DrumBeat: June 21, 2009

Cheer Up, It's Going to Get Worse

Three years ago, David Fridley purchased two and a half acres of land in rural Sonoma County. He planted drought-resistant blue Zuni corn, fruit trees and basic vegetables while leaving a full acre of extant forest for firewood collection. Today, Fridley and several friends and family subsist almost entirely off this small plot of land, with the surplus going to public charity.

But Fridley is hardly a homegrown hippie who spends his leisure time gardening. He spent 12 years consulting for the oil industry in Asia. He is now a staff scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and a fellow of the Post Carbon Institute in Sebastopol, where members discuss the problems inherent to fossil-fuel dependency.

Fridley has his doubts about renewable energies, and he has grave doubts about the future of crude oil. In fact, he believes to a certainty that society is literally running out of gas and that, perhaps within years, the trucks will stop rolling into Safeway and the only reliable food available will be that grown in our backyards.

Nigerian militants attack three Shell oil sites

LAGOS (Reuters) - Nigeria's main militant group said on Sunday it had attacked three oil installations belonging to Royal Dutch Shell in the Niger Delta, widening a month-old offensive against Africa's biggest energy industry.

In Tehran, an eerie calm as death toll jumps to 17

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — An eerie calm settled over the streets of Tehran Sunday as state media reported at least 10 more deaths in post-election unrest and said authorities arrested the daughter and four other relatives of ex-President Hashemi Rafsanjani, one of Iran's most powerful men.

Iraq May Issue $5 Billion in Bonds to Finance Power Projects

(Bloomberg) -- Iraq, holder of the world’s third- largest oil reserves, may sell about $5 billion in bonds to finance infrastructure projects including construction of power plants and water-supply facilities, a government spokesman said.

Stimulus Funds Spent to Keep Sun Belt Cool

CRAWFORDVILLE, Fla. — The federal government is spending $5 billion in stimulus money to weatherize homes across the country. That is almost as much as it has spent on weatherization since the program was created in the 1970s to cut heating bills and conserve oil for low-income people.

But this year, there is a twist.

An unusually large share of the money will be spent not on keeping cold air out but on keeping cold air in. As a result of a political compromise with Sun Belt lawmakers last decade, the enormous expansion of the weatherization program will invoke a rarely used formula that will devote 31 percent of the money, nearly double the old share of 16 percent, to help states in hot climates, like Florida, save on air-conditioning.

Questions About a Desert Village

Started in 2007, when property prices were at their peak, Hydra Village promised to transform a desert tract outside of Abu Dhabi into a lush “eco-village” of lakes, pools and 2,500 villas. It was to be complete by the end of this year; Mr. Fahim now says the project will be finished by 2011.

But with the development hardly begun, Hydra Village investors, most of whom are foreigners living in this oil-rich emirate, are in no mood for promises. Instead, they have started demanding that Mr. Fahim prove he has adequate funds to follow through on this project. The protest has become a public embarrassment for the publicity-shy Nahyan family, which rules the United Arab Emirates.

San Francisco to Toughen a Strict Recycling Law

BERKELEY, Calif. — San Francisco, which already boasts one of the most aggressive recycling programs in the country, has raised the ante, vowing to levy fines of up to $1,000 on those unwilling to separate their Kung Pao chicken leftovers from their newspapers.

Dodge Roadster: ‘Least Green’ Car in Britain

An 8-liter Dodge sports car is the “least green” automobile for sale in Britain, according to the Environmental Transport Association, a nonprofit group that lobbies for sustainable travel and finances itself by selling insurance.

Driving the Dodge SRT-10 roadster, known as a Viper in the United States, for a year would emit the same amount of carbon dioxide as is absorbed by an acre of oak trees, the association said.

What It's Like To Own A Tesla Roadster

Tesla's Roadster is an undeniably cool looking car, but it might be better to browse rather than buy.

Here's an excerpt of a funny review of the Roadster that was posted anonymously to the Tesla Motor Club message board. If you're ever lucky enough to own a Roadster, this is what you're in for...

Five More Electric Cars from Mitsubishi

Mitsubishi announced earlier this month that its i-MiEV electric car would cost $45,660, and Wheels readers raised their eyebrows at the high price for the tiny car. Even with a $14,000 credit from the Japanese government, the car would be expensive for what it is — a small city car with a battery range of 75 to 100 miles.

“These companies better get real about their prices, unless they are including a lifetime supply of batteries,” wrote Dick.

A Move to Put the Union Label on Solar Power Plants

SACRAMENTO — When a company called Ausra filed plans for a big solar power plant in California, it was deluged with demands from a union group that it study the effect on creatures like the short-nosed kangaroo rat and the ferruginous hawk.

By contrast, when a competitor, BrightSource Energy, filed plans for an even bigger solar plant that would affect the imperiled desert tortoise, the same union group, California Unions for Reliable Energy, raised no complaint. Instead, it urged regulators to approve the project as quickly as possible.

One big difference between the projects? Ausra had rejected demands that it use only union workers to build its solar farm, while BrightSource pledged to hire labor-friendly contractors.

Hot tub technology

Forget expensive high-tech silver bullets such as nuclear fusion and carbon capture and storage; the solution to climate change lies in the humble electric immersion heater that sits in the hot water tank under your stairs. That's the view of Dr Mark Barrett, senior researcher at the UCL Energy Institute, who will present his analysis at a meeting in the House of Commonson 18 June.

A tank with an immersion heater may be just an oversized kettle, but there are thought to be around 19m in Britain's homes, which collectively have the ­capacity to store huge amounts of energy as hot water. And this could be key to achieving an almost wholly renewable electricity supply.

Europe Looks to Africa for Solar Power

NEW YORK — The European project known as Desertec is nothing if not ambitious.

It aims to harvest the sun’s energy — using a method known as concentrating solar power, or C.S.P. — from the vast North African desert and deliver it as electricity, via high-voltage transmission lines, to markets in Europe. Eventually, its backers say, it could satisfy as much as 15 percent of the European Union’s power needs.

Disaster Request for a Drought-Hit County in California

LOS ANGELES — Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger made an unusual request Friday, asking President Obama to declare Fresno County a federal disaster area because of a three-year drought that is straining California’s agricultural industry and worsening unemployment in the hard-hit Central Valley.

Destroying Levees in a State Usually Clamoring for Them

In the 1960s, a group of businessmen bought 16,000 acres of swampy bottomland along the Ouachita River in northern Louisiana and built miles of levee around it. They bulldozed its oak and cypress trees and, when the land dried out, turned it into a soybean farm.

Now two brothers who grew up nearby are undoing all that work. In what experts are calling the biggest levee-busting operation ever in North America, the brothers plan to return the muddy river to its ancient floodplain, coaxing back plants and animals that flourished there when President Thomas Jefferson first had the land surveyed in 1804.

A show of faith: Green Hill Urban Farm reimagines agriculture

Ducklings quack and mutter, picking through the dirt for slugs and weed seeds. In a thicket of cerulean love-in-a-mist, bumblebees hum a slow bass line against the staccato cries of the chickadees flitting from branch to branch amid the apple trees. Then THWACK! An arrow hits a low bridge spanning a drainage ditch, momentarily silencing the birds and sending splinters flying.

The intended target—a groundhog fattened by fresh farm produce—leaps, twists, then flies back to his burrow as fast as his stubby legs can carry him.

Saying No to Soy

The expansion of the soy industry in Paraguay has occurred in tandem with the violent oppression of small farmers and indigenous communities. Farmers have been bullied into growing soy with pesticides, at the expense of their food crops, health, and subsequently their farms. Farmers who live next to the soy fields have been driven away by the chemicals, which kill their crops and animals and cause illnesses. Since the first soy boom, almost 100,000 small farmers have been evicted from their homes and fields. Countless indigenous communities have been forced to relocate. Mechanized production reorganized labor relations, as those who stayed to work in the soy fields were replaced by tractors and combines. Entire communities fled to the cities to be street vendors and live in the exploding semi-urban slums around large cities. Farmers who refuse to leave their land are targeted by hired security forces, employed by the surrounding soy growers, in hope that they will eventually sell. A simultaneous campaign of “criminalization” has allowed the soy industry to use the state security and judicial apparatus to remove and punish resistant farmers. More than a hundred campesino leaders have been assassinated, and more than two thousand others have faced trumped-up charges for their resistance to the intrusion of agribusiness.

