Drumbeat: March 20, 2009

Solar Power Capacity Grows 17% in the U.S., Says Industry Group

The overall solar power production capacity reached about 8.78 gigawatts last year, up 17 percent from the 2007, according to SEIA's year-in-review report. The new installations for 2008 included 342 megawatts of solar-panel systems, 139 megawatts (thermal equivalent) of water heaters, 762 megawatts of pool heating (thermal equivalent) systems and 21 megawatts (thermal equivalent) of space heating and cooling equipment.

No commercial concentrating solar-thermal power projects came online last year, the SEIA said. . .

The SEIA looked at solar-panel installations by state and found that California led the country in installing 178.6 megawatts of new systems in 2008, followed by New Jersey with 22.5 megawatts and Colorado with 21.6 megawatts.

Calif. solar effort flags in frozen housing market

California's ambitious solar-energy rebate program is slumping in the state's deep, prolonged housing crisis.

Builders of new homes filed 139 rebate applications in January and 159 in February, according to California Energy Commission data. That is down from 709 in December and 485 in November last year.

The solar program's slide reflects the mood in the economy and the downturn in the housing market, in which new-home construction fell to a record low last year as banks stopped lending and foreclosures spread. An energy commission official drew a direct link between stalled solar activity and the housing freeze.

EU energy companies get €1B subsidy for clean coal

Some of Europe's biggest energy companies will get more than €1 billion from the European Union to test out controversial "clean coal" technology under a deal struck Friday by EU leaders.

The EU's 27 nations agreed on a stimulus package that would invest €1.05 billion ($1.42 billion) in building 13 carbon capture-and-storage projects that could allow European power companies to keep burning cheap coal as the region tries to slash greenhouse gas emissions. . .

The companies will have to show they have private funding and planning permission for the plants before the end of 2010 to get the money.

EnBW, Swiss BKW detail German coal power plant plan

Southwestern German utility EnBW and Swiss peer BKW FMB firmed up long-standing plans for a new coal-fired power station to be built jointly at Doerpen in north Germany. . .

The plans would provide for an option to use so-called combined heat and power (CHP) generation, which recycles heat from the process rather than just releasing it into the air.

A further provision will be made to allow for future use of so-called carbon sequestration (CCS) by allocating space for installations at the plant to scrub off, or capture CO2, once technology to do so is mature enough to be employed.

Turning toxic coal ash into bridges, buildings

To reduce the need to store the materials, the EPA promotes beneficial reuse of coal combustion products such as fly ash, bottom ash and boiler slag.

" 'Waste' is such a bad term," said Chett Boxley, a chemist at Ceramatec, a research company in Salt Lake City, Utah. "It's really not waste at all. It's a material waiting to be made into a great product." . .

In 2007, more than 80 percent of coal-plant boiler slag was utilized, mostly for sandblasting or as the grit on roofing shingles. Forty percent of bottom ash became a gravel substitute, fill for embankments or ice control agent, according to the coal ash group.

"Use of coal ash as structural fill is a very, very dangerous use of ash," said Evans, who recently visited the Tennessee spill site. "If you're talking about putting ash in quarries to fill a void, that's a very dangerous use of coal ash."

About 44 percent of fly ash found uses, mostly as a substitute for some of the Portland cement in concrete, a use the EPA especially encourages because any heavy metals in the ash are trapped forever.

Study: Microwind turbines a tough sell in Mass.

The Massachusetts Renewable Energy Trust commissioned a study last year to review electricity output from 21 small wind turbines in the state and the results were surprising: the data showed that the estimated production was about three times higher than the turbines' actual production.

The analysis is not the final word on small wind generators, but is significant because few states have done similar reviews, say the study's authors. . .

The problem is not that the technology doesn't work. Aerovironment's roof-mounted turbines installed at Boston's Logan airport and other spots, for example, have performed well. The challenge is finding--and choosing--sites with sufficiently strong wind, particularly in cities.

E. Iowa wind turbine plant announces layoffs

A wind turbine assembly plant in eastern Iowa says its laying off 58 workers.

The West Branch-based Acciona plant says the economic downturn forced the cuts, which will take place in 60 days. That's despite tax credits extended to the wind power industry as part of the stimulus package enacted by the federal government in February.

Acciona says it'll take time those subsidies to translate into wind turbine orders.

Haynesville Shale wells producing extraordinary numbers

There are 266 wells permitted to drill in the Haynesville Shale. Forty-four of them are active and producing, according to data from Natural Resources.

Of those 44, eight produced from 100 million to more than 700 million cubic feet of natural gas in December.

Ray Lasseigne, president of TMR Exploration in Bossier City, said these wells are producing phenomenal numbers, especially compared to conventional, vertical wells drilled in other natural gas formations, like the Elm Grove and Caspiana fields.

A good well in those fields could produce 2 million to 3 million cubic feet of natural gas a day, Lasseigne said.

"Obviously, the shale wells are up to 10 times better than the typical wells drilled over the last five or six years," he said. "These are phenomenal wells. Even the major players are pleasantly surprised by the quality of these wells."

Shale Plays Gone Wild - The Haynesville

Development of the Haynesville shale is progressing so quickly that it may be hard for the region's infrastructure to keep up with the production from the area. Regency Energy Partners (Nasdaq:RGNC) just obtained financing from several outside partners, including a unit of General Electric (NYSE:GE), to build an extension onto its existing pipeline in Louisiana. Regency said that it already had commitments for 84% of the pipelines capacity even though it won't open until the end of 2009.

The Haynesville shale attracts both large and small energy companies.

Schlumberger making expansion announcement

Schlumberger Ltd., the world's largest oil field services company, is expanding its operation in Shreveport.

Company spokesman Stephen Harris would not provide details, but says an announcement will come later Friday involving a 250,000-square-foot expansion in the city. Shreveport is close to the Haynesville Shale, a major natural gas find and considered one of the largest new domestic fields in years in the United States.

Oil at sea fills 40 supertankers: Frontline

Oil storage at sea has not fallen much due to a shrinking contango in oil futures markets, Frontline (FRO.OL), the largest oil tanker shipping company, said Friday.

Frontline acting CEO Martin Jensen told Reuters there were currently around 40 very large crude carriers storing oil offshore. Each supertanker can store around 2 million barrels. Combined, the supertankers could be storing 80 million barrels, or nearly one day's worth of global oil supplies.

Jensen last estimated on Feb. 23 that crude oil storage at sea was at least 80 million barrels.

The estimate signals that the recent rise in prices for prompt crude had yet to sharply cut the number of supertankers storing oil, as some oil and shipping analysts have suspected.

Oil recoups losses after ship collision

Oil hovered above a four-month high today at $52 a barrel, recouping earlier losses as the market sought a new base above $50 and after news of a ship collision in the key Strait of Hormuz shipping lane.

The market surged on Thursday to $51.61, its highest settlement since 28 November, after the US Federal Reserve announced a plan to buy long-term government debt and the dollar fell, boosting investor appetite for commodities.

"The sentiment that the economy may improve and that the Fed's moves may be inflationary has crude trying to put in a base above $50 after breaking out of its recent range," Gene McGillian, an analyst at Tradition Energy in Connecticut, told Reuters. . .

"There is no disruption to shipping traffic in the strait. Both ships are operating under their own power and have passed through the strait," a US Navy spokesman told Reuters.

Obama offers Iran a 'new beginning'

US President Barack Obama offered Iran a "new beginning" of diplomatic engagement, offering to turn the page on decades of US policy towards America's long-time foe.

"My administration is now committed to diplomacy that addresses the full range of issues before us, and to pursuing constructive ties," Obama said in a videotpaed message released to select Middle East broadcast outlets this morning. . .

Reaching out directly to Iranian leaders and their people, Obama said: "This process will not be advanced by threats. We seek instead engagement that is honest and grounded in mutual respect."

Fluor Says Kuwait Halts $2.1 Billion in Refinery Work (Update2)

Fluor Corp. said the Kuwait National Petroleum Co. canceled its contract for the Al-Zour refinery project and the remaining $2.1 billion in work will be removed from first-quarter backlog. . .

Al-Watan reported this week that Kuwait planned to scrap the project, citing the emirate’s Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser al- Mohammed al-Sabah. The country notified South Korean builders of the cancellation yesterday, saying the refinery is no longer economically viable as oil prices have fallen more than 50 percent from their peaks.

IEA report rains on Cantarell parade

The Paris-based International Energy Agency (IEA) said today that Mexican state-run giant Pemex has an overly optimistic outlook for the giant Cantarell oilfield. . .

In its latest monthly Oil Market report, the IEA predicts average production of around 600,000 barrels per day at Cantarell this year, compared with Pemex' target of 756,000 bpd.

Crisis could boost emissions long term: IEA

The economic crisis may lower carbon emissions in the short term but will raise them over the long term by crimping investment in cleaner energy sources, the International Energy Agency's chief economist said on Thursday.

The impact of the financial crisis and the ensuing economic slump on energy investments had been "stronger than anyone expected" and significant enough to have an impact on climate change and the whole energy supply chain, warned Fatih Birol.

"To think that lower economic growth is good for the environment is completely wrong," Birol told Reuters.

"Because there are many investments that are good for the environment, like efficiency, renewables and nuclear, that are being postponed or canceled. One or two years of lower carbon emissions won't count for much at the end of the day."

US IS Salazar says no 'war' on energy companies, asks for cooperation

There is no "war on the oil and gas industry" by the Obama administration, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar told the American Petroleum Institute's board Thursday, saying instead he needs the industry's help in "an honest accounting" of US natural resources under the Outer Continental Shelf.

Salazar, citing the expense of gathering seismic data for offshore resources, asked for more assistance from the petroleum industry in gathering an inventory of available resources in the OCS.

"Our data about oil and gas resources is either out of date or doesn't exist," he said in remarks at the trade group's Washington headquarters, according to a transcript released by the Interior Department.

"In the Atlantic, our limited seismic data is two or three decades old. This is a challenge we need your help to address."

Venezuela, Japan to strengthen oil partnerships

The two nations signed an agreement to cooperate in exploration, production and other areas, according to a statement Thursday from Venezuela's Energy Ministry.

The two countries plan to expand and operate refineries and petrochemical plants in Venezuela. The statement also said President Hugo Chavez will visit Japan on April 6.

Venezuela's state oil company says four Japanese companies are considering investment in heavy oil projects there.

Venezuela to announce economic measures on Saturday

Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez will announce a series of economic measures this weekend to offset lower oil revenues and the impact of the global financial crisis, the socialist leader said on Thursday.

Chavez did not hint at what the measures to be revealed on Saturday might include, but the high-spending president promised he would protect social programs and investment in infrastructure and housing. . .

Chavez made no mention of devaluing the bolivar currency, which many economists say is needed to help cover a budget shortfall caused by the sharp drop in oil income.

Last week, Chavez complained that subsidies on water, electricity and gasoline -- which is among the cheapest anywhere in the world -- unfairly helped the rich, suggesting price rises might be on the cards.

Obama: Investment in energy research creates jobs

President Barack Obama on Thursday said his administration's plans to invest heavily in energy research during hard times will create the kinds of jobs and technology the United States needs to survive economically.

"I know it's not easy," Obama told employees at an electric-car plant here in California, home of a giant and hurting economy. "There are days I'm sure when progress seems fleeting and days when it feels like you're making no progress at all. That's how it feels in the White House sometimes, too."

The president defended pumping billions of dollars into energy research, saying that sometimes great discoveries don't happen in a flash of brilliance, but rather as the result of a deliberate effort over time.

Obamas to Plant Vegetable Garden at White House

WASHINGTON — Michelle Obama will begin digging up a patch of the South Lawn on Friday to plant a vegetable garden, the first at the White House since Eleanor Roosevelt’s victory garden in World War II. There will be no beets — the president does not like them — but arugula will make the cut.

While the organic garden will provide food for the first family’s meals and formal dinners, its most important role, Mrs. Obama said, will be to educate children about healthful, locally grown fruit and vegetables at a time when obesity and diabetes have become a national concern.

Want to pitch an energy idea? Get in line

"What's happening in energy and carbon, what's being contemplated is nothing short of transformational," said Steve McBee, CEO of McBee Strategic Consulting, a lobbying firm with 31 clients interested in energy. Bills planned on energy and climate in Congress, he said, represent "an attempt to fundamentally shift the market."

"There's enough momentum and political will," McBee said, adding that Congress and President Obama "have a fighting chance of getting it done."

Momentum on changing energy policy began in the last two years, as state after state passed regulations promoting renewable energy. The private sector started shifting toward green power production, but that movement stalled with the economic crisis, several lobbyists and energy experts said. With credit dried up and venture capitalists ceasing investments, companies that need money for power projects are turning to the federal government.

Motorists Pared Driving in January, Extending Drop (Update1)

U.S. motorists cut back on driving for a record 14th straight month in January as Americans pared travel and spending with unemployment on its way to the highest in more than 25 years.

Vehicle miles traveled fell by 7 billion, or 3.1 percent, from January 2008, the Federal Highway Administration said in a report today.

Brazil Conducts Energy Pow-Wows for Exploration Offshore Cuba

According to a Dow Jones report, citing Brazilian Mines and Energy Minister Edison Lobao, oil giant Petrobras may commence drilling offshore Cuba within a year. Petrobras' International Director, Jorge Luiz Zelada, also confirmed in January that the company is focusing on conducting seismic surveys in Cuban waters.

Brazil and Cuba are still negotiating, the talks of which need to be finalized before the drilling can begin, the report stated. The two countries' state-run companies, Petrobras and Cubapetroleo (Cupet), have already signed a 32-year oil exploration and production agreement, which involves a seven-year exploration pact in Cuba's offshore Block 37, reports Dow Jones.

Outrage fires up regulation sentiment

Maryland lawmakers are criticizing Constellation Energy Group's plans to award up to $32 million in performance and retention payouts to top executives during the next two years, saying yesterday that the payments ignore the financial struggles of utility ratepayers and shareholders amid the recession. . .

"It is hard to accept the necessity of paying $32 million in retention bonuses during record unemployment," he said.

When Constellation agreed to sell half of its nuclear power business to France's largest utility for $4.5 billion, it negotiated a deal to ensure that senior managers would receive the long-term performance and retention awards they would have received under a previous deal with Warren Buffett.

After agreeing to sell itself to Buffett's MidAmerican Energy Holdings Co. to avert a near-bankruptcy last fall, Constellation dumped that deal in favor of Electricite de France's bid in December.

Constellation has laid off more than 800 workers, slashed its shareholder dividend by half and is seeking the rate increase for BGE's 1.2 million customers.

Deep Water Oil Drilling Scaled Back, May Tighten Crude Supplies

Oil and gas explorers postponing or scrapping deep water drilling projects are potentially reducing crude supplies by as much as 2.4 million barrels a day in 2011, Morgan Stanley said.

Deep water ventures that were planned as of August would have added 6.3 millions barrels a day to global oil supplies, and so far projects that would have provided 2.4 million barrels have been canceled or delayed, analysts Martijn Rats and Robert Pulleyn said in a report today. The amount of future production lost is about 90 percent of India’s demand.

“Lower oil prices and the weaker credit market have had a detrimental impact on the offshore construction market,” the analysts said. Contracts for new floating platforms may halve to 10 this year from 19 last year, they said.

CNPC, Chevron Held Talks on US Oil Field Stake Buy

China National Petroleum Corp. has spurned a chance to secure a first foothold in the U.S. oil sector following an approach by Chevron Corp. to buy a stake in a Gulf of Mexico oil field, a CNPC official said.

San Ramon, California-based Chevron allowed China's biggest state-owned oil company by capacity to review technical data on the Big Foot oil field before a CNPC delegation traveled to the U.S. for initial discussions in the past month.

"Talks with Chevron are currently on hold. We wanted more equity than the 12.5% stake it was proposing to sell," the official said on condition of anonymity.

Tax plan worries oil producers

WASHINGTON - The chairman of the Texas Alliance of Energy Producers warned lawmakers Thursday that proposed tax changes could deal a deathblow to small, independent producers and cause the industry to bleed jobs in an already struggling economy.

Repeals and changes in tax provisions President Obama proposes in his 2010 budget would also squelch U.S. production, TAEP Chairman Mark Metzler said.

"This decrease in domestic production will occur much faster than our nation's ability to replace oil and gas with renewable energy sources," Metzler, chairman of TAEP, told lawmakers in Washington during a small business forum. "As a consequence, expensive imported energy will be required to replace the energy we could produce here."

More thoughts about replacing the dollar as the world's reserve currency:

U.N. panel says world should ditch dollar

A U.N. panel will next week recommend that the world ditch the dollar as its reserve currency in favor of a shared basket of currencies, a member of the panel said on Wednesday, adding to pressure on the dollar.

Currency specialist Avinash Persaud, a member of the panel of experts, told a Reuters Funds Summit in Luxembourg that the proposal was to create something like the old Ecu, or European currency unit, that was a hard-traded, weighted basket.

China backs talks on $US as reserve: source

China and other emerging nations back Russia's call for a discussion on how to replace the US dollar as the world's primary reserve currency, a senior Russian government source said.

Russia has proposed the creation of a new reserve currency, to be issued by international financial institutions, among other measures in the text of its proposals to the April G20 summit published last Monday.

Calls for a rethink of the US dollar's status as world's sole benchmark currency come amid concerns about its long-term value as the US Federal Reserve moved to pump more than a trillion dollars of new cash into the ailing economy late Wednesday.

A U.N. panel will next week recommend that the world ditch the dollar as its reserve currency in favor of a shared basket of currencies, a member of the panel said on Wednesday, adding to pressure on the dollar.

Just what the US needs...... to increase the downward slide, that is. :/

There are definitely some overt collaborations going on between China and Russia that are not in the US' favor. Perhaps it is time we "share" some world domination.

Perhaps it is time we "share" some world domination.

Wouldn't really be world domination then, would it? Remember when Bill Gates said all he wanted was his fair share, that was 100pct. (I think he was talking about the WP market at the time.) Anyway, it's off the table - Dick says no.

What specifically are you proposing?

I wondered when the rest of the planet was going to do something. It's going to be a interesting month if they do go through with issuing the proposal and of course the united state's response. If they implement it, it might just be straw that broke the camel's back.

Historically speaking, beware the country that tries to break the petrodollar cycle (i.e. Iraq).

Speaking of Iraq: Happy 6th birthday to the war!

