DrumBeat: August 30, 2008

Scientists: Save the planet—have fewer kids

LONDON — There are plenty of ways to cut your carbon footprint, whether it's driving less or buying an energy-efficient refrigerator. But the British Medical Journal, in an editorial last month, urged a more controversial one: having fewer children.

With 60 million people already living in one of the most densely populated countries in the world, the journal said, British couples should aim to have no more than two children as part of their contribution to worldwide efforts to reduce carbon emissions, stem climate change and ease demands on the world's resources.

Limiting family size is "the simplest and biggest contribution anyone can make to leaving a habitable planet for our grandchildren," the editorial's authors said.

Iran has 85 bn barrels heavy oil reserve: Report

TEHRAN : Iran has more than 85 bn barrels of recoverable heavy oil, an official said, suggesting about 60 per cent of the country's reserves are of that crude category.

Mohammad-Ali Emadi, director of research and development at the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC), did not give a total crude reserve figure in his comments on Friday to the Oil Ministry news website. Iran's total recoverable oil reserves were put at 138.4 bn barrels at the end of 2007 in the BP Statistical Review.

An urban legend to comfort America: our massive reserves of unconventional oil

The bad news is that much of the good news about energy is wrong. Repeated so confidently by so many for so long, these fallacies have become a major obstacle to our preparation for peak oil. This post examines one such fallacy: that the world has massive reserves of unconventional oil, and that those will prevent peak oil.

Chancellor defends warning on UK economy

Alistair Darling today insisted that the UK economy was facing "unique pressures" from the combined effects of the credit crunch and hike in oil and food prices, as he attempted to clarify his controversial appraisal that the global economic conditions were arguably the worst for 60 years.

Georgia and Russia Cut Diplomatic Ties

MOSCOW — The Georgian government broke off diplomatic relations with Russia on Friday and Russia responded by doing the same.

How you can downsize without compromise

Although economic concerns make fuel economy a prime focus for car shoppers, safety should be at the top of the checklist as well — particularly for those looking to downsize their vehicle.

We've assembled a list of 10 models with outstanding safety ratings.

EPA Waives Clean-Air Gas Limits In La Parishes Before Gustav

To ensure an adequate supply of gasoline if Hurricane Gustav strikes Louisiana, the Environmental Protection Agency has waived some clean-fuel requirements for 16 parishes until Sept. 8.

Truce Is Reached in Battle Over Idaho Forest Land

Legal and political battles over the future of national forest land have raged since 2001, with the Clinton administration’s “roadless rule” protecting millions of acres from loggers, miners and development, and the Bush administration pushing for less-restrictive rules.

Don't Be Scared, Be Prepared: A Review Of Kathy Harrison's "Just In Case" By Carolyn Baker

Although Just In Case, as stated above, does not focus on long-term preparation, its last section offers skills for independence which indeed are useful for a more protracted descent away from the status quo as energy depletion, infrastructure, financial, and climate change collapses intensify. The skills section addresses water purification, cold storage, heating with wood, and gathering and harvesting wild foods. In addition, Harrison has included a section on wilderness survival.

Power-Sector Emissions Of China To Top U.S.

The carbon emissions of China's electric power sector will jump by about a third this year and surpass the total emissions of the U.S. electric power industry for the first time, according to a report by the Center for Global Development, a Washington-based think tank.

Hutchison says Texas is shortchanged on roads

AUSTIN — U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison proposed this week that a high-growth state, such as Texas, be allowed to drop out of the federal highway funding system and keep its motor fuel taxes for its own road building needs.

At present, those taxes are sent to Washington for redistribution among the states through the Highway Trust Fund. Texas loses millions of dollars each year in the reallocation.

"We are a high-growth state that needs a lot of highway miles, and we don't need to be subsidizing other states," Hutchison told a meeting of the Texas Association of Counties on Thursday.

Sticking it to Gazprom

There should be no doubt that Gazprom is a creature of the Russian government and an instrument of national power projection for the Russian state. It is a corporation, majority owned by the Russian government, that extracts, processes, and transports natural gas as its primary economic activity. It has a sole export license for natural gas produced in Russian territory and is one of the major earners of foreign exchange for the country. In terms of "market" capitalization, it is the third largest company in the world. For seven of the last 8 years, the chairman of the board of directors of Gazprom had been Dmitry Medvedev, currently President of Russia.

Enbridge, BP rush to Texas

The race to the Gulf Coast heated up Friday after Enbridge Inc. teamed up with BP to add an outlet for Canadian heavy oil into Houston.

The companies said they would spend up to $2 billion to reconfigure a series of existing pipelines and add facilities capable of moving 250,000 barrels a day from Flanagan, Ill., to the Texas coast starting in 2012.

Storm report: Gas stations sell out

Don Redman, spokesman for the motorist group AAA, said the outages are the result of uncertainty surrounding Gustav. Because of the wide area that could be affected by the storm, motorists from Texas to Florida were topping off their tanks, he said.

"It's not a case of a shortage of gasoline," Redman said. "It's a case of a large number of people making a big, unexpected rush to service stations."

Canada: Overnight fuel price hike frustrates holiday drivers

A big part of the problem, he said, is the Aug. 3 shutdown at Petro-Canada's Edmonton refinery, which cut daily production by 128,500 barrels. The facility was restarted earlier this week, but it will take time for local supplies to normalize.

Kenya to import crude oil from Sudan

NAIROBI, KENYA- Kenya has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with Sudan to facilitate the importation of 500,000 barrels of crude oil monthly into the country.

This will go towards mitigating the oil shortage and high fuel prices in the country.

Analysis: McCain's choice of Palin for veep could change energy debate

WASHINGTON (AP) - If Democrats hoped to paint Republican John McCain a pawn of Big Oil, their task has become a bit more complicated with the selection of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate.

While an ardent advocate for more drilling — off Alaska, off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts and in the off-limits Arctic National Wildlife Refuge — Palin also has shown she's not shy about confronting the likes of Exxon Mobil, BP and ConocoPhillips.

Palin, drilling advocate, spars with oil companies

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is seen as a strong advocate for opening new areas to oil drilling, including the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, but has taken a hard line in negotiations with oil companies and raised taxes on the state's energy producers.

Palin, who on Friday became the presumptive vice presidential candidate on the Republican ticket for the White House with Sen. John McCain, has sparred with oil giants Exxon Mobil Corp, ConocoPhillips and BP Plc since her election in 2006, but industry experts say she is strongly in favor of reaching into untapped deposits.

Alaska anxious to supply energy

Sarah Palin, the Republican governor of resource-rich Alaska--and as of yesterday vice-presidential running mate with Senator John McCain--has championed legislation designed to kick-start construction of a natural gas pipeline connecting the northern ridge of the state to thirsty markets in the southern United States.

Pipeline the Power Poker Chip

There is enough gas trapped under the tundra here to help the United States fend off an energy crisis that politicians have called one of the greatest threats to their country. Sarah Palin, Alaska's governor and, as of yesterday, the Republican vice-presidential nominee, wants to get it out of the ground as soon as possible.

Oil industry may get first post-Katrina test

HOUSTON - Stronger moorings for production platforms. Deeper pipelines. Larger supplies of backup electricity, water and other supplies.

The petroleum industry has spent vast amounts of time and money since the catastrophic hurricanes of 2005 trying to make sure it’s better prepared for the next big blow.

That could come in the next few days as Hurricane Gustav heads into the northern Gulf of Mexico, home to a complex web of platforms, pipelines and refineries in a region that produces roughly 25 percent of the nation’s oil and 15 percent of its natural gas.

Video game showing invasion likely to anger Chavez allies

CARACAS -- A video game depicting mercenaries storming Venezuela, which has been criticized in the oil-rich South American country as a blueprint for invasion, will be released by a U.S. company this weekend. The release is likely to anger allies of President Hugo Chavez, a Washington foe, who has in the past threatened to cut off oil exports to the U.S. The game, Mercenaries 2: World in Flames, will be released Sunday by a division of Electronic Arts and is set in a "fully destructible Venezuela," the company said in a news release. "A power hungry tyrant uses Venezuela's oil supply to overthrow the government and turns the country into a war zone," the company says of the game on its website.

Iran oil minister to discuss gas in Oman

Iran's oil minister will travel to Muscat in the next week to discuss plans to export Iranian gas to Oman from where it could be exported using an Omani liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant.

Russian bombs fell 50m from oil pipeline

RUSSIAN planes dropped bombs this month within 50 metres of a pipeline that British oil company BP was in the process of reopening through Georgia, according to witnesses.

Residents yesterday showed deep craters alongside the pipeline, which runs between Azerbaijan's capital Baku, on the Caspian Sea, and Georgia's Black Sea port of Supsa.

Rising food bills connected to gas prices

Haines shoppers are taking a double hit as the cost of food rises along with Alaska shipping charges because of higher fuel prices.

"When you buy a gallon of milk, $2 is freight just to get it here from Seattle," said local grocer Doug Olerud, who sells a gallon of milk at $5.85.

Ominous for the Globe but Good News for Oil Bulls

The world woke up today to the scare that Russia may use its oil as a weapon. In addition to the geological peak oil thesis that I have espoused before, this Russia development is a form of the political peak oil thesis, which Fabius Maximus has been beating the drums on for some time in his blog.

Lester Brown: Want a Better Way to Power Your Car? It's a Breeze.

Legendary Texas oilman T. Boone Pickens is half right. We do need to harness this country's wind resources for a homegrown source of electricity, as he has been urging this summer in expensive television ads. And we do need to reduce the $700 billion we may soon be paying annually for imported oil. But part two of Pickens's plan -- to move natural gas out of electricity production and use it to fuel cars instead -- just doesn't make sense.

Why not use the wind-generated electricity to power cars directly? Natural gas is still a fossil fuel that emits climate-changing gases when burned. Let's cut the natural-gas middleman.

Making Gore's Switch Isn't Quite So Simple

The answer is simple: This is where Gore must be pulling our collective leg. Because most people who study the country's energy supply say that -- whatever you think of the motives behind Gore's idea -- as a real-life plan, it's a non-starter.

The problem is that, despite the current boom in green power, renewable sources such as the sun and the wind still provide just a tiny fraction of the U.S. electricity supply. The rest is mainly dirty stuff: coal, gas, oil. To replace one with the other over the course of a decade, energy experts say, would make the Manhattan Project look like a science-fair volcano.

EU urged to become arctic guardian

Just days after Stephen Harper, the Prime Minister, unveiled his government's vision of the Arctic as a potential resource bonanza, a report commissioned by Europe's Nordic countries is urging the European Union to become the region's environmental guardian and to emphasize polar protection over exploitation.

Swedish researchers confirm Siberian seabead methane leak

Swedish researchers working on an international mission have confirmed that methane, a potent greenhouse gas, has started to leak from the permafrost under the Siberian seabed, Dagens Nyheter reported on Saturday.

"The permafrost now has small holes. We have found elevated levels of methane above the water surface and even more in the water just below. It is obvious that the source is the seabed," Örjan Gustafsson, the Swedish leader of the International Siberian Shelf Study, told the newspaper.

More today on the use of natural gas for a transport fuel:

Surge in Natural Gas Cars Has Utah Driving Cheaply


Natural gas for a transport fuel seems to be following the same trajectory as corn alcohol for a transport fuel: government intervention in the form of subsidies and controls. In the case of corn ethanol, we have a combination of subsidies for domestic production and protective tariffs on imports.

In the Utah example for natural gas, we have a combination of price controls and subsidies:

In fact, some unique factors apply in Utah. Natural gas prices at the pump here are controlled and are the cheapest in the country...

Natural gas prices are cheap because under Utah regulations, the utility is obliged to offer about half of the gas that it sells to its retail customers at the cost of production.


Gary Frederickson, a 48-year-old computer technician, has bought six natural gas vehicles on Craigslist over the last year, flying as far as Portland and Oakland to pick up the cars. One 1998 Ford Contour he bought for $3,000 in effect cost him nothing because he will receive a $3,000 state tax credit for buying an alternative fuel car.

Could either one of these two alternative transport fuels stand on their own without government intervention?

Could exclusion of reasonable alternatives stand on its own without corporate-driven government intervention?

There is no "free market" in the USA now -- if there ever was.


Have you read Naomi Kline's "Shock Doctrine"? It is a real education on Free Market economies and how our neocon government works.
Everyone should read this book so you know how to deal with the future regarding diaster capitalism.


Speaking of disaster capitalism (literally)...someone posted in the Gustav thread that Blackwater is recruiting goons to provide post-Gustav security.

Let me guess they are going to protect the oil facilities from home-grown terrorists...

How is that unusual?
They have standing emergency contracts with FEMA and HS.

Why would they keep staff full time when needed only occasionally?

They are professional security people and I would wager that most whiners would be extremely grateful to be able to call on them if their kids or parents were taken by or in the way of a mob.

Your lies are not needed nor helpful. They are mercenaries, nothing more. Thugs, to boot. NO federal force used against the citizens of the US is constitutional.

Shut up.

I've given out 20 or so copies of the book to friends. Her interviews don't do her justice (not that they are bad). And there is little in the book that I wasn't aware of in a very general way. But the details in the book are what make it spell-binding and totally devastating.

I'm up to the part about the screwing of Russia by Yeltsin & Co., which I understand may have been one of the greatest humanitarian disasters since, well, Stalin. Putin should have sent a copy of this book to everyone in the US so we would understand the definition of the term "act of war".

I think the most audacious part of the book is tying the CIA torture and mind-control experiments to neo-capitalism. It's a reach, but it's a way to demonstrate to the public that its standards of justice and fairness, its definition of legitimate government, and its understanding of liberty and property, all have been revised in the past. We don't mean the same things by those words as our grandparents did. But thanks to massive corporate-supported indoctrination, we are made to mean what our great-great-grandparents did, when they accepted imperialism, robber baronry and Christian theocracy as the natural and immutable order.

The intent has been to mold us into the very worst possible people to confront with a resources crisis.

