DrumBeat: June 30, 2009

Kurt Cobb: Is the United States drifting toward "war socialism"?

Jay Hansen is a well-known voice on issues of peak oil and sustainability. A systems analyst by trade, he established one of the first web sites (dieoff.org) to discuss these issues in depth in the mid-1990s. His latest web venture is a site called War Socialism on which he describes a form of governance which might become the only viable one in the coming age of scarcity unless we can muster unprecedented global cooperation to manage the decline.

By discussing "war socialism" I am not endorsing it. In fact, Hansen proposes an alternative, a global government that severely restricts human use of the global commons, that is, the natural resources upon which all of us depend. But Hansen is no lightweight. He has thought very deeply about our ecological predicament. He has tried to square what he knows about human behavior with what he believes needs to be done in the world we now face. It is clear from the organization and emphasis of his new site that he does not believe it is probable that the kind of global cooperation he would prefer will actually emerge.

China thirsty for foreign oil: Country's percentage dependency on imported oil surpassed that of the U.S. in May

China's dependence on foreign oil has surpassed that of the United States, as consumers race to the pumps to fill their new cars with gas and the country feverishly stockpiles supplies to take advantage of weak markets.

The country's increasing appetite has driven it to spend billions to acquire foreign oil producers and construct vast storage facilities to safeguard future needs. It also helps explain a rapid rise in oil prices this year, which many attribute to speculators gambling on an economic recovery.

"People trying to explain rising prices look at the West and see high inventory and low demand, so they blame speculators," said Paul Ting, president of Paul Ting Energy Vision LLC in New Jersey. "They are looking in the wrong place - demand is coming from China. And demand has been robust."

Final Words From Shell’s Departing C.E.O.

Question: Shell recently announced it was focusing its alternative investments on biofuels and you’ve been criticized for dropping out of wind and solar energy. Why this change?

Answer: From hindsight, I think we could have done better. We could have done a better communication job, including myself.

But if you look at the world, in every scenario we make, oil and gas and coal, or fossil fuels, will still account for 70 to 80 percent of demand in 30 years. Because of questions of affordability, environmental acceptability, and security, they still score fairly well compared with other forms of energy.

Gazprom expects Ukraine winter gas row

Europe may face further disruptions to its gas supply next winter if Ukraine cannot pay its gas debts to Russia, the head of Gazprom International said today.

Boris Ivanov, head of the international arm of Russian gas export monopoly Gazprom said although it was unlikely there would be problems this summer, Ukraine's severe financial crisis could lead to supply disruptions next winter when demand is greatest.

Petrobras Focuses on Costs Ahead of Rig, Platform Tenders

Brazilian state-run energy giant Petrobras continues to take a hard line on cost cuts as it prepares to launch tenders for drilling rigs and production platforms.

The tenders will likely come to market soon, Chief Financial Officer Almir Barbassa said at a meeting with reporters.

"We're in the final phase of the concession process," Barbassa said. The company is hammering out details for financing drill rigs, a complex task, the executive added.

Saudi extends hydrocracker shutdown

SINGAPORE: Saudi Aramco has further extended the shutdown of its Ras Tanura hydrocracker, after a planned early-June restart failed, prompting sales of excess cracked A961 fuel oil, trading sources said yesterday.

The state oil company is offering 90,000 tonnes of cracked A961 fuel oil for July 17-18 lifting from Ras Tanura — its fourth such cargo in the past month, and an unusual move during the peak summer demand season, traders said.

Saudi economy to shrink 1.2 pct in 2009: bank

RIYADH (AFP) — The Saudi economy is forecast to shrink by 1.2 percent in 2009, despite a stronger market for oil and expanded government investment, Riyadh-based Samba Bank said on Monday.

The recovery of oil prices to above 60 dollars a barrel and a forecast 24 percent hike in government spending is not enough to offset a sharp slowdown in private sector activity, the bank said in its mid-year report on the economy of the world's leading oil exporter.

ConocoPhillips, Aramco relaunch construction bidding process for Yanbu refinery

HOUSTON (AP) — ConocoPhillips and the state-run Saudi Arabian Oil Co. said Tuesday they've revived plans to build a multibillion-dollar refinery in Saudi Arabia, citing improved economic conditions.

The companies signed a $6 billion agreement in 2006 to build the 400,000 barrel-a-day oil refinery in the kingdom's Red Sea city of Yanbu, but postponed those plans late last year as energy prices plunged.

Iraq asks oil firms to resubmits bids for fields

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraq's oil minister on Tuesday asked international oil firms bidding for oil contracts to reconsider their proposals for fields the Oil Ministry had yet to strike deals on.

Iraq closes oil and gas field auction - official

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraq's Oil Ministry on Tuesday ended its first auction of major oil and gas field contracts since the U.S. invasion after sealing just one deal, with a BP-led group for its biggest field, Rumaila, an official said.

Attacks cut Shell Nigeria oil output to 140,000 bpd

LAGOS (Reuters) - Attacks by Nigerian militants in recent days have cut oil output from facilities operated by Royal Dutch Shell's (RDSa.L) SPDC joint venture to around 140,000 barrels per day, a company spokesman said on Tuesday.

Disaster Transitionism

If you haven't read Naomi Klein's The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, you really should. It's an examination of how the Chicago School of Economics and its adherents have taken advantage of or created crises to further their privatization agendas.

In country after country, free market and pro-corporate devotees have used the chaos, violence, and panic that result from periods of war or economic collapse to rapidly remove price controls, open borders to global trade, and sell off state-owned industry to multinational corporations for a fraction of their true value. In the civic vacuum that ensues when people are dropped down to the lowest levels of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, these proverbial foxes are able to raid the hen house.

Investing in durability

If you are planning to withdraw, please tell me where you're going, and send directions. If not, it's time to start thinking about how you and your family or tribe will muddle through the years ahead. One word comes to mind: durability.

If that wasn't the first word that came to your mind, I'm not surprised. Industrial culture has steered us, for the sake of economic growth, in the diametrically opposed direction for so long we usually fail to consider the obvious benefits of durability when making decisions about our own lives. It's time to change that pattern of thinking, time to start thinking about our own individual futures instead of the future of the empire.

James Lovelock: Climate war could kill nearly all of us, leaving survivors in the Stone Age

We have enjoyed 12,000 years of climate peace since the last shift from a glacial age to an interglacial one. Before long, we may face planet-wide devastation worse even than unrestricted nuclear war between superpowers. The climate war could kill nearly all of us and leave the few survivors living a Stone Age existence. But in several places in the world, including the U.K., we have a chance of surviving and even of living well.

For that to be possible, we have to make our lifeboats seaworthy now. Back in May 1940, we in the UK awoke to find facing us across the Channel a wholly hostile continental force about to invade. We were alone without an effective ally but fortunate to have a new leader, Winston Churchill, whose moving words stirred the whole nation from its lethargy: "I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears, and sweat."

The Dirty War Against Clean Coal

WHILE President Obama’s cap-and-trade proposal to reduce greenhouse gases has been the big topic of recent environmental debate, the White House has also been pushing a futuristic federal project to build a power plant that burns coal without any greenhouse gases. Sounds great, right? Except the idea is a rehash of a proposal that went bust the first time around.

'Last man standing' at wake for a toxic town

PICHER, Oklahoma (CNN) -- Wearing powder blue pants and a plaid fedora, 84-year-old Orval "Hoppy" Ray arrived fashionably late to a celebration in Picher, Oklahoma, a vacated mining town at the center of one of the nation's largest and most polluted toxic-waste sites.

Former residents, bought out by the government because their town was deemed so dangerous, gathered in Picher's elementary school to say farewell to a place where kids suffered lead poisoning, where homes built atop underground mines plunged into the Earth and where the local creek coughs up orange water, laced with heavy metals.

Why nuclear works in France

Large as the project is, it surprisingly fits into an unexpectedly human scale. The new reactor will be the third to stand on the Flamanville site, with room for a fourth later. The entire complex is wedged between cliff and water in an indentation of the coast of only 120 hectares, less than 300 acres, about the size of a small commuter airport. For a project so big it is strangely invisible, dominated by the trees and hedgerows of the farms on the higher ground above. This relatively small space produces four percent of France’s electricity, enough to power a good sized city. The fifty-eight reactors in service -- Flamanville 3 will be the fifty-ninth -- altogether produce 80% of France’s electricity. Nuclear energy in France operates almost entirely without controversy. This absence of controversy is the most exotic and puzzling thing about French nuclear power.

Energy Department will award $3.3B for smart power grids

The U.S. Department of Energy plans to unlock $3.3 billion in federal stimulus grants, as much as $200 million apiece, to companies and utilities to help develop a smarter, faster power grid.

The first round of applications is due July 29, with future rounds in December and March 2010 if money remains.

Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta Economic Review: The Peak Oil Debate [PDF]

For the past half-century, a debate has raged over when “peak oil” will occur—the point at which output can no longer increase and production begins to level off or gradually decline. Determining how long the oil supply will last has become even more pressing because the world’s energy supply still relies heavily on oil, and global energy demand is expected to rise steeply over the next twenty years.

This article seeks to bring the peak oil debate into focus. The author notes that a number of factors cloud the energy outlook: Estimates of remaining resources are typically given as a range of probabilities and are thus open to interpretation. Variations also occur in estimates of future oil production and in the ways countries report their reserve data.

The lack of a common definitional framework also confuses the debate. The author provides definitions of frequently used terms, delineating types of reserves and conventional versus nonconventional resources. She also discusses how technological innovations, government policies, and prices influence oil production.

