DrumBeat: August 2, 2008

Shipping Costs Start to Crimp Globalization

Cheap oil, the lubricant of quick, inexpensive transportation links across the world, may not return anytime soon, upsetting the logic of diffuse global supply chains that treat geography as a footnote in the pursuit of lower wages. Rising concern about global warming, the reaction against lost jobs in rich countries, worries about food safety and security, and the collapse of world trade talks in Geneva last week also signal that political and environmental concerns may make the calculus of globalization far more complex.

“If we think about the Wal-Mart model, it is incredibly fuel-intensive at every stage, and at every one of those stages we are now seeing an inflation of the costs for boats, trucks, cars,” said Naomi Klein, the author of “The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism.”

“That is necessarily leading to a rethinking of this emissions-intensive model, whether the increased interest in growing foods locally, producing locally or shopping locally, and I think that’s great.”

Russia ‘sticks foot in door’ of Arctic riches

Russia has begun a push to claim a vast chunk of disputed Arctic territory in an aggressive campaign to win control of the region's oil and gas resources.

A state-sponsored expedition, led by a Moscow geographical institute, is in the region gathering scientific data in an attempt to prove that vast swathes of the seabed belong to Russia.

Drought forces Iran to halt fuel oil exports

TEHRAN, Aug 2: Iran has temporarily halted exports of fuel oil because of domestic needs during a severe drought, a senior official was quoted as saying on Saturday.

Iran is a regular exporter of fuel oil to Asia. But industry sources said on Saturday it will halt exports of the heavy fuel from August as it builds domestic stockpiles ahead of winter, and due to a heavy maintenance schedule in the fourth-quarter.

Ditch the Gas Guzzler? Well, Maybe Not Yet

Your neighbors may turn up their noses, but keeping your gas-guzzling sport utility vehicle, or buying one coming off a lease, may be a smart move.

Baker Institute report proposes strategies to ensure global energy security

A new policy report released by Rice University's Baker Institute for Public Policy suggests strategies to deal with the current turmoil in the global energy markets, including the role of petrodollars in the U.S. credit bubble.

"Sharp changes in energy prices are having dramatic effects on the stability of the global economy," the report states. "Threats to the global energy market could have dangerous corresponding impacts on the world financial system."

Nigerian Militants Clash in Main Oil Town of Port Harcourt

2 (Bloomberg) -- Rival militant gangs in Nigeria's Niger Delta fought a gun battle in the main oil city of Port Harcourt yesterday, security officials and aid workers said.

Ten people who sustained gunshot wounds in the clashes were brought to a clinic operated by French aid group Doctors Without Borders last night, Alex Thomson, a security official at the facility, said in an interview today.

Thousands protest over Iraqi city of Kirkuk

BAGHDAD–More than 1,000 Sunni Arabs and Turkomen staged a demonstration Saturday to protest calls by Kurds to annex the oil-rich city of Kirkuk to their autonomous region as Iraqi officials met in Baghdad to defuse tension over the disputed city.

FACTBOX - Mexico energy reform debate

(Reuters) - Latest developments as Mexico's ruling conservatives court opposition lawmakers to approve an energy reform to allow more private investment in the state-controlled oil industry in hopes of bolstering falling output.

Dug in over oil

Mexican voters are resisting foreign investment in Pemex, but such a move could help the country.

Iran: SSF crackdown on Shahinshahr shopkeepers protesting to power outage

NCRI - The State Security Forces (SSF) – mullahs' suppressive police – opened fire on a crowd of local shopkeepers protesting to power outage on July 30.

Eyewitness reports from the scene indicate that some local shopkeepers were gathered outside the governor's office carrying banners protesting to 5 hours of power outage causing their businesses huge damage.

Forget 25 cents; Metro Transit weighs higher fare hike

A planned 25-cent bus-fare increase is on hold while King County Metro Transit considers a bigger increase or service cuts, because of a rapid drop in sales-tax revenue.

Metro had planned an Oct. 1 increase, blaming it on a spike in diesel-fuel prices. New buses were recently added to a few busy routes, but now cutbacks — unthinkable a few weeks ago — are on the table as a last resort, County Councilmember Dow Constantine, D-West Seattle, said Friday.

Another option is a new car-tab fee for transit. But car taxes are unpopular, said Constantine, chairman of the council's Transportation Committee.

Auto sales sink to 1992 rate

Consumers continued their yearlong hunt for the most affordable, fuel-efficient models in this environment.

Sales of light trucks, a category that includes vans, pickups, SUVs and some crossovers, plummeted 25.2%. Sales of passenger cars, meanwhile, were flat, with the smallest cars receiving a big thumbs-up from consumers. Subcompacts were up 35% in July.

Several Detroit and import automakers said they could have sold more cars in July, if they had more in inventory.

Toprak said the growing shortage of desirable cars "played a huge role" in July's dismal sales performance.

Sign of the times: Cupboards growing bare at food bank

For the first time in eight years, the food bank recently ran out of frozen and canned meat. The shelves, once stocked with canned and dry goods, also have dwindled.

It is a crisis situation, considering the growing effects of high fuel and food prices on consumers. And because of those factors, more lower-income households continue to fall behind.

Energy descent preparation - interview with Vermont peak oil educator Carl Etnier

Every day, year-round, Carl Etnier hops on his bicycle and rides three miles from East Montpelier, Vermont to downtown Montpelier, the state's capital, to work full-time on educating Vermonters and the nation regarding the realities of Peak Oil. I caught up with him at a Montpelier café owned and operated by the New England Culinary Institute which endeavors to use primarily local ingredients for its delectable luncheon menu.

At the top of my list of questions for Carl was: What would make a private consultant with a solid, secure income quit his day job to teach people about Peak Oil?

The end of travel

High oil prices are crippling airlines and travellers alike and we may only be at the start of a new, global class divide between the stranded and the mobile

In Europe's late medieval period, the labouring masses rarely travelled further than a few dozen miles from where they were born. For them, travel was dangerous, onerous and slow.

But wealthy aristocrats travelled far and wide in the name of diplomacy, meeting leaders from other countries and extending their power and influence.

For Steven Flusty, an associate professor of geography at York University, this is what society could once again look like if predictions that the lower-middle classes will no longer be able to afford to fly in just a few years come true.

It would be tremendously debilitating and could wind up "breaking down everything below a certain class level, where they are being held in space as if it's some kind of a container," he says.

The Lure of Black Gold: Is offshore drilling gaining more acceptance?

Until recently, coastal states had taken a "not in my backyard" approach to offshore drilling. But that's beginning to change, now that gas prices are hovering at or above $4 per gallon. In Florida, 60 percent of voters now support drilling off their coasts. Perhaps more surprising, a majority in eco-conscious California is also willing to tap waters off the state's shorelines.

Electricity Expert Dan Scotto: Indispensable or Not, Age Issues May Shut Down U.S. Nuclear Power Plants

The U.S. couldn’t function without its 100+ operating nuclear power plants, but age issues could force many of them to reduce output or shut down completely over the next several years, warns electric utility expert Dan Scotto in Part 3 of his four-part exclusive video news report with EnergyTechStocks.com.

Wind won’t solve energy crisis

Last year wind generators nationally produced only 30 percent as much energy in a year as they would if they ran at full tilt, every hour of the year, a measure called “capacity factor.” Unlike nuclear power plants such as Wolf Creek, which achieve capacity factors of 90 percent or more, the wind operator cannot decide when the wind generator will run.

Texas has more wind energy than any other state, and bigger problems as a result. Last year the Electric Reliability Council of Texas said that wind power could be counted on as being reliable only 8.7 percent of the time during periods of peak demand. The rest of the time electric utilities were forced to use backup power generation, usually high-priced natural gas.

Massachusetts: Decoupling order seeks energy efficiency, may cut electric bills

The state's Department of Public Utilities has moved to break the link between utility profits and electricity sales, a change that could help consumers reduce their energy use and the size of their electric bill.

In an order issued July 16 the department began the process of "decoupling" revenues from sales for all electric and natural gas utilities in the state.

The way we live

The debate in Ottawa over public transit continues to be difficult. There is agreement that the city needs a light-rail system, but determining what kind of light-rail system is a technical affair, in terms of both the economics and the engineering.

Building a Greener America

Forget the common icons of global warming. Fuming tailpipes and industrial smokestacks, it turns out, are less culpable for climate change than a set of offenders hidden in plain sight: buildings. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, buildings are responsible for almost half of all annual greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S., consuming more than three-quarters of all the electricity produced by American power plants.

How Texas Struck It Rich Beneath Suburbia

In the 1980s, Houston wildcatter George Mitchell drilled the first well into the Barnett Shale formation that stretches through north and central Texas. He tapped into what would turn out to be one of the largest onshore natural gas reserves in the United States.

It would take nearly two decades and millions of dollars to develop the horizontal, hydraulic technology necessary to bring that gas to the surface. But today there are about 7,500 gas wells in the Barnett Shale -- many located in the city limits of Fort Worth, and some a stone's throw from suburban homes and schools.

Gas price falls during prayer at the pump

When the prayer vigil started at 4 p.m. Friday at the corner of Madison Boulevard and Shelton Road, a gallon of Texaco unleaded gas cost $3.92, as it had for a few days.

But even before the praying stopped, the price dropped three cents.

"Prayer works fast," said Rocky Twyman, a 59-year-old public relations consultant from Maryland who has organized Pray at the Pumps vigils in eight cities across the country.

Obama shifts on offshore oil drilling

WASHINGTON: In a sudden and major shift, Democrat Barack Obama said he would be willing to support limited additional offshore oil drilling if that would help promote alternative energy sources, a proposal he has repeatedly blasted rival John McCain for supporting.

...Obama, who has campaigned on a platform of change, previously ridiculed a push by Republicans to open offshore areas to oil exploration in a bid to bring down surging energy prices. The country's economic woes have largely eclipsed other issues, such as the war in Iraq, in the presidential race.

Oil majors' output growth hinges on strategy shift

ONDON (Reuters) - Western oil majors need to speed up a strategic shift into more complex oil and gas projects if they wish to return to consistent production growth after another quarter of disappointing output.

The world's largest fully public-traded oil company by market capitalization, Exxon Mobil, on Thursday reported an 8 percent fall in oil and gas production, compared to the same period in 2007.

Industry No 2 Royal Dutch Shell said output dropped 1.6 percent while No 3 BP Plc's was flat.

The results follow a trend of falling output and ditched or scaled back growth targets across the sector in recent years.

Lawmakers to Big Oil: invest in alternative energy

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Congressional Democrats on Thursday urged big oil companies to invest more of their record profits into boosting U.S. oil production and developing renewable energy instead of buying back their own stock.

Weathering the Storm

The specter of rising food and fuel prices now threatens to destroy an era of unprecedented global prosperity, with two notable exceptions: Brazil and Canada. Both countries produce and export enough food and fuel not just to offset the worst of global inflationary pressures but even to turn the price spike from a menace to a boon. They are the only two major economies where prices have not burst the upper limit of the central bank's inflation target. And of the two, Brazil is by far the more surprising success story. The country that suffered the longest and perhaps the most debilitating bout of hyperinflation in recent history is now a rare island of relative stability and prosperity. Brazil's inflation is running at 6.5 percent, a rate that worries the country's money minders but thanks to their zeal is still the lowest level in all the major emerging markets.

Fuel prices hit chaotic West African travel

DAKAR (Reuters) - Chaotic transport is a part of life in West Africa, but getting to work has become even harder as rocketing fuel prices ignite protests by bus and taxi drivers, squeeze family budgets and encourage fuel smuggling.

Global oil prices doubled in the past year and continued to rise strongly in 2008, hitting hard those who earn a living on the roads of some of the world's poorest countries.

This has fuelled social unrest in some fragile countries whose governments do not have the means to indefinitely soak up the higher fuel prices with subsidies.

Ukraine clash threatens oil to Europe

MONTREAL - Corruption and politics in Ukraine threaten to choke off, at least in the near term, the expansion of oil exports from Azerbaijan and eventually Kazakhstan to Europe. This is the significance of Ukrainian Prime Minister Yuliya Tymoshenko's efforts in July to halt what she called the "shadowy privatization" of the Odessa-Brody oil pipeline.

U.S. Congress starts break with no gas price fix

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Congress began a five-week recess on Friday, leaving unresolved how to ease the surge in gasoline prices that is certain to be an issue until the November elections and beyond.

Lawmakers will resume wrangling over how to bring down the cost at the pump and move the United States toward energy independence when they return from vacation on September 8.

Iran says OPEC to consider oil rationing

TEHRAN (Xinhua) -- Iranian Oil Minister Gholam Hussein Nozari has revealed that the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) will seriously consider rationing its oil production, the semi-official FARS news agency reported.

"I think OPEC will be serious about this issue" in case of continuous decline of crude oil prices and lack of oil output control by some OPEC members which keep high level oil production, Nozari was quoted as saying.

Lawmakers award gas line license to TransCanada

JUNEAU, Alaska - Alaska lawmakers approved a state license Friday for TransCanada Corp. to pursue construction of a natural gas pipeline, ending a decades-long battle to open up 4.5 billion cubic feet of North Slope natural gas daily for use in North American markets.

U.S. shift to smaller cars raises safety questions

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - An accelerating U.S. consumer shift from sport utility vehicles and pickups to more fuel-efficient cars should reduce rollover, but safety experts worry a lighter fleet poses serious risks despite air bags, anti-collision systems and other advances.

"Shifting to smaller vehicles will make the problem worse," said Adrian Lund, president of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, a group that measures crash test performance that is backed by insurance companies. "You're better off in a bigger vehicle than in a smaller one."

Electric cars - It's the economy, stupid!

LONDON (Reuters.com) -- Much as I would like to say that I bought my electric car over two years ago to single-handedly save the planet, the reality is much less noble. I like to drive. I like to have my own personal space, to listen to the radio and to think. Perhaps it was growing up in South Africa where everyone who could drove a car.

As Bill Clinton said: "It's the economy, stupid." The arrival of the congestion charge in central London in July 2005, and my dislike of the Underground system, is what prompted the thought of it. It's been quite calming driving past the petrol stations lately, watching the price go up on a daily basis. I think that the UK has one of the highest petrol prices in the world with an average price now around 1.20 pounds a liter ($9 a gallon).

World Bank unit taps growing solar market

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A World Bank investment in a Russian polysilicon producer this week will help expand supplies of the key ingredient used to make solar cells and bring down costs of solar energy, an official said on Friday.

Despite sceptics' noise, scientific consensus is growing

Anyone keeping up with current affairs could be forgiven for thinking scientists are riven with doubt over climate change. Climate sceptics have enjoyed a resurgence as the federal Coalition danced around the introduction of carbon trading and heavy-polluting industries began an intensive lobbying effort to convince the Federal Government of their special needs.

...The noise has been loudest on the internet, where websites give voice to people who believe scientists are suppressing evidence to protect their careers.

Unfortunately for the sceptics, and for everyone else, the evidence for human-induced climate change is stronger than ever.

Climate chill came exactly 12,679 years ago: study

OSLO (Reuters) - A drastic cooling of the climate in western Europe happened exactly 12,679 years ago, apparently after a shift to icy winds over the Atlantic, scientists said on Friday, giving a hint of how abruptly the climate can change.

...The findings adds to evidence about conditions needed for abrupt climate shifts. Some modern scientists fear such wrenching changes may be caused by global warming widely blamed on human emissions of greenhouse gases from fossil fuels.

China opens Highest Operational Speed Rail Line

Claims 350 kph (210 mph) speeds. To be raised to 380 kph. New signals will allow 3 minute headways. Solar panels on trains (<1% of power consumed ?)


Just in time for the Olympics !


Another dream in technicolour would be to electrify the rails using solar power all along the line and when the sun shone the freight would go and when it didn't it wouldn't. Be great for the crew they would be able to get a decent nights sleep and play some cards on cloudy days! Could therefore even initiate the beginning of true civilization in America.

Claims 350 kph (210 mph) speeds. To be raised to 380 kph. Such desperation to get to where one is supposed to be! Why not just be born there?

Best wishes for getting to the Olympics, just make sure your return ticket will work. Oh and here is some reading material to wile away the hours on that trip.

Just to be on that Chinese track, I'll sign off with this 'chop':


End of Suburbia Trailer (2004)

"America took all of its post-war wealth and invested it in a living arrangement that has no future"
James Howard Kunstler

Four Years Later:

WSJ: After the Bubble, 
Ghost Towns 
Across America (August, 2008)

Some of the projects abandoned by bankrupt developers are in places that were hotbeds of new housing construction: Southern California, Atlanta, Las Vegas, Phoenix. As of July, the percentage of vacant housing stock available for sale or rent stood at 4.8% nationally, the highest figure in at least 33 years, according to Zelman & Associates, a real-estate research firm.

Daily life in these developments seems a bit post-cataclysmic. Children play on elaborate but empty playgrounds. They walk their dogs past rows of shiny houses that have never been lived in. Voices echo up and down the block. Unfinished houses and vacant lots strewn with construction debris clutter the horizon.

BTW, before any of the Konstant Kunstler Kritics (KKK) jump in, I would like to point out that Jim made a "C" in high school history, so he is clearly wrong about all of his views, and the collapse of suburbia is an illusion.

I'm not sure which way your sarcasm is supposed to cut, it's not clear from your message. I assume someone raised that clearly irrelevant argument against him somewhere else, and you are attempting to pre-empt it.

I regard Kunstler's predictions as a convincing possible future, but certainly not inevitable. Suburbia has a lot of disadvantages but I think at least some portion of it will continue to be inhabitable and inhabited. Not so much because I am in love with suburbia, but because of simple economics: people have already invested so much in their homes that they will make do to the extent possible. Selling and moving won't be such an easy option when their house's value drops, while the value of more livable/walkable homes may skyrocket (relatively speaking). Given a choice between abandoning everything they put into a suburban house and starting from scratch, or trying to make do however possible, I think most people will make the latter choice. Certainly some of the more outlying, more recently developed suburbs may come to be largely abandoned, but older suburbs I think will continue to be inhabited. While people have less access to each other and to common supplies, they have space to grow gardens, and can probably borrow a ride once in a while to stock up on certain things.

That leaves the question of jobs, and how to get to them, which is the most disruptive problem. Many more people will be working at home, either telecommuting or running a small home business. Shops will open in people's neighborhoods, perhaps even in people's garages. Carpooling will become much more prevalent for those who have to commute. That still leaves a gap, and outlying areas will again be the least practical, but by no means is it a total collapse.

"That still leaves a gap, and outlying areas will again be the least practical, but by no means is it a total collapse."

So how do the "supplies" get into the "city" to be distributed to
these still inhabited suburbs?

Start thinking Nigeria pipeline explodes as people line up
to get gasoline from them.

and helos sold by Taliban after stolen from supply "train"
into Afghanistan.

I went to town the other day. I needed some steel. "Town" is 140 miles round trip. The drive both ways took about two hours. If I rode my Mule, it would be a four day trip, at least, and maybe five, depending on what I did while in town. How valuable is fuel?

I make the trip into town every couple of months for stuff I can't get around here, mainly steel for my shop, or sometimes, bullets (I keep a Winchester next to the front door for critters). I've noticed this year the lack of highway maintenance. The highway is cracking and there are many unfilled cracks. I guess the counties have other priorities for spending their limited budgets. Asphalt apparently isn't one of them. Best Wishes from the Fremont

depending on what I did while in town.

So what is the problem? That 5 day trip sounds like it would be my choice! :)

What I do in town? See a movie? Bad Chinese food? Maybe a junkyard visit? No problemo. Five days round trip, that's OK. Four nights sleeping out no problem either. Wintertime will be a bit rough, but I can do it. The five hundred miles, round trip, to visit my Daughter will just take up one half of the month, maybe a bit more, again, it depends. Whatever minimum wage is, $7 per hour (?), well the five days for 140 miles, 8 hours per day, times $7/hr. times 5 days = $280. To compare, my truck gets 15 mpg diesel, at $5 per gallon = 10 gallons for the 150 mile round trip, more or less, or $50 in fuel vs. $280 lost wages at minimum wage for the 5 day trip. Of course, this is pretty meaningless. The point is, we get a lot for our fuel costs, even at $5 per gallon. A $50 fuel bill beats the hell out of five days round trip and four nights on the ground, rain or shine.

Hey, the world as we know it is about to end and you gotta go all coy and serious on me? And here I was going to invite you to Mabel's place when you had that day in town.:(

Wouldn't a bicycle be quicker than your mule?

Don't have to feed it either.

