DrumBeat: July 18, 2009

Empty Quarter holds its secrets

A scramble for gas in Saudi Arabia’s Empty Quarter has turned into an exercise in futility.

Four teams of foreign partners have failed to make any major discoveries after five years of drilling, leaving Saudi Aramco, the state-owned company, to find and develop other fields across the kingdom.

After four consortiums of international partners have drilled 22 wells, only one team, from the Russian giant Lukoil, said it made a commercial-scale discovery but it remains unclear how significant the find is.

OPEC says members to continue oil production cut

LUANDA (Xinhua) -- Chairman of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) Botelho de Vasconcelos said here at the weekend that OPEC member countries will continue to comply with the OPEC's decision on oil production cut.

Saudi Aramco eyes contracts for new gas fields - MEED

KHOBAR, Saudi Arabia (Reuters) - Saudi state oil giant Aramco is gauging contractors' interest for the construction of gas facilities at two fields to meet growing domestic demand, the Middle East Economic Digest weekly reported.

Citing unnamed sources, MEED said Aramco would award contracts for project management support and front-end engineering and design (FEED) for the Arabiyah and Shaybah fields in September.

Reservoirs that cross country lines need special agreements

Since nationalization of the Mexican oil industry in 1938, US and Mexican oil industry activities in the Gulf of Mexico (GoM) have remained distant and independent, in spite of the significant investments made in each country during the last four decades. Now, however, the depletion of reserves onshore and in shallow waters is driving both countries to explore for new resources in deeper offshore areas close to their common borderlines.

Is a Clean-Energy Economy Our 'Next Internet'?

Just as the race from mainframes to smartphones made information free, surging innovation can make energy so abundant that it becomes nearly free.

The Next Energy Innovators

BusinessWeek and GreenBiz.com have assembled a list of 25 intriguing energy startups, including young companies that tap geothermal heat, turn waste into biodiesel, and more.

IKEA is as bad as Wal-Mart

My mother still owns, and uses, the same vacuum cleaner she bought early in her marriage, just after World War II. She still lives in the house my father -- not a carpenter by trade, but an electrician -- built in the early 1950s with the help of his brothers, a small but sturdy Cape Cod-style dwelling with hardwood floors and solid wood doors that close with a hearty, satisfying clunk (as opposed to the echoey click of hollow-core doors). Today the idea of anything -- a household appliance, a piece of furniture, a house -- being built to last is almost laughable. When your vacuum cleaner stops sucking, you most likely haul it out to the curb and trek to Target or a big-box home-goods store to replace it. Even if you could readily find someone to repair it, the trouble and the cost would be prohibitive. If you need a bookcase, there's always IKEA: Sure, you'd prefer to buy a sturdily built hardwood version that doesn't buckle under the weight of actual books, but who has extra dough to spend on stuff like that? The IKEA bookcase is good enough, for now if not forever.

That cycle of consumption seems harmless enough, particularly since we live in a country where there are plenty of cheap goods to go around. But in her lively and terrifying book "Cheap: The High Cost of Discount Culture," Ellen Ruppel Shell pulls back the shimmery, seductive curtain of low-priced goods to reveal their insidious hidden costs. Those all-you-can-eat Red Lobster shrimps may very well have come from massive shrimp-farming spreads in Thailand, where they've been plumped up with antibiotics and possibly tended by maltreated migrant workers from Burma, Cambodia and Vietnam. The made-in-China toy train you bought your kid a few Christmases ago may have been sprayed with lead paint -- and the spraying itself may have been done by a child laborer, without the benefit of a protective mask.

Sun Shines on Turbine Makers

Deep inside what is often described as the 'inhospitable' environment of the desert, Abu Dhabi is warming to the idea of solar power. A 1 25 MVV solar power plant will be the biggest of its kind in the world. This rich and forward-looking Emirate, surrounded by the most prosperous oil nations on Earth, is going 'green'. And 'inhospitable' the desert is not. Locked in a sunbelt that encircles the Earth, Abu Dhabi aims to generate 1 .5 GVV of its electricity from solar energy in ten years, making it one of the most progressive nations on the global renewables map.

Spike, then slump, in oil rattles Middle East

CAIRO - As oil prices rollercoastered from record highs near $150 per barrel a year ago down to $35, many pointed fingers at traditional scapegoats OPEC and the oil sheiks long synonymous with the group.

The reasoning was that the 12-member bloc — source of more than 30 percent of the world's oil — was to blame for the spike, then doubly culpable as it struggled to engineer a rebound as prices fell during the start of the worst global recession in decades.

For the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, and its key Mideast members, however, it was a question of economic survival.

Asian maritime boundary disputes driven by oil, gas demand

A subcommittee of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee has been told that growing demand for oil and gas is one of the main drivers of increasing “friction and tension” over maritime boundaries in waters of East and Southeast Asia.

“In recent years, we have observed an increase in friction and tension over these disputes,” said US Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Robert Scher, referring to what he called a series of “persistent territorial disputes” over maritime territories in Southeast Asia and the South China Sea.

Petrobras production fell in June

Brazilian oil giant Petrobras’ production fell in June, owing to programmed outages at two platforms and the ending of production on a floating production, storage and offloading vessel.

Petrobras said that overall daily oil and gas production reached an average 2.505 million barrels of oil equivalent last month, down from 2.547 million boe in May.

Halliburton's Tough Quarter

The oilfield service sector's link to integrated energy means limited growth until oil demand improves.

Alberta gas coming back in favour?

Alberta natural gas has been out of favour for years, but Bonavista Energy Trust's $694-million purchase of predominantly natural-gas assets in Central Alberta from EnCana Corp. on Thursday shows sentiment may be turning.

A combination of declining costs, new technologies, acceptable royalties and tightening North American supplies made the Alberta acquisition compelling even at today's depressed natural-gas prices (they closed yesterday at US$3.67 per million British thermal units in New York) -- and very attractive if prices recover to the US$5 to US$6 per thousand cubic feet range, said Keith MacPhail, Bonavista chief executive.

B.C. community fearful after new threat from purported bomber

Residents near the B.C.-Alberta border are on edge after their community was mentioned in a letter that appears to be from someone connected to a series of pipeline bombings in the area.

Brazil’s Santos basin: an emerging giant

Global research consultants Wood Mackenzie has identified the key Brazilian infrastructure projects ready to take shape as the country develops the subsalt hydrocarbons of the Santos basin over the next 20 years.

Some are under construction already, some are at the planning stage, but many are conceptual with uncertainties ahead. Even with potential for delays, WoodMac says it is certain that the Santos basin will turn Brazil into a global oil and gas power-house over the coming decades.

$100,000 per Barrel Oil

Please note that this is only an interesting thought experiment to illustrate the huge potential for oil’s price escalation.

A New Enforcer in Buildings, the Energy Inspector

AUSTIN, Tex. — Peering behind a bathtub in a newly built house, an inspector, John Umphress, spotted a big gap in the wall insulation. “Somebody took a lunch break!” he complained to the builder, who sheepishly agreed to patch the hole.

With the fix, the house, already a model of energy efficiency, will use even less energy and save its residents money — for decades.

But that small catch would not have been made in many American towns. Mr. Umphress is a particular kind of inspector, an energy auditor, and Austin, with one of the toughest building codes in the country, requires an energy inspection before a building can be occupied.

Asian Nations Could Outpace U.S. in Developing Clean Energy

President Obama has often described his push to fund "clean" energy technology as key to America's drive for international competitiveness as well as a way to combat climate change.

"There's no longer a question about whether the jobs and the industries of the 21st century will be centered around clean, renewable energy," he said on June 25. "The only question is: Which country will create these jobs and these industries? And I want that answer to be the United States of America."

But the leaders of India, South Korea, China and Japan may have different answers. Those Asian nations are pouring money into renewable energy industries, funding research and development and setting ambitious targets for renewable energy use. These plans could outpace the programs in Obama's economic stimulus package or in the House climate bill sponsored by Reps. Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.) and Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.).

GM to make battery packs near Detroit

DETROIT -- General Motors Corp. will assemble battery packs for its new rechargeable electric car at a facility south of Detroit, creating about 100 jobs, two people briefed on the plans said Friday.

The new factory off Interstate 75 in Brownstown Township, about 15 miles south of Detroit, will take batteries made by LG Chem in South Korea and assemble them into packs that will power the new Chevrolet Volt, said one of the people. Both requested anonymity.

Lender of last resort

His goals for Community Futures are lofty, as economic and social reconstruction is not an easy challenge. However, Bass feels the company is up to the task.

“Our greatest concern is to make a positive contribution to the social and economic fabric of Abbotsford,” he said.