For a first-person account of someone who did some of the dirty-work Kline talks about in Shock Doctrine, read Confessions of an Economic Hit Man.

...and Overthrow By Stephen Kinzer

Overthrow: America's Century of Regime Change from Hawaii to Iraq


Just finished this.

I guess I must have been out-to-lunch during History class because I had no idea the U.S. was so disruptive all around the world. I thought we didn't "turn bad" until the unwarranted invasion of Iraq.

The whole Russia-Georgia thing has a new perspective now.

I likes that review from publishers weekly, that it was implausible and lacking in detail. despite his crisis of conscience the tone was very flat. One for conspiracy buffs.

I'd also include Crossing the Rubicon by Mike Ruppert and Catherine Ann Fitts' "book" at http://www.solari.com

I certainly found them as upsetting as The Shock Doctrine. It's hard to come to terms with seeing that your beliefs were nothing but BS.


If you want to be reminded your beliefs are BS, read John Michael Greer. What with my ADD, and further foreshortened by the internet and too many birthdays, I can hardly bring myself to plow though an entire book, but I do waste spend a lot of time reading blogs.

off topic.. a few days ago there was debate over eia and texas rrc natural gas production #,not sure if this was mentioned but the rrc does not register production # from their pending file accts,(07 was 218bcf)maybe this accounts for the higher eia production figures for texas? r.m.

Interestingly, a great deal of 'positive' changes were made to Palins Wikipedia entry Thursday, before the announcement. (Source - NPR)

From Wikipedia:

In May 2008, Palin objected to the decision of Dirk Kempthorne, the Republican United States Secretary of the Interior, to list polar bears as an endangered species. She threatened a lawsuit to stop the listing amid fears that it would hurt oil and gas development in the bears' habitat off Alaska's northern and northwestern coasts. She said the move to list the bears was premature and was not the appropriate management tool for their welfare.[47]

She has called the global warming theory supported by Kempthrone "unreliable", and asserted that human activity has not caused Arctic ice to melt, stating that "I'm not one though who would attribute it [global warming] to being man-made"[48] after she was announced as Senator McCain's presumptive running mate.

She also supports the teaching of creationism in public schools. I am still having difficulty getting my head around lots of Hillary supporters flocking to McCain because of this appointment.

With those two (McCain & Palin) in charge the US Empire would probably be taken down in record time. Problem is, it make take the rest of us down with it :(

I'm not sure which is the more dangerous, McCain or Obama? I think collapse will be swifter with McCain, but possibly longer and more dangerous with Obama.

Just conjecture, but possibly it will be better for the rest of the World if McCain wins. The assumption being that there would be a faster rebalancing of geopolitical power than under Obama. I haven't seen any real analysis on this issue, anyone else?

I think collapse will be swifter with McCain...

I'm with you, I support a fast collapse. Pickens and Gore with their alternative energy programs McCain with his drill, drill drill and the Multi-National Corporations lining up for one-big-final-feeding we should be confident of a quick collapse.

"Boondoggles to the Rescue" Dmitri Orlov


Speaking of collapse, this From Financial Sense looks like something that could be pretty speedy in the collapse department. (Shouldn't be read on a full stomach or just before bedtime.)

Where are we now in the credit crisis, and why isn’t the massive Fed and ECB weekly lending working to loosen interbank lending? Why is the credit crisis not really improving? Where is this going next? We describe what may happen next as Credit Crisis II in this article.

The only thing propping up the entire Western financial system, and its respective stock markets has been massive ‘temporary’ lending, on an ongoing basis, by the Fed and ECB. Both central banks are beginning to balk at this situation.

Jeez! The only growth business left is the News Business...all bad!

Best wishes for a painless collapse. Joe

That's an excellent summary of the financial position.

It is going to be incredibly difficult to finance switching energy sources against this background of deleveraging.
The technical position seems, to me at least, relatively optimistic, as we have most of the bits we need to keep a technical civilisation and keep it powered, even if they need polishing and putting together.
Even if it is possible doing this against the background of both the very fast decline rates posited by west texas, khebab et al and with the financial situation as it is is tricky, at best.

Personally I would not have thought that localisation, simplifying and so on would do too much to keep many alive - you need a lot of technology deployed at large scale to do anything much, such as building solar cells, and anyway humankind has too much propensity to fight when things get tough to enable that kind of transition.
Without some degree of BAU in technology, it seems unlikely that many will continue to Breath as Usual.

On Oil, US Empire and Financial Sense.

Listen to the interview (mp3 warning) with Lutz Kleveman, who wrote a very good book called The New Great Game - Blood and Oil in Central Asia.

He tells the facts from the ground on Caucasus, analyzes the political situation and history, and explains how US, Russia and China try to influence the region.

It's not pretty. I further recommend the book and his site, if anybody's interested in the subject.

Actually, I saw McCain on a couple of BBC programmes three or four years ago that were "discussions" about perceptions of America around the world and he put on a finely tuned balancing act of saying that American government actions had actually been badly-thought out as little as he could (in case the footage ever gets used in America) and admitting that America needed to gain a better image and better support internationally. Now, I'm don't saying that I think he actually believes America has intrinsically taken bad (as opposed to tactically poor) decisions, but he seemed as if he'd at least "sell" the actions he'd want to do in foreign policy to the rest of the world better. (Contrast that with someone like John Bolton who's also often on international media and practically comes to blows with anyone who suggests America isn't perfection itself.) Combine that with the fact that America's non-conscript army is so heavily stretched and I suspect there wouldn't be a big "operational" difference between McCain and Obama (as opposed to differences in intent, which would be huge) in the first term at least.

I suspect whatever future American president will be primarily be concerned with domestic issues, and I suspect Obama's world tour was motivated more by a desire to show "look, I can do this but McCain can't because he's much less welcome" for the media in America than real interest in doing big things in geopolitics as president.

Those are my thoughts, anyway.

True, collapse may be faster with McCain. But speed isn't everything. The Soviet and British empires collapsed with little violence. I think the neocons are well aware of the relative weakening of the empire here. My fear is that they desire a showdown sooner than later. This could easily lead to catastrophe. Therefore I favor a slower collapse, and certainly avoidance of armageddon. Both are spear carriers for empire, but I think there is somewhat less chance of the big spears being thrown under Obama. And for that reason I still suspect that one way or another, he will be prevented from taking office, or once there, of lasting, or if he lasts, he will be presented with a created situation which will be highly dangerous. But -- if he's willing to take the risk, for whatever reason, I feel obliged to support him.

I think you are on mark about the neoconservatives. I believe their fantasy is that the world was perfect in 1913 - it's just that Britain did not take the steps to finish the job and complete the enslavement of the world under its "perfect" system of greed and inequality. The neocons intend to freeze the perfection of Pax Americana in place - except each year it slips further and further under the waves of memory.

Their hero must be Cecil Rhodes, an ultimate racist and greed-lover who used private mercenaries with machine guns to wipe out opposing tribes, created a whites-only "Rhodes Scholarship" to manufacture a global Anglophile elite, and tried to conquer all the land between Kenya and South Africa to make Africa permanently British. He helped cause the Boer War, whose crimes against the Afrikaners made it easy for German propagandists to teach their citizens to hate British power, paving the way to World War I.

Which is why these idiots are so self-defeating. They have created the very resistance they desired to crush.

The color of greed isn't white, it is green. If the trip was so much about racism, China and India would never have been supported.

... which is where the disaster capitalists come in.

Yes, because the people in Zimbabwe are better off now, eh?

Mother Nature is happy in Zimbabwe, Miyamoto. It's only the one species that is experiencing a little discomfort...

Oh, yes of course. Because starving desperate humans are know for their concern for and care of the environment!

Do you have source for her support of teaching creationism in public schools?

well they just lost my vote. and I was on the fence.

She supports teaching the ideas of both creationism and evolution:

She says here that children should be able to debate the argument.

Wow, she's a radical constructivist educator!

Why not dispense with books and information altogether?

Children could just ask their own questions, conduct their own experiments and draw their own hypotheses and theories. Working like legitimate actors at the periphery of real science!

Now that's a radical notion.

Pity though that it would never be implemented, because then there would be nobody to brainwash the children with the creationist garbage.

And we can't have that, can we.


It seems to me if one prioritizes reason and science one requires the content of science curriculum to be science. The teaching of the refusal of science should be taught as well, of course, but in history, religion, politics and sociology classes - where the tools of those disciplines would allow students to understand the controversy. The controversy, however, does not reside in the science. If you wish to reject reason and science, indeed to undermine it, then teaching creationism in the science classroom is a very good way to do so and to undermine enlightenment values that have characterized educational ideals in the west for the last several centuries. One is, of course, free to reject the enlightment and its consequences. I would prefer if you did it with your own money in your own schools. In the schools my tax dollars pay for, I would prefer that we teach science in science classes.

Not sure if it was reference to me, but I do believe current intelligent design theories are utter and total drivel (yes, I've read enough of them to conclude this for myself).

I also live in a country, where we laugh at the whole notion that people elsewhere are campaigning to teach creationism and ID side by side with modern sciences. Their choice of course, as is our choice to be amused.

Also, I have a university degree in hard science (not that it really shields me from brain bloopers, but it has given me the understanding of the scientific method).

With that said, I would probably be among the last here to abandon science :)

But I guess I should be more careful with the sarcanol. It can be misunderstood and there is the cultural barrier as well. Even if I write English, my humor is not typical American (I think).

She says here that children should be able to debate the argument.

Hmmmm. This is one of those "careful what you ask" for things, isn't it? I recall a conversation with a Chinese mathematician. He was teaching at a university in Beijing at the outbreak of the Cultural Revolution. He recounted how his classes were frequently interrupted by gangs of "revolutionaries" shouting slogans and telling him and his students that the good professor was guilty of certain crimes and that he should not be listened to. Gradually, he told me, it became impossible for him to teach and classes ceased altogether. Eventually, he was rounded up and sent to the countryside to stand, all day, on a platform and throw stones to keep the crows away from the crops.

The thoughts of children should be considered. But they are generally incapable of discerning between truth and B.S. Ever wonder why the armed forces like young recruits? It isn't simply that they have more strength and stamina.

I am advocating that Geography classes teach the Flat Earth Theory and the Round Earth Theory side by side. It's only fair.

It is flat. Just drive out west of Fort Worth and look around :)

try driving around winnipeg.

Thomas Friedman had a #1 bestseller with The World is Flat.

Adjust to the new realities - round is out and flat is in.

Whatever she thinks, Palin is certainly an improvement over Cheney in the looks department :)

Yeah, and odds are she's a better shot too.

Flat, round, what nonsense west!! The Earth is a slowly revolving hollowed out sphere with a spinning sun in it's centre. I know because the stars, which are stuck on long sticks out of the sun revolve about the sun . It also has a hollowed out economic system, but I will give you that the world, commonly known as the Unites states of America, does have a flat earth political system.

I must object if they fail to include Flying Spaghetti Monster's perspective.

My wife is simply insulted by the pandering, that women would be "plug and play" or "hot swappable" simply because of anatomy.

Because of your wifes anatomy, were you forced to write that comment?

hehe...No, not at all. She just said it better than I could and with conviction.

Actually, the polls show that Hillary supporters aren't flocking to her ... and independents aren't warming up to Palin, either.


among the critical undecideds, the Palin pick made only 6 percent more likely to vote for McCain; and it made 31 percent less likely to vote for him. 49 percent said it would have no impact, and 15 percent remained unsure. More to the point: among undecideds, 59 percent said Palin was unready to be president. Only 6 percent said she was. If the first criterion for any job is whether you're ready for it, this is a pretty major indictment of the first act of McCain's presidential leadership.

And you know who really isn't a fan of Palin? Alaska's Republican State Senate President Lyda Green:

"She's not prepared to be governor. How can she be prepared to be vice president or president?" said Green, a Republican from Palin's hometown of Wasilla. "Look at what she's done to this state. What would she do to the nation?"

I was actually hoping McCain would pick Sarah Palin, though I never expected that he would. (I had posted a comment on TOD about a week ago saying so). When I saw on the news that he had, I couldn't believe it.

It will be interesting to see how much natural gas from Alaska actually makes it down the pipeline to the lower 48 states. I suspect that the Alberta oilsands operations would love to take all of that gas for their bitumen operations.

Alberta conventional oil peaked in the early 1970s, fluctuated on a plateau for a while as secondary recovery was applied, then fell off a cliff once the super-straws could do no more. Our conventional production is now only about one-third of the peak despite three times as many producing wells. What is keeping Alberta's economy going are the oilsands, but they are severely constrained by, among other things, the need for energy to melt the bitumen out of the oilsands. Hence the talk about building nuclear reactors (Alberta has none now) and the fuss about using up all our natural gas for the oilsands.

The future amount of natual gas flowing to the lower 48 from Canada and Alaska is a legitimate concern. It is one that is always overlooked by the likes of Boone Pickens and Aubrey McClendon who are promoting natual gas as an alternative transport fuel.

The bottom line is that the U.S. still imports a big chunk of its natural gas from Canada. If that drys up, and assuming natural gas production from the lower 48 continues to grow at the same rate it has over the past year or so, it would take several years of that continued growth just to compensate for the loss of those imports.

Given Canada's increased demands for natual gas, and the fact that its own drilling boom for natual gas seems to have stalled out, it might not be prudent to rely on continued imports from Canada to meet U.S. needs.

NG isn't viable long term because of cost and supply issues.

Coal could do the job but would need to be paired with CO2 sequestration to be acceptable.

Nuclear plants are large and the steam they generate can't be piped very far. This will give oilsands operators near the plants an advantage over those further away. Alternately, producing heat from nuke generated electricity is very inefficient.

Geothermal seems to be getting the most attention as a long term heat source. Even shallow geothermal wells (1000 metres) can produce 80C water.

There is a lot of work going on looking at alternatives and the technologies chosen will be based on cost. My guess is SAGD using nuclear for electricity and geothermal for heat.

