DrumBeat: July 17, 2009

Natural Gas Heads to Seven-Year Low as Supplies Swell

(Bloomberg) -- Natural gas futures, the worst performing commodity in 2009, may fall to seven-year lows as demand drops with the deepest recession in half a century.

Because chemical plants and power producers are burning less, gas inventories rose to 2.886 trillion cubic feet in the week ended July 10, the highest for any week in July since at least 1994, the U.S. Energy Department reported yesterday. Natural gas is down 36 percent this year on the New York Mercantile Exchange, compared with a 39 percent gain in oil.

Letter gives EnCana three months to leave or attacks will 'get a lot worse'

A letter sent to a daily newspaper and addressed simply to “EnCana” says attacks against the company will stop for three months to give it a chance to leave the area.

“We can all take a summer vacation including your security personnel and the RCMP who have not helped you to date anyway,” the letter states, adding that the six explosions that have occurred so far have been minor and controlled to make the point that “you are indeed vulnerable, [and] can be rendered helpless.”

Petrobras Seeks $9 Billion to Finance Suppliers, Valor Reports

(Bloomberg) -- Petroleo Brasileiro SA, Brazil’s state-controlled oil company, is seeking $9 billion to finance its Brazilian suppliers, Valor Economico newspaper reported.

Petrobras, as the company is known, is participating in so- called road shows worldwide and intends to create shared funds with banks to finance Brazilian suppliers in the exploration of the pre-salt region, the Sao Paulo-based newspaper said, citing Marcilio Miranda, a Petrobras consultant.

Nigeria 'ready for 10,000 rebels'

Some 10,000 militants could benefit from an amnesty in Nigeria's oil-producing Niger Delta region, a military official has said.

Air-Vice Marshal Lucky Ararile said militants who disarmed would be paid a monthly allowance while being reintegrated into civilian life.

However correspondents are sceptical about the figures, saying there are hundreds, not thousands, of fighters.

Pickens Said to Seek Investors for Hedge Funds After 79% Gain

(Bloomberg) -- T. Boone Pickens, the billionaire energy investor hit by losses and client redemptions in 2008, is raising money after his hedge funds gained as much as 79 percent this year, according to two people familiar with the matter.

Ukraine pledges gas reform before EU talks

Ukraine has promised to raise household gas prices and enforce payment of bills to strengthen its national gas company and help it secure loans to avert a new gas crisis with Russia, an EU official said today.

Kiev hoped the pledge would boost the chances of progress at talks today between state-owned Naftogaz and international lenders such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) which were hosted by the EU in Brussels.

Lester R. Brown: Agriculture Industry's Oil Addiction Threatens Food Security

This prospect of oil production peaking and countries at the same time failing to establish greater energy efficiency and renewable energy sources has direct consequences for world food security.

Modern agriculture depends heavily on the use of fossil fuels. Most tractors use gasoline or diesel fuel. Irrigation pumps use diesel fuel, natural gas, or coal-fired electricity. Fertilizer production is also energy-intensive. Natural gas is used to synthesize the basic ammonia building block in nitrogen fertilizers. The mining, manufacture, and international transport of phosphates and potash all depend on oil.

Efficiency gains can help reduce agriculture’s dependence on oil. In the United States, the combined direct use of gasoline and diesel fuel in farming fell from its historical high of 7.7 billion gallons (29.1 billion liters) in 1973 to 4.2 billion in 2005—a decline of 45 percent. Broadly calculated, the gallons of fuel used per ton of grain produced dropped from 33 in 1973 to 12 in 2005, an impressive decrease of 64 percent. One reason for this achievement was a shift to minimum- and no-till cultural practices on roughly two fifths of U.S. cropland.

But while U.S. agricultural fuel use has been declining, in many developing countries, it is rising as the shift from draft animals to tractors continues. A generation ago, cropland in China was tilled largely by draft animals. Today much of the plowing is done with tractors.

OPEC still on course to meet oil market challenge

LONDON (Reuters) - A $10-a-barrel price slide, an unseasonable rise in motor fuel stocks and a slackening of output discipline have complicated, but not yet sabotaged, OPEC's quest to push the oil market higher.

At its last meeting in May, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries was in upbeat mood and the $75-a-barrel level its members have argued is a fair price for consumers and producers emerged as a goal for later this year.

It was very nearly achieved at the end of June when oil hit this year's peak of $73.38. But since July a different mood has swept financial markets, which are now as focused on economic gloom as on embryonic growth.

"Yes, we are concerned," a source close to the Angolan OPEC presidency said. "But we cannot panic. We have to wait until the meeting in September."

Pemex Struggles to Meet $20B Investment Target

Mexican oil giant Petroleos Mexicanos is struggling to meet an ambitious $20 billion investment plan for this year after it nearly quadrupled capital expenditures over the past decade.

Pemex, as the state-run company is known, needs to find new pools of oil to replace traditional fields that are running dry. Pemex said on Wednesday it spent 88 billion pesos ($6.4 billion) during the first half of the year, or 38% of its $16.9 billion exploration and production investment budget.

Pemex's output has fallen by a fifth since peaking in 2004, and tumbled 7.9% during the first five months of 2009 from the year-ago period.

Asia Gasoline/Naphtha-Open - spec at week high

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Asian naphtha prices rose for the fourth-straight session, hitting their highest level in one week, while cracks recovered marginally, but were still below levels seen at the start of the month due to higher supplies.

Saudi Aramco sold a rare parcel comprising 40,000 tonnes of light naphtha from Yanbu, and 15,000 tonnes of A310 grade from Jeddah for July 23-27 lifting to a European trader at a premium around $15.00 a tonne on a free-on-board (FOB) basis.

"From what I understand, Aramco may have slightly increased their light naphtha grade due to higher crude throughput," said a Northeast Asian trader.

Gulf’s Petrochemical Industry Forges Ahead

ABU DHABI - The Gulf Petrochemicals and Chemicals Association (GPCA), a regional trade group founded in March 2006, promotes co-operation among petrochemical and chemical firms in the region and tries to ensure that their growth is sustainable and socially responsible.

The Gulf, with its huge petroleum reserves, is the hub of the global petrochemical industry, with exports from the region last year exceeding $10 billion. The GPCA, headquartered in Dubai, has a 141 members, up from its original roster of eight, and they include all major players in the regional petrochemical industry.

FACTBOX - Global oil, gas projects delayed in 2009

(Reuters) - Following is a list of some of the oil and gas projects and oil refinery expansion plans that have been delayed or cancelled so far in 2009.

The global financial crisis, falling oil demand, a slide in prices and poor general market conditions have prompted many in the industry to scale back spending and delay projects.

Fuel oil rises on power demand, run cuts

DUBAI (Reuters) - Fuel oil stayed strong on demand for power generation across the Gulf on Thursday amid soaring summer temperatures, while refinery run cuts limited supply. The Gulf is in the season of peak power demand as air conditioning works at full throttle, straining domestic power grids and upping demand for oil products at power plants.

Sentiment is that supply could stay tight for the rest of the year, as Middle East demand combines with strong demand from the Asian bunker sector. OPEC supply cuts have kept the supply of crudes with high fuel-oil yields tight.

Asia-Wide Refinery Output Cut Causes Marine Fuel Oil Shortage

(Bloomberg) -- Marine fuel oil supplies in Singapore, the world’s largest bunkering port, have plunged as oil refiners across Asia cut output, according to official figures and traders.

The shortage reduced Asian benchmark fuel oil’s discount to Dubai crude, or the crack spread, to $1.636 a barrel on July 15, the narrowest since Feb. 11, 2004, according to Bloomberg data.

Oil sands pain points to long-term gain: Moody's

CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) - Canada's oil sands developers will emerge from the economic downturn smaller in number and ready to advance projects at a more measured pace than during the boom, a debt rating agency said on Wednesday.

Moody's Investor's Service said today's slowdown should be a boon for the sector overall as high-cost plans get scrapped and development costs drop. Since last autumn, companies have deferred or canceled more than C$90 billion ($81 billion) worth of Alberta oil sands projects.

Still a buyers' market for energy, but wait...

World prices for energy are expected to inflate in 2010 in line with increased demand during a broad-based economic recovery. But, in the shorter term, the next six months of 2009, energy buyers will face a marketplace full of reduced demand, increased supply and erratic prices.

Palin's Successor Talks to Exxon, TransCanada about Gas Pipeline

Alaska Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell said Thursday that he met with executives of Exxon Mobil Corp. and TransCanada Corp. to talk about progress on TransCanada's proposed natural gas pipeline.

The discussions came a little more than a week before Parnell is scheduled to be sworn in as Alaska's new governor. He will replace current Gov. Sarah Palin -- a staunch advocate for a new Alaska gas pipeline -- who announced her resignation earlier this month.

Aramco, Conoco to award refinery deals in May

KHOBAR, Saudi Arabia (Reuters) - Saudi state oil giant Aramco and U.S. ConocoPhillips plan to award contracts to build a joint venture refinery in Saudi Arabia in May 2010, sources at contractors said.

Aramco and Conoco invited contractors to bid for the construction of the 400,000 barrels per day (bpd) Yanbu refinery last month and set January 31 as a deadline to submit proposals.

Nigeria: ‘Gas Shortage Threatens 6,000 Megawatts’

The Federal Government yesterday admitted that the power sector was in shambles half way into the “magic year” where its power emergency plan is expected to deliver increased power generation to as much as 6,000 megawatts.

It disclosed that following the recent campaign by militant groups in the Niger Delta and the collateral damage done to strategic pipelines supplying gas to several power stations, power generation has dropped to an unprecedented low of about 900 megawatts.

Uganda: Tell people about the looming energy crisis?

People should be told the truth that there will be no locally available firewood for the villages and no charcoal for the towns in 10 years time. The nearest trees which are not privately planted and owned will be in Congo, and to import them here for cooking posho and matoke may not be viable. Someone will have to take the honest decision and tell the people the truth.

Monsoon rain too late for sugarcane, rice

Weak June rainfall has reduced the water level in India's main reservoirs by more than half, limiting the prospects of irrigating winter-sown wheat and rapeseed crops, and reducing hydropower supply by 10 percent, government officials said.

While hydropower accounts for a quarter of India's power generation, power supply has been further depleted by a severe shortage of coal in the country.

The shortage has boosted the use of standby power generation using liquid fuel, which helped raise India's June domestic oil product sales by 14 percent.

Blood and Oil in Central Asia

In the past month, two seemingly unrelated events have turned Central Asia into a potential flashpoint: an aggressively expanding North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and a nascent strategic alliance between Russia and China.

At stake is nothing less than who holds the future high ground in the competition for the world's energy resources.

For Venezuela, There Still is Power through Petro

The Bolivarian revolution propelled by Hugo Chávez has transformed Venezuela, its messianic vision for the country brought to fruition by its vast oil reserves. The petro-revenues have permitted President Chávez to encourage an abundance of social welfare programs around the Caribbean basin and have allowed him to cement his hold over the country. Oil has granted profits from the country’s hydro-carbon reserves that account for almost 30 percent of its GDP, 90 percent of export earnings and 50 percent of its federal budget revenues in 2006. Until this past winter, the steady growth of oil revenue allowed Chávez to press on with his left leaning agenda as well as expand his influence throughout the Andean and Caribbean regions. However, the dependence on petroleum has left the country vulnerable, as the global recession has quickly led to a precipitous plunge in prices that have caused revenues to dwindle. As a result, many flaws in the Venezuelan economic model are now becoming evident due to the overdependence on oil.

The economic backlash has manifested almost like a disease, as oil has created enormous profits during the boom years which caused distorted growth in services and non-traded goods’ sectors . The country’s current financial state is in an uncertain position due to an over-dependence on oil and the ongoing global economic crisis.

Jeff Rubin on the End of Cheap Oil (audio)

Canadian economist Jeff Rubin says global oil consumption is unsustainable. And he thinks the world as we know it is in for a change. Some familiar sights he says will disappear: food that's been frozen and shipped around the world to your plate, and drivers commuting solo for long stretches along the nation's highways. Not because the world is running out of oil, but because all the cheap oil was burned in your parents' engines. He says the way forward is to sharply reduce demand for oil and return to localized economies. Jeff Rubin is former chief economist at Toronto investment firm CIBC World Markets. His new book is "Why Your World Is About to Get a Whole Lot Smaller: Oil and the End of Globalization." He spoke at Town Hall in Seattle on June 8, 2009.

The good life 2.0

We urgently need to take an evolutionary leap in the way we do things and to design systems from the bottom up in ways that fit this planet’s carrying capacity and we need to do this together, as communities. Web 2.0 is the term that has come to signify the new upgraded internet, which is community based, interactive and user-driven. As the current crisis is too overwhelming for individuals to face alone, I want to propose a ‘Good Life 2.0’ - a response to the challenges of our times based on an upgrade for the 21st century of the ideas of the 1970’s self-sufficiency movement and the values of community plus everything we have learned in the thirty years that have passed.

Electric cars poised to give auto industry a jolt

In the next year or so, after only a century or so of trying, the electric car may break free of the lunatic fringe and become a mainstream transportation option for everyday drivers.

The next step forward for electric cars will come on Aug. 2, when Nissan is expected to unveil the first of three electric models in three vehicle segments that the automaker will reportedly sell en masse by 2013 in the United States, Japan and Europe.

Are consumers ready for the smart grid?

"There's a lot of good technology that fits into the smart-grid concept, but the challenge frankly moving forward is getting consumer acceptance, not just today but in the future," said Bryan Olnick, senior director of the Meter Service department at Florida Power & Light.

Lawmakers urge caution on mandating flex-fuel vehicles

Six lawmakers urged the Energy Department to scale back plans to boost the number of vehicles that can run on a blend of mostly biofuel.

The lawmakers sent a letter to the Energy Department saying that mandating that all vehicles be capable of running on E85, which is 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline, is a bad idea. Their protest came in response to a speech last month by Energy Secretary Steven Chu, who told an audience in Iowa that the Obama administration was considering requiring all vehicles to be able to run on E85.

One world government and global warming/climate change/whatever

No small number of people were very angry about the term "denier" insisting that it lumps skeptics in with holocaust deniers. No apologies here. “Denier” is a term that accurately describes people who refuse to acknowledge established facts.

There’s a particular outrage amongst many skeptics about the notion that their arguments and many of the people who champion the cause are so routinely dismissed by other scientists and the media. On this and other issues I am often remonstrated for failing to give due credit to “the other side of the story”. It’s a phenomenon Thomas Homer Dixon has identified as “the unbalance of balance”; the idea that minority opinions deserve not just consideration but equivalence.

Allianz Says Insurers Will Be Hit by More Wind Storms in Europe

(Bloomberg) -- Insurers will be hit by a higher number of wind storm-related claims in Europe as a result of global warming, according to Allianz SE, Europe’s biggest insurer by market value.

“Global warming is happening and it’s here to stay,” Olaf Novak, head of risk management related to natural disasters at the Munich-based insurer, said in an interview in Munich. “It’s not so much the severity of wind storms in Europe but their rising frequency that worries us.”

Allianz, which generates about 84 percent of its premium income in property and casualty insurance in Europe, sees wind storms in its “home turf region” as the most important risk related to natural disasters, Novak said.

Deflation as prices decline in June

OTTAWA – Canada's annual inflation rate dipped below zero for the first time in 15 years in June, as the low cost of filling up at the gas station compared to last year dropped the overall index to minus 0.3 per cent.

Crude Oil Falls as Stronger Dollar Limits Commodity Investments

(Bloomberg) -- Crude oil fell in New York for the first time in three days as the dollar rose against the euro, limiting the appeal of commodities as an investment.

The dollar climbed as investors sought safer assets amid speculation that CIT Group Inc. will file for bankruptcy, and after two explosions hit hotels in the Indonesian capital of Jakarta. Fuel demand in the U.S., the world’s largest oil user, fell the most in the first six months to an 11-year low as the global recession curbed shipping and air traffic, the American Petroleum Institute said yesterday.

Oil May Test Bollinger Support Near $58: Technical Analysis

(Bloomberg) -- Crude oil remains in a downtrend and may slip toward its lower Bollinger Band just above $58 a barrel as traders test the resilience of technical support levels, said the head of Cameron Hanover Inc.

Gasoline to Trade Above Heating Oil Into October: Chart of Day

(Bloomberg) -- Wholesale gasoline prices will maintain a premium over heating oil through October, two months longer than usual, because of record supplies and low demand for distillates, said Sander Cohan, an analyst with Energy Security Analysis Inc.

Art Smith Believes in the Long-Term Bull Case for Oil

There's a very good organization the Association for the Study of Peak Oil, Peakoil.net, that does a solid job of trying to provide a fact-based backdrop of the real data. When you boil it down, the key driver is that oil demand globally will continue to increase and with continuing depletion of discovered reserves, ultimately, it will dissipate or eat away at the 6 million barrels a day of apparent OPEC surplus that now exists.

Energy costs to rise by one percent a year for the next ten years

Energy bills both for consumers as well as in the business sector are set to rise steadily and dramatically over the next decade The increases will be driven by increased costs of creating energy at source as a result of the government’s plans to cut carbon dioxide emissions.

Shell weighs staff cuts at U.S. refineries

HOUSTON (Reuters) - Shell Oil said on Thursday it was considering staff cuts at its refineries and chemical plants on the U.S. Gulf Coast to reduce costs in the current recession.

Among the plants where reductions are being considered are the refineries Shell operates jointly with Saudi Aramco through Motiva Enterprises and a Deer Park, Texas, refinery operated jointly with Mexican state oil company Pemex, said spokeswoman Anne Peebles.

General Electric quarterly profits down 49%

WASHINGTON (AFP) – US energy giant General Electric announced a 49-percent drop in second-quarter net profit on Friday to 2.68 billion dollars.

Perenco Rules Out Future Investment in Ecuador After Seizure

(Bloomberg) -- Perenco, the London-based explorer whose oil fields in Ecuador were seized by the state yesterday in a dispute over taxes, ruled out future investment in the South American nation.

The loss of the fields “absolutely rules out future investments for the moment,” Rodrigo Marquez, Perenco’s regional manager for Latin America, said in a telephone interview today. “We are left with no other possibility than to simply defend our rights” in court.

U.S. Interior proceeding with contested offshore plan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Interior Department on Thursday said that it will go ahead with an offshore oil and natural gas lease sale in the Gulf of Mexico scheduled next month, despite some legal concerns about the Bush-era drilling plan.

Earlier this year, the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington D.C. ordered the department to rewrite the 2007-2012 leasing plan developed and approved by the Bush administration because it had not undergone proper environmental review.

Exxon Sabotaged Wells, Should Be Fined, Texas Land Office Says

(Bloomberg) -- Exxon Mobil Corp., the largest U.S. oil company, may be fined more than $1 billion for “malicious” sabotage of wells to prevent other producers from tapping fields it no longer wanted, the Texas General Land Office said.

Jerry Patterson, commissioner of the land office that oversees oil leases that help fund Texas schools, asked the Texas Railroad Commission to conduct hearings into an alleged 1990s program at Exxon Mobil of plugging abandoned wells with trash, sludge, explosives and cement plugs. The barriers made it impossible for other producers to revive the wells, Patterson said in a statement he gave to Bloomberg News yesterday.

Under Railroad Commission rules, Exxon Mobil could face fines of $10,000 a day per well, Patterson said in the statement, which he plans to release on Monday. He said those penalties could add up to more than $1 billion on wells the company abandoned in 1991 after a disagreement over royalties with the owners, the O’Connor family, a Texas oil dynasty.

CNPC Six-Month Overseas Oil Output 31.29 Million Tons

(Bloomberg) -- China National Petroleum Corp., the country’s largest oil company that’s expanding globally to secure energy supplies, said its overseas crude output reached 31.29 million metric tons in the first half.

China Will Buy LNG From Gorgon, W.A. Premier Says

(Bloomberg) -- China will buy liquefied natural gas supplies from the Chevron Corp.-operated Gorgon project in Western Australia and should invest in other gas ventures proposed in the state, Premier Colin Barnett said.

“What would be a good step forward would be for China to become a foundation investor in a new LNG project,” Barnett told reporters in Perth today. “I’m not talking about being a majority owner, maybe a 10 to 15 percent share of a project.”

Iraq trade union threatens to block foreign oil field work

BASRA, Iraq (AFP) – The trade union representing workers of Iraq's state-owned Southern Oil Company (SOC) threatened on Thursday to prevent exploitation of one of Iraq's biggest oil fields by energy giants BP and CNPC.

Baghdad last month accepted an offer from British energy firm BP and its Chinese counterpart CNPC to work in the giant Rumaila oil field in southern Iraq that has known reserves of 17.7 billion barrels.

Turning up the gas

Faisal Al Suwaidi has become a victim of his own success in creating a worldwide market for liquid natural gas.

TVA says hazard rating 'high' at 4 coal ash sites

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee Valley Authority on Thursday significantly raised the hazard potential for several of its coal ash sites in a self-assessment to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, suggesting people living near four sites could die if an ash pond ruptured.

UK: Greenlight given for first eco towns

LONDON (AFP) – The government gave the green light Thursday to four so-called "eco towns," claiming it is playing a leading role globally in promoting carbon neutral communities.

The green towns are designed as the first of 10 such projects Prime Minister Gordon Brown's government wants to set up by 2020, despite criticism and local opposition in some cases.

Should the plans for eco-towns be scrapped?

A shortlist published this week names the first four 'green' communities approved for construction. Is it just tokenism?