You can't pull a plow, or a wagon for instance.

And speed will not be a prerequisite BTW.

One can tow several hundred lbs. of payload on a bike trailer, and more on the bike/trike itself.


Best Hopes for Bicycles & Tricycles,


Do you know anyone who does this regularly, or even occassionally, for the distances mentioned? I bike to work (and everywhere else, as I don't have a car), an 8 mile roundtrip with significant hills in 15 minutes there, 20-25 back, carrying up to 40-50 pounds when work requires traveling, and I can't imagine towing several hundred pounds up the hills I encounter on my trip would be pleasant, whether trying to brake or pedal. Granted I've never tried towing weight before, but towing that much weight on anything but rather flat ground strikes me as a challenge I would rather dodge. Anyway, just curious if this does happen.

You can pull an amazing amount of weight with a bike trailer. Going uphill is tough, and stopping is too. But, gearing is everything, and as long as you accept very low speeds on the climbs, 1000 lb on a smooth road is very doable with the right gears.

If you ride enough with your trailer, maybe you can make the Olympic cycling team, like Svein Tuft. This is an AMAZING story:


20 years ago in Beijing the streets were full of bicycle "trucks" carrying all sorts of goods around the city. They were slow but it was amazing what they could carry.

Scien: Suburbia is a generalization, as you state. The inner burbs should be as strong as inner urban areas, IMO. The car culture is too important to too many people to leave without a fight.

I assume someone raised that clearly irrelevant argument against him somewhere else, and you are attempting to pre-empt it.

Or it might be a made up absurdity to point out the irrelevance of many of the attacks on JHK.

Given a choice between abandoning everything they put into a suburban house and starting from scratch, or trying to make do however possible, I think most people will make the latter choice.

Jim calls it the "psychology of prior investment." I call it throwing your money away. But in any case, more and more people are walking away--because their mortgage is more than the value of the financial black hole that they reside in.

We just have way, way too much housing space. Zoning regulations will probably be scrapped, and a lot of houses in reasonable proximity to mass transit lines will be subdivided and/or turned into tenement housing.

I'm still waiting for the Y2K bug to wipe us out, like he predicted :)

Have you ever been wrong about something? Does that determine you're wrong about everything or anything else? So now Kunstler's a shill for software engineers who conspired to reap $ by inventing a false flag catastrophe?


Being an imaginary catastrophe, it wiped out your imagination catastrophically!

You do not realize it but your pixels were replaced and only your name remained the same. It still is 'Cashew' as in the 'nut' isn't it? :)

The Y2K problem was serious. The government and private industry threw millions of dollars and hours of senior programmer's time into solving it. We'll never know what might have happened if the problem wasn't addressed before it blew up in our faces.

Maybe if we put as much effort into solving the peak oil problem before it hits, we'll never know either.

Negative evidence isn't worth much.

Indeed, I happen to personally have replaced 2 financial systems which were tested and were *already* beginning to fail in strange ways as we got closer to Y2K. When it came round, what do you know, everything just worked...

Actually, kcrnsnova, the Y2K problem was exactly as Crystalradio wrote - a con and a swindle. Most systems that were multi-year had been set up initially for many years or had the work done much earlier so they wouldd not fail. Any system dealing only with the current year had no need of change. The only systems that might have had anomolies were accounting systems used by companies whose fiscal year was not coincident with the calendar year.

All the control systems still dot't care about the date just duration. Only accounting systems care about dates.

Mostly it wss management CTA.

I'm sorry but that's not true. Y2K was solved because a lot of work was done in the two years leading up. I can guarantee you it would have been a disaster for the Fortune 100 company I worked for at the time if we had we not tested, found what was wrong and put a lot of effort into fixing it.

I was doing docmentation for a small mainframe software company at the time. They developed a program specifically to deal with this issue. It was not a fantasy by any stretch.


Actually, kcrnsnova, the Y2K problem was exactly as Crystalradio wrote - a con and a swindle.

Really? And your opinion on this matter is due to your knowledge of computers?

Most systems that were multi-year had been set up initially for many years or had the work done much earlier so they wouldd not fail.

And your 'proof' of this is?

All the control systems still dot't care about the date just duration.

All? Every last one? Wow.

And yet - here's one showing "all" isn't right.
Phillips Petroleum Y2K test - an oil rig hydrogen sulfide detector system stopped working.

Now, you gonna call me out and produce my source on that one?

Thanks for your support ImSceptical, but I'm also sorry as it was Kiashu who implied that - I was merely being a wiseacre:)

As a computer "hacker" type ( meaning I know what a debugger is, how to decompile, and fix at the assembly level, regardless of source code ), I felt the Y2K bug was a total overblown publicity stunt.

This was in 2000. Every software was compiled with one of several standard compilers, and it was routine in that day for us to "fix" software by removing purchase authentication hicks, much to the annoyance of software authors. It seemed even every high school had at least one kid who knew his way around a debugger and would fix programs for his friends. Geez, whats a failed time code next to a deliberately coded-to-be-confusing purchase authenticator?

I see the situation today as more dire, as all sorts of encryption schemes, and law passed to make sharing of knowledge of the intimate inner operation of copyrighted computer programs illegal. A few years ago, I could easily go to the local bookstore and buy books on assemblers and debuggers. Not so today. I am just glad I bought those books when I did.

Same with digital encryption schemes used on digital TV.

I fear the day when a bunch of radio amateurs cannot retune their rigs to broadcast in the public band should the need arise. Its a comforting feeling to know that whatever the "enemy" could do to a few commercial broadcasting sites, there was simply NO way to shut down our communication system between our authorities and the public.

"Whack-a-mole" would be putting the situation mildly.

All the radio amateurs I have ever known made it a point to make the local authorities aware of the existence of their capabilities and offer it for public service should the need arise.

Leanan speaks highly of resilience, and having many people with the technical knowledge of our infrastructure makes it very difficult for that infrastructure to be disabled.

Having techincal ignorance imposed by law results in a system that when disabled - few, if any, know how to fix it. Further, today's outsourcing guarantees there are fewer people in this country with the skills to maintain infrastructure designed abroad.

I shudder at the thought of having to "debug" a modern program written with difficulty of "fixing" it in mind.

As a computer "hacker" type ( meaning I know what a debugger is, how to decompile, and fix at the assembly level, regardless of source code ), I felt the Y2K bug was a total overblown publicity stunt.

This was in 2000. Every software was compiled with one of several standard compilers, and it was routine in that day for us to "fix" software by removing purchase authentication hicks, much to the annoyance of software authors. It seemed even every high school had at least one kid who knew his way around a debugger and would fix programs for his friends. Geez, whats a failed time code next to a deliberately coded-to-be-confusing purchase authenticator?

You really think a multi-billion dollar company is going to allow its employees (who go in and disable legal license checks with debuggers on critical sofware) to then try and fix several hundred errors occurring in tens of thousands of routines all on one day (1/1/00)?

The type of "hacker" you describe should never be allowed within a million miles of a critical system. It doesn't matter if they can patch it sort of 90% of the time. It's the unintended consequences that can take multiple production lines off-line for months. All it takes is something as simple as just not ordering one critical component with a lead time of 6 months.

Attempting to debug hundreds of complex high level language subroutines in real-time (your systems are down) using nothing but a machine code debugger is asking for disaster.

You raise some very real worries. I am not a programmer by any stretch, but I can see real problems with deliberately hidden proprietary systems. The answer starts at the far end. You have to suggest a revenue source for programmers and engineers [not large companies] which then allows standardisation [what you guys call open source]. No one should generate extra revenue by fitting odd sized bolts to a system.

I'm still waiting for the Y2K bug to wipe us out, like he predicted :)

Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

Very brave opening up this old chestnut but here goes my 2c worth....

I recently thumbed through a Y2K doomer book in my local library (last borrowing Date Nov 1999) and it was laughable, in hindsight, just some of the things they were predicting. Interstingly though the areas of risk had been broken up into the 1-3 day disruptions, 1-3 weeks, months years and decades and the long er the disruption, the less it was seen to be of a mjaor problem as people could adapt to a situation very quickly once they had a time frame.

Y2K if it happend was going to be an acute event where the damage could be assessed very quickly and the market would allocate resources to repairing it just as quickly. A cynic would suggest that it was a beat up by the IT industry to blackmail the market into handing over vast sums to fix the "problem" (did someonae say 2038?). If Kunstler swallowed all the doomsayers prophecy from the nindustry then he wasn't the only one.

Peak Oil and climate change are chronic problems where the symptoms are mild and diffuse but nevertheless debilitating in totality. If you really want to listen to someone who is not quite as sensationalist as Kunstler, I recommend head over to Global Public Media and Listening to Jason Bradfords excellent interview with David Holmgren of permaculture fame. Holmgren has also done some excellent work on how to go about refitting the suburbs to become worthwhile places to live again.

The rub with a 'C' average is that you're probably about HALF-Right in your efforts. Now to determine WHICH HALF to listen to...

Now, while I like a fun and snarky Acronym as much as the next guy, I would say that the FIAFL rule (Fairness in Averaging First Letters) would let those of us who take dear JH regularly to task be at least tarred with the 'Big Gov't Subsidy' brush of being called the "CCC", instead of such a hate-filled and murderous group as your example inferred. I only rant and rail because I care!

I don't know how much he would chafe at being 'Cunstler', at that point. Could be worse.

"Jim made a "C" in high school history,..."

Anyone making an "A" would be completely wrong about US/World History.

For Example:

Why did the US choose the side of England in WWI?

How many Americans died in the Dust Bowl of 1932?

Why did the US drop 2 nuclear devices on Japan?

When was Saudi Arabia created?

Saudi Arabia was formed in 1932 by King Abdel-Aziz al-Saud.

When was Aramco created?

Surely one of history's greatest bargains, ranking with the legendary purchase of Manhattan for $24, is an obscure contract negotiated in 1933. For a loan of exactly $170,327.50, Saudi Arabia's King Abdul Aziz ibn Saud granted the Standard Oil Co. of California a 60-year, exclusive concession to 320,000 sq. mi. of desert.

BTW-that 60 year long contract was enforced to the year:

"1993: Saudi Aramco gets sole control over domestic refining, marketing, distribution and joint-venture..."

Saudi Arabia took over ARAMCO in 1980.

The old saying is the A students teach, and the B students work for the C students.

It is recorded, George W. Bush "I graduated Yale in 1968 with a 2.35 GPA" http://www.monkeydyne.com/bushresume/early.html

Who are we working for?

It is recorded, George W. Bush "I graduated Yale in 1968 with a 2.35 GPA

And that was with some of his professors being bribed and some of his papers being written by other people.

bruce from SFB - That was Ted Kennedy who got thrown out of Harvard.

Kennedy, Bush, what’s the difference? Neither earned their way to their opportunity. The difference is what they did with it. Even conservatives admit Kennedy has become one of the hardest working and knowledgeable legislators on the hill regardless what you think of his politics. Bush on the other hand…..

Thats what Mary Jo thought also.

Kennedy should have resigned within hours after the Chappaquiddick incident. However, were still paying for Bush’s arrogance and malfeasance. How many more lives are going to be ruined by his actions? The tally continues, well after he leaves office. I suspect he’ll never even have a crisis of conscience about his rule. A true sociopath.

wonder what all those dead iraqi's thought ?

I don't know American college grading. I take it 2.35 isn't very good but how bad is it?

The scale nominally runs from 0.0 to 4.0. Anything below 2.0 is ineligible for graduation.

Looks like McCain is continuing the tradition!!


At Baylor Med in the 50's the joke was the A students made the best professors, the B students made the best doctors, and the C students made the most money. I never believed that but at least it was intended to make everyone feel good.

i have no doubt, in my personal experience there is truth to that. I can list numerous psychological reasons -the A students are diligent and look at details the C students want to socialize and party -with the B students being in between. Also being C students at a young age imprinted a 'not good enough' psyche which later in life manifests as competing for pecuniary goods, etc.

I don't like Bush, but I would easily vote for a president that had a C average in the future if he was a leader with integrity who surrounded himself(herself) by smart people.

AT my 45th high school reunion, most of the "C" students regretted that they had not taken school seriously -FWIW.

Wow, that is exactly what GWB and his lying campaign minions promised to the very gullible ~50% of American people who voted him in....twice. I bet he would win a third term if allowed...an opportune anthrax scare here, a timely capture of some supposedly high-ranking Al Qaeda lieutenant there, and more tax cuts for everyone and back-room negotiations for the rest of the world to choke on our increasingly worthless currency as the requisite for us buying their exports. Repubs assured us that "yea, he isn't the sharpest knife in the drawer, but he has that compassionate conservative integrity, and although he was a C-student he will surround himself with TOP PEOPLE who will get things done...he is the great MBA delegator...who couldn't properly run a business to save himself.

And the D students made the women

Wow, I don't know what to say, trying to associate those who are critics of Kunstler with a hate mongering lynching group. I have to say Jeffrey you have hit a new low.

Naw, its possible to go lower.

Like shilling for corn eth.

westexas -

I just read the whole article. Man, these ghost developments are becoming truly creepy. It's one thing to have maybe a third of the houses unoccupied, but to be one of only two residents in a development of 28 houses is something else again. Almost pioneering.

If the handful of residents in these places think that unmowed grass and construction debris are a problem, just wait till squaters start moving into the vacant buildings. Then the real fun begins.

You know, it wouldn't be too hard to use one of these places as a set for some low-budget horror movie. Maybe call it, "Hi, Neighbor!"

Rent the vid Neighbors( I thought it was a laugh riot):

"This is really one of the lost masterpieces of black comedy. It is also worth saying that this film is not for everyone and defines the saying "love it or hate it"! Having read the book with the same title written by Thomas Berger I was so intrigued by the idea of Belushi and Aykroyd taking on the main roles, and having a hand in both production and adapatation from book that I saw it first chance I got.

One of the reasons that this film never got the credit that it deserved was that Belushi and Aykroyd were almost "too good" to do this film in the sense that the audience which would have been attracted to the film at the time of its release often felt "let down" and "not laughing" having shown up expecting to see basic slapstick humor more typical to the past work of the two.

Instead what they ended up getting was a film which was pure black humor whose laughs were based more on scenario and conversation rather than typical Saturday Night Live laughs a minute.

This film takes place over the course of one evening and into the next morning which we see a man with a very 'normal suburban life' which ends up turned upside down and inside out when the new Neighbors move in next door. The lead role of the dull overworked nine to five accountant was intended for Aykroyd and played by Belushi, something they both insisted upon when developing the screenplay adaptation of the book.


The Power lines crackling in the background scene is
just too much.8D

mcgowanmc -

I just so happen to have the book 'Neighbors' and thought it was great. I love Thomas Berger's black comedy and sense of the absurd. I should check out the movie version.

While very funny, the story is but a mild exaggeration of how easily things can get out of control before you even know it.

Expanding on my horror movie 'concept', perhaps a near deserted planned community in the far reaches of nowhere is invaded by a band of mutant squatters, who became that way while previously living in the abandoned nuclear power plant over in the next county. The next summer blockbuster?

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre was filmed at an abandoned farmhouse not too far from here. Of course that was before the real estate boom.

Hey maybe they can film a sequel in the subdivision that occupies that space now..

.. and of course, "Poltergeist" was about a modern housing development built on top of a cemetery, and the merry mixups that ensued. Maybe it's time to reverse that High-Concept plot?

How long do these things need to sit empty before they are a total writeoff?

I am thinking of water damage (roof problems, broken windows, pilfered plumbing, squatters, etc). And following water damage comes mold problems (think NO following Katrina)..

Elk Grove, CA, 15 miles south of Sacramento is one more poster child for stalled suburban sprawl. As I follow our local discussions, developers are just lying in wait, until 2010, until 8% growth resumes, until construction resumes, with expectations that it will take off like wildfire again. Only 17 months away.

I've been an outspoken critic of our local land use patterns for some time and find Kunstler truly inspiring; however, the thing I take away is his concept of long emergency...I personally do not see suburbia crashing into a singularity soon. I don't see my electric grid providing bimonthly blackouts soon. I think there's an underestimation of our collective ability to adjust...in the short term. Long term, we are painfully going to understand our misallocation of efforts.

Stalled suburban development isn't the issue here...the real issue that I and (I believe) TOD are anticipating is when suburban development fails to resume. I think this will take a much longer time and will be chronic rather than acute (even in the face of peak oil) because of our psychology of misinvestment. We are first going to find every way possible to adjust before we realize we can't keep adjusting, and I think we are just beginning.

Disagree. Five Words: Accelerating Net Export Decline Rate

My take on net oil exports & the 'burbs from two years ago follows. My preliminary estimate of the net export decline was too high, but I was correct that the net export decline was much sharper than the (so far) very slow decline in annual world crude oil production.

Net Oil Exports Revisited

I believe that vast expanses of American Suburbia are going to become virtually abandoned in the years ahead. Alan Drake has noted that a good deal of suburbia was so poorly constructed that a lot of it is biodegradable. Alan has outlined how we can go back to what we used to have: electric trolley cars connected to electric light rail lines. . .

I propose a sort of triage operation: "tiny" homes and multifamily housing along electric mass transit lines. In my opinion, it is the only way that we can preserve some semblance of a civilized society. The suburbs are, by and large, a lost cause.

Here at TOD, everyone worships to the God of using existing resources. With US population growing at 3 million per year [did you know that 2007 set the record for the most births ever in the US - ahead of the baby boom years for the first time], do you really think that we will abandon houses? The people on this site want to save poop for fertilizer, but we are going to abandon houses? WTF?

If not for illegal immigration the growth and births would be much lower, likely negative. When you subsidize behavior, that's what you get more of.

I think 2008 will be much down, though.

I predict that the 2011 births will be down substantially from the 2007 #s. And 2012 and 2013 lower still.

For better or worse there is about a 17 to 22 year delay between births and full consumption of resources (other than public goods such as education).


Alan, Why do think birthrate will be down? A large restless underemployed population is more likley to do away with birth control and fornicate more freely. Young women with little to look forward to may see some hope and purpose in motherhood with little regard to future resouce consumption (do any of us ever think about resource consumption when wrapped up in the moment?)

A couple of months ago I posted the USA birth rates during the Great Depression. Over 1/3rd lower, we were below replacement rate fertility for a few years. Much smaller dips a year or two after recessions.

Prudence does impact birth rates. Note also the decline in teenage birth rates. Best Hopes for Fewer Babies,


Maybe, during times of economic strife, we should give people large one-off payments to have Vascetomies or Tubal Ligations. TL's should recieve a higher payment, because they're more effective.

I live in an affluent suburb of Cleveland Ohio and see
lots of abandoned houses here.These houses arent of the stucco variety that were built in the recent decades. These are homes built by robber barrons of a
former era.Homes built to last centuries and having
been constructed just 60 or 70 years ago...these places are truely castles.
The reason they are vacant must be because the Melons,
Carnegies,Rockefellers and their ilk had terrible taste in granite and imported marble,along with the
spacious grounds,guest houses on property and servants quarters.
And as I mentioned earlier about the poorer quality
Mc-Mansions fabricated out of stucco (porous oil derived glop sprayed on chicken wire and tacked on particle board)They too arent abandoned....they just arent selling and are rotting where they stand.
John D Rockefeller is buried in Lakeview cemetery
just north of his former Standard Oil Empire. He's
lying in dirt next too former American presidents like
Garfield and a slew of others who would roll in their
graves to see whats happened.

The New Orleans solution is to condoize them. One antebellum mansion was converted into 17 condos :-) Well done, it preserved the outer integrity of the building.

Best Hopes for higher density,


The definition of "stucco" must have changed. It used to be a lime,sand and cement mixture applied over metal lathe or brick, and would happily last a century.

If you should be so lucky to come across a construction textbook from the 1950s you will see that they used to work on the theory that the supporting mesh had to be totally RIGID to avoid cracking. So they used a quite sturdy metal mesh which was itself affixed over a steel frame. They then coated this with an inch or two of mortar. Use enough cement in the mix and you have a structure that stands up to a hurricane.

It sounds like the "modern" trend is to use a more flexible mortar that contains fibres and plastic elements, which you can then spray over chickenwire because it isn't going to crack. Just a plastic skin over your glue and sawdust construction. Like vinyl siding.

This doesn't deserve to be called stucco. It's like gluing stone tiles to a fibreboard house and calling it "masonry"

There is no evidence to support the claim of an accelerating net exports decline rate.

Yesterday you spread a rumor started by Matt Simmons on CNBC and supported by yourself and some "anonymous" oil trader that there was no evidence of Saudis producing at 9.7 mbpd in July.

