesel, ethanol, etc.) can't scale up, even if we were to put every acre of farm land under production. Making this strategy even worse, of course, is the impact on food prices of turning food into fuel.

We could move to cellulosic ethanol once the technology is perfected and advocates of that strategy say that the feedstock can be grown on marginal land, thus reducing pressure on food crops. However just because it can be grown on marginal land doesn't mean that it will be grown exclusively on marginal land.

It is fanciful to think that a farmer will not use his best land to grow the feedstock — he will do so even if that means taking food crops out of rotation. If the profit is there, he will use whatever land is available that will provide high yields so as to maximize his returns. That means that any kind of fuel that must be grown will be in competition with our food supply.

Growing our transportation fuels should be limited, not encouraged.

I believe Stuart Staniford has demonstrated this mathematically with a good post here on the topic.


The tax provisions under Title XV of the new farm bill call for a cellulosic tax credit of $1.01 per gallon through 2012. The existing tax credit on on corn-based ethanol would be reduced from the current rate of 51 cents per gallon to 45 cents per gallon, beginning in 2009. The existing tarrif of 54 cents per gallon on imported ethanol would be continued through 2010.

The above from The Land magazine July 11 2008 issue page 18 (I just got it in todays mail). It may not show up on the online site.

600,000 Tons of Wood Pellets for Europe.

Personally, I think this will end up being 50 Million Gallons of Ethanol for the U.S.

Switch grass and other biomass can be used to make pellets. Think of the alfalfa pellets used to feed animals, such as rabbits. Using perennial weeds would lessen the need for grinding. No need to harvest trees, as it is, pine, etc is said to make poor pellets compared to hardwoods. the pellets can be burned to fuel steam electric power plants

E. Swanson

And the soil fertility you are shipping off the land is returned to the land exactly how?

It's not. Which is exactly why hayfields that are over harvested lose their vitality shortly.

As I have previously said, it is a horserace between declining demand and falling net oil exports worldwide.

Agreed it make sense to characterize it like that on a global basis.

But in the US there is no real horse race at this point. Instead, falling demand is well ahead of the world net export decline and falling domestic production.

Which means less dependence on foreign oil.

As I have previously said, it is a horserace between declining demand and falling net oil exports worldwide.

Jeff, it is no race at all, it is all about cause and effect. Falling worldwide exports cause declining demand by causing higher prices.

Ron Patterson


There are two factors causing demand destruction. One is the high price of oil. If that were the only cause of demand destruction, I'd agree with you completely. The other factor is the economic crisis caused by the US credit bubble bursting.

Now, one can argue that some part of the credit bubble collapse was caused by high oil prices. However, we did have a bubble; it did pop; and much of the last 25 years of overstated economic growth is going to vaporize. I'm not sure to what extent that has kicked in yet (not much, to judge by the price of oil). However, when it does, I thihnk you'll get the race Jeff is talking about.

I would argue that a big piece of the bubble bursting was caused by the higher prices of oil and the flow through effect to food. It also didn't help that the economy wasn't growing as fast as it would otherwise have been, because world oil supplies flattened beginning in 2005. All of these things made it harder for people to pay back their debt.

Admittedly, the stupidity of the very low interest rates starting in 2001 did contribute to the mess, as did giving loans to people who had little prospect of paying them back.

I would say that rising oil prices was a big part of bursting the bubble. But the bubble started when oil prices were cheap (I suppose you could argue the too-low oil prices were part of the bubble's cause; it is very hard to extract energy from anything economic), and I think the bubble was going to burst eventually, no matter what. Ponzi schemes are not sustainable. Rising oil prices meant they ran out of the "pool of greater fools" sooner than they would have otherwise, but run out is something they were destined to do.

IMO, as I have talked about before, two principal types of demand destruction: (1) The family cuts back on energy consumption, because of high prices (but their gross income is okay) and (2) The family is forced to drastically cut back on their consumption, because of a massive reduction in income, with one or more breadwinners losing their job. (And of course there is a voluntary, e.g. ELP type, reduction in consumption.)

So, I think that oil prices are determined by the horserace between global declining demand and declining net oil exports, but for now--and I think for quite some time--declining net oil exports are "winning" the race, with oil prices going up at a rate of at least 1% every five days, since May, 2007.

Jeff and Shargash, you guys are missing one important factor. Demand destruction could very well be caused by a slump in the economy. However, and this is a very important point, demand destruction that is not caused by high prices and a drop in supply will automatically result in a drop in prices until there is enough demand to soak up all the supply.

The price the sole arbitrator between supply and demand. If demand drops, for any reason other than a drop in supply, then the price will drop until a happy medium is met again. Think about it, if the demand is down because people cannot afford to buy (unrelated to supply) then a glut would develop and prices would drop. Hell, there I go, repeating myself again. But the principle is just so damn basic, I fail to see how anyone can not understand it.

Ron Patterson

I think I get it Ron, and it sounds like we agree on the basic points. In my post I said "I'm not sure to what extent that has kicked in yet (not much, to judge by the price of oil)." What I was saying is that, because oil prices have not dropped, it means there cannot be much demand destruction yet from the economic downturn/collapse. There probably is some in the US (the economic mess started here), but it is being more than countered elsewhere in the world.

However, I still stand by my statement about the race. Going forward, the global economy is going down the tubes, at the same time that net energy available for purchase will be declining. Discounting the demand destruction caused by high prices (because it won't cause oil to go down in price), I think there is a race between depletion and economic collapse. If depletion wins, prices will rise until enough demand is destroyed to stabilize prices. If depression wins, then there could be (at least for a period) a surplus of oil on the market, causing oil to go down in price, though I suspect we are running a deep enough net energy deficit that it will take a larger economic downturn than most people expect to actually produce a surplus of oil.

I would also add that, if economic collapse wins and oil goes down in price, then some of the demand destruction will be undone. This will tend to support oil prices on the way down. Also, declining economic conditions, coupled with declining oil prices, will cause some supply destruction. These things will act as price supports for oil, which is another reason I don't think oil will decline as much as people think, even in a full-blown depression.

Just a thought to add in this thread.

Someone above mentioned that demand destruction in the U.S. would be more than picked up elsewhere. I rather thought that this may have been true some time ago. Not so sure now. Everywhere I look I see evidence of shortage, including China and India, the supposed benefactors of U.S. demand destruction.

There are power outages in Pakistan and China, the Chinese market is down what, 45% this year or so, demonstrations in India over prices and availability, the Shanghai market has all but crashed , the Filipinos are struggling, Niger riots, the list is unending. It's not much better in South America.

The only continent without some kind of riot or demonstration linked to high energy prices is North America. (Or did I miss one?)

Combine all this with the continued trend of new highs in the crude chart and confirmed at least 2% demand destruction here in the U.S. so far this year, and I come up with a problem.

Overall production just about has to have dipped somewhat in the last few months, but it isn't showing up in the numbers. My BS detector, while maybe not the best, is alarming steadily.

I think we are seeing some fudging of the numbers yet again. Naahhhh, say it ain't so, pulease...

The only continent without some kind of riot or demonstration linked to high energy prices is North America. (Or did I miss one?)


And a food "riot":

Antarctica and Australia ?


Hehe Eric, yea, that first is very amusing, and others have happened, mismarked price on station signs (ND was it?) caused people to call friends and line up to get 0.99 gas. Not calling those riots though, sheesh. The second was linked to flood victim claims.

Nice Alan, had me laughing with Antarctica.

Got me on that Australia. Maybe not though, we are getting a firsthand look at a developing problem in the aftermath of the fire that has caused a gas supply system shutdown. Power plants have cut waay back. Will have to keep an eye on that one, could be instructive. More than a little discontent going on down under it seems, a lot of discussion appearing, some in government even.

What's it going to take to get these jokers off their buttinskies?

Essentially oil has the global economy by the balls. any sign that the economy is going to take off will cause oil prices to shoot up and cause the economy to slow down.

These things will not happen instantaeously. It is likely that we will see 2-3 years of sluggish growth followed by 2-3 years of slow down and recession. The global economy will move in fits and starts. Some parts (Russia? Brazil?) might do better than others. The economy will "hunt" (to use the term from engine governors) around a steady state equilibrium. The equilibrium itself will follow a declining trend of lower real per capita GDP.

If the price of oil falls to $60 or 70 it will still be very expensive because per capita incomes would have fallen much more than oil would have fallen.

China is going to get hit very hard because cheap oil made that boom possible.

It is possible to run an autocratic government when times are good and you can show people that by giving up rights you get access to the "good" life or the Chinese version of the American dream. When times are not so good, it will be harder to sell that trade-off. Autocratic governments will not give up power that easily and I can't see a happy outcome of that struggle.


Demand in the US has dropped for any number of reason but the world wide demand has NOT dropped. This will soak up any excess supply and that is just one reason ordinary supply-demand econ doesn't work in face world finite supply (production limits).

And thus imports are falling. (Not slowly either)

You have it backwards Datamunger. Imports are not falling because consumption is falling. Imports are falling, causing prices to skyrocket, and this causes falling consumption. If imports were a million barrels per day higher, prices would be much cheaper and consumption would be much higher.

Imports are down all over the world because net exports are down from almost all exporting countries. This has caused high prices which has caused demand destruction...errr, I already said that didn't I?

Ron Patterson

Reporting from west LA...demand for gasoline has not changed significantly since last year. The 405 and 101 still become a parking lot several times a day. Surfers are still surfing. Mercedes are still cruising Sunset Blvd. Folks still flock to the Hollywood Bowl. Universal Studios was packed yesterday. I'm not seeing it out here. Gas will need to hit $6 to $7 a gallon for anything to change out here. These folks live a sheltered reality. There are a few more Pruis' and Smart cars (not that great mileage), but only saw a handful of scooters on side streets.

Hoping the airlines stay afloat until tomorrow morning so I can get back to KC and check on my garden. Tomatoes, corn, cucumbers, and watermelon should be popping out by now.

IMO $6 to $7 is light-$5.14 US a gallon and the roads are jammed in the Toronto area.

My son and a couple of friends just opened a new restaurant on Wilshire (South..plug). They were able to get financial backers. I told him it was a bad time to do something like this, but they were sick of their regular jobs. He says the business is doing great.

Wilshire is the most dense part of the city - it runs though Santa Monica, Beverly Hills and LA. It's the most New York like part of the cityscape. If the southland contracts in population it may still be a viable post peak part- now if they can only figure out mass transit..

The fall in US net imports since its their peak in 2006 can be calculated in at least 2 ways.

Both these methods show that American dependence on foreign oil has declined approx 6.5 to 7.5 per cent since its peak in mid 2006.

I'll submit a short article tomorrow to the editors on this since perhaps it deserves its own thread. There are all kinds of issues to analyze: ethanol, Katerina, Thunderhorse etc.

In the meantime, here's the EIA data source behind one of the methods:


Yes, it means less U.S. dependence on foreign oil, but it's also worth considering where that oil is coming from.

U.S. net imports (crude + petroleum products) in April 2008 were 1.085 mb/d lower than the same month last year. But look at the mix:

Net Imports Apr 2008 vs 2007 ('000 bpd)
  2008 2007 Diff
OPEC 6215 5961 +254
Non-OPEC 5283 6622 -1339
Total 11498 12583 -1085

Less foreign oil for the U.S., but a greater reliance on OPEC. Is that a good thing?

(I'm not so much talking of the cartel as a body here as the actual list of countries involved)

Less foreign oil for the U.S., but a greater reliance on OPEC. Is that a good thing?

Nope. But at the same time, many of those nations aren't unfriendly. (At least their governments)

But at the same time, many of those nations aren't unfriendly.

Agreed, but I don't think they can be considered as reliable (politically) and well-placed (geographically) as Mexico (-334,000 bpd), Norway (-61,000 bpd) and the U.K. (-188,000 bpd) for example.

Logically, for an economy like the U.S., the first 1 mbpd drop in demand is the least onerous. Each subsequent (involuntary) demand drop becomes economically and structurally more damaging, and with a greater proportion of oil imports in the hands of less-secure nations, the U.S. becomes strategically more vulnerable.

Not really arguing against you - your point about reduced imports is a good one IMO.

(edited last line due to potential misinterpretation)

Good news? I don't own nay shares in Fannie and Freddie Mae....:-)

Me neither, but if they collapse I've got to keep living in a country full of scared, desperate, heavily armed people.

Our cult of the gun is covertly about white supremacy, and overtly about private property, which for the masses comes down to their homes.

Our cult of the gun is covertly about white supremacy

What a crock! The only cult that exists is in your mind. Firearms ownership is about self reliance and personal protection and nothing else. In the extreme case, it is also about not being subservant to "well meaning"/power hungry groups whose only objective is to control everyone else. Alot of firearms owners are also veterans and don't care about race since they served with all different races under some pretty extreme circumstances.

You are right about the property rights though.

From everything I've seen gun ownership is also heavily about self-image and the image the owner wants to project to the world.

What are you from? You have me curious about this idea.

I've never known anyone from the shooting community that worried about self image or the one projected to the world. Not really something to brag about even though we tell hunting stories at the office. For me and just about everyone I know, its about tradition. Our fathers taught us to shoot/hunt etc and that was how we spent time together. Its also how we bond with children, same with groups such as BSA etc.

Common saying among hunters is "Hunt with your children today, or hunt for them tommorow". Basically its a good time to talk to your kids about everything without external stresses.

