Drumbeat: April 26, 2009

Groups See Added Risks From Change in Climate

The effects of climate change, especially rising seas, threaten trillions of dollars’ worth of coastal property, and flood-hazard maps, zoning laws, building codes and insurance rates in the United States do not accurately reflect the risk, an unusual coalition of groups reported Thursday.

The coalition — organized by the Heinz Center, a research organization that focuses on environmental issues, and Ceres, an organization of environmentally conscious investor, insurance and other groups — said the nation had failed to take “reasonable steps” to reduce economic losses and protect residents of the coast.

In a report, it urged that government flood-hazard maps be updated and that local land-use policies bar people from building or rebuilding in areas at high risk of flooding.

Does understanding complexity beget a tragic view of life?

Sheer exuberance is often enough to carry the young into the most daunting and dangerous of endeavors. But as we age, experience can make us more hesitant. Many people discover that the universe can sometimes be arbitrary, that completely unforeseen events can ruin careers and even end lives, that, in short, life is tragic.

But paradoxically the tragic view of life doesn't beget mere glumness. Instead, it teaches prudence which can be a good thing and occasionally a lifesaver. It actually inculcates a more profound appreciation of those moments of happiness and bliss, for the tragic view of life cautions us that these are not the products of will and planning, but rather mostly the result of serendipity. Those with the tragic view do not believe that everything must end in tragedy; rather, they believe that tragic endings are an ever present possibility.

Contagion on a Small Planet

Disaster experts have been warning that the world, because of the fast-rising density of human populations, needs to work now to avoid high death tolls in inevitable natural disasters. Public health experts similarly warn that vigilance and speed in tracking and responding to disease outbreaks will be vital to limit the chances of a pandemic...

Disaster experts have been warning that the world, because of the fast-rising density of human populations, needs to work now to avoid high death tolls in inevitable natural disasters. Public health experts similarly warn that vigilance and speed in tracking and responding to disease outbreaks will be vital to limit the chances of a pandemic.

Women bear brunt of African hunger crisis

Ancient traditions and modern circumstances often combine to place the burden on women to feed their poor families. Researchers say women do as much as 80 percent of the farm work in poor countries. And, with food and fertilizer prices rising, and AIDS and the global financial meltdown taking their toll, women like Ndwandwe are straining under growing responsibilities.

A Workers’ Paradise Found Off Japan’s Coast

“Hime Island is North Korea, just a livable version,” Naokazu Koiwa said with a laugh. Mr. Koiwa, 32, repairs fishing boats.

Unsurprisingly, the current mayor, Akio Fujimoto, flatly rejects the North Korean comparison. Rather, he and most other islanders call Hime a repository for traditional Japanese values, like economic egalitarianism and social harmony. They say the rest of the nation has lost these in an embrace of more competitive capitalism, especially under the prime ministership of Junichiro Koizumi from 2001-6.

“Our thinking is, ‘let’s all share the economic pie and get along, instead of giving all of it to the rich,’ ” said Mr. Fujimoto, whose father, Kumao Fujimoto, devised the work-sharing system in the 1960s. “Avoiding competition is the traditional Japanese way.”

Baghdad Bombings: Is Iraq Unraveling Again?

At least five bomb attacks in Iraq in the past 48 hours have left some 140 people dead, wounded dozens more and raised fears that the country may be returning to the sectarian violence from which it has only just emerged. On Thursday three bombs in central Baghdad and areas northeast of the capital killed at least 80 people and wounded more than 100. On Friday, a double suicide bombing at the most important Shi'ite shrine in Baghdad killed another 60 and injured 125 more. The bombs went off as people gathered for Friday prayers at the mosque and tomb where the prominent Shi'a saint Imam Mousa al-Kazim is buried. Last weekend, a pair of mortars or rockets slammed into the Green Zone, the first such attack since mid-January. The number of murders across Iraq that appear related to insurgent violence has also risen over the past few weeks.

Americans Accused of Stealing Fuel in Iraq

In a confidence game that made a mockery of the United States military’s most secure compound in Iraq, a ring of Americans posing as contractors and their Nepalese drivers used tanker trucks, forged documents and sheer brazenness to steal at least $40 million worth of jet and diesel fuel from an Army depot, according to an indictment returned by a federal grand jury in Virginia on Friday.

Holdouts for Humble Bulb Defy a Government Phase-Out

TUNBRIDGE WELLS, England — On a quaint lane called Camden Street, the sidewalk easel stands out for its apocalyptic tone: “100-WATT BULBS IN STOCK. (FOR HOW LONG WE DO NOT KNOW)”

“Let some government official come in and tell me I can’t sell these,” Jonathan Wright, who has owned Classic Lighting for 40 years, said defiantly as he surveyed his warren of upscale light fixtures and shelves filled with neatly stacked bulbs. “I’ll find them wherever I can get them and sell them for whatever they cost. People are buying in bulk because they want them.”

IEA Sees Oil-Supply Crunch by 2013 on Slow Investment

(Bloomberg) -- The International Energy Agency said the world may face a crude oil shortage by 2013 because of slower investments in oil exploration and production by OPEC members and other producing countries.

“I can’t rule out the possibility of an oil supply constraint in 2013 and 2014,” Nobuo Tanaka, Paris-based IEA’s executive director, said in an interview in Tokyo today. “Investments have dropped, and if this continues, an oil crunch would emerge.”

Gulf OPEC sees $50 oil price pragmatic for now

Gulf oil producers said on Sunday they can tolerate moderate crude prices for longer to help revive global growth, but shared a concern with consumer nations that a prolonged period of low prices could sow the seeds of a future fuel price spike.

Qatar says low oil price threatens Middle East economies

Tokyo: The drop in oil prices is reducing income in the Middle East and threatening the economic stability of producing countries, Qatar’s oil minister said on Sunday.

"For the first time in a quarter century, world demand for oil is falling; the price has collapsed since July 2008," Abdulla Bin Hamad Al Attiyah said at the Asia Ministerial Energy Roundtable in Tokyo.

"Companies almost everywhere are freezing investment and re-evaluating energy projects based on high prices," he said.

Oil Price Volatility Has “Serious” Risk, Naimi Says

(Bloomberg) -- The volatility in oil prices “poses serious risks” of future spikes as then global recession curbs investment in energy projects that would boost future supply, Saudi Arabia’s oil minister said.

“Price extremes have been unjustifiable and unsustainable,” Ali al-Naimi said in the text of a speech delivered at the 3rd Asian Ministerial Energy Roundtable in Tokyo today. “I have often cautioned that if prices remain too low for too long, they can carry the seeds of future price spikes and volatility.”

