DrumBeat: January 11, 2009

UAE and Qatar will lead demand for oil in Gulf this year

The UAE and Qatar will lead the 18 million barrels a day growth in oil demand in the Gulf in 2009, energy analysis firm PFC energy said in its latest report.

The Washington-based company said diesel and jet fuel will lead the overall growth in demand for fuel oil in the GCC in 2009.

The growth in demand though 30 per cent lower than the figures in 2007-2008, would come when countries across the world will see a fall in demand.

Let’s “hope and pray that Hirsch is wrong” about our oil supply

Summary: The global recession might push back the arrival of peak oil for three reasons.

1. Less consumption now leaves more oil in the ground for future use.

2. Less investment now in oil exploration and development means less consumption in the next few years (or decade).

3. Alternative energy technology has more time to develop, reducing future oil consumption.

This is a grace period, useful if we make good use of the time. If we squander it, we might find ourselves in more poorly prepared foe peak oil than if the recession had never happened. For example,

1. energy research might fall victim to budget cuts, and

2. programs to develop unconventional and alternative energy sources might be scrapped.

EU Urges Russia to Resume Gas Flow as Monitors Arrive at Posts

(Bloomberg) -- The European Union urged Russia to resume shipments of natural gas via Ukraine after international monitors arrived to measure flows and an accord brokered to resolve a transit dispute was signed by all sides.

UAE oil surge boosts Arab financial surplus

Arab countries recorded a sharp increase in their combined external financial surplus in 2007 as a result of higher crude oil exports and the bulk of the increase was in the UAE, according to official Arab figures.

Nigerian Rebels Seek Leader’s Freedom in Exchange for Britons

(Bloomberg) -- Militants operating in Nigeria’s oil region have issued the first photographs of two British oil workers held hostage for four months.

The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, or MEND, said the release of Robin Hughes and Matthew Maguire was tied to freedom being granted to its detained leader.

Iraqi Oil 2008-2009

The Iraqi oil industry is pulled apart between multiple and different factors. The importance of these factors lies in their impact on the Iraqi oil industry for at least the next twenty-five years. Indeed, decisions that are being taken now, or those that will be ratified during this period, will provide the basic framework for the nature of the Iraqi oil industry in the foreseeable future.

Shaky Ground: Russia-Ukraine Gas Dispute Could Affect U.S. Fertilizer Supply

“Some of the nitrogen production in some countries has already been shut down,” he says. “It looks like it could very easily shut down additional urea capacity in the world, at a time when urea stocks are going to need to be built up before the spring season. It certainly could have an impact on supply availability for spring.”

South Dakota farmers could receive protection in grain buys

In a move that appears to have been motivated by the mess farmers found themselves in after ethanol giant VeraSun filed for bankruptcy, the PUC wants grain buyers to have more bond coverage. The current $300,000 bonding cap would be replaced by a minimum $350,000 bond, escalating to $500,000 for anyone buying $100 million worth of grain annually. Beyond that, grain buyers would have to have an additional $25,000 bond for each $10 million of grain purchases.

Wisconsin lawmakers seek state ban on phosphorus in fertilizer

Two state lawmakers want to ban phosphorus in fertilizer, a move they say will be the first step of "an ambitious environmental agenda" for the new legislative session.

The proposal by Rep. Spencer Black, chairman of the Assembly Natural Resources Committee, and Sen. Mark Miller, chairman of the Senate Committee on the Environment, would ban phosphates from lawn fertilizer, which makes up for about half the phosphates that pour into the Dane County lakes, Black said. Fertilizer for agricultural production would be exempt.

Massive Greenland meltdown? Not so fast, say scientists

PARIS (AFP) – The recent acceleration of glacier melt-off in Greenland, which some scientists fear could dramatically raise sea levels, may only be a temporary phenomenon, according to a study published Sunday.

Amazon Deforestation: Earth's Heart and Lungs Dismembered

Splintered, charred wood litters the outskirts of an expansive ranch that lies on recently cleared land in the Brazilian Amazon. On the newly planted pasture, cattle leisurely graze, occasionally lifting their heads to gaze past heaps of dead trees towards an island of dense vegetation that has thus far been spared. But it too may soon be cut down.

Such scenes are becoming increasingly common as large swaths of the Brazilian Amazon are being bulldozed and burned to accommodate expanding cattle ranches. Deforestation, which is dismembering the Earth's functional heart and lungs, is largely resulting from cattle ranching driven by economic incentives and demand for Brazilian beef, according to the Center for International Forestry Research.

GM shows plan for Chevy minicar, electric Cadillac

DETROIT (AP) — General Motors turned its opening news conference at the Detroit auto show into a pep rally touting the health of the company and its products, unveiling plans Sunday to build a 40-mile-per-gallon minicar for the U.S. market and a Cadillac concept car powered by electricity like the Chevrolet Volt.

Thomas L. Friedman: Tax Cuts for Teachers

Over the next couple of years, two very big countries, America and China, will give birth to something very important. They’re each going to give birth to close to $1 trillion worth of economic stimulus — in the form of tax cuts, infrastructure, highways, mass transit and new energy systems. But a lot is riding on these two babies. If China and America each give birth to a pig — a big, energy-devouring, climate-spoiling stimulus hog — our kids are done for. It will be the burden of their lifetimes. If they each give birth to a gazelle — a lean, energy-efficient and innovation-friendly stimulus — it will be the opportunity of their lifetimes.

Russia Gazprom shuts wells, makes losses in gas row

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia's gas row with its neighbour Ukraine has forced Russian gas giant Gazprom to shut down over 100 gas-producing wells, local agencies reported on Sunday, quoting Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

Gazprom has also suffered losses of $800 million due to the row over gas debts and pricing for 2009, which led to a cut-off in Russian gas supplies to Ukraine on Jan. 1.

Plan to raise output

PETROCHINA Co, the country's largest oil company, aims to more than double oil and gas production at the fourth-biggest Chinese field by 2020 to meet domestic demand.

Solar power plants

TWO large solar power plants will be built in the plateau provinces of Qinghai and Yunnan this year, with expectations that China will be able to cut domestic reliance on coal and oil.

Saudi to cut output below OPEC target: Reuters

LONDON and DUBAI — Top exporter Saudi Arabia plans to cut oil output by up to 300,000 barrels per day below its agreed OPEC target – a pro-active step to prop up a collapsing market, industry sources said on Sunday.

OPEC's most influential member has lowered supply this month to 8 million bpd, meeting its target under OPEC's pact to reduce overall production by a record amount from Jan. 1.

But strict Saudi discipline has failed to boost oil prices – which at close to $40 are far from the $75 a barrel named by Saudi King Abdullah as a fair price. So Riyadh is prepared, from February, to go beyond what is required by OPEC, the sources said.

“We've been told Saudi Arabia will cut to about 7.7 million in February,” said a senior oil executive. “They want to prevent a huge stock build up and a further decline in the oil price.”

Ship crews paid double to brave pirates-Saudi firm

DUBAI (Reuters) - Oil shippers are paying crews double to persuade them to sail through the pirate-infested Gulf of Aden, an official at Saudi Arabia's National Shipping Company (NSCSA) said on Sunday.

Thomas Homer-Dixon's new book, Carbon Shift: How the Twin Crises of Oil Depletion and Climate Change Will Define the Future, will be out April 14.

“We are now so abusing the Earth that it may rise and move back to the hot state it was in fifty-five million years ago, and if it does, most of us, and our descendants, will die.”
—James Lovelock, leading climate expert and author of The Revenge of Gaia

“I don’t see why people are so worried about global warming destroying the planet — peak oil will take care of that.”
—Matthew Simmons, energy investment banker and author of Twilight in the Desert: The Coming Saudi Oil Shock and the World Economy

The twin crises of climate change and peaking oil production are converging on us. If they are not to cook the planet and topple our civilization, we will need informed and decisive policies, clear-sighted innovation, and a lucid understanding of what is at stake. We will need to know where we stand, and which direction we should start out in. These are the questions Carbon Shift addresses.

Thomas Homer-Dixon, author of The Ingenuity Gap and The Upside of Down, argues that the two problems are really one: a carbon problem. We depend on carbon energy to fuel our complex economies and societies, and at the same time this very carbon is fatally contaminating our atmosphere. To solve one of these problems will require solving the other at the same time. In other words, we still have a chance to tackle two monumental challenges with one innovative solution: clean, low-carbon energy.

From Dining Out to Cold Turkey

In October, sales of Ball canning and storage products were up 92 percent over the same month last year.

Sheri Ann Richerson, a freelance writer in Marion, Ind., seems to have canned everything in her half-acre garden that didn’t move. She also froze 10 chickens.

“Since June we have been able to get by on $20 to $30 a week for food,” she said. Ms. Richerson is not a farm girl to whom all of this came naturally. She learned to can from the Ball book of directions. “Some days we started canning at 9 a.m. and didn’t finish until 6 a.m.,” she said.

Her goal was to can 1,500 jars of food, but the shortage of rings and lids at local stores stymied her, and she and her husband did only 700. All in her tiny 1930s kitchen, so small, the refrigerator is in the dining room.

“We are doing all this to save money,” she said. “I think there is going to be a bigger and bigger problem with shortages of food and of money, which will eventually come down to us. When I read about all of these businesses closing, the question is how long people will have money to buy video games, which is what my husband sells.”

Two geologists on saving the earth

Our economic system is entirely based on the creation of materials. Material wealth comes out of the earth and the level of our lifestyle is entirely based on our consumption of resources. The thing that has allowed that to accelerate so there is even a middle class in many countries, including our own, is cheap energy. Petroleum. If that becomes less available, less cheap because it’s less available, that is going to limit everything that we do. It’s going to have a major impact. It’s going to limit whether we can produce non-petroleum alternatives.

Tanzania oil companies defy govt on fuel prices

The Energy and Water Utility Regulatory Authority's (EWURA) directive to oil importing companies to reduce the price of petroleum products from last week has been ignored.

Two weeks ago the government through EWURA issued a directive that indicative prices for diesel and petrol in Dar es Salaam should be at TShs 1,166 and TShs 1,271 per litre respectively.

However by last Tuesday pump prices remained between TShs 1,400 and TShs 1,600 for petrol, while diesel and kerosene sold at TShs 1,450 and TShs 1,200 per litre respectively.

Why America's automakers fell behind

While the Big Three auto makers are figuring out what to do with their millions of dollars in bailout money, the folks over at Toyota have made it clear, again, why American auto makers have fallen behind and continue to fall behind their Japanese counterparts.

A Crossroad for Russia and America

MOSCOW — In August of last year, a new Russia presented itself to the world. From the battlefield of Georgia, the message said: We are no longer seeking the good opinion of the West. The new taste for confrontation was seen by many as a byproduct of oil and gas wealth, which had given Russia’s leaders the confidence to risk international isolation. In the title of a book he published in April, the scholar Marshall Goldman offered a one-word explanation: “Petrostate.”

That thesis may have a short shelf life. Russian leaders, no longer hoping to make the ruble an international reserve currency, now face a confluence of disasters: The price of a barrel of oil has slid below $40, shares of Gazprom fell 76 percent in a year and more than a quarter of Russia’s cash reserves have been spent shoring up the ruble.

