DrumBeat: February 8, 2009

An energy boomtown goes bust

Reporting from Parachute, Colo. -- Robert Knight was about to install wireless transmitters on eight new drilling rigs joining the thousands that dot the ravines and mesas here when he got the startling news: All but one of the rigs were coming down.

Falling natural gas prices had led energy firms to abruptly curtail their work here last month, battering the last sector of the U.S. economy that had prospered despite the recession.

Oil patch skeptical of Alberta's incentive plan

CALGARY, Alberta, Feb 6 (Reuters) - Alberta's plan to give incentives to hard-hit small and mid-size oil companies may not stem this year's sharp drop in drilling in Canada's biggest energy-producing province, analysts and industry officials said on Friday.

Premier Ed Stelmach announced the scheme on Thursday after skidding oil prices and tight credit prompted forecasters to call for drilling to drop by more than 20 percent this year, and some industry associations to warn of major job losses.

Few details have been finalized, but Stelmach's planned tax and drilling incentives will not address the high-cost nature of conventional oil and gas operations in Alberta, said Robert Cooper, an analyst with Acumen Capital Partners.

Instead, the government should do what it has pledged not to: repeal its newly established royalty changes, he said.

Gazprom vows stable LNG supply for Japan

MOSCOW (Kyodo) The vice chief of Gazprom, Russia's state-backed gas monopoly, said Friday that it intends to supply liquefied natural gas from Sakhalin to Japan "in a stable manner over a long period of time."

Gazprom Deputy Chief Executive Officer Alexander Medvedev also told reporters the company is likely to start exporting LNG to Japan in March.

Medvedev said there is no risk of seaborne transportation being blocked by a third country, as Gazprom's gas exports via the pipeline through Ukraine have been.

Russia's descent into reality

But anyone who was looking closely could see that beyond the grand announcements emanating weekly from the Kremlin, Russia's oil and gas development strategy was thin on substance and looking more than a little unrealistic. The first warning came in April 2008 when Rosneft's chief executive stated that Russia would need $2.6 trillion to develop just its offshore oil and gas reserves between then and 2050, which equated to a yearly expenditure of $62bn. To put this in perspective, the Sakhalin II project - one of the biggest and most complicated oil and gas projects every attempted and by far the largest in Russia - came in around $22bn and during the peak of construction was costing about $4bn per year. This means that the Russian oil and gas development plans would see the equivalent of about 15 Sakhalin II sized megaprojects running in parallel across Russia for 40 years, executed and managed by just two companies - Gazprom and Rosneft - neither of whom have ever executed a project of such magnitude and complexity before. Even a casual observer would think the numbers to be slightly overambitious, and overly reliant on the performance of two companies with an untested track record of project delivery.

Exxon, Chevron not planning to cut capital spending

HOUSTON — With oil's price diving and a recession gripping the globe, Exxon Mobil Corp. and Chevron Corp. aren't closing their checkbooks, even a little.

“We intend to continue to invest at these record levels at least over the next five years,” Ken Cohen, Irving-based Exxon Mobil's vice president of public affairs, told reporters recently. The company's $26.1 billion in capital spending last year was 25 percent more than in 2007.

Dave O'Reilly, Chevron's chairman and chief executive, told analysts that the San Ramon, Calif.-based company also will maintain spending levels of nearly $23 billion, focused on completing projects that have long been in the works.

Russia's Recession Squeezes Migrants

Millions of Foreigners, Lured by Oil Boom, Now Face Bias in Ethnic Backlash

The plight of the estimated 12 million foreign workers in Russia -- the largest immigrant population in the world outside the United States -- will be felt in their home countries, primarily the former Soviet republics of Central Asia, where remittances account for as much as half of gross domestic product.

But it also poses a stark challenge for the Russian government, which must contend with a huge pool of alienated and unemployed immigrants in a society that has already seen a troubling increase in racially motivated violence.

Chevron seeks reimbursement from villagers who sued over 1998 shooting

The oil giant is seeking nearly $500,000 in legal costs from the Nigerian villagers who unsuccessfully sued over a shooting at an offshore platform that left two protesters dead and two wounded.

‘Bayelsa will lead in commercial farming’

Since oil was discovered in commercial quantity at Oloibiri, Bayelsa State in 1956, Nigeria has depended on the ‘black gold’ for economic sustenance. However, there are fears that in no distant time, the oil might dry up. But in this interview with Clara Nwachukwu, the Bayelsa State Commissioner for Agriculture, Chief Dikivie Ikiogha, says the state is already shifting attention to agriculture You were formerly the Commissioner for Energy, now you are in charge of agriculture, what is the development agenda you are setting for your state, especially with the growing fear that oil may soon dry up?

Iran missing over $1bn in surplus oil revenue

TEHRAN: Iran’s National Audit Office reported that $1.058 billion of surplus oil revenue in the 2006-07 budget hasn’t been returned by the government to the national treasury, Iran’s satellite English-language news website reported.

The audit report, which was issued for the Iranian parliament, or Majles, said government documents also don’t account for $61 million in National Iranian Oil Co. taxes, Press TV reported Thursday.

Iran’s parliamentary speaker, Ali Larijani, called on Thursday for further investigations in order to make sure the missing funds are returned to the treasury as soon as possible, reported Press TV.

Gazprom says gas deal with Ukraine unlikely tomorrow

London, 7 January (Argus) — Deliveries of Russian gas through Ukraine came to a complete halt today, with the two sides offering scant hope of a resolution to their dispute.

Ukraine and Russia have been sparring over the former’s 2008 gas bill since the beginning of December. With the debt still unpaid — and Ukraine allegedly siphoning off gas bound for western Europe — state-controlled Gazprom cut all deliveries to Ukraine today, including supply destined for western Europe. “If Ukraine will not execute its transit country obligations, it will be no sense to continue to pump any gas from Russia to Europe, because this gas is not reaching European customers in spite of all of our efforts.”

Arguing that Kiev has no intention of entering into serious negotiations, Gazprom said it expects little progress at a meeting mooted for tomorrow. “It was very strange to hear that they would like to have a meeting on 8 January because everybody knows that 8 January was agreed to have a meeting of [Gazprom chairman Alexei] Miller with the European Commission, including [commission president Jose Manuel] Barroso and [energy commissioner Andris] Piebalgs,” Gazprom deputy chairman Alexander Medvedev said. “It is like to ask ‘come to visit’ when everybody knows you are not at home… Tomorrow is a Brussels consultation and their declaration that they will come to Moscow looks very strange.”

Timoshenko: we hope Ukraine, Russia settle gas conflict

MUNICH, February 7 (Itar-Tass) - Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Timoshenko said there were all reasons for hoping that the gas conflict between Kiev and Moscow was settled.

Speaking at the Munich Security Conference on Saturday, Timoshenko said, “The reasons for the crisis were in gas monopoly and it’s very difficult to hold talks in such conditions.”

Gas prices and gas transit play a very important role, the Ukrainian prime minister said. In her view, “we solved the problem. All contracts are direct and they were signed by Gazprom and Naftogaz without mediators.”

Russia asks Ukraine gas transit monitors to work through March

MOSCOW (RIA Novosti) - Russia is asking international observers to continue monitoring gas transit via Ukraine until at least the end of March, the Russian prime minister said on Friday.

“We would ask them to continue monitoring until at least the end of the first quarter of this year,” Vladimir Putin told reporters after a Kremlin meeting with a European Commission delegation including President Jose Manuel Barroso.

Putin also said Ukraine had yet not allowed Russian monitors into its central monitoring point in Kiev or gas storage facilities.

Marcellus Shale

An operator in the Marcellus trend has identified reserves of over 3 BCF per natural gas well.

Epsilon Energy -- article at Rigzone.com

sorry rainsong, i dont think this rises to the level of reserve recognition.

quoting from the article:

"...recently published estimates of an average of 3.30 Bcf of gross reserves per well,...."

No doubt, the stated finding and development cost were competitive and the shear volume of the shale in true width and surface area are noteworthy and not to be scoffed at.

what i was scoffing at was reserve assignment based on "published reports". can we just refer to the 3.3 bcf as potentially recoverable gas ?

if this is a public traded company or a company offering investments to the public, they are probably in violation of sec guidelines, but no matter, the sec couldnt find a violation in bernie madoff's ponzi scheme in 10 yrs trying, or not trying.

The stated finding and development costs were competitive with other operators' stated results. The true width and lateral dimensions of the Marcellus Shale are noteworthy. This deposit spans an area of several states and should not be scoffed at. The trend has attracted drilling rigs away from western natural gas prospects. It has proximity to eastern markets far from the Piceance where the tarrifs to transport gas eastward are high.

