DrumBeat: July 1, 2009

WTO admits some trade limits may be necessary to stop climate change

GENEVA (AP) — The World Trade Organization acknowledged Friday that some limits on free trade may be necessary to stop runaway climate change — provided the restrictions aren't a cover for protectionism.

"WTO case law has confirmed that WTO rules do not trump environmental requirements," the global commerce body said.

Import taxes on goods coming from countries that fail to meet environmental standards might be among the measures exceptionally permitted under global free trade laws, WTO said.

Oil market oversupplied, demand weak - Kuwait

OPEC is unlikely to raise oil output when its minister meet in September as the oil market is still oversupplied, Kuwait's oil minister said on Wednesday.

"I doubt there will be a further increase in production," Sheikh Ahmad Abdullah al-Sabah told reporters at parliament when asked for comment about similar views by fellow OPEC members about the September meeting. The minister said demand was still less than supply.

Russia proposes Arctic détente

Russia says it wants to work co-operatively with Canada on the future of the thawing Arctic, and both countries should freeze out non-Arctic Europeans jockeying for a piece of its rich resource "pie."

ANALYSIS - Flop to some Iraq oil sale may be victory to others

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - To oil executives, Iraq's first auction of energy contracts since the U.S. invasion was a giant flop. To Iraqis, basking in a renewed sense of sovereignty and nationalism, it may turn out looking like a victory.

Nigeria oil company rejects damning Amnesty report

(CNN) -- Nigeria's state oil company rejected criticism from a leading human rights group Wednesday, calling an Amnesty International report "inaccurate."

India hikes petrol, diesel prices

NEW DELHI (AFP) – The Indian government Wednesday announced a rise in petrol and diesel fuel prices, saying its hand had been forced by the increase in global crude oil prices.

Ford US sales drop 10.7 percent in June

DETROIT – Ford Motor Co. on Wednesday called its 10.7 percent drop in U.S. June sales "steady progress," after a year of sharp declines across the industry.

The monthly decline was Ford's smallest since July of last year, a sign that U.S. auto sales may be recovering from the worst slump in 27 years.

Truck safety advocates push to mandate speed-limiting devices

Stephen Owings, whose 22-year-old son died when his car was rear-ended, is fighting to have the federal government require the use of speed-limiting devices on all big rigs, saying: "We're not against truckers; we're pro-highway safety."

Most often, citizen-crusaders find themselves in lonely, unequal struggles against industry groups and lobbyists. But this time, David and Goliath seem to be on the same side.

From bush to bike - a bamboo revolution

On the outskirts of Lusaka, Zambia, next year's crop of bicycles is being watered by Benjamin Banda.

"We planted this bamboo last year," he says, "and now the stems are taller than me. When it's ready we'll cut it, cure it and then turn it into frames."

Mr Banda, is the caretaker for Zambikes, a company set up by two Californians and two Zambians which aimed to build bikes tough enough to handle the local terrain.

NYISO Reviews Impact of Electric Vehicles on Grid [PDF]

The timing and magnitude of potential electric load from PHEVs will be determined by several key factors. These include consumer acceptance of PHEVs, the advancement of battery storage technologies, and the availability/location of PHEV-charging infrastructure. Two studies, one by Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and another conducted jointly by the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) concluded that incremental load for PHEVs in New York would be in the range of 7,000-8,000 gigawatt-hours per year (GWH/yr)by 2030.

PHEV load can also migrate and occur intermittently, as PHEV-charging opportunities (as an electric load) expand beyond the owner’s home and depend on travel schedules. If charging patterns are managed properly, PHEVs with loads in the range predicted by these studies could be served by the existing New York bulk power system. The migratory nature of this load, however, does require further analysis to fully assess the impact of PHEV load on local electric distribution systems.

If the charging pattern of PHEVs is not managed effectively, loads of this size could require significant additional generation capacity. Rate design to encourage off-peak charging, coupled with time-of-use rates, and Smart Grid/Advanced Metering Initiatives, would facilitate favorable charging behavior. Advanced communication protocols between the recharging location and an evolving Smart Grid could also facilitate effective management of charging patterns.

Suburbs refuse to pay public transportation tax

CARMEL – The Putnam County Legislature is thumbing its nose at the MTA, voting Monday night to refuse to pay the new mobility tax to the New York City transportation system.

The State Legislature and the governor approved the payroll tax, which will add a one-third of one percent levy on all payrolls in the Mid-Hudson counties of Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland and Westchester.

But, Putnam lawmakers said the tax is a job killer and they aren’t going to pay it on the county’s payroll.

An Immediate Oil Shortage Is Political Fiction, Not Reality

One anti-drilling argument often invoked by environmentalists is that either America or the world is running out of oil. Neither assertion is true, says columnist Jonah Goldberg.

For example, in the 1970s, the Club of Rome guaranteed that we'd run out of oil by now.

Yet the amount of available oil has expanded greatly since then, says Goldberg.

OPEC oil output rises slightly in June: Reuters survey

OPEC oil supply rose in June as higher output from several members of the group offset cutbacks in Nigeria caused by militant attacks, a Reuters survey showed on Wednesday.

Supply from the 11 members of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries bound by output targets rose to 26.02 million barrels per day (bpd) from 25.91 million bpd in May, according to the survey of oil firms, OPEC officials and analysts.

Ashgabat invites Russia for gas row chat

Turkmen leader Kurbanguly Berdymukhamedov today invited Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to Turkmenistan for the first meeting since the start of a gas row which has halted Turkmen gas shipments to Russia.

Russia, the main buyer of Turkmen gas, halted its imports in April after a pipeline explosion.

Poland eyes Gulf investment hub role

After striking a long-term gas supply deal with energy-rich Qatar and selling two shipyards to a fund from the Gulf state, Poland is looking to became an EU hub for Mideast investors.

Ambition turns to anxiety at Iraq oil auction

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - It was for one of the biggest energy auctions in history that well-heeled executives braved the dust and danger of Baghdad this week to jet in and deliver bids for lucrative long-term oilfield contracts.

For months Iraq had hyped Tuesday's auction as a triumph in transparency and a bonanza for global firms, fending off critics at home by promising the multibillion-dollar service deals would mark a turning point for the struggling oil sector.

Hyundai's latest offer: Cheap gas

A new promotion allows Hyundai buyers to lock-in gas prices at $1.49 a gallon for a year or take $1,000 in cash -- most will probably take the cash.

US DOE awards $308 mln to BP-Rio Tinto project

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Energy Department said on Wednesday it will provide up to $308 million in funding for a clean coal project being developed by Hydrogen Energy International LLC.

ExxonMobil continuing to fund climate sceptic groups, records show

The world's largest oil company is continuing to fund lobby groups that question the reality of global warming, despite a public pledge to cut support for such climate change denial, a new analysis shows.

Company records show that ExxonMobil handed over hundreds of thousands of pounds to such lobby groups in 2008. These include the National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA) in Dallas, Texas, which received $75,000 (£45,500), and the Heritage Foundation in Washington DC, which received $50,000.

Why ExxonMobil must be taken to task over climate denial funding

ExxonMobil should keep its promise by ending its financial support for lobby groups that mislead the public about climate change.

The least sea ice in 800 years

New research, which reconstructs the extent of ice in the sea between Greenland and Svalbard from the 13th century to the present indicates that there has never been so little sea ice as there is now. The research results from the Niels Bohr Institute, among others, are published in the scientific journal, Climate Dynamics.

There are of course neither satellite images nor instrumental records of the climate all the way back to the 13th century, but nature has its own 'archive' of the climate in both ice cores and the annual growth rings of trees and we humans have made records of a great many things over the years - such as observations in the log books of ships and in harbour records. Piece all of the information together and you get a picture of how much sea ice there has been throughout time.

Irish 'energy for nothing' gizmo fails jury vetting

Based in Dublin’s Docklands near the O2 and employing 22 people, Steorn made international headlines almost three years ago when it claimed to have discovered a way to get more energy out of a gizmo than it put in. The excess, they said, could be used to power a mobile phone, run a fridge or make an MP3 player go.

Scientists doubted the claims and, when the company resisted calls to release precise details of how Orbo worked, it asked an international panel of experts to adjudicate on the device.

Steorn organised a panel of 22 independent scientists and engineers from Europe and North America chaired by Ian MacDonald, emeritus professor of electrical engineering at the University of Alberta.

“The situation was we had engaged them in February 2007 and went through a process with them,” Mr McCarthy said. Two years have passed however and the jury clearly decided that enough was enough.

It posted an announcement on its website http://stjury.ning.com that it was disbanding.

“The unanimous verdict of the jury is that Steorn’s attempts to demonstrate the claim have not shown the production of energy,” it stated. “The jury is therefore ceasing work.”

Commentary: Interview with Charles T. Maxwell (Part 2 of 2)

ASPO: So here’s the deal—we’ll make you the Energy Czar tomorrow. Your focus is on the year 2015. Where would you put your investments, either private or public incentives? Where would you put your chips? Where would you double down?

Maxwell: We’re not going to have to help the oil industry. They already have all the help they need. I wouldn’t take away what they have but I wouldn’t add to it.

It’s a little difficult to answer because there are two different kinds of money we’re talking about: what will industry spend and where should government spend? Because if the industry is going to spend money on shale gas, which it is, then the government doesn’t have to spend any money there. Shale gas is a natural answer to the near-term energy problem; it’s one of the big answers we’ve got.

New Technology May Help Pre-Salt Oil Surveys, Bernstein Says

(Bloomberg) -- New technology may help companies exploring for oil in the so-called pre-salt area offshore Brazil, home to the largest crude find in the Americas in three decades, Sanford C. Bernstein & Co said.

Most seismic imaging bounces off salt because of its different properties, “meaning that geophysicists are effectively working blind below salt,” Neil McMahon, a London- based analyst at Bernstein, said in a report today. “Oil companies and seismic acquisition companies have started to develop a host of techniques to improve the situation.”

The other Gulf of Mexico: Pemex sees potential in Mexican sector

Pemex is accelerating its exploration and production strategy in the Mexican sector of the deepwater Gulf of Mexico with the objective of reversing Mexico’s declining crude oil production, explains Carlos Morales Gil, general director of Pemex E&P.

Iraqi oil licensing round runs into trouble

"It's been nearly 40 years now that Iraq has failed to live up to its oil potential," said Daniel Yergin, a Pulitzer Prize winning author and chairman of IHS CERA, an energy consultancy. "It's not a foregone conclusion that these arrangements will, in themselves, do what needs to be done. It's only a beginning, and it's an uncertain beginning."