With profits sinking, refineries scale back

The last 12 months have been a rough ride for refineries, though you would be hard-pressed to find many sympathizers in an economy gone sour.

But there's not very much money being made these days by companies operating the massive distilleries that break down crude oil into gasoline, diesel fuel, home heating oil and jet fuel.

OPEC could cut output in March if prices fall - Iran

"If oil prices continue to fall, cutting production at the March 2009 meeting would not be unlikely," Iran's OPEC governor Mohammad Ali Khatibi told the oil ministry website SHANA.

"A fourth OPEC production cut in the March meeting would not be beyond expectation," he said.

Use of oil as weapon out of question: Saud

NEW YORK – Saudi Arabia on Wednesday ruled out use of oil as a weapon by Arab states to secure an end to the 12-day Israeli military onslaught in the Gaza Strip.

“Oil is not a weapon. You can’t reverse a conflict by using oil,” Saud Al-Faisal, Foreign Minister, told reporters here on the sidelines of a Security Council debate on the Israeli offensive which has claimed 689 Palestinian lives.

Pakistan - 65,000 tons of Iranian crude arrive: Deferred payment facility

KARACHI: A ship carrying 65,000 tons of crude oil from Iran arrived at the port on Friday under the deferred payment facility.

Pakistan Refinery Limited (PRL) had signed an agreement last month with National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC), which had extended the credit facility for the payment of crude oil to 90 days from 30 days.

Kuwait sees oil prices 'soar in few days'

Oil prices are expected to rise in coming days as Opec's output cuts kick in and demand rises because of cold weather, a Kuwaiti oil official said in remarks published on Sunday.

Can Opec use oil as a weapon

RIYADH: In mid-70s, shortly before physical elimination from the scene, the late King Faisal of Saudi Arabia had forewarned Henry Kissinger, the wheeler-dealer of the day, that if and when pushed to the wall, “we would put our (oil) wells to fire and return to the tents.”

However, King Faisal’s son, Price Saud Al-Faisal, the current foreign minister, is pragmatic to the core and concedes that using oil as weapon is no more possible.

When Arab oil producers used crude supplies as a weapon during the 1973 Yom Kippur war between Israel and Arab armies, those were distinctly different times.

Georgia refuses Gazprom help to restore gas supplies to Armenia

MOSCOW (RIA Novosti) - Georgia has rejected Gazprom's offer of assistance in restoring gas supplies to Armenia, the Russian energy monopoly said on Sunday.

Georgia halted Russian gas transit to Armenia on January 9 after damage was discovered on a stretch of the Kazakh-Saguramo gas pipeline.

Dutch, Algerians discuss Sahara gas venture:report

ALGIERS (Reuters) - Algeria and the Netherlands discussed on Saturday a partnership involving Nigeria and Royal Dutch Shell in a project to pipe Nigerian gas to Europe across the Sahara, Algerian official media reported.

Algerian Energy and Mines Minister Chakib Khelil said the topic was raised in talks he had with Dutch Economic Affairs Minister Maria van der Hoeven, the official Algerian news agency APS reported.

Saudi Supertanker Sailing to Dammam After Release, Gazette Says

(Bloomberg) -- Saudi Arabia’s oil supertanker Sirius Star is sailing back to Dammam, the Saudi Gazette reported, citing an unidentified official at the kingdom’s Oil Ministry.

OPEC member countries show themselves to be all hype, no bite

Question: What are the similarities between the Dallas Cowboy football team and the 11-member nations of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC)?

Answer: All hype; no bite.

What's next after the oil sands stampede?

The recent euphoria surrounding the development of the Canadian oil sands has come to an end because of the economic fallout from the global financial crisis. But in its recent update to its crude oil outlook through 2020, the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) has chosen to ignore most of the damage to the oil sands industry.

Exposing the Myth of Clean Coal Power

The "clean coal" campaign was always more PR than reality — currently there's no economical way to capture and sequester carbon emissions from coal, and many experts doubt there ever will be. But now the idea of clean coal might be truly dead, buried beneath the 1.1 billion gallons of water mixed with toxic coal ash that on Dec. 22 burst through a dike next to the Kingston coal plant in the Tennessee Valley and blanketed several hundred acres of land, destroying nearby houses. The accident — which released 100 times more waste than the Exxon Valdez disaster — has polluted the waterways of Harriman, Tenn., with potentially dangerous levels of toxic metals like arsenic and mercury, and left much of the town uninhabitable.

No King Coal

Dynegy's decision to back off new coal-fired power plants is good for its image and the environment.

Happiness grows out of tiny parks, not huge TVs

Of all the strange, inspiring and disturbing headlines of 2008, my mind keeps returning, for some reason, to a short piece of reportage buried at the bottom of the New York Times editorial page last summer.

According to "Life in a Slow Lane," there is now such a dearth of green space in New York City, residents have taken to rolling out Astroturf in curb-side parking spaces, plopping down lawn chairs, and feeding quarters into the meter all day in exchange for this makeshift pastorale.

An edible Statehouse lawn? Montpelier group looks at life without oil

MONTPELIER – The times they are a-changin', and some area residents plan to be ready for them.

About 70 people gathered at a meeting of the group Transition Town Montpelier at the Unitarian Church on Saturday to explore the steps they can take to make the adjustment from a society based on cheap petroleum to one where food, energy and currency systems are more localized.

G.M. to Make Batteries for Volt in Michigan

GENERAL MOTORS will announce Monday that it will make lithium-ion battery packs to power the 2011 Chevrolet Volt and other extended-range electric vehicles at a new facility in Michigan. With the announcement, to be made during press preview days for the North American International Auto Show by Rick Wagoner, the company’s chairman and chief executive, G.M. becomes the first major automaker with a commitment to producing the advanced battery packs in the United States.

Detroit Goes for Electric Cars, but Will Drivers?

Throughout the cavernous Detroit auto show hall, typically the high temple of brute horsepower, auto companies will be competing this week to establish their green and electric credentials. On Sunday, when the show opens, Ford will announce plans for its electric vehicle, including a goal to start selling them by 2011.

These are risky bets. There are no guarantees that consumers — for all their stated concerns about global warming, dependence on foreign oil and unpredictable gas prices — will buy enough of them. They may balk, for example, at the limits on how far they can drive on a single charge.

Oregon names climate scientist

Oregon State University and the governor’s office today announced the name of Oregon’s new chief climate scientist.

Philip W. Mote, the Washington state climatologist, will direct the Oregon Climate Change Research Institute and become a professor in the College of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences at Oregon State in Corvallis, where the institute will be based.

Emissions rise on Australia's east coast

Greenhouse gas emissions rose by 1.3 per cent across the east coast of Australia in 2008, a new report shows.

The Climate Group's annual Greenhouse Indicator Report, to be released on Monday, covers all emissions from energy use in NSW, Victoria and Queensland.

Giant plasma TVs face ban in battle to green Britain

New rules will phase out energy-guzzling flatscreen televisions as the EU brings its climate campaign to the living room.

According to the ads CBS ran during the playoff game last night, tonight's 60 Minutes will include an investigation into the drastic swings in oil prices. They promise a "surprising answer."

A preview of the episode can be found here. CBS News Video 60 Minutes

The Price Of Oil
Steve Kroft explains how it was financial speculation, and not supply and demand, that caused the historic spike in oil prices last year.

Steve Kroft seems to blame it all on speculation. Supply and demand had nothing to do with it. Also he blames the fall in oil prices on the collapse of AIG and Lehman Brothers. Their collapse took, he says, 70 billion dollars out of the commodities market.

However those positions were not ALL long. Taking short positions out would hae the opposite effect. Also, I would disagree. Very high oil prices were largely responsible for the recession. The recession and high prices caused massive demand destruction, causing the price plunge.

I believe those who blame the recession on the banking collapse are only partially correct. The first cause was extremely high oil prices.

Ron Patterson

Here's my explanation:

US Oil Prices Versus Top Five Net Oil Exports:


. . . despite the fact that relative to 2005, we are going to almost certainly see three years of lower net oil exports, flat crude oil production and a slight increase in total liquids production, the conventional wisdom is that the increase in annual US oil prices from $57 in 2005 to about $100 in 2008 was due to “speculation,” while the recent sharp decline in monthly and daily oil prices was due to Peak Oilers being wrong about a near term peak in world oil production.

Part of the problem is that price information is instantaneous and accurate. Production data tend to be noisy (especially in the short term), delayed and subject to revision, so price, at least a falling price, is frequently used as a proxy for production (as noted above, rising prices are generally attributed to speculation, and not to fundamental supply/demand factors).

Regarding the 60 Minutes piece, the term "Iron Triangle" comes to mind.

Suppose Steve Kroft is correct, and ALL of the price rise and collapse was due to "speculation."

First of all, is he implying there is something wrong with "speculation?" Isn't that at least partly how markets operate?

Second, if it is wrong, what is to be done about it to prevent future disasters? Perhaps disband the "market" entirely and turn it over to Goldman Sachs-US Treasury to make the proper decisions?

So far, the WT argument seems to carry the most oil -- the illusion of wealth is meeting the reality of available energy. In 2008 the rubber meets the road.

NeverLNG posted:

"First of all, is he implying there is something wrong with "speculation?" Isn't that at least partly how markets operate?"

I could 'specutlate' that this is really not how they were originally designed. Not specifically for speculators.

The farmers and those who purchased their grain,beef,etc. needed a method to ensure delivery and at a agreed upon price. This means they could depend on that commodity to be delivered at the time and price and could therefore plan accordingly.

For instance I used to work on the mainframes at Ralston Purina Hdqtrs at Checkerboard Square in St. Louis. They used linear programming to mix various chows. If there was a glitch in the system,,in the case I recall they would start to lose rather large amounts of profits if the mainframe was down. In fact they pushed a virtual timer that calculated the losses for each minute. They would place a call with us and tell us how much it was costing them. It was a pressure tactic but truthful anyway.

So glitches in the market worked the same way.

Farmers live and breath the futures market. This is what I understand created it initially.

As to corporations. They went public so that stockholders could share in the profit, since they were the actual owners, and did this by means of divideneds.

When I started work we had an employee stock option plan that we would buy company(read corp) stock thru. It was steady almost always then at about $500 /share. The dividends were what you made money on.

But these days a stockholder could care less about the corporation. All they care about is buying and selling and making money via trades. Of course as the corporation made more money they would split the stock. I recall some of my cohorts became quite rich as a result of the above. They never sold. They always brought. They in reality owned part of the corporation and one of the reasons for the plan was that when you owned part of the corporation,known as Blue Chip Stock, you were naturally interested in its outlook.

So it was just normal to make a profit and share it with the stockholders.

Today its gone awry and the speculation IMO has been the undoing of the whole concept.

Day traders!!!! My brother was given lots of Sun Micro stock for his outstanding work as they became sucessful. He had over half a million. One day he decided to do some day trading. He died penniless.

There are those who feed erronous information to websites in order to stir the stock and make it move.

