Drumbeat: August 4, 2009

U.S. energy companies bullish on Marcellus shale

HOUSTON (Reuters) - The global recession and low energy prices put the brakes on a lot natural gas exploration, but Anadarko Petroleum Corp and Chesapeake Energy Corp are sinking dollars into the Marcellus shale, the companies said on Tuesday.

The Marcellus shale, located in the northeastern U.S. in parts of Pennsylvania, New York and West Virginia, is said to contain enough natural gas trapped in rock to meet U.S. needs for a decade or more.

"Early success from our Marcellus activities indicates this play possesses some of the most compelling economics in our onshore portfolio," Anadarko Chief Executive Jim Hackett told investors on the company's second-quarter earnings conference call.

Kuwait Expects Oil at $70 to $80 a Barrel This Year

(Bloomberg) -- Kuwait expects oil prices to stay between $70 and $80 a barrel until the end of this year on optimism about a global economic recovery, state-run KUNA news agency cited the country’s oil minister as saying.

Crude prices, which closed above $70 a barrel for the first time in more than a month yesterday in New York, reflects optimism about financial markets and the return of many companies to profitability, Sheikh Ahmed Abdullah al-Sabah said in Rome, according to KUNA.

OPEC unlikely to cut oil output in Sept - delegates

LONDON/DUBAI (Reuters) - OPEC is unlikely to cut oil output further at its meeting next month if oil prices remain around current levels, two delegates from the producer group said on Tuesday.

"It is hard to predict now, but I don't think there is a need to do anything," said one of the delegates, who declined to be identified. "The market is OK."

Russia, Turkey to Sign Bosphorus Bypass Oil Pipe Deal

(Bloomberg) -- Russia will sign an accord with Turkey on building a pipeline for sending Black Sea oil to the Mediterranean, bypassing congestion at the Bosphorus Straits as Bulgaria may back out of a similar project.

OAO Gazprom, Russia’s largest company, and Turkey’s Calik Holding AS will sign an accord to build a pipeline between the northeastern port of Samsun and a terminal at Ceyhan on Turkey’s Mediterranean coast, Russian Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko told reporters in Ankara today before a visit by Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin later this week.

Hybrid vehicle rebates produce scant environmental benefits, high cost

Despite major costs to taxpayers in the U.S. and Canada, government programs that offer rebates to hybrid vehicle buyers are failing to produce environmental benefits, a new UBC study says.

The study finds that hybrid sales have come largely at the expense of small, relatively fuel-efficient, conventional cars, rather than large SUVs, trucks and vans, which produce substantially greater carbon emissions.

"If the intention of rebate programs is to replace gas guzzlers with hybrids, they are failing," says Ambarish Chandra, a professor at UBC's Sauder School of Business and study co-author. He says large vehicle sales have risen steadily since the introduction of hybrid rebates.

Sustainable agriculture at the ESA Annual Meeting

Advances in ecology increasingly reveal that conventional agricultural practices have detrimental effects on the landscape ecology, creating problems for long-term sustainability of crops. In a series of sessions at the Ecological Society of America's Annual Meeting, ecologists will present their ideas on how our agricultural practices can take lessons from natural environments.

Earth's biogeochemical cycles, once in concert, falling out of sync

What do the Gulf of Mexico's "dead zone," global climate change, and acid rain have in common? They're all a result of human impacts to Earth's biology, chemistry and geology, and the natural cycles that involve all three.

On August 4-5, 2009, scientists who study such cycles--biogeochemists--will convene at a special series of sessions at the Ecological Society of America (ESA)'s 94th annual meeting in Albuquerque, N.M.

They will present results of research supported through various National Science Foundation (NSF) efforts, including coupled biogeochemical cycles (CBC) funding. CBC is an emerging scientific discipline that looks at how Earth's biogeochemical cycles interact.

Peak Oil is right answer to wrong question

It is easy to extrapolate that world output is close to peaking. In a 2005 report for the U.S. Department of Energy, Robert Hirsch surveyed a number of respected peak oilers. Most thought the peak would occur between 2007 and 2010. The IEA's Birol has now put this back to sometime in the next decade.

But the Hirsch report should give peak oilers pause. Hirsch illustrated the risks by pointing to the imminent peaking of U.S. natural gas production. At the time, analysts forecast reliance on ever-greater volumes of imported gas, especially through LNG terminals, and an associated surge in natural gas prices. One prominent analyst commented "U.S. natural gas production is heading firmly downwards."

History has not worked out that way. High prices from 2003-2008 stimulated massive increases in reserves and a huge rise in production, which has left the country awash with gas.

The demise of the middle class

As the net energy available to society declines, so will of course the amount alloted to each social group. The poor will suffer, of course. The working class in European countries has already lost of what it had won during the sixties and the seventies as employers turned to the mass use of interim workers and renewable fixed duration contracts. Even the administration is no longer the stronghold of workers' right it used to be. The bulk of civil servants are still protected by law in France, but many low rank jobs are now taken by temporary workers. This, of course, will become more and more common as the current generation retires, no matter who is in office in any particular township or minister. It is just a resource problem.

There is more, however. As we slide down the descending slope of the Hubbert's Curve, the complexity of our society will begin to go down. Many professional niches will disappear, simply because an impoverished civilization will no longer be able to afford them – the advertising and marketing sectors come to mind, as well as the entertainment industry. Even the administration will eventually cease to provide a shrinking middle class with a living as catabolic collapse forces us to revert to simpler and more local forms of government.

Serge Latouche: 'Time to De-Grow'

BUCHAREST (IPS) - Serge Latouche, professor emeritus of economic science at the University of Paris-Sud, is one of the main proponents of "the society of de-growth".

He calls for "abandoning the objective of growth for growth's sake, an insane objective, with disastrous consequences for the environment." The need for a 'de-growth' society stems from the certainty, he says, that the earth's resources and natural cycles cannot sustain the economic growth which is the essence of capitalism and modernity.

In place of the current dominant system, Latouche argues for "a society of assumed sobriety; to work less in order to live better lives, to consume less products but of better quality, to produce less waste and recycle more."

EIA Welcomes Richard G. Newell as New Administrator

Richard G. Newell began service today as the Administrator of the Energy Information Administration (EIA). As EIA's seventh administrator, Newell is responsible for directing the Nation's primary energy statistical and analytical agency.

"Richard Newell is widely recognized as a leading expert on the economics of energy and environmental markets, policies, and technologies. We are pleased to have him lead the indispensible work of EIA at this crucial time," said Secretary of Energy Steven Chu.

Aramco Focus: wellhead technology at Khurais

As the Khurais mega project added 1.2 million bpd of oil to the Kingdom’s energy stream, the Southern Area Production Engineering and Production Services Departments (SAPED and SAPSD) have prepared more than 400 wells required to bring the project on line.

Among the latest technologies in surface and subsurface equipment being used at Khurais wells is this multiphase flow meter.

Pakistan: Energy crisis to stay for two years

ISLAMABAD - Federal Minister for Water and Power, Raja Pervez Ashraf, Monday told the National Assembly that as many as 32 small and medium sized dams would be constructed in two phases during the next five years in the country.

Saudi seen cutting all crude prices to Asia for September

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Top oil exporter Saudi Arabia is expected to lower the price of all its crude grades heading to Asia for September on slow demand from regional refiners deterred by their current high costs, traders said on Tuesday.

A poll of seven refiners and traders said they saw no upside for Saudi crude prices to Asia as they estimated the August official selling prices (OSPs) to be too expensive and after Abu Dhabi issued very competitive OSPs late on Monday.

"The Saudi OSPs are too expensive now and I think some have already lowered their requirements," a trader with a refiner said.

Pakistan's oil needs to soar on new power plants

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - Pakistan's oil needs for the power sector will likely shoot up by 29 percent by the end of 2009 as new oil-burning plants are installed to overcome a severe electricity shortage, the water and power ministry said on Tuesday.

Pakistan requires 35,000 tonnes of oil a day to feed its thermal power plants, but it is only getting supplies of 24,000 tonnes per day on average, cutting into electricity output, according to official figures.

Pdvsa to partner with Russian companies to run nationalized plants

The state-run oil company Petróleos de Venezuela (Pdvsa) will not assume all the gas compression activities of the oilfields located in the eastern part of the country that were nationalized this year. The Venezuelan oil company recently signed a partnership agreement with Gazprom Latin America Venezuela to launch these operations.

Mexico to impose fuel standards on new cars

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexico will introduce fuel efficiency standards for all new cars as part of its effort to help curb the emission of greenhouse gases, the head of the National Ecology Institute said on Monday.

The government is currently studying which type of standards to impose but it is leaning towards a plan that would be similar to proposed fuel efficiency rules in California or other parts of the United States, Adrian Fernandez said in an interview.

India's solar plan moves ahead

NEW DELHI (UPI) -- The draft of India's ambitious National Solar Mission plan, aimed at reducing emissions and easing the country's crippling power shortages, was endorsed in principle today by the prime minister's Council on Climate Change, Press Trust of India reports.

India, the world's fourth-largest emitter of greenhouse gases, would reduce its reliance on dirty coal under the plan. India's solar power generating capacity would jump from its current near-zero level to 20 gigawatts by 2020, to 100 gigawatts by 2030 and 200 gigawatts by 2050.

If You Hated Gasoline at $4 a Gallon, Imagine It at $20: Books

With supplies of cheap, easy-to-extract oil dwindling and demand expected to rise in lockstep with the planet’s growing middle class, prices in the long haul can only go up, as economist Jeff Rubin argues in his book, “Why Your World Is About to Get a Whole Lot Smaller.”

“$20 Per Gallon” takes peak oil as a given. “This book is the next step in the conversation,” Steiner says.

And a fun discussion it is, as the author lays out how everyday life might look as gasoline prices climb ever higher. In place of Chapter 1 and Chapter 2, Steiner gives us Chapter $6 and Chapter $8, leading up by $2 increments to a $20 Epilogue. Gimmicks don’t usually appeal to me; this one works.

Peak oil coming faster than expected, says IEA economist

Experts backing peak oil theories, such as Matthew Simmons of Simmons and Co, have warned that sharp global declines could happen at any time, and that under best case scenarios, Saudi Arabia will be able to keep production flat for several years but not increase output to keep up with growing demand.

Critics of peak-oil assertions say it's impossible to know when petroleum production has peaked, given uncertainties estimating global reserves, and point out that previous theories pegging a specific date for peak oil output have been wrong.

The real issue is not whether oil production has already peaked as nobody really knows whether all geological options have been exhausted," says a report from Strategy Garden, the consulting division of the publishers of Business Intelligence Middle East.

Shell, BP Delay Projects, Anticipate Lower Costs, Moody’s Says

“Projects that have already been approved don’t really benefit from ongoing cost deflation,” Lauras said yesterday in an interview. “Companies are trying to benefit from cost deflation and therefore refraining from new final investment decisions right now to get the benefit of lower costs in the future.”

