DrumBeat: March 7, 2009

Jan Lundberg: Counter argument for "Stimulus," growth and employment

It is not clear where we are headed in terms of a society impacted by ecological destruction and the end of globalized consumption. I for one am not sure I want to see the result. However, as things are not so bad now compared to where they seem to be heading -- with too many mouths to feed and no social safety net or ecological capacity up to the challenge for avoiding big pain -- I continue to soldier on, so to speak. I try to serve the greater good while I worry about my own survival and that of my loved ones. I also have a good time when I can, but things are getting weirder for me as they seem to be for most of us.

I keep in mind my former career-training as an oil-industry analyst and my generalist knowledge gained, in order to try to make sense of our changing, swirling world. It's what I learned after leaving the industry and government that ultimately allowed me, I believe, to find out more or less fully what is going on, and thus feel I can offer ideas on what needs to be done. That is not to say I know everything or am prepared for any direction the human experience may take. But some things I know for sure from experience and meditating on the forces of both history and the universe.

Getting From A To B

So you see, any pause in present trends, with particular attention to how gold is steeling the show due to grand scale deleveraging, would only be that – a pause within a secular trend of the highest order. And it’s very important you understand this, because the bad news doesn’t end there. No, the world is not just deleveraging a rotten and corrupt financial system. This is only a symptom of the disease. What is happening on a larger scale is the entire socio-political economy of our very existence is coming into question, brought on by Peak Oil, excessive population growth, etc., where up until now the prognosis appears to be increasingly bleak considering special interests still have far to much influence on the pace at which alternative energy systems are being developed. In this respect it appears the combination of faulty pricing mechanisms in concert with everything else (think misplaced intervention, deflation perception, etc.) keeping energy prices too low right now could manifest into an increasingly profound crisis in coming years, one where economic hardship, and even famine, reach populations presently viewed as insular. (i.e. that means you.)

Arab investments in energy plunge

Riyadh: Investments in the Arab energy sector, especially in the oil industry in the Gulf, have undergone a major decline due to the global financial crisis, which could endanger the future of the industry, according to a survey conducted by an Arab oil investment firm.

"The future of investments in the Arab energy sector would face a number of potential challenges over the coming five years. The most important among them is a fall of 19 per cent in the projected volume of investments in the energy sector, mainly in the oil sector of the Gulf region, from $650 billion to $450 billion over the period between 2009 and 2013," the report said.

Rescue plan for North Sea jobs

THE government is finalising the terms of a rescue package for North Sea oil firms amid warnings that more than half the companies in the sector will fail this year and put tens of thousands out of work.

The plan could include several unprecedented measures, including immediate release of several hundred million pounds held by the Treasury in accumulated tax credits and an offer to groups that won licences in last year’s auction of new North Sea blocks to hand them back if they are unable to fund their development.

Interview with Jorma Ollila, the Chairman of the Board of Royal Dutch Shell

Question: There was a man called M. King Hubbard employed by Shell. How do you view his intellectual and scientific legacy, i.e. the peak oil theory which proved to be broadly true for the continental United States.

Answer: I think the peak oil theory has a certain explanatory power for individual oil fields. But if you take a global view with all technological opportunities and oil reserves which have not been discovered, the theory's explanatory power is more limited. I don't think we have seen the peak point in oil production globally. There is more oil to be discovered through exploration and more oil to be produced due to new technologies.

Three injured, 25 detained in takeover attempt in south Russia

ROSTOV-ON-DON (RIA Novosti) - Police have detained 25 people who attacked an oil refinery in south Russia's Rostov Region and injured three guards, police said Saturday.

Director Anatoly Skiba told RIA Novosti that the incident was an attempt to forcibly take over the refinery.

Police said about 30 people armed with firearms and airguns attempted to seize the refinery. The attackers rammed the gate with a tractor and opened fire on the guards.

Iraq says non-Opec producers need $70 oil price

"Below $70 would mean that many of the oil fields outside Opec would stop production because they cannot produce at a loss."

Tareen in S Arabia to seek oil on deferred payment

LAHORE: Finance Adviser Shaukat Tareen is in Saudi Arabia on a four-day visit to seek oil supply for Pakistan on deferred payment and a $100-million aid for the rehabilitation of the quake-affected people in Balochistan, a private TV channel reported on Friday.

Michael Pollan Fixes Dinner (Extended Interview)

One of the things that happened is that we lost the cultural skills that used to allow people to eat well cheaply. For example making three or four meals from a chicken, rather than buying chicken breasts. Every peasant cuisine has incredible ingenious tricks for getting a lot of nutrition out of a small amount of ingredients. There are people who don't have the money to invest in better food, but perhaps they have the time. There's a trade-off: The more time you're willing to put into food preparation, the less money you have to spend. And people have gone out and done studies on "Can you eat locally on a food stamps budget?" And you can, but you've got to put in like all day Sunday cooking meals. And a lot of people feel as pinched for time as they are with money, but you're going to have to invest more time or more money if you want to get off this industrial food chain, and that is a challenge.

Farmers could face rough year, MU institute says

After last year's meteoric rise in food prices, shoppers can expect to see some relief in the grocery aisles this year — or, at least, be slightly less sticker-shocked. But the farmers who produce that food could be in for a rough year.

Don’t Get Comfortable With Cheap Oil

Oil was officially taken down last summer. Fine American institutions like Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan are fully capable of moving markets in either direction and profiting accordingly. Do you think you could make a few bucks if you absolutely knew the direction a market was to be taken? I have zero confidence in the integrity of elitist paper markets, be they gold, silver, oil, Treasuries or orange juice.

Exxon CEO's Meetings with Obama 'Constructive'

Exxon Mobil Corp. Chief Executive Rex Tillerson said Thursday that meetings with President Barack Obama and other government officials to discuss energy policy had been "cordial" and "constructive."

Dubai oil exchange in push for liquidity

But now the Dubai market faces its biggest challenge: to persuade the state oil companies of the region – starting with the largest, Saudi Arabia – to use the DME Oman futures as the basis for their export pricing.

“The Saudis are the linchpin and they know that,” said Thomas Leaver, chief executive of the DME, in an interview. “We are talking to Abu Dhabi, Qatar, Kuwait, Iran and Iraq. They have all told us if the Saudis move, they will move with them.”

U.S. McDermott gets Saudi gas field contract-Aramco

RIYADH (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia's state oil firm Aramco said on Saturday it had awarded a contract for the Karan gas field to J.Ray McDermott, which is wholly-owned by U.S. engineering and construction firm McDermott International Inc.

Team Formed to Study KSA’s Asphalt Shortage

DUBAI - A team, comprising representatives of various ministries and road contractors, has been formed in Saudi Arabia to study the current shortage of Asphalt in the local market.

Pakistan: Closure of power plants causes loadshedding

ISLAMABAD: The closure of AES Pak Gen and one unit of Uch Powerhouse has led to over 500MW power deficit which is why many areas of the country are being exposed to loadshedding.

However, the country had power shortage of 2,800MW in last year in the same period. According to a senior official at the Ministry of Water and Power, the boiler tube of the AES Pak Gen has become out of order owing to which Pakistan Electric Power Company (Pepco) lost 350MW of electricity.

It's Time For Double Daylight Saving Time

Tonight, the clock shifts forward. Tomorrow, sunset moves from 6:07 p.m. to 7:08 p.m. But our work here is not done. If we really wanted to fill our lives with joy and save energy and money, if we really wanted to move beyond the fiction of our agrarian conception of time and into the modern world, we'd shift to year-round Daylight Saving Time--or, if we really wanted to embrace reality and maximize life, go to Double DST, a big, two-hour push forward of the clocks that would turn our summers into a marathon of gorgeous, endless evenings.

America's Wind Power Imperative: A Call to Action

One of the few bright spots in today's struggling economy, wind power holds the promise of sparking a new economic renaissance for America. As the second largest source of new electrical capacity in the U.S. for the past four years running, behind only natural gas, wind power provided 42% of the nation's new electric generating capacity in 2008. The wind industry also invested $17 billion in domestic wind farm construction in 2008 alone, bringing good-paying jobs to rural America and to a hard-pressed U.S. manufacturing sector. This is great news, given that the rapidly escalating climate crisis demands that we kick our addiction to fossil fuels as quickly as possible.

Builders go 'green' with new standards

"Green" is also becoming more standard for homebuilders in our state, driven partially by the new Michigan Uniform Energy Code that took effect in October, and the recent energy "crisis" that has more and more consumers looking for ways to save energy around their homes.

The new Michigan code requires builders to use a higher level of insulation in new homes; a level that is at an Energy Star or higher rating. For instance, on a typical new home ranging from 2,000-2,500 square feet, the added cost to bring it up to this Michigan code is $3,000 to $5,000. However, the higher level of insulation also can decrease a typical homeowner's energy bill by an average of $1,000 annually when compared to the same size home without the energy upgrades.

Nuclear waste dogs US energy policy

Washington - President Obama's proposed budget for fiscal year 2010 all but sinks prospects to store America's nuclear waste at Nevada's Yucca Mountain.

But it leaves wide open the role of nuclear power in building "a new economy powered by clean and secure energy" – and the question of what to do with existing, highly toxic nuclear waste.

"The nation has already accumulated 60,000 metric tons of spent nuclear waste, and the material is going to have to be isolated from the environment for hundreds and thousands of years," says Edwin Lyman, senior scientist at the Union of Concerned Scientists in Washington.

"There's no way to make the waste disappear. No matter what the French say, there's no alternative to having a mined geological repository," he says. The challenge is to find one that is technically and politically acceptable.

Oil above $45; many think bottom may have been hit

NEW YORK – Every day this week arrived with more evidence that energy usage is unlikely to bounce back soon, yet some experts believe oil prices may already have struck bottom.

IEA and OPEC may cut global oil demand forecasts next week

LONDON (Reuters) - The world's top energy forecasters look set to cut further their estimates of oil demand for this year as the global economy slips towards its first contraction since World War II, analysts say.

Oil May Rise as OPEC Cuts Curb Supplies, Survey Shows

(Bloomberg) -- Crude oil may rise on speculation that OPEC production reductions are beginning to curb U.S. inventories and imports.

Twenty of 40 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News, or 50 percent, said futures will increase through March 13. Eleven respondents, or 28 percent, forecast oil prices will be little changed and nine said that there will be a decline. Last week, 48 percent of analysts expected prices would rise.

CNPC sees oil settle at $40

China's CNPC forecasts global oil to average at $40 a barrel this year, a conservative market view that has led the firm to expect its crude output to drop for the first time in years, a company executive said on Saturday.

The world's number two oil consumer, accounting for more than a third of incremental world oil demand in the past few years, has been hit by the global economic crisis, with its oil use falling since November and fuel stocks brimming as industrial activities slow.

Venezuela's Chavez turns to confrontation in crisis

CARACAS (Reuters) - Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's aggressive moves against the food industry show the socialist leader will respond to growing economic woes in the OPEC nation with takeovers and tighter controls on business.

Pdvsa seeks partners; tightens its belt

State-run oil company Petróleos de Venezuela (Pdvsa) is trying to ride out the storm of sinking oil prices by reducing costs and looking for new partners to join the projects at the Orinoco Oil Belt; however, for this to happen it will have to loosen its business schedules.

The value of the Venezuelan crude oil, which yields more than 90 percent of the foreign exchange and accounts for 50 percent of the domestic budget, has plummeted almost USD 100 from a peak of USD 130 in July 2008. Now, the Venezuelan oil barrel is around USD 36, far from the amount of USD 60 estimated in the 2009 budget, AFP reported.

Venezuela May Take Over More Rigs to Allow Drilling to Proceed

(Bloomberg) -- Petroleos de Venezuela SA, the state oil company controlled by President Hugo Chavez, may take over privately owned oil rigs to ensure that they keep operating, Oil and Energy Minister Rafael Ramirez said.

If contractors try to use workers to halt production, equipment will be confiscated, Ramirez said today in a statement from the oil company known as PDVSA.

...Venezuela, the biggest oil exporter in the Western Hemisphere, is seeking to avoid a loss in oil field productivity as private contractors shutter some rigs in response to non- payment of outstanding invoices.

State-owned companies in trouble

Venezuelan oil workers, who are requesting a renewal of their collective bargaining agreement and have complained about the alleged breach of employment benefits related to health and food, among others, will talk to government authorities to find a solution to their situation.

Qatar robust to oil price shocks, says Capital Intelligence

Qatar's sovereign ratings are supported by the strength and flexibility of the government's balance sheet and the country's external finances, which in turn are underpinned by the sheer scale of hydrocarbon production relative to the small size of the population.

Oil's Backed Itself Into A Corner

TOKYO (Dow Jones) -- Imagine what it would be like to watch oil prices climb to a spectacular record high of $150 per barrel and then leave the planet for the next several months.

That's practically what happened to me.

With much fanfare, oil hit an all-time high in July. I dropped off the face of the oil world four months later, and I've come back to find nothing less than a shocking drop in prices.

Record costs cut energy use

The report is further proof that last year's speculative surge in crude oil prices affected consumer behavior. Motorists cut back on trips after experiencing gas-pump sticker shock with a gallon of regular shooting above $4 in Honolulu in May and staying at those levels until early October.

At the same time, Hawai'i electricity prices spiked because most of it comes from generators fueled by fuel oil or diesel. Hawai'i is the most oil-dependent state in the nation.

Petrobras 4th-Quarter Profit Surges as Real’s Rate Lifts Assets

(Bloomberg) -- Petroleo Brasileiro SA, Latin America’s biggest publicly traded company, reported fourth- quarter profit rose a more-than-forecast 46 percent as a weaker Brazilian real boosted the value of the company’s dollar assets.

Oil Industry Eyes the Arctic

The Norwegian oil industry is focusing on winning the battle of developing the Lofoten area in northern Norway first. However, the ambitions for future development projects lie further north in the Arctic.

Peak oil body calls for protection of industry's future

The Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association -- the peak industry body for Australia's oil and gas companies -- has used its pre-budget submission to exhort the federal Government to act swiftly to relieve pressure on the sector as the global financial crisis takes its toll.

APPEA warned that a decline in petroleum production in Australia would expose the nation to "major trade imbalances and potential economic, environmental and social costs".

Suncor refinery slammed with OSHA fines

Suncor Energy faces $130,500 in penalties for more than two dozen health and safety violations at its refinery in Commerce City.

Suncor allegedly failed to test monitors properly for hydrogen sulfide, a toxic and flammable gas, and failed to follow safety standards while processing hazardous chemicals, according to the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which issued the citations.

Smizik pushes freight by rail

Newly appointed House Chairman of the Committee on Global Warming and Climate Change, Rep. Frank Smizik of Brookline, will join 30 state and local leaders from across the country in Washington to meet with members of Congress to urge support for legislation that will lead to an increase in freight rail capacity.

Smizik is a member of Go21, a national public interest organization that advocates the public benefits of moving freight by rail, such as increased fuel efficiency, reduced greenhouse gas emissions and easing traffic congestion. Go21 members are joined in the ninth annual Railroad Day on Capitol Hill by 300 representatives of the nation’s freight railroads and rail supply industry.

19-cent gas tax hike proposal too low, transit advocates say

Bob Terrell, Marvin Martin, and other transit advocates take issue with the proposed 19-cent increase to the state's gasoline tax - but only because they think it might not be high enough.

Japan's speedy train history

"It's a matter of commitment," Smith said just after attending a Japanese music concert in Yokohama, where he also took the local JR East train and subway route from Tokyo. "Japan is committed to its train system."

And, right now, the United States is not — instead hooked on a long-obsolete interstate highway system dependent on millions of individual diesel-burningsemis and millions more other vehicles, experts say. While Japan and Europe have used high-speed train systems and linked them to other transportation networks for more than 40 years, the U.S. has relied on its interstate highway network.

Utah's 4-day workweek draws out-of-state attention

Utah switched to a four-day week last year primarily to save money on electricity, gasoline and other energy expenses. The change affected 17,000 state employees, who now work 10 hours a day, four days a week.

These days, employees have embraced the long weekends, and the public has grown accustomed to state agencies being closed on Fridays.

An interim report released earlier this month by Gov. Jon Huntsman shows that the initiative will cut greenhouse gas emissions by more than 12,000 metric tons, reduce gasoline consumption among commuting employees by 744,000 gallons annually and pump as much as $3 million into the economy from workers who have to spend less money on gas.

Bangladesh Faces Acute Electricity Outages in Peak Season

Entire Bangladesh including its capital Dhaka will experience nagging electricity outages as the country's Power Development Board (PDB) is seemed unable to meet the demand of power during the upcoming peak summer season, officials said on Thursday.

They said in Bangladesh during the peak summer season, usually from mid-March to mid-October, power demand goes up to its highest level because of hot weather as well as a huge need for irrigation by farmers.

The Local Food Revolution

Our food habits poison not only our bodies but also our rivers, soils, forests, and climate. By raising animals in overcrowded feedlots far from fields, we transform manure from a valuable fertilizer into a pollutant. Nutrient-rich runoff is killing our rivers and creating a large “dead zone” in the Gulf of Mexico. The demand for cheap meat spurs the clearing of rainforests for cattle. Meat production accounts for a whopping 18 percent of greenhouse gas emissions. When managed organically—in a way that restores our connection to the land—farming can instead store carbon in healthy soil and help solve our climate challenge.

UK: New green strategy could create 400,000 jobs

New jobs will be created in low-carbon industries for 400,000 people - from lagging lofts to nuclear power - the government will announce today.

Producers want higher ethanol limits for gasoline

WASHINGTON (AP) — Ethanol producers asked the Environmental Protection Agency on Friday to boost the amount of ethanol that can be blended with gasoline, but automakers argued the increase could damage car engines and fuel lines.

The ethanol producers want the EPA to increase the amount of ethanol that refiners can blend with gasoline from a maximum of 10 percent to 15 percent, which could boost the demand for the renewable fuel additive by as much as 6 billion gallons a year.

US Energy Secretary outlines wishlist for energy research

US Energy Secretary Steven Chu yesterday made his pitch for more support for energy-related research as the new administration prepares for its first budget.

Energy research is lagging behind other areas, he said. While overall R&D investment is around 3% of gross domestic product (GDP), the energy sector represents only about one-tenth of that.

Resources should also be directed toward transformation research, he added.

“What do I mean by transformational technology? I mean technology that is game-changing, as opposed to merely incremental,” he told the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.

Russia flexes muscle over arctic oil and gas treasures

WASHINGTON (UPI) -- Global warming doesn't just mean there will be new patterns of mass migration, wars and border lawlessness in the 21st century. For the great climate change isn't affecting just the warmest parts of the world; it's also affecting areas that used to be the coldest.

The great Arctic Ocean polar ice cap is already melting. The Arctic Ocean could be navigable year-round within decades. The rate of melting of the ice cap, scientists say, is actually accelerating. This may completely transform the strategic resource map of the world.

Has recession trimmed CO2 output? We’ll know by 2010

The financial crisis has slashed industrial output and trade but it will be months before there is an accurate picture of how much the downturn has curbed greenhouse gas emissions, two leading scientists said on Friday.

Little Impact Is Foreseen Over Change for Emissions

A move by Gov. David A. Paterson to increase the free allowances for carbon-dioxide emissions that New York gives power plants is unlikely to undermine efforts by nine other states that signed a landmark pact to reduce global warming, officials said on Friday.

Obama's doomed carbon plan should please Ottawa

U.S. President Barack Obama's climate change plan is, by his country's standards, a dreamy wish list.

His cap-and-trade system to reduce greenhouse gas emissions would be tougher than any tried or contemplated elsewhere.

But Obama, despite sky-high popularity and the Democrats' strong grip on the Congress, isn't likely to get what he's seeking.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's green pledge was all hot air

WHEN KEVIN Rudd took to a UN stage in Bali, 2007, to announced he would ratify the Kyoto Protocol, it was a moment that received rapturous applause.

But the only thing that vanished in the year that followed the PM's grand gesture was the Federal Government's credibility on tackling global warming while stimulating the economy to move to a carbon-free future.

Silicon Valley manufacturers must reduce greenhouse gas emissions

Under new California rules, computer chip makers must slash releases of sulfur hexafluoride and other fluorinated gases by more than half.

Bob Ryan's Global Warming Discussion

In years past, I have done a variety of stories about weather, climate, the environment and global change, but have always been a bit reluctant to write the series I begin today. So much emotion and politics is tied up in the subjects that science sometimes falls by the wayside.

But the issue and science itself are becoming ever more pressing and important. I begin what I hope will at once be objective on my part and yet give you a sense of how science and scientific discovery work to help you better understand issues that will be ever more important in the years ahead.

This tome is especially geared to students and young people to take a bit of the mystery and fear out of global change, climate change, weather and global warming. It also could not have been written without the many helpful comments, edits and input from my colleagues, including some of the leading scientists in the field.

Defense Focus: Warming wars - Part 1

Global warming already is changing the way global wars are going to be fought -- and the weapons they are going to be fought with.

A few days ago, poster SamassaVeneessa posted a link about a company called AlphaKat, and asked for comments on whether it was too good to be true. I checked out some of the videos, which sounded intriguing but highly improbable, so I did some digging.

First, there is nothing that I am aware of that is capable of unraveling cellulose and turning it into a fuel in 3 minutes. So it definitely sounds too good to be true. Second, people too often ascribe magical properties to catalysts. Catalysts can speed up a reaction, but they do not allow you to bypass physical laws.

However, I usually give people the benefit of the doubt, and I investigate. This sounded pretty intriguing, until I worked my way to the website of Michael Spitzauer, who was a partner of the inventor and is now trying to implement the technology in the U.S. The website was incredibly cheesy and full of fractured English. If you dig, you can see that he has made his wife – a former cocktail waitress - a Senior Vice President of the company.

Clean Energy Projects

At this point, things are starting to smell funny. Digging a little deeper, I found that the guy has been convicted of fraud, and has been involved in multiple shady dealings. He was also scammed by a Nigerian advance fee scheme, so may not be the sharpest knife in the drawer:

Austrian Fights Extradition

Something's Rotten - Green Power

Discussion on Snopes' Message Board

In that last thread, he says the oil companies are out to get him, and this is why his past has been exposed.

So, we have a process that sounds too good to be true and the involvement of a convicted fraudster who is now saying the oil companies are out to get him. Not knowing more, I would steer clear. This all sounds much like the claims that Xethanol was making. One of their founders was a convicted felon as well. What happened? Fraudulent claims, and Xethanol finally went bankrupt (as I had predicted) because they pulled in investors based on false claims:

Xethanol Now Defunct

Finally, I should point out that this Spitzauer guy has split from Dr. Koch. So it is still possible – albeit I think remotely – that there is something here worth merit. But, if you want to put the final nail in the coffin, test the machine with some biomass that is spiked with a radioisotope (C14, maybe) that would show up in the product. I will bet money that the spiked carbon doesn't show up in the hydrocarbon, and that will be the end of that. If I were a prospective investor, I would insist upon such a test.

You can see interviews with both Dr. Koch and Spitzauer (who again says the oil companies are out to get him) here:

Interviews with Koch and Spitzauer

I believe that Koch was also behind the now-defunct NanoKat. My impression was that AlphaKat was his personal company - he was trying to create the 2nd company and license the technology to it.

I remember someone saying that Koch was quite secretive as well. Which really only means that whatever the heck he is doing, it is hard for anyone else to know for sure.

I remember someone saying that Koch was quite secretive as well. Which really only means that whatever the heck he is doing, it is hard for anyone else to know for sure.

You mean kinda like Bernie Madoff kept his money making investment strategy secret.

Surprised he didn't make his wife chief chemist since she has experience mixing cocktails and all.

There's a comment in today's NYT regarding the national power grid.

Home-Grown Power

The author suggests that there's no need for a large increase in cross-continental power transmission.

E. Swanson

And he seems to suggest it based on nothing more than the sort of romantic opposition to large projects popular for its own sake among some folks here. But all of the 'renewable' energy sources he enumerates are subject to the short, medium, and long term erratic vagaries of the weather. Localized or even regional reliance on such things will be a recipe for suicide. After all, there is a reason why, for example, famines once killed a much higher share of the population, before food could be transported at reasonable expense into areas suffering drought or flooding.

Of course, he's just another politician, engaged in bog-standard short-term grandstanding, pleasing crowds incensed about Big (not that said anger ever seems to stop said crowds from reproducing like rabbits, making Big ever Bigger.) It will take quite a while to reshape Massachusetts in his desired image, and longer still before a streak of bad weather collapses the state economy when the only time left to 'shift' demand to is 25h00 on the 32nd of Never. Typical politician: he probably expects to be long-dead by then, and so escape all accountability for the consequences.

Opposition to large projects because they are large projects makes good sense. Scale is an important consideration. Failure to consider scale is why we are in so many of the messes in which we find ourselves.

Expanding the grid so we can ship electricity all over the place is a waste of resources when what we need most is to cut the grid apart to increase resiliency and decrease scale. We need to build in brown out and intermittency. Get to the point of making hay while the sun shines sort of thing - not "flick the switch" mentality.

