Drumbeat: September 29, 2009

Putin Sounds More Welcoming Tone to Foreign Investors

MOSCOW — Russia's prime minister, Vladimir V. Putin, whose government took control of several oil companies when he served as president, gave a speech Tuesday saying the state must now step back from the economy and let private enterprise take the lead in pulling Russia out of recession.

The speech, at a banking forum in Moscow, echoed recent assurances by his ministers and economic advisors that Russia is becoming more attentive to the concerns of investors. Mr. Putin also reiterated their suggestions that a new round of privatizations could be in the cards for Russia.

The speech on economic policy was noteworthy for its exceptionally warm endorsement of a role for private investors. That had not been the case in recent years.

Keeping a Close Eye on Impending Risk of Oil Price Spike

The biggest risk of higher oil prices looks to be the latest storm brewing in the Middle East. Our contention has been that oil prices are destined to slip back to their pre-stock-bounce range once economic reality sets in and demand remains persistently low. To that end, we own a hedge against falling oil prices.

However, the likelihood of military action against Iran by either the US, Israel, or both is growing, and such action would cause oil prices to spike. Let's look at the situation and chance of an attack, and why it would put upward pressure on oil prices.

EPA ready to rejigger wild mileage claims for electric cars

If you thought the only thing more outrageous than the 230 mile-per-gallon claim for the electric Chevrolet Volt was the 367-mpg claim for the electric Nissan Leaf, there's a change afoot that may make sense to you, reports Drive On's Sharon Silke Carty:

The concept of judging fuel efficiency on electric cars by the "miles per gallon" they consume is dying a slow death. The EPA and other government agencies are working on a formula that will accurately tell people how fuel efficient electric vehicles are -- but since those cars don't use gas, miles per gallon doesn't make any sense.

Zenn Ditches Car Production Plans to Focus on EEStor Drive Train

Canadian electric vehicle maker Zenn Motors has been stating its grand vision for a while: to supply a range of automakers and grid operators with energy storage technology created with partner EEStor. That’s what Zenn CEO Ian Clifford told us at the Fortune Brainstorm Green conference earlier this year. But this week, Clifford seems to have accelerated those plans and told Reuters and GM-Volt that Zenn no longer plans to sell its own higher-speed electric vehicle (the cityZENN car), and will also “shift focus away” from the low-speed electric it currently sells.

Instead, Zenn will now focus on acting as a supplier to the auto industry. Working with secretive EEStor, Zenn plans to make an electric drive train, the ZENNergy Drive system, which can deliver those oh-so-controversial performance claims from EEstor: 10 times the energy of lead-acid batteries at one-tenth the weight and half the price, with the ability to move a car 400 kilometers after a 5-minute charge.

“Land grabs” for rice production due to supply threats

Los Baños, Philippines – Recent interest in “land grabs” or the international acquisition of land to produce rice is sparked by a looming threat of inadequate rice supplies.

“To put it simply, there is not enough rice to feed the world,” says Dr. Robert Zeigler, director general of the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI).

“To meet the need and keep rice prices around US$300 a ton – which allows poor rice farmers to make some profit yet keeps rice affordable for poor rice consumers – we need to produce an additional 8–10 million tons of rice more than in the previous year for the next twenty years.”

Spain says has power to spare, can phase out nukes

MADRID (Reuters) - Spain's top energy official said on Monday the country had enough spare generating capacity to phase out nuclear power stations in the medium term, in line with government policy.

In recent years, Spain has subsidized renewable energy in order to cut its heavy dependence on fuel imports and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It is now the world's third-biggest producer of wind power and the second-biggest of solar.

Nuclear power is unpopular in Spain and both major political parties ruled out building new plants in last year's elections.

Can Wind Power Be Stored?

Wind farms typically generate most of their energy at night, when most electricity demand is lowest. So a lot of that "green" energy is wasted.

So the big question is: How do you bottle that power for air conditioners and other appliances that are busiest during the day?

Alternate-energy scramble on across West

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Want some solar energy with your geothermal?

In Utah, state officials are fielding various combinations of energy proposals, a list that includes solar and geothermal installations and an energy storage project that would turn salt caverns into a kind of giant battery. The caverns would hold compressed air when they're not storing natural gas.

'Brighter days ahead offshore'

Offshore capital expenditure is forecast to increase from last year's $260 billion to $360 billion by 2013 with the long-term outlook for the industry remaining bullish, market consultants Douglas Westwood said today.

“Leading indicators have been improving since the beginning of the year - our view is that offshore expenditure will grow,” Steve Robertson. the director of Douglas Westwood, told the Trends in the Offshore Drilling Industry conference in London today.

“From 2011 onwards, delayed projects will come back into the market.”

...Robertson highlighted demand from China being a key driver for oil demand fundamentals remaining strong.

“If China follows Korea’s path - as it has largely to date - oil demand will more than double in the next decade,” he said.

Robertson questioned whether supply could meet this demand, with 66 out of 99 producing countries having reached their peak production by 2008.

“Peak oil is not a myth or a scare tactic, in our view it is very much a reality,” he said.

Mid-sized natural gas producers on the rebound?

The past few months have been difficult for intermediate oil and gas producers in Canada, especially those with a focus on natural gas as prices have flatlined. However, as Blackmont Capital ramps up its coverage of this sector there is room for optimism.

Gordon Currie, analyst with Blackmont, continues to increase his coverage universe, adding five more mid-sized producers trying to survive and conserve capital in a period of low pricing.

What Is Peak Oil?

Peak Oil is a term that has become common currency in energy debates in last three years, due in large part to the spectacular rise in the price of crude between 2005 and the end of 2008. But what does Peak Oil actually mean and, more importantly, what do I mean when I use it in my articles?

Mexico May Avoid Credit Rating Downgrade, JPMorgan Says

(Bloomberg) -- Mexico may stave off a credit- rating downgrade, JPMorgan Chase & Co. said. “From our conversations with the rating agencies, they appear to be giving Mexico the benefit of the doubt and will likely wait to see what components of the fiscal reform are approved by Congress,” JPMorgan analysts led by Joyce Chang wrote in a report to clients.

Ecuador court lets judge leave Chevron case

QUITO, Ecuador (AP) -- An Ecuadorean court has said it will allow a judge to withdraw from overseeing a $27 billion lawsuit charging the Chevron Corp. with environmental damage in the Amazon rain forest.

The lawyer representing the plaintiffs in the lawsuit told The Associated Press on Tuesday about the court's decision to allow Judge Juan Nunez to step down. Pablo Fajardo says the case now will be heard by Judge Nicolas Zambrano.

Nigeria's main rebel group warns Chinese oil firms

ABUJA, Sept 29 (Reuters) - Nigeria's most prominent militant group on Tuesday warned Chinese oil companies not to invest in the impoverished Niger Delta until peace was achieved in the region.

"The Chinese should be careful about investments until there is justice in that region," a spokesman for the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), the main militant group responsible for sabotage of Nigerian oil installations, told Reuters.

"We can guarantee that if the government of Nigeria fails to address the root issues, the Chinese will regret they were negotiating with the wrong people."

Risky business: insuring countries against climate catastrophe

HONG KONG, China (CNN) -- The last fifty years have borne witness to a spate of climate related disasters across the world causing over 800,000 fatalities and $1 trillion in economic loss.

Those stark facts come from the Economics of Climate Adaptation (ECA) Working Group, a group of NGOs and corporations that has produced a report warning that if countries do not take active steps to build resilience to climate change soon, they are likely to suffer even larger economic losses in the coming decades.

According to the ECA report published on September 14, climate catastrophes have risen in direct proportion to global temperatures over the last several years.

Preparing for the Oil-Driven Economic Collapse

Part of the problem with being an analyst is that we are expected to think as if we were living five years in the future.

While the market is undergoing a recovery at the moment, I was recently part of a massive panel of ex-Intel executives who were anticipating another collapse, this time energy-driven. It appears we have dropped into the five-year window of anticipating that.

Only China, at the moment, appears to be putting in place the resources to offset this collapse, and even it is not making the progress needed to fully offset it. However, what China is putting into place will make the problem even worse for us, and it is time to start thinking about this.

Preparing for Peak Oil: How Our Lives Will Change Forever

What do the following three cities have in common? Maracaibo in Venezuela, McCamey in Texas, and Baku in Azerbaijan (formerly part of the Soviet Union)? They are all dead ghost towns, former oil production supercenters of their respective nations, and indeed the world. They are now littered with the deteriorating skeletons of oil towers and pumps that have long since ceased to nod their bowed heads in prayer to their subterranean god. Their landscapes, eerily silent and still, are reminiscent of World War I European battlefields – stripped of life and livelihood.

We worship oil - and while an impressive 70% of crude oil is refined into transportation energy, a whopping 98% of transportation energy comes from oil. And if all the predictions are correct, the impact on our economy and our civilization is such that any delay in our response is only going to magnify the coming cataclysm. Imagine an asteroid hitting the planet in slow motion.

The end of the world as we know it

San Francisco will face spreading poverty, possible food shortages, skyrocketing costs and increased gentrification as the production of oil and natural gas declines in coming years, according to a report issued last week.

The report by the Peak Oil Preparedness Task Force had some grim predictions, but also said that if officials begin planning now, San Francisco will be alright.

The coming Population Wars: a 12-bomb equation

News flash: the "Billionaires Club" knows: Bill Gates called billionaire philanthropists to a super-secret meeting in Manhattan last May. Included: Buffett, Rockefeller, Soros, Bloomberg, Turner, Oprah and others meeting at the "home of Sir Paul Nurse, a British Nobel prize biochemist and president of the private Rockefeller University, in Manhattan," reports John Harlow in the London TimesOnline. During an afternoon session each was "given 15 minutes to present their favorite cause. Over dinner they discussed how they might settle on an 'umbrella cause' that could harness their interests."

The world's biggest time-bomb? Overpopulation, say the billionaires.

David Attenborough and Jonathon Porritt challenged on population growth

The population explosion in poor countries will contribute little to climate change and is a dangerous distraction from the main problem of over-consumption in rich nations, a study has found.

It challenges claims by leading environmentalists, including Sir David Attenborough and Jonathon Porritt, that strict birth control is needed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The study concludes that spending billions of pounds of aid on contraception in the developing world will not benefit the climate because poor countries have such low emissions. It says that Britain and other Western countries should instead focus on reducing consumption of goods, services and energy among their own populations.

BOOK REVIEW: $20 per Gallon

I have to admit that when I saw the title of Christopher Steiner’s new book, I scoffed a bit. Twenty Dollars per Gallon of gas seems like an outrageous, unfathomable price, even when you’re a believer in peak oil. But part of the beauty of Steiners’ book is its ability to track the effects of ever-more-scarce oil in believable detail. Whether the author’s predictions of local food, high-speed trains and alternative plastics are correct, they are excellent illustrations of the pervasiveness of petroleum.

Jeff Rubin warns of imminent rise in oil prices to triple digits

Rubin offered several explanations as to why oil prices will soon rise significantly. First, he said that today's most important oil sources, like the Athabasca Oil Sands in northeastern Alberta, are far more expensive to use than prior supplies. Another problem, he said, is that prices in oil-producing countries like Saudi Arabia and Venezuela allow unhindered consumption. Finally, cheap cars in India and China, such as the $2,200 Tata Nano, are adding to the existing explosion in world oil demand that undermines consumer cutbacks on oil use in the United States and Canada.

"Every person who gets a Tata gets a straw to start sucking at a world gasoline supply that has not grown in the last four years. The more that they suck, the less that we suck, and what we do suck and slurp up costs us increasingly more," said Rubin.

Aramco CEO: Oil demand rebound will take time -PBS

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Oil demand in the United States and Europe remains weak but the economic crisis will not lead to a permanent reduction in global consumption, the head of Saudi Arabia's state oil company said in an interview with a U.S. television station.

"It will take time to make up for the millions of barrels of lost demand that we have experienced," Saudi Aramco CEO Khalid Al-Falih said in an interview with Nightly Business Report to air Monday on PBS, adding, "But ultimately, it will come."

Tools to Chart Mexico's Declining Oil Production

For those of you who’d like to stay more up to date on the decline of Mexican oil production, a situation that is quite serious despite lack of Western media attention, today’s post offers up a framework for understanding the monthly oil production figures, and then shows you how to best obtain and understand this data.

Rising Nat. Gas Prices Could Spur Marcellus Shale Drilling

Drilling in the natural gas-rich Marcellus shale formation that stretches across western Pennsylvania has been stunted by the recession, but a Pittsburgh oil and gas expert believes change is coming in 2010.

Duquesne University Professor Kent Moors, an internationally recognized authority in oil and gas policy and finance issues, predicted that the price of natural gas is on the verge of increasing to a point at which it will become profitable for companies to begin drilling.

And if Moors is correct that the price could nearly double by the middle of 2010, Pennsylvania is in store for a whole lot of drilling.

White House to Go After Iran's Oil Income

(CBS/AP) The Obama administration is planning to push for new sanctions against Iran, targeting its energy, financial and telecommunications sectors if it does not comply with international demands to come clean about its nuclear program, according to U.S. officials.

The officials said the U.S. would expand its own penalties against Iranian companies and press for greater international sanctions against foreign firms, largely European, that do business in the country unless Iran can prove that its nuclear activities are not aimed at developing an atomic weapon.