Disingenuous. You know perfectly well that the standard for evidence are the EIA numbers published 3 months after the fact (and then often revised). Which means that July numbers will not be "evidence" until early October.

All reports and statements regarding the situation which are currently available and interim numbers provided by the IEA and Platts strongly suggest levels of 9.45 in June and 9.6 or 9.7 in July.

I don't know how Simmons squares his comments with reality, I didn't see the video, but if he is so serious about transparency in the market, he will explain this view soon.

If you are in fact as clued in to the numbers as you claim, you will acknowledge this and provide data and sources to back up this claim of acceleration.

You know perfectly well that the standard for evidence are the EIA numbers published 3 months after the fact (and then often revised).

THE standard? You're joking, right?

No, I'm not joking. This is what Simmons and westexas use. I figure whatever they use is the standard.

Are you one of the two people that has downgraded my comment? Please explain your thinking in that decision. Did I offend you somehow? Did I misrepresent some numbers?

How about letting westexas respond before striking the gong? Are you really that insecure? I see no sources or facts backing your premature eja... I mean judgment.

Besides witches, what floats? Ducks and small rocks.


No, I'm not joking. This is what Simmons and westexas use. I figure whatever they use is the standard.

They use only EIA, and they consider it a standard, or is it just what they have to work with? To my knowledge, pretty much everyone thinks the numbers are a mirage, hence the constant calls for books to be opened and fields audited. You were being a wise ass and got caught.

Are you one of the two people that has downgraded my comment?

No. I downgrade for stupidity and trolling. You were not quite there with that post.

I am downgrading you for the above post, however, for whining like a damned child, and without reason (stupidity).



I will shortly downgrade your comments.

On average this is a blog of pretty smart people.

I feel you may be confused by "Intellectual" opinions, which are usually highly metaphoric, timeless and look at trends rather than specifics.

Unfortunately we have to endure the less broad viewed comments. I think our game here is to set people to "Thinking" none of us has a clue as to what the future holds or what any "Standard" interpretation is.

Get with the program and enjoy some of the smartest opinions available but don't believe any one of them


The annual EIA data show both the top five, in aggregate, and total world net oil exports showed an accelerating decline rate in 2007 versus 2006. In regard to Saudi Arabia, I agree that the best data are probably the annual production data, which will almost certainly show three years of production below their 2005 rate, at about the same stage of depletion at which the prior swing producer, Texas, started declining.

This is not likely to be a long term problem. What has happened is that the price of the vacant homes has not (yet) fallen enough for them to be sold. So they sit.

There is a lot of vulture capital waiting to find a home in residential real estate. But the vultures will not come in and buy until they think there is at least a 20% upside likely on the price of the homes. So they wait. (And they are patient).

These ghost towns will be inhabited again.

From the article:

As part of the prize, they then have the option to buy the four-bedroom home for $452,000.

Way too high! That's asking price has to fall.

In a severe recession/depression, I doubt it.

The number of people that need a 4 bedroom house are relatively small % of the population. The cost to heat & cool the extra sq ft. as energy prices rise will narrow those that simply "want" the extra space.

When it comes to housing, Americans are simply herd animals. And once the herd starts running away from remote Suburbia & Exurbia, few will wander that way.

My favorite proof of herd behavior is "What percentage of the population would independently decide that they want Avocado or Harvest Gold appliances with burnt orange shag carpeting ?" Yet that was what a majority of homes got for a few awful years.

Best Hopes for the Herd wanting Transit Orientated Development,


Alan: I agree that cost isnt the predominant factor
in the purchase of a home.If it were....why were people buying at the top?
Today the affluent who can afford to pay cash are moving down for the reasons you mentioned...heating
cooling,maintenance,taxes,insurance,location are just
several factors.
The people most financialy able realise that even being able to purchase a home with cash doesnt make the fixed costs of owning a home go away
I have recently met many people who have the ability
to own a much bigger house and currently do.....but are moving or have moved down to a smaller home for
the obvious benefits.
Location to medical services and employment mean more to a buyer now then ever before...as does the homes
energy conservation.
I expect homes being sold may have escape clauses in
the escrow for homes failing standard R-values of
Iam serious that this will be a future article in the
realestate section of the Wallstreet Journal soon

Super-Insulation = No heating expense + no cooling expense.

Any Nehru or Disco jackets in the closet?

No ventilation = smelly, stale air + far more radiation from radon than you'll ever get from a nuclear reactor.

Appliances = heat.

You'll still need a bit of energy to keep the air quality reasonable.

I live in a sturdy 1912 farmhouse- replete with orange shag carpeting. One room is filled with shag remnants-- organce, lime greens, neon blues, etc... I'm prioritizing some PV panels above remodeling.

Coal and Electricity Shortages Looming in China

11 days average stockpile of coal (USA plants like 90+ days). Power outages mean more diesel generators to keep factories going.

Air conditioning is growing rapidly in China and, IMO, generation and the grid have not yet adapted to this new seasonal demand.



From the same source

China's State Council calls for national energy-saving campaign

BEIJING, Aug. 2 (Xinhua) -- China's State Council, or Cabinet, has ordered local governments and other authorities to cut down on the use of cars and other energy-consuming equipment at the start of a national energy-saving campaign.

The State Council said in a circular issued on Saturday that the only way to handle the energy issue was to promote both conservation and development, with conservation as the priority.

Special priority should be given to the conservation of oil and electricity, said the circular.

Contrast this with US Labor Secretary Elaine Chao in an interview yesterday. Talking about energy problems she said the two solutions were drill for more oil and find new sources of energy. She said conservation wasn't the answer because you "can't conserve your way to lower gas prices".. Edit: To be fair I just found the interview and replayed it and she did also say, "we all need to conserve", but that's not where she placed the emphasis - unlike China's "with conservation as the priority."

Interview at http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=a4TW2qk.w.2A

As Saif Lalani wrote on 30/03/2008:

"Coal: This in my opinion is slightly more likely than oil to bring the system down. Here the effects of export-land model (courtesy Jeffery Brown) are even more pronounced. China consumes more than 2.5 billion short tons of coal per year. It recently turned a net importer (2008 projected). The world export market is tiny and is less than 12% of the world coal production. China's coal consumption is rising at a 12-15% compounded annual rate. China's coal production growth rate is slowing dramatically and will rise less than 5% this year. Putting these numbers together means that China will swallow all of the worlds exports in 2-4 years. Unless coal production can be ramped up dramatically elsewhere it is lights out everywhere."


Speaking as an Aussie, the mines are ramping up as fast as they can. But we have to build some new ports before we can export anything. There are capacity expansions planned for the existing terminals, state governments are looking at plans for new ports 5-10 years down the track.

But of course we will use conservative estimates of demand growth when planning billions of new infrastructure spending. So the new capacity that comes on line will simply provide a sip to a thirsty giant.

In terms of actual numbers - Austalian seaborne coal exports are about 250 million tonnes per year, mostly out of Queensland. The Premier of Queensland, Anna Bligh, recently said (Queensland) capacity could go to 370 million tonnes by 2030.

In other words, the Government is looking to double port capacity over the next 20 years.

If we could wave a magic wand and double our coal export capacity over the next 3 years - an engineering feat which would impress the builders of the Great Wall - we might be able to come up with an extra 250 million tonnes. Which is about ten percent of Chinese consumption.

If their demand for imports grows at 5% per year, even this mighty effort will not keep up with demand. Demand could grow by this amount in less than two years.

In practical terms, the "next big thing" on the horizon ia new 100m capacity port in QLD near Rockhampton. At the moment it is still just an idea, and when it does get built it will start at 25m tonnes per annum. So best case is an extra 100 million tonnes of capacity 10 years from now.

So the Chinese are going to have to learn to be a bit more efficient with their coal use. At some point they will presumably realise that there is not much point building a coal power plant if you can't get the coal, and they will look at alternatives.

In practical terms, the "next big thing" on the horizon ia new 100m capacity port in QLD near Rockhampton. At the moment it is still just an idea, and when it does get built it will start at 25m tonnes per annum.

And to achieve this, Capt'n Bligh wants to practically destroy the last virtually-unspoiled bay on the East Coast. :(

What this does is prove than an ETS (sorry, Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme) won't cause the collapse of the Coal industry (more the pity). The day before the Ganaut Report was released, the Industry was screaming of doomsday. The day after, it announced a new brown-coal-fired plant. A week later, QLD announces a massive port expansion.

China to increase 2020 nuclear power from 4% to 5+% of total generation

China planned to make nuclear power account for more than 5 percent of the country's power installed capacity by 2020, up from the previous goal of 4 percent, a senior energy official said on Friday

Also noteworthy is the China will produce their own pressure vessels for four new nukes (a Japanese & Russian duopoly for very large forgings so far, France can produce halves that can be welded together).


Best Hopes for more safe nukes,


Best Hopes for more safe nukes,

Yes. Hope for safety is all they got. But hey, this is a new month!


"They had discovered the radiation leak weeks ago and did not inform the Japanese government immediately," he said in a statement. "The U.S. Navy's handling of the accident and lack of transparency showed there is no way we can trust them."

And because I don't want to make a second post:

Ammonia – The Key to US Energy Independence 5th Annual Ammonia Fuel Conference September 29 – 30, 2008 McNamara Alumni Center Minneapolis, MN

I shudder to think of what the mercury concentration in the Chinese biosphere will be in 2040. And how long it will last.


Ummm...the "Chinese biosphere"? I hate to break it to you, but there's only one biosphere on earth, and we all share it. It's mercury in our biosphere.

UK radiation jump blamed on Iraq shells - Times Online
Feb 19, 2006 ... RADIATION detectors in Britain recorded a fourfold increase in uranium levels in the atmosphere after the “shock and awe” bombing campaign ...

That's just a 'theory', L.

Actually, there is just one biosphere, but China is trying to get the controlling interest in it. They'd probably be better managers than we have been, and that's saying something.

Yes, only one. Monitoring stations in California now find that China is the largest source of mercury deposition in the state.

You are sure right there Leanan, we learned that about the biosphere back in the late 50's, with Strontium 90, amongst many other cute things.

Distribution of DDT tends to support the view that we have a Northern and Southern biosphere, with limited leakage between them.

We are in the same one with China, Australia is not.


OK, but then neither of them is a biosphere. Each is a biohemisphere, or perhaps a hemibiosphere.

Its a biosphere with two hemispheres. Kind of like your brain. Distinct, but connected, and working together.

This is why I sometimes consider moving to South America. It's as far away from China as you can possibly get.

Which may become a significant factor when they burn through all their coal and build thousands of cheap nuclear reactors in earthquake-prone areas.

Actually, Africa would be. The prevailing winds go east which would bring them around to Africa later than to SA. The two hmispheres do mix, just slowly.


the mercury concentration in the Chinese biosphere will be in 2040. And how long it will last.

Don't forget the other bio-sequestered heavy metals like, oh, Uranium, that get shared in the global biosphere.

It will last until man makes efforts to pull the material out of the bio-sphere. (Or until nature re-sequesters the material - odds are that will be outside of the timespan of man on the planet.)

low tech ways would be things like plants, worms then manage the output.

higher tech would be vapor capture from pyrolsis for mercury. At the point where sea-water is being processed for minerals with all the excess energy from oh, say fusion or spaced based power that'll

It will last until man makes efforts to pull the material out of the bio-sphere.

Yeah. Ehrlich discussed that in vid posted a couple days ago on drumbeat.

Infinite spaced based power. Maybe nanobots. I'll go with prayer.

cfm in Gray, ME

Transmute the mercury into gold. [alchemist cries 'eureka'!]

China orders national energy conservation effort

[Edit] Duplicate of Undertow's post except

It required less use of cars, air conditioners, elevators, street lights and lamps, plastic bags and disposable goods, and the development of equipment that used electricity and oil efficiently.

Governments of all levels should publicize the significance of energy conservation and promote energy-efficient technology and products

Has someone seen the "writing on the wall" ?

Best Hopes for similar enlightenment in the USA,


Hirsch was asked in an interview recently if any country was really preparing for peak oil and he answered China was, adding something about it hitting a few years earlier than they were initially planning for though.

Can't remember which interview that was offhand - fairly sure it was a video. Will see if I can find it.

Energy lack could see UK’s lights off—claim

A LEADING Dundee academic last night said he feared the UK’s “lights could go out” because of a lack of back-up capacity in the event of an energy shortage.

Peter Cameron, professor of international energy law and policy at Dundee University’s centre for energy, petroleum and mineral law and policy, told The Courier that the UK’s energy supplies need to be shored up, and that the time is right for private investment in renewable energies like wind, solar and wave power.

His comments follow yesterday morning’s announcement that discussions between French company EDF and British Energy over a potential £12 billion takeover had fallen through, leaving the Government’s plans for increased nuclear capacity in doubt.

Professor Cameron warned Britain could see “some unfortunate incidents in the future” due to a lack of investment in back-up capacity by energy companies, and the failure of the government to enter into co-operative agreements to share supply with other countries in the event of a breakdown in supply.

“I have an uncomfortable feeling that we are going to see some accidents and some cases of the lights going out,” he said.

China opens 3 new subway lines for Olympics

Two weeks old link,


Subways in operation increased from 142 km to 200 km. One line to the airport, another to the Olympics. A third "L" shaped line (#10) will handle 850,000 pax/day.

While I was looking for this link I found a 2006 announcement for 3 more Beijing subway lines, construction starting by 2010.

Beijing plans 3 more subway routes

BEIJING, Feb. 10 2006 (Xinhuanet) -- Beijing has mapped out plans to build three more subway routes to provide faster traffic links between the city center and the outer areas.

Construction will start before 2010 on Huangcun Subway Route linking the downtown areas with Huangcun, a satellite city in southwestern Beijing, No. 15 Route, a light rail route to Shunyi District in the northeast, and No. 11 Route running through the southern part of the city...

The planned No. 11 Route will be connected with two new routes whose construction will probably start later this year -- the No. 9 Route and a light rail track to Yizhuang, a booming economic and industrial zone southeast of the city.

Between now and 2010, Beijing will complete and put into operation four new subway routes, including a route to the Olympic village in the north and a subway line to the Capital International Airport.

By the end of 2010, some 270 kilometers of urban railroad will be operative in Beijing. [Note that 270 km is before the 3 new lines are finished]


Shanghai, with 17 planned lines (unless more announced), is scheduled to become the world's #1 subway city by every metric: km, stations, passengers, passenger-km. I wonder if Beijing will become #2 ?

Today, Tokyo, New York City, London and Moscow are the leading subway cities, depending on the metric.

Best Hopes for more Urban Rail,


Utility in Oregon installing charging stations.....the first one was installed a couple of days ago.

Portland General Electric Developing Network of Charging Stations for Plug-ins

Portland (Oregon) General Electric (PGE) is developing a network of charging stations for plug-in hybrid electric and all-electric vehicles. The move responds to customers’ concerns about climate change and volatile gas prices, and anticipates the plan of car manufacturers to roll out the new generation of plug-in hybrids by 2010.

The stations each offer two NEMA 5-20R and two 14-50R receptacles. Offered current is 20 and 30 amps, and voltage is 120V and 240V.

PGE is working with local businesses and governments to install about a dozen stations throughout the region to help develop and test the transportation infrastructure needed to support plug-in vehicles.

That's pretty neat. Except that so far as I know, PGE gets most of its electrical energy from coal. A little from wind up the river, and some from natural gas (from Canada). They are sort of secretive about the source: www.puc.state.or.us/PUC/meetings/pmemos/2008/052008/ca9.pdf

Staff recommends that the Commission approve Portland General Electric’s application
for waiver of the requirements for quarterly power source disclosure for the second and
third quarters of 2008.
On April 9, 2008, Portland General Electric (PGE or company) filed an application
requesting the Commission waive the requirements under OAR 860-038-0300(2) and
(3) for the remainder of 2008 or until such time as the final rule implementing the
renewable portfolio standard is established. The disclosure rules require PGE to report
to customers the price, power source and environmental impacts for each of its services
and products in a format prescribed by the Commission.
The Oregon Renewable Energy Act (Senate Bill 838, 2007 Session) provides for
banking of renewable energy certificates toward compliance with the Act’s renewable
portfolio standard (RPS).1 The first compliance year is 2011. The Oregon Department of
Energy recently adopted rules allowing banking of certificates issued on or after


Electric vehicles sound great except for one thing -- Where is all the extra Coal and Natural Gas to power those electric vehicles going to come from?

Reviewing PGE's July 12, 2008 Integrated Resources Plan I see that PGE is planning on the following energy mix in 2014:

  • 24% Natural Gas
  • 21% Coal
  • 18% Renewables
  • 12% Hydro (PGE and Contract)
  • 21% Market (Shortfall)
  • 04% Non-Hydro PPAs

Now, PGE is in Oregon where renewable energy in the form of wind farms is all the rage. And their customers tend to be environmentally conscious, conservation oriented recycling types. And they are blessed with a large amount of hydro power compared to most cities in the US. But even with all these advantages, their 5 year projections for electricity generation include 45% fossil fuels and 21% open market purchases.

So what happens if electric vehicles really catch on? How will all the extra electricity needed to power them be generated? And what will the power supply mix look like in a town like Dallas or Cleveland.

Electric cars are a fine thing -- they reduce tailpipe emissions and run quietly. They can be a great solution for upper end individuals. But the aren't a solution to the national problem of declining access to fossil fuels given the installed base of power generation. The only solution to the national problem is to drive less.

-- Jon

I couldn't agree more jsc!

If electric vehicles really would catch on, this would clearly lead to an unprecedented demand for new electricity.

All the numbers I've seen for EV demand for power show it to be not that big. i.e. the logistics for supplying it aren't that bad.

And don't forget, there is considerable low hanging fruit available with respect to electricity conservation. Raise the price of electricity enough and then you find that there is power available! (Just like oil, we waste it because it is too cheap)

My expectation is that we are going to become leaner in all forms of energy usage for the next decade or 2. Then things might become a little less tight after that.

All the numbers I've seen for EV demand for power show it to be not that big. i.e. the logistics for supplying it aren't that bad

17% to 25% of total electrical demand *IS* a "Big Deal". For generation, fuel, transmission & distribution and a changed (in uncertain ways) load curve. I disagree with your assessment of the "logistics".


Could you cut your electricity demand by 30% over the next 20 years? (not counting your spanking new EV! ;-)

I think every household could. Most could do more.

On a per-year basis that works out to about 1.75% per year reduction.

(1 -.0175)20= .70

That's low hanging fruit.

My goal this year is >3,000 kWh. >2,100 kWh would mean a lot of sweating ! I would rather bicycle !

However, residential demand is typically less than half of total demand.

-30% in industry ? Only by shutting down in many cases.

-30% in commercial applications would be difficult.

-30% in street lighting ? Security lighting ? Maybe, with a cut in "safety".


But we aren't talking 1 year, Alan. Why the asceticism?

20 years

Take your time! The EV's (and your street cars & trains) are going to arrive gradually.

We cut our electricity 50% this year. 1) replaced entire house with compact flourescent lights 2) bought our farm yard light from the elecrtic cooperative and turned it off (can you believe the elecric coop does NOT allow switches on yard lights), and 3) installed a Central Boiler to burn waste wood to heat our house and hot water. We've eliminated 2,000 gallons of propane per year using only the standing dead trees on our farm. We are, however, in the heart of what was once the tall grass prairie and so couldn't support our population with wood heat.

-30% in industry ? Only by shutting down in many cases.

-30% in commercial applications would be difficult.

-30% in street lighting ? Security lighting ? Maybe, with a cut in "safety"

The biggest low hanging fruit in commercial has got to be those ubiquitous open frozen food containers in grocery stores. It takes a massive amount of juice to keep a refrigerator cold when the door is always open. I suspect it is a matter of fearing a customer might be too lazy to open a cabinet to get at the contents. So I propose standards, so that all stores are on a level playing field, and managers won't have to worry about losing customers for using sensible energy conservation.

As an astronomer, I'd sure like to see street lighting seriously curtailed. The reality is you can see better without lights glaring in your eyes. And security patrols could also use night vision tech. I think that would be more intimidating to a prospective burglur, if he has no idea is he is being watched. We could probably cut such lighting by at least half, but I suspect it is a big psychological crutch.
Even for industrial stuff, where you would think efficiency would have been wrung out, I doubt that is the case. Especially for plants designed when energy was too cheap to conserve.