They are after one thing only. Money. They really could care less about the company or the country and its economy...and.....

So here we are today watching a meltdown. The business leaders(zany MBAs..et. al.) took the industry to other countries. Outsourced the rest. Downsized and fired many workers.

All this was what led us to the greed and ego stroking of CEO and the cohorts of theirs who used us and the country to cook the books, lie cheat and steal and all ...

the while shouting this mantra "The primary purpose of a corp is to make profits for the shareholders"...you can read this lot of different ways...

But the fact is that the corp I worked for had the shareholders interest at the very next to last of 8 company beliefs and stated it many times in the past.

If you hired good employees, paid them well, demanded an excellent endeavor by them, tried to get them to stay with the company and retire then you made excellent products and delivered excellent service of them.

This resulted in one of the top corporations in the history of business in the USA.

Of course it all changed when other factors came into play and we are all aware of that.

From congratulating an employee for his years of service he was treated very well and made to feel important and given gifts of recognition...these days its just a 'perp walk' to the door by a guard and his badge removed.

This is the way it was up until the late 80s where I worked and did the best I could and reaped the rewards.
I carry a card that states those 'beliefs' that were in place that I speak of above.

Airdale-there was no HR back then for no one needed that impersonality..or the rest of that baggage
Our desire for nothing by pure greed at the loss of everything else took us here. To where we think now that this is the way its supposed to be and was created to be.

I think tax structures cause speculation & investment to get mixed up.

I think that stock buybacks are pre-tax but dividends are post-tax. I.e. if a corporation wants to give stockholders some return on their investment, the corporation's tax bill is reduced if they buy stock back, rather than pay dividends.

If stock buy-backs were not treated as an expense, but instead as a return of profit, i.e. if the buy-back didn't cut the corporate tax bill, that would help encourage payment of dividends - or at least reduce the discouragement.

Step two, of course, is to cut the tax that investors pay on dividends received, and to increase the capital gains tax.

Next, one could put in more of a ladder. Maybe four classes of capital gains:

Very short term = two months or less
medium short term = more than two months but less than a year
medium long term = more that a year but less than six years
very long term = more than six years

Crank up the tax on very short term gains, and let it remain quite moderate for very long term gains. It's one easy way to encourage folks to pay more attention to longer range issues.

There are lots of talking heads in Washington and Wall Street that are certain that the economy is better off when dividends are taxed high as ordinary income, and capital gains are taxes preferentially low. Some of these people would like to see capital gains virtually untaxed.

They have it totally backward, of course. The only concession to capital gains that makes sense is to index the basis for inflation. Otherwise, speculative gains (for that is what capital gains are when you back out inflation) should get no special preference at all. In fact, IMHO all capital losses should be treated the same way we treat gambling losses - you can only use them to offset winings.

On the other hand, I would like to see corporate income tax payments essentially be transformed into a tax withholding that passes on to the shareholders along with their dividends.

I suspect that if these changes were made, we would return to a bias toward dividend income rather than capital gains, and there would be more pressure on corporate managements to perform consistently over the long haul, rather than play short-term games.

I assume you realize that almost all stock losses are traded off vs stock gains, with the exception of a $3,000 carryover against ordinary income. Capital stock losses may be carried over, but with the exception of $3,000 can not not all be considered a loss for the current year. Having said that, I do agree there should be more emphasis on dividends.

I would like a change of emphasis towards dividends, particularly if the growth economy is over. We can still invest money in hopes of getting current income, but the expectation of cap gains will be greatly diminished post growth. It is better if the incentives don't push people to try to fight the trend.

Capital loses, are almost treated like gambling loses. If you have a million dollar capital loss (and don't get gains to offset it), you will die long before you use up your carryover.

I'm not sure the term 'speculation' is accurate; a better term would be market manipulation.

When large amounts of liquidity pile into a relaitvely illiquid market that market can be pushed a long way; this isn't speculation. There was a lot of hedge fund money in the commodity markets last summer and the markets were jobbed. Of course, the CFTC looked around the outside pf the various buildings and reassured everyone that 'everything is fine!'

Both Martin Kindleberger and John Kenneth Galbraith described how this was done during the runup to the Great Depression;



Back then it was confined to the stock market and the technique was called, 'Taking the stock in hand'. Rich investors would quietly buy stocks in a particular company then create media interest about that company and their interest in it. There were paid flacks who would specialize in 'highlighting' companies that were selected for manipulation. Once the public started rushing in, the big boys would quietly sell their positions letting the whole enterprise crash. Then, they would move on to another company's stock.

Confined markets can be manipulated, here is a good example:

Short sellers make VW the world's priciest firm
Tue Oct 28, 2008

By Sarah Marsh

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Volkswagen (VOWG.DE) briefly became the world's biggest company by market value on Tuesday, as short sellers caught betting on a price drop with borrowed stock scrambled to find shares after a buying spree by Porsche.


This was legal, but you can see how the process can work. The more things change, the more they remain the same ...

I'm afraid ron patterson is preparing to poop on you

every well/lease has storage tanks, and to some extent the operator of that well/lease is a speculator, they can store oil from month to month to try to get the best price, but at some point they have to put up or shut up, and either shut the well(s) in or sell the oil.

ksa is no different, and i am reasonably certain they have a good idea of what the market is doing. so to that extent, they are speculators as well. iran has alledgedly rented tankers for floating storage, speculators one and all.


I think even a decline to the top end of your range (18mbpd) is going to be pretty distressful. It will probably be explained away as currently by a massive demand drop caused by a new recession starting pretty much after global recovery (2012?).

A fall to 12mbpd would spell a disasater IMO.


Matthew Simmons has also stated his opinion that the high oil prices were due to speculation. The report was on TOD a while back. Simmons sees oil price formation being based on "dry barrels" i.e. the trading of forward contracts and he states that this price has little connection with "wet barrels," the actual amount of available supply.

What is clear is that price has dropped by 2/3rds but I think it unlikely that consumption has dropped by anything close to that.

I agree. Its not due in total to reduced driving.

To a degree and how much is debatable but if one drives to a certain location each day..say 200 miles on an interstate route ,mixed with two lane state road and county roads and observes the traffic over time they will have a good idea based on traffic,traffic jams and so forth.

I always take much the same routes to many different locations and I do see some lessening of traffic but not that much to account for the huge drop in prices.

Driving around South St. Louis county, an area that I know quite well I did observe some lessening but not that much.

In fact I noticed a slight increase.

Trucks are hard to judge for many will find a convienent place to stop and park after lunch/dinner at noon and wait til evening to continue on...because of traffic patterns.

I firmly believe that speculation, just as in the grain markets are big movers on prices.

Ask any farmer that. Many are always watching those markets very closely.

Also we hear that ohhhh spring rains in Brazil are expected to drop? Then bam the market goes way up but those rains still come...a lot of speculators make a profit..never buy coffee though. They take options, buy and sell those as well.

If there was not so much computer driven trading and day trading then I might think differently. I don't.

Airdale-I watch two very close gas stations. One moves his prices based on what the other is doing. Its all a game. Some lose and some win. Who wins and who loses? Sometimes the farmers or manufacturers or whatever. A sideways market doesn't encourage market plays. A chaotic up and down market is one that you can make or loss money in. Sideways is not what we now have.


I enjoy your writing but every reply you give tends to include one of your personal anecdotal experiences to try to explain the previous commenter's issue.

It would be nice if we can rationalize the collapse of a multi-trillion dollar issue on a few anecdotes, but I kind of doubt it. However, if all you said were that "the majority of people are greedy bastards", it wouldn't be as entertaining to read. :)


Out here in the outback academia doesn't go over too much.
Here its hard assets like corn in a bin or a crop in the ground.

Real life experiences count for much more than what comes over the news stations and what the latest fashion dress or who is doing what.

That being the way it is then tends to pervade my postings here and elsewhere. Personal anecdotes are fairly common and what the talking heads say is rather moot.

I used to do computerese so much that my wife stopped talking to me.
In public locations folks would stare at us , my work cohorts that is.

So back on the farm I tend to step down a few levels. They already hold me to be some kinda nerd as it is and thats not too good of an image hereabouts.

Besides I don't have much time for research and sourcing.

Thanks for the comments.

The majority of people are greed bastards.

Airdale-but we're heading back IMO to a different genre very soon.

Hi Ron and Jeff,


Did either of you happen to review Matt Simmons most recent talk where he goes into the "paper barrels" v. (I guess) real barrels topic and related issues?

http://www.simmonsco-intl.com/research.aspx?Type=msspeeches ( think it's the Dec. 10 one, I don't want to lose my place to go back and check).

What is your take on what he is saying?

How does it fit with what you (y'all) are saying?

I'm certainly not an expert on oil trading, but I have wondered if the producers and others that locked in high prices may perversely have accelerated the price decline, as the traders that took the opposite sides of the trades desperately bail out of losing trades, setting up a self-reinforcing downward cycle. And the fact that oil prices soared to over $100, to historically high nominal levels, only made the situation worse. All of this would be compounded by the credit contraction.

In any event, our middle case is that the top five net oil exporters, at an export rate of about 20 mbpd, would ship about one third of their remaining cumulative net oil exports during Obama's first four year term.

BTW, as Matt noted, oil priced didn't suddenly just increase in 2008.

Here are the year over year exponential changes in US spot oil prices since 1998 (the one annual decline is highlighted):

1999: +30%/year
2000: +45%/year
2001: -16%/year
2002: +1%/year
2003: +17%/year
2004: +29%/year
2005: +31%/year
2006: +15%/year
2007: +9%/year
2008: +32%/year

The 10 year (1998-2008) rate of increase was +19%/year (doubling about every 3.8 years), within a range from -16%/year to +45%/year.

"CAPP has cut its base-case forecast for oil sands production by only 200,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 3.3 million bpd in 2020."

I think they'll be lucky to get 2.5 million bpd by 2020, and that only if the economy turns around in 2010 and everything else goes in the most optimistic scenario. Existing projects will keep going, but future expansion is dead in the water right now. The smaller operators are already throttling back. The sticking point is the upgraders, which turn bitumen into something that can flow more easily.

Alberta's unemployment rate rose to 4.1% as at January 1, and the expatriate workers are starting to go back home. If oil prices improve by late 2009, we may still get our hair mussed but should escape the worst. It seems doubtful though, that the world economy will make any kind of recovery in 2009 because there is still too much toxic paper that hasn't been cleared away. Until that overhang is removed, demand for oil will stay below production rates, and Peak Oilers will be scorned by the lumpenprolatariat.

Someone at PO.com who works in the production services side of the oil industry said this:

Schlumberger and Halliburton cater mostly to the drilling side of the oilfield. Two separate entities between production and drilling. Production is still going strong in spending money but if prices remain low I think production will start cutting back on monies to be allocated for projects. Monies were allocated for 2009 in 2008. If the price doesn't rise 2010 will be a bad year for oilfields services that cater to the production end of the spectrum. I think if the price can hover around 60 a barrel things will be fine on my end. If it drops to 25 to 30 a barrel and remains there I will become extremely worried come the end of the year.