Regardless of the exact timing of peak oil production, the world must address the challenge of adapting to a new model of energy supply. Perhaps the world would be better served, the author notes, if the peak oil debate could be more solution-oriented, focusing on discovering the best way to transition to a world with less conventional oil rather than locking horns about discrepancies in terminology.

Oil climbs near $72 as dollar sinks

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. - Oil prices rose to near $72 a barrel Tuesday after briefly jumping above $73 as a weakening U.S. dollar and attacks on oil installations in Nigeria helped push prices to eight-month highs.

Analysts also said prices were boosted by speculative trades and portfolio positioning by investment funds, which typically intensify at the end of a fiscal quarter.

Action needed to tap energy reserves

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain needs to do more to help industry tap the country's remaining oil and gas reserves to ensure its future energy supplies, a government committee said in a report issued on Tuesday.

High costs, low prices and lack of affordable credit in a global recession are bedevilling oil and gas companies operating in Britain, making it critical for government action to help fuel investment to maintain production, the report found.

"We are very concerned at the bleak prospects for investment in the oil and gas industry," the Energy & Climate Change Committee said in the report for Parliament.

'Role of US shale worrying gas players'

Trinidad and Tobago Energy Minister Conrad Enill said today the growing role of shale gas in the US market was one of the main concerns discussed in a meeting of gas exporting countries.

'No co-ordinated gas supply cuts yet'

The Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF) is not yet planning to co-ordinate supply cuts to support gas prices but sees Europe as the best market for co-ordinated action, Venezuelan Energy Minister Rafael Ramirez said today.

The club of countries holding more than three-quarters of the world's gas reserves met on Tuesday in Qatar with global gas consumption and prices sagging in the economic downturn.

Iraqi oil licensing round runs into trouble

BAGHDAD – Iraq's long-awaited licensing round to develop some of its massive oil reserves stumbled Tuesday as oil and gas companies dug in their heals, demanding more money for their efforts than the government was willing to pay.

International oil companies were submitting bids for six oil and two gas fields more than 30 years after Saddam Hussein nationalized the oil sector and expelled foreign firms. The televised process coincided with Iraq assuming formal control over its cities — a step toward ending the U.S. combat role in the country.

Britain's BP, Chinese oil firm win Iraq deals

BAGHDAD (AFP) – British energy giant BP and China's CNPC International Ltd were unveiled Tuesday as the first foreign firms in decades to win contracts to invest and develop in Iraq's war-battered energy sector.

The companies succeeded in their bid for the giant Rumaila oil field in southern Iraq, which has known reserves of 17.7 billion barrels, the oil ministry announced.

Enbridge Says Ozark Pipe to Meet 52% of July Shipping Demand

(Bloomberg) -- Enbridge Inc., Canada’s largest pipeline company, said its Ozark pipeline in the U.S. will haul about 52 percent of the crude oil requested by oil producers, traders and refiners next month.

Shippers asked to move almost 416,000 barrels of oil a day on the Ozark pipeline, which will have the capacity to transport 215,000 barrels a day in July, Larry Springer, an Enbridge spokesman, said in an e-mail today.

Byron King: The Next Saudi Arabia

The oil resources off Brazil are in the same scope as those of Saudi Arabia. The oil potential is huge. Beyond huge. It’s a game changer for the world of energy. No, the Brazilian resource doesn’t mean that Peak Oil is history. But it does mean that history is about to change. Indeed, the angel of history is favoring the nation of Brazil.

Shell defends CO2 emissions record

Oil giant Shell has defended its record on C02 emissions after an environmental group branded it the "dirtiest" producer.

Joint research by Friends of the Earth, Oil Change International and Platform claimed that Shell was neglecting its green pledges.

But the company rejected the accusation and said emissions were being cut.

Nigeria's oil pollution is resource curse: Amnesty

ABUJA (AFP) – The pollution caused by half a century of oil extraction in Nigeria is one of the world's most disturbing examples of the curse of natural resources, a global rights lobby group said Tuesday.

Amnesty International said environmental pollution in Nigeria's southern oil region, the Niger Delta, has deprived tens of millions of people of their basic rights to safe food, clean water and good health.

Exxon to pay interest on Valdez oil spill damages

ANCHORAGE, Alaska – Oil giant Exxon Mobil Corp. has decided not to appeal hundreds of millions of dollars in interest on punitive damages resulting from the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill.

The Irving, Texas-based company will pay about $470 million in interest on more than $507.5 million in punitive damages following the 11 million gallon spill of crude in Prince William Sound, company spokesman Tony Cudmore said Monday.

EPA relents, discloses list of high-risk coal ash sites

WASHINGTON — The Environmental Protection Agency on Monday released a list of 44 coal-fired power plant waste sites in 10 states with a high hazard potential, including 12 sites in North Carolina , seven in Kentucky and a large storage pond in Pennsylvania .

The list is the result of an investigation that the EPA ordered after the failure of a Tennessee Valley Authority coal ash pond in Kingston, Tenn. , flooded more than 300 acres of land in December. After the spill, the EPA required electric utilities that store coal ash in surface impoundments to respond to mandatory questionnaires about their sites.

EPA to let California tighten pollution law

WASHINGTON - -- The Environmental Protection Agency will announce Tuesday that it is granting California's request to begin imposing new, tougher restrictions on greenhouse gas emissions from cars and trucks -- a decision that reverses the Bush administration and opens the way for the state to regain its role of leading the way on global warming policy.

Gallery: Electric cars get a jump-start in US bailout

The US Department of Energy has announced $8bn in support to help firms make the next generation of cars more efficient than ever before.

Although some of the money will go to improving the efficiency of conventional engines, most will be spent on electric vehicles which most auto firms now think are the best bet for making transport cleaner and greener.

Powering the future

Wolverine recently completed a 500-page analysis showing its needs, the needs for a new baseload power plant in Michigan and the possible use of renewable energy sources.

Craig Borr, executive vice president of Wolverine - which is headquartered in Cadillac - said three fuel sources are being considering: coal, petroleum coke and biomass. Wolverine’s analysis discusses the use of up to 20 percent biomass, up to 70 percent petroleum coke and up to 100 percent coal.

The state of Michigan has among the oldest power generation fleets in the nation. In 2007, the state’s fleet generated nearly 16 million MegaWatt hours from coal plants that average 53 years old. A number of the plants will have to be retired in the next two decades, according to Wolverine’s analysis.

Fed works to speed solar development in Southwest

LAS VEGAS – The federal government's top land steward said Monday that the United States will fast-track efforts to build solar power generating facilities on public space in six Western states.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said he has signed an order setting aside more than 1,000 square miles of public land for two years of study and environmental reviews to determine where solar power stations should be built.

Abu Dhabi to host renewables agency

CAIRO (AFP) – Abu Dhabi, capital of the oil-rich United Arab Emirates, will host the headquarters of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), participants said, despite criticism of its high carbon footprint.

U.S. joins International Renewable Energy Agency

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States joined the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) on Monday as part of the Obama administration's commitment to developing a new energy policy, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said.

IRENA was established in January to promote development of the renewable energy industry worldwide. To date, 135 nations have joined the global organization that will be headquartered in the United Arab Emirates.

White House, pushing conservation, announces new lighting standards

WASHINGTON (AP) - Aiming to keep the focus on climate change legislation, President Barack Obama put a plug in for administration efforts to make lamps and lighting equipment use less energy.

"I know light bulbs may not seem sexy, but this simple action holds enormous promise because 7 percent of all the energy consumed in America is used to light our homes and businesses," the president said, standing alongside Energy Secretary Steven Chu at the White House.

Top 10 green U.S. cities

Although the EPA has not established official criteria for ranking the greenness of a city, there are several key areas to measure for effectiveness in carbon footprint reduction. These include air and water quality, efficient recycling and management of waste, percentage of LEED-certified buildings, acres of land devoted to greenspace, use of renewable energy sources, and easy access to products and services that make green lifestyle choices (organic products, buying local, clean transportation methods) easy.

Mother Nature Network's editorial team rounded up their top 10:

UK. Shipping & global climate change goals report

The Environmental Audit Committee has published its report on Reducing CO2 and other emissions from shipping.... while recognising that shipping ought to do relatively well out of a carbon-constrained world, and that shipping is the most carbon-efficient mode of transport, the report expressed frustration at the slow progress that has been made towards including shipping in carbon reduction strategies.

CO2 Traders Hedging Against Climate Laws, RNK Says

(Bloomberg) -- Carbon traders will buy more option contracts this year as a hedge against new climate laws and devaluation of credits for richer nations that help cut greenhouse gas in the developing world, RNK Capital LLC said.

House Throws Away Big Money in Cap-and-Trade Bill

The number one thing you should know about this bill is that the allowances are worth big money: almost $1 trillion over the next decade, according to the Congressional Budget Office, and more in subsequent decades.

There are many good things the government could do with that kind of money. Perhaps reduce out-of-control deficits? Or pay for expanding health coverage? Or maybe, as many economists have suggested, reduce payroll taxes and corporate income taxes to offset the macroeconomic costs of limiting greenhouse gases?

Choosing among those options would be a worthy policy debate. Except for one thing: the House bill would give away most of the allowances for free. And it spends virtually all the revenue that comes from allowance auctions.

Monbiot: Have the climate change deniers abandoned us during the heatwave?

We're still waiting. During the cold weather last winter, Gerald Warner, Peter Mullen and a host of other climate change deniers lined up to suggest that there must be something wrong with global warming theory, because some snow had fallen in Britain. Clearly they possessed the mystical ability to divine a long-running global climate trend from a single regional weather event. This clairvoyance could be very useful to climate researchers, so I hoped they would continue to favour us with their insights.