Cnooc Holds Talks With Nigerian Government Over Oil Licenses

(Bloomberg) -- China National Offshore Oil Corp., the country’s third-biggest crude producer, is among companies in talks to acquire 16 production licenses in Nigeria, the president’s office said today.

No decision has been taken on reassigning the licenses which were originally awarded to other producers and expired last year, Olusegun Adeniyi, a spokesman for Nigeria’s President Umaru Yar’Adua, said in an e-mail today.

TIMELINE: Resource-hungry China invests in Africa

China's government and its state-controlled companies have invested billions of dollars in Africa to secure natural resources for the Asian giant's growing economy and build Beijing's political influence in the developing world.

Here is a timeline of some major deals since 2007:

Indonesia falling short in crude output

Indonesia’s average daily oil production for September stood at 951,867 barrels per day, about 9000 bpd shy of its targeted 960,000 bpd, according to head of BPMigas, the country’s upstream watchdog, BPMigas.

China to Cut Fuel Prices Tomorrow by 190 Yuan a Ton

(Bloomberg) -- China, the world’s second-largest energy user, will cut gasoline and diesel prices by as much as 3 percent tomorrow to reflect crude oil costs, the National Development and Reform Commission said.

KBR wins Saudi Shaybah gas contract

KHOBAR, Saudi Arabia (Reuters) - U.S. firm KBR won a contract to work on a natural gas liquids project at Saudi's Shaybah oilfield, it said in a statement on Tuesday.

The award comes just a few days after after Canada's SNC-Lavalin won another deal for gas work from state oil firm Saudi Aramco. Aramco is focusing on expanding gas output as it looks to meet rising domestic demand from power plants and the petrochemical industry.

Russia to sell off oil stakes

Russia is planning gradually to reduce its stakes in big state oil companies and those in a number of other sectors, as part of its post-crisis strategy, Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin told reporters today.

Chevron Asks Court to Remove Ecuador Judge From Pollution Case

(Bloomberg) -- Chevron Corp., the second-largest U.S. oil company, asked a court in Ecuador to remove the judge presiding over a $27 billion environmental lawsuit against the company there, saying he is biased.

Schlumberger Presses for Shale-Gas Openness as Regulation Looms

(Bloomberg) -- Schlumberger Ltd., the world’s largest oilfield-services provider, is pressing suppliers for permission to disclose the chemicals used in a drilling process that could be slowed by regulation after spurring an increase in U.S. natural-gas production.

“We have spoken with our suppliers regarding the disclosure of their chemicals,” Schlumberger spokesman Stephen Harris said. “Our suppliers do understand the need for a level of disclosure and are working to address that need.”

On the road again: RV sales see an upswing

A closely watched report Tuesday on consumer confidence is expected to show modest improvement, but some economists are heartened by a more obscure measure of buyer sentiment: recreational vehicle sales.

RV wholesale shipments jumped 16% in August from July to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 209,800, the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association reports Tuesday.

Houston Ship Channel reopens after oil spill

HOUSTON – The Coast Guard says three miles of the Houston Ship Channel are reopened after a 10,500-gallon oil spill closed the section during the weekend.

Kuwait oil fund eyes renewables

Kuwait's oil fund, the Kuwait Investment Authority (KIA), is ready to study investment opportunities in alternative and renewable energy, it was reported today.

RWE CEO Says Germany Should Talk About Extending All Reactors

(Bloomberg) -- RWE AG Chief Executive Officer Juergen Grossmann said Germany should talk about extending the lifespan of all its nuclear reactors beyond planned early retirement dates.

India’s Nuclear Power Generation May Increase 100-fold by 2050

(Bloomberg) -- India’s nuclear power generation capacity may increase more than 100-fold over the next 40 years as the South Asian nation reduces dependence on fossil fuels blamed for global warming.

“If we can manage our program well,” our strategy could yield 470,000 megawatts of power by 2050, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh told a conference on peaceful uses of atomic energy in New Delhi today. “There will be huge opportunities for the global nuclear industry to participate in the expansion of India’s nuclear energy program.”

Cara Peck: Tackling the Energy Crisis at a Grassroots Level

Cara Peck is a young life scientist at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) confronting the nation's energy crisis, air quality and ecological balance at the grassroots level.

Peck, 28, helped shepherd an EPA pilot project in the San Francisco Bay area to convert 73,000 tons of organic food waste from restaurants into electricity per year, keeping the material out of landfills and limiting greenhouse gas emissions.

Could Sorghum Become a Significant Alternative Fuel Source?

Could sorghum become a significant alternative fuel source? That's what faculty from Salisbury University's Richard A. Henson School of Science and Technology, with Solar Fruits Bio Fuels, LLC, are hoping to find out during a series of trials this fall.

Since May, eight sweet sorghum varieties have been growing on a Wicomico County farm for evaluation as potential stock for ethanol production on Delmarva.

Ben & Jerry's, GE work on greener freezers for US

WASHINGTON – Think propane and butane are just for barbecuing? Think again: The common cooking fuels can also chill your drinks and ice cream with less energy and almost none of the global warming worries of current refrigerants.

Some of the world's largest consumer product companies are promoting freezers and refrigerators in the U.S. that use propane, butane and other coolants that don't trap heat in the atmosphere as much as Freon and other conventional refrigerants.

Kunstler: LA Almost Completely Hopeless

James Kunstler came back, people. He came back to LA even though he thinks the city is hopeless and tragic and Kazakhstanish! In this week's KunstlerCast, the anxiety attack-generating urbanist discusses his recent trip to Los Angeles, and can you believe he had one nice thing to say?

What if Everyone in the World Wanted a One-Ounce Gold Coin?

It’s been my experience that the more emotionally one is invested in something — even if it is irrational and harmful — the more viciously one will defend it — even it is irrational and harmful.

Auto-dependent suburbia, popular democracy, bigger government and other abusive relationships, infant sacrifice and the designated hitter rule: these things all make sense to some groups, somewhere at some time. Doesn’t make any of them morally right or worth keeping.

New book offers solutions for world's energy crisis

Running on Empty: A Handbook for Understanding and Surviving the Energy Crisis, by Phillip J. Greene, seeks to provide an easy-to-understand explanation of the world's current energy crisis and practical tips on saving energy.

Greene understands the need for resource conservation. After surviving the scarcity of war rations as a young child in the 1940s and living through the energy crisis of 1973, all of the recent buzz about global warming, oil dependency and energy crises had a familiar tone for him. During his research of the 21st-century energy crisis, Greene felt there were no books out there that described what is actually happening in a constructive and useful manner.

Kjell Aleklett: Our oily food

In one of his first speeches as USA’s president, Barack Obama declared that, “No single issue is as fundamental to our future as energy”. This is the same viewpoint that I have had since the mid-1990s. Energy is the foundation for our daily bread, our warm home and our work. If our energy security crumbles then our society will also crack.

Once Upon a Time, Democrats and Republicans Worked Together on the Senate EPW Panel

In a speech Thursday on the Senate floor, Boxer underscored that partisan divide when she attacked a Republican-led effort aimed at halting U.S. EPA climate regulations for a year.

"The interesting thing is most of these environmental laws started with a Republican president named Richard Nixon," Boxer said. "What happened to the days when environmental laws were supported on both sides? Those days appear to be gone."

Camco Shares Fall After Loss More Than Doubles on Writedown

(Bloomberg) -- Camco International Ltd., the U.K. manager of emission-reduction projects that has an Al Gore- linked fund as its biggest shareholder, dropped the most in more than seven months in London after its first-half loss doubled.

Warmer weather threatens moose in Minnesota

Minnesota has an estimated 7,600 moose, nearly all in the forests of northeastern Minnesota, where plentiful swamps, lakes and streams provide good habitat. Yet they're beleaguered by increasingly warm weather and parasites such as brainworms, ticks and liver flukes.

"Almost without exception all of the indicators are that the population is declining," said Mark Lenarz, a moose expert with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

Climate pact must include forest scheme: WWF

BANGKOK (AFP) – A leading environmental group on Tuesday urged delegates at UN climate talks in Bangkok to include plans to reward nations for saving their forests in any deal on global warming.

U.S.-China Climate Change Leadership: Five Ideas for a Common Agenda

China and the United States--the world's two largest carbon emitters--should identify a handful of "world critical" technologies that address energy production and climate change, according to the China Reform Forum, the Chinese think tank, and the Carnegie Council, a New York-based institution. The two countries should then jointly develop the technologies under a bilateral regime that promotes private investment, project development, and shared intellectual property rights.

Exelon to Quit Chamber Over Climate Bill

Exelon, one of the country’s largest utilities, said Monday that it would quit the United States Chamber of Commerce because of that group’s stance on climate change. It was the latest in a string of companies to do so, perhaps a harbinger of how intense the fight over global warming legislation could become.

“The carbon-based free lunch is over,” said John W. Rowe, Exelon’s chief executive. “Breakthroughs on climate change and improving our society’s energy efficiency are within reach.”

PG&E, Duke Energy Walkouts Show U.S. Split on Climate

(Bloomberg) -- PG&E Corp. quit the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Nike Inc. and Johnson & Johnson criticized the group for its stance. Duke Energy Corp. resigned from the National Association of Manufacturers.

Climate-change legislation is splitting the U.S. business community as few initiatives have in recent years. Groups such as the Chamber of Commerce, more accustomed to tangling with unions and environmentalists, find themselves facing off with prominent members who are defecting or joining new organizations to promote and shape legislation.

Blue August: The Global challenge of Ocean Acidification

The complex chemistry in the oceans is quickly changing due to the overload of carbon in the air. These changes are seriously affecting our oceans and all life on our planet.

This film originally aired last month on Discovery Green and it presents the other CO2 problem: Ocean Acidification.

The Oceans cover 71% of this planet and contain 97% of the water. If you want to talk about what is actually the lungs of the planet the Oceans are them. The modern burning of fossil fuels releases CO2 at 100 times the rate of volcanoes. 25% of this excess carbon-dioxide gets absorbed into the oceans. Scientists at one time thought this was beneficial because otherwise that excess CO2 would accelerate global warming. But what happens when so much CO2, 22 million tons of it each day, mixes with ocean water? That’s easy: We have changed the chemistry of these immense climate regulators.

If we didn’t know any better, that would be one thing, but we have known for decades that CO2 is absorbed into seawater and it forms Carbonic Acid. Carbonic Acid breaks down marine organisms. It’s not controversial or complicated. This problem is so huge that there is no possibility of engineering our way out of it. There is only one way to stop the rising Ocean Acidification: Stop Burning Fossil Fuels.

In the meantime all fertilizer runoff has to be stopped at the source and fish farms and over-harvesting of fish stocks has to stop immediately. If we’re going to give oceanic ecosystems half a chance to adapt as we carry out this world-wide carbon experiment they need to be healthy. Human civilization needs to give the world a break!


And you know we are not going to do those things Joe. Therefore.....

thanks Twilight, I needed that. - I almost slipped into a delusion that the world is occupied by rational players.

It'd be nice if humans were rational in aggregate. However, border collies would be out of business if self-actualization was the only mechanism that worked to move herd animals.

Profound ! And true.

My favorite example that humans do not act rationally in building their environment is to ask the question:

What sane person, of their own free will and choice, would chose to live with burnt orange shag carpeting and avocado colored appliances ?

Yet, for over a year, a majority of new homes got exactly that color combo (or harvest gold). Suburbia, at least, was founded on the herd instinct.

BTW, had a long talk with the head of the Angeles Chapter of the Sierra Club (old acquaintance) about my important reader that I prepared the white paper for. My ultimate goal from this is the "Green Hirsch Report", a blueprint for the economy, energy and the environment. Lots of details underneath that.

Best Hopes,


Alan - My parents had harvest gold drapes with beige shag carpet. My mother wanted it raked, in one uniform direction...every day. I had terrible hay fever as a kid and raking that carpet every day was a source of my early difficulties with breath. That and the fact that my mother smoked two packs of Benson and Hedges Daily. In the morning before I could go to school I would have to make her a cup of tea and take it to her in bed. It was always pitch black in her room because she had blackout drapes. She hated sunlight and the sun never stopped shining in Las Vegas. Still gives me the creeps.

Years later I went back to my old neighborhood and I think it was the ugliest place I've ever seen. Most of the homes had let the lawns go (too expensive to water the grass)cars parked in the front yards, broken down cinder block homes with sloping tar and rock roofs, chain link fences outlining every lot. If you didn't see the glow on the windows from the TV's at night you'd never know that people actually lived there.

I wish I could take Jim Kunstler through my old neighborhood and show him what a real nightmare in suburbia looks like.


So this is plan B. The idealist in me wants to believe plan A is the only true option. Thanks for the reminder.

The idealist in me likes plan A better, too. However, at the point it becomes clear that plan A won't happen, I'm not sure we have a right to simply give up.

With a world at stake, how dare we rationalize any options as being "off the table"? Those whose ideals are more than a passing fancy may have to get their fingernails dirty, even if the methods don't seem egalitarian.


Human civilization needs to give the world a break!

Now boarding at gate 13, all humans leaving the planet, have a nice trip!

I don't know if you saw the article in Nature last week, or the link to it on TOD, but here is the link to the original article again:


It deserves a read, and especially a careful look at the graphic.

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.

I did see it DD. So I guess the disease is terminal...nothing to do but make the patient comfortable.

Reading through the report again I read the following:

Transgressing one or more planetary boundaries may be
deleterious or even catastrophic due to the risk of crossing thresholds that will trigger
non-linear, abrupt environmental change within continental- to planetary-scale systems.