If there are going to be windmills all over Maine, those windmills should first power Maine, not Georgia, NYC or Connecticut. As we move to a solar economy, variability will be the norm.

cfm in Gray, ME

"If there are going to be windmills all over Maine, those windmills should first power Maine, not Georgia, NYC or Connecticut."

Ah, yes, petty provincial narrow-minded 17th-century mercantilism come back from the grave to haunt us, risen up with the wooden stake still through its rotten heart.

One teensy weensy little problem among a raft of others. People in NYC aren't really going to wait a week or three or six for the sun to come out or the wind to rise so they can use the elevator again. Or the toilet. It's just not on. Do you seriously expect to make NYC uninhabitable with impunity? NYC is huge. It has scale nine ways from Sunday. Do you believe for an instant that pipsqueak fortress Maine wouldn't be overrun by even a fraction of NYC's former inhabitants? Do you really think NYers are going to roll over and die just because you have a flippant objection to scale, an objection entirely unintelligible to most of them?

Oh, and are the residents of pipsqueak fortress Maine really going to mine all their own ores in their own backyard, smelt and form the metals, and build the windmill controllers all by themselves? How much useful ore is there in Maine? People have been trading since before the dawn of history. Is it possible that Mainers might need to give something in trade in order to have windmills at all, such as some of the electricity? Is it conceivable that Mainers might need to import some electricity from elsewhere to avoid freezing during a long calm cloudy/foggy stretch of winter? They can't do either if the grid is 'cut apart' for your aesthetic pleasure.

Pared down it appears that your argument is: if it won't support the needs we have now, the system under consideration won't work.

It is easy to see why you would have difficulties accepting arguments of the form: circumstances will force us to scale back, power down and become more local in the provision of energy, food and commerce.

I think that the first perspective argues for continuation of BAU, while the second is pointing to an alternative possible future scenario.

It is likely that neither scenario is going to play out exactly the way either group would have planned. But I do find it interesting to consider what the strengths of each state, province or geographical area might be in a 'power down' scenario. And I also think that considering regional self sufficiency is a valuable exercise.


"Do you really think NYers are going to roll over and die just because you have a flippant objection to scale, an objection entirely unintelligible to most of them?"

I got a real chuckle out of this post. And yes that is exactly what I expect, when the city is cordoned off and under martial law, and you have no power, you can whine all you want. I'm not willing to pay for New York's life style, they can sit and spin or die, no matter to me, would not effect my life at all and if we lose New York's financial district my life might actually be better.
I'm not ready to save everyone who makes bad decisions on where and how they live.

Maine is quite serious about leaving ISO New England, we're being overcharged for power to support southern New England and their massive need for more power. This at a time we have have our own surplus.

"Maine officials protested that the decision aimed at reducing energy bottlenecks in southwestern Connecticut and northeastern Massachusetts will result in higher energy prices for Mainers at a time when the state has a surplus of power."


"pipsqueak fortress Maine" yes we don't have a large population, I lived here when we just went over a million, we do have serious natural resources, and one thing I can tell you for sure to live up here it takes attitude and we all have that.

Take down a couple of bridges, pop a few transmission lines, maybe 3 days work at most.

Yep I'm not in favor of producing power here only to have the mac-mansions in Connecticut and New York power up more toys.

Thanks for the chuckle.

Don in Maine

Why can't we have both? Of any two arbitrarily selected polar positions, it can usually be found that both are right and both are wrong, and some middle way solution is best.

Assuming now that we can survive and are not doomed to inevitable extinction, at least in the short run of the lives of those currently living, a system of transportation and energy distribution is needed to maintain social and national cohesion. Local power sources should, of course, first meet local needs, but with a national grid power could be sent where it is most needed and locally unavailable (like solar at night or wind when all is calm). If we were all relying on solar power only, then as darkness descended, power could be shifted from places further west, and for the West itself, power could be shifted from some other source.

In the northwest corner of the country where I live, we the people control the public utility system. We have considered wind power, so-called clean coal, and are now seriously thinking that if the two-year experiment works out then tidal power offshore can supply all our needs, with some left over for shipping elsewhere, though at this point we really can't shift elsewhere because of the grid, or lack thereof.

You seem to be grandstanding , too, Paul. It's just too fun to snipe at 'Them Politicians' I guess.

Here's the end of his piece..

For a clean energy future, we need a smart grid and we need more renewable energy. The Obama administration is offering welcome support for both. Beyond that, what we need is a level playing field that enables energy providers to compete fairly with one another. The cost of transmission should be incorporated into the overall cost of bringing clean energy to market. Then let the chips fall — and wind turbines rise — where they may.

PaulS Wrote "Localized or even regional reliance on such things will be a recipe for suicide. " .. Were you paying attention to Europe and Russia's Gas-Tango this winter? Do you think that exclusive reliance on Trucks and Highways for your town's food supply is some kind of a safety measure? How about the weeks that Kentucky was iced in? If even a fifth of the homes had Solar Hot Water, Air or Electric, would those communities have been more resilient, or less?

It's fine if you like the power implicit in the 'Big' Projects. I don't think they're going away.. but I don't think it's hollow political grandstanding to suggest that we have a healthy mix of local and personally-owned backups to keep the sources diverse and unmonopolized, which is the great danger of 'Big Power'..

"If even a fifth of the homes had Solar Hot Water, Air or Electric, would those communities have been more resilient, or less?"

Since you seem to want me to generalize from a single brief idiosyncratic storm scenario to the whole country forever, it depends. A lot. A whole lot.

I'm not even sure about the specific scenario. Solar gear doesn't work very effectively when it's covered with ice and snow and it's cloudy outside - so fat lot of good it would have done them. Not that it matters all that much - planning around the scenario of that one ice storm prepares you for little but a recurrence of that very same storm.

The real problem is that in the north and east, it can stay cloudy for many weeks on end. That's why they need a wide-area grid unless, of course, they're flippant about letting people freeze because it's cold and cloudy out, which happened a lot in the good old days of Small. With the grid, they can still get energy when it's cold and cloudy at their particular little locality. Without the grid, having perhaps themselves off for the sake of an irrational poetic objection to Big, they're guaranteed frequent severe problems instead of the rare severe problems experienced now. How about a Kentucky-like situation caused by clouds twice a winter in most localities, instead of in one small area every few years?

No, this notion that we should cut ourselves off from the world and live in petty little fortresses still seems like a dangerous fantasy. Bellyaching about Big won't make the fantasy one iota less dangerous. For as long as we have a huge population at the ragged outer edge of carrying capacity, and no practical way to store huge quantities of energy in our private little basements, Big will be with us almost as surely as gravity.

Oh, and yes I did notice the gas-tango. Apparently the Russians didn't want to invite a war after all, which is what made it a tango rather than the apocalypse. Not that anything about "Europe" suggests that it would ever have the bottle to stand up for itself, but the Russians can never be 100% sure about that. Still, the Russians are excellent at brinksmanship, so I'm sure we'll be hearing plenty more.

Paul, I clearly don't need to beg to get any number of hyperbolic generalizations from you..

I live in the 'North and East'.. and from my corner of the country across to Totoneila's, if you had just dug in a couple hundred feet of cheap drainpipe 50" underground, there'd be no reason ANY storm or grid failure (Not just the exact storm you built it for) would EVER leave you unprotected against extremes in heat or cold. Furthermore, after an icestorm, assuming you can hold out a day or three, you'll pretty likely get some sun in there. A family friend up in the white mountains was giving his neighbors hot showers on the afternoon after the '98 Ice Storm.. and I suspect those same panels would do the same thing for ANY storm or power interruption.. not just the ONE that he built it for. You can even get hot water from them when there's NO storms! Maybe Airdale can tell us if there was ever any sun in the three weeks or so people were out of power. It is possible, FYI, with simple tools to clear the ice and snow from them, far easier than replacing downed utility poles and blown transformers, anyhow.

"that we should cut ourselves off from the world and live in petty little fortresses "
See, THAT's why I put in his last paragraph, where he said 'We Need a Smart Grid AND more Renewables'

OK, so you can titter about Europe's undersized 'bottle'.. but clearly their overwhelming dependency on those pipelines doesn't manage to remind you of the vulnerabilities that are the reason this site exists.

Big, centralized systems have been really great at feeding and lighting and supplying our every need.. but if we don't take the opportunity to diversify into a reasonable portion (can you see those last two words, 'REASONABLE PORTION'?, because even though I said it very clearly before, you still came back with "that we should cut ourselves off from the world and live in petty little fortresses" ) of Regional, Community and Residential alternatives, then we will be tossing the dice that as the era of cheap, easy energy sputters and coughs.. that our basic needs will similarly start to choke. Diversify, Diversify.. (While you possibly see that as simply 'BIG is BAD, BIG is BAD')

"- planning around the scenario of that one ice storm prepares you for little but a recurrence of that very same storm. " What does that mean? Isn't it cold all winter? You'd want the heat either way, right? Wouldn't you use electricity from your PV whether there was a storm or not..

"Solar gear doesn't work very effectively when it's covered with ice and snow " .. and you see, this simple little glass box I just put on my roof is blowing 95 degree air into my house when it's in the teens outside, and IS half-covered with snow. (Which proceeds to melt quickly)

Serious tech must be needed here, solar panels with snow. Up here we call it a roof rake. Many use them to avoid ice dams, enough snow and ice buildup so the melt-water backs up under the shingles. Simple and effective.


Don in Maine

Well put.

PaulS is either ignorant of these things (well known to anyone who has bothered to look into them for any amount of time, even just wiki them, for pete's sake) and is eager to spread his ignorance, or is well informed but eager to spread ignorance.

The main valid concern is that these souped up long distance transmission lines will merely be used to transport dirty coal fired electricity to major cities. This is a very real and valid concern, one we are fighting in MN right now.

Exxon-funded scientist testifies to Senate Environmental and Public Works committee, claims that times were prosperous 80 million years ago.

Happer: Many people don't realize that over geological time we're really living in a CO2 famine. Almost never have Co2 levels been as low ... 285, that's almost unheard of, most of the time its at least 1000. .. The Earth was just fine in those times. We evolved as a species when Co2 levels were 3 or 4 times what they are now. Oceans were fine. Plants were fine. ... So its baffling to me that we're so frightened.

Boxer: This is a weird kind of place you've taken us to. You're taking us back how many years to when we were fine.

Happer. About 80 million years ago ...

Boxer. I don't know how to say this. A lot has happened since then in terms of where people are living and working. We have a society now. So, to say go back to those days, ... either I'm missing something or you just don't seem to think times have changed.

Happer: While I don't think that the laws of nature or physics have changed. [Said snidely ...] or chemistry have changed in 80 million years. 80 million years ago the Earth was a prosperous place. There is no reason to think that it will suddenly become bad now ...

Where to begin? OK, strictly speaking, the ecology of the planet was "prosperous", but would we really like to find out how many humans can survive a return to the cretaceous period? Of course humans evolved during previous high CO2 periods; in a broad evolutionary sense, we've been evolving since life began on the planet. And how does a scientist confuse the pleistocene with the cretaceous? I think I know: he's paid by the energy industry to disinform. See:

Well, it IS a fact that greenhouse operators bring their greenhouses up to 1,000 ppm CO2 to achieve max growth; and,

plants DO get sick and die at 150 ppm, or less.

And do they also raise temperatures to 115F - 120F?

Don't be daft.

Are you saying they DON'T add CO2 to levels approx. 1,000 ppm?

Are you really obtuse, or just being an argumentative arse?


Happer. About 80 million years ago ...

See. Nothing to worry about.

Great picture!

But I think you got the date wrong. That would be about 4000 years ago or so. Jesus didn't come until a few thousand years after Creation.

Predating Stonehenge by 6,000 years, Turkey's stunning Gobekli Tepe upends the conventional view of the rise of civilization


Don't you mean 2000, not 4000? It was creation that took place 4000 years ago, and Jesus only 2000 years ago, give or take a few years here and there. Considering, however, that old Hesu is a fictitious character and probably never existed, this is just a frivolous comment. The picture was fun, however.

That guy HeyZeus should be shown riding a Dodo, Moa or an Ostrich, as those were the descendants of the long dead dinosaurs. Funny thing, the Dodo and the Moa are extinct too. the Ostrich would be fitting with it's habit of facing change with it's head in the sand...

E. Swanson

Is warming going to be "an overall benefit to mankind" as Dr. Happer claims?

Just now (10 AM), the temperature ourside has already jumped to 57 F. The forecast is for temperatures rising into the 70's F this weekend. The local plants are just beginning to leaf out, the first hint of grass beginning to show green. Is this Spring? Will we see a quick warm up for a few weeks or a month, then a sharp cold snap as a last gasp of winter which happened a couple of years ago? A hard freeze after the trees were fully leafed killed all the leaves and the trees looked like it was Fall all over again.

If this is the new reality, I seriously doubt that it will be seen as "prosperous".

EDIT: I notice that my old nemesis, Roy Spencer is also on the board of Directors of the Marshall Institute.

E. Swanson

I knew the Marshall propaganda machine was a pile of crap, but I had no idea it was even less substantial than that. They aren't a science body and they don't do science. Go figure.

To wit:



Prosperous or not, the geological record shows us this: Abrupt excursions in the global carbon budget are very bad for the biosphere.

Roughly 2,000 years after it started, the warming trend suddenly reversed, and temperatures fell back to near-glacial conditions; Earth stayed cold for over a thousand years, a period called the Younger Dryas (named for an alpine wildflower). Then warming resumed so abruptly that global temperatures shot up 10 °C in just 10 years.

Indeed. For us Yanks, that's roughly 18 degrees change, though I may be off a bit there. Suffice to say, it's a flippin' lot of change to adapt to in one decade.



Roughly 2,000 years after it started, the warming trend suddenly reversed, and temperatures fell back to near-glacial conditions; Earth stayed cold for over a thousand years, a period called the Younger Dryas (named for an alpine wildflower). Then warming resumed so abruptly that global temperatures shot up 10 °C in just 10 years.

Indeed. For us Yanks, that's roughly 18 degrees change, though I may be off a bit there. Suffice to say, it's a flippin' lot of change to adapt to in one decade.


Prosperous or not, the geological record shows us this: Abrupt excursions in the global carbon budget are very bad for the biosphere.

But, often good for evolution. Repopulating all the biological niches left unoccupied after an extinction is when the greatest evolutionary changes happen. The biggest such event, the Cambrian explosion happened shortly after the last snowball earth event.

That's taking the long view!

Dear Wisco,
Did you actually listen to this broadcast?

Dr Happer did NOT say Pleistocene when quizzed by Boxter. That was from another person : The interruptor says 'Plastocene - I think he said'.

Dr Happer stated that we evolved to our present state in the Holocene in his opening remarks.

And yes, the bulk of earth history has seen CO2 levels much higher than at present. The bulk of CO2 forced warming occurs in the first 0-200 ppm, thereafter the curve decays dramatically.

Dr Happer is correct.


The IPCC stated, I believe, that you will get 1.3 C for a doubling of CO2. Obviously, that's not going to set anyones world on fire. So, you've gotta get massive "Positive" feedbacks from water vapor.

But, the Aqua Satellite data seems to say this is very unlikely. That, plus the fact that it's never happened in the previous 5 Billion years of world history.

Of course, the warmistas' story would be much more interesting if we were actually getting hotter. There's some guy out there that is offering to bet all comers that the line from 2005 to 2020 will be downsloping. I hear he's having a hard time finding "takers."

The usual question. Where's your reference to the literature supporting your claim about AQUA data?

Also, please tell us who is offering this bet you mention? What odds is he offering and what sort of payment is allowed? I've got some stock I would throw in that is now nearly worthless. I suspect that's about like his offer to bet...

E. Swanson

Yes, I'd like to be in on this bet. And I'll put down cash...but I may want something other than cash in return, especially if we have to wait for a few years to settle the bet.

Well, you knew this name was coming (in that he's your "old nemesis.")

THIS isn't the best reference I've seen on this; but it's handy.

As for the "bet:" 15 years is a long time to "sweat" a bet; but with the Pacific Decadal Oscillation now in solidly negative territory I think you could probably go over to Anthony Watts' site, and scrounge up this bet. That's where I saw first mention of it.

I think I'll save my money to bet on Memphis in the NCAA Tournament.

No, I don't recall being aware that Roy Spencer was on the Board of Directors of the Marshall Institute.

Looking at the link to his blog which you post only re-enforces my opinion that Spencer has drifted toward the political side and away from the science. I wish I had known that when I published my paper back in 2003. I might have been more motivated to counter his one sided "lawyer science" as I used to do when the Idsos' would post station data cherry picked from the USHCN sites. Neither Spencer nor John Christy have bothered to reply (in public) to my paper, which demonstrated that their UAH TLT data was flawed over the Antarctic. That lack of interest is not what science is about, as I understand things. It's entirely possible that there is a basic flaw in the TLT which these guys don't want to discuss as it would kill their careers, as it indeed should, IMHO.

E. Swanson

Black Dog - I believe that the data is being "held" pending many more peer reviews, since "it is contrary to current thinking." I believe a letter was released to that effect about a year ago.

I don't know about the bet, but here is one source of the data:

I am presuming that you are referring to the paper found here: http://physics.nmt.edu/~krm/minschwaner_dessler_jcli2004.pdf

What this paper says is that the increase in water vapor in the atmosphere with increased surface temperature does not follow the Clausius-Clapeyron relation. I saw a seminar on this problem last year, which indicated that global climate models generally agree with this as well. AIRS observations do not disprove the water vapor feedback by any reasonable stretch of the imagination. You also might want to read this paper http://physics.nmt.edu/~krm/Dessler_Minschwaner_JGR2007.pdf as well, which shows that the water vapor distribution of the atmosphere appears to be fairly insensitive to local cloud microphysics, which is one aspect of Lindzen's "adaptive eye" hypothesis.

Caelius, I understand that there is no "consensus" on the meaning of the results, so far, from AQUA. My link above is Spencer's refutation of the Dessler paper. My take is that Spencer, and Christie are, more or less, on the offensive; and the opposition is a bit "back on the heels."

As a layman who is pretty much "agnostic" on the whole deal my gut feeling is that they aren't going to find the "Large" Positive Feedback they need for their theory to work.

I really don't think it matters. If we have a couple more years of relative cooling the "politics" of AGW will become untenable. If, on the other hand, we get a couple of strong El Ninos the momentum will definitely shift the other way.

But, as far as the "practicalities" of Energy policy goes, I think we're going to get about the same either way. Some Wind, some solar, some pressure on coal, and some more biofuels. The price of gasoline will be the informing factor.

If we have a couple more years of relative cooling the "politics" of AGW will become untenable.

There is no cooling trend, even over the period 1998-2008:

Hadcru data:


At least 1.5-2yrs more up to date than the above graph.

So the last 5 years of the data from the present, not from sometime mid 2007, show a flat-declining temp record.

This of course could be a pause in global warming like the many others, a turning point, reversal.....who knows?

There are quite a few other indices besides these 2 showing a recent reversal (in the last 5 years) of global warming.


Please see this post to understand why we can't make inferences about climate change over time scales of less than about 30 years:



Dont expect any help from Dropstone on this one.

At circa 18:30 hours last night, he was banned from TOD. This was after editing posts with suggestions that his posts had been deleted / mysteriously 'disappeared'

This site is becoming Soviet.

Little cocks like CCPO get protection from Leannan while legitimate skeptics get banned. (boy, is this site gonna look stoopid after a couple more cold winters...)

TOD is turning into a left wing drivel screed for AGW.

Expect this post to be 'one time use' as well....

(probably once and for all time....) TotalDepth/Dropstone :-(

PS: CCPO: you have WAY too much time on your hands to be any kind of a good English Teacher

TotalDepth (aka: Dropstone) and Marco,

All good scientists are skeptics. Any new data is important to a scientific discussion and when data runs counter to whatever theory has been developed to explain previous data, then there's a scramble to find out why.

But, the denialist camp can not claim to be "legitimate skeptics" until they (and you) learn the difference between weather and climate. A few colder than trend winters in one part of the Earth (say, in Britain or Europe) proves nothing about AGW. That's because AGW is a global problem and one must consider global temperatures. Hint: there's no "winter" in the tropics...

E. Swanson

And really this hasn't turned out to be a particularly cold UK winter either - just one a bit colder than the unusually warm winters we've had recently. Here's the Met Office summary for February

February 2009

A cold first half of the month followed by a mild second half resulted in mean temperatures for the whole month being close to the 1971-2000 normal over most of the UK. Temperatures over Northern Ireland and parts of north and east Scotland were slightly above average, by about 0.5 °C, whereas in parts of south-west England they were 0.5 °C below average.

And here's the average UK temperature as used by National Grid for natural gas demand.

Thats Feb stats only. Dec and January were well below average. But Eric is correct: I and others have to be careful not to confuse weather with climate. I'm not so happy with this delineation and the recent 5 years of global temps are flat to falling - so i'm thinking is this a trend or weather?

5 years in my book is just too long for 'weather'.

look at the latest graphs:


The dip down is unmistakeable. Who knows what will happen next.


5 years in my book is just too long for 'weather'.

And that is your problem. As posted elsewhere in this thread, in terms of climate, 5 years is meaningless. You've been told this numerous times. If you are told you are factually and/or logically wrong, and this is clearly demonstrated, yet you continue to argue the same point, what are we to think of your intellect and/or honesty?

Do you not see why people like me offer no quarter to people like you? Over and over again you demonstrate that you are either unable to deal with the issue intellectually, or are simply not honest. Neither is a very positive state of affairs, but how many times do you allow facts and reality to be questioned without merit?

There is no science that demonstrates human beings are not changing the planet. NONE. So, then, why should we allow people to claim otherwise?

I say again, list your science. Or as debate class participants are wont to shout at one another: Cite your sources!

5 years is meaningless. You've been told this numerous times

CCPO, thats not even "proven". telling me numerous times doesn't make it true either.

There is pleny of science that demonstrates that abrupt climate shifts have occured in the recent past (circa 6000BC onwards). However there can never be any 100% conclusive eveidence for either case due to the nature of climate being dynamic.

Some refrence on recent temperature records during t he late holocene to present ie 8000BC to present. Includes 2000yo proxy thats shows temps higher that now during Roman climate optimum.


Have you seriously just posted that 5 years in climate science is statistically meaningful in determining long term trends?


Let me help you out: You stated elsewhere rapid cliamte change happens.

True. And if it does, it will be at least in part due to the incredibly fast rise in temps and GHG's. That is, any rapid climate change will be proof of AGW, not the opposite.

Further, using RCC as support for your contention that 5 years = long-term trends is ridiculous. RCC represents anomalous events, not trends.

You don't understand the scientific use of "trend." E.g., 1998 temps were an anomaly, not trend. Temps after Pinatubo were anomalous, not trend. If we have cooling over the next ten years it will still not be a trend because it will be due to local oscillations, not a general global trend.

Something you need to realize: These short-term "cooling" events aren't even actually cooling events in many cases. The reason the paper from last summer predicting a ten year cooler period ALSO said warming would zoom right back up after it ended is because the energy is still being absorbed, but is being masked.

Think of it like the planet putting on an asbestos suit for ten years so you don't feel the heat. But the heat is still there. Cold deep ocean water may be welling up, but that has nothing to do with the total energy being absorbed by the planet. The temps during the cool period are essentially a set of false readings.

Barrett can explain this far better than I, I'm sure.


In your black and white world you can't understand that long term - short term are not delineated. There is no magic line that divides the two. You just cannot seem to understand this simple wood for the trees fact. What is a trend 1 year, 5 years, 25 years?

If el-nino - la- nina flips every 7 years is this a trend or an anomoly? If that event is not entirely repetive in the time domain does it then cease to become a trend and become anomoly?

If th PDO flips on a quasi-periodic 30 years (but sometimes not) is this a trend or anomoly.

You want these various climate influences nicely pidgeon-holed so you can put it all into context for your argumnet.

I don't see it as black and white as you.


If el-nino - la- nina flips every 7 years is this a trend or an anomoly?

Neither. It's an oscillation.

If th PDO flips on a quasi-periodic 30 years (but sometimes not) is this a trend or anomoly.

Neither. It's an oscillation.

Dude, take your GED and get back to your video games.

An ocillation driven by what?

We know they are quasi - priodic but what makes them so?

Climate science is still in its infancy.

Dum de dum de dumm hmmmmmm note lack of response from CCPO on this post.

taps finger waiting.........

Who knows what will happen next.

What will happen next is that Earth will continue to warm, because it must. If somehow we manage to remove 500 gigatons of carbon from the atmosphere and oceans this century, then we may realistically ask, "What happens next?"

The dip down is unmistakeable. Who knows what will happen next.

Well, if one were to look at the very graph you link to one might notice dips down also occurred (I eyeballed this, so don't hold me to exact years) at 1857, 1867, 1877, 1898, 1940, 1960, 1970, 1983 and the current "dip" at about 2005 and conclude this is natural variability.

One might also decide to play the gee whiz game with you and point out that from 1850 to 1900 there were four dips, but from 1900 to now there were only five dips. One might then point out that these are dips due to natural variability and/or other events that are not climate and are coming less often, thus we might conclude heating is becoming more the norm.

