Drumbeat: October 2, 2009

Exceptional results from biochar experiment in Cameroon

Biochar Fund has reported extremely encouraging first results from its field trials in South West Cameroon. Working with small groups of subsistence farmers around the town of Kumba, the Fund set up and managed a large-scale experiment to assess whether maize (corn) yields were improved by the addition of biochar to the soil. The biochar was made from local agricultural wastes and tree thinnings. The data from the trials strongly suggests that biochar adds greatly to food production. Some areas showed yield improvements of more than 250% over the control plots. The areas dosed with biochar also showed substantially increased production of crop biomass, including roots, stalks, and leaves.

Many field studies in the tropics carried out by academic researchers have shown that biochar improves soil productivity. (For more details on what biochar is and how it is made, see an earlier article on this site, here.) Biochar Fund's research did more. It showed that poor farmers typically making less than $300 a year from their crops were able to improve their own yields using simple techniques both for making the char and adding it to the soil. Average production of maize from this area of Cameroon is about 1.7 tonnes per hectare compared to about 7 to 9 tonnes in the EU or US. If the initial results are replicated elsewhere, the impact of biochar could see yields increase by 40% above what would otherwise be obtained.

China Moves for Kazakh Oil

LONDON -- China Investment Corp's most recent acquisition in Kazakhstan not only signals its growing fears about energy security, it also raises questions about the importance it attaches to Central Asian energy reserves.

Russia halts Odessa on Ukraine switch

Russian producer Lukoil today suspended operations at its Odessa Refinery indefinitely after Ukraine reversed flows along a key pipeline in order to import non-Russian crude.

Ukraine's oil pipeline monopoly said "national interests" were behind its decision to use the pipeline to supply Azeri crude to its largest refinery, Kremenchug, thus cutting off flows of Urals crude to Odessa's refinery and Black Sea port.

Petrobras' CO2 Injection Project to Serve As Test for Pre-Salt

In November, Petrobras will start injecting high-pressure CO2 into the Miranga onshore field, in the municipality of Pojuca, state of Bahia, to test technologies that might contribute to future development projects for the Santos Basin's Pre-Salt cluster. The carbon dioxide produced at the future pre-salt fields will be reinjected into the reservoirs themselves to boost the recovery factor.

Petrobras as Sole Pre-Salt Oil Operator May Slow Development

(Bloomberg) -- Brazil’s proposal to make Petroleo Brasileiro SA the only operator of some offshore oil fields may slow development of the region where the Americas’ biggest crude discovery in three decades was made, an industry group said.

“The industry won’t be developed as a whole because there will be only one operator of the blocks,” Joao Carlos de Luca, head of the Brazilian Institute of Petroleum, known as IBP, said today in an interview. “The competitiveness of suppliers and contractors will also be hurt as they’ll have only one buyer.”

Massive Rockies Express Pipeline Nearing Completion

Natural gas has been flowing through the Rockies Express Pipeline in Indiana since June 29, and company officials say the entire pipeline is on schedule for completion Nov. 1.

The 1,679-mile pipeline, costing $6.7 billion, will extend from Rio Blanco County, in northwestern Colorado, to Monroe County, Ohio, near the West Virginia state line.

ConocoPhillips warns of poor third quarter

ConocoPhillips said on today its third quarter earnings would be hurt by weak North American natural gas prices, and its total output would fall nearly 5% from the second quarter.

Tillerson: Global Energy Solutions Require New Technology, Free Markets

Meeting the world's growing energy needs while managing the risks of climate change will require the development of all viable sources of energy and policies that support business investment and technology development, Rex Tillerson, chairman and chief executive officer of Exxon Mobil Corporation, said today.

"Our best hope is to harness the power of new technologies and free markets to meet the world's energy and environmental challenges," Tillerson said in a speech to the Economic Club of Washington, D.C.

Mexico gets energy sector loan

MEXICO CITY (UPI) -- The Inter-American Development Bank granted Mexico a loan to allow construction companies to supply the state-owned oil company Petroleos Mexicanos, or PEMEX.

El Universal reported Wednesday that the $600 million IDB loan is intended to boost the development of Mexican construction companies that are interested in becoming suppliers and contractors to PEMEX, the world's 10th-largest oil company, which holds a monopoly on the country's hydrocarbon production. Most Mexican companies currently lack the fiscal resources necessary to participate in PEMEX's bidding processes.

Suncor expanding Sarnia ethanol plant

Suncor Energy Inc. will spend about $120 million over the next year to double the production capacity of its St. Clair ethanol plant near Sarnia, Ont., to 400 million litres a year, the company announced Friday.

"This is great news for Suncor, for southern Ontario and for Canada," said Suncor president and CEO Rick George said in a statement announcing the expansion.

U.S. solar industry to challenge tariff ruling

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. solar energy industry hopes to persuade Customs officials to reverse a decision to impose a 2.5 percent tariff on solar panel imports after more than two decades of duty-free trade in the product, an industry official said on Thursday.

"We're taking it very seriously and we will be responding. ... The industry is in the process of preparing a challenge," said Rhone Resch, president of the Solar Energy Industries Association, whose members include both U.S. and foreign solar energy companies.

Development as China's environmental solution

Large scale industrial development has helped generate more employment and improved living standards. But it has brought with it new problems: local environmental quality has deteriorated at an accelerating pace, rivers are being polluted, and soil contaminated. In addition, acid rain has been recorded over one third of the country. In China’s 10th five year plan (2001-2005), the target was to reduce sulphur dioxide emissions by 10 per cent, but in reality there was a 27 per cent increase.

So what is the solution? One possibility is to shut down all the sources of pollution. But this would create more problems such as unemployment at home and economic crisis around the world. Development clearly has to continue but it has to be sustainable, and investment in environmental infrastructure is an essential part of this.

Drought, Dams Force Iraqi Farmers To Abandon Crops

BAGHDAD -- Local Iraqi officials say hundreds of families have left their villages in the northeastern province of Diyala in recent weeks after drought and low river levels from Iran turned their agricultural fields into a wasteland, RFE/RL's Radio Free Iraq reports.

Farmers told RFI that dams erected by Iran have reduced the flow of the Harran River from Iran to a trickle, and they cannot afford the price of fuel to pump the remaining water up to their fields.

