DrumBeat: November 4, 2008

Nuclear group warns about construction

Columbia —- The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission is warning the nuclear industry to be careful in its construction oversight after finding problems earlier this year at the Savannah River Site.

Specifically, the Greenville News reported Sunday, the warning addresses bad concrete and faulty reinforcing steel in the foundation of the Savannah River plant. The site will produce nuclear reactor fuel from weapons-grade plutonium.

In a report filed last week by the NRC, officials said problems discovered during construction of the plant near Aiken, S.C., just north of Augusta, and two nuclear plants in Europe are reminders of problems found during the last wave of American nuclear construction in the 1970s and 1980s.

“Although the technical issues vary, inspections repeatedly identify a lack of contractor oversight and poor quality control in concrete placement,” the NRC concluded in the report.

Estimated gas yield from Marcellus shale goes up

ALBANY, N.Y. - A geologist says the Marcellus shale region of the Appalachians could yield seven times as much natural gas as he earlier estimated, meaning it could meet the entire nation's natural gas needs for at least 14 years.

Penn State University geoscientist Terry Engelder said in a phone interview Monday that he now estimates 363 trillion cubic feet of natural gas could be recovered over the next few decades from the 31-million-acre core area of the Marcellus region, which includes southern New York, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and eastern Ohio.

EU nations to consider soft loans for car sector

BRUSSELS, Belgium (AP) - EU nations will consider giving car makers soft loans to help them build more fuel-efficient vehicles as the region tightens standards on greenhouse gas emissions, French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde said Tuesday.

EU car companies are seeking 40 billion euros ($52 billion) from governments so they can invest in green technology. They say slumping sales and tight credit markets make it hard for them to fund the switch to less-polluting cars themselves.

"Personal Survival Skills: Life At The Twilight Of Empire"

A vast majority of the oil consumed in this country is burned by airplanes, ships, trains and automobiles. You can kiss goodbye groceries at the local big-box grocery store: Our entire system of food production and delivery depends on cheap oil.

If, indeed, we’ve passed the world oil peak and if, indeed, a miracle does not salvage civilization, it is easy to imagine that anybody who is alive in a decade will have figured out how to forage locally.

The death and suffering will be unimaginable. We have come to depend on cheap oil for the delivery of food, water, shelter, medicine, and community. Most of us are incapable of supplying these key elements of personal survival, so trouble lies ahead when we are forced to develop means of acquiring them that don't involve a quick trip to Wal-Mart.

Are we there yet?

When the subject of climate change and environmental regulation came up in our interview with TransCanada Corp. chief executive Hal Kvisle, Canada's Outstanding CEO of the Year for 2008, he was unequivocal: "This is the hardest thing I deal with." Small wonder. For Kvisle, the head of a diversified energy production and transmission company, the environmental issues on his plate run the gamut from defending the reputation of his firm from "dirty oil" attacks (for its planned oil pipeline serving Fort McMurray) to meeting unattainable emissions caps that he says will put TransCanada's coal-fired power plants on the wrong side of the law when they come into force on Jan. 1, 2010.

40% drop in EU ETS shortfall predicted

The global recession will bring a 44% drop in EU ETS shortfall, according to a forecast on November 3 by IDEAcarbon, a carbon market and research firm

In December 2007, IDEAcarbon forecasted the shortfalls in EUAs would be 206 million tonnes per year of CO2 equivalent. The recession has reduced this estimate to 115 million tonnes per year from 2008-2012.

The forecast suggests that EU industrial output will grow at 1% in 2008, and shrink by 0.7% in 2009. “This will reduce the level of emissions from industry across Europe, and therefore cause a drop in the shortfall of credits available,” says Alessandro Vitelli, director of strategy and intelligence for IDEAcarbon.

Cassandra's lethal paradox

For decades, the mainstream dismissed the environmental movement as a "bunch of Cassandras", unaware that Cassandra's lethal paradox was to be right, but to be cursed to be disbelieved. Now the gods themselves admit that peak oil is imminent. In a report entitled the Medium Term Oil Market, the International Energy Agency - an official adviser to most of the major economic powers - said there will be "a narrowing of spare capacity to minimal levels by 2013". Next week it is expected to announce an even worse prognosis.

The real question for Darling, King and Turner is: how do they re-engineer a wealthy, advanced economy in a few short years, and in the face of an unprecedented triple crunch? The interaction of the credit crisis, the imminent peak and decline of oil production, and a potentially uncontrollable phase of global warming in less than a hundred months represents an unprecedentedly volatile cocktail.

Richard Heinberg's MuseLetter: The Food and Farming Transition

The only way to way avert a food crisis resulting from oil and natural gas price hikes and supply disruptions while also reversing agriculture’s contribution to climate change is to proactively and methodically remove fossil fuels from the food system.

The removal of fossil fuels from the food system is inevitable: maintenance of the current system is simply not an option over the long term. Only the amount of time available for the transition process, and the strategies for pursuing it, can be matters for controversy.

Given the degree to which the modern food system has become dependent on fossil fuels, many proposals for de-linking food and fuels are likely to appear radical. However, efforts toward this end must be judged not by the degree to which they preserve the status quo, but by their likely ability to solve the fundamental challenge that will face us: the need to feed a global population of 7 billion with a diminishing supply of fuels available to fertilize, plow, and irrigate fields and to harvest and transport crops.

UK: Oil shortage 'worst in 20 years'

John Moore, of Moore Fuels, said he had never experienced anything like it. "Last week's the worst I've seen."

"You always get peaks and troughs in the wintertime, especially when the snow comes, but nothing as bad as what we've had recently.

"It just shows you what a fine line we're treading here, especially in the supply chain," he said.

Diesel shortage in Western Canada may be easing

CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) - Refinery restarts in Western Canada should ease a diesel shortage in the region that has left some stations dry and others rationing the fuel.

China: Chongqing to boost fuel supplies to appease striking cabbies

CHONGQING Municipality will increase fuel supplies in response to the demands of the city's striking taxi drivers.

The strike, which turned violent at times, started early yesterday and continued today with large quantities of police seen patrolling streets, according to Xinhua news agency.

China seeks oil for arms in Latin America

Hong Kong, China — China has been making extensive efforts to penetrate the Middle East and Africa, especially by trading arms for oil. In recent years China has also stepped up its efforts to acquire oil from Central and South America, again offering weapons in exchange, as well as space technology. Its top targets are Venezuela and Brazil.

EU energy chief to Turkey, Azerbaijan for talks

BRUSSELS, Belgium (AP) -- The EU's top energy official will travel to Turkey and Azerbaijan Wednesday to show Europe's commitment to a pipeline that would transport natural gas from the Caucasus westward in 2013, keeping it out of Russia's grasp.

Ecuador Signs Status-Changing Oil Deal with Petrobras

Ecuador has signed an agreement with Brazil's state-owned oil and gas firm Petrobras to change a valid participation contract into one of service providing, Ecuadorian Mine and Oil Minister Derlis Palacios said Friday.

The amended contract will sharply raise Ecuador's oil royalties from fields that produce 32,000 barrels per day -- from 67 percent to 81 percent.

For GM, bad news may be good

A President Obama and a Democratic Congress may be unable to resist bailing out the ailing automaker.

Gold unexpectedly not shining as an investment

EW YORK - For years, investors known as gold bugs snapped up the metal and socked it away, betting that a colossal economic crisis would one day slam financial markets and send gold prices through the roof.

For many investors, that grim scenario is in full swing, except for one thing: After briefly hitting $1,000 an ounce for the first time in March, gold has fallen into a rut and shows no sign of budging anytime soon.

Electric truck pays off

Since getting an electric truck several months ago, Lakewood's Chuck Kotlaris said, "One guy flagged me down the road and asked, 'Where did you get an electric vehicle?'

"But no one seems to notice.''

With the escalating fuel prices and the gas shortage that hit Middle Tennessee in September, Kotlaris has surely noticed.

The gas prices and gas shortages have only reinforced his decision to purchase a factory-built 2000 Ford Ranger EV (electric vehicle) that was built at the Edison, N.J., plant mostly for testing purposes by California utility companies.

Former Aramco exec sees plentiful oil reserves

ABU DHABI (Reuters) - Global oil reserves are plentiful and will last for many years to come, said Nansen Saleri, who until last year oversaw the world's largest reserves in top exporter Saudi Arabia.

Some industry observers have argued that oil supplies were at, or near, their peak and have questioned whether big producers were sitting on as much oil as they claim. But Saleri, who headed reserve management at state oil giant Saudi Aramco from 1998-2007, told Reuters in an interview on Monday that the bigger challenge for the industry was not a shortage of reserves but increasing recovery from those already known.

Saleri was tight-lipped when asked about Saudi oil reserves, which account for over a fifth of the world's discovered oil.

"The world is not close to running out of oil, there are plenty of supplies," Saleri, now chief executive of U.S.-based Quantum Reservoir Impact, said. "My own estimate of total global recoverable oil reserves is six trillion barrels plus, and we have only produced one trillion barrels."

The collapse of the big oil bubble may not last

Arjun Murti must be a very lonely man now. The 39-year old head of energy research at Goldman Sachs was the best known oil analyst until recently. Soothsayer, clairvoyant, Mr Crude Oil monikers for the man who first predicted a 'super-spike' in energy prices and crude oil prices going past $100 per barrel were many. The world watched in disbelief when his prediction came true, dubbing the Oil Oracle of Goldman Sachs.

When oil prices continued to surge, well past the first target, Murti raised the target to $200 per barrel. When he made that call in May this year, it seemed only a matter of time before that target was taken out. Oil prices were rising uncontrollably and politicians were scampering to find a way to ease the burden. Most of them blamed speculators and alternate fuel research was all the rage, matching the crazy days of the internet boom.