A sign of the times:

"Diddy" halts private jet flights over fuel prices

Sean "Diddy" Combs complained about the "... too high" price of gas and pleaded for free oil from his "Saudi Arabia brothers and sisters" in a YouTube video posted Wednesday. The hip-hop mogul said he is now flying on commercial airlines instead of in private jets, which Combs said had previously cost him $200,000 and up for a roundtrip between New York and Los Angeles.

"I'm actually flying commercial," Diddy said before walking onto an airplane, sitting in a first-class seat and flashing his boarding pass to the camera. "That's how high gas prices are. I'm at the gate right now. This is really happening, proof gas prices are too high. Tell whoever the next president is we need to bring gas prices down."


Sean, We are crying buckets for you....not! Between people like you who greedily suck way too many resources for yourself, and the folks out there who have 5,6,7,8,9,10, even more children (I have met more and more as time goes on), we have the pedal to the metal and are aimed right for the cliff.

Gosh, imagine being stuck in crappy first-class with the gimps and droids.

When the airlines go titsup these non-ebrities will have to get a flunky to make a selection from their car collections, or have a bootlicker queue up for a train ticket.

I always assumed P.Diddy was an idiot. Now, it's been confirmed.

Like him or hate him, Combs is a very successful businessman. He may not be the sharpest tool in the shed, but I'd hesitate to classify him as an idiot.

The point I took from the article is that his absolute cluelessness on how the global oil markets actually work is probably more widespread than any of us would like to imagine.

Like him or hate him, Combs is a very successful businessman.

Well, I'm happy to report that he has never gotten any money from me.

5000 miles at 1 mile per gallon is still "only" 5000 gallons of jet fuel. That's less than $20k. If he is paying $200k per trip, fuel isn't the problem.

W.D. Lyle Jr., Ph.D. &
L. Scott Allen, Ph.D.

"A Very Unpleasant Truth...
Peak Oil Production and its Global Consequences"


good practical info by oil folk who wrote a book mostly for family & friends. nothin new here for u pros but is a good listen for puplava's questions communicating his mounting concern:

'crisis like never before experienced'

Gustav's likely path could make storm worse than Katrina

NEW ORLEANS — Police with bullhorns plan to go street to street this weekend with a tough message about getting out ahead of Hurricane Gustav: This time there will be no shelter of last resort. The doors to the Superdome will be locked. Those who stay will be on their own.

New forecasts Friday made it increasingly clear that New Orleans will get some kind of hit — direct or indirect — by early next week. That raised the likelihood people would have to flee, and the city suggested a full-scale evacuation call could come as soon as Sunday.


I talked to a friend who lives in New Orleans last night. She works for Tulane and said they shuttered the univeristy yesterday and aren't set to return to work until Thursday.

People in low-lying areas have already been ordered to evacuate, as well as the elderly, handicapped and people without private transportation. She is planning on leaving in the morning.

My heart goes out to the people of New Orleans and the broader coastal region. This storm comes soon on the heels of Katrina, and wounds that have had precious little time to heal are all of a sudden being ripped open again. It is traumatic and emotionally painful.

God bless, and I think I speak for all of us here in wishing those impacted by this storm the best of luck.

That (god bless) being said I think they have to stop thinking flat earth geography in the NOLA gulf area - there's no way the army corp. can turn it into Venizia - permanent relocation should be greatly encouraged

Here, here!

Let us all hope that every last man, woman, and child (and pets if that can be managed) escapes NOLA before the storm hits.

And after that, the country needs to have a frank, adult discussion (don't hold your breath) about the wisdom of continuing to inhabit NOLA and other areas vulnerable to recurring hurricane damage. Enough of the BS crap speeches from nitwit politicians about how we are going to make it better than before, you just watch and see!!! That attitude is as pointless as a child continually rebuilding sand castles before the advancing tide, except worse, since we are adults with full access to the knowledge that science provides us...but we choose to fantasize and deal in platitudes instead of deal with reality.

The USG needs to assess the risks in lives and dollars of living near all vulnerable coastal areas, and needs to stop subsidizing flood insurance for areas that have high probabilities of recurring flood and wind damage.

We are not Holland...we have plenty of more suitable areas to inhabit, and our vulnerable coastlines are way too extensive to fortify with dikes and water works.

With the impending net energy availability crunch we need to be smarter about how we expend our energy.

Maybe vulnerable parts of the coasts can be set aside eventually as nature preserves. And yes, I realize that other parts of the country are subject to recurring risks such as riverine flooding, earthquakes, fires, and tornadoes, but none of these risks are as concentrated and highly damaging nor in many cases as frequent as hurricanes.

At the very least the most vulnerable, lowest-lying parcels of coast land could be made vacant and the structures on the lesser-vulnerable parts could be made to follow very robust and strict building codes.

If we insist on continuing to rescue and rebuild and indemnify, then we better pull every last troop home and equip all of them with rafts and shovels. But I do not think continuing to re-build very expensive swaths of sand castles is a wise use of our diminishing resources.

Oh, yea, and everyone use your darn heads and have 2 kids per woman on average...unless you are the Palins and their ilk, then have 5 or 10 or 15 and lobby and brainwash against family planning and screw the planet.

WRT the Mercenaries video game it looks like something oil companies could do, i.e. hire mercenaries to recover confiscated property but wouldn't do. They first use lawyers to seize any assets the offending nation has in the US. If that doesn't work then they would use political clout to get taxpayers to pick up the bill. Not necessarily using military action but simply as a tax deduction or credit. There is or was a program where the government insures a corporation's investments in foreign countries against loss due to the political uncertainties in some countries. It could be that the net loss to US oil companies due to Chavez was little or nothing. Part of that privatize profits but socialize costs ethic.

“On the banks of the Volga in 1921 a refugee community was visited by an American newspaper correspondent who had come to write about the Russian famine. Almost half of the people in the community were dead of starvation and the death rate was rising…On an adjacent field a lone soldier was guarding sacks of grain. The American newspaperman asked the white bearded leader of the community why his people did not overpower this one guard take the grain and relieve their hunger. The dignified old Russian explained that the sacks contained seed to be planted in the next growing season. “We do not steal from our future,” he said.” William R. Catton: Overshoot

Yesterday I went to the Mall to meet my wife for lunch. She works in housewares and as I stood there waiting I noticed a middle aged guy with an overly attractive woman so I couldn't help but pay attention as the woman in a white leather mini-skirt started piling mountains of merchandise onto the checkout counter. When she spoke I could tell she was Russian with only rudimentary English. Her husband kept telling her, "whatever you want baby..." A Russian mail order bride I thought and she has come to the Big Rock Candy Mountain.

How clueless are Americans about profligate consumerism? We have already soiled our nest yet we continue to consume like there is no end to it. It makes me want to vomit!

So much for any chance of a large push for renewable energy...I don't know what details if any were behind Obama's speech statement about getting the US off foreign oil in ten years, but now we probably won't get to find out.

Sarah will mesmerize the righties with her five (5) children, her rigid abortion stance, her global warming denials, and her 'hockey mom' cred. So much for any hope for any politician ever discussing with the American and World citizens the necessity of achieving a 2.1 children per woman average fertility rate to achieve population stability.

If this stunt gets her and McCain elected, then expect operation 'Drill, Drill, Drill' to proceed at breakneck pace. Wind energy? Solar thermal and PV on every rooftop? Geothermal? Bio-fuel from algae? Nope...not on their watch...salvation will come from throwing wells everywhere...Schlumberger and Halliburton rejoice!

You bet your bottom dollar that most of that Alaskan gas will be converted to heat to cook the sand and produce Alberta 'tar oil' to ship to our SUV's tanks. Go ahead and have 10 kids each, and plan on buying them Hummers, 'cause it's morning in America again!

I have about given up...it seems that the least worst plan right now is for us to agree with the Cornucopians and advocate wells everywhere...force the oil companies, shame them into drilling on every square mile we own....in Alaska, in the polar seas, in the coastal waters, in every National Park...hell, let's waive their taxes completely for the next 10 years to help them get going...but only if they can double our current per-day production! Honestly, I think we should call their bluff and force them to drill everywhere to dispel the myths that the US is sitting on '2 Trillion barrels of oil, enough to supply all our needs for three hundred years' (according to a radio ad running over and over again every day against Tom Udall in NM). Of course, this 'capitulation' must be tied/dependent on a concomitant massive investment in wind, solar, geothermal, biomass energy, and conservation/energy reduction.

Don't worry, grampy McSame will 'Bomb Bomb Bomb, Bomb Bomb Iran', stay in Iraq for 100 years, and probably brandish nukes against Russia to assure our access to the Caucasus/Caspian area oil and pipelines...our children will indeed inherit a wonderful world! If Grampy dies or drifts into Alzheimer's disease in office then fundamentalist Sarah can have the opportunity to 'let the missiles fly' and fulfill prophecy.

IMO McCain's choice of Sarah Palin shows how disconnected he is from reality.

Shortly before his announcement I read that Gov. Pawlenty of Minnesota was cancelling appointments and might be the VP choice. To my mind that would have made sense. Balance the ticket with someone from the Midwest or the East of the U.S. since McCain clearly represents the Republican West. Now if he is elected, there will be no one from the Midwest or the East in the White House just as in the current administration.

McCain is in trouble in the Midwest because of his anti-ethanol stance and because Obama is one on our own being from Illinois and an outspoken supporter of ethanol.

In selecting Palin he is obviously appealing to the religious right and thinks Hillary's supporters will take the bait of a woman on the ticket. But he is giving up on the Midwest IMO.

Sarah Palin's husband works for BP. She is from a large oil producing state. So McCain is following in the footsteps of the other two Western oil men, Bush and Cheney, all the while endorsing their policies of war and dependence on oil. Even more so since Bush at least supports ethanol subsidies.

In selecting this featherweight, McCain gains very little. The religious right was already going to vote for him anyway. He further solidifies the perception that he will be McBush, only dumber.

He has told us he finished 5th from the bottom of his class at the Naval Academy. I can see why.

He has told us he finished 5th from the bottom of his class at the Naval Academy. I can see why.

And if Daddy McCain hadn't been a four star admiral in the Navy, do you think that little Johnny would have even made it through the Academy? I guess the bottom 4 guys only had 3-star admirals as Daddies, so they couldn't rank as high.

McCain is Bush, he just couldn't dodge the war like our current president.

There is not the slightest evidence that John McCain ever wanted to dodge any war, anywhere.
That is admirable in a soldier or an airman, but perhaps not in a President.
Unfortunately he seems unlikely to want to dodge one in future.

I'm a veteran of that same war and lucky (yes, lucky) that I didn't end up in the Hanoi Hilton like McCain. Shot up but made it back to base. Most of us resent all the antiwar BS. We went to serve our country. WTF would you do ... run away? True, a lot of ball less bastards did take off but McCain wasn't one of them. When offered a chance to leave that hell, he stayed so as to not give the NVA more Jane Fonda.

Do you really want to look Joe Sixpack in the eye?

I have great respect for anyone who is willing to face death in a war, especially volunteers. The reasons that individuals choose to take that path are varied, but most seem related to ancient notions of of chivalry, such as honor, duty and courage.

I think what happened in Vietnam was different from previous wars, such as WW II and Korea. In WW II, the world was faced with a stark choice between totalitarian state governments and what we think of ad democracy. After the Communists took over China, the Korean conflict appeared to be another such situation, threatening Japan as well as Korea. Our involvement in Vietnam was not WW II all over again. The conflict arose from the UN's plan to unify Vietnam after the French lost control of their colony to nationalist from North Vietnam. The U.S. chose to unilaterally reject the results of the vote to unify the temporarily divided nation and supported the Southern government. Read the Pentagon Papers, if you have not done so.

For people of my age, including many of the young men who fought for the U.S. on the ground in Vietnam, the parallel to their parent's WW II experience was not felt, as WW II happened before we were old enough to understand. I think it became clear that there was no immediate threat to the security of the U.S., since there was no way for Vietnam to directly attack us. Many of the draftees who fought on the ground only wanted to get out of harms way, counting the days until their tour was over.

People who fly airplanes don't die slow painful deaths like the soldiers on the ground. Their killing is not personal, it's not hand to hand, gun to gun. They don't have the chance to see the blood and the bodies from their rockets and bombs or their comrades blown to bits, their mutilated remains lying on the ground in front of their eyes. I think there's a difference in the resulting experience of war and the resulting psychological impact isn't the same, IMHO. Pilots who take off on a mission either return or they don't, the latter often being the result of their deaths. But, you, as a pilot, survived and continued to live. History is told by the winners, such as you. You talk brave and certainly have considerable experience, but, I submit, you may not have "seen the elephant" as the soldiers of the Civil War used to say.

BTW, I make no claim of courage myself. I tend to relate to the line from Catch-22 "Anybody who is trying to get you killed is your enemy"...

E. Swanson

Flying has always been the best job in the military, ever since the days of the Blue Max. I wouldn't want to be in the military, but I would love to fly a fighter jet (just like everybody else).

I don't agree about pilot. They have to brave flak and enemy fighter flying atop many gallons of highly inflammable fuel. Many get burned to death. You don't get more slow or painful than that. unlike the draftee's on the ground they could not keep out of harms way since in a plane there's nowhere to hide.

I want to look Joe Sixpack in the eye and tell him that these are wars for global domination, and he must put a stop to them before America meets the fate of all empires: tyranny, bankruptcy, and collapse.

Make War...No More.

the end of story tag line from old war comics I used to read as a kid.

From a US Veteran, a long time ago a gung-ho Reagan Republican and trained killer, who has matured in many ways over the long years.

Oh Please! I did a stint in the Air Force at a Tactical Fighter Base and I still remember all that cocky Top Gun arrogance. Truth be known there were a lot of guys busting knuckles on the flight line doing 12 hour shifts that had a higher likelihood of being killed.

Every time I went into the Club for a cocktail I had to listen to their rowdy insufferable laughter. There were so many fist-fights in the club that the Wing Commander started 86'ing offenders.

There was one fly-boy who lost so many planes on routine exercises that he was grounded until his 2 star Dad got his flying status reinstated.

Later I spent time at a SAC base and the pilots were regular guys.

We went to serve our country.