Power crisis looms large in Karnataka

BANGALORE: Bangalore city and several cities and town in Karnataka have been facing severe shortage of power on account of inadequate rainfall in June this year. The load shedding varied from one hour to seven hours while the load shedding in other cities and towns in the state was worse. With the below normal monsoon, the state is likely to face another drought during the kharif season.

...Karnataka is also not getting its central share of about 50 MW due to the stopping of generation by an unit at the Kaiga nuclear generating station on account of shortage of nuclear fuel, the minister said.

India: Water, power woes could see diesel demand spin out of control

Mumbai/New Delhi - The power and water shortage across the country is not the best of news to oil refiners who are worried that this could lead to excessive diesel consumption at a time when they are already making losses on sale of the fuel.

ANALYSIS - New Shell CEO has toughest task in European business

LONDON (Reuters) - The new chief executive of Royal Dutch Shell Plc faces the tallest order in European business -- to make his company the continent's top earner this year, next year, and well into the next decade.

Ford boosts production 16% as June car sales show strength

DEARBORN, Mich. — Ford is boosting its third-quarter production schedule after seeing more demand for its cars and trucks in June, the company said Monday.

Ford plans to increase production by 16% compared with the third quarter of 2008. The automaker had said it would increase production 10%, but is adding another 25,000 vehicles because it's seen some stabilization in June auto sales, to be reported Wednesday.

Honda's new hybrid disappoints

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Honda's new hybrid-only Insight, touted as a low-cost competitor to the Toyota Prius was dealt a major blow Monday after it failed to get a thumbs up from the influential magazine Consumer Reports.

"The Insight is the most disappointing Honda Consumer Reports has tested in a long time," said David Champion, director of the magazine's auto test center.

$32M available for hyropower projects

WASHINGTON (UPI) -- U.S. hydroelectric plants will get $32 million in stimulus funds for efficiency improvements and modernization, Energy Secretary Steven Chu said Tuesday.

Agriculture and Food in Crisis

“Could Food Shortages Bring Down Civilization?,” asks the title of an article by Lester Brown in Scientific American (May 2009). Just a few years ago, such a question would have seemed almost laughable. Few will be surprised by it today.

In 2008 people woke up to a tsunami of hunger sweeping the world. Although the prospect of rising hunger has loomed on the horizon for years, the present crisis seemed to come out of the blue without warning. Food riots spread through many countries in the global South as people tried to obtain a portion of what appeared to be a rapidly shrinking supply of food, and many governments were destabilized.

Another perspective on peak oil

While we will be increasing [production], it's going to be at a much higher cost. That cost, depending on what the project is and what kind of time frame you're looking at, maybe's $70-$80 a barrel is effectively the full development cost to be able to do it. So what you are seeing in Canada, in terms of very high cost [to] increase production, you are seeing in different parts of the world. Most obviously in places like offshore Brazil, deep water Gulf of Mexico, where the economic cost for bringing on new barrels is not far off from what it costs bringing on new barrels in the oil sands; meaning these are very expensive projects. So the marginal costs of these new barrels are extremely, extremely high.

So while you may have the ability to build an increase in production, it's going to be increasing production at a much different price environment than we've seen in the past. So, it's a long way of saying, I would generally speaking agree with the theory behind peak oil in that the cheap barrels have largely been found and the new barrels are going to come from much more expensive sources. If you look at marginal supply economics, the world's going to have to get used to

Gas demand set for first fall in 50 years

Global demand for gas is expected to fall in 2009 marking the first annual decline since the Fifties, a new report warns.

The International Energy Agency's (IEA) annual Natural Gas Market Review said: '[We] project that for the first time in 50 years, the world will witness a drop in global gas demand.'

It says that after a 1% increase in gas consumption in 2008, gas demand among OECD countries fell by 4% during the first quarter of 2009 - January to March - and is expected to decline further this year.

Qatar minister: Tough year ahead for oil and gas

DOHA (AFP) – Qatari Oil Minister Abdullah bin Hamad al-Attiyah warned on Tuesday that the global economic downturn will continue to hit the Gulf state's vital energy exports.

"The fallout from the economic crisis does not only hit financial institutions but other sectors, such as oil and gas," Attiyah told the fledgling Gas Exporting Countries Forum.

"The last quarter of 2008 was difficult for the energy industry and all the indicators show that this year it will witness a tough period as well."

Few Bidders to Develop Iraqi Oil and Natural Gas Fields

BAGHDAD — The Iraqi government stumbled once again on Tuesday in its frequently delayed effort to award development rights to its most valuable oil fields. In a public auction it largely failed to attract the lucrative offers it sought from dozens of international oil companies invited to the bidding.

After the daylong event, which was broadcast live on national television, the government came away with just a single deal struck from among the six giant oil fields and two gas fields it had put up for bid.

Iraq reviews oil tenders after foreign snub

BAGHDAD (AFP) – Iraq's cabinet was reviewing on Wednesday new bids from foreign energy firms to develop the country's oil and gas reserves, a day after being widely snubbed by companies unhappy over the terms on offer.

"Ministers are meeting and discussing the issue," an official in Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's office said after a deal was struck on Tuesday to develop only one of six oil fields up for tender.

Anxious Oil Giants Pass on Iraq

BAGHDAD -- Iraq's effort to woo foreign energy companies to help resurrect its ailing oil fields fell flat Tuesday, as most companies balked at the financial terms offered by the government despite the lure of the country's vast reserves.

No need for Iraq to sell its future cheap

The good news for Iraq is that big oil needs it more than vice versa. BP, for example, the successful bidder in one of the auctions yesterday, agreed to accept a fee of just $2 a barrel in return for the right to help develop the Rumaila field.

Iraq needs to hold its nerve. In a world where proven resources are dwindling and new oil finds are becoming scarcer – and tougher to exploit – it can afford to play hardball with companies moaning about the terms on offer. Big oil will eventually come back to the table.

ANALYSIS - Iraq oil auction dashes majors' bonanza hopes

For Western oil majors which have struggled to add new reserves in recent years - as the biggest reserves holders like Saudi Arabia and Russia keep their biggest fields for their state oil companies to develop - Tuesday's auction offered an unrivalled opportunity.

Investors feared the companies might even have been prepared to agree to loss-making deals simply to gain a foothold in such a prolific area.

But in the end, the two sides differed wildly on the value of the opportunity on offer and largely stuck to their guns.

Oil Rises Before Report Forecast to Show U.S. Supplies Shrank

Bloomberg) -- Oil advanced before the release of a report predicted to show that U.S. crude supplies contracted for a fourth week, stoking optimism that fuel demand will recover as the recession abates.

The Energy Department will probably report today that crude-oil stockpiles dropped 2 million barrels last week, according to a Bloomberg survey. Yesterday the industry-funded American Petroleum Institute said crude supplies fell by 6.8 million barrels. Oil was also boosted by rising European equities.

“It was an extremely huge stock draw,” said Hannes Loacker, a Raiffeisen Zentralbank Oesterreich analyst in Vienna. “If we get confirmation of that data in the Energy Department, that will help prices.”

China's latest fuel price rise triggers public debate

BEIJING (Xinhua) -- China's latest fuel prices hike, which is intended to reflect rising international crude cost, sparked widespread debate as consumers grumbled that the record domestic prices were even higher than those in the United States, the world's biggest oil consumer.

The 9-10 percent state-set price rise in gasoline and diesel as of June 30, the second in a month, forced the Chinese motorists to pay more than 3 U.S. dollars a gallon, compared to an average of 2.69 U.S. dollars a gallon in the United States last week.

China oil flow up on new Kazakh pipe

China secured access to vast oil deposits in western Kazakhstan today after the energy-rich Central Asian nation said it had completed the expansion of a major oil pipeline to its eastern neighbour.

A Kazakh company in charge of the project said the first test shipment of oil had been successfully completed through the newly built Kenkiyak-Kumkol pipeline.

10 arrested in oil, gas thefts at Texas companies

ODESSA, Texas – Ten people have been arrested in the theft of about $2 million worth of oil and gas condensate from oil companies and producers in West Texas.

The arrests Tuesday came following a seven-month investigation by a regional oil theft task force.

Busted: Russia casinos forced to close down

MOSCOW - Nearly two decades after the Soviet collapse set Russia's roulette wheels spinning again, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin is calling in the chips on the gambling industry — a symbol of the glitz and excess of Russia's oil-fueled boom.

NDP insists it won't neglect peak oil

On June 27, Horgan told the Straight at the Empire Landmark Hotel that it “troubles” him that people think the NDP has let the public down on this issue. “Peak oil is going to have a profound impact on how our social and economic policies evolve in British Columbia,” Horgan stated. “I have said that repeatedly, but it may not have made its way to the streets of Vancouver.”

Peak cottaging?

Like it or not, when we come out of this recession we are going to be paying a whole lot more for energy. That simple fact will change life in Haliburton County in ways that are difficult to imagine.

If Canadian economist Jeff Rubin is correct, and he has a history of being correct, the price at the gas pumps will go up to $2 a litre when the recession ends and keep right on going up from there.

That $2 price, like the $1.30 we paid last summer, will not be the result of some sinister right-wing conspiracy. It will be set by the law of supply and demand.

Maine: Fox Islands celebrate wind power groundbreaking

Speakers throughout the morning, including Conkling, Fox Islands Electric Cooperative President Elliot Brown, Diversified Communications Chairman Horace A. Hildreth, Cianbro Corporation Chairman Peter Vigue and EOS Ventures, LLC President Tyler Fairbank, all had high praise for George Baker, the chief executive officer of Fox Islands Wind.

Baker is a professor of business administration at the Harvard University Business School who lives on Frenchboro.

"I was impressed at how he spoke with a vision for this community," said Vigue, who met Baker at the Vinalhaven home of energy expert Matthew Simmons last year.

Wind + water = untapped energy: An abundance of power exists above Earth's oceans, study finds

(PhysOrg.com) -- Wind energy over the planet's oceans is a vastly underutilized renewable resource, according to UC Irvine researchers.

At 80 meters above the ocean - the typical wind turbine height - more than 50 percent more power is available than at 10 meters, the height important to the shipping industry upon which previous wind estimates were made.