Yes, I am very interested in the Marcellus, and I think the significance of unconventional gas is overlooked on this site. I want to know more though. Can someone put 3 BCF per well in context for me? Can someone tell me averages, maximums and minimums? Also, it is obvious a lot of the gas isn't needed in this economy, so can natural gas wells be temporarily capped for use later? Or does the gas get extracted and stored?


Just some rough numbers. Reduce any "gross' recovery by 25% (a guess at the lessor royalty). Then reduce that number by 10% (operating expense). Then reduce that number by 15% (a very rough guess for pipeline transportation expense). Now multiply that number by the price (right now $4.50 per unit (1000 cf or 1 mcf). BTW: 1 bcf = 1 million mcf or 1 bcf (gross) = $4.5 million at $4.50 per mcf.

I haven't seen a cost for M. shale gas wells but use $5 million with current NG prices (when NG prices double you'll probably see well costs go up at least 50% over time).

Now take whatever net income you calculate for a set of parameters. If it takes more then 12 to 18 months for a well to recover its cost using the net-net income then the play will stall.

Just a crude (pun intended) measuring stick but it gives an idea of the different components.

And you can shutin a NG well but time is money and the delayed income will reduce the rate of return. And besides, it tends to be a very cash flow business. Be nice to sell the NG later at a higher price but you have to stay solvent to do that. Actually during low price periods many operators do just the opposite: pull the wells as hard as possible to keep income as high as possible.

Thanks for more in depth analysis. I think I like the Haynesville Shale better. Might see better results in the Marcellus if they improve fracture stimulation technology, but I have not seen that proven on paper.

Me too rainy. Mostly because I haven't seen enough details on the M Shale (but I do savor it's closeness to a big end user market.)I've done just a little work on the Hv Shale. After seeing analysis of whole conventional cores it's hard to believe wells have tested 100 cf/d let alone 10 to 20 million cf/d. All the credit goes to advances in fracing technology IMO. A shame the price slump hit the play so hard just when it was about to fire up. I'm not sure but I think my client's remaining 3 rigs (15 being dropped in the next 6 weeks) are going to focus on the Hv Shale.

Rockman & Rain:

I've recently provided a client with detailed thin section descriptions of several H-ville samples from core in the Gulf Coast, ad I'm currently analyzing about four dozen thin sections of Cretaceous siltstone from core in the northern Rockies. I'm also working on a longer term project involving the lateral extent of a structurally complex zone in the lower Marcellus from various depths in the Appalachians.

In these unconventional plays, porosity and permeability in TS are very VERY low, and I agree that fracing technology must be the key to making a go of it in these units. But because the fracing process doesn't pulverize the rock, it's difficult to visualize an ultimate recovery of gas that is anywhere near the original estimates of total gas reserves.

No worries ("for a long while") regarding oil imports. The conventional wisdom point of view regarding the export/import situation follows:

US Politicians Do Little to Change Reality on Oil Imports
February 7, 2009
U.S. Oil Dependency on the Middle East and The Diminishing Wealth of Arab Oil Exporters - In Light of the Economic Crisis
By: Dr. Nimrod Raphaeli

This brief analysis sought to underscore two critical issues of major significance for U.S. strategic and economic policies: First, the alleged dependency on Middle East oil is greatly exaggerated. With the help of its oil strategic reserves, its national production of oil and the availability of oil from two friendly neighbors, Canada and Mexico, coupled with the drive for developing alternative energy sources, the U.S. could muddle through with reduced Middle East oil for a long while. Second, the sharp decline in oil revenues will lessen the threats of applying pressures on U.S. foreign policy by wealthy country or even the threat of acquiring vital U.S. assets by sovereign wealth funds.

Of course, speculating on the price of oil in the long term is foolhardy. A buyer's market today could quickly become a seller's market tomorrow and crushing oil prices could turn into spiking oil prices in no time. To avoid future shocks, the U.S. should simultaneously conserve existing sources of energy and develop alternative sources. The question of reducing dependency on oil imports should cease to be a political rhetoric and turn into a national plan of action.

The most current data show that Canada, Mexico & Venezuela are three of our top four sources of imported oil, and they account for more than 40% of total US net oil imports. Their 2004 combined net exports were 5.0 mbpd (EIA). I estimate that they were collectively down to 3.9 mbpd in 2008.

Even assuming a future decline in consumption in Mexico, I estimate that Mexico has already shipped about 80% of their post-2004 cumulative net oil exports.

his name really is nimrod ?

at least he is not a nattering nabob of negativism.

For this thread's duration, you may hereby call me "Nabob."


I was wondering at what point / date you think that 'conventional wisdom' on oil-imports to the US will be seen as incorrect? (...perhaps this might form a Peak_Oil Ephinany moment, at least for the US Government?)


I think that it is a continuum. I've used the Titanic analogy. From the point in time that Thomas Andrews realized that the ship would sink, there were two types of passengers on the Titanic--those who realized the ship would sink and those who would realize the ship would sink.

This is my view of the source of US imports, after one nets out oil that is only refined and shipped back (particularly an issue for Mexico). The bottom two layers are different versions of OPEC - Persian Gulf OPEC and other OPEC.

The next two layers are probably also OPEC. Refined products we obtain from the Virgin Islands use oil from Venezuela. Refined gasoline from Europe more often than not uses Persian Gulf products.

The net amount (imports-export) we get from other sources, such as Canada, Mexico and the North Sea is shown at the top. It is clearly decreasing.

In total, OPEC provides over half of our imported oil. There are also some indirect dependencies. Canada imports oil from OPEC. Without its import, the amount of oil they export to us would no doubt be reduced.

I get a feeling from your graph and your text that your missing some of the west coast dynamics. Basically I think your underestimating Korean gasoline imports into the western US which eventually often come from Iranian oil refined in South Korea or in China.

Not huge but not small and I don't know the exact numbers but 200-500kbd of finished products is probably not far off.

"Stelmach's planned tax and drilling incentives will not address the high-cost nature of conventional oil and gas operations in Alberta, said Robert Cooper, an analyst with Acumen Capital Partners."

Conventional oil isn't so bad because it still makes money at $40 per barrel. People who drill for natural gas are wild-eyed optimists.

"Instead, the government should do what it has pledged not to: repeal its newly established royalty changes, he said."

This would be political suicide for the Tories. Alberta's royalties were already too low, and were raised because of pressure from the voters in the last election. The companies who complain about them are happy to pay higher royalties elsewhere.

Some junior petes have tried to tie reduced drilling to increased royalties, but it is the Panic of 2008 that did the damage. The petes cutting back are the ones which are publicly traded and/or rely on lines of credit instead of paying for drilling out of cash flow. Us old-fashioned fuddie-duddies who stayed out of debt and are sitting on cash are laughing now as we tell the high-flyers "I told you so".

Moore's law probably doesn't have much juice left; new chips use exotic materials such as hafnium which is in short supply, one study suggested we only have enough until 2017. Also a corollary of the law is that computers both get smaller and faster but this is not happening, netbooks for example. So even if the 'law' could go on, it is doubtful that the market will support it - we are at 'good enough' computing for most.

as you mention, there is a lot of growth of 'information', but most of that is currently YouTube and P2P file sharing, maybe 45% of all traffic are these two items. One must wonder if this could be considered 'progress'; as you allude, we are probably just filling up space to fill up space.

Can IT save us from ourselves? It's a good question, particularly when the entire industry sits second seat to social, political, and cultural issues that are of greater concerns. There are at least two camps here, the Kunstlerites and Kurzweilians, the former is more realistic for me.

I would like to see the development of some 'hardened' chip systems. I think all these High Performance IC's will probably have some of the tendencies of RaceCars and RaceHorses, and look good out of the gate, but won't last through the marathons. Too much heat, developed in a firestorm as well.

Underclocking is at least an option, but I would like to see some CPUs and Memory that was truly designed for longevity. Any hints out there? Anyone got some old boxes that just won't die?


(I don't need smaller phones, either. I can't keep the holes in my pants pockets small enough to hang onto the current breed as it is! I'm building NimHs and Solar Cells onto the next one, just so I can find the darned thing under the mittens, napkins and keys in my coat.)

And if the ear piece is on the ear the mouthpiece is not halfway to the mouth. And not to mention that I can no longer read what it says on the tiny screens, and my (skinny) fingers can't handle the tiny buttons. Same holds for MP3 players, why can't I get a BIG one, with a big screen? (I have a big one with a small screen, but at least it uses AA batteries!)