Who Will Regulate U.S. Carbon Markets?

If the United States is going to set up a cap-and-trade regime similar to Europe’s in order to slash greenhouse gas emissions, who will regulate the new carbon market?

That question has yet to be settled.

The Short Tail: Near-Sourcing Trends Create New Winners and Losers in the Supply Chain

The move toward “near-sourcing” is underway. Car manufacturer Tesla Motors just canceled plans to manufacture its 1,000 pound batteries in Thailand as previously planned. By manufacturing them closer to Tesla’s home base in California, it will decrease the shipping distance of each battery approximately 5,000 miles. Other major manufacturers are following suit.

Also called “reverse globalization” or “shortening the supply chain,” near-sourcing describes the return of American manufacturing in order to decrease shipping expenses. As freight costs remain high, globalization has become less competitive and is expected to remain so for the foreseeable future. We will share why near-sourcing is happening, discuss implications for the supply chain industry, and conclude by offering ideas to supply chain business owners to ensure their success amidst change.

Historically, cheap gas fueled globalization. It enabled companies from all over the world to shop globally for cost-saving business solutions. However, fuel costs have nearly doubled since January of 2006, and have shot up by nearly six times in the past six years (see “Chart One”). In a recent CIBC World Markets Report, analyst Jeff Rubin estimates that the cost of transporting imported goods into the United States is now equivalent to a 9 percent tariff on imports. Companies will recalculate the costs and benefits of global outsourcing as the cost of energy is expected to remain high indefinitely.

Deep-Sea Oil Reigns Supreme for Byron King

TER: About three years ago, the whole concept of peak oil began gaining traction in the media and at conferences. Do discoveries of these major oil fields in deep water negate this peak oil concept?

BK: I'm not going to say they negate the peak oil concept. They buy us some extra time to deal with the issues of peak oil. Peak oil is a lot of things to a lot of different people. The doom-and-gloomers think that mankind is doomed in any event and are out there building underground bomb shelters and packing them full of freeze dried food, canned tomatoes and everything else. They love peak oil because it ratifies their whole world view.

If you look at peak oil in the sense that we've drilled up about half of the conventional oil that we're ever going to find and it's all downhill from here, yeah, finding all this oil offshore might move that point down the calendar. Maybe we've bought five years. Maybe a decade. We'll still have to deal with the decline eventually.

Why You Should Care About the Term 'Peak Oil'

But here's the thing: We really can remove the word "theory." Even Lynch admits that the consensus among geologists is that there are roughly 10 trillion barrels of oil trapped in the earth--he argues that technology will push the recoverable reserves from 10% of that oil to 35%.

But still, then we have to admit that there is some point at which recoverable oil will vanish. It's a finite resource, and it will be gone if we use enough of it. This would still be a "peak" for "oil"--whether it happens in 200 years or has already occurred is the actual point of contention.

West is outsourcing, not reducing emissions

The UK’s apparent reduction in carbon emissions since 1990 is merely an “illusion”, because manufacturing has been outsourced to developing countries, according to the UK government’s new chief energy scientist.

Professor David MacKay said the presence of these “embedded” greenhouse gas emissions means that the UK has probably generated twice the levels suggested by official figures.

The Economics of Climate Stabilization

A group of eight leading climate economists have a message for United States senators now considering a new bill to cap emissions: don’t think of long-term mitigation costs as a massive expenditure, but rather a form of reasonably-priced “planetary climate insurance.”

Climate change threatens Brazil's agriculture

A freak tornado and floods last month may be a harbinger of a troubled future for Brazilian farmers, who worry that climate change could severely disrupt production in one of the world's breadbaskets.

Rising temperatures, a shift in seasons, and extreme weather in coming decades are likely to cut output in some areas and wipe out crops entirely in others, experts say.

"Brazil is vulnerable. If we don't do anything, food production is at risk," says Eduardo Assad, an agronomist at the government's agriculture research institute, Embrapa.

Airline asks passengers to use toilet before boarding

A Japanese airline, All Nippon Airways, has started asking its passengers to visit the lavatory before boarding, in an attempt to reduce carbon emissions.

Enter the EPA

OVER the past few days, America has moved towards a federal system for regulating its carbon emissions in three ways. First, several big companies have broken with trade associations that oppose the cap-and-trade bill now in the Senate. Second, the bill has moved a stage further towards becoming law. Third, and most important, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced that if Congress won’t legislate to cut greenhouse gases, it will regulate anyway.

Significant new finds = the end of Peak Oil? [PDF]

The key point of Peak Oil isn’t about how much oil there is in the ground, or reserves, but the potential imbalance in extractive flows, or how much you can bring out of the ground at any one time. As a consequence, the world is facing falling production that will be hard to replace in the foreseeable future.

To illustrate the concept of flows versus reserves, imagine that you had $1 billion in the bank but you could only take out $1 a year. You have lots of wealth (reserves), but you are short on usable cash (or extractive) flows.

The International Energy Agency’s (EIA) 2008 outlook estimates that the world needs to replace production equivalent to six Saudi Arabias by 2030. Even if we were to assume that oil consumption stays flat to 2030, we would then need to replace four Saudi Arabias of production (instead of six).

The End of Easy (and Cheap) Oil

The end of easy oil has been a longstanding theme in this publication and remains arguably the most powerful driver in the sector, though the unprecedented drop-off in demand that occurred in the wake of the credit crisis and resultant economic dislocation has obscured this long-term trend. But with the global economy and credit markets now on the mend, this theme should come back with a vengeance over the next few quarters.

Supply concerns are at the heart of the end of easy oil. Non-OPEC oil production will, at best, remain steady in coming years; additional production from nonconventional sources, such as oil sands and deepwater, will offset declines from mature onshore and shallow-water fields.

Global Oil Supply: Learning from Lagos

A new era of resource nationalism is underway for varying reasons, but not the least of which is the stall-speed of global oil production. In other words, the best reason now to hoard your oil is as follows: because you can. No one is going to outproduce you.