But, to general wailing and gnashing of teeth, they appear suddenly to have abandoned us. Where are these oracles, now that we need to consult them about the current weather event? If a single cold snap in the UK persuades them that global warming isn't happening, then a single heatwave in the same place must surely convince them that it is. Logic would dictate that the world must now be destined for a century of heating – until the next cold snap, whereupon it is obviously destined once more for a century of cooling.

Seagrass losses can cause global coastal crisis

SYDNEY: A study which will be published in the US journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggests that seagrass, vital for the survival of endangered marine life, commercial fisheries and the fight against climate change, is reaching a dangerous low.

A global study of seagrass, which can absorb large amounts of planet-warming carbon dioxide, found that 29 percent of the world's known seagrass had disappeared since 1879 and the losses were accelerating.

Biochar: can charcoal really stop global warming?

Biochar - the charcoaled remains of agricultural waste - is being hailed as a huge opportunity to reduce the levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. But is the science sound, and do we have enough waste to go around?

CLIMATE CHANGE: 2020 Deadline Is the Crucial "Litmus Test"

Manfred Konukiewitz, deputy director-general of Germany's Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development and who is involved in the Copenhagen climate negotiations, was more optimistic: "There will be an agreement on emission reductions targets by 2050."

Specifically, industrialised countries need to agree to emissions reductions of 80 percent from 1990 levels, and China and India must also agree to substantial reductions by 2050, Konukiewitz said. However, agreement on commitments to reductions by 2020 is what is most important in Copenhagen, he said.

"That is the litmus test if we are serious about addressing climate change," Konukiewitz stressed.

Global food supply seen far from secure

GENEVA (Reuters) - Africa's farmers need help to access loans, fertiliser and export markets to avoid future food supply crises caused by climate change and commodities speculation, a top agricultural expert said on Tuesday.

Wheat, rice and maize prices have fallen sharply from their 2008 highs, when protests broke out across the developing world over unaffordable staple foods and countries imposed export bans to ensure their people had enough to eat.

Akinwumi Adesina of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa, an aid group headed by former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, said commodity markets dampened by recession were serving to mask "the next storm."

Over 50 years have elapsed since Hubbert sketched the first Logistic curve to describe oil depletion. It was also over 50 years ago that scientists observed the odd "anomalous" behavior of amorphous semiconductors, which show the same characteristic "long tails" of resource depletion. Both these behaviors require a general form of mathematical analysis. Curiously, this very simple math may also have been buried for over 50 years, as it has recently been shown to describe many commonplace situations. To catch a glimpse into the fascinating world of mathematical authority and consensus where momentum and sunk costs seem to trump scientific understanding, read this post:

Sorry for some of the formatting glitches as it was posted automatically from Google Docs.

Shell suspends operations in Nigeria

Shell has decided to suspend operations in Nigeria. According to a Shell top official, the reason for the suspension is due to five major militant attacks on Utorogu-UPS trunk line on January 7; the Amukpe-Rapele manifold attack of January 11; the Trans Escravos-Forcados River manifold attack of February 28; the Trans-Forcados pipeline (Chanomi Creek manifold) attack of June 12; and the militant attack on Trans Ramos pipeline on June 16.

I did a quick google news search but couldn't find any thing to collaborate this.
Does anyone know anything about this? Is Shell really shutting down all operations in Nigera?

There's this, from Nigerian paper "This Day":


Gail the Actuary,

I'm getting confused as to how these different states are tackling their financial problems. Do you have any plans to post an article on it?


I don't know if Gail is around right now. She's been on the road.


Would you please pass the message along?

Why don't you e-mail her yourself? Her addy's in her profile, on the sidebar.

This kind of message is better passed by personal e-mail anyway. The staff doesn't read every thread every day.


Isn't a June 09 update of the "Peak Oil Overview" due? If so. I suspect that Gail is busy "in the trenches", gathering the latest data and forecasts to put in her overview. This is apart from anything else that she has on her plate, like earning a living.

Alan from the islands

Gail is retired. I believe she went to that Italy meeting, which is why she's not around now.

Oops! Sorry, didn't know that. Gotta go see if I can get the taste of my foot out of my mouth.

Alan from the islands

Calculated Risk has a link to the following WSJ article. One would expect to see continued desperate efforts to increase tax revenue, in conjunction with layoffs and cutbacks of government services, first on the local & state level, then federal--rinse & repeat.

Ten States Race to Finish Budgets
Sharply Lower Tax Revenues Lead to Eleventh-Hour Wrangling, Threats of Shutdowns

Ten states were scrambling Monday to pass budgets before a Tuesday deadline, with a handful -- including Arizona, Indiana and Mississippi -- facing the possibility of partial shutdowns if their legislatures don't act in time.

The number of statehouses where budget wrangling has gone down to the wire this year is unusually high, analysts said, and reflects the difficulty legislatures and governors are having coping with income- and sales-tax collections that continue to run far below already low forecasts.

Tax revenues are collapsing.

In Massachusetts the sales tax was just raised from 5 percent to 6.25 percent. The Governor has hinted that the gas tax may need to be raised, (earlier he proposed a 19 cent per gallon gas tax increase on top of the current 23.5 cents per gallon).

The sales tax is projected to raise $1 billion, the gas tax was projected to raise $500 million. (minus those folks who decide to buy their items in New Hampshire (no sales tax and 18 cents gas tax)

Things are tough all over...

Economy takes its toll on Amish

SHIPSHEWANA, Ind. — Freeman Wingard is Amish, but he spent the last decade living quite differently than the popular characterization of the Amish as farmers, their plows hitched to enormous draft horses as they eschewed influences of the outside world.

Wingard took his family to restaurants every week, made trips to Chicago and vacationed in Florida. That was when, he says, he was earning $40 per hour working in a Northern Indiana recreational vehicle factory.

But as RV sales slowed in the economic downturn, Wingard and many of his Amish co-workers were laid off from the high-paying jobs.

Retailers: Summer a bust even before Fourth

Macy's flagship store has racks of summer tops, swimwear and dresses marked down as much as 50 percent, while luxury retailer Bergdorf Goodman is slashing prices on designer goods by as much as 70 percent. Meanwhile, piles of clothing as well as barbecue grills, tents and gardening tools are bypassing stores and heading straight to liquidators as merchants try to conserve their cash. Such deep discounting so early in the season is great news for bargain hunters, but it's a worrisome sign that shows a further weakening in retail sales since the end of May.

- Yeah, I know a few Amish that I see 2 or 3 times a month and a lot of them don't work as farmers. Many are carpenters, some are retailers, metal workers, some wait - or waitress - or cook at restaurants, etc.. Being human, some are susceptable to picking up modern recreational habits. Who am I to judge?

- If you stop at a retail store that's not doing too good I recommend that you chat with the operator. Not only do you start picking up a feel for the economic situation, but I think that the it makes the operator feel better that someone is interested.

The reason they aren't all farmers is because there's not enough land. Amish families tend to be very large. Their population increase has been explosive. If you have sixteen kids, you can't divide the family farm among them. The housing boom made it even harder to find enough land to farm. So about half the Amish now work at "regular" jobs.

I visited with an Amish family from northern Indiana a few months back and learned that many had taken jobs in recreational vehicle industry. Since this industry has collapsed I know this is a difficult time for them.

Truth is stranger than fiction, huh?

It's just a bit odd to me that of ALL the vehicles they might be getting jobs building, they choose the most 'Un Amish' of the lot.

$40/hr sounds pretty hard to resist, though..

If you stop at a retail store that's not doing too good I recommend that you chat with the operator. Not only do you start picking up a feel for the economic situation, but I think that the it makes the operator feel better that someone is interested.

No can do. I never visit those types of stores any more. They no longer carry anything I want to buy, so there is no point taking the trouble to drive to them and go in. All they carry these days is cheap Chinese crap, and I have no interest in buying that if I can avoid it.

Mostly, I try to find the good, old "made in USA" stuff on ebay, or shop over the internet for those few new items that I need that are still made in USA.

I have no sympathy whatsoever for these large retailers. In many cases, better quality merchandise is still being made in the US, but they refuse to carry it, because all they want to carry is the cheap Chinese crap. I think that increasing numbers of people besides me are losing their appetite for that.

Try the smaller retail stores, the "mom & pop" stores. The locally owned stores. The craft stores that have "how to" classes. The corner flower shops... the farmer's markets. Some rural towns have a "peddlers' village," a collection of odd-ball small-time/part-time craftsman-run retailers.

Yes, those I do patronize. I assumed that we were mainly talking about the large chain stores here.

Optimism Or Delusion?.. Or Maddening Frustration?

- Suddenly they're building retail malls like crazy around my area. I don't know what's up with that... there's a surplus of vacant retail space as is.

- McMansions at two developments (within 10 miles of each other) that got reduced in price over the past few months are still for sale back to the full price thay they were at a year ago.

Where is it that all this is going on?

South of Allentown Pa... to Trenton/Hamilton NJ area... to east along the I-195 corridor to the NJ Shore area (from NYC to Atlantic City)... To Phila. PA. The Shore I can see because that has always attracted money (or at least people who (appear to) spend a lot of it) but the inland areas are just building empty shops... that have so far been empty.

Now that I think about it, it's a lot like Kunstler's story on DestiNY, the big shopping mall in Upstate NY.

Maybe the builders know something about the plans of a large mega-corporation in the Western Jersey area/Phili area that you don't know about?

I don't live there, but have visited often.

CARICOM's energy policy

Indeed, in an article in this newspaper on Sunday, the former energy minister and point man on Jamaica's energy-conversion project reiterated his claim and the advantage he believes that Port-of-Spain's action gives to its domestic manufacturing sector over its counterparts in other CARICOM jurisdictions.

