DrumBeat: July 26, 2008

Oil shock: Why This Run-Up Is Different

The two events, half a world apart, went largely unheralded.

Early this month, Valero Energy in Texas got the unwelcome news that Mexico would be cutting supplies to one of the company's Gulf Coast refineries by up to 15 percent. Mexico's state-owned oil enterprise is one of Valero's main sources of crude, but oil output from Mexican fields, including the giant Cantarell field, is drying up. Mexican sales of crude oil to the United States have plunged to their lowest level in more than a dozen years.

The same week, India's Tata Motors announced it was expanding its plans to begin producing a new $2,500 "people's car" called the Nano in the fall. The company hopes that by making automobiles affordable for people in India and elsewhere, it could eventually sell 1 million of them a year.

'Peak oil' Facebook site fuels global discussion

EDMONTON - Jordan Schroder lives in a province with one of the richest supplies of oil in the world, but the Edmontonian is the driving force behind a Facebook group to raise awareness about the resource's scarcity.

Schroder had been following the peak oil theory -- that production of oil will peak, then decline -- for several years before starting the common-interests Facebook group this January.

Since then, his "Have you heard about peak oil?" collective has ballooned to include members from virtually every continent.

Oil prices could drop if Iran concerns allayed: OPEC

ALGIERS (AFP) - The price of oil could drop to between 70 and 80 dollars a barrel if the dollar strengthens and concerns over Iran are reduced, OPEC chief Chakib Khelil said Saturday.

Would You Drive 55?

Liberals say Iraq is another Vietnam; conservatives say Barack Obama is Jimmy Carter redux. ABBA's a mega-hit and Elton John's going to be performing at Madison Square Garden. Had enough of these '70s flashbacks? Brace yourself for another: the return of the national speed limit, courtesy of one of the country's most venerable politicians.

How Free Trade Can Help Solve the Energy Crisis

The unprecedented escalation in oil and food prices is a clear and present danger to our economy and national security. The root cause of this crisis is our dependence on a single commodity, oil, for transportation -- we burn 145 billion gallons of gasoline a year. The only permanent solution is diversity in our fuel supply to ensure competition and choice in the marketplace.

Seeing red, going green

THREE months ago, Premier Rodney MacDonald, while resisting calls to cut fuel taxes, landed on the hotseat for arguing that the best way to beat high gas prices was to take the bus or buy a fuel-efficient car.

Nova Scotians did not take kindly to this suggestion – which, in fairness, did sound more like a directive when squeezed into headline shorthand. Angry readers made a number of valid points. Few can afford a hybrid. And many – especially in rural areas – have no access to public transportation. Meanwhile, bus service in the metropolitan areas could stand real improvement.

Birmingham engineering boss in despair at 86% power cost rise

A TINY Birmingham engineering firm faces an electricity bill rise of at least 86 per cent in a year as the energy crisis turns up the heat for thousands of small Midland firms.

As the national furore over the dramatic increases in energy costs continues, many small Birmingham businesses on tight budgets face unprecedented rises.

Fuel shortage shutting down Baja gas stations

TIJUANA – Gasoline stations in this city and in Rosarito Beach are closing down for up to 24 hours because of a fuel shortage.

Nigerian military deploys gunboats in Niger Delta region

LAGOS (Xinhua) -- Nigeria's military has deployed gunboats in the oil-rich Delta State, following threats by the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) to blow up the pipelines of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) in the area, reported the Punch newspaper on Saturday.

Future of UK North Sea Oil, Gas Seen in Hands of Smaller Players

Small, independent oil and gas producers have begun to recognize the value in aging North Sea oil fields and could be key to unlocking an estimated 16 billion-25 billion barrels of oil equivalent lying unexploited in the U.K. Continental Shelf, industry analysts and participants say.

Can biofuels solve America's oil crunch?

ATLANTA, Georgia (CNN) -- A summer with budget-busting gasoline prices seems like the worst time to launch a cross-country road trip from California to Georgia, but this one is different: We're road-testing alternative fuel that might help reduce pollution and break the nation's reliance on foreign oil.

Nothing to Eat: review of Paul Roberts' "The End of Food"

Roberts’s worst-case scenario isn’t tomatoes devoid of taste. It’s a “perfect storm of sequential or even simultaneous food-related calamities.” Climate change and spiraling population growth have him wondering not just “whether we’ll be able to feed 9.5 billion people by 2070, but how long we can continue to meet the demands of the 6.5 billion alive today.”

Roberts delivers a litany of terrors small and large: “Arable land is growing scarcer. Inputs like pesticides and synthetic nitrogen fertilizers are increasingly expensive. Soil degradation and erosion from hyperintensive farming are costing millions of acres of farmland a year. Water supplies are being rapidly depleted in parts of the world, even as the rising price of petroleum — the lifeblood of industrial agriculture — is calling into question the entire agribusiness model.”

Big Oil has more cash than it can use

Some of the country's biggest oil companies have a money problem. They've got too much of it.

No tears, of course, will be shed for Big Oil, which often is cast as the heartless profiteer, sneering in delight as we motorists wince with every squeeze of the pump handle.

But the oil companies, too, are in a squeeze. Awash in cash, they're having a hard time spending it.

More than three-fourths of the world's untapped reserves are controlled by countries that either ban or restrict access to their reserves. In other words, the best drilling prospects are taken.

Limits on futures trading could boost gas prices, expert says

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Proposals to reign in wallet-draining gasoline prices by curbing speculation in oil markets would likely increase costs at the pump instead of trimming them, a University of Illinois economist says.

Scott Irwin argues congressional efforts to curb trading by speculators is a “misguided witch hunt” that ignores the root of America’s energy problem – a finite global oil supply that has been stretched thin by surging demand in China, India and other developing countries.

South Africa: Analysts Doubt Gazprom's $250 Claim

RUSSIAN gas and oil monopoly Gazprom yesterday claimed it was inevitable oil prices would rise to $250 a barrel next year.

But analysts in SA said there were already signs of the price softening in response to waning demand as consumers respond to spiralling fuel costs. They said the economy, already buffeted by a host of negative factors, would not sustain such a high price.

Oil: How low will it go?

A recent drop in oil prices can be attributed primarily to futures traders focusing exclusively on the troubled U.S. economy and ignoring other factors, according to economists.

Unfortunately for businesses and consumers looking for a break on gas prices, those same economists are not expecting the price freefall to last much longer.

At Ford, End of a Big-Vehicle Era Takes a Toll

The United States market for pickups and S.U.V.’s began collapsing in the spring when gas prices hit $4 a gallon, as consumers moved rapidly to buying small cars.

So far this year, sales of large pickups are down 25 percent, and S.U.V.’s have fallen 32 percent, according to the trade journal Ward’s Automotive Reports.

But the impact is hurting automakers in more than just sales of new trucks.

“There are multiple second- and third-order impacts,” Mr. Johnson said. “We’re seeing it in lease residuals, we’re seeing it in loan losses, and we’re seeing an impact in the showroom, because people can’t get enough on their old cars to make it worthwhile to get into a new car.”

Nobody Loves a Three-Year-Old SUV

Auto executives just can't catch a break. Add to slumping sales and lofty gasoline prices a ticking time bomb in their auto leasing operations. During the past several years automakers from General Motors (GM) to Nissan Motor (NSANY) to BMW leased millions of cars and trucks. As those leases end, the companies have to take back the vehicles—many of them the gas-guzzling SUVs, pickups, and luxury models people don't want anymore. You know what that means: more pain as the automakers offload those vehicles at a loss.

'It feels like a sci-fi film' - accidents tarnish nuclear dream

French nuclear companies are hoping to play a central role in the government's plan to build a new generation of reactors. At home, however, the industry has been buffeted by a series of mishaps.

Mohamed ElBaradei: A Global Agency is Needed for the Energy Crisis

World leaders need to take action on the energy crisis that is taking shape before our eyes. Oil prices are soaring and it looks less and less likely that this is a bubble. The price of coal has doubled. Countries as far apart as South Africa and Tajikistan are plagued by power cuts and there have been riots in several nations because of disruptions to electricity. Rich states, no longer strangers to blackouts, are worried about security of energy supply. In the developing world, 1.6bn people - about a quarter of the human race - have no access to electricity.

Fundamental changes are under way in the energy field the significance of which we have not yet fully grasped. Global demand for energy is rising fast as the population increases and developing countries undergo dramatic economic growth. The International Energy Agency says the world´s energy needs could be 50 per cent higher in 2030 than they are today. Yet the fossil fuels on which the world still depends are finite and far from environmentally friendly. Serious thought needs to be given now to creating viable alternatives. The need for co-ordinated political action on energy and related issues - climate change and poverty, to name but two - has never been more acute. Yet there is no global energy institution in which the countries of the world can agree on joint solutions to the potentially enormous problems we see emerging.

Iran says oil could reach $500 on dollar, politics

TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran's OPEC governor said world oil prices could reach as high as $500 per barrel in a few years' time if the dollar falls further and political tension worsens, an Iranian weekly said.

"If the dollar's value continues to decrease and if the political crisis becomes worse, the oil price would reach up to $500," Mohammad Ali Khatibi told Shahrvand-e Emrooz in an interview published on Saturday.

Oil's 2-week nosedive shows up at the pump

NEW YORK - Whether or not any bubble has burst, Americans now live in an economy where the prospect of a gallon of gas for less than $4 is cause for relief.

That barrier may be broken as early as this weekend, as a two-week nosedive in crude prices begins to ripple out to gas stations nationwide.

High oil price to hit long-haul holiday demand

Long-haul leisure travel could be the big loser if the price of oil stays high and the UK economy turns down, warns the head of a major group of travel agencies.

Advantage Travel Centres chief executive John McEwan said today: “I worry about long-haul travel. We are getting into the realms of it being unaffordable for a section of the market.

“The economic environment is putting pressure on middle income families and a lot of people are going to see a material reduction in their income.” McEwan was speaking at a Barclays travel briefing in London.

TNK-BP CEO 'summoned' by Russian prosecutors

MOSCOW (AFP) - The chief executive of the troubled British-Russian joint venture oil group TNK-BP, Robert Dudley, has been summoned to appear before Russian prosecutors Monday to explain alleged violations of labour laws, Interfax news agency reported Saturday.

Russia Roughs Up Big Oil

It seems to me that we might be witnessing the severe wounding -- and likely downsizing -- of one of the major members of Big Oil. At the same time, we again are being given yet another demonstration that doing business in Russia is fraught with peril that just may not be worth the effort.

Oil Exports From Northern Iraq Rise Sharply

BAGHDAD — An American agency monitoring reconstruction in Iraq said Friday that oil exports through Iraq’s northern pipeline rose more than tenfold over the past year, citing a sharp drop in attacks on the pipeline and new infrastructure built to protect it.

Chavez falls for Chinese ploy

In May, Venezuela and China announced a “preliminary agreement” to build a massive new refinery on Gaolin Island in the southern province of Guandong. They agreed to split the cost and ownership.

Since then, U.S. oil experts and Latin America scholars have been debating the refinery deal, and a curious consensus has developed. Nobody seems to believe China will actually build it.

Do you want to know why Iran has a nuclear program?

We don’t know where on the peak oil curve Iran is right now, but even if they have not reached peak oil production yet, it is safe to assume that they will shortly. This means that Iran must begin to look for other sources of energy for its future, just like many other countries. At present, the primary choices available for power production are very limited. They are hydro, gas, coal and nuclear – with nuclear giving the biggest bang for the buck.