German soldiers from WWII could make that same claim. All it takes is the right indoctrination and you could recruit "patriots" to go to war for just about any reason. Anti-war BS? Oops, I'm sorry, I forgot the Vietnam conflict was justified. Right. And I suppose your bombing runs never killed innocents, oh wait a minute, they were commies so they deserved to die! Joe sixpack (as a union carpenter I deal with these types every day) is a moron who still believes in American manifest destiny even though he couldn’t find his country on the globe.

We went to serve our country.

Maybe so, but that wasn't why they sent you. I had two uncles in the war, so I know a little of it. One of them was one of those that came back far less of a man than when he left, so...

True, a lot of ball less bastards did take off

Yeah, you're right. America is was not founded on protest and resisting government... and if you won't die for an unjust cause, you're not a patriot...

I've known plenty of military folk. I've never seen any reason to give greater than usual respect to those who are "My country wrong or right" because I don't think they understand what their country is. They conveniently forget they have as much of a duty to REFUSE an illegal order as to follow a legal one.

o you really want to look Joe Sixpack in the eye?

Always have. Why stop now?


Was George McGovern, bomber pilot, like George Bush too, except for not dodging a war?


Of for that matter, was George Bush Sr.?

Notice that I have just covered a fairly broad political spectrum, including 2 presidents. I am fairly certain that Jimmy Carter could be added to that list.

However, Clinton was obviously even better than Bush - as Clinton was able to preserve his political viability without even pretending to serve.

There are an incredible number of things to attack McCain (Mr. Keating, on line five), but the fact that he served in the American armed forces is not one of them. Both Bush and Clinton were able to dodge what McCain volunteered for, which does not diminish McCain in my eyes in the least.

Stupid people don't learn to fly jets.

McCain trashed four Navy jets before going down in the fifth. You're right, stupid people can't fly planes.

The previous poster is correct that only having an admiral for a dad kept this immoral, philandering turd from washing out.

Actually, the last crash happened after he was released from captivity; he bullheadedly demanded a return to flight status and got it. I believe there was also an accident on the deck of an aircraft carrier off of Vietnam where a bomb fell off his plane and caused a major fire. Which apparently would have been held against a pilot who wasn't son of the Chief of Naval Operations.

I believe there was also an accident on the deck of an aircraft carrier off of Vietnam where a bomb fell off his plane and caused a major fire.

The disaster that occurred on the USS Forrestal was thoroughly investigated and documented. To imply that McCain is somehow responsible for the disaster is very disingenuous.

USS Forrestal Fire

About 10:50 (local time) on the 29th, while preparations for a second strike were being made near [show location on an interactive map] 19°9′5″N, 107°23′5″E,[3] an unguided 5-inch Mk-32 "Zuni" rocket, one of four contained in a LAU-10 underwing rocket pod mounted on a F-4 Phantom II, was accidentally fired due to an electrical power surge during the switch from external power to internal power.

The rocket flew across the flight deck, striking a wing-mounted external fuel tank on a A-4 Skyhawk awaiting launch[3], either aircraft No. 405, piloted by LCDR Fred D. White[1], or No. 416, piloted by future U.S. Senator and Presidential candidate, LCDR John McCain.[4] The warhead's safety mechanism prevented it from detonating, but the impact tore the tank off the wing and ignited the resulting spray of escaping JP-5 fuel, causing an instantaneous conflagration. Other external fuel tanks overheated and ruptured, releasing more jet fuel to feed the flames which spread along the flight deck, leaving pilots in their aircraft with the options of being incinerated in their cockpits or running through the flames to escape. LCDR Fred D. White, waiting to launch in Aircraft No. 405, leaped out of his burning Skyhawk but was killed instantly (along with many firefighters) by the cooking off of the first bomb. LCDR Herbert A. Hope of VA-46 (and operations officer of CVW-17) jumped out of the cockpit of his Skyhawk between explosions, rolled off the flight deck and into the starboard man-overboard net. Making his way down below to the hangar deck, he took command of a firefighting team. "The port quarter of the flight deck where I was", he recalled, "is no longer there."[3] With his aircraft surrounded by flames, McCain escaped by climbing out of the cockpit, walking down the nose and jumping off the refueling probe.

Video with analysis.

I saw a story on the History Channel that McCain was also on the Oriskany when it also suffered a severe flight deck fire which killed hundreds. Not to say there is a connection but I wouldn't stand close to that guy in the lunch line. The lessons of those two fires were part of the indoctrination I received when I served on the Independence CV-62.
As someone who gave over 24 of service to my country as a public transit employee as well as my naval service I resent the idea that only the military serves their country. Bus drivers also die on the job. I have worked with about half a dozen drivers who were attacked and injured by a passenger as well as two who faced down the barrel of a gun. A higher percentage of garbage men are injured on duty than are military members. Hundreds of thousands of public school teachers who could earn considerably more in other professions are also vital to our nation's well being. Add in police officers and paramedics and firefighters who are also underpaid for the service to this country. Unlike many a politician these servants can't be fired by the voters and then walk into a million dollar salary as a lobbyist. When they retire they don't get tens of millions from book deals and speaking fees. They instead have right wing pundits (how many millions is Limbaugh's new contract) complaining about how their meager pensions are an economic burden on the taxpayers. That whole entitlement bogeyman thing.

There is enough gas trapped under the tundra here to help the United States fend off an energy crisis that politicians have called one of the greatest threats to their country. Sarah Palin, Alaska's governor and, as of yesterday, the Republican vice-presidential nominee, wants to get it out of the ground as soon as possible.

Four years ago I had the opportunity to meet Al Gore and I read his book and saw his movie. At the time I was trapped in optimistic exuberance where I believed that our innate cleverness would lead us out of this predicament. Since then I have arrived at the unimpeachable conclusion that humans have primitive primate brains that have latched onto the prize of fossil fuels and will be unable to let go...at least in time.

This current election and all of the vitriol about renewable energy and drilling in Anwar, the continental shelf and now the methane gases in frozen Arctic tundra leaves me in a state of stunned disbelief.

Personally I am looking for lifeboats and people who are willing to get into them.

Reading the linked article, it sounds to me as though they are asserting that natural gas supplies in Alaska will help the US fight off an energy crisis without reference to the supplies in methane hydrates.

Tapping the hydrates would take some years if it is possible at all, and would indeed radically alter the energy supply situation as they are very large.

They might also heat the planet to an inconvenient extent though.

They might also heat the planet to an inconvenient extent

Dave, by inconvenient do you mean: "Increasing global temperature is expected to cause sea levels to rise, an increase in the intensity of extreme weather events, and significant changes to the amount and pattern of precipitation, likely leading to an expanse of tropical areas and increased pace of desertification. Other expected effects of global warming include changes in agricultural yields, modifications of trade routes, glacier retreat, species extinctions and increases in the ranges of disease vectors."?


Yep - I was tempted by the affectation of understatement!

"...increases in the ranges of disease vectors."

I think it might be starting to happen already.

I just read that David Duchovny has contracted a rare form of Sex Addition.

This could be the PANDEMIC that Health officials have been warning of.

Think of the horror of this rapidly spreading across the country and the WORLD.

I can see it now o_O wow!

That is laugh out loud funny!

a rare form of Sex Addition.

Is this where instead of doing it, you start counting on it?

Glad I have bad math skills.


J. G Ballard once theorized (in his ambiguously tongue-in-cheek fashion) that the preponderance of pornography might be a primitive reaction to the threat of human extinction posed by the age of nuclear weapons. Perhaps the dreaded "Sex Plague" is the logical conclusion of the collective drive, fueled by the multiple threats currently faced by humanity.

The exact quote: "A widespread taste for pornography means that nature is alerting us to some threat of extinction."

The organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe is to release a report on Monday laying the blame squarely on Georgia's shoulders. The OSCE report will also detail suspected war crimes including bombing sleeping South Ossetian villages, and Using the Grad rocket launcher on Tskhinvali(it was not designed to be used in civilian areas only against large enemy formations, becuase it is indiscriminate) I believe the ramifications of this report will be widespread and could even affect the presidential race. It was McCain who said "We are all Georgians today." This is George Bush's freedom and democracy campaign at work.

According to Der Spiegel:


"and could even affect the presidential race"

I seriously doubt it - a report from an organization that most in the US have never heard of? Do you really think this will get played up by a US media who has already cast Georgia in the role of the "poor fledgling democracy bitten by nasty bear"? This will be largely ignored and have little to no affect on the pres. race.

and everything I've read makes me believe there is plenty of blame to go around to all sides in this mess....

I wouldn't be at all surprised if the US media were to ignore the report entirely. It could be big news in the rest of the world though.

Spiegel said OSCE military observers in the Caucasus had described preparations by Georgia to move into South Ossetia.

If OSCE observers were aware of these preparations then it is highly unlikely that the US would have lacked knowledge of these preparations.

This strengthens the view that the Georgian misadventure was some form of planned October surprise.

It's a misadventure which seems to have worked perfectly, given it's likely objectives.
McCain is now level-polling with Obama, presumably on the assumption by the American people that he is better in foreign policy than Obama, as it appears his belligerent stance is popular.

It is also pretty good news for the armaments industry, as the need to keep tooling up to counter what will surely be Russian re-armament is a lot more reliable a source of revenue than the fairly thin preoccupations with terrorism, and by withdrawing from Iraq Obama might have been able to rein in military spending a bit.

It's a misadventure which seems to have worked perfectly

If you are a McCain supporter then you got a jump in the polls with no clear consensus on the electoral impact.

If, on the other hand, you have some concern for America's standing in the world you need to be aware that very sophisticated foreign analysts will examining this event. If they come to the conclusion that America manipulated a client state for domestic partisan gain then America's stock in the world dropped several more notches.

But I think this is a characteristic of contemporary America: a small group manipulating events to pursue personal self interest without an iota of concern for the impact of their actions on the health of the Republic, or on the peoples of other nations.

You don't win any friends and you strengthen all of your enemies and you are told that this constitutes "strong leadership."

Good luck, sir!

IIRC, he's a Brit. He's not voting for either candidate.

Vladimir Putin isn't trying to choose US Presidents. He's doing something far more profitable for Russia: Scaring Western companies out of investing in more pipelines across Georgia.

What's happening in the Caucasus is really simple: Russian wants to force all Central Asian oil and gas bound for Europe to pass thru Russian territory. Saakashvili and his 29 year old Israeli-Georgian Defense Minister were foolish and amateurish enough to fall for the Russian provocation and react in a way that gave the Russians the opportunity to make Georgia look like a risky investment to oil companies.

Lots of things happening out in the world are not about US domestic politics.

Re: Swedish researchers confirm Siberian seabed methane leak

I have been posting on the Arctic melt this season somewhat regularly, as have others. The reason is not so much the big melt last season, but the underlying why of it. I have felt since the first reports of permafrost defrost, and particularly of the methane being so released, that this was *THE* tipping point for Climate Change/AGW.

Yes, THE tipping point.

The melt this season seemed important to me as I had theorized that the melt could not have been in any way a natural variation. What, then, had driven it? Methane, the news reports responded. When Spring brought a fast melt despite a rebound in total cover in Winter coupled with reports of methane bubbling up in lakes, etc., the reason seemed obvious. The methane.

While one might expect greater melt in the West Arctic due to prevailing winds, geography, etc., it is interesting to note how completely the melt North of Alaska and Siberia matched the coastlines - particularly Alaska's. Also not how the ice pretty much hugged the coastlines of the other areas of the Arctic shores. Geologically, I'm fairly sure permafrost is more prevalent in the areas of the greater ice losses. Last year's melt should have triggered even greater methane release. This would seem to be the case given that despite not seeing last year's somewhat unusual wind patterns and high temps, we have almost equal melting, and where the permafrost is closest to the ice and in greatest abundance.

In the article above the methane is measured and described as being in the upper reaches of the water and in the air just above the water.

"The permafrost now has small holes. We have found elevated levels of methane above the water surface and even more in the water just below. It is obvious that the source is the seabed," Örjan Gustafsson, the Swedish leader of the International Siberian Shelf Study, told the newspaper.

This might indicate greater heat absorption at the waterline without the overall methane level being much higher - yet - in the upper atmosphere. So, enhanced melt.

Of course, we cannot discount that much of the ice was thin, one year ice. It was fairly expected a lot of it would melt. That could be the sole reason this season will be within about 500k sq. miles of last season.

But I don't think so.

Here is my warning: I think we should assume a threshold has been crossed. A tipping point tipped.

Act accordingly.


I don't know if it's a tipping point or not, but that story scared me most this morning. More than Sarah Palin, or Gustav, or Georgia/Russia.

If that release is confirmed then the game is over.

Nothing left to do but start writing epitaphs

before all sorts of geo-engineering attempts being exhausted?

If you do not have full understanding of a system then all of your attempts to manage it are nothing more than random tinkering.

But, as Nate will confirm, it is worse then than that: we are not capable of being fully random due to our built in cognitive biases. After all, the destruction of the planet will be great for global GNP. All those multi-billion dollar geo-engineering contracts! I bet KBR already has its bids set up and ready to submit.

Bids? KBR?

Hah! They don't need no steenkin' bids!

If that release is confirmed then the game is over.

That research WAS the confirmation.


PS. Whomever down rated you is an idiot.

i appreciate all u'rs info & analysis on climate changes!

Thanks. And you're welcome. Soup, too.


Somewhere I had data which showed the level of atmospheric methane had not shown significant increase. This would imply either no significant release due to melt or the existence of a yet unknown methane sink.

Went looking for the data and found this instead:

Warming hits 'tipping point'
Siberia feels the heat It's a frozen peat bog the size of France and Germany combined, contains billions of tonnes of greenhouse gas and, for the first time since the ice age, it is melting

Not sure how i missed that but then, like the rest of my species, I tend to be a bit of an idiot.

Cheers! And let's order up a brandy for while we wait.

So the oft quoted parts per million concentration of co2, the 350 or 380 threashold that we need to maintain does not include the measure of methane?

Is there a Keeling chart for methane?


