Drumbeat: May 2, 2009

What's ahead?

Political scientist Thomas Homer-Dixon is the editor of Carbon Shift, a collection of essays by Canadian academics and journalists, including The Gazette's William Marsden, that address two closely related questions: How do we assure future energy security and how do we act on climate change?

It's a predicament for policy-makers. If the world is running out of conventional oil, as some experts warn, many of the hydrocarbon alternatives like coal and heavy oil would add significantly to greenhouse gas emissions.

Meeting the world's insatiable demand for energy while reducing emissions at the same time seems like an intractable problem. The essayists in Carbon Shift can't agree on what the priorities should be - something the reader is likely to find frustrating.

ExxonMobil Takes Steps to Preserve War Chest As Profit Falls

Exxon Mobil Corp. is taking steps to preserve cash in the market downturn, positioning itself to take advantage of new investments and make acquisitions.

Mexico's Oil Operations Hum Along Despite Swine Flu

Mexico's state oil industry is still humming along despite a deadly flu outbreak that forced the government to declare a national holiday from May 1 to May 5 to combat contagion.

A Petroleos Mexicanos spokeswoman said Thursday operations are normal and that such strategic activities as oil production are excluded from the government's work stoppage. The company is preparing a statement on how it is handling the flu threat.

Chrysler aftershocks to hit industry hard

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- The bankruptcy at Chrysler LLC is likely to soon be felt across the auto industry, disrupting production at plants of healthier rivals within a week or two, according to industry experts.

Kuwaiti Amir to visit China May 10-13

KUWAIT -- Negotiations are ongoing between the two countries for constructing an oil refinery in southern China comprising a refinery and a petrochemical complex at a total cost of USD nine billion, to be completed by 2012, he added.

Investors see bright future in wind energy

Revenue from solar, wind power, ethanol and biodiesel fuel grew 50 percent to about $116 billion last year, according to Clean Edge Inc., a research and publishing firm. The spike in green revenue, and the backing of the federal government to explore these energy sources has excited investors.

"They favor green investment right now because they think that's the way the world is going," said David Wood, director of the Institute for Responsible Investment at Boston College's Center for Corporate Citizenship.

Prius in Seattle

This is the man who still reminisces over his life-long love affair with cars. Photos of his 1950s high school hotrods line the walls of his workshop. Next to them, a picture from his college days, standing proudly in tie-dyed T-shirt beside his ‘57 Volkswagen Beetle. To this day he bemoans the never-ending repair bills from our series of kid-safe late ‘70s Volvo station wagons. More recently he's entered a middle-aged phase with a penchant for big trucks and sport utilities.

But the past is past. He now claims our hybrid purchase is the best automobile decision of our lives and I have to agree. Owning a hybrid has been an interesting ride. Re-learning to drive and maximize the gas mileage in "my" new car has become "his" favorite pastime.

Russian gas output collapse deepens in April

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Natural gas production at Russian gas giant Gazprom fell by a more than a quarter last month to the lowest levels in a decade, continuing its spiral downward in response to plummeting European demand.

Oil extraction, however, continued to climb in April despite concerns that the lower oil price and lagging investment would lead to a repeat of last year's decline, data from the Russian Energy Ministry showed on Saturday.

In April, Gazprom's gas output was 1.15 billion cubic metres (bcm) per day, 7 percent down from 1.24 bcm in March 2009 and 28 percent down from 1.60 bcm in April 2008, the data showed.

Analysts say such low production levels have not been seen in a decade, but they predict a recovery in the second half when gas prices are expected to catch up with the lower oil price, which they follow after a lag of six to nine months.

U.S. bill to create clean energy investment agency

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. lawmakers introduced legislation this week that would establish a new independent agency to spearhead government clean energy investments.

The bipartisan bill, introduced by Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Jeff Bingaman and ranking member Lisa Murkowski, would establish a Clean Energy Deployment Administration within the Energy Department.

Petrobras Pumps First Crude from Massive Tupi Field Offshore Brazil

Brazilian state-run energy giant Petrobras (PBR) celebrated May Day in style Friday, pumping the first crude from the Western Hemisphere's largest oil discovery in 30 years.

Oil punt makes big bucks but coastlines at risk

LONDON (Reuters) - Big international oil companies are making hundreds of millions of dollars storing crude on tankers offshore in a trading play that environmentalists say sidesteps shipping rules and puts coastlines at risk.

The $100 per barrel drop in crude oil prices since July, to around $50, has pushed the market into an unusually sharp contango -- a scenario where the cost of oil today is much lower than the price of oil in the future.

Saudi Aramco strives for lower production costs using new technology

While the demonstrations show promising results and no one doubts that new technology will allow completion of more advanced wells, the Extreme Reservoir Contact wells may not quickly replace existing technology. Even with the generation of electric power by upward fluid flow in the casing of the well, the system may run into limitations long before fifty laterals can be added.

New Report Shows Hydrogen Vehicles will Drive Change

Today, the National Hydrogen Association released a new report called the "Energy Evolution: An Analysis of Alternative Vehicles and Fuels to 2100." The Energy Evolution shows that a scenario which initially includes a mix of alternative vehicles, and is later dominated by hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles sales is the only way to simultaneously cut U.S. greenhouse gas pollution by 80% below 1990 levels; reach petroleum quasi-independence by mid-century; and eliminate nearly all controllable air pollution by the end of the century. The report also shows that an expansion of hydrogen stations is more affordable than most people think.

Bolivia nationalises BP aviation unit

LA PAZ (Reuters) - Bolivian leftist President Evo Morales told hundreds of supporters he nationalised the local unit of BP's aviation division on Friday, further tightening state control over the energy industry.

At a May Day rally, Morales said he signed a decree to take over Air BP, a division of British oil major BP. The poor Andean nation had been in talks with the company over a possible takeover.

"I want to ask the Bolivian armed forces along with (Bolivian state energy company) YPFB to gain control of Air BP, the multinational that sells jet fuel. With this decree Air BP is now nationalized," Morales said in a speech outside the presidential palace in La Paz.

Hard times for Pdvsa

The board of directors of state-run oil company Petróleos de Venezuela (Pdvsa) has been under pressure as petrodollars continue to decline and financiers in the international markets refuse to fund companies in emerging countries. Therefore, the conglomerate has decided to include Venezuelan banks among its financing options.

Oman sees oil output up 6%

Oman's oil output in the first two months of 2009 rose by 6.1 per cent on the year to 780,000 barrels per day (bpd), government data published on Saturday showed.

Energy firm lays off more employees

Halliburton laid off more workers in the Grand Valley on Friday, marking the third time the energy-services company has laid off local employees in the past two months.

Oil companies push Florida legislature for offshore drilling

Late in the legislative session, a group of mostly anonymous oil and gas companies have hired at least 20 lobbyists to push bills that would allow offshore drilling in Florida.

“Realists” and “optimists” in the permaculture world

I have a running discussion with one of my best friends (an optimist) concerning the role that hope should play in the way we shape our views, thoughts and subsequent behaviors. He feels that hope is absolutely instrumental in living his live. That is not how I live my life. Hope, for me, is derived from “faith, hope and charity”, which is not a stable foundation upon which to base possible life threatening (or even pleasurable) decisions. I want to know the odds. That chair will probably support me. Less oil with greater demand will probably lead to conflict.

My friend hopes that Obama will pull us through this mess. I perceive that the likelihood of that happening is very low given that the O-man selected and stands behind Timothy Geithner (TG) and Lawrence Summers (LS). Those two guys are major players in the game that got us to where we are now! Trusting them is like believing that democracy should be two foxes and a chicken deciding the dinner menu.

Book Review - The Party’s Over

I went back in time this week (if you can call five years ago back in time) and read Richard Heinberg’s, “The Party’s Over“. I was curious to see how the thinking about our addiction to fossil fuels and the need to adopt renewable energy has changed. Well, it really hasn’t.

Bipartisan Resolution in Congress Urges Preservation of Single, National Fuel Economy Standard

A single, national fuel economy standard for passenger cars and light trucks will do more to reduce fuel consumption and greenhouse gases than the 14 separate programs sought by California and other states, lawmakers outlined today in a resolution.

The resolution, introduced by Reps. Bobby Bright, D-Ala., and Lee Terry, R-Neb., supports maintaining a single, national fuel economy standard to give the auto industry the regulatory stability and certainty necessary to build the next generation of fuel-efficient vehicles that consumers demand.

Overselling "Climate Conflict"?

Will global warming turn into global warring?

It's a hot question in need of cool-headed analysis.

The nexus of national security and climate change is a burgeoning field, and one that's coming under some scrutiny at a time when increasingly bigger claims are being made on its behalf.

Green aspirations

Manhattan's Empire State Building has long been an iconic part of the New York City skyline. But now it is embarking on a quest to become an "icon of sustainability," a showpiece of environmental innovation that will demonstrate to the world — including 3.8 million tourists a year — how retrofitting office towers can significantly reduce carbon emissions and help build an environmentally sustainable future. First Canadian Place, a significant presence on Toronto's skyline, may be a later-generation building, but it's undergoing a major retrofit as well. Here's a comparison of the two projects and what they hope to achieve.

Sea Salt Holds Clues to Climate Change

(PhysOrg.com) -- We know that average sea levels have risen over the past century, and that global warming is to blame. But what is climate change doing to the saltiness, or salinity, of our oceans?

This is an important question because big shifts in salinity could be a warning that more severe droughts and floods are on their way, or even that global warming is speeding up.

North-east left to wonder what might have been

AS LONGANNET Power Station looks poised to become the first in Europe to harness carbon capture, those connected with the north-east’s biggest generating facility have been left to ponder what might have been.

It looked for years as if Peterhead Power Station was going to become the first in the world to use the potentially planet-saving technology, using a gas separation technique to extract reserves from the Miller oil field.