Massive Economic Disaster Seems Possible -- Will Survivalists Get the Last Laugh?

With multiple crises on the horizon, survivalist views don't seem as marginal as they did before.

The real cost of logging in the Boreal Forest

There's a calculation the Ontario government doesn't do when awarding a logging licence in the old growth Boreal Forest: It doesn't ask about the impact on global warming.

In particular, it doesn't ask about the impact over the next 20 years. Given the galloping rate at which temperatures are increasing in the north, this omission is foolhardy at best; derelict at worst.

A new spiritual politics of limits

We live in a world of finite space and finite resource. Endless trajectories of growth are not realistic; and our own rising "oceans" of food and fuel prices are a stark reminder that scarcity is not someone else's problem in today's and tomorrow's world.

A word to the wise:

The key in growing food is to remember that, on a plant-based diet, you need calories and other nutrients, such as minerals. Vegetables, for the most part, will provide minerals and vitamins, but not many calories. Only fruit will provide a diet rich in calories. So, while vegetable gardens are a cool thing to have, they will not sustain you. Fruit, on the other hand, will sustain you, during its season. There are exceptions, of course, melons are grown in a vegetable garden, and they are a fruit with many calories, but what most people think of as food from a vegetable garden, lettuce, green beans, squash, cucumbers, etc., have few calories.

The point of this message is to plant fruit trees, now, since they often take five years or more to bear fruit. Plant a variety of trees so from month to month, or season to season, there will always be new, different fruit coming on as the current fruit starts to fade. If you live in the north, erect a greenhouse in which you can grow fruit trees.


And how about nuts? (The food kind, not the Cornucopian kind, although I suppose one could make a case for using Cornucopians as a food source, but I digress)

And, if you can, learn how to graft and to prune. You can find out how from books, but it is better to take a class, if one is offered near you.

We got most of our trees from Sonoma Antique Apples, now called Trees of Antiquity.
http://www.treesofantiquity.com/ They UPS bare root trees in late winter and early spring. I thnk it's probably better to find sources with roughly the same climate as yours (is now?).


PS ...Sgage; thin the fruit. Leave only one every 4-6 inches.

Nuts are good; they're high in fat, and a healthy diet has small amounts of fat. Fat can be converted to calories, but it takes a lot more of the body's energy to make the conversion; therefore, fat isn't the preferred fuel (it's more for cell lubrication). Thus, the caloric EROI is not as good as fruits, but if that's all there is, they'll do in a pinch.

On the other hand, fruit sugar converts to muscle glycogen without much tax; it's a cleaner burning fuel.


Nuts are also valuable for their protein content. This will help maintain muscle quality and mass in lieu of animal-based proteins that may become scarcer with increasingly costly energy.

Fat can be converted to calories, but it takes a lot more of the body's energy to make the conversion; therefore, fat isn't the preferred fuel (it's more for cell lubrication). Thus, the caloric EROI is not as good as fruits, but if that's all there is, they'll do in a pinch.

That sounds like seriously flawed reasoning, can you back up that statement with some factual material?

My reading suggests that fat is one of the critical factors in surviving on a subsistence diet. Many cultures, including the those on the Korean peninsula raised animals for fat production.

There is a lot of biochemistry to this, see the textbooks for details (e.g. Lehninger or Stryer). I don't have the exact efficiency numbers at my fingertips but they don't seem to be the main thing. Fat has a much higher energy content than carbohydrates and is the preferred long-term fuel for most body tissues. However, the brain runs on glucose only, and on some weird stuff called ketone bodies in case of starvation. This is a reason for trying to have a balanced diet that has both fat and carbohydrates. In addition to the above, carbohydrates can be mobilized quickly and some energy can be extracted from them in the absence of oxygen (e.g. overworked muscle), whereas fat can only be used in the presence of oxygen. On top of this, glucose/carbohydrates can be converted into fat easily, but not the other way round. All together, "fats burn in the flame of carbohydrates" as Stryer puts it on p. 478 of the third edition...

Nuts are good; they're high in fat, and a healthy diet has small amounts of fat. Fat can be converted to calories, but it takes a lot more of the body's energy to make the conversion; therefore, fat isn't the preferred fuel (it's more for cell lubrication). Thus, the caloric EROI is not as good as fruits, but if that's all there is, they'll do in a pinch.

On the other hand, fruit sugar converts to muscle glycogen without much tax; it's a cleaner burning fuel.

Lots of stuff here to contest. My own reading leads me to believe that a healthy diet is high in fat and protein and low in veggie carbs and totally void of sugars and refined carbs. The 'cell lubrication' thing really has me scratching my head.

Meat is premium food. If one has to be a veggie, nut protein is probably the best bet for the high protein in a healthy diet. Too much fructose, IMO, can be bad, since it is matabolized by the liver into fat. Fruits are probably good in moderation.

Read 'Good Calories, Bad Calories'

I've got a hazel nut tree, but I've also got a squirrel (was two but the cat got one). The existing mature orchard seems to have gone into a 2+ year cycle for some reason (maybe a weather problem) and birds (blackbirds in particular), insect and disease take their toll too. The most reliable producer I've found so far are the two mature walnut trees (although storing the nuts is problematic with the door mice, although the cat dispatched one yesterday).

Any good books on organic orchard keeping BTW?

Nature's great, but when you start competing with it for food, man does it fight back. Oh! And I lost a chestnut tree to the heat two years ago. That old Climate Change can deliver a knock-out blow any time. Whatever people do, diversify as much as is practical would be my tip. Resilience, resilience, resilience!

Fruit production pulls a lot of energy from the ground. You can get back to annual cycles if you thin the fruit set and if you fertilize correctly. Fruit trees need A LOT of lime and they need trace minerals.

On the other hand... alternating year production does limit the insect and virus load.

Thanks will. I've been trimming the grass back from the trees and applying a horse manure mulch, cleaning away the moss etc. The trees are mature and too big, as well as too many, to look after properly. Thining the fruit is not really an option, but the birds seem to be doing a pretty good job at it.

Interesting about the lime, is that to aid mineral release in the soil or for some other reason?

If I can get them back into regular production then it might be worth giving them more time and resources. I've been meaning to study up on them at some time, but it keeps ending up on the back burner.

i think you live in France, no?
I do too; 6mo/12. In the Cevennes.

In France I've found the "back burner" provides a lot
of extra heat ..... many of my projects smolder there.

We have very old fruit trees which are apparently "fini".
They produce the hardest pears imaginable ....never ripen
tho they get loads of sun.

if you want to talk about Fr. i'm emailable
dadco (at) valley (dot) net

Be careful with the lime though. It is not appropriate for non-acid lands and should be used with parcimony after an analysis of the land is done. Too large additions release many minerals from the land in the short term but decreases your long term potential.

"Lime make the father rich and ruins the son" as the farmers say.

Hazelnuts- aka Filberts when i was a kid.
They need Boron (B) to set nuts consistently. Solubor is the product that i have but I have no idea the rate. Apply as a foliar application.
Boron is a funny element. The rates are usually in ppm (parts per million)and low(!) Too much is quickly toxic. Beware!

Good points. I just planted a new peach tree this year. I've now got 2 peaches, 2 apples (which are 15 years old and bear huge amounts of apples), blueberries, and raspberries. My established peach tree is completely encrusted with ripening peaches, and my apple trees are groaning under a full load of apples. Last year a couple of branches actually broke from the load.

I live in NH, USA, and for staple starch easy-to-grow caloric goodness, don't forget potatoes! I am expecting a great crop this Fall (I've already been stealing a few here and there...) They're Russet Burbanks, which mature later than some, but store well...

Actually, grains provide the most calories.

(Most nuts are fruits. Melons are fruit)

"We are all fruit"

From: "My big fat Greek Wedding"

Without getting into whether grains are good for you or not, it's difficult to grow sufficient quantity in a garden to provide much benefit. So, it's ok to talk about grains in the abstract, but growing them, harvesting, processing them is different from a vegetable garden or a fruit orchard.

Agreed, which is why I mentioned potatoes.

I agree that grains don't yield like potatoes but there are good reasons to grow them. I grow some winter wheat and quinoa. In the case of winter wheat, it provides a good rotation crop. All the work is done in the fall and it provides a huge quantity of organic material. It's not that hard to harvest and I thresh mine using a Leaf Eater although Gene Logsdon has plans for a neat thresher in his book Small Grain Raising. I winnow it in the wind o top of one of our hills.

In the case of quinoa, I grow it because it has complete proteins so you don't have to do food combining like corn and beans. It's easy to grow, comes up quickly and matures rapidly. It's easy to thresh and I winnow it like my winter wheat.

One final advantage of grains is that they store well and without processing. My wife and I did snap beans for the freezer this morning. You have a hot water to blanch them and then an ice bath to cool them whereas grains can just be stuck in a paper bag.


Quinoa is fantastic stuff. Excellent texture and it couples well with many common spices. It is quite filling and digests slowly. It makes a good accompaniment for many dishes, especially as a rice substitute. OTOH, it is satisfying enough to serve as a small meal all by itself.

I highly recommend quinoa to any TOD'ers that have yet to experience it.

I thresh mine using a Leaf Eater

Thank you Todd for a technique I am definitely going to use!

Leaf Eater?


A Leaf Eater is a brand name. It is essentially a weed whip in a plastic drum and is sold to shred leaves. Ours is about 18" in diameter and about as high. I set it over a 30 gallon trash can lined with a plastic trash bag.

I made one modification to the Leaf Eater, the slots were too far apart to get good threshing action so I cut out the opening adjustment channel . I can now close the opening down to about 1/8th of an inch and this works pretty well. Every now and then I'll open the slots all the up and push any accumulated stuff into the bag.


Hillbillies had little money in the Depression but they had a great grain: Hickory Cane Corn. This white corn grows well on poor soil and has large kernels that are good for hominy, corn meal, parching and moonshine. Often the kernels had to be used for food and the cobs were used to make 'corn sqeezins' for income.

Often the kernels had to be used for food and the cobs were used to make 'corn sqeezins' for income.

If by "corn sqeezins" you mean moonshine whiskey you are simply wrong. You cannot make whiskey from corn cobs. The alcohol comes from the fermentation of the starch in the corn kernels. Cobs are almost pure cellulose and cannot be fermented into ethanol alcohol. Though there is a process can turn cellulose into alcohol it involves a lot more than simple fermentation and was never used to make moonshine.

Ron Patterson

If by "corn sqeezins" you mean moonshine whiskey you are simply wrong. You cannot make whiskey from corn cobs. The alcohol comes from the fermentation of the starch in the corn kernels. Cobs are almost pure cellulose and cannot be fermented into ethanol alcohol.

Right you are Ron. My bad memory

I just asked my hillbilly friend how his father and grandfather did it. After the corn was harvested they ran the stalks thru a wringer and fermented that juice. Also, he said 'sqeezins' were for personal use. The hogs got the cobs.

I agree that fruit trees are great--one good component in a resilient food production scheme, and something than many current suburban homeowners can do now to help provide for food in tough times.

I disagree with you on the value of vegetables other than fruit trees. Various tubers represent the most calories per square foot possible. Corn, beans, millet, amaranth, quinoa, and peas are also excellent means of growing calories and nutrients beyond just fruit trees, and have the distinct advantage of being much more scalable than fruit trees (produce calories the first year).