Exxon’s Tillerson Says OPEC Discipline Erodes Amid Price Rise

(Bloomberg) -- The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, source of 40 percent of the world’s oil, has slipped further away from self-imposed production limits amid rising crude prices, Exxon Mobil Corp. Chief Executive Officer Rex Tillerson said.

Tillerson, in a speech to the Economic Club of Washington yesterday, said OPEC compliance had “been extraordinarily good.”

“At one point they had about 82 percent compliance, which is very good for OPEC,” he said. “It’s running about 65 percent now. When the price of oil got back above 70, some people can’t help themselves.” Irving, Texas-based Exxon is the world’s largest oil refiner.

Russian Crude Production Rises to Post-Soviet High

(Bloomberg) -- Russia, the world’s biggest energy supplier, increased oil output 1.7 percent to a post-Soviet high in September from a year earlier after OAO Rosneft, Russia’s largest crude producer, brought a new field on line in August.

Russian oil production rose to 10.01 million barrels a day from 9.84 million barrels a day last year, the Energy Ministry’s CDU-TEK unit said in an e-mailed statement today. Russia produced 9.97 million barrels a day in August.

Oil will fuel Russia's growth

Russia is now the biggest oil producer globally, thanks to OPEC production quotas that have fallen squarely on the shoulders of Saudi Arabia. That fact brings the influence of oil on Russia's economy sharply into focus, and it dominates the picture. Therefore, investors in Russia will live or die by the long-term price of oil.

Moscow juggling South Stream pipe dreams

Against the European Union's Southern Corridor gas pipeline project, Russia is redoubling efforts to advertise its own project, South Stream, with Italian backing. The scene for that advertising is in Bucharest this week.

Due to stagnant gas production and aging fields in operation, however, Russia has been unable to identify any internal gas reserves to supply the proposed South Stream system, intended to carry natural gas by way of the Black Sea from Russia to Bulgaria.

U.S. Warns Europe of Russian Energy Threat

Washington continues to support the EU-backed Nabucco gas pipeline, but this project is "only a piece of the puzzle" when it comes to reducing Europe's reliance on Russian gas, U.S. special envoy for Eurasian energy Richard Morningstar has said.

"We support Nabucco. We support the Southern Corridor. It's an important part of the puzzle, but it's only one piece," Mr Morningstar told EUobserver on Wednesday (30 September) in an interview on the margins of a Black Sea energy forum organised in Bucharest by the Atlantic Council, a Washington-based think tank.

Iran and the `Pipelineistan' Opera

(CBS) Oil and natural gas prices may be relatively low right now, but don't be fooled. The New Great Game of the twenty-first century is always over energy and it's taking place on an immense chessboard called Eurasia. Its squares are defined by the networks of pipelines being laid across the oil heartlands of the planet. Call it Pipelineistan. If, in Asia, the stakes in this game are already impossibly high, the same applies to the "Euro" part of the great Eurasian landmass -- the richest industrial area on the planet. Think of this as the real political thriller of our time.

Water worries threaten U.S. push for natural gas

PAVILLION, Wyoming (Reuters) - Louis Meeks, a burly 59-year-old alfalfa farmer, fills a metal trough with water from his well and watches an oily sheen form on the surface which gives off a faint odor of paint.

He points to small bubbles that appear in the water, and a thin ring of foam around the edge.

Meeks is convinced that energy companies drilling for natural gas in this central Wyoming farming community have poisoned his water and ruined his health.

Ecuador, Indians trade blame for bloody clash

MACAS, Ecuador — Several hundred Shuar Indians wearing black war paint and toting wooden spears on Thursday reinforced a highway blockade that police failed to break up earlier in a bloody melee that left one Indian dead and at least 40 police injured.

Police pulled out of the southeastern jungle region on orders from leftist President Rafael Correa, who is in an intensifying dispute with indigenous groups that say proposed legislation would allow mining on their lands without their consent and lead to the privatization of water.

UK Will Have To Import Half Its Gas In Winter

Half of the gas used in British homes this winter will be imported from overseas - the highest proportion on record.

China reports 2 mln rural households without electricity

BEIJING (Xinhua) -- China had about 2 million households without electric power and the average electric power consumption per capita per year stood at 300 kwh in 2008, according to the National Energy Administration (NEA).

France launches 'battle of the electric car'

PARIS — France launched the "battle of the electric car" Thursday as it unveiled plans to invest 1.5 billion euros on infrastructure for the two million electric and hybrid cars it wants on the road by 2020.

Innovation Nation

Woodbury did a bit of research and found that of 140 million U.S. workers, 106 million were single-occupant automotive commuters; 88% of all cars carried just one person. So he set out to design the Tango, a single-occupant, high-performance electric car.

Woodbury discovered that if he broke the vehicle's big electric motor into smaller units -- one for each wheel -- he could get blistering performance: zero to 60 in less than three seconds, and up to 100 mpg with careful driving. This from a freeway-ready car that was seven feet long and just three feet wide -- about the width of a Harley-Davidson.

REC Falls as Solar Wafer Market Seen ‘Weak’ in 2010

(Bloomberg) -- Renewable Energy Corp. ASA, a Norwegian maker of solar energy products, fell to a two-week low in Oslo trading after saying contract adjustments for wafers will have an adverse effect on earnings next year.

World biofuel use expected to double by 2015

Global biofuel use is expected to increase twofold by 2015 and Brazil will remain the world's top exporter of biofuel, according to a report released Wednesday by Hart Energy Consulting.

The U.S. is expected to see the largest increase in biofuel use per country, increasing its current consumption by more than 30 percent, according to data from the "Global Biofuels Outlook: 2009-2015" report.

Senate Democrats seek to win climate moderates

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Democrats in the U.S. Senate, who this week sketched out legislation to tackle global warming, now face the hard part -- convincing enough fence-sitters to join their cause.

It is labor-intensive work, figuring out the combination of undecided senators and the changes in the legislation needed to arrive at the magic number of 60. That is the level of support needed in the 100-member Senate to maneuver around opposition tactics.

Kerry Gives Dems Chance to Frame Climate Debate Around Security

Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) both say there is little to read into the fact that Kerry is listed as the lead sponsor of the global warming bill the pair unveiled Wednesday.

