DrumBeat: November 16, 2008

Global climate changes could lead to violence: Experts say it will accelerate the race for food, water

KANSAS CITY, MO. — A warmer planet could find itself more often at war.

The Earth's fast-changing climate has a range of serious thinkers — from military brass to geographers to diplomats — predicting a spate of armed conflicts driven by the weather.

Shifting temperatures lead to shifting populations, they say, and that throws together groups with long-standing rivalries and thrusts them into competition for food and water.

Cost of Living in U.S. Probably Dropped by the Most in 60 Years Last Month

``Tumbling energy and commodity prices have altered the inflation landscape,'' said Ryan Sweet, a senior economist at Moody's Economy.com in West Chester, Pennsylvania. ``More rate cuts are needed as the economy is sinking deeper into recession.''

Peak Oil, Cars, and Depressions

. All prior discussion of oil supply, demand, and pricing has been trumped by the economic sledgehammer that is killing the global economy. I still believe oil supplies will begin to peak in a few years. But the amount of oil used in the meantime will be far less than had previously been estimated and will result in a fair amount of spare capacity being generated. The additional spare capacity will be available to mitigate the early years of the eventual decline of old oil fields. So oil pricing may not recover rapidly as the previous megaprojects analysis suggested, more detail below.

Meet The Press (transcript and video)

Our issues this Sunday: Can the American car companies survive? Big trouble for the Big Three. Stiff opposition on Capitol Hill to a federal bailout for Detroit. Should America's car companies receive emergency aid or go into bankruptcy? Two key senators square off: the co-chair of the Senate Auto Caucus, Democrat Carl Levin of Michigan; and the ranking Republican on the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, Richard Shelby of Alabama.

Then, it's Green Is Universal week at NBC. What is the future for America with energy independence? Joining us, the legendary oil man now turning in a new direction, T. Boone Pickens.

Kuwaiti Ready to Cut Production in a Surplus, Oil Minister Says

(Bloomberg) -- Kuwait is willing to cut petroleum production if OPEC members agree that there is a surplus, oil minister Mohammed Al-Olaim said today in comments cited by KUNA.

Global Energy Transition Plan

Denying the possibility of oil or gas shortage is now a powerful cottage industry with its own gurus, regularly wheeled into TV studios to perorate, but the most down-to-earth reason for denial is simple: the inability or refusal to face facts. Ironically perhaps, or even antinomically, public opinions in the most oil-intense and gas-intense societies, called ‘postindustrial' but consuming every imaginable type of industrial product, are now supposedly very concerned about climate change. This supposed concern allows political and business leaderships of these countries to orient and focus consumer demand to new industrial products such as ‘low carbon cars' or ‘low energy washing machines', while creating new business opportunities for windmill and solar cell producers, and the levered financial investment structures supported by « alternate energy investing ». The net result is to simply add more energy on top of the fossil fuel pyramid, and maintains fossil energy demand at extreme high levels !

Oil output cuts not likely - OPEC chief

ALGIERS, Algeria (AP) -- More oil output reductions aren't likely this month because OPEC members haven't yet fully enforced previous quotas and the organization needs more data before it reaches a decision, the cartel's president said Sunday.

Chakib Khelil's comments came as Iran called for a new output cut of at least 1 million barrels per day, in addition to the 1.5 million cut decided by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries on Oct. 24 to try to sustain slumping prices.

Iran needs up to $5bn for fuel imports

Iran's government needs up to $5 billion more to import fuel for the year to March 2009, in addition to a previously budgeted $3.3 billion, a senior oil ministry official said on Sunday.

Iran is the world's fourth-largest exporter of crude but lacks enough refining capacity to meet domestic gasoline needs, forcing it to import large amounts which it then sells at subsidised prices, burdening the budget.

Report: Turkey to cooperate on development of Iran's gas fields

TEHRAN (Xinhua) -- Iran's oil minister has said that he has discussed with his Turkish counterpart on the development of southern Iranian gas fields by Turkish firms, Iran's Energy and Oil Information Network (SHANA) reported on Sunday.

Nigeria oil pipeline attacked, bunkering arrests

PORT HARCOURT, Nigeria (Reuters) - A Nigerian crude oil pipeline was sabotaged in the Niger Delta while 22 Filipinos were arrested after their ship was intercepted for carrying stolen oil, a military spokesman said on Saturday.

Bahrain, Saudi look to expand pipeline

Bahrain and neighbour Saudi Arabia will look into expanding an oil pipeline connecting the two countries, a senior Bahraini official said in remarks published on Sunday.

The countries plan to expand the oil pipeline capacity to 350,000 barrels per day (bpd) from 235,000 bpd, Bahrain Petroleum Co. (BAPCO) chief executive Abdulkarim Al-Sayed told local newspaper Al-Watan.

Oil in a Week: Obama's Energy Policy

For almost a quarter of a century, American presidents have been adopting new multi-billion dollar energy policies under loose titles such as the Energy Independence Program which evidently means ending oil dependence. Indeed, Barack Obama's program whose details he presented during his electoral campaign does not differ from the programs of his predecessors, especially the Democrats.

I have beheld the future and boy, am I ready to run

HAVE you heard of the Web Bot Project? It turns out that two blokes in America have built a time machine using the interweb.

Don't start throwing things. The idea is that big news stories can be predicted in advance by sending little robots scurrying through the net looking for words you might not normally expect in places you would not ordinarily find them. Like "mushroom cloud" appearing in, say, a gardening column. If that happens these blokes George Ure and Cliff High, make a prediction about, say, 9/11.

Utter hogwash, you might think, and a fancy way to go crazy. Except it turns out that they can to an extent predict the future.

Costs Slide Prompts Wave Of Project Delays

The global financial crisis is poised to cut a swathe through projects throughout the Gulf. Plunging costs for raw materials and the expectation of further slides are prompting Gulf project sponsors with an eye to making major savings to reschedule bidding dates on lump sum turnkey (LSTK) projects. Even state-owned Saudi AramcoSaudi AramcoLoading..., with its strong track record on delivery times, has postponed bid dates on at least two of its flagship downstream projects.

Iraq’s oil and the future

Wednesday the 13th of November will be a day to remember. For a number of hours I and my research group had the opportunity to discuss Iraq’s oil in detail with Dr Issam A. R. al-Chalabi. He has worked in Iraq’s oil industry for 23 years and has been chairman for SCOP, the State Company for Oil Projects, the chairman of INOC, the Iraq National Oil Company, as well as Iraq’s vice-oil minister and oil minister. At the time of war in Kuwait he was dismissed and moved to Jordan. Few people can have a better knowledge of Iraq’s oil.