1850 - 1900: 50 / 4 = every 12.5 years on average.
1900 - 2009: 109 / 5 = every 21.8 years on average.


To see graphically why five years (or eight years) are not enough to distinguish the trend from natural variability:

The red line is the annual global-mean GISTEMP temperature record (though any other data set would do just as well), while the blue lines are 8-year trend lines - one for each 8-year period of data in the graph. What it shows is exactly what anyone should expect: the trends over such short periods are variable; sometimes small, sometimes large, sometimes negative - depending on which year you start with. The mean of all the 8 year trends is close to the long term trend (0.19ºC/decade), but the standard deviation is almost as large (0.17ºC/decade), implying that a trend would have to be either >0.5ºC/decade or much more negative (< -0.2ºC/decade) for it to obviously fall outside the distribution. Thus comparing short trends has very little power to distinguish between alternate expectations.

Uncertainty, noise and the art of model-data comparison

It always amuses me that the last few years are missing off all these graphs getting posted. The up to date data-sets all show a turning point.

Marco, you really just should not post.

That graph? It cuts off in 2007. Besides, it wasn't posted as an argument against whether or not the micro-trend is down, it was posted to juxtapose short term trends vs. long term trends.

What *I* get a kick out of is that you ignore the point being made and attempt to deflect the fact you just had your arse handed to you. Again.

CCPO, look at the proxies for the last 6000 years and our little excursion +0.6 degC looks meaningless so nobody's arese has been handed to anyone. Thats my whole point - natural variability makes our current warming pale into insignificance.


And what *I* get a kick out of you is how selectively you answer my posts.

Marco, which of you half-dozen posts am I supposed to be answering while I am responding to the previous? You're being childish.

Also, none of your posts are WORTHY of response. You haven't said anything. Worse, you've posted no legitimate science.

Finally, I tend to let others do the technical responses as they are much better at it than I am.

What are you posting?

8 year trends = climate? Idiotic drivel.

Sunspots? Idiotic drivel.

How many times have you made these same points and been shown the science proving you to be posting idiotic drivel? How can you pretend these questions have not already been answered over and over? What sheer dishonesty does it take for you to allow yourself to claim to the readership at large that you have not been answered over and over again?

You could start by responding to the one below aboutt the 2000 year old proxies then the post (7 above here?) about the 6000Year old proxies.

You've responded to neither of the study/links I provided RIGHT AFTER you telling me you wanted me to cite sources!

Go read!.


You're starting to piss me off. You whine about respect but offer the same stupid crap repeatedly.

1. You did not offer any SCIENCE. The "journal" you cite is a known rubber stamp for anti-AGW bullcrap. We have dealt with this "journal" and it's editor before.


2. The authors of the non-peer reviewed paper (Energy and Environment does not do legitimate peer review) are NOT climate scientists, and neither are the people on the review board, if memory serves.

3. You did not post the paper, you posted a BLOG ENTRY.

4. The updated hockey stick uses non-tree ring proxies.

So tell me, if these guys use proxies and publish in non-peer reviewed fashion, why do you not ALSO re-post the updated hockey stick for a "fair and balanced" discussion of the statistical treatment of non-tree ring proxies?

Why do you not equally support the fully peer-reviewed Mann, et al. material?

Rhetorical question.

Here's a suggestion: why don't you ask the actual climate scientists at RealClimate to take a look at that paper?

You're starting to piss me off

Emotion is a powerful thing that can cloud your vision.

What innacuracies is it in particular that you disagree with in that Journal?

The realclimate link you is about C02 reconstruction which I don't even disagree about - it does not in any way refute the temperature reconstruction in the article I posted the link to.

I havn't actually seen any Mann,et al. studies on the previous 6000 years.

Hockey stick? If you extend the temp graph back a few 1000 years there are hockey ssticks all over the place.

I posted on real climate a few times but the replies Gavin gave me were at best evasive. They don't seem to like uncomfortable questions there.


This is my last response to you because you are dishonest and/or intellectually challenged.

1. Your comments on short vs. long-term trends is just plain stupid.

2. I did not post the link to RealScience to attack the paper you presented, I posted it show the source is not legitimate and cannot be considered to represent scientific enquiry. This was crystal clear, so we are again brought back to one conclusion about your intellectual capacity and/or honesty.

3. He didn't answer you? Bull. I read everything that comes through RC and their answers are always explicit and succinct. The responses you got from Gavin were either a.) above your head or b.) didn't fit your ideology. As is always the way with you denialist trolls, you find an excuse to reject the science while offering none, or at least none that will pass peer review.


I havn't actually seen any Mann,et al. studies on the previous 6000 years.

Mann covers more than enough to establish the trend. What is your point? Five years is a trend but several thousand isn't, but, oh, wait, it is if it's a non-peer reviewed paper in a rubber stamp anti-AGW journal?

You're dishonest. Stated months ago. Confirmed here. Troll.

May your banning be swift and decisive.

Definition of Troll from wikipedia:

Application of the term troll is highly subjective. Some readers may characterize a post as trolling, while others may regard the same post as a legitimate contribution to the discussion, even if controversial. The term is often used as an ad hominem strategy to discredit an opposing position by attacking its proponent.

You do yourself a disservice CCPO

Regarding sunspots. Links between climate and the 11 year cycle were disproved years ago. You know why - not enough forcing. There is very recent research into grand maxima and minima in the cycles which DOES effect climate - we saw this with the Dalton and Maunder minima.

To me it is absurd to suggest that only thing that keeps us alive and mikes life possible and drives the WEATHER cannot possibly drive the climate - I find this idea to be idiotic drivel. But if you want to stick your head in the sand and pretend that multidecadal changes in the suns activity does not happen then I suggest you start reading up!!


While i'm waiting here is a study temperature reconstruction for the last 2000 years based on 18 global measurements. The most recent part dips lower than current temps because of the 30 year average so I accept that it is warmer presently than the graph depicts.



Here's the most recent graph from GISS. Your claim is that last little dip demonstrates a statistically significant inflection point, correct?

Line plot of global mean land-ocean temperature index, 1880 to present. The dotted black line is the annual mean and the solid red line is the five-year mean. The green bars show uncertainty estimates. [This is an update of Fig. 1A in Hansen et al. (2006)]


Yes, in conjunction with a recent state change in the Pacific Decadal Oscillation and (less importantly?) recent forcast into a possible dalton minimum in solar cycle. We are looking at 2 potential forcings.

If you look at that graph that "little dip" is the 5 year mean so it starts becoming significant.

If it were to resume an upward trend in face of the above 2 forcings then it does look indeed as if AGW gets more weight. If it continues down for the next few years we have to look to other forcings and how these effect natural variability.


If it were to resume an upward trend in face of the above 2 forcings then it does look indeed as if AGW gets more weight.

The upward trend has not stopped. Every year in this decade is on the top-10 hottest list.

Sunspots are not a forcing; they show no correlation with the upward trend. They cannot dominate the 8 gigaton/year carbon excursion in the atmospheric carbon store.

Sunspots are not a forcing; they show no correlation with the upward trend

That is not the case. Succesively low cycles "add up" to a greater forcing that would be had if difference in solar minima and maxima over the 11 year cycle was only taken into account. It is no coincidence that the (multi solar cycle long) Maunder minima and Dalton Minima co-incided with low global temperatures.

You never mentioned my point on the PDO indice so please take a look / do some research on PDO, NOA ,SOI ,ENSO -the science of these indices are progressing quickly and there is a lot of very ne interesing research.


Successively low cycles "add up" to a greater forcing that would be had if difference in solar minima and maxima over the 11 year cycle was only taken into account.

To the degree that the miniscule TSI changes from sunspots have any effect on climate, the effect for the last 20 years or so has been cooling: Recent oppositely directed trends in solar climate forcings and the global mean surface air temperature.

I don't address the various regional oscillations because they have no effect on Earth's radiative equilibrium and therefore no effect on the warming trend.

From that study:

There are many interesting palaeoclimate studies that suggest that solar variability had an influence on pre-industrial climate. There are also some detection–attribution studies using global climate models that suggest there was a detectable influence of solar variability in the first half of the twentieth century and that the solar radiative forcing variations were amplified by some mechanism that is, as yet, unknown. However, these findings are not relevant to any debates about modern climate change. Our results show that the observed rapid rise in global mean temperatures seen after 1985 cannot be ascribed to solar variability, whichever of the mechanisms is invoked and no matter how much the solar variation is amplified.

Backs up my argument, not yours! If a similar long term event of the type listed in one of the studies above "that solar variability had an influence on pre-industrial climate", happens again then yes it could therefore effect the climate and cause negative or positive forcing. The fact that the study is eliminating said forcing from the present warming does not invalidate previous studies that are mentioed in the first 2 sentences! They tell you that these studies exist!


Climate science is acutely interested in TSI changes and studies them intensively. But there is no trend in TSI that correlates with the observed warming.

The TSI changes would only affect climate cumulatively low cycles such as the Maunder and Dalton minima. But I agree with you that TSI cannot account for the recent warming; but the last cycle was lower than the previous and current forecasts are even lower rof the next so you have a cumulative effect with succesivlely lower activity on each cycle - remember there are always lags in the system so the current mild pause/slight decrease in global temps could be the results of the last lower solar maximum and it virtual silence now - more on this silence as it's starting to net noticed.

It is close to being at a 200 year low in terms of activity.
As for the PDO acting in unison - I belive thats why the American Alminac has predicted lower than average temps.


I'l deal with your links 1 by 1:

1. They say "which implies only a modest decrease in solar flux at the Maunder Minimum for instance." - yes - enough to cool the planet. All temp records show this cooling.

2. They say "This is not to say that there is no solar influence on climate change, only that establishing such a link is more difficult then many assume"

3. They say "Even if cosmic rays have a detectable effect on climate (and this remains unproven), measured solar activity over the last few decades has not significantly changed and cannot explain the continued warming trend" We are talking about far longer term than this.

4. They say "There has been work done on reconstructing the solar irradiance record over the last century before satellites were available. According to the Max Plank Institute where this work is being done, there has been no increase in solar irradiance since around 1940. This reconstruction does show an increase in the first part of the 20th century that coincides with the warming from around 1900 til the 1940's. This trend in irradiance is not enough to explain it all, but it is responsible for a large portion of that trend in temperature" - for goodness sake CCPO these guys are saying it has influence.

5. They say "So what role, if any, have solar fluctuations had in recent temperature changes? While we can work out how Earth's orbit has changed going back many millions of years, we have no first-hand record of the changes in solar output associated with sunspots before the 20th century" - so basically they don't know

6. Cosmic rays? Is that what bit of the blog you are pointing me to? That is a whole different area of study I've not done enough research on yet.

Basically CCPO none of you posts above disprove a sun-climate link and in fact most of them hint at/state a moderate influecnce does exist - they just don't seem to know how much.


Basically CCPO none of you posts above disprove a sun-climate link...

Straw man fallacy. No climate scientist disputes a sun-climate link. What climate science has shown is that there is no correlation between TSI and the recent warming trend.

He knows that. We have dealt with Marco in the past. Same crap, different day. I should not have engaged him beyond my usual 2x4 salutation.

Same crap? Which part of my argument exactly have you disproved? You should not have enguaged me? Why because you get an argument..oh sorry for not believing your almighty highness right out of the bat. Go re-read right from the start...what sparked this off was the comment that you either agree with AGW or you are wrong! An absurd position to take in any scientific debate.


What are you talking about? Scientists are constantly trying to downplay the role the sun plays in climate change. There is no straw argument - CCPO argued there that a solar climate link was.....read his abusive posts.....idiocy?

I am arguing that solar forcing caused the maunder and dalton minima and that recent solar analysis point to a possible new dalton minima and, in conjuntion with the PDO could act negatively on the climate in terms of temperature.

But Marco, it's not parsimonious to appeal to multiple, miniscule, ambiguously directed signals to explain a strong trend. You have to invoke a mysterious, extreme sensitivity to sunspots/cosmic rays/phlogiston, while simultaneously invoking an extreme insensitivity to abrupt, gigantic changes in the global carbon budget.

But that is my problem. I want to know what it is about long term solar forcing over periods of a few decades that can alter the climate as is has clearly done so in the past in the two examples I give.

As for the insensitivity to changes in the carbon budget - this has me stumped. I simply don't know. [In the paleo climte prior events appear to trigger carbon release before feedback loops set in and our +100ppm C02 we've added could have an effect...]but maybe the climate models have factored in an incorrect amount of influence?


but maybe the climate models have factored in an incorrect amount of influence?

No need to appeal to climate models; a simple blackbody model with a "gray gas" atmosphere gets us to within 1K of the observed equilibrium surface temps of Mars and Earth.

The contribution of CO2 to the planet's energy budget is very well understood. To learn about it, I always recommend a college-level textbook on climate science. This one's excellent and free online: Principles of Planetary Climate.


Knowing you won't be able to resist returning to the scene of the crime, let me answer you. You did, after all, call me a noisy bird.

At circa 18:30 hours last night, he was banned from TOD...

This site is becoming Soviet.

Let's see... this is a private site. Being banned from it indicates nothing other than the owners no longer wanted you here. Your characterization is illogical and childish. It's the same logic people use about free speech. How can you claim First Amendment on someone else's property? How do you call a non-governmental entity communist? IIRC, Leanan and others specifically called into question your poor application of logic. Just maybe there was more to it than communist leanings.

Little [bad language] like CCPO get protection from Leannan

I think the best you could say about my relationship with Leanan is that there is none. Given I've received two warnings from her, I believe, all the more so. I think I've had at least one from another staff member, too.

while legitimate skeptics get banned.

There are no legitimate sceptics. To the extent that there might be, they would show up with science in tow. You never have. In fact, if I had any influence on your banning it would only have been because I pointed out that you have never provided links to legitimate science to support any of your claims. It was that that I suggested you should have been banned for, not your stance or whacky claims.

TOD is turning into a left wing drivel screed for AGW.

If overwhelming evidence via links to legitimate science = "left wing drivel screed for AGW," then I suppose you may have a point. But even then your logic breaks down: it's not the site, it's posters. The admins rarely jump into the fray on AGW.

CCPO: you have WAY too much time on your hands to be any kind of a good English Teacher

You've never studied, or taught, English in Korea, apparently. That aside, I fail to see how much free time I have has to do with my ability as an English teacher. [I will toot my horn with this little tidbit: My summer school students (2 class hours a day for 3.5 weeks) improved their performances on Cambridge YL pre- and post-tests by an average of 10%; zero class content was included in the test. My wife co-taught, so she must be crappy, too.]

Straw man noted.

Final point: Other denialists certainly were not banned at 6:30 last night. You might ask yourself why you were and they were not.

My theory? Having your disguise lifted time after time and your schtick revealed and challenged eventually got to you. As expected. It always does.


CCPO, when it comes to arguing AGW vs natural variablility you are a bit like a blunt tool, a cudgel if you like. I find sometimes you make some good rational arguments and enjoy enguaging with you but many times your "shouting down" just seems to detract from your message. You may accuse me of being shallow in this respect but I simply cannot ignore your insulting manner. People would not speak face to face in this tone and certainly not Teachers! So why do it online? You accuse me of being either stupid or dishonest.

Presumably you want to bring poeple over to your persuasion but you have a curious way of trying to do this! This eco-warrior tactic of yours, I find very negative.

Just my penny's worth.


1. There were no insults in the above. Why did you post this here? Are you an alter ego of Dropstone?

2. If one makes unintelligent statements, repeatedly, should one not be perceived as unintelligent?

3. Since the stance underlying my responses to denialists is that they are, in fact, bought and paid for and/or ideologues and/or literally not educated/intelligent enough to understand even basic science, does it make sense to treat such people with respect? The very last grouping is actually quite rare, so it must be admitted by me that I am being a little rhetorical when questioning people's intelligence. When I do that it almost always means I think they are lying. However, it may well be true, too, so I toss it out there.

You have provided a perfect example here: short term trends = climate. You can understand the concept, but still argue it. It's bizarre. How can I conclude other than either stupidity or dishonesty? This is so clear cut there literally are no other options.

4. Given #3, it would be unethical and immoral of me not to challenge the denialists strongly. They are killing me and mine, albeit slowly for now. They are damned lucky all they get is rhetoric, if you ask me. I suspect that in the future those people who intentionally blocked response to Anthropogenically-driven Climate Change will be among the most reviled people on the planet. I would not be surprised at all if an EcoNuremberg was the final say in this matter.

5. While I intellectually understand the argument about playing nice, I've always wondered at the intellect of people who are basically admitting they are not able to separate the rhetoric from the data. Sticks and stone, after all.

If you are so easily swayed by a little pejorative that it prevents you from dealing with reality, I really think you need to put some serious thought into your own fortitude and mental strength.

6. I am of the opinion it takes all kinds, and that cuts both ways. There are those who will *only* respond to a 2x4 upside the head. Consider me the 2x4.

7. You really must be aware I could not possibly care less what your opinion of me is, right? With that in mind, why did you bother with your post?


1. This is a round table and anyone may comment. I will have to disagree that it was not insulting and no, I am me, Marco!!

2. I don't think a statement can be pigeon holed as intelligent or unintelligent. People have intellegence to varying degrees but even that is very difficult to measure.

3. I'm not a 'denialist' in that sense so I think I do deserve respect. As I've pointed out numerous times I happen to be doing many things to resuce my folssil fuel usage / C02 footprint as I believe out energy crisis is greater.

Further more I am not arguing short term=climate - I am arguing that this could be the start of a long teerm trend and gave my evidence of this above.

4. Challenging strongly is not persuading or challenging convincingly. Sometime you have to caox people gentlyor they just plain rebel.

5. As long as there exists evidence that natural variability still plays a part (how much is under debat - I think a lot) then your statement here is meaningless.

6. Yes, I do!

7. In the hope that would change!!!!!!!


#2. Good job proving the point.

#3. Bull. Your self-perception is way off. You argue one side and one side only, and not objectively. You dismiss, e.g. a 159 year trend in favor of a 3 year trend. This is no supported by facts, scientific reason or simple logic, yet you do do it. You are a denialist, and you are ignoring reams of facts in favor of the few that make you happy in your delusion of anti-AGW rhetoric.

4. Denialists are not coaxable. Barrett, for example, is taking the tack you suggest. It does not help. You and others persist. Logically, you should cease and desist. Were this a court of law or a formal, science-based debate you'd either be convicted or laughed off the stage.

Barrett, et al's, gentlemanly response has the effect you desire: it allows you to claim your stance is worthy of debate. It is not. It allows you to pretend at legitimacy when all you represent are false equivalencies.

Barrett focuses on the debate, I focus on the false equivalency. I will not allow lies nad BS to go unchallenged in such a way that people reading this - or any - forum can leave with the opinion the debate is equal and thriving. It is not equal, it is not thriving.

A recent survey of scientists doing active work found that 97% of climate scientists agreed that AGW is real. Yet, you challenge that. And you do so on the word of....? Wattsupwiththat? Non-scientists?


You are arguing this *could* be the start of a long-term trend? Based on....? We have pointed out eight other downturns just like this one over the last 159 years. They didn't last. Despite this "downturn" producing temps that actually take the long term trend *up.* Despite this "downturn" producing several of the ten hottest years on record.

In other words, you are pulling this reversal crap out of your arse. Rather, from non-scientifically derived opinions of non-scientists writing non-peer reviewed blog entries.

Ah, but you're *objective* and *intelligent*. Right?

It is not equal, it is not thriving.

I only need to reply to this comment because is patently delusional! The dabate is far from settled and the shrillness of the AGW bridade started increasing when global temperatures started to decrease and armageddon didn't in fact happen at the north pole.

You want to know how settled it is: the world is doing virtually NOTHING to tackle "AGW" - that is how settled it is.

Sometimes I think you guys want to be right. I hope for all our sakes you are not!!


FACT: 97% of climate scientists responding to a recent survey say you are full of shit.

What about 97 vs. 3 do you not understand, troll?

What part of EVERY major scientific organization ON THE PLANET says you're full of crap do you not get, troll?

What part of ZERO peer-reviewed science to support your claim do you not get, troll?

What part of an intentional campaign by think tanks starting with the Marshall Institute and ending with Exxon and the BuCheney administration do you not get, troll?

What part of open your eyes and look at the environment around you do you not get, troll?

Submit your warped little proxy study to RealClimate or a REAL scientific periodical, then get back to us, troll.

The debate is far from settled? That is a bald-faced lie. You are a shill, a liar.

Realclimate know about all the eproxy studies but for some bizarre reason fail to give them due attention.

They know why too - it would imply that natural variability has a greater importance than they give it.

Definition of Troll from wikipedia:

Application of the term troll is highly subjective. Some readers may characterize a post as trolling, while others may regard the same post as a legitimate contribution to the discussion, even if controversial. The term is often used as an ad hominem strategy to discredit an opposing position by attacking its proponent.

You do yourself a disservice CCPO

Remember when you first came here using the denialist line, "Really! I just want to UNDERSTAND!"

Remember what you wrote within the last day or two about opposing the AGW activists?

You are a troll, a liar and a shill.

EcoNuremberg. Off with you.


I do not deny that you have challenged many charlatans but you are not the guardian of my gate, Much more can be accomplished by rational discourse than by attack.

Yes, there are shills, but there are also those that are uninformed, IMO, we have the obligation to inform first and, if warranted, attack later.

Marco appears to be a troll, but you may be jumping the gun. I also acknowledge that he may be a skillful troll.

No disrespect but in order to maintain the integrity of the site, we should first afford every latitude regardless of misguided or misinformed posts.

If some trolls seep (or ooze) in so be it, we are bigger than that.

The frauds will expose themselves soon enough.

you are not the guardian of my gate

What has my posting got to do with you, except in the We are the World sense?

Much more can be accomplished by rational discourse than by attack.

Bull. Look at the polls in the US and GB. The liars are winning.

Yes, there are shills, but there are also those that are uninformed, IMO, we have the obligation to inform first and, if warranted, attack later.

That you don't understand Marco is a troll does not have much to do with this. I have demonstrated clearly that he is. This is not our first dance.

I understand your stance, but all your comments here are off.



Before I reply on point, I am not your enemy, but you may be your own worst enemy in trying to advance your views.

What has my posting got to do with you, except in the We are the World sense?

Well, for a start, you are a poster, just like me. The site belongs to someone else. Everyone is entitled to post here unless they violate pre-defined rules and I am here to learn and to try modify perception as I feel appropriate.

Bull. Look at the polls in the US and GB. The liars are winning.

Thank you for that bit of aggressive ad hominem dogma. Do you care to cite any sources? You often slam posters for no references. Personally, I have seen a gradual, albeit slow, shift to acceptance of AGW.

That you don't understand Marco is a troll does not have much to do with this.

Au contraire mon ami. It has everything to do with this because I never said marco was not a troll. In fact, I said he was likely a troll and a skillfull one at that.

I understand your stance, but all your comments here are off.

If you truly understood my stance, then none of my comments are off.

Obviously you are sharp, but more and more you appear to defend your aggressive behaviour rather than your position. As I said at the outset, I am not your enemy, but I think you need a reset. Honey catches more flies than vinegar.

A Cooking lesson

Lesson One: Jack up the radiative forcing beyond all reason...
Lesson Two: Use a completely unrealistic mixed layer depth...
Lesson 3: Pick an initial condition way out of equilibrium.

Postlude: Fool me once …

Why am I not surprised about all this shameless cookery? Perhaps it's because I remember this 1997 gem from the front page of the Wall Street Journal, entitled "Science has Spoken:Global Warming is a Myth":

(Graphic at the original)

That's not Roy's prose, but it is Roy's data over there in the graph on the right, which purports to show that the climate has been cooling, not warming. We now know, of course, that the satellite data set confirms that the climate is warming , and indeed at very nearly the same rate as indicated by the surface temperature records. Now, there's nothing wrong with making mistakes when pursuing an innovative observational method, but Spencer and Christy sat by for most of a decade allowing — indeed encouraging — the use of their data set as an icon for global warming skeptics. They committed serial errors in the data analysis, but insisted they were right and models and thermometers were wrong. They did little or nothing to root out possible sources of errors, and left it to others to clean up the mess, as has now been done.

So after that history, we're supposed to savor all Roy's new cookery?

That's an awful lot to swallow.


Spencer is an industry... um... lady of the night.

He also won an award from RealClimate this year:

Climate scientist with biggest disconnect between his peer-reviewed papers and his online discussions:
Roy Spencer


Best hopes for EcoNuremberg

He said 80 million years ago. That was the era of dinosaurs, not proto-humans. As the posters above suggest, perhaps in science fiction these two time periods are jumbled, but the fossil record seems pretty clear. Dr. Happer is not correct.

Gee, whiz. Prosperous, eh?

Did he happen to say how the stock market was doing back then?

Prosperous for whom .... ? Which species thrived ... ?

Was that an idyllic Golden Age or Garden of Eden where members of our species simply frolicked about beside the Pagan Streams or walked and talked with God in the cool of the day?

How was GM doing back in the age of, er, was it dinosaurs and Flintstones?

Were there lots of little think tanks flourishing to spread obvious dis-info-tain-ment around back then also?

