DrumBeat: September 10, 2008

Saudis Vow to Ignore OPEC Decision to Cut Production

VIENNA — Hours after suffering a rare setback at OPEC headquarters, where the cartel said its members needed to lower production to keep prices from sinking below $100 a barrel, Saudi officials assured world markets on Wednesday that they would ignore the decision and continue to pump as much oil as needed.

The marathon late-night session here illustrated the new pressures and power politics at play in the group that controls 40 percent of world oil production — and how ineffective the cartel can be. The meeting might be a harbinger of things to come, as OPEC faces its most difficult challenge in years: how to respond to falling prices in a weakening and uncertain global environment.

The Saudis made their strategy clear in informal talks and briefings with oil industry analysts and reporters, but as is their custom they would not speak for attribution because they did not want to appear to undermine a collective decision by OPEC that they endorsed publicly.

US oilfield deaths rise sharply

SNYDER, Texas - Less than two months into the job in the oilfields of West Texas, Brandon Garrett was sliced in half by a motorized spool of steel cable as he and other roughnecks struggled to get a drilling rig up and running.

Garrett's grisly end illustrates yet another soaring cost of America's unquenchable thirst for energy: Deaths among those working the nation's oil and gas fields have risen at an alarming rate, The Associated Press has found.

At least 598 workers died on the job between 2002 and 2007, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. During that period, the number of deaths per year rose by around 70 percent, from 72 victims in 2002 to 125 in 2006 and a preliminary count of 120 in 2007.

U.S. official urges EU to build one energy market

WARSAW (Reuters) - Linking up European electricity grids and gas networks would boost the continent's energy security and economic competitiveness and help reduce its heavy reliance on Russia, a senior U.S. official said on Wednesday.

"Europe does not function as one energy market... It needs to unbundle its energy companies and create one deep, liquid European energy market," Douglas Hengel of the U.S. State Department's economic bureau told Reuters in an interview.

Exec: American's US capacity reductions permanent

FORT WORTH, Texas - Despite the big drop in fuel prices over the last two months, domestic capacity reductions American Airlines has been making are permanent, Chief Financial Officer Tom Horton said Tuesday as he also suggested that the industry could see more consolidation in the future.

City plans to convert human waste to energy

SAN ANTONIO (Reuters) - San Antonio unveiled a deal on Tuesday that will make it the first U.S. city to harvest methane gas from human waste on a commercial scale and turn it into clean-burning fuel.

San Antonio residents produce about 140,000 tons a year of a substance gently referred to as "biosolids," which can be reprocessed into natural gas, said Steve Clouse, chief operating officer of the city's water system.

'Extreme waves' worry Australia

Australia's coastline is increasingly being battered by extreme waves that are driven in part by climate change, government scientists say.

Research has shown that bigger waves are bearing down on the coastline as severe storms become more frequent.

The waves could threaten communities with flooding and coastal erosion.

More of Gulf may open: Democrats are working on drilling bill

WASHINGTON — Oil and natural gas producers might soon be able to drill in the eastern Gulf of Mexico as well as along the Atlantic coast from Virginia to Georgia under an energy plan being crafted by House Democrats.

Democratic leaders Tuesday were still piecing together what House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., called a "reasonable compromise," with plans to bring the bill to the floor for a vote by week's end.

While details are still being worked out, the plan would raise taxes on the oil companies; force producers that benefited from botched lease agreements with the government to pay royalties; require electric utilities to generate 15 percent of their power from renewable sources; and provide loan guarantees to automakers to help produce more fuel-efficient cars.

Pelosi insisted the plan would "make America energy-independent of foreign oil within a decade."

Bolivian gas line explodes; protesters blamed

LA PAZ, Bolivia: The head of Bolivia's state energy company says a pipeline explosion has cut natural gas exports to Brazil by 10 percent.

Activists opposed to President Evo Morales are being blamed for the explosion. The energy company says protesters took over an energy plant and closed a valve, creating pressure that blew up the pipeline.

Government oil officials probed about illicit sex

WASHINGTON: Federal investigators say government officials handling billions of dollars in oil royalties engaged in illicit sex with employees of energy companies, and received improper gifts.

The alleged transgressions involve 13 Interior Department employees in Denver and Washington. Alleged improprieties include rigging contracts, working part-time as private oil consultants and having sexual relationships with — and accepting golf, ski trips and dinners from — oil company employees, according to three reports released Wednesday by the Interior Department's Inspector General.

OPEC Faces "Demand Destruction"

Less than two years ago, OPEC cut production by 1.5 million barrels a day to keep prices from slipping below $55 a barrel. Now Venezuela and Iran want the group to keep prices from dropping below $100 a barrel. They have tasted what $145-a-barrel oil tastes like just in July, and they thought it was good.

But the fact of the matter is that it's hard to imagine that the world can afford these prices for a protracted period of time. In the first seven months of the year, OPEC countries have received more revenues than they did all of last year. As many economists in the United States have noted, this is inflating the U.S. trade deficit, undercutting the U.S. dollar and sapping the economy of money that would otherwise have eased spending burdens of households or gone into badly needed savings and investment.

U.S. airlines not planning to cut fuel surcharges: Despite falling oil costs, carriers relying on fees until price is manageable

FORT WORTH, Texas - Although oil prices have dropped over the past few weeks, U.S. airlines have no immediate plans to reduce fuel surcharges that they tack on to the price of a ticket.

Most carriers have imposed several increases in their fuel surcharges — they range up to $170 per round trip in the United States and more for international flights — on top of fare hikes.

Fuel accounts for up to 40 percent of the budget at many of the biggest airlines, topping labor as their biggest single cost.

Report: Speculation drove oil market up, then down

Commodity index investors, blamed for record oil prices, sold $39 billion worth of oil futures between their July record and Sept. 2, causing crude to plunge, according to a report released today.

The work by Michael Masters, president of the Masters Capital Management hedge fund, blames investors who buy and hold an index of commodities for driving prices to records, and for their subsequent drop. It comes a day before the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission is set to discuss its own study of energy trading with a congressional committee.

Nuclear Distraction

The U.S.-India civil nuclear deal came one step closer to final approval over the weekend, as the international Nuclear Suppliers Group granted its imprimatur. Yet the controversy over the proposed pact remains as fierce as ever, not least in India. As a result, ironically, it's still possible the deal could end up distracting both sides from the hard work of deepening their relationship.

India: TN gets the stick for ‘excess’ use of power

The Madras High Court Wednesday ordered the State government to bring into force an exclusive policy on thrift usage of electricity and detailing guidelines for the public notice through advertisements on how to save power on a daily basis.

India: Energy sector expansion hit by tight money policy

Declining credit flow has forced energy sector companies in coal, petroleum and nuclear fuel to delay their expansion plans.

Calumet oil processing not hindered by Gustav

"If a refinery is not up and running, it's not able to refine oil into gasoline," she said. "That's why there is a shortage down there. There has been a huge drain of gasoline by the evacuees."

During hurricanes Katrina and Rita, Calumet's production was put to the test.

At one point in 2005, Calumet was the closest refinery to the Gulf Coast in operation.

"The thing that almost shut us down is the pipeline that delivers our raw crude oil shut down," Swaine said. "We almost ran out of crude. We came within 24 hours."

There are those who thrive amid Zimbabwe’s economic woes

HARARE, Tuesday - For Zimbabweans saddled with the world’s highest rate of inflation, the adage ‘necessity is a mother of all inventions’ strikes a familiar tune.

For outsiders it is mind boggling how Zimbabweans survive with inflation topping 13 million per cent, an unemployment rate of more than 80 per cent and average wages of less than US10 a month.

Yet on the pot holed streets of the major cities you see the latest top of the range vehicles and shelves at supermarkets in the poorest locations filled with imported food stuffs.

Zimbabwe Crisis Reports: Tobacco Farms in Ruins

Hinde said that the crop shortage was also down to a lack of government support and continued power cuts.

“The government hasn’t delivered the fertiliser and fuel it promised and electricity outages are hampering planting efforts. As a result, most of the tobacco farmers have planted late and you can’t plant tobacco after September 1 here, the yields will be hopeless,” he said.

Australia: Shortfall in power could be overstated

THE shortfall in power generation capacity raised by the State Government as the reason for cutting other capital works spending may be exaggerated - a number of power stations are on the drawing board even though the privatisation of state-owned electricity generators will not proceed.

The great honey drought

In 26 years of beekeeping, Ged Marshall has never seen anything as bad as the 2008 honey harvest. A miserable summer that has confined his bees to their hives following a winter bedevilled by deadly viruses means that production this year will be barely a third of its usual level of around five tonnes of honey.

Unfortunately for the nation's honey lovers and apiarists, Mr Marshall's experience is far from unique. According to the British Beekeepers' Association (BBKA), up to a third of Britain's 240,000 hives failed to survive last winter and spring due to disease and poor weather. The result is a drop of more than 50 per cent in honey production across the country.

Natural gas supply talks fall through between Iran, UAE

Iran and Crescent Petroleum Co., a United Arab Emirates-based oil and gas explorer, failed to reach an agreement to supply gas to the U.A.E. because they couldn't agree on a price, state-run Shana reported.

From a ‘halo’ car to an expensive folly

Once synonymous with power and brawn, the high-performance Dodge Viper was launched 16 years ago to show off Chrysler’s engineering prowess. These days, in the era of $4-a-gallon gasoline, the Viper is more akin to an expensive folly, and it looks set to become the latest victim of a new era of austerity at Chrysler.

Leadership for a Comprehensive Energy Roadmap: The First 100 Days - (Shirley Ann Jackson, President of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute)

International energy markets, trading schemes, and re-alignment of nations are emerging because energy consumption is rising exponentially — driven by population growth, swiftly developing economies, improving global living standards, and the burgeoning use of ever more energy-dependent technologies. It is not difficult to cite jaw-dropping illustrations of growth in energy consumption: e.g., each year, for the past few years, China has added 60,000 to 90,000 megawatts of electrical generating capacity — roughly the equivalent of the throughput of the entire electrical grid of England.

Consumption of nearly every major energy source is up markedly. If current trends continue, humans will use more energy, over the next 50 years, than in all of previously recorded history. Fossil-based energy sources, including coal, will remain a dominant part of the primary energy mix. In fact, because of demand, the market clearing price of coal, heretofore always plentiful and reliable, has doubled over the last year. We may only speculate on the effect of this growth in demand on the state of our planet’s environmental health.

Mexico to Raise Gasoline Price to Market Rate by 2010

(Bloomberg) -- Mexico will increase the price of gasoline sold by state-owned oil company Petroleos Mexicanos on a weekly basis until it reaches average international market rates in 2010, Finance Minister Agustin Carstens said.

Gasoline prices in Mexico will catch up with average market rates as the government gradually eliminates its subsidy, Carstens said in an interview on Televisa television today.

Just how scary is Russia?

From Georgia to boardrooms, Russia is flexing its well-oiled muscles. The rest of the world is justifiably worried.

Why does the Bush administration persist on provoking Russia?

America has two core parties, which are the only players with a real chance of winning the election (due to mass-media coverage of debates, etc). Both John McCain and Barack Obama are members of the think-tank the Counsel on Foreign Relations (founded by David Rockefeller, and Dick Cheney used to be its director), which are composed of the most influential of policy makers, determined for Socialist-styled globalism (world government), and have been influencing presidential administrations for decades.

There are many people in America opposed to this system and what it stands for, yet they are marginalized and silenced, and the debate that remains between the two candidates will be meaningless as they both ultimately stand for the same things: conflict, increased immigration/amnesty and increased government spending on an already broke budget- this was the essence of the protests. Not to mention the lack of will to do anything about the crimes of this present administration.

Tech's looming battle against rising energy costs

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the price of energy will continue to rise over the next 25 years, as global demand is poised to grow by 57 percent while the energy supply dwindles. As a result, businesses will find their profits reduced due to higher operating costs -- unless they do something about that energy usage.

Metal thieves steal radio tower

WINDBER, Pa. -- Police in Somerset County are trying to figure out how a radio tower went missing in Windber. Police say a group of people had a very thorough plan to get all 120 feet of steel and copper down from the old Windber radio tower.

Police believe the thieves threw cables over the guidelines of the tower and yanked it down with a truck. Police also found cut bolts and torch marks on nearby grass. Police say the tower had to be cut into small pieces in order to get it out of the wooded area, but they can't figure out how they did it without anybody noticing.

...The thieves also got away with a 300-pound Penelec transformer full of copper.

The radio tower hasn't been used for years, but the family who owns it was in talks with a company to use the tower to bring wireless Internet to Windber.

Armenia Shuts Down Nuclear Plant For Renovation

Armenia relies on the Soviet-built Metsamor plant, 30 kilometers (18 miles) west of the capital Yerevan, for 40 percent of its electricity needs. The European Union has pleaded with Armenia to close the ageing plant, which is in an area prone to earthquakes, and in 2004 offered to provide 100 million euros ($148 million) in compensatory aid.

But Armenian officials say their landlocked and resource-poor country cannot afford to do without the plant, which also provides electricity for export to neighboring Iran.

Mexico Investors Hurt as Calderon Fails to Loosen Grip on Oil

(Bloomberg) -- Mexican President Felipe Calderon has taken his plans to loosen the government's grip on Petroleos Mexicanos about as far as he can. It isn't very far.

US Congress presses for energy votes by October

Acknowledging that they have less than 3 weeks before the next recess, congressional leaders on both sides of the Capitol said they will bring energy bills up for votes soon.