Then came the crash. After touching an all-time high of $147 per barrel, oil prices have dropped more than 50 per cent within a few months. Even Murti was forced to retreat. He cut his forecast for 2009 oil prices, first to $110 per barrel and more recently to $75 per barrel. His worst-case scenario for next year is just $50 per barrel, a far cry from his earlier bullish predictions.

Pemex Gulf Accident Investigators Blocked From Site

(Bloomberg) -- The Mexican attorney general's office blocked investigators from visiting the site of the Gulf of Mexico's deadliest offshore oil accident for more than two months, limiting the scope of a Petroleos Mexicanos study into the incident, a report says.

By the time the group was allowed to inspect the platform and rig involved in an Oct. 23, 2007, accident that killed 22 workers, the platform had shifted and site conditions had deteriorated, the Battelle Memorial Institute said in an estimated 1,000-page report prepared for Pemex, as the Mexico City-based oil company is known.

Pakistan: Public incensed at loadshedding

PESHAWAR: The employees of Pakistan Locomotive Factory have expressed grave concern over continuing load-shedding in the area, despite the announcement by Pakistan Electric Power Supply Company (PEPCO) to end loadshedding throughout the province.

They warned that if the authorities concerned did not ensured a smooth supply of power, they would hold a protest in factory premises and block the main Mardan road.

Running on empty: deserts could solve energy crisis

DESERTS could generate enough renewable energy to power Australia, in the process creating unprecedented opportunities for its remote communities, a leading scientist says.

Dr Barrie Pittock, a lead author with the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and former head of CSIRO's climate impact group, says deserts could also create a substantial clean energy export industry focused on Asia.

Aramco on track for output boost

Saudi Aramco expects to boost its output capacity to 12 million barrels per day of crude oil by the end of next year despite slowing global demand for oil, a senior company official said.

"We are backing our bullish outlook on petroleum with substantial investments designed to meet future global demand for crude oil, petroleum products and petrochemicals," Khalid Al-Buainain, Aramco's senior vice president of international refining and marketing, told an energy symposium.

He added that Saudi Arabia will soon bring the Khurais project on stream. Khurais alone accounts for 1.2 million bpd of production capacity.

"By the end of next year, we will have reached our target of 12 million bpd...sustained crude oil production capacity including significant spare capacity that can be used whenever it's needed," Reuters quoted him as saying.

Saudi makes significant oil cuts to some buyers

SINGAPORE/LONGON — Top oil exporter Saudi Arabia has already cut significantly crude supplies to some of its customers, industry sources said on Tuesday, quelling doubts OPEC would stick to its latest output deal.

One industry source estimated Saudi Arabia had reduced exports, as opposed to production, by around 900,000 barrels per day (bpd) compared with a peak in August.

Norwegian government's oil profits soar on high prices, warns of possible impact of slump

OSLO, Norway (AP) _ The Norwegian government's operating profit on its direct investment in the Nordic countries offshore oil fields rose 27 percent in the third quarter to 35.6 billion kroner ($5.3 billion) on high crude prices, Petoro AS announced Tuesday.

BG says making good progress on Brazil Tupi field

LONDON (Reuters) - BG Group Plc is making rapid progress on the development of its Tupi field in Brazil and could achieve output of 300,000 barrels of oil per day (bpd) in 2012, Chief Executive Frank Chapman said on Tuesday.

Iran says to cut crude supplies to IOC - Co source

NEW DELHI: Iran and other OPEC member countries have told state-run Indian Oil Corp they will cut crude supplies to the firm by about 5 per cent from this month, an IOC source said on Monday.

"ADNOC and Kuwait have informed us that they will be supplying 5 per cent less crude this month ... We have received a telephone call from Iran also for a similar cut," the official, who could not be named due to company policy, told Reuters.

OPEC oil output falls in Oct: Reuters survey

LONDON: OPEC oil supply fell in October for a second consecutive month as Saudi Arabia and Iran trimmed production and maintenance curbed supply in the United Arab Emirates, a survey showed on Monday.

Many Challenges To Cambodia's Oil Upstream Hopes

SINGAPORE -(Dow Jones)- Cambodia is facing a wide range of challenges in developing its oil and gas upstream sector, even as it moves cautiously ahead with an offshore exploration project led by U.S. oil major Chevron Corp., a senior government official said Tuesday.

The Cambodian National Petroleum Authority is also pushing for construction of the country's first oil refinery and mulling the establishment of a national oil company, but global interest in the country's hydrocarbons potential is lacking, progress on a petroleum law has been slow, and a long-running maritime acreage dispute with neighboring Thailand has yet to be settled.

Azerbaijan Plays Russia Off Against Europe in Contest Over Gas

(Bloomberg) -- It is boom time in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan: The skyline is dense with cranes and high-rise buildings, and the streets of the port city on the Caspian Sea are clogged with luxury shops and traffic.

Oil revenue has fueled the country's growth, and even as prices have plummeted, Azerbaijan's energy resources remain a valuable prize. Evidence of this is the tug-of-war between Russia and Europe over natural gas from the next phase of a project that's expected to at least double current production when it moves from the planning stage to completion.

Iran faces big trouble if oil falls below $60

Tehran: Iran needs oil to average $60.60 (Dh223) a barrel until March, the end of the current Iranian year, to avoid "big problems" in its economy, Iranian media reported on Monday.

Gulf funds may be reluctant to bail out troubled West

Dubai: Western firms and governments are turning to the world's top oil-exporting region for money as the global crisis bites, but Gulf funds that lost billions in the turmoil may be more choosy with their cash as oil income falls.

With an estimated $1.6 trillion (Dh5.9 trillion) under management, Gulf Arab sovereign wealth funds (SWFs) are under growing pressure to shore up plummeting stock markets at home as the global financial crisis hits confidence and squeezes liquidity.

Low gas prices bring Ohio spot shortages

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Some Columbus area gas stations have been resupplied after they ran short of fuel over the weekend when consumers rushed to take advantage of prices below $2 a gallon.

Many motorists say they don't think the low gasoline prices will last. "Not a chance" is how Shane Sutton put it as he paid $1.98 Monday at a service station in north Columbus that had run out for a brief time the day before.

Jim Brown: All Over But The Counting

Neither candidate has expressed a grasp of peak oil. Other than some campaign sound bites neither candidate is paying attention to the greatest problem we have ever faced. The U.S. and the world is running on cheap oil. We consume 87 million barrels per day and increasing by approximately 1.5 mbpd each year. The time is rapidly approaching where we can no longer continue business as usual. Within months of peak oil's arrival the price of crude will skyrocket again but this time it will be permanent. How is the next president going to deal with a shortfall of 2 mbpd in the USA? That equates to 40 million gallons of gasoline per day that will not be available for consumers. Is that 10 gallons less in your tank or your neighbors tank each week? Everybody always assumes it is the other guys. Unfortunately once the shortage begins after the arrival of peak oil it will NEVER get better. There will be a gasoline shortage for the rest of our lives.

We saw a brief taste of what peak oil will look like when oil spiked to $147 last summer. Gasoline was $4.25 per gallon and there was no real shortage. It was simply a price squeeze brought on by hedgers and speculators. The peak oil shortage will be real and speculators will make it even more difficult to live with. It is going to change your life and that is a fact. You don't have to believe me today because it will still happen. You don't have to believe in gravity but knock your laptop off your desk and it will still break.

Ukraine to end electricity imports from Russia

KIEV (RIA Novosti) - Ukraine will stop importing electricity from Russia on December 1, the country's Fuel and Energy Ministry said on Tuesday.

Ukraine began importing electricity from Russia on September 15 due to a shortage of coal and unscheduled repairs to the Khmelnitsky nuclear power plant.

Dealerships empty as all major automakers see sales plunge

DETROIT — Fearful consumers avoided auto dealerships in October, sending U.S. sales to their lowest levels in more than 25 years.

Industry sales plummeted 31.9% from a year ago, according to industry tracking firm Autodata. Automakers sold just 838,156 new vehicles in October, the second consecutive month below 1 million. Until then, monthly sales had been more than 1 million since February 1993.

General Motors (GM) says that, adjusted for population growth, U.S. sales were as low last month as they were just after World War II. Without government intervention, GM doesn't see a rebound.

Neighbors at odds over noise from wind turbines

BROWNSVILLE, Wis. — Not long after the wind turbines began to spin in March near Gerry Meyer's home, his son Robert, 13, and wife, Cheryl, complained of headaches.

They have trouble sleeping, and Cheryl Meyer, 55, sometimes feels a fluttering in her chest. Gerry is sometimes nauseated and hears crackling.

The culprit, they say, is the whooshing sound from the five industrial wind turbines near the 6-acre spread where they have lived for 37 years. "I don't think anyone should have to put up with this," says Gerry Meyer, who compares the sound to a helicopter or a jet taking off.

As more turbines are built, the noise they create is stirring debate. Industry groups such as the American Wind Energy Association say there's no proof they make people sick, but complaints of nausea, insomnia and other problems have surfaced near wind farms across the USA.

How Clean Coal Could Power the Future

Coal can, at least in theory, be burned with little or no carbon footprint, but it requires something called carbon capture and storage (CCS), in which CO2 is separated from the coal (either before or after burning) and buried underground.

The trouble is that CCS has never been tried on a commercial scale, and some environmentalists think that it is only being talked about to provide cover for continued coal use. "'Clean coal' is the industry's attempt to 'clean up' its dirty image - the industry's greenwash buzzword," reads a Greenpeace Web site.

Swiss website to plant trees to offset environmental impact

GENEVA (AFP) – A Swiss website on Monday announced that it would plant up to 12,000 trees in the Amazon forest next year to offset the ecological impact brought about by its business.

The website Romandie.com is the first internet site to offset all the environmental impact generated by its servers and connections, according to a statement from the site published Monday.

Canada an environmental slouch, study says

TORONTO (Reuters) – Canada's environmental record is among the worst in the industrialized world, due in part to its poor performance fighting global warming, according to a report from the Conference Board of Canada on Monday.

