Drumbeat: March 24, 2009

Cold fusion experimentally confirmed

U.S. Navy researchers claimed to have experimentally confirmed cold fusion in a presentation at the American Chemical Society's annual meeting.

"We have compelling evidence that fusion reactions are occurring" at room temperature, said Pamela Mosier-Boss, a scientist with the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center (San Diego). The results are "the first scientific report of highly energetic neutrons from low-energy nuclear reactions," she added.

Green gift: Energy upstarts chase stimulus cash

The question is whether this support is too little, too late. For every Horizon Wind or eMeter that saw an immediate uptick in business, there are small companies for which recovery still looks like a mirage at the far end of a desert. . .

In theory, the stimulus bill's $8 billion in loan guarantees should help. But such guarantees have been available since 2005, when Congress passed the Energy Policy Act. Not one has actually made its way to a company. The review process is slow, and the up-front fees are steep.

"It's been a black hole," complains George Sterzinger, executive director of the Renewable Energy Policy Project. It remains to be seen whether the Obama administration can fix this broken process.

In the short term the stimulus bill's tax credits are likely to be more useful than loan guarantees. First, double-dipping is now encouraged: Green companies can gorge on both state and federal tax credits instead of being forced to choose. Second, even green startups with no profits to write taxes off against will receive an IRS check for the maximum refund.

Clean energy businesses get a nice gift in the form of a 30% tax credit on investment to encourage expansion in the U.S. (rather than overseas, where 90% of all clean energy manufacturing now takes place).

Space storm alert: 90 seconds from catastrophe

According to the NAS report, a severe space weather event in the US could induce ground currents that would knock out 300 key transformers within about 90 seconds, cutting off the power for more than 130 million people (see map). From that moment, the clock is ticking for America.

First to go - immediately for some people - is drinkable water. Anyone living in a high-rise apartment, where water has to be pumped to reach them, would be cut off straight away. For the rest, drinking water will still come through the taps for maybe half a day. With no electricity to pump water from reservoirs, there is no more after that.

There is simply no electrically powered transport: no trains, underground or overground. Our just-in-time culture for delivery networks may represent the pinnacle of efficiency, but it means that supermarket shelves would empty very quickly - delivery trucks could only keep running until their tanks ran out of fuel, and there is no electricity to pump any more from the underground tanks at filling stations.

Back-up generators would run at pivotal sites - but only until their fuel ran out. For hospitals, that would mean about 72 hours of running a bare-bones, essential care only, service. After that, no more modern healthcare.

The truly shocking finding is that this whole situation would not improve for months, maybe years: melted transformer hubs cannot be repaired, only replaced. "From the surveys I've done, you might have a few spare transformers around, but installing a new one takes a well-trained crew a week or more," says Kappenman. "A major electrical utility might have one suitably trained crew, maybe two."

Province supplying Beijing water drying up: state

A province in north China that supplies Beijing with much needed water is itself facing serious shortages of the resource, state media reported ahead of World Water Day on Sunday. . .

Probe International, a leading development policy group, has warned that the city of Beijing faces economic collapse and will need to resettle part of its population in coming decades, as it could run out of water in five to 10 years.

Perfect storm of environmental and economic collapse closer than you think

A "perfect storm" of food shortages, scarce water and high-cost energy will hit the global economy before 2030, said the government's chief scientific adviser, John Beddington, last week. Factor in accelerating climate change and this lethal cocktail leads to public unrest, cross-border conflict and mass migration – in other words, an economic and political collapse that will make today's economic recession seem very tame indeed. But though I totally agree with John Beddington's analysis, I think he's got the timing wrong. This "perfect storm" will hit much closer to 2020 than 2030. . .

And then there's the debt issue. Governments have systematically stoked up levels of personal and national debt (including insane asset bubbles in housing, land and property) explicitly to force-feed high levels of economic growth. We will all be paying off those financial debts for decades to come.

On the environment front, as our financial debts have built up, so have our debts to nature – in terms of the unsustainable depletion of natural resources, measured by the loss of topsoil, forests, fresh water and biodiversity. Everybody knows that liquidating capital assets to fuel consumption is crazy but nobody seems to know how to stop it.

Woodchips With Everything (George Monbiot)

Biomass is suddenly the universal answer to our climate and energy problems. Its advocates claim that it will become the primary source of the world's heating fuel, electricity, road transport fuel (cellulosic ethanol) and aviation fuel (bio-kerosene). Few people stop to wonder how the planet can accommodate these demands and still produce food and preserve wild places. Now an even crazier use of woodchips is being promoted everywhere (including in the Guardian(1)). The great green miracle works like this: we turn the planet's surface into charcoal. . .

The energy lecturer Peter Read proposes new biomass plantations of trees and sugar covering 1.4 billion ha(9).

The arable area of the United Kingdom is 5.7m hectares, or one 245th of Read's figure. China has 104m ha of cropland. The US has 174m. The global total is 1.36 billion(10). Were we to follow Read's plan, we would either have to replace all the world's crops with biomass plantations, causing instant global famine, or we would have to double the cropped area of the planet, trashing most of its remaining natural habitats. Read was one of the promoters of first-generation liquid biofuels(11,12), which played a major role in the rise in the price of food last year, throwing millions into malnutrition. Have these people learnt nothing?

After 20 years: New life for cold fusion?

Is the science community warming to cold fusion? It's been 20 years to the day since Martin Fleischmann and Stanley Pons, electrochemists at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, announced the discovery of what they believed to be "cold fusion" (now often referred to as low-energy nuclear reactions, or LENR), a room-temperature nuclear reaction that reportedly generated an unexplained amount of heat. The pronouncement spawned a flurry of excitement about a new renewable energy source, but enthusiasm quickly waned after the result wasn't satisfactorily replicated. Today at the American Chemical Society's national meeting in the very same city, researchers are recapping recent developments in the field – including images of what some believe are telltale signs of reaction-born subatomic particles, as well as documentation of heat, helium, gamma rays and other products from possible low-energy nuclear reactions. . .

The hope of LENR is to replicate the powerful energy generation that occurs in stars such as our sun, but to do so at a much cooler temperature. If successful, it could provide a nearly infinite supply of clean energy here on Earth. But many remain skeptical, including the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

China fuel stocks grew in Feb despite stronger sales

China's refined fuel stocks rose 11 percent in February despite a sharp post-holiday rebound in domestic sales, media reported on Tuesday, suggesting that demand in the world's No. 2 consumer may be weaker than thought. . .

"The figures show that demand is still not strong enough to soak up the supplies. Demand remains much weaker than the same time last year," said Liu Bo, oil analyst with Guojin Securities.

Inventories of refined oil products rose 11.4 percent versus end-January to 14.85 million tonnes at the end of February, the Beijing News reported, citing data from the China Petroleum and Chemical Industry Association. It said stock levels were 36.3 percent higher than a year earlier.

Russia can raise oil output if price above $50

Russia can sustain and even raise oil output if prices stay above $50 per barrel, Russia's Energy Minister said, adding he believed it would make no sense to merge oil majors Rosneft (ROSN.MM) and Surgut (SNGS.MM).

Sergei Shmatko also said Russia and China were close to finalizing work on a $25 billion loan to Rosneft and oil pipeline firm Transneft and added Gazprom was ready to raise supplies to Poland to compensate for lower supplies from gas trader RosUkrEnergo.

"Today when the price of oil is approaching $50 per barrel, the eyes of oil firms are beginning to light up again. If it stays at above these levels, I'm sure they will ramp up production," Shmatko told reporters.

Oil Defies Bearish Sentiment: Will Natural Gas Follow?

Despite endless bearish news on the global economy, that call has come good, initially for non-WTI grades like Brent given the specific Cushing storage issue, but in recent weeks for Nymex crude as well. As can be seen in the chart below, thanks to OPEC discipline (helped by a steep contango structure which makes keeping oil in the ground rational) crude is now breaking out of its recent trading range. As with many commodities right now, the market is struggling to reconcile the reality of short term demand destruction (albeit US gasoline demand seems to be rebounding) with the prospect of medium-term supply destruction as key development projects are postponed or canceled. . .

While it's hard to see oil prices doubling in the next year absent a huge supply disruption, it's quite feasible for US gas from these levels.

'Nano will add to global pollution'

"So we're not going to be replacing gas-guzzling 4x4s with fuel-efficient cars, we already do that in the West. What's going to happen is a lot more cars are going to get on the road and that's going to happen in India and China and it will be a profound change."

The Australian also believed Nano would impact fuel prices.

"Oil is running out and in fact we're at about peak oil production now. China and India are running to the party and the keg is half empty," he said.

The Car that Runs on Fresh Air (video)

Engineers in the south of France are working on a car that they hope will radically change the way motorist fuel their vehicles.

It is powered by compressed air, emits zero pollution – from the exhaust-pipe at least – costs one euro per fill-up and boasts a top speed of 70 kilometres per hour.

LNG looks good as oil prices continue to fall

FALLING oil prices are raising interest in Australia's liquefied natural gas sector as oil majors look to boost vital reserves they can no longer secure in areas like Canada's oil sands.

"Australia is key on the target list for many companies because they are opportunity constrained and that is evidenced by the numbers that are active here," PricewaterhouseCoopers global LNG leader Michael Hurley said.

"If you look at other investment opportunities companies have had in the past few years, there's been a big play for oil sands in Canada," he said.

As Work Force Ages, Oil Majors Use Tech to Retain Knowledge

Major oil companies are looking for the solution to the work force crunch in their employees' electronic trail.

ConocoPhillips, Chevron Corp. and BP PLC are encouraging employees to use handheld computers, interactive Web pages, blogs, social networks and other media to store information on how they make crucial decisions or resolve problems at the office and in the field.

This new generation of options allows companies to partially solve one of their biggest challenges: the retirement of half of their workforce over the next 10 years. The shift allows employees to more efficiently communicate on a large scale, as well as archive knowledge and reduce training costs, the companies said.

Major Oil Cos Eye Chance with Nationals

Chief executives of Exxon Mobil Corp., Chevron Corp. and BP PLC have recently played down the idea of corporate mergers and said they might do better by partnering with state-owned companies struggling to meet capital needs.

While such efforts have been rebuffed in the past due to a surge of nationalism fueled by high commodity prices, the drastic drop in oil prices may force some national oil companies to reconsider.

"Given the need these countries have for investment, the need they have for technology, the need they have to keep their economy going, this is the time they need companies like ours more than ever," Chevron Chief Executive David O'Reilly said at the company's recent analyst meeting.

Nigeria unions call off strike

Nigerian oil unions have called off a proposed strike after the government promised to do more to improve security in the restive Niger Delta.

Nigerian output dips to 1.6m bpd

Nigeria's oil production is averaging around 1.6 million barrels per day so far this year, significantly lower than government expectations, the Opec member's finance minister said today.

Mansur Muhtar said the government may need to tighten federal spending this year to reflect the drop in oil output. This year's budget, signed into law earlier this month, assumes oil production at 2.3 million bpd.

Moscow fury at Kiev gas move

Russia broke off talks with Ukraine today after Kiev angered the Kremlin by asking European Union investors to help modernise its gas pipeline network which supplies about 20% of Europe's gas.

The spat over investments in Ukraine's gas pipeline network has revived fears of a repeat of the January gas dispute between Russia and Ukraine when major EU customers were left without gas for nearly two weeks in the dead of winter.

European officials on Monday welcomed a Ukrainian plan to modernise its gas network but Russia is dismayed that it was not included in the discussions.

Drought Turns Water Into a Cash Crop

As Don Bransford prepares for his spring planting season, he is debating which is worth more: the rice he grows on his 700-acre farm north of Sacramento, or the water he uses to cultivate it.

After three years of drought in California, water is now a potential cash crop. Last fall, the state activated its Drought Water Bank program for the first time since 1994. Under the program, farmers can choose to sell some of the water they would usually use to grow their crops to parched cities, counties and agriculture districts. . .

In addition, the water bank is still wending its way through a complicated approval process from state and federal agencies. The bank can't formally open for business until those kinks get worked out. If the approvals don't happen soon, farmers like Mr. Bransford will have no choice but to plant their crops instead of selling their water.

EPA Raises Heat on Emissions Debate

The Environmental Protection Agency has sent the White House a proposed finding that carbon dioxide is a danger to public health, a step that could trigger a clampdown on emissions of greenhouse gases across a wide swath of the economy.

If approved by the White House Office of Management and Budget, the endangerment finding could clear the way for the EPA to use the Clean Air Act to control emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases believed to contribute to climate change. In effect, the government would treat carbon dioxide as a pollutant. The EPA submitted the proposed rule to the White House on Friday, according to federal records published Monday.

Such a finding would raise pressure on Congress to enact a system that caps greenhouse gases -- which trap the sun's heat in the earth's atmosphere -- and creates a market for businesses to buy and sell the right to emit them, as President Barack Obama has proposed.

Quick Sand: Suncor, Petro-Canada Merger Unlikely to Cure What Ails Oil Sands

But at first glance, it doesn’t look like the marriage between two of Canada’s biggest oil players will address the fundamental problem in accelerating oil-sands development: It’s just too expensive at current crude prices. It also doesn’t address the uncertainty around how climate-change legislation might impact the economics of this carbon-heavy fuel. . .