Howie Hawkins declares

Climate change and peak oil means that we in Syracuse can no longer take our supplies of food and energy for granted. We should no longer plan on securing food from the other side of the continent and fuel from the other side of the world. Global transportation networks and supply and production chains will become more and more expensive due to climate change and rising oil prices in the coming years.

Four North American geothermal companies plan tie-up

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (Reuters) – Taking advantage of investor appetite for renewable energy projects, four geothermal firms said on Wednesday they plan to combine forces to form a single, larger company that will be able to raise funds more easily to develop "green" power projects.

Canadian-based Polaris Geothermal Inc, Western GeoPower Corp and GTO Resources Inc, along with Ram Power, a private U.S.-based geothermal power developer, said they plan to combine operations and try to raise C$100 million ($90 million).

Solar Power Generation Capacity May Double in 2010

(Bloomberg) -- New solar power generation may double next year, recovering from low capacity utilization caused by the global financial crisis, as China and the U.S. increase demand for clean energy, a fund manager said.

BP exits jatropha biofuel project to focus on ethanol

BP Plc, Europe's second-largest oil company, will exit its jatropha biofuel project with D1 Oils Plc to focus on production of ethanol in Brazil and the U.S. and advance biobutanol development.

“To ensure the success of these investments, BP is concentrating new business development in these areas and will no longer be directly involved in the jatropha as a biofuel feedstock,” Sheila Williams, a London-based company spokeswoman, said today in an e-mail.

Hungry World: A Silent Crisis Calls for Urgent Action

Surprisingly, while our world may be increasingly urban, the world of the poor and hungry remains overwhelmingly rural. Of the 1.2 billion people in the world living on less than a dollar a day, the majority, almost 700 million, are small farmers, farm laborers and their families in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia who are unable to sustain themselves, not to mention rapidly growing urban populations, due to decades of lagging farm productivity.

U.S. and China Agree to Study Ways to Make Buildings More Energy-Efficient

BEIJING — Ending his first official visit to China, the United States energy secretary, Steven Chu, said the two nations had agreed to plan joint studies on ways to improve the energy efficiency of buildings, a major issue in addressing China’s contribution to climate change.

Mr. Chu said that the United States and China had drafted a memorandum of understanding for creating a team of experts that would study ways to provide heat, air-conditioning and light for buildings while minimizing their electricity needs.

South Korea Plans to Spend $100 Million on Asian Water Projects

(Bloomberg) -- South Korea, Asia’s fourth-largest economy, plans to invest about $100 million by 2012 to help Asian developing countries cope with water shortages and floods.

The funds will come from the $200 million that President Lee Myung Bak has pledged to provide to neighboring nations for adapting to climate change and reducing greenhouse-gas emissions, Park Heung Kyeong, a counselor at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, said today in an interview.

Asia, with half the world’s population, has less available fresh water than any continent except Antarctica, Suzanne DiMaggio, director at the Asia Society, said in April. Glacier runoff is the primary water source for many nations in the region, and they are shrinking with climate change.

In Provo, a call to action against federal climate bill

The U.S. effort to counteract climate change is poised to not only destroy the U.S. economy, but dramatically increase global carbon dioxide levels.

That was the message, on Thursday, from Tom Tripp, a magnesium specialist from Utah who gave a 45-minute keynote address in Provo at the Utah Farm Bureau Midyear Conference.

The Last Straw

Hopelessly overcrowded, crippled by poverty, teeming with Islamist militancy, careless with its nukes—it sometimes seems as if Pakistan can’t get any more terrifying. But forget about the Taliban: The country's troubles today pale compared with what it might face 25 years from now. When it comes to the stability of one of the world's most volatile regions, it's the fate of the Himalayan glaciers that should be keeping us awake at night.

U.S. should pay for carbon content of imported goods: Locke

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - To address the serious threat of global warming, Americans should be required to "pay" for the carbon content of goods they consume from countries around the world, a top U.S. official said on Friday.

"It's important that those who consume the products being made all around the world to the benefit of America -- and it's our own consumption activity that's causing the emission of greenhouse gases, then quite frankly Americans need to pay for that," Commerce Secretary Gary Locke told the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai.

U.S. protectionism in green garb

The United States Senate is now considering a sweeping climate-change bill that squeaked out of the House of Representatives by a razor thin, seven-vote margin. The mammoth 1,400-page bill passed in the House despite the fact that few members actually read it. A majority of Americans rightly fear what could be its devastating consequences.

A careful reading of the Waxman-Markey bill makes it clear that its potential damage reaches far beyond the U. S. border. If enacted in its current form, it would irrevocably harm Canada and the trade that has been the hallmark of our bilateral relationship.

Canada's dirty secret

Canada has come last on a WWiF scorecard of G8 countries' efforts against climate change. That news would once have elicited at least a slightly surprised response. For several decades, Canada managed to present itself as the friendly giant of environmental issues. The 1989 Protocol on CFCs, an early turning point in combating the depletion of the ozone layer, was born in Montreal, and American environmental campaigners like Al Gore are always quick to heap praise on their northern neighbour.

But these days, Canada is looking increasingly like the dirty one of G8. The WWF report noted that Canada is one of the few countries on the scorecard whose emissions are still rising, and that Canada's Conservative government isn't doing enough to combat climate change.

Ocean current switch due to warming could be slower than feared

CHICAGO (AFP) – The nightmare global warming scenario which provided the plot for a Hollywood blockbuster -- the Atlantic Ocean current that keeps Europe warm shuts down and triggers rapid climate change -- has long worried scientists.

But a study published Thursday in the journal Science found it may not occur as quickly as previously feared.

U.S. releases unclassified spy images of Arctic ice

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States released more than a thousand intelligence images of Arctic ice to help scientists study the impact of climate change, within hours of a recommendation by the National Academy of Sciences.

In an unusually fast move by a U.S. government agency, the Interior Department made the images public on Wednesday. The academy's report urging this action was released at 11 a.m. on Wednesday.

Some 700 images show swatches of sea ice from six sites around the Arctic Ocean, with an additional 500 images of 22 sites in the United States. The images can be seen online at http://gfl.usgs.gov/.

The economy on a rebound?

U.S. home building at seven-month high

Construction of new U.S. homes rose in June to the highest level in seven months, a sign builders are starting to regain confidence as they emerge from the housing bust.


In another encouraging sign, applications for building permits, seen as a good indicator of future activity, rose 8.7 per cent in June to an annual rate of 563,000 units. Economists polled by Thomson Reuters expected an annual rate of 520,000 units.

See: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/us-home-building-at-se...


Detroit has certainly had a tough go of it over the years and I hope the city can pull itself back from the precipice. I do wish them well.


Denninger wonders What Are They Smoking?

I smell lots (hundreds) of bank failures about a year down the road out of this when that inventory is unable to be sold and the construction loans default.

I'm stunned - literally.

It'going to be pretty hard to load all those new houses up and organize the permits to haul them down to Alabama and Louisiana where almost no heat is needed and all the new jobs-hands on ag technicians (aka known as sharecroppers) are going to be.

Whut yuh mean what am I smokin?

We may be living in campgrounds by the millions in ten more years on the old cotton plantations near the rivers,where double cropping will work with hand tools and sweat.

Everything will depend on price. In our area (central KY) the price has barely stopped growing, much less dropped. There are still millions of people including families priced out of the home market.


Denninger was on Kudlow just now.
I didn't catch the whole segment but he didn't come over too well.
He didn't have the quick replies that his two opponents had, not including Kudlow.
The two other guys were pushing the Koolaid so hard Kudlow was getting tipsy.
It ended with Kudlow predicting Dow 12,000.

Has Kudlow started using cocaine again?

They probably give the pre-selected questions to the clowns that they want to win in the debate and left Denninger out in the cold to think on his feet.

What exactly do they mean with "economic rebounding"?
The US has no industry left apart from Caterpillar and Deere.
GM and Chrysler went bust. Do you remember? Oh, I forgot one: War and military. There they are No. 1.
The US has never been a industrial nation, it has ever been a consumer nation. Thanks to the thousands of patents and other items, they have stolen after WW2 from the Germans they have achieved to become the leading nation of the world. Oh yes... and then there is the US$ as world reserve currency.

We have always been at war with Oceana.

Don't be silly. US industrial capacity was top of the heap for quite a while, it wasn't until the 1950's that we started becoming a consumer nation, and not until the 1970's that we started selling our industrial capacity off. US inventive capacity has been variable over time, but the mere thought that we "stole everything from the Germans" is as laughable as the thought that the Japanese stole all their good stuff from us.

As it is now, has always been and always will be. Forever and ever.
For the narrow view is reassuring, and will fail you never.

Illargi over at theautomaticearth.com explains today that several of the more complicit econ-o-rags reported gains in excess of the margins of error of the info supposedely "reported".

Ignorance? Denial? Both?

This is the effect from the "Republican" part of the stimulus bill. They wanted $16K for new, first time home buyers and $8K is what they got.

Start a new home last month and there is a chance it will close by Dec. 1 and qualify.

Start next month, and not much chance.

This is, IMHO, just an artificial tax break blip.


Plunging Revenue Squeezes State Budgets Further

States' tax revenue fell 11.7% in the first three months of 2009, the steepest decline on record, and collections have gotten even weaker since, according to a report. The drop is intensifying the financial pressure on states and will likely force many of them to revisit their budgets later in the fiscal year. Already several states have struggled to balance their budgets for the year that began July 1; in Illinois, Gov. Pat Quinn signed a $26 billion general-fund budget Wednesday night that depends heavily on borrowing and pushes off a reckoning with serious fiscal problems.

The 45 states that have reported taxes for April and May have seen revenue declines of about 20%, compared with the same period a year ago, according to the report to be released Friday from the Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government at the State University of New York.

States close rest areas to save money

Cuts curb pickups of trash

Well, it's discouraging travel and consumption, so I guess there's a bright side.

And Denninger is predicting...um, a flopped square root recession?

This is the dreaded "double dip", except that it won't be a "W" as Roubini has postulated - it will look like the first three legs, but the right side "/" will instead be a flat line as credit capacity on the borrowing side collapses, destroying the banks ability to profit - without borrowers there is no interest to charge and no money to make!

Leanan -

States closing rest areas is a perfect example of how our quality of life is slipping along a gradual but relentless downward spiral.

A state-run drug rehab clinic closes here, a park is closed there, the local hardware store shuts its doors, the public library cuts back its hours and reduces its staff, but auto registration fees are up ... and before you know it, less and less is working, as all these little things accumulate into a general coarsening of everyday life.

Just the other day I noticed that the grassy areas running alongside the off-ramp on our local interstate are overgrown with weeds and have a greater than normal accumulation of trash. State DOT cutbacks, no doubt.

The trouble is that people start getting used to these myriad tiny downgrade and insults, and before too long life in the US will start to resemble that of Eastern Europe during the worst years of the Cold War.

Slow catabolic collapse!?

One person's slow is another person's fast and who is to say a relatively slow collapse won't have periods of more rapid collapse.


There are a whole spectrum of scenarios from technocopian growth through stagnation, decline, collapse, to doomer die-off. The difference between a fast decline and a slow collapse is hard to distinguish, they just blend into each other.


Good way of describing it, spot on.

I have been saying that the 21st century will be one long exercise in giving up things. This definitely includes public services and amenities.

The truth of the matter is, when our economy is forced to depend entirely upon our own renewable resources, it is going to have to be a smaller, less wealthy economy. We will not be able to afford to do all of the things that our governments are doing now. For that matter, we cannot presently afford them, either. Our national and state governments are living beyond their means, and those means are just going to be shrinking further in the future.

This means that we really need to be thinking hard about public policy priorities - something the US system of government is spectacularly poor at doing.

Joule, In response to your post, I'd suggest a national effort to put solar on residential roofs. If most people could produce some if not all their energy from solar, then when the economic system falters due to post peak oil, then at least we'll have some electricity. Maybe start with a national mandate that all new construction has solar, and all remodel permits must include solar. Let people write it off their taxes over a five year period. Do whatever is needed to really move this forward.

Remember The Rural Electrification Plan from the last century?

Based on the news from the dying cities and small rural municipals, it looks like this century we will have "Urban and Rural De-Electrification."

I have two Jake 1800 wind turbines that were taken down from farms in the 1940's because of the success of the Rural Electrification program. How ironic that these old beasts might be recalled into service less than 100 years after they were decommissioned ;)

Jim Rogers today had a nice description of the US economic/political system as it is now:

“America now owns the car industry. America owns the mortgage industry. America owns a lot of the insurance industry. Karl Marx must be somewhere standing up in his grave cheering. And why is that? America has become a socialist and maybe even communist nation in many ways,”

The thing about insurance is that there is basically one actuarial algorithm involved. Competition among insurance providers is essentially a guess as to who has the most optimal algorithm, that makes that company money. But practically speaking, the insurance algorithm should be the one that optimizes for the customer. And that one definitely has some optimal assessment and allocation of risk amongst the parties involved.

So with insurance all you are purchasing is trust that they will not scam you and possibly some reassurance that the company won't go out of business. The optimal risk algorithm is there for the taking, yet the insurance companies do not want you to know this. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont said as much during hearings yesterday. Paraphrasing, he said that we (the USA government) are not in the business of propping up the health insurance industry, we are in the business of providing services to our constituents.

see Sanders here:

So since there is basically one actuarial algorithm to cover any one insurance domain, why can't we have one company or nation do it? This is not socialism, it is called optimization, efficiency and above all else, honesty.

I wonder what Gail has to say :)

Insurance is a racket and one of the most profitable in the U.S. I am of the opinion that the insurance companies are in collusion with the auto repair shops. Repairing even cosmetic damage is outrageous and seems to be a case of where the insurance companies turn a semi blind eye to the cost side while the repair shops gouge them. The insurance companies then justify the rate increases to the policy holders based on the high cost of repair. They have just made more money on thier piece of the action as the costs have gone up. Wink WinK. I say this as I recently concluded a total restoration of my first car a 68 mustang. It needed some serious body work. I was able to get the work done at a fraction of what it would have cost if it had been insured. As a small biz owner I am liable for my own health insurance, that combined with auto, homeowners, and an umbrella liability policy make insurance my numero uno expense. We have had no auto claims in 15 plus years, that includes my 2 college age kids 22 and 19.. (knock on wood) I carry high deductables and our fleet has an average age of 6.5 years. Yet every year the price increases. Same on the house. The worm is going to start turning on the insurance companies. Would be interested in hearing if people are having any luck turning the screws on them. I have been a loyal customer with our insurance company for 25 years. I am starting to wonder if its time to turn up the heat. My back is getting sore from grabbing my ankles so long.

I think our healthcare system is a huge mess, but that insurance companies are only part of the problem.

If insurance is to be a profit making enterprise, an insurance company needs to use its underwriting to weed out sick individuals on the front end. This is more than a bit of a problem, since those who are sick need to be treated more than others. So the very model has a problem. Individual health insurance tends to be expensive to administer, and raises costs for those purchasing coverage. Group health insurance has lower costs, but tends to be available primarily to those who work as full-time employees of large employers, or are family members of such an employee.

There are a lot of other problems with our healthcare system, too. One thing which I hadn't thought about it until I read about it, is that with no national health insurance program, there is no standard way of keeping records about patients. Because of this, computerization of health records in the US is way behind countries with national health insurance programs. Also, with some sort of uniform record keeping, it is a lot easier to look at standard methods of treating diseases, and see which work and which don't. One can also see check and see whether a particular physician is way overusing some procedure, or has very high death rates in his treatments.

Another problem is that the US health system treats physicians as prima donnas with huge salaries. They can often make even more, if they do more surgeries, or order more tests and prescribe more pills (and keep the patient coming back). Experience in other countries suggests that physicians don't need to be getting $300,000+ salaries. Physicians would object greatly, but just like the chief executives of companies, they really don't need such high incomes.

Another problem I see is that the food we are eating is directly contributing to health care problems--all of the refined carbohydrates, soft drinks, and the excessive amount of meat we are eating are contributing to heart disease and diabetes. Low Omega 3 fatty acids in the diet are likely contributing to mental health problems as well. People on low incomes have particularly poor diets, because fast food tends to be cheap and unhealthy food--as well as lack of access to health care. The government has chosen to ignore these problems, but if they were paying directly for the health costs the food system was generating, it seems like they would be regulating the food system better.

You have made some very good points here. Leanan commented somewhere today that the world's oil companies may be nationalized as a result of the rough ride down the backside of the supply curve.The insurance industry may find itself in the same boat soon.

Some years ago I came to the conclusion that the free enterprise system was on it's way out,and socialism on it's way in,as a result of demographics and politics.Political philosophers remarked as far back as Grecian times that democracies could not last because elected leaders would invariably bankrupt thier societies buying votes.

We are at and past the point of being able to pay for a medical system that allows doctors to get rich and insurance companies to support whole office buildings full of paper shufflers,with another shuffler in every individual doctors office and an office full at every business of any consequence.

The advertising bills alone paid by the insurers probably exceed the medical budgets of lots of small countries.

WWII convinced the English people that it was time for the gentry to give up control of thier country,and that they had the power to force the change.

We may be at about the same point-even the most hard core free market advocates are coming to realize that they are losing every time they get sick,if for no other reason than that they pay extra to cover the losses associated with treating those who don't pay at all.

As we become a little more cynical every day,we become more and more ready to face and deal with the fact that the AMA exists not to protect us from quacks so much as it exists to protect doctors from having to live more like the rest of us.

And that the bar association exists for the same reasons.

The pot of political change could boil over within the next few years.All that is needed is a little more fuel for the fire,in the form of misery.And it seems that misery is a growth industry these days.

I don't see that nationalization and social programs mean the end of democracy. Perhaps in a resource limited society future elections would have to be run efficiently with mini advertising budgets.

In my ideal world I would like the heads of large organizations like oil companies to be responsable to the people. Having them appointed and fired by democratically elected officials is a start. The day when the people of Nigeria can vote for who will be president of Nigerian operations of Exxon, Chevron, etc will be an accomplishment.

I also believe that there is no true democracy while there is poverty. Social programs can help the poorest fractions of society get the nutrition, protection and education necessary to vote.

The people on top, rich doctors, top corporate bosses, many politicians, who are invested in and benefiting from the current order try to convice us that there is no alternative. But it seems likely that there are other ways to organize society.

Where I am living now there are at least two national medical associations. There is a huge income disparity between the two. It is the high-income group that is constantly demanding higher salaries, less government regulation, subsidized equipment and supplies etc.

Thanks. I always thought that at some point we would get an Ask The Doc web site that would allow us to do our own medical diagnosis. I would love that, but the lawyers would love it even more :(

The US Govt doesn't own Goldman Sachs, though. It's the other way around.

I expect America will own the energy industry eventually. That's the obvious way to deal with peak oil volatility. The IOCs looked good on the way up Hubbert's peak. I have a feeling the NOCs will be the ones who thrive on the downslope.

My respect for your insights and reasoning grows daily.

(not that i will agree with you every day)

More industires than just the oil may very well be nationalized in coming years as things get tougher.

And lots of former bankers and stock brokers may be living under assumed names.

Each time I visit the local hardware store there are fewer and fewer vehicles in the parking lot.

Last Saturday at 3 PM mine was the only customer owned vehicle. I was told that the corporation has zero funds and they are paying the few employees left out of their own pockets(the owner or shareholders or whatever).

And I might add that the lack of customers can almost be tied , along with a very much declining number of employed persons here, can be tied to their high prices. Very high prices...sometimes twice what a Home Depot charges.

The shelves keep getting barer as their cost to restock can no longer be afforded except for what moves the fastest.

Its very poor management IMO as much as the huge downturn in the purchasing power of the customers. And they propensity to no longer buy what they can do without.

IMO the economic changes are right now being felt very hard at the rural levels.

Yesterday I went to a very big auto dealership in a nearby city. There was only one salesman and the shop bays were empty except for one vehicle and that was my friends.

Yes very bad indeed. Most restaurants around about as changing their hours quite a bit. Mostly opening for the lunch crowd, what there is of it.

Airdale-can't get BBQ anymore either unless you drive a long ways off


The article mentions that VT close 4 of 20 rest areas. What it doesn't mention is that most of the 20 rest areas are merely places to pull the car, or truck, off the highway. They lack any sort of facilities (coffee, rest rooms, phones, etc.).

My 3 year old son an I traveled along I-89 and I-91 from Burlington to Brattleboro this past weekend for a family gathering. The rest area near Sharon (traveling south on 89) is closed up and the rest area near White River Junction (traveling north on 91) are closed. There were also newly installed gates on a few of pull-offs.

I suspect the rest areas in the rural areas between Burlington and the Canadian border will close soon if they have not already. These are older buildings and I suspect that they see very few travelers.

The link up top: Solar Power Generation Capacity May Double in 2010 is interesting. Of course it all depends on the economic recovery.

“The market may not grow in capacity this year because of the negative effects of the financial crisis,” Lang said in an interview by telephone from Zurich. “Next year looks much better because we see two new regions in U.S. and China.”

In other words they see a recovery next year so solar power will resume its growth. This drives home the point that if the recession continues, or gets deeper, solar power generation will decline, or at least not grow. It all depends on the economy because if we have a very sick economy nothing grows, everything shrinks.