On a closely related, but separate matter, Mr Hylton revisited his own failed efforts earlier this decade to have Trinidad and Tobago supply liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Jamaica, and the dispute that raged between the two countries over whether LNG was a substantially similar product to the natural gas, and what should be the basis of its pricing.

Signs of the times? Trinidad has become the sort of "Taiwan of the Caribbean" with a robust manufacturing sector based on relatively low cost electricity and I suppose, liquid transportation fuels. It is not uncommon to see "Made in Trinidad" pasted on all types of goods found in Caribbean shops from confectionery to toilet paper. Jamaica, with it's relatively high cost of electricity (US$0.18-0.24/kWh) cannot hope to compete unless huge increases in efficiency were to take place. Trinidad is already ahead of the pack in that regard having enacted policies to encourage their manufacturing sector to modernize and re-tool.

The un-competitive nature of Jamaica's exports has resulted in a large trade imbalance between itself and it's Caricom trading partners. Elected officials have been sounding off about this and threatening retaliation if the regional market is not "opened up". From my perspective this whole scene is shaping up to be an excelent case study on the effects of PO. Resource nationalism, ELM, the need for ELP are all coming into play. This is shaping up to get very interesting. Peak Oil in effect?

Alan from the islands

And Trinidad is planning for two commuter rail lines (50 + 54 km).


AFAIK, a final go ahead is still pending.

Best Hopes,


The Fed of Atlanta has come to the conclusion that we need to solve the problem of peak oil? Too rich. Very interesting and thorough article that describes peak oil debates but doesn't actually propose solutions (unless I skipped that part), seems a bit hypocritical.

"...we need to solve the problem of peak oil..."

Yeah. And we need to repeal the Second Law while we're at it.

Thought the Atlanta Fed really watered down Peak Oil with the usual EOR and alternatives arguments. While there were a couple of hopeful moments where I thought the light might go on they degenerated into market based solutions. I about gagged on the demand peak argument from our usual friends at CERA where I guess since they inferred static U.S. demand growth is transferrable to the world. It was really a lightweight effort buttressed with alot of ambigious hope with little plausible and actionable solutions. Limited to Zippo discussion on the impact of flow rates and EROEI but why should we expect a fully engaged analysis from the FED. Pretty much a waste of time as a read valued only for the fact it is a gubmit document and therefore maybe referenced by others.

Jesus called Pictures, Images and Photos

This is a researcher's comprehensive review of peak oil - it's clear that, like everybody else, she doesn't really understand it or it's implications fully. Her skill is researching - anything - from the literature. In my experience it takes a lot of time and effort to sift out the PO myths from reality in the literature, starting with Hubbert's paper. IMO if you don't fully understand the problem it is very unlikely you can even start to propose adequate solutions, also we shouldn't assume that adequate solutions exist - as far as I know nobody on TOD has managed to think of anything close to a viable 'silver bullet'.

IMO the author Laurel Graeffe doesn't get the fudamental point that peak oil is caused by the simple fact that oil must get ever more expensive (less affordable) in real terms as time goes on. The real world data says that for now (at least) easy low cost oil is gone and supply has indeed peaked.

She also assumes that the world oil production is approximately gausian - plenty of real world oil data says this isn't actually true. Much of the real world isn't random (gaussian) it is unpredictable (power laws prevail).

The world flow rates of oil are determined by above ground investment decisions of people trying to make a profit from a less and less affordable product.

...if you don't fully understand the problem it is very unlikely you can even start to propose adequate solutions...

If you fully understand the problem you refrain from proposing solutions because:

...we shouldn't assume that adequate solutions exist...

With emphasis on the "adequate." Solutions do exist but they aren't adequate. When nature resolves the problem we aren't going to like it or consider it "adequate" at all. The distribution is strongly left skewed.

I don't even talk or think in terms of "solutions", but rather in terms of "coping strategies". That is all that I believe is really realistic.

Yeah, but then you're smarter than the average poster on this forum WNC Observer. Note all the technocopian idealists who posit their pet gadgetry as the SOLUTION, be that gadgetry thorium reactors, plasticized wood, corn ethanol, electric trains or scooters, or what have you. Patently, the only "solution" is massive reduction of human population, which isn't going to be a very pleasant "solution" given the Darwinian imperative of auto-catalytic, self-replicative organic redox systems to make copies of themselves at all costs, obviating the possibility of population reduction being effected via sufficient voluntary reduction of the birth rate. This means, of course, that nature will effect massive population reduction by means of drastic increase in the death rate. We will all need all the "coping strategies" we can come up with when this inevitable dynamic comes fully into play.

..there's some good smarmy blathering, DD.. as you type a little more self-righteousness into your bosses pet gadgetry.

I'll take the scooter, thanks. It's a tool.. not 'THE SOLUTION' .. you walking home today?

you walking home today?

I don't know about DD, but I am

I have to agree with you. I think that Americans in particular could reduce travel fuel consumption by 25 % over night by just planning trips. That doesn't even take into consideration the efficiencies of higher mpg vehicles just plain old conservation habits. The SUV driving soccer mom shopaholic, that meets "girl friends" at Starbucks taking 6 trips a day is absurd. The right tool for the job is a good analogy..........why does anyone need to haul the 2 ton family truckster down to the Super Walmart to bring back a gallon of milk and a loaf of white bread? We need primary transportation that is ultra efficient to even have a hope at all.
Probably only buys time but it is better than nothing.
And then there is walking when ever possible to at least get the cellulite down.

Porge: Of course you are right but you are preaching to the choir. Try telling that lady or man with the big SUV they can’t do this or that. The fact that they have a big SUV tells you something of the ego behind it. $10 gas can tell them but we can‘t so forget about it till gas is up to $xx (whatever it takes). Then and only then will they listen.

Doubt any of us knows where the new true equilibrium lies. One thing we probably agree on is we have a ton of embedded energy built into a poor arrangement, that can't be altered in time.

I don't wish a real bad day on all the people who have failed to ELP from shortsightedness or ignorance. Cause when TSHTF for them it's not gonna be pretty for anybody.
Figure adaptation of various kinds improve the chances all around.

Harsh, but true DD.

+ 1

This means, of course, that nature will effect massive population reduction by means of drastic increase in the death rate.
We will all need all the “coping strategies” we can come up with when this inevitable dynamic comes fully into play.


A counterpoint.

During the period of the Roman Empire, food could be transported by water over much of the Mediterranean. Egypt routinely sent wheat to Rome for centuries. Local crop failures need not have resulted in famine in port cities throughout the Med (a political and/or economic decision was needed though to send food to, say, Spanish ports after a series of bad local harvests).

But food could not be economically/practically sent very far inland. Even with Roman roads, horses, mules and asses simply consumed too much food (grass on the roadside was not enough for heavy hauling).

Even horse drawn rail cars would have extended the reach of food distribution during the Roman Empire. For us, electrified rail (powered by renewable sources) could be a significant mitigating factor in both food distribution and maintaining a manufacturing base.

Best Hopes,


Good point on power-laws. Accelerating technology is the only behavior that exhibits exponential growth contributing to oil depletion. If it wasn't for the strong growth we would indeed see a power law as time-2. This has everything to do with the dispersion of constant growth rates leading to a very gradual decline of availability.

Hubbert did not have a background in stochastic processes and essentially used his intuition to stake his claim. The elegance of the real math in deriving the Logistic is actually quite striking and I would think that Hubbert would nod his head in agreement if he was still around.

I made this comment because the first comment in today's Drumbeat delves into this subject in some detail. It turns out that many things in nature show this kind of power-law behavior and it really has nothing to do with mankind's detailed decision making. A steady growth stimulus will produce a power-law and an exponential will generate a Logistic like behavior. Accelerating growth as per power-law generates something in between the two.


I thought it was very good?

You have to remember, this is written for economists and corporate executives... The elite of the BAU crowd. She has to speak their language or they just filter her out, and she can't risk coming across as a 'Peak Oiler' - that, too, would mean instant block-out.

She says "Despite the shortage of middle-of-the-road discourse, this topic should not be dismissed as fringe" - and that, IMHO, is the greatest problem: PO and PO believers are dismissed as fringe.

It deserves being un-fringed, and to achieve that, you must start by establishing that there is room for doubt.

Reading between the lines here, I think the message is quite clear: that PO is real and might very well be now.

That message coming from someone in her position is very good news!

I agree with all you have said.

I was reponding about adequate reponses to a misunderstood PO problem.

IMO PO isn't perceived as a problem at all by the elite of the BAU crowd because they don't actually look at the real world data, and it's also misunderstood by many who think they do understand the peaking phenomenon - a balanced report of both sides of an 'argument' doesn't help - one side is wrong. Plus it's difficult to get somebody to understand something if their livelyhood depends on their NOT understanding it.

As individuals we have no control over anything but our own decisions - so, IMO search for real accurate data, not myths, and take your and my observed 'facts of life' into consideration when planning your own future. The overriding fact of life is 'life is short', don't waste it.

“Anyone who believes exponential growth can go on forever in a finite world, is either a madman or an economist.”
~Kenneth Boulding, Economics professor

Besides the very human inability to ponder anything that might seriously change their world, there is also the deep mental haze that their thorough indoctrination into neo-classical economics has induced in them.

Fundamental to the world view of TPTB is that long term shortages of anything are impossible, because the magic of the market will always spur entrepreneurial innovation just at the right time (as long as the gov stays out of it). This myth is so deeply entrenched that it is impossible for most to even contemplate real and accelerating shortfalls of something that is not replacable going forward forever.

