Drumbeat: March 14, 2009

Solar energy industry's situation bittersweet

While BP Solar has no plans for layoffs in Maryland, it will put its new 140,000-square-foot, $30 million building up for lease or sale this fall, said spokesman Tom Mueller. While demand for solar panels is still intact, foreign startups are bringing stiff competition to the industry.

"In the last 10 years, technology has advanced significantly in the solar front," Mueller said. "The cost of producing equipment starts to go down as new technology is being introduced … That's the ongoing challenge — keeping up with technology and competing with the cost structure of startups. How do we compete with these new competitors?"

Solar's prospects dim, at least for near term

Applications for new solar projects have plunged in recent months in California as homeowners and business owners struggle to get credit and rein in spending on big-ticket items such as a rooftop full of solar panels. . .

The drop in applications for solar homes parallels the near-freeze in the overall housing market. New-home construction fell to a record low in 2008 in California, according to the California Building Industry Association, and January data hints that 2009 could be even worse.

Pollution Causing Global Dimming

According to a report in Friday’s edition of the journal Science, skies all over the world are dimming due to increases in airborne pollution over the past 30 years.

The new study compiles satellite and land-based data on global dimming over a longer period than had previously been available. . .

The researchers reported that the dimming is happening all across the world, except in Europe.

Scientists are grim, economists more optimistic about climate change's effects

COPENHAGEN -- Scientists are gloomy; economists are more upbeat. Such was the bottom line of an epic, three-day international congress of climate change experts that ended here yesterday.

At the congress, it seemed that all the scientists had to share with their peers was bad news, but a number of economists saw the climate crisis rather as an historic opportunity to reorganize the world economy and develop new, clean and job-creating activities.

Nuclear industry to fight Yucca Mountain bill

The government’s policy has been to place the material in an underground repository under development at Yucca Mountain, 100 miles northwest of Las Vegas. But President Barack Obama opposes the Yucca site and has indicated he plans to dramatically scale back the project. . .

But some in the nuclear industry are troubled that Reid’s intent is for the study panel to take Nevada off the table entirely as it evaluates nuclear waste policies. The government has focused solely on the Yucca site for more than 20 years, spending more than $10 billion on studies.

AT&T To Invest $565M In Natural Gas Vehicles

AT&T Inc. will spend up to $565 million over 10 years on alternative-fuel vehicles for its corporate fleet.

The investment in natural-gas-powered transportation is the most significant to date by a U.S. company.

The Dallas-based telco will buy 8,000 compressed natural gas vehicles as installation and repair vans, and replace about 7,100 passenger cars with hybrid-electric models.

Baker Hughes: To Cut 1,500 Jobs In Second Round Of Layoffs

HOUSTON -(Dow Jones)- Oilfield services provider Baker Hughes Inc. (BHI) said Friday the company has begun laying off 1,500 workers, or about 4% of its workforce, as part of a second round of cuts resulting from the economic downturn.

Gary Flaharty, Baker Hughes' director of investor relations, told Dow Jones Newswires that about one-third of the cuts will occur in the U.S. and will involve a variety of posts, including manufacturing and field operations jobs.

The cuts come "in response to the stalled economy, lower oil prices, lower natural gas prices and further cutbacks in spending by our customers," Flaharty said.

Iran oil minister: Too much oil on the market

Iran's oil minister suggested Saturday that a weekend OPEC meeting should decide to cut back on crude output, adding his voice to those in the organization who think supply has outstripped demand.

"There is too much oil on the market," Gholam Hossein Nozari told reporters on the eve of a ministerial meeting of the 11-nation Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries.

CFTC Should Have Acted Sooner on Oil Fund Trades, Chilton Says

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission should have acted sooner to investigate trades done to profit at the expense of the U.S. Oil Fund, the world’s largest exchange-traded fund, Commissioner Bart Chilton said.

The CFTC is investigating “multiple market participants,” including the U.S. Oil Fund, which is managed by Alameda, California-based U.S. Commodity Funds LLC. The review, part of the CFTC’s national oil market probe announced last year, is focused on an increase in the price difference between March and April futures contracts on the New York Mercantile Exchange on Feb. 6.

Official: Australian oil spill worse than thought

BRISBANE, Australia (AP) — Ten times more oil than originally thought leaked from a ship to blacken miles of white sand beaches along Australia's northeast coast, a government official said Saturday.

Authorities declared a disaster zone along 37 miles (60 kilometers) of some of Australia's most popular beaches in Queensland state after they were covered in a blanket of heavy fuel oil that spilled from a ship hit by rough seas on Wednesday.

Kurdish oil min expects to export crude soon

Iraq's autonomous Kurdistan region should begin to export oil via Iraq's pipeline network in the coming months, the region's minister of natural resources said on Friday.

Norway's DNO International (DNO.OL) is in the final stages of connecting its Tawke field to the network but investors fear that a dispute between Baghdad and the Kurdish region on oil revenue sharing will hold up oil deliveries. "We don't expect any real problem there despite our differences with Baghdad .. From our point of view oil will flow the day it (the pipeline) is ready," Ashti Hawrami told Reuters in an interview.

Hawrami said the export of crude from the region could happen even without agreement between the two sides on an over-arching oil law. "We should not mix the two things," he said.

Sunoco Plans to Reduce Its Work Force by 20%

The oil refiner Sunoco said it would cut 750 jobs, about 20 percent of its work force, to reduce costs in the face of weak demand for gasoline and diesel fuel. Sunoco, based in Philadelphia, hopes to slash costs by more than $300 million this year through the job cuts, as well as savings in energy, materials, equipment and contractor services costs. It will take a charge of $35 million to $40 million in the first quarter. The recession has knocked demand in the United States for gasoline and diesel fuel lower, squeezing refinery margins as crude oil prices have fallen.

EU project to develop nanomaterials for more efficient solar cells

A new EU-funded project is turning to nanotechnology in a bid to dramatically ramp up the efficiency of solar cells. Called ROD-SOL ('All-inorganic nano-rod based thin-film solar cells on glass'), the three-year project has a budget of EUR 4 million, EUR 2.9 million of which will come from the 'Nanosciences, nanotechnologies, materials and new production technologies' (NMP) Theme of the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7).

The aim of the project is to develop new, more cost-effective nanomaterials for solar cells. In a time of rising energy prices, the race is on to develop new, cheaper ways of exploiting renewable energy sources. 'Photovoltaics is an important pillar of this effort, as solar energy is available in almost unlimited amounts,' commented project coordinator Dr Silke Christensen of the Institute of Photonic Technology (IPHT) in Germany.

Chu: Nuclear must be part of energy mix

Energy Secretary Steven Chu sought Wednesday to assure skeptical senators that the Obama administration supports continued development of nuclear energy, even as it backs away from building a nuclear waste dump in Nevada.

"Nuclear is going to be part of our energy future. It has to be," Chu told members of the Senate Budget Committee at a hearing in which a half dozen senators, Republicans and Democrats, raised concerns about the administration's support for nuclear power.

Depopulate or perish

Most of us would agree that there is a limit to the number of people this planet can sustain. It may be 10 billion or 100 billion but there is a limit. The only debate is about the size of the limit and how we prevent the human population from reaching the limit and destroying the planet.

We are currently witnessing planetary degradation such as diminishing water supplies and agricultural land. We also have increasing species extinction, and declining resources – in fact, peak everything.

Should We Save General Motors? (Dave Cohen - APO-USA)

Although plug-in electric hybrids are a weak measure for reducing our oil consumption over the next decade, they form one wedge in an array of programs that must be implemented. Thus a domestically made Chevy Volt is among the “productive works” we require to reverse 30 years of financial engineering that created a credit/debt bubble and exorbitant bonuses on Wall Street. Through a bankruptcy and restructuring, we must save General Motors.

OPEC set to keep oil production quotas unchanged

LONDON (Reuters) - OPEC oil producers are likely to keep their official oil production targets unchanged when they meet on Sunday, choosing to enforce existing quotas rather than cut output further, a Reuters poll showed on Tuesday.

Nine of 14 analysts polled thought the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries would agree to roll forward production ceilings when they meet in Vienna on March 15.

Five analysts suggested the 12-member producer group would opt to reduce output quotas. The average output cut forecast by this minority was a reduction of 710,000 barrels per day (bpd).

Economy to slow U.S. nuclear power growth: NRC head

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - An "excessive exuberance" for expansion in the U.S. nuclear power industry has calmed because of the global credit and economic crisis, the head of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission said on Tuesday.

Separately, a GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy official warned that the lack of credit will slow the pace of U.S. nuclear power development.

Seventh Generation Becomes First in Its Industry in North America to Purchase Sustainable Palm Kernel Oil Credits

To begin this important work, Seventh Generation has become the first business in its industry in North America to purchase palm kernel oil credits. These credits are in essence a premium paid to producers of more environmentally responsible palm oil so they can make the changes and create necessary programs and infrastructure to reduce adverse impacts of this important product.

The credits, which cover 100% of the palm kernel oil Seventh Generation uses, are the first step in a much larger initiative that will ultimately allow the company to ensure that all the palm kernel oil it purchases is produced in an environmentally and socially responsible manner.

Petrobank Announces Record 2008 Results

- Heavy Oil Business Unit ("HBU") 2P reserves increased by 171% to 69.0 million barrels with net present value, before tax, discounted at 8% of $392.8 million.

- HBU 3P reserves plus high estimate contingent recoverable bitumen resources totaled 814.7 million barrels with net present value, before tax, discounted at 8% of $3.6 billion.

A long essay on the informal economy in the WSJ.

WSJ: The Rise of the Underground

Economists have long thought the underground economy -- the vast, unregulated market encompassing everything from street vendors to unlicensed cab drivers -- was bad news for the world economy. Now it's taking on a new role as one of the last safe havens in a darkening financial climate, forcing analysts to rethink their views. At the Manek Chowk market, in this Indian city's congested center, vendors peddle everything from beans to brass pots from a row of derelict stalls as monkeys scramble overhead. One man sharpens nails using a spinning blade attached to a moving bicycle wheel.

The "informal economy" - which includes everything from rickshaw drivers to maids to drug dealers - is making a big comeback in the developing world. Can it help ease the global recession? Their wages are pitiful by Western standards. But there are no layoffs at the Manek market. All anyone has to do to work there is show up and start hawking -- something more and more people are doing these days.

Without this job, "we'd have nothing," says Surajben Babubhai Patni, a 58-year-old vendor selling tomatoes, corn and nuts from under a makeshift cloth tarp. She makes as much as 250 rupees a day, or about $5, but it's enough to feed her household of nine, including her son, who recently lost his job as a diamond polisher. Ms. Patni and millions like her are part of the "informal," or underground, economy, an enormous, vital and poorly understood segment of world commerce. It is becoming a lot more important now, as the global financial meltdown casts millions of people out of steady-paying jobs. Especially in developing economies, many of those people are landing in the informal sector, which has become a critical safety net as the economic crisis spreads.

Indonesia’s London Sumatra sees 2009 Crude Palm Oil output up ...
JAKARTA: PT Perusahaan Perkebunan London Sumatra Indonesia, one of the country's top palm oil producers, said on Wednesday it expected output to rise 10.

Think London Sumatra the next time you hear about
choking forest fire smoke and Orange Orangutans.

Also from that article (and a bit closer to home...)

There are also some informal workers in the U.S. and other wealthy countries, including off-the-books maids, gardeners and "gypsy" cab drivers, though the phenomenon isn't nearly as widespread as in the developing world. Analysts say it may add up to as much as 10% of the overall U.S. economy, and probably is growing now that employers are slashing staff, forcing more people to try their own small-scale businesses or make do with part-time contract work.

Maybe it would be helpful to those preparing for possible layoff to have a list of such "informal work" possibilities? I know of these:

Food garden builder
Firewood provider
Home computer fixer

Other ideas to share?