Back to the computers-built-for-longevity idea, I think that's a great idea, in the twilight of industrial civilization, but totally against the philosophy of the industry for now. My old PCs still run (and I can't make myself throw them away, I have the old 486dx-25 stored!), I only bought new ones to get the new features. I think that we'll be able to keep many of them running (cannibalizing parts from others) for at least 20 years?

Heck, I'd even take an 8088/8086, if I thought the CPU was made from meaty enough transistors to hang on for a while. I would just also want to see some Flash Memory Harddrives from more recent years for storage, as the old HDD's were a weak link.

I do still have a 486-25 as well. Knock wood!


I have 100 PC's or so (mainly 486's) running Industrial processes 24/7, Have to replace all fans every 18-24 months or so, but they
have been running w/o problems, The Original $5000 386 Compaq deskpro was fanless, I guess there was enough margin to have a beefy heatsink
back before the power density went nuts(100A DC feeds for a Pentimum!)
No M$ OS however, Windows rots over time and you never have 2 machines
that respond the same. The Air Force was requiring M$ make stable - bit image identical version of windows - don't know if they could make it go. Windows rotting must have a hugh cost to the economy. Often ave
to have backup machines powered up to get things done.

I think thats also the reason that nasa still uses 486's for many tasks. the radiation in space plays havoc with newer computers.

Restrictions for environmental reasons on the use of high lead concentrations in solder may also play a significant part in the reliability and longevity of PCs and other consumer electronic goods.

A coil of lead-free solder wireOn July 1, 2006 the European Union Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive (WEEE) and Restriction of Hazardous Substances Directive (RoHS) came into effect prohibiting the intentional addition of lead to most consumer electronics produced in the EU. California recently adopted a RoHS law[3] and China has a version as well.

The properties of lead-free solders are not as thoroughly known and may therefore be considered less reliable in select applications, e.g. High reliability aerospace and life-critical medical. These problems are now considered negligible in modern alloys for most applications,[citation needed] however solder containing lead is still used in high reliability military, aerospace-satellite and life-critical medical applications.

I'm sure that the NASA 486s are still using good 'ol leaded solder.

Regards Chris

thats another factor i did not think of.

Apparently the problem of tin "fingers" (dendrites)has been well known to the military for decades; I've been told they don't permit the lead-free soldering techniques on mil avionics, for example. The lucky recipient is -- you guessed it -- the buyer of consumer electronics.

NASA has a great website all about it -- see here for some great photos.

Talk about the law of unintended consequences. Environmentalists want to reduce hazardous inputs into the waste stream, and they end up helping industry enforce planned obsolescence. RoHS went into effect in 2006. We're now 2 1/2 years later, just about time for all that electronic gear to start failing...

The one thing that annoys me is the calling moore's observation a 'law' as in a scientific natural 'law'. It's not, it was a observation he made early in the industry. Right now silicon has just about reached it's limit for computer's, both intel and amd know how to get the size down from 65-35nm but can't get silicon to be stable enough bellow the 35nm scale to keep the chip designs on them. The speed they are clocked at is stuck at about ~3ghz give or take a few hundred mhz since the speed/heat ratio gets nasty after that.

The second most annoying thing about it to me is the idea that they could take this observation on computers and think it applies to technology in general.

Moore's Law is pretty much the same sort of creature as Hubbert's Curve, or whatever it's called. The technology investment required to pull petroleum out of the ground isn't so different from the struggle to cram more transistors on a chip.

Actually, these processes are coupled. Surely the petroleum industry relies on ever more powerful computers to model underground structures etc. Going the other way, I should think that plentiful petroleum has helped the chip industry in many ways. The fact that both processes of technological advancement seem to be hitting walls at about the same time.... ought to steepen the collapse, I would expect.

I think Moore's law would resemble the integral of a logistical curve. A cumulative production curve, rather than the instantaneous rate we are used to looking at. These are sometimes refered to as an S curve, since they resemble the letter S sitting on its side. In any case most technologies follow such a curve, at first increasing rate of improvement, then as limits are approached a slow ing improvement towards the asynptotically limiting value. Simple mathematical examples would the the hyperbolic tangent, or the arctangent functions. (I wanted to display one of these, but I couldn't figure out how to display a png file). I think with regards to electronics we are still on the steep part of the curve (at least for how much stuff we can put on a chip).

they are different animals, moores so called law was just a observation that at the time of his employment the transistor count on silicon chips tends to double in x months.

hubberts curve deals the the production curve of a finite resource.

Clock speeds have stalled but performance can still increase with a move to parallel computing by using multi-cores and multi-cpu architectures. Software needs to get a whole better to take advantage of that though...

the multi-core phase is a hack. once they reach the roadblock of 35nm they won't be able to stuff more cores without making the core's themselves smaller.

We delved into this over on the TOD:Europe thread. In brief, for most PCs the added performance from multi-cores is very small, making the discussion a nonsense. They're memory-bound up the wazoo, by one, two, or more orders of magnitude. More cores just leave more power-hungry silicon waiting in line (queueing up) for the memory, which is only about one order of magnitude faster than it was 25 or 30 years ago. The only real solution with today's typical operating systems (including full-blown Linux) would be to provide each core with lots (at least tens of megs) of fast private on-chip memory (and that would tend to exacerbate problems of communication between the cores.) Pin drivers and circuit-board traces are simply too slow. However, on-chip memory seems to be prohibitively expensive except in small quantities, so gobs of fast memory will not be seen anytime soon on any computer most of us would be able to pay for, even for business. The manufacturing steps for memory don't seem to be very compatible with those for CPUs.

Oh, and the software is getting rapidly and steadily worse. It's become the ultimate Russian-doll game; we have interpreters running over interpreters running over interpreters, costing a factor between, oh, five and fifty for each layer. Almost no one remembers how to write code that uses clock cycles somewhat "efficiently", and in the newer languages it's essentially impossible to do so as the overhead is enormous. All such considerations are very adamantly deprecated in every known computer science course nowadays, and "abstraction" and "hiding" are very much explicitly designed to conceal them and brush them aside. The tacit assumption for a long time has been that clock cycles are free.

So computer-language development systems are very much like the former Soviet economy - no one knows, or is even permitted to know, the cost of anything. The end result is that in a garden-variety 800-watt pizza-box blade server, I doubt that more than one clock cycle in a thousand actually does useful work. The rest are all overhead.

Edit - I was forgetting: parallelism beyond a few cores is fairly useless unless the structure of the underlying problem lends itself to computing with little communication between threads. Some kinds of Finite Element Analysis lend themselves fairly well to this; computing that involves closely intertwined or complex chains of causality may not.

One more thing to worry about with old computers (especially cheap ones) is the electrolytic capacitors. Cheap ones tend to dry out and thereby lose capacitance. They look fine and seem to work OK but their filtering ability is greatly reduced leading to random crashes (as opposed to standard crashes and blue screens).

The way a modern CPU works it would be almost impossible for a normal programmer to do much optimization. On the other hand, that is what compilers are for. Instructions are processed during compilation to optimize their execution. During run time there is further juggling of the parts of instructions to help speed things up. At any one time a modern CPU may be processing hundreds of instructions at once.

If the manufacturers would give us guidance I suppose we could modify programs to keep loops less than a certain length to speed them up. However, the way things change you would be modifying your software every year or two.

I think there is value in having multiple cores in that you can do several things at once. Various utilities can be operating in the background while you use one or two main pieces of software more in the foreground, even if any one of them is not well suited to parsing across multiple cores.

The business of interpretation is definitely a problem. One solution is to just bite the bullet and drop older standards. The problem is the loss of older programs that still provide useful results but aren't big enough on their own to merit a rewrite.

I guess I disagree with some of this. I don't see multi-core as a hack at all, but it is probably correct that they have done this because they can't squeeze that much more performance out of a single core.

But not all applications can make good use of multi-core. Servers are better suited - you can spread load among the multiple CPUs, but it takes some work to take good advantage of this. Desktop machines - not so much, but to be honest many newer machines these days are at least dual-core.

The quality of software is a huge question that faces those of us in the industry. There are a lot of people who are trying to do software development who don't have especially strong skills, and what the industry has done is pushed managed code (Java, C#) as a "solution", which eliminates the possibility of certain types of programming errors at the cost of poorer performance. In some cases this isn't really a problem (where the application tends not to be compute bound), but in others it just creates a slower and heavier application.