Federal court upholds Calif. ship regulations

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – A federal court judge in Sacramento has upheld California regulations that require oceangoing ships using the state's ports to use cleaner fuel in order to reduce harmful emissions.

Dependence on Big Oil, Dirty Coal Could Cost U.S. $30 Trillion By 2030

The High Cost of Fossil Fuels: Why America Can’t Afford to Depend on Dirty Energy found that our national bill for fossil fuels in 2008 exceeded $1 trillion for the first time ever – more than was spent on education or the military. And by 2030, we could spend as much as $1.7 trillion per year on fossil fuels – an additional $1,500 for every man, woman, and child nationwide. The report also includes state-by-state data.

“The high fossil fuel prices we paid in 2007 and 2008, which crushed our economy, will soon become the new normal, unless we kick our dependence on fossil fuels,” said Tony Dutzik, senior policy analyst for the Frontier Group and a co-author of the report.

G8 summit to seek 80% emissions cut by 2050

TOKYO (AFP) – The Group of Eight rich nations summit in Italy next week is likely to call on industrialised countries to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2050, a report said Wednesday.

The reduction target is in the draft of a declaration to be issued at the end of the July 8-10 summit in L'Aquila, Italy, the Nikkei economic daily said, without naming its source.

Climate in the Senate

The House’s approval last week of a bill capping greenhouse gases was a remarkable achievement, almost unthinkable six months ago. Yet all of the hard work — the hearings, the negotiating, the arm-twisting — will add up to zero if the Senate cannot be persuaded to do the same, and preferably better. The country would be left with an outdated energy policy and the planet would be stuck with steadily rising emissions.

The Senate will not be an easy sell. It has rejected less ambitious climate bills before. While 60 filibuster-proof votes are needed, only 45 Senators mostly Democrats, can be counted as yes or probably yes. There are 23 fence-sitters and very little Republican support.

Voinovich Says ‘Crap’ in Climate Bill Will Stall U.S. Passage

(Bloomberg) -- A House-passed bill favored by President Barack Obama to curtail global warming contains “a lot of crap” that will probably delay approval of the measure this year, Ohio Republican Senator George Voinovich said.

It would take a “miracle” for the legislation to pass the Senate before United Nations climate talks in Copenhagen in December, Voinovich said. “You’ve got a bill that is 1,200 pages, and there is just a lot of crap in there,” he said.

China unhappy with US climate bill

The United States set the bar too low and offered the world a poor example when it passed its climate change bill on Friday, according to a senior Chinese climate change official.

Canada, Russia Considered Climate ‘Bad Boys’ Among G8 Nations

(Bloomberg) -- Canada and Russia, both northern and oil-rich, are making the least progress in cutting carbon- dioxide emissions among the major economies, a new study shows.

Canada is furthest from its reduction target for the greenhouse gas under a global treaty and has made little progress compared with other Group of Eight members, according to the report commissioned by German insurer Allianz SE. Output of CO2, released by burning fossil fuels such as oil and coal, is the second-highest on a per-capita basis after the U.S., which is writing its first legislation to curb carbon emissions.

We Can Solve the Climate Crisis

The report found that eight of the nine technologies -- the exception was plug-in hybrids -- could feasibly reach gigaton scale in a bit more than a decade. Paul’s report is significant, in part, because it reflects the thinking of a many in a hurry -- other studies, particularly the very good McKinsey study on how to avoid climate disaster, look out 20 or 40 years.

“For investors, those time frames just don’t make any sense,” Paul told me. “By 2030 or 2050, we’ll either be retired or dead. So we needed something immediate, so we can be held accountable, so we can see the results in a a time frame that matters for investors and entrepreneurs and business leaders -- 10 years.”

Arctic Permafrost Carbon ‘Underestimated,’ Poses Climate Threat

(Bloomberg) -- Arctic permafrost, the frozen soil beneath polar snow and ice, contains twice as much carbon as previously estimated and may spark a further increase in temperatures should global warming continue.

A study by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, or CSIRO, showed a 10 percent reduction of permafrost through warming could add 80 parts per million more of atmospheric CO2, corresponding to a temperature gain of about 0.7 degrees Celsius (3.4 degrees Fahrenheit).

Fury at Rwanda sterilisation bill

Jared Diamond would have plenty to say about this story. Of all places, you might think that Rwanda would be the first nation to overcome the stigma of trying forced population control. What a loaded topic - this Rwandan proposal goes way beyond the one-child coercion practiced in China, but then again, so did the mass murder of 1994.

What to say? Yes, sterilization of undesirables is a terrible echo of eugenics, but who pays to feed and house the spawn of irresponsible parents? IMO the HRW position is kneejerk-predictable, the product of the worst kind of holier-than-thou liberal handwringing. And I’m a liberal, too! Statements like the following are indefensible:

"While Rwanda has made notable progress in fighting stigma and responding to the Aids epidemic, and has pledged to advance the rights of persons with disability, forced sterilisation and mandatory HIV testing do not contribute to those goals."

Excuse me? In what universe is mandatory HIV testing not a positive contribution to the AIDS epidemic? These people don’t exactly have the means to “go underground” to avoid the test when they’re sick - or just getting married. How is this any worse than the syphilis and rubella testing that used to be required before a marriage license could be granted in the US?

I can see all the sides here, and I wouldn’t want to be the one kicked out of the lifeboat, but that boat’s already overloaded, and it’s going down first in places like Rwanda. We have to do something - we will, no doubt. But if we don’t at least attempt to carry out population growth mitigation in an orderly fashion, well, we all know that it’ll happen in its usual, messy way.

Personally, I don’t believe that the human race will ever face up to these ugly but inescapable choices regarding population overshoot and resource depletion. Denial R us.

Agreed. 'Biggest tribe wins' is a dominant instinct and probably the hardest to tame. It has been noted here (and elsewhere I'm sure) that an enlightened society that restricted it's population might nevertheless be overwhelmed by a society with a natalist ideology. It has also been noted that prosperous and secure societies tend to have lower birthrates. But this effect may not in its natural course be strong enough to achieve sustainable population, and in any event our run of prosperity may be challenged in the coming decades.

Strong population controls can have an impact, and quickly, perhaps 1-2 generations. China's current ascendancy has at least a little to do with the better alignment of population and resources that began in the 1970s with the 'one child' policy. It would be ironic if China gives that up in their current expansive phase, as the more prosperous push for larger families.

I believe China is exceptional in its ability to adopt broad policies across such a large population and geographic area. Further, one child per family is extreme, and creates a lot of distortions such as female infanticide and sex-selective abortions.

If restricting reproductive rights is at all possible, I think it has to involve a tradeable ration or permit system. Each female gets, say, 2.2 permits at the time of their birth, and surrenders 1.0 permits when they bear a child. Permits could be traded, with the price providing an implicit value allocating the preference for large vs. small families. Reduced allocations over time would reflect long-term sustainable population goals.

I would favor allocating all the permits to girls, to counter the observed bias toward boys.

Plenty of holes exist in such a scheme. People may try to have more children than they carry permits for, raising the question of enforcement. If one society implements such a scheme and others don't, sustainable population goals may not be reached.

However, reproductive rights and ultimate population are thorny questions. If we are going to address them at all we should be looking at plans that make the highest allowance possible for individual preferences. I think we have a better chance of adapting to a tradeable permit system than to a one woman/one child-type mandate.

The idea of tradable birthrights has been around for a long while. Of course, it must apply to the women, since one man can inseminate hundreds (thousands?) of women. Such a system would be rather like cap-and-trade and would have the same problems being implemented, especially in a nation such as the U.S., where limits on personal freedoms are strongly opposed...

E. Swanson

Yup, it has been around a while. Kenneth Boulding was an advocate back in the 60s and 70s, and maybe the idea wasn't original even then.

We will need to be convinced that the only alternative is forced rationing of birthrights (1 child/family as with China), forced sterilization, etc. before a system of tradeable rights looks good. That may take a long time in the US, since this land is still relatively 'empty'. If I had to guess, I would say that restrictions on immigration is where it would start (immigrant families get tradeable lots on how many they can bring in as a means to control refugees and the idea gains currency....).

A quick google shows Rwanda is the most densely populated country in Africa - 183 per sq km in 1981 and 345 per sq km in 2000.

Jared Diamond talks about this in Collapse but I thought I'd just check the figures. I wonder if they're encouraging smaller families for everyone?

According to wolframalpha its now 390 per square km, about 12 times to US population density.

So population density is somewhere between that of Japan and Holland. Israel is over 300 per sq km. Bangladesh is over 1000 per sq km.

BP and China's national oil company submitted a joint bid to raise output at Rumaila [Iraq] from about 1 million barrels a day to 2.85 million barrels a day



City populations rebound

Research shows that homes in neighborhoods that encourage walking instead of driving to work and stores retain their values better.

"The other thing … is that people are calculating the cost of transportation when they're thinking of housing," Coletta says. "That changes the equation.

That may be why the closest suburbs to major cities are doing well. Arlington and Alexandria, Virginia suburbs of Washington, were among the 25 fastest-growing major cities. The cities were thought to have little room to develop, but they built high-rises and other projects on vacant lots in developed areas.


Best Hopes for Growing Walkable Cities and Shrinking "Drive or Starve" Suburbs & Exurbs,


Off Topic

I have had limited time to post on TOD and push forward on several relevant topics for several months because I have been helping my mother through her final illness.

Her obituary. Well written by my brother and very true.


I am now back home and struggling to "get going" again. It may take a while before I can return to TOD as much as I wish to.

Best Memories,



My Sympathies.

Alan -
Sincere sympathies.

Alan --

My sympathies.


I can understand where you are at since a few days ago occurred the death and burial of my last living uncle. A sad time for me as I observed the end of a generation of those aunts and uncles who went far and served their country well.

I am still in periods of mourning that come and go.

For a Kentuckian this is always a bittersweet time for us and you I am sure as well. In Kentucky we still hold on to the memories of our ancestors as long as we can.

My condolences to you and yours,
Airdale-may she rest in eternal peace


Please accept my sympathies, take your time in getting going again, there are more important things than TOD.

Be well,

Fred Magyar

Yes and no. TOD as a community is not the most important thing in the world (although it has grown in importance to me personally).

But I made clear in my first few months here that I see TOD as a "lever" to affect change and as a whetstone to sharpen both my thinking and arguments for use elsewhere.