The atmosphere was stormier in the House, where Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) still seemed far apart on their ideas for a comprehensive bill, than in the Senate, where Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) mentioned three bills he plans to bring to the floor next week and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) called for extensions of renewable energy tax credits and for expansions of Outer Continental Shelf leasing.

New York: Treadwell calls for home heat rebate, tax credit, and full LIHEAP funding

“The federal government must step and increase home energy assistance now to help individuals and families who will be facing severe hardships this winter,” Treadwell said. “Government has a duty to respond to people’s needs in a time of crisis, and with rising fuel prices, we know that families need assistance this year to heat their homes.”

Drill, Baby, Drill–If It Makes Economic Sense, That Is

So far, the Congressional “debate” over offshore drilling has been a lot of political sloganeering, from Republican cries of “Drill, Baby, Drill,” to blanket condemnations by many Democrats of any drilling proposals.

Lost in the shuffle, though, is the bottom-line impact of more offshore drilling. As Common Tragedies pointed out a while back, the “dirty little secret” of offshore drilling is that it would probably mean economic benefits for all Americans, even if it wouldn’t solve all of America’s energy woes. So the question becomes, how valuable are pristine beaches when oil and gasoline are much more expensive than a year ago? In other words, what are the real costs and benefits of opening up America’s coast to more oil exploration?

Lyrics: Country Star Aaron Tippin New Single 'Drill Here, Drill Now'

Country Star Aaron Tippin debuted his new single called 'Drill Here, Drill Now' on the Sean Hannity show today. Inspired by the American Solutin's movement, Aaron Tippin song 'Drill Here, Drill Now' is based off of the petition drive to get congress to approve of drilling for oil in America.

With over 1.5 million signatures on the 'Drill Here, Drill Now, Pay Less' petition, American's are making quite the effort to get more oil to American people. Aaron Tippin explains the reason he made the single was because he, like all Americans, are tired of paying $4 a gallon for gas at gas stations. Tippin feels this is the correct action for Americans to solve the oil/energy crisis in America.

Hirono calls for energy crisis solutions

HONOLULU (AP) _ Hawaii Congresswoman Mazie Hirono has joined small business owners looking for science-based solutions to the energy crisis.

The businesses are petitioning Congress to enact solutions to reduce the country's dependence on oil, solve the climate crisis, create jobs and leave the environment clean.

IEA cuts oil demand growth forecasts

LONDON - World oil demand will grow by less than expected this year and next due to high prices and weaker economic conditions, the International Energy Agency said on Wednesday.

In its September Oil Market Report, the agency lowered its 2008 world oil demand growth forecast by 100,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 690,000 bpd and also trimmed its forecast for 2009 global demand growth by 40,000 bpd to 890,000 bpd.

‘High prices are having an impact on demand,’ said David Fyfe of the IEA. ‘The OECD (countries) are feeling the impact.’

The IEA, adviser to 27 industrialised nations on energy policy, noted anecdotal evidence of a more permanent downward trend in demand in the United States, the world's biggest energy consumer.

These included a marked shift to more efficient vehicles, changing mobility and driving habits, signs that suburban living was gradually losing its appeal, the agency said.

OPEC agrees to surprise output cut, oil price rises

VIENNA, Austria - OPEC oil ministers agreed Wednesday to trim overall output by more than 500,000 barrels a day in a compromise meant to avoid new turmoil in crude markets while seeking to bolster falling prices.

The news sent oil prices rising. Light, sweet crude for October delivery rose 97 cents to $104.23 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

The OPEC announcement reflected the organization's efforts to cover all bases in an oil market that saw prices spike to a record high just short of $150 a barrel in July, only to shed nearly 30 percent off those peaks in subsequent months.

Anxiety about staying warm this winter spreads

HARRISBURG, Pa. - Homeowners already pinched by high food and gas prices have grown increasingly anxious about staying warm this winter.

At state assistance offices and at community organizations, phones are ringing off the hook as people seek help with what are expected to be punishing heating bills. Legislators and governors from Alaska to Maine are watching the gap between surging need in their states, and assistance that may or may not be coming from Washington.

To win the presidential race, it takes energy

Record-high prices for gasoline, heating and electricity and growing concern about global warming have pushed energy issues to the forefront of the 2008 presidential campaign.

Not since the gas lines of the 1970s has energy loomed so large as it does in the race between Republican John McCain and Democrat Barack Obama, says Kenneth Medlock, an energy expert at Rice University. And it's an issue that is unlikely to fade between now and November.

Separatists in Russia see hope in South Ossetia and Abkhazia

MOSCOW: Tatarstan is a long way from South Ossetia. Where South Ossetia is a poor border region of Georgia battered by war, Tatarstan is an economic powerhouse in the heart of Russia, boasting both oil reserves and the political stability that is catnip to investors.

But the two places have one thing in common: Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, both have given rise to separatist movements. And when President Dmitri Medvedev of Russia formally recognized the breakaway areas of South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent nations two weeks ago, activists in Kazan, the Tatar capital, took notice.

Russia: Chubais Predicts Energy Crisis in 2010

Anatoly Chubais, former head of RAO UES of Russia, is predicting an energy crisis in Russia at the beginning of 2010 if the rate of gas production in the country stagnates. He talked about this at the unveiling of his book Economic Notes, co-authored with Egor Gaidar.

There have been two cold winters in Russia out of the last seven, Chubais notes, and another one can be expected in 2010. Fuel oil reserves will be insufficient by that time, which could lead to a shortage of 7 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity. Electricity and heat can be generated, Chubais reasons, but technical limitations, such as the capacity of electricity generating stations and transportation complexities for fuel oil, hinder it.

Chubais suggests that the energy crisis of 2010 may be “substantial” and require evacuations from a number of cities.

Kyrgyzstan: Current energy crisis caused by oversized electricity export, Premier said

“The current energy crisis is caused by oversized energy export,” the Prime Minister Igor Chudinov said at the meeting with the Ak Jol People’s Party fraction in the Parliament today.

“It has started in 2004 when we drained 2bln cubic meters of water to provide electricity supply to Russia,” Chudinov said.

Saudi Oil Policy Unchanged By OPEC Decision, Official Says

Bloomberg) -- Saudi Arabia is not planning to reduce its oil production even as OPEC urged members to lower output and return to their official targets, a Saudi oil official said today.

There is no change in its oil policy and Saudi Arabia will supply whatever customers demand, an oil official of the country said today.

OPEC-Russia link will not affect consumers - Badri

VIENNA (Reuters) - Closer energy dialogue between OPEC and Russia should not affect energy consuming nations, OPEC Secretary-General Abdullah al-Badri told reporters on Wednesday.

Russia regularly attends OPEC meetings as an observer and was represented at Wednesday's meeting by Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin, who said he wanted to broaden cooperation with the producer group.

Indonesia to increase oil production next year

JAKARTA, Sept. 10 (Xinhua) -- The Indonesian government and House of Representatives have agreed to raise the country's oil production level to around 960,000 barrels per day, according to local media on Wednesday.

"The projected production level would be met by applying an exploration and refinery method that were more effective," the national Antara news agency quoted Indonesian lawmaker Harry AzharAziz as saying.

"The method is meant to minimize the declining rate," he added.

How to profit from falling oil prices

There frequently wasn't much to any of these stories, but unfortunately journalists can't just write "oil went up today for no particular reason", so they always find some reason for prices moving to stick in their market reports.

Yet in the last few months, we've seen some really quite worrying developments, both in geopolitics and in the weather.

The Agriculture Bomb

Our farm harvest is highly energy dependent. Food in the U.S. travels an average 1,500 miles to end up on your dinner plate. Nitrogen fertilizers are made from natural gas, insecticides are oil-based, tractors run on diesel, and plastic packaging comes from oil. Add in refrigeration and it may take as much as 1,000 calories of oil-energy to produce a calorie of food today, according to some estimates. In 1944, it took just one calorie of oil-fuel to make 2,300 calories of food (horses were still used on many farm fields back then, and they provided fertilizer, too).

So why not go back to horses? Because today's farmer riding a combine can do in hours what it would take days to do with a horse. Before the mechanical revolution in farming, about one-third of the U.S. population worked on farms, and it wasn't because they liked the fresh air. It was the only way to get things done and get enough food to feed everybody. If the energy crisis worsens — and I think it will — we'll face some hard choices.

Ex-Treasury chiefs see economy, energy as top issues

Two former U.S. Treasury secretaries agree that the next president will face extraordinarily complex issues, chief among them the struggling economy and America's ongoing energy crisis.

Long Beach aims to boost output from Wilmington oil field

SACRAMENTO -- Long Beach isn't waiting for Congress and the presidential candidates to do something about reducing America's dependence on imported foreign oil.

On the last day of the regular 2008 legislative session, Mayor Bob Foster got a bill passed by the Legislature to allow the state and the city to negotiate a contract with Occidental Petroleum Corp. to revive part of the 76-year-old Wilmington oil field -- once thought to be nearly tapped out.

6.1 magnitude quake hits southern Iran

TEHRAN — A 6.1-magnitude earthquake struck southern Iran on Wednesday near Bandar Abbas, site of a major Iranian oil refinery, the U.S. Geological Service said.

Norwegian gas pipe likely shut all winter -Statoil

LONDON (Reuters) - The leaking gas pipeline between Norway's Kvitebjoern platform and a processor at Kollsnes is not now expected to be repaired before next spring although quicker repair options are being looked at, an executive from field operator StatoilHydro said on Wednesday.

The company discovered a leak on the gas pipeline and closed it in August. It has been looking for ways to get it fixed and back into service for winter since then. But those efforts have not so far allowed Statoil to bring forward the repair work.

Pakistan - Power tariff hike to shoot cost of production: FPCCI Chief

LAHORE (APP)- Federation of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI), Wednesday said that hike in power tariff would cause increase in cost of production that would eventually lead to cut in export orders and badly hamper industrial production in the country.

Four-day school week an option

For school districts looking to save fuel costs, the four-day school week has become an option. As far back as 2003, more than 108 districts across the country held classes only four days a week, according to the National School Boards Association.

These districts are mostly in rural areas, but are spread throughout the country, including Arizona, Colorado, Kansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oregon, South Dakota, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

The concept dates back to at least the 1970s, when fuel prices spiked during that decade’s energy crisis.

Production photos of Chevy Volt show big changes from concept car

The production version of the Chevrolet Volt electric car is a small four-door sedan that bears no resemblance to the low, sleek, two-door sports coupe that Chevy exhibited on the 2007 auto-show circuit to drum up interest in the vehicle and boost General Motors' image as leaning green.

Official GM photos of the car were posted accidentally by Wieck Media, a clearinghouse for automakers' pictures, for just 12 minutes Monday. But that was long enough for them to be downloaded and published by thecarconnection.com and other online sites. The pictures were quickly "put back in the vault" as soon as GM noticed, according to Chevy spokesman Terry Rhadigan.

Cars converted to the future

The cluttered Advanced Vehicle Research Center garage, tucked in an office park, can accommodate two Toyota Priuses. Lately, the bay stays full. Demand keeps the cars rolling in for a makeover some say will become standard as the car industry weans itself off gasoline. In less than four hours, the mechanics at the garage can outfit a Prius with a second battery pack. It emerges as a hybrid that can plug into a wall outlet to recharge like a cell phone.

The result: A car that breaks a once-unimaginable fuel efficiency barrier and delivers 100 miles per gallon. The spare battery costs less than 75 cents to charge and gives the plug-in Prius about a 35-mile range solely on electric power, making gasoline optional on short commutes. Retrofitting Priuses has become a full-time occupation for the Advanced Vehicle Research Center.

State grants $4 million for ethanol plant

MADISON - Abengoa Bioenergy's $275 million ethanol plant is under way, with a little help from the state of Illinois in the form of a $4 million grant.

Britain pledges aid for Bangladesh at London conference

LONDON (AFP) - Britain pledged 75 million pounds Wednesday to help Bangladesh fight the effects of climate change, as the impoverished flood and cyclone ravaged Asian nation highlighted the need for billions of dollars.

Joining forces at a conference in London, Bangladesh and Britain called on nations to thrash out a new global warming agreement in Copenhagen next year to achieve a comprehensive deal to prevent rapid climate change.

OPEC has also announced that Indonesia has officially withdrawn from OPEC and joined OFPEC--Organization of Former Petroleum Exporting Countries. Do ya think?

Indonesian Net Oil Exports (EIA):

Our (Khebab/Brown) middle case has: Saudi Arabia joining OFPEC in 2031, Russia and Norway in 2025, Iran in 2029 and the UAE in 2037.


So WT, do we refer to the country of Indonesia as some obscure quasi Egyptian symbol? OK, seriously, this is final substantive proof to the ELM. Anyone reading TOD would see this as self evident.

As I've said before while I subtly chide you (only because you have an equitable wit), the ELM will probably be one of the most important resource/economic models developed in our era. The only thing keeping it from a Nobel will be it's intrinsic simplicity. Yet, E=MC^2 wasn't so tough either once you saw it...

Yet, you may live the curse of current genius. That curse is to be completely dismissed and marginalized until your name is an engraving on granite and then eventually the world wakes to the "Aha!" moment.

Take comfort in that you are not the first, nor the last.

And may I be so uncouth as to reply to my own reply!!

Didn't y'all read what Jeffrey posted, or were y'all too busy e'vacu-ate-ing. (Easy Bc_EE, you spent too much time it the Sawth).

At the risk of vulgarity, let me repeat, Indonesia has withdrawn from OPEC. If you are a fan or follower of technological and economic history, you are living the moment!

If I were allowed back in the U.S., I do believe I would be making a special trip to a certain part of Texas to shake the man's hand.