Nevertheless I doubt that solar power will ever make much difference. In 2005 solar power, combined with geothermal, wind, wood and waste electrical power, (whatever that is), provided .9% of all energy produced in the world. That is nine tenths of one percent. That ain't very much. Solar, wind and all other so called renewable power has a long, long, long way to go before it will make very much difference. Hydroelectric, which produces 6.3 percent of the world's power, is just about maxed out. Growth in renewables will have to come from solar and wind.

World Energy Production by Source

Although there is increasing interest in alternate energy sources such as solar power, almost two-thirds of the world’s energy comes from oil and natural gas. Other nonrenewable resources such as coal are still heavily used in countries such as China.

From the chart we can see that all fossil fuels combined produce 86.8 percent of the world's energy, or did in 2005.

Ron P.

I agree that the historic trends of Solar/Wind growth would largely back that up, but even with its continuing 'Hippy/Crunchy' associations, I think there is a lot more awareness that these are tools that work.. people are just still on the fence about whether PO is happening or not, and whether somber moves like this would make them seem more desperate and fringy than they are willing to appear.

Now that my Mom (71) is doing more research on the web to get her house set up with some Solar Heat and Power.. she finds that she is at Rightwing/Libertarian sites like BackwoodsHome as much as she is at Leftwing/Libertarian sites .. getting referrals for Submersible pumps or whatever. So there are troops amassing on two fronts.. but the muster is still pretty hushed.

Even with less financial resource to do it with, I tend to expect that any Black Swan event that makes a clear case for FF Depletion is going to be met with bursts of activity in the Renewables Sectors, from the Household level up through Utility Investments in RE Generation.

I'm sure a vast majority of the Passengers continued to think that the Titanic was just INCapable of Sinking all the way.. until it was nearly gone. Until then, the visible signs of doom AND the peoples' reactions were fairly muted.

Actually Jokuhl, I don't see peak oil awareness as having a lot to do with it. Building large scale solar power generation plants, as well as wind turbines, is very capital intensive. Lots of investors with lots of money will be needed. And they will have to see a need for the electricity before they invest. And they must see lots of customers needing that power.

So weigh that with the knowledge that we still have plenty of coal. Unless the economy starts booming again, and I mean really growing, the demand for electricity is very unlikely to outgrow our supply of cheap coal.

All that being said I think we can expect that the number of individual homes with solar panels to increase. This will definitely help those who are able to see the crash coming and make preparations. But it will make almost no difference whatsoever as far as the total world energy supply is concerned.

Ron P.

Yeah, all those huge CSP and PV plants, and WT farms, and more exotic things like tidal or ocean thermal gradients, or whatever, all cost huge amounts of money, as does the upgrade of the grid. Ditto for the build out of electrified passenger and freight rail. Ditto for nukes, if we decide to build them. Ditto for new oil and other FF exploration & development. And meanwhile, we have these huge budget and trade deficits, and a deteriorating infrastructure.

I just don't believe that our economy will be able to come up with the money for all of it. Even if we were to massively increase taxation and impose draconian controls on consumption in order to divert as many resources as possible to these big ticket investments, I doubt that we could do it all.

Yes, we can and will do some of these things, but we cannot possibly do it all, and thus we won't.

This suggests once again that we are in dire need of making some carefully-considered national public policy priority decisions. That is not something that we know how to do, and our system is structures in a way that makes it all but impossible to do.

In one sentence: in a depression there is no money left.

Sure there is. How do you think, as jokuhl said, the Hoover dam was financed?

Massive investment in the energy and transportation infrastructure is by far the best way of stimulating a depressed economy.

What did we use to build the Hoover dam?

We might be getting some of these projects going with a WPA approach.

And end up with another rapidly silting in & drying up river-killing Lake Greed, I mean Mead.

It is a great evaporation pond!
Who needs intact river systems anyway, they are hard to jet ski on.

Gotta agree with DD as the loss of river water and nutrients into the Sea of Cortez has been devastating to the river life, floodplain ecosystem, delta habitat, and saltwater fishery. Nature will optimize automatically if we give it a chance--too bad we, in the blazing heat of the SW USA, would rather use the water for fountains, swimming pools, golf courses, car washing, and wholesale pollution by pissing & pooping in clear water. Do I need to mention aquifer depletion to quickly leverage the desert Overshoot to even greater danger?

We will someday greatly regret making water flow uphill towards money..

But Bob! We need more dams to provide electricity for powering all the electric cars & trains we need to build. Lotic & riparian ecosystems don't count for much compared to our transportation needs, don'tcha know? Dams, nukes and bat & bird slice & dice machines are the answer to PO. Such is the consensus wisdom, right?

If I was looking for a place to find a consensus, DD, it sure wouldn't be here.

The point wasn't to make more hydropower, but to look at what we can do to create public works programs that would be making Solar or Wind installations, so your boss can keep letting you police the site with your constructive interjections- using those precious electrons.. the electrons that aren't refrigerating your food or lighting up an emergency room or charging my Ebike, anyway.

If the Fed is going to print money, I would hope it's for building durable equipment that doesn't have the downsides of oversized systems like Hoover.

My point is that we don't need to build anything, via public works programs or otherwise. The environment is overbuilt as it is. If anything, these WPA-like groups could be demolishing built things - that might be of some benefit. The integrity of natural ecosystems trumps any perceived human "need" for more built stuff. There are sufficient artifacts of civilization already, in the way, fragmenting habitat, precluding plant community establishment and hence photosynthesis & carbon sequestration. To every thing there is a season: it's time to tear down not time to build.

Yes, it is overbuilt. But it's also MISbuilt. Even for those of you who want to lay down and die, we'll have to be building a lot of Hybrid Cemetery/NatGas/0-NPK Gasauleums to deal with the tangle of cadavers.

Beyond that, building smaller houses is still 'Building'.

Insulating those houses takes the building of a few more Insulation Factories.. even just for retrofitting an old Golf-shoe factory.

Replacing Cars with Bikes would mean building more bike parts.. even as we are UNbuilding SUV's to get the materials..

There is a lot to build, and a lot of people who will be needing to find that work.

You will fold your arms and scowl.. but your grandchildren (hopefully) won't.


Yes, we were able to build A Hoover Dam. Would we have been able to build hundreds of them, all at once? I don't think so.

I don't question that we can do SOME of it, I just question whether we'll really be able to marshall the resources to do ALL of it.

Or ENOUGH of it to make a real difference.

What did we use to build Hoover Dam? In the 1930s the US was the largest creditor nation in the world. We were the China of the world. We held debt from Britain and many other nations. We had high savings. We had extremely low private and public debt.

What's the situation today? We're in debt over our eyeballs to the entire world. Public and private debt levels are beyond obscene. It's a complete reversal of where we were versus where we are now. If we have any cash free during this period, it will increasingly go to service our debts. If we don't pay our debts, we may see the collapse of the US dollar and the collapse of foreign trade with the US (no more imported goods). Or we may even see military action against us for not paying our debts.

People should be above believing the government can wave a magic wand and make things happen.

It sure is strange how few see it that way.
But I ask you, at the rate the Gov is spending, doesn't it seem obvious they have no intention of paying it back?

But, but, but, the Government can just print all the "money?" we need!??? (Great Big Grin)

I sometimes think there are two kinds of people in the world:
(1) People who have looked at the numbers regarding current sources of energy production.
(2) People who haven't.

One of the difficulties today is that most of the world's population is in the second group. These folks have a hard time sorting out what say, a forecast 30% growth in PV electricity, really means. It is easy to convince them that our problems are easily solvable, because they don't really understand where we are.

People are by & large innumerate. Looking at numbers does them no good since they don't understand math.

The ability to make sense of numbers (semiotic scratchings to which we assign meanings of quantity) is not something that human evolution selected for. Despite the efforts of modern education, many humans will never feel comfortable simply looking at tables of numbers.

I say we leave the number crunching to silicon based computers that work with numbers flawlessly.

Human evolution has instead selected for pattern recognition which we do much better than computers. Any successful effort to educate our citizens as to the facts on the ground must involve converting numbers into meaningful charts and plots that can be easily understood by the innumerate.

It doesn't take much in the way of math skills to understand China's thirst for oil when presented with a chart like this:

This idea of computers as number crunchers and humans as pattern recognizers is what motivates the Energy Export Databrowser. The fundamental reason for creating this tool is to allow citizens to examine the facts without having to deal with tables of numbers, reformatting issues, learning charting tools, etc. Just point, click, and think about what you see.

Don't get me wrong -- I also long for a day when more people are comfortable working with numbers. But I have no misconceptions about the current state of math/science education in the United States. And I believe there is something positive some of us with the appropriate skills can do to help solve the problem of innumeracy.

I seem to recall reading that the average American can't even understand one of those "snapshot" graphs on the cover of USA Today. And that matches my experience: people don't understand charts and graphs, unless it's their business to do so.

I saw a commercial the other day where a business uses whatever product was being sold, and they showed the results in a graph. Before using it, sales straight down. After using it, straight up. They showed all the people in the office dancing around, cheering, etc. Way over the top, but it occurred to me that without that cue, a lot of viewers wouldn't understand the graph was supposed to be good news.

Leanan: It is worse than that. Not only do most Americans not understand graphs, they don't even realize that they don't understand them.

There are unintelligent, uneducated people in every country in the world. In most of the other countries, such people acknowledge that they are such and don't pretend to be what they are not or to know what they don't know. In America, we have raised generations of dummies to think that they are the brightest and most well educated people in the world, who know everything. The priority throughout their schooling is to puff up their egos so that they "feel good about themselves". Putting down another American for their obvious ignorance is strictly forbidden, one of the very worst things one could do. (Foreigners, on the other hand, are fair game for any and all put-downs.)

Our education system has been a national disaster and disgrace for decades, and it is taking its toll. A nation cannot raise up generation after generation of dummies and possibly hope to become anything other than a terminally dysfunctional basket case.

Not only are they not very well educated the worse of it is that they have absolutely no common sense.

One can thrive in many cases if they can LEARN from experience and therefore develop that common sense. I have little hope for any generation beyond the last three. Sayyy any 'Class of the 90s'.

Something got turned off along about there.Something about initiative.
And I dare say it will take a very long time to reverse itself.


There are some pretty tough exams starting age 12 or so in other parts of the world. These identify who will go to the "good" high schools, and out of these, to the good colleges. It`s usually a small number; 30% or so can go to college in Japan. You don`t even have to go to school after age 13 and many non-school oriented people leave at that age and start working as soon as they can. And you`re right, they don`t think they are intelligent at all, they are sure they`re not intelligent and they are happy (or maybe not) to enjoy life from that vantage point.

America has tried to plump up college admissions...isn`t that part of economic growth? More jobs with paperwork as the main focus, with an office setting. It was an idea that worked for a long time....until it didn`t.

This thread is about dead, but just one final comment:

Take any average Japanese 13-year-old from amongst that 70% that didn't make the cut, and compare them with an average US 13-year-old (from the whole population, not just the bottom 70%): I am willing to bet that the average non-academic-track Japanese 13-year-old is probably more on a par with an average US student who is more like 16 or 17 or maybe even 18. The point being that the Japanese are more serious about their schooling, and put a lot more effort into those first 13 years. It is thus indeed very feasible for a 13-year-old who didn't make the cut to think about starting work, as he or she is probably better prepared for the world of work than is the average US HS graduate.

Good post johanthan. I can't find anything to nitpick about it. :)

I disagree strongly with leaving the number crunching up to computers. Computers cannot provide the insight that a well-developed model or theory can. And those really only come about via human skills. The huge number-crunching is then reduced to an algorithm that anyone can inspect.

Whenever I see someone do Monte Carlo computations, unless they do it to test their stochastic model, I get queasy. And just showing graphs of empirical data, doesn't cut it unless one can fundamentally explain what is going on. The graphs are good, but not in isolation.

I must agree with WHT.

Humans like pictures but what we all really love is a good story. A picture by itself is not that convincing without some background to place it in context. The ability to take empirical data, make intuitive graphics and then include those charts as part of a larger narrative is what really convinces people.

I sometimes find myself overselling the idea of data graphics as all one needs in response to all the opinion pieces that I read that involve no data whatsoever. Those "stories divorced from data" do more harm than good in my estimation.

For the moment I'll stick with what I do well -- creating graphics from data, and occasionally tell a story with them.

I encourage others to take a similar, data-centric approach while aiming for as wide an audience as possible.

-- Jon

I thought I was going to start an argument :) :)

I do appreciate your approach.

News people use graphics with stock market trends. Traditionally, they will report on some uptick, show a graph, and flatly state what "caused" the uptick. That's when my eyes start rolling.

That is when I retreat into my mathematics hovel to maintain my sanity.

I was among the last cohort of students to go all the way through college using slide rules; pocket calculators were just coming out as I was near graduation, and were far too expensive for most students. I suspect that there are others here who are old enough to also be of the slide rule generations.

The thing about a slide rule was: you really had to learn your math. Working a slide rule helped one to visualize the interrelationships between numbers in mathematical operations in a way that is impossible with calculators.

As for graphs, we had to DRAW them, by HAND. This meant that you actually had to think about what you were doing. It took longer, but the chances were that you ended up understanding what it was you were graphing.

I'm not saying that everything was better in the "good old days" and everything today is worse. However, alongside the gains, there have been some losses as well.

Graphing circa last century:

The Leroy lettering set, the French curve, India ink, and Vellum paper.

WNC, I had the same experience except with computers instead of the slide rule. When I was in the various computer technical schools that my employers sent me to, in the late 60s and early 70s, we had to learn exactly how computers work. We would clock through, clock tick by clock tick, every instruction the computer could execute, from memory through the adders, shifters and registers and back to memory with the result. As a result I know exactly how computers work.

But what was in a huge mainframe in those days is now on a single chip. Of the new computer people today only the design engineers have a clue as to how a computer really works. Everything is on a single processor chip and if it is bad it is never fixed, it is just thrown away.

Sometimes I think I am truly fortunate to have lived in the age that I did.

Ron P.

Yeah I had to take a lot of training in machine language. Write in BAL..Basic Asm Language.A 5 week course and if you flunked you were out..and a bad mark on your jacket. And we wrote and repaired very very efficient code back then. All coded in Mach Language.

Then high level languages(PLAS,etc) came into play and the code began to grow bloated and slower and slower so we had to sell/rent them mainframes with more and more MIPS. And faster I/O channels and on and on and then they could no longer find it desirable to maintain a field force. So they created 'support centers' where the real dumbing down started and of course the perphirals were subjected to the 'swap til you drop' method of repair.

Soon no one was trained on the Operating Systems anymore.

That is why I love Linux/Unix..you can still do a sys gen and alter the code yourself or of course now do it all in ignorant Java scripting and then go the way of the mainframes maintainers.

Yet for the avid programmer? Money to be made by creating decent apps for desktops, Ipaqs, and cell phones.

I just picked up a MIFI2200 so I could untether my BB Storm. Amazing piece of gear. Yet the Storm runs Java...badly I might add.

But C is still out there. I hate OOP though. For the hardcore a dive under the covers of Linux is always available as the source is all right there.

And one of the latest Linux distros now has no EULA that you must agree to. SUSE I believe. The legalese is still there but no specific agreement is required action by the user. No "YES I AGREE".


We would clock through, clock tick by clock tick, every instruction the computer could execute, from memory through the adders, shifters and registers and back to memory with the result. As a result I know exactly how computers work.

But what was in a huge mainframe in those days is now on a single chip. Of the new computer people today only the design engineers have a clue as to how a computer really works

Its actually far worse than that implies. Those old computers were architecturally simple, whereas today's are so complicated only a massive simulator can envision what's actually happening. And even twenty years ago the logic designs were already complicated enough that the simulator could never be completely accurate. I did performance for supercomputers. When I started out, it was possible in principle to determine the exact number of clock cycles it would take to run a piece of code. And the time to run two pieces, was simply the sum of the times for the individual pieces. Now there are levels upon levels of caches, and things that try to predict what you might need next and have it ready, and all this detailed state that determines how tough the next instruction will take was set up by the previous millions or billions of instructions. And then the CPUs don't just do one thing at a time.....
So even if a genius wants to understand how a modern machine runs, the best he can do is obtain only a very approximate knowledge.

Of course the work is totally different then it used to be. Now you gotta be comfortable trying to find load and use innumerable pieces of software from a thousand different sources, and all the tools that help you debug how they don't quite work together properly. Not much of a place anymore for people like myself who like to understand a relatively small piece very deeply.

I guess that is why the local university use to have both digital technology and lisp in the course mix, then you learn something of both the low level technology and fairly pure logic.

Yup, I used a slide rule. Back then it was the standard straight unit with the center slide. Still have a half dozen or so.
Lately I have gotten a circular slide rule! Much faster and easier to use. Wish I had one way back when -----

Oh, Ya, they never need batteries.

I went through my undergraduate years with a sliderule - in fact, it was my deceased father's sliderule from his engineering days at MIT and beyond. A beautiful ivory instrument in a nice velvet-lined leather case, which I treasure to this day.

But there were already rich kids in class with electronic calculators (though I didn't particularly envy them).

Yes, plotting graphs by hand, doing everything "by hand" surely gave a different attitude. I do agree with you, however, that the good ol' days had its pros and cons. I don't know that I could have done my graduate research without SAS for my statistical analyses.

Nobody used sliderules any more by the time I was in school, but I taught myself how to use one when I was in the third grade. I was reading my way through the SF section in my school library, and Heinlein had all these YA novels where the heroes used sliderules. I thought that was so cool I wanted to do it, too. My dad's sliderule was gathering dust; he had converted to calculators years before. He gave it to me, and I learned to use it with the help of a book by Isaac Asimov.

I was a Heinlein fan in highschool... did a senior year English independent study in which I basically read everything he wrote and analyzed it this way and that. What a project that was!

I was taught how to use the sliderule in my high school chem class.

So much of so many lives wasted due to poor schools and ignorance!!When I was in the third grade I didn't even know what the word library MEANT.The only book in our house was a King James Bible.

Fortunately when I was in the sixth grade a salesman came thru and playing on my well intentioned parents concerns sold us a set of World Book Encyclopedias.

You can bet they meant the world to me!Iplowed right thru the whole set!But if the preacher had ever OPENED an encyclopedia,none would have been sold in our community.

Fortunately I lucked out and got a couple of good techers about the same time-including one who actually marched us down the hall to the schools small library once every couple of weeks for half an hour.

While I acknowledge serious challenges in building up solar and wind power to replace oil, I don't think you are giving their growth rates the respect they deserve...

2005 is a long time ago when it comes to these technologies. By the end of this year, global wind capacity will have almost tripled since then, and solar will have more than quadrupled.

And solar power generation is still growing in 2009 at greater than 30%, though the _market_ is not growing from last year (when overall capacity grew a whopping 60%!). A 10 GW potential solar PV market in 2010 would be another 45+% increase in solar capacity and solar grid parity will probably begin to spread to different electricity markets in the next couple of years (since wholesale solar module prices have fallen almost 50% this year and soon fossil fuel prices will climb higher again, the cost curves seem destined to meet soon). See

Efficiency, conservation, and renewables can replace a few percent of oil per year in the years ahead - though oil's price will probably rise to rival and even pass last summer's high ~$150 per barrel.

The road ahead should be interesting, and no doubt oil supply constraints will cause pain and change. But I think the sustainable energy transition occurring will bring us to a future we can still thrive in (though maybe we won't be able to overconsume as we have in the recent past). And I hope we can replace high carbon oil with lower-carbon natural gas and very low carbon wind, solar, geothermal, and efficiency.



2005 is a long time ago when it comes to these technologies. By the end of this year, global wind capacity will have almost tripled since then, and solar will have more than quadrupled.

Dennis, I would love to see a source for this info. Not that I doubt you but it is tradition on this list to post the source of such data. URLs are always appreciated. I, and most others on this list, always post a URL when making such claims.

Efficiency, conservation, and renewables can replace a few percent of oil per year in the years ahead - though oil's price will probably rise to rival and even pass last summer's high ~$150 per barrel.

We have debated this subject to death in the last few days, especially yesterday. So I will not comment on your guess as to future oil prices. However you completely miss the point of my post. Solar energy, according to the URL I posted, did not grow last year because of the recession. Also, according to the opinion of the author of the essay my URL pointed to, solar energy will begin growing if the economy recovers. And in the off chance that oil does reach $150 a barrel, there is not a snowballs chance in hell of a recovery.

It all depends on the economy Dennis. The state of the economy simply cannot be left out of any discussion concerning the growth of solar, wind or any other type of technology. These energy programs are extremely capital intensive and only in a robust economy will they grow very much. Also, all the growth you speak of, if it is true, is still happening only in the US and Western Europe. What is happening in the rest of the world? Peak oil is a world problem.

Ron P.

I have my own excel sheets to keep up with wind and solar growth. I don't know of a url, but you can check out awea.org for US wind statistics and gwec.net for world energy statistics. Solar statistics can be found at solarbuzz.com And all of the above are updated in my posts at

In 2005, only .4% of US electricity came from the 9 GW capacity that year. Now, capacity is ~30 GW and wind will almost make up 2% of US electricity use (see www.awea.org for details). China will be the biggest source of global wind growth in '09 - not the US or a country in Europe.

Solar in 2005 contributed only ~.75 GW or ~.05% to the US electrical grid. It's now past 1.5 GW and may pass .1% of the grid by year's end. Global growth has been mainly in Europe - from ~5 GW at end '05 to over 20 GW by the end of '09.