Pure production expenses (manpower, chemicals, electricity) are essentially fixed costs. Even if an operator's margin falls to the negative he'll keep producing at least for the short term waiting for prices to recover. Shutting in production entirely is seldom an option as most leases automatically expire if a non-producing status is maintained for more then 30 days. But there are operations (repairs and recompletions) which generally run out of the production budget that are very much dependent upon future price expectations. Many of the bigger service companies are heavily involved in recompletions.

But the pinks slips are quickly piling up on the drilling side. As I type I’m on an exploratory well in S La. I have both Schlumberger and Halliburton hands out here with me. A time or two every a day a call comes in from their buddies who have just been laid off. The same situation may be developing soon for the office bound consultants also. For many years the industry has utilized consultants for an increasing percentage of their work force for a variety of reasons. One is the ability to rapid (and cost effectively) adjust manpower levels. If the downturn last for a considerable period it might be very difficult for oil patch to staff back up when matters swing the other direction. When I look around the location is see two very distinct groups: hands in their mid to late 50’s and the ones under 30 yo. The common discussion around morning coffee with the older hands is their current efforts to slip into retirement if work slows up long enough. Everything from moving to Costa Rica to taking an early retirement package is on the table. Most of the younger hands are non-technical and spend much of their days slinging around dumb iron. They essentially have no vested interest in the future of the oil patch other then making a paycheck when times are good. When they get cut loose they’ll just drift to whatever portion of the economy allows them to eke out a living.

Others have offered the same speculation before: when PO catches up with us again the oil patch may have trouble responding as quickly as this last go around. And that assumes the credit market will have recovered sufficiently by then.

Very interesting insight from a primary source.
Thank you Rockman.

Here's another side of the situation. A friend of mine's brother visited for Christmas. He has a PhD in some Paleo--- subject and recently found a teaching position. He was given the task of teaching petroleum engineering. He had no previous experience, so he was basically reading the text book a bit ahead of the students, trying to understand the subject thru some intensive study.

Those "old hands" might be able to find positions at local colleges in the oil patch, if they are laid off. They could teach the few bright boys out there about the business and the technology, so that the knowledge might be passed on. Even though there will be less oil extracted, there will still be drilling and other work to do in the oil patch for quite a while, I suspect. Hopefully, some of the old guys will get together and write down their real world knowledge, which would make things easier for those who may be trying to teach the subject.

E. Swanson

"When I look around the location is see two very distinct groups: hands in their mid to late 50’s and the ones under 30 yo."

A good point. It has long been noted in Alberta that 40-something geologists and petroleum engineers are rare. An entire generation is missing from the oilpatch because of the 1980s recession. The older ones told their kids to stay out of the oil business because it was an unreliable employer. It wasn't until after 2000 that it looked like a worthwhile career again, so now we see the 20-something generation coming out of university.

Even if an operator's margin falls to the negative he'll keep producing at least for the short term waiting for prices to recover. Shutting in production entirely is seldom an option as most leases automatically expire if a non-producing status is maintained for more then 30 days.

If they can't shut in production, can they cut it back? Say they only pump 8hours per day instead of 24. I would think that might allow field pressure to recover somewhat, so the lifting cost might actually decrease by more than the cutback in production. Especially if the field owner/operator is concerned about depletion, I would think this option would be considered during periods of low prices. Do you see any fields being operated in this way?

President Bush rejected several Israeli requests last year for weapons and permission for a potential airstrike inside Iran.

Bush, instead, persuaded Israeli officials to not proceed with the attack by sharing with them some details of covert U.S. operations aimed at sabotaging Iran's nuclear ambitions, Sanger said.

The ongoing operations are designed to undermine Iran's ability to produce weapons-grade fuel and designs it needs to produce a workable nuclear weapon, the newspaper said.


Now Iran has supplied weapons to Hamas in Gaza. Connect the dots?
Hamas is under the direction of Iran, not Palestine.
When we pull out of Iraq as Obama suggests, then Israel and Iran will be open to strike each other.
Iraq is a buffer as long as we are there.

Both Islamic and Jewish people considered Christianity to be blasphemous. It is ironic that they find themselves as neighbors. A shame that the Christian population in Iraq has been decimated and not much protest of such has been heard from the Persian Gulf nations or Jerusalem.

Israel has a smaller GDP than Denmark or Switzerland. The cost of war is very high as the United States already has troops spread across the globe, continued militancy in Iraq, and a rebellion in Afghanistan. At a time when the United States economy in in recession and faces what George Soros described as probable depression; it might not be wise to pay for unlimited warfare. The costs of rebuilding the United States economy are high. Building oil infrastructure for Iraq at taxpayer expense may have contributed to the debt bubble that has been bursting for over a year. Would have been better to build energy infrastructure in the United States where security costs are lesser. The cost of opening a front in Iran is too high. They are already under an economic boycott and suffering for their own injustices.

I don't think Israelites nor Jews for that matter consider Christlianity to be blasphemous.

I have lived quite near and associated with many Jews during my work and travels and other aspects of life.

IMO its obvious that Jews and Christians can live together peacefully with no problems yet the same cannot be said for Islamists. At least not the ones in the Mideastern countries. To them we are the devil.


That has nothing to do with religion. It's political.

CNN recently ran this story about Iran. Their government may consider the US an enemy, but the people are very welcoming and hospitable.

Wars aren't really fought over religion. In the end, it's about resources. Religion is just an excuse.

I don't think the leaders go to war for religion, but it can be a very useful tool to sell the idea to their population.

The conlict is between Iran and Israel. Iran said they would wipe Israel off the map.
Last time I checked there was no oil supply in Israel....
Iran does not want resources from Israel, they plan to wipe it out of existance.
Why would Iran give rockets to Hamas to use on Israel?
Why? Becuase of a disagreement that led to anger.

The US is there to prevent a War that would knock out oil supplies.
Also to keep a balance of power in the Mideast.
If Israel were gone, then Iran would rule the Mideast, and choke US off.

Iran said they would wipe Israel off the map.

1. Iran didn't say squat, Amahdinejad did.

2. He did not say what you claim. It is a lie.

3. He DID say the Israeli REGIME should/would be wiped off the map. This is not mere semantics. The two statements are very different.

If Israel were gone, then Iran would rule the Mideast, and choke US off.

And? Is it your oil?

No, it is not.

Amahdinejad is the President of Iran and speaks for the country.
He wants to get rid of Israel (a group of people descendants of Jacob) so he can rule without opposition.

When you repeat what someone else said out of ignorance, they are lying. When you are corrected and continue to repeat it, then you are lying.

Iran said they would wipe Israel off the map.

That was a deliberate Israeli mistranslation. What he said was that Israel would disappear. Not that he or anyone else would blow them away. As he (Aboumenijahd(sp?)) said later, "Think Soviet Union."

The two translations are so different that I checked on Agence-France Press, since I read French. Yup, "will disappear." Israeli lie.

Iran's grand Ayottalah (who is the real power behind Iran) has a fatwa against weapons of mass destruction. These are people who take their religion deadly seriously. If they declare that such weapons are unIslamic, they won't deploy or use them. A case in point, the Iran-Iraq war. Daily Iran was suffering losses from Iraqi poison gas. They never retailiated in kind.

Boy, you really are naive. Suicide is prohibited in Islam and we still have suicide bombers. The Ayatollah can change his mind anytime and find a religious justification for it. Also, there is a concept in Islam which allows them to lie to their enemies and break treaties as long as it serves the ultimate purpose of fighting the enemies of Allah. Terrorists living in western countries are often told to "blend in" and not be observant Muslims so as to not draw attention. They are even allowed to do prohibited things (drinking alcohol, eating during Ramadan, etc.) as long as they are working towards their ultimate goal.

I don't think the Ayatollah's fatwa means anything.

And while Israel does not have oil the Palestinian Authority does have NG. They signed a development contract with BG to sell the NG on the world markets.
Then in the last elections Hamas won the vote. BG could not negotiate with a Hamas government as Britain has declared Hamas to be a terrorist organization just like the Irgun the political predecessor to the current Likud party.

Watch what happens when this invasion is over. All contracts signed by the prior government will be declared invalid and will be renegotiated. Same tactic applied in Iraq - meet the new boss, same as the old boss. Will the NG flow to world markets or will it just flow upstream to Israel? Will the proceeds go to build schools and hospitals and infrastructure for Gaza or will the funds flow to the pockets of those who do not need the money. Using the full force of military might on unarmed civilians will or will not be viewed as a war crime. What do you think? I have my guess. What is yours?


Thanks for relating energy to the discussion.

Do you happen to have references for the natural gas contract issue, and perhaps the larger supply picture for that area?

This might be interesting to write up as a longer post or article. Perhaps, esp., in combination with a similar analysis of water sources and flows.

Ohhhh? Nothing to do with religion?

It has everything to do with religion.

"Wars are not fought over religion."

Are we rewriting history here then?
Oh please.


If it's really all about religion, why so much conflict between three religions that are so similar? Islam, Christianity, and Judaism are closely related - branches on the same tree. If religion was the real reason for conflict, why not pick on the religions that are really different - Hindus, say, or Buddhists?

Brotherly love. We fight wars with our neighbors. People half way around the world can't even tell the difference between the Hutus and the Tutsis.

It probably isn't only religion, people would always find something to fight about. But Catholics and Baptists still have their rivalries.

Correction here....Male Humans will always find something to fight about.

The most vicious animal on the planet. Kills everything in, and out of sight with the greatest of ease. Including planets......

I think there are many reasons for wars, but most of them seem to boil down to one side needing to be right. Occasionally this means they have to "save face" because they don't want to "look bad."

I suppose this sort of instinct was created by evolution and we're stuck with it.

With an infinite number of variations of ideas expressed in language, there is always fodder for the next argument. All you need is two people to have two different opinions, add some "need to be right" into the mix, and there you have it:war, divorces, broken friendships, the whole thing.

That's why I, and many others, believe that getting humans to work well with each other requires fundamental instruction (for everyone) on the mechanics of how conversations work. With some instruction, people can choose how to respond rather than divorcing for the fifth time, for instance.

Hi Andre,

Re: "...choose how to respond..."

What a beautiful concept, so difficult to learn if not taught early on and - if examples (role models) are in distinct short supply.

Thank you for bringing this up.

I have a couple of references for you. Some of my favorites.

“We are a group of Israeli and Palestinian individuals who were actively involved in the cycle of violence in our area. The Israelis served as combat soldiers in the Israel Defense Forces and the Palestinians were involved in acts of violence in the name of Palestinian liberation.
We all used weapons against one another, and looked at each other only through weapon sights; however today we cooperate and commit ourselves to the following…”


www.cnvc.org, www.newconversations.net.

I really didn't mention wars.

I spoke of hate regarding blasphemy as in the post I replied to.

Wars are not defined enough for me to debate. Is nationally sponsored terrorism against another country a war? Do they wear uniforms?

What about just defending one's self then?
What were the Arabian terrorists screaming as they plunged those aircraft into the twin towers?