Those contributions include anything from reducing poverty to looking for sustainable alternatives to peak oil.

Above all, the message is to bring a social side to economic growth, focusing on supporting locally sold products and providing money for start-ups and business expansions.

Fearing for future of Earth

One of the more serious invaders is not the Asian longhorned beetle or purple loosestrife, but the European earthworm.

That’s right, those cute wiggly things we encourage in our gardens are really a menace spreading across this country. Apparently the last great Ice Age wiped out all the earthworms in New England and other areas affected by the glaciers, and the ecology of the area developed without them. Then came the Pilgrims and now the ground is full of worms. We have great gardens but our forests are in danger.

Those creatures love to eat the leaf litter on the floor of forests that protect seedlings from temperature changes and browsing deer. The forests will not regenerate without the seedlings.

Kim Stanley Robinson - Return to the Heavens, for the Sake of the Earth

Does the notion of sending humans to space still make sense in the age of climate change?

G8 outcome falls short of needs - IPCC chief

PARIS (AFP) – The head of the UN's panel of climate-change experts said on Friday he was encouraged by climate pledges at last week's G8 summit but warned commitments still fell short of what was required by science.

Mystery methane belched out by megacities

The Los Angeles metropolitan area belches far more methane into its air than scientists had previously realised. If other megacities are equally profligate, urban methane emissions may represent a surprisingly important source of this potent greenhouse gas.

The U.S. would do well to emulate Japan's population growth:


Or at least stabilize its population.

The 'Who will fix the trains, pay the social bills, and slice the sushi arguments have been repeated over and over for all countries with declining populations...repeated by pro-high-birthrate folks.

The idea that declining total population levels must be combated by government programs, subsidies, and moral tirades/propaganda to increase birthrates is suicidal.

People will work longer, live slower lives, live using/having less stuff which will not be replaced nearly as often.

At some point, stabilize the decreased population by encouraging an average birth rate of 2.1 children per woman per lifetime, and the population level will be stable.

'Be fruitful and multiply' should not be interpreted as a suicide pact. 2 children per woman per lifetime is plenty fruitful enough...just say no to the multiplication of the total population number...teach stability, balance, and harmony. Stop teaching children that more is better...teach 'quality over quantity' and sustainability (reduce, re-use, recycle) over growth and the throw-away society.

People can still create new art and science...new books, music, dance, etc. without increasing population. Defuse one of the other idiotic 'arguments' I have heard: "If we cut back on births, we may miss out on the next Einstein or (insert favorite icon here)." How about we have a reduced, stable population and nurture (not let starve to death or kill in wars or with pollution) the potential Einsteins, artists, writers, etc. which we already are producing?

Moonwatcher -

Indeed, the 'missing the next Einstein' argument is extremely silly and reflects a total lack of thought. Following the same reasoning, we are just about as likely to miss the next Hitler, Stalin, or Dick Cheney as we are the next Einstein.

Another slant on it is that there could be hundreds of potential Einsteins, languishing illiterate and starving in various Third-World urban hell-holes, who will never even set foot inside a classroom due to the problems brought on by overpopulation.

Sadly, it is futile to argue with the 'go forth and multiply' crowd, as it is with any group of people who wear their ignorance proudly.

This reminds me of another idiotic argument that I ran across recently. Buzz Aldrin wrote an OpEd recently advocating that we should colonize Mars. All the technophiles were creaming themselves over it - one even suggested that Earth has seen numerous events which could kill all of humanity, and that we need a colony on Mars as a "backup". Sigh..

While colonizing Mars may not be feasible, that is certainly a sound logic for doing so. There are other arguments, but none quite so visceral.

If Humanity can adapt to living in such a hostile environment and get there in sufficient numbers then we should.

Is your problem with the "humanity killing events" part of the argument or the "colonize Mars" part?

While colonizing Mars may not be feasible, that is certainly a sound logic for doing so...

If Humanity can adapt to living in such a hostile environment and get there in sufficient numbers then we should.

Really now? There is nothing on Mars. The atmosphere there is 2% as heavy as ours and is almost entirely carbon dioxide. We would need to haul everything we needed from earth including air! The bottom of the sea is far more hospitable. It is a lot closer and would be much easier to ship all our food and air to the sea floor than to Mars.

Yet it would be massively expensive to build a hospitable human shelter on the sea floor, (but about one millionth as expensive as building one on Mars.) It would be vastly less expensive to build such a shelter, for millions of people on Antarctica. Lots of unoccupied land there and... the air would not have to be shipped in. Only the food and everything else except water would need to be shipped in on Antarctica. Which begs the question....Why?

Ron P.

Not just atmosphere. Mars doesn't have much of a magnetic field any more as the core has largely solidified (probably on account of the fact that Mars is smaller than Earth). Without a magnetic field, the surface would be exposed to UV and cosmic rays.

There might be some water there, but probably not enough. A colony would need to grow food, so one would probably need to use hydroponics to grow everything as the surface is likely to be too hostile.

There is an open question whether mars could hold an atmosphere of any density without a magentic field.

At least at first, all the living space of future martians would need to be undergroud, this would provide some, but perhaps not enough protection for the colonizers. Until mars is warmed enough to have an atmosphere at least say 1/3 of earths and 10 degrees or so warmer, there would be no real reason to have more than a few research scientist on the planet.

Mars would be unbelieveably expensive, but probably is technically doable.

As far as the air, one would have to produce the air by melting rocks, presumeably with space based lasers power by solar panels.

Some current probes and theories indicate large amounts of water trapped in the polar ice sheets.

IMO, the main issue on mars is finding unbelievable amounts of heat and energy. Mars at the equater is like an arctic summer, so Mars would need to be warmed at least 10 degrees celsius (20 to 30 degrees would be nicer) to have a chance for some liquid water and a non-frozen atmosphere. The scale is staggering, but probably doable.

Melting rocks to generate air? That's a new one. And warming the whole damn planet by 10 degrees C. Yeah man, that's doable. Provided the sun heats up enough to fry the earth, then Mars should warm up about 10 degrees C. I don't know how we are going to get the sun that hot but its probably doable.

If it were not for the comedy breaks on this list I would really get depressed.

Ron P.

You're just too much of a pessimist, and quite impatient.

In the best-case scenario for Mars colonization it takes generations before the outside is livable. If one of my grandchildren were to set foot on Mars it would be quite shocking.

This isn't a 6 month, or even a 6 year sort of thing. More like a 600 year sort of thing in the absolute optimum case which we are well short of already.

Not everything people do needs to have a payoff in a normal human timescale if the project is *ahem* romantic enough to encourage people to put off benefits to future generations.

This "Star Trek" view of reality is still quite common yet slowly most are starting to see it is just a projection on a screen. "In the best case scenario for Mars colonization it takes generations before the outside is livable"-Classic. Before we tackle terrafirming Mars, maybe we should accomplish a techno alternative for a tree, or something similarly impressive. IMO long after the grid goes down many will still be wacking off to Mars colony fantasies.

It is simply the desire to reach into the next petri dish, but it is amazing what a violent reaction even admitting to the possibility evokes in many people.

It is almost as if, having realized that the petri dish has edges, they do not want anybody pointing out that there is another one right across the counter.

Comedy is right, Ron.

Yeesh. 'Warming up MARS (ie, The Whole Planetary Atmosphere..) by 10-30 degrees, to make it livable' .. kids say the darndest things..

The problem is the stupidity part-if humanity wants to colonize inhospitable environments, there is no shortage of such here on Earth and there never will be. Most of Canada is empty, Russia too and this doesn't even touch places like Antarctica. Buzz is an idiot-all that space travel fried his head.

It's a question of priorities. Even if you were to assume that we were in great shape financially, the costs for setting such a thing up would be staggering, and probably still bankrupt us. I am not sure what the minimum size of a colony would be to be fully self-sufficient and have enough genetic variability to sustain itself indefinitely, but in discussions of the Toba event they suggest that 1000-10000 breeding pairs is getting close to the limit.

I guess I would argue that if you want to survive humanity killing events such as supervolcano eruptions or asteriod impacts, your best bet would be to have an underground colony here on Earth. As long as it was properly equip, one could wait out the ash clouds or whatever, and then come above ground. It would be far cheaper, and I would argue have a much greater chance of success than a colony on Mars..

Ixnay. We're not supposed to draw attention to the TOD underground colony.

Living underground is the only way to go. Humans that survive the coming storm will be the ones underground. Live life with the natural world, don't sledge hammer your way thru it with machines that need FF to be built and maintained.

Yep. It's the "Going to mars couldn't possibly be feasible".

Let's try this again.

IFF a feasible method was found to colonize Mars, THEN we should do it.