US flag-burning marks war anniversary

American flags were set on fire Friday to chants of "no, no for occupation" as followers of an anti-U.S. Shiite cleric marked the sixth anniversary of the Iraq war.

In five other Iraqi cities, supporters of cleric Muqtada al-Sadr also either marched or stood in protest after prayers to demand the release of their allies detained at Iraqi and U.S.-run prisons.

The protests came as a suicide bomber in Fallujah killed an Iraqi police officer and five other people, including civilians, in an attempted attack on the home of the local leader of Sunni security volunteers who turned against al-Qaida.

In Baghdad, al-Sadr aide Sheik Haidar al-Jabiri urged supporters to join an April 9 march to protest the six-year anniversary of Americans taking over the city.

"Today, a remembrance of the cruel occupation of Iraq, and on April 9, there will be a chant for liberation," al-Sadr aide Sheik Haidar al-Jabiri told worshippers gathered in Baghdad's Shiite district of Sadr City for Friday sermons.

He added: "Sayed Muqtada invites you to march by the millions on April 9, the anniversary of the cruel occupation."

Don't worry- our job is almost done there...

Iwo Jima of the 21st century

I love that photoshop art piece. I wish I had an 8x7(around there) foot print of it that I could hang from buildings.... Either that, or a 100ft Gadsden flag.

Ask and ye shall receive...


I think this should turn out OK if you print it big.

I hope not because at this point the united states military can't invade another country short of a draft or use of nuclear weapons.

I think plenty of young men out of work may be willing to consider military service.

And of course we can always open the immigrant flow like the North did during the civil war.
Enlist and get a green card.

Next for officers we could offer to clear student loan debts if you enlist. And finally of course we could raise the base pay. In short the US has plenty of ways to raise enlistment levels without resorting to the draft.

Finally historically the draft itself was the biggest problem during the Vietnam war drafting people to fight in senseless wars turned out to be a big mistake. I think they learned their lesson and will only go with a draft at the last minute. I used to be a true believer in the draft but given the current economic conditions and future projections I really think the US can avoid a draft for a surprisingly long time. And last but not least a lot of current probably patriotic federal state and local employees could readily be given the chance to move to military support roles as civilian contractors so today non-combatant roles that where filled by military personal during WWII can be handled by explicit or implicit re-purposing of our large civilian government employee pool.

I don't disagree that we need to eventually expand our military dramatically as we attempt to defend our super power status but I now think that the initial expansion can be done before a draft is needed. And yes obviously I expect that within the next few years we will have effectively a new sort of cold war like situation develop. Call it semi-hot war.

we attempt to defend our super power status

This is an illusion.

The US is an insolvent paper tiger. What are you going to do? Nuke the cropland before you seize it? Invade and fight another insurrection when you have been in Afghanistan longer than it took to complete WWII? Expecting the rest of the world to fund your civil service pay increases? Send you their commodities for your worthless paper?

You don't have anything to defend. Your bankers have blown it all away.

The Roman Empire ended when they could no longer roam.
The US Consumer Empire will end when it can no longer consume.

I agree with what you say about the US being insolvent, but this will probably not deter the politika from engaging in another war. In fact, they may see a big enough war as a way to jump start the economy.

I agree the military might of Russia is still considerable even today and I'd argue they are done pretty much for good once the oil runs out. But even for decades afterwards they will be a military power to contend with. Even with Rome the problem was the split in the empire between east and west and even with that the military might of Rome was still considerable even cut off from its source of funding.

There are good arguments for example thats Germany was technically defeated buy 1942 but they still continued to fight a long war.

Military might generally lasts well past the end of the political infrastructure to use it effectively I see no reason the US won't retain most of its military power for the foreseeable future. In fact the argument that the US is militarily weak is one of the few post peak arguments I'd reject.

Until the internal political infrastructure to wield the military as a cohesive world spanning force is destroyed it will remain and maintain its strength. My general expectation is that before the military allows itself to be dissipated it will take control of the government and indeed for the US at least it will be the eventual fragmentation of the military itself that signals the end of the US Empire. In many ways similar to the end of the empire created by Napoleon. This could well be several coups and counter coups in the future of the US. My best guess is this will eventually be driven by the formation of lawless areas where the population is well beyond the local carrying capacity.

This would be the major cities in the American south west esp southern California in the megaplex of the American north east and potentially larger metro areas like Atlanta and Miami. I thing friction managing these internal problem areas will eventually lead to a split of military command into effectively equal regional powers then and effective dissolution of the US as a cohesive global fighting force. Even then say its split into for or five effectively autonomous districts each of these districts would be a potent military force in and of itself. They may no longer have a global reach but each would be a regional power.

One could easily see a sort of Western power a more constrained central power a Gulf power that included Mexico and a eastern power minus a lot of its cities. The weakest would it seems be the landlocked central power and this could well be and effective vassal of the gulf and or the eastern power. You could see that control of the Mississippi watershed and its rich agricultural valley and other resources. Realistically this is the true center of real renewable wealth in the US.

All of the conjecture could easily take 50 years or more to play out despite the looming bankruptcy of the US. I think one thing many are missing is that the US will take everyone down with it. The political turmoil and war outside the US caused by its default will be greater for a long time then the internal problems. The US could fragment sooner as a military power but despite us probably being the cause and root of the problem we also by virtue of our geography and for better or worse are the world leader will probably feel the least pain for the longest.

At first I gave serious consideration to leaving the US but I could not find a place in the world that would fare much better than certain regions of the US and parts of Canada for that matter. At the end of the day the US has enormous intrinsic wealth and only one problematic boarder with Mexico surrounded by a dense population well past its local carrying capacity. And a similar situation in the north east effectively between Boston and Baltimore. Outside of these two regions the rest of the country as is good as any other place on the planet as far as I can tell. Not to say I'd be that close to Chicago or as I mentioned Atlanta in general I'd steer clear of any city with more than 1 million people in it but other than that given the massive uncertainty about or future its really hard to say this or that place is better.

I see no reason the US won't retain most of its military power for the foreseeable future. In fact the argument that the US is militarily weak is one of the few post peak arguments I'd reject.

Chiarelli, the Army vice chief of staff, inched toward admitting that war-related stress constituted part of the problem. "We are at war, and we have been at war for the past seven-plus years," he noted. "That has undeniably put a strain on our people and equipment," he admitted. "The reality is we are dealing with a tired and stretched force."


Add to this the fact of desert operations which take a significant toll on equipment much of which will need to be replaced, the current excessive deficit and further demands for bailout money, shrinking GDP, restive and unhappy population of unemployed, a world in which the US is no longer respected but viewed as an overstuffed megalomanic financial leper colony, and I am not convinced that the US is as militarily strong as you believe.

I am sure the US could nuke the world, bounce the rubble for 30 days or more and still have a reserve stock of bombs but this is mass genocide and self destruction and I think it unlikely.

Using military adventures as a means to distract the populace from reality is part of the mechanism that got the US into its current predicament. Remember how taking out evil Saddham was going to bring light and democracy to the Middle East, change the world forever? Remember how going shopping was going to save the US economy?

And I still think that there is a huge blowback coming as peoples of the world come to understand the degree to which American financial greed has undermined any possibilty of a settled middle class lifestyle for current or future generations. Look at the antagonism in the US towards AIG and the bailouts. I expect this to be echoed in various forms around the world in months to come.

If a nation looses allies and prestige, if a nation comes to be viewed as a international pariah, if a nation is seen to be consumed with a greed that destroys all others hopes for even a moderate way of life, if a nation is understood to be willing to use its military force to compel submission, if this nation is the United States do you truly think they can claim any form of strength?

The US can invade any country without manpower. They can easily destroy their infrastructure, destroy their military armaments - destroy anything they want to (which is why it can be horrific if sadists like Cheney and Bush take power with an impotent press and a compliant populace). And as demonstrated in Afghanistan, Iraq and Kosovo it does it easily by dropping GPS guided bombs from 50,000 feet and sending in cruise missiles from God knows how far away. They only need "boots on the ground" to enforce behavior after the destruction - that is - for the occupation. The only exceptions - countries we can't easily destroy - are those that could launch a counterattack on our country from the sky.

But why are we talking about the US invading other countries? Is that the solution - steal other people's oil and resources? Are the people on this site in favor of the 1953 CIA backed overthrow of a democratically elected leader in Iran because he was going to nationalize the oil companies? And that was nationalize them, not refuse to sell oil to the US.

Boycotting American products and not using the Dollar are the only 2 ways I came up with as to how the nation could be hurt when I did my 'soul searching' back in last 2001.

Was only a matter of time - from my POV.

Growing drugs that get imported into the US/Printing up fake Dollars was the other ways I thought of - but figured those efforts were well underway and I didn't need to worry about 'em.

I think the rest of the world is beginning to realize that the U.S. and it's debt based financial system is expendable. Since we are all in the same boat (as in, Space Ship Earth), for one country to take a major share of resources for a small fraction of the total population can't be tolerated for long. As it is, the Chinese are out competing the U.S. for resources as they are franticly acquiring rights to mine/extract raw resources from countries around the world.

It would be a small jump for the Chinese to "beggar-thy-neighbor" by slowly killing the U.S. economy, once the Chinese economy has grown to a size which could support itself thru internal consumption alone. Until then, the Chinese might continue to keep it's internal wages low to subsidize their exports while building reserves. WalMart, with it's continued flow of cheap products from Asia, might be thought of as their method of attack. The strategy might be: "If you can't beat them, join them and then beat them at their own game". I think that was the Japanese strategy during their boom years, but they got greedy...

E. Swanson

It would be a small jump for the Chinese to "beggar-thy-neighbor" by slowly killing the U.S. economy,

I think it unlikely that any action by the Chinese can be more effective than the US actions which have killed the US economy, are working hard to beat a dead economic horse further into the ground (we have too much debt. How will we solve this? By taking on more debt, of course), are trivializing the killing, and are rendering moot any possibility of prosperity anywhere in the world.

Remember the US way of life cannot be challenged, changed, or negotiated. The American people are intent on slamming into a brick wall at 100 mph. There is no reason for the rest of us to go along for the ride.

Remember the US way of life cannot be challenged, changed, or negotiated. The American people are intent on slamming into a brick wall at 100 mph. There is no reason for the rest of us to go along for the ride.

Too bad- you are along for the ride... And we've just made contact with the brick wall...

World economy to shrink for first time in 60 years

The global economic slowdown is so severe that the worldwide economy will contract for the first time in 60 years, the International Monetary Fund says.

The total of goods and services produced around the world is projected to slump by 1% in 2009, compared with a 3.2% growth rate the year before.

Leading the slump will be the world's most developed economies, including the United States, Europe and Japan.

Japan's economy is forecast to shrink by 5.8% in 2009, while Europe's is expected to decline 3.2% and the United States' 2.6%.

"Fasten your seatbelts. It's going to be a bumpy night!" - Margo Channing (Bette Davis)

D.C. to America: You Can't Handle the Truth


Too bad- you are along for the ride... And we've just made contact with the brick wall...

I am not sure this is generally understood. TOD is somewhat ahead of the curve. As reality dawns on the publics of the world I think the reaction to all things American will be less than positive - "Waaa? They gorged on debt and they want us to shovel more money in their direction?"

Watch for interest rates to go through the roof and contemplate the impact this will have on your spending, your job, your economy.

And those figures by the world bank and IMF are too optimistic! I think it could well be over 10%+ contraction in the US, Europe and Japan. We might see a glimmer of light in the middle of the year but by the end of the year...The reaper walks in on main streets across the world.

"by slowly killing the U.S. economy"

What's the gain in this? They still see the US consumer as the protein source that could fuel their industrial buildout. I think we tend to project some of our Superman/Badguy mentality on these relationships at our peril.

Don't you think China still wants to be exporting to us?

Don't you think China still wants to be exporting to us?

Language is tricky stuff. The maner in which you phrase your query can influence the result.

Rather than think of Chinese wizards stuffing exports into the USA, think of USA capitalists seeking to lower their production costs by relocating production facilities to China. This gives them both a toehold in a nascent consumer market that will be huge (GM sells more cars in China than they do in the US and this was true before the meltdown), and the opportunity to use China as an export platform to supply western markets.

Look at AIG. For that matter look at the revolving door of Goldman Sachs execs masterminding the use of public funds to aid their fellow "Masters of the Universe." What the downturn exposes is the degree to which a relatively small and privileged group structured economic activity for their own benefit, not for the benefit of the US citizenry. They got the benefit, you get the blowback and your children inherit the debt.

Don't forget that China gains access to technologies and methods they might not otherwise obtain, as the 'captains of industry' will give up the tech to get (temporary) access to the lower production costs.

The trick for humanity will be keeping trade going - nations at trade tend to not be nations at war with the other. (oh and having nukes have so far been a limiter on war - I only hope that trend continues.)

Good point.

To add to it, we should note that the Chinese have managed to obtain the establishment of leading edge research labs in China. Watch for the next level of product development to emerge from Chinese labs. If I could find it I would append the data on foreign students studying in the US. Most of these students are engaged in learning scientific disciplines and if I remember the data correctly, foreign students far outnumber native Americans. You don't pull down AIG salary and bonus watching petri dishes dry. But pushing the envelope on technology is far more renumerative to the nation than coming up with "innovative" financial instruments.

And the importing of good students/exporting of verified trained talent makes for an interesting dynamic one could spend a lifetime trying to "weigh" for a net positive/negative position.

Its trade, its like a marring off of one faction with another for peace, it could advance all of mankind (or not).

You don't pull down AIG salary and bonus watching petri dishes dry.
Kinda looks like you get 'em via fraud, not honest work of telling lab assistants to autoclave up a new batch of agar. (Reminds me I need to do that next week - thanks BOP)

I think the important question is who gets to claim the remaining portion of the world's stores of low entropy mineral resources. As we know, there are two choices, one, find more energy sources, particularly, fossil fuels, or two, take the resources which other countries are presently consuming. That the U.S. has been the consumer of about 25% of world oil production (as well as roughly the same fraction of world GDP) with only 5% of the population suggests to me that it is in the best interest of the rest of the world that the U.S. oil consumption decline precipitously.

What do you think China will do as their coal resources run out? Of course, they can go for the renewable energy sources and nuclear, but, what if things happen too fast for them to convert? With all the discussion on TOD about the impending rapid decline in energy exports after Peak Oil, I think one must expect to see much more intense competition for what oil (and coal and gas) may still be available going forward. China has the money in hand which might allow them to win the economic competition. What's the next alternative after that round is over?

E. Swanson

the world's stores of low entropy mineral resources....What's the next alternative after that round is over?

Its been covered in sci-fiction, the collapse of the FSU, and by authors like Greer - catabolic collapse.

The trick is gonna be how to have the die-off so you are taking and smelting from the dead, not the pesky living who will fight you.

As it is, the Chinese are out competing the U.S. for resources as they are franticly acquiring rights to mine/extract raw resources from countries around the world.

True, they are. But while I think the US empire is doomed, I'm not worried that it is going to be replaced by any other. China is sitting on a volcano of its own. I think that we are actually approaching the end of global empire altogether. The resource base for global empire is in decline, globally. I just hope the empire and wannabes collapse like the Soviets collapsed, not the the way the Nazis collapsed. I don't want to hear any more Wagner.

Bah! I say fire up "Ride of the Valkyries" and go down in a Wagnerian blaze of glory! Think Robert Duvall in Apocalypse Now or Slim Pickens in Dr. Strangelove....Duh duh duh duuuuuh duuuuh...yeee hawwwww!!



Gail --you're cetainly more familiar with such matters then I so please offer some clarifications. Am I correct that no one had nominated the US $ as the "primary reserve currency"? Hasn't it been essentially done by default by those countries which hold US $'s by choice? If China wanted to hold Euros wouldn't they just have to start swapping for them? And if the world (whoever "they" are) produced a basket denomination how would that be any different then the situation we have today: China et al would still have the choice to hold the currency which they felt best protected their interests. I can see that a broader currency base might hold down volatility but just look at the Euro/US$ fluctuations over the last several years. One day you're happy to be holding Euros and then a year or so later you've lost 10% or so of that value to a stronger $. And then swing the other way in another couple of years. And would this new currency be backed by the full support (whatever that really means) of the basket countries?

Again, I don't follow such threads too closely but for all the complaints about the weakness of the $ hasn't it retained value better then almost every other currency? Granted, past performance doesn’t necessarily predict the future but isn't China in much better shape holding $'s the last year then had they switch to Euros (or any other currency, especially like Iceland cronas)?

It seems to me that anyone who is unhappy with the dollar can make their own basket of currencies already. I do not understand how a new reserve currency would work. In the case of the Euro the currency is backed by no country. All it is is a central bank by mutual agreement.

And that is the problem right now. Euro country monetary policy needs differ from country to country. Some countries like Ireland, Spain and Greece need different monetary policy than other countries i.e. Germany. With one international currency monetary remediation for an individual country is precluded since monetary policy is outside it's control.

In the case of the U.S., I suppose the new reserve currency basket would include the dollar which would seem likely since it now the de facto reserve currency. Since the U.S. is a large portion of world trade the percentage of dollars in the basket would have to be appropriately large. If it did not include the dollar, I do not see how there would be enough liquidity in the thing to work.

Liquidity of the dollar, world wide acceptance and the massive supply of them floating around the world due do U.S. imbalances are the reasons for the dollar's reserve position. It seems to me that any replacement would have to duplicate these dollar features or it would not be effective, especially if the dollar is not included in the basket. If it is included in the basket proportionally, I don't see how that changes the current situation much.

X: ..... can make their own basket of currencies already.

You can't do that X , no one can miX stuffs that are not alike --- remember ?

I think the argument usually is that if transactions are normally done in dollars, countries will keep more of their reserves in dollars, because of already having them converted to dollars.

It seems like there is a different issue that may be more important, with respect to countries buying US treasuries. if a country has a large amount of savings, and is looking around for some kind of "safe" bond to buy, the quantity of US debt available to buy is so huge that countries end up putting quite a bit of their reserves in these bonds. It is more a matter of looking around on the debt market, and finding that US debt is the best choice available.

The whole idea of long term debt being safe stops making sense, once economies stop growing fast enough to support their ability to pay back debt with interest. I believe this point has already being reached, because extraction of cheap oil can no longer be expanded. (If oil production expands, prices must necessarily run up, killing the economy.) Without economic growth, debtors of any kind will have difficulty repaying their debt plus interest (at least in non-inflated currency.) In some sense, one can no longer "save" for the future, and get a return of principal, plus a real interest rate greater than 0.