However, the scheme failed to win the backing of the UK Government and, last year, Energy Minister Malcolm Wicks admitted Labour had torpedoed the plans to save British taxpayers “hundreds of millions of pounds”.

The Dark Lord

Lord Stern came to international prominence in 2006 after writing a blatantly biased review for the British government on the economics of climate change. It was -- hardly coincidentally --published the same week then-chancellor Gordon Brown appointed Al Gore as an advisor. The report claimed that the likely costs of "business as usual" were horrendous -- the equivalent of both world wars plus the Great Depression -- while the costs of slashing carbon emissions were modest.

Seeking to Save the Planet, With a Thesaurus

WASHINGTON — The problem with global warming, some environmentalists believe, is “global warming.”

The term turns people off, fostering images of shaggy-haired liberals, economic sacrifice and complex scientific disputes, according to extensive polling and focus group sessions conducted by ecoAmerica, a nonprofit environmental marketing and messaging firm in Washington.

Instead of grim warnings about global warming, the firm advises, talk about “our deteriorating atmosphere.” Drop discussions of carbon dioxide and bring up “moving away from the dirty fuels of the past.” Don’t confuse people with cap and trade; use terms like “cap and cash back” or “pollution reduction refund.”

Maybe a glimmer of hope.

"Back to the farm: a growing trend — Young college graduates commit to family farming"


Don in Maine

"New farmers are filtering into the state through organizations like the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association, Maine FarmLink, land trusts and even with help from programs like Land for Maine's Future.

"This isn't just a phase of my life," said Steve Sinisi, 32, who recently secured a conservation easement on 70 acres in Durham. "It was like, 'No, Dad, really I'm buying a farm.'"

Sinisi and his wife, Robin, are starting Old Crow Ranch where they hope to raise livestock on a farm adjacent to a vegetable farm owned by Robin's parents. Old Crow Ranch and the Sinisis represent just one of many new farms started by a new generation of farmers. Partnering livestock with a vegetable operation completes a natural agricultural cycle, he said."

If they're in debt, their dreams are gonna die.

Sorry. Hoyt Axton: "Work your fingers to the bone,
whaddaya get?...Boney Fingers!" ;}

I know a lot of young farmers in Maine now. Much of the food in our house comes from them.

Regardless of your dour predictions, they will work hard, and work smart, from what I've seen so far. Some will stumble, but most of those will get back up and try again.

I'll keep putting cash into their bony fingers, and do whatever I can to see them succeed.

'When I first came to this land, I was not a wealthy man
So I got myself a shack, I did what I could
And I called my shack, "Break my back"
But the land was sweet and good, I did what I could

When I first came to this land, I was not a wealthy man,
So I got myself a farm, I did what I could
And I called my farm, "Muscle in my arm"
And I called my shack, "Break my back"
But the land was sweet and good, I did what I could' - Traditional

I have a question about Maine ... I have gone shopping for doom-stead land there, and found the area around Dover-Foxcroft sort of attractive. One of the interesting sites consisted of about 25 acres of mature hardwood trees - beech, maple, etc.- with snowmobile trails running through it. Price per acre seems quite affordable compared with arable land in Texas. Apparently Mainers think they're asking a lot for it since it's been on the market for two years or more.

What factors should I consider before selling everything in hot subtropical Texas and moving to central Maine? I notice that most of the Mainers who post in TOD live toward the southern end of the state. Gray, Standish, Durham.

So, what else? Bears? Thin acidic soil? Iodine deficiency?
I know about the rocks already, and about the bloodsucking insects. Oh, and that it snows there sometimes.

I'm still 100 miles south of where you looking - but as someone nursing blackfly wounds from a day of harvesting this winter's rock crop so I might borrow the garden for a few months, I'd have to say the worst of it is the very long winter broken by a brief spring marked by cold damp days that mock your arthritic hopes of a warm sunny slumber. But as the natives say, "if you caaaaaan't staaaaand the wintahs you don't deserve the summahs."

The upside includes unbelievably good neighbors, incredible food, starlit nights, and evening news that still lead with stories of knife fights. If your outdoor life includes more than gardening (hiking, boating, hunting, skiing, etc) I'm told that the amenities are fine. But I would shoot myself before I'd go out into the cold for the sake of recreation.

I'm just south of Bar Harbor on the coast. A large pocket of old back to the landers here. Helen and Scott Nearing moved here, Eliot Coleman is just down the street. A ton of small farms and farmsteads. The ocean moderates some of the cold climate, which you won't find inland. The bad thing about Maine is we never seem to have a thriving economy, the good thing about Maine is we never seem to have a thriving economy. No boom and bust just a slow grind. Making do becomes art,science and a symphony. Everyone I know has a ton of skills and 10 different ways to make a buck if need be. Not a lot of money but enough to get by. Living well means something different up here, it's about living and not what you do for a living.

Just a bunch of people with low expectations of the state and fed government, low expectations of many of the people we see trying for some american dream, pretty high expectations of ourselves. Just a bunch of freaks, with their hands stuck in the earth, and their head in the skies. I see people who smile a lot.

Stars at night, and when I say stars, I mean galaxies, wind in the trees.

Don in Maine

I'm not ag-saavy enough to help you with soil questions, but there are a lot of growers up here, traditional and less-than" " ..

Eliot Coleman has his 'Four Season Farm' up in the Blue Hill area, I think, growing edible greens year-round in unheated Hoophouses, as I hear it. http://www.fourseasonfarm.com/
"In defiance of our long, cold Maine winters, we have been developing an environmentally sound, resource efficient, and economically viable system for extending fresh vegetable production into "the other eight months." We call it the "winter harvest." "

MOFGA - Maine Organic Farm/Gardeners Assn may be worth checking out.. http://www.mofga.org/

Here's one I just got from a 'Maine Soils' search,

.. and I would just say the Maine drew me in large part because of its geographic diversity, it's access to fresh water for growing, and salt water for transport, and its fairly well-grounded cultural history. (Which is no doubt rife with old challenges, but essentially independent and crotchety enough to find a way to survive)

Feel free to write me again any time.

Bob Fiske

Oh, and that it snows there sometimes.

I suggest that you go and spend 6 months in Maine before you decide to move there. Don't listen to what anyone who lives there says--trust only your own experience.

I remember it well. Ten years ago. Arrived in Maine in early April. Marvelous Spring. Summer on the shore, the ocean every day, the drives, the walks, the birds, the fish, and the lobsters. Then came Fall and it was paradise: the colors are beyond description; words like marvelous, splendid, magnificent, are too prosaic to describe a Fall in Maine.

Then the Winter. The snow begins and just keeps piling up. You don't conquer the snow, you adapt to it and endure the wet, cold, stormy weather where you get numb cold to the bone, and never get warm. Get yourself a 6 month supply of food, good books, fuel, and whatever intoxicant suits your tastes, and just say inside.

After you've done something like that, then decide. I decided, no, and headed to the west coast, Washington state...Now, this is paradise; think I'll stay.

My first two visits to Maine occurred in the month of December. I made plans starting in July, but for one reason and another the trip would be delayed. So the snow remark was an understatement. Yes, I noticed that just about anyone with a pickup truck also has to have a blade on the front.

I spent a nice afternoon chatting with MikeB and company at their farm. They had the loveliest big cast iron stove in the kitchen, clearly the centerpiece of the house. Come to think of it, I swung by their farm again on my last trip but couldn't stay long as I had an appointment with a plane.

And I also know that there's a difference between visiting for a week or two and living there. I haven't made up my mind yet about the cold.

Chuckle, now you know, that may be one of the best things about Maine, it's not for weenies. The climate selects those who are fit, and in that, those of us who do live here share that common bond. No matter what we think, or our politics, in the spring we have all survived the same winter.

Saw that a lot during the 80's, many a road now leads to an abandoned yurt, rusting VW buses. Many came and failed, and their trust funds took a big hit. Adversity is not something you conquer, or overcome, it's something you learn to ride.

Something about sitting snug and warm, in the little house I built, while the winds howl and the nor-easters roll through, and the electricity just stops for days on end, makes you feel whole.

"just stay inside", nope don't think so, if you do you miss so much. Don't hide from it, you embrace it. Plenty to do, snowshoe into the woods and track the creatures you live with, cross country skiing brings the air alive. Splitting wood, at 20 below, the wood doesn't split it shatters like glass.

Throw another log on and have some friends over, good food, plenty of wine, and just maybe if you are lucky some fine homegrown music.

Take a stroll, nothing like sharing a sip of cognac with your sweetie at the top of the local mountain at midnight in the dead of winter. It's where the heavens, meet ocean and earth to be as one. Climb by the starshine, and walk softly because the snow, and the air, and the stars above are like crystal, if you listen you can hear them sing.

No, I don't think "adapt and endure" at all, I think rejoice, and maybe that's why I'm still here.

Don in Maine

Depends on what you mean by 'Weenies'.

Our guests for pancakes this morning and I agreed that it seems everyone in Maine must have been roasting 'Red Snappers' last night.

No.. you cracked me up with that line. My wife and I went over to the South Portland HighSchool Auditorium last winter (I know, Portland isn't 'really' in Maine, but we like to pretend), for the Banff Mountain Film Festival.. and it was blizzarding, and everyone packing the place was in 4wd vehicles and boots and sweaters, and the person from Banff said WE were hardcore. US? We're just the wussy Porlanders.. you ain't seen nothin'!

But the Woods in winter are the best. There's no bad weather.. just inappropriate clothing.

Writing in today's WSJ, Peter Palese, chairman of the department of microbiology at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine notes that the current H1N1 virus lacks the protein PB1-F2, which appears to be necessary to have a virulent virus. The world's annual flues also do not have it. The 1918 virus and the current bird flu does have it. Further, he states that since people have been exposed to H1N1 viruses over many decades, we likely have some cross-reactive immunity against the swine virus (at a minimum enough to dampen the impact of the virus on mortality.)