(Since you asked. Some take pride in getting kicked out of a bar, I got kicked out of a country. Damn! I'm good!)

Good on ya Jeff!

The IEA released the latest Highlights of the latest Oil Market Report this morning.

August global oil supply fell by 1.0 mb/d to 86.8 mb/d on North Sea maintenance, the BTC pipeline outage and lower OPEC supply. Non-OPEC output is revised by -180 kb/d for 2008 and by -85 kb/d for 2009, with hurricane outages impeding 2H08 supply. Non-OPEC growth including OPEC NGL is now 580 kb/d in 2008 and 1.56 mb/d in 2009.

If you remember last month the IEA had global supply up by 890 kb/d to 87.8 mb/d in July. The EIA numbers do not necessarily follow the IEA numbers exactly but usually the direction is the same. So look for the EIA numbers to jump for July but fall back even a little further in August.

The EIA numbers have non-OPEC supply, C+C, January thru June, down 430 kb/d verses the same six month period last year. There is no way will non-OPEC supply even be up this year let alone be up by 580 kb/d as the IEA says. Of course they are counting all liquids, not just C+C and they are counting OPEC NGL as part of non-OPEC supply. I don’t understand that fuzzy math but I suppose they have their reasons.

The last year that non-OPEC oil production was lower than this year was 2003. We have been an almost five year plateau since October 2003 when non-OPEC first passed 40.5 mb/d. That month, October of 2003, non-OPEC producers produced 40.715 mb/d. In june of 2008 non-OPEC production was 40.507 mb/d. It looks like non-OPEC oil production may fall off that 5 year plateau this year as the trend is downward.

Ron Patterson

they are counting OPEC NGL as part of non-OPEC supply....I suppose they have their reasons.

I believe the reason is that OPEC NGLs are not subject to production quotas.

Peak oil is a crude oil phenomenon and primarily a future serious transport problem.

NGLs have almost nothing to do with transport and IMO are included to deliberately cloud the already fuzzy statistical picture.

It's the same old problem that plagues discussion of oil/energy issues that I have railed against umpteen times. Things that are different can not be compared, added, subtracted, multiplied or divided. If they are the result is silly nonsense.

Those who repeatedly do this stuff can not be that stupid IMO. They have an agenda which benefits from it. There is financial gain in it somewhere for someone.

Watch the money. It is often oil money that is behind it as in the totally fallacious EROEI "studies" of ethanol by Pemintal et al. If ethanol can be slowed or stopped it decreases competition at the gas pump enabling price rises and increased refining margins.

Things that are different can not be compared, added, subtracted, multiplied or divided.

You keep repeating this mantra, oblivious to the fact that people multiply and divide different quantities all the time: what's a kWh? Well, it's what you get when you multiply a kilowatt (a measurement of instantaneous power) by an hour (a duration). Oh no! Two completely different things are being multiplied together. Forget the LHC, this act of wanton senslessness will destroy the universe. (I won't digress into the more mathematical areas where "adding" different kinds of things occur.)

The key point is that you've got to actually engage your brain and think about what these quantities mean (in particular a kWh is neither a kW nor an hour but something different), but that's not saying it's silly nonsense. Combine that with your obdurate lack of specificity about what you don't like about a specific calculation and I start to get suspicious.

"Things that are different can not be compared, added, subtracted, multiplied or divided. If they are the result is silly nonsense."


Miles Per Gallon.

Silly nonsense?

MPG, a ratio, isn't silly nonsense.

But directly comparing miles and gallons is silly nonsense - just like comparing NGLs and crude, they aren't the same thing and aren't used as alternates - a ratio of NGL to crude might make some sense and give insight though.

August global oil supply fell by 1.0 mb/d to 86.8 mb/d

I'm a bit confused reading just that same figure for demand:

The Paris-based energy watchdog said in its monthly report that global oil demand this year will average 86.8 million barrels per day, and 87.6 million barrels a day in 2009. Those forecasts were respectively 100,000 barrels and 140,000 barrels per day lower than the IEA's previous forecasts.


No, supply and demand always equal out. There is always a demand, at some price, for every barrel of supply. The price fluctuates to insure that supply equals demand and vise versa. What the IEA is really saying, or guessing at, is the total world all liquids production for 2008 and 2009.

But of course using the term "demand" instead of "production" makes a huge difference. If the IEA said they were lowering their projection for oil production, this would cause prices to rise. But if they changed that word to demand, this would likely cause prices to fall. But no one can deny that at years end, what oil was produced was also demanded. That is, they used it all.

supply and demand always equal out.

That wasn't the question, though. The question was whether it's a coincidence that the production figure for August was the same as the projected demand figure for 2008.

The answer, of course, is "almost certainly": demand for 2008 was going to be in the 86-88Mb/d range, and production for August was going to be in that range, so the odds that they'd both be the same number up to a tenth of a point aren't that bad. Even if they were both totally random numbers between 86 and 88, that chance would be 5%; as they're related rather than random, the chance is higher.

using the term "demand" instead of "production" makes a huge difference.

Of course it does - they're different things.

Demand and supply may always be equal, but one has to change to match the other, and which one is changing affects which way prices go. If current-price demand falls, then price has to fall to make end-price demand and supply match. If current-price supply falls, the opposite happens.

If the IEA said they were lowering their projection for oil production

They did say that:

"Non-OPEC output is revised by -180 kb/d for 2008 and by -85 kb/d for 2009"

How much money has it taken to stabilize the markets so far, this AM?

A hundred billion?

And I want the Inventory to show no changes this AM.
I really do. Like Gustav never happened.

Mark Haynes on A/D stocks:

The #'s: 1 to 25.

"These numbers are wrong, folks!"

Same over at Nasdaq.

"And yet the Dow is up 61 points."

"Let's move on." Exactly. ;}

What, are you saying the oil price is being driven by speculators? :)

It's surprising to see that oil use this year is still set to grow according to the IEA. I would have thought the higher prices and global recession would have lead to far less consumption. We're racing towards the downward side of the peak oil slope at a time when the world can least be able to cope with such a crisis given the credit crunch and general volatility.

The article about the russian energy crisis was very interesting, could it mean that at that point russia would stop exporting its gas to europe? That would be a major shock.

As far as I can tell, some of the reasons for continuing increases in petroleum usage may be:

  • below market rates in many countries
  • when someone is ready to join the middle-class and buy their first car, they may not know that $4/gallon gas is "expensive"
  • still no alternative with broad market availability

Other reasons...?

You use less oil, your standard of living drops.

Let's not forget that there are about 75 million people added globally each year. Even if most of them are in the 'developing' world, it's worth noting the 'ing' at the end of that label. And about 3 million of them are Americans (by birth or immigration) so there's nothing undeveloped about their energy demands, newborn or not.

Optimistic economic projections.


I agree that the article about the Russian (natural gas) energy crisis was interesting. If you look at BP's 2008 statistical report, for 2007, it shows the Russian Federation produced 607.4 billion cubic meters of gas and consumed 438.8 billion cubic meters, leaving a balance of 168.6 billion cubic meters. Exports are shown as 147.5 cubic meters.

Russian consumption is growing every year, and production for 2007 was down from the 2006 level. According to the Drumbeat article, some believe that future gas production will be level. This doesn't seem too surprising, given Russia's recent gas production history. Also, Russia's oil production seems to be declining. In the US, conventional gas production peaked in 1971, one year after oil production peaked. If Russia follows a similar pattern, its gas production (which I believe is conventional) will level out or decline as well.

I have been told that Russia is importing some natural gas, and plans to import more in the future. If this is true, it may delay the onset of shortages for export use.

The coincidental ties between Natural Gas production and oil production are amazing.

I'm still trying to grok why they would be closely tied. My best guess is obviously the search and technology used for extraction are similar etc.

From another view point partial substitution and maximum power leads to a sort of parallel maximum extraction result but this still does not result in any intrinsic reason for peaks to be near each other.

You even have a similar situation with coal and a whole range of extractable resources. This peak everything phenomena which seems to come out of some basic concepts presented on the oil drum which has no obvious reason for existing is amazing.

Whats really neat about it is that economic theory is based on supply and demand and substitution while the real world works in a different manner which makes in my opinion our basic theory of economics wrong.

Its partial substitution and the thermodynamic like concepts of maximum power which cause economic theory to fail badly in the real world. The underlying reason seems to be that serial substitution is the critical component required for traditional economic theory to work.

For example in a pure traditional economic theory we would have extracted all the light sweet crude globally then smoothly overlapped with lower grades of crude then on to natural gas.

The example often given is the move from whale oil to rock oil as whales declined which "proves" substitution.
It actually does not prove anything in the particular case most often cited drilling technology happened to have progressed enough to allow this substitution. Without it we would have moved on to vegtable oils.

Just rambling but this is the neatest and most perplexing result I've seen and it still not clear exactly why it works that related resources with fairly different resource bases peak about the same time.

Another factor in the coinciding "peak everything" phenomenon is the demand side---I mean the growth of population, fast, slow or in-between. When things are cheap (ie the 1950s or the Victorian era) people had big families, lots of kids, and they had them early. A quickly growing population uses up resources quickly and tries to find something else to use if one resource gets too depleted (and expensive).

Of course population growth figures in the Maximum Power Principal.

There is one great short story by John Updike called "When Everyone Was Pregnant" which is about the 1950s USA. "Life a common stock that fluctuates in value. But you cannot sell, you must hold, hold till it dips to nothing. The big boys sell you out." (Sounds kinda peak-oilish to me!)

But Updike's short story that contains a peak oil allegory is "The Orphaned Swimming Pool". (1969) A must read!!!!!!!!

From another view point partial substitution and maximum power leads to a sort of parallel maximum extraction result but this still does not result in any intrinsic reason for peaks to be near each other.

Yeah, I've been puzzling exactly that. I think it does relate to the maximum power; the pulse of civilization - if there is to be one - suggests that everything related will pulse on the same period, even if not the exact phase. At first that seems a bit far-fetched, but if not so, then the pulse would disorganize. I'd reason that a decreasing amplitude in one medium might increase the amplitude in another. [Can you tell that I'm way out over my head here?] That's what Odum seems to suggest.

cfm in Gray, ME

UK:No windfall tax: it’s energy-saving instead

Eleven million homes are to be given help to reduce bills in the biggest state-backed programme to modernise household energy use for more than 40 years.


I thought I had misread at first - the British Government doing something that makes sense....

Hey DaveMart,

I want to thank you and the many others who participated in the discussion on Monday’s DrumBeat. I didn’t take part but did read through all the comments. All I can say is: “Wow!” I really enjoyed the discussion and there were many thoughtful and original insights that helped me crystalize and articulate my own beliefs.

In response to your latest post, I would agree that, when it comes to looking for solutions to the twin problems of oil depletion and global warming, neither the extreme doomer nor extreme Cornucopian outlook is helpful. Granted, we need to acknowledge the problems. But at the same time we need to maintain sufficient optimism to continue working for collective solutions, not to throw up our arms in despair and head for the mattresses (and toss concepts like community and the common good to the wind).

I would also agree that the most favorable outcome will be acheived by a reliance on, as you say, the "full panoply of our technical resources."

As to your observation that history doesn’t give us much reason for optimism, I would agree but add that, neither do current events:

1) McCain and Palin seem to have become totally captive to the oil and gas industry and are promoting the fiction that the only thing we have to do is unleash the oil companies so that they can drill, drill, drill and the energy party can go on.

2) The search for effective solutions by Obama and the Democrats, on the other hand, has been coopted by their hunt for scapegoats and calls for useless punitive legislation. It's those evil speculators! It's OPEC! It's the big oil companies!

3) The Republican and Democratic stances have one thing in common, and that is they both rely on the fantasy that these problems have easy solutions, thus sparing the public painful choices and absolving us of any personal responsibility.

4) When only a 1% or 2% change in either supply or demand of oil can cause huge swings in the price of that commodity, it would seem rather obvious that the concepts of lasissez faire and "free markets" inherent in classical liberal economics (and the Enlightenment?) are disruptive to long-term planning. However, the political aparatus in this country also doesn’t appear to be up to the challenge, so any potential solutions imposed by the government also face great risk of failure. It seems we’ve worked our way into a corner--trapped ourselves in a tragic situation. If we can’t fix the disfunctional political aparatus, and the current prospects for that appear pretty grim, it looks like it’s lights out for the American Dream. (Have I become too infected with dommerism? After all, things have never come without a struggle, nor have they been unambiguous, as your example of Washington’s slave ownership so succinctly makes clear.)

5) The invasion of Iraq was a direct response to the looming oil shortages. To me this was the worst of all responses, even though it is understandable and perhaps even predictable given our long tradition of crusading militarism. And regardless who wins come November, I don't believe we’re going anywhere. We’re in Iraq to stay.

6) There is a strong resistance in our culture to deploying the "full panoply of our technical resources." As I attempted to point out in my essay, I believe this tendency has its roots in our long tradition of, and incurable infatuation with, Christian fundamentalism, which is antithetical to scientific materialism. I believe Sarah Palin to be fully steeped in this tradition.

7) The movement to Christian fundamentalism is exacerbated by the fact that scientific materialism is itself in crisis. Not only does it risk failure on its own terms—on its promise to provide ever increasing temporal comfort--but it faces another crisis, alluded to in Monday’s discussion, and set out here more concisely by Jacques Barzun:

As things stand, despite the conscientious work of the many trained minds, the reports of “science” on a wide range of subjects are contradictory, equally publicized, and the laity cannot decide what to believe: global warming, radon in the soil, agent orange, additives to food, genetic tampering (and the energy situation, I might add)—an intelligent opinion about them cannot be formed. And when there is evidence that business and politics affect more than one “scientific” pronouncement, gone is the confideence in science felt and voiced in the 19th century.