People should also consider animals in their food production schemes. Animals are not always appropriate, and I realize that some people have various objections to eating animal products, but in many situations they should be included. While animals require more calorie input than they provide to humans as output, they provide multiple benefits: ability to effectively concentrate calories that can't be efficiently consumed directly by humans, ability to produce fertilizer for soil quality, ability to effectively convert low protein/fat inputs into high protein/fat outputs, and (in some cases) the ability to offer resiliency of yields when other circumstances cause crop failures/reduced yields elsewhere.

If you're trying to maximize calories from a 500 square foot garden, then you probably shouldn't include animals, but you also shouldn't include fruit trees. If, however, you're trying to set up a system that will provide resilient yields of calories and nutrients without such a space constraint, then your system should include a diverse selection of fruit trees, nut trees, beans & grains, cruciferous vegetables, carbon crops for composting, animals (chickens, squab, bees, sheep, etc. depending on circumstances), etc.


I have to disagree with most people keeping animals - I have no problem with people eating animals.

1. You have to feed them. Unless people can buy feed and/or hay at the feed store, they are going to be out of luck. For example, a fully confined chicken will eat a bushel of grain a year. But let's say they can free range 6 months a year. That's still 1/2 bushel of grain each.

But let's go further and assume the family plans to eat a chicken a week along with eggs. Just feeding the chickens you eat equals 25 bushels of grain. Our family being smart decides to grow corn. Realistically, they will probably only get 40 bushels of corn an acre. Therefore, they will have to have about 1/2 acre devoted to grain for the chickens.

But, there's more. You can't feed chickens whole grain corn, it has to be ground. So, now or family needs to buy a grain grinder. Oh yes, they also should be prepared to grow some soybeans so they can make a high protein laying mash.

2. People need to know something about animal husbandry. I don't know how many questions I've seen on other forums asking basic questions about raising chickens. It gets far more complex as people move up in animal size. Take cows: now I realize many people aren't going to have a cow. But, if they do, they'd better know about pulling calves, mastitus, etc.

3. People who plan on eating large animals also have to know how to preserve the meat. Granted, some can be shared with others but they are still going to have to do something with the excess meat.

How many people have enough canning jars much less a pressure canner? (Well, we do along with a lot of other food preservation stuff.) Perhaps, they plan on freezing the meat. I have somewhat over 40cuft of freezer space which sounds like a lot until you think in cow-sized portions.

I would argue that people should stick to a vegan diet unless they want to invest a lot of time and energy learning appropriate skill sets.



I agree that, in many situations, it's not a good idea to keep animals in the traditional sense (chickens, pigs, goats, etc.). If you have more space than you can garden intensively, then chickens (especially for eggs) may be a wise decision IF you can sustain them on forrage. In parts of the country, this is not difficult--say if you already have a half acre of mixed orchard in Oregon, you can support a small flock on forage alone with a little planning. Other places, the feed requiremet may make it a poor choice. I agree with you on large animals--pigs, sheep, goats, cattle all require more knowledge than most people (me included) have to raise efficiently.

I think one area that people should consider animals is in a more unconventional sense. Dovecotes (for squab), beekeeping, vermiculture, or a bat box (no meat, but lots of fertilizer) might be very wise choices depending on circumstances. For the space constrained, it might not be a wise choice, but I think it's something worth considering for each unique set of conditions...


One reason I mentioned what I did is that I moderated a homemaking/homesteading sub-forum of a forum with quite a lot members for a few years. What I saw time and again were people not taking the time to: 1)Develop necessary skill sets. 2)Taking the time to gather readily available information. 3)Testing and experimenting before jumping in with both feet.

One good example was that people invariably asked what varieties of veggies others were growing; their belief being that if variety X is good for someone else, it will be good for them. I would post that they should do variety testing to determine what worked for them. I would note that, among other variety trials, I had tried well over 50 varieties of tomatoes over a period of years before selecting the three that we now grow. Further, as I noted above, I grow some winter wheat. What I didn't say is that I have spent the last nine years developing my own strain. How many people will actually do something like this? My guess is few.

One thing people need to keep in mind when they think about producing some of their own food; a good rule of thumb is that an individual needs one quart of veggies and one quart of fruit each day. Assuming a six month growing season and that veggies and fruit can be purchased for half the year, this means they have to preserve 180 quarts of veggies and 180 quarts of fruit each year. To put this into perspective, here are some canning yields: apples -48#-16 to 20 quarts, peaches-1 bushel-18 to 24 quarts, tomatoes-1 bushel-20 quarts, snap beans-1 bushel-15 to 20 quarts, potatoes-25#-3 to 5 quarts, sweet potatoes-1 bushel-18 to 22 quarts. BTW, these are from the Farm Journal's Freezing & Canning Cookbook, 1978. I highly recommend this book.


Some time back there was 'open range'. In fact in my teen years driving down into the Ozark Mtns there was still some open range areas. Coming around a gravel road curve one might run up on cows grazing alongside the shoulders. Or maybe it was just someones calves got loose but as I recall
they said that back in the more rural counties that open range was still part of life.

That said...the way to do open range (for the future let's say) is to put a cow bell on your stock. Pick the most tame cow/mule or horse. Bell that one and the rest will always be in earshot of it.

Follow the bell tinkling to find your stock. Or lead the belled animal into your feed lot, tie it up and leave the gate open. Next morning your stock are there in the lot.

Lots of 'mast' used to fall in the woods and the animals would thrive on it. Most of that is gone now since the good nut trees have been harvested long ago however they can still browse somewhat. You also
earmarked your stock to be able to tell them from your neighbors.

Of course all this supposes that after the dieoff that people can become more neighborly than now.

I used to have to bring the milk cows home if they didn't come up at milking time and no one was there to call them that they would recognize. The cows and horses/mules would learn to recognize their owners calls and come running.

Long about milking time I could hear folks all around calling their cows. One can also call hogs. Or send the dogs after them.

So back then everyone would fence their gardens. Here many let stock run on river islands as well. Or kept small pens for them down where they used to work them daily, like in the bottoms.



don't get me wrong... i always see the negative first...

if one can run a 40cu ft freezer... seems there wouldn't be such scarcity of food requiring one to be 100% food independent...

if food is so scarce that one needs to be fully self sufficient... my guess is the surrounding infrastructure would also be so devoid as to make 40cuft freezers impossible...

then you get into protecting it...

now... i love this discussion... unfortunately i live in a semi-urban area... SE Fla... in a condo... and have been bugging the condo board to stop buying palm trees and plant banana trees... and anything else that favors this clime... we have the space and the water system already...

so i'll glean what i can... there are 4-6 million in population in the immediate area who live either in multi-family or lots too small for any plantings to be of any value... and unless everyone started doing it... we got plenty on no-gooders who'd just come over and take it...

Many, many palms are ideal for Florida's climate. SE Florida should be pretty close to that of Bangkok, where I live. I have about 60 varieties of palm around my house, most just love the water. It's rainy season now and they are just taking off.

Bananas are fine too, but for condo landscaping much more difficult to maintain. My bananas are also taking off and there is nothing wrong with them.

There are a lot of tropical fruit trees that can do well in a landscaped environment; mangos, oranges, etc.

But condo landscaping is probably not the ideal environment for fruit cultivation. You would have to agree on how to harvest and share. Otherwise people tend to pick things too early because they are afraid if they wait until they are ready, someone else will.

What! no spuds or rutabagas, or Jerusalem artichokes( these are much hardier than potatoes, but rather tasteless.

Jerusalem artichokes are very hardy indeed - around here, they're a weed. The tubers when boiled, mashed with butter, salt & pepper, are not too bad, but they do cause horrendous gas!

I've heard that Jerusalem artichokes got the Pilgrims through some very tough times...

I sorta have a problem with this take.

You sound like a guy who hasn't tended too many fruit trees.

The big problem is dealing with the insects that attack fruit trees.
Most folks will spray the hell out of their fruit trees or lose them totally to insects most seasons.

This season for the first I can remember in a very long time I have lots of fruit and almost zero destroyed by insects,primarily worms.

You have to be very very good to raise fruit trees meaningfully and tackle the problem without insecticides,miscible sprays,etc. Not just once but prebloom,last fall,bloom fall and so forth. You must be very proactive for once the infestation starts its usually too late.

What I prefer is vine bearing fruit. Blueberries,strawberries and blackberries. This year I am hoping to put up wild elderberry.

So to each his own. I am just telling you what I have seen with my small orchard. Pears,apples and peaches.

Or is this something you just pulled off via Googleville?

Airdale-as information doubles,knowledge halves and wisdom quarters

I have never sprayed my apples or peaches. Some of the apples are blemished (or inhabited by undesirable elements), but then, I'm not growing for market. I get more apples than I can possibly use. The peaches have never had any insect problems, but oddly enough, porcupines like to get into the trees and can cause great damage. A simple low wire fence keeps them out.

Berries are great, if you can keep the cedar waxwings off of 'em - around here you need to throw something over 'em. Seems like a pretty good berry year up here in NH. Strawberries were awesome, and the blueberries starting to come on strong...

One thing people don't seem to know about wormy fruit - botulism can develop in the wormy area of the fruit. This is why commercial juicers, whether organic or standard, refuse to accept wormy fruit.


PS - I have really good codling moth control using pheromone traps.

I have good scab control on apples and peach leaf curl on peaches
using not only copper sprays but also colloidal silver or a weak
Pine-Sol solution.

I think the bug problem with fruit varies from region to region. Here in east texas the plum curiculo bug will infest every plum or peach unless a heavy spraying schedule is adhered to. I lived in Amarillo, Texas, which is up in the panhandle at 3500ft. elevation, for a couple of years and had a nectarine tree in the yard. I never sprayed it and had heavy crops of totally worm free fruit. Amarillo doesn't have mosquitos either now that I recall.

"Amarillo doesn't have mosquitos either now that I recall."

amarillo doesnt have water either, that i recall.

never lived there, though i passed through a few times.

We spray our six apple trees against cedar-apple rust, otherwise they lose their leaves early summer and produce a poor crop (we tried it once, and sure enough-- leaves drop in July). Spray leaves a funky blue patina on the grass below. Probly die early of cancer, but what the hell-- tasty apples.

Coons climb the trees and eat the fruit. I have seen deer standing on their hind legs eating the apples and pears. I tried electric wire and it didn't work. I tried shooting and that was only partly sucessful.

One has to almost live with their orchard or keep dogs penned up near them or running loose and still they will prey on the crops.

Then the insects arrive in droves and overnite almost can decimate a crop. June bugs and Japanese beetles can do a real number on corn and other types of trees. Particularily plum.

The list goes on and on and on.

Blackberries, elderberries,strawberries and a few others seems to not be prone to prey from insects and animals. Yet something will get in my garden and eat hell out of cantaloupes and other vine plants.

A deer can destroy a whole row of beans in one night.

Nibble the tops out of the small corn plants and stunt it for good.

This is not easy stuff. Your mileage may vary but I bet I am not far off the mark for anywhere in the USA.


I had the same read on fruit trees. I have maybe 20 different varieties.