Gas price drop: 60 days straight

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Remember $4 gas? Soon it will be $2 gas.

As the nation's economy worsens, the demand for oil and gas wanes. As a result, prices drop. And drop. And drop.

The price of gas fell overnight Sunday for the 60th consecutive day.

Congo's poor lose their last possessions

As the rebels advance, the nature of the looting here indicates how desperate Congo has become. Humiliated, retreating government soldiers, hungry rebels and other opportunists have wrestled chickens and cellphones from fleeing villagers and smashed the doors and windows of abandoned homes, making off with mattresses, goats, pots, clothes, radios and TVs.

Pakistan and U.S. have tacit deal on airstrikes

The United States and Pakistan reached tacit agreement in September on a don't-ask-don't-tell policy that allows unmanned Predator aircraft to attack suspected terrorist targets in rugged western Pakistan, according to senior officials in both countries. In recent months, the U.S. drones have fired missiles at Pakistani soil at an average rate of once every four or five days.

Does Natural-Gas Drilling Endanger Water Supplies?

A debate is heating up over whether the fracturing technique used in natural-gas drilling could result in chemicals contaminating drinking water.

The (Not So) Invincible Society

It is an article of faith that modern industrial society is robust and resilient, that any setbacks will be temporary, and that we can look forward to an ever-increasing standard of living. And, this article of faith makes it difficult to discuss society's vulnerabilities to collapse in any serious way in policy circles.

Popular culture adds to the illusion. The enduring fantasy embedded in the many iterations of the original Star Trek television series is that humans will soon be a space-faring species. The hidden and never-discussed prerequisite, however, is limitless, cheap energy. This also turns out to be the assumption behind contemporary projections of ever-increasing prosperity.

Luling builder defies the big, goes tiny

With Tiny Texas Houses as his new distraction from everyday armchair theorizing about the energy crisis, global warming and red meat, Kittel has a chance to make good on the forgotten promise of his fellow baby boomers, many of whom traded their '60s ideology to join the consumer culture.

"My generation — I'm 53 — we were the ones who were gonna save the world," Kittel says. "Conserve!

"What'd we do? We used it up."

Confessions of an economic moron with no practical skills

I moved home three years ago in part because something in my consciousness, below the radar, told me we are headed for trouble, and when the trouble comes, I want to be in North Dakota and not elsewhere. I read a series of books, beginning with James Kunstler’s “The Long Emergency: Surviving the Converging Catastrophes of the Twenty-First Century,” that made me feel that the glorious period of unprecedented prosperity, mobility and material happiness that followed World War II, may not be sustainable, at least not if we want to call ourselves a democracy in any meaningful sense.

Here’s the problem for me and for millions of others. My generation has never known want. We have lived on the froth of staggering prosperity and access, surfing through life as if it could only get better and better and better, and we have absolutely no psychological capacity, so far as I can tell, to face a grimmer world. Second, spoiled and mollycoddled as we have been, we have never bothered to learn any real survival skills. Our grandparents didn’t exactly enjoy the Depression years, but they had excellent skill sets — sewing, gardening, canning, carpentry, neighboring and squeezing the most out of a dime.

Insecticide! (An ecological disaster that will affect us all)

While the plight of mammals and birds commands the world's attention, insects are quietly but rapidly disappearing.

U.S. cities lag Europe in green practices

While U.S. cities continue to rely heavily on coal for power, many European nations are drawing large amounts of energy from nuclear, wind and solar projects.

Cities in Iowa and across America also have largely ignored their transportation systems' contributions to higher greenhouse gas emissions, while European cities have built on already impressive mass-transit systems and have helped lower their emissions, said Kamyar Enshayan, a Cedar Falls City Council member and director of the University of Northern Iowa's Center for Energy and Environmental Education.

"We continue to not invest in public transport," he said. "We are doing things to help people drive alone."

Robert Bryce: Why ethanol will never work out

When it is refined, a barrel of crude yields several different "cuts" that range from light products, such as butane, to heavy products, such as asphalt. Even the best-quality barrel of crude (42 gallons) yields only about 20 gallons of gasoline. Furthermore, certain types of crude oil (such as light sweet) are better suited to gasoline or diesel production than others.

...The problem for the ethanol advocates is that there's very little growth in gasoline demand, while the demand for other cuts of the barrel is booming. In short, the corn ethanol producers are making the wrong type of fuel at the wrong time. They are producing fuel that displaces gasoline at a time when gasoline demand — both in the United States and globally — is essentially flat. Meanwhile, demand for the segment of the crude barrel known as middle distillates — primarily diesel fuel and jet fuel — is growing rapidly. And corn ethanol cannot replace diesel or jet fuel, the liquids that propel the vast majority of our commercial transportation machinery.

Peak Oil's Bell Is Ringing

A minority of geologists have long argued that hydrocarbons were formed through inorganic processes operating on carbon sourced from the earth’s mantle. Theories for an inorganic origin ranged from hydrocarbons raining from the sky early during the Earth’s formation and trapped into the surface rocks which, later transformed into petroleum. In all these cases, the presence of organic matter was attributed to the petroleum picking them up as it moved through crystal rocks containing organic material.

Unfortunately for the inorganic theory, all major petroleum discoveries have come from methods that assume an organic formation process. However, hydrocarbons are almost surely derived from organic decay and because of this, the petroleum reserves are limited. We will eventually run out of “affordable” oil, the big question is when? Peak Oil Theory tends to answer this question.

Refiners slowing momentum

A recent pullback in plans to expand or upgrade U.S. oil refineries may herald a more cautious era for refining companies, now facing uncertainty on many fronts after enjoying high profits for several years.

The uncertainty stems from volatility in commodity and capital markets, as well as from a historic decline in gasoline usage this year that has raised doubts about long-term demand for petroleum-based fuels.

Kremlin losing grip in crisis

MOSCOW - THE ruble is losing value, thousands of jobs are being cut and Russia's oil boom is over: after years of economic and political stability, the Kremlin could be losing its grip, experts said.

Is Ahmadinejad losing chance for vote win?

Hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's failure to share out Iran's oil income more fairly has raised doubts over his chance of securing a second-term in next year's election. Instead of ushering in the era of "economic prosperity" he promised in 2005, Ahmadinejad presides over an Iran which may struggle to balance its books despite enjoying windfall oil earnings for much of his first term, analysts say.