And speaking of factories and farms, "back to the land"

The "virus' started at Smithfield. Working hand in glove
with Monsanto/Bayer. Wonder what the CDS situation isfor those three?

"But the rub for regulators and investors is that BTA credit risk has not entirely disappeared: somebody right now is holding the other side of Morgan Stanley’s contracts and unfortunately there is little way for outsiders to know exactly who. Worse, the presence of those CDS contracts makes it fiendishly hard to work out what the true incentives of any creditors are. In theory, lenders should have an interest in avoiding default.

In practice, CDS players do not. The credit world has become a hall of mirrors, where nothing is necessarily as it seems. At best, this makes it very difficult to tell how corporate defaults will affect banks; at worst, it creates the risk of needless value destruction as creditors tip companies into default."


h/t Ilargi

Well, it seems virulent so he is likely wrong on that point -- Boston is a great example of this right now. I am not sure about the cross-reactive immunity -- it seems like authorities are trying to quell any panic, I guess for economic reasons, however, that leads to most people being less cautious. Outside the US, like NZ and HK, the authorities are taking the necessary steps, it is too late in the US.

What's going on in Boston?

Well, I should say the state of MA. Closing down the Havard dental school after a number of infections and having infections that cannot be traced anywhere is what gets me to think that this is out of control. Somebody from the CDC just mentioned that this is more virulent (so far) than the common flu also.

4 new swine flu cases

First two confirmed in Florida.

Hallandale High School senior is Broward's first confirmed swine flu case

FORT LAUDERDALE - A 17-year-old Hallandale High School senior who recently traveled to Mexico is one of Florida's first two confirmed H1N1 swine flu cases, officials said today.

The other case is in Lee County, an 11-year-old boy from Spring Creek Elementary School, Gov. Charlie Crist said.

The girl "has been given the appropriate medication and is well at home," said Candy Sims, a spokeswoman for the Broward County Health Department.

Broward School Board vice chairwoman Jennifer Gottlieb said Hallandale High would be closed Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

China quarantines tourists amid flu scare

Hong Kong sealed a downtown hotel with hundreds of tourists and employees inside as authorities worked Saturday to prevent an outbreak of swine flu, searching for anyone who had contact with a Mexican tourist who brought the virus into the territory.

...With the disease on its doorstep, mainland China suspended all direct flights from Mexico, the virus's epicenter, and quarantined other travelers on the same flight as the 25-year-old Mexican who became Asia's first confirmed case of the virus late Friday. He landed first in Shanghai before continuing on to Hong Kong, where he checked into the Metropark Hotel.

Nancy Cox of the CDC ( LINK ):

About one of every four people in the U.S. exposed to the new A/H1N1 virus develops respiratory illness, according to preliminary studies, Dr. Cox said in an interview, calling the rate "a little bit higher than seasonal flu." Between 5% and 20% of those exposed to seasonal flu strains become ill, she said. The wide variation is due to age differences: The low range applies to the adult population, while the rate is "much higher" among children in schools, she said.

I thought this was hoax at first, but apparently the doctor did write this version:
A Texas Doctor has told his close friends via e-mail that the outbreak of flu is at least ten times worse -- and perhaps as much as twenty-five times worse -- than is being publicly reported.

(I am skeptical, but after reading on energy and economics for past 5 years I have lost all confidence in medias ability to get to truthy core of issues - guess we will know in a week or so on this one)

Used it clinically for 35 years as Mucomyst, AKA Pukomyst. . Wouldn't voluntarily take it for a million bucks. But, if you do...

Possible toxicity
Researchers at the University of Virginia reported in 2007 study using very large doses in a mouse model that acetylcysteine, which is found in many bodybuilding supplements, could potentially cause damage to the heart and lungs.[32] They found that acetylcysteine was metabolized to S-nitroso-N-acetylcysteine (SNOAC), which increased blood pressure in the lungs and right ventricle of the heart (pulmonary artery hypertension) in mice treated with acetylcysteine. The effect was similar to that observed following a 3-week exposure to an oxygen-deprived environment (chronic hypoxia). The authors also found that SNOAC induced a hypoxia-like response in the expression of several important genes both in vitro and in vivo.

The implications of these findings for long-term treatment with acetylcysteine have not yet been investigated. The dose used by Palmer and colleagues was dramatically higher than that used in humans;[32] nonetheless, the drug's effects on the hypoxic ventilatory response have been observed previously in human subjects at more moderate doses.[33]

Side Effects
Are there any side effects or interactions?
One study reported that 19% of people taking NAC orally experienced nausea, vomiting, headache, dry mouth, dizziness, or abdominal pain.2 These symptoms have not been consistently reported by other researchers, however.

Although a great deal of research has shown that NAC has antioxidant activity, one small study found that daily amounts of 1.2 grams or more could lead to increased oxidative stress.3 Extremely large amounts of cysteine, the amino acid from which NAC is derived, may be toxic to nerve cells in rats.

NAC may increase urinary zinc excretion.4 Therefore, supplemental zinc and copper should be added when supplementing with NAC for extended periods.

Are there any drug interactions?
Certain medicines may interact with N-Acetyl Cysteine. Refer to drug interactions for a list of those medicines.

Dosage and Use
Take one capsule one to three times daily with or without food, or as recommended by a healthcare practitioner.

When taking N-acetyl cysteine it is recommended that two to three times as much vitamin C be taken at the same time.

Those who supplement with NAC should drink 6 to 8 glasses of water daily in order to prevent cysteine renal stones. Cysteine renal stones are rare but do occur.


And I will add that Oscillococcinum is a waste of money. While I do think there's a place for alternative medicine, homeopathy seems to work via the placebo effect. The preparations are so dilute that "there is an overwhelming probability that not a single molecule of its active ingredient will be present in a dose of the final product."

Which has led to homeopaths claiming that water has a memory of what was once dissolved in it.

Good one .. homeopaths are for the most part funnier than Jerry Seinfeld, at al.

Which has led to homeopaths claiming that water has a memory of what was once dissolved in it.

=>> how far back does this water memory stretch? added value ::: probably most people living on planet Earth today consists of water- molecules once being Napoleon Bonaparte's piss...

And yet Good Science is giving us Ritalin, Viagra and Vioxx.

And still Diabetes runs rampant..

Agreed. I've only read one of the three books below (Snake Oil Science), but came away convinced that the placebo effect OR regular body processes eventually working their magic are behind stories of their effectiveness. I learned that apparently the placebo effect is so well known by doctors that not too long ago different colored vials of pure, distilled water were available in the hospital pharmacy so a doctor could order "the really strong medicine, the red one."

The author calls himself a biostatistician and he does a very good job explaining how to design a good experiment and why alternative medicine "proof" is nothing of the sort. This review highly recommends it and so do I.

Alternative Medicine Books

Snake Oil Science: The Truth about Complementary and Alternative Medicine

Suckers: How Alternative Medicine Makes Fools of Us All

Trick or Treatment: The Undeniable Facts about Alternative Medicine

[putting on flame retardant suit]
Unfortunately, many people are going to use these methods as Western medicine becomes less available. For some it will work, for most serious conditions it won't.
[/removing suit]

That's not to say there aren't some valid parts to alternative medicine. There certainly are, like the emphasis on the whole person, their environment and so on. But most of it doesn't meet the kind of standard I look for.

I have read this book which takes a very critical look at medical studies done by "respected" organizations and used to downplay the role of vitamin c in the maintenance of good health

Ascorbate: The Science of Vitamin C

The Cancer Industry

One particular chapter in the above book was enough to shake my faith in Western medicine.

Then there are two plants which I have access to in my neck of the woods that show promise in the treatment of cancer:

Graviola (known by the name "Sour Sop" where I'm from)


Guinea Hen Weed

Fortunately, many people are going to be able use these methods as Western medicine becomes less available. For some it won't work, for some serious conditions it might.

Not pushing "snake oil" here, I'm just sayin'.

Alan from the islands

Regarding the medical profession and their practices.

When my wife coded 'blue' in the ER of a hospital some miles away and I drove back to get there before she died I asked a few questions of the cardiologist who planted the stents and gave us glowing reports on their supposed indestructibility.

This was when I really began to call it a Medical Industry instead of something more polite.

I had studied a lot of the areas surrounding heart disease and the question I always asked was this.

Cholesterol is beneficial. Its heals problems in the blood vessels. We need it. When plaque and clots occur , as with my wife, why do you doctors always use a bandaid instead of fixing the real cause?

What then is the real reason that cholesterol comes to the site? Why? Can you not fix that instead of bandaiding the problems?

They then stepped into the world of mumbo-jumbo like a modern day witch doctor and tried big words and lots of BS.

IMO they like to apply bandaids. And BTW the truth is that the stents were bandaids also but they didn't tell my wife that until two years later when they both clogged up and required a triple bypass open heart surgery and whence that cardiologist told her,"Didn't they tell you that these things do not have a long life? "...well seems some might and many don't. Again a bandaid.

Its really her lifestyle and her hypertension that caused it. Yet only one physician way way back when she tried to commit suicide actually diagnosed her with that.

So how does one deal with lifekilling hypertension?

You won't find that answer in a hospital my friend.You find that answer within you. And you then treat yourself or die from the effects that IMO society and her ignorant parents placed on her health. The urge to strive,strive,strive and beat the other guy by sum over substance.

Its not the sheen of what you appear to be I always told her. Its what you are underneath. She called me a clown. She is getting closer to reality though as she faces that disorder slowly taking her away. Away from the clown. She might have a few years left but now her hope and desire is to reach the end as soon as possible. Or so she tells me via the phone each time we talk long distance.