A lot of the bloat that accompanies modern software (Vista, for example) serves no apparent purpose to the end user. Companies redesign things, and give them a new fancy UI to make the product look "fresh" and "new", but don't add any actual value to the end user. But ultimately the customers are conditioned to believe that this is all good - an application that looks old is assumed to be just in maintenance mode (i.e. still selling it, but not doing any actual work on the thing). Actually the Vista thing is only half such bloat - they also added some security related things to try and keep out malware, and in theory they could have done something like a re-release of something XP-like with the security stuff, and they would have had a product that would have been worth upgrading to.

I read stories about these folks out there overclocking their machines to get even better performance (at the cost of higher power consumption). I would be interested in seeing a movement where people redesign the desktop to use ever lower amounts of electrical power - perhaps in part by underclocking, but ultimately one could borrow a number of elements from laptops where power consumption and battery life has always been a primary consideration. In terms of software, something like Linux still works just fine on these older and slower machines - no need for MS bloatware.

I think there are at least three groups of people looking at low power computing. One group is just coming at it from a "green IT" perspective, one from a home theatre PC (htpc) angle, and one from embedded PC systems. The htpc people want something that can process HD video and still run quietly (no fan). The Intel Atom chips are doing really well in these areas. An Atom CPU only burns 4 watts (or 8 for a dual core), unfortunately the rest of the motherboard logic keeps it up around 30 watts total. I can't wait to see what the next generation of this stuff looks like.

My MacMini, with the 3 year old Intel chip on it, uses a total of about 34 to 35 watts (screen excluded).

Rumors have the next MacMini, with an Intel Atom chip, using in the range of 8 to 10 watts.


The amount of hafnium needed by the semiconductor industry is miniscule. You're talking about a few atomic layers. This mostly applies to the other elements used in semiconductors. Batteries, packaging, wiring, substrates and such constitute substantial volumes. The active parts of a semiconductor are miniscule.

It does look like silicon is coming to near the end of its life. Not so much because they can't figure out how to make smaller silicon structures but because they can't figure out how to manufacture the devices. The roadblock now is how to pattern wafers at 22nm and lower. They might solve it but I don't think there is solid consensus yet.

The problem is that one major step of semiconductor manufacturing is to use lenses to focus the image of the desired pattern onto a photoresist on the wafer. The unexposed areas are washed away and the developed areas are used to protect the material underneath during one step of processing. These features are so small (now less than a tenth of the wavelength of green light) that ordinary optics no longer can focus an image. There are other approaches but none so easy or cheap or fast as optics.

Beyond silicon there is a lot of very cool research being done. We'll see if they can figure out how to manufacture these goods.

oops wrong thread

According to this EIA Exhibit, the two big sources of renewable energy are biomass and hydro-electric. A big piece of biomass is wood burned as a fuel. Ethanol is also included in this category.

Renewables on this basis are flat or even trending downward. In 1985, renewables amounted to 8.1% of total energy consumption. For 2007, renewables amounted to only 6.7%. Of the 6.7%, solar amounts to 0.1% and wind amounts to 0.3%, so the remaining 6.3% is other renewables.

I thought wind power was approaching 2 percent of the renewables total, but cannot be sure. Have seen major electric utilities trying to fund windpower projects to add renewable energy to their generation capacity.

Gail -- do you consider hydro a true renewable? Might be a picky point but dams do have a life cycle. Seems in the last several years I've read predictions about significant losses of hydro in Canada and the western US do to the factors (I forget those details) that eventually degrade their utility.
I do know some western environmental groups are very anti-hydro for the disruption to natural systems.

Have we seen some actual numbers for approved future hydro projects?

As reservoirs silt up, they lose their storage capacity but not their energy generation. They trend towards becoming "run-of-the-river" hydropower plants. Generate as water comes down river in worst case (redo intakes if need be).

With dual use dams (Hoover, Lake Lanier outside Atlanta, etc.), where stored water is drawn down, the lower head reduces energy produced per acre-foot of water (the Euros go crazy when they see this measurement).

Less acre-feet of water (see drought) x less energy per acre-foot (lower head) = less hydroelectricity. Add enough rain and generation goes back up.

It would be entirely possible to keep Lake Mead full. Just reduce water delivered to Phoenix and Las Vegas et al and generate power as water flows in the other end (minus evaporation losses). This would maximize the power generated at Hoover for the limited Colorado River flow. And reduce power demand in NV, AZ and CA by reduced population.


Well said, AlanFBE, I agree. But I think for your plan to have any hope of sound execution and Optimal Overshoot Decline implementation: the current artificial state boundaries need to be redrawn to the Real, Geo-physical Boundary of the actual Colorado Rivershed.

Then, everyone is highly incentivized to follow minimal water usage strategies and/or out-migration; in other words, Jeavon's Paradox as applied to watershed water going outside the physical watershed is minimized.

Having demarcation lines running down the middle of a river will only exacerbate the scale, intensity, duration, and frequency of future machete' moshpits: "Whiskey is for drinking, water is for fighting", and " Water flows uphill to money".

Recall the recent state govt. fights over the Tennessee River border.

Are Cascadia and other areas ready? My feeble two cents.

There are several problems with the EIA stats.

You understate wind by using 2007 #s. In October, 2007 wind generated 0.030 quads of energy. In October, 2008 )last published date) 0.041 Quads, about 37% annual growth.

Losses from pumped storage generation are subtracted from hydroelectric production, which makes no logical sense (power stored is nuke or coal generated).

Solar hot water heating (and space heating, see the passive solar series here on TOD) is completely ignored. Reducing grid or pipeline demand for electricity, natural gas, propane or oil by solar heating is shown as if people were switching to cold showers and cold rooms, not to solar heat.

Since solar water heating and space heating is the most economic new renewable, this deliberate oversight understates the contribution of renewables.

Coal burned to generate electricity (95+% of all coal) is vastly overstated in energy value. 10,000 BTUs of coal burned to make 1 kWh (worth 3,413 BTUs). Wind or hydroelectric generates electricity without heat and gets credit for the kWh, 3,413 BTUs.

Figure very roughly 400 BTUs of oil burned and 250 BTUs of electricity used to mine the coal, get it to the power plant or on-site (a couple % of coal fired electricty is used on-site to move the coal around and grind it before burning).

You understate wind by using 2007 #s. In October, 2007 wind generated 0.030 quads of energy. In October, 2008 )last published date) 0.041 Quads, about 37% annual growth.

Losses from hydroelectric generation are subtracted from hydroelectric production, which makes no logical sense (power stored is nuke or coal).

Solar hot water heating (and space heating, see the passive solar series here on TOD) is completely ignored. Reducing grid or pipeline demand for electricity, natural gas, propane or oil by solar heating is shown as if people were switching to cold showers and cold rooms, not to solar heat.

Since solar water heating and space heating is the most economic new renewable, this deliberate oversight understates the contribution of renewables.

Coal burned to generate electricity (95+% of all coal) is vastly overstated in energy value. 10,000 BTUs of coal burned to make 1 kWh (worth 3,413 BTUs). Wind or hydroelectric generates electricity without heat and gets credit for the kWh, 3,413 BTUs.

Figure very roughly 400 BTUs of oil burned and 100 BTUs of electricity used to get the coal to the power plant or on-site.

I would argue that 1 kWh of coal fired electricity has the same energy value (roughly) as hydro or wind power. But coal shows up as 10,650 BTUs, renewable as 3,413 BTUs in the tables.

Best Hopes for Understanding the Assumptions used in the Statistics,


Sarkozy on the Anglo-Saxons

Otherwise, he refused to follow demands that he cut taxes and raise the minimum wage to boost consumer spending. The British have tried that and it did not work, he said. France would stick with his 26 billion euro plan for investing in infrastructure and industry.

"The English have chosen to follow the strategy of stimulus through consumption, notably by lowering VAT (sales tax) by two points. It has done absolutely nothing," he said.

The British and the Americans came in for harsh treatment. The USA and the UK had been hit far harder than France in this "worst crisis for a century", said Sarkozy. "When you see the situation in the United States and the United Kingdom, we don't want to look like them."

Sarkozy also said he would refuse to "pay America's debt" and he demanded US agreement to radical reforms of the world financial system. "They're not going to get away with explaining that everything is going to go on as before."


Best Hopes for Plain Talk ?


IMO the USA used to be what France is currently. Going back say 30 years (1979) the federal government wasn't totally controlled by a handful of powerful bankers with the ability to destroy the economy at will-the industrial sector and the military contractors (along with big oil) also had a lot of political influence. Now it appears that the Fed and Treasury are uncontrollable by anyone, no matter what is done.

