DrumBeat: March 1, 2009

Lacking fuel, Tajikistan slides into darkness

TURDIBOBO, Tajikistan (AFP) - Twice a day, the students in this village school just outside the Tajik capital rush out of their classrooms bundled in layors of heavy winter clothing.

They aren't running outside to play in the snow -- they're jockeying for position to warm their hands around the school's only heater, which now comes on just twice a day.

'Studies are not cancelled, kids are coming early, however not all of them are prepared for the lessons,' said teacher Daler Yukavov. 'The kids complain that they couldn't do their home work because of the lack of electricity.'

The poorest of all the ex-Soviet Central Asian states with a population of 7.5 million, Tajikistan is in the midst of a massive energy crisis that has caused chronic shortages even in the capital Dushanbe.

US commander says falling oil prices will force Iraq to make cuts in security spending

BAGHDAD (AP) — Falling oil prices will force Iraq to cut back on military spending, leaving questions about whether it can handle tasks such as protecting oil platforms in the Gulf once the American pullout is complete, a top U.S. commander said.

Iraq's leaders now have to decide where the cuts will be deepest: arms, patrol boats or air power — all of which the country needs to create a fully functioning security force.

Dubai offers gas to Northern Emirates

Dubai is ready to export gas to the Northern Emirates in case of emergency, a top official from the Dubai Water and Electricity Authority told Emirates Business.

Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, Dewa Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer said the emirate always keeps 15 per cent of its capacity as reserves, which it could use to help its sister emirates in times of urgent need.

Sunoco Union Workers to Extend Talks Beyond Strike Deadline

(Bloomberg) -- Union workers at Sunoco Inc.’s Philadelphia and Marcus Hook refineries decided to keep negotiating with the company beyond a noon strike deadline because progress was made on a dispute over job security.

Houston companies benefit from India's energy growth

MUMBAI — Paradigm had 13 employees in Mumbai when Ankur Gupta left Houston to run the company’s India operations five years ago.

Today, the Houston software company has 50 people in the country, selling its software and analyzing well data for Indian oil companies.

Saudi inflation to drop to 6.7% as economy slows

A sharp fall in global prices will ally with slower domestic economy to reverse fast-growing inflation in Saudi Arabia this year, a key Saudi financial firm said yesterday.

Inflation in the world's dominant oil power hit a record annual high of 9.9 per cent in 2008 but will likely fall back to round 6.7 per cent this year, the Riyadh-based Jadwa Investment said in its latest monthly economic report.

Bill McKibben: The Carbon Addicts on Capitol Hill

Washington has seen its share of big protests over the years, and most of them center on the White House, the Mall or the Capitol. That will change tomorrow, when the first big protest of the Obama era -- and the first mass civil disobedience against global warming in this country -- will take place against the not-very-scenic backdrop of the Capitol Hill Power Plant, a dirty symbol of the dirtiest business on Earth, the combustion of coal.

How Jamaica Can Beat The Energy Crisis

With close to zero growth over the last six months and our major trading partner having difficulties of its own, one way to obtain growth is to reduce our outlay for energy.

Jamaica cannot sit and wait for new technologies. We must act now with what is available or the yolk of fossil dependence will hang us all. PV (Electricity creation from sunlight) is the obvious solution and is enjoying ever increasing usage worldwide.

From Tons of Manure, a Growth Industry

It took eight years’ development, a $72,000 federal grant secured through Connecticut’s Agricultural Businesses Cluster, and countless grim experiments. Now their manure-based CowPots — biodegradable seed-starting containers — are being made on the farm and sold to commercial and backyard growers who prefer their advantages over plastic pots.

Seattle finds itself at the crossroads as the Great Disruption ends era as banking, insurance center

"Some cities and regions will eventually spring back stronger than before. Others may never come back at all. As the crisis deepens, it will permanently and profoundly alter the country's economic landscape. I believe it marks the end of a chapter in American economic history, and indeed, the end of a whole way of life."

That way of life has depended on cheap oil and, in recent years, easy credit and a series of bubbles. Florida writes: "You don't have to strain too hard to see the financial crisis as the death knell for a debt-ridden, overconsuming and underproducing American empire — the fall long prophesied by (historian) Paul Kennedy and others."

Crisis may force Opec members to cut barriers

Even as the financial crisis may force some Opec members to lay down barriers for entry of international oil companies (IOCs), the Middle East-based national oil companies (NOCs) with stronger balance sheets will not do the same, an energy analysis firm said in a recent update.

Washington based energy analysis firm PFC Energy said countries such as Venezuela, Ecuador and Algeria that are under "financial stress" could ease oil sector entry terms this year. It attributed its conclusions to a study made by its Petroleum Risk Manager service. Countries with weak government finances, declining production or immediate technical needs could make concessions to attract investments. International oil companies (IOCs) may, therefore, find greater negotiating leverage in these countries.

Will US, China face off in Africa over oil reserves?

The fact that new President Barak Obama has great favor in African nations such as Kenya, his father's native country, seems to be making waves among Chinese leaders. That is according to Professor Albert Kwong, founder and vice chairman of PetroAsian Energy Limited, a Chinese oil concern headquartered in Hong Kong. Kwong was educated in the United States and spent the years 1977-81 in Midland working for Arco (now BP).

China, now the world's number two oil consumer, has spent decades currying favor with African nations. In the last decade or so China has been parlaying that influence into oil production opportunities on that continent. The United States has largely focused its petro-influence in the Middle East, leaving China largely alone in Africa.

Now, says Professor Kwong, Obama's presidency brings a new face and new favor among Africans, especially in Kenya, for America.

Iran indicates no likely output cuts at OPEC meet

TEHRAN - Iran's oil minister said he did not expect OPEC to cut output again at a meeting this month because an 80 percent commitment by the group to recent curbs had helped stem oil price falls, media reported on Sunday.

Iran, the second biggest producer in the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, had previously joined some other members in saying OPEC could decide to deepen existing cuts when the group next meets on March 15 in Vienna.

Starvation and strife menace torn Kenya

NAIROBI, Kenya: One year after this country exploded in ethnic bloodshed, trouble is brewing here again.

Ten million people face starvation, partly because farmers in crucial food producing areas who fled their homes last year have not returned, instead withdrawing deeper into their ethnic enclaves, deeper into fear.

At the same time, public confidence in the Kenyan government is plummeting. Top politicians have been implicated in an endless string of scandals involving tourism, fuel, guns and corn.

Chavez sends troops to Venezuelan rice companies

CARACAS, Venezuela: President Hugo Chavez on Saturday ordered troops to temporarily seize control of all Venezuelan rice processing plants to ensure they produce at full capacity amid soaring inflation and persisting reports of food shortages.

Nigerian children branded as witches in deadly purge

Some experts blame Christian extremism and polygamous rivalry for the child factor in witch hunting.

Locals say the main factor is greed on the part of the self-proclaimed pastors who have proliferated in the area in recent years.

..."Some people are making brisk business out of defenceless children. It's greed, targeting gullible and susceptible rural people," said Akwa Ibom State spokesman Aniekan Umanah.

Religion "is the only industry we have in Akwa Ibom outside oil," said a local taxi driver.

Device maker has a flair for drumming up business and scorn

Dennis Lee is a salesman.

The charismatic 62-year-old from Passaic County has traveled America for decades, hawking inventions at convention centers, hotel ballrooms and sun-drenched state fairs. Delivering his folksy pitch in a suit and tie, Lee invokes Scripture while he accuses Washington of suppressing innovation to protect big oil companies.

Authorities describe him as a cross between P.T. Barnum and Jimmy Swaggert, a convicted felon who has touted fertilizer that grows 17-foot-tall corn and engines that run on pickle juice and soda pop.

Now, after years of taking lumps from skeptics and consumer-affairs investigators, Lee is fending off accusations from the federal government. In January, the Federal Trade Commission filed suit in New Jersey, accusing Lee of making false claims about his latest device, which sells for $1,000 and purports to "turn any vehicle into a hybrid."

Harper warns Russians after two bombers intercepted

Earlier yesterday, Defence Minister Peter MacKay disclosed that two CF-18 fighter jets met at least one Russian bomber within 24 hours of the U.S. President's trip to Ottawa on Feb. 19 just outside of Canada's Arctic airspace.

The incident set off a round of bitter sniping between Moscow and Ottawa that was a throwback to the Cold War era.

U.S. must come clean on oil

Do Americans want "clean" oil from dirty regimes, such as Venezuela and Saudi Arabia, or do they want "dirty" oil from a clean regime such as Canada? That is Washington's multi-trillion-dollar question.

If Americans want to continue to depend on oil from regimes that dislike, or conspire against them, then that's their choice. And depend they will, because unless gas-guzzlers, inefficient vehicles and suburban sprawl are made illegal, it will take decades to reduce their oil usage.

End to oil dependence urged

Iraq's Prime Minister has urged an end to his country's dependence on oil and gas as its main source of revenue.

Nouri al-Maliki said the country must diversify its economy or risk being vulnerable to drops in oil prices, such as the recent fall, which has forced Iraq to trim its budget and could shrink plans for reconstruction.

Iraq Navy trains to defend Gulf oil platforms

"If it is a suicide vessel they are probably not going to answer," the Royal Navy officer overseeing this exercise told AFP, referring to the type of attack that killed two people on the neighbouring Al-Basra platform in 2004.

Such tactics have been feared since terrorists rammed the American ship USS Cole in the Yemeni harbour of Aden in 2000, killing 17 American sailors.

Iraq's navy is now patrolling these seas and training to confront any such attack. The economy is almost entirely dependent on oil, which delivers 98 per cent of the Iraqi government's revenues.

Nigeria: Presidency - No Going Back On Deregulation

Lagos — The Presidency last night said there was no going back on the deregulation of the oil sector as the policy was one of the plans with which the administration plans to disconnect the cabal in the sector that has been holding the nation by the jugulars in the distribution and sale of petroleum products.

Kuwait in new crisis as lawmaker files to quiz PM

KUWAIT CITY (AFP) - Kuwait on Sunday appeared headed for a new political showdown after an opposition lawmaker filed to quiz the prime minister of the oil-rich Gulf state over allegations of misuse of public funds.

Jersey Shore rentals are stable despite down economy

Surging gasoline prices forced many New Jerseyans to rethink their vacation plans last summer, and eventually stay closer to home.

This year, a tank of gas is far cheaper. But the slumping economy and soaring unemployment rate seems to be having the same affect as expensive fuel, with New Jerseyans continuing to opt for a family-- and wallet-friendly vacation at the Jersey Shore.

Lower heating oil prices are both a blessing and curse

Garside predicted Thursday that most oil dealers in the state will not offer prebuy contracts this year.

"As far as the industry is concerned, both wholesalers and retailers would like to see this program go away. You can't win," Garside said. "But you can't predict the market because it is too volatile."

He said prebuy contracts worked well for consumers the last three previous heating seasons because home heating oil prices increased beyond the price they locked in. But consumers didn't win that battle this year.

Garside some oil dealers are also worried they'll lose some of their most loyal customers this spring because they were unable to let them out of their contracts.

Forget gold, farmland makes sense

Many investors see gold as a good investment in times of economic uncertainty but in fact British farmland has performed even better in the past 25 years. If you look back to 1983 and take the price of gold and British farmland at that time as a base, gold has risen in value by 81 per cent but farmland is up 115 per cent – indeed, even oil prices have risen only a little more than farms.

Firms build on gains in thin-film methods

BRIAN TELL and his business partners believe they have a good idea for making electricity from sunlight on canopies that protect parking lots in the Southwest from the blazing sun.

Hopes high to turn trash into energy

LifeGrid wants to build a $550 million plant capable of taking tons of trash and converting it into ethanol and biodiesel.

"Everybody sees the opportunity because trash is something that is a huge problem because our landfills are full," said David Ushio, vice chairman and director of Pacific Operations for LifeGrid.

Hawaii can take lead in algae energy research

Algae is the word of the day. Not the hard-to-remove algae in the ponds around the Capitol, but the aquatic microalgae that researchers are developing to fuel our power plants.

The technology is not yet perfected, but the possibilities are enormous. How good are algae's prospects, and how much attention should we give it?

New outlook in U.S. raises hopes on climate treaty

Until recently, the idea that the world's most powerful nations might come together to tackle global warming seemed an environmentalist's pipe dream.

Capitol power plant dims clean energy hopes

WASHINGTON – As Congress tries to clean up the nation's energy sources and cut gases blamed for global warming, it is struggling to do so in its own backyard.

The Capitol Power Plant, a 99-year-old facility that heats and cools the hallowed halls of Congress, still burns coal and accounts for one-third of the legislative branch's greenhouse gas emissions. For a decade, lawmakers have attempted to clean it up.

House Is Abandoning Carbon Neutral Plan

The U.S. House of Representatives has abandoned a plan to make its offices "carbon neutral," a sign that Congress is wrestling with a pledge to become more green even as it crafts sweeping legislation on climate change.

Dyer: Obama's climate strategy

The problem is history. The United States, like the other fully industrialised countries, has been emitting greenhouse gases for a long time, and is very rich as a result. China, like the other rapidly industrializing countries, has only been producing large emissions for a couple of decades, and is still relatively poor.

The two countries now emit about equal amounts of carbon dioxide each year, but China has four times as many people, so its per capita emissions are still only a quarter as big. Over time, the United States has put three times as much carbon dioxide as China into the atmosphere. So the United States, in Beijing's view, has a moral obligation to make much deeper cuts, much sooner, than China.

Young People to Swarm Capitol With Green Agenda

Thousands of young people, many of them emboldened by the 2008 presidential contest, will descend on the Capitol tomorrow to urge the government to take radical action to stem climate change and plant the seeds of a green economy.

