Drumbeat: August 8, 2009

Climate Change Seen as Threat to U.S. Security

WASHINGTON — The changing global climate will pose profound strategic challenges to the United States in coming decades, raising the prospect of military intervention to deal with the effects of violent storms, drought, mass migration and pandemics, military and intelligence analysts say.

Such climate-induced crises could topple governments, feed terrorist movements or destabilize entire regions, say the analysts, experts at the Pentagon and intelligence agencies who for the first time are taking a serious look at the national security implications of climate change.

Recent war games and intelligence studies conclude that over the next 20 to 30 years, vulnerable regions, particularly sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East and South and Southeast Asia, will face the prospect of food shortages, water crises and catastrophic flooding driven by climate change that could demand an American humanitarian relief or military response.

Consumerism is 'eating the future'

We're a gloomy lot, with many of us insisting that there's nothing we can do personally about global warming, or that the human race is over-running the planet like a plague.

But according to leading ecologists speaking this week in Albuquerque at the annual meeting of the Ecological Society of America, few of us realise that the main cause of the current environmental crisis is human nature.

More specifically, all we're doing is what all other creatures have ever done to survive, expanding into whatever territory is available and using up whatever resources are available, just like a bacterial culture growing in a Petri dish till all the nutrients are used up. What happens then, of course, is that the bugs then die in a sea of their own waste.

Libyans bid for Shell sites

LIBYA’s national oil company and two billionaire Indian brothers are among the contenders to buy Britain’s second-largest oil refinery.

Shell’s Stanlow complex near Ellesmere Port, Cheshire, produces a sixth of the UK’s petrol and is the oil giant’s only refinery in Britain. However, the company has put it up for sale as it tries to rein in its huge cost base and struggles with the effects of an oil price that is half the level of the historic high hit last year.

Saudi Arabia's buying power

Recently-released statistics point out to exceptional economic results in Saudi Arabia in 2008 on the back of firm oil prices.

For instance, the gross domestic product (GDP) in current prices grew by a hefty 22 per cent on the back of exceptional rise of oil prices in the first seven months of the year. GDP in current prices or market exchange rate include effects of oil price rise but exclude inflationary pressures. Oil prices reached a record $147 per barrel in July 2008. However, oil prices dropped in the last five months of the year in the aftermath of the global financial crisis and the collapse of the subprime market in the US.

Oil spill tarnishes French nature reserve

MARSEILLE, France (AFP) – Experts on Sunday will begin taking stock of the impact of an oil spill from a pipeline that runs through a nature reserve in the south of France, officials said Saturday.

Some 4,000 cubic metres of crude oil spilled from the pipeline that runs from Fos-sur-Mer, northwest of the French Mediterranean port of Marseille, to Karlsruhe, Germany via the Coussoulis de Crau reserve.

Bold Soil-Mapping Venture Seen as Crucial to Efforts on Climate, Agriculture

Long left in the dust by their peers in climate research, a small group of soil scientists is spearheading an effort to apply rigorous computer analysis to the ground beneath our feet.

Their goal: to produce a digital soil map of the entire world.

Thomas Homer-Dixon: The enticements of green carrots - Nudging people with environmental incentives may work better than imposing costs and penalties

We Canadians like to think we are green, but when it comes to protecting the environment, we are among the world's worst actors. Whether the metric is carbon output per capita, toxic waste emissions or protection of endangered species, Canada regularly ranks near the bottom of the list of similarly wealthy countries.

If our economy's incentives start pulling in the same direction as our ethical impulses, Canadians can do better. At present, they are pulling in opposite directions.

A more positive Pacific solution

At a Lowy Institute forum in Brisbane he said Vanuatu's 220,000 people had been largely unaffected by the global financial crisis - because they did not belong to the modern economy. About 80 per cent live in the traditional village economy, while even the rest - including his Port Vila constituents - rely on tradition and kinship for food, work exchanges and dispute settlement.

The traditional economies in PNG, the Solomons and Vanuatu had expanded to cope with some of the highest population growth anywhere, and provided food and shelter (if not modern medicines to fight malaria) where the modern economy collapsed altogether, as in Bougainville during its civil war.

''We must make deliberate efforts to maintain the traditional economy where it exists in the Pacific and ensure that it remains as our buffer in the uncertain global economy into the future,'' Regenvanu said. It had to be somehow entered into economic statistics, and its supports like traditional land tenure maintained.

Saving the planet, one block, one small project at a time

ON A WINTRY day in January, Dave Reid loaded some 700 pounds of freshly harvested organic vegetables into the cabin of his 27-foot sailboat in Sequim Bay, hoisted his sails and rode an outgoing tide into the Strait of Juan de Fuca, bound for Seattle. Over the next two days, Reid sailed on quirky winds, dodged state ferries, scooted past Chinese container ships and even encountered a mammoth Trident submarine before eventually docking at Shilshole Bay. That's where his customers showed up to collect their allotments of herbs and greens.

In an economy that usually rewards speed and efficiency, Reid's carbon-free voyage gives new meaning to tilting at windmills. It took 36 hours to make a trip a small truck could have accomplished in two hours. And his 700 pounds amounted to a minuscule percentage of the food consumed in Seattle that day.

Other Countries Ink Deals for Oil Drilling Off Florida Keys

While the debate about drilling off the coast of Florida continues in Washington and the state Legislature, several international companies are getting started on projects that could bring oil rigs within 60 miles of the Keys by year's end.

Companies from nations like Norway, Spain, India, China, Russia and Brazil have signed exploration agreements with Cuba and the Bahamas that could mean drilling south of Key West this year, and 120 miles east of the Keys in the Cay Sal area of the Bahamas in fewer than two years.

Chris Cook: Energy ETFs Not To Blame

I'd say that speculators are to blame, but it depends on how you define "speculator." I don't regard the exchange-traded funds as speculators; I believe the real speculators are the middlemen who buy oil and sell it for profit, or who act as market markers in the derivatives markets with the view of making profits. Now, there's nothing wrong with either of those things, but it is inherently a speculative activity.

Power rationing affects sluggish Kenya economy

Kenya's sluggish economy has suffered a new setback as the country went into a power rationing mode, analysts said, citing the impact of similar action nine years ago.

Day-long power rationing announced on Tuesday started yesterday with the small and medium enterprises (SMEs), the country's growth engine, hit hardest because they were excluded from a reprieve scheme that was announced by the government.

Kuwait becomes net gas importer

Kuwait’s first cargo of liquefied natural gas (LNG) has arrived at its terminal, making the oil-rich state a net importer of gas. The country’s decision to turn to LNG, a costly source of fuel, is a result of a severe gas supply crunch that has led to a shortage of electricity and made power cuts a fixture of summer months.

Reality Pricks Corn Ethanol's Bubble

Cost and carbon have chopped down the high hopes America's Midwest had for growing the nation off climate-changing foreign oil.

Not Recycling, and Proud of It

America's still-undecided policy on nuclear waste means the spent rods just keep a-piling up.

Bill McKibben: Beyond Radical - What conservatives could bring to the climate conversation

Many libertarians—and much of the larger conservative movement—have let down the intellectual process by refusing to engage on the most important issue of our time, and it’s making it much harder to solve the problem. I don’t mean, of course, that they haven’t opposed action on climate change—the think tanks and websites at the center of organized conservatism have done that successfully for twenty years. But it’s been only by the disgracefully anti-intellectual tactic of denying that there’s a real problem.

