DrumBeat: August 8, 2008

Oil sinks to 3-month low

Crude ends near $115 a barrel on a slumping global economy and after disrupted supply from a pipeline attack in Turkey is rerouted.

Light, sweet crude for September delivery settled down $4.82 to $115.20 on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It was the lowest close since May 1, when oil finished at $112.52.

..."So much of the buying we saw since last August when oil was trading at $68 a barrel was predicated on a weak dollar," said Peter Beutel, an oil analyst with Cameron Hanover Oil. "As the dollar is gaining now, we're seeing an unwinding of those positions in oil."

"There's no reason why we can't see an unwinding of positions back to the $68 to $79 level," said Beutel. "This market can always go further and faster than anyone will believe."

In Iraq, fault lines run deep over Kirkuk's future

KIRKUK, Iraq (Reuters) - The failure of Iraqi politicians to resolve competing ethnic claims for the oil-rich northern city of Kirkuk is storing up explosive problems for the country's future.

After months of debate, parliament shut for a summer break without agreement on a new law paving the way for the first provincial elections since 2005 -- and it was divisions over how to hold the vote in Kirkuk that scuppered a deal.

Nigeria oil output 1.8 mln bpd - minister

ABUJA (Reuters) - Nigeria, the world's eighth largest oil exporter, is producing around 1.8 million barrels per day as security concerns and militant attacks continue to plague the OPEC member, its oil minister said on Friday.

Kidnappings, pipeline bombings and oilfield raids in the oil-rich Niger Delta have slashed a fifth of production since early 2006.

Nigerian troops wounded in militant attack in delta

PORT HARCOURT, Nigeria (Reuters) - Two Nigerian soldiers were wounded on Friday after militants attempted to hijack their gunboat in the strategic waters of the oil-rich Niger Delta, security and industry sources said.

Gunmen with apparent links to the main militant group MEND attacked security forces escorting a private company's boat to Bonny Island, the export point for about 400,000 barrels per day of oil and 18 million tonnes per year of liquefied natural gas. It was not clear which private firm was involved in the ambush.

Nigerian Navy Steps Up Patrols in Niger Delta to Curb Attacks

(Bloomberg) -- Nigeria's navy has increased patrols in the oil-rich Niger Delta region to curb attacks by militants, said Rear-Admiral Bodunrin Raji.

The patrols have resulted in fewer incidents of crude theft in the region, Raji, the commander of the Nigerian navy in the region, told youth and community leaders from the states of Rivers and Bayelsa in Port Harcourt yesterday.

Russia's $21 Compromise

Robert Dudley could have been banned from working in Russia for up to three years because of his legal troubles as head of BP's Russian joint venture, TNK-BP. Now he's been slapped with a fine of 500 roubles, or $21.20, instead.

That the amount is so small suggests that tensions are finally easing between BP and the Russian oligarchs with whom it shares ownership of TNK, as Russia struggles to claw back its reputation as a place to do business with foreign investors.

Getting More Constructive on Crude Oil

Given that oil prices have retreated about $30 from their peak, I believe that the near-term upside and downside price risks are far more balanced and would be inclined to be more constructive on the oil price. Does that mean that it can’t go down any more? Of course not, there remain substantial risks to buying here. However, if you are playing the odds then the probabilities are now tilting more in favor of the bulls.

What's so bad about foreign oil?

Foreign oil is my favorite kind of oil. It means other nations clog their beaches with ugly rigs, do dangerous work and suffer environmental disasters and I still get to cruise Sunset Boulevard in my yellow Mini Cooper convertible. Oil exploration is an industry America should look to expand right after alchemy research and pyramid building.

‘Peak metal’ problems loom, warns scientist

The scarcity of metals has made news around the world recently. In July, a Japanese ship carrying lead and zinc was seized by Somali pirates; there has been a rise of 150 per cent in the theft of all metals in Britain over the past 24 months, including iron railings and 400,000 beer kegs; and in Philadelphia, 2,500 manhole covers and sewer grates have been stolen in the past year, costing the city about $300,000 a year in replacement costs.

The use of metals Mr Reller is studying, including the possibility of their depletion, has led to the idea of “peak metal”, similar in notion to “peak oil”, which refers to the maximum rate of oil production given that it is a finite resource. Metals, too, are finite resources except, as Mr Reller points out, when they are used they do not evaporate into the air. Metals can be recovered, but only to a point.

German City Wonders How Green Is Too Green

MARBURG, Germany — This fairy-tale town is stuck in the middle of a utopian struggle over renewable energy. The town council’s decision to require solar-heating panels has thrown Marburg into a vehement debate over the boundaries of ecological good citizenship and led opponents to charge that their genteel town has turned into a “green dictatorship.”

The town council took the significant step in June of moving from merely encouraging citizens to install solar panels to making them an obligation. The ordinance, the first of its kind in Germany, will require solar panels not only on new buildings, which fewer people oppose, but also on existing homes that undergo renovations or get new heating systems or roof repairs.

An Energy Diet for Power-Hungry Household PCs

Microsoft, the nonprofit Climate Savers Computing Initiative and a start-up called Verdiem are combining to put a spotlight on the energy-saving opportunity in PCs, and distributing a free software tool to consumers to help them do it.

How Copenhagen came to embrace bicycles

While in America an effort is being made to reintroduce the bicycle to a nation that only has 1% of all trips made by bicycle, the goal in Copenhagen, Denmark, is to increase the percentage of daily cyclists from 36% at present to 50% in 2015. Here in the self-proclaimed World's Cycling Capital, modern Copenhageners have chosen to cycle in great numbers for the better part of four decades.

Climate-Change Program to Aid Poor Nations Is Shut

The National Center for Atmospheric Research, an important hub for work on the causes and consequences of climate change, has shut down a program focused on strengthening poor countries’ ability to forecast and withstand droughts, floods and other climate-related hazards.

The move, which center officials say resulted from the shrinking of federal science budgets, is being denounced by many experts on environmental risk, who say such research is more crucial than ever in a world with rising populations exposed to climate threats.

Business Matters: Surviving the Oil Crisis (audio)

Summer is here and with it comes high gas prices. However, when the pumps are already maxing out consumers' pocketbooks, what can anyone do except grin and bear it? We'll speak with Matthew R. Simmons, CEO of one of the largest investment banking firms serving the energy industry and Daniel Lerch, Program Manager for the Post Carbon Institute’s Post Carbon Cities program, in search for life after oil, and get the scoop from those inside the industry who have faith that we're still stocked for the future.

High Gas Prices Direct Assault on American Commuter-Consumer Lifestyle

Facing the probability that our economic lifestyle as we have built and lived it, is no longer sustainable, we are now forced to make serious choices about how to sustain the key elements of our national culture and character, without succumbing to the downward spiral of economic trends, fuel pricing, and failing consumer credit, if we try to sustain our lifestyle without the key infrastructure changes needed to enable this.

Glenn Beck: Drive naked, save America

If people really loved America, they would strip down, leave their clothes at home, and drive around buck naked. That would decrease the weight of our cars, which would increase our gas mileage so dramatically that we probably wouldn't have to drill for any new oil!

Genius, right?

Of course, my idea has about as much of a chance to make a real difference in our energy crisis as the suggestion that Barack Obama recently made.

...It turns out that about two-thirds of vehicles already have properly inflated tires. That means we'd likely save somewhere around 800,000 barrels of oil a day if everyone else also complied. Meanwhile, the U.S. Minerals Management Service estimates that there are about 86 billion barrels of oil in the areas that we're not allowed to drill. You do the math.

Dominican Republic: Drivers, homes start to feel the propane gas crunch

Victor Reynoso, head of the distributors grouped in Asonadigas, said the shortage is because the stations aren’t getting the fuel at full capacity, though affirmed the problem will be solved. “We’ve reached a bit of a difficult point; we are only receiving 60 percent of the amount we require to keep the market supplied.”

Electricity’s dark edge has Dominicans on the brink

Even when the country’s output is more than the demand, “the government's decision to cap electricity prices, tolerate theft by end users and give free electricity has resulted in insufficient funds for state-owned electric distribution companies to cover their operating costs and pay private sector generators for contracted capacity.”

Nepal: Fuel smugglers rake it in as helpless NOC looks on

BIRATNAGAR - Traders have started smuggling petroleum products from bordering towns in India and selling them in Kathmandu at higher rates as Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) remains clueless about easing the longstanding fuel shortage.

Merchants based in Rangeli of this eastern city have been sneaking as much as 5,000 liters of diesel into the capital daily.

Petrol coupons traded as cash in Zimbabwe

Just a week after Zimbabwe got a new currency when the government lopped 10 zeros off bank notes to counter hyperinflation, a drastic shortage of cash has led to shops and businesses using petrol coupons as an alternative currency.

It also has counterfeiters switching from forging banknotes that cost as much to produce as they are worth to the far more lucrative business of turning out the £20 coupons that can be exchanged for a precious 20 litres of petrol.

Indoensia's Energi Laga to Build New Oil Refinery

President of PT Energi Laga, Iqbal Miad said the oil refinery will have a production capacity of up to 200,000 barrels of oil fuel per day with crude oil feedstock to be imported from the Middle east.

The project is expected to help cope with Indonesia's shortage of around 400,000 barrels of oil fuel per day, Miad said.

Toyota posts worst profit decline in 5 years

High gas prices are proving to be the kryptonite of the car world: Even mighty Toyota Motor Corp. has succumbed.

Burdened by a crashing market for big trucks and SUVs, the Japanese carmaker reported a 28% earnings decline for the first fiscal quarter Thursday, its worst profit decline in five years.

Nissan sold on electric cars, not hybrids

NEW YORK (Associated Press) - Nissan won't be coming out with a model available only as a hybrid, opting instead to focus on electric vehicles for its green strategy, according to a senior executive.

Mitsuhiko Yamashita, Nissan Motor Co. Executive Vice President overseeing research and development, said Nissan will likely pack its hybrid system in a model already available as a conventional gasoline-powered car.

Hybrids, he said, will soon be so commonplace they will no longer be the conspicuous-consumption status symbols they now seem to be for owners.

Coal. It's what lights up the world

What the utilities know that isn't getting enough press is that as much as we all want to power the country with wind, solar, hydro, biomass and even nuclear, all those advances in alternative energy combined are forecasted to make up only about 7% of our nation's power needs by 2020 -- and that's if all the stars line up for rolling out these new technologies.

Coal is here to stay. In fact, according to government statistics, coal is responsible for 47% of the power generated in the U.S. today. By 2030 the Department of Energy forecasts that coal will account for 51% of power output, an increase of 4% in the wake of all the momentum behind alternative energy. That's a bit of a reality check for the green movement. We need a lot more power generation sooner than the green industry can deliver.

Coal isn't the climate enemy, Mr Monbiot. It's the solution

We must draw on existing resources as part of an integrated energy policy, not flirt with nuclear, the most dangerous option.

The Decline Of Suburbia?: Experts Predict Exodus From Far-Flung Neighborhoods Back To Urban Living

It sounds hard to believe, but some experts are now predicting that this could be the beginning of the end of suburbia -- that far-flung neighborhoods could be tomorrow's slums.

Author James Howard Kunstler has been predicting the decline of the suburbs for more than 15 years.

"I think the project of suburbia is over," he says.

Energy crisis is fuel-injecting election up and down the ballot

It is not just Sens. John McCain and Barack Obama who are trying to convince voters this year that they have the answers to ease the nation's reliance on foreign oil.

Candidates down the ballot as well as third-party interest groups are taking to the airwaves to offer their own energy plans or to try to discredit opponents in slickly produced 30- and 60-second campaign commercials.

There is no question that this is an energized election.

Water-Powered Cars: Hydrogen Electrolyzer Mod Can't Up MPGs

After batting down the hype over startups and DIYers claiming they could run a car on water, Popular Mechanics' senior automotive editor installs a hand-built HHO kit—only to find he was right the first time. Can bad chemistry keep the myth of the water car alive? More heavy testing in the Popular Mechanics garage will tell.

India to Increase LPG Imports Next Year as Reliance Cuts Sale

(Bloomberg) -- India will need to double imports of liquefied petroleum gas in the year starting April 2009 after Reliance Industries Ltd., operator of the world's third-biggest refinery, reduces domestic sales of the fuel.

Reliance plans to cut annual supplies by more than half to 1 million tons from March, said Gyan Chand Daga, director of marketing at Indian Oil Corp., which negotiates fuel purchases on behalf of state-run refiners. Reliance plans to produce alkylate, used to make cleaner gasoline, for export to the U.S. and Europe, he said.

Tajikistan: The Upcoming Energy Crisis

The summer is not over yet, but one can hear more and more about the upcoming energy crisis and all its consequences in Tajikistan. The memory about the last severely cold winter is still fresh in the minds of people. They expect one more winter which is going to be according to weather forecasters not less cold.

The main provider of electricity in the country, Barki Tojik (Electricity of Tajikistan) is striving to introduce the schedule of regular electricity cut-offs in August, whereas this schedule is usually introduced in October each year and lasts till April. This year the schedule was abandoned only in May. The early introduction of electricity cut-offs according to Barki Tojik is necessary due to lack of water in the water reservoir of the biggest hydropower station Norak, which generates more that 80 per cent of electricity in Tajikistan. The more electricity we save the more water we will have in the resevoir to be used during the winter.

The great oil bubble has burst

If the trend continues into September at anything like the same rate of descent, most of the inflationary spike of the past 12 months will miraculously have been sliced away. This is a dramatic reversal, and it is worth trying to work out why it is happening and what it means.

Just possibly, it means that what investors refer to in shorthand as the great "oil up" story has finally revealed itself not as the fundamental reflection of scarce supply that its adherents liked to claim, but as a simple, speculative bubble that was always going to burst.

OPEC looks on calmly as oil price falls

"At the moment, and at this level, there is no movement within OPEC to do anything," an OPEC source told Reuters this week. "I don't think ministers will change output. I think at less than $80 for OPEC oil, maybe they would do something."

OPEC has been reluctant to disclose a target oil price, but even members of the group who have traditionally favoured higher prices have said they would be comfortable with a market below current levels.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez earlier this week described oil's decline as "a good thing" and has repeatedly said $100 was a fair price for oil.

OPEC President Chakib Khelil said prices were abnormal last week, when a barrel cost around $123. He said the price could fall to $70 to $80 a barrel in the long term.

Looming oil supply 'crunch' to lead to over $200 price spike - study

LONDON (Thomson Financial) - The world will go through an oil supply 'crunch' that will potentially lead to oil price of over $200 a barrel, international think tank Chatham House said in a report.

The supply crisis is expected to occur within the next five to 10 years if demand kept on rising. It has nothing to do with resource constraints below the ground or arguments relating to 'peak oil' but rather inadequate investments by oil companies, it said.

Kurdish rebels claim pipeline blast: report

ANKARA (AFP) - Separatist Kurdish rebels claimed responsibility Friday for a blast that cut a strategic oil pipeline in Turkey and sent international prices higher.

The Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline at Refahiye in eastern Turkey has been on fire since the blast on Tuesday night and is expected to be closed for 15 days.

BP Turkey Pipeline Is Still Burning, Delaying Repairs

(Bloomberg) -- A fire that's closed BP Plc's Baku- Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline in eastern Turkey may keep burning today and tomorrow, delaying the start of damage assessment, Turkey's Energy Ministry said.

About 70,000 barrels of oil had burned by late last night, leaving another 30,000 barrels to burn out before experts can start assessing damage to the 6-kilometer (3.7-mile) stretch of the pipeline in eastern Turkey where the fire occurred, Mehmet Akif Sam, a spokesman for the ministry, said in a phone interview today. That may not happen until Aug. 10, he said.

Military wants to lead U.S. into the green

FORT IRWIN, California (Reuters) - The U.S. military has a history of fostering change, from racial integration to development of the Internet. Now, Pentagon officials say their green energy efforts will help America fight global warming.

By size alone, the Defense Department can make waves. It accounts for 1.5 percent of U.S. energy consumption.

The military has set a goal that 25 percent of its energy should come from renewable sources by 2025 and aims to create machines and methods to help Main Street America reach similar targets, said Alan Shaffer, a retired Air Force officer who leads the Pentagon's research and engineering arm.

Congress's unsound fury over Big Oil: Movie theaters capture more windfall profit than oil companies.

Washington - With this summer's high gas prices, Americans are trading in their traditional vacations for "staycations" – vacations much closer to home.

But compared with other things Americans might do, driving is still a bargain.

The Case Against ExxonMobil

The company's second-quarter earnings looked profoundly disappointing to me but were glossed over because they compared favorably with year-ago numbers. But unless downstream earnings recover by year end, favorable comparisons must end. The only variable that can save Exxon's 2009 profits is an uptick in oil futures from the present $120 level to $150 a barrel.

This holds for all international oil producers. Their refining margins have turned paper-thin, production has slowed and chemicals divisions remain cyclically vulnerable. Belatedly, Exxon's management has begun to allocate more capital to drilling and exploration, now a third higher than a year ago.

BG Group Makes `Material' Oil Discovery in Brazil

BG found 30 degrees API light crude in the Iara well within the BM-S-11 concession area, the Reading, England-based company said today in a statement. The well, operated by Petroleo Brasileiro SA, is still being drilled to evaluate deeper targets, BG said.

Iara is in the same exploration block as Tupi, a field with as much as 8 billion barrels of recoverable oil.

Overpopulation: the real crisis

If we continue to go on with this steadfast refusal to recognize limits in a finite world, it will be our undoing. Current global economic systems based on perpetual expansion of capital require population growth to increase markets and cheap labor. Coupling such growth-crazy economic systems with human greed will ultimately result in the collapse of civilization.

Peak oil talk draws large crowd of the local faithful: Author Richard Heinberg of Post Carbon Institute says “I told you so”

SEBASTOPOL — Free bicycle parking and vegetarian fare waited for the people who journeyed to Sebastopol last Saturday night to hear presentations by Richard Heinberg and Julian Darley of the Post Carbon Institute.

A crowd of about 250 attended “Kiss Your Gas Goodbye” at the Sebastopol Veteran’s Hall, where Heinberg, a senior fellow at the Institute who is considered to be one of the leading experts on the effects of peak oil, warned about the coming effects of peak oil on societies around the globe, and that “our dependence on oil is a threat to our way of life.”

Drive For Natural Gas Vehicles Faces Big Test In California

SAN FRANCISCO -(Dow Jones)- The notion of spending taxpayers' money to help fill U.S. roads with natural gas-fueled vehicles faces a major test when voters in California, the nation's largest auto market, go to the polls in November.

Natural gas providers are spending millions of dollars on advertising to convince Californians to pass a ballot initiative allowing the state government to invest in the now-tiny market for natural gas-fueled cars and trucks. The push comes as gas producers, emboldened by a windfall of domestic production, press federal lawmakers to help expand the market for gas as a means for reducing dependence on foreign oil and cutting greenhouse-gas emissions.