Suppose that warning lit up your dashboard every-time you put the key in the ignition. ;-)


Chemical dispersion has been passed. Land use has been passed. Bold claims, I know, without any data or even any proposed defined boundaries.

The last I read, there are over 22,000 chemical compounds produced by human industry, which have virtually no safety or toxicity research.

As far as land use, let's see. Virtually all of our farming is monocultured. Virtually all of our cities obliterate the underlying land in favor of an environment that supports too many humans, extremely sparse and uniform vegetation, disease and disease vectors, and a few pets.

We have also passed our own species' limit for human interpersonal support. In addition to the 6 - 12 hours per day of individual labor, we each require some 300 to 500 hours of equivalent human work per day, which cheap energy provides us.

Aerosols have probably not been passed, but does it matter at this point.

You may quite possibly be correct regarding the chemical pollution boundary already having been transgressed. We know it's a serious problem in many, many localities. This boundary wasn't listed as having been transgressed yet because data was deemed insufficient on the global scale to warrant its being declared transgressed. As you say, there is insufficient toxicological data on thousands of organic compounds that don't occur in nature, but the real issue is that of non-additive toxicological interactions between these compounds. Something that may be relatively benign by itself may potentiate the toxic character of something else. Such potentiation & antagonism are extremely common, and largely unresearched.

The last I read, there are over 22,000 chemical compounds produced by human industry, which have virtually no safety or toxicity research.

Even worse, we have no idea what can happen when they start interacting with each other once they are released into the environment.

DD, your link don't work.

Thanks, that works. But while searching for your lin earlier I came upon this, which is a short version of your page but in HTML and with three videos that outline their position.
Tipping towards the unknown

Ron P.

Nature has the authors on their podcast this week, if you want to listen.

While I understand and feel the same way, there's a language and concept problem here.

"Civilization" cannot give anything, much less a break. It's an idea that represents the sum total of behaviors, feelings, ideas, and consequences of over 6.8 billion individuals.

6.8 billion individuals need to give the planet a break. And I haven't been able to implement getting just one person, who otherwise wouldn't, to do anything significant about peak oil, climate change, species extinction.

Besides, we can also look at the problem from a Robert Heinlein and George Carlin synthesis.

"The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire." -- Heinlein

"The planet isn't going anywhere ... we are! We're going away. Pack your shit, folks, we're going away." -- Carlin

Overshoot and die-off are natural, and people don't need to be controlled for this to happen. And the planet will get the break it needs when we are diminished or gone.

Try to have some fun in the meantime. Stare at the clouds, plant a garden, go for a walk, play a game, talk to someone of your sexual preference.

I haven't been able to implement getting just one person, who otherwise wouldn't, to do anything significant about peak oil, climate change, species extinction.

710 - On a personal level I have a niece who is making herself crazy over this. She rides a scooter doesn't eat meat teaches gardening and refuses to fly anywhere. Once I went to the grocery store with her and there was a woman in front of us with her cart full of cheese puffs, diet Pepsi and TV dinners. What was worse is she was transporting this environmental disaster out the door with dozens of plastic bags. My niece turned to me and began to speak loudly about this woman's obscene consumption in the 3rd person. The woman then turned to the cashier and asked for a manager.

She then has it out with the store manager and is politely asked to leave. By the time we got to the car she was in tears.

It's easier for older people to take the attitude "try to have some fun in the meantime" because of course we'll be gone. It might not make a shred of difference but I'm going to try to do all I can regardless. Glib complacency is a betrayal of these young people and I'm not going to support that.


Once I went to the grocery store with her

Joe, you are lucky you even get to go to the store with your niece! Here in Britain we need a criminal record check and permission from the fascist state if we want to take our neighbour's kids to football practice. Not kidding. We are required to be on a database and be subject to routine checks. Christ, I don't know why we went to all the bother of defeating Hitler. And if you don't believe me read this:


It's the same here.

You really know how to make our day, Leanan! ;-)

Taking a step back and looking at the bigger picture, as I am wont to do, these events are tiny examples of a process that has been going on since before the Enclosures in England: progressively moving all human activity into the realm of The Market, destroying tradition, religion, craft, friendship and kinship -- all the parts of society -- as it goes on.

I don't think there is any conscious ill-will here, it's just the way the system is constructed.

I am reminded yet again of the image of a tachnid wasp larva eating its host caterpillar from the inside. It too is just doing what it has to do.

HAcland - She's 24 so I think I didn't have to worry about that. The other day I was recommending volunteering to be Boy Scout Troop leaders. You know: "help kids become Peak Oil aware etc. etc." When I thought about it though I remembered that even 20 years ago I was terrified about ever being alone with my scouts without a credible witness present. At the time I lived in LA and there was a local witch hunt for perpetrators of sexual harm against the precious children:

For example: Day care sex abuse hysteria.

The most egregious example of it was the McMartin Pre-School Trial. They destroyed the lives of 1/2 a dozen people and in the end the whole thing turned out to be a mockery of a travesty of a sham. Is it any wonder that people are reluctant to volunteer teaching kids sports or Scouting Activities?


I know what you mean, I've had to make a conscious effort to avoid ever being in a situation where I'm alone with someone's child, even for a minute. I'm not a perv, just paranoid about false accusations. I've done my big thing to help humankind with its problems by not having children of my own, but the thanks I get is to make me a non-conformist relative to society in general (especially small-town society), and thus "different", and thus "wierd", and thus "suspect". So I've got to be really, really careful to limit my contact with kids. It is a shame, because I do like them and wish I could do more in terms of passing on whatever wisdom and knowledge I've acquired to the next generation. But it is not worth risking having my life ruined, and possibly spending the rest of my life in jail, just because of a false accusation from an over-imaginative and malicious child and their hysterical parents, orchestrated by a predatory prosecutor.

I wouldn't say you are being paranoid, that is simply well-warranted prudence.
I am in the same position, without kids in a small town/rural area and I would love to hire the neighbor kids to help me with projects or show them some of the thousands of miles of great hiking trails just up the road. Unfortunately they have the suburban orientation, their parents won't let them explore their world, and they sit inside playing video games while less than a mile away lies state forest land that goes for hundreds of miles...sad.
My next door neighbor recently told me a harrowing story of a false allegation against him over a decade ago. It seems he was dating a divorced woman with kids.
It seems that she also had a vindictive ex who cared more about hurting her than the well being of the child involved. Hard to believe but true (as revealed by the child herself who is now almost an adult and maintains ties in the community)...anyway, long story and of course I am not privy to all the details, but the takeaway is this...
charges were dismissed, there was never any case, but...my neighbor will never be the same.
In these cases there is no presumption of innocence before trial.
Even if case is dismissed before trial you will never recover your reputation.
the risk is just too great, and not just from an "over-imaginative child". It could simply result from being in the line of fire two people who have decided they hate each other.
not sure what this has to do with 'energy and our future', but as Leanan says, threads drift...

..they have the suburban orientation, their parents won't let them explore their world, and they sit inside playing video games while less than a mile away lies state forest land that goes for hundreds of miles...

When my two sons were growing up we lived at 6,700 feet elevation on the Navajo Reservation, with the mountains going up to >9,000 feet just to the west. There was a waterfall canyon cutting down the mountain just behind where we lived, with beavers in the drainage. All the roads were dirt. Those boys would be out in the woods & up the mountain all day long, no telling where or what they were up to. They climbed rocks alone & unbelayed that they should've had ropes & protection even to contemplate climbing. They'd go up to the bootlegger's hogan & make fun of the "glaani' men" (drunks) hanging around. Sometimes the drunks would chase them. They fought incessantly with the Navajo kids, who hated whites, both at school & in the community. That said, they also had friends, who had wormy & swaybacked, half wild horses they rode all over. What a stark contrast in upbringing my sons had compared with the kids with the "suburban orientation" you describe.

DD - that is really interesting! I've got to tell you one of the oddest growing up environments you could ever imagine:

In 1967 I was 12 years old living as a dependent in the Philippines (Clark AFB). My father was an Air force Msgt. in the M.O.B. and he was TDY about two thirds of the time. We lived off base in a compound where GI's with families were. If we wanted to go onto base we would take the bus and go to a movie, develop film (I was into photography then) go to the BX, buy a hamburger, go to the Y and play B-ball. Overall not a lot to do. It was verboten to go out of the compound or off base without a parent or guardian. My mom however was busy getting her nails/hair done by little brown slaves or getting drunk at the NCO club so I had no supervision. Pretty soon I start hanging with a group that was going off base and exploring jungles, the local villages, old temples. One time we found an old WW2 tank that was rusting and we were always finding unexploded ordnance. Entomology interested me then and I caught the most incredible moths, butterflies and beetles. Spiders that would amaze you with the beauty and complexity of their webs. I also remember that if you had five dollars you were rich. I know I could have easily been killed or kidnapped but I never thought about the danger...I was too exited about living in an exotic place to worry.

I was only there for 18 months but it changed my life.


Sounds like an awesome experience Joe. There's no place like the tropics for biodiversity & adventure. My time in the Brasilian Amazon has been all too brief, but some of the most wonderful experiences I've had there. The insect life is astounding. The thing that probably impressed me the most was the size & variety & architectural complexity of arboreal hymenopteran mud hives. Boys are resourceful & thrive on danger, or they used to, as you & my own sons demonstrate. I grew up in boring ole flat agro-industrial Illinois - in the "Great Corn (& Soybean) Desert," as I came to call it. I envy your time as a kid in the tropical Philippines and my boys' time on the Rez. Btw, Clark AFB was destroyed by the Pinatubo eruption, iirc, correct?


Pinatubo, about 90 kilometers (55 miles) north of Manila, exploded in June 1991 after a 500-year slumber, dumping billions of tons of volcanic debris on three provinces, erasing entire farm communities and altering the world’s climate.

As a result, the U.S. government decided to abandon Clark Air Base at a time it was negotiating a new lease on the nearly 10,000-acre facility, then home to about 20,000 American soldiers, including their families. Their withdrawal, along with the pullout of American troops from nearby Subic Naval Base, ended nearly a century of U.S. military presence in the Philippines.

At the time the Phillipine Authorities were playing hardball about renewing the lease. They figured that if the Americans pulled out they would own all of that "Yankee built and paid for" infrastructure. After Pinatubo it was mostly destroyed. They bet wrong.


We had some really hot & dry years in the late '80s, with some bad dust storms. Those were the years of the Yellowstone fires. Horses were starving on the range. I remember Pinatubo because it gave us a reprieve from the heat for a few years, by injecting SO2 aerosol into the Stratosphere, temporarily increasing albedo. The magnitudes of the Pinatubo & St. Helens eruptions were similar but St. Helens blew out sideways and when the pyroclastic ejecta hit the Tropospause it failed to punch thru. Pinatubo, on the other hand, erupted straight up, injecting SO2 & fine particulates into the Stratosphere and hence the more pronounced effect on weather patterns.

Pinatubo, on the other hand, erupted straight up, injecting SO2 & fine particulates into the Stratosphere and hence the more pronounced effect on weather patterns.

I think the sulfur content can vary quite a bit from volcanoe to volcanoe. It is assumed that the ash falls out too quickly to have much of an effect on climate, but the SO2 stays up for a few years. So to evaluate the effectiveness (at cooling) of an eruption, you need to know the size, the sulfur content, and how much ends up in the stratosphere, via lower atmosphere where rain can wash it out.

I was amused to come across videos of Clark AFB on YouTube. Apparently, the empty buildings are rumored to be haunted, and so the local kids go there and play "Ghost Hunters."

I flew right over Pinatubo in 1989 when I was in the Philippines.
Who would have thought!

joemichaels -

Yeah, this sort of sexual predator paranoia is getting to look more and more like the Salem witch trials.

I was reminded of this inherent danger a few days ago. I happen to have a fairly interesting backyard, with lots of foliage and a number of cement sculptures that I had made over the years. Kids seem to love it. Well, about three year ago this neighbor's kid from up the block started to take a shine to my place. This was a very precocious and extroverted girl about 7 years old. She has been visiting our place from time to time ever since, though only about a handful of times during the last year.

She is now 10 years old and sometimes brings one of her friends. While she is a most intelligent, interesting, and creative person, and one who sort of confides in me about her home live, which I surmise is not all that great, I am beginning to realize how much risk I am exposing myself to by merely letting her into my yard. This risk is going to increase exponentially as she approaches puberty. I think at some point I am simply going to start avoiding her visits. Just for my own legal protection.

One doesn't even have to be directly accused of anything ...... a well-place innuendo can ruin a person for life just as easily. It is really despicable, because while on the one hand everybody is talking up the virtues of neighborhoods and community and all that good stuff, but on the other hand there are all sorts of state agencies just waiting to pounce on anything that could even vaguely be construed as sexual predation. Here in the US we live in a pretty sick and hypocritical culture that is getting worse by the day.

Maybe a silver lining to economic contraction/collapse is that our (in the USA at least) bloated legal system will have to radically downsize. As time goes on, these state agencies will be defunded or cut to a fraction of their current size, along with everything else.

This should make for a good key-post: How will the looming energy/economic contractions affect both the criminal and civil legal systems?

Antoinetta III

Antionetta III -

Yes, I think your idea has the makings of a very good post!

It is indeed a very important subject worth in depth analysis.

Yes, this is a Real Thing.