What is going thru the head of a teenage suicide bomber stepping on a bus in Tel Aviv? Its gotta be a religious mantra about paradise,,etc.

This is evident.

Ok so the higher powers are playing another game? A game akin to chess but what is their goal? To kill the other habitants.

Wahabi? Not part and parcel of it? Might have spelled that wrong but thats the clear message they preach.

I can mention several 'wars' that were totally religion based. I am sure you are aware of it. That war is still precipitating actions today.

Protestant and Catholic never fought? Declared or not.
Al Quaeda has no religious basing? The Taliban do not run schools based on pure religion teachings? Who did we fight in Afghanistan then?

Maybe I am sort of out of the loop but I do think that its more than over principles of land ownership or oil. At least a lot of it.


"Protestant and Catholic never fought?"

Why did they fight in Ireland, Airdale? It was originally over real estate. Irish landowners had their land confiscated by the British who installed Protestant loyalists.


Ireland and Israel are different. In Ireland they sometimes stole land from natives and gave it to Scots (who were Irish before they emigrated to Scotland and stole it from the Picts) settlers. Then again, they passed a law that gave all the land of the father to the eldest son if he turned Protestant but divided it equally among all the children if the oldest son stayed a Catholic. A lot of the religious struggles in Ireland are about real estate.
In Israel it was simply stealing the land. They just took it. Paid a bribe to the Turks or the British or whoever and just took it. Then, after the war, they took the land without bothering to bribe any local government because they were the government.
Poland was different. The Polish government officially gave the land back to the Jews but made proving you were the heir impossible, and now they have passed a law that declares that the heirs have 'abandoned' the land and it passes to the 'renters'. A fig leaf of legality.

If it's really all about religion, why so much conflict between three religions that are so similar? Islam, Christianity, and Judaism are closely related - branches on the same tree. If religion was the real reason for conflict, why not pick on the religions that are really different - Hindus, say, or Buddhists?

The most severe religious violence seems to often to applied to fellow travelers, who are percieved as sullying the purity of the mother religion by breaking off. Also those sects, which only differ a little bit can be seen as more of a threat, as their doctrines are similar enough that your own religious people might be attracted.

And of course, we do have Islam versus Hindu (India versus Pakistan). The later is mostly the Islamic portions of India breaking away after independence. IMO Gandi was a fool. He thought the main problem for India was British Imperialism, whereas the real (and continuing likely insolvable) problem is the Moslem-Hindu divide.

Leanan is right. There is always a material base to these conflicts. Religion provides the unifying ideology and justification.


This quote from David Ben-Gurion bears repeating here:

"If I were an Arab leader, I would never sign an agreement with Israel. It is normal; we have taken their country. It is true God promised it to us, but how could that interest them? Our God is not theirs. There has been Anti - Semitism, the Nazis, Hitler, Auschwitz, but was that their fault ? They see but one thing: we have come and we have stolen their country. Why would they accept that?"

why so much conflict between three religions that are so similar?

Leanan, I actually agree that the "religion" thing is more an after-the-fact rationalization than a primary reason, but the more alike critters are, the more they seem to fight; be it on a coral reef, in a forest, or elsewhere. In the '70's enviro movement, I often saw that people objected on principle to those they were protesting against, but actually hated those who tried to accomplish the same goals a slightly different way; who held almost the same belief system. Seems to be a much more aggression-triggering sort of dissonance.

Maybe Nate could add this to the growing encyclopedia of human dysfunction/delusion.

They did pick on Hindus; Mohammed bin Qasim, an Arab prince invaded a Hindu kingdom in Sindh, Pakistan, in 732 AD. Since then, Hindu kingdoms (there was no "India" back then) in the Indian subcontinent have been repeatedly invaded by Turks, Persians and Afghans. Some invaders like Persians and Afghans looted and destroyed the Hindu temples, took slaves and left. Others like the Turks (Moghuls) established a dynasty that ruled the subcontinent for 500 years. The repeated Islamic invasions and 500 year Moghul rule created a large Muslim population (converted Hindus) in the subcontinent that finally resulted in the bloody partition of British India into India and Pakistan.

They did pick on Buddhists; the region in Pakistan west of the Indus river and Afghanistan had a thriving Buddhist civilization 1100 years ago. Some of the most advanced Universities of that time were in Taxila (now in Pakistan). That civilization was completely wiped out by invading Arab Muslims. The only trace of that civilization were the giant Bamiyan Buddhas which were destroyed by Taliban (with Saudi help).

Ditto for Zoroastrian civilization in Persia.

Nothing to do with religion. But religion can always be a good excuse of everything. Excuse. Nothing more.

Nothing to do with religion. But religion can always be a good excuse of everything. Excuse. Nothing more.

I think we are falling into the trap of assuming only a single cause for events. Usually a collection of causes, some more important than others. As an example look at the Iraq invasion, which of these causes were involved:

(1) We deluded ourselves about a threat from weapons of mass destruction.
(2) We had to kick somebodies butt to avenge 9-11.
(3) We wanted their oil.
(4) We were genuinely concerned about Saddams inhuman governance.
(5) We wanted bases in the region for future power projection.
(6) We wanted to set an example that not giving into the US is very dangerous.
(7) Saddam had tried to assasinate Bush's father.
(8) Some wanted to create the conditions for the second coming.

Any proper answer is all of the above. A couple are religion related.

But, I do believe that occasionally religion can be the overwhelming reason. Clearly this doesn't happen often, but I think that their exists no hard fast rule that excludes it.

Reading your summary, one would think that the Iraq scam has been devoid of individual profit. In fact, literally billions of dollars have vanished into unknown pockets, which makes your over-use of WE somewhat amusing.

I do know, as a human being, that there is no excuse for this.


Don in Maine

No excuse whatsoever.

Oh my, that's just a little odd.

Don in Maine

Agreed, none at all.

Sharon Astyk

This conflict has nothing to do with religion. People of different religions and ethnicities can live together just fine as long as there are plenty of resources and they aren't too crowded. When you herd them onto a small strip of land with an enormous population of 1.5 million and a high birth rate like the Palestinians naturally it will lead to violence. The problem is overpopulation, which breeds ethnic hatred.

IMO its obvious that Jews and Christians can live together peacefully with no problems

Err, you have heard of a thing called history haven't you? That's not exactly always been true to say the very least...

Demonising Islam in the same way that many so called Christians used to demonise Jews is not a way out of this.

It is the nature of religions to distinguish, to separate, and to demonize.

To separate the wheat from the chaff.

To save the wheat, to BURN the chaff.

Damn them all.

As long as you are going to drag in history, it may be worth remembering that some of the most devastating wars have been fought by Christians killing each other. I'm with Leanan. Religion is just one of many excuses to fight a war.

The old testament books -- accepted by Israelites, Christians and Muslims alike-- record a story that Jews and Muslims have the same father (Abraham). And Christians are just aberrant Jews. So it's all just one big family -- sometimes happy, sometimes murderous.

Reading the books, therefore, proves nothing. It's how we act that matters -- not what our preachers tell us what our forbears said.

Iran is jealous of Israel, and Iran wants to wipe it off the map.
The question is what if the US backed away and let Iran take over?
Could they beat Israel?

I seriously doubt that. Iran is a large, diversified country with a long history and vast resources, both human and natural.
Israel is a small Military Base, at the end of the water supply, almost no resources, dependent on foreign aid for survival, a traumatized population surrounded by people who want to kill them.
Disclaimer: my wife is Jewish, and I belong to Jewish community Center

I don't know, the "holy" books of the big three religions are literally dripping with blood, especially at the hands of a god who acts in an arbitrary and capricious manner. History shows that the more strictly religious you are, the more prone to violence to enforce your beliefs. Any wonder why it is the fundamentalist sects that give rise to the most violence?

Being more Fundamentalist is not the same thing as being more Religious.. even if the Extreme Fundamentalists claim that it is.. why do they get to define religiousness, like the NeoCons were determined to define Patriotism?

Worth looking at Armstrong's 'The Battle for God'


Ironically, the fundamentalists, who appeared in response to rationalism, sought to reestablish the former importance of the religious sphere; however, their methods were deeply rooted in rationalism. Religious truths had always been considered beyond logic, but the fundamentalists transformed them into literal truths. They turned myths into histories and mysteries into facts. Though they stood opposed to the modern world, their worldview was decidedly modern.

..In The Battle for God, Armstrong brilliantly traces the struggle between the burgeoning Western secularism and the religious fundamentalism that has dogged its heels for the past five hundred years, culminating in that greatest of all fundamentalist attacks on secularism, 9-11.

Airdale; The first Christians were Jews. The first persicutors of the first Christians were Jews. Don't let that SWR level get over 1.5 or you cook the antenna and radio boards or tubes with the reflective RF.
By the way, a GE superbase is way more 'modable' with any 'golden screw driver'

Nephilim, former owner operator of the most imfamous WBBD. Home of the Big Black Dog, the strongest pirate radio station in the north America. Bestowed by the C.J. ers (channel jammers) Bill CJ#1 in Idaho. Rated #1 by Jamaicans and Newfoundlanders alike. 20,000 watts of pure, freq bleeding, AM, attenuated modulating, FM freq modulating, upper side, lower side, D-104 locked down, Conneaut Ohio lollipop, cromed with a sock on it, so it don't get finger prints on it. POWER.

No I don't still own the Moonraker or PDL directional, or the linears, but someone from the FCC has more nice stuff than you could wet dream about, and it was free.

There was a higher intolerance amongst some Islamic nations of Christianity as some of these reached the top of the charts of human rights violations according to some watch groups. I recall an ambassador of an Islamic nation bragging that his country was more than 99 percent Moslem.

A Washington Post piece about textbooks previously used in Saudi American schools until a Congressional committee called on them to remove the textbooks:


In Israel Christian prostelizing is greatly discouraged while Jewish prosetelizing is socially acceptable. According to a longtime friend who is a Jewish scholar; the Jews thought that Jesus blasphemed.

"IMO its obvious that Jews and Christians can live together peacefully with no problems yet the same cannot be said for Islamists. At least not the ones in the Mideastern countries. To them we are the devil."

I normally debate with a respectable tone but are a very good example of why we are in the mess we are in with the middle east.
"Jews and Christians can live together peacefully " LOL What version of history have you been reading ? Dr Seuss ? Breaking News : Christains have been nobbling Jews for 2000 years. Or have you forgotten the 6 million already ?
Where were Jews able to flourish, trade, study and worship freely ? Christain Europe or Muslim Arabia and Andalucia ? Huh ?
Were was the Talmud written ? ( Hint the one we commonly refer to as THE Talmud is called the Babylonian Talumd ). Shock Horror but surely the Muslims hate us ?
For a set of contributors who call themselves wise to the machinations of international geopolitics we sure are keen to be part of the puppet show, aren't we ?
As for Israel and religion - it was created as a theocracy on the premise that God gave us the land. The people we displaced are pissed that we stole it, have long memories and want their land back. Which side is the religious fanatics ?

orbit500 ;
Pretty thorough, except the Babylonian Talmud part.
The Babylonian was written first and in a place called Babylon. Some time later a revised edition was thought necessary and so a second version was written.
This version was named after the place it was written, the place is Palestine. Hence then name Palestinian Talmud. The Palestinian Talmud takes precedence over the Babylonian Talmud in Judaic circles.