Nuclear Power Less Popular Than Other Energy Strategies: Conservation-oriented proposals draw widest support

PRINCETON, NJ -- John McCain has ramped up his longstanding call for building more nuclear power plants -- 45 new ones by 2030 -- drawing the sharpest distinction between himself and Barack Obama on energy policy, but also, to some degree, throwing the political dice.

According to a July USA Today/Gallup poll, the impact of a candidate's favoring greater use of nuclear power is mixed. Forty-seven percent of Americans say they are more likely to back a candidate who favors expanding nuclear power, while 41% say they are less likely to back such a candidate. But on a relative basis, the nuclear option is near the bottom of a list of possible solutions to the energy situation.

Sweden Requires Fuel-Efficient Driving Lessons (audio)

Sweden is known as an eco-friendly country — except when it comes to people's preference for big cars with gas-guzzling engines. In order to meet carbon dioxide emissions standards set by the European Union, Sweden is requiring motorists to learn to drive with greater care toward fuel efficiency.

Dry California OKs huge desalination plant

OCEANSIDE, Calif. - The California Coastal Commission approved a plan to build the Western Hemisphere's largest desalination plant north of San Diego — a move aimed at relieving water shortages in the nation's most populated state.
(It looks like the plant will be built beside and be powered by the Encina Power Plant. So the energy used for desalination will be electricity generated by natural gas.)

Tropical downpours worsening, say scientists

OSLO (Reuters) - Tropical downpours are becoming more frequent and the trend seems worse than expected, bringing greater risks of flash floods, scientists said on Thursday.

"As the tropics warm are seeing an increased frequency in the heaviest rainfall," said Richard Allan of the University of Reading in England, who co-authored a study of tropical rains with Brian Soden of the University of Miami.

The satellite review of tropical rainstorms since the 1980s gave the first observational evidence to confirm computer models that predict more intense cloudbursts because of global warming stoked by human activities, they said.

EU says U.N. carbon market link to start October

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union's executive Commission plans to link an EU market in carbon emissions permits with a related U.N. trading scheme in the first half of October, it said in a statement on Thursday.

The connection will allow European companies to use carbon offsets, earned from funding emissions cuts in developing countries, to meet EU caps on greenhouse gases.

World Bank: Climate Resilient Cities

Climate change is no longer a distant possibility but a current reality. Loss from flooding and hurricanes is an all too frequent occurrence in many countries in the Region, particularly in cities where people and assets are concentrated. Urban centers must be prepared with specialized tools to deal with climate change impacts and early warning systems.

It's 8/8/08 and gas is at .45 JJB's :P

I would repeat my recommendation, plan on $8 or higher gasoline, as part of my ELP recommendations. From my early 2006 ELP article:

However, recently people who have followed some version of the ELP plan, either because of my recommendations, or based on their own evaluation of the present environment, have had considerable reasons to be glad that they voluntarily downsized. So far, I have not heard any regrets from anyone who downsized.

Or, turn it around. Does anyone now wish that they had bought a large SUV and large suburban McMansion--all with 100% financing--on January 1, 2006?

Finally, if we are wrong about Peak Oil, and if you followed the ELP plan, you will have less--or no--debt, more money in the bank, and a lower stress way of life.

I was just kidding, I know you said just plan for gas at that level and I continue to try to.

Ever since I first heard about the CO2-GHG connection back in the late 1960s I developed an ELP plan of my own (figuring that it would hurt less by the time lower CO2 government mandated emmissions restrictions would take effect). Well, while I still wait for that vision of responsible government to materialize I will say that ELP plans do reduce a lot of lifestyle stresses.

I'm being totally serious here.

The ELP recommendations are a no-brainer. I (and my wife)are old lefties from the 60s and always thought the system was about to crash and therefore when everyone else was go-go we didn't go. So for maybe slightly different reasons, our habits and lifestyle are very compatible with ELP. All well and good.

But neither we, nor our kids and grandkids, nor you and yours will be left unaffected by what's happening, no matter how well we adapt on an individual basis. There has to be collective action to change our whole way of life, and ultimately this means politics to the end of getting a reality-based gov't that is on our side. And of course it means talking to neighbors we never talked to before.

I'm sure WT is not against this, but it needs to be stressed individual action, while necessary, is insufficient.

EDIT: For one small example, however much one might desire to live without a car, in most parts of the country this is entirely impossible. This can only change via societal restructuring.

Living in a country that is already at $8+ Petrol (UK) I always find it interesting to ponder the reactions of people reading with horror predictions like this...

It's also quite interesting to see how many people here are still driving 'SUV class' cars -myself included (3.0l BMW Z3 -ok, its a sports car but probably 'up there' with SUVs in terms of fuel consumption -especially@100mph+ :o)

My analysis shows I am spending ~5% of income on transport fuel -do I plan to change? Yes, I plan to get a 300mpg+ Aptera "one day" because I can.

The real issue is what does society do when prices get -not above slight pain threshold- but above levels that do not allow it to function in its present form? The 'Business Plan' does not work, therfore the business goes under? Is this the fate of societies geared towards cheap energy who's business plan is based on mass suburban commuting in -relatively- inefficient transport?

Regards, Nick.

All Aboard: Too Many for Amtrak

WASHINGTON -- The number of people riding Amtrak surged 13.9% in July from a year earlier, as high gas prices caused more commuters to rely on intercity rail. Despite record ridership, Amtrak's most popular trains suffer from delays and out of date equipment. But many Amtrak trains are getting overcrowded, and a backlog of infrastructure problems stands in the way of expanded service. Since last fall, Americans have been driving less while Amtrak usage has steadily increased. The latest figures suggest that the migration from highways to rail is accelerating. . . .

Besides higher commodity prices and rising personnel costs following a recent set of labor agreements, Amtrak is grappling with aging, overcrowded trains. The railway often doesn't have enough cars in stock to expand train capacity or increase service frequencies.

Why did "no one" warn us that we need a crash Electrification Of Transportation (EOT) Program--using technology we basically perfected more than 100 years ago, electric streetcars and electric light rail--and a SRR, Strategic Railcar Reserve. Well, there was this fellow:


I took AMTRAK this May to California and I will take it again but the delays associated with that trip, while expected, were appalling. Our train system is not worthy of a lower level third world country and is another example of our woefully inadequate public infrastructure.

We are prepared for nothing, have still not done much for New Orleans and cannot seem to find a way to rebuild on the trade towers site after 9/11. The empire is in demise, folks, and the last eight years have made things considerably worse. We have the government we deserve and I see nothing on the horizon that will change this. The Republican mantra that government is the problem has been a highly successful self fulfilling prophecy.

Paris for President. At least if we have a government that sucks, we can have some comic relief.

Paris for president? The other candidate's policies are so bad that her policies look good in comparison.

I'm so disappointed in Obama's energy plan, that I am considering writing in Matt Simmons. I probably will still vote for Obama, but I hate to reward this kind of behavior.

Just remember, there are plans and promises that are made during campaigns that are designed to get an individual elected. And then there are the actual plans that are implemented once elected. The two could be very different beasts altogether.

Just remember, there are plans and promises that are made during campaigns that are designed to get an individual elected. And then there are the actual plans that are implemented once elected. The two could be very different beasts altogether.

Yes, just look at the pre-election GWB vs. the post-election GWB.

I really feel sorry for all those Obama supporters who have gone all ga-ga over him. The guy probably will win, but they are going to end up being hugely disappointed with what they actually end up getting.

I really feel sorry for all those Obama supporters who have gone all ga-ga over him. The guy probably will win, but they are going to end up being hugely disappointed with what they actually end up getting.

I'm not so sure about that. Though it's impossible to say what will happen, I hope for a turn around similar to GWB's. - Obama's probably gone centrist to get the election and then when he gets into office he'll [hopefully] go "wacko liberal / progressive" and actually do some real good.

Here's hopin!

If this Obama is centrist I can't wait to see the new definition of "liberal". How would that be "good" precisely?

   Yea, I know what you mean. He is kinda scary these days but, for one, we've got to go with what we can actually get. Unfortunately, there's no way we'd have ever got Kucinich into the whitehouse, and Nader will never make it either (unfortunately? - not sure about him these days).

   And, I did say "wacko liberal / progressive", not just liberal. Depending on your personal views/politics, that would be good. If he can stand up to the corporatocracy and get important changes started.
   Though I'm pretty much a doomer these days. I don't think we can get the drastic changes we really need through congress, even if the president wants them and we have a (real!) democratic majority. Not like the 50% +1 conservative independent we have now.

If this Obama is centrist I can't wait to see the new definition of "liberal". How would that be "good" precisely?

Well, seeing as how the conservatives have done such an astonishingly terrible job governing the country, I fail to see how someone who is rabidly leftist would do any worse. Conservatives have controlled two or three branches of government in some form for the last 8 years, look where it has gotten us.

the conservatives have done such an astonishingly terrible job governing the country

A local talk show host was arguing last night that it doesn't make a difference as to which end of the one dimensional line we stick the donkey's blame-game tail on, be it "conservative" or "liberal".

This country (USA) is in a mess because of many years of irresponsible governance. The mess that the next president inherits will be there regardless of what idiotic liberal/conservative label we stick on him (or her, it ain't over till it's over).

The spend-and-don't-yet-tax bill for the disastrous Iraq War will come due soon enough and it is we the sucker people who will have to pay for it, as usual. So if screaming meaningless invectives like "liberal" and "conservative" (or "commie" and "fascist") makes us feel good, by all means let's continue the noise making party.
As for myself, I blame it all on the rise in MBA degrees.

It amazes me how left-leaning the commenter base on these boards are. It is obvious to me that a culture of debt is one of the largest issues facing the US, and spendthrift behavior covers both current political parties. Once upon a time the conservatives were for balanced budgets and small government and tax cuts, and liberals were for social programs and large government and more taxes. Now both parties are for higher taxes, more spending on EVERYTHING, and more borrowing as well.

Honestly, despite the invective here that would indicate strongly polar positions, I can't tell much difference between the parties. Certainly the bigger problems go far beyond what one presidency can do in just a few years, and the seeds of today's bubbles, debts, and borrowing were sewn over the past 30 years through Fed actions (easy money), legislative actions (pork, heavy entitlement spending, high debt ceilings, relaxed home loan rules), and executive actions (military actions, lack of any sorts of energy policies). Public corporations don't get a pass either, given their eternal focus on big bonuses for exec who focus on 90-day windows.

So, pay off your debt, live within your means, consume less, and vote for those who do (not those who say they do) likewise. Dare I say, live conservatively .

Once upon a time the conservatives were for balanced budgets and small government and tax cuts, and liberals were for social programs and large government and more taxes.

Being financially responsible has NOTHING to do with one's political ideology. The fact that you don't understand this explains why your are so mystified that the republicans aren't acting the way you want them to. Reagan left a huge deficit, Bush senior left a huge deficit, Bush junior will leave a huge deficit. Who didn't? Clinton. He left a surplus.

Who didn't? Clinton. He left a surplus.

Get this LEFT versus RIGHT nonsense out of your head.

Clinton? He did sh*t. He just happened to be there when the internet boom took off. (And he happened to get out just in time before it came crashing down in 2001.)

If someone here criticizes "the system", it doesn't mean they are a lefty commie pinko. They're taking a critical look at a system that is spiraling out of control. Drilling and drilling some more just at a time when the Earth refuses to easily gorge up more and more of the addictive lucre. Borrowing and borrowing some more just when it becomes clear that we can't burrow our way out of this mess. Propagandizing and propagandizing some more just because the noise feels like good ole' "sound logic".

Clinton? Bush? Raygun? It's all nonsense noise. The problem lies in the system and not in puppet propped at its top for the moment.

Reagan cut taxes, which over time INCREASED revenue once the economy picked up. Ditto for Bush 1. Clinton got massive peace dividends and the '92 Republican Congress dead-lock to help cut spending, and the welfare-reform dividend. Bush 2 spent tons and cut taxes, and grew gov't as well.

So, to me, deficits from tax cuts are bad, but deficits from spending and gov't growth are much worse. The real trick is TO SPEND LESS and then TAX LESS.

Spending habits are ONE part of a political ideology. You can't really believe what you don't do personally. Certainly there can be a difference in details and scaling from personal, to local, to state, to national gov't, but there shouldn't be a complete mismatch.

If you believe that you should be thrifty, but the gov't should be spendthrift, to me that's logically incompatible. If you choose to live within your means but give 5% to charity and you think the gov't should maintain a balanced gov't but fund help for the indigent, that's consistent.

To me conservative isn't a political position but a state of being. The politics just flow from the gestalt.

Labels are stupid. They are nothing but excuses for separation and blame. How many people do you know that are conservative in some areas, liberal in others and middle-of-the-road in still others?


Americans are stupid. The rest of the world is rushing headlong to join us.


And another thing, why is it that conservatives can't abide by alternative viewpoints? If someone dares to respond to your inflammatory remarks with his own inflammatory remarks (as I did), the standard conservative response is to complain that people in that place are too liberal. The republicans have been using this complaint about the media for ages. Maybe the conservatives should accept that about 50% of people don't agree with their perspective and learn to espouse opinions that stand on their own merits rather than resorting to fallacies and slander when faced with opposing viewpoints.

*edit* This last point is not directed at you in particular paleocon, but is a reaction to the republican political tactics.

It's not a question of "abiding by", at least not for me. I don't even mind inflammatory remarks withing reason, as it keeps things interesting, especially if they're clever and inventive. Ad hominim attacks get tiring, though.

My frustration was seeing how quickly I see my negative score pile up when I'm trying to elucidate my conservative position (not necessarily Republican, BTW!).

As for the media, for me the frustration is that the media doesn't like being called liberal, even though something like 92% say they vote liberal. I don't get insulted at all if you call me conservative - it's a compliment. For some reason some liberals seems to want to believe they are centrist. Why?

I won't claim or defend any neocon positions (which I mostly don't share), but hopefully at least SOME of my individual opinions are sufficiently supported to at least cause some introspection within self-proclaimed progressive thinkers. I certainly re-weigh my positions as broader perspectives hove into view.

As for the media, for me the frustration is that the media doesn't like being called liberal, even though something like 92% say they vote liberal.

You make it hard to take you seriously because you spout these Talking Points so often it comes of as one who protesteth too much. To say writers are generally liberal might be within reason, but to say the media is liberal is a flat lie. It's been dis-proven so often it can't but be a lie to continue to repeat it. And simple logic tells the tale:

Who decides what gets in the paper? Editors.

Who are they answerable to? Publishers.

Most of the MSM is owned by how many people/corporations? About eight, I believe. The actual number isn't very important. Suffice to say it is a very small number.

Most of those people/corporations are...? Conservative.

Ex.: Virtually all anti-AGW propaganda? Conservatives.

Ex.: Fox? Neo-Con.

So, please don't repeat this lie that the media is conservative. Writers? Maybe. the people that actually decide what you see, hear and read? Not liberals.


Many, many people are disappointed in Obama, but there is no place to go. One doesn't get to be a presidential contender in this system without being in bed with one or another sector of the ruling elite. One is absolutely obliged to be a spear carrier for some faction of the military-industrial-corporate complex. So until we have (build) a genuine third party, a people's party, there will be no alternative to lesser-weevilism. And even there, no sane third party movement would act as spoiler in a presidential race when there is some likelihood that one candidate would do less damage than the other, and there's no hope of victory for itself. That's why Nader is a joke (or worse).

One major reason for supporting Obama is that it will be far harder for him to engage in the divisive ethnic and religious demagoguery that is required prosecute a war agenda. The neo-cons bitter hostility toward him a good sign that he has not totally caved in to their entire agenda.

There's always the Libertarian Party, but nah, we're apparently all too crazy for America.


There's always the ________ Party, but nah,

All parties involve a bunch of drunkards running around making noise and thinking very highly of themselves, only to end the evening pissing in their pants. ;-)

tstreet -

Hey, the idea of running Paris Hilton for public office may not be as absurd as it sounds, as such a thing is not without precedent.

Circa 1979, a blonde Italian porno queen, going by the stage name of 'Cicciolina' ran for a seat in the Italian parliment on some 'green party' ticket and won by a wide margin. She was ultra hot and made public appearances wearing all sorts of provocative outfits.

Perhaps the Italians were consciously or unconsciously in effect saying to their government, 'Look, this is how seriously we take you.' Actually, Cicciolina was quite smart and supposedly did a pretty good job in parliment.

The more I think about it, the more I like the idea. Paris for president!

There was an interview awhile ago with the female mayor of a large Brazilian city (Sao Paulo, IIRC) who had started as a cabaret stripper. She knew all about the seedy side of life from personal experience and was *very* effective at rooting out corruption (at least, according to the report).

BTW, BNN (Business News Network) was actually talking about the "Paris Plan" this morning. UFB.

Is she 35 yet?

Sorry, you will have to wait for the 2016 election.

"Paris for President. At least if we have a government that sucks, we can have some comic relief."


Wait, wait, wait! Didn't we already have 8 years of that already? Not enough -- hmmm. And I was hoping that Bushism will die soon enough. If you still don't have enough comic relief for the past 8 years, hmm you need to turn on TV and watch some John Stewart. hehehe.

Speaking of empire in demise, I've been reading "Dark Ages America" (almost done) by Morris Berman, and it is a fantastic book, overall. Highly recommended, especially for doomers.

Speek: Berman is quite a journalist. Reading his analysis of Mccain and McBama, I tend to agree that Paris as the leader of the free world might not be a bad idea.

The three recent times I have tried to take Amtrack for Orange County to San Diego resulted in incomplete trips and being transported by bus. The cause of the incomplete trips were earthqake, fire and breakdown. I thought that was just an uncanny coincidence. So, in April we were ready to try Amtrack again to ship my daughter and her girlfriends to San Diego. But again, no luck. Tracks were down for repairs so it was a driving trip.

A bit of an anecdotal follow-up to Leanan’s post yesterday,

A realtor I know recently said he saw an increase in business lately due to people (?speculators?) who were buying homes now (while they're "cheap") and telling him that they expected the market to turn around soon.
(I suspect it won't turn any time soon.)
Recently I’ve read articles & heard from a few people that before the housing bubble started to inflate banks would only lend you 2.5 times the salary of the PRIMARY breadwinner. Just before the bubble burst, couples could get loans that were OVER 5 times their COMBINED salaries. The word from these people is that average house prices are going to have to come back down to the 2.5 Price/Primary-Salary ratio before this market will ever stabilize.

BTW - It was also highly recommended that if I ever consider buying an OLD house that was renovated by a flipper I should invest a few hundred and have an experienced house inspector look at the renovations. Old houses were built to BREATH ... use modern techniques and you might get serious mold/rot problems (apparently a common occurrence now with many amateur renovations).

The word from these people is that average house prices are going to have to come back down to the 2.5 Price/Primary-Salary ratio before this market will ever stabilize.

20% down + 2.5 x prime salary was the norm when I bought my first house.

In the UK today the price of an average house is ~£177,000, the median wage for a man is ~£25,896.