Energy costs burden bigger on Maltese workers

A litre of petrol cost a Maltese worker 15 per cent of his hourly wage, much more than the six per cent of the hourly wage it cost a British worker, Labour leader Joseph Muscat said yesterday.

Speaking to supporters in Gozo, the Labour leader said that such were the comparisons that had to be made.

Greek gunboat in Aegean holds standoff with Turkish frigate

ATHENS: A Greek navy gunboat was dispatched yesterday to intercept a Norwegian oil survey ship and a Turkish frigate sailing near the Greek island of Kastellorizo in the Aegean, an official said. The Norwegian and Turkish vessels were sailing in international waters in the southeastern Aegean but over an area of sea bed that was Greek, general staff spokesman lieutenant-colonel Dimitris Bonoras told AFP.

Bahrain refinery output rises to 271,000 barrels

MANAMA: Oil production and refinery capacity have significantly increased during the first three quarters of this year, National Oil and Gas Authority (Noga) announced yesterday.

Saudi stocks fall to lowest level since March 2004

RIYADH(Agencies): The stock market in oil powerhouse Saudi Arabia, the largest in the Arab world, slumped heavily on the first trading day of the week on Saturday, when shares ended 7.4 percent lower. The Tadawul All-Shares Index (TASI) closed at 5,079.54 points, with the key petrochemicals sector down by 9.47 percent and market leader SABIC losing 9.95 percent of its value. In the past three months SABIC stocks have plunged 55 percent. The banking sector shed 8.32 percent by close of trading, with all other sectors also in the red. The TASI finished last week’s trading on Wednesday down almost 10 percent and the index is 48.6 percent lower for the year so far. It fell 25.8 percent in October.

Kuwait may find itself in economic mess if current global financial crisis continues

KUWAIT CITY: Kuwait may find itself in an economic mess if the current global financial crisis continues with the same tempo while petroleum prices continue to nosedive and the public treasury is further exhausted, reports Al-Watan Arabic daily quoting an economic analyst. Explaining the country judiciously used profits earned during the oil boom to replace the amounts taken from the Future Generations Fund in previous years, the analyst said Kuwait might be forced to spend its reserves if oil prices continue to fall below the budgetary benchmark.

Rouble fixing eats Russia's reserves

Russia's currency reserves, the world's third-largest, are no match for tumbling oil prices and an exodus of capital that may force the country's central bank to accept a devalued rouble.

Don't get too comfortable with gasoline at $2 a gallon

No one should get too comfortable with $2 a gal lon gasoline.

It's a welcome break from the $4 gas we saw just last summer and an impressive lesson in the power of conservation to achieve price reductions.

But what it isn't is permanent. Even with the price of gas breaking through the $2 range, the head of the International Energy Agency, Nobuo Tanaka, declared last week that "while market imbalances will feed volatility, the era of cheap oil is over."

Actually, drilling is critical to our future

Geologists report that huge quantities of hydrocarbons (oil and natural gas) still lie buried at various locations around the globe. A recently released international study estimates more than 90 billion barrels of recoverable oil remain in the Arctic alone.

Added to that are immense amounts of oil and other fuels invested in the combined proven and projected reserves of oil shale, offshore natural gas and petroleum, coal and uranium in North America. These are available, and their use will be necessary to make an orderly transition to the future, as we develop non-carbon technologies that can't yet compete economically or practically.

Fruit and veg boom needed to feed Britain

It is an image worthy of a Keats poem or a Constable landscape: great orchards bursting with fruit, fields crammed with ripening vegetables and hillsides covered with sheep and cattle.

But this is no dream of long-gone rural glories. It is a vision of the kind of countryside that Britain may need if it is to survive the impact of climate change and higher oil prices, according to leading agricultural experts.

Climate change: Too many people?

Last week, Green Left Weekly published an article arguing that population reduction schemes provide no answers to the threat of climate change.

Population-based arguments wrongly treat population levels as the cause, rather than an effect, of an unsustainable economic system. This means they tend to divert attention away from pushing for the real changes urgently needed, the article insisted.

The animals and plants we cannot live without

From the Amazon rainforests to the frozen ice fields of the arctic, animals, plants and insects are disappearing at alarming rates from pollution, habitat loss, climate change and hunting.

"A minority of geologists have long argued that hydrocarbons were formed through inorganic processes operating on carbon sourced from the earth’s mantle."

I would like to believe in abiogenic oil but where is it? It is not enough to have an hypothesis or to keep saying "drill deeper". Somebody has to show us a pool of the stuff which can be retrieved at an economic rate. It is not a conspiracy; even if the Seven Sisters tried to cover it up, there are lots of junior petes or nationals who would be out there drilling madly for it. Where is it? Please don't say people think it might be here or that it is probably there. Show us the abiogenic oil free and clear, with no hand-waving about how it is on the horizon like fusion reactors or hydrogen-powered cars.

The other question about abiogenic oil is how long would it take for it to replenish existing reservoirs. We know that if it existed, it takes longer than a century, otherwise existing reservoirs would already be visibly refilling. If it takes a couple of centuries or a millennia to percolate upward and refill the reservoirs, it may be an eyeblink in geological time but it is an eternity in human time. We need the oil now, not in some distant future.

Only one very tiny oil field, Eugene Island block 330, has shown any evidence of refilling.

Production from Eugene Island had achieved 20,000 barrels per day (3,200 m³/d) by 1989; by 1992 it had slipped to 15,000 bbl/d (2,400 m³/d), but recovered to reach a peak of 30,000 bbl/d (4,800 m³/d) in 1996. Production from the reservoir has dropped steadily since then.

The source of additional oil was analyzed as migrating through faults from deeper and older formations below of probable Jurassic and Early Cretaceous age. The oil contains biomarkers closely related to other very old oils and was long trapped in deep formations. Eugene Island block 330 oil field

There have been claims of other oil fields refilling but the evidence of such is skimpy at best, just as are all claims of abiogenic oil. Forget about refilling oil reservoirs. Forget about abiogenic oil. It is a waste of time even to engage the fringe element with discussion on these subjects.

Ron Patterson

i have also heard the abioticians claim that the grant canyon field in nevada and labarge in wyoming are abiotic. i.e. the amount of oil that has been produced exceeds the amount that can be accounted for as originally in place. and any field that produces from granite(offshore vietnam for example). i believe that there has been a claim that the tar sands are proof because a source for that much "oil" is not explained.

but as far as i can tell the "proof" amounts to an inability to explain the unexplained.

It's not surprising that wingnuts like Corsi believe in abiotic oil. But you'd think Motley Fool would be...well, less foolish. ;-)

I think what it comes down to is that Americans are scientifically illiterate.