Lastly, The Israelis have lost the high moral ground, when they forced the indiginous Palestinians into a (MASADA) situation. No amount of propaganda, lies, force, public relations, intimidation, coercion, will blot out this stain, ever. Check back and see this statement will hold true for eternity. Its really quite easy to predict many futures and not be vague about it.

Let me tear this apart systematically, even though I suspect the statements made, are a trap and a gauge to ascertian the level of public relation campaign damage of certian current events.

#1;Christian countries have always expelled Jews and Arab and Muslim countries always took them in (Untill Zionism) Iran still has the second largest Jewish population outside of Israel in the middle east.

#2; The previous post, where rainsong said that Muslims couldn't accept Christianity is absurd and false. The Quran mentions Jesus 100 time more than Mohammad, always with utmost respect and reference(PBUH) ""peace be upon him"" as it also mention his mother Mary (PBUH) "peace be upon her""

#3; CCPO knows, as does Iam sure, most on TOD, that Iran never theatened to "WIPE ISRAEL FROM THE MAP". Believe that and you believe Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and George Bush found them.

#4; Islam and Judaism have always been neighbors and lived together in a place called PALESTINE without violence or animosity, unless you consider trading with and baby sitting each others children, violent. Then ZIONISM came along.

#5; Its always been outsiders who strirred up trouble in the middle east, every empire that came down the pike, the last was Britian (Read Balfour Declaration) and more recently America. America installed Saddam Hussien, The Shah in Iran, props up the Suadi Royals, Israel created Fatah to divide and weaken the PLO, then created Hamas to weaken Fatah, America used Saddam against Iran, and I want to keep the history under 1 million words, but you get the picture.

#6; The Christian population in Israel has been decimated. The percentage of Christians living in Jerusalem alone was at 67% of pop by most estimates pre 1917 (See Balfour Declaration circa 1917)

#7; Israel isn't surrounded by enemies. Jordan and Egypt have had a 30 year peace aggreement with Israel and nary a word has ever been broken. So unless the fish in the dead sea are raging anti semites, Israel is not surrounded by enemies. NOTE:( Arabs are semitic peoples, so are PALESTINIANS.)

#8; If lack of funds is whats decreasing the carnage, I WISH WE WENT BROKE A LONG TIME AGO

I suspect a large portion of readership has lost a great deal of respect for TOD when the supposedly most educated, most open minded, most aware, are fed the BAU 30 minutes of hate and lap it up and regugitate it like a sick dog turns and eats its own vomit.

I doubt this truth will be allowed on TOD as Ive seen other posts sent down the memory hole.


#1. What Christian country expelled a Jew? Do you call Germany and Russia Christian countries? Their Leaders were atheists and communists.

#2. Muslims teach their followers to kill those of other faiths. Islamic countries do not have freedom of religion since the government is based on religion. Look at what happened in former Yugoslavia - Bosnia, Kosovo.

#3. Why would Iran build a nuclear weapon, if it did not intend to use it on Israel? They hate the Jews and do not want them on the same continent. Al Qaida attacked the US because of support for Israel. Iran supports terrorists.

#4. What is Zionism? Ahmadinejad does not even believe in the holocaust in Germany. Go back to Palestine, and then watch the Jews get kicked out again. Hezbollah and Hamas are supported by Iran on the North and South of Israel. Who says that an Arab will do a better job ruling Palestine? Another Arab.

#5. There has always been trouble with fighting in the Middle East since day one of time. This is not brought on by outsiders. Egypt held the Jews as slaves for hundreds of years, Persia fought the whole region, Babylon, Syria, Byzantines took over, etc. etc.

#6. I agree on one point - The US needs to get out of the Middle East, and let the locals fight it out amongst themselves.

What Christian country expelled a Jew?

Almost too many to count.

The rest of your assertions...WTF!!! Is it the full moon that is causing this?

Nowhere ;
The list is endless of countries that were Christian and expelled Jews. Many did so several times, Spain and England to name just two. Nowhere, ask any Jew and have a seat and listen to the endless list.

Muslims do not teach to kill others of others faiths, you are reading religious text, written in times of war. Please take things in context, same could be said of Hebrew text, read Joshua for starters. Want me to mention the crusades ?

How do you know Iran is building a nuke ? please excuse my lack of faith in your ability to know the unknowable.

Zionism has supplanted Judaism, its a nationalistic movement, I really can't fathom discussing it with someone who asks questions which take a fundemental understanding, MSM isnt a source for material.

Egyptian pyramids WERE NOT BUILT by slaves, let alone Jewish slaves, please read every Egyptologist of Jewish ancestry for confirmation and quit watching Metro Goldwyn Myers productions for history lessons.

You really never heard of the Rosetta stone ?

The holocaust has many fabrications that are dispelled by no less than Yad Vashem, no lamp shades made of human skin, no soap, recently a book held as historically accurate account of a man being thrown fruit over a death camp fence, latter marrying the women, a hoax, ditto the women who survived as a child by living with wolves in the woods and killing SS gaurds by hand.

Many of the most fundamental Jewish sects openly complain that the SHOAH has been used to bolster zionism. Most Holocaust survivors in Israel live in abject poverty.



Please read the entire paragragh of the Balfour declaration and its accompaning single sentence. Then get back to me on Palestine okay. (The Balfour Declaration is held as the founding document of Israel)

Like they say,

"there's no business like Shoah business..."

"The holocaust has many fabrications that are dispelled by no less than Yad Vashem, no lamp shades made of human skin, no soap..."

Be careful about your statements! A visit to Auschwitz may be helpful to you.

My dad was enrolled by force by the Nazis and deployed to the east front. My mom was forced into the "Arbeitsdienst" and worked in the household of some SS guy's family: There was that soap and those bloody lamp shades and felt slickers made of human hair and they were not even ashame of openly talking about.

homosapiens ;
Take up your complaint with Yad Vashem. Also, arguing that your wifes hairdressers ex husbands, drinking buddy, who knew a guy, (forget his name) said "blah blah blah" isnt provenance.

Jews do not consider either Christianity or Islam "blasphemous" which is a concept that doesn't really translate to Judaism anyway. Jews recognize that "all of the righteous have a place in the kingdom of heaven" - they do not believe that only Jews have a path to G-d.



I doubt Iran has supplied the weapons to Hamas. News stories typically describe the missiles as homemade. If Iran was supporting Hamas like they do support Hezbollah, you would be reading about dozens of Israeli tanks destroyed.

Gaza is under a complete and ongoing blockade by Israel. These stories about Iranian supplies of *anything* are intellectually insulting rubbish.

The Iranian arms are going from Egypt to Gaza. Israel is only blocking the other sides.

Egypt is a US client state like Saudi Arabia. Last time there was a breach of the border it bent over backwards to please Israel and the US.

Smuggling through Egypt -

Israel is demanding an end to years of rocket attacks, as well as international guarantees to prevent Hamas from smuggling weapons into Gaza through the porous Egyptian border. This complex goal would require Egyptian or international help in shutting off the smuggling routes.

Israel has been bombing tunnels that run under the Egypt-Gaza border.

Hamas has a few Chinese missiles. If they had Iranian Missiles, Telavi would be in flames.
Iran can hit Wester Europe, and probably the US shortly.

Two Warning Beacons Heralding the Onset of Peak Oil (& Peak Exports): Ghawar & Cantarell

This is how I have long characterized the two largest producing fields in the world in 2005. In trying to figure out Mexico's domestic petroleum consumption, I am once again reminded of how I characterized the difference between Saudi Aramco & Pemex: The latter company has acknowledged the decline of its largest producing field.

I thought that the headline from ASPO-USA should have been Peter Wells' prediction that North Ghawar (which in recent years has repotedly accounted for half or more of total Saudi production) would be effectively watered out within two years. Of course, the southern portion of Ghawar has much poorer reservoir characteristics than North Ghawar. Note that Peter Wells was presenting an optimistic production scenario, using the IHS data base.

If Wells is correct, it appears that the two largest producing fields in the world in 2005, accounting for about 10% of world crude production, will both be effectively watered out by the end of 2010.

In any case, a lingering question I have about Saudi data is whether or not they curtailed domestic refinery runs, in order to boost crude exports, planning to increase product imports. I don't doubt that their production is up in 2008 over 2007, I just have a question about the size. And given widespread reports of diesel shortages in Saudi Arabia this past summer (perhaps they had trouble finding enough diesel in a tight market), there is at least some support for the theory. In any case, it will be interesting to see what the EIA annual net export data for Saudi Arabia look like. In contrast to Pemex, I'm not aware of a short term data source for import data for Saudi Arabia.

But to return to the headline, it does not look good for North Ghawar & Cantarell.

Out of curiousity, does SA Import any oil?


They periodically import refined products. And one of the factors driving up their liquids consumption is a shortfall in natural gas production, which is a regional problem. The Saudis are talking about importing coal and about building nuclear power plants.

The Saudis are talking about importing coal and about building nuclear power plants.

God forbid they build some CSP plants there. If KSA isn't the perfect place for CSP, I don't know where is.

We all remember this Forbes piece: The Saudi Arabia Of Solar Energy.

Re: Saudi production/peak oil, out of all the people I've encountered on blogs claiming to be FF industry veterans, about the most erudite is a guy who posts on peakoil.com under the name rockdoc123. His criticisms of Simmons's work in the thread Saudi Production: Collecting the Data are the most detailed and convincing repost to Twilight I've come across, for instance. He gives every impression of being who he claims to be - a petroleum geologist with over 3 decades of experience, and with access to the IHS database no less. So I perked up considerably when he made this recent announcement:

The IHS database is up to date as of mid 2008. I believe sometime in 2006 or 07 I posted an analysis of all the projects coming onstream (The IHS database is the absolute best around, better than megaprojects as they have more direct access to information and a better understanding of project timing and risks, and I have direct access to it as well as the ability to talk with the IHS folks like Pete Stark). What I ended up with is a relatively unbiased view that Peak would occur sometime around 2012 assuming that all projects happened as planned.
- Given that much of the production comes from large fields that are past Peak and depleting if not declining in order for the Peak to be pushed out it would have required significant discoveries coming on stream in 2010 or 2011. The discoveries being made in 2008 will even in great economic times not be coming onstream in an appreciable manner until 2013. This is based on well known history....5 years is approximately average for discoveries in excess of 100 MMB to be brought on stream. For places like Angola, Caspian, deepwater and ultradeep water change that to 10 years.

He's not seeing the Saudis peaking at that time, however; like Henry Groppe he's convinced by their technical savvy and deep pockets, and believes they will at the very least remain at current levels for the foreseeable future; but like Groppe, has a rather dimmer view of the rest of the world's prospects.

For the sake of argument, even if they maintain flat production, that would almost certainly mean declining net oil exports, and I estimate that their 2008 net exports will be about 700,000 bpd below their 2005 rate. Some time this year, the cumulative shortfall between what they would have (net) exported at their 2005 rate and what they actually exported will exceed a billion barrels of oil.