So, for a UK median earner to afford an average UK house and reverting to the old lending rules the price would have to be:

(25,896 x 2.5)x100/80 = £80,925

This represents a fall from the peak price ~£199,000 a year ago of 100-((80,925x100)/199,000) = ~59%.

If the mortgage has to cover the taxes and lawyers fees as well as the price of the house the % fall will have to be much greater.

Interesting that the 2.5 factor was also used in the U.K.. I'm not sure where that came from, but it's starting to look as if that number was developed based on some kind of experience... and if people kept to that, we may not have ended up where we currently are.

If true then we've got quite a way to go (down) before house prices will stabilize.

Dont forget the minimum 10% savings with the same bank / building society required before you would even get an interview for a mortgage.

Depending upon the deposit, it could be stretched to 3.5 times the male earnings. The automatic assumption being that the Wife (no partners etc when I took a mortgage...)would soon be 'full with childe'.

The mortgage interview was probably the severest interview I ever took

And the guy conducting the interview was my Dad's Brother!

It will have to slip back to 3 times salary + 1 times other salary as an absolute maximum.

Though I think, like continental Europe, renting will become the fashion for a few years.

'Ownership' is a peculiarity of the Anglo Saxon world.

What we are going to see for a very long time across the economic landscape is a long-term downward trend, interrupted repeatedly by short-term upturns. People will keep hoping that the downturn has bottomed, the turnaround has come, and it is time to resume the upward march. Hope will die very hard, and very slowly.

I think that is exactly how it's going to play out.

Does anyone familiar with Russian geopolitics know if the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline fire in Turkey is connected in anyway to the recent invasion of Southern Osetia/Georgia?

It seems there are a couple of pipelines that might be at risk if this situation escalates.

I have no idea, but it doesn't sound good...

Russia sends forces into Georgian rebel conflict

MEGVREKISI, Georgia (Reuters) - Tensions over Georgia's rebel territory of South Ossetia exploded on Friday when Georgia tried to assert control over the region with tanks and rockets, and Russia sent forces to repel the assault.

Fighting between Georgian forces and Russian-backed separatists raged in and around Tskhinvali, the capital of South Ossetia, after Tbilisi sent troops to take back the territory, which broke away in the 1990s.

A senior Georgian security official said Russian jets had bombed the Vaziani military airbase outside the Georgian capital Tbilisi, and President Mikheil Saakashvili said 150 Russian tanks, armored personnel carriers and other vehicles had entered South Ossetia from neighboring Russia.

Israel backs Georgia in Caspian Oil Pipeline Battle with Russia

Georgian tanks and infantry, aided by Israeli military advisers, captured the capital of breakaway South Ossetia, Tskhinvali, early Friday, Aug. 8, bringing the Georgian-Russian conflict over the province to a military climax.

Russian prime minister Vladimir Putin threatened a “military response.”

Former Soviet Georgia called up its military reserves after Russian warplanes bombed its new positions in the renegade province.

In Moscow’s first response to the fall of Tskhinvali, president Dimitry Medvedev ordered the Russian army to prepare for a national emergency after calling the UN Security Council into emergency session early Friday.

I saw that, but Debka isn't exactly a reliable source. Haven't found any confirmation elsewhere.

Video footage of Russian Armour moving into position.


I meant the part about Israel being behind it.

Oh yeah, so I see.

Naaah, surely shum mishtake. Israeli advisors winding up the Bear?

Nobody would be that daft ....


Now I geddit.


Analysis: energy pipeline that supplies West threatened by war Georgia conflict

A section of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline 30 miles south Tbilisi, Georgia, under construction in 2003

Robin Pagnamenta
The conflict that has erupted in the Caucasus has set alarm bells ringing because of Georgia's pivotal role in the global energy market.
Georgia has no significant oil or gas reserves of its own but it is a key transit point for oil from the Caspian and central Asia destined for Europe and the US.
Crucially, it is the only practical route from this increasingly important producer region that avoids both Russia and Iran.

The 1,770km (1,100 miles) Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline, which entered service only last year, pumps up to 1 million barrels of oil per day from Baku in Azerbaijan to Yumurtalik, Turkey, where it is loaded on to supertankers for delivery to Europe and the US. Around 249km of the route passes through Georgia, with parts running only 55km from South Ossetia.

Expert view: Georgia's decision to shell Tskhinvali could prove 'reckless'

An expert on international security today warned that all-out war between Russian and Georgia would amount to "the worst crisis in Europe since the end of communism"

Definitely interesting timing for this conflict. This makes the Chinese Olympics a bit more political. Bush and Putin are there and this conflict is right in China's backyard. China does not want this to ruin their party, but everyone else is rolling out their political dirty laundry.

Ilagri has some good commentary on the conflict this morning:

Debt Rattle, August 8 2008: Game Day: Accounting, Olympics, Oil and War

Ilargi: The finance news takes a step back today, and it’s not for the Olympics. It’s for all out warfare. And the war is for oil.

The US denies that its troops and trainers are directly involved in Georgia’s attack on the capital of South Ossetia. Whether that’s true or not, the fact remains that, in Washington, Georgia is seen as a vital area in the battle for the resources -oil- in the wider Caucasus and Middle East region. Iran and Iraq are just around the corner.

And the fact remains as well that Russia had warned very clearly about just such an attack. So it could not have been a surprise for either Georgia or its US puppeteers that Russia has invaded South Ossetia as well, in order to chase out the US-trained Georgian troops.

Which raises the question why the US apparently has chosen to be part of this. As much as Georgian president Saakashvili is a loose cannon, he would never start this without US consent.

The people involved, the South Ossetians, a majority of whom have the Russian nationality, don’t want to be part of Georgia, they want to re-unite with North Ossetia, which happens to be a part of Russia.

You really should link to the individual post, not the front page. Tomorrow or next week, if someone tries to follow the link, it won't lead to the article you are quoting.

And you should have emailed that point to Dragonfly, instead of putting that reply here, so that s/he could still edit the post!

Anyone want to take bets that the US is involved because "the Decider" doesn't realize that there are actually TWO Georgias, and that this one isn't the one where Atlanta is located?

Given that Georgia wants NATO membership and access to the oil pipeline, there seems to be little reason for Georgia to start such a conflict. Given that Russia has been strong-arming resources for quite some time, dislikes the notion of NATO on their doorstep, and would like to lessen US influence, they seem to have several reasons to want such a conflict.

It seems to me that there is a very good chance that Russia actually started or intentionally provoked the current conflict, with a hoped-for result that not only will they disrupt some oil for Europe and strengthen their local neighborhood position but also blame it all on the US by proxy.

Why WOULD Georgia start this conflict?

Is this how WW III will get started? Two diminishing empires of the past - trying to divi up the spoil of war with all their chess pieces in place. We are in Iraq being bogged now in Russia's Iran while Russia will get bog down in Georgia with our Isreal?

Who think that this war won't push oil over $200/bbl? Don't underestimate the ego and foolishness of those in power.

It's too late to educate the American public on what the neocons have been trying to do to Russia. NATO expansion and the BTC pipeline were part of something Americans refuse to believe exist: a conspiracy to turn Russia into another subservient Mexico. We should never have championed NATO expansion; it was a self-fulfilling prophecy:

1. We must let every country bordering Russia into the "North Atlantic" Treaty Organization to defend it from Russian aggression.

2. Russia must prevent itself from being surrounded and sanctioned by US surrogates.

3. Russia attacks to install a friendly government to break the chain.

4. The case for NATO expansion is proved.

This was all forseeable, just as Bush Senior foresaw the failure of an occupation of Iraq. But we did it anyway. Now we're stuck; to reverse expansion because of Russian aggression is too great a loss of face. In truth, NATO has violated its own reason for existence and Europe should be freed to work out its defense in a democratic EU framework instead of following US orders into Afghanistan and God knows where else.

Interesting to see what position China takes. You could argue that China's stand on Taiwan more closely resembles that of Georgia on Ossetia and Abkhazia. If China sides with its SCO partner, look out.

But this must be dealt with in the next few days to restore the status quo. A humiliation of Russia will unleash the potential power of its people in ways we don't want to live with.

I don't see a humiliation of Russia happening. They have plenty of oil, money, tanks, jets, and nukes. Why should they back down?

Russia isn't a paper tiger and, for that matter, neither is China. This isn't Granada and this isn't the Caribean - IMHO, Nato should stay away from somebody else's back yard.

The next step in the neocons' master plan would be to destroy the Russian oil behemoth. Maybe they'll attempt to impose sanctions on Russia. That's why China's response matters. It can quickly absorb all the oil Russia has to sell, purchased with dollars the US cannot control. We'd have lost before we even started.

The neocon master plan was to set up bases in all the *stans thus encircling both Russia and China. Brilliant idea - until the big guys decide to do something about it.

Slight correction, the oil would be purchased with Euro's or Rubles the US cannot control.

That's why China's response matters.

China is no longer a sleeping giant. The opening ceremonies at Beijing today are designed to remove any doubts. What has emerged is very robust, alert, and energized player on the world stage.

I can't imagine any other world capital matching the magnificence and grandeur of these Olympics.


The dragon is awake and breathing fire.

I think the bear is very aware of this. Suspect that is why it waited until the eagle had landed (in Beijing) to make its move.

The neocons would be wise to pay attention.

It's like the 20th Century never happened. It's like a broken record.

"When will they ever learn, when will they ever learn"

Just like Chechnya, the mountainous region of South Osetia is a very difficult battlefield. Russian troops can be bogged down in a bloody partisan warfare that could last years.

OTOH I strongly doubt that Russia is willing to take on an all out warfare with Georgia. It could turn into even bigger nightmare than Chechnya.

Hey, folks. War in South Ossetia is over. Russia has already driven Georgia out of South Ossetia, and is now regouping before going into Georgia to "punish those responsible".

Don't know why western media is being so inept and reprinting articles from hours ago.

Yep, The Grand Chessboard:

"THE GRAND CHESSBOARD - American Primacy And It's Geostrategic Imperatives," Zbigniew Brzezinski, Basic Books, 1997.
I am not a military strategist, but if I were Putin and his Boyz, now would be the time to grab profitable control of the BTC pipeline, or to shut it down, then reroute the flow further North thru Russia and/or compliant client states.

My guess is the US is too weak to adequately respond, therefore the next move would be up to NATO. Do they have the 'nads to protect Georgia and the pipeline? I have no idea, just posting food for thought. IMO, high potential for this to get real ugly.

I bet long hours at the Pentagon, Kremlin, and the Euro capitals as they try and grapple with what to do for their next chess moves.

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

Bob, remember that "Zbigniew Brzezinski" is Obama's advisor.

More wars soon.

Where did you get this info from?

A "punishment attack" by Russia would be a very stupid move IMO. If they took over the province they can very well rest on their success and use Georgian aggression as a reason to claim its independence/succession to North Osetia. An escalation of the conflict would take away their legal and moral advantage.

Hello LevinK,

Agreed. No need yet for Russia to chessmove a powerful bishop or castle into a Georgian square when an irritating pawn will do just fine:

Russia just needs a low grade conflict to cause sufficient confusion so the pipeline operations can be disabled with regularity.

If Russia is heading into Peakoil decline, they then become highly incentivized to try and maximize their export profits. Periodically blowing up those non-Russian controlled pipelines can have a very, very high rate of return as posited by Jeff Vail and John Robb.

NATO has to decide whether a chessmove of a knight, bishop, or castle needs to go for the Russian pawn. Time will tell.

Russia does not need to blow that pipeline, just the ability to do so in case it needs/wants to. And it is not money from oil spikes they are after; it is political leverage, which in turn gives them better cards for access to markets, resources etc. This is what this game is about.

Good point. The fog of war sure makes it hard to tell what is going on now, and where it will end up. The most recent link I could find:

August 9, 2008, 2:46
Fighting resumed in South Ossetia

....Another of Georgia's breakaway republic's, Abkhazia, says Georgia is building-up its military across the Abkhazian border. Earlier, the republic's president Sergey Bagapsh expressed his readiness to help South Ossetia.

Probably a good business move for Gazprom too. Yes? No?

cfm in Gray, ME

If this were a chess game, the reply could be to accept or decline the gambit. I think at this stage of the game the greater likelihood will be to make make a move somewhere else.

Note that this is still like the cold war, where battles are fought in proxy nations instead of on native soil. Another few countries can be left in ruins before any real conflicts would need to start.

Who suffers most if that pipeline were to be disabled?

This is the point where the war must be stopped. The Russians had to restore the status quo and no more. They are sorely tempted to remove Saakashvili's neocon outpost, but it would be a huge mistake to do it directly. It plays right into the neocon propaganda machine, one whose only goal is permanent war when the planet can barely even afford peace.

Se we'll probably blow it.

Bushco will certainly find a way to blow it. There are two possibilities: they ignore it, or they blow it.

I weep for my country.

I think that you're likely right about Russia not being willing to engage in all out warfare with Georgia or even move south of South Ossetia ... and that would be the key to whether it would effect Baku-Ceyhan. There is also the Western Route Export Pipeline, or Baku-Supsa Pipeline, which runs north of Tblisi and terminates in the Black Sea, operated by BP. Also oil is transported via rail both north and south of Tblisi. I think that rail lines just touch the border of South Ossetia ... not sure if Baku-Supsa runs through South Ossetia or within a couple of miles of the border. It was just restarted recently after an outage and it's throughput is around 145 kb/d. I believe that the South Ossetian conflict was given as the cause of the previous shut down by the head of the GIOC.

Some maps of the pipelines:


Georgia isn't exactly The Duchy of Grand Fenwick, but the matchup is almost as lopsided, though a good bit less farcical.

I can't help but think that the Chinese would view the BTC as being unfavorable to their long-term interests. It does head west instead of east, and thus moves oil AWAY from China. Shutting it down would open up the possibility of other ways being found to move that oil - ways that would more likely be in China's direction.

Interesting that nobody has noticed yet that taking off from Georgia would make for a much shorter, easier, and more unexpected route into Iran for Israeli aircraft.

According to news reports, Cossacks are volunteering to go to South Ossetia and fight the enemies of Russia - their traditional role.

Lest anyone should think that this is a new development, I hasten to point out that the father of the last Shah of Iran, Reza Shah, came to power with the help of his own Cossack regiment. He was a Cossack and spoke Farsi (Persian) not very fluently. Naturally, British gold helped a lot. He was also the guardian of the British Embassy in Tehran before they (the British) made him Shah. I guess he was handy.

Here is a photo of a Cossack patrol near the Baku oil fields in 1905.


Baku was Iranian for an awfully long time. But that is another story!

Edited to replace the image with a link. That image is too large to post in a DrumBeat.

In the sense that it was part of the political entity known as Persia. Ethnically-speaking, Baku is Azeri--more than 90% so. (There are a lot of Azeris in Iran now, too ... and have been for an awfully long time.)

Absolutely right.

In fact, around 30% of the Iranian army is Azeri - especially the officer corps. It always has been so. Iran is a multi-cultural and multi-ethnical country. Different peoples have different skills and inclinations - the Azeri Turks like the military.

If you check out the Battle of Issus - when Alexander of Macedonia defeated Darius III in 333BC - around 1/3 of the Persian army was composed of Greek mercenaries. Tell that to almost any Greek and they will not believe you.

T-80's (I assume) with full reactive armor. I hope this is just for show....

Nope, just good'old T-72s with ERA tiles slapped on..

Looking through all the footage I'm counting 7x MBT, 6x AFV, 8x SPA and numerous support soft vehicles in the distance...

Russians don't just move 'a few tanks' over the border. That's a minimum of full mechanized division on the march there...

- Ransu, FDF-reserve

Although Forbes gave it a "Best of the Web" award

This Jerusalem-based site has achieved notoriety for its tip-sheet-like reports from the war zone. Run by two self-described "experienced" foreign correspondents, the site offers commentary and analysis of global events, especially from the Middle East. Debkafile has been ahead of the pack often enough to suggest that the reporting is good.

No confirmation in the Jerusalem Post yet but I did notice they helpfully identify the two carriers supposedly heading to the gulf to destroy Iran as USS Theodore Roosevelt and the USS Ronald Reagan. Things are heating up.

While Wikipedia notes:

Debka has been criticized as a fringe outfit catering to conspiracy theorists. Yediot Achronot's investigative reporter Ronen Bergman claims that the site relies on information from sources with an agenda, such as the rightist elements of the American Republican Party, and that Israeli intelligence officials do not consider even 10 percent of the site's content to be reliable.

Israel, Georgia: Israel To Halt Arms Sales To Georgia
August 5, 2008 | 1419 GMT

Israel plans to halt military equipment sales to Georgia because of objections from Russia, Haaretz reported Aug. 5, citing unnamed Israeli defense officials. The concession is meant to give Israel leverage as it tries to persuade Russia not to ship arms and military equipment to Iran, the officials said. Israel has been selling unmanned drone aircrafts and other items to Georgia, Georgian military experts said. Israel’s Foreign Ministry has declined to comment on the situation."


How convenient.

Also how convenient.

The Olympics start today.

And I still can't figure out how Israel is going to get oil/gas
from Turkey via pipeline.

Maybe this is one of those 3D chessboards like they had on Star Trek?


Things are heating up.

Yeah, good thing oil prices have peaked and are heading downward on a long-term basis.


For what it's worth Debka is now reporting
[Link to front page as individual article link currently points to older article]

Saakashvili was disappointed in his hope of US and Europe coming to his aid in the crisis. They are willing to mediate a halt in violence but taking good care to avoid being drawn into a war against Russia.

The Israeli military advisers commissioned by the Georgian president tried to hold back Friday’s invasion of Tskhinvali. They are now urging him to pull his army out of South Ossetia before it is overpowered and decimated by superior Russian tank forces.

Finnish TV reports: Russian president is saying at least 10 of their "peacekeeper" soldiers have been killed, numerous civilians with Russian passports slaughtered and claims that "ethnic cleansing" is going on in some South Ossetian villages.

When the president of Russia makes statements like that, you know he means business. They have explained to the Russian people that an evil enemy is killing innocent Russians and an appropriate retaliation will be taken. Basically all bets are off. If they treat Georgian the way they treated Chechnya...

I'm no military analyst but I've been to enough war games in my reservist years that I know Russians don't just move 'a few tanks' over the border. That footage seen on BBC is a minimum of mechanized division moving over. And Russian use of air forces won't be a few planes bombing the Georgian military base either... When you anger the bear it will basically put its foot down with so much force and firepower that the Georgians will be stopped in a matter of days, if not already. Let us just hope international diplomacy can work out a ceasefire before we see bombing of T'bilisi...

I listened to our US MSM as well as BBC Radio this morning. I have no idea what's going on. The MSM reported a few things that didn't agree with what BBC radio reported.

Again, I have no idea what's going on.

Americans are like the NFL referee who only sees the retaliation, not the cheap shot that brought it on. The pro-war media swings its camera around just in time to provoke us without any historical background.