The list is almost endless. Just about anything that can be done by an individual or a small household is a possibility.

Of course, if you ask the IRS they will say that this is all taxable income that must be declared. Taxation is the hard line between the formal and informal economies. It is no surprise that governments don't like informal economies and want them to be as small as possible. It is also no surprise that they have never been completely successful in eliminating the informal economy, and that the informal economy comes roaring back when the formal economy hits the skids.

Normally called "The Black market". But it has always been there in one shape or another. I have friend named Morris, we met each other while we both worked at a Same-Day courier company in the late 90's, he had been with them from their start even until after I left them. But he hurt his back rather badly. He gets disability for it, yet what they pay him he can not live on with his house payment and driving his wife to and from work. So he has been fixing lawn-care equipment for a while now. Does he report his income? I don't know, but I highly doubt it. He also does security for a recycling place here abouts, works 3 to 4 nights a week with his brother the other nights. This is just one person in the sea of others that have odd jobs that they do for cash on the barrel,, key word, cash.

The only way the government could stop this from happening is to regulate money. They do it is some respects now if you have a bank account, what you put in and draw out is recorded. But what if they put money on a Plastic card. We see them getting that way now. Some companies are using them, SSI and SSD use them. Money is entered into an account and they hand you a plastic card that you can use just like a debit card from your bank.

So given what I already know and what I hate to think is going to happen, given some thought just watch what happens when you ask for money next time and someone hands you a plastic card and says "There you are paid in full!" (And tracked by the IRS so we know you fixed 250 dollars worth of lawnmowers).

But there is always trading things for services, which will still be under the radar for a while longer.


black market, looting of the treasury, whatever.

"Insurance giant AIG to pay $165 million in bonuses"


and alledgedly, aig's "hands are tied"
(legally obligated to pay the bonus's)

wondering what is stopping congress from imposing a 100% tax on the bonus's ?

Heh,,, I wonder how many people there are that get that 165 million dollars in bonuses and why they are getting them? We were always told our bonus was only as good as our profits were, not something we could count on from year to year.

Maybe Joe in trash pickup gets a bonus, we would not want him to lose all of his $12.75 in bonus now would we. Say if you earn more than 1,000 Dollars you get taxed 50% of everything over that amount.

Do they still have 165,000 employees?


Why are the americans tolerating this?

the bailout was approved before "minor" details were known. a pig in a poke.


Have you heard of this program? http://www.timebanks.org/

It facilitates trading skill and time while building community.
I hope it spreads.

Dope dealer, the biggest money maker of all.

I found it quite interesting that the article neglected to mention drug-dealing; after all, it's probably the single biggest category in the informal economy by far!

Thanks, and welcome new poster.

It ties in with what I just posted up thread about Money and the Black Market or Underground economy.

I would guess using a Time Bank would not get taxed because there is as far as I can see no sure method of taxing people's time and skills at least as yet. We hope we won't have to live in a world where that is possible.

I can give massages, though I am not a trained in a classroom kind of one. I can Help someone build things, I can do other things. One of the things I have noticed in the area where I live that most households are filled with do it yourself people. My dad is a Maintaince Engineer, next door we have a Glass Expert, A Concrete Expert, two Nurses, a retired preacher, a HACV expert, an Aircraft engineer, and a daycare. It would be rather neat if we could get them all to work together, oh right we already do.

But I do see the point of marketing this kind of social network.


"Should we save General Motors?"


It must be remembered that we have GM to thank for the demise of the light passenger rail systems that used to be common in every US city and many small towns, and which even linked cities and towns together via Interurban systems.

It must be remembered that we have GM to thank for a built environment that has become an automobile-centric suburban sprawl -- "the worst allocation of resources in history", to quote Kunstler.

It must be remembered that we have GM to thank for the US automobile industry having ceded the manufacture of small, fuel efficient cars to foreign manufacturers, as they were not interested in changing their ways and figuring out how to meet this market demand profitably.

It must be remembered that we have GM to thank for filling the roads with SUVs, guzzling gasoline, making the US more dependent upon oil imports, and worsening our trade ballance - and increasing the US carbon footprint.

It must be remembered that we have GM to thank for killing the electric car. Yeah, they've got this Volt vaporware now, but they could have had the EV1 in full production years ago; instead they killed it.

The US arguably needs at least one good automobile manufacturer, but GM isn't it. They have proven over and over again that what is good for GM most definitely is not good for America. I see no evidence at this point to believe that they are changing. I don't believe they are ever going to change.

Yes, the demise of GM would be a massive calamity to the US economy, and I do feel sorry for the millions that would be out of work.

However, this raises an important question that is not being asked:

If a company is "too big to fail", does that not in fact mean that it is just plain "too big to be allowed"?

If a company becomes so big that its demise would do massive damage to the US economy, then why did we allow that company to become that big in the first place? Wouldn't our national economic security have been better served by trust busting, keeping ALL companies small enough so that the demise of any one would cause only minimal, manageable damage to the economy?

The fact that we are now all shaking in our boots and seeing Washington throw unimaginable billions of dollars in a desperate and vain attempt to "rescue" these dying dinosaurs is a direct consequence of Washington failing to do what should have been done over many decades to protect US national economic security. They were asleep at the wheel (or more likely, paid to look the other way), and now there is going to be hell to pay.

We can merge GM and GE into GEM.

And NRUC and RICO into RUH ROH.

At approximately 29 minutes 45 seconds into the call a John DiAntony (sp) from Network Technologies asks a pointed question about potential RICO (Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act) litigation against the company to which Steven Lilly gave a terse and angry response that the caller is "probably on the wrong call." Upon some further diligence, it seems that Mister DiAnthony was on the right call, however his question may have been one that the company had no desire to answer.

A little background: some time ago Jeffrey Prosser,...

one more Sir Stanford in the US Virgin Islands.


What is so scary yet funny too is this all looks like a repeat of the Internet-Computer boom of the 1990's.

"holding a pad of postit notes I make up a company and sell the idea to venture capitalist in my area, we gather together smart kids out of college, pay them 100k each and 3% of companies stock and get an IPO going make 100's of millions in capital and realize about 2 years later that the guy holding the postit notes was selling us all a bill of goods worth those bits of paper. But hey I got out early and have 4 million tucked under my matress and have a nice house on the beach."

Just one more issue of Think-Tank fever where money just pours in from somewhere and we all party like it is 1999...

So what did ICC really produce, and where is the 485 million dollars NRUC gave them?

GM and GE might make a car that lights up everytime someone takes money from a taxpayer without ever wanting to give it back, and runs on Government issued regulations (if only we could limit all spending bills to only be 10 pages long, maybe we would not be where we are today).


"GM and GE might make a car that lights up everytime someone takes money from a taxpayer without ever wanting to give it back, and runs on Government issued regulations"

Until arrests are made...the only question is:

"Are you a crook?"


As long as you are aware that the MSM outrage over GM is designed to distract you from the trillions of dollars being looted.

There's still another crime in GM's past that most people have forgotten about, done in collusion with none other the epitome of evil, Standard (aka Exxon) Oil: the introduction of leaded gasoline in the 1920's despite already knowing that it was a massive health risk. The next fifty years of spewing lead into the air resulting in incalculable damage to the health of average Americans, not to mention the surrounding environment.


Dave Cohen's position on this seems ill-informed, and I'm surprised ASPO-USA would take this ludicrous position. GM is a crappy company and we need to let this wounded pig of a corporation die a hasty death.

Stephen Hren

the introduction of leaded gasoline in the 1920's despite already knowing that it was a massive health risk

And they fought and lied to keep using it many decades beyond any plausible need for it.

Thanks for reminding us that Corporations are nobody's friend. Sometimes they do good by happenstance, that's about the best you can say.

"I'm surprised ASPO-USA would take this ludicrous position"

Commentaries do not necessarily represent ASPO-USA’s positions; they are personal statements and
observations by informed commentators.

I'll back up dave on this one. search around this site, IIrc he's been on it for a while. I've only read his oil stuff and don't plan on ever reading anything about gm; Again, so I won't read this. That said, dave on chevy, take it for what it's worth.


During my youth I rode the interurban from Dallas to Waco. It was miserable. I can understand why people preferred private automobiles. (This is not meant to suggest that I am in favor of using taxpayer money to save GM.)

That interurban might have been miserable, but I bet it was better than walking.

Thanks to GM, walking might someday soon be our ONLY option. Your Federal Tax Dollars At Work.

I doubt if many people walked the 90+ miles from Dallas to Waco (excluding the Huaco and other Texas Indians). Still the Interurban was an improvement over the horse and buggy. As a child I also had the opportunity to ride the Kansas City streetcars. That was fun. My home town Amarillo had buses but no streetcars. Amarillo did have excellent long distance passenger railroads. The bus fare was 5 cents. The buses had more flexibility as my part of the town grew. The loop around my grade school was widened at least twice during my childhood.
-- I hope everyone had a chance to read and comment on the controversial GM and the Red Cars note.


That article is a GM whitewash !

Ed Tennyson is the last living member of the prosecution team (he was technical staff support, not a lawyer) that tried GM for restraint of trade.

GM was guilty as sin of the charges, the judge was heavily biased towards GM and GM lost and paid a $5,000 fine.

I know Ed well, have worked with him, he is a man of strong integrity who strongly supports the public good. He KNOWS the truth and speaks it.

GM also kept US railroads from electrifying after WW II (steam could have gone to a mix of electric & diesel) by "letting it be known" that any RR that electrified would be blackballed by GM and it's suppliers.

Best Hopes for a USA without GM,


I don't know much about light rail but enjoy learning, especially about important issues. I rode trains a lot during my childhood. Some of my summer jobs involved railroads. I still enjoy trains whenever possible. Is it true that there were more electrified trains in the East due to the New York City underground system? Would a pure electrified system have had advantages over the diesel/electric hybrid for transcontinental systems such as the Santa Fe Chief or the Canadian Pacific? Would there have been issues with power plant siting or the burning of coal? I recently saw a replay of "Things That Aren't Here Anymore" by Ralph Story. He also seemed to attribute the demise of the Big Red Cars to the declining ridership resulting from the growing California car culture. How can light rail replace the portal to portal convenience of the automobile?

Is it true that there were more electrified trains in the East due to the New York City underground system?

No. The four major electrified railroad lines were the Milwaukee (in WA, MT, Dakotas), the Virginian. Penn Central DC to NYC to New Haven CT and Long Island RR. NYC affected the last two.

A map of rail lines considered in the 1970s.


Would a pure electrified system have had advantages over the diesel/electric hybrid for transcontinental systems such as the Santa Fe Chief or the Canadian Pacific? Would there have been issues with power plant siting or the burning of coal?

The Russians think so. The longest and most important rail line in the world, the Trans-Siberian, was electrified in 2002. No issues in plant siting, the USA could easily conserve enough electricity to run electrified rail lines (this recession will save more than enough).

Electrified rail uses very little electricity. One BTU of electricity does as much work on an electrified rail line as 20 BTUs of diesel in trucks.

The Railroad ROWs would make excellent new transmission corridors.

How can light rail replace the portal to portal convenience of the automobile?

Urban rail cannot replace the inconvenience of the automobile.

It will not kill 40,000 people/year and maim hundreds of thousands more, it will not choke the air with pollution, it will not create massive time wasting traffic jams, it will not require that half our urban land area be devoted to serving Urban rail (thus putting EVERYTHING further away and consuming vast tracts of fertile farmland).

Urban Rail will not make walking and bicycling dangerous and impractical. Urban Rail will reverse the epidemic of obesity, diabetes and heart disease caused by cars. Urban rail will not require the USA to invade other nations to get the fuel to run them. Urban rail will not require the same size massive public & private subsidies that cars require.

Roughly 30% of Americans want to live in Transit Orientated Development today (more will in the future) but less than 2% do today because there is not enough Transit to orientate development around.

