Drumbeat: September 24, 2009

The population delusion

THINK of the biggest crowd you've ever been in - perhaps 50,000 in a sports stadium. Just 6 hours from now there will be that many more people in the world, and another 50,000 in the following 6 hours, and on and on... No wonder that the burgeoning human population is often seen as is the single biggest problem facing our world.

There are nearly 7 billion humans alive today, twice as many as there were in 1965, with 75 million more being added each year. UN predictions say there could be an extra 2 to 4 billion of us by 2050. The planet has never experienced anything like it.

Can the world sustain this growing horde? It's a contentious question. While it is clear that the population cannot go on increasing forever, history is littered with dire but failed predictions of famine and death resulting from over-population. Most famously, Thomas Malthus warned more than two centuries ago that population would be held in check by rising mortality. What he failed to anticipate was the ability of newly industrialised societies to support large numbers of people.

Kurt Cobb: Oil Optimists Grow More Outlandish

As the oil crisis deepens in the coming decade, we can be sure that the oil optimists will give us even more outlandishly optimistic estimates of our future oil reserves. These new estimates will in all likelihood rest not on proven discoveries, but on vague yet-to-be discovered resources that will become accessible at some point in the future because of unspecified technological advances. (The question for policymakers is whether it is wise to base policy on such assumptions.)

When pressed on the issue of technology, the optimists point to a myriad of technologies which are helping us find new oil and extract it from difficult places. These technologies include directional drilling, horizontal wells, deepwater drilling platforms, 3D seismic surveys (which reveal in colorful detail what's under the ground and under the seabed), and enhanced oil recovery techniques. The trouble is that none of these technologies are new. In fact, they are all essentially mature, and their widespread application has failed to bring us out of a nearly four-decade-long decline in discoveries.

Shell to Sell Oilfield Technology to Boost Output

Shell Global Solutions, a unit of Royal Dutch Shell, is pushing to expand its upstream business by selling to oil producers in Asia and the Middle East technology designed to boost output at mature fields, an executive with the company said.

As crude oil becomes increasingly difficult and expensive to access, producers are turning to advanced technologies to increase recovery rates, reduce operating costs and trim downtime at mature fields.

China's Oil Demand Could Hit 600M Tons By 2020

China's oil demand is expected to reach 560 to 600 million tons in 2020, while the figure in 2015 will b e 490 to 520 million tons, said an energy expert with the National Dev elopment and Reform Commission (NDRC).

Liu Xiaoli, deputy director of Research Center of Energy Economic and Development Strategic under NDRC, made the remark at an energy forum on Beijing on Wednesday.

Big Oil Keeps Cool to Russian Welcome

Russia will this week put out the welcome mat for Big Oil, as Prime Minister Vladimir Putin hosts a meeting on developing the huge natural-gas reserves of Yamal, one of the energy world's last great prizes. But it is unclear whether any of the world's leading oil companies will be interested in the tough terms Russia is expected to demand.

The meeting is the latest in a series of signals from the Kremlin that Russia might be softening its notoriously Draconian stance on foreign investment in its oil and gas. Moscow has long insisted Yamal was off-limits to the Western majors, and that Russian giant OAO Gazprom would develop the region's resources on its own.

Wildfire hits farms, threatens oil wells

MOORPARK, Calif. - Crews staged heavy air attacks Thursday to halt the spread of a Southern California wildfire that has chewed through more than 25 square miles of bone dry brush, destroying some farm fields while threatening dozens of homes and valuable oil fields.

Climate change may trigger earthquakes and volcanoes

FAR from being the benign figure of mythology, Mother Earth is short-tempered and volatile. So sensitive in fact, that even slight changes in weather and climate can rip the planet's crust apart, unleashing the furious might of volcanic eruptions, earthquakes and landslides.

New doomsday map shows planet's dire state

Human activities have already pushed the Earth beyond three of the planet's biophysical thresholds, with consequences that are detrimental or even catastrophic for large parts of the world, conclude 29 European, Australian and U.S. scientists in an article in Nature. This force has given rise to a new era - Anthropocene - in which human actions have become the main driver of global environmental change.

"On a finite planet, at some point, we will tip the vital resources we rely upon into irreversible decline if our consumption is not balanced with regenerative and sustainable activity," says report co-author Sander van der Leeuw, of Arizona State University.

The report started with a fairly simple question: How much pressure can the Earth system take before it begins to crash? "Until now, the scientific community has not attempted to determine the limits of the Earth system's stability in so many dimensions and make a proposal such as this. We are sending these ideas out to be vetted by the scientific community at large," explains van der Leeuw.

San Francisco's Peak Oil Task Force Report: Excellent, But Lacking

The concept of peak oil in most people's minds conjures up the image of a bell-shaped curve featuring a mirror-image down-slope. This leads most people, including well-known peak-oil specialists, to believe there is still substantial oil to be had after the peak -- knowing that the peak has probably arrived, and the greater difficulty of post-peak extracted lower quality crude oil is taken into account. The San Francisco Peak Oil Preparedness Task Force in its final Report to the Supervisors makes the common mistake of implying the future can use much of these estimated oil supplies.

John Michael Greer: Why Economists Fail

Economists are not, by and large, stupid people. Those who work in some of the less glamorous subsets of the field have worked out a great many useful tools for businesses and individuals, and the level of mathematical skill to be found among today’s “quants” rivals that of many university physics departments. Yet the profession seems to have become incapable of learning from its most glaring and highly publicized mistakes. This is all the more troubling in that you’ll find many economists among the pundits who insist that industrial economies need not trouble themselves about the impact of limitless economic growth on the biosphere that supports all our lives. If they’re as wrong about that as so many other economists were about the housing bubble, they’ve made a fateful leap from risking billions of dollars to risking billions of lives.

What lies behind this startling blindness to the evidence of history and the reality of the downside? Plenty of factors doubtless play a part, but three seem most important to me.

Canada Acquires Subs To Chart Arctic Claims

The Canadian government has taken delivery of two remote-controlled submarines that will be used to document its territorial claims in the Arctic.

Putin opens Arctic to foreign energy firms

MOSCOW - Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on Thursday opened the door to foreign investment in Russia’s gas-rich Yamal Peninsula, in an unusual meeting with global energy bosses deep in the remote Arctic region.

Putin held a televised meeting with a dozen foreign executives of companies including Exxon Mobil, Royal Dutch Shell and Conoco-Phillips in the region which holds immense but hard-to-access gas reserves.

Review of CNA Report: “Powering America’s Defense: Energy and the Risks to National Security”

As the authors of Powering point out, “Moving beyond recent studies on the dangers of imported oil, this 2009 report finds that fossil fuels, as well as the nation’s fragile electricity grid, pose significant security threats… .

This is a prudent observation, but the authors might have further explored two frequently overlooked considerations.

First is the contradiction inherent in the popular notion that the USA can achieve “energy independence” by exploiting its precious remaining reserves in order to reduce imports.

From a long-term energy security perspective, it should make more sense to consume someone else’s oil and safeguard one’s own (within the constraints required to maintain a viable and responsive domestic industry).

Second is the threat of export decline, and here also the Advisory Board has overlooked some recent and highly relevant warnings.

Nigeria says truce with delta militants holding

UNITED NATIONS (AP) -- A two-month-old truce in Nigeria's oil-rich southern Delta region is holding and the militants have accepted an amnesty offer, according to Nigeria's Foreign Minister Ojo Maduekwe.

The unrest has cut Nigeria's oil production by a million barrels a day, allowing Angola to overtake it as Africa's top oil producer.

Reliance May Stop Gas Supply to Anil Ambani Company on Payments

(Bloomberg) -- Reliance Industries Ltd., India’s most valuable company, issued a notice to suspend gas supplies to Reliance Infrastructure Ltd for defaulting on payments.

New oil management law in Mexico

The Secretariat of Energy (Sener) ordered the state-owned Pemex to establish the National System of Hydrocarbon Information, which will include a registry of permits, authorisations, verifications, inspections and decrees for zones where oil will be extracted, among other data within one year following a federal law taking effect today.

Fiscal Reform Will Hurt Mexico

he tax proposed by the Calderon administration is ill-suited for Mexico's economy, as more consumption taxes (not only the 2 percent sales tax, but also the 4 percent tax on telecommunications and special taxes on selected products) will further depress consumption when the economy has fallen 9 percent during the first semester. Now, considering that the government is also hiking public sector prices beginning with gasoline and electricity, the effect would be a mixture of further recession with more inflation. In this crisis unemployment has risen sharply, adding around 1 million people on an annual basis between unemployed and under-employed, which suggests that social effects will be deleterious.

XTO's Production Hedging to Lock in 2010 Profits

XTO Energy, one of the nation's most successful independent natural gas and oil producers, has already moved to lock in solid profits for next year by entering into hedging contracts for about 55 percent of its projected 2010 production.

‘Clunker’ appliance plan still short on details

The rebate program, part of the government's $787 billion economic stimulus package, provides $300 million in federal funds to encourage consumers to buy energy-efficient appliances.

But it is unclear how much the appliance program will save in terms of energy consumption — and whether these appliances will be recycled or just end up in a landfill.

Old-growth forests felled for America's behinds

It is a fight over toilet paper: the kind that is blanket-fluffy and getting fluffier so fast that manufacturers are running out of synonyms for "soft" (Quilted Northern Ultra Plush is the first big brand to go three-ply and three-adjective).

It's a menace, environmental groups say -- and a dark-comedy example of American excess.

The reason, they say, is that plush U.S. toilet paper is usually made by chopping down and grinding up trees that were decades or even a century old. They want Americans, like Europeans, to wipe with tissue made from recycled paper goods.

Swallowing Eco-Hype: Are Locavores Really Green?

According to your research, 14 percent of total food purchases are tossed in the trash, and about 27 percent of that is produce. That's a lot of food.

It's a ton of food. Especially for people who have kids. I have two of them, and it's horrifying how much food we waste. I'm sure if someone did a calculation of the energy that went into the food we're throwing out, I'm the problem. But it's not because my food came in on an airplane, it's because I'm throwing it out. But you could also ask questions about the kind of stoves we use. It's common now to just have these enormous gas stoves with these burners that could run a commercial kitchen. It's another way to remind ourselves that when we look at the carbon footprint of our diet, it's so much more immensely complicated than asking where our food came from.

Low Gas Prices Threaten Green Car Revolution

The single biggest factor determining the success or failure of high-tech fuel-efficient cars is not battery technology, legislation, tax incentives, new model introductions, or infrastructure. It’s gas prices. The price at the pumps is the elephant in the room when it comes to green cars. The cost of oil is not the only determinant of prices at the pump—for example, there’s refining capacity or lack thereof—but oil does play a major role. When the price of oil jumped to $147 last year, gas prices raced to $4 a gallon.

Unfortunately, the most important factor for customer adoption of hybrid and electric cars is also extremely hard to predict. What are experts saying these days?

A123 IPO priced to charge car battery market

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- A123 Systems, one of just a handful of U.S.-based makers of batteries for electric cars, far exceeded expectations when its initial public offering priced Wednesday after the bell.

The offering was priced at $13.50 a share, well above the originally proposed range, and raised $380 million, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing.

Spain's Answer to Unemployment: Go Greener

MADRID -- As world leaders converge in Pittsburgh for a major economic summit this week, one of the biggest questions they face is this: How do you begin to replace the millions of jobs destroyed by the Great Recession, now that the worst of the crisis has potentially passed?

Here on the sun-drenched and windy Iberian Peninsula, Spain thinks it has an answer: create new jobs and save the Earth at the same time.

Bringing Solar Power to Africa’s Poor

Politicians from 11 southern African countries gathered in Maputo, Mozambique, over the weekend to examine how to address climate change issues without reducing access to energy.

Off-grid solar is seen as one of the continent’s strongest options, capitalizing on Africa’s abundant sunlight without the need to invest in expensive grid networks.

What Was Missing from Obama’s Climate Speech? Nuclear Power

Much of the post-game analysis of yesterday’s big UN climate summit dwells on the lack of specifics offered by the U.S. and China—lack of specific commitments to curb emissions, pass legislation and the like.

But there was one interesting difference in the speeches of President Obama and Hu Jintao: The specific role each country sees for nuclear power.

German army stops wind turbines as security threat

BERLIN (Reuters) - The German army has identified a series of wind park projects as a threat to national security and blocked investments worth 1.5 billion euros because it fears spinning wind turbines will interfere with its radar systems.

The Bundeswehr has launched an investigation into the impact of the wind turbines planned for northern Germany's coastal area amid concerns they could compromise air defense -- because they could in theory provide a shield for enemy aircraft.

Natural disasters displacing millions--UN study

LONDON (Reuters) - Floods, storms, drought and other climate-related natural disasters drove 20 million people from their homes last year, nearly four times as many as were displaced by conflicts, a new U.N. report said on Tuesday.

The study tried to quantify for the first time the number of people forced to flee their homes because of climate change.

Help! They Can't Find Any More Oil!

Despite spending hundreds of billions of dollars looking for more oil in 2008, replacement rates fell for the first time in four years according to an analysis by IHS Herold.

International oil and gas companies increased exploration spending by 21% in 2008 to $492 billion, but worldwide oil and gas reserves were .4% lower by year end. There was a 4.4 billion barrel decline in oil reserves.

This isn't a singular event, either. Over the past three years reserves have been flat.

Finding new oil gets ever more expensive

A new study by research firm IHS Herold illustrates why there are fears of a supply crunch: oil is getting much more expensive to find, but investment in finding new oil is falling this year.

...One significant finding of the study: in the US, replacement costs more than doubled.

Oxy oil discovery could spark new interest in California's energy potential

The biggest find in the state in 35 years, somewhere in Kern County, could herald new exploration in California and the U.S., experts say. But some worry it could lead to a false sense of security.

The Northeast Passage could enable Russia to blackmail Europe

Moscow would benefit from this commercial pipeline in the Arctic Ocean in two distinct ways. On the one hand it could potentially charge exorbitant transit revenues - thinly disguised as 'icebreaker fees', even when such escort is unnecessary - on ships that move through what it regards as its own 'national waters'. Earlier this year, Russia was levying an extortionate $16 fee on every ton of oil cargo, compared with the meagre $1 that Finland charged Baltic shipping.