Iran Meeting More Than 90% of OPEC Quota Target, Official Says

(Bloomberg) -- Iran, OPEC’s second-largest producer, is now meeting “more than 90 percent” of its output target as part of the group’s commitment to reduce exports, said Hossein Noghrekar Shirazi, a deputy minister at the country’s Ministry of Petroleum.

“What we have committed, we are performing,” said Shirazi, on the sidelines of the 3rd Asia Ministerial Energy Roundtable today in Tokyo. “As for the reports by some of the secondary sources, we have said that some of them are not reporting accurately for various reasons.”

Chinaoil emerges as major force in crude trading

SINGAPORE: Chinaoil, trading arm of state refiner PetroChina, has been the most active player on crude oil during the Asian Platts window this month, signalling its aim to become a major market force, rivalling peer Unipec.

Thoughts on the Current Restructuring of Global Oil Demand

The global financial crisis may be hastening a process that’s been underway the entire decade: the restructuring of global oil demand. Western OECD oil demand has been much slower the past 15 years and its growth rate started to stall out again as early as 2004. The more spectacular leg of the advance in the price of oil was therefore built in large part on non-OECD demand. Of course. While this looks like a tidy and easy-to-read set of circumstances, however, it’s actually a bit more complicated than merely splitting the world in two.

David Strahan: A Government still addicted to petrol

Some applauded policies such as the extra subsidy for offshore wind and investment in building efficiency, but attacked overall funding of £1.4bn as miserly in comparison to the enormity of the climate crisis and recent financial bailouts.

But for those who are more worried about oil depletion, the Budget was utterly hollow. The car scrappage scheme came without efficiency conditions attached, the return to inflation-plus fuel duty increases was welcome but timid compared to the escalator that was killed off by the petrol protests of 2000, and tax breaks for North Sea operators will do little to stem the decline in output. Production has halved since its peak in 1999, and is now dropping at 7 per cent a year, dragging Britain ever deeper into import dependency.

Ban petrol cars from 2015, says Norway's Finance Minister Kristin Halvorsen

A PROPOSAL to ban sales of new petrol-powered cars in Norway from 2015 could help spur struggling carmakers to shift to greener models, Finance Minister Kristin Halvorsen said.

"This is much more realistic than people think when they first hear about this proposal," she said, defending a plan by her Socialist Left Party to outlaw sales of cars that run solely on fossil fuels in six years' time.

Reports of Pontiac's end sadden fans of muscular brand

(CNN) -- Pontiac owners around the United States are feeling nostalgic amid reports that cash-strapped General Motors will end one of its most coveted brands.

Crude May Rally to $70, Shuaa’s Effat Says: Technical Analysis

(Bloomberg) -- Oil may break free from its trading range in the third quarter and rally to $70 a barrel, according to technical analysis by Shuaa Capital PSC, the United Arab Emirates’ biggest bank.

Oil in New York is in a “bottoming process,” bound in a range between $38 and $55, according to Nabil Effat, Dubai-based Shuaa’s chief technical analyst. Crude futures reached a year- to-date high of $54.66 on March 26.

“Clearing the $55-a-barrel resistance should trigger more buying with a target area of $65 to $70 a barrel,” Effat said in a telephone interview from Dubai.

Oil Minister stresses importance of investment in oil sector

Kuwait will proceed with planned oil investment and expansion projects with an eye to achieve its production target for 2020 at 4 million barrels per day (bpd), Kuwaiti Oil Minister Sheikh Ahmad Al-Abdullah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah reaffirmed on Sunday.

Addressing Asia's major oil producers and consumers at a one-day meeting here, Sheikh Ahmad said that Kuwait sticks to a plan to build a refinery in China with a capacity of 300,000 barrels per day (bpd) by teaming up with Asia's top oil refiner Sinopec Corp., as well as a 200,000-bpd refinery in Vietnam through joint venture with Japanese firms and Petrovietnam.

Talisman to invest $1.1 bil. in Vietnam oil fields

Canada's Talisman Energy plans to invest US$1.1 billion to develop commercial production of two offshore oilfields in Vietnam, a newspaper reported Friday.

Dau Tu newspaper quoted Michael Horn, Talisman's representative in Vietnam, as saying the company would make the investment in Hai Su Trang and Hai Su Den fields.

Reveal carbon risks, oil firms told

Oil giants involved in the exploitation of tar sand fields face calls this week to disclose future carbon liabilities. Co-operative Financial Services (CFS) and environmental charity WWF-UK are launching a campaign for a legal requirement for companies including Shell and BP to include this information in financial reporting.

Oil worker released by militants

A British oil worker kidnapped by militants in Nigeria has been released by his captors.

The man is believed to be 27-year-old Alan Preston, from Edinburgh, who was seized in Port Harcourt three weeks ago.

The armed group who took him hostage also killed Mr Preston's police guard.

West traps Russia in its own backyard

When he addressed the Munich security conference in February, Biden offered to reset the button in US-Russia relations. However, despite many positive signals and an overall lowering of rhetoric, the moves so far have been by and large symbolic. Across Eurasia, the signs are to the contrary. The Great Game is picking up momentum. The sharp fall in oil prices has complicated Russia's economic recovery, which in turn would disrupt the dynamics of the integration processes under Moscow's leadership - political, military and economic - in the post-Soviet space.

US Proposes "Variable Geometry"

CARACAS (IPS) - The United States will work on energy issues with the other countries of the Americas based on "a variable geometry," allowing governments to choose to cooperate in some areas but not others, said Jeremy Martin, head of the energy programme at the Institute of the Americas at the University of California San Diego.

This "a la carte" approach would make it possible to work with Venezuela on the heavy crudes in its Orinoco Belt and with Brazil on ethanol, or with Mexico and Brazil on the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, because the marriage of energy and climate change means Washington can no longer talk about one without the other, the U.S. expert said at a forum in Caracas.

Kjell Aleklett: Colin Campbell and 100 months of Peak Oil

Colin Cambell has now written newsletters for 100 months. 100 months is a long tenure. In his first letter he introduced the world to a new term, ”Peak Oil”. I first made contact with Colin by email in the autumn of 2000 when I needed a little information for a figure and I believe that it was in December of the same year that I first spoke with him by telephone. He was then writing that which would become newsletter number 1. He spoke about the idea of an organisation that would study the peak of oil production and the name ”Association for the Study of the Oil Peak” was mentioned. But the acronym ASOP did not roll off the tongue in the right way so the suggestion to swap the words around to say Peak Oil was discussed. The acronym became ASPO and the term ”Peak Oil” was coined.

A Lean, Green Detroit

American tastes dominated the world's automotive market for a century, but all that's changing now. Today it's the increasingly well-to-do Chinese car-buyer that industry wants to woo and win, thanks to this incredible fact—China has, over the last three months running, surpassed the U.S. in terms of volume sales of automobiles. Ever wonder why Ford's new Fiesta has an instrument panel that looks like a cell phone? Because that's what's familiar to its target audience of 20- and 30-something Chinese.