Libertarians, for instance, have always insisted that they’re more rational than the rest of us, weighed down as we are by religious superstition or other forms of sentimentality. Their magazine, after all, is called Reason. But Reason and its ideological cousin the Cato Institute have spent twenty years plumping for any global warming skeptic they can find or fund—their position, apparently, is that the atmospheric chemists and physicists who, by application of the scientific process, have reached broad consensus that we are warming the Earth have somehow managed to screw up the math. It’s embarrassing to read—no argument is too absurd or too trivial. It is completely unReasonable.

Climate Change Activist Bill McKibben and Bat Specialist Al Hicks to Speak in Newcomb

Bill McKibben, acclaimed author of The End of Nature, has been rallying support from around the world to speak as one planet and call for a fair global climate treaty. Wildlife biologist Al Hicks is racing against the clock working with other scientists to prevent the extinction of bats in the Northeast. McKibben will be the keynote speaker at the annual meeting of the Adirondack Chapter of The Nature Conservancy and the Adirondack Land Trust on Saturday, August 15, at the Newcomb Central School in Newcomb, NY. Hicks’s lecture, The End of Bats in the Northeast?, is one of three field trip/educational opportunities being offered before the meeting formally kicks off at 1:00.

Wham! So Much for Energy Liberalization

Ah, the 1980s. It was a time when our phones had to be plugged into the walls. It was an era of bad music, big hair and a shrinking role for government in energy markets. Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan introduced the free market to the energy market and they ran off in a (mostly) happy embrace.

Whether you think this development was brilliant or dastardly doesn’t really matter now because that era is ending—quickly.

Alaska: Gas shortage stirs pols

Alaska political leaders are seizing on what’s fast becoming a burning issue: the potential for electric power or heating outages this winter in the state’s population center as supplies of Cook Inlet natural gas tighten.

“Woe unto the policymaker who didn’t do something,” said state Sen. Hollis French, an Anchorage Democrat who is calling for a Strategic Gas Initiative.

Why grow your own food?

OVER the next several years food prices will increase sharply. These coming price increases are as unavoidable and inevitable as an increase in the price of oil.

In fact the price we pay for food is interestingly and inextricably linked to the oil price, and this article will not only show how the two have become inseparably intertwined but how they cannot do anything other than escalate.

Bill Gross's Solar Breakthrough

"We are producing the lowest cost solar electrons in the history of the world," Bill Gross is telling me. "Nobody's ever done it. Nobody's close."

Bill Gross is nothing if not an enthusiast, which makes him a great salesman for whatever it is he happens to be selling. A lifelong entrepreneur, a longtime evangelist for solar energy and the CEO of eSolar, a Google-funded startup that designs and develops concentrating solar power (CSP) projects at utility scale, Gross is one of the most interesting business people I've known.

UK: Councils accused of ignoring biogas

Find out if your council is about to waste your waste in favour of incinerators with our interactive map.

How America might invent the future

Modern humans may impatiently look forward to their robot servants and flying cars of the future, but true lessons about innovation come from the past. And history suggests that making a great leaps forward in science and technology requires much more than lone genius. Cooperation, financing and hard work are at the core of progress.

Is a 4-day workweek inevitable? Utah cuts energy use 13%

Closing Utah state offices on Fridays has resulted in a 13 percent reduction in energy use according to an internal analysis of the nation’s most expansive four-day workweek program.

Since last August, about 17,000 of the state’s 24,000 executive branch employees have been working 10 hours a day, four days a week in an effort to reduce energy consumption and cut utility costs….

The state estimates that, collectively, employees will save between $5 million and $6 million annually by not commuting on Fridays and the initiative will cut greenhouse gas emissions by more than 12,000 metric tons.

Review: What Will Life Be Like In the US When Gas Costs $20 Per Gallon?

Not to suggest the subject or Steiner’s argument aren’t serious. Both are. But before offering modest praise and a modest critique, we have to say that we kept imagining a conversation involving some combination of the agent, editor and publisher prior to the book being written that really stressed how important it was to make this a positive book–after all, everybody is sick of downers like Jim Kunstler talking about oil crashes. And since negative scary arguments apparently just make people retreat deeper into their cocoons of denial where their only sustenence is crime dramas and celebrity blogs, it’s important to keep. it. happy. We’re serious: HAPPY! Thus sentences like this one in the introduction: “The future will be exhilarating.”

Military plans anti-sub exercises in Arctic

Just a month after two nuclear-powered Russian subs cracked through sea ice near the North Pole to test-fire two long-range missiles, the Canadian military will conduct "anti-submarine warfare" exercises during its annual Arctic sovereignty operation, which began this week near Baffin Island.

The massive training mission, involving some 700 personnel from the Canadian Forces and a host of federal and territorial agencies, will also feature a simulated security emergency involving a "suspected downed unmanned aerial vehicle."

New oil filed discovered in Inner Mongolia

An oil field with about 140 million tons of high-quality reserve has been discovered in northern China's Inner Mongolia autonomous region.

Brazil to raise stake in Petrobras

Brazil's government plans to boost its stake by the coming year in state-run Petrobras, which is partly owned by private investors, by offering new oilfields in exchange for company shares, a source said.

Electric roadster maker making money

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Tesla Motors turned profitable for the first time in July, when the electric car manufacturer shipped a record 109 vehicles, the company said Friday.

A surge in sales and reduced manufacturing costs of Tesla's Roadster 2 sports car helped boost the company to $1 million in earnings and $20 million in revenue.

Driving Out of Germany, to Pollute Another Day

FRANKFURT — When the German government developed its pioneering cash-for-clunkers program, it neglected one small detail: making sure the clunkers no longer clunked.

Police investigators have concluded that the alluring premise of the program — providing generous incentives to people who replace aging, pollutant-spewing vehicles with environmentally friendly models — is being undermined as cars that were supposed to have been junked are finding their way to markets in Africa and Eastern Europe.

Up to 50,000 clunkers have whistled past the automotive graveyard in Germany and found new life elsewhere, according to Ronald Schulze, an expert with the Association of Criminal Investigators, a professional group of police sleuths. Experienced thieves, he said in an interview on Friday, discovered “a market opportunity.”

Journalist to discuss ‘peak oil’

Former Minnesota journalist Brian Kaller will discuss how to live well in a worsening economy with less energy in two events today and Wednesday in Minneapolis and St. Paul.

Kaller has written for a number of years about “peak oil,” the point at which global energy resources begin to decline, and related issues such as climate change and the global economy.

Localism and Economic Liberalism: A prolix pontification and an open forum

Alas, the enduring unholy marriage of capital and power, to which we have tacitly submitted, if not offered hearty obeisance, has so enervated our communities, so completely desiccated our intermediary institutions, that rebuilding the sort of social capital that restraining the vicious side of liberal economics requires is, notwithstanding climactic upheavals (C’monnnnnnn, Peak Oil!), simply impossible to expect to have happen except on a extremely local, piecemeal scale. (And perhaps this isn’t all bad?)

The Search For Green Power On And Off Of The Grid

Hundreds of utilities around the country — and a growing number of companies — are offering customers a chance to buy green power. These programs are especially popular with businesses, which use them to promote their environmental consciousness. Packaging for all kinds of products now includes claims that producers use renewable power. But where does the power come from?

On the Fairway, New Lessons in Saving Water

State governments are turning to golf courses, long seen as water guzzlers, for tips on conservation.

Turkish Dam Loses European Creditors

Defenders of archeology and the rights of Kurdish villagers may have trumped Turkey’s quest to build a massive hydroelectric dam.

In July, German, Swiss and Austrian creditors backed out of the $1.7 billion Ilisu dam project amid a flurry of protests.