P.S. I appreciate your posts on Artic melt ccpo.


There's a terminology for the measure of all greenhouse gases put together. "CO2 equivalent." Meaning that when methane and other gases are factored in, the Earth is at or over 400 parts per million greenhouse equivalent. I think 500 ppm CO2 equivalent is going to be the target we will be watching for in the final days.

Now what I'm concerned about next is whether we are detecting methane increases from arctic deposits of methane hydrates as well as methane releases from submerged permafrost. Apparently the methane hydrates are the ultimate climate bomb, the thing implicated in the superheatings of the ancient past. Once we're at that stage, we just die and the planet takes millions of years breeding enough algae to recapture the CO2. Ironically, that will become oil one day.

Good luck, cockroaches!

Now what I'm concerned about next is whether we are detecting methane increases from arctic deposits of methane hydrates as well as methane releases from submerged permafrost.

This was measuring out in the Arctic Ocean just at and just below the water line, so it would have to be hydrates, pretty much. I'm sure you're already aware of the 1,000 miles inland melting of the permafrost and the very recent article stating there is something like 30 to 50% more carbon in the permafrost than they previously believed...

Here's an article talking about the amount of carbon in the permafrost prior to the more recent article I mentioned above. (I think.)

GELLERMAN: So how much methane or carbon dioxide is there in Arctic soil that's defrosting?

SLATER: That is an uncertain number at the moment but current estimates would say that there is about 950 gigatons. Now I'm not sure what that number means to a lot of people, but if you took the 950 gigatons and converted it to carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, you would more than double the current concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. That of course is a somewhat worst case scenario.

GELLERMAN: Ooh and that's carbon dioxide and you also said there was methane, which is much more powerful as a greenhouse gas.

SLATER: Yes, well, the carbon that is stored in the soil it depends on how it decomposes. Generally if it decomposes in a drier fashion it can come out as carbon dioxide or if it decomposes under a wet situation and you get anaerobic decomposition, you can get methane coming out. And methane as you said is a far more powerful greenhouse gas but it is shorter lived in the atmosphere.

And, as noted elsewhere, none of this included in ANY projections for ACC (Anthropological Climate Change).

Hell of week for the planet...


Methane is way worse than CO2. It's 40 times as bad as a greenhouse gas. And if enough of it gets into the air we won't be able to breath (and yeah there is that much sequestered in hydrates). Oh, and did I mention that if things get warm enough the hydrates could all disassociate. I seem to recall a theory that at least one mass extinction could have been the result of a massive methane release.

Lest anyone jump to conclusions, feedbacks such as the methane release from frozen tundra were not considered AT ALL in the IPCC report, since it was not a part of what their models were reconstructing. This is not just Business As Usual, by any means. Nor were releases from clathrates / methaane hydrates. Nor was artic ice melt. These things were not reproducible to conform with past events.

Please think about Sen Jim Inhofe's re-election campaign when thinking about this type of climate change.

Yes, we discussed that earlier this year. I alluded to it upthread.


Read the latest Scientific American (or was it Discover?) article about how the manufacture of all those nifty flat-screen TVs uses NF3 (Nitrogen Tri-Fluoride), some of which is not re-captured.

Methane is 25 times as potent a greenhouse gas as CO2,

NF3 is 17,000 as potent.

Thinking the amount of gas involved is too trivial to matter? There is plenty of market space left before every last American, let alone Chines, Indian, Brazilian, etc. has 4 or 5 small-to-super large flat screen TVs. Interestingly, when they came out, I thought they were thrifier on electricity, but it turns our they suck 'trons way more than CRT TVs too.

No one was worried about fluorocarbons until they were, either. Perhaps the US and the ROW should practice the Euro area's 'preventative principle', where manufacturers are beholden to prove the environmental benign-ness of all new chemicals (guilty till proved innocent) rather than the standard robber-baron three-headed-kids-be-damned corporation standard of all new chemicals are innocent till proved guilty.

Oh, well, at least we can watch the ice caps melt and the hurricanes inundate the coasts in vivid, living, high-def, wall-to-wall color with Dolby surround sound! (And we can watch President Palin run for re-election in 2016 under the 'pray for help' platform!)

The big big difference between CH4 and NF3, SF6, etc. is that there will only ever be microscopic amounts of the fluoride compounds manufactured. We are talking about what, a few 100 kilograms, versus metric teratons of CH4.

The fluorides must be laboriously man made and, for these applications, substitutes may be found. Of course the downside is that they are very stable compounds which may last centuries in the atmosphere.

The methane is natural and exists in geologic-reservoir size amounts, locked in seabed ice and permafrost for millenia. Until now.

Big difference.

This may have been posted earlier but I just received an e-mail update to Chris Martenson's Crash Course Chapter 17 dealing with Peak Oil and the Economy (audio):


I believe in evolution. My training and disposition is in mathematics, engineering, programming, etc. But I understand there are several major biologists who don't have a clue why certain phenomenal conditions exist in species without some sort of intelligent design. OK, so discuss it and the idiosyncrasies without getting your shorts in a knot. To me, it is a terribly interesting subject and certainly not a given.

I believe in choice. Many people do not believe in abortion for whatever reasons. Other people believe in abortion. It is legal to have an abortion but one may chose not to have an abortion. I see Sarah Palin as one who does not believe in abortion but more than that she is walking the talk. She carried a downs syndrome baby to term while most of the US (and especially politicians) may have professed to be against abortion and still had that abortion because they didn’t want to be bothered with the problems of raising a downs child and perhaps adult. It seems that McCain, regardless of other faults, has that same type of family integrity.

If you can visualize that Hillary could have been the nominee then why do you have a problem with Palin? Between the two, I would pick Sarah Palin over Misspeak Hillary any time for many reasons. YMMV.

Though not to be a major topic on TOD, I think the next election will be interesting and whoever wins will be in deep caca because all the “Peaks” that are happening (oil, financials, housing, frogs, bees, NPK, etc.)

But most of all, I am really concerned about today’s article about Artic Methane (raw or hydrated) coming out of the seabed or tundra. Several articles have suggested the climate may be at a tipping point and several million more tons of methane added to the mix will not be good. This subject is much more important than our varied prejudices about a coming election.

Reading a variety of threads around the Internet this morning, I've noticed a number of postings like Lynford's that glue Republican talking points about Palin to whatever topic is supposedly at issue. Lynford's contribution is not especially egregious in this respect: in other places, it's pretty clear that copy is being cut and pasted, probably by campaign operatives. Whether Lynford's on the payroll or not, however, his (or her) version of concern trolling has the aroma of Rove about it.

If I were a right-winger, I'd certainly prefer Palin to Mrs. Clinton for ideological reasons--she's a Creationist, a global warming denialist, and anti-environment, after all--but I hope that I'd be clear headed enough to acknowledge, at least to myself, she was selected as McCain's running mate based on a deeply cynical calculation and not because any body on the planet thinks she's fit for the job. Well, the fundamental principle of modern conservatism is that the ends justify the means. If you can torture human beings with out a second thought, you aren't going to lose any sleep over putting a bubble-headed ninny a heart beat from supreme power for tactical political advantage.

And, of course, there are no major biologists who have any use for intelligent design. Intelligent design is entirely comparable to the belief that the Earth is flat.

Present your evidence that McCain is more qualified to lead the USA.

First: I am retired, not retarded. I can see the obvious though you may not. I said it will be interesting ... and it will be.



What is amazing to me is that one guy (Obama) out of the 4 persons vying for the President and VP jobs publicly acknowledges the economic mess the USA is in. You have a majority of Americans whining about the economy and then when an election is looming their focus goes to Abortion/Evolution? You could make the argument the sheeple deserve McCain/Palin.

the sheeple deserve McCain/Palin

I never understood the logic of saying the victim "deserved" his or her bad outcome (they "had it com'in to them", as a mobster might say).

So you mean that if you load a yellow school bus with a bunch of Downs Syndrome children (including Palin's new baby) and drive it over the edge of a cliff, they had it com'in to them because they were dumb enough to get on the bus in the first place?

No. They were trusting.
And whoever did the bad (evil) thing to them took advantage of their unwitting trust.
What's this "deserve" stuff?
Where is the ownership of the evil act done by the evil doers to these undeserving trusting souls?


That is the key word. And destroys your analogy. Down's Syndrome children are unwitting. The people you are talking about are not. They are making ideological choices and/or allowing themselves to be manipulated rather than get off their arses and learn something.



We are all unwitting.
None of us made as many "choices" as you would like to believe.
How many of us chose our genes? How many chose the make up of our brains (limbic shell, reptilian core, etc.)? How many of us chose the family that raised us from infancy on up and implanted our "values" into us? How many of us knew back then what we know now?

The people who fervently support McCain/Palin are indeed unwitting ... and I don't hold it out against them. They can't help being what they were raised to be.

Do they "deserve" to have a President Palin appointing the next Supreme Court Justice? I don't think so. But it can happen nonetheless. The people to blame are the few who wittingly engineered this situation for their own self gain.

This subject is much more important than our varied prejudices about a coming election.

Glad to hear you went into combat to permit the population to exercise their prejudices every four years.

Not sure why you see the methane story as critical. If it comes to a choice between creationist science and evolutionary theory I think we should come down on the side of science every time.

The fact that we can get a couple of tons of airframe into the air by burning a few pounds of JP-4 really calls the entire gravitational theory into question too. Or are you too prejudiced to agree?

During the Korean War (1952) the military went to the colleges around the country: "If you are 19 and have two years of college, and you can pass the psyco-motor and physical tests, we will give you a jet to fly, guns to shoot and all the gas you want to burn."

In 1952 there were no commercial jets.

Of course I volunteered the day after my 19th birthday. I was the youngest cadet then 2nd lieutenant of that time period. And yes, I burned a lot of JP4. You would be amazed that telephone poles look like a picket fence at Mach .8 when flying down a RR track about 10 feet AGL. I flew fighters and bombers and sat on alert for years and had a "Hardship Tour" in Athens Greece :-). When I made L/C they wanted my body in the pencil palace at Omaha so I got out with 20 years service (1972). I have done more since then than most. I am 75 now.

If any of you have a problem with that ... stick it ... but Vaya Con Dios

I have no problem with any of that. Great story.

All the best for a continued long and productive life. Just stay AGL.


But I understand there are several major biologists who don't have a clue why certain phenomenal conditions exist in species without some sort of intelligent design.

I would be interested in hearing the names of these major biologists. By major, I presume you mean biologists who have lots of peer-reviewed papers and are well-known in their fields and not guys like Michael Behe whose is merely known for his ideas and books on intelligent design.

I saw a poll from a few years ago that suggested 99.86% of biologists and geologists accept the theory of evolution as best explanation for the fossil record and the diversity of life. But that means there is still about 1 in a thousand who doesn't. They make lots of noise, and are trotted out by Creationists at every opportunity. But there is not controversy in the scientific community on this issue (controversies only exist on details and mechanism).

Reality is not determined by popularity (even though the culture would like to convince us it is). Go back to e.g. 1808 and see what 99.86% of biologists believed. The premise is that those guys were ignorant and these guys aren't. Maybe. Maybe not.

That's what the Creationists would have us do: Go back to 1808. There was no Theory of Evolution in 1808. But once it was established and the evidence laid out, it quickly became the predominant paradigm. And one thing science doesn't do is revert to a prior paradigm once the evidence overturns it. Yet this is exactly what Creationism would like to do.

True, but IMO a more credible position is to accept that the Theory of Evolution, obviously superior to the Creationists' story, is still rather weak. There seems to be an obstinate stance that the choice is A or B-neither is just not an acceptable choice. IMO this viewpoint puts the Evolutionists and the Creationists in the same philosophical camp-I know the answer and and I don't want to acknowledge any info that might cause me to change my opinion. That is the antithesis of the search for scientific knowledge IMO.

On the contrary, Brian, I would argue that the case for evolution is immeasurably strong, even if it has taken a few rather Lamarkian twists lately.
This is hardly the forum to debate that issue though., whereas Palin's support of teaching creationism in schools is at least tangentally relevant, since she may become VP, or even Preesident.

The public school system in the USA is a joke. Typically, rather than address this, the focus turns to Creationism/Evolution, just elevating the joke to absurdity.

There is not a single unified public school system in America. Control is still pretty dispersed, various efforts by the US Congress and the US Dept of Education notwithstanding.

As for how well these various schools perform: The only way we are going to know is measure the IQs of the kids and then measure how much they learn. Unless we can control for intellectual potential we can't measure how well kids are coming to achieve their intellectual potential.

There's a tendency (especially on the Left) to blame poor school performance on teachers, school administrators, educational theorists, and a lack of funding. But unless kids are measured for intellectual ability a lot of this blaming is basically unproven speculation.

As for teaching evolution: Most people aren't smart enough to understand the evidence. Of those smart enough to evaluate the evidence few get enough training to be able to do so. So I tend not to be so hard on people who believe Creationism. They are wrong. But they mostly can't help it.

True, but IMO a more credible position is to accept that the Theory of Evolution, obviously superior to the Creationists' story, is still rather weak.

Perhaps I misunderstood your position. Are you saying that the evidence which supports the theory evolution is weak? If so, I would be interested in seeing the peer-reviewed articles which support your supposition.

Classic. My authority figure can beat up your authority figure.

I think he is just asking you to support your contention that the evidence is weak. I am quite familiar with the evidence, and I believe it is compelling across multiple disciplines. Which piece do you think is weak, and why? No PRATTS (points refuted a thousand times), please:


Robert: Surprisingly, I don't have any peer reviewed articles to support my contention that Darwin's theories have holes. The site you linked deals with Creationism-you can keep that one also. IMHO the weakest part of Evolutionary theory is the lack of acceptance of a universal "intelligence" driving evolution. You don't logically start with a dead rock and end up with all this through randomness or the sheer passage of time. I realize my viewpoint is extremely unpopular on this site (both camps are more similar than they realize) but it appears obvious to me. IMO there are finite limits to the intelligence of any primate (including the human variety) and this subject is way beyond the monkeys.