Did Sewage Sludge Lace the White House Veggie Garden With Lead?

In March, Michelle Obama delighted locavores when she planted an "organic" vegetable garden on the White House's South Lawn. For years, Alice Waters, Michael Pollan, and other sustainable food activists had been pushing the idea as a way to reseed interest in do-it-yourself agriculture. Less than two months later, the National Park Service disclosed that the garden's soil was contaminated with toxic lead, and the plot's educational value took on a new flavor as the New York Times and other papers discussed how to make urban backyards that are laced with old lead-based paint safe for growing kale and cauliflower. But those stories might have fingered the wrong culprit.

Fertilizer Divide: Too Much, Not Enough

For several years, The Times has been focusing on “the climate divide.” This is the glaring gap between nations like the United States, with huge energy appetites and vast resulting emissions of greenhouse gases, and those like the countries of sub-Saharan Africa, where a lack of energy options comes with high environmental and social costs (deforestation, deaths from lung ailments caused by cooking on wood or dung).

Now a new analysis of agriculture patterns in three parts of the world where corn is grown shows that there is also a glaring “fertilizer divide.” The authors write that overuse of fertilizer, particularly in China, where chemical fertilizers are heavily subsidized, is generating large amounts of air pollution, including the greenhouse gas nitrous oxide, and big water pollution problems. Among other findings, the authors said that fertilizer use on corn in northern China could be cut in half with no loss of production.

Green toilet wins city approval

It took more than four years of negotiations and construction, but this month an Austin Water Utility inspector gave final clearance to a glorified outhouse that is on the vanguard of down-and-dirty environmentalism.

Known as a composting toilet, the East Austin commode relies on the alchemy wrought by bacteria to transform human waste into a rich trove of soil. Specialists in so-called humanure have hailed the approval of the toilet as a watershed moment for common-sense environmentalism.

From the Ashes of ’69, a River Reborn

CLEVELAND — The first time Gene Roberts fell into the Cuyahoga River, he worried he might die. The year was 1963, and the river was still an open sewer for industrial waste. Walking home, Mr. Roberts smelled so bad that his friends ran to stay upwind of him.

Recently, Mr. Roberts returned to the river carrying his fly-fishing rod. In 20 minutes, he caught six smallmouth bass. “It’s a miracle,” said Mr. Roberts, 58. “The river has come back to life.”

A Green Coalition Gathers Strength in Europe

BRUSSELS — One of the real victors in this month’s elections for the European Parliament is a 64-year-old former radical, an ebullient Franco-German who has turned his efforts to transform society from revolution to ecology.

‘Plan B’: less climate action than we need

If the best climate scientists are frightened, we should be too. And we should be appalled and angry at the big corporate polluters and pro-business governments who continue to wreck the planet for profit.

Australian Emissions Trading Plan in Trouble

NEWCASTLE, AUSTRALIA — On the windswept streets of Newcastle, the world’s largest coal port and a hub of Australian heavy industry, people get nervous when asked to give their opinions on climate change.

Australia is the world’s largest exporter of coal, which pumps billions of dollars into the economy, supplies more than 80 percent of the nation’s electricity and keeps tens of thousands of people in their jobs — particularly in and around Newcastle. But the carbon dioxide produced from burning coal is also a major contributor to climate change, a problem the center-left Labor government has vowed to address.

The Coming Oil Crisis

Rubin's argument is powerful. There's no denying that the international economy has become critically dependent on oil as its main source for energy. Yet, like other believers in the "peak oil" theory, he falls into the trap of underestimating society's capacity to meet future fuel challenges through innovation and conservation. The story of energy over the past century has been one of breakthroughs, not retreat—so although the energy problems we face today should be a cause for concern, global integration will continue to deepen and the world is not likely to get smaller any time soon.

Greens told no alternative to fossil fuels

LISTEN to ministers and green campaigners and you would think that we are on a happy path to greener energy, with renewable sources of power freeing us from reliance on fossil fuels.

It is a pipe dream, according to a leader of Saudi Arabia’s oil industry. Abdallah Jum’ah, who stepped down last year as chief executive of Saudi Aram-co, the state-owned oil company, said objective assessment of the world’s energy needs showed renewable resources would provide only a minute share of what was required. Oil, gas and coal would remain the fuels of choice - and there was plenty of oil left, he told the Royal Academy of Engineering last week.

Brown demands emergency plan to stop oil wrecking recovery

Gordon Brown has ordered top ministers at the Treasury and Department of Business to draw up plans to cope with rising oil prices and a lending drought for UK companies, amid fears that the nation's economic recovery risks being derailed.

Brown is seeking an international agreement to tackle the rising cost of crude, which rose to almost $72 a barrel on Friday.

Oil’s ‘High Wave’ Shows Rally Is Fading: Technical Analysis

(Bloomberg) -- The two-month rally in crude oil is threatened by the “high wave” configuration formed by prices yesterday, according to FuturesTechs.com Ltd.

Oil rush: Scramble for Iraq's wealth

Critics said the war was all about the nation's lucrative fuel industry. Are they now being proved right?

Boehner Urges Obama to Push for Block on Gasoline Sales to Iran

(Bloomberg) -- House Republican Leader John Boehner called on President Barack Obama to push for an embargo of gasoline sales to Iran and take “a harder position” on that country’s suppression of political dissent.

U.S. leadership in organizing an international “block” on sales of “refined oil products” to Iran would “have an immediate impact on this regime’s horrible record” of not “dealing with their people in a fair and open way” as it tries to curb protests against the vote that re-elected President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Boehner said.

The Commodity Conunndrum: The Hidden Parameter in Interest Rates

According to the prevailing theory the Market price of a mineral is its marginal cost of extraction: the cost of extraction of the most expensive unit that find its way on the Market.

Reminder: the Marginal Cost of Extraction does not include fixed cost (i.e. exploration cost, cost of an offshore platform, etc...).

If that was true then the marginal cost of extraction would have risen has much as $140!

In order to account for that unexpected behaviour people have invoked the concept of peak oil or the possibility that minerals would behave like stocks and would discount some future value, without even trying to find out what those future value were.

Taking their Chances: Many consumers, dealers shun lock-in oil prices

Many consumers are wary of locking in winter prices now after last year, he said, since “2008 was just an impossible year to predict, given the fact we had a massive run-up through the middle of July and then we had a massive decline” come fall.

“We had a lot of consumers who were scared (during the summer) and locked in, and apparently regretted it later,” he said. “Last year was historic in terms of the behavior of energy markets.”

Nigeria: Nigeria-Russia Set to Sign Nuclear Deal

Lagos — Nigeria and Russia are to sign a nuclear energy cooperation accord next Wednesday when President Dmitry Medvedev becomes the first Kremlin leader to visit Nigeria, officials said.

Indonesia Mud Eruption May Persist for 30 Years, Geologist Says

(Bloomberg) -- An Indonesian mud eruption that displaced about 40,000 people and caused more than $4.9 billion of damage may keep flowing at its current rate for the next 30 years, according to a geologist in Australia.

...“This is really only an estimate,” Tingay said in a Geological Society of Australia statement. “The high flow rate may only continue for two or three years, or it might continue for hundreds of years.”

Community garden under way in Clearlake

The community garden in Clearlake is one of many efforts in the larger community to reconnect Americans to their food sources.

With the average meal traveling 1,200 miles from grower to plate, the local food movement has gained popularity in response to rising oil prices, peak oil and global warming issues.

This Boomer Isn't Going to Apologize

I could go on, but you get the point. We partied like it was 1999, paid for it with Ponzi schemes and left the mess for our kids and grandkids to clean up. We're sorry -- so sorry.

Well, I'm not. I have two teenagers and an 8-year-old, and I can say firsthand that if boomer parents have anything for which to be sorry it's for rearing a generation of pampered kids who've been chauffeured around to soccer leagues since they were 6. This is a generation that has come to regard rising affluence as a basic human right, because that is all it has ever known -- until now. Today's high-school and college students think of iPods, designer cellphones and $599 lap tops as entitlements. They think their future should be as mapped out as unambiguously as the GPS system in their cars.

New power-plant drain on rivers sparks debate

New power plants planned along the lower Colorado River could use the same water supply that was denied San Antonio for future growth.

The driving force is simple. Power shortages are forecast for Texas’ future — shortages that power companies are rushing to meet with new plants.