Divine assistance meets global warming

Villagers from deeply Roman Catholic south Switzerland have for centuries offered a sacred vow to God to protect them from the advancing ice mass of the Great Aletsch Glacier.

Global warming is making them want to reverse their prayers, and the Alpine faithful are seeking the permission of the Pope.

Mountain Critter A Candidate For Endangered List

The American pika could become the first animal in the continental U.S. listed under the Endangered Species Act because of climate change. The cute relative of the rabbit lives in the mountain West, and researchers say warmer temperatures put it at risk for extinction.

If the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service decides to list the pika, that could prompt new restrictions on the activities that create greenhouse gases.

NY governor signs order setting emissions goal

ALBANY, N.Y. — New York Gov. David Paterson signed an executive order Thursday that sets a statewide goal of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by mid-century to 80 percent below the 1990 levels.

A new council representing various state agencies is to examine the economic impacts and prepare a plan by September of next year for reaching the target levels. Under Paterson's order, emissions in the state would be reduced to 55 million tons by 2050.

A Pacific island chain with real energy incentive

Tuvalu is a nation of nine islands and atolls halfway between Australia and Hawaii. Some 12,000 people live there. The highest point in its 10 square miles of land is 14.7 feet above sea level. Most land is less than 3.2 feet above the high tide mark. After the Maldives, it’s the country with the lowest elevation in the world. And it’s quite worried by the rising seas predicted to accompany a warmer world.

The encroaching ocean has already claimed some smaller islands. Saltwater seeping up through the ground has made growing crops in some areas difficult. Many have begun referring to Tuvaluans as some of the world’s first climate refugees.

Geoengineering schemes under scrutiny: Researchers divided over the wisdom of climate manipulation

Geoengineering — the deliberate manipulation of climate to counteract global warming — might not be taking off just yet, but the push to fund more research into it is increasing.

Porge posted this link late last night but I would like to call your attention to it again today.

Dmitry Orlov, Guns and Butter - "The Collapse Gap"

"The Collapse Gap" with Dmitry Orlov, author of "Reinventing Collapse - The Soviet Example and American Prospects". Dmitry Orlov's repeated travels to Russia throughout the early nineties allowed him to observe the aftermath of the Soviet collapse first-hand. Being both a Russian and an American, Dmitry was able to appreciate both the differences and the similarities between the two superpowers. Eventually he came to the conclusion that the United States is going the way of the Soviet Union. His emphasis is on all the things that can still be made to work, and he advocates simply ignoring all that will fall by the wayside.

This is one great radio show. Orlov delves deeply into the reasons the US will collapse as the Soviet Union did. He talks about the similarities as well as the differences. He also digs deeply into the oil situation. He even mentions the Export Land Model though he calls it The Export Land Effect.

This station only archives shows for two weeks so it will disappear 11 days from now. Don't miss this one.

Ron P.

Are we doomers on TOD like the Court Jester, able to say outrageous things like; “There will be a total population collapse, down to under a billion” simply because no one takes us seriously. In the comments to the above show, the first comment by one “Esteban” started like this:

The sky is falling! We're gonna starve! Help! Help!... Nothing to be done! Ahhhh! Exactly, what kind of doomsday masturbation is this?

Several posters replied to him calling him an idiot and other choice names. Then Orlov himself posted a comment:

Don't knock the Estebans of this world. They are "useful idiots". It is very important that people who can't agree with us (for the usual delusional reasons) also can't take us seriously. If they can't take us seriously, then we can't be a security threat - and they aren't a security threat to me. This is an ancient survival technique: court jesters could say things that got earnest critics of the throne beheaded. And the best response to "I can't take you seriously" is "Likewise!"

Would we be in danger if people who disagree with us took us seriously? Would these "useful idiots" become "dangerous idiots" if they took us seriously?

Ron P.

We are all on a list somewhere.

Maybe that's why I'm a "Black Dog"...

E. Swanson

Black Dog, are you the reincarnation of the black dog that walked into history at the Led Zeppelin IV album recording sessions? Hey, honey pass me another mushroom.

First they Laugh at You.
Then they Fight You.
Then you Win.

Would these "useful idiots" become "dangerous idiots" if they took us seriously?

I think the answer is yes.

Think of them as volunteers - as in there won't be enough to go around, and those that are not even mentally prepared for what is coming will be the most vulnerable. Someone's gotta go - nice to have some volunteers. OK, so that's pretty sarcastic, but we can already see how people cope when they are suddenly confronted by economic disaster when they never expected it. I don't think it matters when they find out as far as how dangerous they become, it's mostly a function of how fast they are forced to adapt. The real danger will come later when some clever sociopath figures out how to harness all that anger and fear, and then it becomes organized.

Would we be in danger if people who disagree with us took us seriously? Would these "useful idiots" become "dangerous idiots" if they took us seriously?

Personally I follow the following plan to save my skin:

(i) Don't talk about this with a lots of people, only with those you know are sincere with you like childhood friends and close family members. Never talk about this with people at your office or with neighbours, they might be the first people to kill you during the collapse.

(ii) When talk about this with people you do know are sincere with you focus on headline news and main theme like "all fossil fuels have to run out some day" and "EIA accepted peak oil theory and halving of production every 11 years". Leave the detail analysis to audience.

(iii) Dilute the conversation with other more-at-hand topics like where to hang out today and about tv programs so they don't label you as a pessimist and doomer. Show them that you do have a sense of beauty and love for humanity.

He was talking about how China is locking up long-term contracts, while the U.S. (and Britain, I guess, since he talked about the English-speaking world) prefer to rely upon the "free market". While a valid point, it seems that the long term contracts will ultimately get broken when the suppliers can no longer produce enough to meet the contract.

You can download the program and save it for later. Runs about 50 minutes..

Is 140 million tons of oil roughly 1 Billion barrels? Depends on the oil's density...

Break break:

Bring on that 4-day work week! This would be a great gift to give ourselves...slow down, work is not the be-all, end all (at least not work in the 'traditional' sense of going to the office and writing reports, or even going to the factory and making more widgets we don't need so much. Sleep in, take walks, ride your bike, have a hobby...We need to slow down, think some more, produce and consume less.

I think the 4-day work week is a great idea. Congress passed a 30-hour work week during the Great Depression, to spread around the limited jobs available. FDR vetoed it, but some companies, like Kellogg, did it anyway, and people loved it.

The extra time off would also give people more time to transition...to whatever comes next. Maybe they'll garden or sew or cook more, which makes sense if you have more time than money. Maybe they'll take classes or start home businesses that lead them to a new career, that they can fall back on when their old one fades. Maybe they'll volunteer to help those less fortunate.

Of course it would be deflationary. But we're likely facing deflation anyway. Better to have lots of people with part time jobs than a few people who are massively overworked while others are unemployed.

Globalization would also be an issue. Americans working 4-day weeks can't compete with Chinese working 6-day weeks. But then, globalization seems to be unwinding anyway.

I also think the corporations and govt. have been extremely resistant to doing this because it's much easier to keep people in line when they are completely exhausted with work, family, community etc. obligations thru the five days of the work week - just kept perpetually on the treadmill. Give them another day off and a certain percentage of them might really start to question a great many things...

Gotta be better than having millions of people unemployed and on the dole.

I think that doing what work there is in 4 days instead of 5 (as in Utah) doesn't help unemployment at all, and I wouldn't assume the workers use overall less energy on their extra days off than they would have working. Utah isn't proposing a shorter working week, it is proposing more stessful workdays - in my experience American office workers work way too long hours but are not actually very productive at work, they all seem frightened of being laid off if they are not present even on weekends, many don't even take their meagre ration of vacation time.