Greenies must warm to nukes

The old saying to be careful what you wish for because you might get it, applies to environmentalists who have spent 20 years trying to get our politicians alarmed about global warming.

On the plus side, for them, they've succeeded. On the down side, they've revived the nuclear industry, which most loathe. Call it the irony of unintended consequences.

Global warming could delay, weaken monsoons: study

CHICAGO - Global warming could delay the start of the summer monsoon by five to 15 days within the next century and significantly reduce rainfall in much of South Asia, a recent study has found.

Rising global temperatures will likely lead to an eastward shift in monsoon circulation which could result in more rainfall over the Indian Ocean, Myanmar and Bangladesh but less over Pakistan, India and Nepal, the study found.

I have a member on my website board who is pushing really hard biomass gasification as means to save us all. Here's the company he mentioned earlier with process capable of using everything one can think about:

Can anyone give some comments about this?

a few Utube videos full of high optimism also...

sounds too good to be true - therefore it is?

I was at the Cleantech Forum in San Francisco this past week and I have to say that the biogas companies made a very compelling pitch.

Although the technology seemed mature to me, there are two big issues to consider:
* in an ideal world, the feedstock would be returned to the natural system that produced it, otherwise it's not a closed loop
* it's not going to make up for more than a very small percentage decline in fossil fuels

That said, owning a biogasification company struck me as a very, very worthwhile investment in the near future. He who has energy will be in a commanding position very soon.

SamassaVeneessa -

To me, the material presented is a bit long on hype and more than a bit short on details, particularly with regard to anything even remotely resembling an economic projection.

This person Koch at least appears to have a fairly sophisticated looking pilot plant, so I doubt it's total hype, just short on details. I wish him luck in getting funding for further developmental work.

The process could be broadly characterized as being some variation of pyrolysis, in which organic matter is broken down by heat in an oxygen-depleted atmosphere to produce varying amounts of gas, liquid, and char. Mr. Koch's big claim seems to be that his 'secret catalyst' converts more of the pyrolysis end product into a substance with the properties of diesel oil.

If indeed that is what is really taking place, then we must ask such questions as i) how thermally efficient is the process?, ii) what is the nature of the catalyst, how much must be used, and how expensive is it?, iii) what is the net yield in terms of say pounds of diesel fuel produced per dry pound of waste material feedstock?, and iv) how well does the process scale up to the size of a large commercial unit? Until one can answer such questions, then one would not be justified in claiming that this process is an economically viable means of converting organic waste into liquid fuel.

Finally, two comments:

1) Even if the process worked as claimed, the amount of readily usable organic waste material would not be sufficient to make a large dent in our oil consumption. By the way, some European countries already practice a good deal of waste to energy, mainly in the form of generating steam by burning municipal waste.

2) Historically, the thing that has killed more than a few waste-to-energy schemes, is plain old material handling problems, which in some cases have proved insurmountable and have flipped the economics from favorable to unfavorable. As they say, the devil is in the details.

Thank you for replies - I thought as much, details, details. However, for local solutions (village scale, few farms together etc.) this sounds pretty ok. I hope Rapier could do some update as his April article gave some ideas about this.


I think that using combined-heat-power makes a lot more sense than conversion to a liquid fuel. CHP is by the most efficient way to use the energy content of waste (overall efficiency of 85%), and probably the least sensitive (not insensitive) to the material handling problem. An electric car converts electricity to motion with an efficiency of 70-85%.

Converting garbage to liquid fuels causes the inevitable loss of quite some energy (part of which can be used as process heat). My guess is about 50%, based on something similar (http://www.choren.com).

The internal combustion engine uses only 15-20% of the energy content of a liquid fuel to move the vehicle, the rest is lost to engine and drive-line inefficiencies and idling. In the end, you only use 7-10% of the energy content of the garbage to move the vehicle. Making a fuel like this only perpetuates *our* love-affair with over-sized inefficient cars.

For communities looking into doing something useful with their garbage, CHP is a much better option.

Gasification plant doesn't seem to be readily scalable down to farm or forest level so the leftovers can be easily returned to the soil. On the other hand gas should not cause potassium or phosphorous to be taken off site. There also seems to be problems demonstrating positive net energy even at larger sites such as municipal tips.

However that must be weighed against the huge energy density and portability of hydrocarbon fuels. For methane (bio or syn) I believe that's about 55 MJ/kg as opposed to a lead acid battery 0.1 MJ/kg. Perhaps a whole-system solution is that we use nukes and wind to generate the high net energy for the electrical grid but accept bare breakeven for premium hydrocarbon fuels. In other words an efficient grid but an inefficient but necessary farming and transport system.

sounds too good to be true - therefore it is?

Most likely. One of the key players has served time in prison for fraud, and it does sound too good to be true:


I am digging, but it seems pretty unlikely that this is for real.

Hello Leanan,

Thxs for the toplink, "Seattle finds itself at the crossroads as the Great Disruption ends era as banking, insurance center". Recall that I have written many postings on Cascadia and postPeak ramifications.

I hope TODers will take the time to read this article. I agree with the author that generally this area will do better than my Asphaltistan in the postPeak. I just wonder if Cascadia is getting ready...

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

What Richard Florida prescribes for Dayton Ohio is to embrace what we have been resisting forever: joining with Cincinnati in a super-region, or Cincinnati and Columbus in a Mega-region. Ohio has been looking forward to the resumption of regular speed rail service, and thinking long term about high speed rail. That will be a necessary component of building a less car dependent super region.

This will be a hard pill to swallow for Dayton: losing unique identity.

I would not take Florida very seriously, as he is a apologist and supporter of the current economic paradigm. A great book on this subject is the Middle Mind.

Thanks for the comment on the Richard Florida and while I like his ideas, I am glad you called out the economic paradigm. I live in the same town as the Round Tripper and it has been fascinating to watch the middle aged elected women swoon over Mr. Florida. The ole serpent knew his audience. Dayton is paying to have Florida develop on Dayton's Creative Potential. Ha, they drew a 50 mile radius around Dayton and said it had creative potential, but if you read Florida's writings it takes a concentration of creatives that live and work in the same area, not 25 miles apart. I have been fighting the sprawl paradigm in Dayton since 2001, actively and longer if you count interpersonal preaching. Dayton is the perfect town to try out new ideas as it is or was a classic test market. It makes no difference what is said or done new roads and interchanges are priority one. It reinforces the Doomer mentality every step of the way.

We do have Sustainable Communities All Over Puget Sound, which is very PO-aware.

Indeed, Barrett808, you beat me to it :-) Vic Opperman is a seemingly one-woman dynamo; starting up the Green Lake sustainability group is her latest success, and we're delighted that Capitol Hill has young twenty-somethings starting up OUT for Sustainability.

The SCALLOPS supra-regional network is up to over 72 towns now, and we are handling some serious seminars at the upcoming Seattle Green Festival March 28th and 29th: Food Security, with the President of the City Council, Richard Conlin (and sponsor of the successfully passed Local Food Initiative), and Energy Retrofitting with the youthful apprentices from the Moontown Foundation, a "non-profit social venture committed to ending environmental, social, and economic injustice by removing existing barriers that prevent historically disadvantaged communities from successfully participating in the emerging green, post-carbon, economy."

We owe Nate a Campfire column and update on our mischief here in the Puget Sound, we know, we know....

You gents may or may not recall my suggesting that "sustainable" may not really be sustainable if the definition means things that are not accessible to large numbers of people. After all, if "sustainable" feeds, houses and clothes on;y a fraction of the total population, then it is by definition not sustainable under today's constraints. (That is not to say that a reduced-population scenario might not be the only way to reach true sustainability, at least on a global scale.)

With this in mind, I did some quick checking of land prices in your area in four different counties around the Sound. The result was one or two properties with prices at 5k/acre or less. Two.

In what way is affordability considered by the transition groups in your area?


"Defence Minister Peter MacKay disclosed that two CF-18 fighter jets met at least one Russian bomber within 24 hours of the U.S. President's trip to Ottawa on Feb. 19 just outside of Canada's Arctic airspace."

This is showboating by Mackay. Tu-95s have been doing this for decades, and as long as they stay in international airspace it is their right, just as NORAD tests the Russians on their borders. The conclusion that most Canadians are drawing is that the government is trying to stir up a controversy to distract from other issues.

Every circumpolar nation is testing each other on the premise that there might be oil up there.

Editorial: The time has come to re-engineer the planet

DESPITE the numerous warnings about extreme weather, rising sea levels and mass extinctions, one message seems to have got lost in the debate about the impact of climate change. A warmer world won't just be inconvenient. Huge swathes of it, including most of Europe, the US and Australia as well as all of Africa and China will actually be uninhabitable - too hot, dry or stormy to sustain a human population.

This is no mirage. It could materialise if the world warms by an average of just 4 °C, which some scientists fear could happen as soon as 2050. This is the world our children and grandchildren are going to have to live in. So what are we going to do about it?

...Whatever we do, now is the time to act. The alternative is to plan for a hothouse world that none of us would recognise as home.

The problems with most geo-engineering solutions are they they (1) focus only on reducing solar irradiance, leading to a cooler, but drier, world; and (2) they don't deal with ocean acidification, which is just as catastrophic as abruptly changing climate.

The best approach I've seen so far is Cquestrate's idea: to crack billions of tons of lime from limestone and dump it into the oceans. Can it be made to work? I have no idea.


I was really trying to link to the current edition of New Scientist and specifically "How to survive the coming century" cover article and issue theme. However someone has edited my post to only leave the link and quote from the editorial and removed the illustrative issue pic (even though it was only an 11k thumbnail). There's a lot more in the current issue. Online version at http://www.newscientist.com/issue/2697

That story was prominently posted the day it was published, and more than once after that (as recently as yesterday). I'm trying to discourage some of the repetitiveness of the climate change discussion, especially at top of a new thread.

I did a search (as I usually do) prior to posting to see if it had been posted but didn't instantly find it and obviously hadn't recalled seeing it. Sorry - would not have posted if I had known it had been linked previously.

In mitigation my PC has been close to unusable for the last few days. Turned out that Windows had permanently downgraded my boot drive to ante-deluvian PIO mode but believe me that wasn't the first thing I looked at. Only solution that worked was to uninstall the IDE controller drivers and let Windows perform new device discovery. I pass that on in case anyone else ever suffers the same mysterious slowdown. Web searches show it's far more common than it really should be.

We don't even understand how to engineer a sustainable human society, and we're going to re-engineer the planet? The arrogance, hubris, insanity.


Thank you for saying what needs to be said, loud and clear, repeatedly.

The very notion of "geoengineering" IS insanity. It is like a last fatal spasm of what has gotten us into the mess to begin with.

Thanks. At times, though, I still feel like King Canute yelling at the tide. :)

I'm not sure where either of you did your logic studies, but we are *already* geo-engineering the planet. If that's the basis of your argument - that we shouldn't intentionally alter the planet - it's kind of absurd on it's face.

Perhaps you actually meant we shouldn't pursue a specific project to mitigate ACC via geo-engineering? If so, then what would you do to mitigate ACC?

I am not generally in favor of a specific plan to mitigate ACC by some so-called geo-engineering project. (BTW, the Canute reference also makes no sense since there are precious few people on this site enthusiastic about an attempt at deliberate geo-engineering to mitigate ACC.) However, there may well come a time when last resorts are all we have. Under that coloring of things, I support research into the possibilities.

My preference is to simply *stop* geo-engineering the planet and allow it to recover as naturally as possible.


The geo-engineering occurring now is an unintended consequence, an unexpected emergent property of a complex system. That we would start to do this on purpose is the insane part.

The only way to halt contributing to the unintended consequence is to halt the system that produces it. And then the consequence has to play itself out.

Alright, I'm picking nits here, but there really is not much distinction to be made. Warnings about degrading the environment have existed for hundreds, even thousands, of years.

Nit picked.


and yet they still managed to cut down the last tree on Ester island ...

We don't even understand how to engineer a sustainable human society, and we're going to re-engineer the planet? The arrogance, hubris, insanity.

That's not even a comparison of apples and oranges, more like apples versus rocks. In one case you are dealing with the complications of psychology, in the other with simple physics and chemistry.

I'm not saying it is a prefered solution. But, rather more like a bandage to applied to a badly wounded planet. Better to apply the bandage, and endure the scars, then to just let it bleed out. Given our foolishness in not addressing the problem soon enough, that is the choice we are going to be presented with.

Simple physics and chemistry vs. complications of psychology?

In one case, you are dealing with the chaotic fluid dynamics contained in approximately 50 billion cubic kilometers (Earth's surface area up to the Kármán Line), the simple physics and chemistry part.

The complications of psychology part involves a complex social network containing over 6.7 billion nodes, and I won't calculate the number of interdependent connections involved, but the lower bound is somewhere between 10^100 and 10^1000.

The problem is one of excessive complexity, and adding more complexity is a solution option only with a surplus of resources relative to dependent infrastructure.

Geo-engineering isn't a solution at all. It's jumping up and down and screaming in frustration at the approaching avalanche, which is likely to start other avalanches.

I guess I don't view the planet as badly wounded - yes we have damaged it, but in the history of the planet, the climate has been all over the place and CO2 levels have been all over the place.

Even looking into the future 100M years or so - the Western Hemisphere will have collided with Asia. Ocean currents will be radically different from what they are today, and it would be hard to guess what the climate would be like.

The damage that we are doing is in the form of making the planet less suitable to human habitation - a soiling of the nest if you will. But we have not yet developed the technologies and the means to damage the planet in ways that can't be easily erased on geological time scales.

Don't kid yourself -- we're making the planet uninhabitable for much of the life that has evolved since the Cenozoic began. Dr. Jeremy Jackson at Scripps says that most multicellular life in the oceans will be dead within 30 years; "The future is bright for dinoflagellates."

