DrumBeat: February 10, 2009

Interior chief cool to offshore drilling, wants wind projects

Salazar on Tuesday criticized the Bush administration’s “drill only approach,” saying the U.S. needs a comprehensive energy plan that considers all the potential resources in the oceans.

“I intend to do what the prior administration failed to do … incorporate the great potential for wind, wave and ocean tides,” Salazar said.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the Atlantic coast does not have great potential for either oil or natural gas production.

Administration delays move toward more offshore drilling

Calling it a “headlong rush of the worst kind,” Interior Secretary Ken Salazar today scrapped a Bush administration proposal to open up as many as 300 million acres off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts to oil and gas drilling.

Salazar set aside a March 23 deadline for the public to weigh in on the Bush-era draft plan and said the Obama administration would instead wait until September to decide whether to expand U.S. offshore drilling.

API's reply (excerpt)

Congress made the American people wait nearly 30 years to address our immediate energy challenges. Secretary Salazar today told the American people they must continue to wait – even though more than two-thirds of them want to tap our vast domestic resources for the benefit of all Americans.

Oil and gas production a major source of Dallas-Fort Worth smog

The first comprehensive analysis of air emissions associated with natural gas and oil production in the Barnett Shale area finds that emissions can be a significant contributor to Dallas-Fort Worth smog formation, comparable to the combined emissions from all Metroplex cars and trucks.

BP Chief Urges Oilpatch To Keep Investing

HOUSTON--In the opening address today at Houston's biggest annual oil conference, BP Chief Executive Tony Hayward called on the global energy industry to look past the recent plunge in energy prices and "invest through this downturn, knowing that in the long term the fundamentals for energy demand have not changed."

"The world economy will recover. The future is not canceled," said Hayward. To meet an expected doubling of energy demand, he declared that the world would need to invest $26 trillion over the next 50 years.

Three New Oil Discoveries to Boost PDO Oil Production

MUSCAT — Oman’s oil production has received a boost with the discovery of three new oil fields, two in north west Oman and one in the south east.

Announcing this, the 60 per cent government-owned Petroleum Development Oman (PDO) said additional volumes of hydrocarbons have also been found in existing oil and gas fields, retaining the sultanate’s position as an attractive destination for hydrocarbons.

The combined production from the new fields as well as additional volumes from the existing fields is expected to go up from the present 753,000bpd to 805,000bpd.

Total Accepts Lower Share of Libyan Oil Production (Update2)

Total SA, Europe’s third-largest oil company, agreed to reduce its share of production from two oil ventures in Libya to take into account last year’s surge in crude prices to a record.

“The accord changes the contractual terms in the field of al-Mabrouk and the offshore al-Jurf field to reflect the increase in oil prices that happened between 2006 and 2008,” according to the statement. “National Oil will have a bigger share in production and will receive a signing bonus of $500 million” from Total.

Chevron, BP Locked in $200 Million Wells Amid Slump (Update1)

Chevron Corp., BP Plc and other oil producers are locked into drilling offshore wells that cost as much as $200 million each because of rig contracts that were signed when crude was soaring above $140 a barrel.

Even as energy companies slash billions of dollars in spending to cope with the lowest prices in five years, deep-sea exploration continues unabated because canceling rig contracts would cost as much as finishing the projects, said Candida Scott, a senior director at Cambridge Energy Research Associates who tracks oil-development costs.

Demand for rigs that can fetch more than $600,000 a day to rent hasn’t diminished amid the $105-a-barrel tumble in crude from a July record, said Gregory Cauthen, chief financial officer at Transocean Ltd., the world’s largest offshore driller.

EIA Report: Light-Duty Diesel Vehicles: Efficiency and Emissions Attributes and Market Issues

Diesel-fueled vehicles generally are more fuel-efficient than comparable gasoline-fueled vehicles. In fuel economy (miles per gallon) ratings published by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), diesel vehicles show a fuel economy advantage of 20 to 40 percent over gasoline vehicles, depending on the size and duty requirements of the vehicles. The EPA fuel economy ratings also suggest that diesel vehicles are somewhat less fuel-efficient than the most comparable gasoline-powered hybrid-electric vehicles; however, comparisons are difficult, because differences in performance characteristics, such as torque, may force consumers to balance fuel economy against other desired performance attributes. Additionally, on-road driving experience appears to suggest that, under some circumstances, diesel vehicles can achieve higher fuel efficiencies than comparable gasoline-powered hybrids. . .

Taken together, increased vehicle costs and higher prices for diesel fuel currently provide an economic disincentive for purchases of diesel vehicles by U.S. consumers. For those who do purchase diesel vehicles, other vehicle attributes, including durability, longevity, and power output, are likely to be important considerations. Finally, in addition to the issues raised above, there are other consumer preference factors at work in the U.S. vehicle market. For example, unsatisfactory consumer experience with domestic diesel cars during the early 1980s may have reduced the number of people who would consider purchasing a diesel-powered car today (although the impact of the 1980s experience on consumer acceptance is likely to attenuate over time).

Pemex May Weather Crisis By Avoiding Marginal Projects: CEO

Petroleos Mexicanos, the state-owned oil company, is in better shape to weather the global financial crisis because it avoids “marginal” projects such as oil sands, Chief Executive Officer Jesus Reyes Heroles said.

While demand for crude and refined products from the company known as Pemex has fallen, the company is committed to spend at least $2 billion in exploration a year to find new deposits to offset declining output, Reyes Heroles said in prepared comments for a speech today at an energy conference in Houston.

No company can escape the consequences of the global financial crisis, Reyes Heroles said in today’s statement.

EIA Conference in Washington DC, April 7-8

Energy Information Administration 2009 Energy Conference: A New Climate for Energy

I received an e-mail about this conference, saying that registration would be open soon. When I tried to register, I found registration is in fact open now. Registration is free, so it fills up quickly. The agenda looks less ambitious than last year, but it is likely to still be a good conference, especially for the price (forgetting hotel and airfare). If you want to register, now is the time to do so.-Gail

Munich and the Continuity Between the Bush and Obama Foreign Policies

While the Munich Security Conference brought together senior leaders from most major countries and many minor ones last weekend, none was more significant than U.S. Vice President Joe Biden. This is because Biden provided the first glimpse of U.S. foreign policy under President Barack Obama. Most conference attendees were looking forward to a dramatic shift in U.S. foreign policy under the Obama administration. What was interesting about Biden’s speech was how little change there has been in the U.S. position and how much the attendees and the media were cheered by it. . .

What can’t be achieved is a fundamental transformation of the geopolitical realities of the world. No matter how Obama campaigned, it is clear he knows that. Apart from his preoccupation with economic matters, Obama understands that foreign policy is governed by impersonal forces and is not amenable to rhetoric, although rhetoric might make things somewhat easier. No nation gives up its fundamental interests because someone is willing to talk.

ITC’s Green Power Express Would Carry U.S. Wind Power (Update2)

ITC Holdings Corp. said it wants to build the world’s largest renewable-energy transmission system, a $12 billion project to bring electricity from wind farms in the Dakotas to Chicago.

The Michigan power transmission company’s proposal, known as the Green Power Express, calls for about 3,000 miles of new lines that could move 12,000 megawatts of power from the upper Midwest to cities where there’s demand for the electricity. The project, announced today, would cross portions of North and South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois and Indiana, according to the company. . .

“What we really need is the federal government to start to make some needed rule changes or modifications,” said Welch.

Under current regulations, the project wouldn’t meet requirements to pay back the needed investment soon enough."

Sustainable Energy Week Conference in Europe

As in previous years, a number of events from the 2009 EU Sustainable Energy Week will be broadcast live on the internet at www.managenergy.tv

European Wind Power: The unbearable lightness of wind

But as capacity grows, it may be wind's impact on electricity prices that presents the most immediate problem.

Wind's intermittency cannot be wished away, even if it can be ameliorated, and the development of the infrastructure needed to deal with it is lagging the installation of wind power itself. . .

Proponents of wind power dislike the negative connotations of the word 'unreliable', pointing out that on average the amount of power supplied by a given capacity of wind turbines is reasonably predictable. But, according to the EWEA, wind turbines produce no electricity at all between 15% and 30% of the time.

Grigory Pasko: Looking a gift horse in the mouth, Part 7 (Nord Stream Pipeline)

The newspaper «Die Zeit» reported not that long ago that the Baltic “pipeline of Gerhard Schroeder” (with the same success the newspaper could have written “pipeline of Vladimir Putin”), most likely, will not happen due to the ecological concerns of neighboring countries. In accordance with an analysis conducted for the European Commission by Alan Riley – a lawyer from London, it is possible that they won’t be able to transport the gas any earlier than 2015. Riley adds that the cost of the pipeline will exceed $19.1 billion US dollars.

As they say in Russia, the deeper in the woods, the thicker the partisans. The closer the period of the commencement of construction of the Nord Stream pipeline – and this is September of the year 2009 – the less likelihood that this construction will commence.

Now all the cards have fallen into the hands of the Swedes. On them depends to a large degree whether the pipeline will be or not be, and if it is to be, then when and what will it be like.

NuStar Says Venezuela Cancels Oil Shipments as Part of OPEC Cut

Feb. 9 (Bloomberg) -- NuStar Energy LP said Venezuela canceled four shipments of crude oil after trimming output to comply with reduced quotas from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.

Venezuela said it has cut daily output by 364,000 barrels since September to 3.01 million barrels, putting it in full compliance with the OPEC cuts. Bloomberg estimates that Venezuela reduced output by 210,000 barrels a day in the period to 2.15 million barrels.

Florida Renewable Energy Conference

The Florida Alliance for Renewable Energy (FARE) held it’s conference ‘Effective Renewable Energy Policies’ for a standing room only crowd of more than 250 people on February 3rd in Tallahassee.. The conference focused on which policies were most cost effective to the ratepayer and would result in the most jobs created to keep Florida dollars in state. Seven delegate members from the European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA) were present. Members of the EPIA account for 80% of the world’s solar power production. . .

“The Florida economy needs new engines of growth; renewables can add hundreds of thousands of jobs here; the catalyst will be energy policies such as Gainesville’s solar feed in tariff that lead to long term investment security. We are delighted that the world’s largest solar companies spent time in Gainesville and Tallahassee to see first hand the investment opportunity in the Sunshine state” says John Burges of the Florida Alliance for Renewable Energy.

Presentations available here, including one from Jerome a Paris

Time to buy oil stocks?

As the IEA plays catch-up to the economic fallout, OPEC is doing the same. The energy cartel has announced a total of 4.2 million barrels per day in cuts to supply, and oil prices are stabilizing as a result. Oil prices could rise over the next year or two on the perhaps generous assumption that all and sundry in OPEC comply. Now that oil stocks are firmly out of favour, it is generally the best time to buy.

OPEC delays 35 drilling projects due to falling prices

LOS ANGELES, Feb. 9 -- Members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, their economies battered by falling oil prices, have delayed 35 of 150 planned oil drilling projects by at least 4 years.

"Current prices threaten the very sustainability of planned investment," said OPEC Sec. Gen. Abdalla Salem El-Badri in a speech at London's Royal Institute for International Affairs (RIIA).

"These projects are on hold…and will continue to be until the [oil] price recovers," El-Badri said, adding that of the 150 projects due to come on line in the next few years, 35 had been set back to after 2013.

"The start-up dates of many other projects are still expected to slip," said El-Badri, who noted that that oil has fallen to $40/bbl from a record near $150/bbl in July, resulting in a loss to OPEC of some $356 billion.

CERAWeek: Opening shots

U.S. Rep. Edward Markey (D-Mass), a long-time member of Congress and stern critic of Big Oil, kicked off CERAWeek by telling a packed ballroom at the Westin Galleria Hotel that $147 oil, along with sub-prime mortgages and lax regulation of financial institutions, caused the current global recession.

Even though oil prices peaked at that one-day high last July and have since slumped by $100 a barrel, Markey said Washington D.C. policy makers are still feeling the ripple of high energy prices from their constituents. Legislators are bent on pushing though greenhouse gas legislation, promoting a cap-and-trade system for limiting carbon dioxide emissions, and looking at ways to diversify away from imported oil wherever possible.

"We see this as an economic opportunity," Markey said. "How do we look at this as a new sector where we can create new jobs? What is it that we can replace?"

Markey said energy efficiency efforts along with renewable energy, such as solar-produced electricity, could create an environmental sector with 2 million to 4 million new jobs in the U.S.

Blast delays Shanghai LNG start-up

An explosion at China’s Shanghai LNG terminal will delay the commissioning of the facilities by about six months, according to industry officials.

It will take time to repair equipment damaged in an explosion last Friday that has killed one worker and injured another 16, said the officials to Upstream.

Hercules dives on $1.3bn charge

Drilling services provider Hercules Offshore swung to a fourth-quarter loss, hurt by a non-cash goodwill and asset impairment charge of $1.3 billion, and forecast a weakening of drilling activity in 2009.

Hercules Offshore has continued to see a rapid decline in demand for its domestic drilling rigs, hurt by falling commodity prices, reduced credit availability and a weak energy consumption outlook in the short term, chief executive John Rynd said.

Gazprom puts projects on back burner

Russian gas export monopoly Gazprom may delay some projects in response to weaker demand for gas and the tougher financial climate, the company's chief financial officer said today.

"We have also been prioritising projects in our investment programme ... and this will allow us to see which projects will be financed and which projects are going ahead," Andrey Kruglov said, speaking through an interpreter, wrote Rueters.

Zappata George interview with Westexas

Jeffrey Brown joins us to take a walk through the oil patch for discussion on his warning since 2006 about an imminent decline in world net oil exports. Jeffrey is an independent petroleum geologist residing in the Dallas, Texas area. Article referred to is this one.

At the bottom of the February, 2009 program display area you will see text.

O First Segment O Second Segment O Third Segment
a. Click the dot left of the First Segment
b. Click Stream Audio button, located on the right side of the program display area and player will appear
c. Click the play button on the bottom left corner of the player and the audio will play

Uncertainty on IMF Loan Sends Ukraine to Moscow

The International Monetary Fund is likely to suspend loan payments to Ukraine, a move that would further push the government toward Moscow for aid and exacerbate a feud between top leaders in Kiev.

Ukraine is failing to meet the terms of its loan deal with the IMF, and likely won't get the next installment this month, according to a person close to talks between the fund and the government in Kiev.

Faced with a cash shortage, Kiev is passing the hat around to global powers. Talks were held in Moscow last week over a $5 billion loan to help plug Ukraine's budget deficit.

Shrinking Water Supplies Imperil Farmers

MENDOTA, Calif. -- Dwindling water supplies are compounding economic woes in California's Central Valley, causing farmers to leave fields fallow and confront the prospect of going under.

The state's water supply has dropped precipitously of late. California is locked in the third year of one of its worst droughts on record, with reservoirs holding as little as 22% of capacity. On top of that, a federal judge in Fresno last year issued a ruling in an environmental lawsuit that could restrict diversions to farmers by as much as one-third, as part of an effort to save an endangered minnow, the Delta Smelt.

China Deal Plan Triggers Exit From Rio Tinto

The chairman-designate of Rio Tinto PLC resigned Monday in a heated split that threw the world's third-largest mining company into new turmoil over plans to sell a minority stake in assets to a Chinese company.

Jim Leng's resignation less than a month after he was named to the company's board, exposed sharp disagreements over a management-backed plan to reduce a massive $39 billion debt, run up while fending off a takeover by BHP Billiton, the largest mining company by production.

The board is expected to deliberate its options Tuesday. It is leaning toward a sale of convertible debt and minority stakes in some mining operations to Aluminum Corp. of China, known as Chinalco, according to a person familiar with the matter. Mr. Leng opposed what a person familiar with the matter called "the Chinese solution," preferring to raise funds by issuing new shares.

Who was it, who said "Give any one species to much rope and they'll f*** it up" ?

Dunno, but it sounds like something Heinlein would say :)

I recognise that line from Roger Waters' "Amused to Death" album. Though in the album he was supposedly quoting an unknown or anonymous source...

Roger Waters in "Amused to Death"?

I’ve lived in Mexico since 2000, and politics in the U.S. moves closer and closer to being like those of Mexico every day.

Surreal is the only way I know how to describe it. Everything is smoke and mirrors. It’s all non-stop political theater, carefully choreographed to make the people believe something is going on, when nothing really is.

Take the debate over the stimulus package. CNN News had an interesting snippet yesterday where we have one Wall Street whore, Senator Richard Shelby of Alabama, debating another Wall Street whore, Lawrence Summers, the head of the Obama administration's National Economic Council. Shelby blasts the stimulus, saying it will lead to “disaster,” and Summers counters that said Republicans have lost their credibility on the issue. “Those who presided over the last eight years -- the eight years that brought us to the point where we inherit trillions of dollars of deficit, an economy that's collapsing more rapidly than at any time in the last 50 years -- don't seem to me in a strong position to lecture about the lessons of history,” he said.


Of course this is all just diversionary entertainment to distract the public from where the real action is, which is the bank bailout. The $800 billion stimulus package is peanuts compared to the $10+ trillion the government has already lavished on the finance industry in various loans, loan guarantees and direct bailouts. And here’s where our road to surrealdom really begins. For it is those who supported Obama, folks on the left like Frank Rich and Salon, who are most critical of Timothy Geithner and his new cash for trash scheme:

There are simply too many major players in the Obama team who are either alumni of the financial bubble’s insiders’ club or of the somnambulant governmental establishment that presided over the catastrophe.

This includes Timothy Geithner, the Treasury secretary...

A welcome outlier to this club is Paul Volcker, the former Federal Reserve chairman chosen to direct Obama’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board. But Bloomberg reported last week that Summers is already freezing Volcker out of many of his deliberations on economic policy.

Of course, that lockstep uniformity pales in comparison to the White House's economic team -- a squad of corporate lackeys disguised as public servants.

At the top is Lawrence Summers, the director of Obama's National Economic Council. As Bill Clinton's treasury secretary in the late 1990s, Summers worked with his deputy, Tim Geithner (now Obama's treasury secretary), and Clinton aide Rahm Emanuel (now Obama's chief of staff) to champion job-killing trade deals and deregulation that Obama Commerce Secretary Judd Gregg helped shepherd through Congress as a Republican senator. Now, this pinstriped band of brothers is proposing a "cash for trash" scheme that would force the public to guarantee the financial industry's bad loans. It's another ploy "to hand taxpayer dollars to the banks through a variety of complex mechanisms," says economist Dean Baker -- and noticeably absent is anything even resembling a "rival" voice inside the White House.


But here’s where the real wierdness starts. Because it is the right that is now cooing and purring over Geithner, as this mornings column by David Brooks illustrates:

But another part of the administration’s economic strategy is being unveiled today by Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, and at first blush the news is much happier. Geithner’s plan is huge but also disciplined. It’s designed by someone aware of government’s limitations.