But more importantly, the Russians could potentially use the Passage as a political bargaining chip, threatening to block or impede the movement of ships that belong to states that don't toe the Moscow line. Russia has never shied from using trade sanctions as a political tool - imposing wine sanctions on Georgia and Moldova in 2006, and banning Polish meat imports in 2007 - or from manipulating the flow of natural gas to Ukraine and Moldova. And the advent of a Northeast Passage, or even the very prospect, would add considerable political firepower to the Kremlin's armoury.

Together with a rise in oil and gas prices, which is widely anticipated over the next few years, this could be a recipe for a politically more muscular Russia. For the Kremlin would be quick to recognise the political leverage the Passage offers, and use it to full effect.

All systems go at Kashagan

The first phase of Kazakhstan's huge Kashagan oilfield in the Caspian Sea will be 72% complete by the end of this year, with first oil due in 2012, the project operator said today.

Qatar Sees Energy, Climate Change as Pressing Challenges

Qatar on Wednesday said that energy crisis and climate change are the pressing challenges for the world, and there will be no peace and security in the globe when world civilization is threatened by an energy crisis, which is "far greater than any kind of war."

Aramco's mission

Saudi Aramco has recently capped a multiyear, multi-megaproject drive to take our maximum sustained crude oil production capacity to 12 million barrels per day, which will help us meet the projected call on our crude oil in the decades to come while also maintaining sufficient spare capacity to help ensure market stability—a key objective of the Kingdom’s oil strategy. Saudi Aramco’s activities thus cover the whole globe and span the entire petroleum value chain, from reservoir to petrol pump and petrochemical plant—and everything in between.

Chinese oil contract a first for Abu Dhabi

A Chinese state oil firm has for the first time won an oilfield services contract in Abu Dhabi, in a further sign of deepening commercial ties between the world’s second-biggest energy consumer and Gulf oil exporters.

Kuwait says poised to nab Vietnam oil deal

CAIRO - Kuwait's oil minister said Thursday he expected the country's state-run foreign oil exploration company to win another offshore license in Vietnam by the end of the year, in what would mark the energy rich gulf state's latest push into Asia.

Nomura May Ally With Partner to Accelerate Commodity Expansion

(Bloomberg) -- Nomura Holdings Inc., the brokerage that acquired Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc.’s Asian and European units, may ally with a partner to accelerate its expansion into commodity markets including crude oil.

China's New Energy Gold Rush Frothing, Or Not

China's emerging new energy industry is being warned by the government against production surpluses. As a result, as many as 17 provinces and municipalities are deferring their new energy plans to conduct further research.

Dominican Republic to receive $20M loan from Petrocaribe

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic -- The Dominican Republic says it will receive a $20 million loan from Venezuela's Petrocaribe program to ease an ongoing energy crisis.

Treasury Minister Vicente Bengoa says the loan will help repay what private power companies say is a $425 million debt.

Pakistan: Wedding functions to end at 10pm?

LAHORE: In order to overcome the energy crisis, the Punjab government has formulated recommendations to stop unnecessary show of extravagance at weddings and other occasions. The committee has recommended that all wedding functions should be completed by 10pm.

Gas ring busted: 7 accused of siphoning fuel from tankers

EL PASO -- The Sheriff's Office on Wednesday busted a gasoline theft ring that had set up a makeshift gas station where customers paid as low as $1.40 a gallon, officials said.

Seven people were arrested in connection with stealing Pemex gasoline loaded onto tank trucks in El Paso and then selling it.

Russia eyes 20 pct share of world LNG market - EconMin

SALEKHARD, Russia (Russia) - Russia could increase its share in the world market for liquefied natural gas (LNG) to 20 percent and beyond in the long term, Economy Minister Elvira Nabiullina said on Thursday.

We should try reducing home heating costs first

A factor in the lower wholesale natural gas prices is decreased demand because of the recession and heightened energy consciousness. But because inexpensive natural gas may seem like a windfall for utility customers, it may provide a disincentive for turning down the thermostat.

Add to that the risk that consumers will believe energy no longer needs conservation. Because of the large natural gas deposits in shale basins primarily in Pennsylvania and surrounding states, energy economists now say the U.S. natural gas reserves are 35 percent larger than previously thought.

With news like that, it will be easy to start thinking that the crisis has passed. The warnings about exhaustible resources and overdependence on foreign energy could quickly seem like an unpleasant phase we went through, sort of like white shoes and leisure suits.

Viet Nam pushes for nuclear power

HCM CITY — Viet Nam’s growing energy needs and the looming global energy crisis make the country’s interest in nuclear power generation, experts said yesterday.

Local energy officials, financiers and experts from the Independent Power Producers Forum (IPPF) have gathered in HCM City for a two-day meeting to discuss the power situation in Viet Nam and plans for the country’s future nuclear power plants in the central province of Ninh Thuan.

Driving nuclear energy with proton accelerators

The global demand for electricity is likely to double by 2030, according to the World Nuclear Association. But could particle accelerator technology help solve the world energy crisis?

According to scientists, accelerators might make it possible to use an alternative fuel to produce nuclear energy.

Nuclear fuel wins carbon exemption - for now

Processing of nuclear fuel has been granted an exemption from European Union (EU) plans to auction carbon dioxide emissions permits from 2013, although the exemption list will be reviewed before 2010.

China starts building next phase of oil reserve

BEIJING (Reuters) - China has started building 5.4 million cubic metres of oil tanks at Dushanzi in Xinjiang in its far west as part of the second phase of strategic oil reserves, official Xinhua News agency reported on Thursday.

The project will cost 2.65 billion yuan ($390 million) and will start with a first phase of 3 million cubic metres, which is due to be finished by July 2011, Xinhua said, citing officials speaking at the startup ceremony.

China finished filling the first phase of its strategic oil reserves at the end of last year and has said it plans to stock up on oil when prices are relatively low.

A Look at Strategic Oil Reserves – Who's Buying Oil?

So which countries are executing preparedness plans to fill their strategic reserves with $70 oil now (as opposed to $140+)?

Crude Oil Falls a Second Day on Gains in U.S. Fuel Stockpiles

(Bloomberg) -- Crude oil declined for a second day after a U.S. government report showed a larger-than-expected increase in fuel stockpiles in the world’s largest energy- consuming nation.

Gasoline stockpiles in the U.S. surged 5.4 million barrels last week, the Energy Department said yesterday. That’s more than the 500,000-barrel increase forecast in a Bloomberg News survey of analysts. Diesel and heating oil inventories jumped almost 3 million barrels, double what was expected, and crude oil stockpiles also climbed.

Japan Oil, LNG Imports Fall on Power Demand, Weather

(Bloomberg) -- Japan’s oil and natural-gas imports fell in August because of lower energy demand from factories and as consumers switched off air conditioners because of cooler summer weather.

Japan shipped in 17.83 million kiloliters, or about 3.62 million barrels a day, of crude oil last month, down 12.4 percent from a year earlier, a preliminary finance ministry trade report released in Tokyo today shows. It was the 10th straight month of decline. Imports of liquefied natural gas fell 5.9 percent to 5.37 million metric tons.

DNO Plunges as Trading Resumes Amid Kurdish Dispute

(Bloomberg) -- DNO International ASA plunged in Oslo as trading resumed following a halt on Sept. 21 after the oil producer’s operations were suspended in northern Iraq because of a dispute with the Kurdistan Regional Government.

The shares fell as much as 3.68 kroner, or 55 percent, to 2.98 kroner, and were at 3.54 kroner as of 11:33 a.m. local time. This week’s slump has wiped out about 3.2 billion kroner ($553 million) of the Oslo-based company’s market value and erased gains for the year.

Senate blocks bid to keep offshore drilling policy

WASHINGTON — The Senate on Wednesday voted against an attempt by Republicans to keep in place a plan by the Bush administration to allow oil and gas drilling along the Atlantic and Pacific coasts.

The 56-42 vote killed a proposal by Sen. David Vitter, R-La., that would have blocked the Obama administration from pursuing its own policy on offshore drilling.

Chevron seeks Ecuador liability in pollution case

SAN RAMON, Calif. — Chevron Corp. sought Wednesday to force Ecuador into international arbitration for alleged trade violations, an apparent effort to protect itself against a feared negative ruling in a $27 billion lawsuit over environmental damage.

Ecuador Judge Told by Court to Stay on Chevron Case

(Bloomberg) -- The Ecuadorean judge who stepped down from a $27 billion environmental lawsuit against Chevron Corp. after the company accused him of bias should remain in charge of the case, a court in Ecuador ruled.

A request by Judge Juan Nunez to recuse himself from the Chevron lawsuit was “unfounded,” Judge Nicolas Zambrano said in a ruling yesterday. Like Nunez, Zambrano sits on the Nueva Loja Superior Court in Ecuador’s northeastern Sucumbios province.

Indonesia's Cepu must reach peak output on time - watchdog

JAKARTA (Reuters) - Indonesia's oil watchdog has urged Exxon Mobil to ensure crude oil production from Cepu block peaks on schedule, in 2012, or else it may lose the right to operate the block, an official said on Thursday.

Global Oil Companies Cut Fuel Shipments to Iran, WSJ Reports

(Bloomberg) -- Oil companies have reduced fuel exports to Iran as the Middle Eastern country may face sanctions because of its nuclear program, the Wall Street Journal said, citing traders it didn’t name.

BP Plc has stopped shipments to Iran at least six months ago, the newspaper said, quoting an unnamed person familiar with the matter. Total SA would stop gasoline exports to Iran if the U.S. and other European nations call for a halt on fuel exports, it said, citing a company official.

China says pressure won't help Iran nuclear solution

BEIJING (Reuters) – Stepping up pressure on Iran was not an effective way to persuade the country to halt its nuclear programme, Beijing said on Thursday, even as China joined other major powers to demand a "serious response" from Tehran.

Naftogaz of Ukraine Gets State Permission to Sell Bonds Abroad

(Bloomberg) -- NAK Naftogaz Ukrainy, the Ukrainian state-run energy company that’s seeking to restructure its foreign debt, got permission from the State Stock and Securities Commission to sell bonds abroad.

No fuel like an old fuel

Government efforts to change our energy usage through mandates and subsidies don't succeed. Meanwhile, fossil fuels defy dire predictions of their demise.

Our view on taxing air travelers: Ticket taxes get diverted to fund tiny airfields

Every frequent flier knows how irritating air travel can be these days: long lines, cramped seats, extra fees for just about everything, and assorted government charges that drive up the cost of a typical $250 roundtrip ticket by 16%.

What most passengers don't realize, however, is that a wildly disproportionate amount of taxes they're paying for airport improvements goes to more than 2,800 fields across the USA that they'll never use. Unless, of course, they fly on the private planes that these small fields serve.

Opposing view: Small airports benefit all

Surveys tell us people view general aviation as an important part of our national transportation system. But, we also know GA is not well understood. It comprises all flying except scheduled airlines and the military. That means law enforcement, firefighting, air ambulance, search-and-rescue, traffic reporting, package delivery and more fit under the "general aviation" banner. In short, GA provides services that millions of Americans and thousands of American businesses rely on every day.

Just as highways crisscross the nation, serving small towns and big cities, so the nation's more than 5,000 public-use airports link communities of all sizes. Commercial air carriers serve fewer than 150 of those airports. That's like having a highway system that connects only the country's 150 largest cities.

The 50 people who matter today: 31-40

The Cambridge physicist David J C MacKay used £10,000 of his own money to publish Sustainable Energy: Without the Hot Air, which, thanks largely to a word-of-mouth campaign that had it circulating like ecological samizdat, very quickly entered Amazon's top 60 bestsellers. (It is also available as a free download from MacKay's website.)

Much of MacKay's research has been in the field of information theory, neural networks and software development. Among the many achievements that earned him a professorship in 2003 and election to the Royal Society this year is Dasher, a data-entry interface that enables disabled people to use computers. But Sustainable Energy is the reason MacKay really matters, and the reason he has just been appointed chief scientific adviser to the Department of Energy and Climate Change.

Study: 1 in 3 homes in metro areas could pose health risks

One in three homes in U.S. metropolitan areas have at least one problem such as water leaks, peeling paint, holes or rodents that could harm residents' health or safety, according to a first-of-its-kind study to be released Thursday.

"The sheer numbers of homes impacted are alarming," says Rebecca Morley, executive director of the National Center for Healthy Housing, a non-profit research group that used Census Bureau data for the study.

Winners of ResilientCity.org Competition offer fresh ideas about reshaping cities for a resilient future

The winner, From the Ground Up, from by Michael Haggerty, of Brooklyn, NY, USA, examined how to turn the low density residential suburb of Newark, New Jersey into a higher density, mixed-use, self sufficient re-localized neighbourhood. According to the jury, "The winner did a good job of understanding all the principles of resiliency, and presented them in a highly legible fashion. The solutions used cultural, social and economic elements needed to integrate a new food supply source into an economically viable model."

Mirkarimi holds peak oil hearing

Will Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi forge ahead with recommendations in a 125-page peak oil report?

The Board of Supervisors' Government Audit and Oversight Committee is scheduled to hold a 1 p.m. hearing Thursday at City Hall, Room 250, on the peak oil task force report.

Review of Mobility 21 Conference

While the morning session had mostly been realpolitik, the mood altered at this point as the keynote speaker brought starry eyed idealism to the fore. This was Christopher Steiner, author of the new book $20 per Gallon. Frankly he gave a very self indulgent and rather smug talk. Steiner came off an enormously taken with himself for his insight of oil depletition being inevitable as if that alone makes him a great genius and by hearing him we too are now ahead of our sadly uninformed fellow humans who don't know about... Well, Steiner really never made it all that clear what the coming of peak oil etc. really meant beyond that high gas prices would have some kind of dire consequences. But what these social and economic impacts might be was something he provided not even a hint about. Maybe his book has the answers, but based on his talk I was not all that interested in buying it. It was really one long narcissistic monologue, and not even all that interesting of one.