Evolution is not a theory. It is an observed fact.

Natural Selection is the currently dominant theory of how evolution works.

Guided Selection is how breeding is done in domestic animals and plants with desired traits being selected for in matings. I have not heard of any instances of speciation resulting from this, but I am not a specialist in the field so I may have missed a paper or ten.

Genetic Engineering goes beyond Guided Selection and involves the direct manipulation of the genetic structure of an organism, usually by implanting genes with a known function from a different group of organisms.

Intelligent Design "Theory" is a philosophical stance that the observed fact of evolution is itself in error and that life as it exists on Earth is the direct result of the actions of some External Intelligence (the source of which is conveniently left ambiguous for the reader to fill in).

If I missed any specific theory or practice there, please enlighten me. I'm all ears.

You don't logically start with a dead rock and end up with all this through randomness or the sheer passage of time.

Evolution involves descent with modification. It starts with a self-replicating molecule. How that self-replicating molecule first came to be has nada to do with the Theory of Evolution. That is abiogenesis, itself a topic rich with research, but with no good answers.

Creationism is fundamentally unscientific because once it gets stuck on a point it can't explain it reverts to a metaphysical explanation. Creationists will continue to assert the metaphysical explanation until scientists, who haven't taken the "easy way out," resolve the issue. At that point the Creationists must concede the point (or not, depending on how dogmatic they are) and then stake their claim that God is playing a role at the new boundary of knowledge.

When coming from a scientific point of view, the explanations stay within the physical realm. If there are no good explanations, then it's valid to say, "We need more research and/or creative ideas to explain what's going on." But they don't say, "Well, since we don't know how the heck this enzyme is doing its job, it must be God." This is what Creationists do in essence. At best it's what I would call lazy thinking. Richard Dawkins would call it delusional thinking, and there may be something to that.

Creationism is not science for at least this reason and, in my view, many more and thus shouldn't be taught in science class, as someone noted above.

And if you think that the theory of evolution is weak, I assert that you simply haven't done enough research on it. It's supported by so many disciplines now that the evidence is, to me, overwhelmingly in favor of it.

Besides, I think Bertrand Russell pointed out something very valuable. He said that, as a point of logic, not all religions could be true because they contradict each other. They can, however, all be wrong.

And that is the view I operate from: all religions are invented by man. The one any particular person believes is statistically a function of the network of conversations the person was born into, not whether it is "true" or even that the person carefully studied his options and picked the religion he thought was most useful to him.

This long winded diatribe isn't a reply to my post. Your disdain for religion is great-congratulations. It has nothing to do with what I said. The weakness of Evolutionary theory doesn't support religion-this simple fact appears to be impossible for obstinate Evolutionists or Creationists to comprehend.

My apologies if you think I have disdain for religion. To me religion is just another aspect of the universe and certainly adds spice to this thing called "being human." It isn't good or bad per se, but like many creations of man can produce both good and nasty consequences. (Just checking: you don't think deer or crocodiles have religion, do you? You do know that it's a uniquely human phenomenon that is possible only because we have representational (i.e. symbolic) language?)

And it's unfortunate you don't see value in what I wrote; I think I distinguished one of the fundamental differences between science and religion that this thread seems to be inquiring into. In my view, that one distinction has the power to cut through all the noise, including your assertion that the theory of evolution is "weak." If you don't think it moved the conversation forward, so be it; perhaps someone else will pick up the thread.

To me it really depends on how you want to look at things. Imagine this:

The purpose of all science is to create some kind of equations. When different fields of science merge, the equations themselves tend to merge, too. Just think of Maxwell and electromagnetism, or Stephen Hawking and GUT.

Philosophically speaking, the final goal of science should be finding one equation that explains it all. However, the equation would explain us, humans, too. And our thinking. And our search for the equation -- thus making it non-independent. In other words: such an equation could also be the cause for us NOT to find the soultion... or be misguided in our search for it.

Furthermore, if we found that ONE BIG EQUATION (or theory) we still can call it God. After all, it makes everything happen... just as God would.

So to me there is no debate in this at all. Just different ways of looking at the same thing.

Now... Creationism is dumb in its present form... that much I admit.

I have learned lots of biology and (bio-)chemistry.

I have a fairly easy time 'believing' evolution on the macro-scale. However, it is REALLY hard to envision biochemical evolution.

A Hungarian scientist, Ganti has this chemoton-theory. I'm familiar with it and it is a fairly good theory. But the odds are... I dunno.

Still, not a Creationists vs. Science issue to me. Just a misunderstanding of the terms. One can be a scientist and still believe there is a bit more to it than chances. Think Einstein.

OK, I wont be continuing this. It's fairly off topic after all.

The weakness of Evolutionary theory

I asked up-thread, but I'll ask again. What weakness?

Since we are discussing scientific theories, I do not understand your how you could construed my desire to see scientifically validated information as somehow an "appeal to authority".

Classic. My authority figure can beat up your authority figure.

But, since you seem offended by peer-review, how about just listing the areas you think demonstrate the weaknesses of the theory of evolution?

There is no need to be un-gentlemanly about this; I am honestly interested, and will try to give your objections as fair a hearing as I can. At the least, we can just agree to disagree and no hard feelings. As Tom Jefferson said, "your beliefs do me no harm; they neither pick my pocket nor break my leg."

I'm trying to determine why many have a problem with the idea of intelligent design. While science has been doing a bang-up job explaining the physical universe (ignoring for the moment that many scientific theories get completely overhauled periodically as new tools and observations become available) I've never seen or heard of any evidence that science has ever created any life in the laboratory.

The day scientists can take some molecules and make some dna and wrap it in the appropriate proteins, go out and plant it in the ground and a few months later harvest some corn, then I'll be ready to reexamine my belief in intelligent design. I'd be very interested to hear if anybody here actually thinks that could happen. To believe in evolution, as I understand it, means not only could scientists do such a thing but it actually happened by chance with nothing more than random shuffling of molecules, a bit of energy and the magic ingredient of time. Lots and lots of time. I can't buy it.

Scientists have synthesized DNA from "molecules" and turned that DNA into viruses that replicate just fine. No problem for me to imagine that Mother Nature and some time couldn't have done the same. Who made your intelligent designer, anyway?--evoking some mythical entity just generates another question that needs answering.

Besides, scientists are human, and most humans are able to breed at some point in their lives. Creating life is a very common miracle.

Creating life is a very common miracle

More like a common mistake! Spend some time in a "family" restaurant. :)

Hi, Freeman.

My post above explains why I don't subscribe to the intelligent designer hypothesis. Every time the Creationists find a reason God is required, wait a few years or decades and the scientists demonstrate why He isn't required.

After several centuries of this game, a pattern seems to have emerged with Creationists having to let go of each of their examples one by one. I'm not familiar with what Utah points out, but it doesn't surprise me -- it's exactly what I would expect.

On top of that, I think everything is made up by man, especially religions. It's a very Buddhist view: everything apart from direct sensory perception is a "story" made up by a combination of the creativity and fundamental mechanics of the human mind.

The concept of "god" is, to me, no different than any other concept the human mind can conceive. It has different consequences than the concept of "table" or "sunrise" but it is, fundamentally, just another neural pattern in your and my brain.

Even my response to you now is just another neural pattern firing in my brain. It has no more meaning than your concept of god, unless of course I give it that meaning.

And THAT is the ultimate in taking responsibility -- the responsibility for every meaning your brain makes, regardless of its source. Examining those meanings has given me endless enjoyment and insight -- and quite a few surprises.

The neural pattern firing in my brain sympathetically resonates with what you are saying (I agree with most of it).
Touche on the virus creation bit. I didn't know and it gives me much to ponder. I googled "synthetic life" and caught up on the state of the arts.

I'm unlikely to let go completely of the notion of intelligence behind the manifestations of reality. Having "evolved" from being raised in a fundamentalist family to attending seminary in a fundamentalist university to rejecting virtually all fundamentalists views and then spending 25 years exploring alternative theistic viewpoints has led me to the point that I know that I do not know.

By the way I am appalled at the behavior of many "Christians" in this era. The support of the war in Iraq by Christians that I know personally sickens me. I guess Jesus forgot to explicitly say "Thou shalt not commit genocide on your neighbor country just because thou covets his oil reserves."

"Everyone wants to go to heaven, but nobody wants to die to get there"

The day scientists can take some molecules and make some dna and wrap it in the appropriate proteins, go out and plant it in the ground and a few months later harvest some corn, then I'll be ready to reexamine my belief in intelligent design. I'd be very interested to hear if anybody here actually thinks that could happen.

And if the intelligent designer will appear before me tonight and explain how he/she did it, I might reexamine my belief that intelligent design is a waste of science time, which we are already faring poorly at against the rest of the world. I'd be very interested to hear if you actually think that could happen.

I once had this discussion with a German colleague. I explained the controversy to him. He thought I was pulling his leg until I went to the Internet and showed him some Creationist articles. Of course Germans teach science in science class.

Hi, Robert -

It appears to me that you have served your time in the trenches doing battle with some hardcore creationists. And I applaud you for doing that, as the last thing we need to do is to embark on a new Dark Ages. But the debate regarding evolution theory is not that simple or straightforward.

You obviously have a great reverence for what you refer to as 'peer reviewed' scientific literature. I don't mean to offend you, but I think this attitude is a serious blind spot. The term 'peer reviewed' is just another term for professional consensus, and consensus is often just a fancy name for going along with the crowd. At various points in time, no less than Einstein, Kepler, Galileo, and even Darwin himself did not pass muster regarding peer review. What would you have thought of them at the time? So peer review per se gets very few points in my book. It is a little like fashion.

I would like to get into the question of how the established scientific community handles 'anomolous evidence', i.e, inconvenient but legitimately obtained data that just doesn't seem to fit in with the prevailing theory(s). I think this is a VERY critical question, because there is a whole sh*t-load of anomolous evidence languishing out there, and its deliberate avoidance shows the self-serving filtering process that too often passes for scientific objectivity. I maintain that there IS such a thing as scientific dogma, which is often no less constricting than the various forms of relegious dogma. If you're an ambitous young academic, then if you know what's good for you, then you don't make things awkward for your boss. There is a serious feedback mechanism at work here. Those areas that are favored get funded and studied, those that aren't don't.

Now here's the question that bothers me: how much anomolous evidence must be obtained before a given branch of a scientific community is forced to acknowledge that something might be wrong with the prevailing wisdom? How much data must be collected until the 'outliers' are taken seriously? How long do we ignore contradictory evidence just because it doesn't fit in with the models that were constructed upon older data and upon which whole academic careers were built? Is the process of generating academic scientific literature truly 'scientific'?

Empiricism has its strengths and it has its weaknesses, but it can never be totally neutral. He who is the gate-keeper of the validated data controls the scientific debate. It cannot be denied that there are vested interests in maintaining the scientific status quo. (Clue: prestige, money, power, ego, vanity, etc.)

Having said that, I am neither a Darwinian nor a Creationist, but rather a person trying to keep an open mind on the subject and one at least receptive to considering ideas that don't quite yet fit in with the received wisdom. There is much we do not know.

There are trainloads of anomolous evidence out there.

How is it treated? It is recorded. Many graduate students looking for something interesting to do for their doctorates trawl through what they can get their hands on and look for something that is interesting enough to investigate. They try to reproduce it. If they succeed it is a reproduced result, no longer anomolous, and they try to explain it.

If reproduction of the result fails, they note that and move on.

Too many failures to reproduce results and the anomolous result is written off to some non-obvious experimental defect and graduate students pass it over for more interesting items.

That is how it is handled.


I agree with what R4ndom says above. In addition, your point that:

He who is the gate-keeper of the validated data controls the scientific debate. It cannot be denied that there are vested interests in maintaining the scientific status quo. (Clue: prestige, money, power, ego, vanity, etc.)

is true in many instances, but eventually the "old guard" dies off or retires. Sometimes the old guard is simply kicked to the curb by overwhelming or especially compelling evidence.

A couple of past examples in geosciences being plate tectonics and the catastrophic floods in the Northwest during the last ice age.

Another thing to consider is that there are a lot of different science pubs. out there and many of them are interested in controversy and their editors often don't like each other.

As one who lost my younger sister to cancer less than 14 months ago, I can identify with a lot of what joule has said. The experience has shaken my belief in what is referred to as "modern medical science" to the very core. When one looks at the investment in time, money and materials that has gone into modern medicine it sort of brings to mind Kunstlers assertion that suburbia wont be relinquished readily because of how much has been invested in it.

When money and greed are mixed with science I begin to mistrust the science. I, for one, have come to believe that health is largely a function of a persons diet. "Sure", you say (here goes another nutter), but I have seen enough "evidence" to convince me that "modern medical science" does not want to go there. Neither does the industrial agriculture complex (IAC) and the packaged food and beverage industries. If you've never heard of Dr. Frederick Klenner M.D., here's a guy who treated some 60 patients with symptoms of the onset of polio during a polio outbreak back in 1949, before the days of the polio vaccine, without having a single one go on to suffer the effects of polio. For more on Klenner and his work, you can look at the following two web pages or just Google him.


Then there's the issue of vitamin D and it's effects on health. Who is going to tell us "if you want to be healthy, go out in the sun"? By the way, don't use sun screens since, they block the beneficial UVB radiation that's necessary for converting cholesterol to vitamin D in your skin. If you can, it's better to limit the extent of your exposure to a few minutes at a time depending on how light skinned you are. Incidentally, that information is not going to make anybody a dime and could save lots of people a bundle.

The book "The China Study" exposes the so called balanced diet as a crock o $#!t, a fabrication of the IAC, designed to sell more wheat, corn, eggs, milk, poultry, meat and whatever the IAC can "manufacture". It seems we can get by on a lot less of the stuff in a balanced diet than we are lead to believe and one need look no further than the obesity epidemic that is overwhelming the homeland of the IAC.