The oil industry scrapped or delayed $170 billion worth of projects between October and mid-April as crude futures have fallen by more than half since peaking at $147.27 a barrel last July, according to the International Energy Agency. Oil field service and equipment manufacturing costs doubled from 2004 through 2008, according to BP and Shell.

Petrobras Says ‘09 Oil Output Target Hard to Reach

(Bloomberg) -- Petroleo Brasileiro SA, Brazil’s state-run oil company, will struggle to meet its 2009 domestic oil production target and spend the next three years wringing output from mature wells before new fields come on line, Chief Executive Officer Jose Sergio Gabrielli said.

Producing an average 2.05 million barrels of crude a day in Brazil this year “is going to be a hard task,” Gabrielli said in an interview at the company’s headquarters in Rio de Janeiro. “We are going to have a big fight every day.”

China Seaborne Oil Imports Likely Rise 26% on Economic Stimulus

(Bloomberg) -- China boosted its purchases of crude oil arriving by sea last month by 26 percent from a year earlier as the nation’s stimulus measures drove a recovery in the world’s fastest-growing major economy, the government said.

Chinese ports unloaded about 16.27 million metric tons, or 3.8 million barrels a day, of imported crude last month, the Ministry of Transport said in a statement on its Web site today, citing preliminary data.

Leakage shuts 40,000 bpd oil output at Indian offshore fields

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – A sub sea pipe leakage has cut out of 40,000 barrels per day (bpd) and 5 million cubic metres per day (MMSCMD) of gas from western offshore fields of Panna and Mukta, an official at Oil and Natural Gas Corp said on Monday.

"There was a leakage in a pipeline that connects single buoy mooring with the production platform... the output has been shut since last 4-5 days," Sudhir Vasudeva, head of offshore operations at ONGC told Reuters.

Reliance shifts fuel sales to Gulf, Europe; Asia falls

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Giant Indian refiner Reliance Industries' fuel exports shifted sharply in the second quarter after it doubled the size of its facilities to become the world's biggest, diverting fuel sales from Asia to the Gulf and Europe.

China to cautiously follow international oil price

Since the beginning of 2009, China has modified the price of refined oil several times according to price fluctuations in the international market. This includes three occasions when China increased the price of refined oil within limits and two occasions when China decreased it. This has played a positive role in motivating oil refining enterprises and guaranteeing supply in the domestic refined oil market.

StatoilHydro Profit Almost Wiped Out as Demand Slumps

(Bloomberg) -- StatoilHydro ASA, the world’s largest offshore oil and gas operator, said profit was almost wiped out in the second quarter as the global recession sapped fuel demand, denting prices for crude and natural gas.

Net income fell to 77 million kroner ($12.8 million), or 0.02 kroner a share, from 18.8 billion kroner, or 5.89 kroner, a year earlier, the Stavanger, Norway-based company said in a statement today. Sales fell 39 percent to 104.6 billion kroner.

Tight Sands Natural Gas: An Ignored and Promising U.S. Energy Frontier

Natural gas resource optimism is now at the highest level in the history of the US (and Canadian) natural gas industry. Four simultaneous frontier natural gas plays, at different stages of development, have emerged and are rapidly unfolding in the US and to a much lesser but still important extent, in Canada. The US, written off as a mature natural gas province 30 years ago is, in fact, a young, vigorous and potentially gigantic natural gas province. The US natural gas industry is not senescent, as thought by many self anointed experts even in the 1990s but barely in its adolescence. Its greatest growth period, again potentially, is still ahead. The US is turning into one of the world’s premier natural gas resource domiciles, largely because of the pioneering efforts of independent oil and gas E&P companies.

America's Mammoth Natural Gas Inheritance: The Burden of Transition

The July issue of Gregor.us Monthly, The Burden of Transition, takes a renewed look at North America’s quite large natural gas inheritance, but then wonders how our economy could transition more fully to that resource. At our present moment, nothing is more clarifying to the case of peak cheap oil than to watch Brent trade at 73.50 as double digit unemployment negatively blooms across the United States. Strictly on a BTU basis, natural gas is dirt cheap and trades at an equivalent to 24 dollar oil. What a pity. If only we were set up structurally to capture more of this energy, at nearly 1/3 the price of oil.

Is biogas the way to San Jose's energy independence?

San Jose is moving closer to becoming the nation's first totally energy independent city.

The California city is pushing forward with its "Green Vision" of getting all its electrical power from clean, renewable sources, as well as diverting 100% of its waste from landfills and converting it into energy.

Death Knell For Nuclear Power?

A Senate vote to kill funding for the spent fuel repository in Nevada shows the Democratic Party and this administration aren't serious about energy independence, economic growth or environmental protection.

Killing the storage facility for the spent fuel rods produced by the nation's nuclear power industry has long been a dream of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and President Obama. Last week, the Senate granted their wish, voting to deny the resources needed to complete a review necessary for Yucca Mountain to open.

Lanefab Microhousing

Neighborhoods in Vancouver tend to facilitate walking, biking, and public transit with greater ease than the the vast majority of U.S. cities and suburbs, but they also happen to be comprised of systems of laneways, or alleyways, which connect houses to their garages and parking spots. The resulting configuration means that a good deal of the city’s most desirable real estate is being used to house cars, rather than people.

That could change, however, as the combination of recent legislation (legalizing the conversion of garages and laneways into secondary housing) and a new company called LaneFab will make it possible for residents to convert their garages and lanes into small, attractive, efficient houses for family members or renters, thereby contributing to a denser, lower impact, more resilient city for all.

States give cyclists room to ride

As more riders take to the roads on bicycles, more states are giving them a bigger chunk of pavement — 3 feet to be precise — so they won't get swiped by cars.

A Colorado law recently signed by Democratic Gov. Bill Ritter not only requires motorists to give riders at least a 3-foot-wide berth, it also makes it illegal to throw things at riders, says Dan Grunig, executive director of Bicycle Colorado. Previously, he says, police could only cite a motorist if they actually hit the rider.

Vancouver firm makes fertilizer out of human sewage

"Everyone has heard about peak oil," Mavinic said. "[But] soon, you'll be hearing about peak phosphate. It's another major sustainability issue looming on the horizon."

Current estimates predict that the world will exhaust its supplies of mined phosphorus in as little as 35 years. Global demand for phosphorus will outstrip supply in about a decade, Mavinic estimates.

But it's a plentiful element in human waste, so researchers have been trying to find a way to extract it.

Permanent fund could be used for sustainabilty

Rich Seifert spoke at Kodiak College Friday night with an idea that many Alaskans may consider radical: The state should use Alaska Permanent Fund money to “provide a marvelous opportunity to finance Alaska as a sustainable example for the world.”

Forests fall to beetle outbreak

Past beetle outbreaks have been stopped by very cold winters but recent winters have not been cold enough.

Another factor scientists attribute to the outbreak is past forest clearance and fires that saw large areas cleared.

Often when this happens, the forest that regrows in its place will have huge patches of trees the same age and this makes them susceptible to a collective attack when they mature at the same time into the older trees that the bugs favor.

Research paints bleak picture of climate change's effect on wildland fires, air quality

As the climate warms over the next four decades, portions of Wyoming and Montana are at ground zero for larger areas burned by wildland fires and an increase in air pollution from those fires.

The forecasts come from a recently released study done for the Environmental Protection Agency by Harvard's School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. It was published in the June 18 issue of the Journal of Geophysical Research. The study used a moderate warming scenario of about 3 degrees by 2050 to arrive at its conclusions.

South Africa: Rich nations must pay for climate change

PRETORIA, South Africa – South Africa says it and other developing countries won't consider the next round of climate change talks successful unless rich nations pay up.

South African officials meeting Tuesday to discuss strategy ahead of the December climate change talks in Copenhagen said at least 1 percent of global GDP should be set aside by rich nations.

Climate bill to raise costs 20%, EPA says

WASHINGTON - Electricity prices would rise 20 percent by 2030 under climate legislation being considered in Congress, according to a draft study by a U.S. energy agency.

The report, to be issued by the Energy Information Administration, also says that polluting companies would initially meet most greenhouse gas reduction targets by sponsoring forestry and agriculture projects rather than cutting their own emissions.

UN and Google Create Climate Change Mapping Resources

In January 2009, only 41% of US voters believed that global warming was caused by fossil fuel emissions and other man-made causes. According to the report, the majority believed that global warming was part of a natural planetary trend that will reverse itself over time. In a panic to sway public perception and environmental decision making, the United Nations Climate Change Secretariat recently teamed up with Google to create a Greenhouse Gas Map detailing man's environmental pollution. The map is a color coded Google Maps mash up that pulls national greenhouse gas inventory and Kyoto Protocol data to display toxic emissions in industrialized nations. The tool was created in anticipation of the UN's Climate Change Conference to be held at the end of this year.

How Is America Going To End?

Even if America sells its soul to keep everyone else out, the country will have to contract. The Great Plains could turn into a Sahara-style wasteland. Cities like New Orleans and Miami — and maybe Boston and New York — could be abandoned once recurrent storms and rising sea levels render them too expensive to save. (Recent climate models suggest that America's East Coast might see sea levels rising higher and faster than any other population center in the world.) There's also an unfortunate overlap between America's fastest-growing regions and the most-likely focal points of climate Armageddon. Phoenix, Los Angeles, and the rest of the West will have to deal with drought, extreme heat, and water shortages; Florida and Houston will get attacked by superstorms. Even worse, the U.S. population is expected to double by 2100 — and those extra folks will continue packing into Arizona and California and Florida.

Revealed: the secret evidence of global warming Bush tried to hide

Photos from US spy satellites declassified by the Obama White House provide the first graphic images of how the polar ice sheets are retreating in the summer. The effects on the world's weather, environments and wildlife could be devastating.

Nobel Halo Fades Fast for Climate Change Panel

The work of the group, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with former Vice President Al Gore. After two decades of delivering climate reports to the world without fanfare, it suddenly had a wide following.

But as the panel gears up for its next climate review, many specialists in climate science and policy, both inside and out of the network, are warning that it could quickly lose relevance unless it adjusts its methods and focus.

Spending Rises on Higher Gas Prices as Income Slips

Consumer spending in June climbed, but the gain seems to have been driven by rising gasoline prices. Meanwhile, the income of Americans took the largest tumble in four years during June, reflecting the rising unemployment that is challenging the economy as it struggles out of recession.

Personal income decreased at a seasonally adjusted rate of 1.3% compared to the month before, the Commerce Department said Tuesday. Wages and salaries and transfer payments both fell.

Spending increased 0.4% compared to the prior month. Adjusting for inflation, though, spending dipped by 0.1%. U.S. Energy Department data show retail gas hit a 2009 peak, at $2.69 a gallon, the week ended June 22. The last time inflation-adjusted spending rose was in February, up 0.1%, echoing recent reports on lackluster spending by consumers.