Spain: Israel team out of contest over West Bank

MADRID – Spain said Wednesday it disqualified Israeli academics from a solar power design competition because their university is in the West Bank, the latest in a series of low-level European sanctions against Israel over its settlement policy.

Japan Must Boost Nuclear Use to Meet Climate Target

(Bloomberg) -- Japan must increase dependence on nuclear-power to meet Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama’s target for cutting carbon emissions, a senior trade ministry official said in Tokyo today.

The government’s previous target of boosting nuclear output to as much as 40 percent of all generation “may not be enough,” said Yosuke Kondo, parliamentary secretary for the trade ministry. Kondo, 44, declined to specify a new target.

E.ON Says Wave Power Won’t Be Commercial Before 2015

(Bloomberg) -- Commercial-scale wave or tidal energy projects are unlikely to be used before 2015, according to Germany’s E.ON AG, because the costs are two to three times higher than conventional sources.

“We’d like to see a small-scale wave energy plant by 2015,” said Amaan Lafayette, manager of U.K. marine development for E.ON, Germany’s biggest utility. “This is a 2020 marketplace,” he said in an interview in Edinburgh yesterday.

Bidders revealed for UK offshore wind power links

LONDON (Reuters) - Ofgem has selected 13 companies to bid for the ownership and operation of nine British offshore wind connection assets, with a combined value of 1.15 billion pounds ($1.89 billion), the regulator said on Wednesday.

German Power Falls to Six-Month Low as Emissions Extend Decline

(Bloomberg) -- German electricity for delivery next year fell to its lowest in more than six months as emission permits extended declines, reducing production costs at utilities burning fossil fuels to generate power.

'Green' roofs may help put lid on global warming

"Green" roofs, those increasingly popular urban rooftops covered with plants, could help fight global warming, scientists in Michigan are reporting. The scientists found that replacing traditional roofing materials in an urban area the size of Detroit, with a population of about one-million, with green would be equivalent to eliminating a year's worth of carbon dioxide emitted by 10,000 mid-sized SUVs and trucks.

Gore: Climate change laws 'crucial step' in crisis

NEW YORK — Former Vice President Al Gore told attendees Wednesday at the Clinton Global Initiative to reach out to U.S. senators and urge them to pass climate change legislation, saying it was the "crucial step" in solving the climate crisis.

Is China Turning Into the Climate Change Good Guy?

The U.S. entered this week's round of climate negotiations as the global bad guy, a holdover from eight years of barely veiled contempt for the process from former President George W. Bush's Administration. But China wasn't far behind. The world's biggest country is now it's biggest carbon emitter, and its sheer rate of economic expansion — fueled chiefly by polluting coal — ensures China won't lose that spot any time soon. While the U.S. earned the world's antipathy for refusing to sign onto the Kyoto Protocol, China, as a developing nation, had no requirements under that pact — and rarely seemed interested in stepping up to its responsibilities within the UN climate change process. While the standoff between the U.S. and China — over who needed to cut carbon emissions and who needed to pay for it — has been the main reason behind the deadlock in global climate negotiations over the past few years, both countries deserved blame for failing to take the lead internationally.

Antarctic coastal ice thinning surprises experts

OSLO (Reuters) – Scientists are surprised at how extensively coastal ice in Antarctica and Greenland is thinning, according to a study Wednesday that could help predict rising sea levels linked to climate change.

Analysis of millions of NASA satellite laser images showed the biggest loss of ice was caused by glaciers speeding up when they flowed into the sea, according to scientists at the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) and Bristol University.

"We were surprised to see such a strong pattern of thinning glaciers across such large areas of coastline -- it's widespread and in some cases thinning extends hundreds of kilometers inland," said Hamish Pritchard of BAS who led the study.

El Nino shift could boost hurricanes, droughts: study

PARIS — Global warming periodically shifts El Nino thousands of miles to the west, potentially intensifying Asian droughts and weakening its dampening effect on Atlantic hurricanes, reports a study published Thursday.

Story of USA getting Soviet Highly Enriched Uranium

A good, and discomforting story. But also the source of a good % of our nuclear power plant fuel in the last decade.


Washington Post story


Seasonally adjusted initial claims for unemployment decreased by 21,000, while unadjusted claims increased by 22,000. extended claims (over 26 weeks) increased by 82,000.

That means that states issuing checks actually increased by more than 100,000 this week, notice extended claims lag by a week.


Future LNG And NG Exports Shortage Feared\

Qatar has halted new development since 2005 (recently extended this moratorium "awaiting resource evaluation") and is selling more natural gas to the UAE and Oman.



Harkin backs off. EPA to take "uncertainty" into account.


Last summer, OETA's Stateline aired an episode entitled "The Cost of Green". You can view this programme at http://www.oeta.onenet.net/stateline/index.html (click on the Watch Now! link in the upper left corner and select episode 908). Whilst the focus is largely Oklahoma-based, it touches on a number of topics that would be of interest to most anyone (e.g., conservation, alternate energy, food self-sufficiency, bio-fuels, etc.).


Howdy Paul,

Do you have much experience with air to water heat pumps? Is Ecocute from Japan a familiar name to you? Using CO2 as a refrigerant?

We (residential solar company) are looking into these as an alternative to PVT (photovotaic-thermal) technology (where air is harvested from under the PV array and used for water and space heating). The air to water unit sits on the existing hot water heater and at $700 looks pretty good.

Thank you in advance...

where air is harvested from under the PV array and used for water and space heating

Arn't you shortening the lifespan of the PV array by allowing the overall temp to be warmer?

Well actually....

Solar arrays sit and get hot. By sealing the top and sides and drawing air up through the bottom and then with fans forcing it along into the home and/or thru a heat exchanger (to heat domestic hot water) you're actually cooling the solar array.

This will increase production as, like trees, solar panels work best around 70 degrees F. Often special thermal panels are added along the top edge of the PV panels to produce even more heat.


There is a company in Maine that is installing PV with water-preheating on the back, which similarly cools the PV, improving it's performance, as well as adding heat into the water-heating system.. Double Win!

Here's one older conversation about it, where the cooling is also in conjunction with a 2sun concentrator (mirror), so the coolant is in fact required to prevent heat from damaging the PV, and dropping it's output from heat-induced resistance.. I don't know what this does to the expected lifespan of a standard pv cell, however. http://www.ece.villanova.edu/~nick/usenet/00001372

'We are now making solar water heaters and hybrid modules in Nicaragua.
The 2 square meter area modules (about 20 square feet) have a design
operating temperature of 60° Celsius (140°F and cool enough to
keep the PV cells efficient) and will produce 100 watts of electricity
under AM1 (1 KW/square meter) sunlight intensity, as well as about
1 kW of heat energy. This is more than sufficient for the average
coffee grower (organic, of course) in his "finca" out in the mountains
where no power lines are available and the water from the local spring
is quite cold.'

And Ascendant Energy, in Maine, which installed this system..

Created by Ascendant Energy of Rockland, the panels include photovoltaic cells that make electricity together with a plumbing system that heats water for the kitchen's industrial-sized dishwasher. Heat captured from the dishwater discharge is even fed back into the system.

Thanks Bob,

I'll check it out!

Using ALL the free sun energy is the wave of the future. We're catching up to the Euro's, we're only 20 years behind.

Here is an interesting solar development, though I note it is a new discovery and a long way from any possible commercial application:

Hi G2S,

No hands on experience as yet, but I'm looking forward to their arrival in Canada. Just in terms of general background:





Although not in the same league as the Eco Cute, this alternative has caught my eye:


Best wishes for every success with your renewable energy business.


Thanks Paul!!

Great information. Very much appreciated.

You are a wealth of information and a treasured resource!

I think the Eco Cute heat pumps from Japan are hugely significant.

In the UK, they can act as a direct replacement for natural gas fired heating systems.

The use of CO2 as a refrigerant provides a working temperature range and hot water output temperature that matches both the UK climate and the majority legacy heating infrastructure (wet radiator systems). This is in stark contrast to most other air source heat pumps on offer in the UK which, in my view, are not really up to the job unless you live in a very well insulated house.

The Sanyo CO2 Eco is already in the UK. I have seen one in operation and they are most impressive. My brother is about to install one for a client. I plan to get one next year. Sanyo tell me that this product should be eligible for a UK government grant later this year (30% of installed cost up to £4,000 in Scotland). The government also plan to have a renewable heat incentive in place by April 2011. I suspect this will take the form of a heat pump electricity tariff at a rate somewhere between the cost of natural gas (about 4p per kWh) and electricity (about 12p per kWh).

From a climate change perspective, replacing a natural gas fired boiler with the Sanyo CO2 Eco in Scotland would produce an immediate 50% CO2 emissions reduction (20% renewable electricity in the Scottish supply mix) from each household heating system. As the electricity supply is de-carbonised, so is your heating (the target in Scotland is 31% electricity from renewables by 2011, 50% by 2020). Interestingly, while Scotland has the best wind resource in Europe, the Scottish Government also have a Marine Energy Roadmap with targets of between 0.5 GW and 2 GW of installed marine energy by 2020 (total electricity generating capacity is about 10 GW in Scotland).

And, of course, you get off rapidly depleting natural gas and onto rapidly increasing renewable electricity. In Scotland, at least.

So far as I can see these machines are essentially nothing more than refrigerators or air conditioners configured differently and they certainly don't require a lot of exotic materials,etc.

So-other than low volume of sales and manufacture ,why are they so expensive?

Is it because of patents and profit maxing sales strategies, or is there something I'm misssing?

May be. There are some significant engineering and construction problems to work out with CO2 as the working fluid. The working pressure is high, the pressure differential is high, critical temp of CO2 is around 88 deg F so its probably transcritical, and its subject to more thermal stress than your typical heatpump.

Yesterday I run across this video: Ben Bernanke: Why are we still listening to this guy? and I think: How ironic that Bernanke, who spent his academic life studying the American Great Depression, ends up being the fall-guy that gets to drive the boat at the beginning of The Long Emergency.

10 years ago I would be considered apolitical. Like most people I went to work, paid my taxes and focused on keeping bread on the table. Sure I voted in the general elections but politics was a luxury that I didn’t have time for.

All that started to change in 2000 when I noticed that the Supreme Court had given their buddy George W. Bush the country and after the 9/11 attacks this little Napoleon opens two open ended wars half way around the world to “halt the deployment of weapons of mass destruction” (that never existed) and get the guys who attacked our country (Osama Bin Laden has never been caught with hundreds of millions in international reward). BTW in order to protect us they’ll have to put all of us under surveillance.

Then I discover that everything I have done without thinking my entire life was killing the planet and dooming my grandchildren to a literal hell on Earth while at the same time we are in the middle of the greatest mass extinction in 65 million years and the fuel that supports civilization is not infinite and there is no replacement…nobody bothered to mention any of this to me.

If things weren’t bad enough a couple of years ago the whole financial system that we had all invested in and agreed to own a piece of turns out to be nothing more than a gambling casino run by corrupt MBA's. After the casino collapses our govt. prints money to give to these very Banks and the largest corporations that are “too big to fail” while millions of Americans are losing their jobs and homes. Call me a gomer but I thought they already had all our money?

Sometimes I wish I could get in a time-machine and go back ten years to the days of blissful ignorance. Today I’m reading Michael Rupert and Naomi Klein and I’ve become paranoid…I believe in conspiracies…the world is now a very scary place; hide your children! video, 88 seconds ;-)


If you are paranoid then so am I and many people I know.
Funny though because we are paranoid for the same reasons and came to see the world as two different people separately.
I started to see the ripples in the matrix back in the late 1990s and from there it has been one shocking eye opener after another.
There are surveillance cameras perched atop every street light where I live and in every public space and also in every large commercial area both in doors and out.
Even the Gold's Gym that I belong to has cameras watching everyone grunt and sweat.
We have been slowly conditioned to accept being watched and soon they will try to take away any means of self-defense we may have left.
If the established powers succeed in moving to a cashless that is all electronic system where you can only complete transactions with a card or chip that is the end and we have all become helpless fools subject to the caprices of the men behind the curtain.
I am constantly worried because I see things the way you seem to.........It is a false reality but no one wants to admitt it.

Worrying doesn't help the situation any. Biologically, ecologically, socially, politically.. the situation is out of control. Ecosystems, economies, cultures.. are collapsing. We are living thru exciting times. Enjoy the spectacle. You can't do anything to stop or "mitigate" it, so don't worry about it.

I have an 11 year old son and my fretting is more for him and his generation than myself. I do agree that worry is wasted time and energy but it is hard to avoid the thoughts when the evidence confronts one daily and almost constantly. Maybe that is why it seems that most people don't understand what is happening. Maybe subconsciously they understand that once aware you can't will yourself to become unaware again. the genie escaped from the bottle to use a well worn metaphor. Going to hit the gym and burn off some stress.

My grandson is also 11. I am 76 and "Peak Lynford" was several years ago. I am concerned for his generation when cell phones, iPods etc go tits up so I decided to do something about it. Every week my grandson and I have some time together and he is learning about woodworking with hand tools, gardening and solar projects. He is very good on the skeet range and with rifle and pistol. His hand eye coordination is excellent and he knows how to change a tire.

So my question to you and others who are concerned is; what are you doing to train these kids? They sure as hell don’t get much post peak training in school. Their bodies are resilient and their minds are sharp so they will be OK. It can be a lot of fun for you and the kids. I don’t have a clue what will be in the future for my grandson and I sure don’t discuss the long emergency with him. But he is getting ready for whatever is dished out his way and I am not worried a bit about him.

Thinking back when I was 11 there was a world war going on and not looking too good. Lots of boys a little older than me were getting killed and wounded in two major battle fields. I wanted in the worst way to be a pilot and fly fighters and shoot a train and watch the steam and junk fly up. Eight years later I went into Aviation Cadet training and flew fighters but I never got to shoot a steam engine because they all changed to diesel by then… damn damn damn.