But experts, environmental groups and others are beginning to question whether there is enough water available to serve the massive facilities.

Norwegian oil refinery aims for change

MONGSTAD, Norway (AFP) – Norway's most polluting industrial site, the Mongstad oil refinery, is now looking to lead the way on fighting climate change.

Located on the country's west coast, the refinery spits out around 1.7 million tonnes of carbon dioxide every year -- a gas that is widely blamed for global warming.

But the Mongstad site will soon start road-testing new technology known as 'Carbon Capture and Storage' (CCS) as its owners look to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide emitted in its day-to-day operations.

This is green energy?

Redefining environmental terms to fit state and federal energy policies is nothing new.

In 2002, for example, American Electric Power saved millions of dollars a year by buying latex-covered coal to burn at its Gavin power plant.

The latex didn't reduce pollution, but it qualified as an "alternative fuel" under a federal law that set aside millions in tax credits.

Bill McKibben: I’m spewing carbon for your benefit and mine

What do you call a climate change campaigner sitting on an aeroplane? Sheepish. Especially since this flight to London is one of about 100 I’ve taken this year. I’m a carbon machine. Do I offset? I do. Do I think it matters? I don’t.

The struggle against global warming is really war on the poor

The real struggle is about keeping resources and spending locked in the developed world as opposed to releasing them to the emerging world. Forcing expensive changes on Western energy producers and consumers keeps money flowing to the largest companies, from Archer Daniels Midland, busy producing ineffective biofuels while fixing prices and being the 10th largest polluter in the US, to General Electric, happy to join Big Oil as Big Windmill--sorry, Ecomagination.

Desert icon Joshua trees are vanishing, scientists say

The ancient plants are dying in the park, the southern-most boundary of their limited growing region, scientists say. Already finicky reproducers, Joshua trees are the victim of global warming and its symptoms -- including fire and drought -- plus pollution and the proliferation of non-native plants. Experts expect the Joshuas to vanish entirely from the southern half of the state within a century.

Could we engineer a cooler planet?

After years of deadlock over climate policy, Congress appears poised to enact the first federal limits on greenhouse gas emissions this fall. Yet a growing number of climate scientists and scholars believe that such efforts are likely to be too little, too late to stop warming -- and that, consequently, a broader view of our climate policy options is needed.

U.S. Northeast CO2 Permits Fall to Record on Auction

(Bloomberg) -- Contracts for carbon dioxide permits in the U.S. Northeast’s “cap-and-trade” program fell to a record low today after prices declined in the latest auction of new allowances.

Ecologists’ own goal: ozone saver is global warmer

THE green movement’s greatest triumph – the abolition of ozone-destroying CFC gases in the 1980s – may become its biggest embarrassment because of research showing that their replacements are sharply accelerating global warming.

Obama's climate change silence

The top scientific advisers in the Obama administration on Tuesday unveiled a startling new report on what the latest climate science tells us is both already happening and likely to happen in the near future if planet-warming emissions continue unhindered. The report is astounding – in the foreseeable future, the United States could witness the submersion of the Florida Keys, up to 100 days of more-than-100-degree heat in places like Texas and the end of a domestic maple syrup industry.

For those who were paying attention, these were shocking findings. But it's not quite clear who, if anyone, is actually paying attention. Obama himself has been notably absent from the conversation, when his attention is likely the only voice that could move this issue forward.

U.S. Climate Bill to Cost $22 Billion a Year by 2020, CBO Says

(Bloomberg) -- A proposed “cap-and-trade” law to cut U.S. greenhouse gas emissions would cost $22 billion a year by 2020, or $175 for every household, the Congressional Budget Office said.

The Philippines: Warming could cut rice production by 75 percent: Rice riots must be averted

RICE production will decline by as much as 75 percent in the Philippines if it is not quick enough to adapt to and put in place safeguards against climate change. The decline starts in 2020, according to a study made by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and released this week during a high level regional meeting on the impact of climate change in Asia and the Pacific.

The fall in rice production in the Philippines is the highest in the four countries—RP, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam—covered by the study. Indonesia will have the lowest decline at 35 percent.

Global starvation imminent as US faces crop failure

The world faces “mass starvation” following North America’s next major crop failure. And it could even happen before year’s end. So says Chicago-based Don Coxe, who is one of the world’s leading experts on agricultural commodities, so much so that Canada’s renowned BMO Financial Group named the fund after him.

Climate change will cause shorter crop growing seasons and the world’s under-developed farming sector is ill-prepared to make up for the shortfall, Coxe says. He has been following the farming industry for many years and benefits from more than 35 years of institutional investment experience in Canada and the U.S. This includes managing the best-performing mutual fund in the U.S., Harris Investment Management, as recently as 2005.

So it looks like Brown has realised that another oil price spike is likely to put paid to any 'recovery' and more worrying for him, its likely before he can safely call the next election.

He wants the BoE to keep the interest rate low and the bankers to lend more to get some real 'bubble' going so he has a hope of getting back in by the spring of next year. Actually cutting the money supply to prevent inflation, or oil prices killing it stone dead are firmly on his radar.

Of course, this is the ideal opportunity to do something serious about efficiency. Reducing demand for energy whilst increasing demand for new work = double bonus. A politician is desperate, now's the time.

So what quick, low hanging fruit on the driving front could he implement that would go well with the electorate?

Lets see, what simple, easy tricks would cut demand and thus force the price of oil down? Britannia might call for a blockade of other nations which import large quantities of oil. Or, invade and conquer some oil rich nations, thereby gaining assured access to that oil. Or, perhaps destroy some other oil consuming nation(s), perhaps by nuking their main city(s), such as Tokyo or Moscow or Washington and NYC...

Or, muddle through with a big tax on transport fuels. Woops, been there, doing that. There's always free KoolAid for the kiddies or starting an intentional pandemic...

E. Swanson

On a different note:
Disgruntled Mexicans Plan an Election Message to Politicians: We Prefer Nobody

The American voters have picked folks which they thought to be outsiders since Jimmy Carter. Of course, we've been fooled every time. Jimmy Carter was a member of the Trilateral Commission, hardly an outsider.

What if the Mexicans got serious and everyone that wanted to protest wrote in the same name, like HeyZeus Afraida Nobody (in the spanish version)?? The punsters would go wild...

E. Swanson

Re: Obama's climate change silence

It's rather astounding that this story is in a British news paper. How much has been said in the U.S. media about this important report? Don't the media have any idea that this is the summary of many other government science reports, generated over the past 6 years? And, the latest findings are that the model results have been rather conservative, that is, things are changing faster than previously projected. Instead, we get stories about the cost of the cap-and-trade bill, which isn't likely to make much difference unless it actually costs the consumer enough for her to cut way back on her consumption. Hey, I wanna buy a Hummer, can the Chinese make one for me? It would look great parked next to my Lear Jet...

E. Swanson

How much has been said in the U.S. media about this important report?

Quite a bit, actually. I've posted links to stories about it from AP, Reuters, USA Today, CNN, MSNBC, etc. over the past week or two.

There have also stories from local US media, about how climate change is predicted to affect individual states, etc.

Oh? The U.S. media aren't very good at getting the facts out. I just ran a Google search on:
[news "http://globalchange.gov/publications/reports/scientific-assessments/us-impacts"]

I only link included in a MSM news paper, the Salt Lake Tribune. The top of the list was a note in WIRED...

E. Swanson

You Googled the URL to the report? Of course you didn't get many hits--the clowns in the mainstream media are so terrified that someone might (gasp!) click away from their site for a few minutes that they very seldom post links to the reports they write about. This is something I struggle with constantly, as it probably costs me at least 4 hours every week to try to chase down the report that some writer at a newspaper or magazine or whatever references.

As for the larger issue, this report did get some coverage, but not nearly as much as I would have liked. My guess is that it's that old problem of something being important but not "news". The media still has some very odd and outdated notions of how they should and shouldn't spend their most precious commodity (the customer's attention span). All too often it works against the best interest of humanity and slows down the efforts by people like us to educate and activate people on the issues of peak oil and climate chaos.

I don't think that's a reasonable way of measuring it.

Your search didn't find this story, and it includes a link. (It was the McPaper's top story that day, and CNN's as well.)

I think all your search proves is that's not a good Google search. The "pages that link to" thing might work better.

OK. But, I share louGrinzo's feeling that there is a serious lack of concern for scholarship n the MSM, given that it takes about 30 seconds to include a hot link in a story. Then too, the McPaper is so slack that they don't even include a date with their story, other than to copyright it.