That's why the only chance of getting their attention at all is by introducing it as an opportunity to get rich(er) by coming up with the most profitable alternative (or the alternative that can get the fattest check from the gov).

The myth of the innovator is a good one to start with. Much of the "entrepreneurial innovation" we've seen in the last 100 years was made possible by cheap energy. Those days are over. What will enable and inform the next 100 years of innovation? Starvation? Chronic disease? Regional unrest and perpetual warfare? These are what we get on the down side of cheap energy, and they are anathema to "entrepreneurial innovation" in the sense most think of it now. Unless of course we posit that the innovators lend their fertile imaginations to the service of the hounds of war. Opportunities there abound.

What will enable and inform the next 100 years of innovation?

Our knowledge of physical science.

Biology has the biggest possibility ot advance as we come to understand epigenitics and protein coding.

The 'single lone inventor' in the garage is a myth, and been that way for years.

Unfortunately, our knowledge of physical science and biology have not prevented us from undermining the physical and biological basis of our (and most other life's) support systems. This function of science, to help us see clearly what we are doing to the large picture, is the most important service it can provide.

But society seems to see science mostly as a way to get us out of the catastrophic situations we get ourselves into by ignoring the warnings that science provided.

Science needs to stop playing this enabling role.

Can't happen. Science is not a person and has no will of its own.

People, on the other hand, can stop tolerating blatant greedy stupidity.

It deserves being un-fringed, and to achieve that, you must start by establishing that there is room for doubt.

Whats funny is my own research indicates the exact opposite. If I'm right then there is no room for doubt only mortal fear is sufficient to allow us to change fast enough to avert a catastrophe.

Of course no chance of this in our feel good society since fire and brimstone are out of fashion.

Anything less than making the hard choices we must make out of absolute fear is certain to fail.

And even more ironic since most people reject this truth your doomer viewpoint is certain to be right.
This is why civilization collapse over and over and over again.

The supply of energy as we have known it is in the process of transition. Today’s “easy” conventional oil that the world relies upon as a primary energy source is being depleted, and, regardless of the exact timing of peak oil production—be it this year or fifty years down the road— the world faces the challenge of adapting to a new model of energy supply. Although the peak oil literature tends to concentrate heavily on the scenarios of peaking world oil production, the true underlying issue is a fear that the transition from conventional oil to substitutes will be expensive and chaotic, leaving insufficient time for supply substitution and adaptation.

Above quote is from near end of Atlanata Federal Reserve paper which can be found as a PDF here (just for aid of those coming late to this discussion)

Now what is both sad and humorous about this quoted portion is the economist's idea of a "model" --that one can construct a closed-world new model of "energy supply" without taking into account all those other models that are speeding toward collision with the economist's one model, namely, the Global Warming model, the Extreme Climate Change model and the mass migrations which will ensue due to lack of water & food, the wars that will follow due to migrations and fight for survival, etc.

It's oh so simple for an economist.
Every commodity has a substitute and oil will be no different.
Oh Lord, please bless these small minds, even though they work for the Federal Reserve and knowth not what they do'ith as they research.

Every commodity has a substitute and oil will be no different.

Thats the problem in a nutshell what if it does not work this time ?

Its no different from the cocky airplane pilot confident in his abilities with thousands of hours
of flight time that crashes.

Plans crash. Civilizations crash. To think ours is special eps with all its warts is hubris to the extreme.
This hubris is why most people toss off doomer concerns yet its the main reason we fail.
Even the oildrum suffers from hubris much less in more mainstream media its the fatal disease of mankind. Until we recognize this we will never create a civilization that is long lasting.
I find it impossible to convince people to even consider how things can go wrong and think about real solutions.

impossible to convince people

Come on Memmel,
You've convinced pretty much everybody at TOD.

What you meant was that it is close to impossible to convince the Kool-aid drinking members of your local tribe.

You are not alone. I have met with a similar record of success.

I think that to a great many people PO is considered fringe. My personal theory is that it is fringe because there is no theory, only heuristics based on empirical evidence. Anything that strikes someone as "anomalous" will not hold the same convincing argument unless it can be proven via some physical model. That never did exist for PO, only heuristic models.

My comment at the top covers a similar observation that occurred in the same late 1950's time-frame as Hubbert. A seemingly anomalous observation in solid-state physics took years to understand and IMO still hadn't been thoroughly proven. The actual model is remarkably simple and shows some potentially valuable generality.

We really have to start understanding this PO subject like the climate scientists understand GW. They hold a considerable advantage over the deniers, because the deniers have no model at all. All they have is heuristic evidence that suggest some of the statistics may be bad (see climateaudit.org and similar sites). That is a trap -- no matter how much you believe in PO -- that we really should not fall in to. The climate scientists are setting a good example and we should follow their lead. They might be suffering lots of wounds but they are also providing lots of interference as we work the fossil fuel usage nightmare from the flip-side.

I'm not disagreeing with your idea, but I will point out that this is made more difficult by the lack of accurate, audited numbers coming from some oil producers (and some of our most important ones).

You aren't saying to wait, but I'm afraid that if we were to wait for the kind of definitiveness you mention, it will be much too late, just like in climate science. (Yes, I think it's likely we've already reached some tipping points with the climate and things are going to get away from us. They almost certainly will, in my view, once we put the right half of the fossil endowment curve into the atmosphere.)

So onward we go...

Yes, that is a problem with heuristics; when you are yanked around by the short hairs without any innate knowledge of what is actually happening, you are likely to throw up your arms in desperation and give up. Heuristics can only follow trends, they cannot do any first principles predictive analysis.

Yet if you have an idea of the fundamental processes involved, you can actually do better projections and perhaps detect if anyone has cooked the books. If you look at just about every reserve growth or creaming curve growth, they follow the same dispersive trend. No one has ever pointed this out. Gee, I wonder why?

If you read the post that I wrote, I did not have complete numbers from the anomalous dispersive transport studies either. Yet, I can predict the width of the active region just by fitting to the dispersion formula. I haven't contacted the authors of that study, but if they came back and said that yes indeed the width was 2.4 as I projected, then the approach would be given a huge boost in credibility as to its predictive power.

It all boils down to whether you want to understand the dynamics or not. I would be perfectly happy to take on the deniers, whether it makes a diff or not.

I concur with KODE's thought that this message - coming from this source - is a positive development. Considering that Cunningham (#2 research guy at Atl Fed) allowed or encouraged it to be published is a stark turn of events for the Fed. Atlanta's territory includes Louisiana and the eastern half of the GoM, and that shouldn't be shrugged off.

This article should be seen as confirmation that the PO issue is being discussed at the highest levels in the Fed - these things don't get published randomly. As far as I know, Bernanke and Lockhart, et al are very aware of the probability that PO is a near-term issue and it is influencing Fed policies, along with a lot of other issues, of course.

TOD has had a least some influence in this I suspect...

Denninger is calling for a consumption strike, to force the government to stop covering up for the financial fraudsters.

I believe most American are well on their way to a forced consumption strike.

Sort of like hunger strikes in Africa.

Stressed, broke smokers struggle with habit

People are stressed out and smoking more. But they have less money to pay for cigarettes, taxes on them are going up, and funding for smoking cessation programs is going down.

One of the people interviewed in the article said they sometimes don't pay their power bill in order to buy cigarettes. OTOH, another person said it was easy to quit once she and her boyfriend looked at their budget, and realized that if they want to buy food, they had to quit smoking.

It's your patriotic duty to save!

So let's continue to prove the skeptics wrong. Even though some might argue that it's your patriotic duty to help boost the economy by taking advantage of July 4th sales on new cars and flat-screen TVs this coming weekend, I think there's nothing wrong with sticking close to home and spending just a little money on some beer and burgers.

Consumption strike is a great idea.

I'm sure his pitch will be a hit with some of you.


Look, we can rant and rave about market manipulation and government-sponsored games. We can petition the SEC, the FBI and Congress. We can demand that they stop it all we want.

But they haven't and likely won't until and unless America gets pissed off enough to force them to act.

So how do we make that happen, yet remain within the law?

Its not that hard, and in the intermediate and longer-term it would be incredibly positive for our economy and nation.

We go on a consumption strike until and unless our demands are met.

Lets all hold our breath until TPTB starts listening to our demands

Simpler version:
Only buy products from companies you want to support.

If there is something you do not like about the way a company is doing business, don't do business with them.

Especially in hard times simply taking control of who you spend your money with is very powerful.

Only buy products from companies you want to support.

People with a programming bent combined with a 'stick a finger in the eye of power' could work up a P2P network exchanging info about corporations to influence the only vote we have - our money.

Great idea. I don't have those skills, but if you are talking about a FB-style social networking site, http://www.ning.com/ might be an option.

Remember that writing software which can effect the cash flow of large firms is a quick way to have maxwells silver hammer come down on your head.

Catherine Austin Fitts points this out with her story. Any effective code that could organize consumers to make choices would be seen as a threat.

And frankly - I see any code will spring out of "don't do business with Nation X" type effort.

Any effective code that could organize consumers to make choices would be seen as a threat.

Apparently no code was necessary to bring down GM and Chrysler yet it seems the consumers ended up making choices anyway.

Consumers make choices each time they spend their money.

From the WTF department:

BNSF Railway and Vehicle Projects Demonstrate Experimental Hydrogen Fuelcell Hybrid Switch Locomotive

BNSF operates through several locations that are in non-attainment areas for air quality as designated by the Environmental Protection Agency. We are investigating and experimenting with this hydrogen fuelcell technology for its potential niche application in areas with air quality concerns.