Bloomberg have the Georgian presidents version of events on video:

Here's an 11:33 A.M. (Eastern) WSJ headline, from their website:

Russian Conflict Escalates

Associated Press
Russia and pro-U.S. ally Georgia were on the brink of war, with Russian troops and tanks moving into Georgia's breakaway province of South Ossetia. Russia said it had sent reinforcements to the area and that 10 of its troops had been killed after Georgian troops launched a major offensive. 11:33 a.m

Well, I guess if two Israeli soldiers are worth destroying a country over...

And while things in Georgia are spinning out of control:


If I were a drinker, I'd be off to the bar.

I'll have one for you. I think now is the time to go long oil, I'm going to buy some DBO on Monday, if the world is still standing.

"I think now is the time to go long oil, I'm going to buy some DBO on Monday, if the world is still standing."

Go for it Consumer.

Like the Russians you will make a KILLING! Yahoooooooo!

I guess it is a pretty sad commentary that my first thought was about the people in the way of the bombing, but it only took me a few minutes to think of - how does this affect me directly, and what can I do about it.

I'm trying to reform, but it's hard not to think about how to protect yourself. Some people do it by ELP, some think of what financial instruments to buy, etc. I'm still going to go out tonight, and I will have a couple of beers. Maybe I shouldn't, but what exactly am I supposed to do?

If the US starts a war with Iran, I would like to survive the financial collapse that follows intact, and buying oil is the best way I can think of to do this. Just because I said it, doesn't mean everyone else wasn't thinking it.

Hello DavebyGolly,

Thxs for the link. We had the dotcom bubble, then the real estate bubble. Makes one wonder if WWIII bubble has started, eh?

Unfortunately, this is only profitable for a very few for just a limited time, but highly costly for billions. :(

Maximum Power Principle [MPP] can be a real bitch for those on the losing side of a transaction.

America and Russia just couldn't leave China to have it's own pyrotechnic display and day in the sun.

davebygolly, what bar is closest to you? Time to start drinking strong ones. And smoke 'em if you got 'em.

If you were close enough, I'd join you. Even buy you a few rounds. A foggy brain makes more sense than what's happening now.

It's a mad, mad world!!


No time to start like today.

The Reagan, the Roosevelt, the Iwo Jima and the Ark Royal at the same time? Man, if they're not rotating anything out, they mean it this time.

This may be the closest we've come to a complicated, multi-state crisis since 1914. If the worst happens, a lot of countries will be dragged in very quickly. I'm still putting the odds of war at under 50% because I don't see how the US can take on this much trouble all at once.

I don't see how the US can take on this much trouble all at once.

Fission and fusion weapons.

Agreed, Eric.

Pre-emptive nuclear strike a key option, Nato told (January 2008)

The Rise of U.S. Nuclear Primacy (March 2006)

They've been planning this for more than a few years.

And thanks to you, too, GreyZone. I think you have just answered a question I tossed out on August 7th's blog: how would it be in anyone's interest to start firing missiles around the Straits of Hormuz?

It's all about maintaining primacy.

I guess, for western strategists, it's now or never.

Wonder if the uniforms in NATO who came up with this wonderful world view are cut from the same cloth as the neocons? -- armchair warriors, no experience needed.

Credentials, please? Oh, you enjoy playing RISK? Come in, my man. Do we have a job for you!

A couple of months old, but this seems to have escaped notice here...

Transforming the Lighting Landscape

The L Prize competition will substantially accelerate America's shift from inefficient, dated lighting products to innovative, high-performance products. Just as Thomas Edison transformed illumination over a century ago, the L Prize will drive innovation and market adoption.

The L Prize is the first government-sponsored technology competition designed to spur lighting manufacturers to develop high-quality, high-efficiency solid-state lighting products to replace the common light bulb.

60W Incandescent Replacement Lamp

  • More than 90 lm/W
  • Less than 10 Watts
  • More than 900 lumens
  • More than 25,000 hour life
  • More than 90 CRI

PAR 38 Halogen Replacement Lamp

  • More than 123 lm/W
  • Less than 11 Watts
  • More than 1,350 lumens

21st Century Lamp

  • To be defined in a future L Prize announcement

In 2010, DOE projects that the national installed stock of 60W A-19 lamps will be approximately 971 million. In the residential sector, where the vast majority of these lamps are used, the average socket operates for about 1.9 hours per day, or about 700 hours per year. The L Prize competition will drive development and market adoption of a solid-state lighting replacement for the 60W A-19 lamp that uses only 10 watts — a savings of 83%.

  • If every socket in the U.S. converted their 60W incandescent lamps to the 10 W L Prize winner, the country would save approximately 34.0 Terawatt-hours of electricity in one year, and avoid 5.6 million metric tons of carbon emissions.
  • That's enough electricity to power the lights of 17.4 million U.S. households, or nearly twice the annual electricity consumption of the city of Las Vegas.

Although there are the mercury (relatively slim) and light color temperature issues (also fixed in many bulbs, although you have to do your research), CFL bulbs provide many benefits over incandescents, including the massive power savings. I use CFL bulbs almost exclusively, except in areas where the light is turned on/off frequently, but rarely left on for more than 30 seconds or so. (The pantry is a good example.) In those locations, an incansescent is an ideal choice, given low cost of entry, and the fact that CFL ballasts will often fail early if turned on and off frequently. I also have a few halogen bulbs, and some LED bulbs.

LED isn't quite there yet, but it's been advancing quite rapidly.

Hi Durandal,

Cold cathode CFLs can be switched on and off as frequently as you wish, with no negative impact on lamp life. But as you say, if the lamp is only used for 30 seconds at a time, you might as well stick to a regular household incandescent. I also agree that CFLs are the way to go, at least until such time as LEDs achieve similar cost performance and utility -- and that won't happen overnight.


No real disagreement about CFLs. LED lighting for the home is still several years away. The place we are starting to see it now is in certain niches - like exit signs and traffic lights.

In the home there are niche applications. LED plugged into a USB port is illuminating my keyboard (4 watt CFL for area lighting around the computer). LED nightlights. Yellow LED over doorway.


In my case it is headlights for the bicycle where I use the LED lights. In my case, I now have about 500 lumens on the highest setting, which seems to do a pretty decent job. Some people insist on twice this amount - for safety reasons more is generally viewed as better. At least up to a point.

Efficiency is a concern as batteries can be heavy and bulky, and more efficient lights mean either longer runtime or smaller batteries.

This time of year I don't need the headlights very much, but the days are already getting noticeably shorter, but I have also used them when there is fog.

Off topic, but HereinHalifax, could you please send me an email at dspady@ualberta.ca I want to ask about heat pumps in Edmonton.
Many thanks.

Don Spady

I tried replacing all my incandescents with CFLs a few years ago. My supermarket even gave me a few for free as a promotion. The bulb claims to last five years, but about 50% of them died in the first year. Until the reliability goes up a little, I'm not sure they're saving money or energy.

The guarantee is "Up to five years" so 20 minutes qualifies under the guarantee. DAMHIKT.

Reminds me of my favorite weather forecast as a snowstorm was moving into my area. The weather guy said we could get "up to 12 inches or more".

If you think about it, that covers from zero to infinity. Gotta love it!

Hi Lynford,

In accordance with industry standards, rated lamp life is based on the length of time at which 50 per cent of a sample of ten or more lamps fail under specific test conditions; bear in mind that one or more lamps can fail early on in the test and still meet this standard. In recognition of consumer concerns related to product life, all Energy Star CFLs must clearly disclose the product's warranty on the outside packaging and provide a telephone number, mailing address and web/e-mail address for complaint resolution. The warranty must be no less than 24 months from the date purchase based on 4 hours per day usage. I believe Philips guarantees some of their products for a full seven years and you only need furnish the manufacturing code stamped on the base of the lamp to obtain a free replacement -- no sales slip required.

Generally speaking, if you stick with a quality name brand such as Philips, GE or Osram Sylvania you shouldn't have a problem although any Energy Star certified product should provide good results. And if it should fail prematurely, most retailers will happily exchange it or refund your money, no questions asked.



Hi Ericy,

Those are rather ambitious targets. I'm somewhat surprised that the luminous efficacy requirements for PAR38 lamps are notably higher than those of general service, but I guess that's due to the directional nature of LEDs.

GE is reportedly working on a new generation of HEI lamps that are four times more energy efficient than today's incandescents and that are expected retail for less than the cost of an equivalent CFL -- in residential applications, an incandescent lamp that provides 60 or so lumens per watt for about a buck or two strikes me as a better option than once twice as efficacious but ten or twenty times more costly. Of course, if tungsten lattice emitters can be commercially developed, we could be looking at an incandescent lamp that produces up to 200 lumens per watt which, if it comes to fruition, pretty much blows everything else out of the water (see: http://www.sandia.gov/media/NewsRel/NR2002/tungsten.htm). The grand daddy of the electric lighting world may still have a little more life left in him yet. ;-)


Yes, they are ambitious, but there wouldn't be a point of having a contest if you didn't make the goal a bit of a stretch.

That being said, this is supposedly available today:


a 60 watt bulb replacement, 800 lumens, 8 watts. They don't specify the CRI, and they are over 100$/bulb. I suspect that they don't really mass produce the things - that they are really more engineering proof of concepts that they are selling to anyone who wants one.

As for the PAR reflector, I don't know why they are specifying a higher lm/W. The directionality ought not have anything to do with it - lumens is a measure of the raw light that goes in all directions. Candlepower has more to do with spacial distribution.

Part of the contest is that the entrants need to have a commercial marketing plan, so a single proof of concept isn't sufficient. Entrants need to give the target consumer retail prices, and show capability to produce 250,000 in the first year.

Hi Ericy,

I'm highly sceptical of some of the numbers bantered about by various LED vendors. If you look at the commercial offerings of the big three (i.e., Osram Sylvania, Philips and GE), raw lumens, lamp efficacy and, in particular, life expectancy is typically far short of what is claimed elsewhere. For example, 25,000 hours based on 70 per cent maintained lumens or perhaps 50,000 hours if internal lamp temperatures do not exceed 25C or 40C (yeah, sure, like that's gonna happen!). CRI is often in the low 70s and lumens per watt in some cases fall below that of better halogens. Sadly, the marketing hype and the fine print in the spec sheets (if they exist at all) seldom tell the same story.


I find the top article by Martin Vander Weyer completely incoherent with a particular inability to think long term.

It's fairly obvious that if demand is down, oil prices are then less sensitive to supply disruptions.

I think peak oil will bring large price spikes every 6-12 months instead of a stable high price environment. This is actually worst for investors, who wants to invest in Artic offshore drilling if prices can crash to $80 tomorrow?

I've thought for years that the peak might be masked by recession, as Tom Whipple put it. (Recessions caused by high oil prices, not normal business cycles.)

Logical thought.

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

Don't fret WES,

All of the technofixes posted on TOD will provide huge volumes of energy :)

No need to worry about the future, nor develop any contingency plans. That's why you see so few of such silly plans on TOD.

Hell, risk management is for wimps.


Excellent point. I can tell you the view from the inside: I know of no sophisticated operator who is using a current oil price platform greater than $70 or $80 per bbl. With drilling costs almost doubling in the last year the price forecast risk is just too great. I think most gas ecomomic analysis is stilling running about $7+/mcf. I'm not sure what the A&D folks are using these days but when you're paying 4 to 5 year payouts on production acquisition an overly optimistic price forecast will kill you quicker than anything.


That seems to be confirmed by the stock prices of most oil and gas producers, most of which appear to be trading at or near their prices about a year ago when oil was in that $70 per barrel range.

It all seems highly irrational to me since oil prices are still hovering around $120 per barrel, 70% above this time last year.

But to expect investment bankers and economists to behave rationally is perhaps asking too much, no?

I think that there might actually be good reason for oil companies to use something like a $70 or $80 a barrel costs in their analyses. If one does not want to get trapped into the problems caused by receding horizons (higher costs keeping making cost projections inaccurate), one wants to reasonably match future oil prices with the cost of the infrastructure. This could very well be $70 or $80 dollars a barrel, if there is a lag between cost increases and the time it works itself into the system.

If oil prices rise a lot in say, the next five years, drilling costs and all of the other costs are likely to rise as well. The forecast using $70 or $80 dollars won't be right, but it will be a lot closer than the overoptimistic results one might have gotten earlier by trying to match $200 oil with $70 or $80 a barrel drilling costs.

In some ways, it is like looking at EROI. You want a constant cost level for your analysis. Trying to mix apples and oranges will give you the ridiculous results we so often see when newspapers say something like, "Oil from the oil sands costs $20 a barrel to produce. If the price is at $120 barrel, oil companies can expect to earn profits of $100 a barrel." Receding horizons says it doesn't work that way. The lower oil cost used by oil companies in their analyses can be looked at as a way of factoring out the receding horizons issue.

A lot of companies in Alberta went bankrupt in the 1980's when the price of oil dropped. That memory influences investment decisions today.

Some of the deep offshore areas of Brazil, India, GOM, etc. might be developed more slowly if the price of oil will fall. At higher prices there was hope for more rapid development of these projects. Sea floor at seven thousand feet below sea level is expensive territory to operate in.

The reports out of Brazil of a presalt oilfields area underlaying three oil basins hundreds of miles long and hundreds of miles wide with up to 80 billion barrels in place at this time is something for peak oil calculators to consider. The area was once part of a rift and is segmented by faults. Will take time before the true total reserves might be calculated.

As for oilsands. Suncor produced its first barrel of oil from the oilsands in 1967. Some forty-one years later it is more profitable than before.

If the price of oil returns to the 70-80 dollar a barrel range, the market for SUV's might grow, restarting a culture of high energy consumption. This will have the tendency to drive up oil prices and generate complaints about the high cost of high energy consumption.

Yes, but, Gail, if one "wants" a constant cost level in an analysis, isn't that like wanting to be in denial? Or like looking for keys in the street because the light's better than in the alley where they were lost?

It looks like "receding horizons" is just another way of saying "nonlinearity". And another reason why general predictions tend to be easy, and specific predictions are difficult and inaccurate.

Metal mining companies do the same - they typically base their ore reserve calculations on prices less than half as high present prices (i.e., historical averages that include economic downturns and include historic rates of inflation only).

Bits I've spotted on the net and want to share.


The more you learn about T. Boone Pickens’ plan to switch America to wind power, the more you realize that he seems willing to say and do just about anything to make another billion or two .... exploitation of the very groundwater Pickens wants to use -- the Ogallala Aquifer.

An example of bleak human future - or a feeding oppertunity for chickens

Then I noticed the ground was moving beneath me. A closer look revealed millions of flies, flies as far as my eyes could see, swarming on the ground. Horrified, I got back in the car.

Fall of the Consumer Economy - Rise of the Responsible Capitalist

And Rather than wait for the right time - a cartoon

And to sharpen my open government axe I offer up this to the grinder.

Wow I never thought i'd see TODer post a Steven Milloy article, that guy is about as right wing as it comes, and a huge global warming denialist to beat!

Uh...yeah. There's none of those around here.

What, exactly is a "TODer"? Do you exclude yourself, AD, even though you read and post regularly? Is it only people of a particular, pre-defined cast of mind? I thought TOD was mainly about geology -- facts on the ground. Opinions about those facts vary all over the intellectual landscape. I think TOD posters are about the most interesting -- and often surprising -- on the Internet.

Steven Milloy has cut to the chase of what T.Boone Pickens is all about, (it isn't about saving the world as we know it, BTW) and has further demonstrated the total hypocrisy -- charitably, just incoherence --of the "environmentalist" movement:

This opposition may soon abate, however, now that Pickens has buddied up with Sierra Club president Carl Pope.

As noted last week, Pope now flies in Pickens’ private jet and publicly lauds him. The two are newly-minted “friends,” since Pope needs the famous Republican oilman to lend propaganda value to the Sierra Club’s anti-oil agenda and Pickens needs Pope to ease up on the Ogallala water opposition.

Personally, I long ago gave up on the Sierra Club as a true defender of the "environment". They now serve only to mold public opinion and make corporate goals palatable to the public.

Milloy is correct to point this out, whatever his personal beliefs may be.

the total hypocrisy -- charitably, just incoherence --of the "environmentalist" movement

And you define the environmentalist movement as the Sierra Club?

Well, not really. But the "media" seems to, and they seem to be the whipping boy for "pro-development" people. False flag.

The real "environmentalists" are people like Wendell Berry. But he doesn't gain much traction, and doesn't apologize for corporate greed.

T. Boon Pickens said on CNBC this morning that he has given away over 700 million dollars and plans to leave all his money to charity. To my mind those who think he is only doing this for the money just haven't been paying attention.

Though Pickens is a Right Wing Republican and I detest his politics, I greatly admire his mission. He is one of the very few republicans who actually knows what is happening to this country. He knows what sending all that oil money out of the country will do to this country. He knows we are at peak oil and he knows what is about to happen. Few other businessmen or politicians even have a clue.

So all you cynics out there just get off his back! Listen to what he has to say. Will this help or hurt America?

Nuff said!

Ron Patterson

I greatly admire his mission.

Making money off of potable water?

So all you cynics out there just get off [Pickens] back!

Geee Ron. Given there are no conspiracies, do *YOU* have data showing that Mr. Pickens has no interest at all in tapping the underground water?

(Yup - thought not. You got nothing Ron.)

A year ago I attended a Climate Change workshop in Des Moines. The big expert for the workshop was Iowa's lobbyist for the Sierra Club. He refused to even discuss the issue of PO and supported the projections on oil from the EIA. At that time the official position of the Sierra Club was that if peak oil was real it was many decades away. He agreed with the EIA's definition of oil to include everything from bitumen to ethanol. In this light it is not surprising that the Sierra club is supporting substituting one fossil fuel with another. If they equate pavement and corn squeezins with light sweet crude then how could they not support Pickens Drain America First Plan.

Wow. I can't believe that:

1) You have a 'shoot the messenger' thinking
2) Someone rated your comment UP

Milloy is simply a paid shill. So in my mind there are not bag limits on his kind - shoot away!

Quite frankly I find it instructive that he calls his site, JunkScience - it's pretty much an accurate description of the content.

But is the observation WRONG about the 'taking land for right of ways' as a way to get water rights/water moved about?

"shoot the messenger?"

Yes - Similar to the reaction to the picture of Grasso and FARC leadership because it comes from LaRouche. This is the 1st I've heard about the land grab for right of ways is not only about electrical power, but also water. Rather than call the idea bull (and show its not the case) you have one poster saying 'don't believe the source because of his past statements on AGW' and another who doesn't want the 'good name' of Pickens somehow 'besmerished'

But hey, call 'em out and ya take your licks in the ratings. This is 'the oil drum - discussions about energy' not 'the water fountain' - so pumping water out of the watershed is not a concern 'round these parts.

Hello Eric Blair,

Two 'laws' of the land in the Southwest:

Water flows uphill to money.

Whiskey is for drinkin, water is for fightin.