It is hard to see how all of this reflects much of a turn-around. Don't people need income, in order to spend it?

And Denninger thinks there's still a lot of bad paper out there, that banks are refusing to acknowledge because it would reveal they are insolvent.

By his calculations, the FDIC has only $8.26 billion dollars left. Which is why they are hesitating to take over banks like this.

Wow. I'd encourage everyone to drill down through the two links Leanan mentions above. I knew it was bad in banking, but I didn't realize how thin the ice is that we are all standing on.

How many dominoes must fall before a self-sustaining chain reaction sets up?

China's in no better shape:

Beijing: On the surface, China presents a fiscal study in contrast with the United States, keeping a remarkably low ceiling on debt even as it spends its way out of the financial crisis.

But when Chinese leaders meet their US counterparts this week, they should pause for reflection before venting any criticism, because hidden liabilities mean China's books are uglier - potentially much uglier - than at first sight.

Thanks to successive years of fast economic growth and even faster government revenue growth, the official debt-to-GDP ratio was 17.7 per cent at the end of last year, far lower than almost any other major economy.

The trouble is that excludes local government borrowing, the current surge in loans backstopped by Beijing and bad assets cleared from the banking system but still floating about.

When all are thrown into the pot, analysts estimate that China's debt may be closer to 60 per cent of GDP, putting it in virtually the same league as the United States, which was at 70 per cent at the end of 2008 before it launched its massive economic stimulus programme.

Gail, as you know I think we have hit social limits to growth before hard resource limits have been reached (though of course they are linked). Typically in the past, the reason markets would trend fantastically is because most market participants focused on fundamentals of the moment, without understanding the 'reflexive' nature of the market system - i.e. that technical (flow based) market movements would eventually impact the fundamentals themselves.

Reflexivity, the ability of a rising stock markets to influence economic fundamentals via positive feedback, won't work this time, or at least not with much punch. Because 70% of GDP is consumer spending, and wealth inequality is at record extremes, something like 50% of population is nearly broke - so if DJIA goes, say, to 20,000, that won't heal the economy because THIS time, most people won't benefit from it - going forward there will be less leverage, less using house as ATM, etc. and that % of population doesn't have their wealth tied to market as in past. Ergo economic recovery will be L shaped at best. The more hardship there is on lower 1/2 of population, the more pressure there is on government to create relief valves.

As I used to say as a teenager (incorrectly), we are caught between a rock and a hot plate.

The more hardship there is on lower 1/2 of population, the more pressure there is on government to create relief valves.

I just heard on MSNBC that the combined wealth of the Walton family is greater than that of the bottom 100 million of the US population. But that's okay as long as they are creating jobs, jobs, jobs at WalMart. ;-) err... I mean :-(

Ron P.

Wow. I guess that is plausible. And an apt microcosm of our predicament. They acquired that wealth via selling cheap non-necessities to the poorer demographic in an era of global efficiency due to cheap stored sunlight. Those same dynamics wouldn't hold in era of $150+ oil and no credit available.

Wealth, Wikipedia: In popular usage, wealth can be described as an abundance of items of economic value, or the state of controlling or possessing such items, usually in the form of money, real estate and personal property.

Wealth is one's assets minus liabilities. If you have a home worth $100,000 but you owe $90,000 then your wealth in your home is $10,000. In other words wealth is equity plus other assets such as your bank account and other things like stock, bonds and such. Most people, especially the bottom 100,000 of the US population, have very little wealth. That includes all people of all ages. Most children have no assets and the homeless have none.

So you see it is not as fantastic as it seems at first. But I still find it shocking.

Ron P.

I think you meant 10+6 not 10+3. The bottom 100 million probably have a combined negative net worth with CC, car loans, and Morgages.

I agree with your gut and furthermore..........
If people are factoring in to the net worth calculations numbers on account statements it is even lower.
The grossly inflated numbers in the investment markets are a joke. Even bank account statements are nothing but electrons. Three percent of the cash represented by the circulating aggregates exists and it itself is nothing but paper.
This is a classic ponzi scheme and if all the participants decided that they wanted to actually take possession of the perceived "wealth" it would be exposed as such.
I think that day is in our future.

I think you meant 10+6 not 10+3.

??? Dipchip, I haven't a clue as to what you are talking aout. I did not mention 10+3 or even implied anything of that nature. 10 what +3 or +6 what?

Just to jump in...

You said bottom 100,000 but meant bottom 100,000,000.

I used to walk around and feel good that although I had no money, I was still better off than half the population, because I was not in debt. I don't have much sympathy now that that is coming around and biting them in the ass.

Oh right, now I understand. I meant 100+6 zeros not 100+3 zeros. I should have just wrote it out, as I did in my first post, 100 million. Had Dipchip wrote 100+ whatever I probably would have figured it out.

Anyway I would find it amazing if the bottom 100 million had negative wealth. But since the housing collapse that might be the case. They probably had an average positive wealth of several thousand when their house was worth much more than they paid for it. Now that the price has collapsed that wealth evaparated. They can no longer get home equity loans because they have no home equity.

Ron P.

I'm not going to do the research or bet $$...

But I bet that the bottom 100 million of the US population has NEGATIVE net worth. Easy.

As of year end 2007, according to Fed Reserve Standards Board (4/2009 report)

Apparently, the cream rises to the top...

Reminds me of an article in The Onion: National Museum Of The Middle Class Opens In Schaumburg, IL (Satire)

Nate -

I think I'm just being a bit dense here but I'm not sure exactly what is being shown in the plot.

For 2007, families in the top 10% of net worth have a net worth (average ?) of $4 million vs. for example those in the top 25-49.9 % of net worth only have something like $10,000 net worth - am I reading that right ?

Are 401k funds etc. considered part of net worth - or would the source of net worth for those in the <90% range predominantly be in the "value" of their house ?



you are reading it correctly
it is net worth outside of primary residence IIRC.

"especially the bottom 100,000 of the US population"

OTOH, as the Wikipedia entry implies, it's less bad than you paint it. If you have a home worth $100,000 but you owe $90,000, you hardly own it at all, but yet you do possess it and enjoy the exclusive use of it. So until/unless you get thrown out, it's not exactly like you're living in a $10,000 shack or a cardboard box. Many tens of millions in this country still live quite reasonably well, despite not producing and having never produced anything anyone particularly values. In other words, a fair number among your 100 million would barely be missed if they vanished and never showed up for work again.


We would miss them like a toothache!

And with thier unearned comsumption withdrawn from the balance....We would miss them even more pleasantly!

Yeah. I was trying to be polite.

Let me see . . . Where have I seen a stat like this before? When one family owns a lot . . . oh wait. Batista, was it?

Stats like this lead to revolution.

Forget about social limits, forget about markets, forget about the economy, culture, and all anthropological constructs, and grok this: biogeochemical cycles are becoming increasingly uncoupled from one another:

"Historically, biogeochemists have focused on specific cycles, such as the carbon cycle or the nitrogen cycle," said Tim Killeen, NSF assistant director for geosciences. "Biogeochemical cycles don't exist in isolation, however. There is no nitrogen cycle without a carbon cycle, a hydrogen cycle, an oxygen cycle, and even cycles of trace metals such as iron."

Now, with global warming and other planet-wide impacts, biogeochemical cycles are being drastically altered. Like broken gears in machinery that was once finely-tuned, these cycles are falling out of sync."


The implications of the dysregulation of concerted cycling of nutrient elements thru the atmosphere, biosphere, hydrosphere & lithosphere are profound for the integrity of ecosystems upon which all life and human endeavor depend. The price of oil & the direction markets are tending pale in significance when perturbations this portentous are considered. Humans tend to focus much too narrowly on human activity. There will be no support for human activity as the feedbacks that structure the planetary cycling of the elements essential for life breaks down. Or am I missing something?

You might not be missing anything, other than markets, social equity, etc. act on human (incredibly short) time scales - and the dysregulation you mention, if happening, will probably unfold over much longer time scales. Big picture though you're right - if that stuff is happening it trumps everything in the long run. But as you know, 99.9% of us don't care about the long run, at least in our actions.

That's the old "Tragedy of the Commons" problem. What's good for the individual (or corporation or government) in the short term is bad for the whole ball of wax over the long term. In fact, much of what people do depends on destroying a part of that living ecosystem, such as cutting trees to open land for crops, killing wild animals for food and blasting/crushing rocks to extract various minerals contained therein. And, there lies our ultimate doom, as most won't do anything which makes them much worse off in the short term for some projected benefit to the rest of the living life support system we all depend on. Where are the masses of voters who would accept a stiff tax on transport fuels? What about using abortion as a means of birth control of last resort? Calls for 1 child per woman like China? Junk your SUV before it's time? Not in Freedom Loving 'Merica, by damned!!

EDIT: A news story appearing this evening, Save the Planet: Have Fewer Kids. I hope the Fundis are listening...

E. Swanson

Black Dog,

My gut feeling,backed up and formed by living in a "Primitive Baptist" sub society,is that about three quarters of what you hear abouy fundamentalist is based upon the behavior of a very small fraction of the entire group.

Among all the findis I know, scattered over several states,the number of children has dropped like a stone and now the norm is two kids,and two cars,and shopping at Walmart after church-which practice is strictly forbidden by church doctrine.Does this perhaps provide a GLIMPSE of insight into thier behavior?

Into just how serious as a group they are NOT?

No preacher or layman I ever met gave or gives a damn about the bishops six thousand years age of the earth -until AFTER the "gotcha" school of smug and superior categories of writers started talking about the bishops six thousand years -or was it four thousand?

But if somebody comes along and starts calling you names ....

The average southern redneck thinks about the civil war about once or twice a year ,when he watches some old civil war era movie.The "one percenters" keep the stars and bars flying.But when attacked in the press and on tv,the latent us versus them schism based on the slave era south/ civil war/ reconstruction paradigm (which will be entirely forgotten in another generation if ALLOWED to die a peaceful death)comes alive again and of course the rednecks enjoy the attention and the camaderie and then there are stars and bars all over the place.

The more you criticise fundis ,the more you enrage and empower them and the more likely it becomes that they will go on a recruiting rampage-which is approved doctrine ,by the way.

I am not predicting the end of southern racism but only that one irritant contributing to it will no longer exist.I am saying the average identity group seeking middle aged redneck today can remember the names Jeff Davis,Robert E Lee and a half dozen more generals and the names of a few big battles.

His Daddy knew ten times as much and his grandson will know nothing about the civil war and the KKK,etc-unless some fool INSISTS ON CONTINUALLY REMINDING him that his great grandfather a few times removed lost a war.

Too true.

On the flip side, some of the most damaging ideas do just fine without opposition and the light of day sends them scurrying. The problem is that if a damaging idea becomes a part of a group identity you can't attack the idea (which is a good thing) without attacking the group (with the results you describe).

Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

All protons will eventually decay to background radiation -which is a very good reason you don't want to be immortal: the telly would be awful at the end...


The Bloomberg article about Petrobras is very revealing and goes a long way to bury any absurd assumption that new discoveries will in any meaningful way off-set current declines.

At the momment they are struggling to pump their targets from existing wells - which are in some cases over 60 years old. Now it might be geologically incorrect to compare Brazil's old fields with Saudi's but the shock-horror news is there for all to see: old fields are very hard to tempt to give up their precious oil.

If I read the article correctly it says that they hope to have a total output of 5.7 MB/day by 2020, being existing and new deep-sea. Great! That should solve the Peak Oil problem!

Sometimes I have to play a determined role of Devil's Advocate and try and argue against PO. I find it usually sharpens my argument for PO, but from an intellectual perspective I know that it is often very easy to go with the flow and not challenge your assumptions. Well, reading this article and doing some basic mathematics it is all too apparent that even if global production does not fall off a cliff and hovers around 80-85 MB/day for decades there is simply not enough extra new oil coming on line to fuel the GDP growth that the world is supposed to be continuing on - after this minor recession is out the way.

Turning to the article about China's seabourne imports: 'WOW!' is all I can say to that. 26% increase in oil imports (providing non-seabourne is static) in one year alone! No wonder the Chinese are so friendly with the Sudanese and the Kurds. And in the words of Matt Simmons: 'they [the Chinese] have barely got going'. Exactly.

And then there is the article about the oil companies postponing new projects. Well that is the worst news of the lot in my book. We have China growing consumption during a recession in the rest of the world, off-setting any reduced demand from other countries, we have the much heralded Brazil Deep Sea giving the world an additional 3 MB/day in ten years time, all other things being equal and we have the major oil companies shelving projects. A great recipe for the mother of all oil supply crunches. Oh, and China is getting real friendly with Brazil these days. I wonder where the extra 3 MB/day will be going (net of export land model) in ten years time?

Those who are not convinced about PO need only open their eyes and do some reading and investigating. Have an open mind and play Devil's Advocate on both sides of the debate. The evidence is out there.

And as of 2008, Brazil was still a net oil importer (EIA).

But hey! Brazil makes all that wonderful ethanol... That's gotta count for something...

Brazil is the world's second largest producer of ethanol fuel and the world's largest exporter. Together, Brazil and the United States lead the industrial production of ethanol fuel, accounting together for 89% of the world's production in 2008. In 2008 Brazil produced 24.5 billion litres (6.47 billion U.S. liquid gallons), which represents 37.3% of the world's total ethanol used as fuel.

...but wait, it's just a drop in the bucket...

...domestic oil consumption still far outweighs ethanol consumption. In 2005, Brazil consumed 2 million barrels (320,000 m3) of oil per day, versus 280,000 barrels (45,000 m3) of ethanol. Although Brazil is a major oil producer and now exports gasoline (19,000 m³/day), it still must import oil because of internal demand for other oil byproducts, chiefly diesel fuel, which cannot be easily replaced by ethanol.

Oh well... China can always invest in Brazil's neighbor to the north, Venezuela...

My favorite recent news story was about Brazil--a net oil importer--taking market share away from OPEC.

If I read the article correctly it says that they hope to have a total output of 5.7 MB/day by 2020, being existing and new deep-sea. Great! That should solve the Peak Oil problem!

This would solve it even more:

Nansen Saleri, the former head of reservoir management for Aramco, Saudi Arabia's national oil company, said improving worldwide recovery rates by 10 to 15 percent could provide an additional 50-year supply of oil at current consumption rates.

If oil companies could recover 50 percent of the crude in their fields instead of 35 percent, it would double the world's proven reserves of about 1.2 trillion barrels, the IEA says.

Though it could take a couple of decades to reach 50 percent, even a modest increase in the amount of oil recovered in coming years will alter the debate about peak oil -- the point at which half the world's reserves have been depleted.

Black magic.

But then there's that old issue of flow rate. Can you get that last liter out of the ground fast enough to make a difference? Or is is going to have to be strained out of 5000 barrels of dirty water?



It's a good job only a million people follow THEOILDRUM!!

Is knowing what we know reason for depression?


And only 1/4 of Americans actually seek medical attention.....
So probably over 100 million need medication!
IT is the lifestyle that is the cause, and not knowing what we know.
Americans eat too much, drink too much, and watch TV too much.
High Stress and lack of exercise are the reasons for health problems.

Or more likely, only a few million really need it and we're merely looking at the usual vast over-prescription administered to soothe habitual crybabies and push them out the door as quickly as possible. Do you even have to specialize in psychiatry to prescribe psychoactive drugs, or can any licensed doctor of any sort prescribe drugs of any other sort?

Is knowing what we know reason for depression?

No. Depression is genetic & neurochemical. Circumstance has little to do with it. There are people who "have it made" who are profoundly depressed, and people who are homeless & destitute who don't suffer from depression at all.

You're missing quite a lot here, not your usual thorough level of thinking, dd. Something got you down?

Depression is a quantitative behavioral attribute of the phenotype and as such has both a genetic & an environmental component. The genetic component will typically include 5 - 10 genes of major effect plus hundreds of modifiers. The environmental component typically won't be a proximal circumstantial trigger but will rather be something like a maternal effect or consequence of childhood nutritional status. My response was brief and left out a lot, it's true, but I stand by the assertion that depression typically isn't circumstantial in the sense that sudden awareness of PO, for instance, will trigger a depressive episode.

Half right.

Persistent clinical depression is as you describe.

People can still be depressed due to circumstances, and circumstantial depression can be just as devastating as clinical depression.

People can still be depressed due to circumstances, and circumstantial depression can be just as devastating as clinical depression.

Case in point: when my wife was 29 and diagnosed with late stage lung cancer (nonsmoker!), she went into the only depression I had ever seen her in... Took 2 months for her to realize this and get the medications she needed. So, yeah, circumstances can contribute.

DD, I agree with you.

I contend that people throughout human history have suffered likewise and were simply confined to assylums, or left alone to go raving mad by themselves. Indeed the Bible contains stories of lone hermits with mental health issues. Witches, Village-idiots and other assorted "monsters" would formerly have been socially ostracized, cast-out or persecuted and not have been able to contribute their genes to future generations.

modern pharmaceuticals allows folks like this to maintain healthy and stable relationships - where self medicating with drugs and alcohol can have somewhat more negative side effects.

Lets just say I have some experience myself with seratonin/norepinephrin re-uptake inhibitors thanks to an anxiety disorder that comes and goes (unrelated to my circumstances).

And so we cheat evolution and the population continues to grow, replete with its faulty genes and would-be madmen like myself.

Now - what happens when folks such as myself lose access to the aforementioned drugs? A 30 day supply of the SNRI that I take costs me about $30 and my drug coverage pays the other $200 or so dollars.

Drug companies are clever at tweaking their formulas. Notice that older SSRI drugs like Prozac (fluoxetine) are rarely prescribed in the US and are considered less effective than the modern equivalents. But it just so happens that drug companies give out samples of their latest remedies to doctors, and these latest versions have healthy 20 year patents to cover the drug companies for a while.

Back in England the NHS discourages doctors from prescribing the new/expensive drugs in favor of older generic "off patent" drugs. So my mother has to make do with Prozac - and an affordable universal healthcare system. Here in the US the lucky ones like me with good Rx coverage get the latest and greatest. The unlucky ones often end up self medicating, losing their jobs, their homes and find themselves pan handling on street corners.

And if I was to ever lose my coverage, having anti-depressants on my medical history will make future coverage very difficult thanks to the "pre-exsisting conditions" clauses. Mothers who suffered from post-partum depression should probably be aware of this (they dont care how you got depressed)...

Without adequate access to the medication, things could get interesting fast.

Notice that older SSRI drugs like Prozac (fluoxetine) are rarely prescribed in the US and are considered less effective than the modern equivalents.

The reason the older SRIs are less often prescribed is because the patent on them has expired & their less expensive generic equivalents are available, resulting in less profit for the pharmaceutical corporations who bribe physicians not to prescribe them. Effectiveness has nothing to do with it. The most effective antidepressant is & always has been ethyl alcohol, side effects be damned!

Ethyl alcohol is a central nervous system depressant. I suspect the best natural anti-depressant is THC but it's too easy to get for free to be legal.

Legalities be damned, the ONLY medication that works for my chronic depression (and circumstantial) is natural THC.

Ethanol "depresses" the CNS in a sense distinct from that of dysthymia or clinical depression. In essence, the hydrophobic ethyl group (C-C-OH) inserts itself into the plasmalemma, interfering with the propagation of the nerve impulse. This is the sense in which C2H6O causes CNS depression & is what intoxication by & large amounts to. A CNS "depressed" by ethanol tends not to obsess over feelings of depression, which is why I regard it as the supreme antidepressant. Of course, this effect wears off as one sobers up and may actually worsen depression in the long term. But there's always that next bottle waiting...

Since depression is often (tho not always) accompanied by anxiety, I don't regard THC as much of an antidepressant since it often induces mild paranoia. THC has its other virtues, however; it's just that I don't think that an antidepressant effect is one of them.

Here's what it looks like from the point of view of someone who has spent 20 years working with a large number of depressed people. My patients usually lived in fairly "depressing" circumstances, with inadequate parenting (if not overt abuse and neglect), stresses associated with poverty, and with watching everyone have more than you do, several hours per day on television. They were also most likely "genetically susceptible", and I often wondered whether generations of low-grade depression (maybe some of it gets called laziness) had landed them into intergenerational poverty.

My task as a family physician was to address people's "complaints", frequently of a physical nature. This or that hurts, I can't sleep, I am very tired all the time... that sort of thing. Most often, these folks met "criteria" for depression - which says no more, really than when you say someone has a fever. Some of them were depressed from having lost a baby to SIDS, some from having lost a boyfriend of 6 months, some from having been routinely locked in the closet for days on end when they were 5 years old. Most I treated with an older SSRI (that they could afford) and a non-addictive sleep medication. Eventually the acuteness of their problem subsided. Very few, thankfully, committed suicide.

The generalities are not that useful. DD, you know a lot of stuff, but where the rubber meets the road, things are no longer just straightforward biochemistry. The fact is that for the majority of these people (not a large majority, mind you...), SSRIs will be the path to a somewhat better level of functionality, from which they may turn their life around, or just live a somewhat more numb life, with not so much raw suffering.

As for pharmaceutical companies "bribing" doctors to prescribe expensive new medications - yeah, we need to outlaw free samples and doodads. Nevertheless, in my observation, which is not as good as research, one of the newer SSRIs (I'll call it A) definitely appeared better "tolerated" than Prozac (which gives some stomach upset, and some additional anxiety to many people, so they stop it and they are back behind square 1).