I'm from the UK, and I think you're fooling yourself if you think self-image and image projected to the world at large isn't at least as important as strict logic in many things people do. I wear smart casual clothes to work rather than a suit, largely because they're more comfortable but partly to convey the image that I'm where I am because of ability rather than through conforming to expected norms. It's not a dominant thought and I rarely think about it consciously, but it's there. When you're sharing hunting stories in the office you're (I'd strongly suspect) partly communicating that you're the kind of reliable good-ol-boy who fits in with the outdoorsman idea, particularly to those of your colleagues who are into this idea themselves. Even the adherence to tradition has a component about identity: there's no law that you have to keep a tradition alive, but doing this is part of an identity of being someone with the pride and reliability to keep a tradition alive, in the same way a rebel has their a different self-identity component to their actions.

I'm not weighing on either side of the gun debate in this post but just pointing out that I don't buy your claim that gun ownership is purely a logical decision but I think a very strong element (from some of the Americans I've met and chatted to about the issue).


We brought blacks to this country as a property right. We took this continent away from Indians. Without guns we couldn't have done any of it. Every "self-reliant" pioneer made a living off his stolen land and (especially below Pennsylvania) often slaves because he had a gun to the heads of those violated peoples. We love that which gives us goodies.

The proof will come when blacks and Hispanics must form militias to defend against the white militias that will be gunning for them, and the NRA freaks out. I haven't heard a single "Patriot" complain about the US' hilarious aborted effort to enforce gun control in Iraq. I haven't even heard one of them point out that their own icon of the militiaman standing against an unrepresentative government is currently best reflected by the Mahdi Army fighting the US. Or that the chaos of multiple competing ethnic militias in Iraq (and ex-Yugoslavia, and Somalia) is an inevitable drawback of returning the US to a militia model. In other words, it's different when the Minuteman stands against the American empire and ideology, because only an inferior n*gger would want to do so and you know those people are stupid and undisciplined.

So when energy collapse comes, the only good militias will be white militias. Blacks and browns, back into chains, doing the heavy lifting for a "self-reliant" white Christian pioneer with a gun to their heads.

Now I personally would love to see the neo-Black Panthers beat the neo-KKK in the ruins of our society. I will work towards that end during the brief years that I will have available. I've been researching the means to do so for fifteen years, and I guarantee you that inner-city non-whites can build low-tech weapons that no rifle can stop. As Lincoln said, "If every drop of blood drawn by the lash is matched with one drawn by the sword, the judgments of the Lord are just in their entire." I will close the American book on that.

"We brought blacks to this country as a property right." Without a doubt one of the most shameful acts ever commited by this country, however slavery is a very old institution and America is far from being the only one. Perhaps you should be upset with those who did the selling, not the buying. EVERYONE's ancestors somewhere owned a slave at one time and was one, doesn't matter which race or country. It was really common before FF. Be grateful for freedom and be willing to die for it if necessary.

"Without guns we couldn't have done any of it."
I imagine most of the Native Americans at the time or now would be very insulted if you called them defenseless. They fought against us as men and died as such, that's all anyone deserves in the end is a good death either defending your home or of old age.

"The proof will come when blacks and Hispanics must form militias to defend against the white militias that will be gunning for them,"
I certainly hope not, my wife is Mexican and I certainly wouldn't want to have to shoot someone over something as silly as her color. She's a good shot and would be able to hold her own in that situation though.

"So when energy collapse comes, the only good militias will be white militias. Blacks and browns, back into chains, doing the heavy lifting for a "self-reliant" white Christian pioneer with a gun to their heads." I seriously doubt the states will break apart by race, IMHO culture is much more likely. See the above comment about my "brown" wife. Where do you get this crap?

"Now I personally would love to see the neo-Black Panthers beat the neo-KKK in the ruins of our society. I will work towards that end during the brief years that I will have available. I've been researching the means to do so for fifteen years, and I guarantee you that inner-city non-whites can build low-tech weapons that no rifle can stop."

I don't care what inner city nonwhites can do, I'm only worried about what I can do. All in all, you sound like a pretty racist piece of work Super. And to think Obama had the nerve to call gun owners bitter. Get help while its still available.

I won't be headed to the inner city, and I hope it doesn't bother trying to head for my place either. If so, though, I'll be here chillin' in my 'hood with my FAMILY (my children, their ONE baby-mama who is also my wife, and a few other relatives), taking care of me and mine like I always have. What's the bumper-sticker say, "Ain't skeered"?

How does a guy expect to have time looking for the neo-KKK in such a scenario? Once the welfare-state evaporates (which won't be long after the bonds go bad), I suspect he'll be busy enough dealing with his immediate neighbors and looking for food.

You've perfectly described the conditions under which the original KKK formed. It was easier for our ancestors (in my case my white ancestors from KKK-birthplace Tennessee) to rebuild their social order and solidarity by their shared love of terrorizing blacks than by anything positive. You'll see. They thought it couldn't happen in Yugoslavia, Rwanda, Indonesia, Lebanon, etc, etc, etc.

I find it fascinating, by the way, how every defender of Christian civilization on the Internet reacts the same way to my remarks about whites wanting to re-enslave blacks.

a. They yelp that slavery is ancient and common, racism aside.

b. They deny that in any way they are racist

c. Then say that they have no intention to go near those stupid, violent, smelly, jive-talking animals and only are interested in self-defense. (Hint: because those N*ggers will all starve without our superior redneck intellects anyway.)

This reminds me of a story from a black American GI (yes, just as much an American GI as anyone on Omaha Beach) who was captured by Confederates at Fort Pillow, shot and left for dead, like most of the blacks in the garrison (but not the whites). He said a cavalryman told him to hold his horse, like a master would a slave. Then the Southerner shot him, and said "I will shoot you, and hold my horse too."

In other words, if you won't serve us, fine, we will exterminate you.

That is what dieoff will be like.

souper390 you are missing a very important point. Just prior to the civil war (boy, what an oxymoron) slaves represented more than all the other capital of the US combined. After the civil war, when the slaves had been freed, the plantations were no longer a viable economic model. Solution? The era of 'Jim Crow' laws, pressing former slaves into a new slavery by charging them with the phoniest of charges, ie, vagrancy, unable to prove employment, etc, and extending their sentences with new charges. Rinse and repeat. Millions of former slaves found themselves working on plantations, factories, mines (US Steel, Birmingham, Al) etc. Maybe things were different in Tenn but the deep south had the above model. The pay of county clerks, judges, sheriffs, etc, came directly from the former slaves being pressed into 'employment' as convicted criminals.

This 'new form of slavery' did not end untill the coming of FF powered mechanical cotton pickers and other farm machinery and more automation in factories. Some historians say it ended after WW2. I say it ended during the term of LBJ. I was there, I know. The greatest mass movement of people that ever occured in the US was caused by FF powered farm machinery introduction to the south. Blacks and whites that had been share croppers were thrown off leased land that was then converted to the original vast farms that had existed before the civil war. The displaced blacks and whites moved in vast waves to Detroit, Chicago and to a lesser extent to NY and Cal for employment in the big factories. Only a fraction of the help was needed on the plantations with new mechanical equipment.

I would like for someone to write a politically incorrect history of the 'cotton south' from 1820 to 1960. That era was a lot more complex than portrayed in most current histories.

Slavery will just come in a different disguise... it's already here in the prison population. The US imprisons more people than any country. It will get worse.

If our beloved ancestors got away with slavery before, why not try again when industry dies out? Race allowed a more brutal form of slavery than the Romans had practiced, with a higher rate of profit, because race made it more absolute. Britain would never have developed its New World colonies without using slavery in the West Indies; it was all a for-profit corporate venture and sugar was the big profit then. By the time the US became independent, half the country was dependent on a slave economy. So it is fair to say there would be no United States without slavery, and that it had to be racially-based to be acceptable. Every day I see white conservatives express a nostalgia for some inseparable part of that system of laws, morals, faith and myth. Oh yeah, their superior "culture".

I didn't call the Indians defenseless. I called them outgunned by white Christian land thieves spouting 9/10ths of the current GOP platform.

I am not a racist. I am a person of mixed race (neither is black) who is extremely offended that these war criminals should justify their racist conquest on the grounds that they were bringing progress and prosperity with their system of growth economics. Yet when their descendants had exhausted the planet and brought about peak oil and global warming (now) and finally returned the world to a dark age (soon), some descendants will hoist their Stars & Bars and crosses, and plot to create a no-growth economy based on some feudal patriarchy, almost certainly with the intent to use their superior firepower to re-enslave the descendants of those past victims. And, God help us, those will inevitably the ones who are best prepared for collapse. Instead I will take my chances with anyone who dares to stand against them, if only to write a final chapter of human history in which the bad guys finally lost. That is the justice Lincoln was talking about.

souper390...The West Indies and the Colonies of America were peanuts compared to the 'crown in the jewel of the British Empire', India. Of course this didn't happen till a bit later...1858-1947, but in truth it began prior to 1858.

In India an entire nation was pressed into slavery, with the help of regional Rajs, Brit East India Co, and some Brit troops training and controlling vast numbers of Indian troops. As usual empire collapsed under it's own weight...with some help from a very brave, intelligent, and persistent Ghandi and friends...From Wiki:

'The system of governance was instituted in 1858, when the rule of the British East India Company was transferred to the Crown in the person of Queen Victoria (and who, in 1876, was proclaimed Empress of India), and lasted until 1947, when the British Indian Empire was partitioned into two sovereign dominion states, the Union of India (later the Republic of India) and the Dominion of Pakistan (later the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and the People's Republic of Bangladesh).'


Wow, what a completely stereotypical spew of utter irrational vomit.

The funny thing is, Blacks weren't valuable. You could buy a black from off Nigeria for 50$. They were only worth 1000$ in America because we had nontariff barriers (the US constitution) that prohibited importing more.
If the Constitution had not prohibited getting indentured servants from Europe like before the Revolution, we would have never had slaves worth as much as that. Too many hungry Europeans willing to indenture themselves for the seven years to get to America during the Napoleonic Wars and after would have trashed the economics of slavery.

Personally I've been short both Fannie and Freddie for awhile now, I'm short all the major financials, (thanks to Jim Rogers and Martin Weiss). Rather than just investing in commodities like gold or oil I like to hedge every long position I have with a short position (e.g. Long gold short equities as advised by Dennis Gartman).

This gives me some protection against deflation. Of course Gold/Oil will correct, it's a question of when not if. But the US dollar is looking dangerously weak. Closed pretty much at the low on Friday. Maybe the ECB interest rate hike will cause the US dollar index to fall below 70 this month, maybe the dollar decline is about to accelerate.

Another thing I'm watching is the Gold/Oil ratio. On a historic basis oil is expensive compared to gold right now (chart here http://vixandmore.blogspot.com/2008/05/gold-vs-oil.html). If oil continues to outperform gold that would indicate to me that we really have already hit peak oil (but not peak gold).


Yesterday I picked 3 beautiful zuccini squashes from my garden. It is the first thing I've ever harvested that I grew myself. I'm going to eat them tonight for dinner, and they are going to be wonderful. My melon plants are climing everything in sight and are full of flowers. The wild raspberry bushes out back are fuller than I've ever seen them. One of my strawberry seeds actually germinated and is doing fine (I thought I'd lost them all). And I'm going to have more tomatoes than I know what to do with. I've learned a huge amount about gardening this year. Next year will be bigger and better still.

I purchased a DC chest freezer that runs on about 0.5 KWH/day. We just finished the work on our geothermal heat pump. I'm in the late stages of contracting for a solar hot water heater; it should be in by the end of August. I still have my job.

If the world weren't going to hell in a handbasket, I'd be feeling really good about life. If my wife & I hadn't done the things we've done to prepare ourselves, I'd be feeling really crappy.

Like peas in a pod: Richard Rainwater, Matt Simmons & Shargash (all developing/maintaining their ability to grow their own food). You are in good company.

I find this trend fascinating besides worrisome. Makes me wonder how many rich people are considering it more important to cash out their shares in NPK stocks, then rush down to their Home Depot to load up a wheelbarrow [one per family member] with I-NPK & O-NPK plus seeds and gardening tools.

Also, a brief repost on why half the population may starve:


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

Why is it worrisome? And why would rich people have to cash out anything to buy wheelbarrows, seeds, and gardening tools. They're rich, after all. It is only the poor who would have to liquidate assets to be able to afford stuff like that.

I did buy some 10-10-10 commercial fertilizer at the beginning of the summer. However, I have no intentions of using it unless I get desperate. I believe (admittedly based on very little direct experience) that I can get by without it by using organic gardening techniques and making my own compost. As for nitrogen, that's what the beans are for. :)

Hello Shargash,

Thxs for responding.

No big deal, we are just differing our discussion in relative scales.

I doubt if Richard Rainwater or Matt Simmons had the ready cash to buy their lifeboat farms. They probably had to sell some kind of paper-stock investment earlier to later buy this real-asset property.

But, I agree, they probably had the ready cash to buy the smaller quantities of tools and goods they needed to ramp up their survival efforts.

BTW, Kudos on your O-gardening efforts and buying some I-NPK for a later emergency. I love to read about biosolar success stories!

The last estimate was that Rainwater was worth somewhere north of $2.5 billion.

Also, a brief repost on why half the population may starve:

Bob, I answered your post, but it is buried in that thread. Here it is again:

I am very familiar with rhodium. It is used in the chemical industry to produce butyraldehyde, which is then converted to butanol. One of my key jobs when I was a process engineer in a butanol unit was to eliminate rhodium losses in the unit.