Because of the way the world is changing, the whole idea that countries are able to make long-term promises about what they will pay in the future needs to go away. If this is the case, the question is not so much whose currency one will hold after a transaction, but how one can hold as little currency of other countries as possible, long term. It would seem to make this model hold, one would want to move to as close to a barter arrangement as possible.

I don't think countries will catch on to what the problem is very quickly--only when it becomes abundantly clear through printing press money.

Thanks Gail. I agree about the potential failure of future repayment from anyone's bonds. But having said that, if you ran China today, where would you stack that $2 trillion for the short term? And for the long term? (p.s. I think I know where I would but I want you to go first and have the opportunity to take all the glory for a great answer).

I would buy up all of the assets I could- uranium mines; oil property; fertile land for food.

Strangely enough, that seems to be a big part of their current strategy.


Wow, you took the words right out of my mouth!

Google translate: Ding, Ding! We have a winner!

I think the argument usually is that if transactions are normally done in dollars, countries will keep more of their reserves in dollars, because of already having them converted to dollars.

The big holders of US dollar reserves are foreign country central banks. They need to hold such reserves due to global mobility of capital. Both the Argentine crisis and the Asian crisis were the results of foreign investment capital deciding to depart the region and since everybody hustled out overnight the domestic currency collapsed in the morning.

The only way to defend against such an adverse movement is to hold sufficient reserves to be able to buy up your domestic currency when everybody else is trying to sell it. So the central bank holds a large pot of dollars in reserve in order to make such purchases. Since the money is dedicated to defending the domestic currency the host nation central bank is not overly concerned with the rate of return. This is different from private investors who do have concerns over the rate of return in addition to preservation of capital.

Many transactions may be conducted in dollars but the parties can buy dollars on the open market and do not need to maintain a reserve. If they wish to protect against adverse currency movements they can hedge.

I can understand the need for US dollars to be used to buy up currency when the value would be falling. It would seem like the amount one would need for this purpose would not be large, especially in comparison to the amount China and Japan are already holding.

It would seem like the amount one would need for this purpose would not be large,

Remember George Soros and what he did to the Bank of England? He went mano-a-mano with them, the Bank of England blinked, and Soros made a killing.

Up until recently there was a huge amount of capital washing around the world. Once the bankers, hedge funds, and other financial riff-raff sensed that a currency might be vulnerable they were like sharks chasing the scent of blood. The size of the funds brought in to attack a weak currency could be very large and the perception that a currency was vulnerable could be a self fulfilling prophecy.

To ward off this possibility central bankers built sizable dollar reserves as a proactive defense against currency speculators - go attack another country that is weaker than I am. If you attack my currency I will step into the market with huge buy orders, drive up the exchange rate on my currency, and cause you huge losses. If you couldn't show that you could hurt the speculators then you were telegraphing a potential vulnerability. So central banks built large reserves.

China and Japan are a little diiferent in that they have built large trade surpluses. Purchasing their products also drives up demand for their currencies. If the currency goes too high that will curtail product sales and their domestic economies will suffer. To avoid this outcome they "sterilize" the dollar inflows by re-investing those surplus funds in t-bills. If the Chinese are buying US debt then Americans benefit from lower taxes (the government borrows to pay for its wars - this is the first time in the history of America that the country has engaged in wars without also raising taxes). In fact, Bush lowered taxes. He increased the national debt and up till recently the Chinese were happy to fund this debt as it also benefited them via the sterilization process.

This cycle was totally juiced by the availability of cheap credit. Government spending is a stimulus. War spending is very stimulative. Dropping taxes is stimulative. Cheap credit is highly stimulative. US incomes have been flat for the last decade or so. All the growth in consumer spending came about through taking on more debt. And now the US wants and needs to borrow even more. I remember the signs in oil patch pickups back in the mid 1980s - "Please Lord let there be one more boom and I promise not to piss it all away this time." That in a nutshell is America in 2009.

I agree Gail right now the real economy i.e daily GDP producing economy is a fraction of the total debt economy. The debt economy is backed by the believed future worth of real estate and companies and labor. Our fiat currencies are back by debt and this debt is backed but the increasing value of the underlying assets which is ... back by inflation of the fiat currencies issuing new debt based on the inflated increasing values of the base assets.

If you notice a bit of circular reasoning going on then you understand our current financial system.

This is why bond holders of all sorts are the gods in our current economy and equity holders are of little value. This goes from the mortgage on houses to company stocks. The equity which we consider to be real wealth is irrelevant and the real true wealth in our economy is the ability to pay back bonds and ensure asset values continue to increase keeping default levels low.

Needless to say the US government has set itself on the path to cause a Bond Market dislocation effectively on purpose. No matter what it does it just massively destabilized the ability to store and extract wealth via bonds of all sorts. In destroying the bond markets we just nuked the world financial system. Its now basically officially dead.

This of course means that equity holders have been completely wiped out and bond holders have probably lost at least 50% if not more of their wealth. It will take time to play out we just fired the opening shot indicating that we intend to destroy the global bond markets but now there is no going back.

To date our debt deflation has been generally in equity as the underlying collateral decline d now it moved out into the bond market and the real underlying financial system once we start seeing bond markets collapse then the real monetary system is being dismantled.

I'm not even sure what to call this its beyond a depression with the game the Fed is now playing a global depression is effectively a side show.

Will what you said above lead to a type of "currency protectionism"?

Good overview of the issue:

US Fed's move is the bigger problem


See his earlier 2006 article as well. That America's problems are an "unexpected surprise" is really an unexpected surprise. Sort of the same kind of surprise that will occur post-peak: "You mean Hirsch had this figured out 20 years ago and we did nothing?"

Good Luck!

Hi Rockman, start here
USD supremacy is baked in, and when it's over the us is a third world nation

I believe that at Bretton Woods in 1944 the USD was made the linchpin/reserve currency of the world's financial system. Initially exchange rates were fixed (within a band) but in 1971 (coinciding with US peak oil production, more or less) FX rates were switched to a floating system. In 1944 it may have made sense that the only economy of size left intact had the reserve currency and momentum has taken us to 2009 but we're no longer the 800lb gorilla. The US is certainly not insignificant though in terms of global GDP so any basket type approach could/should have a 20%+ of USD in it (but that is just my 2ct).

What nonsense.

Will the Chinese Yuan become the new world's reserve currency? Never. The Chinese government would never risk it. Chinese dollar/treasury reserves are real money (sort of) and would be under non- stop speculative attack. Plus, trading the Yuan would allow other countries to set a value on it ... I can't see the Chinese government every letting something so important as the value of its currency be set by 'barbarians'.

Rouble? Yen? Euro? If the Euro lasts the year out it will be a surprise. The Credit Sustainability Crisis is still ongoing- just getting started! The Europeans are squabbling. Maybe a big war will break out!


When drug smugglers, arms dealers, white slavers and other mafias start accepting a 'basket of currencies' the almighty buck will be finished, but not yet.

NY Times Week in Review: Meltdown? No, a Generational Wealth Shift

Just because the value of your 401(k) or home has dropped like a rock doesn’t mean society as a whole is a loser, writes Rob Atkinson on his blog at The Atlantic. No, we’re not witnessing a “dramatic decline in societal wealth,” but rather “a shift in wealth from current owners to future buyers.”

Rob Atkinson's Atlantic blog

"Stephen Kaplan, a founding principal and head of private equity at Oaktree Capital, warns that unless private equity firms are prepared to put a lot more money into the companies they bought in a vastly different world “there will be the greatest transfer of ownership from equity owners to creditors in history”."


The actual transfer of wealth will be into the black hole of collapse. But it's informative to see what the experts are telling people they think.

News results for fluor cancels $15 billion refinery
Fluor says Kuwait cancels refinery contract - 1 hour ago
NEW YORK, March 20 (Reuters) - Fluor Corp said on Friday that Kuwait canceled ... Kuwait would cancel the $15 billion project to build the al-Zour refinery, ...
Reuters UK - 37 related articles »
Fluor Says Kuwait Halts $2.1 Billion in Refinery Work (Update2 ...
Mar 20, 2009 ... Fluor Says Kuwait Halts $2.1 Billion in Refinery Work (Update2) ... Fluor Corp. said the Kuwait National Petroleum Co. canceled its contract ...


A plan awaiting final approval by the president would set a goal of about 400,000 troops and national police officers, more than twice the forces' current size, the newspaper said, adding the cost projections of the program range from $10 billion to $20 billion over the next six or seven years. White House, Pentagon and State Department officials declined comment on the report.

One official said each option would require different levels of U.S. troops, suggesting they presented a sort of sliding scale with the most resources needed for a national program of population security and counter-insurgency.

Such an effort would be costly at a time when the U.S. government is already borrowing heavily to try to contain the global financial crisis and revive world growth.

While declining to discuss the policy review in detail, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said he was reluctant to get drawn into an open-ended commitment in Afghanistan."


Something's gotta give. That these yoyo's are even thinking this is viable. You think hungry, homeless,
stressed out Americans are gonna be happy with this?

April 15, MayDay, and then Memorial Day, will
be cardiac arrest days for America.

Only problem with the wealth shift article is the homes he says the next generation will buy cheaper will not be cheaper.The Particle board and paint houses weren't built to last 40 yrs without some serious cash spent on repairs homeownership cost are going to make these houses not a bargin at all.These are not the same quality of material as those built in the first half of the 1900.

Agreed. I live in the states and just bought a home built in 1968... Brick exterior, *REAL* beams holding up the floor(not particle board with wood strips glued on the sides). It was built right at the time when quality of work was high, but quality of materials did not go down yet. It had bad windows, which I am replacing with NICE triple paned argon filled ones (I know the NG price spike is coming... Watch for it, folks. I want to be able to heat my home cheaply.)

The first homes to decay might just be the last homes built... And it doesn't help if the last homes built are never occupied and maintained.

Geckolizard this is going to be a big battle I have with my wife in a couple of years when I finally buy. She like the shiny new McMansions. I started my good bones campaign about a year ago I hope to have a succesful victory within a year or two. Its a long drawn out battle.

Also I'm looking for homes built before WWII and in the 1950-1960 range. A lot of the construction following the war was pretty shoddy even though the materials where good.

The best homes seem to have been built during the depths of the depression when quality labor and materials where cheap. The Victorian stuff thats still standing is generally fairly good because of simple selection over time. Right now I'm in the camp of 1930 or 1960 as the two best choices for good bone homes :)

The only problem is I need to wait until the McMansions are dirt cheap and no one wants one of these older homes. I have faith that a lot of Americans will still chase the shiny baubles. Then I need to find a small town thats not bankrupt and has at least a functional local economy and then finally I can settle down. The only plus is that by going after the older places you get mature fruit and shade trees etc etc. You can leverage places that where owned by sensible people. At least I hope so since I don't have decades to prepare for post peak living.

Well, consider this little nugget... Houses built before the 1970's are going to be in older parts of town, and likely will be closer to city centers. Transportation will be easier from these areas to other areas of town... And the older the house, the more it will be walking distance to places. Food for thought when oil either becomes too expensive, or unobtainable if you can't find a job.

My parents own a house built in 1928. I heartily disgree about construction from that time... My parent's home has many more issues than mine. I would never trade my house for theirs... Ever. Asbestos siding, settled foundation, and mud-over-lathe walls to name a few issues. Not to mention insulation wasn't around and used in the '30's... My house has drywall, insulated outside walls, and rooms that are square (like they're supposed to be). And, my basement is liveable, whereas theirs is not.

So, I say pick the 1960's house. Make sure it is insulated, update the windows, and weatherize it. Make an assumption that heating prices will double every decade, and will end up costing you more than your mortgage.

Good luck!

I have a house built in 1927 lath and plaster most of the issues with plaster, hairline cracks can be eliminated with using elastomeric paints we've got a 1600 sq ft 30 windows and not a single crack in the plaster you can even do some texturing with the paint and on the inerior elastomerics will last long than you.There is no insulation in the side walls sealing the wall cavities to air movement gives approx. r-6 per inch.I've also been using an insulating paint nansulate about 60% done on interior our summer cooling bill 90-98 dollars per month at 72 degrees.This winter 150 ave. on ng.My next project in interior storm windows and finish painting with nansulate.

memmel, in 2004 i bought a house built in 1947, on 5000sqft of land. the house is within walking distance of a regional airport, regional food warehousing hub, and regional rail hub that services the food warehouses.

we have seven fruit trees and want more. the house doesn't seem as sturdy as my mom's 1937 house, but still better than a plywood mcmansion.

our biggest problem is that we live in the los angeles metropolitan area, which has plenty of problems now and should have more once things get real bad.

how do you feel about living near food/transportation hubs?

I live down in Irvine CA and obviously I have bad vibes about the area but the biggest problem for the region is the massive water works needed to keep the population supplied with water coupled with the current persistent drought conditions. On top of all this you have a chance for and earthquake building.

This plus of course all the other problems the government approaching default 10% unemployment etc etc. In my opinion the region simply has to many potential triggers for large scale riots and it has a history of riots.

Recently there has been a tremendous build in the number of very poor South Americans in the region many with ties back to the drug trade. What ever instability happens in Mexico and Latin America will spill over into the LA region for sure and probably other parts of Southern California.

And last but not least you probably have noticed that Southern California has divided into the haves and those that don't. There is no strong middle class in the region.

I hate to give personal advice but you probably should have sold a few years ago taken your winnings and gotten the hell out. Its not to late housing prices are still very elevated in the region even with the drop.

Now as far as living next to transportation hubs my opinion is whats far more important is to be near local agriculture sufficient to feed the local populace and export some. I'd look for food local. On the western coast I'd say anything near the top of the central valley irrigation system. Basically Sacramento and northwards meets this basic requirement. One can assume that Sacramento will remain reasonably sound since its the seat of government.
SF dunno it will be interesting. It has a long list of problems not all that dissimilar to LA the only thing it really has going for it over LA is better water supplies.

Now with all that said in the long run with some basic irrigation the region was once a fairly rich agricultural area. The climate is mild dry land farming works in some parts local dams could supply a reasonable amount of water and once it was decent grazing land.

Its a catch 22 if Southern California loses its water supply during a period of instability then the shit will hit the fan fast and hard but whoever actually makes it out will probably do ok. I just think its simply to much random chance it would be shear luck to make it.
You could always move back and homestead later if you really like the region. You may be busting up a lot of concrete to plant but it will probably happen.

A good overview of the history of water and Southern California.


LA is the most extreme but large parts of the west have potential water problems if we start having enough trouble that the water supply is effected. A single earthquake at the wrong time could tip the region into chaos. The link is by someone very optimistic about the water supply but you should be able to get the feeling that even optimist recognize the situation is precarious even in the best of times.

Sorry to focus on water but everything else even oil is simply not that relevant to the fate of Southern Cal.

The biggest problem of the houses built in the last several years is not so much their construction but their size. A 5000 sq ft house with 12 ft ceilings is unlivable for a couple (or three or four) with a limited income. Further they do not lend themselves to duplexing without major expensive modifications. Essentially they are useless in the limited economic environment.

Link TV: Global Meltdown: Human Fallout (video)

As the waves of financial meltdown pound banks and governments, the human cost is easily lost in the background. From layoffs to shattered dreams, the global crisis becomes a personal crisis. Do we really see how deeply it reaches into the global community?

From layoffs to shattered dreams, the global crisis becomes a personal crisis.

It's always all about "personal crisis." The "good of society" or "..of the species" is meaningless. Death comes to us each alone, even in the midst of a holocaust. The consequences of PO & environmental meltdown are tragic not to the aggregate but to individuals, one at a time.

"USA has two options to save its economy: declare default or trigger off war"


I think we all know which option the military-industrial-congressional complex will choose. Lets just hope they don't resort to nukes.

Nukes will happen - too bad most of us won't live through the bio-agents.

I just havn't figured out if fission power plants will be a target before, during, or after the nuke bomb(s) exchange.

Can you help take the lead on this? Clearly that comment like all others are sort of 'fair game' on Drumbeats, but could you maybe think a little bit about what these comment areas can be aside from 'who can be the most jaded?' .. There is a lot to do, and little time left to do it. What would you want the Drumbeat to try to communicate?

'Did you think you could kill time, and not injure eternity?' Thoreau

What to communicate? We are in overshoot. There isn't enough room for everyone. Get out of the way of the avalanche now. There are many ways to do this, spiritually, physically, mentally, with resources, skills, practice, and planning.

But there is no substitute for actually doing something.

But there is no substitute for actually doing something.

When whatever you do is quite likely, if not absolutely bound to, make worse of a bad situation, I contend that doing nothing is the superior course of action.

Get out of the way of the avalanche now. There are many ways to do this...

Are there? When crisis wracks the entire biosphere where may one take shelter from the upheaval? Have the starships entered Earth orbit? Let the Diaspora begin !!

Plant trees.

Start a Garden.

Unplug half of, ok 3/4 of your appliances.

Do your laundry by hand.

Teach a neighbor how to sharpen saws.

Take school groups out and teach them about the NM (right?) ecosystems. In Latin and English. (I just object when you use the terms in broad, non-specialized company without any translation..)

There are a TON of things to DO, that do not have to be making things worse.. although if you want to put YOUR personal efforts to it, I'm sure you could find negative side-effects to any of the things I've jotted down. The REAL WORK, is to help me make that list with the things we can be doing to make it better.

But Taking a good nap during the day is a 'doing nothing' that I heartily endorse.

Do your laundry by hand.

Teach a neighbor how to sharpen saws.

You have got to be kidding. My neighbors won't even discuss these issues. They are proud Americans, born and raised in the land of plenty. And what good would doing my laundry by hand do?

I was a population activist 30 years ago, writing letters to the editor, sending large contributions to Planned Parenthood, NPG. Got myself snipped years ago, wouldn't think of adding to the problem. I just posted an article yesterday that Americans are having more babies than ever before. Most people just keep on breeding like the animals we are.

There is no "out" to bail to. No where to escape from 6.8 billion intelligent apes with nuclear weapons. Try to enjoy yourself while you can.

Excellent way to miss the point.

The point is that 'Doing Things' doesn't necessarily just make things worse, as DD likes to suggest.

Like Voting, or 'helping a frail person cross the street', you might have to take it on faith that you're doing something to make the world a better place, or to make your own lot more resilient or survivable..