I have achieved one goal, making the Peak Oil community aware of the advantages of rail & electrified rail, even in a doomer case (short of ultimate doom, rail has been useful in Liberia & Cambodia for example). TOD is a vector for this meme, which appears to be growing.

I have an open invitation from the University of Iceland to propose a comprehensive solution to their economic and environmental issues (Iceland alone could reverse 0.005% of GW) and I am writing an article for (hopefully) Foreign Affairs magazine on a comparable solution for the USA (a long term solution to our economic, energy and environmental issues). (Anyone out there with experience with FA ?). One co-author is Hans Herren and Foreign Affairs likes "big names".

All "fall out" from TOD and my other experiences.

So, there is some small chance that TOD *IS* the most important thing in the world :-)

Best Hopes,


May I also add my deepest sympathies, as well as appreciation for your thoughtful posts here.

Hang in there,

I'll dare to disagree with you Allen. TOD is not the most important thing in the world. Moral/intellegent folks with passion to have a positive impact on the lives of others are the most important aspects of life IMO. And most here understand who I refer to.

Take the time needed to heal your heart. We'll patiently await the return of your attention.

Yes ROCKMAN, you're are quite right.

Condolences, Alan. Now, take care of thyself.


In times like this, it is best to put TOD on the back burner and focus on finding some healing from your loss of a loved one. TOD is just a set of impersonal electronic connections. It doesn't replace family and close friends. Nonetheless please accept my condolences on your loss. (I too have lost a number of immediate family members in the last few months, including having to bury my oldest son.) The hurt lasts for a long time. Hang in there and come back to TOD when you feel emotionally ready to re-engage. The Peak Oil problem is not going away. Sadly, our loved ones do. We remember them in our hearts.

Thank you for the time and care you devoted to your mom. There's not much that's more honorable than that.


I second jokuhl's sentiments. Although the elders I care for have yet to contract their "final illness," I know it's just a matter of time.

Alan, my humblest sympathies.


My sympathies.

It's been about a year since I laid my wife to rest... we both were 30 at the time she passed. I cared for her for the last year of her life, through her cancer. I can understand how much of a weight it is to carry when someone close to you is terminally ill. Even though I have moved on (and I've even found someone new), I will never forget what happened to her and the life she lived. Another widow (much older than me) once told me that it never gets 'better', just different.

Best to you and your family... Hope to see you around.

PS- New Orleans is the fastest growing city, in the news today...

New Orleans: Fastest growing city in the U.S.

The Big Easy is making a big comeback. New Orleans has steadily won back some of the population it lost in the wake of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, according to a government report released Wednesday.

New Orleans lost more than half its residents during the deluge. Few large U.S. cities have ever had to cope with a disaster on that scale. Since then, it has been one of the country's fastest growing cities.

Best hopes for moving forward.

A million less

If you laughed a million laughs
If you shed a million tears
If you had a million dollars
If you lived a million years

If you fought a million battles
If you beat a million fears
If you had a million medals
If you survived a million spears

It wouldn't mean as much
as to feel your Momma's hand
wipe away your tears

(I apologize in advance. They come tumbling out sometimes. I never feel like they're mine when they come from other's experiences, so here it is. Old habit from the brain tumor listserv, back when my first wife passed... humbly presented.)

Alan - my sympathies, but on a positive note, she reached a good age.

ccpo what is brain tumour listserv - is it to help people with brain tumours or to help relatives of people with brain tumours or both?

The reason I ask is I have recently had a major operation to have a brain tumour removed, I am told it is incurable but may be controllable. I remain positive however, since I currently have no abnormal symptoms and have no idea when I will die or what from, so I wouldn't want to visit the site prematurely if it would give me or my family unnecessaary worries.

I cannot recommend it enough based on past experience.

Due to finding this so late, I have responded with info via e-mail.


Add a ditto from me to all the other responses concerning your Mom.

In the end you will come to value the time yoy spent with her as some of the very best time you ever spent.

Don't forget that enjoyable work is one of the very best therapies for any and all emotional stress /distress.

Alan ~

I'm sorry for your loss. Please accept my "Best Wishes."


My Sympathies. Do what you have to do and return to TOD with many new ideas.



thank you for sharing this ineffable, private moment with us all.

The day after tomorrow will mark the sixth year of my mother's passing; I was her only son, and she my only parent. Nothing will ever be the same - no one will ever put my scrawled drawings up on the refrigerator again. You'd think that it's a fact of life that a fifty-something could get his head around, but there is no substitute for unconditional love.

And yet, now I'm more free than I ever was before - the next in line to die, the one whose rantings the kids will have to put up with, finally permitted all those eccentricities in my fast-approaching dotage. The heck with all of 'em - I ain't got a durn thing to prove to nobody no more.

As time passes, the memory of those final days will fade, and only the sweetness remains.

I'm sorry for you Alan. Struggling is such a right word for finding oneself after a section of your life falls away. May you find peace.

Thanks for the obituary.



It was two years ago on Father's day that my dad passed away. I know it is tough - the first few months are the hardest, but it eventually does get better.

My thoughts and prayers are with you..


It's been so busy lately I haven't even posted much but I do have to take the time to say how sorry I am at you mother's death. Both of my folks are long gone.


I'm so sorry to hear of your mother's passing, Alan, and join the others here in wishing you and your family peace and comfort.


Death can be very unfair, I hope she dident suffer terribly and that the end came in a way you could help her with. Dont tell us how it were, its private and not for me to dig into but if you did half for her of what you do for us you did ok. Few people try to do something for most of the world and I am sure you are genuine since your reasoning have developed over the years. Your relatives must be blessed when you care so much about people!

Sorry to hear that, Alan. Just went thru the same thing in Jan., mice elf. She lived long enuf to see the inauguration, tho.

For the mothers who taught us the dance.

Wharf Rat, Sorry for your loss too.

My thoughts too are with you and yours.


How long has the API been reporting weekly inventory levels on Tuesday? I don't remember it before this spring.

We should start a fee-based inventory report on Mondays! Anybody want to help? [j.k. (just joking)]

EDIT: From the API website:

The Weekly Statistical Bulletin is usually published each Wednesday morning, and covers the previous week’s activity. A separate Monthly Statistical Report, which is published 2 to 3 weeks following the end of the report month, analyzes and comments on the significance of trends reflected in the weekly data. Prior years’ data are available at a reduced cost. Customized reports are also available for specific weekly series at a negotiable cost, call (202) 682-8546.
Single subscriber Member Non-Member
T00040 Weekly Statistical Bulletin (immediate)$10,050.00 $13,400.00
T00001 WSB (next morning) $6,000.00 $7,850.00
83400 PDF format (delayed 72 hours) $1,100.00 $1,100.00

Iraq's auction of oil fields is an interesting piece of game theory.

On the Iraq side they want, need, to get the maximum return on those fields - being the major source of revenue for the country.

On the oil company side, they need the reserves, but don't like either the high price or risk.

How will it play out? Will China be prepared to outbid western companies to sew up large capacity numbers? Will the disaster of the first round of bidding force the Iraqi oil minister to accept lower bids? Do the majors smell bloody in the water? Will the US standby and allow no 'US' company to win anything?

The next move will be interesting. Its likely that someone will break, either Iraq, or one of the majors giving a bid for the lot. With this much at state standing by your principles or sticking together is unlikely to win out.

Stabbing with swords is to be expected; either in the back or for falling on.

I expect to see China use as much of its dollar reserves as it can in order to convert them into something of much greater value.

It is almost unbelievable that anyone would accept dollars for resources at this point.

Summary of Weekly Petroleum Data for the Week Ending June 26, 2009

U.S. crude oil refinery inputs averaged nearly 15.0 million barrels per day during the week ending June 26, down by 39 thousand barrels per day from the previous week's average. Refineries operated at 87.0 percent of their operable capacity last week. Gasoline production rose last week, averaging 9.2 million barrels per day. Distillate fuel production increased last week, averaging about 4.2 million barrels per day.

U.S. crude oil imports averaged nearly 9.4 million barrels per day last week, up 79 thousand barrels per day from the previous week. Over the last four weeks, crude oil imports have averaged nearly 9.2 million barrels per day, 790 thousand barrels per day below the same four-week period last year. Total motor gasoline imports (including both finished gasoline and gasoline blending components) last week averaged 979 thousand barrels per day. Distillate fuel imports averaged 165 thousand barrels per day last week.

UU.S. commercial crude oil inventories (excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve) decreased by 3.7 million barrels from the previous week. At 350.2 million barrels, U.S. crude oil inventories are above the upper boundary of the average range for this time of year. Total motor gasoline inventories increased by 2.3 million barrels last week, and are in the lower half of the average range. Both finished gasoline inventories and gasoline blending components increased last week. Distillate fuel inventories increased by 2.9 million barrels, and are above the upper boundary of the average range for this time of year. Propane/propylene inventories increased by 3.7 million barrels last week and are above the upper limit of the average range. Total commercial petroleum inventories increased by 4.4 million barrels last week, and are above the upper limit of the average range for this time of year.

Irish 'energy for nothing' gizmo fails jury vetting

%$#@!&^*!!!!! for criminies sake! At the end of the first decade of the 21st century, *WHY* does it take two freakin years to figure out that a perpetual motion machine doesn't work?

Then to add insult to injury:

The dream lives on, however, as Steorn prepares to begin licensing its Orbo technology “definitely before the end of the year”, Mr McCarthy said.

The company is inviting 300 engineering companies to sign a developer licence agreement, giving them free access to the technology. The call represents a final test of the system, according to the company’s website.

How come these guys haven't been sentenced to long prison terms where they are hooked up to pedal powered generators for 15 hours a day?!

I'm still wondering if they are scammers or just if they are just ignorant and fooling themselves. People don't have a natural understanding of physics. Even people who should know better, like college students, flunk fairly basic physics tests. Can you cool down the kitchen by leaving the fridge door open? Does a ball traveling through a spiral tube continue to go in circles once it leaves the tube?

Steorn raised millions of euros from investors. For a perpetual motion machine.

Steorn raised millions of euros from investors. For a perpetual motion machine.

Obviously I'm in the wrong business...

"the dream lives on" = more investors are on the horizon.

Even if the suits-in-charge could plausibly claim ignorance of the First Law, there has to be a cadre of technical people enabling the Orbo scam - call them the Tobacco Research Institute of Thermodynamics. It's those folks, the technically versed ones, whose transgression is inexcusable.