I live in an Old Urbanism community, the Lower Garden District of New Orleans. It is MORE convenient to go Downtown or Uptown by walking and catching the streetcar than by driving and parking and walking.

Endless and massive subsidies were what gave cars the advantage, NOT some inherent advantage. These subsidies required distorting our society, our culture, our public health and the way our cities were built to just accommodate and subsidize the car.


Alan, have you followed the development of light rail in Chongqing China, the interior transportation hub and center of the Chinese automobile industry?

Robert, I am sure that not many people finished their walks from Waco to Dallas, if they ever tried, in pre-settlement days, since the Karankawa (? sp ?) Tribe were reportedly cannibals. I would imagine that as Texas developed, back when that area was replete with "sodbusters", it was not uncommon for immigrants to walk pretty much anywhere they would want to go. Of course, at that point, Mesquite was the largest community in what is now Dallas County. Mesquite wanted to charge railroads for the right to come through their community and Dallas did not. And, any travellers would have had to go through the black gumbo clay around Waxahachie, of "the blackest land and the whitest people" fame.

I have followed Shanghai & Beijing quite closely. They appear destined to become the #1 and perhaps #2 subway cities in the world by every metric.

As for the other Chinese cities, I just barely note them. 1 million population appears to be the cut-off for Urban Rail in China.

Best Hopes for Non-Oil Transportation in China,


I can walk, but some people can't. We will have the ability to make wheels, even if we go back to the stone age, we won't lose all our knowledge of the world we live in at least not yet, maybe 100 to 500 years from now but even then I doubt that.

With wheels and some trees and some rope( plant fiber, vines will work if need be)nails and screws it you have them you can make a rough and ready push cart or pull cart. one walker one rider. given time and materials and hardware you can make something like a bicycle, using just wood. given all the bike parts I am sure to be able to find in a collapse I am sure I can ride in something that someone else can also ride in.

Walking is great but if you can ride by pedal power thats even better, add a goat, an ox, or a horse you have better power, heck even a dog team can pull a cart.

We might not have cars but I am sure we won't all be bound to movement by walking.



are you aware of the phrase "what's good for GM is good for america"? If General Motors fails with a worse case of millions unemployed then America as we know it will cease to exist.

The racial violence of the sixties and the criminal violence of the eighties will be but finger pricks compared to what will come if your foolish rant comes true.

The only realy important point regarding GM is
that their production resources get used for making
the best possible cars or other needed goods.

I continue to insist that a GM that is "too big to fail" is too big for our own good. The thing should have been broken up decades ago into its component units. If this had been done, some of them might have survived and even thrived, providing secure employment for their workers.

This has all gone on far too long. It is time to pull the plug.

James80,,, um how do you figure America will cease to exist as we know it?

Case in point America has lost 3,000 points on the Dow at least, if not more in the last 6 months.

5 million homes are in Foreclosure that weren't there 3 years ago.

America as we know it is changing everyday wether we like it to or not. Given time most everything changes.

I would also rant that GM or Chrysler get to fail, go through the mess of fixing themselves with money going here and there and in the end another car company or several of them pick up the pieces.

If we loose 2 million more jobs, we might be hurting but we won't be dead yet.

What is good for me is good for you, is an add campaign, Good one at that it got you scared and if they can scare you then you can scare your congress-person and guess what you get a prize next week when they add something to your tax bill.

We have been stuck for a while is a sick world, no one in government wants to really fix things beyond where they get their next meal( at the best place in town, paid for by someone else )( I know a bit generalized here for ranting's sake( Doe's Eat Place, just down from the state capital in Little Rock, 30 dollar steaks). We have been stuck for years with big government, one of the things we need less of is just that Government, but I digress.

If GM fails, yes it will hurt people. But in the end we the people will not have poured money down the drain watching them spend it on failure. Let one of them go under and the other 2 will swim to shore okay for a while.


Just got the flash of song,, It's the end of the world as we know it, do da do da.....

Add to that list that the USA transitioned their railroads from steam to diesel and not an electric & diesel mix due to GM.

GM "let it be known" that any railroad that electrified would be blackballed by GM & their suppliers. Per Ed Tennyson, the last surviving member (technical staff support) of the prosecution team that tried GM for "restraint of trade" for buying and destroying streetcar lines.

GM lost and paid a $5,000 fine.

Best Hopes for a USA without GM management,


The article has very little to do with GM. It has more to do with the financial system and their follies into CDS and other derivatives and their abuse of regulations after the repeal of the Glass-Steagall act. The article struck me as a well written satire of sorts implying how little controversy there is with regard to the amounts of money given to large financial institutions like AIG and Big Banking compared to GM. The jist of the article struck me as this: In a time when the government is handing out taxpayer money like a drunken sailor in port after 6 months at sea. At least GM has the potential to make something tangible and useful to society on a whole (plug in hybrid cars).

While the financial industry misused changes to financial regulations to make quick fast money, literally wealth from nowhere. In the form of non-reserve backed derivative contracts for CDS, particularly on mortgage backed securities. People are upset at the amounts of money that GM is receiving however little comparative attention is given to the financial industry. Note that some of the key players in the creation of the problem are the guys tasked to fix it by our current administration. This quotation from the article about Larry Summers Obama’s top economic advisor scared me:

“During his tenure as Treasury Secretary [under Bill Clinton], Summers oversaw the repeal of the Glass-Steagall act, which prevented commercial banks from investing depositors’ funds in risky derivatives. He also advocated deregulation of derivative trading. Many experts blame the repeal of this act and deregulation for the banking credit crisis and resultant recession.”

“Derivatives. These are the magic contracts that allowed your local bank—mine was National City—to get into big, big trouble. How does this relate to bailing out GM? It’s pretty obvious when you think about it: the auto companies have the potential to make things that can be helpful in changing our energy future whereas banks deemed too big to fail, as currently structured, do not.”

This second quotation raised this question for me, If these banks are too big to fail why do we need or allow them to be so big?

Interesting AIG is giving out ~170 Million in Bonuses to its Exects. Thats about 1% of every taxpayer dollar given to them, but hey, whats a penny on the dollar anyways?

Hello TODers,

French military base in Abu Dhabi to open in May

..The French ambassador, Alain Azouaou, said in December that the region is becoming increasingly important to international security and that the base would provide a way for France to be “present where it should be present.”

..This is only the second military base operated by a Western country in the Gulf, excluding the United States.
Bob Shaw in Phx,Az Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

This is only the second military base operated by a Western country in the Gulf, excluding the United States.

I take it they don't count the British base at Basra then? Although it is closing. On second thoughts maybe they are counting it.

Hello Undertow,

Thxs for responding. It is not clear to me why France needs this base at all, but I am not an expert. Some speculation:

1. Perhaps this is an early foothold for France's Areva Corp. to come in later, then build a big nuke power-plant for electrojuice and/or desalination on this base, with the French military to provide security after completion?

2. Asking the French to provide an additional protective response if 0bama is seen as too weak vs Iran?

Arab's Fear of Iran Aligns Them With Israel

No single country can help Obama achieve his objectives in the Middle East more than Iran. It can help stabilize Iraq, which is crucial to the withdrawal of 100,000 American soldiers by 2010. It can establish alternative supply routes to Afghanistan instead of the ones provided in Pakistan, which are deemed unsafe. And, it can defuse both Hizbollah and Hamas.

Obama’s rapprochement with Iran, however, has unnerved Arab states. Already fearful of an expansionist Iran, they fear that the new American-Iranian relations may encourage Tehran’s hardliners to pursue their nuclear ambitions more freely. They are also concerned that Iran will be emboldened to expand at the expense of small Arab states such as the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and, of course, Iraq.
Maybe the Arabs believe the US will collapse due to our wasteful energy stupidity and no common sense energy policy. France, being mostly nuclear and having massive RR & TOD, might be a better long term bet.

Thus, if our aircraft carriers are postPeak reduced to moving I-NPK: the Hormuz Strait is free for Iran to control:

The United Arab Emirates has begun implementing a strategic plan to build a new port for exporting crude oil in order to counter Iranian threats to hinder marine traffic by closing the Strait of Hormuz.

The emirates of Abu Dhabi and Fujairah started in January constructing a port through which 70 percent of Abu Dhabi's crude oil will be exported.
Fujairah is on the Indian Ocean: it would bypass the need for VLCCs to transit thru the Hormuz Strait.

..Walter Moone, Managing Director of the Vopak Horizon Fujairah terminal, the hub's largest bulk liquid storage provider, told Bunkerworld he expected to see Fujairah grow from a "regional energy hub" to a "global hub".
My feeble two cents.

Leanan is on vacation for two weeks. Please be sure to post articles you see of interest.

I'll take a stab at it. Feel free to delete if it is the wrong sort of thing.

Time to end the multigenerational Ponzi scheme

from Kim Stanley Robinson - science fiction author and occasional essayist
The main reason I believe capitalism is not up to the challenge is that it improperly and systemically undervalues the future. I’ll give two illustrations of this. First, our commodities and our carbon burning are almost universally underpriced, so we charge less for them than they cost. When this is done deliberately to kill off an economic competitor, it’s called predatory dumping; you could say that the victims of our predation are the generations to come, which are at a decided disadvantage in any competition with the present.

Capitalism goes, or we go--
--Joel Kovel

Nice one-liner for the folks with a bumper sticker mind.
Here's a knee jerk reply from the neo-con perspective:

You can take your YUGO and shove it

You remember the YUGO, the cheap FIAT 128? I had one of those FIAT 128's which ran great until the float valve in the carb became worn and would not stop the flow, thereby flooding the carb at idle. I replaced that 25 cent part with a Viton tipped float valve from an 'Murican engine and the car ran great again. I wonder how many YUGOs died the same way. Capitalism can produce great products, in addition to useless crap...

rambling morning thought/off

E. Swanson

They could have made a lot of those parts out of wood... laughs...I remember a friend showing me a wooden car with a wood fired steam engine pushing the wheels. The only metal on the thing was likely the axels and the firebox. I have no clue where he found it but we were talking about odd vehicles. And he was a Train buff.

We are going to have a lot of older cars with Carborators on them and making our own parts because they don't make that thingy that just broke anymore.

Here's a home brew to the wood workers amoung us who believe we won't die in a stoneage retirement home just yet.


Technical Issue:

I've noticed that I am no longer able to go back and forward through Drumbeats via the links up-top. Instead I have to return to the TOD index page first if there are any other posts in between (and there usually are). Is this intentional or a bug?

I think it is a matter of my not understanding how Leanan made that happen. Let me see if I can fix it.

Seems to be it now. Thanks!

Undertow, I just tried it and everything worked fine. However doing it that way you always lose your "New" flags. Instead just hold the shift key down when clicking on one of the links up top. That way it will open the link up in a new window and you will lose nothing. Just close the window out when you are finished reading it and you are right back where you were before clicking on the link and none of your "New" flags will be lost.


Working fine for me now as well. Looks like Gail fixed it. What I was seeing was that the separate line for the Drumbeats just wasn't there. It is now.

And, trust me, I usually always have more tabs and windows open than I can possibly know what to do with :-)

Technical Issue: Part II

While we're on the subject...

How do you open a link in Apple/Safari without losing your place? There's no left click/right click option and shift_click doesn't do it...

Wife's computer...

ctrl (control) click



Thank you!

From the link up top: Depopulate or perish

Most of us would agree that there is a limit to the number of people this planet can sustain. It may be 10 billion or 100 billion but there is a limit.

I was a little shocked at that statement. I mean, even a lot of people who realize we have a serious population problem have no clue as to how many people the planet can sustain. Sustain meaning how many people the world can support over a very long period of time without serious degerdation of the environment or without driving a significant number of other species into extinction.

The statement implies that number is somewhere between 10 and 100 billion people. No, it would be a lot closer to 2 billion people. But as far off as that remark was, it was not nearly as outrageous as another statement in the article.