But perceptions are another thing, and there are certainly reasons for why Kerry got top billing ahead of Boxer, the chairwoman of the committee with lead jurisdiction over the climate change agenda. The decision also leaves some observers asking who will be in charge moving forward.

Report: climate change threatens national parks

WASHINGTON — America's national parks are at risk of disappearing or being fundamentally changed as seas rise, glaciers melt, trees die and animal habitat changes as a result of climate change, according to a report Thursday from two environmental groups.

First Darwin, now global warming reaches Galapagos

GALAPAGOS, Ecuador (Reuters) - Climate change could endanger the unique wildlife of the Galapagos Islands, and scientists are trying to figure out how to protect vulnerable species such as blue-footed boobies and Galapagos Penguins.

Southeast Asia gains climate clout after typhoon

BANGKOK — A deadly typhoon that scythed through Southeast Asia has underscored the area's vulnerability to climate change -- but it may have also finally given regional nations a voice at crucial environment talks.

India suffers worst drought in 37 years

NEW DELHI — India has suffered its worst drought since 1972, the official weather office said on Wednesday, with rains 23 percent below average at the end of the country's four-month monsoon season.

"India's 2009 monsoon rainfall has been the worst since 1972," a spokesperson for the Meteorological Department, P.K. Bandhopadhyay, told AFP.

Southeast Drought Study Ties Water Shortage to Population, Not Global Warming

The drought that gripped the Southeast from 2005 to 2007 was not unprecedented and resulted from random weather events, not global warming, Columbia University researchers have concluded. They say its severe water shortages resulted from population growth more than rainfall patterns.

The researchers, who report their findings in an article in Thursday’s issue of The Journal of Climate, cite census figures showing that in Georgia alone the population rose to 9.54 million in 2007 from 6.48 million in 1990.

“At the root of the water supply problem in the Southeast is a growing population,” they wrote.

Rich countries 'must slash living standards' to fight climate change

Living standards in Britain and other rich countries must fall sharply over the next decade if the world is to avoid catastrophic global warming, according to a leading climate research centre.

Consumption of energy-intensive goods and services should be cut and remain capped until low-carbon alternatives are available, said the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research.

Unemployment at 263K versus 180K. EU indices plummeting after the news. Futures way down. Looks like we're getting a chilly start to October.


Oh, that's just for the non-farm payrolls. Relax, the cows are working under the table, so they're not counted. All is fine.


Last two months were revised upward, too.

over at automatic earth.
stoneleigh [in the comments] says the recent patterns may indicate the beginning of continuing market downturn.

As usual Denninger has more interesting data.


Civilian Labor Force: 154,879 to 153,617 this month.

Employed: 140,074 down to 139,079 this month.

Both the employed and the labor force went down by a million people. If you include the ones who exited the labor force as unemployed, the total unemployment is getting horrific.

That is truly horrific. And yet...everyone seems convinced the recession is over. Employment is just a "lagging indicator."

How can the real economy possibly recover with this many people dropping out completely every month? It's only a matter of time before it soaks through to every consumer-oriented business, and then the banks that support them.

It makes me worry about my job. There is no way that 1M layoffs can't have a profound effect on the outlook for those of us who remain employed.

Anecdotal employment story...

I am a single parent (widowed) with two small children under the age of 7. I obviously need to work (I am blessed with a stable job) but need to have the kids in daycare while I do so. Earlier this year, I met a college educated woman with a young child of her own who had managerial experience but could not land a job. She became my girlfriend and presently, she's living with me and staying at home to watch the kids (this is financially beneficial for everyone). She is perfectly capable and competent, but cannot find a job; she would be considered one of those folks who left the workforce, partially due to being unable to find a job.

She is perfectly capable and competent, but cannot find a job;

Sounds to me like she actually found one and is probably overqualified for it, I suggest you give her a raise...In gratitude, love and appreciation for what she does. Not that I have any doubt that you already compensate her well with all of those things.

Heh, I sincerely hope that nobody who knows my true curmudgeonly gruff outer shell is reading this and mistakes this for softness, it would be a very bad mistake indeed... {grins evilest of ear to ear evil grins}

I would take back that "overqualified" comment (not that I take it personally)...

Parenting for hours on end requires the following:
1. Awesome self-management skills (not to blow up when they push your buttons) meaning at least decades of targeted psychological work (consider lobotomy or heavy doses of narcotics, if all else fails)
2. Outstanding motivation skills needed to convince them to do homework, to move from bed to breakfast table, to leave for school, and eventually brush teeth and return to bed - worthy of the most experienced leadership specialist.
3. Sainthood candidacy needed to refrain from blowing up at your spouse when they suggest that you have "accomplished" nothing all day.

The unemployment figures do make me wish for a quick way to rearrange things so families have someone earning something - single moms working in daycare too, get impacted when the unemployed spouse stays home with the toddlers. It's hard watching this wreck in slow motion and everyone convinced recovery is around the corner.

Good luck to you and her. You can save quite a bit on daycare, no? It has been costing me about Euro 400 each month, but now the youngest will also attend elementary school so that will mean a substantial saving. Refering to the "new normal" (Darwinian below), I suppose many unemployed will have to find a way to get self-employed, in one way or another. You know, like member souperman is doing. Your girlfriend might as well think of something to supplement the household income, something she'd like to do.

I don't know anyone who is convinced that the recession is over. I do know that if I want to read comments from the Ticker Forum, I can just go there. Enough with all the Denninger already. He's made as many wrong predictions over the last year as anyone else, yet he's the only economic source that seems to get brought up here. If you have a political axe to grind, just come out with it.


You're out of line. Paleocon has a right to post links to Denninger if he wants to. When we want you to tell people what they can post, we'll make you a mod.

Free speech is alive and well, I see. Let's all take notice of the "we" and "they" mentality that a moderator uses in an effort to establish community and solve mutual problems.

Not only does wideblacksky not say that Paleocon can't post, he obviously doesn't have the power to restrict him as all of You do (English doesn't have a proper plural you, so I'll capitalize it).

Surely with your experience, and superpowers, you can find a more constructive way to handle things like this.

There's no free speech on a blog. The TOD PTB can censor participant expression as they see fit. They can do so for ideological reasons, to please their sponsors, or simply capriciously. If anyone doesn't like it, they are free to not participate, or to found a blog of their own.