However, you can produce nitrogen fertilizers without rhodium. Ammonia is produced via the Haber process and doesn't require rhodium. And while ammonium nitrate is a great fertilizer, other ammonium compounds will work. You can even add ammonia directly to the ground, but you lose some to evaporation.

Big Thxs for your reply, R-squared!

Due to my lack of Rhodium expertise: I couldn't figure out if the author was merely talking up his trading book, or really revealing some truly bad news.

Our squash just coming in too. Yellow squash and zuccini. Good fried in olive oil, or dusted in flour and egg. To put them up, boil into a mush-like consistency and freeze. This is the best way to maintain flavor we have found. They will last the entire year.

Thanks again for a friendly and detailed reply, shargash.

Though I still retain a foot in MS (I particularly LOVE my home cinema!), I am beginning to prepare for the "neighbours and pitch-forks" (the imagination wanders a bit)...

Already work from home - have for ten years. Passed the motorbike test course last week - thinking scooter and back streets to start with. Have been investigating the structural complexities of covering the front roof-space (60sm, flat) with a vegi patch - not to keen on ripping up the existing landscaping just yet. And most importantly, feeding the kids a few details here and there, asking them questions - the wife switches off, for the most part.

Regards, Matt B
Looking forward to a slower life with solar-powered golf-carts and bikes. And hoping the transition isn't too unpleasant.

A few days ago someone in the Drumbeat mentioned that prices would go down on Monday, be flat on Tuesday... react to inventories on Wednesday, get scared on Thursday and set a new record on Friday.

Whoever that was... *high five* :+)


I have this Monty Python type feeling in my belly today.

I believe that it was mcgowanmc.

If so, maybe mcgowanmc will give us his prognosis for next week. It was just a few days ago that CNBC was talking about the oil "bubble". Pretty funny.

I think the prognosis for next week, and all weeks thereafter, was "rinse, wash, repeat".

This is all too much like watching a slow-moving train wreck out the office window. Very hard to focus on "the tasks at hand" (i.e. what my employer pays me to do). I like the idea of taking a long walk on a beach...

Thank you both.

I live to serve.

Mac, you are the seer of TOD...nah, that is not a fitting title. How about swami? or, The one that kicks butt at Delphi...The Oracle!

Which ever title you choose, great call.

That was maybe the most Amazing Call I've seen in my lifetime. A three-ball combination, bank shot masse with a broomstick. Wow.

Through the window, off the billboard, over the tree, nothin' but NET!!!

Early this morning I was thinking about posting a comment on this in the tail of yesterdays DB. Looks like you nailed it man!

Alan from the islands

I like the way you space your posts.

Arkansaw of Samuel L Clemens

I guess if you live alone in a log cabin somewhere, this is very funny. But I do have kids, and my gut hurts.

Hey, if it wasn't for my kids, I'd hardly have reason to smile at all!

Gotta look on the Briiiigght side of Life... *whistles*

Seem like lately Fridays end high, is that a common trend?

I don't know who it was either, but I saved the wise sage's words for prosperity:

The shakeout happens on Monday.
Tuesday afternoon inventory gets talked about.
Wed inventory two of the five categories miss.
Oil drops in the AM, rallys at the close.
Thursday rally sets record.
Friday holds gains.
Rinse. Wash. Repeat.

Must be some noise in the system..... your quoted version of the prognosis differs in one important detail from mcgowanmc's upthread..;..
On the basis of having understood that Thursday would be "rally day", I cleaned out my portfolio yesterday and am watching with a kind of morbid fascination today.

keep the good ( albeit noisy ) advice coming .....

I think the price dropped partially due to the G8 meeting early in the week, with refiners not buying much for a couple of days. The world leaders need to give the impression they are not impotent (as it relates to oil prices). WTI fell Wednesday even with a 5 million barrel drawdown. Refiners then had to catch up purchases after their "boycott" - hence the $10+ rally. ~10% corrections seem to be a good rule of thumb. I think we will see that trend again, and it will be another good buying opportunity. The wildcard is an SPR release before the election.

I finally figured it out.

John1.5 is a computer program designed by SuperG and Prof G to represent all of the ignorant, mis-informed, biased, wishful thinking of the general public so that it may all be explained (shot down) as frequently as it comes up.

Cleaver you guys. Clap clap clap

A downgrade from Johnny 5 maybe?

Ahem. That is a personal attack that is inappropriate for this forum.

Near as I can tell, he is optimistic that we can find a way to continue business Post-Oil. Not BAU, but business nonetheless.

The end of growth does not guarantee complete collapse. Heck, one of these wild ideas might even come out bigger than expected and leave us better off than we are now in all respects. Low odds on that happening (<<1%) but I've been surprised before by longer odds.

Now quit this herd doomer crap and start thinking again.

If you will THINK about my comment you will see that I am pointing out the positive wrt some of the trolling here as I have recently done in the past.

The negative is when people choose not to research before commenting or choose not to learn anything from the massive amount of solid research presented here.

Now back to doomer round-up Yeeeeeeee Hawwwwww

That's pretty funny, "Superman" behaving like an ape and throwing feces at the outsiders.

A reminder that we have barely evolved from chimps. No applause, just a long sigh.

It's SOUperman if you were addressing me.

A troll calling a troll?

I will take this opportunity to vent a titch.

You, bob cuz, sit up on your million dollar hill top with solar pv and drive your prius to the market and believe that PO is no big deal. Everyone just needs to do as you have done.

You are so clueless to reality that I just skip your posts thank you very much.

Actually, I tend to agree mostly with John15. He illustrates the holes in the group-think prevalent here on TOD. You can tell because everyone jumps on him confident that the others will "back them up."

groupthink, riiiiiight....

could you please point out ONE cornocopian "we're saved" technology John15 has linked to that has panned out?

like all the thin film pv that is rolling off the presses?

Chevy Volt is going to save us?

John throws every little announcement he finds at us like it solves the problems - and then you go back to the news reports and you realize that combined with the financial disaster overtaking us, peak oil and climate change are a LOT bigger than a small efficiency gain in an exotic-materials battery

but keep on believing if you like....it must be comforting

could you please point out ONE cornocopian "we're saved" technology John15 has linked to that has panned out?

That isn't my problem with john15. I don't go looking for little nuggets of info like he posts and, even if they are frequently just press releases, I like to see what possibilities exist out there. It helps me judge the probability that there are some techno fixes in the pipleline that might help cushion the shock of peak oil. Based on what he & TAD & others post, I'd say the probability is very low. Sometimes what they post does more to depress me than reading all the bad news out there.

While I lean towards being a doomer, the idea of peak oil is only a small part of it. My natural pessimism combined with studies of history, politics, and current events provide a variety of reasons for my own ideas. I supported the idea of a bumpy plateau years ago and that's how it seems to be playing out. I don't agree that it's due entirely to below ground factors, I think it's a combination of what is now being called ELM and geopolitical tactics.

With that said, there is a conflicting part of my beliefs that makes me want to say that we shouldn't automatically discount everything good. No it won't be BAU. Yes we will hold on till the last second to maintain the unmanageable structures we currently have. However, I see a bright future, but we might pave the way to it by walking through hell. This may be the price we pay for not evolving a higher social consciousness and instead acting more like animals than logical creatures. If we don't evolve significantly, we'll never get out of the solar system or survive as a species. Peak oil is just a blip in history compared to the things we will probably have to face in the future. Evolution will either lead us down a good path or to extinction and we will get nothing less than what we deserve.

Those who see only the problems and eschew all the potential solutions (TEOTWAWKIans) are just as bad of an evolutionary dead end as those who focus on maintaining the status quo at all costs.

What a strange, sad world you must live in, if you can only imagine that someone would disagree with a poster if someone else will "back them up". And how bizarre that you would believe that because a group of people agree on something, that it constitutes "group think".

John gets lots of negative comments because his comments scream, demand, beg some kind of response. It is asking too much self restraint to argue that people shouldn't refute his ideas. He just filters everything through the magic market filter and out comes another comment that must be refuted. People cannot help it if they find him annoying. This has nothing to do with group think. It has to do with individuals who feel the need to set the record straight.

Everyone jumps on him because he is most often blatantly wrong, to the point of being silly.

When he points out a "hole" in the "group-think" here (which does not exist anyway), let me know. So far he has not done so.

John is a childish little kid poking at everyone, nothing more. He provides nothing, defends nothing, supports nothing. He's a troll. Some are just deluded or not realistic. He's a troll. He has an agenda. There is nothing in his posts that indicate he is listening or learning. He only attacks sarcastically and stupidly.


This isn't a public place. He has no free speech rights. Given he is rude and disrespectful on a daily basis, I wish he would get banned. He serves no purpose here.


> He serves no purpose here

Not so! Every comedy team needs a straight man; every protagonist needs a foil; there can be no light without dark. I welcome his comments as comic relief.

Flooding Aftermath

"There is a lot of stress on farmers right now," stated David Fischer with the UW Extension in Dane County. He says the next few months will be vital.

Earlier this spring, farmers spent about $4.25 to plant a bushel of corn. With the average corn loss of thirty percent, that number has jumped to about $6.00. Right now a bushel of corn sells for $7.00. If that price falls before the harvest, the losses will be much greater.

Added Fischer, "A lot of farmers that have 20 to 30 years on the farm are now looking at 50 to 60 percent of their income potentially lost for this year and they don't know if they will be able to cover the bills and still farm next year."

Stop Exporting Grains

You might want to take that Particular Article with a small grain of salt. While it's true that some individual farmers got hammered, it's looking like overall yields, barring a bad heat-wave, might not be too bad. Corn has fallen about $1.00/bu off it's highs.


"Advancing Sustainability in the Oil and Gas Industry"


World Petroleum Congress
Madrid, Spain
Jul 2nd, 2008

Helge Lund, President and CEO of StatoilHydro, and Francis Saville, Chairman of the Board at Nexen Inc., participate in a discussion of developing sustainable practices in their respective companies.

William Hogan, Professor of Global Energy Policy, Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University moderates.

Also and even better message;

"Accessing Oil Reserves and Investing in Infrastructure"


World Petroleum Congress
Madrid, Spain
Jul 3rd, 2008

Industry leaders debate at the 19th WPC. With many of the remaining resources located in inhospitable areas or far below the sea floor, access to new reserves is becoming increasingly difficult and cost intensive.

The IEA estimates that meeting global energy demands will require investing $1 trillion by 2030.

Discussants include executive vice president of Chevron Corporation John S. Watson and Petrobras' CEO Jose Sergio Gabrielli de Azevedo. The high level session is chaired by H.E. Shri M. S. Srinivasan, Secretary of the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, India.

I am not sure it is a good thing to leave zombies sitting in the corners. This is much akin to Japan's long stagnation, where they would not (could not, culturally?) let businesses fail, and thereby left money flows in gridlock for a decade.

A venture capitalist hates zombies, and will shoot them in the head rather than waiting to see if they "get better". Parking them in the corner keeps their diseased investments festering inside, and the overall malaise will be longer and more profound. It would be messy, but in the long term it is probably better to write down all the losses, punish the stupid and risky and reward the savvy and prudent with fire sale values, and then get back to growth.

I think we need at least three things to happen:
1) Massive write-downs and associated failures of mortgage banks, investment banks, and funds, plus clearing of personal bankruptcies and foreclosures. Really doing the latter is the instrument for forcing the former.
2) Regulation change to keep leveraged investing off the public books, and in the hands of private investors. In investing, there can be no law against hanging yourself, but you shouldn't be able to hang the taxpayer. A 100% mortgage is just highly leveraged investing at the individual level....
3) Long-term focus with immediate initiatives on a non-oil energy basis with a presumption of long-term market stasis. We need our cheap energy, and it's ridiculous to assume otherwise or to assume oil will continue to provide it. Even then we need to plan for population leveling and flat or very slow standard of living growth in the US. The status quo of cheap oil and continuing growth is simply delusional.

The way we're headed will likely see some 'really bad' days of 200-500 DOW losses, but it doesn't much matter how we get to 50% down (or whatever the number is, it's big), I think we still need to erase the "oil premium" that is built into the forward-looking growth assumptions that have determined asset valuations before growth can recur.

I fear our entire economy is a zombie right now, and you really can't blame the gov't for not wanting to shoot itself in the head. But somebody needs to?

punish the stupid and risky

Alas, that is not in the cards.

then get back to growth.

Ok. Now this 'growth' thing you speak of.

Show growth as a function of increased energy cost VS historical numbers, inflation of the money supply and just for yucks end with ever larger government overspending.

"Growth" can probably only happen once the gov't balances the books, else we'll continue in this internal erosion caused by devaluation.

Growth will also require cheap(er) energy, but is relative to how deep the bottom falls. Say, for example, the market drops 75% but the actual shortage of energy is only oil with is 25% of the economy, and we work around as best we can while coal and gas last for awhile. With 2/3 of the current energy profile maybe there would be room for modest growth from such a low starting point. With renewables coming in ever-cheaper, more growth could occur after that. But that presumes a 75% drop instead the current 20%, so things have to go from bad to much worse first.

I'll noodle for a while and come up with a more convincing scenario.

As to punishment, every market delivers come-uppance eventually. Investors today are hoping the tax-payers take the hit, but somebody will eat it. Eventually the gov't will have to capitulate, though that may require defaulting on debt and canceling social security and medicare/medicaid as well as cutting the bureaucracy to match the overall decimation.