Jacques Barzun, From Dawn to Decadence: 1500 to the Present

We now face challenges unique in our national history. Things were undoubtedly a lot easier when the prospects for expansion—geographically, technologically and economically—seemed limitless. But now that the “rising tide that raises all boats” may be receding, it makes for some difficult, but nonetheless fascinating, times.

I agree it was a fine debate, and unusually free from any animus or personal reflection.

The situation is much as you describe it in America, but perhaps on this occasion it is unlikely to be a leader or of preponderant influence and indeed it is likely to be a laggard.

Chief among these reasons is that America simply has better and more varied energy resources than anywhere else.
In many places the full panoply of available technologies is already being deployed at rapidly as possible.
China, Japan and France are leaders in this respect.

A second reason which echoes your comments is that in place of the religion of science, a role which it was never going to fulfil adequately since it is concerned with the how not the why, many in the West have moved to something very like a religion based on an Earth-mother like figure, or a concept of ecology and sustainability which is quasi-religious.

Of course, this does not mean that there are not very good and sound reasons to evaluate processes and technologies in relation to resources, but there is also considerable movement by some beyond anything which is rationally demonstrable to a faith-based system, where you have inherently 'bad' things, as against 'good' ideas, such as the idea of non-growth, which some hold to be good whatever the state of current human development.

The idea that causes me most difficulty is that there is some sort of reasonable standard of living which can be reached by fairly large numbers of people based on power down, as from everything I know about history if there is any major number of deaths and drastic drops in living standards then people will fight, and fight with everything they have, so we would have trashed planet big-time, and no chance of peaceful existence for some remainder powered by windmills and whatever as the infrastructure needed for that would no longer exist.

So for me medium-damage scenarios seem the most unlikely, with either pretty successful muddling through or an almost total wipe out the likely options - just as well, as I was not cut out to be a rugged survivalist, my idea of hardship is if a third crumpet is not available at tea-time.

I just happened to recall one example from recent U.S. history that would seem to argue against our shared pessimism. Frederick Lewis Allen in Since Yesterday writes extensively about the changes brought about by the greatest economic tsumani ever to hit the U.S.:

If in the year 1925 you had gone to a cocktail party in New York attended by writers, critics, artists, musicians, and professional men and women interested in the newest ideas...you would probably have heard some of the following beliefs expressed...

That reformers were an abomination and there were too many laws...

That the masses of the citizenry were dolts with thirteen-year-old minds...

That America was such a standardized, machine-ridden, and convention-ridden place that people with brains and taste naturally preferred the free atmosphere of Europe...

If after a lapse of ten years you had strayed into a similar gathering in 1935 you would hardly have been able to believe your ears...you would probably have heard some of the following beliefs expressed or implied:

That reform--economic reform, to be sure, but nevertheless reform by law--was badly needed, and there ought to be more stringent laws.

That the masses of the citizenry were the people who really mattered, the most fitting subjects for writer and artist, the people on whose behalf reform must be undertaken.

That America was the most fascinating place of all and the chief hope for freedom; that it was worth studying and depicting in all its phases but particularly in those uglier phases that cried most loudly for correction; and that it was worth working loyally to save, though perhpas it was beyond saving and was going to collapse along with the rest of civilization...

"What has happened in these ten years?" you might have asked. "Have these people got religion?"

They had. The religion, of course, was not the religion of the churches; one of the few points of resemblance between the prevailing attitude of such a group in 1925 and its prevailing attitude in 1935 was that at both times its members were mostly agnostic if not atheist. What animated these men and women was the secular religon of social conciousness... Deeply moved by the Depression and the suffering it had caused; convinced that the economic and social system of the country had been broken beyond repair, that those who had held the chief economic power before 1929 had been proved derelict and unworthy, and that action was desperately needed to set things right; wrung by compassion for the victims of economic unbalance, these men and women no longer set such store as formerly upon art as art. They wanted it to have a social function...

It's interesting to note this was also a period which marked more friendly relations with our southern neighbors. The Monroe Doctrine, which had pretty well defined relations with Latin America since 1823, was replaced with Roosevelt's "good neighbor policy," which translated into respect for the inner workings and local solutions in each of the Latin American countries.

As for why the rich of 1935 were different than in 1925, I defer to General W. Sherman, in his 1864 memo to his superiors on how the Army should deal with the classes of the conquered South. He said that the plantation owners should be faced with pure dictatorship, and that they would accept it and do business with it. What American elites faced in 1932 was the actual possibility of a revolution and dictatorship. The poor held a gun to their held and a miraculous change in attitude occurred. When that gun slipped from the grasp of their grandchildren, the grandchildren of the rich reverted back to 1925 attitudes, eagerly.

Sounds like a speech Sydney Smith gave to the English Parliament in 1829 in favor of the Reform Bill:

The talk of not acting from fear is mere parliamentary cant. From what motive but fear, I should like to know, have all the improvements in our constitution proceeded? If I say, Give this people what they ask because it is just, do you think I should get ten people to listen to me? The only way to make the mass of mankind see the beauty of justice is by showing them in pretty plain terms the consequences of injustice.

When only a 1% or 2% change in either supply or demand of oil can cause huge swings in the price of that commodity, it would seem rather obvious that the concepts of lasissez faire and "free markets" inherent in classical liberal economics (and the Enlightenment?) are disruptive to long-term planning.

Not necessarily. The present market is nowhere near free. Political fashion tends to incentivize certain types of investment, while at the same time, companies operate in anticipation of government subsidization of losses. In a true laissez faire economy, bankruptcy has the air of finality. The current market is founded on externalizing everything as someone else's debt (which may never need to be paid). If you pollute a powerless group's land while mining, they're the ones who suffer reduced prosperity and are effectively indebted by the future cost of remediation. On a larger scale, the developed nations are injuring the undeveloped nations with excessive greenhouse emissions. Note that early 20th century American capitalists (like Thomas Edison) apparently were concerned about running out of oil and coal, because in their economic models, this would be disastrous. In modern times, you reduce costs by externalizing misery to your grandchildren and violating the rights of the less powerful. In a truly free market, we would have to pay much higher costs for unsustainable practices, provided that the owners of certain natural resources were informed of the likely costs and chose to continue to live relatively simply rather than selling out. The failure of a laissez faire economy lies in man's poor conceit of omniscience. Provided that the long term risks are known, a free market should adjust to avoid calamity.

I think Nate Hagens the other day said that if 10.0 earthquake was going to hit Los Angeles in two weeks (and if this event could be predicted with certainty), no one would evacuate. Modern economic activity is very much like Hagens' caricature of Angelenos. We just sit there, minding our own business, and expecting someone to bail us out just in case the catastrophe those scientists are warning us about is much worse than we're used to.

"In a truly free market, we would have to pay much higher costs for unsustainable practices, provided that the owners of certain natural resources were informed of the likely costs and chose to continue to live relatively simply rather than selling out."

Sounds like you are proposing merging surface rights with mineral rights. IMHO a good idea, I've never understood the historical basis of this, either you own the land or you don't. Given that owning mineral rights allow you to do all sorts of things like pollute/drain the aquifers, rivers downstream etc it would seem fair to force companies to look long term effects. 1000acres anywhere isn't worth a dime if all the water has mercury or lead.

Regarding your LA comment, I stumpled across this .


Miraculous survivors: Why they live while others die

"Survivors tend to be independent thinkers as well. When hijacked planes hit the World Trade Center during the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, hundreds of workers were trapped in the towers. Gonzales says security told many of them to stay put and wait for rescue.

Most of those who heeded the directions from security died, he says. Most of the survivors decided to ignore security protocol. They headed downstairs through a smoke-filled stairwell and didn't wait to be rescued.

"They were not rule followers, they thought for themselves and had an independent frame of mind," Gonzales says."

Bottom line: Think for yourself and don't wait for someone to save you.

IMO that is a pretty good analogy for post peak USA.

Sounds like a class system to me.

Market enthusiasts live in a fantasy where I have a billion bucks and don't use it to create permanent advantage for myself. It is simply a matter of time before such advantages become codified.

Now if we were living in 500 AD, the government had just collapsed, in effect all services had been privatized including personal security, and the leaders of the biggest warrior tribes were building stockades and demanding protection money from the local peasants against the other warrior tribes, would that be called laissez faire? You and I know that would calcify into feudalism because of the imbalance of power between warlords and peasants. At the time, though, it was a market transaction.

So who today is preparing to seize permanent advantage?

Which is exactly why I'm not an anarchocapitalist. Unless you're perfectly self-sufficient and self-defensible, there are no voluntary market transactions.

Francis Wayland back in the 1850s explained feudalism in this way, "A people given up to their base passions will agree to be enslaved if they only may be protected." I think it's the general principle behind most political systems.

Your comments reminded me of those of the Mexican writer Carlos Fuentes:

Our percepton of the United States has been that of a democracy inside and an empire outside: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. We have admired democracy; we have deplored empire.

When you write that the "current market is founded on externalizing everything as someone else's debt," is there really anything novel to that? It seems to me that maybe the only thing to have changed is who is who is considered to be on the "inside" and who is on the "outside."

Maybe since the ruling class of the U.S. has ran out of places to colonize outside its borders, it must now look for places within.

My post peak career plan is to the be the gunsmith for all the local militias. I figure making bullets and fixing guns will be a growth industry for long time as every one reaquires their ancestor's skills in self defense and hunting. Does that count as permenant advantage?

If the primers, nitro-powder and brass every run dry in my lifetime, I'll switch to making swords from rifle barrels. Not likely, but its good to have options. Of course, this is a fast collapse/Saudi-nuked scenario. Otherwise, just muddle through and keep the powder dry.

Permanent advantage is built on the possession of a decisive weapon. No matter how we gush over the brawling skills of our Celtic and Dane and Saxon ancestors, they all submitted in time to the class that could provide cavalry - either marching behind it, or falling before it.

That cavalry class formed the Roman Senate before it formed the baronial houses; but cavalry was absent in Classical Greek warfare. There it was the bulk of infantry and oarsmen that was decisive; a city-state had to empower a lot of males to survive; and thus countless experiments in popular government began.

Churchill blamed the horrors of mass warfare he witnessed in WW1 on "technology and democracy". When mass-conscription armies with mass-produced rifles ruled the day, the government had to honor the ordinary prole at least in principle. Clearly that day has passed.

Right now, there is no decisive weapon that we dare use. The US in Iraq is attempting Orwellian techno-tyranny to crush resistance, but even if it works, no one will be able to afford it post-crash. The suggestion box is open.

In my mind, this is one of the few, perhaps only, benefits of Peak Oil, money etc...the Orwellian techno-tyranny will die in its infancy, otherwise who knows how far it might have gone... This is also one of my main reasons for opposing any government based carbon-tax, the enforcement doesn't have an end and eventually leads to a police state. It also won't stop those who don't care, and punish those that actually care about it.

One of the reasons the Japanese still have a phobia about firearms is because it equalized the peasent with the samurai on the battlefield and disrupted their whole society. Hence their long standing ban on personal firearms, even though their culture values weapons (swords).

"When mass-conscription armies with mass-produced rifles ruled the day, the government had to honor the ordinary prole at least in principle. Clearly that day has passed." Close air support rendered the rifle obsolete in modern warfare, except as a first contact/personal/house to house weapon. Not to forget, motorized resupply allowed such things as full auto and the Kills per Bullet to drop to a ridiculous ratio since spray and pray is now common. Guys such as Churchill would freak.

I don't see motorized or horse calvary coming back in our lifetime (50+years) simply because alot of the breeding stock will be eaten if people are hungry. Fast collapse, of course. Slow one, well who knows where we'll wind up. We might even go back to where government has to honor its citizens.

Just a few quotes from the CADRE Digest of Air Power Options and Thoughts, Air War College, Maxwell Air Force Base:

If a man's trust is in a robot that will go around the earth of its own volition and utterly destroy even the largest cities on impact, he is still pitiably vulnerable to the enemy who appears on his doorstep, equipped and willing to cut his throat with a penknife, or beat him to death with a cobblestone. It is well to remember two things: no weapon is absolute, and the second of even greater import--no weapon, whose potential is once recognized as of any degree of value, ever becomes obsolete.

--J.M. Cameron


When offensive weapons make a sudden advance in efficiency, the reaction of the side which has none is to disperse, to thin out, to fall back on medieval guerilla tactics which would appear childish if they did not rapidly probe to have excellent results.

--General G.J.M Chassin


If a nation values anything more than freedom, it will lose that freedom; and the irony of it is that if it is comfort or money that it values more, it will lose that, too.

--Somerset Maugham

How true, so you keep your eyes open and if the Fates come calling, you do your best and hope your family stays safe.

Quotes Back at you, from the master himself.

"The police cannot protect the citizen at this stage of our development, and they cannot even protect themselves in many cases. It is up to the private citizen to protect himself and his family, and this is not only acceptable, but mandatory.

Safety is something that happens between your ears, not something you hold in your hands.”

Jeff Cooper, Lt Col USMC, Founder of Gunsite Institute, http://www.gunsite.com/, a true Renaissance man in the tradition of Hemingway and TR, RIP, wish I would have known you.

Oh boy I knew I could count on you guys. It's tough waiting for the next War Nerd essay to appear.