That's "If and only if" at the start of that. So IF the objections the first 3 responders expressed to Mars colonization are addressed (as well as numerous other technical/political issues) THEN it would be practically irresponsible not to do so.

I'm not calling the odds, I'm sure they are quite low. I really doubt it will happen and we will be stuck with this terrestrial sphere.

Once we figure out how to live on Earth we can then look at other planets.

Once we figure out how to live on Earth we can then look at other planets.

What he said.

You say this like they are mutually exclusive propositions.

Such narrow thinking.

Science performed for either will inevitably inform the other. Ecology doesn't change just because you set a different origin on the coordinates.

Life on Earth evolved to live on earth.
We are having enough trouble in the environment we were selected for how can anyone even dream of perfecting an artificial environment.
There are the unknowns and the unknown unknowns.
I can imagine a catalogue of unforeseens thicker than the phone book for Mexico City.
Furthermore, we may not have to wait much longer to test our technology on an equally hostile environment right here on terra.

Life in Africa evolved to live in Africa. Then it spread and competed and clawed and bit its way to encompass every climate on Earth.

We probably won't colonize any other planets, but the things we can learn from the attempt will help us live on this one, and if, by some unforeseen chance, we do manage to colonize some other worlds then perhaps we gain a bit longer as a viable species.

If we do, as you say, create as hostile an environment here as is to be found on Mars, and we haven't been trying to learn to live with it for decades: what then?

"Life in Africa evolved to live in Africa".

Trying to get my head around that classic. Maybe I should read more.

Africa is in the petri dish called earth.
Understand your logic. All I am trying to say is let's focus our research and resources on direct study of this petri dish rather than a round about way of accidental discovery.
I am all for colonizing other planets but the reality is that we simply are not physically suited to do so and without major biological modification (gene tampering anyone?) it is not feasible.

buzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz sounds like he needs a corporate welfare buzzzzzzzzzzz.

I live in Japan and I`m definitely noticing effects from the shrinking population---actually in sheer numbers the population shrank by 10,000 people two years ago and by 50,000 people last year. Kindergartens have shrinking enrollment---in a few class size is down by half since 7 years ago. Apartments are empty. Roads are quiet (that`s also due to the horrendous economy!)

It`s easier to live here because of this and most people probably agree, although quietly. Simply it`s a matter of costs, it`s almost impossible to afford more than 2 children here.

The new car market in Japan started to shrink in 1992 (i.e new cars sales peaked in 1991 at 7 million) For 16 years the decline was gentle and slow going down gradually by about half --until 2008, last year when the decline became precipitous and went down by 30 percent suddenly. It`s down some more now but by less.

The new auto sales in the US were pretty stable until the rate was suddenly halved in one year last year (still now at that level). Precipitous decline or gradual decline-----which is better??

Maybe gradual decline is better, whether it`s auto sales or population (I`m not saying that the US will necessarily experience a precipitous population decline by the way but it might experience a precipitous decline in population growth and anecdotal evidence of fewer Mexican immigrants supports this).

You want your country to be able to manage affairs so that people aren`t in shock all the time.

On the other hand a gradual decline means that people don`t really change or try to...it`s like a slow death. The empty apartments sit there empty. No one needs the land for other reasons so it`s abandoned. I was in a car, not mine, on a highway a few months ago--- the highway was empty although it`s in a very densely populated area. The tolls booths forlorn and solitary. It`s hard not to start thinking of catabolic collapse at these times.

This trend is certainly more than welcome:

It may be an ugly word, but "staycationing" – taking a holiday in the UK rather than abroad – is on the rise. The trend is a welcome boost to resorts that have spruced themselves up in recent years to try to persuade more people to give Britain another chance. And with the school holidays getting under way, destinations from Cornwall to the Orkneys are crossing their fingers that the positive news will continue.

According to the website travelsupermarket.com, seaside resorts are doing particularly well, partly because of the good early summer weather. Internet searches on Devon and Cornwall's coasts were up by 75% in June compared with the same period last year. Blackpool, Brighton, Bournemouth, Torquay and Newquay are among the resorts that have been doing well, according to the site, while wilder places such as the Northumbrian coast and the Western Isles of Scotland are also attracting interest.


It's noteworthy that the article specifically mentions Totnes, the flagship of Transition Towns movement (IIRC), as an area where benefit claims have not gone up recently.

I think Britain is just full of wonderful holiday destinations, no matter what you're looking for. Scotland is definitely my favourite, but for those who enjoy beach resorts and nightlife, there are loads of decent places (or so I hear). Besides, so many Brits, when travelling abroad, just go to places like Ibiza or Benidorm, and drink and eat the same stuff as at home and mingle mostly with other British people, I have always failed to see the point of even leaving home. The weather might be marginally better in Spain, but if you're drunk as a kite, it doesn't really matter, now does it?

I'm spending my summer holiday in eastern Finland where I grew up, and I'm having a great time. A lot of my friends are also choosing to stay at or near home, partly to save money and partly to unwind more efficiently! :-) After all, travelling can be a very stressful experience these days, flying in particular.

I am perfectly happy to stay and enjoy myself within a 6 Km radius of my home (and take the streetcar or walk to most destinations I want to go to) except during Jazz Fest (about 8 km from home).

Best Hopes for permanent staycations :-)


8.3M Smart Meters and Counting in U.S.

Research firm Parks Associates says 8.3 million smart electric meters have been installed at U.S. residences to date – a little more than 6 percent of the total, up from about 4.7 at the end of last year.


Smart meter penetration is expected to grow to 13.6 million by next year and more than 33 million by 2011, he said.

See: http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/8.3m-smart-meters-and-counti...

By the end of next year, all residences and small business in Ontario will be fitted with smart meters.


Why is CA bankrupt?

California, the most populous state in the nation, is paying it's bills with I.O.U's. Unemployment is topping 11% and that doesn't tell half the story. Are these problems related to population growth? A lot of people seem to think so and they're getting up in arms about it. I received the following letter from a friend yesterday:

From the L. A. Times
1. 40% of all workers in L. A. County ( L. A.. County has
10.2 million people)are working for cash and not paying taxes.. This is
because they are predominantly illegal immigrants working without a green
2. 95% of warrants for murder in Los Angeles are for illegal
3. 75% of people on the most wanted list in Los Angeles are
illegal aliens.
4. Over 2/3 of all births in Los Angeles County are to
illegal alien Mexicans on Medi-Cal , whose births were paid for by
5. Nearly 35% of all inmates in California detention centers
are Mexican nationals here illegally
6. Over 300,000 illegal aliens in Los Angeles County are
living in garages.
7. The FBI reports half of all gang members in Los Angeles
are most likely illegal aliens from south of the border.
8. Nearly 60% of all occupants of HUD properties are
9. 21 radio stations in L. A. are Spanish speaking.
10. In L. A. County 5.1 million people speak English, 3.9
million speak Spanish.
(There are 10.2 million people in L. A. County . )

(All 10 of the above are from the Los Angeles Times)

Less than 2% of illegal aliens are picking our crops, but
29% are on welfare.. Over 70% of the United States ' annual population
growth (and over 90% of California , Florida , and New York ) results from
immigration. 29% of inmates in federal prisons are illegal aliens.

How long are we going to put up with this?

Any talk of amnesty went south with the economy.

You would be shocked at the percentage of hispanics in California are native. Indeed, Mexico extended all the way to the Canadian border at one point.

If you are going to make such a broad-based and hostile set of accusations against a particular group, I'm afraid I'll have to insist that you provide references for each accusation. Otherwise I'll just have to put the whole lot down to made-up numbers driven by racist hostility.

Oh, and since by your name you are of European descent: go back where you came from.

by your name you are of European descent: go back where you came from.

Jose Miguel Garcia El Segundo...

Spain is in Europe.

Some of my relatives send me bogus lists like this all the time. I don't chew on them nearly as hard in the interest of familial harmony so you got the lot.

Still: if you are going to post such things here it is rude to do so without links to supporting documentation.

I would agree, except he did not post it claiming it was true. He posted it as evidence that the US would turn against immigration. Which I think is likely correct.

People do that here frequently - post chain e-mails they got claiming that if we all boycott Shell they'll be forced to lower the price, or that Big Oil is suppressing technology that would give us all the cheap energy we could ever use. It doesn't mean they believe it, or expect anyone else here to believe it. It's more a sample of what Joe Public is thinking, and perhaps a request for help in a response.

I see your point.