Well, be careful with your statement, Abiotic Hydrocarbons do exist, otherwise they would not exist on other planets in our solar system, which likely means they do exist on our own planet. The question is do they exist here in very large quantities, that is the question. Probably not, but I guess there's no way we can no for sure yet.

Thats like saying, "because life exists on earth, it exists on other planets in the solar system". I'm sorry I don't really see any logic in that statement. Every planet in the solar system is different, so if abiotic hydrocarbons exist on other planets, it certainly does not exist here.

Every planet in the solar system is different, so if abiotic hydrocarbons exist on other planets, it certainly does not exist here.

I don't think that works either, as existence of abiotic carbon compounds elsewhere does not prove they don't exist on earth. Perhaps you meant that the existence of abiotic hydrocarbons elsewhere does not necessarily prove the existence of similar abiotic molecules here.

While I'm highly skeptical of abiotic oil claims, I think it is important to recognize the fact that certain short-chain abiotic carbon compounds certainly exist, e.g. methane. Think of it this way, plants and animals did not create our universal stores of carbon -- plants and animals are made of carbon compounds. Life as we know it exists because of the pre-existing carbon compounds which in primordial times, somehow worked themselves into self-replicating chemicals and eventually into life as we know it. It is plain however, no matter how complex life is today, that some basic ingredients were required to create life and must therefor predate life.

I think where the abiotic oil people get off track is mistaking the ground corn for the whole enchilada. There may well be vast stores of methane in the universe, or even in the core of the earth, but the process by which that simple molecule is converted into the much more complex molecules that make up oil, is not likely to be solely a physical process ongoing within the earth. Life is probably the necessary catalyst for the massive conversion of simple, even abiotic, carbon compounds into the long-chain hydrocarbons we find so useful.

I suppose what I'm saying, is that I'd like to see a distinction made between simple abiotic carbon compounds, which surely exist, and abiotic oil, which probably doesn't. In my own attempts at trying to learn more about this issue, this distinction is often poorly made which allows abiotic proponents to point at moons of methane in the solar system and say "see, I'm not a nutcase, it is scientific fact that hydrocarbons are everywhere -- we can have all the oil we want!"

Any theory that will never be explicitly proven or disproven is a waste of time. Oil depletion will be proven or disproven-the origin of oil on Earth can be debated until Doomsday without a resolution so it is pointless.

I think it's resolved.

Nobody is arguing that not one molecule of abiotic oil exists. Instead, the question is, as geologist John Clarke puts it, whether it exists in "economically interesting accumulations."

Dr. Clarke explains here how we know that "99.9999% of the world's liquid hydrocarbons are produced by maturation of organic matter derived from organisms."

I would agree there is no way it exists in "economically interesting accumulations".

"Any theory that will never be explicitly proven or disproven is a waste of time."

Are you sure that's what you meant to say?

I helped you recover your comment's rating a bit because there is logic in what you say. That being said, the only abiotic hydrocarbon found in any abundance in the solar system is methane gas on Titan (the largest moon of Saturn). Methane is a relatively simple molecule (CH4), especially when compared to the complexity of petroleum. (As a side note for completeness, methane is the primary component of Natural Gas).

That being said, the existence of large amounts of methane on titan and trace amounts in other parts of the solar system do, in my opinion, suggest that some small amount of abiotic hydrocarbon molecules probably have formed on Earth. The reason I say this with some confidence is because of the current leading theories concerning the formation of the solar system, which states that all planets formed out of the same Protoplanetary Accretion Disk.

I do not, however, feel that it could possibly be enough to affect our supply of fossil fuels, nor could it form fast enough to affect petroleum depletion rates. Its probably a negligible amount.

There's a lot more than mere methane in space: List of molecules in interstellar space - Wikipedia. Record holder at 18 atoms is Naphthalene, the primary ingredient in moth balls. "In space, no one can hear you complain about patchy clothes..." Try and visualize a volume of methanol the size of the solar system. None of which has any bearing on terrestrial conditions, in all likelihood, but it's fun to contemplate, like that diamond the size of the moon in 2010: Odyssey Two.

I do not believe abiotic oil exists, if at all, then in amounts that are meaningful to the peak oil issue. And though there are "wingnuts" who have taken up the cause, I don't think all the people who took it up early on were wingnuts. I read Thomas Gold's Deep, hot biosphere. He's ultimately wrong, but not a wingnut, at least in all respects. And he's not even wrong about everything. There ARE bacteria surviving at depths and temperatures that were formerly thought impossible. What he may be, however, is a plagiarist. I read that a lot of the stuff he propounded was earlier propounded by some Russians that he did not adequately credit.

The reason I come to his partial defense is that things like this are very tricky sometimes. Einstein was "wrong" about quantum mechanics. But his criticism of quantum mechanics was far more valuable than the contributions than all but a few who were "right" about QM. It's tricky. Not that Gold was remotely like Einstein.

Gold wasn't any slouch intellectually, though. A story about him was that there was a gathering of scientists, one of them says to another "Is that Gold, the famous biophysicist?" "No, that's Gold, the renowned astronomer." Same man, natch. Among various achievements: coined the term "magnetosphere." Also had NASA prepare against the possibility of the Moon being knee-deep in dust, remember that? He was as brilliant as Corsi is dull. Engdahl's pretty sharp as well but these dreams of reservoirs refilling for our use are just that, dreams.


Review of the book. Systemantics; how systems work... and especially how they fail by John Gall. New York, Pocket Books, 1978

I know there was some discussion on it yesterday, but I wanted to post a thought or two on the Survey, since I felt there were some significant choices not available in the questions.

The 'Self Evaluation of intellect' question was unwelcome to me, yet there might have been a corresponding one about 'how intelligent the average or best oildrum conversation can be', and whether that's a factor in regularly visiting the site. I don't presume to rate my own IQ, or even to hold the 'IQ' approach for gauging intelligence and mental worthiness very highly, but I do find that the discussions here are appealing because they help me keep my game at a higher level than much of anything I find elsewhere on the 'net or in the real world. I may have some knowledge to teach others, but I'm here mainly to Learn and Trade views with the eclectic and serious-minded people I've run across here.

The questions about the impacts of CC and PO, as well as the Date of PO .. yikes. They were all about asking for predictions and assumptions. I'm watching and listening because I don't know, and I don't think anyone really knows. There's some value in asking whether CC or PO is the 701 pound gorilla to the other ones 699, I suppose.. but when you discover that you have both Heart Disease AND Diabetes, and that diet and exercise will probably help deal with both, then it doesn't do much to ask which disease is worse for you.. or in other words, which one you get meds for.. you have to find a way to handle both of them.(If you believe both of the diagnoses)

In short, I found about a third of the questions almost unanswerable.. and then had no space to mention how these questions, while still fresh in my mind, were off target for where I'm coming from.