The combined company, which would have pro-forma oil sands production of about 288,000 barrels per day, might not find it much easier to rejuvenate stalled investments in key areas. Suncor’s plans to almost double oil sands production by adding a refinery-sized facility called an upgrader, for instance, still look stillborn despite the merger: The Voyageur Upgrader carries a $4.4 billion Candian dollar pricetag.

Brazil's oil workers go on strike

Brazil's state oil company Petrobras' workers started a strike on Monday demanding better working conditions and payment. . .

However, according to Petrobras, all units' operations are carrying on normally and not affected by strike. In a statement released on Monday afternoon, the company also stated that operations are being carried out by contingency teams, and the negotiation will be opened soon.

UPDATE 1-EOG CEO says no deals likely in 2009

"We've currently got a monstrous inventory of assets," Papa told the 2009 Howard Weil Energy Conference.

Over the next five years, the company's assets in the Bakken Shale in North Dakota, the Barnett Shale in Texas and the Haynesville in Louisiana will enable EOG to return to production growth in the double digits when market conditions improve, Papa said.

EOG and other energy companies have had to cope with an enormous drop in oil and natural gas prices.

In February, EOG said it expects to grow production in 2009 by about 3 percent, compared with a 15 percent gain in 2008 as it slows drilling in some areas.

Venezuela economy seen contracting unless oil rises

Without a sustained rise in oil prices, Venezuela's economy will stall or contract this year, especially after the spending cuts socialist President Hugo Chavez announced at the weekend.

Chavez's liberal use of soaring oil revenues, soft credits and lower sales tax has endeared him to poorer supporters and fed a consumer boom in recent years.

Despite the socialist president's usual instinct to spend, on Saturday Chavez cut spending and raised sales taxes rather than risking a costly fiscal stimulus with oil revenues at about half their 2008 level.

Analysts say the decision will likely further slow consumer demand and economic growth.

ViaLogy Technology Delivers Large Oil Find

ViaLogy announces today that its QuantumRD(TM: 65.23, 4.56, 7.52%) oil exploration technology and service has been credited with locating a major new oil deposit on the Galba Prospect in South Central Texas. The success marks the operational and commercial validation of the company's software-based seismic interpretation service for oil and gas reservoir discovery and characterization. The technology accurately predicted the size, location and porosity of three reservoirs.

The successful drilling effort and oil strike based on the ViaLogy analysis located reservoirs at increasing depths estimated to contain a total of over 2 million barrels of recoverable reserves.

Colorado, feds to hash out oil, gas regulations

State and federal officials plan to sort out questions about how Colorado's proposed new oil and gas regulations will apply to federal land. . .

Colorado Petroleum Association President Stan Dempsey said having two sets of regulations on federal land puts the industry in a difficult position.

"This is very serious for us. We're not going to be able to rectify which rules apply to us," Dempsey told a legislative committee last week.

Dempsey said he doesn't believe the state has the authority to impose state rules on federal land.

Tonight on NOVA Extreme Ice

An acclaimed photographer teams up with scientists to document the runaway melting of arctic glaciers.

Catch it tonight at 8 eastern, 7 central or watch it on line at this link tomorrow or any time afterward: Extreme Ice on line

Ron P.

I wonder if Exxon's explicit advertising and sponsorship of this program is an admission that climate change is real and caused by CO2 emissions. The slide show and video that are currently available are excellent and visually stunning.

Euan Mearns has been instrumental in setting up a series of lectures at University of Aberdeen on "Energy Controversies". This is a link to a panel discussion he is on regarding Alternative Energy--that is alternatives to fossil fuels.

WTO Sees 9% Drop in 2009 Global Trade Amid Recession (Update2)

Global trade will plunge 9 percent this year, the most since World War II, as the recession deepens, the World Trade Organization said. . .

“The contraction in developed countries will be particularly severe, with exports falling by 10 percent this year,” the report said. “In developing countries, which are far more dependent on trade for growth, exports will shrink by some 2 percent to 3 percent in 2009.”

Overseas shipments from China, the world’s second-largest goods exporter after Germany, dropped a record 26 percent in February after a 28 percent decline in January. Germany shipped $1.47 trillion of goods last year, according to the WTO, just ahead of China’s $1.43 trillion. . .

Worldwide industrial production this year may fall by as much as 15 percent and the global economy is likely to shrink for the first time since World War II, the World Bank said on March 9.

Anecdotally I have recently begun watching the web cams on the Panama Canal.
If any one is interested they are here:
Even tho I don't have an historical perspective it seems that inspite of some impressive looking loads none of the container vessels seem to be fully loaded. This could simply be an issue of draft requirements of the canal. Also many vessels of all types seem to be running with high free board, meaning they are empty or lightly loaded. again I am not sure what that would mean.

Here is some recent traffic data published for the canal. Transits were down from 2007 to 2008 but cargo tonnage was up slightly. Both figures are so close as to seem like a plateau over thos two years.

Here is the link to the data. Again, is there somone who could look at this with some expertise.

Also if you watch the operations it is obvious that the canal is very labour and energy intensive.

OK here is my analogy of the latest Geithner plan.

Picture a car full of screaming people shooting off a cliff, plundging to their death.

Now freeze frame.

Back up the film until the car is still a few feet from going off the edge of the cliff.

Now a guy in a nice three piece suit walks into the frozen frame of car, people screaming, etc. He opens the doors one at a time and goes thru everyones purse, pockets, wallets, taking all their money, closes the doors, and walks out of the frame counting the money.

OK, now roll film.

Exactly. And Stephen Hawking has demonstrated that
the same entity can be in two different places at the same time.

-which is what the federal Reserve seems to be
attempting right now ;}.

See Information as the basic building block of the Universe
and Black Holes.

I believe that the double slit experiment demonstrated that a long time ago. Still never really been understood.

This story keeps coming back in various forms:

China Takes Aim at Dollar

China called for the creation of a new currency to eventually replace the dollar as the world's standard, proposing a sweeping overhaul of global finance that reflects developing nations' growing unhappiness with the U.S. role in the world economy. . .

Monday's proposal follows a similar one Russia made this month during preparations for the G20 meeting. Like China, Russia recommended that the International Monetary Fund might issue the currency, and emphasized the need to update "the obsolescent unipolar world economic order."

Chinese officials are frustrated at their financial dependence on the U.S., with Premier Wen Jiabao this month publicly expressing "worries" over China's significant holdings of U.S. government bonds. The size of those holdings means the value of the national rainy-day fund is mainly driven by factors China has little control over, such as fluctuations in the value of the dollar and changes in U.S. economic policies. While Chinese banks have weathered the global downturn and continue to lend, the collapse in demand for the nation's exports has shuttered factories and left millions jobless.

Chinese officials are frustrated at their financial dependence on the U.S.,

I find this mildly amusing. The CP is the one that chose to join the "game" - now they want to complain about the rules?

They're not complaining.

This is a frontal assault in combination with Russia
and the Shanghai Coop (and BRIC?) on the World's Reserve (so far ) Currency.

17 March 2009By Ira Iosebashvili / The Moscow TimesThe Kremlin published its priorities Monday for an upcoming meeting of the G20, calling for the creation of a supranational reserve currency to be issued by international institutions as part of a reform of the global financial system.


The Kremlin has persistently criticized the dollar's status as the dominant global reserve currency and has lowered its own dollar holdings in the last few years. Both President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin have repeatedly called for the ruble to be used as a regional reserve currency, although the idea has received little support outside of Russia. Analysts said the new Kremlin proposal would elicit little excitement among the G20 members. "This is all in the realm of fantasy," said Sergei Perminov, chief strategist at Rye, Man and Gore. "There was a situation that resembled what they are talking about. It was called the gold standard, and it ended very badly. "Alternatives to the dollar are still hard to find," he said.

BTW- On that Ukraine Gas Pipeline Repair thing:

Kremlin Puts Hold on Ukraine Talks
Reuters Russia broke off talks with Ukraine on Tuesday after Kiev angered the Kremlin by asking European Union investors to help modernize its gas pipeline network, which supplies one-fifth of Europe's gas. Posted 3:41 p.m.


Still sounds like complaining to me.

Not that I don't understand there concerns, but what could they possibly do? Between the two countries they count for, maybe, 10% of the global economy. Together, they are not even half of the US portion of the global economy.

And does anyone really think that an IMF backed WCR would garner more confidence than the dollar? Notice, too, where the IMF is headquartered, who runs it and who funds it.

No, the Chinese and Russians are as locked into this monstrosity as we are.

"Not that I don't understand there concerns, but what could they possibly do?"

you're confusing money with power.

"No, the Chinese and Russians are as locked into this monstrosity as we are."

No. They're not.

The Chinese don't want to destroy, they want to take over.
They have a 50 year plan and they're about 25 years ahead of schedule. With each failed move (See PPIP for details),
the US is spending it's wealth trying to recreate
the status quo ante while the BRIC, Shanghai COOP are buying
every resource from Venezuela to Ozzieland that's not
nailed down.

Ex, You might not think that having our only Afghan Supply
route going thru Russia is a big deal. Or that we're
making noises about shooting our drones in areas of Pakistan
outside of the NW Tribal Areas.

Here's two different news articles, hours ago:

China attaches great importance to its ties with Pakistan: Hu Jintao
Associated Press of Pakistan - ‎7 hours ago‎
China and Pakistan are good neighbors, good friends, good partners and good brothers, he said and added, the Sino-Pak friendship is not only in the ...
‘China to continue promoting Sino-Pak strategic partnership’ Daily Times

US fears Pakistan’s growing problems
Financial Times - ‎17 hours ago‎
Washington has told its Nato allies that it is more concerned about the future of Pakistan than Afghanistan and suggested the US will change its approach on

Which one do you think the Pakistanis enjoy reading more.

... a 50 year plan ? Heck they only have a 2 month warranty.

Confusing money and power? First, I'm not sure how you draw that from my comment. Second, we were talking about money - as in US$ as the global currency being replaced by a World Currency Reserve.

50 Year Plan? You obviously have far more intimate contacts within the CP than I do if you know this.

The problem for the united states is, the longer these talks go on without them rebuking them with what ever means the united states has the more bold they will get till they actually act. When they act it will not be good for the united states if not the rest of the planet.

Perhaps you will find this interesting on older depression problem solving:

And perhaps this might help capture the fear going about:

thanks for the articles. the only difference is that the united states has nukes, and the only two ways out of this crisis from what i see is either hyper-inflation or war. This is not a good situation...

Neither hyperinflation or war will resolve the energy issue. With devaluation of the dollar oil we become increasingly expensive for the US, in real terms (and in dollars, of course). War tends to use a lot of oil and will likely make a bad energy situation even worse for those at home.

War might be the tool to force a massive change on the populace though. What better way to get people to accept rationing and lifestyle collapse than to have another world war?

The only other solution I can see is to have a world food shortage to increase the value of US grain exports. Trading corn for oil will work for starving Arabs. Of course those with nothing to trade will simply starve, but Malthus would probably agree that when deciding who starves everyone will say "You go first" as long as they can.

Unfortunately, I think you are right here.

Obviously the whole economic system has broken down, and obviously we have to impose something new if we are going to avoid utter catastrophe. Rationing is now the only rational option.

But the only way people are going to accept rationing is in the context of a world war. Limited, regional wars just seem to be a reason to go on shopping.

So we have to create a global catastrophe in order to avert or postpone a national catastrophe.

Our military is about our only strong suite anymore.

I would like to think that everyone will wake up tomorrow, see the enormous mess, and demand rationing (along with slow painful deaths for all investment banksters).

But that kind of awakening just doesn't seem to be in the cards.

First, who has ANY confidence in the IMF ???? How long before "Chinese officials are frustrated at their financial dependence on" the IMF World Currency?

Would an IMF currency have prevented "the collapse in demand for (china's) exports" and the closing of their factories?

How would an IMF currency be affected by "fluctuations in the value of the dollar and changes in US economic policies" if the US remains the world's biggest consumer?

The chinese are likely correct about the current "unipolar world economic order" becoming obsolete, now that we have begun The Great Energy Transition (whether our leaders know it and publically admit it, or not).

We are likely heading toward a 'highly polarized world economic (dis)order' with declining international trade, increasingly "local" economic trade, and plenty of trade barriers (e.g. protectionism) etc... IF that is the case, would an IMF currency be helpful?.

(as an aside, my deeply religious, baptist cousin is terrified of this "mark of the beast" world currency ...)

China, in concert with Russia, and others (see Japan)
with Sovereign Wealth Funds ( See Elaine Supkis)is taking over
the IMF to introduce a Gold Backed currency basket which
will keep nations with Reserve Currency, oh say the USA,
from creating as much as they want.

And Evangelicals don't seem to mind World Currencies
as long as it's ours. Just as they don't seem to mind
Law of the Jungle rule, again, as long as it's ours.

The Golden Rule: Them that has the Gold makes the Rules.

China is taking over the IMF?

I see that we live in different worlds.