Go read the whole thing to see how the right has rushed in to fill the vacuum of Obama sycophancy that was created when the left left.

As one looks out over the political landscape, as it has evolved over the last 30 years, or even the last 230 years, one has to wonder: At what point did we exchange reality for illusion?

Denninger pretty well sums up the situation-does anyone have any logical rebuttals to his analysis (I can't see any) http://market-ticker.denninger.net/

Here is my summation;


Whats not sustainable is the parasite class. Those who find a flow of blood (money) and latch their mandibles piercing the vein to siphon off at will. Too many leeches on one vein and you disrupt the velocity of flow.

Need to find another area of the economy to industrialize/privatize, ramp up the flow. Good, ok guys find an open spot on the vein.

Oh no! We,ve run out of real economy to exploit. I’ve got it we will create a virtual economy with virtual veins of high velocity blood (money) flow to tap into. And because its virtual we can make it 100 times bigger than the real one.GDP soars.


What was that sound? Oh no! Somebody pressed Ctrl – Alt – Del. The flow has stopped.

Quick we must turn all this virtual blood (money) we SUCKED up into real lets get our man into the Treasury in a hurry so he can magically turn all our bogus stuff into the real thing.

Seriously though the people who have “worked real hard” at tapping into the flow of money, Real estate, mortgage, traders, speculators, investors, insurance, credit cards, finance, bankers, hedge funds, etc. have sucked the life out of the worlds economy.

All the dancing around is an attempt to cover tracks, monetize their booty, and crank up the flow again hoping no one will notice they killed us all.

EFF the lot of them.

Whats not sustainable is the parasite class.

The parasitic loads on the system ARE an issue. The problem is, if you ask a parasite, they think they are doing something valuable or have a right to exist. Tapeworms provide important calorie restrictions to the host.


(Other tapeworm comments can be found if you search for tapeworm economics in your favorite search engine)

Banksters. The parasites for sure.

Here is the treatment I received at a bank my mother has an account at.

I took my mother to the hospital Saturday. She is 91 years old. She has a degenerating spine and suffers a great deal but wants to live and die in her apt in St. Louis.

I was doing her taxes and was missing a 1099 from a certain nearby bank. I went there to check on the 1099 as to whether or not she had money in the acct and if so had they mailed a 1099. I presented the latest statement from them I could find for back in June of this year and explained that she can't come herself and that I was her only living relative and next of kin.

The bankster/gangster looked at the stmt and looked at me and told me bluntly that they could tell me 'nothing'. I asked about the 1099 only. She said "NOTHING".

I lost my cool then and called her some bad names. Mostly bankster and gangster and read her the part about them getting bailed out for trillions of mine and other taxpayers money.

It fazed her not in the least. I told her that when I returned and closed the acct I would inform the bank president nee gangster that it was her ignorant ass**** attitude.

Again not a hair moved. I walked out.

This is how they treat potential customers since I will inherit all my mothers estate and soon have JT WROS at that bank. Then she will hear my full fury mode.

Airdale-gotta get some payback someway,somehow...I am still pissed.
They quote bank regs to me? The lying scum sucking bottom of the cesspool low life vermin-feces sucking Quasimodos.

Hi airdale,

I can understand your frustrations. Also, sorry your Mom is having troubles. Age seems to make things (injuries and disabilities) seem less important from the outside, perhaps, but the person still experiences them. As do the loved ones of the person.

I have a dear friend who often gets into situations like this one, where people don't interpret the words he uses. They don't understand where he's coming from. There ends up being painful feelings all around.

If I can offer a suggestion, if you'd like one...just trying to be helpful here.

I'm not a lawyer (of course), just that I have the impression one can get "financial power of attorney" or something like that, even though a loved one is fully capable. It's a convenience, and doesn't take away from the ability of the person (your mother, say) to manage her own affairs. This might give you the ability to obtain any kind of info you need. (Just a suggestion of something to look into.)

Also, I'd like to make a sincere offer, because I have experience in being a kind of intermediary in situations like this, I'd be happy to do the same for you/your Mom. I may not be saying this in the right way, however, it's from the heart.

I don't know what "JTWROS" means or I might be shocked and perhaps not so kind of sticking my neck out here. Still, just thought I'd say this. (Contact in user profile.)

Seriously though the people who have “worked real hard” at tapping into the flow of money, Real estate, mortgage, traders, speculators, investors, insurance, credit cards, finance, bankers, hedge funds, etc. have sucked the life out of the worlds economy.

Of course all these things that actually drive the world's economy are to blame for "sucking the life out of the world's economy." Peak oil had nothing to do with it. The end of exponential growth due to peak oil had nothing to do with it. Overshoot had nothing to do with it. Water, all over the world, getting scarcer and scarcer had nothing to do with it. (See above link on water in California.)

I am sorry folks but things like this really piss me off. A few people like me have, for over a decade, been predicting the exact thing that is happening right now. And now that it is actually happening, the damn bankers, investors, speculators and even credit cards are getting the blame for everything. Well, I guess the crooked finger of blame has to be pointed in some direction or another. Damn shame though that it is, in this case, pointed in the wrong direction, not just by a few people on this list but by every blogger, reporter, and every so-called economic expert on the whole damn planet.

Ron Patterson

A decade?

Let's try nearly four decades. "The Limits to Growth" was published in 1972 and gave every thinking person the fundamental tools to reach their own conclusion about the end of our "lifestyle."

The only excuse for not understanding this argument from the publication of that book is denial.

Of course, there were those who knew and understood before 1972, but that year marks the point at which the discussion becomes a part of the social lexicon.

A decade? Let's try nearly four decades.

True! And I have also been thrashing this same straw for over for over 40 years. I was preaching collapse in the mid sixties because it was obvious that the earth could not sustain constant population growth.

One person, William Catton, saw almost thirty years ago that depletion of fossil fuels would likely trigger the collapse.

- Nature must, in the not far distant future, institute bankruptcy proceedings against industrial civilization, and perhaps against the standing crop of human flesh, just as nature had done many times to other detritus-consuming species following their exuberant expansion in response to the savings deposits their ecosystems had accumulated before they got the opportunity to begin the drawdown.
William Catton, Overshoot

However I, like most other doomers on this list, only in the last decade realized that it would be peak oil that would trigger the collapse.


You're a little older than I am Ron, so I didn't start waving this flag until the late seventies, but I first became aware of the issues even earlier, in high school when the national debate topic for the year was "scarce resources."

I think many of the folks hear would do well to go back to the literature of the 60s and 70s on this subject. There were lots of really good books being published on both the "situation" and on how to address it. (Oh, Stewart Brand, how could you?)

Two of my favorites;

Muddling toward Frugality by Warren Johnson
The Promise of the Coming Dark Age by L.S. Stavrianos

My first Organic Chem prof, one Roy Haines, not only talked the talk but lived the life back in 1973. Drove a tiny little car, always with four people in it, and refused to go over 50mph on the freeway. It was terrifying!
But even then I had to agree with him that it was crazy to burn though our irreplaceable petro resources with such wild abandon.

Darwin – I do not deny or ignore the resource issue.

You seem to want to deny and ignore the monumental level of malfeasance that has lead to this level of Global Economic Collapse which is and will cause extreme pain and death above and beyond what resource depletion could do, virtually guaranteeing a worst possible case scenario.

In fact IMO it has been this parasitic tendency, which is the greatest culprit in ignoring the warnings put forth 30+ years ago and every year since.

You would say its going to happen any way. BS.

Is that blood dripping from the corner of your mouth?

Every free living metazoan hosts, on average, 3 - 5 host specific parasites & a few more generalist parasites. Why should human society be any different? For every productive farmer, fisherman, miner, logger, inventor, fabricator... there are several paper pushing parasites leeching of his or her productivity. The vast majority of species are parasites, just as the vast majority of people are social parasites. Why should anyone expect otherwise?

Lone voices crying in the wilderness, warning their heedless peers of the dangers of resource depletion & subsequent societal collapse? Hardly. Any student of the environmental sciences during the 1960s & '70s was innundated with information about & prognostications of imminent collapse. Paul & Anne Ehrlich, Garret Hardin, M. King Hubbert... were required reading, or subjects of study. If anything has been surprising at all, it's been how long the end's been in coming. We expected it by the end of the '80s or by the turn of the millenium, surely. As a younger man, I was rather disappointed that BAU was being drawn out for so long; the prospects of apocalypse rather excited me. Now that I'm older, I find that I no longer have much energy or enthusiasm for it. Oh well, ready or not, here it comes!

Obama never excited me much during the campaign. I felt like he was like the kid who cuts in front of the lunch line. He needed to pay his dues and maybe he'd be ready for the responsibility of being prez in 2016. All his rhetoric of "hope" & "change" wasn't sufficiently specific to impress me. I didn't support Obama during the primaries but being a good Democrat, tried to get behind him after he'd won the nomination. But I didn't like him well enuf to put much effort into what little support I had for him. Now that all the excitements over, I fail to see how he's any different from Bush:

Are US troops out of Iraq yet? No.
Is the concentration camp at Guantanamo closed yet? No.
Is the war ended in Afghanistan? No, and in fact, that debacle is about to be ramped up.
Has universal health care been implemented yet? No.
Are steps being taken to balance the budget & reduce the national debt? Hell no. In fact, Obama is hell-bent on blowing the deficit out of all proportion to GDP, with a series of obscenely expensive corportate bailouts & so-called "stimulus" spending designed to promote economic "growth": spending, borrowing, auto oriented infrastructure buildouts... in other words: BAU.

I wish I hadn't voted for the fool. But fact is, no one else would have been any better. Everyone seems to think that the proper response to a crisis is to DO SOMETHING about it!!! Doing things is what's caused all the damage to the biosphere that's led to the mess we're in. Technicopian regs on TOD are no different: Whether it's plasticizing wood, building thorium reactors to power electric trains, promoting avian & chiropteran mortality via wind turbines, or whatever the pet technofix happens to be, many if not most regs make a career, one way or another, out of advocacy. They think that their pet fix will forestall the inevitable and they'll be heros. LOL

Do nothing, I say. Let nature take its course. Adhere to the precautionary principle: First, do no harm. Fixes, activity, doing things.. have consequences. Consequences range in difficulty to predict from quite likely to completely unknown. Since experience teaches us that the consequences of activity usually are more bad than good, logic tells us that the more we accomplish the worse off we are. Don't add your voice to the shrill cacophony of public debate, don't strive to circumvent inevitable population & societal collapse, don't advocate for some technofix, don't make "preps." Live your life as makes you calm & reasonably comfortable, kick back & witness the Fall of Babylon. When the time comes, die before serious misery overwhelms you. Not everyone is so lucky that they get to participate in the demise of their own species, and that of the biosphere of their home world.

Be realistic. Governments and supertankers have a lot of momentum; they can't turn on a dime.

If the answers to your questions are still the same in two years, though...

The signs are not good, I have to admit: see Paul Krugman's harsh piece in the NYT today. (Perhaps he was also suffering from unrealistic expectations.)

I don't think the discussion of parasites is going far enough - In my opinion the entire 1st world is a vast collection of parasites feeding off the rest of the world.

Soup, I have children and grandchildren who will have to live through or die during the collapse. Sometimes I just want to sit down and cry when I contemplate their future.

What you call monumental malfeasance did not cause the collapse that is the BS in your post. Yes there is a tendency to ignore the warnings put forth over 4 decades ago. That however is just human nature, not parasitic at all. How in God's name did you arrive at that silly conclusion? Almost everyone, including most of my family and yours, have ignored these warnings. To call it parasitic is just stupid!

Yes it is going to happen anyway and that is no Bull!

How dare you accuse me of being bloodthirsty. It is heart wrenching to contemplate the future of humankind. Thinking about the hungry mouths and pleading eyes of future children just rips me apart. The malfeasance is in people like yourself realize what is happening and try to blame your fellow man instead of placing it where it really belongs, on human nature.

- The destruction of the natural world is not the result of global capitalism, industrialization, 'Western civilization' or any flaw in human institutions. It is a consequence of the evolutionary success of an exceptionally rapacious primate. Throughout all of history and prehistory, human advance has coincided with ecological devastation.
John Gray, "Straw Dogs"

Ron Patterson

Boy, are the doomers in a gloomy mood today!

Some individuals may suffer the fate imagined, but life goes on for those who survive which will be most.

My favorite case is Italy. At the height of its power, it ruled all the western world that mattered. The Roman empire collapsed and Italy today can hardly be described as a big success, but it still exists.

People still live and die there and life goes on. IMO that is the way it will be after the collapse. Killing off life is a lot harder than some imagine.

It's like a farmer trying to kill weeds in his fields. He may succeed for a few months, but the next season they are back again. Life is pervasive and resourceful. If a vacuum developes in one area, life moves pretty quickly from other areas to fill it.

Only a quick total wipe out would end life for all. IMO that is not likely to happen.

So cheer up. This too will pass.

Your "favorite case" is a bit lacking. You have confused two completely different peoples based on the accidental overlap of geography. Try this - identify the ethnic traits of classical Roman peoples in the peoples of Italy today. And then tell me that the end of the Roman empire wasn't also the end of the Roman people.

The end of the Roman people, maybe; but his(?) point was that there are still people living in Italy.

The same applies elsewhere. For example, up to about 1400 CE there was an empire in North Africa centred in Timbuktu. It's gone, but there are still people living there.

The trouble is, the people best suited to living in the new world we are creating are the Bedouin.

Since LEANAN isn't here, I'll have to insert the Tainter POV:

The end of the world, and collapse, has occurred many times to many groups. And we're talking societal collapse here, I guess, not biological. Tainter points out that collapse is a rational choice: When things get too complex, and the marginal costs are too great and the benefits too small, you just let it all go, give up!

Life becomes simpler, less complex. Instead of working a crappy job for low pay to drive to the store to buy bad overpriced food... etc. You just quit your job, stay home and grow your own food. Viola - society has collapsed, and you're better off!

I think that's what he said about Rome. The average peasant Joe just said "enough" and refused to join in.

Good discussion though. I do see collapse, but not extinction. Give me a little temperate coastal valley and I'll be fine.

By parasite I mean those who tap into the flow of money enriching themselves without producing anything or adding value.

Just a perhaps unwelcome aside,

I thought quite a while back, perhaps it was dear Chimp who can Drive a who made the point that actually, a person who works creates more of a total use of resources than one who doesn't.

I guess it depends on what one means by "work". etc.

+ 10 points for Ron

Ahhhhh, the Scorpion and the Frog?

In my nature, says he?

Not everyone has the same nature...

There's always more contempt for the vulture than the lion.

"We are standing at the precipice of hell. The western model of growth is inherently toxic. It's highly capital intensive and highly resource intensive, uses a lot of energy and generates a huge amount of waste. If every Indian was to live like an American then the planet is doomed." Sunita Nahrain, Director, Center for Science and Environment.

Peak energy has combined with the diminishing returns of over-investments in complexity to pull the "kill switch" on our vaunted "way of life" -- the set of arrangements that we won't apologize for or negotiate. So, the big question before the nation is: do we try to re-start the whole smoking, creaking hopeless, futureless machine? Or do we start behaving differently? J.H. Kunstler

Thanks Ron for speaking out against a rising tide of hypocrisy.


I think you guys are a little bit late to the party:

In a country which has acquired that full complement of riches which the nature of its soil and climate, and its situation with respect to other countries, allowed it to acquire; which could therefore advance no further, and which was not going backward, both the wages of labor and the profits of stock would probably be very low.

--Adam Smith, Wealth of Nations, 1776

When the frontier ceased to provide for the expansion of opportunities, our superior techology creted ever new frontiers for the ambitious and adventurous. In one sense the opulence of American life has served to perpetuate Jeffersonian illusions about human nature. For we have thus far sought to solve all our problems by the expansion of our economy. This expansion cannot go on forever and ultimately we must face some vexatious issues of social justice...

--Reinhold Niebuhr, The Irony of American History, 1952

With those caveats, here goes. The following books should be read, if you can manage that, in the order I've listed them...

10. A book predicting a dramatic social transformation that didn't happen. Choose one that you would have rooted for at the time... [I]f you're secretly hoping for social collapse and mass dieoff, read one of the hundreds of books that have been predicting exactly that for the last dozen centuries, and so on. Try to put yourself into the mindset of the readers who believed it when it first saw print; see why it seemed to make sense at the time – and then step back and explore the reasons why nothing of the sort actually happened.


The problem with your take, Darwinian, is that it is entirely too much like that of the colorful Midland oil tycoon Clayton Williams, who during his 1990 run for Texas governor, advised rape victims that: “As long as it’s inevitable, you might as well lie back and enjoy it.”


Not all of us are into flagellantism.

The problem with your take, Darwinian,... “As long as it’s inevitable, you might as well lie back and enjoy it.”

Obviously DS, you have not read many of my posts on the subject. I have advocated, form day one, that you do something and not just lie back and enjoy it. I have advocated that you make preparations to be among the survivors. I have always advocated that you spend your time, energy and resources in an attempt to save your own ass instead of wasting them by trying to save the whole damn world.

Edit: Wait, wait, wait: Did I not just expalin this very point to you a few weeks ago DS? Are you losing your memory DS are just ignoring my previous explinations for some strange reason?


Since reading Steven Rosell's Changing Maps, I've had great fun playing rubricator, fitting various commenters here on TOD into their appropriate little box. Of course it's not that simple, because many, if not most, are much more complicated and multi-faceted than that. They defy classification.

Anyway, as the modern era draws to a close and we enter the postmodern world, Rosell asserts that our dominant "Scientific-Rational" paradigm is rupturing into a variety of belief systems. For instance, there are the "Romantic-Back to Nature" recidivists who would carry us back to idyllic rural settings, a world like that imagined by Jefferson, Emerson or Thoreau.

Among the forward-looking Rosell cites are the "Nihilists." From my observations here on TOD, however, I believe the Nihilists are subject to at least one further schism. First there are the P1-maximizers that Rosell speaks of--the proponents of hedonistic, ego-centered, self-serving comportment, all geared towards enhancing one's own pleasure. Into this group I would put the Geithners, Summers, and Fulds of the world. According to this philosophy it matters not who one hurts, how much pain or suffering one inflicts, or how much damage one causes, the only thing that matters is whether one wins. This is social Darwinism writ large. Imagine the theif who breaks a windshield, steals a stereo, then sets the car on fire to hide his fingerprints, all to acquire something he can pawn for $50.

But I have also discerned another type of nihilist. These are the flagellants. As Wikipedia explains: "Flagellation (from Latin flagellare, to whip) was not uncommon practice amongst the more fervently religious." In this category are to be found those who enjoy being beaten by or beating another person. Here I would place those Greer talks about who are "secretly hoping for social collapse and mass dieoff."

So which category do you fit in? You tell me.

In this category are to be found those who enjoy being beaten by or beating another person. Here I would place those Greer talks about who are "secretly hoping for social collapse and mass dieoff."