Those kids will not have many of the happy times that we have had but they will get married, have kids, end up tough as nails, and live in a different world than we have and have their own happy times. But that has been the case since the beginning of the industrial revolution.

WOW! Look at the price of oil. Sure glad I am not long in that buzzsaw. About -$6K per contract in two days ... ride em cowboy!

The comment about not discussing the long emergency with your 11 year old grandson was a bit curious to me. Maybe being the grandparent is different than being the parent. My 7 and 9 year olds have a clue that gasoline will be running out, that we are learning to grow some food and will get chickens and rabbits in a few years (when we move away from HOA control), that cellphones and automobiles may or may not exist in the future, and that helping each other out is the highest value. I don't talk about food riots and raving mobs, because they are too young to worry about that, but I tell them things will have to be very different, that there is an urgent need to change our habits to save the Earth, how it might be done and what we are doing about it.

Then again, I was raised on WWII stories from my mom, and WWII movies as my parents were trying to come to terms with having spent their childhood in German-occupied Athens. What I learned from that was to be a pacifist, and the importance of ties to family, friends and neighbors, as well as the duty for political activism (or at least awareness). My mother often emphasized the fact that in the democracy as designed by Athenians (left much to be desired, I know), a citizen could be jailed or fined for not voting, that this was a duty as well as a privilege.

I suspect the idea is to teach the skills without making the grandchild think that grandpa/grandma are a bunch of raving loonies.

Wax on/Wax off...Paint the Fence, etc

Exactly Substrate: I certainly don't want my grandchild to be afraid of his future but I want him prepared. And where would I start? With Bernake, Paulson and the bunch or ELM or Climate Warming or O NPK or Peak Oil or job loses or over population or ... ???

BTW: I have a little pickup that he knows will be his 16th birthday ... I bet wax on - wax off would be good for him this week end. :-)

Best to enjoy these interesting times.

My little girl just lost her very active grandma at a very young 72, a woman who had just built a cabin in the woods, was weaving and baking and pruning, planting and planning out the future of that woodlot.. so I get to keep her aware of what skills and power she can bring forth.

I also tell her what heats our water, why lights and electronics and cars can run.. so that she doesn't get the double-edged luxury of having entirely 'invisible energy slaves' running her world.

I agree that there's little need to 'warn' her about the predictions of marauding gangs and civil decay.. those are merely predictions, and are based on far too much fear as it is.

Let her know how things work, where things come from, how to deal with other human beings in peace and in conflict, and to know herself and her many, many abilities and potentials.

Likely a good way to go about it.

BTW, Wax on/Wax off and Paint the Fence are references to The Karate Kid in which Mr Miagi gets the kid to do what appear to be menial tasks but all the while he is building his strength and learning hand movements which later translate into karate moves.

Paranoid: I had a hardship tour in Athens from '62 to '66. Villa overlooking the Aegean et al. Since we lived on the economy I learned passable Greek and talked to several old people who lived through the occupation (our landlord and others). The people in the villages were better off (though it was still gruesome) than the people in Athens. They had more opportunity to hide food. That might be a clue about "post peak all" living. After Athens was Vietnam and I learned a lot from my Vietnamese counterpart about living in bad conditions. Again, when things were bad, the village farmers were better off than city folks.

Grandson and I will get around to the possible futures. I hope I am around to guide our kids and grandkids into what IMHO will be bad times from whatever. I am a product of the depression. I remember not having much of anything and how we fed relatives because we had some food. Fortunately dad had a job. That’s why our next project is a community garden on a half acre we are not using. We had 2 llamas but gave them away so the pasture will be a significant raised bed garden.

BTW: Seems my posts always have a BTW (sorry bout that) … anyway, next small project is a teak sundial for the garden area. It is too dry around here for a water clock. Has anyone here actually made varnish from scratch besides whats shown in the WIKI?

Lynford, that's pretty funny - 62-66 is the exact period I lived in Greece (from 3 months of age until about age 4), then we went to Geneva where my father had a post-doc, then France, then in 1968, after my father lost his Athens university position (due to the 1967 military coup - he was of the wrong political persuasion), we ended up in Montreal.

My mother has also told me that the country folks had less famine than in Athens and Piraeus. She says her family of 7 survived only because of relatives in a village that provided them with high calorie olive oil. Also, every so often, a resistance fighter would kill a German soldier, and the Germans would initiate reprisals. They would round up several older boys/young men, and execute them. My grandfather would hear a rumor, take his three boys to the same village relatives and hide until that episode was over. On the other hand, I am sure that there was random violence in villages, and looting of food stores.

I hope you are around to help your family as we all powerdown. You care, you have a lot of knowledge and experience, and some land. Many assets there!

In Thailand, where I live, citizens are required by law to vote. I don't see how it helps one bit.

I agree Lynford about working with kids. 20 years ago when my kids were young I was active as a Scoutmaster (Boy Scouts Of America) for my kids troop. At times it was a pain in the ass but I still look back on that experience as one of the more meaningful of my adult life. With Peak Oil the need is greater than ever before.


That is exactly the type of difference that I am talking about concerning preparedness.
I was also a Boy Scout and they took being prepared (the motto) very seriously.
How come as adults we don't give a shit??
Now it is all IPODs and fast food and the stock market and of course the TV.
Money means everything and all else is secondary to the Almighty Dollar. Scary how clueless and brainwashed everyone has become.

Like I always call it........The Junk Culture.

Lord Baden Powell - Hero of Mafeking!

To answer your question as to why today's kids are not interested in 'scoutesque' activities, perhaps because the barriers we put between adults (men in particular) and children are prohibitive, all in the name of protecting the child from the predatory peadophile.

There is not a snowball chance in hell of a modern day Baden Powell starting a scouting organization for young boys.

Good point. I didn't think of that.

I was a Boy Scout in the 1960s. I was all into the hiking, camping, canoeing, knot tying aspects of scouting, but not into the uniform, saluting and other quasi-militaristic aspects of the experience. On campouts, the older boys routinely terrorized & sexually molested the younger boys in the tents at night, while the adult Scoutmaster snored away in his own tent nearby. It was in the Boy Scouts that I learned about & first encountered homosexual behavior. Hence, I find the current ban on openly gay boys & men in the Boy Scouts particularly hypocritical & laughable. I quit the Boy Scouts when it occurred to me that they were only indoctrinating us to be good soldiers willing to "die for our country" in Vietnam.

DD - What your tale tells me is you were subjected to a dysfunctional and dangerous environment. (Shame on your Scoutmaster) I would like to apologize to you on the part of the BSA.

I never worried about whether my scouts uniforms were starched, for that matter half of my troop couldn't afford uniforms. We did a couple of revenue drives to buy supplies but the focus was on getting city (Los Angeles) boys to have an outdoor experience. All they wanted to do was go on a camp-out. Before the first camp-out we would do a trial run on my front lawn and parents were expected to help their son compete for prizes for cleanest camp-site and once they were set up they got extra points for helping out other scouts set up their camp. Those kind of items might seem trivial but in two years there was never a whisper of impropriety. (believe me I worried about it)


How come as adults we don't give a shit??

Come on Porge, you're here aren't you?

I'm 56, wan't to come for a 24 mile paddle out on the ocean with me?

Yesterday I went to my kid's high school freshman orientation . I dropped in to meet a group of incredible young people and adults who help kids like my son, he has aspergers and these kids reach out as buddies to kids like him who aren't too social. That's pretty cool!

Well I'm going to try to find a way to help those kids learn about our coral reefs for example.

I told them I was the president of a Kayaking Scuba diving club so the cat is out of the bag.
They know I'm my sons dad and that I have something to offer them in return for their reaching out to my son. I can't let them down now can I?

I do all those things with my son except the solar unless a home made oven out of a pizza box and aluminum foil qualifies.
I also talk about the long emerg. but I do think that he sees me as over the top on that.
Their comprehension of time is as though a day is a week to us so when you say years that seems like forever to them.


Many of us have seen this sort of thing for decades. Hell, when I was in college in the 50's there was concern that the Students for a Democratic Society was an FBI front looking for "commie" students. Everyone watched what they said around campus.

You don't get over it. You become cynical. You loss trust in institutions to a degree that you never thought possible. And, to a degree you attempt to isolate your self from society.



"Worrying doesn't help..." So right!

Just Ride The Wave. I find holding this idea a helpful frame of mind. Rise to the top of the froth and chaos. Be proactive about your state of mind. Enjoy that we are at the pinnacle of material existence, health, longevity (for now). Stay one step ahead and on top. No need to be miserable.

Just ride it, baby! Don't look back...

"Just ride it, baby! Don't look back..."

...especially if the 'Peak Everything Tsunami' resembles what hit the Scotch Cap Lighthouse on Unimak Island in 1946:


I'm surprised that the foundation wasn't swept back out to sea as everything else was gone:


I hope all TODers view the graphic in Leanan's DB toplink: "New doomsday map shows planet's dire state" as IMO, it helps buttress the arguments and evidence put forward by TODers DarwinsDog & Darwinian, and of course Jay Hanson's Thermo/Gene Collision.

Have you hugged a bat today? Or would you prefer to swat a mosquito every six seconds? Recall that we used to go O-NPK crazy just to hug a bag of bat or bird guano [even mummified Egyptian cats sold by the pitchfork ton].

Sadly, as of this moment: No Reply from Victoria's Secret on my proposal for their supermodels to prance around as dying bats with white noses. I hope thousands of TODers emailed them as I did.

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

Hi Bob,

I'll go back and study my most recent VS catalog carefully, perhaps I can divinate some clue as to how to reach those lusty babes.

totoneila -

Well around these parts (northern Delaware) our bats don't seem to be up to the job. I went out in my yard this morning for less than 10 minutes and came back with no less than four mosquito bites on my face and cheek. I would have had a lot more but I was deliberately wearing long pants and a long-sleeve shirt.

And I can't even blame it on those awful wind turbines, as they haven't been built yet (and may never be).

I've heard some people have had some success with building bat houses in their yard. Maybe I should give it a try. I think it'd be nice to have a pet bat.

So far, we have a healthy bat population down here in New Orleans. I can see them feeding around the street lights :-)


I hope all TODers view the graphic in Leanan's DB toplink: "New doomsday map shows planet's dire state"

Note that according to that graphic three of nine planetary "boundaries" have already been "transgressed": >350 ppm CO2, >35 million tons of N fertilizer input annually, and >10 extinction events per million species per year. The third boundary, at >100 extinctions per million species, is the most grossly transgressed: two orders of magnitude (perhaps three) above "background" rate (.1 - 1/million). According to the authors, transgression of any one boundary can produce "real risks to our survival." Two other boundaries are close to being transgressed: ocean acidification and phosphorus biogeochemical flow, while two others have yet to be quantified. So five of nine boundaries have already been or soon will be transgressed, while we have no information about two more. I would add that boundary transgression isn't additive; in other words, transgressing two is considerably worse than twice as bad as transgressing only one, and transgressing three is much worse than transgressing two. If transgression of one boundary can result in "real risks to our survival," transgression of five is a world killer, make no mistake.

Hello DD,

Thxs for your analysis. Thus, Overall impact on the Overshoot means we should expect Exponential Growth in cascading blowbacks as all areas in the graph will eventually ramp outwards?

Yes, I think so, if I understand what you mean. Note also that this study is published in Nature, not exactly an alarmist or extremist journal.

EDIT: Here's the full text of the original article:


It deserves a read.

There are surveillance cameras perched atop every street light where I live

porge - Two months ago I get a red-light ticket in the mail. $465. Ouch! The photo was fuzzy, grainy and unidentifiable. I decide to fight it and I go to court (after posting the bail of $465) and I claim that the individual in the picture may not be me. At the time I was attending a 3 week training seminar and I had lent my car out to a number of individuals during that time from out of town who had borrowed my car and gone out for lunch. The judge asked me to give the ID of the driver and I said that I couldn't based on the photo. As a final plea I ask the judge if he would convict me of murder on the basis of such a photo. Let me put it this way: I didn't get my money back .

Face it the local municipalities are caught up in the incredible search for money.

This is the kind of thing that makes people reluctant to lend anyone their cars.

That and potentially years worth of higher insurance rates if they get in an accident.

Whilst I'd agree it's important to try and find a view of the world that's closer to whatevers "really happening" than the "mainstream media view", it's also important to avoid believing what you'd like (in a perverse way) to believe to be the case.

For instance, you suggest that cash doesn't put you under the control of "the men behind the curtain", but all the banknotes I've ever seen have serial numbers on them. Should anyone want to, they can use optical scanning techniques "to avoid counterfeits damaging the economy", and depending how the technology works out it may soon be economically viable to do that should anyone want to. Likewise whilst there may be cameras everywhere I'd suggest that you're probably much less likely to be "informed on" to some authority or other nowadays than you were 50 years ago, when the authorities are more likely to take various actions based upon on such information. (Things may change in the future if we get the AI to actually analyse all those cameras output rather than now when most of it gets thrown away unanalysed.)

I'm not saying things are good now, what I'm saying is that things weren't better then. I also think that the belief that those are of malign intent are Moriarty-ish figure's is also mostly untrue, they're more likely to be the mentality equivalent of muggers: grab what you want and use menaces and/or connections to avoid being held to account for your actions. (For example, in Denninger's latest missive a meeting that may have led to massive insider trading is documented in one of the participants records. This isn't the clever, sinister, co-ordinated secret conspiracy that people like to belive in, it's thuggish "I'll take what I want and I don't care what you think" individuals. And it wouldn't surprise me one bit that if large scale government should fall apart in the future and everything becomes local and survivalist, that there'll be similar individuals in that situation.

Should anyone want to, they can use optical scanning techniques "to avoid counterfeits damaging the economy", and depending how the technology works out it may soon be economically viable to do that should anyone want to.

embryonic - I'm not so much worried about international counterfeit rings as I am of my own govt. In my early 20's I read a lot of spy novels and one of the best was Shibumi .

Elaborately written, using a very extended vocabulary, based on a sound knowledge in history and geopolitics, switching easily from pessimism to wry humor, Shibumi is more than a mere thriller, and may be compared to other works such as Brave New World, Nineteen Eighty-four and Fahrenheit 451 dealing with dystopia.