Moving to SDRs as the reserve currency is only the first step. The next step is to add the Chinese and Russian currencies to the basket, and then to gradually reduce the percentage of dollars in the basket.


All the currencies (and gold for that matter) are freely traded at easily discovered exchange rates. So for the job of comparing/agreeing prices it doesn't matter which you pick. Similarly for the job of payment it doesn't matter: the buyer can convert into what's agreed, and the seller can convert into what they want to hold long term. The only important issue is what currencies anybody wants to hold long term. America seems to have gained by receiving goods while giving bits of paper in exchange, but actually they've lost control of their currency. In a money economy individuals save for a rainy day by saving the local currency. Imagine a pre-money society. People would save nonperishable stuff that would be useful later or exchangeable for perishable goods later. That's the situation that nation states are in. If they want to save for a rainy day (which is one of their primary responsibilities) then they need to stockpile non-perishable stuff (and make other preparations that don't have immediate economic value).

The gold standard was only a problem because of fixed exchange rates. In our current world of market prices for currencies and gold, then the issues are entirely different.

But it seems that politics wants to dictate exchange rates, or play games to manage that, which leads to the US-China/Japan debt games.

I'm not sure anything will keep people and nations from conniving and currencies from crashing, but openly traded currencies on a common exchange would certainly help a lot.

Unfortunately we won't be able to afford oil or plastic gizmos from overseas in that model.

Manipulation of exchange rate goes exactly hand-in-hand with one country stockpiling another country's money. China keeps its exchange rate down by buying more and more dollars. They're annoyed that they have "capital" and the US can destroy the value of that capital. Well tough.

Of course the money does actually come back to the US to buy Treasuries and other bonds. A balance of trade deficit is always balanced exactly by an investment surplus. Investment in the US is based on the idea that the US will not collapse, or not collapse as catastrophically, as other places. Seems as true today as it ever did. America is surprised to find itself considering serious future difficulties, but for most of the world that possibility is linked to clear memories of much worse times in the past.

Personally I'm starting to favour the enforced localization that comes from import tariffs and foreign ownership restrictions. This could be sold to the voters as a jobs without growth message.

If the US destroys the value of China's stash, it won't be China doing the bulk of the suffering. Anyone paid in US dollars will take the brunt of the hit.

Anyone paid in US dollars will take the brunt of the hit.

Nawww, anyone who has a mortgage right now (with a fixed rate) will have their asses saved. I've been banking on hyperinflation for a while now... I expect it to get to the point that I can pay off my house in a few years (possible with only an inflation rate of 30% AND as long as my wage rises by that)

If the value of the US$ is trashed, you can forget about oil continuing to be priced in US$, or for the NOCs to accept US$ in payment. If the US still wants any oil, we'll have to come up with something of real value in exchange for it.

"Energy independence": maybe coming sooner than you can possibly imagine.

The above link: ViaLogy Technology Delivers Large Oil Find

Just how large was this find? Two Million Barrels! The US uses that much oil in about three hours. The World uses that much oil about every 40 minutes or so.

Ron P.

If we used as much oil per capita as India, maybe it would last a bit. Technology helps, but it doesn't find new Ghawars.

The implications are even less then you point out Ron. I checked out their website. Not to take anything away from them (probably some pretty smart folks there) but it's not a "new technology". They have developed a better software processing system. But this has always been an ongoing process. Most seis data benefits from reprocessing every 5 years or so. Computer power and software progressively gets better over time. A likely more significant underlying story is that a small independent company used 3d seis to drill the prospect. Typically they would drill on subsurface geology alone with perhaps some old 2d seis helping them.

I made this point some time ago: exploring for oil/NG has never been as easy and with as high a success rate as we have today. I've seen the technological advance first hand for 30 years. Thus the problem isn't a lack of good technology. It the diminishing number of places left to look for more oil/NG. We are very good at exploring for hydrocarbons today but there's just a lot less to find then there once was.

During the early '70s, in a previous incarnation, I worked for two seismic oil exploration companies: Petty Ray Geophysical & Seismograph Service Corp., in the Midwest, Texas & Idaho. I worked on the survey crew for Petty Ray and was a juggie & jug truck driver for Seismo. The whole crew, from observer in the doghouse (truck with computers the cables fed into) to the vibrator operators to the juggies, was a bunch of potheads. We camped out in state parks as we moved around, terrorized pizza parlors on all-you-can-eat nights, got in fights with local rednecks in funky bars, smoked enormous amounts of weed, cut our way thru thickets with chainsaws & machetes, ran lines thru standing crops of corn & wheat for which damage the farmer got reimbursed, and worked like demons until a hydraulic hose blew on one of the vibrators. It was great fun & we were all amazingly physically fit. I'm sure glad I don't have to do that kind of hard physical labor anymore at my age, but that's the way it was done back then. Not sure how much has changed.

Not sure how much has changed.

Better quality weed

Dog -- probably the biggest change from your memories is not having to drag cables. Almost impossible to find a 2d crew any more. Essentially all 3d is done now with radio telemetry. Use GPS and set the unit and pop the jug down and your done. Haven't laid eyes on a crew in ages but I suspect the juggies have little changed: a gypsy life and wild adventures as you so well describe. Truly meant for the young at heart (and weak at mind).

Like you my mind has had to strengthened to compensate for a weaker body.

That pretty much sums up me experience as a juggie and shooters helper in the 1980s in Alberta and BC. Not sure if they would allow you to work 100+ hour weeks any more under health and safety, but it made for a good salary.

Ah, flashback to previous incarnations. Working as a field seismologist laying phones and setting charges for GSI. Didn't use no wussy vibrators, used large charges of nitramon-S. KABLOOEY.

Done a bit of that myself - we used Tovex water gel. Pretty darn fun out there in the desert drillin holes and dropping strings of tovex down. kaBOOOOM indeed. I still have some of the empty tovex boxes in the garage, they are great storage boxes and make interesting conversation pieces when people notice them...

i take it that they think they have found 153,000 recoverable barrels. no data on the depth or any actual production. and if what they say is true, the amazing part is that they were able to find such a small target. .

based on this article, they have a set of 1 (possible) data point, so far.

The insanity is complete. Knowing that more than 20% of oil supply comes from world's 20 largest fields, most of them in terminal decline. Knowing that world's 800 largest oilfields produce about 60% of the oil, most of them on plateau or in terminal decline. Realising that it's almost certain that in the future year after year less megaprojects will come on stream. And that a lot of projects from the last 5 years are offshore, most of them peaking within 5-10 years and than decline fast.
Running to the (oil-export) cliff, most not knowing or understanding the facts of the fundament of modern life.

most not knowing or understanding the facts of the fundament of modern life.


What appears to be insanity is human nature and how we perceive risks. Nate Hagens has done a lot of great work on this in various posts. I think most of us here have tried to explain PO to others, with very unsatisfying results.

Being PO aware colours just about everything I do. I watched a documentary about various preparations being made for the Cascadia earthquake/tsunami. The risk estimate is a 20% likelihood in the next 50 years. OTOH, there is a 100% likelihood that we will effectively be out of oil in 50 years and a similar chance that we will be experiencing massive disruptions in the next 10 years.

IMO, it is a question of how widespread the knowledge is. In some ways I'm glad that PO is not better known because the implications are bound to cause severe social unrest. I say this half in jest because I have doubts about how much mitigation we can do, and even more doubt that we will do it, regardless of awareness.

Gloomy, I know, but that's how it looks to me.

This is a subject I've taken interest in, living in Seattle, and I've found that almost nobody is even remotely aware of the Cascadia subduction zone or just how bad the resulting megathrust quake will be when it rips. I see no evidence of any recognition or any real preparation for the possibility of having three major cities in ruins. All those brick buildings will be coming down long before the shaking is over. And I'd say the average awareness here is around that of peak oil, perhaps less.

Fun fact: the local geological record implies that these quakes happen every ~300 years, and the last one was in 1700.

I think the awareness varies widely. Seaside CA and Ucluelet BC have marked "high ground" route signs and there have been evacuation exercises. Hard to say whether it was all for the camera. Structural retrofits and building standards have been adopted in Vancouver BC, I don't know about Vancouver WA.

Re: The interval and most recent event, I found the 20% in fifty years estimate a bit odd. I tried to find the event history data (and distribution), but so far nothing. If you have a link to the individual events, please pass it on. I believe the work was done by Goldfinger (really). One thing that I found interesting is that a portion of the Cascadia events triggered the San Andreas, with a slight delay, but the proportion and seismic levels were not clear. Also, I found the Vancouver Island periodic "hop" very ominous.

All that said, my original point stands. Although the Cascadia event presents a significant risk to a relatively small area, there is a guaranteed event on the nearer horizon that few are aware of or even want to contemplate.

As Jim Morrison said, "People are strange"


pragma -- You're facing the same problem geologists have always had about the timing of relatively rare (compared to one's life span) events: lack of data base. Even with a few more data points you really can't get too predictive. As far as "average intervals" of such events even when there appears to be a good data population it's typically not that good. You're probably familiar with the standard deviation. Many times geologic events might indicate a frequency of X years, the SD is often high...50% to 70% of X is not uncommon. To make matters worse, each temblor event changes the system to some degree and can thus change the probabilities (as weak as they might be) significantly. And, even worse as you point out the interaction with other systems such as the San Andreas, can make almost any predictive effort nearly pointless. Monitoring for precursors to a catastrophic event is also difficult for similar reasons.

Now add the current economic downturn to the mix and it's easy for the politicians to turn a deaf ear to any of you "alarmists".

Thanks for that insight Rock.

This is why I was looking for more data, to see if I could get a bit of a peek behind the curtain. I realize that one can erroneously infer too much.

In the big picture, whenever it happens it is a local event.

Running out of oil, water and food OTOH.....


What appears to be insanity is human nature and how we perceive risks. Nate Hagens has done a lot of great work on this in various posts.

"We have only two modes: complacency and panic"
I read the work of the regular posters with great interest. PO awareness changed my mental state completely.

I have doubts about how much mitigation we can do, and even more doubt that we will do it, regardless of awareness.

Mitigation (for whatever reason) has started but in solving the future liquid fuel problem there is not enough time left presuming the Hirsch rapport is right.

Mitigation (for whatever reason) has started but in solving the future liquid fuel problem there is not enough time left presuming the Hirsch rapport is right.

IMO, the mitigation is token, and I think we are well into Hirch's worst case scenario.

Well, I finally convinced my wife that I'm not crazy (sort of). She now believes most of the doomer scenario.
Her big question: Now what?

I keep telling her, get out of dept, get out of dept, and don't take any bonus from AIG. The million dollar question (in 2008 dollars) is, after that what? Having too much property (A.K.A. self sufficient farm) seems risky. I am sure some form of authority will take it or tax it away. Building a pile of cash would be just as futile after the dollar crashes. I keep thinking about an interview I heard from a Russian (linked from here last month). He said that during the hard times of the Soviet Union, it was who you new, not what you had, that was important.

Do you guys think that the internet can be relied on as a connection place? I was thinking of something like that new linkedin.com for post peak friends. Or do you think I have to rely on my little town for everything? If so, I might consider moving.

You won't have the internet after the power goes out, or maybe even before. You can't really trust people you meet over the internet, unless you get to know them well in person. Even if you make good friends over the internet they may live too far away to be of any support after the breakdown of transportation systems. You can't trust neighbors very much, either, once they get desperate. You're better off living where you have family, if you have any left alive. It will be groups of brothers, uncles, first cousins.. who do best when the time comes.

Now what?

Review this map of the future to figure out where to live, and then acquire this book about how to initiate the next steps.

there is a problem with that map. just because the green area's would have the right temps for growing crops, that doesn't automatically mean the land CAN support agriculture. The soil needed to grow food takes hundreds of years+ of the right conditions and the right organisms to build up. To think humans could magically make those warmer but still barren(due to the time frame of warming) into rich lands for agriculture to feed the world population is nigh on the same level as thinking that a man could feed thousands of people on two fish and a loaf of bread.

Face it, a 4c warming means the end of agriculture.

That map says move to Kamchatka to me..

That map says move to Kamchatka to me..

Volcanic soils are supposed to be very fertile. For the same reason the Alaska peninsula, and Aleutians would also be indicated. The good news is the area is almost entirely unpopulated!

Except by lots of Big Brown Bears.

Actually almost all those islands are completely treeless covered by tundra which is thick, spongy bushy-like undergrowth. There are no native mammals. Kodiak is to my knowledge the only island away from the mainland which resembles the "Alaska" your familiar with. I do know that rabbits have flourished on some islands after accidentally or intentionally released. Also I know that on at least one island nearby Sandpoint, AK someone once had the bold idea of releasing cattle on an uninhabited island. They are still there after generations and are considered a nuisance. Provided you have a boat you can go and bring home some beef sans a hunting license.

I'm sure the soil is suitable for many types of vegetation however a large scale reformation would be a large and expensive undertaking. I also seriously doubt that enviro groups, state, or federal government would allow such a plan.

I also seriously doubt that enviro groups, state, or federal government would allow such a plan.

Assuming they are still around, eh?