DS, just who are these sonsabitches? What low down no good bastard is hoping his very own children and grandchildren will likely die begging for food?

Those who derive pleasure from the suffering are called psychopaths, or sociopaths by some. I don't think there such people on this list but if you will point them out by name we will discuss it. And what gives you the idea that they are secretly hoping for social collapse and mass dieoff? Do you think the very fact that they can logically explain why a disaster is about to happen means they actually wish it to happen?

Edit: And DS, you did not answer my question. Why did you ignore my previous post, as well as the one above about doing something and make the same old tired accusation as before. This is strange behavior on your part.

Ron Patterson

Have you noticed how the flagellants always seem to come to the defense of the P1-maximizers?

I suppose that even though the nihilists have split into two sects, they nevertheless circle the wagons when one or the other comes under fire.


As to your question about doing something, let me first reiterate what you had to say back up the thread:

I have advocated, form day one, that you do something and not just lie back and enjoy it. I have advocated that you make preparations to be among the survivors. I have always advocated that you spend your time, energy and resources in an attempt to save your own ass instead of wasting them by trying to save the whole damn world.

I suppose what gives me pause here is the part about "save your own ass instead of wasting them by trying to save the whole damn world."

You call yourself "Darwinian," and I think it's fairly safe to infer from your statement that you fancy yourself as being more like the 18th-century Erasmus Darwin than his 19th-century grandson, Charles.

The elder Darwin inferred on the part of the creature a will to change and adapt itself to the outer world. The rule of life, said Darwin, was eat or be eaten.

--Jacques Barzun, From Dawn to Decadence, 1500 to Present: 500 years of Western Cultural Life

As Barzun goes on to explain: "Many cognate things happened in science during the years that separate the two Darwins."

Up to that time (the appearance of the younger Darwin's Origin of Species in 1859), evolution had been explained as the result of some action on the part of the creature, and this meant an intrusion of the will, even if unconscious, in the workings of nature. Now Darwin (the younger) proposed a purely mechanistic operation.


To illustrate the utter confusion and misunderstanding surrounding Darwin and his work, the phrase "Survival of the Fittest" was coined by the Philosopher Herbert Spencer, ten years before Darwin (the younger) published his revolutionary text Origin of Species.

Various intellectuals picked up on the vogue of natural selection--on what they thought the younger Darwin had said--and applied it to concerns other than biology, such as religion and society. One of these was Thomas Huxley, an early champion of Social Darwinism:

Applied to politics it bred the doctrine that nations and other social groups struggle endlessly in order that the fittest shall survive. So attractive was this "principle" that it got the name of Social Darwinism.


One of the first to offer a scientific critique (numerous religious critiques had of course already been expressed) of Social Darwinism was Walter Bagehot. In his short work Physics and Politics:

He begins indeed by showing "Natural Selection" in the early stages of the march to civilization--the better organized, more cooperative groups conquer the less unified. But then more and more other qualities, inititatives, and ideas--liberty, free discussion, written law, habits of calm reflection, of tolerance and generosity--conduce to survival, because they make for an ever higher degree of cohesion. These virtues are the strength of the national state, whose power a less developed people cannot successfully withstand.


These same sentiments are reiterated by Jonathan Haidt in his lecture on the origins of morality:

Selfishness may win within groups, but altruistic groups, or cohesive groups, or the gold team is more likely to vanquish the silver team.


And even Huxley, who in his youth became known as "Darwin's bulldog" because of such a fervent conviction to his bastardization of Darwin's work, finally felt bound to renounce the notion of Social Darwinism:

In the same Oxford auditorium where 30 years befor he had ridiculed and routed Bishop Wilberforce for invoking moral and Scriptural considerations, Huxley now preached the distinction between evolution and ethics: human groups are bound by moral laws.


So in response to your question, I wish to place myself solidly in the company of those like Darwin the younger, Bagehot, Huxley and Haidt. And I reject the philosophy of selfishnes and self-centeredness that you espouse.

I think it's fairly safe to infer from your statement that you fancy yourself as being more like the 18th-century Erasmus Darwin than his 19th-century grandson, Charles.

Absurd! DS, Darwin wrote quite a bit about his grandfather in his notebooks. Erasmus Darwin was a Lamarckian, believing in the inheritance of acquired traits. We now know that this is impossible. Darwin contemplated this possibility but dismissed it, but at the time could not disprove it. And you can be sure that what you think is fairly safe to infer, is an absurdity. How the hell do you know what I fancy myself as? I am a Darwinian, a Charles Darwinian. I have read "The Origin of Species by means of Natural Selection" twice!

I know exactly what Charles Darwin believed. He did not believe cooperation had anything to do with evolution. In fact the word cannot be found even once in his opus. Neither can the words altruistic or altruism. If you doubt me then go here; http://www.gutenberg.org/dirs/etext99/otoos610.txt . This is the full text of The Origin of Species by means of Natural Selection; or, the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life. Here you can do a word search on any altruistic word you choose and it is very unlikely you will find any. I think you know absolutely nothing about Charles Darwin. But here is the text of his opus, read it and learn a little more about Charles Darwin.

Darwin did explain how a trait would benefit the whole social group: "In social animals it will adapt the structure of each individual for the benefit of the whole community; if the community profits by the selected change." But this is all about traits that benefit the whole social group, within groups, not cooperation between different social groups. That is an absurd idea. Different groups compete, they do not cooperate. That is not selfishness, that is survival. Cooperation within gregarious groups is a given. No one has ever questioned that concept. Cooperation with other, competing groups, simply does not happen. And this has nothing to do with symbiosis. I point that out before you jump on that wagon.

And I reject the philosophy of selfishnes and self-centeredness that you espouse.

And how would you know what philosophy I espouse? You think I fancy myself a disciple of Erasmus Darwin when I obviously do not. Now you tell me what philosophy I espouse when I have never posted such on this list or any other. I suppose you are a mind reader also.

Ron Patterson


It seems to me that DownSouth is a provocateur, that is to say, a troll. I wouldn't waste my time trying to counter his stuff, because you will never get anywhere.

As someone who seriously needs to watch his blood pressure (that would be me), I'm just sayin'

Peace out...


Yeah, I think you are right Sgage. He seems to know absolutely nothing about Darwin or evolution. The stuff he spouts is....well...just silly. That is the kindest word I can think of right now. Not exactly the best word but the kindest.



I think you make the same mistake that the young Huxley did. You take from Darwin's writings what you want, discarding what doesn't fit your world view. It's the same thing people do when they read the Bible. Two people can read it and come to very different conclusions. They pick and choose what fits their fancy.

And what do you espouse, if it is not Social Darwinism? How else can you explain your original statement?

I have always advocated that you spend your time, energy and resources in an attempt to save your own ass...

That's pretty unequiviocal. The emphasis is on self. It states that one should dedicate one's energies to preserving one's self. Isn't that the very meaning of Social Darwinism?

Was that something that Charles Darwin espoused?

Many prominent thinkers believe that it was not.

But whether it was or wasn't, many people, including Barzun, Bagehot, Haidt and even Huxley in his later years, have come to reject the idea of Social Darwinism, not only on moral grounds, but on practical grounds as well.

I understand that this is a highly controversial issue. Social Darwinism has become very popular in the United States in the past 30 years. It has many adherents. I just don't want to be counted amongst them.

And what do you espouse, if it is not Social Darwinism? How else can you explain your original statement?

I have always advocated that you spend your time, energy and resources in an attempt to save your own ass...

That's pretty unequiviocal.

DS, give us a break. You are clearly painting Ron here with the wrong brush. He called you on it. Get over it, stop digging so to speak.

Erasmus Darwin was a Lamarckian, believing in the inheritance of acquired traits. We now know that this is impossible. Darwin contemplated this possibility but dismissed it...

Not so, Ron. Charles embraced the idea of inheritance of acquired traits his whole life long. To him, natural selection operated along side this mechanism. In fact, it's unfair for the inheritance of acquired traits to be labeled "Lamarckism." Not that Lamaerck didn't believe in it, but so did everyone else in the late 18th century and thruout the 19th century. You should read "Darwin's Influence on Freud: A Tale of Two Sciences" by Lucille B. Ritvo. All his life Freud accepted the inheritance of acquired traits and in fact, psychoanalytic theory is based on this acceptance. Later in life Freud read Lamarck but he had gotten his belief in the inheritance of acquired traits much earlier, from Darwin himself. In the final year of Freud's life, in exile from the Nazis in the UK, the Welsh psychologist Ernest Jones explained natural selection to Freud. Freud realized his mistake & told Jones it would require a lifetime of revision to psychoanalytic theory to purge it of its underpinning in the inheritance of acquired traits and bring it into line with 20th century biological understanding.

Yes you did, Ron. Yes you did. Interesting behavior by DS, eh?

DownSouth, you write:

The problem with your take, Darwinian, is that it is entirely too much like that of the colorful Midland oil tycoon Clayton Williams, who during his 1990 run for Texas governor, advised rape victims that: “As long as it’s inevitable, you might as well lie back and enjoy it.”

Just for the record: Clayton Williams did not 'advise rape victims'. It was an off-colour joke:

The Republican gubernatorial nominee apologized today for an off-the-cuff remark suggesting that some victims of rape should ''relax and enjoy it.''


Mr. Williams made the remark on Saturday while preparing for a cattle roundup at his West Texas ranch. He compared the cold, foggy weather spoiling the event to a rape, telling ranch hands, campaign workers and reporters around a campfire, ''If it's inevitable, just relax and enjoy it.''


Someone mentioned The Langoliers

Perhaps tolerence for the 'parasitic' class was sustainable until resourse depletion hit home for millions of formerly well offs around the world recently. Resource or wealth depletion has been a fact of life for much of the 'colonial' world for quite a while already. Now it's chewing it's way up through the social order.

We're all rapidly becoming Joe Sixpack. We don't like it. The other day a group 'foreclosed on' protesters marched on the homes of the finance executives who were forcing them out of their homes. The executives are living lavishly and contiuing to party on off the bailout funds being supplied by us the taxpayers.

So now it does become a zero sum game. Under the combined weight of peak resources, peak environment and an unbearable top heaviness of the ruling class the whole crumbling edifice is coming down. And yet this 'illusion of functionality' is what has been sustaining BAU for the same FWO class who is now going under.

The various bailouts are based on the premise that it is necessarry to prop up the whole finacial system to sustain the most good for the greatest number in society. To enjoy the benifits of BAU even ,like stranded fishermen, that ice is melting under all of our feet. Even because of the inevitable 'revenge of gaia' and 'limits to growth'and 'peak oil barrier' there is no power on earth that can prevent that foundation from melting away.

Bailout the existing structure so those at the top of the heap and a few hangetrs on can survive or abandon the structure and 'man the lifeboats'. If we believe ,as I think many here do, that the current behaivior of consumptive excess which has been driving massive economic growth and causing furthher resource pressure against finite limits is at the root of the problem, then we also know that the system based on that principle cannot be saved.

Something more eqitable must evolve/replace the current state or we certainly face more deaths than otherwise need be.

Gaia will no more support millions of 10 million dollar a year salaries than she can support a 'beef and Hummer' diet for everyone on the planet. What her true carring capacity today is depends a whole bunch on the weight of the total individual 'footprints' bearing down. It might be less than a billion if we really screw it up but it could be a hell of a lot more if we tread carefully.

I support solotions which aim more at the latter. I think the system has to evolve or come apart and I'm guessing now it's more likely to come apart first and then evolve afterwards. Too many power players unwilling to go willingly. And too many outcasts unwilling to die quietly to keep the players playing. I'm not anxious for collapse to happen but when it does we can either be caught bailing away or building some life boats.

Super discussion today BTW

...her true carring capacity today... might be less than a billion if we really screw it up but it could be a hell of a lot more if we tread carefully.

Are you kidding? Even when our "footprints" were only those of Pleistocene gatherer/scavengers K was only in the vicinity of a few hundred million worldwide. Human population overshoot has so degraded K that it may be only in the millions or few tens of millions, in the near fossil fuel depleted future. It may well be zero.

Hey DD
No I wasn't kidding. Are we in overshoot? waaaay past. Is extiction a possibility yeah I guess but is it the most likely outcome. I doubt it. Esp. if we are talking about the "near fossil depleated future". Heck just a few months ago I was sure the peak oil train was gonna hit us in 2009 and look here we got run over by the bank bus first. Yeah I am the first one to acknowledge the role of PO in it all.

Still I think both you and I may have positioned ourselves to the doomer side of much maligned veteran arch doomer Paul Ehrlich.

The carrying capacity of the Earth depends on the behavior of the individuals. At current behavior we're clearly above the carrying capacity because we're reducing the capacity of the planet to support people in the future. Now that doesn't mean that, in theory, if you worked out a system by which everyone was vegetarian and nobody went anywhere, you might be able to permanently support something like the present population - although few scientists who look at all the factors think that would be possible. By almost any standard, we are beyond carrying capacity now; but that doesn't mean we can't still go beyond that capacity for some time.

and Anne as well

ANNE EHRLICH: I'm not necessarily pessimistic. World population is now growing at 1.5 percent a year, where 30 years ago it was over two percent. Some of the higher population projections are really scary, but some of the lower ones are also possible and we should shoot for them.

Problem is we are dealing with people not yeast or dinosaurs. There are ,what, 6.9 billion of us and millions and millions are already living ,say, 10 to 40 times bigger that we need to be right now. That's quite a bit 'elastic demand' which can squeeze out of the system, (and probably will)

It may well be zero.

Due to overshoot? Seems unlikely. I suppose the wandering hordes in a dystopian future could utterly ravage the planet, but, really, not likely is it? However, if you are including in overshoot a 4C+ rise in temps? Yup. Very possible. I really don't see much chance of survival over 5 or 6C higher than baseline. We'd literally have to be living underground or in the oceans. Maybe a few at the poles... But when you consider what would happen to food production with the temps and weather disruptions, the numbers of people seem likely to have to fall very far.


It should be awfully difficult to kill off the last bands of hunter gatherers on the Patagonia slopes of the Andes (easy to walk from one micro-climate to the next), perhaps Tasmania. Ural Mountains, etc.

In many places, humanity has placed itself as the apex predator. Couple that with knowledge of agriculture (wheat is a complex, multi-millennium genetic modification, add potatoes, etc.), omnivore diet and the ability for small groups to survive is quite high.

When one tribe slaughters another, they typically save the young women, so war seems unlikely to do us in.

Extinction ? Given the proven adaptability of our species, I have a hard time seeing just how.

Best Hopes for the last few millions,


It should be awfully difficult to kill off the last bands of hunter gatherers on the Patagonia slopes of the Andes... perhaps Tasmania.

Ever been to Argentina? It isn't a mestizo society, unlike many in Latin America. General Rosas didn't have too much trouble killing off the Patagonian tribes back in Darwin's day. Read his "Voyage of the Beagle" for the description of Rosa's campaign. It's true that a few "Indios" remain in Patagonia today. But they "hunter gatherers" any more. Like other modern Argentines, I imagine they'd die off pretty quickly, deprived of modern medicine & other accouterments of civilization. Even the true stone age inhabitants of the Andaman Islands are "looked after" by the Indian military.

The aboriginal "hunter gatherers" of Tasmania already are extinct. Genocide waged by Euros killed 'em off without too much difficulty by 1876.

Recent genetics of hunter gatherers not required.

Most likely "worst case" is desperate young individuals in co-operative groups will revert to "garden agriculture" supplemented by hunting & gathering (after a big Die-Off). Die between age 50 & 65 from disease (high infant mortality). Periodic famines are quite possible.

Without burning fossil fuels, the rate of climate change will likely slow significantly, giving more time for adaptation.

Over time, if local climate changes, they will migrate if they cannot adapt. If agriculture cannot be sustained, it will be abandoned (I strongly suspect not). Hunting gathering can go from part time to full time if agriculture is abandoned.


I'm not clear as to whether you are agreeing with me or not, but I said, "the numbers of people seem likely to have to fall very far," not, "We are going to go extinct because of climate change."


It is becoming obvious that the old partisan duality has ceased to serve us well. There are principled conservatives, like Denninger, and there are principled liberals. And even though their concept of morality is different, they seem to be finding common ground in oppositon to the bank bailout.

FMagyar posted a link on another thread the other day to a wonderful lecture that deals with this idea of morality. In it the lecturer, Jonathan Haidt, sets out how liberal morality compares/constrasts to conservative morality. These are of course gross oversimplifications, but here’s how he describes it:

Liberal morality

You can do what you want,

1) just don’t HARM anyone, and
2) be FAIR to other individuals

Conservative morality

1) Don’t HARM anyone, and
2) Be FAIR to other individuals
3) Ingroup/loyalth
4) Authority/respect
5) Purity/sanctity


He later reframes this as follows:

Liberal Concept

Social Capital: social networks and the associated norms of reciprocity and trustworthiness

Conservative Concept

Social Capital: social networks and the associated norms of reciprocity and trustworthiness

[But conservatives believe that] social capital doesn’t just exist in space, [that] it needs an institutional surround...

Moral-communal capital: Social capital, plus institutions, traditions, and norms that guarantee that contributions and hard work will be rewarded, and that free-riders, exploiters and criminals will be punished.

The past behavior of the finance industry, much less Paulson’s and Geithner’s drive to reward that behavior, square with either the conservative or liberal concept of morality. So why can’t conservatives and liberals come together to defeat this thing?

Here I believe Daniel Yankelovich’s insights are key:

Our governance system mainly is one of representative democracy, which implies that the electorate holds those who govern accountable for results after the fact. In this model, the people do not have to be involved in formulating the decision, they just have to be ready to throw the rascals out if they don’t like the results. Our institutions, and our conceptual models of communications with the public, reflect this limited involvement of the people, which is a premise of representative democracy.

--Daniel Yankelovich

Yankelovich identified two more traditional models of communicating with the public, in which most of us are trained and to which we tend to resort automatically:

• the PR-persuasion model, where policy makers arrive at decisions and then devote time and effort to figuring out how best to sell it to the public;

• the public-eductation model, where policy makers and experts realize the public isn’t sufficiently aware of a threat or an opportunity, and spend time and effort bringing the public up to speed.

These more traditional models, he said, pre-suppose that the public has nothing positive to contribute to the formulation of policy or the framing of problems. The resulting communication essentially is one-way—the leader is persuading the followers, or the expert is educating the public. The communicator is active and the audience is passive. Yankelovich argued that while, for the majority of issues, the more traditional models of persuasion and education still are applicable, for the most important issues they no longer suffice.

--Steven A. Rosell et al., Changing Maps: Governing in a World of Rapid Change

So to conclude I would have to say that Frank Rich is absolutely correct:

Even as President Obama refreshingly took responsibility for having “screwed up,” it’s not clear that he fully understands the huge forces that hit his young administration last week.