They claim this is the lowest cost way to fix the air pollution problem - I am wondering why overhead wires aren't being considered.

They claim this is the lowest cost way to fix the air pollution problem - I am wondering why overhead wires aren't being considered.

They aren't lowest cost?

Well, it's a switcher.. so it's like the Port of LA Electric Trucks. It would hardly make sense to set up wire throughout a switching yard, I suppose. Purely local use.. but this was intersting..

The switcher is being also designed to be able to serve as a mobile backup power source (i.e., “locomotive-to-grid”) for military bases and civilian disaster relief efforts.

.. which also would help address Electric Railway Maintenance concerns, I'd think.. as well as maintaining a grid that used common ROWs with rail lines. (??)

High Pressure Hydrogen Storage.. after this week, that's probably a tough sell.. but hell, Rail is already polarized. But the advantages will be weighing in pretty soon, I think.


It would hardly make sense to set up wire throughout a switching yard, I suppose. Purely local use.. but this was intersting..

I disagree because I've seen exactly that- overhead wires in local yards, in Eastern Europe. I took a train ride from Krakow, Poland to Berlin a month ago and got to see much of the countryside, as well as the railyards as I passed through them... The one constant I saw was the overhead wire for electrified rail.

Not a railway person, but I'd imagine the "catenary electrics" mentioned later in the article are overhead wires. On what calculations they're considered more expensive I don't know.

We are investigating and experimenting with this hydrogen fuelcell technology for its potential niche application in areas with air quality concerns.

So they burn coal in one place to produce the electricity for hydrolyzing water for charging the fuelcell, then claim that application of fuelcell technology improves air quality in a different place. As if air quality is more important one place than another, as if the trophosphere doesn't mix. Are people really this stupid?


Stupid: No.

Crafty: Yes.

They know exactly what they are doing. These projects are the result of intense lobbying by coal interests, who want to be at the center of any green revolution just as they were at the center of the industrial revolution prior. Coal gets a halo effect from being converted to sexy hydrogen. The problems associated with using hydrogen as an energy distribution grid-on-wheels don't trouble anyone.

These projects are the result of intense lobbying by coal interests, who want to be at the center of any green revolution just as they were at the center of the industrial revolution prior.

So is this what advocacy of electrified rail boils down to also: "intense lobbying by coal interests"? After all, the electromotive force has to come from somewhere. Wouldn't surprise me that special interest shills have an ulterior motive.

The US uses 0.19% of it's electricity for transportation. France, with significantly lower per capita electrical consumption, uses 2.3% for transportation. The delta in electrical transportation demand between the USA & France is about one to 1.5 years average annual growth in electrical demand.

BTW, bicycles use only a few food calories. Are bicycle advocates tools of Big Ag ?


I rarely respond to DD because he is not interested in honest debate or the truth.

Are people really this stupid?

Rhetorical question, right?

Are people really this stupid?

"It's such a fine line between stupid and clever." -- David St. Hubbins, Spinal Tap

These are switchyard locos. Stringing up wires for a switchyard can be quite complex (> expensive & problematic until broken in).

Usually, main lines are electrified first, then branch lines and finally switchyards. Switchyards have the highest cost to benefit ratio.

Still, fuel cells are unlikely to be a better answer.


I just finished reading the fed piece on peak oil.My educated guess is that the lady is tiptoeing carefully thru the facts,and avoiding soiling her three hundred dollar shoes with the messier ones, as a necessary precondition to getting her piece published under the auspices of the fed.

Anybody associated with the federal government who upsets the bau apple cart will be looking for a job pdq.Telling the unvarnished truth is about as acceptable as dicusssing an unmarried daughters new baby at a Baptist church.You can drop hints,but thats as far as you can go...publicly...

I will bet that if you knew her personally you would find her far more pessimistic that her article suggests,and that her personal portfolio looks like an Oil Drummers.....

The fact that this piece has been published in a federal reserve publication is in and of itself a significant event.

These things having been said,you need to read the piece like the old Twain piece about the fossilized man being hauled around the carny circuit and touted by papers(probably paid to do so in m ost cases of course) of the day as genuine.The description takes a page or two,and you have to read it a second or third time,if you do not know the Twain was a satirist,to realize that the fossil man has a thumb in his nose as he waves with the rest of the fingers on that hand.

If you rearrange the facts presented,the article is much more credible.

If there is any one thing that bothers me a little bit about the commentary here, it's that too many of us read everything literally.

In the non engineering world,a very quiet word to the wise or slight shake of the head is generally considered enough for the perceptive.Little birds have saved me from many a mistake,as in taking a bad check for instance,when a little bird told me that a certain person was in the habit of bouncing his checks.

Any body who does'nt get it should look up the word "nuanced". I hopeI spelled it right.

Don't know if what I am experiencing here in WKY is also prevalent elsewhere in farming areas where there are lots of woodlands but I am being attacked by raccoons. They are tearing my corn apart and running rampant all over the porches and other areas.

I shot three out of a 10 ft tree two days ago. Prior to that killed one on the porch and shot a big one the same night. Night before that I killed two more.

Last nite I caught two more near the back window.

In one day the took down more than a 1/3 of all my garden corn.

Climate change affecting the nut falls and other food in the woods is IMO bringing them out to search for any sustenance they can find.

I am running out of shells. The dogs ripped two of them apart before I could stop them and got blood all over themsselves...so even my hunting Jack Russels can't stop them.

A sign of the times? A view of what might come?

I am puzzled....for the almost 30 yrs I have been on this piece of land I have never seen anything like it. Never.

Airdale-oh and I had to throw a possum off my porch picnic table last evening...hate to kill possums.

A skunk was after my chickens the other night, and yesterday morning there was a baby skunk in the garage. No sign of the bobcat who decimated my flock last year, yet this season. Raccoon population appears to be cyclical. Canine distemper, perhaps, periodically whacks them down, they recover after a few years and become pests, then become scarce again.

Please be very careful! Maybe, as you are thinking, it's just a local population explosion combined with a shortage of natural food items, but... Raccoons are very susceptible to rabies, and the disease can come through in waves just like what you're observing. It makes them very aggressive and incautious.

Our raccoon populations up here in NH are just now recovering from a wave of rabies that decimated them a few years ago.

Presumably your dogs have had their shots, but be careful handling the dead raccoons!

...be careful handling the dead raccoons!

When I was a teen I hunted coons. Selling coon skins & bluetick hound pups is how I bought my first car. I have scars on both hands from "dead" coons shot thru the eye and fallen from tall trees, who bit & scratched when I went to pick them up & stuff them in a sack before the dogs could shred them. Be careful handling dead raccoons indeed!

For safety, all dead wild animals should be assumed to be diseased unless you killed in a hunt or there is a clear trama that killed them.

Oh, we've always had one or two raccoons come up to the porch in the evening to help themselves to the cat's food. I just grab my hiking staff and shoo them away. If one gets to be too much of a pest or starts to behave odd (e.g., not being afraid of me any more) then I set up the big HavaHeart, trap them, and take them a few miles away to the river bottoms & release them.

We usually get an opossum each evening, too. Again, I just shoo them away. I've never even had to trap any of those.

In our area, raccoons and opossums are ubiquitous, and always have been.

Mutant, rabid zombie Raccoons running amok in Western Kentucky. Whatever happens, Airdale, don't let them bite you! If you're not careful, you might end up running about in the dark, chowing down on your neighbors garden...

SubKommander Dred


We don't need any more competition....

This is part of farming near woodlands. Coons and Coyotes like garden food better than wildfood. It is an easy buffet for them.

On, my grandfathers garden, they had a local coon hunter they used. In one year of high coon population, he killed 15 to 20 coons in a half mile of wooded stream. (i.e. A stream in a pasture with trees surrounding the water.)

(On a side note, young coons have a mighty good flavor. Cook in the over like a big turkey or ham, after they are skinned and gutted. Lighty coat skin with light oil or butter bath.)

Deer hunters have told me the acorn harvest will be bad this year. There are red and white oaks. One is on two year cycle, on is single year cycle. The big ice storm this winter stripped a huge number of half grown two year acorns. Also, last year was bad for the acorn corp, at least in arkansas. Don't remember what type of weather did it.

Deer hunters are expecting herds to be reduce by more than 50% by next spring. At least on herds that live mostly on acorns.

If I started to have a real problem with critters helping themselves to my garden, I would probably just extend the electric fence I already have around my beehives to also surround the garden. That would be the easiest solution. When I finally get around to adding chickens, they'll be protected by the electric fence, too. I'll probably be getting a solar panel to recharge the battery for the electric fence soon.

Ah, it's simple enough and obvious enough, but I hadn't actually mentally added Climate Change to specifically starving fauna; I'd only explicitly considered change to habitats.

Great. Juuuust great.


We have had a coon explosion in our part of the country too-there are so many it's not even fun to hunt them any more,it's too easy to find them.Dogs usually tree so quick there is very little running hound music .

I believe the coons have made a successful transition to a new way of living-living off of us rather than thier former prey and vegetable food.

it might be a lack of top predators. Where I live we have seen a cougar and the deer population has fallen as well as the fox population and the raccoon population. People caused a lot of problems by getting rid of top predators.

fossilized man ?

like this ?


people are paying money to see this.

I just finished reading the fed piece on peak oil.My educated guess is that the lady is tiptoeing carefully thru the facts,and avoiding soiling her three hundred dollar shoes with the messier ones, as a necessary precondition to getting her piece published under the auspices of the fed.

My own guess is that she doesn't have three hundred dollar shoes yet because she's still paying off her college loans. She graduated two years ago from Agnes Scott College in Atlanta with a B.A. in economics.