"there is a problem with that map. just because the green area's would have the right temps for growing crops, that doesn't automatically mean the land CAN support agriculture."

Most of Canada's north is exposed bedrock of the Precambrian Shield or other areas unsuitable even for pasture. There will be organic soils in the bottomlands along the rivers and lakes, but I wouldn't expect them to feed the world.

Dale, Dale, Dale, Dale.

Here I been laying out town site lots North of 50, even spraying the snowbanks the same shade of green they use on that map and here you go making inscrutable comments in a public forum.

No wonder they claim Canucks are not the same caliber as those Wall Street entrepreneurs.

I have a big problem with that map. In a greenhouse world there will be more rain, but according to that map most of the world will be desert. It doesn't add up. Unless they will be extremely wet deserts.

It may rain more but evapotranspiration increases even more than precipitation does, resulting in net drying.

Weatherman is a longtime denier here. That is, weatherman knows this, but chooses to ignore it. Prepare yourself for the 1,000ppm greenhouse argument.


Um, might I point out that there is another input that people seem to be forgetting about: sunlight.

It doesn't matter how much the temperature warms up or what the soil is like in the high latitudes, they'll continue to get exactly the same amount of sunlight they always have. Great for short growing season crops in the very brief summer, but forget about anything long season. It is a long, dark haul through the winter, too.

I don't know if you can even get barley to grow in those arctic latitudes. My impression is that it gives out well south of the arctic circle. Good luck building a sustainable agriculture with NO cereals.

The soil needed to grow food takes hundreds of years+ of the right conditions and the right organisms to build up.

It takes that long for it to happen naturally, but not if helped along.



The map by "Gaia al alba vincerò" is rubbish, the worst article ever published by New Scientist. Look at the Black Sea, an enormous mistake. Almost dry, but if the Poles melt obviously the level of the seas will be higher, and the Black Sea connects with the Mediterranean through the Dardanelles.
Artic and Antartic agriculture, another absurdity. In the Artic temperatures are easily -40 C, to grow anything you would need something like +15C minimum, so an increase of 4C worldwide gives you an increase of 55C in the Artic Circle and the Antartic Peninsula. NO.
Then there's the lack of soil and the short period of daylight, darkness half of the year.

Your statements are puzzling; if "Artic temperatures are easily -40 C", then why is so much of the ice cap and permafrost melting? And people are already gardening in Alaska, so your point is not going over very well.

Move to Norway if you can. According to this report: http://tinyurl.com/cc85cl
Norway is by far the least likely place in the world to experience extreme social breakdown and unrest in the coming global collapse. They have a very small population, plenty of oil and gas, good fishing, and social cohesion.

If you are stuck in the US like I am you are probably screwed.

hush ....

Move to Norway if you can.

I agree Norway is a nice place, but ... I'm not so sure ... Paal, don't a large % of Norwegians live in the USA?

They must live elsewhere for a reason.

yes, from top of my head there are some 8 million Norwegian descendants in the US (Minnesota and upper-west was their stronghold from earlier times.. ), obviously today mixed up with all sorts of "other sorts" of people ... :-) to clarify they are x/y-part-Norwegan one may say.

Having formerly lived in Minnesota for a while, I can confirm that May 17th always came very close to being considered an official holiday.


They must live elsewhere for a reason.

Excitement -- at least, I think that's why about a fifth of New Zealanders live overseas. A "great place to live" is not very exciting, and social cohesion can be stifling to the young.

In a few years, general "excitement" levels will likely rise to a point where even the young are looking for less, not more.

Yes, I started making plans to come home almost immediately upon becoming PO aware... although it took another year to convince my wife. It took another 2 years to convince her that a bit of land away from the city centre and big enough to grow a decent proportion of our own food was more important than a new town-house...

Hello Kiwi:

I'm curious, have you returned to the north island or the south? Further, is it because of family ties or location selection?

I ask because the fates of the two islands may be quite different in the near? future.


Due to the energy and infrastructure costs the Internet will be the first if not in the first 5 things that will fail.

No problemo, the Internet will survive no matter what. That's what the deep computer geeks seem to think. I found this on AMAZON:


They've got that sustainability thingy all figured out:


E. Swanson

Only delusional ones think the Internet will stay up no matter what. all the servers, switches, routers, hubs, fiber transmitters and receiver's, undersea lines, etc. Take time, money, and energy to keep up and run. Resources that when times get tough will be diverted to other things. It's a complex system with the illusion of robustness, a illusion that some seem to think is real.

Only delusional ones think the Internet will stay up no matter what

The internet will be one of the last things to go. At the end of the day it's a pretty robust communications network. The web might go quite fast because of the high cost of servers.

It's a complex system with the illusion of robustness

No it's a simple system with the illusion of complexity. For example in a post peak world a small community could run a closed communication / knowledge system using internet technologies that would use little energy and be more robust than a mobile phone network.

Simple or complex, it matters not. The internet is completely dependent on a stable electric supply. Most of what we know as the internet is powered by servers, switches and routers in large scale data centers. Those data centers use tremendous amounts of electricity, not only to run that equipment, but more importantly to provide A/C. Once electric production becomes less "robust" you can forget about the Internet (and keeping small networks alive will not be the same thing).

Simple or complex, it matters not

That's exactly what matters. The internet will consist of lots of interconnected small simple networks.

Most of what we know as the internet is powered by servers, switches and routers in large scale data centers

No that's the World Wide Web, it's not the same thing. The internet is a communications network it will stay and redundancy is built into the design.

Once electric production becomes less "robust" you can forget about the Internet

People all around the world use the internet in countries with intermittent power supplies.

No that's the World Wide Web, it's not the same thing. The internet is a communications network it will stay and redundancy is built into the design.

No, you are simply wrong. If you want to make a distinction between the WWW and the internet it is one of content to infrastructure - they are not two different systems as you suggest. The "communications network" you refer to his housed in those data centers - without them, the fiber optic cable and satellites are pretty much useless.

People all around the world use the internet in countries with intermittent power supplies.

Yes, they use it. They don't build it or maintain it. BIG difference.

Last post on this subject as it's just going to degenerate into a "you're wrong no you're wrong" argument.

I respect your position on a lot of things and have learnt a lot from your postings here.

What I was trying to say is that the the huge data centres consuming all the power are really only there for the WWW aspect of things, eg youtube myspace, and are not needed to have a system of communication via networked computers. That is what the internet is. I was replying to a post that said the internet would be one of the first to go.

I've spent the majority of my working life as a network engineer and have been using computers to communicate with people for over 20 years. I'm confidant that I will still be able to be this for long time after everything else has gone.

I hope you will be able to as well.

Hi Kafka,

Don't know if you come back to day old Oil Drums or not, but....

First, I apologize for coming across as combative - I should know better than to post things when I'm having a stressful day at work.

I don't think we are really disagreeing, too much, at least. I do think that networked computer systems will survive the collapse of the "THE INTERNET." Do they qualify as "internets"? That depends. More than likely they are bound to be small private networks. Will you be able to get up in the morning, log on to your home PC and send an email to friends anywhere else in the world? I suspect not.

The real issue lies with the ability of the various comm companies and their ability to keep their data centers up and running. As a content provider, Company A (even if an ISP), you are dependent on the comm companies being able to drop a connection into your data center. If their data center, specifically the routers at their end of the cables, goes down, you are out of luck. This is magnified because the bulk of internet traffic for North America is routed through about 40 primary routers (for those of us in Florida this really bites because almost everything goes through Atlanta).

More likely, it will degrade as things get worse and worse. Entire patches of the globe will black out for periods of time. I can imagine a time, not so many years from now, when in the US we have internet access up and running for part of the day, maybe from late morning through early evening. I can imagine one of the most popular apps being an agent that retrieves a web page if and when the server it resides on is up and connected, and then stores that retrieval until the computer you are on is up and connected. The Internet is structured to operate that way, and that in fact is how e-mail operates in the background. However, we have gotten spoiled with virtually instant access 24/7/365 on the web, and that will eventually become a distant memory. It is going to be a real hassle using the Internet in the future, I'm afraid. However, once it degrades to this level, it can be kept running for quite a long while.

Who Protects The Internet?

Pull up the wrong undersea cable, and the Internet goes dark in Berlin or Dubai.

The cables regularly fail. On any given day, somewhere in the world there is the nautical equivalent of a hit and run when a cable is torn by fishing nets or sliced by dragging anchors. If the mishap occurs in the Irish Sea, the North Sea or the North Atlantic, Rennie comes in to splice the break together.

Last December 19, when three cables under the Mediterranean Sea were damaged, Internet service began to wink out across the Middle East and parts of Southeast Asia. Egypt suffered terribly, losing as much as 80 percent of its network. E-mail and Web access were disrupted in Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states, while services fluttered in countries as far away as Malaysia and Taiwan. India’s enormous outsourcing industry—the customer-service backbone of the Western world—was also hampered, with the humble fax machine making a brief but crucial comeback until traffic was rerouted around the breaks. The same thing had also happened in January and February, disrupting Internet access to homes and businesses throughout the region for days.

The incidents reveal a surprising fact about the Internet: that it requires constant physical maintenance. Without people like Rennie patching cables, the entire network would gradually stop. First, traffic would slow to a crawl as more bits crammed into fewer and fewer cables. Then, after a while, isolated service failures like the ones in the Middle East would pop up. Eventually, as line after line went dark, U.S. businesses would be cut off from their outsourced functions abroad, international e-mail traffic would halt, and global financial transactions would cease. Pockets of connectivity would persist, but ultimately the Internet we rely on to stay in touch with the rest of the world would be reduced to the local-area network in your office.

Got Net?

It's easy to forget that all the gadgets we use to connect to the Internet are not designed to last more than a few years, and can't be fixed because everything is miniaturized.

Going back to producing bigger, more durable computers doesn't help, because it consumes more materials per computer.

What works is for fewer people to have computers, which reduces the value of the Internet.

I have decade old computer components sitting in the closet that are more than adequate for Internet access like web surfing and email. Portable devices like phones and laptops do only last a few years, but the main reason for that is physical damage from drops or mechanical wear and tear on keyswitches and electrical connectors.

Components on desktop computers can certainly fail, but most of those are mechanical failures or otherwise easy to repair: cooling fans, solder joints, leaking electrolytic capacitors, worn keyboard switches. They're all low-tech repairs. So much hardware has been produced, we could easily stockpile a century's worth of desktop computer parts from old stock alone with very little work.

I agree that desktop components, if cared for, can last a decade. My wife babies her PowerMac and it has no problems after eight years.

I don't agree that desktops can last a hundred years. ROM chips from 1980s videogames are now losing bits of memory as the materials age. I don't know of a hard disk that lasted more than ten, and hard disks can not be repaired.

I don't think that equipment lifetime is even the limiting factor for Internet access. There has never been a time when 80% of humanity had electricity, and this will only get worse as fuels deplete.

Maybe the single most important thing we can do in the interests of long-term sustainabilty of computing and the internet is to require Bill Gates to stop "improving" his products?

You don't simply shut down an entire data center and then bring it back up when the electric comes back on. It doesn't work that way.

It doesn't work that way now. When electrical supply reliability degrades to the point where rolling blackouts are an everyday fact of life, I suspect that they will adapt to that reality.

Yes it does

Mains power goes > UPS kicks in > Diesel generators kick in > if diesel generators fail before mains restored then > UPS kicks back in and if mains power not restored when the UPS is running out of juice, systems instructed to shutdown.

When power is restored then systems come back online.

Early in its development weren’t the military planning to communicate via the internet after a nuclear war destroyed all normal telecommunications?

The internet was designed to route around a hit here or there. I doubt that anyone seriously expected it to stay up and running after an all out, launch everything nuclear exchange.

The internet can route around rolling blackouts. It cannot continue functioning once the entire grid goes down forever.

Yes, this is how it is done at present. (I'm about 20 yards from a Diesel generator as I type this.) But depending on the degradation of the electrical system, this may not be good enough.

If we have scheduled rolling brown or black outs, this is probably sufficient, though the expense of diesel fuel will become an issue. And regular diesel delivery might be a new "growth industry."

If we have unscheduled brown or black outs, this might be sufficient if they don't last too long.

In a world where you don't know when the electricity will be on, this is not sufficient.

I help run a number of small data center centers (> 10000 pieces of hardware spread over 4 sites) and we keep enough diesel to run for approx. 24 hours (size of the fuel tanks). It's possible to refuel while the generators are running, but in a world where the electric grid is breaking down can we expect diesel delivery to run smoothly? UPS will give us another hour or so for the hardware, but not for the A/C. And if the whole data center goes dark...

When the electricity comes back on the equipment doesn't just turn itself on. All the "lights out" type setups I know about require that at least a trickle of juice is still coming to the hardware. Once that is cut off, the equipment must be manually powered up. I can imagine what that would look like at one of our data centers, we'd be lucky to have everything up in 3 days. I can't imagine what it would be like at, say, an AT&T data center.

I am sure some form of authority will take it or tax it away.

This seems less likely in states like Texas, where the well-armed local population might not be happy with actions like this. If you haven't read JHK's book "World made by hand," you might want to read it as a glimpse at a possible future (when the central government is basically impotent), and I continue to recommend "We had everything but money," available for $20 from The Country Store.