If this had been the first time, I'd have let it go. But it isn't. Complaining about what other people post is bad form, and doesn't work, anyway.

If you don't care for a certain topic of conversation, you can ignore it. You can flag it. You can post about something you'd rather discuss. You can go away and start your own blog. Griping about what other people post is out of line.

Everything you say there can be counted as an appeal to authority by default, so have it your way and debate with yourself on your own terms.

You make it sound like I'm a serial crank when the truth of the matter is my previous objection was also to Denninger from a post by yourself. I purposefully waited for it to be from yourself to avoid any appearance of bullying, and you ignored it then anyway instead of dealing with it as a moderator.

I pointed out that Denninger hosts a private web forum where racist and sexist stereotyping is the norm and the politics lean towards violent insurrection. But if you think resources like that enrich the value of the discussions here on The Oil Drum so be it. You're the moderator, after all. But I think allowing those ideas into the discussion here as anything beyond objects of contempt and examples of societal breakdown would diminish the authority that TheOilDrum has earned the right to speak with on the topic of oil depletion.

This is an oil/energy site. We have posters and contributers from all over the political spectrum. I would argue that the financial issues are far more related and intertwined with energy issues than "racist and sexist stereotyping", yet Illargi + Stonleigh ended up taking their finance-oriented focus to a new blog they created for the purpose.

If we start vetting out anyone who doesn't measure up to some particular measure of political correctitude, especially when it concerns issues not relevant to our focus (energy), when will it stop? No, this isn't a road we need to get started down. Leanan is handling this exactly as I would.

Antoinetta III

It must be much simpler to be comfortable erecting firewalls between ethical and scientific concerns.

We all make hundreds of moral issues every day without thinking about it. We even invent terms like "political correctness" to encourage us to avoid making those kind of tough decisions.

If you cannot handle that people with opinions you find offensive can have valid input on technical questions of any sort then you will find your own analysis lacking.

Everything that Denninger has to say can be found elsewhere on the internet from more reputable and moderate voices.

So post links to them.

Leanan, normally I think you do a wonderful job moderating this forum, but I think you are wrong here.

WBS says "enough with all the Denninger" he is not just talking about this one posting, but the fact that Denninger's link is posted most days, and usually, you are the one to do that.

I don't really care (about Denninger) either way, but I think it's disingenuous of you not to acknowledge that he was talking about you.

WBS says "enough with all the Denninger" he is not just talking about this one posting, but the fact that Denninger's link is posted most days, and usually, you are the one to do that.

I am? He says he waited a week for me to post a link again. I didn't, so he replied to my comment on Paleocon's post.

I don't really care (about Denninger) either way, but I think it's disingenuous of you not to acknowledge that he was talking about you.

I didn't know he was talking about me, until he said so. All I posted was a comment on the data that someone else linked to.

You misunderstood what I said. I didn't wait a week for you to post on Denninger again. I posted today out of spontaneous feelings of concern and disgust. The first time I posted on the subject it was more reasoned and I presented my argument more clearly than today. That was the time that I purposefully chose to reply to a post of your own. But the experience of having the sentiment gone unacknowledged made me less concerned today about bringing it up again, because moderate and thoughtful discourse seemed to have had no impact whatsoever.

Perhaps I am paranoid about what Denninger represents. But other people here have picked up some sense of what I'm trying to express with my concern about the frequent promotion (inadvertant or otherwise) of Denninger's site in the content here on your web site. That gives me a little bit of confidence that I'm not way off base.

All I know is that frequent uncritical links to Denninger here make me less confident about sharing this site with other people whose respect is of concern to me.

I usually don't reply when people complain about links that I post. If I'd known you were complaining about me instead of Paleocon, I wouldn't have replied today, either. IME, most people are just venting, and aren't really looking for a reply.

As for Denninger...I'll continue to post links to his stuff when I find it interesting. It doesn't mean I support his politics. I don't support Kunstler's, Simmons' or the BNP's politics, either, but I still link to them if I find it interesting and/or relevant.

Leanen,You and the rset of the staff are doing fine.

You will never please everybody-and the ones who are not pleased now would drive the rest of us away within a week or two if they were in charge.

IMO your labelling Denninger a racist is cowardly and displays a lack of basic integrity. If you are going to make those claims, they should be backed up with evidence/links. Anybody could label YOU a racist-you seem to obsessed with that singular topic. Denninger talks about economic issues whenever I have viewed his site-all you ever talk about is race.

I seem to recall you made the same point in the previous drumbeat and I responded to it there. If you didn't read my reply the first time, why should I go through it again...

Suffice it to say that Denninger takes a stand through selective moderation of his forum. Racist and sexist remarks remain in great quantity while any posts that deviate from the teabagger party line vanish promptly.

Does so.

yawl = singular
all yawl = plural

Negatory. Singular is "youse". What whar youse a thinkin?

Plural is yoose.

You don't have a political axe, you appear to be have a whole battalion ready to defend your grifters.

Evil sneaks in through the back door while people are afraid of what waits at the front.

Don't go away mad-just go away.

Poor people in America are grifters one and all... what a wonderful sentiment. How do I join your church?

Umm, these are stats, not predictions, and they're from the Denninger post, not the comments. Denninger is just a handy reference since he does a good job of dredging through data to find the nuggets.

TAE gets brought up as much as Denninger. Ilargi was pilloried by some for predicting 1M a month unemployed. Sometimes predictions are off in magnitude or timing, but still indicate a valid perspective which is ignored by most.

As for politics, I intended none (at least this time). Sure, the Dems in power are working hard to make a bad situation worse, but the Repubs would have done essentially the same.

Denninger is just a handy reference since he does a good job of dredging through data to find the nuggets.

Yes. He also posts more often than other economic bloggers. Often minutes after the report is released. Other economic bloggers take hours or even days to respond. I think that's a big reason why he's quoted so often.

Wide black..
It seems that Denninger and Kunstler come with the territory. I don't think their approach is all that helpful most times, but the regular reference to them here does at least help to define the extents.

Denninger and Kunstler come with the territory.

That's exactly right. Even Kunstler in his most delusional rant has more to say than all of the talking heads on CNN, MSNBC or Fox News combined.