Your also forgetting for the past 30+ years the government has been staffed with people who BELIEVE past all evidence that the government is the problem now matter what and spent their time IN government to MAKE it like that.

The French are always stiring trouble. You Americnas don't realise how lucky you are not having to live next to them.

...the last 50 years 'problems with the French' go back to a mistrust of De-Gaulle as he attempted to diminish US/British influence in Europe after the war. Of course, going back a little further, Britain was last invaded succesfully by them in 1066. Then there was the case of that little Hitler-esq upstart Napolean...

But we love Paris, French food and they do some good wines too...

...and they do have nuclear powered trains which is cool.


Disclaimer: I'm 1/8 French... Yikes!

That's OK. It's enough that we have to live with ourselves!

Lawmakers in 20 states move to reclaim sovereignty


So far, eight states have introduced resolutions declaring state sovereignty under the Ninth and Tenth Amendment to the Constitution, including Arizona, Hawaii, Montana, Michigan, Missouri, New Hampshire, Oklahoma and Washington.

Analysts expect that in addition, another 20 states may see similar measures introduced this year, including Alaska, Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Nevada, Maine and Pennsylvania.


The Ninth Amendment reads, “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”

The Tenth Amendment specifically provides, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

Ummm...it may be just a message, but the world has to be getting wierd for this message to be sent. (I assume most of you saw the New Hampshire resolution from Monday)

I guess it sucks to be Obama about now...THIS is CHANGE!
(not a partisan comment, just a fact)

But I really like this one liner:

“A sixth-grader should realize you can’t borrow money to pay off your debt...


I think it's truly amazing just how duplicitous the Repugs are regarding the present administration's efforts to head off the worsening recession. For example, here's a quote from Randy Brogdon, a Republican State Senator from OK:

“Congress is completely out of line spending trillions of dollars over the last 10 years putting the nation into a debt crisis like we’ve never seen before,” Brogdon said

Tell us, Randy, just when did the national debt begin to grow over the past 10 years? Did the Republicans, who held power in the U.S. Congress after 1994, then the Presidency under Bush, have anything to do with all that spending? That driver's license issue? Blame that on the Repug tendency to militarize the country, including the formation of the DHS. And, oh yes, note that we are still operating under the last of Bush's budgets, which were the source of most of his complaints. Not a problem for the Repugs, who apparently think that spouting more lies will change reality. Sorry, guys, you already lost this round...

E. Swanson

I think many Republicans are more interested in sabotaging Obama to make it easier to get back into office in 2010.

Sessions Credits the Taliban for New Republican Ideology

"Insurgency, we understand perhaps a little bit more because of the Taliban," Sessions said during a meeting yesterday with [the National Review's] Hotline editors. "And that is that they went about systematically understanding how to disrupt and change a person's entire processes"...

When pressed to clarify, Sessions said he was not comparing the House Republican caucus to the Taliban, the Muslim fundamentalist group.

"I simply said one can see that there's a model out there for insurgency," Sessions said before being interrupted by an aide. The staffer said Sessions was trying to convey that the Republicans need to start thinking about how to act strategically from their perch in the minority.

Actually, I think the Taliban's approach isn't very new. It's the same old totalitarian approach, i.e., "You are either with us or I kill you". Same as in Europe in the 14th century, when non-Christians were Inquisitioned and/or killed. If you were lucky, they would strangle you before you were burned at the stake. The Fundamentalist (that includes both Christian and Islamic) are confronted with a secular reality which presents major conflicts with the world view of their religion(s). It's amusing to see the Repug politicos who claim that more science and technology is needed to save the economy, when it's those scientific discoveries which are undercutting their world view. As things progress, the resulting conflicts can be expected to become strident to the point that the Fundis frustrations will lead to more violence to further their cause. Of course, in so doing, they will lose all their claims to moral superiority, thus destroying their most cherished beliefs.

The Repugs can not admit that their economic philosophy is a failure. But Reaganonics is dead, along with the Wall Street investment banks. They have lost the political "war" so they have retreated into the woods to snipe at those who might try to save the economy from total collapse. Trouble is, if the economy falls, it will crush them too.

E. Swanson

Black Dog;
I really agree with your points, but you might consider pulling back from terms like 'Repugs'. I think it weakens your argument, and helps to destroy the possibility of having a productive conversation with the many conservatives who come to this site.

I'm pissed about all this, too.. but if Congress isn't having any luck in restarting reasonable conversations between the sides, maybe we can help to model it for them.. at the very least to let people see what it looks like, and reinforce how juvenile the ranting up in DC is at the moment.

They are really lost up there, but there are actually many reasonable and intelligent people in washington who will try to do good work if the firestorm can be helped to subside somewhat. But I'm afraid we have to fight fire with water, not just more fire, if we want to put it out.

Bob Fiske

OK, we had an election in November and the Republicans lost. So, shouldn't the Republican politicians be willing to kiss and make-up? It looks like the Republicans aren't interested in working with the Democrats but are already campaigning for the 2010 mid-term elections.

I've spent quite a bit of time working on political campaigns over the years, including work on 4 Presidential races. My point of view has become hardened by seeing years of lies and disinformation produced by the conservatives that support the Republicans. Rush Numbrain is the perfect example, spewing forth daily streams of puke using a medium which presents no opportunity for rebuttal. The people who have followed his rants have received only one side of any debate and the same is often true for the numerous conservative web sites and blogs. One is reminded of the rants of Hitler, who was able to turn a nation of highly educated people into an armed camp, resulting in the deaths of perhaps 40 million people and massive destruction of cities in Europe and Japan.

You can't play nice with murderers, drug addicts and con artists. They are doing what they do because they don't feel it's wrong and they will continue to do what they do until they are stopped. Isn't that why we are fighting in Afghanistan? The Taliban fighters have been absolutely convinced that their world view is the only one. So, we kill them. When the shooting starts in the U.S., don't say I didn't warn you. We've already seen a few instances of abortion providers being killed and offices bombed...

E. Swanson

"murderers, drug addicts and con artists.."

Great, YOU continue with the name-calling, and YOU end up with the reputation and the options that come with that game plan. If you keep locking the folks nearer the middle with those on the extreme ends, you help the extremism continue.

I'm not saying don't fight, do. Fight like hell. But don't think you have to fight Everyone on the right.. and for God's sake, just forget RUSH and the wack crowd. Have REAL debates closer to the middle and just avoid the Hand-Grenade Battles with the extremes.

Perhaps I wasn't being clear. Notice the new paragraph. I did not mean to refer to the Republican Party when I wrote about "murderers, drug addicts and con artists..". I think those type of people (and others as well) would be grouped under the psychological term "sociopath", the new term which has replaced the older "psychopath". In other words, the most extreme elements of the anti-social part of humanity. What would you do with a "sociopath" with weapons living near you who clearly threatened your existence? What about a religious subgroup like that? What about a whole country full of people like that? Big problems still out there, I think. I'm sure glad that we live in a country with separation of Church and State (well, we once did)...

E. Swanson

"What would you do with a "sociopath" with weapons living near you who clearly threatened your existence?"

But that's a detour from what I was requesting of you. I would counter that with "What would you do with a moderate and concerned 'Repug' who is willing to work together to find some solutions? Start by learning his name and using it?"

Yes, I may have misread the topic change in paragraphs above,. I was just saying that there are enough conversation killers going on right now, when we actually do need to form alliances and get some plans moving. I don't have a problem telling the Republican party-faithful who helped set up (or failed to protect against) this current state of financial chaos via sinecures and populist platitudes.. but that doesn't mean ALL-STICK, no Carrot. We've got to move forward from here, with both sides in the quorum. I have little patience for Boehner and others, but the catcalls are giving them points, not you.


"I think many Republicans are more interested in sabotaging Obama..."

With what votes??? They lost the election. About all they can do is to create brief meaningless theatrical delays in the Senate.

With what votes??? They lost the election. About all they can do is to create brief meaningless theatrical delays in the Senate.

I think they have shown this past week that they can mess up his plans more effectively than anyone would have assumed. A significant part of it is that the main stream media, insists on giving equal weight in debates, even when one side is in the minority, and it's talking points are discredited economically. They can also threaten to filbuster.

There is more to it than the Republicans. One of the states is Hawaii where Republicans are as rare as snowshoes. Another is the Democrat leaning state of Washington. Somethings stirring that is not about normal party lines.

Not a problem for the Repugs, who apparently think that spouting more lies will change reality.