So its not what the Doc orders so much as how you walk the path before you. The Doc doesn't know the path or any path that doesn't include the Medical Industry. He is worried about lucre. Isn't most everyone anyway?

Does alternative medicine work? I believe in ginseng and good healthy food, hard work and riding a good Harley. I think that for the white,aging male that alcohol is beneficial. I then soak my ginseng roots in bourbon. I'll let you know after my next checkup.

Airdale-walk the path , talk don't get it

Airdale, Sorry about your wife. There's this guy called Bill Sardi who's written a few books and lots of articles on health. There's an archive of his articles on line at http://www.lewrockwell.com/sardi/sardi-arch.html. You might find this one particularly relevant to your wife's condition. There's also a 67min video of a talk he gave about the unholy alliance between the US health-care system, the pharmaceutical companies and the politicians. He talks about heart and blood vessel disease in the last 5 minutes or so. Depending on your state of mind you may want to skip the video as it could make you very angry.

I've got a story about how my 91 year old dad recovered from a very bad blood vessel condition that, could have resulted in an amputation but, I'll skip it.

Interestingly enough, there's an international conference of doctors who practice "nutritional medicine" happening this very weekend in Montreal, Quebec. At least there are a few doctors who have chosen a different path. Maybe they will form the nucleus of a new health care system when the current one collapses.

Alan from the islands

Island boy,

The problem with my wife is what infects many these days.

The idea of outdoing others. Shopping as an ego trip. Spend and spend and spend to feed a psychosis that is fostered mostly by modern advertising and the television commercials.

Not satisified with a good house, log house of 4500 sq ft cause nobody could see it from the road, hence useless.

This is what brings on McMansions and financial ruin, IMO.

Her father taught here that impressing others was all life was about.

Sooooo end of story. I did what I could then saved myself. Bu it took 46 years of marriage to get there. This is after all The Amurkan Lifestyle.



First off, please accept condolences for your recent loss. (I too have lost a number of family members in recent times. The pain doesn't go away. It just becomes part of the routine background of other aches and hurts. You go on anyway. And the world goes on, oblivious to your pains.)

A couple of things here.

Number one, you lament about your wife's upbringing, namely that her dad (your father-in-law) caused her to become a slave to materialism ("that impressing others was all life was about").

You need to move beyond that and forgive everybody, because we are all fallible monkeys with our fists clenched in the cookie jar and our eyes darting about looking for group validation. That's the way evolution randomly formed us.

Second, if you had personal exposure to doctors, nurses, etc., you would know they are all fallible human beings. When the white coat comes off, they are just like you and me.

So you are expecting much more out of the medical industry than it could ever deliver. The world is complicated and our brains are small. That is as true in medicine as it is in all other walks of life. There are bright doctors and dim witted doctors. There are money hungry "professionals" and there are dedicated care givers. (Usually the two don't go hand in hand.) There are thousands of diseases that ail the human species. Nature did not intelligently design us for long life and good health. I know that's no consolation but that's the way it is. Try to get some moments of joy out of each healthy day you have left. That's about all one can hope to do.

This is in reply to aangel.

I was trained as an allopathic physician, meaning that the closest we got to alternative medicine/integrative medicine in medical school was to briefly discuss nutrition.

However, in practical terms, alternative practitioners have tended to understand how to elicit a really good placebo effect, while too many allopathic physicians tended in the opposite direction, acting in ways that caused a sort of reverse placebo effect. Some patients have felt disempowered and talked down to, and have run in the opposite direction.

If one accepts that this has been the case, would it not be better sometimes to frequent an alternative medicine provider? After all the only thing that matters is getting better if possible, and not getting worse (through some side effect). Yes I mind crystals and weird diets, but a truly empathic "healer" can work wonders.

I have a really good, really smart family physician friend who ended up studying homeopathy and opening a clinic in Vermont. We used to discuss how inappropriate it was that we were treating headaches and back pain with ibuprofen when we knew they were a sort of "soul pain". The productivity needs of the modern doctor's office actively discourage the sort of relationship she has been able to develop with her homeopathy patients. But her ability to heal with empathic listening is real (in some cases - I'm not talking about appendicitis or fractures). And at least she doesn't risk poisoning people with "activated water".

So that is the way I view integrative medicine. I don't mind practicing "regular medicine", but only in the setting of being allowed to develop in-depth relationships with patients, while being candid about the limitations of modern medicine, the American health care "system", what helps, what hurts, and what individuals can do about their own health.

I think yours is a very balanced point of view. I have no intention of defending the existing medical system. I was simply commenting on the very narrow topic of how to determine whether a therapy is effective. Understanding the scope of each system and then using what works best in each situation seems prudent to me.

I'll second airdale's sentiments below. While 'alternative' medicine may be highly suspect from a scientific point of view, conventional medicine is hardly done in a scientific manner. I get the nightly horror stories from my spouse who is a RN of long experience (and I have some of my own conventional medicine horror stories). We have a broken medical system that is held in thrall to the pharmaceutical and insurance industries (corporate world). People who go the alternative route are often desperate for medical attention that is unavailable and/or unaffordable. The choice too often becomes one of which sort of witch-doctory you will opt for.

Ind. Boy Dies Of Bacterial Meningitis

This is from the first county in Indiana to have a confirmed case. This may be the first swine flu related death originating in the US.

I am going pretty far out on a limb with this.

Too far out on a limb Gog, bacterial meningitis is totally unrelated to (viral) swine flu. Bacterial Meningitis is highly contagious and extremely dangerous. But a tap of the spinal fluid can very quickly leave no doubt as to whether one has the disease or not. No doctor would mistake one disease for the other.

Maybe, I think I will go get some air :)

1) BM is easily treated with antibotics except when misdiagnosed as flu (indirect flu death) -- seems pretty common

2) the virus breaks down the tissue and makes BM infection possible, many bacterial infections are preceded by virus.

Gog, I am not going to argue with you on this but only say that bacterial meningitis is spread the same way as the flu, "via tiny drops of fluid from the throat and nose of someone who is infected. The drops may become airborne when the person coughs, laughs, talks, or sneezes. They then can infect others when people breathe them in or touch the drops and then touch their own noses or mouths." How Does Meningitis Spread?

Though it might be possible but not very likely spread by tissue breaking down from a case of swine flu as you state. Though it is certainly possible for a person to have both, they would not likely get bacterial meningitis because they first contacted the swine flu.

My point is that it is extremely unlikely that the boy who died of bacterial meningitis got it because he first contacted swine flu.

I urge anybody worried about swine flu to have a look at this web page and those that it links to. It gives a different insight to the human immune system. Essentially the idea is that vitamin C is a key "fuel" for the immune system. The more severe that illness the more "fuel" is needed and if you run out of "fuel" the immune system gets overwhelmed leaving the host defenseless. Medicine has moved away from any research into anything like this, focusing instead on antibiotic agents as a way of fighting infections. It's not hard to understand why, as the people who stand to loose most from the use of natural substances to boost immunity are ... Take a guess?

For me this vitamin C thing is a bit like talking about peak oil. Peoples eyes glaze over and they sort of go into a trance.. It's like they're thinking, "Surely, my doctor knows best. I pay him good money to treat me. Staying healthy could never be as simple as this. Taking vaccines and antibiotics and fancy medicines makes me feel like I'm doing something to try and get better. What this guy's saying couldn't be true. I could never treat myself? No..Noooo....Aaaaargh....." and they go back to BAU.

I've tried the methods an they work for me. I haven't displayed bad flu symptoms for years although, I have caught a bug a few times each year. I've just boosted my vitamin C intake each time using Dr. Cathcart's method. Be warned, failure to saturate your body with enough of the vitamin will likely not produce the desired results. Think of it like getting directions from point A to point B, not making sure that you have enough gas to go the distance and then wondering why you didn't get to your destination.

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor. For the writings of MDs on the subject, look up Robert F. Cathcart M.D. or Fred R. Klenner, M.D.

Alan from the islands

PS. Apparently vitamin d levels are crucial as well as this nice 7 minute CBN news story illustrates.

Alan, you are right. In some flu's however, the damage is done by an overreacting immune system in a so called cytokinetic storm. Most damage done and the most deaths in young adults. H1N1 seems to be not that destructive.

It is a pity that, both the MDs I mentioned are deceased. I don't know who, if anybody is carrying on their work. It would be interesting to hear the opinions of an expert on vitamins and the immune system on the subject. I personally don't buy the cytokinetic storm argument and suspect that, a lack of a key vitamin or nutrient is what allows a cytokinetic storm to develop.

IMHO, medical research into the relationship between our nutrition and ALL illnesses, is severely lacking. I once asked a local medical student how much time was spent on nutrition, one course in one semester or one lecture in one course in one semester? His response, "If that much." As long as medicine continues to try and fight diseases with drugs that try to do what the immune system should be doing or drugs that try to correct conditions caused by inadequate nutrition, we will never know what causes these things.

My Mom died of Multiple Organ Failure following a hysterectomy 6 1/2 years ago. After doing some digging around on the net, I have come to the conclusion that a simple ascorbate (vitamin c) drip (or just huge amounts, orally administered) following the operation would have prevented it but, you know what? The vast majority of doctors aren't interested in such things. Autopsy result, cause of death: Multiple Organ Failure (now known as "Multiple organ dysfunction syndrome (MODS)"), reason: unknown. From the link:


Sepsis has been referred to as a process of malignant intravascular inflammation. Normally, a potent, complex, immunologic cascade ensures a prompt protective response to microorganism invasion in humans. A deficient immunologic defense may allow infection to become established; however, an excessive or poorly regulated response may harm the host through maladaptive release of indigenously generated inflammatory compounds

Sounds like a severe immune system failure to me! My response.. see above.