Canada placed 15th among 17 peers, beating only Australia and the United States. Greenhouse gas emissions, high garbage production, and rampant overuse of fresh water were its biggest environmental problems.

"Without serious attention to environmental sustainability, Canada puts its society and its quality of life at risk," the independent research organization said in the report.

"Neighbors at odds over noise from wind turbines"

I've wondered this for awhile. For internal combustion engines, how much more efficiency could we get if we didn't require mufflers? It would be a more noisy environment, but could we save gas in the long run? Or is it not worth it?

Small engines like 2-strokes on bikes benefit from lower back pressure, but taking the muffler off a car engine can make it run much worse, as the exhaust is "overscavenged."

The same technology that's used on military helicopters to quiet their blades has been sold on dirt bikes to muffle their engines: active cancellation. A microphone and speakers are used to emit a signal that's out of phase with the engine noise, but only in a specified direction.

Active cancellation doesn't absorb any acoustic energy, it just points nulls in the important directions, like in a horizontal plane for a bike, or out in front of a chopper. The overall effect is to increase the noise coming from the source; it's just redirected in less obtrusive directions.


Mufflers are part of the resonant exhaust system that actually increase the volumetric efficiency of ICE, the 'noise' energy component is very small, consider the sound energy of a crowd shouting at a football match is enough to warm a small cup of water. Bigger losses in petrol engines are the "pumping" losses, caused by throttling the air as required to keep the air fuel ratio constant, which is why diesels are inherently more efficient, they only throttle the fuel


I have visited that particular wind energy installation three times since it was placed in service six months ago. The "noise" they're talking about is a low whooshing sound that registers about 42 dBa from 1,000 feet. That's about 8-10 dBa above ambient sound levels at night, unless the crickets are chirping, the cows are mooing, a dog is barking, a car is driving by, rain is falling, or the leaves are rustling from the same wind. Or something else.

When the windows are closed, they are inaudible from inside a house. End of story.

What we have here is a handful of unhappy people who project their anxieties on changing circumstances. Wind turbines happen to be a highly visible symbol of change. So, if they're feeling stressed, or have an upset stomach, or couldn't get to sleep last night, it's the turbines fault. Very convenient. Of course, this is not an attitude that will come in handy during the Long Emergency.

Michael (WI)

"So, if they're feeling stressed, or have an upset stomach, or couldn't get to sleep last night, it's the turbines fault."

That's what I was thinking. It's that magical thinking stuff again, and it's in our genes.

I guess there could be a real cause-effect other than their own mind tricking them, but I doubt it. It might make an interesting study for the psychologist.

I can relate a funny anecdote about wolf kills: when timber wolves were first introduced to Yellowstone, accidental or incidental calf deaths in the ranches in the surrounding counties shrank tremendously. The reason? It's not because wolves are good for calves, it's because if a calf died, it must have been wolves that did it. The park service is obliged to pay for wolf kills, but if a cow just dies on its own the rancher eats that cost. Whenever one of these "wolf kills" is reported, the park service sends out their inspector to look for characteristic bite marks. More often than not he doesn't find any, so the park service doesn't reimburse the rancher, but that doesn't seem to stop the rancher from claiming the wolves did it. Total calf deaths are the same, but now instead of accidental deaths, it's always reported as wolves.

I suspect these people just had a mild case of the flu or a cold. More urban myths that can't be proved, like cell phones causing cancer.

It is true that in California near wind farms the land prices go down because of the noise -- but these are the old style props that spin much faster and are noisier.

For some reason I just don't like the looks of them when I'm within 500 metres. I find the plodding powerful rotation of the huge blades kind of frightening and unnatural. Maybe I played a video game as a child that where one had to navigate through huge propellers.

It seems to me that dismissing those who find turbines distressing in too cavalier a manner is unwise.
Some people are just a lot more sensitive to some stimuli than others, for instance in allergies, and it is perhaps possible that sensitivity to low frequency noise and perhaps changes in pressure may be much greater in some than in others.
Many who readily dismiss what they regard as nimbyism in this respect give credence to alleged leukemia clusters near nuclear power stations, but are reluctant to entertain any criticism of their pet projects.

I agree that we should not dismiss these complaints too quickly.

And with your point that some people are much more sensitive to certain stimuli is well taken. In my own experience, I've never had allergy problems, but I do get minor allergy symptoms from drinking even one can of beer - but only in the fall and spring. Maybe it's due to some combination of local pollens and something in the beer ???.

In any case, the phenomena should be investigated and if it is not psychosomatic we can hopefully find the cause and way to alleviate the problem.

Canada has been increasing its hydroelectric capacity. Alaska has great potential for hydroelectric dams. In Russia they had dams in the far north, had to make sure the intake for the water turbines was below the level for ice formation in the winter. The operating costs of hydro are very low, lower than for nuclear. Aluminum smelting required electricity to reduce the bauxite aluminum ore. Bauxite formed with the decomposition of clays at southern latitudes. Some of the first aluminum smelting was accomplished at Niagra due to the tremendous power potential there.

I used to be very skeptical of this kind of complaint until I married a prominent physician who treats many people with these issues. Many people become allergic to the yeast in beer and wine as they get older and their immune systems are less able to cope, myself included.

When the windows are closed, they are inaudible from inside a house. End of story.

Not so fast. Just because someone who casually visits can not hear it, does not mean someone who lives there cannot. Many people are seriously affected by this kind of thing.

If wind power is going to be a major means of replacing fossil fuels we are going to need hundreds of thousands of square miles of wind farms. This is going to be a major issue in the American west and Europe where it is going to be difficult to locate them away from people far enough not to cause these effects. This is a much more serious issue than the fears some have of living near nuclear power plants since they take up so little land. Wind energy has significant visual and auditory pollution issues.

It's quite true. Most people cannot see a computer monitor flicker if the refresh rate is set to 60hz, but it gives me a headache within a matter of minutes. Whenever I did tech support, the first thing I would do if the monitor was set to 60hz is change it to 70hz or higher. I didn't have to check the settings, I could easily tell from everything just barely flickering for me. Fortunately new LCD monitors don't havve the same problem, even if their refresh rate is 60hz, as the brightness of the pixel doesn't fade away.

Similarly, with the new LED products that are coming out that run on A/C power, depending on how the power is rectified, I can see the 60hz "pulse" of the power in the LEDs. Incandescent, fluorescent, or DC powered LEDs do not cause this problem for me.

Other examples are CRT televisions that produce high-pitch whines cannot often be heard by others, but drive me absolutely batty, and when I was on vacation in Tokyo, Japan there would sometimes be ultrasonic bug repellers near entrances to businesses to prevent bugs from flying in the open doors which would also cause me pain.

In all of these instances, some other people experienced the same problems, while most people didn't. Some people just aren't sensitive to such things, or aren't as receptive. It's crazy how no matter how hard of a time I have deciphering what a person is saying when there is a lot of noise, there's no way anybody could sneak up behind me unless there was loud music via headphones or speakers going on..

60Hz flicker and the 60Hz "whine" of a TV set bothers me, too. Even car taillights flicker at 60Hz. If you look at one and quickly rotate your eye, it will make a trail like this:

_ _ _ _ _

Driving on the freeway is mildly unnerving because of this.

It's quite likely that in these cases, the car manufacturer is "overdriving" the LEDs to increase their brightness. An LED can be overdriven, increasing the light out put but decreasing its life if it is overdriven for a period of time. This is overcome by using PWM, or Pulse Width Modulation, to where the LED flashes on/off so fast that MOST humans cannot see it. If the PWM was set to a higher cycle rate, it wouldn't be seen, but they likely use the 60Hz as it is a standard with so many things. I suspect in time as documented cases increase, the auto manufacturers will hopefully increase the cycle rate to something higher, to at least 70Hz or 80Hz. Standard DC LED's that are not overdriven will not produce this effect.

Infrasonic (very low frequency) sound could be a factor. Now would probably be a really good time to seriously study if infrasound from wind turbines has any effects on the environment, human or otherwise. It would be a pity if we invested massively in a certain design of wind turbine, only to find that their operation made many people sick. The general presumption is that wind turbine technology is benign, but nothing in this world is totally benign.

I wonder if might be vibration more than noise. There has been some research suggesting that low-frequency vibration can cause the problems they are complaining about. I remember seeing one study that linked low-frequency vibration with "sick building syndrome."

Leanan -

A good deal of work has already been done on analyzing the sound and low-frequency vibrations produced by large wind turbines. However, much less is known about the long-term physiological effects of such, largely because there isn't a great deal of historical data to go by (offshore turbines, obviously, don't count).

As I understand it, each time a turbine blade passes in front of the support tower there is a slight decrease in wind pressure due to the 'shadow effect', and that in turn causes both a change in localized air movement plus a flexing of the blade. Then, of course there are the vibrations caused by vortex formation as the blade tip cuts through the air.

It is well known that low-frequency vibrations at a certain frequency and amplitude can cause all sort of physiological problems, both subtle and obvious, including nausea, vertigo, and general malaise. The US military has done research using low-frequency sound as a non-lethal weapon for crowd control. I recall the idea is to induce almost instantaneous nausea and loose bowels (or maybe worse if you turn up the volume).

So, there may or may not be a legitimate physical basis for some of the specific complaints by people living near wind turbines. I think this problem underscores the importance of proper site selection for onshore wind turbines. We will probably learn soon enough (and via the hard way) what is a safe distance to live from a large wind turbine.

A long time ago an operating engineer showed me that he could kill insects within a 100 foot radius of a turbine (commonly used to for large scale air-flow) just through rpm adjustment.

He said nobody at his workplace ever took him seriously when he told people.

I remember having a terrible sinus headache for hours afterward.

So, if they're feeling stressed, or have an upset stomach, or couldn't get to sleep last night, it's the turbines fault. Very convenient.

Windmill problems among the local populace?

Send in Don Quixote.