My money's on China to produce world-changing electric car

Once in a while an invention comes along that changes the world: Gunpowder. Printing press. Steam engine. Telegraph. Telephone. Model T Ford. Television. Computers - first mainframes, then PCs. The Internet. And now - maybe - the electric car.

I'm not talking hybrids here. I am talking a pure electric that runs on batteries, travels 200 kilometres on one charge, drives fast, consumes electricity equivalent to the cost of a gasoline engine getting 240 mpg, needs a one-hour charge for each travel hour - yet costs less than $25,000 and can be fixed by the local electrician and bicycle repairman.

'Smart grid' presents great promise, complications

WASHINGTON - One warm August afternoon in 2003, a power failure originating in Ohio coursed through the northeastern section of the electrical grid, sparking the nation's largest blackout ever and leaving millions in eight states without air conditioning, traffic lights or cell phone service.

A "smart grid" might have averted a shutdown that cost an estimated $6 billion.

That new grid - a digital network allowing utilities, consumers and alternative sources of renewable energy to "talk" to one another - could steer electricity to where it is needed most, avert cascading energy bottlenecks and promote power from alternative sources.

Republicans push nuclear energy to lower costs

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. should build 100 more nuclear plants rather than spend "billions in subsidies" for renewable energy if it is truly committed to lowering electric bills and having clean air, the Republicans say.

California rule could end ethanol's honeymoon

NEW YORK (Reuters) - California's newly adopted low-carbon fuel standard may mark the beginning of the end of ethanol's coveted status as the sole U.S. alternative motor fuel.

Making every hour an Earth Hour

On the subject of motorised transport, we've also made a commitment not to upgrade our at-times troublesome VW Golf. We have no intention of ever trading it in for a newer model, and we now don't bother getting dents and scratches repaired. We keep up the maintenance and road costs, but that's it.

As long as it goes, right? If the peak oil theorists are right, there seems little point buying a newer car when the one we have could be obsolete in our lifetime.

Winds of change blow for offshore power operators

It's official: it's getting windier down south. This unexpected quirk of climate change has given a much needed boost to offshore wind-farm developers.

For those struggling to make the economics of hugely expensive wind farms work, more wind equals more money.

Protester 'offered cash by police'

Matilda Gifford, 24, a member of a group arrested at a demonstration at Aberdeen airport in March, recorded conversations with two men said to be members of Strathclyde Police. A possible financial deal was discussed that could have helped Ms Gifford with her student loan fees. "You wouldn't pay any tax on it. So you could do with it what you want," she was told.

Greenhouse Gases Continue To Climb Despite Economic Slump

ScienceDaily — Two of the most important climate change gases increased last year, according to a preliminary analysis for NOAA’s annual greenhouse gas index, which tracks data from 60 sites around the world.

'Climate change' forces Eskimos to abandon village

(CNN) -- The indigenous people of Alaska have stood firm against some of the most extreme weather conditions on Earth for thousands of years. But now, flooding blamed on climate change is forcing at least one Eskimo village to move to safer ground.

Levees can't save New Orleans from floods: report

HOUSTON (Reuters) - Bigger, higher and stronger levees cannot save New Orleans from the worst floods and the city remains vulnerable to a repeat of Hurricane Katrina, the National Academy of Sciences said on Friday.

...Authorities should discourage settlement in flood-prone areas and encourage voluntary relocation away from them, the report said.

OPEC Analyst supports IEA concern about oil development

...in Opec members alone, the sharp drop in prices since the all-time high of $147 (Dh540) a barrel attained last July has already led operators to cancel or put on hold some 35 exploration-production projects.

and more.


CAPP Interim Update: 2008 - 2020 Western Canadian Crude Oil Forecast (PDF | 467KB | Dec 08) shows 120 kb/d of oil sands projects lost for this year and the last - and this report was from December. Oilsands Review has pages with updates of the latest in project status.

The world seems to have just narrowly escaped a big bang in the Middle East:

Iran canceled air show when Russia warned Israel planned to destroy all 140 warplanes

Iran’s Army Day celebrated by great military parade
Iranian army was also going to have an air parade involving 140 aircrafts including bombers, interceptors, tanker planes, F4, F5, F7, F14 fighter jets, Mig-29, Sukhoi, C-130, Boeing 707 and 747 which was cancelled due to weather and low visibility, however, a fighter aircraft and 150 helicopters presented their air show.

Nader Uskowi on Iran

17 mb/d go through the Straits of Hormuz

Additional commentary with respect to smart grids can be found at:



Crisis Plunges US Middle Class into Poverty

The crisis is also making itself felt in posh Georgetown, a historic residential neighborhood in Washington D.C. which is home to many politicians, lobbyists and attorneys. Anyone who forgets to lock his car at night can expect to see unwanted guests sleeping in it by the next morning.

When one local woman, who works at a Middle Eastern embassy in Washington, opened her car door one morning, she was astonished to find a woman holding a purse and wearing a pearl necklace sitting on the seat. The humiliated woman covered her face, apologized politely and quickly left her sleeping quarters.

The Economics of Eating
Living off a dollar menu may save you money now, but you'll pay for it in the long run

As the U.S. recession nears its 18th month, government officials are parsing economic data and trying to guess whether the repercussions will begin to decline in a matter of months, or sometime further down the line. Dr. Mitchell Roslin, chief of obesity surgery at New York's Lenox Hill Hospital, is watching another recession metric—people's waistlines—and seeing a very far off impact indeed.

Lean times lead to bad diets. Bad diets lead to obesity. And obesity leads to diabetes, heart disease and other chronic illnesses—not now, but sometime later in life, when today's recession is a memory but Medicare, Medicaid and private insurers are still groaning under its weight. "People are eating cheaper, more fattening foods; care is more difficult to find; and as a result we're going to have more and more people presenting at a later stage of the disease process," says Roslin. "If you're concerned about paying your rent and making ends meet, it's very hard to think about the future implications of diabetes and other illnesses."

westexas -

And it takes only a surprisingly short amount of time for the effects of a very bad diet to manifest themselves.

A number of years ago some young fellow foolishly conducted an experiment on himself by going on a strict McDonalds diet. For an entire month he had nothing but Egg McMuffins and Bacon, Egg & Cheese Biscuits for breakfast, Chicken McNuggets and fries for lunch, and several Big Macs with more fries for dinner, all of this washed down with copious amounts of soda and milkshakes. He had a physical exam, including blood work, both before and after the experiment.