Sorry if your neighbors aren't having it. Still, You've taken on a range of preps, and I'm just saying (with a purely hypothetical list above) that there are things any of us can find to do, that aren't just bringing in unintentional additions to this bad situation.

I don't know your neighbors, or how effectively you communicate with them. Your attempt above suggests maybe you have other skills you should stick to.

I have things to do, and I'm going to enjoy myself doing them. Thanks.

Ok, your point is well taken. I am in fact doing everything I can to lessen my own impact - no kids, grow my own food, solar energy, heat with wood, drive 5k miles per year or less, ride a bike whenever possible. Getting other human beings to change is impossible unless they want to. It's frustrating because we all want to DO something, but the fact is humanities trajectory is set in stone by the way we evolved and the exploitation of fossil fuels.

I hear that.
I'm just going to try to keep a few people alive, and know that others will, too.

I heard a definition of Happiness which shouldn't be too objectionable around here..
"Happiness is overcoming obstacles on the way to a goal of one's own choosing."

Pretty concise for a Unitarian! Otherwise, I'll settle for a warm puppy.


Thanks for speaking up, jokuhl. I feel the same way.

There is an element here of "old guys bitching around the cracker barrel."

I've heard this kind of conversation before among the aging engineers at my company.

As an "old guy," I see this as tempting but self-defeating habit -- it probably has something to do with our declining physical powers.

Three problems:

1. There's nothing new.
2. It's boring and repetitive.
3. No one wants to be around you.

As Jokuhl says, there is a "TON of things to do," all one has to do is open one's eyes.

There are psychological hurdles though. One has to admit that one is emotionally vulnerable. One is NOT going to be the top dog when one starts on a new path. It takes a long while, for example, to become a good gardener.

In a survival situation, guess what happens to people who complain, predict gloom and don't help out. One day they wake up, and the rest of the camp has moved on!

Energy Bulletin

Are you the new Hall monitor now? Geeez...

DD is correct, anything you do now, short of just walking outside and fertilizing the ground, will be a waste of time and energy. The damage is done. Get on the wagon.

If you plan on standing around and just fertilizing the ground around your pant-cuffs, just try and stay out of the way. The people you'll be begging for food need to start planting soon.

Hi Bob,

I'm finding any number of ways I can leverage what I do professionally to help make things just a tiny bit better. For example, my firm will be upgrading the display lighting in four retail stores, replacing 512 halogen IR lamps with Osram Sylvania's 24-watt PAR38 ceramic metal halide lamps (for more information on this product, see: http://www.sylvania.com/content/display.scfx?id=003698761).

I'm contractually obligated to destroy the lamps that are remove from service, so all 512 will disposed accordingly. That said, these halogen IR lamps are roughly 25 per cent more energy efficient than the standard halogens this chain uses in some of their other retail outlets. Consequently, once this work is done, I will be asking this client if I can swap these halogen IRs for the higher wattage halogens they use elsewhere.

I'm bending the rules, but the client would save an additional $3,500.00/year on their utility costs ($4,500.00 factoring in the corresponding A/C savings) and their CO2 emissions would fall by another 25 tonnes. This work will be performed at no charge -- however, in lieu of compensation, I will ask that they donate an equal number of 13-watt CFLs to our local food bank. Over the course of their 12,000 hour rated life, each one of these CFLs will potentially save an estimated 564 kWh, or some 288,768 kWh collectively. That translates to be another 260+ tonne reduction in CO2 emissions.


Nice rule-bend, Paul!
The bureaucrats won't see a thing.. til you re-light THEIR offices!


One other trick up my sleeve.... I bought sixty occupancy sensors on ebay at an exceptionally good price, so whenever I see an opportunity to save additional kWhs beyond what is achievable through our programme, I slap in one of these babies.

The savings can be fairly significant. For example, last fall, we upgraded the lighting at a local golf and country club. One of the bars (The 19th Hole, as it's called) has a mix of recessed halogen and fluorescent lighting. The lights are turned on at 06h30 each morning and off again at 02h30 the following morning, so they operate approximately 7,300 hours/year. The bar has wall-to-wall glass that overlooks the course and is flooded with natural daylight all day long. I left the fluorescent lighting untouched so that it would serve as a visual clue to members and guests that "yes, we're open; come on in and have a beer". The halogen lighting is controlled by the sensor and this automatically turns them off when the area is unoccupied and/or the room has sufficient daylight. By my estimate, this reduces their energy usage by just over 2,600 kWh/year (i.e., 0.9 kW x ~8 hrs/day x 365 days/yr).

At $0.115 per kWh, the client saves a little more than $300.00/year on their power bill and a further $200.00/year on their lamp replacement costs (their halogen IR lamps have a 3,000 hour service life and retail for about $12.00 each). My out-of-pocket cost is roughly $20.00 per sensor, but it's nice to throw in a couple at no charge as a simple good will gesture. It also provides an added cushion of savings, just in case my projections were overly optimistic, so there's a little "cover-my-ass" at play too.


.. but protracted internet bickering would be a good example of 'doing something' that has few benefits, and many unintended detriments, including the idling of good minds and willing hearts.

When whatever you do is quite likely, if not absolutely bound to, make worse of a bad situation,

Right because clear-cutting jackpine and planting Pinus Koraiensis or hazelnut bushes over 200 acres in an effort to create permiculture is going to make things worse.

If the entire human species will be extinguished, you may have a point. If 100% of the survivors without exception will have short, brutal lives of misery, you may have a point. If being trapped in a philosophical prison prevents self-termination from being available as an end to unending suffering, you may have a point.

Else, the problem lies in not having done any work in finding a life worth living along various internal and external human paths. Community leader, warlord, prophet, healer, king, skill master, dictator, spectator, there must be something appealing.

"Russia to deploy new warheads after START-1 treaty ends"


As Europe's largest (when fully completed) LNG import terminal begins operation this FAQ from the BBC provides more info. Protestors with safety concerns are staging protests as the first ship docks.

Q&A: Liquefied natural gas

The first ship carrying liquefied natural gas (LNG) due in the UK will mark the culmination of one of the largest engineering projects of its kind.

The carrier Tembek is expected later on Friday at Milford Haven in Pembrokeshire.

It will supply a pipeline which is capable of carrying a fifth of the natural gas needed in the UK, which runs 196 miles (316km) across Wales into Gloucesterhsire, and which took three years to complete.

Here are the answers to some questions about LNG, and the significance of the project for the UK and its energy supplies?

I recall someone here a long time ago posting a link to an article written about an individuals experience surviving the Argentina collapse/problems. I lost the link to that and can't think of what words to find it via google. Could someone post that please?
Thank you.

This link to Lessons from Argentina's Economic Collapse (PDF warning) is from thetruthnews.com

Or Google "Lessons from Argentina's Economic Collapse".


This might be the same content as above. Not .pdf though.

Thanks to all who replied. This is the one I was thinking of.

It wasn't me but you are probably thinking of ferfal. http://ferfal.blogspot.com (It may need a www but I don't have time to look right now.) He posts about every day.


From the Salazar link posted upto (regarding the possible URR for the Outer Continental Shelf):

"In the Atlantic, our limited seismic data is two or three decades old. This is a challenge we need your help to address."

Regarding the East Coast, one clue--although it's not absolutely conclusive--to what we might find offshore is the volume of Eastern Seaboard oil production onshore, from Maine to Florida.

A valid point WT...and may well be true. But not my area so please correct: doesn't the Hibernia Field's hundreds of millions of bbls of oil sitting off the Atlantic coast of Canada's Newfoundland also not have an onshore equivalent? Not that I would wager much money that there's a huge potential off the US east coast, but then 15 years ago I would have bet against the billions of bbls of oil in the Deep Water GOM...and would have lost big time.

Remember: I'm a career development geologist and thus never believe a word out the mouth of an exploration geologist. But I have made (and continue to make) a good living developing those same exploration discoveries I didn’t believe in the first place.

True, but. . . Hibernia is not exactly the offshore equivalent of Ghawar, and as I said "it's not absolutely conclusive." But is interesting to consider the opposite case--volume of offshore oil production in the GOM, versus the onshore.

Whoa there cowboy!! Who said anything about Ghawar? Or did they do that in the article? If so they must have been smokin' some of that West TX wackie tobbacci.

I've slept, and done other things, since I looked at some numbers for Hibernia, but if memory serves the capital cost per bpd of sustained production was on the order of $200,000 per bpd or so.

Hibernia is profitable at a price above $15 a bbl

As for updating the seismic, the US needs to show a little more imagination. I'm positive there are tar sands under the corner of Vesey and Church Streets. If only they updated the seismic they would find it.

In the Atlantic, our limited seismic data is two or three decades old.

So the geology has changed over those two or three decades? All that abiotic oil seeping up out of the mantle, I suppose.

Why yes, the planet is like a big bon-bon with oil in the middle, like so:

Can you taste the sweet center?

Just drill deeper.

God creates petroleum outuv carbonate rock all the time. Says so in the OT somewhere, I'm told. ;)

What I don't understand about the abiotic oil theory is how you can get organic material out of magma!? I thought heat breaks apart any long carbon chains???

... the troubles with magma these days : It's working to slow, IMHO

Actually d-dog, the geology has changed greatly over the last 20 - 30 years. I looked at seis data off the E coast 30 years ago and there wasn't any mapable geology for most of the depths. Just like we couldn’t see the billions of bbls of oil which have been discovered with the aid of more modern seai in the Deep Water Gulf of Mexico. I found significant shallow NG in the mid 80's which couldn’t be imaged by mid 70's seismic.

But as I mentioned to WT, I wouldn't bet on there being really big reserves out there. OTOH, if companies want to risk there capital why not? If you say "environmental risk" then you must also support the immediate abandonment of all exploration and production in the GOM. Certainly a position one might take but they would be in the vast minority of US citizens.

So Salazar is asking the company that spent 1 billion on seismic acquisition and interpretation in the OCS that was trying to garner a competitive advantage in leasing that they should give up that data to the government??

So they can pay a 25% royalty (under the 13% severance tax proposal).

How helpful of him.


Actually d-dog, the geology has changed greatly over the last 20 - 30 years.

I found significant shallow NG in the mid 80's which couldn’t be imaged by mid 70's seismic.

There's a big difference between not being able to image formations from older seismo data that can be imaged with later more complete data, and the geology "changing" over the interim.

They have done more than run seismic lines. Wildcats have been drilled off the west coast of NFLD, in the Gulf of St Lawrence and down the coast of NS to the Gulf of Maine. Some poor shows but nothing to get excited about. Good fishing tho'

Don't know much about the US eastern seaboard apart from the fact that if they thought they had a trap they would have done whatever it takes to punch a hole. Politicians aren't half as expensive as those AIG folks.

..if they thought they had a trap they would have done whatever it takes to punch a hole.

Yup. The limited & out-dated data we have doesn't indicate that there's much out there, or the push would have been on to at least augment & up-date that data, if not drill for it, already, as you say. "Drill baby, drill..." was never about finding much oil. It was about creating jobs & securing subsidizes for the industry. Make work, just like in the army.

I think, besides ROCKMAN's comment below, the keyword is "limited", not "two or three decades old"


"Energy development has significant negative effects on birds in North America including habitat loss, reduction in habitat quality, direct mortality, and disruption. Construction, operation, and associated infrastructure of energy development such as oil and gas fields, wind farms, and geothermal fields reduce and fragment habitat." My emphasis.

Wow! Another post on bird deaths via wind machines!

With such great research on this topic - soon wind machines will be a thing of the past and we can all go back to burning coal!

eric, the text says wind farms "reduce and fragment habitats", not that these are meat grinders. Seems fair enough no?

Not so fast:

Wind energy production affect birds primarily through direct mortality from collisions with the turbine blades, towers, power lines, or with other related structures, and electrocution on power lines. Secondary impacts on birds also includes avoidance of the wind turbines and habitat surrounding them and impacts resulting from the affects on bird habitats from the turbines’ footprint, roads, power lines, and auxiliary buildings.

Your link does not direct to the text you quoted, so I missed that. I just wonder how many birds, and other animals, are killed by wind, relative to the damage done to wildlife by various other energy projects and the offspring of these projects. Oil extraction can be quite harmless untill you run the Exxon Valdez aground off course.

Edit: My main concern with wind, and other alternatives, is that it relies on a fossilfuel based infrastructure if applied on a large scale.

I just wonder how many birds, and other animals, are killed by wind, relative to the damage done to wildlife by various other energy projects...

Once again, the impact of wind turbines on birds and bats is thus far minimal, relatively speaking, compared to other anthropogenic sources of avian & chiropteran mortality. And once again, by what logic does the fact that other things are worse rationalize advocacy for something that is bad?

Here's the link for that quote:


It's a subset of:


which I already posted.

compared to other anthropogenic sources of avian & chiropteran mortality.

As you have a concern about the actions of humans on birds that you visit


and follow their suggestions so you are no longer a bird-n to the birds?

"Oil extraction can be quite harmless untill you run the Exxon Valdez aground off course."

What????? Never heard of AGW? Killing every species on the Planet is "quite harmless"??? YUP!!

Where did you learn this little piece of information? Please, tell us.

eric, the text says wind farms "reduce and fragment habitats"

Which, if you have been following the issue here on TOD, I mentioned cropland as a source of bird 'issues' in the past. Many windfarms are on farmland, placed in farm (cropland) fields. A few are on non cropland - in forested areas along mountain ridges.

For darwinsdog's position of 'oppose all wind machines at all costs to save birds' to be bird-saving - the other issues like removal of forests or cropland would also have to be addressed. The ridges *ARE* going to be effected by man - be it from logging or an extreme mountaintop removal to get at coal so the coal can be burned.

Pick your poison - and of the various ways birds are gonna die - wind machines are less of an issue than *SO* many others.

Come on, Eric.
He posted a source, as you and I have been asking for.

Enough High School theatrics already. Make a point, be fair, it could be critical, but still unaggressive.

Vicious Cycle = Wasted Energy .. right?


True he did. But they also just did a big press release on how this is the 1st ever 'state of the birds' report 19 or so hours ago.
Hardly the data I was hoping to see. Just more of the same, with less word salad than yesterdays


"Shopping Mall development has significant negative effects on wildlife in North America including habitat loss, reduction in habitat quality, direct mortality, and disruption. Construction, operation, and associated infrastructure of Shopping Mall development such as roads and increased traffic, parking lots, and stupid consumers reduce and fragment habitat." My emphasis.

You're correct. I agree. Shopping malls are a definite menace to wildlife. And this fact is supposed to somehow justify bird & bat killing wind turbines? By what logic do two wrongs make a right?

For an intelligent poster on TOD, you do seem to have a major blind spot here. The earth is in the middle of the sixth great extinction. This one is the fastest and in danger of becoming the most severe in the geologic record. The species extinction rate is a thousand times greater than background. From the perspective of biodiversity, the human species is the worst thing that ever happened to life on earth, and most of the damage has been done in the last 100 years. Most bird species are endangered to some extent. Many remote island species are already extinct, but they were always going to be more vulnerable.

In most of the developed world man has already changed the natural landscape out of all recognition through deforestation, agriculture, industrialisation and settlement. The birds that inhabit our lands now are not the same ones that were common 10,00 years ago. Yes wind farms may kill some birds, but far fewer than many other dangers that birds survive every day. It is very unlikely that any bird species will be pushed over the edge into extinction explicitly by wind turbines. The only real reason I can see to object to wind turbines, is if you think that by doing so, you can accelerate the collapse back into Olduvai Gorge, and thereby prevent the worst of climate change and environmental destruction that a slow collapse will allow and a fast collapse will prevent.

The only real reason I can see to object to wind turbines, is if you think that by doing so, you can accelerate the collapse back into Olduvai Gorge, and thereby prevent the worst of climate change and environmental destruction that a slow collapse will allow and a fast collapse will prevent.

Given this post:
I'd say your analysis is correct.

The earth is in the middle of the sixth great extinction. This one is the fastest and in danger of becoming the most severe in the geologic record.

Please. AME began towards the end of the Pleistocene and will continue after Homo is extinct, due to long-term environmental pressures creating a "backlog" of inevitable extinction. AME is proceeding over a time scale of 10^4 yrs. How is this "one of the fastest" mass extinction events compared to those precipitated by bolide impacts, such as the Chicxulub impact at the end-Cretaceous? And no credible paleobiologists expect AME to rival the end-Permian event, in which 96% of species were estimated to have become extinct. Misstatements such as these damages the credibility of your otherwise somewhat reasonable post.

It is very unlikely that any bird species will be pushed over the edge into extinction explicitly by wind turbines.

When populations are under pressure from multiple stressors, it's rather meaningless to single out one such stressor and say that it "pushed over the edge" a species into extinction. All sources of avian mortality interact synergistically & often non-additively to cause decline & possible eventual extinction. Do we have to take the last remaining individual of a species - like "Martha" the last passenger pigeon who died in 1914 in the Cincinnati zoo - and throw it into the rotating blades of a wind turbine in order to say that wind energy definitively "caused" the extinction of a species of bird? The fact of the matter is that many if not most bird populations are in decline and wind turbines do kill birds. These declining populations do not need and can't afford an additional source of mortality, regardless of whether or not that source is currently rather insignificant relative to other sources.

Since we're hitting my area of expertise here...

1. K/T is the only major mass extinction with good evidence for bolide impact. Naturally the success of the Alvarez theory led to suggestions of extraterrestrial impact as the cause of each and every one of them, but the weight of evidence suggests almost all of them are due to intrinsic (to the Earth/ocean/atmosphere system) effects.

2. Even for K/T, the evidence doesn't show instantaneous wipeout of everything, but some protracted decline as well. The role of the Deccan Traps is unclear. There's also a woman named Gerta Keller making quite a living arguing that the impact and the greatest extinction rate are offset by a few hundred thousand years (although the way she has been received by the rest of the community has been oft fascinating for a younger scientist like myself, not being tied in to the politics like the old guys are). Some believe that Chicxulub was merely the final insult, further finishing off an already dying world.

3. No credible paleobiologist that I know uncritically accepts an estimate of 96% mortality for the Permian extinction, which is based on statistical arguments. My adviser, who has turned up mountains of the actual fossils, doesn't believe it was even 90%.

IMO, it is likely that the current mass extinction could be the fastest, but I doubt anyone could prove it, and comparing the severity to historical events is rather missing the point anyway.

Even for K/T, the evidence doesn't show instantaneous wipeout of everything, but some protracted decline as well.