These screeds are designed to be heavily emotionally loaded, however, so posting them without a clear and explicit statement of intent is of dubious utility.

r4ndom,you will eventually,and not too far in the future,see what a high immigration/population growth will do to the US and other countries like my native Australia.
Then you will wish you could return where you came from,maybe.
BTW,I flagged your post.There seems to be an abusive element in TOD and that is counter-productive.

I guess there is no underlying hostility in a statement like go back to where you came from r4ndom, but then again that was the whole point of the post. It's that same hispanic sense of entitlement that fuels hostility to that group. It's ok for other groups to say what they want but when a caucasian just posts something to discuss he's a big redneck. Or make a valid statement like people should be able to speak english in this country.

Oh yeah, check history. When california was part of Mexico it was a giant desert wasteland. If you think differently, then explain why the majority of a country with so many resources and opportunities for a strong economy is a corrupt wasteland! After all that's why they come here to exploit every opportunity given to them. If you don't believe then go visit the eastside of LA, it's a dump and the majority of people can't even speak english. Or try and get a job in LAUSD or another government job. Good luck if you're white!

I've just heard it too often. Being a privileged white male myself people feel comfortable exposing their racist opinions to me. It is thoroughly disgusting, and I reacted to the screed without fully comprehending the text surrounding it.

Upon rereading the original post, I realize that my hostility may have been misdirected, but the rage of the moment blinded me to the mitigating text.

You are expressing a popular sentiment, which is that a white male cannot be a target of racism, or white males are the main or sole perpetrators of racism. You appear to feel that racism is somehow linked to skin color-somehow it is caused by testosterone in combination with pale skin.

I have been the target of racism, and knew it. From several distinct racial groups in fact. Anybody (including myself) who claims to be completely free of racial bias is lying, probably to themselves first, but lying nonetheless.

The particular breed of racism in the originally quoted screed is not unique to whites, but in America typically originates there. The rapid fire spread of hard to verify and ambiguous statistics is quite typical of anonymous propaganda content as well as certain more mainstream editorial sources.

The world is a finely nuanced place, and you can't change just one thing.

Snopes is on the case.

I really would like to see the source(s) for these marvelous statistics. It has been my experience that 95% of these items are completely made up and that 80% are posted by old white men usually retired civil servents.

It has been my experience that 95% of these items are completely made up and that 80% are posted by old white men usually retired civil servents

I would really like to see the source for the above...sounds made up to me but what do I know, I'm just an old retired white civil engineer. ;-)


In my county the birth death rate has been even ... it is the in migration which has caused the population to increase.

But if you want cheap labor .. sooner or later you have to pay the price.

As I am an OWM-RCS, I figure my statistics are as valid as those quoted.

Dude, if amnesty brings the dishwashers and tomato pickers out of the shadows and on to the tax rolls, it would save California.

I'm staying in Massachusetts, though. Us uptight Yankees prefer to get visas for our exploited laborers.

Lobster cheaper than hot dogs

Add in the high price of diesel fuel and the rising price of herring that lobstermen use as bait -- herring has doubled in price since 2007 -- and the end result has been a kind of economic Nor'easter for the Maine lobstermen. They're now losing money on every lobster they catch.

"Put it this way -- yesterday we spent $70 on fuel, $60 on bait and came home with $70 worth of lobsters," says Sheila Dassatt, herself a fourth-generation Maine lobsterman.

Interesting how everything's so intertwined. One reason prices are so low is the financial crisis in Iceland.

If that weren't bad enough, the implosion of the Icelandic banks, long the dominant lenders to the fishing industry, has reduced funding available to the big Canadian lobster processors, cutting demand further. These processors typically purchase and process more than half of Maine's annual lobster catch before shipping them frozen to restaurants, cruise ships, and supermarkets all over the globe.

I went to Sam's club today in arkansas. Lobster tails were $20 per pound. If there is realy $18 of supply chain cost in the distribution channel, a few dollar change in the price of wholesale lobsters is not going to have a big impact on price.

BTW, i was hoping to buy lobster cheaper than steak :(

And the Tallships just left Boston.

You don't need diesel to go lobstering.

Groups Make Historic Homes More Energy Efficient

NEW ORLEANS -- A local program is teaming up to help green the metro area and save people money at the same time by making historic homes more energy efficient.

Seventy-five homes are expected to get a home energy makeover, thanks to Entergy, the New Orleans Hornets and other agencies like the Louisiana Association of Community Action Partnerships.

See: http://www.wdsu.com/news/20093153/detail.html

Hopefully, we'll see more local sports organizations taking a page from the Hornet's playbook.


After the Foreclosure: Downsizing and Doubling Up: Moving in with roommates and family: It's what happens to folks who lose their homes, and it ain't pretty

Henning is part of a larger trend of moving in with others that has softened the rental market, which was once expected to strengthen during the wave of foreclosures. According to a survey by Rent.com, an eBay (EBAY) unit that lists apartment rentals, at 40 large property owners representing more than 850,000 units across the country, almost half the vacancies are the result of people doubling up to save money. Bridge Property & Asset Management, a division of Salt Lake City-based Bridge Investment Group, manages more than 9,000 units across nine states and has seen one-bedroom vacancies skyrocket as more renters seek two- and three-bedroom apartments. "I certainly believe that many people are now moving in with someone else, whether a family member or not, and that this is having a significant effect on the demand for apartment residences," Mark Obrinsky, chief economist and vice-president of research at the National Multi Housing Council, said in a news release. The NMHC is a Washington-based rental advocacy group.

People are being forced to sell their possessions for a fraction of what they expected to get, or even abandon them because they can't afford to move them.

It's especially bad for pets, since many rentals won't allow them, and family members often aren't too keen, either.

I was going to wait and post about my Peak Oil induced decision to move but I have one piece of info thats really relevant.

I'm renting a truck and moving myself. It seems that no one is doing this the competition is brutal. Penske cold called me after visiting their site with a personal representative. Not only are people moving in with relatives but they are not even renting a truck !

This suggest that they are leaning on family and friends to use private vehicle's to move. I guess the SUV/Truck craze has created a significant amount of private hauling capacity.

This also suggests that when people move they are either not moving far or if they are they are ditching everything or maybe putting it in storage. It would be interesting to find out how self storage places are doing.

Also on my trip to and from Oregon I did not see a lot of moving trucks of any type I went around July 4 which tends to be a busy move time.

I had expected that trucks would be expensive and I would see a lot of them goes to show you how you can misjudge things. What I find amazing is that people getting foreclosed on are staying in the house for 6-12 months and it looks like even after this they must not have enough cash to move in the second cheapest fashion which is a rental truck. They must either barely have enough to cover renting or be moving in with friends and family.

I imagine people are holding on to the last possible moment. Clinging to the hope they can turn it around.

Its really hard to overcome all that programing about the American dream. If you work hard things will get better in the long run or so they told us.

It was hard for me to take the leap while I was still financially strong and I'm a died in the wool doomer. I can only imagine how hard it is for the average suburban family to get out while the going is good.

The average suberbanite is just now beginning to experience the first pangs of cognitive dissonance. they are not even close to exploring the facts.
Also the going is not so good anymore.
I think it is already too late to "get out".

Reading souperman’s post yesterday of how he has sold his successful business & ‘jumped from the car going towards the cliff’, & is bruised, … hardest thing he has done in a while…

Helped encourage me to fully contemplate saying goodbye to our place, & attempt to relocate our family. They think, I’m, well a bit over the edge...

Here is what I’d like feedback on. I’m too near a metro IMO [where most of our friends, & family live] about 25 miles from a downtown. A 40 mile arc would include a million folks. Keep in mind I’m in a rugged semi-rural area[one next door neighbor with 50 + acres], just got city water, etc. There are though several clusters of mcmansions in a 3 mi. arc. I have a well, good garden, pond, 3 ac., etc. ; & reasonable preps.

When I first read of PO- thanks jim kunstler- I wanted to head off to a mountain valley with a few families. But my wife vetoed this & I don’t regret accepting such as it would have split up our extended family too much.

Recently a friend & I decided to team up & pool resources [kudos to my wife for oking this] & he, & I believe within a couple of decades timeframe[ he believes a lot sooner+ has that damn biology training re dieoffs] we will be in, or thru a significant dieoff.

This has lead us to search for nearby places, & we have bought a small lot in a very poor & small but organized river community 100 miles from here. We got a large 100y/o house for free that most say has to come down- as my friend says it’d be a mansion in a 3rd world country. We could buy more lots/land there- amazingly cheap- no work for now there. I think we should lead our extended there but we will need to sell or at least rent out this place, & my wife would have to continue her job here to support us. My wife wants to stay where we are.
My friend & i do waffle at times re staying put. I have put off fully considering resettling, until last night- thanks souperman.