If everyone drove Apteras it would be closer to 6%, well within demand margins. That's unrealistic, but so is assuming electric consumption and miles driven stay where they are while the entire fleet changes to electrics. Miles driven is already declining, and electric pricing is going to lead to demand decline. There's also zero chance of replacing all autos with EVs.

EVs aren't a magical solution. There are no magical solutions. But they do work, and can be deployed in numbers without new infrastructure. They're also a good reason to pay attention to our electric grid, which is critical for modern civilization.

Right, I don't see EV power demand as an issue. My employer SMUD has some significant information on our small fleet of PHEVs and we don't really see it as a long term concern. Well, particularly transmission capacity to deliver any additional energy -- that's going to be capable, IMO.

As for the energy...well, combine time of use with looming double digit rate increases, and people are going to forgo the spare fridge in the garage for the equivalent demand to drive a PHEV (~8kWh/day). I think there's a wide array of adjustments we will make.

Of course, none of this addresses FF depletion, but I'm betting we can and will collectively return to nuclear in lieu of power shortages.

SMUD...awesome utility! A good example of why we should extirpate IOU's and convert them to municipal/regional rate-payer owned utilities.

As for the energy...well, combine time of use with looming double digit rate increases, and people are going to forgo the spare fridge in the garage for the equivalent demand to drive a PHEV (~8kWh/day). I think there's a wide array of adjustments we will make.

8kWh/day...that's a hell of an inefficient fridge! Mine uses 433kWh/year or about 1.2kWh/day. You would have to give up six extra fridges in the garage. As an aside, can you imagine six fridges stocked with microbrews of your choice...ahhh heaven!

Sorry for the poor energy comparison! Everywhere I turn there are spare refrigerators, chest freezers and TVs in garages that (perhaps) consume that much daily...the best way to remove 1/2 of these loads would be rate increases. We will have a double digit rate increase (due to natural gas) in 2010, on top of a 7% increase this past January. We've got a lot of 'capacity' in demand side management.

Having read of Heinberg's 40kWh electricity to gasoline gallon conversion rate five years ago, I was impressed to ask of our utility what was being done to anticipate any major increase in energy production, what are we doing to prepare for such an eventuality.

Much less electrical energy is needed to provide for recharging than I expected, we don't expect a significant step change in energy consumption, and we anticipate TOU metering to be in place during that transition. Yes, thermal plants must consume more fuel to provide for the energy...but capacity, geez, California routinely runs into overgeneration problems during the shoulder and winter months as we need the capacity to meet daily peaks and evening lighting loads, but we can't pull the fires from thermal plants overnight because of their long start times and startup costs. I sincerely believe we will have more than sufficient capacity, both in generation and transmission, to support any shift to EV, to electrified rail...'we' being the whole industry.

Earlier this year we commissioned an 85kW PV array in a parking lot to provide for a hydrogen fueling station for our fleet of seven fuel cell cars. Built as an experimental pilot project in partnership with BP, my gut feeling tells me this will be the last one ever built in this state, once the economics are widely understood.

I see electrification being our preferred energy source going forward, and I see us managing it both through conservation and nuclear/renewables. I am obviously biased, but I long ago staked my future in a field I believe is bomb proof...because I can't grow food to save my life...

My brother also works at SMUD. He's an electrical engineer. Do you know a Kevin Wright?

Unbelievable! I work one cubicle away from Kevin, we're both in protection engineering, working on high voltage transmission!

Only six protection engineers in the whole place and we're two of 'em. I'm the vocal energy advocate riding his bike to work 3-4 times a week, the one who installed PV, he'd know exactly who Insania is...and I'd bet you're either in Colorado, Dragonfly41, or possibly Kansas City...

Man...what a small world!

Ha...that would be Kansas City. Good to meet ya. SMUD is a true inspiration of what a local utility can do. KCP&L has just taken over Aquila in KC and I, for one, am please with this. Great Plains Energy is doing a lot of new wind projects in this area and has a promising mindset for the future of local, electrical energy.

I'm the little Bros. The middle one is in Seattle. His daughter is the one in Colorado. Kev is a HUGE biker as well. Now he is taking up rowing on a Davis crew team (for old farts). I will need to give him a ring.

You need to turn him on to TOD. I think he would be receptive. I've tried slowly to ease him on the ideas here, but don't want to freak him out too much.

By the way, this was just published yesterday and gives credence to the Kevin Bacon/6-degrees of separation tale:

"Instant-Messagers Really Are About Six Degrees from Kevin Bacon

Turns out, it is a small world.

The "small world theory," embodied in the old saw that there are just "six degrees of separation" between any two strangers on Earth, has been largely corroborated by a massive study of electronic communication.

With records of 30 billion electronic conversations among 180 million people from around the world, researchers have concluded that any two people on average are distanced by just 6.6 degrees of separation, meaning that they could be linked by a string of seven or fewer acquaintances.

The database covered all of the Microsoft Messenger instant-messaging network in June 2006, or roughly half the world's instant-messaging traffic at that time, researchers said.

"To me, it was pretty shocking. What we're seeing suggests there may be a social connectivity constant for humanity," said Eric Horvitz, a Microsoft researcher who conducted the study with colleague Jure Leskovec. "People have had this suspicion that we are really close. But we are showing on a very large scale that this idea goes beyond folklore."

It's a hard thing to broadcast to others, especially when I'm having a hard time wrapping my own conclusions about everything that TOD raises. I've found myself converging on a higher degree of optimism, in that I think we will collectively find ways to shift to electrification...without destroying ourselves first. That's my bias, and I'm sticking to it.

Anyway, Kevin and I used to bike commute when he lived in Elk Grove, I'll be going to see X with him in September, yoga, and he can shake me out of a type I diabetic low. And yea, he changes focus on things quite often: bike racing,hot yoga, concerts, sailing, traveling...now it's rowing!

I suppose that with two disparate people, 1,500 miles apart, who continue on about energy & our future, one's bound to find some agreement with the concepts a brother and a co-worker bring up. It's interesting that I found Kevin's receptiveness to TOD ideas much stronger than most...hmmm, I wonder why!

OK, really should take this conversation off the thread, but just called Kev and he identified you. He will be giving you a hard time on Monday (jk). I have lots of hope in an electrical future as well mainly because I know some amazingly intelligent people working in the field. Keep up the good fight against time and ignorance.

Looks like Vermont is a bit concerned about the power grid next winter. I'm sure this is just the first in a series of articles meant to convince people to stick with paying through the nose for heating oil instead of spot heating occupied rooms with portable electric heaters.

This is a good example of secondary effects that popup like wack-a-moles when people make a primary change in choice because of changing economics.


Funny but far too serious. I think you are dead on. Replacing fossil fuel energy with electricity at present consumption rates looks like a no-brainer- it can't be done.

I was trying to google air source heat pumps, last week, but couldn't find any window type units. I would think a window unit, which is essentially A/C in reverse, could be made pretty cheaply, and owner installed. This should be perhaps three times as energy efficient as electric resistance heating, and probably more efficient than traditional NG furnaces -at least if only used when the weather isn't extremely cold. You should be able to take a sizeable chunk out of oil heat demand, by using such units during fall and spring, and the warmer winter days. But, I don't think anyone is manufacturing such a solution. We really need to get cracking on insulation and alternatives for our areas with oil heat. But, I fear TPTB, are only talking about helping people pay for oil, not helping them to get by with much less of it.

The current version of the window heat pump I have is the Friedrich YS09L10. It is also the most efficient window air conditioner as well (last time I checked). Not recommended for use below 38 F (no frost detector).

Some ductless split heat pumps are even more efficient if you can install those (own instead of rent).

Best Hopes,


Hi EoS,

I don't have my notes handy, but I looked at window units and ruled them out because they only work down to about +5C/42F and being a window installation air leakage would be difficult to control. A high efficiency ductless unit isn't that much more expensive than a good quality window unit; works down to -15C to -20C, thereby providing additional cost savings all winter long; plus it would be more energy efficient (higher COP), considerably quieter (no compressor noise), more secure (window units provide easy access for would be thieves) and far less visually intrusive.

For renters and those living in milder climates a window unit might make sense, but for homeowners and those of us who wear scarves, mittens and touks(*), a ductless or mini-split is a far better choice.


(*) Canadian, eh?

" mittens and touks(*)" More properly, touque. Oh well, if you're from Halifax I can't blame you much. Wiki is a good reference, although it is confused about the primary vs. secondary spelling.

Electric Vehicles (EVs) can be recharged at night when the boilers are set higher than needed to generated electricity for current demand. The boilers can only go so low before they have to be $hutdown and re$tarted. Ideally, EVs use the difference between the loiler and generation settings so environmental impact is at a minimum. The utilities look forward to having EVs even out their production.

With that said, solar will be the new "oil". A country's wealth will have to be based on its ability to generate energy from renewables. For instance, I see the day coming shortly when I use solar collectors for heat and hot water. The utilities will still generate but they will more than likely become energy redistribution systems to feed electrical energy to places under the clouds. There will be PV on my roof for transportation purposes and for redistribution to industry.

I worked out some rough numbers that show a payback of about 6 years centered on using PV for EVs.

You can find solar radiation maps covering the entire US for each month of the
years at http://rredc.nrel.gov/solar/old_data/nsrdb/redbook/atlas/ These maps
plot the average amount of solar radiation that you would expect to receive
anywhere in the USA in units of kwhr/m^2/day. For a Flat plate collector tilted, in January, at our latitude -15 degrees, we receive about 3.5 kwhr/m^2/day in the RDU area. Assuming PV is about 20% efficiency, (record is 23% for silicon, 15% average), each square meter of PV would produce 0.7 kWhrs/day. Let's assume that I want to fuel all my family's vehicles using PV for all our around town use of about 70 miles plus a pad of 20 miles. At 0.3kwhr/mile for 90 miles, we would need about 30 kwhr. We would need 43 - 1 meter squares of PV (30 kwhr/0.7 kwhr/day). The sun facing portion of my roof is 15' x 40' or roughly 5m x 13m or 65 square meters. I have ample roof top space to generate enough power for three EVs. The question comes down to cost.

First Solar and Nanosolar are both producing cells with a $1/watt cost. They
have produced cells with a 19.5% efficiency in their lab and I'm assuming
that will translate to being around 20% efficiency in the near future. The cost
to you and me is probably about quadruple due to profits, markups,
transportation, installation, PV support framework, etc. I think the industry
uses a solar incidence of roughly 1000 watts per meter square. Therefore, the
20% panels would produce about 200 watts per meter square or cost about
$200/meter square or $800 to you and me. A 43 panel setup would cost about us
$34K provided that they can get their efficiency up to 20%.

If we assume 25 miles/gallon as an average vehicle gasoline consumption, At
$4/gallon, thats about $16 each day. At $34K for a set of panels, that's a
pay off in about 2125 days or about 6 years.

While these are rough figures and there is some fallacy in them. For instance,
1) $34K seems too low for a set of panels, 2) A vehicle would have to be plugged
in wherever the sun is out, and 3) if not plugged directly into the panels, the
utilities will charge their typical rate offset by the revenue generated by the panels.

However, the method of calculation parallels a number of studies I have seen on
the Internet. So this method could be used for your own parallel study.

Peter Eckhoff
Triangle Electric Auto Association

Electric Vehicles (EVs) can be recharged at night

They CAN be, but will they be ?

I expect that many/most Americans will plug them in and start recharging as soon as they get home, adding to the 6 PM peak (6 PM is always a sub-peak, often the highest peak of the day). That way they will be recharged ASAP "just in case". And will not be recharged at all from 3 AM to 4:30 AM, typically the minimum demand time of the day.

when the boilers are set higher than needed to generated electricity for current demand. The boilers can only go so low before they have to be $hutdown and re$tarted

Almost never a problem in real world. The heat rate declines a bit from 100% to 40% generation (perhaps 8% to 12% more fuel/MWh) and drops faster at a stereotypical coal fired plant, but 25% of nameplate is still a reasonable heat rate. The only savings from recharging EVs is a slightly better heat rate during shoulder hours. This saving is DWARFED by the increase in the 6 PM peak.

Don't overstate the benefits !


Hello Alan,

In response to my: Electric Vehicles (EVs) can be recharged at night
You wrote: They CAN be, but will they be ?

The utilities and EPRI are working on the problem. There is the concept of Vehicle to Grid (V2G) in which some of a vehicle pack may be signaled by the utilities to either cut back recharge or use part of a charged pack to help stabilize the grid especially during times approaching a brownout. This can also be used at night to signal when to start a recharge. The question will be reliability. Can a signal be sent and acted upon reliably 100% of the time? Can it be overridden? Should it be overridden?

I also suspect that we might get a call from a car that has lost its recharge via cell phone (or LoJack).

I think this is where the hybrids have an advantage over a pure EV. If the pack is not recharged one night, a hybid's engine will take over. With an EV, you need to have double the range or enough reserve.

Right now, batteries are expensive. R&D costs money. The Stanford Lithium Silicon battery development has the potential of increasing the amount of energy in a "laptop" battery by a factor of 8 to 10 times. If the tZero can go over 300 miles on a charge and the Tesla has a stated range of 240 miles, then we are talking coast to coast on a charge. I suspect that we will divide the pack. Part of it will be in the car, the other part will store energy from a PV.

With electronics, we can do anything. The problem will be generating electricity through the use of PV. PV is still expensive but the generally increasing price of crude oil will convince us otherwise. Silicon based PV uses natural gas which has peaked in production in North America according to Lee Raymond, ex CEO of Exxon-Mobil. Therefore, I see us shifting to Nanosolar and First Solar technologies, CIGS and CdTe, respectively.

There was a Los Alamos scientist by the name of Klimov who was working on lead-selenium cells and hoped to get the efficiency of his PV cells up to 60% in about 3 years. That was over 4 years ago.

A lead acid based EV conversion can be done for less than 10K including batteries. One of our members has a 30/60 60/30 rule in which he can go 30 miles at 60 mph or 60 miles at 30 mph. YMMV. Our goal as a country/world should be to convert as many cars to EVs to aim to keep gasoline/diesel under $4/gallon for both.

Considering the peril that we see, why aren't our national leaders requiring all new homes to be ZEH or better?

Why are we not being told that there will be no more natural gas hookups? To save our Natural Gas for something more important like fertilizers, etc.?

If we are in the midst of this crisis, why are we not being mobilized but are seeing the rich gut this country through "naked short selling", sub Prime interest loans, and other financial shenanigens?

Why aren't McCain and Obama holding up the graphs that we published here?

Ross Periot did and got a lot of respect. Pickens has garnered a lot of respect. Why not these two candidates?

It's like we are on our own...


The question will be reliability

The question is consumer behavior and the physical characteristics of as yet undefined battery (Lithium is the front runner).

I have do doubt that you are trying to do good, but EVs are the least socially useful/least "problems" solved of Non-Oil Transportation modes.

The four I espouse are:

1) Electrified Railroads see:

2) Urban Rail
3) Bicycling
4) Walkable Neighborhoods/Transit Orientated Development

All better than EVs long term. Let the market build EVs without any special support.


1) Electrified Railroads
2) Urban Rail
3) Bicycling
4) Walkable Neighborhoods/Transit Orientated Development

All better than EVs long term. Let the market build EVs without any special support.

With all due respect, I think personal EVs will be an important part of the solution, probably more important than any of your big four. That said, I greatly appreciate your advocacy of these portions of the solution, public enthusuasm for them is probably not as great as their potential to make an impact, so activism for them should be considered to be a very good thing. But, getting to EVs or near EVs ASAP IMHO opinion is a crucial response to PO.

Just so there will be no doubt "Alan, you are one of my heroes".

Thanks ! :-)

IMHO, there is a desperate desire for EVs (and PHEVs) by the public as a means to preserve BAU (a desire that increase as the square of the price of gasoline :-). We just need to build the damm things ! No additional advocacy or gov't support needed.

If Nissan has qualms about building a EV because of questions about demand, I will revisit the issue. But I am assuming full speed ahead with only technical factors (batteries, design, parts, etc.) limiting EVs.

But we cannot build them fast enough by ANY hypothetical schedule to be more than a mid-size silver BB. We have 240 million registered vehicles. 1 million EVs will not be even a statistical blip. 70,000 GM Volts by 1/1/2012.

In my own judgment, bicycles will be the quickest, but will saturate quickly (saturation level will increase over time). EVs will be the slowest of all, and will likely surpass bicycles around 2020 or so.

Best Hopes,


If you are a farmer or an eater, you also have to think about how to get the chickens and veggies to market. If you don't use an Internal Combustion Engine(ICE), what would you use? An EV would be of use and so would a horse and wagon. Currently, a hybrid would add the range that might not be there yet in a set of batteries. An EV would be cheaper to build and maintain than an hybrid.

Chicken farms (factories ?) should relocate along electrified rail lines, with a slaughterhouse next door. Ship in chicken feed and ship out dressed chickens from a siding in a refrigerated car. Veggies need to get to either a canning plant or a a rail siding for distribution as fresh. And the canning plant needs to be on a rail siding.


Not responding to j s callahan, just the readers of his post.

To further the question of where to get the extra coal sourced electricity, I would like to know how that coal would be transported to the power plants.

Right now most coal hauling routes of railroads are at or very near maximum capacity. Cost of upgrading lines with more tracks, signals and grade separations (highway crossings) will cost tens of billions $$. The federal government has shown no interest in contributing money to increase capacity of rail lines, even when this would benefit passenger trains. And the railroads cannot afford to fund such projects on their own. Besides, more coal hauled to power plants means more diesel burned by railroads, partially offsetting the savings of oil in using electric cars.

To all those that think electric cars are the answer, think about where those kilowatts will come from. And don't respond by saying we will just charge during off peak hours; the joules/BTU's have to come from coal, nat. gas, nuke or renewable. Tell me how that chemical energy (fossil fuel) or solar energy (wind, tidal, PV) will be converted into kilowatts (amps x volts) for charging the electric cars.

If you use PV and can feed the power directly to an EV the pay time is in the single digits. That can either be done from a home or from a home through existing transmission lines to where the EV is parked.

Check my messages above. I did some rudimentary calculations.


I have to say that often potential mitigation are reviewed with the unspoken assumption that they are the only solution to be considered.

I think that any future short of a Mad Max/return-to-the-stone-age one is going to have a lot of changes no one of which could possibly keep BAU going. If any form of civilization is maintained it will have a transportation mix very different from the oil monoculture we have now. In this context smaller more efficient electric cars, relocalisation, telecommuting, public transport, electrified railways and even biofuels and whatever oil we can still find will all play a part.

If you take any proposed mitigation and calculate whether it would allow BAU they will all come up short but that doesn't mean they are useless.

This just won't do, Goodtower. The debunkers have absolutely insisted that nuance take no part in these conversations. If you want to say anything positive about EV's or the like, you must sign a form declaring that every Hatchback, DuneBuggy and Limousine must be replaced by an identical electric twin, to fullfill its destined role as written in (BAU, BAU, BAU) US Scripture.

I'm aiming for a Pedal-Electric single-seat VELO-mobile with a Pedal-assisted trailer for two that can snap on behind. Sadly, my designs require that it run exclusively on Gold-paved streets, but I'm assured that this is coming just as soon as asphalt reaches parity with Gold. Any day now!


From evolution to revolution, things hardly ever change gradually. They change suddenly and in great leaps. For those who understand this, life is a constant search for the next big jump. To the rest of us, all that jumping seems kinda stupid

-Georgia Lass, Dead Like Me

The question is, are these solutions the next jump?

The question is, 'do they work and can they play a role?' I'll let the big jumps be declared by the historians, and just try to make smart, careful decisions on the info I have available to me.


this is a perfectly reasonable and logical position. The quote was meant to address the bigger picture of all the debunkers looking for BAU replacements. I think your quote below reinforces this position. Basically the people filling the teaspoon are the jumpers. Everyone around them thinks that they are dumb, but in reality they have found the next big canyon to leap from, and are just looking for a deep enough spot in the river below. On lookers realize that if the jumpers misjudge the depth, they are screwed. When the jumpers find the right spot, they have the most fun because they are the pioneers that defied death. Other people will see that it is safe and fun, so they will follow, but in the end the jumpers get the most reward.

Basically, you are a jumper, a pioneer in the post peak oil world. The risk that you are taking is that better/cheaper tech will come out and leave you behind, either technologically or financially. In the big picture though, things tend to change in jumps.

.. and I have to challenge that notion that things don't actually change gradually as well as massively. In fact, it's clearly not the case in all sorts of examples, except when someone wants to be dazzling. I think we're far more impressed by massive shifts, while the little, steady installments go by undervalued and so then 'DeValued', negated, derided.. typical.