In the UK in the 1970s energy crisis we went to a three day week.

Utah doesn't have a shorter work week. They have a compressed work week.

There are some advantages to a compressed work week, but I think what we really need is a shorter work week.

california go to a shorter work week by making state employees take three unpaid furlough days a month. There's been much protesting over it since it amounts to unilateral pay cut, but at least it reduces unemployment by spreading the work around.

"but at least it reduces unemployment by spreading the work around."

Oh, or does it just mean longer lines and less service?

Probably both.

The furloughs are supposed to be to avoid layoffs.

And many other companies are cutting hours rather than laying people off. Not because they want to reduce unemployment, but because they are expecting the economy to bounce back, and they don't want to lose the workers they trained.

I am new to California and dreaded going to the DMV in Santa Rosa, especially since they have a 4 day work week. I wasp pleasantly surprised by the speed and efficiency.

I think if everyone went to a shorter work week the pay cut aspect would be minimized. It's not really what you make that matters, it's what you make relative to others.

My wife's work instituted a one week furlough for all employees this year. The company used to be part of IBM and was full of workaholics who never took vacation, particularly senior management. I have never seen a company ask people to work so many Saturdays and Sundays on top of a 40hr week.

Funny thing with the furlough was that employees were told they couldn't do any work on furlough. Nada. No checking e-mail, v-mail or calling in to see how things are going. It was bizarre and refreshing for most who did it. It was for many their first real time off, a real break from work not the "working vacation".

A taste of what more time off is like could be a great wake up call for the USA. Along with the Japanese we in the US have some crazy cultural ideas about life and leisure.

Yea, I spent 20 years in the military, and even stateside during peacetime ops (I served even before the 'long war' 'clash of civilizations' 'never-ending war' etc.) and most colonels will ride their folks like donkeys to get promoted. The metric is face time, office time, and the mantra was that on Friday Afternoon it was "only two more workdays until Monday". Excelling at your primary function in your job description was never enogh, and slaving on tasks tangential to your job and to national security was the promised path to promotion. It was all such a load of crap. Work is not a life...life is life. I saw so many people neglect their families to play the role of military courtier, and I see the same crap now in the contractor world.


I've only spent about 8 years in the defense industry and I see the same phenomenon. I could spend 80 hours a week at my job and the pay raise that *might* get me would not be worth the time invested.

In these economic times I am more likely to get "promoted". This means a new, more important title with more responsibilities, but no pay increase.

Obviously, I've arrived at the conclusion that life is too short to spend it all working in someone else's cube farm.

Funny thing with the furlough was that employees were told they couldn't do any work on furlough. Nada. No checking e-mail, v-mail or calling in to see how things are going.

Yes, they're being very strict about that. It's federal law - a way to protect employees from being forced to work without pay. Journalists found themselves in that situation, too. Gannett is doing a one-week furlough per quarter, and for many of those reporters, it was difficult. They're so used to checking in, even on vacation. Many of them post updates on their newspaper blogs, even when they're on vacation. They couldn't do that on furlough.

Except that there are so many fixed costs, such as health "care" and per-capita or per-property government "fees" and "rents" (e.g. sewer "rent" and school "activity fees"), and monthly transit passes. Those don't go down one iota when your pay goes down. Then there are the quasi-fixed costs such as car insurance, utility bills, property tax, and mortgage or rent. Those don't go down either when your pay goes down. While they can sometimes be decreased to some extent, doing so is usually a disruptive, risky, and/or time-consuming proposition.

It follows that in real life, your flexibility to do anything beyond merely surviving amidst the four walls will take a far greater hit than a (say) 20% decrease in hours would suggest at face value. That's another reason, beyond the fierce resistance to acquiring skills at the low end that I mentioned elsewhere, why the French 35-hour law has been chipped away pretty much completely*, and why there seems to be no appetite for shorter hours among union activists here at home. I suspect it'll get really 'interesting' in Europe as the various states continue to discover that they simply haven't the resources to keep the vast array of promises they've made, even if everyone worked 60 hours.

*N.B. they hadn't formally repealed it outright a while ago when I last read up on it; I think they still haven't, but I could be wrong. In any event, they're perfectly aligned with the strong postwar West European tradition of enacting high-sounding but unworkable laws and piously announcing them to the world, then quietly finding ways to ignore them the instant the TV cameras turn to The Next Cool Thing.

The federal agency I work for has a program called gradual retirement. When an employee is within 3 years of being eligible to retire they can opt to work a reduced work schedule. The day I was eligible I requested a 21 hour workweek which my agency promptly rejected. We did compromise on a 32 hour 4 day workweek which I did for 3 years. At the end of 3 years I either had to retire or go back to working 40 hours per week. The purpose of the program is to help an employee transition into retirement. One important aspect of the program is to let an employee see how they can live on the reduced salary which is more in line with the reduced income they would be living on in retirement without making the final commitment to retire. The program also gives an employee more free time to pursue other interests.

Interesting. But as you say, part of the point is very clearly to avoid any hint that a 32-hour week could be a long-term norm. This sort of thing wouldn't be available to the younger posters here, only the ones close to retirement.

Of course. But I think the alternative is no job at all for a lot of people.

I think we will be transitioning to a much poorer way of life anyway. This is a way to do it with the least amount of pain.

There is no way to avoid the pain altogether.

I think a shorter work week is a disaster for people who have debt (almost everyone). If you have a $300,000 mortgage and your working hours and income are reduced, you may not be able to make payments.
Pay cut matters if you borrowed money when your income was higher.

It's not really what you make that matters, it's what you make relative to others.

While I think that is true across nations (i.e. going to a different country) or across generations, what we see in modern life is people getting trapped into long run financial commitments -such as fixed rent for long term leases, mortages, car payments, child support payments etc. So if everyone was asked to scale back by say 10%, that would throw a lot of people over the edge.

Those people will probably be losing their jobs, if we don't spread what jobs there are around some.

They're probably going over the edge anyway. I think most of that debt will never be repaid, one way or another.

One of the local hospitals went that route for nurses ... 4-10s and after a while the nurses didn't like it. Too much stress for too long a time. So a lot depends on the job which is better. Of course any cut in hours that equates to cut in pay is a drastic cut in disposable income. Kinda like the ELM. Tnx WT. The concept applies in many ways ...

All your points are well--said and make great sense to me. We don't need to base our lifestyles on some notional industrial competition with China halfway around the globe. They will have their own awakenings in their own good time. Has Europe worried that their shorter workweeks and their norms (in some countries) of taking a month off for vacation have not 'kept up' with the U.S. 'productivity'? Last time I checked their health outcomes (such as lifespan and infant mortality) were better, Airbus owns more than half of the commercial airliner market, their car companies are doing better than ours, and German, Dutch, and Spanish companies populate the top-ten wind turbine manufacturers, amongst many other examples of their competitiveness.

I think that U.S. people would be less stressed, and therefore happier and healthier, with shorter workweeks. The ethos of volunteerism and community involvement you talk about would be very welcome. The idea of having some time to tend a garden is great. Of course, for those who may want to work longer hours (be it one job or multiple jobs including work-at-home) then they can have at it.

Telecommuting from home and distributed satellite offices instead of concentrated, large central office sites sounds attractive as well. The purchase price and energy use of computers with useful video cameras feeding collaborative (net meeting, white-board)-type software should not be an issue, as most people have computers at home already and certainly most office cubicles are equipped with computers already as well.