In the end, what kept my patients coming back was the attention, appreciation, and affection I was able to display on my good days. A few people's lives were radically transformed. Most muddled along in what was best described by Pink Floyd: "quiet desperation", and surprising courage.

Thanks for your well thought out response Paranoid.

I read Tsaung & Faraone's "Genetics of Mood Disorders" many years ago. It's no doubt out of date by now in any case. Yet as I remember, even then (early '90s) the quantitative genetics of depression & other affective disorders was fairly clear.

You state, "..where the rubber meets the road, things are no longer just straightforward biochemistry." I would contend that every aspect of human experience is a matter of biochemistry. How can we know, feel, experience.. anything, without it being a matter of biochemistry? Do you believe that a ghost haunts the wetware?

Personally, I don't like serotonin reuptake inhibitors. Lexapro, which is the enantiomer of Celexa, which I also took, is probably the "best," in the sense of being relatively effective with the fewest side effects, and Serzone likely the "worst" (ineffective & destroys the liver of genetically susceptible users). Zoloft and Wellbutrin (not a SRI) are worthless. Effexor works well but the side effects are horrendous. Even with Lexapro, I hated the lack of interest in sex it caused and the tracer effect when I turned my head abruptly, especially if I forgot to take it. After several years of experimentation in order to "get it right," under the care of a published psychiatrist at a research institution, I decided to dump all these mind control compounds and go back to self-medicating with ethanol. It's much less expensive and more effective at alleviating the symptoms of depression. Sorry if my approach fails to enrich the pharmaceutical & medical establishments.

If by "ghost" you mean various strange attractors (or complex forms) in phase space which are representational of attitude, mood, predisposition, interests, personality, gender roles, then, yes, there are ghosts in the wetware.

In the same way a stellar cloud collapses into a star and orbiting planets, our nebulous early existence collapses into various understandings about object permanence, language, trust, body usage, etc. In the same way electromagnetism and gravity are necessary parts of understanding a solar system, biochemistry is a necessary part of understanding perceptual experience. But it is not the only part.

Yes, it might be all biochemistry, but the fact that this biochemistry can be altered by quality parenting, by kindness, perhaps by psychoanalysis is what fascinates me. I get the sense that our biochemical understanding of that supremely complicated wetware will perhaps "always" be far short of completely useful.

SSRIs don't work that well, I agree, and also are only acceptable if a degree of numbness is desired. Ethanol, I imagine, is the same, no? It is definitely a popular choice.

The solution is not easy to find. In my experience, ethanol plays a fairly central role in enriching the medical establishment.

A natural anti-depressive drug is also cocain.

Every hillbilly knows that if he suffers a minor fender bender that we worst possible thing he can do is call his insurance company-unless there are two cars involved ,or cops.

The run up in your premiums will make you wish you had never seen the check that pays for a new fender.

If I ever suspect that I have a terminal illness I think
perhaps I will drive across a few state lines and see a doctor under an assumed name.

THEN maybe I'll come home and buy some insurance-whatever I can get,all I can get.

They don't play fair.

Why should I?I won't have much trouble sleeping after I'm dead.

Re: Why should I?
I think you know.

I have always dealt honestly with those who have dealt honestly with me.

A while back a loca insurance company tried to get my eighty year old father to keep a policy in firce that had a cash value of 8000 dollars.The deal was that they would pay his "premium out of his "interest income" but the cash value would shrink every twelve months til it hit something close to zero in eight years or so.

Getting a straight answer out of these women who treat my Dad like an old family friend as to exactly what the policy would pay each year was like harder than pulling teeth.

They have his medical data.

The odds of him LIVING (considering his excellent general health,his social support system,his diet and the fact that he gets plenty of exercise and enjoys himself farming and fishing and so forth and is a pious church goer,etc plus the fact that none of his immediate ancestors for two generations at least have died youner than ninety )WELL PAST NINETY ,are according to his personal phyisian,well over eighty percent and probably higher.

Now these ladies stood to collect a comission every year,and the company stood to keep his money as an interest free loan ,and eventually all of his money as an outright gift.They got very huffy when we said that Daddy wanted his money,and tried to talk to him alone to change his mind.Since he is really VERY NICE nonconfrontional GUY,he gave my sister a power of attorney to deal with the insurance company.

So he has ebjoyed a few fishing trips WITH THAT MONEY that he wanted to go on all is life but never could until now.

The insurance company is one of the largest in the country and famous for such practices as redlineing and stalling settlements to wear down thier own long term policy holders.

I don't need a law degree to know that this was legal.My Old Testament moral training,my New Testament moral training,and my (thank you Greenish!)my Capuchin Monkey Fairness Meter all tell me my Dad was being had, and bad.Thre is a difference between legal and RIGHT,between legal and ethical.

It seems as though antidepressants are handed out to everyone these days. Half of my family members have been given them, and they tried to get me to take them for occasional bouts of insomnia. There are a lot of prescriptions for benzos still being handed out, as well. One of the things I think about in "collapse/hiatus" scenarios is how many people will be going into serious withdrawal symptoms once their daily meds are unavailable. Seems like a plausible mechanism for semi-Zombies.

I'm currently helping my elderly mother through the "medical marijuana" permit process in Hawaii. Very halfassed as laws go, but she wants to try it since nothing else is working for her. So I may soon be caring for her marijuana garden.

As a physician no longer practicing, I agree that some doctors just rush too quickly to prescribe - it's amazing the cans of worms you get yourself into asking nosy questions. Guaranteed to blow your schedule. Also, some are on the fence regarding what should be done about poverty, bad relationships, horrible working conditions, etc, etc...

Also the fact that regular exercise works better than Prozac for many people tells you something about how lifestyle begins to contribute to depression.

And, maybe there is an upward limit to television - the average American now having reached 4 1/2 hours per day might be hitting that limit beyond which you are rewired for good, and only heavy drugs will prevent you from killing yourself.

The cornucopian articles about natural gas are misleading, to say the least.

  • "in-place resource base is about 6,000 Trillion cubic feet (Tcf)". That must be "possible" reserves. By definition, possible reserves have a 90% or greater probability of not actually being producible. So our 6,000 Tcf becomes, statistically, less than 600 Tcf.
  • The quoted recovery factor of 20% is quite improbable in tight sands. 5% is more likely. So the recoverable reserves might be 30 Tcf.
  • Rocks older than 250 million years are hard. That means they are expensive (in energy) to drill. As the article points out, much more fracturing will be required. That also is expensive (in energy).

So overall, this wonderful, neglected energy resource is probably only a small fraction of what is touted, and will be expensive to develop and produce. No wonder it is neglected.

I completely agree with your general observation.

"in-place resource base is about 6,000 Trillion cubic feet (Tcf)". That must be "possible" reserves. By definition, possible reserves have a 90% or greater probability of not actually being producible. So our 6,000 Tcf becomes, statistically, less than 600 Tcf.

That doesn't stand to reason. 90% probability of not being producible does not equate to "10% actually being producible"...

The "resource base" consists of probably thousands of possible drilling locations. Of these, over 90% are going to be non-productive: proven so by further investigation prior to drilling, or by actually drilling a dry hole. Up to 10% of these locations may be productive. Of course, there is a possibility that none of them will be productive, though as the article points out such production already accounts for a 30% of current production, so we can reasonably assume that some of this resource base will become productive. But not a whole lot of it.

Remember, the locations which look most promising have already been drilled (except for where they are off-limits due to Wilderness Areas, etc.).

IF that were true the percentage of dry holes would be higher than the 10% booked for May, for instance. Has there been an increase over time in dry holes in NG drilling? I've heard of areas being "played out," viz, Johnson County TX, but that was just a passing comment from the EOG CEO.

Regarding terminology SEC regulations about proved reserves will change after Dec 15: New SEC Oil Accounting Rules : EclipseNow. 3D seismic will count, as will oil sands.

"The quoted recovery factor of 20% is quite improbable in tight sands. 5% is more likely."

gas in place and recovery factors are relatively meaningless(in ultra low permeability rock).

yes the logs may say x porosity and y water saturation. but how does anyone know what porosity cut off is appropriate without performance history, this is determined by economic and operational factors.

reservoir simulation you say ? a reservoir simulation is also based upon a lot of assumptions and until these assumptions are panned out based upon actual performance, the recovery factor and it's 1st cousin, drainage area are just a guess.

yet we see this gas in place - recovery factor thought process sold to stock analysts and investors every day.

Whatever it is, UNG provided 50.78% of production last year. Dry holes have been ca. 10% since 2003, to answer my own question, this being both NG and crude, a secular trend that is decidedly downward. After decades of experience - UNG provided 14.89% of production in 1990 - don't we have enough "performance history" to know what this resource should be good for?

you are refering to performance history in a different sense than i. what i am refering to is the fundamental method of determining ultimate recoveries from individual wells/plays. and the point of my post was the relative meaninlessness of volumetric calculations in assigning reserves in these nanodarcy permeability reservoirs.

look at chesapeake, for example, they steadfastly cling to their volumetrically calculated 6.5 bcf per 80 ac spacing unit(hayneville) and force fit a "hyperbolic" (woohoo) decline to the pre determined recovery.

included in the "performance history" you cite are many economic dry holes drilled with opm.

as long as the public traded companies can show sequential increases in production coupled with liberal use of slick power point presentations and a little slight of hand from time to time, they can keep this ponzi scheme going (with opm).

The problem for the doomers is that the 6,000 trillion cubic feet number is actually for global proven reserves rather than a resource number. That means 100% can reasonably be expected to be recovered commercially using current technology.


Global proved reserves of natural gas increased by 7.97 tcm in 2008 to 185.02 trillion cubic meters and the R/P ratio increased to 63.1 years


Proved reserves of natural gas are generally taken to be those quantities that geological and engineering information indicates with reasonable certainty can be recovered in the future from known reservoirs under existing economic and operating conditions.

(1 Cubic Meter = 35.3146667 Cubic Ft)

Bill Clinton is visiting with Kim Jong Ill in North Korea today.
Wonder what kind of deals he is cutting?

He is there on no official capacity whatsoever, though he did get permission from the State Department to go. I know, that would be his wife but I am sure Obama gave his blessing also. He is there to try to free two American journalists held by the North Koreans.

The fact that Clinton was allowed to visit may signal a change in North Korea's attitude since the election of Obama. That is since they are no longer referred to as part of "The Evil Empire" may be an opening for negations.

I really don’t think we should be cynical about his visit. To just assume that he is up to no good only exposes our paranoia. I think he is there to try to gain the freedom of two American journalists. Why should I think otherwise?

Ron P.

Let's just hope the "Dear Leader" doesn't catch swine flu while he's there.

That coincidence might be explosive.

Are you implying that William the 3rd has swineflue ? I must make a phone call .. swoosh ...