The NYT Magazine this weekend had an interesting story that basically questioned whether it is a good idea to buy US Treasuries. The author noted that the federal government is borrowing about 45% of expenditures this year. This would be roughly analogous to someone making $55K, spending $100K and borrowing the difference. It's hard to see how this is going to end well, and I suspect that we will see declining tax revenue, especially on the federal level, as more and more people move to the cash/barter side of the economy.

In any case, back to Texas. I posted a comment about "Texans and their guns" a couple of years ago. One of my favorites was an oil patch guy I knew, who, after consuming some liquor, became enraged after driving past a local ambulance chasing lawyer's house and seeing his ex-wife's car parked out front. He took out his shotgun and peppered said lawyer's house with buckshot. He was arrested and sentenced to a couple of years in the county jail, but before handing down the sentence, the judge chastised the guy for missing the lawyer.

Prices of Treasuries are certainly going to go down sharply as the market is flooded with them -- the FedGov has just barely started with what they will need to do to fund this massive potlatch. Supply and demand and all that.

The good news (for some) is that as prices go down, yields go up. Once they have gone up, Treasuries might be a very good buy -- IF we don't go on into hyperinflation.

According to this pleasantly simple formula Aa = Bb, if the rate of interest b is halved to ½b, then the liquidation value of the perpetual is doubled. In case of a serial halving of the rate of interest from 4 to 2, from 2 to 1, from 1 to ½, from ½ to ¼ percent, etc., the liquidation value will be multiplied 2-fold, 4-fold, 8-fold, 16-fold, 32-fold, etc.

Antal Fekete:


Those who argue that these frightening numbers are merely ‘notional’ and, as such, they have no relevance to the real economy, do not know what they are talking about. The size of the derivatives market is fast approaching the quadrillion dollar mark (if it hasn’t already surpassed it by the time this article is published). It has been talked down by mainstream economists and the financial media saying that “there is nothing to worry about, it is notional value anyhow”. Yet that notional value was able to break the back of the mighty American banking system (along with that of the British). This is so because the total notional value of derivatives represents the liquidation value of insured bonded debt."

Meaning that the economy is being crushed with every
drop in bond yield. all capital from all business ventures
eventually, and sooner, transferred onto the financial, dead money, side.

Hyperinflation will only come as an almost meaningless
measure to flyover country. Their economy will be,was crushed
two years earlier in 2009.

I argue here that the CB's understand this.


And I further argue that since the printing presses are private the the issuance of debt is public that the plan is to halt fractional reserve lending to effectively turn fiat currencies into a store of value once all the debt has been transferred to the central government.

This will reverse your above equation with a vengeance and leave the worlds governments broke and completely dependent on the central banks. Right now they are playing the book keeping game required to ensure its the Government left holding the bag.

Bottom line is the plan is to not induce hyperinflation but the reverse massive deflation with high interest rates.

Now whats really interesting is our sweet uncle Ben Bernanke is a student of the Depression I argue that his primary and real purpose is recognizing that the problem during the depression was that the banks went broke because they could not recapitilize if you think about it if the banks had managed to get a bunch of capitol they could have seized the world back in the 1920's. This was a missed opportunity I'd argue because the Fed itself was caught. They don't plan on allowing this to happen again so uncle Bens plan is to simply recreate the conditions of the Great Depression but this time around with the Banks sitting on hoards of cash. Thus the end game is to suspend fractional reserve lending and introduce high interest rates.

Thanks for that memmel

you just helped me put together that trillion piece jigsaw puzzle I have been working on.


Well keep reading Mish and CalculatedRisk and similar sites.


I'd say the only thing I'm adding is rejection of a fall into hyperinflation since this destroys the Central Banks power and it should be increasingly obvious its a power game.

Whats amazing is it seems that they are using the fact that treasuries are not federal reserve notes to pull off a trick. They can and will devalue treasuries at the expense of federal reserve notes at some point in the future. Thats my argument for the end game but to do this they have to eliminate fractional reserve lending and the fiat nature of our currency.

Effectively once all the assets with no value are offloaded onto the Government and then ones with any value repurchased for pennies on the dollar Federal reserve notes would then be effectively backed by the real assets owned by the banks and the banks will only sell these assets for a mix of a significant amount of cash and high interest loan thats in federal reserve notes. Certainly at some point in the game they will bait and switch to a international currency leaving the worlds governments in the position of borrowing in a external currency forever.

As I said before its a massive asset sweep keep reading Mish to watch it unfold. As far as timing goes my best guess is once the banks are capitalized the Fed will then unload treasuries. Note this will screw China and any CB thats not playing the game and is holding Treasuries and not actual cash. This is the real reason China is scared because they really are not holding cash they hold treasuries. They can't unload them and now they are scared shitless that the Fed is playing the game I've outlined.

Now as far as peak oil goes is this is the game thats being played and I'm right then the real powers don't care about peak oil. Its only and issue if we try to continue to maintain a middle class but if they plan on destroying the middle class anyway then peak oil simply helps the situation unfold. I'd argue that if this is the game they are playing then one of the big reasons is peak oil itself. The only way to concentrate wealth in a declining resource environment is via the impoverishment of people. They recognize that the period of endless growth is over and the plan now is to ensure that a significant amount of the wealth from renewable production flows back into the hands of the bankers. This is the same as the old taxation systems where the king takes a precentage of the annual crops and this has a steady stream of real wealth flowing to the top.

Overall it seems that they are executing the only solution possible which is a move to a stagnant renewable economy but a renewable economy is neither good nor bad if to much of the production is seized by the rich then you get a society very similar to Czarist Russia.
I'd argue that thats the plan.

"The only way to concentrate wealth in a declining resource environment is via the impoverishment of people."

Thats it right there.

And as to the WHY which is what everybody ends up asking when this subject goes this far.

Its because if they don't do it someone else will (and whether or not that is true doesn't matter, just the possiblity that it might be is enough) and that is simply not acceptable to these people.

I'm not sure if central bankers are that power hungry. Bernanke is an academic from Princeton. I don't think he wants to rule the world. But I do think he believes he can throw money into the economy every now and then and keep it from deflating.

And I don't see hyperinflation happening unless the US goes bankrupt. And at that point - all bets are off. Still I doubt that will happen in the near term.

I think a little town can be a relatively good spot, if surrounded by viable ag land. You could invest in low-profile property(I-NPK, potable water well, PV, tools etc.). Try to grow some of your own food, if possible together with others.

if possible together with others

I think it is essential to get together with others.

Me too, but as eastex said it's already difficult enough to convince one's spouse that you're not grazy.

Best strategy may be to get aligned with people having the same goals, but possibly other reasons

April is membership month for the Grange.... check out your local Grange

Many Granges are being revamped.


Or join a Transition Town Group , if you can find one near you.


No, this is wrong. If you depend upon others to get started, you increase your chances of failure.

This is a city-slicker version of a commune philosophy. Texans DON'T rely upon each other, they stand alone. Of course it is being neighborly to borrow eggs or whatever, but the intent should always be to attempt self-sufficiency even though it is impossible. Your neighbors should be doing the same thing.

A strong community should be like a building built out of blocks, each block is strong. If you need a neighbor to get on with it, then you are a card, which must lean, not a block. Be a block.

Pick a spot with good neighbors, but don't expect them to be perfect. Encourage them in their preparations, but don't rely upon them. Prepare not just for yourself, but for as many as you can afford, that is what an adult will do. Children are dependent.

On top of this logic, any of you who have tried to build community have probably failed miserably. I certainly have. Attempts to encourage relatives and friends have slowed me down, and I am sure you also. GET ON WITH IT. If you wait for others, you will not start, if you act, they can still join. WASTE TIME NOT.

Your biggest problem will be deadbeat relatives who are hard to turn away, not reasonable neighbors who are trying. Worst is if your spouse is not on board. Even so, act today. Maybe he/she will never thank you, but you are a fool if you let others control your destiny.

The ant/grasshopper analogy still applies, but humans are socially dependent like LOCUSTS in a crisis, and only like ANTS when things are stable. Read farfal/demetri. History repeats again and again.

When you strive for success, your best act is to go the route alone. Setting up for the decline is striving for success. Be an ANT and get in the lifeboat and sit down and strap in. Once the decline truly hits, the LOCUSTS will swarm your lifeboat, taking every empty seat. Once the boat is lowered (the LOCUSTS in your boat are all on your side), then you strive to avoid failure. Group-think is best to avoid failure. Act like an ANT and work with your boat mates to decide the best course.

Cold Camel

That's why we moved back to Canada. Still connected to the US, but it'll take a while for them to find us. Who knows what infrastructure will endure, so I work with all the means available. Besides, if some one thinks they can build a resilient social network over the Internet, well they are just as much roadkill as the rest of them.

We have water, lots of water, bio diversity, oil and gas, some arable lands, and a lot less guns (although the US influx is changing that). Maybe we should start building our wall to keep those pesky illegal immigrants out...

Here's where we are, and I got to this point coming in
from Systemic Risk, Cascading Systems Failure (CSF), Power Laws
Correlation with CSF, and Self Organized Criticality Systems

Think a Sandpile, being added to grain by grain, while
the base is being carted away, multiple grains simultaneously,
while the avalanche has begun, and TPTB are trying to ring fence
the avalanche, which they see as manageable, or can be put off
long enough to get out of the way (the Elite, not the Bottom

Yves at Naked Capitalism:

"In my view, the Obama Administration, through its actions to date, has already politically cast its lot with the monied class. On Obama's watch, we have the Citigroup situation, the Bank of America bailout, the Merrill Lynch bonus scandal, the AIG bailout and bonus scandal, the furore over golf tournaments and the backdoor bailouts under TALF and the Public-Private Partnership. All of these events demonstrate a transfer of wealth from taxpayers to the monied interests of the financial sector. Yes, none of these events individually is a fatal problem (My edit: Sounds like a power grid, eh?- A qualitative explanation of the complex dynamics observed in electric power system blackouts is suggested.*)

However, taken as a collective, the preponderance of evidence points toward an Administration which will increasingly be seen as more aligned with Wall Street than Main Street. This is a catastrophe for a man who campaigned on "Change you can believe in."

And, what's more, with the die now cast on most of the major financial crisis efforts, Obama has no obvious opportunity to win back all of his credentials as a man of the people. I see this as a 'Katrina' event, which changes the perception of the public inexorably. Therefore, the Administration will come under greater scrutiny by the media and the public going forward. New York Times columnist Frank Rich wrote an excellent article detailing this:"


* The probability distribution functions of various measures of blackout size have a power tail and rescaled range analysis of the time series shows moderate long-time correlations. Moreover, the same analysis applied to a time series from a sandpile model known to be self-organized critical gives results of the same form. Thus, the blackout data seem consistent with SOC. A qualitative explanation of the complex dynamics observed in electric power system blackouts is suggested.


*You can fit a power function to pretty much anything. Doing so is pretty much trivial and doesn't yield very much useful information.

Doing so is pretty much trivial and doesn't yield very much useful information.

Yeah, It seems that way, which is why scientists kept throwing
out the data that kept all their experiments, papers
from reading 100%.

The closest they could, can get is like 97.something.

The "not much useful info" was put together by Benoit Mandelbrot
to create fractals, BTW. And to show way back in 1978
that derivatives/markets crash way more often than the
"experiments, papers" of the CW Black Scholes crowd

It's the Predictive Power, that there WILL be a forest
fire, avalanche, power failure, w/o sustained controlled burning, that is the Power of SOC's.

It's the Predictive Power, that there WILL be a forest fire, avalanche, power failure.. that is the Power of SOC's.

So we know that an event of such & such magnitude will occur, on average, so & so often. Says nothing about when the next such event will occur. Some "Predictive Power" that.

It's beautiful is what it is.

If you know that a problem is coming, but you don't know when, you have 2 choices:
1. Always be prepared, this has the advantage that if something that wasn't predicted comes down the pike you are somewhat ready for that, too.

2. Always be unprepared. Cry to mommy, daddy, and Congress when your lack of preparation causes problems. Assuming you survive long enough to complain, that is.

If you know exactly when you will be hit by every predicted disaster the unpredicted ones will blindside you causing worse damage than they would otherwise.

Here's to lack of certainty!

And to correlate the SOC of FSU (Former Soviet Union) oil production data using the oil shock model
with the SOC of Power Transmission Systems:

H/T to WT ;} from a 2006 TOD Drumbeat.

The Dynamics of Blackouts in Power Transmission Systems and other Infrastructure Systems



This graph is from November 2005, showing now forward (2009/10-)
as being in the "Fat Tail".

It is possible that Obama means well but he basically isn't nearly as intelligent as he appears to be. He is very well spoken and polished (contrast BO with someone like Nouriel Roubini or Ron Paul) but maybe he is nothing but a suit and a smile. Years ago they made a movie named BROADCAST NEWS with William Hurt playing a similar character-they would tell him what to do and say and he made it appear like he understood what he was saying. Barack might be closer to a TV anchorman than a leader.

. . . closer to a TV anchorman than a leader.