One particular theme of the novel was the power of govt or hegemonic corporations to destroy individuals with a keystroke. Whether you choose to acknowledge it that nightmare is now a reality. I've had close friends who recently have gotten behind with the IRS and have woke up to find their bank accounts emptied without even a consideration that there were outstanding checks on those accounts.

No offense intended but if you're not frightened ask yourself: Have you been personally injured by your own government? If you had would you feel differently?


See my comment below. I think we are very close to that already.

If you're married make sure both your names are on the bank accounts - at least here in Canada the banks are more reluctant to freeze accounts for the CRA if there is more than one name on the account.

That is why I always want some sort of physical currency. I think every area or state should have there own local physical currency. I know it is a step back from efficiency but i think that a lot of the problems we are facing are because of the over optimization of systems and processes. Plus the inability of the PTB to control people against their will.

"Plus the inability of the PTB to control people against their will."

Speaking of which:

Trouble breaks out at G20 summit

..Reports said riot police used pepper gas and fired rubber bullets at protesters on a march near the venue.

..The clashes are thought to have begun after hundreds of protesters tried to march, without permission, towards the convention centre where the summit is being held.

All that type of protest is going to do is make them use up their pepper spray and rubber bullets.
I guess we can keep it up until they run out and then storm the Bastille.

We don't have any real leaders in this country or the UK. They are all bought and paid for by the oligarchs.
As things continue to get worse hopefully someone in the military will step up and finally do something.

I was more concerned about having my "card" shut off then having my activity traced. And I do agree that Dr. Evil is not the type to fear but as you say thugs grabbing and fighting amongst one another. That describes the blatant actions on Wall Street most accurately.
The thing that bothers me is that no one is trying to stop them. It is though they are getting an extra kick out of rubbing the publics face in it.
This type of ridiculous abuse going unquestioned or unchallenged is proof that we have no leadership whatsoever and have to be close to the breakdown of order.
I just wonder how much longer this nonsense can continue.
I think the sooner economic or should I say financial breakdown occurs the better chance there is for local solutions. Local currencies and local trade with what is available in the area.
The only huge problem will be keeping the supply chains going for the necessities. Can't count on the gov for that as we have seen a la Katrina.
It is scary to think of the just in time delivery system that was developed for business efficiency rather than for resilience in the face of disruptions.
It seems like we should be setting up large depots strategically located near populations with all the basics for at least three months on a FIFO rotating stock schedule.
That would include fuels as well.
I know it isn't being thought of let alone being done.
We should be thinking of and preparing for a war type scenario basically expecting disruptions.
I think the complete lack of preparation bothers me the most.
This should be normal in my opinion and would be a standard disaster preparedness type approach.
I don't know. I know I worry too much.

I think that the reason the above things aren't being done is because no one stays in a location long enough anymore to make it a "town" in other words a community.

Do I sound like I am believing the wrong things?

Hey, guys, Don't Worry be Happy!

You know, as a kid, in a far far away 3rd world country, me and my old street friends all learned how to make some pretty powerful slingshots out of readily available odds and ends...we used them to hunt small game. Trust me, a few well placed shots from any of those slings will make quick work of your average security camera. Even if you couldn't break them a couple of mud balls would quickly make them useless. What are TPTB gonna do? Outlaw all the garbage that's already out there and make all the junkyards off limits?

Send me a self addressed stamped envelope and I'll send you instructions on how to make your very own weapons grade sling good enough to take out any Goliath. Nah! on second thought I'm sure you can figure out how to make your own if and when you should decide you need one, I have enormous faith in human ingenuity ;-)

Good Luck,


Maybe we should have taken the blue pill after all? Too bad now, huh? It is very hard to see what is happening to our planet and the life on it, and how badly we have damaged it (and still are). I guess it would have been easier to not know, at least for a while, but I do and that cannot change now. And I would never want to go back.

It's been quite a struggle to unlearn all the habits of thought associated with a lifetime in a society that believes in infinite growth and the ideas that somehow we are more "evolved", that we've surpassed the limitations of societies passed and that we will last forever. It's bullshit - just an illusion made from the ancient energy stored in fossil fuels. All the works of man still fail and fade, and that's OK, it's not something we need to overcome - but it is difficult to find a way to see a meaningful role in the world without constantly measuring it against the old myth of progress. I won't last forever and neither will the things I do, but my actions are still important in the ways that they impact those around me. That is enough of a challenge, and I feel like I have a lot of ground to make up, having spent the first half of my life asleep.

As for conspiracies - people conspire all the time in big ways and small, it's what people do. The idea of the rule of law where everyone was held to the same rules was intended to prevent that from getting out of hand. Unfortunately, really determined people conspired to circumvent that, and by this point have done so successfully enough that the whole system has failed. But don't worry if the things you think are true are considered conspiracy theories - that's just a term applied to things in order to shut down discussion. Believe what you think is true and don't worry if other think you're nuts. Chances are good that a lot of the stuff they believe is absolutely ridiculous.

I guess it would have been easier to not know, at least for a while, but I do and that cannot change now. And I would never want to go back.

I was asked by a friend yesterday if I would have preferred not to know about the future. I had to think about it a while but the answer is no. I agree with you. All my adult life I have known that something was not quite right. Tugs on my conscious every now and again when listening to some politico or 'economist' talk about growth and prosperity. Then around about 2005 it really hit home that we were all fooling ourselves.

I have never thought of myself as an ‘environmentalist’ or ‘eco-warrior’. Far from it. Since leaving school I wanted to go into business and make as much money as possible – not ‘save the planet’. But I never swallowed the free market ideology. I guess the vogue of the day for people like me was to go into business and succeed. A lot of my contemporaries have done so but they never stopped to think for a second. They have never questioned anything in their lives. And they are, by and large, a happy contended bunch. They have no idea of what is in store for us over the coming years and decades. Show them a population growth chart and they would not know what they are looking at – let alone care.

I have now all but given up on business. I know that I still must eat, so I still do go to work in the morning but I am far from content. I can’t reconcile the hypocrisy in pretending to drive a business forward with supposed ‘sales targets’ and bank loans and overdrafts all the while knowing just how futile and worthless it is. I would much rather be learning how to farm, and other more useful skills for a post-peak world.

The hardest thing has been the depression! I have only just recognised and acknowledged to myself that for at least the last six months I have been living in a fog of depression. It is only in the last two weeks that I have started to realise that I must take responsibility and finally fix my world view to a post-peak collapse view. Now is the time to literally ‘grow up’ and cease being herded along the path of conformity. It is both exhilarating and scary. On the one hand I feel like a pioneer – brave, bold, focussed and determined! A hero! But I also can see that by completely refuting the ‘old way’ I will be alienating myself from friends and family.

but it is difficult to find a way to see a meaningful role in the world without constantly measuring it against the old myth of progress.

Truer words have not been written. This is because in the unawakened world one’s role is expected to be conformist. One is supposed to get out of bed in the morning and go to work to do one’s bit to grow the GDP and make the nation wealthier. One is supposed to consume as though it were you’re sacred duty and not to question or rock the boat. There are no leaders in the unawakened world. No one provides leadership, only sound bites.

I used to think that my role in life was to be a successful businessman, with a large and prosperous business which provided the best products and services at the best price to grateful consumers. Now I know that that is a theatre show. Not important. False. I can no longer take pride in my work which is geared around useless products which consume scarce resources. Yes, it has been a struggle to accept it but some how I know that now I am awake I can find a True Role by speaking the truth about the world and helping to prepare as many others as are willing.


It IS hard when you see reality isn't it? I went through the same thing 35 years ago when I was a chemical plant manager. And, believe me, the signs people are just seeing now were obvious then.

My choice was to leave the industry and opt for a simple country life. I recognized at the time that doing so would preclude me from ever again working in the industry. Who wants a plant manager who "dropped out?"

In actual fact, short of not having tons of money in the bank, life has been good. I have had years of what I consider a vacation when I was young enough to enjoy it. Although I have had a variety of lowly jobs through the years, I have absolutely no regrets.


Twilight, HAcland - thanks for eloquently putting into words what I could only intuit.


Yes, very nicely put, HAcland.

In the face of total collapse, as dd so nicely summarized, no one can tell others one "right" or "proper" response.

For those who wish not to go gently into that good night, for those who recognize that none of us are doing "nothing" since we all actively participate in and contribute to the calamity, for those just looking for something to do on October 24th, there are still those trying to influence the powers that be to at least acknowledge what physics suggest our goal must be, however hopeless it may seem to get there.


Hmmm ... I have tried hard over the last few years to move away from Fossil Fuel use, but I can't come close - my whole society has grown up, and organised itself over two hundred years or more, assuming infinite FF energy and steady exponential economic growth.

The reality is there are no woods or sparsely populated regions of the UK to escape to anymore, there is no way back - we are massively overpopulated (thank God the Brits that went to the USA and Australia aren't still here!) and depleted of minerals, industry, fish amd energy reserves.

I have no option but to continue as I am with small totally inadequate changes to my lifestyle - getting off the 'bus' heading for the cliff isn't an option for me and my family.

Sadly, at my lattitude, at the moment, we have no option but to burn some fossil fuels - or die, holding CO2 at 350 PPM isn't something I can sign up to. The world doesn't stay the same even over short periods of time, it is foolish and a waste of time to think we can make it so.

Life is short, enjoy it while you can.

Believe me, I deeply sympathize. We're all pretty much stuck on this train. But note that the 350 movement is more about pressuring officials than lifestyle adjustments--though of course those are coming big time one way or the other.

"The world doesn't stay the same even over short periods of time"

Not sure what that is supposed to mean. It certainly won't stay the same.

I am reading a book by edited Gerry Mander and Edward Goldsmith at the moment the title is "The Case Against The Global Economy And For A Turn Toward The Local" It was published in 1996, I sometimes wish i read it when it was published and not thirteen years later. Many of the issues that were talked about then have now come to pass. I suppose that it is helping me see through all the spin that is fed to us by the MSM, it doesn't however help me feel any better about the future.

In my former career I was an exhibit designer at a science centre in a largish city 900,000 pop, I became disillusioned with the rather shallow treatment of science that really matters in my opinion. All the simple hands on physics type exhibits are well and good when done within a real world context but as stand alone elements they fail. The other issue that began to eat away at my conscience was all the corporate sponsorships with their attached logos. Education needs to be free of corporate meddling.

I too have opted for a more simple life away from the city, and living in a fairly northern latitude 54 degrees I do concern myself about being more self sufficient, It is not too difficult keeping warm, I am living in a passive solar house with R42-52 in the walls, that I have been building for the past two years. I have 20 acres of birch woodland. I am developing a garden, we had a successful harvest of potatoes, we watered them with watering cans from a couple of 350 gallon rain barrels. I have to haul my potable water from a local town 25 miles away, so I consolidate the trip with other errands. I drive as little as possible. I am concerned about my grandchildren, I hope that they are able to adapt well to the changes that are coming.


I read it 12 or 13 years ago...

And it was an important turning point in my life (not exactly consciously but it helped form my thinking and world outlook). Gerry is a neighbor, still speaks locally now and then. Great book.


Watch this it might help you understand the process you, like most people who understand and have accepted reality go through. Cut your self some slack!



it is difficult to find a way to see a meaningful role in the world without constantly measuring it against the old myth of progress

I understand and to a large extent agree with your sentiment. However I would consider that we have to re-define 'progress'. There will always be progress while people walk the planet because people plan, think and dream. It is part of the human condition. This does not at all mean that progress is what is seems to be today - 'progress = make more crap to buy that you don't need anyway'.

If people stop progressing we have all lost.

Thank you and HAcland for your honest heartfelt opinions. I believe many people here can empathise.

NotSoCertain - I realize that's what progress means to many, but what I meant was the concept that we're going somewhere, which is what progress implies. From a big picture, long term view, where are we going? Will our decedents (hoping Darwinsdog is wrong) live much differently than our predecessors? Would life have no meaning if there was no growth or progress related to growth? Much of what people plan, think and dream about are but variations of the same things that people have been thinking about since before recorded history.

Perhaps progress is in the area of learning and understanding, but I am not convinced that our learning of a technical nature, separated from extravagant uses of fossil fuel, is really net progress.

Anyway, if we were not convinced that the future was going to be "better" than today, what is it that you would care about?

Whoa! Here ya go here is what to me, is the antithesis of progress. It's the road to hell.

Disclaimer I'm a divorced, healty 56 year old male in a relationship with an attractive female slightly younger than myself. We both have our own homes and we have two good reasons to find ourselves in bed. And neither of them is for watching TV!

I guess I'm not much of a man!

The author's email is at the bottom of the article maybe someone can send him an email with a reality check?

Regarding Bernanke: I'm not sure what's bothering you about the guy but I have always assumed that they appointed a guy with deflation-fighting cred on purpose. He made provocative statements about unorthodox monetary policy at the time. Why would he do that if not to send the message that he would not repeat the Depression policies?
I brought this up at during a seminar back then and the professor (economist) agreed that it was probably a good time to have a guy like that in there at a time like this. No one in the room seemed to think we were being paranoid or something. Everyone with half a clue understood the situation was bad. Now I disagreed about a lot of stuff with that professor. She thought the notion that defaults on consumer debt like mortgages would trigger a crisis was a bit kooky for instance. :-) But who doubted that Bernanke was appointed for any other reason than to flood the system with cash?

Oh... and lay off the Ruppert and the Klein, will you? Being a bit paranoid is probably healthy but everything in moderation.

"take two Glenn Beck's and a Hannity and call me in the morning."

BTW Glenn Beck is featured on the cover of the Sept 28, 2009 issue of Time magazine.

Hello, Dr. joemichaels?
Yesterday when I felt paranoid and depressed you gave me some advice.
Today, I feel dizzy and confused.
What now?

What does it tell anything about me that Ruppert and Klein ring a bell while your pundits don't?

Maybe one Beck cancels out one Rupert.

Well, Beck is annoying but he's not always wrong, and not always partisan.