Again I'll think some more, but in general I think the budget is "always" balanced in the end, and we will lose in equity what we borrowed based on future growth projections that currently false, with an energy value correction as well for existing assets of all sorts. In the end you would think that assets that include embodied energy expenditures (buildings, dams, etc.) would retain or rise in value, while those that rely on oil-based energy usage (air travel companies) will collapse expeditiously.

I think deflation will be the real problem...

Deflation May Return to World Economy, Say SocGen, Deutsche

(Bloomberg) -- Societe Generale SA's Albert Edwards, who predicted the Asian currency crisis a decade ago, is warning central bankers that deflation may soon overtake surging prices as the biggest risk to the world economy.

``Inflation fears are overdone and the deflation threat could reappear, prompted by a global recession and collapse in the commodity bubble,'' London-based Edwards, 47, said in an interview. He has been ranked Europe's top global strategist for the last seven years by the Thomson Extel survey of investors.

Leanan, from your post a couple of days ago...deflation is outpacing inflation in dollars at a pace of 14 to 1. As more debt is defaulted on, the 14 will rise, the 1 will stay the same. We are seeing some inflation now but it will be steamrolled by deflationary pressure...coming to a location near all of us soon.

What happened to the "helicopter Ben" theory.

I agree that deflation is the immediate threat but I would be really surprised if the fed didn't try to mitigate the problem.

In the 30's the government just let deflation happen. I think they've learned their lesson.

Could someone please explain to me what is wrong with my thinking?

The Fed has already announced that Fannie Mae can come to the discount window. That seems like a start down the road to perdition. Is there some point at which this doesn't work anymore.

Is there some point at which this doesn't work anymore.

I was wondering that myself. The Fed handouts so far have been "sterilized". Yes, they are taking dodgy collateral, and yes they have been giving out money to some of the most corrupt people on the planet. However, they've been very careful to keep both sides of the Fed's ledger balanced.

In doing that, they've consumed about half the Fed's assets. It sounds like F&F are going to need 75 billion for starters, with maybe more later. What assets do they have to give the Fed as collateral? I'd bet money it will be the worst loans on their books, which the Fed will pretend are AAA. And where does that leave the Fed's balance sheet? What if they need to intervene on behalf of the banks again (a near certainty, IMO)?

What happens if the Fed runs out of money? That's when things get interesting. It hasn't happened yet, but I'll bet F&F put a strain on what the Fed has left.

I don't think Helicopter Ben has enough helicopters. And peak oil means fuel for said helicopters will be pretty scarce. ;-)

I don't mean that literally, of course. But I think there's a limit to how much they can inflate the money supply. We are dependent on debt, and we can't afford to tick off our creditors too much. What will we use to buy oil with, if the dollar is worth more as toilet paper than as currency?

And it will be very difficult to offset the effects of an economic crash just by printing more money. Just lowering interest rates won't be enough to get banks to give people mortgages and other credit.

leanan ,

'We are dependent on debt, and we can't afford to tick off our creditors too much. '

my guess is china already is looking to unload dollars at a faster rate & will wait for the limelight of the summer games to increase such.

Jim Rogers: The Dollar is Doomed and the Fed's Days are Numbered [video]


per JIm ; " you write this down & quote me";

"it [the Fed] is so bad the american central bank will disappear in the next decade, or two" .

so leanan u think ben just stops printing when actually he can do, i think 'pure printing'.u think he changes he mode of operating? as i said below i think it[the printing w/o creditors] just won't last long at all; then global currency crisis.

one thing that concerns me is that the more BAU isn't working the increased likelihood of a shooting war.

i think u leanan are saying eventually more money will be destroyed than ben can get into the economy.


if u see this or anyone else ;

i think we need a primer post on how all this works. shargash
has good details also. i know not primarily energy, but it will possibily bury the energy supply issue if significant deflation occurs. anyway thanks.

i'll be checking autonmatic earth- again too.

in the computer age of instant [or very nearly] money printing & transfers of $'s i think the fed will give bigger & bigger [& quicker] loans & outright handouts[stimulus packages]; until the dollar falls [off a cliff] & then the Fed covering this briefly buying/printing to cover our own debt for a brief period driving us into a hyperinflationary depression with probable financial collapse ,not a 30's style deflation.

in 24 hours the fed can put in most of our accounts $_____ & i believe helicopter ben has /is committed to this direction & will do such until it all locks up.

that does not look like deflation to me {or kohesion}... but if there is a hole in my thinking please point out the hole & i'll carefully study further as it matters!

Experts on invertebrates have expressed "profound shock" over a government report showing a decline in zooplankton of more than 70% since the 1960s

In his letter, seen by the BBC Scotland news website, Mr Shardlow said: "The disappearance of butterflies, moth, bees, riverflies and other small animals is an environmental tragedy.

"But, despite this experience, we were profoundly shocked to read that zooplankton abundance has declined by about 73% since 1960 and about 50% since 1990.

"This is a biodiversity disaster of enormous proportions."

I hope this isn't happening globally.

This is truly shocking! A disaster of biblical proportions! Almost three fourths of the ocean's basic feedstock disappeared since 1960. This affects virtually everything that lives in the sea! Not just baleen whales and manta rays, who feed on zooplankton exclusively, but virtually all fish at the bottom of the food chain rely on zooplankton for their food supply. If there is no food for these tiny fishes then there will be no food for the fish that feed on them and all the way up the food chain.

Also going are many insects that are extremely important for balance of nature. The bottom of the land food chain is starting to disappear as well.

The world's ecosystem is collapsing and no one is paying any attention. Things are a lot worse than I had ever imagined. This cancer of humanity is killing the earth.

I hope this isn't happening globally.

The oceans ARE global. Nothing in the report indicated that this was a local phenomena.

Ron Patterson

This cancer of humanity is killing the earth

Like I said before (for which Alan starts frothing at the mouth naming me demonspawn and evil): the planet is better off without us humans. Bring it on Middle east!!! lets get this extinction over and done with:-).

[my humour may be in bad taste right now]


The human dieoff is inevitable, actually in progress, it just hasn't picked up speed yet.(see Leanan's Pakistan story above)

The plankton dieoff was the big secret in Soylent Green.(Which was why they were making Soylent Green out of people. OK, that was a bigger secret.)

Will we make it 7 billion before the population crashes? Time for a poll?

Ron, I don't know about the ocean's feedstock but it is hard to find a mosquito here in my neighborhood in Central Florida East Coast. In the last 2-3 years the dragonflys have all but disappeared, many types of bees are gone, same with lightnin' bugs, no-see-ums, etc. The only bugs that seem to be increasing are ant varities. Even the large cockroaches, around here known as Palmetto Bugs (to keep from frightening tourists and potential retirees), have almost disappeared.

10-30 years ago my wife and I walked into the yard, swatting pesky bugs as we went, to watch the sunset as we still do. Hardly a swat is needed now.

Tons of azeleas and other flowering plants that bloom for long stetches here were covered with bees, butterflys, etc. On my almost daily walks I don't see them any more. Gone. This is the second summer in a row that I have failed to see a single honey bee.

I think it's a bad omen when one can't find a mosquito or a coack roach in my little corner of Florida...especially when a river and adjoining marsh are across the street.

but it is hard to find a mosquito here in my neighborhood in Central Florida East Coast.

That is because they are all in Raleigh, NC for a convention this year. I have NEVER seen anything like the mosquitoes this summer. They are everywhere - in the car, in the house, and especially in my garden. Anything but DEET is pretty much useless against these guys.


Easter Islander...It will only be moments untill someone siezes upon your post as more proof of global warming! Even the damn mosquitoes are moving north!!!... They will rant.

Though I am not fond of mosquitos I grudgingly admit that it is nice to know that they are alive and well somewhere...and, I am glad it isn't my yard.

The mosquitoes are in Raleigh on their way to New York State. NY is featuring a free for all buffet now that the bats are gone.


Have you had a lot of rain? Usually standing water is needed to breed the buggers.

Yes, we finally got a fair amount of rain. We have been in a severe drought for almost two years now. I believe that mosquito larva can survive dry conditions and then hatch after it rains. This may explain the abundance of the vermin this year. Two years of accumulation just waiting until the drought ended.

Do they spray a lot in your area?

River et al,
I'm living in France right now and we have lotsa Lavendar plants which have always attracted throngs of butterflies, bees hummingbird-moths etc.....
this year almost NO butterflies, few bees.

But it's uncanny abt your remark about ants..... we've got tons of ants everywhere... in the house, in trees ants of many different kinds.....

we'd had lotsa rain before last 2 wks..... maybe the butterflies got in trouble w/ too much ????

locals notice it too.


Rainfall is a bit down yr over yr but not too abnormal. Rainfall here comes in t storms, usually .5 too 1 1/2 inch, or tropical systems that can drop enormous amounts of rain in short periods. The spray truck has not been around this year, no need to. Last year the spray truck came by twice, usually about 9pm, but it was not needed.

dadco, your comment about the ants in France caught my attention. In just the last two years we now have varities that I have never seen. My cousin in Mississippi told me he is seeing the same...different ant varities. He is a total fisherman/hunter guy and manages several diesel truck terminals for Pensky. He notices things like I do because he spent time on farms when he was a kid.

Are there any ant experts out there? I could capture a few of the new varities and send them for examination if anyone is interested. I have read nothing in the local paper about the new ants but they don't print anything that would hamper home sales or tourisim. Hey, they didn't even print the news that the July 4 NASCAR race was underscribed. Many empty seats, teams can't line up sponsors, etc.

Sand eel stocks have collapsed in the north sea through a combination of overfishing (they are used as feed in salmon farms) and global warming. The cold-water plankton on which they feed is being replaced by plankton that is suited to warmer water. Unfortunately a lot of other things eat sand eels, including birds and fish stocks whose populations are now falling.

As a marine energy researcher I had to go on a course about marine biodiversity to make us aware of the environmental issues. Some of the things we were told about what's going on really are horrifying. The decisions that have been taken by successive governments with regard to marine ecosystems are simply disgusting, and that's speaking as a cold-hearted engineer!

Rising acidity of Pacific Coast waters could disrupt Pacific Northwest's food chain

The acidic seawater is moving closer to shallow waters containing the bulk of marine life, according to a recent article in the journal Science.

One of the article's authors, Christopher Sabine, said Tuesday he watched small marine snails placed in water of similar acidity to that recorded last summer off the northern California coast.

"We actually saw the shells dissolving off these living organisms. They were dissolving off the terapods as they were swimming around," Sabine said. Such creatures comprise as much as 40 percent of the Pacific king salmon's diet.

"This acidity dissolves calcium carbonate, which is the thing that shells are made out of. If diatoms, corals, clams and oysters succumb to this it not only wipes out the shellfish industry but potentially the entire marine food chain," said Bishop, a fifth-generation shellfish harvester.


I'm coming to the conclusion that, while a 2-3C increase in temps would be very bad, the damage we have done / are doing to ecosystems and biodiversity is an even bigger problem.

I know the 2 phenomema are somewhat related, but perhpas if we stop our rapid depletion of the Earth's natural resources, we can mitigate some of the climate issues.

The reason most people are not shocked or do not care is that they are unaware of it, or if aware, don't see any connection between zoo plankton collapse and the human race. This just reinforces the fact that we are already in overshoot with respect to many of the world's key species. But we don't care. We were created in the image of God, after all. We are rulers of the Kingdom until, at least, the kingdom ceases to exist. Bush's comment yesterday says it all. With a smirk he nodded his head and said, "we are the world's biggest polluters". Yee hah!!

But really. Who really needs all this crap as long as we can grow our favorite monoculture, our lawn.

"We were created in the image of God, after all."

My rant for today:

I suggest then that we need to modify the image of god as having no fingers--he/she, due to omnipotence, easily created the heavens and the earth with mere stump-waving.

The gradual loss of our fingers to amputation [to make us more god-like in eco-awareness] could do much to protect the ecosystem and reduce extinction rates, diminish the scale and duration of machete' moshpits, plus vastly increase mitigative postPeak cooperation [see prior speculative posts].

But it is much more likely that we will just twiddle our fingers in support of BAU until we are Thermo/Gene forced to lose the whole limb at once in trying to defend ourselves from an armed invader's machete' in the coming resource wars.

Always fun to hear the master of the left field, the person who is so out of the box you can't even find the box in your field of vision. Touch typing, though, would be pretty much history. Anthroprocentrism will kill us all.

Hello Tstreet,

Thxs for responding. Not out of left field, just from the viewpoint of 'Mother' Thermo/Gene: she could care less if one is politically left, middle, or right in beliefs, she only reacts to what we will or will not do.

As usual, Jay Hanson says it much better than I can [8-page PDF Warning]:

When confronted with ever-declining resources, the preservation of social order requires more and more cooperation, but individuals are genetically programmed to reduce cooperation and seek
advantage. This genetic legacy sets up a positive feedback loop: declining common resources cause individuals to reduce cooperation even more, which reduces common resources even faster, which leads to collapse even faster.
As explained in earlier postings: My speculation is that gradually less fingers = more cooperation and reduced rate of ecologic destruction and machete' moshpits to help promote optimal Overshoot decline. In short, we encourage the 'amputational' environmental feedback loop to overwhelm our genetic 'computational' feedback loop.

Of course, the only chance of this occurring everywhere would be if the global leadership were the first to reduce fingercount. Sadly, I cannot envision a televised event where Putin, Bush, Cheney, Brown, Sarkozy, et al, voluntarily put their finger in a mini-guillotine.