But on the other hand, when most politicians thought it political suicide to oppose the invasion of Iraq, he took a principled stand against the attack on Iraq.

Just saw him talking to the astronauts on the international space station. I got the impression he was very distracted below the surface but trying to play confident. I noted the way he picked up on the installation of new solar panels on the station with a comment about how much that's needed on earth.

"Just saw him talking to the astronauts on the international space station."

Does "Prime Time Obama" do much other than publicity stunts and television talk shows ???

He shows up in person, and takes questions directly from the public.

Has the man no shame?

LOL - good one. Taking questions directly from the public is nice from a PR point of view, but not practical for running a country.

His appearing on silly talk shows and on 60 minutes (a week after benny hill bernanke) was a PR stunt usually reserved for the campaign season.

Maybe his handlers feel it is necessary to regain "confidence" ??? Maybe Mr. Charisma can help sell the crap lil' Timmy and Ben are raming down our throats?

I'd rather have a serious president instead of a token president who feels the need to pander to the public via crap television talk shows.

I'm no BO lover except for my own ;-) However I must say that this country has not had a president acting like a leader for a very long time. Really, who? Before my time maybe. He seems to be attempting to actually persuade the common citizen that he cares about their needs and concerns. He seems far more humble (albeit still arrogant) than the previous two presidents. His message is usually one of popularism. To many he actually seems genuine and unless he falls from grace he may actually have the backing to initiate drastic change. Is he serious? Absolutely - because he has played the game far better than anyone in my lifetime. He or the strings that pull him, are grandmasters in all the relevant ways.

Good point.

It "cost" him very little to take that stand, and it had a lot of upside potential. Even a moron could have seen that.

I don't doubt that BO is above average in intelligence. He does not give the impression of being a genius; such rarely if ever make it that far in politics, though Tom Jefferson just might have been a rare exception. I have seen reports to the effect that he has admitted to some people that he really knows very little except how to give a good speech. I suspect that he knows that he needs lots of good advisors. The problem is, he is so young and inexperienced that he really didn't have all that thick a contact list, and has not had the opportunity to really work with many of these people and to develop an informed, experienced judgment of their reliability. Thus, he has loaded up on retreads from the Clinton administration that were recommended to him. The rest, as they say, is history - or maybe tragedy.

Thus, he has loaded up on retreads from the Clinton administration

Don't forget the Carter people.

(and really, where's he gonna pull from? Nixon? Reagan? Bush (lesser and greater) Plus part of the issue with Carter was a lack of 'insiders' and 'people up to speed' with 'the way washington works'. )

Let us be fair. No one is intelligent enough to address systemic collapse we are seeing, Just who would you rather have, Roubini may be an excellent economist, Ron Paul an excellent libertarian etc. Buffet an excellent investor, everyone lives a sheltered life by some score or other. Humans know that when they are ill equipped to deal with a problem, they rely on someone they trust to deal with that problem.

So by getting 63 million votes, he is arguably the most trusted figure at the present time. Sure there could be some erosion if he makes a gaffe, appears to be out of tough, out of depth etc. That is where the handlers come in.Ingredients he has include appearance of intelligence, of being a common man, eloquence, sincerity etc.

What exactly is a leader anyway, it is not as if you are fighting hand to hand in a battle field, The main skill required is the ability to weild power, form coalitions,create an illusion of having the people behind him when a majority seems numbed by the events. , focus it on the important few priorities, and not squander it on minor issues stem cell research, gay marriage, clean coal, AIG bonuses or what have you

What choice does Obama have anyway? Come out and say that the excrement is about to hit the rotational device? Set off a panic? I suspect he is well informed and understands the dire (energy) situation we're in and will try to do whatever little he can do once this financial situation has blown over, or at least, once people have been numbed enough to no longer care about it.
Would it make sense for him to come out and say that the stated goal is to shrink the economy by 3% YoY and reduce the population in a controlled manner? What do you think that would do for the confidence of those who are our trading partners and those who are financing us??
The long run consists of many short runs.....
/Rant off

There are many, many people who could better assess the situation and make hard triage-style decisions than those financial 'experts' who caused the problem.

Triage says you let the mildly wounded treat themselves and each other, aggressively treat the badly injured, and leave the mortally wounded to die.

This triage instead is focused on dumping endless bags of blood into leaking corpses that are sustained only by machine, and the badly injured are ignored and dying while the least injured are being forced to donate more and more blood until they too expire.

In my triage analogy of course the mortally wounded are the banks, the badly injured are US businesses and munis, and the lightly wounded were the US taxpayers. And of course the reason for the injuries was an "accident", in the way that hiring a bunch of chain-smokers to build a pyramid of open nitroglycerin bottles can cause accidents.

Agree, but it seems that the financial "crisis" (living way beyond our means for way too long") is an effect more so than a cause. Again, Obama may know that but that doesn't mean he can call a spade a spade - too risky.

What we very badly need right now is to shift into "managed decline" mode. We really needed to be doing this two decades ago, it is very late now.

Unfortunately, the first step is scrapping the denial and admitting that we actually are facing decline. There appears to be zero probability of that happening any time soon.

Bush and company drove the car off the cliff. That O can't get it to sprout wings and fly is no a surprise.

To shift to the Wile E. Coyote metaphor, we are off the cliff, most have realized that there is nothing solid between us and the canyon floor, and gravity is now kicking in.

Unfortunately the only thing that can give us any chance of avoiding certain total destruction is reaching toward the cliff-side that is accelerating past us to try to grab onto anything we can or just hit something that might slow the fall. This will likely break our arms at least, be extremely, excruciatingly painful, and will give no assurance that it will increase our chances of survival.

In other words, there is not "solution." We can do some drastic things that would be unimaginably painful (to many) immediately that may have a distant chance of slightly reducing the absolute certainty of total annihilation.

Instead we will merely flap our arms with more bailouts.

Of course, most don't even fully realize that we have left the cliffs edge (or were ever anywhere near a cliff).

I am hoping that it is not actually your sheer cliff, but rather a very steep, rocky slope. We were going 90+ mph over the top and are sailing right now, but the wheels will reconnect to the ground pretty quickly. Unfortunately, that reunion with the ground will pretty much tear up the suspension, the exhaust system will be smashed to bits, we may blow a tire or two, and one or more of the axles might be bent; all that, plus probably some broken windows. Then there are the passengers being bounced around inside.

That landing isn't the end of it, of course. We've got forward momentum, and gravity will be pulling us even faster down that slope. A steep slope littered with potholes and rocks all the way down. It is going to be quite a ride.

It would have been a lot better if we had slowed down to a crawl as we approached the crest, had everybody buckle up, and downshifted into first gear. Even then, it would have been a very bumpy and scary ride downhill. Unfortunately, that was the option NOT taken.

At the Montana-Wyoming border, at the tip-top of a 12K' mountain, there's a sign that says "Speed Limit 75". Half a mile later, you drop off the top of the mountain onto a steep set of switchbacks that a high-end sportscar would have trouble taking at 30 MPH.

Every now and then I wonder how many people a year hit that first switchback at 75 just because the sign said they could...

That reminds me of one of my favorite "Far Side" cartoons. A car with family inside, going up a mountain, passing a sign: "Lookout Ahead". Up over the top of the mountain, the road abruptly terminates at a cliff, with a pile of wrecked cars below, and a sign: "LOOKOUT!"

Sort of a good metaphor, I think.

"Unfortunately, that reunion with the ground will pretty much tear up the suspension, the exhaust system will be smashed to bits, we may blow a tire or two, and one or more of the axles might be bent; all that, plus probably some broken windows. Then there are the passengers being bounced around inside."

Nicely put. Unfortunately even our most hopeful analogies don't sound too fun any more.

I think the pain is and will be real because it is such a jolt, but a rapid switch to a much lower energy system is possible and would be beneficial in many ways--diets with little meat or dairy are generally much healthier, walking and biking most places makes people stronger, gardening and shopping at farmers markets makes people happier, as does relying on neighbors...

But getting there can be a jolt, and there are many people that are so deeply mired in the "greed is good" mentality, it may be hard to convince them that another way will make them happier.

One hope for a rapid change to a new way of thinking is exactly this kind of forum, along with the various kinds of social networking technologies now spread world wide. Memes can potentially spread rapidly through these networks, but any such meme is bumping up against an enormous industry dedicated to stoking endless desire for stuff and endless growth of the earth destroying consumption machine.

"What exactly is a leader anyway, it is not as if you are fighting hand to hand in a battle field, The main skill required is the ability to weild power, form coalitions,create an illusion of having the people behind him when a majority seems numbed by the events. , focus it on the important few priorities, and not squander it on minor issues stem cell research, gay marriage, clean coal, AIG bonuses or what have you."

No, a big No to this. What it will take for Obama to be a leader, is to have the B@ll$$ to make the tough decisions. So far he has been nothing but a momma's boy. The "roots to his raisin" , run pretty deep.

Being a man of color myself, IMHO, Obama will lead us into race riots if he lets TPTB, (white money), continue to run his agenda. He has so far, lets hope it "CHANGES" soon.

Juglans Being a man of the trees I now understand your handle better. Very clever. As to BO I think he is simply in over his head, as was Bush 2.

All very good points. A leader influences better than the mean. A great leader influences better than everyone else. What more is there to say?

You know the non IEEE members can't get in with the Xplore link. So here is the Abstract:

Evidence for Self-Organized Criticality in a Time Series of Electric Power System Blackouts

We analyze a 15-year time series of North American electric power transmission system blackouts for evidence of self-organized criticality (SOC). The probability distribution functions of various measures of blackout size have a power tail and rescaled range analysis of the time series shows moderate long-time correlations. Moreover, the same analysis applied to a time series from a sandpile model known to be self-organized critical gives results of the same form. Thus, the blackout data seem consistent with SOC. A qualitative explanation of the complex dynamics observed in electric power system blackouts is suggested.

The rest is copyrighted so I can't post it here.

IMHO our entire current civilization is shot through with SOC's, and they're responsible for a lot of what we experience. A ubiquitous phenomenon in current human affairs, even if few look for them.

Bio-Char debunked

"Woodchips With Everything
Here comes the latest utopian catastrophe: the plan to solve climate change with biochar
by George Monbiot"


Well, as things progress and mankind cuts down all the trees at high latitudes in the NH, the surface in albedo in Winter will likely see a reduction because of the snow cover. As it is, trees stand above the snow and thus catch much of the sunlight which would otherwise be reflected to space. Add to that the fact that sea-ice is declining, which will likely result in increased snow fall over land, and we have a recipe for another Ice Age.

The Biochar folks want to cut the trees even faster than might otherwise happen, since the energy in the biochar would be lost in the burial process. They seem to be missing the fact that the problem is CO2, not just carbon. Burying the carbon as biochar while burning more coal as the oil runs out would not appear to be a solution to the problem, which ultimately is the excessive energy consumption by Industrial Man...

E. Swanson

The Biochar folks want to cut the trees even faster than might otherwise happen,

Not my plan - In fact my plan is to use funds to build a titanium metal firebox/heat exchanger (As that should be a 'lifetime' product) and char the pine needles so that the acidity of the needles is made neutral/basic so that it can be then added to the soil to try and push the fungal soil back bacterial for cropping.

No need to turn good trees into char.

I'd like to be able to use a big mirror array and concentrate heat, but I lack the tar/outgas handling experience - not to mention the volume of raw material is quite low VS the "value" of the tar/gas and the "value" of the material to process the raw material.

Well, as things progress and mankind cuts down all the trees at high latitudes in the NH, the surface in albedo in Winter will likely see a reduction because of the snow cover. As it is, trees stand above the snow and thus catch much of the sunlight which would otherwise be reflected to space.

You are speaking about an increase in albedo (i.e., higher reflectivity), not a reduction.

Yes, you are correct. Cut the trees and less energy is captured during Winter. My bad...

E. Swanson

Debunked? Hardly. Elaine Inghram gives a 'debunking' (but leaf's herself an out by saying the topic needs more study.)

This is a critique of industrial-scale charing.

Not a showing that biochar does nothing to the soil, nor for plants.

The Eprida model offers a way for biochar to scrub coal fired power plants.

I have yet to cut down a living tree in the 12 yrs I have supplemented heating my home on wood and have gleaned 400+lbs of char from just bark and branches, it would have lasted years in my compost bin.

Eric, whats your source of titanium you mentioned up thread?
Has Stainless given you problems?

I challenge You Eric : to permanently move to east Africa or the Sahel of Africa or them dryer parts of India ..... and take your arguments from there ...


Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) does about face on wind turbines in UK

Choose the lesser evil and then find every way possible to mitigate the harmful impacts of the lesser evil.

This is what we do when finally we grow up.

Tell that to Darwinian.

When my little girl gets a balloon at a party, it starts loosing air on the second or third day. She always asks me to try to blow it back up.

The guvment blew a trillion dollars into this balloon yesterday, and the air is already coming back out.

With my daughter, I usually throw the balloon away when she isn't looking, and she forgets about it.

Nice picture eastex, but remember that someone may spot it again at the dump and think to themselves "that's a ruptured baloon"

What do you get if you divide science by God?