The tsunami of populist rage coursing through America...could maim the president’s best-laid plans and what remains of our economy if he doesn’t get in front of the mounting public anger.


If I could summarize the first part of your post, the liberals do not have the insight which the conservatives, who screwed up the economy over the last 8 years, all else being equal.

Therefore, your conclusion that President Obama's plans, hopes and dreams are now dead, some three weeks into his (first) term does not surprise me. I have yet to see the "tsunami of populist rage coursing through America" or any semblance thereof. Perhaps in the hearts and minds of those in the financial industry making over $500,000 a year, but not out here in the sticks. How is the tsunami in Mexico ?

"Time and the laws of trade will restore things to an equilibrium if legislatures do not rashly interfere in the natural course of events." - New York Evening Post, June 15, 1819

That statement remains as true today as it was then. However, that statement will be attacked by those on the left thinking that they have some answer to economic natural selection. Further, that statement gets massively distorted by those on the right who have zero interest at all in truly free markets but instead warp the concept as a way to maintain the status quo (fascists).

In my opinion, both groups are flatly wrong. The market operates just like evolution, via natural selection. Market panics are just like natural disruptive events that cause extinctions, which creates new holes in the biosphere which are then filled by new mutations (which might not have survived earlier). In the marketplace, this is exactly what happens when governments don't interfere but that disruptive event can lay low the wealthy, destroying the status quo, even turning it on its head.

But that is precisely why governments do interfere - not to help the average man even if that is the commonly used excuse, but instead to help the wealthy avoid economic extinction. In other words, governments intervene to maintain the corporate status quo (classic fascism).

Indeed, if we stopped interfering, the markets really would find a new equilibrium. But that equilibrium would not keep those currently at the top and that equilibrium might be at a far lower level than we currently have. The market, just like natural selection, "solves" the problem but not necessarily in a manner that we, as individuals, would like.

That is the ugly truth that Republicans refuse to recognize. The market of the last 500 years, fueled by the acquisition of two continents worth of resources by European powers, has led to the illusion that market equilibrium always settles higher than before. This is not true and is just a byproduct of massive resource inflows to Euro-centric cultures. However, now that resource constraints are beginning to be felt, it is entirely possible for the market to settle at lower levels. That's what's wrong with the Republicans.

So what's wrong with the Democrats? Very simply they are like King Canute, dreaming that by arbitrary words and actions that they can hold back the tide of resource depletion.

The Republicans are liars and the Democrats are delusional. Neither group can afford to face the truth, which is that our species must reduce its overall footprint on this planet. That message cannot be "sold" in the political systems that we have erected, all of which are based on ever increasing resource flows.

Ergo, neither party is relevant. Both parties are doomed to fail with any prescription that fails to address root causes - excessive debt to GDP ratios, constrained resource flows, and human biosphere impacts due to the sheer size of our population. Any real solution requires abandoning our entire political class. Good luck with that pipedream!

Indeed, if we stopped interfering, the markets really would find a new equilibrium.

Merton the younger is a representative of the school of neoclassical economics, which, as we have seen with LTCM, represents most powerfully the dangers of Platonified knowledge. Looking at his methodology, I see the following pattern. He starts with rigidly Platonic assumptions, completely unrealistic--such as the Gaussian probabilities, along with many more equally disturbing ones. Then he generates "theorems" and "proofs" from these. The math is tight and elegant. The theorems are compatible with other theorems from Modern Portfolio Theory, themselves compatible with still other theorems, building a grand theory of how people consume, save, face uncertainty, spend, and project the future. He assumes that we know the likelihood of events. The beastly word equilibrium (emphasis his) is always present. But the whole edifice is like a game that is entirely closed like Monopoly with all of its rules.

A scholar who applies such methodology resembles Locke's definiton of a madman: someone "reasoning correctly from erroneous premises."

--Nassim Nichola Taleb, The Black Swan

You, like some Republicans, seem to assume that the word "equilibrium" is interchangeable with wealth, progress, growth, and a host of other illusions. I said, and will repeat (since like Darwinian notes, you seem to not get things the first time) that equilibrium might be at a far, far lower level than currently envisioned. You then trot out quotes, taken out of context and applicable to another situation entirely, and then try to apply such quotes to save your personal worldview. You sound exactly like a Bible thumper. Try saying something relevant.

You then trot out quotes, taken out of context and applicable to another situation entirely...

Au contraire!

Here's what you said:

The market operates just like evolution, via natural selection. Market panics are just like natural disruptive events that cause extinctions, which creates new holes in the biosphere which are then filled by new mutations (which might not have survived earlier). In the marketplace, this is exactly what happens when governments don't interfere but that disruptive event can lay low the wealthy, destroying the status quo, even turning it on its head.

But that is precisely why governments do interfere - not to help the average man even if that is the commonly used excuse, but instead to help the wealthy avoid economic extinction. In other words, governments intervene to maintain the corporate status quo (classic fascism).

Indeed, if we stopped interfering, the markets really would find a new equilibrium. But that equilibrium would not keep those currently at the top...

Taleb's critique is intended to fire a direct broadside into neoclassic thought and one of its linchpins, market worship.

If you want to defend the neoclassic paradigm and its two most important cornerstones--market fundamentalism and laissez faire--by all means do so! But don't try to pretend that those who are critical of your ideology are not. People aren't that stupid, and Taleb is very explicit.

Taleb goes on to say that "someone like Merton tries to be mathematical and airtight rather than focus on fitness to reality." It is Neibuhr who really yanks us back to reality:

The ironic contrast between Jeffersonian hopes and fears for America and the actual realities is increased by the exchange of ideological weapons between the early and the later Jeffersonians. The early Jeffersonians sought to keep political power weak, discouraging both the growth of federal power in relation to the States and confining political control over economic life to the States. They feared that such power would be compounded with the economic power of the privileged and used against the less favored. Subsequently the wielders of great economic power adopted the Jeffersonian maxim that the best possible government is the least possible government. The American democracy, as every other healthy democracy, had leaned to use the more equal distribution of political power inherent in universal sufferage, as leverage against the tendency toward concentration of power in economic life. Culminating in the "New Deal," national governments, based upon an alliance of farmers, workers and middle classes, have used the power of the state to establish minimal standards of "welfare" in housing, social security, health services, etc. Naturally, the higher income groups benefited less from these minimal standards of justice, and paid a proportionately higher cost for them than the proponents of the measures of a "welfare state." The former, therefore, used the ideology of Jeffersonianism to counter these tendencies; while the classes in society which had Jefferson's original interest in equality discarded his ideology because they were less certain than he that complete freedom in economic relations would inevitably make for equality.

--Reinhold Niebuhr, The Irony of American History

You are still missing the point. Taleb specifically says that markets are dominated by chance, just like natural selection. Taleb asserts that markets are stupid, that there is no overarching "mission" to raise standards of living or anything else, that markets are not intelligent at all and do not make "choices". A market result is simply the combination of random factors that worked at that moment in time.

Thus, if you simply let the market "work itself out", you will find the entire system settling in at some new equilibrium level, just like punctuated evolutionary events, dominated by chance, not necessarily better than before (and not necessarily worse), but different.

That very chaotic nature of what happens in an unfettered market is exactly why governments intervene, trying to play god and decide winners and losers by affecting the random chance events because in doing so, the politicians utilizing that power are doing the one thing they know how to do in order to keep themselves in power. From their perspective it is better to trust the status quo than some entirely revamped new economic order. And worse, if that new economic order is worse than its predecessor, politicians know that they are first in line for the lynch mobs.

This is precisely why the IMF found that in 124 prior financial crises which they studied that governments intervened 124 times and failed 124 times. And here we are about to intervene a 125th time with people like you cheering on this nonsense because you think that somehow it's going to be different. It won't. The random factors will almost assuredly neutralize any government intervention and the scope of this event is such that government intervention has an extraordinarily high probability of leaving us all even worse off than if government had not intervened. You may want to take the bet that the 125th time will be different. I sure won't and no amount of defending such nonsense on your part will convince me that taking that bet is a good idea.

Is there a link for the 124 intervention analysis? It would be interesting to see the list of past faults, and past failures. At the very least we should come up with a new way to fail!

I'm sorry, GreyZone, I read Taleb's Black Swan and I don't remember him saying those things. You're going to have to give specific quotes and citations, just like I did. You can go directly to pp. 282-283 and read what I quoted, verbatim, and you can see where he referred to the "equilibrium" as "beastly."

It is difficult for me to gleen exactly what it is that you are trying to say, but it all seems to boil down to the fact that you are pretty thoroughly convinced that your predictions and your forecasts will come true. It is my reading of Taleb, however, that this sort of prediction-making is exactly what he warns against. What he advises is to "invest in preparedness, not in prediction." (p.208)

His writings seem to echo those of Kees van der Hijden, who was a member of Royal/Dutch Shell's Group Planning at Shell headquarters in London. "At the simplest level," van der Hijden writes, "forecasting is a statistical extrapolation of past data, and it is the first mode to fail in periods of rapid change."

Van der Hijden, and I beleive Taleb would agree, prefers scenario planning, a methodology developed by the military, used in war games, over forecasting and predicting. As he explains: "They (scenarios or simulation models) are based on the assumption that there is a stable underlying structure of relationships. In times of structural change, that assumption cannot hold." So instead of marrying oneself to a forecast or prediction, scenario planning instead posits a number of possible scenarios or outcomes, and tries to prepare as well as possible for all of them.

I also question your description and use of the IMF study, especially your assertion that the "IMF found that in 124 prior financial crises which they studied that governments intervened 124 times and failed 124 times." This statement is at best a gross distortion, and at worst an outright lie.

What the IMF working paper did say was this:

Existing empirical research has shown that providing assistance to banks and their borrowers can be counterproductive, resulting in increased losses to banks, which often abuse forbearance to take unproductive risks at government expense. The typical result of forbearance is a deeper hole in the net worth of banks, crippling tax burdens to finance bank bailouts, and even more severe credit supply contraction and economic decline than would have occurred in the absence of forbearance.


Another place where you get it entirely wrong is in this statement: "And here we are about to intervene a 125th time with people like you cheering on this nonsense because you think that somehow it's going to be different."

All I can say is: Prove it! I have never argued in favor of bailing out any of these financial institutions, and have in fact been a vocal opponent of the bail outs.

I must say, GreyZone, you play a little bit too fast and loose with the truth for my tastes.

Nouriel Roubini: "../in the bad bank model the government may overpay for the bad assets as the true value of them is uncertain; even in the guarantee model there can be such implicit over-payment (or over-guarantee that is not properly priced). Thus, paradoxically nationalization may be a more market friendly solution: it creates the biggest hit for common and preferred shareholders of clearly insolvent institutions and – possibly – even the unsecured creditors in case the bank insolvency is too large; it provides a fair upside to the tax-payer; it can resolve the problem of government managing the bad assets by reselling most of the assets and liabilities of the bank to new private shareholders after a clean-up of the bank." (This is patterned after the Swedish bank nationalization program that resulted in the recovery of the Swedish national economy)

Nouriel Roubini's RGE Monitor Blog post for 2/10/09, "It is time to nationalize the banks."


I agree with Roubini, Denninger, Yves Smith, Barry Ritholtz and every other blogger I've ever read or person I've talked to in the last three months. Nationalize the insolvent banks and liquidate them.

Who's for these bailouts other than those who stand to benefit directly from them or their lackeys like Geithner and Summers?


You guys might want to read that. Pdf, but not long or large.

Upshot? Stimulus won't stimulate.


The details of the bank bailout are not a part of the stimulus bill. The planned tactics being used to try to solve the banking crisis are to buy toxic assets from banks and make the U.S. Treasury into a bad bank. It seems the taxpayers get taxed for government services and the Federal bureaucracy might invest in the same paper that took down banks, perhaps at a 20% discount. This puts the public sector at credit risk. At the very least any plan should include bank reform as part of the deal. Washington should not give Wall St. something for nothing. The government should not have to clean up the mess of trillions of dollars of deravtives exposure that might go bad, when a bank's function is to borrow at low rates and lend at higher rates, not bet on derivatives. Banks receiving assistance should not be allowed to make high risk subprime loans with no money down. There should be minimum down payments and credit standards required for mortgages issued. The private mortgage insurance system did not provide a safety net as they were some of the first to go bankrupt when the crisis hit. To tell the truth if the banking industry cannot clean up its act it should not receive public support.

The details of the bank bailout are not a part of the stimulus bill.



So you've read Taleb's book! Yay for you! Have you read any articles about him? Have you read interviews in print? Have you watched his comments in interviews on air? What are you doing, taking Taleb's book as some sort of Bible?

Taleb makes clear through extensive discussion, such as this interview with Charlie Rose, that markets are simply dominated by randomness, which is why black swan events take markets completely by surprise. That is the entire point of his book - Fooled By Randomness. The markets are dominated by random events, that weed out the unprepared. That's why I compared it to natural selection - the analogy is very apt.

But it is also why black swan events take governments by surprise. Governments respond to such events with known formulaic policies, policies which are intended to reinforce the status quo. Yet such events are random and unexpected so the status quo is being ripped apart by the black swan event itself.

I am not defending neoclassical market philosophy but rather pointing out that nothing we have done "rationally" does any better than allowing the event to play itself out, with whatever consequences shall come. Over and over again, we intervene, only to dig ourselves in ever deeper holes. Japan roughly doubled its public debt in ongoing efforts to "stimulate" its way out of its long term recession, yet it failed and now Japan is stuck with bridges and highways to nowhere and the debt associated with those useless "infrastructure" projects. In short, we are not the brilliant species we think we are. We are killer apes, red in tooth and claw, and we lie to ourselves constantly about how much we think we know. We are not rational creatures at all. We are rationalizing creatures.

Taleb is completely correct when he wrote about "pseudo science hurting markets". And that is all that Bernanke, Obama, and Geithner have - MORE PSEUDO SCIENCE! Why in hell's name should we go down a path dominated by modern day astrologers and entrail gazers? Just let it fail. In fact, letting it fail looks more likely to induce serious out-of-the-box thinking than more of the same old business as usual thinking. And right now we need to look at these problems with fresh perspectives if we are not going to make ourselves and most other large animal species extinct.

Without intervention by government, the "natural" outcome over the last 4000 years has NOT been that elites will fall quickly, but that the unfair advantages of property ownership will cause them to acquire more and more of their neighbor's land until they become a feudal ruling class, with a vested interest in creating a government that only is strong in the matters they desire. Eventually this will create extreme inequality and the danger of revolution or unopposed conquest by outsiders, but the latter does not end feudalism, and the former creates interventionist government, which you oppose.

In 6th century BC Greece, the polarization of wealth led to many revolutions against monarchies, and the creation of new forms of government, which according to Aristotle often redistributed wealth and even reorganized families to end privileges. Result? The Classical Age. The idea of democracy. Science. When an empire came along that imposed the infallibility of class privilege, democracy vanished for 2000 years and little improved for the masses.

Better a hundred revolutions and interventions rather than a monopoly of power for the monstrous deformities known as landlords. Better the extinction of the human race than the dead end of private-property serfdom. Even if we must go back to a steady-state economy, we still will have souls that can recognize injustice.

Super390, you have pointed out what you consider flaws in Homo sapiens and lamented how terrible they are. Better to go extinct than live with them you say. However they are innate. Almost every species on earth has its own territorial imperative. Chimps have it, wolves have it, lions have it and humans have it. And all these species also have their own internal pecking order. And these animals will defend their territory as well as their pecking order, often to the death. It is in our genes Super.

You may think death is better than live with our genetic tendencies, but fortunately the vast majority of humanity disagrees with you.

Ron Patterson

...fortunately the vast majority of humanity disagrees with you.

"Fortunately" for whom? For the vast number of species driven extinct by human aquisitive activity? For ecosystem integrity? For exploited stressed out individual ecocidal apes, subject to an insane cultural milieu? For Native Americans subject to genocide, the inhabitants of Hiroshima & Nagasaki, guests at a wedding celebration in Afghanistan blasted with a hellfire missile fired from a drone? Go back to playing around with Excel Ron. Anthropocentric self-aggrandizement doesn't suit you.

No DD, fortunate that the majority of humanity does not blame everyone else for the prediciment they find themselves in and think death a better alternative. It has nothing to do with all the terriable things you name. The world is simply the way it is DD, and to go around blaming everyone else, or other human institutions for our woes is a pitiful way to live your life.

The world is the way it is DD, and choosing death rather than acknowledge that fact just shows one's mental failures in understanding the world.

And I think contemplating the human predicament and commenting on it suits me very well thank you. Also I must comment on your handle “DarwinsDog”. That was the nickname given to Thomas Huxley, “Darwin’s Bulldog.” I don’t think it suits you very well however. Though I understand why you would think it would.

Ron Patterson

So then the Athenians should never have tried to violently overthrow their monarch and their corrupt landlords 2500 years ago to take the risk of something better? So nothing that followed was of value - including the idea that we should rationally study and criticize the injustices we see?

I think it is more of a mental failure to accept slavery than death; unless, of course, you aspire to be a slaveowner.

So then the Athenians should never have tried to violently overthrow their monarch and their corrupt landlords 2500 years ago to take the risk of something better? So nothing that followed was of value - including the idea that we should rationally study and criticize the injustices we see?

OTOH, we have to be aware that revolution is a dangerous process, with highly uncertain results. It should not be undertaken lightly.

No DD, fortunate that the majority of humanity does not blame everyone else for the prediciment they find themselves in.

Okay then. Laying blame is pretty useless, I agree. We're all ecocidal Afrikan apes; may as well blame ourselves. Or blame selection. Or blame nobody & nothing. In an ateleological universe it's a moot point. "Blame" implies "fault" & fault implies "purpose." No purpose, no fault, no blame.

Also I must comment on your handle “DarwinsDog”.

I suppose you've read Huxley's "Evolution and Ethics," 1896. In it, he makes the case that the very essence of human ethics & morality consists of opposing amoral natural selection. Care for the unfit, & all that. A lofty & high-minded ambition: Do all in our power to give everyone the opportunity to breed. Huxley was a physician & ship's surgeon, after all. A high-minded man of science, a healer & moral philosopher, a man who's heart was surely in the right place (okay, so he was a homophobe, no one is perfect). Following his moral imperative has resulted in 6.7 x 10^9 rapacious primates running amok, plundering resources & poisoning the atmosphere & waters of the Earth with the waste products of their frenzied activities. The essence of morality leads to this: the devastation of a biosphere. Damned if we do, damned if we don't...

You never did explain how massive basaltic outpourings are supposed to somehow attract the bolide.

The essence of morality leads to this: the devastation of a biosphere. Damned if we do, damned if we don't...

Well, at least on this we can agree.

You never did explain how massive basaltic outpourings are supposed to somehow attract the bolide.