To get back on topic. It makes you wonder about the "science" surrounding alternative energy (wind/solar), alternative transport options (electric cars/electrified rail/inland waterways) and biofuels. Are there vested interests suppressing positive developments? For example, IIRC, Chevron bought the rights to the battery that powered the Toyota RAV4 EV and there is a fair amount of speculation regarding the motives for the ownership of battery patents by an oil company.

It all makes you wonder doesn't it? So yeah joule, I'm with you on the funky science and embedded interests thing.

Alan from the islands

there is a fair amount of speculation regarding the motives for the ownership of battery patents by an oil company

A little bit of knowledge is all it takes to bust up your conspiracy theories. Sorry IslandBoy, but patents are public, published documents available for all to see. There is no such thing as a secreted away patent for a technology that will save "us" and destroy "them" economically.

There are no secret "battery" patents. Repeat, there are no secret "battery" patents. Every one of them is out in the open.

Ah, but patents can be used to frustrate people who wish to develop products based on them. Hence if I own a patent on a basic NiMH battery that is fraught with problems preventing it's adoption and you try to improve on it, can't I sue you for patent infringement? Then having sued you, I do nothing with the patent, just threaten to use it on anybody else who tries to improve my idea?

Alan from the islands

many scientific theories get completely overhauled

Yeah, those pesky scientists actually accept new information that contradicts their existing ideas. Then they have the gaul to advance new hypotheses which incorporate the new data. Wouldn't it be nice if religions could do the same?

I've never seen or heard of any evidence that science has ever created any life in the laboratory

I don't think that scientists need to recreate the conditions set forth by a theory in order to validate it. Various forms of secondary evidence would be sufficient. No one expects physicists to make a big bang in order to prove that the universe began with a big bang...background microwaves are acceptable provisional proof. Likewise, geologists could hardly be expected to demonstrate greenstone tectonics in order for it to be a valid hypothesis. Besides, just because we lack a scientific hypothesis for some phenomena does not then require that we accept divinity as the causal agent.

I'm trying to determine why many have a problem with the idea of intelligent design.

I am guessing that you mean intelligent design as a hypothesis for explaining the existence of life, the universe, and everything?

Besides the fact that intelligent design does a poor job of matching the evidence, the notion of intelligent design is not falsifiable. There is no way for me to prove that there is no intelligence. I can show you reams of data which seem to show the absence of action by any "intelligence", but absence of evidence is not the same as evidence of absence.

By its very nature, scientific ideas must be formulated in a way which allows them to be disproven; you cannot parse intelligent design in such a way. Unless you can define intelligent design in such a way that I can test it, intelligent design is not a scientific hypothesis. Indeed, this is the major difference between the proponents of intelligent design and scientists; scientists try to disprove their hypotheses(and failing that their colleagues will do it for them).

It seems to me that you are requiring a level of certainty and evidence that no religion or religiously-motivated creation theory(or I.T.) could meet. Why don't you apply the same evidentiary requirements to intelligent design? Show me the intelligence. If you can't, then you are expecting me to accept your arguments on faith.

Besides, successful theories don't just explain the past, they allow us to make prediction about things we have not observed or which haven't happened yet. Intelligent design tells us nothing; nothing except that we are naughty for not believing in God.

Intelligent design tells us nothing; nothing except that we are naughty for not believing in God.

I didn't follow this logic. First, if by some hypothetical methodology intelligent design was proven to be true I think it would tell us something. Second, removing the idea of intelligent design from the frame of traditional Christianity could create an opening for something other than guilt. At least that's true for me.

what you just spent a whole paragraph describing is the strategy called 'god in the gaps' in which the id'ers and creationists just point at flaws or area's which we lack information at the moment as proof god exists.

And I would submit that the belief that science can fill in those gaps would be also an example of faith of a different type. Would that be true irony? Faith in the ability to destroy any remaining rationale for faith.

Besides, I think Bertrand Russell pointed out something very valuable. He said that, as a point of logic, not all religions could be true because they contradict each other. They can, however, all be wrong.

I've never read Bertrand Russel, but that exact same idea, once it took root in my brain, played a large part in my eventually being agnostic on the whole topic. I cannot think of a greater waste of time than to debate religion. There is no flipping debate! The whole point of freedom of religion is to not have to! Do what you want! Believe what you want! This wanting to turn others to your way of thinking is the surest sign that one, while religious, is about as spiritual as a rock.


This isn't about going back to Creationism. Creationism was manufactured to prepare us to go back to Theocracy. The signs of that theocracy are springing up all around us in America and abroad. 14th Century minds armed with 21st Century nukes.

The Creationists exist for only one mission - secular power.

Did all life on earth start from one cell? It must have, but where did that cell come from? I think that is the big question.

Let us stipulate that God created the first cell. But that says nothing about the reality of creationism. The question is, how was man created, not how the first cell was created. And why is this so important? My guess is that people's faith is so flimsy that they are afraid that the bible is not literally true. If the bible is not true, then their whole belief structure disintegrates.

This isn't about life, it is about how man and the various creatures and plants came to be on this earth. Let us at least understand what is being debated.

The question is, how was man created, not how the first cell was created.

I think you're right about that. I suspect most people wouldn't really care if evolution by natural selection created plants, and all animals except man.

This isn't about life, it is about how man and the various creatures and plants came to be on this earth.

No, I think it's really man that's the important part. Like Carl Sagan said...they want a fence around Homo sapiens with a sign that says "Natural selection stops here."

IOW...it's another flavor of exceptionalism. We're special. We're different. We're not animals.

Perhaps not surprising it's so popular here in the US...

OTOH the other camp says we are simply intelligent apes, however our primate limitations don't apply when it comes to this subject-in fact, we figured it all out over 100 years ago. One could conclude that on TOD there is only one true Son of God-Charles Darwin.

I'd say it's more "render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's." There are some questions science can't answer, and if you need those questions answered, that's where religion comes in.

But this is a science-based site, make no mistake. If you're looking for a site that will give Creationism equal time, you're in the wrong place.

I don't know what it is about this topic-I must have written 10 posts this day stating my disinterest in Creationism, religion or any other old wives tale, yet any criticism of Darwin automatically prompts the Creationist insult. This one is a very sore point-probably shouldn't be discussed.

One could conclude that on TOD there is only one true Son of God-Charles Darwin.

That seems like a silly line of reasoning.

If I understand you, you are suggesting that, because Charles Darwin showed a process which could explain the variety of the biological world without resorting to a divinity, he is therefore the son of God to those who think evolution explains reality?

Dude! That is so messed up! Maybe this is more about you?

The first cell is a mystery. That's all I would stipulate. If it makes someone more comfortable to believe it was created by an unfathomable being, I am ok with that. All I'm saying is all life that exists today, including humans, dogs, iguanas, maple trees, monarch butterflies, influenza, is a direct descendant of that original cell.

Some people can't live with the implicit uncertanty of science. They have to have something or someone to BELIEVE in.

Humans evolved in a dominant male social system. The need for a "Big Monkey" to believe in is in our genetic structure. However, some humans brains have evolved enough to transcend the need for such belief.

I think you are right about the uncertainty of science...its "fluidity" is anathema to some people; they just want the answer and they don't want that answer to change. Likewise, I have found that some people need an answer and any answer, however implausible, will do. That there might be no answer, or that the answer may be unknowable, is deeply disturbing to them.

Your "Big Monkey" sounds plausible, but I hope you are wrong.

The Creationists exist for only one mission - secular power.


"If This Goes On—" is a science fiction short novel by Robert A. Heinlein, first serialized in 1940 in Astounding Science-Fiction and revised and expanded for inclusion in the 1953 collection Revolt in 2100. One of his Future History series, it recounts a future theocratic American society, ruled by the latest in a series of “Prophets.” The First Prophet was Nehemiah Scudder, a backwoods preacher turned President (elected in 2012), then dictator (no elections were held in 2016 or later).

Dear Robert et al: Please read the whole thing because it is near the bottom of the article and references that the beef will be found.


A part that bother me is:

"If we are nothing more than the sum of chance, impersonal law and environment, then we are not free and responsible individuals, endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights. Because we are not free, we are not responsible; so, paradoxically, we can do whatever we "want." (Hello Me Generation ... and he continues ...)

"Some understood this implication early on, including the authors of a criminology textbook published in the 1930s: "Man is no more 'responsible' for becoming willful and committing a crime than the flower for becoming red and fragrant. In both instances the end products are pre-determined by the nature of protoplasm and the chance of circumstances."

This is just one writing that I had no problem finding with Google.

To Hell with a Creator who restricts inalienable rights to those required by a bunch of slave-raping plantation owners to give them overwhelming advantages over someone like me.

To Hell with a boss who claims he has overwhelming advantages over me because he is better at obeying his Creator than I am.

I am not responsible because millenia of our bosses have used our labor to build a maddening maze that controls every aspect of our life, our thoughts, and our faith. That is the Creation, our own work. The need to keep expanding that labyrinth has exhausted us of our resources, required that we be dumbed down so we don't question the project, and weakened its own foundations to the point of crumbling. If we don't keep expanding it, we reach a dead end.

Some pursuit of happiness.

Our cultures and values are competing evolutionary strategies, and all of them eventually will fail. If we refuse to use our evolved intellects to critically dissect those values then we will follow our indoctrinated path blindly to that failure. That's how faith blinds us. The competition itself is insane because faith allows no alternative to absolute victory - fine when you're just stealing one continent from its natives, but suicide when imposed on an entire planet of people of many faiths just as strong as ours. To stick our head out of the maze we must admit there is an outside; that we can tear down the walls of the maze; that we can build something else instead.

I have been following the discussions on religion on this site, and I find them to be, shall we say, interesting - for a number of reasons. There are evangelical Christians who believe in both peak oil and anthropogenic global warming, and who thoroughly grasp the evidence for both. These Christians thoroughly reject the Religious Right and the disastrous marriage of religion and American patriotism. These Christians believe that the Bible condemns the actions and policies of the right wing elites who now rule the West. Their faith, intelligently and rationally considered and based on their understanding of Scripture, moves them to protest against the rape of Third World countries by disaster capitalists, the consolidation of mass media in the hands of a few rich vested interests, the use of religion to promote an oppressive and racist agenda in the West (particularly the US and other Anglophile countries) and the destruction of the environment, to name a few. There are evangelical Christians who are sorry that George W. Bush has been president of the US for the last eight years, and they have no intention of voting for John McCain. These people are doing their best to live simply while helping their neighbors. They don't speak in tongues, they don't all pray for new Mecedes-Benz's and THEY DON'T TRY TO IMPRESS PEOPLE BY SHOUTING BIBLE VERSES IN ALL CAPS!!! (Okay, that last part was a joke.)

The error made by some on this site is that they assume that all Christians are some sort of Elmer Gantry/Dobsonesque/"God, Guts & Guns" caricature, when the truth is that there are many Christians who are just as disgusted by that caricature as most of you. Consider Mark Cizik, who as president of the National Association of Evangelicals defied James Dobson and issued a statement calling for strong action on climate change. He is by no means the only environmentally aware person with religious beliefs. The problem is that some who attack the caricature go on to imply that all Christians fit the caricature; then when someone tries patiently to explain otherwise, he is overwhelmed by a flood of emotional negative responses. No one can accuse me of posting anything online that defends the Religious Right or the Republicans or the present corporatist order, or that denies the truth of the problems we are facing.

Some posters on this site made the same error regarding the African-American community, when the "Congress of Racial Equality" issued a statement dismissing talk of climate change as a mere tool to keep people poor. I remember some posters thinking that if CORE made such statements, African-Americans would, as a monolithic, homogeneous bloc reject belief in anthropogenic climate change. I can tell you, such is not true. I know of at least one African-American who does not take CORE seriously (he is the person typing this post;) ).

In the words of Rodney King, "Can't we all just get along?" We've got a huge mess on our hands. Regardless of your particular religious beliefs, I am grateful to the many of you who have educated me on Peak Oil and climate change and have informed lifestyle decisions made by me in the bare nick of time - if there still is time. That's good work and you should be proud of it.

Because we are not free, we are not responsible; so, paradoxically, we can do whatever we "want." (Hello Me Generation ... and he continues ...)

Of course if God knows all that was and will ever be, there is also no free will. After all, it would be impossible for me to make a choice that he doesn't already know. I can only choose what he has already foreseen my choice to be.

Or, as I like to tell people, my atheism is God's Will.


Creationists are much more likely to believe that global warming is impossible or irrelevant. Palin seems to be one of the latter. So that matters.

Creationists are much more likely to believe in abiotic oil ('cause the Earth's only 6000 years old!). So that matters.

Palin wants to outlaw abortions for everybody else. So that matters.

More importantly, the entire point of the Far Right's machinations since 1968 is to convince Americans that the government can't make things any better, which leaves everything in the hands of the corporate empire.

The corporate empire needed to burn an infinite amount of fossil fuels to enrich its barons quickly while throwing enough goodies at ordinary citizens so they wouldn't notice their government was being bought out and their brains were being washed out. Thus government could not be used to stop ecological suicide.

Now we are living in the consequences of this plan. War for oil, energy crises, a quadrillion-dollar speculative bubble, a fantastic increase in economic inequality everywhere, a Christian crusade to subjugate the world at gunpoint, an America that tolerates torture and surveillance and government-partnered media.

Tell me how Palin is not a product of this agenda. She is exactly the kind of person who will blindly follow business as usual into a welcome Armageddon. 40 years ago she would have been laughed off the stage. Now she's lauded for her "normalcy". She has admitted she doesn't know what the Vice President's job is or what is going on in Iraq. So how can she believe that our bosses are burning up the planet for one last big killing?

At least I can present my arguments and evidence about these things to Barack Obama, all of them at once, and expect to teach something. How many minutes will it take for Miss Congeniality's eyes to glaze over because I've crossed too many of her faith's red lines?

I think this discussion on creationism as it relates to Palin is germane to this board and said so on a deleted post this morning. Despite the deletion of my post, the discussion continues so I am a bit confuesed.

I didn't want it to eat the DrumBeat first thing in the morning. There's always more leeway later in the day.

That said...this topic is off-limits for tomorrow's DrumBeat. It's already eaten two DrumBeats. Let's give it a rest...at least for a few days.