At times like this, I regret not having been interested in medicine in my youth. Then again, maybe if I had studied medicine, I would have been brainwashed into becoming just another big pharma drug pusher.

Alan from the islands

I personally don't buy the cytokinetic storm argument and suspect that, a lack of a key vitamin or nutrient is what allows a cytokinetic storm to develop.

I doubt that all the 40 million who died from oedema and bleeding (a lot of them young adults) in the 1918 influenza had a lack of a vitamin or (an)other key nutrient(s). I agree that healthy food with as many different kind of anti-oxidantia as possible can prevent a big part of illnesses, disorders and allergic reactions.

I do not doubt that all the 40 million who died from oedema and bleeding (a lot of them young adults) in the 1918 influenza had a lack of a vitamin C.

From the web site of Robert Cathcart, a page on Tick Borne Disease, Hemorrhagic Fever Like Disease in Turkey, presents the following idea:

If one understands the mechanism behind the increased tolerance to ascorbic acid described in my paper, Viatmin C, Titrating to Bowel Tolerance, Anascorbemia, and Acute Induced Scurvy, one will see that these toxic hemorrhagic fevers will cause a state of acute induced scurvy. Without vitamin C the collagen fibers break down and are not replaced and massive hemorrhage results. This scurvy can be easily proven by testing the serum levels of vitamin C. When these levels are seen to be zero or almost zero, the treatment will be obvious.

Fits nicely with the bleeding and oedema diagnosis, I think.

I can not overstate my frustration with the fact that Catchcart et al's ideas have gone largely ignored by the medical establishment. IMHO their theories on things like acute induced scurvy could be easily dis-proven. The cynic in me says that, knowing the track record of vested interests, any attempts to prove any such thing would be corrupted or completely derailed.

Can you imagine a world where a cause of death could be "acute induced scurvy"? The current medical establishment would collapse under the weight of the ensuing malpractice and wrongfull death lawsuits!

Alan from the islands

I do not doubt that all the 40 million who died from oedema and bleeding (a lot of them young adults) in the 1918 influenza had a lack of a vitamin C.

From the web site of Robert Cathcart, a page on Tick Borne Disease, Hemorrhagic Fever Like Disease in Turkey, presents the following idea

As you write, it's an idea. An interesting one however.
Note that the site 'Peak Performance' for sporters advises that it's best to supplement not more than 250 mg vitamnine C a day, because it also has an oxidating effect. For people who don't sport intensive many hours a week, problably this restriction doesn't count.

I completely agree with this. I started taking huge doses of vitamin C 4 or 5 years ago. Since then I have not become sick with cold or flu even once! I take between 4gm - 6gm per day. I try to take 2gm with every meal. Whenever I feel that I am coming down with something, I take 2 gm immediately and then try to take 1gm per every hour. It works every time. I also take omega-3 supplements. I don't understand why everyone is not doing it.

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor and do not take any drugs, supplements, etc. based on what you are reading here.

I'd like to give Alan from the islands some backup.

I'm now approaching the proverbial three score and ten years. For the first half of my life I was a good little boy and followed the rules of the medical profession, including getting a flu shot every year--and getting the flu every year, nonetheless. Then following an illness where I was given heavy doses of antibiotics that pretty well destroyed my immune system, I decided I'd had enough of "modern" medicine. Since then, no flu shots, and no flu. I was in China during the SARS fearmongering. No symptoms. My rules are simple: If you want to avoid getting sick, avoid doctors, and if you want to remain solvent stay away from pharmacies. Unlike many people my age, many of whom I know to take 20 to 50 different pills a day for real or imagined illnesses, I don't take anything. I regard most doctors as just pushers for the pharmaceuticals--and both in it for the money. I use only natural supplements--vegetables, fruit, and a few staple spices, like garlic, cayenne, and onion.

Western medicine is a farce; a lot of alternative medicine is a scam. Stay away from both. Seek natural remedies that have been known to work. Experiment.

I regard most doctors as just pushers for the pharmaceuticals--and both in it for the money.

Being a pharmacist, I have to admit most are in it for the money.

I use only natural supplements--vegetables, fruit, and a few staple spices, like garlic, cayenne, and onion.

Don't forget red wine and curcumin.

Western medicine is a farce; a lot of alternative medicine is a scam. Stay away from both. Seek natural remedies that have been known to work.

Not completely a farce. Think of treatment of hypertension, epilepsia, diabetes (type 1),tumors, infections.
Not always possible to prevent or to treat with natural remedies.

Henri, Being a pharmacist I invite you to have a look at the writings of British pharmacologist Steve Hickey, PhD. A transcript of an interview with him, by Andrew Saul is here.

Not completely a farce. Think of treatment of hypertension, epilepsia, diabetes (type 1),tumors, infections.
Not always possible to prevent or to treat with natural remedies.

The following list from the amazon page linked to above, is loaded with books that would contest the quoted statement.


Another list, the looks of which suggest that the list's creator either has heart problems or a loved one with heart problems:


A list of books by Andrew Saul


Finally, in the above post, I link to a conference that wrapped up Sunday May 3. From the conference program, I counted 14 presenters. If there were just 8 doctors in attendance for each presenter that would be a conference of over 100 doctors that would probably disagree with you.

I read somewhere that no chronic, metabolic (non-infectious) disease has ever been cured by drugs. There are many conditions that were formerly classified as diseases which have turned out to be vitamin (nutritional) deficiencies. How many more are out there?

Alan from the islands

I read somewhere that no chronic, metabolic (non-infectious) disease has ever been cured by drugs. There are many conditions that were formerly classified as diseases which have turned out to be vitamin (nutritional) deficiencies. How many more are out there?

I didn't write cure, however infections are cured. You know problably how many babies and infants lifes were lost 100 years and more ago.
Diabetes type 1, among other disorders, has a genetic component. I think a lot of damage is allready done in the 9 month before birth, because a lot of mothers not eating healthy.

PS Han = Henri 2

For a better understanding of my position on these matters have a look at this comment of mine from a drumbeat a couple days ago. The basic idea is that primates, guinea pigs and a certain fruit-eating bat (Pteropus medius) from India are unique insofar as their inability to synthesize vitamin c from glucose. All other mammals produce their own vitamin c using bio-feedback loops that greatly increase their production of vitamin c in response to stress, infections and trauma. From Irwin Stones book:

In nearly all the mammals, ascorbic acid is manufactured in the liver from the blood sugar, glucose. The conversion proceeds stepwise, each step being controlled by a different enzyme. The mutation that occurred in our ancestral monkey destroyed his ability to manufacture the last enzyme in this series -- L-gulonolactone oxidase.

If you believe that, as I do, then you are left no choice but to put vitamin c in a category of it's own and treat it more like an essential nutrient rather than a vitamin. You then start to wonder, what viral or bacterial infection can not be dealt with by the body's own immune system, given ample supplies of vitamin C? In other words, if we provide our bodies immune system with enough "fuel" to fight these infections, maybe we would'nt need a wide variety of antibiotic drugs to cure these infections. This has been my personal experience. This is an extremely dangerous idea for the pharmaceutical industry and one that it would obviously be in their best interests, not to encourage.

If you pay any attention to the movement that calls itself "Orthomolecular Medicine", as opposed to "Alternative Medicine", you will find a basic belief that many human ailments are a result of chemical imbalances cuased by nutritional deficienies. From the web site of ORTHOMOLECULAR VITAMIN INFORMATION CENTRE Inc.

By 1950 the vitamins had been discovered, synthesized and had come into general use to maintain health. They are very important natural chemicals and the body cannot function without them. But their use had been restricted to preventing a few classical deficiency diseases like pellagra, rickets, and scurvy. Since 1950 these same vitamins have been shown to be effective in amounts much larger than those needed to prevent these vitamin deficiency diseases. But this information has been hard to obtain and the public must be totally confused by the positive and negative claims that have been made and are continuing to be made about their value in health maintenance. For this reason we need an accurate and unbiased centre to which any one can come in order to obtain the information they are not able to get by reading the literature on their own. With this information they will be in a much stronger position to discuss the use of vitamins with their doctors.

I have bought these arguments "hook, line and sinker" and have yet to see any independently produced evidence to the contrary. Every time I see information aiming to discredit these ideas, it is either directly put out by organizations with obvious vested interests, openly funded by vested interests or, with a little digging, clandestinely funded by vested interests. On the other hand, the prospect for huge financial gains by the proponents of these ideas diminish the more these ideas take hold, yet they continue to promote them. Maybe the promoters of these ideas see themselves of serving some greater purpose than their own enrichment or maybe I am just being overly utopian. Who should I believe, people with obvious vested interests?

It is my hope that we will witness the rise of Orthomolecular Medicine in our carbon constrained future.

Alan from the islands

All other mammals produce their own vitamin c using bio-feedback loops that greatly increase their production of vitamin c in response to stress, infections and trauma.


I know this is the case.

You then start to wonder, what viral or bacterial infection can not be dealt with by the body's own immune system, given ample supplies of vitamin C?

This could be possible, but some bacteria and viruses are virulent enough that even with high levels of vitamin C they would cause big problems I think. Problably you wouldn't die but it will take the body maybe 2-3 weeks to fight, while with an antibiotic after 1-2 days you feel much better. I read the case from a Drumbeat reader whose immune system was broken down by antibiotics, but this is very rare.
Some bacteria produce toxins that are extremely toxic.
Also there arises a practical problem with infections in babies.

On the other hand, the prospect for huge financial gains by the proponents of these ideas diminish the more these ideas take hold, yet they continue to promote them.

Yes, but most people are not interested in healthy food (and supplements). Too many love 'fast food'. So for the majority of people the regular medicines are a wellcome evil. Maybe indeed a rise in OM will come in a carbon constrained future.