E. Swanson

Most of the news stories DO include links. But they are text links, not bare URLS, and so not picked by Google's normal search function.

This will be picked up by Google's normal search:


This won't be.

Most newspapers do the latter, or they shorten the URL, as in this story from the NY Times:

The study, overseen by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, will be posted at www.globalchange.gov/usimpacts.

It's hot linked, but because the text is a shortened URL, it wouldn't show up in your search.

The USA Today story actually is dated. The date is in the URL. It also has this text, up top and at the bottom: Posted 4d 20h ago Updated 4d ago.

Once it gets older than a few days, that text will be replaced by a date.

This new study is all fine. However, why should it make any more difference than IPCC?

OK. But, I share louGrinzo's feeling that there is a serious lack of concern for scholarship n the MSM, given that it takes about 30 seconds to include a hot link in a story.

The typical consumer of MSM drivel hardly knows how to spell the word scholarship, let alone what it means...So what makes you think that their reporters would give a rat's ass?

Herzallas's comments on The coming Oil Crisis are pretty weak. For those of us who have read Rubin's book, his suggestions include the need for American's especially, to launch a massive campaign to meet future fuel challenges through innovation and conservation. But Rubin has been clear that the kind of efficiencies we have managed in the past of 1-2% per year fall far below what will be needed.

The bottom line is that Americans will need to "retool" our society so we can create conservation reductions in the 50-80% range. This can only be done by re-localizing our lifestyles.

“It’s only on the brink that people find the will to change. Only at the precipice do we evolve.”

John Cleese in The day the earth stood still.

Doctor House says "Almost dying changes nothing". And, "Dying changes everything".

I agree

Yet, like other believers in the "peak oil" theory, he [Rubin] falls into the trap of underestimating society's capacity to meet future fuel challenges through innovation and conservation. The story of energy over the past century has been one of breakthroughs, not retreat—so although the energy problems we face today should be a cause for concern, global integration will continue to deepen and the world is not likely to get smaller any time soon.

Easy for a "reporter" (Newsweek) to assure us that technology will save us --and yes Virginia, the breath taking breakthroughs will continue to come as they always have in the past; for what is history if not a narrative that guarantees us that "we" (the surviving reporters) will somehow muddle through it and survive all upcoming challenges.

The reporter fails to integrate reality into his preparation for the article, which seems to be a review, of Rubin's work (which I have not read but intend do to). In any reasonable scenario, if the US quits importing the vast quantities presently hitting our shores, our economy will come to a standstill. To assume that we can conserve enough to significantly reduce the consumption is pure folly. That leaves as the only alternative increasing domestic production at any cost. I would love to volunteer to help his vision there. There are numerous abandoned wells, fields and other known deposits which are in their present state due to "watering out" - the point where the oil produced is made uneconomical by the cost of both producing and disposing of co-produced salt water. Given enough money per barrel, I can produce some of the wells which can still make 1 bbl oil for each 1,000 bbls of salt water. I do not know what that cost would be, but I am speaking in general terms here, but I would estimate that a break even cost for that oil is about $500 a barrel. Unless the reporter is (personally) willing to pay such a cost, I would suggest that he be prepared to spend his paycheck on the stuff Rubin seems to concerned about - including the increased taxes to pay for the additional needed infrastructure.

We will somehow muddle through it and survive all upcoming challenges.

We delude ourselves to think 'survival of the fittest' doesn't apply to us!

I suppose the Newsweek author includes the replacement of oil supplied from one depleted region (USA) by a relatively unexploited region (Saudi) by the worlds largest consumer as a shining example of a miraculous "breakthrough".

A breakthrough may have been when we actually adapted to shortages and high prices in the 70s by building much higher mileage vehicles - but we pretty quickly abandoned that technological marvel when it was easier to just latch on to another source of cheap oil.

As always, the reporters - who think of themselves as the smartest guys in the room - have the liberty to just deal in generalities. What exactly are the technologies of the future Mr. Newsweek reporter ? The time has long since passed to start providing some specifics rather than just these empty "soothing and baffling expedients" (to borrow from a famous quote in the upper right).

Tat WSJ opinion piece was by Stephen Moore, who was founder and president of the CLUB FOR GROWTH!
Fer cryin out loud, he is complaining about the kids being pampered too much and thinking they are entitled to all sorts of gadgets and fun activities. What does he really expect, he ran a pro-consumption organization called CLUB FOR GROWTH!
These Republicans are masters of projection who reveal all their layers of hypocrisy if people would just dig a little bit.

On the other hand you have Bill Mckibbon righteously declaring:

I’m a carbon machine. Do I offset? I do. Do I think it matters? I don’t.

Yesterday I drove 35 miles to a coastal Estuary in Solana Beach to do environmental restoration. Did I think about the hypocrisy of it all? Hell yes.

I admire Ed Begley Jr. but he's a millionaire and can afford "his passion". I live in a small condo with my wife and we don't turn on the heat in winter nor A/C in the summer. Her son won't stay with us at Christmas because it's "too cold". Does all of this "green activity" make any difference? Of course not. We're not going to halt "climate change" like flipping off a light switch.

Let's face it, humans are an opportunistic species and we're going to live as well as we can as long as we can. Should we feel guilty about it? Absolutely...but I was raised Catholic so guilt is part of my upbringing. Lets drop our own personal "layers of hypocrisy".

I'm in San Diego. Thanks for going to all that trouble to help with the restoration on the coast. I love riding along the coast on my trike (pedal).

I don't turn on the heat either. I'm on the edge of La Jolla and don't have A/C either. It gets a little warm during August and September and a little cold in January. Nothing that a little wet towel or blanket cannot overcome.

I personally drive as little as possible. Mostly because I have a pedal trike that I ride for exercise, not to reduce my fuel consumption or "Carbon footprint".

My efforts will make little change when the government tries in vain to keep things running the same instead of issuing a public statement that "It is time to change the way we get around", and then actually do something about it. The public will use whatever fuel is available, just like I have for decades. It's not 100% their fault that oil and gas have been the fuel of choice. They are simply using what is at the pump.

The people of this country need to refocus their push. "Carbon footprints", "Environmental awareness" and recycling make little impact if the government doesn't go along with it.

I was raised Catholic too and have no guilt whatsoever at driving around using gasoline. It's what is available for the masses. Until we mandate an alternative that's just going to keep on going.

San Diego Observer.

If you want to really understand whats going on in San Diego you need to educate yourself about the tragedy of the California Coastal Estuaries. I am sad to inform you that we have already lost 95% of them due to development from Baja to San Luis Obispo. It is not merely the loss of human recreational opportunities. The real tragedy is that bird, fish, insect and endemic plant species have crashed to pre-extinction levels.

Here is a link: http://www.sanelijo.org/

Did you know that San Diego is part of the California Floristic Province? That is one of 18 biodiversity hotspots on the planet. If you're looking for the canary in the coalmine, massive extinction due to loss of biodiversity is it.

So get going. Time is short!

I'm getting cranky about the notion that our biggest problem is Peak Oil. Trust me...we'll run out of air to breathe long before we run out of hydro-carbons to burn.


California Floristic Province? What the ???

I've never heard of that.

Thanks for the link.

I have watched the coast line slowly fill up with houses and freeways over the last 45 years and it angers me to no end. I'm politically active but find my efforts at reducing development of critical areas futile. The San Diego City Council seems to always grant projects to developers. I'm sure you see it often. The developers seem to run city hall.

"I have watched the coast line slowly fill up with houses and freeways over the last 45 years and it angers me to no end. I'm politically active but find my efforts at reducing development of critical areas futile."

Here's the problem: anti-development NIMBYism, unless it's combined with POPULATION CONTROL will always be doomed to failure. Attempting to artifically limit the *supply* of something (housing) without doing anything to address fundamental *demand* (increased population), will only succeed in doing one of two things:

a) Drive up the price of the increasingly scarce commodity (housing).

b) Motivate people to seek alternatives/substitutes for that increasingly scarce and costly commodity. In the case of housing, this basically means driving lower-income families into moving elsewhere --and taking the same problems with them to their new location.

Club for Growth tells all other people to increase consumption.
McKibben tells people to decrease consumption.

The first leads to accelerating depletion, the second approach has the effect of mitigating depletion.