Ever heard of bioturbation of strata. Nonavian dinosaurian materials have been found in early Paleocene strata. These strata were later seen to have been disturbed by the activity of aquatic inverts. Study after study have shown that dinosaur diversity was at a peak at the end-Cretaceous. Some will dispute the role of the Chicxulub impact but the mainstream of opinion is that it was THE cause of mass extinction. To my mind, the Deccan basalt outflow was the result of the impact. I've considered evidence to the contrary and not found it convincing.

Some leisure reading,

Robertson, D. S., M. C. McKenna, O. B. Toon, S. Hope, and J. A.
Lillegraven. 2004. Survival in the first hours of the Cenozoic. GSA
Bulletin 116:760-768.

Online here


I'm too ignorant of paleontology to speak for what the fossil record says up to the K/T boundry, but the physics in this article is something that can't be simply dismissed. Statistical sampling of spherules with shocked quartz in the iridium layer gives a lower bound on the mass of the impact ejecta, distances from impact and some Newtonian mechanics tell how much velocity the ejecta had to have to get to where is was. Thermal energy generated from atmospheric friction by the ejecta turns out to be a lot, enough to leave anything not sheltered dead or dying in the first few hours. Soot coincident with iridium layer is isotopically uniform and global in context suggesting widespread fires.

I don't K/T or dinosaurs specifically, but that doesn't sound right to me. I thought there was evidence that they were in decline during the Maastrichtian. References please?

The strongest argument against impact triggered volcanism is that the Deccan Traps are not even particularly close to being on the antipode of the Chicxulub crater circa 66 mya, where the energy would have been focused. It's off by, like, thousands of kilometers.

I don't K/T or dinosaurs specifically, but that doesn't sound right to me. I thought there was evidence that they were in decline during the Maastrichtian. References please?

There's what, maybe half of the known dinosaur genera for which we only have a single fossil speciman, then on top of that there is the Signor-Lipps effect; may explain the apparant decline. The below may have something of interest, I have only read the abstract and other articles that quote it.

Sheehan, P.M., Fastovsky, D.E., Barreto, C., and Hoffmann,
R.G., 2000, Dinosaur abundance was not declining in a “3 m gap” at the
top of the Hell Creek Formation, Montana and North Dakota. Geology

The wiki entry for Signor-Lipps mentions in passing that it may be responsible for a perceived decline in taxa prior to the K/T boundry but unfortunately doesn't give any further references.

The strongest argument against impact triggered volcanism is that the Deccan Traps are not even particularly close to being on the antipode of the Chicxulub crater circa 66 mya, where the energy would have been focused. It's off by, like, thousands of kilometers.

Its moved some due to continental drift, but IIRC the expected patterns for impact ejecta aren't there to support the notion of it being the antipode at the time. The impact I think was at an angle though.

My point was simply that most of what our so called civilization takes for granted has a negative impact on nature to one degree or another. Hunter gatherer societies hunted species to extinction.
Over population of predator species can do the same to their prey. When a system is out of balance bad things can and do happen.

If they are too many lions in a small area the population of gazelles will plummet and both the lions and their prey can be eliminated completely because the balance between prey and hunter is out of kilter. No matter what we do at this point since there are over 7.5 billion of us and we all want to continue living in reasonable conditions we are going to have some impact somewhere. Some things we do will have greater or lesser negative impact, some may be a net positive.

I don't have all the facts regarding bird mortality and wind turbines but I suspect that in the big picture they may have less of an impact than coal power plants belching CO2 and adding to global warming which is certainly having a huge impact on all kinds of wildlife habitat. I think I also read somewhere that bird mortality due to domestic cats are much much higher. Maybe we should be railing against cats.

So my mention of the shopping malls was merely as a symbol of our fossil fuel based consumer society which is in my opinion the problem. To be honest I do not see wind turbine technology as the greater of many evils when compared with what we have at present.

Though you do have to understand just because factor x kills more birds then factor y doesn't make y any better then x since they both put pressure on the population of the effected bird species. Making wind turbines more bird friendly will be order's of magnitude easier then trying to tell pet owners how to take care of their cats.

Though you do have to understand just because factor x kills more birds then factor y doesn't make y any better then x since they both put pressure on the population of the effected bird species.

WAY too logical for this forum. Cats kill more birds than wind turbines do - therefore, wind turbines are a good thing!! You're going to get told that you should commit suicide or be banned for that level of logic TrueKaiser. Better watch it..

DD, I found your snake...

...I am POSITIVE it is yours.

You're going to get told that you should commit suicide or be banned for that level of logic TrueKaiser.

A new low has been established here. Grow up. I agree the world is pretty f*cked up, and now the way things are going it borders on the ludicrous (which, by the way, most of my posts point out). But attacking other posters here in that fashion is uncalled for. Save your energy for the dipsh*ts who failed to take advantage of a limited resource (FF) and create a network of unlimited resources (WIND!, Geothermal, solar, etc.), and who have burdended us with an infrastructure that is useless in a post-peak world (highways, gas and oil pipes, etc.)

We are not your enemy, and if you treat us as such then you will be treated as such.

That is the second time you posted that picture. As it stands darwindog is posting more realivent and intelligent information then that picture's 1000 words could.

That is the second time you posted that picture.

Where? I see it once...

As it stands darwindog is posting more realivent and intelligent information then that picture's 1000 words could.

It takes an idiot to talk to an idiot. He got the message.

OK, you finally baited me into replying... Yes cats kill WAY more birds than turbines. I personally think humans keeping cats as pets is one of the most irresponsible things we have done to the avian population. Will it stop? I think not. Humans do alter their environment, but as long as there are living humans the ecology surrounding them will be altered. Some species increase and vastly benefit from human disturbances (for example coyotes, certain plants and fungi) others are negatively affected.

There are no black or white choices here as to how to improve our lot and the sustainability of the human species experiment. There are a lot of grey choices and inaction will result in catastrophe. I've looked at both sides of the wind turbine pro-con and for me, a voting citizen, the trade off is acceptable. Yes some birds will die, but as soon as an environmentalist rubs my nose in this fact I'd rather challenge them to drive less, get rid of their pets, and to grow some of their own food.

I'd rather have people start taking real steps to change our energy use, production, and needs. I'm an engineer, NOT a scientist, so getting a little closer to the goal is vastly better than trying to get stuck in analysis until the ultimate solution is found.

Some birds and bats will die. Death is part of life... it's not going to stop.

I have two pet cats, the bad part of cat ownership is when the owner does the irresponsible thing of letting them roam outdoors. Indoor cats do not kill birds but boy all mighty will you get browbeaten if you try to tell people that all cats should be kept indoors.


Obviously I haven't been able to express myself very clearly here. Yeah I do understand that just because factor x kills more birds than factor y doesn't necessarily make y any better. Quite frankly bringing cats into the equation seems to have confused the issue even more. Personally I don't think it has anything to do with the real issue which is that *WE* are killing birds (and everything else along with them including ourselves)just by being who *WE* are and doing what we do. Wind turbines, shopping malls and our cats are just different symptoms of the same problem. Actually scratch the damn cats from this example.

Now having said all that I still continue to be of the opinion that the impact of wind turbines is less detrimental than some of the other things we do. And yes we can work on making them more bird safe.

So yes it is better than some of the other things we have done and continue to do. I have very little hope of convincing people to change the way they do everything all at once. We may be able to make some changes incrementally, I don't think it will completely stop the mass extinctions we are already experiencing but it may allow a few more forms of life to survive.

I can understand your concern d-dog if such developments endanger threatened species. OTOH, we shoot 10's (perhaps 100's) of million of game birds in Texas every year. Not advocating or dis'ng hunting but just pointing out there are a lot of birds killed intentionally for sport. Can killing X number of birds in an effort to reduce demand for non-renewable energy be worse? For those who would care to not see harm come to our feathered friends for any reason, I can appreciate their feelings. But that doesn't necessarially make such efforts wrong IMO.

Thanks for the submission. Their video is very effective, moving and beautiful, and there is a lot of information at their site. While you may not believe my disclaimers about what limits must be included in wind development.. I do mean them. I am not blindly faithful in industrialization, nor do I get confused by the occasionally twisted priorities of groups like WWF, who seem to think their members regard the natural world as 'something pretty to look at'..

That said, we have a journey of a thousand miles ahead of us, and we might have to take some of it by truck. That doesn't mean we have completely forgotten the destination. Here is what the American Bird Conservancy presents as their position on Windpower development. It is NEITHER a blanket denial, nor a blank check.. but involves careful study, regulations and difficult compromises.


While ABC supports alternative energy sources, including wind power, ABC emphasizes that before approval and construction of new wind energy projects proceeds, potential risks to birds and bats should be evaluated through site analyses, including assessments of bird and bat abundance, timing and magnitude of migration, and habitat use patterns. Wind energy project location, design, operation, and lighting should be carefully evaluated to prevent, or at least minimize, bird and bat mortality and adverse impacts through habitat fragmentation, disturbance, and site avoidance. For example, wind power projects should be sited on areas with poor habitat, such as heavily disturbed lands, (e.g. intensive agriculture), where possible.

Sites requiring special scrutiny include sites that are frequented by federally listed endangered species of birds and bats, in known bird migration pathways, areas where birds are highly concentrated, and areas that have landscape features known to attract large numbers of raptors. See pages 8-9 for specific recommendations on assuring that construction and operation of wind energy projects at these sites of special concern do not adversely affect birds.

ABC also recommends that:
Wind turbines, associated communication towers, and permanent meteorological (met) towers should be monopoles, and not of lattice construction, and use no guy wires; The number of turbines that are lit should be minimized and the lit turbines use only simultaneously pulsing white or red strobes; and All connecting power transmission lines be underground and, if above-ground lines are required, the lines and poles should comply with Avian Power Line Interaction Committee (APLIC) standards. With sound pre-construction analysis of each wind energy site and with proper safeguards to protect birds and bats, ABC believes that wind energy can be a good choice for our nation's future and for our wildlife.

I understand that these compromises are like the 30 pieces of silver to you.. but you are still using that computer, as am I. Let's use them well.

Bob Fiske

Local birds I keep an eye out for.. Osprey (a nesting pair fishes in the estuary below us), Mourning Dove, Great Blue Heron, Mockingbird .. and a personal fondness for Rock Doves and Crows (cityboy)

Thanks for your thoughtful & respectful response Bob.

If wind generation is in the cards, the very least that can be done is to design turbines so as to minimize their risk to birds and bats, and to site their location so as to likewise minimize their impact (pun intended) on wildlife.

.... and a personal fondness for Rock Doves..

Not sure where you live but in just the past few years Eurasian collared doves (Streptopelia decaocto) have become established here. They are smaller than rock doves but bigger than mourning doves. They were unknown >5 yrs. ago and now seem to be completely established. They're in full courtship display right now and are pretty cool to observe. I hated to see an invasive species show up but at least to date there seems to be no evidence of their detrimental influence on native mourning dove populations due to competition. I'm buying a smooth-bore .22 for taking them, along with other small game, in the post-PO milieu, with #10 .22 "rat shot." Shotgun shells will be too precious to waste on small game, and the loud report will draw too much attention to one's position.

As the Head Bird-walk guy and now director of the Chewonki Foundation was fond of saying about conflicts..

"I'm sure we can deal with this in a Mature and Sensitive fashion." -Don Hudson

Their Logo of an Osprey was contributed by their early and longtime friend, Roger Tory Peterson. They have worked to teach kids about our connections and stewardship of the natural world since the 1930's.

www.chewonki.org Wiscasset, Maine

Perhaps we should close all airports so no more geese are killed by aircraft collisions. We should close all roads so no more skunks and possums are killed by cars and trucks. How about all the barnacles killed in dry docks when ship hulls are cleaned? For the sake of all other species all human beings must die today!!!
That wind turbine false meme is getting old Mr Darwinsdog so save your keystrokes for some place else.

Re: Continuing VMT declines. The Bloomberg article links to the FHWA web site where one can download the data for 12-month rolling totals since 1971.

The recession of 1979 to 1982 saw a VMT peak in April 1979; VMT bottomed out 13 months later with a 3.2% drop. VMT did not return to previous peak until 40 months after the peak (August 1982).

The recession of 2007 to the present saw a VMT peak in November 2007. We have now had 14 consecutive month of declines, so we cannot identify a bottom, yet. The decline has been about 3.7%, so far.

I would say that so far the VMT indicator is not too much different from the early 80's recession.

Traffic Volume Trends, freshly updated now for January. Western US shows a YOY increase! 0.2%.

Historic VMT:

The sharper and more protracted downturn we're in shows up here clearly. Greencarcongress used to show these graphs on their front page. Early 80s was more of a temporary plateau off a sharp peak.

Not up-to-date but an interesting chart anyway:

How one earth could that possible happen California unemployment just crossed 10% !

Everyone knows that oil usage drops drastically as the economy slows unemployed people don't drive.

Or do they ?

So much for conventional wisdom.

It seems primarily to be on rural roads - people relocating to the country? Heading back to Mexico? I'm going to tinker around with VMT data more and look at how these trends are playing out in the discrete sectors.

Some of the answers are already in this excellent doc from the Brookings Institute: The Road…Less Traveled: An Analysis of Vehicle Miles Traveled Trends in the U.S.

Southeastern and Intermountain West states experienced the largest growth rates in
driving between 1991 and 2006, while the Great Lakes, Northeastern, and Pacific states
grew at a slower pace. These varied, but positive, growth rates reversed after 2006, as 45
states produced less annualized VMT in September 2008. Similarly, per capita driving declined
in 48 states since the end of 2006.
n Total driving on principal arterials is concentrated in the 100 largest metropolitan areas,
but the greatest driving per person occurs in low density Southeastern and Southwestern
metros. In addition, the 100 largest metros’ urban driving share exceeds the national share,
with 83 metros carrying over 70 percent of their principal arterial traffic on urban roadways.

The most general correlation seemed to be to the combination of suburban sprawl and general population growth. As suburbia expanded and population expanded we drove more.

No one seems to really care about this topic but if your interested congestion plays a huge role in overall fuel economy easily equal to VMT changes. The intrinsic reason is simple if your speeding up and breaking then your energy usage is much higher then driving a constant speed. Truck traffic a lot from construction equipment plays a big role in congestion.

Most of our roads are easily over loaded by 4x or more. So your examples need to be adjusted for the congestion factor. Not only do the large metropolitan areas a major traffic area but they also suffer most of the congestion.

Nice to see someone else looking into the subject I'll let you do your own research but take a hard look at congestion and its effects.

I read the report you linked. I wrote my first response before reading this but because they did not deal well with congestion they really missed it. Most of the conclusions are suspect.

Anyone who drive knows our 4-8 lane major freeways are gridlocked. The simple mathematics of a expanding circle indicate that the rate of expansion would slow as each circular expansion of the suburbs incorporated more land area. How much of the truck traffic for example was associated with the construction trade ?

Its a good report in the facts it does cover but by not explicitly dealing with congestion I think its simply to skewed to be useful. A neat link.


Claim 24% of the VMT related to housing ??? Hmm don't agree but hey.

In any case I could not find the link tonight its my birthday and celebratin right now.

But you need to look at changes in the milage and type of roadways along with VMT to get and idea about congestion. I think you will find that the growth of the road system itself slowed dramatically in the 1990's effectively resulting in grid lock by the 2000's.

The end of suburban expansion and to a large part also end of new house construction contributed to the stopping of VMT growth and to some of the slow down but plain old congestion as expansion of our roadways slowed also played a large and important role that as I pointed out this paper did not really address.

People are not riding buses they are setting in their cars in traffic.

I am hearing from some latin american investor types that Venezuela oil exports will, or soon will be below 1mmbpd - a large reason is they owe .5 B to oil service companies who are pulling out, fearing bolivar devaluation and that Venezuela is bankrupt. Of course, bankrupt is a relative term since whole financial world is running on fiat fumes, but I digress. Any insights welcome - I haven't followed details of this situation but am just relaying what friend told me...
EDIT: I don't think they have any rigs drilling right now.

My estimate for a net export decline of about 250,000 bpd from Venezuela in 2008 came from an article written by a former insider (fired by Chavez). The combined estimated decline in net oil exports from Venezuela & Mexico in 2008 is on the order of 650,000 bpd, which would be close to two-thirds of total Canadian net oil exports. And BTW, the start of the decline in Venezuela's production preceded Chavez coming to power, although he has certainly not, shall we say, had a positive impact on production.

The Venezuelan net export decline through 2007 (EIA):

Just a WAG on my part Nate but I can see China coming to Hugo's aid. They've already committed billions to the Vz oil industry. OTOH, if they do bail out Hugo you can bet we'll loose access to much, if not all, of the Vz oil IMO.

Japan is also mentioned in a link above as possibly investing in Venezuela.

It certainly fits with China's recent asset acquisition spreee. Good chance that any move in Venezuela is likely to be coupled with a move in Panama--there's been discussion of reversing flow on the Panama pipeline to send Venezeulan oil to the Pacific side, but I haven't heard reliable updates on this in quite some time (anyone?). A move in Venezuela alone could be interpreted as merely a sovereign wealth fund investment. A move in Venezuela and Panama combined looks more like mercantilism to me...

They are building alliances globally-this article mentions Costa Rica http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5jtruV4J1RhMnrKeuYMLHK...

The expansion of the Panama Canal in 2014 will allow much larger tankers (x2.5 roughly) to travel directly between Venezuela & China.

From vague memory, slightly over 100,000 tons will be the new Panamax.


Latest available IEA figures for Venezuela show 2008 average of 2.35. Latest three months

Nov  Dec  Jan
2.35 2.29 2.18

And according to OPEC

Dec  Jan  Feb
2.28 2.20 2.14

The reductions represent OPEC cuts. Whether these figures are believable or not is another question.

The only way I could see a cut to 1 million barrels a day is if it is a financial related cut. I know that Venezuela has been having trouble paying its suppliers, including drilling rig companies. Even if they went home, I don't see production dropping that fast. A fast decline like that would have to be the result of some other break in the system--pipelines not longer operating, or some other major issue.

I called my friend and he meant 1mm in exports, not production. Sorry for bad info - rest of what he said is accurate to my knowledge.

Last three months (Oct/Nov/Dec) average Venezuelan exports to the USA: 1.18 million barrels/day according to the EIA

If OPEC cuts are reflected in Jan/Feb/March then exports to the USA could well be below 1m barrel/day by now.