I gave the idea of preventing damage by a cytokinetic storm with high levels of vitamin C in tissues some more thought. The question is, since it is not for nothing called a storm:
Will there be enough time to repair any damage or prevent damage when the storm starts ? Viruses replicate very rapidly in cells and tissue repair needs time even with high levels of vitamin C.

There does seem to be something distinctly odd about the reporting of probably cases.

Here in northern Alabama they closed all the schools over 2 kids labeled as "probable" cases. Yet days later they never get confirmed and tallied on the CDC web site.

At the same time if you use Google news, and plug in any states name + flu, the local news outlet are showing outbreaks everywhere.

While independent site are show that it is pretty much everywhere.

As a scientist, I would be reluctant to tell the public anything unless 100% certain. At the same time, after a certain point, it get kind of silly to stand around yell "nothing to see here, everyone remain calm".

Coot, I heard on local news here in Huntsville this morning, that because of the huge backlog of samples at the CDC, that it will be Monday or Tuesday before the two cases can be confirmed. Meanwhile the total cases of possible+probable cases here in Huntsville has reached over 40. But I think it is likely that most of them are just cases of fever and colds or regular flu.

That being said however, I just heard on CNN that the incubation time is about seven days and people are contagious for two days before they show symptoms. And that is the scary part.

Ron P.

If they are labeled as probable I would give it a pretty good chance they are swine.

During one of the briefing (I think it was the first New York City one) they described a series of quick test they can run to rule out other possibilities. They just don't have a quick test to positivity identity swine flu.

So by process of elimination it ends up as "probably".

There are going to be a lot of people purporting to give sound advice. Sorting out the wheat from the chaff -as usual is going to be the key. I would instinctively distrust sources which present their material in a sensationalist manner. Here is the source that I consider to me most informative and trustworthy:
Effect measure

Some highlights as I currently understand them. Read for yourself as your milage may differ:
The last time H1N1 was in wide circulation was 1957, it is possible people born earlier may have limited immunity.
Currently estimated virulence is a bit milder than ordinary seasonal flu.
Mexico (at great cost to itself) is making an important contribution to slowing the spread, by its current attempt to halt transmission via the shutdown.
There is a significant chance this may peter out for the summer season. If it does it will likely reappear for the fall season.
Flu is very difficult to predict because later strains may be mutations of earlier ones.
The current H1N1 lacks a specific protein present in H5N1 (Bird flue), and the 1918 virus. This protein is associated
with high virulence. The lack of this protein is consistent with the mild virulence currently reported.
Early in an epidemic/pandemic it is hard to get good information, as statistical contaimination with other illnesses is highly likely.

A shut down is what this administration doesn't want. It would kill what ever slight uptick in the markets they can overblow as a recovery to claim political credit for. It's this reason i do not trust the tv news on this subject, nor their on-line websites.

"The last time H1N1 was in wide circulation was 1957, it is possible people born earlier may have limited immunity."

Funny about 1957. It was the winter of 1957 that I enlisted in the USN. Went to boot camp at Great Lakes, Illinois.

We were filling out the company and afterwards the first order of business was medical. We were given lots and lots of unknown shots. Many in our fingers. Then given vaccinations and other things they would not disclose to us. We heard they were using us for testing purposes.

Don't know but right about then the whole company became violently ill. I mean really ill and sick. I can recall that the whole base seemed to be overrun with sick recruits.

For one thing everyone was coughing up very ugly yellow contents from their lungs and spitting on the snow. The snow never left and just kept piling up.

When we all survived and went on with training it came spring and the spring thaw. I kid you not that the sidewalks gave up immense quantities of yellow slime and it flowed in streams down the curbsides.

We all did lots of PT were not allowed to smoke ,as was policy then, and so we ate well and became very healthy. Except those that did not make it thru the regimes of the very harsh bootcamp as it was back then.

I myself enjoyed it and it set a new standard of health for me. Which I still enjoy..but those days of everyone being completely knocked out makes me think we all got the flu.

I never knew that there was an outbreak in that year until I just read it above in the previous post.

So maybe I do have a bit of immunity but still I am not taking any chances. I did go to the first showing of Wolverine yesterday at noon.

I wore a dust mask we use for farming in the movie. I was the only one. I hear some coughing going on and was glad I did. This I hope was my last outing in a confined space. I took a chance.

Airdale''class of '57--who may be luckier than most,,immunity wise

Report from Boulder: anecdotal - the cashier at Blockbuster said he has been seeing unusually high numbers of people claiming to be home with sick kids. My daycare provider notes a majority (75%) of kids with runny noses (a bit much for April-May, I think) including my 4 year old. My 9 year old and I have sore throat, muscle aches, fatigue and headache. My 7 year old is presently in bed with a rising temperature. My husband says he is experiencing mild sore throat.

In the absence of additional symptoms, no medical care is recommended for us, and I agree.

Sorry to hear there are people on respirators - something is going around that's for sure, and from 20 years working in clinics, I would say this is definitely late in the season - things significantly calm down by mid-April. The letter linked to below is very interesting and confirms what I have guessed would make sense.

Lots of people reporting sore throats and sniffles (Including my brother in Jersey), but remember it is springtime and a lot of allergies are kicking up.

From CDC:
If your child experiences any of the following warning signs, seek emergency medical care:

* Fast breathing or trouble breathing
* Bluish or gray skin color
* Not drinking enough fluids
* Not waking up or not interacting
* Being so irritable that he or she does not want to be held
* Not urinating or no tears when crying
* Their symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough


Also High fever (103 degrees) seems to be the red flag in this case. At that point seek medical help. Or at least that's is what I've read.

The Canadian Press reports, "Officials are trying to get to the bottom of how vaccine manufacturer Baxter International, Inc. made "experimental virus material" based on a human flu strain but contaminated with the H5N1 avian flu virus and then distributed it to an Austrian company."

Baxter: Product contained live bird flu virus
By Helen Branswell, THE CANADIAN PRESS
February 27, 2009, 3:26pm

And an official of the World Health Organization’s European operation said the body is closely monitoring the investigation into the events that took place at Baxter International’s research facility in Orth-Donau, Austria.

“At this juncture we are confident in saying that public health and occupational risk is minimal at present,” medical officer Roberta Andraghetti said from Copenhagen, Denmark.

“But what remains unanswered are the circumstances surrounding the incident in the Baxter facility in Orth-Donau.”

The contaminated product, a mix of H3N2 seasonal flu viruses and unlabelled H5N1 viruses, was supplied to an Austrian research company. The Austrian firm, Avir Green Hills Biotechnology, then sent portions of it to sub-contractors in the Czech Republic, Slovenia and Germany.

Swine flu born in U.S. factory farms:


It takes alot of oil, electricity, and water
to keep this system operating.

And a high tolerance for stink. Worse than a paper
mill, the stink from gasoline leaves your olfactory
senses long after pig lagoon stink remains.

wiredscience could be weirdscience.

Another example of the profligacy of scale.

One version of the 1918 pandemic has it starting with a burning dung pile at Fort Riley, Kansas in March.


Interesting parallel.

A well written article in Forbes on biofuels here: http://www.forbes.com/2009/04/28/biofuels-ethanol-virent-technology-brea...

Three more banks fail

Silverton Bank closes, costing the Deposit Insurance Fund an estimated $1.4 billion. Smaller New Jersey and Utah banks also shutter.

No Credit Unions and how would we know except for the one I reported last week from a local news report (even though the CU was in the top 35 size wise nationwide)?


The Implode-o-meter has a credit union section.

Damn, gave me a scare there Leanan - was just in Silverton Oregon yesterday and remembered they had a regional bank. But the lending institution there is Silver Falls Bank, named after the huge state park built around a complex of waterfalls up the road in the Cascades.

Am thinking that might be a good place to relocate to, despite its being kitty corner to Salem, the state capital with 125k residents. It's between the Willamette Valley and the mountains, easy access to both, population is around 7k, they have a monstrous gravity drive reservoir to tap into, wide range of businesses, very productive farms all around, not too far from where I live now so I can scope things out, close proximity to Salem if I need a specialty part or tax form; some of you might remember hearing about Silverton electing the first transgender mayor in US history last fall, too, showing that they're tolerant of...whatever the PC term is. "Insert here."

Also after reading One Second After I'm eying towns from their prospects as defensible positions like the residents in that novel did...perhaps that's irrational. How big a factor are MZHs in people's house/land shopping here? (Mutant Zombie Horde, for those who haven't memorized the peak oil lexicon)

On Financialsense today, Puplava points out that 1% of the bailout money has gone towards infrastructure (highlighting Obama's incredible salesmanship) and the USA unfunded liabilities now total 65 trillion. This total is approx $625000 per USA taxpayer-the bottom line is any USA taxpayer with a current net worth less than $625000 could be considered insolvent at this point because of reckless government spending.

With bailout guarantees, etc. the grand total is about 99 trillion ($980000 per USA taxpayer).

So, the figure might as well be one million trillion dollars, and everyone owes a kazillion bazzillion and it won't be paid off for three thousand generations. Huh. Maybe some one some where has figured out that these estimates don't mean a whole heck of a lot in light of the present situation, that the concept of a a hundred trillion dollars is rather abstract and absurd. There have been numerous posts and comments about the tight relationship between China, Japan, and the US; we are co-dependent. Similarly, there are enough nuclear weapons on the planet to destroy it many times over- the notion of destroying the planet not once, but TWICE, three, four times, like the debt figures, is absurd. And we are co-dependent in the nuclear arms race; as WHOPPER stated "the only winning move is not to play". Yet 6 billion people keep pushing on, living lives knowing in the back of our minds that very dark things are realistically possible, but thinking (right or wrong) that someone else is on it, working in their own ways to prevent the planet's mutually assured (and redundant) destruction. Alternatively, one could move to a shack in Montana and start mailing important manifestos.