Cardinal Pell, the Catholic Archbishop of Sydney, recently said:

There is a crisis in the Western world. No Western country is producing enough babies to keep the population stable, no Western country.

Wow, that’s all we need, the Archbishop of Sidney telling the world we need a lot more babies, else the population will become unstable.


Okay now,, I think we need a little bit of thinking on some peoples part about what the bible says and what the bible means.

As a Christian, I would not follow these people, I'd call them as I see them. False Doctrine, and False Phophets.

Having a bunch of kids is one thing, but this bodes ill thought out and poor planning ideals.

thanks for bringing it to my attention, I'll mention in it Sunday School Class in the morning.


Less than a billion will be the number.

“In a very cynical way, it’s a triumph for science because at last we have stabilized something –- namely the estimates for the carrying capacity of the planet, namely below 1 billion people,” said Dr. Schellnhuber, who has advised German Chancellor Angela Merkel on climate policy and is a visiting professor at Oxford."


It, the National Research Council, said government scientists, such as those at the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, needed to pay greater attention to the human dimension of climate change — its effects on food supply, public health and the environment.

We can combine the EPA and NOAA into:

National Oceanic Environmental Protection- NOAP.

A record number of Americans — some 41% — now believe the danger of climate change has been exaggerated in the mainstream media, a new Gallup poll found. In contrast, only 28% thought the media had downplayed the dangers of global warming.

The rise of climate change doubters was among Republican and non-affiliated voters – but not Democrats – and was confined to those above the age of 30.


The only sustainable living arrangement humanity had thus far was the tribal arrangement. The sustainable human population on this planet is less than 25 million long term. All other human paradigms to date have eventually involved growth and wide environmental destruction.

Of course a Catholic archbishop would say that, his church's income comes primarily from the west. Muslim clerics aren't worried at all about their religion. It all comes down to his preferred worldview (probably akin to "don't let the muslims outnumber us") with a (large) dash of money.

Darwinian -

The good Cardinal's rational is quite simple: We've got to have more of Us Good People Over Here and less of Those Bad People Over There.

It is also a blatantly Darwinian (Charles that is, not you) viewpoint. No doubt he has a beatific vision of filling up the Outback with millions and millions of devout Catholics just like himself.

No doubt he has a beatific vision of filling up the Outback with millions and millions of devout starving Catholics just like himself.

Fixed that for you.

>The statement implies that number is somewhere between 10 and 100 billion people. No, it would be a lot closer to 2 billion people.

Ron, I think you are right that generally little is known about how many people the world can support. But it is of course very dependent on how people live. I saw an India last year that was mostly feeding its population of 1 billion plus. I also saw the worst poverty I have ever imagined, and lots of hungry people. (Slumdog Millionaire demonstrated those conditions quite effectively). So, how many can the earth support? Not all that many if they live a lifestyle like the average American. Quite a few more if they live like the average (vegetarian) Indian.

Probably more is 'known' than you think. As with peak oil, the MSM doesn't want to know.

20-odd years ago some Finnish natural resource economists estimated about the global sustainable population to be about 25 million at USA levels of consumption, and about 100 million to 200 million overall. (I no longer live near a university so I can't pop in to the library to give you references, sorry. "Sustainable" meant the Bruntland Commission definition, iirc.)

That was before the implications of global warming started to become apparent, though.


The cynic in me tells you what he said... WESTERN world, he was being xenophobic towards the 3rd world and the Eastern world. Why I have no clue, just another reason I am glad I am not Catholic. I am a Christian, but Jesus would never have said something like that. Out of some Catholic leaders you hear the oddest things even today much less 500 years ago when Luther was up to reforming them.

Ron, I know you were raised a Baptist, so you would have likely not heard that sort of thing either from a pastor.

We don't know for sure why he said Western Country, but my guess is he saw it as dangerous to let those Western countries fail somehow in the future with less people in them..... I am not defending him just trying to figure out why he'd say something that way,,, really we will just have to ask him.

As I posted somewhere else I don't think we will get anywhere near 10 Billion before we dieoff. If we had another world to tap into, sure 10 billion people that is okay, but we are straining to feed who we have now.

Given a crash, we might never get back up to 2 billion people ever again.


My version: Out of some Protestant leaders you hear the oddest things even today, much less 500 years ago when Luther was up to reforming.

Zero difference twixt the two in terms of crazy crap said by some.


There are crazy twisted things we all say from time to time. Leaders have the misfortune of having almost everything they say in public used for one purpose or another be it for good or for ill.

opinions may vary as to whether being a Christian is a good thing or a bad thing, But either way Christians should be more mindful that their words are going to be used not only against themselves but against their faith in Christ.


Darwinian,Cardinal Pell is a dyed in the wool conservative of a very old school.Something of an embarresment for many Australian Catholics,I suspect.

That said,the hierarchy in this country are of much the same mind,but more from greed than religious conviction.The disconnect from reality is quite striking.I think we may see a bridge of the disconnect in the near future.One good thing about depressions?

Wow, that’s all we need, the Archbishop of Sidney telling the world we need a lot more babies, else the population will become unstable.

Pell isn't concerned about stable population in the slightest. He wants an ever-increasing population, so the Catholic Church has ever-more converts. To this end, he's also concerned about the higher-than-national-average fertility rate of non-christian immigrants/first-generationers.

Fortunetely, since his unbelievably incompetent mishandling of Preist pedophiles, no one listens to him anymore, apart from the die-hards.

I stopped by a friends house yesterday to give my present to his 5 year old son who was having a party.

Shortly after arriving one of the mothers arranged a bunch of chairs in the middle of the room and announced they were going to play musical chairs. Sounds kind’a lovely, Musical Chairs.

After a few rounds I noticed that the look on the childrens faces were not those of happy carefree partiers, but instead were serious, concentrated, worried.

I looked at the parents faces and they were grinning but again not in a carefree happy way, more of an intense, greedy, pumping their fists encouraging their young ones to win kind a way.

I understand that I am reading WAY too much into this scene but the metaphore was just too much for me and I had to get out of there asap. When I got to my car I broke down and bawled for a minute. Yes I admit it. It kind of supprised me and worried me too as I am not that kind of guy.

I don’t think I can ever hear another Jack Johnson song without looking frantically about for a chair.

I understand that I am reading WAY too much into this scene but the metaphore was just too much for me and I had to get out of there asap. When I got to my car I broke down and bawled for a minute. Yes I admit it. It kind of supprised me and worried me too as I am not that kind of guy.

Very powerful tale. And, no, I DON'T think you're "reading too much into it."

Just replace those chairs with barrels of oil.

Replace those children with countries bidding on those barrels of oil.

Every time you snatch a chair away, have another child enter the room.

Population growth + resource decline = "serious, concentrated, worried" players.

Soup, perhaps something deep in your subconscious sensed that this was the future of the planet. As the world slides deep into a depression there will not be enough chairs for everyone. Not enough jobs and not enough food. People will be weeded out because they don’t have a chair, a place, a job, or food for their families.

Sad, sad indeed. I have also sat down and cried when I contemplate the world my children and grandchildren will live in. But I am 70 and won’t have to dread the future much longer. But still, I often cry.


Souperman2, I was sitting down reading my Guradian newspaper at lunchtime and came across this book review:


It touches on what you are talking about and so much more that we talk about on this site including growth etc..(but in the case of this book from the perspective of inequality in society) I'll definitely be ordering it.


I understand that I am reading WAY too much into this scene but the metaphor was just too much for me and I had to get out of there asap. When I got to my car I broke down and bawled for a minute. Yes I admit it. It kind of surprised me and worried me too as I am not that kind of guy.

The weirdest things can rupture the dam sometimes. Being aware of all this, the coming doom, and knowing the insanely high probability of vast suffering to come (and being unable to stop it) is a horrible burden. So seeing a game of diminishing resources played out before you with children metaphorically dying off - understandably can cause a breach. I'm practically Vulcan (unfortunately half human like Spock) in my emotional control, but with that weight sitting there, every now and then something really weird will randomly set me off.


Substrate - Thanks, that was a really interesting link!

Way back in 1952 (the dark ages), there was a popular western movie, High Noon, starring Gary Cooper and Grace Kelly. There were five main characters in the movie, the town marshal, his pacifist wife, his former girlfriend, the main bad guy, and an incessant ticking pendulum clock, that seemed to have more screen time than any of the actors. While the marshal was waiting for the noon train which was bringing the outlaw and 3 of his gang members who had vowed to kill him, the marshal tried going to each of the town’s residents to try to garner support (we call that “networking” today). One by one they turn him down, not wanting to get involved, or to protect their own interests, until even his wife and former girlfriend turn their back on him and vow to leave on the same train bringing the outlaws. His wife finally decides that she must stand with him, and plays a significant role in the battle that ensues. And the clock keeps ticking, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick.

Today I find myself staring at the clock with its incessant ticking. You see some bad guys are coming to my world soon. My department has been told that sometime in April, 30% or more will be laid off. On the train that day will be the outlaws Economic Collapse, Peak Oil, and Climate Change. They are all in cahoots together. All have come to take something from me and my wife and family. Some sooner than later.

I think Soup really touched a raw nerve with the "musical chairs" metaphor. People on this site have been contemplating peak oil and resource depletion for so long that now that we see it playing out in our own lives it is harrowing.


High Noon

One of the best movies ever! Very inspiring. Never thought of it that way, though.

Once you carry the ideas here around for a while, you do see things differently. And I know there are stages of realization through time around PO. Panic, denial, resignation, action... What I see these days is fear leading to paralysis. Folks not knowing what to do while simultaneously feeling very threatened. Mostly in an economic sense.

I don't think it's over-reaching.. but there are two parts, as well.. People do seem to be pretty freaked out.. the tension is rising, but I'D be more freaked out if everyone was still going 'La, la, la..' thinking No Problem, All's well.

But games and birthday parties are also very able to bring up a lot of tension anyway. Families are sometimes comparing and judging/afraid of being judged.. and remembering the parties as kids that stank and made them afraid.. like the people who hate having to 'Act Joyous' at Christmas. And Games.. like jokes, they are often about pushing and pulling, revealing and working on tensions.

Here's a good song for that game..

"Oh they built the ship Titanic, to sail the Ocean Blue,
and they said they had a ship that the sea would not go through.
But the Lord's almighty hand said that ship would never stand,
We were sad when that great ship when down!"


I think our culture has become toxic. It's like living in a "stepford wives"-world of robotic, adult sized children raising robotic mini-versions of themselves.

Take away the television and they would not know what to think, or how to behave.

In situations like you describe, I usually have the same allergic response you had- "I had to get out of there asap."

Take away the television and they would not know what to think, or how to behave.

June 12 - the new National Freedom from Television day for millions of Americans. End the analog signal transmission and television ends for more people than you can imagine. I hope they take it well and eventually realize it as the gift it really is. However, I do worry that the following weeks could be another straw on the camel's back - so to speak.

Drug addicts are not rational when they unexpectedly have to go cold-turkey without their drug.

This could be quite significant. I've thought for quite some time now that access to television will be *the* arbiter of social stability and control during these "interesting times". I think we're unlikely to see any sort of serious civil unrest in north america so long as the TVs stay on.

Without hours per day of exposure to that magical combination of mindless entertainment, distraction and corporate/government propaganda, people might find themselves in a position where they have to start forming their own opinions about the real world. That's when the riots will start.

The DTV thing probably isn't widespread enough to do that though... is it? What percentage of the public are we talking here? They've already pushed the conversion date back once, and I suspect they will continue pushing it back until they're satisfied with the numbers.

From what one aunt had to go through the converter boxs don't work that well if you do a lot of channel surfing, to stop being frustrated with it she went and got cable.