In any case, I remain very grateful that the Oil Drum is here. The breadth of issues that are connected within this forum, and usually in conjunction with reliable references and enough good people who are really trying to analyze the problems and look towards various solutions while remaining at least fairly civil and often enough truly friendly to one another.. this gives me hope.

As with the 'Doomer/Cornucopian' question.. I'd say it's looking fairly dark these days, but I wouldn't bother if I felt it was actually hopeless.

Bob Fiske

I think a lot of people really disliked that question about intelligence.

The question about 'how would you like the content to be formatted' did not have my preferred answer. I like the Daily Drum Beat, but I find it more difficult to find archived information. I don't know if there is a way to merge the Drum Beat and special front page features with a phpBB-like forum to the side to hold on-going threaded discussions focused on single topics - Hyperion reactors, GOM production numbers, raising guinea pigs, etc ...

Also ... just a quibble, after adding a comment, I am not returned to 'my previous place in the thread' but have to click a few times to find my way back. Human factors nuisance.

Yep - I wasn't a fan. Should have been an "E) none of the above" or something for those of us who would rather not rate such silliness. We're all smart in some ways, and have much to learn in others...

Isn't it about personality rather than intelligence? There were a couple of them.

I didn't like it myself.

I found that IQ is not a great measure of 'intelligence' the way I like to use that word. My IQ happens to be extremely high numerically, however, I often feel there are many people making the most interesting of comments with supposedly 'lower IQs'. What's more, I'm convinced that even really dumb people make some very good observations. Sometimes those with low IQs tend to be more knowledgable.

After all, the human genom is like 98-99% the same as that of a chimp, yet even the dumbest of humans are 'smarter' than mokeys... and at the same time monkeys have a tendency to be both wiser and knowledgable about their own lives than we are about ours.

Knowing all that, I was in real trouble with that IQ question. Speaking of IQ scores, chances are high I'm in the top 1%. speaking of knowledge, wisdom and other things... I wouldn't bet on it. So in the end I chose top 10% but I would have skipped the issue had it been possible.

I often feel there are many people making the most interesting of comments with supposedly 'lower IQs'.

Well, that's because it don't matters what the source of the message is but rather how the recipient decodes the message.

But heck, pay no attention 'cause it's only low IQ me that is a speaking. :-)

I suspect that we'll discover that TOD is a lot like Lake Woebegon, "where all of the children are above average."


and thanks Nate, for your efforts.. in case the above seemed to be saying anything otherwise!

(And all TOD Editors, of course)

if it works, we hope to use survey monkey more in the future. this is just a trial and wat not perfect, but adequate. Very interesting findings which will be shared with entire TOD community. the question on intelligence has direct bearing on a post I am preparing this week, so it 'stood out' a bit from the rest. thanks.

I found the "energy intelligence" question to be interesting in that the last part of the question read, "...compared to the average theoildrum.com reader?" Readers are not necessarily people who post comments. I suspect that the number of readers is far larger than the number of posters. Thus, there are some very interesting sociological aspects to the answers for that question. Perhaps you could analyze the relationship between people who answered the question, or took the survey, and how many posts the respondent has made on the site.

Moreover, as in many, if not most surveys, there seems to exist a strong likelihood of bias originating from the manner in which the questions were phrased. I am curious about the underlying motivations for the individual questions. Nate, could you possibly supply them when you put up the summary results?

Finally, I want to put in a plug for "...More posts on 'solutions', even if tentative?" Yes, please, very much so. Aside from "total collapse", and large schemes that seem to require another "invisible hand", there is, in my opinion, a large need for small adaptive steps for the average Joe six pack. More upbeat discussions would be greatly appreciated.

Hello all; i've been away for a while so forgive me if this comment has been posted before. Whether or not is was us that first coined the phrase "laws of receding horizon" it seems an interesting paradox is unfolding.

The increasingly high cost of oil had of course pushed the cost of energy projects higher and higher and more out of reach at every turn - a self reinforcing cycle.

Interesting the plummiting price of oil is also pushing those same projects ever further away.

It is easy to rationalise the reasons behind all of this in terms of EROEI but I still find it somewhat bizarre. If a project only becomes viable at an oil price of 'X' and 'X' is dependent on the price of energy......chicken and egg folks..... - i'm having difficulty putting what is in my head into words on a page!

Oh well. I suppose EROEI rules.


"The increasingly high cost of oil had of course pushed the cost of energy projects higher and higher and more out of reach at every turn.."

Really, what energy projects were pushed out of reach? What kinds? Oil, coal, wind, or? Petroleum has always been cyclical and projects have always waxed and waned with prices. I see nothing different or extra ordinary at this time.

Nothing Extraordinary?

A 14-fold price increase in 9 years, and then a 60% price crash in (edit) 4 months for our main energy supply..

Wrapping that back into 'it's cyclical, and goes up and down' doesn't really cover the scale of these moves, does it?

Here is the price of gasoline adjusted in 2008 dollars.


Here is the price of oil adjusted in 2008 dollars right at its peak:


See also:

Oil is a commodity and behaves like others. By the way were do you get the 14 fold price increase in 9 years?

In 2007 dollars:

I suggest you look at other commodities over the years such as gold. Look carefully at prices in the 80's.

Finally, where were you for the Arab oil embargo?

.. and the Arab Oil Embargo was supposed to be, what, Business as Usual, nothing happening here, go back to your lives, people..?

Maybe it's not especially surprising that both High and Low energy prices can have challenging effects on financing new projects, but even if this behavior is predictable, it doesn't mean that it's a shrugoff. The 1979 peak and surrounding behavior.. wasn't that as much about the developing decline of the US fields (and influence) as it was about the KSA political reaction to the changing of the Oil-guardianship? If so, then what do you suppose this current bubble is.. is it a cause or an effect?

When I work with audio files, I see the same graph pattern when someone is, say, cracking a branch over their knee. There are some early crunches and snaps as major bunches of wood-fiber give way, and then the final snap as the last of it is unhinged.. while it gets quiet and seemingly calm in between.

I think the signs are there to read..

- i'm having difficulty putting what is in my head into words on a page!


There is no "cycle" here let alone a "self reinforcing cycle".
We are simply progressing along a straight line of history.