Cane berries are the most reliable year in year out, hands down. Raspberries are bountiful every year.
Here in the NW Hood strawberries are best(imho) but I'm telling you the quinalt everbearing are a treasure in themselves. Firm, sweet, large, and bears fruit until October for us.
Both Raspberries and strawberries are self propagating with out needing grafting and rootstock. Bear fruit after year 1, so the return time is quicker than with trees.

I don't know if you have wild blackcaps (black raspberries) where you live but they produce sweet fruit with little water. We have both red and blue elderberries. The red ones require cooking before eating from what I have read.


This year we got very few raspberries because the bees were missing when they bloomed. Bees arrived later, however, and the wild blackberries are abundant. We got peaches for the first time and they are delicious. Every other year the blossoms froze.

Seeing as 2009 is the Year of the Potato, I refer you to the following:


"Potato is a versatile, carbohydrate-rich food highly popular worldwide and prepared and served in a variety of ways. Freshly harvested, it contains about 80 percent water and 20 percent dry matter. About 60 to 80 percent of the dry matter is starch. On a dry weight basis, the protein content of potato is similar to that of cereals and is very high in comparison with other roots and tubers.

In addition, the potato is low in fat. Potatoes are rich in several micronutrients, especially vitamin C - eaten with its skin, a single mediumsized potato of 150 g provides nearly half the daily adult requirement (100 mg). The potato is a moderate source of iron, and its high vitamin C content promotes iron absorption. It is a good source of vitamins B1, B3 and B6 and minerals such as potassium, phosphorus and magnesium, and contains folate, pantothenic acid and riboflavin. Potatoes also contain dietary antioxidants, which may play a part in preventing diseases related to ageing, and dietary fibre, which benefits health."

Always underrated..............

Sweet taters & yams.

You have to really work at them to get it right but the pay back is HUGE.

I need to keep them under cold frame year around but still get a good crop on a regular basis.

It'd be great to have someone who knows what they are talking about related to a vegetarian diet. Anyone hear of beans?? Soybeans provide calories and protein. Any of the wide variety of beans provide everything you need. Calories are the least of our problems when I look out over the girth of Americans waddling down the road. Since when have vegetables not provided calories?? And last I checked grains would make up part of a vegetarian diet and make up by far the calories we consume in the world. What about root vegetables, dense with calories. yams or potatoes. Spend some time and learn about a topic before opining. I'll tell you when hamburger is $15 a pound there will be some newfound vegetarians out there.

I was listening to a little bit of Cornucopian Radio this morning--a local auto talk show that is pretty much completely supported by auto dealer advertisers. The host had a roundtable discussion with a group of auto dealers. He asked if the future of the industry was just small cars--BMW Minis and Honda Fits, etc. An auto dealer responded "No. Absolutely not."

The only difference of opinion was the degree to which vanity buyers of pickups would return. The host thought that there had been some permanent reduction in pickup demand; the dealers disagreed. However, the general consensus was that the "American Auto-Centric Way of Life" would continue as normal. The pattern is that we buy small cars, then bigger cars, SUV's or minivans when we have children, and then as empty nesters we buy smaller cars and/or luxury cars. This is the way it has been, and this is the way it always will be. So, go forth, buy and finance, and Party On Dude!

Can I have your presentation link please?

I'll shoot it to you in an email. Could you send me an email, to make sure I have your address?

(I gave a presentation at Sandia Labs a couple of weeks ago, which was videolinked to some of the other national labs, and they were kind enough to post it on an external server. I want to review it before I post the link, so I can also post any corrections, but watching myself on video is not exactly on my top 10 list of favorite things to do, but I'll force myself to sit down and watch it today. Perhaps the video might be used to force confessions at Gitmo?)

If you are so inclined, a "Beta Test" request, before we send this link to the EB and put it on Graphoilogy, etc. Did anyone have problems with the streaming video slowing down after a few minutes?


Just watched the whole thing. No slow down problems with me. Outstanding! It should be shown on primetime TV.

I particularly liked your Export Land Model.

Thanks. I think that I had a hardware problem. I watched on my laptop with no problems.

It looks like some older Macs may have problems with the streaming video.

Worked A-OK for me (in the UK) (even though YouTube seems a bit short of bandwidth at the moment).

Also. I'd like to encourage other TODers to take an hour out to watch the presentation - you did a great job there.

I find it really difficult sometimes, to talk about PO to my friends and colleagues without sounding like some sort of ranting, rabid doomer. I'm going to borrow some of your techniques for dealing with the subject in a way that is hard-hitting, without being too much in-your-face.

Great work.

Regards Chris

Thanks, we did cover a lot of ground in an hour, between the presentation the the Q&A.

Congratulations on an excellent presentation.

Very compelling discussion of the dynamics of net export decline.


Firefox wanted me to download a plugin. I did so, then restarted firefox and it still wanted the same thing. Worked fine on internet exploder, though.

+1 for informative, even though I've already seen all your slides here. Still trying (after 2.75 years reading TOD) to wrap my mind around the size calamity we face. Wow.




Amazing how fickle the American public is. I have friends who are pulling out of traditional energy investments due to the fear of all of the solar and wind energy coming online. Combined with gas going down 12 cents in our area this week so many people feel like the worst is over. I think we are lucky the economies in the U.S. and China have slowed.


More than 95% of ppl in the world don’t have the money, time, status, opportunity, or will, to ‘invest,’ that is squeeze money out of ponzi scheme type financial products, operations, speculation, or to invest in ‘what will sell’ etc.

They simply suffer the consequences. A very, very few of them revolt - aka terrorism, or PC resistance at the WTO talks, etc.

Of course the US public is fickle - they go where profits can be earned, they think, and that is all fine and dandy.

hardly. most terrosrists are poor little rich kids such as Bin laden. They make their point by blowing up Joe and Jane average. Don't dignify them.

I guess that depends on how you define "terrorist," which is in general a very poorly conceived term. MEND in Nigeria is almost exclusively composed of the poorest people in a very poor country. The Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan are mostly poor rural villagers. Abu Sayef in the Philippines are among the poorest in that poor country. AIAI in Somalia are, for the most part, quite poor. Same with EPR in Mexico. Same with JAM in Iraq, the Baluchi groups in Iran and Pakistan, etc.

I think there is some truth to what you're saying with regard to al-Qa'ida, in large part because those people who could afford to travel internationally to join the Jihad in Afghanistan were, on average, wealthier. However, this is still a relatively small portion of the membership in al-Qa'ida and their affiliated groups. Is there some psychological similarity, some causal relationship between wealth and Mommy/Daddy issues and joining the jihad? Possibly, but evidence of this seems thin. Same could be said of some of the environmental activitst or animal rights activists who have resorted to illegal acts in the US, but I don't think it's in any way conclusive.

Just my personal opinion (haven't spoken to the guy lately), but I think bin Laden honestly believes he's doing the "right" thing, and the only reason he's targeting "Joe and Jane average" is because he hasn't yet figured out a more effective way of going about his work (well, I think al-Qa'ida is improving in their understanding of effects-based targeting, but they still have a long ways to go).

Wow. You sound like a bin laden advisor! And your knowledge of terrorist groups. Could it be?

The men in black are pulling up at your my door as I type :-)

About Jeff Vail

Jeff Vail’s Experience

Intelligence Analyst
Department of Interior

(Government Agency; Oil & Energy industry)

May 2004 — Present (4 years 3 months)

Lead intelligence analyst for critical infrastructure protection program. Created energy-infrastructure threat assessment methodology integrating financial & energy market analysis with intelligence analysis. Frequently brief senior decision makers including Assistant Secretary of the Interior, FBI Anti-Terrorism Advisory Council, Inter-Agency Forum on Infrastrucutre Protection, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, National Academy of Sciences.
Intelligence Officer
US Air Force

(Government Agency; Military industry)

June 1999 — June 2004 (5 years 1 month)

Chief of Intelligence, 41st Electronic Combat Squadron
Chief of Targeting, 36th Intelligence Squadron

Planned over 210 successful combat mission while deployed to Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. Awarded Air Force Commendation Medal three times for combat leadership.

Led teams of up to 23 Intelligence Analysts, analyzed and targeted Iraqi infrastructure, briefed senior leadership, including US Air Force Chief of Staff.

The literature on peasant movements is pretty clear - leadership typically provided by disaffected offspring of dominant classes (Subcomandante Marcos, Fidel, Che come to mind immediately). Peasant conservatism very strong - they have so little to lose that they avoid risking losing it unless they're absolutely pressed against the wall. Che's big mistake in Bolivia was underestimating this among Bolivian peasantry.

ray money,

i wasnt able to connect to your site. dial up is fickle about that expecially when vidios are involved.

i have noticed that many energy stocks have dropped about 20% in the past few weeks, same as the price of oil. they sure didn't go up 40% when oil went from $100 to $140. i dont think investors trust oil companies to make money. many dont in fact make money, not for the stockholders anyway.

i suspect that sentiments may change a little when q208 profits start getting reported. and if an ongoing company cant make money with oil and gas at the level it has been at during q2, they probably never will, imo.

A new historical first for fuel cells was announced yesterday:

Boeing Successfully Flies Fuel Cell-Powered Airplane

Boeing has announced that it has, for the first time in aviation history, flown a manned airplane powered by hydrogen fuel cells.


According to Boeing researchers, PEM fuel cell technology potentially could power small manned and unmanned air vehicles. Over the longer term, solid oxide fuel cells could be applied to secondary power-generating systems, such as auxiliary power units for large commercial airplanes. Boeing does not envision that fuel cells will ever provide primary power for large passenger airplanes, but the company will continue to investigate their potential, as well as other sustainable alternative fuel and energy sources that improve environmental performance.

And yet PEMs still suffer from:

Dr. Ulf Bossel made a really significant announcement at the most recent European Fuel Cell Forum, which was the week of July 3rd and the announcement was that any discussion of hydrogen and PEM fuel cells will not be continued.

Ulf Bossel: Hydrogen is an artificial, synthetic fuel. It has to be made from other energy. If you look at renewable energy, most of it is harvested as electricity, some as biomass and some as solar heat, but basically most of the renewable energy is harvested as electricity. Hydrogen has to be made artificially by splitting water by electrolysis. This requires more energy than you will ever recover from the hydrogen. However, hydrogen has to be compressed or liquefied for handling, it has to be distributed, and then reconverted back to, guess what, electricity. That means electricity derived from hydrogen has to compete with its original energy source, electricity. If you go through a hydrogen chain, you find that after the fuel cell only 25% of the original electricity is available for use by consumers. A hydrogen economy is a gigantic energy waste. We cannot afford this in the future. Therefore, three of four renewable energy power plants are needed to balance the losses within a hydrogen economy luxury. Because of the losses, electricity derived from fuel cells and hydrogen must be four times more expensive than power from the grid.

A very important point which has largely been missing from the discussion (the inefficiency of converting energy to hydrogen, then back again). There will be a few niches where this doesn't apply. The most obvious is where the weight of the fuel is an overriding concern (such as rockets). And in cases where cheap energy is available in remore locations, and we wish to transport it to somewhere it can be used. But, these would be relatively small economic niches.

Now tiny fuel cells to power portable devices, such as laptops probably make sense, i.e. small fuel cells make more sense than traditional batteries.

There will be a few niches where this doesn't apply.

Yes. But, notice the fuel cell pimps - the loud squawking is about how they will allow BAU.

Fine. Want BAU with 'em? Then show how the tech will be powered. Thus far - the pimp'ers have not addressed concerns of the actual professionals like Dr. Ulf Bossel.