They're thinking that they can even escape a standard guillotine.

I didn't mean "left' as in politics, I meant "left" as "I didn't see that coming" or "left" as in "wild and wacky". Anyway, it was a compliment because it is nice to have a few original minds scattered here and there, especially here.

I live in a small but not to say necessarily close knit community. If things really get bad, I expect that a few of us will find ourselves on the barbie come 4th of July.

Regarding the oceans, the "canary in the coal mine" was the cod fishery on the Grand Banks of Newfoundland.


There is no lack of efficiency in human stupidity. Nor do we learn from our mistakes:


The word homo-sapien (thinking/wise man) is an oxymoron.

I cut the relevant image out of the pdf here:

Looks linear, declining 1.5% per year. Taking eyeball estimates for 1990 as 52% and 2006 as 28%, extrapolating backwards gives 100% in 1958, and the baseline is actually 1960, which suggests a roughly linear decline over the entire period. So extrapolating forward means we hit zero zooplakton in 2024, just 16 years away.

(Hmm, seems the image is only showing intermittently when I refresh the page. It is in the original pdf linked just above on page 9)

They seem to imply that they are just measuring around the UK. That doesn't mean that the same trend neccesarily applies globally. That would seem to be a very important question to get the answer to.

I wish the Sierra Club had years ago started off in a different direction, toward trying to maintain general biodiversity, and trying to campaign about it. The oceans are especially important, as are bees. Picking out a handful of large species here and there was not the right approach.

Actually, there is a justification for that.

Animals are just one facet of an ecosystem. If you protect an animal that is at the top of a trophic pyramid, you are protecting the underlying ecosystem; if an species needs 20^2 miles of habitat to remain viable, you have to retain the habitat to protect the species, and it becomes the 'hook' for a campaign.

Agree about the importance of general diversity wholeheartedly. Zone 5 is where you go to learn.

I was a core person in one of the early "big green" groups & tried to create an ecosystem-based campaign. The rest of the organization hated it: inefficient for fundraising.

I eventually got it done, but it was 8 years later after I'd created a different organization from scratch. Of course, the initial group is now very proud of the campaigns it canned me for running...

Spain pulls bond sale amid economic crisis

[Spanish] Government officials have been shocked by the intensity of the downturn now engulfing the country. Car sales fell 31pc in June, industrial production has fallen 5.5pc over the past year and the collapsing property sector is shedding almost 100,000 jobs a month.

Wow! Car sales down 31% in June. Demand destruction writ large.

Someone posted this late in the drumbeat yesterday. It seems Bush is in happy land. Add to this traders being quoted on MSM that they have heard there will be a strike on Iran this weekend and I'm reminded of a line from the Rocky Horror Picture Show: "Say goodbye to all of this and hello to oblivion."

President George Bush: 'Goodbye from the world's biggest polluter'

The American leader, who has been condemned throughout his presidency for failing to tackle climate change, ended a private meeting with the words: "Goodbye from the world's biggest polluter."

He then punched the air while grinning widely, as the rest of those present including Gordon Brown and Nicolas Sarkozy looked on in shock.

Mr Bush, whose second and final term as President ends at the end of the year, then left the meeting at the Windsor Hotel in Hokkaido where the leaders of the world's richest nations had been discussing new targets to cut carbon emissions.

However Bloomberg expects the price of oil to drop on Monday if nothing happens and we're all still around :-)

That's good news. It means Bush is now the president of China. We are rid of him!

If you're talking about total CO2 emissions, the US & China haven't caught Britain yet, last I heard.

For CO2, US and China are neck and neck for the #1 spot, but UK is way down the list, about 1/10 of US or Chinese emissions.

Of course, it's not really a fair comparison because a lot of the Chinese emissions are producing stuff for the US.

You are talking about current CO2 production. The British have been pumping CO2 into the atmosphere for centuries, at a greater rate than the US and at a much greater rate than China could dream of until recently.

CO2 remains in the atmosphere for a long time. By a calculation I saw some time ago (can't find the link), more of the CO2 currently in the atmosphere was generated by Britain than by either the US or China. The US was catching up fast, though, and may have passed the Brits by now.

Not really. We used to be covered with forests just like Britain. Then we also cut them down. As for coal, China burns billions of tons of coal, much greater than Britain ever did back in the days when you had to dig the coal out with a pick and load it with a shovel.

A frat boy 'til the last, a 62 year old one at that.

I don't think anyone born after 1945 is ever going to grow up.

Is that a quote ? Link ??

Did some folks at Bloomberg discover limits to growth without awareness of the book by the same name? It doesn't really matter, but William Pasek seems have arrived at some of the same conclusions that many at TOD and elsewhere have recognized for a long time. Pasek's journey took a slightly different route. What the hey, life is a journey and not a destination. Hat tip to Yves at NC and Down South.

'Blomberg columnist William Pesek plays out a line of thought that may have occurred to some readers: what if the resolution of the credit crisis and global imbalances isn't a nasty recession or punishing inflation but Japan-like protracted low growth, with stagnant to deteriorating living standards?

This idea may not be as much of a stretch as it sounds. Policy makers, in trying to avoid the depression/entrenched inflation extremes, may steer themselves into the Japan solution.

In the US, despite the brave talk of free markets, we have been socializing losses right and left and trying to shore up plummeting asset values.'...snip...


...snip...'And there is the bigger question of whether we really have reached a crisis of capitalism, whether a system whose raison d'etre is growth and increasing standards, can adapt to a world of resource constraints. The optimists at the Milken Institute Global Conference felt that technology would provide and answer. But new technologies take time to be developed and implemented, particularly on a broad scale, while the needs appear urgent.'...snip...


...snip...'All this may be a problem for the region as it tries to avoid the worst of the credit-market crisis. Chan wonders if the type of prosperity during the decade before the 1997 Asian crisis will be more unusual in the future.

``Those 10 golden years of rapid growth and high returns may well have been an aberration, Chan says.'...snip...


Don't you love the framework of values and attitudes that has evolved hand in hand with liberal economics? Unending growth is "good." "Stagnant to deteriorating living standards" is bad.

There is another way to see things, as this article, "The Gospel of Consumption," points out:

Citizenship requires a commitment of time and attention, a commitment people cannot make if they are lost to themselves in an ever-accelerating cycle of work and consumption.

We can break that cycle by turning off our machines when they have created enough of what we need. Doing so will give us an opportunity to re-create the kind of healthy communities that were beginning to emerge with Kellogg’s six-hour day, communities in which human welfare is the overriding concern rather than subservience to machines and those who own them. We can create a society where people have time to play together as well as work together, time to act politically in their common interests, and time even to argue over what those common interests might be. That fertile mix of human relationships is necessary for healthy human societies, which in turn are necessary for sustaining a healthy planet.

If we want to save the Earth, we must also save ourselves from ourselves. We can start by sharing the work and the wealth. We may just find that there is plenty of both to go around.

hat tip to another TOD commenter

Ah, liberal economics...so...Enronesque. :)

"Stagnant to deteriorating living standards", not long ago, and still today in much of the world, would mean mass starvation. It's no surprise that people would violently reject mass starvation. Yet it's shocking how quickly the US evolved from such a state to total dependence on non-vital consumption - from about 1932 to 1946. Now China is trying to do the same in a similar time frame. There was no equilibrium point for a sane public consensus on a "good enough" economy to manifest. Clearly the consumption economy must have unending growth. So within a single generation of voters, politicians can convert the demand for survival into a demand for cornucopia.

If we want to save the Earth, we must also save ourselves from ourselves. We can start by sharing the work and the wealth. We may just find that there is plenty of both to go around.

hmm, 2 doses of memmel ought to cure the delusion that there is anything to be "saved" ...
just MHO.


The “Rivera Method” takes such agricultural refuse as cracked soy beans, rice and cotton seed hulls, grain sorghum, milo and jatropha and turns them into bio-crude oil. This crude – or Vetroleum, as Rivera calls it

Wait for the money shot:

products made from Vetroleum burn at near 100 percent efficiency, leaving behind neither heat nor pollution as proof of the chemical reactions taking place.

And as for trains as they are in America:

Doesn't give off heat?? What's that supposed to mean? It has to give off heat or otherwise you couldn't use it in an engine.

I did say it was a 'money shot'. Chemical burning w/o heat!

Oh, and while heat is important in an ICE, the expansion of gas volume does more work. So a magical fluid that made no heat but had a gas expansion would work.

To hell with all that! Can't you guys see we're saved?


I smell someone fishing for venture capital. It would be rally great, if it were true.

Alan from the islands

Yes, that is pretty clearly an ad for venture capital. There could be some nuggets of truth under the exagerations, but there's no way to tell unless you put your money down. I'm not calling that hand (and I don't think my meager savings counts as "venture capital").

Has anyone had any luck locating their patent application? I spent a bit of search time but couldn't find it. Their website was the usual. No details, just press releases and "Investor Relations". My guess is it's some version of flash pyrolysis coupled with a reporter that hasn't got a clue what they're reporting on.

Blast from the past, glimpse of the future...

Peak Oil and the Financial Markets: A Forecast for 2008(Posted by Gail the Actuary on January 9, 2008 - 10:32am)

7. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac may need government assistance.

With rising default rates, the troubles of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are likely to continue. Both are likely to find it difficult to maintain adequate capital, and may need some sort of government intervention, if only to allow them to operate with less capital.

And today...

Fannie, Freddie plunge spurs bailout talk- By Chris Isidore, CNNMoney.com senior writer, Last Updated: July 11, 2008: 10:21 AM EDT

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- The anxiety over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which support $5 trillion in home loans, reached fever pitch on Friday as shares of the mortgage finance giants plunged in early trading.

The two firms play a central role in the U.S. housing market, providing a crucial source of funding for banks and other home lenders.

If they were unable to do so, it would significantly raise the cost and restrict the availability of mortgage loans, causing significantly more problems for already battered housing prices and sales. That in turn would be another significant problem for the overall U.S. economy, as well as global credit markets.

Gail, I'm amazed about how spot on you are (not that this story was anything to want to be spot on about). What does a bailout of the twin FM's mean? To Gail if she's reading, or anyone in generall...?

It means that the profits have been privatized and the losses will be socialized. Meaning the taxpayers will pay the bill. While the greedy pig men are making tons of money nary a peep is heard from them...the moment the pig men get into trouble by overeach they go whining to the government. The government, that is the taxpayers, that is us.

Treasuries reacted negatively to the news. Bailing out F&F may be the financial straw that breaks the dollar's back. Of course, the leading lights of our Congress from both parties have tripped over themselves assuring us they'll be there with a bailout if needed.

No matter what they do things go to hell in a handbasket, but if they announce a bailout there's a slight delay until the debt hits the market. Therefore they'll go for the bailout.

Regarding what a bailout of the twin FM's means, a true full bail-out means guaranteeing all of F&F's debt. This would massively increase US debt and badly hurt the US balance sheet. See this quote from a WSJ editorial.

The liabilities of Fan and Fred are currently not on this U.S. balance sheet. But one danger is a run on the debt of either company, putting pressure on the Treasury and Federal Reserve to publicly guarantee that debt to prevent a systemic financial collapse. In an instant, what has long been an implicit taxpayer guarantee for both companies would be made explicit – committing American taxpayers to honoring as much as $5 trillion in new liabilities. U.S. debt held by the public would more than double, and the national balance sheet would look very ugly.

If the balance sheet of the US becomes "very ugly", I would expect that the interest rate the US will be required to pay (on new debt and on debt that is becoming due and needs to be rolled over) will become very high. This will mean that mortgage rates, even with the government guaranteeing them will be quite high. It also means that US government interest payments will become very much larger than they are now, so that income tax rates will need to be raised to cover the higher interest payments. Interest rates on other debt are likely to rise as well. All of these high interest rates are likely to send the economy into a tail spin. The government would have little choice but to try to inflate its way out of the mess, but this could lead to hyperinflation. Also, no one would want any future debt.

Because of these problems with a full guarantee, regulators will try to do whatever they can to just prop up F&F in their current form, without a full guarantee. That is why Treasury Secretary Paulson issued a written statement today saying that the Bush administration's "primary focus is supporting Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in their current form." There are different ways the government could attempt to prop up these companies--change the accounting rules; reduce the capital requirement; lend the company government securities in exchange for questionable securities; or make a "temporary" cash infusion to the companies that only needs to be repaid if there are profits in the future.

If we are dealing with peak oil, and the situation can only get worse (rather than being a temporary setback that one of these measures might handle), I expect that eventually these approaches will fail. Investors will lose faith in the debt of these companies, and there will be another crisis. If politicians are involved the next time around, they might decide to guarantee the debt of these companies, not realizing (or perhaps not caring) what problems it would cause in the future.

Of course, there may be another problem--like failing large banks--that comes along before the second round of F&F, and pushes the economic system over the edge.

Reagan ran up the first really big chunk of national debt in his first administration (1981-1984). Bush II ran up the second really big chunk of debt in his first administration (2001-2004). Reagan financed much of his debt with 30-year bonds. In 2001, Bush (has he ever done anything right?) starting using 10-year notes. Both sets of debt mature at the same time (2011-2014).

By a quick back-of-the-envelope calculation, I figure the US will need to auction off something like 750 billion dollars a year for those years to refinance the Reagan-Bush debt. We've never had anything like that before. We're refinancing the (relatively) miniscule Carter debt at the moment. It is peanuts compared to what's coming.