Obviously like jrc9596, I have a political agenda in who I want to see gain the upper hand in warfare, so I'm not an unbiased observer. One day jrc9596's favorite militia and my favorite militia may contest the matter in the ruins of America. It's kind of like being an Iraqi in March 2003; you are already willing to kill to make sure your side rules the land after the Americans screw up, but your side hasn't formally come into being; and you haven't really stopped to think that it might require murdering your neighbor.

While we wait, though, I would like to argue for a type of warfare that got its history cut short along with that of the bicycle by the rise of gasoline: bicycle-equipped troops. I read a book about it long ago that got me to thinking about the advantages modern all-terrain bikes would have in certain situations.

Since I have been working on and off on a novel about just such a future civil war, I've had some time to think about the infantry squad of the future.

Two kids.
Two folding all-terrain bikes.
A pit bull.
A small radio-controlled robot.
A grenade launcher (specifically a Burlington Rocket-Assisted Weapon - it's cool).
A general-purpose machine gun firing 6.8mm ammo.

The RC robots would be thrown together from toys made in China and would only function until things got too primitive. The dog is based on something I'd heard about the Finnish Army using skiiers with dogs. The grenade launcher and GPMG are the biggest things kids could tote around on a bike.

As for why they're kids, well, you'd have to read the book.
But I'm thinking about a very, very large army. Interesting things happen when a new form of war is suddenly standardized across many troops. When monarchs try to stabilize their social system, they create rules for war and promise not to topple each others' thrones. Armies become bureaucratic, specialized, expensive and slow. Often they incorporate indifferent mercenaries. Then revolution comes and hungry, angry men ask "Why should we fight the King in the open when we can ambush his supply lines for dinner?"

I think one of those times is coming, no matter what Bob Woodward gushes.

And this from Tolstoy's War and Peace, which sounds eerily similar to our "conquering" of Iraq:

...incomprehensibe as it may be that the defeat of an army--a hundredth part of a nation's strength--should force that people to submit...

An army wins a victory, and at once the rights of the conquering nation are increased to the detriment of the defeated. An army suffers a defeat, and at once a people loses its rights in proportion to the magnitude of the defeat, and if its army suffers complete defeat, the nation is completely subjugated.

So it has been (according to history) from the earliest times to the present day...

But suddenly, in 1812, the French win a victory near Moscow. Moscow is taken, and after that, with no further battles, it is not Russia that ceases to exist, but the French army of six hundred thousand, and then Napoleonic France itself...

The victory did not bring the usual results because the peasants Karp and Vlas and the whole vast multitude of others like them, did not bring their hay to Moscow for the high prices offered them, but burnt it instead.

You may find that General Winter played its part as well.

All those cheap, white-metal uniform buttons that turned to powder over one night of very deep frost. (legend has it that 50,000 woke up dead the following morning).

Its hard to wield a sabre when you are trying to hold your pants up.

1812 was one of the most severe Russian Winters ever.

And of course stupidity played its part. Nobody in the Grande Armee thought to bring winter horseshoe nails, except of course the Polish contingents.

God only knows how the Italian contingents fared.

Scroll down and click on the awesome chart of Napoleon's army strength from the beginning to end of his Russian campaign:



The article discounts the Winter of 1812. Several contemporary commentators suggest it was very severe. I would expect French accounts to over-emphasise the Winter (even a mild Russian Winter would be fearsome to most Frenchmen). But the Polish, Lithuanian and Prussian survivors suggested a winter of more than usual ferocity.

Certainly it caught the Grand Armee on the hop.

Perhaps the deep frosts came early that year, catching them on the march home.

>>'Ten years after the debacle, a Prussian Engineer - Major Blesson - visited the site of the Berezina crossing. The path of the army could be traced by huge piles of equipment, shakos, weapons, scraps of cloth and at the crossing points, mounds of bones.

At the site of the main bridge, an island had formed in the middle of the river, made not of rocks and mud, but of bodies and vehicles that fell off the bridge and covered with sand and mud.

Blesson inspected the site of the second bridge; no islands here, since the bodies had been swept down stream, where, overlooked on the now tranquil banks of the Berezina, ''three boggy mounds had formed and these we found were covered with forget-me-nots''. ' <<

The problem is that everyone talks their book, and credibility is very low.

If there were a recognized expert with unimpeachable integrity that would predict such an earthquake with even a 75% certainty, it would take me a day at most to pack and leave just to avoid the inconvenience of an evacuation closer to the event.

But now that the “rising tide that raises all boats” may be receding, it makes for some difficult, but nonetheless fascinating times.

That is the very essence of "liberalism" in the political economic sense - the "rising tide". Liberalism is done - failed. While growth might have been appropriate at one time, the program for our "success" is now the cause of our failure.

The demise of liberalism highlights the necessity of addressing economic inequality globally, because without economic rights, people have no rights at all. And without a much more just distribution of economic rights - and all the other rights that go with that - there will be nothing remotely just in the "solutions" to climate change and resource depletion.

And this is why I feel that virtually every "solution" from the powers-that-be will make matters worse.

cfm in Gray, ME

And this is why I feel that virtually every "solution" from the powers-that-be will make matters worse.

I am not that versed in economics and the proper terminology. I just finished Namoi Klein's Shock Doctrine. I think what we are really seeing is nefarious transfers of wealth from poor and middle classes to TPTB. Hence every solution will make things better... for the powers that be...


It is not "scientific materialism" that promised to provide "ever increasing temporal comfort". Rather, that is the claim of "market fundamentalism", the central tenet of the religion of "growth", despite the fact that science clearly demonstrates that exponential growth in a finite world can only go on for a short period.

What we need is not just the deployment of technology, but a change in attitudes. Until we (as a species) accept that the planet is finite, and agree to live within our means, no manner of technology will help.

And the main reason acceptance of limits is taboo, is because such acceptance would immediately lead to the question of equitable distribution of the finite resources. If I were to summarize all our problems in one word, it would be "greed".

And the main reason acceptance of limits is taboo, is because such acceptance would immediately lead to the question of equitable distribution of the finite resources.

Excellent point!

What happens if the "Drill, Drill, Drill!" crowd wins and then 4 years from now oil prices are a lot higher and shortages start to appear.

Real economic growth has stalled in most western economies. But people still want to believe in the *promise* of cheap oil and unlimited growth.

It will be fascinating (or maybe terrifying) when the *promise* of cheap oil dies as well.

It will be fascinating (or maybe terrifying) when the *promise* of cheap oil dies as well.

Nah. They'll keep stringing us along. "Drill, drill, drill" is not really what McBama proposes. Or rather, it's only part of it. McCain's energy plan is "all of the above," with drilling only part of it. Obama's plan is not much different. The impression you get is that any sacrifice is temporary, while we transition to other sources of energy. We'll be driving plug-in hybrid SUVs, or biofuel-powered ones, not giving up driving.

And I think they'll keep telling us that, even when many of us have given up driving because we can't afford it. Just hang in there, everything will be all right once we build those new nuclear power plants...finish that new Alaska pipeline...win the war in Iraq/Iran/Venezuela...etc. Then it'll be two SUVs in every garage again.

"What happens if the "Drill, Drill, Drill!" crowd wins"
From my European perspective there is no doubt that drill everywhere will win, the sheeple don't want to hear that any stones are being left unturned.

Interestingly I saw a chart today comparing the price of oil inverted against the chances of mcain winning - an excellent fit! so provided TPTB can hold the price down for a few more weeks then they have a good chance of being re-elected.

4 years from now is just too far in the future to worry about for any politician, the priority is always the next election never the one after.

There are currently more OCS leases in the deepwater GOM than can be drilled in the next decade. There was a large discovery at the Jack prospect by Chevron and its partners with the first discovery well in 2004 and it will be years before it produces a drop of oil. Devon has 36 prospects identified by seismic on its existing leases but not enough drilling capacity to develop them.

The plan to increase oil production by auctioning more leases is not a likely short term solution as good leases are already held by major and independent oil companies, but they do not hold an adequate number of drilling rigs. That is changing with newbuild efforts, but slowly. Much boasting of trying to increase OCS lease sales to save the country from OPEC is much rhetoric and little help.

Petrobras stated its Iara oil field may hold 3-4 billion barrels of crude. Petrobras may have discovered 10 billion barrels (more or less) of oil within a year. By leasing a substantial percentage of the world drilling rig fleet; they have opportunities to develop offshore assets more quickly than other companies. The development will take years.

Just so, vtpeaknik.

As long as it's not derailed by Labour MPs and union leaders demanding a windfall tax to pay for immediate help for families to meet rising bills this winter:-(

Summary of Weekly Petroleum Data for the Week Ending September 5, 2008

U.S. crude oil refinery inputs averaged nearly 13.5 million barrels per day during the week ending September 5, down about 1.8 million barrels per day from the previous week's average. Refineries operated at 78.3 percent of their operable capacity last week. Gasoline production fell last week, averaging about 8.4 million barrels per day. Distillate fuel production decreased last week, averaging 3.9 million barrels per day.

U.S. crude oil imports averaged nearly 8.6 million barrels per day last week, down 1.2 million barrels per day from the previous week. Over the last four weeks, crude oil imports have averaged 9.8 million barrels per day, 470 thousand barrels per day below the same four-week period last year. Total motor gasoline imports (including both finished gasoline and gasoline blending components) last week averaged 1.1 million barrels per day. Distillate fuel imports averaged 117 thousand barrels per day last week.

U.S. commercial crude oil inventories (excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve) decreased by 5.9 million barrels from the previous week. At 298.0 million barrels, U.S. crude oil inventories are in the lower half of the average range for this time of year. Total motor gasoline inventories decreased by 6.5 million barrels last week, and are below the lower boundary of the average range. Both finished gasoline inventories and gasoline blending components inventories decreased last week. Distillate fuel inventories decreased by 1.2 million barrels, and are in the middle of the average range for this time of year. Propane/propylene inventories increased by 1.6 million barrels last week but remain below the lower limit of the average range. Total commercial petroleum inventories decreased by 15.2 million barrels last week, and are in the lower half of the average range for this time of year.

And here's what they were expecting:

Analysts were expecting crude oil stocks to fall by 3.9 million barrels, according to a consensus estimate by Platts, a global energy information provider.

"Everybody realizes that this report is going to be affected dramatically by Hurricane Gustav and so I think the market may be willing to look beyond," what is expected to be a dour report, said Flynn.

Gasoline stocks were expected to fall by 4.7 million barrels and stockpiles of distillates - used to make heating oil and diesel fuel - were by 2.3 million barrels. Refinery utilization was expected to plummet 14.5 percentage points to 74.2% in the week ended Sept. 5, due to closings from Gustav.

The report had domestic production at 4.791 MMb/d, down from 5.055 MMb/d last week. So, with the majority of GOM's 1.25 MMb/d down all week, how is domestic production only down 0.264MMb/d?

The report had domestic production at 4.791 MMb/d, down from 5.055 MMb/d last week.

It is because you are looking at the four week averages, not weekly production. Domestic production last week was 4.084 mb/d, down form 5,097 mb/d the week before.


My prediction of sub $100 last week didn't materialize, but I think we will see sub $100 before the next report

Judging how the market reacted to Gustav I would expect based on the above report that oil will drop below $100 today?

Where's the new poll?

I think Flynn is right this time: traders will ignore the report. It's a fluke, because of the hurricane, and there's so much other stuff going on.

So it doesn't matter if the pumps run dry, as long as they can point out a reason...

Keep those jerry-cans filled.

Where's the new poll?

They're working on it. Got a lot going on now, though, with the hurricanes and all.

US oil production was down just over one million barrels per day to 4.084 mb/d for the week ending September 5th. Of course this was due to Gustav but because of Ike most of this production will remain off line for weeks. It will start coming back about a week after Ike but will take several weeks to come back to pre Gustav levels. September US oil production will likely be well below 4.5 mb/d.

I just noticed this. US domestic crude production was down just over one million barrels per day. US crude oil imports were down 1.25 million barrels per day. That totals US crude oil imports and production down 15.75 million in one week. Yet stocks were down only 5.9 million barrels. How is this possible?

Okay, refinery inputs were down 1.75 million barrels. Add that to the 5.9 million barrels any you still get a discrepancy of 8.1 million barrels. Where did those 8.1 million barrels come from?

What is the deal with conventional gasoline inventories? At 90 mill it is a record low by a large margin-45% of the 1993 inventory level http://tonto.eia.doe.gov/dnav/pet/hist/mg4st_nus_1m.htm

Now that a lot of the gasoline contains ethanol, inventories are counted differently. Ethanol is mixed with something called "RBOB" to make ethanol gasoline. The RBOB is considered a blending component, not gasoline, so is part of the blending components inventory.


Refinery inputs down 1.75 million barrels per day - that would equate to about 12 million less barrels going through refineries in that week, if you net that figure from 15.75 then the crude draw would be 3.75 million barrels. I would imagine that there would have been some ramp up in refinery utilisation in the mid-west/east coast to compensate for the down refineries in Louisiana - hence the total draw on crude inventories of just under 6 million barrels

FWIW, the overall draw of 15 million barrels for the week sounds about right.

At this point, I'd expect to see a further 20-25 million barrels of inventory decline over the next 2 reports.

You are correct, the refinery input number was a "per day" number not total for the week. My error, sorry.

Products Supplied
Finished Motor Gasoline             9,337  9,535  -2.1%  -2.0%
Kerosene-Type Jet Fuel              1,552  1,679  -7.6%  -4.5%
Distillate Fuel Oil                 4,130  4,148  -0.4%  -2.9%
Residual Fuel Oil                     551    749 -26.4% -16.2%
Propane/Propylene                     969  1,039  -6.7%  -4.9%
Other Oils                          3,607  3,789  -4.8%  -7.8%

Total Products Supplied            20,145 20,938   -3.8%  -4.1%

Sorry for Late Post,


Space-Based Solar Power Breakthrough to Be Announced

The project demonstrated wireless power transmission between two Hawaiian islands 148 kilometers apart, more than the distance from the surface of Earth to the boundary of space.