So McKibben is the value of 1, and he tells N people to reduce consumption while he necessarily doesn't. The fact that N is much bigger than 1 means that he is effective at what he does. The exact same argument was leveled at Al Gore by the Repubs. It's a canard, but it works with their followers, and they project that Gore is the hypocrite.

The Repubs are not only hypocrites, they either lack basic math skills or purposely want to deceive. I suspect the latter.

Web - I'm not attacking Mckibben. I've taken every suggestion he's ever made to heart. I have simply resigned myself to the notion that 6.8 billion people soon to be 9 billion on a planet designed for maybe 4 to 800 million = Big Trouble. There will not be a soft landing but those are my equations.

I do however agree with you about the Republicans. Most of my family (on my fathers side)are rock-ribbed republicans (and one or two ex-clansman to boot)and they don't particularly care for "the facts". That only gets in the way of "expressin' dar' ohpinions".


Hypocritic behavior makes it much easier for the deliverer of the message to be dismissed and ignored.

Yes, Al Gore's hypocrisy with his $2000 per month utility bills really does matter.

Are you referring to the electric bill for the building which serves as his home, an office for him and his staff, and which provides the facilities for meetings and training, such as training for the people who went out, on their own time, and made supplemental presentations in conjunction with "An Inconvenient Truth"?

Just wondering. Thought maybe he had another facility I had not heard about.

You did spell hypocrisy correctly though.

From The Observer: Goldman to make record bonus payout (ht CR)

Goldman Sachs staff can look forward to the biggest bonus payouts in the firm's 140-year history after a spectacular first half of the year ... Staff in London were briefed last week on the banking and securities company's prospects and told they could look forward to bumper bonuses if, as predicted, it completed its most profitable year ever.
In April, Goldman said it would set aside half of its £1.2bn first-quarter profit to reward staff, much of it in bonuses. It is believed to have paid 973 bankers $1m or more last year, while this year's payouts are on track to be the highest for most of the bank's 28,000 staff, including about 5,400 in London.

I can't believe they have the gall to publicize this.
All they did was steal from the tax payer.

Goldman Sachs employees are paid by the taxpayer-they can take any wild risk possible and the next time it doesn't pay off, the taxpayer has to pay. Good for them.

"All they did was steal from the tax payer."

So, it's a victimless crime, nothing to see here move along! The banks do not add anything much to society just take a share, they should be there to facilitate trade. Example, in foreign exchange trading less than 5% of trades are for the real economy the remainder are for the banks own books.

Things will not change whilst there is a revolving door policy between government and wall street.

I keep hearing that deflation is bad for the economy. Can anyone explain why? It would certainly encourage people to save money.

There is the idea of "why buy today what I can get tomorrow for less". If enough people do this, then aside from food and other essentials, the whole economy slows, which leads to layoffs, recession, and people cut back their spending even further. They usually call it a deflationary spiral for this reason as it tends to reinforce itself, and once you are in one, they are tough to get out of.

That's what "they" say, but you don't see too many examples of it happening throughout history. To my knowledge, there is not a single case of deflation ever occurring when the money supply is increasing.

The reason why a government would want people to believe the deflation argument is so that people won't complain when 300 billion in public debt is erased using printing presses.

If you want to be objective, just look at the CPI for the last two years. I believe we can all agree it was a spectacular implosion of the system we just witnessed. However, the CPI in the last 24 months has gone UP by about 3%. Show me the deflation! It's a bullsh.t argument thrown around by the B Arts economists. Any B Science economist (you know, the ones with calculators?) would be happy to tell you prices are going to balloon big time sooner rather than later. It may not happen by 3pm tomorrow, but then again, either is gas rationing.


Deflation means the money supply and the overall economy contracts, but our capitalist economies BY DESIGN require growth.

For us growth isn't a 'nice to have' it is a 'must have' or the current system fails spectacularly as in the 1930s to be replaced by something else. In the 1930s there was enough cheap energy to allow a massively wasteful world war to reignite growth.

We live in a very complex interconnected system like nothing that has ever existed before so nobody understands in detail the failure modes, the only thing you can be sure of is worldwide deflation is very likely to be a failure mode that, as the Japanese have shown, is very difficult to escape from.

I keep hearing that deflation is bad for the economy. Can anyone explain why? It would certainly encourage people to save money.

The argument that it would encourage savings (why buy today when it will be cheaper tomorrow), has already been made. A problem during downturns, is that so many start saving, that fewer can be employed to make stuff and provide services. Keynesian economics was invented to use government to do the borrowing/spending during downturns to stabilize the economic cycle.

Aside from that there are some other arguments. One is wage flexibility. It is hard to cut an employees pay, but not so hard to make adjustments by making raises less than the rate of inflation. It is presumed that an inflation rate of 2-3% is best.

Another argument concerns debt, inflation makes it easier to pay it back. The change from (expected) inflation to less inflation or deflation can be pretty tough to handle. Imagine having an interest only loan, after many years you want to sell the house -but you are underwater in the mortgage.

That bit about debt and deflation is interesting. That is what caused the strife in the deflation of the late 19th century, especially amongst farmers where the real value of their debt increased while the money they got for their produce declined. Hence William Jennings Bryan.

Well to be clear the Deflationist are getting a bit of a big head.

Primarly because of an ideological battle between people that believe simple monetary inflation can cure all evil and save the whales and allow you to keep driving that SUV.

What we are in now is primarily debt deflation very little real wealth has been destroyed only debt and inflated equity valuations of all types which are based on future growth potential.

The money supply itself i.e that amount of dollars in the bank has actually increased most of it just sitting on the banks books at the Fed drawing interest. This money probably does not offset the banks loan losses.

So debt deflation rules !

In debt deflation when debts are defaulted on and new credit difficult to get the prices of goods and services bought with debt will fall and fall dramatically.

The leads to a serious Recession but not a depression.

Over time if conditions don't improve in general because the Government bolsters the banking system which is now far larger then required to provide the loan for the smaller debt load you go into depression.

What happens is the industrial output was expanded assuming a certain amount of purchases with debt as these purchases decline we have massive industrial overcapacity. No one can do anything about it. The consumer has to repair his balance sheet and even if he does the amount of idled production is huge.

This puts downward pressure on prices most importantly on high ticket items such as homes and cars generally purchased with debt. But you also have a general economic slow down.

However we still have the old fashioned cash economy before the massive use of debt this economy is used to purchase food, gasoline pay rent and service debt. In general for parts of the economy that are critical food, gasoline etc the demand is related to the population not to the overall economic situation. Its per capita demand. Now during the Great Depression food prices also declined in the US but this was probably triggered by falling food exports leading to overcapacity for production in the US.


However they where relatively high obviously for the unemployed who had no money. Also of course many families lived on the farm or had relatives on the farm and where willing and able to grow gardens so "store bought" food was not nearly as critical as it is today.

This is important because obviously we are concerned with the price movements of commodities and esp food and gasoline as we enter a Depression. Expectation of cheap oil and cheap food because of monetary deflation esp predominately debt deflation are not supported by the fundamentals nor expected to follow exactly what happened in the 1930's. Critical parts of the economy track population and thus the dynamics are different from those associated with much of the rest of the economy which produces unneeded goods and services.

What happens exactly is open to debate but don't assume that changes in the monetary system will result in the same price reaction for critical goods as it does for other goods and services. Esp if they become in short supply relative to the population and infrastructure requirements.

Given our agricultural system is totally dependent on oil once can expect this time around that food prices will track oil prices. Given that oil usage is closely related to population if oil is declining we can expect oil to be scarce. Therefore it makes sense that oil and food prices will continue to rise even as other parts of the economy deflate.

This Boomer Isn't Going to Apologize

This one isn't going to apologize either

If you had children, maybe you should rethink that strategy.

"Sorry, kids, but we're not sorry for bringing you into this hell hole of a world. We're not sorry that we knew about most of the trials and tribulations you would experience and did nothing to prepare you for them. We're not sorry we subjected you to schooling, religion, and the mass media. We're not sorry that we did not pay attention. We're not sorry that we didn't think about the future."

I'm not sorry, either, boomers, that you end up alone and forgotten in retirement homes. Or worse, eaten post crash.

"As I hung up the phone it occurred to me
My boy was just like me."
- Harry Chapin, "Cat's in the Cradle"

Everytime I hear that song I have to stop and go outside under some trees and meditate from a long time to get my soul back.