I never made any such claim. I am shocked that you would resort to such tricks DD, implying that I had made such a very stupid claim when you know very well that I did not. What I did say was that the basaltic outpourings, the Deccan Traps, started before the meteor strike and ended well after the strike. They lasted for almost half a million years but were in spurts of perhaps thousands of years each, never a steady flow.

Ron Patterson

I never made any such claim. I am shocked that you would resort to such tricks DD, implying that I had made such a very stupid claim when you know very well that I did not.

You made no such explicit claim, that's true. But the crust ruptures at the end-Permain in what we now call Siberia, magma pours out, and WHAM! the Bedout water-ice bolide impacts. Then at the end-Cretaceous the crust ruptures of its own accord again, in what's now called India, magma pours out, and Ka-Boom! Chicx strikes. Mere concidence? Your take on things would seem to imply there's something out there in the Oort belt gunnin' for planets leaking magma.

My mistake. The metor hit the earth 300,000 years before the Decca Traps.

"The Chicxulub impact could not have caused the mass extinction," says Princeton University paleontologist Gerta Keller, "because this impact predates the mass extinction and apparently didn't cause any extinctions."

Marine sediments drilled from the Chicxulub crater itself, as well as from a site in Texas along the Brazos River, and from outcrops in northeastern Mexico reveal that Chicxulub hit Earth 300,000 years before the mass extinction. Small marine animal microfossils were left virtually unscathed, says Keller.

Far More Than A Meteor Killed Dinos, Evidence Suggests

Volcanic Eruptions, Not Meteor, May Have Killed The Dinosaurs

The metor hit the earth 300,000 years before the Decca Traps.

At least that would explain why Courtillot, et al., could find no Ir enrichment within the traps.

And what about the end-Permian? I'm just not buying the idea that the observed fact that major bolide impacts & massive basaltic outpourings occurred together or close together in time, is attributable to mere coincidence.

Nobody credible in the field thinks impact had anything to do with the Permian extinction. Bedout is not well dated and not everyone even accepts that it's an impact crater. It is also not located on what would have been the antipode of the Siberian Traps ~250 Ma.

The best recent summary of the P/T extinction event in the literature is called "Paleophysiology and the end-Permian extinction", by Andy Knoll et al., 2007. I forget which journal offhand but the word "paleophysiology" will return sufficiently few hits to make it obvious. My advisor's book Under a Green Sky, also 2007, puts it into meaningful context by comparison with the other major mass extinctions. Essentially, they almost all show broad similarities, with the Permian being the most severe end-member.

After the Alvarez hypothesis (K/T impact) gained wide support, it became the paradigm in mass extinction research for awhile to attribute ALL of them to bolide impact. Instead, that has been shown not to be the case for most of them. K/T instead appears to be the one major exception. It's less clear, and I know less about it myself. Gerta Keller appears to have a point, but it remains controversial.

Out of curiosity, what's your (or your advisor's) thinking on the recently presented theory that the Younger Dryas cooling was caused by a comet impact/explosion? The event is said to have precipitated the end of the Clovis culture and contributed to the loss of the megafauna in North America about the same time.


E. Swanson

I've heard about that recently, but haven't read the original paper. What I have heard from colleagues, IIRC, is that the nano-diamonds are interesting but are hardly conclusive evidence for an impactor. I also find it curious that they're pushing the "climate change" angle in the megamammal extinctions. Undoubtedly this is so they can include the bolide they posit as part of the chain of causation, but the evidence for Overkill being the proximate cause, and not the Younger Dryas, is quite strong. Thus, it smacks of sensationalism (like most science writing in popular media, unfortunately).

However, since the primary source may not be slanted in the same way, I'll try and read the original article sometime this week. However, I should mention that I'm not a climatologist or an impact expert (I'm a marine invertebrates guy). As for Peter, his inclination would be to reject the impact scenario unless it came with strong evidence, which this seems to lack.

I can't find it in the online edition but in this weeks New Scientist there was an item about this. They say that although it has been reported in the media experts in the field can find no hard evidence that the comet impact/explosion ever happened.

The meteor hit the earth 300,000 years before the Decca Traps.

There is always the antipodal theory for the meteoric cause of the volcanism. A lot of energy from the impact gets deposited under the antipode (exact opposite side of the earth from the impact). According to this conjecture, it heats up the upper mantle/lower crust enough to cause the episode of massive volcanism. Personally I am a bit skeptical, is there really enough energy for that?

Depends how big the bolide is, I guess. The impact that created the Moon probably melted the entire crust of the planet to a depth of hundreds of meters.

This one was maybe a hundred thousand times less massive, but it's still an awful big whack.

The moon-forming impact melted more than just the crust--the dense cores of both the interloper and the nascent Earth were able to merge. This resulted in the moon's iron deficiency; IIRC, it is thought to be composed largely of mantle material.

Fortunately, objects of that size (Theia/Orpheus was ~as large as Mars) are no longer errantly wandering the solar system :) Nor have they been anytime in the Phanerozoic. You're right that the K/T killer was of an entirely different scale.

I did not believe Potassium-Argon dating was accurate within 300,000 years with a 64-66 million year old sample.

Markets do not = humanity any more than corporations = a person. You are playing in the realm of fantasy and fallacy. For your view to be correct, it would be impossible for egalitarian societies to exist and succeed, yet they do exist and do succeed.

The point that you seem to be trying to make is that markets reflect genetics. Fine, so far as it goes, but you take it past that point to say the market is (equal to) genetics. However, the fact is markets are abstracts and exist largely within a relatively new development, fractional banking. Very little of what we call our economy today could exist as such without fractional banking, and that has nothing to do with genetics except that it is based in greed. OK, some people are greedy. BUT, it is not inevitable that the greedy must have their way. Again, egalitarian societies DO exist.

What you describe as human nature is more likely human illness. As with (other) animals kept in too-cramped space, we become mentally and emotionally ill. Perhaps it is that simple? Yes, yes, I know, those bloodthirsty aboriginals, our forbears!

Let's go ahead and say we are doomed to be so very, very human. OK. Still, your subtext seems to be since we are greedy little buggers, forget about it and don't worry about attempting to create a larger egalitarian society because it will fail. It's impossible.

If that is what you are getting at, then what would be the point of going forward at all? If we are doomed to boom and bust, then it is just a matter of luck whether you are born into misery or plenty. Your individual hard work notwithstanding.

Despite my doomerish outlook, that's going a bit too far even for me. Steady state and egalitarian are possible, but not likely until all that excess energy is no longer available to fuel gobsmackingly huge levels of greed. That realization, stand together or perish, should have some impact on what you imply is purely genetics.


For your view to be correct, it would be impossible for egalitarian societies to exist and succeed, yet they do exist and do succeed....
Steady state and egalitarian are possible, but not likely until all that excess energy is no longer available to fuel gobsmackingly huge levels of greed.

A total myth. While it is true that some small groups are, or were, nearley egalitarian, with only one "Big Man", there are no whole societies that are egalitarian. And as far as living in a "steady state" that would be impossible.

Not only are human societies never alone, but regardless of how well they control their own population or act ecologically, they cannot control their neighbors’ behavior. Each society must confront the real possibility that its neighbors will not live in ecological balance but will grow its numbers and attempt to take the resources from nearby groups. Not only have societies always lived in a changing environment, but they always have neighbors. The best way to survive in such a milieu is not to live in ecological balance with slow growth, but to grow rapidly and be able to fend off competitors as well as take resources from others.
Steven LeBlanc, “Constant Battles: The Myth of the Peaceful, Noble Savage” page 73


Ron, spot on as usual. But I'm sure you would disagree with the optimism of the concluding paragraph of Steven LeBlanc's fascinating book:

For the first time in history, we have a real ability to provide adequate resources for everyone living on the planet. If we have reached a point at which we can live within the Earth's carrying capacity, we can eliminate warfare in the same way as we can eliminate infectious disease: not perfectly. not immediately, but slowly and surely.

[CB, page 230]

Yeah, I do very much disagree with LeBlanc here. The problem is that his first premise is wrong. We have not reached a point at which we can live within the Earth's carrying capacity. Also eliminating infectious disease is something almost everyone wants. Eliminating warfare is something everyone also wants, but for most only after they have wiped their neighbors off the face of the earth. ;-)


You might be interested in reading some research on the issue, e.g., by Douglas P. Fry, The Human Potential for Peace: An Anthropological Challenge to Assumptions about War and Violence. Fry meticulously documents several peaceful (and relatively egalitarian) societies of differenc sizes.

A total myth. While it is true that some small groups are, or were, nearley egalitarian, with only one "Big Man", there are no whole societies that are egalitarian.

Thinking in absolutes blinds one to the gray shades of reality. Even if there are "no whole societies that are egalitarian", a simple glance at the GINI coefficient ranges in wikipedia will show that there is a huge range in income and wealth inequality among different societies on the planet today. None are perfect, but Norway has a ratio between top and bottom 10% of 6.1, the US has 15.9, Brazil has 51.2, and Bolivia has 168.1.

Some may believe that the market is manifest destiny, like genetics or astrophysics, but clearly successful political manipulations of market results all over the planet prove the opposite is true. Believing that markets are omnipotent and autonomous is a self-fulfilling prophecy as the Republicans are finding out (Those who believe that markets cannot be controlled are, not suprisingly, unable to control them).

A total myth. While it is true that some small groups are, or were, nearley egalitarian, with only one "Big Man", there are no whole societies that are egalitarian.

Rubbish. You are contradicting yourself. Or do you think society = a particular size?

You are way beyond listening on this issue, so I'll leave it at that: rubbish.

As for your second quote: any idiot can point out there is competition among cultures and societies. What's the point? You seem to be conflating society with global population.

Your arrogance on this topic is underwhelming. In discussing the future, it is entirely appropriate to discuss what can be or what might be, not just what has been. Even I would not go so far as to assume what all of human future history will be. I suggest the same to you.

BTW, unlikely or nearly impossible do not equal impossible. We see various movements today that could lead to widespread social re-engineering in more of an egalitarian model. I see transition towns, relocalization movements and even the Slow Money and Slow Food programs moving things that way.


your subtext seems to be since we are greedy little buggers, forget about it and don't worry about attempting to create a larger egalitarian society because it will fail. It's impossible.

I don't know if it's impossible or not. Seems like it ought to be at least possible in theory. But history lends no confidence in it's being possible since if it was, why has it never happened? All those quaint little 19th century utopian communities: each & every one degenerating into bickering, power struggles & sexual jealousy. What makes you think that strangers thrown together in a stressful, resource depleted environment, will manage any better?

Darwinian - Please change your rhetoric. You should say "However, I believe, they are innate." You can make a strong argument for it. And you should. However, it is not a decided upon and YOU have no special insight on the "Truth" in this matter. As is, it just comes off as arrogance.

Oh, and please stay out of my genes.

Shaman, when such human behavior has been observed over the entire course of human history, it can only be innate. We have observed wolves, their territorial imperative, and pecking order, alpha males and so on, and rightly infer that such behavior is innate. It would not be logical to say that Homo sapiens are somehow exempt from innate behavior, that our behavior is somehow exempt from our genes and is controlled only by our environment.

Such a claim would be the height of arrogance. And I am very sorry that you are ashamed of your genes.


It would not be logical to say that Homo sapiens are somehow exempt from innate behavior, that our behavior is somehow exempt from our genes and is controlled only by our environment.

It would not be logical... given your starting point. That is what I am questioning. I simply do not accept your assumption that "such human behavior has been observed over the entire course of human history." Unless, of course, you are speaking strictly about "history," but then I wouldn't consider a mere 6000 years to tell us much about our "innateness."

As for your false distinction between genes and the environment, given that the "self" has no direct experience of genes, wouldn't it be safe to say that they are indeed a part of the environment?

And I'm not ashamed about my genes, just don't want you in them. Sorry, I'm just not that into you. (Here's hoping my pop culture reference is at least close).

Unless, of course, you are speaking strictly about "history," but then I wouldn't consider a mere 6000 years to tell us much about our "innateness."

Really now! Six thousand years! About twenty-four thousand generations! Jane Goodall studied only four or five generations of gorillas and told us a great deal about their innate behavior. Ditto for Pavlov and scores of other students of animal behavior.

Naw, we are but animals Shaman, and it is really not that difficult for a trained psychologist to ascertain what behavior is innate and what is not. And they don't need thousands of generations to do that. And even an archeologist can look at cave paintings, pottery and bones, stone tools and so on, and see a pattern of behavior that has been pretty well constant over many thousands of years. Try reading "Constant Battles" by Steven LeBlanc and you will get the picture.


I think you multiplied when you meant to divide or something. 6000 years divided by 25 years per generation = 240 generations.

But your point is still valid.

Yeah, sorry. Thanks for the correction.


LOL there's your answer to the question : man or mouse ?

Oh, and because Goodall made the mistake of thinking she could explain all there is about gorillas in a few generations, I'm supposed to believe you can do the same with humans. (24000 generations is perhaps 6% of the total number of human generations - and that 6% is all crowded into the most recent end of the time spectrum - not exactly what I'd call a reasonable sample.)

What you forget about these "animal behavior" studies, and when you label us "animals" (whatever that's supposed to mean), is that there is a human being in there labeling and interpreting.

Same goes with your single-minded interpretation of cave paintings and other artifacts. Want to see a chipped flint as a weapon? You'll see it. Try Reading "The Chalice and the Blade" by Rianne Eisler and you will get the picture.

Or not, and see, that is really my point. You are setting yourself up as the knower of Truth. When in actuality all you are is the knower.

Oh, and because Goodall made the mistake of thinking she could explain all there is about gorillas...

Jane Goodall studied chimps (Pan troglodytes) at the Gombi Reserve, Tanzania. It was Dian Fossey who studied mt. gorillas in the Virunga Volcanos, on the border of Rwanda, Uganda & the Republic of the Congo.

(24000 generations is perhaps 6% of the total number of human generations...

At 15 yrs per generation, 24,000 generations represents 360K yrs. The oldest anatomically human remains, from Afar Ethiopia, are only about 190K yrs old, and the mitochondrial coalescent gives the date of speciation around 125K yrs. Hence, your assertion that 24K generations represents only 6% of total human generations, is absurd.

Try Reading "The Chalice and the Blade" by Rianne Eisler...

I've read it, and found it to be a superstitious mishmash of opinionated feminist nonsense; definitely NOT the scholarly work of cultural anthropology she purports it to be. Lingam & yoni symbolism teleported to the Celts, is all it amounts to.

Thanks for the corrections - but since I was simply using Darwinians statements... I'll leave the conclusion to you.

If that's what you got from Eisler, than you probably got what you were supposed to. That you label it "superstitious mishmash of opinionated feminist nonsense" probably shows more about you than it does about the book.

But it doesn't change my point, indeed, reinforces it. You are engaged in interpretation. You nor Darwinian nor I are the font of some absolute truth. As long as we speak as though we understand that, preface our remarks by indicating the basis on which we state them, then all is fine and we can continue the discussion. But when one side in a discussion claims to have access to "the source," discussion comes to a grinding halt.

You see, I know for a fact that you're dog dug that hole in my lawn because God saw it and told me.

As long as we speak as though we understand that, preface our remarks by indicating the basis on which we state them, then all is fine and we can continue the discussion.

It goes without saying that all we think we know is tentative, and amenable to change upon the receipt of new & better information. I don't often take the time to preface my posts with the like of "In my opinion..." or "As far as I know..." I try to be concise & my posts often must appear to be quite blunt. From now on please consider everything I say to be qualified by some such statement as the above.

As for Diane Eisler, she writes about archaic egalitarian matriarchal societies as if evidence for their existence has actually been found. No such evidence exists & the matriarchal utopias she writes about exist only in myth & imagination. Which is fine, so long as she fesses up to the truth. But she leads her readers to believe these societies were real, i.e., she's a liar.

It's not just a matter of saying "in my opinion." Such would be pointless. It is a matter of telling from where we are basing those opinions. If you want to speak from the perspective of "science" (though I'm not sure that would be a unific p.o.v.), that's fine as long as you recognize it and further recognize the limitations of "science." It is when a discussant claims "this is how it is" that continued discussion ends. Then it just becomes a battle of who's god is bigger and stronger.

Your "concerns" about Eisler are precisely why I introduced her into the discussion. Darwinian like to throw around his authors and quotes as if that gave some sort of credence to his claims for "Truth" knowledge.

You say that she has no "evidence" because what she writes about is only in "myth and imagination." But it is you that has set the rules of evidence before making that statement. An alternative position could argue that it is you that has no evidence because what you say can not be found in myth or imagination. How can such a discussion get anyone anywhere?

Now, I'm not saying that there isn't means by which to argue that one interpretation is better than another. But doing so is going to require some discussion about why one argument is stronger/better/more convincing - what does it do for me the reader that the other one doesn't? "Correct" has to do with whether the argument fits the underlying mental infrastructure or not. It could be that two diametrically opposed opinions are both "correct" given the underlying assumptions of each proponent. "True" is a value judgment - a judgment about the underlying assumption.

So, when you say that Eisler "leads her readers to believe these societies were real, i.e., she's a liar," you are judging her based on your assumptions, not hers. Clearly, she would call you the liar for continuing to promote a dominant patriarchal control over history.

My point isn't that one is right or wrong. My point is that it's a discussion, and trying to end it through reference to God (or Science or whatever) isn't going to benefit anybody. Winning is for losers (in this case).


Lingam & yoni symbolism teleported to the Celts ...

Beautifully put! Rianne Eisler's stuff truly belongs to the 'DaVinci Code' end of the scientific spectrum.

Try Reading "The Chalice and the Blade" by Rianne Eisler and you will get the picture.

A couple of reviewers:

The author, Riane Eisler, paints history with a broad brush. Most, if not all, of her sources are other feminist authors. The original source material is rarely consulted, even for refutation.

It is possible that Eisler has extrapolated a few scraps of evidence into a highly idealized society that didn't really exist.

The Chalace and the Blade is a work of complete fiction. Eisler is a feminist and writes revisionist history to fit the feminist point of view. Her gods are all godesses. Her utopia has female always at least equal to the males. She would be more believable were the book not written with such a feminist slant. She is just another utopian dreamer painting a picture of a society that never existed.....and never will.


Ok, so you want to admit it now, the point went right over your head?

What a useless, snarky reply.

Why is everyone being such an a**hole today? (Actually, it's been building for a couple of days now.)

It's like no one wants to listen and learn and discuss, they just want to be Right (TM) and win some kind of pissing match.

You guys usually have useful stuff to offer, and debate honestly, but lately it seems to be all about "winning" something or other.

Full Moon? Dismal economic news? Forgot our meds?

Whatever, can we simmer down?

Sgage, you are absolutely correct and I am just as guilty as everyone else. But hell, it is a lot of fun. ;-) Ron

Me too, sometimes. Well, as long as everyone is having fun...

But Leanan is going to lay down the smack when she gets back :-) :-)

"Dungeons and Doomers".. Videogames for the iconoclasts.