Well, at the end of the month-long experiment not only had this guy gained a lot weight, as would be expected, but his cholesterol count, blood sugar, and blood pressure were now well into dangerous territory, and surprisingly his liver showed the same sort of impaired functioning as that of a long-time alcoholic. He also felt like hell, was extremely lethargic, and had developed a variety of symptoms such as stomach trouble, severe constipation, and chronic headaches. It took him well over another month of normal eating just to get back to where he was when he started.

While a McDonald's-only diet is an extreme, it's probably not that far off from what some people's normal diet is like.

You're talking about Supersize Me.

He actually worked his way through the menu pretty systematically. Which meant that some days, he ate salads. And it was still really unhealthy.

FYI about Swine flu: The International Society for Infectious Diseases site is a good source of non-alarmist professional information.

They seem to be much more open and willing to communicate than the CDC and WHO.


Below is an excerpt from one of their latest postings.


"To date, 8 cases in the US have been documented, all of whom recovered/are
recovering (only one was hospitalized and that was an immunocompromised
individual with other disease issues). There are over 900 cases in Mexico,
with over 60 fatalities (approx 6 per cent case fatality rate). Why the
disparity in severity between the 2 countries is unknown, but with the US
numbers being so low, it could just be a luck of the draw kind of thing
right now: my back of the envelope calculations suggest that if the US had
the same base case fatality rate as in Mexico, the likelihood we could have
8 cases without a death is nearly 60 per cent.

Apparently, the overall mortality rate for the Spanish Flu was 2.5%. This link has some numbers for projected total death counts during flu pandemics:


BTW, the doc that runs the Vitamin D Council website thinks that most flu cases, and many cancers and other diseases, are basically symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency:



Many Americans, especially young children, are alarmingly deficient in vitamin D. In addition to being absolutely essential for the proper function of the bones and central nervous system, vitamin D plays a critical role in enabling the immune system to successfully defeat viruses of all kinds. One 2006 study hit headlines when it concluded that vitamin D is extremely effective in fighting standard influenza strains.

Don't try to get your vitamin D levels up just with pills because the body uses UV light to destroy excess vitamin D. So to get to the natural safe max level you need some UV on skin to avoid vitamin D toxicity. Of course the easy thing to do is to make your own vitamin D in the sunshine. Don't get burnt. [By the way we know that bilirubin and excess vitamin D are two organic molecules that the body has trouble getting rid of without UV. What is the complete list? An obvious guess is that it includes many toxic organic compounds.]

I have read that 8 hours outdoors in winter in Boston will not provide enough sunlight to give you the Vitamin D that you need (don't know if the assumption is 8 hours of sun or the average cloud cover for winter, I suspect the latter). I also assume that very little exposed skin goes into the calculation. All of this of course is why the Vitamin D crowd thinks that the seasonal flu pattern is basically just a symptom of Vitamin D deficiency.

BTW, I wonder if the heavy air pollution levels in Mexico City (reducing sunlight reaching people) could be contributing to a more severe flu outbreak there (of course the air pollution itself is probably contributing).

Also from the Vitamin D Council website (on toxicity):


Is vitamin D toxic? Not if we take the same amount nature intended when we go out in the sun. Vieth attempted to dispel unwarranted fears in medical community of physiological doses of vitamin D in 1999 with his exhaustive and well-written review.

His conclusions: fear of vitamin D toxicity is unwarranted, and such unwarranted fear, bordering on hysteria, is rampant in the medical profession. Even Ian Monroe, the chair of the relevant IOM committee, wrote to the Journal to compliment Vieth's work and to promise his findings will be considered at the time of a future Institute of Medicine review. That was more than two years ago.

I was wondering the same thing about the pollution. If your lungs are already compromised by pollutions, are you more susceptible to pneumonia? The bad air may get you halfway there all on its own.

It would be kind of ironic if the refusal to address air pollution, ended up making a mild flu into a lethal flu.

In the end, reality always gets the final say on decision made for political and economic reasons.

Here's one link for Vitamin D details: http://healthlink.mcw.edu/article/1031002458.html

I'm beginning to be convinced that many people would benefit from getting a vitamin D level done - if only to pay more attention to sun exposure. Apparently UVa rays break down vit D, but UVb actually help skin synthesize it, so folks who get sun only through windows could be more likely to suffer from deficiency.

I have read that if the sunlight strikes the earth at too great an angle none of the UV portion required for the synthesis of vitamin D gets to the surface. Something to do with refraction or reflection. This means that for several months of the year people living at higher latitudes like Boston or London would get zero vitamin D from sunlight. With the likelihood that during these months temperatures are cooler leading to more skin being covered, added to the fact that there are less hours of sunlight, you end up getting a recipe for severely low levels of vitamin D by the end of winter. By the way, a Caucasian individual in swim wear will synthesize overt 10,000 IU of vitamin D in less than half an hour of exposure to the mid day tropical sun so, how much do you think would be a reasonable amount to supplement with during winter?

As for air pollution, that is probably having a severe effect on the other immune system boosting vitamin, vitamin c. I read somewhere that exposure to cigarette smoke can use up as much as 1000mg of vitamin C per day. Now with a RDA of 60mg you can guess where I'm going with this.
I would bet a considerable amount of money that, even the most severe influenzas could be cleared up with sufficient amounts of vitamin C supplemented with equally sufficient amounts of vitamin D. For an idea on the basis for this belief, you can have a look at the work of Robert Cathcart, the web sites of the Vitamin C Foundation, the aforementioned Vitamin D Council and DoctorYouself.com.

Of course, I can't imagine that anybody would want to prevent this sort of belief from taking hold with a wide cross section of the public.(/sarconol). I guess that's why I've heard newscasts on CNN including basically one sentence saying "A new study has found that vitamin C does NOT prevent colds and flu." No references, no background information on who did the study, where, when, how, why or by whom such a study was funded. Just a statement of fact. Go figure! One look at the cold and flu medicine section of your local pharmacy should put things in perspective. It's a huge business.

A couple years ago, a close relative of mine died from cancer. During their last months I got very interested in nutrition and vitamins because, I couldn't figure out how someone 18 months my junior could be so unfortunate. I learned about a big vitamin D study that reported a very significant reduction in the risk of getting cancer in people with high levels of vitamin D, just days before their death. The more I think about it the more it makes sense. Homo Sapiens evolved in the presence of sunlight which raise a few questions:

1) How could sunlight be bad for us? Surely we must have evolved mechanisms for coping with our ever present source of energy.

2) Would we not have evolved mechanisms for using the sun's light to our advantage such as production of vitamin D and the use of vitamin D in key functions?

3) Would it not explain the geographical distribution of races where lighter skin predominates the further away you get from the equator?