I've found what seems to be a good source of information on the Venezuelan oil industry. It's written by the former chief economist at Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PDVSA)

Summary Venezuela Oil: Worse Shape

The Venezuelan economy may be in far worse shape than officially announced, and in a weaker position to face the present sharp fall in oil export revenue.


There is a large discrepancy between Venezuela’s official production figures and the substantially lower production data reported by international agencies. In addition, domestic

petroleum consumption has likely been much higher than officially reported.

Full report: “The Performance of the Venezuelan Oil Sector 1997-2008: Official vs. International and Estimated Figures (PDF)

This was the article that I referenced up the thread. I first noted the rapid drop in "VenMex" oil shipments to the US in a short article that I did on the VenMex decline in net oil exports, around June, 2008. I expected that we would have to dip into the SPR because of the decline in oil imports from VenMex.

Although we did have to use the SPR, because of hurricane disruptions, what saved us from having to having to use the SPR earlier in the summer was a combination of falling demand (which Datamunger predicted would happen) and increased imports from the Persian Gulf.

In general, this is what I referred to as the PPP--Proximal Producer Problem. The US is going to have to offset the decline in oil imports from Venezuela & Mexico, while Europe is facing a problem with declining oil imports from Norway & Russia. In our case, our supply lines from the Persian Gulf are significantly longer than what we have from VenMex, with Europe being in a similar situation.

In any case, I suspect that voluntary + involuntary net export reductions are going to soon cause the decline in net oil exports to outpace the decline in demand, with involuntary net export reductions being the primary driver next year and in subsequent years.

Nate found out some more information that he wrote to the staff on-line group.

The 1 million barrels a day is exports, not total production.

The expected reason for the drop is the drilling companies are pulling out, because of Venezuela's financial problems.

That makes more sense.

That may be true but the recent monthly declines seem to be exactly what you'd expect from their share of OPEC production cuts.

But it's also a continuation of an 11 year trend. They have gone from 3.1 mbpd in net oil exports in 1997 (EIA) to an estimated 2008 rate of about 1.7 mbpd, an average decline of about 130,000 bpd per year.

Just the decline in net oil exports from Venezuela since 1997 far exceeds total Canadian net oil exports.

And of course, Mexico is on the express train to zero, from their 2004 net export rate of 1.9 mbpd.

Oh I don't disagree with the long term trend. I'm just saying the last few months large cuts (way above the recent decline rate) would appear to be their share of OPEC quota cutbacks and are similar to other OPEC countries. They've chopped off about 150k/day since the start of the year and they need to cut production even further in March to fully meet the OPEC target so I wouldn't be surprised to see another 50k cut this month.

I think that Venezuela has had a problem paying the companies doing the drilling. They are getting fed up, and want to leave. That wouldn't affect past production, but eventually should affect production. Stories from earlier in March:

Twenty-four oil drills idle amidst declining Pdvsa revenues

Overall, oil contractors have halted operations in 24 rigs, according to trade union representatives of the oil sector. The union leaders said that the shutdown is due to the fact that the revenues of state-owned oil company Petróleos de Venezuela (Pdvsa) continue to dive, which has forced the holding to freeze some projects and stop payments to the oil contractors operating the rigs.

Venezuela May Take Over More Rigs to Allow Drilling to Proceed

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

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

Today’s statement said future takeovers would be similar to that of an offshore rig owned by Ensco International Inc., which halted drilling in January because it was owed $35.5 million. PDVSA took control of the company’s offshore rig and began to operate it under supervision of company managers, Ensco said.

The last thing you want to see coming at your oil rig

Oh, and good luck trying to leave the country after Hugo takes your rig away...

Chávez Tells His Navy to Take Over Key Seaports

President Hugo Chávez ordered the navy on Sunday to seize seaports in states with major petroleum-exporting installations, part of his effort to assert greater control over infrastructure that had come under the dominion of political opponents in regional elections last year.

“Go ask the gringo Fourth Fleet for help to defend your port,” Mr. Chávez taunted the governor of Nueva Esparta, a political rival, referring to the United States Navy’s Fourth Fleet. It was reactivated in the Caribbean last year after a six-decade hiatus, to the chagrin of several Latin American governments.

Venezuela has some of the world’s most inexpensive gasoline, selling for about 6 cents a gallon, a subsidized price that deprives the government of money for social welfare projects. The subsidy also feeds a thriving fuel-smuggling network into countries that export their own oil, including Brazil, as well as Trinidad and Tobago.

“Someday these prices will need to be adjusted,” Mr. Chávez warned. “We are practically giving away our gasoline.”

Well, yeah, you are stealing it Hugo and then giving in away. What do you expect?

I am frequently amazed at the blatant hypocrisy of the USA as a nation, in the criticisms that come from its Government, news media, and citizens (including many TOD contributors).

USA claims to be a "Nation of the free" and is rabidly opposed to "Socialism, Communism" etc; yet has a huge number of subsidies, protections, embargoes, sanctions,etc in place against other nations, so that US Corporations do not have to face open competition.

Hugo Chavez, to the best of my knowledge, has never invaded any other country. Instead of grossly illegal warfare and interferance he provides cheap oil to his neighbours. The actions that he takes against Oil companies are in his own Nation. He doesn't send huge armies to invade countries thousands of miles away in order to steal oil resources, and kill hundreds of thousands of innocent people on their home ground. Rather, he is reclaiming a small part of the resources that have been stolen by the international oil pirates over many decades.

I have never heard that Hugo Chavez has ever sent his "CIA equivalent" operatives to attempt to assasinate a USA President (although he would be quite justified in doing so).

Whilst I am aware that Hugo Chavez has supplied cheap heating oil to impoverished USA citizens, I have never seen any mention of a reciprocal service.

The whole arrogant USA attitude that "We are the Best", "Our way is the only way", "Do it our way or we will kick the $hit out of you", is highly offensive to a huge part of the global community. I suspect that it will not be too long before one or more of the abused creditor nations will pull the rug out from under the USA economy. China, for instance, would have a far shorter fall, and might well consider it worth the price to bring down the worlds most expensive and offensive nation.

Combined VenMex net exports were 4.2 mbpd in 2004 (EIA). I estimate that they fell to 2.7 mbpd in 2008, a decline rate of -11%/year.

Mexico's Pemex Jan-Feb Crude Output Down To 2.68M B/D

The biggest decline in production continued to come from the offshore Cantarell fields, which produced 759,000 barrels a day in the first two months, Pemex said, 459,000 barrels a day fewer than in the like 2008 period.

1,218,000 bpd to 759,000 bpd, a decline rate of -47%/year (month to month). Makes you wonder what has been happening at North Ghawar. . .

havent seem this one posted:

"Afghanistan to Hold First-Ever Hydrocarbon Bidding Round"


elwood -- couldn't dig up too much on Afghani oil potential because there hasn't been much done but found this:

The petroleum potential of the northeastern part of Afghanistan (part of the Afghan-Tajik basin), most of which is located in Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, has not been evaluated. Additionally, the Katawaz and Helmand tectonic blocks in southern and southwestern Afghanistan contain areas (fig. 3) with thick sedimentary sections and with possible petroleum potential that has not been assessed. To properly evaluate petroleum potential of Afghanistan, the better-known petroleum geology of the portions of the basins that lie in Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and Tajikistan needs to be studied as a part of this project and incorporated in the analysis.

Potential nice neighborhood but way too early to tell. Might be a Ghawar there but one would be nuts to say that out loud. Given the "social climate" over there today I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for a lot of capital to be thrown that way anytime soon.

IIRC Afghanistan has coal potential as well. I'll try to dig up some info

Edit: USGS info (3 page PDF) http://pubs.usgs.gov/fs/2005/3073/2005-3073.pdf

Anyone heared of indexmunid? Seems to have all energyproduction country by country. Looks interesting.

i was thinking the usgs made a wag of 15 gb for afganistan.

Might be a Ghawar there

Ghawar is, roughly, 110 miles long, 10 to 20 miles wide and 1,000' thick.

This is not the basin or the "field" but the actual reservoir.

A cursory look with modern technology should reveal a "red hot prospect" immediately if Ghawar had been in unexplored territory instead of KSA.

Virtually everywhere in the world has now had that cursory look that would reveal the strong possibility of a 100 mile long oil reservoir,

My conclusion, there are no more Ghawars. They are simply too big to hide.


The Antarctica and say Greenland could contain mega fields and a few miles of ice is effective at hiding stuff. Also of course deep offshore could well hold some surprises.

I think there are a few large fields left that have yet to be exploited I'd wager that at the minimum we probably have one more north sea left somewhere on earth.

But this oil would be very hard to get and by the time say the ice melted to expose it we would be well past the oil age or its simply so expensive and takes so long to bring online it won't make a material contribution before the oil driven lifestyle is over. You figure I'm talking about a basin thats not even really been identified much less explored then your probably talking 20-30 years before its found and developed oil production in 30 years would be low enough that that expense of bringing such a field online would probably make it not worth it.

I think we will always have some need for liquid fuels probably air travel and some transportation in more remote regions will always be powered but some sort of liquid fuel or at least have a liquid fuel option ( fuel cell probably ). But I'd also argue that if we dropped our transportation usage down to were liquid fuels really are not easy to substitute then the combination of the remaining oils supplies, GTL, CTL, and biofuels could easily provide the needed fuels. Biofuels or synthetic fuels of some sort alone would probably be viable.


Ammonia Borane.

Could well be the fuel for sort of reversible fuel cell or liquid battery.

I must stess I don't see any of this future technology as viable for our daily commuting suburban lifestyle but this is not the same as solving the problems of specialized use cases where fuel costs are less of a factor. Indeed we could well find that some sort of nuclear based solution may well prove common in the future. A number of novel approaches to capture of various types of radioactive particles and energy are possible.


Obviously again I don't see Soccer Mom's running around with these types of power sources but that does not mean we can't do it when/if we need to under certain conditions.

What's the EROEI on hash oil?

Interestingly, Poppies yield about 3 times the "Oil" per acre as soybeans.

Really? Did not know that one. Do you have a link to back up this claim? Because the pricing per gallon is FAR greater than Hazelnuts.

Gallon: $200.00

(Honest officer I was growing 'em for the seeds to make oil! The previous best excuse was 'the tap roots break up the soil and add valuable organic matter' )

They are making poppyseed oil biodiesel in this area. I have an idea the oil was used to slick down hair in the old days.

The Obama vegetable garden story is fascinating. I had a cook-out with my neighbors and every one of us (four houses) talked about what we were growing this year -- and I am the only one of the group who thinks that oil is on the decline. Gardening has really taken off the last couple of years and with Michelle leading the way I could see this accelerating in the poorer neighborhoods.

The White House garden will be 16 acres. I wonder if they will use a tiller? The article in the DB says Michelle is digging it. LOL!

Michael Pollan, author of "The Omnivore's Dilemma," praised the Obamas for starting small.

Responding to reports that the Obamas would be planting arugula, Pollan said he specifically warned the president against it. "I said be careful ... you'll be accused of elitism."

EDIT: There will be 16 acres of edible landscape not vegetables. And to answer my own question -- I read the article.

Twenty-three fifth graders from Bancroft Elementary School in Washington will help her dig up the soil for the 1,100-square-foot plot, in a spot visible to passers-by on E Street. (It is just below the Obama girls’ swing set.)

TOTO's on the horn as we speak, trying to line up Tiger Woods for some 'Shovel-ready' planting projects there. (kidding.. yikes, I realized I couldn't even use the other word for 'Garden Shovel'.. we've still got a lot to get over, eh?) That was a great story to see, though. Even if some want to call it mere 'Symbolism'.. creating the right symbols is actually important.

To keep OIL in the topic..
My wife just introduced me to a way of eating Kale raw at dinner last night. I guess you soak it with Olive Oil and some salt, and wring it out, scrunch it really well. It was really good! Very refreshing, kind of like nibbling on some fresh cilantro or basil.

For urban dwellers who have no backyards, the country’s one million community gardens can also play an important role, Mrs. Obama said.

But the first lady emphasized that she did not want people to feel guilty if they did not have the time for a garden: there are still many changes they can make.

“You can begin in your own cupboard,” she said, “by eliminating processed food, trying to cook a meal a little more often, trying to incorporate more fruits and vegetables.”

Dang, maybe Mrs. Obama can do a Campfire post?!

UK car production slumps 60%

Car production in the UK continued to slump in February as factories were closed to cope with falling demand in the recession.

Just 65,647 cars and vans were built last month, 60% less than in February 2008, the Society for Motor Manufacturers and Traders reported this morning...

..."The Government needs to decide now whether or not they will introduce a financial incentive to buy new cars because uncertainty means some potential buyers are putting off their purchasing decisions," warned AA president Edmund King.

Incentivise car purchasing? With public money, I presume. Next they'll be suggesting the government hand over money to banks...

And another sign of the times.

British motor show cancelled for first time since 1939

The British International Motor Show has been cancelled because of the crisis in the car industry, organisers said today. It will be the first time in peacetime the century-old event has not taken place.

The biennial event, which was due to be staged in London next summer, has been running since 1903 and has taken place ever since, apart from during the two world wars.

V -- you reminded me of somewhat interesting story I saw on our elevator TV the other day: it's estimated that 2009 will be the first year since 1945(?) that more cars will be sent to the scrap yard then are bought new in the US.

I suppose if you look hard enough you can find a few silver linings to every recession.

ROCKMAN, I've noticed quite a few of those 'since the 1930s' and 'since the War' stats and stories cropping up recently too. Looking back to the Great Depression and WWII

WRT 'silver linings', I find it interesting that many of the 'negative' aspects of economic downturn which are currently being reported with horror in the media (usually things entailing lower production/consumption of 'stuff') are necessary changes towards a more 'sustainable' way of living. People want sustainability so long as it doesn't intere with their way of life.

True V. It just a shame so many of our fellow citizens are so ill equipped to deal with change. Much of the change will be positive for many of us. But there may be a growing need for technical savvy folks to build our alts but that won't help the undereducated folks who will loose their only source of income from the US service industry as the more affluent adjust their spending habits. That's where the true pain will be felt. We’ll eliminate a lot of the fast food and adult toy industries but those low end workers are not going to start building electric cars or wind turbines. Even the skilled blue collar class will probably take a hard hit as we stop producing all those disposable luxury items. Change is inevitable and, unfortunately, so is a lot of pain.

Your Elevator TV.. what a world!

My wife and I showed our daughter the live cam on the Nasa TV site two nights ago, as the new shuttle crew brought some gear into the International Space Station.. just a webcam, sitting in there somewhere, and we watched them in real-time, as Houston(?) and Crew chatted about this and that. Lorelei had to have Zero-Grav explained to her. "They're floating!"

I gotta say, we have built some mighty impressive stone heads, my friends! I have to believe that the yeast are secretly a little jealous! I know, I know.. but still....

(Overheard from a doctor's kid in Manhattan in the 80's, riding in a friend's family car.. "You mean this car doesn't have a phone?" )


I gotta say, we have built some mighty impressive stone heads, my friends!

And still, that's all they are.

A dialysis machine fails to impress me nearly as much as the mammalian kidney does. Radar is crude compared to the ecolocation abilities of a bat. Not even a nuclear explosive possesses the capacity for mortality & morbidity of the HIV. Bigger stone heads don't impress me. Showing a little wisdom and humility before nature might.

You seem to be making plenty of use of the Microprocessor, a direct beneficiary of the Space Program.. and you use it to be in communication with people around the world. It's still up to you and I to apply the wisdom and the humility before each other, in this artificial environment.

.. and while I hope I'm never attached to one, I'm not disheartened to know that we have Dialysis, MRI and many other tools to offer a backup to the kidney and other parts of us that aren't working right. But it is my intention to know enough about natural food and my own biological needs to see that I don't end up there, as well. Like that nylon line and the Aluminum Carabiners when you are rock-climbing.. it's great to have them there, but the art is learning how to be on that rockface without having to depend on it.

Like that nylon line.. when you are rock-climbing..

Take a hard lead fall on a nylon rope & it'll break your back. Modern kernmantle climbing ropes have kevlar, not nylon, cores.

Anyhow, I gave up the internet and telephone at home back in August. Without the internet, I seldom even turn the computer on. Here at work (if you care to call it that) I'm considered to "need" a computer & an internet connection, at least outside the growing season. As far as I'm concerned computers & the internet offer no more than a means of social control that we'd all be better off without. Some of the researchers here schedule irrigation applications via computer & solenoid operated valves. They waste so much time dealing with computer glitches that I consider their data unreliable. What I do is go out & open valves by hand and time irrigation with my wristwatch. Technology for technology's sake is stupid. Apes making bigger stone heads for the sake of ape status in ape cliques is stupid.

After my wife's kidneys failed she was briefly on hemodialysis and then on peritoneal dialysis for three or four years before receiving a transplant. While I'm glad she went thru it and is thereby still alive, I wouldn't have. When I'm hurt much worse than a broken leg of sick much more than a bad case of the flu, I'm out. But to each his or her own...

Take a hard lead fall on a nylon rope & it'll break your back. Modern kernmantle climbing ropes have kevlar, not nylon, cores.

Totally off topic, but this statement is completely false. Modern dynamic climbing ropes are 100% nylon - and no they don't break your back. I ought to know, I fall on one regularly while pushing the grade I climb at.

More info if you want it: http://www.azom.com/details.asp?ArticleID=1393

Why the off topic post? I hate it when bad information is passed off as truth. As powerful as the internet is at transferring information it is unfortunately just as good at transferring disinformation.

Keep that in mind for everything you read, peak oil and otherwise.

In my day the kern of a dynamic rope was kevlar, with a woven nylon sheath. If they're making the cores of dynamic rope out of nylon nowadays it's news to me. Used to be that only static rope was nylon. My son recently retired an old rope of mine he'd been rappelling on, & the kevlar kern could be seen thru the worn mantle.

In my day the kern of a dynamic rope was kevlar, with a woven nylon sheath. If they're making the cores of dynamic rope out of nylon nowadays it's news to me. Used to be that only static rope was nylon. My son recently retired an old rope of mine he'd been rappelling on, & the kevlar kern could be seen thru the worn mantle.

Kevlar has never been used for dynamic climbing ropes. What you are looking at is nylon. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dynamic_rope

Stop trying to sound smart and admit that you don't know what you are talking about.

Enough on this already. If you are going to convince anyone of your argument you need to do a little research first. Ropes, peak oil, or bird mortality.