Still highly impractical, but I'm curious about the efficiency for Earth-based use.

Without two numbers - watts in and watts out - the report is meaningless. I suppose the announced presentation may provide more details.

For the military the efficiency will not be their first criteria, just how much power can they get and how long would it take to setup the equipment.

the notion of beaming electric energy down from space usually requires a fixed antenna, thus the position of the satellite would be at geosynchronous (aka: geostationary) orbit some 35,786 km (22,236 mi) above the surface. Transmission over 148 km may be an interesting feat of technology, but isn't likely to prove the utility of such transmissions from space to the ground. Besides, there's the problem of solar pressure on the massive area of the power satellite to contend with. Think "Solar Sail"...

E. Swanson

People concerned about global warming might have some issues with plans to capture sunlight that isn't falling on the earth and beaming it down to earth. If this is done on a small scale (say microwaving protesters at political conventions), the effect on climate will probably be negligible. If it is done on a grand scale, not so much.

If this is done on a small scale (say microwaving protesters at political conventions), the effect on climate will probably be negligible.


And you can save money on Blackwater too!

I love the smell of fried protesters in the morning. :)

Maybe we can put nuclear reactors on abandoned islands and beam the power ashore. Or we can build solar collectors in the Mountain West and bounce the power off a mirrored aerostat to Los Angeles.

In our generation, Space Based Solar Power is a DOD research project with little or no commercial utility. Still, its fascinating stuff:

Space‐Based Solar Power As an Opportunity for Strategic Security
http://tinyurl.com/5kg3d8 (3.5 MB PDF)

Still highly impractical,

As shown by the last guy who showed up to tell us all about space power.

That user was:

I've got three words:

Kentucky Fried Birds (or anything else that happens to be in the airspace).

It's quite simple, would you stand in front of a beam of energy that could be propagating 100's, or 1000's of Watts per sq. meter? You think you got a good burn at the beach? Wait till you try this baby out!

I just can't explain how hair-brained this whole notion is. Are we to stand witness to the absolute insanity that the notion of National Defense shall impose on our good being? Christ Almighty! That's all we need is to be beaming the equivalent of 1 million microwave ovens on super-steroids through our atmosphere. Lord help any aircraft that should fall astray... "Poof!" doesn't begin to explain it.

The American Petroleum Institute reported Wednesday a drop of 21.6 million barrels in crude supplies for the week ended Sept. 5. But that's after an upward revision to the previous week's stocks. The Energy Department had reported a decline of 5.9 million barrels for the latest week. Motor gasoline supplies were down 3 million barrels, the API said. The government had reported that supplies fell by 6.5 million barrels. Distillate supplies were up 3.5 million barrels, the API said. They were down 1.2 million for the week, according to the Energy Department

The Link is Here

Can anyone reconcile these two numbers? How likely is is that EIA numbers will be inflated until Nov election and subsequently deflated? This discrepancy isn't minor.

The EIA and API numbers are often at odds.


Leadership for a Comprehensive Energy Roadmap: The First 100 Days

In the 'Post Freddie/Fannie Era' it's hard to see the US government having any spare change. Nevertheless, this Report suggests the first step to solving America's energy problem is to beg for loot from Washington:

# First, the next President must mandate that Federal procurement — for goods, services, new construction, and facilities retrofits — lead the market toward higher energy efficiency standards, with concomitant reduction of carbon load. Such leadership by example, and requirement, will encourage the private sector in this direction.

# The next Administration must encourage the development and utilization of all energy sources, in a sustainable way, by equalizing energy source subsidies, and by creating incentives for discovery and deployment of new energy sources. One means to accomplish this is to direct the Office of Management and Budget to create a cross-governmental task group to identify barriers to various sources of energy production, and to issue a Presidential Executive Order, or to propose legislation, as necessary, to construct a consistent investment framework for clean energy development. This framework must require a full life-cycle analysis, including cost and environmental impact, for each energy alternative, as well as regulatory requirements, legal liabilities, tax incentives, accelerated depreciation for outmoded assets, and market distortion from global trade subsidies and tariffs.

# The next Administration must ramp up investment in energy research, development, and commercialization. This means at least tripling the current federal investment in basic and applied energy research and development; creating public-private partnerships with baseline federal funding — to be matched by state and private sector investments — to create regionally-based research and development test-beds and large-scale commercial pilots for new energy technologies. It means expanding federal programs, and creating new initiatives, that provide financing for clean energy start-up businesses, support for existing small and medium-sized businesses in the development and deployment of clean energy technologies, and funding for pre-commercialization of technology for clean energy.

# The next Administration should establish a $200 billion national “clean energy” bank, modeled on the U.S. Export-Import Bank and the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), to provide long-term financing for private sector investment in sustainable energy solutions that reduce, avoid, or sequester carbon; for their deployment to market; and for development of supporting infrastructure.

I guess this is the best that American business community can come up with ... certainly can't look to these people for imagination.

We are now at the point where the US government gives up its image of limitless financial reserves and acknowledges that it has run out of money. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are the 'last bailouts'. The long line of 'stiffs' that are lined up outside the Treasury Departments loading dock with pleading looks ... defense contractors, the 'Big Three automakers, Lehman Brothers, United Airlines and other carriers, municipalities and states, pension funds, Agribusiness ... will have to go home empty handed. The chances of billions in subsidy help for an energy transformation ... have themselves been transformed.

The Feds are past the vanishing point ... it cannot repay its debt with tax revenues. It can sell assets; perhaps sell the White House to the Saudis ...

I wouldn't call Dr. Jackson part of the American business community. She has done some work for American business, but most of her career has been as a government scientist and academic. So it's perhaps not surprising that she looks to the government for solutions. And of course, the question was what the president could do about the energy crisis, which kind of limits the possible answers to those involving the government.

I do give Jackson credit for being interested in the energy crisis. It's something she's been talking about for years.

But as you might expect from a physicist and president of one the nation's most prestigious engineering schools, she sees technology as the answer.

But she sees more funding as an approach.

From experience I think the problem is that the government funding process favors big institutions (if you don't believe me, ask for a grant). I think the process needs to be streamlined.

The U.S. funding package I received for an alternate energy research proposal was about 160 pages long... and would have cost me over $500,000 (as if I have that kind of money) just to get all the certifications for the funding request.

The Canadian funding request package was under 20 pages long... but they (Canadians) rejected the proposal without ever reading any technical details (which I didn't even get around to sending at the time of the rejection). There was no appeal process to a Canadian rejection.


Since I'm on the number of words theme tonight, I've got three (3):

Too Late, Bro.

The house of cards has started to collapse and no feat of deftness can capture the falling pieces.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not the doomer type. Matter of fact, my credo has been to be the fool on the hill and the forgotten lunatic that everyone listened to long enough to make the adequate adjustments. But, alas, that time has passed and I must abide with the creed of those that saw this 'un a comin'.

If you have ever been on a roller coaster, well it's not much different. Hang on, scream, and you know where it's going. Take comfort in that you know where it's going - most don't.

Honestly Bro, I didn't wish for this to happen and it sickens me.

The first portion of the IHT article about Russian separatists is silly.

South Ossetia and Abkhazia are terrible examples to give for the situation in Tartarstan.

The key difference, of course, is that the first two regions are in Georgia and Tartarstan is in Russia.

Chechnya part deux, anyone?

Edit: I would like to get some of the drugs being abused by some of the people quoted in that article. Must be great stuff!

It may be a neocon trial balloon.

A couple years ago we had articles in establishment media about all those poor suffering minorities in Iran - especially the Arab area, which just happens to be where the oil is.

That's how these creeps test-market and indoctrinate the public for new wars, "color" revolutions, and other imperial projects.

The most outlandish of such trial ballooning was around 2004, when a few neocons went off the reservation to hold seminars on a post-monarchy Saudi Arabia (hint: regime change!). Talk about the ultimate booby prize.

We conducted a little demonstration outside DOE yesterday morning while the Bodman press event was taking place up on the roof...

The tax credits most certainly need to be extended, and in my opinion, mandating a percentage of the power in the grid coming from wind/solar/hydro is necessary as well, with the percentage increasing every year, with 100% being reached by 2020. That's quite agressive though, and I see 2040 being politically possible, even though it would be too slow to help us out. (But, if that can be passed, it's a START, and then more aggressive targets can be made later on down the road.)

Politicians will try and fix things by tripling Renewable Energy Research. For a little perspective note that the DOE's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) budget for 2009 is $210 million --down 24% from 2008. The whole NREL yearly budget is less than the cost of one day's occupation in the Iraq war.

Did you ever think how those green hard hats were made? Geez, I dunno know, plastics from petrochemicals?

This is what gets my goat every time! People protesting without the slightest inkling of their hypocrisy. I'll tell you what your demonstration really said, "Business as usual, but make it LOOK green."


Want to enact green energy initiatives? It's not that hard and I experienced it today - while I had absolutely nothing to do with it other than walk from work location to eating location. It's a village in the Vancouver area called Ladner. The offices, businesses, shops and services are all within a 5 minute walk of each other. Doh!

That's it! The Western Alternative Lifestyle Kinetics (WALK). Take the car out of the equation and you are well on your way.

Need a focal point, this is it. Forget PHEV's, forget carbon reduction, forget all that crap. Get this right and the rest takes care of itself.

I rather like your acronym. Clever.

Geoengineering which works:
To slow global warming, install white roofs

I love it!
It follows the principle of KISS perfectly!
Try the simple things first - I don't know if the figures for reduction of GW they give take account of the reduced energy needs for cooling just from doing what is obvious - eventually I would like to see these white roofs replaced by greenroof technology that would also help problems of water runoff.

It is also interesting that their suggestion of cement instead of asphalt for pavements is handy, since asphalt will be increasingly expensive as oil shortages bite.
Perhaps the concrete, or at least some of it, might be of the kind which which they hope may absorb CO2:

Green cement may set CO2 fate in concrete

Subject: The naming of post-liberal capitalism

With the nationalization of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, the Republican Party has officially abandoned the principle of separation of government and private business (no snarks here, I'm going somewhere with this). This is in no way a return to pre-Reaganite Republicanism, which viewed cooperation with both business and labor as a means to moderate market bounces for ordinary citizens. The way you can tell: top overall income tax rate under Eisenhower - 91%. This time the game is big government and big business as a single ruling class with the increased polarization of wealth as an absolute goal.

Many have called this fascism, but while I believe that Cheney and his neocon and Christian Right allies have a fascist intent, I am uncomfortable with calling our current arrangement a proper fascist or totalitarian system and would like to solicit ideas on a proper nomenclature.

Reason: the state-business partnership under fascism is utterly slanted towards the state component. Hitler did not farm out the Wehrmacht's support services to IG Farben. In fact he created a separate agency (with its own cute uniform) for every imaginable function. The role of private industry in Nazism was to stick to manufacturing, while the state's role was to provide it slave labor, stolen resources, etc. Can you imagine the proud Gestapo using private contractors to torture a suspect? Mein Gott!

However, we could contend the Nazi Party itself was the intersection between private and public functions, since it had membership dues and sold Party regalia and provided the entirety of the Reich's ruling class. Obviously profits from its corruption entered its coffers rather than the State. Many of the service agencies Hitler created were Party, not state. The Republican Party has no public service function, and wishes to eliminate public services wherever possible.

I also think that Goebbels would have regarded Bush's reliance on Fox News to serve as a Ministry of Propaganda to be a betrayal of the totalitarian vision. You never know when that Australian bastard might turn on you.

Now if we look at fascism in Italy, Japan and Spain we're getting into weaker public sectors. But some people see Catholic fascism, or falangism, as something other than a modernist totalitarian movement. It seems to put its nostalgia for feudalism into current policy, while the Nazis talked about a reversion to feudalism as a long-term goal. Still, the fact that the "corporate" actors were largely landowning families distinguishes the structures from what seems to be the Bushist model of private control of all services and public assumption of all financial risk.

Feudalism is quintessentially geographical; the borders between every Marquis, Duke and Baron are important and define sovereignity for the tenants. Only the single Church is truly universal in the European model. In the modern corporate system championed by the GOP, geography is wiped out. Every corporation fights each other for pieces of our minds and tastes. We do not have official lords based on where we live. Every city is like every other city and every suburb is like every other suburb and all the farms are a single corporate food entity. Religion, however, is fragmented into countless fundamentalist shards that claim locality.

At the Oil Drum we usually contend that relocalization is inevitable, but the path there from the current system contradicts the current interests of the rulers. Only the religious fanatics are preparing for fragmentation. I want a functional term for what business elites are desperately trying to maintain with increasing (but haphazard) government intervention at home and abroad. The term BAU is not good enough to get people's attention and mobilize opposition.

I want a functional term for what business elites are desperately trying to maintain with increasing (but haphazard) government intervention at home and abroad.

I think the most simplistic and accurate word is corporatism. Some ones that I just made up:





EDIT: Protecting my intellectual property :)

I saw this story on Rachel Maddow's new show last night and I hoped that it was a joke and not actually real, but alas...

Army, Sears partner for 1st Infantry clothing line

TOPEKA, Kan. -

The Army's oldest division is beginning a new campaign with one of the nation's oldest retailers.