I invite anybody who thinks I'm crazy to do a Google search for "death by vitamin overdose" or "vitamin related fatalities" or any other search term and let me know the total amount of documented vitamin related deaths since the discovery of vitamins, compared to the amount of people who die from ingesting household laundry detergent in one year. Of course you could just put your trust in modern medical science (big pharma) and hope for the best.

Best hopes for more "alternative" medicine post peak.

Alan from the islands.

Bitteroldcoot -

I don't find those numbers very reassuring at all. In my book, a 6 per cent fatality rate IS something to worry about if one has a highly infectious disease on the loose.

If, say one million people in the US eventually contract swine flu, then a 6 percent fatality rate would mean that we'd have 60,000 deaths, which is a tad more than we had in the entire Vietnam War.

Let's hope that the fatality rate turns out to be far lower than 6 percent and that the spread can be checked. Sometimes these epidemics rapidly peter out after they get finished cuting down those members of the population with the poorest immunity to the particular virus.

The 6% figure might be skewed by under reporting of mild cases of the flu. Only one of the 8 cases in the US was hospitalised. If that ratio is also occuring in Mexico, the death rate falls below 1%. I would expect more underreporting in Mexico than the US.

If, say one million people in the US eventually contract swine flu, then a 6 percent fatality rate would mean that we'd have 60,000 deaths, which is a tad more than we had in the entire Vietnam War.

It could be much worse than that. I saw estimates for a 50% world infection rate for the Spanish flu epidemic, and the pdf being circulated about flu preparations uses a 30% infection rate figure. That was mainly concerned with the bird flu H5N1, the Mexican flu is an H1N1 strain. I think it is too early to panic, but perhaps not too early to begin educating ourselves about precautions. Hopefully this will turn out to be another pandemic false alarm.

We can look upon them as "false alarms" or "dry runs". I'd prefer the latter. I imagine we're woefully unprepared for a major outbreak of anything.

Given that emergency rooms here are chronically overcrowded at the best of times, I would say so.

From above: "IEA Sees Oil-Supply Crunch by 2013 on Slow Investment "

Speaking of slow investment...

Energy Insiders are selling. It looks like they are LEADING the Insider Disinvestment trend among many sectors.

Beware Insider Selling

Bob Bronson, who tracks insider buys and sales, notes “We’ve found insider activity to be a very useful market timing indicator – when used in combination with others — over the short term (weeks) to intermediate term (months).”

Bronson shows that Energy, Consumer Durables and Transports look particularly bearish now

(see table at link)


The market rally the past few weeks gave the insiders a chance to exit before the next leg down.

I still do not know why this has not caught on

A Natural Gas Centric Strategic Long-Term Comprehensive Energy Policy

Nat Gas is domestic, abundant, cheap, clean (er), well understood as source for transportation - no new technology required -
distribution infrastructure is all in place
and UNG forcasts indicates that supplies are only increasing.

all the LNG terminals mean we can use foreign NG at a very low price, and still have huge domestic supplies if the foreigners get uppity

yes price will go up, but cars are refueling at 88 cents a gallon for NG now

this puts the US back into the 60's man!
energy independence!
lots of cheap energy!
no end in sight!
we can go back to sleep

Its a great transitional strategy - 20 year transition. So the contrarian in me says people don't get it yet - with the next oil spike more people may get it - the new bifurcation between oil and NG - and vote with their wallets

I predict a massive push to convert the vehicle fleet to NG will happen in the next couple of years. at about $3000 per vehicle, its cheap to convert, and provides a huge new local industry

why aren't the car companies making more NG cars?

I think I am going to do what WT does and repost this on every discussion group

I'd love to see a piece on that. I have two questions at present: is NG really abundant if the price (MCF) stays below $3.50 and does exponential growth (5-10% per year) at a certain point render this strategy utterly useless?

It seems like we are talking about gas being abundant at something like $8, rather than $3.50. This would be equivalent in BTUs to something like $48 oil. But gas in the US trades at a discount to oil, presumably because it is more difficult to transport and is not applicable in as many ways.

It seems like $8 gas could get us a lot of things we need. The question is whether the economy can stand natural gas at that level.

Nano -- I don't have published reports to offer but at $3.50/mcf (combined with the tite credit market and potential LNG imports) we cut our UNG rigs from 18 to 4. And those 4 are in the best tend out there. Not that there's great expectations of big profits from those 4 rigs but we have an ongoing research plan and lease obligations.

elwood -- 100 years is something of a push but 40 to 50 years is a reality. Lot's of New Albany Shale wells drilled in the 60's are still producing today. But, OTHO, wells that live that long tend to produce 50 mcf/day or less. After hyperbolic decline the wells can reach an almost "no decline" state. In fact, there have been cases were the rate did show a marginal increase over time. Thus it would take 20,000+ wells to produce one bcf. So, yes, on paper if we drill 200,000 UNG wells it might generate 10 bcf/day over a long period. But, then again, with each rig drilling 6 wells/year and 600 rigs drilling, it would take only 50+ years to drill those wells. And it would only cost $800 billion (2009 $'s) to drill those 200,000 wells at $4 million/well. Chump change...we can just let the gov't throw some more bail out $'s at it. A rather nice little fantasy world wouldn't you say.

yes, i am aware of (vertical) wells that have produced for 50 or more yrs. and there may well be hz wells that produce as long.

asssuming all these hz wells will conform to a preconcieved profile and on that basis, converting our vehicle fleet to (u)ng is, using the poker metaphor, betting on the come.

one of the worst invention of man or beast, imo, is that forward looking statement disclaimer. more like a licence to tell whatever lie the mind can concieve and have it lapped up by a salivating analyst/investor flock.

we need to check our hole cards here. the rosy numbers posted by ung producers, big favorites of mf's, want us to assume that they can predict ng reserves from very limited production histories.

1) many make claims that these ung wells will decline hyperbolically to a zero decline asymtote and have a 100 yr life. far away and long in the future from proven, borderline bogus.

2) many assume that drilling 2,4 or 16 wells on a section of land will result in 2,4 or 16 times the reserves. bogus.

3) ung falls out of vogue at $3.50/mmbtu.

your ever optimistic pseudodoomer:
newfizx d. bunker.

ng delivered to homes for nitetime refilling ?

ng delivered to my home costs $5.50/mmbtu energy cost plus $2.79/mmbtu for delivery and pipeline transportation, a total of $8.29 at the meter. a markup of 250% on today's nymex spot price.

I think we are on the low part of the learning curve for electric vehicles. If they don't deliver the price, range and load capacity people want then there will be a swing to NGVs.

Unfortunately there will also be a shift towards NG fired electrical generation for two reasons; to load balance mandated windpower targets and because of lower CO2 emissions than coal fired. That means less NG as a vehicle fuel. The answer must be to find ways to store or demand manage windpower and find some other form of heavy duty electrical generation.