Leanan's toplink on the Cali desalination plant may save thousands of lives in the years to come if they can somehow keep this powered by renewable genplants of some kind.

If a major climate change drought just totally hammers the Southwest US & Mexico: I shudder to think what could happen. Is Cascadia ready? We already know that the Great Lakes aren't going to let their water be tapped.

We already know that the Great Lakes aren't going to let their water be tapped.

Not unless the US takes over Canada.

(and my posting of the Perkins link was to take a look at the deal via another lens. Bit shocked about the 'don't pick on the man' reaction, but hey, humans need their heroes to worship.)

I've been on a summer journey in the USA (west) by car for the past few weeks, and a few observations may be of interest to those who read TOD.

This might well turn out to be my last big road trip. By the way, I drove a Toyota Yaris, and averaged about 45 mpg. Wish it could have been a Honda Insight (68 mpg) but those were taken off the market just as I was ready to buy one.

There appears to have been almost no slowdown in the gas guzzler motor traffic. Everyone grumbles about high gas prices, but RVs still rule the road. Perhaps (just perhaps) more people are traveling with the family car (SUV?) than an RV, because motel prices do seem to up considerably. But the RV parks look as full as ever. I did notice the ever-growing presence of the Toyota Prius, but it's still got a small market share.

Another observation is the continued deterioration in road surfaces. Potholes are more numerous than ever. There are many major freeway widening projects that seem to be going on for years, with little actual work being done but lots of torn-up road construction sites 30 miles or longer in length. I've always marveled at this willingness of communities to tear up 30 miles of road and leave it that way for 10 years, rather than repairing one mile before going on to the next. I have noticed the proliferation very low speed limits in these construction zones and signs saying "Fines double when workers are present", and inevitably there is a cop with radar hiding somewhere in the zone - I suspect that the real motive for the perpetual construction sites is to generate more revenue from fines, rather than to finish the project. A number of areas even have "safety corridors" (areas where road fines are doubled and speed traps are set, even though no construction is taking place) - again, I can't help but think that raising revenue is the real motive rather than safety.

My paranoia over these speed traps motivated me to buy a radar detector, even though I try to stick to the posted speed limits. This led to my discovery of "drone radar" (fake signals which make the radar detector beep constantly, rendering it useless). Originally designed for construction zones, drone radar is now ubiquitous on freeways in California and some parts of Arizona.

Public transportation - there's not much of it, but a few bright spots are notable. Zion National Park seems to have adapted a system that actually works. Free buses every 10 minutes throughout the day bring visitors into the park, at least in summer. Cars are prohibited in the innermost region of the park due to parking problems. Yellowstone, by contrast, seems to be one big parking lot. Lake Tahoe has a bus system that is a joke.

As an outdoor sport, hiking is now an old person's activity. Average age of hikers seems to be around 60. Young people do mountain biking, if they do anything physical. Obesity among the young is rampant.

Seems like 50% of the travelers are Europeans. The declining US dollar has made America affordable for them.

Bike paths are still next to non-existent. There's one that goes part way around Lake Tahoe, but isn't very useful as it has so many twists and turns and is two-way, and shared with pedestrians walking dogs. Zillions of dollars are being spent on roads, but zilch on bike paths.

One of the few bright spots has been the proliferation of free wireless Internet. At least it allows me to make posts like this one from out on the road. Maybe if it becomes more common, I'll just stay close to home and save gas.

Thanks for the write up, that sounds cool.

Bicyclying has always suffered, getting just pennies on the dollar to just about any other project (and not just roads, municipalities will spend more on soccer fields than bike lanes/signage/dedicated paths)

We have not travelled by road any further than 100 miles each way this summer, but plenty of RV's and Extraditions and Sublurbans and what not here, too (Central TX). Gas is "only" $3.89 here, but there are still plenty of 4x4 trucks with "for sale" written on their windows in shoe polish. Still driving them, but they're for sale, so maybe that's a start.

Highways get their funding from fuel taxes. Bike paths do not have this luxury. The money must come from somewhere and some larger projects have been included as what some perceive as pork spending in the most recent highway bill. One could argue the drivers are paying for paths to reduce congestion. It is tough to pay for paths with local taxes given falling home values and homeowners already getting drilled with property taxes. There is no highway funding money left to siphon and stagnant economic growth is putting priority elsewhere. Perhaps governments could raise some cash through mandatory bike registration (as they do with vehicles). It would seem fair to have the avid cyclist help pay for the road/path he uses. I bike to work just about every day and would be happy to chip in a ten dollar bill for path maintenance and construction. Ten million bikes at $10 a crack per year gives you a lot of money to play with. The other way would be to have an additional small sales tax on bikes. I don't think either would deter sales or use. Most hunters and anglers in my area are happy to pay higher licensing fees for habitat restoration and maintenance.

I know it's preachin' to the choir, and this is certainly not directed at you, but society at large:

a) this is nothing new, bike facilities have always sucked in the funding department, even when there was plenty of money to go around. If they can afford the artsy-fartsy street lights and brick pavers in the median and landscaping out the whazzoo, certainly somebody can pay for a painted white stripe on the side to designate a bike lane? It's a deliberate "we need to keep bikes and cars separate to protect everyone" mentality that is pervasive in planning departments.

(as an aside, our PTO built a fence around the playground at our elementary school, at a fairly high cost. I asked why, they said to protect the kids, since there is a one-way street there which provides access to the school. I responded that the school has been there for forty years, when was the last time a child was injured by a car on the street? No answer. But we have a fence now, so the drivers can feel better about speeding past the elementary school, since we all know kids have no ability to climb a fence to chase a ball or frisbee)

b) I always mutter obcenities when somebody tells me (while I'm on my bicycle) that "they" pay for the road and I don't; when I also drive a car and pay property and income taxes just like everyone else. Yes, I get that a lot here, along with "get off the $%&! road," because we all know that the best place for a 300 pound man on a bicycle is a SIDEWALK.

Bicycles have historically been seen as toys here in America and that hasn't changed much. Maybe someday.

b) I always mutter obcenities when somebody tells me (while I'm on my bicycle) that "they" pay for the road and I don't; when I also drive a car and pay property and income taxes just like everyone else. Yes, I get that a lot here, along with "get off the $%&! road," because we all know that the best place for a 300 pound man on a bicycle is a SIDEWALK.

You are never going to eliminate that entirely, but as more and more people cycle, we will see less and less of this attitude.

Suburbanites and NOT bicyclists are the free loaders on city streets.

Most city streets are maintained with property taxes, NOT fuel taxes. If you own or rent property in the city (i.e. live there) YOU pay for the city streets ! The suburbanite coming in is the free loader !


Thanks for the report.. My wife and I did a Nat'l Parks X-country trip 5 yrs ago, and the Zion bus system was in place and a rousing success. No noise or Pollution, you could walk the roadway up through the canyon and just stop at a bus stop when you were ready to ride the rest, or back to the campgrounds. According to the Park literature, it's been a boon to them in countless ways.

All in all, our trip ended up being more about highways than hiking paths, and seeing how much of our vast country reflected the tragedy of the First Nations, and the ongoing challenges on so many of the reservations today. Best wishes for Winona Laduke and the various indigenous movements, such as Native Wind ( http://www.nativewind.org/ )

The highway image I didn't manage to get on camera that was so representative of that trip was of the Tourbus-RV hitched to an SUV, which was piggybacking a bunch of BMX or ATV vehicles..

.. Priceless.. Costly.


I wonder how Native Wind will be denounced by Fox and the Wall Street Journal once it becomes a threat.

There appears to have been almost no slowdown in the gas guzzler motor traffic.

But volumes *DO* seem to be down. Used to be slow and excessive freeway volumes at 2 PM. Now its 'open' till 4PM. Rush hour is as it ever was.

Another observation is the continued deterioration in road surfaces.
Public transportation - there's not much of it, Obesity among the young is rampant.
Bike paths are still next to non-existent.
One of the few bright spots has been the proliferation of free wireless Internet.


I suspect that the real motive for the perpetual construction sites is to generate more revenue from fines,

Well, there are others who make that claim....would depend on the contracts and preformace clauses.

This led to my discovery of "drone radar" (fake signals which make the radar detector beep constantly, rendering it useless)


Public transportation - there's not much of it, Obesity among the young is rampant.
Bike paths are still next to non-existent.

One of the few bright spots has been the proliferation of free wireless Internet.

I drove to up near Sequoia last Saturday to get my son from camp. I thought there were way, way, way fewer RV's on the road than I was used to. A lot fewer boats being towed as well. Tomorrow I make a similar drive to get my daughter. I am curious if I will see more RV's given the drop in prices this week and if the small drop will induce people to take one last road trip of the summer.

Granted casual observations are not very accurate.

American Bumper Sticker: What is our oil doing under their land?

As ironic as that simple statement may sound there is a strong element of logic to it.
From what I understand the U.S., with only 2% of the proven world oil reserves, uses 25% of that supply. In that light the U.S. decision to invade Iraq and attempt to stabilize the region by spreading Democracy in the Middle East seems like a natural response to reality directed by a particular energy policy. We needed a steady supply of affordable oil. The Middle East is one of the few places on the planet that hadn’t peaked (we thought). We are willing to pay for the oil (to a point). All we wanted was a willing, able and malleable vendor. What could be simpler?

The problem is Oil Exporting States are not like western democracies and they never will be. Their economies begin and end with oil.

Little wonder almost all of the 19 9/11 hijackers were Saudi. Consider the following: In exchange for a reliable source of oil we arm the Saudi royals so they can remain in power. The unimagined oil wealth in KSA barely trickled down to their rapidly growing population with an average per capita income of less than $6,000.00 annually. The Royal family is hopelessly corrupt. The people that populate the land are disenfranchised and seethe with animosity and resentment. How do you keep a lid on that level of anger? You can’t.

After the oil embargoes of the 70’s the oil exporting nations dreamed of becoming first world nations. Yet, even before the price of oil crashed in the mid-80’s, most oil producing states were political basket cases holding on to power through force.

Terry Lynn Karl co-author of “Oil Wars”: “Oil, the devil’s excrement, always has been a magnet for war…Typically, because governments in oil-rich states depend on oil for taxable income, the wealth of local citizens ceases to matter. Untaxed citizens, for their part, don’t have many ways of holding their governments accountable; elites become richer and majorities become poorer…”

In the U.S. we are now setting the table for the final stages of a political struggle for the White House which could determine how we and perhaps the world proceed for most of the next decade. I realize that no politician can speak the truth to the American people and retain any hope of winning, however we have two candidates who are split on one vital issue right down the middle. Barrack Obama wants to withdraw our troops from Iraq as soon as practical. John McCain wants to continue the “war on terror” which is a smokescreen for a failed energy policy: The American experiment in the colonization of a vital but unstable area of the world in order to procure oil.

Should we compete for the remaining bits of oil in the world or should we move now to change course and make the painful choices necessary to deal with the reality of less energy? In the fall election that is the only issue that matters…


All excellent points Joe. And I daily witness the US attitude that it's "all our oil". Which is why I see no significant change in course regardless of which party wins. Washington will, unforutnately, follow the lead of the general masses IMO. During the next 1 or 2 presidential terms a decision will have to be made to choose either the very difficult choices or do what the public demands. Obviously, you can tell I'm not very optimistic on that outcome.

Thanx for your reply to my Kinder Morgan/CHK post

I don't know if you saw my reply.


No James I didn't. I bounce around so much during the day I loose track of where I've been. But you're welcome.

The US "attitude" has been carefully crafted over several decades-- it is not somehow inherent, or geologically based:

George W. Bush's Iraq War, while duplicitous in many respects, is actually the culmination of twenty-five years of U.S. policy to ensure continued domination of the Persian Gulf and its prolific oil fields. In fact, it was a natural expression of the Carter Doctrine. Enunciated by then-President Jimmy Carter in his State of the Union speech in January 1980, the doctrine defines Persian Gulf oil as a "vital interest" of the United States that must be defended "by any means necessary, including military force." http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/Oil_watch/Carter_Doctrine_Global_Oil.html

This attitude can be changed by the same forces that created it in the first place, but neither of the dominant political parties have a mandate to do that.

Paris Hilton for President!

Paris Hilton for President!

Is this the kind of clever distraction that the GOP needs to keep BAU?

Cheney to Address GOP Convention Opening - The same night that President Bush speaks


The machine never sleeps...

The Paris for President is now a mass movement and cannot be stopped. Resistance is futile.

There are many here on TOD who have already jumped on the bandwagon because of her astute energy policies. She can both read a teleprompter, memorize her lines, and does not require a cheat sheet to deliver them. This is way more than can be said for John McCain who even has trouble with his mantra "Drill here, Drill now".

I read today that plans are afoot to have a summit in Maui between Obama, McCain, and Paris.

Also her plan to paint the White House pink will be more than welcome. Many of us are sick and tired of white.

Now we can see why the British Empire split the Arabs into states with oil but no people, and states with people but no oil. The Arab plan to create a single kingdom ruled by Faisal would have put the oil fields of Iraq, Kuwait and part of the Arabian peninsula under the social agenda of cities like Damascus, Baghdad and Beirut, with a more diverse economy. That combo makes real economic development possible, if not assured.

Unless it is destroyed by aggressors. This way most of the people get to live in relatively non-combative areas?

The Empire's New Middle East Map
creating ethnic conflict to control the oil

Should we compete for the remaining bits of oil in the world or should we move now to change course and make the painful choices necessary to deal with the reality of less energy?

I believe our masters already made that choice for us. We will be "democratizing" that area for a long long time...

America has never lost a big war.

Every major adversary over the past 250 years has been beaten - British, Spanish, Mexican, German, and Japanese. But what I think I see shaping up right now is just unbelievable.

First, another attack on Moslem country (Iran) will royally cheese off the world's 1+ billion Moslems (as if they weren't already in a bad mood).

Second, Iran is seen as a critical energy supplier for both India and China. Let's add another 2.5 billion angry people who happen to have nukes and missiles (and, IIRC, China has pledged to defend Iran).

Third, antagonizing Russia (by placing missiles in Czech & Poland, helping Georgia, etc) with its huge energy supplies, thousands of nukes, and very advanced arsenal is *not a good idea*.

Fourth, while nobody is noticing (what with the Olympics and all), Pakistan's parliment just voted to impeach Mushareff. So, place a loose (nuclear) cannon right in the middle of this whole mess.

Daniel Yegin's (yes, *that* Yergin) book "The Prize" has an excellent portrayal of how American oil supplies helped the allies win WW2. But now the shoe is on the other foot with the US importing ~70% of its oil and Russia having the surplus.

I've said before that the western powers should get out (and stay out) of the ME and central asia. This time the adversaries have the advantage in manpower, manufacturing, and energy supplies.

WW3 could play like WW2 in reverse.

And yet, the morons that populate this country still refuse to see dependence on foreign oil as a national security issue. The supposed "right wing" is always blasting efforts at reducing oil usage as enviro-commie plots against the USA. There is no better way to strenghten the national defense than reducing oil imports and federal debt, but you can't get that idea into the heads of the supposed "conservative" Republicans. This is one of the main reasons I vote Democrat (that, and the fact that they are a bit less corrupt).

Dude, you forgot the war of 1812. At best it was a draw and the U.S. got a national anthem out of the deal. But no, they have never actually been beaten; however that depends on which side of the Mason-Dixon you live on.


The Chinese were willing to fight to the last Vietnamese.

"Barrack Obama wants to withdraw our troops from Iraq as soon as practical. John McCain wants to continue the “war on terror” which is a smokescreen for a failed energy policy"

Really? Please provide links to any speech or policy paper where Obama is calling for an unconditional 100% troop withdrawal from Iraq - on ANY timetable. He always places conditions like "when practical", etc. and never talks about 100%. Both candidates and the current administration are eager to have our troops leave the cities but are just as eager to leave 'protection forces' numbering in the tens of thousands (incl. contractors) in the outlying areas of the country in perpetuity. Which *coincidentally* happens to be where the main oil activity is.

The only hope is to vote third party. It could take a generation, but eventually we can restore some semblance of a multi-party democracy.

All doomers invited to reply with your admissions of being wrong. You will be forgiven. BAU to continue unabated, the air car is back, baby!


Yes. Artist's conceptions will save the world! Where's my flying car?


Flying car - production ready prototype shown last week by well funded MIT spinoff.

You can buy a street legal version with delivery in 2009.

Company is expecting sales of a few hundred a year. Prices in the range of $150,000.
Competing with personal planes.

For 2010, another company is making $3 million vehicles. They have 1.5 meter test vehicle flying. They want to use it for niche things that helicopters can't do.

Europeans working on motorcycle/gyrocopter converting machine. 30km per liter.

All doomers invited to reply with your admissions of being wrong. BAU to continue unabated,

Alas, the downside of the doomers of being right everyone suffers. So lets hope you are right, so the only 'suffer' is your in-suffer-able gloats.

I was pretty much kidding, but I think that the idea has some possibilities. It offers a way to convert electricity into transport. To me, the issues are going to be whether the materials for this car are a lot cheaper than batteries. It seems that this could be a good low-tech solution.

Speaking of which, does anybody know why carbon fiber is so expensive? I have not been able to figure that out. Seems like we've got plenty of carbon around.

Carbon fiber is made from PAN which is graphitized at extreme temperature in a vacuum induction furnace. Trace contaminants can greatly reduce the tensile. It takes forever to wind the stuff - miles per pound. Truly a labor- and technology-intensive undertaking. Just like the motherboard in your PC: how expensive is silicon?

How much if any of that cost could be offset by economies of scale? For example, if GM decided to go all carbon-fiber, and opened their own plant, would that reduce the costs much, or would it be a minor contribution?

Too bad there's not more titanium around.

Too bad there's not more titanium around.

There is plenty of Ti around. White paint - Ti got in once the Pb got out.

Yes, titanium is relatively abundant, but in both ores and white paint it is present as the oxide. The problem with titanium oxide, as for still more abundant aluminum oxide, is the huge amount of energy needed to reduce it to the metal. Don't expect to see titanium cars anytime soon, in other words.

The scale of commodity carbon-fiber manufacture is already large. It's just plain slow! And fab of anything by winding a single miles-long fiber takes forever. It's even worse to lay up fabrics, controlling all the orientations and ply drop-offs. And then the laminating resin has to be cured up in an autoclave. Pain in the neck, and best suited to small, hand-made, pricey items like bike frames.
Mil-spec carbon fiber is another world entirely: Everything takes cubic dollars, but you get much better properties.

Years ago I heard of a company that was pushing a process to blow epoxy-soaked glass fibers out of a hose to directionally coat a foam core. I wonder what happened.

See modern aircraft, especially the 787. Almost all of the airframe is carbon fiber, including the fuselage, wings and empennage.

A series of breakthroughs in fabrication that now make carbon fiber cheaper than assembled aluminum.

Best Hopes for Useful Technology Advantages,



Titanium could become a lot cheaper and more commonly used. A non-melt consolidation process being developed by Oak Ridge National Laboratory and industry partners could reduce the amount of energy required and the cost to make titanium parts from powders by up to 50 percent, making it feasible to use titanium alloys for brake rotors, artificial joint replacements, space vehicles and military vehicles.