I don't know about a "Hydrogen Economy". But a good reason to continue hydrogen research is as a hedge against disappointing battery performance.

There are hydrogen cars running today, regular looking cars, that have a range of 500 miles and can be refueled in ten minutes. The next gen hybrid plugins are looking at 25 mile range before the engine kicks in.

The solution to peak oil will take multiple paths. Battery performance has not progressed fast enough that anyone should be comfortable with relying solely on this tech for electrical storage.

Hydrogen is a transport and storage medium. It may be a good way to unlink solar and wind electrical generation form cloudy and windless days. It is likely that research will raise the efficiency of production of hydrogen well beyond 25%.

If you were to read Ulf Bossel's writing, you'd see that the 25% is due to basic physics that no amount of research can overcome.

And there are alternatives to hydrogen if what you want is portable synthetic fuels for the few instances where they are worth the trouble. E.g., methanol.

25% may be true with electrolysis, I don't know. But there are other approaches claiming much greater efficiency.

25% isn't necessarily a bad number. What if I have a solar panel powering electrolysis making hydrogen from water. I store the hydrogen and use it to heat the house for three months in winter. I don't care if it's 25% efficient if it's the best way to store the energy collected. What's the alternative, a couple thousand car batteries that store the energy at 80% efficiency?

You should not talk about hydrogen until you have read the very best paper ever published on the subject. It is a very short read and will take only a few minutes.

The Hydrogen Hoax

Hydrogen today is produced from natural gas. But it would be much more economical to just burn the natural gas as a fuel. So all hydrogen in a so-called hydrogen economy must be produced by electrolysis from water. From the link above:

The idea of producing hydrogen via water electrolysis locally at filling stations is equally preposterous. To see this, consider the following. A kilogram of hydrogen has about the same energy content as a gallon of gasoline, so the owner of a filling station could only expect to obtain the same net income from a kilogram of hydrogen as from a gallon of gas. A reasonable figure for this might be $0.20 per kilogram. To obtain a modest net income of $200 per day from hydrogen sales would therefore require selling 1,000 kilograms per day. Since hydrogen requires about 163,000 kJ/kg to produce via electrolysis (assuming an 85 percent efficient electrolyzer), this means that 163,000,000 kJ = 45,278 kW-hr per day would be required by the station. At current grid power costs of $0.06/kW-hr, this would run the station an electric bill of $2,717 per day.

But the article has much more information on the hydrogen hoax.

Ron Patterson

Ron - I have enjoyed many of your comments in the months I have been lurking.

I have to take issue with the argument presented from this link. First off, the raw material for the electrolyzer is water, not blended gasoline. Thus it should be much cheaper for the station owner.

Roughly, water is 2/18ths hydrogen, so to get one kilo hydrogen, you need 9 kilos water, or two gallons. Water should not cost the station $2 per gallon. Around here the residential rate is around $2 per 750 gal (SF PUC, set to move to a sliding scale up to $3.83 per 750 gallons above 7500 gal/month use. This is residential, not sure of commercial rates). Taking the new higher rate, two gallons works out to roughly $0.01. Selling the hydrogen at roughly $4 a kilo, the profit per kilo is $3.99. (I do not agree with the "profit margin" pricing that the author implies. The station owner will price a kilo of hydrogen close to a gallon of gas, rather than $0.20. It would be utility to the consumer that would have to force it lower than a gallon of gas)

So the station could make the $200 a day on sales of 50kg, not 1000kg. Then perhaps a 100kW solar array could be used to power the electrolyzer (this probably won't cover the whole need, and won't handle nighttime hours if the station is open then, but the station might use batteries for this and lights if so).

Still the upfront costs of the electrolyzer and solar array must be paid for. However, if the station has roof space, they could install a 200kW array and earn $400 a day, and put half that to pay off the electrolyzer and whatever of the array that didn't get covered by tax rebates. (Obviously I am assuming demand is there, and the electrolyzer capacity can scale with demand too)

I am not saying that I am in favor of trying to move autos to running on hydrogen (combustion OR fuel cell). I am simply saying I think the author of that link is mistaken.

You assumed zero costs for electrolysis of the water. You also have not computed the amortized kwh costs of solar electricity.

Sjmike, I think you need to read the piece again. The cost of the water never enters the equation. That expense is so minor it can be ignored. It is the cost of the electricity that is the major expense.

Okay, let's go over it again. It would require 45,278 kW-hr per day to produce the hydrogen needed. Mike, have you any idea how much electricity that is? You are going to produce that much electricity on your roof? I don't think so. Your math is off by over a factor of 10 if the sun shined 24 hours a day. But it does not, so you are off by a factor of at least 50. You would need a few acres of solar panels. That would be prohibitively expensive for a service station, especially if you consider the hydrogen generation equipment as well as compression and storage equipment. That many solar panels and all that equipment would likely cost about a million.

Again, the cost is in the markup of energy, or electricity, not water! Forget the water! And the figures are calculated on a price of 6 cents per killowatt hour. You cannot possibly produce electricity from solar panels at that price. Your cost would be many times that for a solar panel system.

Have you any idea how much electricity it takes to generate a kilogram of hydrogen (equal to 1 gallon of gasoline)? That is what the piece I copied and pasted above was all about, not the cost of water for goodness sake!

The cost of electricity form solar panels is about 30 cents per kilowatt hour, about 5 times that of grid electricity. And the figures are based on GRID electricity. There is absolutely no way the owner could use solar panels and not go bankrupt!

Back to the drawing board Mike.

Ron Patterson

I think you misunderstand what I am arguing about. NOT that it takes a god-awful amount of electricity to produce the hydrogen through water electrolysis. That I give you.

It is the author's comment about "net income per kilo" of hydrogen, and the assumption that the per kilo price would be so low as to make this venture unprofitable. So let me attack it a different way to show you why I think this is misleading.

MY ASSUMPTION, and this is the crux of my first post, is that I think the price of the hydrogen would be closer to $4.00 to match the "same energy content" gallon of gas. This may be totally off base. But bear with me.

IF the selling price of hydrogen is $4.00 per kilo, then the 1000kg of hydrogen, which requires 45,278kW-hr per day of electricity, at a cost of $2,717, brings in $4,000. (We agree water costs are almost nothing) So there is still $1,283 PER DAY to apply to the fixed cost of electrolyzer and BOP. So why is this so unreasonable? It is not only cost of electricity, but selling price of the hydrogen too that determines what is economically feasible.

And I didn't even bring up solar (edit:in THIS post). But, as you point out, if installed cost of solar electricity is 5x of "utility", then that won't fly.


Assuming that kilo of hydrogen has the same fuel taxes as a gallon of gas here in Wisconsin, the economic breakdown of the above gas station owner's economics at $4.00 pump price would be:

Price of gas: $4.00
Cost of gas: $3.80
Gas station profit:$0.20

Hydrogen by electrolysis

Price of Hydrogen: $4.00
Embedded road taxes: $0.519
Cost of electricity:$2.72
Gas station profit:$0.20

The above costs amount to $3.439 per gallon, which leaves $0.561 to go toward the capital and maintenance cost of the electrolyser. I don't know how much the capital and maintenance costs will be, perhaps somebody else can fill us in on that issue.

Now let me point out two major flaws in the analysis you cite:

1. What are the global climate impacts of continued oil use?

2. Where are you going to keep on getting oil from? Mexico? That ain't going to last many more years. The middle east? How much do you want the spend on war and defense costs?

Assuming the US has spent, on average, $100 billion per year since the beginning of Gulf War I - Kuwait, divide that by the 840 million barrels of oil wer import from the region each year, and 39 gallons of net product per barrel, you get a 'war and defense cost' of $3.00 per GALLON for those barrels imported into the US from the middle east. And that amount is likely to increase - you want that oil in the 'stans? Your itching to get into a fight with China over that...

So as far as I'm concerned, if the electrolyser capital and maintenance cost is less than $3.561 per kilo, it's a deal for me. Toss in the fact you can run the hydrolysis process off of minmal impact wind energy, and it's a steal.

Sure, it would be more efficient to put the electricity into batteries. That's why all future cars will be plug in hybrids. But we have yet to see a battery powered car that can run 300 miles between charges (and how long do those charges take?) and seat a family of four. Given that the extension of range in battery cars involves hauling the dead weight of additional batteries around until they are needed, there's a limit to how far you can go. And we are reaching some pretty hard physical limits on how much electricity can be stuffed into a mass of materials and have them remain some semblance of stability. Battery powered cars may be great for up to 50-75 mile range, but after that, you have to do something else.

Steve, you missed one very important part of the paragraph I posted.

At current grid power costs of $0.06/kW-hr, this would run the station an electric bill of $2,717 per day.

The current price for solar panel generated electricity is currently about 30 cents per kilowatt hour. Now do you see the problem Steve?
Photovoltaic Industry Statistics: Costs

In order for the solar industry to make a systematic penetration in to the electricity segment, installed solar system costs will need to drop from around $8-10/Wp to $3/Wp. This would continue the trend shown above of falling solar electricity costs over the last twenty-five years. A push to $3/Wp would bring solar energy costs from the present 30 cents per kilowatt-hour to around 10 cents per kilowatt-hour, which would allow it to compete more strongly with other renewables and capture a significant share of the electricity market.

Right, there is a great need to get solar panel electricity much cheaper but now it is about 30 cents per kilowatt hour. So forget about the solar powered hydrogen service station until you get the price of electricity much lower. And that is not likely to happen in the next twenty years, if then.

Ron Patterson


I did not miss that part of your post. I divided $2717 in electricity costs per day by 1000 kg per day to come up with electricity cots of $2.72 per kg. Got a problem with that calculation? Let me know.

I did not mention solar at all. Others did.

But I demonstrated that hydrogen via electrolysis is very feasible at current prices. Add in the costs of war and defense in the middle east to oil, then hydrogen is dirt cheap by comparison.

Steve, please read the article. The electrolysis costs are just for that only. There are other costs like electricity to run the comprssor. But the major cost would be for the capital equipment.

This power would need to be supplied by the utility over special heavy-duty lines, and then transformed and rectified into direct current on site for use in the electrolyzer. Electrolyzers use high amp-low voltage power. In this case, at least several hundred thousand amps would be required. And the 1,900-kilowatt electrolyzer would not be cheap either. At current prices such a unit would cost the station owner over $10 million, which mortgaged over thirty years would cost him about $100,000 per month, assuming it lasted that long.

And then there is this:

Then the station owner would still need to buy and operate either a 5,000 psi explosion-proof compressor pump or a cryogenic refrigerator, and build and accept liability for high-pressure or cryogenic hydrogen storage facilities on his properties. Having paid for all that, there would then be the little matter of insurance.

Still think it is a bargain? I might add that cryogenic hydrogen is much more expensive than pressurized hydrogen because of the huge amount of electricity required to run the liquefaction trains. NASA has been making liquid hydrogen for decades. The process is extremely capital intensive.

Ron Patteson

Gathering a few facts from Wikipedia:

, we have 1.23V potential, so one atom of hydrogen requires 1.23eV of energy. At one electron volt equivalent to 4.45x10−23 Wh, and assigning a generous 75% to the efficiency of electrolysis, to win 6.0238x1023 atoms of hydrogen (one gram), we have:

  • 1.23eV * 4.45E-23 Wh/eV * 6.0238E+23 / 0.75 = 43.96 Wh/g = 43.96 kWh/kg.