We had friends with a cute kid who would hang around; in Hawaii everyone is called "auntie" or "uncle". Not having kids ourselves, it was cute to have the girl around, she enjoyed playing with our dogs. But then the couple started having marital problems, and the mom started drinking and becoming abusive. My wife and I decided that the girl couldn't come over anymore, because the mother could make life miserable for us with a malicious allegation. A shame, since the kid probably could have used some stable adult friends.

And yesterday I went out for a walk, and what looked to be a 3-year-old girl was trying unsuccessfully to tie her shoes and looked to me for help. I waved hi and kept walking, because an unrelated man tying a little girl's shoe would scream "pedophile" in this very-fearful society.

I trusted adults when growing up and the only pedophile I ever ran into was my junior-high gym teacher; and society was on his side at the time.

The damages of this out of control worship of "safety" go a lot farther than yet touched upon inthi thread.

Well meaning busybodies seldom stop ti think about the conssequences of thier actions and it's almost impossible to get anyone to listen to the whole story when discussing a subject such as child labor laws for instance.

Let us suppose that I want to hire a nieghborhood kid to help me out in my shop for three or four hours in the afternoon-nada, it will interfere with his school work.Maybe-in the unlikely event that he has superb teachers who CAN assign homework because he's on the gifted track,,that he has parents who will see that he does it,and so forth.If so ,the homework will get done ,as well as the parttime work.

Nada-garages are dangerous places-true ,but not nearly so dangerous as skateboards, bicycles on public roads, or unlimited unsuperviosed social intercourse with other tv raised kids ,which is the likeliest way for the kid in my area to spend his time.

With me he would be learning the value of a dollar earned rather than given,the satisfaction of a job well done, and the foundations of a skill set useful to him for the rest of his life.

I daresay he might also learn a little about critical thinking, trust ,honesty , responsibility,and a few other things-but no, we must protect him fron EXPLOITATION.

If we could breed a new line of humans with conservative brains and liberal values there might yet be some hope for us.

"Nada-garages are dangerous places-true.....-but no, we must protect him fron EXPLOITATION." Posted by oldfarmermac

This is part of what I had in mind when I mentioned the idea of a key-post regarding the downsizing of the legal system. The big problem is the concept of "liability" and the feeling of entitlement to be "compensated" everytime one has an accident. If we want people to interact as a community needs to, if its going to be a real community, the threat of lawsuits needs to be removed. We need to get away from the idea that one is entitled to compensation or a hearing or a process every time the vissitudes of life are unpleasant.

"If we could breed a new line of humans with conservative brains and liberal values there might yet be some hope for us." Posted by oldfarmermac

I wish we could get beyond the left-right, conservative-liberal names and divides as I don't think they help us solve anything. As far as that goes, the fear of danger and exploitation seem to be "liberal values".

Antoinetta III

Getting beyond the left right liberal conservative rhetoric would indeed be a great thing- but I fear that most of us ,left or right, are too comfortable with our prejudices and misconceptions and too reluctant to change our minds(especially publicly!)for it to happen.

Actually I might go so far as to say that even if we didn't mind changing our minds , most of us are too lazy to really investigate any given serious issue well enough to have a valid fact based opinion about that issue, unless we are PAID to do so.

Present company excepted of course.

"Glib complacency is a betrayal.."

Hear, hear!

That's the hard part isn't it - to understand what we face, and what our kids face, and to not give up. I help my children with their homework, and when they ask (as kids have always done) "what am I ever going to use this for?" - well, you know, that's a damn good question, isn't it? But who can say what will be useful or not, and when. My son's skill with his guitar may be far more useful than his knowledge of math. The years still pass quickly, and as Greer has noted, the people who lived through what we understand to be some of the biggest changes in history may not have realized it. When will the dislocations occur?

Years ago in a conversation about jobs and those battles that always seem so important, my Dad told me that when you get older none of that stuff will matter to you, rather that time spent with family and those you love will be what you remember. I think that's true for saving the world too - don't forget to spend time with those you care about.

I feel for kids like your niece - she understands and cannot change a couple of billion people, and she probably knows it. That's a hell of a burden for anyone, let alone someone who is young.

I look forward to the 'rebuttal' by the 'global warming isn't happening - ergo no need to control CO2' crowd.

Feel free to man up, grow a set, and debunk ocean acidification as a concern.

I'm with you, Joe.

Heck, if Jim Hansen isn't giving up, I'm not either.

Thank the lady at the supermarket for fueling our passion for change. Make sure your niece knows that she will never know how much her actions matter. She might have turned the manager, the cash register person, the bagger, or you, into an activist for life. And I can't see how the Twinkies lady can ever load her cart again without getting a little twinge.

How many smokers were converted by random little kids on the street telling them they smell gross? I've heard stories from patients.

In Response To: Preparing for the Oil-Driven Economic Collapse (up top)

Everybody's worried about a sudden increase in GLOBAL oil prices; I think there's any equally serious risk of having some suppliers not recognizing US currency. With the (silly) securitization that's going on (again) it's possible that some smaller suppliers may go off and find a new customer that has currency that's backed up by "real wealth."

We may not lose all 60% of imports... but even 10% would be enough to drive up domestic prices at the pump (and elsewhere).

Ignorant, I don't think there is any chance of oil suppliers not recognizing US currency. The only thing that would cause that is the dollar collapsing to total worthlessness. So that would mean that China, and all other nations, would not accept worthless dollars for its exports. In other words, it would mean total collapse of the global economy.

Garrett Hardin said "You can never do just one thing." Meaning that everything that happens affects many other things. If the US stopped importing oil then this would mean that 12 billion barrels of oil and oil product exports would need to be absorbed by other countries. This is over one quarter of total world exports. Imagine what effect this would have.

My point, nothing happens in isolation. Your scenario would require the total collapse of the US economy. This would require, or cause, the total collapse of the world global economy.

That is not to say that it could not happen. I expect, in less than one decade, for the dollar to be worth about five cents in today's buying power. This is not just wild speculation on my part but I believe it to be a lead pipe cinch. This video expalins why.

Bailout Big Lies & Your Savings

If you do not have the ability to load video's, or the patience to watch it, here is the guist of what it says. The total share of the US debt of each taxpaying household is about $1,200,000, primarily because of the recent bailouts. Now we know each taxpaying household cannot pay 1.2 million dollars in taxes. And the US is not going bankrupt. So what MUST happen is the dollar is inflated until it reaches the point where each taxpaying household CAN pay.

Ron P.

I disagree. It would only require one (or maybe two) exporters to stop recognizing our currency.

1) We already reached a global ceiling in potential production capacity.

2) There isn't enough investment to get excess capacity on line.

3) If economy recovers and demand goes up some exporters could think: 'hmm, let's see, I could sell to US in exchange for T-Notes... or I could sell to country Y in return for guaranteed access to certain physical resources.'

The Iranians have already switched over to the Euro.

You may disagree but you surely do not understand. If Iran, or any other nation, insisted on receiving euros for their oil instead of dollars, but but American importers still wanted their oil, it would take a fraction of a second for the US buyers, whomever they may be, to convert their dollars to euros and go ahead with the purchase as if nothing had changed.

I simply cannot understand why so many people fail to understand how the FOREX works. It is all done electronically and takes less than one second. You can change any major currency to any other major currency at a cost of only about three basis points, three cents per hundred dollars. The price of the oil, or the value of the dollar, can fluctuate far more than that in just a few minutes.

There has been debate on TOD as to whether or not oil is truly fungible. But there is one thing that no one can dispute, nothing is more fungible than major currencies. All major currencies are exchangable, in an instant, to any other major currency. And most of the world's minor currencies are only slightly less fungible than major currencies.

Ron P.

but American importers still wanted their oil, it would take a fraction of a second for the US buyers, whomever they may be, to convert their dollars to euros and go ahead with the purchase as if nothing had changed.

I simply cannot understand why so many people fail to understand how the FOREX works. It is all done electronically and takes less than one second. You can change any major currency to any other major currency at a cost of only about three basis points, three cents per hundred dollars. The price of the oil, or the value of the dollar, can fluctuate far more than that in just a few minutes.

Yes... but the only thing holding the dollar above the abyss at the moment is that it is needed as the bridging currency for non quoted currency pairs. I can switch my pounds sterling into euros without going via dollars. Iran couldn't switch its 'whatevers' into Euros without first going via dollars. Take away the necessity for world trade - the bulk of which is oil purchases - and the dollar is toast. In fact when Nixon finally with drew the gold standard the de-facto replacement was the float against the black gold – petro dollars.

Take away the necessity for world trade - the bulk of which is oil purchases - and the dollar is toast.

I agree that the dollar is toast, in ten years or less, but what currency oil is priced will have nothing to do with it. What does that have to do with the inflation or deflation of the dollar? The dollar is worth what it can buy in goods and services. I know what I mean when I say the dollar is toast but you seem to mean something totally different when you use the same phrase.

If oil were suddenly priced in euros, and euros were accepted by all major exporting countries, the dollar would still buy just as much oil as before the switch. Please explain how such a switch could inflate or deflate the value of the dollar? Would a gallon of milk still cost the same after the switch? Or how about a Chinese Christmas toy?

The world needs a basic currency benchmark. Right now that is the dollar. If it became the euro that would make little difference as far as the value of the dollar goes, just as it now has no affect on the value of the euro. If the switch were made would the value of the euro suddenly change. Would the rent on a flat in Paris suddenly change to reflect this new value of the euro? As long as any currency can be changed to any other currency in an instant then the value of that currency is based on its buying power, not whether Iran or anyone else wishes to accept it or not.

You, and many others, seem to have it exactly backwards. As the dollar becomes worth less and less, due to our very stupid monitary policies, this will affect its value on the world market. And as long as the US imports and exports, the dollar will have value as a medium of exchange. And its value will depend on what it will buy in goods and services and not what currency foreign nations wish to accept. They can get their desired currency regardless! And the value they get will depend on the purchasing power of the dollar, not what currency they desire to accept.

Ron P.

You, and many others, seem to have it exactly backwards

Not sure I have it backwards, it is just a matter of perspective. Only when I vacation in the States (as I do) will I ever have need for dollars. (actually I just rented a server in Georgia as it is better value than a UK based one but that was on a credit card). I can see your point from someone who needs dollars each and every day though..

EDIT: and from a vacationing perspective bring on the dollar collapse! (So long as Sterling isn't shafted as well..)

On 9/11/01 I was contracting for a bank in the City of London and watching all that was going on on the TV screens on the trading floor I just knew that my contract would not be renewed. Sure enough the ensuing panic saw me out of work. A month later I got horribly drunk with my house mate and for some reason we ended up discussing how long it would take to drive across the States. He then went to bed, I finished off the bottle of wine, wrote a post-it note saying "gone to find out". Phoned for a cab to Heathrow, got there, found the United ticket desk and asked for a ticket to LA, returning from JFK. Cost me £110 !!! For some reason no one wanted to fly United. Got to LA with a hangover, rented a car from Hertz, bought a map of the States and set off for New York. Took me 4 days, three nights. And the best bit is that I did it bare foot! Ahhh, those were the days..

This works as long as oil is sold on a commodities market. A few exporters (i.e., Venezuela) and a few importers (i.e., China) are pushing to go back to the old way, namely, oil sales by contract.

If I'm and exporter and I don't want dollars I can work out a contract with any country I favor.

And even if we converted dollars to euros to buy our current rates of oil purchases, how long before the rate of exchange starts to list to the point of capsizing.

This works as long as oil is sold on a commodities market. A few exporters (i.e., Venezuela) and a few importers (i.e., China) are pushing to go back to the old way, namely, oil sales by contract.

I haven't a clue as to what you are talking about. Oil is sold by contract and always has been. Only a very tiny fraction of oil trades on the futures market actually result in actual delivery of oil, and what is traded is only a very tiny fraction of all oil sold in the world. Go here:
This Week in Petroleum, Crude Oil
And look at the world contract prices there. This is the price that oil traded last week. (Well, really the week before.) But you will notice all prices are below both benchmarks. But that's all they are, benchmarks, compared to all the oil traded in the world, the actual oil traded on the exchanges is only a pittance.

And even if we converted dollars to euros to buy our current rates of oil purchases, how long before the rate of exchange starts to list to the point of capsizing.

Huh? What are you talking about? All European nations convert their currency to dollars and this causes no list. Is the Euro about to capsize? I don't think so. I haven't a clue as to why you think any sort of list or capsize would happen.

Ron P.

WNC Observer's post (below) addresses the potential of a dollar capsize.

My point is that I'm not so sure that the US economy is that invulnerable... or more to the point, that it can't be disconnected from the global economy by other countries that are so inclined to do so.

If our need for imports start driving up the price of oil for everyone, there is always the POSSIBILITY that someone could see that one solution would be to eliminate the pressure that our imports cause by simply ignoring our import requirements... AND SOMEONE OVER HERE SHOULD SERIOUS CONSIDER THAT POSSIBILITY AND MAKE PLANS FOR SUCH A CONTINGENCY.

If our need for imports start driving up the price of oil for everyone, there is always the POSSIBILITY that someone could see that one solution would be to eliminate the pressure that our imports cause by simply ignoring our import requirements...

The only people capable of ignoring our import requirements would be those exporting to us. So you are saying these exporters think oil prices are too high so they ignore our requirments and sell their oil, at a much lower price, to other nations.

Yeah right!

Ron P.

No, they will end up selling oil, at a higher price, to other nations.