If it were not for the nature of my present work, I would push my employer hard for a partial work-at-home arrangement. In fact, during my one project that was not sensitive, I did cut a deal with my boss to partially work at home...dressed in shorts and a T and with an occasional cold beer. It was much more productive than wasting time driving to the office, having folks come in and chat about stuff that didn't contribute to my productivity, etc.

Here's hoping for a lifestyle change...

Has Europe worried that their shorter workweeks and their norms (in some countries) of taking a month off for vacation have not 'kept up' with the U.S. 'productivity'?

Yes. In fact, many of those benefits are going away. Remember the French demonstrations last year? They were in part because the government wants to lengthen the work week.

Did the french Government's efforts succeed? If they did, is the average French worker's work week now 40 hours, which is allegedly the U.S. norm? Another issue: Do their people work the extra hours (I would say 'overtime, but that quaint idea id going away)that American workers do? 50+ hour weeks are not uncommon...if the bosses see that you don't want to toe that line, then you find out that you are a line-replaceable unit.

Did the French people give up their long vacations? Workers in the U.S. have fewer vacation daze than the workers of most other industrialized countries. I doubt that the French people are working themselves to death like many Americans are.

Did the french Government's efforts succeed?

I think they did succeed in abolishing the 35-hour work week, at least on paper.

If they did, is the average French worker's work week now 40 hours, which is allegedly the U.S. norm?

My guess would be no - not yet.

I doubt that the French people are working themselves to death like many Americans are.

I didn't say they were.

What you asked was if they worried about keeping up with the longer-working rest of the world. The answer is yes. That doesn't mean they're working as much as Americans. But it has become an issue. Welfare Minister Xavier Bertrand said, "The 35 hours have been a brake on our economy, the 35 hours have prevented the salaries of French workers from rising."

And I think as long as globalization continues, there will be a "race to the bottom" as far as labor goes.

We are in agreement...neither population (in this case, French and U.S), by and large, likes the slave labor mentality, but the ridiculous rat race of globalization/'productivity'/meaningless and destructive growth is pushed on us bu the fascist cabal of the government and the corporations and their many media servants.

Positive change can happen, though.

I completely agree with the previous poster who stated that the extra hours were largely unproductive and are put in due to fear of the boss, fear of being cut.

I'd prefer a four day work week as well, but the employer-based health insurance system in the US pushes employers to have fewer employees, working longer hours.

One more reason to support national healthcare.

Of course, I do not know what will be in the National Health Care package when it finally emerges from congress. I believe at present companies will be required to pay health insurance for employees after the law is enacted and fined if they don‘t. It appears they will not have to insure people who join the company after the bill is passed. Considering our mobile population, in a few years company insurance and their respective insurance companies will be a thing of the past. I don’t know how this law will effect the state employee's health insurance programs.

It will be interesting.

Many benefits and overhead expenses are fixed costs per employee, but health insurance is definitely the big one.

Ha, ha. Any health insurance system will have that effect sooner or later unless it rations severely, which I suppose is where the recent "euthanizing Grandma" fuss is coming from. Even in Britain, France, Canada, etc., they have yet to discover the Health Care Fairy. It's still ultimately a huge fixed cost per employee even when there's an attempt to disguise it with tax fiddles and the like. Demand does not go down measurably when people work less. It just goes up inexorably no matter what, which means that to fulfill it, people need to work more.

If people really want to work less, then they'll have to accept less of the Ultra Super Deluxe Luxury Everything than they are now used to. There's not a shred of evidence for any such willingness on any scale that can possibly matter. And very unfortunately for the USA in this particular respect, it is a "diverse" country, making it utterly impossible to decide what to give up. Nor can it be left to individual choice. The entitlement-minded gimme-gimme Left and the "right to life" Right seem to be in full and absolute agreement that "health" spending should continue its fast march to infinity, while most others in the middle are so horrified by the very concept of limitation that they are dazed into silence. So choice is a no-no for the moralizers as it might allow someone to escape their dictates, which, since the moralizers know best, would be a crime against the very universe. In addition, those who worked less would rightly have fewer choices, so they would immediately howl to the highest heavens demanding tax money from others who work more, to even it up and make it "fair".

In the old Soviet bloc, they handled this - and it extended across many areas of life beyond "health care" since the collectivist tentacles invaded every nook and cranny - by passing harsh "anti-parasitism" laws. At least we don't have to contemplate this in the USA for now, people still demand more hours. Even within labor unions there seems to be little or no agitation for shorter hours. For that matter, even in allegedly oh-so-different France, la loi sur les trente-cinq, the 35-hour law, went down partly because when push came to shove, those who had never troubled themselves to acquire skills, but yet felt entitled to more money, found it far more congenial to demand more hours than to drag their sorry behinds into any sort of training or education. It appeared that la loi had been mainly a professional-class conceit.

So good luck to anyone who's looking for a four-day week as a way of working shorter hours, rather than working the same or more hours at a much higher stress level. Oh, it might happen in rare idiosyncratic cases with especially lavishly generous public employers, but most of those are probably tapped out right about now. Beyond that you'll need all the luck you can get, and it still won't be enough.

What you say makes sense if you see the problem as "people don't want to work as long."

That is not the problem I want to solve with a shorter work week. The problem I want to solve is, "There's not enough work for everyone."

And yes, I am expecting much less of super deluxe everything - no matter how much we all work.

Economists call this the "lump of labor fallacy." - The idea that there is a fixed lump of work to be done, and all we have to do is share it around.

Me, I'm not so sure it is a fallacy. But why do people work? To get the income. (Social contact, friendships, etc., they could get from their neighbors and sports/hobby/charitable clubs ... if they weren't "working.")

The solution to the underlying problem is to sort out the distribution of income, by untying it from "work."

Woo! Dangerous socialism!!! Red rag to an elephant! But capitalist economists from Adam Smith onwards have seen this as the "endpoint" of capitalism.

Anyway, it's a short-term problem, and probably not worth serious attention when there are so many others. There'll be plenty of work for the 1-in-60 survivors, post 2070. ;-)

OK...the answer is both. Most people don't want to work as long...and let's face it, clock-watching sets in past about 6 hours on-task, if not sooner.

Two: With globalization and automation and efficiency ruling all, there is not enough work for everyone, as Leanan said. Unless and until we reduce the population to match the available work and available resource constraints (sources and sinks), then we have to ration work.

And yes, people will have to do with less, which will make them happier in the long run and will stop our destruction of the envirnment, if all this is implemented fast and deep enough.

My read of what is important regarding work, is what are we working for? to feed ourselves, to cloth ourselves, and to shelter ourselves. everything else is gravy. If we have to give up the gravy then that is what we will do, because the the rest is non negotiable. We will fight to the end to keep the first three.

cheers mike

It's not globalization and automation that creates "not enough work." Those just create different(and possibly much less desirable) kinds of work.

It's peak oil that I am expecting to destroy jobs. I think the Greater Depression might last for decades. Every time we seem to recover, high oil prices will smack us back down. We're going to have to get used to a world where each generation is poorer than the last - the opposite of the "American dream."

You are absolutely correct. We are in terminal decline and need to adjust both expectations and priorities.

The article about Utah government employees indicated they are working 10 hours / day, 4 days per week which is still a 40-hour work week. Energy savings come from reduced travel to and from work.