You misread or the article mis-stated re solar growth in 2009. The solar market is not predicted to grow in '09, remaining ~6 GW. That doesn't mean solar power generation will not grow. 6 GW of new capacity will be added, bringing global PV capacity from ~16 GW to ~22 GW. Renewables, different from fossil fuel capacity, are used once they are built because their marginal cost is close to zero/free. Solar and wind are growing through much of the world - in fact India and China are leading countries. Will sub-saharan Africa suffer more from peak oil? maybe so. But as you may have read, developers are eyeing huge developments of solar (100 GW or so) in the Sahara that could help alleviate peak oil around that desert in the years ahead and feed the European grid.

I will try to post some charts of solar and wind market growth at SETenergy.org in the weeks ahead, so comprehensive overviews can be seen (rather than the piecemeal articles that feed into my spreadsheets).

Onwards to a Sustainable Energy Transition-


""Solar in 2005 contributed only ~.75 GW or ~.05% to the US electrical grid. It's now past 1.5 GW and may pass .1% of the grid by year's end. Global growth has been mainly in Europe - from ~5 GW at end '05 to over 20 GW by the end of '09.""

If it "may pass .1%" by the end of the year, will I live long enough to see it add to any replacement for Coal. OR ANY FOSSIL FUEL WHATSOEVER?

When will it get to 25%, 10%, or even 5% ? Darwinian states it pretty clearly, the economy drives the tech, no economy, no tech. Is that reality part of the projection to reach the pie in the sky forecast?

When will solar provide 5%, 10% or even 25% of US electricity? It depends on the growth rate.

If the growth rate remains ~45% declining slowly, we could get over 5% of US e from solar by 2020. I feel that this growth is doable. Then growth could fall toward 20%/yr and pass 10% e share in 2023, then passing 25% share of US e by 2030. Wind could also be ~25% by 2030, meaning that a continued 20% nuclear and ~5% hydro could make 75% of US electricity essentially carbon-free. Another 10% from very low-carbon CCS coal, biomass, and geothermal would then match with 15% from low-carbon natural gas providing most of the remainder. This could be considered pie in the sky - but it's certainly more realistic than Gore's goal of 100% clean electricity by 2018-19. What do y'all think?

Wind is the main displacer of coal right now. It has gained to an almost 2% share as coal has dropped from over 50% to below 47% in 2009.


Dennis of www.setenergy.org

If the growth rate remains ~45% declining slowly, we could get over 5% of US e from solar by 2020.

Do you realize what you are saying? If solar growth rate remains at ~45% then we could get over 5% by 2020! Even if I tried all night I tried I could come up with no more damming indictment of the prospects of solar energy making any difference whatsoever in the coming energy crisis.

However even that is highly improbable. A 45% growth rate in anything is something that could only happen in the start up phase. After that growth always slows and usually winds up arithmetic instead of exponential. That is it increases by so many units per year instead of a given percentage per year. You can observe this phenomenon everywhere from store openings by WalMart to world population growth. (World population growth has been around 80 million per year for several years now, hardly growing or shrinking at all.)

And all this growth of course depends on the economy. I know I keep repeating that over and over but you still refuse to take that into consideration. Solar energy can grow only if the economy also returns to growth. If we remain in a recession then solar energy growth will not increase one whit by 2020.

Many people believe, including me, that the world economy will collapse before 2020 so such a tiny percentage of solar energy will make no difference whatsoever.

Ron P.

If you think about it, by 2020, Wind and solar could be in to 20-25% of US production. Of course by then global export and collapse transportation systems could drive oil to closer to 0 and without oil/diesel, coal production by hand could be substantially less. If we do have the anticipated collapse, overall consumption won't be what it is today...

cheers, ej

I believe that there is a serious possibility of collapse myself but I am not convinced that we are burnt toast.At least not here in the US.I do expect things to get worse,and stay that way,for the easily forseeable future.

Your comments about growth always leveling off are probably correct at the limits,but on the way up I can see no theoritical reason why solar growth MIGHT not accelerate into the hundreds of percent annually for a while at least.

With ff prices rising and solar production costs falling,there will come a day in the n ot so distant future whereby solar is CHEAPER,IN A FREE MARKET,than ff heat and electricity.

And if the production costs really nose dive-thru new economies of scale,thru expired patents thru new production tricks,thru standardization of electrical and building codes,thru the production and marketing of low voltage dc appliances,thru possible technical breakthroughs in design,etc-then solar might grow like mushrooms after a spring rain for quite a while.

Wind might do so as well,but not in such a spectacular fashion.

I don't think the peak load/storage problem is nearly as formidable as it is made out to be.

A well insulated house for instance could be cooled a few degrees below the acceptable upper comfort temperature zone a little earlier in the evening,while the sun is high,thus effectively storing juice for a few hours.

Thermal mass can be dirt cheap and can easily be incorporated into all most new construction to enable heat storage for those with heat pumps,enabling the pumps to crank flat out when the wind is high.It might even work out so that we could use ice storage to ease peak ac loads in residences.

A few small rechargeable batteries in every house could shave quite a bit off ff consumption if recharged by wind or solar and used for lighting,etc,which is a lght steady load-ideal for battery life.And lots of battery patents are supposedly due to expire in the next few years.

A little inconvenience resulting from somewhat erratic availability will not matter once the name of the game is energy austerity and rationing.


We are in the startup phase for solar and wind. Your disbelief of quick growth means you wouldn't have believed me in 2006 if I said wind would grow 45% and 50% in '07 and '08 - but it did (5.25 GW & 8.5 GW!). I think solar has a good chance to be on that scale within 5 yrs (2014) from its .36 GW growth in '08.

And to show that such solar growth is possible: Spain grew at 2.5 GW in '08! Since the US is more than 10 times the size of Spain (and we even have better solar resources in our Southwest), I see potential for US solar to grow 2.5 GW*10 = 25 GW annually by 2014. Such growth would translate into 7000% growth of the US solar market in the next five years or ~230% growth annually - getting us to 5% of US e several years before 2020. I'm not saying this definitely will happen, but that a 45% growth rate is not far-fetched over the next 10 years because the base of .36 GW/yr in the US is so small.

My projection is for solar growth rates to slowly fall (from '08's 60% rate to ~50% in early 2010s to 40s% in mid-'10s to 30s% in late '10s to 20s% in early '20s to 10s% in mid-to-late '20s.

For wind I believe US growth rates will fall to the 10s% after a big uptick in 2010.

Of course, if the economy collapses further solar and wind would grow slower. But they would also be needed less because our economy would consume less energy overall.

I bike, take the subway, and bus most everywhere because of climate concern and I see an oil supply crunch in the early 2010s. But I am glad renewables are poised to step up in that time frame to pick up oil's slack - though I'm not saying it will be a seamless transition without economic pain.

Here's to us all doing what we can to mitigate peak oil and climate change simultaneously by ushering in a new age marked by efficiency and renewables.


Dennis of www.setenergy.org

I compared future wind/solar growth to historical fossil fuel growth in this article


Wind and solar don't have to replace the energy(BTU) in coal and oil, they have to generate the electricity generated by coal( one third of the BTU's) and replace oil in transport ( about 1/5 th the BTU of oil).
Why would the growth rates be higher than oil or coal?
firstly the demand will be higher( oil and coal only grew to meet demand many deposits were shut in in the 1960's),
secondly we don't have to continue to discover new wind and solar deposits we only have to exploit them, and they are vast and will continue to provide energy not decline at 8% like oil fields.

Although some such as David MacKay's in his book; "Sustainable energy without hot air" claim that wind energy can only make a modest contribution to future energy, this study released this week shows the world has X10 likely energy demand by 2050.
Most people realize that the solar energy received on the earth in one hour is greater than the world's yearly energy use, it a question of how quickly will solar energy prices continue to decline..
Growth rates of 30% per year for wind and 45% per year for solar can continue subject to demand, which will be partly related to future supply of oil and coal.

1. All energy is normalized to MTOE as per the BP Statistical review.

2. The growths rates will be higher because not only does wind/solar have to provide all future energy growth but at the same time make up for the decline in fossil energy.

3. Growth rates of 30-45% are possible with a tiny installed based. But due to exponential growth it quickly becomes ridiculous.

I think your projections are close to being correct. If we transition to EV faster or close down aging coal fired electricity faster we may see wind and solar replacing coal completely by 2020.
Should note that nuclear(21%) and renewable(13%) now account for >33% of US electricity( EIA April data). That 5% solar by 2020 will be displacing >10% of today's coal consumption or could provide 25% of the electricity required to replace all oil used in road transport.

The value of solar is providing peak power, allowing coal fired plants to be retired, so every kWh of solar can displace >3kWh generated from coal.

The fact that doomers and gloomers discount 5% of electricity from solar by 2020 as being insignificant towards replacing oil shows their defeated mind-set.

As for MSN's claim stating hydro powers overall contribution at 6.3% - I find this Wikipedia assumption more reliable at about 3%. I have seen hydro at around 3% in many charts..

BTW, on Good Morning America, they noted that the US is 80% dependent on imported vaccines. There was some concern expressed that foreign net exporters of vaccines may curtail net exports of the H1N1 vaccine, in order to meet domestic demand, before they export any H1N1 vaccines. Someone should look into this phenomenon.

H1N1 pandemic spreading too fast to count: WHO

"The 2009 influenza pandemic has spread internationally with unprecedented speed. In past pandemics, influenza viruses have needed more than six months to spread as widely as the new H1N1 virus has spread in less than six weeks," it said in a statement on the new strain, commonly known as swine flu.

I wonder if swine flu is really more contagious, or if it's just a reflection of our high mobility these days. The last flu pandemic was the Hong Kong flu in 1969. Back then, air travel was still a luxury.

Interesting. We have the technology to make a vaccine but we have other technology (cheap airlines) that allows it to spread faster than we can create the vaccine.

Also Swine-Flu Vaccine Production Hits a Snag

A swine-flu vaccine is proving difficult to manufacture because the viruses used to make the shots aren't yielding a large amount of active ingredient, two large vaccine makers said Thursday.

One suggestion is that this has something to do with the avian temperature gene (PB2 E627) the current swine H1N1 possesses so it replicates best at 41C (bird body temp) and the vaccine plants are designed to grow it at lower temps. Normal human flu (PB2 E627K) replicates best at 34c ( temp of a human nose in winter). There are likely other factors as well.

As I understand it is not currently more contagious (in fact it may be slightly less contagious for various reasons) - however as there is no natural immunity (except in some over mid 50s) there are more chances for it to infect others. Normal flu keeps banging up against a background level of resistance - this one doesn't. Interestingly those still alive who caught the 1918 flu still have natural immunity to this one and that holds true right up to 1958. 1968 and subsequent gives no immunity as it was a totally different type (H3N2). Until a few years ago it was generally thought that 1918 came from birds but new research points to it being a swine H1N1 flu like the current one (although this is still contested by some). The very recent tests that show that the human immune system recognises the current pandemic as a relation of 1918 have tipped the balance heavily in favour of the swine origin as I see it.

What's really important now is to watch what's happening in the southern hemisphere where it is mingling with normal human h1n1 - it can easily pick up better adaptions to humans from its human cousin and then we have an even more contagious and virulent flu (selection pressure means that the bits that trigger the pre-existing immune response won't be selected - only the bits that help it spread).

Samples of the virus preserved from 1918 (second wave only unfortunately so we have to "guess" how it started off) show that the virus had picked up many bits from human h1n1 by the time it started killing people in very large numbers) - the current virus has only just begun this process.

I've simplified the above but I think that's the basic picture.

One big concern now is that it merges with H5N1 (avian flu)...H5N1 has a much higher mortality rate. If that happens then we have 1918 again or worse.

Yes I'm unfortunately all too aware of that possibility as well but right now the immediate concern is that it has already started picking up bits from human h1n1 as it has far more chances to do that. There are far fewer "hosts" where co-infection with h5n1 is a possibility currently so it takes statistically longer for it to do this and the virus also has a harder time swapping shorter segments with more distant cousins (Although it does do it) because the molecular positions don't exactly match. So a swine/bird mix with the lethality of bird and the ability to spread human to human like swine remains a nightmare but at least is thought to be relatively low probability at this stage.

The US CDC et al. seem to be hoarding RNA sequences that would tell us a lot - no new US sequences have been released since April - thus it was Hong Kong that confirmed that Tamiflu resistance is already circulating at a background level in the USA in pandemic H1N1 (tests on incomers at airport).

As to 1918 all over again it seems that all the bits it needs to repeat 1918 are already either present or available to it in human h1n1. It could get much, much, much worse if it picked up certain bits from h5n1 bird flu) so we just have to keep our fingers crossed that probability is with us on that one.

I find your digest and update valuable.
Is there something nasty happening down in Argentina with young fit people? A mention passed by me a day or so ago.

Argentina has by far the highest apparent Case Fatality Rate (CFR) of any country - maybe about 5% or worse compared to about 0.4% elsewhere - whether this is due to massive under-reporting of mild cases or something much more unpleasant isn't known - some speculation that other local factors including water contamination may also be in play. CDC is apparently "up close and personal with the virus in the southern hemisphere" (stated at US Flu summit last week) so presumably they are sequencing and looking for mutations. Little in the way of southern hemisphere sequences have been posted to the public databases for quite some time which in itself is worrying some professional flu trackers.

http://www.flutrackers.com is the best site for up to date info.

What good does having sequence data do besides giving a picture of regional or temporal polymorphism? You can't extrapolate from sequence data to virulence or transmissibility potential.

In this case there are many known changes that are being watched for because they are already in seasonal or other flus - such as Tamiflu resistance.

Dr. Henry Niman of Recombimonics has detailed commentary


There are several obvious candidates in seasonal H1N1 which could significantly impact swine H1N1. One of the 10 markers identified in the 2005 Nature paper was PB2 E627K. This polymorphism is in virtually all influenza A seasonal flu isolates. It allows for most efficient replication at 33 C, which leads to upper respiratory infections and a preference for seasonal spread, when cold temperatures keep the human nose close to the optimal temperature for E627K. In contrast, the avian version, E627, allows for most efficient replication at 41 C, the body temperature of birds. Since the swine H1N PB2 is avian, it has E627, which may lead to less efficient transmission in the winter, but higher transmission in the summer, and associated replication the lower respiratory tract. E627K was reported in one isolate in Shanghai but was only found in the sequences from the original sample as well as the first clone. The second clone had reverted back to E627.

Another potential acquisition from seasonal H1N1 is H274Y. Although this isn't a mammalian specific polymorphisms, it is present on almost 100% of seasonal H1N1 and has a history of jumping from one genetic background to another. It has been reported in three pandemic swine isolates, including a patient traveling from San Francisco to Hong Kong who had not received oseltamivir, raising concerns of a fit pandemic H1N1 with H274Y. Moreover, this isolate and other related isolates without H274Y also have a receptor binding domain change D225E, which may be important in establishing dominance via genetic hitching. A change at the same position, D225N, was associated with the establishment of H3N2 seasonal flu with adamantane resistance, S31N.

So enough is already known about flu viruses and how they adapt when moving from one host to another and/or under pressure of anti-virals that some of the likely worrying adaptations are definitely already known. Likely there are plenty of totally unpredictable nasty ones as well...

A "worrying" mutation at a given locus may be completely innocuous in its particular genetic milieu. The converse is also true: a seemingly innocuous mutation may affect virulence or transmissiblity radically in its given milieu. No amount of comparison with previous strains of known pathogenicity, and no amount of computational power is going to allow prediction of morbidity & mortality potential based on sequence data. Dreams of omniscience via "bean bag" genetics notwithstanding.

Yet in all the specific examples of Tamiflu resistance in pandemic H1N1 yet discovered, it was only after the patients did not respond to Tamiflu that samples were subsequently sequenced. All had exactly the predicted polymorphism and it did exactly the predicted thing - conferred resistance. I think you may be a little out of date on how much is already known (or suspected) about the flu genome. Granted most isn't but there is a place to start.

It is implied by some flu virologists that earlier sequences already exist with this polymorphism and a potential Tamiflu resistant watch warning could have been announced earlier but those holding them have not released them. The UK has stated outright that none of its random samples specifically looking for this show Tamiflu resistance (although none have been published). The US has not made such a statement to the best of my knowledge.

And how many examples of Tamiflu resistant H1N1 have been documented? Three?

In human H1N1 it exploded from background to the dominant strain in just a few months.

This from Sci Am back in March before we'd ever heard of this pandemic.

Widespread Tamiflu resistance sparks new look at pandemic flu drug stockpile

We've known since January that most of the flu circulating this season is resistant to Tamiflu, an antiviral drug typically used against the infection. What remained a mystery was whether the resistant flu strain made people sicker than forms that respond to the treatment — and why the resistant strain surged this year, a worry for public health officials who stockpiled Tamiflu in the event of a flu pandemic stoked by avian influenza.

A study published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association indicates that Tamiflu-resistant flu does not make people any more or less sick. But researchers say they're still in dark as to why Tamiflu-resistant infections are on the rise. A whopping 98 percent of this year's circulating H1N1 flu strains are immune to Tamiflu, compared with only 12 percent during the 2007-2008 flu season.

If Tamiflu resistance jumps to near 100% in a few months with pandemic H1N1 that's a serious concern (especially for Roche).

This article doesn't address novel influenza A (H1N1) of porcine origin. To my understanding there's only been three confirmed cases of infection with this strain demonstrating resistance to Tamiflu therapy. The first case was identified in Denmark and another was a boy arriving in the US from Hong Kong. No known cases of resistance of this strain to Relenza are known. I believe you are referring to H1N1 strains of avian origin & other seasonal strains. We may be comparing apples & bananas or.. I may be simply misinformed. In any case, you still can't predict morbidity & mortality characteristics from sequence data.

You are mostly correct.

But the sequence data gives the trackers an idea what to look for, and where, and when.

You can't always predict the weather by looking at the sky, but that limitation doesn't stop you from looking, does it?

This article doesn't address novel influenza A (H1N1) of porcine origin.

Well obviously not because we weren't aware of it at the time :-) However it is the exact same polymorphism now detected in the known swine Tamiflu resistant H1N1 cases as just recently became dominant in seasonal human H1N1 - the precedent must be concerning at the very least.

Relenza isn't currently available in sufficient quantities to be substituted entirely for Tamiflu.

What will really be of concern will be if resistance becomes due to recombination rather than point mutations.

And how do you think recombination shows up on a DNA map?

Well, this blog makes a case the pandemic H1N1 has picked up the Tamiflu-resistant gene through recombination and is widespread. I don't know what to think personally but I wouldn't be surprised if this flu is Tamiflu-resistant in the Fall. I also think it will take the WHO, CDC, and others too long to figure it out (if it happens).

Widespread Evolutionarily Fit Tamiflu Resistant Pandemic H1N1

Not being more than an educated layman as far as flu genetics go, I'll have to take their many big words for it.

This set of not-so-big-words is good enough for me though:

However, other countries are reporting suspect Tamiflu resistance in patients who have been treated for at least a month and are symptom free, but shed detectable H1N1. These reports raise concerns that H274Y is more widespread than the 3 confirmed cases and one presumed case in San Francisco.

Hard to say at this point, according to the conversations I've been having. But the pandemic plans that have been activated at these organization are planning for a 50% or greater infection rate, possibly as high at 70%, per the recommendation given at the pandemic conference held on July 9. 50% to 70% is now considered the "best case" by the CDC (again, according to my contact).

The official statistics are by now hopelessly out of date and due to the nature of the speed the infection is spreading this point was bound to occur. It's anyone's guess whether the actual number of infected is five or ten or 50 times more than the known cases.

Short preparation list:

  • wash hands with soap often
  • use hand sanitizer only if soapy water is not available, it isn't as good
  • cover your cough
  • prepare to work at home if possible
  • get enough food for two weeks preferably eight or more, to minimize trips to the grocery store or in case you are incapacitated
  • Symptoms of concern include difficulty in breathing, shortness of breath, chest pain and severe or persistent vomiting
  • In adults, a high fever that lasts for more than three days is a warning sign, particularly when accompanied by a general worsening of the patient’s condition
  • Lethargy in a child, that is, a child that has difficulty waking up or is no longer alert, or is not playing, is a warning sign
  • get surgical masks if you have to travel in public transit
  • if in a business, consider social distancing and washing down high contact equipment (phones, elevator buttons, keyboards, mice, etc.) — do not share equipment
  • identify essential employees and get them set up now for working at home or put in pace backup plans if they become ill

Programs are gearing up now to vaccinate front line medical workers first, still trying to sort out how the rest of the populace will be handled.


  • Overwhelming majority of patients experience mild symptoms and make a full recovery within a week, often in the absence of any form of medical treatment
  • Most cases of severe and fatal infection continue to occur in people with underlying medical conditions
  • Pregnant women are at increased risk of complications
  • Some patients experience a very rapid clinical deterioration, leading to severe, life-threatening viral pneumonia that requires mechanical ventilation

Officially the flu season starts on Oct. 1...use the time to prepare.


I'm going to split the difference and store 30 days of rice & beans. So, how many pounds of rice and how many pounds of beans do I need per person per 30 days?

Just buy too much and that will be enough.
It's cheap, it keeps and you will eat it.

And by buying "too much" you will have some to share with your hopefully still healthy, but confused, angry and hungry friends, relatives and neighbors.

And what a crime that would be. To 'Have to share' ..

but I'm confused.. why would they necessarily be confused?

I was agreeing about having more than enough for yourself - so that you "have some" to share. I wasn't being sarcastic.

The amount of confusion would depend on the extent of the emergency and how the government responds... and how much people were or were not prepared psychologically and physically before hand.