Starting next month, 550 Sears stores nationwide will begin selling the 1st Infantry Division collection, a line of clothing with the insignia and colors of the Army's Big Red One.

Royalties from sales will go to programs for soldiers and their families, but a spokesman for the division acknowledges that some veterans think only those who have been in the Big Red One should be wearing the insignia.

Such items previously were sold only through veterans organizations, such as the Society of the 1st Infantry Division.

Still, Maj. Nathan Bond, spokesman for the division at Fort Riley, said it's an honor for the division, which was told of the plan before it was rolled out. Items that will be for sale include T-shirts, hooded sweat shirts, denim and outerwear, with prices ranging from $11.99 to $119.99.

"It's not a surprise that we were chosen to do this," Bond said. "

I've been giving more thought to this Army/corporate partnership thing and I have a few suggestions for some obvious relationships that should be formed.

Why should the 1st Infantry Division limit itself to clothing?

And it shouldn't only be large companies or well-known products that benefit.

And even the Army can reverse the role sponsoring relevant sporting teams.

Of course the opportunity for advertising on vehicles is a no-brainer.

I think the Intel logo should probably be moved away from the turbine and closer to the cockpit!

Corporate Socialism is a term I've used. Corporatism is Korten's term, IIRC. Friendly Fascism is a book title and concept from the 1980s. I think it's pointless to try and label it as its lifespan is likely to be quite short.

So far, Corporate Socialism is my favorite choice. Of course, Corporate National Socialism might be closer but it's too long, especially in the original German. Nazicorp?

I think it's pointless to try and label it as its lifespan is likely to be quite short.

The Nazi party got a name, and it didn't last all that long.

How about Inverted Totalitarianism? I have also heard the term "managed democracy" used.

The linked article turned out to be quite prophetic, and an excellent refinement of my attempt to compare and contrast American corporate rule with Nazism.

Another prophetic example: the combination of tyranny and consumerism in Terry Gilliam's "Brazil". I've thought during these awful recent years that Gilliam proved more accurate than Orwell because he got the seduction-to-coercion ratio better.

So should the word "Orwellian" be supplanted by "Gilliamesque", or is that too loaded with movie-critic meaning to be used in political discussion?

I want a functional term for what business elites are desperately trying to maintain with increasing (but haphazard) government intervention at home and abroad.


And how about "Get the Hell Out of Dodge!"

Of course, the title was published previously as "Micro Serfs".

(Good book, and regret lending it to a co-worker).

Jesus, Joseph and Mary! What the frig is goin' on down there, eh? The more I read, the more I want to find the safe haven, the redoubt, the extraction from the madness.

Ah, the curse of the prophet... Damn you James Howard Kunstler!!! You described these events unraveling some time ago and were disparaged as a kook. And now it disturbs my wife that I merely dictated the words of those that write on this site and others. I only synthesized the information. And now I appear as a freakin' prophet. I'm sure to be burned at a stake - or someone might buy me a shot. It's a toss...

They're calling it "The war on terror" but it seems plain terrifying if you ask me.

Could we just call it what it is? "New World Order"?



The naming of post-liberal capitalism

Isn't the term for what the PTBs are trying to maintain simply "neo-liberalism"? That's what devil-hero Chavez uses and what seems to be generally understood.

But I'm curious - maybe I misunderstand - where you are drawing the transitions. I don't think we've made the transition yet from the paradigm that's been in place since WW2 . It seems you see a break at the point where the relation between the state and the corporations changed. I'm not so sure that didn't happen with Lincoln and the railroads. Reagan doesn't demark a change, only the coming to fruition of the corporate agenda and the Powell plan. Generational shifts, Wallace - all of that had long been going on. Allende and the Chicago Boys, Kissinger - that's 9/11/1973.

I do think a post-liberal period is impending. We have to replace the crashing systems with something, after all. Simple logic suggests either authoritarian/totalitarian or communitarian. The Millennium Assessment has four scenarios, but those would be the two political categories.

Of course, something a little more populist for a title might work, like "Second Dark Ages" or "Lights Out".

cfm in Gray, ME

Lets see...

This morning OPEC announces that they are going to reduce their output by 520,000 gallons – and the price of oil goes down a little. http://www.cnbc.com/id/26630343

Then the EIA says that there was a 280,000-bbl/d decline in non-OPEC supply recorded during the first half of 2008. But don't worry, IF new projects come online as now anticipated, total non-OPEC supply is projected to rise by about 300,000 bbl/d in the second half of 2008. Nothing like counting your chickens before they hatch, so the price of oil went down a little. http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/steo/pub/contents.html#Global_Petroleum_Markets

Then the EIA says that “Total commercial petroleum inventories decreased by 15.2 million barrels last week, and are in the lower half of the average range for this time of year,” so the price of oil goes down much more. http://www.eia.doe.gov/pub/oil_gas/petroleum/data_publications/weekly_pe...

Yes, I know about the dollar. We borrow another 200 billion, get on the hook for about 5 trillion more, and run a constantly high trade deficit, and the dollar hits the roof... And, hurricanes that don't cause 100% permanent damage are cause to lower the price of oil again and again.

The above links don't really seem to be giving a positive supply and demand picture for 2009.

An old saying, “When the price goes negative in the face of bullish news, things are really, really, really bearish.” Why? Dang if I know! But I think it has something to do with the “shadowy puppet masters” harvesting more money from us “cattle.” Moooooooooooo

I rarely post, but I do read a small part of the TOD almost every day. I used to post every once in a while. And, I remember that I used to have the time to read all of the posts, and before I made a post, I could research all of the previous posts to make sure I wasn't repeating something, or asking for an explanation already given. Not any more!

Anyway, most of the postings and articles on TOD (which I consider fair and balanced) appear to have been painting a poor supply and demand picture for some time.

I did lose a good bit of money on the decrease of the price of oil (and silver), but this post isn't intended to be mostly about me crying on my keyboard (COMK), it is about Technical Analysis (TA). I have always considered myself to be a fundamental (Fun) investor, until recently. Now I am studying TA and using a technical analysis program (OmniTrader with pattern recognition module), to make some of my money back...

For example: about 7 trading days ago all of the TA indicators where showing that oil was heading down – big time. So, I bought a few puts on USO and have made a bunch of money so far! In addition, I have now have a clearly defined (kind of loose) following stop in place. At this time, the current TA indicators are very negative, so I will probably add to my position. because of the previous Fun investor mindset, I feel insane. My Fun analysis indicates a price of around $200-300, and I feel like I am getting into the game late. And, there is a probable stop-triggering price spike in the near future. But I am making money...

I have been studying TA for only a short period of time, but I can see how using it would have cut my recent losses significantly. My studies now include:
How Technical Analysis Works – Bruce Kamich
Master the Markets – Tom Williams (free excerpt at tradeguider.com)
The Business of Trading in Stocks – Durand and Miller

Years ago I asked TOD if it was appropriate to make investment posts. I asked because at that time there were very few (it was said to be ok). Now I'm asking if it is ok to make posts on TA because the small amount of posts that I have recently reviewed didn't refer to TA. I'm still a Fun investor long-term. But as Bruce Kamich states it, “The main point of TA is to reduce losses.”

Anyway, my current unskilled analysis shows a strong short signal on USO (currently 82.35), with a few strong confirming patterns including several trend line breaks and a broadening continuation. I have my short stop set at 89 based on a resistance line, and a fibonacci retracement. I am hoping to take some profits tomorrow.

Please let me know if this post is off-topic, or if it is ok. Also, please flame away if I said anything dumb - I want to learn and I have a thick hide.

Thanks, Generaly

Your post is better than most. Re investing/trading, your sentiments are understandable-the manipulation appears to be more blatant and of a larger magnitude than previously-you can have the fundamental analysis perfect but if that train rolls down the track with Paulson and Cronies at the controls you will get crushed. Check out Don Coxe's webcast (top economist at BMO) where he discusses this-good luck and good trading.

Hehe -- talking stock and investment is good...
On the note about silver (SLV), hmmm talk about capitulation there.
Wonder when it will go back -- but dropping from a high of 20s to 10s in matter of months just gives me a creep. Something is not right.

Hang on to your silver, if its physical. Gives me the creeps too.

Lots of things aren't right in the PM markets, mint is selling eagles for $1100, but they suspended sales recently due to lack of gold. I hear Silver Eagles are in short supply as well. Basically, if you can't touch it, it may not really be yours. Anyone know about the IRS audit of Monex? I heard their assets were seized, but their website is still up and it looks like BAU.

If you read urbansurvival, he talks about the difference between the paper and the physical in PMs alot. Apparently, the "paper" is leveraged 50 to 1 just like subprime mortgages, while the physical is in actual shortage. Morgan Stanley had to settle a lawsuit along these lines recently since they didn't actually have any real gold, they leased it, leveraged it a ton and didn't even bother to renew the lease. Here's some details, talk about market manipulation.


An artificially low price and empty shelves - that's rationing.

Unfortunately, the price isn't low IF you can find the stuff. Noone is willing to give it away. Wish it was, I'd buy more.

Generaly, make sure that the designers of the systems you are following have back-tested the systems. They should be able to tell you the edge on a bet, the percentage of bets that will be winners, and your compounded annual growth rate. They should be able to tell you how your system compares to others in terms of reward for a given level of risk. Make sure you understand how to size your bets--you can be trading a great system perfectly and still go broke if you overbet your bankroll. (See Fortune's Formula by William Poundstone.)

They should be able to tell you the maximum drawdown over the testing period and the longest drawdown.

If you're trading primarily commodity futures or ETFs based on commodity futures, you might want to look at this book on futures trading systems: Way of the Turtle, by Curtis Faith.

IMHO: TA is worthless in a totally manipulated environment, where the big boys may even be painting the charts for you if that is what it takes to make a buck.

I have also taken massive losses in commodities this year (pretty much set me back to 2006), but at the core, I refuse to believe that my fundamental analysis of the oil/natgas/USD situation was wrong. I cheer myself up with the hope that what is happening in the markets now defies conventional logic of any kind, so it will probably turn out to be rather short-lived.

Georgia accuses Russia of breaking truce

TBILISI (AFP) - Georgia accused Russian soldiers of violating a fragile truce on Wednesday by killing a Georgian policeman, as a major crack appeared in the EU-brokered ceasefire over the remit of EU observers.

Pentagon admits Afghan strategy not succeeding

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. military conceded it was not winning the fight against an increasingly deadly insurgency in Afghanistan and said on Wednesday it would revise its strategy to combat militant safe havens in Pakistan.

Had a good chuckle on the article about theft of a radio tower in Winder,PA. I probably know the perps personally. I suspect the next radio tower on their list is WNCC stations tower on Miller hill in Northern
Cambria....right after the potato are harvested from
the field it stands on of course. The local police will be in on it...Kevin Stanek...he's already told
the county seat of Ebensburg he would spill all he knows if they convict him of any crimes he's been charged with....which have been many.
What happened to the days when there was honor among thieves?

Reminds me of the short story "No Petty Thief" by Jesse Stuart. In that story the thief was motivated by obsession, opportunity and a positive attitude, not car payments, mortgage payments, food and fuel.

"Wide-Ranging Ethics Scandal Emerges at Interior Dept."


"wide-ranging ethics scandal — including allegations of financial self-dealing, accepting gifts from energy companies, cocaine use and sexual misconduct."

Damn I blew it, to think I didn't enter the public sector because I like to party.

But hey the Gubermint will eventually step up and save us alllllllll.

"Between 2002 and 2006, nearly a third of the 55-person staff in the Denver office received gifts and gratuities from oil and gas companies, including Chevron Corp., Shell, Hess Corp. and Denver-based Gary-Williams Energy Corp., the investigators found. "


Regarding the frat house mentality at minerals management services...
Gives new meaning to "drill here, drill now"! I wonder how many Americans could properly identify the USA's rank in global oil producing nations; I ask the question in my classrooms and public presentations I give and people are almost ALWAYS surprised to hear that we are up there with Russia and the Saudis and that Iran is nipping at our heals. I HOPE that the MMS scandals and the discussion of Alaska oil welfare money awakens the public, even if just a tiny portion of the public, to the volume of oil already produced domestically and how mindlessly we use it.

SNYDER, Texas - Less than two months into the job in the oilfields of West Texas, Brandon Garrett was sliced in half by a motorized spool of steel cable as he and other roughnecks struggled to get a drilling rig up and running.
Garrett's grisly end illustrates yet another soaring cost of America's unquenchable thirst for energy: Deaths among those working the nation's oil and gas fields have risen at an alarming rate, The Associated Press has found.

At least 598 workers died on the job between 2002 and 2007, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. During that period, the number of deaths per year rose by around 70 percent, from 72 victims in 2002 to 125 in 2006 and a preliminary count of 120 in 2007.

First, my sympathies to the family and friends of those who died. We can assume there were thousands of serious injuries during that same time period. I'm sure most of us had no idea of the scope of the safety problems faced by these workers.

With no disrespect to the killed and injured, this is a good example of how the population of the U.S. views energy safety. If just 5% of those workers were killed or injured at a nuclear power plant, the public outcry would be immediate, immense, and long lasting. The public is "afraid" of nuclear power because they don't have access to the facts. Yet we accept the death toll in a mature oil and gas energy industry. And let's not forget the coal industry, we still have a ways to go there.

We have thousands of thin-walled gasoline taker trucks driving through our major cities every day, yet we can't accept the logic that we can safely transport nuclear waste in well designed transport containers. We continue to store nuclear waste on site instead of in a much safer long term storage facility. There are also thousands of railroad tanker cars containing hazardous materials moving through our cities everyday. We accept that risk even though the tanks are easily broken open in a crash. We have dozens of years of progress in nuclear reactor design, yet the old "nuclear is not safe" mantra continues.