I’d like opinions re the distance/pop./safety/timeframe issues re being this near a million folks. That’s my primary concern.I think not only of my lifespan, but my adult kids & grandson.

BTW ; Where we are used to be a very small community but no sign of such exists but small cemetery, & not much neighborly connection here now.


I think you may be ideally suited where you are. But then, I think "catabolic collapse" is more likely than a dieoff in 20 years.

Greer has suggested that a farm near a city may be the best bet for dealing with peak oil. Far enough away to actually have room for farming, close enough to sell to the city folk.

thanks leanan

i thought u might think such. Even all the way out to a grandson's adulthood?

from greer

she lives in a beleaguered, malfunctioning city where half the population has no reliable access to clean water, electricity, or health care. Shantytowns spread in the shadow of skyscrapers while political and economic leaders keep insisting that things are getting better"

this would be 2030- from the article.

given the US's culture of guns, & violence, & hate of Government i am concerned about being near so many people lacking a sense of community.

btw i live a 1/2 mile from a big creek i fully expect to have a shantytown form. lots of folks fish there.

You might find this Greer article of interest:

Preparing for what future?

If the end of the industrial age turns out to be a longer and more complex process than fast-crash advocates suggest, in fact, isolated rural areas may not be the best places to start small farms at all. Truck gardens and organic food production on the outskirts of small and mid-sized cities will be much better positioned to thrive in a world where markets still exist but transport costs are a major limiting factor. In some areas this is already happening; the explosive growth of farmers markets, community-supported agriculture schemes, and direct sales of local produce to local restaurants have put down the foundations on which local and regional food production networks could easily grow. Fostering the emergence of such networks could contribute much to the future. So could the evolution of many other economic specialties that are irrelevant in the context of a fast crash, but not in the more complex terrain I suspect the future holds for us.

Later in the article, he says he expects the world to still be industrial (though on a smaller, poorer scale) in 2030, so he's talking to the adulthood of any existing grandchild you may have.

In your case, you have a wife and extended family who may not be willing to follow you out into the boonies. I suspect for the reasons Greer emphasizes: whatever you do needs to make economic sense in the present.

gotta scoot for now but the place we bought a lot is on a large river & was in steamboat days a port.



in podcast 120 'the long descent' greer is interviewed. near the end i believe after framing in his usual manner the history of collapses, with the relatively long times, on the order of a century he goes into a bit about how unique the FF age is in the long span of history.

after this KMO [the interviewer] points to the very point greer had been making about the uniqueness of the our FF age as why a different-faster timeframe would be likely.
anyway the interview gets cut off at that point & doesn't pick up where it got interrupted.

this issue of our unique age & the incredible increases in complexity is what makes me believe our collapse will be quick & very significant steps down.

the inertia or momentum of our system for me means when it gives it will be significant. we just have so much to lose that maintaining momentum is being done at all costs[literally in the US]& people are working together closely that normally would be competing as a collapse is worse than second or third place.

Peer polity comes in in that 'we all fall down' [together] ; & until we do we prop one another up enough so really bad things don't happen, like USSR nukes getting sold off, Icelanders starving- due to their financial collapse, etc.

re our decision. i may be able to time a purchase of an acre or 2 near the usable house to have it all available, & keep this place; but 'bugging out' with our household & things seems potentially hazardous, both transport wise & acceptancewise if say we wait until the grocery stores are empty.

i really don't want to sell this place. i've planted many trees,built a screenhouse etc., etc. We've also had some neighborhood developments that are not good for bad times the last yr. or 2.

thanks for u'r input; & dedicated, informed TOD work!

after this KMO [the interviewer] points to the very point greer had been making about the uniqueness of the our FF age as why a different-faster timeframe would be likely.

People always say that, but I don't see how it follows.

I don't think we're that special. Saying our collapse will be faster because we're different makes about as much sense as saying we'll never collapse, because we're different.

According to Richard Duncan: the higher up a country's SL [based on BOE-equivalent/capita], the faster the rate of postPeak decline towards global parity; his SL example of "water seeking the lowest level":

Olduvai Theory: Toward Re-Equalizing the World Standard of Living - Richard Duncan

Posted by Nate Hagens on July 4, 2009 - 7:37am
As other TODers have posted before: the US may seek further resource wars and BAU-economic plans to futilely try to slow our fast SL decline [again, based on BOE-equivalent/capita].

I would prefer full-on Global Peak Outreach, the ASPO Depletion Protocol, and the non-BAU, huge hoarding of recovered-S as a better alternative to bring about the paradigm shift into Optimal Overshoot Decline. I just don't think there is any way for biota, including us, to escape Asimov's List [P is #1, but naturally chem-locked, S is #2..].

"She comes down from Yellow Mountain.."

"Joy, beautiful spark of the gods,
Daughter of Elysium,
Touched with fire, to the portal,
Of thy radiant shrine, we come.
Your sweet magic frees all others,
Held in Custom's rigid rings.
All men on earth become brothers,
In the haven of your wings."--Schiller
Consider the potential good [or sadly, destruction] that can arise from striking/igniting a single match.

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


our uniqueness as for as much much higher complexity, in comparison to all other civilizations.

special isn't the issue; maybe specialization we have which is as u say based on the freedom from subsistence that is our 'normal' non FF way of life.

But when we look at other societies...the more complex, the longer it took to collapse. Easter Island took maybe 50 years. Maya, 150 years. Rome, 400 years.

I'm not ruling out the possibility that we are somehow unique and will collapse faster than Easter Island...but I think the evidence is against it.

Consider that Easter Island, the Maya, and Rome were not based on depleting FFs, electricity, pumping massive, mind-boggling amounts of water uphill, and extensive chem-processes like the global I-NPKS supply-chain; ie, they were only wired-in to what was NATURALLY possible with human power, animal power, and any O-NPK recycling they achieved.

If we continue BAU: I would expect us to fall quickly to the NATURAL level, then much slower decline thereafter. I think SpiderWebRiding is the most graceful way to gradually head back to the Natural level--I would vastly prefer to comfortably pedal 25 gals of water home once every five days vs balancing a 5 gallon bucket of water on my head Every Day.

EDIT: Oops! Clicked Save too soon.

Even a Hippo Roller is preferable to a bucket on head, or a heavy backpack of water:

All ideas must be submitted by individuals. the ideas can small or big idea having a technology or simple work but it must be brilliant, like discovery of Hippo Water Roller from Africa. In many countries, traditional water collection involves carrying a 5-gallon (20-liter) bucket on the head.

This practice puts a great burden on the body and can damage the spine, neck and knees over time. A full Hippo Water Roller only feels like 22 pounds (10 kg) when rolled over level ground, making it possible for almost anyone to transport 24 gallons (90 liters) of water in much less time and with greater ease.

that would mean complexity historically is positively correlated with resilience.

i'll have to consider this, & i don't know the history like you, but the idea is puzzling to me.

i do think we are at least any order of magnitude higher in complexity than any society mentioned or that existed for a significant period of time.


I think it has more to do with the rates of change re how quickly we climbed this population and resource use peak. A symmetrical crash would take 200 years to reach bottom. If we have eroded our resource base the crash would be swifter. Previous complex societies consisted of paltry numbers of people compared to now.


The only aspect that makes me wonder is simply the issue of fossil fuels. For example, population and the green revolution is simply turning fossil fuels into food - our population exploded in concert with FF, and I wonder if it will do the same on the down slope. I think our use of FF has indeed been different from past societies that have collapsed, so will that make the nature or pace of collapse different? Overall, I think the catabolic model seems correct, with the caveat that some of the steps down might seem awfully close to fast crash.

given the US's culture of guns, & violence, & hate of Government i am concerned about being near so many people lacking a sense of community.

If you have something worth taking, you are within range of someone capable of taking it from you. Doesn't matter where you are, you are within range of a bus load of gang members, rechargeable walkie talkies and a quick trawl of google earth for reconnoitring.

If that's your worry, you need a different solution.

Leanan, just how slow is a slow collapse? By what percentage decline in our economy would that be? By what percentage would employment decline each year? And as the employment rate climbed above 25 percent to 30 then 40 percent, how would we feed them to prevent dieoff?

In Roman times a slow collapse was far more likely than any sudden collapse. That is because only the power structure collapsed and the rich became poor. The vast majority of people were poor already and the collapse of the upper class meant little to them.

Things are very different today. The developed world, and in most cases even the undeveloped world, no longer has an agrarian economy. We live in cities and work at jobs that produce stuff. Our economy is based on debt. Debt supplies the money that is the lifeblood of the economy. Gail just wrote, on another thread: You need credit to keep expanding for price to keep going up. But credit can only keep expanding as long as oil production keeps expanding and (as a consequence) the economy keeps expanding. When credit collapses, demand drops, price drops, and production drops. And I would add: And everything collapses!