Do him the favor of setting a slightly higher bar, though.

I don't mind the doom so much, it's just a prediction. It's the nasty putdowns that keep me from paying attention to them.

For what it's worth, I think all the Denninger links bring down the quality and reputation of The Oil Drum.

It isn't worth much if you won't even state why you feel this way.

Unbelieveable-you scour the internet in an attempt to prove this guy is so dangerous he shouldn't be read and this is the best you can produce-some guy nitpicking. You don't have to be Einstein to be aware of what is happening and has been happening to the median USA household over that time period-this Dranger guy sounds like a moron.

That's really funny. Using raw official government employment and workforce data apparently takes away from one's credibility... I guess only doctored political pseudo-data is legitimate. Who needs reality anyway.

It's been mentioned a few times now that he brings a few other things in his bag in addition to the data.. the question is whether you want to get your data so frequently from a dog who uses skunk perfume.

Jeez-it is unbelieveable how much innuendo you and your cronies are throwing around this Denninger guy-come right out with your allegations and evidence or shut up.

And as I keep saying, we've still got what will certainly be a dismal holiday buying season to look forward to, followed by a blood bath in the retail and CRE sector this winter. The only "green shoots" are going to be grass growing in the cracks of empty retail parking lots this spring.

Looks like factory orders are well down also:

The Commerce Department said Friday that demand for manufactured goods dropped 0.8 percent, much worse than the 0.7 percent gain that economists had expected. The August decline reflected plunging demand for commercial aircraft, a category that surged in July.

Yet stocks are clawing their way back up, assisted by a weakening dollar.

The past few days you can almost see dollars pouring into the market to prop up stocks (and gold) at the expense of dollar value, but from where?

The only "green shoots" are going to be grass growing in the cracks of empty retail parking lots this spring.

Great! We'll be able to produce cellulosic ethanol.

Great! We'll be able to produce cellulosic ethanol.

LOL. Thanks, I needed that.

If you still have holiday money to spend, you can think outside the box.

Your local Transition initiative (or Transition US) would accept a donation in someone's name - and then there's buying handmade, preferably in your own community, but also at http://www.etsy.com.

Also notice the Local Harvest website has a gizmo where you can look up farms selling gift products close to your zipcode. For example you can look up clothing items made close to you (often with local fibers http://www.localharvest.org/store/clothing.jsp).

disclosure: I work with my local Transition initiative and Transition US. I get no money from etsy and sell nothing.

This IS horrific. Little action is being taken at government levels because the mentality is, well, it's recovering, so why make an effort for something that will happen anyway? But the truth is that this is the time that government effort needs to go into action to slow the downward momentum.

On the other hand, as I make my usual rounds among small shop owners I now get invited to the back room to have a refreshment, since business is often slow and the shop owner is often bored. Last week one shop owner's neighbor came over (somewhat subtly) to see why I was there for so long. One guy at a trucking company says he's cut hours down for his drivers as much as he thinks he could without having people leave... but so far, nobody'd left... no place left to go; I thought he was kidding me, but after looking at the numbers I will have to apologize to him.

I wonder what the real estate market will be like in three months.

Oh, this morning on NPR's morning Edition some economist from the Cato Institute said that employment benifits should be cut since they discourage people from looking for work.

The real option would be to cut minimum wage or subsidize new hires to give businesses a chance to grow. It would make more sense to pay a business 50c on the dollar to employ a person gainfully than to pay the individual to sit at home. Of course reducing minimum wage and cutting unemployment would do the same thing once the chap got hungry, but there is more than one way to skin that particular cat.

Simply a way to cut down on Uncle Sam's cut of the pay would help a bunch, but all those decades of prosperity spending have pretty well scuttled any chances of that.

We can start by whacking the U.S. military budget in half, and reducing the tax bite by 1/4 of the amount saved. The other 1/4 saved can fund universal health care.

Except...whoopsi. all those white-collar contractors and Federal civil servant 'engineers' would be collecting those unemployment checks or a minimum wage that some folks here want to whack.

Guess its not bloated governed spending if it keeps the corporate MIC welfare state alive.

Same thinking gives bankers trillions instead of paying homeowners' mortgages outright, 'cause that wouldn't be 'fair'.

We get the government and he economy we deserve.

Socialism for the rich, monetarist capitalism for the poor.

some economist from the Cato Institute said that employment benifits should be cut since they discourage people from looking for work.

Wonder how he'll feel when he loses his job and can't find another one even if he trys!

I thought it was a stupid idea... heck, I see some local folk I know working in "menial" jobs that I probably wouldn't have seen them in a few years ago. With all these lay-offs it IS hard to find a job.

There is one restaurant I frequent that for years had a Mexican chef working there in the Summer months (he'd head back to Mexico for the rest of the year). He hasn't been back this Summer. Business is down. Help wanted ads don't stay up for long on the window of the place.

Time to invest in tent manufacturers.

Hi Leanan,

IMO in a credit driven depression I'd say unemployment is a leading indicator.
It's a lagging indicator in inventory led recessions. And the jobs data was truly horrific.

It appears that if the participation rate in the economy had remained the same as in August, then unemployment according to U3 would be 10.3% this month according to David Rosenberg.

Denninger has another post up about the unemployment report. With graphs.

Just as my boss has anticipated. Just his opinion, of course, but he also liquidated billions of $'s in assets before the market crashed last year...just as he predicted long before it began. He's been predicting a harder crash for the EU in the near future then they've already suffered. And for hyperinflation to start kicking our collective butts not too far down the road. As I said, just his opinion but he's made many billions in the equity/commodity market so he does have a fairly impressive track record to date.

Any thoughts on why the harder crash for the EU in the near future? You know, that's here for me, timing is everything, so would appreciate any feedback.
Your boss must be some guy, handling billions in assets :-)

He dosen't discuss his specific reasons behind his expectation Paulus. But I'll speculate: he has based his past decisions on very detailed and very, very anaytical analysis. He's a PhD math whiz who employes another dozen PhD math wizards to analyze trend data. So I'm pretty sure he not making these projections on a feeling or hunch. Which isn't to say models can't be wrong but so far his have been pretty darn accurate.