I checked some of his back archives and he's been suspicious of Bernanke since the Bush phase of the bailouts.


Surely I would be much happier today if I had stuck to reading great classic novels and history instead of branching out into ecology and nature !

No worries. We're drowning in oil!


New oil discoveries have totaled about 10 billion barrels in the first half of the year, according to IHS Cambridge Energy Research Associates. If discoveries continue at that pace through year-end, they are likely to reach the highest level since 2000.

So we're all set then!

Let's see...85M Bpd consumed, right?

So 180 days is about 15B bbl used...and 10B bbl found. How is this "good news"?

There's a little bit of discussion of this in yesterday's DrumBeat.

What's left unsaid is that these 10 billion barrel of new finds will never produce 4.5 million barrels a day to compensate for the 6.7% decline in existing fields. Their combined production will probably never even come close to 4.5 million barrels a day.

Old Growth Forests Felled For Plush Toilet Paper

"It's like the Hummer product for the paper industry," said Allen Hershkowitz, senior scientist with the Natural Resources Defense Council. "We don't need old-growth forests . . . to wipe our behinds."

The science behind the softness
The reason for this fight lies in toilet-paper engineering. Each sheet is a web of wood fibers, and fibers from old trees are longer, which produces a smoother and more supple web. Fibers made from recycled paper -- in this case magazines, newspapers or computer printouts -- are shorter. The web often is rougher.

Toilet paper is far from being the biggest threat to the world's forests: together with facial tissue, it accounts for 5 percent of the U.S. forest-products industry, according to industry figures. Paper and cardboard packaging makes up 26 percent of the industry, although more than half is made from recycled products. Newspapers account for 3 percent.

Felling ancient trees makes me particularly sad...our household moved to recycled fiber toilet paper long ago. Our butts appear to be functioning just fine.

Ok serious question, does anyone know of a method that is up to our standard of modern hygiene and uses *NO* toilet paper? I grew up in Brazil where everyone still has bidets in their houses, though to be honest even then I never used it and stuck (no pun intended) to toilet paper.

Cloth rags. Some people call it "family cloth", google it. Wash separately from other laundry in the hottest water possible; the temperature needs to be at least 150F (65C). Reuse. Upon using cloth, most people prefer it to toilet paper.

This is the sort of thing that comes up for Crunchy Chicken's readers (http://www.thecrunchychicken.com/2009/08/cloth-wipe-challenge-2009.html). Also a big deal for No Impact Man, though he refuses to discuss the details. Crunchy Chicken, on the other hand, is completely fearless.

BTW, we used cloth wipes instead of synthetic baby wipes with each of our three boys. It's a bit of a hassle, but from a hygienic standpoint, I really don't think we would have caught fewer bugs had we used synthetic baby wipes.

Water is a far better method of cleaning oneself than paper. In what other context would one use dry paper to clean feces off of something?

This summer, two of the best-known combatants in this fight signed a surprising truce, with a big tissue maker promising to do better. But the larger battle goes on -- the ultimate test of how green Americans will be when nobody's watching.

I wonder what terms were agreed upon and what are the consequences of breaking the promise. Slap on wrist?

Edit: There was a page 2 to the article.

By 2011, the company said, 40 percent of the fiber in all its tissue products will come from recycled paper or sustainable forests.

Time will tell.

joemichaels -

I have the solution!

While wandering around our local state park one day last autumn, I came across an odd-looking tall plant with tiny bunched yellow flowers and very large and soft leaves. One of the park's horticultural people happened to be doing some planting work nearby, so I asked her about the plant. She said the plant was a 'common mullein' and that people in colonial times used the big soft leaves as toilet paper and the seeds for medicinal purposes.

Just out of curiosity I took some of the seeds and planted some this spring. The plant grows rather fast and can easily get to be over six feet tall. While the leaves are very soft, I haven't been inclined to put them to the test yet.

I think there might be a good entrepreneurial opportunity here: natural organic arse wipes made from mullein leaves. After all, how much 'greener' can one get?

Wet rockweed works really well.


Mullein (Verbascum) leaves need to be used fresh. Dried they crumble and stored wet they mold. So probably not much of a commercial potential. They grow just about everywhere, tho.

darwinsdog -

Damn! Another promising business concept shot to hell.

I should probably stick to engineering and not venture into agriculture, something I know zilch about.

However, in a pinch I could always us my mullein plants for toilet paper from about July through September. Then I guess it's back to old telephone books.

Cattails also work fine (this I do know from direct experience), but they don't last very long, either.

If a fog rolls in those dry brittle leaves will get pliable again though so all is not lost, unless you're in a place like New Mexico that doesn't have fog.

Freeze dry to store, hydrate before use, we're back in business ;-)

After all, how much 'greener' can one get?

Mamba's virtual charmin.

Hemp makes excellent paper of all sorts.

I'd like to revisit the discussion a few days ago about Kuwait oil reserves.

Oil Reserves Accounting: The Case Of Kuwait

Table 1 in this report states Kuwait Oil Reserves as of Mar. 31, 2001 in million barrels:

Initial Oil = 168,909
Original = 81,204
Cumulative = 33,088
Remaining reserves proven = 24,205
Remaining reserves non proven = 23,911
Remaining reserves total =  48,116

Official reserves are stated as 104 billion barrels.

If we compare this to Saudi Ariabia's official reserves of 267 billion barrels and assume proportionally the same level of exaggeration we get:

Initial Oil = 433,641
Original = 208,476
Cumulative = 84,947
Remaining reserves proven = 62,141
Remaining reserves non proven = 61,387
Remaining reserves total = 123,529

Now these numbers look fairly reasonable to me. I wonder if OPEC members talk to each other about how to cook their numbers??

I think you are starting with the wrong comparision. 267 billion barrels, like Kuwait's 104 billion barrels, was just a number picked way back in the 80's and one cannot be compared to the other because neither has any basis in reality. In other words one might be 50 percent off and the other 65 percent off. I say this because you come up with a cumulative production number for Saudi ARAMCO that is way too low.

Applying the previously assumed lower and upper RF limits of 30% to 37% to the estimate of 580 Gb OIIP from Fig 3 gives a URR range of 174 Gb to 215 Gb. Given that Aramco has cumulative production of 115 Gb to the end of June 2008, this gives a range of remaining recoverable crude oil reserves from 60 Gb to 100 Gb, not Aramco’s propaganda statement of 260 Gb.
The Oil Drum: Saudi Arabia’s Crude Oil Reserves: Particulars or Propaganda?

And as you see, your estimate of remaining recoverable reserves is way too high. Also, the Kuwaiti report was as of March 2001. That was 8.5 years ago. So you need to update your data for production and depletion since that date. You can do that with data from the EIA's International Petroleum Monthly.

No, I don't think OPEC members talk to each other about things like that. They just lie to each other just as they lie to the rest of the world. And the other OPEC member that they are lying to just nods and smiles, knowing full well it is a lie but would never say so.

Ron P.

OK, what about assuming that peak production in Kuwait and Saudi are roughly proportional to their real proven reserves?

Kuwait peak production = 3 million barrels/day
Saudi peak production = 9.5 million barrels/day

Kuwait remaining reserves proven = 24,205 (2001)

Saudi remaining reserves proven = 24,205 * 9.5/3 = 77,649 (2001)

This puts Saudi proven reserves within the 60 Gb to 100 Gb range. The above calculation of course assumes that reservoir characteristics and other factors are similar in Kuwait and Saudi. Is this a reasonable assumption?

Yes, I would definitely say that this is a reasonable assumption. Very close I would think.

Ron P.

A quick thank you note to westexas, Rockman and kly84g for your very detailed answers to my question concerning how much reservoir rock holds how much oil on the drumbeat a couple of days ago. Much appreciated!

You're welcome, but don't believe anything that Rockman says about exploration geologists. He's just jealous.

Incidentally, I have my own question. Does anyone know the total volume of production of new oil fields (peak production rate for each field) put on line in the North Sea in 1999 and in later years?

Hello WT,

Just in case you haven't noticed yet: you are mentioned in this link, poached from Bart's EB, for your ELM postings:

Review of CNA Report: “Powering America’s Defense: Energy and the Risks to National Security” (May 2009) by Rick Munroe

..Robert Hirsch, Jeffrey Brown and Jeff Rubin have all highlighted the fact that global oil exports must necessarily peak and decline within the larger production curve (since one cannot export oil which has not been produced)...
The related bibliography also has linkys back to TOD [Way to Go, Global Team!]:

Energy Security: an Annotated Military/Security Bibliography
by Rick Munroe

Well, I'm certainly in good company, and of course, we built on prior work by a lot of people, e.g. Deffeyes & Simmons, and Sam has done almost all of the mathematical modeling.

B. Oil Imports and Export Decline

As the authors of Powering point out, “Moving beyond recent studies on the dangers of imported oil, this 2009 report finds that fossil fuels, as well as the nation’s fragile electricity grid, pose significant security threats… [11].

This is a prudent observation, but the authors might have further explored two frequently overlooked considerations.

First is the contradiction inherent in the popular notion that the USA can achieve “energy independence” by exploiting its precious remaining reserves in order to reduce imports.

From a long-term energy security perspective, it should make more sense to consume someone else’s oil and safeguard one’s own (within the constraints required to maintain a viable and responsive domestic industry).

Since this report was issued by the Center for Naval Analyses’ Military Advisory Board, which consists of a dozen retired senior military officers, it makes me all the more uneasy...

WT - the info you seek - regarding the Norwegian part of the North Sea - I'm quite sure you may obtain from this PDF- Facts 2009 Fields in production - it contains all Norwegian Fields in production. You just have to browse through and locate the on stream dates and eyeball the corresponding graph for your data- The number of fields on stream post 1999 are not that many.

The PDF above is linked from NPD site (Norwegian Petroleum Directorate), Facts 2009 here, Chapter 11

Anyone interested in a small research project? I'll be happy to give you credit in the final paper. I'm rushing to get some work done and finish up some slides for ASPO.

For Norway, the final production peak was 2001. What I am of course after is a reverse engineered Megaprojects analogue. If we take all of the crude oil production, at their respective peak rates, in fields that came on line in 2001 and later in Norwegian waters, what percentage of 2001 peak production would this be? Norwegian crude (C+C) production from the EIA (for some reason only through 2006):

In regards to your research-inquiry which is not very precisely explained , to me at least,as to what you actually are looking for. Obviously very resent startups have not yet reached their peak production - and thus falls outside your inquiry- hence leaving just a few fields within your sought after data-array.
Long story short - WT - I'm quite sure you will be able to extract what you are looking for within 30 minutes from that PDF.Once you know where to look, it's fast, and now you even only look for plays inaugurated after 2001.

Latest IEA data as presented by Norwegian site http://oljekrisa.no/

... yes agreed, that is taking an ugly turn lately

EDIT: WT (!) The Kingpin on Norwegian oil statistics is the TOD Europe author Rune Likvern. Here is a sample of his detailed charts - this Chart enhances all ADDED activity - post 2001 - taking place on the Norwegian Continental shelf, in different colors from his splendid blog http://energikrise.blogspot.com/
Maybe you should ping him - and maybe he has your data readily available ...?

I sent both Euan and Rune e-mails. Euan sent me the following link for the UK:


Here is what I am looking for, in regard to the UK: The annual peak production for each field, whose first full year of production was in 1999 or later. In other words, we have an overall peak, 1999 in the case of the UK, and then the question is, how much production came on line in subsequent years, i.e., due to regional "Megaprojects."

After tediously going through all of the UK fields (some of which are onshore, I believe), the answer I came up with surprised me. The EIA is showing 1999 crude production of 2.7 mbpd for the UK, and the total peak production of all fields whose first full year of production was 1999 or later appears to be about 1.6 mbpd (almost all of the fields had peaks after 1999). The Buzzard Field, with production of 200,000 bpd, accounts for 13% of the total.

So, a region hits a production rate of 2.7 mbpd in 1999 (EIA data), and from 1999 to 2009, fields with a combined annual production rate of about 1.6 mbpd are brought on line, about 60% of the 1999 rate (assuming my math is correct). What happens to the total UK production rate?

It declines from 2.7 mbpd to 1.4 mbpd, a decline rate of -7.2%/year. Wow, current production is below the sum of the peak annual output of all fields brought on line in 1999 or later (again assuming my math is correct).

Something to consider when we total contributions from Megaproject fields coming on line worldwide.

Rune is the man, if he cannot point you to proper charts - no one can.
Thinking of it, I have never seen (myself) Norwegian monthly charts like that Euan sent you to, but of course they exist somewhere.

Being an ELM devotee, I'm looking forward to your upgrades... All the best of luck on that task.

The June Norway numbers are excessively low because of a lot of maintenance. The July numbers, Crude + condensate will be 2.147 mb/d.
The August numbers are out also but they are only an estimate but their estimates have always been very close.

Petroleum production on the Norwegian continental shelf July 2009

Preliminary production figures for August 2009 show an average daily production of about 1.906 million barrels of oil, 0.350 million barrels of NGL and condensate and a total of 7.4 billion Sm3 net gas production in August.

Notice that they put the condensate in with the NGLs here so you have to estimate them to get the C+C numbers. Assuming condensate was about the same in August as July then August C+C production will be about 1.98 mb/d.

The URL you can use to get the numbers every month is this:
The site is updated usually in the first or second week of each month.

Ron P.

Ron .
I am aware of the maintenance season during summer - but if you study that chart above once more, as you count backwards , you'll notice that Norway produced 2,6 mb/d just in Mars - 4 months earlier - .... (!) Now, if the new trend line continues from some 2.1 to 2.2 mb/d only -I'd say that is a significant and really ugly drop over half a year. We shall wait and see where this goes.

::: Now back to Westexas :::

WT , you had me Googling and bingo - Statistics Norway (in English) has the entire national oil history packed from it's infancy up till June 2009 *** Field by Field ***
* Remark : numbers are denominated in 1000 Sm3. By this you'll have your data in 5 minutes or so.