Ok. The name of Darwin, and all he entrains, shall not pass unto the keyboard of the mac for at least two days.

Leanan = she who must be obeyed(or your posts might go missing!)


If I never hear that guy's name again it will be too soon-praise be to Allah.

OK, as you wish, but this very topic will continue to re-surface as long as this board exists.

Dogmatic religious 'belief' (in the USA, dogmatic religious belief = various degrees and flavors of fundamentalist Christianity)equals a blind denial of any science that crosses the believers' belief boundaries.

Ignoring and or subverting peer-reviewed scientific method (being intentionally redundant here) equals poor public policy and bad public and private choices leading to decreased quality of life, and eventually disaster for humanity.

Republicans (at least since Reagan) have been elected on the strength of numbers of a certain population of dogmatic fundamentalist Christians.

Republicans generally make poor choices that bode ill for humanity's survival, in comparison to Democrats (not that Dems are masters of wisdom on these choices either, but in general have a better grip than most republicans). Every time debate about real issues that threaten humanity and are subject to policies that could solve or mitigate them, Republicans produce bread and circuses and distract the sheeple masses with their favorite bright shiny objects: Here come the gays threatening the sanctity of marriage! All crime and undesirable behaviors would stop if only we had prayer and creationism teaching in schools! Look out, THEY are going to take you guns away! THEY hate America because they don't wear flag pins! WE need a strong defense against a scary world (read-print as much money as the contractors say they need and give it to them, No Questions Asked)! THEY won't drill our way out of foreign oil dependence! THEY will smother our businesses with all their Socialist Enviro-Nazi rules against chemicals that, after all, only harm a small number of people, maybe, right? Thank you for Smoking!

Of course this is all connected, and all relevant to the discussion and goals of TOD. I heartily second Super360's great comments above!

OK, as you wish, but this very topic will continue to re-surface as long as this board exists.

No, really? I never would have guessed...

Ignoring and or subverting peer-reviewed scientific method (being intentionally redundant here) equals poor public policy and bad public and private choices leading to decreased quality of life, and eventually disaster for humanity.

Discussion of the effects of Americans' beliefs about science are useful.

But just posting rants about, say, Palin being a creationist, just generate heat, not light. Does anyone with two neurons to rub together not know Palin's views on creationism by now? It's not news. And then debating creationism vs. evolution...why bother? People's minds are made up. They are not going to change their views. And people who come here looking for information on peak oil and energy shouldn't have to scroll through two pages of argument over creationism to find a comment about energy.

That said...I know this kind of discussion will arise from time to time. As ever, the way I deal with it is "What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas." Don't bring it forward to the new DrumBeat. Allow people to discuss other topics, at least for awhile, in the new thread. Continue the discussion with those who are really interested in the old thread.

Part of TOD is a conversation about the technical specifics about oil production and part is about "our future". As I contemplate the future for myself as well as the rest of planet given the background of declining resources I have questions about ethics and morality that bear in very real ways on my daily thoughts and actions. If I believe there is a God and that he cares about my fellow man, and he/she/it cares about whether I care, it makes a difference.

This is not easy, it really isn't. Wouldn't it be easier to just not care? I'm single, old enough to know I'll probably die before this situation becomes unbearable and have not left any children to face the future. This boils down to whether or not I care that when I burn a gallon of gas needlessly it makes survival harder for someone else on the planet.

There some who argue against the existence of God and would like to convince me. The day I'm convinced they better start watching their backside because I no longer have a reason to treat them in any other way than as a means to accomplish my ends, whatever they may be. I think there's been quite enough of that already.

What is truly unfortunate is the existence of many who espouse belief and behave in a manner that couldn't be more removed from any source of ethics or responsibility or higher ideals. It's enough to make an atheist out of anyone.

It is unfortunate if your own sense of morality and ethics is dependent on a God, who you believe may approve.
Some of us felt less than enamoured of the alleged morality ascribed to the Man in the Sky, when he allegedly at various times commanded mass slaughter.

If your morality is conditional on agreement with that superior power, then you have a Fuhrer,and have surrendered your own personal morality.

It is from objections such as this that Satan in 'Paradise Lost' attains his power to enchant.

It appears you are not ascribing any autonomous value to 'doing right because it is right', and that value is never higher than when it is in opposition to every decree of man and God.

Nothing wrong with teaching both evolution or creationism. Darwin is how the fire spreads, Creation is how it starts. Completely compatible unless you hate either science or religion in which case you're already convinced.

Palin is much better than us of gun owners could have hoped for, especially since the DNC now wants to return to its McGovern roots. Obama is afraid of AK47s in anyones hands other than his bodyguards and McCain picks a lady who probably owns several....classic. By the way, she's about for trashing the environment, she's just not a PETA "greenie". Conservationist have been around a hell of alot longer than the current evironmental movement and alot more respected too. The mooseburgers are a plus, she actually knows that food doesn't come from the grocery stores in cute little packages.

I wouldn't underestimate her, most mothers to be would have aborted the Down's child. The fact that she didn't and also has a son in Iraq means she understands sacrifice and "practice what you preach". Also means she's extremely tough. Calling her a "bimbo" is pretty silly.....I understand that some demoncratic figures are pretty homely (cue Madaline Albright, Janet Reno and Hillary photos) and require paper bags in public, but to judge the former Miss Congeniality by only her looks is to miss some of her greater attributes. She is very easy on the eyes though, even Putin would be smitten.

Another plus is unlike Biden or Obama, she is NOT another *^&%^%$ lawyer (read lying worthless weasel). Of course, she also might be against the rules since she actually seems to be a normal person, not a self rightieous blowhard (Biden) or the messiah in waiting (Obama).

Nothing wrong with teaching both evolution or creationism.

Which version of Creationism do you prefer? The Lakotas are going to want their version taught:


But the Navajos will want equal time:


Heck, we are probably going to have to cover all of these:


If there is any time left over, we will learn some science.

Teach all the major creatist myths all in a religious history class and teach Evolution in science class at the same time. There is nothing wrong with providing opposing views, to deny either side of this question is to deny some of the most fundamental beliefs of what it means to be human. If man is just an animal, then he answers to nothing but his sex drive and his stomach since in the end nothing else matters. Of course, mankind has always aspired to something more and religion has tried to provide the answer. One is how, one is why, 'nuff said.

That being said, the Dept of Education is a bigger mess than Iraq and I would be happy if the public schools teach ANYTHING worthwhile. I don't know what they teach these days, but its definitely not "reading, writing and arithmetic".

I have no qualms at all about teaching creation myths in an elective class on religion. But I will fight hard (and have) to keep it out of science class. In my previous life, before I started writing about energy, I debated Creationists and wrote articles on evolution. After receiving a death threat in which my name and address were mentioned, I dropped my name and started writing under a pseudonym.

I have debated a number of the big names, like Jon Sarfati of Answers in Genesis, Walter ReMine of The Biotic Message, and Fred Williams of Evolution Fairy Tale. Fred even threatened to sue me at one point over exposing some of his shenanigans. Then his lawyer advised that you won't win the lawsuit unless the other side was actually lying, which I wasn't:


I would say it definitely doesn't belong in science class. Some things you can prove, and others you have to take on faith.

Sorry to hear about the death threat. Reasonable people could put this issue to bed pretty easily but there are extremists on both sides which politicians are always more than happy to exploit.

I think alot the fuss about this one is caused by just plain vainity, ie who wants admit their grandparents were a bunch baboons...:-) Our current group of politicians (all of them!) leave little doubt though, a certain phrase involving monkeys and footballs comes to mind.

I use my writing class to "teach" both Creationism and evolution ... by debunking creationism first.

We learn about the Documentary Hypothesis concerning the creation of the bible creation narrative itself.

The belief is that Moses wrote the creation story himself inspired by YHWH.

The Documentary Hypothesis poses that the creation story consists of TWO creation stories that were knitted together by a late redactor, possibly Ezra.

IOW: the creation story evolved.

In fact, the whole bible evolved.

Mexico's state oil company, Pemex, has been unable to stem declines from its massive Cantarell field without access to foreign technology and capital. Meanwhile Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez has threatened to cut off oil deliveries to the U.S.

...TransCanada have proposed major new pipelines to transport Canadian oilsands production to the Gulf, but Enbridge will be the first to start direct deliveries into the lucrative market, with tanker shipments from Portland, Me., starting in 2010.

To help TOD readers understand where these pipelines are, here is a link to maps of some NA oil and gas pipelines:

Some NA Oil and Gas Pipelines

The first map shows the oil pipelines with the Montreal-Portland link clearly labelled. Also on this map you can see the routes for oil from Alberta to Sarnia ON. All western oil passes through the US to get to eastern Canada. Sarnia ON is separated from Port Huron MI by a river and there are very large refinery complexes on both sides. A lot of the numbers for the import/export of refined products comes from transfers amongst these refineries. A company might have plants on both sides of the river and just be adjusting production more efficiently amongst its own plants.

Also, the maps show sedimentary basins around NA. I'm not sure if they are totally accurate since I don't see any basins off the California coast where there is oil production.

Another thing that strikes me is that I don't see any sedimentary basins off the US east coast except in the north (near George's Bank?). If that is true, where does the "Drill, Drill, Drill" crowd expect to find oil?

As Food Becomes The New Oil, Russia Plans To Seize Control

With food prices rising and riots shaking regimes from Haiti to Egypt, a backlash is growing against global free markets. Governments from Moscow to Buenos Aires are moving to regulate grain prices, supplies and distribution. Like oil, food supply is becoming a strategic commodity that central authorities are keener than ever to command. Top producers including Kazakhstan and Indonesia have slapped total bans on wheat and rice exports, respectively, while Argentina and India have imposed prohibitive export tariffs. Russia may go further. The government is mooting a new state agency that would own Russia's 28 biggest grain elevators and shipping terminals, including the export terminal in the Black Sea port of Novorossisk. The idea, says analyst Tanya Costello of Eurasia Group, reflects an "emerging anti-inflation strategy of increased use of administrative and prosecutorial powers to suppress prices."

What garbage propaganda. Russia seizes control of ITS OWN production!? The writers of this piece are certainly morons and any readers that think this is credible information and not hate propaganda are too. Canada has a national wheat marketing board which does not allow individual farmers to sell their wheat on the open market. Russia is attempting to implement the same system.

Yeah, and it's from Newsweek...about as mainstream American media as it gets.

"In a nation where Texas' 23 million people account for more greenhouse gas emissions than all 720 million Sub-Saharan Africans, even small rates of U.S. population growth may have a disproportionate impact on global warming, said the UN's Haug.

While this is true, on this site - one dedicated to discussing a finite, critical and dimishing resource - calls to end US immigration are frequently met with (paraphrasing) "this is a world problem, stopping US immigration will not solve it". But most common of all, is that all the pundits and slide-rule artists say nothing about US immigration. An increase of 2 million a year (and it seems to keep rising in amount over time), with no end date in site is met with complete silence. Apparently they feel that while there will be a critical shortage of oil, it's really not that critical - a never ending stream of millions of people won't make it significantly worse.

I'm not sure who you mean by "pundits and slide rule artists."

Roscoe Bartlett takes a tough anti-immigration stance. And many others worry that if the Mexican economy crashes, illegal immigration will increase.

For now, though, the bad economy is getting a lot of illegal immigrants to "self-deport."

"Roscoe Bartlett takes a tough anti-immigration stance. "

Bartlett votes in an anti-illegal immigration way, but he voted in favor of increasing H1-B visas. In a quick google I don't see anything where he is against legal immigration. Hopefully I am missing something, because it is just astonishing to see the pundits talk about a coming decline in oil and not say a peep about coming increases in population. Makes you wonder if these people can do arithmetic.

"And many others worry that if the Mexican economy crashes, illegal immigration will increase."

We completely control illegal immigration. If we don't want it, it won't occur regardless of what happens in Mexico. Right now most of us want it and love to proclaim that "you can't do anything about it". That is the same canard spouted by pro-growth proponents in every city in America anytime someone complains that things are getting to crowded. In fact, people are so in favor of illegal immigration that illegals can hang out on street corners and at Home Depot just waiting for someone to come by and take them to a day job in their backyard.

A foreign visitor might wonder why, if illegal immigration is so much in favor in America, don't we just legalize it - quadruple or quintuple or more the amount of Mexicans that can come here each year. But people don't want that - that would mean these legal Mexican immigrants would have more opportunities and stay in their existing jobs for shorter periods and would expect higher wages and better working conditions from their employers. Employers love an always expanding workforce, but they love an always expanding illegal workforce which has limited job opportunities and lacks many rights of citizens - even more.

Your point has to do with the fact that a more affluent society uses more oil and energy. Thus, the transfer of people from a poorer to a more affluent country will result in an increase in the amount of energy consumed. It will also have negative impacts on the receiving country apart from the global impacts. Makes sense. On the other hand, it also poses an additional dilemma. One proposed method of attacking immigration is to help Mexico become more affluent. While this would probably cut down on immigration, it would increase our global problems.

How does the world become wealthier without additional impacts on energy use and GHG emissions? Thus far, I don't see this happening.

Anyway, I hear you but until we find a way to help countries like Mexico become more affluent, the problem will not be solved.

Legal immigration, while easily solved, has the currently insurmountable requirement for people to shake off years of indoctrination.

Illegal immigration is also easily solved. Just give long jail sentences to anyone who hires an illegal alien. After seeing their peers locked up businesses and individuals will decide it's better to hire legal workers. But in order to lock employers up you first need a situation in which most people - and particularly those in power - are against illegal immigration. Right now almost all people in power are for it and a majority of the citizenry are also for it. Which is why they persist in parroting the "no way to stop it" canard.

Check out this old WWII Goofy cartoon (Victory Vehicles - 1943) which discusses new transportation ideas during a time of scarcity and crisis. Enjoy some comedy relief as we approach our crisis.


that's amazing

Thanks Reveldevil - that's provided another 8 minutes of after dinner light relief for our next UK energy doomster gathering,