Our economy has two stages, growth or decline. We cannot possibly decline for more than a few years, say five or six, ten at most, until the economy totally collapses. For how many years could we stand a 5 percent decline in employment? At what point could we stand a GDP decline of 5 percent per year before the entire system collapses.

A total collapse would be when the Government itself collapses financially. That is they could no longer honor their debts. Social Security payments would stop, the police and fire departments would not get paid.

I am sorry but it is impossible for me to vision this happening slowly. It will happen slowly until we reach a trigger point, then everything collapses. I think a long catabolic collapse, lasting decades, is an absolute impossibility. Either we recover or we decline for a few years and then suddenly collapse. Those are the only two possibilities as I see it.

Ron P.

I think the economy may collapse, without civilization collapsing (at least for awhile).

I am sorry but it is impossible for me to vision this happening slowly.

Nothing personal, but you also could not envision the demand destruction that dropped oil prices below $40. The world is more complex than you think.

If I've learned anything over the past five years, it's that the system is has more resilience (or inertia) than most of us realize. And things usually happen a lot slower than we expect.

If I've learned anything over the past five years, it's that the system is has more resilience (or inertia) than most of us realize. And things usually happen a lot slower than we expect.

True, but that is not always the case. During the great depression the Dow Jones average went from 381 to 41 in less than three years. That's fast. But then they had lots and lots of cheap oil to fuel their recovery.

The employment rate collapsed almost as fast, reaching over 25% in under four years. A few more years like that and there would have been no recovery.

The question is, are things more fragile now than then. I think the answer is emphatically yes!
We had an agrarian economy then, now it is totally different. For the first time in history there was a reverse migration, back to the farms then. City people still had many family members who were farmers. Not today.

The banking industry collapsed virtually overnight. Nothing was slow about that. A video posted yesterday, (I cannot locate the link right now.) stated that the world economy was within 24 hours of total collapse at that point.

I believe the hope of a slow collapse is just that, hope.

Ron P.

"We had an agrarian economy then"

Yes, this struck me powerfully when I was studying this period on American history. Lots of the pop was essentially insulated from the money economy as subsistence farmers. Unless they were areas where dustbowl conditions destroyed their farms, they barely noticed the economic meltdown going on in the money economy.

Even so, many people, maybe as many as 7 million according to a recent study, died of starvation. According to William Manchester's "The Glory and the Dream" the army had to reject about half of the men who volunteered to serve in the army because they were underweight/malnourished.

What the US does have today is an enormous military--we spend more on it than nearly all other countries combined. I imagine that the temptation to continually use this hard power to continually invade countries with energy and other resources will be irresistible. Probably nearly everyone will ultimately be pressed into service to prop up the empire. We will do that until it doesn't work any more.

The farm economy massaged the unemployment figures. While unemployment was 25% non farm unemployment was 37%.

I believe the economy can collapse fast, as I said. But I don't think it necessarily means civilization will collapse.

The economy collapsed in Iceland, but life goes on.

A better way to look at it is the system has attractors. Our current BAU is one such attractor and the expectations of everyone within it seeks to make it true by expecting it to BE true. Just look at the talk of greenshoots, purely because recessions aren't supposed to go on and on for years.

Put enough of a driving force into the system and it can be forced away from the attractor. The likelihood is swift movement away from the vicinity of the attractor as the forces already acting have full rein on the state of the economy - unbounded from the influence of the lost BAU attractor.

There are other, post-peak attractors we can identify. The idea of a pastoral idyll of farming, self-sufficient populous is one. Roving gangs of thugs is another. Chances are neither will actually work out as viable and self-sustaining, but that doesn't stop them being attractors for a rudderless society.

And I'm sorry, but I don't think our connected society will do gradual when the tie to BAU is finally snapped. I think it will move with at least the speed of an influenza pandemic, and for roughly the same reasons.

I think it is useful to think of the various components of "society" in the same way we look at the minimum operating levels of pipelines. Each component has a minimum level of some material or good or money that it needs to function. A slow crash will result if the product is removed slowly from the outlet and very rapidly if it is being withdrawn at a rate beyond the capacity of the pipeline.

Each of these components feeds a greater pipeline that we call society which, itself, has a minimum operating level. Although the failure of a minor component may cause problems, i.e., a slow crash, a rapid collapse will result if many components exceed the MOL.

Further, there are positive feedback loops that will magnify the failure of maintaining the MOL of each component. Therefore, I anticipate a fast crash.


Or get robbed by city folk.


A lot depends on your age and physical capabilities. 3 acres is enough to get by for quite a while and the fact that you have a well, garden etc. are positive.

How you and your wife view the future is how you must make your decisions. If you think there will be a "soft landing" to this mess and you will have time to adjust, then your plans can be put on hold for a while you develope your retreat 100 miles away. If you think there will be a catastropic black swan show up then you had better be ready for it. Either way, a solar well pump to maintain your present home and garden is probably minimal preps where you are.

Got to run. I am putting in an irrigation system for the expanded garden here in the high desert north of Reno and it will be over 100 degrees by 2:00 this afternoon.

You are making a big and lasting decision so look at as many alternatives as you can.



thanks lynford
i don't tend to think there will be a soft landing; in fact while looking for land we saw many acres where corn grew last year with nothing planted there. Farmers were burned by the high planting costs & drop in prices by harvest time; plus fertilizer has stayed expensive. What little did get planted was soybeans- less fertilizer. I fear when the financial domino goes it will strike the oil , & AG domino. My friend thinks such even more so.

IMO leave farming to the specialists - it isn't possible to be self sufficient and efficient unless you have had a lot of agricultural training - and don't forget climate change!

IMO when the population goes into contraction mode 'survival of the fittest' will come into play, but it's not necessary to 'run faster than everybody else' to stop the predators getting you, you just need to be able to 'run faster than your cousin'.

Key to being a survivor is the rare human trait of being realistic - take advantage of 'Joe Sixpack' who relies on the future being a linear continuation of the past.

Farmers as specialists?

Most farmers I know(I call them BigAg employees) are really clueless on raising gardens for food.

They raise very large crops of stuff you cannot eat without BigCropFood working it magic on it. Like leeching out the good stuff. Etc.

So real farmers,,are very hard to find.

But if you start right off with sustainable gardening and crops then you can learn valuable experience that no amount of time on TOD or the Web will teach you.

Airdale-I been at it 30+ years , not counting my childhood on the farm of olden dayse..and I am still learning. Each time I go into my garden I discover anew because nature seems to always be changing.

Right now very very good broccoli heads when in the past,,,never. Always full of loopers. Now clean. And so it goes. I have now discovered how to have a fine crop of rhubarb without the leaves turning brown and falling off in midsummer.

Now I can have that favorite rhubarb pie again without waiting til fall or spring.

Airdale-start now..don't wait a minute longer

"Right now very very good broccoli heads when in the past,,,never. "

Right now, a very good crop of potatoes, when in the past, never. So far, no potato bugs this year to battle daily. I hear the same from other gardeners.

I've no idea why the pests did not arrive on schedule this year but I will take what Nature gives me ;)

Why Send.... asks...two characters say it all.


Airdale-spells climate change...right now in WKY we have a very large anomaly. It has been in the 70s for the last 7 days and down to 55 degrees at night as I walk out in the morning and read the thermometer.

A huge change from normal. And more very unsummerlike weather to be expected.

We are a tad below our normal rainfall..right at 29 " so far and we are usually around 60 for the yearly amount. But the temperatures are very strange of late.

Airdale-not a single looper worm can I find anymore. A brief spate about 3 weeks ago and zero since then. No grasshoppers. Few tomato hornworms. Moles seem to have left the yard. Still very few birds.
A very few lightening bugs at nite and the bullfrogs from the nearby ponds are gone since one never ever hears them anymore.

We have destroyed so much,,but we have a lot yet to go and I guess we will finally be sucessful in our efforts. Pray for the farmers and those spray coupes if you wish. It might lower a loaf of bread mhhh maybe 2 cents.

Its all rather mixed up.


strangest weather i've seen in the 35 yrs. i've been here.

great crop of cabbage, put up 10 gal. bags; one looper, one. more cabbage maturing; wish i'd planted broc.

rain every 3 days or so, not a lot, but keeps the ground wet/cool. got dry/warm for 7 -10 days, & corn shot up 2 ft. sweet potatoes 1/2 the normal growth so far.

strangest i've ever seen!

if you start right off with sustainable gardening and crops then you can learn valuable experience that no amount of time on TOD or the Web will teach you .... I been at it 30+ years .... and I am still learning

I agree with all that you say, I also have 40+ years of growing crops without chemicals, which is why I say leave it to the experts - IMO at this stage of our human development (and climate change) there is no such thing as adequate sustainable agriculture. So, we can't afford anything but the most efficient farming techniques.