Just wondering.

It is interesting because most models of a 4C warming seem to say most of the World will become desert. This didn't happen in the Cretaceous. They don't say where all the rain would have gone.

Hint: Does this globe look anything like the one you live on today?

Best Hopes for EcoNuremberg

Nice. When you look at it this way (in animated form, as seen from a few thousand miles above) cretaceous Earth does look quite prosperous! You can almost make out the Walmartasauruses scattered across the fertile plains. 350 ppm? If you really want a prosperous planet, let's jack this up to 1200! Like the good doctor says, we are CO2 deprived! Think about the children: they deserve a CO2 rich future. Who are we to deny them? I'm gonna start by torching some petrol stations...

Ha... this stuff would be funny if we, the real scientists, didn't encounter it so frequently.

Prosperous? The sea level was where again in the hothouse Cretaceous, Mr. Exxon Scientist? Which would leave what percentage of our largest cities underwater?

No mention that the sun has gotten hotter in the intervening millions of years?

Friday night failures:

17th bank fails this year

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- State bank regulators closed Freedom Bank of Georgia Friday, making it the 17th bank to fail this year.

The announcement marks the eighth consecutive week that a bank failure has been reported after the stock market's closing bell on a Friday.

Curious that Georgia is such a hot spot.

California and Florida you can see - they were Ground Zero for the mortgage crisis. But why Georgia? Banking rules that encouraged risky banks to settle there, maybe? Or was it that widespread mortgage scam?

May have something to do with the real estate bubble around Atlanta. I listened to a property assessor on the radio last night who was forced out of business because he insisted on giving realistic values for the properties he evaluated. The mortgage brokers quit calling him and went with dishonest assessors who insured larger commissions for the brokers and realtors. He is now a truck driver. As long as compensation for mortgage brokers and other realty services is commissioned based then they will always try to jack up prices to dishonest levels.

Meanwhile, in Canada:
from: http://www.canadianencyclopedia.ca/index.cfm?PgNm=TCE&Params=A1SEC816555

"Canada has had only 2 bank failures since 1923 while the US has had over 17 000. ... the banking system remains basically a banking oligopoly dominated by the "Big Five", who have 43% of the total assets of the major classes of consumer credit-granting and deposit-taking financial intermediaries in Canada."

This refers to chartered banks. Credit unions are provincially controlled. There is also the unique case of ATB Financial, owned and operated by the Alberta Treasury Branch of the provincial government as a hangover from the Social Credit days of the late 1930s. All deposits in ATB Financial are guaranteed 100% by the Alberta government.

Funny. I was looking at the blog linked to this chart which had this assessment (see BOTTOMLINE):

1. There have only been two years since 1934 when NO U.S. banks failed: 2005 and 2006.

2. Only 3 U.S. banks failed in 2007.

3. Besides the 2005-2007 period, there has never been another three-year period since 1934 when only 3 U.S. banks failed.

4. Even at the peak of the S&L banking crisis when more than 1,000 banks failed in 1988 and 1989, at a rate of more than 2 every business day for two consecutive years, the economy survived without going into a recession.

Bottom Line: The U.S. banking system is probably stronger and more stable today than at any time in U.S. history. A subprime crisis by itself will probably not be enough to pull the U.S. economy into a recession in 2008.

Probably a small contribution to Georgia's banking failure rate might be their economy being mildly whipsawed by the recent drought problems, and then the fuel distribution problems from recent hurricanes. Thus, if farmers are struggling, it eventually ripples up throughout the economy.

All Wisconsin Retirement System pension checks to see a cut in May

For the first time, every retired public employee who is a member of the Wisconsin Retirement System will get a smaller pension check this spring.

Retirement payments will shrink by 2.1 percent, effective May 1, for the 146,000 retirees whose pensions are funded solely by the Core Fund, the primary pension account, the state Department of Employee Trust Funds (ETF) said Friday. The reason: the stock market’s skid in late 2008.

"The sizeable decline in the value of WRS assets due to the global economic crisis made this year’s negative annuity adjustment necessary," said agency Secretary Dave Stella.

By mid-summer, you could probably take every state and county pension fund, and write the same article about them, but with bigger payment cuts.

Honestly, where do all these people with pension funds think their money is invested? Mars?

The ironic thing is that due to the Ponzi scheme nature of the US economy, current retirees are extremely fortunate compared to young workers.

Dr. Michael Hudson lays it out very well in this newest interview;

"Guns and Butter - "The Way We Were and What We Are Becoming" - March 4, 2009 at 1:00pm"


Yep-it is pretty transparent at this point. I think I have reached the point where I have more respect for the looters than the ostriches still slavishly looking to their leaders.


I just listened to it. Many will dismiss his comments due to his obvious leanings toward socialism/marxism, but he's on the same page as the rest of the short-term crash folk.

Time is oh so very short.

Catabolic my fat arse. 50+ years? Fantasy. Well, maybe to complete and total collapse. I suppose much depends on your definitions.


Well not really.

Young workers still have bodies that work well. They can actually do some work to earn a living -- hoeing potatoes if nothing else. The elderly that have been receiving dividend checks are going to really be out in the cold.

I wonder what is going to happen to all those ex-patriot retirees in Mexico and Costa Rica and Barbados?? Not much of a "safety net" in those places when the dividend checks fail.

The elderly that have been receiving dividend checks are going to really be out in the cold.

For many this may be literally true.

Well, if the dividend checks are what they are relying on go away, they're toast. However, if they have social (in)security, they can do well on very little. In the Philippines, you can rent a house for $150 and $200 more will cover all costs for DSL, food, entertainment, etc. if you're not living in a big city and don't require luxury, but even that would be around $1000. As for other places, you can live well for $500 a month if you live in the style in which the upper middle class lives--Dominican Republic, Panama, and other places. Ecuador would be cheaper. If you live out in the countryside, you could get by on $200 for everything--house, food, utils, transport, and so on. If you want to live yuppie style, however, you're going to be pretty sad.

And here it is:

Someone's leaked the Counter Parties to AIG:

According to the WSJ, these are the counter-party banks paid by AIG with bailout money:

Covered Counterparties
Goldman Sachs
Deutsche Bank
Merrill Lynch
Société Générale
Royal Bank of Scotland
Banco Santander
Morgan Stanley
Bank of America
Lloyds Banking Group

This is simply unconscionable . . .


And Barclays finds $3 billion
it got from Lehman:

Barclays questioned on funds


By Francesco Guerrera, Greg Farrell and Julie MacIntosh in New York

Published: March 5 2009 00:00 | Last updated: March 5 2009 11:03

Lehman Brothers’ US liquidators have asked Barclays to explain what happened to an estimated $3.3bn earmarked for bonuses and other liabilities that the UK bank received when it acquired part of the bankrupt Wall Street company last year.

In its yearly results last month, Barclays booked a gain of £2.3bn ($3.3bn) on the difference between the fair value of the assets and liabilities acquired from Lehman and the price paid for them. The gain accounted for about a third of Barclays’ pre-tax profits and helped Barclays Capital, its investment banking arm, to record a profit of £1.3bn."

Must be nice, to be insolvent, and then take $3 billion
just lying around.

Here the Wall Street Journal article that your link references.


Is this a surprise?

Is it true?

What can anyone do about it when the crooks are in charge and cooking the books?

People say "pitchforks". That won't get you very far on the Capitol Mall.

Who is going to prosecute the miscreants.

I will continue to develop my local network in my peasant way. It feels like the best bet for survival.

mgowanmc -

Aha, did I not indeed say in one of my replies just the other day that this bailout will result in a massive transfer of wealth from middle-class US taxpayers to the global investor class!

So here we have the likes of Deutsche Bank, Société Générale, and Banco Santander sticking their hands way down into my pocket and rudely tickling me privates ..... something to the tune of close to $50 billion.

Now, how much more evidence does one need for one to understand who is really running the show? The Fed is and always has been of, by, and for the financial establishment. As a result, a global network of highly interconnected financial entities has managed to suck massive amounts of blood out of US middle class taxpayers with nary a peep of protest out of our so-called representatives in Congress. Nay, they are actually co-conspirators in the dirty deed.

To paraphrase something once said about kings: Justice will not be done till the last politician is slowly strangled with the still-warm intestines of the last banker.

At risk of being seriously flamed by all and sundry I have to say that the US taxpayers should pay all the counterparties in the rest of the world for the debts of AIG and others. Reason? the US taxpayers let their politicians and banksters make a mess of things for so long that the Americans are now reaping what they sowed. Yes some did protest and not support the practices (including many TOD contributors and others) but the majority of the sheeple let the crap slide. Now you have to pay (both sheeple and the rightious) and hopefully the pain will cause the sheeple to punish the crooks in govt and wall st (let them hang/burn or put in labour camps and not house arrest in their penthouses). Your mess not ours.

Sets his Zippo on the Table next to him....

Um, being a former tax payer, I don't think so. Sure some of us elected the guys and gals who put the lobbist's interests before the voter's interest. But just because we elected them their crimes we should not pay for.

Crime is crime and should be dealt with. You are saying you want to blaim the victim of this crime for the mess as well, WHY?


Still have my Zippo handy.

I don't recall any American taxpayer going abroad and putting bankers/speculators/people at gun point and ordering them to buy derivatives.

I understand your point of view Charles; but more than "some" Americans let this cr*p get worse over the past few decades whilst the sheeple watched American Idol. You (the American public) let your regulatory agencies give seals of approval (with govt consent and support) to wall st shenanigans and your govt encouraged foreigners to invest in supposidly triple A financial instruments. Now ALL americans will pay the cost of this dsciet. Like you Charles I'm p*ssed off at having to pay for govt bailouts for companies that have failed here (but here the sheeple watch Australian Idol) with our KRudd govt smelling as bad as your BO govt.

Au contraire. It is entirely *our* mess, whether you like it or not. It takes two to tango, regardless of whoever is providing the music.

According to Peter Ward and Robert Brownlee in their book 'The Life and Death of Planet Earth', the big-picture geologically long-term trend is for CO2 levels to slowly decrease over time as the Earth's interior cools, thus slowing then stopping plate tectonics and shutting down the silicate/carbonate rock weathering/volcanic CO2 cycle. Thie (and others') theory is that as Earth's temperature increases, plant growth increases, rain fall increases in places, and therefore weathering increases. CO2 is sequestered into rocks and ocean silts as part of mineral compunds and atmospheric CO2 drops. As the rocks and silt become subducted into the trenches and this material spews forth from mountain chains above subduction zones (such as the Sierras), CO2 is returned to the atmosphere. If the geologic plate tectonic engine slows then stops, then over time CO2 will be pulled from the atmosphere by plants, sequestered in minerals, and after long enoght there will not be enough CO2 in the atmosphere to support plants. As the plants die off, so goes the source of atmospheric O2, which will combine with surface minerals and leave the atmosphere that way. I don't have the book in front of me, but Ward and Brownlee predicted that this death of the Carbon cycle would occure much earlier than the death of the Sun, say, in about 1 billion years or so. Of course, the oft-quoted in textbooks from my youth statement that the Sun and the Eartth will 'last' another 5B years is false anyway...solar brightening will force Earth into a 'wet greenhouse' then a loss of al,ost all water much sonner than 5B years anyway (but still later than the death of the CO2 cycle).

Now back to present reality: Any revanchist non-scientific AGW denier who might have heard these theories and might want to use them to say that our dumping CO2 into the atmosphere is a good thing clearly need to go back to school. The Present time scale and the time scale for solar influx doom and for tectonic/CO2 cycle doom before that are much much further in our future than humanity's recorded history, or even much longer than we have been a distinct species.

Weekend conference on the psychology of deniers - with discussion


San Francisco Historians Condemn 1906 Earthquake Deniers

The 1906 Earthquake Deniers, a group reviled by Californians and scholars alike, held three days of lectures and roundtable discussions over what they call a "century-long hoax" of exaggerated seismic activity in the Bay area, and part of a conspiracy to bring the World's Fair to San Francisco in 1915. Historians protested the conference, saying the organization's statements denying any major seismic activity in 1906 are reprehensible and out of line with all available geologic data from the time.

Wow, that one nearly swindled me, Leanan. After all, I remember they revised the death toll upward for the centennial: http://www.ktvu.com/earthquakes/4130203/detail.html

Dear Robert,

Of course, we are all mad you know, MAAAAAD....




Ad hominem as informal fallacy

A (fallacious) ad hominem argument has the basic form:

- Source A makes claim X
- There is something objectionable about Source A
- Therefore claim X is false

Ad hominem is one of the best known of the logical and systematic fallacies usually enumerated in introductory logic and critical thinking textbooks. Both the fallacy itself, and accusations of having committed it, are often brandished in actual discourse (see also Argument from fallacy). As a technique of rhetoric, it is powerful and used often because of the natural inclination of the human brain to recognize patterns.

Leanan I can only presume you for some reason "censored/deleted my post" so i have reworded the bit I belive you censored me for........

my post:

Yes, it's interesting how the debate has panned out: there are those who believe in AGW and all others are just mad. No evidence whatsoever that natural variability plays some part, nothing to see here folks, move along. Preacher beats the drum.....drum....drum....repeat 150 times: the Earth's climate has always been the same stable place since for ever....now where did I put that AGW grant money?

Personally I think you "AGW believers" are completely brainwashed. There is plenty of growing evidence in the paleo record that prove the climate has altered in the past far more quickly and more violenly than it is doing so now. Also as the years go by there is an interesting trend in the temp records that show static to declining global temperatures for at least the last 5 years. There is also growing acceptance that the solar forcing may be more important than previously considered.

The matter is far from settled and in actual fact there is plenly of evidence mounting up to suggest that natural variability in key multiyear indices like the NOA ,PDO, SOI, ENSO are the major driving force of the earth's climate - but what is driving those? Hmmmm.....big ball of hydrogen/helium springs to mind.

Now to put the "denier" bit into context.: I myself am trying my best to reduce my energy consumption. This year I will be doing a complete assessment of insulation in my house and have already installed major energy saving appliances. I cycle to work most days and try and grow some of my own vegetables. These are just a few examples. So if i'm a "denier", why would I do this? Simple: I'm not a denier....i'm reducing my C02 footprint as we are facing an energy/resouce crisis that will dwarf any worries imposed by AGW, and my research into climate change leads me to believe that it is primarily natural variablility and maybe some AGW.

I have friends that can't understand why I try to destroy the AGW argument that could geopordise the movement to a low carbon way of living...but for me thats just as decietful as the politicians who deny AGW so they can still have their Hummers and 16 boxes of various cereal in their cupboards.



Your description of "those who believe in AGW" does not describe the scientists I have read who have gone to great pains to describe the variation in climate. It's apparent that you can't see the difference between short term variation and the longer term changes, such as the Ice Age cycles. do you actually think that an Ice Age represents no problem for civilization? What if AGW actually results in another Ice Age? Are you willing to ignore that possibility and if so, why? Or, do you think living in desert conditions is possible if it's no longer possible to find food from other areas because the drought conditions apply everywhere?

BTW, those short term variations you point to do not "drive" climate, but are indications of variation within the weather system, with the possible exception of the ENSO oscillations. The driving forces are the solar energy which flows thru the Earth's atmosphere into the climate system and the IR which leaves.

E. Swanson

No it does not describe the scientists. It describes those that take the scientists word for gospel.

There is no concensus on how we delineate short term from long term. Climate from weather. Extreme climate frequency etc...is five years weahter or climate? Heck I don't know if anyone knows the answer to that? It is even that black or white?

Of course natural variability is just as dangerous to human survival and for sustaining 6Bn+ people as AGW could be.

Those variables I listed; some have periods of 30+ years and it is not understood if they are driven or the driver - they are possibly both! Remember even for non-anthropogenic C02 needs a step/ramp input from something...in order for an increase in it to be triggered in the first place.

Agree fully with your last statement.


Of course natural variability is just as dangerous to human survival and for sustaining 6Bn+ people as AGW could be.

This statement is almost always missing whenever I read/see/hear a "denier" arguing with a "believer" (or vice versa).

If I might oversimplify:

Denier Argument: AGW is a joke/hoax/conspiracy, it's all natural variability and the sun. So, that means BAU can and should continue.

Believer Argument: AGW is real and it's here right now and getting worse. We must change BAU, and start living within our biosphere better.

Since most Deniers use the argument above, I immediately ignore them (see: Limbaugh, Rush et al). However, I must admit that I tend to paint all deniers with the same broad brush, which is not always helpful or correct. I'm glad to see a "denier" make that important point. (Though, I still think the Believer Argument is much more responsible)

There is no consensus on how we delineate short term from long term. Climate from weather.

In fact, there is consensus:

Figure 1 here shows the trends for all years (remember I'm lopping off the first 31 and last 31 from the NCDC record) that I computed trends for, by all 3 methods, in terms of the length of data record used. So at 36 (months) we see a range in the computed trends between +15 C/century and -15 C/century. These are enormous values compared to what we think of for climate change. If I wanted to give you a wrong impression about climate, then, I could use such short records. The range declines as we take longer periods. And then flattens out for trend periods of 252-372 months (21-31 years -- remember I took only odd averaging periods). In this part of the display, the range is about +1.5 C/century to -1.5 C/century -- and it is independent of how long an average I took. This, then, supports that a) there is such a thing as a climate temperature trend and b) that you need 21-31 years to find it (we can round to 20-30, given how 19 years is close to 21 also, we expect 20 even to be so as well).

Results on deciding trends

Sorry Barrett; this is very flawed statistical analysis; for the simple reason than the paleo climate has not been mapped to a high enough degree for inclusion: remember some rapid climate changes in the past have happened on timescales less than a decade.

remember some rapid climate changes in the past have happened on timescales less than a decade.

Indeed, but you can't distinguish such changes from noise until 20-30 years later.

Those rear view mirror events!!! - I refer to the fact that Peak oil is like this too!!

We really need better resolution on that paleo data - who knows it might actually support AGW.

I have to side with you in this constant, ongoing discussion. Science is a method of knowledge for which there is always, necessarily, no certitude, and always room for doubt, unless you find a counter-example that completely refutes a theory. No amount of "positive" or confirming instances can ever prove a theory or establish certitude.

Yet many people here seem to think AGW is an article of faith, a certitude, that cannot be doubted. Their position is as horrendous as any rabid right-wing creationist. We "know" from our science that there have been numerous climate changing events in the past and will likely be many in the future, so climate change is a given. Whether or not it is in fact warming or cooling in the long term view is still open to question, and so is the long-chain inference that we are doomed if the trends inferred continue. The AGW crowd may be right, and they may be wrong, though they seem to think they cannot be wrong--only the deniers and doubters can be wrong. This arrogant dichotomizing--you are wrong and I am right--is probably the most serious denial of science and rationality that exists. I see no difference between the rabid AGW's and the group of crackpots who are filing frivolous lawsuits about Obama's birth.

On the other hand, there are some people who are equally rabid in their belief that there is no global warming or climate change or deny that we have severely damaged our home and could very well face extinction, so both the affirmers and the deniers are probably right in some respects and wrong in others, but you're wasting your breath with either group.

The AGW crowd may be right, and they may be wrong, though they seem to think they cannot be wrong.

Climate science is not a matter of belief. It is relatively straightforward thermodynamics. Using basic principles of climate science, we're able to accurately predict the surface temperatures of Earth and Mars, and we get a tolerable value for Venus.

Whether or not it is in fact warming or cooling in the long term view is still open to question, and so is the long-chain inference that we are doomed if the trends inferred continue.

This is the chain of inference. Which discovery do you dispute?

1. CO2 is a greenhouse gas (Tyndall 1859).
2. CO2 is rising (Keeling et al. 1958).
3. The new CO2 is mainly from burning fossil fuels (Suess 1955).
4. Temperature is rising (NASA GISS, Hadley CRU, UAH, RSS, etc.).
5. The increase in temperature correlates with the increase in CO2 (76% for temp. anomaly and ln CO2 for 1880-2007).

"Global warming in five bullet points" by Barton Paul Levenson

It is relatively straightforward thermodynamics.

LOL....I wish I'd known than when I studied thermodynamics and fluid mechanics at university....people really struggled with those subjects! Which leads to to your next point:

climate science, we're able to accurately predict the surface temperatures of Earth and Mars, and we get a tolerable value for Venus.

Thats guys model is a fixed state (snapshot if you like) predictor for current temperature. The GCM's run by the top climate modellers are woefully simplistic, make many initial state assumptions and leave out MANY unmeasured variables for lack of understanding. Of course these models will improve over time along with the computing power to be able to run a model with 100+ variables!!!!

I only dispute point 4.

Also a a point of note - bullet 5 you list is not evidence for AGW - it is evidence against AGW as we know that there are always lags in the system and our current temperature/c02 uplift are happening almost simaltaneously!?!

There is no doubt man has lifed C02 rought 100ppm. BUT as the earth appears to go through many periods of warming so that the current temperature uplift could just as easily be natural variablility.

Here is an interesting point - becuase in geological terms the Current C02 increase can be assumed to be a step input we have to look at other step inputs in the past. But as far as paleoclimatologists can tell the huge C02 or methane releases to the system apppear to be CAUSED by prior warming. But by whay mechanism?

I once had an argument with gavin over at realclimate about the fact that 6000-4000 years ago the are studies that show that sea levels we 1-5m above present ergo the world was warmer than it is now. His response was to dismiss the studies as wrong. Also looking to the last interglacial is not a fair comparison as orbital mechanics gave favour to a slightly hotter world than now so I prefer to use the current interglacial as an argument.

I also admit that I could be wrong and in fact AGW is correct. But to me the evidence to the contrary is too strong.


That guy's model is a fixed state (snapshot if you like) predictor for current temperature.

Almost correct -- "steady state" is more accurate. Mars and Venus are in radiative near-equilibrium. Earth is in radiative disequilibrium due to the large, abrupt excursion in the atmospheric carbon store. To regain equilibrium, the atmosphere must warm.

there are always lags in the system and our current temperature/c02 uplift are happening almost simultaneously!?!

There are lags in Earth's radiative balance, but they're very short, on the order of hours for convective heat fluxes, and days for CO2 mixing.

The slowing of the tectonics is not needed for a CO2 drawdown. The mechanism that higher temps mean greater erosion implies that average CO2 concentration will decrease as the sun gradually brightens. After about another billion years, it will require CO2 to be down to mayve 10ppm, to keep the temperature from soaring. But then plants probably can no longer exist. It is also claimed in Pierre Humbert's climate textbook, that in about 700 million years a runaway greenhouse is conditionally possible, i.e. if the planet gets hot enough, the runaway (to Venusian type conditions is possible), by 1.7 billion years the runaway greenhouse of unavoidable.

principles of planetary climate

The absolute low CO2 limit for plants depends on their carbon fixation pathway, i.e., C4 plants will persist longer than their C3 counterparts. But you are correct that the slow rise in solar luminosity will eventually draw CO2 down low enough to make plant life untenable. My advisor and another colleague from our program have written a book about this subject that I feel obligated to plug: http://www.amazon.com/Life-Death-Planet-Earth-Astrobiology/dp/0805075127... (It's the sequel to a better known book, Rare Earth.)

I'm not a climate modeler but I think I remember learning that the runaway greenhouse isn't likely to occur on Earth. Jim Kasting's work suggests that not only is CO2 increase alone insufficient to produce a runaway greenhouse, the amount of input required is something like 1.5 times the current solar flux. Since the increase in the sun's output is gradual, not stepwise, it is far more likely that a more modest increase (to ~1.1x nominal) will trigger the rapid loss of water from the top of the atmosphere--known as a "moist greenhouse." This is actually thought to have happened on Venus, and would explain its hugely enriched D/H ratio. With the sun's output at only about 70% of today's value, there was seemingly not enough input for a runaway greenhouse in the Archean, even at the orbit of Venus. However, it should have been above the moist greenhouse threshold even then. So its water vapor is cleaved by UV photons at the top of Venus' atmosphere, and the hydrogen escapes into space. Once all the water is lost, the CO2 has nowhere to go. It can't be locked up in surface rocks without liquid water and it can't escape from the top of the atmosphere, so the result is the mess you see today.

Once all the water is lost, the CO2 has nowhere to go. It can't be locked up in surface rocks without liquid water and it can't escape from the top of the atmosphere, so the result is the mess you see today.

It is merely a rhetorical difference, but I would consider that just another type of runaway greenhouse, albet probably much slower.

The distinction is meaningless from the perspective of human survival, of course, but a planetary scientist would disagree with you. "Runaway greenhouse" is a term with a specific meaning; IIRC, the salient point is the positive feedback, as the rising temperatures due to greenhouse gases cause the evaporation of water, thus boosting the greenhouse effect (more water vapor) in the atmosphere, causing more evaporation, etc. Eventually you end up with a steam atmosphere. In a moist greenhouse scenario, this can't happen, because the water is already gone. The subsequent greenhouse is not "runaway" in the same sense, just a direct function of the amount of CO2 liberated (obviously, both Earth and Venus have a hefty amount of carbon).

And believe it or not, it has been argued that there is a functional difference with respect to what happens subsequently and any future prospects for life. I don't remember the exact argument, but I have Lunine's new book in my office and will take a look tomorrow.