Let's say you have a country with only 3 oil fields: one from which crude is extractable at $1/bbl, a second where extraction cost is $10/bbl and a third having $100/bbl extraction costs. And after that, no more oil (at any cost).

Well then, the historical progression should be fairly straight forward for producers and consumers.

Clearly producers are going to suck up the $1/bbl field first, then the $10 one, then $100.

But consumers are not "stupid".
They're not going to keep buying no matter what the price.
As price crosses over the $100 mark they realize from the price signal that we are into the end times. That means for the consumer that he no longer wants to invest long term (i.e. buying cars) into the premise that the oil will keep coming and coming. He stops buying even before the oil "runs out".

Gee, no wonder GM can't sell any cars, no wonder price of crude is falling.

The world has never seen such freezing heat

Figures from the previous month had simply been carried over and repeated two months running.


UAH satellite data for the lower troposphere shows the same global temperature anomaly for October as it did for September. There was slight warming in the Northern Hemisphere, more pronounced over land.

Op-ed commentary in today's New York Times concerning retooling of the auto industry:

Have You Driven a Bus or a Train Lately?

As transportmakers, the companies could produce vehicles for high-speed train and bus systems that would improve our travel options, reduce global warming, conserve energy, minimize accidents and generally improve the way we live.

This better way forward has been kicking around Washington for more than 35 years. In a prescient 1972 article in The Atlantic, Stewart Udall, an interior secretary under John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson, warned of America’s excessive dependence on cars and called for this approach.

Udall's proposal came at the time of the peak in US oil production (perhaps he had heard of Hubbert). Will it be taken any more seriously now? Is Detroit desperate enough to try this? Or has the sudden onset of the economic crisis made such proposals moot?

Stewart Udall is the father of Mark Udall and the uncle of Tom Udall and Randy Udall. The whole family seems to be peak oil aware.

That is one reason why I helped elect Tom (against the ~90% of the people at the major Military-Industrial Complex where I work, who hate any Democrat because they think they 'Don't respect the sanctity of lie', 'Are socialists', and 'don't believe in a strong military'). Fortunately the strong majority of the State thought otherwise!

Obama and the Dems need to move out quickly on energy solutions...their window of opportunity is limited. Once again, if I were them, I would throw the environmental concerns wrt ANWR and OCS under the bus and the VERY FIRST thing I would do is sponsor some splashy 'Drill, Baby, Drill' projects to make the other side STFU. Heck, I would also throw the abortion issue under the bus and let gay folks rights twist in the wind for the first four years as well...people do not know how to prioritize...energy is Job One. Politics is the art of the possible, and deals mkust be made.

I said it before, and I am again: Obama needs to present a one-page graph of U.S. imported oil in barrels and 2008-adjusted dollars, and show that trend line start to fall due to advances in efficiency and in solar, wind, geothermal, and nuclear energy production, and the public will be hooked. The message and metric of success has to be summarized on one billboard/one Power Point slide...sorry, but that is where we are at with most people in 2008.

KISS (Keep it (the message) Simple, Stupid. Make progress...extremely small at first, then increasing in magnitude. Paint it as a great American Self-Reliance/America will always find a way/Yes we can/screw you Middle Eastern Sheiks and terrorists kind of thing. Build momentum for positive change by positively using sloganeering and jingoism, back by actual, factual, positive progress in replacing oil with electricity produced by renewable energy, and yes, nuclear generation. Stop killing out people and theirs over in the ME to secure access to 'our' oil. Invite and encourage the ROW to join us in getting off the oil teet. The Chinese are very smart, they will see the sucessa dn emulate it, and they can use their Porty apparatus to make it so and move out at an astounding rate if they go for it.

In sum: Subordinate all other considerations to the goal of reducing, then eliminating ME, then all foreign oil imports by increasing efficiency and developing new indigenous sources of energy. Co-Opt the opposition by implementing Drill, baby, drill and poring monie into the 'clean coal' FutureGen Integrated Combined Cycle Gasification Carbon Capture programs...keep the coal miners in Wyoming and elsewhere on-board the bus. Do not get roped into the opposition's reindeer games of divisive, wedge 'social issues'...throw some left-wing positions under the bus to stop that distraction crap cold in its tracks. Focus...Focus...Focus on the energy issue, until the new order of things becomes part of the American socio-political fabric.

This is where TOD readers can make your marks...write the administration and your Congress Critters relentlessly...encourage your friends and family to do so as well...and for the love of goals and reason, keep the hippie-sounding granola crunching anti-business/socialist/doomer stuff out of these letters...make the case a pro-American business proposition, or you will be pissing in the wind. Off the imported oil teet now...implement renewable energy technologies (and nuclear, and clean coal, suck that up) now...other issues after we are firmly on that path.

You can't focus on everything at once, but you can achieve the thing you focus on.

Nice Typo!

'They (Democrats) don't respect the sanctity of lie'

That wasn't intentional, was it?

To which, I can add that not only had Udall senior heard of Hubbert, but brought him to testify before a congressional committee in 1974 or 1975... (Sorry, I have the testimony somewhere, but can't find a link at the moment.)

In the late 1970's, GM invited a group of transit professionals to a hotel in San Francisco (Ed Tennyson was one of those invited) to advise them on whether to enter the Urban Rail vehicle market (GM then made diesel locomotives, EMD, since sold to Warren Buffet et al).

The group decided that it would not be a good decision then and advised against it. (Boeing did go into the market and lost money).

Ed Tennyson has since told me that circumstances have changed since the 1970's and his advice today would be that at least one of GM, Ford, Chrysler, etc. should enter that market.

Best Hopes for Better Decisions,


The key other quote is:

And he called for building “more compact, sensitively planned communities” rather than continuing urban sprawl.

Mass transport works only just about acceptably (for modern values) in the "main city" areas of UK cities, and is less than satisfactory in UK suburbs (because reduced density means you're only on one/two routes so a journey generally involves travelling to an inner city hub and changing). As DaveMart has pointed out, these are denser than US suburbs, and my guesstimate is that there's a greater proportion of population in the suburbs in the US than the UK. So will local governments/local transport companies find it economically viable to buy these if Detroit produces them?

As the directions go, "if you're going to there, then I wouldn't start from here".

Per a group of survey's and polls by Laurence Aurbach, roughly 30% of Americans want to live in TOD (Transit Orientated Development), but only 1%-2% do because of the lack of "T".

Build enough "T", encourage the "OD" and when that unmeet market demand is meet (>30% once it gets rolling IMHO), then look at "what next". 2035 if we are lucky.