A scientist who spoke to the inventor thinks the guy is sincere. Wrong, but sincere:

I believe that Mr McCarthy is truly convinced of the validity of his invention. It is, in my view, a case of prolonged self deception.

Technical people are not necessarily scientists. IME, there's a tendency for tech types to believe the problem can be solved. "It would keep going, except for friction. We need to reduce the friction."

Technical people are not necessarily scientists.

In my experience, people who excel at both are actually quite rare (says the scientist who lives in his own head but sucks at technical tasks)...

Written by Leanan:
Can you cool down the kitchen by leaving the fridge door open?

The air supply to the heat exchanger of my refrigerator is sealed off from the air supply in my house. The heat is vented outside with a lower inlet and an upper outlet. Opening my refrigerator/freezer door will cool off my house.

Do you keep your milk in the air conditioner? :-)

Re: "The dream lives on"

I think that the position taken by Michael Lynch and CERA, et al, is not too far removed from what these guys are asserting. Lynch, et al, assert that the sum of the oil production output of regions that look like Texas and the North Sea will produce a virtually infinite rate of increase in production:


Great video clip:

GM plans for oil at $130 a barrel

A few snippets:

"We base our business on fuel prices of between $100 and $130/barrel for oil."

"Our view is oil will trend upwards..."

Uh huh. Good call, but what about oil availability? Is enough oil going to even be available 5-10 years from now to keep expanding our automobile fleet? It doesn't matter if you have a car that gets 100 mpg if there's no gas available...

I just have the feeling that VW AG has already done engineering for >USD$ 500.- a barrel of oil.

According to Robert Bosch, combustions engines will still dominate for another 20 years.


It doesn't matter if you have a car that gets 100 mpg if there's no gas available...

Maybe GM is planning on using Orbo technology in it's new cars and trucks.

I'll also add that 100mph is not as good as it sounds.


This competition seeks those who can engineer clean, production-capable vehicles that exceed 100 miles per gallon or its equivalent (mpge) fuel efficiency.


Here’s another reason to localize. Looks like the 'industrial agriculture/big box store complex' is passing around the gift that keeps on giving.

Alert: Late blight disease, responsible for Irish Potato Famine, found on Long Island

If you're growing tomatoes or potatoes, especially if you've recently planted seedlings, be on the lookout for a nasty disease that's been detected on Long Island and elsewhere in the northeast.

Late blight disease is a fungus that causes white-mold encircled gray spots on leaves and stems that causes the plant to blacken, wilt and die. It's the same disease that caused the Irish Potato Famine in the 1840s, and it has never occurred this early or widespread in the United States.

Bonnie Plants of Alabama, a large supplier of nursery-grown seedlings, has detected the fungus in its stock and is reportedly pulling plants from shelves, though I haven't heard word of any official recall.

Devastating plant fungus found in Plattsburgh

"The last time that made it this far north was in the mid-1990s," Lenox Barlow said. "But, this is the first time that it's been here this early."

The disease moves quickly onto healthy plants and can kill an infected plant in as little as a week and half. Spores also spread voraciously, traveling as far as four miles.

In an agriculturally based region, this disease is a major concern.

"Some people that make $20,000 a year ... on selling vegetables, you can look at $10,000, or half, of their income being in tomatoes," Lenox Barlow said.

"There is one fungicide that you can apply as a protectant," Lenox Barlow stressed. "But not one to combat it after an infection." Organic farmers are most at risk of an impact. For them, there is nothing that can be applied.

This morning we dug up and threw out a tomato plant. It was one of the store bought potted tomatoes. It turned yellow with dime-sized brown spots on the leaves in two days. We also threw out the dirt and some extra that came with it. No idea where the plant came from.

The tomatoes from seed are all fine and in a different area.

In the high dry desert we have many problems but normally fungus is not one of them.

I also bought potted tomato plants. They died of blight within a few weeks.

What did you guys do with them?

The article says they should be bagged and sent to the landfill. Do not compost and do not burn. And watch out for your neighbor's plants, too.

I wonder if my neighbors have it. They're growing tomatoes in pots on the balcony. They were beautiful, then all of a sudden the plants just withered and turned brown. I thought they'd forgotten to water them, but their other plants are doing fine. And it's been so wet here, it's kind of hard to imagine any plant drying up.

For all diseased plants, bagging for the landfill is a good idea, and it's what I told my friend whose tomatoes were all dying last week. When I went out to check her sick tomato plants (all 18 of them!), they had bacterial speck. I'd never seen speck except in pictures before, but I've read that it's a problem in N Carolina.

I had grown most of her tomato plants from seed, myself, but she had bought a few others as potted plants from various stores. The bacterial speck most likely came in on one of those plants, because the plants in my garden are all still fine. It may be that buying plants from regular stores just is not safe anymore.

I volunteer to sometimes answer the "horticulture hotline" at my county's extension office, and people bring in their sick plants for diagnosis. Most years, we see a lot of fusarium wilt and early blight on tomatoes. I haven't seen any late blight, yet, but that doesn't mean it isn't here (NW of Atlanta).

In our case dirt and all went into a plastic bag and to Waste Management for disposal (I would guess landfill). The tomato will be gone soon but the plastic will be around for a while ... can't win them all. I thought about taking it back to the store but what would a DS clerk do with it?

The article is rather vague:

She also warns against burning the infected plant.

"The spores that aren't burned will move through the air."

I can not determine whether Lenox Barlow is referring to an open flame, like a pile of plants doused with gasoline, or a wood stove or incinerator. Spores might not survive inside a preheated stove or incinerator with temperatures between 400 F and 900 F.

It's not strictly true that there are no protections for organic farmers. For the home gardener the choices are limited, but there are a few. Here's a bit from the MOFGA pest report.

What truly angers me is that the big box stores are getting away with no repercussions. I may lose my long saved heirloom potatoes [tomato seed lasts several years but not spuds]. Do I get to invoice Wal-Mart or Home Depot for how much??? 10 pounds at $0.69 the judge might say??? Or maybe $0.29 per pound??? The Waltons - who are wealthier than the least wealthy 100 million Americans combined - profit by destroying the commonwealth. What's the disease vector for hemlock wooly adelgid - the big box stores. Over and over and over again and they get away with it every time.

Life on earth cannot afford to keep these corporations around any longer.

cfm in Gray, ME

The issue is clear. Do not ever buy sets or slips from any but a very trusted source.

Best to save all your own seed stock as much as possible as I did with my tomatoes but did buy some peat based plants(6) from a neighbor,not a store. The potatoes I got from a store never came above ground. All I had saved of last years crop did fine.

All mine are doing fine. Romas,Rutgers and Homestead.

Blossoms are good and fruits set very well. I have at present 28 tomato plants. Fingers are crossed.


A study by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, or CSIRO, showed a 10 percent reduction of permafrost through warming could add 80 parts per million more of atmospheric CO2, corresponding to a temperature gain of about 0.7 degrees Celsius (3.4 degrees Fahrenheit).

0 C = 32.0 F
1 C = 33.8 F 1 C difference = 1.8 F
2 C = 35.6 F 1 C difference = 1.8 F
3 C = 37.4 F 1 C difference = 1.8 F
So if 1 C difference = 1.8 F, then 0.7 C difference = 1.26 F

If they can not even correctly convert Celsius to Fahrenheit, one has to wonder about the rest of their calculations and observations?

The conversions were doubtless done by Bloomberg, not by CSIRO. CSIRO is an Australian organization. Like most of the world, they work in metric.

We're the only backward ones. We were supposed to convert in the mid-nineties, and some government organizations spent big bucks on it. Now they are all converting back. Costing even more money, I'm sure.

There might be new hope, according to a right wing nutjob:

(CNN) -- The metric system is the kind of thing that you can expect from the 60-vote filibuster-proof majority Democrats now have in the United States Senate.

Fahrenheit is better for daily life purposes because with 2 digits you get finer resolution than with Celsius.

Why is that better? Does the average person in daily life really care whether it's 75 or 76 degrees?

Here's one place where I will agree with the right wing nutjobs. The metric system does suck.

F is better than C because 0 to 100 is uncomfortably cold to uncomfortably hot, which we care about, unlike the boiling and freezing points of water.

Also, there is too much difference between a cm and a meter. Inch, foot and yards have much more useful intervals.

In Fahrenheit each degree is when an average person can detect a change. I hate the metric system, especially C & KM. I heard they were putting Mileposts back up on the AlCan highway?

Some say Celsius is more scientific, if that is so important to them, they should be using Kelvin.

use a decimal for finer resolution.

'merkuns are entitled to farenheit because 'merkuns have the biggest army, the most advanced weapons of mass destruction and by god no card carryin' commie is gonna tell me i cant have farenheit.

Of course the metric system is simpler and easier to learn than the old standard English/American system,and it IS the world standard,and we ought to get with it for that reason alone.

But the decimal inch is a perfectly satisfactory unit of measure for engineering and manufacturing purposes,and the units of the old system are far more user friendly in day to day work.The order of magnitude metric jumps are just too damn big.A meter is ok,but you never hear "decimeter"and centimeter is a hundred times smaller.Then when you go to millimeters,the unit is too big for close eyeball work with tapes and rulers.Sixteenths are far more user friendly,and thirty seconds are good for those with a little better eyesight,and sixty fourths are doable with excellent eyes and strong light.

But you just can't see a damn tenth of a millimeter,and seeing and accurately counting the small divisions on a metric scale is much harder than seeing and counting the divisions on a fractional inch scale.


Nobody uses millimeters, really, unless they're watchmakers or something.

That's another way we went wrong, IMO. A lot of US government agencies chose to go with meters and mm. Which is nuts. Europeans couldn't understand it. They use cm, which is a much more useful unit on a human scale.

My least favorite unit is Gigaliters. Hard to visualize.

One April 1st, I sent calculations in the US equivalent, acre-feet (one acre a foot deep). The reaction from Reykjavik was strong and immediate >:-)


Should be a million cubic meters, especially if it is a technical calculation.
I find it fairly easy to visualize a cube with 100 m sides.

There are lots of "funny units" but is any one of the crazier the wire gauges?

With American wire gauge every 6 gauge decrease gives a doubling of the wire diameter, and every 3 gauge decrease doubles the wire cross-section.

Water does not come off of reservoirs in cubes a 100 m to a side. 1 cm by 10 km by 10 km is closer.