I honestly believe that the future is going to be millions of little things saving us. I imagine a big seesaw, and at one end of this seesaw is on the ground with a basket half-full of big rocks in it. The other end of the seesaw is up in the air. It's got a basket one-quarter full of sand. And some of us got teaspoons, and we're trying to fill up sand.

A lot of people are laughing at us, and they say, "Ah, people like you have been trying to do that for thousands of years, and it's leaking out as fast as you're putting it in." But we're saying, "We're getting more people with teaspoons all the time." And we think, "One of these years, you'll see that whole seesaw go zooop in the other direction." And people will say, "Gee, how did it happen so suddenly?" Us and all our little teaspoons. Now granted, we've gotta keep putting it in, because if we don't keep putting teaspoons in, it will leak out, and the rocks will go back down again. Who knows?
- Pete Seeger


Best, Bob

Precisely. Unintended consequences or compound shortsightedness, we can take our pick.
All these things like EV, PV, wind, hydrogen, bio, geo, if developed and implemented worldwide as little as 25 years ago could have facilitated a softer transition to a more sustainable model of living. We make a last ditch effort to replace the fleet with EV to preserve suburbia? Why? It'd be different if there had been railways to connect these far flung pods with our commercial / industrial zones, but we don't have that now, and I agree with Alan FBE, we should and construction should have started yesterday. But no, we're going to continue to try and preserve happy motoring. A more holistic approach is required to master this situation we face. Screed over.


Another one bites the dust:

Florida bank closed by FDIC

Told ya, that's how it always works. They line up a rescuer, then wait till after COB Friday to announce it. That gives them two days to get things up and running by Monday.

And New York is suing Citigroup:

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- New York state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo said Friday that his office intends to file charges against Citigroup for the alleged fraudulent marketing and sale of troubled auction-rate securities to everyday investors.

People who like to point out that the present banking situation is not as bad as the S&L crisis are being a little bit early in their analysis. This thing is just starting to get warmed up. The same critics as to the severity of this present crisis were also the ones who early said the housing bubble was no big deal. What are they saying now? I hear crickets.

From your link:

Customers with accounts in excess of $100,000 should contact the FDIC toll free at 1-800-837-0215

3 questions:
1)How many people work at the FDIC? They are going to be seriously overworked and I doubt they can go on a hiring/training spree fast enough.

2)How many people aware of this situation are juggling accounts so as not to receive 'junk bonds' on everything above $100,000 if their own bank fails?

3)If banks fail en masse a la 1930-35 (roughly 40% of US banks failed), will they really let everything above 100k go away? I can't imagine it, but I guess it's possible. Imagine someone with 9 million in a bank and FDIC takes it over and says heres your 100,000 of insurance money - sorry. If that happens to more than 1-2% of the population there will be martial law, in my opinion. People wouldnt take that quietly. (then again, what % of population has more than 100k in several accounts?) Bank crisis could be the great equalizer....;-)

"Customers with accounts in excess of $100,000 should contact the FDIC toll free at 1-800-837-0215"

Pleasant, female-like synthetic voice: "Please hold, your call is very important...."

FWIW, Indymac customers with more than $100,000 were told they'd get 50 cents on the dollar for any amount over the limit.

The people interviewed did not seem to be particularly wealthy. Rather, they were small business owners who kept their payroll and such in the bank. I suppose there's some kind of deduction they could claim, but still...

and fwiw, during the last s&l, depositors with over $ 100k were bailed out with taxpayers money ........er.....i mean debt.

the looting goes on ........latedatede......latedatedi...

I've wondered about that. The FDIC limit is not something I really have to worry about, but what about people like, say, Alex Rodriguez? Heck, minimum wage in Major League Baseball is $400,000 a season. A-Rod makes about $3 million a month. That's a lot of bank accounts, if you want to avoid going over the FDIC limit.

that's different banks if I understand the rules.

And FDIC is seriously under capitalized. I think we will all get fooled. And a few central bankers and their buddies will pile up all the goodies in the end. Most of what is in banks is zeros and ones on a hard drive somewhere. By some incredible sleight of hand, they can be transformed into real property -- if you are or know the right people.

Now is the time to join or form a mutually supportive community. Most of us won't buy or shoot our way out of this one.

And a few central bankers and their buddies will pile up all the goodies in the end

This is kind of what I was driving at - at some threshold -say 10-15% of dollars deposited in US banks, it DOESN'T MATTER who has the remaining dollars because the whole system shuts down. Which is why they will extend FDIC insurance way beyond its current capitalization.

(FYI - One can have many multiples of 100k in one bank. Alex Rodriguez could have an account for himself, an account for his wife, an account for he AND his wife, an account for he AND his daughter, an account for he AND Leanan, etc. each account needs 2 social sec #s attached to it, but is good for 100k. So in theory you could get 600,...700k insurance at one bank.)

That's true, but then you have the risk of your wife running off to France with your money when she finds out you've been boinking Madonna. :)

I believe there is a lot of confusion about these points

1. I have been told many times that the FDIC insurance applies only to the sumof all accounts in a bank. I was even told it was the sum of all accounts in all branches of a given bank.

2. It seems like it DOES matter who has the remaining dollars. Who wound up profiting from the Great Depression of the 1930's? Not everyone suffered.

3. Who is "they", and how will they extend the "insurance" way beyond capitalization? Without creating hyperinflation, that is.

I have been told many times that the FDIC insurance applies only to the sumof all accounts in a bank. I was even told it was the sum of all accounts in all branches of a given bank.

Yes, this is true. Something to be aware of, because sometimes it's the same bank, operating under different names. (That's happened around here. There are a lot of different banks with "local" sounding names, but underneath it all, they're all Fleet. They used to be local banks, but no more. Fleet bought them out but kept the original names.)

However, Nate is correct about accounts with different names on them. If A-Rod's bank fails, and he has an account under the name of Alex Rodriguez and one under the names of Alex and Cynthia Rodriguez, each account has its own $100,000 limit.

But it has to be different people. If he has accounts under the names of Alex Rodriguez, Alexander Rodriguez, and Alexander Emmanuel Rodriguez, he's only covered for $100,000 for all of them.

If you have multiples of $100k sitting around in cash, why the hell would you keep your money in the USA?

High income, high expenses.

Yes. and because of the guarantee. Other countries (eg. Switz.) have no such thing.

As I understand FDIC coverage, you are covered if the accounts have truly different ownership. Also, IRA accounts are separate. Thus, John Doe could have an account, Mary Doe could have an account, and John and Mary Doe could have a joint account. These would each have $100,000 of coverage. john Doe could also have an IRA account, and this would be covered up to $250,000. Mary Doe could have her IRA, and it would be covered up to $250,000. I think the big problem with limits is for business owners who have payroll accounts. If the payroll is over $100,000, it is hard to break it up into separate accounts.

The problem with FDIC coverage is that there is only $53 billion in the account right now. The IndyMac insolvency is expected to use $4 to $8 billion of this $53 billion. If one of the truly large banks fails, the FDIC will go through its money very quickly. FDIC coverage is set up so that it can charge member banks higher premiums to generate more money in the future, but it is difficult to use this approach to generate very much money very quickly. This system breaks down, if there are widespread failures, and banks in general are doing poorly. It becomes impossible to assess the solvent banks enough to keep up with the insolvent ones, without pushing more of the solvent banks into bankruptcy.

If there are widespread failures, I expect that there will have to be some sort of prop up scheme from general revenues (probably not offset by higher taxes). This prop up scheme will probably go along with propping up a lot of other things that need propping up--pension funds, auto manufacturers, airlines, Fannie and Freddie. The outcome is likely to be a rapidly falling dollar and inflation. This would not be a good situation for the country.

"And a few central bankers and their buddies will pile up all the goodies..." Too true.
Watch this when you have and hour, it'll change your life.


If you really want to understand the history of the last 40 years, you should also read


Then apply that to the Nixon Shock and ask why Saudi et al continued to insist on US dollars for payment after they represented nothing more than paper. The relationship between the US dollar and oil becomes a very interesting one.

Please take note that the government needs to control what is considered money. Back in the early days of our republic banks, and the states were allowed to issue their own money resulting in sometimes no less then a dozen differnt ones circulating at one time. each one's value exponentially decreased as the distance from the originating bank/state increased.

this created utter chaos.

Imagine having that problem.

I wouldn't mind having that problem.

Very good interview with Nouriel Roubini in the current issue of Barron's on the mortgage/financial meltdown (Page 30)--which he predicted. He now puts the upper end cost at around $2 trillion. He is actually relatively optimistic about the world economy, excluding the US.

Roubini is a smart guy, but when you read him the scary thing is he never really brings oil depletion into his analysis. He discusses serious economic problems that IMO have little or nothing to do with oil depletion.

$2 trillion is 10 million worthless $200,000 homes. So, $2 trillion in the US is impossible. That is about every house built in the 5 years during 2003 thru 2007 being worthless.

Or perhaps, 10M homes with $400,000 first, second and third mortgages which are only worth $200,000 now?

Or how about 100 million homes with $100k tacked on each one? Which would be $10 trillion.
So maybe Roubini is being hopelessly optimistic.

Of course averages are kind of meaningless here. Texas did not have much of a run-up, while there are $600k homes in California that sold for $100k in 1998 and will sell for $100k again in 2018.

I think you forgot to consider the interest earnings of the mortgage. Almost all of these loans are resold on their earning potential. Second, a $200,000 home in the hottest areas is non-existent. $200,000 in Chicago would barely get you something in Englewood (armpit neighborhood on the south side) .

Most people thought that the guy was crazy when he was one of the first to talk about a trillion dollar loss.

And what happens to home values as it gets harder and harder to get financing, especially for upper end homes?



Other lenders will follow Chase and US Bank which means the cost of getting a jumbo loan, or any other type of non-conforming loan (if indeed you can get one at all), is going to soar. In addition, those wanting to raise cash via a second mortgage are going to find it much more difficult (or expensive), to do so.

The noose continues to tighten around the consumer and the homebuilder.

I don't think the $2 trillion figure is realistic. I think he's lowballing so he doesn't sound too extreme.

Personally I expect to see an extra $10 trillion tacked on the US national debt by the time all the bailout and makework schemes are done. Obama's New Deal to cope with the New Depression, etc.
After all, we are merely talking about 1 years GDP. Is it so hard to believe that might be the bill for decades of fraud and negligence?

Check back in 2018 and see if I was right.

I believe he is talking about all mortgage credit related losses. Goldman Sachs, when they made their $1.2 trillion loss estimate based it on $460 billion in direct mortgage-related losses. In other words they were putting the total losses at just under 5 times the mortgage losses.

Also, losses are occurring in both residential and commercial real estate mortgages. The Golman Sachs estimate figured 50 percent of the direct mortgage losses would be in residential mortgages, with 20 percent in commercial mortgages. The remainder were projected to come form Home Equity Lines of Credit, Commercial Equity Lines of Credit, mortgage-backed development loans, etc.

For what it is worth, in late 2007 there were an estimated 50 million home mortages in the USA. This study indicates that a 15% drop in home equity would result in 20.1% of those mortgages having negative equity. If the average mortgage was $250,000, that would amount to $2.6 trillion in negative equity.

A large percentage or mortgages in recent years were "securitized" and sold. Some of the buyers were leveraged investment firms, hedge funds, etc. These buyers typically used the securitized mortgage bundles as assets to underpin other loans. When the underlying mortgages go bad the loans they underpin have to be refinanced, reduced or cancelled. Those effects are also part of the mortgage credit crisis.

Finally, the study linked to above also estimates that $400 billion in mortgage credit losses would lead to as much as $2 billion in total GDP losses over spread over a number of quarters. If Roubini's estimate of $2 billion in total mortgage credit losses is correct, one might then expect total GDP losses to reach as much as $10 billion.

I think you missed a few zeros in your last paragraph.

This is from the report referenced:

Our baseline estimates imply just under a $2 trillion contraction in intermediary balance sheets, of which roughly $900 billion would represent a decline in lending to households, businesses and other non-levered entities...

E. Swanson

care to bet how long the fdic can continue to bail them out?
the fdic works on the same ponzi scheme banks do. as long as a whole lot of people don't ask for that 100k protection they are fine, but if too many banks fail resulting in too many of these insurance claims..

Wheat Prices are Falling, Corn Prices Rising


The prospects for a record wheat crop lowered the price of wheat. Livestock producers competing with ethanol distilleries for corn after severe midwest flooding and a reduction in acres of corn planted from 2007 to 2008 is keeping the price of corn higher.

Russia planned to further consolidate state interests in grain trading:


Interesting thing happened on my PC last night all at the same time. TOD, Mortgage Implode-O-Meter, and The Automatic Earth are all giving me the same error message when I try to access them on IE. The message is "IE cannot open the Internet site xxxxx.xxxx.com. Operation aborted".

I switched to Firefox and they load just fine. Do you know what's going on with IE?

Had the same thing happen last evening. I would see the page pop up, only to be followed by the exact message you describe. FF3 worked fine. Today, there appears to be no problem with IE. ????

My guess is it's a problem with an ad. Firefox is probably blocking the ad or script that's causing trouble.

Using Firefox, several times I got a message about a bad script.

Yes, that IE message generally means there's a bad script somewhere on the page.

Since it's affecting so many sites, I think it has to be an ad. And ads have been known to cause this problem before.

IE is having problems with SiteMeter. Many sites are commenting out their code to avoid the problem until SiteMeter gets it fixed. Some sites are OK -- apparently using an unaffected server. DailyKos seems to be OK. See this link for details on commenting out the offending code.

Good grief. That's absolutely astonishing. Heads should be rolling at sitemeter.

I just verified the problem is still there. A whole day after being reported.

From link above

After further investigation, we discovered that SiteMeter is bringing down every site where its counter code is loaded when the visiting browser is Internet Explorer versions 6.0 and 7.0. The error may also affect Internet Explorer 5.5.

Tens of thousands of publishers use sitemeter to track their content, including thousands of bloggers. The result: sitemeter takes down the internet? not quite.. but its pretty amazing.

The text of the error received is: “Internet Explorer cannot open the internet site.”

The problem is still there? Really?

I tried visiting sitemeter.com (the suggested test in the link) and it displayed fine.

With a recent IE? I just did and it failed. Just tried again though after your comment and it worked. Was only about 10 minutes between the tests. However it may be partially fixed depending on what server you get connected to. Either that or its been fully fixed in just the last few minutes.

This is nasty I just tried navigating around the sitemeter site with IE and my virus scanner went off: Virus JS/Downloader Agent - specifically on the news/announcements link - which is very suspicious as its where you might be expected to click if looking for a report.

I'd stay away from this site and remove the link from TOD until a statement appears from sitemeter - although given the above, not by clicking on the news link!

Edit: Tried again. This time page clean - again it suggests some of their servers and/or cache servers may be poisoned and others clean or it only fires every so often - I'm not inclined to do much more testing in case something gets past the scanner.

FWIW - I had the problem from 8 last night through at least 11 this morning CDT.

I agree, it looks like sitemeter. I got a bad script error loading this page, it hung on a sitemeter url.

The problem is supposed to be fixed. Sitemeter says it's fixed, and SuperG says he cannot duplicate the problem.

Hmmm...interesting method of sabatoge (theoretically). Well, this little excercise has switched me to Firefox for good. It runs incredibly faster. I had dabbled on it before, but really didn't need to switch. I'm all in now, baby!

Thank goodness I can open TOD this afternoon. All
morning I couldnt as it would show IE couldnt open and
my TOD fix had been aborted.
Instantly my paranoia kicked in and I thought..."My
GAWD yet another site daring to inform people without
the filter of the rulers has been expungned"
I often make jockular comments which mask how seriously I take information, news ,discourse, debate
ect ect ect, I so value a place (such as TOD) and
peoples who champion the exposure and subsquent exchange of ideas...I cant express in mere words.
Please tell me the problem is with the host server.
Even if its not true....keep me ignorant and happy.
I cant get this information anywhere else. The USA
media has nothing but commercial and corporate crap
and channels filled with jewlery sales and Jesus will
heal your hemmroids shows and I rely on places like
THE OIL DRUM and the intellectuals here who are truely
the salt of the earth.

I happened to experience the same thing with IE 7.

I am now on Safari and everything works/loads fine...

I had the same problem with IE6 (and it affected The Automatic Earth as well). The error seemed to be something to do with SHDOCLC.dll in Windows system if that helps diagnose it.

Things were OK with Netscape. It's all back to normal now.

May be the 'powers' are just testing if they can disable the zones of criticism and dissent.


I had the same experience, but by 9PM August 4th EI7 was working OK.

Interesting thing happened on my PC last night all at the same time.

I was having the same problem with TOD and with my blog. I thought it was just my computer that was having a problem. Thanks for the information.

Let me rewrite the opening sentence of that article about travel -

'In Europe's modern socialist period, the labouring masses often travel further than a few hundred kilometers from where they were born. For them, travel is safe, convenient, and fast. They ride the trains.'

I keep wondering if Americans are completely unable to grasp what a rail network means, even if during the first half of the 20th, they enjoyed the world's best.

Certainly a place like Newfoundland is not going to be connected by rail in any practical sense (though rail ferries are used in various areas in Scandinavia, at least), but this idea that transportation is exclusively powered by oil is just not true.

And GM losing 15 billion in a single quarter (proving that a major car company can lose more money in a quarter than a major oil company can earn) is demonstrating again that a certain bankruptcy of vision tends to lead to more prosaic bankruptcies down the road.

(Edit - decided to change 'thousands' to 'hundreds' on second reading.)

If you can walk or bicycle to the nearest tram stop, which will take you to the nearest train station, you can get to the Pacific (or Arctic or Mediterranean Sea or Atlantic if you prefer) with a drop or two of lubricating oil.

There is talk of a rail link between Morocco & Spain to Africa, but how far past that on electrified rail, I do not know. No talk of a rail link through Israel.

In a dozen to twenty years, existing plans will see electrified rail links from Scotland to Malaysia (gap in Myanmar-Thailand) or China.

MANY interesting tourist destinations, and interesting travel getting there.

Best Hopes for Non-Oil Tourism,


‘Around’ the world by ship, mostly cargo ship, though for one lap the Queen Mary is the only available, as is well known .. ; and rail.

About 5 months, a young couple, laconic, strangely but utterly gripping, I recommend, it's for Alan.


If you can walk or bicycle to the nearest tram stop, which will take you to the nearest train station, you can get to the Pacific (or Arctic or Mediterranean Sea or Atlantic if you prefer) with a drop or two of lubricating oil.

There is talk of a rail link between Morocco & Spain to Africa, but how far past that on electrified rail, I do not know.

There is also talk of a rail link from Siberia to Alaska.


The 64-mile (103km) tunnel would connect the far east of Russia with Alaska, opening up the prospect of the ultimate rail trip across three quarters of the globe from London to New York. The link would be twice as long as the Channel Tunnel connecting Britain and France.

The $65 billion (£33 billion) mega-project aims to transform trade links between Russia and its former Cold War enemies across some of the world’s most desolate terrain. It would create a high-speed railway line, energy links and a fibreoptic cable network.

I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for this to happen, but the point is an interesting one: it is quite possible to span the Americas, Europe, Asia and Africa, by electrically-powered rail.

I think the worst reaction to trains is the redeveloped notion of having to ride with other people, having to share an essential piece of infrastructure AS a people, and the insecurity of losing that little womb of 'personal space' that so perfectly guards us from each other. It's like playing tag, and knowing that you're never more than a few steps from a 'base' which declares you to be safe from the gameplay and all the dangers that come with it.

In short, it's how 'social' is the scariest part of 'socialism'.. Even as gregarious as many, many Americans are or try to be, there is this created neurosis of having kept lots of safe little hiding places available, since everyone else is strange and therefore dangerous. ..Of Mice and Men.

That is a first rate observation...from personal experience as well. I began commuting by bus and train (light rail) a few years back and it was difficult, even for me, to overcome.

My observation here in Elk Grove, CA, is that our entire express bus network has roughly 70% Asian ridership, but is being squeezed down by all these newer white suburbanites who are now driving to the bus stops. And they are obviously distraught, what with having to stand, to be crowded in, to be in close proximity to strangers...because you can see it in their faces, their expressions, their body language. Long sighs; thin, crooked dour smiles; men sitting with folded arms, failing to offer their seat to even the most obvious candidates for relief.

These are the people praying for the return of $3.xx gasoline and having their private personal transportation within a 100 foot radius at all times. It truly will be difficult to redevelop the public transportation realm.