Don Quixote: Dost not see? A monstrous giant of infamous repute whom I intend to encounter.
Sancho Panza: It's a windmill.
Don Quixote: A giant. Canst thou not see the four great arms whirling at his back?
Sancho Panza: A giant?
Don Quixote: Exactly. (Man of La Mancha)

This phenomena has been known for quite some time. The American "South Park" television comedy even featured it.

Its known as the Brown Note.

I know for a fact this is effective on me. It does not move my bowels, but it will result in nausea after a few seconds of it.

There are other artifacts, rarely occuring in Nature but often occuring in our civilized lifestyle which I find quite annoying: the magnetostrictive squeal of power converters running 15-20 KHz ( including TV horizontal output transformers ) and flickering of fluorescent lamps and some LED's driven from pulse width modulators.

There were several department stores in the 70's I could not be in for more than a few seconds at a time because they had ultrasonic burglar alarms that they would not turn off the transmitters to during the day. I would become extremely irritable after a few minutes of it.

I consider their complaint very valid.


Not to worry. Someday at $10/gallon cars will be eerily quiet.

I'm looking forward to it. Even though I live several miles from I35, I can hear the roar of traffic on it when the neighborhood is quiet.

I'm looking forward to it. Even though I live several miles from I35, I can hear the roar of traffic on it when the neighborhood is quiet.

Ah, but surely you realize that is "The Sound of FreedomTM" that you hear?

From the Houston Chronicle

Katy Freeway expansion declared done

Texas Governor Rick Perry speaking, (referring to the roar from EIGHTEEN lanes of traffic):

"This is the sound of freedom we hear," he said. "These people need roads to get to work, to church and to school."

If you take off mufflers you can make small improvements in efficiency but it tends to work well at high engine RPMs when the engine is flowing more air. Cruising conditions are not really impacted by the mufflers. All out race cars therefore do not use mufflers as they make more power by means of being more efficient, but the difference is relativley small (small differences make are a big deal in racing).

Its certainly not enough to solve the dilema, but its apparent that there is no single solution.

Aside from the massive amount of noise from the roads, I think most people would be miserable from the noise inside the car while driving along. If youve ever driven a car that didnt have mufflers on youd know how that is.

Reading that article about noise from a wind farm I was intruiged by the odd symptoms. The term pyschosomatic comes to mind. Next thing we know theyll be complaining of an odd taste to the water, aching bones, trembling hands and the first person who lives near a windfarm and gets cancer will cause renewed investigations. Maybe they would prefer to live next door to a coal power plant, or a nuclear plant? Or maybe they should just live without power for a while to learn to appreciate the windfarm?

Do wind turbines cause medical problems?

They have trouble sleeping, and Cheryl Meyer, 55, sometimes feels a fluttering in her chest. Gerry is sometimes nauseated and hears crackling.

I can attest to decades of dealing with these complaints in patients. It is my impression that these and other non-specific (abdominal pain, constipation, diarrhea, headache, myalgias....) are often symptoms of generalized distress which has not been properly identified and resolved.

It isn't that the symptoms aren't real -- they are-- or that they aren't distressing -- they certainly are that. They are the somatic perception of an environmental change that hasn't been fully understood or adapted to by the sufferers' autonomic nervous systems.

The "cure" isn't to avoid change-- that's unrealistic. Nor is it to do more and more CT scans and cardiac catheterizations and the like, looking for "organic disease" (which won't be found, and will lead the medical profession to assign the symptoms to the"functional" category and stop any further investigation, once the maximum revenue has been extracted in the search.) Nor is it to harangue people and shout at them for being so stupid.

The cure is to help people adapt. Everyone knows from personal experience that change is distressing, and that most people eventually adapt to the changes -- even drastic changes. A huge, unresearched field in clinical medicine is facilitation of adaptation. The current reductionist approach to disease ("one organism, one disease") has led to spectacular advances. But I believe that future gains will mostly come from understanding people's responses to their environment and the many and varied ways they cope with change.

I could just as well have said "dogs" instead of "people", as they are similarly exquisitely sensitive to environmental cues and just as prone to "neurotic" responses as human beings. All nervous systems seem to behave similarly.

TOD has got people thinking in terms of complex, interconnected and loop-back systems. How to acquire and transmit coping skills on a changing planet-- that is where the money is.

And yes, we need wind turbines. And I believe they have a stark beauty. I wouldn't mind one in my back yard.

You're absolutely right NeverLNG - these appear to be classic symptoms of a condition I am unfortunately all too familiar with - known as GAD or Generalized Anxiety Disorder. It's typically a pre-cursor to full blown panic attacks (at least it has been for me for a few years now). It's all about being removed from your "comfort zone" and the GAD / panic attacks are your body's evolutionary programmed response for "flight or fight". Chest discomfort, shortness of breath, nervousness, heart palpitations, dizziness, digestive issues - there are million different symptoms that can be attributed to this condition - and most end up thinking at first that they are surely having a heart attack - until they have twenty different tests done by cardiologists to let them know that "your heart is fine".

Unfortunately the means of combating GAD or panic attacks does not sit well with those of us with problem solving, tackle the issue head on, type A personalities... The solution is thru not fighting it at all. Resisting only leads to increases stress which leads to more and more physical manifestations of the problem. It really is a maddening vicious circle that we've largely chosen to "fight" by deadening our nervous system thru prescriptions (Xanax) or self medication (alcohol etc.)

Once I started doing some research on this to try to figure it out I was astounded by just how widespread the problem is. Our society and culture are the perfect breeding grounds for it and as things become more difficult economically and on the energy frontI would expect the numbers afflicted to skyrocket...

There is a added problem. the modern way of life of working 8+ hours doesn't leave enough time for people to adapt..

I know I am a bit redundant here, as I posted this same link upthread, but at this late time, if I am lucky, you will see this, as you noted you have patients. From this I take it you are providing medical care to them.

I feel your patients are not making this up. The phenomena they are describing is also known as the brown note.

A request for TOD readers, could you recommend good books to read on peak oil and energy in general?

Also how ready are we for peak in terms of readiness? Is anything happening out there in politics, energy, new technology that gives a case for optimism. Or is the cliff coming closer and closer?
(IMO the cliff is coming at a faster and faster rate.)


My favorite introductory book is "The Last Oil Shock" by David Strahan. It was published in the UK just last year and can be purchased from Amazon Canada (if you are in the US). By the fifth chapter everyone gets it. I have loaned it to union organizers, environmentalists, etc. He lays out the peak oil story in a very compelling way.

The book is very readable, starting like a spy novel about Iraq and Tony Blair. Then it goes through Hubbert's predictions. It talks about the contrary views, who holds them, and why they believe what they do. It has a good chapter on economics and energy, covering several of the latest papers and why economists tend to get it wrong on oil. Alternatives are discussed. So are some mitigation strategies. I purchased a Brompton folding bike after reading his review of it in this book. I was not disappointed.

For PO: Ken Deffeyes' book is great; goes from how oil is formed to how it's found and recovered.

Try energybulletin.net as a starting point for energy topics in general.

I got my book club to read Heinberg's "The Party's Over". Has all the elements of the discussion, including the debt economy, in about 250 pages.

Ive read:
Twighlight in the desert, Matt Simmons
1000 barrels a second, Peter Tertzakian
The end of oil, Paul Roberts

Twighlight was my favorite because I actually learned a lot about the business of extracting oil (basic stuff but knowledge I didnt have before).

I've read Strahans book and a few others -you can get a 30 minute overview by having a butchers at my attempt to sum it all up: "Peak Oil Joining The Dots" available free for download here:



Heinberg's The Party's Over is a pretty good overview/introduction.

The DOE report by Dr Heish[sp?]on peak oil is the best I have read...a little dry,but its not hard to fill in the blanks

It's the Hirsch Report.

Just as long as you don't confuse M. King Hubbert with L. Ron Hubbard, we're good on the spelling... (And to show the difference between the two: The first is a well known scientist, and the second is a well known scientologist)

The Upside of Down by Thomas Homer-Dixon

Shoot...books! You are here on TOD and that is probably the best reading...check out the links on the sidebar, go back through the archives...you will be able to form your own opinions in no time armed with some great research and facts and opinion pieces.

I totally loved Dmitry Orlov's Reinventing Collapse. His point about human relationships and interactions changing as the ways in which we transact business must change was especially useful.

I also liked his discussion on choosing a place to live. Usually experts in this field recommend their favorite kind of "pet landscape" as a must-have refuge for post-peak living. Yet Orlov won't do that. He offers his thoughts on this, and they are like traveling down a road with him while he considers, and I think his conclusions in this area are insightful.

He has a really interesting point of view, and I don't always agree with him. But I like to read someone who forces me to think beyond where I've been before. He is brilliant.

Is today's economic crisis another Great Depression?

No, but...

Despite the Fed's activist role — and the role of central banks around the world — some still worry that further financial calamity is possible. Chapman University's Canova says that $700 billion pales in comparison with what the country spent to get the economy out of the Depression in the 1930s, particularly if you include the massive spending for World War II. "If one lesson of the Great Depression is that the Federal Reserve must be ready to expand the money supply, another lesson is that monetary expansion alone will not renew a growth path for the economy," Canova says.

Another worry: In 1929, stocks were the most overvalued asset. This time, the U.S. had more than one bubble entering the current crisis, says Mark Kiesel, executive vice president at Pimco, and that means that unwinding it all could be more painful and protracted than many think. "We entered this slowdown with massive overvaluation in all assets: commodities, stocks, mortgages and real estate," Kiesel says. Unwinding all those bubbles will lead to a far weaker economy than many experts expect, he says.

I don't think Brooks realizes how right he is.

David Brooks: A Date With Scarcity

His (Obama's) upscale, post-boomer cohort has rallied behind him with unalloyed fervor. Major college newspapers have endorsed him at a rate of 63 to 1. The upscale educated class — from the universities, the media, the law and the financial centers — has financed his $600 million campaign (which relied on big-dollar donations even more heavily than George W. Bush’s 2004 effort). This cohort will soon become the ruling class.