Even if they had not showed three years (2006 to 2008, inclusive) of lower production relative to their 2005 rate, and instead they indefinitely maintained their 2005 total liquids production rate of 11.1 mbpd, at their current rate of increase in consumption they would hit zero net oil exports in less than 25 years.

Hi Bob,

As Jeff says, they import refined products and this fact features largely in one of the Chevron "will you join us" ads that ran for a while. Well, I should say, it featured subtly in the graphic. I'll try to find it.

To me, Chevron used this to obscure the situation and make it look all hunky-dorey and balanced. Like there's no real underlying "problem." (i.e., We - the US relies on them - they rely on us, what's the problem?)

Take this job - or shove it

With three job seekers for every opening, the unemployed are taking any position they can find. Even if it means a huge pay cut. Here's how people are coping.

Reform plan raises fears of Bank secrecy

The Bank of England will be able to print extra money without having legally to declare it under new plans which will heighten fears that the Government will secretly pump extra cash into the economy.

Merrill Lynch says rich turning to gold bars for safety

Merrill Lynch has revealed that some of its richest clients are so alarmed by the state of the financial system and signs of political instability around the world that they are now insisting on the purchase of gold bars, shunning derivatives or "paper" proxies.

I thought it was interesting that of the folks that told their stories in the Take this Job article, four of the seven - all young - stated that what they missed most was a free-spending lifestyle. I think the younger generation, if these folks are representative, has a big adjustment coming their way.

Finally some good news! In the article linked above at "From Dining Out to Cold Turkey"

In October, sales of Ball canning and storage products were up 92 percent over the same month last year.

A ray of economic hope to those of us who are trying to learn a living with businesses that help others REDUCE their spending, or energy use, or food miles, or consumption habits.

To all those doing things like home energy audits, running CSA's, managing car-sharing businesses, repairing and recycling goods, growing heirloom seeds, or even (like me) selling garden tools and clothes drying racks. Hang in there!


The story about the home canning is one of those small ones that gives me a feeling of optimism. I can only wonder how many new home gardens will be planted this coming spring. There is a learning process, and there are mistakes that are easy to make - hopefully people will be able to learn from their neighbors and avoid many of the common ones.

When I was a kid, I lived on a farm, and the huge vegetable gardens were just a normal part of living. We had the root cellar, did home canning and had the chest freezer in the basement - I don't really recall drying much food however.

My greatest regret about the house we live in now is that it is a townhouse with no yard. That wouldn't stop us from canning, I guess..

Here is a quote that has been gnawing at me all morning:

Mr. Canter and his wife used to eat out three or four times a week, at $100 to $125 a pop. Now it’s once a week.

Holy cow - what the heck do you get for dinner if you pay that much? Almost certainly a bottle of wine with dinner, I guess. But they were spending $1500/mo on dining out - that's more than many people spend on rent for a month..

My wife was guessing that the last time we paid anything near that for dinner was over a year ago when we were in NYC. Our favorite spot to eat out is a Greek diner and the two of us get out for about $25 total, including tip, but even then we only go there once a week or so..

I'm guessing they eat at gourmet restaurants. $100 for two people is pretty much par for the course at those, even without wine.

One word: sushi :)

yeah, i tried sushi one time and told the waiter, "this $hit tastes like raw fish"

I'm watching Black Blizzard on the History Channel. It's about the Dust Bowl.

What I find most striking is people's sheer perseverance. Conditions were horrible. Nothing would grow, their children were dying of "dust pneumonia," dust storms meant food on the table was covered with dirt before they could get it to their mouths. And there seemed to be no hope for things to improve. And yet they stayed. Many for ten years.

Over 200,000 farms were foreclosed on in 1933. Food was not scarce, but money to buy it was. Since so much of the economy was based on farming, FDR tried to drive up food prices by buying food and destroying it. (Non-farmers probably loved that.)

A friend of mine worked the gun show yesterday and told me that there was the biggest turn out he has ever seen in 10 years. Said there was an hour wait to get a call in to purchase. They call a hot line at police to do a quick background check.

He said he and all the other retailers sold more guns than ever before, mostly hand guns. He said "I don't know what all these people think they are going to do with all these pistols and revolvers. Is it going to be like the shootout at the OK corral? lol".

Also NPR had something on that they were calling "Happy Talk" to counter all the bad news. Caller after caller talked about how they were blessed with the birth of... happy about their daughter giving birth to... It was all about more babies.

So to counter all the bad news of the constraints we are hitting up against as an overpopulated, overconsuming planet we celebrate adding to the problem.


I occasionally visit gun auctions on the Net. Lately, the price of all guns have gone ballistic (pun intended). There have been reports that the various AR-15 editions are hard to find and I notice that their prices have just about doubled. Even Remington and Winchester are offering their own versions. There apparently is the notion that Prez OB will ban those bad boys, a claim widely circulated by the Right Wing Nuts and the NRA on the web during the Campaign.

I wonder which will be worse, the cities with lots of new handgun owners or the country where deer rifles are already ubiquitous, after TSHTF?

E. Swanson

There is some fear about banning 'assault' rifles, but I think that the immediate fear is that imported ammo for the AK47 will be banned by executive order. So a lot of the price pressure on the ARs is AK47 owners switching to an American made and supplied rifle

Sounds like a typical Government response. However, one can purchase a version of the AK in either .223 or .308 NATO these days. They tend to be less expensive than the AR-15's. I understand the real NRA Ex-Marine types still want the Springfield M-1A in .308, but they aren't cheap either. If the economy gets really bad, I expect there might be some bargains as present rush subsides and the Macho RedNecks start to worrying about their rent payments...

E. Swanson

I would guess the country will be safer.

Country folk have generally been practicing gun safety for a very long time. OTOH, local news today has a story of a teenage boy dying of an accident with a handgun... there's apparently some justification for the stereotype.

No such thing as an accident with a firearm, only failures in safety procedure.

We had an uncle accidently shooting a young nephew in the stomach with a shotgun recently, on a hunting trip.

I'm thinking "How do people manage to pull of these impossible stunts".

Stories like this are motivating me to investigate the purchase of some basic firearms and learning to shoot. I really wonder about some of the individuals that are building up massive arsenals of legal and extra-legal firepower.

Clearly not all of them are wise enough to simultaneously stockpile food and other staple goods. How will they behave when TSHTF and they are starving?

First priority should be how to handle a firearm safely, otherwise you might shoot yourself accidentally. Firearms are only really last resort to protect property and life and one should have several layers of defense ahead of this option.

Perhaps we will be able to work our way out of this financial mess if we are patient enough and if we tell our children and they tell their children to keep faith. I have serious doubt that anyone can shoot his way out as TSHTF. Obviously their will be attempts to fill up tanks on empty gas stations by producing an AK 47. It looks to me that the low hanging fruit will be taking care of themselves and so solving some of the issues resulting from overpopulation. As for assault rifles, once we get there, you will be able to pick’em up in the streets in the cities. I am not at all against guns and as a rancher / farmer I honor my old lever-action Winchester as a valuable tool, but as a matter of fact that’s all I really need

I avoided saying this due to political correctness but WTF:

The next step up from a 9mm seni-automatic handgun would probably be like a quantum jump to a Javelin missile.

Small calibre high powered rifle if you're near forest or hunting grounds but in the city think Handgun followed by Javelin


I'm curious are you referring to the anti-tank guided missile?

That's the baby. Modified slightly for self protection in an urban environment.

I guess there is some middle ground. 25 shot fully automatic 12 gage shotguns firing explosive solids will probably keep you alive until the train arrives, if the trains run on time.

Sorry, Nephilims spun my head a bit with his fetish for saltpeter.

Plans to study abroad fall with Korean currency

While job security and the overall slowing of the economy play a role, the biggest factor has been the rapidly falling won, education experts and students say. The currency's drop from a peak of nearly 900 per dollar in mid-2008 to about 1,370 per dollar now translates to a 50 percent increase in the price of foreign goods - like tuition, room and board, and airfare - in just a few months.

I guess the dollar is still winning the "least ugly" contest...

Here is another small bit of good news. One pet peeve of mine is the amount of power various set top boxes for cable and satellite can draw. We are now seeing some progress in this area:

Set-top Boxes Specification

The Version 2.0 ENERGY STAR Program Requirements for Set-top Boxes and Version 1.0 Partnership Requirements for Service Providers were finalized on April 23, 2008. These new specifications became effective on January 1, 2009.

From here:

The ENERGY STAR specification for STBs (Version 2.0) Tier 1 is effective January 1, 2009. Tier 2 will become effective on January 1, 2011. Any previously executed agreement on the subject of ENERGY STAR qualified set-top boxes terminated effective February 2, 2005.

Table 1: Base Functionality Annual Energy Allowance

Base Functionality Tier 1 (kWh/year) Tier 2 (kWh/year)
Cable 70 50
Satellite 88 56
IP 45 36
Terrestrial 27 22
Thin-Client/Remote 27 22

Table 2: Additional Functionalities Annual Energy Allowance

Additional Functionalities Tier 1 (kWh/year) Tier 2 (kWh/year)
Additional Tuners 53 16
Additional Tuners – Terrestrial /IP 14 8
Adv. Video Processing 18 12
DVR 60 32
High Definition 35 12
Removable Media Player 12 8
Removable Media Player/Recorder 23 10
Multi-Room 44 25
CableCARD 15 TBD
Home Network Interface 20 10

The old standards can be found here. My rough guess is that the new tier 1 is about 66% of current boxes, and the new tier 2 is about 35% of current boxes.

I hate any standby mode/remote/soft power devices. A mechanical power switch allows all equipment to be switched externally.

I built a power sequencer for all my audio and [some] video stuff [I'm a stereo music nut not a home theatre type]. One switch for audio [2 x 4 way powerstrips, plus a captive lead for a pro amp with delayed relay switch on]. Another switch does a powerstrip for TV stuff. 2 incoming power feeds, contacts snubbered, no leakage currents when off, No crappy 'surge protectors' and filter gimmicks. All pretty simple but no one makes this stuff for domestic sale.

I think consumer electronics really painted itself into a corner with standby mode/non standardised remote codes etc. The stupidity of having to juggle multiple remotes just to be entertained is just infuriating. Thankfully pro audio stuff doesnt have remotes, use real pushbuttons, and costs far less than boutique home audio.

controller in pink:


Some devices are pretty good these days. In off mode, they consume <1W (not measurable with a Kill-A-Watt). But satellite and cable boxes aren't yet like this. I have gotten into arguments with DirecTV people in the past about this - they keep insisting that there are all of these stupid things the boxes need to be doing, so you really can't power much of anything down. Things like updating the guide, and recording programs that the user may have requested for the case of a DVR.

On the EnergyStar site, they even had some comments from DirecTV where they threatened to not participate unless the Tier 2 definitions were modified in some way.

Their protestations remind me of the auto companies when they were told to improve fuel economy. My guess is that they haven't even bothered to consult with the engineers to find ways to solve the problems - it is just top management not wanting to have their hands tied. The problem is that EnergyStar is entirely voluntary, so they could opt out if they wanted to.