Its just that way. But today was Fathers Day,also my son's birthday and my 47th wedding anniversary and my only granddaughters birthday.

We are all seperated. Some do not speak. My wife does not live with me. My daughter has gone incommunicado for the last year.

I still have the wife but lost everything else in the courts.Some $200,000 in assets. Gone. Poof.

So my son is NOT like me. He is far worse and will never live by my outmoded standards and principles. That is where my self-pity rises from and the pathos from the song.

That was a far far long time ago when that song came out. A hugely different world.The dying of the American Dream and all the empty promises it held. Gone. Poof.

Those were golden times though. We laughed and sang and danced and thought it would never end. Gone. Poof.

Airdale-who killed the dreamingtime? I do not know but its Gone. Poof.

Airdale, Sorry to hear of all of the personal tragedies. I have been through several - filed for divorce and my nephew, whom I raised like a son, died that same night, two years ago. My nephew left a one month old son, and I am now helping to care for him. Poof, that is just about how it went, you are right there.

But still, you have the loving family and a few old grouches here at TOD, especially in the DB. Keep reflecting and posting, please.

After keying up that comment I decided to not post it and pulled the plug on my Blackberry EVDO but it must have shipped anyway...

I think there is a lot of family tragedies these days but they do not get told. My friends here in the outback can tell some that are unbelievable..of violence unchecked, and worse.

But there is far more tragedy on its way I fear.

Thanks for the reply,

And now another Red Dog to quench my thirst and salute Fathers Day and the ending of many dreams in our Amurkah...as we circle ever faster around yon drain.


airdale -

Yes, that song, 'Cats in the Cradle', can really get to me too, especially if I'm listening to it in the evening (on vinyl) after consuming more adult beverages than I know what's good for me.

Still, on balance, I think I was usually there for my son, even though I used to travel more than I would have liked to. And now that he's in his thirties, I think he appreciates that his dad wasn't so bad after all. (Which is nice to hear, as there was a short period when he was a lot younger in which he maintained that I was a total piece of crap who ruined his life.) He will no doubt go through the same thing, and probably so will his kids. This sort of thing has been going on as long as there have been people.

A big mistake some of us old farts tend to make is to superimpose our own values and norms (and even our superficial sense of style) onto the younger generation and then find them wanting. Well, my grandparents did that to my parents, and so on down the line as far back as one can see.

Fear not, the young people have their own weird sense of ethics and values and are not as useless and clueless as you perhaps believe. While they may have been spoilt regarding a lot of material things, they also face problems we never dreamed of. (Did you or I have to pass through metal detectors when we went to school, or have surveillance cameras looking up our arses wherever we went?) Quite frankly, I would rather be a young person coming of age in those tumultuous late 1960s than now.

So, it all tends to work out in the end, more or less. People in other times and in other places have gone through a lot, lot worse than what appears to be in store for the young generation of Americans. Still, it's gonna be a bitch.

Some unsolicited advice based on the old adage, 'It takes one to know one': I can't tell whether you are drinking too much or too little, but I think a minor recalibration in that regard might make you feel better.

I've always enjoyed your insightful posts, but get disturbed when you get down and beat up on yourself.

Yes, that song, 'Cats in the Cradle', can really get to me too, especially if I'm listening to it in the evening (on vinyl) after consuming more adult beverages than I know what's good for me.

Well, well. We have something in common. That song haunts me. Today is Father's Day, and I am spending it alone. I haven't spoken to my own Father, but I have spoken to my kids - one of whom "learned to walk while I was away..."

Robert -

I think your post above just broke the ice between us.

I thus offer you, in full view of all, a belated apology for my inexcusable comments several years whist on a drunken rant, lashing out at those who may have annoyed me but who never did me any harm. I was definitely guilty of a PUI (posting whilst intoxicated.)

While you still do strike me as a bit of a know-it-all, I am convinced that you are a sincere, honest, and decent person, and I always look forward to reading what you have to say.

So then, shall we henceforth at least be amicable, if not in total agreement?

I am not a know it all, but I can be a smart ass. I am all too aware of my faults. I know a little about a broad range of topics, but I consider myself to be an expert in but a few. If you ever want to know what I am really like, you can ask Nate. He knows me quite well - and I understand you and he get along well. I am compassionate and will go far out of my way to help a friend or even a stranger. But to people who intentionally try to annoy me - opposite end of the spectrum and a very long memory. (When I worked for ConocoPhillips, they administered a personality test as part of a management course; they said I had a highly divergent personality between friends/strangers and those I perceived as being against me).

But I accept your apology. I reacted strongly to your comments back then, because I felt like they weren't warranted. And that side of my personality never lets something like that go. (It is one of my faults). Unless of course the person seems to have had a change of heart, and then I am ready to wipe the slate clean.


A lot of us out here in OD land feel your pain.I wish you lived nearer,I'd come get you and haul you over for an extended visit.

Life's a bitch sometimes.

I never had any kids.

(No woman in her right mind would ever put up with me long enough,although a couple married me and a couple more moved in..)

I really don't know which of us is luckier in that respect.

I'm like you in that I have a very low tolerance for bullshit.

Momma has been bedridden for years and she had a (another)stroke a couple of days ago.

This will be the last Fathers Day we will ever spend together as a family.

Most of us have a hell of a lot to be grateful for.

We would have to slip off somewhere to pull a drunk cause my folks are tee totalers,no drinking on the premises,but otherwise you could teach me some computer stuff and we could build a wood gasifier truck to kill the time.I've got most of the materials collected already.

OFM,Joule and the rest,

Yeah its a bitch. I learned to handle alcohol a long time ago as I penned on an essay post to OFM today...about enlightment.

I read and chat with all the folks here and its like helps to keep me sane and going.

I ride the Harley and do what seems good as I wait for the Watchmen on the Wall to blow the horns.

Luck fellas,


That is one of the few tunes I can play on the guitar well. It is a cautionary tale that I took to heart while in university. It is quite appropriate on this Father's Day.

But I will leave my TOD friends with a word about death and parting (for airdale). Over the millennia we have been led to believe that in death we go "somewhere". We do not, we go to a feeling, an emotion, that which is within ourselves. Some call it love, and if you led a life most unkind, some call it hell. The rest is up to you.


That's almost the same as 'Going' to a website. Like TOD. Only we are 'going' to a series of thoughts, in front of a spectral but real audience.

Talk about 'flying by the seat of your pants'.

"I'm not sorry, either, boomers, that you end up alone and forgotten in retirement homes. Or worse, eaten post crash."

Well, 710 I wouldn't count your chickens. I suspect you'd most likely be in the stew pot, but we'd rather go without due to the bitter taste.

I'm a geezer/boomer, raised 2 sons who now live away from the farmstead. Both have quietly checked to see if it gets bad if they and their SOs can come here. Yes is the answer, of course. They know how to work, they know about chores, grew up raising chickens and pigs, huge gardens, and abundant wildlife. Both are crack shots. They still tell the stories of the pig rodeos, and the cold mid-winter outhouse. Their birthdays were celebrated with fruit tree plantings.

Much of the work I do around here now is something I will not see come to fruition, it's for them. I'm clearing more of the property for future pasture and even larger gardens, composting like mad so the areas are ready to go if needed. The house will take the same amount of wood to heat for 6 people as it does for 2.

They are well familiar with how it all works as they grew up building it all. It's theirs when they need it and I have no problems with that at all. I'm just the kindly old grumpy caretaker now.

You know, if you're passing by after it all hits, the boys might even make sure you get a meal, sometimes they both take kindness a lot farther than I would.

Don in Maine

All my life (since it began in '60) I've tried to learn all I can, work hard and strive to have the basics; food, water, shelter, clothes, car.

I'm one of 6 kids.

I've never had a Mercedes, an iPod, a cell phone or a new laptop.

I worked my butt off and finally ended up disabled due to a severely degenerated spine and now Arthritis of several joints around my body. Too much hard work for too long. I probably helped alot of company owners and managers put in new pools, buy their Mercedes' and travel to all corners of the earth. In hindsight I now have the knowledge that I was extremely GOOD at everything I did and know full well who was unnecessarily greedy and who was unskilled in everything EXCEPT collecting money.

I've never been in debt more than my now paid off mortgage and maybe 3 or 4 grand on credit cards that were paid for by companies that I worked for.

I'm not bitter and not looking for any medals either.