Watch his lecture: Brave New Ocean

Take a X-a-n-a-x first.

"I guess I don't view the planet as badly wounded"

This leaves me wondering what planet you might be writing from.

For well over a decade the majority of biologists have considered the living world to be in the midst of the sixth great extinction event since the beginning of life of the planet, this one clearly anthropogenic. That was before GW really started to kick in, which will be like another great extinction event piled on top of the first.

Let's not talk about continents of plastic debris floating in the middle of the Pacific, the acidification of the world's oceans, the introduction of hundreds of thousands of chemicals that the natural world has not encountered before, radioactive wastes....

Must I go on.

It took tens of millions of years for life to recover to the level of pre-extinction diversity after previous extinctions, but that was when the earth was young and robust. As some have pointed out, she's an old and brittle lady now, and we have been kicking here vigorously in the teeth with everything we've got.

Even if the current extinction event we represent is not further augmented by a natural one (no guarantee there), it could be an order of magnitude longer for the earth to recover from this one, given it's age and the double (at least) wammy we are packing with rapic GW. That puts us near the boundary when the sun start getting too hot for life to persist on the planet.

People desperately want to clasp on to some hope that our negative effect on the planet will be temporary. It may be, but we have no way of knowing that for sure.

If you read the full series of articles you'll see New Scientist is actually just looking into whether such an "Emergency Plan B" might be of any use if all else fails.

Hacking the planet: The only climate solution left?

IN A room in London late last year, a group of British politicians were grilling a selection of climate scientists on geoengineering - the notion that to save the planet from climate change, we must artificially tweak its thermostat by firing fine dust into the atmosphere to deflect the sun's rays, for instance, or perhaps even by launching clouds of mirrors into space.

Surely the scientists gave such a heretical idea short shrift. After all, messing with the climate is exactly what got us into such trouble in the first place. The politicians on the committee certainly seemed to believe so. "It is not sensible, is it? It is not a serious suggestion?"

...For now we have time. It will be a couple of decades before we know if international negotiations to wean ourselves off high carbon fuels have had any success. If not, we may have no choice but to start tweaking the climate ourselves. "Only fools find joy in the prospect of climate engineering," says Caldeira. "There is a sense of despair that we are not seeing deep emissions cuts quickly, and that is pushing us to consider these things."

The evolution of violence in men: The function of central cholesterol and serotonin

Numerous studies point to central serotonin as an important modulator of maladaptive behaviors. In men, for instance, low concentrations of this neurotransmitter are related to hostile aggression. A key player in serotonin metabolism seems to be central cholesterol. It plays a fundamental role in maintaining the soundness of neuron membranes, especially in the exocytosis transport of serotonin vesicles into the synaptic cleft. In this review, we attempt an evolutionary approach to the neurobiological basis of human male violence. Hominid evolution was shaped by periods of starvation but also by energy demands of an increasingly complex brain. A lack of food resources reduces uptake of glucose and results in a decreased energy-supply for autonomous brain cholesterol synthesis. Consequently, concentrations of neuromembrane cholesterol decrease, which lead to a failure of the presynaptic re-uptake mechanism of serotonin and ultimately to low central serotonin. We propose that starvation might have affected the larger male brains earlier than those of females. Furthermore, this neurophysiological process diminished the threshold for hostile aggression, which in effect represented a prerequisite for being a successful hunter or scavenger. In a Darwinian sense, the odds to acquire reliable energetic resources made those males to attractive spouses in terms of paternal care and mate support.

Given my recent hypothesis and interest into fact that industrial agriculture is contributing to chronic serotonin deficiency and steeper discount rates in this country, this article suggests food shortages might be more disruptive than one might otherwise think.

Fascinating stuff, Nate. Is the "central cholesterol" level fully or partially independent of dietary cholesterol? IIRC only something like 1/3 of total cholesterol is due to diet.

Very interesting indeed Nate.

two links that may be of interest (A Few Things You Should Know About Cholesterol)


And very timely you said this today because last night we watched an interesting film ( period drama) on BBC
Drama based on the true story of a prisoner, Alexander Pearce, who escaped from a British penal colony in Australia.
Having been sent down under for stealing shoes, he masterminds an escape into the Tasmanian wilderness with seven of his fellow inmates. However, with civilisation hundreds of miles away and no sources of food or shelter, their situation soon becomes desperate.
After 3 months on the bush Pearce is the only found survivor, and is tried for cannibalism.

The line in the film that haunted us “ It seems to me a full belly is prerequisite to all manor of good, No man will ever know what hunger will make him do.”

For any Brit you can watch it on iplayer

This is similar to the connection between Starvation and Schizophrenia http://cbs4denver.com/health/Schizophrenia.Starvation.China.2.256254.html

Compared with children born before or after the Chinese 1959-61 famine, those born during the disaster faced double the risk of becoming schizophrenic later on.

The results are nearly identical to a previous study of a famine in Holland resulting from a Nazi food blockade toward the end of World War II.

"Since the two populations are ethnically and culturally distinct, the processes involved may apply in all populations undergoing famine," the authors said.

I think it's linked to incorparation of fatty acids in the neural cell membrane.

Fascinating speculation on a mechanism, I like it.

Of course, SOME mechanism for hunger causing increased aggression would presumably evolve due to its evolutionary benefit.

One would think that rather than evolving for each species, such a mechanism would be strongly conserved. One would expect that a starving tyrannosaur may have been more aggressive as well, due to an altered risk/benefit in terms of safe & efficient foraging behavior.

Indeed, I'd be surprised if starving spiders were not more aggressive, whatever the actual mechanism.

So do hamsters, with teeny brains, utilize this same mechanism for increasing aggresssion? And if so, wouldn't the disparity between the size of male and female human brains seem less relevant?

I'll be interested in seeing how this rolls out, since it would be nice to be able to short-circuit the mechanism in humans. Then again, there are enough SSRI prescriptions handed out now that perhaps we are, and the diminished aggression from this and various muted signals has helped enable overshoot.

Given my recent hypothesis and interest into fact that industrial agriculture is contributing to chronic serotonin deficiency and steeper discount rates in this country, this article suggests food shortages might be more disruptive than one might otherwise think.

You have a penchant for a huge understatement, Nate. The violence likely to be unleashed if the United States fails as a political entity could be downright scary. And we are busy rushing down that road towards destruction, as the rule of law is totally ignored by the new administration.

U.S. commits further $30 bln to AIG: sources

The above action is both unconstitutional and illegal. How long will the rule of law hold when the powers backing the rule of law violate the law? Why should we comply with illegal mandates from the federal government? We are getting dangerously close to where some people are going to begin believing it's better and safer to face the future without the clowns in Washington than with them.

AIG suffers $62B loss, bailout revamped

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Insurance giant American International Group reported a stunning $62 billion quarterly loss on Monday, while government officials unveiled their latest efforts to prevent the collapse of the firm.

Overwhelmed by ongoing deterioration in the credit markets and charges related to its restructuring, AIG's losses overwhelmed the firm during the fourth quarter. Its $61.7 billion loss amounted to $22.95 per share.

AIG's loss for the full year was even more dramatic -- $99 billion. In 2007, the company reported a profit of $9.3 billion.

To keep the company from cratering, the government said it would overhaul its bailout, which is aimed at helping the besieged firm unwind in an orderly way.

Let's assume for a moment that it is the composite effect of increasingly complex stress and conflicting environmental cues which lead to low or wildly fluctuating levels of serotonin and dopamine which may manifest as panic, depression, or anger.

This is then compounded by poor diet options.

This is then compounded by poor physical activity options.

This is then compounded by seeking quick-fixes (antidepressants, pain killers, digestive aids, legal drugs, street drugs, sex, entertainment, organized religion) to address the symptoms of malaise, which only cover up the increasingly deteriorating underlying physical and mental health. Most of these quick-fixes are heavily subsidized by cheap energy.

This is then compounded by the problem of food shortages being likely accompanied by other disruptions in various economic, social, and governmental services. This further contributes to stress, frustration, and conflicting cues.

I don't like where this is going.

Huffington Post article talks of Peak oil and endorses Chris Martenson’s Crash Course

The Perfect Crash Course in The Economy

Well, to truly understand how our economy collapsed and where it's headed from here you would also have to understand a number of other things like the energy economy, the financial, credit, and banking systems, governmental laws, structures and procedures, and a lot of statistical analysis and capitalist economic theory. And then you would need to know how these things connect to political corruption, climate change. overpopulation, peak oil, pollution, resource depletion, and species extinction. Yay, fun.

It was for all of these people and more that Chris Martenson, a former professor, research scientist, and Fortune 300 VP, created The Crash Course, a three-hour long internet video presentation that is a literal "crash course" in the economic, environmental, and societal "crashes" that are unfolding all around us. No matter who you are, you will walk away with a complete and comprehensible picture of our economic situation, and a strong sense of where we are headed in the coming years.


The crash course is a must for anyone who hasn't seen it yet. It makes very clear that the problem is not just peak oil, its the printing money in the form of debt ( Money as Debt ) assuming the economy is going to grow into it and how this doesn't tally with finite natural resouces aka Limits to Growth

The crash course is a good introduction for the ideas, and connects a lot of the dots if people have already put some of them together themselves.

Thanks: probably your single greatest contribution to the OD.
Not to mention the author.

An enlightening course for all my freinds and family
Now I don't need to fumble around trying to explain all this stuff.
Also I don't need to force feed this info to anyone.

With Force, Mexican Drug Cartels Get Their Way

CIUDAD JUÁREZ, Mexico — Mayor José Reyes Ferriz is supposed to be the one to hire and fire the police chief in this gritty border city that is at the center of Mexico’s drug war. It turns out, though, that real life in Ciudad Juárez does not follow the municipal code.

It was drug traffickers who decided that Chief Roberto Orduña Cruz, a retired army major who had been on the job since May, should go. To make clear their insistence, they vowed to kill a police officer every 48 hours until he resigned.

Families Search for Truth of Spain’s ‘Lost Children’

Franco’s top military psychologist, Antonio Vallejo Nágera, claimed that Spain could be saved from Marxism by isolating children from Republican parents. A 1940 decree allowed the state to take children into custody if their “moral formation” was at risk.

“Their logic was that the solution lay in separating children from their mothers,” Mr. Vinyes said.

One way or another we North of the Mexican border are going to have to face the facts that there is a growing threat of a new kind of Terror near at home.

I don't want to live in a Police State, but I don't want to live where walking outside could get me killed either. Sooner or later the Crimnals are going to be making the decisions for us if we don't watch out. Going back to a "hanging the bad guys" way of life might seem harsh, but prisons aren't going to stop some people from harming their fellow humans.

I have read a few Sci-Fi stories where the crimnals were fixed with one device or method or another. But that was fiction, how do we face these types of people in our real world?


Under Sharia law thieves get their hand cut off. In old England, they got their ears "shorn" I.E. cut off close to the head. And of course the axeman and the hangman were always busy.

A society based on theivery and warlordism doesn't last long-term, they tend to "mellow" and you end up with something like royalty and yeomen, peasents, etc in places like old Russia and old England. But as modern examples show, things can be miserable for decades.

Not something to look forward to.

But that means converting our southern neighbor to Islam. Not something that is going to happen anytime soon. We are not yet dealing with them directly they are still over there across that thin line called a border. But they are getting to the point that sooner or later we will have to deal with them.

Best to decide now what sort of fix we are going to use to settle it once and for all than to let it simmer and boil over.


No, I'm not advocating converting anyone to Islam, it's just an example.

Applying harsh punishments, such chopping hands and heads, serves not only as a punishment but also as a deterrent for potential and current criminals. If we analyze the Mexico situation through a spectrum, we would realize that the situation there, perhaps arguably, is of an extreme nature. In order to bring the extreme situation back to a middle ground, we need to enforce harsh measures that will offset the other extreme. Extreme times call for extreme measures.

It is the extreme measures that lead to the extreme times.

There is no justice in punishment. There is either understanding and mercy, or ignorance and barbarism.

And yet I'm not surprised that some of the same people who would cut off someone else's hand for their own ignorance, also worship a meteorite.

While I agree with you that understanding and mercy are good options, you seems like an extremist when you say that you are either this or that (You're either with us or against us). Sorry Bush, the world isn't that simple and there is a lot in between mercy/compassion and punishment/revenge. Both apply and both exist and its no benefit to you or I to single one another out as an extremist.

On a second note, if you're referring to the black stone that is the corner stone of the Kaba, you obviously lack the proper knowledge to "UNDERSTAND" what more than one billion people on earth believe in. Do review your knowledge of Islam so that you may better live by the principles that you preach.


701's position uses the fallacy of the "excluded middle" but as I understand variants of the Islamic religion, e.g. Shariah law, there is also dogma with very little "wiggle room".

There are extremists in every sect of every religion, but you appear to discount, or diminish the radical component of your own (apparent) religion.

If I read this incorrectly, I apologize but it seems that many positions, (economic. theological, ideological et al) are posited without any rational basis.

If we try to progress on the basis of how we would like things to be, then we will be sorely disappointed.

When ideology confronts reality, reality wins every time and ideology either blames vague external forces or modifies their ideology.

So, in your defense of Islam, what version should I adhere to? Before you get defensive, what version of Christianity is the right path?

Dogma is dogma, regardless of religion or sect.

I feel that you have a good heart, but you are being intellectually dishonest.

Please show me where I am wrong.

Thank you for your comment Pragma,

Firstly, I would like to clarify that I completely accept that there are people today that claim to be Muslim and claim to be acting on behalf of God when they commit horrendous acts.