Enter here Statistics Norway - Your tables are 7, 8, 9 and 10. New Crude Oil plays from 2001 till date. - Numbers are layed out on an annual basis, I reckon that helps. Top-line is name_of_field and left column is year (self explanatory). You can pinpoint Peak Year just like that.
Tables 1 - 10 covers Norwegian Crude Oil since startup)

Euan Mearns should be your man. He has characterized every North Sea field but two.

Best Hopes,


Good idea. I'll send him an e-mail.

Incidentally, have you tried the Naked Pizza place? There was an article in the NYT about them going national.

WT -- Yes...I know the total volume of production of new oil fields (peak production rate for each field) put on line in the North Sea in 1999 and in later years. And I'll take that number to my grave. So there!!!

(Exploration jealousy again)

I second the "Thank You", as it is much appreciated.

Census worker hanged in Ky. with 'fed' scrawled on chest

MANCHESTER, Ky. (AP) — When Bill Sparkman told retired trooper Gilbert Acciardo that he was going door-to-door collecting Census data in rural Kentucky, the former cop drew on years of experience for a warning: "Be careful."

The 51-year-old Sparkman was found this month hanged from a tree near a Kentucky cemetery with the word "fed" scrawled on his chest, a law enforcement official said Wednesday, and the FBI is investigating whether he was a victim of anti-government sentiment.

That is tragic and sad. I would imagine there are lots of places in my Asphaltistan's Wild, Wild West outback areas where the same thing would occur. Recall that Timothy McVeigh spent some time in Kingman, AZ.

It's still too early to say what happened. It may not have been a homicide at all. Or it may have been for some other reason than his job.

Leanan -

I wonder whether this poor guy might have stumbled upon a meth amphetamine lab or other drug-related operation and whether the people operating that lab thought he was an undercover DEA agent disguised as a census taker.

It wouldn't be the first time that someone came to a bad end by being unlucky enough to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

In any event, one thing we do know for certain is that there is growing amount of anti-government sentiment brewing out there.

My spouse used to do home health visits in rural NC appalachia. She always parked heading out. She was chased off with a shotgun once.

The 'fed' part may or may not be part of the story. I know of no conformation - but this may have changed, so if anyone has a firm update....

And another report had the corpse 'able to touch the ground'.

A bit of humor to get people laughing.

This was sent to me by a homeopathic practitioner earlier this week when I politely declined to offer a homeopathy course and sell homeopathy kits from the postpeakliving.com website.

She obviously is good natured as her last note was: "Well, if you can't join 'em then at least you can laugh at them!" I replied thanking her for her good humor.

Here is the link:

P.S. I do want to offer a post-peak health course. But it must be very science-based: no chakras, crystals or homeopathy.

That was even more funny than Dick Cheney upthread.

Seriously, aangel and perhaps others, I would like to work on something: I am wondering which of the plethora of unproven remedies that are in fact low-tech (can be grown in the average garden) may prove worthwhile in a post-peak world.

Of course I am coming at it from an allopathic physician's standpoint, but the line at the end of the video - that complementary medicine is best at addressing vague discomfort - strikes me as essentially correct, and I am not sure complementary practitioners disagree with it (they are the first to send you on to an allopathic clinic if you have a broken limb or a surgical emergency). If that is true, there will be no point in growing chamomille, mint, bergamot, echinacea, etc... - we will need the space for the calorie-dense crops. And we will need to save our money - just power through the vague dizziness, fatigue, malaise, headache, bloating and the array of poorly defined symptoms I have been dealing with for decades (while Rome burns).

I am taking a permaculture course, and as a part of it, I have agreed to help my teacher figure out whether to grow medicinal plants (she thinks the local fresh vegetable market may be a little saturated in Boulder right now). But, focused on food security/post peak issues as I am, I would hate to waste valuable farmland to stuff that doesn't do anything for anyone.

aangel, where would you start designing a post-peak health course? And can I help?
My email is in my profile.


Hi, Myrto.

I think there is much we can do to take care of ourselves, from being healthy in the first place to medicinal plants. I've read estimates that up to 50% of our modern medicines were inspired by or still contain active ingredients from plants, so I don't poo-poo plants at all (just the crystals and such). Plus I think pharmacists will go back to preparing some medicines themselves and doctors, too, when a pharmacist isn't nearby.

Right now I point people to the Hesperian books for general knowledge (Where There is No Doctor, etc):

They are available for free for download but I recommend that everyone have these books on their bookshelf. There is no replacement for a hard copy in the world we're entering, in my view.

To create a course would take a physician (such as yourself) and an expert in medicinal plant therapies. Dr. Jim Barson from APSO Australia recommends this book, too:

We should probably pull in Dan Bednarz, too, who has a good grasp of the big medical picture as he organized the John Hopkins Peak Oil and Health conference (http://www.jhsph.edu/preparedness/events/archives/Peak%20Oil%20and%20Health) and may know some other doctors who would want to review or help create the curriculum.

I'm up to my eyeballs right now with new course development ('Facing Collapse with Freedom and Power' is in pilot this Sunday; 'Preparing Your Home Office for Peak Oil' is just starting development) so someone else would have to create the curriculum and lead the course. I'll ping your email address and we'll go from there.


Unfortunately, the one medicinal plant that is more effective and powerful than any other, proven beyond all doubting, and #1 on any post-collapse community "must have" list - Papaver somniferum - is also the one that they most definitely will not let you grow.

Not true. I have poppies growing in the flower bed alongside my house. The seeds are readily available from nurseries. I've even slit the seedheads when still green to see the white sappy substance crude opium is made from oozing out. My dozen or so poppy plants are a far cry from the quantity sufficient to produce usable or marketable amounts of opium or its derivatives from. A few acres of poppies, that the feds might take notice of.

You can grow poppies in California, they just need to be "Ornamental".
As DD has pointed out, you need acres of them to produce enough opium for commercial use.

Trekker, DD

I have always(?since first learning about poppies and opium) been under the impression that the poppies that are grow here are not suitable for opium production.Supposedly they are the same species but a different cultivar (or sub species) from the ones in Asia,which yield useful quantities of opium.

Kinda like the hemp the regular farmers grow to make rope-that stuff is supposedly not worth the trouble of rolling it up.

I have also heard it said by a man whose opinion I generally respect that there are a perhaps quite a few gardens in this country with the real Mccoy growing in them,reseeding itself in nice little old ladies flower beds from plants originally cultivated for opium by thier own great great grandmothers.

Any further comments or insights will be appreciated. Such knowledge could be priceless someday not to far removed.

I remember visiting a garden in Mendocino CA (this particular garden has been left to go to seed, but...). The woman tending it at the time offered me seeds from her poppies, which she said were the kind that are illegal to grow (she had one or two clumps of them). They were very ornamental, beautiful bright red and tall. I wish now I had taken some seeds home, but I didn't. However, next time I am in Mendocino, I might hunt around in that abandoned garden by the water tower.

The ornamental poppies grown in gardens are Papaver somniferum, the same species grown for opium production, and they do produce opium. You may be correct about them being different cultivars, however, selected for aesthetics rather than yield.

A parolled felon made the local news a while back because he was eating bagels with poppy seeds on them and failing his drug tests.

of course medicines are originally almost all derived from natural sources, yet we look at them as lab creations, when these labs are often simply trying to replicate something from an herbal source, to make it packagable and storable... and of course saleable and ownable.

Don't worry. some of us will keep supplies of fresh herbs going in reasonable proportion to the calorie foods, the mineral foods and the protein foods.

I remember when herbal teas were just supposed to taste good and be vaguely stimulating or relaxing.

Consider including some "medicinal" plants for that reason if no other.

Especially the mint and chamomille :)

I don't know if this is the kind of thing your interested in:

The BBC recently had a TV show which has the book Grow Your Own Drugs as a tie-in. I didn't see the show (and haven't bought the book) so I don't know if this is just discussing about stuff that can be found in other gardenin resources or if it's a useful concentration of knowledge.

Thanks. There are quite a few books along this vein. Here is one person's list of 15 favorite books:

Thanks for the responses. I'll look into these links, and explore local bookstores/libraries. In Boulder, with its combination of tech-savvy and hippie roots, of all places, I might find some way to separate what works and what doesn't.

St. John's Wort, comes to mind as having clear effectiveness, and is aimed at an illness (major depression) that needs treatment (and for which you can also prescribe exercise, psychotherapy, peer therapy, etc...). Hell, in the post peak world, you may be able to barter for psychoanalysis - a steady stream of potatoes might do the job.

Then there's that whole category of plant essences that "benefit the liver" or "strengthen the immune system" and I just don't know what that means. Then there's other modalities that could work to some extent post-peak, such as acupuncture - I personally had an experience where an acupuncturist jump-started one of my labors - and made it essentially pain-free.

70 drumbeat articles. Is that a record?

It is getting to the point that this is the only place I need to stop to get caught up on important energy news. I used to browse half a dozen websites each morning, but I rarely find stories that interest me that weren't also posted here.

Hello TODers,

New Human Powered Vehicle [HPV] speed record was set last week in Nevada:

..Whittingham’s speed of 82.4mph beat by a whisker his previous record of 82.3mph, set in 2008.

I recall in another link that this stretch of road was recently repaved with careful design consideration given to help the HPVers. It looks like it too-- nice, new black asphalt from the picture above.

Alas, I was hoping the NV govt would lay a strip of narrow gauge railtrack down in this area so that railbike HPVers could try to go even faster than the roadbikers. From the book 'Bicycling Science':

[Read from page 408-411]: "..There is little doubt that streamlined [faired] railcycles should be the fastest HPVs."
Building the railtrack probably would also have been cheaper than the repaving project.

Additional note: I would imagine some top-notch bicycle tire designers are engaged with these leading HPVers making Very Expensive, Very Proprietary, high pressure, high rotational G-force designs. I have googled around some but I can't find much info on HPV rim designs, tire pressures [300psi?], etc.

Even normal racing tires are at nose-bleed prices:

$60 bucks for a bicycle tire?

You are probably right that because of the combination of elite athletes, special pavement and high-tech equipment, whatever speed they got is not a realistic speed for a HPV. However, progress in such a field is asymptotic - so a much lower tech HPV, using a less elite athlete and more basic bicycle components would still surpass an elite rider and the best diamond-frame bicycle possible on flat ground.

However, diamond-frame bicycles are much more practical if the roads are bad, there is a need for high visibility in multiple directions, or there is climbing to be done. Seeing as how I think everyone here can agree that the personal automobile's days are numbered, bicycles will be very, very important.

Hello LNC3,

Thxs for your reply with good points. Your Quote: "However, diamond-frame bicycles are much more practical if the roads are bad, there is a need for high visibility in multiple directions, or there is climbing to be done. Seeing as how I think everyone here can agree that the personal automobile's days are numbered, bicycles will be very, very important."

If we can somehow get railbikes as the local transport Standard: it negates a lot of those concerns you listed above.

1. Who cares about road conditions if you are rolling on smooth track? Let the rich, in the last personal vehicles, pay for pothole repair. Let them pay for snow removal 8 feet wide, while the commmon Joe & Jane quickly snow-shovel a 20-inch wide swath to keep moving in the winter.

2. If sufficient people are on railbikes--you don't need a high visibility riding position. You just need to see down the tracks ahead.

3. Climbing can be augmented by quickly attachable batt/motor kickers at the bottom of a slope, then removed at the top, then sent back down for the next rider. Could also be a rope tow system like at a ski-slope. No need to carry excess motor weight and HP like all personal vehicles do today. In a prior link: a 0.6 HP batt-miniloco could move 2-3 people easily, or 1 person + heavy cargo for miles.

4. If most postPeak people find themselves smooth-rolling while cargo-pedaling up to 8 hours a day: a recumbent seat + more gears + slower pace will be preferable to a razor-seat + quick exhaustion + fixing flats from [potholes, thorns, nails, broken glass, mud, ice, sewage] trying to grind a faster pace over bad roads. Turtle beats the Hare.

Sure, I agree we will still need reg. bicycles and wheelbarrows, but the goal should be to make that the last mile resort. A set of steel wheels may last a lifetime on a rail bike compared to 100 tires or more on a rubber tired bike.

A little more on the Turtle beats the Hare:

What I like best about a railbike is that one could be essentially smooth-rolling hands-free to read a book, or notebook surf the WWWeb, cellphone usage, eat your lunch, or just people & scenery watching as you pedal-stroke the miles away. No need to balance plus having your eyes constantly glued & cued up to suddenly serve around obstacles or dangers.

Wearing a helmet is uncomfortable in hot weather. On a railbike: a helmet would not be necessary, plus you could easily have a small, overhead tarp for shade or rain protection as required/preferred.

On speedy downhill coasting runs: the track layout would be optimized to get you down the slope safely, without brakes [except for an emergency], so you could coast as far as possible before having to pedal again. Compare to a normal bicyclist whipping around a blind corner to suddenly hit a patch of ice, spilled oil, gravel, etc. Instant case of road rash!

We have stretches of disused railtrack all over the place up here. I really need to get a rig put together so i can do some guerilla spidey-riding. If I do, I promise I'll put up a video of it. It's really been drawing me more and more.. I want to know what that ride would be like!


Hello Jokuhl,

Thxs for your reply. I am not an engineer, but it would seem frictional side-losses from the wheel-flanges scraping the railtrack would be the biggest hurdle to be overcome to reach the potential top-speed of a high-tech, HPV speed-record railbike. Thus, some clever inventor needs to invent a track & associated wheel-set than would automatically stay self-centered on the rail. I have no idea--Alan Drake?

The rest of the engineering hurdles would be pretty simple, IMO:

1. Railbike could be much lighter & much cheaper because you won't need the expensive to engineer & build crash protection of the protective kevlar ribcage and bodywork. Very bad things can happen at the current speeds of these HPVers if something goes wrong.

2. Wheel size could dramatically shrink because a steel wheel can handle the rotational G-loads. You also wouldn't have the great worry of a tire malfunction at 80 mph--Yikes! Also, much less wind vortices coming off the smaller spinning wheels could also reduce energy losses.