There was a good part in Sharon Astyk's book about looking at your home as a place you and your relatives might live forever. That with a worsening economy, peak oil, climate change, etc. you might be in your current house or location for the rest of your life and then you children will inherit that place. I thought it was a powerful idea about the future and what it might be like and the preparations we should do.

the problem to me is the times we are facing i believe require a different mentality. one of watching for major trouble & getting to a new location if necessary.

sharon is a fan of orlov


in his book he recommends a nomadic[ or semi-nomadic] attitude & style of living. can't have near the amount of things/comforts we are accustomed to in a settled FF deprived life; much less so if semi- nomadic!

Personally, (as a European F with a son 23, city gal born and bred, now living in a small village), many of the ‘preparations’ I read from the pens, aka keyboards of Americans, strike me as:

* elitist: What % of ppl on earth have the luxury of personally possessing agri land, etc.?

* individualistic: very few today live, or can live, in some kind of autarchy and isolation ..(relative always to be sure)

* doomerish: imho the unwinding will be slow, old structures will survive for a long time, etc.

* old-fashioned: harking back to a state of affairs, a model, that no longer exists - striking out into the Wild West, setting up a homestead, having several deadly weapons, etc. Re-creating a past that will never exist again (maybe for a lucky few)

* apolitical. If this mess has been created by the PTB, the unaware dumb-cluck consumer, stupid pols, greedy banks, inefficient Gvmt., lobbying, crazed corps, FF companies or whatever, such as colonialism and ersatz democracy, even ‘human nature’ it is a societal problem, an economic cum political problem, and can thus only be solved, tempered, mitigated, etc. by action in that realm (hoarding beans, duct tape, antibiotics, etc. will not help in the long run..)

The list could be longer, it is stereotypical on purpose.

Don’t want to rain on anyone’s parade, and appreciate that priority goes to personal/family survival, etc., I myself have the same mind bent; no criticism of anyone is implied.

Nevertheless, the attitude of ‘me first’, domination of others/nature - I will have the land, I will have the gun, I will have the last working tractor and the gas to run it - is what lead to over-consumption in the first place. As well as to the ‘free market’ (a myth) ideology, a ‘rent’ economy, the disconnect between capital and reasonable investment in real-life, a neglect of the common good, as well as ultimately, extreme polarization of ‘wealth’.

So why not just stay put? Forget the hazardous, probably fruitless, personal advantages that might be engineered? Do one’s best, where one is?

Note that Souper is going from one thriving business to another of a different kind...(hopefully)

poignantly, & nicely put noizette. thanks.

"it is a societal problem, an economic cum political problem, and can thus only be solved, tempered, mitigated, etc. by action in that realm "

i note u live in a village. the place i am interested in is similarly sized. i wish powerfully the place where i am would become the village it once was.

IMO that is the only size ;[or smaller] that will solve these problems.

It is impossible to predict the future. I think if you are very well employed and have friends and family nearby, you are better off staying put. You can always change your mind later.

Imagine you lived in Europe during the thirties. You saw the rise of Hitler and were alarmed. So you decided to move your family far away from Europe to a peaceful British colony like Singapore.
Singapore suffered a lot under Japanese occupation which no one could have predicted during the thirties.

thanks. i think we gain from the mental difficulty of all this - actually.

u'r post brings to my mind the story of the father in Virginia who foresaw the civil war & felt they could be in battleground territory; he moved them to a small hamlet in Pennsyslvania: gettysburg.

In my case I have decided that I would rather live in an area I love dearly, and which seems reasonable climate-wise, and mentality-wise, though it may be less than ideal in other ways. It is far from family, and too close to a major city. But this sense that the most likely thing that will happen is that we will be unable to fly for vacations, limited to local food, better off growing as much of our own as possible - the Jeff Rubin thesis - makes me think that this is as good a way to prioritize as any. What little there is of our extended family is unfortunately in a part of the country we would be very sad to move back to... I'd rather get set up to welcome them when they get tired of trying to make it through the winter with local food and unreliable heat.

Report: Saudis to keep oil output below capacity

Industry sources said the Saudi Oil Ministry has no mid- or long-term plans to bolster production to maximum capacity.

In 2009, Riyad was said to have increased oil output capacity to 12.5 million barrels per day.

But a document by Saudi Aramco, which manages the kingdom's oil industry, asserted that production would be limited to 10.4 million barrels per day after 2010.

The document, obtained by the U.S. magazine Business Week, asserted that Aramco could not sustain maximum production for more than a few weeks.



The outlook for Saudi Net Oil Exports, assuming flat Total Liquids production of 11 mbpd and a +5.7%/year rate of increase in consumption (this is below what the EIA shows for the 2005 to 2008 rate of increase):

In any case, for the past three years, as of 2008, the EIA shows a -1%/year rate of decline in production and a-2.7%/year rate of decline in net oil exports.

That "report" is actually from last year.

Thanks for highlighting this out, I was wondering why it was not posted on TOD today or yesterday, now I know why!.


It is interesting to look back on articles and posts from a year ago. It really seemed like we were headed for peak oil armageddon at the time.

My only question is how do you differentiate drawing down storage thats been built up using a small amount of excess production capacity from emergency production ?

You can't.

One of the things I'm reading now is John Douglas' book about Dennis Rader, the "BTK" serial killer. No doubt, the guy was headed for trouble no matter what...but one of the things that drove him to his first kill was the energy crisis of the '70s. He worked for Cessna, and was laid off out of the blue, when they decided the market for planes would not survive the spiking oil prices.

He ended up being supported by his wife, and having a lot of free time on his hands.

He also described in his diary how he'd bought plane tickets for a Las Vegas vacation before he lost his job. He begged the airline to give him a refund, but they refused. So he went to Vegas with his wife...and was infuriated to find that the city was dark. The famed lights were turned off, due to the energy crisis.

This comment is not in response to any of the above posts, but I often wonder whether many of our fears about the future are unfounded; to put it bluntly, if we're not sipping a little too much of our own Kool aide. I waffle a fair amount on this myself, but I think of my parents who were children of the depression and who endured a hardship imaginable to most of us, and yet survived; who both experienced, first hand, the horrors of a world war, and, thankfully, survived; who raised a family through good times and bad -- recessions, stagflation, civil unrest/domestic terrorism, the first two oil shocks, etc. -- and, again, survived.

I won't suggest there isn't a lot of pain out there (a good chunk, arguably, self-inflicted) and that we won't face new and significant challenges of our own -- there is and clearly we will -- but I don't believe our future is quite as bleak as some of us would suggest. There's considerable wisdom in that little piece of advice that tells us we should plan for the worst and hope for the best; I think most of us have pretty much nailed the first part, but we seem to have largely forgotten about the latter.

Anyway, be we doomers, optimists, or something in between, it's a good idea to continually challenge our underlying assumptions and beliefs, and certainly the TOD allows us to benefit from our collective insight and life experience (thanks everyone). I just hope we don't allow fear, paranoia and anxiety to diminish our quality of life and lead us into making inappropriate choices.


I suspect the Great Depression is a good model for what we're heading into.

Though the Great Depression ended after ten years. You gotta wonder what would have happened if it didn't.

Leanan, you are starting to think like me right now. See my post above in response to your "slow collapse" scenario. The Great Depression hit bottom in less than four years, the stock market in less than three years. Then things started to turn up but very slowly. If things had continued down after 1932 then that would have been catastrophic, a very fast collapse.

Ron P.

Um, no. This is the way I've always thought. "The Greater Depression" has always been part of my vision of catabolic collapse.

In any case, ten more years of this is more than many here are expecting.

Oh yes, the Great Depression in the US ended after ten years. More or less exactly the date when the US entered the WW2. Coincidence?

Certainly not.

It's widely accepted within the economics profession that the New Deal was too small a stimulus package to get the US out of the depression. Only the largets stimulus package in the history of the world would do: WW2.

It only worked because Japan, Germany and the UK were demolished in WW2 while the USA was basically unscathed. The USA would never have had its 1950s-1960s Glory Days had it been burnt to a crisp like Japan or Germany. There is nothing magical about war stimulus-you need to achieve an economic result greater than the expense incurred.

Don't forget that the US had most of the worlds gold reserves and Bretton Woods.

The USA had everything including the kitchen sink-literally a ten mile head start.

On the contrary!