With Cable you don't need the box. With Sat, or Phone or cable no box is needed. You don't need a box if you have your TV as a DVD and VHS veiwing device. You don't need TV to get your entertainment.

Both my parents read books, you know those things from yesteryear, stacks of paper with a hinge on one side.

My dad and I get our news via the web and the newspaper. I read the comics first, and then the political cartoons and half the time don't read much else. I know what the weather is going to be like. I have not strained by brain by not seeing TV, Though I do go places where TV's are hung on the walls and people are shooting pool, throwing darts and drinking beers, so some TV has not hurt me much more than the beers do.

I would bet that more people Turn to Cable because of this and it was all just a scam to get more people on cable than were on it before.

Just wait till they make the law where they sell air credits........ Oh wait a minute aren't we doing that one too.. "Hey Joey, get my bag of freezed dried O2, I need to go sell some Air Credits to The Man, and be able to burn a fire tonight with my Main-Squeeze"

Just a few more years and each family will be taxed according to the Carbon they release, just you watch someone is going to be making loads of money on this thing called carbon credits. Another sceme for someone to make money is just around the corner....


Fubard,by DTV do you mean Delirium Tremens Vision?

I meant the switch to Digital TV, but it sure fits!

We could see many of the withdrawal symptoms common in substance abuse when the TV addicts are cut off, though I guess the effects would be more like some sort of psychological trauma than physical withdrawl. I certainly hope it doesn't culminate in people running up and licking their blank TV screens to try to stop the shakes. :-)

souperman2 -

I really don't think you 'were reading too much into it', but rather were merely observing human nature at it's most primitive. A group of little kids may look like a collection of little darlings, but once a certain dynamic takes over they can transform into a bunch of miniature barbarians.

And kids' birthday parties have always been events that I dreaded. Nothing worse than a bunch of screaming 8-year-olds all jazzed on high-fructose corn syrup playing progressively boisterous tribal power games.

What I have always found truly grotesque are these elaborate birthday parties given by affluent yuppies .... where the parents, in a desperate attempt to one-up each other, throw progressively more lavish and ostentatious parties, some complete with limos, catered food, live music, clowns and assorted entertainers.

Throughout history, wretched excess seems have a tendency to reach an apogee shortly before things fall apart. Anyway, I think some of these little snots better start getting used to home-baked birthday cakes and entertainment limited to playing pin the tail on the donkey.


Like the others here, I don't think you overreacted. As totneila says, when he sees the kids being driven around in the back of mom's SUV, he wonders if he's looking at the face of his future killer.

Sometimes we like to forget that life is a competition, and that we are animals. One of the benefits of the recent first world experience was that we could compete, but even the losers ate. When resources are scarce, and the competition is not for the biggest McMansion, but for the basic needs of life, I hope we can find a way to do it humanely, but I worry.

Musical chairs is all about I win and you don't.

I never did like to play that game, I loved being picked on at dodgeball. Yes I LOVED being the target, I was great at being a target, No one ever hit me, I was in control.

But a lot of games like musical chairs was not geared for kids, they were older people's games brought to the youngsters where losing was not the gift it could be for an adult. Party games like that are great for meeting girls/guys they make you a loser or winner and you side with your team, the losers over here and the winners over there, but they can all have fun.

What you saw was parents being adults in the I WIN you Lose game but doing it with their kids, which is shameful. Kids should be taught better values than that.

As a child I was fast and was very surefooted. I am still surefooted, but not that fast. So dodgeball was my game then.

Don't worry crying does a lot of good things for your emotional well being that holding it in does not do.


Thank you one and all


One of the big meetings this week-end is the G20 meeting. This is a meeting of the finance leaders and central bankers to lay the groundwork for a meeting of the G20 leaders next week. The major issues seem to be

1. How much stimulus - the US favors more than some other countries
2. More strict definition of tax evasion for Switzerland, and better co-operation with other authorities
3. Better supervision of hedge funds and other off balance sheet forms of investment.

It would seem like better hedge fund regulation could have a fairly big impact. If it leads to a big unwind, its impact might be to continue the global debt unwind.

"It would seem like better hedge fund regulation could have a fairly big impact. If it leads to a big unwind, its impact might be to continue the global debt unwind."

KKR Losses Show Failure to Close Gap Raising Defaults
Bloomberg - ‎Mar 13, 2009‎
... loan prices and companies reneging on their debt agreements are causing losses on the CLO securities held by banks, insurance companies and hedge funds. ...
Keeping The CLO Fire Stoked istockAnalyst.com (press release)
CLO AAA investors to block trading amendments – Survival of the Senior Financial Times

To put "CLO AAA investors" in the same sentence is Oxymoron

Haircut Time for Bondholders-Mike Whitney

The $55 trillion US household balance sheet. Based on what house prices and equity valuation have been doing this quarter, we are likely in for a total loss of household net worth approximating $7 trillion this quarter alone, which would bring the cumulative decline in consumer wealth to $20 trillion. This wealth loss exceeds the combined expansion of the Fed’s and government balance sheet by a factor of ten. That should put the reflation-deflation debate into perspective." (David Rosenberg, Economist at Merrill Lynch summed it up like this in "Depression-Style Jobs Report": Mish's Global Economic Trend Analysis)

Forums - 80% of Hedge Fund Managers Never Knew What the Word ...
Study shows upwards of 80% of hedge fund employees never actually knew what the word ... 83% of respondents were unable to correctly define the word “hedge. ...

I liked this quote, made by an allegedly educated member of society, from the WSJ article on underground economies:

Having a big underground economy "is not something to be cheerful about," says Nancy Birdsall, an economist at the Center for Global Development, a Washington think tank. "When everybody is selling apples to each other, you're not creating new wealth -- it's not a sign that things are OK."

I submit that one could remove the word "apples," and substitute the phrase "poorly constructed overvalued homes financed with debt from China," and the argument holds.

She just described a service-based economy without realizing it. Unless you're creating or exporting a service of value (I'm convinced MS Excel alone has had a significant, measureable effect on productivity, and telecommunications can be a replacement for travel and oil), most services are simply trying to take advantage of comparative advantage, and rarely does the math work out. For instance, cleaning services, lawn mowing (maybe a small savings due to reduced equipment need and time saved), or oil changes. You can't get rich by doing each others' laundry, nor is selling each other what we need retail going to lead to real growth. Ponzi growth, clearly possible though.

Russia May Send Strategic Bombers to Cuba, Venezuela (Update2)

While Russia had received an offer to fly to Cuba, the spokesman said he couldn’t comment on whether Russia intended to send planes to Cuba or Venezuela.

Russia is seeking to revive Latin American ties that waned after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Cuban President Raul Castro visited Russia at the end of January, and in November President Dmitry Medvedev made the most prominent tour of the region by a Russian delegation since the end of the Cold War.

These little stories that have come out recently like the above, China harrassing US ships, China having concerns about the US' ability to maintain the "value" of its monetary assests need to be seen together. And these tidbits of info need to be connected because I think they are. Russia and China are playing these little hands in tandem, slowly chipping away at the US' power and relevance as a "World Leader". Look for more of these and keep note of all the little points because there is a "quiet" war going on...economically and politically.

I would love to get Brzezinski's and Orlov's viewpoint on what they think is happening and the timing. If you guys are reading today, feel free to share.

Having been raised in a military family I'll put my two cents on the floor and cover them with my feet and tell you a secret.

The cold war never did end.

Sure Russia crashed and there was that thing called change of government, but really the cold war never ended because China was part of it.

Putin is former KGB, Bush 1 was Former CIA, ah the games these people play.

FF is Russias game piece and China has a $ in their hand ready to move when we good ole Uncle Sam get out of line, they will move to make things clear to us.

What has gotten more cloudy is that most of the current Government we have in office now are lacking in the ability to see past their next election or paycheck.


New study in Geophysical Research Letters shows TSI of Sun has actually been increasing for the period 1980 to 2000 by Scafetta-Wilson: ACRIM-gap and TSI trend issue resolved using a surface magnetic flux TSI proxy model


and for the full study ( I found a PDF):



This finding has evident repercussions for climate change and solar physics. Increasing
TSI between 1980 and 2000 could have contributed significantly to global warming
during the last three decades. [Scafetta and West, 2007, 2008] Current climate models
[IPCC 2007] have assumed that the TSI did not vary significantly during the last 30 years
and have therefore underestimated the solar contribution and overestimated the
anthropogenic contribution to global warming.

This study is yet to be submitted for peer review so yet might learn if it is robust, or not.


It is fairly well accepted that short-medium term changes in solar energy under the current models cannot account for enough of the warming/cooling without an amplifying effect of some sort. Here is a study, Barrett, I recently found that demonstartes a possible amplification mechanism:

Shaviv, N. J. (2008), Using the oceans as a calorimeter to quantify the solar radiative forcing, J. Geophys. Res., 113


[73] In summary, we find clear evidence indicating that
the total flux entering the oceans in response to the solar
cycle is about an order of magnitude larger than the globally
averaged irradiance variations of 0.17 W/m2. The sheer size
of the heat flux, and the lack of any phase lag between the
flux and the driving force further implies that it cannot be
part of an atmospheric feedback and very unlikely to be part
of a coupled atmosphere-ocean oscillation mode. It must
therefore be the manifestation of real variations in the global
radiative forcing.
[74] It should be stressed that the observed correlation
between the oceanic heat flux and solar activity does not
provide proof for any particular amplification mechanism,
including that of the CRF/climate link. It does however
provide very strong support for the notion that an amplification
mechanism exists. Given that the CRF/climate links
predicts the correct radiation imbalance observed in the
cloud cover variations, it is a favorable candidate.
[75] With respect to simulating climate dynamics, the
results have two very interesting ramifications. First, they
imply that any attempt to explain historic temperature
variations should consider that the solar forcing variations
are almost an order of magnitude larger that just the TSI
variations now used almost exclusively. It would imply that
the climate sensitivity required to explain historic temperature
variations is smaller than often concluded.
[76] Second, an additional constraint can be used to
narrow the range of GCMs’ model parameters. Under solar
cycle like periodic forcing, a GCM should predict that the
ratio between the oceanic heat flux and sea-surface temperature
variations is that which is observed, namely, a net
oceanic flux of 1.05 ± 0.25 W/m2 for every 0.09 ± 0.01C
change in the sea-surface temperature (or somewhat larger
land surface temperature variations). This should prove
useful in constraining GCM base

To wit we are looking at pieces of a puzzle that mount up to acceptance of a combination of Anthropogenic AND natural variability. I am I self confessed AGW sceptic who thinks that natural variablity plays a larger part than climatologists in terested in AGW are willing to accept. Sorry if my opinion offends.


Hello Marco,

Although the pro & con research and positions on climate change are important, the statistics quickly cause most people's eyes to glaze over.

As posted many times before: we need to be watching habitat destruction and extinction rates, then promoting Peak Outreach awareness on these issues in order to have any consequential effect on changing the huddled masses.

I hope people will go ape-shit to force the protection of the apes, gorillas, and orangutans before they are gone. We are now playing a lethal game of musical chairs where every specie is trying to gain just a tiny landing spot on one of the ever fewer seats. IMO, when a little bird, bat, or bee can't survive: Game Over for us.

Will a child even want a stuffed toy-tiger if none exist in the wild?
Try to imagine a world without the real magic of fireflys or flitting hummingbirds. Sadly, I think the GEICO gecko, the AFLAC duck, and Mickey Mouse is more real to most 'Murkans than their actual wildlife counterparts.

Game Over for us

Then the problem is solved!

Thats a very cynical line to take though, and I don't really mean it. A lot of sceptics might use the information I have to resitst punitive measures to reduce their fossil fuel usage. As an avid cyclist and proponent of energy saving techniques my efforts to reduce said usage in the face of ever dwindling energy supplies would have the same effect as if those punitive measures were to be forced upon me. It really boils down to how the individual is willing to change his/her lifestlye.