The next few years is a really, really bad time to be running a huge deficit. Bush may hit 750 billion this year. I'd be surprised if the next president didn't hit a trillion dollar deficit.

What happens to interest rates if the US has to float 1.5 - 2.0 TRILLION dollars a year of treasuries? What happens to the US credit rating? What happens to the US dollar?

Looks like you have given us a final date for the crash.

thanks for the good work, gail. one short peice of evidence which, taken alone, will probably be enough to convince many people of the need to take action now to protect theirselves and theirs' selves. How has this eluded the public conciousness???

Foreign Spot Oil Prices up $8 & $9 (except Dubai)
US spot prices up $4



Airlines pushing speculation story

I received the following letter signed by the top-dogs at the major airlines. I found a news bit about it here. Sorry if this has been addressed previously.

I must admit that my current opinion is that speculation is not a factor in the current pricing. I fail to understand how they could be unless futures can be rolled-over to future periods. If there is a way to do this, someone please inform me. My understanding is that all contracts for a given delivery month are expired prior to that month, essentially leaving the only parties that are dealing in the physical commodity. So to speculate, they would have to take delivery; my presumption is that there is no evidence of such large scale storage taking place, or even the possibility of storage on such a scale (SPR?).

However, one would think that the airlines would be quite knowledgeable about the oil markets. If they didn't truly believe that the speculation was increasing prices, what other motivation would they have for such a campaign?

It was posted three times in yesterday's DrumBeat.

what other motivation would they have for such a campaign?

It's a classic case of Cognitive dissonance.

Their salaries depend on not believing the inevitable.

I've known some CEOs in my life. You give them way too much credit. Like most people, they don't want to believe what they don't want to hear. What's that Will Rogers quote? "Is is difficult to get someone to understand something when his paycheck depends on his not understanding?"

If oil prices are high because of fundamentals, most airlines are out of business, and an out-of-business airline doesn't need a CEO. If they're high because of evil speculators, then something can be done. Which do you think they want to hear? It is just human nature.

I believe that quote was from Upton Sinclair (or whoever wrote The Jungle)

So to speculate, they would have to take delivery; my presumption is that there is no evidence of such large scale storage taking place

If speculators had to take delivery as you say it would show as higher levels up in the weekly inventory report which would then push prices back down.

Thanks for the replies, sorry for the tardy repetition...

Speculators having to take inventory is probably a misleading statement. I'm sure that their positions are settled by other means, but it seems to me that the net effect is the same; continuous positions cannot be held. As far as I know speculators have to hold positions to effect the market price, true? I am eager to get a more detailed description of the speculation argument, maybe I'm missing something. Cognitive dissonance could cut either way...

I don't know what the data sources are for inventories, so I don't know what would show up on inventory reports. Surely, however irrelevant the scale, non-reported inventories do exist.

As to airline CEOs, sure they are people, but they are also people that have access to a lot of insight from their reports, should they wish to hear it. This was a statement from all the major airlines, which is what makes it so interesting to me. Certainly not a small gesture, I'm sure that a great many people were involved in the process, and the CEOs just approved the plan. I tend to think that it was indeed a rational decision, at least from the airlines' perspective.

All in all, I guess I'd go with the explanation that it is a PR campaign that serves the airlines in the short term by implying that high oil prices are a temporary aberration which will be resolved and then business will continue as usual. After all, when on the ropes, getting to the next bell can be a good strategy. The "bailout positioning" angle is intriguing, something to keep an eye on.

Interesting times for sure...

You raise the perennial question: is it stupidity/ignorance or duplicity? When oil companies deny global warming, do they actually believe that pumping CO2 into the atmosphere won't warm the earth, or do they know it and lie about it? Do the airline executives actually believe speculators are behind the run up in oil prices, or do they know they are not and are lying about it? I can't identify an angle where lying really helps the airlines, so I tend to believe they are just grasping at straws.

As for speculation, the two important things to understand are (1) prices are determined by supply and demand, and (2) oil speculators don't buy oil, they buy futures contracts. Prices of oil are set by who is buying and selling oil. Prices of futures contracts are set by who is buying and selling contracts. They are two different markets with two different pools of supply & demand.

IMO, much of this "blame the speculators" nonsense would never have happened, except that the media universally reports futures prices as if they were "oil" prices. They are reporting the betting on the horse race, not the horse race itself, but are calling it "the race". This leads to the confusion between the two and the idea that speculators can determine the price of oil. If they just reported the spot price, futures speculators would barely have entered the conversation.

So when you say, "As far as I know speculators have to hold positions to effect the market price", it should read that "speculators have to hold positions in oil to affect the market price". Holding positions in futures contracts won't affect the price of oil, because they are different markets and represent supply of a different thing.


1. Start by cancelling all mortgauges and giving people their homes back - for free.
2. Start a massive crash programme of renewable/nuclear energy
3. In the ensuing financail collapse due to point 1 - round up all bankers/financial people and get them employed in point 2.
4. Ban all war/weapons and disband the military.
5. In the ensuing collapse of the defence industry due to point 4 - round up all military personnel and employ them in domestic food production.
6. Put a red pointy hat on president bush and save his sperm for medical research.
7. rinse and repeat for all other non productive industies.

problem solved.

4. Ban all war/weapons and disband the military.
5. In the ensuing collapse of the defence industry due to point 4 - round up all military personnel and employ them in domestic food production.

I'm sure the military will be happy to hear your proposals. "First, we die for your sorry butt and you spit in our face, now you want us to feed you?" Very comical, I'm sure all of us affected parties will enjoy being "rounded up". Most GI's I know and have served with would barely consider "greenies" worthly of target practice, let alone feeding. "From our cold dead hands" comes to mind.

Your "solution" reminds me of why the environmental movement is mostly never about the environment. Better to take your chances with the Fates and Mother Nature than some ridiculous solution that is only about control. Atleast with the Fates, you have a chance.

Bring on the Bakanization....now get on your side of the line and stay there.

Grow your own food buddy.

Ah. Fodder for me. Yum yum!!

First. Lets analyse what the American troops are dying for. American survival? no. To save our asses? From what? Here is what they are dying for. American imperialism, oil, and some unfinished work by GW Senior. This whole debacle in the middle east has been for NOTHING. If I was a patriot and a soldier who cared about this country I would lay down my weapon and go and plant some vegetables because that would have benefitted America more.

Next: "GREENIES": LOL. Are you defining a greenie as someone not supportive of the war? If you want to pigeon hole these people put them in a box with people ABOVE IQ's of 100!! The rest can march off like some unwitting lemmings.

Burp. That was yummie.


You won't get any argument from me on the war or GWB. +2 for you?

However, treating the GIs as a resource to be exploited much like oil is wrong. You're forgetting they are people, not slaves. My point was that I'm sure they'll appreiciate serving people who consider them second class citizens and spit in their face. Disarming them? Well good luck on that with anyone, but can I be there when you try it on a Marine? Please?

Regarding "Greenies". I've never supported the war (In Iraq) and think it will go down as the greatest "bad idea" in history. Its execution, I blame on Rumfield who is definitly one if not THE most incompetent Secretary of Defense ever. Clueless doesn't even begin to describe him, its very inadequate for the man. Don't think for a second its about the war, its bigger than that.

However, "Greenies" depicts such hipocrits as the esteemed Al Gore, Pelosi, Kennedy, Boxer, , etc etc who preach about the environment but do an about face in their personal lives. Al Gore himself burns enough oil to power a small African nation. Practice what you preach, but if you don't practice, you don't get to preach. National sacrifice should always be shared. Personally, I'm very concerned about the environment and global warming, most hunters and fishermen are and have been for 100 years. However, until there is garden on the White House lawn again and "activists" plant their own damn gardens and stay off airplanes, the "environmental movement" is just a bunch of wackos with a Marxist sales pitch.

Check out some of the "survivalist" blogs some time and you'll frequently find "evironmentalist" and "short rope, tall tree" in the same sentence. Now if you mention solar power, windmills, clean water, wildlife management ...you get an entirely different reaction. People do care about the environment, but the enviormental movement is a joke.

Who was talking about solar and wind power before the environmentalists in the 1970s? There isn't a single form of paranoia expressed by survivalists about corporate American poisoning their food and water that wasn't first expressed by environmentalists, except maybe the dreaded scourge of fluoride. And ultimately believing that animal species should be preserved merely so there will be more of them to shoot and eat is not going to work out for the survivalists, because there will be too many hungry shooters post-collapse.

You're making the assumption that all Greens are Marxist-Leninists. A lot more of them appear to be anarchists. Yet those are the ones who are most denounced as extremists, because they are propounding the end of growth economics.

In any case, if your plan is to return Western civilization to a feudalism of gun nuts, a hunting boot in my face forever, screw it, I say wipe out humanity and give the roaches a chance. There is no one group or ideology more responsible for the impending crisis than that which arose when white Christian property-loving Europeans set forth in their galleons to enslave the world, promising goodies and security for all who obeyed. It would be the ultimate injustice to give their doctrinal descendants dominion over an unending Dark Age caused by their own failure.

...and "activists" plant their own damn gardens and stay off airplanes, the "environmental movement" is just a bunch of wackos with a Marxist sales pitch.

That's just plain stupid. If activists like Al Gore just stayed home and tended a garden the message that we have been soiling our nest for the last 150 years would never get out.

I remember driving through Silicon Valley in the 80s and telling my son I didn't want him going to Stanford because the smog was so thick I could hardly breathe. Well, we have "spare the air" days, but the smog isn't anywhere near as thick now. Thanks to activists and Environmentalists!

If all we had were people like you out there, most of the US would have unbreathable air by now.

Like Al Gore, TOD is trying to get a message out to the sleepwalking people - why don't you leave if you think activists shouldn't be trying to get the word out? Are you living zero footprint?

However, treating the GIs as a resource to be exploited much like oil is wrong.

Who is treating them as a resource? Us? That's crap. The current administration is doing so. They are risking their lives for lies and profit. How is that in any way connected to posters here, unless they support Bush and the war?

That said, every soldier has the explicit right, and even obligation, to resist any illegal command. Period. Every and any soldier who refused to go to either of the current "wars" would be justified. They don't. They are responsible for the choice.

It's time to quit treating these people like they are helpless little toy soldiers with no control and no responsibility. They are men and women. You show them respect by treating them as such, not by acting as a co-dependent unable to act and think as human beings.

And as Americans. They are not soldiers first, they are AMERICANS first. Their ultimate guide is the Constitution.


I don't think the grunts have a choice. I've read that only the officers take the oath to uphold the constitution, while the grunts have less choice (i.e. virtually none) about whether to follow an order or not. I doubt the average grunt has fully read the constitution and probably lacks ability to make the decision anyhow. That isn't to say they are dumb, but your typical 18-20 year old with a highschool education doesn't know !@#^ these days. Whatever the truth is, I believe the threat of a bullet to the head is enough to get most to comply.

A lot of people are trapped in the military by "stop-loss" and lawyer language in their service contracts that they never expected to be exercised short of World War III. They won't desert, but they would love to be sent home for good. Others are staying in because there are no good job prospects in the current economy for the very people most likely to have supported the war. By the time they get home years from now, they might be grateful to work in food production, just like I will be.

Marco, I especially like #6. After analyzing his sperm the docs will probably conclude that he is just visiting this planet...He has done almost as much damage as portrayed in the movie 'Mars Attacks'.


By the way, I would like to second River's comment on #6. Its a good idea.

#6 is a tough one. I generally support the scientists who are keeping smallpox alive in laboratories. But Bush's sperm? That may be too much.

Unfortunately, I now have the really unpleasant image of Bush sitting on a stool in a pointy red hat "producing" a sample. I may never feel clean again.

Well, I wish you hadn't shared that.

Don't preserve GWBs sperm. Too risky. It could somehow escape and ruin the world. Oops. That already happened.

His sperm should be stored safely in a research laboratory orbiting the planet Venus, just in case any should ever escape and infect a human being... That would be a global catastrophe to dwarf Peak Oil and Global Warming combined... George Bush Jr Jr... Shudder...

1. Start by cancelling all mortgauges and giving people their homes back - for free.
2. Start a massive crash programme of renewable/nuclear energy
3. In the ensuing financail collapse due to point 1 - round up all bankers/financial people and get them employed in point 2.

My apologies if there are any bankers/financial people who are actually bright and read TOD, but my experience with these type of people indicates that we would not want them anywhere near any source of energy, especially nuclear.

How 'bout they do the manual labor in agriculture or maybe just become the fertilizer.

I don't know how you could say these things with a straight face, but you're a good example of why the far left isn't and shouldn't be in charge of the US. (Not that the far right is that great.)

Here's a hint: those military personnel neither deserve to be "rounded up" for forced agricultural labor, nor are they particularly susceptible to that kind of treatment.

Hint: he wasn't saying them with a straight face.

1. Start by cancelling all mortgauges and giving people their homes back - for free.

I bought my home for cash. What the hell do *I* get outta your 'plan'?

2. Start a massive crash programme of renewable/nuclear energy

Given the history of failure of the fission industry - a CRASH program will help how?

3. In the ensuing financail collapse due to point 1 - round up all bankers/financial people and get them employed in point 2.

so you want the people who were irrresponsible to run fission plant?

4. Ban all war/weapons and disband the military.

Right..... Chalmers Johnson (nemesis, sorrors of empire and one other) has alot to say about the 50%+ of the budget to the military

5. In the ensuing collapse of the defence industry due to point 4 - round up all military personnel and employ them in domestic food production.
6. Put a red pointy hat on president bush and save his sperm for medical research.
7. rinse and repeat for all other non productive ind


You get to lose the balance on your savings account when your bank blows up.