So, at $0.06/kWh that kilogram costs $2.64. At $0.15/kWh it costs $6.59. Given 75% efficient electrolysis. YMMV. Also worth noting, at STP, that kilogram occupies 11,200 liters of space - do your own conversions on that one.

But mostly, our grid does not have sufficient capacity to support BAU at this rate. Furthermore, since we're talking about converting the entire fleet, why not just go with batteries? Lithium cell technology is far more advanced than PEM technology (think cell phones), and then there's Alan's (from Big Easy) direct electrification of transport for which the technology is mature as of a century ago. Instead of going through all those conversion steps, just use the electicity as electricity.

The weak link in the hydrogen economy is fuel cell efficiency.

the actual efficiency of real PEMFC stacks ... is about 38%

I'd be generous and say 50%.
Batteries and chargers are much more efficient.

Electricity from the grid is a preferred form of energy over hydrogen.
Why make lead from gold?

Of course I'm not talking about making hydrogen from NG. There's plenty of research beyond what is currently doable with elecrolysis. Perhaps you should read beyond simplistic doom and gloom articles.

Very Limited Ship, No Barge traffic on Lower Mississippi River

No new data this morning other than I have not heard one ship or barge (distinctive very low frequency sounds).

As of 10 PM local news, only ships that were trapped in the spill area were let out (some issues with crew exposure to fumes) and no barge movements. All ships were washed down to remove oil upon exiting and they move much slower than normal in the spill area.

"Over 200 ships in queue". My guess is that the limited numbers moving will not shrink this number. Hundreds of vessels in bound to New Orleans are reported to have slowed.

A committee has been formed to prioritize ship movements by economic need. (My read is that economic pressures are very strong, but they do not want to disrupt the clean-up efforts or the booms surrounding critical areas).

The remaining oil that has not been washed out to sea has largely collected in river bends. Few areas with more than 30% thick oil covering (sheen does not count). "Hundreds of gallons" continue to leak from the barge halves.

Best guess is "shipping back to normal" around July 30th to August 1st.



The First National Bank of Arizona was taken over by the FDIC late Friday afternoon.
The estimated cost to the FDIC is over 800 million dollars.

It looks like the bank dominos are starting to topple.


I think it's The First National Bank of Nevada, not Arizona. And it wasn't the only one. The First Heritage Bank of Newport, CA, also failed.

This is how the FDIC always does it. They announce the failures after COB Friday, so they have the whole weekend to get things straightened out. The aim is to have everything up and running again by Monday morning.

But if you were hoping to pull out some cash after work for a big weekend, you could be out of luck.


I wonder how many people will suffer "ruined weekends" before the rest
begin to realize there is a major problem heading their way!

Maybe we should start a "pool" on how long it will take for a form of desperation/panic
to sweep thru!

The First National Bank of Nevada also traded in Arizona as the First National Bank of Arizona.

FDIC takes over 1st National Bank of Nevada
The 28 branches scheduled to reopen Monday as Mutual of Omaha Bank

well, at least they are putting all those ethanol subsidies to good use.

Chrysler to stop leasing cars, trucks and SUVs


I suspect that this dramatic change of policy was not prompted by massive losses on Neons coming back off lease.


Gasoline shortages in Tijuana and Rosarito Mexico. Again



Hello TODers,

Haber-Bosch natgas Nitrogen products race ahead. Signs that the drillers are losing sight of the Red Queen?

Keystone Agricultural Producers Call for Fertilizer Investigation

..KAP Vice President Robert McLean of Manitou, Manitoba recently booked some of his fertilizer needs for next year. He paid $1335 a metric tonne for anhydrous ammonia . . . compared to $740 for the same product last fall. McLean adds there's speculation the price could rise to $1600 to $1700 a month from now...
Have you hugged your bag of NPK today?

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

hey that guy owes me $400.

(just kidding. i don't know everyone here!)

Recall that Norman Borlaug, Nobel Prize winner, and widely considered to be the father of the FF-Agro revolution,recently stated that without I-NPK--> It is Over.

The idea of natgas powering SUVs may be stillborn. Heat or Eat may be the primary concern soon.

Could you provide some links on Norm saying that, that way I can add 'em to my profile on TOD? (I'm too darn lazy to look it up)

Exact Quote Below:

“This is a basic problem, to feed 6.6 billion people,” said Norman Borlaug, an American scientist who was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize in 1970 for his role in spreading intensive agricultural practices to poor countries. “Without chemical fertilizer, forget it. The game is over.”

Totally agree with him. Chemical fertiliser is a disaster of epic proportions as it has allowed us to go far into overshoot without us realising. It is a time bomb, which could blow anytime.

Chemical fertiliser has both degraded and depleted the soil whilst masking the fact. The day chemical fertilisers become unavailable then it is game over as he says. It's only a matter of time before either the internal dynamics of chemical fertiliser usage starts to reduce yields or a lack of chemical fertiliser reduces yields. With the UN saying food production needs to rise 50% by 2020, I think globally the human race is in deep trouble.

The number of obstacles that impinge upon our future just keep on growing.

"The number of obstacles that impinge upon our future just keep on growing."

Funny too how many otherwise intelligent people, even many who understand the constraints and post often here, believe we can GROW and refine biomass for alternatives as a solution.

Liquid transportation fuel - grow it
Plastics - grow it
Chemical/pharmaceutical feedstock's - grow it

Maybe we can grow & refine biomass to replace our I-NPK needs. Ha Ha Ha! Funny huh?

When are we going to get real?

Now he tells us. You can keep Malthus down but you can't kill him.

Now the guy is turning to genetic engineering to feed more people. Some people never learn.


Norman Borlaug, an American scientist who was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize in 1970

Get a peace prize for making overpopulation possible? I wonder how many wars will be a result of his enabling larger populations to exhaust their natural resources?

I think most Peace Prizes are awarded for delaying the inevitable. If that's the best we can do, then it's an accomplishment.

Our "leaders" in the U.S. Senate can't get an energy bill passed. The Repugs want to throw in measures to allow off-shore drilling and more nuclear power plants.

By a vote of 50 to 43, the Senate fell 10 votes short of the 60 needed to cut off debate on the speculation measure as Republicans demanded that they be allowed to offer amendments on lifting a ban on coastal oil drilling, expanding the use of nuclear power, removing oil from Western shale and other energy production proposals...

And, remember, this measure follows on the heels of H.R. 3221, which began life as an energy bill which included extensions for the renewable tax breaks, then was twice gutted and re-written with support for the financial community. The NYT notes that one amendment to the housing measure includes a tax break for ONE auto manufacturer.

SEC. 3081.b.4.A - APPLICABLE PARTNERSHIP- The term `applicable partnership' means a domestic partnership that--

(i) was formed effective on August 3, 2007, and

(ii) will produce in excess of 675,000 automobiles during the period beginning on January 1, 2008, and ending on June 30, 2008.

Politics as usual in the midst of a crisis.

E. Swanson

"I feel as if everything's constantly dirty," Eymard said, her hands deep in soapy lather scrubbing plates.

from the Guardian article on French Nuclear accidents..

It makes me wonder if there isn't a distinct survival mechanism tied into the belief in 'Cooties'.

I spent the morning cleaning up the mess I made in our 1st floor apartment putting in replacement windows for winter, removing old sashes that are full of cracked paint from yesteryear, and full of lead dust, which once forced us to move out of this house 4 years ago when my daughter was exposed to it. Now, whenever I work on the house, I have to obey strict protocols, and even then 'it's never really good enough..' and like the woman above.. 'Everything is constantly dirty'. HEPA vacuuming over and over and over.. wrapping the detritus in 'clean plastic' to go to a 'safe landfill'.. and this is just LEAD~!

After coming up to our supposedly clean apartment (stripped of all workclothes) and immediately showering, I then had the distinct joy of cleaning out the Mousecage, with its own supply of ancient Human fears of invisible attackers and malevolent elements.

The fear and insecurity created by 'things you highly suspect to be there in front of you, dusting over you, soaking through you..' but which you cannot see, hear, smell or taste. Yes, this is a largely irrational fear, like an animal that starts at an unexpected noise that it can't identify.. but in our age of Reason, there are UnReasonable dangers that we still must understand our bodies' automatic reactions towards.

It also stands to reason that a thing that has sat in your yard 'since the war' and never exploded isn't necessarily safe, just because your neighbors can easily point to its clear safety record.

As Steve Martin said in Saturday Night Live.. "What the hell is that? Well take my picture with it anyway, but kid, don't put your mouth on it! .. but What the HELL is that thing?"

Bob.. now off to clean the toilet.. yeah, Saturday!

"Climate change and spiraling population growth have him wondering not just “whether we’ll be able to feed 9.5 billion people by 2070, but how long we can continue to meet the demands of the 6.5 billion alive today.”

I suppose I should read the book. But I am just not buying the food calamity argument. Most of the problems with food are the result of governments not respecting property rights and there is a pretty good argument that our subsidies to our farmers reduce farming in poorer countries. And I don't buy the global warming fear mongering either. I am a peak oil guy though so I like the oil drum. But the rest of it is fear mongering. At least that is the way I see it.

Your Quote: "But I am just not buying the food calamity argument."

I think 35,000 dead children per day would disagree with your Thermo/Gene assessment [Warning: upsetting 1994 Pulitzer prize photo]:


1994 crude oil was $15-20 per barrel.

8-page PDF Warning:


Your picture does generate an emotional response. But if we look where people are starving you generally have a corrupt government, virtually no property rights, high regulatory environment, confiscatory taxes, and poor judicial system.

If these poor countries instituted solid property rights most of the problems will be solved.

I think Peter Bauer and Hernando DeSoto have written extensively on this subject and I tend to agree with their assessments.

Sir, what in a private property system is supposed to stop the poorest, least successful farmers from borrowing money from the richest, until they fall into debt servitude and the lenders become pathological heriditary aristocrats? Until the appearance of the industrial revolution and growth economics, has there been a single private property society anywhere on earth that was not on the road to such a state? You can argue the yeoman farmers of sainted England hadn't fallen that far yet, but then England was late to human overpopulation, and early to industry. At its current population it would have been no different than El Salvador.

Remember that when it happened in ancient Greece, the solution was revolution. In Athens the result was democracy. The remedy was redistribution of wealth.

I'm sick of libertarians claiming that the poor will magically be kept from starvation by the magic of the marketplace, even in the absence of fossil fuels. You don't really care; you want the inferiors cleansed from the gene pool and the superiors worshipped as gods. Just stop pretending already so we can get a head start on the Greek solution.

I know the experience of Greece. And I don't have time to go into a lengthy discussion because I have some errands to attend to. But I will leave with the experiences of our Pilgrim ancestors. I always likeed the way Gov. Bradford phrased it:

"All this while no supply was heard of, neither knew they when they might expect any. So they began to think how they might raise as much corn as they could, and obtain a better crop than they had done, that they might not still thus languish in misery. At length, after much debate of things, the Governor (with the advice of the chiefest amongst them) gave way that they should set corn every man for his own particular, and in that regard trust to themselves; in all other thing to go on in the general way as before. And so assigned to every family a parcel of land, according to the proportion of their number, for that end, only for present use (but made no division for inheritance) and ranged all boys and youth under some family. This had very good success, for it made all hands very industrious, so as much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been by any means the Governor or any other could use, and saved him a great deal of trouble, and gave far better content. The women now went willingly into the field, and took their little ones with them to set corn; which before would allege weakness and inability; whom to have compelled would have been thought great tyranny and oppression.