So if it turns out I am wrong about AGW - everyone wins - I reduced my dependancy on FF's which can't be a bad thing AND I helped save the planet. If not then the first accomplishment still applies.

Aside from the fact that massive species dioff has been seen right throughout geological history, it would indeed be extremely sad as you say - I cannot argue with this.


Aside from the fact that massive species dioff has been seen right throughout geological history

This is true, but you're failing to distinguish between a background level of extinction (which happens all the time; most species have a finite shelf life, geologically speaking) and a mass extinction, which is what we are creating. While it has happened a few times before, it is not common for most macro-life to be annihilated in a geological instant.

IMO, when a little bird, bat, or bee can't survive: Game Over for us.

I just checked both my honeybee hives. All the bees are dead. There's plenty of food and no signs of disease. They all just gave up the ghost. It's all so depressing.

There were several studies going on about the massive bee deaths seen in the last few years.

Sorry your hives got hit by one of them side effects.

I have seen a few bees this spring but only a few and saw none last year.

I let the spring wildflowers grow all over my yard and whenever possible other flowers in the summer and fall, and the bees aren't there, besides for a few bumble bees.

Can you get more bees?


acceptance of a combination of Anthropogenic AND natural variability.

That has never *not* been the case. It is disingenuous, at best, to suggest otherwise.

I am I self confessed AGW sceptic

This is a very recent occurrence. For a long time you denied this. *That* was the problem: you were not up front about your position.

Sorry if my opinion offends.

Your position does not offend when it is honestly stated and backed with research. This is what has always been asked. It is good to see one of you finally act on the request.

As for your links, we shall have to see. I've not looked at them yet. I doubt they are as important as you seem to think, but if they are it might imply there is more time to adapt.

A note of caution: One thing you deniers do to your own, and everybody else's, detriment is focus solely on sun-related "research." There are thousands of other elements that add to our ability to measure and understand AGW. When you focus on one element only you have precious little chance of correctly interpreting the data. How can you when you eliminate 95% of the evidence?

I recommend to honest, authentic deniers that they remove the blinkers and look with a wider view.


I looked at your first paper and could make nothing of it except they were using a proxy to fill in a gap in the record and once they had done *that* there magically appeared a lot of warming from the sun.

I'm not buying at this point.

To make things worse, I did some checking and Scafetta and West have done some really bad science in the past.


This one mentions Scafetta only a little, but says his science seems to be a goodly bit off.


This one is directly on Scafetta and West. Interesstingly it might be referencing the very reconstruction used in the new paper and, if so, indicates the paper is bunk as it's based on poor science:

One new aspect of this S&W study is the focus on 'feedbacks'. They assume the TSI reconstruction is a proxy for the total solar influence and that CO2 is part of a solar 'feedback' (isotope ratios suggest the CO2 comes from deep underground reservoirs, but it's not clear how the sun manages to dig up this carbon from deep below Earth's surface).

The title of the next critique is telling:

How not to attribute climate change

And one more:


I doubt Scafetta has improved with this latest. The latest paper will need to be looked at, but there seems to be zero reason to think it will be any better. Scafetta is obviously *looking for* reasons to discount AGW, which makes his science virtually useless as such an obvious bias means he's not doing science at all. couple that with the critiques and you're left with a denier doing propaganda, not science.

Still, unless RC is tried of wading through what they obviously consider poor work, I'm sure they'll get to this latest in good time.

Willson also has been looking for a solar influence for a long time. This is from '97!



Thats a lot of homework you've given me CCPO. I'm pretty sure your second link was prior to summission to Geophysical as it just went in Feb this year and the critique was Dec 07' - unless they pre-published results which I doubt.

From a quick scan of your links I would say realclimate strongly have issues with his science, but I would not say he is a paid denier. RC say of one of Scafetta's previous studies:

There are some reasons to think that solar activity may have played some role in the past (at least before 1940), but I must admit, I'm far from convinced by this paper because of the method adopted.

and talking about the same study above:

Then, there is the Bad, exemplified by two papers by Scafetta and West that have been discussed on RealClimate here and here. This is just normally bad science, in the sense that there is something wrong in the approach taken by the authors which leads to erroneous conclusions. Perhaps some of this work should never have made it through peer review, but as long as the methods are well documented and honestly described, subsequent investigators will be able to identify the errors and either salvage or discard the results.

What does that say about the peer review process!

Of the link within the link on RC's site you provide me (although I need to read deeper) the above statements seems to be as bad as the rebuttal gets. But it is by no means a full debunk as the statement that the conclusions are erroneous are RC's opinion despite it having passed peer review.

As you say, realclimate may or may not wish to deal with it and like I said above it may or may not be robust, so agree with you mostly.

I would not say he is a paid denier.

I didn't. I checked around for that angle and didn't find any. Perhaps propaganda is a bit strong, but when you publish paper after paper of rubbish one must wonder at the motivations involved. Besides, the best propaganda convinces people the lie is the truth. Those who carry that on *because* they've been fooled are still spreading propaganda, just not necessarily with malice aforethought.

What does that say about the peer review process!

That's exactly what the review process is for. However, if the editorial board is unqualified things will fall through. The second tier of peer review is for the readers (primarily other scientists) to then offer their reviews. Publication alone is not enough to trust results.

RC's opinion

Of course. But they are climate scientists discussing the works as climate scientists. They are thus doing peer review. Sometimes they offer their responses for publication, but I get the impression they do so only when the paper is good enough to be worthy of the trouble. If it's just typical denialist claptrap or really poor science, they seem to handle that via the blog.


I am quite prepared to accept the claim that GCC is a complex phenomenon which is caused by a combination of anthropogenic and natural factors. What I am not prepared to accept is the idea that we can dig up and burn about half of the carbon that has been geologically sequestered in just a couple of centuries with NO impact whatsoever on global climate.


try 1/40th!! (as a rough napkin calc.)

Humans have added roughly 100ppm to the atmosphere and will seriously struggle to add another 100ppm. Now put than in context of the fact that global C02 was as high as 4000ppm or more during the carboniferous (as the difference between this and current C02 is roughly the amount that has been sequestered)

But i'm sure moving from 300ppm to 500ppm will, as you say, have some effect. Just how much in my mind is what the debate is about.


But i'm sure moving from 300ppm to 500ppm will, as you say, have some effect. Just how much in my mind is what the debate is about.

Since it is roughly a logarithmic driver, the difference btw 300 and 500 (a factor of 1.6) is about the same as the difference btw 180 and 288 (which is the full ice age to interglacial variation [admittedly abetted by slowly changing ice albedo effects]*). Because the sun is growing brighter, we need to drawdown CO2 by a factor of two every couple hundred million years, in order to break even climatewise.

* At least for the anthropogenic case, the lifetime of the bulk of the extra CO2 is thought to be shorter than the time for the major ice sheets to respond, so we shouldn't see the full (roughly 2x) multiplier caused by that feedback efect.

Humans have added roughly 100ppm to the atmosphere and will seriously struggle to add another 100ppm. Now put than in context of the fact that global C02 was as high as 4000ppm or more during the carboniferous (as the difference between this and current C02 is roughly the amount that has been sequestered)

4000ppm in the Carboniferous? Not according to anyone I know. It is oxygen that was off the charts in the Carboniferous, not carbon dioxide. Berner's GEOCARB III model shows a large drop in CO2 during the Devonian and Carboniferous after high values in the early Paleozoic, a huge spike coincident with the P/T extinction that is maybe ~3000ppm, still high values in the early Mesozoic, and then a gradual decline to today's low value.

But you have to also remember this is superimposed on the sun's gradual warming. For instance, despite a huge amount of atmospheric CO2 compared to today in the Ordovician and Silurian, the reconstructed climate shows a large temperature drop at that time, way below the Phanerozoic average.

It's all about context...

Berner should check his model, The Geology of the Carboniferous, both Mississippian and Pensylvanian do not fit that the idea of an O2 saturated atmosphere.

I'm neither a geochemist nor a modeler so it's hard for me to comment much on this; I'm just reporting the accepted/conventional wisdom. But can you be more specific as to why Carboniferous geology violates the model? The presumed oxygen concentration is on the order of 30% (not exactly my idea of "saturated"), vs. today's value of 20.95%.

I met Bob Berner a couple years ago when he came to UW to visit my adviser, and talked to him about GEOCARBSULF and its descendants a bit. I got the impression he doesn't necessarily believe what his data says anyway, especially concerning the Paleozoic...

Sorry Ashen; maybe it is closer to the Durassic for that figure. Quick eyeball of this chart as I ddin't closely trace it up!:


I guess they are reconstructed from various proxy so it's also questionable as to their accuracy.


So... you've been studying solar, orbital, atmospheric and ocean physics and chemistry for 40 hours per week for 10 years plus, Marco? And you've had your work peer-reviewed?

If not, why is your "opinion" worth anything against the opinions of thousands of people who have been doing that -- each of whom is only too eager to pick holes in one of the others' papers if they can find a flaw or exaggeration? (That's how you get prestige and funding in the science 'market'.)

The fact that this fractious crew has any kind of agreement about anything ought to tell you something. The fact that they are unanimous ought to tell you something. The fact that ecologists are discovering trends that confirm the physicists' and chemists' conclusions ought to tell you something too.

Please accept reality.

Now, Greg, they are not unanimous. Only about 99% +/- 1% agree that GW / CC are anthropogenic.

Of course it is anthropogenic, and it will be catastrophic. It is a matter of time, and the disagreement seems to be on when. I just hope it is not within my lifetime. Our overpopulated, overconsuming, overweight world is not sustainable, and, given our apparent brain chemistry, will not be. If we could locate the logic gene and make it functional in humans, at least with respect to reproductivity, and a few billion of the world's population disappeared, the impact of Peak Oil would be mitigated. Until then.....

So Bernie Madoff is behind bars and we can all go back to sleep. While I must admit that I enjoy knowing that Madoff will not be sleeping on 600 thread-count Egyptian cotton sheets ever again, I feel that the "financial gurus" who have led to the current financial crises deserve most of my contempt.

There was a lot of buzz yesterday about the Jim Cramer interview on The Daily show on Thursday. This got started however weeks ago with the much publicized rant of Rick Santelli about bailing out "loser mortgages" on the floor of the Mercantile Exchange. Originally Santelli had agreed to go on the Daily Show and take a public grilling however he withdrew and the Daily Show Staff then put together a scathing expose of CNBC on March 4:


I personally think Cramer (a snake oil salesman if ever there was one)was sent out as a sacrificial lamb by his disgraced network CNBC. Financial News? Please!

This would be hysterical if it wasn't criminal. I'm not a stock picker and I don't know anybody other than my half-wit brother in law who is. I like most regular people put money into my 401K as a means of trying to preserve and create financial security for myself and my family. Big Deal! That's what everyone was doing and now we come to find out that the entire Wall Street investment model is a massive Ponzi Scheme.


IMHO, Jon Stewart asked more of the kind of questions nthat eed to be asked in those 20 minutes or so than the "MSM" has in a very long time.

I was kind of suprised sincee one could argue Viacom - to which The Daily Show ultimately belongs - is one of the media conglomerates beholding to those that need to be questioned, investigated, indicted, prosecuted, fined and jailed.

The Fourth Estate has totally abdicated its role and responsibility, but we - here - know that.

And while Obama and his administration discount the blogosphere, thank goodness there is TAE, Denninger, Mish - and oh yes TOD ;-) - as well as many others.


And still no link to TAE in the blogroll cartouche. WTF, Oil Drum?

Stoneleigh and Ilargi are your friends.

I guess...

Blog Ain't Thicker Than Water.



I suspect the Blogroll hasn't been changed in 18 months, regardless of the site. That may be the issue.

One of the things I learned from the Depression's impact upon my family and relatives was the absolute necessity to preserve assets and being risk adverse even at the "expense" of losing "appreciation."