Sorry about that.

I guess I was confused.. a little short on the trigger recently.. a testament to your final comment ..

Courage, Generosity and Patience.

So I will share.

Me too porge. Me too.

using our spreadsheet (courtesy of Jason Bradford):
assuming a 67% grain and bean fraction, 22.5lb grains, 7.5lb beans
but the spreadsheet assumes you'll be eating other items, too.

It's a worthwhile exercise to sit down and really understand how many calories one needs to be adequately fed (with enough energy to do work, too).

The US government recommends choosing foods that don't need cooking. Since in a pandemic, utilities might have to be shut down. Ditto water; you should store drinking water for each person, either storebought bottled water, or make your own with bleach and empty pop bottles.

Yes, we could get to the point where electricity and other utilities become unreliable.

It's for those cases that I have about 22 gallons of white cooking fuel and dual burner, multi-fuel stove. And of course a solar cooker goes a long way, through I haven't decided which one to buy just yet, probably because I know I have the cooking fuel and stove. Perhaps this weekend is the time to check that off the list.

Lots of designs and choices...

It's for those cases that I have about 22 gallons of white cooking fuel and dual burner, multi-fuel stove.

It's for those cases that I have a 15 acre woodlot.

Ah, if I had learned of peak oil years ago, I too might have had a wood lot by now....

Not beans, split peas.
More nutritious
Cook faster.

2# rice, 2# split peas/person/week + super multi-vitamin/mineral tab/day = survival. Easy to add forage to rice/peas = survival luxury.

Good idea to stock up on key items now. When the last swine flu panic hit the media, stores in my area were wiped out of hand santizer and face masks. Latex gloves are also good to have if you have children. Facemasks are the hardest to find and most places have low inventory.

Here in dry climates, it is a good idea to ensure your home and work place is humidified. Studies have shown viruses live longest in dry air, and stay viable longer too. Water in air tends to flush out the virus or cause it to precipitate out of air.

One key point about face masks is that people wearing face masks habitually, subconsciously rub their face/eyes and actually increase their chances of catching the virus - this takes a lot off effort to counter. Google correct use of face masks before even thinking of using one - to be honest you'll probably decide it isn't worth it unless you have top of the range kit and training in its use.

However ordinary latex gloves and sanitizer are very effective if properly used.

I think the best effect of face masks may be to keep the person who's wearing it from SPREADING the flu, particularly if this is one of those that's infectious before you have many symtoms.

"Studies have shown viruses live longest in dry air, and stay viable longer too."

IMO, that is not good news for the dry Southwest. The inside house climate can get so dry from A/C that static shock levels/sparking can reach painful levels. For example, most pets quickly learn to run from a kid trying to bring a charged-up fingertip to the animal's nose.

Say, I mentioned this the other day and got no comments, so if no comments today I'll let it die.

But in the case of no vaccine being available - for instance, because it mutates into a deadlier form and no nation being willing to export it, or in the future in areas where no vaccine can be expected - would it not make some sense to preserve samples of the less-deadly version so one would have the option of intentionally contracting it at a later time?

Speaking from a planetary-health perspective, a serious human flu is a good thing. But I'm fond of many TOD regulars, so mention it. The version around now has only about a half a percent mortality rate.

I think the reason there were so few Spanish Flu deaths in NYC is that many there caught the early less-lethal version and so had some immunity to the deadly one... I recall learning that from a Leanan post, come to think of it.

Shades of Edward Jenner & cowpox.

I haven't had the flu in years.
And my lungs never have recovered fully from a pnuemonia a couple years back.

Ok, had to laugh at this one:
How To Sneeze

Contagion is largely a function of population density. Below a certain threshold there are no epidemics or pandemics. This threshold was passed centuries ago in many parts of the world.

True enough,as far as you go.

I will add that there are very few places isolated enough nowadays to offer really good protection from epidemics,especially in the first world.Too many vacationers,etc.

But if the flu turns out to be a real killer,we will button up on our little farm and leave it as little as possible.

Suppose you work part time, Mac, or are a temp, or are a seasonal hire, or teach on an adjunct basis... and don't get paid if you are off work sick. Millions of the underemployed in the US don't get sick leave. What do you do when you are living paycheck to paycheck and come down with the flu? You have bills to pay so you go to work & infect your coworkers, that's what you do.

And hopefully, they get sicker than you, so you can have their job full time!!!!

There are damn few athiests in foxholes,DD.

I probably take up prayer again,I was well trained in it as a child.

You are correct,people will go to work when they're sick,because they have no choice.

But WE here at my house don't have to go to work,and we can cut our trips off the place down to almost nothing for a few months if necessary.

There are a few things to be said for old age other than that it's better than the alternative.

Worse thing you can do is attend church. The sick are all their praying or the ones taking care of the sick and the preacher is helping to spread it by visiting those who are sick and spends a lot of time in the hospitals.

Best to stock up on some good reading material and lots of movie CDs. Take up a hobby that you can do at home. Stay out of cities. Airports,,etc.


There are damn few athiests in foxholes,DD.

An old proverb that is totally wrong, a bigger lie was never told. A person who truly realizes the absurdity of religious promises and absurd religious text will never revert back to ignorant superstition. I am 71 years old and as I get closer to my date with death the more of a converted atheist I am.

The stupid stories about Darwin and Thomas Paine converting on their death bed are all damn lies made up by religious nuts because they simply could not stand the idea that there are people who do not buy their silly superstition. I know, Thomas Paine was a deist, not an atheist but the principle is the same. It was his "The Age of Reason" which I read as a teenager that turned me toward atheism. However I was a skeptic even before that.

Ron P.

How many foxholes have YOU been in Ron?
I get sick of your sneering anti religous rants.
For someone who always insists on facts and reason you sure are pretty damn quick at lumping all people of faith together as liars or nuts.
I'm gonna turn this around on you Ron.
You don't know what is gonna happen to you after you die.
And you don't know where you came from either.
So lay off the insults, you don't know what the hell you're talking about.

You're right. The Flying Spaghetti Monster is waiting to embrace you with his noodley appendage when you die.


Watch out for the Ramen noodle man!

Perhaps, but to speak with certainty on this subject is absurd.
Ron is just belching out his beliefs, insultingly too, I might add, yet should another poster do this he'd be all over him like stink on, well, you get the idea.

I don't know about Ron, but a lot of atheists find that fox hole thing very insulting.

In a life threatening situation do you suddenly start praying to Allah? Thor? The Flying Spaghetti Monster?

Why would you expect us to suddenly start worshiping your mythological sky wizard and his zombiefied son?

BTW Atheism is a belief as much as bald is a hair color.

I think you're misreading it. He's not saying they all become Christians in foxholes, but they do find some "thing" (Thor, YHWH, their dead ancestors etc..) to pray to in the foxhole.

I have never been in a foxhole, and would describe somewhere between atheist and agnostic, but when times are tough, I do find a god to pray to.

There is something to be said for the universiality of religion. Correct me if I am wrong, but there has never never been a group of humans (tribe, civilization) since the dawn of time, without some form of religion. To me, that is evidence that there either is some sort of god, or that the human brain has evolved to need to believe in some sort of god.

I think it's the latter, and it's not just humans. It seems to be a feature of mammalian brains at least.

We need to believe we have control over a situation. Religion (and its rat relation, superstition) give us the illusion of control that we need to be mentally healthy.

Can you give me the name of a single 'mammalian' animal(besides man) that has a belief in a GOD? What are you referring to?

Come on. Rat relation? You may despise religion and it certainly shows.
But religion is NOT spirituality. Its a manifestation of those who wish to do it publicly and mostly by rote methods, which granted do have a very bad flavor and hence are prone to be dissed badly. I am one of those who put it down, BUT I would not label those who can and are in touch with their 'inner selfs' equated to something about RATS.

I also have a feeling that superstition does play a good role in survival. That being a sensitive inner aspect or premonition. Things passed down by our elders with good reasons as well.


Or maybe some of us look out at the vastness and feel the sense of something greater than ourselves at work.

I wouldn't expect you to do anything except treat those of faith as you yourself would want to be treated.
Unless your belief that God doesn't exist leads to your belief that you are somehow superior to those who do.
If you find the foxhole thing insulting then man up, ofm didn't lump ALL of you believers in a nongod into the same foxhole like Ron did.

Maybe so.but the guys in foxholes are generally still young enough to believe in thier own immortality,and when thier intellect starts screaming that DEATH is a real possibility,they pray,and hard.I have this info from the mouths of two or three guys I know well who have been in foxholes under fire.None of them are perticularly religious.

But actually I agree with you about not reverting to religion,and my comment about praying should have had some sort of indicator that it was intended either as sarcasm or a mild joke.

If I am rational I myself might undergo a deathbed conversion-for the benefit and comfort of any believers/loved ones worried about my welfare.It wouldn't cost me anything and it would be worth a lot to them.

If I am rational I myself might undergo a deathbed conversion-for the benefit and comfort of any believers/loved ones worried about my welfare.It wouldn't cost me anything and it would be worth a lot to them.

I like the way you think. As much as I'd like to "stick it to 'em", your idea sounds very compasionate. Fact is, I should probably think about a conversion right before my father's deathbed. He thinks he's a failure as a father (for not saving me) and is constantly worried about my eternal soul.

My experience as a US Marine with multiple tours in combat zones has been that even the most hard hearted, steel skinned warrior bows his head in reflection when they have a moment to reflect on a team mates death.
It often can't be done immediately due to the tasks at hand but it's done.
I don't claim to be born in a foxhole or even the toughest SOB in the room most times. However, it was one of the first things I thought while at a combat zone memorial service for a fellow Marine. While looking around at the others in attendance that exact thing went through my mind, "There are no atheists in foxholes."
I'm not saying there is in fact a God that presides over us, I'm just saying we reach for One when death is close and personal.


Good to hear from a gyrene. I have gone 'ashore' with many and found them always to be worthy men of high caliber.

Different to be sure but still great men to go on liberty with. Will always protect and defend their buddies. Men I would march into hell with any day given the need.

As to religion under fire? I was not in a combat situation but when we lost an aircraft(of many) and many burned to death on a bad landing,,the survivors were forever changed men. We still have reunions and the scuttlebutt says your right on this issue. We don't talk to much about it openly but its there nonetheless.

I don't think there are instant attitude changes on the spot but more like slow and over time the heart and soul is affected.Deeply in many cases. To those who have no feelings? I prefer to not attend.

One might ask Lynford. The fighter pilot. I am sure he has seen enough combat missions to qualify on this issue.

I used to play poker and eat fried fish with a crew of old WWII vets down by the creekside. They rarely talked of the combat and death but all these men were quietly reverent men of good faith and reason. You could count on them. They are all now but one dead and gone on to their rewards or not as the case may be but for those who had the heart and soul? I hold them in my thoughts and remember them.

Airdale-was an airdale

Coming so close to death does make a person more thoughtful, and if they were brought up with religion tends to bring it to the top.

Not all who bow their heads are praying, but in such a situation everyone bows their heads. It is simply something that must be done regardless of whether one is praying, meditating, or simply remembering the dead.

I have, unfortunately, had enough opportunity to find myself doing each of these things.

Remember old friends well. They deserve it.

thanks. one was buried today.


I think you have nailed it down as well as anybody here regarding WHAT IT MEANS to be a man and a man among his fellow men.

Exactly how we came to be ,or how ourmind/brain/soul if you wish works is not the most important thing,any more than the method(radio,mail,face to face,etc) used to communicate is the most important thing-the communication itelf,the information ,is the real issue in the first part of what I'm trying to say,and coming to grips with life and achieving a personal peace and satisfaction and sense of eqiulibrium is the second.

Although personally a Darwinist thru and thru I too have studied the Bible and a few other religious books and found them to be full of wisdom.

And MY PERSONAL study of the words of Jesus has leads me a conclusion not that far from yours.

Do you remember the editorial style cartoon FMaygar(?)posted a while back with the caption "jesus called and he wants his religion back?"

If I ever run into him,I'm gonna buy him a drink-you too!!(

Thanks for the thoughtful reply.

If you read this I have a few things to say about Jesus..or Yeshouha(sp?) Ben Yosef...

First he NEVER wrote anything down. It was all word of mouth. Yes he drew a line or two in the sand but nothing we could read.

His 'outreach' was to the masses and was SPOKEN.

He did not as far as I can see start any religion. That was Paul and I have little regard for the man. He did NOT know Jesus personally and argued with those who were His read disciples.

Then he wrote all those letters and the effect was worse than the LAW...

So if I throw out the Pauline Epistles and read the rest of the bible I am pretty much satisfied with what I read. Not that this is all because there is the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Nag Hammadi as well plus much much more.

Its a long and rocky trip or else one can just look at the handiwork of God,,which we are trying our damnedest to utterly destroy and wonder about it all. Or astride a Harley like I am wont to do often.

Its not all inside a brick building built by man and where a lot of squeezeplay comes into the equation,,,,yes,dealing with that filthy lucre.

My way, my life, etc.....

Airdale-not for others, to each his own and happy landings Misses Calabash, where ever you are.

Still right on as usual!

I expect that when your time comes you will go with dignity.

I'm afraid I have no idea who or what Misses Calabash might be?

Belief in Darwin and his theories is a religion. The last 'missing link' on the news months ago looked more like a meerkat. If a logging truck and a truck hauling explosives collide on the highway, Does it produce furniture? There's your Big Bang theory. I see no dolphin cities or ape airports or cats that talk and read or dogs that write. The total knowledge of man could fit inside a small circle and everything outside that circle would be what we don't know. One thing I do know is that man emphatically denies the existence or authority of any being outside of his small circle. Recommended viewing (entertainment for thinking people) Expelled with Ben Stein and the remake of The Day The Earth Stood Still (tom cruise).

Reality Check!

Those are fighting words-Charles Darwin is the closest thing to a God this site has.

Space and time are bigger than I can imagine, and I've got a really good imagination.

I figure the Greeks came closest, with Chronos (time) as the original source of everything.

I know too many religions, too many people with the "One Truth", to really believe that anyone has a handle on it.

Give me questions, I can believe in questions. Give me partial, incomplete answers because they lead to more questions. A solid, certain answer shuts off further questioning. Ben Stein has solid, certain answers. I believe Ben Stein exists, but I don't buy his answers because he can't possibly know these things with the certainty with which he presents them. Which means that his answers are useless, because they not only aren't the certain answers he presents them as being but they cut off further questioning.

So, is belief in uncertainty a religion? Heisenbergism perhaps?

Maybe if they spent a little more time figuring out why some/most people don't get the flu, they might come up with a better way of protecting those that are liable to get it? (But then, that might not be very profitable?)
Anyone else ever wonder how much natural immune therapy there is from what people eat (or don't eat)?

Behind a paywall, but accessible through Google:

Shell Email Leak Says US Convent Refinery Income Dismal - Blog

LONDON (Dow Jones)--Income performance at Motiva Enterprises LLC's Convent refinery near Baton Rouge in Louisiana has been dismal since July 2008 and the company needs to cut costs to return to profitability, according to an internal email from part-owner Royal Dutch Shell PLC (RDSB) which was leaked to a blog critical of the company.

"We are getting our costs in line at Convent in order to become competitive in a tough business environment," the email sent to Motiva staff by manager David Brignac said. "We are considering reductions in operator positions, but no final decisions have been made on operator staffing levels," he writes in the email posted Friday on royaldutchshellplc.com.

The blog in question has a pretty interesting history.

A while back someone mentioned jumping out of the proverbial car which is racing straight for the cliff.

Well, I am going to run with that metaphor for a minute.

I just sold my highly successful business. Yes Souperman is hanging up his tights and cape.

I opened the door and flung myself out, rolling, bouncing, I am now thoroughly all bruised and battered. One of the hardest things I have had to do in a very long time.

Nobody, I mean nobody can understand. They all ask me why the hell I would throw myself out of a perfectly good car. It does no good to talk about the cliff up ahead. All anyone sees is a flat horizon stretching as far as the eye can see. So….PUNCH IT!!!

Hell there could even be a sign that says “Caution Cliff Ahead” and most would miss it as they are head down, busy texting someone.

I just could not stand to watch the thing I lovingly built slowly corrode on the certain path to destruction, that and I got a pretty good price. The only difference between this guy and me is our vision of the future.

It was almost 2 years ago I sold my house for twice what I paid for it just 5 or so years prior. Sold it to the Real Estate agent who sold it to me. The only difference between him and I is our vision of the future. (he tried to flip it after sinking another 25K into it, granite counters, etc. Now still on the market for less than I sold it to him for)

Now I am starting a small biz called Small Farm & Garden Technologies.

Focus is on growing, producing, processing, and distribution.

I have already built a lay down harvester for a strawberry farmer friend, a sit down harvester, and several rolling chicken coups. I have plans for a large combination solar/wood fired food dehydrator, a hand powered auger and weed cloth combination that allows you to plant in a lawn area without tilling. A neighbor who is a retired Prof. from OSU has the plans and lab supported research for a flytrap chicken feeder.

Also included onsite; Seed Bank, Vermaculture, Compost Tea, Soil Testing. I want this to be the go to place for local food production.

I really want to emphasize the human element in this project. It is not just about PRODUCTS. It is about encouraging and supporting local production. Also the message of SF&G is that localization and local food production is not all overalls and hoes, there is a need for tech in this transition, yes maybe even a need for some code to be tapped out.

Several people have already come out of the woodwork to be a part of the project, 4 of whom are retired University professors from Chem.E to Mechanical E. to Ag. All with great ideas that are simple and implementable.

I affectionately describe the project as food producing technologies that will help White Folks to be able to do what brown people do.

The placard that I am thinking about having commissioned, to be displayed prominently says… PARSIMONY = MONEY in your PURSE. That aught to attract the investors, heh heh.

P.S. So I guess I need a new screen name. Lets play NAME THAT TROLL

Ouija4Oil – Naw, too Geologist

LanceLacuna – Naw, too pornstar

Jef – yeah, I like it. Its simple, accurate, and it’s less.

All comments welcome.

Sounds very interesting in general - good luck. And, specifically I'd be interested to know more about the dehydrator,


"Crawling from the wreckage, crawling from the wreckage / Bits of me are scattered in the trees and in the hedges..." Elvis Costello

New Bumper Sticker.. 'My other car is a parachute.. Hey, a cliff!'

Vaya con Dios, Soup!

How about ChickenNoodle. It is a bit of a play on your former tag (SOUPerman), reflects your current interests (chickens etc), the noodle reflects the need for non-meat food in our lives, and the combination reflects a common delicious food.


How about chicken little noodle

Oh wait. Never mind. I don't like the anatomical implications.

PH33D M3

I did that tuck and roll last Dec.

Good luck!

I have to say for me its a little sureal. I wonder what the hell I did and what the hell I'm doing.

Lunch is over, time to go cultivate the sunflowers.

Did you make or buy a sunflower oil press?

Its in the barn. Waiting for me to weld up a frame to attached the diesel engine to it.

But since the sunflowers are barely knee high and the canola is still flowering its just not that high up on my to do list.

Once we harvest though it'll be a lot more pressing if you know what I mean.

Are you in the States?

Upstate NY

Good luck and godz speed souperman. What a great story.

I bailed from the Runaway/Crazy Train about 7 years ago and am still mostly tumbling along in the ditch along side the damn thing.

It sounds like you have played your cards very well and I sincerely hope you have great success in your locale.


Hopefully, you are one of Cassandra's Seeds that take root and flourish. Your new business efforts could maybe be called "Cassandra's Feed and Seed" ???

"Cassandra's Feed and Seed" ???

I like it.

I also thought of


Cause nobody wants to open that door.

I love Pandora's Big Box.

I think that the Federal Reserve will turn out to be Pandora's Box.

We will eventually open it and All Hell will break loose.

If we are VERY, very lucky... we will have a Recall Election to remove Obama and his criminally incompetent crew and replace them with a Ron Paul administration.

At least then we could have fiscal sanity on the eve of collapse.

The economics team is constant across administrations, recalling Obama will do nothing to impact the economics priesthood.

I seem to recall somebody with the initials R.P. saying that they followed Austrian School economics. If there could be a more damaging policy group than the Chicago School that is them.

What we *need* is somebody willing to fire everyone in the administration that ever worked for a big national or Wall Street bank, and I don't see anyone on the national political scene who would even see the need to do so.

"What we *need* is somebody willing to fire everyone in the administration that ever worked for a big national or Wall Street bank, and I don't see anyone on the national political scene who would even see the need to do so."

Nader'd do it. Probably Kucinich, too. But so far they haven't had a 5+meter-thick ice cover in our hellishly global warmed Arctic of getting elected.

If we are VERY, very lucky... we will have a Recall Election to remove Obama and his criminally incompetent crew and replace them with a Ron Paul administration.

Can't do a recall election without amending the US Constitution first. That would be a really significant amendment. If you can get that, you are not just very, very lucky, you've come across the mother of all black swans.

I would rate the odds of the earth's center being found to be hollow and full of oil to be quite a bit better by comparison.

Drats, foiled again...

I suspect you're right about the odds too. At the rate things are going, we will be lucky if congress gets a chance to vote on a fed audit.

I wonder if the fed has ordered any new paper shredders?

Yes, yes, we know you hate Obama.

On the major economic issues, what has Obama done significantly differently than Bush? Don't talk to me about "style" which is just the press kissing his ass versus attacking Bush. Tell me what he has done that is substantially different from Bush about economy, the number one issue of the day.