I am tempted to say that the discomfort is really more that they perceive that their social status is reduced now that they are riding the bus. Once it becomes clearer that many of their peers are also riding the bus, then this discomfort may be reduced.

Note that when you are flying in an airplane, you are also jammed in with a bunch of strangers. The difference is that there isn't any sense of diminished social status that accompanies flying. Except if you are accustomed to flying 1st class or private jets, of course, but that is another matter entirely..

I am still inclined to say that the most meaningful adaptation is that people will move closer to their places of work. Reduced driving of all sorts, and walking and biking become workable options. While I fully support expansion of transit, the costs associated with this are going to limit how fast this can be built out. Especially when governments have their budgets stretched to the limit..

Driving my son to school ten years ago, as we passed a stop, he remarked how "only poor people ride the bus."

Nine year old chauffeured white children were aware of the social stigma. I see your point.

Having seen me ride the bus or bike to work daily for the last few years, and having been subjected to my energy 'talks', he still chose to accept a 19 mile one-way commute to his railroad job instead of living closer to work.

I have seen New Orleans only billionaire, Pat Taylor (died of a heart attack in 2004) on our then 80 year old streetcars several times. I was not surprised, but I would have been shocked to have seen him on a bus.

He got a lot of respect (he bribed the state legislature to give free tuition and a small book allowance for any Louisiana high school graduate that graduated with a good GPA and kept it during the university. And yes, he did spread the $$ around to get it passed).

Generally speaking, buses have a social stigma, rail does not. Look at DC Metro & BART The very upper classes may avoid using rail transit, but they are a very small % of the market.

This is one reason buses NEVER generate Transit Orientated Development in OECD nations, but Urban Rail does.

I think that one of the values of mass transit is breaking down some of the social barriers and letting people interact as people on a daily basis. New Orleans is a bit different because we often talk with each other. Quite friendly and enjoyable. I have not noted the same elsewhere.

Best Hopes,


Social interaction, sir, is the biggest benefit I've received from bus transit...a little less on the train, but still, so much more than driving alone.

I've a horrible road rage-ish temper driving alone and it all went away when I took the public plunge. Let the driver, who presumably can accept such behaviors from other drivers, do the work. He's employed, I'm stress-less, I can catch up on the MSM and I actually ha! talk to other people.

That is absolutely a benefit of mass transit.

Well, why not grade buses then ? Have 1st class buses and coach coaches ( if you'll excuse the pun ).
Just like trains have entire carriages bereft of smelly oiks and their snotty nosed offspring.

I for one dislike flying as well, and strive mightily to get seats with minimum exposure to anyone, preferably in the exit row. I also sit on the aisle seat in theaters, for ready exit in an emergency. Some of us just dont like strangers.

I will gladly drive 8 hours to avoid flying 4 (and I've traveled 100 days a year before)

Some of us just dont like strangers

And some of us do :-)

Perhaps the root of political differences and philosophies ?

Best Hopes for Multi-Level Social Contact,


I agree with you there. I'd much rather take a subway than fly. I used to enjoy flying, but these days, it's just a tedious and degrading experience. At least you're in little danger of being strip-searched riding a subway.

Here in the East Bay, BART commuting has gotten harder. My son was commuting info SF last two weeks for a summer program. Instead of driving to the nearest BART station, he had to drive to the next one, in order to find parking. I suspect there are going to be a lot of obstacles in the way of being able to handle a step change in demand. But I saw $3.97 gas this weekend, so I guess the pressure will be off for a while.

BART was designed with suburban commuters in mind. In San Francisco, people either like all public transit or none. Riding buses or transit may have a stigma, but it's probably moreso late night or off hours rather than daytime hours, if anything. And certain bus lines have more of a rep than others.

BART's pretty inefficient in some ways; closing down at 1 a.m., especially on weekends (bars close at 2 a.m. in California) means people who party on either side of the bay have to leave before the evening closes if they take the train. So mostly they drive. Makes no sense, like much of the bureaucracy ultimately doesn't.


Is a web site that uses plug ins that are custom and not an option on all platforms supposed to be 'useful'?

Google shows no one else cares about whatever they are pimping.

RE: Building a Greener America

Do not be lulled into a false sense of security when reading about the "green" building movement. Much of the green wave is nothing more than feel good noise, with little in the way of real progress in building truly energy efficient buildings. The updating of building codes moves at a snails pace due to pressure from the large, national builders. Profit above all else with no regard to the long term energy use of new construction. The waste of energy to heat and cool buildings in the US is astounding, cheap energy over the years has led to virtually no planning or consideration about how much energy will be used. With proper energy retrofit measures we could cut by half the amount of energy used by existing buildings and by 75% in new construction without any exotic measures.

And talk about giving green a bad name...

FPL's credibility takes another big hit

It says a lot that Florida Power & Light Co.'s "green" program got shut down by a unanimous vote at the Public Service Commission — and what it says reflects very poorly on the utility.

Now, as regulators investigate and mull what step to take next, it's hard to tally just how big a black eye FPL has dealt itself.


The real catalyst for builders to offer energy efficient buildings will come when a kW costs more than a dime. More and more buyers will seek out these designs as it becomes in their best interest to do so. It is not an overnight change, but supply and demand will ultimately encourage efficiencies as they become a rational solution.. there is no need to denounce profit or self-interest when they bring about the solutions we all want to see.

I think only stronger, building (energy) codes will bring the builders into the energy efficiency realm, left to do so on their own will take them down the same dead end as the Big 3.

And because of their incompetence, we see Toyota and Honda taking their market share now. Perhaps requiring energy efficiency labeling on new housing like they require on new cars?

I have to wonder if higher CAFE requirements would have been mandated over the past 2 decades (over the strong objections of the big 3), what would be their market share today? Many people bought imports because of perceived higher quality, value and maybe fuel economy.

There has been talk of energy ratings for existing homes at the time of sale, new homes should also be included.

No one has commented on the article (posted above) yet -- but TOD seems to be paying insufficient attention to an alternate means of generating energy:

Dustin Durain, 21, was at the Madison Quick Stop Texaco when the praying was about to start. When asked to join the group, he said he didn't have the time, but as he showed Twyman his multiple tattoos of Jesus and the crucifix, he said he was with them in spirit....But even before the praying stopped, the price dropped three cents. "Prayer works fast," said Rocky Twyman, a 59-year-old public relations consultant from Maryland who has organized Pray at the Pumps vigils in eight cities across the country.

It is widely believed that price falls when supply increases, Apparently God will provide extra oil on request-- at least, in Alabama. This hasn't worked very well in Oregon, I'm sorry to say, although now that the price of gasoline is "down" to $4.14 people seem to believe that there is light at the end of the tunnel.

[edited to correct geographical reference]

Ah! The delusion of the Holy Petrol Pump!

I am considering starting a more advanced postPeak version:

The Holy Church of the Solar Generator.

I need thousands of people to constantly pray [besides massively donating to my collection plate], for the Sun to magically illuminate even the dark side of the Earth so that solar gensets can eventually provide reliable 'holy juice' 24/7/365.

Max religious effects are guaranteed if the believers donate, shiny, precious metal coins, which are then glued to the solar parabolic dish for max reflection power.

I believe, I believe, I believe I can live quite comfortably skimming a small percentage off the collection plate.

BTW, historically, the much larger market for conmen is to get people praying and sacrificing for good weather and good crops, but I don't have the stomach for that path.

I will gladly leave to others the acts of throwing virgins into volcanoes, holding freshly plucked body parts up to the sun, and burying children alive on mountaintops. /rant off

The existing oil production base decline rate debate seems to have divided into two camps: the CERA optimist view at 4.5% and many other studies congregating at around 8%. Many besides the CERA bunch also subscribe to the 4.5% view. So I decided to take a stab at what these two scenarios look like when combined with the EROI net energy estimates that have been done for the rapid rampup of unconventional fuels since 2002.

This is no easy task because you have several compounding forces at work. The ongoing EROI decline compounds with the assumed ongoing existing field base decline rates, which compound with the lower energy densities typical of the newer liquids. To look at the progression of the major trends, I did a shorthand calculation taking all these trends as linear and continuing into the next few years:

The decline rate is taken as zero in the early years of this decade and going to CERA's 4.5% now in a linear progression. That's not precisely how it has progressed. I think there was a brief bump up in production from Saudi Arabia spare capacity in '04, but the above reflects a linear, not accelerating progression of decline rate. It also takes the average EROI of all things like tar sand oil, deepwater recovery, biofuels, and other noncrude liquids as being 5.
This may be a little optimistic considering that most estimates I've seen for deepwater are "less than 5" and tar sand and shale EROI values are generally given as around 3. But much of the noncrude liquids is NGL, and I would think the EROI of NGL is better than the other liquids. I've not run across any EROI numbers for NGL other than broad estimations that it's in the "low" group with the other liquids.

The energy densities of the new liquids are less vague. This is the BTU content compared to crude and is taken at an 0.8 average.

The overall EROI decline is modeled in the graph by taking the conventional new project production at EROI 9 with it's more difficult drilling and production versus the old, large fields that we have leaned on for decades with now declining, higher EROI production at 12. About half of our conventional production comes from just the biggest 3% of the fields in the world, and these are primarily fields that were much more easily found and produced. This fact may suggest that the stable 4.5% overall decline rate is too optimistic since these big, aging fields tend to come off their production tops at much higher rates of decline.

The scenario this produces is one of flat energy supply from oil despite everclimbing total liquids production. If global energy consumption is still increasing, the chart suggests there is some significant switchover taking place from oil BTUs to those of coal, nat gas and other things - a switchover not being shown by the total liquids numbers. The much ballyhooed 5% drop in miles travelled in the U.S. (shown in the chart for context) is just a drop in the bucket in this switchover, not to mention that it is drowned out by the developing world buying cars faster than Americans are parking them.

Also evident is just how critical decline rate and new liquids EROI is to world energy supply as opposed to what is given by the standard total liquids barrel counting. Just changing the decline rate a little closer to the other expert's estimate of 7% and bumping the new liquids EROI down from 5 to 4 makes a huge difference in real energy outlook.

The 4.5% curve looks suspiciously like the crude plus condensate curve that peaked in '05 and is entering a slow, steady (untill now) decline. This almost suggests we'd be better off not using crude to substitute crude, but just using the conventional, high EROI crude directly for end usage - sort of like the case with nat gas and corn ethanol.


Adjustments for volumetric heat content is an important issue.

Roughly crude oil has a heat content of 35 000 MJ/m3 (sorry about the metric units)

NGL's has a range of 25 - 30 000 MJ/m3 (data from Gas Processors Suppliers Association, SI Engineering Handbook), generally the bigger the molecule the higher the heat content.

Methanol approximately half of crude oil, ethanol higher than methanol (size of molecules again).

Below a link to a more detailed list (in English units)

Heat Content for various Fuels

Clearly the supplies of liquid fuels should have been adjusted for heat content, this is important as what really matters is useful energy.

The volumetric energy content of the noncrude, which I represented with the 0.8 BOE average energy density in the above estimations, is certainly becoming more important. All but the deepwater oil, which has the redeeming value of being as energy dense as traditional oil, have figures of 0.6 to 0.75 given for volumetric density compared to crude. So with the deepwater mixed in, the average would be about 0.8 BOE.

Thank you for this work.
I agree with your statement
"This almost suggests we'd be better off not using crude to substitute crude, but just using the conventional, high EROI crude directly for end usage"

Were dancin in the dark and we don't even know it... yet

Intersting - if you'd be interested in writing this up as guest post, let me know.
Natural gas is largest input (direct) to petroleum extraction, but technically it is often used at the source - I am uncertain whether this is included in our total TCF usage or not - if it is we should see ratcheting NG prices as EROI of crude declines.

I think this is all terribly important and has been missed for years, (though I am told the "What I Learned This Week" report from a guy in Idaho that sells to hedge funds for over $100,000 per year had a section on EROI this week), but we just don't have the data to know for certain. Plus the transformity/quality issue confuses people so much that it is almost a non-starter. Charlie Hall is doing work on declines in global EROI for crude but what concerns me is the old stuff has a nearly infinite energy return at the margin and the new stuff, at least in USA, is well under 5:1, and anecdotally is energy break even in many places.

The end discussion that will take place many years hence is to use oil and natural gas for their best uses (which would be petrochemicals and similar products) rather than inefficient transport and heat fuels. Their quality is being utterly squandered (though our lives are too short to see it)

Cover Story in Current Barron's: All Aboard

It's about why trains are a hot investment, which of course Alan Drake has been telling us for years.

Will the police protect you post peak oil?


CASS LAKE, Minn. - The city leaders of Cass Lake in northern Minnesota have decided to disband their police force in an effort to save money.

We should start a "How NOT to prepare for peak oil" list. Perhaps they should keep the police and cut the road construction. Just saying.....

I have been to that town - my uncle had a lake cottage on Cass Lake, and we went into this town for groceries and misc other things..

It isn't that there will be no police protection:

Mayor Wayne LaDuke said cutting local police and contracting with the county for law enforcement services will allow the city to focus on other critical needs, including street and infrastructure repairs.

How well this will work in practice remains to be seen, of course.

ericy -

Well, not to put too fine a point on it, but the police have no legal obligation to 'protect' anybody.

The police are a law enforcement entity, and as such are charged with apprehending criminals, usually after a crime has been committed. They have no responsibility to be the personal guardians for the private citizen.

This notion has been reaffirmed time and time again through a whole body of case law, much of which has involved citizens trying to sue police departments for inadequate and/or incompetent protection.

While the police can act as a deterrent to crime by patrolling neighborhoods and harassing criminal suspects, they are not liable for your or my actual 'protection'.

Their job is largely to find and apprehend the bad guys after the deed has gone down.

This distinction is well to keep in mind as local municipal services come under increased financial stress.

Some of you may recall in May of this year I installed a small, 67-litre, 120-volt/1.5 kW electric water heater to preheat the feed supply to our indirect hot water tank. At that time, I was hoping this arrangement would allow us to displace most if not all of the fuel oil demand related to our domestic hot water needs. By setting the electric unit at 70C/160F and keeping the SuperStor at 50C/120F, I was counting on the hotter feed water to offset the latter's standby losses and, with that, eliminate any boiler calls.

Well, the results so far are somewhat mixed. I won't know the exact savings until my next fuel oil delivery later this fall, but in past years we used about 1.22 litres (0.32 gallons) of fuel oil per day for DHW purposes -- on average, the boiler would fire-up about once every eight hours and run approximately eight minutes at a time; these short firings and the waste heat that continued to emanate from the boiler after it shut down meant that much of this fuel oil was simply wasted (whilst this waste heat during the winter months helps offset a portion of our space heating demands, during the summer months it serves no useful purpose and only adds to our a/c requirements). From what I can tell, it appears the boiler now kicks on about once a day, which suggests we've cut our fuel oil usage by perhaps two-thirds (ironically, if we simply opened a hot water tap from time to time and let this water flow down the drain, we could eliminate the remaining portion and our DHW costs would actually go down!).

In terms of electricity usage, my watt meter suggests the standby losses of the electric tank are just about 1.0 kWh a day -- the smaller tank size no doubt helps minimize these loses but, unfortunately, the higher temperature setting negates at least some of these gains. Two 5-minute showers consume a further 0.5 kWh each, so our base demand is roughly 2.0 kWh/day. Depending upon wash temperature, running a load of laundry through the front loader typically adds another 0.50 to 0.75 kWh to the mix and this, combined with other minor usage, brings our daily average closer to 2.5 kWh.

Assuming we have cut our fuel oil usage an average of 0.8 litres a day and after subtracting the cost of electricity, our net savings are estimated to be $23.50 per month or about $283.00/year. Not a huge windfall by any means, but better than a boot to the butt.


Perhaps you and your partner should flip a coin and one takes morning showers and they other one evening showers ? >:-P

Can you super-insulate your electric hot water heater ? Put it inside a very well insulated air tight room ?

Best Hopes for Extreme Energy Efficiency,


Hi Alan,

Ed is one of those despicable morning types who's out of bed and up and at it even before the sun hits the horizon, whereas I'm an incurable lollygagger who doesn't typically shower until much later in the day unless I have an early appointment; not much more we can do on that front I'm afraid. I do schedule laundry for late evenings so as to recharge the main tank before the overnight hours and this helps, but at an average of two loads per week the impact is modest.

I considered an insulation blanket but the owners manual warns that this will void the manufacturer's warranty. The tank sits on 100 mm of Styrofoam SM as opposed to bare concrete (see: http://www.datafilehost.com/download-0e4b80c3.html), so at least those loses are a little lower than what they would be otherwise. In terms of building an insulated air-tight enclosure, it's tucked under the lower stairwell next to the boiler and surrounded by a maze of supply and return lines -- an insulating blanket would be a more practical solution, outside of this issue related to warranty coverage.


If you ran your washing machine only from the cold supply, would it avoid your oil heating from firing up? You are then using electricity only when its heated, so no losses with a warm tank.

I live in the UK so our systems/appliances may vary.

Hi pondlife,

I don't believe this particular model is equipped with an internal heating element -- it does have something called "automatic temperature control" but I believe that simply adjusts the mix of hot and cold water as it fills, thereby ensuring more consistent results. It sounds counter-intuitive, but the operation of the washer actually helps to reduce my fuel oil consumption because it increases the amount of hot water pulled through the main cylinder (the electric pre-heater is set 20C higher to help offset the standby losses of this main tank); it's only during long periods of little or no DHW demand that the main cylinder cools to the point that it triggers the boiler to fire up.


Have you looked at solar HW , or a heat pump? I believe they make heat-pumps just for HW, or you can pull the superheat off the AC mode for summer DHW.

Hi Palecon,

I'm afraid solar is a bit of a tough sell for those of us living on the east coast; according to Environment Canada, Halifax averages 122 days of fog each year and upwards of 90 "sunless" days (i.e., days with less than 5 minutes of bright sunshine). In addition, our roof has multiple dormers (Cape Cod) and faces east-west, and the south side is shaded by large trees -- a heat pump water heater would be the better choice, especially given our dehumidifier runs six months of the year.

However, as noted, our DHW consumption is about 2.5 kWh/day, so a HPWH would save us less than $4.00 a month. That said, whilst the financial return is poor it does speak to my ego and, thankfully, I've got plenty of that. :-)


I was thinking doing a similar setup by having my present 40 gallon electric water heater as a pre-heater for electric point of use units in other rooms. Presently I have the heater set at 95 F for the summer as I prefer cool showers in the summer. Alan I like your idea about super insulation. My large heater is in a small closet and I could easily super insulate it with rigid foam Eventually I’d like to build a passive solar system.

Hi Bruce,

I would caution you about setting your water heater too low, as 95F is the perfect temperature for legionella bacteria to take hold and showering is the principal vector for its transmission. For more information on this, see: http://www.hydroquebec.com/advice_hot_water/index.html (*)

Although I keep my electric water heater at 70C/160F mostly to minimize my fuel oil consumption, I don't want to expose myself to needless risk.


(*) If you're reasonably fluent in French, a more detailed assessment can be found at: http://www.inspq.qc.ca/pdf/publications/032_PreventionLegionelloseBrulur...

Yikes! Thanks for the advice. I wonder if a point of source heater would negate the problem?

Hi Bruce,

Highly doubtful, as you would need to hold this water at 60 or 70C for at least ten minutes. Electric hot water tanks, as noted below, are at greatest risk due to the nature of their design and even at higher settings this bacteria can still be a problem.

Hot water tanks are especially prone to Legionella colonization.... Even when water heater thermostats are set at 60ºC, electric water heaters can still become colonized with Legionella due to the position of the heating elements. That is, in electric water heaters, the lower heating element is positioned 15-20 cm above the bottom of the tank (Joly 1985). This creates a temperature gradient where the bottom of the tank can be much cooler than the bulk water. The bottom of the tank can also collect sediment, which serves as a nutritional source for Legionella and host organisms (Stout et al 1985a). Legionella has been recovered from gas and instantaneous water heaters, although not to the extent of electric water heaters (Lee et al 1988, Alary and Joly 1991, Joly 1985). This is believed to be due to the position of the heating element at the very bottom of the tank in gas water heaters, which prevents temperature stratification.

Source: http://scholar.lib.vt.edu/theses/available/etd-12102007-140222/unrestric...

An article published in the Le Journal canadien des maladies infectieuses et de la microbiologie médicale not long ago found that 40 per cent of the electric hot water tanks tested in Québec were contaminated with high counts of legionella bacteria. The authors note that in addition to those with compromised immune systems, men over 50 who are heavy smokers and drinkers are at high risk of infection, as well as those with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, cancer and diabetes.