You get to lose the balance on your savings account when your bank blows up.

*yawn* And savings were mentioned exactly where? Bank 'savings' rates are 3%, if that. Inflation is %15+. Might as well hold onto nastly little FRNs.

I just walked by the scooter store/dealership on Magazine 2.5 blocks from my home. Six bikes left, all with red "SOLD" hang tags.

I asked and this is only the fourth time that they do not have any left "on the floor" and several of those scheduled for delivery have deposits on them. They are in an 1800s business building 1 mile from downtown.

Best Hopes for Low Oil Transportation too,


I suppose these are gas powered scooters and not electric scooters. Which surprises me a bit - my impression is that a electric scooter are pretty close to being practical right now.

I talked to a guy I know who runs a bicycle store, and it is the same story. They are pushing them out the door almost as fast as they can put them together.

Don't know if £6000 is "practical" for a scooter but this has had good reviews.
Free parking and charge points in some UK cities.


Don't think that I'd want to ride one once the roads turn to gravel/dirt. I'm waiting for an electric road legal dirt bike made by one of the big Japanese four.

I'm going to make another plug for the $190 Chinese electric scooter:


Actually, this particular scooter may be kinda junky, but you'd figure that if they're selling something that works at all for $190 then you can probably get something pretty decent for $600 or so.

FWIW, a Tour de France competition cyclist can keep up a pace of 400 watts for an extended period, and max out at maybe 800 watts for short bursts. So, with a 500 watt motor, it might not be so impressive compared to your 1000cc GSX-R but it would be a big difference from pedaling yourself.

By then you're unlikely to get replacement batteries for it anyway, and I'd hate to think of the size PV grid you'd need to get it charged.

£6000 is impractical for a scooter, even one that's nearly a m'bike style.

£3000 will get you an emax moped but that would be no better when the roads go.

I suspect you'll be seeing 50cc bikes for a long, long time, as they're easy to fix and will run on ethanol - which actually makes sense if you can't get the winter feed for a draught animal.

Alan...I was having a chat with Ahnold the other day and he told me that only girly-men ride scooters. He said that he still rides the Harley Fat Boy that he used in 'Terminator'.

Hey, who am I to argue with Ahnold? :)

Some of the girls on scooters and bicycles are quite attractive :-)

A pleasant addition to the flowering trees in bloom.


Some of the girls on scooters and bicycles are quite attractive ...

Alan, you won't find many girls on a Vectrix, apart perhaps from the occasional weight lifting champion.

Here's one Vectrix user's report:

Here’s why they’re going broke in a hurry:
It weighs MORE than my 1100cc BMW touring bike.
It accelerates slower than a Kymco People 150 (worst drag race ever).
5 Minutes after I got on the freeway the “HOT” light came on and my power consumption went through the roof. I could actually see the power gauge falling. My maximum speed was an indicated 63 mph. Traffic was not happy.
By the time I got to work I had only 23% of a full charge remaining.
By that standard I would have to re-charge TWICE daily, thereby reducing the lifespan of the $4000 (that’s right FOUR THOUSAND) battery pack by half.
The thing is built like a tank, “No Expense Spared!” unfortunately it took me only one trip to know we wouldn’t sell a single unit….ever.

You've been warned.

The thing IS gargantuan. I think they said it weighs 550 or 600lbs thanks to the NiMH pack. They've slashed the price and they are apparently selling a bit better now. If it's on two wheels and 100% electric, it had better be lithium ion, or a much smaller 49cc equivalent.

Just by comparison, the Zero I mentioned below weighs only 140lbs (highest power-to-weight of any EV), far lighter than any ICE comparable dirtbike. Around 50 miles a charge on a 2kWh lithium ion pack.

Just for comparison the Harley Fat Boy weighs 705 lb...and, it is a comfortable ride from Central Florida to NH Laconia Rally, into and across Canada, and back to Fl via the Left Coast and NO. Been there, done that...and lots more. A Road King is even better but any Harley will take you where you wanna go and back.

NO BATTERIES NEEDED...well, a small one for the electrical system.

45 mpg and miles of smiles. Nothing like those big Dunlop tires that are soft and really stick when cars are hydroplaning and rain is falling in buckets.

Seriously, you folks that are considering scooters...I took a lot of spills on scooters when I first began riding (age 13 so I healed fast). Be very carefull on a scooter when it has not rained for some time and then a light rain falls...the oil in the street rises to the surface of the road. Very Very slippery. The problem with a tiny front wheel is that it 'washes out' at the same time as the rear. Result, one is going to meet the pavement before one knows what is happening. Big bikes, when designed properly, the back end will begin to slide while the front has better traction and gives one an opportunity to 'steer into' the slide and recover easily. Huge difference. Think about it. Tires and tire pressure are seldom considered by cage drivers, on a bike tires and tire pressure are everything. Brakes are next. Do not try to get away with worn or old and thus hard compound tires on a mc. Your hospital bills will far outweigh the cost of good tires.

Thanks River,

Passed my learners two days ago. Have been humming and harring over a 150 scoot with 16 inch wheels versus a "proper" bike that one can grab with their legs. Local trips only. Think you've clinched it for me...

Regards, Matt B
Hell of a time to have a mid-life crisis!

You're right River, give me a REAL motorcycle any time - one that has enough power to get out of it’s own way and oncoming trouble, stop in a hurry, and out handle most cars. Motorcycles are also not for someone who is not going to take them seriously and take the time to learn to ride them proficiently. Learn counter steering and that the front brake is your friend. I’m looking at getting a thumper for going back and forth to town, Used to love Yamaha’s SR500 version of the classic thumper.

I commuted for about a year on a Yamaha XT 225 in the Inland Empire Southern California. It is a great commuting bike. Smaller size, decent power but 4 stroke and very smooth power band. Not to mention you can look forward to the commute with the Sun coming up over the San Bernardino mountains. You can keep up with traffic if you find yourself on a highway, but its not pleasant and not what its designed for. Works just fine for around town commuting, and it's fun. As a dual purpose I'd take it out on the trails to let off steam after work. Scooters and motorcycles are dangerous especially on pavement, but I suspect its a bit safer then a scooter, especially if you've ridden for a while. As a street legal dirt bike you have capabilities that just aren't there with a scooter. Saw lots of attractive girls out that way but none on motorcycles, oh well. However, there was a seemingly almost genetic response for nearly any male under the age of 12 to go slack jawed on seeing the bike and immediately begin furiously pantomiming the universal sign for "pop-a-wheelie". Fun times they were.


Hi, new to this board. What a great board. What wonderful minds.
To jump in on this thread about scooters.
In 2002 I sold my car and bought a Honda Metropolitan scooter. $2 grand out the door, no license or tags required, no helmet necessary (but we should wear them), no insurance required, and today's weekly fill-up was $4.70 for 1.1... gallons. Parking is always easy, I never have to get into a hot car, and it gets about 100mpg if I don't punch it.
It has more than paid for itself. A new car might cost me $300 a month payments, maybe $100 for full insurance, and probably about $60 a week in gas. and a hundred or so for license and tags.
Call it $600 a month going out. Well, 3 month's of that is a nearly paid for moped.
If I had bought a new car 6 years ago, it would have cost me at least $43K. So the savings here are at least 40 grand.
That $600 a month net is saving at least a day's work a week.
This extra day allows me to work on other projects like encouraging swamp coolers here in the desert, and growing my garden this year for seeds instead of food, and pushing for solar water heaters, solar tubes for interior commercial daytime illumination, and questioning why all those damned lights are on at 3 AM with no-one around to even see them.... Are we afraid of the dark or what?
I heard a car commercial many moons ago, and the guy said "What do you expect me to do, drive to work on a moped?"
Well, that's the driving force behind the decreasingly-occasional snicker I hear at the stoplight.
And I snicker right back all the way to the bank.
Those chuckers have convinced me that the major impetus behind our media-governed culture is to 'look good' at the final stoplight where we all run out of gas. We live in an honest to God mentality of "You'll take away my SUV when you pry my cold dead toes from around the accelerator."

No, you can't drive that SUV through the Pearly Gates.
No, pretending you can boogie-out after the collapse will only put you in competition with the other 300M refugees.
No, if you eat your seed corn before coming back, you won't have anything to eat.

We must build community. We must embrace, encourage, and enlist all possible solutions. We must listen to every voice, because of certainty, the one we dismiss as being too obscure will probably hold the answer. (Bergland's corrolary #1)

I am delighted to have found this website. You are all providing much needed information and inspiration. I still have so much more to read.
Where is the area on practical personal survival solutions? Is there one or is this whole board one? I've got a lot of survival tools I'd like to share, but don't know where to put them. A daunting task....

Thank you.

Yours from Reno, where the Donner Party may finally meet Mad Max.
From the State where "Vegas is falling, baby...."
From the nation where "Charge it" is the personal and governmental ongoing obligation to bloated capitalism.
From the planet where we forget we are all eternal.

Craig Bergland
edited-website address deleted out of respect for impartiality by author.

I got a couple for you Alan:
Veken hybrid scooters just hitting the market. 220+ MPG from their newest data all for a measly $2799!! What would this do our country if 20% of commuters switched? Of course I'm also having a blast with the Zero electric dirtbiike.

I'll most likely be getting one of the Vekens and can let any of you know if it is complete Chinese shite or the ultimate insulator from gas prices.

I'm off to Santa Fe to give a talk at Sandia Labs.

BTW, what do you guys think of a massive solar/windpower program, like Pickens is advocating, with excess electricity during peak periods used to make synthetic fuel, with the synfuel being used during low generating periods to power generators? Another alternative is of course hydrogen, which I believe is already being done (Denmark?), but it seems to me that a liquid synfuel would be a lot easier to store.

I am of course assuming something like Alan Drake's vision for an electrified transportation system.

Not commenting on your exact question...I did join Pickens Plan in the vein that at least it is an honest effort to do something about the energy situation. And I wanted to follow along. I was dissappointed not to find anything about energy conservation ideas in the plan...at least I could not find it on the web site.

It is good fun, having been a TOD reader for a while now, to read through the comments from the participants on the pickensplan website. Lot's of rehash of issues already taken to its logical conclusions here on TOD and the two party system sentiments written with much hyperbole, and the plethora of kooky ideas.

Off-peak storage of wind should have multiple forms, depending on the locale and needs. Hydro storage is simple and moderately efficient, if you have a hill and some water. Thermal storage might work for some needs, such as HVAC in major physical plants. Liquid fuel seems like a great way to store temp energy, and maybe for transport too.

Easy answer: If you create a price differential for selling excess energy vs buying peak energy, the market will provide solutions.

If we are looking ahead by a decade, I like solar/wind.

But in the meantime they have to compete with conservation which can provide very stiff competition. Cutting back isn't that hard in many cases. And if we have a severe recession, it wouldn't surprise me if the entire nation suffered from a huge glut of electricity generation capacity.

Pickens may be a little early and could get burned.

HV DC lines to pumped storage would be better. Ammonia would be the thing to synthesize with surplus interruptible power (best SWAG).

Best Hopes @ Sandia,



It seems that the few major solar commercial projects have proven themselves under the current price structure. As far as storage goes one of the smarties here should be able to offer some clue on genrating efficiencies. It may be out of date but once hydrogen was considered the most efficient transfer method. And it isn't really that much of a storage problem as long as the tanks aren't mobil.

Enjoy Sandia...and watch out for their green sauce.

westexas -

I can see using peak excess electricity to make hydrogen either for direct use as a fuel or as a process input for producing sythetic fuel or ammonia, as long as the fuel is being sold offsite for use in vehicles. This is essentially fuels manufacturing.

However, to take electricity that's already been produced to make hydrogen to be stored and then burned in a heat engine to produce electricity again strikes me as a rather inefficient and conceptually inelegant means of storing excess electricity. There are major inherent energy losses along the whole electricity>hydrogen>heat >electricity chain.

If one has already gone through the trouble to make electricity via solar or wind, then conceptually it would be far preferable to store that electricity as electricity rather than degrade it into lower forms of energy. (No use in digging a hole, filling it back up, and then digging it again.)

On the general subject of electricity storage, I think it is going to become painfully obvious that some of these schemes for mega wind and solar projects are going put unacceptable stress on the grid to which they will be connected, once their contribution gets above some critical fraction of the total power handled by the grid. To me this further underscores the need for further development in electricity storage and perhaps for geographically dispersing rather than concentrating such systems.

What process do you envisage for making synfuels from electricity?

EE Times: Latest NewsSandia's synthetic-fuel recipe: Mix CO2 , water; heat with sun


Several years ago, the TVA proposed installing a batch of wind turbines not far from where I sit. I went to the public hearing and the local "NIMBY's" were all over the notion, since it would interfere with the views of the mountains and the tourists might not travel to the area. The proposal died, but an interesting part of the proposed system was a reversible fuel cell to store the electricity. The British company that proposed to build that apparently was counting on that installation as a demo, as they later fell on hard times and were bought by a German utility, as I recall. The point is, as "joule" noted in another post, if you have electricity, it's a good idea to store it with an efficiency as large as possible.