Another good thing about NG as a fuel since it is mainly methane it can be blended with microbial biogas and catalysed thermal syngas. Methane formed by the Sabatier reaction or variants could use biocarbon and nuclear hydrogen. As 'natural' gas phases out 'unnatural' gas can be phased in thereby preserving the gas network for home heating and perhaps home fuelling of NGVs. That's if electric cars don't work out. Which I predict.

As 'natural' gas phases out 'unnatural' gas can be phased in thereby preserving the gas network for home heating and perhaps home fuelling of NGVs.

I would hope low theromdynamic quality uses, like space and water heating would be phased out early on. Much more heat per molecule of methane can be delivered if the Methane is burnt to generate electricity, and then heat pumps are used. This method also means that when available wind or solar power would be used for the heating applications. I suspect that the volume of potential "unnatural" gas, is much less than current volumes, but having some amount available in perpetuity would be useful for niche aplications that can't switch. And if we did figure out how to use the methane hydrates, the amount available is immense.

Compressed NG for transport applications is bulky, so either range, or vehicle space is given up for its usage.

I wonder how gas->electrical station->home heat pump compares with gas->home CHP for winter conditions. This needs a life cycle analysis that takes into account capital costs as well as losses at various stages. Gas cooking gives 'wraparound' heat compared to resistive element so will be preferred by many users such as restaurants. OTOH since homes and business on the gas grid are also on the electrical grid I guess they could simply switch off the gas without abandoning the whole network.

I think PHEVs like the Volt will fail due to price and the short all electric range. While NGVs have lower power and a heavy tank they can at least get you interstate over a steep mountain pass on one fill of that tank.

Math without the benefit of coffee is something I try to avoid but, on balance, I would expect the heat pump option to come out ahead given that most power systems utilize a mix of fuels, a growing percentage being renewables. In any event, an air source heat pump with a HSPF of 9.0 supplies, on average, 9.5 MJ of heat per kWh, and some of the better models such as the Fujitsu 9RLQ can top 11.6 MJ/kWh. The minimum HSPF for systems sold in North America is 7.7 (Zone 4), so 8.1 MJ/kWh is effectively our baseline. In terms of installed cost, a good quality air source heat pump would be more or less on par with that of a condensing gas furnace and mid-efficiency CAC, and a lower end heat pump would be price competitive with a non-condensing furnace and 13.0 SEER CAC (the latter would be considered "builder grade").

Assuming 100 per cent of the electricity generated at the margin is supplied by natural gas, at the upper end, GE's H System (7H) has a plant efficiency of 60 per cent, so we net 60 MJ of usable energy for every 100 MJ of natural gas consumed. Allowing for 7 per cent transmission and distribution losses, this falls to 55.8 MJ at the meter base. Thus, under ideal circumstances, the least efficient air source heat pumps sold today would supply 126 MJ of heat for every 100 MJ of gas consumed, or 1.4 times more heat than a condensing gas furnace with a 90% AFUE rating, and for a heat pump such as the aforementioned 9RLQ, the ratio is 2.0 to 1.

Alternatively, if we assume a plant efficiency of just 40 per cent (e.g., a small peaker) and 7 per cent T&D losses, the least efficient heat pump would be roughly equivalent to a non-condensing gas furnace with an AFUE of 84% (the minimum AFUE is currently 80%).


just as north sea oil gave the UK a 20 year boost, the NG revolution will do the same for north america

and did i mention that canada is now projected to have 1000 TCF of gas (UNG plus C)
canada uses 3 TCF and exports 3 TCF

hey guys,

here is my article on Iraqi oil on seekingalpha, I am making the case for a decline in production in the medium term:



Your article looks like a very good summary of the Iraq situation.

Your explanation of why things have been relatively good in the past year make sense (high price of oil, $ support of Iraqis), but going forward, things look much less good. If US troops withdraw, things are likely to go downhill, and the high level of corruption is a problem.

Write to me about your background and sources for the article at GailTverberg at Comcast dot net . It might make sense to reprint the article for Oil Drum readers.

Lean times lead to bad diets. Bad diets lead to obesity.

I would question the first sentence, though not necessarily the second. I keep track of my food expenses and have done so for several years. I notice that my expenses have in fact gone down--not up--over the past year, and I eat the same as before--fish one day, followed by vegetarian the next, washed down with a good Cabernet Sauvignon.

I suggest that lean times do not necessarily lead to bad diets--unless one is already inclined to bad diets. If one is already addicted to the constant sodas, chips, cheese, and beef diets--like hamburgers--then lean times aren't going to change that.

I notice that recently the government increased cigarette and tobacco taxes by an astronomical amount (like $25 for a pound of tobacco). This is OK, but it's totally unfair given that tobacco users die a lot earlier than obese people, so why not an astronomical tax on sodas, potato chips, nachos, hamburgers, and other fast and fat foods that directly contribute to obesity and related diseases?

Please use the "reply" button if your post is in response to something someone else posted. Makes it a lot easier to follow the conversation.

"Lean times" = sleeping in someone else's car; or at least, being highly uncertain about your accommodation.

It's not so easy to plan and prepare hot meals if you don't know where you'll be sleeping.

Also, getting down this far on Maslow's hierarchy of needs tends to mean you don't care what your health will be in a year's time. One tends to live day to day.

That is very true. I don't think people realize how difficult it is to prepare healthy meals if you are really poor.

Poor areas - rural or inner city - are often "food deserts." There are no grocery stores. If you don't have a car, it becomes very difficult to buy fresh food. It happened in my town. There used to be grocery stores in the city limits, but they've all moved miles out of town, where taxes are lower and real estate is cheaper. Public transportation is poor to non-existent. People without cars end up living off fast food, or on high-priced junk food from 7-11s or other convenience stores.

The capital well is running dry and some economies will wither

The world is running out of capital. We cannot take it for granted that the global bond markets will prove deep enough to fund the $6 trillion or so needed for the Obama fiscal package, US-European bank bail-outs, and ballooning deficits almost everywhere.

Hello Leanan,

Thxs for the article on how we have decreasing investment capital--let's hope the info spreads quickly to local govts. The links below show that some zombie golf courses are being kept open by non-Peak informed bankers & influential lobbyists convincing local leaders to buy [think bailout] the failing golf course landowners:

Granite City Park District explains plan to buy golf course

..The park board held the hearing to inform the public about the district’s intention to acquire Legacy through the sale of revenue bonds.

“The Park District feels that due to the closing of River’s Edge golf course it has an obligation to protect and ensure a public golf facility that continues to operate in Granite City,” said Granite City Park District Director David Williams in a prepared statement.