And the irony is that they will be confronted by the problem for which they have the least experience and for which they are the least prepared: the problem of scarcity. Raised in prosperity, favored by genetics, these young meritocrats will have to govern in a period when the demands on the nation’s wealth outstrip the supply. They will grapple with the growing burdens of an aging society, rising health care costs and high energy prices. They will have to make up for the trillion-plus dollars the government will spend to avoid a deep recession. They will have to struggle to keep their promises to cut taxes, create an energy revolution, pass an expensive health care plan and all the rest.

As Robert J. Samuelson writes in his forthcoming book, “The Great Inflation and Its Aftermath,” “Already, Americans face far more claims on their incomes than can be easily met.”

As Jim Brown put it:

At this late date there is nothing they can do. Our fate is already written in stone as the largest consumer of oil on the planet. We consume 25% of the world's oil but only have 4% of the population. Once peak oil arrives the rest of the world is not going to take kindly to our inordinate share of the worlds dwindling resources. The geological problem will only be made worse by a geopolitical problem of massive proportions as countries demand the U.S. consume less oil so that they can continue to claim their global ration of fossil fuel. It is not going to be a pretty picture and yet the candidates are sparring about who's tax cut will most benefit those on welfare and which is worse a $150,000 wardrobe or a $2 million victory celebration. Neither of the candidates has a clue and voters, most of who don't have a clue themselves, are going to vote for their favorite to bring change to Washington. Change is coming but it is not going to be from Tuesday's winner.

P.S. There's an interesting article by Samuelson at the top of yesterday's DrumBeat.

By what mechanism can you see "the world" reducing the supply of oil sold to the US? If we are willing to pay any price for it, who or what will stop someone from selling it to the US?

Might it be that no one accepts our inflated dollars? That's the only thing I can think of that would reduce the quantity available to the highest bidder.

Might it be that no one accepts our inflated dollars?

Bingo! Actually, I think this will limit our ability to inflate our debt away. We are dependent on imports, especially oil, and if we print money like there's no tomorrow, at the very least, oil will get ridiculously expensive. At worst, they won't trade oil for dollars.

If the choices are inflate or default, it's got to be the former, which offers at least a fig leaf of respectability and a possibility of continuing BAU a little longer. The international capital in goodwill will all be long spent by then, so a new round of blatant resource grabs won't make a difference in terms of our "global standing."

Frozen credit markets seem to be already interfering greatly with international trade of all kinds. The lack of confidence in the international monetary system is disrupting trade of oil as well as other commodities.

Look at the drumbeat articles the past few weeks. Buyers like utilities may not have their normal access to credit, cutting off or decreasing their access to supplies. And financial organizations (e.g. Goldmansachs) may not be trusted at all and energy companies might refuse to deal with them.

As for inflation - that will be killing all of our fiat currencies. Maybe we will go the Argentine way - trading bulk commodities for oil etc, and forgoing fiat currency transactions altogether.

As Tom Whipple points out in his ASPO update, investment in many future oil projects are pretty much non-existant at this point.

I hate to think what that's going to do to the economy a few years down the road.

I agree with your point, and if the same holds true for natural gas drilling in North America, it is even more true there. The very high depletion rates for all of this new unconventional NG production will really bite us in the tookus soon (year) if we slack off on our development efforts.

Brooks is probably right in his assessment, but I'll still take a meritocracy unfamiliar with scarcity over a kakistocracy bent on looting the public trust.

David Brooks has somehow been labeled a "liberal" -- and maybe that is true by the 18th century definition of the word-- but in the 21st century he is merely a loathsome apologist for the "kakistocracy". And he doesn't even write very well. I have feelings of abdominal discomfort when I see his byline, and quickly put the paper down.

That feeling is caused by wind turbines, actually.

I get it real bad when (coincidentally) Brooks shows up on the News Hour, again and again. I'm saddened by how little regard I have for their (PBS's) reporting and choice of commentators nowadays. Brooks actually surmised, OUT LOUD.. that our goal of setting up Democracy in Iraq might not work, because 'they might not be ready for it..' and noone, Shields or Ifill/Lehrer had anything more to say on the subject. Don't remember the wording exactly, it was 2-3 years ago.. but the way it came out, my jaw dropped. I thought the TV may have retuned itself to Fox.. it was a completely racist comment, the way he said it.

But I know, it's just the wind turbines.. we've got some as close as a hundred miles from here.

Gee, you'd think somebody would have asked that question BEFORE the invasion. Thousand's of lives and hundreds of billions of dollars on the line, you'd think they would have stopped for a second and done a little risk assessment.

I remember him saying that, it didn't strike me as racist so much as a rationalization, "It's not our fault for not thinking before the invasion and screwing up the occupation -- it's their fault for not accepting the wonderful democracy gift we gave them."

*edit* This is also a way to justify to themselves that they are willing to accept less than a democracy in Iraq now in order to get out.

Of course, the war was never about spreading democracy.

Nobody even claimed it was about democracy, until the WMD story started failing the giggle test.

Anyone who discusses the war in terms of spreading democracy is lying to you and probably to herself.

This fact is transparently obvious to everyone in the world, except a majority of Americans.

I think what was so galling about his willingness to make this comment was that any failure of a 'Democracy like ours'(by implication) to flourish there is the fault of a people who 'aren't capable or inclined to it..' and not that they're living under an occupying army, being infiltrated by a regionwide brigade of Al Quaeda and other operatives, are having to manage with the devastated infrastructure of NOT ONLY Saddam's years which also included an American trade embargo, and then the devastation reaked by the massive bombing campaign that we targeted on their water, electrical and such systems ..

No, it must be that 'this kind of a people is not really ready for democracy yet' Nice, polite Country-club racism, used to justify no-bid contracting for arms manufacturers. It is clearly our own government and our two leading parties that are no longer ready for a real democracy.

Vote for Mossadegh!


I'll give the News Hour some credit for at least trying to be "balanced". Unfortunately, that usually consists of their bringing on two elitist, establishment talking heads who slightly, but amicably, disagree with each other in some small or trivial way. What you rarely hear on the News Hour are true dissenting voices of any type.

I used to give them that credit, but no longer can.

I simply cringe watching it, thinking about the various elephants in the room that they simply will not put a spotlight onto. Your point about the absence of dissenting voices is not a sidebar issue, an unfortunate symptom.. it is the disease itself.

Blessed are the Troublemakers, the Dissidents and the Heretics.

It's fun to watch 'em try to avoid the elephants with the light.

Like when Greenspan said in his memoir "Iraq was unfortunately largely about oil" and had to be shushed by his handlers ...

Brooks is a neoliberal ideologue, and an ideologue of the "worst" type, as defined here by Robert Heilbroner:

Let us begin by taking up the question of ideology at its worst. By "worst," I do not mean a deliberate and knowing misrepresentation or manipulation of the truth. No doubt some economists lie, as does everyone from time to time, but that is not the problem the term conjures up. Ideology, even in its extreme interpretation as lying, means lying on behalf of an idea or an interest. Moreover, I suspect that except in the rarest cases, lying on behalf of an interest is not performed as an act of conscious immorality, but because the ideologue is sufficiently convinced of the righteousness of his cause to justify admittedly "exagerated" or "strictly" incorrect statements by some metamoral calculus.

Robert L. Heilbroner, Behind the Veil of Economics

So in this light, let's take a look at Brooks' column.

To begin with, Brooks tells us this about how Obama financed his campaign:

The upscale educated class — from the universities, the media, the law and the financial centers — has financed his $600 million campaign (which relied on big-dollar donations even more heavily than George W. Bush’s 2004 effort). This cohort will soon become the ruling class.

This is a half-truth. Missing is the fact that Obama also had an entire army of small ($10 to $100) donors. I don't have the exact numbers at my finertips, but I do recall reading reports, in what can only be termed as revolutionary, that Obama received more of these small donations than any other presidential candidate in history. So besides Wall Street, he has another huge constituency that helped finance his campaign. So the issue is much more complex than the simplistic, and highly biased, view that Brooks is trying to peddle.

Now let's take a look at Brooks' pronouncements on the economy:

And the irony is that they will be confronted by the problem for which they have the least experience and for which they are the least prepared: the problem of scarcity.

Raised in prosperity, favored by genetics, these young meritocrats will have to govern in a period when the demands on the nation’s wealth outstrip the supply. They will grapple with the growing burdens of an aging society, rising health care costs and high energy prices. They will have to make up for the trillion-plus dollars the government will spend to avoid a deep recession. They will have to struggle to keep their promises to cut taxes, create an energy revolution, pass an expensive health care plan and all the rest.

As Robert J. Samuelson writes in his forthcoming book, “The Great Inflation and Its Aftermath,” “Already, Americans face far more claims on their incomes than can be easily met.”

In the next few years, the nation’s wealth will either stagnate or shrink. The fiscal squeeze will grow severe. There will be fiercer struggles over scarce resources, starker divisions along factional lines. The challenge for the next president will be to cushion the pain of the current recession while at the same time trying to build a solid fiscal foundation so the country can thrive at some point in the future.

We’re probably entering a period, in other words, in which smart young liberals meet a stone-cold scarcity that they do not seem to recognize or have a plan for.

Of course the hole in Brooks' logic that you could fit the Grand Canyon into, that literaly screams out, is that, when we deal with this gloomy "problem of scarcity" that confronts us (which I too believe is true), do we want the "young meritocrats" in charge or do we want to leave the same "old kleptocrats" in place that have been running things for the past 30 years?