The truth is that Obama is owned, lock, stock, and barrel by the same Wall Street boys who owned GW and co. That's why Wall Street has gotten $13.9 trillion in guarantees and bailouts so far while Main Street has been told to piss off.

And given that Obama is escalating the war in Afghanistan and trying to start a war in Pakistan, he's certainly just as much a part of the military industrial complex as his predecessor. And given his gaffes in Europe while speaking, he's just as incompetent, which may be why he was selected.

While I despised Bush I also despise Obama for being a walking lie. Change? Yeah, you're going to get change, just not the change you expected. Welcome to Fascist America, chapter two.

Well, I despised Bush alright. He lied us into a trillion dollar war, among other egregious (if not treasonous) acts.

I do not despise Obama (yet). I voted for him. I am very disappointed in him. We shall see. He was dealt an extremely bad hand.

But that's not my point. The point is there are 2 or 3 posters here who just make random posts yammering about recall elections and such. It's boring, that's all.

It is, but be fair: there were a lot more yammering similar things about Bush (and McCain and Palin) before the election, and it was just as tedious.

IMO, it's our right as Americans to gripe about our politicians. Especially the current president, whoever he is.

Of course it's our right to gripe. Let's just say that right before the election, those folks had a bit more history. A lot more history.

To talk about "criminal Obama" 6 months into his administration is ridiculous, that's all.

Now, in a year or two, it might be perfectly valid ;-)

I don't know-- we have some real data.
Appointing Rahm Emanuel as his first appointment sent the signal where we would be going, and it will be BAU, as anyone paying attention surely can tell.
Of course, the disappointment continued as his staff became apparent.

I think I said, "Obama and his criminally incompetent crew," not "criminal obama."

The time that has passed - 6 months - is meaningless. What counts is the damage Obama's crew continues to inflict on the financial system by following the same playbook as Bush.

Re-read greyzone's post. Obama and his administration is anything but change.

Here is a re-enactment of Obama's actual Debriefing by Dick Cheney just after taking office:


Please remember Dmitry Orlov's advice about how to deal with politicians:

Many people expend a lot of energy protesting against their irresponsible, unresponsive government. It seems like a terrible waste of time, considering how ineffectual their protests are. Is it enough of a consolation for them to be able to read about their efforts in the foreign press? I think that they would feel better if they tuned out the politicians, the way the politicians tune them out. It's as easy as turning off the television set. If they try it, they will probably observe that nothing about their lives has changed, nothing at all, except maybe their mood has improved. They might also find that they have more time and energy to devote to more important things.

Obamalama is the walking, talking mystery man.

He certainly has hooked up with the establishment crowd; Lawrence Summers, Robert Rubin, Tim Geithner, a whole bunch of Goldman- Sachs alumni:



Depending on how surveys are conducted, Obamalama's approval ratings have declined a little:


or have cratered:


Problems here are the failure of the establishment to turn 'around' the economy and inititatives that appear to be either ineffective - health care 'reform' and climate change 'remediation' - or fraudulent. These last would include bailouts of the banking and auto sectors.

Who is Obama, anyway?

Another whacky conspiracy theory orbits around the the obviously flawed notion that Barack Obama is not who he claims he is. Theorists claim Obama is really Barry Soetoro, a Kenyan citizen.

I always thought Obama was a North Korean robot programmed to do Goldman- Sachs' bidding. Maybe I'm wrong! I always liked the robot idea; "Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!"

Some North Korean dude pushes a button and Obama's pants fall down. (I'm 'working' on the video.)

Here we have some nutter out in California who is pressing an FOIA case in Federal District Court:


The problem is that nobody has seen Obama's official birth certificate, and for some silly reason he won't release one or allow the state of Hawaii to produce a true copy.

Obama is surrounded by vast problems and honestly, most of them are 'We' created, that is, we citizens have enjoyed living outside our means. The question is, what was the 'Oh- boi' doing for the years and years on the run-up to his presidency? He seemed to present an 'all new approach' but the results have been underwhelming. His ability to marshall public opinion - the only real tool a president possesses - is diminishing by the day. If the charade on Wall Street turns against him, or he is found out to be inelegible Constitutionally ... his presidency will either become irrelevant or be ended, prematurely.

Inelegibility is a matter that is below the horizon but is likely to gain more steam particularly as the matter is so easily resolved. Failure to take the obvious step leads to more and more questions, such as, "Why not?". Does he have something to hide?

Even a compleate idiot like Rahm Immanuel must know this.

I do not like the man. What I do know of him is very very little.

His collegiate records seem to be a mystery. His birth certificate is not a real one or a copy of a real one.

I was in Hawaii on the island of Oahu in the early 60s. The time he was supposed to be born there. This was no quaint out of the way tropical island without proper medical paperworks or directives.

I have a photostat of my own birth certificate and having been born in 1938..it clearly indicates everything. Even my mothers age and her maiden name. And I might add that I was NOT born in a hospital yet my live birth was correctly listed and the necessary documents exist to this day.

Why should his be a mystery then? He is a constitutional lawyer is he not? Why should not every single public document not be available. Such as transcripts and all the rest..since prospective employers demand such?

Why should not every single valid legal or otherwise scholarly document NOT be publicly available to the citizens of this country?
He attended college and universities on the citizens dollars, did he not?

Something is hidden and a legion of lawyers and attorneys are covering it up and the judges are conspiring as well in not demanding a full and proper accounting.

To just depend upon his own tongue is very unwise.

For this reason alone he is not trustworthy to ME.


Obama's birth certificate is available.

There was also a birth announcement in the local paper, back in 1961.

There's a lot of things you can criticize Obama for, but this birth certificate thing is just silly.

IMO all this nonsense is a false flag operation-get the wackos worked up over the silliness, then paint every critic of the rampant corruption as a similar wacko. Pretty transparent IMO.

When I look at that document it is shown to be a Certificate of A Live Birth....not the real thing. Just certifies that some of the data was taken from that other document. Lacks quite a bit of data that a real Birth Certificates contains.

The document is a "certification of birth," also known as a short-form birth certificate. The long form is drawn up by the hospital and includes additional information such as birth weight and parents' hometowns. The short form is printed by the state and draws from a database with fewer details.

The State of Hawaii is states does not give copies of the real certificate. I wonder just why not? Since we are talking about the most important office of the USA then I think that Hawaii should be obliged to comply with the REAL data.

That would settle all the debates once and for all.

And you never spoke to the issue of transcripts of scholarly activities. Do you know of URLs where this is displayed for the Citizens to see for themselves?

This man's past history is very murky and the absolute truth and full total disclosure should be given without any attempts to do otherwise.

Many questions have been raised. The truth should be known,totally and fully. Not obscured.


The State of Hawaii is states does not give copies of the real certificate. I wonder just why not? Since we are talking about the most important office of the USA then I think that Hawaii should be obliged to comply with the REAL data.

Their policy existed long before Obama ran for president. And changing Hawaii's bureaucracy is as much a pain as anywhere else.

That would settle all the debates once and for all.

No, it wouldn't. People would then claim that one was fake, too. If you can fake one, why not the other? Heck, it would probably be seen as proof it was fake. Since Hawaii doesn't release the long form.

His birth announcement ran in the 1961 Honolulu Advertiser. Way before anyone had any inkling he'd run for president.

And you never spoke to the issue of transcripts of scholarly activities. Do you know of URLs where this is displayed for the Citizens to see for themselves?

No, but I haven't looked. And those are even easier to fake than a birth certificate.

I wouldn't be surprised if he got some poor grades in school. But that hardly disqualifies you from being president.

I do not despise Obama (yet). I voted for him. I am very disappointed in him. We shall see. He was dealt an extremely bad hand.

Obama is in a no-win situation. Will he assert his will over the economic team? Maybe, if he has that kind-of power. If he does, he may come out strong against the second stimulus but what will it matter. This was heartening --> Obama's bid to shoot down U.S. jet fighter

The economist Bonddad is going off about the fact that The Black Swan is a "myth", especially in regards to economics.



Two aspects here. The black swan as the completely unexpected is one way to think about it (think of Monty Python and the Spanish Inquisition). Bonddad thinks that we have suppressed this part somehow. The other more subtle aspect is that the math behind Black Swan events ("fat tail" probabilities) diverges from classical "normal" statistics. This latter is actually the better suited for economic analysis because it explains much of what the quants on Wall Street and the insurance industry completely missed.

But of course these pundit economists prefer to talk in generalities because it is more convenient for their analysis.

If half the effort that goes into the mathematics of the AGW proponents and their deniers also went into economics and resource constraints problems, we would understand so much more of what is going on. IMO

I don't think he's saying The Black Swan is a myth. Just that this isn't one.

Bonddad is not a believer in peak oil, IIRC.

I met him once a few years ago, and we had a discussion about some of these things. I don't recall what his feelings were about Peak Oil back then - at the time we were discussing what we as individuals should do (recall at the time there were warning signs all over the place about over-leveraging of just about everything).

The consensus that we reached at the time was that as individuals we should be reducing debt.

I just have a problem with the black&white aspects to every event that occurs. It's like when there is a disaster of some sort, and they find someone alive after a few days. Suddenly, the media claims that it is a MIRACLE occurrence, not realizing that this happens so often and has become routine enough that it is nowhere near a miracle any longer. These are all fat-tail probability events.

And this is where it gets interesting. The fact that Bonddad claims that this is not a Black Swan event means that he actually may agree with the Black Swan philosophy. This pseudo-Black Swan just happened to occur in the fat-tail and the minute one admits to that fact, it no longer classifies as a Black Swan -- just your ordinary fat-tail probability. Miracles are no longer miracles, and Black Swans become fat-tails. In other words, the minute the Black Swan occurs, it ceases to be one, and all Bayesian probabilities get updated.

He must have an early copy of the new Stimulus bill. Someone included a rider that repeals Murphy's Law. It's about time!

Have there been any comments on Bill Gates new plan to destroy hurricanes by pumping deep GOM water to the surface? I understand the story is on CNBC.

Why on earth would we want to do that? Hurricanes are a feature, not a bug. Messing with that is not just likely, but absolutely certain, to have huge consequences, most of them unanticipated.

Why on earth would we want to do that? Hurricanes are a feature, not a bug.

Don't forget, Gates invented Windows ...

"IE is a feature not a bug ..."

Hmmmm, I should use that as a sig.

I'm with WNC.

Hurricanes are HUGE engines that pump heat from the oceans up high into the atmosphere, not to mention all the latent heat in the water transformation. My buddy and I contenplated calculating the heat flux of a large hurricane... but didn't. Still, the back of the napkin figures we were throwing around suggest that hurricanes definately have a cooling effect on the planet and I agree that getting rid of them would be on the order of stopping the rain because you didn't like to get wet.

The old men in the southern mountians look forward to hurricane season as a sort of mini monsoon season that keeps the water tables up.

We used to get a week or two of heavy rain in a "good"hurricane season in sw Va.In recent years we haven't been so lucky.

Not that we are wishing any bad luck on people nearer the coast.

I saw that but I don't recall Gates being involved or seeing it on CNBC.
What was neat about it was the pumps were wave powered, vertical tubes that would bring the cooler water from the depths.
When you consider the size and energy of a major hurricane it is hard to imagine human made countermeasures having any impact.
Then there are the logistics of being able to deploy these things in time and in the right position AND in sufficient quantity.

Although I doubt many are reading this thread 24 hrs later,



Seems a colossal blunder to me, but I guess if one has the patent... Water stratification by temp is such an inherent property of earth, seems akin to altering gravity.

I am reading it much later, and I gotta agree with you that Gate's idea would be a colossal blunder.

Here's the guy I saw http://www.popsci.com/node/9798.
CBS News had a quick story too.

Tollways in trouble:

MIG pays heavy toll for road valuations
July 17, 2009
MACQUARIE Infrastructure Group has slashed the value of its toll road portfolio by another $2 billion to half what it was worth at the start of the financial crisis, potentially paving the way for a buy-out or takeover bid.
The former Macquarie flagship fund has already conceded that some of its toll roads are saddled with too much debt. MIG announced yesterday it planned to cut its net asset backing to $5.1 billion, or $2.54 a unit.

That was in February:

MIG taps reserves to cover debt on toll road

MACQUARIE Infrastructure Group has played down concerns its part-owned Indiana Toll Road (ITR) is at risk of defaulting on a $US4.1 billion ($6.4 billion) debt facility, after revealing the cash flows from the road barely covered interest payments on the debt in the final months of 2008.

The toll-road operator said yesterday the ITR it co-owns with Spain's Cintra had dipped into $US77.5 million of "stabilisation reserves" to cover debt payments on the road, which suffered a 14.8 per cent slump in traffic volumes in the six months to December 31.

The dire update on the financial state of the road concession purchased from the Indiana state government in 2006 came as MIG announced a $1.3 billion half-year loss.

The North Texas Tollway Authority, because of declining traffic, is raising their tolls from about 11¢ per mile to about 14.5¢ per mile.

Let's hope that, due to the greater maintenance expense/mile for roadways vs railways, that these pavement and concrete costs continue to rapidly escalate per fewer future users, so that Kunstlerization, relocalized Permaculture, and Alan's RR & TOD ideas come to fruition sooner.

I wonder when bicycle tires will get so pricey that steel wheels on narrow gauge rails will be a bargain?

If most bicycle tires now come from China**, a Black Swan event whereby they cut us off from tire-imports could have rapid strategic implications-- they are still mobile, and suddenly==>we are not.

BIG Magnitude Disparity between [Tlameme backpacking 50 lbs @ 3mph for only 24 miles in 8 hours] vs [comfortably railbike pedaling 200 lbs @ 12mph covering 96 miles in 8 hours]. YMMV, as this is my SWAG.

As posted before: how do you want to get your fresh & fragile eggs to market? On pot-holed roads, sewage overflows, thorns, broken glass, nails, mud, snow, and ice, or smooth railtrack above it all?

**[haven't google-checked to make sure, but it seems likely]

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

Just about all high-quality performance bike frames come from the same set of factories in Taiwan. It doesn't matter if you get a Cannondale, Trek, Felt, or whatever. That is why I always go for the second-tier companies. A good deal is the Motobecane bikes from bikesdirect.com. These aren't real Motobecanes, just some enterprising company that licensed the brand name and slapped together a Taiwan frame with higher quality Shimano components. All "brand" bikes essentially reduce to this configuration.

At one time Cannondales were made in USA as a source of pride but no longer after last year.

So a Black Swan event out of Taiwan will have serious repercussions to me.

I don't have a bicycle because every time I have owned one every time I went to use it the darn tires were always flat. I even have a garden cart with bicycle tires and have not used it in ages cause every time I went to use it the darn tires were flat.
I needed the garden cart yesterday and dug it out of dead storage and tried to pump up the tires only to have the bead separate from the tire.
Called the local bicycle shop and asked what new tires and tubes would cost. Then on a hunch, I asked if they could get replacement tires and rims with solid rubber tires. Ah Ha! They could get solid rubber tires that they can put on my existing rims. $50 plus mounting per tire. Told them to order them. I was told it is quite a chore to get them on the rim as they have to heat the tire to get it to stretch over the rim.
I was told also that you can put these on you bicycle too, but that the ride is pretty rough. But, if times get tough and pneumatic tires/tubes get hard to get it might be very handy to have at least one bicycle with the solid rubber tires?
After I see the solid rubber tires I just might have to think about getting a bicycle for out here on the farm. The other option is to get regular tires with tubes filled with Tyre-Fill (sp) or some similar rubber material that is pumped into the tube and cures there and then gives the same feel as a pneumatic tire but can never go flat. This is an expensive option. And it does add a bunch of weight either way you go.
5 miles from home and have a flat - No Thanks.

Get the so-called "thorn-resistant" tires. These are thicker and work great. You lose a bit of speed but worth it.

A five dolar bottle of a product sold at auto parts stores called slime will do two bicycle tires easily and you wil not likely have an air leak for years afterward,except in case of a serious puncture.

If you do get a puncture with slime, you can't set a patch cause the slime messes with the rubber cement.

And you end up getting as many punctures with slime tires, many times of the snake-bite variety due to pinching on the rims. Keep your tires high pressure if you are prone to this.

When I owned my Outdoor Power Equipment business I refused to stock this garbage in a bottle.

Carry a patch kit and pump with you. Buy quality tires and tubes. We rode bicycles many long miles when I was a kid moved to the new thing called the suburbs...we rode them everywhere and I never remember a flat over many many bicycles. On the islands we served on in the pacific we all rode bikes. Never a problem then either. Cars were very scarce in those islands.


The "garbage in a bottle" works quite well in garden tractors. Had to pump those f*&^ing tires up all the time until I put that stuff in...now there are hundreds of little spikes in the tires and they keep on rolling. Wouldn't put it in my bicycle tires, though.

Substrate, the reason you keep pumping them up is because they are tubeless. I have 4 rear tine tillers with tube type tires. I had one that was tubeless and like you it kept losing air...why? The rim was untrue and had some corrosion. This causes a slow leak.

I finally put on inner tubes and never ever had to air it up again.

I sold Ariens tillers. I have Ariens and a White currently..two front tine and 4 or 5 rear tine..some needing engine work of course but still very very robust pieces of equipment.

On my IH 140 I have tubes. Must have since I put a weight solution in them...in that past that solution would simply rust out your wheel rims in no time at all. Now I put in an alcohol based solution..the other was some form of salt...

So all my tractor tires have tubes. I would have it no other way.

If you drive over thorns? Then you deserve those flats. You will never get them out if you run over Locust Tree thorns...at least that was my experience.

I have a neighbor who let his fields go to locust trees. The water locust type and full of huge thorns. They had to use a dozer to clear them off. Their bushhog tires were always flat,,always and the tractor tires as well since the pack of fools didn't know better. Sheeeshhhh.

For automobiles you have to bite the bullet and go with tubeless. Right now I have two vehicles up on blocks because they lose air slowly over the weeks and weeks of sitting. Let them sit flat and your tires are soon useless since the sidewall is now ruined.


Thank god for slime now that you can't buy hot patches anymore. The patches they sell now are no better than a piece of duct tape over the hole. Best thing about slime is that it is water soluble. Once you put it in a tire and if it stops working in a few years, just add some water and it will rejuvenate. To save cost it can be cut with water about 50% and it still works fine. Amazing stuff.

Edit: Airdale - We can't be talking about the same stuff.

Down at the farm shop we patch numerous inner tubes with cold patches.

This is not the trash you buy at Walmart. This works. I use the same products on my own equipment. I will never put that slime shit in my tires and let it corrode them. Never.

But to each his own poison.

If you buy junk you get junk for results. Again you must apply it properly. Slime is for those to lazy to fix the problem correctly.

Airdale-and on a Motorcycle where my very life is depending on those rubber parts running at 70mph within inches of my boots? I use inner tubes and the liners , new at each tire change. I have NEVER had a flat on any motorcycle and I am talking since I was 15 years of age. That works out to 55 years and includes Cushman Eagles as well. What we all drove before getting the real thing.

PS.Most every tire problem I have ever had was with tubeless tires.

Have you actually tried slime, I'm talking about the fluorescent green new stuff? Oh wait, you did say "I will never put that slime shit in my tires". That's a shame, because you are missing out on one of the few new products that actually work.

I agree completely that the old "fix-a-flat" (et-all) in a can seldom worked, corroded the rims, and was a mess the next time you had to remove the tire.

Successfully used slime in my hand truck where the replacement tubes cost as much as the whole thing. Used it in my 30 year old lawnmower (tubeless) where the rear tires are so old half the sidewall is gone and the wheel is so rusted to the axle it is impossible to remove even in a press and with heat. Numerous yard trailers made from rusty old boat trailer axles, hubs & wheels with beads so rusty they should have been trashed. An old ATV that the tires were impossible to break the bead to replace the valve stem without damaging the tire.

I don't like using such stuff in my motorcycles either, but this one M/C I have defies keeping air in the tires. New tubes(twice), new (almost) tires several times, new rubber band liners, everything tires, tubes, liners all new at once. Carefully check rims for burrs. This DR is jinxed, today even with slime, both ends lost 10lb in a week.

I learned to drive on a friends Eagle, and also never had a flat while riding, that is until this jinxed 350.

Sometimes i do take my inner tubes to the local tire shop and let them put on a cold patch, I can't justify keeping a fresh can of glue around.


I agree with you about motorcycle tires and maybe the tiller tires too -for people like you and me ,who have tools ,and are willing to use them.

But most of the tires out there these days on lawn mowers and bicycles and so forth are not hardly worth the trouble of patching.And at the speeds they travel a flat won't matter,unless coasting off of a hill on a bicycle maybe.

Local farmers solve the puncture problem on the front of thier tractors by using pickup truck tires.

Thorn punctures in the rear tires are not very commonaround here at least,which I attribute to the high treads and tough cordage needed in rear tires to withstand the torque loads.

Due to wet spring in the Rocky Mountains I have a record harvest so far of cherries. Next up is harvesting my hops. Good g-d I have a lot of them. I'm building a hop dryer today to preserve the bounty. In a few weeks I'll brew up some beer with them. All the extras will go into the freezer after drying. Hops are almost as good as gold by weight!

It's a good fruit crop this year in general. About time. The last time I had any apples or apricots was 2006.

I've always wondered this: if hops are so great, why aren't they in anything besides beer?
Or am I missing some some other hops-filled food?

AFAIAC, beer is like drinking aspirin-flavored water, bitter as all get out and it can give you a headache afterwards if you are sensitive to the junk it contains. I'd rather take an aspirin.