In any case it seems to have worked and the journalists have been released.

"He is there on no official capacity whatsoever".
Tell that to the Koreans.

Clinton, ... , was greeted by chief nuclear negotiator Kim Kye-Gwan and Yang Hyong Sop, vice president of parliament.


Revealed: the secret evidence of global warming Bush tried to hide

So we can add the environmental satellites to the GPS satellites as in need of replacement.

What happens when there is no more Arctic ice in the summer (IIRC maybe as early as 2015)? What happens when we basically have another ocean interacting with the climate that we didn't have before? And are we now in the middle of an "abrupt climate change" event?

Those photographs are rather interesting, as one can discern individual melt ponds at that resolution. They will be a source of much useful information, even though they may have been de-rated and limited to areas of no strategic significance. There was an news article about the satellite photos in SCIENCE on 24 July, page 377, "Spy Satellites Give Scientists A Sharper Image of Field Sites".

As for the melting sea-ice, if the trend continues and it all disappears at some future date, I think we aren't likely to see it recover. Those melt ponds are evidence of a threshold effect, a "tipping point" in current terminology. There is a positive feedback at work as the albedo of the open ocean and the melt ponds is less that that of the solid ice, although the difference may not be as large as is apparent in photographs taken from directly overhead by satellite.

Here's a link to the AOOS site with AMSR-E sea-ice animations. The visible data is noisy, since clouds and storms frequently block the direct view.

E. Swanson

Back in February an Earth monitoring satellite failed to reach orbit, falling into the Southern Ocean & polluting this delicate habitat with hydrazine. This was unfortunate since the satellite was designed to monitor atmospheric CO2 accumulation. I'm not in favor of sending humans or other animals into space nor of spending tax dollars to satisfy the curiosity of cosmologists. However, such Earth monitoring missions I can support and hence regret the loss of this instrument.

The Arctic Ocean interacts with the atmosphere already. Sea ice reflects ~50% - 70% of solar radiant energy back to space, whereas the ice free ocean surface only reflects ~8% - 15%. Loss of Arctic Ocean ice in summer is a significant contributor to AGW. This is but one of the + feedbacks that have been set in motion by anthropogenic perturbation to planetary homeorrhetic regulatory mechanisms. The consequences of these feedbacks are not additive. They are synergistic. We are not in the "middle" of an abrupt climate change event. Rather, we are more towards the beginning of a rapidly accelerating climate change catastrophe.

Yesterday the DB had this:

Researchers at the University of Wisconsin have developed an engine that runs on a mix of diesel and gasoline that produces fewer emissions and is as much as 20 per cent more fuel-efficient than conventional engines.


And today we have this:

A man in Albuquerque, N.M. said he uses Mountain Dew soda as an alternative way to gas up cars, tractors and lawn mowers.

To make the engine run, some gas or diesel fuel has to be mixed with the soda.


Tomorrow we'll tank up on zero-point energy, no doubt. Science marches on.


from the movie Idiocracy, in the future humans used a gatorade derivative (Brawndo) to water plants...

Of course, use it for everything. It's got electrolytes!

Pvt. Joe Bowers: What *are* these electrolytes? Do you even know?
Secretary of State: They're... what they use to make Brawndo!
Pvt. Joe Bowers: But *why* do they use them to make Brawndo?
Secretary of Defense: [raises hand after a pause] Because Brawndo's got electrolytes.

Narrator: As the 21st century began, human evolution was at a turning point. Natural selection, the process by which the strongest, the smartest, the fastest, reproduced in greater numbers than the rest, a process which had once favored the noblest traits of man, now began to favor different traits. Most science fiction of the day predicted a future that was more civilized and more intelligent. But as time went on, things seemed to be heading in the opposite direction. A dumbing down. How did this happen? Evolution does not necessarily reward intelligence. With no natural predators to thin the herd, it began to simply reward those who reproduced the most, and left the intelligent to become an endangered species.

Evolution is not continuous, over literally billions of years we get good times and hard depending on many variables such as climate.

'Survival of the fittest' occurs at times of stress where there are insufficient resources for everybody to continue living - at that point the the fittest will survive to the next generation.

In human history clearly intelligence has been selected for as one major fitness trait (amongst many), I see no reason for that not to continue.

At the moment humans having lots and lots of progeny are being selected for.

Are humans smarter than yeast?

xeroid "...intelligence has been selected for as one major fitness trait..."

Human beings in post-industrial societies do not compete for procreation. The high school drop-out has as much chance of reproduction as the Berkeley MBA. Probably better.


Human beings in post-industrial societies do not compete for procreation.

I'm not so sure, I suspect you don't find all females equally attractive - where I come from females go to great lengths to attract what seems to them to be a suitable mate!

You will see evolution in the survivors when there is a shortage of one of our 'must have' inputs, probably food, or a deadly disease. Then you will see if the MBA is superior, I suspect yes is the answer or human intelligence wouldn't be any better than say, a chimp.

In OECD countries at the moment the traits being selected for by personal choice may or may not be fit enough to get past the next difficult times. A massive superabundance of food such as ours is not the norm, most species live at the unreliable limits of their food and water supply, we will again soon.

Once power structures started to develop (from tribal chiefs on up to emperors and presidents), you see capable
people (not necessarily the most fit overall, but maybe the most tricky) clawing their way into elite status over
the rest of society, and just like the queen bee who kills all potential queens before they hatch, as soon as they themselves have some power they almost universally turn around and try to prevent anyone else from clawing his way up and displacing them. Thus any smart, independent, capable, fit person who is not a member of whatever ruling elites are preeminent in his society is actually directly targeted as a potential threat to the existing king/chief/boss/whatever.
Drones are not only not a threat, but also valuable assets. They do what theyre told.. and the boss has plenty of work he
wants done for him. Kings/chiefs/bosses fear anybody smarter than them, and prefer whenever possible specialists with no capability outside of their narrow field- they are a way to make otherwise smart people still dependent and less troublesome or threatening. It's a self-preservation strategy that works fine and encourages progress when it's played out on a small,
individual scale of caveman X versus caveman Y versus caveman Z- but when power structures develop where there are hierarchies and economic structures and distribution systems etc, all potential queen bees who are not the ruling queen bee
are actually the most endangered ones in the hive. The larger the power structures can scale the more severe this
selective pressure is. while before technology enabled extreme economic specialization just a few centuries ago this selective pressure was very mild, since then, it has been getting heavier. It's already 20 to 30 generations since
machine power became a significant factor in economic activity (europe from the late middle ages had a mania for water
powered machines, and when steam power finally developed in the late 18th century there were already water powered
factories, machines, and a socioeconomic system that was familiar with the concept) and specialization really took off..
long enough to show some influence.
not a primary driving force in human evolution but a factor not to ignore..

Haven't we all run into that "turf protecting" attitude that you so eloquently point out.

Now that food is (temporarily )plentiful and war and disease are (mostly) under control,and we have collectively made the decision that young males shall not (often) kill each other fighting over over the girls,and that recreational sex is ok, and that nobody should be allowed to starve-if they live near enough to get thier pictures in the local paper or on the local tv news-

And given : that young women actually like babies,LOVE babies,and that while an unattractive man has a hard time getting laid,no woman ever does,and that a young woman with time on her hands wants some emotional fullfillment,

The stage is set.

Intelligence does not contribute much if anything in such circumstances to survival.

Therefore intelligence is not selected to any large degree.

The ability to think fast and well may again fetch a premium in the survival market within the next few years.

I expect they will run if he adds no more than a couple of ounces of Mountuan Dew to ten gallons of gas.Especially if he adds a four dollar bottle of "water out " fuel treatment which is generally methanol.(It's much cheaper at drugstores.)The methanol mixes well with water and the water ethanol solution will mix with the gasoline.This stuff is one of only a very small handful of automotive additives that work.If there is a little water in your gas tank a bottle ir two will get rid of it for you.

Thr first five or ten tanks or so of diesel will run fine.Then she will stop dead until you replace the fuel filters which will be saturated with sugar water.

It would be best if he uses diet mountian dew as suger is reputed to be hard on engines.

Now the thing that is really wierd is that mountian dew is usually more expensive than gasoline.

So putting water in your gas must also ENHANCE THE MILEAGE!

The article from Reuters:


is fairly typical nonsense, so in case anyone swallows it here is my half-arsed response:

But a sense that production is close to peaking and will then begin an inexorable decline, even as demand continues to grow, has become deeply ingrained in the public imagination.

That's right, we are all imagining it!

As technology improves, there is plenty of conventional crude to be discovered in formerly inaccessible areas such as the ocean floors and the Arctic. Technology also exists to develop unconventional sources (such as bitumen and kerogen) into oil, and to turn natural gas and coal into liquid fuels that can be used to power cars and aeroplanes.

So how come it hasn't been discovered? Technology has improved year-over-year. No serious peak-oiler will refute that exploration technology and oil field extraction technology has improved. The problem is that the peak in discovery of oil (conventional and other) peaked back in the 60s. Fact. The most shocking chart, which only an idiot could misread clearly shows that for the last 20 years we have been consuming way more than we have been discovering and that, despite record E&R budgets the majors are not finding any more super-giant and giant fields. FACT. So when exactly are the oil companies going to pack their shovels and wonder off and find a whole bunch more?

Global hydrocarbon reserves are more than enough to last hundreds of years..

Totally agree with this statement - oil will never run out. But I would have hoped that someone writing for Reuters would be able to qualify his statement by addressing the thorny issue of rate of consumption. These sort of popularist statements are so facile that they make me grind my teeth. Also, does the author understand how reserves are calculated?

Petroleos Mexicanos began a huge nitrogen injection program at Cantarell in 2000, boosting output to more than 2 million barrels per day (bpd) by 2004-2005. But production had fallen to less than a third of this by May 2009 (641,000 bpd). Mexico has failed to bring on enough new fields to replace the lost output, and the country's total production has fallen 25 percent in five years.

Yeah, you see if only they had had the foresight to bring on enough new fields to replace the lost output they would be still pumping at 2004 levels. Christ, why didn't they think of that? These Pemex folk are just plain dumb!

Field declines imply the need for huge investment in secondary and tertiary recovery programs, and massive new field discoveries, just to sustain current output levels, let alone increase them. The industry is running faster to stand still.

Well done! That is the nub of Peak Oil!

History has not worked out that way. High prices from 2003-2008 stimulated massive increases in [gas] reserves and a huge rise in production, which has left the country awash with gas.

Price has nothing to do with reserves from a purely geological perspective. The 'massive' extra reserves are not really going to last much longer if you then have a 'huge rise in production' now are they.

Reserves are now being developed from much deeper in the earth's crust.

Peanuts, as proven by the Brazil deep-sea 'bonanza' of a whopping 3 MB/day after 10 years of mind-boggling capital investment. If this was really the case why aren't the oil companies all scrambling around on the bottom of the ocean floors discovering new Saudi Arabias rather than decreasing their E&R budgets?