E. Swanson

Probably depend on the relative efficiency of various means of storing the energy. Pumped hydro or thermal may likely be more efficient. Storing it as chemical energy has the advantage that the "energy" can be put in a pipeline, or on a boat or railcar and used somewhere else, while, obviously, most transport is still dependent on chemical energy. Haven't visited Picken's website, but one point I think he is making is that one area where electricity is fungible in a sense with transport fuels is if we displace nat gas use for electricity we can use it for transport. No conversion losses of efficiency just replacing one use of nat gas with another. We have to ramp up so quickly with renewables it is fearsome, daunting I guess are the words that come to mind. One area where you might get a great bang for the buck and also provide increased resiliency is using wind/solar to replace remote diesel electrical generators at mission critical locations such as water pumping sites or communication relays. The diesel generator would remain but only be used if needed and if TSHTF you would still have some power to keep such vital services running in a degraded fashion.

Good luck with your talk, let us know what you hear?

Matt Simmons will be one of the guests on CNBC's "Fast Money" at 5PM Eastern, 4PM Central, one hour from now.

Not the "oil is cheap at 10 cents a cup" speech again. I hope he gets original. :)

Maybe he will reveal his "send in the troops" to audit the oil reservse to the CNBC audience.

Matt must be on the road 365 days a year! When does he ever get a chance to see his farm in Maine?

Just watched this...morbidly hilarious...the CNBC analysts all scrunged up their face like he was a carzy man when he responded to one of the questions that it was too late to start drilling everywhere and the we needed to start living in villages, growing our food locally, and invest in wave and geothermal energy.

It was just completed. Matt started talking about using less oil, localization, better transit, living in villages, etc. and I saw the pundits eyes begin to roll over. Is he kidding? That's a long, long way from the lights of wall street and New York City. Matt has clearly gone to the light and I am not sure he is going to be welcome much longer in mainstream city. Just my immediate take. Hopefully, someone will get a video up on this.

It was a phone interview, not in person.

Very doomerish. Said if people panicked and rushed to fill up their tanks, they'd drain the system dry overnight. (Called it "a run on the bank.")

And said nobody's doing anything about peak oil. Instead, they're going on witch hunts, looking for someone to blame.

I have settled down at my farm in punjab province pakistan. Its a small 4 acres farm. From natural sources get 10 inches rain and 1 acre-ft canal water, from pumping ground water four times that much water. Use part of land to grow sugarcane to make ethanol to power the pumps. Enough land and water to grow food, clothes, leather etc for 40 people.

Here's a link to the video. The look on that one bozo's face when Simmons mentioned going back into villages and growing our own food was priceless.

Simmons on Fast Money, 7/11/08

"Joe gets the last word"

Oh, so that's what the man looks like.

LOL, I've heard Simmons use that phrase "liberate the workforce" about half a dozen times now, and every time he says it you can just see the shivers running up the spines of all the CNBC talking heads. Doesn't Simmons know that it's customary to couch such concepts in techno-gobbledegook, such as, "We need to foster environmentally-synergistic low-magnitude commuting arrangements for our country's employees."

In any case, I don't think Simmons has to worry about wearing out his welcome. Although he may speak uncomfortable truths, almost every prediction of his has come true (and probably made a lot of money for any viewers that were paying attention), and it obviously would not be a good idea for CNBC to bite the hand that feeds them. In fact, they're lucky that they're getting any info out of Simmons at all. A lot of people would keep that precious info and the resulting market edge to themselves and quietly laugh all the way to the bank.

One of the CNBC pundits did make one perceptive comment, though: "Wow, after hearing all of this gloomy talk about oil, I'd almost rather go back to talking about Fannie and Freddy" (paraphrased). As bad as the financial meltdown seems right now, it is but one minor symptom, one minor hardship, of the long, long emergency that is peak oil.

Seems to me that the peak oil sites suffer from popcorn gallery syndrome: lots of interested watchers, but few constructive ideas. The value available is still immense to be sure, but practical plans for what the nation SHOULD do are few and much bantered.

Pickens at least puts forth a plan and backs it with cash. Wind is good. NGV not so much so, but we may need every erg we can get. Solar is good too, and if wind works, solar will too before long.

Certainly solar and wind have issues with availability, but planning for the sun to shine in Arizona so you can smelt aluminum or run a factory is less risky than planning for nice weather so you can build a road or skyscraper in Texas, and plenty of that still gets done. If off-peak or burst power is cheaper, energy-intensive industries will learn to use it in return for savings. And if transport is an issue, they'll move to where the power is until a solution arises.

I see no problem with a bunch of wind farms up the center of the US, and wherever else it makes sense. Take Oklahoma for example: there are 59K oil wells today, some producing, most not much. Each well has a lease plot, an access road, some tank storage, and a jobber that keeps up with it. Nobody much complains about the eyesore, and they won't about windmills either. How can a windmill be any harder to place and support than a oil pump or a cell tower? Surely most farmers would welcome some extra $$ in return for a spot on one of the less-used corners outside the irrigation circle. Why not plan for one at every such corner across the land? After all, anybody who has flown over in an airplane can readily attest to the circle pattern, the millions of acres of space, and the regular grid layout of farm roads.

Sure, it'll take some grid enhancement, but that just work, and something tells me we'll have plenty of motivated prospective workers in a year or two.

To an extent what do you expect? We can't all be billionaires and back our ideas with cash. It's difficult to seriously work hard at constructive ideas when the mass media and congress is focused on paper shuffling (speculation) instead of real physical solutions. The fact that Peak oil is still such a fringe idea at a $130 barrel and basically flat supply since 2004, it's a little discouraging. Sometimes it's nice to just come here and chat with other people who know better than to get into an index fund.


Take a look at Brad Lancaster's excellent guest post on rainwater harvesting from last week. Most people may have missed it as it came out over the long weekend, but it's well worth reading in my opinion, eve if you don't live in a desert. It discusses water, not oil directly, but ties in to energy demand, local food supplies, etc. Certainly not a salvation that will allow business as usual to continue unchecked, but it's a good example of concrete steps that both individuals and communities can take right now.

Granted. I guess it's wishful thinking on my part.

On an individual level it's hard to decide where to focus. Get out debt, or buy guns and a some more acreage in the country? Sell the house and rent for now, or keep a house and start a garden? Buy a hybrid and convert for plug-in, or save the $$? Buy solar panels now and beat the rush, or wait for cost drops in a year or two?

I know precision is hard, but it's hard to optimize behavior and hedge bets if you're not already one of the wealthy.

One part of your solution might be to buy a pretty basic PV system, but buy it carefully with a view to upgrading with this:
MIT opens new 'window' on solar energy - MIT News Office

Hopefully you would then be able to expand the power in a few years at the cost of not much more than glass.

Pitfalls include that the system may not even work out, and it is never easy retrofitting. You would also need to select the inverter carefully, as you would hope to alter the system size by a factor of at least two.
In view of the potential hassles I would also try to make sure that I had the option to expand the system conventionally.

"Cicero wrote that to not know what happened before you were born is to remain a child forever. "

First sentence by first commenter at the linked to site on Saudi Peak Oil alert:
"One day people in the Western world will wonder why we let ourself be dependent on Saudi oil for so long."

Interesting article, written by J. B. Kelly 27 years ago, about Middle East oil relationships. Not much has changed. ###


"Please, educate me", wrote Ralph Peters, LTC, USA-Ret., "in over 5,000 years of more or less recorded history, how many tyrannies have been overthrown by noble sentiments? How many genocides have been averted by reasonable discussions? How many wars have been prevented by Quakers?

As William James - no arch-conservative - put it a century ago, ‘History is a bath of blood.’ It's been a long time since we got badly splashed (9/11's casualties were an average day in Normandy). We're so spoiled that we've forgotten how brutal humankind can be.
But our enemies are determined to remind us." ###

Some common sense SOLUTIONS offered today by the president of Gulf Oil, in the Wall Street Journal. ###

History is indeed bloody, and humankind can indeed be brutal. But I would suggest we don't need our enemies to remind us of that. All we need to do is tally the bodies of those who have died at America's hand, or at the hands of brutal regimes we supported. Tally the dead Vietnamese (3+ million). Tally the dead Iraqis (surely approaching a million now, if you include the sanctions of the 90s). Tally the dead Iranians (in the millions) who were killed by our puppet Shah, or our henchman Saddam Hussein, or by our hands directly while sitting peacably in an airliner.

That should be sufficient to remind us how bloody & brutal human history is. It also might have the added effect of reminding us exactly why it is that we have enemies who want to spill our blood.

IndyMac taken over by FDIC----
The race to the bottom accelerates.

It cost them 4-8 billion and there was 1 billion uninsured deposits. How much capital will they have after this?

At the time of closing, IndyMac Bank, F.S.B. had about $1 billion of potentially uninsured deposits held by approximately 10,000 depositors. The FDIC will begin contacting customers with uninsured deposits to arrange an appointment with an FDIC claims agent by Monday. Customers can contact the FDIC for an appointment using the toll-free number above. The FDIC will pay uninsured depositors an advance dividend equal to 50 percent of the uninsured amount.

Based on preliminary analysis, the estimated cost of the resolution to the Deposit Insurance Fund is between $4 and $8 billion. IndyMac Bank, F.S.B. is the fifth FDIC-insured failure of the year. The last FDIC-insured failure in California was the Southern Pacific Bank, Torrance, on February 7, 2003.


Question -- is concentrated sodium hypochorite a good idea for a backup water treatment plan, should potable water not be available?

Supposedly 2 fluid ounces of 5.25% sodium hypochlorite solution (=bleach) will treat 120 gallons of water. Working out the math, 1 gallon of 100% sodium hypochorite should treat almost 150,000 gallons of water. This approach would seem superior to long term use of iodine (=thyroid problems) or boiling (=considerable energy use).

Questions for TOD
a) How would one store pure sodium hypochlorite? Type of container, temperature, moisture, etc?
b) What are the long term health consequences of this? It seems to meet not all that different than the chlorine my municipality uses to treat tap water.
c) Are there any other risks?

I can't answer all that off the top of my head, but I believe 12% is the strongest readily available commercial form of sodium hypochlorite. Stronger concentrations become really dangerous. Airtight polyethylene containers (i.e. bleach or pool chlorine containers) are fine. Once you open it, you can start losing some of it in the vapor phase even through the cap seal. Sunlight and high temperatures can also degrade it. Using it on relatively clear water is best. Some of the survival books talk about how to use bleach for disinfection. I have one by Cody Lunden that is pretty good on that topic. Municipal water treatment systems only use a few parts per million of free chlorine to get the job done on filtered water.

Leanan, I'd like to say a big "Thank You" for some of the articles you have posted within the last two weeks, namely, "Oil Reform Won't Reverse Pemex Woes" (http://uk.reuters.com/articlePrint?articleId=UKN0131638320080702) and "National Oil Firms Well Placed To Take On Majors" (http://www.rigzone.com/news/article.asp?a_id=63657) from last week, and "Of Nations' Pride and Access To Resources" on today's Drumbeat. These articles provide a much needed counterpoint to the European and American international oil company propaganda that stalling world oil production is the fault of state-owned oil companies in the Third World who supposedly lack expertise and investment capital to effectively produce their own oil, and that all our problems would be solved if only the IOC's were allowed to own (oops, I mean "manage) other peoples' resources. I will mention these articles in the next post I write for my blog. If you run across any more articles along this line, please feel free to pass them along. They are greatly appreciated.


This news story came up rather late in the day on the Yahoo AP feed. You might want to feature it tomorrow. I can't find the original link, but here's local Florida newspaper link:

Floridians are going easier on the gas

This story is based on a Florida Department of Environmental Protection report that per capita gasoline usage is at a 35-year low. I think that it's pretty intuitively obvious that a lot of this usage decrease is coming out of decreased tourist travel (despite your visit earlier this year - y'all come, hear?). I couldn't find the report on the FDEP website.

Best Regards,

Brother Kornhoer

P.S. I'll be visiting your state come August, assuming an attack on Iran doesn't turn NYC into a big target (shudder).

Does anybody have recent information about Saudi Arabia's Khursaniyah 500 kbd workover project?

According to EIA STEO July 8, 2008, the "500,000 bbl/d Khursaniyah project has been pushed back to the end of 2008."

According to Saudi Aramco in June 2007, Khursaniyah was supposed to start in December 2007.

The Khursaniyah workover project will probably produce closer to 350 kbd, rather than 500 kbd, assuming that the remaining reserves of Khursaniyah, including the associated Abu Hadriyah and Fadhili fields, are about 3 Gb.

Hello Ace,

That delay certainly won't help Aramco or OPEC in meeting their latest long-term forecast either:

OPEC releases oil forecast to 2030

By OGJ editors
HOUSTON, July 11 -- The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries has released its oil outlook to 2030. The forecast cites various challenges to the oil market, including uncertainty of demand, rising costs, and environmental regulations...
Bob Shaw in Phx,Az Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

Hello TODers,

Costs favouring organic

The price of fertilisers could force a major return to organic farming whether people think it is a good idea or not, according to the Soil Association.

...The oil producers' organisation, OPEC, warned that a barrel could rise to $200 by the end of the year. It has been forecast that nitrogen-based fertilisers could then hit £500 a tonne.

The Soil Association says: "At these prices, the claimed efficiency of industrial farming begins to collapse."
Even Matt Simmons is now saying to live in a village and grow your own food. Have you hugged your bag of NPK today?

Also, another NPK warehouse going up:

Yara to build large-scale US fertiliser import facility near New Orleans

The 55,000-tonne facility will be capable of handling Panamax size vessels, Yara said.
Another potential 'Federal Reserve Bank of I-NPK'?

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