Islam calls for us to embrace reality and not what we like or don't like. It paints a strong and clear picture of what we need to do to live in harmony in a world we know is discorded. Take for instance that in Islam, it is forbidden to drink alcohol and rationally, you (and I) know that alcohol in little amounts is not only harmless, it has proven to be healthy. Therefore it may be considered "extreme" to forbid, completely, the intake of alcohol since a little is good.

In the Quran, it states (direct translation: They ask thee concerning wine and gambling. Say: "In them is great sin, and some profit, for men; but the sin is greater than the profit.")
http://www.harunyahya.com/Quran_translation/Quran_translation2.php (verse 219)

You see, first, God rationalizes his decree to forbid something and second, the rationality Islam calls for is a little sacrifice, for the greater good. This is, for me, an extremely rational principle to live by as, as you know, nothing comes free. The rationality that lies within the meanings of the laws of Islam make an amazing amount of sense and I would invite you to bring up any topic that you find awkward or irrational so that I may research some and clarify what the rationality behind the decree may be.

Islam at the end of the day is a set of rules by which a person should live their lives. It calls for exactly what you believe in, and I quote you "if we try to progress on the basis of how we would like things to be, then we will be sorely disappointed." This is because our actions have consequences and the consequences are almost always vague or unknown to us or we simply ignore them. The anticipation of the consequences therefore is left up to trial and error but Islam, and other religions for that matter, try to save us the trouble of having to go through the trial and error and decree the bad forbidden. The fact that our knowledge and power as humans is so limited, is most likely why you may find that some decrees are based solely upon belief in an external force.

I hope that I clarified some of my positions and I would invite you to try to look for some truth in what I say. You also seem like a good person and I would very much like to continue this interesting discussion with you.

Thank you.

It looks like Mexico is going the way of Columbia where the country greatly curtailed the role of police and militarized security functions. If it follows that same trajectory, the next thing that will happen is the U.S. will be invited to send in troops to "train" the Mexican soldiers and will furnish sophisticated weaponry to the Mexican military. Mexico will probably also start inviting in U.S. special forces to kill off the more violent drug capos who pose a a threat to the state. Here in Columbia (I'm in Columbia for a couple of weeks) the people seem to be quite content with such an arrangement. I speak to people every day about the situation in Columbia, all the way from the wealthy people in the homes I visit looking for art works to taxi cab drivers, and everyone seems to prefer the militarization of the country and the involvement of the U.S. over a narco state. But either way--militarization or narco state--I believe the people lose. It's definitely a beauty contest of the uglies.

The engine that drives most of this violence is of course the United States and its insatiable appetite for drugs:

-¿Cómo sabe de dónde son los que compran?

"Uno tiene confianza con el comandante y ellos hablan de gringos, mexicanos..."

"Se recibe plata por bultos, en dólares y en pesos".


I've often pondered why Americans, with all their prosperity, are so unhappy that they can't face reality without their daily fix.

DS, we are all greatly impressed by the fact that you speak Spanish. However next time please translate to English so us lesser mortals can understand what you are quoting.


Sorry about that Darwinian. You're right and I won't do that again.

This is a news report that talks about how "one of the greatest enemies to the secuity of Colombia" is the overt drug tafficing that takes place across the border in Ecuador: "The guerillas that negociate with international drug trafickers the cocaine of FARC's southern block can walk under the light of the sun that illuminates" three villages named in Ecuador.

And the quote I cited above translates:

How does one know where the buyers are from?

"Informants to the commander say they are gringos, mexicans..."

"They receive payment for drugs in dollars and pesos..."

My Spanish is terrible, but I think it's something like:

Do you know where the buyers come from?
(Nlash, blah...) the Comandante said it is Americans and Mexicans.
(pronoun) receuive (blah...) in dollars and pesos.

Minor point, but I think that the country is spelled Colombia.

I've often pondered why Americans, with all their prosperity, are so unhappy that they can't face reality without their daily fix.

Holla Sr. DS

IMO, it is because we have become so ingrained with a very false equation that "standard of living" = "quality of life". The prosperity you speak of is very often impoverishment. We have been very carefully conditioned to strive for things which are, for the most part, irrelevant to a satisfying existence. This means that valuable time is wasted, earning money to buy things that we have been taught that we should have.

Prosperity, in its basic form, means having food and shelter in order to thrive and grow. I see no such benefits from iPods, PDAs or text messaging and myriad other technotrinkets. Many people are in a state of ennui if not outright depression because they are doing all the "right things" and yet they feel profoundly dissatisfied. They can't figure out the problem because they have not questioned their underlying assumptions. As a refuge from this dilemma, they resort to drugs. For all their detriments, drugs feel good. I confess to enjoying a good shot (or two or three) of single malt scotch, and perhaps too often.

Many people make their money performing work that is totally unsatisfying, and often useless, except to feed the complexity beast that has been created for the benefit of those at the top of the food chain. This impoverished existence is no different than feeding one's body with empty calories without any real nourishment.

I stepped away from the machine a few years ago. Last year, a friend of mine pestered me to help him in a large restaurant renovation. After many years in front of a CRT, I jackhammered, plumbed, painted, tiled, framed, wired, hung vinyl, laminated etc, etc.

28 days later a business had been gutted and transformed. I had aches in places where I didn't know I had places. I also had a sense of accomplishment and four weeks of working, eating and laughing with two great guys. The money came in handy, but it was secondary.

Perhaps to put it more simply, people use drugs not to deal with reality, but to deal the unreality that is our so-called modern society.

I am so glad it is unsustainable. Unfortunately, the return trip is going to be a real bitch.



Prosperity, in its basic form, means having food and shelter in order to thrive and grow. I see no such benefits from iPods, PDAs or text messaging and myriad other technotrinkets.

I see large benefits for personal growth in technotrinkets that enables access to culture like iPods, creation of culture like electronic music instruments and communication trinkets that enables access to internet and so on. These are tools worth having and free software and market competition should make them better and cheaper and available even in a depression.

I suspect the problem is people leavig to little of their time to be with other people and communicate with them in ways that are satisfying. The big physical resource black hole is not the trinkets but having too large houses and cars and communiations that are maladapted for people to meet each other in simple ways and people not buying what they realy want long term.

"Winning through losing the least"

I don't know if that has been posted. It was linked over on The Automatic Earth. In any case, IMO Jason Bradford and Sharon Astyk are to the 21st Century as the high tech stars were to the end of the 20th Century--their advice is, will continue to be, widely sought out. Jason said that it sounds fine to him, as long he gets the same income as the high tech guys did at the end of 20th Century.

Jim Rogers Doesn't Mince Words About the Crisis
Maria Bartiromo talks to global investor Jim Rogers

What does all this mean from an investment standpoint?

Always in the past, when people have printed huge amounts of money or spent money they didn't have, it has led to higher inflation and higher prices. In my view, that's certainly going to happen again this time. Oil prices are down at the moment, but that's temporary. And you're going to see higher prices, especially of commodities, because the fundamentals of commodities are enhanced by what's happening.

Which commodities are worth buying or holding on to?

I recently bought more of all of them. But I really think agriculture is going to be the best place to be. Agriculture's been a horrible business for 30 years. For decades the money shufflers, the paper shufflers, have been the captains of the universe. That is now changing. The people who produce real things [will be on top]. You're going to see stockbrokers driving taxis. The smart ones will learn to drive tractors, because they'll be working for the farmers. It's going to be the 29-year-old farmers who have the Lamborghinis. So you should find yourself a nice farmer and hook up with him or her, because that's where the money's going to be in the next couple of decades.

The question is not whether there will be inflation, but when. Clearly we're still seeing debt destruction - reduction of the money supply - that's outstripping any and all attempts at monetization. Once deleveraging winds down, then the effects of all that newly minted money will surely take over, chasing after sparse goods and stoking higher prices.

Please recall that prices are a signal - a trailing signal - of inflation, not the definition of it. The total money supply will continue to decrease so long as those trillion-dollar bailouts are dwarfed by hundred-trillion-dollar writedowns in financial instruments and real estate, so as of today we're deflating, efforts at printing notwithstanding.

And there's one other feature that we sometimes ignore: money in a vault does no one any good - it may as well not exist. Lacking trust and transparency in the financial markets, and in the absence of willing borrowers, the velocity of those bailout trillions falls to zero, so they cannot contribute to reflating the economy.

The whole (>99%) of the world is getting poorer at a rapid and increasing rate, so that commodities will continue to become less affordable - more expensive in real terms - even as their prices continue to fall. Eventually hyperinflation has to be the result, but just because it makes sense doesn't mean it's around the corner. As Keynes said, "The markets can stay irrational longer than you can stay solvent." Personally, I'm still holding onto some fertilizer companies, but I'm net short.

As I said, I think that the "winners" in our present situation are best characterized as those who lose the least.

Jason said that it sounds fine to him, as long he gets the same income as the high tech guys did at the end of 20th Century.

Ummm - that does NOT sound like Jason Bradford. More likely he predicted that farming/creating basic needs (ELP) will engender the same social status as money did for high tech guys.

It sounds like Jason was joking to me.

That would be a good assumption.

ahh. sorry.
You know me. Mr. Serious.

That would be totally natural for an INTJ (MBTI) :-)

I do think that Rogers has a good point here:

For decades the money shufflers, the paper shufflers, have been the captains of the universe. That is now changing. The people who produce real things [will be on top]. You're going to see stockbrokers driving taxis. The smart ones will learn to drive tractors, because they'll be working for the farmers.

Unfortunately, the former "captains of the universe" are not going quietly into the night.

"Unfortunately, the former "captains of the universe" are not going quietly into the night."

I agree.

All the MSM double talk of rescues, bailouts and toxic assets, has obscured the reality that the "captains of the universe" seem to be holding the country hostage.

That's kind of you, WT. As long as I don't have to wear pantyhose or a suit, I'm fine with it ;-).


I don't have to wear them, but pantyhose are still the best way to rob a liquor store.

Darn I wish I had some pantyhose right now! I need something really fine to screen some pine pollen I gathered through, I've been putting it into capsules (gathering a year's supply) and there are these little bugs my piece of window screen don't catch. Between that and the fact that I lick the side of each one to seal it when filled, this is a "for myself only" suppliment.

Pantyhose are just all kinds of useful, another item to stockpile, really.

Mr. Fleam, besides their use as a filter for fine powders, what are some other specific applications for panty hose in your experience?

Chuckle, in this climate 10 below and -40 windchill, panty hose make a great first layer, then the regular long johns. They breath well and that's important to stay warm. Cheap and very effective. I suspect many more men know that than admit it.

Don in Maine

Look at the entire UnderArmor sports line. Or check out some of the high tech mountain climbing underwear that takes the same idea to its technological extremes.


I brought a pair of the military grade polyester thermal underwear. Costs quite a bit too. But I couldn't stand to wear them. I went back to my cotton thermals.

The problem was that they tended to remove all feelings from my body. Like I was encased in plastic and had no senses via the parts that were covered in it.

A very displeasing experience. I tried them more than once..and slept in them overnite. I found I couldn't sleep well in them. I couldn't be comfortable in them in any circumstances.

I suspect I will later have to go to wool but those are hard to find so far. In the Navy wool was the preferred clothing if weather called for it.

In Great Lakes,Ill. I was in bootcamp right in the middle of winter.
We had to go out and stand watches over dumpsters in the middle of a freezing night. We wore our undress blues with just regular skivvies underneath. A cartridge belt, a watch cap of wool, and a Navy peacoat of solid wool on top. Gloves on hands. The weather then was bearable. This is also how we did marching and drills,in the same uniform...and I will tell you that being on the lake in the middle of winter was max cold. Yet wool was what did the job.

I still have two wool watch caps,pullover for those that don't know them, and my Navy peacoat. But mostly I just wear the rural zipup insulated coveralls here. Plus my watch cap.


Ruined pantyhose have many garden applications.

You can use a leg to store onions in -- knot between each onion.

You can fill a leg with thistle seed for a gold finch feeder.

It makes dandy garden ties to tie up tomatoes with

I use panty hose protectors to deter critters from nibbling on developing butternut squash.

Besides the hold-up-disguise application, pantyhose worn on the head ( but not the face) can keep you warm while sleeping.

Is it time to begin a list of Zombie Cities, to go along with Zombie banks?

How many more 'Detroits' will we see evolve this year and next? Is this the start of Re-ruralification, the Hard Way?

Median Home Price in Detroit = $7,500

John Mogk, a professor at Wayne State University Law School: “A thousand people are leaving the city every month and the city does not have the financial resources and the economic base to solve its own problems.”

On a positive note, Detroit’s homicide rate dropped 14 percent last year. That prompted mayoral candidate Stanley Christmas to tell the Detroit News recently, “I don’t mean to be sarcastic, but there just isn’t anyone left to kill” . . .


On another positive note, there should be an excess of human power available to work the stranded assets our farmers will have when their monster tractors can't be fed and their 300 cows need milking 2-3 times a day.

I wonder how many people in the US, including "farm states," will starve The First Winter (next winter ???)? I suppose it depends alot on whether the crops get in the ground before things really get chaotic... hmmm...

I wonder how long before it dawns on our individual communities that they will have to provide their own "aid." That neither their state, nor the federal government, is capable of helping. That they will have to be responsible for themselves.

I just posted a comment cogent to this very area.


An excellent commentary too.

Sooo many people around me seem to assume we will be fine because we have farms...

Same thing with the local food pantries. Horribly dangerous assumptions and complacency. The regional and local supply chain of food for our pantries consists of excess inventory (damaged, close to out-of-date, mispackaged, etc) donated by companies that currently operate in the Land of Plenty.

But soon we will not be in the Land of Plenty and our food pantries will be useless (at least for a while). They also get some governent commodities - but not nearly enough to replace their current high-energy, long distance menu.