Second, the focus on conventional oil obscures the much larger reserve base of other hydrocarbons -- natural gas, coal, bitumen (oil sands), and kerogen (oil shale), let alone methane hydrates (natural gas trapped in ice formations at the polar ice caps, in the permafrost zone and on the ocean floor).

Even if Alberta produced 10 MB/day from tar-sands in ten years time (after a trillion bucks of investment) and even if the good folk of Alberta were happy to increase the current production ten-fold it would, at best, keep the total amount of oil produced world wide at a constant. The author clearly has not even the most basic comprehension of how difficult it is to get oil from shale on a large enough scale as to be viable. I won't even bother going into the polar ice caps discussion.

Blinded by their obsession with physical availability of conventional oil, peak oilers miss the much larger questions..

No. Not really. It is all about the physical availability. My car doesn't run on dreams.

It is actually quite exhausting this. Like talking to a 5 year old. I would suggest the author does not really understand his subject matter, never mind understand that there is a price at which oil becomes too expensive to a growing economy, above which the economy is sent packing into the dreary old world of recession. The author should also try to get a handle on the sheer weight of demand from developing countries.

It seems these days that any time a credible report - like the IEA - is released confirming PO that the main stream media goes into overdrive to try and reassure the public (and in the case of Reuters, the financial world) that all is ok. Barmy..

As technology improves, there is plenty of conventional crude to be discovered in formerly inaccessible areas such as the ocean floors and the Arctic. Technology also exists to develop unconventional sources (such as bitumen and kerogen) into oil, and to turn natural gas and coal into liquid fuels that can be used to power cars and aeroplanes.

So how come it hasn't been discovered? Technology has improved year-over-year. No serious peak-oiler will refute that exploration technology and oil field extraction technology has improved.

He just doesn't understand the significance of the Mongo Nuts being smaller and farther away.


Mongo Nuts? New one on me!

From A Net Energy Parable by Nate Hagens.

Sasquatches make Waybread from them.

Mongo only metaphor in game of life.

That sentence no verb. Do you mean that there are no other metaphors than Mongo, or Mongo is only a metaphor?

Mongo talk that way. Mongo not need many verbs.

Mongo nuts? Must be roid rage.

let alone methane hydrates (natural gas trapped in ice formations at the polar ice caps, in the permafrost zone and on the ocean floor).

Whenever anyone mentiones methane hydrates as a possible answer to our energy problems you can rest assured that they haven't a clue as to what the hell they are talking about. Methane hydrates are not huge reservoirs of gas they are basically chunks of ice. The methane is trapped in ice chunks scattered about under the permafrost and certain areas of the sea floor. They are virtually everywhere in these areas but never in huge amounts in any one place.

To get to them you would have to plow up the permafrost to great depths. Ditto for the sea floor. The energy required to do this would probably be greater than the energy harvested, not to mention the huge environmental damage.

But, if you could invent a huge plow to pull through the permafrost, pulled by perhaps fifty or so bulldozers, and invent a way to seperate the hydrates from the ordinary rocks in turned up permafrost, then you might make many millions.

Fat chance!

Ron P.

Why not just put a really large sheet of clear plastic over the permafrost and when the sun shines on it, it will melt the permafrost releasing the methane and you just pump it out from under the plastic bubble.
See how easy it is? you folks just make everything too hard. (Great Big Grin) Whats so hard about making a couple hundred square mile plastic bubble in the arctic?

It tears when you drag it thru the willows.

Blow it up with hydrogen into a lense shape, let it rise to great height and focus it on a few PV cells.

Never mind too late, crude over $71.50

The dismaying thing about that proposal is that I'm nearly certain I could get subsidies, venture capital, and grants to do it, while paying myself a 6-figure salary.

No bed for swine flu man

A SWINE flu patient on life support was flown 700km between four Queensland hospitals in search of a bed, forcing Queensland Health to apologise to the man's family yesterday for the medical milk run.

The 48-year-old man, attached to a ventilator to help him breathe, was flown from hospital in the north Queensland town of Atherton to Cairns hospital, but the intensive care unit was full.

The chopper then refuelled and flew the man south to Townsville, which was also full.

He was then transferred to a second helicopter so the first one could return to base. After four hours, the desperately ill man arrived at the Mackay hospital, where he remains in a stable yet critical condition in the intensive care unit.

More than 250 children rushed to PMH in 24 hours

MORE than 250 children were rushed to Princess Margaret Hospital in the past 24 hours causing chaos in the emergency department.

Australian Medical Association of WA state president Gary Geelhoed said WA hospitals were operating over capacity and until extra beds were put into the system patients, including children, would have to wait dangerously long to get care.

“For more than a week our hospitals have been under siege and the situation is growing more serious by the day,” AMA state president Prof Gary Geelhoed.

“Hospitals are trying to operate over capacity and until they get the extra beds and resources they need, patients will have dangerously long waiting times causing unnecessary suffering.”

Of course, Down Under, where it is winter, is a preview of coming attractions for the Northern Hemisphere. Perhaps one of the best things that people can do is to boost their Vitamin D levels: www.vitamindcouncil.org

There does seem to be a lot of support for increasing vitamin D levels. Won't prevent you from catching flu but might prevent the cytokine storm that kills.

Good thread at FluTrackers: Vitamin D supplementation and recommendation by Dr. Grattan Woodson


Swine flu by itself is not too big a problem. Swine flu in combination with one or more other pandemics... could be tricky.

Sometime we're bound to get multiple concurrent pandemics, if the other three horsemen (of the Apocalypse) haven't got us first.

Typical down under (under intelligent) folks.
I even learnt, that most Aussis assume, that behind the ocean, there is no land.
Stupidity can be a national hero.

The Australians, who are very few in number, produce more Science and of far greater quality, than all the Spanish and Portuguese speaking countries in the world, which number about 450 million people or more.
There's very little crime in Australia, too -so much for the debate about Nature and Nurture. In spite of their being descendants of the so-called "criminal class" from England and Ireland, and the reason is obvious to anyone with understanding: their Welfare system and low unemployment.

The UK has a welfare system and until recently low unemployment, but crime is horrendous.

Yes but..... UK citizens do not have guns. Only criminals have

The Australians.. produce more Science and of far greater quality, than all the Spanish and Portuguese speaking countries in the world..

I guess that if it isn't published in English, it isn't science.

Lots of research carried out in the world in languages different from The Language of Commerce -as the Spanish Nobel Prize Winner Camilo J Cela used to call it. In German, French, Russian, Japanese, Chinese and even in Spanish. It is true that if not published in English its impact could be small, but that's somewhat besides the point and the researcher knows best what's good for him and for his work.
Myself I have published descriptions of new species of invertebrates in Spanish and I couldn't care less if people from other cultures can understand them or not. My bad, I know.
But my point was that the Australians are top people and they done a lot of things good and well deserve praise and imitation.

What!? You nits in OZ don't have a phone to call ahead? My god man, is there an idiot flying this thing?

It's already too late........

One must assume that all the phones and radios were out....
Probably what really happened was a carwreck etc victim beating the en route copter via ambulance to the last available spot ot just once but twice.

The recent media discussions of the "Cash for Clunkers" program have left me wondering: what is the impact of this program on the elasticity of our oil demand?

Seems like several factors:

- People are being incentivised to make medium/long-term decisions--the 3-10+ years of heightened financial commitment to this new car. Almost by definition, the program gets people who would not yet be sufficiently incentivised to purchase a new car based on gasoline prices alone to do so.

- Because this program coincides with a (relatively) low price of gasoline, the resulting cost-benefit analysis (to the extent the American consumer actually performs this) doesn't result in as much emphasis on getting better fuel efficiency as it would if the choice was being made when gasoline prices are higher.

- Also, because the program didn't gradually scale up the incentive (by first offering $500 incentives, then $1000, etc. until the funds are used up), many people are taking a $4000 incentive when $1000 would have been enough to get them to buy a new car. In at least some cases, this will result in buying a bigger (and often less fuel efficient) car than had the incentive been just enough to entice them to purchase because they could now afford the excess.

- My theory is that this program will, as a result, actually make America's oil demand less elastic in light of future supply constraints, which will exacerbate future price swings. The program pushes consumers to make fuel efficiency decisions now based that they weren't yet ready to make on their own, and to effectively commit to them for several years using a relatively low gas price as an input.

The ultimate effect of this might be insignificant, but it seems like yet one more example of unintended consequences due to our society's general lack of understanding of energy and economics...

I was thinking a simpler yet similar thought while commuting (walking) to work this morning.

The other day a neighbor was tinkering with an old wreck that's been cluttering-up the street. It doesn't run but he was attempting to get it to a dealer to ca$h in. Besides cleaning up the street a little, I don't really see the value of taking my tax money and giving it to this guy for an old piece of sh*t car.

Except to perpetuate a failed system at any cost...

Certainly there are better ways to spend a few billion dollars...

What is it I read in Into the Cool?
"Life is a complex thermodynamic system, not a paragon of virtue"
Yes yes yes!!!

The govt really needs people to buy cars and act like its 1964, cycle the system up faster and get the revenue from all the taxes, registration, wages etc. Not to mention tolls, etc.

This will keep the govt going a litle bit longer.

It is a little bit of a trick however in that it`s not really going to help people in the long run, and probably make things worse, for all the reasons you suggest.

But the elites don`t care. Gotta get the money now, into the bank. Key point is: they get paid after everyone else stops getting paid. They will come out ahead that way. Transfer their cash into assets, etc.

It seems like it`s counterproductive but it`s really not: the contest in the game of life is quite complex and those who are easily fooled or who don`t have the power (the people who buy the new cars, the taxpayers) bear the costs later. The govt elites will be eating well while others starve and everyone may look back on the Cash for Clunkers program as "Cash for Suckers".

I also read somewhere (UrbanSurvival I think) that the cars being scrapped were free of debt and the new cars aren't. So the program is encouraging consumers to go further into debt than they would have been otherwise. Also, that many of the cars being scrapped are in good condition creating unnecessary waste.

Also, something about new cars being capable of disablement via satellite??? Is that correct?

According to Glen Beck (obviously a reliable source for information) the government website that dealers use to log their claims had a disclaimer that allowed the government to access the dealer computer at will... But supposedly this has been updated and is no longer visible... Keep going Glen, pretty soon even the crackpots will think you have lost the plot...

I guess we have to take it on faith that the Obama admin hasn't possibly been trying to expand its control of information and information processing systems, among other things.
Some right wing slug like Beck couldn't possibly have been right in warning Americans how quickly we have been losing control of our own country under this and the previous administrations.
Surely if THAT were to happen the shining beacons of truth, justice and the American way, IOW the liberal media, would confront such tyranny.
Oh wait.

Helen Thomas: “That's not his point. The point is the control--”

Reid: “Exactly.”