One interesting thing that happened during the last price spike was that some countries avoided the whole currency issue altogether by bartering food for oil. I suspect as long as we're the breadbasket of the world, we'll be able to import oil. Sure, we need oil to produce food. All the more reason countries that can't feed their people have to make sure we get it.

True, but I can see addiction to the 'free market' resulting in the US converting its entire food supply surplice into ethanol, because that is more profitable than selling food to the rest of the world.

What will you export then?

I don't think that will happen. For one thing, the demand won't be there. If things are that bad, what will we need ethanol for? Aside from drinking it, I mean.

I expect demand to fall sharply in the US. People without jobs don't need to drive much, and can't afford to.

If there was a free market, corn-based ethanol production would barely exist. It is purely a function of subsidies, a government, not a market initiative. Corn-based ethanol would be far less profitable than food production in a free market.

No, they will end up selling oil, at a higher price, to other nations.

That would be impossible. The removal of bidders and thereby removal of demand for the oil would automatically drive down the price. It could not possibly be otherwise. Such nonsensual statements are trying my patience. I think I will pour myself a strong one even if it is only a little after 2PM here.

Ron P.


So these type of comments do not gratify your senses or indulge your appetite?


That seems nonsensical to me.


MW, Vocab monitor, :)

The thing is, the US won't be able to import oil by the tankerfull and other stuff by the container ship full, and continue to pay for both with nothing more than IOUs. At some point, the current account will have to balance.

If the US was going to be a good place in which to invest, then we could count on a continuing net inflow in the capital account to make up for the current account deficit. However, given that the "smart money" seems to be disinvesting in the US as fast as they can, and given the huge problems that the US is facing and not solving, I doubt that there is going to be all that great a flood of capital into the US indefinitely. The truth of the matter is that most people with capital to invest have better places where they could place it. I don't know what the US could do to make itself a more attractive place in which to invest, but it would probably require a package of initiatives, each of which would be hugely unpopular and bitterly resisted.

We could lower our current account deficit by applying a high tax on oil products to encourage energy efficiency, combined by a high VAT to discourage consumption of manufactured goods. That's what many countries, better run than our own, do. That requires doing something unpopular, though, and that apparently is not something that our "leaders" are capable of doing.

Absent those alternatives, the default solution will be for the US$ to fall in relative value until we can no longer afford to buy more imports - whether of oil or of other stuff - in excess of the value of what we can export in exchange.

This is inevitable in the long run. It really doesn't matter what anyone says or does, it WILL happen, as it always has before to every other nation that lets itself drift into this sort of mess and doesn't take effective action to counter it. As I said, there are things that our national government could do to mitigate, but that requires being governed by people who know what they are doing and who have the long-term national interest in mind. That in no way describes the government we have got or have had or will have under either party.

The thing is, the US won't be able to import oil by the tankerfull and other stuff by the container ship full, and continue to pay for both with nothing more than IOUs. At some point, the current account will have to balance.

WNC, I agree fully with that statement. In fact I agree with everything you say in that post. You are spot on except in one instance listed below. The dollar must collapse because of the reasons listed in this video:
Bailout Big Lies & Your Savings (Same link as I posted above.)

But the point is, this is the cause. The things you list are true except in the case of the US not being able to afford imports. No, we will always, unless we totally collapse, be able to afford imports. The only difference will be that the imports just cost a whole lot more. This has happened many times in other countries and none of them ever stopped importing or exporting. All that changes is the value of their currency.

Also you, and Ignorant, do not understand that the price of any currency on the FOREX is influenced, it does not, in itself, influence. That is the price of any currency on the FOREX is a result, not a cause.

And all this has absolutely nothing to do with Iran demanding euros instead of dollars for their oil.

One more very important point. The US economy does not exist in isolation. We are the world's largest importer of damn near everything and the wold's largest exporter of grain. If, or rather when, the US economy collapses, so will the economy of China, Japan, India and South Korea, followed closely by the collapse of the rest of the world's economies. We are all interlocked and interdependent. Every country either exports or imports things required by other countries. A transaction to an isolationist economy by any country would require massive pain and likely a large die-off of the population.

Ron P.

The only safe haven is an export-only country as they would be self-sufficient, yet, by the laws of economics their currency would attain infinite value, and thus they could not export either.

Eventually those who export must buy, and those who import must sell, with approximately balanced trade. In fact the US has that situation always, only our biggest export product is Treasuries.

The other possibility is that some of the export quota may instead be filled with real estate or other non-exportable goods. China uses some of its spare cash to purchase land in other countries. Of course this tends to end badly, with nationalization of assets, once it gets too lopsided.

A small, highly-productive populace in a nation with an abundance of resources (especially energy) should have it best, really. Maybe that is Iceland?

Yes, but if all those FOREX trades involving SELLING US$, that is inevitably going to drive it down relative to other currencies. It won't plunge to zero overnight, but over the long term down it must go.

Two points, one for every seller there must be a buyer. And two, the FOREX cannot influence the purchasing power of the dollar. The value of the dollar is really based upon its purchasing power. So if sellers drive the exchange rate of the dollar down then US exports become a bargain and imports become more expensive. This will eventually bring prices back into the range demanded by the true value of the dollar.

FOREX traders are generally trend followers. But there are a few long range traders. These traders are betting on the inflation or deflation rate of the dollar because they know that is what ultimately drives the value of the dollar verses other currencies.

Just as speculators can temporarly drive oil prices higher or lower, so can speculators drive the value of the dollar temporarly higher or lower. But sooner or later they both must rise or fall to their true value, which has nothing to do with speculators.

Ron P.


A ProMED-mail post

ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases

Date: Mon 28 Sep 2009
From: Marion Koopmans

We would like to report 2 patients in The Netherlands, diagnosed with
influenza pandemic A(H1N1) 2009 virus infection that had a mutation (E627K)
in the basic polymerase 2 (PB2) protein. This mutation has previously been
associated with increased efficiency of replication and possible virulence
changes in other influenza A viruses.


communicated by:
Marion Koopmans
Chief of Virology
Laboratory for Infectious Diseases and Screening, Center for Infectious
Disease Control
National Institute of Public Health
The Netherlands

This is one of the mutations which has been predicted to occur as the virus continues to adapt to humans. Whether the "Fall Wave" of the virus fizzles through the population as nothing more than a major irritant except in exceptional unfortunate cases or explodes into something more lethal will be established very soon. Then we just have to hope there's no bird flu combination(s) waves a bit later :-(

More commentary from Henry Niman at E627K Circulation in Pandemic H1N1 Patients in the Netherlands


There was something on the radio news this morning (might have been BBC, I don't remember) saying that in deaths of seemingly healthy young adults, autopsies showed that 1/3 had (possibly prior) bacterial infections of some form of pneumonia causing bacteria.

I guess the theory may be that these (prior?) bacterial infections increase the risk of death.

Probably relating to this story

One minute Lindy’s out dancing and in the pool, next she’s in a coma

A PAL of swine flu victim Lindy Paterson told how their dream holiday ended in horror - as the tragic tourist lay fighting for her life last night.

Heartbroken Emma Ansell, 26, revealed her "superfit" best friend was dancing and splashing in pools on the sunshine isle of Ibiza just days before being plunged into a terrifying coma.

...Emma said: "The minute he sounded her chest he said she had got pneumonia. We got her to the clinic in Ibiza town. After she got blood tests they said they were highly concerned about her white blood cell count.

Woman’s parents in Ibiza bedside vigil

THE PARENTS of a young Fife woman who is on a ventilator in hospital in Ibiza are keeping a bedside vigil in the hope that their “vibrant” daughter recovers from swine flu.

Lindy Paterson (26), of Cowdenbeath, became ill while on holiday with friends in San Antonio after initially suffering pneumonia.

But pneumonia as a complication in virulent Influenza is unfortunately not unusual.

the young are affected more.. as I understand it because our respiratory systems are fitter and healthy than old 'uns.

Just another bloody example of the Boomers vice-like grip on the world. Not content with hoarding all the wealth, clogging up doctors' waiting rooms and demanding free bus passes us young 'uns can't even get a break with a flippin' disease!


Bacterial Coinfections in Lung Tissue Specimens from Fatal Cases of 2009 Pandemic Influenza A (H1N1) --- United States, May--August 2009

Early Release
September 29, 2009 / 58(Early Release);1-4

In previous influenza pandemics, studies of autopsy specimens have shown that most deaths attributed to influenza A virus infection occurred concurrently with bacterial pneumonia (1), but such evidence has been lacking for 2009 pandemic influenza A (H1N1). To help determine the role of bacterial coinfection in the current influenza pandemic, CDC examined postmortem lung specimens from patients with fatal cases of 2009 pandemic influenza A (H1N1) for bacterial causes of pneumonia. During May 1--August 20, 2009, medical examiners and local and state health departments submitted specimens to CDC from 77 U.S. patients with fatal cases of confirmed 2009 pandemic influenza A (H1N1). This report summarizes the demographic and clinical findings from these cases and the laboratory evaluation of the specimens. Evidence of concurrent bacterial infection was found in specimens from 22 (29%) of the 77 patients, including 10 caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumococcus). Duration of illness was available for 17 of the 22 patients; median duration was 6 days (range: 1--25 days). Fourteen of 18 patients for whom information was available sought medical care while ill, and eight (44%) were hospitalized. These findings confirm that bacterial lung infections are occurring among patients with fatal cases of 2009 pandemic influenza A (H1N1) and underscore both the importance of pneumococcal vaccination for persons at increased risk for pneumococcal pneumonia and the need for early recognition of bacterial pneumonia in persons with influenza.

One of the things increased efficiency in replication does is shorten the total incubation time, the time during which you become increasingly infectious but not yet feeling sick or ill.

The shortening of the incubation time also reduces the amount of environmental spread of infection to other people.

This is not necessarily bad news.

What if you have both at the same time?

Silent Spread of E627K in Pandemic H1N1 Patients

This type of mixture could not only allow for the spread of E627K, but could also lead to elevated levels in the upper respiratory tract, due to the dominance of E627K, followed by increased levels of H1N1 in the lower respiratory tract due to a dominance of E627. The silent spread of E627K could be linked to the increased severity of pandemic H1N1 infections being reported at schools throughout the northern hemisphere.

...These data highlight the need for more aggressive cloning and sequencing. The acquistion of NA H274Y was predicted because if a high frequency in seasonal H1N1, while PB E627K is at high frequency in PB2 in seasonal H1N1 and H3N2. Recombinations allows for the jump of both polymorphsism from a seasonal flu background to pandemic H1N1.

The presence of mixtures at PB2 position 627 could have catastrophic consequences, linked to site specific increases in viral load. Similarly, release of sequences would allow for a fuller understanding of the dsitribution of the sub-clade isolated in the Netherlands with and without E627K.

Immediate release of these sequences wold be useful.

Historically flu viruses are sequenced as if there is just one species in any one patient when actually there are uncountable mutations in each sample and, as I understand it, "fit" minor populations aren't usually spotted until they reach a very significant percentage unless you really go look for them.

Of note this mutation (E627K) was present in 1918 but then so were other "lethality" polymorphisms not (yet?) in the current outbreak so I'm not suggesting a 1918 death re-run here. Just something to watch.

Another casualty of H1N1?

Swine-Flu Slaughter Leaves Cairo Without Pigs to Devour Trash


Maybe this should go under Ugo Bardi's thread, or a religious thread or maybe one on the effects of the economic malaise. Seems they have that part confused though:

"city districts hired foreign firms with trucks and compactors to collect garbage as part of Egypt’s privatization drive."

Privatization? What were the Zabaleen, socialists?

I read the NYT story several days ago (and another piece by Christopher Hitchens) and didn't even notice that...I guess it's only 'private industry' if it's a multinational corporation. I'm sure some in the gov't got a cut of the profits also, of course.

Google Flu Trends just upgraded Texas to "Intense" activity. That's their highest category and already exceeds the height of all Texas influenza activity in recent years seen in mid-winter. According to Google estimate anyway.

It is September 29th.


The msm may still be in a state of energy denial but to me it looks as if the business world at the upper levels is beginning to wake up.

I don't keep charts ,etc, but my personal wag is that the number of articles I run across such as the link above to the retired Intel guys is doubling every couple of months.

If this continues it won't be too much longer before one of these guys turns out to be the golfing buddy or brother in law of the editor of a serious newspaper and the news dam holding back this story will finally spring a serious leak.It's been oozing a little for quite a while already.

And the nature of leaks in dams(at least earthern dams) is such that they tend to grow exponentially.

If there actually is no defacto CONSPIRACY to keep the depletion message off the front page ,then maybe all the press is waiting for is one brave editor at a big paper to be the first man or woman to step forward and take his chances with the biggest story since Pearl HARBOR AT LEAST.

My personal opinion is that the "de facto conspiracy" does indeed as the result of manny many converging and self reinforcing factors and positive feed back loops but I don't have the right word for the result which RESEMBLES the results of a successful conspiracy(properly defined) to keep this news out of the msm.

I need a vocabulary lesson , someone help me out here .If the word doesn't exist yet, somebody has his shot at his fifteen minutes of fame.

I don't know the word you are looking for, but I did start doing the mental thesaurus exercise. It occurs to me that these aren't people who are against some truth, they are people who are for an untruth; they want to believe in BAU, they want growth, they want want want whatever. So the best I could come up with is that its not a conspiracy, its a prospiracy.
A few years back I worked with an ex-Marine who had a lot of colorful phrases. When the bosses would have a rah rah rah meeting to get all the workers fired up, tell us all how it was going to be wonderful if we could just meet those milestones on time and under budget, he said they were runstigating. This was his word which meant they were blowing smoke up your arse. Then he said there was only one thing worse than a boss that was runstigating, and that was when they started to believe in the smoke they were blowing, he called that "self-runstigation".