Spouting more lies can change percieved reality. And politics is all about perception.

The sixth grader is wrong. Individuals can and do borrow money to pay off debt over short periods. States do the the same thing.

But the Federal Government is in a different position as it can create currency and has the highest of all credit ratings. The Ferderal debt never has to be paid off. It only has to be managed which is the job of the Treasury.

Comparing individual/state debt to Federal debt is comparing things that are not alike. Things that are different can not be compared, added, subtracted, multiplied or divided. If they are the result is silly nonsense.

Federal debt, unlike individual or state debt, never has to be paid off. All that matters is that the interest payments do not become so great that it affects economic performance, the transfer of wealth upwards or interest rates.

I hate to agree with Cheney on anything, but he was right on deficits. They do not matter for the Federal Government. This is especially true in times of recession when there is little threat from inflation.

Deficits do not matter for the Federal Gov't

Tell that to Wiemar Germany, the Confederate States of America, Zimbabwe, and every other nation with hyper-inflation.

WHY do you think that we had war bond drives during WW I & WW II if deficits did not matter ?

Once bonds cannot be sold, at the stated interest rate, to cover refinancing the old national debt and new deficits, then money is printed to cover the difference. This leads to inflation and then hyper-inflation.


I came by this article on Chris Martenson’s daily digest today which I believe is worth mentioning: Congressman Paul Kanjorski, D-11, offered this explanation Tuesday during an appearance on the C-SPAN cable network.

We came so close to complete financial collapse.

"...Somebody threw us in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean without a life raft and we're trying to determine the closest shore and whether there's any chance in the world to swim that far. We don't know."

And here is the link to the video.

Tom in Colo – Growth is not an option.

I've seen it posted twice in the last week - but it is 'interesting'.

Meanwhile the Fearless leader of the USA sees absolutely nothing wrong with giving a relative handful of persons the ability to destroy the USA economy.

Denninger outlines Obama's latest plan to save the economy which is summarized as "funnel enough taxpayer money to connected hedge funds and hope some of it comes back" http://market-ticker.denninger.net/

I think "x" is missing some basics. "x" wrote:

I hate to agree with Cheney on anything, but he was right on deficits. They do not matter for the Federal Government.

But "x" also noted:

All that matters is that the interest payments do not become so great that it affects economic performance, the transfer of wealth upwards or interest rates.

The basic problem as I see it is that as the Federal Debt becomes very large, the borrowing tends to crowd out others who want to borrow. That's because the interest rate must increase to attract more purchases of Fed debt in it's various forms, which pushes up the interest rates for all other borrowers. That would kill the housing market, as increasing mortgage loan rates would push the monthly cost of a mortgage to very high levels. Also, higher rates on the Federal debt would push up the yearly debt payments and crowd out other discretionary expenditures in the Federal Budget, eventually impacting killing Social Security and Medicare.

I'm sure Cheney understands this, but killing the Federal Government is something which fits in with his basic philosophy. Perhaps for him, increasing the Federal Debt is a good idea. It might even be part of The Plan...

E. Swanson

The basic problem as I see it is that as the Federal Debt becomes very large, the borrowing tends to crowd out others who want to borrow. That's because the interest rate must increase to attract more purchases of Fed debt in it's various forms, which pushes up the interest rates for all other borrowers. That would kill the housing market, as increasing mortgage loan rates would push the monthly cost of a mortgage to very high levels. Also, higher rates on the Federal debt would push up the yearly debt payments and crowd out other discretionary expenditures in the Federal Budget, eventually impacting killing Social Security and Medicare.

By the current metrics used by economists, interest rates the federal government has to pay to sell goverment bonds have dropped to absurdly low levels. At the moment, extra borrowing doesn't present a problem. Of course if the economy loses its appetite for government bonds that could change in a hurry. Hopefully the government can finance the current borrowing with relatively long term bonds. If short term debt needs to be refunded, once interest rates spike that would be crunch time. In any case crowding out of investments isn't a current problem -investers are simply too risk averse to make the investments.

In order for even the federal government to keep borrowing not have the payments become unreasonably large, we need to have a growing economy. With a shrinking economy, things quickly fall apart. Read the section of my financial forecast for 2009 called, "Why growth is essential to keeping the current debt-based financial system operating."

The sixth grader is wrong. Individuals can and do borrow money to pay off debt over short periods. States do the the same thing.

easy math here,

I own the bank $100 dollars

I go to the credit union and I borrow $120 dollars

I pay off the bank the $100 dollars

I'm now $20 ahead

So, how am I better off?


I guess I could go back to the bank now and borrow $140 dollars to pay off the credit union, then borrow from the credit union to pay off the bank Etc............

Most small businesses start off in debt. College students take on debt. They do this because the borrowed money pays for something that is likely to yield future returns that exceed the debt. If government borrows money to fund present-day investments that pay-off in terms of the efficient functioning of the respective economy (and sustained future tax yields), government debt can "pay itself off" much as the small business and college debtor do.

Small Businesses and 22 year olds are not my idea of a good example

Small Business Survival Rates
Small Business Openings & Closings in 2007:

There were 637,100 new businesses, 560,300 business closures and 28,322 bankruptcies.

Two-thirds of new employer firms survive at least two years,
44 percent survive at least four years,
and 31 percent survive at least seven years.

Findings do not differ greatly across industry sectors.

Sources: U.S. Small Business Administration Office of Advocacy, September 2008
Survival and Longevity in the Business Employment Dynamics Database, Monthly Labor Review, May 2005. Redefining Business Success: Distinguishing Between Closure and Failure, Small Business Economics, August 2003.


Most small businesses start off in debt. College students take on debt. They do this because the borrowed money pays for something that is likely to yield future returns that exceed the debt. If government borrows money to fund present-day investments that pay-off in terms of the efficient functioning of the respective economy (and sustained future tax yields), government debt can "pay itself off" much as the small business and college debtor do.

The problem with that is that the government spending is controlled by the political process. We have seen in the last week, that the stimulus programs that most resemble investment are the most vulnerable. Then we get left with the junk which has little hope of generating decent returns.

That is a myth. The trillions of dollars of taxpayer obligations run up by the Fed relatively recently were not controlled by political debate or process-thanks to the MSM most voters are blissfully unaware of the potential danger.

Brian, I was discussing the stimulus, which I distinguish from the money the Fed is shovelling towards distressed financial institutions. You are of course right that the Fed actions are much less visable to the public.

a more accurate statement would be that debt dont matter to the republicans unless the democrats are in control.

Hey X,

You're correct on some points, but not in others. I don't think you've got a "complete" handle on the way our monetary system works, but your grasp is better than most of the lay-people out there.

That said, I'd highly encourage everyone here to read either Web of Debt by Ellen Brown, or The Creature from Jekyll Island. There are also this youtube Video on "The Creature from Jekyll Island. (I haven't watched the video as it's an hour long and I have dial up so I can't vouch for it's qualities)

Probably the most interesting part to "Web of Debt" are the proposed solutions or changes that we could make to our monetary system that could put an end to inflation, income taxes, and debt.


If we grow smartly, my friend. If we grow. Since EROEI doesn't matter, maybe that will happen.

How do we go about shifting our investments from oil and gas exploration to more sustainable (but certainly not the solution) technologies?
watch my latest video! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bkffJVIjx-A&feature=channel_page

Hi Kris;
Thanks for the effort! I hope a lot of people are watching it! Boy, the woods are beautiful in the winter.. I see it and think I'm Home!

I'm sure you, like many of us, just rack your brains saying 'What is that key phrase or image, question or explanation that can give the next ten, thousand or million folks their "Aha!" moment?!' Well, I'm glad you're not waiting, but putting a bunch of test balloons out there. My version of this outreach is by building very visible experiments on my house, prompting friends and neighbors to ask or just notice that energy is being thought seriously about, and that people are actually DOING something (anything) to start to figure out how we address this challenge.

This video is well done, but I think it takes a little too long to get to your key ideas, which are then buried in several minutes of material. One of your points that stands out for me (probably because it's one I already believe and spout out regularly) is that we have to be using whatever spare energy we've got FROM Fossil Fuel sources to build out these substitutes . I know this is probably hotly opposed by the 'no more growth' folks, but I don't think it is growth, it'll be hardly enough and will still require a vast amount of 'Powering Down' from the lifestyles to which we have become so accustomed.

Anyway, I hope you don't mind the critique, especially publicly, but if this isn't the place to strategize about the messaging, then what is? I would encourage you to try making a couple One-minute or :30sec pieces, maybe from this same source material, and just hit a single point harder.