Carbon fiber production is increasing


Toray Industries Inc. will build the world's biggest carbon fiber plant to meet growing demand from the aircraft, automobiles and other industries, company officials said Friday.

The new plant, to be located in Masaki, Ehime Prefecture, southwestern Japan, is slated to begin operations as early as 2010 with an annual capacity of 4,000 tons, the sources said.

By the end of 2012, Toray's annual carbon fiber output capacity will increase 1.7-fold from the current level to more than 30,000 tons.


The Nikkei reported that Toray Industries Inc., Nissan Motor Co. and Honda Motor Co. will work together to develop a new carbon fiber material for use in auto bodies, with the goal of developing mass-market carbon fiber cars.

The group aims to establish mass production technology for the new material by the mid-2010s. By replacing most of the steel used in cars, they hope to develop vehicles up to 40% lighter than their steel counterparts.

Carbon fiber boasts one-quarter the weight of iron, but is 10 times as strong. High prices have been a major obstacle to the widespread use of carbon fiber in cars: 1 kg of carbon fiber costs several thousand yen, compared with slightly more than 100 yen for steel and 300-400 yen for aluminum. As steel prices will likely continue rising, in part because of increasing market dominance by the three top iron ore mining companies, the price gap between steel and carbon fiber is expected to narrow over time. Unlike steel, carbon fiber has significant room for increases in production.

Steel accounts for about three-quarters of the average car weight in Japan of around 1,350 kg (2,976 lbs). Using carbon fiber to replace steel in key parts could cut vehicle weight by up to 40%, to slightly above an average 800 kg (1,800 lbs). This could improve fuel efficiency and reduce carbon dioxide by approximately 30% per car.

Graphene enhanced plastics

Carbon nanotube production is being scaled up

Hooray! Back to more overpopulation and debt until we find a new way to break our toy!

Concerning the above link Overpopulation: the real crisis:

Humanity has a fatal disease - its symptoms include runaway greed, our insane economic system, starvation, peak oil, global warming, selfish corporations and the Bush administration. Faith in rapture and/or technology will not save us from human nature. If humans are to survive, we must confront reality and find ways to control human instincts, including our greed and our innate urge to procreate.

And therein lies the problem, human nature. As Leanan pointed out a few days ago, there is no innate urge to procreate, the innate urge is to have sex. But once the results of sex has happened, there is an innate urge to nourish and protect. There is also an innate urge to live as high on the hog as we possibly can, higher than our neighbors if possible.

But my point is; we cannot change human nature. We can pass laws in an attempt to control human nature, often with some success, but we cannot change innate desires or urges. Laws keep us from raping and pillaging other people but not from raping and pillaging the environment. We are killing it and we are killing it because of human nature. To say we must "find ways to control human instincts" is to talk nonsense, unless of course you are talking about controlling them with totalitarian use of brute force.

I do not believe that will ever happen because we will likely never have a one world government. That means we will always have neighbors, neighbors who look at us, and we at them, with fear and loathing.

Not only are human societies never alone, but regardless of how well they control their own population or act ecologically, they cannot control their neighbors’ behavior. Each society must confront the real possibility that its neighbors will not live in ecological balance but will grow its numbers and attempt to take the resources from nearby groups. Not only have societies always lived in a changing environment, but they always have neighbors. The best way to survive in such a milieu is not to live in ecological balance with slow growth, but to grow rapidly and be able to fend off competitors as well as take resources from others.
Steven LeBlanc, “Constant Battles: The Myth of the Peaceful, Noble Savage”

The problem then, is simply human nature. We found a huge deposit of fossil energy which led to an abundance of all the things that a huge population needed. It was just the nature of the animal that we expand our population until those resources were exhausted. And as always happened in the past, massive overpopulation naturally leads to eventual die-off.

It must be so. If there is ever a time of plenty this very fact will automatically lead to an increase in population until the natural state of starvation and misery is restored.
Richard Dawkins: River Out of Eden

Ron Patterson

I find it interesting that the medieval Norman ruling class (in Normandy) deliberatly kept their numbers in check by passings titles to their first-born children and then sending the younger siblings off to monasteries and convents (which were considered to be very good arrangements at the time).

They were not so much concerned with increasing numbers, but more concerned with sibling murder. Once you got the 'heir and a spare', you could park one in the clergy - but only after martial training. (they could rise to a Bishopric and still fornicate)then you were ok. If the heir died, you could bring out the next spare, ditch the Bishopric and continue BAU.

As for Convents: they were seen as great places to retain the wrapping on trade goods.

Normans: Composed of Streaky Bacon and Cold Thought

There were often societal customs like that that serve to keep the population in check, though that may not have been their explicit purpose.

For example, no sex outside marriage, and no marriage unless you can support a family (which often meant owning a farm of a certain size).

The preference for boys that is so widespread is probably also a population thing. Genetically speaking, there's no reason to prefer males to females. But a societal preference for males helps keep the population in check, since it makes female infanticide easier. (Male infanticide doesn't help much, since it's the number of females that determines fertility.)

If only the no marriage unless you could support a family and no sex (or at least procreation) outside of marriage were broader behavioral norms.

If international agreements on sustainablity are not in place by 2015, then I would say war is failry inevitable.

If things get so bad for people then they might be agreeable to a single totalitarian state where your life is governed by a strict set of rules, but as you say because of human nature, I cannot see this ever happening.


You might find this interesting. The one-world government probably won't happen, but it's fun to speculate about one.

To avoid the three-hundred-Hitler holocaust would require a policy of one child per two to four families. You can call that "baby rationing." It would also require a 60% economic contraction in the wealthy nations: slamming the global economy into reverse on a scale that would make the 1930s depression look like a dress rehearsal. And it would require a degree of redistribution of essential resources that would not just "look like" global communism, it would be global communism. Taken together, these measures can be called "draconian overdrive."
How are you going to get 1/2 to 3/4 of the people into clinics to get snipped? Most of them won't go willingly. You have to use main force and drag them in, kicking and screaming as they go. Envision for a moment, armed officials of government knocking on doors and dragging people to the clinics, or into mobile "snip wagons" parked conveniently nearby. Imagine the degree of totalitarianism it would take to enforce that against the certainty of revolt and armed uprising.


how about tackle-shrinking plastics in the environment...

It's been explained on here before - you control fertility by controlling female fertility....

The pollution would have to get very high to eliminate enough of the highly fertile males to make a difference.

Did that … √

Ron, I'm going to agree and disagree.

Human nature (actually animal nature) is the problem, as pretty much any animal will act selfishly and procreate as much as it can, but we do have the ability to reason, and we could set up a system of laws that discouraged raping and pillaging the earth if we wanted to.

Our current tax system discourages work, encourages consumption and pollution, and rewards procreation.

I would change it as follows:

1. Put in tax on all pollutants, including carbon. I would make this revenue neutral by increasing the standard deduction to $100,000 and exempting the first $20,000 of income from payroll taxes.

2. With a standard deduction of $100,000 you would eliminate the tax credit for additional children.

3. Force companies to restore areas to a close approximation of what they were before resources were extracted. This would effectively ban MTR coal "mining".

To say we must "find ways to control human instincts" is to talk nonsense, unless of course you are talking about controlling them with totalitarian use of brute force.

I think that is a definite possibility. I don't think we've reached "peak population control technology" yet.

I know it's a long shot to reduce the population without a lot of unpleasantness. But other societies have achieved it, without resorting to letting Malthus sort it out. It's not impossible.

And, IMO, it's the one thing most worth doing. Electric cars, Permaculture, personal airplanes, carbon credits, nuclear power plants, CPS, eco-cities...none that will fix the underlying problem, which that the world is finite. Even if we all reduce our consumption to that of Zimbabweans...it won't be enough if we don't limit population.

Anthropologist Marvin Harris used to say that the only technology that ever really benefited human beings in the long run was birth control, and I suspect he was right.

Put in tax on all pollutants, including carbon,..

Again Consumer, let me repeat a point I made above. We do not have a world government and are unlikely to ever have one. We can put a carbon tax on US corporations but not Chinese or Indian companies. And even if we did, everyone would cheat, it’s just human nature.

Second point which everyone seems to forget. It takes over 800 years for the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to be removed….so….it simply does not matter when you burn the carbon fossil fuels, only that you eventually burn it. And we will burn it ALL!

Leanan wrote:

I know it's a long shot to reduce the population without a lot of unpleasantness. But other societies have achieved it, without resorting to letting Malthus sort it out. It's not impossible.

Leanan, the only country who has intentionally made any attempt to control their population is China. And they are doing it with brute force. Even so their population is still growing. It is called “population momentum”. China’s population will eventually top out at somewhere around 1.5 to 1.6 billion unless peak oil along with the principles of Malthus stops it sooner. And I strongly suspect that will be the case.

Italy, Russia and a few other countries have achieved zero or even negative population growth. In Russia’s case it was mostly Malthus but for a few other European countries it was simply culture. If the rest of the world could reach the level of sophistication and enlightenment these countries achieved, then the world population might stop growing. The chances of that happening are slim to none.

The principles of Malthus must kick in sooner or later and I suspect it will be sooner rather than later.

Ron Patterson

We do not have a world government and are unlikely to ever have one. We can put a carbon tax on US corporations but not Chinese or Indian companies.

We don't need one. Just apply a pollution tariff to imported goods that reflects the practices used to produce them.

If you think this would threaten global trade agreements too much, the other way around it is to lower the corporate tax rate. In other words, just as with the personal income tax, you could shift the corporate tax structure to tax pollution instead of profits. Also, the exemption on the first $20,000 of payroll tax would apply to the employer as well as the employee.

There is one method that works universally and every time for birth and population decline.
Give women equal political and economic rights (and the ability to use those rights), and the population almost always goes negative.
One has to only look to the European Social Democracies to see the effect.
Religion, and the patriarchal control over society, is the culprit.
The current situation does not look encouraging, as superstition, religion and conspiracy are on the rise, and critical thinking in decline.


Hightrekker, for once we see eye to eye.

Political and Economic rights for women and the abandonment of dark age religions works every time.

Trouble is the religionists wont give up easily: Just how do you get laid if you are a ranting, swivvel eyed nutter with bad breath, sandals and a beard in a night dress?

"Just how do you get laid if you are a ranting, swivvel eyed nutter with bad breath, sandals and a beard in a night dress?"

Actually, I think it's pretty easy. Just ask Charles Manson.

A hit. A very palpable hit.

Charisma or money will generally get it done.

Sex discriminates against the ugly, the shy, and the poor. But not very effectively.

Or Rasputin.

Trouble is the religionists wont give up easily.

Generally, in history this problem is overcome in two ways.

Method 1:
Add capitalism and democracy and wait for 50 to 100 years....

Method 2:
See Hilaire Belloc:

"Whatever happens, we have got
The Maxim gun, and they have not."

You're missing one component. Those European Social Democracies are also wealthy countries with the money to pay for universal education, universal healthcare, and old age pensions. The pensions are important because without them, your children are your pension plan. Per capita consumption far surpasses the poor high-birthrate nations. It's still better than the US with the highest consumption and moderate birthrates.

Pensions depend on real growth, not a mirage caused by inflation ... and real growth relies on ever cheaper sources of energy ... in my part of the world (the UK) energy started to get more expensive as a % of our GDP several years ago ... I don't think pensions are working as designed ... check out your pension arrangements in detail, I bet for most it's no longer in as good shape as it was! :-((

Enjoy life ... life is too short ... in the last 100 years or so we in OECD countries have enjoyed the best quality of life of any species ever ... party on, while you still can, IMO we are very close to the zenith!

Why am I so pesimistic? ... I've just been studying EIA data, the story is there if, like me, you have the time and patience to look.

I'm well aware of pensions being dependent on real economic growth. If every pension fund around the world is doomed because of peak oil, there goes any hope of voluntary population reduction.

There is a huge pension fund crisis already in this country at least (the UK), regardless of Peak Oil.

It is hard to give rights to people in other countries. In the long run it will likely prove easier to starve, infect, shoot, or otherwise kill people than to prevent their procreation.

A Malthusian decline will not be an equal-opportunity reaper.

Leanan, the only country who has intentionally made any attempt to control their population is China.

Not true. A lot of countries have made attempts to control their populations. Not always successfully.

Jared Diamond describes societies that have achieved long-term sustainability in Collapse, and population control is absolutely key.

Sorry I misspoke. I meant to say that the only nation who has intentionally attempted to control their population and has been successful at doing so was China.

I question Jared Diamond's credentials as an anthropologist or archeologist. His theories about the Greenland colony has been disproved. The people DID eat fish. The climate changed. They died out because of the cold climate. And there has never been any really long term survival of any society without population growth. That is unless one's definition of "long term" is short enough.

But he is correct about population control being the key. And almost every society has had some sort of population control, albeit was usually involuntary. Infanticide has been popular in many societies but I don't think that would go over well today. But usually it has been Constant Battles that has been the primary method of birth control.

Ron Patterson

Eh? Diamond did not claim the weather didn't change in Greenland.

Indeed, that is one of the themes of Collapse. Humans think that just because it's been this way for a few decades or a few centuries, it will always be this way. But nature's cycles may be much longer than that. So we settled the Gulf Coast during a lull in hurricane activity, and assumed that was "normal." We settled the west during an usually wet period, and were surprised by the "drought."

Some of the societies described in Collapse have lasted thousands of years. More than we can say about ours.

Yes, infanticide was a common method of birth control in the ancient world. Still is, in some places. That people would be willing to do that tells you how far they are willing to go to not procreate.

For us, it's much easier. We have birth control.

Eh? Diamond did not claim the weather didn't change in Greenland.

Of course not but climate change was not the reason he gave for the collapse of the Viking colony. It was largely, he said, because they refused to get their substance from the sea. And that was simply incorrect. The climate changed and all their animals died, and then they died. They did eat fish but that was not enough to keep them alive.

As far as any society surviving for thousands of years in harmony with nature....that is simply incorrect. That has never happened. That is just another version of the myth of the noble savage. Of course many societies have survived for thousands of years. But most were bloodthirsty and fought constantly with their neighbors.

I think maybe you need to make a distinction here - individual settlements may not have survived, but certainly cultures have survived intact for very long times. The culture of the Australian Aborigines, for instance, survived intact for many thousands of years until their encounter with the Europeans. During this time of isolation, individual Aborigine settlements may have died out or been exterminated, but the basic hunter-gather culture survived for a long, long, long time.

Of course not but climate change was not the reason he gave for the collapse of the Viking colony.

Yes it was. In fact, the whole book was about how humans are at the mercy of the enviroment. The part about not adopting the customs of the Inuit was actually a pretty minor thread. One he had to address, because if the Inuit could live there, why not the Norse? (Especially since he's on the record saying farmers always out-compete hunter-gatherers.)

He said the fish thing in his earlier book, Guns, Germs, and Steel. He corrected it in Collapse, based on new information. Judging from the middens, the Norse Greenlanders ate a lot of marine mammals, but not much fish. They clearly did exploit the sea, though, and Diamond admits this.

As far as any society surviving for thousands of years in harmony with nature....that is simply incorrect. That has never happened.

I don't know what you mean about "harmony with nature." If you mean not having any impact at all, you are right. The societies Diamond studied certainly did have an impact (doing things like cultivating the plants and animals they wanted at the expense of those they didn't).

But most were bloodthirsty and fought constantly with their neighbors.

It does seem to be an advantage to not have any neighbors. The sustainable societies Diamond described in Collapse were isolated. I suspect that is how they avoided the constant battles. I wish he'd addressed that more.

I meant that no society has survived for thousands of years without hitting Malthusian limits and suffering, from time to time, from famine which took a toll of their numbers. I know, a lot of people have made such claims but there is no archeological to support such claims.

Many have claimed that the Polynesians somehow managed their population on the small islands they lived on. There is absolutely no evidence to support such claims however. In fact all circumstantial evidence suggest the exact opposite. If there were no overcrowding than there would be no need for so many of them to set out on long voyages in search of new lands. Also Captain Cook, as well as many others have testified to the bloodthirsty nature of the Polynesians of Hawaii. They had a grand way of controlling their population, they simply killed them off.

Read about it here: http://www.freehawaii.org/hh.html

He brought bloody stones from a human sacrificial site in Tahiti and used them to desecrate the primary heiau (temple) of 'Io on the "Big Island" and then built his luakini (human sacrificial) heiau on top of it.

The Polynesians have a long history of human human sacrifice and cannibalism. Unlike the Aztecs, the Polynesians sacrificed humans primarily for their food value.

Ron Patterson

I meant that no society has survived for thousands of years without hitting Malthusian limits and suffering, from time to time, from famine which took a toll of their numbers.

For chrissake, man, nobody is claiming that living "sustainably" eliminates all natural cycles! Of course populations can rise and fall, as they always do in the natural world. They do in the "human" world, too. Look at Russia. Look at Detroit. The Black Plague. But the long term aggregate is ever upward because we can more effectively alter our environment. But even we will hit the wall. The cycles are simply longer for us due to our manipulation of the rules of engagement.


Strictly speaking, its:

no CLOSED society has survived for thousands of years without hitting Malthusian limits..

Most poor European societies have exported their surplus people to become other societies problems.

If you take a holiday to somewhere 'quaint' - say the Greek islands, Eire etc they make a big deal of how traditional culture remains. Not hard to do if you don't have to give every child a future in that region.

One of the constant side effects of war has been an increase in the birth rate (the rape part of rape and pillage) which more than offsets the small increase in the death rate. The goal of warriors is not to kill the opposition's population but to induce their surrender and then tax their productivity.

Actually, the former Communist states are an interesting anomaly. They achieved ZPG at relatively low income levels. I think the key is that their pension system for the elderly destroyed much of the incentive to have more children, abortion was made readily available and women were educated and encouraged into the workforce to offset the chronic laziness of their labor. If they had remained under their prior regimes these things would not have happened so quickly (prematurely in the eyes of economists). Note Romania's ruler chose to be an exception.

A lot of the former communist states have shrinking populations. However, I don't think they intended that. It was seen as a social problem, and they tried many things to turn it around.

I do think it's useful to study what happened in those countries. They often used the full power of the government to encourage childbearing...but it didn't work, up against the economic reasons people had for not wanting children.

Perhaps social security is a good investment after all.

Some would say that Russia's population decline was due to Vodka. Maybe there's an upside to all that corn alcohol.

The Eastern European states found that it was easier to encourage population control through alcohol-fueled suicide than via education and enlightened choice.

I can see Bob Barker now:
"Remember, please spay and neutor your children!"

Honestly, sterilization is a pretty good solution, but people have an aversion to it. In a post-peak world, I see being sterile as a good thing. I don't want to kill my wife/girlfriend by having her die due to complications from pregnancy/childbirth because decent medical facilities aren't available. I haven't yet managed to get a vasectomy performed, but I understand that people who don't have children often have a hard time getting doctors to perform sterilization surgery in the US.