The experience that was had in this common course and condition, tried sundry years and that amongst godly and sober men, may well evince the vanity of that conceit of Plato's and other ancients applauded by some of later times; and that the taking away of property and bringing in community into a commonwealth would make them happy and flourishing; as if they were wiser than God. For this community (so far as it was) was found to breed much confusion and discontent and retard much employment that would have been to their benefit and comfort. For the young men, that were most able and fit for labor and service, did repine that they should spend their time and strength to work for other men's wives and children without any recompense. The strong, or man of parts, had no more in division of victuals and clothes than he that was weak and not able to do a quarter the other could; this was thought injustice. The aged and graver men to be ranked and equalized in labors and victuals, clothes etc., with the meaner and younger sort, thought it some indignity and disrespect unto them. And for men's wives to be commanded to do service for other men, as dressing their meat, washing their clothes, etc., they deemed it a kind of slavery, neither could many husbands well brook it. Upon the point all being to have alike, and all to do alike, they thought themselves in the like condition, and one as good as another; and so, if it did not cut off those relations that God hath set amongst men, yet it did at least much diminish and take off the mutual respects that should be preserved amongst them. And would have been worse if they had been men of another condition. Let none object this is men's corruption, and nothing to the course itself. I answer, seeing all men have this corruption in them, God in His wisdom saw another course fitter for them."

And so assigned to every family a parcel of land, according to the proportion of their number, for that end, only for present use (but made no division for inheritance)

- sounds like socialism to me...

Not really. Under socialism their land would be decared the property of the state and amalomated in to collectives. Anybody who objected would have been shot.

Yes, they were somewhat socialists. But they were permitted the fruits of their labors and the results were that they did not starve to death. At least not to the degree they were starving before.

And do you know the history of the IMF? Of the World Bank? Of gen modified seeds sold to poor farmers that will not seed a subsequent crop, forcing the farmer to buy more seeds?


No climate change, no manipulation, no Shock Doctirne, just stupid poor people and stupid poor people governments.

#$%# me...

And people wonder why some of us have a hard time NOT seeing collapse in our future.


If these poor countries instituted solid property rights most of the problems will be solved.

Well now, that is a statement that begs explanation. Exactly how would granting people property rights put food in their belly? In Bangladesh everyone has property rights and they are still hungry. The property is inherited and divided equally to the sons of every family. And because of that division, the family owned plots get smaller each year. Now most are far too small to feed a family.

In Honduras and Guatamala they have "squatters rights". If a family settles on an unused piece of land and lives there a few months, it becomes theirs. That is the ultimate in property rights. Yet they still have tens of thousands of "street children" who have no parents and beg for a living. And the squatters grow corn and beans but because they must depend on "pointed stick planting" they barely stay alive.

To blame it on corrupt government is a cop out. Sure most poor countries have corrupt governments and in places like Zimbabwe this exacerbates the problem. But in India, Bangladesh, China and many other places their governments are no more corrupt than western governments. Inept perhaps, but not corrupt. But to say "if we only had a perfect government everything would be fine" is simply not so. There is no way around the population problem. And basically people of the cities do not have enough money to buy food, regardless of the property rights situation.

The problem is too many people with too little substance. And by substance I mean money to buy food or land to produce food. Granting them the "right" to buy property does not give them the money to buy property. So Not a Rockefeller, your sound bite simplistic solution to the problem of hunger is nothing more than a lame excuse to blame corrupt governments for the problem of hunger. It is a problem far deeper than that.

Basically it is a biological problem which Malthus described 200 years ago. Fossil fuels and the green revolution enabled us to ignore Malthus for the last 150 years and accuse him of simply being wrong. But Malthus was right, dead right. And all the denials that right wing radio can muster will not change that fact.

Ron Patterson

OK, I can post more. I am using the phone to find what I want rather than drive to the store. Like I say, I am a PO, guy. But, I think Hernando DeSoto addressed the squaters rights issue and found them to be lacking and did not facilitate the creation of wealth. But he looked at poverty in a poor Central American country which is pretty on point with your post. I think you might want to read "The Mystery of Capital: Why Capitalism Triumphs in the West and Fails Everywhere Else"

"The hour of capitalism's greatest triumph," writes Hernando de Soto, "is, in the eyes of four-fifths of humanity, its hour of crisis." In The Mystery of Capital, the world-famous Peruvian economist takes up the question that, more than any other, is central to one of the most crucial problems the world faces today: Why do some countries succeed at capitalism while others fail?In strong opposition to the popular view that success is determined by cultural differences, de Soto finds that it actually has everything to do with the legal structure of property and property rights. Every developed nation in the world at one time went through the transformation from predominantly informal, extralegal ownership to a formal, unified legal property system. In the West we've forgotten that creating this system is also what allowed people everywhere to leverage property into wealth. This persuasive book will revolutionize our understanding of capital and point the way to a major transformation of the world economy."

Not a Rockefeller, it is hardly a logical argument to quote the name of a book and tell me to read it. I have no doubt that capitalism has many advantages, but it also has great disadvantages. There are always very poor people in any capitalist society. I could introduce you to a lot of them right here in the US of A. I grew up in such a family myself and have firsthand experience. And my dad owned his own 45 acre farm and we were still dirt poor. But there were a lot of people a lot poorer than we were.

I told you about the Bangladesh. Your answer: Read this book. I told you about the thousands of street kids in every South American City. Your answer: Read this book. Is that your argument? If so, please just forget it because I am not going to read your book. I probably read as more non-fiction books than 95 percent of the people but I do not read right-wing propaganda. The reason, I read several of them before I realized they were all the same. Just listen to Rush and you get the same message.

The problem Rocky is overpopulation and overshoot! Overpopulation in India, Bangladesh, China, and just about every other nation on earth. No book by any right-wing propaganda peddler will explain that away.

Want to read a good book, try Malthus' "An Essay on the Principle of Population". That is a classic.

Ron Patterson

OK, you want to talk about Bangladesh. I don't know why but here you go:

Corruption (2)

Bangladesh is notorious for corruption. A 1996 report by Transparency International listed Bangladesh as the fourth most corrupt nation in the world! Petty corruption, such as paying fees for government services (Telephone lines, customs clearance) are the biggest complaints. Insider trading is commonly sited too. There is an anti corruption bureau, but "it is not always seen as being free from political presses when determining whom corruption cases should be bought" (2).
Page Index | Site Index

Dispute Settlement (2)

There is a weak legal system to enforce contracts. 10 years can pass before a case is resolved. Corruption (Again!) is a serious problem, especially in lower courts. Since the government controls the judiciary system, there is no checks and balances. Its almost like a monarchy. Legislation in this area is 'pending.' Never the less, the supreme court has retained a reputation of fairness and competence. So, if you want you case to be fair, you must take it to the appellate level.

Although Bangladesh is a party to the International Convention for the Settlement of Disputes (ICSID, they have not yet acceded to the U.N. convention of enforcement. The Bengali judicial system is weak to enforce its own system, so foreign judgments aren't expected to be enforced any stronger.
Page Index | Site Index

Foreign Investment Issues (2)

Laws in bangladesh are a major impediment to foreign investment. Governmental officials tend to be negative to non Bangladeshi people. On top of that start up costs and risks tend to outlay investment incentives. Customers and excise personnel are also trouble spots. A big issue is tariff schedules of non-pre-inspected goods, regardless of invoiced amounts. The schedule changes every three months o so, and without advanced notice. Changes even apply while goods are in transit!

To get a handle on overpopulation, would you say that Hong Kong is overpopulated? And does that overpopulation cause poverty in Hong Kong?

It's unfair to single out large countries as "overpopulated". Small countries can be of course be just as overpopulated as large countries. The usual China and India-bashing should come to an end, there's no reason why Vietnam, Phillippines, England or Egypt should get a free ride on these issues.

Hong Kong (like most large cities) is overpopulated. That's because it's people can not exist from locally supplied resources. Almost everything consumed in a large city must be brought to the city from further away, which requires the use of lots of energy. The larger the city, the wider the surrounding area upon which it must "feed". Since the Industrial Revolution, it's been possible to use fossil fuels to transport all the stuff required into the cities from ever greater distances away. Oil has been the centerpiece of this transport system.

Once the oil production peaks out, the transport of these necessary supplies will become more difficult, then impossible. As things proceed, it will likely become impossible to sustain all the peoples which previously lived in these situations. While there has been lots of cheap energy available, some people have been able to live on the edge, scrounging what little they need from that which has been wasted by the layers of wealth above them. As the economic situation becomes ever tighter and the "fat" is squeezed out of the cities, many more people will be left behind at the bottom of the pile. It seems obvious that as time passes, there will be many more who can't survive without "help" from the political system. It's likely that those on the bottom of the pile of humanity called a city will find themselves cut off from even the minimum food and energy needed to survive. After that, Malthus will win.

E. Swanson

Every developed nation in the world at one time went through the transformation from predominantly informal, extralegal ownership to a formal, unified legal property system. In the West we've forgotten that creating this system is also what allowed people everywhere to leverage property into wealth.

in the US... that "transformation"... "we've forgotten that [we created]" would that have been running the indigineous population (indians) off their (our) [your?] land...?

there was a time... not too long ago... when there was a good mix of capitalism and government regulation... legislatively enforced after the last great republican depression... it took 50 years for the free marketeers to catch their breath... and bring ronnie raygun to power...

but these words - "leverage property into wealth" - isn't that what's at the root of the current worldwide financial system meltdown... methinks we took it just a little too far this time... bloomberg.com reports this weekend well managed finacials are leveraged 10:1, as of march the average of the 5 leading US financials was 30-34:1

but of course... any free marketeer worth next month's dividend check (exempt from taxes of course) would ONLY suggest - MORE runaway capitalism to fix... runaway... capitalism...

sorry if i digress from the plight of the poor... but the banks have blood on their hands there too... the banks didn't care if there was corruption and greed... as long as the loans were written... and the countries were indebted... they could give a rat's patootie if the leaders who bought the capitalist argument followed through for their citizens or left them to live in squalor... whilst socking the international loans (read western banks' funds) in their sock drawers for another day...

... you generally have a corrupt government, virtually no property rights, high regulatory environment, confiscatory taxes, and poor judicial system.

You mean, like, the United States?

Yet fat people waddle out of McDonald's food troughs daily.

Have you been to the US? Maybe where I live it is not representative of the whole country, but there are not a lot of heavy people. I just got back from France, Spain, Italy, Greece and Turkey and there was not a big difference in weights.

And we do have a realatively good system of laws. Granted we need reform of the class action laws and we need to privatize social security and slash corporatate taxes. But, other than that, you can't beat the US for doing business.




Ownership of land

It is a habitual conception that ownership of land is acceptable. Most societies are characterized by the convention of ownership. But if we claim the ownership of land, we also say that we have more right to parts of the surface of the earth, than other persons have.
We know that persons should be treated as persons and therefore as having rights. If we say here is a person who has rights, but this person has no right to stay on the surface of the earth, it does not make sense. If one does not accept that persons have the right to stay on the surface of the earth, it makes no sense to talk about rights at all. If we try to defend ownership of land using language in a rational way it goes wrong. The only way of defending this ownership is by the use of power and force. No persons have more right to land than other persons, but concentrations of power use force to maintain the illusion of ownership of land.