Same thing for our local utilities, local and state EMA - no plan at all (although two years ago they did a shallow, "preliminary" study of the food distribution in our state and this year's annual meeting they started to look at energy distribution in the state... far too little, far too late).

Even our local Native Americans got caught up in playing pretend. They have "Sustainability Institutes" that promote dependency on industrialized forestry while promoting the memory of their culture. Take away their federal subsidies and their casinos and Nothing they are doing will be "sustainable" any longer.

The Whole Chain of command for our civilization is full of broken links that are about to fail at about the same time.

Even our local Native Americans got caught up in playing pretend. They have "Sustainability Institutes" that promote dependency on industrialized forestry while promoting the memory of their culture.

Do you have a link ? Otherwise I found these.

None of those links look familiar. The specific tribes don't matter, you can judge for yourself which, if any, particular native american "sustainability" programs will help their communities in a practical way during this transition.

Most tribes in north america are unsustainable without federal aid and casino customers bussed in daily.

Few if any could feed themselves or area communities if that became necessary. Few if any have any kind of plan for the types of emergencies we will begin to experience soon (this year?)?

I'm not picking on the tribes. I just thought of them as one of our last hopes to help prepare locally in a practical way. The above is true for most cities, towns, counties, etc (even families - how many families do you know that have even a few weeks worth of food in their own pantry?).

Maybe after a year or two of real destitution the local tribal communities and the local towns and counties will be able to pick up the pieces and turn into a happy place - like Seattle and the pacific north west.

Or they might behave like they did in the 1970's and be at eachother's throats.

Bosnia on the Prairie.

Here's one tribe that seems to have a bit of a clue: http://nativeharvest.com/

I like the harvesting of wild rice from area lakes (which is also a new summer activity for my family).

And, yes, they do look like they are trying to actually build a sustainable local system. I love the "farm to school" program. And alt energy programs (that little 20kw Jacobs they have isn't much but it is better than nothing!).

The Native Wind site looks practical. That's good, at least a start for energy... but what about feeding people?

The honorearth site looks like most others - designed for little more than to get grants to promote the memory of their people (see the mission statement and the first link upper-left of the posterboy native photo). Of what use will these efforts be when the federal grants dry up and government commodities are not enough to feed their people?

Same thing with the local food pantries. Horribly dangerous assumptions and complacency. The regional and local supply chain of food for our pantries consists of excess inventory (damaged, close to out-of-date, mispackaged, etc) donated by companies that currently operate in the Land of Plenty.


Hm. The Doomer who owns this place had some other people, homeless whom he was trying to rehabilitate, living here in the late 90s/early 2000s. "They'd not eat a weed", as he put it. Food had to be "anything in a plastic package". They were hurtin, but would not gather and learn to use mustard greens, nettles, walnuts, acorns, cattail, pine pollen, plaintain, mushrooms, veggies from the garden, just off the top of my head things that can be gotten within a square mile, walking distance, of this place. Nor would they fish (limit is 26 lbs a day of smelt) nor apparently were they using chicken liver, pig neck, or other cheap and tasty meats from the store.

Kurt Saxon, yes, THAT guy, mentions in his first essay on survival foods, that he's seen people literally starving while there was grain for livestock in abundance. People protein-deprived while there was enogh waste grain from spillage and manure to keep a couple dozen chickens going. People in the midst of plenty, who were starving because they did not recognize certain foods as food.

Growing up nibbling on plants, as I did, is apparently rare these days. I actually think, as many who have looked into this do, that a large part of the present American population may just plunk itself down on its butt and pass away rather than change lifelong food preferences.

Thus, when the food banks in Detroit and similar areas run out of dented boxed of mac and cheese, the population that feeds on that will either migrate (which will be hard in itself since anyone with resiliance should have migrated by now) or well, die off. And a whole different kind of people, hardy farmers and weed-eaters, will repopulate these areas. It's dangerous to do so now, but wait until the Kraft runs out.

Remines me of several "End of the World" books I have read recently talk about Americans just dying by the boat load because they were not able to get past their "It is not in a Microwavable box" mentality. My 3rd Ex-wife is that way, I can't seem to get her interested in veggies, dishes from other countries, or some of my Survival Foods which I do share with others as a taste test.

I was the person in my family and circle of friend who was always nipping a bit of that plant or other and tasting it. The one thing that is going to go a very far way in the future is Knowledge. Those that know something, or those that have the books with the information in them are going to be the gold mines of the next decades.

Don't you have a fine sieve like for tea?

Pour the pollen grains out on a white piece of paper and use a small stick or butter knive to move the bugs off to one side, that should work, though it is labor intensive. I use the same method to sort multicolored glass bead mixtures into the colored piles.


"Food had to be "anything in a plastic package"."


Not only that, but some of the smaller town pantries will only take family-size or smaller products. No bulk - they won't, or can't break it down themselves.

A farm is a great place to starve to death if you have not planted something that you can eat while your supermarket shelves run bare.

I have a friend who is into Wilderness Rescue and he has food enough for a while. I know that Mormans and a few others Push for having food for a disaster, from 72 hours worth to 1 or 2 years worth. I even have enough for my Parents and myself and a few others for a week or so.

But generally speaking not many people think of long term food shortages, or famines in this country. So if there is something that happens, look for masses of folks doing things that we only see in Horror movies and End of World books.

I have always hunted for wild growing foods and pushing the Idea of Growing Edible Landscapes. If you take the time to know what your area can grow, you can get a lot more out of your yard than you would think. All I need now is a big fish pond, some hen houses, a few goats and sheep, and a milking cow. Oh one other thing besides a bigger city lot, city codes to change so I can have the farm animals.

But seriously, Growing Edible Landscapes is going to be a lot bigger in the future world than it is right now, at least would be if people knew how bad it could get.


Yesterday there was a very good Key Post by Steve From Virginia regarding food,fertilizer,etc "Through the Looking Glass"

Steve asked this;
"The tire situation is a mystery to me. I can see where it would be a problem particularly with large equipment. I suspect there are small computerized 'chipsets' or electronic black boxes that would immobilize your machines if they failed, too."

I was going to answer his questions but I think that Key Post is fading into the past so here is my response.

Yes most farm equipment now is loaded with sensors and computers(called modules). I work on them quite a bit during the active farming season. Same as I do 18 wheelers electronics.

For quite a long time these have been present in the equipment and advancing very rapidly into the present to the extent that 'Yes' they can shutdown a machine. Try going over a bridge and your semi shuts the engine off. Due to either low oil pressure of low coolant level or faulty sensors or bad connnections or actual failure of what is being sensed and controlled.

A combine is very dependent on its 'head' being able to move in several directions in order to follow closely the changes in the field as to height,tilt and other factors. If it goes awry and they oft times do then maintenace is called for and meanwhile your farming operation just shut down. Same as a planter that is acting up. A tractor that is getting many DTCs,diagnostic trouble codes,. Some are warnings, some can be discounted, others had better not be discounted and so on.

The world of electronic control and 'fly by wire' is and has been here in farming for some time..say the very early 90s. It has increased markedly.

Now its obvious that most farmhands are totally blank in this area. They are mostly just 'wheel holders'. As is many truck drivers IMO.

The infrastructure is vastly more important then today. The parts systems,distribution and so on...such as tires. Such as sensors. On and on.

Electronic control has become necessary. We cannot do without it currently. When it breaks technicians and well trained mechanics are going to have to be there to repair it.

This is why 'going back' in ag is going to be difficult. Most older powered equipment is gone. What we might go back to is animal powered. That is a whole different world. One that only a few are familiar with.

I would like to see an Essay posted on such a topic on Campfire.
About just how and can we 'go back'. What are the hurdles to be overcome. Is it possible? Who has the knowledge?


Kurt Vonnegut's prescient "Player Piano" imagined a world of unemployed and underemployed people, abundantly skilled but no longer needed in a fully automated world.

In one scene, Paul's car wheezes to a halt, and the WPA-types who are leaning on their shovels nearby come over to have a look. One guy pinpoints the fuel pump, from which he pulls out a blown gasket. He haggles out a new gasket from his leather hat with a pocketknife, reassembles the pump, and voila! Paul offers the man $10, he takes $5, and away we go.

Now imagine that scene today with your Prius, Smartcar, or for that matter anything this side of a 1969 Pinto. "Sure," said Bob the MSEE, "I've got my AutoXray AXRCP9125 PocketScan OBD II Code Reader right here - now let's see...."

Another excellent Airdale post!

Indeed, survivalist vehicles may well end up being OLD tractors, older vehicles that have points ignitions and no "brain box" in 'em.

back in the early '70's my father got the notion to plant winter wheat on the family ranch. He made a deal for one of those old J Deere combines that once were common in rural America, broke down, needing an engine. The only engine he had available was from his wrecked '63 Ranchero (Ford 289, same as in the Mustangs). I spent the better part of one vacation trying to get this impossible conversion to work. And we succeeded. sort of.
My point is...why won't we just be able to use our innate American resourcefulness and scab together working ag equipment from all the tired SUV's that will be littering the landscape?
Why assume we go from space shuttle complexity to ox and plow?
I see a golden age of American creativity, much as the Cubans who still run their old DeSotos.
At least for our children.
Our grandkids?...will probably be able to harness a team.

I've made much of my recent career designing the software running in those little boxes. I have a few thoughts about these relative to a powered down civilization.

First, remote sensor networks can be completely battery and solar powered, so fixed applications would function well and can continue to give value by providing data that otherwise requires a driver and a vehicle to take field measurements.

Secondly, in most cases the automation replaces relatively expensive machinery (machined parts and subassemblies) that, while more reliable, cost a lot and are less efficient to operate. This can support lower operating cost, but it could also maximize profit and promote concentration of wealth, probably what most manufacturers are doing.

As an example, take a look at a typical gas carburetor compared to electronic fuel injection. The carburetor has lots of moving parts, gaskets, gas & air paths, etc. Not that these tend to break, they do require periodic cleaning. EFI works for 100K+ miles, close to the useful life of the car. Or lets say, its planned lifetime.

But as anyone who has had to replace a car's engine computer will agree, these modules aren't fixable; they must be replaced now and then, and they aren't cheap.

Embedded firmware can do wondrous things for process control efficiency, take the setback thermostat as an example. But we depend on billion dollar semiconductor foundries and a whole host of upstream industries to make the chips that go into the modules. Pure silicon and the other materials that go into today's chips are hard to manufacture. This IS rocket science in many cases, and it takes a lot of power and natural resources as well.

Every module I've designed uses at least one critical part, usually the computer itself, for which no substitute exists. These aren't generic X86 CPUs, not a question of buying another white box from Dell, HP, or some smaller vendor. These parts have all kinds of peripherals right on the chip, or sometimes a totally custom chip is used. Many boards have 100-200 parts on them. What happens when one of these part vendors closes its doors? Suddenly, the entire support network for a vendor's modules will vanish. What happens when spares run out? Hmm.

Funny thing. There are lots of "standard modules" available, plug compatible and all, and one finds these in expensive industrial quality equipment. But this path is too expensive for volume products. Instead, a low-cost custom solution is used to bring the product cost into line with the market. And protect the vendor, modules are often potted in epoxy, chips are one-way programmed (you can't read their memories nor reprogram them) and sometimes one rubs out identifying marks off critical parts or has the chip vendor mark them with a customer-specific code. All of this to protect the design from competitors.

Obviously very little of this is sustainable. I don't know what to say of the long term when entire systems are brought down by tin whiskers or blown capacitors. The industry abhors generalists. I'm not sure why, but I'd think a jack-of-all-trades type - 50% electrical engineer, maybe 30% software, and 20% physicist - would be most effective at dealing with these problems as we go from here. But the intentional obfuscation by vendors, including restrictive non-disclosure agreements and patent/copyright enforcement, hides a lot of practical know-how the generalist would need. If GM goes bust, who will maintain all that installed base? Dunno.


A good reply but I see some uncertainly in your remarks as to module control and availability of parts in the powerdown scenario.

Regarding capacitors.
I have pulled some auto/truck PCM(power control modules) simply to examine the capacitors as to their quality.
They are used for noise cancellation in many cases. If they are electrolytic caps they can over time experience leakage. When they leak I believe they then can destroy the underlying circuit land patterns resulting in a loss of the module.

Heat and vibration are destroyers of them. I was suprised that some seem to hang on quite well. Others not so well.

Take a yield monitor in a combine. A very good tool to understand how your fields and areas within yield,leading to soil analysis and nutrient treatment.

Yet the method of calibrating the monitors is so difficult that folks I know tend to not use them. Some do and report erroneous results that are misleading.

The technology is great. Make no mistake about that. But there is a penalty for the future here that I am certain no one can realize except when it all stops functioning and repairs cannot be made.

We are then in a bad way. If the GPS satellites stop functioning a huge amount of data will have to be thrown out as a result.

Technology has a bleeding edge to it. I think we will experience that in the future.

Like yes,,if the auto manufactures go away? All these vehicles will slowly start to degrade and cease to function. Lack of parts and the lack of module updates(flashes). As well as technical skills not being updated and dying out.

To me the internet is in the same boat. Likewise much of our lifestyle that is dependent on such technology.

But agriculture will be the worst to lose. How many 'red belly' Ford tractors are still around then? I got my little IH 140 and glad of it but parts may soon become non-existant. Already I have hyd problems that I am having difficulty with right now.


I'll second that on the electrolytic caps and say that over time, they ALL fail where "time" is a decade or two. With restoration of old radios, the first thing a restorer does is a "recap", they replace all the electrolytic caps (and often some of the others too). Caps, especially electrolytics, will often degrade, and develop something ESR, Equivalent Series Resistance. Not hard to check, but most don't know how to do it, and it's generally there so replace the cap anyway.