Most important thing I've learned so far today.
Wondered where that expression came from.

I think there's a simpler issue: what goes on front pages is news. So you don't see "the world is faces a future with as much energy as we want to use" or "the world faces a future with dramatically reduced energy" on a front page. The problem with the Pearl Harbour analogy is that it was, whatever else, a definite news event. I actually don't think that, given that it's nature is that of an inside story or an op-ed piece, that there's a lack of media attention on peak oil issues. The problem is partly that op-ed people are swayed by someone convincing telling them something rather than being proper researchers in their own right, and partly that there are lots of lifestyle/celebrity/etc stories that are implicitly predicated upon business as usual proceeding as normal.

The British Independent news paper is actually very good with its front page. Everynow and again they use it for attention/educational purposes rather than reporting... A good news paper is the Independent, if a tad leftish for my taste.

and for that very reason it has been on the brink of bankruptcy for years.


You're onto something-this should not be on the front page as you point out but it should still be headlining the business section along with the many articles that deal with future trends such as social security, pensions, hot new markets, new tech, new careers,etc.

Isn't it amazing how many articles are written about hybrid cars and how few about the reason there are so many about hybrid cars and other energy saving or conserving thecnoogies?

oldfarmermac -

I have the same sort of problem in finding the right term for what appears to be going on.

The word 'conspiracy' is problematic, because if taken literally if implies an actually plot between two or more people to commit an illegal or subversive act. And these days, the term 'conspiracy theory' has become a pejorative term implying that the person putting forth the conjecture is automatically a paranoid whacko.

We are a little closer with the word 'collusion', as in implies not so much of an actual plot, but rather secret cooperation among people to do something illegal or underhanded.

The trouble is that the media is not really doing anything outright illegal, so neither conspiracy nor collusion quite fit.

My best shot is to call this a 'convergence of interests' that results in an unstated but mutually desired outcome. Thus, no need for secret plotting or secret cooperation, just a bunch of people knowing which side their bread is buttered on and acting accordingly while outwardly pretending not to.

Think that's close?

Joule, very well put. Best explanation I have ever read that describes the relationship between industry and MSM.

Now I have a question for you. What term would you use to describe the following words from OPEC's own web site?

At the end of 2008, OPEC had proven oil reserves of 1,027,383 million barrels of crude oil, representing 79.3 per cent of the world total of 1,295,085 million barrels.
What are OPEC's proven oil reserves?

Well, we know it is a damn lie but is it a conspiracy by OPEC to hide the truth? Or is it better described collusion? Or is it a convergence of interest? Or does OPEC not really know it is not true so none of the descriptions fits? Is it just a very huge mistake that has been repeated so often that most of the world has come to believe it?

Really, I would like to know because I plan on making this point many times in the future and I would like to use the right word. What do I believe? I believe it all started out as a gross exaggeration than all OPEC members knew was untrue. The Arab exporters, and Iran as well, all knew perfectly well that they were exaggerating their reserves. Now they are not sure and have no idea how much oil they really have but most, perhaps all, realize that they do not have nearly as much as they thought they had.

But still, what to call it?

Ron P.


Darwinian -

That's a toughie.

If I were to give OPEC the benefit of the doubt (which I'm not sure they deserve), I'd tend to describe it as a combination of self-delusion and wishful thinking.

However, the more cynical side of me might describe it as long-standing collusion among OPEC members who themselves don't really believe the official reserve numbers but go along with the party line in an attempt to bolster OPEC's prestige and to forestall any drastic action among oil consumers.

Take your pick.

It's sort of wierd actually. By supporting a myth that there are lots of reserves remaining, they are actually supressing the market price of the product they sell, though it might be argued in a somewhat convoluted manner that they are simply trying to support the world economy for a few more years so that it will continue to pay any price for their product.

lengould -

A successful parasite cannot get too greedy, lest it kill the host and ruin a good thing.

It appears to me that that's similar to OPEC's philosophy: charge enough to make lots of money but not so much as to i) crash the global economy, ii) create a large pool of enraged consumers, or iii) create a compelling incentive to develop alternatives.

Also, I'm sure it has not gone unnoticed among OPEC members that while they have most of the oil, certain other countries have most of the guns.

So it's been a delicate balancing act, which will no doubt get increasingly dicey in the near future.

But still, what to call it?

I don't have the answer, but game theory literature might. One of the concepts of the Nash Equilibrium, in a nutshell, is that seasoned market participants recognize scarcity rapidly, leading to bidding behavior that escalates prices. As discussed by others in the thread, the experienced agents understand the situation and respond quickly to capture scarcity rent. As a follow on, being kindred spirits they will discuss the fact that they 'got it' all at once. Again, it is not collusion, but from the outside it sure looks like it.

Scarcity, actual or perceived, underlies the result. My vote for July 2008 crude was actual scarcity, but we shall see.

But still, what to call it?

Call it misdirection.

Reserves don't matter, it's the flow rate that matters. And what matters for that is the amount of capital required for a new million barrels per day.

Reserves matter, in fact that is all that matters. You cannot get oil from dry rock no matter how much capital you invest. If you have no reserves you can get no oil and the more reserves you have the more oil you can get.

Regardless of what some may claim, the more reserves you have the more oil you can produce. OPEC produces less than half the oil the world produces. Therefore we may infer that they have less than half the world reserves.

Ron P.

Reserves don't matter, it's the flow rate that matters.

Clearly the ratio of reserves to rate determines how long you can keep it up.
So while in a world market that is totally myopic about the future, in the real world if there are players who project the future trajectory of supply taes, and act upon this knowledge, then the size of reserves matters a lot. Of course we got a real problem with the "quality" of stuff that gets dumped into reserves. The acheivable flow rates (and or probability that it actuall exist and is producable) should really be included in any analysis. But that would take to fun/profit out of being a pundit.

I think the comparison to Addict Behavior makes the most sense to me. The culture is actively lying to itself, because facing the truth is too close to facing death. The Drug is Life.. that is the message most addicts carry, unless they get the chance to see that you MIGHT be able to live without it.

Joule ,As Darwinian says ,very well put!

Now all we need is a fast catchy phrase that means the same thing.

I bet the Germans have a word for it, come to think of it.

tacit conspiracy

From "Preparing for the Oil Driven Economic Collapse", up top:

"The problem with wind is that it is generally the most windy at night when plants and buildings don’t need it, bringing up the energy-storage problem again."

Not true, at least in North Iowa. Wind is powered by the sun around here. The wind speed generally picks up during the morning. Yesterday it got so high that the Clipper Turbines shut down. The GE turbines which are smaller continued to turn.

If I am not mistaken, the wind companies have a problem selling the wind farm output at night not because there is too much wind but because of the dramatic drop off in demand. The solution has been to simply give the electricity to the power companies when it is not needed. There is little additional cost to produce it so the price is about right.

Regarding "On the Road Again, RV Sales See an Upswing", up top:

I can confirm that activity at the local Winnebago Industries plant has picked up a little. They have closed a couple of outlying plants and reduced production dramatically. Right now they are cleaning out inventory to make the end of quarter report look good.

But the motor homes leaving the plant are mostly the smaller ones. While occasionally the high end ones do sell, most of them now are even smaller than the one pictured in the article. This is a dramatic change from a few years ago.

And since smaller means cheaper the dollar sales recovery will not be as dramatic as the number count might indicate. Motor home sales are not out of the woods yet.

One year ago today, people wondered if we were facing the end of the Wall St., if not TEOTWAWKI. Now, the MSM seems to think the worst is over. It may take some time to recover, but the fear of all-out collapse is gone. Denninger is not convinced, and neither are some peak oilers, who think the fundamentals are so out of whack they won't be able to hold it all together for even one more year.

As for me...as I've said before, the global economy reminds me of those Monty Python buildings that stay up as long as everyone believes in them. And it seems everyone is believing nicely right now. Markets can stay irrational longer than you can remain solvent. And bubbles go on for about twice as long as analysts think they can.

So, any guesses? Is it time for a "market correction"? Next year at this time, will we still be debating green shoots or no green shoots?

Consumer confidence falls unexpectedly

NEW YORK - Americans' worries about job security flared up in September, causing a widely watched barometer of consumer confidence to fall unexpectedly and raising more concern about the upcoming holiday shopping season.

Cops: Man can't afford U.S., seeks deportation

FRAMINGHAM, Mass. - Police in Framingham, Mass., say an illegal immigrant from Guatemala entered a police station, told officers he had stolen another man's identity and asked to be deported because he could no longer make ends meet in America.

...Lt. Paul Shastany said Boc told police he wanted to return to Guatemala but can't afford a ticket. He told police he has no job or money and is worried about surviving the winter. He told police he came to the U.S. 13 years ago.

Homeless find temporary haven in tent camps

SEATTLE, Washington (CNN) -- In cities across the country, people with nowhere to live have done what many would have thought unthinkable before the economic crisis: moved into tents.

Tent camps once associated mainly with the "Hoovervilles" of the Great Depression are springing up in places as varied as Sacramento, California; Nashville, Tennessee; Pinellas County, Florida; Providence, Rhode Island; and Seattle, Washington.

Recession pushes income gap between rich, poor to record

WASHINGTON — The recession has hit middle-income and poor families hardest, widening the economic gap between the richest and poorest Americans as rippling job layoffs ravage household budgets.

The wealthiest 10% of Americans — those making more than $138,000 a year — earned 11.4 times the $12,000 or so made by those living near or below the poverty line in 2008, according to newly released census figures. That ratio is an increase from 11.2 in 2007 and the previous high o11.22 in 2003.

It's amazing to me that $138K is 90 percentile, yet it's only a drop in the bucket of cash that Wall Street bankers and CEOs make. You certainly can't call $130K rich, yet that's the top side of the great divide. We're already becoming a poor nation!

It is not totally clear from the article, but it looks like what they are talking about household income rather than individual income. That means that a couple with one spouse making $90K and the other making $50K would fall in the top 10%. Neither, by any stretch of the imagination, would really be considered "rich", although they would be considered fairly well off and there are a lot of people who would gladly trade places with them. The most important point though, is that it is not this sort of people who are really in charge of the economy and raking in most of the benefit from it. You've got to move up into the higher levels - maybe the top a% or even just top 0.01%, before you really see who those people are.

That's 3 or 4 times my family income, yet I find myself wondering what I am going to spend all my money on, since it is clear that keeping it in the bank is not a rational option.

Rich is a state of mind, at least above about $15,000 a year.

The USA government is spending about 10% of GDP in stimulus. Two years = maximum time before the stock market dips below 5k.

Job losses, early retirements hurt Social Security

a blue collar type was telling me the other day that social security would be out of money by 2017 and i tried to explain that 2017 was the year when ss was expected to pay out more than is taken in. he wasnt getting it.
i never got to the part where i was going to tell him the trust fund had been blown on the search for wmds.

We are also in belief overshoot. And there will be a corresponding die-off of these untenable beliefs.

The good analogy is that what people think of the economy and Monty Python are both illusions. There are actual, real things which define the economy, which no-one pays attention to.

Just like no-one things about each of the individuals of the comedy troupe, the set construction, the animation process, the hours and hours of writing, experimenting, and re-writing which all involve energy and materials. To say nothing of the censors, the BBC, administration, the cameras, and industries that provides televisions and electricity, or the dominant social mores of the times.

Take away any single one of these things, and Monty Python as you know it ceases to exist.

Not too many takers for your query.

I think it's time for a correction, but more importantly I think we're seeing a bifurcation. Long ago before the 50's/60's, most common people cared little for Wall Street and investment banks, as nobody had any money invested outside their family or locality, unless they were major businessmen or those with significant social standing.

With the advent of widespread prosperity, long lives, and 401Ks, everybody is market-savvy, and that has been the undoing of both the small-time investor and the notion of a gov't that serves the populace. Once bankers convinced Congress that what they do IS good for the little guy, all the constraints fell away.

What I think will happen now is that all those below upper-middle class will simply ignore the stock market, and the rich will get headlines with market moves while the common people re-create their subsistence reality. Whether the market is up or down just won't matter much to most people.

Of course it will take Congress and the media years to figure this out, after (hopefully) a ground-swell of populist anger sweeps the House and Senate. You can see the rumblings already -- common people paying 28% penalty rates on a credit card don't care that prime rate is a few percent, or that Fed rate is less than 1%. Those dodging overdraft fees don't care that money markets are only paying 2.5% or whatever.

Old people with cash will invest in bonds and lose, and then invest in stocks that pay dividends, without worrying too much about market value.

So, I think that markets and banks will crash, but not as quickly as most would think. Regular people will strive to work -- and those who are unemployed will work invisibly in some cases. I'm hopeful that we'll see volatility but it will end up being a long slow slide. I don't think it'll get much worse for the employed little person until 2012 or later. For stock owners and bankers I think it'll be later in 2010.

Note that the increase in minimum wage is exactly the wrong action in a deflationary environment, and in one of high unemployment. The economy would do better with bunches of people working for $4 bucks an hour part time than not working at all...especially for those critical 16-24 year-olds. Even if they're living with the folks they'll be better adjusted and motivated, and less likely to cause legal trouble, if they're working.