Many of us saw this crap coming years ago and got out of investments. In my case, some money went into things like our PV system and the balance placed in CDs. I recognized that while the CDs paid crap, i.e., less than inflation, the money itself was not at risk and earned some rate of return.

Finally, I really see everything that is happening as the failure of complex systems. It used to be a bank was a bank. A company called Jones Iron Works produced iron products rather than being vertically integrated with lots of ancillary wholly owned subsidiaries.


...."the entire Wall Street investment model is a massive Ponzi scheme"

Nassim Taleb says the stock market is a "mild Ponzi scheme".(New Yorker interview in Jan.)

I agree with Stoneleigh that human beings are naturals at inventing Ponzi schemes, which often have no evil intention or any "bad guy" at the center---Ponzi schemes just occur spontaneously because of human nature. Lots of real estate markets, for example, seem to be pyramid or Ponzi schemes. Sometimes I wonder if higher education is another mild Ponzi scheme. I believe Leanan once said that emigrating to America is a Ponzi scheme.(I hope I am not unintentionally misquoting or misrepresenting what these TODers said!) Ponzi Schemes like these can last for years or decades, perhaps even centuries....

What I am trying to say is get used to finding Ponzi Schemes and don't be surprised when you do. They are everywhere. Especially the stock market!

Here's Taleb on Bloomberg tv last week

Taleb Says U.S. Banking System Is `Designed to Blow Up'

This is a fairly lengthy (16 minutes) and detailed interview and well worth watching.

Above, Gail asked that we provide links to interesting stories in Leanan's vacation-absence. I didn't see any link to this - a call for the creation, basically, of a huge woodlot (that is, most of Ontario, owned by the Crown), to feed new high-efficiency woodstoves.

My sense is that there is something seriously wrong with the rosiness of the picture painted, but I have to leave it up to those with more insight into the mass use of wood to heat homes to see where the holes might be in this plan (if, indeed, there are any):


The availability of wood varies a lot by where one is located. This article is from Canada. In Canada, I would think that there would be no shortage of wood, especially if you get away from the largest cities. In the US, it is somewhat different.

Yeah, keep in mind that Ontario alone is about the size of France plus Spain combined, with a population of only about 12 million. Most of the province is forested.

Not only the wood stoves but the homes they go into need to be high efficiency. With 12 million people how many houses is this and how many would need the wood stoves, everyone or just a % of them?

Some basics. One Cord of wood is 8 feet by 8 feet by 4 feet. 256 cubic feet of wood give or take, because of how you stack good firewood you still have gaps in there but fill a space of 256 cubic feet with wood and you get a cord. How many cords of wood per fireplace per year? Now you get into some numbers we don't know.

Then you have to think about the types of trees you want to burn, low resin or high resin. Generally conifers have higher resin, which might not burn all the way up so it leaves a lot of soot in your flue and even some burnable tars.

grawth rate of the trees you are using, size of the trees you will be cutting, and then you get a picture off what all you need for you to heat all those homes.

Then you have to heat them every year, forever on your woodlot. And throw in that you still have to worry about pests, forestfires, other users asking for wood, and other uses of the wood left over, or even other things I am not thinking about.

A rough idea is this 3 million homes, 4 cords of wood each, 256 cubic feet of wood, equals...3,072,000,000 cubic feet of wood, translated to board feet for a number used in the feild...36.8 Billion Board Feet of Lumber bark included.

This is an over simplified example but you can see some scale to the problem.

What if everyone wanted to do that,, not a good idea.


You are thinking like an American.

Consider if the wood was burned in a CHP (central heat & power plant) ? And many of those homes had shared walls (apartments, condos, townhomes) ?

"Wood burning" in a CHP is down by professionals with much more sophisticated equipment. Perhaps pelletized wood. etc. Much higher thermodynamic efficiency.


At least now while thinking like an American, which is kinda sad seeing that I have lived in other places, we now know they could heat 3 million free standing homes.

If they have homes like you say, sure they could do all that with a lot less Hectares of wood, and get a chance to save almost all their Old Growth forests.

But the way the guy was talking in the article, he almost says it would be better to chop all the Old Growth down and plant the place up with younger trees. That just plain sucks, I am somewhat of a reformed Tree Hugger.

Now we ask if they will manage their Woodlot like I would manage it? Not likely.


100 million hectares of forests is what they claim to have in the providence. now we have a number to play with.

But I would not cut down the old growth forest just to burn it. I would set up areas where there has already been logging and make them Woodlots for firewood and other timber uses.

Seedling to firewood give or take 20 years for a good sized tree without having a lot of hybrids running around. Trees 3 meters apart in a grid pattern gives you 900 trees per hectare. If you use all the tree for firewood you might need 70 to 90 trees per household for a year's worth of wood, It might be lower but I am thinking slower growing hardwoods here. 10 homes per hectare, 3 million homes, 300,000 hectares times 20 years or 6 million hectares.

If farmed in the right way it is managable.

But a tree is not a fossil Fuel, no matter how many times that writer said it that way.

All in all sooner or later most of us might be back to this way of heating our homes anyway. But I would always add that there are more than one way to use what is out there, sun wind and rain can all be used as energy sources, besides the wood on your land.


Have you ever considered that we need to sequester carbon to actively reduce carbon dioxide in the atmosphere?

One of the best ways to do this is to preserve our existing trees and plant many,many more.

I'm sure there are ways to heat dwellings efficiently without burning wood or fossil fuels.

I agree, I was just completing the thought puzzle the person at the top of thread posed.

But we aren't going to be able to put all that carbon back in it's bottle. Not by using trees to do so. We have used just about 1 Trillion Barrels of Oil in the last 150 years not counting the amount of NG and Coal we have used. That was Eons worth of trees( yeah I know really algea, but if it were trees, we'd need more land to plant them, than we have available).

I am a Tree Hugger, I will burn wood, but I would be growing that wood for that reason and it would not be all of my land. Plus there is dead fall and trimmings and other methods to heat and cook with as well.


"AT&T To Invest $565M In Natural Gas Vehicles"

Why don't they instead send $$ on their core business (wire and wireless) networks for energy efficiency and then DC & PV power it. Many of the outside phone cabinets in the Pensacola area have a sign on them "Power on ??" before locking. Since the Hurricanes of 04 & 05 there are now Diesel Gen sets at the cell towers - Diesel is precious after a storm. Oh I forgot, FEMA will tank truck it in, That happen during the Ice Storm in Arkansas and the tank trucks couldn't figure out where to go.

This is a fascinating development:

U.N.'s Water Czar to Participate in Protests at U.N.-Backed Water Conference

Just a few months after being appointed the United Nations' senior adviser on water, a top U.N. official is heading off to Istanbul to take part in protests ... against a U.N.-backed water conference.

Maude Barlow, attending the conference in her official role as the U.N.'s "water czar," will help lead at least 200 activists in protests and demonstrations against the weeklong World Water Forum, where the U.N. on Monday will unveil its flagship report on water resources.

Barlow was named to the post in December. She is a chief opponent of the privatization of water, which she and allied protesters say exacerbates a crisis in the developing world.
Whiskey is for drinking, water is for fighting.
Water flows uphill to money.

With Leanan out, we really need more staff to keep up Drumbeat.

If anyone would be interested in helping, please send me an email at GailTverberg at comcast dot net.

I have often wondered how the heck she does it while also holding down a full-time job.

According to my local newspaper, NY State is looking to ban or severely restrict phosphorous content in detergents and lawn fertilizer, to eliminate the sort of run-off pollution that causes algae and bacteria blooms. I applaud NYS for being generally proactive on environmental issues including this one, but I'm also wondering with the pending I-NPK shortages oft discussed here, how much phosphorous supply such a ban would free up for more worthwhile agricultural applications. Anyone have any idea what percentage of our phosphorous consumption goes into detergent and/or lawn fertilizer?

- Walt

I would expect that, according to your bio, you would remember that NYS has not always had such an enlightened approach.

Love Canal is the most infamous that comes to my mind first. But I also remember what the Hudson River smelled like in the mid '60's.
I went to jr. high in Newburgh and remember visiting a family friend often, who lived within walking distance to the river. Progress of the environmental sort is always good :-)

Seriously, what happened to airdale? Should we be concerned?

Southwest KY, right ?

I heard from his recently. He seems to be unhappy with the way some commenters treated him (or perhaps each other.) Otherwise, he is OK.

It would be good to have him back.

I totally agree with the excess rudeness. Airdale please come back. You're part of the fabric that makes this site so useful.

Please come back.

Great American Drilling Boom is Over
Bad news in the oil patch hits the NY Times; TOD'ers of course saw this coming from 30 different directions, especially the cancellations of Canada tar sands projects. Now factor in how much oil & gas consumption has actually declined (insert latest IEA, EIA numbers here) and we're setting ourselves up for shortages and another price shock. Hold on to your seats folks.

Dick Lawrence

The great American drilling boom is over.

Lower prices have ended the frantic push to find and exploit new sources of natural gas.

The number of oil and gas rigs deployed to tap new energy supplies across the country has plunged to less than 1,200 from 2,400 last summer, and energy executives say the drop is accelerating further.

Lower prices are bringing to an end an ambitious effort to squeeze more oil from aging fields and to tap new sources of natural gas. For the last four years, companies here drilled below airports, golf courses, churches and playgrounds in a frantic search for energy. They scoured the Rocky Mountains, the Great Plains, the Gulf of Mexico and Appalachia.

But the economic downturn has cut into demand. Global oil prices and American natural gas prices have plummeted two-thirds since last summer. Not even an unseasonably cold winter drove down unusually high inventories of natural gas.

The drop has been good news for American consumers, with gasoline now selling for $1.92 a gallon, on average, down from a high of $4.11 in July. But the result for companies is that it is becoming unprofitable to drill.

The reversal of fortune could have important implications for the future health of the nation’s energy companies, for consumer wallets and for national aspirations to rely less on foreign energy sources.

The drilling cutback has been particularly stark for natural gas. Gas exploration had soared in recent years after technology advances enabled the exploitation of gas trapped in huge shale beds found around Fort Worth, western Pennsylvania, upstate New York and elsewhere.

But that boom has created such abundant supplies that companies are not only drilling less but also deciding not to pump from wells already drilled.


Did anyone see the Medium from this week? Was all about prepping for SHTF.


The article up top about the limits of population.

They keep saying the Planet will fail. I really dislike that theme, the planet will go on traveling around the sun no matter how many people are on it. They should be saying. The Ecosystem will be distroyed. Not saying the Planet will be distroyed.

Granted Venus is a nice place to live if you are a heat and cold loving creature out of a good sci-fi story, so are all the others out there that are not earth like, and not that great for humans to live on.

I don't think we will safely reach 10 billion people though, seeing that we are not safely holding onto 7 billion people now. We are reaching our terminal limits and we are getting ready for a major change in the coming years, still trucking along and adding 90 million people a year (this is an old number who really knows what the actual number is, most of these numbers are at best, just best guesses).

Will we get to the point that no one can live on earth, I don't think we are that far gone just yet. But certainly not 10 billion people, not with how close we are to Peak Oil Production, Peak Food Production, and Having our Fish Stocks in such a mess that they are.

On a side note, today for $11.65 per pound I could have bought Blue Fin Tuna, Once it is caught I hope what I saw in the cases won't go to waste, but really, why do we need to be eating them and not herring?

If someone could manger for all the world a way to get everyone into a balanced diet, with all the food they need to not be hungry most of their lives, get everyone healthy, then we could take stock in how much food that would mean and how much food we might be able to produce world wide. But we still have countries where food sits and spoils while someone is not getting it to the people that need it for whatever reason, mostly war and supply chain problems.

I am a fan of Star Trek, but that future is not our present, we still horde food and take it away from others because we don't like them for some reason.

We can all think about being sane, but convincing others to do the same thing is still our problem.