Yep...I don't want that deal, I want 4 days per week at no more than 8.5 hours per day...a 34-hour work week would be fine, a 32-hour work week even better. With a wide-spread 3-day week-end paradigm, we could again take Sundays off...not for any religious reason, but for the inherent benefits of having a day of rest. Lazy, hazy Sundaze.

a 34-hour work week would be fine, a 32-hour work week even better

You would fit in well in France! :-)

In a pre-industrial society the usual annual work hours were 1440, roughly 4 hours a day if work on all 360 days a solar year (approx). That was in one-crop-per-year agriculture in which about 90% of humanity was engaged prior to 1800 A.D. In a hunting-gathering society work hours were even less, for example a hunter tribe believe its unlucky to go to work two consecutive days so they work one day and rest on second. Even in a two-crop-per-year system a farmer not have to work more than 1800 hours to feed and cloth his family of five people and four other such families. Even in an industrial society of 1950s and 1960s work hours were strictly 40 per week in "free world" and 60 per week in communist world with strict off-time defined. In today's service-based jobs there is no definite off-time, you can get off from work at 7 pm if you are lucky and you may have to work till 10 pm if your boss happen to be angry today.

Perhaps true, perhaps not - I suspect those pre-industrial estimates, e.g. from Ivan Illich, are partly based on nostalgic wishful thinking about a past earthly nivarna that is actually utter fantasy. Irrespective of that, the standards demanded today are enormously higher than even in 1950. These days, extremely expensive and laborious "health care" is asserted to be a natural "right" as though it comes unbidden from some magical genie instead of from intense study and labor that few are willing to undertake since even now some can still live extremely well from negligible-investment jobs such as driving municipal buses or assembling cars. Enormously complex and laboriously engineered "pollution controls" are required on chimneys that were simply open to the air in 1950; someone must foot the bill, and someone else must study engineering instead of watching TV. Limitless "second chances" are expected to be provided in the public (i.e. state) school system for "students" too lazy to do the study and homework the first time around, so sufficient numbers of extra teachers must study and acquire licenses.

It just seems absurd to expect hours to decrease, except temporarily during episodes of economic recession. Demand for the products of difficult and exacting study and labor keeps rising even as willingness to supply it does not. Pile onto that likely increases in fuel costs, and increasing population that makes any thought of return to the past a complete farce, and it can only get worse.

Perhaps true, perhaps not - I suspect those pre-industrial estimates, e.g. from Ivan Illich, are partly based on nostalgic wishful thinking about a past earthly nivarna that is actually utter fantasy.

Please remember that pre-industrial society had no artificial light. From dusk til dawn, there was not much anyone could do but sleep. Since they had no other modern conveniences either, all non-work activities took longer than today, AND had to fit between dawn and dusk. There were exactly zero "night shifts." Makes sense that people would have spent less time working.

Candles were a luxury and besides, barely strong enough to read or write by, let alone work.

Back to the present day for a moment - the videogame industry is an interesting anomaly. It's first-world white-collar work, because it's all typing and mousing and management. A project takes about two years. The first year is nominally 9-5 (more like 10-7) and the second year is often 10-10, seven days a week. Not too many people leave this industry in old age...

In a pre-industrial society the usual annual work hours were 1440, roughly 4 hours a day if work on all 360 days a solar year (approx).

If you've read Thomas Malthus, one of the early economic thinkers, he thought that human population density would increase until the death rate was high enough to balance out the birth rate. So in a Malthusian world, where originally the amount of land and other natural resources available per capita allowed a rather leisurly existence, the amount of labour needed to make a living would increase as population density increased, and people had to cultivate smaller more marginal land etc. Eventually deprivation would become widespread enough to increase the death rate.

So unless man finds another means of controlling his numbers other then high death rate due to deprivation, his future looks pretty grim. Around 1800 or so the industrial cum technological breakout increased productivity at a faster rate than population could increase, and a temporary -but couple of centuries long, period during which mankind could forget about limits ensued. Most of us on TOD, think this era is in the process of ending. The big fear is how far human population may have overshot sustainable levels. Is there a soft path towards a sustainable world, or will a severe dieoff happen between now and an eventual quasistable population?

Friday night failures...

3 regional banks fail

Two failures bring the national tally up to 72 for the year. The closures cost the FDIC $182 million.

Peak Banks!!

If 72 shut down in Germany we'd have none left.

EDIT: just did some research, we would have some left! I did not realize just how many printing presses banks Germany has.

IIRC, Galbraith (the elder)'s The Great Crash of 1929 has a comment to the effect that in the two years prior to the crash, banks were failing at the rate of one a week...

Isn't this fun? ;-)

50% of our income is taken in the form of income taxes, social security taxes, sales tax, property taxes ,licenses and fees. Despite a large majority of the people telling their elected representatives not to, the fruits of our labor are given to multinational corporations in the form of bailouts and financial support. This happens while entire states go bankrupt, unemployment funds run out and sevices are curtailed.
This alliance of corporate and government interests funded by the taxation of a people without responsive representation is fascism.
It seems unlikely that the current fascist alliance of corporation and government will work in the best interests of the population.

An example of this problem is seen in Obama's high speed rail money (ARRA funds). The state of Missouri has applied for $200 million from ARRA for the St. Louis to Kansas City rail line owned by Union Pacific RR. About $50 million is for new equipment (state is considering purchase of Spanish built Talgo train). The balance is mostly for track capacity increase so UP RR can run more coal trains on the route. After the spending of $150 million the state will have Amtrak trains that make trip about five minutes faster, while UP RR can run another eight or ten coal trains per day. Amtrak train will still be 90 minutes slower than trip by car.

This money will not even help employ Missouri residents, as the track work is often done by RR crews from other states or contractors brought in from other states. Talgo trains are supposed to have shells built in Spain with finally assembly in Wisconsin.

Here one sees another example of the conflict between freight and passenger rail.

The added number of coal trains, made up of perhaps 100 hopper cars all loaded the same, will result in the need for more frequent track maintenance. Since each car is essentially the same and carries the same load, the dynamic forces as the train moves along will be the same at each location as the train passes. Hard points, such as road crossings, bridges or culverts, tend to be locations where these dynamic forces are concentrated, thus will need the most maintenance. Without the extra maintenance, the rail speeds for passenger trains can not be maintained at possible maximums. Also, more coal trains imply more frequent passing events, if the trackage is single line, which would slow the travel time for both passenger and freight. Not to mention that the banking of the curves can not be optimized for the higher speeds of passenger trains.

But, it looks great to the public and the politicians will point to the "stimulus" effects on what few jobs will be created. Politics, Ugh!

E. Swanson

A possible advance concerning wind turbines:


No, two-bladed turbines are not new, but making them more attractive than three-bladed turbines is new.

The teetering mechanism compensates for the stresses that occur when the blade passes in front of the solid support tower...forces caused by the pressure change when the blade passes in front of the tower. Three-bladed designs 'spread' or 'balance' this transient load with the extra blade I wonder how this two-bladed design's noise profile compares to the three-bladed designs.

I need to find the couple of wind turbine books I have, but I remember reading that a one-blade design is theoretically the most efficient design. However, the prototype I saw of course had a large counterweight across the hub from the blade...balance/stress issues make a single-blade design problematic.

The idea of using/transporting one-third fewer blades and the commensurate decrease in material needed for the tower structure sounds attractive.

Back in 1974, I put in a few months in graduate school studying wind energy systems. There wasn't much technical information available back then, but I do recall the same conclusion regarding 1 bladed wind turbines, based on theoretical considerations. Of course, the balance weight would result in added drag to the rotating turbine, which would tend to reduce the output, something not likely to have been considered in a simple analysis based only on number of blades. The other side of the problem with a 2 axis turbine is the result of the vertical difference in wind speeds due to the boundary layer near the ground. The teetering blades would allow some compensation for the force variation as well as for the effect of the tower on the local flow.