But let's scratch a little bit deeper, into the not-so-obvious. Brooks goes on to tell us that "in the next few years, the nation’s wealth will either stagnate or shrink." Here Brooks demonstrates a total ignorance, or a deliberate attempt to obfuscate, the difference between "price" and "wealth." Sure, the price of assets may go down. But it does not automatically follow that the existence, nor the value, of those assets--infrastructure, real estate, factories, universities, hospitals, the work force and its level of training and eagerness to work, oil and gas and other minerals in the ground, farmland, etc.--will "stagnate or shrink." The "value" of the country's assets, the "wealth" of the nation, will hinge on the nation's response to the problems confronting it, on its production, and it is not engraved in stone, as Brooks would have us believe, that these necessarily have to "stagnate and shrink."

What Brooks is doing here is coflating the "price system"--Wall street and finance--with the "value system,"--Main Street. Why would he do this? I think the answer is obvious. This is an argument, which Brooks wants made an imperative, that Wall Street should have first place at the public trough. And while he drones on endlessly about the huge cost to bail out main street, he says nothing about the massive bail out Wall Street has already received. It doesn't take a brain surgeon to figure out whose team he's on.

Now let's take a look at another of Brooks' factual distortions. He proclaims that there "will be fiercer struggles over scarce resources, starker divisions along factional lines." However, as Frederick Lewis Allen painstakingly details in Since Yesterday, just the opposite happened during the Great Depression. The "religion of social consciousness" engulfed the nation. I would also think that the fact that the United States is on the eve of electing its first black president belies Brooks' doomsday prognostications about "starker divisions along factional lines."

Here Brooks is trying to stir up irrational fears, appealing to prejudice. It's an ancient, highly cynical ploy, normally used by those trying to prop up a morally bankrupt, and otherwise indefensible, ideology.

Good comment, DownSouth.

I would just add that his sneering references to 'Meritocrats', and this 'Cohort' of young College-Educated libs is enough to get me to search out his own Bio. He's playing the Sarah Palin card, hoping I guess that noone checks to see if he's a legitimate(!) Moose-skinnin' Hockey Mom himself. Since naturally, the rest of the Ordinary Folk in the country are handy, cunnin' and all set to handle these disappearing resources that will be so harsh on these unsuspecting, and Well-heeled Librocrats. Shadenfreude in Advance.

David Brooks (born August 11, 1961) is a Canadian-American[citation needed] political and cultural commentator. Brooks served as an editorial writer and film reviewer for the Washington Times,[1] a reporter and later op-ed editor for The Wall Street Journal,[2] a senior editor at The Weekly Standard from its inception, a contributing editor at Newsweek and The Atlantic Monthly, and a commentator on NPR. He is now a columnist for The New York Times and commentator on The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer.

Brooks was born into a Jewish family in Toronto and grew up in New York City in Stuyvesant Town. He graduated from the University of Chicago in 1983 with a degree in history.

... Brooks, who some consider a conservative, describes himself as being originally a liberal.

Hey, he was born on my mom's Birthday!

May I have a crack at the condensed version?

Brooks is a pseudo-intellectual idealogue, contemptible right-wing propagandist, craven sophist and a generally disagreeable little sh!t.

I just can't fathom how he manages to obtain so much face time on television as a supposedly respectable political commentator and intellectual. It is beyond belief! The liberal media- my aunt Fannie! He is a tool of the corporate propaganda matrix.

Beautiful! Works for me! Ever since Brooks started appearing in the NYT, I wondered WTF? He is all that you say, but he is also an incredibly lightweight thinker. Then there's Kristol - what a moron that guy is...

What is up with the NYT?

What is up with the NYT?

Deep capture.

"...further financial calamity is possible???"
Gotta love the McPaper, they never candy-coat the brutal truths!

Anybody on top of the story knows that the crisis is in its early stages, which is why the various national bailout plans aren't merely doomed, they're dooming our whole system, as we drag ever more struggling people on board our lifeboat, all but guaranteeing that it too will founder.

The McPaper, IMO, is actually surprisingly frank compared to the rest of the MSM.

CNBC last night and this morning were all, "The worst is behind us!" CNN was "It's time to buy stocks again!" Libor looking good, stock market looking good, happy days are here again.

"Libor looking good..."

That seems to be the prevailing view, yes. But at 2.4 the Libor is at about 8x its historic average.


I don't understand why market watchers are relieved about that.

For the same reason they're so happy about the stock market, even though it's still way down from its peak. Because it's improving, and they've convinced themselves it's a trend that will continue.

It's all calculus. Keep taking derivatives on a noisy trend until you get the sign you want. For example, the second derivative: 'things are bad, and getting worse, but seem to be getting worse at a decreasing rate.'

Until you do an integral and see how bad the mess is.

CNBC last night and this morning were all, "The worst is behind us!" CNN was "It's time to buy stocks again!" Libor looking good, stock market looking good, happy days are here again.

Yeah, and if I were up to my neck in crap and suddenly the level dropped 6 inches, I could say it's getting better, even though I'm still stuck in crap.

Bangladesh, Burma Dispute Oil Exploration in Bay of Bengal
04 November 2008

Naval ships from Bangladesh and Burma are facing off in the Bay of Bengal, after a row erupted between the neighbors about oil and gas exploration in the area.


Bangladesh vs Burma? The loser will be the first navy to run out of fuel. Or paddles.

Regarding the Saudi production "capacity" claims linked uptop, it's interesting to compare the EIA graphs for proved reserves in two countries, the UK and Saudi Arabia:


Saudi Arabia:

As we have discussed, Saudi Arabia is immune from the laws of physics. No matter how much oil they produce, their proved reserves never decline.

I think the two articles at the top of the post contradict each other in a way. One says that Saudi production will increase... while the other says that exports are being cut back.

Must be that internal consumption thing.

They said that their "production capacity" would increase. When I debated Michael Economides at Texas A&M last fall, he insisted that Saudi production had increased in 2006 and 2007. It is only when I suggested a $1,000 bet on whether I could produce EIA data tables showing lower Saudi production, that he grudgingly admitted that he was talking about "capacity."

An old story for new readers: For the benefit of the audience at the Peak Oil debate, I noted that while I had the theoretical capacity to date Julia Roberts, it's doubtful that it was a realistic outcome (Economides replied that he had actually dated Julia Roberts).

i wonder if julia roberts (or somebody) has saudi "drills in country" numbers for those holes (long straight lines) in my graph...

I think the two articles at the top of the post contradict each other in a way. One says that Saudi production will increase... while the other says that exports are being cut back

Well, that would be production capacity actually. With global demand down it makes sense that the Saudis would cut production and that's not inconsistant with increasing reserve capacity. Whatever their true reserves are, they still have a remarkable R/P ratio... especially compared to Russia. To me, Russia is the (very) near term problem.

Maybe in Saudi the biology is trumping the physics:

Fungus 'manufactures diesel'
A tree-living fungus that manufactures diesel fuel has been discovered in South America.
Experts believe the organism, Gliocladium roseum, could potentially be a completely new source of green energy. The fungus, which lives inside the Ulmo tree in the Patagonian rainforest, naturally produces hydrocarbon fuel similar to the diesel used in cars and trucks.
Scientists were amazed to find that it was able to convert plant cellulose directly into the biofuel, dubbed "myco-diesel". Crops normally have to converted to sugar and fermented before they can be turned into useful fuel.
Professor Gary Strobel, from Montana State University in Bozeman, US, said: "G. roseum can make myco-diesel directly from cellulose, the main compound found in plants and paper.

Allahu akbar! We got fungus among us!

Wow! Cool! Now Paul Stamets can add a 7th way that mushrooms can save the world!

The whole field of myco-research is fascinating. Stamets book "Mycelium Running" is my favorite book that I have read this year. It has made me optimistic and in awe as much as "The Long Emergency" incited fear and loathing. (I loved both books ;-)

Oil Creation Theory Challenged by Fuel-Making Fungus


Fungi are just another way dead plants decay. Since it's not abiotic, we're not changing where oil can be found: in the places that were once jungles and sea bottoms.

ince it's not abiotic, we're not changing where oil can be found: in the places that were once jungles and sea bottoms.

Assuming that the fungi actually can decompose organic matter to oil, it would mean that shallow burial (i.e. not deep enough for the oil to be created by slow cooking) might also contain oil. Apparently this didn't work in the oil shales however. So mt guess is it can only happen under very special circumstances, that are probably rare in nature. And well, if the deposit wasn't deeply buried, the chances of it being capped -so the oil wouldn't simply leak away are pretty low.

The Saudi oil wells are dimensionally transcendental. Bigger on the inside than on the outside, like the Tardis in Doctor Who.

The field's name is the Ghawardis, shortened to Ghawar.

Dan Bednarz and the people he works with have a new blog called Health After Oil.

Today's post is Bad Money & The Bottleneck: Is healthcare nationalization inevitable?

Finally, to answer the question, “Is the nationalization of healthcare inevitable?” It is the most likely outcome of Bad Money and The Bottleneck; other possibilities are a severe degradation of the healthcare system or its bifurcation on the basis of ability to pay, which will reflect an unstable democratic society and possibly contribute to civic unrest and conflict.

Interesting interview with Jim Rogers:


Comments on oil start at about minute 9 or 10.

Rogers is bearish U.S. treasuries and practically all U.S. stocks.

He is bullish oil and agriculture.

I'm buying today oil... This is a disaster for oil supply in the future. You can see that the futures for oil, for the far out futures for oil, are at a 40% premium to present day. The world knows there's not going to be any oil anymore and this is making it worse...

The oil bull market started in 1999. Three times since 1999 oil has come down 40 or 50 percent. It wasn't the end of the bull market. It just scared a lot of bulls... But now it's gone down four times 50%. It's not the end of the bull market. There's no more oil coming. The IEA is reporting oil reserves are declingin at the rate of 6% or 9% per year. There's no oil out there.

He is talking a 10-year time frame, not the 24-hour or 6-month time frame many traders operate within.