-- But the positivity in 'Saving our civ really well..' is a great theme (and could be further illustrated if you put it up against the despair-message that it is there to challenge)

-- I also liked your playing with the assumptions behind the term 'Alternative'.. which, I agree, has the unfortunate ability to marginalize that which it is supposed to be championing. Let's coin a new term, or at least keep exposing those assumptions of 'marginality' (Like how 'Intermittent' natural energy sources are, and why that makes them supposedly less valuable.. Cycles are How We Work.. We Grow, We Shrink. We breathe in, then out. Tides aren't 'bad' because they Go Out after they Come In. We wake, we sleep.. hey, why don't we have that 'baseload consciousness' that modern technological people should have!?

Anyway.. that's my 64 bits for the day! Well done, what a lucky dog to have a lake to romp around on!


A couple of baby steps to report on:
All electric bus

Indian solar and efficiency efforts

This is a link to Nancy Pelosi's job loss graph:

One gets the idea something significantly different is going on (peak oil-> credit unwind -> huge job losses).

A picture is worth 1000 words.
Thats a near vertical drop and comparing it to the other two it doesn't show any signs of turning around yet..

A picture is worth 1000 words.
Thats a near vertical drop and comparing it to the other two it doesn't show any signs of turning around yet.

At least from the graph of the previous two recessions, we see that the transition from steep drop off to valley floor, was pretty rapid. So at least by simply following the unemployment trajectory, one can't predict when we are nearing bottom. So we can hope we are only a month or two from nearing the floor!

I wonder what the recession of 1980 would have looked like on that graph. That one was the result of the Iranian Crisis oil shock. Another problem is that the number of jobs lost is misleading, since more people were working at the beginning of the layoffs this time than during the other recessions.

E. Swanson

Here's a graph of unemployment from the employment survey of the BLS, 1973 thru present.

Series Id: LNS14000000
Seasonal Adjusted
Series title: (Seas) Unemployment Rate
Labor force status: Unemployment rate
Type of data: Percent
Age: 16 years and over

E. Swanson

Didn't they change the definition of unemployed somewhere in the eighties? Does your chart adjust for that?

The graph for the post seems to have been lost. Here's the link to the BLS data. One can input different dates as I did for my graph.

E. Swanson

Hello TODers,

I am still willing to be Tiger Woods postPeak financial advisor, besides the fact I want a really cool 'Tiger Woods Signature Model' carbon fiber/titanium wheelbarrow so I can easily balance it on my head as I pedal my bicycle:


Sand trap: Sour economy snags golf courses

..The struggling economy has buried many golf courses in a financial sand trap, forcing owners to offer deep discounts to keep players and recruit new members. Others are putting up "for sale" signs or seeking new financing to stave off foreclosure.

"Nobody's making a living," said Greenview owner Tom Wargo, the 1993 Senior PGA champion and 1994 Senior British Open champion.

Indeed, with the economic meltdown affecting even such sports superpowers as the NFL and NASCAR, it's understandable that recreational golf is hurting.

..The result is that more golf courses are closing than opening, a sharp change from as recently as 2001, when 252 more courses opened than closed.

.."Golf's not in a good position right now, even though we have the No. 1 recognized athlete in the world (Tiger Woods)," he said. "It's not helping the business at all."

.."It's down, but it's not as bad yet as it might get. I think it will get worse," he said.
I think the last sentence doesn't begin to describe where golf is headed postPeak. 16,000 US courses could be a lot of potential veggie gardens, especially if Cali-agro goes belly up.

Will the US proactively move in this direction? Or will we be like Zimbabwe: elite golfers laughing/drinking while the starving poor are wheelbarrowing cholera stricken and dying family members outside the country club fence?

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

Recession sending more students to comm. colleges

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) -- College freshman Elizabeth Hebert's choice of a four-year school suddenly got too expensive. George Haseltine already has a business degree, but he concluded after several layoffs that he needed more training to get work. So, in the middle of this school year, both landed at New Hampshire Technical Institute, which like other community colleges across the country has suddenly grown a lot more crowded.

The two-year schools are reporting unprecedented enrollment increases this semester, driven by students from traditional colleges seeking more bang for their buck and by laid-off older workers. But community colleges aren't exactly cheering in this down economy: Tuition doesn't come close to covering costs, and the state funds used to make up the difference are drying up.

Final figures aren't in for this semester, but a national group representing community colleges says the average increase from spring-to-spring is dramatic, and similar to what New Hampshire is reporting at its seven schools - a range of 4 percent to 19 percent. The figure is 20 percent in Maine and South Carolina. One school in Idaho has more than twice the number of students this spring over last.

Hello TODers,

I hope people will still keep the Peak Outreach effort going by emailing the PGA & Tiger Wood's Website their Peak Everything & Overshoot concerns. IMO, based on the info in this link, their strategies are not evolving fast enough for mitigative Paradigm Shift change:

Golfing industry seeks strategies on how to weather the recession

A decade-long decline in golfing has only been exacerbated by the national economic downturn. And golf industry officials, in New Orleans for a 22,000-person convention that concluded Saturday, say they're looking for new strategies to weather the tough times.

..One reason for the decline in popularity of the sport may be the success of the green movement in making the public aware of resource management. According to Maynard, golf courses are considered by some to be bad stewards of water resources.
Sadly, they don't yet recognize the totality of misdirected resources and energy to play golf. I would suggest they expand their boundary analysis to include jet flights, fancy food & beverages flown in from around the world, miss-spent funds on golf equipment, vehicle miles traveled from home to golf course, etc.

I worry that Tiger is more likely to come out with a signature brand of hi-tech sniper rifles and other weaponry than mitigative 'Tiger Tools' for permaculture change and Optimal Overshoot Decline.

Some more thoughts, since I wasn't invited to the golf course mgmt. conference that recently concluded.

I would like to see the PGA come out with a shovel-ready, "Master Golfer to Master Gardener" program. It would be simple to implement if they shutdown 1/2 of the 16,000 courses. The remaining 8,000 courses would be wildly profitable, so they could send funds to speed the plowing of the 8,000 shutdown courses, O-NPK recycling, and bi-directional SpiderWebRiding for effective accumulation/dispersal of local resource flowrates.

Since this is a simple and immediate national scale, shovel-ready project: the PGA could probably move to the front of the FedGov bailout line. The growing unemployed could be instantly put back to work on this conversion process, and education courses could be jumpstarted to increase permaculture proficiency and offer Master Gardener Certification.

This would instantly create a huge demand for Tiger Tools. Tiger plowing these courses up would make him an even larger International Hero for the postPeak downslope era ahead. The signal sent to the masses is that the elite topdogs are concerned for the other dogs in the pack, and IMO, Peak Outreach would skyrocket.

Home Depot & Lowe's would have huge throngs buying gardening tools and any seeds, I-NPK, and O-NPK, as it would take a certain amount of transition time to shutdown the landfills and start composting, as Pres. Clinton is advocating. Hell, the papparazzi might even snap photos of Daniel Yergin loading up his wheelbarrow.

On a humorous note: if the Bass ProTour Fishing Tournament members, and the Offshore Trophy fish guys joined in my idea, I suppose we could call their program, "Master-Baiters to Master Gardeners". Get your T-shirt or baseball cap now..

sorry for the tardy reply, didn't feel much like writing yesterday...

Although I am an avid golf fan and I have met most of the big names in golf (including Tiger), and I used to live nearby the PGA headquarters, Totoneila I share your sentiment. For over a year I've been saying quietly to a close circle of friends that the PGA will become the poster child for the energy and financial ills of the country.

Its not just the golf courses (which the average Joe can't even dream of playing in their lifetime, i.e. Augusta), its the corporate lavishing and private jet travel that will start to rile people. Most of these guys are real regular and I'm sure they are aware of the current state of affairs, but they are still insulated. I think for the Tour to stay relevant, they must come back down to earth and nothing will do this faster than corporate sponsorship drying up as equipment sales fall faster than auto sales.

If you live in the Southwest, I would imagine the idiocy and lunacy of so many golf courses in otherwise desert terrain must cause one to despair for the species. When the alien archaeologists survey the landscape of Arizona and Nevada they will ponder the only remnants of a past civilization dotting the area. These strange 4 foot high pole mounted devices distributed somewhat randomly seem capable of receiving a 1" spherical gift to the Gods. Many of these spherical totems have been given to the golf Gods, but these pole mounted devices were for the purpose of cleansing in the purification rite preceding the ceremony. Strange species...