Also check out: http://globalpublicmedia.com/transcripts/645

Dr. Albert Bartlett: Arithmetic, Population and Energy (transcript)

In the left hand column, I’ve listed some of those things that we should encourage if we want to raise the rate of growth of population and in so doing, make the problem worse. Just look at the list. Everything in the list is as sacred as motherhood. There's immigration, medicine, public health, sanitation. These are all devoted to the humane goals of lowering the death rate and that’s very important to me, if it’s my death they’re lowering. But then I’ve got to realise that anything that just lowers the death rate makes the population problem worse.

There’s peace, law and order; scientific agriculture has lowered the death rate due to famine—that just makes the population problem worse. It’s widely reported that the 55 mph speed limit saved thousands of lives—that just makes the population problem worse. Clean air makes it worse.

Now, in this column are some of the things we should encourage if we want to lower the rate of growth of population and in so doing, help solve the population problem. Well, there’s abstention, contraception, abortion, small families, stop immigration, disease, war, murder, famine, accidents. Now, smoking clearly raises the death rate; well, that helps solve the problem... There is a dilemma if ever there was one.

My two cents; humanity just may have to come up with more rational and equitable systems than the ones we currently have if we want to continue to believe in basic human rights. I'm not an outright doomer but it isn't looking good for rather large swaths of the global population.

If we look at high death rates as being good for population control, I think we run into a problem. Only deaths that occur before breeding age affect the long term population trend. Extending the average human lifespan, does not directly contribute to more births, so it can have only a transitory effect on the population. What is needed is a decrease in the birthrate, not a reduction in life expectancy.

The Boy is sure crying "WOLVES!" these days, and while I don't dispute that fear is being used and abused, I'd hope you are trying to think very broadly about the unexpected ramifications and aftershockes that a serious energy crisis would have in all sorts of areas.

I could google 'Food Crisis' and show you some great news from Pakistan or Haiti, and even the effects of food prices on America's poor AND middle class today.. but I'll just leave it at 'Don't wait till your own stores are starting to see bare shelves before you make some preparations for you AND your community. Please!'


A future nuc energy fuel source?

"Rice professor says countertops may be tainted with uranium"



Maybe why wealthy Marin, CA women have an unusually high level of breast cancer?

Lord knows I never could afford those trendy granite counter tops.

Indian Terror bombings. Breaking.


Sounds pretty bad.

Delete this if it isn't related to energy or our future.

Kill the hogs. Give the corn to all the people who insist it is human food and let them eat it (if they can). Problem solved, at least for awhile.

This morning when I went for a walk the stench of a nearby hog factory was in the air. Spoiled the walk.

I think one of the hog factories shut down a while back. Yesterday I noticed what looks like a new one being built nearby. I could hardly believe it.

I was hoping ethanol would shut them all down, but even with high corn prices another is one going up. What a waste.

On CBC they did a report on food transportation from a series called running on empty. It starts about 25min in.

Is nowhere safe from oil drilling? Not even south-east England?

Fayed strikes oil in the high court

He is a hotelier, football club chairman and the owner of Harrods, but until now, as far as he knew, the multimillionaire Mohamed Al Fayed was not an oilman.

All that changed yesterday when a court awarded Fayed a small but lucrative stake in an oilfield sitting under the garden of a property he owns in Surrey.

High court judge Mr Justice Peter Smith heard that unbeknown to Fayed, prospectors have pumped more than a million barrels of oil from deposits under his estates, Barrow Green Court and Barrow Green Farm, near Oxted. The owners of Palmers Wood Oilfield in Oxted, Surrey, had drilled three wells diagonally under the estates.


He just wants his cut - 12.5% of £10 million.


The coming future....a early clue.

Lately guys have been stopping by the shop. Offering to sell guns, cars,pickups and other items for dirt cheap prices. Lots of fishing boats have ForSale signs hanging on them. I was recently offered a 2000 Chevy for $700. Just needed an exhaust manifold.Cherry otherwise.

I think they are finally getting up against reality and trying to offload anything they can at a bargain price. Just so they can keep on with some(any) type of lifestyle.

Jobs are starting to go away around here. I think many may start going back to meth labs or other means...say robbery of others property.

Its not looking too good unless you are a big time farmer. Many families I hear of thru the church prayer line are really starting to suffer. Families are breaking up. Like this oldster who lives with even electricity and has terminal cancer and refuses to leave so the local deputy decided to come by and shoot his three dogs without even a knock on the door. His last touch with reality were his dogs. He had nothing else left to him.

Real touching act that was. And so far no 'safety net' appears to help him with his electric bill.Instead they shot his dogs.

Airdale-it could have been me instead of him...thats what I thought about it....but long as my pension (a pittance) and SS is coming in I will be still using electricity..after that? Well .......

Airdale, your starting to sound like James Howard Kunstler, a very grim picture. down in Logan county i have not noticed such things. by the way, my vegatble garden loves KY soil! holy cow!
take care!

Why did they shoot the dogs?

Airdale, are there no laws in, is it Kentucky?

In the places I know of, a cop or deputy is not supposed to just arbitrarily waltz in and shoot the dogs or other animals. Not even if somebody is accused of abusing them, not even if they obviously can't take care of them. In a serious case the animals would normally be taken to an animal shelter of some kind until a judgment could be rendered. [Edit] And after that, in the very worst case where the animals couldn't be placed anywhere, they'd have to be euthanized according to a strict protocol, not just shot in the backyard. Is there more to this story?

On its face, this seems like an outlandish cartoon of everything negative Kunstler has ever said about certain aspects of Southern culture. Maybe it ought to make a person think, think twice, and think again, and think hard and long yet again, before even considering moving from a city or suburb to a rural area on the theory that it will be some sort of refuge, especially if said person has never lived in a rural area at any time in his or her life ... ?

I think (so far) the key to living among inbreds and zonkheads is to be polite and don't get too close. One bloke (this is Australia) near me is hiding in the back blocks from other drug dealers as he was kneecapped and left to die. Last week he drawled at me 'I don't give a fugg what you think'. A couple of days ago I met him in the supermarket completely lucid where he explained the keeping qualities of mozzarella cheese. These people will never complain to authorities about you so do the same in return.

Just finished watching a massive 200 minute documentary "The Epic of Black Gold"
It goes very in depth on the global history of oil with lots of actual footage from each period of time. It was added just a week ago but it appears to have been produced in 2003 or 2004. I've seen every documentary on Peak Oil I can find and yet there was a ton of info in this that was new to me. Worth a look when you have the time.

OK, back from discussing food and poverty to oil. What do you guys think about the below? Posturing the take some steam away from the US having a plan such as the Pickens Plan?

I suppose if we get more production from Iraq and the Saudis can maintain production it could happen. It is fascinating. But then I am not a Rockefeller. Given my negative rating today I have to wonder what people think I am.

OPEC chief sees oil below USD 100
Sun, 27 Jul 2008 01:39:04

OPEC President Chakib Khelil says oil prices could tumble below USD 100 if the dollar strengthens and Iran's nuclear issue is resolved.

"If the dollar strengthens and if the crisis with Iran is resolved, the trend in oil prices should be to go towards USD 70-80," the head of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries told reporters in the Algerian capital, Algiers on Saturday.

The presence of the US Undersecretary of State William Burns alongside senior diplomats from China, Russia, Britain, France and Germany last week raised hopes of a possible breakthrough in the West's nuclear impasse with Iran.

"I think that (the Iran situation) is the major event, because with the visit of the US official to Geneva they (market players) had to factor in that there would probably not be (an attack)," Khelil said.

"I don't see a fall in demand; I don't see destruction of demand. Supply is the same, or has increased," he said.

Khelil said in the long-term the world should move towards a decreasing oil prices, 'without the interference of geopolitics or of the monetary policy of the US or of others.'

Sure, if the dollar strengthens and if the Iranian nuclear dispute is resolved, oil prices could fall below $100/bbl.

Trouble is though there are plenty of other parties to go to after the fisticuffs have quietened down at this one.




and even England

Oil is like a tipsy elderly aunt, gatecrashing the parties and undoing all the carefully crafted politics with her boorish comments.

'Those shoes with that dress!'


oil could fall back to $40/bbl if we believe the MSM:

30 billion barrels available in the unexplored North Sea.


and a 90 billion reservoir under the Arctic.


What does our elderly incontinent aunt say though

First oil from the above - 2015-2020 if it even exists.

Global economic meltdown - now-2012.

Pucker up for a whiskery kiss...

We have a classical divide and rule going on in the Oil business.

Nobody dare tell the truth even if they know it. The Saudi's who appear to be fudging their own numbers, have a very safe cop-out by saying all will be well when the US dollar revalues. We are only one year into the US financial fiasco. The worst only comes after all the fudging stops, that could be 2-3 more years.

It may not be this century.

The Western politicians need to keep the dream of oil below $100 alive at any cost. No leader can survive telling their voters they are in for bad times.

Lets assume PO really is what they say. Who tells Heathrow airport its third runway will be a white elephant. Who tell airbus to quit while they are winning or Boeing to go into making sailing ships. Maybe the asphalt business is a growth industry as they dig up all the roads to plant corn.

Its an Axiom to say, "The world should move towards decreasing oil prices". Yes! they must be good and honest and hard working too.

Its stupid to think that the Western world will actually drop its consumption voluntarily. It has taken the West 50 years to build their dream and now we are asking them to curtail it. Not going to happen until external forces take a hand.

I think the day of future prediction will be either September/October heating season (we may be lucky and global warming will take care of it) or after the old President leaves all his disasters to the new one.

If oil hits $150 and goes above ---The Game is ON, if it stays at the $100 -$110 we still have time to play some more.


My prediction: Oil goes up $5 next Thursday 31-8-2008 & will hold Friday.

I think you mean 31-7-08.

oops! yes you are right, but looks like I'm on target if a day early.

I had read that refiners were still using the oil they bought at $100-$110/barrel and had yet to even begin processing the oil they purchased at $130-$145/barrel, yet the drop in crude was accompanied by a sumultaneous, significant drop in gas prices. Can someone explain why this is the case?



To a large degree the price of oil and gasoline don't necessarially track. The refiners sell their gasoline for the max price the market will bear but they also measure profit by volume sold times price....not just price alone. They might like to sell at a higher price but they also need to move a certain volume. I know gasoline marketers. They aren't the guys that buy the crude. Their job is to max profits and cashflow regardless what the crude buyers paid for the stock. Gasoline market gets soft real quick and they have to settle for a smaller margin. This is one of the big reasons you've seen invemtory volumes decrease over the last few years. Get stuck with a big crude inventory at the same time that gasoline margins drop and you can actually loose money. This happened on some contracts Valero had a couple of months ago when prices jumped so quick.

Bottom line: whether a refiner paid $140 or $120 a bbl he's going to be able to sell his gasoline for whatever the market will bear at the time...at that's often 6 to 10 weeks after he bought that particular run of crude. Another factor right now is the switch from gasoline production to fuel oil. It puts pressure on the market both ways. If you're confused now wait til the day you see oil and gasoline prices swing in opposite directions...it does and has happened.