I believe several people around here will rejoice with this news:

VeraSun Energy, the second-largest producer of corn-based ethanol in the United States has run out of money and filed for bankruptcy protection.

link - http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/11/04/verasun_is_veradone/

A Comeback for Nation's First Superhighway
Good article about the old Erie Canal - freight passage from the Great Lakes to East Coast, via the Hudson River. Included is the miles-per-gallon per ton key efficiency parameter, vs. rail and truck.

We just drove back through NY from the Community Solutions conference in Rochester, Michigan, along much of the route of the Erie Canal on I-90 - several historical placards along the way. The immensity of the project, to dig a barge-navigable channel all the way across New York, without fossil-fuel assistance, is mind-boggling. In a world without fossil fuels, such canals will assume a much more prominent role once again.

- Dick Lawrence, ASPO-USA

Where I am, there is a canal along the Potomac that isn't used as a canal any more, but it is a historic site, and you can hike or bike along the towpath. The problems with these things is that they are tough to maintain - storms wash out pieces from time to time. Labor and/or for digging is always going to be expensive, and you still need a means of some sort for pulling the barges (in the old days they used animals, of course).

Canals also really only work well when the land is relatively flat, and there needs to be a supply of water to make it all work.

I wonder though - wouldn't the cost of electrified rail be far cheaper than digging new canals?

For those like me who are going to have trouble getting any work done today:

Networks May Call Race Before Voting Is Complete

In 2004, early exit poll data suggested that Mr. Kerry was ahead began circulating within newsrooms — and leaking out on Web sites, including Slate’s — early in the afternoon on Election Day. This year, the consortium of six news organizations gathering the exit poll data — NBC, ABC, CBS, Fox, CNN and The Associated Press — have agreed to keep the information under quarantine until 5 p.m.

No results until 5 pm EST. In the article they say they "could" call the election by as soon as 8 pm, but we've heard all that before.

I think the folks at Diebold (or whatever they are called now) already have the winner figured out.

What can I say? It's deregulation and private enterprise in action: unverified, unreproducible proprietary machines that nobody except for the people who made them knows how they work.

In a couple of states at least, it has finally dawned on the people in charge that this isn't a good way to vote. I'm still astounded that one of those Diebold machines and the source code haven't been dragged into court. While I was standing in line this morning for an hour and half, my thought was, "I bet they could have purchased ten paper ballot machines for each of those computerized ones up there and I wouldn't have to wait so long." But what the hey, it's only once every two-four years.

Do you know what I consider the saddest/scariest part of the electronic voting machine failures is? Seriously, HOW HARD CAN IT BE TO have a voting machine that adds (1) to a vote count in a reliable fashion?

Dim Obama, McCain, Nader, Barr, other
Obama = 0
McCain = 0
Nader = 0
Barr = 0
Other = 0
If vote = "obama"
 Obama = Obama + 1
ElseIf vote = "McCain"
 McCain = McCain + 1
ElseIf vote = "Nader"
 Nader = Nader + 1
ElseIf vote = "Barr"
 Barr = Barr + 1
ElseIf vote = "Other"
 Other= Other + 1
End If


......(blah, blah, blah)

Seriously, HOW HARD CAN IT BE TO have a voting machine that adds (1) to a vote count in a reliable fashion?

Because it can be hacked. And, it has proven to be hacked.

Feel free to see 'Hacking Democracy' and how the Diebold machines were hacked. Basically, the machine's achilles heel was the memory cards that the votes were written on. A hacker showed that you can preset the values of the votes and alter the end result. In your case, you set the default values to zero:

Obama = 0
McCain = 0
Nader = 0
Barr = 0
Other = 0

But, in the removeable memory card, the default values can be set BEFORE the votes are tallied, as such, setting one candidate to negative values and another to positive values so they net out to zero:

Obama = -6
McCain = 6
Nader = 0
Barr = 0
Other = 0

Now 10 voters come in, 8 vote Obama, 1 McCain, and 1 Nader, and your program runs. The end values of your program become as follows:

Obama = 2
McCain = 7
Nader = 1
Barr = 0
Other = 0

These tally up to 10 votes, and the election official would certify this election with McCain winning.

Not rocket science... Just simple hacking.

And if I recall correctly there was the incident in 2004 where the vote counts for Ohio were relayed to a central computer in Tennessee (?) that just so happened to house (SHOCKER) the servers for the Republican National Committee.

How convenient...

More info on 2004 rigging here, apparently a hearing/trial is starting today featuring a Rove protogee:


Simply running a report prior to the polls opening would take care of this. Just like weighing an empty container before filling it so that you can subtract the tare weight. This shouldn't require a genius. . .

Interestingly enough, when the Diebold machines were calibrated before this hack they showed '0' counts for the 'candidates', even after the memory cards were inserted. There was nothing showing that there were any issues with the machines; during the hack they acted like BAU. I recommend viewing the last 20 minutes of 'Hacking Democracy' to see how this was done.

As somebody who made his living from Hi-tech I would say the use of computers is not always appropriate - and despite inventions like internet protocols designed to survive nuclear attacks certainly leads to a VERY fragile system that does not degrade gracefully and in a way that that average citizens can understand.

Sometimes a pen and paper are the appropriate technology - but even so I think humans can always find a way to break their own laws!

Too bad nature's laws can't be broken! The one human 'law' that can't be broken is the need for any action to be profitable (nature's 2nd law of thermodynamics - 'there's no such thing as a free lunch') - this leads to inconvienient truths like Peak Oil, I don't care who is voted in today, he will have to live with nature's laws!

Piece-a-cake, you just have a 'zerotape' routine that prints a zero for every race on the ballot. Such a tape is actually printed out at each precinct and saved for any possible "audit".

That's why the source code for these contraptions should be public domain. Well actually the contraptions shouldn't exist.

I've worked the polls in some local elections, one of them with the old paper ballot method. There are all these little registers and lists you have to keep up. There's an audit trail with paper ballots, while the ballots themselves are not attributable to individual voters. All the ballots and associated paperwork are stored for later recounts or audits.

With the new e-slates, the poll worker is about as involved as a stock clerk at WalMart. You just set up the folding plastic booths, switch on the machines, and take people's ID. The tallies are stored on PCMCIA cards and counted on a computer in the county offices. If county officials want to force a candidate or issue, it would only take a very few corrupted individuals, two or three at most. The chances of an audit are virtually zero, and computer technology can recalculate an audit trail in mere milliseconds.

Oh, come on, what year is this? No one writes code that simply any more, not since maybe 1960, and certainly not in a big integrated system like a system to tally up an election. Or, more precisely, even in the rare case that a snippet of code looks that simple, it's really not once it gets down to actually running it.

In the long chain from vote to tally, there will be operating systems (plural), memory controllers, touch screen or optical scan controllers, checksum and error-correction methods, encrypters, decrypters, possibly IP stacks, and certainly many other goodies involved, comprising millions - more likely tens or conceivably even hundreds of millions - of lines of code, any of which might be hacked. To process just one touch or mark on one line from one ballot will probably require millions of CPU instructions.

The only possible effective and credible quality control on a mess like that is some sort of paper trail starting with a ticket that is seen and verified by the voter and deposited in a ballot box. Said paper trail needs to be verified at least on a random sampling basis. And the sampling should be totally by surprise, not pre-announced in any way whatsoever.

That's part of the problem, complicated code. Maybe if they took a little time to streamline their system they wouldn't have made such a bad machine. The operating system on these devices is Windows 2000. They went to the moon with 4k RAM and 32k ROM on an IC, yet a machine that displays and tallies touchscreen button choices needs a web browser and word processor? This does not compute...

I thought it was generally accepted that the purpose/reason for electronic voting machines is to enable election fraud. No other purpose is apparent-voting by hand and counting votes by hand works quite well, an audit trail is established and doesn't cost a fortune by any means. The arguments for the Diebold machines are reminiscent of the Fed no longer publishing M3 (to save important money-LOL).

Well yeah, I thought that was obvious too. I guess people don't like to admit the obvious when it makes them feel bad?

Here we have the old efficiency vs. resiliency tradeoff. An electronic machine requires fewer people to count the votes. But it is less resilient to fraud, because fewer people count the votes.

While I do not doubt that a paper trail should be part of the process, including a paper ticket verifying the vote that is deposited in a lock-box for audit purposes, I do not see any reason that the code should be complicated.

Obviously the choices would be loaded via a table by precinct instead of being hard-coded, but I wasn't about to illustrate that in a web post. Even so, there's no reason that I couldn't handle all of the election counting on my palm-pilot, which admittedly likely has too much code. How about a stripped-down Linux that has open source, with the program itself being open-source, and the loaded and unloaded data being completely open as well?

Just because Windows is bloat-ware, and your new Windows Vista machine that has twice the CPU and RAM of your old Windows 2000 box yet performs with less relative speed, doesn't mean that such nonsense should ever be accepted for our democratic process. I certainly don't accept it for my home computer. Just because most computer systems are F^%ked due to laziness and ignorance doesn't mean that all should be.

After giving it quite a bit of thought, I'm convinced the best solution is printed paper and number two pencils. Hand counted by precinct staff on election night. The handling procedures are well established, and an election can be audited. A computer might be useful hooked to a laser printer for each polling place, programmed to print ballots as voters arrive. It would save paper. Once the ballot is printed, it's handed out just like the old pre-printed ones.

If the "news media" wants quicker answers they can go back to exit polling.

Jim Brown sure calls it like he sees it but besides the small number of us reading here, how many people in the world understand what he is talking about?

Before the next president leaves office we will see gasoline well over $5 a gallon and a recession many times worse than we are seeing today. It will not be because they did something wrong. At this late date there is nothing they can do. Our fate is already written in stone as the largest consumer of oil on the planet. ...Neither of the candidates has a clue and voters, most of who don't have a clue themselves, are going to vote for their favorite to bring change to Washington. Change is coming but it is not going to be from Tuesday's winner.

As always - big thanks to Leanan for all her work gathering these gems!!!!