I would be surprised if this baby doesn't blow up for three thousand generations-3000 days would be surprising.

Yes. Things that can't go on forever, won't. "Money" is just one part of it. It may not even be the most important part. An earlier post suggested the image of four people deserted on an island, each with a suitcase full of money, $20,000,000 each. Are they rich? How about four people on an island, each with an envelope containing a note stating that they owe $600,000. Are they broke?

Here is a more accurate analogy-you (USA) go to the store to buy a product (oil)-the store has been glad to take your IOUs because you have always been good for it and you are a very important player. China also has floated you a lot of product on credit because you are such a good customer-China also buys oil from the other store. Now it is quickly starting to look like you were working with Bernie and long term your IOUs are worthless-they still have value today. You have no idea how you will get the oil you need, or the products you need from China if the value of your IOUs lessens toward their actual structural value. Are you rich or broke?

the concept of a a hundred trillion dollars is rather abstract and absurd

Totally disagree. If it were only 1 trillion $, then at todays prices and remaining concentrated energy stocks, we could pay back that debt with future gains. No way do we have the energy and resources to pay back 100 trillion (and globally it is probably well over 200 trillion in aggregate). This debt will never be paid off (in real terms).

well technically if i had net worth of $625,000 and had no personal debt, then I would have positive net worth as only the governments chunk of debt would be subtracted - of the 656 trillion only about 14 trillion is fed govt - rest is local/state/business and household.

but i agree with your general point and am writing a post on it.

Looking for: (a) your links; (b) your point; (c) your proposed alternative; (d) your analysis that your proposed alternative is preferable to what is presently underway; (e) your reality-based strategy for disseminating and implementing (c). If you want to just bash the president, there are plenty of other blogs designed explicitly for that. TOD is discussions about energy and our future.

I know that was directed at Brian, but I will answer (briefly)

This has everything to do with energy. We tried to replace energy gain (and then some) with debt -for a generation. The link (for USA) is recent Federal Reserve Standards Board report. US is over 50 trillion in debt and this doesnt include derivatives or off balance sheet. When we peaked in oil and went off gold standard in 1970/1 we had about 2 trillion in debt. The reason it is related to energy and natural resources is we keep looking at stress tests and levels of capital in banks but our real capital (oil, gas, coal, water, etc.) have shrunk both in absolute terms and dramatically so in relative terms to debt over past 35 years. I am writing a post on this topic for Monday or Tuesday...

Understood- but I wonder what sources of real capital will exist and still matter worldwide in, say, 2109, and where the US will stand at that point? Soils, water, forests may be the new oil/gas/coal in 2109, and while we certainly have problems in these areas (and critical problems in several regions), the U.S. *could* still be relatively wealthy in a post-carbon future.

The 2nd Law of Thermodynamics is in full force.

There is 0 ways to get around Energy Return On
Energy Invested.

Just keep thinking that a Mother will break every
law to keep her baby alive.

Or a ruler his empire. ;}

Wisco: A. google it B. The financial realities of the USA make a lot of discussions about the USA energy situation secondary IMO re C,D,E-I am not claiming that I could fix the structural problems of the USA economy if I was elected President-due to the enormity of the problems and the power of special interests IMO these problems cannot be fixed. Re Obama, I don't mean to bash the guy-IMO he is doing as well as anyone that could possibly be elected to that position-which means in reality he can't do anything positive but promote agendas already determined by powerful interests.

From financial crisis to global catastrophe

1) The crisis is the beginning of long slump (E. Yudkowsky term), which gradually lead mankind to a new Middle Ages. This point of view is supported by proponents of Peak Oil theory, who believe that recently was passed peak of production of liquid fuels, and since that time, the number of oil production begins to drop a few percent each year, according to bell curve, and that fossil fuel is a necessary resource for the existence of modern civilization, which will not be able to switch to alternative energy sources.


'Everybody' is still waiting for you to substantiate the year 2017 as the one of 'total collapse'.

Really Henri, I seriously doubt that everyone is waiting for any substantiation of my 2017 prediction of total collapse.

Basically it is just an estimation based on my guess of when and how things will unfold. These things take time, but not that much time. Most economicists are expecting a recovery in 2010. I believe they will be sorely disappointed. We will feint a recovery early next year before unemployment gets far deeper and the economy takes another nose dive.

When unemployment approaches 20 percent panic will set in and the Dow Jones Averages will go below 400, causing even more panic. Even people who have money will go into shutdown mode. They will spend only on the bare necessities, causing even more unemployment.

At this point the tax base begins to dry up but the government will continue to pay social security, medicare, the military and other government employees with inflated money, causing inflation to spiral out of control. No one buys government bonds anymore and the government collapses as a result of trying to run the government with fiat money.

The economy cannot grow because the energy supply is shrinking. The end of growth is the beginning of collapse.

And, it is just a wild-ass guess but I expect all this to take about eight more years to play out, give or take a year or two.

Ron P.

I wrote 'everyone', meaning most reading Drumbeat. A lot depends on the year oilexports will start to fall of the cliff. Probably that is somewhere between 2012 and 2018. There could be a moderate economic recovery in 2010, preventing oil prices getting too high. Unemployment reaching 15-20% would be devastating probably leading to the cascade that you describe. Another possibility is further diminishing globalisation with oil demand destruction while spending recovers and people buying more and more localy produced products.

Really Henri, I seriously doubt that everyone is waiting for any substantiation of my 2017 prediction of total collapse.

I wasn't waiting. Then again, I probably don't count. :)

FWIW, I appreciate your point of view, Ron. Don't always agree, but you usually give some good food for thought.


Another fly in the ointment is that though the US has historically been first-in-the-queue to buy all the exportable oil, this appears to be shifting.
China has secured deals for pipelined russian supply, and the Emir of Kuwait just flew off to china to see the wizards, ".. strategic dialogue to commence between the two sides as soon as possible".

Whatever about world exports, I wonder what proportion of them will end up in the USA.. ;)

Somebody mentioned the EROEI of geopolitical dominance, germane.

Do you guys have any input on why Russian oil production keeps growing (based on the Russian Gas/oil story above)? It seems despite the slump in oil prices and reduced upstream investment Russian oil companies continue to pump more oil! … any thoughts?


They want to profit from reduced OPEC production AND they expect that in the future oil prices will drop further.

I am not able to follow that logic of yours given all sets of known-knowns, unknown-knowns, known-unknowns - but ultimately those freaking unknown-unknowns may make you get it straight though.

Anyways, my take goes like this:
If Russia cuts their 10 mbd oil-production in half -over night- to 5 mbd , my guess is that world oil-price would more than (or close to) double within few weeks.
The benefit is all obvious for Russia, half prodction same cash-flow. On the same hand, it puzzles med that OPEC has not cut even more to achieve some higher price. Financial meltdown or not.... "they don't have to give away their ONLY commodity for free" they have Phantasy-projects and skyscrapercities supposed to be paied for , no?

It was no logic, just a thought.

Anyways, my take goes like this:
If Russia cuts their 10 mbd oil-production in half -over night- to 5 mbd ,my guess is that world oil-price would more than (or close to) double within few weeks.

They couldn't do that. They have contract obligations.

Ok , I buy your thougt-proposal.
Contracts are there for the sole reason ... to be broken when seen fit. All contracts have "small print" which give "openings" for whatever .. Obviously if the month-ahead contract went to Dollar 10 per barrel something would give - my gusee is running contracts / production would be reaped fast and instantly- (what then ?)

If Russia cuts their 10 mbd oil-production in half -over night- to 5 mbd , my guess is that world oil-price would more than (or close to) double within few weeks.

That is not at all a given. And if it did happen, those high prices would not likely last very long. If the price of oil were $100 a barrel again, that would cause the recession to sink deeper, cutting demand for oil even further.

Industry runs on energy. If the energy supply is cut dramatically then the world's GDP would be also cut dramatically. This cuts demand for everything, cutting millions of jobs and the downward spiral would continue. Of course it is, even with no Russian cut, continuing to spiral downward but a Russian cut of 5 million barrels per day would just dramatically speed up the downward spiral.

Ron , you are absolutely correct in your assumptions in a deepening of the ressesion, and I agree. That said, and since we know from MSM reports on Russia / M-E that they take very hard punches themselves under the running low-oil-price regime, would it not be reasonable and understandable thet they took further measures to cut prod. to increase price ? Afterall their domestic troubles come before the "worlds problems" ...
Frankly speaking - oil is still dirt cheap -resession, depresion or what not...
$50 a barrel EQUALLING THE ENERGY from some 10 man-years of heavy labor ...... I have little to add. The world would pay the "price" , there is no substitute

Industry runs on energy.

Yep, that's certainly true, although I'd argue that adding the word "cheap" before the word "energy" would make it a more accurate statement for how the world got into the fix it's in right now.

I understand that they would like to fill the OPEC gap, the question however is that they were already supposedly pumping at maximum, thus they had no room to increase production even if they wanted to, but apparently it is not the case.


Nawaralsaadi, Russian oil production is only inching up. Though it is slightly higher that 2008 levels, it is still only at about 2007 levels. It is certainly not growing by leaps and bounds. Russian production is extremely fickle. It may continue to inch higher this year but don't count on it. At any rate, the rate of increase in Russian oil production this year is nothing to get excited about. One could say Russian oil production is on a bumpy plateau which it reached in 2007.

Oil production in Russia, the world's No. 2 exporter, fell by about 1 percent last year because of ageing reserves and plunging oil prices. The decline is cause for concern in a country highly dependent on oil export revenues for its budget.

Pipeline oil exports stood at 4.37 million bpd in April, an increase of 3.6 percent from 4.22 million bpd in March but down 3.3 percent from 4.52 million in April of last year.