Speaking as an infertile, it ain't that fun being sterile.

If you want to have children, I certainly see this as an issue, but you say "it ain't that fun being sterile." How so? I haven't heard complaints from guys I know who have had a vasectomy performed on them, beyond the initial healing period.

Having a vasectomy is optional.

If you're trying to have a baby, infertility sucks.

Maybe you can't change Human Nature, or not by much or for very long.. but it's clearly possible to oversimplify what human nature is. Since we are a social beast, it probably worth noting the nature of 'other interested parties' in the social structure. I have seen that many grandparents have what seems to be an 'Innate Urge to Reproduce', while they outsource the actual work to their offspring and any other mating age people they have become attached to. They are not looking for nookie, they want more people. They want to 'continue the bloodlines', they want little things to cuddle and teach.. etc.

But I quibble. Dawkins seems to have it summed up the way I see it, too. We'll rise to the level of the available food supply, and when that tide goes back out, it'll smell kinda nasty until we acclimate, but at least it's natural.

Garrett Hardin was very insightful on the nature of our dilemma, and for those unfamiliar I suggest all of his writing; perhaps start with Filters for Folly. Many people have heard about "Tragedy of the Commons" and think that he was just writing about pastures or fisheries, but that article- published in the journal Science in 1968- was all about human overpopulation and the need to develop a reasoned approach to population limits before it is too late.

good comment Ron - I agree with almost everything you said. The objective should be to change our institutions to be more in line with our human nature (and culture and our nature co-evolved). Homo reciprocans can play a large role.

we cannot change human nature

Well, I think the Koreans are trying, and over the long haul, if there are bottlenecks created in next hundred years that favor certain phenotypes, technically we COULD change it, though certainly not on any meaningful timescale to us. I would suspect another bimodal tendency - 100 years from now the people on the planet will probably disproportionately descend from the hard core competitors/grabbers of resources and the strong reciprocal altruists, who build communities and buffer communities around them. Both cooperation and competition are hallmarks of social species and I suspect energy descent will move us more towards the poles of those behaviors. Just my own musing...

pray for evolution

we cannot change human nature

Well, I think the Koreans are trying

Huh? I live in Korea, am married to a Korean, teach Koreans and know the culture about as well as my wife does and I don't get the reference. To what do you refer?


As Leanan pointed out a few days ago, there is no innate urge to procreate, the innate urge is to have sex.

I think you are both getting the cart before the horse. The purpose of copulation is to further the species. Orgasms are just the icing on the cake.

We know what copulation is for. But people have sex even when they don't want children. Indeed, they have sex even when it is impossible for them to have children.

We aren't talking about evolution's purpose here. We're talking about what motivates individual human beings.

I once worked with a poor Appalachian dirt farmer who had 13 kids. He told me that "if it weren't for bad luck (he'd) have had twenty-one." I have to think that for him, having children was part of the payoff. Now, you could, I suppose, try and "re-educate" this man and convince him that over-population was a serious issue and that he ought to be using birth control but I don't know that you'd have much success.

We could argue, split hairs, and go on for hours over this but it would be pointless. The bottom line is that he who sires the most kids has a disproportionate effect on the course of the species. In China, it is manifest as the Genghis Khan effect.

I have to think that for him, having children was part of the payoff.

No one is arguing that. Of course some people do have sex in order to have children.

But for most people, how many kids (if any) is an economic decision. Why is the population shrinking in Romania, and Japan, and Russia, and Italy, and Sweden, and Poland, and the Czech Republic? I suspect it's not because they're any different from people in the United States or Bangladesh or Nigeria.

They are just in different economic situations, and therefore made different decisions.

Leanan, I believe you are correct about the different economic situations. People in cities are highly affected by economics. The old, the young and the middle aged are all effectively segregated into separate economic realities for reasons of economic efficiency and profitability. Any profit from having children is quickly lost to the economic system controlling each of the different zones and children become a drain on their parents economic resources.

But, for say a farmer, it is very different, he has only one pair of hands and many tasks. Having children is a big plus once the initial investment of rearing them to a suitable age has been borne. Providing that the economic segregation mentioned above does not affect the farmer, he benefits for many decades from his initial investment.

As economic control gets eviscerated by the financial meltdown and energy scarcity bites, having more children may actually be a rational reaction. Population growth may actually accelerate at a time when the population can no longer be sustained.

I agree, and I'm on the record many times making a similar argument. The factors that have defused the "population bomb" are very likely to unwind in the face of peak oil. Education of women, urbanization, improved health care and sanitation, easily available birth control...I don't see any of them improving much in the post-carbon age.

'Pears to me that all those items you list above is what got us on this fateful road to Perdiditon!

Taken a few steps further we then have the downfall of the family unit,supersensitivity to allergies,etc..etc...etc.

I my view the older, slower paced, rural lifestyle is what worked best and what we are headed back to.

Of course many will whine,bitch and moan but the future is fatal.

IMO of course...many will disagree...yada...etc...so on and so forth


Of course then aren't you just reducing the A and T of the I=PAT equation, as you are increasing the P? That would seem to have some offsetting effect.

Here's a fascinating article on vehicles and fuel economy. It's a geek site, but they're very thorough when it comes to technical issues of all kinds:


Unfortunately, American car designers and customers are often drawn to shapes that don’t correspond well to better fuel economy. Faired-in wheels (such as the iconic Citroen DS, or more recently the Honda Insight) aid in cutting down wind resistance, as do styling trends such as fastbacks or Kamm tails. The underside of the car, with suspension components, exhausts, and various other protuberances also wreaks havoc with airflow. Using flat underfloors to smooth out this airflow can have a large impact, but with the exception of certain sports cars I can’t think of many other models that implement this solution.

We've known about the improvements possible thru aerodynamics for decades. Take a look at the modifications of the Honca Civic in which the owner added a somewhat streamlined tail section. Lots of folks don't understand the importance of the rear of the vehicle on drag, so they buy boxy SUV's and vans instead of hatchback cars. Vans and SUV's have larger frontal area as well. Pick ups with open beds can be worse as the cab section is a high drag area and the tailgate catches the air a second time. Various techniques, such as bed covers or flow thru tailgates help with a pickup, but it would still be better to drive a hatchback car instead of a PU. Of course, when driving a smaller car, less power is required over the road, so a smaller engine can be used as well, which results in greater efficiency and also further reduces the weight of the vehicle.

It makes no sense for one person to use a SUV or PU to commute when they might just as easily drive a car. If the price of fuel remains high (or, hopefully, moves higher) people will continue to buy more fuel efficient vehicles. A big drop in the price of oil would take away the incentive for folks to move toward more efficient vehicles, which would ultimately make the transition after Peak Oil worse, IMHO.

E. Swanson

One of the popular objections by truck/SUV drivers is they need the ability to haul things. I tell them that is fine, they can use the car or motorcycle to commute with, and when they need to haul something, they can still use the truck they have parked at home just for that reason. Secondarily, depending on what you're needing to haul, a small trailer can handle a lot of stuff, and I've towed a trailer with my car. (I've towed a car with my car.) Sure, it doesn't have get up and go when you have a trailer attached, and going up hills can be slow, but it does the job.

I suspect that most large vehicle owners, realizing current trade in values, elected to keep them and opted for buying additional fuel efficient vehicles, either new or used, to still be able to tow the boat or drive to Tahoe on weekends.

What I can't understand, really, is that they bought the SUV in the heady days of '03 and intentionally paid a premium for the privilege to drive them. They were $20k more than a truck that arguably could do the same function. Then add another $4k for low profile tires and rims. And now with gasoline a buck and a quarter more they choose to drive another car? To register/smog/finance/insure/maintain/wash one more vehicle because the total gas bill is $700 more this year than last?

That's madness.

Now I have an 04 Tahoe that my wife drives. Bought it because it was on sale for $12K off, i.e. less than the manufacturing cost. Wanted to trade it in last fall, but she wanted to wait, now it is too late to be worth trading/selling. Hope the relatively cheap oil lasts long enough to wear it out.

I think a lot were sold under the following method:
(1) Produce too, many.
(2) Sell them below cost when gas prices goes up, and excess inventory builds up.
(3) Temporary reduction in gas prices, go back to (1) and repeat.
All the time losing thousands per vehicle sold!

That's OK, they make it up in volume. ;-)

My '86 MB 300SDL has a piece which covers the bottom of the engine compartment and the rest of the undercarriage is pretty smooth and, while it is awesome, it is hardly a sports car.

I was going to point out that the succeeding model to my W123 '82 240D had an underpan for aerodynamics, a first in a mass production car.


Coal: the articles above tout it uncritically. Meanwhile, the latest news from climate scientists, below: Expect 4 degrees C rise, possible runaway global warming. The proponents of coal never bother to address this little problem. Just make coal, "environmentally compliant" and repeat that phrase as necessary. Welcome to corporate-run news--all the information fit for short-term profits, long-term extinction.


"I prefer the puppet on the right to the puppet on the left." Bill Hicks

Which one is Punch and which one is Judy?

Last call for the upcoming Permaculture Design Course in the Catskills.


We'll have Jason Godeski, Sharon Astyk, and Dave Jacke on hand; Sharon on the 27th, Dave the 19th, and Jason for the whole two weeks. There will movies, talent show, guest speakers, design projects, and more. If you want to be ready for energy descent, this is it!

Sorry for the interruption, but PDCs run on a very low budget.

From a talent show last year: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q1bIVdGwJeA

Latest from Ozzieland:

Murray Darling dead.

(Just a head's up 'cause the Ozzie scientists say October unless
something is done, and nothing but blame assignment is going on right now).

Except this:

Government buys big cotton farm
7 Aug 2008

The NSW and federal governments have purchased the 2,436 hectare irrigated cotton producer Pillicawarrina Station in the Macquarie Marshes wetlands system, including all its water rights. The land will be added to the Macquarie Marshes nature reserve, increasing its size by about 10 per cent. The water rights are general security so there is no entitlement currently but total 8,658 megalitres which will go back to the environment. Pillicawarrina has been a cotton producer since the 1980''s. Locals said the expected price of the transaction would have been around $10 million.

Sydney Morning Herald, 07/08/2008

Riverland irrigators demand answers

Friday, 08/08/2008

Tension was high this week in the South Australian Riverland, as Minister for the River Murray, Karlene Maywald faced 150 uncertain irrigators.

In the last of a series of meetings throughout the state on the future of the Murray, the Minister heard questions and complaints from irrigators on everything from how much they'd be paid to get out, to how much water they could expect next season.

"Hundreds of growers have only got enough allocation left to do one or no more irrigation - what's going to happen to them?"

"340 hectares we're closing up, I'm looking for a new job."

"I don't mind them getting half of my water, but I totally object to getting 98 per cent taken from me."

"And they wouldn't have a clue of what we're going through down here. It seems like we're going round and round and round and round."


Yo dude can you quote like this, it makes it much easier to read:

this is a quote that is easier to read

you do this by using the blockquote with parenthasis as below in the html instruction
at the start of the bit you want to quote and at the end of the bit you want to quote,
only at the end use a "/" symbol after the LHS parenthasis.

The Html to use is listed below.

Also when when quoting particular news items, instead of writing:

Sydney Morning Herald, 07/08/2008

Riverland irrigators demand answers

Put in the URL to we don't have to go searching in goolge ,then search the paper!

No offence to you as you provide excellent information, but your posts are painful to work through!

Glenn Beck doesn't seem to understand the difference between reserves and production (not to mention that the 86 Gb is pure BS):

"It turns out that about two-thirds of vehicles already have properly inflated tires. That means we'd likely save somewhere around 800,000 barrels of oil a day if everyone else also complied. Meanwhile, the U.S. Minerals Management Service estimates that there are about 86 billion barrels of oil in the areas that we're not allowed to drill. You do the math."

From CNN article today.

Understanding the distinction between quantities and flow rates is not part of the Republican agenda. Drill here, drill now, drill here, drill now, etc. etc. etc.

"2/3 of Vehicles Properly Inflated- 86bln barrels in the ground.. You do the math."

Now there's an Apple/Oranges Formula that X could be railing against.

Actually, I would like to see Beck take some responsibility and do the math himself. I know we have to be fair to all viewpoints on the DB but can't we make an exception for Beck?

That would just be the Camel's nose in the tent, Tstreet. It might lead him to start taking responsibility for his other pronouncements, back things up with facts, etc.. Then where would we be?

Glenn Beck hails from the Rush Limbaugh/Bill O'Reilly wing of the Republican Party that has made being willfully stupid and misinformed a virtue.

Unfortunately, about 30% of Americans fall into this camp, thus the populatiry of their shows.

It's a real problem when the response to someone being told they might have to give up their Hummer is righteous indignation.

Joe Bageant points out that most Americans cannot parse a five paragraph story. I highly recommend for your summer reading list his "Deer Hunting with Jesus". Righteous indignation, willfull stupidity, misinformation, ankle biting local developers - that's what its about.

cfm in Gray, ME

A willfully ignorant right-wing pundit? It can't be!

Well, let's do the math. 300,000,000 barrels a year - versus maybe 45,000,000,000 recoverable barrels divided by the hundred years it will take to get it all out as the permafrost collapses, meaning 450,000,000 barrels a year. Assuming the MMS isn't infiltrated by Bush trolls and lying. What, Beck believes that Americans 50 or 100 years from now don't deserve their share of that oil?

Crazy comment by Beck. 800,000 barrels per day in U.S consumption is huge. Proper tire inflation has no downside, promotes safety, extends tire life, saves fuel. Period. End of story.

Except an older family member mentioned that they have known many who prefer the softer ride of under-inflated tires (from a bygone bias-ply era) and that many people still PURPOSEFULLY under-inflate. For some the notions of marginal increases in safety, longevity, and economy pale compared to "because I like it that way" or "I've always done it this way".

Can nobody left of center hear Beck's sarcasm? There won't much savings from tire airing because most people already have them aired properly, and those who don't (for whatever reason) aren't going to see themselves in the mirror and say "Hey, I should air up", unless and until they start looking for ways to save money. And at that point, they'll likely be looking for bigger savings and get a different vehicle.

These people are ENTERTAINERS with a political perspective, like editorial cartoonists, but with hyperbole. It's like reading a newspaper or listening to MSNBC -- mildly entertaining, but who does it looking for facts?

Iraq resumes oil exploration after 20-year break

Iraq said on Friday it was resuming exploration of its immense oil reserves after a break of nearly 20 years due to crippling UN sanctions, saying it hopes to double its proven deposits of crude. "Today the Iraqi oil ministry celebrates a return to work by Iraqi oil exploration teams after 20 years of interruption," ministry spokesman Assim Jihad told AFP. Oil Minister Hussein Hussein al-Shahristani was to attend a ceremony to mark the event at the Al-Garraf field near Nasiriyah, 350 kilometres (220 miles) south of Baghdad, Jihad said.

Petrol coupons traded as cash in Zimbabwe

To me, this is the most interesting article of the day. I think some on this site had predicted that this would happen. I wonder if this will spread to other countries. After all, which do you trust more: four $1 bills, or a note guaranteed to be exchangable for 1 gallon of gasoline.

I wonder what would happen to the U.S. dollar if we'd all start trading in petrol coupons (or oil futures etc.). Would the dollar crash?

Can someone enlighten me?

A petrol coupon vs a dollar? Let's see. Dollar declines in value over time... A petrol coupon increases in value over time.. (Well, likely... Not so right now, but the actual value of getting a gallon doesn't change.)

You are right. This is a link to the article Leanan quoted: Petrol coupons traded as cash in Zimbabwe

It seems like the question would be how to keep the amount of currency in sink with the amount of physical asset. Over time, available petrol is likely to decline.

I don't really see a way of doing this long term. The only way is if the notes were actually options and the price of the gasoline was fixed in the market. In other words one note gives you the right to buy x gallons at x dollars; and it would only work if these notes were the ONLY way to purchase gasoline (rationed by government).

Not a problem. You give the currency (or fuel coupon) an expiration date. See images here.

In the USA, we're used to the idea of rather old currency being redeemable. But even in Europe, how redeemable are, say, old pound or franc notes? IIRC, even before the Euro came in, moderately old French francs or Dutch guilders wouldn't be accepted in the shops, even while much older dollar notes circulated freely in the USA. Perhaps you could have redeemed the francs or guilders at a bank on pain of making long-winded explanations and jumping through hoops, maybe someone reading this knows.

There's another way, too. Even when old notes are redeemable in some manner, governments can fiddle the terms at will - e.g. US silver certificates haven't been redeemable in silver for decades. So maybe in a few months there will be a decree announcing a Zimbabwe 'legal fuel liter' approximately the size of a thimble.

I think an expiration date on a ration allocation would be necessary. But, the fuel would not go away, someone could still buy it. Thus, I think that unused ration coupons should be required to revert to cash thru to the white market.

The way this might work would be that the white market would establish a market for excess consumption. The individual allocations would represent less that the expected fuel available and the rest of the fuel would be sold thru the white market to establish a premium for the shortage. So, at the end of the last day of your allocation, you would be credited with a dollar amount equal the present market value of that remaining allocation. The next day, you could immediately buy back that same amount of allocation at the market price, so the transaction would not deprive you or your allocation nor would it cost you any more, provided you didn't exceed your allocation before the allocation expired. I think the expiration periods (a month?) would need to be staggered, with perhaps 1/4 expiring every Sunday Night at midnight.

E. Swanson

My apologies if this has been posted before. Here is a discussion of the "Drill, Drill, Drill" mantra on James Kunstler's site:

Drill, Drill, Drill!

Matt Simmon on offshore:

It still makes sense to begin this long process of finding out what might be in our own back yard but it will take at least 15 years before any significant oil production would be likely. The longer we delay, the more irrelevant all this becomes.

And a reader's comments on Pickens' plan:

WIND is a beautiful thing...but those turbines have proven to be maintenance-intensive." I lived out in California near the labs In Livermore, an area of ideal wind passes. And to this day, I've NEVER seen a day where all blades are turning.
But I'm with Boone- Let's build 'em!
UNFORTUNATELY, he is simply INSANE about Natural Gas. To make it real, we need to create the driver-friendly infrastructure. Even when you compress the HELL out of the stuff, BigTime pressure... you can not APPROACH the energy-density of gasoline. The implications are enormous.

SO...to keep TOPPING OFF all these corner NG stations, our highways will be CLOGGED with NG tankers...ALL filled with of LOTS of gas under LOTS of pressure.
To be blunt, an NG nation is a terrorist's dream come true.
Traditional accidents will take out enough NG tankers...and they'll deliver a helluva' lot of collateral damage.
Coordinate a suicide attack on tankers fueling up the corner stations... and America is literally blown apart with crude low-yield bombs.

Some thoughts from Jeffrey Brown:

One other point to keep in mind is that in most cases, but not all, offshore producing regions were developed because of existing onshore production. For example, both California and the Gulf Coast had significant onshore production prior to offshore fields being developed.