Places that escaped the war like the US and Sweden certainly had a headstart, but those that were ravaged by war (Japan, France (trente glorieuse) Germany (wirtschaftwunder)) quickly caught up.

The depression in the US would have ended earlier but was prolonged by mistakes by FDR and the Fed. Every time a recovery got underway they did something to hit it on the head. See http://www.econlib.org/library/Enc/GreatDepression.html

I don't buy that, any more than the liberal version (FDR fixed it all).

I don't think we really understand the Depression at all. It's not like anyone has had a chance to test their theory.

I thought helicoptor Ben understood the depression.

A conventional Keynesian view is that half hearted stimulus was applied, and had a halfscale effect. It seems that the same sort of political forces, which limited the size of government stimulus, and led to their premature ending whenever things looked to be improving are still very relevant today. Witness the argument over a potential second stimulus (Obama won't touch it with a ten foot pole). Of course it is quite possible that this time things are different -i.e. various limits to growth mean we can't count on post depression BAU style growth to make paying back the public debt easy. I've been trying to make that point with the current proponents of Keynesianism, but I don't think LTG issues have sunk in yet.

I assume you are joking-the vast majority of the 13 trillion in additional liability taken on by the public is in no way designed to benefit the USA economy. Denninger pointed out the other day that 200 billion of it is for FOREIGN BANKS. Keynes? More like Mussolini.

It may be, I really can't say. What's encouraging about the great depression (and the second world war and the years that followed immediately thereafter) is that even in the face of much human misery and no doubt considerable angst and despair, we somehow managed to get through it all and demonstrated an enormous capacity to work together to help one another, and a willingness to sacrifice everything for the benefit of others.


and a willingness to sacrifice everything for the benefit of others.

Yes all those who sacrificed for the benefit of Hitler and Mussolini and Stalin and every other power hungry individual, Madperson or not, who could seize the reins of power that compelled people to obey or suffer

No doubt true, but here I speak of the sincerity of one's beliefs, not their moral fitness.


One huge difference between now and the 30's (besides the fossil fuel issue) is the present culture of me-firstism combined with media induced ignorance about just about everything more important than michael jackson's autopsy results.

Thanks, Paul.

I do have my 'doomy' moments, and my 'corny' moments.. but those are usually when I'm trying to predict the future, and not live in THIS moment.

I have been trying to jump over the conversations that try to characterize the way the future is going to play out. These 'roving bands of brigands' fantasies are about as helpful as the 'free-energy shangri-la' fantasies..

There's work to do, plans to draw up, and new chords to learn on that dusty guitar.


There's work to do, plans to draw up, and new chords to learn on that dusty guitar.

And bad karaoke!

See: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I7ffkpVwpEg

Paul (who couldn't carry a note if you handed it to me in a shopping bag)

In Southeastern Michigan, demolitions outnumber building permits.

Graph of the Day: SE Michigan Building Permits and Demolitions, 1989-2009

Ron P.

Darwinian -

Man, THAT is one very telling and one VERY disturbing statistic!

Still, one must keep in mind that, going all the way back to antiquity, cities have rapidly risen and have just as rapidly fallen. If there is no valid reason for a large concentration of people to be where they find themselves, then the logical thing is to move on. This has been true since Babylon and, more recently, the abandoned mining towns of the old West, and will be true of place like Flint and Detroit.

The important question is whether the displaced people will go on to better things or find themselves in worse circumstance. I think be both know the answer this time around.

There are precedents, for various specific reasons, many of which are economic:


The authors have a fascinating explanation for many of North Dakota's ghost towns: When the railroad spur lines (which by and large run from SE to NW) went from running 50-ton grain cars to 100-ton grain cars, then the need for stations with surrounding towns spaced 12-15 miles apart along the spur lines ceased...it became profitable to truck grain as 25-50 miles to larger, fewer rail terminals.


If you get a chance to visit ND, and can stomach burning some FFs, be sure to tour some of these places...it will leave a lasting impression. I usually prefer National Parks and such, but these places were haunting and thought-provoking. Take nothing but pics, leaving nothing but footprints...

Interestingly, there has been a mini-boom due to the Baaken Formation. Minot AFB is growing some as well. Wind farms going up across the state...the saying amongst some AF guests re: ND was: "If it doesn't suck, it blows!"

ND has lower unemployment and I believe has a budget surplus, plus it has its own state bank. Senators Conrad, Dorgan, and Rep Pomeroy are fiscally conservative, as is Gov Hoeven and most of the folks who live there.

Good place for Doomer relocation?

Hello TODers !

I have been looking for a some what detailed GLOBAL 'ALL HISTORY' CUMULATIVE OIL PRODUCTION chart/ tabel - with little success.

Can any of you point me in a proper direction - the chart has to go at least back to the initial decades of 1900's ? Thx upfront!
The chart should have a shape like this... ALWAYS INCREASING. (And yes, I know that there is produced about 1TB to date.)

The only data I have is from the EIA.

worl C+C 1900- 2007

I guess you could create a cumulative database by adding each year's production to the previous cumulative total?

Cheers xeroid - it is a good hint, but still I feel the resolution is too low for my need. But I'll save it as an option alogside others.


You can easily create such a chart using BP data for post 1965 and for pre 1965 Romer, R. H. (1985). Energy Facts and Figures.

If you don't have access to a university library drop me an email and I can get you the Romer figures.

Thanks Rethin, you have mail.

The Empty Quarter article linked at top is about the dependency of Saudi Arabia on gas, and their difficulty finding adequate supplies. I thought this snippet was interesting.:

"Aramco requires ever larger volumes of gas to provide the heat and energy it needs to get crude oil out of the ground. [...] [Aramco] had partly shut the capacity of the Ghawar field, which requires injections of gas."

Has this been discussed here before? I wonder how much capacity is being shut in because of this constraint?

Gas injections in Ghawar? I thought they were using seawater?

I also thought the empty quarter article linked at top must be important. It is in the country that is supposed to have most of the available reserve capacity and should be able to ramp up capacity if necessary.

Geologically, the Empty Quarter is the second most oil-rich place in the world. Vast oil reserves have been discovered underneath the sand stacks. Sheyba, in the middle of the desert, is a major Arab light crude oil-producing site in Saudi Arabia. Also, Ghawwar Field, the largest oil field in the world, extends southward into the northernmost parts of the Empty Quarter.


PA State Government employee blogging about the budget impasse. And the fact his pay has been suspended.


It hasn't been suspended just yet. They're getting 70% this pay period. In two weeks, they get nothing if the budget isn't resolved by then.

California state workers are looking at four furlough days a month - a 20% pay cut. Hawaii tried to impose three furlough days a month, but the courts blocked it.

It's better than not having a job at all, but a lot of people are living paycheck to paycheck and can't afford even a small cut.

Hello Leanan,

Could you explain to me what is happening in the Sitemeter weblinks below? I am not grokking what I am looking at...

I was browsing the Sitemeter statistics [if so desired: click on little green icon on right sidebar to do your own research] and was surprised by the high ranking of Sulfur:

[search words ranked by Visit Length (+SE)] Referring Keywords Ranked by Visit Length
Notice that Sulfur is higher than even 'shale gas wells' and even 'oil production forecast'.

[search words ranked by Page Views (+SE)] Referring Search Words Ranked by Page Views
Notice that Sulfur is just below Stuart Staniford, but ranked higher than Nate Hagens further down.

Thxs for any reply to clarify.

Sorry, I haven't a clue. I have Sitemeter blocked with Ad-Block. Slows down page loading too much.

Thxs for your reply. It may or may not be indicative of anything, but consider this Google Trend Comparision Chart:

Houston, Denver, Dallas, D.C., and Irvine, CA seem much more interested in Sulfur than Peak Oil.
I could be wrong, but aren't a lot of HQs for IOCs and natgas companies in these cities, with their lobbyists in D.C.? Chevron HQ in San Ramon is nearby to Irvine.

I swear The Onion, and other satirical websites, don't stand a chance against Reality:

GAZA CITY (AFP) — Hamas suspects that Israeli intelligence services are supplying its Gaza Strip stronghold with chewing gum that boosts the sex drive in order to "corrupt the young," an official said on Tuesday.

.."The intelligence services are aiming to corrupt the young generation by distributing these products among students."

The story came to light after a Palestinian man filed a complaint that his daughter had experienced "dubious side effects" after chewing the offending gum, Israeli media reported.

The Israeli military declined to comment officially on the allegations, which one military source termed "absurd."
Lots more weblinks on the Google Newspage: Google even has a frontpage video link with a reporter discussing this SexGum.

EDIT: "Double your pleasure, Double your fun, with Government Doublemint Gum"--LOL!