E. Swanson

Black_dog -

I too had an interest in wind power during the 1970s, when it was just getting off the ground (so to speak), and am aware that there was some work done with single-blade wind turbines. (Interestingly, some light aircraft designers also dabbled with single blade propellers.)

It is not clear to me what advantage a single-blade configuration offers, other than possibly a slightly higher tip speed.

However, it would appear to pose some distinct disadvantages. While the single blade can be statically and dynamically balanced around its own axis of rotation, there is no getting around the fact that as the wind blows against the single blade, it creates an uneven force normal to the axis of rotation. In other words, it tries to bend the shaft upon which the blade rotates, and this bending is cyclical, following the path that the blade as it rotates. As such, I would think that a single-blade wind turbine would be pretty rough on the shaft and bearings.

In general, as a technology gets increasingly more mature, there are usually very good reasons why certain physical configurations have not been adopted. Accordingly, there are probably very good practical reasons why a single-blade turbine is not in widespread use.

I can't find my wind power books (some quite technical) since I am still unpacking. However, the theory indicated that one blade would be technically most efficient. Operationally, practical balance and vibration engineering gotchas hamstrung the concept.

The idea lives on though:



This web site seems to capture the essences of what I remember from various books:


Some bright people did an engineering (college)project and built a single-blade design:


Good to see someone's doing more than watching TV and playing video games!

This company had two bladed downwind prototype in 2001. They were using hydraulic pistons to dampen the blades, the idea was to absorb the stresses that way and shrink the tower enough that it could be erected without a crane by tilting it up -- supposedly significant cost saving on installation. The largest prototype was 750 kw, I check their site perodically, they were trying to get into production around 2005, I don't think they made it and probably wont.


They use to have a link on their site about the problems peculiar to the two-bladed and downwind designs that must be solved, but I can't find it now.

This company seems to be happy with three verticle blades


cheer mike

MoonWatcher -

Thanks for those links on single-blade wind turbines. Very interesting.

It's been quite a while since I dabbled in this stuff, but it would appear to me that a solid object that is asymmetrical about its axis of rotation (such as the single-blade turbine) cannot at the same time be both statically and dynamically balanced.

For it to be statically balanced the moment of each end around the axis must be equal, and this moment is proportional to the product of the weight at each end and the distance from the center of gravity of that weight to the axis of rotation. However, for it to be dynamically balanced, the moment of inertia of each end about axis of rotation must be equal. But the moment of inertia is an integral of the weight times the square of the distances of the individual weight elements from the axis of rotation. This is a distinctly different value compared to the simple moment.

So, if the single-blade turbine is dynamically balanced, it's not going to be dynamically balanced, and vice-versa. Of course, it's more important for it to be dynamically balanced, particularly at high speeds.

Also, it would seem to me that the inbalanced drag forces on the single-blade turbine has the potential to create some nasty stress and/or vibration problems. Maybe these have been worked out or maybe they haven't. My gut feel is that the slight efficiency advantages of the single-blade turbine do not sufficiently balance out the disadvantages.

Plus, I don't see how a single-blade turbine would be lighter than a two-blade turbine, because the counterweight has to be heavier than the blade due its much shorter moment arm from the axis of rotation.

Just one of those simple invention thoughts but...

RE single blade turbines
   Wouldn't it be then that a blade and a third might work best?
The counter weight should be a partial blade, no?
To do it's balance job but at least not interfere aerodynamically so much as a ball/disk would.

One-and-a-third blade turbinesTM
(c) 2009 Ron Lussier All rights reserved, patent pending

Kills one third fewer birds!

Nah! All ya gotta do is make one huge blade and stick it up from the ground like a wing. right up thru that boundary layer. I call it a wind-wag. Wags back and forth and pumps water to a hydro storage. No tower. Cheap! Attracts tourists! WATCH OUT FOR THE RAIN OF RAPTORS.

Cute, but no seegahr. Better is the high altitude kite mill discussed here now and then. Love it. More fun. You could gain a nice bonus by charging gawkers for a ride up and down the cable on their own little kite. Once you get "em high enough to be terrified, force them by threat of death plunge (to be recorded for utube, of course) to convert to atheistic liberals like all the rest of us right thinking engineers on TOD.

Re: Reality Pricks Corn Ethanol's Bubble up top:

While ethanol production is currently under stress, it is no worse IMO than the stress experienced by banks, oil service companies, oil companies, oil refiners, auto companies and many others. Ethanol was never, except in the minds of a few delusional proponents, going to be much more than a niche liquid fuel additive to replace MTBE. E85 faces an uphill battle due to lack of vehicles that can use it, few distribution pumps and inapropriate distributor pricing. Compressed natural gas or any other subsitute for gasoline will face the same obsticles.

The ethanol bankruptcies brought on mostly by the collapse of gasoline prices, the recession and bad management are being resolved. Around here the ethanol plants are running full tilt with most of the bankrupt ones being restarted. Corn is rarely exported anymore. It is consumed in hog and chicken factories and ethanol plants. The 100 car trains loaded with corn for the Gulf that were common a few years ago are now a thing of the past. A rail line running to a local elevator has been abandoned due to lack of use.

And a few new plants are still opening. It is hardly a bubble popping.

For a clearer picture of ethanol production in a less biased light:


WASHINGTON — The changing global climate will pose profound strategic challenges to the United States in coming decades, raising the prospect of military intervention to deal with the effects of violent storms, drought, mass migration and pandemics, military and intelligence analysts say.

Haha, this evokes images of the medieval king (King Canute?) sitting on his throne on the beach at low tide, commanding it not to come in. Are they going to shoot at the hurricanes?

(nevermind, they're going to shoot at us, it was a temporary mixup)

In the interest of international reputation, they wouldn't attack the 'canes, drought and microbes right away. They would probably start off with a "strongly worded statement", perhaps in the UN, followed by a trade embargo and then propose international sanctions. Russia would likely object.

Then, and only then would they resort to military force.

As for the mass migration?; yeah, they'd probably just start shooting.


Waitaminute--- The pentagon thinks it's a threat! Doesn't that mean that global climate change is real, and not just a figment of the perverted imagination of people like me? So what are the talking heads of talk radio gonna do about even the pentagon being taken in by us fiends?

diy,pragma,wimbi,you guys don't post enough for me to tell if you are serious/joking or serious/sarcastic.

The pentagon plans for EVERYTHING.Including an invasion by the French even.;-)

Seriously any real change in the weather,crop yields,immigration ,etc,changes the balance of power and changes the odds of war breaking out.:-(

And while lots of folks like to think of the military as being composed of right wing buffons,they do employ quite a few of the worlds best scientists as consultants,and even ordinary personell can read and write ,believe it or not.

For instance my baby sister who is an APRN and just retired from the army as a captain was trained and ready to go on relief missions in the event of a really bad hurricane outside our borders or perhaps another tsunami in the Pacific.She has helped care for many civilians over the years in many places;-).

Most of them were not the victims of gunfire or bombs but rather poverty and ignorance.Of course she would not have been on site unless there was fighting going on somewhere nearby-or at least the threat of fighting.

She would have been working seven sixteens if deployed into such a situation as a major earth quake with thousands injured.