I'm simply taking one day at a time. And the strange thing is that I seem to be happier in my constant and sometimes unbearable pain than most of the people around me that I know.

I'm already alone. My wife, bless her heart, does not have a clue about Crude Oil, Water, turning a screwdriver, adjusting the clock on the VCR, changing oil, reloading ammunition or being communicative. Ending up alone is already on the plate, it's just a matter of time. I've got plenty of practice in being alone.

I have already seen how poorly many children treat their parents when they age, so being alone in my old age may just turn out better than some people's retirement.

Nobody (my Catholic parents included) ever said they were sorry to me for setting me up with double digit interest rates when I came of age to buy a house or the inflation that came with it (1970's). Nobody said they were sorry to me for bringing me into this world. Nobody ever comes to my aid unless I drop a crutch or drop my keys. That is the rare time when I see people's hearts. Just like the way people drive like idiots here in Southern California - as soon as there is a crash people come to someone's aid. Why not drive safely in the first place?

Too bad it takes crises to get people to act in a civilized manner towards each other. I still open doors for people even on my crutches and wait patiently on line at the bank - when I am physically able. Driving is a whole different issue. Nobody ever said they were sorry for not manufacturing cars that feature seats that recline back far enough so that I can drive in less pain.

Sorry if I angered you or got you upset. Not trying to. Just trying to survive in a life that most people would have pulled the trigger on years ago.


You gotta hang in there man. I worked hard all my life but for some reason at 70 I can still bury an ace in the deck with one hand. Ride my HD and still only have an occasional cramp at nite to take the hair blower to. So far no arthritis. No diabetes. No cancer return. No pills. No treatments. Life is ok.

Each fall I winter over and think I will never 'get in shape' again but I do. By June I am ok...then it gets hot as hell and I start hitting the keg in the icebox and laying in the shade...so what..to hell with it..the old lady is not here to yell at me...and if I get the boat and go to the lake then so what? Lay up under a cypress trunk , toss a bait and drink some more larger.

I call it freedom.

And even once in a while a young teenbopper looks my way as I cruise by. I don't even slow down but twist the throttle and go on my way but I did appreciate the glance anyway.


Thanks man. I get your text. You paint a cool picture. I'm hangin' in as best I can.

I rode a soft-tail till the spine could not do it any more, about 2003. Why oh WHY did they make those darned fuel valves backwards? I ran out of gas more than once.


Can't drink due to the meds. If I do I'm in for Liver failure. I don't want to be on a waiting list. ;)

The recumbent trike is my only fun stuff. Giving it muscle car stripes and a wing up high behind my head just for fun. Hand built by me, IF I can finish it before the Arthritis kicks my butt.


P.S. - I've had the trike up to 42 MPH going down Mt. Soledad road. Two hours of climbing for a 5 minute fun run. It's a cool rush when your butt is only 6" off the ground, the speed limit is 35, a cop passes by in the other direction and you're thinking to yourself - "Damn, the judge and the rest of the courtroom would probably giggle if they heard I broke the speed limit on a TRIKE" !!!

I enjoy my days. The old bod is still sound, heart works like it should, no arthritis, and my eyes are still good, 20/20 in the light. I'm amazed. I've had my bumps. I've been in a few tight spots and it's funny (as in "funny, I'll be damned!) how easy it would be to check out without a flinch. When your stuff is really in the wind, there is a peace that comes over you, no fear, no regrets, and no pain, just what's is about to happen. I don't fear death.

I too have an ex-wife. It never could have worked. I'm crazy and she's well, she's who she is. We don't talk, haven't for years. I've lived by myself for many years now. I remarried once; it didn't take...she left after 14 days. I kind of enjoyed the sack time...I invited her back for an evening now and then. She told me to go to hell. Women are funny. I speak with my children weekly. We're close and I sure enjoy them. They don't live around here, they don't visit often, but, still, we make the effort to maintain relationships. I saw my little brother last night. I like him a lot. He's a musician in a Blues Band up north.

Sometimes I would like to get out of here, get a little apartment next to a University Campus and spend my remaining days hanging out with youngsters, coffee shops, playing some music, take a few classes. I read math books during the winter time and try to work equations; a class or two would help. But, if I left my little Ranchito, what would I do with my dogs (Catahoulas), my mules, horses, cats, goats, chickens, geese, and a cow or two? I like my dogs, I like my horses and mules. I could never become attached to a cat; I like my chickens more. I have a rooster who sometimes rides in my truck with me, he sits on the console in front. I think he enjoys getting out. We've been friends for quite a long time.

My life is good. I'm happy.

Airdale, I like to see your comments. You ring a bell with me. You get me thinking of lots of folks I've known over the years, folks who I've liked. I don't like everyone. I'll never get back your way, and I doubt you'll ever get out to my neck of the woods. If you do, by some chance, and you never know, I've got some pretty good hooch in the cupboard; We'd have a drink on the porch. We could toast all that is, isn't, and might be. Best from the Fremont


Someday ifn I get me that Heritage Softail Classic and the fuel is still in the station pumps I may try a crosscountry...maybe the old trail that Robert Prisig did....

But what would I do with my two Jack Russels? So I stick around the farm and most times a 300 mile roundtrip is it.

A few minutes ago I got the news that my last remaining uncles passed away last night. He lives just a half mile up the road from me.

So someday before the 'music dies' I may take that trip. Will get up with you if that comes about. Fingers not crossed, age still a factor but its calls to me even so...

Airdale-have to go to a wake

I was talking to a group of young folks the other day. A mix of highschool grads and university students who were expressing deep anger over the issues they face.

I felt a bit guilty although most of them know that I have been fighting on their side for years.

I said yes the previous generations have picked all the low hanging fruit and one kid said "BULL SIHT they hacked down the effing tree to get the fruit on top too".

So I smiled big and started up a beat on my djimbe and eventually everyone started joining in.

This Boomer Isn't Going to Apologize

Gawd I hate these boomer op-ed pieces. Cop an attitude, be a rebel, be a contrarian skip the substance seems to be the formula. The largest newspapers (online as well as off) have been stuffed with this kind of arrogant ignorance for decades now, its mainly there to space out the car advertising. No wonder the media is viewed with such mixed feelings and is in such bad financial shape. Thanks for nothing buddy.

He's right about his children's generation, but blind when looking at his own, natch.

from the story above ......Cheer Up, It's Going to Get Worse


"[Chu] was my boss," Fridley says. "He knows all about peak oil, but he can't talk about it. If the government announced that peak oil was threatening our economy, Wall Street would crash. He just can't say anything about it."

Where is Jamaica's T. Boone Pickens?

The picture of how Jamaica's oil bill has moved over the past decade is astounding. In 1997, the bill stood at US$354.1 million, less than half of the gross value of bauxite/alumina exports, or a little more than half of the inflows of remittances. By 2000, it had reached US$ 906.8 million, an increase of 156 per cent surpassing bauxite exports by, nearly US$ 200 million, and remittances by US$120 million. Then we had the gargantuan movement to US$2 billion by 2007, which totally wiped out the benefits of the spectacular increase in remittances from US$790 million to US$1.96 billion in the same period.

In other words, the massive inflows from remittances, which ought to have provided a boost to the country's foreign reserves and resources for investment, were completely eaten up by an energy, inefficient economy. Still worse was in store, as in 2008 the oil bill went up by 35 per cent, to US$2.7 billion. A remarkable fact is that the increase in the oil bill that year was greater than the sum of our export earnings from sugar, rum, traditional agricultural crops, crude bauxite and some other lesser items as well.

Hefty oil bill

Looking back over the 20-year period to 1987, what we see is an oil bill that has gone up more than 10-fold, while virtually nothing has been done to fundamentally alter our total dependence on oil. Nor have we bothered to address the efficiency of energy use. Instead, we are burning more oil to produce each unit of output even as it has got more costly. And this is being done by businesses whose primary motive should be to make greater profits.

This is the third week running that this writer has written a column focused on energy. He has either got wind of Peak Oil or he is ready to. I must try and contact him to find out.

As for the bleak prospect of the quote, I can only take comfort in the fact that the writer does not make rosy forecasts about a return to BAU, choosing instead to focus on the urgency of the need to do something about conservation and alternatives.

Alan from the islands

Well Alan, since my wife is a yardie I have to offer up highly unknowledgeable advice about the island. Actually never been there. But the operative word is "island". You live in an isolated ecosystem and how much can it bear? This is the root of the problem.