My crappy comcast HD box is 24watts on and 22watts off. I have it on an extension with a switch and turn if off at night. For all that wasteful 22watts to populate the guide, it takes several hours to get caught up. Now considering how few bytes the guide is, that is completely ridiculous.


Yup. I audited my house as a New Years project. DishTV sat box was my high 'phantom' watt device. Put all my media stuff on a power switch extension cord. Seems to work just fine for me. Only takes a few minutes to reload the menu.

Also making plans to replace my fridge. Ordering a new toaster/broiler tonight. We had been using an electric oven to toast bread! Migrating to CFLs.

I figure I can cut my electric usage by about 25%.

Some of the DirecTV boxes literally take 5 minutes to boot up when you power them up. Why, I don't know, but it becomes impractical to put them on a power switch. For that matter, putting a DVR on a power switch pretty much defeats the whole point of having the thing.

I have been finding lots of comments from the planning stages of these new specifications. Pace, the manufacturer of the DirecTV boxes seems unsure if they can meet the Tier2 targets, but on the surface sounds like they are willing to give it a try:


I found a presentation by someone from the NRDC that was given at one of the planning meetings:


He did some estimates of the power savings of Tier1:

Deployed Cable boxes:80 million
Deployed Satellite boxes:70 million
Total US STBs: 150 million
Assuming 50% of installed boxes are basic boxes, move to Tier 1 Spec Saves:
Cable @ 70 kWh/box saved: ~3 billion kWh/yr
Satellite @ 62 kWh/box saved:~2 billion kWh/yr

And Tier2:

Assuming all basic boxes meet Tier 2:
Cable @ 90 kWh/box saved: ~4 billion kWh/yr
Satellite @ 94 kWh/box saved: ~3 billion kWh/yr

And to think that I used to consider the power consumption of these boxes to be just a personal peeve of mine.

Also making plans to replace my fridge

I'm selling my fridge, a large side by side with all the bells and whistles which came with the house I bought a couple of years ago, and getting a small chest freezer that I'll convert to a chest fridge using a thermostat used by beer enthusiasts.

My stupid little DirectTV non-HD box pulls 23 Watts when on and about 12 Watts when off, but plugged in.

I now have all my entertainment systems (and computers) on powerstrips, which are turned off when not in use.

I see company's making arm chips having a short bright future untill people just stop buying those all together.

January 11, 2009, 22:03

Gas treaty signed by Kiev contains a lie - Lavrov

Russia has finally received the originals of a treaty signed by Kiev that will govern the transit of Russian gas to Europe via Ukraine. However, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov says the signed text contains falsehoods, including a clause saying Ukraine did not steal gas earmarked for Europe.

At a meeting with Russia’s President Dmitry Medvedev, Lavrov confirmed that the document signed by Ukraine had been received, but said there was also a note that some kind of declaration should be attached to it. He added that Russia had not been supplied with that declaration yet.

"In fact, we are very surprised with the text made partially of false claims that Ukraine had allegedly delivered all transit gas to Europe without taking any," Lavrov said.

The Russian President has announced that those in Ukraine who added amendments should realise that this invalidates the document. Dmitry Medvedev has told the government not to fulfil the agreement with the EU signed on Saturday because of the additions.

“We ask our European colleagues to convince Ukrainian authorities to drop the amendments which contradict the original text of the agreement,” Medvedev said.

“As soon as it is done, Russia will have no objections to the deal,” he added.


The EU is showing bad faith by its two stage agreements. First they make an agreement with Russia and then they proceed to make another agreement with Ukraine where Ukraine gets to throw in whatever it wants. And Russia is supposed to accept this completely different agreement as if it is the same as the original. Given this two-faced behaviour, with obvious pro-Ukraine favouritism, the EU has not moral and legal ground to bitch at Russia over gas supplies. Russia has a right to ensure that its gas is not hijacked.

Hello TODers,

Have you hugged your bag of NPK today?

Analysts warn of possible nitrogen shortage

Dwindling worldwide sales of nitrogen fertilizer have led to drastically reduced manufacturing, which may create a shortage when demand picks up, according to industry specialists.

"A huge portion of global production is off line," said Ben Johnson, who tracks the fertilizer industry for the Morningstar research firm. "Prices are going to have to rebound to satisfy world demand."

.."We don't think the U.S. will be the high-cost producer any more. It's going to be Europe," he said.

..Currently, little nitrogen is being produced or imported into the U.S., and nothing is going into inventory, Ewing said. "We could be setting up for a real rush."
Bob Shaw in Phx,Az Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?


Why haven't you produced some KEY posts for CampFire?

How about how to produce nitrogen at home? I have a method that I am trying. If I ask the Ag Profs at the meeting upcoming how to test for N then I might get a clue but all the soil samples I ever submitted to UofK was sans N. For one reason it migrates downward thru the soil very fast. Another is perhaps technology related in their lab.

Around here tobacco farmers are bad to put all their stalks in the fields and most times in gully prone areas. Tobacco stalks contain a lot of nitrogen.

Is there a homegrown method of capturing or creating N? Inorganic or organic.

As for urine I already capture all of mine and recycle it with other items... and for P and K I think I can handle well with my wood ashes.

It would be nice to have a good soil sample method for when the universities and labs shut down....yes there is ones sold at garden stores but I find they are mostly a waste of time.

Little probes to stick in the ground.

The way the old timers knew was by what was growing profusely and what wasn't. Like broom sage taking a field means you need lime.


Lightning produces "N" and lightning rods around a garden might attract a few bolts. Take the PL-59 connector off the Belden coax cable and place it in a mason jar before attempting this close to the radio shack though.

Beans fix "N" in the soil also. Bat houses would be a great source and clear up some of those moths you complain about. Don't flick lit ciggs when bats are hovering, they grab em and can drop em on stuff that burn, like a barn, no I didnt flick a lit cigg to see, okay I did, but just once and I don't plan on doin it any more, promise.

I saw these tree service guys with a trailer full of mulched trees, I asked em if they needed a place to dump em and they said sure. I gave them my address (right around the corner from where they were) and sure enough they brought them. They dumped them off and asked for a beer. I said, "I was just gonna ask you the same thing"! and they all chuckeled and they gave me a beer and left.

Iam outta QSL-QSO cards airdale, could you mail me a stack ?.....hahahahahaha

I'll second that airdale: Campfire keypost by tontenela (Bob)

From my reading wood ash is mainly lime (CaO) with some potassium but very little phosphorous. The key to phosphorous will be either recycling or liberating it from the bedrock weathering zone.

I would like to see a key post on nitrogen management as well. Start at a garden scale and then work up to small to mid-size farm scale for organic N creation and management. Will have to include livestock, no doubt, and use of beans with good N fixation. I'm pretty certain that current soybeans are not bred to be good N2 fixers. Alfalfa is probably better in that case...

totoneila ;
I look forward to your posts with more anticipation than my Macanudo cigars and McClellands Single Malt Scotch.

Ive used your infomation and the education its given me. I found a way to purchase the single ingredients for a pure fertilizer, through a pyro tech company. The Sulfur and Potasium Nitrate (saltpeter) costs are quite cheap, no fillers as in commercial manufactured ferts. Ive even researched how to pee on my own wood ashes and produce my own saltpeter. Yes I have a thingy with the word "saltpeter". Blame it on the scotch whiskey though, so my wife doesnt take my saltpeter away, you understand Iam sure.

The fertilizer bubble has burst:


I didn't put much on last year. Now it's cheaper. Good news.

Hello TODers,

Who do you think traverses more ground in a day?

1. A homeless person pushing his or her life's possessions in a wobbly wheel grocery cart.

2. Typical golfer easily cruising 18-holes in an electric cart.

If one considers all the embedded energy in a golf course, plus the tens of thousands of explosions vehicle required just to get the golfer to the country club, then it is easy to picture a golf club hitting/detonating a grenade every time the clubhead hits the ball.

Thus, as our shrinking economy further explodes with every golfer's swing: we would be better off plowing golf courses. It then becomes easy to imagine where every swing of a scythe helps create a slice of bread; a swing from a hoe helps to create a carrot or tomato.

Instead, my Asphalt Wonderland is again gearing up for its annual energy orgy of the Phoenix Open Golf Tournament, the Barret-Jackson Collector Car Auction, plus the additional hometown energy-orgy of the NFL Cardinals vs the Eagles for the Superbowl. If one includes the energy of the private jets: then every toss of the football is equivalent to a 1,000 lb aerial bomb.

Thus, I expect the police & private businesses to continue to confiscate the grocery carts from the homeless as they become an endangered specie:


EDIT: If I had the power, I would like this sad art to be the required intro displayed for every TOD:Campfire.

Those shopping carts that the hunters are stalking in your cartoon, look alot like mobile compost containers. The cromed wire rod mesh seems a pefect spacing, the wheels could be swapped out for more terrain friendly versions. The handle could be used to hang garden impliments, the tray area on the bottom used for vegetable flats or catching the worm castings.
Emagine future generations, around the fire, praising the wisdom of the elders long past, for the engineering and design of such usefull articles. Terminology through subsequent mispronunciations cause these future generations peoples, to call them Toto carts, a slur on tote and totoneila. Of course since the patent office is long closed and you neglected to trade mark, well, at least you'll be remembered for something huh. I personally would like a bunch of those smaller hand held plastic baskets for carrying the vegetables from the fields to the kitchen...and kittens, kittens love to sleep in those little baskets.

Do people absent mindedly place those baskets in the trunk and drive home ? hmmmmm... Naw, I can wait for the collapse, ain't like they will be looting the baskets any how. I also want the rubber belt on the check out counter that conveys the items to the cashier, you really can't believe how useful that stuff is. And one of those niffty label guns...click clack...click clack...click clack...their useless but I always wanted one.

Do we have any up to date news on the Russian gas supply?

My understanding is that it has been off for 5 days and most European countries will have run out this week if it's not restored.



It must be a crisis because it's nowhere on the BBC news front page. The UK of course is pumping the tail end of NS gas like billy-o to Belgium:


I think I might figure out a battery backup for my gas central heating soon..

Many European countries like Germany have significant storage, so they are not even close to running out. Apart from that, there is still quite a bit of gas coming from Russia via other pipelines through Belarus. As far as I know, the U.K. does not get any gas from Russia (with most coming from domestic production and imports from Norway), but there are sure to be knock-on effects with regard to prices.
I am interested to know what, if any, damage the pipeline infrastructure in Ukraine may have sufered due to the lack of supply and what kind of timeframe it may require to get things going again once a deal has been struck.

The gas supply situation is more serious for the likes of Bulgaria and Serbia. A poster here from Serbia reported a few days ago that they were out of gas where he was. Luckily Europe is thawing, so consumption should be down and those without alternatives should be better able to get by. I gather that the number without heating is in the tens of thousands though, rather than the millions. As for electricity generation - some countries have considered turning on their shutdown nuclear reactors.

Edit: This has been announced - Gazprom Prepares to Resume Gas Supply After EU Accord