"Sgage, you are absolutely correct and I am just as guilty as everyone else. But hell, it is a lot of fun. ;-) Ron"

And Nero fiddled while Rome burned.

This whole DB IS quite honestly just a bunch of jerkoff twaddle.

We are in trouble on this planet and its more like "Fun With Dick and Jane" time.

Funny to me but the last , never released, reader poll showed about 3,000 responders IFRC...yet it seems about only 40 or so , maybe less, makes all the comments!!!

What is wrong with this picure?

Why am I even here , I sometimes wonder?

Why is anyone else here? Much of what I read yields a few nuggets that can be used...and the rest is emotional wordplay and hubris.

At least the snarky snake CCPO has taken a break. Maybe it was even too much for his egostroking to suffer.


"This whole DB IS quite honestly just a bunch of jerkoff twaddle."

Not sure I could have put it better myself. Although I usually dignify it with the phrase "thinking out loud" :-)

We are probably here for many reasons. With all the snarkiness and head-butting, we are still a community of sorts. I hang out in the real world with all kinds of people. I don't worry all that much about whether they agree with my take on things or not. The point is that we're thinking about the same things, and we convince each other that we're not insane for asking the questions. To hell with the answers, just the very questions!

That's the thing - here on TOD, we're butting heads and debating and arguing about stuff that doesn't even show up on the radar of the vast majority of the population.

I think that's why we're here. The very fact that we can argue semi-cogently about the things we argue over is somehow special, given the state of the culture.


Being an arse does not become you. Crochety and opinionated, yes, but an arse? No.

I like your posts in the main. I appreciate them. Why you are so venomous to me is beyond me. It's childish. I do vaguely recall an exchange months ago in which we disagreed, but for chrissakes, man, give it up! I don't even remember what it was about!


I apologize to all if that was "snarky."

It gets very hard to resist being snarky sometimes, and sometimes the hardest part is even realizing it. But we all do it at times in the heat of an argument. Avoiding snark on internet discussions is something of an ideal, not something I expect to achieve 100% :-) It just that it snowballs sometimes and becomes obvious and boring.

At least you didn't just say "Whoosh!" Now THAT's snarky! :-)

Whatever - one man's snark is another man's wit, I suppose. I think there is a distinction, though. Just don't ask me to define it, ha ha!

I think that the TOD community senses that the end is near.

We are getting nervous and with good reason.

That's what I think, actually. Nerves are at "concert pitch"...

BMW, sgage et al.

I'm getting the same vibe. There seems to be a collective unease, here in cyberspace and with people I see every day. The difference is that the people I see on the street don't want to talk about it, and I understand that.

For me, after seeing the writing on the wall for many years, I am still struck by the rapidity of the changes.

I think what we are seeing is one of the suggested stair steps on the way down, although it could take off in a very unpleasant way. The financial shenanigans have introduced a much higher level of instability to the mix, and have at least temporarily nixed meaningful adaptation, due to future discounting and all that.

I hope we can all take a deep breath, including me, and concentrate on the issues at hand.


I understand it too. I find myself being gentler with folks than I was a few months ago. It's getting very real and intense...

Yep, six months ago I was probably unkind, but it was out of frustration that no one would listen, stuck in denial.

Now, few people call me crazy, as everything I said appears to be coming to pass. It hasn't made me any more popular though, as there seems to be an unspoken, and perhaps undefinable fear that something is very wrong.

Since then, I have not even done one "I told you so." and I don't have the heart to say that this is just a rehearsal.

The Gristmill posted a link http://gristmill.grist.org/story/2009/2/3/142425/2971 for a three part broadcast called Climate Wars. It's a three hour series that goes by quickly. It wraps up the whole ACC future scenario about as well as I have ever heard. IMO, it is just as applicable to PO, peak everything, but with a shortened time frame. I think it's well worth the time.


Rather its just netjunkies getting a daily fix.

They could care less about reality. Its make believe. Down the rabbit hole we go with pissing contests raging on.


What you forget about these "animal behavior" studies, and when you label us "animals" (whatever that's supposed to mean), is that there is a human being in there labeling and interpreting.

Sorry, we are animals, maybe with the capability to label and interpret but still animals, end of story. I thought we had evolved a bit beyond the old homunculus idea...then again

Homunculus the little label maker

Why this persistent obsession with GDP to deficit ratios when GDP covers such a small percentage of the money that flows from person to person. Even in bad times the money that changes hands on Wall St dwarfs the money changing hands on Main St. A 2% tax on Wall St money movements would double federal revenue and eliminate deficits.

For anyone who has pointed to the bankers for greed, please understand that it is absolutely inconceivable for the poor slobs to live on less then 500 K per year


I mean, it's obvious that a certain lifestyle is necessary if you are a banker.

sarconol off/

An ode to the masters of the universe:

The Duc de Saint-Simon, who bitingly chonicled Louis's reign in his memoirs, wrote, "The abominable poison of flattery deified him in the very midst of Christendom." One bowed to him, one bowed even to the food that he was to eat as it was carried along the corridors. One trembled before "his fearful majesty" as before the presence of God. Indeed, it is sometimes not easy to tell whether the King considered himself as God's lieutenant on earth or God as his own lieutenant in heavan. After hearing the account of the disastrous battle of Ramillies, for example, Louis exclaimed: "What! Has God forgotten all I have done for Him?"

As a symbol of his authority, and to house his many courtiers, Louis created a colossal chateau on the scrubby marshlands of Versailles, some 10 miles west of Paris... For over 40 years thousands of workers--craftsmen, artisans and builders--labored to construct a showplace that is a perfect expression of Louis's reign...

The huge structure, which covered some 15 acres and housed about 10,000 people, cost six of every 10 francs gathered by the King's tax collectors...

The year 1686...marked the climax of Louis XIV's reign... France was plunged into a series of disastrous wars. Commanded by generals who knew better how to maneuver at court than in the field, his armies suffered badly... Mismanagement was the consequence of entrusting the reins of the state to men equipped only for flattery. By the turn of the century, France was in deep decline...

Soon France showed signs of "universal bankruptcy." The women of Les Halles, Paris' central market, marched on Versailles to demand bread. On the battlefield defeat followed upon defeat. "Every day brings something new--never good," remarked the Princess Palatine, Louis XIV's sister-in-law... "At the court, all that remains is sadness, boredom and distrust," wrote the Princess Palatine. And Saint-Simon, even more chillingly, wrote: "All was silence and suffering."

--Pierre Schneider, The World of Watteau

Louis created a colossal chateau on the scrubby marshlands of Versailles, some 10 miles west of Paris... For over 40 years thousands of workers--craftsmen, artisans and builders--labored to construct a showplace that is a perfect expression of Louis's reign...

Our manicured lawns are a vestige of this exercise in misdirected allocation of land. I'm in the process of turning mine into an edible landscape (though 'permaculture' is a more current term), with fruit trees, berry shrubs, and nut trees; not in a stark orchard layout, but a landscaping with flowering fruit trees, many berry-laden accent shrubs, and micro-climate shade trees that also happen to provide nuts. Almost every previous plant that was strictly ornamental is now gone, freeing up valuable space and allowing an unrestricted design 'drawingboard'.

Who else is taking a similar path? Who is in the planning stage? Who else is thinking about doing this?

I've done so. It took a few years to convince my neighbor not to come over and mown down my "weeds".
Also have a problem of neighbors coming over to pick cucumbers when I'm not there. But the warm weather native bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds are quite a sight to enjoy.

I've been working on this for ten years. I have been very reluctant to cut down trees, though, even if they are not "productive". They still provide shade for the house in the summer. I did break down and fell one tree last month that had grown to the point where it was casting too much shade on the garden. There are a few more that might have to go eventually to open up more of the lawn for food production, but I'm dragging my heels.

If you have shade you might consider gowing shade loving vegetables: lettuce, onions, cabbage, parsley, etc... fresh salad all year. I'm surprised... I have a cabbage plant that survived several sub-freezing days(&nights) in a row.

We basically have no more trees here in my area. It will take a long time for them to recover and many might never. My fruit tress are gone. May bear a few but now comes the wind at 55 mph tomorrow. And raining buckets full. Nature is pissed. We learn nothing.

There will be almost zero mast for the wildlife. They will starve during the next winter I fear.

Why do the innocent always pay. Critters I mean.

The possum and coon return to the den, head hanging low and no food to bring to the brood she birthed,no milk either. We see no tears but they are there in her soul. We instead slaughter them for sport. They barely survive and ask nothing of us. We gut them out and hang their heads on a wall or stuff them for den decorations.
All to look macho to some bimbo or idiot fella hunter shithead.

Ahh the world we live in. Sleep comes badly anymore,and in fits, and sometimes not at all,while DBs rage on endlessly I am certain. What else is new? What passes for reality these days? Where is man's spirit roaming? To the mounds of ghenna or getting that latest Hummer? When does madness stop? When do people quit being clueless TV addicts? How many times can Paula Dean appear on checkout magazine stand front pages? How much can be paid for learning the name of a unborn child to a titless Hollywood bimbo?

I worked for a guy who was mgr of an Ag Chem firm. He has 15 deer heads on his wall and a 4 ft high pile of deer antlers next to his desk. It spoke volumes about where he was in his head and mind. I won't even mention the turkey tail feathers cut from the birds asshole area to decorate his office(orfice). I saw the rest rotting near the dumpster.



Your fruit trees will probably still work as root stock, you might try doing some grafting this spring. You might get better results and a quicker recovery as opposed to replanting. If you've still got the broken branches around, those will probably still work, try grafting those in.

As to the rest of it, I'm afraid the answer is blowing in that 55mph wind.

Beautiful post, Airdale (at 9:01).

There is a role for ornamental plants even in an edible landscape - just because it's not something you eat, doesn't mean it doesn't have a function.

Agreed; I still have 2 forsythia and 2 burning bush that I haven't removed, for example, though I prefer for the most part to take advantage of the ornamental nature of flowering fruit trees and shrubs.

I'm partial to herbs, myself. And some stuff is just nice to smell (white ginger).

The wife is amenable to a slow phase-out of the turf, but there will probably always be a little here and there for the sake of barefoot strolls.

When the construction was completed out front, I decided to sow it with vetch, which will amend the soil and reseed itself. Other legumes that yield edible fruiting bodies (like soy) might attract rodents - and there are plenty here down by the creek already.

I've taken out a couple birches and put in two pears, a chestnut, a walnut, and an apple, all pretty small. This Spring I'll spring for a bigger chestnut of a different cultivar.

Our greenhouse was squashed by the record snowfall in December, but it's back up now and the garlic seems no worse for wear. In a month I'll put in the cooking greens - Pai Tsai is my favorite, tasty and only about a 45-day turnaround. The slugs are a problem, but when we finally get those chickens in the Spring maybe we'll be able to deal with them.

There is a role for ornamental plants even in an edible landscape - just because it's not something you eat, doesn't mean it doesn't have a function.

Yes, "food for the soul." I do include some perennial flowers - I like the look among the berries and fruit trees...


Who else is taking a similar path? Who is in the planning stage? Who else is thinking about doing this?

Me. I haven't got started on the front yet, but we've made a lot of progress on the back. I should say hubby provided most of the back breaking labor to take out those %&*$ ornamentals, whilst the neighbors reproved us: "You know, she (previous owner) spent a lot of money having that professionally landscaped."

So far, I have planted dwarf cherry trees, raspberries, dwarf blueberries, strawberries, and a large herb garden. We also have raised beds for vegetables (canned and froze quite a few tomatoes and green beans last year.) This year, I'm getting some chickens.

I've gardened as a hobby off and on for many years. It's only since I set a goal of producing a significant proportion of our fruits and veggies that I realized what a challenge it is and how much I don't know. I can only imagine the learning curve for someone who's never really gardened at all...


I now have seven fruit trees, and whenever the wife isn't looking, I convert another square meter of backyard into garden.

We manage to eat only the fruit we grow. There's way too much for our family, as it is.

When I first moved onto my land, I planted two apple trees. Two - not an orchard. I could not possibly use all the apples from one of them nowadays! It's almost frightening the output of these trees. Last season, I actually had a couple of branches break from the weight of the fruit. I reckon I need a cider press...

Ditto peaches, and peaches have the attribute of all coming ripe in pretty much the same week. I've got a freezer full of sliced peaches. This from one tree. In New Hampshire, not Georgia :-)

People, plant a fruit tree or two! You will be amazed at a) how soon they start producing and b) how much they produce. They are very generous plants!

The glorious Age
of the Guilded Cage
is STILL alive and well!!!
Even though the color is different on their feather,
of lifestyle they know no better,
and of their loneliness they - for image's sake - can not to anyone tell.


Prose will get you nowhere hearabouts. But don't give it up.

Try some ditty about windmills. Or PV electron flow. Might get a reply.Or a trouncing. These are the new mantras. They will save us.
We can't be lonely with all these wunnerful toys and autos to blow people off with since our time is sooooo important and that we arrive at our destinations so others won't miss our brillance. Not a second to lose in our stupid vain worthless lives soon to be made even more worthless.

I suggest that the movie of Cormac's The Road will be a telling tale as to what this is all about and what can be the future. A waste land of nothing. Well always the junk food wrappers and plastic shit.


OPEC Shelves 35 Oil Projects, Warns of Falling Investment

OPEC nations have collectively postponed 35 oil drilling projects that had been in various stages of development, OPEC Secretary General Abdalla Salem el-Badri said Monday.

The delayed projects, shelved for an indefinite period, are a sign that members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries are starting to feel the pain of low crude prices.

"These projects are on hold ... and will continue to be until the (oil) price recovers," El-Badri told journalists here.

Saudi Arabia Keeps China Oil Cos at Arm's Length

President Hu Jintao likely has higher crude supply to China on his shopping list when he makes a state visit to Saudi Arabia this week. But he may also be seeking another prize: greater access to Saudi oil and gas projects for Chinese companies.

"For years Saudi Arabia has been China's largest oil exporter and so energy will be high on the agenda of the talks between President Hu Jintao and King Abdullah," Assistant Foreign Minister Zhai Juan told reporters at a briefing Friday.

But this burgeoning trade masks the slow progress made by China's biggest oil and gas companies in securing equity stakes in Saudi's oil and natural gas fields.

Proterra EcoRide Battery-Electric Transit Bus

The 35-foot EcoRide transit bus seats 37 passengers and features a lightweight composite body. The PowerPhase 150 electric propulsion system produces peak torque of 650 Nm (479 lb-ft) and peak power of 150 kW (201 hp). The system has a continuous torque rating of 400 Nm (295 lb-ft) and a continuous power rating of 100 kW (134 hp). The system also features optimized four-quadrant performance, dynamic torque, speed and voltage control, regenerative braking and system energy efficiency of over 90% across substantially all of its performance regime.

(from an earlier Green Car Congress article) The bus is designed to accommodate a variety of auxiliary power units (APUs) including diesel, gasoline and CNG; the bus featured at the APTA Expo employed two Hydrogenics 16 kW hydrogen fuel cell APUs and a UQM PowerPhase 150 electric propulsion system.

I have a technical question:

I keep hearing on radio and TV ads that freight travelling by rail gets 400 miles to the gallon.

I asked a railroad buff and was told that it's more like 200 miles to the gallon. Then explained that using the way the mileage is calculated for those ads, the average car also moves a passenger 400 miles on one gallon (while the car uses 15 gallons to move along with that same passeenger).

Does anybody know what the fuel mileage is per average locomotive?.. per locomotive plus one car load (assume 15 tons) of freight?.. per locomotive with each additional carload of freight?

Thank you.

According to the VP of the American Assoc. of Railroads who spoke after me at a New America Foundation event, they have doubled fuel efficiency in recent decades. Part is in the locos, part is in operations.

Latest is 436 ton-miles/gallon.

This is one of their excuses for not electrifying.



See my reply to Joule (below).

Ignorant -

I don't have a precise answer to your question, but your post appears to reflect a slight confusion of terms.

Obviously a freight train weighing hundreds of tons is not going to consume only one gallon of fuel to travel 400 miles when a two-ton car would get no more than 20 miles per gallon. Thus, we are not talking about 400 miles per gallon absolute, but rather 400 miles per gallon per ton of freight hauled. That's the only number that would make any sense, and perhaps that's what you really mean.

The actual true mileage of a freight train is directly proportional to the load it is carrying and (to a lesser extent) its speed. I will take a rough crack at it. An efficient internal combustion engine such as a large diesel might have a specific fuel consumption of roughly 0.3 lbs of fuel per horsepower-hour. If a locomotive is operating under heavy load, such as when pulling a string of cars, it might be operating at roughly 2,000 hp+. Thus it would consume about 600 lbs of diesel fuel per hour, which at about 7.5 lbs per gallon would amount to 80 gallons per hour. If the train is traveling 50 mph, the apparent mileage would be 0.63 miles per gallon. Or in inverted form: 1.6 gallons of fuel consumed for each mile traveled. This estimate could easily be off by plus or minus 50% in either direction but I think it's at least in the right ballpark.


What I am interested in is an apples-to-apples comparison with trucks. Lately I've been hearing that some of the latest designed trucks can transport frieght as fuel-efficiently as trains. I assume that is true only for open highway travel... but how to compare?

True, 400 miles on one gallon is impressive sounding, but I'm sure that freight accounts for less than 50% of the total train weight. How much less... I don't know.

Ignorant -

If I recall correctly from speaking with an ex-trucker, a fully loaded semi gets roughly 5 miles per gallon on the open road (give or take). If it is carrying a load of 20 tons, that amounts to only about 100 ton-miles per gallon, or about one fourth of Alan's number of 436 ton-miles per gallon for trains.

By the way, if Alan's number of 436-ton-miles per gallon is in terms of the net freight hauled, then for our purposes it doesn't matter what fraction the freight is of the total train weight (which I tend to think is much better than 50%, as boxcars and tank cars are mostly empty space).

I think as Alan once pointed out, a train derives it superior efficiency mainly from i) less rolling friction of steel wheels on track versus rubber tires on road, ii) less frontal area in relation to amount of load carried and hence less relative aerodynamic drag, and iii) the superior efficiency of large diesel engines. Trains also don't do as much slowing down and accelerating. Of course trains can't make door-to-door deliveries, so the comparison is somewhat limited.


The ton-miles is in term of freight. The AAR VP specifically mentioned aluminum rolling stock as one of the fuel savings.

Of course trains can't make door-to-door deliveries,...

I am reminded of the rail tracks still embedded in streets in the "warehouse districts", going to urban factories (McCormick spices in Baltimore, several in New Orleans, etc.) and other "doors".

I think "can't" should be replaced by "don't today".

Best Hopes for Rail Sidings,


The boat captain beat your aluminum rolling stock by a wide margin:

"A tractor trailer truck requires one gallon of fuel to move one ton of freight 59 miles. The same gallon of fuel moving freight by rail can move one ton 3.4 times further and 8.7 times further by barge and 10 time further by container ship."