The acquisition, however, will lead to an increase in property taxes, Williams said.
Thus, the former landowner gets a wad of liquid cash [will probably now buy farm/eco-tech bunker somewhere], the brokers/bankers get fees for facilitating the deal and bond sales, the politicians get to say, "Look what I done for you--re-elect me!", and the taxpayer get screwed once more.

Alternatively, IMO, by simply declaring eminent domain, then buying this land at a rock bottom cost, then turning this into a community farm or garden would be a more postPeak productive use of this land for the community. My guess is the leadership is not interested in becoming a Transition Town; it is much more fun for them to have the taxpayer cough up the dough for their golfing fun.

Erie Golf Club reopens after 2 years through intricate deal

..The 18-hole Erie Golf Club, warts and all, is reopening at 8 a.m., hours after the city of Erie transferred the property to Millcreek Township at a real-estate closing Friday.

The deal ends more than two years of maneuvering over the fate of the 175-acre course, which the city closed before the 2007 season and had considered selling for a possible housing development.

The city said the golf course couldn't make money.
Basically: If you cannot sufficiently tax the locals enough to fund the elite's golf, then sell it to a larger community to continue the tax pain over even greater numbers.

Golf course plans sliced
Buyers could not put deal together

..Randy Vaughn, owner of The Club Shoppe in Murphy, said Monday he was disappointed that the sale of the local golf course did not go through.

“I thought they had some good ideas and were going to make some good improvements to the golf course,” Vaughn said. “I thought it would be helpful to the community. It is a beautiful course. If improvements were made it would be so much better. It would attract more golfers.”
Evidently, he is not aware of all the golf courses that have been closing since 2006.


.."We want Nelson Park Golf Course Re-Opened" states the fax information. "We will line the streets in support of the oldest golf course in Decatur."

The closing of the course by the Decatur Park District board has not been well-received by a lot of golfers in the area and I've heard from some of them who have called the Tribune...
I would say let the golfers line the street in protest. Hopefully, those others, that are Peak Informed, will use my suggested Asymmetric Protest Strategies [recall earlier posting], then sneak plow tractors and wheelbarrows full of hand-tools and edible plant seedlings onto the greens for rapid conversion.

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

First story I've found showing economic effect of the swine flu outbreak...

Mexican, US imports banned

RUSSIA, fearing the spread of swine flu, on Sunday banned meat imports from Mexico, several US states and nine Latin American nations, a spokesman for Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said.

First hand reports from Mexico, via the BBC:

How would all the above numbers and percentages change if the BBC accounts are true and the real death toll is well over 200? There are other sites that claim the doctors have been directed to write cause of death “pneumonia” instead of flu to keep the flu numbers down. Sounds reasonable in this day and age where tourism is more important than truth.

Can't blame them for trying, but I suspect it's futile. The Spanish flu spread all over the world, including to the Arctic and to remote Pacific Islands and isolated African villages...and that was in 1918, when people traveled a lot less than they do now.

I read "The Great Influenza: The Epic Story of the Deadliest Plague In History" last year.


I'm not at all sure you can make any valid comparisons to anything that goes on today. It was such a different time in history, with a completely different culture and knowledge base.

Doctors were not that well respected, nobody really understood what was causing the illness or how it spread, politicians made a never ending series of decisions that were the exact opposite of what the doctors recommended. It was truly a fubar of epic proportions. The news papers were not even allowed to talk about the flu, because of press restrictions related to WWI.

They ended up calling it Spanish influenza simply because the Spanish were not in the war, and had the only free press still operating.

Related article citing potential sell-offs in the airline and travel-related stocks...

Swine flu fears may hit airline, hotel shares

In Asia, dealers said that any sell-off was likely to be in airline and travel-related stocks until more was known of the extent of the danger posed by the disease and its probable impact on global trade.

One dealer said that markets were likely to reassess their stance if more countries followed Russia’s decision yesterday to ban meat imports from Mexico, some parts of the United States and several South American countries.

How much do you think the Obama administration wants to keep this kind of thing in check, especially with a fully orchestrated and shaky recovery in place?

This is likely to have a significant negative impacts:

Reduction in tourism leads to decreased incomes in "vacation nations" leading to lower demand for imports.

Reduction in tourism and travel leads to decreasing demand for FF which means likely further price drops or further curtailment of supply.

We will likely see nations use swine flu as a rationale to restrict imports, a form of creeping protectionism that will further undermine global trade and increase consumer prices.

I cannot think of any positive impacts to come out of this.

Not H5N1? H1N1?

I guess Taleb might call this a Black Swine... er... Swan.


If Mexico starts closing offices, there could be wide-ranging impacts on many businesses here in the US. Our corporate help desk (hardware and software support) has an office in Monterey, Mexico. How many factories and businesses here in the US depend on Mexico?

Mexico Seeks to Contain Swine Flu, Economic Impact

Mexico requested the closure of bars, movie theaters and churches in the capital to fight an outbreak of deadly swine flu, while stopping short of ordering workplaces shut on concern about the economic impact.

The effort to fight the virus has a “high potential for disruption,” Finance Minister Agustin Carstens said today while speaking to reporters at the International Monetary Fund’s spring meetings. It’s too early to gauge the economic impact, he said.

More business-related news concerning the Mexican swine flu outbreak...

Sharp, Sony, Panasonic Halt Mexico Trips on Swine Flu Worry

Several of Japan's largest electronics companies have halted business trips to Mexico after a deadly outbreak of swine flu in the country.

Panasonic stopped business trips to Mexico from Saturday and Sharp took a similar measure in the last few days, both companies said. Sony began asking employees to avoid travel where possible to Mexico City from Monday although its request is short of an outright ban.

U.S. Declares Public Health Emergency Over Swine Flu

Responding to what some health officials feared could be the leading edge of a global pandemic emerging from Mexico, American health officials declared a public health emergency on Sunday as 20 cases of swine flu were confirmed in this country, including eight in New York City.

Hello TODers,

TALIBAN have looted seven trucks loaded with chemical fertilizer in Swat which, according to security officials, the insurgents use for making bombs, the BBC reported Saturday.

..Each truck was loaded with over 400 bags of ammonium nitrate, he added.
This is the promise [or tragedy] of the Elements NPKS-->the choice to grow food or alternatively, kill people. I believe it is far better for each person to reverently hug their own bag of NPK in a final embrace, then apply it to the topsoil, than to have some stranger suddenly hug you as he detonates his bag of NPK. As posted before: wheelbarrows are a better use of steel than machetes.

Used a wheelbarrow to carry some O-npk over to the community garden today, and we planted a bunch of our summer veggies. Carried Water, carried Bricks for the path, carried tools.. what a great device!

Not trying to be sentimental or anything.. it's like a song-virus now. I now have to carry Totoneila in every wheelbarrow load I push.