My only other prediction is that more people will get paid piece-meal to skirt labor regulations and minimum wage. If you make stuff and sell it at the flea market or on e-bay nobody knows if you're making $100 per hour or $5. Also, if you sell it for cash they might not know you're making any money at all.

Ask a waitress how much they "really" make versus what their hourly wage and declared tips are -- people on the fringe of the workforce have options to hide some income from taxes. We'll all get good at that soon.

What I think will happen now is that all those below upper-middle class will simply ignore the stock market, and the rich will get headlines with market moves while the common people re-create their subsistence reality. Whether the market is up or down just won't matter much to most people.

I think this will be a problem for the uber-rich, and they will therefore try to prevent it. The fat cats on top have profited by having little guys come in on the bottom, and I think they'll try to keep that flow of money. Perhaps by measures such as changing the rules so you must opt-out of 401(k)s rather than opt-in.

The GOP believes that bringing the little guy into the market via 401(k)s, pension funds, and mutual funds helps create a pro-business climate, because it gives Joe Public a stake in Wall St. The Democrats also like that kind of investment, because social security isn't enough, and saving enough is difficult as well. Hence the support from both parties for the Wall St. casino.

Ask a waitress how much they "really" make versus what their hourly wage and declared tips are -- people on the fringe of the workforce have options to hide some income from taxes. We'll all get good at that soon.

I wonder if that might not result in a push toward a cashless society. Governments on all levels are so desperate for revenue. It's a lot easier to collect sales taxes and keep track of who's cheating if the payments are made via debit or credit card. That was a big reason food stamps are now swipeable cards.

At some point the voting public will rebel -- to an extent they already are (hence the newfound generosity on the part of the banks in reducing usurous fees). A mindlessly unthinking populace is a great thing for the powers that be, but an unhappy and focused voting block is a thing to be feared by Congress.

Barter will grow as well, and every story about flea-market or garage-sale shake-downs lowers the chances of the populace standing still.

But you're probably right that things will get worse rather than better for a long time. Those same geniuses who came up with income withholding rather than quarterly taxes will try again to see how many new ticks and mosquitos can feed before the host notices the blood loss.

As for me, my goal is to reduce consumption and then income. It's been a while since I've had a stay-at-home spouse, and my family is about ready to try it again. We'll live more efficiently and donate much less in taxes, while enjoying a better quality of life I believe.

Going to zero incomes would be harder....hopefully we don't get to try that too!

Governments on all levels are so desperate for revenue.

And yet, somehow they haven't thought of taxing the sale of equities, or currency exchange...

Hmmm. 3% sales tax on equity transactions. That should do the trick :)

A well trained mutt will tolerate hunger for a long time before biting the hand of its master.

Although the group of people that would get derided as "tin foil hats" by the MSM (and lots of TOD posters, which is funny, because we're "paranoids or radical environmentalists" and some of us even might "Hate America") think that the day is soon when all transactions will be handled either by smartphones or RFID chips. Personally, I think it will be smartphones, because (a) more money in forcing people to own a smartphone to be a member of society, (b) you can track someone more cheaply with a smartphone than with RFID chips, and (c) smartphones can be made to transmit audio while turned off.

Needless to say, barter will be found to be evil, and the media will jump on the first story they get about someone having (insert horrible thing here) happen to them because of it. There's a lot of Americans, sooner or later something bad is going to happen, and like a cosmology experiment that can capture single photons from some particle interaction and record them the media will blow it all out of proportion.

News from the white LED department..

It used to be that to get lots of light for a bicycle headlight that one had to spend several hundred dollars (the most expensive ones could approach 500$).

But there seems to be a new series of lights out there that emit 750-900 lumens at an efficiency of about 70-90 lumens/W, and the whole package (light, lion battery, charger and handlebar mounting) runs about 90$. Cyclists are all abuzz about the things - this is a price point that a lot more can afford.

These things are all built around the Seoul P7 emitter. The CRI isn't great (70) - these things are not designed for general purpose lighting. There are other emitters that one should use if you care about CRI.

The Cree MC-E is similar. I'm not sure where Cree manufactures, but it's a US company at least, and they make good stuff.

Cree manufactures right here in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. Well, at least their HQ is here; I'm sure they actually make all the stuff in China.


Just picked this article up on ScienceDaily:

Did The Great Depression Have A Silver Lining? Life Expectancy Increased By 6.2 Years

The Great Depression had a silver lining: During that hard time, U.S. life expectancy actually increased by 6.2 years, according to a University of Michigan study published in the current issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Sometime what appears to be the thing that solves our problems is the very thing that causes them.

There is more on the blog.

Increased life expectancy increases the total resource draw per person. Now, understanding that the food resources bound in a human body are released back to the environment at death, a longer life in this dysfunctional system increases the amount of overshoot and degrades human carrying capacity.

Great article. I think the Yankees did well during the depression (just a guess) therefore if the Yankees do well the economy will slump (and life expectancy will increase by 6.2 years in the USA)-poverty is good for you as your owners say (good for you, not good for them).

I didn't see the whole study, but this treatment is highly incomplete.

Prohibition during the 20s, for good or ill, played a major part in improving health prospects during the 30s. There was a lot of pushback from the public and Hollywood glamorizing of speakeasys, etc. but on balance alcohol consumption dropped. A lot. Maybe the study accounted for this, but the effect of Prohibition is an easily intuitable explanation and its treatment here should have been addressed.

I've also seen the theory that the Spanish flu pandemic may have played a role. A lot of the people who would have died of TB in the 30s instead died during the pandemic.

Well, here is a link to the whole study:

But your assumption that alcohol use decreased is unfounded:

Not to mention the damage done to people by drinking moonshine and sterno, as described by my grandfather, an Italian Barber in New York during the time of prohibition. He and his friends drank no less during those 14 years. In fact, he was an alcoholic who lived till he was 97. He said to me once; "Drinking hurts if you drink alone. Never drink alone."

And there is not clear correlation between alcohol consumption and life expectancy:

I feel, intuitively, that since people ate less,caloric restriction, they lived longer had also less babies because fertility decreases in caloric restriction, therefore by less deaths in childbirth.


StumbleUpon link for the whole DrumBeat: http://www.stumbleupon.com/refer.php?url=http://www.theoildrum.com/node/...


Everybody who's interested in sustainable food should look at www.intergrowgreenhouses.com. At my college a representitive was there at the local foods showcase we put on.

Basically they have an indoor glass greenhouse hydroponic tomato grow over 30 acres in Albion, NY (between Rochester and Buffalo). They use rainwater collection, recirculate fertilizer, and use a wood chip boiler for heat. The rep said they grow all year round with the exception of 15 days during the winter. I imagine the yields are tremendous. I'd be really interested to find out how the costs work out, although I imagine it's much better when fertilizer prices jump. I think there should be one of these on the outskirts of every city.

If you gots the indoor tomato I gots the indoor meat

"Tastes Like Chicken
Growing meat without growing animals."


The future sure comes slowly. I remember when I was 11 or 12 and drawing up plans for an interplanetary spaceship that I included tissue vats to grow meat alongside the fusion-lit farm and the waste reprocessing plant, back in the mid-70's.

But I was an odd child. Most kids today don't self-learn the basics of relativity to calculate the fuel requirements for getting a megaton spaceship to Alpha Centauri and back. Ah, but for the days when space travel seemed like a reasonable career goal!

Something that is not discussed when pushing hydroponics is a problem found in highly concentrated monocultures like hydroponic greenhouse tomatoes is if a disease or blight strikes, due to the closeness, it is a near complete wipeout. Since the liquids are recycled, the problem spreads to all of the plants in two or three cycles (typically a couple days) from discovery to wipeout. That means compete sterilization, rebuilding support liquids and of course finding and replanting disease free plants. This is very expensive in addition to the complete loss of product. Since the greenhouse doesn’t depend so much on growing seasons one would think they could be back in business in a few days but getting thousands of new ready plants may take months. The major advantage in a post peak time is you can have a fresh tomato and cucumber salad in January without the ‘800 mile’ component.

IMHO: They don’t taste as good as dirt grown tomatoes but not bad if dirt grown are not available. Also this summer one of our tomato plants looked bad so I just pulled it up and none of the plants nearby got the problem.

BTW: We are expecting a cold snap with freezing temps tomorrow morning. By Saturday it should warm up again with morning lows above 40F. We are going to cover the rest of the tomatoes because the harvest on the indeterminants is not finished. We have only about half of them canned or dried. Maybe fried green tomatoes is in our future ... :-)

Lynford -

I think the problem you cite regarding contamination spreading rapidly in a highly concentrated monoculture is one that is going rear its ugly head once people start trying to grow specialized strains of algae in anything but pilot-scale sterilized and fully enclosed bio-reactors.

As I've said quite a few times in the past, unless someone can figure out a way to grow high-lipid algae in large uncovered ponds at a high rate and in a stable controllable manner, than fuel from algae is liable to prove to be a technological dead end.

Is there a reason why antibiotic selection or other selective resistance mechanisms (sucrose, heat, ccdB cassetes, etc) wouldn't work in algae? I work with bacterial culture all the time and it's never a problem to maintain highly derived, uncompetitive monocultures in relatively dirty conditions as long as you have a decent selective agent (phage is another story, though). No idea what the situation is like for algae.

Just curious, what "selective agent" are you using.
Phage, being the predator in the system, would be able to get round most defenses.

We typically use antibiotics in rich media for most routine cloning work (ie to kill bugs without the gene/construct of interest which has an antibiotic resistance element built in). Kanamycin, chloramphenicol, ampicillin, tetracycline are all common. I've also used sucrose on occasion, and some more esoteric systems use things like DNA gyrase inhibitors which are turned off under the conditions of interest. As you say, phage is a different story and there's little you can do to protect against phage contamination in a dirty environment- asceptic technique is the only real way to avoid it if you've got phage kicking around.

Sounds interesting!

PaperMac -

Quite honestly, I have no idea.

I am an engineer, having mostly spent my career in the environmental field, so while I have a general working knowledge of microbiology, I am hardly in a position to comment on the more esoteric aspects.

My gut feel is that selective strains of algae in an open environment will eventually 'get mugged' by all sorts of random opportunistic organisms ready and waiting to feed on that rich medium. I think this would be particularly true if you try to feed the algae with sewage treatment plant effluent which itself would attract all sorts of micro critters.

Maybe there is a way around it, and I wish the algae people success, but until I see it done successfully in uncovered ponds I will remain skeptical.

Fair enough, needing to dope enormous algae vats with antibiotics or whatever on a regular basis would certainly make the algae oil proposals less economical anyway, although I'm not sure it's the biggest problem.

Maybe there is a way around it, and I wish the algae people success, but until I see it done successfully in uncovered ponds I will remain skeptical.

I discount all of the algae for oil stoies, as foolish pipe dreams -or investment scams. OTOH, I suspect that using wild alga -and perhaps lake/sea weed to grow bulk biomass could be the best way to obtain biomass. Just collect, dry, and burn (or bury if you are trying to sequester CO2). Trying to generate high value chemicals, is just trying to force the algae community into a state that is just too far from any evolutionary stable biome, that it has to be unstable.

Damn them - they might have something.
3 patents total.

Very interesting. EESTOR shows some ankle. Might have to move the BEV possibility up a notch. The Zenn announcement is a bit telling as well. Rather than try to leverage EESTOR into a world-beater auto, they prefer their odds selling the technology to existing manufacturers. We'll soon see if EVs are that far along...

I do not believe that a demonstration of functionality is necessary to receive a patent anymore.

In my opinion they are still in dubious territory.

As someone else mentioned: if they have the goods, what they have is useful in so many SMALL applications that they don't need to aim for EV capacities to prove their case.

I really, really hope the technology works, as I'd want one in my garage even before I'd want one in my car.

They seek lower cost, higher energy density by volume, and less weight. An advance in ANY of those three criteria would be a money-maker. Perhaps a single elusive attribute is preventing all three? Breakdown voltage probably?

I hope their technology works, too.

I'm just pessimistic based on outward signs.

Fortunately, wind power is proven.

John Masefield. 1878–

98. Sea-Fever

I MUST down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,
And the wheel's kick and the wind's song and the white sail's shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea's face and a grey dawn breaking.

I must down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide 5
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.

I must down to the seas again to the vagrant gypsy life.
To the gull's way and the whale's way where the wind's like a whetted knife; 10
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick's over.

As someone else mentioned: if they have the goods, what they have is useful in so many SMALL applications that they don't need to aim for EV capacities to prove their case.

I think a lot depends on what you are producing for the EV market. Saw a reprot a while back, where Maxwell is going to market their conventional ultracapitors for improving the efficiency of hybrids. Not replacing the battery, but working with it to improve system efficiency.

Now, there could be several places EESTOR could be at, that are short of being practical for a true EV storage solution:

(1) A great paper, plan, but not even a lab scale device.

(2) Some working lab prototypes, but cost, reliabilty, and safety have yet to be worked out.

(3) Actual production, but the cost per capacity (dollars per KWhour of capacity) is too high for EV applications (kinda like Lithium Ion batteries today).

Now, scientifically anything beyond (1) would be real interesting. But not necessarily very useful economically.

I think that you are making an error there. Eestor's means of gaining advantage over competitors is by taking the capacitors to very high voltages in a compact package. However, the DC-AC-DC conversion electronics required to deal with a serious amount of power at 5,000+? VDC is a serious size package itself, and sets an absolute minimum volume-mass on the entire storage system. Their greatest competitive advantage over batteries happens at the largest power package size in kwh stored. They will have a very difficult time bringing the unit down competitively to eg. a few kwh for an electric motorcycle, and will likely never make it into eg. cellphones.