These caps were made in small shops fairly recently, and I don't see them as impossible to make in the future the way say, a 486 CPU will be. The Internet is probably doomed but unless things get really bad, radio is here to stay. It and a landline telegraph system are possible with 1850s technology.

I can recall taking apart electrolytics from my dad's WWII surplus and similar (ham) junk when I was little. There isn't much in them. Two sheets of aluminum foil separated by a slightly moist gauze soaked in boric acid.

So stockpile aluminum foil and boric acid?

I am speaking of quite small capacitors. The circuit boards are extremely crowded. And then we have 'surface mount' technology where you can't hardly replace components. Hermetically sealed in many cases.

The days of replacing components with a soldering iron and small tools is about over. Have you ever pulled a Pentium 4 processor and looked at the pin structure?

I have replaced a processor chip on a early 90s combine but I doubt the newer ones would be so easy.

Try to flash a module on one of todays automobiles. Without a total hookup to the manufacturers via a 'tech tool' you are just not going to do it. Many cars now can't have the fault codes read out without a very sophisticated tech tool. Like Star Mobile for Chryslers. The best one can do is readout the EPA data which doesn't tell you much.

We are so far into technology that when the infrastructure falters most of this electronics will go belly up rather fast. Thats one reason my farming friend stays with the older equipment. Yet we are always patching it up and applying bandaids. Even rebuilt the Cummins engine.
Something most farmers are nowhere near capable of doing.

I have a nice Yaesu FT-990. Haven't lifted the covers yet. It works. Hope it stays working. An amazing piece of gear. Circa 1980s gear.

I love this old equipment. Still repairable to a degree but parts are surely going to start becoming harder and harder to find as ........

Wow....Companies are GOING BROKE and out of business!!!!
Means no parts.

Not much in them? Diyer? My rig must weigh 30 lbs or more. One big heavy rig. Has mucho memory, dual VFOs,complete onboard ant tuner,etc....loaded is the word. Can do RTTY,Code,Packet,,etc.


Pointing out that what if our GPS system were to go out. ( See recent events of two satellites colliding in orbit to see how we could lose more than just 2) Makes me think of my friend Kevin Pride who does Wilderness Rescue. They are taught how to read Topograpical Maps using a Compass as a guide tool. Though they sometimes have access to a GPS system, knowing how to read Maps and guide with a compass is something every school child should be taught. Learning about star navigation is high on my list of things I would teach people.

We are going to need it sooner or later, we might as well not loose these methods of getting around, teach them in schools today.

We won't go back to the Dark Ages, but we should not fully rely on the Electronic Present that we have to be our Future.

North Arkansas along with several other states lost power for days and weeks during the last big ice storms. Ask them how they felt when they had to eat down their pantries.


Hey we still have people without power. Its far better but transformers are still laying on the roadsides. Its still coming up but not totally as yet. The worse part is massive loss of our timber. Massive.

To see the destruction brings tears to one's eyes.

My fruit trees might never recover. Main trucks snapped. Limb loss is almost complete. Whats left is very weak.

Eat down a pantry? I had to pack water from a long way off. Try going to the woods at 5 degrees above zero in the middle of the night to answer the call of nature. Yes I found alternatives,,,won't mention them here.

I hope I never witness something like this again. The out of state crews says that this destruction was far above IKE and Katrina(not the flooding part in NOLA)..I mean the destruction of nature.


Try going to the woods at 5 degrees above zero in the middle of the night to answer the call of nature. Yes I found alternatives,,,won't mention them here.

It's silly not to talk about how to handle human piss and shit at night, in the cold.

For most of human history indoor plumbing did not exist. Night pots, sometimes positioned under a night stool, is the answer. My mom, a post-WWII German, remembers them. For Americans, a 5 gallon bucket ought to do the trick. Want to hide the 'icky?' Get another 5 gallon bucket with sawdust or wood shavings to sprinkle on your poop. Want to be real prepared? Get a toilet lid for your bucket.

Good lord almighty, how many are going to die of misplaced vanity?

There you go that's how I do it, although lots of "number one" in the humanure bucket isn't good, almost all of that just goes down the drain (diluted, along with dishwater etc) to a tree that's always kind of needed water around here. I built the drainage system myself.

Frankly, nice fresh dirt or wood chips are downright civilized compared to the average water toilet with its odd smells, 7 gallons per flush, and various noises.

Speaking of parts, here's one just tonight:


SUNNYVALE, Calif. (AP) -- Struggling flash memory maker Spansion Inc. and its U.S. subsidiaries filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Sunday, in an effort to restructure $625 million worth of debt as the company continues to explore a possible sale or other alternatives.

The news comes a week after Spansion, one of the world's largest makers of chips used in digital cameras, cell phones and high-definition televisions, said it would slash its global work force by 35 percent, or 3,000 employees.

Demand for flash and chip-based memory is on the decline as sales of electronics which use Spansion's chips dip amid the weak global economy.

Just an example, but in general the semi foundries are in deep trouble right now. The book to bill ratio (orders relative to shipments for a given month) has taken a dive over the last month or two:


Fab tool book-to-bill falls to 0.10, says VLSI

Mark LaPedus
EE Times
(02/25/2009 10:58 AM EST)

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- How bad is the semiconductor equipment market? The worldwide fab tool book-to-bill hit a staggering 0.10 ratio in January, its lowest point in recent memory, according to VLSI Research Inc. This is one of the lowest book-to-bill numbers since the last major downturn in 2001, said Risto Puhakka, president of VLSI Research (Santa Clara, Calif.).

The latest number reflects a severe drop in equipment orders in the market, Puhakka said. And vendors are still looking for the bottom, he said.

Semi companies have made it through other downturns. But it only takes a few major ones to take down half the electronics industry. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Your suggestion that the modules aren't repairable does not fit my experience. I had a Transmission Control Unit go bad on an old '95 Acura and looked for a replacement. There are companies that repair such units, usually for a steep price. I found a used one, so I'm back on the road.

Of course, the newer stuff is even more tightly integrated and thus it's much less easy to fix. Then, as airdale mentioned, there's the leaking capacitor problem, which killed lots of computer motherboards a while back. I've got one of those with bldging caps, which I think I will try to repair, if I can find the correct caps...

E. Swanson

Yes you can replace those bulging caps, the hardest thing is generally footprint, or how much space they take up on the board. A little higher microfarad rating, say replacing a 33uF with a 47uF, will generally not hurt things. Likewise voltage rating, you have one rated for 24V and you find a nice one that will fit that's 36v. Puffy caps are a joy, easy to find because they stick out like a sore thumb visually, you slap new ones in and hey presto the device works again. Be sure to watch polarity, check it and check it again, caps will pop like popcorn but smell worse if you get 'em in the wrong way.

Yeah, you don't want to let the magic smoke out, you'll never get it back in again.

Magic smoke is a good way to look at it.

It's not that electronics manufacturers will cease to exist, but the assumption that all the parts will continue to be available. First we minimize inventory with the just-in-time manufacturing, then we ignore the single-point-of-failure problem by designing in single source parts.

Of course some of those parts are amazingly powerful and cost effective, but being more resilient means accepting lower cost efficiency, size, whatever in exchange for adopting more common parts, parts with substitutes available.

Most of the "jelly bean" parts - resistors, capacitors, etc - have many substitutes that can be made whenever a lot of boards it to be assembled. But any exotic part can cause the whole lot to be held hostage to a shipping or sourcing problem. And we're going to have more of these.

And we wonder why the Russians still use vacuum tubes in their spacecraft ;-)

I hope this won't sound laughable....but I was raised in NY suburbs, know nothing about farm animals. Yet we have 3 rabbits now and I try to feed them only with grass (either from our garden or the roadsides) (We do end up buying a little food but it's more of a convenience than a necessity). I use all their poop as fertilizer. I did read that rabbits and horses are related WAY BACK millions of years ago. My experience has definitely given me confidence to try something bigger, like a goat or a pony, if we should ever have that amount of land where we could feed them. I now know how much food a rabbit needs, in terms of acreage....quite a lot actually..!

My mom, near 70, was raised on a farm in Sweden and they had pigs, a few horses, one or two cows and some chickens up until the 1950s or 60s, when FF changed the economics. I saw the empty stables as a child. Why shouldn't we be able to go back? Isn't it just a mindset?

Look at that article "From Beverly Hills to Shoveling Manure" at CNN....the last thing the woman says is that they're going to get a few cows soon so they won't have to buy milk. A few cows. Not 600 cows, like a FF dairy farmer. This article was read by millions---it's CNN...it won't take people long to catch on to what works!!

Why would we fallback to animal powered farming when it would be a lot easier to retool current production lines for farm machinery or change car production lines into making small tractors?

I expect more expensive electronics would lead to a gradual development of more standardized and rugged parts and subsystems and that expensive oil would give a gradual switch over to biogas, biodiesel, ethanol and fuel from large scale gasification plats.

Even running steam tractors on locally manufactured pellets would make more sense then draft animals.

And why would electronics manufacturing sease? Its a core technology for comfort, productivity and military power and the continous development of the technologies gives enough know how to adapt in other directions then making larger higher volum and higher spec wafer plants.

hello Magnus

IMHO this all makes sense as long as society has enough time to evolve or revolve back just a bit and we don't continue to be caught in the bigbox, topdown, techno fixation mindset. Progress!

I had an old JD tractor from 1936. Mud simple and bombproof. No batteries required. 70 yers old no problem. It would run on anything from gasoline down to bunker C and would start easily in ANY weather at least down to 25 deg. below F. Do enough work with it to plow and move anything you needed. Gawd a bunch of those could be real handy post-peak/post-meltdown.

I'm not anti tech. Before I 'retired' I used to spend a lot of time troubleshooting electronic control systems and basic electrical circuts on overtheroad and construction equiptment. There is a bunch of that stuff that WILL rapidly become quite useless when the parts chain loses a link or two. I think it has to do with the complexity going away when the system is stressed. Happening already.

Yep we need to get 'back to basics' and recognise the complexity/proprietary problem right quick. I hope, but every time I see a high speed rail or Tesla car innovation as the only viable investments, I feel that business and government just don't get it yet.

What would be the mechanism of a chain break? Some possibilities.

I've noticed that as long as something is in production parts seem to be fairly easy to come by. Later on not so much. This probably doesn't bode well for the middle aged, obscure, or more failure prone modules. (There are something like a hundred variations on some commonplace and very essential parts in the current 'modern' vehicle)

Keeping good international relations with the supplying country would be another possible bottleneck. In 'western leaning' Ghana I couldn't get parts for my 'east bloc' breakdowns anymore.

Financial failure of the producing company or the parts supplier. They might turn that over to another manufacturing company but the chain weakens as we go along and more bankruptcies become commonplace.

Graft and corruption. Gansterism. I mean worse than you already feel when you've just paid dollars out the wzzu for some 'simple' little gizmo w/o which your favorite miracle worksaver just wont run.

Looking to what has happened in other stressed systems I think some of these are possible. Others?

Forced From Executive Pay to Hourly Wage

Nine months ago he lost his job as the security manager for the western United States for a Fortune 500 company, overseeing a budget of $1.2 million and earning about $70,000 a year. Now he is grateful for the $12 an hour he makes in what is known in unemployment circles as a “survival job” at a friend’s janitorial services company.

One thing that struck me about this article is how desperately people are trying to hold on to their old lives, and how sure they are that things will turn around one day, and they'll resume their old careers. I can't help but think that those who let go first will be better off.

I was channel surfing the other day, and hit a show where “financial experts” were “helping” a women who lost her line of credit with American express. American Express was forcing here to pay down her card. Their advice: Get a credit card from another company.

We are definitely still in the denial part of the 5 stages of grief.

HOlding on? What can they do if their house can't be sold because they owe more than its worth?

And where might they then go to live? Under a bridge or culvert?

They have no idea just how bad it could be. What do they do with the children then?

This is a very very sad story.

I used to make in the late 80s more than Cooper made in the 2000s era.
I was lucky to retire when I did and was not given a 'perp walk' to the door. In fact I was given a Rolex , had going away parties for me, mgr told me to slack off for my last month and just hang out. I was treated with respect. I walked away happy with my career and accomplishments.

I never had to seek those types of jobs afterwards. I was happy to farm. I guess I was lucky.

Sad stories. Many more and worse I would think. I see these young guys. In stores and around town in cities...doing menial jobs. They don't meet your looks. They keep their heads down and don't talk much.


What can they do if their house can't be sold because they owe more than its worth?

I would walk away, or declare bankruptcy and start over again.

And where might they then go to live? Under a bridge or culvert?

Rent. Live in a smaller house or a cheaper neighborhood. Share a large house with family, friends, or boarders.

Some people are not trying to hold onto their old careers. The NY Times had an article about how people are gravitating to new careers that are less prestigious but safer. Welder, tailor, cobbler. They've recognized that the old formula of college degree -> white collar profession isn't working any more.

These are very sad stories, with fathers trying to support 8 children as janitors,etc.

But there is a new equilibrium that will eventually be reached, with lower production and consumption in balance. The US has so much fat to lose, with monster SUVs and McMansions and piles of discarded electronic toys. Most people on Earth, who already live with a fraction of US/EU wealth seem happier and healthier to me, than US citizens with their obesity and compulsive striving on the hedonic treadmill. My family has been living below its' means for many years, walking/biking and sharing our household. When I visit friends who live with 2 people in a 6000 ft2 house on a huge exurban lot, it seems lonely and alienated to me.

A little more "Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without" in US life is a positive change, in my opinion.

As we all become poorer, wealth distribution is the issue that cannot be avoided.

All of this sounds very much like the book I have been recommending about the Great Depression, "We had everything but money."