Your comments made me ponder that this article may not be the official position of the Fed but of one of their economists. Roughly 40K/yr to attend Agnes Scott. Laurel graduated second in her class.

Here is text of an interview Laurel Graefe did in August 2008 in regards to high gas prices. Not much here really, except a misguided belief that offshore drilling would significantly impact gasoline supplies in the Southeast. LINK

EDIT: Link.

Ms.Graefe is the lead analyst for energy and commodity market developments and is also responsible for supporting general assessment of global macroeconomic conditions for FRB Atlanta’s president and directors.

Hey, this is a young person spreading the word about peak oil. Let's not have any muttering in our beers! We want to encourage people to write things like this.

Today Laurel Graefe is my hero.

I wouldn't like to say what I was doing two years after getting my BA.

Bart / Energy Bulletin

Your comments made me ponder that this article may not be the official position of the Fed but of one of their economists.

The publication says right up front, "Views expressed in the Economic Review are not necessarily those of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta or the Federal Reserve System.:

The fed funds a large number of economic papers by acedemics. The view points in these papers reflect the views of the writter, not the fed. They are similar in doctoral thesis.

I've never heard of Agnes Scott College but her job title is impressive enough that I'm still willing to say three hundred dollars shoes a second time.

Furthermore hearing of such a young person in such a position leads me to think that old money and mentors(a polite word for connections sometimes) are real possibiliteis.

Send her an e-mail here and ask her how much her shoes cost.

You send it,and ask her what her civil service rating is.Some body else posted that tuition is forty grand at Agnes Scott,so I expect she wore pretty nice clothes even in junior high and maybe even in the cradle,but she may come from an upwardly mobile family,and maybe didn't have the very best as a little kid.

Any way my reference to her shoes was intended as a literary trick to get folks to see that from her position she could NOT AFFORD(would not be allowed to) TO GET SERIOUSLY INTO THE DEEP MESSY SHIT that is the reality of peak oil.

People like us,meaning the average reader here,who does not seem to be very well to do,don't need to get too excited about soiling our shoes,because our status-and position in society-will not be harmed by something so minor as a shoe with a little xxxxon it.

I must make a greater effort to remember that many folks in this forum are technically oriented and tend to read EVERYTHING literally.Sarcasm and subtlety are not appreciated here.

Disclaimers as to the works of authors not representing the position of publishers should be taken with a large dose of salt,depending on the publisher.

You can bet your last dime that nothing is published in a federal reserve publication without it first being vetted for political acceptability by some senior manager,and that the real rason this piece is in print is that the quiet words,the little birds so to speak, are on the wing,even at the federal reserve.The very fact that the subject is even mentioned is significant.

Some of us may remember Alan Greenspan and the phrase "irrational exuberance".If you had money in the stock market,or speculative real estate,that was Alan's little bird-you knew where the bird belonged to and you got out,or at least pulled your horns in,in plenty of time,which at least a few people did,if you took Greenspan seriously.

Regarding the story about improved lighting efficiency standards, there was a better version of the same story in the WaPo this morning:

New Lighting Standards Announced

In addition, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said he will designate 24 tracts of public land in six Western states as special zones for utility-scale solar energy development. He said the department will fund environmental studies, open new solar-energy-permitting offices and speed reviews of industry proposals. The land falls under the control of the Bureau of Land Management.

China thirsty for foreign oil, linked up top:

"People trying to explain rising prices look at the West and see high inventory and low demand, so they blame speculators," said Paul Ting, president of Paul Ting Energy Vision LLC in New Jersey. "They are looking in the wrong place - demand is coming from China. And demand has been robust."

The other day we had this exchange.

Don't know what to believe here...

It's not just normal mortgages in hot water these days...

Beware the reverse-mortgage ripoff

For an elderly person with few assets, a reverse mortgage can be a lifesaver: It enables cash-poor retirees to tap equity in their house for living expenses, home repairs or health care needs. If you’re 62 or older, reverse mortgages allow you to borrow against the value of your home and not repay the loan until you sell the house, move out or die. If the amount owed is more than the value of the house, the lender eats the difference. If it’s less, you (or your heirs) keep what’s left over after paying off the loan. In the meantime, the loan provides income, which you can take as a lump sum, monthly payout or line of credit drawn on as needed.

But make no mistake: Reverse mortgages, which come with high fees and hefty interest charges, are a costly option and often sold by aggressive salespeople who push inappropriate financial products on vulnerable seniors. That’s why Senator Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) held hearings Monday in St. Louis on reverse mortgages. A year and a half ago, Sen. McCaskill began investigating problems associated with reverse mortgages, including predatory lending, aggressive marketing and the potential risks to the federal government — which insures 90% of reverse mortgage loans. Comptroller of the Currency John Dugan earlier this month said reverse mortgages bear a striking similarity to the risky sub-prime mortgages that got so many Americans in financial hot water. The Federal Housing Administration estimates it may lose $800 million from insuring these loans in the next fiscal year.

Reverse Mortgages that were created a few years ago are already underwater. The reverse mortgage was about 80% of home value. So it is probable that the Fed is guaranteeing more than the house is worth today.

Not to worry, when the economy turns around ...

I haven't seen anything here on the recent LPG explosion in Italy. Just wondering if this might translate into increased fears of LNG shipping.

Or increased fear of trains.

I can't tell you our exact schedule for LNG import ships (Sarbanes-Oxley), however I can confirm that things have been relatively slow here on the east coast and we don't foresee any real pick-up (or drop-off) throughout the remainder of the summer. We're even bringing down three of our gas-fired turbine generators for maintenance. This stuff can change on short notice however usually we get some reasonable indication. I've not heard anything regarding the LPG explosion, I'll have to keep my ears open.

I assume that you meant LNG explosion.

LNG Train Derails in Italy, Kills 14

A train carrying liquid natural gas derailed and exploded just before midnight Monday outside the seaside resort of Viareggio, Italy. Officials evacuated approximately 1,000 people from the town after the explosion caused fires and the collapse of several homes, according to news reports from the area. At least 14 people have been reported killed. Thirty more are missing. More than 50 were injured; 37 were listed as seriously injured; 16 of those were said to be in critical condition, including a two-year-old child who was badly burned.

But a recent AP report does call it LPG:


LNG in a train - really? Cryogenic tank cars? I had been under the impression that most of the LNG shipping occurred in very large ocean vessels, and that the LNG was gasified at receiving ports before being distributed in ambient-temp pipelines as plain old natural gas.

It's shipped via trucks, so I don't see why it couldn't be shipped via train:


On the surface that seems like a pretty wasteful way of doing things. Seems like you'd generate a lot of boil-off gas with such a large surface area to volume ratio.

edit: a lot of times they bring trucks to a local scene just temporarily if there's a pipeline outage or some remote place that needs it for a short time.

Here is a link to a Google Answers effort to track down the number of LNG truck shipments in the US:


I've seen a couple of LNG tanker trucks in Texas. I couldn't believe it at first.

LP gas trucks are a very common sight in much of the country.Boil off is not a problem because the gas is a stable liquid that does not boil at normal ambient temperatures and the pressure at which it is stored.Sorry but I can't remember just what the normal storage pressure is,but the tanks are not very heavy.

These trucks fillup tanks on farms and at rural households in many places.

Small ones that hold about forty to fifty pounds wiegh maybe twenty pounds each empty and are used to fuel forklift trucks,etc, every where I 've ever been to work as a traveling mechanic in my younger days.-which is more tan a few places.

It burns clean enough to use it as a motor fuel inside large well ventilated buildings with the full knowledge and approval of safety yegulators.

Yes, but LPG can be stored at ambient temperatures, as long as it is kept sealed in a container. LNG has to cooled to minus 259 degrees Fahrenheit (-161 degrees Celsius).

Thanks for the links; good information.

We've received (at work) over-the-road deliveries of LN2, LOX, and LH2 as a matter of course for years. But when we asked our regular suppliers for a quote for LNG, it was like pulling teeth. After pushing a bit, it became clear that instead of a standard delivery charge, suddenly we were going to be paying for a guy to drive a rig from the gulf coast to the upper midwest, and back again after he had dropped off the load. So I had assumed that there wasn't much of a standard infrastructure in place for moving LNG around, but it looks like the issue is more one of a regional disparity.

LNG rail tank cars (and cryogenic tank cars in general) have been around for years...

Just one manufacturer found on a quick google search...


Chart’s cryogenic rail cars offer large payloads and excellent thermal performance for cost effective shipping of cryogenic liquids by rail. DOT-113 cars with a proven performance history are available for shipping liquid argon, nitrogen, oxygen, ethylene and LNG.

There is still considerable confusion in the MSM between LNG or LPG involved in this accident.

The reports I have read suggest to me LPG.

1. The considerable age (15+ years) of the rolling stock is being blamed. I don't think LNG has been used for 15 years in Europe.

2. The sequence of events described the derailment as fracturing a tank, the fluid then spreading over a wide area, and THEN igniting when it came in contact with presumably a heat source. If an LNG tank ruptured, the rupture would have been explosive in itself.

LNG itself is not flammable due to lack of oxygen. It's actually the boil-off that burns. You can take a bucket of LNG and light a match over it and the boil-off above the liquid will calmly burn, however the LNG itself does not. If this tanker was LNG it was likely under very little gauge pressure. Our tanks aren't much over 1 psig. The situation where it would be explosive would be a BLEVE, but that would require a high pressure in the tank, not likely if it was full of LNG vs. NG in a gaseous state.

Perhaps if a small enough hole was created in the tank to restrict vapor passage and the tank itself was exposed to extreme heat due to some other ignition source, then if there was enough vapor space in the tank you might see an explosion. That would be due to the boil-off and not the LNG itself, however.