The best that we can hope for out of a future American president is that he can begin the enormous project of convincing the American people that they are better off without empire. Sweden was once the terror of Europe, but chose to evolve after getting whipped by Peter the Great. Britain had the advantage of having America to hand its empire and functions to, but it clearly was better off within 15 years of the end of WW2.

Empire has brought us every sort of stress and perversion. Its necessary military and financial arms and the propaganda machines they require have left us bankrupt, stupid and even insane. Yet it has also made it possible for us to borrow our way to a far higher standard of living than we currently deserve. Letting go will be painful, even destructive to our psyches.

As you can imagine, I see zero chance that any Republican nominee could ever begin the process of convincing folks that they are happier being just another country that minds (and manages) its own business. It's best that the case be laid out by the new president before his inauguration, starting with the fact of Peak Oil and the death warrant it represents for our current practices.

Interesting super. But I was just thinking the opposite: what are the odds that a Dem president would escalate our involvement in military escapades overseas. I guess it all depends on your experiences. I watched 60,000 brothers die in an escapade begun and escalated by two Dem presidents. I suppose we're all just creatures of our experiences.


With all due respect, the War in Vietnam was the result of events long before, all the way back to WW II. From memory, it may be traced to the situation after WW II, when the Allies gave Vietnam back to the French. The Vietnamese fought the French, as they had the Japanese, defeating them at Dien Bien Fu. The result was a convention in Geneva in 1954, which set us a process to unify Vietnam after an election. The U.S. did not abide by this decision and supported the government in the South. Eisenhower was President and the country was in the midst of a Cold War with the Soviets at the time. The Korean War had just ended and the thinking was that Vietnam was another Korea being taken over by the Communists. It was all downhill from there. To put things in context, remember the Cuban Missile Crisis, where Soviet nuclear missiles were being installed in Cuba. Those were scary times indeed.

I suggest that you might want to read the Pentagon Papers, which were the official DOD version of events leading to the War.


E. Swanson

"The best that we can hope for out of a future American president is that he can begin the enormous project of convincing the American people that they are better off without empire."

Wow, I can't imagine a better single-sentence synopsis of the true nature of the pickle we are in.

I will save this one for quotation in the future.

The problem is that the white power structure has always benefitted from American imperial expansion. This was the case in 1500 and it remains so today. The Right Wing have forever controlled public discourse regarding "foreign relations", using a mix of religious belief, cultural chauvanism, concerns about economic and military security, and outright racism.

Reformers, progressives, liberals -- whatever you prefer to call yourselves -- should never fool yourselves into thinking that you can, in any meaningful way, gain the upper hand in this argument. Tribalism and savagery can't be countered with self-reflection and high-mindedness. If you doubt that, ask yourselves why John McCain continues to be cast as a "war hero" for his part in bombing a third-world nation of flip-flop wearing rice farmers back to the Stone Age while a dissident who merely threatened to attack the power structure that ordered that genocide -- the power structure that our "hero" McCain sought to protect -- is labelled a "terrorist" (I am, of course, speaking of the Untouchable Bill Ayers).

Much as I would hope the American people would decide that the pursuit of Empire is not in their best interest, that has not been their history (though they have always vehemently denied their imperial ambitions). It will be interesting to see whether the US military and their remora supporters will continue to demand their obscenely disproportionate piece of the pie even as Americans start to queue in bread lines in ever increasing numbers.

Oil is up today:

 	               PRICE*  CHANGE  % CHANGE  TIME
Nymex Crude Future	71.13	7.22	11.30	12:38
Dated Brent Spot	66.19	6.00	9.97	13:08
WTI Cushing Spot	70.88	6.97	10.91	12:19

According to a guy at Bloomberg, it's due to equity markets stabilizing and cold weather:

Equity markets appear to be stabilizing, allowing speculators in commodities to begin assuming risk again, said Chris Jarvis, president of Caprock Risk Management LLC in Hampton Falls, New Hampshire.

``Equities are bouncing and we're at the start of the heating season,'' he said. ``If the equity markets hold, the first place you're going to put money back to work is in commodities.''

*edit* If I were a conspiracy theorist, wouldn't I find it odd that oil markets seem to be stopping their huge slide right on election day? Good thing I'm not a conspiracy theorist. And who knows if this is the bottom of the market yet or just a dead cat bounce. :)

In todays NYT there's a fascinating article entitled "A Writer in a Living Novel", about a woman named Carolyn Chute, who lives in a wood-stove heated house in rural Maine and writes on a typewriter (a what?) But she says "our community is our survival". There is some kind of community militia involved, which I don't fully understand, there are lots of dogs, a kind of farming lifestyle but maybe these people at least won't feel the pinch of peak oil that much. She says they are poor. No investments I guess, not many ties to the system. Anyway it's interesting that the Times is featuring this kind of lifestyle now. It's worth a read, so have a look.

ALBANY, N.Y. - A geologist says the Marcellus shale region of the Appalachians could yield seven times as much natural gas as he earlier estimated, meaning it could meet the entire nation's natural gas needs for at least 14 years.

I was hoping that someone would start a reply on the article about the "discovery" of at least 14 years of natural gas supply in the Appalachians. Whew... what relief, just when I was starting to get worried. Can I use that in my propane tank-- if so, I may get that new gas stove I've been wanting.

As I've pointed out before VFH: without a development cost and pricing platform any such "estimates" of recoverable reserves from any play is absolutely meaningless. I can guarentee you that at $1 per mcf there is zero recoverable NG reserves in the Marcellus. And at $20 per mcf there are many times his 14 year supply estimate. It never has been, nor ever will be, about how much oil or NG there is in a play. It will always be about the economics of recovery.

BTW…there’s enough NG dissolved in the world’s oceans to supply us for the next 2000 years. Now every one can stop worrying.

Surely these sorts of 'guessetimates' are based on current prices?
Although the terms they are couched in do not give much confidence that they are based on anything much at all, but are rather based on trying to instill a feeling that 'Wow, that's a lot, - problem over'

Agriculturals and water appear poised to become the new gold and oil of the commodities world in coming years, according to more than one panelist.

Today's American exercise in democracy is said to be possibly ushering in a new era, but not one that will be free of challenges and difficulties. Optimism and excitement will have to come face to face with realism and hard choices, sooner rather than later. We therefore leave you today, not with market predictions or observations about prices, but with a preface to the next four years and possibly longer, as penned by the New York Times' David Brooks this morning:

"Nov. 4, 2008, is a historic day because it marks the end of an economic era, a political era and a generational era all at once.


Hello TODers,

Have you hugged your bag of NPK today? Recall my earlier postings on my speculation that the I-NPK companies would be effective in quickly curtailing flowrates to help keep prices high:

..In a statement, Citi analysts stated the belief that the majority of fertilizer and corn-price declines may be over.

As you consider the next weblink: recall my earlier postings on 'Federal Reserve Banks of I-NPK', or failing that, biosolar investors teaming up with farmers to build their own strategic reserves of I-NPK plus building O-NPK networks...

'We've gone over a cliff,' says Sprott CEO

..Today, he says, "we do not have a financial system." This is because banks continued to expand their balance sheets based on very little capital and had perhaps five per cent equity on the books. After the crash, he believes bank equity is zero.

Every time Sprott hears a finance minister, anywhere in the world, say the banks are sound, he thinks, "you're a liar. Your banks are not sound."

No wonder no one is lending any money. And that's bad news for resource companies trying to explore or expand -- or even continue producing, he said.

"There is no lending. So, for example, all the expenditures in the oilpatch will be cash flow from production, less bank payments."

Only three things have held their value, said Sprott: Cash, treasury bills and gold. When he got to Saskatchewan, he realized potash is also holding on; BUT NO BANKS OWN POTASH [my capitals for emphasis], he said.

Surviving this market won't be easy, he warned. "Think carefully about where you have your money," he advised the First Nations representatives in the room -- and everyone in general.
IMO, our big mistake as we go postPeak is that we forgot the history of the original banks: to store surplus grain for the bad times [not fiat electronic digits]. We need our banks to again be fundamentally based on foodstuffs and non-substitutable Elements like I/O-NPK and sulfur. Recall my earlier postings on Ft. Knox: seeds and I-NPK inside, gold bullion stacked outside to form machine gun bunkers.

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

What are the EROEI for various biofuels?

oh, btw, Obama won

This one wasn't close enough to steal.

I liked the acceptance speech. Heard the word "sacrifice", followed by the phrase "yes we can", (to many times perhaps)
IMHO we have a leader, but the problem still lies, lies, lies behind the scenes. Good luck folks

McCain's concession speech was good, too. Sounded like the return of a voice I hadn't heard from this man in a few years. The phrase in my head was 'Now he's off the hook..'

"McCain's concession speech was good, too."

Yes, it was. McCain is one of those people who always seemed to be a better person than his campaigns make him look.

The real John McCain showed through when a woman supporter of his at one of his rallies said that Obama was a Muslim, to which McCain took the microphone from her and said "No ma'am, no ma'am he's not." and then went on to call him a family man and a good American.

I was never afraid of John McCain the man. I was terrified of who he might have around him in the White House. Very probably the same crew that helped destroy the presidency of G.W. Bush, and horribly weakened the United States along with it.

Now Obama. Who knows? He will either go into history as one of the greats, or be another Jimmy Carter, a man with good intentions who is overwhelmed by the complexity and brutality of the power game. Only time will tell. I do not envy him. Can we tell him anything useful? Only this: Most of his greatest dangers will be those closest to him.


The real John McCain showed through when a woman supporter of his at one of his rallies said that Obama was a Muslim, to which McCain took the microphone from her and said "No ma'am, no ma'am he's not." and then went on to call him a family man and a good American.

I would have preferred that he remind this woman that Muslims can be family men and good Americans too. But I guess we can only knock down one barrier at a time.

"I would have preferred that he remind this woman that Muslims can be family men and good Americans too. But I guess we can only knock down one barrier at a time."

Good point and amen PeakOilTarzan.