One of the stories was a woman reminiscing about how the "Thread Man" (selling sewing thread) used to stop by her house when she was a young girl in the Thirties. He was always very well dressed and unfailingly polite. Her mother told her that he must have been quite well off in the Twenties, but he was doing what he had to do to survive, and she always made a point buying thread from him.

Another story was the first person account of what a young mother did to get by as her husband lost a succession of jobs, moving down the income ladder, ending up working three days a week for a fraction of what he used to earn. She went to work doing whatever she could to make a dollar (or a few cents)--baking, sewing, etc. She said that mothers learned to pretend that they weren't hungry, when they had children to feed. One day, she found a box of groceries on her porch. Thinking it had been delivered to the wrong address, she took it back to the grocery store (pulling it in a wagon). The grocer asked if she had read the note. She said no. It turned out that the groceries were from an anonymous donor--who admired how hard she and her husband were working to keep their family together and fed, and the donor just wanted to help out.

I think the real lesson from this was the woman's honesty, Compare this to most similar situations today where the people would take the money and run. Who cares who it might really belong to.

This reminds me of a personal incident a few weeks ago. I bought a file along with some groceries and forgot to put it on the checkout belt. I saw it when I was putting stuff in my car so I went back in so they could put it on my account (this is a small town where the stores have local charge accounts). The girl seemed amazed I would do this rather then stealing it. I told her I had not only known the owners for 35 years but it was the "right" thing to do.


Whenever I see that happen, where the people wonder at your honesty, I get tears in my eyes. I was raised by depression era parents, Christian values, and hard work.

It amazes me the number of people younger than me or even around my age (45 years old) that do not have Moral attitudes. I see them floundering in a sea when things get rougher.


I hate to say it but some of the checkout youngsters in the local grocery store simply cannot make change by doing arithmetic in their head.

I asked a farm hand who was about mid 20s if he knew the value of pi...he didn't know what I was talking about. I asked if he knew what pi was used for. He still drew a blank.


A high percentage of the population is illiterate and innumerate.

Waiting in a checkout line, I added up my few purchases and calculated the sales tax in my head out of boredom. As it happened, I had exact change.

The clerk punched several buttons then looked at the magic display. He then counted my money, paused, and looked at the magic display again. He then recounted my money. Gadzooks! It was the same and it matched the magic display.

He looked at me, slack jawed and then said "Hey man, that's cool!. How'd ja do that?".

Good thing hoeing weeds and harvesting crops doesn't need much education.

Still, I think we are in big trouble.

Yeah. And to ice the cake, the professional whiners in the Marxism Humanities Department up on the university campus will bellyache to the high heavens on their presumed behalf, complaining that it's unjust that they aren't showered with $50 an hour and ultra super deluxe luxury bennies for making a dog's breakfast of things.

That's a load of crap. 1. As a student I found at least as many conservatives as liberals on my campus, and it was a liberal arts uni. 2. Such a huge generalization is BS on the face of it. 3. Categorizing everyone gets you nowhere fast. 4. Such ridiculous comments brand you the uneducated person as much as the people you two are talking about.

Knowledge without insight is no better than full on ignorance in my book.


I hate to say it but some of the checkout youngsters in the local grocery store simply cannot make change by doing arithmetic in their head.

Thats true, but it has been that way as long as I can remember (Im 57). I don't think it is getting any worse.

But, of course innumeracy is a serious problem for a country that tries to solve complicated problems via democracy. So many of our problems, be they economic, or physical (resource depletion, global warming, etc.), can only ne understood via the usage of mathematics. And people who can't do simple arithmetic -or know a trillion, from a billion, or a million, can be so easily be led astray.

Some have can't handle it even when they don't have to use their heads. One of my "favorite" little scenarios:

- Walk up to checkout with $7 (and change) in purchases.
- Give cashier $12 (and change) because you don't have 7 singles or a $5 bill.
- Cashier gives you that otherworld stupefied teenage/young-adult look, shoves the $2 back at you.
- Cashier taps $10 (and change) into computerized till.
- Cashier shoves 3 more singles at you at the computer's behest.
- You gather the 5 singles and ask for a $5 bill.
- Another stupefied look, followed, just maybe, by an exchange of $5 bill for the singles.

For some reason they usually understand the same principle with pennies, nickels, and dimes. Then again, for more "fun", try those dollar coins the post office vending machines returned until they stopped taking anything but credit cards...

Oh...and pi is used for eatin', isn't it?

pie = food of some sort

Pi = food of some sort for a geek.


Charles = Geek.

Wow, that is an article to read. I'm cynical today.

...lost his job .... earning about $70,000 a year. Now he is grateful for the $12 an hour he makes in what is known in unemployment circles as a “survival job” ...

There are people that would kill to make $12/hour - it would be a vast "step up" and not a "survival job."

When Ms. Arlt applied for the job, she sent in a stripped-down résumé that hid her 20-year career at national media companies, during which she ascended to vice president of brand development at the On Command Video Corporation and was making $165,000 a year.

PV and Solar water heating are too expensive!!

Mr. Eller had been a senior director at Sprint, earning as much as $150,000 a year

PV and Solar water heating are too expensive!! Can't possibly afford alternative energy!

Mr. Eller quickly landed a new survival job, working ... for a contractor processing immigration applications for the federal government at a salary of about $34,000 a year.

Again, there are plenty of people that would gladly take that "survival" job making that kind of money.

Then comes the kicker...

But with eight children and a wife to support, Mr. Eller said he was still “below poverty level.” The family has not been able to make mortgage payments in five months and has been on the brink of foreclosure.


I bet they will make a good addition to someone's soup some day.

At least the Hollywood couple featured in yesterday's DB were humble enough to live in a trailer on their parent's farm.

Yep I'll second that most would kill to make $12 an hour these days.

And I live in a trailer, thing looks HORRIBLE, lol. In fact you'd not guess it's inhabited except for the lights on at night. And I love it, because it's getting me ahead of the curve. Like a hot shower? Don't we all, but a pot of water heated on the propane stove and a good old dipper-bath in the shower (cos there's no hot water and this time of year the cold is COLD) feels just as good. I sleep snug as a bug in a rug in my bed of garage-saled linens, especially because among a huge bundle of stuff was a down comforter, it and gobs and gobs of stuff including a kitchen's worth of pots and pans and silverware etc were $15. While a step down from places I've been couch-surfing for the last 6 months, I live like friggin' royalty compared to how it could be. (This is typed on a vintage Mac Cube dug up from a mound of desk-detritus next to the newer Mac owned by the owner of this place,)

Get ahead of the curve now! Move into a rooming house, "play poor" while you can, because otherwise that first step will be a doozy, and it's hard to find even a place where you can do chores in exchange for a roof when you're a dirty, bedraggled, street-sleeper.

Sounds like you've got a good attitude. Hope I do as well when it gets to be my turn.

I've pared down my budget to 16,000 a year, but I figure I could get by with as little as 2,500 if I had to (2,545.14 if you want to be exact).

If I remember correctly you did some posts when life went south for you. Nice to know your getting by.

Thanks. In N. Arizona my income was about $1800 a year. I'm sure I could live great on $4000 a year now. Without this place, that would mean renting a place inside out of the weather for 4 months and living outside for the rest of the year though. And getting all food etc for free. Here, I have shelter, water, and basic staple foods in exchange for some labor, it's pretty sweet. I hope to have something going that will bring in a trickle of cash soon, and NOT any more panhandling. Sheesh. That gets old.


Is it that the job market is that bad where you are in Gilroy?
No jobs at all?

Or do you enjoy trying to beat the system and living like you do?

I have to say that I much admire your ability to cope. I live pretty simple now. Sleep with my dogs, Jack Russels, under a pile of cover,never make the bed except once in a while. Cook whatever is in the pantry that I canned.

I am living the way I prefer to live. In crowded quarters with computers and radio gear all over the place. I brought my fish cooker inside and use it mostly. Sometimes cook my meals on my wood heating stove.

I heard it called 'possum living'...but it suits me. Today I went through my over stuffed closet and threw all my suits away. All my ties. All that junk from a long time ago. I wear either bib overalls or army BDUs or hunting clothes or biker gear. As I feel led.

I got tobacco and pipes laying all over the place and sometimes I bring my Harley into the living room and shine it in my spare time.
I have a huge pile of books beside my bed. Have to walk over them to get in bed. Someday I will maybe clean them up. Maybe.

My wife would admit me to the funny farm if she lived with me but my time has come around now that I am in the 'leaden years' and I try to do just as I please.

I think I understand where your coming from.

Airdale-I do have top flight computers though.If I need to I build them myself. I play with flight sims in my spare time. Shoot the ruskies out of the skies.

Editted to add: And I am a rightwing nutball.Sorry.

Airdale - it's some of both.

First, I'm here because I want to learn to garden, or rather, farm. The guy here is doing it, I am useful to him, and I am beginning to do it also. The place is big and complicated, I've got my own space and he has his, and there's some overlap.

The job market here does suck, and I'll get garnished by the IRS so if I'm able to get a job that's on the books I'll work it until I get garnished, then quit. When the IRS starts garnishing, other creditors will jump in too and I"ll be working for free.

Once I can save up enough to do a BK, I can shut all of 'em down, even the IRS since the debt is getting to be old enough now. Then, I can get one of those elusive minimum-wage jobs.

But on the other hand, although working in an auto parts store, Home Depot, bunch of places would be fun for me, not only are the jobs damned scarce, but I'd not be learning a skill that can take me into the future. No, I'm not counting on the musical saw or something like that to support me in the future Crash either. So, I'm kind of big on learning to make shoes, simple musical instruments, learn all about herbs, some good basic skill that, along with gardening and gathering, will be a worthy skill say 10 years from now. Knowing how to work the computer terminal in a Borders Book Store won't do this for me. And it's just too damned easy to relax into a time-clocked job and not put time and energy into learning to make those shoes, or flutes, or work with herbs, etc. "Stay Hungry" as they say.

So, in one way I'm drawn to getting any job I can, and in another way I'm inclined to avoid it, to spur myself into a skill valid in our Amish future. Just like you don't overfeed a hunting dog.

I wish I could own a Harley! But, prices are coming down and down, and I could own one without fear of it being stolen here. I saw a nice Sportster with a bunch of stuff done to it at a garage sale yesterday, $4000, I'm sure $3000 waved under their nose would have gotten it. Ah, in a year or three. I'll keep the little 250cc bike, the more vehicles the more resiliance.

I bet you're not as "right wing" as Kurt Saxon and I've been considering putting his site URL on here, because his survival food writings have the same real-world tang that your posts do.

I like the trailer idea - I can use it to escape when/if family refugees arrive. And the chicken gizzards - pickled (or fresh from deadbeat, former layers ;).

Good to have you back fleam.

Well, this trailer is not mobile and stopped being so long ago. Half of the tires are deflated and off of the rims. The toilet system is illegal and probably several other things. My best recent yearly income is probably owed in back registration. This trailer is not going anywhere.

For bug-out purposes, all I can do is load what I can carry on my back and jump on the motorcycle and do my best to disappear. This is why although I am timidly experimenting with owning more than I can carry on my back, I'm trying not to get attached to anything, since bug-out time could be anytime.

For me your kind of trailer would be just fine. Itr doesn't have to be mobile to escape the relatives - it just has to be a safe distance from the house were they can drive eachother crazy.

I do have a "bug-out" plan for a backup but hope that won't be necessary.

How Not to do local currencies (or facsimiles thereof)...

CertifiChecks will no longer honor gift certificates


I wonder how many little communities are affected. I'm sure it's small spuds in the big scheme of things...

"Muskegon Chamber of Commerce fumes as widespread CertifiChecks gift checks bounce"

...Cindy Larsen, president of the Muskegon Area Chamber of Commerce, said up to $150,000 worth of gift checks for "Muskegon Money" could still be unspent.

If that's the case, a myriad of shoppers are holding checks that are worthless -- at least for now.

"We're freaking out," Larsen said. "We're freaking out because we're worried that someone is going to get stuck..."


The article about Gold Verus Farmland as an investment Made me think of the old addage.

"Buy Land, They aren't making any more of it."

While the earth does have a limited amount of Gold, we are still mining it. Though farmland could be gained from changing other landscape types into it, bye whatever methods. Farmland does have the advantage of not only being a good investment, it has a side benefit, Food. You just have a hard time eating Gold.

The one small problem here is that if you have the money to buy gold, you might not have the money to buy land.

Ages ago I was trying to buy land on a salary that could not have supported the mortgage, But years later I still wish I had tried anyway. 40 acres for $20,000, Would be a nice hunk of land today, and where it was is now a lot more pricey than back then.

So the advice of the old addage still holds true at least for me. Buy land if you can, Farmland is better, but Land can be used to grow more things than just what you see in the Grocery stores.

We only see in grocery stores at most 6,000 plant products of the more than 40,000 that we can eat. Most people just do not know what is possible with growing food in the yards they do have, let alone what they could do with a section of farmland.


Gold is the fifth "G", coming after Grain, Grub, Gear, and Guns. Don't buy gold until all of your other preparations are handled. Don't buy gold until you've successfully disconnected from the urban messes that are developing. Only buy gold when every other thing you can think of is taken care of and you still have some wealth that you want to transport from "here-now" to "there-then" sometime in the future. Gold is just a way to preserve wealth from one point in space-time to another point. Be sure you've done everything you can in every other area before you worry about that problem. And for most people, taking care of those other areas will never leave them worrying about whether to buy gold.


Looks like the whole Rick Santelli Tea party Rant may have been a bit of faux "reality" television.

Check out Barry Ritholtz's post


"What we discovered is that Santelli’s “rant” was not at all spontaneous as his alleged fans claim, but rather it was a carefully-planned trigger for the anti-Obama campaign."