You've been drinking the wrong beer.

People have been trying to hide the foul taste of beer for centuries, and no one has yet succeeded. Otherwise that formulation would become the norm. The only reason that there are arguments at all is an appeal to snobbishness and higher authority. :) :)

For the same reason that I would rather drink grape juice than wine. Why spoil a perfectly good grape? :) :)

Why drink beer when you can have a tall cool glass of natural delicious lemonade? ingredients: lemon juice, water, and sugar :) :)

Absolutely. Any soft drink tastes better than any hard drink, and beer just tastes unpleasant. Nice to see it mentioned.

You know, as far as I'm concerned it's fine that you guys don't like beer, but let's not go saying things like "absolutely" and "any this is better than any that". For example, most soft drinks seem to me to be nothing more than gaggingly sweet sugar-water (and high fructose corn syrup at that) with some crap artificial flavor tossed in.

OTOH, beer tastes great to me. Or should I say, certain beers, because there are a zillion variety of beers.

Why can't you simply say "I prefer soft drinks". And why is it nice to see it mentioned? It's nothing more than a personal preference.

But as long as we're bloviating, beets taste like dirt. Absolutely anything is better than beets.


And why is it nice to see it mentioned? It's nothing more than a personal preference.

It's nice to see it mentioned because everyone tends to assume that booze, especially beer, is beloved by all. It's really uncool to not drink alcohol.

Look at Bob and his "peak oil shoutout." Everyone is assumed to have a favorite "yeasty beverage." Heck, it's considered bad luck to toast with water.

I was merely responding to the absolutist language, of which there is way to much around here.

It's "absolutely" not uncool to drink alcohol in my circle of friends. Nor is it uncool to drink it.

Whatever. Full Disclosure: it is my personal opinion that some kinds of beer are very tasty indeed.

I just started by innocently asking what other food used hops as an ingredient. I would seriously like to try it out, because I am not afraid to try new things.

I do like barley bits in my soup. Barley is a pretty nutritious grain. But what's up with the hops?

Hops create the slight bitterness of the beer. I really like wheat beer which is an old ingredient and highly prized.

The slight bitterness creates IMO a tangyness. Refreshing once you acquire the taste for it. Its mostly in the background.

The best beer is made very simply from very good water,malt and yeast. Hops added. Just as the best bread is make just as simple. Bread flour,yeast,salt and good spring water. The storebrought is rather trashy and useless and not healthy either.

The food giants have basically driven us to eating aboslute garbage and call it food. Mike Pollan understands this very well.

If you get used to homegrown potatoes and tomatoes,cabbage and the rest you begin to understand just how low the standard of good food has sunken. Its atrocious. Its unhealthy.


The magic of google found the following site:


Supposedly you can use the fresh tender young shoots like asparagus, or you can pickle them.

This other site suggests slipping hop strobiles into your pillow to help you sleep.


I was merely responding to the absolutist language, of which there is way to much around here.

Haven't you read Nate's posts? Speaking with authority garners more respect from other humans, even if you're barking mad.

You're right about canned beets.

Coming of age in the 60's in California, the only thing more uncool than drinking alcohol was going to Las Vegas.
Of course we smoked a lot of pot, and used LSD on a regular basis, with peyote occasionally ingested.

Coming of age in the '60s in central Illinois there were various cliques in high school: the aggies, the motorheads, the hoods, the jocks, the school nerds, the hippies... The only thing they all had in common was beer.

No one drank alcohol after High School. Of course we were lefty street fighters, living collectively, and might of not been the norm--
As I said, hallucinogens were the preferred drug experience.
I really didn't drink until my late 20's.

I never knew it was considered bad luck to toast with water--how did that superstition get started?

Also, if a person abstains from liquor, I am certainly not going to stop them from using some other liquid for the Peakoil Shoutout. Heck, when doing an oil-change on my ICEs: I even shout Peakoil when the draining quart bottles go half-empty.

Hell, when super-phosphated [P]hosphorus becomes Unobtainium: Shout Peak-Piss when your bladder gets half-empty! ;)

I'm not sure how the superstition got started. In the Navy, it's believed toasting with water will lead to a watery grave for the honoree. But I suspect the superstition is older than that.

Perhaps dates back to the days when water wasn't safe to drink, and beer was more nutritious than bread.

It's generally considered better to toast with an empty glass than to toast with water.

Didn't Bush toast with 7-up?

Water is the strong stuff
It carries whales and ships
But water is the wrong stuff
don't let it get past your lips!

It rots your books
it wets your suits
puts aches in all your bones
Dilute the stuff with whiskey, aye, or leave it well alone!
(incredible string band from the '60's, I think)

When I was a kid, I thought that beets tasted just like iodine, straight from the bottle. Now I love them. Of course, I grow them myself and plant good varieties, and that makes a huge difference.

WebHubbleTelescope -

I'm very surprised that an obviously bright guy like you would ask such a question. IT'S FOR THE ALCOHOL, SILLY!

I also happen to like the taste of a decent wine much better than that of grape juice, and I think that beer hardly tastes 'foul', though I am only an occasional beer drinker. Now, bourbon and scotch are more of an acquired taste (which I have by now well acquired), though both leave something to be desired as a before-dinner drink, the best of which in my opinion is a nice classic ice-cold dry martini.

Through countless centuries stretching back well into prehistoric times, man has evolved into an EtOH consuming critter. However, some unfortunate souls, such as yourself, have apparently ended up at an evolutionary deadend and don't (or can't) appreciate the 'pleasures of the bottle', to use an old English phrase.

But with a regular practice and rigorous training, you too can be helped!

Well, I have found that hops is also an ingredient in certain brands of deodorant. As I was interested in the alternate uses of hops, my curiosity has been sated for the moment.

Apparently, the hops is used in deodorant as a replacement for aluminum which acts to fight odor-causing bacteria residing in your armpits. The bacteria also probably don't like the taste, as they are not as evolved as us humans. :)

I don't plan on digesting deodorant in the near future either.

Definitely not as evolved, clearly! :-) :-)

WHT, there is nothing wrong with well made beer. Its the packaging, the advertising and the way the product is created, advertised,shipped and stored that is wrong.

And everyone wants to drink beer 'ice cold' as a result of advertising.

Busch was very bad about this.

So I buy a Heinkein small disposable keg. About equal to almost a case of beer. I keep it at ground water temperature.

This is an excellent brew. I drink a keg a week usually. The best there is. But all quality beer is best served at the same temp as good wine.

As it used to be stored in caves somehow this came to be the best temperature to drink it at. Otherwise the coldness dulls your taste buds and destroys the great brewed aspects of it on your palate.

Same as good bourbon. Most folks do NOT know how to drink and appreciate bourbon. They more or less SWILL it like hogs.

If you can appreciate good wine served properly then usually one can come to appreciate lager or ale served well also.

Airdale-course some consider beer , uncouth and a baser class of people quaffing it down....The Germans and many others brew very good quality beer. I can barely match it with my homebrew. The American beers are all 'Lite' which is just a gimmick and ruins the product. American beers once were very good. I worked on the systems at Anheuser Busch in St. Louis as well as other breweries way back in the 60s. The free beer there was excellent..not so anymore..not free either

"Most people hate the taste of beer - to begin with. It is, however, a prejudice that many people have been able to overcome." - Winston Churchill

"Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy".

- Benjamin Franklin

"Breakfast without orange juice is like a day without sunshine."
-- Anita Bryant

:) :) :) :):) :):) :):) :)

"Well I woke up Sunday morning,
With no way to hold my head that didn't hurt.
And the beer I had for breakfast wasn't bad,
So I had one more for dessert."

kriss kristofferson

I smoke two joints in the morning, I smoke two joints at night
I smoke two joints in the afternoon, it makes me feel alright
I smoke two joints in time of peace, and two in time of war
I smoke two joints before I smoke two joints, and then I smoke two more

Bob Marley

16 joints seems a little excessive.

The first time I crushed some hop cones in my hand and smelled them I thought "This smells like Heaven".
Not "Heaven must smell like this" or "This smells heavenly".
Upon questioning my beer making acquaintances they all replied the same, hops smelled "like Heaven".
So now I have a peer reviewed consensus: the possibility that the one thing we remember of our home before we were born is that fresh hops smells like it.

So do people drink beer in the hopes of getting closer to Heaven?
Hardly likely.
According to the document found at this link

In Heaven there is no beer

Plus hops are usually added to beer during the brewing stage where the heat changes the aroma.
Take that you unbelievers.

So why aren't hops used as ingredients in any other food?

Is it against the law or something?

No, its because they probably taste like aspirin.

If I wanted the aroma I would drink perfume.


And you thought the beer tastes bad.
Don't tell me you're a coffee drinker.

Try the fresh hops thing though, they really smell great.

No I don't drink coffee. However, coffee is used as an ingredient in other foods. That's what I find unique and strange about hops.

So what's the deal with juniper berries? These are also horrible tasting, yet have somehow managed to beat out hops and become an actual spice. I assume they are used as a spice to cover up an even more horribly tasting meal such as some gamey kind of meat.

... yum ...

.... :) ...

Well I can't verify it but this site:
claims there is ONE recipe for German sausage where hops is used as a preservative.
Also "Young bleached tops used as a vegetable, especially in Belgium. Romans ate the young shoots like asparagus. Chopped very fine and dressed with butter or cream "the young shoots are excellent" (Fernald et al., 1958)."

Excellent, we have to go back to the Romans. These are the same people who substituted Juniper berries because they couldn't afford to get the expensive black pepper from India.

I prefer to rely on the culinary tastes of latter-day Italians who discovered the magic of the basil leaf and the olive oil.


When I was perfecting my alcoholic allergy(ies?) I usta try to make good beer in the kitchen. I read a lotta how-to's. They said that hops were good for the yeasties and bad for the bacteria. I assumed they knew what they were reporting and used lotsa hops.

Ballantine Ale usta taste the hoppiest of any American product.

I like how everybody brags of their love for alcohol in various forms. That talk sounds (to a recovering alcoholic like me) like the makin's of the common disease of alcoholism that flattened me after 50 yrs of chasing the idea that I needed it to feel alright.

Interesting addiction that. Very urbane, civilized etc etc.

Strangely, I feel better now recovering and abstinent at 72 than I ever did before, when I partook heavily in search of the renowned gaiety attributed to booze.

Old saying: Alcohol can be a wonderful servant, or a terrible master.

In case of the latter the first step is to admit that you are powerless over alcohol---that your life has become unmanageable.
The other 11 steps can be found here:

I appreciate your struggle and the significance of your success but being an alcoholic is not necessary to appreciate the wonderful aroma of fresh hops cones.
On the other hand, those acquaintances of mine who brew beer seem to display characteristics that would indicate alcohol abuse.

Good luck and continued success to you.

I tried growing hops for the first time this year. I read that they enjoy lots of sun and lots of heat. But I think those that believe this do not understand just how hot and sunny it gets here in south LA during the summer - that or perhaps I am attempting to grow the wrong variety. On top of that, June/July rains were almost non-existent for my area. The hops started strong in the spring, but the heat/sun had them dwindling on the vine by late June - even with lots of manual watering.

BTW, brewed my 2nd batch of beer a few weeks ago. My first batch ended in disaster as I overshot priming with too much sugar. Bottles went off like bombs. Set to open my first bottle this weekend.

Get a good hydrometer. Use corn sugar. You can siphon off the worked off product then add the necessary amount of corn sugar prior to capping. Or use the hydrometer to judge. A tricky part this is.

A good bottom holding yeast deposit is essential. Having the settled yeast stirred up as you uncap a bottle is a bad deal IMO.

Takes experience for sure but well worth the time. You also have to have the right temperatures while its working or it might work far too fast. A modified refrigerator is very handy to have.


Thanks Airdale. I definitely need to find a modified refrigerator. I let my fermenting take place in the house - which runs about 80 degrees. The recipe I am making suggest temperatures of 65-70. The fermenting was aggressive and was finished within a couple of days. This supposedly produces esters which can affect the taste of the beer. I guess I will know more tomorrow.

You just need yourself one of these

A chest freezer works better than a upright fridge. You can fit more carboys in there. They are more energy efficient. And a big plus is they contain any spills/blow offs that would otherwise run out on your shoes when you open the upright.

The speed of a fermentation isn't always a bad thing. A good vigorous fermentation will be over in about 48 hours if you have the temp right and the right amount of yeast pitched. You get the esters if its too warm for your yeast. 80 degrees F is pushing it for most ale yeasts. But unless you are bringing your beer to a competition I wouldn't worry too much about it.

Plus you need to wait a couple of weeks before you know the true taste of your beer. The rule of thumb is 1 week in fermentor, 2 weeks in secondary and 3 weeks in bottle. If you try your beer too soon it will be green, esters or not.

Yes a good tool. You should let your beer brew at the proper temps for what type you are creating. Bottom or top or whatever.

But in the dead of summer in a garage is death. At least my experience has been so. Down in a basement without heat is pretty close.


Out of work, out of benefits, out of luck

The Labor Department doesn't track anyone who has moved beyond 26 weeks of unemployment in its weekly data on continuing claims (the number of people who request benefits after their first week). And, said Stella Cromartie, spokeswoman for the Bureau of Labor Statistics, said the agency does not currently have plans to begin tracking this population.

As a result, by late summer the government may begin reporting significant declines in continuing filers. But it won't be cause for celebration. Instead of of indicating that the economy is on the rebound, it could mean that more people are falling off the radar.

My unemployment benefits ran out

People who used to look down on those who needed unemployment benefits now find themselves among them. The human side of the story is very sad. Relationships breaking up, children forced to go live with other relatives. And probably just the beginning.

He whom the gods would destroy...

I have always doubted that the economy as we know it would cease to function altogether,but the possibility of this happening seems to be growing.

It may be that we wind up a socialist nation where energy ,jobs and food are rationed,and productive enterprises are very strictly regulated to prevent the manufacture and sale of frivilious or luxury products.

Most government employees could get by on half what they earn today by severely reducing thier standard of living,as could most successful trades and business people.They would still be far better off than most of the world,and millions of present day Merkuns.

They are most certainly going to have to do so if the economy continues to decline.

Such essential jobs as continue to exist may necessarily be subdivided among increasing numbers of the unemployed,as the little farms arte subdivided among the children in some countries.

But we may all be fooled.

Remember that Germany was flat broke,in shambles, and very short of resources in the thirties,and yet managed to build a colosxsal military machine.In ten years.

We could probably do the same,except we could build a renewables industry up to the job.All that might be needed ,really, is the right trigger to get us started.

Remember that Germany was flat broke,in shambles, and very short of resources in the thirties,and yet managed to build a colosxsal military machine.In ten years.

All true except the resources part. Germany was far from short of resources.

The German Hyperinflation, 1923

Obviously, though the currency was worthless, Germany was still a rich country -- with mines, farms, factories, forests.

They simply lobbed nine zeros off the mark and created the Rentenmark. Though it had no more backing than the old mark the German people believed in it.

All money is a matter of belief. Credit derives from Latin, credere, "to believe." Belief was there, the factories functioned, the farmers delivered their produce. The Central Bank kept the belief alive when it would not let even the government borrow further.

So confidence, and all the rich resources they had access to, created the new Germany. Had Germany not been a resource rich country with mines and access to lots of cheap energy, this effort would surely have failed.

However earlier in the article I was intrigued by this paragraph:

The publisher Leopold Ullstein wrote: "People just didn't understand what was happening. All the economic theory they had been taught didn't provide for the phenomenon. There was a feeling of utter dependence on anonymous powers -- almost as a primitive people believed in magic -- that somebody must be in the know, and that this small group of 'somebodies' must be a conspiracy."

Public beliefs and attitudes have changed very little in the last 86 years.

Ron P.

Agree that Germany had lots of some resources but not all,especially oil and (?)good farmland.But it's been a long time since I read about that era and then only as an interested layman,not a researcher.

But I'm fairly sure there are a lot of historians who would still say Germany was short of resources at the time.

You are right about the monetary alchemy,but if it happened once it could happen again.

I do not expect it to happen in the current case here in the states.

But if you read my comments (posted late)regarding your little debate with Memmel about oil prices,there are events that could concievably get us motivated to make some serious changes.

A short hot war in the middle east could do it.

If we were to spend as much on conservation as we do AVOIDING CONSERVATION,we might pull thru just fine.

By avoiding conservation I mean subsidizing the building of Dodge Vipers And Chevy Corvettes,etc.
also supporting a military industrial complex larger than needed to defend North America ,since the old USSR is no more,etc.

As I recall, they were also very short of Lebensraum.

And so Barbarosa?

An excellent book by this title as well.

Hilter turned out to be a meddler and so the tide shifted abruptly. Same as our Vietnam. The politicos just can't keep their paws off.


"By avoiding conservation I mean subsidizing the building of Dodge Vipers And Chevy Corvettes,etc."

While I agree with the sentiment, that was a pretty lousy argument. Vipers and Corvette's are pretty niche vehicles. Corvettes also get about 30mpg on the highway.

However, a good example of something that was a niche vehicle used by building contractors to transport equipment and people to the worksite that went ballistic...the SUV. I'd be willing to bet that the Ford Exploder has outsold the Viper and Corvette combined, and is driven many more miles combined than either of those two. I'm talking about the Ford Explorer *alone*. Add in Expedition, Sequoia, Suburban, Tahoe, Escalade, Land Rover, Yukon, Durango, Cherokee, Wrangler, Pathfinder, Envoy, Trailblazer, 4 Runner, Rav4, Escape, CRV...!

Perhaps worse than that are the giant, leaky, houses that have been built and we'll be saddled with for the next 50+ years. There's a lot of momentum that's been built into the system. Huge suburban assault vehicles that will linger for years, houses that are too big and pooly partitioned. The mentality that it's all normal and the way it should be...

Yeah all that too,but I can't type well enough to list it all,so I just do "etc".You got it.I expect just about everyone else did too.

IIRC the Rentmark was based on the amount of land in Germany. It was therefore fixed and couldn't be inflated (printed) giving the German people an asset backed currency they could rely on.

From my link above:

The backing for the Rentenmark was mortgages on the land and bonds on the factories, but that backing was a fiction; the factories and land couldn't be turned into cash or used abroad. Nine zeros were struck from the currency; that is, one Rentenmark was equal to one billion old Marks. The Germans wanted desperately to believe in the Rentenmark, and so they did.

In other words the only true backing for the Rentenmark was belief.

Ron P.

In other words the only true backing for the Rentenmark was belief.

Sort of like "money".

Thanks Ron. So it was just another debt based currency like our own. The image of the Rentenmark being backed by the concrete asset of land was just that, an image or more likely economic propaganda.

Nothings sacred :(

And that trigger here in the USA might just be some reliable means of population reduction?

One of our clients, LakeCity WoodWorkers, is featured in the current issue of Nova Scotia Power's Connections. LakeCity employs individuals who are mentally challenged or who otherwise may have difficulty securing employment; they do outstanding work and it was a great pleasure working with them on this assignment.

See: http://www.nspower.ca/en/home/residential/customernewsletter/2009/2ndedi...

And since I have no shame, one quote I'd like to highlight: “Program representatives were always prompt, polite and friendly making the whole process simple...”

He says, thumbs in lapels, smile beaming....


Kudos :-)


Obama = the Blue Pill

Too bad america swallowed.

From Mish:

Orwellian Comments - Vice President Biden: ‘We Have to Go Spend Money to Keep From Going Bankrupt’

Top Three Orwellian Comments Of All Times

1. An American major after the destruction of the Vietnamese Village Ben Tre: "It became necessary to destroy the village in order to save it."

2. Vice President Joe Biden: "We Have to Go Spend Money to Keep From Going Bankrupt."

3.President George W. Bush: "I've abandoned free-market principles to save the free-market system."

This sadly is what has become of our great nation.


I insulated my attic last year -- spent just over one-thousand dollars. I had to spend money to keep from going bankrupt.

I have no money any more. So how will I spend some to avoid going bankrupt? Oh hellz, already am bankrupt!

Good example.

But this is coming from Biden and, while one can question whether he could conceive of any valid contexts, I doubt most of the people that heard/read him can.

I admit until reading your response I was unsure.

I assume his context was health care but I even wonder if that context would yield any good examples. The whole concept in our current economic context is probably better left alone.


I would assume that there's many ways to justify the up-front expense of health care in terms of earning potential of a healthy person versus a terminally-ill one.

"I had to pay $x thousand to remove my appendix so I could live a long life and earn $y thousand annually for z years" (or "grow c pounds of food for d years").

Bakers Hughes Rig Count is out for the week:

US rigs increased by 4 to 920 but the gains were all in oil rigs. Nat Gas rigs fell 7 more to 665.

This is well below the drop to 750 needed to balance the market. It still looks like a sizable trough is forming up.

Chesapeake has an updated version of rigs vs production posted:


chk is using volumetric data combined with a completely arbitrary recovery factor to arrive at their reserve figures. they force fit a hyperbolic curve to give these predetermined reserve figures.

i have completed a preliminary evaluation of 12 haynesville shale wells based on performance, but not a decline curve analysis,per se. a semi log plot of either production or potential(depending on available data) vs cummulative gas production gives the following results for the 12 wells:

low: 1.7 bcf
high: 10.8 bcf
mean: 5.5 bcf
median 4.6 bcf

this evaluation does not include the first haynesville hz well because it's production is commingled with a vertical well. these wells are on essentially 640 acre spacing. why chk and many other public traded ung operators insist on claiming these same reserves will apply to 80 ac spacing is beyond comprehension.

applying these figures to 320 or 640 ac spacing would indicate a resource base for the haynesville of 23 to 46 tcf, roughly 1/10th to 1/4 the media blab.