A prize-winning quantum physicist says a spiritual reality is veiled from us, and science offers a glimpse behind that veil. So how do scientists investigating the fundamental nature of the universe assess any role of God, asks Mark Vernon.

The Templeton Prize, awarded for contributions to "affirming life's spiritual dimension", has been won by French physicist Bernard d'Espagnat, who has worked on quantum physics with some of the most famous names in modern science.

...In an effort to seek the answers to the "meaning of physics", I spoke to five leading scientists.

"Obama administration to beef up resources on the Mexico border to help with Mexico's war against violent drug cartels."

So now we are spending tax money to fight drugs in other countries?
I know.....it could spill over into the US.
What happened to the border fence they were going to build?
When Mexico runs out of oil to export, they will crumble like a cookie.

Just send the drug lords to Gitmo with the terrorists, and let them duke it out!
Or send the terrorists from Gitmo to Mexico?

What happened to the border fence they were going to build?

I'm going on pure inference (hunch, speculation, WAG), but I suspect border security in the U.S. has improved to the point where the cartels' access points are now limited to places where you can't improve security meaningfully. This would mean transit points like Juarez and Tijuana, where you would clamp down on too much legitimate transit if you increased security. Competition for these routes among the cartels has sharpened, leading to the collapse of civil society we are seeing there.

Again I could be wrong but I see this as a chain of unintended consequences. We'll see a lot more of this as we fund both sides of the war on drugs.

The drug cartel issue is getting worse every day. It is in the U.S. and we must deal with it now. Check out this link and see if they are already in your city. (Click on the "Moving into the U.S. tab.")

The Reach of Mexico's Drug Cartels

..we must deal with it now.

I agree. Legalize the possession & sale of all drugs. No prescription necessary. "Victory" in the drug war is not an option.

I completely agree, and all of my Brothers locked away on bogus charges, should be released ASAP. The non-violent charged ones, that is.

ALL drugs should be legalized. No exceptions from the namby pamby religious nits. Deal with the other issues as a medical problem, not a criminal one. Alcoholism is a perfect example. The criminality of it (driving while drunk) is treated differently than the medical issue.

Obama, get off your butt, time for some real change.

I am not nearly so concerned about the "drug cartels." For the most part they are providing a much needed and desired service. The negative "side effects" of the cartel business are primarily the result of various governments trying to crush the business using its authority to arrest, fine and incarcerate.

Want to end the violence of the cartels? Legalize the "drugs" they deal in. They will either become more traditional business people or loose out to those that are.

I somehow don't think that legalization (though I favor it) is going to solve the problem. Do you think that the day after legalization that all the drug cartel 'personnel' are going to line up at the unemployment office? More likely they will simply choose some other illegal and violent way of making money. Yuk! They could all become bankers and lawyers!

Did the US gangsters go away when prohibition was repealed?

Nope, but most of the violence did. It takes the wind out of the sails of the violent controllers when they no longer have the hook of the core activity being illegal.

As was noted above: we cannot afford to win the war on drugs.

Already the USA government has released some prisoners from Gitmo without charges but still the myth persists that everyone locked up there is a terrorizer (as GWB would say).

And some have been released only to be re-arrested with involvement in terror acts. Not charged doesn't necessarily mean innocent either.

I think it's funny that so much energy is spent on complaining about Gitmo with no real result or impact on the world either way. It's just another waving red cape to distract the bull. While the faux-opposing parties, Dem and Rep, sway back and forth on small but visible issues the Treasury and Fed are quietly looting the treasury and selling us into financial ruin, and Congress just sits back and watches.

If Congress were not impotent the least they would do is claw back power from the Fed, FDIC, and Treasury and require Congressional action for financial obligations of the nation. But they'd rather pretend they have plausible deniability for a bad situation they don't understand than to exercise the power they do have.

Congress sold themselves out on the first bail-out "emergency", and years before on financial regulation, and they have no interest in reclaiming authority.

Of course reneging on responsibility does not make one innocent. It's simply dereliction of duty.

There was more time and energy spent on complaining about Clinton getting a BJ than on Gitmo.

There was more time and energy spent on Clinton lying about said event, at least by the prosecution.

The media, of course, has its own agenda.

Not charged doesn't necessarily mean innocent either.

And, innocent doesn't mean they aren't so pissed off at the mistreatment that they will become a terrorist once released.

So then, given the current state, would it be better to execute them, leave them incarcerated forever, or release them and let relatively innocent people take their chances?

Seems like a Catch-22 situation now.......

At least we have the benefit of a peaceful religion helping to keep them from destructive acts once released.

IMHO you exhibit a high level of confidence that yourself, your family and friends are exempt from arbitrary imprisonment under the current system, as you feel it is limited to members of a certain religion (as you state). Probably so, but the precedent is set in any event-it is possible many Americans would be quite content with bloggers being imprisoned without charges as most Americans don't "blog".

I think I will fare better than most but still quite poorly.

My point wasn't from the perspective of justice or fairness or even legality, but of simple expedience from the current situation. The justice or legality aspects are pretty well empirically decided, for US citizens and otherwise, and short of a revolution the recent power gains probably won't roll back. But you're right about 'us versus them', and this 'them' is pretty marginalized for sure. Another roll of the dice and my number could come up.

Non-uniformed combatants, spies, and saboteurs have traditionally fared poorly when caught. That's part of what sucks about being successfully invaded.

The relatively cleanliness of recent wars is probably over. When energy and money are in short supply it is way easier to kill everybody than to be picky. Such is the future, IMHO. Why is the US updating its nukes and Russia getting ready to build a new generation? Because they think they will need them.

Depending on how sharp the energy cliff becomes, that might be 10 years or 50 years away. On the plus side the resulting nuclear dust cloud will reduce anthropogenic warming for a while. /Sarconol

Thought question for the day: If you had to make a decision whether to let your children/spouse/family die, or by complicit action kill 10 times as many nameless foreign children/families, which would you choose? Does it matter if their death is by a soldier's bullet, an unchecked disease, or starvation?

History says that you will maintain an apathetic averted gaze as long as possible, and then simply rename "foreign children" into "godless subhuman spawn" and let the dogs of war have at it. Unfortunately this game will keep being played repeatedly, and the "foreigners" will be closer and closer to home with each round. At some point there will be no proxy intermediary to do the dirty work. At what point will each of us look as our kids/spouse/family and the neighbor's kid/spouse/family and say "Take me first"?

I pray the cornucopians are right. The doom path is pretty dismal.

... nuclear dust cloud..

I'm curious - why does everyone assume nuclear weapons?

Haven't people noticed the money that's been going into bio-engineering recently? What's the human genome project most likely to produce? (Clue: disrupting things is easier than fixing them.) And what about the military truism that the next war will not be the same as the last one?

(And please don't say there's a treaty that prevents biological warfare. "Treaty" := I'll behave a certain way if and while it's convenient.)

You tread on dangerous territory with those comments. enough said.

Actually I think it would have been a win-win for the bush admin if the higher courts had forced the detainees free. If the "terrorists" acted out and made some messes then dubya coulda said "I told you so" thereby gaining support and if nothing happened then it would have been one less dissenting point and he could have still taken credit for their release. What a missed opportunity - unless it was all part of the present game.

There's a growing outcry in Mexico against what many believe is an attempt by U.S. officialdom and media to demonize Mexico and cast it as a "failed state." Enrique Krause picked up on the theme this morning in a piece for the NY Times:


The Krause piece is not nearly so strident as some of the articles published here in Mexico, which also delve into the reasons as to why the U.S. has chosen this particular time to emark on a "chain of attacks" against Mexico.

Also an extremely informative news item from Sunday's Diario de Queretaro. The president of the Mexican congressional Commission on Agricuture and Farming reports that Mexico imports 52% of its food, 80% of that from the U.S. Thirty million Mexicans (out of a total population of 100 million, 12 million of which are estimated to reside in the U.S.) require government food subsidies to survive. He bemoans the fact that the U.S. susidizes and has protective tariffs which encourage grain-ethanol production, thus driving up the cost of cereal grains.

And Mexico's politics are just as schizophrenic as those of the U.S. Juxtaposed along side the article bemoaning how ethanol subsidies increase the price of cereal grains is another in which a political scientist from UNAM complains about how farm subsidies in the U.S. drive agricultural prices down so low that Mexican farmers can't compete, arguments echoed in this NY Times article this morning:


'There will be blood'
Harvard economic historian Niall Ferguson predicts prolonged financial hardship, even civil war, before the ‘Great Recession' ends


This turns out to be a "rerun" from February 23rd. Still topical.

Re: Moscow furious at Kiev gas move

Here's another article this time with a direct quote from the Russian energy minister.

Russia suspicious of EU-Ukraine gas “master plan”

Russian Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko said the move appeared to draw Ukraine legally closer to the European Union and might harm Moscow’s interests. “This unilateral approach...might lead to a great deal of damage to EU energy security,” he added.

And here's a tv report from Russia Today Moscow (in English). Putin is quoted: "Trying to solve the problem of increasing the supply of gas - essentially Russian gas - without Russia is meaningless". You would think that would be obvious but I'm not sure Europe has grasped that simple fact.

European Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs also appears.


As I posted above:

Kremlin Puts Hold on Ukraine Talks
Reuters Russia broke off talks with Ukraine on Tuesday after Kiev angered the Kremlin by asking European Union investors to help modernize its gas pipeline network, which supplies one-fifth of Europe's gas. Posted 3:41 p.m.

There's lots of "simple facts" that the US/Europe/Israel/
and Japan (Japan hedgin it's bets BTW), don't get.

the TU bomber flyovers of US/Korean War Games'carrier
and the Chinese Spratly Island confrontation with the US Navy
are some examples of those "simple facts."

Here's an excert from Piebalg's latest blog

Gas, liquid and security of supply

For many people, diversification of gas supplies just means Nabucco, or more accurately, the Southern Corridor. However, as you will recall from a previous entry in this blog, diversification is a word with a wide meaning. The Southern corridor is very important because it will open the door of the Caspian gas-rich region, will provide for an alternative transit route, and will increase competition in the market. However, our diversification ambitions do not stop with this particular project.

Apart from the Caspian Sea, there are other regions rich in gas. For instance, I have just come back from a very gas-rich country - Qatar. The capital of this Gulf emirate, Doha, hosted last week a very important conference on the future of gas supplies. Few people know that Qatar holds the third largest gas reserves in the world, and will soon be our fourth gas supplier, just after Russia, Norway and Algeria. On the basis of existing contracts, it is estimated that gas supplies from Qatar could quadruple to 30 billion cubic meters (bcm), from around 7.5 bcm last year.

The main particularity of Qatari gas is that they don’t export it by pipeline, like our traditional energy suppliers, but by ship. In a nutshell, they take the natural gas and they compress and chill it to the point that it becomes a liquid (LNG, liquefied natural gas). Then, they put it in huge tankers that can transport it to a re-gasification facility station (or LNG terminal) in the destination country. There the liquid is becomes gas again and it is injected it into the pipeline system.

LNG has a number of advantages compared with piped gas. To start with, its flexibility. It can be shipped there where it is needed. In the recent gas crisis between Russia and Ukraine, we have seen how Greece managed to ensure its supplies with the gas received by ship from its LNG terminal.

Well Nabucco seems to have been taken off the table since he wrote this blog entry just last week. Also of note Bakhtiari stated the normally quoted South Pars/North Dome reserves (the Qatar gas mentioned by Piebalgs) are about double the true figure.

Turkey wanted 15% of the gas and membership
in the EU.

Nabucco's a zombie.

Russian statistics for Jan-Feb 2009 was released.

Production -12.2%
Gazprom Production -15.9%
Ind Production +7.3%
Consumption -8.5%
Export -43.6%
Export to Far Abroad -40.8%
Export to Near Abroad -50.7%
Export/Production down from 35% to 17%

Drilling -27.2%
Production -2.2%
Export -2.7%
Export to Far Abroad -0.7%
Export to Near Abroad -13.3%
Export/Production 51.6%
Refining -3.1%
Benzene +0.3%
Diesel -2.3%
Heating Oil -3.9%

Production -19.3%
Consumption -25.5%
Storage +11.5%
Export -25.5%
Import -18.1%

I see their oil drilling is down too. Not good for long term production.

One wonders what is happening to gas production. We have the low production numbers from this year, which are arguably possibly partly demand/high price driven. But what is happening to drilling? Gas is one place where one has to keep the drilling up.

If we correlate production to drilling activity, the Texas & overall Lower 48 in the Seventies would show that as drilling increases, production falls. Of course, the problem is that we couldn't offset the declines from the older, larger fields.

At least in mature basins, I suspect that that the Russian oil production decline is probably in the terminal phase.

Economy Trumps Environment in Poll

My friend and colleague, Charles Blow, pointed me to this recent Gallup poll last night. Said the pollsters last Thursday:

For the first time in Gallup’s 25-year history of asking Americans about the trade-off between environmental protection and economic growth, a majority of Americans say economic growth should be given the priority, even if the environment suffers to some extent.

Americans, the Gallup folks found, are also “more inclined now than in past years to favor giving the priority to energy production over the environment.”