Hello BC_EE,

Thxs for the reply. Strange species indeed.

Doomers here might enjoy this:


X is for Xerxes devoured by mice.

this guy claims sulphur dioxide is the trigger for global warminng:


pardon moi if it has already been posted.

Perhaps more Govt officials should start reading TOD & TAE to understand the true context of the postPeak challenge ahead?

The US Federal Reserve’s efforts to drive mortgage rates lower by purchasing home loans have faltered and rates have risen over the past month.

The rise in rates is a disappointment to government officials, who had hoped that a steep fall in house prices and low financing costs would lure new buyers into the nation’s depressed housing market.

On the CampFire series an essay post was created titled Sunk Costs.

There was some serious discussion about the younger generation vs the older generation and the teaching of such.

I replied to poster Dryki's comment in that thread but since the keypost was by now stale and I tried to reply there but my EVDO connection blew out just as I was ready to do the SAVE.

Ok...I wish to carry that comment of mine here since I considered it very relevant to the discussion and of perhaps some merit,perhaps.

Here is my response that went missing.


The point was of teaching and a young girl asked for the older generation to 'Teach Us'.

My experience in teaching/instructing was that the most important thing to teach a class is to first "Learn them How To Learn"!!

I don't think much knowledge is gained by the teaching of rote material or material that the class is mostly going to learn as 'rote material'. Of little value then..for its easy enough to retain for the next test or quiz but then shortly has disappeared or with enough repetition it becomes embedded but there is no tie in with real life.

For myself I learned how to learn the hard way. I was told 'you must just take this as I teach it...and forget the underlying tenets ..just 'take my word for it'. Or a teacher would do a lecture and that was it. You had to take notes and then study later or cram or whatever.

I NEVER accepted anything on 'face value'. I always questioned IT.Always. This lead me into a lot of troubled water but over time I had to dig for myself and finally learned enough to forge my own new paths of learning and retention.

When I taught Electron Theory and later Rocket Guidance Control Systems I was first 'taught how to teach'. This was government contract work and so we had a class on "Instruction"...and taught by a Civil Service employee. Wow! I was amazed at his teaching of the techniques and remember them to this day. Here they are in a nutshell.Judge for yourself and your high school or college days of learning in classrooms.

First you stand in front of the class covering material as per the 'Lesson Guide'. You can digress but better be sure of your ground and structuring for there was many times an Auditor auditing your techniques.

So you stood and delivered. Then...you asked a pertinent question. Perhaps a deductive answer is required. Somewhere in the data you presented is the answer.

Then you look out over the classroom at the faces looking back at you,hopefully looking back. For you asked a question of the whole class. No hands can be raised. No blurting out the answer.

Then eaah student had no clue as to who you would ask for an answer. They were therefore going to have to formulate an answer in case they were called. Note the learning process here.

Looking out you observed several things pretty fast.

1. Those who know the answer.
2. Those who don't know and are busy in thought processes.
3. Those who don't know and don't really care.
4. Those who don't know and are getting angry at not knowing the answer.
5. Those who over time have no clues and are pissed enough to just say to themselves...heck with it.

Now you have measured the class. You may not wish to do this but instead just 'play' to the teacher's favorite and as he/her gets a charge out of his hubris by answering correctly you also get a good stroking. But no one with the exception of the favorite learns anything. You are a failure and so is your class but you blame it on their stupidity instead of your own stupidity.

After awhile the class is tested on its knowledge of the material.
In FACT it is YOU who is being tested and not them!!! In good run academia that is or else you up the grades and just pass them on.

The problem here was that I was sometimes teaching to military and not of our country. If they failed the class they were sent back to their country and very strong measures were taken...rumor was beheading awaited.

Don't know about the rumor but those classes tended to be very interesting. Sometimes you were teaching other instructors so they could then teach the material.

Classes were structured such that some time intervals were strickly LECTURE, and some were Roundtable thus open to the floor, some of course were tests, some pop quizzes. And so on. A various mix and I might add that we did a very good job for later came lab and then the truth would out.

This then is how I viewed that teaching should occur. All about good techniques. My daughter has a masters in Instructional Technology. Both my children have done substitute teaching in real high school classes. I have even watched in some of their classes.

None of what I described above what part of the lesson guides or methodology.

We therefore teach 'helter skelter'. Its no wonder kids don't learn.
It takes a very good teacher to interest the students and keep their attention and NOT lose control of their classroom. A classroom out of control is a extreme thing to be part of or in or teaching.

I saw it happen in other classes that I was in during my service in the USN. I saw students throwing chalk and erasers at the instructors. Mainly due to their ineptitude. I heard mockery. Bad language. Men demoted. Chaos.
I expect many public school systems are about the same or versions there of. Its a shame for if you lose them then sometimes it never comes around again.

Airdale-sorry for the lengthy post. This is my take on our school systems be they lower,middle ,higher or university.

PS. My daughter still teaches. She does NOT write lesson plans. That is a big NONO. She has grown disillusioned and is just 'putting in her time' as I understand.

I no longer teach except for a 4H class on computers. Of 4 students one excelled and went way on to better things. The other 3 did so so. One works in chicken barns. Another I lost track of. The one good one does web design and programming.

"She does NOT write lesson plans. That is a big NONO."

I'm puzzled, what do you mean by it being a no-no? (Or, who says it's a no-no and why?)

Why a no no?

This is 'ground breaking!!!

Don't want any upstarts..even though many of the teachers are not real teachers for they don't have a teaching certificate. They have a sort of emergency..'we are out of teachers so you get to teach' pass. A temporary thing that tends to become permament.

There is in many school systems a big 'good ole boy' network.Try something new and you get pushed 'down'.

And many teachers have a curriculum in their head so they can pretty much coast. If they get a new lesson guide? Wow.

There is no union AFAIK yet there is a very strong ...association?

In one school my daughter taught at she put up a website. The school has a complete T-1 at their disposal yet little usage. So she put up a website and this allowed parents to log on and with a password be able to see if little Johnny or Janey were tardy? How many days missed? Grades? etc....it was an amazing tool....what happened?
Told to take it down.

Many of the computers in each classroom did not function. Teachers didn't care.

Course this is not universal but I would think a heck of a lot of it goes on.

Airdale-our teaching system IMO is broke. Teachers blame the students , vice versa and parents threaten lawsuits. Its a circus.There is no PTAs anymore. Special Ed has lowered all standards. Etc......etc.....so forth forever

You have to come up with a good act 6 periods per day, 5 days a week, at least when I taught high school.

Most good teachers burn out early or some just learn to put in time. Most of the students are not very interested in learning. A lot do not even want to be there.

Discipline becomes a major energy drain and takes away from those who do want to learn.

Eyewitness: Australia's fire tragedy

..I was on my way home to Kinglake when police closed the road due to the approaching fire. There had been no sign there was a fire close by - the nearest one was 80km away across the mountain, but it was moving so fast it managed to travel that distance in thirty minutes.
160kph or 99.42 mph! Hell, most people couldn't drive that fast even if they could find a road that lead directly away from the approaching flames and smoke.

i think that's a bit too fast. 160km is almost 50m per second.

as far as i know, the fire makes the hot air rise, and the cold air will rush to where the fire is. that would mean the fire is facing front winds most of the time, so to speak.

Well, fire brands can get picked up and carried by the wind for many miles. Still, it would not be faster than the wind and 50m per second is quite a blow!

15 Companies That Might Not Survive 2009

..Moody's Investors Service, for instance, predicts that the default rate on corporate bonds - which foretells bankruptcies - will be three times higher in 2009 than in 2008, and 15 times higher than in 2007. That could equate to 25 significant bankruptcies per month.
Have you hugged your bag of NPK today? That might be the only job most of us may have as the Peak Everything Downslope gains momentum.

Hello TODers,

Your tax dollars being spent foolishly again.

How embarrassing! I would imagine the career for this harbor pilot and/or ship's captain is over. I just can't imagine allowing a big, brand new, Navy ship to stray out of what must be one of the most well-mapped shipping channels/harbor on the planet.

Navy to unload water, anchors to free stuck ship

..The ship ran aground while offloading sailors, contractors and shipyard personnel Thursday night following its first day of sea trials. It had just wrapped up a four-month routine maintenance stay at Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard.

Grab Your Torch ‘n Pitchforks!
At-risk homeowners storm mansions of mortgage CEOs

Hundreds of people trying to save their homes from foreclosure flocked to Connecticut's wealthy Gold Coast this weekend to give financial kingpins a piece of their mind...
Bob Shaw in Phx,Az Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?