As far as I know, aramid fibers are pretty prone to fatigue. That would make for a bad rope - especially one that would go around carabiners in a belay and such.


That valve, irrigation system and stopwatch are then stone heads too. Technology built to say 'Let's do something.' If it's something worth doing, or is an imperfect step as we try to 'get there'. I don't insist you admire these products of the industrial age.. but it is a mudbath that you share with us, while you claim 'but I care not of these things'

They are tools.. what are you using this one for? One of them saved your wife's life for a while, and you shrug.. over the internet, which you also disdain.

Computer are to control people? They are about control overall, so that will end up being part of it.. but for all the glitchy irrigation software out there, there are computers helping research get done, directing firefighters to burning homes, calculating new windturbine designs that will lessen bird and bat kills.

Shrugging your shoulders, thumbing your nose at others' best efforts seems to be your form of control. Blaming technology AS you use it; blaming imperfect leadership, instead of helping to push somewhere that you find acceptable .. enough pulling already.

That valve, irrigation system and stopwatch are then stone heads too.

Of course they are. Attempting to do ag in a region where it doesn't rain sufficiently to support it is stupid. But for the time being, it's my job. If more meaningful employment were to drop in my lap, I'd do that instead. Do I complain about computers while continuing to use one? Yeah, I'm a hypocrite. Like you aren't one? I sit here assigning blame? I blame us all. I blame the financial crisis on peak oil which I blame on human greed which I blame on natural selection which I blame the laws of thermodynamics for. Who or what do I blame the laws of thermodynamics on? On God? If I believed in God I'd go ahead & blame it, then wonder what to blame God on. What's the point in all this jokhl? You can be the better man than I, if that's what you want. I really don't give a shit.

The point is taking some responsibility.

It's not so I can be the 'better man'.. it's so you can know that playing 'Bartleby the Scrivener', "I prefer not".. is a cheap 'out' so you can snicker at imperfection and failure, and pretend to remain disconnected and indifferent, but still condemn everyone to perdition and extinction. Safe Catharsis.

It's 16, DD. As in the angry teenager who gets to be outraged that life is unfair and people are bad and dad sold out, and then he gets to have this snits without providing any solutions himself. He is just the perfect critic, aloof and indignant.

The thing is, there ARE jobs to do, there are kids to raise, there are farms to build, there are ideas to juggle and improve. And when a semi-retired, unapologetic teenager takes up residence on a blog where he can safely snipe at any idea that suits him, then the people working to keep ideas flowing have one more set of whinging bullets to dodge, and try to keep a positive attitude, try to keep a productive conversation going, even if things do sometimes seem fairly hopeless.. (and they are not hopeless. But they ARE hard.)

You may already be extinct, DD. But I'm not. Neither is my mom. Neither is my daughter. Your defeatist attitude is not going to infect me with one.. but it is one more level of energy I have to expend to get past obstacles like the blocks you place in the paths of these conversations. It's energy, wasted getting around unnecessary obstacles.

It's easy enuf to just skip over my posts Bob, like I do those of the corn ethanol shills. If what I have to say riles you up more than you care to be riled, is that my problem or yours? Maybe you need to explore why what I have to say bothers you so much. Could it be that it's because you see the truth in what I say, and that truth terrifies you?

It's an energy drain on people who are trying to have useful debates. It's not that your conclusions are 'un-PC' and outrageously iconoclastic. It's that this is a place where people are trying to keep the communication going at a useful and productive level, and what I'm saying is your occasional anti-social way of projecting here defeats that purpose and adds to that muck that so much of the internet descends into.

Your conclusions about human extinction and K are pretty far-fetched. There's plenty to be terrified about, and I face those fears all the time. It's your tone and your mode of debating that I just find tiring, and as I keep saying.. an waste of energy. (and why do I go on? Exercise! The classic justification for wasting energy)

I am supprised by how much of this dialog has taken place while one is at work, No wonder many jobs have been moved offshore.

Am I just old fashioned or is the new paradigm that arguing on the internet while at work is ok. What ever hapened to an honest days work?

Personally, self-employed.

It's 1am, and I'm still (Half)-working.

Whilst the majority of TOD contributors are USA citizens, there are such things as "time zones".

The world is a tad bigger than the USA, and (surprise,surprise!!), people in other time zones work at different times during the 24 hours of a global rotation.

It might come as a horrible shock to you, but there are people in other nations on this globe that actually perform "an honest day's work". Even in the USA there are probably people who perform "an honest day's work" outside of the "9 - 5" regime.

Just one more of the "Americo-centric" attitudes on this site. The USA is not the world.

No, Michael M, you are not "just old fashioned"; just ignorant.

Yes, some of us in the US manage to squeak in a few hours:


Feeling a little anti-American today?

Translated from Dutch (Jan. 8, 2009): [Bike manufacturer]"Batavus raises production, not prices.
Based on solid orders and a high appreciation for the collection Batavus raised production to be able to fulfill rising demand"

Interesting times for air travel too:

Big capacity cut between New York and UAE:

Business travel falls:

European air traffic decreasing:

and on, and on, and on...

Alexander Cockburn : The Parable of the Shopping Mall


Take the Bayshore Mall in my own town of Eureka, northern California -- a covered, pedestrian arcade opened in the 1980s, owned by the Utah-based General Growth company. Located on the edge of Humboldt Bay, though facing the opposite direction towards Highway 101, our mall was an optimistic place in the early days. People dressed up to go there. A friend of mine who opened a coffee stall, wore a tie – purchasing it from Ralph Lauren which opened an outlet. Every pretty girl in Humboldt county wanted to work there, to see and to be seen. People drove for three hours through the Yolly Bolly Wilderness all the way from Redding in the Central Valley to savor its glories. There were stylish concerts in its ample Food Court.

Today the Bayshore Mall moulders, embodying the misfortunes of General Growth – the second largest mall owner in the U.S. - whose stock trades now for 55 cents, down from $44 last May. General Growth has now ousted its CEO, John Bucksbaum, (who is related to Ann Bucksbaum, wife of the New York Times’s Thomas Friedman, world's wealthiest pundit. In 2006, the value of General Growth Properties was estimated at about $2.7 billion. Last October 8, Business Week headlined an article "General Growth Properties Staggers Under Debt Load" (of $27 billion).

Today's Zerohedge:

S&P Freaks Out After Learning 3 GGP Loans Transferred To Special Servicers
Posted by Tyler Durden at 10:39 AM

And if you are long any tranche of CMBS deals GCCFC 2004-GG1 and LB-UBS Commercial Mortgage Trust 2004-C4, you may want to freak out too. S&P just announced that it is monitoring these two loans "after learning that the loans for three General Growth Properties Inc. (GGP)-related malls that serve as collateral for the transactions were transferred to their respective special servicers on March 18, 2009, due to maturity defaults. The three GGP loans collateralized by three malls were transferred to the special servicer after representative borrowing entities notified the master servicer that they would not be able to repay the loans due to difficult capital market conditions.


MAINE - Water rights activity in a small town.. Poland Springs/Nestle, still a favorite target.


SHAPLEIGH — Residents Saturday approved a rights-based ordinance that prohibits water extraction by corporations.

The vote was 114 to 66 and came 25 minutes into the Town Meeting – and only seven minutes after the call for the vote.

The vote makes Shapleigh the only Maine community to have approved a rights-based ordinance. Residents of Barnstead, N.H., passed a similar ordinance in 2007.

It is notable as much by how the vote came about as the vote results..

“If the selectmen of Shapleigh are going to take the citizens they are supposed to be representing to court, in my opinion, that’s a despicable act,” she said.

Perro said he wasn’t surprised by the vote.

“I’m not sure we as a town should challenge (the result),” he said.

What it could all rest on is the clause in state statute by which the citizen’s group called the special town meeting after selectmen refused to put the issue on the ballot.

“If the selectmen unreasonably refuse to call a town meeting, a notary public may call the meeting,” the statute states.

Took a drive up the Columbia River Gorge to the little farm town my family is from, and was really startled to see the Shepherds Flat Wind Farm and other projects in the Gorge, hardly any of which were in place the last time I visited. These 3 MW turbines are really something to behold up close - pictures or video really doesn't cut it. Wish they'd been in place 20 years ago when I was driving up and down I-84 every few weeks - they do a lot to break up the monotony. Amazing that Shepherd's Flat will be the biggest project in the world, but after my family moved away we made a trip back, and my Mom remarked that she wondered how she put up with the incessant wind for decades without going crazy. The reply: "What wind?"

So huge, loud, hubristic man-made structures are more interesting to you than natural scenery? You need roaring monstrous artifacts of technocopian arrogance to break up the "monotony" of nature for you? This tears it, folks. We are well & truly fucked when this is the way people have come to feel about mechanisms over ecosystems.

It would seem we are well & truly f**ked.

What do you expect? We are both epic nest builders and tool users.

DD, I know your position on wind turbines, but you're wasting your time protesting the impact on a relatively smallish ecosystem versus the alternative. If we run low on oil and NG, you can bet that every tree in the US will be cut down just like they were on Haita and just like on Easter Island before people go without heat and transit. Even a 50% or 80% cut-back in energy use won't help forestall that eventuality for long.

Really, only a drastic cut-back in population will save much of any ecosystems...and honestly most of the existing ones are already supremely different than they were pre-man or would be sans humans.

Maybe I'm overly doomish today, but I suspect we'll have turbines and nukes and STILL we'll burn almost every tree, eat almost every fish, and eat our seed coren. In the meantime I think wind turbines look nicer than refineries and coal power plants, and at any arbitrary point you you could simply take down wind turbines to restore most of the scenery. In the delicate SW service roads may take decades to fade, but the wind farm roads aren't any better or worse than those for oil wells around here.

Finally, while I truly love an unspoiled mountain vista or a pastoral valley scene, I gotta say the miles of turbines gently pinwheeling does add almost a surreal quality to rolling Kansas plains, and it's not at all an unwelcome sight to me.

I don't know about that Paleo. I live across the highway from the largest refinery in the country and it's much prettier at night (always reminds me of Xmas lights) then wind turbins you can't see in the dark excpet for the nav lights.

Perhaps it really is all in the eye of the beholder. Naa....you're wrong and I'm right.

Well, maybe at night. :)

I drove by at night on auto-pilot and didn't even notice the turbines....lots of cell towers look that way at night.

During the day a turbine wins over a cell tower easily, though.

When one is flying at night, the tops of most towers are visible with a red light often flashing. Now here's my plan. Since wind towers have a light at the top, there is a blade height of +100 feet or so which is not only bad for birds and bats but also for night flying piper cubs. I recommend putting lights on the blade tips thus creating whirling expanses of lights going round and round. Now that will definitely scare piper cubs away and might even scare a flock of geese into climbing over a deal like that.

See, you have to be innovating. Maybe deep organ music will call in aliens.

And Rockman, that may look better than a refinery at night ... :-)

I don't dispute a word you're saying Paleo. I think that the probability of human extinction within the lifetimes of those already born is much higher than nearly everyone believes it to be. The only thing I might dispute is the opinion expressed in your final paragraph. (I know, disputing opinions rather than facts is pretty futile.) When I first laid eyes on a large "wind farm" between Barstow & Fresno in '05, I thot it was ugly as hell. The observation that altho the wind was blowing hard and the blades of most turbines were spinning, about a third of the machines weren't turning at all, led me to believe that the technology was crude & prone to malfunction. All the concrete, steel, copper, and other resources, mined, manufactured & transported with FF energy, that goes into them, just to have a good percentage of them stand idle, even with the wind blowing, led me to regard the tech as inviable as a significant contribution to our energy needs. The fact that they kill birds & bats was just the icing on the cake so far as my disdain for wind as an energy source went.

When it comes to mechanisms over nature it is hard to match the damage being done to the world by coal burning power plants. Hundreds of multi-megawatt turbines are much more beautiful than just one coal burner. In addition to the damage to all life that fossil CO2 is causing there is the spread of many localized poisons coming not just from the smokestacks but also from the ash and clinker as well as the damage from mining activities. World wide thousands of human beings are directly killed in mining accidents and many more die from mining related diseases. Millions more are sickened by sulphur compounds, mercury, radioactive isotopes, and many other toxins pumped out of the stacks. Next is the impact on water supplies just from the evaporation related to cooling towers and ponds. When I consider all that then wind turbines are a beautiful addition to the landscape.

Everything you say about coal-fired power plants is true. I should know, since two of the nastiest ones in the world are located just west of where I live, and I see their pall of pollution every morning on the way to work. I challenge you to show where I've ever advocated for coal power plants on TOD or elsewhere. But once again, ad infinitum, ad nauseum, ad absurdum.. a worse thing doesn't justify a bad thing. Why is this logically & morally simplistic truism so difficult to get thru the heads of technocopian idealists who think they're being all "green" in their advocacy for bird & bat killing windmills?

Al Gore, you've doomed us all!
Best hopes for Don Quixote?

There's a picture of the site here, as of last August.


I wonder if a windfarm would break up the monotony of this argument?

DD, if you want us to get off of most of our electricity to end these windmills AND the current polluting sources, would you be interested in posting on that direction? What regular families can work on to get there? I'm pretty clear on what you're AGAINST at this point. We know our respective points, and they aren't really going anywhere at the moment.. so what are you FOR? I doubt you really believe there is much of a solution in 'Doing Nothing'.. but there is work involved in just getting to there.. Having Less, Consuming Less, Impacting Less, reinforcing the healthful interactions with your environment. Communicating it with your community.

While that one sits out there to be pondered, I'm going to start getting a wire from my little PV over to the office finally, so my computer usage can finally get off the grid.

smug, not smog.. (just kidding.. I'm better than those 'smug' people)

.. so what are you FOR? I doubt you really believe there is much of a solution in 'Doing Nothing'.. but there is work involved in just getting to there.. Having Less, Consuming Less, Impacting Less, reinforcing the healthful interactions with your environment. Communicating it with your community.

Okay, fair enuf. First of all, please realize that I fully expect humans to fall victim of Anthropogenic Mass Extinction (AME), within the time scale of decades to centuries, based both on body size and degree of carrying capacity (K) overshoot. I feel that imminent human extinction is virtually inevitable and that any and all preparations meant to delay or avoid extinction are futile, and quite probably counterproductive (in that they will have the opposite consequence of that intended). Hence, I really do advocate "doing nothing" and letting nature take its course, rather than precipitating unintended consequences that contribute to the pain vertebrate organisms experience. Also, I realize that the following is unrealistic given human nature, and don't expect any of it to happen.

If human population could be massively reduced in short order, extinction could conceivably be postponed indefinitely. I would prefer that this population reduction be accomplished by peaceful means, i.e., solely by attrition thru radical reduction of the birth rate (r). But I don't think there's time for this. People are going to have to die. I don't want to be the one to decide who and how. I guess we're going to need a Stalin or a Hitler for that.

We simply must cease poisoning our atmosphere & surface oceans with CO2 and other high heat capacity gasses immediately. In fact, immediately is too late. We needed to stop oxidizing fossil carbon a century ago. Shutting down every FF burning powerplant and ICE this very minute won't save the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) and by extention, coastal cities and low-lying rice growing regions of south Asia.

We must cease the pillaging of the oceans. We must cease eating meat. We must cease fixing nitrogen (N), mining phosphorus (P), and applying these inorganic nutrient pollutants to croplands only to have them run off to destroy aquatic ecosystems by eutrophication. We likewise must cease disrupting the biogeochemical cycling dynamics of sulfur, iron, manganese.. We must cease disrupting the hydrodynamics of watersheds via dams & levees. We must cease the clear cutting and tree farming of timber. We must dismantle nuclear weapons and cease funding militaries. We must cease practicing greed-based capitalism. We must cease long-range travel, be it by means of aircraft, rail or automobile, and be content with "sheltering in place." Families need to rise with the sun & go to bed when it sets. Families must feed themselves from the bottom of the foodchain. Families must master the skills of everything from subsistence agriculture to herbal medicine to home defense. If families can procure & rig up a small scale photovoltaic system for a little electricity, more power to them. Most families won't have the time for such a luxury, in their day in, day out struggle for survival. People need to realize that the best they can hope for is to die well, to go down swinging. Not that it really matters since dead is dead.

You know, in a sense I appreciate and admire the efforts of Jason Bradford or Sharon Astyk, et al. What they're trying to do represents the best the human spirit has to offer. But their efforts just make me sad from the realization that all such efforts are in vain. Tending your little "victory garden" isn't going to assuage AGW & AME. Everything that's beautiful about this incredible little gyre in the inexorable river of entropy - this diverse & gorgeous little garden planet lost in the vast cold vacuum of space - is going down and we have only our greed & hubris to blame for it. And neither will technocopians building bigger & better stone heads avert what's been long in coming but now is upon us.

Wow. Can't say that you're short on ambition. Historical examples from the last century of world-shifting rulers (2 of which you cite) should give impetus to your goal of population reduction, if they're indicative of future performance.

Hence, I really do advocate "doing nothing" and letting nature take its course, rather than precipitating unintended consequences that contribute to the pain vertebrate organisms experience. Also, I realize that the following is unrealistic given human nature, and don't expect any of it to happen.

So why do you care if the view in some desolate county of Oregon is cluttered up a bit? My cousins kill more chukars in a season than the whole project will in a century, despite your protestations. Only big objection to the turbines came from a Vietnam vet who suffers from vertigo. Haven't heard about glistening streams of blood on the blades, either. The staff here should hold you to writing a keypost on this pet peeve of yours, with the full references you never cite; otherwise they should give you a timeout of a week or two, as your nihilistic prattling just adds bushels of clutter to DB.

You might take heart from an additional gut reaction of mine to seeing the wind farm, which is that it might make a tempting target from the local young/dumb/full-of-cum population for target practice. You can tell when a road sign is new from 1) the fresh paint and 2) the lack of .30-.30 holes.

This is already a largely "unnatural" landscape too, from the locust and poplar trees Sam Boardman planted a century ago, to the Airmotor windmills my Dad and Pete Crawford erected in the 40s, to the HV lines the BPA put up in the 50s. It's been that way since the Army fought the Cayuse over in Sand Hollow and the settlers replaced bunchgrass with wheat; probably too much to ask, but get over it.

..the wind farm.. might make a tempting target from the local young/dumb/full-of-cum population for target practice. You can tell when a road sign is new from 1) the fresh paint and 2) the lack of .30-.30 holes.