As long as there is this great unmeet demand for TOD, the rest of the discussion is about lower and later priorities.

Best Hopes for TOD FIRST !


In case it's unclear, I'd really like much lower energy expenditure on people movement, which AFAICS unavoidably means much more mass transport and restructuring/moving residential patterns into TOD.

The point I was making was that the question doesn't seem to be "Will Detroit be persuaded to work on mass transport?" or "Has the credit crisis meant Detroit hasn't go the money to do this?" but "Are the local governments/companies who'd have to buy these products prepared to actually do so, given the lack of immediate applicability for current US population patterns?"

Having a "European" mindset, I'm happy for government to both use (within reasonable limits and with accountability) some taxpayers money to "prime the pump" on these issues and encourage it via the tax regimes and planning laws. I suspect the view of the American political class might be different.

Just for fun ...

Ron Broberg -

I love it!

Can you tell me more about it, or is it just a picture you came across?

This is the type of grass-roots resourcefulness that is going to come in handy should the entire system turn to shite. It reminds me a bit of the sort of things the Cubans have been doing in trying to keep their junk 1950s cars running (e.g., making piston rings using a hacksaw, a file, an old iron pipe, and LOTS of patience).

just a pic I came across ...

Now that's what I call a "real chopper". Though the style looks like the hallmark of a splinter group of chopper designers, cuz that sure don't look like no easy rider to me.
I'll bet a couple of those, lumbering down the road, ought to turn a few heads. Anyway, they'll be fine as long as they don't have a run in with the chain saw gang ;-)

October United States auto sales plunged 32%, Russian auto sales slowing due to scarcitiy of auto loans:


Not a happy day. No sign of a bottom yet.

Elsewhere, it was reported that US auto sales were at their lowest since WW II.

Along with single family housing starts in 3 of 4 regions of USA (lowest since first housing starts statistics in 1959, Southeast had lowest SFR starts since 1991).

Best Hopes for Less Sprawl,


Elsewhere, it was reported that US auto sales were at their lowest since WW II.

Just for clarity, this was "adjusted for population growth". The US population has a little more than doubled since WWII.

It's about time... Auto sales need to drop to ZERO for a few years to flush out the system a bit, and kill the UAW, once and for all.

I'm not sure if this has come up recently, but does anyone else see a failure of 1, 2, or all 3 of the "big 3" (Chrysler, GM, and Ford) as a "spit hitting the fan" moment?

If so, is there anything to be done in preparation for such an event?

If so, is there anything to be done in preparation for such an event?

Yeah, stock up on spare parts for your bicycle...

The best thing you can do is get into the aftermarket parts business, you will make a fortune!!

I think so. If washington does nothing, and they run out of cash early next year, bad things will rain from the sky. However if they do something, people will continue to not buy their cars and the companies will continue to lose money. That will be even worse. But If option A happens, I do think it could be tipping point, because the layoffs would explode overnight and the market would take an almighty dive.

There's a story on the WSJ today which suggests that GM's funds will fall below the amount necessary for continued operations before the end of this year! (may be behind a pay wall) Unless, of course, those lame ducks in Congress agree to prime the pump with a lot more money. I think the auto companies learned that one from Paulson, who threatened tanks in the streets if the TARP wasn't passed. Of course, Paulson was kidding, as it appears that no "Troubled Assets" have been acquired as the banks have been handed $billions.

As I recall, the auto makers don't make much money on the their new cars, but then sell parts at a much higher amount for the next decade or so. Each year's batch of new cars represents a near monopoly in various types of parts, especially crash parts. When the auto companies build new cars, they also put aside enough parts in some warehouse to meet expected demand later. They charge about 1/3 the total cost of the parts to the new car and 2/3 to the parts going into storage. Also, the dealers don't make much on sales either, especially at the end of the model year, but cash in when they provide service. This setup also works to perpetuate the purchase of new vehicles, as it soon becomes too expensive to repair vehicles as they age or have relatively minor crash damage. I heard that story from an economist from the auto industry some 30 years ago, so things may be a bit different now...

E. Swanson

The greatest argument against allowing capter 11 to take it's course, is the claim that 80% of potential buyers will avoid a bankrupt company. Now, I'm not convinced that can work at this scale -especially if all the domestic manufacturers go that down route together. And, if we use government guarantees, to insure that the issue of parts, service, and recalls -if needed, won't be allowed to fall through the cracks, I think not too many customers will be lost. But I think any informed car buyer today is already factoring in a possible/probably bankruptcy into his decision. If that is the case, there may be little additional harm caused by crossing into chapter 11. But, the benefits to reorganization are still there.

So, maybe whats needed is a controlled application of bankruptcy. With some government guarantees, so that potential customers fears of being stuck with an orphaned product are mitigated away.

I don't think car companies can go through bankruptcy like the airlines have repeatedly done. When you buy a ticket, it's a short-term, one-time transaction. With a car, you're worried about who's going to uphold your warranty, your loan, etc. It's not like you don't have a choice. You can buy a Toyota instead of a Chevy, and feel more confident that they'll be around to service the darned thing.

Leanan -

Right now the focus is on the worsening sale of new cars and the financial plight of the Big Three. If GM goes belly up, no more Chevies, Buicks, etc. However, one serious potential future problem that I seldom hear any discussion about is going to be the increasing difficulty in maintaining the car you've already bought (or leased).

Don't forget: the American auto industry is not just the Big Three, but also includes a large number of much smaller companies that manufacture various components for the manufacture of new cars and spare parts for the repair and maintenance of existing ones. I fear that as these start going belly up (as some already have), it is going to become more and more difficult to obtain after-market parts for repair and maintenance.

We currently take that auto parts supply chain for granted .... you bring the car into the shop in the morning, the mechanic taps into the supply chain, the part arrives within a few hours, he installs, and you pick up your car on the way home from work. That just-in-time parts procurement could very soon become a thing of the past as the whole parts supply network becomes increasingly fragmented.

Possibly, owning an American car circa 2012 is going to be like being a sports car owner during the mid-1950s, where you often had the car languishing in the shop for weeks at a time while awaiting some part from England or Italy. (Back then you had to be a real 'sport' to own a sports car.)

And it's not just cars one needs to worry about. For example, I recently had to change the drive belt on my washing machine. The appliance store happened to have one belt left for my particular model. If the belt were no longer available because the supplier went bankrupt, my wife and I would be washing clothes by hand. This is just one tiny example of the type of rapid inter-connected cascading failure we could be in for as the current depression fully sets in.