None of this is, of course, a complete surprise, given the recession. And it’s worth noting that there are deep partisan divisions among respondents, with Republicans and Independents favoring, to varying degrees, the economy and energy production over the environment, and Democrats in both cases putting the environment first.

The findings come just a few days after another Gallup poll found that more Americans than ever think that the seriousness of global warming is being exaggerated.

“There is little question that the current economic crisis poses a significant challenge for the environmental movement in this country,” wrote Frank Newport of Gallup, in the wake of last week’s survey.

see poll graphic here

In last week's poll, 41% of U.S. responders said they believe the mainstream media has exaggerated the potential negative impact of climate change. This has serious and disturbing implications when you consider the implementation of "cap and trade" policies within the United States. The whole point of such policy is to force fossil-fuel energy costs higher to the point where "the invisible hand" of the all-powerful market does its thing and forces people to use less energy or move to alternatives (which won't be available at anywhere near the required cost or quantity to substitute for FFs).

When this substantial segment of the population, already seriously hurting from the extended economic downturn, finds that U.S. Global Warming policy (which in their opinion is a tree-hugger hippie-liberal fraud) is responsible for driving their gasoline/heating/electric prices through the roof, there's gonna be hell to pay - regardless of which party is in power. They will assault their Congress-people and the battle over whether the U.S. ratifies any international climate-change agreements, or implements any "cap & trade" internal policy, will be a very divisive culture war across the nation. Interesting times coming.

Dick Lawrence


As you know there has been a fair amount of discussion about just how large our coal supplies really are. I wonder if, based on BTU content, we have already peaked, especially in the US. In any case, if you haven't seen this chart from the EIA, it's pretty amazing. It is net US coal exports, based on BTU content (total tonnage looks far different, but as we all know a ton of wood for example is far different from a ton of oil, in terms of energy content).



That is an astounding graph

Not only the total BTUs produced, but the net-BTUs, as my understanding is that it's also more energy-intensive per BTU to produce and to ship lignite and other lower-grade coal than it was to produce the anthracite that made up the majority of historical US production. My guess is that we've definitely peaked in terms of net-BTUs from coal measured at point of use.

The graph linked above addresses US coal exports--I wonder if the decline is partly due to the lower suitability of overseas shipment of lower-energy-density Western coal? This EIA report addresses US total coal BTUs produced. Note that it projects a continual increase in US coal BTU production through 2030, but that this is entirely based on the assumption of a continuation of the dramatic increase in Western (mostly low-grade) coal production. This is especially telling as it's the coal segment most likely to produce low net-energy returns...

There is considerable debate as to whether a cap and trade futures market is necessary or desirable if the goal of reducing FF use is accepted. The USA already has a bloated health care sector is which it is estimated 50% of costs go to the theoretically unnecessary private insurance companies i.e the overhead or vig. If the same result is intended for this wonderful "cap and trade futures exchange" I would expect public outrage and it would be deserved IMO.

Latest from LEAP/E2020...

London G20 Summit: Last chance before global geopolitical dislocation: Open letter to the G20 leaders

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Your next summit takes place in a few days in London; but are you aware that you have less than a semester to prevent the world from plunging into a crisis that will take at least a decade to resolve, accompanied by a whole series of tragedies and ferment? Therefore, this open letter by LEAP/E2020, who saw the arrival of a « global systemic crisis » as early as three years ago, intends to briefly explain why it happened and how to limit further damage.

If indeed you began to suspect the onset of a sizeable crisis less than a year ago, LEAP/E2020, in the second issue of their « Global Europe Anticipation Bulletin » (GEAB N°2), anticipated that the world was about to enter into the « trigger phase » of a crisis of historic proportions. Since then, month after month, LEAP/E2020 has relentlessly continued to produce highly accurate forecasts of the development of this crisis with which the world is now struggling. For this reason, we feel entitled to write you this open letter which we hope will aid you on the choices you will have to make in a few days.

This crisis is getting more and more dangerous. Recently, in the 32nd edition of its Bulletin, LEAP/E2020 raised an alarm of direct concern to you, the leaders of the G20. If, when gathered in London next April 2nd, you are not able to adopt a number of bold and innovative decisions, focused on the essential issues and problems, and to initiate them by summer 2009, then the crisis will entail a « general geopolitical dislocation » by the end of the year, affecting the international system as well as the very structure of large political entities such as the United States, Russia, China or the EU. Any chance for you to control the fate of the 6 billion inhabitants of the world will then be over.

Your choice: a 3- to 5-year crisis or a decade-at-least long crisis?


LEAP'S THREE STRATEGIC RECOMMENDATIONS [I just put section titles here...article has explanations]

1. The key to solving the crisis lies in creating a new international reserve currency!
2. Set up bank control schemes as soon as possible!
3. Get the IMF to assess the US, UK and Swiss financial systems!

Great rant by Denninger today re these corrupt financial companies http://market-ticker.denninger.net/

So the up top article says the Navy has cracked cold fusion.
I've often thought that CF would be the ultimate game changer, now with all the other issues facing us, it seems less likely a commercial application could be attained before calamity will claim us.
One of the original scientists, Pons, I believe, during a video interview, held up a canister representing a CF fuel cell not much bigger than a whole house water filter and claimed that it would power a normal household for 100,000 yrs.

Might need a coat of paint or two in that time.

I suspect that the process is not positive in energy. You can build a farnsworth fusor in any competent machine shop. Also cold fusion if you will has already been demonstrated.


The claim although I don't have the details would be extreme electric fields forming on metal electrodes. The interesting part for me is the nature of the claim I suspect that some sort of exotic oxides are involved or something to do with crystal boundaries.

I googled around a bit for the electric properties of nickel oxide without immediate success but I'd suggest that formation of some undefined oxide or in this case perhaps a cloride on the electrode surface is the primary source of strong electric fields and another approach to and already known effect. Its a interesting source for neutrons and opens a lot of doors for neutron activation with thermalized neutrons but as a power source I have my doubts.

Just for completeness my own concept on the matter is a nuclear battery the thermalized neutrons would be used to destabilize some rare earth metal leading to fission. The combination would result in a viable nuclear battery but using some fairly stable isotopes even uranium for example. Sort of a non-critical nuclear reactor. Boron is another interesting choice. It would require electricity to start the neutron generation and capture but from there on out as long as it was energy positive and you feed electricty back end it runs. Stop the neutron generation and it shuts off.

Now just for the hell of it I'd love to see them try with the same oxides that exhibit high temperature superconductivity I wonder if they might also develop dense electric fields under different circumstances.

But my opinion for what its worth is that this cold fusion has always been the result of the formation of difficult to reproduce oxides on the electrodes.

I could not find a good link but the film formation is generally call electrode passivation.


I'd love to read how these electrode where prepared I suspect that they accidentally cause the formation of a exotic oxide thats has interesting electric properties and is responsible for "cold" fusion.

Hearing Martin Fleischmann mentioned (the other-half of the infamous Cold Fusion duo) still makes my skin crawl. I once had a run-in with Fleischmann prior to his infamy. As I got into the Q&A session, Fleischmann gave me quite a hard time. Even though most of the experiments and data I described in my presentation used present-day technology (circa 1987) he had the nerve to pronounce that most everything I reported on happened to be old news by the late 1920's. This hit me hard getting ambushed like that until I found out more about his work at that time. Even though he had expertise in electrochemistry, he wasn't well funded and had an out-of-date lab (according to other people at the conference I hazily recall). He was just a big talker and with his weird Czech-inflected quasi-British accent, people thought he was deep or something. He was a prick and I assume Stanley Pons is a prick by association.

So the fact that he makes my skin crawl is tempered by the fact that he became a huge laughing-stock in the scientific world.

BTW, I would bet with Memmel that this is just a side-effect of some reaction that they haven't accounted for.

Reading the CF story again, I think the main point was that they detected evidence of neutrons and helium in their device. How can your electrolytic process result in these? Also, the story notes that there was excess thermal energy, something others have reported as well. The larger question is, How does this lead to a device which can provide useful quantities of excess energy? I think they should start by building a space heating device of some sort. Trying to produce energy at a temperature high enough to boil water might kill the reaction as D2O would act like H2O...

E. Swanson


'The more things change the more they stay the same'

The Navy's fingers in LENR, DARPA's fingers in Hydrino's. It will be Deja vu - just like JP Morgan did to Tesla - the investors want a return. Then greed takes over.

Unless ...

Um, if the US navy had cracked CF in a way that could readily be capable of producing virtually unlimited energy, why in Hades would they post their findings? I mean REALLY?

Lets just assume that these findings are legitimate and a breakthrough directly leading to controlled cold fusion.

1. It could provide power to any imaginable device or vehicle. You could power aircraft for as long as they hold together. Subs and other naval vessels could operate at record breaking speeds with vastly reduced supply needs. All types of laser, maser, xray, particle weapons could be developed. Satellites could have incredible lifespans, reposition anywhere quickly, and destroy perpetually all types of targets. Tanks could once again rule the battlescape since they could be as heavy as desired. Aircraft carriers could be airborne. Basically many things described in scifi could be possible. Since the US would not want to begin an arms race to develop CF which would lead to an obviously superior military advantage then the only assumption is that the reason that the US navy would openly present their trump card was if they already had a winning hand - development and deployment of CF weapons.
2. If they have developed CF and thereby produced a diverse range of weapons guaranteeing military superiority in every conceivable scenario then obviously an endgame strategy has been planned. The displaying of their trump card would be a signal that the end of the game is near and you might as well kiss your arse goodbye or prepare for the NWO. However its unlikely that such an open gesture would occur since they would most certainly have a surprise advantage unless avoidance of open war between superpowers is the intended objective.

Therefore I conclude that this latest findings are either a publicity stunt and/or misdirection. I certainly hope I'm not wrong.

Hello TODers,

My guess is that this is a 'no confidence vote':

STRASBOURG, France — The Czech head of the European Union presidency says the U.S. economic rescue plans are "a way to hell."

Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek says the Obama administration's stimulus package and financial bailout "will undermine the stability of the global financial market."

TOKYO (AFP) — Japanese exports have almost halved from a year ago, a record plunge that puts the world's number two economy on course for its worst recession since World War II, data showed Wednesday.

..Japanese exports plunged 49.4 percent last month from a year earlier, surpassing January's slump of 45.7 percent, the finance ministry reported.

Shipments to the United States and Europe more than halved while demand from the once-booming Chinese economy dropped almost 40 percent.

The Japanese economy logged its worst performance in almost 35 years in the last quarter of 2008, shrinking at an annualised pace of 12.1 percent.

LONDON (MarketWatch) - A closely watched gauge of German business confidence slipped in March, reinforcing ideas that the euro zone's biggest economy has yet to hit bottom.

The business-climate index produced by the Munich-based Ifo Institute fell to 82.1 from a reading of 82.6 in February. The figure was broadly in line with expectations for a decline to 82.2. The fall pushed the index to its lowest level in 26 years, according to Bloomberg News.
It appears that it is getting increasingly difficult to 'party on, dude'.

Not sure I'd quote Mirek Topolanek on anything toto. He's a nutcase and he's got rather a serious problem in his own country which should be concerning him a lot more than Obama. Ah wait is that your "no confidence" joke.

EU presidency in turmoil after Mirek Topolanek Government collapse

The leadership of the European Union was plunged into disarray last night when the Government holding the rotating presidency collapsed after losing a vote of no confidence in the Czech parliament.

Mirek Topolanek offered his resignation as Prime Minister, although he was expected to stay on to ensure continuity for the EU presidency, not least because he was due to represent Europe's non-G20 countries at next week's London Summit - and host Barack Obama when he visits Prague.

Mr Topolanek's defeat leaves him representing the EU when his parliament has rejected him. He may also have to start preparing for an election just when the EU needs to focus on the G20 summit, including enhanced regulation for banks and a crackdown on tax havens and hedge funds.

DP World: Trade down broadly, no sign of recovery

Naaah.... We're fine! Gonna all be turned 'round by the end of '09!

Yep, everything is peachy. That is until we get a bond market dislocation in mid-summer or fall and everything goes to hell, but not until Timmy puts another 2 or 3 trillion on the taxpayer.

To continue the cliff analogy, we are snagged on a small tree, temporarily.

Cold fusion...


I recall spring 1989, I was in the French Alps on a school Ski trip an trying to read Le Monde with my limited French and make sense of the reportage on Pons & Fleischmann and their cold fusion claims. It made no sense so I assumed my French was just not up to snuff.

As a physicist by training I still have a high degree of skepticism. There's just a lot of interesting things that can happen that are NOT fusion and I still suspect most attempts falter at isolating the experiment sufficiently to exclude atmospheric effects... so, I am open minded and I look forward to getting into some detail on this experiment to really understand if they are actually detecting high energy neutrons. However, I remain a skeptic.

I have no doubt that no matter how far out on the "tail" of temps and pressure that you go, the occasional pair of deuterium attoms might still fuse into helium every once and a while. It is just possible that these folks have been able to rig up something that facilitates that happening slightly more often than normal. That is still a very long way away from a "Mr. Fusion" under ever automobile hood.