"But the operative word is "island". You live in an isolated ecosystem and how much can it bear? This is the root of the problem."

Indeed. Amazing how almost every MSM article about energy and resource issues tap dances around the elephant-in-the-room: overpopulation. Jamaica doesn't have an 'expensive' energy or bauxite export problem, per-se. It has a population-to-natural resources imbalance problem. Just like most of the world.

How much are you paying for gas/petrol?

Petrol prices are based on world benchmark crude prices and are adjusted every week so it's a moving target. IIRC, last week when I filled up it was somewhere around US$0.82 per liter ($3.06/US gallon). We are part of the Petro-Caribe arrangement with Venezuela so IIRC Venezuela provided funding to upgrade the single state owned refinery to process Venezuelan heavy sour crude (I could be wrong). So far so good, Uncle Hugo seems to be helping to keep us afloat.

Alan from the islands

well, its a slow Sunday here at TOD, so hey, lets all put on our tin-foil hats and let our imaginations go...
remember that odd little story about the 2 Japanese nationals caught at the Swiss border with $134 b in US securities?
Denninger picks up the thread again today with an update...http://market-ticker.denninger.net/
seems the two gentlemen have been released by Italian authorities...their 'property' possibly returned to them...
there was documentation from major banks authenticating the notes...
I've been trying to glean what info I can on this and right now the "North Korea counterfeiting operation" is only the third or fourth most credible explanation offered, although that is apparently the preferred explanation of US gov't (at least for public consumption...why no indictments?) and US MSM.

Sldulin: Nobody knows. The reality is that if these guys had not been caught, none of this would have come to light (the USA MSM kept a lid on it as well as they could anyway). I don't recall anyone predicting activity such as this-all of a sudden everybody is convinced they know what is going on. Amusing trivia: the amount of the bonds equals the amount remaining in TARP (if you want tin foil).

That's an easy one.

The U.S. government is the world’s largest debtor, and with rapidly declining tax revenues and enormous new expenditures so the long-term value of U.S. dollar denominated securities is no longer trusted by the Japanese government. Meanwhile, in the short-term, the U.S. government desperately wants to increase the volatility of U.S. dollars, and wants to inject cash into the U.S. economy through any means possible, without immediately crashing the value of the U.S. dollar.

Meanwhile, the Japanese government is an enormous debtor to the Japanese people, and since debtors are stressed by deflation, the Japanese government is also stressed by present circumstances. If you hadn’t noticed, the Japanese export based economy is in collapse mode.

The EU acts as a middle man. They buy at a discount and immediately sell to the U.S.

How did the Japanese end up with these paper securities that aren’t supposed to exist? Times have changed. In the past, the U.S. was worried about inflation, so clandestine sales of untraceable bonds to the Japanese who were floating in U.S. dollars made sense to both parties.

It’s not too much of a stretch to imagine the Japanese, US, and EU governments at the highest level deciding to take action, but they knew that if word gets out that the Japanese government is selling U.S. securities at a discount, herd action will collapse the value of the U.S. dollar. Everything proceeded clandestinely, with no electronic records to track. Not only drug dealers like untraceable funds.

Unfortunately the Japanese secret service hasn’t had much to do since WWII, so the physical transfer to Switzerland was bungled. Such things happen.

The couriers were caught. The Italian authorities were not in on the legitimacy of the transfer. But when they checked to see if the securities were counterfeit, all heck broke loose. The 40% capture law was not intended to ensnare legitimate government activities. So the Japanese couriers were released along with the securities, probably to Switzerland. The Italian government may have been inspecting the bonds prior to purchase. James Bond lives, but he’s not nearly as good looking, or as lucky, as in the movies.

The world media received a gag order. No other explanation makes sense.

Unfortunately for the governments involved, the Japanese stubbornly refuse to sacrifice their operatives (and bearer bonds) in seppuku so that the whole incident could be pinned on the North Koreans. So everyone just pretends the incident didn’t occur. Unconfirmed government sources pin the mess on the North Koreans, which is patently impossible. I am a firm believer in major North Korean counterfeit operations, but these instruments can’t be counterfeit.

The real question is what important powers were not involved in the high-level negotiations. Clearly the Japanese, European, and U.S. authorities were not surprised. But what is the Chinese response? Let us hope they knew what was going on in advance. I would hate to imagine their response if all of this was going on behind their back. Nobody wants to be left with the OLD MAID.

The other party that was not privy to the action was you. What will you do in response? Most likely you will do … nothing. The spin goes on.

My analysis is mostly hot air, but it is also the simplest and most sensible explanation. How else can you explain the U.S., Japanese, E.U., Italian and media responses?

Cold Camel

I agree. This story is not complex. It has to be very simple, and your explanation is probably the best of any. Very very very telling that despite the enormity of the (1) crime: $134 billion in counterfeit; or (2) the legitimate sale of $134 billion in bonds; the story vanished and no major media talking heads (Glenn Beck et al) took it on, at least from what I've heard. So it is a simple case of major major things going on unbeknownst to us that are generally completely contrary to what the official 'line' is about our economies, the future of the dollar, etc.

In an article titled America's Irrational Petroleum Dependence, published at the EV World web site on June 19, the writer makes the following claim:

The electricity used to refine oil alone would power cars further than what's in the rest of the barrel

Now, a simple calculation shows that, of the approximately 1470 kWh of potential energy in a 42-gallon barrel of oil, it takes about 140 kWh of electric and natural gas to refine the oil into appx. 44 gallons of "refined products", diesel, gasoline, heavy oil, etc.

With simple "ceteris parabus" (all things being equal) assumptions, the 140 kWh of energy used to refine that barrel would propel an average EV (or CNG car) at least 640 miles and as much as 840 miles, depending on the type of all-electric car. The EV1 would go 6 miles on one kWh; the RAV4-EV small SUV might go as little as 3 miles on one kWh, so the average would be somewhere in between.

The rest of the barrel, if all converted to gasoline or its equivalent, would yield about 1300 kWh of energy in the burnable fuel (remember, we're subtracting the energy to process the barrel of oil), or about 38 gallons of gas, enough to take the average Internal Combustion ("IC") car about 760 miles (at our fleet average of 20 mpg).

So, as a nation, we use 140 kWh of electric to produce 1300 kWh of IC fuel to go 760 miles, even if some cars use more and others use less.

I find that a remarkable claim and wonder if there is some serious flaw in his calculations or the assumptions he makes. Do any of the technically oriented readers or contributors her at TOD see anything wrong with this guys calculations?

Alan from the islands

How about this. All things being equal, if we built just one gigantic light bulb and put it next to the power plant, we could save all the energy used to create power lines and distribute that electricity to houses and those pesky wasteful little lamps.

There is no denying that an IC engine is just an enormous heater that also turns a shaft as a by product. So sure, we could save a lot of "fuel" if substantial quantities of electric cars already existed. But they don't, so we're left with an interesting math question for the SAT.

Plus, there are no electric trucks or tractors, so you're going to need the diesel component. Did I mention there are no electric vehicles? The EV1 is gone. You can't get the RAV4. However, Mitsubishi will sell you an electric egg for 45,000 dollars. So, for 45 Trillion dollars, we could build and replace all those gas vehicles, but I'm going to guess that will use a lot of oil. The cash for clunkers bill authorizes a billion dollars. So now we just need to scrape up 44.999 trillion more and we're done.

I'm not picking on you. I just hate those arguments, because even if the math is correct, it's moot.

Plus, there are no electric trucks or tractors, so you're going to need the diesel component.

Say what? See my guest post on the subject or a similar post by JD on his blog here. There's also this article on the EV World web site. In my guest post, I made the follwing point:

The fact is that while electric drive systems are being produced by the hundreds, internal combustion engines and their related transmissions are being produced by the hundreds of thousands. Component costs will not come down as long as these relatively minuscule numbers of electrically driven vehicles are being manufactured and sold. It is the classic cache 22, for prices to come down volumes must go up but, for volumes to go up, prices must come down. In this situation, something must happen tip the scales and make the new technology irresistible, like the fuel price shocks of 2008.

My WAG is that there is going to be a virtual avalanche of ev's in a few years starting from the current trickle and we are going to need them. If his facts are correct, it would mean that making the switch to electrically powered cars and trucks would be even easier to justify. The switch will not happen overnight but, neither will oil "run out" overnight.

Alan from the islands