Ship it by boat.

Barges suffer from circuity (not going in straight line from A to B), currents (upstream vs. downstream, time of year) and simply not going everywhere (Phoenix, no connection between East & Gulf Coast intercoastal canals).

Increase train efficiency by electrifying by 2.5 or so, and "things change".

A complex calculation in the real world !

Best Hopes for Barges too,


We are, out here in Seattle!

The concept behind Sail Transport Company (STC) is to use wind and tidal power coupled with human ingenuity, skills, and labor, to provide a reliable system of trade and transport that is fossil fuel independent.

I think to be fare, you would have to calculate a more real world (complete) scenario.

Say, one month of imported goods at the dock, trucked the average distance, vs the same goods loaded on the trains and still trucked the last few miles.

And, include amortized energy inputs for construction of highways and railroads. (My guess is that including infrastructure costs works to the trains advantage)

About Obama's Press conference last night - several observations:

-First, what did he say directly about energy?

This is another concern that I've had in some of the arguments that I'm hearing. When people suggest that, "What a waste of money to make federal buildings more energy-efficient." Why would that be a waste of money?

We're creating jobs immediately by retrofitting these buildings or weatherizing 2 million Americans' homes, as was called for in the package, so that right there creates economic stimulus.

And we are saving taxpayers when it comes to federal buildings potentially $2 billion. In the case of homeowners, they will see more money in their pockets. And we're reducing our dependence on foreign oil in the Middle East. Why wouldn't we want to make that kind of investment?

Now, maybe philosophically you just don't think that the federal government should be involved in energy policy. I happen to disagree with that; I think that's the reason why we find ourselves importing more foreign oil now than we did back in the early '70s when OPEC first formed.

And we can have a respectful debate about whether or not we should be involved in energy policymaking, but don't suggest that somehow that's wasteful spending. That's exactly what this country needs.

-The first questioner, Jennifer Loven of AP, said something really interesting:

Earlier today in Indiana, you said something striking. You said that this nation could end up in a crisis without action that we would be unable to reverse. Can you talk about what you know or what you're hearing that would lead you to say that our recession might be permanent when others in our history have not?

That must be the first time that I can remember that anyone in the mainstream media, in prime time, on national TV, has even suggested the possibility of permanent economic decline. Unfortunately, Obama refused to even entertain the possibility, making it clear that he is still stuck in the perpetual growth paradigm.

-Chuck Todd of NBC asked another very interesting question:

In your opening remarks, you talked about that, if your plan works the way you want it to work, it's going to increase consumer spending. But isn't consumer spending, or overspending, how we got into this mess? And if people get money back into their pockets, do you not want them saving it or paying down debt first before they start spending money into the economy?

Obama pretty much chattered on about how we need to revive consumer confidence to increase consumer spending to get the economy growing again. However, sandwiched in his response were these interesting remarks:

Now, you are making a legitimate point, Chuck, about the fact that our savings rate has declined and this economy has been driven by consumer spending for a very long time. And that's not going to be sustainable. You know, if -- if all we're doing is spending and we're not making things, then over time other countries are going to get tired of lending us money and eventually the party's going to be over. Well, in fact, the party now is over.

I don't know if I've ever heard anything along these lines from anyone at the top of the US political system utter anything along these lines.

-Another interesting question from Julianna Goldman of Bloomberg:

Many experts, from Nouriel Roubini to Senator Schumer, have said that it will cost the government more than $1 trillion to really fix the financial system. During the campaign, you promised the American people that you won't just tell them what they want to hear, but what they need to hear. Won't the government need far more than the $350 billion that's remaining in the financial rescue funds to really solve the credit crisis?

WOW! She actually mentioned Roubini!! And of course, Obama pretty much dodged and ducked THIS question. Which means that the answer is: No, the American people WON'T hear what they need to hear.

-Sam Stein of the Huffington Post (first blogger question ever at a Presidential news conf., BTW) asked:

Today, Senator Patrick Leahy announced that he wants to set up a truth and reconciliation committee to investigate the misdeeds of the Bush administration. He said that, before you turn the page, you have to read the page first. Do you agree with such a proposal? And are you willing to rule out right here and now any prosecution of Bush administration officials?

Obama hemmed, hawed, and ducked. Unspoken bottom line: nothing will be done.

-Mare Liasson of NPR asked a question that had some relevance to energy issues:

If it's this hard to get more than a handful of Republican votes on what is relatively easy -- spending tons of money and cutting people's taxes -- when you look down the road at health care, and entitlement reform, and energy reform, those are really tough choices. You're going to be asking some people to get less and some people to pay more. What do you think you're going to have to do to get more bipartisanship? Are you going to need a new legislative model, bringing in Republicans from the very beginning, getting more involved in the details yourself from the beginning, or using bipartisan commissions? What has this experience with the stimulus led you to think about when you think about these future challenges?

Obama answered at length, mostly just rhetoric, but this line was interesting:

So my whole goal over the next four years is to make sure that, whatever arguments are persuasive and backed up by evidence and facts and proof that they can work, that we are pulling people together around that kind of pragmatic agenda.

This suggests that maybe the Obama might be open to fact-based, rational policy proposals in the energy area - at least more open than the previous administration has been.

The Party's Over -- Richard Heinberg 2005

the party now is over. -- Barrack Obama 2009

It's about time someone in power stood up and told it like it is. Bush did so to an extent with his "America is addicted to oil" phrase, but did nothing about it, presumably wanting the population to change without an involved leadership. We'll be watching to see what policies the Obama administration actually puts in place.

As with the 'Non-negotiable Lifestyle' comments, there's just a ton of wiggle room in just what assumptions are behind the metaphor.

As with any of the positive and growth comments he makes.. "Growth" isn't simply destructive.. we do have to grow food, we have to grow smarter, the kids are growing, the CSA movement and the thickness of my insulated walls is growing.. but too often the word gets taken (at TOD) for meaning swelling SUV's and Malls are the only beneficiaries of any renewed Growth.

Party on, Wayne!
Party on, Garth!

Nah, you're being unfair. You aren't describing growth above, you are describing change. I think it is more accurate to say when people discuss growth here at TOD, they are talking about growth in GDP (the fantasy GDP the US gov't bandies about), growth in resource consumption, growth in population, etc.

The growth on a given area need not and, to succeed in this era, had better not mean growth in consumption, etc., but should result in a net drop in consumption, particularly of FF's.


The party is far more over than most realize.


Scientists are to hold an emergency summit to warn the world's politicians they are being too timid in their response to global warming.

Climate experts from across the world will gather... The meeting follows "disturbing" studies that suggest global warming could strike harder and faster than expected... Katherine Richardson, a marine biologist at the University of Copenhagen, ...said: "This is not a regular scientific conference. This is a deliberate attempt to influence policy."

..."The IPCC talks of a 40cm sea rise this century. Well, if the consensus now is a rise of a metre or more then they need to know that."

...carbon emissions are rising faster than expected and that existing greenhouse gas targets may not be enough to prevent catastrophic temperature rise...

...One issue... is whether it is still possible to limit average global temperature rise to 2C ...a key question for politicians is the balance between efforts to limit warming and steps to adapt to the likely consequences. Watson has warned that nations should prepare for an average rise of 4C.

...most of this stuff is out there already but it deserves to be brought together and hammered home in a credible way."

A number of "disturbing" trends seem to have accelerated... such as a decrease in the amount of carbon pollution absorbed in the oceans, and an increase in Greenland ice melt.

Welcome to reality, friends and foes. Perhaps after this conference people will stop giving me crap about being too hard on ACC denial B.S.


Does this interfere with my divine right to prosperity?
I think global warming is a liberal plot for "Fat Al" to get rich selling books!

Dear CCPO,
Here is it's demolition:


I think you should face facts. It is the AWG believers that are now in denial.

Ever Yours in a cooling world


You are a liar and a propagandist. You have never, and will never, post any science to support your lies. Well, being lies, how could you? If you weren't such an obvious lying propagandist, I'd doubt you have the slightest clue what science is.

Monckton!!!! A REPORTER is your savior! An opinion piece full of taddle is the best you can do. It's disgusting.

Your posts are disgusting.


Dear CCPO,

Well Hansen is not a Climate Scientist and Gore isnt a Scientist and Mann is a data-fabricator. It would appear that Steig has fallen in with bad company and Gavin Schmidt was embarrasingly unmasked earlier this week as the so called 'mystery man' regarding the botched data pastes on the Strieg report. - All now thoroughly shredded on Climate Audit, The Air Vent and Watts Up With That. (You should go there some times. That is where the Real Real Climate Science is happening)

Dear boy (for I suspect that is what you are) I don't have to prove warming, you DO and to date there is no significant evidence of warming related to Anthropogenic C02. None at all. Looks to me that Warming leads CO2.

You can scream, rant, rave, appeal to authority, appeal to consensus, make personal attacks as much as you like. It will not change one whit of the gentle cooling trend despite CO2 climbing.

And as for my clue about science, I am comfortable with my credentials. Are You?

Your posts are amusing.

Keep the faith, because by 2015 that is all you will have. Faith.

best wishes for the night

No, I am not a boy, but nice try at the straw man. Do you really think calling me a boy solves your problem of being called what you are?! You are losing it. Step by step, you will lose it further. You will engage in greater degrees of vitriol. You fools always do. The truth is greater than your lies and it wears on you, having to lie so blatantly.

I hi-lite again that you have offered nothing in the way of science. You never have and never will.

Gore? You idiots are the only ones who pretend he is. I have posted this point here repeatedly. You know this, dishonest one, so why try that gambit? Stupid, frankly.

Mann? You have just committed a crime. We now have proof of your criminality, so perhaps Leanan will realize there is nothing pejorative in stating you are a criminal. Merriam-Webster says:

2 entries found.

1. 1libel (noun)
2. 2libel (verb)

2 a: a written or oral defamatory statement or representation that conveys an unjustly unfavorable impression b (1): a statement or representation published without just cause and tending to expose another to public contempt (2): defamation of a person by written or representational means (3): the publication of blasphemous, treasonable, seditious, or obscene writings or pictures

You must either retract or support. (If only you had the fortitude!)

Steig has fallen in with bad company? You little rabbit! You can't deal with the science of a warming Antarctica, so you resort to straw men while the author is unavailable, being in... Antarctica? Ah, such daring do! Such impressive heights of... manure! I once saw a guano pile nearly as high...

Schmidt? I think you will find quite an honest and open discussion of any issues with the Antarctic study if you... ah, well, you ARE a liar, so you will find what you seek rather than what is already there. Anyway, for the rest of the non-criminal and non-brain dead world, they can just read the posts themselves at RealClimate if they are stupid enough to believe your tripe and require deprogramming.

And as for my clue about science, I am comfortable with my credentials. Are You?

You have none, and yes, I am. I am quite comfortable being a layman. (Nice straw man, tho!) And am quite comfortable with kicking you in your ignorant arse every time you lie.

I wish Mann were willing to prosecute. Sincerely.

Still waiting for that science.

Maybe you can elucidate: why is it you dishonest slackards can use lies and B.S. to pick at real scientists' work, but can't produce any of your own?

(Rhetorical question.)


The party now is over. -- Barrack Obama 2009

As posted before:

I have been telling those younger than me [I'm 53]: that if they don't get moving on making wholesale, mitigative, Paradigm Shift changes-- then they will probably have to kill off my generation if they hope to have any chance of postPeak survival.

For newbies: Google Jay Hanson + Thermo/Gene Collision.

...if they don't get moving on making wholesale, mitigative, Paradigm Shift changes--

Too late for that Bob, don't you think? The time when lifestyle changes might have been effective in preventing or delaying population collapse was at the beginning of the industrial revolution, if not at the dawn of agriculture. When was the human population last living sustainably, i.e., within the carrying capacity of the biosphere sans cereal grain or fossil fuel inputs? 10K yrs bp? Maybe the time was long before that, about the time of the invention of fluted points, the atlatl, pit-trap & dead-fall technology, the eyed needle... Witness the mass extinction of species precipitated by the advent of humans in the Americas, Australia, Madagascar, the oceanic islands... The idea that people had better DO SOMETHING fast, that time is short but still remains, that "something" (what?) NEEDS to be done... is specious. Processes have been set in motion that can't be stopped. Anything that's done will likely exacerbate these processes or at best, have no effect on them. So what's the POINT of "get(ting) moving"? Will frenetic ineffective activity somehow make us feel better? Will it make us feel superior to those we regard as being "part of the problem"? Since we've gotten moving can we now stroke our egos with the image that, unlike THEM, we're now "part of the solution." Hubris! I say.

Boy, when we all get into Valhalla, I really want to find out which part of the Elephant you were holding onto.

Listening to you and Darwinian trading massive blows of didacticism and absolute certainty.. followed up with accusations of Hubris. Priceless!

The jello-wrestling bars don't know what they're missing!

"Boy, when we all get into Valhalla, I really want to find out which part of the Elephant you were holding onto."

I just hope they have beer in Valhalla. Pretty sure they do... I can hardly wait!

Well, don't let it keep you from today's quota.. this is the one I learned.

"In heaven there ain't no beer!
That's why we drink it here
And when we are gone from here
Our friends will be drinking all the beer"

-- from my Dad's German Oompah band, the Mad Bavarians

Fear not, I have fulfilled my quota today!

But yet, and yet, I have to believe they have free-flowing beer in Valhalla.

I WILL believe that there is beer in Valhalla!

Don't forget the half-glass Peakoil Shoutout! I am still trying to make this into a new cultural tradition to help foster more Peak Outreach.

Another great notion from Bob! I'm in! (Ok, half in..)

The guy is very well spoken, a salesman's salesman. I wouldn't be drawing any conclusions from anything he says-watch his actions. So far his actions are that of a Puppet IMHO.

So far his actions are that of a Puppet

Every leader is a puppet of someone else. Part of the Faustian bargain of a 'leader'.

Will the man be the 'puppet' of "big business", "the banksters", the insert-the-not-your-group-label-here, of 'you', or of "the common man"?

My guess is the "you" and "common man" option is not an option.

With respect to the answer about how much it would take for the banking system, President Obama consistently deferred to the Geithner presentation due today, 2-10-2009, on the banking bailout and related topics. I do not take that as ducking the question.

Look, the guys that pull the puppet's strings are gutting the USA economy and the entire society could suffer big time as a result. Does it matter who you are working for as the President of the United States? Uh, Yes, it matters a lot and Obama is going to suffer a large loss in credibility and popularity down the road if he doesn't start doing his job and cleaning house (which he can't do as you point out as he is just a Puppet).

..the guys that pull the puppet's strings are gutting the USA economy..

Often it's in the parasite's best interest to keep the host alive. Sometimes parasites can sense when the host has become so debilitated that its death is imminent. At that time, the parasite's best recourse is to plunder the host, hastening it's demise, converting host tissue into metabolic energy & propagules, in one last spate of reproductive activity. Appears to me that the parasitic puppetmasters who pull Obama's strings are sensing the imminent demise of the host society they feed on. The parasites appear to have adopted the strategy of grabbing all they can now, because they anticipate no future.

Thanks for sticking with the metaphor DD.


How are they going to get the average consumer to spend? The average consumer has already lost a lot of retirement funds (in the stock market). The average consumer needs to re-start saving for retirement, not spending to stimulate the economy.

Hey Ignorant,

What's up with this negative tone? Why the Doom and Gloom all of a sudden?
Ah, let's go for a drink... I'm buying.

You're buying?

I'm in. We can drive up consumer spending on single malt scotch and possibly save the world economy, or at very least the Gaelic subset.

Where are we meeting for drinks?


It sounds like Geithner's proposed bailout plan is not getting a very good reception. The stock market began dropping as he talked about it, and is now down about 280 points.

Sounds like a wonderful plan for re-arranging the deck chairs. Meanwhile, the Titanic continues to list. . .

Jim Rogers comments:


Investors will have to short government bonds at some point despite their current attraction, as the amount of debt issued is "staggering" and inflation risks are down the road, Jim Rogers, CEO of Jim Rogers Holdings, told CNBC Tuesday.

The low rates policy promoted by central banks is likely to pop a fresh bubble in government bonds sometime in the future, Rogers said.

"I was short long-term government bonds in the US, I had to cover a little loss because the head of the central bank said he was going to buy US long-term bonds, and he's got more money than I do," he told "Squawk Box Europe." "I plan to sell short US government long bonds sometime in the foreseeable future… I don't know when, whether it's this quarter or this year," Rogers said.

I keep thinking of a one billion mark Weimar Republic era coin I saw in a museum years ago.

I'm seeing words like "fiasco" and "abomination" regarding the plan, and the reaction from Democrats is probably worse than from Republicans. And, in fact, the plan is pretty horrible. It will do little but transfer losses from the banks to the taxpayers without actually providing the trust and transparency that are necessary to resolve the crisis. Atrios' comment was, "Should've just left Paulson in charge."

Obama is really screwing this up.

I watched Geithner this morning and was not at all impressed. My thought was: "What is this young squirt doing up there? He sure looks and sounds like he is out of his league."

I am getting the impression that Obama was advised to pick Geithner, someone he didn't personally know well, rather than his having picked someone he had known and grown to trust over many years. That is what happens when you elect someone so exceptionally young and green as a President.

Hey Gail,

Here's what Denninger has to say about today's tanking of the stock market.

Congratulations Mr. President

Nice - straight down 300 DOW points.

Oh by the way, someone was running a rumor on the floor of the pit right in front of the speech that Geithner was going to announce the abolition of The Fed during his speech. I'm sure that helped incite the panic and make sure that the selloff was nuclear-powered.

Will there be an investigation, subpoenas and indictments over that obviously-fraudulent rumor intended to capitalize on Geithner's speech which was traded to great profit by those who knew about it in advance?

And yes they did folks - here's the /ES 1 minute chart which shows a clear counter-trend spike as people set up into the speech - or was it the rumor they set up into?


What's with all the hand wringing over the Dow? Good grief. It's off 4% so far today - that's not all that out of the ordinary for the last few months.

Short memories. It has been stable for a couple of weeks.

I seem to recall the DOW hit lower lows in November.

U.S. Too "Politically Frightened" to Admit Truth About Banks, FT's Wolf Says


Lincoln National Financial Group posted a half billion dollar loss after derivative and investments losses for three months ending Dec. 31.


Barclay's of England posted a profit that beat estimates.

Perhaps the era of anything goes for U.S. banks who issued under-collateralized loans and gambled on unsecured deravitive instruments should end. China required 30 percent down payments for mortgages until recently. Of course the banks do not want any government regulation. Big banking only wanted Washington to hand over trillions of dollars.