We are in our second Iraq war because of oil. The loss of life and injuries to our troops is just a fraction of the total deaths and injuries that our two Iraq wars have caused. There will be more wars to come when oil production begins its inevitable decline.

The U.S. is on the forefront of workplace safety. How many more oil and gas workers are killed and injured every year in the rest of the world? China's coal mines have abysmal safety records.

You can argue against nuclear power from a position of theoretical safety risks. But, if you do, I would argue you then are willing to accept the actual cost in human lives that already results from the alternatives. There are no guarantees that nuclear power will not have a tragic accident which results in a huge loss of life and injuries. All we can do is look at the facts and evaluate the risk. However, there is a guarantee that energy related deaths in the oil, gas, and coal industries will continue, and there is no reason to expect energy wars will stop unless we rapidly bring more nuclear power online.

This is one of those comments that you hesitate to click the post button on because you know it will be controversial. Still, I think the argument should be made that there is real and ongoing cost in human lives and injuries that must be included in any discussion of nuclear power safety.

I propose an alternate point of view: that both fossil fuel extraction and nuclear energy have terrible side effects and should be phased out. The former is heating the planet and killing workers at an increasing rate; the latter has the probability of catastrophic consequences that increases as our society enters peak oil turmoil, and has equal power to create an inhospitable planet in the medium term.

The last thing we should do now, in my view, is replace dirty fossil energy with such a complex technology as we are on the cusp of being unable to maintain these types of power plants.

Let's responsibly decommission the existing nuclear plants as they reach the end of their lifespan and build no more. We will probably find it challenging enough to decommission the existing ones safely by the time 2020 or 2030 comes around. Let's not add to the problem.

Responsible power down is never going to pass off peaceably, and will be 'responsible die off'.
The infrastructure required to run renewables is just as extensive and complex as for nuclear power - you don't produce solar power without the most sophisticated technologies we can muster.
It is just that you have the added disadvantage of trying to maintain high technology using a very diffuse energy source - so long as the renewables are not supported by the very dense energy source which is nuclear power.

There are far too many of us, and people too reluctant to give up living without a fight, to allow any power-down without the overwhelming majority of people dying, and whatever remnant is left enduring truly miserable conditions.

The infrastructure required to run renewables is just as extensive and complex as for nuclear power - you don't produce solar power without the most sophisticated technologies we can muster.


Plants have 'done' solar for years. Same with solar hot water. Same with the 1940's steam solar -> electricity. Stirling engines need machining - not nuclear physics. Wind - 500 AD. 1390 AD - the Dutch 'iconic' design.

So your assertion is wrong. Not right. Wrong.

Sure, you can make some kind of water heater of top of your roof - providing that you have the mining to extract the materials, which is a huge, complex and energy intensive effort, which deploys all the technology we possess.

You won't have any luck building solar PV though, so you will have to do without electricity.

The whole thing is interconnected, and knocking out the support structure takes out renewables just as surely as nuclear power.

mining to extract the materials, which is a huge, complex and energy intensive effort, which deploys all the technology we possess.

The bronze age shows this claim is wrong.

You won't have any luck building solar PV though, so you will have to do without electricity.

Once again - wind and solar steam say you are wrong.
Hydro power (another renewable) is yet another example.

What in the world?
Compare the population in the bronze age to current population levels - what are the4 unlucky ones gonna do - say, 'looks like I am a dead man, but you go right ahead and help yourself to all the resources?'

In the bronze age they exploited shallow, rich resources - those are gone.
I the short run then old materials could be re-cycled, but they degrade - have you any idea of the purity that could be obtained in metals using bronze age resources compared to current materials ?
Where are the forests to make into charcoal to refine it?

Presumably you are talking about some sort of Heath-Robinson contraptions, bearing no resemblance to modern technology or it's efficiency levels.

Things like windmills from scrap are great, and can help a lot of poor people in Africa and elsewhere, but they are not a product of the low technology society they are embedded in, but a product and the scrap from advanced societies overseas.

And you are intending to build these contraptions whilst the whole society is going down in flames, billions are dying,a nd the remainder are fighting for the remaining resources with everything from nuclear weapons to stone axes.

If that project is practicable, have a light workout first, in much less trying conditions, and try setting up a renewable farm in the wastelands of Detroit - just watch your renewable creations getting stolen and sold for scrap.

Sorry, but these ideas appear to me not to contact reality at any point.

We either pull through with some facsimile of BAU and high energy use, or almost everyone is a dead cookie.

PriorityX -

Some very astute comments, with which I largely agree!

You amplify a point that is very difficult to get across to the general public and that is: the significance of risk is largely in the eye of the beholder.

As a simple example, I know of one rabidly anti-nuke person who smokes, is seriously overweight, and has a truly horrendous diet. This person is totally oblivious to his own lifestyle risks, all the while foaming about the dangers of nuclear power plants and the disposition of their wastes.

One serious problem is that if one is 'green', then, a priori, one is presumed to be anti-nuke. It has become a matter of theological dogma. You will be burned at the stake if you believe otherwise.

Several thousand Chinese workers get killed in coal mines over the course of a year, and it appears to be no big deal. But God forbid if someone gets killed in a nuclear power plant, then it's panic time and cries of nuclear doom.

Now, nuclear power is not without its drawbacks and risks, and it certainly poses some serious hazards. But these things cannot and should not be evaluated in a vacuum. One must ask: hazardous compared to WHAT? But that comparison is seldom made.

As I've said several times before, if you really want to worry about dying of radiation poisoning, then it would be far more logical for you to start worrying about dying of radiation poisoning due to a nuclear exchange that was the direct result of a war about control over dwindling sources of fossil fuel. And given the mentality and ideology of the regime currently ruling the US, that is not such a far-fetched scenario.

Thanks PriorityX,

Any reference to Devo? No, oh well...

Yes, the ignorant hypocrisy infuriates me. I despair for the species.


Iam pro nuclear energy, its plumbing I fear and would be concerned about. Seems its usually the plumbing that fails to deliver cooling water to the reactor core which causes most of the problems with nuke energy. Go figure that plumbing has been a tech which man has had a working knowlege of for thousands of years, yet we cant get water to the reactor core.

Picture a fat hairy guy with a verticle smile at the base of his backside, on his knees, wrenching some pipe with a pipe wrench, all the while making comments about union rules and working thru lunch.

Being a plumber requires only 3 basic rules.....
#1- Poop goes down hill.
#2- Plumbers get paid big bucks to make poop go down hill
#3- Dont lick your fingers when eating lunch after making poop go down hill
Nuclear reactors are really plumbing intensive facilities.

its plumbing I fear and would be concerned about.

Mans machines fail. The constant fines for failing to operate fission plants safely show this.

The existance of Price-Anderson proves it.

Once plants can be shown to operate without fines and no longer need the Price-Anderson coverage then man will have shown responsibility.

Being a plumber requires only 3 basic rules.....
#1- Poop goes down hill.
#2- Plumbers get paid big bucks to make poop go down hill
#3- Dont lick your fingers when eating lunch after making poop go down hill
Nuclear reactors are really plumbing intensive facilities.

Funny that. If I leave poop out and about - bacterial, fungi, insect and annalid action WILL result in that poop not being a health threat. To someone equate fission power to 'poop' is disingenous.

Now you aren't picking on Homer are you? That just wouldn't be cool.

And yet, Neph what you say makes too much sense. We've engineered the hell out of nuclear reactors, yet it comes down to the failure of the education system.

(As I listen to Devo's Freedom of Choice)

With all my multi-variable differential calculus and Dynamic Systems education I could design and build these damn things (Heck, I just explained the high energy particle physics experiment going on in the "cause celeb" particle accelerator in Europe this afternoon to the office support staff. "Are we going to be sucked into a black hole??!!" "Not if I can help it little darlin'", says the strikingly handsome EE assuredly).

Heck, I designed and built the first municipaly owned (the world?) broadband fibre optic telecom system in N. America delivering 10/100 Mbit to the curb with the help of Cisco - this stuff is not hard. (This coincides with the first MAN's built in NA). Only the idiots make it so. grrhh!!!

Note, I'm back to 60 Hz.

And again, I say we live within the curse. The curse of knowledge, the bane of common sense and practicality. "Twist away the gates of steel" "A man not's made of steel". "The oath is all we know".

We do not shape the course of society, we only get to witness it's wrecks. (Quote, me - and again, damn! I'm good).

"I've had all I can take, I can't take it no more. I've got a gut feelin'"

Now I know the exacting toll it takes upon me... I've got a gut feelin'

We've engineered the hell out of nuclear reactors, yet it comes down to the failure of the education system.

And yet - the failures keep happening.

Hello TODers,

My thxs to Leanan for the toplink: The Agriculture Bomb. Seems most appropriate since it is now 9/11. In memory of those that died:

BRUSSELS, Kingdom of Belgium, September 11, 2008/African Press Organization (APO)/ — A unified plea on behalf of the world’s poorest farmers echoed around the European Parliament’s Development Committee today, as leaders of the three Rome-based United Nations agencies – the World Food Programme (WFP), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), as well the World Bank – urged assistance to ease the global crisis caused by high food prices.

Many poor farmers in developing countries are unable to plant their fields because they cannot afford to buy seeds and fertiliser. Those people living on US$2 or less per day are swelling the numbers of those requiring food assistance, and an additional 130 million people have been pushed deeper into poverty and hunger due to high food and fuel prices.

Tackling the global food challenge

...The present challenge is thus to double world food output - using less land, far less water, far fewer nutrients and, with the prospect of less technology to do so, in the teeth of increasing drought.

This is not a challenge susceptible to “silver bullet” solutions, but will require action on a global scale and by every human and government on Earth. Nowhere have I yet seen signs that world leaders, or Australian leaders, appreciate the complexity and multifactorial nature of the challenge confronting us. Blaming biofuels or oil prices alone, as most commentators do, will not address all 10 critical factors listed above.

I think it is important to remember that the Overshoot is the worst bomb of all. The 3,000 people in the 9/11 planes and buildings were nearly all mature adults plus this was a one time event. Compare to child mortality under 5 years of age: 26,000/day...imagine if every day countless planes crashed into countless preschools to generate this number of dead children....

Have you hugged your bag of NPK today?

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

Mandatory Evacuation of Port Fourchon for Hurricane Ike

High tides/storm surge. My guess 2.5 to 3 days out. Some additional water damage.



Hurricane Ike is hundreds of miles out in the Gulf of Mexico, but high surf is already pounding Port Fourchon Beach.

The beach was wiped out during Hurricane Gustav wiped it out, so leaders are carefully watching Ike, hoping to avoid more damage to the vital oil port.
Ships measured Gustav's winds at 110 miles per hour, and combined with a seven foot storm surge and there was more damage than expected.

"Man, it tore us up. Man we was not expecting nothing like this," said Rusty Guidry.
Port Fourchon resumed limited operations within four days after Gustav, but officials are still waiting for power to be restored. "They're telling us it could be a month, it is that severe,” Falgout said.

Looks like the port was hurt more than initially reported. Ike isn't helping much either.

Just in: They expect LA 1 to be closed for 3 days due to high water.

Very difficult to rebuild after Gustav without road access (and mandatory evacuation). Some equipment can be staged, but I expect -3 days to restore Port Fourchon. More if devastation in Houston takes men & materials.

My advice, top up your tanks (applicable world-wide but especially East of Rockies in USA).


From here in Europe where hurricanes hardly ever happen but trains go faster.


London to Paris by rail in two hours. New trains will average 224mph.

Note this is being pushed by that well known train company Air France! Of course they are trying to sideline London's airports.

Similarly the Air France check-in desk in Brussels is in the Gare-Midi train station, no flights between Brussels and Paris.

Do you mean that a 3rd runway might NOT be needed at Heathrow ?

Heathrow does have semi-HSR to downtown London now (forgot speed).

Best Hopes for Non-Oil Transportation,


The third largest tour operator (Excel XL) went bust today blaming high oil prices & credit crunch. Not sure of the exact numbers left stranded but guessing at 80,000. They don't use Heathrow but the third runway is not needed for sure. The biggest problem has been with the (Spanish) owners in the terminals with long queues etc. Terminal 5 at London's west airport Heathrow is now getting up to speed so should help with that problem.

The Heathrow Express trains to London Paddington run every 15 minutes, and the journey takes 15 minutes. It's normal speed from what I remember about 60-80 mph. The underground (tube, metro) trains also run every few minutes but stop frequently so take much longer to get to the centre.

Of course as soon as I post the link about the Channel tunnel a fire stops play, so zero mph for the moment!

Great tip, but could you post this stuff in the Ike thread? We're trying to keep it separate from the DrumBeat (which is why I'm not posting any Ike news here).

Hello TODers,

Looks like a lot of oil & gas companies will be drilling much more, and a lot deeper, too:

Sumitomo sees high alloy oil pipe demand up 25% by 2011

A spokesman of Sumitomo Metal said that oil and gas producers will be drilling deeper as there is limited availability of oil and gas retrieved from shallower wells. He added that "There is increased demand from our customers, the energy majors, for high grade pipes to be deployed in harsher environments."

Natural gas production is increasing in the US and other parts of the world, contributing to increased demand of high alloy pipe. Gas drill pipes need to withstand sulfuric gases that advance metal corrosion.
I wonder if this 25% boost will keep us on the Hubbert Plateau, or if this won't be enough to prevent the net energy cliff. Let's just hope a major earthquake in Japan won't level this factory.