A unique individual for sure. Besides being so analytical he is a diehard romantic. Add that to his great generosity to medical research and the arts. And he's done more then just write checks: he's used his brain trust to work with the researchers from time to time. Though part of our future success is based upon his models being correct it does come with the associated sadness of how many folks will suffer as a result. Add that to the fact that I have zero confidence that our political systems will respond in any positive way you can imagine I have very mixed feelings about the future.

But the real question is, do you need an understudy? :)

Unfortunately Paleo no. He's been bled more then once by management teams who sucked overhead out of him with little positive result. There are only 4 of us technicians, an accountant and an admin assistant. And we'll be spending $300 million with the drill bit over the next sevral years. We'll outsorce some ops to consultants but all us VP's are expected to work in the trenches. And if that means 60 or 70 hours a week indefinately that's fine by us. Looking at all the folks who have been sent to the house there is no such thing as "too much work" these days.

Sounds like a fun and challenging environment to work in.

Yes indeed Web...best gig I've had in my 34 years. The only thing to take the shine off is watching all my other cohorts slowly go down during one more bust. This the third time in my career. So damn lucky...not driving a Yellow Cab as I was back in 1985.

May all bosses strive to receive the description you just gave of your boss. Sounds like a good man.


Could you send me an eMail ? My contact info is in my profile.

Best Hopes,


At various points in time, ENRON, Lehman Bros, and AIG (among others) could say that they had an impressive track record to date.

Heh heh. I remember reading on a newsish blog somewhere when some bank CEO's were being called out on the carpet before congress to justify their generous bonuses and salaries. The response was a semblance of "look at how good its was doing before the meltdown happened" which I read as "it was all good before reality came a knockin".

RE: Rich countries 'must slash living standards' to fight climate change

Instead of quoting part of the txt I would like to focus on the more funny reader comment like this one from "Arthur Jones".

Arthur Jones wrote:
Personally, from the research I've done, I'll gamble global warming is not as man made as they think. I'll stick with my car and lifestyle.

And so the penny drops (but not for this guy). Still most Times readers will stick their heads back in the sand and pretent it's some sort of pregnant April fools joke. Very few people outside the circles we walk in here realise quite what is in store for us on the energy decendancy. Oh well. Musn't grumble.

For poeple I try to discuss the problem with i've given up making a distinction between AGW and Peak oil - they both require the same mitigating actions; resulting in reduced standard of living.


I see the same steps being required for national security, economic security, AGW mitigation, and PO reality. And yet none of these are sufficient to convince most people.

High energy prices and high unemployment will be harsh teachers for the stubborn, but the planet overall and poor people especially will suffer unduly.

What keeps amazing me is how peolple cling to their material "wealth" being the only measurement for well-being. Possessing a car is convenient, but it does not necesarily make one a happy person.

Wealth is an asset that can help provide financial support. A car is a depreciating asset at best, so even this measure of "wealth" is sorely erroneous.

A house is little better, or perhaps worse, in that a car can help you earn money at least.

Nothing is quite as it seems -- hobbies you do for "free" like gardening and auto work, may have intrinsic value, while status symbols of wealth like houses and cars are worth less than nothing to most.

Ahh, the pain of wisdom. Reminds me of that song lyric, "Wish I didn't know now what I didn't know then." Ignorance IS bliss, it seems.

You need a roof over your head, a safe place. That's quite a necessity for one's well being and not a status symbol. The disturbing thing is that people with small houses and cars appearantly feel people with big houses and cars are supposed to be more happy. Well, they are not, and it might even be the other way around, as poorer people know how to appreciate small things better. Small things which do make you really, really happy.

And yeah, wish I was just a little more stupid. (I'm really trying!)

Once you get to where you view a house as a shelter and a car as transportation, you can be happy in a small house or apt and with a dilapidated jalopy.

Fortunately dilapidated jalopies are self-creating -- just quit buying new cars and soon enough you'll have one.

Houses are more difficult, but refusing to upsize could help a lot of people become happier longer-term.

I was musing about this a day or two ago - when you rent a car you pick the cheapest that will meet the immediate need, and when you rent an apartment you shop for the cheapest that meets your minimum requirement. But when you buy a car, you feel the urge to get the biggest, nicest, most powerful version you can afford, and when you buy a house it's all about square footage and appointments, and you'll feel the urge to sacrifice location and future stability to get the biggest, most expensive house you can afford.

And yet that 30-year mortgage is basically rent for the first decade, but with a huge exit fee if you wish to move, and the potential for downside as well as upside in equity risk.

So, no more car payments for me, and no more new houses. I just pray I have the time to pay this sucker off.

When I bought the house I live in, in 2004, we were not principally PO aware. Still, we opted for a house with all facilities quite near, friendly neighbouorhood, plenty kids, and for a price half of what we could get a mortgage for, just because we wanted to keep money left for fun things like holidays and such.

Still, I also hope I have the time to pay it off, or better, sell it off before TSHTF (note the housing market here in Holland slowed but prices have not yet collapsed, and maybe never will because there is still a shortage of dwellings)

As for car payments, I expect to have paid of my car loan for the new used car in 1 year. Note I've found a bank which is happy to take extra payments without a fine, lowest possible interest rates, and very understanding if I ever miss a payment (which I will not): it's called "mom". Highly recommended.

I'd rather have a small car that's paid for than a big car with payments due. There's nothing like being debt-free.

I occasionally watch a TV show called Clean House, where people drowning in their clutter get help weeding through it. It's sold in a yard sale, and the money earned is used to fix up their houses.

It's just unreal, the amount of clutter these people accumulate. I'm a bit of a pack rat myself, but nothing compared to the people on this show. They can't walk through their rooms, there's so much stuff. Designer clothes with the tags still on them, dozens of kitchen appliances in boxes that have never been opened, TV sets that don't work, etc. And they fight like cornered rats when told they should consider selling the stuff or giving it to charity. They can hardly move in their own homes, they're too embarrassed to invite friends over, their children get hurt trying to walk through the clutter...but they insist they need to keep that pair of jeans they bought 20 years ago, never wore, and now cannot fit into.

I knew a guy who had this condition-I don't know if it has been labelled yet, but I would assume it is related to obsessive compulsive disorder-he had an apartment so filled with stuff that he could hardly move around at all.