Awhile back I was trying to find info online about what a .30-06 bullet would do to a wind turbine. I didn't find any definitive info but did find a website for a company that makes bullet shields for turbines. Said that it'd stop a .22 or 9mm handgun round. Did not claim that it'd stop a .30-06, so there's still hope!

The staff here should hold you to writing a keypost...

Nate Hagens invited me to do so, on a topic of my choice, recently. I declined, because I really don't have anything to say that others who wrote better than me haven't already said.

..otherwise they should give you a timeout of a week or two..

I think that TOD PTB save that for those who advocate that others commit suicide. You paying attention today, Gail?

..as your nihilistic prattling just adds bushels of clutter to DB.

The clutter I see comes from technocopian idealists & tinkerers who have no clue of the ecological realities of the situation we face, and who think some "green" version of BAU can be provided by windmills or whatever their favorite "alt" for FFs might be.

Some awesome posts today DD!
Surely hope they don't result in banning, as I'll only have Memmel to look forward to here.

For DD's willingness to face the consequences of the really big picture, and ability to articulate its bottom line so clearly.

Memmel for his amazing "out of the box" ability to think.


Nah, removed. Too easy.

Awhile back I was trying to find info online about what a .30-06 bullet would do to a wind turbine.

Your standard issue 'deer round' has enough snot to punch a hole in 3/8 inch plate steel. 1/2 inch plate will get a nice dent. I believe .50 cal will put a hole in that.

Bell Labs makes its telco eq to be .22 round resistant and that's all due to costs VS costs of replacement. That research was done in the 1950/60's. (part of the bellcore docs that I no longer have access to) Hence the low-kinetic energy ratings on the 'bullet shields' - the normal shoot'n at stuff is cheap rounds in the hands of kids.

I didn't find any definitive info but did find a website for a company that makes bullet shields for turbines. Said that it'd stop a .22 or 9mm handgun round. Did not claim that it'd stop a .30-06, so there's still hope!

And I can only hope that when wind machines *ARE* damaged by 'deer rounds' the investigators knock on your door, with your statements about 'taking whatever means' to stop wind machines.

Finally did see your comment. The way to be sure that I will read your comment is include a graph. I always look for graphs.

We do have a pretty tough topic to talk about here. I am inclined to give people a fair amount of latitude--some points I wouldn't think about come out in strange ways. I manage to tune out a lot of stuff.

I have a strong suspicion the life expectancy of wind turbines is not whatever is included in the amortization calculations (30 years, or something like that). We know that there is a fair amount of maintenance that has to be done--moving parts that wear out, and if that doesn't happen, the turbines stop. If people are shooting at them, it won't help their life expectancy either. The wind turbines only make sense if they connect to the grid, and the grid has maintenance issues as well. If there are copper parts that can be stolen from the grid, that adds question marks to the long-term sustainability of the grid.

Cutting through the gobbledygook of Bernanke's latest comments-what he is saying in plain English is that banking executives are stealing from their companies and the government has to try to control them as nobody else can http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Bernanke-says-exec-apf-14702604.html

Big Ben to the rescue...

Bernanke defends big bank bailouts

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke responded to ongoing criticism of the government's efforts to keep alive institutions it has deemed "too big to fail," saying that this is an "enormous problem" that needs to be addressed.

Speaking before a group of community bankers in Phoenix, the central bank chief argued that actions taken thus far to prop up the nation's largest banks have been extremely unpleasant, but necessary to preventing further harm across financial markets and the broader economy.

"I do not think we have had a realistic alternative to preventing such failures," he said.

Many smaller community banks avoided making too many subprime mortgages and also did not own the types of toxic securities backed by these loans that have plagued big banks.

These smaller banks, along with taxpayers, have become increasingly frustrated by the government's stance that major financial institutions like Citigroup, Bank of America and American International Group continue to require billions of dollars in government support because they have been viewed as too big and important to the broader economy to fail.

They failed because they DID get too big, Mr. B. "Too big to fail"... Geez, Ben, if my a$$ gets too fat and I can't get up anymore to get food because of obesity, diabetes and heart disease, will you run out and me a big plate of burgers if I ask nicely? Bail me out, Ben, because I'd be too big to fail.

Just think about a new world reserve currency. It is just like our present currencies, i.e. simply a promise to pay. It is not backed by gold or oil or grain or anything real, so at this point it is just another method of powerful people to get more apparent wealth. Would anyone care for some WCDs (World Currency Derivatives)? We can put it on the open market and trade it along with all the other fiat currencies. In the event of a global recession, it will be as worthless as the present currencies.

Make no mistake; if TPTB can make some hay with a new fiat currency, we will have it. Whether it affects the price of bread in the US or China remains to be seen. I just wish we had better soil here in the high desert.

IMO it is an announcement to the Anglo elite/PTB that they have pushed things too far and the rest of the world power structure is going to push back.

I'm not sure how successful that "push back" will be. Consider the size of the various financial centers. The list below is from 2007, so the amounts are no doubt smaller, but the relative sizes won't have changed much. And remember that Euronext is now owned by the NYSE.

Yes, I understand that stock exchanges aren't the only measure of financial position, but you'll find the same in other financial areas - the "Anglo elite" are the core of the financial world and its going to take more than just the Russians and Chinese desiring a WRC to change that. (personally, my bet is on the internal contradictions of the global capitalist economy, but that's just me.)

(figures in trillions of U.S. dollars)
1. NYSE (NYX.N) (NYX.PA) $21.79
2. Nasdaq Stock Market $11.81
3. London Stock Exchange (LSE.L) $7.57
4. Tokyo Stock Exchange TSE.UL $5.82
5. Euronext (NYX.PA) (NYX.N) $3.85
6. Deutsche Boerse (DB1Gn.DE) $2.74
7. BME Spanish Exchanges (BME.MC) $1.93
8. Borsa Italiana $1.59
9. Swiss Exchange $1.40
10. Korea Stock Exchange $1.34
11. OMX OMX.ST $1.33
12. TSX (X.TO) (Toronto) $1.28

Fascinating-obviously Britain can crush China like a grape as your listing illustrates-maybe with a few more lucky bounces Iceland could have made your "power" list.

My post had nothing to do with one nation-state "crushing" another nation state.

My "'power' list" is a list of the largest stock exchanges in the world.

So, let's try it this way. Suppose organization A based in China wants to raise $1 billion dollars. Where do they go?

Yes, there are stock exchanges in China, the largest being in Shanghai (I note that according to Wikipedia that exchange's capitalization at end of 2007 was 3.7 trillion, enough to make it 6th largest - so I don't know why it wouldn't appear on the Reuter's list).

But the really big boys are all based in New York, London and Tokyo. Same goes for commodity exchanges, banks, etc.,

In short, control of the world financial system isn't about nation-states. In fact, I would suggest that those who run the financial system merely use the state apparatus (bureaucracy, military, tax authority, etc) for their own ends. In places where the gov't changes through election, you are really only seeing competing groups of the financial elite bankrolling one or the other candidate (frequently both candidates).

The Chinese state is an interesting case as the elite who gained control of it in 1949 were not financial elites. However, by the time China is ushered into the global economic system, they had certainly joined that club.

Just to understand your premise-you feel that no matter what happens to the economy of Britain, London will continue to be a financial powerhouse irregardless-the same for NYC, as the "big boys" are totally separate from the fortunes of the nations hosting these financial centres.

I will repeat. I am not talking about "nation-states."

I do not believe that it even makes sense to talk about the "economy of Britain" except as a shortcut to talk about the impacts of the global economy on people who happen to live in that geographic area we refer to as "Britain"

These financial centers are the "capitals" of the global economic system. They are tied to their host "nations" (truly a anachronism) only in as much as they use the state apparatus to accomplish their goals.

The question isn't what happens to London's financial sector should the British economy fail. The question is what happens to the British should the London financial sector fail.


just thought this might be interesting -

CHINESE Companies on the NYSE
Aluminum Corp. of China Ltd. (ACH)
China Eastern Airlines Corporation Limited (CEA)
China Life Insurance Company Limited (LFC)
China Mobile (Hong Kong) Ltd. (CHL)
China Netcom Group Corporation (Hong Kong) Limited (CN)
China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation (SNP)
China Southern Airlines Company Limited (ZNH)
China Telecom Corporation Limited (CHA)
China Unicom (CHU)
Guangshen Railway Co. Ltd. (GSH)
Huaneng Power International Inc. (HNP)
Jilin Chemical Industrial Company, Ltd. (JCC)
PetroChina Company Ltd. (PTR)
Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation (SMI)
Sinopec Shanghai Petrochemical Company Limited (SHI)
Suntech Power Holdings Co., Ltd. (STP)
Yanzhou Coal Mining Co. Ltd. (YZC)

Congressman Brad Sherman says exactly what Barack Obama can't, won't, or is afraid to say http://market-ticker.denninger.net/

Cannot find your Brad Sherman quote at the URL provided.

This is interesting:

U.S. Federal Deficit Soars Past Previous Estimates

In a new report that provides the first independent analysis of President Obama's budget request, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office predicted that the administration's agenda would generate deficits averaging nearly $1 trillion a year over the next decade -- $2.3 trillion more than the president predicted when he unveiled his spending plan just one month ago.


Might the bailout have anything to do with that?

Red ink that will span generations...

The red ink won't span generations if everything falls apart, and we have to start over. Likely new government, new currency, little respect for old promises.

Wow, so you are saying there will be blood instead of red ink...?

Dunno which I would choose... Revolutions aren't fun to live through.

Following WWII, which had red ink actually exceeding the GDP, the American people were so burdened by the debt of that war and the previous depression as well as the growing national debt of the Cold War that they experienced decades of improving standard of living. For 30 years the lives of most Americans got better in spite of that debt burden and in spite of all those children being born. Pundits enjoy decrying government debt as a burden for future generations but history just doesn't support that conclusion. Could it be that the debt may have actually created the following decades of prosperity?

You're right, if you limit "history" to only American history since WWII. Any serious appeal to history should look back more than 60 years, and at a broader range of countries.

If you think that we can't talk about the past, because "it's different this time," then you have something in common with the people who told us that the housing and stock markets would never fall.

Thomas, try reading a little more history. There are very few similarities between the resource-rich post WWII period and the current version of the world economy.

And yes, all that debt DID create the following decades of prosperity -- they borrowed prosperity from the future (now and going forward). Too bad we now have to Pay the Debt.

The debt ponzi is no longer viable.

The dismal deficit figures, if they prove to be accurate, inevitably raise the prospect that Obama and his allies controlling Congress would have to consider raising taxes after the recession ends or else pare back his agenda.

They won't. They'll prove to be gross underestimates.

What makes 'em think it's ever going to end?


A post that doesn't mention wind turbines, birds, or bats!!!

Scroll down-watch the video.

I love that video - the CNBC Harpies are clearly distraught over the plight of wallstreet vets.

I could not believe the fat CNBC harpie guy was stupid enough to suggest the AIG people were the smart ones - and glad Brad Sherman pointed out they caused their own disaster, they are not so "smart".

I agree with Denninger here ...

...I love the whining about "contract law". Where were those complaining about this when AIG wrote CDS against no capital? Contract law calls that fraud folks ...

They're lucky that the "punitive action" isn't coming in the form of 100 year prison terms or worse, angry mobs of citizens performing an 1873-style "banker hanging" on the lampposts...

I've long advocated for #1 but I'm getting darn close to where I'd cheer on those engaged in #2.

I hope Denninger or someone posts the home(s) addresses for the poor Wall Street Titans - AND for the mildly retarded cheerleaders at CNBC such as the harpies in that clip.

I've got a few extra pitchforks and a gassed-up bus ready to go... ;)

They went speechless when Sherman pointed out accurately that right now ANYONE employed at AIG or any of these bailout babies is in fact a GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEE not a "Master of the Universe" and rightfully should be paid a bureaucrat's wage and not a penny more.

Yes - they should be paid less than their boss Timmy G. OR GIVE THE MONEY BACK.

And wasn't it incredible to see the two "anchors" clearly show their bias as well as their ignorance ???

They were clearly antagonistic towards their "guest" and even cut him off when he was speaking to argue their STRONG, misinformed opinions.

Can't CNBC at least get some other 'guest' to appear and argue for their agenda?

CNBC is Wallstreet's version of Jerry Springer.

I LOVE this pic...

This *is* how bad things are.

A perfect cartoon for highly intelligent, informed bloggers (and some posters here on TOD) talking about timing and what stocks (tulips) to buy... see :

Getting Back in After Market Collapse?


The excerpts printed below were unbelieveable-talk about let them eat cake. No one carries you? Most of these people have been carried from childhood, usually by one of the household servants.

This AIG mess is getting worse.

IF you're working for Geithner, why are you making more than Geithner?


"This is amazing; Brad Sherman is for taxing the hell out of bonuses for the explicit purpose of getting the government out of these firms. His view is simple: If you're working for Geithner, why should you make more than Geithner?

I like it."

'Too Fat' Family Wants Bigger Checks

A British couple who say they can't work because of obesity-related health problems complained that the government checks they receive aren't enough to cover their living expenses. They aired their gripes in a story in the Telegraph.

Philip Chawner, 53, and his wife, Audrey, 57, haven't worked in 11 years. The government benefits they collect each year is equivalent to about $43,260 in American currency.

What we get barely covers the bills and puts food on the table. It's not our fault we can't work. We *****deserve***** more," Philip Chawner told the newspaper.
The couple have two daughters -- Emma, 19, and Samantha, 21. The combined weight of the four is 1,160 pounds.

Each family member consumes 3,000 calories a day, about 500 over the recommended maximum for men and 1,000 over the limit for women, the Telegraph says.
Audrey Chawner admitted the family's diet isn't the best. But healthy food is "too expensive," she said.

Emphasis mine.

I think it's time for an Obesity Tax.

The government likes sin taxes, like those on cigarettes. Maybe we should have one for gluttony?

How much does obesity cost society? How much should we tax per pound/kilogram over the normal weight?

see this 60 Minutes Clip on Slow Food Movement. For many reasons I think this should be expanded wherever possible. Our food is impacting our behavior and vice versa. This is low hanging fruit, in greater scheme of change.

Did you realize you used the phrase "Low hanging fruit" in reference to food?

What really kills me about those people above is that they do NOTHING - nothing...and believe they "DESERVE" - actually used the word "deserve" - more money. There are probably people working their ass off and making less than they do. All they are is a drain on society, and they think they deserve more. Why do people think they "deserve" anything? Maybe there's a Campfire topic for you.

Fantastic article in Rolling Stone on the Enronization of America, which proceeds uninterrupted as the country enjoys George Bush's third term in office http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/story/26793903/the_big_takeover/1

This is a great article. Sad, funny and outrageous all at once. Those who think America remains a "superpower," or even a democracy, should read this before they do their taxes.

"But wait a minute," you say to them. "No one ever asked you to stay up all night eight days a week trying to get filthy rich shorting what's left of the American auto industry or selling $600 billion in toxic, irredeemable mortgages to ex-strippers on work release and Taco Bell clerks. Actually, come to think of it, why are we even giving taxpayer money to you people? Why are we not throwing your ass in jail instead?"

But before you even finish saying that, they're rolling their eyes, because You Don't Get It. These people were never about anything except turning money into money, in order to get more money; valueswise they're on par with crack addicts, or obsessive sexual deviants who burgle homes to steal panties. Yet these are the people in whose hands our entire political future now rests.

Good luck with that, America. And enjoy tax season.

This is the latest in the bank takeover department. They aren't terribly large, it they have a total of $57 billion in assets.

Regulators Seize Control of Two Largest Corporate Credit Unions

In the latest dramatic move by federal authorities to prop up the nation's banking system, regulators late Friday seized control of the two largest wholesale credit unions in the U.S. after finding that their losses on mortgage-related securities were even larger than previously thought.

U.S. Central Corporate Federal Credit Union and Western Corporate Federal Credit Union, which have a total $57 billion in assets, were taken into conservatorship by federal regulators. Under conservatorship, the government will continue to run the institutions. . .

The affected institutions don't serve the general public. Instead, they provide critical financing, check-clearing and other tasks for the retail institutions. These wholesale credit unions, known in industry parlance as corporate credit unions, are owned by their retail credit-union members.

U.S. Central and Western Corporate have been grappling for more than a year with large paper losses on a slew of assets, mostly mortgage-related. In January, regulators moved to prop up U.S. Central with a $1 billion infusion after it took big writedowns on some of the securities.

High Speed Passenger Rail: Future Development Will Depend on Addressing Financial and Other Challenges and Establishing a Clear Federal Role. GAO-09-317, March 19. Highlights


Your link is to the wrong document.

HIGH SPEED PASSENGER RAIL Future Development Will Depend on
Addressing Financial and Other Challenges and Establishing a Clear Federal Role

Once projects are deemed economically viable, project sponsors face the challenging tasks of securing the up-front investment for construction costs and sustaining public and political support and stakeholder consensus. In the three countries GAO visited, the central government generally funded the majority of the up-front costs of high speed rail lines. By contrast, federal funding for high speed rail has been derived from general revenues, not from trust funds or other dedicated funding sources. Consequently, high speed rail projects must compete with other nontransportation demands on federal funds (e.g., national defense or health care) as opposed to being compared with other alternative transportation investments in a corridor. Available federal loan programs can support only a fraction of potential high speed rail project costs. Without substantial public sector commitment, private sector participation is difficult to secure. The challenge of sustaining public support and stakeholder consensus is compounded by long project lead times, by
numerous stakeholders, and by the absence of an established institutional framework.

Two out of three ain't bad for these times. I mean two good news stories, and one bad one:

OptiSolar drops manufacturing as it seeks a buyer

Thin-film panel maker plans to layoff two-thirds of its remaining staff in the hopes of hanging on until it finds a new owner.

ENN Solar makes supersized thin film on first Applied line in China

he machines are producing thin-film silicon photovoltaic solar modules that are 5.7 square-meters—nearly four times larger than traditional modules. ENN General Manager Rick Wan said the panels take advantage of Applied's proprietary tandem-junction technology for energy-conversion efficiencies of more than 8 percent.

ENN plans to increase its installed production capacity to 500 MW by 2011. The company's R&D teams in Beijing and Silicon Valley are working to improve the technology and product design so that ENN can improve the energy conversion rate to 12 percent in the next two-to-three years.

Solyndra nabs $535M DOE loan for 500 MW factory

The money is expected to cover 73 percent of the cost to build a 500 megawatt factory in California, making the total project cost nearly $733 million.