Kudos Jokuhl! Out of curiosity-->have you thought of various names for your wheelbarrow and other moving devices to psychologically-imbue them with extra special moving power?

examples: Jokuhl-lapper, Excavator of Excalibur, Tub 'O Fun, The Grin Heaper, The Green Reaper, The rolling throne of the Ur-lord Garden King, "Lights.Cameras.Photosynthesis", Hiking-Viking, Hoisting the love-handles of Thor, Hubbert's Roller-Coaster, Thoroughly-Thoreau, The Mighty Ameliorator, Balanced Mitigation, etc.

More GHGs despite recession.

I gather NOAA's data on CO2 and methane is from air sampling around the world. However we would expect a big slowdown in VMT and production of cement and steel. Therefore I suspect in the case of CO2 there has been no slowdown in coal fired electrical generation.

If so this bears out James Hansen's view that the focus must be on replacing coal. Therefore taxes on liquid fuels are for conservation reasons, not not so much CO2 reduction. New energy build like wind farms must physically displace coal and not add to it. Otherwise we are kidding ourselves.

Boof, what do you think of Kjell Aleklett's take on that in his University of Aberdeen lecture? He points out there isn't enough carbon to meet any of the IPCC scenarios, even if his numbers are off by 100%. I think the only point he doesn't cover is that the impacts are happening sooner than (some) scientists expected.
Global Energy Resources: The Peak Oil View, University of Aberdeen

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. should build 100 more nuclear plants rather than spend "billions in subsidies" for renewable energy if it is truly committed to lowering electric bills and having clean air, the Republicans say.

And nuclear doesn't require billions in subsidies? Ha! Anyone have those numbers?

More From Gingrich on Friday...

6:13 The second is that on page 362 if this bill, you in effect mandate an 83 percent reduction in carbon by 2050.

He went on to claim this was an impossibility.

Question for TOD readers; Does an 83% reduction sound impossible four decades after the peak?

The DOE says we're presently 58.2% dependent on imports, 40 years of ELM is likely to wipe that out, so that's already a big chunk of carbon we simply won't have available to release. Then if you take into account depletion, the amount of carbon released from oil looks to makes an 83% reduction not only possible, but nearly inevitable.

I guess the big questions are still coal and natural gas.

With Republicans in charge it is impossible.

I could easily exceed that #, and maintain a functioning economy.


Alan, your vision for the future is what gets out of bed in the morning. ^_^

Seriously, I have fond memories of a simpler life. I grew up in a small town where people looked after each other, and there was a strong feeling of community. Ironically, there was even a town event when passenger rail travel was dropped in the '70s - they staged a "great train robbery" with the town leaders dressed up to make off with bags of souvenir bills from the last train. Even back then I kind of had a inkling that it was the town being robbed of the train.

"Service" is back, one train a day each way, East to West at 2:38 am, West to East at 3:10 am. It's a start.

Thanks !!


Best Hopes for two trains/day,


Some Amtrak advocates think the next logical step is two trains/day, offset by about 12 hours, instead of one, to better serve local markets.

The City of New Orleans, Sunset Limited and Crescent originate in New Orleans at 11:55 AM, 1:45 PM and 7:10 AM. Origination times around 8 and 9 AM and PM for the City of New Orleans and Sunset Ltd would serve many markets better. Faster run times would too.

There was a segment on "60 Minutes" on TV last night about coal burning power plants.
Hanson from NASA says we must stop all coal burning now.
But, China is building a new coal power plant each week!

IMO, When Coal, Oil and Gas are burned up and gone for good, then global cooling will start and produce the next ice age. So in reality, people have little control over the future of the earth. There are many factors which can and will alter the weather on the earth. I believe we should try to control the population instead of the weather. However, the swine flu may take care of that issue.

Hello TODers,

My thxs to Leanan for the DB toplink, "A Workers’ Paradise Found Off Japan’s Coast". By the name alone, shouldn't Christmas Island be an even better paradise?

Beyond detention, Christmas Island left to drift

..But the isolation of the island, home to the nation's offshore immigration detention operation, means life on this Australian territory can be far from idyllic.

..The island was gazetted by the British in 1888 after rich phosphate deposits were found and Chinese labourers were shipped in to work. Pay and conditions for those workers were still appalling in 1958 when the sovereignty of the island was passed to Australia.

[A recent govt decision:].."to contain the birth rate only single or unaccompanied people be employed (at the mine) in the future".
I wonder if this 'non-offspring employee' decision will become widespread as we go PostPeak. Obviously, a worker, who only needs to support himself [no spouse & kids], can eventually be forced to accept the lowest possible wage.

I can imagine printed religious posters exhorting the Overshoot to be just like Christ: remain single, but your duty is to mine phosphate so the miracle of bread for the many will continue. If you get a phossy jaw and you 'decide' that you are especially devout: free seaside crucifixion by request.

IMO, this will be more efficient than building Easter Island stoneheads facing out to sea as the rotting corpses should theoretically attract more bugs and birds to make more guano.

I don't really understand why Australia maintains a detention centre so far from the mainland.

But about the singles-only workers, Singapore has that kind of immigration laws: female migrant workers (mostly from Indonesia and the Philippines and work as stay-at-home maids)are banned from being pregnant. They get kicked out of the country and lose their deposit (equivalent to a year's salary).
Rich immigrants, on the other hand, are encouraged to have children.

I understand that the reason for the detention centre being on Christmas Island, is that it does not count as part of Mainland Australia, hence under UN refugee rules the "boat people, etc" cannot claim refugee status in Australia. Just one way of trying to prevent millions of middle east and asian economic refugees from overwhelming the human capacity of the world's driest continent.

Hello TODers,

Recall my months earlier Morocco posting series: It appears the NYT [and maybe our govt] are starting to think the same:

Since the signing of the Moroccan-American Free Trade Agreement [FTA]..

Lessons From the Barbary Pirate Wars

A Message From Morocco About Fighting Piracy
As posted before: Will we eventually use our nuclear aircraft carriers to postPeak ferry I-NPK?

Hello TODers,

In Case You've Been Living Under A Rock: China Announced It Has Been Buying Gold

..But, there's another way of looking at this. A very successful investing strategy over the last few years has been to invest in resource companies that produce things that China buys. This has included miners (iron ore, coal, copper, zinc, lead, platinum, etc.), oil, fertilizer (e.g. Potash Corp), etc. Now we find out that this also includes gold miners.
IMO, the best way for China to keep the value of this gold high is to have Strategic Reserves of I-NPK plus ramping O-NPK recycling as we go postPeak. This will allow food surpluses, which leads to job specialization, which leads to precious metals and gems retaining some adornment value. Easier said than done as we head into Overshoot Decline, of course.

The tragic alternative is where precious metals are desperately traded for just a single hunk of bread or a mere canteen of water.