Now you have domestic auto makers who want to be dependents of Washington, the ethanol industry asking for more monopoly power, states needing bailout money, an insurance industry player who used insurance premiums to buy deravitives needing bailout money. Trailer park momas need more food stamps. Unemployed workers need unemployment bailout money to avoid heavy labor. The country likes tax credits and lower taxes. Another day older and deeper in government debt. It seems like Zimbabweism. They tried massive cash injections into corrupt unprofitable ventures and saw their people starve.

Bush-Paulson spent hundreds of billions bailing out investment bankers who could not give you so much as a used car loan or a college tuition loan. It is business as usual. Now real banks are failing.

"Now real banks are failing."

All the more reason to restart the Original Banks; the holders of grain and seed. Plus my speculative 'Federal Reserves Banks of I-NPK' and/or investors teaming up with farmers. Time will tell.

Hello Westexas,

Just listened to your audio-interview that is toplinked by Gail-->Huge Kudos!

Obama ought to call another primetime press conference, then just walk out with a tape-recording of your interview, place it on the podium by the microphone, then hit 'Play'.

It would surely ramp Peak Outreach fast!

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

George is an interesting guy. Before the interview, we talked about "One degree of separation" in the Oil Patch, i.e., my theory that an Oil Patch person probably knows most other Oil Patch guys through an average of one degree of separation, i.e., through an average of one intermediary. George said that years ago, he walked into a bar located in some developing oil play in Africa, after being in country for just a day or two, and he knew three of the four guys sitting at the bar.

So, what's the over/under on Netanyahu's election and TEOTWAWKI?

Everything I'm reading is that you can't get a vote in Israel unless you promise that you're going to keep killing Arabs until they stop trying to get their stolen farms and homes back.

Oops, did I say something I shouldn't?

The main difference between the parties is thus how honest they are about admitting their intention to steal even more Arab land because they don't have any other economic growth model.

So if your concern is about war with Iran, consider the odds that voters would be more afraid of that war, versus having to give up much of their bubble prosperity in some reparations deal to out-bribe Iran for Palestinian allegiance.

BBC just reporting first exit polls showing last minute slight swing back to the centre (by Israeli standards).


2002 Israel's Channel 1 exit poll puts Kadima on 30 seats, Likud on 28 seats, Yisrael Beiteinu on 14 seats and Labour on 13 seats.

2014 A Channel 2 exit poll says 29 seats for Kadima, 27 for Likud, 15 for Yisrael Beiteinu, 13 for Labour and 10 for Shas.

Pollsters just quoted on tv a moment ago saying some voters who had previously said they wouldn't vote had changed their minds after contemplating a Netanyahu win and had turned out simply to vote for anyone else.

But as we all know well, exit polls can be wrong...

Bloombergs chart of the day references the diminishing Nat Gas stockpiles in the UK. You have to go to the link then click on the graphic box just above the title.

A question was posed over on Ellen Brown's Blog. I don't have the expertise to answer this but I'm sure someone here does.

The question regarding the price of oil running up to $147 and then down to ~$40 was:

Are the supply-demand curves [for oil] so steep in this world that a 3%-5% change in demand can cause prices to vary by 50%-100%?


That might be the wrong question. How about "is there so little storage capacity that a 3-5% change in demand ...".

Wanna know what happens when there's little storage capacity and when it's inefficient to boot? Look at electricity prices.

It doesn't appear that the new stimulus plan is appreciated on Wall Street-- down 4% after Pres. Obama's rally.

"It doesn't appear that the new stimulus plan is appreciated on Wall Street-"

That just might mean that it's a good plan!

I wanted to mention the upcoming EIA Conference, scheduled April 7-8 in Washington DC. An agenda and registration is available at this link. The conference is free, and there are a lot of folks in the Washington DC area who like to attend, so it fills up very quickly.

It seems like the conference was two full days last year, because it was a special anniversary conference. It is a day and a half this year.

I attended last year, and met several EIA folks besides finding out some interesting things. I also met several Oil Drum readers the conference last year. If anyone is thinking about attending, now is the time to register.

EIA predicts another year of falling greenhouse gas emissions in US:

The Feb EIA Short Term Energy Outlook just came out. It predicts a 2.7% fall in US GDP, .1% uptick in global GDP, and US greenhouse gas emissions to fall another 2+% in 2009.

See some details here:


Public works projects shutting down in CA

Nearly 300 state-funded public works projects will go forward through Friday, but they could be stopped cold if state leaders cannot find a solution to California's budget crisis by the end of the week. The Pooled Money Investment Board that controls financing for such jobs already has stopped funding 5,600 projects as a result of the state's cash crunch, allowing the remaining 276 projects to continue because stopping them would be too costly.

But time is running short.

"We have not made the call to shut those down pending how budget negotiations progress over the next several days," said H.D. Palmer, spokesman for the state Department of Finance. The finance board is made up of the head of Palmer's department along with state Treasurer Bill Lockyer and Controller John Chiang.

California's Pain Is Only Beginning

BIG SUR, Calif. -- As Sacramento squabbles over the state's $42 billion deficit, Californians are getting a bitter taste of what's to come after the steep budget cuts that are inevitable when legislators and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger finally hammer out a deal.

Some world-famous parks like Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park may not open this year. After-school programs in low-income areas are being scuttled, putting high-risk teens on the street just as police forces are being cut. Schools are closing classrooms, and some highway projects have ground to a halt. The state may not be able to monitor some sex offenders as required under law.

For lack of a better place to ask this question...

Does anyone know why Brent crude prices are no longer tracking light crude in NY the way they used to? Seems to me that since I started paying attention a few years ago, Brent was always a dollar or two lower than light crude on the NYMEX. Today Brent is 7 dollars higher. Why the change?

Feel free to point me to any previous discussion which I may have missed.

Something similar happened last month and was discussed on TOD... check the old Drum Beats.
There was a huge spread between Brent and WTI that narrowed violently after the WTI expiration, ultimately dropping under 1$. It makes you wonder if something similar is going to happen every month as long as this weird situation with WTI is not resolved.

I don't know what's going on with these markets really but the most reasonable explanation is that there's a glut at the delivery point for WTI. It doesn't help that there's a lot of speculation through instruments like USO that keep buying and selling the stuff in amounts that dwarf the storage capacity there. I hate to engage in conspiracy theory but it looks like it would be easy to manipulate this market.
It's not only Brent that's a lot higher than WTI. In fact, Asian prices seem quite a bit firmer than Brent.

EDIT: Even April WTI is a lot higher than the headline contract.

New name for government bailout from Paul Krugman:

I was going to dub the new financial plan TANF 2 — temporary assistance to needy financial institutions ... But Jamie Galbraith (private communication) has trumped me; he says it’s the Bad Assets Relief Fund.

B. A. R. F.

About sums it up.

From "BP Chief Urges Oilpatch" above (thanks, Gail):

"The world economy will recover. The future is not canceled," said Hayward. To meet an expected doubling of energy demand, he declared that the world would need to invest $26 trillion over the next 50 years.

This is a beautiful illustration of Jared Diamond's concept of an "Outside Context" problem: a problem which a society's leaders cannot solve because they cannot let go of a conceptual framework or set of values.

On this showing, it'll be business as usual all the way down.

Well, it appears that we truly are drowning in oceans of oil, far more than the economy could ever utilize in its current state. According to Bloomberg, Venezuela is complying with the OPEC cut. We have a major producer cutting production and we are still looking USD $30.00 oil in the face. Glut Glut Glut.



The Economist Magazine sees bountiful supplies & low oil prices:

The Economist predicts low oil prices for foreseeable future

Thanks to new technology and productivity gains, you
might expect the price of oil, like that of most other commodities, to
fall slowly over the years. Judging by the oil market in the pre-OPEC
era, a "normal" market price might now be in the $5-10 range. Factor in
the current slow growth of the world economy and the normal price drops to the bottom of that range.

That the recent fall in prices has been so precipitous merely confirms
that, for the past 25 years, oil has been anything but a normal
commodity. Although the Middle East contains two-thirds of the world's
proven oil reserves, it produces less than a third of the world's oil.
If production were determined by cost and quality alone, most oil would
come from these countries. Oil in the Gulf is cheap to extract-barely $2
a barrel, a quarter of the cost in the North Sea. Unlike the heavy
crudes of Mexico or Venezuela, it is of high quality and high value.
Much of the world needs fancy technology and expensive rigs to extract
oil; in Arabia, as the old hands say, "you just stick a straw in the
ground and it gushes out."

. . . . A new report by Arthur Andersen, an accounting firm, and CERA, an energy consultancy, argues that the present price collapse is fundamentally different from the previous one, in 1986. Then, high prices had choked off demand; but as soon as oil became cheap again, the thirst for it returned. This time demand has barely picked up, even though the price has fallen by half.

I guess that's that, then. Nothing to see here, move along... (more Jedi Mind Tricks)

Am not sure the Persian Gulf still contains 2/3 of the world's oil. Some of those Arabic oil reserves formulas are dicey.

The EIA reported that the Persian Gulf produced 28% of the world's oil and had 55% of the world's reserves (2006).


That was before Sugarloaf was discovered in Brazil and they reported up to 100 billion barrels might be discovered in their waters. That is without recognition of over 300 billion barrels of heavy Orinoco crude oil reserves in Venezuela.

Un nuevo día amanecerá.

For translation: Yahoo Babel Fish

Of course this was all published in 1999. Apparently CERA has not learned a damn thing since then. They are still singing the same song today.

Well, CERA was correct that the 1998/1999 price decline was fundamentally different from the 1986 price decline:

Here in the first quarter of 2009, we are at the halfway point between 1998 and 2018, between an annual oil price of $14 in 1998 and who knows what it will be in 2018. In any event, our middle case is that by 2018, the top five net oil exporters will have shipped about 80% of their post-2005 cumulative net oil exports.

Assuming a reduced export rate of 20 mbpd, I estimate that the top five are shipping about one percent of their remaining cumulative net oil exports about every 50 days (about 100 Gb left of net exports, 20 mbpd x 50 days = One Gb)

Was it really TARP or Die ????

"It would have been the end of our economic and our political system as we know it"

Transcript of Rep. Paul Kanjorski statement on C-SPAN:

"It was about September 18th [sic]. … On Thursday at about 11 o’clock in the morning the Federal Reserve noticed a tremendous drawdown of, uh, money market accounts in the United States to the tune of $550-billion was being drawn out in in a matter of an hour or two.

The Treasury opened up its window to help, and pumped in $105-billion into the system, and quickly realized it could not stem the tide. We were having an electronic run on the banks.

They decided to close down the operation, to close down the money accounts. … If they had not done that, in their estimation, by 2 PM that afternoon $5.5-trillion would have been withdrawn and would have collapsed the U.S. economy and within 24 hours the world economy would have collapsed.

We talked at that time about what would have happened. It would have been the end of our economic and our political system as we know it."


(my apologies if previously posted)

sendoilplease -

Now, even by today's standards $550 billion is not exactly chump change. The obvious questions are: i) exactly what was the composition of these withdrawing depositors?, and ii) what was the impetus for this massive withdrawl in such a short period of time?

I seriously tend to doubt that such a massive financial movement was the result of little old grannies getting nervous about their nest egg. What exactly was going on here? How exactly does $550 billion get almost instantly mobilized in a single afternoon?

Why is there not more interest in this question?

Would it be totally paranoid to wonder if something very unwholesome was going on here?

Now instead of a run on the U.S. banks there is a run on the U.S. treasury.

In other news the discovery potential at the Israeli Tamar natural gas field has been boosted to 5 TCF.


I have the same questions as you.

And it doesn't matter if the posters on that site are paranoid or correct (that Paulson and Bernanke are part of some gigantic conspiracy and this is part of "the plan"...).

Either way 'something unwholesome' was going on here.

Maybe Jerome_a_Paris could comment (or has, and I missed it).

Well, on the bright side, the bailout might have prevented a collapse long enough to get through winter - so far ;)

Joule: Exactly-it is beyond the scope of the MSM to pose such simple questions.

Hello TODers,

As posted before: we will do anything for NPK postPeak:

Dead, buried and still at work

The green revolution is about to hit down under - six feet down under.

An Australian engineering company hopes to import technology that allows human bodies to be dissolved using chemicals at high temperature, and later used as liquid fertiliser if desired.

The process, called resomation, is being touted as an environmentally friendly alternative to cremation because it uses less fuel.
Have you hugged your bag of NPK today? In the postPeak: It might be a family member.

IMO, this makes more sense than the currently sad practice of just abandoning people at sea [ex: the Royhinga]; a big waste of nutrients. Far better to process them, then reap the NPK benefits.

Recall my earlier postings on the maritime terms: deadweight, dead reckoning, dead heading. Like in the early days of looting graveyards, battlefields, and catacombs: we will do anything for NPK. 3.5 million 'immigrants' per year were required to replenish UK topsoil alone.

What happened to just burying people in the ground and letting nature do its work?
I believe the Muslim tradition is to bury people in the earth covered by a simple cloth, without any fancy gravestones. Judaism has a similar custom, only wooden coffins without metal nails.

I suppose that dissolving bodies would make it easier to use the fertilizer afterwards. Unless we start burying people in the middle of fields.

When I was going to college in 1950 I had a math prof (my minor) who had a little drawing on his wall. There was a little old man jammed into a cage with a grimace on his face. The caption was, "Die leute sind niched verdamnpt gut." Please forgive my German spelling; it's been a while. "People are no damn good." And I agree.


I look at the situation and it doesn't look good. I don't think I added too much to the badness though I did burn more JP4 than you can imagine as a USAF pilot for 20 years (1952-1972). I don’t think I can change the world any so I decided I would just live here and now and not sweat the small stuff.

What is the worst that can happen? It only took a minute to figure out that the electrical grid going down hard for an extended period would be really bad. No banks, no money, no fuel, no store food, etc. etc. Read Airdale in Western KY last week. But he knows the grid will come back. I’m talking for a long long time down. What to do?

Well, I could cry about my kids and grandkids and try to determine who did this to us and why. IMHO, that is a waste of time unless one intends to go hunting, which is not all that bad an idea, but I am too old. There may be a lot of young Seals, Marines, Airborne and Green Berets that might go hunting when they realize what the politicians and banksters did to them and I will cheer them on.

I my case I now build high-end furniture in my one man fully powered shop. I have assembled a whole assortment of hand tools and enjoy using them but they are not very efficient. I know I could build anything I want out of wood with hand tools but it would take five times as long as it does now. My two grandsons are 5 and 11. The five year old likes to play in the shop smashing peanuts in the vices, etc. The eleven year old is a good student and I don’t want him using the dangerous power tools so I am teaching him so many things about hand tools. Call it a woodcraft apprentice program while he still plays computer games too. They don’t offer much in the way of shop in school. In fact, he brought a couple friends over and they like working with their hands so I might end up with a neighborhood shop class. It hasn’t materialized yet.

I don’t explain to him my doomer philosophy because I there is no reason for him to be afraid. He will have to live in his own here and now and depend on his own brains. I don’t know how it will work out for him but if he knows where the tools are and how to use them, he will be better off than most. IMHO that is about all I can offer him, skill and tools and I have a lot of wood too. BTW: I am thinking I might buy a conex box and fill it with wood. I think wood to build things will be worth more than an equal dollar amount of gold.

Now about power: My next-door neighbor gave me an old golf cart without batteries. I looked at that a bit and “BINGO” a mobile power supply. I got batteries, a 3KVA inverter, 3 - 130 watt solar panels and a controller/charger. That’s not great compared to some here, but it will do for a couple years till we can figure out WTF is going on. The sun shines a lot here in Reno so there will only be a few times a year that I cannot charge the golf cart. I have a regular 110V charger and I will use it as long as the grid stays up. I have never done anything with solar energy so this will be a good straight-up learning experience for the grandkids and me too. I can teach them something about electricity. They can teach me youth and optimism.

Now we go to the world of gardening. I consider myself a TLAR (that looks about right) engineer. In a previous life in Washington, I worked with some of the best growers in the world. I did aerial infrared photography and crop analysis on thousands of acres of potatoes and rotation crops. A garden is pretty straightforward. First a lot of reading, then a lot of work, then a lot of luck …We have a 40 X 40 place for the prototype garden and a half acre for a community garden next year. Guess what? The golf cart will run our 400 watt well pump for hours if necessary.

So all in all my view of reality is that it is looking pretty bad for me and the grandkids. I can’t realistically do much about it except to give us a little better shot at survival so that’s what I am doing.

What’s your feeling about the present but most important, what are you doing about it. Talk really isn’t much no matter how good your arguments may be. No one really gives much of a damn because they have their own arguments. It seems apparent that Obama or TPTB even at the local level won’t seriously ask me what I think they should do. They will do what they want … and I will do what I want. QED

dude, I know right were you live and trust me, if your vision of the future plays out you're fucked. Pyramid, fished out, the Truckee, dead. If you believe any of your doomer rhetoric then get the hell off the basin. Hook up with some basque, hell, just don't come west

Those big dumb cutthroat in Pyramid depend on man for reproduction. All the dams would need to be removed, along with the humans, for the fishery to continue. The Easter Basin has more of a shot, if one got ride of the Sage Brush Rebellion knuckle draggers, and had some people who actually knew how things work.

The area here had about 3500 indians before the white explorers came here. When everyone leaves (like you suggest) it will support 3500 but that is about all. I'm really not counting on the Truckee or Tahoe or Pyramid (no wheels)but it might be fun to see what happens at Swan Lake. About 450 swans there now and it is only a mile away.


Hello TODers,

Schwarzenegger says state worker layoffs looming
Story Highlights

*Governor: 20,000 workers to lose jobs if budget deal isn't reached by end of week

*Republican governor has butted heads for months with Democrats over deficit

*Schwarzenegger declared fiscal emergency over projected $42 billion deficit

*Legislature to vote this week on budget
I would immediately put the Cali-unemployed to work building SpiderWebRiding, minimal water & energy usage strategies, and full-on O-NPK recycling to augment Alan Drake's & JHKunstler's ideas.

Just 20,000 quickly laying narrow gauge track could probably embed 200 or more miles/day. IMO, this is much better than a 20,000 person machete' moshpit.

Web site posts apology to Dallas firm in defamation case

Cyrus Rafizadeh's Web site attacked Dallas-based Orix Capital Markets LLC for more than two years, accusing the company of killing people, committing tax fraud and being under federal investigation for violating racketeering laws. Today the site, www.predatorix.com, has a simple message: The hundreds of postings were "incorrect" and Rafizadeh is sorry.

Maybe the days of saying anything about anyone online are over. On Friday, a Dallas jury awarded Orix $2.5 million in actual damages and $10 million in punitive damages in what appears to be one of the state's largest libel and defamation verdicts, said Mike Lynn of the Dallas law firm Lynn Tillotson Pinker & Cox LLP, which represented Orix. "All businesses have out there is their reputation, and I think you'll see more of these cases where businesses that are being attacked online are going to say enough is enough," he said.