Re: Double Daylight Saving Time. Up top.

I have rarely read such outrages reasoning. He wants to move "beyond the fiction of our agrarian conception of time and into the modern world". Oh right. The modern world needs a different clock because agriculture time no longer applies.

Get a clue. The hours in a day and hours of daylight to do not change just because the clocks change. Time still moves the same and in seasons that result in crops and such. It is the modern world that is the fiction and that becomes more so each day with people like the article's author running the show.

I hate day light sayings time. It is a bi-yearly headache of clock changing. I have several vehicles and each one seems to have a slightly different way of setting the clock forward/backward. And come the next time to adjust, I've forgotten how each works and have to look it up again for each one. And I like to have a clock visible from wherever I am in the house since I don't like wearing a watch. That means I have a lot of clocks to change.

Living on a farm also makes getting up too early a waste of time. The dew is too heavy to mow and it is often cold and uncomfortable in the morning. Plus traffic picks up early past my place and keeps me awake. I am an early to rise and early to bed type person anyway so long as is not too early in the morning.

It is the evening consequences of day-light savings time that I particularly hate. During the warmest and longest days when one is tired from being up all day and wants to sleep, the sun is still up past 9 o'clock or later. What on earth do people want to do at that hour that requires sunlight?

I have a biological clock that is pretty precise. We all have one. We evolved with a rhythm. That is why there is jet lag for example.
These rhythms are based on day and night and seasons. The author supposes that we can override these basic evolutionary rhythms and achieve a nirvana of "gorgeous, endless evenings". What rubbish.

He says the clock shift was originally designed to "create" more leisure time. From what I have read people have less leisure time than ever lately. Especially working people. I submit that if his stupid idea or double daylight savings time were put into effect most people would have even less leisure time.

As it is, people like me do not get enough sleep anyway. It is a major national health concern. It can result in diabetes which I have. It is well known among educators that test results fall when a student does not get enough sleep. Sleep, regular hours and the expectation of such make for good judgement IMO.

Perhaps the author should try it. I think his judgement would improve and he would forget about double daylight saving time.

I will change the clocks tonight but my parrot will sack in an hour later tomorrow ... the lazy critter.

Excellent points. We do need to do away with this silly and counterproductive time change. This doesn't rank up there with putting all the pharmaceutical companies out of business because they are poisoning what little water we have left and making half the country into zombies, but eliminating these time changes will be a welcome result of the reversion to a simpler way of life, if it does come to be.

Interestingly, they have an equal and opposite problem in China where the entire country is on the same time, so people in different regions have to change their sleeping, eating, and working habits to fit the business world: in the West, four logical time zones from the East, their 6AM is in darkness while everyone in the East is doing their Tai Chi exercises in bright sunlight.

I’ve been working with my church to help make their operations more energy efficient. The church would like to reduce its operating costs and put their funds to better use. But beyond that, they want to be “good stewards” and set a positive example for their parishioners, so the motivation here is not simply one of dollars and cents.

Earlier this week, I started working on the parish hall. This building, in addition to its regular functions, is used by a local food bank and hosts weekly continuing education classes. Some improvements were simple, relatively inexpensive and could be completed in about thirty minutes. For example, the hall has six exit signs, each illuminated with two 15-watt incandescent lamps. These signs were retrofitted with 1.5-watt LEDs for a net savings of 1,419 kWh/year and a 5.5 per cent reduction in overall demand.

I also re-lamped sixty-one 2-lamp T8 fixtures in the lower hall and second floor offices with new, high performance 28-watt T8 lamps. The original lamps operated at 32-watts and after ten years of service were nearing the end of their nominal life. It was a good time to do a group replacement and in the process trim their electrical demand by 488-watts. I also replaced their thirty 65-watt BR incandescent reflectors with 50-watt halogen PAR30s I had salvaged from another job; this cuts that load by 450-watts (the fixtures are used for dinners and other functions where dimming is required and so CFLs wouldn’t have been a good choice). Next week, my firm will convert the remaining T12 fixtures on the second and third floors to T8s, further reducing demand by another 700-watts.

The second floor main hall had been illuminated with four 300-watt PS35 incandescent lamps housed in industrial-style reflectors. These long-life lamps were not very efficient (you effectively trade lumens for longevity) and some of the light was lost inside the neck of the fixture. I replaced these lamps with 100-watt halogen-IR PAR38s that I had stashed away in my basement. Light levels are more or less the same, but we gain an additional 800-watts in savings.

The parish hall has two 250-watt barn-style exterior lights that operate from dusk to dawn and 100-watt incandescent lamps at each of the three entrances. These will be replaced with 70-watt metal halide wall packs and 13-watt, hard wired CFLs respectively.

The church itself has three 250-watt mercury vapour post lamps at the front circular driveway and a 1,000-watt mercury vapour fixture that illuminates the front facade. These fixtures also run from dusk to dawn. We will be removing the ballasts from the post lights and refitting them with 27-watt CFLs and the 1,000-watt flood will be replaced by a 70-watt metal halide; it won’t be quite as bright but, then again, the light will be white and not a ghastly green.

Inside, the T12 fluorescent valances will be re-lamped and re-ballasted (a 1,900-watt savings). The tea cup chandeliers have already been converted from incandescent to CFL (a 1,692-watt reduction). Tomorrow afternoon, we will replace the eleven 150-watt incandescent BR40s illuminating the front altar with 23-watt PAR38 CFLs for a further 1,397-watt savings. Monday, the vestries and transepts will be re-lamped and re-ballasted, which bumps up the savings by another 464-watts.

Lastly, the parish kitchen is equipped with two commercial BUNN coffee markers that have internal water reservoirs that are kept hot 24-hours a day. I plugged one into my power monitor and discovered that they use 75-watts in standby operation. Simply unplugging these two coffee makers when not in use will save approximately 1,300 kWh/year – roughly five per cent of the parish hall’s total demand.

Many of us have made our homes about as energy efficient as possible, but there’s really no reason why we should stop at this. We should be seeking out other energy saving opportunities at our schools, churches, community halls and other non-profit organizations. We might also consider donating a couple six-packs of CFLs to a local food bank so that they can be distributed to those in greatest need. If you can spare $50.00 or $100.00 for supplies and perhaps donate a few hours of your time, the potential benefits to your community can be enormous.



It is always heartening to hear about your work; it must be satisfying to know you are part of the solution.


Paul, thanks for this. I have a few questions.

What's your estimated kWh of savings over a year? And savings in $'s? Also, if you can share it, what will the ROI be?

P.S. Your idea of putting some CFL's in a food bank is great.

This is an outstanding post that illuminates the immense levels of waste that currently exist in society.

It should be propagated far and wide across the Internet!

Many thanks for taking the time to share, +1000 if I could.


Good on you Paul.
Note that the stimulus package includes $11 billion to do similar work in government facilities in the U.S. The post office in my little burg has a double set of entry doors. The interior set is always (24 hours a day) propped open. The facility has no recycling bins in the lobby. A friend related to me recently that most federal offices in D.C. have no recycling capabilities. There are a lot of low hanging fruit.

Thanks to everyone for your kind words.

André has requested additional detail on the economics of this work. I can only speak in general terms, as some of this information is protected by privacy legislation and I’m also bound by a non-disclosure agreement with Nova Scotia Power. Although I haven’t identified the church by name, at least one member of this board is aware of my affiliation.

So, with that said, I expect the reduction to be between 13,000 and 14,000 kWh/year. The church currently pays $0.11796 per kWh, so this puts the dollar savings at about $1,600.00/year. The 1,000-watt mercury vapour flood at the front of the church has been out of service for sometime, but the ballast still presumably draws 100-watts when energized; the potential savings would be even greater if this fixture were, in fact, operational.

I would like to add a time clock to the outdoor lighting so that it can be used in conjunction with the existing photo-eye control. This way, the timer can energize the circuit at 16h00, say, but the photo-eye won’t allow the lights to come on until dusk. The timer can then subsequently open the circuit at 01h00, whereas the photo-eye, by itself, would allow the lights to remain on until sunrise. This could potentially trim five or six hours from their daily use, thereby extending lamp life and further reducing energy demands. Alternatively, we could simply replace the photo-eye with an astronomical timer that would effectively do the same thing. Either way, there’s no reason why they should be burning at three or four in the morning.

In terms of the economic payback, a LED retrofit kit retails for about $20.00 CDN ($US 15.50); with a 27-watt reduction per fixture and 24 hrs/day operation, the breakeven point is less than nine months. A 100-watt halogen-IR PAR38 retails for about $10.00 CDN and at a 200-watt per socket savings, the payback is about six months, assuming an average usage of 15 hours/week.

The simple payback on the 28-watt T8 swap is considerably longer but, in this case, the 32-watt lamps they replace were ten years old and starting to fail with increasing frequency. Our cost for a 28-watt Osram Sylvania XPS 850 series T8 is $2.72 CDN ($US 2.11); at current rates and assuming 25 hours per week usage, the breakeven point is just under 4.5 years.

In addition to the two coffee makers I mentioned above, I’ve asked the church to turn off their commercial dishwasher at the breaker panel. The dishwasher is used twice a week (Thursdays and Sundays) but its internal booster tank is kept hot continuously. It has a ready light that comes on when it's up to temperature and if our volunteers snap on the breaker ten or fifteen minutes before use, it should work perfectly fine; the challenge will be to have them remember to turn off the breaker when they’re done.

With respect to food banks and the donation of CFLs, our firm does a lot of business with a major lamp manufacturer and I plan to ask our local rep if he will donate a couple cases to us in exchange for various promotional considerations (e.g., a thank you note in our church bulletin). If your employer is disposing of excess inventory that may be helpful to local charity or non-profit organization, or if you are in a position to solicit donations from a supplier, this is a good way to leverage additional assistance at no cost.

I’m also thinking we need to generate some friendly competition between ourselves and our counterparts within the Archdiocese. Why not challenge each other to find ways to lower our energy demand and lessen our collective “environmental footprint” while having some fun at the same time?


Amazing! The $1600 a year savings you cite is very close to the $1800-odd a year I've been living on for the past couple of years.

Thanks, Paul.

WRT the coffee maker and the dishwasher - I wonder whether a simple timer knob on the wall would work. Instead of a simple on-off switch, you just twist the knob by hand to set how long it should be on. The ones I have see seem to have some sort of spring-operated timer inside - you can hear a slight noise.

I have seen these types of switches used in storage facilities where people rarely spend very much time.

A good idea. We discussed the possibility of operating these coffee makers on a seven day programmable plug timer, as this would allow them to come up to temperature ten or fifteen minutes before the first pot is brewed. However, the church wants to speak with their equipment supplier before they make any decision on this, just in case cycling them on and off could harm the unit (personally, I don't see any problem, but I have to defer to their wishes).

The dishwasher is 240-volts/40-amps and so a wind-up timer may not be feasible. The thought is that we would post a reminder on the dishwasher to turn it off after the last load is run and have the caretaker verify this prior to lock-up.


This weekend, the University of the West of England’s Centre for Psycho-Social Studies is holding a conference on ‘The Psychological and Political Challenge of Facing Climate Change’


dear jmygann,
the UWE-Bristol should really be referred to as Bristol Poly and college of Nursery Nurses. It is of no academic consequence whatever.

Interesting blurb from Michael Pollan. I've had recent experience in eating cheap using fresh ingredients. I found a breadmaker at the thrift store for $13. It was new and unused but had been sitting a very long time in someone's closet or garage from the looks of the box. You dump all the ingredients in and it bakes a delicious loaf of bread in 3 hours. Flour costs $.65/lb at the supermarket or $.30/lb at Costco. The cost of sugar, salt, yeast and butter are negligible.At supermarket prices the ingredients cost at most $.80. Hard margarine is cheaper, but it's full of trans-fats. Cost of yeast is a little hard to estimate since it's expensive but you only need a little. Compare that to $2.50 to $3.00 a loaf at the supermarket. As long as the electric grid holds up, I'll have my bread. The only problem now is it tastes so good, it's gone in half the time of supermarket bread.

I'm now exploring cost-effective cooking with a slow cooker.

I've purchased a 3.5qt Rival Crock-Pot for $27. This 'new' smaller size is perfect for a couple (lots of delicious leftovers) or a four-person household.

Some of its features:

  • two heat settings, 120W and 180W
  • removable inner crock, microwave and dishwasher safe
  • see-through glass lid
  • oval shape (fits chickens and long items better)

Other features I considered:

  • keep warm setting
  • timer
  • stovetop safe (for browning meat before slow cooking)

These extra features cost a bit more money but I wanted to see what a standard, bare-bones model could do. I considered a timer unit since I like the idea of it stopping automatically. However, a simple appliance timer could do the same job with my model and I already have one of those.

We had our first meal from it last night, lentils, vegetables and jalapeno pepper with turkey kielbasa. It was delicious the prep took all of 15 minutes (not including shopping for the ingredients). The next recipe will be Beef French Dip (probably tomorrow).

The lentils took 4 hours to cook on high and the pot was over full (almost to the top, which apparently is a no-no in the manual). It made enough food for my wife and me plus leftovers for one more complete meal, in other words, four generous servings.

The power it took was thus 0.72 kilowatt hours. And at 180W that means a single solar panel could provide it power.

The meal cost :

  • 1 small can diced tomatoes: $1.48
  • 1 16oz bag lentils: $1.48
  • 1 large link turkey kielbasa: $4.98
  • 2 cans beef broth: $2.56
  • 1 large carrot: $0.15
  • 1/2 medium onion: $0.10
  • 1 stalk celery: $0.08
  • jalapeno: negligible

Food total: $10.83
Electricity: about 12 cents
Cost per meal (assume four adult portions): $2.74

Next time I'll use fresh tomatoes but I wanted to follow the recipe pretty closely this time. The turkey kielbasa has less than half the fat of the regular kielbasa (a nod to my wife) but I think it might have tasted even better with the regular kielbasa.

Next I'll do some slow cooking tests with a solar oven, but I haven't decided which one to buy (or make) yet.

A good crock pot recipe to try - uses up lots of different vegies:

Crock pot borscht:

Note: quantities depend on size of vegetables and crock pot, and are not very critical; you can also scale this recipe up or down a bit if desired

1 pint canned diced tomatoes, with juice
2-3 beets, diced or shredded
1 turnip, diced or shredded
1-2 carrots, diced or shredded
~ 1 c red cabbage, shredded
1-2 stalks celery, sliced or diced
1 leek, thinly sliced
1 onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
Several sprigs parsley, minced
1 bay leaf
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt (or a little more to taste)

Optional: Up to 1.5 lbs stewing beef chunks

Cook all day, stir and mash down a couple of times.

Optional: If you want this to be bright red when you eat it, then shred another beet and simmer in a couple tbsp white distilled or red wine vinegar and a couple of tbsp beef broth for a few minutes or so, then mix in to borscht right before serving.

Serve with dollop of sour cream on top

Thanks, WNC. I was eyeing the borscht recipes online; I'll definitely give this one a go. Right now the pot is busy making a tomato sauce from an 102-oz can of tomatoes, some garlic, onion and various herbs (plus a bit of Minor's chicken base). But I'll go shopping later to get the ingredients for the borscht. Thanks again for the nudge!

You are right that a single solar cell would have enough wattage however it would only provide some minimum voltage and require some sort of additional widgets (controller and inverter) to work at 110VAC. However, direct solar cooker would do the job quite easily. Solar cooking and drying fruits and veggies are my next projects.

BTW: Our solar powered golf cart has 7000 watts available at 110VAC and would run your slow cooker quite well for a long time. At present we have only 300 watts/hr solar charging (max light) but we will up that as we can afford to. I would like to save the SPGC for pumping water and a couple small lights if the grid goes down and thus the working toward direct solar cooking.

Good point about the cooker.. I'm very interested in getting a 'Solar Crockpot' put together, as the Long-cooking, Med. Temps work well with simple solar-cooking arrangements. It would be important to set this up with a Thermostat and be ready to run it from Mains power if the Sun Abandoned you during the day.. not hard to do.. could even set it up to have Solar gathering its charge to battery, and kicking in when the sun is behind a cloud..


Not a bad idea, Bob. But when you can build a solar oven, and cook literally anything in it, for ten bucks, depending on what you have around the house, I think it's worth doing.

- Two carboard boxes of similar shape, but differential of 1 - 2 in. in size
- insulation (I happened to have old long johns which worked brilliantly)
- glass for the top, preferably tempered
- weather stripping or caulk to set the window into
- aluminum foil
- non-toxic black paint

- glass or black pots, pans, jars
* you can paint pans/jars black or blacken them with soot.

Living in So Cal I was able to cook anything. I cooked meat, veggies, bread. Food never tasted better nor was ever so tender. Amazing.

There are lots of plans on the internet. There's no need to buy one for hundreds of dollars.

I like the idea of incorporating one into the wall of my house, though obviously you'd be looking at heat loss unless out of the envelope. Then, again, might be a nice heat addition in winter.


Yeah, that last part is where I'd like to go with it. We don't have easy sun-to-kitchen access, and I'm also just looking at how to make these more built-in in general so they could really apply to peoples' daily cooking. I have a big, unused chimney coming through my kitchen where I'd like to channel tracked sunlight down the 12-18 feet or so from roof to hearth, and have an oven-door right on the wall of the old chimney. As you say, it could be tossing heat into the house whenever it's not on cooking duty, as well. BUT, even with our pretty abundant MaineCoast sunshine, If we're off at work, I'd want there to be backup heat so I know the potroast isn't just bacteriating away at 99 degrees all day.

I do still think about your Heat-Engine proposal, but as you see, I've weighed myself down with a cumbersome range of experiments already! Yesterday, it was 60 here (!!), and I finally lofted my 'Solar Tower' up to the roof, a roof-access hatch, roofed with the PV to drive my Hot Air Box, and has provisions for the Tracked Daylight system as well.


You're the only one! I had a former student who is a chemical engineer over to check out my ideas as I thought he'd at least be able to help me figure out the electronics and magnetics, but he's so busy with work we've never been able to have a follow-up.

At least I know the concept works. It's just frustrating because I see no reason why my design wouldn't be an improvement.


This is what I get for being lazy in math classes.

I enjoy your posts on what you are doing and am jealous as hell of you and others. I am going crazy being stuck here in Korea unable to do anything but read. Aaargh...


The power it took was thus 0.72 kilowatt hours. And at 180W that means a single solar panel could provide it power.

Hi André,

We have a larger, 6-quart Rival Crock-Pot (http://www.amazon.com/Rival-38601-C-6-Quart-Smart-Pot-Cooker/dp/B00008I8NR) which I obtained by redeeming credit card points. It's a terrific product, except that you have to be careful not to burn your fingers on the lid handle.

I know our unit cycles on and off once it reaches its set temperature, so you may find that it uses even less electricity than you think. The best way to confirm this is to plug it into a Kill A Watt or similar power monitoring device.

I place a folded towel over the glass lid to help minimize heat loss and wrap the sides with a second towel to do the same, leaving only the front control panel exposed; this cuts its power consumption by more than half. We can cook an entire meal (e.g., roast chicken and vegetables) using less electricity than what would be required to pre-heat a conventional oven.


Thanks for the tips. I'm going to look at insulating mine because the outside metal does get hot, lots of lost heat thus it took forever for my tomato sauce to get warm yesterday. I did plug in my killawatt but just long enough to verify how many amps it was pulling. I'll check if mine cycles, too.

I've been making my own bread using a breadmaker for years now. I CAN do it the old fashioned way, but time is an issue; this way, it actually gets done.

My recipe, using the 2.5-3lb whole wheat setting:

1.5 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup white bread flour
1 tbsp veg oil
1.5 tsp yeast
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp honey
1.25 cups water

I buy the yeast (Fleishman's) in the little brown bottles, and keep it in the refrigerator. Each bottle will last me for several months. I'm a beekeeper so I have my own honey. I suppose one could buy and store wheat in bulk and then grind it as needed; maybe I'll get set up for that some day soon. It still helps to have the bread flour in the mix, though - whole wheat flour just doesn't have enough glutin.

Make yourself a brick woodfired bread oven in your backyard. Then when the power goes out you still have home made bread.


Hello Leanan,

Thxs for the toplink update on Yucca Mountain. Recall my much earlier postings on it ultimately being used as an elite bunker, paid for by the common taxpayer. Time will tell...


You get to name the elites, they get to each carry in the nuke-waste and someone gets to brick them all in there. okay?

Somewhere to store or some why to get rid of the waste or at least find a way to reduce it would be helpful, but nooo. they kill the only site they got going for it. Pandering again.

Rant off<


If Congress can't figure out a way to store the waste safely, lets just make each member of Congress take home 50 pounds of it and store it under their beds. It is, afterall, Congress' problem, not one the the average citizen can solve. After the election is held to replace all those dead Congressmen, the vote could be repeated. I don't think there would be a problem after the second vote...

E. Swanson

Hello TODers,

Have you hugged your bag of NPK today?

Spring is here: Let's get ready to garden

...Just $50 worth of seeds and fertilizer can produce $1,250 in food, according to Burpee, the mail order garden company.
Taxfree EROI of $1250/50 = 25. IMO, this helps validate Liebscher's Optima, and O-NPK can help leverage this further.

ELIZABETH, N.J. - Duffers in Union County will soon have one less golfing option.

..It's estimated that closing the 80-year-old course will save the county $740,000 a year.

Closing of the Bluffs golf course is a sign of the times

..Before The Bluffs became a private club 13 months ago, it had been widely regarded as Louisiana's No. 1 golf destination and one of our country's top residential golf communities. Now it sits dormant..

Golf course is latest victim of economy

High Pointe Golf Club is one of several in area to close in recent years.. [they list 23 more that have closed]
I wonder who will be the first PGA professional to advocate for plowing these closed golf venues? I am still hoping for Tiger Woods to lead the charge [see prior postings]. Would a banker choose to make safe and profitable micro-loans for permaculture on these courses, or would the banker rather negative-EROI bailout some of these courses so that he can get in some more rounds?

The situation in Zimbabwe suggests the bankers' funding direction will ultimately result in rusty wheelbarrows for moving fast expiring piles of cash and people around the golf courses to the landfills.

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

Hmmm....golf courses could grow a lot of food in or near urban environments....

The soil on those golf courses is likely to be very heavily polluted with herbicides, pesticides, etc. Keeping all those greens in pristine shape is a chemical intensive activity.

Food from such sources could well have some nasty residue levels.

Agree. First three harvests should be for biomass energy only.

One option I thought of was for desert courses, say around Phoenix, to replace the grass with Astroturf. Requires so much less water and other inputs.

Edit: here is a clever solution in Djibouti: course is juts dirt, but the caddy carries around a square of astroturf for you to hit off. You hit your ball, then just place the turf mat under where it landed to take your next shot.


Here in the "still barely first world" you could probably afford to make the whole course out of the stuff and make up the savings on maintenance and water.

They were going to turn a golf course into a public park and social housing in down-town Caracas, Venezuela.... turns out that's still too revolutionary for the Bolivarian Revolution.

They were also going to nationalise "Banco de Venezuela-Santander Group", but when it got downgraded from stable to negative by Standard + Poor the plan changed.

One option I thought of was for desert courses, say around Phoenix, to replace the grass with Astroturf. Requires so much less water and other inputs.

With one crucial difference. The natural grass is water cooled, which is why it takes so darned much water in the desert. The astro-turf would probably have a temperature well in excess of 150F at noon. The only cure that doesn't require water cooling, would be highly reflective astroturf, but that would be tough on the eyes. As an idea of how powerful direct solar radiation can be, today we had what some would call a bluebird day. With an air temperature of 58F, the outer wall of the house facing the low angle sun was 120F. And this wall is an off-white color, a dark color would be much hotter.

Yes, I thought about that after posting...how long to get that soil back in good shape is an interesting question. Anyone have any thoughts on this?

One season of repeated crops of BuckWheat, each time the crop flowers you mow it down and move it off to a biomass to fuel plant, and you should let the weeds grow back where they will. Use no till and plant the buckwheat again. You should be able to get 3 to 5 plantings out of the grounds.

Then next year grow whatever you want, but cut the place up into tracts for the locals to come in and grow what they want on it. All sales of extra produce go to enhance the grounds with more long term crops like fruit trees and vines and bushes.

Not going to happen but hey at least we can hope.


What does that do to NPK, tho? Is BuckWheat a fixer of any kind? This sounds like a good way to rehabilitate or build non-toxic soils, too, if so.


It can pull N out of the soil. But the question was pulling the toxins out of the soil from all the "Greens" from pesticides and herbicides. I was giving you a fast growing crop that would pull the toxins out, or at least should do some of the work for you besides not adding more and letting the rain run the rest off.

BuckWheat is a Green-Manure. It grows fast and draws nutrients out of the dirt helping make soils. Normally you till the crop under. But you can mow it and compost it, or mow and turn with a fork the land you have planted.


Nice. Then a good soil rehabilitation scheme might be to co-plant clover and BuckWheat, or to alternate them, no? Would seem like a good idea for fields being rested in a rotation scenario, too.