That is one reason I chose a Toyota Corolla the last time I bought a car. It's one of the most popular cars in history, so I figured parts would be more readily available than for, say, a Prius.

Depression 2009: What would it look like?

Lines at the ER, a television boom, emptying suburbs. A catastrophic
economic downturn would feel nothing like the last one.


Don in Maine

That is an excellent article. May not be right on all particulars, but it's certainly well thought out.

Good points that food and clothing are so cheap for us now that we're unlikely to suffer the same kind of poverty people did in 1930s. Instead, it's housing, health care, transportation, and daycare that are the big ticket items.

And that we might actually grow to prefer reliability over novelty when buying things.

I'm not sure he's right about the Rust Belt dying out. I can see why he thinks it might. (Exhibit A, Detroit.) But peak oil might mean we can't count on cheap goods from China forever. Our old industrial base could be revived, and it's located where it is for a reason. (Along waterways, mostly.)

i don't think he is right with the assumption that cloths and food will stay 'cheap'.
peak oil aside a depression will mean a downturn in global commerce, a slow down will also increase the price of food and cloths since both are mostly imported or rely on imported products.

I don't think he's arguing that clothes and food will stay cheap. Rather, the argument is that they are so cheap now that we'll weather price increases now much better than they did in the 1930s.

Honestly, I have so many clothes I could probably live the rest of my life without buying more. Well, maybe things like underwear and socks that tend to wear out. But regular clothes - the kind people see - I think I could probably never buy any more. I'd look out of style, for sure, but not ragged.

i am not too sure about that. i have not changed in size since highschool(i'm 27 now) and i have been wearing many of the cloths i wore back then. these modern cloths(compared to the information on how the older ones were made.) arn't nearly as durable since they were made with the assumption that they would only be worn for a year or less. I am simply amazed how quickly socks go from brand new to unusable mess.

Yes, socks tend to wear out. But other clothes last longer than they did before, because modern synthetics are more durable than natural fibers. They might pill, but it takes a lot to actually wear through them.

Clothes also last longer if you take care of them. I'm in the habit of taking care of my clothing, because we didn't have a lot of money when I was growing up, and my mom drilled it into us to be careful with clothing and other possessions. She sewed most of my clothes when I was a kid.

Of course. many articles of clothing are made from synthetic polymers derived from oil. A downturn in the textile and clothing industries will be significant.

"More oil output reductions aren't likely this month because OPEC members haven't yet fully enforced previous quotas and the organization needs more data before it reaches a decision, the cartel's president said Sunday."

I'll suggest that oil closes at $55 or lower tomorrow on the basis of that remark. Anyone else wnat to make a fool of themselves predicting the price?

Surely you have learned by now - the future is NOT predictable. Worse than that, it is driven by millions of events that aren't predictable.

The price just balances supply and demand on a particular day - nothing more, it tells you nothing about the actual flow rate.

At the present time the total oil supply volume has nothing to do with reserves or geology, it has to do with the consumers being able to afford the price. Affording the price depemds on the actual price and the actual income.

Peak Oil is all about ABOVE GROUND factors! Hubbert's theories only apply to a single oil well or an oil field that is completely finished with adding new wells. Beware amybody who tells you a field's depletion follows a Gausian bell shaped curve - check the data, it almost always isn't true!

'Peak Oil' on the other hand, in general, isn't a theory it actually is true!

The Financial Times has a long article written by a British journalist in Iceland, talking about what it's like to live in a country without money.

Thanks for posting that particular article Leanan. I've been wondering alot about Iceland's problems but it seems hard to get news from inside Iceland, especially as far as the situation that the average citizens are in.

This an interesting way to depict what is going on in the world in ways that cannot be easily shown on your typical traditional maps. Wonder if someone here could apply it in some way to global oil production and consumption.


In this particular sequence greenhouse gas emissions and coal consumption for generating electricity are shown in images 3 and 5 respectively, oh and if you happen to be going to India make sure you are protected against rabies...that one is just plain weird.

Ah! Cartograms are excellent visual aids for understanding topics like this. I noticed the site with the projections never actually explains exactly how those maps are made and what they show, so I figured I'd link the background info.

oh and if you happen to be going to India make sure you are protected against rabies...that one is just plain weird.

Not only weird, but quite misleading too. The graph indicates total magnitude of the problem but not the likelihood of it impacting a given individual. There may be 20,000 rabies deaths in India per year, but the country has 1.1 billion people.
The probability of getting rabies in a given year is 0.0018%.

You are far more likely to get murdered in an American city than get rabies in India! And unlike rabies, no vaccine can protect you from murderers :-)

Hello TODers,

With the economy going into the tank: this may be an excellent opportunity to buy every family member a wheelbarrow/garden cart, and/or a sturdy bicycle, and/or a small scooter or E-bike this holiday season. Maybe even better pricing after the holidays as huge layoffs are probably on track to occur.

The recent decline in gasoline prices have probably made scooters and bicycles somewhat cheaper to acquire as demand has probably dropped off somewhat. I suggest you take advantage of this before the next pricing leg up above the previous $147 crude record [naturally, predicting the timing of this event is very difficult].

I regularly google wheelbarrow hoping to find some postPeak evidence of huge sales to poor countries to help make their depleting resource situation less exhausting and as an easy way to recycle O-NPK back to the land and/or do huge reforestation projects. Sadly, things seem to be getting worse as time goes on:

Google images of 'carrying firewood on head', then 'carrying water on head':


I wonder if the First World countries will ever see the postPeak need for strategic reserves of bicycles and wheelbarrows [perhaps SpiderWebRiding too?] for efficiently leveraging human calories and time, or are we Thermo/Gene destined to repeat the iconic pictures?

[Scroll down to see photo of man backpacking manure]

The Donegal soil is very wet, and so yielding that horses cannot work on it. Few of the farmers own even a donkey, and all the work is done in the most laborious and primitive fashion, by hand. One man with whom I stopped to talk was carrying manure in a basket on his back from a great pile in front of his house to a near field. His boy, a lad of thirteen, was helping with a basket of smaller size. Often the women assist in this task. When the land has been dotted thickly over with the heaps dumped from the baskets, and these have been spread with forks, they break up the lumps and distribute the manure more evenly with their hands.
Bob Shaw in Phx,Az Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

May you live long and prosper and post here at least as long as I visit here. My tenant recently bought a nice, sturdy wheelbarrow, primarily to haul logs from the forest that I own. Sweeet!!!

Today's Spock Moment...

"Captain, your logic is impeccable. We are in grave danger."

CNBC mentioned peak oil this morning. To make fun of it. $45 oil, here we come!