The 1:10 ratio of the metric system is good for engineers (my first degree was in physics, so I would often convert problems from English > metric, solve them, and convert back the answer on exams) but not so good for workmen. Measuring materials can vary in precision (to the nearest 1/8th, nearest 1/16th, nearest 1/32th or even 1/64th) and metric is not good for this.


Carpenters etc use mm and it is also the standard in all mechanical industry work.

One of the last inch bastions to fall in Sweden were carpentry but now do nobody sell planed 2"4, its all 45x95 mm and a sheet of cheap plywood is 12x1200x2440 mm.

back in the '70's i wanted to buy a tape graduated in 1/10ths and 1/100ths feet. nothing doing, everyone wanted to show me a metric tape. land surveyors use 1/10ths and 1/100ths feet frequently. inches and fractions are way too cumbersome. some old land surveys are written in rods, chains, furlongs and others measurements.

here is some historical perspective.


anyone know how tall a 16 hands horse is ?

Taller than a 15 hands horse :-)

Which is all that is really relevant (when measuring horses).


Probably a screwup by the press. They don't have a clue about numerical things. 80ppm and .7C sound about right, 80/400 = 20%, and the Charney sensitivity to double CO2 is around 3C, so a 20% increase would be .79C. So if you accept that 2 out of 3 of their numbers are consistent it is the concentration increment, and the Centegrade increase.

Ever since I've put money into the UNG, I've been a lot more interested in nat gas than I had been in the past. Seems to me like nat gas is going to be used far more in the future. All the climate bills will likely cause nat gas to replace coal in a massive way, and at a smaller level displace oil. It seems to me that it would make sense to have targeted replacement of oil for nat gas in countries with extremely large nat gas reserves or have neighbours with massive nat gas reserves, like in Russia, parts of Africa, Australia, Indonesia, and the middle east. In the US, it makes sense, but only in limited circumstances to reduce local air pollution or in areas with large nat gas reserves in order to increase our fuel diversity. Large scale adoption of nat gas for transportation in the US, however, doesn't seem like the best idea.

I'm sure that nat gas is going to be used far more in the future, if for no other reason than it looks like there's going to be plenty of it to go around for a while. Four or five years ago they were talking about NG production having peaked in North America, but no more, thanks to developments (horizontal drilling and hydro-fracing) in unconventional gas production. I used to think that world NG was going to peak before world coal, but now it looks like it might be the other way around. That being the case, why wouldn't we want to start substituting gas for coal in electricity production? In the short run, the utilities might even be able to start using their gas-fired peak load plants as base load plants (though admittedly they weren't necessarily designed for it), which might cut down on the need to build new plants.

Like you, I'm a bit skeptical about using nat gas for transportion, if by that you mean large-scale substitution of NG for gasoline in private automobiles. Of course that's the essence of the "Pickens Plan"....

Well, as I discussed in a previous post, an interesting article in REDblog said how there is technically enough natural gas capacity in the US to replace almost all coal plants at a relatively modest cost, even if that was not necessarly a great idea. This is especially true at the margin, where the most efficient nat gas plants could replace the oldest, most polluting coal plants.

And yes, I did mean that a wholesale replacement of gasoline for nat gas wouldn't make a whole lot of sense in the US, any country that has enough reserves to be net exporters of LNG (i.e Russia, Iran, Quatar, Nigeria, Indonesia, Australia), should be using ANY oil products for transportation. Why would you spend large amounts of money and net energy to liquify and ship nat gas, a product that usually trades at a signficant dicount to oil, and yet use oil for transportation. In those countries, not using nat gas wholesale for transportation is idiotic IMO.

If we make the world more dependent on natural gas, another depleting, carbon emitting fossil fuel, we will make the problems worse. Increasing demand will require additional exploration and development making the price will rise. When peak natural gas is reached, we will encounter simultaneous price and supply problems with heating, cooking, transportation, electric generation, fertalizer production, plastic production, tar sands to syncrude and a massive array of industrial processes that depend on it. The devastation caused by peak natural gas will make peak oil look like practice.

Commondreams.org has a good article by Frida Berrigan entitled "Weapons: Our #1 Export?"

This relates to the "Warsocialism" discussion:

We devote ever more resources to making and using terrible weapons of war. We sell weapons in order to make the war industry even more profitable and powerful than ever before, even though that is hard to imagine.

Time to re-read Eisenhower's Cross of Iron speech....excerpt:

"What can the world, or any nation in it, hope for if no turning is found on this dread road?

The worst to be feared and the best to be expected can be simply stated.

The worst is atomic war.

The best would be this: a life of perpetual fear and tension; a burden of arms draining the wealth and the labor of all peoples; a wasting of strength that defies the American system or the Soviet system or any system to achieve true abundance and happiness for the peoples of this earth.

Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.

This world in arms is not spending money alone.

It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children.

The cost of one modern heavy bomber is this: a modern brick school in more than 30 cities.

It is two electric power plants, each serving a town of 60,000 population.

It is two fine, fully equipped hospitals.

It is some 50 miles of concrete highway.

We pay for a single fighter with a half million bushels of wheat.

We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more than 8,000 people.

This, I repeat, is the best way of life to be found on the road the world has been taking.

This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron.

These plain and cruel truths define the peril and point the hope that come with this spring of 1953."

Like I wrote upthread, we could equally well export tomato starts or GMO seeds. All weapons of mass destruction. The system of trade itself is a weapon of mass destruction.

You might be interested in reading the series by Chalmers Johnson - the last book called Nemesis . He observed that with the level of spending by the Military - to go (mostly) cold turkey like Ron Paul was pitching would have ruined the pre 2007 economy.

As a percentage of GDP military spending is now less than half what it was during the Cold War. Military spending as a percentage of GDP is declining.

After other wars ended, military spending dropped by MUCH more than half ! A 75% to 90% drop would be appropriate after the end of the Cold War.

As I vaguely recall, the Department of War spending in 1867 was 4% of what it was in 1864 (not including pensions).


The Cold War was a lot smaller. In WWII we used half the GDP in the war if not more. Now we are at about 4%.

From memory, we spent 8% to 10% of GDP during the Cold War. So down to 4% is an inadequate cut after winning the Cold War.

2% of GDP, effectively spent, should be more than enough for any legitimate DEFENSE threat. 2% of US GDP would be about 30% of the revised world total spent on the military.

BTW, why are "conservatives" so down on government waste in every area EXCEPT "Defense" ?


Speaking as someone who is right wing: I'm all for pulling all our troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan. I want those savings. Also, force the Air Force to use more UAVs. Cut costs. I'd rather spend the money building a large fleet of nuclear reactors to power electric trains and electric cars. Our biggest threat is clearly Peak Oil.

The people who want more defense spending today seem mainly to want to protect Israel from the rest of the Middle East. I don't see a big push for defense spending from the paleocons I know.

Those unsure of own ideas more resistant to views of others

The researchers found that people are about twice as likely to select information that supports their own point of view (67 percent) as to consider an opposing idea (33 percent). Certain individuals, those with close-minded personalities, are even more reluctant to expose themselves to differing perspectives, Albarracín said. They will opt for the information that corresponds to their views nearly 75 percent of the time.

The researchers also found, not surprisingly, that people are more resistant to new points of view when their own ideas are associated with political, religious or ethical values.

...Perhaps more surprisingly, people who have little confidence in their own beliefs are less likely to expose themselves to contrary views than people who are very confident in their own ideas, Albarracín said.

Certain factors can also induce people to seek out opposing points of view, she said. Those who may have to publicly defend their ideas, such as politicians, for example, are more motivated to learn about the views of those who oppose them. In the process, she said, they sometimes find that their own ideas evolve.

People are also more likely to expose themselves to opposing ideas when it is useful to them in some way, Albarracín said.

"If you're going to buy a house and you really like the house, you're still going to have it inspected," she said. Similarly, no matter how much you like your surgeon, you may seek out a second opinion before scheduling a major operation, she said.

people who have little confidence in their own beliefs are less likely to expose themselves to contrary views than people who are very confident in their own ideas

Newspapers in the UK (at least) realised that fact long ago and exploit it to the full. IMO this is a very serious problem, 'let the good times roll' will be a difficult paradigm to shift until it is way too late.

OTOH, people will consider unpalatable ideas if it will help them somehow. I think that's what many "doomers" sense. The way to get people to listen is to convince them that it will be personally harmful to them if they don't.

Sadly, our UK newspapers never tell readers that something bad is going to happen to them, they report bad things that have happened to other people. IMO this is a very important fact of life when it comes to mitigating inevitable post-peak economic declines.

People will only buy the same newspaper repeatedly if they are not worried by what they read - the sheeple don't realise that they are the product not the over-optimistic newspaper!

Y'all ever check out Newsmax? It's a teeth-grinding experience, but instructive to see how a foregone conclusion can be reached by the way one's questions are framed. In most cases the stories don't lie outright - but they don't present the facts honestly either.

Once I went to hear Rush Limbaugh speak, and saw pretty much the same kind of verbal judo - or was that gerbil voodoo? He never lied, but he never spoke the truth either, not once in the whole evening.

Here's the latest right-wing meme, as advertised in Newsmax:
The government is poised to launch us into a clean, bright energy future free of that dirty muslim oil!

Here's an example of Media Misdirection, making the rounds on email last night..


Things seem to be spinning out of control faster and faster the more I read these days.

And if the rates at which environmental and energy problems are growing are increasing,as seems to be the case,we will reach the end game within the very near future,most likely within the next decade imo.

Up until very recently I have thought that I would most likely miss the big show,and that my just in case efforts to get ready for it would be wasted.I'm not so sure anymore....

I still believe the major western countries can squeak thru if we can avoid ww3 but THAT is looking more and more likely too.

It seems the opposite to me. Not that things aren't really bad, but the inertia of BAU is incredible.

Leanan -

My view is that inertia has gotten a bad name.

People always complain that inertia discourages the development of good things. What they fail to realize is that it can often slow down the development of bad things.

However, one area where inertia tends to be ineffective is in the prevention of war. War can be likened to an earthquake, in that while one can scientifically monitor and analyze the stresses building up in the system, it is next to impossible to predict where, when, and how those stresses will be suddenly and catastrophically released.

One can extrapolate trends all one likes, but those unpredictable step-changes will get you every time.

"Things going non-linear," Stuart used to call that.

And yet...it's been almost 70 years since we had a world war. Lots of wars since then, but nothing that would qualify as an earthquake (at least for most of the world).