"“Within hours of Santelli’s rant, a website called ChicagoTeaParty.com sprang to life. Essentially inactive until that day, it now featured a YouTube video of Santelli’s “tea party” rant and billed itself as the official home of the Chicago Tea Party. The domain was registered in August, 2008 by Zack Christenson, a dweeby Twitter Republican and producer for a popular Chicago rightwing radio host Milt Rosenberg—a familiar name to Obama campaign people."

Playboy is the original source for this, so that make it a tad suspect. But still....

I'm amazed the Hawaii Capitol Building still has an algae problem in those pools, shame on 'em. All they have to do is put in some tilapia, which among other things can filter feed and take the free-floating algae right out of the water. Put in some smaller fish, some bottom feeders etc and some lotus, and the pools will be clear, nice-smelling, and interesting. I think at present they just drain 'em scrub down with bleach, then refill, then agonize over algae heroically making them liveable again.

In my Opinion to many Public Pools and Fountains are just to plain-jane. Making them into Living breathing eco-systems with fish and plants would keep them away from using so many Chemicals to treat the Plain water.

But I don't do city planning.


PS Fleam, Glad you have a better roof over your head.

U.S. rattled as Mexico drug war bleeds over border

PHOENIX (Reuters) – Hit men dressed in fake police tactical gear burst into a home in Phoenix, rake it with gunfire and execute a man.



All these actions take precious resources

How long till communities/individuls will have to fend for themselves ?

Yep, gun sales are booming Bigtime in my Asphaltistan. The sad thing is: for the price of a single, high quality, assault-rifle + ammo, one could buy much in the way of seeds, I-NPK, garden tools + wheelbarrow, then start gardening. We sure seem headed for machete' moshpits versus building compost pits. :(

Local food: success is 100% possible
It may be possible, but I think most of the postPeak Phx youngsters will prefer to wield a weapon to take it from those growing locally. I see no evidence yet of lots of teens and young adults getting their knees dirty in garden plots...

Somalia a land of chaos, awash in weapons

.."There's no economy...so we use guns to rob people to feed our families"...
Obviously, no long-term planning for sustainability in Somalia. Will the Southwest replicate Somalia?

For those wondering how gun crazy we are here in my Asphaltistan:

The Ben Avery Shooting Facility is owned and operated by the Arizona Game and Fish Department, and is the largest public operated shooting facility in the country.
This is just a huge operation, and most would be amazed at how full it gets on weekends. Some of these people have huge sums invested in their arsenals. What is really frightening is to see the posted paper target results of when they have very long range sniper/sharpshooter contests: very tight groupings on a very small bullseye. Yikes!


Business is booming here also. For less than the cost of a round of golf: you can go hog-wild with the latest and greatest in full auto machine guns. "Pray & Spray" should be a gardening saying, not a gun-nut's favorite chant.

EDIT: Afterall, AZ is the home of Tombstone + OK Corral.

So, it's March 1st...the gateway to Spring and Summer is just ahead of us. In the last 3-4 years, this time of the year has proven "interesting" in terms of petroleum prices. Does anyone want to gander a guess as to what is to come in the next 3 months or so? What will happen if we do end up having the same financial mess we are in now AND rising petroleum prices? We have weathered the run up in prices OK in recent history, but this time is different as it will only amplify the problems we already have.

Just want to get you all thinking because it approaches quickly.

I have concluded that there will no run up in the near future as there is absolutely no end in sight to the collapse of industrial production world-wide. Demand destruction is outstripping supply destruction unless OPEC really cut drastically which I don't think is likely.

I am becoming very very fearful - the train wreck seems to be unrelenting, the financial so screwed up, TPTB so unable to grasp and deal with the enormity of the problems. This is going to make the Great Depression seem like good times. What's so weird is that, at least in my area (SF Bay Area) most people are continuing on as if there is no real problem, me included n some sense - I go to work every day and write my software. It avoids thinking about the real likelihood that I won't have that job in a few months. I really don't want to think about that. Especially since if I hadn't been so blindsided by "oil as a good investment" I could have survived for a long while without a job. Not now. How I wish I had shorted oil and financials last summer!

I'm in the Bay Area also and I agree, on the surface it's business as usual. But businesses are collapsing like sand castles at high tide, and sales dropping like a stone in most industries. Every garage sale, it seems now, is being held not to clear out clutter but because people are losing their houses.

I wish I'd planned for the Crash years ago. Gotten a van that looks decent but can be all paid for and lived in. Learned starting back then about wild gather-able foods especially greens, usually lacking in the diets of the homeless. Worked on street music skills so I'd not have had to go through an embarassing 4 months as a panhandler recently. Worked on spreading things out, address one place, sleep a different place each night, work is yet other places, get used to living like a guerilla.

The only thing you can do is START TRAINING YOURSELF NOW.

The only thing you can do is START TRAINING YOURSELF NOW.

Except that it's not clear what to train for. Since we live earthquake country I already have the basics to survive a temporary disruption. But what's coming is not going to be temporary. I grow all I can in my yard but it's nowhere enough for a family of four to live on. Unless you are like Todd and have made that transition to living off the land, and this can't be done by the likes of me in any kind of reasonable time frame.

Which is one reason for wishing I hadn't lost so much on the investment front. It may be selfish but there will be people who survive this crash and by and large it will the ones with deep pockets. Indeed they will clean up as they will be able to buy stuff for pennies on the dollar.

I think the financial meltdown, which has morphed into a general economic meltdown, will continue. Hopefully we will hit the bottom soon. Graphs of past recssions show that often the change from steep valley sides (like the current steep collapse), to valley bottom can be very abrupt. So you may not have any indication you are near the bottom until you hit it. In any case, the recovery will not be rapid, although the change of psychology, might give us a mini V shaped bottom. But I can't imagine the recovery bringing us back to the levels we used to think of as normal. Most likely a really serious spike in oil prices won't happen for at least six months, and possible two or three years, so maybe $2 to $3 gasoline for the summer would seem to be a reasonable guess.

Best Buy to Sell Brammo Electric Motorcycles

The Enertia now has a 45-mile range and a maximum speed of 53 miles per hour, using a lithium-ion-phosphate battery provided by Valence Technology that takes about three hours to charge using a standard outlet, he said.

To start the business week off: Asian stocks getting hammered again; off approx 4% and:

Merkel, EU reject blanket bailout for Eastern Europe; Hungary warns of economic 'Iron Curtain'
IMO, once this gets ugly: Eastern Europe will be highly incentivized to start blowing up and/or stealing from the pipelines that traverse across their lands to make Western Europe suffer just as bad as they are suffering.

It could be a rough week in US financial markets, if the early trading in Asia is any indicator.

GreyZone, i was just speaking to friend about this mess, and said that if the president would just come out and say how messed up this finance problem is we would appreciate his honesty, but we would also be able to handle the truth. and help deal with it.

but on the other hand if the truth is more severe than he tells us, the unintended consequences would be pure mayhem. his credibility is lost!

perhaps we really can't handle the truth. i was just being naieve.

kinda like that flight attendant (elaine) in the movie "Airplane" when she says: Ladies and Gentlemen, our pilot has suffered a heart attack and the first officer has taken ill, but thats not important now, we are out of coffee!

the cabin erupted in violence over no more coffee.

Somebody sure is anxious to start a big garden plus have a personal strategic reserve of I-NPK:

Frederick police are investigating the theft of 8,000 pounds of fertilizer from a farm supply store.

A store representative told police that 6,000 pounds of "191919" fertilizer and 2,000 pounds of urea were missing. The fertilizer is packaged primarily in 50-pound bags with red and blue Southern States logos.
EDIT: although I don't condone stealing, if someone decides to steal: I prefer they steal seeds + I-NPK versus guns + ammo.

Depends on their intent.
One can make a very very big *boom!* with NPK.

Use a Humanure system and save animal manure and save bones, and there's no need to steal.

Hey, Paul in Halifax, heads up. Looking like an ice storm headed for us. Not sure of the track from there. Making sure my battery banks are topped up. NWS is talking about a half inch of ice on everything, and you are talking about a system that has been severely stressed this winter. Got large tree limbs still sticking out of very large snow banks.

Not to get into the global warming melee here, but ancient physics for me, tells me that a warmer atmosphere holds more water,more energy, more extremes. Heat is energy. My back will vouch for the fact that we have had a lot of water fall on us this winter. I watched 60 degree temp swings in 8 hours. Just local weather but it can be quite something. I haven't had time to clean up the tree limbs downed from the last heavy wet snow. Took me three days to shovel the driveway.

We've actually dipped into to our food storage this winter, it made much more sense then trying to drive. Used more wood than planned as well, we could really use some spring here, people are getting grouchy for sure. But we are well fed, and warm in what seems like a climate that is getting very harsh. I'm planting more potatoes this year.

Throw a log on and hunker in your bunker. Tip of the Jim Beam to Airdale.

One thing I'll really miss if it really hits, is weather forecasting, real time radar on the internet, weather is key to how you live and what crops you raise. It's a big deal, I check all first thing and that determines what I am doing that day. Think Galvetson and no warning. Think about it, do you live a life that is divorced from the weather? You folks who live and work in high rises just don't see that. You're future is determined much more by weather than your bosses deadline. What do you all do when you loose your work internet?

Fleam, good on you, keep posting reality. Way back when I was doing the pan handling thing I stuck to banks, worked for me. Good to see you back here.

Put your panty hose on and head down back, take those trees down now because you will need them next winter.


Don in Maine

Hm, take care of yourself, and put some "comfort foods" in the pantry, gotta just kick back and enjoy, sometimes. Carob pods are one thing I plan to look for and squirrel away for this purpose.

Panhandling around banks ain't Kosher. It's actually under the "aggressive panhandling" laws, because people are nervous around an ATM. Not Good and I ain't done it - started reading up on the laws after I had started on this curious way of making a living, and was already staying away from the banks and ATMs because long ago, I'd been hassled at an ATM and didn't like it.

Right now, I do not want to panhandle ever again. I don't have rent ridin my back, and the "ship's stores" around here have to be cycled anyway, so my chores are enough to offset my keep - I'm cheap to keep lol.

I could go out and play my musical saw or a friggin' Irish whistle or anything, and if I got $20 a day, not nearly enough in my panhandling days, I'd be fine. As my pal here puts it, "Stop the leaks, and it doesn't take much".

According to the radeeder, the storm is indeed headed North. You guys take care of yourselves. As for weather reporting, not having satellites is going to suck, but a fairly good job was done in the 1900s anyway, weather's always a serious business for almost everyone. The old saying about "talking about the weather" is funny, because you generally *can* talk about the weather and be assured of a short conversation with anyone, at least.

Thanks, Don, for the warning; much appreciated. We had a bout of freezing rain earlier this morning, but it's currently +9C/48F and it will supposedly remain mild for the next 24 hours. Hope you'll be OK too, and if you have to head out on the roads this evening, safe home.



Shows what we're up against when it take 8 years and 72,000 dollars to make crap plantpots!

I find the article very superficial in it's analysis. Unfortunately this newspaper does not have a comment facility to allow us to make comments so this rubbish will go unchallenged. I suppose I could write a letter to the editor! The problem is not only that PV is expensive, it is also that apart from duty and tax free status nothing concrete is being done to encourage innovative applications of the technology.

One prime example is that netmetering has not been implemented hence lower cost, grid tied installations violate the utilities supply contracts i.e. they are illegal AFAIK. I have made inquiries with contacts I have that have inside information and the word is that the utility is resisting netmetering as if it were the plague. All this, at a time when large sections of the utility's bunker C fueled plants are over 50 years old and there's a hue and cry about the need for investment in new power generating plants. Added to that, the Japanese major shareholder in the utility company is reportedly at an advanced stage of a deal to sell their stake to TAQA a firm from the UAE. How this is supposed to help apart from TAQA being an investor with supposedly deep pockets is beyond me. Is TAQA going to help Jamaica lessen it's dependence on oil? I doubt it!

The challenge therefore is to develop a system whereby individuals could purchase the equipment and get a loan at such a rate that the monthly cost is about 70 per cent of the current bill. In the previous example this translates to purchasing systems at a maximum of one-half the current cost and doing so with a 10 per cent loan with no down payment

Here writer laments the fact that PV system's monthly costs, including loan servicing, exceed the size of the average utility bill they seek to replace by a factor around two and a half. I take a different tack. The main thrust should be that of fixing the cost of electricity for the next 25 years or so rather than have it subject to the volatily of oil and NG prices. There are numbers of Jamaicans who drive expensive cars and SUVs and live in palatial homes. There are even some with excesses like heated swimming pools, yes you heard me, heated swimming pools in the tropics! Some of these higher income housholds would like nothing more than the prospect of not having to pay money to the power company or actually being able to get paid by the utility under a net metering scheme. If a framework were put in place to encourage enough of these higher income households, commercial buildings, schools, hospitals etc. to invest in grid tied PV installations and hence stabilize their electricity costs in the near to medium term, it could offset some of the need for new generating plants.

It is the same high income set that should be encouraged to buy hybrids instead of gas guzzlers through a milage based tax system. Something needs to be done to make it "cool" to conserve and penalize wastefull consumption of fossil fuels.

I am doing my part to try and make some elected officials and decision more aware of Peak Oil issues in the hope that they will be able to analyse suggestions such as those made in this article more thoroughly. While I agree that solar energy is a viable option for tropical countries like Jamaica, I don't necessarily agree that it has to be PV Insisting that all new hot water heating systems be solar and encouraging the replacement of existing electric and gas water heaters, excluding tank-less, on demand heaters, is a policy move that I'd support.

While the author does touch some important points, their analysis is, as I said, superficial.

Alan from the islands