From the linked article:

Indeed, I have seen the decline in exports too, which is also surprising since Russian usage is supposed to have decreased with the lowered economic activity due to the global economic crisis, some of those numbers don’t make sense…unless the Russian companies are hording the oil for better prices in the future…


I guess the plateau is a bit more resilient that I or many have expected, I was expecting further gentle declines this year, especially considering the credit crisis and lower investment, but the year is far from over and declines could start to show in the months ahead; Russian production is indeed worth following over the next few months.


Good analysis on the current state of the economy...

Real Economy Continues to Sink Despite Economic Stimulus and Bear Market Rally

The Federal Reserve and Treasury are now staking the country's future on the belief that they will be able to revive securitization and reflate the bubble economy through complex taxpayer-funded programs (TALF and PPIP) which no one completely understands. If they succeed, then the toxic assets on the banks balance sheets will regain their original value and GDP will grow in a low interest, easy credit environment. It all depends on whether the Treasury's lavish inducements (94% government funding on non recourse loans) are enough to entice investors to purchase risky financial instruments for which there is currently no market.

The more probable scenario, is that the equities markets will periodically rally in response good news or the Fed's liquidity injections, while deflationary pressures continue to push down asset prices, swell the unemployment lines, and further shatter consumer confidence. The real economy is sinking fast and, with it, any hope for a quick recovery. Policymakers are completely at a loss. The public knows that things are far worse than they are being told.

The public knows that things are far worse than they are being told.

Consumers confidence went up however.

The way things are reported ... Consumer confidence. Three people think the economy is OK and all the rest think it stinks. One of the 97 hit the lottery and thinks that things are now OK.


FT.com | FT Energy Source | Opec oil supply guru Conrad Gerber has died

May 1, 2009 11:14am
by Javier Blas

How do you measure Opec’s crude oil supply amid secrecy and dishonesty?

Conrad Gerber, who died on April 25, responded to that question for almost 30 years, providing the oil market with a glimpse of clarity from his Geneva-based Petro-Logistics company.

He made a living from a peculiar characteristic of the oil market: the most reliable data for Opec monthly supply comes not from the cartel member’s energy ministries, but from so-called secondary sources - a network of spies watching, binoculars in hand, the movement of tankers in and out of the world’s ports.

Perhaps news of Conrad's death was posted here already, hadn't heard the news myself.

Hello TODers,

Recall TopTODer's Heading Out keypost on Nahuatl Tlamemes, and how even this transport method wasn't enough to keep their society intact:

The EROI on supplying fuel

..He estimated that a single human porter or tlameme as they were known in Nahuatl, could carry a load of about 25 kg (55 lb) of maize. He calculated, however, that the per day overburden of a porter, taking into account the nutritional needs of the porter and his family, was about 30% of the value of the load, based on a round trip for the porter. This places an absolute limit on the transportation of corn of 3.3 days or 100 km (60 miles). In other words, if a porter carried a load of corn 100 km, he would have used it all to feed himself and his family. The effective limit for a commercial distribution system, of course, would have been considerably less, say 50% of the absolute limit, or 50 km. During the Aztec dominance in the Mexican highlands, basic foodstuffs, other than gourmet items, were normally drawn from within a restricted radius of one day’s journey or approximately 30 km.

I applaud links such as these to promote Transition Towns...

Why we forgot how to grow food
As a food shortage looms, people are digging for Britain — and their dinner table.

The End Is Near! (Yay!)
[seven pages]
...but will this even be enough? IMO, unless we move to a massive ramp of O-NPK recycling & SpiderWebRiding, augmented by depleting I-NPK, plus minimal water usage strategies: we will fall much faster than necessary [Non-Optimal Overshoot Decline] as we will waste much cheap water and nutrients versus wholesale efforts to restore topsoil fertility for the long run.

Recall my posting about Indonesia yesterday: their desire to greatly ramp O-NPK recycling for national food security reasons. This only makes good sense as they transition from energy exporter to energy importer [hat-tip to WT & Khebab], but I believe they need to build out Alan Drake's standard gauge RR & TOD ideas, plus massive networks of non-FF, pedalized, narrow gauge, SpiderWebRiding to have any decent chance at Optimal Overshoot Decline.

I think it is important that we do not underestimate the tremendous efficiencies provided by geared human pedal power vs tlameme backpacking to keep bi-directional postPeak flowrates moving from topsoil to towns. Recall my previous discussion from the book, Bike Science, whereby the authors believe the HPV speed record will have to move to rails to overcome the current 82 mph speed record. I believe the same phenomena applies to moving vital postPeak cargoes over narrow gauge rails at slower speeds over greater distances.

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

We will have a black president "when pigs fly."

After only 100 days swine flu

Sorry folks ...

With sufficient thrust, pigs fly just fine.

-- rfc 1925

Hello TODers,

Glad to see this [makes me wonder if Google is closer to posting my speculative 'I'm feeling Unlucky' button on their search homepage]:

Google Rents Goats to Replace Lawnmowers and Fertilizer

..The goats supposedly cost the same as traditional lawnmowing, but emit much less carbon and don't spew engine exhaust-- and they provide more comic relief. A herder periodically brings 200 goats onto campus, where they spend a week grazing on grass and fertilizing it with their poop. The goats, which have been spotted by one Google staffer west of the main campus soccer field, are herded by a border collie named Jen.
Of course, it is even more efficient to have the employees take an O-NPK dump outside than to flush it away inside. Maybe the collie can be trained to herd the employees to the chosen spot for composting their wastes. :)

I attended a talk by Thomas Homer Dixon a few weeks ago, where he was promoting "Carbon Shift." He covered three topics: AGW, Peak Oil, and possible solutions. I left thinking the segment on Peak Oil left most of the audience thinking the primary concern was that oil depletion would lead to greater use of coal, increasing carbon emissions. He talked about EROI, giving a figure of about 60 for coal versus 17 for oil. No mention of Peak Coal. Although there was nothing said that contradicted the major themes on this board (if such things exist), I left the talk feeling that Homer Dixon thought global warming was the major issue that humanity faced over the next fifty years. Although he used the phrase "power down," most of the responses he outlined were technological fixes, including adding particles to the atmosphere to slow down warming.

Hello TODers,

Another reason to ramp O-NPK recycling:

Organic Dairy Manure May Offer High Quality Fertilizer Option

ScienceDaily (May 2, 2009) — Dairy cows that produce USDA-certified organic milk also produce manure that may gradually replenish soil nutrients and potentially reduce the flow of agricultural pollutants to nearby water sources, according to findings by Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists and colleagues.

..The researchers found that the two types of manure had at least 17 different chemical forms of phosphorus that varied in concentrations. The organic dairy manure had higher levels of phosphorus, calcium, potassium, manganese, zinc and magnesium.

Organic dairy manure also contained more types of phosphorus found in association with calcium and magnesium. Such forms are comparatively slow to dissolve and would thus gradually release the nutrients. Slow-release fertilizers generally increase the likelihood that they eventually will be taken up by crops, rather than being washed out of fields into nearby surface or groundwater sources.

Because of this, slow-release fertilizers often can be applied at comparatively low rates. Manure produced by cows in organic production systems may show similar characteristics compared to manure from conventional systems.
IMO, the low application rates matches perfectly with the scale possible with SpiderWebRiding. Best hopes for us rediscovering our innate territoriality instincts. Have you hugged your bag of NPK today?

OK, the MSM has been giving us the line that things are not so bad with H1N1 virus. So why is WHO thinking about going to phase 6 on their pandemic alert scale?

WHO Expecting to Move to Top Pandemic Alert for Flu

Still, swine flu has reached 16 countries, most recently Costa Rica, and there’s evidence the new virus is spreading in five nations among people unconnected to Mexico where cases were first reported. The health minister in Mexico said today the country has no new deaths attributed to the H1N1 virus commonly known as swine flu.

“At this stage we have to expect that phase 6 will be reached; we have to hope that it won’t be reached,” Ryan said. “I would still propose that a pandemic is imminent.”

International health experts said the world is now closer to another influenza pandemic than at any time since 1968, when the last of the previous century’s three pandemics occurred. The WHO hasn’t had a single phase 6 alert since it introduced the system in 2005. Before this week, the system had been at phase 3 since 2007, when it was elevated for an outbreak of avian flu, according to the WHO Web site.

Hello TODers,

Recall my DB posting yesterday where the golf course owner wanted to be bailed out by the homeowners at roughly $2400/year/household. Assuming they have adequate access to water: I hope they would instead prefer to spend this annual sum on converting the golf course to a relocalized O-NPK farm/garden operation augmented by SpiderWebRiding. Recall my previous posting series on the possible benefits, which also includes eliminating school buses; the kids could easily railbike to/from the school campus.

$2400/household could quickly buy a lot of narrow gauge, lightweight track for installation, plus the railbikes [both passenger-only and cargo]. Will conversion of our 16,000 golf courses be the leading postPeak indicator of mitigative change?

Dear Toto

I was at a conference at Asilomar last week which is near Pebble Beach (much of the Monterey Peninsula seemed to be golf courses). You will be pleased to hear that the golf courses have been invaded by flocks of Canada Geese which love eating golf course and poop everywhere. The golfers are NOT appreciating the free organic fertilizer. Messes up their pastels.

Hello Paleobotanist,

Thxs for the humorous report. Since Cali is in a drought, it might be likely that these golf courses are using recycled sewage water for their ponds and sprinkler system.

As you probably know from my postings: many golf resorts are having severe financial strains or outright bankruptcy. Let's hope that these Monterey resorts' budgets are not cut back so severely that they are not safely cleaning and monitoring the recycled water quality-->I would hate to read of a massive geese dieoff because of high bacterial counts and high pollution.