So you could live your life without one of those step-changes getting you.

Leanan -

Oh really? Who said it has to be a total world war to horribly affect your life?

I suspect that the people of Lebanon circa 1980s, Sarajevo also circa 1980s, Rawanda circa 1990s, Chechnya circa early 2000s, or Iraq and Afghanistan circa 2000s might not be too comforted by your above statement.

"You could live all your life without one of those step changes getting you." Or one of them could get you tomorrow. You just never know.

You could also go swimming in a shark-infested beach and not get eaten, or go sky-diving without a spare chute and not get splattered. But sooner or later it is absolutely certain that someone doing that (it might or might not be you) is going come to a bad end.

So, in the end it's all a crap shoot, but I'm increasing getting a sinking feeling that the dice are loaded.

Who said it has to be a total world war to horribly affect your life?

I think it has to be a world war to count as a "stair step down." Otherwise, it's still BAU.

The cold war could qualifie as a world war, it did at least cost as much as a "real" war. The realy odd thing with it might be that the winner dident stop fighting it after the victory. I read this blogpost today and it seems to be a belivable graph: http://defense-and-freedom.blogspot.com/2009/06/marathon-is-over.html
It tags the current US defence spendig to be half of the max WW2 level and check out the area below the graph.

I am not a dove that prefer total disarmement, I have numerous times debated that Sweden should get its defence forse to work better and I find it good to have a skilled defence industry but its not good if the defence sector dominates your society. I dont even think it is god for the defensive ability since it weakens other parts of soociety while the arms costs skyrocket.

The inertia of BAU is incredible and yet events can cause BAU to end very suddenly.

What I'm wondering: at what point will society as a whole wake up and realize that BAU is dead? With wars we have moments such as Hitler invading Poland or the fall of France or the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor where we suddenly realize that things are totally different and our mindsets and expectations can go thru huge changes over night. Will the transition to a popular Peak Oil realization come suddenly or gradually? When will it happen? Are we still 2 or 3 years away? Can BAU beliefs continue even for 4 years? Can recessions continue to get blamed on other causes even as oil production drops?

The inertia of BAU is incredible and yet events can cause BAU to end very suddenly.

I wonder. As Greer likes to point out, looking back in history books, it seems very sudden. To the people living through it, it doesn't.

What I'm wondering: at what point will society as a whole wake up and realize that BAU is dead?

My guess is never. Or at least, not on my lifetime.

This has been my prediction for years - long before the financial crisis.

People may realize things are bad, but they won't realize BAU is dead. They'll be living in hope, waiting for things to get back to "normal."

When the pain becomes great enough attitudes will shift. People will decide they've got to live closer to work, drive electric vehicles (whether car or scooter), insulate, and make many other adjustments. They won't have the money to do BAU.

It may seem hard to believe today but by 2020 Peak Oil will be accepted by the mainstream.

I get a lot of commenters on my own blog taking me to task for writing about Peak Oil. They claim I'm economically illiterate and many other things less polite. They tell me I just have to read Julian Simon, George Reisman (apparently the Objectivists are deluded too), Ron Bailey (lots of cornucopian libertarians), or other deniers. I'm looking forward to a big "I told you so" in about 5 years.

I'm looking forward to a big "I told you so" in about 5 years.

I predict in five years, you'll still be looking forward to saying "I told you so" - in five years. :-)

Mac: At 76, I (like you) think we will be eating out of the garden for sustenance before I kick off. The solar powered golf cart will be a blessing during the transition to the Olduvai. I am teaching my grandson (11) to do wood work with hand tools.

What is the biggest worry? The electric grid goes down not to return. No matter what causes it, three days later, civilization ends.

At 70 I think I will live to see this ending also.

My thinking now is that our next most exposed and very dangerous area is that of BigAg.

It won't take too much in climate disruption to see a vast area of crops become worthless and then that will further drive economics to the endpoints.

Big Ag is hanging out there. Way out. And climate change is the biggest factor. Also the 'input' prices continue to rise and crop prices do not rise enough to cover the inputs. Results is that farmers can no longer afford to plant.

Already here wheat was not good this year as the prices hurt regarding input costs. The crops did well except for 'head scab'.I suppose it was different up north for wheat here is just about always been a breakeven crop.

Our corn is way late. Entering a period when heat can kill the pollen. Already we have had many days over 100 degrees. And now no rain for coming on three weeks and none in sight. Its July 2nd and I see lots of corn that is only waist high. Some is tasseling but not much. We could easily lose this corn crop in my region. Again not a biggie but Illinois and Indiana according to blogs/forums is not that well off on corn. Late , late and late.

Airdale-one huge crop wipeout nationwide and we are really in bad shape,and I think climate change could produce that easil

I agree that the electric grid is key. Even half our current electric power output can maintain an industrial civilization. We have lots of ways to cut electric power usage without sacrificing core basics that make us modern. But take it away completely and civilization would crumble.

Man had boss killed to save job

The shooting marks one of the most extreme actions by Spaniards who fear losing jobs, homes and businesses during a recession in which unemployment is rising faster than in any other developed country.

Other cases include an indebted Spanish builder who kidnapped his bank manager at gunpoint and the head of a construction firm who threatened to set himself on fire unless debts he was owed were paid.

With regard to the Peak Oil Not Happening article:

According to the National Review viz the National Center For Policy Analysts (NCPA):

One anti-drilling argument often invoked by environmentalists is that either America or the world is running out of oil. Neither assertion is true, says columnist Jonah Goldberg.

For example, in the 1970s, the Club of Rome guaranteed that we'd run out of oil by now.

Yet the amount of available oil has expanded greatly since then, says Goldberg.

Increased reserves are discovered by using more advanced seismic surveys and other analytic means.

* According to U.S. Geological Survey estimates, we've got just shy of 6 trillion barrels of oil or its equivalent.
* Ronald Bailey, Reason magazine's science correspondent, writes that this means 82 percent of the world's endowment of oil and gas resources remain to be used.
* Bailey, who did a thorough survey of the "peak oil" debate, found that most of the world's leading analysts and agencies simply do not think we are running out of oil.

Disingenuously, Goldberg puts increased reserve in the Bakken formation which has not yielded substantial production but is accorded 4G barrels in 'recoverable' reserves.

More on Bakken can be found HERE!

This brings up a point; that calculating (estimating) reserves is seeking an elusive target. Calculating availability by noting the price of the recovered product ... is never elusive. If sufficient reserves can be ginned up - with a perpetual motion machine, for instance - Peak Physical Whatever can be put off far into the next millenium. This cannot be done with price. The relationship between supply and demand as determined by lowest price can be fixed with certainty, in fact it took place well in the past.

Price matters more tham abstract calculation of reserve. Price factors availability in real time in the ocntext of demand. More demand ='s higher price. Expensive production ='s higher price. Speculators can fiddle with prices to some degree, but price measures fundamentals of availability better than do writers of magazine articles.

From the incredible Economic Undertow:

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Peak Oil Discussion Is Over!

Peak Oil took place in 1998! We can now get on with other business.

Expensive energy is not only destroying business but also all structures that depend on cheap energy, such as suburban sprawl, municipal governments, national governments such as the UK and Latvia, as well as retailers, shippers, airlines and real estate developers. Eventually, all businesses will succumb to rising energy costs. This includes agriculture, military, government supported banking and finance as well as the tax revenues that support these efforts.

There is no effective means to outmaneuver this rise in price. Should businesses raise prices to maintain profits and to compensate for increased energy costs, they shed customers. As businesses lose customers, their profits evaporate. If businesses attempt to hold prices the profits disappear. No profits, no business. No customers, no business.

Sending jobs overseas was a tactic to compensate for increased energy costs. (Cheap) labor plus capital plus management expenses plus embedded energy costs leaves a reasonably priced product and a profit. However, outsourcing eliminates customers both in the producing country and among those whose jobs have been relocated.

The backdrop of economic development since 1973 has been uncertain energy availability. To hedge against this, Wall Street invented structured finance and securitization as a mechanism to utilize investor and bank credit to inflate assets so as to provide wealth sufficient to enable participants with collateral to afford energy and energy saturated goods and services at any price.

This experiment was supported by both the US government and by the Federal Reserve - with extraordinarily low interest rates for almost 20 years! While structured finance and securitization did succeed for awhile to create and sustain asset bubbles, the overall cost of the bubbles eventually exceeded both collateral worth and the ability of participants to support them.

The desperate efforts of central banks and governments both here and abroad to revive the asset bubble mechanism is the clearest evidence yet that the central issue of economic malfunction is not credit quality or credit oversupply - problems that would be eliminated by liquidations and writeoffs - but the energy constraints. Inflating credit and asset bubbles allows the creation of (imaginary) asset wealth in amounts required to hedge against the expected increases in energy costs.

National Review ... who'd a thunk it?

Good point about 1998-economically speaking, obviously Peak Cheap Oil is a lot more relevant than Peak Oil, and everyone agrees that Peak Cheap Oil is in the past (which is why the topic is avoided).

"Bakken formation ................................... is accorded 4G barrels in 'recoverable' reserves."

make that technically recoverable oil.

technically recoverable oil does not rise to the level of reserves. the term "reserves" equates to economical to drill and produce oil deposits.

goldberg is careful to term this 6 gb resources but proceeds to talk like it is a done deal, the gullible public probably wont notice.

t. boone pickens insists on calling the quadrillions of cf of ng potential resources : "reserves". sleezeboat veteran.

one thing that disturbs me about the general tone of comments here on the Drum is that there is altogether too much bashing of the political right-not that they don't deserve it,for the most part!!!!- but because the bashers seem to be oblivious to the fact that both ends of the political spectrum in this country at least are guilty of collusion in regard to just about every law and policy in existence in this country.If any body wants to take me up on this issue in some other forum that debates politics,just name it.

For instance-all those 4wd f250 anmd f350 pickups you see used as commuter vehicles -just who builds them in just which state and just how many people from just which union devote just how much money and manpower to which party?

If you don't like the price of a doctors visit,ask your doctor how much he spends per year for malpractice insurance,and look up the trial lawyers associations political contributions.

It comes as a suprise to most people but there are quite a few republicans and conservatives with brains and they have some good reasons for thinking as they do.This does not mean that they have not been wrong,and continue to be wrong, on many issues,but the continious name calling does not help solve any problems.Nobody has a lock on brains.