Thomas: “We have never had that in the White House. And we have had some, but not-- This White House.”

Gibbs: “Yes, I was going to say, I'll let you amend her question.”

Thomas: “I'm amazed. I'm amazed at you people who call for openness and transparency and—”

Gibbs: “Helen, you haven't even heard the questions.”

Reid: “It doesn't matter. It's the process.”

Thomas: “You have left open—”

Reid: “Even if there's a tough question, it's a question coming from somebody who was invited or was screened, or the question was screened.”

Thomas: “It's shocking. It's really shocking.”

Gibbs: “Chip, let's have this discussion at the conclusion of the town hall meeting. How about that?”

Reid: “Okay.”

Gibbs: “I think—“

Thomas: “No, no, no, we're having it now--”

Gibbs: “Well, I'd be happy to have it now.”

Thomas: “It's a pattern.”

Gibbs: “Which question did you object to at the town hall meeting, Helen?”

Thomas: “It's a pattern. It isn't the question—”

Gibbs: “What's a pattern?”

Thomas: “It's a pattern of controlling the press.”

Helen Thomas, 89, has covered the White House during every presidency since John F. Kennedy’s



At least the Obama administration hasn't planted a male prostitute in the press pool to pose as a journalist and lob softball questions.

That's what Bush was really there for, to make any following administration look good by the comparison.

He was the coal power of politics.

To have a better understanding, why this "crisis" is not a global one, but a US one, please whatch this video of Peter Schiff:


I disagree with Schiff re dollar and CPI rising (asset price might rise but not CPI for some time)
1)many countries without resources have much higher debt levels than US (Italy and Switzerland for example)
2)IF US implodes, I highly doubt rest of world will continue business as usual because:
a)we have been largest consumer to date (not that this is a good thing)
b) we have largest military, which won't sit idle. I just finished an excellent book Sex and War and the authors posit that in times of relative scarcity, human (and chimps) develop the ability to 'dehumanize' the outgroups, and killing in name of ingroup become socially sanctioned and actually 'enjoyable' (believe it or not, I recommend the book).

3)He is using old playbook - dollar is one of ALL fiat currencies - capitalism may not last -but until it collapses US dollar joins world economy at the hip. Yuan and CHF are even more decoupled from underlying resource base than US. (though US does have most addicted consumers)

4)short dollar trade becoming VERY crowded trade (again)

I do agree with him re US being a drag on the world, but not on world economy.

I agree fully with 2b.

History repeats itself again and again.

well we agree on something. For now you we're in the same 'ingroup'

in times of relative scarcity, human (and chimps) develop the ability to 'dehumanize' the outgroups, and killing in name of ingroup become socially sanctioned and actually 'enjoyable'

This can be observed throughout history. But it is not only in times of scarcity but in times of conflict, where people actually feel threatened by an enemy, as well. Nowadays people do not feel threatened by any enemy so you have virtually universal empathy. But that circle of empathy can disappear extremely fast in times of actual threat, and reappear just about as fast when the threat disappears.

Few here can remember WW2 but when the bomb was dropped on Hiroshima most everyone jumped and cheered because tens of thousands of Japs had been killed. Then a few years later Japanese, as they were then called, were our very best friends. (In the TV series "McHale's Navy" the Japanese were called "Nips" because it not politically correct to use the word "Jap or Japs". Nips for Nipponese of course.)

Anyway, I have been looking for a good book, something different. This sounds like a good one and I think I will order it.

Ron P.

Here is Amazon link:

Sex and War: How Biology Explains Warfare and Terrorism and Offers a Path to a Safer World

Will be little new for you Ron, but it is well written, by an obstetrician/biologist who went to Pakistan in 1970s to help with the tens (hundreds?) of thousands of rape victims during the war. In the end he suggests that our evolutionary heritage might be best kept in check with more women in authority roles, something I'll discuss in this weekends Campfire.

Sex and War is a serious, often engaging, frequently horrifying examination of why the human race is the uncontested champ of same-species killing in the vertebrate world.

A catfish will hoover up eggs & fry of its own species just as soon as it will those of another. I've not read the book, only just now heard of it. It may well be "serious, often engaging, frequently horrifying," as the reviewer on Amazon contends. But the contention that humans are "the uncontested champ of same-species killing in the vertebrate world" is silly. Pimelodid catfish of the Solimoes system, Pangassiid catfish of the Mekong, Clariid catfish of the Congo, et al., have evolved behavioral adaptations in the form of spawning migrations over thousands of kilometers precisely to prevent wholesale cannibalism. Dams that prevent these migrations result in juveniles and adults sharing the same habitat and the ensuing cannibalism is driving these species to extinction.

Oh, sorry. I just remembered that we need more dams to provide hydroelectricity for electrified rail.

I suppose there will be a copy at my house soon.

But somehow I doubt that I will find any thing in it that can't be learned by a careful and objective open mind reading of the King James Bible.

Basically it says (when things are going well)be nice and cooperate with the out group
and when things aren't ,put'em to the sword,except for perhaps young and comely women and little kids that will grow up as "in groupers"

And although it is not a RECCOMENDED policy it also makes it clear that cooperation with other "in groupers" is optional(although frowned upon) and if the risk /reward ratio is favorable,the usual course of events that WILL BE is THEFT of a waeker nieghbor's goods and his women.

The generations come,and go,and the Earth abides(forever for the purposes of medevial men)and there is nothing new under the sun-at least insofar as the actions of men are concerned.

And there are a few little tidbits about the love of money too.

Especially about living at the limits of your means,and the consequences there of.

But it will be worth the price if it ties things together nicely with modern psychology,etc.I'm sure it will.

A competent priest a thousand years ago,two or three thousand years ago, knew more SOUND (if emperically derived) psychology ,than most modern era practicioners totaled together previous to the late sixties,when I was force fed some BF Skinner.

I usually agree with the idea of Peter Schiff more than I do with Schiff, himself.

He pushes the decoupling argument, but the coupling that matteers; USA/China is persistent. China can bring down the US economy and vice- versa. It's more like the US/China as a drag on the world.

China consumption at the wholesale level is substituting for the USA retail consumption. China lending added to USA lending. China and the US both trying to crowd the other out of credit markets.

4)short dollar trade becoming VERY crowded trade (again)

Bernanke can push one of his zombies off the edge of a the cliff and the safety trade is there any time he needs it.

Yes, 2b is rather obvious when it's pointed out.

And this becomes a problem not necessarily because it's "wrong", but because as a group we don't fully understand what causes it or what can be done about it successfully. Though the "Nine Point Plan for making peace break out" sounds intriguing and hokey at the same time.

Thanks for the link: A lot of what Schiff points out makes a lot more sense than this Potemkin Village that is masquerading as a "vibrant economy".

Schiff claims the transition from borrowing and spending to saving and producing cannot be accomplished without a severe recession, given the current imbalances of the U.S. economy. But according to him, that transition needs to happen. He also thinks the government is doing no one a favor by trying to "ease the pain" with stimulus packages, bailouts and such.


FYI there is a webinar tomorrow on WTI fundamentals. 8am or 3pm, presented by the CME group. I signed up for it, not sure if it will be informative or not...

You can sign up for it the NYMEX website. www.nymex.com

I have to wonder how the City of Dallas can allow the egregious waste of water, especially considering the drought situation of Texas. Does it not seem like this would be a fair analogy of our oil use in the world? Those that can afford it, tend to waste it? ie. 'If you got it, flaunt it?' This article 'Drought Schmout' just tore me up. Especially because the "city" didn't seem concerned about it.

That's a pretty easy problem to solve. Hint: tiered pricing.

Guard troops may be needed in troubled Ala. county

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The sheriff in Alabama's most populous county may call for the National Guard to help maintain order, a spokesman said Tuesday, after a judge cleared the way for cuts in the sheriff's budget and hopes dimmed for a quick end to a budget crisis.

Circuit Judge Joseph L. Boohaker ruled that leaders in Jefferson County — now trying to head off a municipal bankruptcy filing of historic proportions — could go ahead with plans to slash $4.1 million from the budget of Sheriff Mike Hale, who had filed a lawsuit that temporarily blocked spending cuts for his office.

About 1,000 county workers already are on unpaid leave because courts threw out a key county tax, and Hale has warned that reductions to his budget would mean fewer patrols by deputies and decreased courthouse security.

Interview with the author of the book on $20 per gallon gasoline:


Click on the "Inevitable Rise in the Price of Gasoline"

The Inevitable Rise in the Price of Gasoline
[2009-08-03 12:00:00] How high will gas prices go and is there an up side to increasing energy costs? We'll spend this hour with Forbes staff writer Christopher Steiner, whose new book is "$20 Per Gallon: How the Inevitable Rise in the Price of Gasoline will Change Our Lives for the Better" (Grand Central, 2009).

Yes, I listened to that yesterday, optimistic chap.

For those of you worried about Fema Camps:
(don't it has already happened)

If a round up of Americans is real, then it began years ago. And as far as I can tell, everyone went peacefully, each one alone, like children, whose greatest concern on that day when the gates were closed, was the absence of Ranch flavored Pringles.

---Joe Bageant

The fine folks at the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board have kindly approved Nova Scotia Power's 2010 DSM Plan which means I'll still be living off the public tit gainfully employed for another year.

Our share of the budget is $5.62 million, and our objective is to help an additional six hundred small businesses reduce their collective energy usage by 13.98 GWh and lower utility demand by a further 3.3 MW (the overall budget has been set at $22.89 million and the incremental annual energy and demand reduction targets are 82.67 GWh and 16.92 MW respectively). It's an ambitious goal and I expect all of us will be busting ass to meet it.

I've worked in a number of fields over the years and I've always enjoyed whatever it is I do, but I've never found anything as personally satisfying as the work I do now. Every kWh saved is another pound of coal that won't be burned and 2.64 pounds of CO2 that won't be released into the atmosphere, along with the SO2, NOx, Hg, As, Cd, Pb, Zn and God knows what else that comes along for the ride. Every time we flip a switch, we poison the world around us just that little bit more. Take a moment to reflect on that, then ask yourself what you can do to help out.


Do you have any running total of how much you think you have reduced electricity demand since you started all this work?

Personally? I can't give you a good figure off the top of my head, but taking into consideration what our firm has done to date by way of this Direct Install programme and NSP's larger Commercial+Industrial initiative, plus my past work with the Ontario Ministry of Energy and various projects with private and public sector clients over the years, I'm guessing somewhere between 50 and 100 GWh. I'd have to go through hundreds of audit files and multiple the estimated annual energy savings by the number of years of service since the date of the install, and some of this data is contained in file formats no longer supported by current generation software (ever hear of VisiCalc or MultiPlan?).


Take a moment to reflect on that, then ask yourself what you can do to help out.

Log off.
Thanks Paul!
Good night TOD.