Global warming activist are about controling the rest of us,

Years ago Volcanes started putting co2 into the atomosphere.The plants need co2 in order to grow. Man eates plants and the animals that eat the plants.Plants give off Oxygen,people and most animals breathe oxygen Wow !!
What a concept. the libs say the plants absorb co2 like its bad for them.Their brains are backwards.
No More Grants for Scientists !!!!

Look drummers we must go solar and turn away from oil and all the things that are involved in this effort, but to waste money as these globle activist are doing is not helping our cause, and since the rest of the industralized nations are not going to do anything to curb emissions and cannot be ruled as the U.S. is to cut emmissions only causes economic hardship for the U.S. further hindering a policy that must be made when oil on the world market becomes unafordable,

another energy source for transportation must decided upon and then supported and mandated or what will come we will have no control over.
I know for many the talk of nuclear powered electricity is a no no but at least we could have dependable reliable afordable secure if a we bit dangerus electricity, even if we lose afordable transportation.

good post 1963 so much trouble coming Ug.

not to belittle airdale, i was just thinking about OILCEO: the streaker of good oil debate. Those were the good Olden days

Don the Sailorman, amoung others. I have been on the site for 3 years and 26 weeks, but I have been an off and on poster/reader. Some of this stuff is just being revisited with new people making the posts, but all in all a pretty nice place to have been a part of.

For those that have contacts with those that are no longer part of here, let them know we miss them. I know a few we might not want to have back here, but I don't remember any of their names, smile.

Hugs to the folks here, hands someone a flower and someone else a beer.


Global warming activist are about controling the rest of us

Mmm... Who do I control?

From user guidelines:

1. When citing facts, provide references or links.

Your link?

2. Make it clear when you are expressing an opinion. Do not assert opinions as facts.

Can you prove I am trying to control others?

3. When presenting an argument, cite supporting evidence and use logical reasoning.

Again, your links and research? We have facts that tell us the opposite is true: BuCheney changing science research and muzzling scientists; Exxon paying for "research"; The Marshall Institute intentionally creating obfuscation on the topic. (All of these have been linked extensively on these forums.)

5. Ad hominem attacks are not acceptable. If you disagree with someone, refute their statements rather than insulting them.

Think you missed on this one, too. I've been accused of the same, so know whereof I speak.


With all this talk of economic turmoil, of what will probably happen post peak oil, etc., I wonder what will happen to the US when China at some point says 'NO' to anymore lending. Wouldn't that spell the end of this country? Afterall, we have to have everything. The best military, F22's, best tanks, subs, aircraft carriers, medicare, fed. housing, on and on and on. Whenever someone says, why don't we do without such and forth, everyone says, no, we must have that too, so we never do without anything, and still reduce taxation and run up ever bigger deficits and long term debt. So when China says no more, doesn't that mean a full scale war between those two countries? US leaders would say, "No, we must have everything and politically offer more tax cuts", and China will say, "Sorry aholes, the free ride is over" and then the last war will erupt with missles launched, Armeggeden.

Maybe that's too black and white, but what else can happen? We can't stop demanding everything and our leaders must offer tax cuts, and China will not lend forever, so what happens?

We right the debt off the books, tell everyone that at noon on tuesday next the debt we owe all you folks out there is null and void. and all that you owe us is also null and void.


Money is just a place holder for the Zero.

I don't think going to war is in either China's best interest or ours.

Could we wipe the slate clean if we really wanted to do that? I have no clue, we would be in a pickle, but aren't we in one right now?

Runs over to the Campfire thread to post this thought stream.


Hello TODers,

Is Madagascar headed to Easter Island writ large?

March 14 (Bloomberg) -- An opposition group in Madagascar said it removed the government of President Marc Ravalomanana and installed a transitional authority to run the island.
Since this island country is the largest vanilla exporter: how soon until vanilla ice cream and Twinkies start heading towards Unobtainium? Will this help wake up the average 'Murkan to Peak Everything?

A dated 2003 weblink, but it might be illustrative of what's to come:

Vanilla Prices go through the roof
Poor growing seasons in Madagascar cause spike in costs

..Consumers who buy vanilla for their kitchen have seen the price for a small, 4-ounce bottle of pure vanilla at the supermarket climb to as much as $20, compared with $6 a few years ago.

The food industry blames the jump in prices on a series of bad growing seasons in the No. 1 vanilla-producing country, Madagascar.

..Madagascar usually exports nearly 4 million pounds each year and supplies 75 percent of the world's vanilla.
Kinda difficult to labor in the vanilla fields if full-scale resource war is ongoing in Madagascar.

Vanilla is the second most expensive spice after saffron, due the extensive labor required to grow the seed pods used in its manufacture.

Growing vanilla is extremely labor intensive--a delicate and inevitably expensive operation. Hurrying the process or attempting shortcuts diminishes quality. Only a small portion of the beans grown worldwide is given the care and patience that allows the bean to fully mature, a process critical to obtaining the finest flavor from each individual bean.

..Without pollination the blossom wilts and falls, and no vanilla bean can grow. Each flower must be hand-pollinated within 12 hours of opening. The only insect capable of pollinating the blossom is the Melipona, a bee, native only to Mexico. All vanilla grown today is pollinated by hand.

Harvesting vanilla beans is as labor intensive as pollinating the blossoms. Each bean ripens at its own time, requiring a daily harvest for 3 or 4 weeks. To ensure the finest flavor from every bean, each individual pod must be picked by hand just as it splits. One by one we pick them at the peak of their perfection. It is crucial that the vanilla bean not be harvested until it is yellow on the tip and is beginning to split on the end. If picked too green the bean will lack flavor and develop molds that will eventually cause it to rot. Growers are inclined to pick the vanilla green so that they can cash in on their crop before the “vanilla rustlers” visit their fields at night stealing the beans from their vines.
If bees start drasically declining in the US: lots of 'busybee' future work in hand-pollination. I would like to see the former Wall Street elites to be manually forced to take a great 'interest' in doing the hand pollination of Prickly Pear Cacti.

EDIT: http://www.ibra.org.uk/articles/20080611_10
Extinction of Melipona beecheii and traditional beekeeping in the Yucatan peninsula

Tontoneila -"the hand pollination of Prickly Pear Cacti".

I love that - best laugh of the day.You are definitely smarter than yeast.

Although Madoff was a crook and pissed this money away living the high life, I wonder what we would have thought of him if he had instead funneled this $50 billion into Peak Outreach over many years?

Imagine TOD, EB, and the other charity websites having a TV broadcast channel to rival ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, BBC, etc. We could have produced an endless stream of movies and DVDs, high quality charts and statistics, intricate polling of the viewers, lots of in-depth research, and long televised discussions. Picture TAE's Ilargi & Stoneleigh hosting long discussions with Calente, Shedlock, Denninger, and others. IMO, much more informative and entertaining than Cramer or Kudlow.

What would a couple of Madoff's billions have bought in terms of solving the problems with bees' CCD and the bats' white nose fungal infection? How many solarPV and car battery combo bathouses could his money have built? 100,000? 1 million? 5 million?

What would his money have bought us in terms of making everyone aware of Malthus, Jay Hanson, Archdruid Greer, Orlov, Heinberg, et al? My guess: Spectating of ProSports would have evaporated, Tiger would be plowing golf courses, and winning an organic tomato growing contest would get higher ratings than the Oscars.

Another couple of billion into sex & Overshoot education: Planned Parenthood would be packed and vasectomy clinics would be much busier than any liposuction/boob implant/botox salon. We would never read about the Octomom, Palin's daughter, or the Duggar family types having a litter.

Yep, Madoff could have used his ponzi scheme to help end all our ponzi schemes. Too bad, he is probably a very smart man, but never used his fund-raising talents to leverage towards a greater goal of Optimal Overshoot Decline.

Re: Madoff

It seems to me that people are consistent with their morality. If Madoff was a contributor, it was probably for show. To think that someone could run his "game" and still be capable of morality is inconceivable to me.

Oh yeah, and Eliot Spitzer could have been donating his excess funds to charity as well, and praying in church instead of preying in hotel rooms.

Having just this past month gotten a Whole Pound of Vanilla beans from an online company for a rather good price. 80 Madagascar beans for right at 60 dollars which was them plus shipping and handling, it was the best deal I have had in a long time.

I have 10 bottles of 8 beans each soaking in White Rum outside in a cabinet. In 9 months I will have 4 liters of very strong flavored Vanilla Rum.

You do have to watch out for what you pay for in the stores when you get Vanilla Extract, there are some good produces out there, but there are also better and cheaper methods to make your own too. Some produces use "Artifical" flavorings to make it taste or smell like Vanilla, though most people can not tell the difference.

By favorite is to get whole coffee beans and soak them in Rum, after a few weeks you decant off the rum and add more to the bottle. Several times of doing this you get a very strong flavoring agent.

Vanilla is grown in about 8 different places world wide, and yes it is labor intensive, but Prices have come down a whole lot if you know where to shop for them.

If you pick green beans you won't get as good a market for them. Just shoot the rustlers.


The links talk about 'false vanilla beans' containing Cumarin, which causes liver damage. The artificial vanilla is derived from wood. That can't be good for people in the long run either as we are not termites.

I to, hope Airdale is well. It's looking a little bit like we finally got cut a break. Temps are up and the mounds of snow are finally starting to get smaller. Now we are into the hope it thaws slowly so we can avoid flooding.

Late nite drumbeat post my typical. I saw ducks yesterday headed north. The birdbath is still under 3 feet of snow. But one quick fire in the morning heats the house for the day now, we may be beyond the shoveling wood into the wood stove stage. That always gives me hope. It gives me time.

Time is the hardest thing, we all give it, and loose it but it is your most precious thing, it's all we are given as we enter this world and as we use it up we leave this world. All Madoofs millions won't buy him time, BTW anyone here chuckling over his last name, like in "made off" with the goods.

So it looks like spring might be coming here once again, loading wood today I got too hot in my chore coat. The dog prefers the cold snow to the wet puddles, so he dances about the yard now.

Read some Global warming stuff up above, not sure at all why this is so hard. Basic physics, google heat engine. We had a ton of snow this winter, pounded if you will, my back is going to be sore till I can lay naked in the sun in july. I'm not understanding why the concept is so hard.

The atmosphere warms, warm air holds more energy and moisture, duh. When that energy is triggered to release I get pounded with snow. My driveway is a tunnel, snow banks are over the top of the car, gets harder and harder to put the snow somewhere. So is this some kind of sign, no, it's winter in Maine. So we had a cold, heavy snow winter, totally invaladates warming right? I so just chuckle.

While the broad and even global focus is well, we each have to live our days, I'm responsible for keeping my house warm. Quick tight focus, keeping the house warm has nothing to do with money, oh yeah you all may think it does, you're ability to make money means someone delivers your fuel of choice, oil, propane, natural gas, electricity, but what if you made no money, your very socially conscious job is gone. Your family still needs to be warm, and here it's a tough climate for that.

Sometimes, and this is not something I share a lot, I wish I could have been alive when Hector was there, maybe I was. In the time of Achilles. When Troy fell. When I first looked at history this one just struck home. They had morals and honor, or so we are told.

Spring does this, a time of renewal, and think about trees, alive and then not and then alive again.
I'm so ready for my trees to be alive again.

It's been harsh this winter, I'm ready for my forest to embrace me. I wish you all well, and my thoughts go out to Airdale.


Don in Maine

And down here in Arkansas, the Red Buds are blooming. I love the tiny purple flowers of a Red Bud tree, I wish I had space for a few more than the one I have.

The Pin Oak in the back has it's leaves still so real spring time is not here just yet, but it got warn and the Irises bloomed which is kinda odd they usually bloom a little later than this. But the seasons have been odd lately.

Hope you get to see more buds and flowers soon.


Ps, yeah I am up late again.