Curious about the hyperbolic curve you mention. Is it this one
Y = A/X + B
or this one
1/Y = A/X + B

The former is the conventional hyperbola, whereas the latter is a co-opted hyperbola which seems to describe reserve growth better.

i think a co-opted hyperbola it is, but not the one you quote. like so much in petroleum engineering, this relationship was developed empirically and represents one limb of an hyperbola.

d = (dq/dt)/q = bq^n, the decline rate d is not a constant(as with constant or exponential decline), but proportional to 1/n.

and rate, q = qi(1+ndit)^-1/n

decline rate d is the nominal decline rate and not the same as effective decline rate where:

de = (qi-q)/qi

OK, thanks, so it looks like that is the same formulation that comes out of the class of decline rates, described as either exponential, hyperbolic, or harmonic from petroleum engineering textbooks?

Laherrere also uses hyperbolic curves to describe reserve growth and creaming curves but they go like R=1/(1+k/t). Not quite the same thing so the term "hyperbolic" is quite overloaded in this field.

I wonder if these equations apply to horizontal wells along the top of the oil reserve that maintain about the same flow till the injected water reaches the horizontal pipe and then stops oil flow?

For solute flow, there are essentially two forms of movement, diffusion and drift. Diffusion occurs when you have a gradient in concentration and is an expression of the entropy increase due to random walk of material. Drift only occurs when there is some force applied usually due to gravity or as a pressure differential (which is also due to gravity indirectly as a volumetric head). At equilibrium the diffusion and drift terms cancel out and you get a spatial distribution in steady state. As long as someone or some process extracts the material, the equilibrium is perturbed and material will flow. That is the essence of determining flow rates. That and the fact that all sources are constrained to a finite amount.

When you add dispersion in the diffusion and drift rates to the mix, you can see just about any behavior imaginable. It is really a fascinating topic IMO, and I have spent some time analogizing how this works in relation to similar systems in the physical world.

I am dodging your question, as I can't be definitive. Most of the analyses is done by esteemed gray-beards (like elwood :) who apply their heuristics and voodoo to best judge which equations to use.

One thing for certain, if you have a drift term and apply a dispersion in solute mobility, then you will definitely see a hyperbolic dependence in an experimentally measured breakthrough curve. I am looking into this because it seems to 'splain a lot.

i believe you are describing a steady state case -vs- a depletion case. once water breaks through to the producing well, the oil rate may resemble an hyperbolic although total oil plus water may remain more or less steady state.

and i generally agree with wht because i have never encountered a perfectly homogeneous reservoir. patrick draw, a recent co2 redevelopement in wyoming, may be as close as there is.

Thanks elwoodelmore! Those eURR values are quite close to what Berman found (A bit higher actually).


Do you have any feel for what kind of reduction in eURR would be seen if they drilled on tighter spacing? (the wells would have to get quite close together given the length of these laterals. wouldn't they?)

hi jon, that is a difficult one to evaluate and closer spacing may be ultimately justified, but going from 640 ac and greater right down to 80 ac seems particularly foolhardy without some performance history from the actual haynesville to justify it. drilling 17,000 ft md wells in a 300 deg F environment on 80 ac spacing and spending $200,000 on each frac stage just seems excessively wasteful. my gut tells me that 80 ac spacing won't recover significantly more gas than 640 ac.

the model is still in developement.

and to follow the logic of many public traded companies one might conclude that a lower permeability reservoir is better. i have seen it stated by some public traded companies and implied by service companies that permeability has to be created with a hydraulic fractures. i dont buy it. the model rattling around my head says that the hydraulically induced and propped fractures "capture" the natural fractures.

my experience in dealing with fractured reservoirs tells me that a single well can drain a very large area.

8 wells lined up along a section line and drilled parallel would give a lateral spacing of 1/8 mile or 660 feet, essentially equivalent to 10 ac spacing for vertical wells.

According to Baker Hughes, Canadian rigs are down 26 to 152, down 258 (!) y/y

Also the ascent of gas in storage seems (eia data) to soften a bit, I wonder if all of this will be felt pricewise in a year or two, depression or not.

Lucky we !

Matt Simmons thinks that North American NG supply may fall below demand as soon as the 2010-2011 winter.

it would seem that these wells would be economical to drill, even at todays prices(on 640's). i believe there will be a level of drilling for the forseeable future because of lease obligations. i tend to agree with matt simmons.

range resources announced a few days ago that they were dropping $22 million worth of barnet shale acerage.

anybody know: where is rockman ?

Hello Elwoodelmore,

From feeble recall: I think Rockman is out on a deepsea rig. Probably too busy to check TOD right now. Or he might be busy helping the family survivors of his close friend & wife that went down in the Atlantic on the AirFrance jet.

one of my back burner projects is to estimate the time delay between drilling and actual production for the hayneville shale. this might give us some insight into when we can expect a decline in the supply side. april was down by an insignificant amount compared to march '09.

From Law Makers Urge Caution on Mandating Flex-fuel Vehicles, up top.

"We firmly believe that the government should not be in the business of picking technology winners and losers, which would have a chilling impact on the development of other, potentially more beneficial, technologies in the future," the letter said.

All Republicans and mostly from oil producing states. The idea that not mandating flex-fuel vehicles is a cautious move is preposterous. It is the height of recklessness. Having a backup fuel is the cautious move. Depending on imported oil is not cautious. Are there no brains left at all in the Republican party?

As far as the government being in the business of picking winners and losers, it has been in that business for decades. By giving drilling incentives, tax write offs, outright and de facto subsidies to oil over the years it picked oil as the winner. By not mandating flex-fuel vehicles it is picking oil as the winner again.

It starved public rail transport. It picked Airlines and buses instead. Even now the government picked Chrysler and GM as winners by funding their bankruptcies. Not to mention Goldman Sucks and AIG instead of Lehman or Bear Stearns.

The position of these Republicans is without merit. Why don't they tell us of the potentially more beneficial technologies of the future and how making vehicles flex-fuel will prevent them? They don't because they can't. There aren't any alternative fuel technologies at the moment more viable than ethanol.

x I generally agree with your post today,insofar as bashing Republicans is concerned-some days I enjoy it myself- but you have given your game away before today.You are an ethanol man,pure and simple,and you might stop long enough to think about the fact that the republicans had one hell of a lot to do with YOUR little subsidy game getting thru congress.

In the long run you don't build coalitions and get things done by calling poeple nanes and insulting them

Unless I'm mistaken flex fuel is a code word for moonshine.


We do need to mandate some serious conservation measures,such as doing away with the tax provisions that caused or enabled almost every nonretired farmer and small contractor I know to buy a new 4x4 f250 ,whereas they were all driving f150 2x4s before.

The only thing that can be said for ethanol from corn is that it is one hell of a deal for midwestern grain farmers,ag equipment dealers,and farm state politicians.

It's a disaster for every body else.The same gxxxxxxd publications that have told us for years how a bad crop year raises food prices are now telling us that diverting a quarter of the crop-with further and larger diversions planned-has NO EFFECT on food prices.

Did you notice any provisions in that bill that mandated the big trucks and tractors and combines that we depend on for food run on ethanol?

And has it occured to you that we already know how to build flex fuel cars?

There are quite a few on the roads in Brazil,but raising sugar cane in the tropics with defacto slave labor is not the same thing as raising corn in Iowa.

I used to drive f800 ford occasionally that ran on propane-thirty years ago.One of my nieghbors bought it at an auction of gas company trucks,and I helped convert it back to gasoline.There is very little to it,other than finding place to fuel up.

The bill is another auto/ethanol coalition bailout,and if the politicians behind it are cutting deals,which is what pols do for a living.Most who will end up supporting it will do so because they got a return favor,or because they think they will smell bettr at the next election,having presented the appearance of "doing something."

sign me

born in the middle of the last century,not yesterday

Hello Leanan,

Thxs for the DB toplink: "Tell people about the looming energy crisis?"
..Before the next presidential term expires in 2016, we shall wake up to the scary reality when firewood shall be one of the most expensive commodities in the Ugandan market. We will then panic, with 80 per cent of the population unable to cook their food or boil their water. Then the search for alternative cooking energy shall become a national emergency, yet this is something we should be addressing now or actually should have addressed yesterday.
Again, Malthusian Trends ignored until too late. Will Obama and other world leaders ever see the need to go to full-on Peak Outreach? Why wait until we are so crowded, and Peak Everything so depleted, that we all have our noses firmly pressed to the sides of the Petri Dish?

Next DB toplink, "Hungry World: A Silent Crisis Calls for Urgent Action"
[See photo of people scavenging individual grains off the roadside asphalt]

..According to the World Bank, over a billion people around the world are now chronically hungry.

..Between 1980 and 2005, for instance, foreign aid to low income countries for agricultural development dropped from 17% of overall aid to 3%. By the 1990s, growth rates of global public expenditure on agricultural research had been halved. The rising global demand for food due to population growth and changing diets (producing one pound of beef takes three pounds of grain) has outstripped the growth in the production of staple food crops. Per capita production of maize in Africa, for instance, has actually fallen 14% since 1980. The projected increase of Africa’s population by 2050 means that African agricultural production would need to double just to keep the number of hungry people at today’s level.
African violence levels, already high [Darfur, Somalia, Congo, Zimbabwe, etc], now seem posed to scale upwards relatively soon,IMO. They should be moving to Peak Outreach, then Optimal Overshoot Decline strategies such a O-NPK recycling by SpiderWebRiding and the Triple System, massive importation and/or local manufacturing of wheelbarrows & bicycles, reforestation programs, plus much more.

Any effort in this direction should help reduce the frequency, scale and duration of the ongoing gun battles & machete' moshpits, as occurred earlier in Rwanda. IMO, too many are already reliant upon the Tlameme Scheme--they need to move to a better social & infrastructure web:


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

Re: Hungry World: A Silent Crisis Calls for Urgent Action

The Yale article carefully avoids all mention of the real reason for persistent hunger in Asia and Africa: the subsidies America and Europe hand out to their farmers.

These subsidies allow American and European farmers to produce more and sell for lower prices than otherwise. As a result, the poor-world farmers cannot compete in these markets, and they cannot get good prices for their produce in their own markets, so they cannot invest in machinery and tools -- which they would buy, ultimately, from America and Europe.

Want to reduce hunger in the poor world and reduce unemployment in the US and Europe? Write to your representative(s) to tell them to get rid of ALL agricultural subsidies.


This kind of comment: "(producing one pound of beef takes three pounds of grain)" really bugs me!!

In USA where cattle are kept on feed lots this might be true, however there is a world outside the borders of the USA. In large parts of this world, beef cattle (and other meat animals) never see any grain except that which might occur on mature grassland. Most animals are grazed on pasture, hill country, scrub land, semi-arid wasteland; that is land which is not suitable for any other food production activity.

Just because yanks have a weird way of raising beef, doesn't mean that other folk do.


May I suggest solar cookers for Uganda. Boil water and cook food (use cast iron pots to keep it warm till evening). Use wood or hydroelectric/geothermal electricity on cloudy days.

Best Hopes for Appropriate technology,


NOAA: Warmest June on Record for Global Ocean
The combined average global land and ocean surface temperatures for June 2009 ranked the second warmest since worldwide records began in 1880, according to NOAA's National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C.

Yoga Retreats With Chores Attract the Weary and Unemployed

SHORTLY after Steven Odnoha lost his job at Intel, he drove three days from Rio Rancho, N.M., to the Himalayan Institute in Honesdale, Pa. For months, Mr. Odnoha had been wondering how he could get the time off to join a yearlong meditation program at the nonprofit yoga retreat. His pink slip, in September 2007, provided the answer.

“I figured if I stayed for a year, the economy would be warming up by then, and I could head back and see what’s available for a semiconductor manufacturing technician,” said Mr. Odnoha, 40, as he picked wild thyme from a small garden outside the institute’s kitchen.

Obviously, the economy didn’t cooperate, but Mr. Odnoha doesn’t mind. Now he spends his days on the Himalayan Institute’s 400-acre wooded campus, practicing hatha yoga and meditation, studying spiritual texts, biking, walking and preparing meals in the institute’s kitchen. In exchange for his cooking duties and an annual fee of $3,000, he gets a private room, three vegetarian meals a day and unlimited access to the institute’s classes, seminars and other events.

Health insurance?

That seems to be the first roadblock I run into when I daydream escapist fantasies.

Obama might fix that.

Obviously, these are people of a certain social class. But it occurs to me that such "retreats" might be more common in the future, in various incarnations. Everything from church retreats to low-security prisons to a new take on "poor farms."

Many people don't have health insurance anyway, and there will be more and more in that boat (if Obama doesn't fix it). Credit cards and insurance for the car? You don't need them, living that lifestyle.

Of course it requires a massive decrease in consumption, but people are often willing to do that if it's cast in spiritual terms. Marvin Harris argued that that was the entire point of major religions like Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, etc. They discouraged consumption in the here and now, and promised a reward in the afterlife in return.

Kunstler`s book World Made by Hand featured a religious group in a large communal living arrangement. As I recall they bought a defunct suburban high school and repurposed it so they could live and work there.

The Puritans might be considered somewhat the same and for similar reasons: band together and help each other out or suffer alone.

Villages around the world also are operating on similar principles.

It`s basic.

But there`s no denying the human problems involved when small groups form and target other groups: witch hunts, pogroms, genocide, etc.

So what is the solution? It seems like we humans are fated to find difficulties ---or make them--wherever we go.

Yeah, that was the thing with the BritCom "Good Neighbors". It was possible for them to drop out of the rat race and become self sufficient, because they had the NHS to fall back upon. No such luck for us here in the USA - at least until you are 65 and can get Medicare.

And once you get on Medicare, then you can start to pay through the nose for your Medicare Supplement policy. Which just might cost as much tomorrow as your regular Medical Care Insurance costs today.
I am now paying as much for my Medicare Supplement now as I was for my full medical insurance a few years ago.
Medicare doesn't cover a lot of things in the area of expensive medical care.

Strange, I don't have that problem. Medicare charges $98 a month for your part B. The new medicare part D is the supplement that pays for most of your medicine. Part D has commercial insurance carriers that charge anywhere from $100 a month to giving you part of your part B premium back. My carrier gives me $25 a month back of my $96 part B premium. So my medicare, Part A, B and D cost me a total of $71 a month.

It is true that there are things that they don't cover but most of those things are elective. I just had a colonoscopy a month ago and it cost me a total of $112. That included all co-pays.

Ron P.

I only pay $16 per month for my supplemental thru my ex-employer.
And before I was on medicare and employed I still paid NOTHING.

Once OBamaman gets his way I expect it will be far far higher since the previous and present employers will no longer feel the need to provide such.....

There is NOTHING that the government cannot screw the &%*( up. Nothing.


hold on a minute there now. if the govt is so bad at operating insurance and can't do anything right as you claim, then the govt would be no threat to the "private enterprise" health care. does the govt. not provide funds for research which ultimately benifits "private enterprise" ?

part of the real problem is that the for profit organizations with lots of money to lobby and advertise want to keep their cash cows. maybe you can explain why it is that 'merkuns pay more for health care than any other country and have 3rd rate(for the masses) health care ? i have heard it claimed that cuba, yes cuba, has better basic health care than 'merka.

i am so damn sick of dealing with wellmark blue cross blue shield and their iowa health cadre of crooks that i for one am willing to give govt health insurance a chance.

That's a good, non-consumptive, dopamine trend. Now combine that with not making babies, but having disease-free, consensual sex...we can reduce non-renewable flowrates even further. IMO, the faster women mentally re-wire to get excited over helping in a guy's garden & compost pit vs kicking back on a guy's yacht, new-car, big-house, paycheck, net worth--the better off we will all be.

I would love to see lots of women joining TOD as I think they are way under-represented numerically on this website. Meanwhile, huge kudos to Leanan, Gail, and the other women currently on TOD [some anonymous]. I hope you encourage your female friends to join up.

Thanks. It is hard to get women interested in graphs, though.

Goldman Sachs in Talks to Acquire Treasury Department

Satire gets dangerously close to real life sometimes.

I can always immediately spot an Andy Borowitz piece. His satire is like a bludgeon that he hits you over the head with. Nothing subtle about him. I prefer to just read about reality. The Onion also has this problem. The only people that got it right were the National Lampoon satire crew, who started a news piece with some zingers and then mid-sentence said "story continued on page 15". The problem was they never ever continued the story!

Their point? It's just sarcasm, people, there is no resolution. I used to get so upset by this, but then realized the skill is to know when to give up. Borowitz clearly has no Dr. Bones to tell him that the joke is dead.

This is obviously a spoof. Everybody knows that GS acquired the Treasury Dept long ago.

Now that is good sarcasm :)

In beer, hops serves a couple of purposes. Its bittering properties make beer refreshing instead of overly sweet. The more aromatic properties add flavor notes. It also serves as a preservative.

I've heard that hop tea is mildly sedative, though I've never tried it. They say that a pillow stuffed with hops will help you get to sleep.

BTW, hops is closely related to cannabis, of all things.

I couldn't say for sure,but I have been told that hops and pot graft readily and that your hops can the add a modest but interesting new dimension to your beer.

I'd heard that too, but as a way of having a THC-producing plant growing in your yard that didn't look like marijuana.

There is nothing that brings home to you really clearly the upcoming crisis we are to face than having to execute/kill animals. At least it is for me. A very emotional event and one that always causes me great pain.

I have never in my 70 yrs seen what is happening here. I have had to shoot half grown raccoons, and possums. Grown ones too. Just 10 mintues ago I had to kill an innocent possum that keeps coming out of woods to my living quarters.

One day a week or so ago I had to shot three half grown coons out of a 10 ft white pine. They were clinging to each other out of raw fear. The dogs were going to get them and they had been tearing my corn to shreds each nite. I shot them out one at a time. Loaded them in the jeep to go dispose of their carcasses and knowing at least their flesh would feed perhaps another animal in distress.

The dogs do what dogs do. The coons what the coons do to survive. Man will do the same. Whatever it takes to survive but it will not be pretty. It will damn his soul forever. As I feel mine being tried.

I cannot count the number of snakes that I have chased back into the nearby woods. The number of deer out in the fields are astounding.

The woodlands are upset by the huge massive Ice Storm of last January. One of the worst disasters in Kentucky's history. The 1811-12 earthquake was a larger major event but not as destructive in terms of costs..which the Forest and Wildlife pegs at 8.6 billion for just the 4 river counties..and not counting all the rest.
They are still hauling truckloads of debris out of the right of ways even at this late date....6 months or more later.

We have no real timber. What you see looking out is desolation and each night you might hear another distressed huge tree fall to the ground. Still going on.

The toll on our wildlife here from what I see and multiplied by tens of thousands is enormous. Simply defies the imagination.

So painful as it is I must destroy these animals for the dogs sometimes get them first. Also they totally destroyed every stalk of corn I had in my garden and many many rows of peas and beans have been likewise destroyed.

They simply are trying to survive and the woods has NO fodder to offer them. A deer cannot even travel thru these woodlands easily. I cannot even walk thru them still.It has become very dangerous to not drive these roads carefully. Almost each day I have to swerve or slam on my brakes to miss a deer.

So its a very very clear picture in my mind's eye as to what man's future will become. Preying on what ever food he can find. Foraging whereever it is. Eat or die.

Eat or die...its that simple. And I am getting a very clear preview of how other animal life will overcome all fears of man and his creatures to come and take that food. No matter what the outcome.

What of man then? What of him? What of this poor creature that is not so innocent and has loosed this madness upon our planet?

Kings snakes, black racers, chicken snakes, copperheads...I have not ever in my life seen it this bad. Seen such outright attempts to cope by the wildlife. A lizard is living under my refrigerator. I constantly hear animal noises at night in my barn next to my living quarters. The snakes gave birth. Lord how my wife would act if she were here.

Airdale-2 shots of Wild Turkey and try to watch a CD movie.Might help me cope. If not the hydrocone is nearby. I never take it except for bad pain from the last cancer surgery but tonite? Likely.

PS. The pulp mills are still cutting our timber. As times become tought those with woods and timber will always sell it off. They are doing so even though the price of oak,walnut and the rest are priced dismally very low. Anything to get some cash. Rape and pillage the land til it can't recover. That is now happening to out remaining stands of timber. And I am sure the mountain tops are still being blown off. It will never end until the economy totally collapses. Totally. This should be our desire if we are to have even the slightest chance of surviving this castrophe. I sincerely hope the bankster/gangsters get a real piece of the ending action.

I can sympathize. I was just up in backcountry Mendo, and we were dealing with some bear problems.
One is getting really bold, and has broken into a trailer, really trashing the place (this is a young male).
The two others, one quite large, seem to be more wary, but will haul anything available when they get the chance.
The young male may need to be shot, was the decision when I left.

Nightly Business Reports: Ten ethanol companies file for bankruptcy this year.

The phosphate and potash fertilizer mines that are excavated to produce fertilizer used to grow corn are being depleted. This renders corn ethanol as we know it -- nonrenewable. By depleting fertilizer minerals the food supply is endangered.

The government subsidized mandatory ethanol requirement is another tax on the consumer. What was proclaimed to be a wonderful solution to the nation's energy problems led investors to bankruptcy and goes begging for more government handouts.