If the tank ruptures the surface area of LNG exposed to the air will accelerate the boiloff.

By the time the flammable gas concentration reaches an ignition source you have a pretty fair analogue to a Fuel-Air Explosive bomb.

the press is calling it liquified petroleum gas (spelled out, not abreviated) this am:

" Italy asks who to blame for deadly train inferno. "


Deflation isn't hitting American Idol-they might pay Simon Cowell 144 a year just to play critic http://www.nypost.com/seven/06302009/tv/enormous_money_176757.htm

Lock limit down on corn today:

Corn, Soybeans, Wheat Plummet as U.S. Farmers Boost Acreage

(Bloomberg) -- Corn plunged by the Chicago Board of Trade’s limit after a government report showed U.S. farmers planted more acreage with the grain than estimated in March. Wheat and soybeans also tumbled on signs of increasing supplies.

Corn at $3.67? Thats going to be below many 'break even' points.

If your cash renting you could really get hurt at those prices.

If it doesn't rally and a gusher comes in then many farmers will likely be in some bad waters.

I went on a crop survey yesterday with a farmer who has gone way way out on soybeans. Lost some on his wheat , which is just now done and his corn is not that good looking...so he has to make it on beans or else....and ....

SDS is not here yet but could come and rust is on the wind...who knows.

I am thinking July will be make it or break it for crops.

Has not rained here in two weeks. A big storm just rattled thru and left nothing on the ground. Another week of no rain and its gets real tricky.


PS. BT corn is failing I heard, the insects have become immune to it or something on that order but its about outlived its life...and so what then when the corn borer comes? Wowsa!

EEI Expo: Secretary Chu describes life in a carbon-constrained world

The secretary, who speaks like the scientist he is and not the political figures who in past years filled the secretary position, talked primarily about climate change. He thanked EEI for supporting the Waxman-Markey climate change bill, which passed the House of Representatives the following day, and emphasized that the industry's outlook is not doom and gloom, but instead one of optimism and hope.

Chu said that "sooner or later we will be living in a carbon constrained world." He listed five things that "we need to do to get where we need to be."


Chu backs more ethanol:


He supports raising ethanol to 15% and making all cars flex fuel.
Obama seems to have Vilsack and Chu singing from the same hymnal now. Vilsack wrote the song.

Two comments:

On the Fed and PO: This is a great first step. The number one problem with communicating peak oil to the intelligent but uninitiated is the Internet. I've experienced this numerous times. I give a talk at a local group or tell someone one-on-one, people write down or remember "peak oil", Google it, and wind up on the wackaloon doomer sites where you can practically hear the participants cheering on the Grim Reaper.

I encourage people to stick to the saner sites, but they often wind up in the bad part of town anyway, so to speak, and then they instantly dismiss the entire topic and everything I told them as just more Internet idiocy. At that point they're lost for good and will ignore the topic until prices take off, and then it's too late to get them to help lessen the impact of the coming crunch. We have to stop hurting our own cause!

As for the wonders of French nuclear power: Bull. See Reuters: French radioactive waste to double by 2030. The waste is piling up and they have no long term plan or storage site--unless you think storing waste above ground, and in some cases beneath the floor of buildings, is "permanent storage" for stuff that remains deadly for thousands of years.

[wackaloon doomer sites] People have become conditioned to seeing everything as a joke/game/con in any case. We can thank the MSM and political demagogues for that. The dark side of "bread & circuses" distractions is that eventually nothing is taken seriously. People start to do the smart thing -- rely on their horse sense -- which will get them through many tough situations but NOT anything of a technical nature. Then, their horse sense betrays them.

We lose them forever from the outset because none of this makes any good sense to people. The terrifying thing about both PO and AGW is that these are complex technical problems poorly understood by non-technical people, who already fall under the Arthur C. Clarke dictum that "any technology sufficiently advanced is indistinguishable from magic." Likewise, any technical problem. The wackaloon sites capitalize on this (or perhaps just innocently succumb to it) resorting to twisted appeals to mythology, conspiracy and superstition as a way to cope with a looming failure of the magic. People don't even know how we got to this crossroads, they cannot then be expected to rationally know how to get us through it.

Getting through it means getting our heads around it. It ain't magic. It ain't the work of God. It ain't the universe out to kill us. It was always us -- doing damage to ourselves -- over several generations of cleverness, narcissism and intoxicated euphoria. And we will keep doing the damage to ourselves until either we get a clue, or we run out of either damage or selves. The latter is the default solution -- a resource end-game -- and if you want to see what that looks like pay a visit to Easter Island.

That's not wackaloon doomer mysticism, it's the unblinking annals of history. We are playing with very dangerous toys now, it is time we grow up.


People have become conditioned to seeing everything as a joke/game/con in any case. We can thank the MSM and political demagogues for that.

Bullshit. Its due to plenty of cons run on people from less than open governments and corporations.

But go ahead - make the claim that governments don't lie to their citizens.
Go ahead - make the claim that corporations don't lie.

And rather than claim 'wackerloonism' - perhaps you'll ask others to "grow up" and start demanding from government and corporations to be open and honest.

cougar_w wrote:
"...Getting through it means getting our heads around it...."

It's just possible that "getting our heads around it" means understanding that these "wacka-loons" may be correct in that there is no "getting through it".

Hello TODers,

UPDATE 1-Canpotex inks contract with Japanese potash importers

* New contract priced at over $700/tonne, delivered basis

Roughly $95 per barrel [$700/7.333 bbl/ton]. What info we are missing is the embedded energy equivalent per ton of K from mining source to farmgate destination.

"Controversial Painter of Truth Tackles Energy Dependence on Independence Day"


this sounds more like an editorial cartoon than anything resembling art.

Hello TODers,

From a quick google: continuing bad times in golf.

Residents worry about neglected golf courses

SPRING HILL - The news was sudden and the outlook is grim for those who live along Seven Hills Golfers Club.

They do not want their property values to go down and see weeds infiltrating the once perfectly manicured grass that used to attract hundreds of golfers per day.

On Wednesday, the employees at Seven Hills and its sister course, Spring Hill Golf and Country Club, learned both facilities were shutting down indefinitely.

By Thursday, the doors were locked and the parking lots were empty. A note was posted on the front door at Seven Hills.

"We want to thank all of our vendors, staff and customers for their patronage over the last 25 years," the note stated. "Due to an ailing economy and lack of support from our staff, residents and customers, we have been forced to close our doors indefinitely."

After years of fighting the financial realities that threatened to overtake it, Glen Annie Golf Course will close July 6, according to a statement issued by the course Monday.

..The course has been burdened by financial difficulties since it opened more than a decade ago, and has lost nearly $15 million since its launch.

It’s time for Bonita Bay members to pay up.

Members faced a July 1 deadline to pay at least part of their quarterly dues under the threat that their clubs may shut down if they refused to come up with the money.

The cash-strapped developer, Bonita Bay Group, through its restructuring officer urged members to continue paying their dues, though the developer has cut back on services and even closed some of its golf courses.

..Bonita Bay is no longer honoring its 30-day refund policy for club members who want to resign and members are questioning where their deposits went. Deposits collected from 8,000 members at its seven clubs are estimated at $225 million.

Attorneys representing TwinEagles members urged them not to pay their dues. Lissack said he thought few if any of them did.

“They are being asked to pay for something they are not receiving,” said attorney Julie Sneed, with Fowler White Boggs in Tampa, which is representing TwinEagles members.

“They can’t play on the golf course. It’s not in playing condition. In fact, it’s closed,” she said.

Also this note:

Small businesses vital to economic recovery go bankrupt

..The first five months of this year have shown a 52% increase in the total number of commercial bankruptcy filings (36,106) compared with the same period last year (23,829), according to the Automated Access to Court Electronic Records. On average thus far in 2009, some 350 commercial enterprises file for bankruptcy daily — an increase of 240% from 2006, the first year after the bankruptcy law was changed.

..Troubling for the economy, say Lawless and Todd McCracken, president of the National Small Business Association [NSBA], is the double-whammy of fewer start-ups and increasing bankruptcies.

"There is always this dynamism in the small-business community: Businesses are always dying, and new businesses are always getting started," McCracken says. "Usually more start than fail, but my sense is that now it has flip-flopped. And it's alarming."
You would think the Pres of NSBA would be up to speed on Peak Everything and would have long ago pointed out the dangers and opportunities of going PostPeak to his members. He seems like an idiot to me.

The oil resources off Brazil are in the same scope as those of Saudi Arabia.

NOT. I'm sure everybody here already knows this hence, the lack of any responses to this imbecilic statement. How do you explain to these people that while most of KSA's reserves are onshore, the Tupi reserves are offshore where the sea floor is 2-3 km under the surface and the actual reservoirs a further 4 km below the sea floor? Just in case there's anybody passing by who is not aware, I always go back and have a look at Tupi, the new kid in town posted by Luis de Sousa on November 22, 2007. This fairly concise article will leave you with no illusions as to the potential impact of "The oil resources off Brazil". "The next Saudi Arabia" my foot!

Alan from the islands

There is an article in the 05/09 Natural History that deals primarily with the reluctance of the American people to accept the truth of evolution.

It goes into a fair degree deal of detail concerning the way we are hard wired to see the world,especially as infants and children,and is a very worthwhile read for the comments in and of themselves about the ways that infants and children learn.

But it also gets into the issue of WHO we trust and WHY we trust them.

I reccomend it highly as it will provide useful insights to any who wonder why peak oil is still an out of the mainstream,not to be taken seriously topic as far as the public is concerned.