Unfortunately, standard chlorination treatments are generally ineffective because this bacteria is typically shielded by a protective bio-film cover created by other slime-forming microorganisms and since chlorine/bleach can't effectively break down this bio-film, once established, it's virtually impossible to eradicate; chlorine dioxide is generally considered to be the only effective treatment option.

One of the reasons why I initially chose the SuperStor Ultra is that its stainless steel interior makes it vastly more hygienic.


Going through your study’s main points (I've saved it for further examination, thanx) I’m going to use a three pronged approach. First, the whole plumbing system, which I’m replacing anyway, will be disinfected. Second, filtration will be added before the water gets into my plumbing,. Last, I have an inline UV system that was used for the well system which will be used on water exiting the heater and connected to a relay and delay so that it is not constantly operating but only when the point of use heater is in operation. Point of use temperature will be set high.

My new Vaillant boiler has a Legionella day ! Once a week it will heat the water to 70c for 1 hour and then revert to the optimum to ensure constant condensing action for the DHW heating period.
It also has full weather compensation and zoned heating. Cost £1500 or so to buy and install but will save me £400 a year on my bills not to mention increased comfort.

Puru Saxena staking his reputation that oil will reach at least $300 a barrel and maybe even $400 a barrel.

I see no reason to revise my $1000 a barrel prediction downwards.

Re: Wind Won't Solve Energy Crisis. Up top.

I think his wind speed number of 13 MPH is wrong, at least for the huge new turbines that are going up around our place. They are 1.5 Megawatt. I seem to recall that they can operate at 7 MPH. The problem here in north Iowa is not low wind speed but high wind speed. It is not unusual for the turbines to shut down, which they do automatically, when the wind speed to too high.

Furthermore his analysis of wind efficiency at peak demand times is faulty IMO. True, backup natural gas is required at peak demand periods, but this should be no big deal. If the plant is available anyway, which is the case locally, it is used less due to wind power at off peak demand times thereby saving natural gas for long periods as wind is given priority since is cheaper (free).

If the electric company has to buy natural gas at high prices for peak demand, poor babies. They collected huge savings (or some other wind electricity producer did) when the wind was blowing at off peak periods. When they buy natural gas for peak times it is off set by large savings achieved in natural gas consumption during windy off peak times.

Assigning electrons to times periods is a sloppy business. I have been informed that electricity is like a big lake where water is running in at side and out the other side. In a way it is like oil flow which is the crux of Peak Oil.

As long as there are more electrons flowing into the electron lake than are flowing out everything is okay. Paying high natural gas prices for inflowing electrons during peak demand is a small cost compared to the stream of wind electrons flowing into the lake during off peak which is most of the time during which natural gas or other fossil fuel usage can be cut.

The new Crystal Lake wind farm reportedly is rated at 100 megawatts. It is suppose to be 100 1.5 megawatt operating at 2/3 capacity. There is an older wind farm nearby operated by the same company (FPL). They should know what they are doing since they have the experience of that wind farm. They have decided to invest (I am guessing) at least $200 million and I know for a fact they did detailed wind studies beforehand. Those who build wind farms in poor locations are to blame for the poor wind results.

They should have studied the locations better for wind. It is not the fault of wind power, it is the fault of poor management. There are still large areas of north central Iowa not covered by wind turbines. Hint. Hint.

The power available from the wind increases with the cube of the wind speed. So, comparing a 7 mph wind with a 14 mph wind means that there's 8 times as much power available at 14 compared with 7. A wind machine is typically rated at some design speed, based on the available wind speeds over a year's time. I don't know at what speed these turbines are rated at, but it might be 20 mph. Wind mills aren't like nuclear power plants, which can be operated almost continuously at rated power over an entire year. That difference has led some wind detractors to claim that wind power is not as "efficient" as a nuclear plant, since the wind plants can't be be expected to experience winds of constant velocity at all times.

If you are really interested in wind power, you might want to contact your congress critters in Washington and tell them that you want to see the incentives for renewable energy extended. They run out on 1 Jan 2009, so you better hurry. There are several bills in the works, with the Dems and the Repugs having different approaches.

E. Swanson

I liked the closing line from the current CNNMoney.com article about expanded domestic drilling, Solving the Energy Crisis: You Decide

"Moreover, they [the critics, e.g. the EIA] say focusing on more oil drilling misses the point: The country should be figuring out a way to use less oil, not drill more, and that it's counterproductive when it comes to reducing greenhouse gas emissions."

That literally sums it up.

I spend some time browsing forums where people are largely still in denial. People keep posting about "when are they going to start drilling". A relatively small set of clips, links and facts is usually enough to prove the point. Some people don't buy in right away - they have their own "facts" that they got from elsewhere (probably talk radio or the internet).

It is sort of like whack-a-mole though. As soon as you knock one down, another pops up with the same nonsense about drilling..

Peter: Is this like that time you tried to drill a hole in your head?

Egone: That would have worked if you hadn't stopped me.


Bouncing Down the Mountain

Ilargi: I have nothing much to say this morning. Just that going through the news this morning, there’s this chill that states everything I’ve been saying for a long time comes to pass. And now that it happens, it doesn’t even feel good.

Jobs are set to go poof! in a future scenario that’s as dark as it is pale; carmakers are so stuck in debt that they chase their own few remaining clients away; investment banks that are desperate to hide their losses will be increasingly forced to reveal them in the face of fraud charges, while they are slurping from the discount windows like a bunch of dirty wino's; the FDIC makes sure that a rising number of commercial banks are being renditioned, disappeared and never heard from again, California starts the merry-go-round of government lay-offs that will hit the US like a sledgehammer between now and Christmas, and then there's always the connoisseurs who insist the markets will start going back up any moment now.

When viewed as a panorama, it's a sad picture.

RE: Baker Institute report proposes strategies to ensure global energy security

After a quick scan, I think this report gives an overview of the thinking of the professional policy folks. There was no mention of Peak Oil that I saw and there at the beginning was a comment that global demand for oil was expected to increase by 30 million bbls per day by 2030. These folks seem to think of oil as just another commodity, like corn or steel, instead of being the foundation upon which almost everything in the economy depends. They do mention Climate Change as a problem, but the treatment is more like a political issue than a worldwide threat. The authors suggest that the U.S. economy should move towards becoming "less carbon intensive", with the usual slow changes, such as the new CAFE standards mentioned.

As far as oil security is concerned, they note:

Another predicted category of resource war is an act of war by a large consuming country against a smaller, weaker oil-rich country to take over its oil.

But then go on to claim:

The U.S. invasion of Iraq is frequently referred to as an example of this kind of resource war. In fact, the U.S. invasion of Iraq had a larger and more complex set of motivations. The United States has neither in practice nor intention taken control of Iraq’s oil.

They even list such recent invasions thusly:

In fact, in recent years, the only invasions of oil-rich countries by other countries have involved countries that had their own oil, again driven issues more complex than simply grabbing resource supplies per se (Iraq–Iran, Iraq–Kuwait, Russia–Chechnya, Russia–Dagestan).

Yeah, sure, those guys we put in control of Iraq are not at all interested in selling oil...to the U.S. oil companies. I guess this sort of report is about all one might expect from Texas insider wannabe's.

E. Swanson

Now...I agree...I think the paper is somewhat biased towards the neocon theology, BUT...I think it is worth reading this paper because it is research for "policy-makers" and covers many subjects tied to role of oil and flow of petrodollars affecting economic stability around the world.

I think if you disregard the bias, it's an important document. Even if you can't look beyond the bias, it a brief glimpse into the mind of the people who are currently running the show in this country.

That rising U.S. oil imports have strengthened the hand of oil producers is fairly clear. Soaring U.S. gasoline demand was a significant factor strengthening OPEC’s monopoly power in
international oil markets in the 1990s. U.S. net oil
imports rose from 6.79 million b/d in 1991 to 10.2 million b/d in 2000, while global oil trade (that is, oil that was exported across borders from one country to another) rose from 32.34 million b/d to
42.67 million b/d. In other words, the U.S. share of the increase in global oil trade over the period was a substantial 33 percent. In OPEC terms, the U.S. import market was even more significant,
representing more than 50 percent of OPEC’s output gains between 1991 and 2000.

Strong U.S. import demand not only enhances OPEC’s monopoly power, it also has had a deleterious long-term impact on the U.S. economy.
The U.S. oil import bill totaled $327 billion in 2007 and is expected to top $400 billion in 2008. The latter represents an increase of 300 percent from 2002. The U.S. oil import bill accounted for 35 percent to 40 percent of the overall U.S. trade deficit in 2006 and 2007, compared to only 25 percent in 2002. This rising financial burden is
stoking inflation and creating ongoing challenges for the U.S. economy.

It would quite interesting to post this docuemnt here at TOD as a featured article and let our heavy hitters have a whack at dissecting it to pull out what we perceive as the "truth" and what is bluster.

Russia invading Daghestan? Wow, what a pile of garbage this article is. Daghestan was invaded by the wahabbi regime in Chechnya during the summer of 1999 leading to the slaughter of 700 villagers, which was the pretext for Russia to send troops into Chechnya for regime change. Daghestan never seceded from Russia. In the newthink that runs the US media today, no bid contracts for Iraqi oil resources by US corporations is actually Iraqi freedom. BTW, Chechnya's oil resources are not worth the bother all they have brought the republic is massive contamination of the countryside by small scale refining run much like some sort of moonshine outfits. Daghestan also does not have major oil or gas production and fields.

Hello TODers,

Is Pakistan now Thermo/Gene wedged between a rock and a hard place?

Gas supply position to be worse in January 2009

SNGPL likely to propose longer closure of fertiliser units

ISLAMABAD: The country is likely to face serious gas shortage in the upcoming winter season and the shortfall has been estimated at 1083 mmcfd in the month of January, official sources told Daily Times Saturday...

...The production shortfall will be met through [fertiliser] imports so that the production during the Rabi season is not hampered...
With the way I-NPK prices have been rising, plus skyrocketing transport costs, plus other countries that have been restricting I-NPK exports: this Pakistani reliance on future I-NPK imports seems to me to be an extremely risky strategy for their national security.

Tough choices: freeze this winter, or starve later. Yikes! Too bad their leadership didn't practice Peak Outreach to every citizen plus build their own Federal Reserve Banks of I-NPK stockpiles when energy was cheap.

I hope North America [NA] can do better by watching & learning as these other countries collapse from FFs & I-NPK becoming Unobtainium. I worry greatly about NA being a huge oil, Nitrogen, and Phosphorus importer. Will Jay Hanson's prediction window be correct?

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

Pakistan and Iran are moving forward with both a rail link and a natural gas pipeline. Two steps in the right direction.

Iran could make a lot of exportable fertilizer (better than LNG IMO) and ship it to Pakistan by water or rail.


Hello AlanFBE,

Thxs for responding with good points. I agree that would be a wise strategy for Iran & Pakistan. My WAG is a I-NPK factory costs just a fraction of the building and operating cost of both sides of a LNG supply chain.

BTW, did WT's Sandia Labs speech [and plug for your RR & TOD ideas] jumpstart any official collaboration with the brainy people there?

Inquiring minds want to know if they are swinging to your mitigation mindset, or alternatively, swinging to the Matt Savinar bomb shelter mindset.

Some interesting developments from my Multiple Bird - 1 Silver BB article. Paper submitted to Transportation Research Board, a division of the National Academy of Engineering (one of 4 authors Ed Tennyson predicted it would have the impact of the San Francisco earthquake, we shall see.). Also a trip to DC to meet people ...

More on that later (perhaps much later).

I have decided that I cannot both maximize the odds of "making things a little better than they would otherwise be" and maximize by own personal chances, so I have chosen the former (and enjoying life in New Orleans :-)

Best hopes for Mitigation for Peak Oil :-),


thxs for the reply.

Keep plugging Alan. I'm sure you get a lot of negativity and devil's advocates arguing why it won't work, but it's still the best mitigation mechanism I've heard so far.

What can we little people do to help?

Time will tell.

My impact will depend on how well I can present and advocate my positions to several people. I will count this trip a success if Non-oil transportation/electrified rail becomes part of the discussion of oil & energy solutions. More is possible though, with an impending election.

I have approached (and will talk to) D & Rs, but traction seems MUCH higher among the Ds.

If anyone knows a particular energy policy wonk in DC, let me know.

Best Hopes,


I may have missed it. Have you calculated the amount or natural gas which the U.S. would need to import to equal the amount used to make all that imported nitrogen fertilizer? Shouldn't that "embodied natural gas" be included with the EIA's calculations, just as they compile data for imports of the various products of crude?

E. Swanson

Hello Black_Dog,

Very perceptive observation!--no, I haven't done that calculation.

So I decided to give it my best shot--lots of worktime below.

Please check my calcs, in case I messed up a unit conversion [I am not an expert at this!]

According to this link:

The majority of nitrogen (N) fertilizer sold in Iowa is either anhydrous ammonia, or products made from anhydrous ammonia (urea, ammonium nitrate, and urea-ammonium nitrate solutions) (Table 1).

Ammonia is also a manufacturing component of other fertilizers such as ammonium sulfate, diammonium phosphate (DAP), and monammonium phosphate (MAP). Natural gas is a major feedstock in ammonia production--the hydrogen (H) in ammonia (NH3) comes from natural gas. It is not easy to combine N (N2 gas from the atmosphere) and H to make ammonia, so considerable energy (mostly natural gas) also is consumed. The average natural gas consumption for anhydrous ammonia production is approximately 33.5 million British thermal units (MMBtu) per ton. Therefore, the ammonia production cost is closely tied to the price of natural gas.

At that cost natural gas accounts for more than 90 percent of the total ammonia production cost. Additional energy also is needed for manufacturing, storage, and transportation, which increases cost further and adds to the retail price.

US 2007 nitrogen imports = 12,083,087 tons [see table for breakout]
Since it is impossible for a human to 'hug' a ton of liquid anhydrous ammonia: try to imagine 'hugging' 12,083,087 x 50 forty lb bags of ammonia nitrate or DAP instead, or 604,154,350 of just imported bags of fertilizer every year! That would require a lot of postPeak gardeners pushing a lot of wheelbarrows home from Lowes or Home Depot! I think a lot of people pedaling railbikes on SpiderWebRiding Networks would be much easier. :)

12.1 million tons x 33.5 MMBtu/ton = 405.35 million MMBtu of embodied natgas into various I-NPK products. [ATTN: See my other post in this Drumbeat where a 40 lb bag of I-NPK is roughly energy equivalent to a 5 gallon jerry can of gasoline. I think people can more easily visualize the energy packed in gasoline vs natgas.]

405 million MMBtus [heat energy] is approx. equal to 405 million cubic feet of natgas or 0.405 imported Bcf [volumetric conversion]. This nitrogen import flowrate compares to 8.0-10.0 Bcf capacity for the total US national natgas pipeline system. For a sanity check:

The Haber process now produces 100 million tons of nitrogen fertilizer per year, mostly in the form of anhydrous ammonia, ammonium nitrate, and urea. 3-5% of world natural gas production is consumed in the Haber process...
So the US is now importing 12% of the world's Haber-Bosch nitrogen along with burning 25% of the world's oil. Yikes!

1 Metric Ton of LNG = 52,000,000 BTUs or 52 MMBtu

LNG carriers are specially designed, double hulled ships that can transport about 140,000 cubic meters (volumetric measurement, not fuel value).

According to James Kelly at CH-IV, a prominent LNG consultant located in Millersville, MD, LNG can vary depending on the source. The two extremes possibly delivering into the U. S. market are Kenai, Alaska (lowest BTU & lightest LNG) and Oman (highest BTU & heaviest LNG). BTU content can range from 1,015 BTU/scf to 1,170 BTU/scf (as gas). Specific Gravity of the liquid can also vary from 0.425 to 0.480.

[Friday, July 18, 2008] World's largest LNG supertanker set for delivery to Qatar

South Korea's Samsung Heavy Industries has built a 266,000-cubic-meter tanker named Mozah.

Qatar Gas Transport Co. ordered and will operate the first of a new class of super-large LNG vessels, the "Q-Max," having the capacity to carry 266,000 cu m of LNG, almost 80% more cargo than conventional LNG ships.

Christened the Mozah, it has a length of 345 m [1,132 feet], a breadth of 53.8 m [177 ft], and a height of 34.71 m [114ft]. Designated as "Q-Max" for Qatar and Max for the maximum-size ship able to dock at that country's LNG terminals the new vessels are expected to spearhead long-haul gas shipping to the US and Europe.

One Metric ton (1000 kg.) = 1.10 US tons or 2,200 lbs
or conversely 1 US ton = 0.91 metric ton

Also, one metric ton of LNG is approximately 2.47 cubic meters of volume, and one metric ton of LNG is equivalent to 48.7 thousand cubic feet of gas (Mcf). Note: exact conversion factor depends on gas molecular weight. Conversion factors taken from tables in Appendix One from this link [33-page PDF WARNING]:


Therefore, a supership like the Mozah:

[More of my calcs]

266,000 cubic meters/2.47 can carry roughly 107,693 metric tons of LNG. 107,693 x 48.7 Mcf = 5,244,650,000 cubic feet or 5.244 billion cubic feet [Bcf] of normal pressure [non-liquified] natgas.

Multiply 107,693 tons of LNG x 52 to convert to MMBtu, or 5,600,036 MMBtu per shipload. Since it takes 33.5 MMBtu/ton of natgas equivalent to make a ton of ammonia: Divide 5,600,036 by 33.5 = 167,165 tons. In other words, the Mozah can carry the LNG equivalent of 167,165 tons of ammonia or other nitrogen-based fertilizer.

Again, the US last year imported 12,083,087 tons of ammonia products, so 12,083,087 tons/167,165 tons per Mozah shipload = 72 LNG supertanker equivalent imports, roughly one giant ship every five days hitting a US Seaport.

But since LNG is generally more energy-condensed than ammonia fertilizer products: picture 150 of these 1,100 ft long ships docking per year instead [for example, urea generally contains much less nitrogen per finished pound than pure liquid anhydrous].

In summary: Yep, we import a large natgas-embedded equivalent of mitrogen every year. Let's hope the ammonia exporters [Trinidad & Tobago, Russia, et al] never impose an embargo on us like Germany did with their potash exports back in 1914.

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

Hello TODers,

Have you hugged your bag of NPK today?

Crisis Looms as Corporations Seize Control of Commodities
IMO [with huge caveats], but overall, a pretty good general overview of the prevailing situation for any TOD agro-newbies.

Borlaug: Without I-NPK, its over.

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

91L is now official in the Gulf http://icons-pe.wunderground.com/data/images/at200891_model.gif. Looks like it might pass by some pieces of our oil infrastructure.

Thxs for this info. So what is the official US Coast Guard? offshore rig protocol when a potential storm starts forming right in the middle of the fields? I have no idea.

1. Hope for the best, keep working throughout most of the GoM.

2. Minor precautions: Shut 'er down temporarily, then ride it out for a quick restart later.

3. Go for max safety, but high cost: Screw it down tight, then get everyone ashore ASAP.

Thxs for any reply.

This one is too close to shore to be much of an issue. Bad thunderstorm.

The procedure AFAIK is to install storm chokes/shut down production and evacuate (helicopter and boat). There are a limited number of each and it takes time to evacuate. Riding out is the option for those that cannot evacuate.

Quite frankly, a Cat 1 hurricane is not a big deal. I went out in one as the eye passed over me and drove out of another one (interesting, not sure I will do that again).

Best Hopes,


Hurricane Alicia formed in the same place http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hurricane_Alicia. It is not were they form if they head out to sea for a while.

I don't think the Coast Guard comes into play. The individual companies make the decisions.

An interesting statistic.

The 30 year average global per capita oil consumption measured thru 2007 was 4.71 B/P/Y. The 2007 global population growth rate was 1.17% and the current world population 6.6 billion.

If we assume that the global population growth rate will remain unchanged for the next 8 years and that per capita oil consumption will remain at the 4.7 B/P/Y level that has been the average for the last 30 years and has been almost exactly the consumption rate for the last four years, then we can calculate the required increase in oil consumption that will result

2008 77.2 M 994 K BPD
2009 78.1 M 1005 K BPD
2010 79.0 M 1017 K BPD
2011 80.0 M 1030 K BPD
2012 80.9 M 1042 K BPD
2013 81.8 M 1053 K BPD
2014 82.8 M 1066 K BPD
2015 83.8 M 1079 K BPD

Total 643.6 M 8.29 M BPD

If oil production is 85 M BPD in 2015 then per capita oil consumption must fall to 4.28 B/P/Y, lower than at any time since 1969!