Bob, the PGA is one of the thousands of backwards-looking so-called professional sports organizations that help to keep people in a bubble of unreality.

We cannot afford the PGA at all -- just as we cannot afford the NBA or the NFL.

We are wasting our time hoping that incremental changes can be brought about by such organizations, or that they are capable of doing anything other than encouraging denial and disinformation.

Our civilization has become brittle and corrupt, branch and root.

We have become increasingly resistant to chage even as people and politicians cry out for change with greater apparent fervor.

What people really want is anything that will keep them in their little personal bubble of unreality, insulated from the reality that we are killer apes: we are killing our own habitat and killing off others of our own species in a contest for the scraps of resources that yet remain.

Tiger Woods is no more capable of looking around at reality than Bernie Madoff is at looking around and seeing that there just might be an ethical livelihood versus rapacious confidence schemes.

We've pretty much cultivated a crop of sociopaths to lead us fearlessly into Armageddon.

Remember -- we do not want to know enough to care, or to care enough to know. For the rest, there is an endless litany of false hopes, false promises, and songs about somewhere over the rainbow. We can purchase our preferred fantasies on DVD or we can insist that frenetic activity will result in outcomes which are clearly beyond human control.

Who lives according to careful, thoughtful, comapssionate principle? Those people are already the first to be cannibalized. They will be used up in support of a rapacious culture, and then killed off and consumed in various ways as our civilization implodes.

Too bad, but there it is. "And so it goes ..."

I sort of understand that Children can be kept in a fantasy world, although I think it is being taken to extremes, as this colors their way of thinking throughout life.

What I don't get is all of the "adults" who are still in fantasy land. Plenty of 25+ year olds are still obsessed with NFL, NBA, Academy Awards, reality TV, etc. How can you still be in Disneyland as an adult? Even before I discovered Peak Oil at age 30, I knew about population overshoot, biodiversity, etc.

I'm not saying everyone should be an expert, and I'm far from perfect, but how can an adult think American Idol is real life?

I'm not saying everyone should be an expert, and I'm far from perfect, but how can an adult think American Idol is real life?

I don't think many adults think American Idol is real life. American Idol is a temporary distraction from real life, and I think most viewers know this.

It's the same with sports. You see this spelled out explicitly at some sports blogs these days - fans talking about how baseball or hockey or basketball is desperately needed distraction from the economic crisis.

I'm a sports fan myself. I know it's not real life. I'm expecting sports to be heavily impacted by peak oil and the economic crisis. But I love sports, and I always will.

I hear that, Leanan.
I'm still a happy, geeky Sci-fi fan, and some of it can be 'meaningful metaphor' .. and then sometimes, it's just getting off this rock. I'm about to go work on one of my own projects.. which still gets me 'off-rock'.

The benefit of power down hopefully will be community up, complete with sports, BBQs, fish fries...

Better to do than to watch. The worst thing about pro sports has been how many people stopped participating to watch instead.


"I'm a sports fan myself. I know it's not real life. I'm expecting sports to be heavily impacted by peak oil and the economic crisis. But I love sports, and I always will."

But you can obviously discuss other things and spend a lot of time learning about the real world. I'm talking about adults who talk about nothing but sports, know about nothing but sports, and spend all their time watching sports and spend large portions of their income on sports.

Anyone that was taught that TV was a visual form of books can be taught to see that TV and all that is on it is just so much escapism.

But taking our TV and Cable and Books from us will be hard on us because Reality is so much harsher than it once was. That Harsh transition will almost kill some people.

Riots and strife will be the norm for a while as we lose the ability to view our fantasy worlds.


Hey Charles, (good to see you around)
Don't forget the Einstein line, though.
"Imagination is more important than knowledge."

There is occasionally something brilliant on those tubes. Chaff, meet Wheat!


To many times I have been away from TOD either to many other things to do, or computer problems. I don't post everyday, but I do post when the topic suits my tastes.

The more Knowledge you have the more your Imagination can bloom, is what I say. But I am good at making up stories in my head and keeping them there for years, when I put them down on paper I tend to forget about them.

Real life has been keeping me busy lately.


I am an on again off again Doomer, your post is gloomy not wrong or right but gloomy.

All in all I think we will hit a point where some of our modern life is still here holding its own, not the internet or cell phones, but knowing that there are people and places over the rainbow that if we can get there using some of the methods still in use today. Trains, Planes, Sailboats, and other ships, we can still do international trade. But we will have a smaller base from which to work. But I don't know the time frame of this.


We just got our seeds from Burpees and the plants will be coming later because of our cold spring. Since we have a couple horses next door I believe we won't need any NPK this year but we will need some other minerals so we will get the $1000+ worth of food for about $40 - $50. Some of the plants we ordered are berries and asparagus, which will produce for a long time. Make no mistake; high desert gardening is a challenge though. Also we have a couple tons of sheep compost (five years old) coming from a sheepherder friend. We haven’t tried that yet but it should be great to build the soil.

We went to Japan several years ago and visited a farm north of Tokyo. The soil felt wonderful compared to here. It was alive. They had been farming that ground for well over a thousand years. Our land will be like that in only a few hundred years if those AGW guys above don’t screw it all up …

Wow. A high-school buddy of mine had a brand new ~400K home built in the bluffs couple of years back. Houses lined almost every fairway - ranging from 350K - 1+ Million? If they don't find funding soon, they will all lose their arses. This community is roughly ~30 - 45 mins. outside of Baton Rouge (where the jobs are). No sustainable future whatsoever.

Thing is ... the home values were propped up by ... the golf course! Cannot imagine trying to offload one of those massive McMansions at this point.

The last time I visited (baby shower), there were "For Sale" signs everywhere. Because I am an avid reader of TOD, I knew what was happening (this was back in Sept. 08), but noone else seemed to have a concern in the world. If I had mentioned, I would have been dubbed the equivalent of SNL's "Debbie Downer". People don't want to hear it.

So here we are now, roughly 6 months later and I would assume property/home values there have plummeted since Sept. 08.

They have a young son and I am pretty sure the wife wants another. I realize that humans are animals and that there are fundamental driving forces in all of us that blind us from realizing limits, but with proper parenting (and daily TOD readings), there is no excuse.

BTW, I enjoy your NPK postings Totoneilla. Since becoming a reader of the forum last summer, my girlfriend and I have put up 3 plots in the backyard - sweet potato, tomato, greens ... cannot wait for harvest time. Thanks to everyone for their contributions to the Drumbeat. I enjoy Darwinian's posts. Writes very well and makes things easy to understand.

Hi Totoneila,
Sustainable Ballard will be doing a group hug of NPK on March 23rd, at our monthly meeting :-)

Program: Grow Your Own Food!

Concerned about food security? Like the idea of growing your own food but don't feel you have all it takes to do it: land, time, money, knowledge, or even interest in gardening yourself? Well,this is the presentation for you! We're hosting a line-up of folks to help you grow food no matter what your combination of time, gardening interest, or resources!

6:30 pm
Potluck! Come with something to share (perhaps from your garden?) and chat with friends & neighbors.

7:00 pm
What's happening in Sustainable Ballard and beyond?
This is your chance to hear from SB guild and project coordinators about upcoming events you may want to get involved in. Then we'd like to hear from you about projects you have going on!

7:30 pm
Have little money or gardening knowledge but are willing to learn and get your hands dirty? Sustainable Ballard's two free gardening projects may be just the thing for you! Rhonda & Ingela will tell you all about our Urban Crop Circle gardening education/support group and our brand new hands-on garden 'classroom', the Edible Learning Garden, and other upcoming gardening projects & classes.

Perhaps you're a busy Mom or Dad who wants to feed your kids the freshest food possible but doesn't have the time to do it yourself? The Urban Farm Company will share how they'll grow (and even harvest!) food for you in your own garden.

Lack garden space or a gardener for your space? Amy Pennington of GoGo Green Gardens will tell us all about Urban Gardenshare, her new free online matchmaking project to hook up gardeners seeking gardens and gardens seeking gardeners.

Or,do it yourself in a P-Patch. How do you get one and how do we advocate for more of them?

Have everything but knowledge? You can learn to do it yourself in your own yard with a Garden Coach. Linelle Russ of Morning Dew Garden will tell us what that is and how it works so you can see if that's the right choice for you.

Hope it goes well. We had a "intro to home gardening" session in my little burg (pop 25K) today and over 60 people came out (slightly more than expected).

The Bank of England speaks: This is ‘not Zimbabwe’
Yep, as Zim completes its Thermo/Gene Dieoff process: the UK may find itself postPeak forced into building a New Rhodesia to relieve their Overshoot.

Indeed it is not, totonella:

Yet the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (the ZSE) is the best performing stock exchange in the world, with the key Zimbabwe Industrials Index up some 595% since the beginning of the year and 12,000% over twelve months. This jump in share prices is far in excess of increases in consumer prices. While the country is crumbling, the Zimbabwean share speculator is keeping up much better than the typical Zimbabwean on the street.


The above refers to 2007; wasn't ZSE also the only index to finish in the black in 2008?

That hopeless feeling, even here in one of the greenest places (literally and figuaratively) in the US:

States agree to build 12-lane Columbia River bridge

Oregon and Washington have agreed on a new 12-lane Interstate 5 bridge over the Columbia River, double the current bridge's size.

That's the idea behind a pact approved unanimously Friday by a Project Sponsors Council of state and regional officials that governs the $4 billion Columbia River Crossing bridge project.

The mobility council idea hinges on a high-stakes bet: Will the public be willing to accept bridge tolls in perpetuity?

"There is no new shadow government being created," said Steve Stuart, a Clark County commissioner on the sponsors council.


The readers' comments at the end of the article bring tears to the eyes, they're so lucid and obvious: "We're broke," We're on the downslope of oil production," "Fix public transit first," but in the end it's a few small voices in the wilderness, easily marginalized.

There's apparently too much money to be made to allow public opinion to interfere.

There was a city meeting to discuss the expansion of our 295 highway, which already chops the city in half, and the bike and trail and transit advocates helped twist the meeting into a debate on whether we shouldn't dismantle the thing entirely, not expand it. This was a rude shock to the planners.. Yay, Portland! (Not that it's happening that way, yet.. but the voices for restructuring are getting in there.)

One TOD poster could do this story more justice than I can, if willing.

Cyclone Hamish is running down the Queensland Coast at the moment.
Currently category 5, Winds 295 KmPH. If this turns inland it will cure the drought and do some serious damage.


925 kpa is a seriously low central pressure.

How many civilian nuclear power experts does TOD have? What do you think about this?


There seems to be no shortage of 'Generation 3', 3+, 4, and other non-generation-specified designs such as this...and I use the word 'design' loosely for some of them...some of them seem to have blueprints on the shelf, and others are pretty pictures and hopeful words. I wonder how much engineering design work this one has? What happened to the pebble-bed reactor design?

It would be a great achievement to move away from dirty coal electricity generation to a relatively fail-soft, lower-nuclear-waste design such as this one claims to be.

Before the folks jump out of the woodwork and voraciously point out that a credible, cleaner energy supply will not solve the World's resource depletion/over-population/pollution woes...I get it...I have railed myself against over-population...this post is about new ideas for base-load electricity...

You might get more feedback if you could do this earlier in the day.. these are really one-day blogs..

While I'm generally opposed to Nuclear, I'm definitely listening to the discussions around it.


Thanks, you are correct. Maybe I will recycle this post to the Sunday March 8 Drumbeat. I'm not retired yet, I'm in the rat-race of my second career, and my children have not flown the coop yet, so I am rather busy with the odds and ends of living and don't get to TOD until late most days.

There are several scientific comments that I would like to make about "Global
Warming" and "Global Climate Change". There is a basic principa l
that has been overlooked by most of the non-scientific media.
Every statement in this paper is covered in detail in the references presented at the
conclusion of this discussion.

FIRST -- is that Global Warming is NOT a new effect. It has occurred five times
during the past 500,000 years! The basic cause is Methane (CH4) and
NOT man-made Carbon Dioxide (CO2). The present global warming
cycle began about the time man was crossing the frozen land bridge
from Siberia to North America.

We need to understand the sources and mechanics of Methane that
are actually the basic cause of our global warming. Anything that has
grown, ranging from yard clippings to a decaying body, produces
methane as it decomposes. Methane gas from permafrost is a decay
product. Methane gas from the deep ocean (methane hydrate) is totally

Methane gas from oil wells is yet a very different composition. These
must all be recognized as such and understood as to their manner of
existence, production, and/or release.

Deep Sea Methane appears to be the waste product of a bacteriological
process and is therefore a renewable resource! ( See Reference 2).
It is a relative clean product of our environment. It has recently been
produced (as clean natural gas) in continuous commercial quantities
by Japanese & American scientists in Canada in 2008. It is this Methane
gas that has been bubbling up, for eons,from the continental shelfs
around the world that is the real culprit
and basic cause of our present situation.

Oil well Methane gas is a very dirty gas mixture — it is methane with
huge amounts of sulfur and other noxious gases mixed with it. The
Methane often mentioned in the media as "Bubbling up from Undersea
Permafrost" is a decay product. It is NOT from a Hydrate!

NEXT -- Drastic Global Climate Change has taken place at least FIVE
different times during the last 500,000 years. Our present cycle is
the only one during which man has been a factor! (Ref. 1 & 2). Methane
gas which bubbles up continuously from the deep ocean sources (and
which in turn disassociates into CO2) is the true source of the "Greenhouse
Gas" that has operated in the previous five interglacial cycles — all
of which have been extinction cycles! As will this one!

These five previous cycles are NOT man made effects, nor is the
present cycle, and it IS TOO LATE to change our present cycle, we
may actually now be past the peak. We can only learn to adapt!
We cannot STOP the process although we might slow
it down for a few years, which in geological time is nothing.



There are several prime references associated with the material that I
have covered, if ever so briefly.

(1) EARTH's CHANGING CLIMATE. Lecture Series by Dr. Richard
Wolfson, the Benjamin F. Wissler Professor of Physics at Middlebury
College. This is a six hour lecture series (12 segments of 30 minutes
each) on two DVDs produced by The Teaching Company of Chantilly VA

This series covers in-depth detail of the science and methodology of
climate change. It is not an advocacy program. Interestingly, Dr.
Wolfson does not even mention Methane-Clatherate in this lecture
series — knowledge on that subject is almost too new to have been
included. It was first discovered on a moon of Venus by NASA about
1985. At the time we did not even know that it existed on Earth!

(2) FIRE IN THE ICE. Quarterly Journal , U.S.Department of Energy,
Office of Fossil Energy, National Energy Technology Laboratory. Also
known as Methane Hydrate Newsletter. Recommended reading is all
issues to current issue from about 2000 forward. This is the best of
several technical journals devoted to the science of Methane

(3) HIGH TIDE by Mark Lynas. Picador, 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY.
10010. ISBN 0-312-30365-3. This well written book clarifies the problems
of Global Warming "… The American People have been subjected to one
of the most pervasive misinformation campaigns ever undertaken …


(4) WITH SPEED AND VIOLENCE [Why Scientists Fear Tipping Points in
Climate Change] by Fred Pearce. Beacon Press; 25 Beacon Street;
Boston, MA 02108. © 2007. "We are on the precipice of climate system
tipping points beyond which there is no redemption"

(5) Natural Gas Hydrate Studies in Canada; Hyndman & Dallimore from
The Recorder, 26,11-20, 2001, Canadian Society of Exploration

JCSpilman, P.E. (Ret.) Huntsville, AL


Welcome to TOD! Your last link took me to the Beacon homepage. Instead, I offer a 75 minute video of Fred himself talking about Speed & Violence:


Of course, this is nothing new to longtime TODers, but it is always good for newbies. A profound tipping point will occur when methane clathrates [hydrates] starts setting off lots of tsunamis like the earlier Storrega event or the more recent Unimak/Hilo of 1946:


Please take some time and read up on the history of AGW posts on TOD. You will discover many people here are quite well aware of the discussion around AGW, and a surprisingly high number of TOD members can discuss AGW is enough detail to address specific issues with plenty of references to the literature. Cutting and pasting someone else's sermon is not going to go far here.

As or CH4, there is quite a long list of papers and discussions in the literature on the subject, and atmospheric scientists have not discounted CH4 at all.

Welcome fellow TOD person!
Huntsville Al, Nice city, but a bit out of place as far as the rest of Alabama goes, it is big on Techies.

Darwinian and myself are former natives of that city. I think there are at least 1 or 2 more that used to post on TOD that are from there.

E.Mail me and we can talk about the city and whom we know. My brother still lives there and I visit him a few times a year.


Someone posted this at PeakOil.com:

Downward Pressure on Wages has begun

One of the major contractors on the North Slope has reported that they are being forced by the field owners to re-negotiate their contract to lower wage rates of their employees on the Slope. Employees are being told that the decrease could be as much as 25 percent.

The interesting thing is that no one feels like they are in a position to carp about this since some fairly large lay-offs have already been anounced.

Oil majors in the North Sea are also asking sub-contractors to cut 20% and even upto 30% on running contacts.The sub-contractors are not believing what they hear...
But production is still going full-steam in spite of falling oil prices. The Norwegian government is looking the other way ... with eyes wide shut.

Thxs for the info, Leanan.

Of course, IMO, I think it eventually gets to the point where entire families will be furiously pedaling away outside in a freezing Saskatchewan blizzard, moving rock up and fresh air down to Dad, whose is pickaxing and wheelbarrowing 3500 ft below. As soon as he makes quota: only then will his family be unchained from the Machine. For an earlier example, the lust for Potosi silver:


We will do anything for NPK.

I informed my manager that if our area gets threatened with head count reduction, she has my permission to offer 25% salary reduction for my position. She laughed and said, "Our area has already gone through reorg and she didn't think that would ever be necessary." I told her, even so, keep it in mind "just in case" when talking to superiors.

I have discussed it with co-workers and it is not a popular move. If one person starts this type of thing, they are afraid it will spread and they will be forced to do it as well. I knew it would not be well received by others, but what is worse? Losing your job or making less money.

It seems that WT's advice about learning to live on 50% less of what you make today was definitely forward thinking. At the time (2 or 3 years ago), it was just words on the page. Now, it is reality.

Here is the current industry thinking. We are just now entering the Spring/Easter season in retail. Many are hoping that people have money, but have just been psychologically trained not to spend it (market panic). When the weather turns better, people will start to relax a bit and spend more. So, if Spring/Easter shows an uptick to recent data, then the industry thinks this will set the tone for the remainder of the year. If not, then the rest of the year will tightened up for the long storm. I'm pretty sure the faith in the upturn is not warranted, but the industry tries to always find the positive spin.

There is a lot of justification to the Spring uptick in spending. People get ready for winter cleanup, yard work preparation, gardening, new clothes for Spring, etc. With all these annual spending patterns, we still see people are not spending, we are indeed in deep do-do.

I have prepared for all this years ago, but it is surreal to see it unfolding.

Ohio school gets 700 applicants for just one janitorial job

..The full-time position at Edison Junior High School pays $15 to $16 an hour plus benefits.

Superintendent John Richard says many applicants are laid-off workers with heart-wrenching stories about the tough economic times...
I would bet that if the wage for this job was cut to just $10/hr: all the applicants would still be willing to accept a job offer. Makes one wonder how close we are to widespread protests and violence fueled by economic desperation. Gerald Celente and others think it starts this summer. We will see..

That would be a dream job out here (Gilroy, California) and probably get 1400 applicants, even at $10 an hour.

I myself made $20 today, actually only $10 of it profit. It just keeps going backward, right now I seem to be back where I was as a teen in the 70s, for 6 hours of work, $10 was a pretty good deal. Too bad prices aren't down there at their 70s level - I was better paid as a teen doing odd jobs back then!

BTW has anyone heard from Airdale? Does anyone care? Are we supposed to care? I hope he's OK.

I don't recall hearing from Dave Mart recently either.

Hope they are okay.


I've noticed the absence of DaveMart as well. He hasn't posted here since just before Christmas and hasn't updated his occasional blog http://energy-futures.blogspot.com recently either.

Hopefully he's just taken a break.


Subject: individual tips on recession in india & the world and strategy of govts to deal melting of banking sector.



*Seldom, very seldom, does complete truth belong to any human disclosure; seldom can it happen that something is not a little disguised, or a little mistaken.

In India/world , wealth management and portfolio management have only recently caught on. These areas being fairly new in the market are yet to be time-tested. However, with their growing popularity, it is only prudent to hypothetically see if there are any traps or pitfalls that lie within them. Portfolio management services in India /world are now heavily regulated. The basic procedures, which use to be followed by a PMS firm were to collect money from all of its clients and put it into one big pool account. After this, the firm invests the money from the pool account in various securities, shares, funds, etc, as they see fit. The firm will then send monthly reports to its clients detailing the capital they invested earlier and what is its current worth, which they ascertain by the percentage of the total pool account your capital formed at the beginning. This method was rather crude and even though certain firms had websites, which clients could use their username and password to log onto at anytime and see how much their money is worth now, or what are the securities the firm is investing in, there were too many problems associated with it. Some within the industry go as far as claiming that the regulators stopped this practice to curb money laundering, which could have been taking place via these pool accounts.

*Currently, each client who goes in for PMS, has his/her separate Dmat account and savings account opened, which the firm has the authority to use to buy/sell on the client's behalf. This way, each client's money is treated individually, their share transactions and number of transactions are visible to them in their statements or online, the amount of taxes, charges and fees applicable are also clearly listed for the client to verify. With this new process in place, the odds of a "Ponzi" scheme or any other such scam taking place in India/western world is unlikely. Of course, it is in the investor's best interest to periodically look at their accounts and transactions done, as well as the types of stocks bought/sold. For, if the investment details appear vague or incoherent, then one should immediately be suspicious, on their guard, and try to get their money out as soon as possible. This is a suggestion only made, for while India does have very good disclosure levels, if the disclosure done is not transparent and clear, but translucent and vague, then one needs to start worrying nonetheless.

That brings us to what Sebi considers while granting the certificate of registration to a portfolio manager applicant. Sebi takes into account all matters, which it deems relevant to the activities relating to portfolio management. The applicant has to be a corporate body and must have the necessary infrastructure like adequate office space, equipment and the manpower to effectively discharge the activities of a portfolio manager. The principal officer of the applicant should have either -a professional qualification in finance, law, accountancy or business management from a university or an institution recognised by the Central government or any state government or a foreign university; or an experience of at least ten years in related activities in the securities market, including in a portfolio manager's position, stock broker or as a fund manager. The applicant should have in its employment a minimum of two persons, who, between them, have at least five years experience as a portfolio manager or stock broker or investment manager or in the areas related to fund management. The applicant also has to fulfill the capital adequacy requirements, etc. This is an extract from an investor education questionnaire provided by Sebi, for better understanding of Sebi (Portfolio Managers) Regulations, 1993.

Wealth management - virgin territory

*While trying to understand what the wealth management disclosure levels are, and rules, if any, for them to follow, many a wealth manager explained, "Wealth management and portfolio management are very different. While the latter is a highly regulated area, wealth management being fairly nascent and unrelated to the direct raising of money, has been left out of the system for now."

*Thus, wealth management is different from portfolio management as it encompasses a person's complete financial planning. It is an advisory position, wherein, the wealth manager, after knowing the client's goals, dreams, current financial status, helps and advices them on where to put in how much money so as to help them achieve their financial goals. Wealth management one must also realise is completely unregulated and free of any rules and restrictions per se, except of course those which the individual banks/companies create internally. On first hearing this, most people may jump to the conclusion that they are rather vulnerable at their wealth manager's hands. However, the good news is that it isn't really like that, for a wealth manager as such never takes money from a client. They are not allowed to raise money from the public and hence the lack of regulations here. The position a wealth manager takes is that of advising a client on what they should do with their money and only if a client agrees, do they invest for the client in whichever product they have finalised on, be it a stock, a mutual fund, a fixed deposit or an insurance policy. Therefore, technically speaking, the biggest risk that one can have from his/her wealth manager, is wrong advice and mismanaged finances. However, if a dedicated professional is your wealth manager, who understands your needs and the financial world, it is unlikely the same will happen, for reputation and transparency are key areas in this world.

Self due diligence

*Keeping a few basic points in mind and going over them every time you make a financial decision can help *you avoid falling for any sort of financial trap.

*Never make a financial transaction based on something you receive in your email.

* Don't participate in pyramid schemes and avoid multi-level marketing schemes, especially those that have no corporate backing and a track record for at least a decade. Pyramid schemes are designed so that the creator and his closest circle of friends make all the money, while all the people under them are not likely to make much at all--usually it is just a waste of time and effort.

* Never pay money upfront for things you don't understand, allow you to work, or that promise to promote your work in some way.

* Only invest in things that have a long established history. Blue chip stocks, government bonds and established mutual funds are usually sound places to put money. Don't put your money in the hands of a single private investor unless you are prepared to lose it.

* Wherever you put your money, investigate and do due diligence beforehand. If you are putting money in a bank, know if it is insured, how long it has been in operation, etc. If you are investing, look at the track record of the companies you are going to invest in. When dealing with a wealth manager or portfolio manager make sure to look into their records, past performance, reliability and transparency levels.