Cash for Clunkers program in Germany: Driving Out of Germany, to Pollute Another Day

The German "Cash for Clunkers" program is different from the US program. The old car has to be at least nine years old but there is no requirement concerning fuel efficiency. So you might as well trade in a small old car and buy a subsidized new SUV. Especially since fuel efficiency of European cars did not substantially improve over the last 10 years, there will be no reduction of CO2 emmissions or fuel consumption due to that program.
Since the production of a new car consumes a lot of energy, the program does have a negative impact on the environment. It is a pure subsidy for the automotive industry. Selling some of these old cars illegally to other markets avoids the production of more new cars, has a positive impact on the envirment and reduces the overall energy consumption - so there is nothing to be sorry about a faulty program being circumvented.

Hello TODers,

There is a new [and pointless,IMO] movie out called, "GI Joe, the Rise of Cobra". I won't even promote the movie by offering you a link to a trailer clip.

On the other hand, I would be interested in seeing a movie called, "GI Joe, the Rise of the Earthmarines". I hope some TODer has the screenwriting skills and Hollywood connections to bring this to fruition [with even better ideas]:
Gasp out loud, then swallow hard..Scream & Scream again as 'Planetary Patriotism' reaches it true apex when ruthless Earthmarines protect biodiversity AT ALL COSTS against the desperate Overshoot hordes of starving humanity in the PostPeak Decline!

"The Road" or "2012" will be considered 'feel-good' Disney flicks compared to the gut-wrenching, stark terror of the Battle to Reduce Specie Extinctions! If you love your kids or grandkids [and if you want them to have even a small chance at survival]-->then you must see this film--but don't you dare bring your youngsters to the theater!

Scream in horror as skilled Earthmarine snipers long distance decimate with a single, well placed kill-shot those who would dare to chop wood or harvest berries from a designated closed biosolar habitat! You. Will. Not. Be. Allowed. to eat the last mushroom, mountain goat, fish, deer, bird, wild grape, bobcat, frog, lizard, or cacti!

What poor chances will you take to try to survive when you already know that fully equipped Earthmarines have already taken the strategic and tactical high ground positions in National Parks & Game Preserves?

Can you spot a full-camo Earthmarine sniper stealthily hidden high in the branches of a Giant Sequoia? You need to spend hours Looking Down to harvest your meager amounts of firewood and food--He only needs to scope you for a brief, but deadly moment! Do you even want to Look Up, thereby revealing your glistening, sweaty forehead above the big, round whites of your eyes to further enhance their fearsome target acquisition skill?

Gasp in astonishment as the Earthmarines gradually seek to enlarge these initial ecosystems to the size of an entire watershed. Watch them mercilessly compel those who refuse to adapt to the coming Paradigm Shift, driven like the helpless dust in a desert monsoon wind, into highly crowded urban clusterf**ks. Watch totally aghast at the levels of instinctive scapegoating [and machete' moshpits!] that will arise when mind-boggling numbers are crammed together like dozens of cats-in-a-burlap-sack!

Sure, some starving hordes or mobs will seek to break out--just as we expect this movie to be So RAW, So Emotionally Intense that some will seek to leave the theater--but there will be no respite, no escape, no pressure release. This will be the first movie where the seats are akin to a hi-tech roller coaster-->you will be locked 'n loaded for the entire movie's duration!

Hell, if you are considering becoming a ticket holder, you might as well know right now how we will strive to bring you a breath-taking, adrenaline soaked overload: we are announcing that You. Will. Not. Be. Allowed. to purchase popcorn, candy, or soda pop before or during the viewing, plus the A/C will be turned off! Salt tablets will be offered to all, but you will have to suck or swallow them without any liquids. Can you bite your lip in heart-pounding fear until it bleeds, then rub salt in the wound until the movie ends? This will be nothing compared to what will be revealed on-screen!

BTW, roving ushers will help further replicate the movie experience by using fake blood squirt guns on any moviegoer found to be sitting with eyes tightly closed from the on-screen carnage! "Deal with Reality, before Reality deals with you."--Matt Savinar

Earthmarines high atop grain silos and windturbines will cut down those few mobs that break out of the urban hells to try to pillage the farmers! Farmers, horticulturists, permaculturists, and gardeners will be protected AT ALL COSTS. Remember: you have had plenty of prior warning to rip out your golf courses and grass lawns to grow veggies & fruits, raise chickens, and compost your O-NPK. This video flick will be a cold-blooded 'action movie'--for the time of talking denial is long past.

Cruise liners, and many other ships will be sunk in a desperate race to provide underwater reef habitat as the coral reefs bleach white from climate change, oceanic anoxia, and ocean acidification. Desperate human seaborne migrations, in huge numbers, will be strafed by Earthmarines until sunk; just that much more instant food for sharks, crabs, and other hungry fish, plus more reef building material.

Can the #119198 Mercs of the Warlords cruelly flog, mistreat, and kill their millions of slaves to impell them to work even faster to build out the nearly impregnable redoubts as the Earthmarines seek to pick the Mercs off?

Try to keep your wildly racing heart still as rural dairy farmers pour fresh milk onto the ground while mothers cry when their babies die in the overcrowded '0bamalands & Shrubvilles'. Can the Earthmarines convince others to volunteer [and if required: to die trying], to build out the required SpiderWebs to connect farmland to the city? This will be much more dire than merely asking someone: "What would you do for a Klondike Bar?"--it will be a race against saving some vestiges of civilization, maybe human extinction itself!

This, and much more awaits you in the film, "GI Joe, Rise of the Earthmarines" [EMTs will be on scene to assist]. Please come see it before your own neighborhood is forced to premier their own real-life, unscripted version.

Recall my much earlier posting whereby Somali brother clans fought to the death: some wanted to harvest the firewood now, others wanted to preserve the little stand of forest.

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

Well, Bob,

That was entertaining. There do exist places today where charismatic megafauna are near extinct. You'd figure that if humanity had any "Earthmarine" in it, there'd be a little action to save those charismatic megafauna, before it moves on to save mushrooms, frogs, et al.

The lion population crashed by 90% in my lifetime. I've Googled the Interweb, but I can't seem to find a single Earthmarine who is willing to go defend lions in the real world, though there are a few online petitions.

You'd figure lions would be easy to save, compared to mushrooms, because there were never very many of them in the first place, and they're big and cuddly and charismatic.


Hello Bmcnett,

Alas, if you are correct, then it will be Easter Island on a global scale. That will be the worst horror of all. James Lovelock's "Gaia": just a few humans eating cockroaches, gleaned from palm trees growing on the warm beach of Ellesmere Island, far above the Arctic Circle. :(

Apologies if already covered but what are folks views on this Power4Home stuff I keep getting bombarded with (even in distant little old New Zealand)? Is there any merit in what they are offering or is it bull?

FWIW, as at this moment, Power4home scam and "power 4 home" scam registered 10,700 and 44,900 Goggle hits respectively. There is also some speculation that Power4Home, Earth4Energy and HomeMadeEnergy may be affiliated, as their domains are all registered through the same internet service company, DomainsbyProxy.


Thanks Paul - scamola it is then!

Not that I support these companies - they probably are scammers - but registering through DomainsByProxy is not necessarily a red flag. They are a well-known company used to protect the privacy of the domain registrant. Typically, GoDaddy and other registration sites allow you to click a box to add DomainsByProxy's service to your registration. It's really cheap - only a few bucks.

Why register a domain name anonymously? Basically because if you don't, you'll get spammed and junk-mailed to death.

And really, that's all its good for. If someone is really determined to contact the domain holder, they can (by calling DomainsbyProxy). They will also give up the information if cops, lawyers, etc., ask for it. It's really just to deter casual spammers.

Excuse me, but isn't the article entitled, 'Kuwait becomes net gas importer' rather significant? Kuwait needs to import LNG?