And this rant is NOT aimed at Steve,who posted the quote from the NR.

"If you don't like the price of a doctors visit,ask your doctor how much he spends per year for malpractice insurance,and look up the trial lawyers associations political contributions."

the problems with health care in this country run a lot deeper than trial lawyer blame game bumper sticker logic. you utter the word insurance and apparently give insurance a free pass.

t boone pickens understands the differencee between probable technically recoverable resources, possible technically recoverable resources and speculative technically recoverable resources and insists on refering to these catagories as reserves.


the word for this is sleazy. you have a better word ?

Your reply makes no sense whatsoever.

Apparently you do not realize that the trial lawyers give about nineteen to one to the democrats,and that insurance costs most small medial practicioners about as much as income taxes.You probably don't realize that about a third of the cost of a step ladder or half the cost of your auto liability insurance goes to these parasites,and you are undoubtedly unwilling to even think about the fact that the dems are the tools that make it possible for them to bleed us this way.Right wing nut cases have thier counterparts on the left.

Most of the obstreticians in WVa located anywhere near the Va lone packed up thier practices and moved into Va several years ago,leaving the locals no choice but to travel considerable distances across the state line to get routine care.

They moved away from home to escape the legal lottery of thier local court system.

Changing the subject won't win any arguments with me.Boone Pickens has nothing to do with the subject at hand.

I don't know where you are coming from,exactly, but my position is that both ends of the political power system are responsible for our current problems, and niether side has a monopoly on brains or good ideas.

As I said before,name another forum and I will engage you there.The Oil Drum is not the right place for this little spat,it's too far off topic.

what difference does it make how much democrats contribute ? campaign contributions are free speech.

liability insurance ? the insurance companies don't have any trial lawyers do they ?

i have no idea how much the liability adds to the cost of a step ladder, but do you ? please provide a calculation reference other than rush limbaugh. how much does the cost of advertising and campaign contributions and transport from china add to the cost of a step ladder ?

"Changing the subject won't win any arguments with me.Boone Pickens has nothing to do with the subject at hand."

you will have to follow the entire thread.

if your name is leanan, you have ever right to moderate what is discussed.

* memo to self: write a campaign contribution check to: trial lawyers r'us.

there are quite a few republicans and conservatives with brains and they have some good reasons for thinking as they do

Actually, we ALL have brains, and we ALL have cognitions about our reasons for thinking as we do.

Problem is, very few of us have much knowledge about how our brain organ works and what really goes on up there.

My belief/cognition is that the Peak Oil problem emanates in part from how our brains work (or more correctly, dysfunction) and until we get a handle on the underlying secrets of the human brain, we will continue to stampede like zombies towards the cliff, irrespective of whether we are Republican zombies or Democratic zombies or Libertarian or etc.

P.S. In New York Times today, Kristoff has an editorial about our dysfunctional brains (visa vie Global Warming). Full link here.

Here's a small snip:

Third, threats get our attention when they are imminent, while our brain circuitry is often cavalier about the future. That’s why we are so bad at saving for retirement. Economists tear their hair out at a puzzlingly irrational behavior called hyperbolic discounting: people’s preference for money now rather than much larger payments later.

Kristoff concludes by arguing: "Still, all is not lost, particularly if we understand and acknowledge our neurological shortcomings — and try to compensate with rational analysis. When we work at it, we are indeed capable of foresight"

I'm not so sure.
Let's hope he turns out to be right.

When it comes to Peak Oil hardly any elected representatives in Washington of either party say it is happening any time soon. The only one I can think of is Roscoe Bartlett (R MD). Are there any others? Obama doesn't say it is about to happen.

Denninger thinks someone is in trouble.

So who is it? No idea. And while the amount borrowed overnight at that rate may be tiny, that's not the point - the point is that the last time we saw anything that dramatic was just before it all went "boom" last year.

The standard pattern: all will be revealed on Friday after 5 pm EST.

Hello TODers,

First, My sincere condolences to Alan Drake. My Mother is on her own downslope, too.

On a larger biosphere note:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - More than 800 animal and plant species have gone extinct in the past five centuries with nearly 17,000 now threatened with extinction, the International Union for Conservation of Nature reported on Thursday.

A detailed analysis of these numbers indicates the international community will fail to meet its 2010 goal of bolstering biodiversity -- maintaining a variety of life forms -- a commitment made by most governments in 2002.
As posted many times before: I believe that promoting the elevated extinction rate will have a greater effect on Peak Outreach than Climate Change [CC] due to the MEGO effect of CC-statistics.

Obviously, CC research needs to continue, and it is a major contributor to specie extinction rate, but it is much easier to emotionally jar the uninformed huddled masses by pointing out the loss of habitats and the species that live in these areas.

Of course, my speculative 'Digital Countdown' would have the greatest effect upon saving future biodiversity.

EDIT: But according to Thermo/Gene Theory [Fact?], we would rather wait until widespread machete' moshpits force us to lop off entire arms, legs, and heads versus just a few digits now. :(

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

and it appears those future hacked off appendages will be fat & juicy:

Obesity rates rising, Mississippi's still fattest

WASHINGTON (AP) — Mississippi's still king of cellulite, but an ominous tide is rolling toward the Medicare doctors in neighboring Alabama: obese baby boomers.

It's time for the nation's annual obesity rankings and, outside of fairly lean Colorado, there's little good news. In 31 states, more than one in four adults are obese, says a new report from the Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

And obesity rates among adults rose in 23 states over the past year, and no state experienced a significant decline.
Tax rates having an obesity multiplier, anyone? Picture a 'Yabba the Hut' wealthy dude furiously slimming down to cut his tax-bill when he, like everyone else, is forced to step on the scales on Tax Day, April 15, 20XX. We could easily find ourselves happily volunteering to rail-bike heavy loads many miles to stay slim for reduced taxation.

Full Disclosure: I am 6'5"--185, my heart goes out to anyone who is trying to lose weight, as food is virtually everywhere in the USA. IF TSHTF: Because of my high metabolic rate, I will probably starve to death long before someone who can long draw on their extra fat reserves.

Obama trumpets his health care schemes without ever mentioning the societal cost of High Fructose Corn Syrup-obviously society would crumble if this product was banned from use. Just like health care, all kinds of schemes and scams will be introduced to counter oil depletion, all making the situation worsen IMO.

In march, the NYT reported that Michelle Obama won't let the girls touch the stuff. That, plus an organic garden.. Brian, you've been just desperate to toss every stinkbomb you can at him.

He's far from perfect, but he's so far above anything the other party was able to offer.. I imagine it's really annoying.

Good thing there's no HFCS in sour grapes.


What is annoying is the fact that the guy is better than McCain and he is still a disaster.

Hello TODers,

I hope you will take a gander at the graphics in this link:

Wage Deflation in Our Midst

I am especially pleased to introduce today’s Think Tank guest, Economist David Rosenberg of Canada’s Gluskin Sheff. For most of you, however, David needs no introduction: A 20 year veteran of the Street, David most recently was Merrill Lynch’s chief North American Economist, where he correctly warned about the Housing and Credit Collapse and Recession in advance.

With Non-Farm Payroll scheduled to be released tomorrow, the timing is perfect to hear some thoughts from David about Employment...

Another Solar-charged Electric Vehicle or six.. and these ones were built in the 70's, and are still running.


Go, Wisconsin!

Hello TODers,

Recall my prior postings on Element Control. How powerful would the Saudi be postPeak if they only sold refined FF end products plus the finished chem-products,too?

Saudi non-oil exports register 10% growth in 2008
IMO, it only makes sense for them to vertically integrate as far as possible to capture the maximum value from the various supply chains.

It will be interesting to see if they hoard their recovered-S, along with the rest of OPEC [and possibly Russia?] to extract its long term value. Recall that this would be merely trying to replicate the Webb/Pomerene K-Element Strategy of Canpotex and Belaruskali, or the P-Element Strategy of the Phosphate Group.

Recall that Ukraine's I-NPK and other chem-industries are already severely hobbled because they have to buy Russian natgas, already stripped of toxic hydrogen sulfide gas, then go back again to Russia to buy the recovered-S they need.

"She comes down from Yellow Mountain.."

Hello TODers,

Golf and the 1930s depression:

..golf course construction became a part of Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal..

Building Bethpage [site of the last US Open]

Bethpage State Park, a New York recreational facility that includes five golf courses, was one of an estimated 600 courses built during the New Deal initiative for leading the country out of the Great Depression.

In that era, most construction was done by hand, so a golf course project was the perfect way to put people to work, which was the main goal of the New Deal. An estimated 2,000 men worked on the Bethpage project, using shovels, wheelbarrows and pans drawn by horses to move the dirt.
Let's hope, that in our current Depression, that Obama decides to put lots of people back to work converting many of our 16,000 golf courses back to permaculture plots or just nature preserves. As most of you already know, I am still waiting for Tiger Woods to hire me as his postPeak financial advisor.

A true pessimist would argue that Obama is much more likely to sign 'shovel-ready' legislation that would build 1,000 more additional golf courses and other pointless, pork-barrel projects.

Try to imagine how many people could quickly be put back to work building out Alan Drake's standard gauge RR & TOD ideas and narrow gauge Spiderwebs for railbikes.

My favorite narrow gauge setup:

Please scroll thru the photos to see the tandem railbike

More photos of what a 15-year old accomplished:

click on embedded photos to enlarge

More photos of this little railway:


Imagine how much cheaper this is per installed mile compared to to your typical asphalt & concrete road.

EDIT: I bet this track is even much cheaper than the typical asphalt & concrete path found on golf courses.

For those interested in more: you can find videos of this setup on Youtube:


Toto,I have some experience with the work involved in grading and placing asphalt,ans I have been an iron worker too.That little track would cost much more per foot than an asphalt roadway adequate for a golf cart,becaues it must be graded more, the gravel bed is three or four times as deep,and cross ties and rails are very expensive-never bought rails but steel sells by the pound and it ain't cheap any more. Niether is pressure treated wood.Nor is gravel.Asphalt is not that expensive when oil is down,compared to the other inputs.

Asphalt costs very little to put in place,as opposed to rails,in terms of labor per foot.

But trains are the way to go anyway because the tracks last better and the fuel bill is so much less per trip anmd per ton hauled.

Rail Grades: All wheel drive (every axle driven) rail can handle 10% grades in all weather (6% for modern safety standards) and 14% grades (up, not down) have been in operation in snowy areas.