*While the corporate wealth management and PMS services in India/world , seem fairly safe and secure, this does not mean that there are no dangers lurking around, for conmen exist everywhere. In India/world over , one should remember there is a parallel financial system, where chit funds, hundi's and the likes are rampant.

Here, the returns promised are enticing but so are the odds of never seeing your money again. Hence, it is essential for one to make sure the people who they are dealing with are transparent and follow disclosure levels that are to your understanding and satisfaction.

*Smooth returns and extraordinary returns are a fallacy. You cannot have super normal profits for a long time. History has proven that profits like the kind Bernie Madoff was handing out, means that there was something else going on. Especially when one hears investment gurus like Warren Buffett himself admitting to having made only small returns during the early days of his own highly exclusive fund.


*Must control with strictures in times of extreme bull/bear markets by stock exchanges from to time

by surprise independen audits of finanacial status,bank outflows and inflows,profitability,performance of turn over over and abovr carried out by the co,s 1/10 to be selected by the committes.

*disclosures of director holding shares and any change more then 2 to 5 % must be made mandatory with in 24 hrs

*any investments in wealth sold or purchase to be done only after share holder resolutions of value 5 % of the equity capital.

*promoter buying and selling to be stopped completly,until approved by the share holding resolution.

*co to disclose reasons of any major changes in profits/loss every 30 days.

* co must disclose directors relation to the promoters before appointing them.

*directors must be professionally educated and no director in more then 3 co,s to be made amndatory.











"The letter focuses on the multi-faceted relationship that is anchored in the common values of democracy, pluralism and respect for diversity, shared by the two countries," is in right direction since based on rights of human values and priniciples rather then opportunists of mutual benefits only: I wish to narrate the following to further illustrate the above:







The prime minister described Obama's assumption of office "as an historic occasion for the people of America and for all freedom loving people across the world",





subject" The culture of India,its polity of upbringing,values/principles shrined by the founding fathers& reasons why the majority of the world nations want it as friend as compared to pakistan/CHINA/NORTH KOREA.


* Indian Culture has been shaped by the long history of India, its unique geography and the absorption of customs, traditions and ideas from some of its neighbors as well as by preserving its ancient heritages, which were formed during the Indus Valley Civilization and evolved further during the Vedic age, rise and decline of Buddhism, Golden age, Muslim conquests and European colonization. India's great diversity of cultural practices, languages, customs, and traditions are examples of this unique co-mingling over the past five millennia.

India is also the birth place of several religious systems such as Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, and Sikhism. The various religions and traditions of India that were created by these amalgamations have influenced other parts of the world too. The term culture refers to a state of intellectual development or manners. The social and political forces that influence the growth of a human being is defined as culture.

Indian culture is rich and diverse and as a result unique in its very own way. Our manners, way of communicating with one another, etc are one of the important components of our culture. Even though we have accepted modern means of living, improved our lifestyle, our values and beliefs still remain unchanged. A person can change his way of clothing, way of eating and living but the rich values in a person always remains unchanged because they are deeply rooted within our hearts, mind, body and soul which we receive from our culture.

Indian culture treats guests as god and serves them and takes care of them as if they are a part and parcel of the family itself. Even though we don’t have anything to eat, the guests are never left hungry and are always looked after by the members of the family. Elders and the respect for elders is a major component in Indian culture. Elders are the driving force for any family and hence the love and respect for elders comes from within and is not artificial.

An individual takes blessings from his elders by touching their feet. Elders drill and pass on the Indian culture within us as we grow.. “Respect one another” is another lesson that is taught from the books of Indian culture. All people are alike and respecting one another is ones duty. In foreign countries the relation between the boss and the employee is like a master and slave and is purely monetary whereas in Indian culture the relation between the boss and the employee is more like homely relations unlike foreign countries.

Helpful nature is another striking feature in our Indian culture. Right from our early days of childhood we are taught to help one another in need of help and distress. If not monetary then at least in kind or non-monetary ways. Indian culture tells us to multiply and distribute joy and happiness and share sadness and pain. It tells us that by all this we can develop co-operation and better living amongst ourselves and subsequently make this world a better place to live in.

Even though India is a country of various religions and caste our culture tells us just one thing 'phir bhi dil hai hidustani '. Namaste or Pranam --How we greet each other in India. To greet a friend or another Indian, We join our hands (palms together), bow down in front of the other person, and say Namaste, Namaskar, or Pranam. The Lord dwells in the heart of every human being. This joining of hands symbolizes the meeting of two souls, our real self actually meets Itself.

This signifies reverent Salutations and Unity of Souls. Bowing down & joining hands symbolizes humility and also makes us humble. Thus when we joins our hands and say Namaskar, we actually see the Lord in the other persons and believe, "I bow with deep respects to the all-loving, all-powerful and omnipresent (present everywhere) Lord in you."

One of the most beautiful aspects of being a woman is the fact that only she can give birth to another life. Within her a new life takes shape, is molded and then is born to be nurtured into a good human being. There are women who recall the ordeal of pregnancy, but yet none would deny it is a blessing to be able to give birth. Like some mothers would say, it is a sweet ordeal to feel the little one grow and develop through the nine months..

It is a sweet kind of pain when the fetus within kicks the mother to move about. There is something pleasant about the morning sickness, knowing that there is a little being forming in there. All this is part of the process known as prenatal parenting. In today’s day and age most couples prefer the process known as a planned pregnancy, because of various factors; prime amongst them being the financial well being to support the birth and nurturing of a child.

In such cases, the first prenatal visit actually happens prior to actual pregnancy, to see whether one is ready to go off the contraception pills and conceive a baby. However, in maximum conceptions, one is unaware of the pregnancy until actual realization dawns after one skips the first menstrual cycle. Normally doctors except ladies to pay their first visit anywhere between the sixth and twelfth week after conception.

Apart from all the physical care required to ensure the healthy development of the fetus, the mother actual starts proper parenting during pregnancy. Like they say, the permanent impressions of a human being are imprinted on the mind while in the womb of the mother. So, just as the food she eats determines the bodily development of the child; the kind of feelings and thoughts and words she fills herself with and exchanges with others affect the child’s mental and emotional development.

Indian parenting is based on value-based parenting. Women living in joint families are provided with the traditional guidance of nurturing the fetus. Traditionally, the pregnant women would be encouraged to attend regular prayer meets, listen to soft and calming music, read tales from Indian mythology, as well as the scriptures. They felt that everything that would engage the mother’s mind in calming thoughts would be good food for the fetus’s developing mind.

This is not only a practice amongst Hindus, but every religion provides such guidance to those who are pregnant. Effective parenting skills are a combination of love and logic. Sometimes mothers tend to overlook the need to be practical and logical, letting their young ones get away with bad behavior. And on the other hand some mothers tend to be so practical in their ways that children grow up feeling unloved.

Parenting with love and logic is not about upbringing beyond the birth, but even while the baby is developing in the womb. While ancient scriptures contain numerous tales to prove that impressions are created in the human mind while still in the womb; today, numerous researches in modern sciences are proving the same through the various experiments. Good parenting is virtue that is inbuilt in every mother.

However, sometimes due to excessive stress and tension, mothers tend to lose control over their emotions and deal with the children wrongly. And unfortunately children tend to carry forward the negative impressions into their adult life, rather than all the positives the parents have done. Thus, it is important that a mother is always in control of her emotions and mental state of mind.

And this awareness will always help her inculcate good values in the child. As part of the prenatal development, it has been an age-old practice to listen to good soothing music as well as make the pregnant one read value-based books. There is a lot of literature that promotes the proper garbh sanskar, which means values for the fetus.

One needs to remember that the first set of impressions is what the fetus gathers, and the experience of the womb is the seed of the rest of the human life. There is a specially rendered garbh sanskar mp3 that contains soothing music for mothers-to-be, as well as the key mantras that promote peace of mind and the healthy growth and development of the fetus. Listening to this brings peace and harmony within one who is pregnant.

parents on how to bring-up their children right from the stage of conception to 8 years of age. It helps in overall development of a child. It specially deals with improving the intelligence & well being of the child between the age of 0 to 8 years of age. It's an extremely useful insight into parenting.

What is character ?

What is Courage ?

Building character Character building stories Character flaws Social norms Character and religion Teaching moral science Character education songs Teaching Children Virtues & Values Children are the pillars of our tomorrow is a statement that is repeated time and again.. And it is an axiom; they are our pillars of the coming time.

But then do we nurture them into becoming healthy human beings? By healthy human beings here is not meant the physical well being, but the good human being.

And how do you define a good human being?

One with virtues and values that keeps them in the realm of working towards the benefit of humanity. How can children imbibe within themselves the virtues and values? Well, this is the primary responsibility of parents and other immediate family members, followed by school authorities.

The values and virtues of an individual is sown in their childhood and nurtured as they grow up. After all nobody is born a criminal, it is what they become as result of what they gain from their surroundings. Depending on the way we bring up our children, we decide our own future.

It is vital that in the formative years we give them quality time and attention. We teach them to discriminate between the good, bad and the ugly. WE have to inculcate into them positive emotions like love and compassion and teach them actions of kindness and generosity.

At the same time we have to help them do way with the negatives of hatred, anger, jealousy, selfishness, etc. Your child is like a plant. You sow the seeds and also reap the benefits of its growth and development. First and foremost you as a parent have to realize your responsibility in nurturing a child to growing into a good human being.

And it is just not upto anyone of the parents, but both together to inculcate the values and virtues into your child. As you sow, so shall you reap. To gain respect from your children first you must respect your own elders in front of them. Not only that you have to respect each other too. We tend to take for granted that respecting each other is about enslaving each other. WE consider that respect is what we give to an authority figure, because we need to be in their good books.

However, that is not respect, but disrespect since it is not something genuine. Respect towards elders or any person, as a matter of fact is about honoring or holding in esteem an individual. It implies regarding an individual as a person of value and virtue. We all expect respect from others. But then do we actually respect others? For instance, because we are adults we tend to take our parents for granted.

We tend to get irritated by every suggestion they make simply because we think that we can never be wrong. We then admonish them or ignore them. We do not realize that our children copy or rather mimic us. They then treat us the same way. Apart from this even the way we address the servants, is the way our children will address them too. While your servant is hired by you and you have every right to give them orders the way you want, realize that they are still elders for your children.

When you ill-treat or talk with disrespect to your servant, your child does the same thing. It is vital to teach your child how to respect each individual, in order for him or her to command his or her own respect. And it all begins with you as a parent. Another aspect we overlook is also the way we talk about people in front of our children.

For instance, when we bad-mouth somebody in front of our children, they overhear our conversation, disrespect that person and put us into an embarrassing situation. So it is very vital that we watch our own actions and words in the presence of our children, otherwise it will spell trouble not only for us, but also for them, as there would be nothing beyond disrespect in the dictionary of upbringing. Honesty is the virtue of being honest.

And what is bring honest?

Not being false; being truthful;

bring frank and sincere. And honesty is one of the ingredients of a good human being. It is true that not anyone as a matter of fact can be hundred percent honest through their lifetime. There are times when harmless white lies need to be spoken to protect oneself and others. But harmful dishonesty could cause a lot of trouble. Let us see firstly, why does one need to tell a lie at all. A person usually lies due to fear. The fear of telling the truth as that could get them into trouble. For instance, a child breaks a glass and his mother is very strict.

When asked who broke it, the child would deny having broken it because he fears being shouted at or beaten. But, if the mother is understanding and not hot-tempered, the same child would fearlessly admit to his mistake. The habit of lying begins with such small incidents and progresses into the more serious lies spoken. The more the child fears his parents, the more the lies he would continue to speak at every stage, only because he fears admitting what he has done wrong.

And like each drop makes the ocean, each mistake amounts to the larger mistakes, till there maybe no turning back. To be able to inculcate in your child the virtue of honesty in the first place you have to be more patient and understanding with your child. After all it is only human to err. If your child has made a certain mistake for the first or second time then patiently explain to them the wrong of it.

However, if it is done the third time then strictly put across your viewpoint. In this way your child will consider you their best friend and confide in you no matter what it maybe. Remember respect and honesty from them does not come out of enforcing your authority as a parent, but your patience and understanding as a parent. Selflessness is a virtue of humanity and selfishness is that of inhumanity.

This can be further explained by drawing the difference between a patriot and a terrorism. A patriot sacrifices his life for the sake of his country. He gives up all he has for the sake of others. On the other hand the terrorist takes the lives of others for the sake of a cause. Selflessness in about giving and selfishness is about taking. Generosity is an offshoot of selflessness. It is the virtue of bringing a smile onto other peoples faces.

According to what the Spiritual Leaders profess, The more you give, the more you get. What does this mean? The connotation or meaning of this statement is simple; we can only fill what is always empty. How can we fill more water into a glass full of it. Obviously we have to fist empty it to fill it up again. Similarly in life we have to give out more in order to fill our coffers.

And this is something we need to teach our children. One way in which we can effectively teach our children the virtue of generosity is be making it a point to at visit home for underprivileged children and donating things. One effective practice could be to donate your kids old clothes and toys every year on his birthday.

What you could do is sit down with your child and together sort out what can be given away, seeing that it is not the absolutely torn and tattered objects, but those that can still be used by the underprivileged children. Make your child distribute these himself. He will surely feel a sense of achievement and fulfillment having made these children happy. After doing that as a birthday treat take him shopping to purchase new clothes and toys. In this way the child learns to give and even understands that in some form or the other there is a replacement for all that he give out from the smiles and gratefulness from the receivers to the gifts he receives in return.

To teach him generosity it is vital to reimburse it with a sense of fulfillment not only in terms of material gains, but more so emotional. It has often been said that you can only trust others when you trust yourself completely.. Only he you have high self esteem and self confidence. Otherwise trusting others is one of the most difficult things to do. Thus it is important to teach children to trust themselves.

And for this as a parent you need to keep reassuring them. Reward them & appreciate them for every right and punish them gently for every wrong. Sometimes as parents we are so driven by the need to bring out the best in our children that we overlook whatever right they do, but are extremely quick to reprimand their wrongs. And this is where they lose their confidence.

This is where they are unable to bring up their levels of self esteem. When you acknowledge their achievements, no matter how big or small, they have faith in you; simply because they know that you are with them at every step. They will develop faith in anyone who stands by them like a shadow. Be their to hold their hand. There are certain incidents in childhood that work best to inculcate trust in your child. One for example is when your toddler is taking his first steps.

The little one when walking looks towards you and what you must do is wait at such a distance that he makes every attempt the first couple of steps and yet in case he is about to fall you can catch him on time. Like this even in other activities like cycling and swimming, you have to be there as a buffer for your child so that he knows that you will help him lest he falls or he feels he will drown and yet, he builds up the self confidence to cycle or swim without your help.

It is only in the formative years that we can teach our child how to trust others by teaching them how to trust us. And in all this lies the most important virtue of self trust. Love moves the world and hate stagnates it. It is all to easy to look out of the window and complain about how much hate is dominating our lives today.

But then, how much love do we spread in our lives?

In the present stressful existence, we have forgotten how to love each other. Frustration, stress, anger, impatience, intolerance, reign supreme. And as a result we have children growing in an environment that is minus love and peace. Love is the strongest emotion that brings happiness into ones lives. For us to nurture our children into becoming a good human beings we must inculcate in them the emotion called Love.

And what is love?

It maybe defined as affection, devotion, fondness, admiration, compassion, attachment, dedication, etc. When we learn to live by these emotions then we do away with all the negatives that cause our destruction. We can bring into our children the emotion of love only when we create for ourselves a loving environment. As parents we firstly have to avoid bringing our bedroom fights into the drawing room. We have to have patience and tolerance and accept each other for each or our plusses and minuses. When we accept each other, then only can we teach our children the same.

Children growing up in a home where there is no love, grow into being insecure individuals. They are constantly disturbed by what happens between their parents. The constant fights and arguments instill in them fear and they do not trust the outside world. In fact these children seek attention from all over the place. They are always striving to be their best only out of insecurity. And this is a negative aspect, because at some point out of frustration they just want to stop short of everything and give up.

A child not nurtured in love and affection grows into being a depressed emotional wreck who finds it difficult to adjust in society. Remember, your childs well being, whether it is emotional, physical, psychological, mental or otherwise, depends on the environment you bring up your child in. If it is a loving one, then you are bringing up an adjusting human being. A terrorist after all is not born into a home of love and affection, but one shrouded by intense hate.

The present world seems to be degenerating. Children a losing their innocence earlier than it was in previous generations. They are aware of all that is happening around them. Topics like sex, drugs, etc. that were a hush hush till years ago, is openly spoken about amongst twelve year olds. Crime amongst the youngsters seems commonplace. Why is all this happening? The answer is simple. Today, parents have no time. After giving birth they feel that their responsibility begins and ends with earning money and paying the fees, buying essentials for their children.

It is it actually the parents fault because they also have a pertinent question. How do we survive if we both don’t work? But, at the same time, do not forget that money cannot buy values and virtues that need to be inculcated in children. Apart from values and virtues such as love, generosity, selflessness, respecting elders, trust and honesty, there are a number of other qualities that need to be taught to them.

These include tolerance, acceptance, patience, politeness, sharing, awareness, etc. Also a child must be aware of their cultural background and heritage. Moral Science and Scripture study should be a part of their upbringing. They must learn to understand and speak their own mother tongue before any other language. Apart from learning their own cultural background they must also be taught about other cultures which will bring about within them religious tolerance and acceptance.

Even food habits are what begin at home. They must be taught to respect each morsel given to them, as after al your hard work has gone into feeding them. They must respect the value of money. As a parents you are responsible for molding a citizen of tomorrow. So even respect towards society and one’s country is taught at home and not else where. A child’s life begins at home and ends at home each day, and so what he becomes depends on what his parents make him. Category authored by Karishma Bajaj.

Respect your elders - What do we mean when we say new generations have lost respect? How to show respect and why - because respect is another way of showing love. What actions are interpreted as disrespectful? Good manners - What are good manners and explanation of why they've important. List of simple, basic courtesies. Family Values -What are values and how each person's values are different and how one acquired such values through society.

Teaching kids Indian Values -What classifies as universally accepted values, which are the traditional Indian values and how they are different from foreign values and how they can be misunderstood. spiritual disciplines - Defining Spirituality and differentiating it from religion as well as linking the two.

How spirituality has always been a part of the Indian tradition and what happens when it is ignored in favour of crass consumerist values. raising children words of wisdom - Good Upbringing – Who is a well brought up person or what people mean when they talk about a good upbringing. What is the responsibility of parents and how much of it can be left to ayahs, teachers and other family members Indian Culture Few countries in the world have such an ancient and diverse culture as India's.

Stretching back in an unbroken sweep over 5000 years, India's culture has been enriched by successive waves of migration which were absorbed into the Indian way of life.It is this variety which is a special hallmark of India. Its physical, religious and racial variety is as immense as its linguistic diversity. Underneath this diversity lies the continuity of Indian civilization and social structure from the very earliest times until the present day.

Modern India presents a picture of unity in diversity to which history provides no parallel. Here is a catalogue of everything Indian. Indian religions, festivals, rituals, artifacts, monuments, costumes, music and dance, language and literature. Come and discover a little more of India's culture by selecting any of the topics listed below.

How Do Indians Settled Abroad See India ?

I am Indian-Sikh born in Thailand (Thai citizen) my parents migrated from India at partition time. I always feel happy at good news on India and feel bad on bad news. I can say that Indian in Thailand are not so well regarded and I think not only in Thailand but generally Indian status in the World is not so good. this all due to that India is looked-upon as poor, weak and backward country with virtually no influence in the world even with about one-fifth of world population!Beside basic fact that India is truly weak,poor and backward, alsoin some part due to Indian foreign policy as well, please comment!


indians living abroad must never forget their mothrland.they have lot to offer besides foreign currency.their life long experience in the job or trade and pesonal interaction with people of many countries. Thers is no bad reputation of India in the Western world. The reputation depends upon ones behaviour. If you originate from India and you can impress others than people think that India is great. I have always kept the highest standard and no European in my presence as ever dared to critise India. But of course we all know about Indian problems and let us try to solve them. Let us do something for India..

Indians outside India normally have some money at their disposal and they should invest some of it for improvement of India. I am in Indian living in the US, eventhought I have the opportunity to become a US citizen I do not want to become one and would remain an Indian not just by birth but through identity as well. I am proud to be an Indian and I do my best to talk good about India. However, I take the blame of not being friendly to Indian living here.....when I say I take the blame, every Indian living outside the Indian boundary should to.

I am not sure why we Indians are like this, may be because of our caste system, skin colour, language and lot of other things. I pray in hearts of hearts we should shed all this and unite as Indians and show the world the prowess of Indian. i am so glad indians living abroad actually think of us in the desi land. don't worry. before u know it, we are gonna be the prime movers and u can walk tall wherever u r in da world Indians Abroad:

Do We Exist?

public user Current Events Are Indians Abroad DIFFERENT from Residents in India ?

Anonymous Living Working Abroad What Indians Abroad and India Lovers & Expats can do for Steph Indian States Indians lacking in Social skills abroad expat Current Events India's Unique Cultural Heritage National Symbols of India Architecture in India Arts & Crafts of India Cinema in India Fairs & Festivals of India Fashion Industry in India Honours & Awards Indian Dance Indian Music Institutions & Organisations Languages of India Literature of India Painting in India Performing Arts of India India's Famous Personalities Places & Monuments Religions of India Theatre in India Tribes of India Sports in India First in India India is a land of diverse cultures.

The variations in physical, climatic conditions and the extent of exposure to other cultures have greatly influenced the traditions and culture of the different regions. There is an underlying basic factor common to the whole of India, with variations in the practices based on their local needs and influences.

Further, the greatness of India has been in accepting the best from all the invaders and intermingling the new customs and styles with the existing - this is visible in all aspects - music, dance, painting, sculptures, architecture. This article, an excerpt from the introduction to the book "The Art and Architecture of India" by Benjamin Rowland puts it all in a nutshell.

The history of India and its art has been so bound up with the geographic nature of this vast continent that something must be said of these physical characteristics. India has a kind of impregnable geographic isolation. It is in the shape of a great sealed funnel depending from the heartland of Asia. This peculiar shape of the peninsula made for an inevitable retention and absorption of all the racial and cultural elements that poured into it. The peninsula is bounded on the west by the Indian ocean; on the east by the Bay of Bengal.

Along the northern frontier India is almost sealed off from the Asiatic mainland by the rocky curtain of the Himalayas from Baluchistan to Assam. The only openings in this formidable natural fortification are the various passes of the north-west, such as the famous Khyber and Bolan passes, which wind through the mountains seperating India from the Iranian plateau. Through these gaps came all the migrating tribes and conquerors that made themselves masters of the rich plain of India. The cultural divisions of India proper have always been determined and dominated by the great river systems, the watersheds of the Indus and Ganges, the Deccan plateau and South India.

Climate, no less than geography has played its part in the development of the peculiarly indigenous traits of Indian history and art. All the races of martial character have grown up in the dry and hilly districts of north-west and centre, whereas the fertile plains of Bengal and South have been inhabited by peaceful and unwarlike cultivators. The overpowering nature of India has in a way forced upon the inhabitants an inability to act, a situation responsible for the Indian races having become lost in religiosity. The mystery of Indian myths and Indian art lies partly in the fact that it suggests rather than states. It could truly be said that Indian symbols of art voiced the same truth as Indian philosophy and myth. In India, all art, like all life, is given over to religion. Indian art is life, as interpreted by religion and philosophy. Indian art may, in a general way, be described as theological, hieratic, or, perhaps best of all as traditional.

The purpose of Indian art, like all traditional art, is primarily to instruct men in the great first causes, which according to the seers, govern the material, spiritual and celestial worlds. Art is dedicated to communicating these great truths to mankind and, by the architectural, sculptural and pictorial reconstruction of the powers that maintain the stars in their courses. This site on Indian Heritage www.indian-heritage.org, is a non-commercial site, wherein I attempt to collect and provide information on all topics relating to Indian art, culture and tradition in my spare time. Information has been collected & compiled from books, media, professionals in the related fields. My thanks to all those who have helped me in this venture. I am from Chennai, Tamilnadu, South India.

My mother tongue is Tamil, and as such there are several Tamil words used in the site. Wherever possible, I have tried to provide an explanation for the terms. I am aware that there are several important topics that I have not covered, but this is not out of indifference to the subject. I try to add information on a regular basis. 1. Constitution of India The Constitution of India is a product of the Constituent Assembly, which had been elected for undivided India. The said Assembly held its first sitting on the 9th December 1946. The salient principles of the proposed Constitution had been outlined by various committees of the Assembly such as the Union Constitution Committee, the Union Powers Committee, and Committee on Fundamental Rights.

After a general discussion of the reports of these Committees, the Assembly appointed a Drafting Committee on the 29th August, 1947. The Drafting Committee, under the Chairmanship of Dr. Ambedkar, embodied the decision of the Assembly with alternative and additional proposals in the form of a 'Draft Constitution of India which was published in February 1948. The Constituent Assembly next met in November 1948, to consider the provisions of the Draft, clause by clause. After several sessions the consideration of the clauses or second reading was completed by the 17th October 1949. The Constituent Assembly again sat on the 14th November 1949, for the third reading and finished it on the 26th November 1949.