The obvious application to this is the East Coast, from Florida to Maine. There is very little onshore production along this fairway. While this does not condemn the offshore areas, it is not encouraging.

And some final thoughts from Matt Simmons:

The USGS numbers are an embarrassment. To pretend anyone could guess at undiscovered resources in such precision is as naive as banks lending mortgage money to folks with no money.

But the senior USGS folks are adamant that their models are precise, just like the EIA modelers are for future supply of flowing oil.

The blind are leading the blind. What a Fool's Paradise they created.

Not sure if I understood his comment about "...banks lending mortgage money to folks with no money". We all know that such a thing could never happen :-\

"SO...to keep TOPPING OFF all these corner NG stations, our highways will be CLOGGED with NG tankers..."

- nonsense. In major parts of the USA, almost every house is supplied with NG via buried pipes.

You're absolutely right and I should have thought about that myself before posting.

In parts of eastern Canada, there are gas stations that serve CNG which is supplied, of course, by pipeline. Some also have propane for vehicles which is delivered by tanker.

Instead of *copy-paste* I will try to do *copy-read-think-paste* in the future :)

First point is there is no need for CNG tankers. We have an extensive pipeline network going to any building that might be used to fill vehicles. The transit system I worked for had built their bus hangar with plans for using CNG in the future. The gas pipe to the building has a cross section 100 times the size of a household line. Fleet operators like transit systems, the post office, FED EX, etc would be and have been the early adopters of CNG.
Second point is if people already have the money then they wouldn't need the bank loan. The banks were betting that real estate prices would continue climbing and the home owners' income would also climb even though real wages have been dropping.

Glenn Beck suggests driving naked (obviously impractical) as an equally good way of conserving oil as keeping tires properly inflated. His reasoning is that only 1/3 of the cars on the road need tire inflation to the right level.

He claims as fact, an estimate of 86 billion barrels of oil on US territory that has not been drilled, due to the ban on offshore drilling. However, isn't that simply a guess in the dark?

Anyway, Beck personifies what's wrong with this country. Belittling good ideas (proper tire inflation) while proposing absurd ideas (driving naked), are the backbone of talk radio, and now TV. People lacking a well rounded education listen to these hacks as a base of knowledge and understanding. The consequence is these people get coerced into voting for the guy who will try to solve their healthcare with a tax cut, which will only help those that already have healthcare, education with a voucher, which will only help those already sending their kids to private schools, and fuel conservation by driving naked.

McCain belittles Obama's energy plan with a tire gauge that says 'Obama's energy plan'. But that tire gauge will probably sway tens of millions of voters, just like Bush's comment in the first of the 2000 debates, stated Fuzzy math to Gore's contention that his 3 huge planned tax cuts would lead to huge deficits. Now we are 4 trillion further in debt.

You can the majority of America with a tire gauge, a Fuzzy Math comment, a drive naked comment. Just about anything that will penetrate their floppy gray matter, while getting a laugh. Get a laugh and win an election.

Any society that has to import 10 million barrels of oil per day is already driving naked.

Any society that has to import 10 million barrels of oil per day is already driving naked.

Actually in the spirit of a stopped clock being right once a day, I like the driving naked thing a lot. If I were driving naked, I would be very meticulous to follow all the traffic rules, wouldn't want to get pulled over by a cop, and arrested for indecent exposure after all. So instantly we would become a nation that obeys the speed limits. This one would actually make a real difference!

Unfortunatly the law of negative consequences would apply to driving naked. Every red blooded Yank male would want the biggest, tallest SUV (the better to perve into the next cars naked female occupants)and every woman would want a bigger car to make it harder to be seen.

"every woman would want a bigger car to make it harder to be seen."

You're gonna have to square that with the outfits I see all around - making it harder to see would not appear to be the goal.......

Isn't there a law that all women must drive convertibles?

I think it is very important that the US does commence exploration activities on the remaining continental shelf.


1. Until you find oil or fail to find oil, all else is guesswork.
2. After 1) you will know what cards you have to play with.
3. If you are lucky, you can make the best possible use of this last endowment.
4. If you are unlucky, you know that you must take another route to mitigate your situation.
5. Right now, lack of exploration is a great way to avoid reality as people can just keep blaming the Demos/Enviros/ Congress etc and reiterate:'If only we could drill it!'.

So drill it.
Find out what you got.(if anything)
If you got something, then have a national debate on how best to use it. (auxilliary SPR?)
If you get nothing, then debate how you get out of the hole.

I agree with Brown re the East Coast though. Every major province starts with onshore drilling and extends to the Littoral then deeper water.

So it may not be promising for the East Coast.

Having said that, Oil formation in West Africa, Brazil, Canada and the Atlantic margin occured when the Atlantic was a rift valley between our continents.

Like oil anywhere else, it is entirely theoretical until the drillers drill.

So do it.

Sort it. Once and for all.

Agreed. What I'd like to see them do is auction off 12-year leases. This would generate a market price for the lease rights, but those leases would be auctioned off again in 12 years, so it would make no sense to get one if you didn't intend to drill.

There can be some perverse incentives to short leases. The most obvious being the incentive to pump it all out as fast as possible, even if it destroys the field (i.e. means the percentage of recoverable is low). At a minimum, if the lease holder has already developed a field, he should have a better shot at continuing to benefit, i.e. give him an incentive not to destroy future prospects.


Isn't it strange how little impact the Turkish Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline fire and Russian adventure in Georgia are having on oil prices?

The Bloomberg article above mentions a potential loss of 500,000 bpd for 3 weeks as a result of the pipeline fire and damage. I guess 10 million barrels doesn't mean much anymore?

With US gas prices at the pump heading back toward $3.50, I think we'll some reversal of the demand drop domestically. Just my guess...

Stories about isssues like this can put a HUGE dent in demand!!:


Hard times for hollwood, as per theri headline.
Scary reading for us in the UK.


P34k 01L thy name is V0L471L17Y

Toyota, Chrysler, Ford, Honda - I find it fascinating how they are segmenting the future auto market by fuel type. Some are picking hybrid, one is picking plug-in. They find it necessary to bet-the-ranch on one path. Or possibly they are picking one paradigm that will work best - in their judgement - at some point in future time. I'd not thought of that before, but if it takes 3 years to get something designed and onto the road, the paradigm would be very different from a model that takes 10 years.

For me, the paradigm is "no car". That too must fit into their planning.

cfm in Gray, ME

Nymex CL Oil touched 115.00

Almost time for a new price poll.

114.98 it just hit, but I think it has to break below 114.00 to get a new poll, though i'm not sure.

Based on the last poll description. Once the price breaks to the level on the integer side at the dollar level of target prices then it counts as setting up for new poll.

In our last poll on 27 JUN, 61% of you predicted that CL would hit $154 in the front month before it hit $126, and only 9% of you predicted that CL would hit $126. Well, we've briefly broke that number today, though we closed back above it, so I'll use the same numbers I used two polls ago with $127 as the basis.

Thus the same conditions have been reached. It hit 114. (114.70 to be exact)

Therefore new poll.

114.98 it just hit, but I think it has to break below 114.00 to get a new poll, though i'm not sure.

Before wednesday next week it will have dropped below $114. Then there will be a new poll. What's even more interesting is that I tipped for $114.

The reason for my tip was an interesting post here on TOD. Someone pointed out that the closing futures price determines the spot price for WTI. For all I know this is the same for other oil types, brent for sure.

This means despite all the cries of fundementals affecting the price, it is really the financial markets that affect the price.

None of this has anything to do with PO though. TS Will HTF no matter what the price is.

This means despite all the cries of fundementals affecting the price, it is really the financial markets that affect the price.

There's been an increase in the amount of crude being supplied just recently plus Chinese demand is temporarily down due to pollution control measures. Add to that some price-related demand destruction in developed countries and it looks to me like a straight-forward supply/demand price response (with the price depressed just a bit further due to financial plays. However OPEC shipments are reported now dropping again and the BTC pipeline is shut down. In total we might have 1 million bpd taken away from the market.

With trouble brewing again in the gulf and Russia virtually at war with Georgia, I suspect that we might be near the bottom of the current correction. However I don't trade oil and could be completely surprised but it doesn't look like a bubble bursting once you expand the timescale. Here's the OPEC charts.

Edit: In electronic trading WTI has closed for the weekend at $115.15 which is about the average price for the year to date so far.

Larry Kudlow will be crowing today...oil the game changer, king dollar , drill drill drill etc...oh boy!

Kudlow is a simpleton. One day he'll be boiling the leather interior of his car for food. Instead of saying Grace before his leather meal he'll say "Free market capitalism is the best way to prosperity."

Biomass Energy Technology News Story

BC_EE gets the 6 second sound bite of fame with the one antithetical, counter-contextual phrase from 5 min. of an interview. Should we expect anything different from MSM?

I stated a few months back I would link to the news story once it aired. Its only taken me about a month to get the video and posted - but hey, its summer vacation time...


You'll see some crude samples of the solid fuels and syn-gas that are extracted from the process in the news story. The gasifier process is self-sustaining consuming about 10%-15% of its own energy and will work with a number of organic feed stocks from wood, municipal organic wastes, to sewage sludge. During the news filming we were running Cedar chips and shavings from a local saw mill and I don't know if there is a nicer smelling industrial process.

The process outputs will depend on the feed stock and desired outputs. In one of our first projects we are emphasizing syn-gas for electrical generation and bio-charcoal for heating fuel. The bio-oil which is similar to #2 Heating Oil will initially be used for local pulp mill boilers, and will also be used for the self sustaining heat source for the gasifier. However, once we get the technicalities of using the oil for other mid-distillate uses, it will be sold into the market for higher end purposes.

We have a beetle kill devastated forest in BC the size of England. This dead, dry wood (25% moisture content) is nearly ideal for the the process. Keep in mind the Province is the size of Washington, Oregon and 1/2 of California combined. The animated map of the beetle kill is at the following link.


Some may be ambivalent about climate change, but one only has to take a drive through parts of these forests and it hits you between the eyes. I played on the local golf course yesterday where the entire pine tree population has been wiped out. Its like playing in a graveyard - and the projections aren't getting much better:


I'll keep the TODers posted with the development of this one silver BB solution to the larger problem at hand.

It's been a while since I have visited this site. In retrospect I lost interest in the topic as the price of crude went parabolic. Peak oil seemed like an open and shut case, no further need for debate. Looks like I was wrong, which in turn leads to the reason I am back here posting. Confusion. I have watched the price of crude, like the rest of the planet, fall by roughly 25% over the past month. That's a big move and definitely suggests some panic by the speculators caught leaning the wrong way.

The explanatory headlines that have captured my attention fall broadly under the following topics..."demand destruction", "recession", the "olympic games", "oil exploration in iraq", and "bubble". I don't know if I represent joe sixpack or not, and in full disclosure I am living in Brazil, but these are the headlines that are influencing my thinking about the price of oil and where it is going. Is any of this true or is it simply rationalizing after the fact? Was the past 50 percent a speculative run up or based on the fundamental supply and demand balance? Is peak oil further off then we had speculated here?

If you forget about price and todays markets....and just look at the supply...for example, read Gail the Actuary's post from yesterday...consider demand always increasing...the problem remains the same. Unfortunately, as we see prices rollback, demand strengthen, I believe we will be right back to where we were in the near future...probably beyond where we were. However, my only training has come from TOD and reading on the internet...but this is the opinion I have formed.

Some perspective on oil prices & oil exports

First, I think that we get a better idea of what is going on in oil markets, especially regarding fundamental supply & demand factors, by looking at average monthly prices. From May, 2007 to June, 2008 oil prices increased at an average rate of about 6% per month, from $63 to $134. It was not straight up. There were two down months, August and December. July, 2008 was basically flat, down 50¢ from June, and we are obviously down in August--similar to, but sharper than, the August, 2007 decline.

Second, the media have generally asserted that this price increase made no sense. In fact, we have seen an accelerating annual decline in total world net oil exports--from a 1.1%/year decline in 2006 to a 2.2%/year decline in 2007 (EIA). Simply put, we have seen importers bidding for declining net oil exports.

Third, we are going to see declining demand as higher prices allocate the declining net oil exports to the high bidders. So, prices are a manifestation of a "horserace" between declining net oil exports and declining demand--with a wild card being the deflationary effects of the credit contraction. What I don't expect to see is a long term positive supply response. I expect to see a continued decline in net oil exports, that with time, will almost certainly show an accelerating decline rate.

People are grasping, and will continue to grasp, at anything that suggests that we might be able to have an infinite rate of increase in our consumption of a finite fossil fuel resource base.

Wow, thank you very much for this very informative post. It turns out that when the media reports demand destruction, it neglects to report the other side of the coin which is net export decline. It seems to me that the future of oil trading should be extremely volatile, as the horse race between declining demand and in economic boom times accelerating demand pairs up against declining net exports, all playing out for years to come. This is fascinating stuff.

Is peak oil further off then we had speculated here?

From what I read here I think peak oil is now. This may not be correct but there is certainly no evidence that the plateau has ended with a rise in production. Then again we are not falling of the cliff either.

I think the real problem that many have here on TOD is working out what will really happen when peak occurs. I don't mean to dismiss their efforts, but it really is a complex problem. Maybe oil at $145 was one of the first signs of the peak (price wise).

We are adapting to a static flow rate, I don't hold out much hope of adapting to a step decline in flow rate.

Well, this assumes that price fluctuations, especially short terms ones, are really meaningful in some way. Have patience - it is the long term trends that truly matter. These month-to-month or week-to-week variations in price and production level are interesting, but they are not of much value in determining what is really happening.

Our friends at FSN have a nice editorial about it:

I think the Cyclesman is of the school that this is 10% supply/demand and 90% bubbly hysteria.

Reckon I'll reduce my exposure to this market for a while Monday. It'll cool off in a few months and be time to get back on the rollercoaster...

Gas fired desalination effectively means a degree of both water and energy rationing. That will occur under both gas depletion and emissions cap-and-trade. Not only is that water going to be expensive but it will have to compete with all the other users of natural gas. When either gas prices or the CO2 cap start to bite hard something will have to give and that includes water vs electricity.

Thermal plant could be co-located with desal and use the external cooling system to pre-warm the water.

It looks like the people that voted for $114 oil during the last survey are going to be proved correct. I, for one, was apparently very, very off. Now I'm wondering if we're going to hit $70 or $80.

Price of oil drops to 115, down from a high of 145. Something I'm wondering about is the reason given for the drop, which is reduced demand (demand destruction). Has there really been that much of a drop in worldwide consumption, to cause that big a drop in price? I thought the world used approx. 85-87 mbd no matter what. I thought China and India were using the fuel the US was not using. Wasn't the US exporting its surplus gasoline? So where's the drop in consumption equal to 20%, (the difference between 115 and 145)?

Investors were shifting money out of the dollar and into oil because the dollar was tanking. Now the dollar is getting a little stronger (relative to the Euro, etc.) so investors can unload oil and jump back into the dollar.

Also, the US economy has 4% of the population yet uses 25% of the world's oil, so we are a big lever. The US economy is going down the toilet, I think they finally got the memo that we're not going to recover any time soon, especially housing. In fact, it's just the start. You should check this out: http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com/2008/08/continuing-job-claims...

The number of jobless claims is skyrocketing.

And the US has staggering debt, and yet is going to bail out Freddie and Fannie and a whole bunch of other bankz and wall st playaz. And probably the airlines and auto industry. We're going nowhere.

Even if oil stayed around $60 a barrel there would have been less demand in the US. How much less I don't know, but the thing people are forgetting is that the demand destruction we've seen is not 100% attributable to high gas prices.

So where's the drop in consumption equal to 20%, (the difference between 115 and 145)?

You have to factor in elasticity. The reports I've seen range it from 10-20%. On could argue to the higher end as prices gets higher because the poor countries get priced out early on and who is left bidding on oil has more money to do so. So you could conclude the prices get more rigid as prices go higher. You also have currency valuation and the "war premium". With stable production and all these factors it's really not that big of a drop. I could see it going sub $100 the way the US economy is falling. This is not necessarily a good thing if it goes to low.

The recession could be looked at as a forced conservation measure.

Whilst reading the endless jaw-droppingly boring chatter/posts on oil price you may want to also consider the following points:

1) between March '03 and May '03 the price of oil dropped by 33%
2) " October '04 and December 04' the price of oil dropped 25%
3) " August 06' and january '07 the price of oil dropped 34%
4) current drop at 22%. The price would have to go below $97 before it even equals the previous biggest drop, let alone before I even tentatively start to call it a new trend.

Now bearing in mind that the price of oil has climbed from a fairy stable $10-20 through to $100+, it doens't take a degree in economics to work out that the drops are akin to signal noise. The trend is patently obviously upwards. Try and defocus a bit people and see the bigger picture.
I know you like to see things unfold quickly and report ASAP but there is a good reason it is called "the long emergency".

The recent price drops (regardless of whether they are caused by, supply demand balance, china switching over to fart powered generators or the prolonged consumption of kangaroo meat) are fairly irrelivant in the grand sceme of things.

Lets get over it, have a poll and be done with it!


Ahh...the fickle minds of mere humans are much akin to
goldfish in a bowl of water.
Since the goldfish has but a 15 second memory, he
mistakenly believes since he hasnt been fed or seen
food in about 15 seconds....he's never been fed and
has always been hungry.
The 15 second memory limit only allows him this point of view
When a small child taps a few dashes of food into his
bowl,the goldfish flaps his fins with mouth agape and
gorges on the specks with abandon.
After 15 seconds or so, the goldfish ceases to eat as
he mistakenly believes he's always had access to food
and has never been anything but over fed.
The goldfish is a victim of his 15 second memory yet
Come feast or come famine the goldfish is focused on only the last 15 seconds he can remember.
Of course humans have a memory of a longer duration...quarterly brokerage statements seems to be the upper limit.
As a human by choice I resemble (resent) these remarks. I also offer my apologies to the goldfish.
No humans or fish were harmed or starved in this

Whoever came up with the claim that goldfish have a memory of just a few seconds is obviously no less of an ignorant than those who claimed that fish don't feel pain. Certainly a memory that bad would be a severe constraint in the matters of survival, so even without any proof logic demands that this assumption is wrong. And according to wikipedia , it indeed is.

Strange! when I tap my goldfish tank with the side of the food tub the Goldfish know they are going to get fed, go mad and start dancing at the surface! So I know their memory is at least 86400 seconds (24hrs for those multiplicatibly challenged), orders of magnitude longer than 15s!!


Only in current day America would Peter Beutel still be quoted:


"Beutel sees oil prices falling all the way to the $25 to $35 a barrel range in late 2006 or 2007."


"Oil industry analyst Peter Beutel tells CNBC that gasoline price may be headed below $2 a gallon -- and stay there for years."

"Beutel says that over the next five years or so increased drilling activity worldwide could send oil prices crashing — and pump prices as low as $1 a gallon in some parts of the country."