3. If tractive force can be somehow maintained, the aero shape might be able to take high-speed aero-foil advantage of the ground effect of the air pressure buildup between the rails: this would help the railbike 'fly' for even greater speed.

I suspect you will still want large drive wheels for purposes of leverage and point stress control.

Carbon fiber wheels with light metal "tires", tire faces shaped to use the inside corner edge of the tracks. Overall shape of the rail spider like so: /@\. Fully faired. Some suspension needed to account for slight variations in rail width and keep the face size down.

Hello R4ndom,

Thxs for your input as I have no idea what is best. Perhaps, a laser or acoustic sensor system that would steer the vehicle down the track so the side-flanges wouldn't hit at all? Might it also be able to correct early for a sideways wind gust if the system is designed correctly?

With modern laser surveying equipment, it would seem that they could easily put down 10 miles of Precision aligned and true Parallel track for HPV runs. It appears there is no reasonable limit, LOL!:

..A world speed record of Mach 8.5 (6,416 mph / 10,325 km/h) was achieved by a four-stage rocket sled at Holloman Air Force Base on April 30, 2003.[2]

Murphy's law first received public attention during a press conference about rocket sled testing.[3]

I was thinking a carat shape like ^, or a concave curve for the edge. Pushes out against the inside corners of the rails with a minimal contact face, and self aligning. Rider between the rails and relatively low slung. With 4 wheels it's self steering so mechanically it's dead simple.

With precision rails like you describe, no suspension would be needed.

I wouldn't want to test such a machine out on live rail, however. An encounter with a running train and no easy way to jump the track would be nasty.

"I wouldn't want to test such a machine out on live rail, however."

LOL! I concur, Yikes! The reason they use this highway in Nevada is it is dead-level and little to no wind during speed-season. IMO: Piece 'o cake to run railtrack alongside for speed runs.

Once this is perfected, it would be easy to set up shorter versions for 'show & tell', narrow gauge SpiderWeb demonstrations around the world. Imagine some poor kid in Zimbabwe watching a non-aerodynamic, cargo-carrying railbike quietly fly by at 25 mph with 100 lbs of O-NPK aboard--it might as well be a UFO to him as it would be such a revelation! He wouldn't ever dream of owning a SUV--He would want to spend much less money for a cargo-railbike.

Again, I ask: when tires become mostly Unobtainium, how do you want to get your fresh and fragile eggs to market?

Additional thought:

What worries me is that after China builds out its massive 'spine & limbs' network of 108,000 miles of standard gauge RR & TOD [Alan's Idea], they will then quickly build out thousands of 'ribcage' narrow gauge SpiderWebs even faster thereafter.

Meanwhile, I fear the US will futilely cling to our rubber-tired personal vehicles instead of pro-actively moving towards Kunstlerization.

I am sure the Chinese haven't forgotten the huge strategic advantage they had earlier being the first inventors of the rickshaw and wheelbarrow over 2,000 years ago. RR & TOD, plus local webs could give them another huge postPeak logistical advantage over the US. IMO, this 'First Mover Status' would truly cement them as Kings of the Logistics.

Next, imagine China exporting this to a country in exchange for energy and/or mineral resources. How would the US compete against that?

China could go to Venezuela, for example, then offer to make their transport network as non-FF-powered as possible, that would also require very little maintenance compared to ICE-vehicles & Pavement.

The US could only poorly counteroffer to export lots of used, low gas-mileage Cadillac Escalades and Hummers, plus other vehicles abandoned across America from unaffordable fuel and Unobtainium tires when we quickly descend to [19 @ '19].

I don´t know the exact details, but China DID loan money to Venezuela for the new railway network.

Here´s one of the parts that´s now functioning.


Just judging from the film, my guess is the new comutter rail line into Caracas (some freight moved outside rush hour).

Chavez took previous expansion plans and speeded them up (aeveral subway lines were opened weeks before the election with 2 or 3 stations "bypassed" until they were completed).

Map of rail expansion planned by 2030


Caracas Metro Plans (Plans for other cities as well)


Of all the grand rail schemes (Bering Straits, etc.) he may have the best idea. A rail line east of the Andes from Venezuela to Argentina, in the "foothills". Peru & Bolivia haul almost everything by truck over the Andes and three ports could be opened up by this; Venezuela, Argentina and Chile (new trans-Andes rail tunnel being built between Argentina & Chile). Interior Brazil likewise.

Tehran is expanding their subway with Chinese help as well.


The reason they use this highway in Nevada is it is dead-level and little to no wind during speed-season.

What is the elevation of the track? The higher up it is the less the air density -which reduces wind resistance. I guess the rules for the oficial record probably specify a maximum elevation for it to count.

What is gained in aerodynamic efficiency would be lost in engine performance. :-) Puff- puff- puff. Many bikers come up here to get in shape. Reno is 4500', where we live in Golden Valley is over 5000', Tahoe is about 6200' and the pass to get to Tahoe is almost 8000 IIRC.

I believe all race orgs can math-formula adjust speed records for elevation, temp, humidity, etc, to compare back to a standard sea-level equivalent:


Modern CPUs/Sensors in vehicles can do this adjustment on the fly with programmed lookup tables in their memory. In the olden days of primitive carbs: you had to rejet/retune motorcycles, or else they ran like crap [or not at all] when moved from sea-level to high elevation, or vice versa.

Yep, the race up Pike's Peak was a tuning race as much as a road race back then:

American Motorcyclist March '82

..and jetting a bike's carburetor for the massive elevation change can be as important as the choice of machine for the perilous ascent.

For guides and wheels, I'll stick with a normal bike tire on top (could always move to solid tires if good inflatables become scarce), and likely for starters will be rollerblade wheels on the inner edges.. will report in if I ever get to this one!

But yes.. it would be light enough to jump off the track in case of company.


Look on youtube for Richard Feneyman's explanation of how a train stays on the tracks. The flanges are a back-up system. Basically, the top of each rail is rounded. The wheels are conical, with the narrow sides pointing out. What happens going around turns (no differentials on a train, although spiderweb vehicles might as well be one wheel drive) is the train tilts into the turn, increasing the diameter of the outer wheel and decreasing the diameter of the inner wheel, allowing the train to turn without the aid of a differential. The same thing stabilizes the train and keeps it going straight.

However, without precision-laid rail (explain how this will be possible with less oil, as this certainly won't get started on its own until we are into serious depletion), you will need suspension, which, if the frame is composite or steel, could simply be a well-engineered frame design.

Now that you mention it, I think I did run into that some years ago.

For an HPV you still want narrower wheels (to keep the wheel weight down), which means more of a cant using the inner portion of the rail, but not nearly as extreme as I was thinking at first.

A speed record attempt HPV on rails would be a more extreme design though, just as the record attempt vehicles so far have been.

Typo alert, it's Richard Feynman.

Going to have to watch more of his videos.



TTXGP Isle of Man – Jurby Course 6/4/2009

Time – 0:37 – Electric Motorsport’s Native TTXGP race bike rider Chris Heath hits 100 mph on the Isle of Man Jurby Course.


New Human Powered Vehicle [HPV] speed record was set last week in Nevada:

"It hurt,” says Whittingham, catching his breath after his record-breaking run.

A couple of days ago, I had posted an abstract from a published research paper on the efficacy of Vitamin C in reducing symptoms of flu by 85%. After doing some more reading, the research was flawed. It looks like megadoses of Vitamin C (2 g/day) only results in a decrease of 5-12% -- and that effect is inconclusive.

My mistake.

PDF: Do vitamins C and E affect respiratory infections ?

The US Marine Corp, of all people, did a double blind study with huge sample size several years ago, on the efficacy of vit C on reducing the symptoms of upper respiratory viral infections. They found no statistically significant difference between marines receiving the vitamin & those receiving a placebo. If I recall correctly, Linus Pauling criticized the study for the "megadoses" of vit C not being "mega-" enough.

Just remember that many double blind studies were done in the past "proving" that roids are of little benefit to muscle and strength growth. Try C for yourself and learn if it works for you or not-most of these studies are total garbage.

Agreed about the studies, but one of my med school classmates used to say "I don't care if it's placebo, so long as it works!"

The placebo effect is very real, it is mobilizing the body's own healing abilities in ways that we do not yet fully understand, and it's driving the drug companies crazy.

Wow. Thanks r4andom. Well worth reading. Mind over matter. Epigenetics?

I can't remember the details but I know that female physician back in the fifties or sixties was teaching interns that some particular antibiotic drug cured ulcers.I can remember her qouted words.

"Use it .It works."

If she had been a pompous stuffed shirt male and had this bit of luck(accidental discovery) she would probably gotten a Nobel and a hospital named after her-not to mention all the suffering avoided.

So the profession finally figured it out again,maybe a couple of years ago?fifty years lost for nothing but worship of iron clad procedure and bone headed blindered thinking.

I took the blue placebo.

The Scientific American's talking about peak oil called "Squeezing More Oil from the Ground" is now out in paper form. I think we may have discussed this back in April, when a draft was available online. The Key Concepts according to the editors are

• Forecasts that global oil production will soon start to decline and that most oil will be gone within a few decades may be overly pessimistic.

• The author predicts that by 2030, thanks to advanced technologices, wells will be able to extract half of the oil known to be underground, up from the current average of 35 percent.

• Together with new discoveries, the increased productivity could make oil last as least another century.

"Callouts" include

• Most of the planet's known resources are left unexploited in the ground, and more still wait to be discovered.

• Advanced exploration and extraction methods can keep oil production growing for decades to come.

A Question and Answer with the author regarding whether it isn't better to be safe than sorry with respect to peak oil gives this answers:

It is absurd to predict a peak of world production because it presupposes that one knows how much oil is in the ground. But no one knows what the total amount is--not even its order of magnitude. Meanwhile the worst effect of this recurring oil panic is that it drives Western Political circles toward attempts to assert control over oil producing regions.

It is disappointing that what is supposed to be a scientific magazine would put out such a disappointing article. I should probably make a little post about it.


There already has been some discussion here:

but would love to see an in-depth analysis.


You just have to believe in TFD--Technological Fairy Dust--and be willing to pretend that regions like Texas and the North Sea, which were developed by private companies, using the best available technology, with virtually no restrictions on drilling, don't exist, or in the alternative, Communists in Texas and Vegan terrorists in the North Sea caused the respective declines.

The above is always good for a hearty chuckle from me, no matter how many times I have read it before here on TOD, WT. Keep repeating it for any newbies. We need some photo-shopped images of Yergin & Lynch as Tinkerbelles hovering over Col Drake's First Well. Does this wellsite even produce a single pint/day of oil today?

Gail -

Right on!

This is one reason why I canceled my subscription to Scientific American many years ago. Ditto for Popular Mechanics and the like. In my view they have become little more than populist media organs for espousing and promoting the technically oriented received wisdom from various elements of the Establishment with an axe to grind regarding which viewpoints are acceptable and which are not.

I concluded that Popular Mechanics was totally in someone's pocket when they did that laughable 'debunking' regarding questions raised regarding 9/11. Much of that debunking has already been debunked and we are still left with some very embarrassing questions regarding that fateful day. But this has nothing to do with oil, so I will just leave it at that.

But back to the point at hand, it seems that more and more governmental entities have been able to use the various media to get out the message it wants and to suppress those messages it doesn't like.

The scary thing is that such publication have an enormous circulation and millions of loyal readers who, as an act of faith, believe everything published therein.

Thank God for TOD!

I read Nature, and it has become my primary resource for what is emerging in the published scientific world.
SA has become a corporate mouthpiece.

"A corporate mouthpiece" is a bit strong, isn't it...? I, too, am an ex-subscriber... and either they or I have changed, for I find them less interesting than before... but they do have some integrity left when they publish stuff like this:

Do Seed Companies Control GM Crop Research?

Unfortunately, it is impossible to verify that genetically modified crops perform as advertised. That is because agritech companies have given themselves veto power over the work of independent researchers.

That should rile the corporate interests... When I see that in a mainstream publication, I actually dare think that not all is lost. Or at least, that I'm not completely mad after all.

I still read SA, but it has become like the Time Magazine for science, and corporate influence is dominate.

Good to hear that I'm not the only one who sees SA as having undergone a persistent decline in quality. Maybe SA's decline tracks the decline of oil? It ain't what it used to be. Sigh. (and yes, then we say "am" with same regret).

Interestingly enough, this month's cover story is about homesteading and self-reliance. The first story was about an urban garden in Oakland which could have come straight out of the Transition Handbook.


I'm off to an Transition Town meeting right now.

I trashed mine a few years back when they published the solar thermal article. It was clear from the first paragraph that the author didn't have a clue about the difference between energy and power. I refuse to read anything about energy from someone who is clueless about what energy is! I have renamed SA, as Stupidtific American.

Google's search for ideas to help the most people (Project 10100) only had one energy project in its top 16, and that was in transport. Rail biking was one of the ideas that inspired it, as was "Create a transportation system that enables electric cars to run on a rail-type system". This one I like and it can be as simple as drive-on/off which is already used for some tunnels.

I assume it's been discussed here, but just in case, has anyone else noticed that the EIA has 2005 annual production of C+C NOW HIGHER THAN 2008? Evidently the EIA revised the 2008 levels closer to reality.

Sorry if its old news, but I didn't see it discussed here...

DOE Highlights Collapsing Energy Demand

Economics trumps geology, for the moment.

I still say it's geology driving economics.

That price spike last year didn't spring from nowhere.

Late addition from ZeroHedge:
DOE highlights energy demand collapse

Nova Scotia's Bay of Fundy is home to the world's highest tides and twice a day, some one-hundred billion tonnes of water enter and leave the Bay. Twenty-five years ago, Nova Scotia Power commissioned North America's only tidal power plant at Annapolis Royal (and only one of three in the world). Later this fall, NSP will begin trials of a more advanced open centre turbine design in partnership with Ireland's OpenHydro, and if the results prove favourable, it could help this province wean itself off fossil fuels.

See: http://www.nspower.ca/en/home/environment/renewableenergy/tidal.aspx

No more coal-fired power plants !


Dumb....and Dumber


We are poised to go in a very wrong direction...