However, the DC-AC-DC conversion electronics required to deal with a serious amount of power at 5,000+? VDC is a serious size package itself

Late 1970's (or was it 60's) TVs used tubes for display and the high voltage section. Sony was one of the 1st with transistors for the HV section, but you had to buy 'balanced pairs' and ramped up the AC voltage with a variac.

That got cracked, same with the bulky wound 60 Hz transformers with the AC/DC/High freq AC/DC units.

5000 VDC stored in a cap may not be acceptible due to the energy released when a device enters failure mode via droppage or moisture.

Still, I'm going with "is it shipping" as my test. To date, no one admits to having a working unit and they have missed past dates when shipping was claimed to have happen by.

Hello Leanan,

Thxs for your DB toplink: "Preparing for the Oil-Driven Economic Collapse".
..While the market is undergoing a recovery at the moment, I was recently part of a massive panel of ex-Intel executives who were anticipating another collapse, this time energy-driven. It appears we have dropped into the five-year window of anticipating that...
I wonder how many of these ex-Intel executives, in this 'massive panel', realize that a lot of their Peak Research info was generated and/or spurred on earlier by ex-DECies and ex-Intel employees? DEC [Digital Equipment Corp, long defunct] fabs and factories were absorbed by Intel & HP. Unfortunately, I got laid off by both DEC & Intel after a good run.

Just off the top of my head: TODers Darwinian [DEC], DickLawrence [both corps, ASPO-USA co-founder] have contributed much to the discussion over many years, and there are probably lots more lurking here from Intel & HP. Computers have been used by fossil fuel companies from the beginning, so it only makes sense that a lot of computer people are aware of Peakoil and Peak Everything.

In fact, that was the key method I used when googling around for Ghawar when I found that ARAMCO oil-sat graphic. I figured that some computer info was laying about on the web somewhere...

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

I wonder how many of these ex-Intel executives, in this 'massive panel', realize that a lot of their Peak Research info was generated and/or spurred on earlier by ex-DECies and ex-Intel employees? DEC [Digital Equipment Corp, long defunct] fabs and factories were absorbed by Intel & HP.

I consider DEC to be the best computer company that ever existed. Ken Olsen would be spinning in his grave if he wasn't still alive.

[PS: Mounted]


As a proud past owner of three DEC Rainbows (a 100A and two 100Bs) and a couple VT320s, a high five!


Here's to "The Soul of a New Machine". (Or was that Data General that Kidder was documenting? Yes, the new DG Eagle.)

One of the world's largest freshwater fish is on the verge of going extinct.

A three-year quest to find the giant Chinese paddlefish in the Yangtze river failed to sight or catch a single individual.
That means that the fish, which can grow up to 7m long, has not been seen alive for at least six years.
There remains a chance that some escaped the survey and survive, say experts, but without action, the future of the species is bleak.
The concern for the Chinese paddlefish is that its fate will parallel that of the Yangtze river dolphin, a large mammal species that was once abundant in the Yangtze river system, but has recently been declared extinct.

China will one of the first to go (my brother was there recently, and the sky was green the whole time), but my bet is on India, as the feedback loops are quite intense, and bringing the system back to any sort of equilibrium is taking longer.

Large critters living in rivers have a lot of strikes against them, particularly where large human populations are involved... which is mostly.

In the '80's I worked on trying to prevent the baiji extinction, and it became quickly clear that they were utterly, utterly hosed even though they weren't all dead yet. I'd reckon that anything ELSE that lives in the Yangtze river and is more than a foot long also has poor prospects.

Doing conservation in China is a real wake-up call on the prospects of humans vs. other species as the bottleneck arrives.

Hello TODers,

I hope you will take the time to read the DB toplink by the ASPO-International topdog: "Our oily food" by Kjell Aleklett:

..Agriculture, transport, preparation, trade and food preparation – all these require oil and gas. If these numbers apply globally then as much as 40% of all oil and natural gas use goes to provision of food...

..It is time that we began discussing the figure of 2500 kcal and how, in the future, the world’s population will be provided with its daily bread without having it soaked in oil.
IMO, he basically states that the planet doesn't have to go very far down the Hubbert Downslope [smooth decline or shark-fin] before very bad and sad effects start to appear. YMMV, but I hope that SpiderWebRiding can be a large part of "providing us with its daily bread without having it soaked in oil."

Remember, it only takes 2/3 of HP to energy-move a cargo-railbike for hours [even less while pedaling]. Please compare to a Cadillac Escalade Hybrid at approx. 350 HP.

Grocery shopping this way won't work:


Instead imagine all these people bidirectionally moving food and O-NPK by pedaling a railbike [with batt/kicker assists for upgrades]:



The last thing we should be forced to do is moving stuff this way:


That last photo you posted raises so many questions. The landscape behind her is so bleak and desolate, where did the wood she is carrying come from?

Thanks for helping keep us up to date on other depleting resources.

Hello R4ndom,

Thxs for your reply. From the link, I would guess she gets the firewood just on or over the horizon. You can see a very small strip of green way, way, way back in the photo:
An Indian woman carries a load of firewood on her head as she crosses the desert of The Little Rann of Kutch in the Kharaghoda region some 120 kms north-west of Ahmedabad on March 7, 2008, on the eve of International Womens Day. The woman regularly embarks on a journey of some twelve kilometres from Kharaghoda to a forested area to gather firewood to sell. One load would sell for sixty Indian Rupees (USD 1.48).
My text-reading, which seems to be visually confirmed by the photo, is the 12 kilometers is the ONE WAY distance to that distant strip. Imagine balancing that heavy load when it is raining. It would be Very Dangerous to slip/fall when you got miles & miles of mud to go..

Of course, if she and others are not replanting what they take [highly doubtful], then the round trip hike increases from 24km. It becomes 26 km, 30 km, 40 km...until it becomes impossible. Nuhautl Tlamemes proved this method doesn't work.

IMO, this is a better alternative:

Biogas brings 'green revolution' to rural Nepal
By Deepesh Shrestha (AFP) – 18 hours ago

BADRAHANI, Nepal — Nepalese villager Khinu Darai used to have to walk about five kilometres (three miles) every day to collect firewood so she could cook meals for her family.

Then two years ago, she bought a biogas plant under a government scheme to encourage villagers to convert to greener energy -- an event the 30-year-old mother of three says transformed her life...

This biogas thing sounds like a really good idea because the technology is very primitive and/or simple (if you can call it technology). As we descend down the energy and standard of living ladder, simple technology such as biogas is a real possibility not just for Nepalese but for others that can't afford anything else. However, questions remains such as reliability and maintenance cost.

Over the past two decades, BSP has installed around 210,000 biogas plants at a cost of around 350 dollars each, with the government covering a third of the price.

The price is not bad from the US perspective and even from Nepalese point of view. I wonder how much cow dung and/or human waste is required for a family of four in Nepal or elsewhere such as the US.


Uranium hunt could have sour fallout

''But that's the resources industry,'' he said. ''There's always more projects than market.''


Estimates vary wildly on just what additional mine production will be needed. RBS Equities says an additional 15,500 tonnes of annual mine supply will be required in 2015. That is not a lot when it is remembered that just three of Australia's known deposits - Yeelerrie (BHP/WA), Kintyre (Cameco/WA) and Olympic Dam (BHP/SA) - will either be producing, or on their way to producing, an additional 29,000 annual tonnes by then.

And then there are the major supply increases planned in Kazakhstan, Canada, Africa, Namibia, Niger, Malawi and South Africa. Looking out to 2030, an additional annual mine output of 36,000 tonnes could be required, according to a BHP Billiton forecast - again not a particularly daunting challenge for the global industry given that known global economic resources of uranium stand at more than 114 years of current demand (36 years at a high-growth scenario of 150,000 tonnes of annual mine production needed from 2030).

So no peak uranium yet, according to the insiders.

And even then, there is another 100 years at the 150,000 tonne-a-year rate if an estimate of the world's yet-to-be found uranium in a study by the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency/International Atomic Energy Agency is taken in to account.

This is what they say.

Well, well, who woulda thunk it.... the return to service of NB Power's Point Lepreau NGS that was originally scheduled for this past July has been pushed into "early 2011" with the federal government picking up the tab for the additional costs. So exactly how much will Canadian taxpayers need to cough up? No hard numbers have been presented, but in the words of our Prime Minister, it's "a lot of money". Not to miss out on all the fun, utility ratepayers will pay about $1 million per day for the replacement power, which should bring the final price tag for that in itself to some $800 million or more.

See: http://thechronicleherald.ca/Business/1145038.html

I'm socked! Positively shocked, I say!


Finance news:
FDIC wants banks to prepay fees to meet failure bill

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. banking regulators proposed on Tuesday that banks prepay three years of fees to help cover the rising cost of bank failures, now put at $100 billion through 2013.

Banks would prepay $45 billion of regular quarterly assessments under the plan, but would not have to recognize the hit to their earnings until the fees are normally due.


The FDIC said the insurance fund's balance is expected to become negative this quarter and will remain negative through 2012, but said the agency will still have plenty of cash to operate and handle bank failures.

"We have tons of money to protect insured depositors," Bair said before the vote. "This is really about the mechanics of funding."

It would be the first time the agency has asked banks to prepay regular fees. It needs the money now because the FDIC's cash needs will outstrip liquid assets early next year.

Because of accounting requirements, the agency must set aside money for failures expected over the next 12 months.

And from a Reuters-sponsored finance "summit":

Debt maturities next risk focus: Jones Day atty

"The tongue-in-cheek expression for what we're witnessing is amend and pretend," said Ball, referring to lenders who are amending loan terms in hopes an economic recovery will improve the borrower's ability to pay back debt.

Less of the "amend and pretend" for retailers, though:
U.S. retail landlords less willing to negotiate

NEW YORK (Reuters) - While retailers are likely to face another tough holiday season, it may be much more difficult for them to extract any concessions from their landlords to help ease the ride, a top restructuring expert said on Tuesday.

"We're seeing now that landlords have pulled back some from negotiating," Kenneth Frieze, who heads the business development and marketing groups at asset recovery firm Gordon Brothers Group, said at the Reuters Restructuring Summit in New York.

Meanwhile, on this side of the New Brunswick - Nova Scotia border.... Nova Scotia's new finance minister is hinting that the province may need to cut/cap funding to its EnerGuide for Homes programme because too many of us are taking advantage of the incentives.

See: http://thechronicleherald.ca/Business/1144983.html

To add further insult to injury, this same government has removed the provincial sales tax on electricity which makes investments in energy conservation that much less attractive (the provincial tax on home heating oil was removed three years ago). It would have been better to have kept the tax in place and used the revenues to support these conservation initiatives.


I've been out of the province for too long to know any better, but I would have expected a little more foresight from the NDP on this.

Exactly, Paper Mac; of the three major provincial parties, one would expect the NDP to have thought this through.


I haven't come to expect anything good to come from the government in Nova Scotia from an energy perspective, the home energy rebate being the exception that proves the rule.

When you read stuff like the following, you know its full on bull-loney! A ceramic battery? How is ceramic suppose to hold a charge? These people should be arrested before they run off with everyone's hard earned cash.

Instead, Zenn will now focus on acting as a supplier to the auto industry. Working with secretive EEStor, Zenn plans to make an electric drive train, the ZENNergy Drive system, which can deliver those oh-so-controversial performance claims from EEstor: 10 times the energy of lead-acid batteries at one-tenth the weight and half the price, with the ability to move a car 400 kilometers after a 5-minute charge.

I remember a company back in the 90's that went public with their stock with a claim of an engine that ran on water. They ran off investors money and were never heard from again, which is what will happen in this case too. If it is so great why wouldn't they be willing to give a demonstration? Why is it being held so secretively? Let me show you how easy it is to create an illusion of a great battery:

Partyne Industries of Switzerland in connection with Mawatanaki Inc. out of Japan, have developed the first ever Oscillating Pulse Ecotyne Battery. It uses an oscillating polarity modulater at its core pulsating the energy within the Battery, so it is always forcing the electrons to move as the vehicle moves, and this maintains its charge even while the vehicle is drawing heavy loads of power from the Battery on a 4 ton vehicle going up a steep grade at 60 mph.

Batteries with stagnant or non-oscillating fields are more conducive to draw down and require much more input to keep a charge. OPEB's will put an end to inefficient battery tech. with a massive leap forward that will end our need for oil or NG. In conjunction with solar and wind this new technology will allow mankind to become fossil fuel free within 15 years.

See how fertile the imagination is? It only took me a few moments to spill out some schlock that many people would eat up and start shelling out for a thousand shares of super cheap stock. I'd get rich and skip the country, living in the Caymans like a King trying to get rid of my silly smirk while the investors rage in anger. Fortunately I'm not so unscrupulous.

It isn't a battery, it's a capacitor bank. The problem is that they are making claims beyond what the tech has been capable of in the past and haven't put up proof yet.


Ok, I acknowledge it is a capacitor, not a battery. But your point of them making claims beyond past tech capability is why I'm so revved up. It's so easy to make claims but so hard to really live up to them. Meanwhile I'm sure people will get suckered into investing and losing their money.

Of course, just wanted to make sure you had the right kind of snake-oil salesmen in mind.