Food for thought...

re: shipping costs crimp globalization-- I just retired from 28 years in the container industry- the CIBC study is just simply grossly wrong re their estimates of freight rates. Large customers typically sign service contracts( confidential) for 5000 x 40' containers or more, and a typical freight rate for Shanghai to Los Angeles would be around $3000/40' all inclusive including any newly developed fuel (bunker) surcharges while a box going to the USEC may go for $4000, but not one cent more.. these rates are probably 25% higher than in past 2-3 years- but by no means are they historically high- infact, they have dropped since late 1990's handily due to deregulation and unsustainable business practices on the part of shipowners and shippers alike.
That said, the incredible ability of China to produce goods cheaply and efficiently far outweighs any recent fuel driven increases- the Maquiladora stagnation in recent years will not be undone due to slightly higher ocean freight rates as the overland transport rises even faster( less efficient than water transport).,
Smaller or new customers can find an intermediary forwarder who can still find them a slightly higher rate - so I have no idea how CIBC obtained the estimates they put forward.

Interesting insights. Have you considered writing a letter with this information to the NYT? It's always great to see one's thoughts in print.

E. Swanson

Do electric utilities offer the option of the equivalent of an electric meter which can be placed inside a house that simply displays how much electricity you are using at any given moment? Seems like such a meter would be more effective in modifying energy use behavior than the monthly electric bill.

This spring I finally purchased a thermometer that displays both the exterior and interior temperature. I was amazed at how that simple device allowed me to control when I opened and closed windows each day to keep the temperature in the house more enjoyable.

Feedback devices work (at least for some of us:)

Hi PX,

You might consider something like this: http://dailygleaner.canadaeast.com/liveit/article/354522


Another option


Best Hopes for Informed Energy Conservation,


Hi Alan,

These are, in fact, one and the same.


One is called "Power Meter", the other "PowerCost Meter" and the PowerCost Meter seemed to have more bells & whistles.

Appearances seem to show a competing product that was #2 to market, but I do not know.


One is called "Power Meter", the other "PowerCost Meter" and the PowerCost Meter seemed to have more bells & whistles.

Appearances seem to show a competing product that was #2 to market, but I do not know.

Hi Alan,

The newspaper article notes this product is made by Blue Line Innovations which is the same Newfoundland and Labrador company you mention.

Armed with a background in business and marketing, Tuff joined forces with his brother, Maurice, an electrical engineer, five years ago to create a company, Blue Line Innovations, and to make their father's vision a reality.

As far as I know, they offer a single version they call the PowerCost Monitor.

See: http://www.bluelineinnovations.com/default.asp?mn=1.274.285

I could be wrong, but the picture of the device shown in the newspaper is identical to the version displayed on their corporate web site; at least I can't see any difference.


Anyone see this? If posted previously, my apologies.


The real economy contracting rapidly

Behind the reassuring statements from Paulson and others that the "worst is over" the reality of the credit collapse since August 2007 is a deepening economic contraction which I have said several times in this space will surpass the Great Depression of the 1929-1938 period. A goof friend who is an unemployed homebuilder in a prosperous part of Arizona just sent me the following list of US department retail store closures. ...Note the scale of the following store closings across America in recent weeks:

Ann Taylor closing 117 stores nationwide.

Eddie Bauer to close more stores after closing 27 stores

Cache, a women’s retailer is closing 20 to 23 stores this year.

Lane Bryant, Fashion Bug, Catherines closing 150 stores nationwide

Talbots, J. Jill closing stores. ... all 78 of its kids and men's stores plus another 22 underperforming stores.

Gap Inc. closing 85 stores

Foot Locker to close 140 stores

Wickes Furniture is going out of business

Levitz - going out of business... The retailer dates back to 1910.

Zales, Piercing Pagoda plans to close 82 ...followed by closing another 23

Disney Store owner has the right to close 98 stores.

Home Depot store closings 15... It is the first time the ..has ever closed a flagship store.


Macy's - 9 stores closed

Movie Gallery – video rental company plans to close 400 ...in addition to the 520 locations the video rental

chain closed last fall as part of bankruptcy.

Pacific Sunwear - 153 Demo stores closing

Pep Boys - 33 stores of auto parts supplier closing

Sprint Nextel - 125 retail locations

J. C. Penney, Lowe's and Office Depot are all scaling back

Ethan Allen Interiors: plans to close 12 of 300 stores to cut costs.

Wilsons the Leather Experts – closing 158 stores

Bombay Company: to close all 384 U.S.-based Bombay Company stores.

KB Toys closing 356 stores

Dillard's Inc. will close another six stores this year.

This is a nice compilation of the current "state of retail". I am in the retail biz as an 3rd-level analyst for corporate stores (greeting card industry...hey, the money's good). I am telling you all right now...the year has been painful...if the 4th QTR does not do jigs and produce amazing numbers...you will see one hell of a set of stores closing. They will stay open for the 4th QTR 08 just on the chance that things will deliver, but man oh man...if they don't (and all signs point to "it won't")...the defecation strikes the swirling blades in 1st QTR 09.

Mark my words.

CCPO: Wow....great (if depressing) info you have there. I suppose that "trickle down economic theory"
just aint workin out so good. I looked at each retailer and saw I never used most of them and the 1
or 2 I did use infrequently I will somehow manage to
do without.To be honest my wife used the womens clothing retailers alot...but Ive always liked her best when she wore just one of my Tee shirts around the house anyway.
The strip malls now will just contain Vietnamese nail
salons along with payday loan centers and Chinese fast
food stores I suppose.
Or some smart people may franchise some scooter stores
or bicycle retail chains.
How about opening consulting establishments for
greener living and organic gardening when all the
in mall brokerages close up shop.?
Allowing bikes,skates,skateboards, ect into malls
might raise "foot traffic" also.
Make scooter and hybred car parking the nearest to the
entrances and assign the rentacops to walk the beat
around all the bicycles...empty the food courts cooking oil directly into a mall trolly trains engine
to transport the throngs of happy consumers....the
ideas are endless really.

That list missed quite a few.

Mervyns just filed for bankruptcy. While these stores are still in operation, they are likely to close some of their stores and lay off people in the ones still open. This article discusses some of the problems in retail.

There have been 271 mortgage companies that have gone out of business since 2006, according to the Mortgage Lender site.

If this isn't a Recession, I would dread to see one (again).

E. Swanson

It doesn't sound like malls will be doing very well.

It is obvious there is a lot more pain on the way. No matter how many smart people [probably A Students] say we are at bottom. Sure, high energy prices are partly to blame but without Housing and the financials
heading north there is no recovery in sight. And believe me, we will see failing regional banks almost every Friday for some time. LOL It barely even made the news this week! What will happen if Chinas economy turns around and demand spikes. Closing a few retail stores will look like nothing.

And people say oil is going to $50.00!


The count is already up to 8 failed banks. WaMu and others are on death watch. Scary stuff.

What will happen if Chinas economy turns around and demand spikes. Closing a few retail stores will look like nothing.

I'm not quite sure what you mean about China's economy turning around.

All I'm confident about is how bad things can get. I live in Houston and we've managed to avoid a lot the problems affecting the rest of the country because of our medical industry as well as oil and gas industry. HOWEVER, I've been noticing the signs of the economic problems more and more. I'm seeing far more people on bicycles. Motorcycle demand has gone through the roof. Big vehicles aren't being sold on the large car lots and the resale value has plummeted for SUV's and trucks. Suddenly cars like my 2001 Corolla are the ones in high demand.

And then there was something I observed the other day. A friend and I were driving down one of the busiest streets in Houston and I couldn't keep track of the number of businesses that had closed. It looked like hundreds of businesses are silently failing and may be the canaries in the coal mine. I was going to open a business here, but whatever I end up doing is going to be much different than what I was planning on.

A few days later I go to a mall with a friend and this mall previously was extremely busy. Now there are hardly any cars in the parking lot. As I walk around inside, I notice that they are keeping the temp a bit high. Some shops don't even have any A/C running and setup fans instead. It seemed like they were running on minimal lighting too. I go by the food court and maybe only 25% of the businesses that were once there are still operating. There were a huge number of vacancies inside the mall and even the theater was shut down.

This doesn't represent all of Houston. It's still relatively booming here... but I can see some warning signs already.

I haven't read any comments on a tiny little thingymafacty (admittedly didn't get to them all, but I have to sleep). MIT came out with a bomb new tech. Co 2+ & HPO4 2- catalysed electrolysis, supposed to be high efficiency (I don't have a login at over 't science magazine to check it out alla way). For your battery and/or hydrogen needs.


read the past drumbeats.

The new finding involves a different catalyst on the O2 side of the electrolysis. It's not the efficiency, but the cost which would appear to be reduced, since the usual platinum electrode on the O2 side would not be required. Apparently, there would still be a platinum H2 electrode though. One question I have is that the Cobalt migrates from the O2 electrode to the water, so there might be a contamination problem. It's not clear to me on first reading whether there must be Cobalt added to the electrolyte. The idea is only at the laboratory stage, not yet commercial.

E. Swanson

So Leanan people can write here threads about Y2K and discuss on films (even give their own ideas on film making) and thats all tolerated and not deleted but if somebody talk about palestine issue which is atleast indirectly related with oil & gas issues, persian gulf politics, israeli invasion on iran etc then the entire thread is deleted. How can you logically justify this?

Why so much hate for real world, long time issues that press millions of people for about a century to walls AND is directly related to oil & gas supply and so much love for minor (even expired like Y2K) issues when they are not even related to oil & gas?

Are you yourself a zeonist?

talk about palestine issue

Alas, there is too much heat and too little light over the topic.

israeli invasion on iran

Gets mentioned - usually like this: Boy, that would be bad for the oil flow.

Once there is a demonstrated invasion, if the internet is still up, it'll get discussed here. And, well everywhere else.

AND is directly related to oil & gas supply

The land at issue hold little oil/gas. So not direct. The indirect effects are, well, nothing but a recipe for lotsa talk, and no action.

If there was 'censorship' of people (per the past) they just become gone.

Are you yourself a zeonist?

Yes. Zeolite is a great way to get the water out of your ethyl alcohol so you can make biodiesel w/o methyl alcohol. Why do you ask?

I happen to be in the anti-zionist camp and as such am
labled a anti-semite. I count myself in good company
with the likes of which include Jimmy Carter,Desmond
Tutu,Mother Tereasa,and including self hating Jewish
people like Amy Goodman,Naom Chomsky,Norman Finkelstein,George Soros,not to mention the Jewish
religious groups like...


Or Mothers in black or many billions of other humans to numerous to mention.Anyone beleiving that the
Palestinian/Israeli issue isnt a major component in
world policies and a huge burden on society in general
just isnt paying attention.
How many (MPG) does a jet fighter or Merkava tank get
or should I ask "How many (GPM) gallon per mile"?

When Harvard profs and former presidential cabinet
members write papers and books (John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt)along with former presidents who state
without abiguity that the situation is (un paralleled)
Its a hard wash to rinse away.

Gulf politics and criticism of Israel is fine, and has been frequently discussed here. What is not acceptable is threatening and racist comments. I warned you that if you didn't knock it off, the thread would be deleted. You responded with more threats and racist comments. So the thread was deleted, and if I didn't do it, someone else on the staff would have. You went way over the line.

I realize there's probably something of a cultural divide here, so I gave you more leeway than I would give an American. But the things you posted were shockingly offensive to American sensibilities. Don't go down that path again.

Gulf politics and criticism of Israel is fine, and has been frequently discussed here. What is not acceptable is threatening and racist comments.

How can you label criticism of israel and zeonists as racist when I repeatedly mentioned in my posts that I do not believe all jews are zeonists and that I do believe that israel is only loved and created by zeonists not all jews. I have even mentioned existence of anti-zeonist jews (in iran etc). Your act of calling israel and zeonists bad equal to racism is like calling all germans as nazis or all anti-nazis as anti-germans (and therefore racists).

What is your definition of "racism"? My definition is to be against a race ignoring good qualities and people within that race. For me (and all the world except you Leanan) jews are a race (share the same common ancestor) while zeonists are not a race (there can and sure are non-jew zeonists as well and ofcourse not all jews are zeonists).

I warned you that if you didn't knock it off, the thread would be deleted. You responded with more threats and racist comments. So the thread was deleted, and if I didn't do it, someone else on the staff would have. You went way over the line.

No Mr. Leanan you need to consult a doctor because you are having memory losses (probably due to your zeonist activities?). I never threat to carry on discussion of racism or to carry on any discussion. I just said that (assuming some honesty, openness, morality in you and other authors of the site) if you dare to delete a rightful thread and therefore dare to prevent some real world fossile fuels (oil in particular and gas in general) related (what is this site about other than fossil fuel discussion, look at the name of the site "intelligent" and number of articles on this site regarding fossil fuels) issue then go ahead and do so (like you will delete these posts of mine and this thread too). Unfortunately you not even passed the smallest test of morality and in pursue of your ego deleted it.

I realize there's probably something of a cultural divide here, so I gave you more leeway than I would give an American. But the things you posted were shockingly offensive to American sensibilities. Don't go down that path again.

Well ofcourse there is a cultural divide. My culture has openness, morality, kindness and sympathy to sufferers while yours (not necessarily that of your country) has closeness, egoness, sympathy to aggressor. So its me Mr. Leanan who is giving you lineancy given the culture you are raised into (or may be not raised into but you yourself spread it on you).

So, you are basically given a bad name to america and american people by saying that these things are shocking on american sensibilites. How can it be when america is the worst and largest (by a wide margin) aggressor, looter, egoful country in the entire 20th century (just look for how much money, material, lives and words it has spent in wars, how many countries has its military basis, how little or may be even zero wars are there in 20th century without american involvement etc, how many countries it has invaded and occupied, how much absence of morality it has in throwing nuclear weapons on citizens so and and so forth).

Sadly you had deleted that thread or I would have present it to readers of this site about what we were discussing and how closely it was related to oil & gas issues. For starters, the hate in muslim world for america and britain is due to british and american involvement of looting materials, martyring people, capturing lands etc since 1920 to create then accept it as a legitimate state (well what if somebody capture your house, kill your wife and children, loot your money and materials and it is declared as legitimate and you the sufferer who is forced to live in a tent at the bottle-shaped backyard is declared as terrorist and if you after seeing for 80+ years that nobody is providing you justice take arms to get back what is yours?) then provide money to build its economy, weapons and training to make its military and veto all united nations resolutions against it since the very creation of united nations.

I not want to go deep in this discussion again, just want to ask is the ideas of how to make a horror movie more important and more fossil fuels related then the real world issue of palestine.

Hey, readers, hurry up! Leanan is going to delete this (and other posts). Read it before its deleted and DON'T dare to refresh your page before you read it full (that is if you want to read it).

No offense, but you appear to me to be easily manipulated on one issue--Israel.

It seems to me, an ignorant American,
that your fellow-citizens and possibly you yourself are in very bad straits, economically, politically and socially.

Isn't therefore truly marvelous that any voice from the crowd (for whatever reason), can get you all excited with anti-Israel slogans, shouting yourselves hoarse, so after a couple hours you are all exhausted, and everything continues in the normal, horrible way.

Two days ago, Olmert the Israeli PM RESIGNED for CORRUPTION.

Has that happened in ANY Islamic countries? (Seriously, I hope it has at least once!)

Stupid Olmert!!

If Olmert hadn't simply followed the Islamic model and whipped up hatred for Iran, the Jews would have exhausted themselves after a couple hours of shouting and he could have continued heroically in office.

majorian: It isnt like Ehud Olmert is the exception to
corrupt politics in Israel. Moshe Katsav was Israels
president and was removed from office for multiple
rapes.Ariel Sharon would have stood for war crimes had
he not had a stroke and Sharons son is awaiting prison
for theft of public funds along with his daddy Ariel
for a deal on Cyprus.Space and time constrain the truth and depth of the societal illness the occupation
has caused Israel.
Israel having the largest sex slave trade per capita
in the world and worlds leader in designer drugs like
ecstasy. Being called by the U.S. state dept the
worlds money laundry center
Most of Israels leaders fear travel to most places for
fear of ending up at the Hague for war crimes.
I feel that hiding critisism of the blatant truths
that impact so many with so much isnt productive.
And I meant productive towards Israelis, as is
abundantly clear by any casual observer of Israeli
The number #1 grievence with the entire middle east
is the Palestine/Israeli issue. reading the 911
commission reports its mentioned well over several dozen times





Granting all of what you say as true--though I doubt it, nevertheless, the fact is that Olmert, the crook is gone. If the Jews didn't care he'd be in.
The Jews or the Israelis are not what is wrong with the Islamic countries like Pakistan.

The people are unwilling to confront their huge problems and anti-Israel talk is a reliable relief valve for the elite. As long as it works the chances of progress are remote IMO.

majorian: Of course its ALL true and thats why I gave
specific israeli links to prove it to any who care to
click with a mouse.
majorian:I kept the list short for reasons mentioned
like time and space.
I respect this site as being promoted towards P.O. and
realise that most if not all here understand the many
faceted aspects of P.O. not all of which are about
numbers or science.
majorian if it makes you happy I would mention that a
female in the American military is thousands of times
more likely to be raped by her brothers in arms then
getting killed protecting an oil pipeline.
Does mentioning this fact make me anti-american?


You observe majorian that i didnt try and gloss over
the terrible TRUTH by trying too deflect how some
other military might rape their own female soldiers in
higher statistical numbers in a futile attempt to make
the American armed forces seem better (or chosen)?

majorian Would you like official israeli gov sources
to verify all I said was true?
Do you read Hebrew?
Iam not trying to be a meshugana pisk here...iam just

Hello TODers,

Came across an interesting, but older article [5-page PDF warning] that will help you understand how much energy is packed into I-NPK:


In 1990, the average application rate of fertilizers per acre of tomatoes in Florida was calculated to be: 200 lbs nitrogen, 175 lbs phosphorus, and 150 lbs potash.
(Fluck et al., 1991).

This required an energy commitment of 8,744,000 Btu of energy per acre, equivalent to approximately 70 gallons of gasoline per acre (Fluck et al., 1991). Approximately 65,000 acres of tomatoes were planted in Florida in 1989 (Florida Agricultural Statistics Service, 1990). The energy investment in inorganic fertilizer inputs for this acreage equaled 4,760,000 gallons of gasoline...
So, a single, but concentrated 40 lb bag of I-NPK [ratio: 20-17-15] has roughly 5.33 gallons of gasoline-energy embedded--aren't you glad that this stuff will help your tomato plants grow explosively vs spontaneously exploding in your garage or storage shed?

Calcs: 200 + 175 + 150 = 525 lbs 525/40 lb bag = 13.13 bags
70 gasoline gals/13.13 forty lb bags = 5.33 gasoline gals per bag.

So hugging your little bag of NPK is even better than hugging a five gallon jerry can! Lastly, I-NPK & O-NPK is the Only way to Elementally refuel your topsoil.

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

There was an article in the Washington Post this morning about people in Brooklyn, NY turning to gardening after food price hyperinflation. Some people have compost piles in the corners of their yards to avoid fertilizer costs and reused their tomato wire cones each year. Homegrown produce might eliminate some demand for produce trucking.

Ding...I would be one of those...second season...got two varieties of small tomatoes, cucumbers, watermelon, corn, green pepper, had lettuce earlier in the season...all the stuff I can fit in my little garden, have gotten more expensive, and easy to grow.

First article I read this morning was that one you
mentioned...and the women home schooled her children
The seed companies that were interviewed said they sold out of lots of stuff.
Scary thought that seed wouldnt be available when most
needed it huh?
Missing the water when the wells run dry seems so...
twentieth century doesnt it?
I saw the pic of her standing in tall green with her
children and she looked proud and self accomplished.

Dont get me wrong here...I think making sure your
cars tires are properly inflated and that replacing
lite bulbs with energy efficient ones is all fine
and dandy...but ending needless occupations and pre
emptive wars is wasting a whole lot more natural
resources....both Fossil Fuel energy and emotional
intellectual innovative synoptic energies....then any
thing I can think of.
Who cares if BTU'S rain down like manna from heaven
if we end up killing each other or even worse...
subjecting one group to perpetual humiliation and
degredation...which leaves the occupier in every bit
as much a degraded position as seen by the evidence
of the occupiers now....as the occupied.

Come to think of it...BTU'S do rain down from heaven
like manna and in much the same manner as manna did.
Strange how my rant lead me to this epiphany.