On the same day the Constitution received the signature of the President of the Assembly and was declared as passed. The provisions relating to citizenship, elections, provisional Parliament, temporary and transitional provisions, were given immediate effect, i.e., from November 26, 1949. The rest of the Constitution came into force on the 26th January 1950, and this date is referred to in the Constitution as the Date of its Commencement.

The Constitution has been amended eighty-six times since its inception, the last amendment being the Constitution (Eighty-sixth Amendment) Act, 2002.

2. Political System of India President of India The President is elected by members of an Electoral College consisting of elected members of both Houses of Parliament and Legislative Assemblies of the states, with suitable weightage given to each vote. His term of office is five years. Among other powers, the President can proclaim an emergency in the country if he is satisfied that the security of the country or of any part of its territory is threatened whether by war or external aggression or armed rebellion. When there is a failure of the constitutional machinery in a state, he can take the overall charge or any of the functions of the government of that state. Vice-President The Vice-President is elected by the members of an electoral college consisting of members of both Houses of Parliament in accordance with the system of proportional representation by means of a single transferable vote. He holds office for five years. The Vice-President is Ex-officio Chairman of the Rajya Sabha. Council of Ministers

The Council of Ministers comprises Cabinet Ministers, Minister of States (independent charge or otherwise) and Deputy Ministers. Prime Minister communicates all decisions of the Council of Ministers relating to administration affairs of affairs of the Union and proposals for legislation to the President. Generally, each department has an officer designated as secretary to the Government of India to advise Ministers on policy matters and general administration. The Cabinet Secretariat has an important coordinating role in decision-making at highest level and operates under direction of Prime Minister. The Legislative Arm of the Union, called Parliament, consists of the President, Rajya Sabha (Upper House) and Lok Sabha (Lower House).

All legislation requires consent of both houses of parliament. However, in case of money bills, the will of the Lok Sabha always gets privilege. State Governments The system of government in States closely resembles that of the Centre. There are 25 states and seven Union territories in the country. Union Territories are administered by the President through an Administrator appointed by him. Till 1 February 1992, the Union Territory of Delhi was governed by the Central government through an Administrator appointed by the President of India.

Through a Constitutional amendment in Parliament, the Union Territory of Delhi is now called the National Capital Territory of Delhi from 1 February 1992. Political System The political system of India is a multi-party system that means when more than two parties can realistically compete to become the government. In India, there are several national and state level parties. A recognized political party has been classified as a National Party or a State Party. National parties are those that are recognized in four or more states. They are accorded this status by the Election Commission of India, which periodically reviews the election results in various states.

This recognition helps the political parties to claim certain unique ownership in the state until the next election review. 3. Parliament of India The Parliament in India consists of the President and two Houses. They are called Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha. Though the President is not a member of either House of Parliament, he is a part of the Parliament. The Lok Sabha is also called House of the People Its membership cannot be more than 550. Of these, not more than 530 members are elected from the states and not more than 20 from the Union Territories.

In addition, not more than two members may be nominated by the President from the Anglo-Indian community, if the President feels that the Anglo-Indians have not got adequate representation in Parliament. Members of Lok Sabha are directly elected by the people. Each State and Union Territory is allowed to elect as many members as are on the basis at its imputation. Each state is divided into constituencies, which are roughly of the same size in terms of population. One member is elected from one constituency. This means that there will be as many constituencies in India as there are members to be elected to the Lok Sabha.

The members are elected on the basis of universal adult franchise which means that all Indian citizens who are above the age of 18 years have the right to vote and elect their representatives. The term of the Lok Sabha is five years. But the Lok Sabha may be dissolved even earlier by the President on the advice of the Council of ministers headed by the Prime Minister. During an emergency however the tem of the Lok Sabha may be extended by six months at a time by a law passed by the Parliament. The Lok Sabha is presided over by the Speaker. He/she is elected from among its members by the House itself. In the Speaker's absence, the Deputy Speaker presides over the sittings of the Lok Sabha. He is also elected by the House from amongst its members.

The Speaker is an important official of the Lok Sabha. He conducts the proceedings of the Lok Sabha and presides over its meetings. The Rajya Sabha consists-of not more than 250 members. Of these 250 members not more than 238 are elected indirectly by state Legislative Assemblies arid. 12 are nominated by the President. These 12 are eminent people such as writers, artistes, scientists etc. The 238 elected members of the Rajya Sabba are elected by the 'elected' members of the Legislative Assemblies of the States in accordance with the method of proportional representation through a single transferable vote system. Rajya Sabha is a permanent House and it cannot be dissolved by the President. But, its members are elected for a term of 6 years with 1/3rd members retiring after every two years. Elections are held ay two years for 1/3rd seats of the Rajya Sabha. The presiding officer of the Rajya Sabha is known as the Chairman.

The Vice President of India is the ex-officio chairman of the Rajya Sabha. In his absence, the Deputy Chairman presides over the meetings of the Rajya Sabha. The Deputy Chairman is elected by the Rajya Sabha from amongst in members. The Chairman of the Rajya Sabha performs the work of presiding over the meetings of the Rajya Sabha. But, he cannot vote as he is not a member of the House. He can only exercise a casting vote. When an equal number of members have voted both in favour and against a bill, it is called a tie. The presiding officer may cast their vote so that a decision may be taken. Such a vote is called a Casting Vote.

At least two sessions of the Parliament are held every year. The time gap between the last day of the previous session and the first day of the next session should not be more than six months. In practice, however, normally three sessions are held every year. Sessions of the Parliament are summoned and prorogued by the President on the advice of the Prime Minister. Lok Sabha (Lower House) Rajya Sabha (Upper House) 4. Government of India Directory 5. Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs In a Parliamentary form of Government, the day-to-day working of the Parliamentary system makes large claims on time and resources of the various Ministries/Departments. Over a period of time, Parliamentary programme covers numerous intricate matters-financial, legislative and non-legislative-concerning various Ministries/Departments of the Government.

The Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs, though small in size, is one of the key Ministries of the Union Government. The task of efficiently handling diverse and enormous parliamentary work on behalf of the Government in the Parliament has been assigned to the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs. As such, the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs serves as an important link between the two Houses of Parliament and the Government in respect of Government Business in Parliament. Created in May, 1949 as a Department entrusted mainly with the above function, it is now a full-fledged Ministry.

6. Election Commission of India India is a Socialist, Secular, Democratic Republic and the largest democracy in the World. The modern Indian nation state came into existence on 15th of August 1947. Since then free and fair elections have been held at regular intervals as per the principles enshrined in the Constitution, Electoral Laws and System. The Constitution of India has vested in the Election Commission of India the superintendence, direction and control of the entire process for conducting the elections of the Parliament and State Legislatures of every State and also the offices of President and Vice-President of India. Election Commission of India is a permanent Constitutional Body. The Election Commission was established in accordance with the Constitution on 25th January 1950. Originally the commission had only a Chief Election Commissioner. For the first time two additional Commissioners were appointed on 16th October 1989 but they had a very short tenure till 1st January 1990. Later on 1st October 1993 two additional Election Commissioners were appointed.

The concept of multi-member Commission has been in operation since then, with decision-making power by majority vote. It currently consists of Chief Election Commissioner and two Election Commissioners, for a long time, though; it had only the Chief Election Commissioner. The President appoints Chief Election Commissioner and Election Commissioners. They have tenure of six years, or up to the age of 65 years, whichever is earlier. They enjoy the same status and receive salary and perks as available to Judges of the Supreme Court of India.

The Chief Election Commissioner can be removed from office only through impeachment by Parliament. Political parties are registered with the Election Commission under the law. The Commission ensures inner party democracy in their functioning by insisting upon them to hold their organizational elections at periodic intervals. Political Parties so registered with it are granted recognition at the State and National levels by the Election Commission on the basis of their poll performance at general elections according to criteria prescribed by it. The Commission, as a part of its quasi-judicial jurisdiction, also settles disputes between the splinter groups of such recognised parties.

Election Commission ensures a level playing field for the political parties in election fray, through strict observance by them of a Model Code of Conduct evolved with the consensus of political parties. The Commission holds periodical consultations with the political parties on matters connected with the conduct of elections; compliance of Model Code of Conduct and new measures proposed to be introduced by the Commission on election related matters. International Co-operation India is a founding member of the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA), Stockholm, Sweden. In the recent past, the Commission has expanded international contacts by way of sharing of experience and expertise in the areas of Electoral Management and Administration, Electoral Laws and Reforms. Delegates of the Commission have visited Sweden, U.K, Russia, Bangladesh, and the Philippines in recent years.

Election Officials from the national electoral bodies and other delegates from the several countries - Russia, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Indonesia, South Africa, Bangladesh, Thailand, Nigeria, Australia and the United States have visited the Commission for a better understanding of the Indian Electoral Process. The Commission has also provided experts and observers for elections to other countries in co-operation with the United Nations and the Commonwealth Secretariat.. New Initiatives The Commission has taken several new initiatives in the recent past. Notable among these are, a scheme for use of State owned Electronic Media for broadcast/telecast by Political parties, restrictions on opinion and exit poll, checking criminalisation of politics, computerisation of electoral rolls, providing electors with Identity Cards, simplifying the procedure for maintenance of accounts and filling of the same by candidates and a variety of measures for strict compliance of Model Code of Conduct, for providing a level playing field to contestants during the elections.

7. Supreme Court of India India has one of the oldest legal systems in the world. Its law and jurisprudence stretches back into the centuries, forming a living tradition, which has grown and evolved with the lives of its diverse people. India's commitment to law is created in the Constitution which constituted India into a Sovereign Democratic Republic, containing a federal system with Parliamentary form of Government in the Union and the States, an independent judiciary, guaranteed Fundamental Rights and Directive Principles of State Policy containing objectives which though not enforceable in law are fundamental to the governance of the nation. 8. National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) The National Human Rights Commission is an expression of India's concern for the protection and promotion of human rights. It came into being in October 1993.

Inquiring into complaints is one of the major activities of the Commission. In several instances individual complaints have led the Commission to the generic issues involved in violation of rights, and enabled it to move the concerned authorities for systemic improvements. However, the Commission also actively seeks out issues in human rights, which are of significance, either suo motu, or when brought to its notice by the civil society, the media, concerned citizens, or expert advisers. Its focus is to strengthen the extension of human rights to all sections of society, in particular, the vulnerable groups. The Commission's purview covers the entire range of civil and political, as well as economic, social and cultural rights. Areas facing terrorism and insurgency, custodial death, rape and torture, reform of the police, prisons, and other institutions such as juvenile homes, mental hospitals and shelters for women have been given special attention.

The Commission has urged the provision of primary health facilities to ensure maternal and child welfare essential to a life with dignity, basic needs such as potable drinking water, food and nutrition, and highlighted fundamental questions of equity and justice to the less privileged, namely the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes and the prevention of atrocities perpetrated against them. Rights of the disabled, access to public services, displacement of populations and especially of tribals by mega projects, food scarcity and allegation of death by starvation, rights of the child, rights of women subjected to violence, sexual harassment and discrimination, and rights of minorities, have been the focus of the Commission's action on numerous occasions.

9. Finance Commission of India The Finance Commission makes recommendations to the Government on – (i) the distribution between the Union and the States of the net proceeds of taxes, (ii) the principles which should govern the grants-in-aid of the revenues of the States out of the consolidated Fund of India and the sums to be paid to the States which are in need of assistance by way of grants-in-aid of their revenues, and (iii) the measures needed to augment the Consolidated Fund of a State to supplement the resources of the local governments in villages and cities in the State on the basis of the recommendations made by the Finance Commission of the State.

10. Central Vigilance Commission The Central Vigilance Commission was set up by the Government in February 1964 on the recommendations of the Committee on Prevention of Corruption to advise and guide Central Government agencies in the field of vigilance. CVC is conceived to be the apex vigilance institution, free of control from any executive authority, monitoring all vigilance activity under the Central Government and advising various authorities in Central Government organizations in planning, executing, reviewing and reforming their vigilance work. Consequent upon promulgation of an Ordinance by the President, the Central Vigilance Commission has been made a multi member Commission with "statutory status" with effect from 25.08.1998. 11. Union Public Service Commission

The Constituent Assembly, after independence, saw the need for giving a secure and autonomous status to Public Service Commissions both at Federal and Provincial levels for ensuring unbiased recruitment to Civil Services as also for protection of service interests. With the promulgation of the new Constitution for independent India on 26th January, 1950, the Federal Public Service Commission was accorded a constitutional status as an autonomous entity and given the title – Union Public Service Commission

12. National Commission for Minorities The setting up of Minorities Commission was envisaged in the Ministry of Home Affairs Resolution dated 12.01.1978 which specifically mentioned that, "despite the safeguards provided in the Constitution and the laws in force, there persists among the Minorities a feeling of inequality and discrimination. In order to preserve secular traditions and to promote National Integration the Government of India attaches the highest importance to the enforcement of the safeguards provided for the Minorities and is of the firm view that effective institutional arrangements are urgently required for the enforcement and implementation of all the safeguards provided for the Minorities in the Constitution, in the Central and State Laws and in the government policies and administrative schemes enunciated from time to time."

The Minorities Commission was accordingly set up to safeguard the interests of minorities whether based on religion or language. The Commission was renamed as National Commission for Minorities and the first statutory Commission was constituted on 17.05.1993. 13. National Commission for Backward Classes The Government of India enacted the National Commission for Backward Classes Act, 1993 for setting up a National Commission for Backward Classes at the Centre as a permanent body.

14. National Commission for Scheduled Castes & Scheduled Tribes Agency established in 1978 to evaluate the development of minority communities at both the central and state level in India and monitor the safeguards provided in the Constitution..

15. National Commission for Women The National Commission for Women was set up as statutory body in January 1992 under the National Commission for Women Act, 1990 (Act No. 20 of 1990 of Govt.of India) to review the Constitutional and Legal safeguards for women; recommend remedial legislative measures; facilitate redressal of grievances and advise the Government on all policy matters affecting women.

16. Autonomous Central Bank (Reserve Bank of India) The Reserve Bank of India was established on April 1, 1935 in accordance with the provisions of the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934. The Central Office of the Reserve Bank has been in Mumbai since inception, where policies are formulated. Though originally privately owned, since nationalisation in 1949, the Reserve Bank is fully owned by the Government of India. It formulates, implements and monitors the monetary policy; prescribes broad parameters of banking operations within which the country's banking and financial system functions and performs a wide range of promotional functions .

Global Democracy Initiative Behind the facade of moral policing Yarns have been written condemning the Mangalore pub attack, calling it an attempt to Talibanise India. Much of what has made it to print is infact true. But unwittingly, the incident has also sparked off a debate among the gullible about whether it is our culture for women to have a drink or visit pubs.

The fact is that this doesn’t seem to be the point here at all. There is much more than what meets the eye. It therefore becomes essential to lift the lid off the truth. In Black and White Fact One: Who is this Pramod Muthalik? A right wing bigot, he was increasingly being sidelined by his parent party Shiv Sena and had eventually parted ways with them. Looking for ways to reinvent himself at a time when he was being swept aside as an inessential dreg, he became the head of Sri Ram Sena ostensibly to “serve the society by stopping bad behaviour”.

And beneath the veneer of the lofty agenda, he embarked on doing just the opposite and immediately grabbed the spotlight. Struck by the sudden awareness of “Gosh, people know me”, he is now promising to inflict us with more bad behaviour – poking his nose into other people’s business and making a nuisance of himself. That said, light needs to be shed on his dubious past.

There are reports of him being wanted by the Maharashtra Anti-Terror Squad in relation with the Malegaon blast and the failed Hubli bomb incident. He is also reportedly wanted for communal violence against Christians, especially cases related with torching churches. Besides, his party members are believed to have stoned DMK chief Karunanidhi’s daughter Selvi’s house over the Cauvery Water row. And now there is the fresh case of abduction and assault of a CPM MLA’s daughter and another youth.

That Muthalik was arrested, granted bail and then rearrested twice is testimony enough that there is no dearth of cases against him. While he, of course, denies the charges, he has nevertheless been ranting about raising Hindu suicide squads; as if we don’t have our hands full with terrorist elements already. About the Mangalore attack, he said that the intention was to deal with the girls as a brother. If Indians are to begin behaving like this with their sisters, assaulting them and pulling them by their hair, then God save us! But the claim coming from a man with a past as scandalous as this, it is not surprising.

Fact Two: Who were the goons involved in the Mangalore attack? They are not simply members of Ram Sena out there “to protect Indian traditions and values”. It has been reported that most of the cads have previous police records. Either they are petty criminals or even sometimes rioters. To those who have supported girls being told to vacate pubs, an open question is:

Are you willing to make criminals custodians and safe keepers of your culture?

Fact Three: The Karanataka government is dragging its feet on the incident and most of those who should have been languishing behind bars are now out on bail. Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa, while saying that all action is being taken to maintain law and order, has lent voice against pub culture in consonance with the miscreants. What is lesser known though is that the Shimoga court had recently admitted a plea related with the mysterious death of the CM’s wife Mythra Devi. The lady was found dead in 2004 in a water tank at their family home in Shimoga.

The Chief Minister himself is under the scanner for suppressing facts in the case, and the court plans to take a re-look at all the facts. A CBI inquiry is also being sought to investigate the matter, including the CM’s role in the death. This man now wants to protect the traditions of Indian women! Fact Four: Besides the verity that the government has failed in its duty at both Central and State level to curb vandals, there is another question that is not sufficiently highlighted. We need to spare a thought about how inexplicably streams of roughs suddenly emerge whenever there is a riot or a protest or a rally.

How easy it is in India to whip up a febrile crowd or to hire a knot of ruffians! The root of the problem needs to be explored and axed. The simple fact is that we have unacceptably high level of unemployed youth, who are happy to raise a ruckus for a few hundred rupees. Such is their desperation to make a quick buck that in some cases of riots they don’t just go on a looting spree of valuables, there have been instances of them picking eggs, butter and bread from refrigerators! Creation of employment opportunities at the grassroots level will help stem the problem to a large extend.

Measures must be taken to ensure that vocational education is popularized so that youth start earning guerdon immediately after finishing such courses. For I am willing to lay a wager that no man with a job would care to spend time on the streets, given a chance. If there was a genuine concern to protect Indian customs or highlight the ill effects of liquor, why were women picked specifically. The health of men must be of equal concern to us. After all the problem of drinking among men in India is infinitely higher than women.

There are dozen a dime cases of men squandering money on alcohol even when their poor families are starving. Often they die from the habit leaving their wives and children penniless. But the vulnerable are always easier targets, so obviously the unsuspecting girls fell prey. Why also were more civilized methods like dharnas, forums or street plays not chosen as means to achieve the end of spreading awareness about our traditions? That simply because seeds of creativity do not ferment in dense heads.

The fact is that protecting Indian culture was never a motive in the first place. But now that the issue has arisen, let’s set the record straight. The history of Indian epicure is filled with examples of local brews being consumed by both men and women in this country in the past centuries. While the idea is not about whether we should or should not do what we did in the past, we must let the people, in a moderately open society like ours, take decisions about what they feel is in their best interest. And as for hooligans, who take law into their own hands and harass people, they should be immediately thrown into jail and given a severe thrashing; for that’s the only language that they understand.

Gandhi & Nehru

They were opposite in nature, but they shared a passion for freedom and justice, and together created a giant of democracy By Shashi Tharoor The 20th century produced many remarkable leaders, but few nations were blessed with a pair quite like India's Mahatma Gandhi and his protégé Jawaharlal Nehru. Gandhi was idealistic, quirky, quixotic and determined, a cross between a saint and a ward politician; like the best crossbreeds, he managed to distill the qualities of both and yet transcend their contradictions. Nehru was a moody, idealistic intellectual who felt an almost mystical empathy for the toiling peasant masses; an aristocrat who had passionate socialist convictions; a product of Harrow and Cambridge who spent over 10 years in British jails; an agnostic radical who became an unlikely follower of the deeply spiritual Mahatma.

Together they brought a nation to freedom and laid the underpinnings for the world's largest democracy. Gandhi was the extraordinary leader of the world's first successful nonviolent movement for independence from colonial rule. To describe his method, he coined the expression satyagraha—literally, "holding on to truth" or, as he variously described it, truth force, love force or soul force. He disliked the English term passive resistance because satyagraha required activism, not passivity. If you believed in truth and cared enough to obtain it, Gandhi felt, you could not afford to be passive. You had to be prepared actively to suffer for truth.

It was satyagraha that first bound Nehru to Gandhi, soon after the latter's return to India in 1915 from a long sojourn in South Africa, where his morally charged leadership of the Indian community against racial discrimination had earned him the sobriquet of Mahatma ("Great Soul," a term he detested). Gandhi's unique method of resistance through civil disobedience, allied to a talent for organization, gave the Indian nationalist movement both a saint and a strategist. His singular insight was that self-government would never be achieved by the resolutions passed by a self-regarding and unelected élite pursuing the politics of the drawing room. To him, self-government had to involve the empowerment of India's suffering multitudes in whose name the upper classes were clamoring for Home Rule.

This position did not go over well with India's political class, which consisted largely of maharajahs and lawyers—men of means who discoursed in English and demanded the rights of Englishmen. To put his principles into practice, Gandhi lived in near-absolute poverty in an ashram and traveled across the land in third-class railway compartments, campaigning against untouchability, poor sanitation and child marriage, while also preaching an eclectic set of virtues from sexual abstinence and frequent enemas to the weaving of hand-spun cotton cloth.

That he was an eccentric was beyond doubt. That he had touched a chord amongst the masses was equally apparent. That he was a potent political force soon became clear. He captured the imagination of the nation by publicly breaking English law in the name of a higher law ("the voice of conscience") and challenging the British to jail him. Despite differences over both tactics (Nehru wanted independence immediately whereas Gandhi believed Indians had to be made ready for their own freedom) and philosophy (the agnostic Nehru had little patience for the Mahatma's spirituality), the two men proved a formidable combination. Gandhi guided Nehru to the political pinnacle; Nehru in turn proved an inspirational campaigner as President of the Indian National Congress, electrifying the nation with his speeches and tireless travel. Gandhi took the issue of freedom to the masses as one of simple right and wrong and gave them a technique to which the British had no response.

By abstaining from violence Gandhi wrested the moral advantage. By breaking the law nonviolently he demonstrated the injustice of the law. By accepting the punishments imposed on him he confronted his captors with their own brutalization. By voluntarily imposing suffering upon himself in his hunger strikes he demonstrated the lengths to which he was prepared to go in defense of what he considered right. Gandhi's moral rectitude and Nehru's political passion made the perpetuation of British rule an impossibility. Of course there was much more to Gandhism—physical self-denial, self-reliance, a belief in the human capacity for selfless love, religious ecumenism, idealistic internationalism, and a passionate commitment to equality and social justice.

The improvement of his fellow human beings was arguably more important to him than the political goal of ridding India of the British. But it is his central tenet of nonviolence in the pursuit of these ends that represents his most significant original contribution to the world. Martin Luther King in the U.S., Adolfo Pérez Esquivel in Argentina, Nelson Mandela in South Africa and Aung San Suu Kyi in Burma all sought inspiration from the Mahatma's teachings. Upon Gandhi's assassination in 1948, a year after independence, Nehru, the country's first Prime Minister, became the keeper of the national flame, the most visible embodiment of India's struggle for freedom.

Gandhi's death could have led Nehru to assume untrammeled power. Instead, he spent a lifetime trying to instill the habits of democracy in his people—a disdain for dictators, a respect for parliamentary procedures, an abiding faith in the constitutional system. He himself was such a convinced democrat that, at the crest of his rise, he authored an anonymous article warning Indians of the dangers of giving dictatorial temptations to Jawaharlal Nehru. "He must be checked," he wrote of himself. "We want no Caesars." During Nehru's 17 years as Prime Minister, democratic values became so entrenched that when his daughter Indira suspended India's freedoms with a State of Emergency for 21 months, she felt compelled to return to the Indian people for vindication, held an election, and comprehensively lost it. While the world was disintegrating into fascism, violence and war in the 20th century, Gandhi taught the virtues of truth, nonviolence and peace.

The principal pillars of Nehru's legacy—democratic institution-building, staunch pan-Indian secularism, socialist economics at home and a foreign policy of nonalignment—were all integral to a vision of Indianness that sustained the nation for decades. Today, both legacies are fundamentally contested, and many Indians have strayed from the ideals bequeathed to them by Gandhi and Nehru. Yet they, in their very different ways, each represented that rare kind of leader who is not diminished by the inadequacies of his followers. The American editor Norman Cousins once asked Nehru what he hoped his legacy to India would be. "Four hundred million people capable of governing themselves," Nehru replied. The numbers have grown, but the very fact that each day over a billion Indians govern themselves in a pluralist democracy is testimony to the deeds and words of these two men. Shashi Tharoor, an Under Secretary-General at the United Nations, is the author of India: From Midnight to the Millennium and Nehru: The Invention of India