Some people are compulsive hoarders; it is a mental illness, and one getting increasing attention.

But I don't think the people on this show fall into that category. They contact the show, ask for a makeover, and mostly do follow through and get rid of their stuff (after much kicking, screaming, and bribery). Compulsive hoarders tend to deny there's a problem, and cannot get rid of anything, no matter the inducement.

Indeed there are EXTREME cases involving OCD...

Collyer Brothers

To this day if FDNY comes across across such conditions in a dwelling when responding to an emergency, the unit discovering the situation will transmit the message "Collyer Conditions" over the radio as a warning to other units.

I've seen a comparible TV show on the BBC about 1 year ago. A family with 2 kids under 10. Rooms where the walls were piled with clothes up to the ceiling. Dreadfull. And not only that. Beside the mortgage, they has a total accumilated debt of around 150000 GBP. They did not even know! And they were filling 1 financial hole by digging another one.

One of the things that has gotten to me lately is all the self storage facilities popping up all over the place. I think we've become so depraved with our "stuff" mentality that now we need to rent outside storage to store carp that we'll likely never see/use again(at least the majority of such).

I live in north Jersey(NJ)and, being a fairly affluent area, this has been common for some time. I spend a lot of time northern tier NY, not an affluent area in general and these places have been growing like,heh-heh, green shoots up there for the last few years.

Apparently, buying the contents of those lockers has become pretty popular. People can't afford to pay the monthly fee, and they break into the locker and auction the contents to the highest bigger.

It's amazing what you find in those things. Often, there's nothing inside that's worth paying a storage fee to keep. You have to wonder what people were thinking, paying to store, say, a cheap, broken chair and a garbage bag full of old clothes.

Probably the renters take out everything of value once they get behind on the payments, and just leave the crap.

As jobless couples move back in with the folks or singles come back home to save money, and those evicted or foreclosed upon move into smaller apartments, the need for "temporary" storage is likely to continue.

Keeping your stuff is an emotional bond to a "better" time for many, and it will be hard to let go as things get worse instead of better.

Bottom line: being the caretaker/owner of a mini-storage (without much debt) wouldn't be bad, IMHO.

I am not aware that this has happened but it is not beyond the realm of possibility that one day one of these storage lockers will be opened only to find dead people.

My son had a double-bay 20X20 at one time and in the complex there were several "residences". Illegal as all get out but they did in fact provide security of sorts at night.


It actually has happened more than once. Murderers have been known to stash bodies in storage units. Then they forget to pay (or their wife does), the contents are sold, and the buyer gets an unpleasant surprise.

The guy who was recently arrested for the kidnapping of Jaycee Dugard had done time previously for kidnapping and raping another woman. He took her to his storage unit, which he had outfitted as a boudoir/torture chamber. He was caught because the cops saw his car parked there, and thought it was strange that someone was accessing their storage unit in the middle of the night.

I spent a summer living off the back of a motorcycle, with a local job but no 'roof over my head.'
If I was out late and the weather off, I would occasional camp out in my rental storage shed.

I call it my 'year of living under the bridge'.
But it only took one night under a bridge to learn that I wasn't doing that again.

It's a variation on what Ugo Bardi described in his post on dump mining. Storage lockers are becoming more like a dump.

Just cleaned out my own storage shed behind the house. Took a pickup load to a local 'Bring' recycling operation. Toolboxes, usable tools, lots of 'parts' left from a career of building contracting. More organized dump mining for those who can use the stuff.

Another aspect of this "obsessive-compulsive disease" shows up on people's cars and SUVs. They buy one of these rooftop storage containers for some special circumstance - when they had too much crap to fit in the car/SUV - and needed even more mobile storage.

Then you realize they've been driving around with it ever since, never removed it. Some of them are vaguely aerodynamic but it's got to whack gas mileage significantly. One has to wonder, after a few years: what the hell are they still carrying around up there??

Dick Lawrence

And yeah, wish I was just a little more stupid. (I'm really trying!)

Well you should have tried a lot harder a long long time ago, now you get to suffer the consequences. You know those people goofing off in the back of the classroom we'll that could have been you ;-)

If we only could go back to stupid. But it is not an option for those of us who have escaped the Matrix.


But you CAN go back. Stupidity is a belief system, and beliefs are really choices. You CAN decide it's all bunk and go back to ignorant bliss.

Can you not hear the siren song of realtors and car salesmen, and the gentle seductive rustle of credit cards in the mail?

Just do it. Indulge. You know you want to.

Hey Pal, I like what you touch on about "hobbies you do for "free" like gardening and auto work, may have intrinsic value".
More so as we go deeper into "the new normal" as it is described further down.
Hobbies for me, have become a means of re-educating myself in skills that may have a future were no future exists for the general economy. It is a means of "doing something" when helplessness is the human reaction to a really bad outlook- you know, when the Apocalypse happens, just look/stay busy.


Well, France is talking about "new measures of the economy" that would emphasize well-being rather than growth.

Ironically, France has one of the highest work-related suicide rates in the world.

France also has one of the highest percentage of the working force in civil servant positions (some 35% IIRC), be it local, regional or national. Not the most challenging working environment.

France is ranked number one in health care by the WHO:


"France also demonstrates that you can deliver stellar results with this mix of public and private financing. In a recent World Health Organization health-care ranking, France came in first, while the U.S. scored 37th, slightly better than Cuba and one notch above Slovenia."

Here's the song:


I think a lot of people just try to be "happier" on a relative scale - happier than their closest neighbors or happier in a given "social" situation.

I don't think of the jerks around here that regularly appear to take great joy in badgering, bullying, and if all else fails, nearly running you off the road, as particularly happy people - but they apparently derive some satisfaction in their anti-social a**holeish behavior. I'm pretty sure that a fair number of them are quite unhappy as their lives revolve around nothing but chasing the all-mighty dollar. But relative to me in one of these situations on the road - well they are very happy because they have some small measure of power restored in their life - at least for a fleeting instance - until they find their next fellow motorist to bother.

The real art is in trying to carve out some small niche of happiness for yourself - trying somehow to keep your head while living during the collapse and to not get caught up in everything that is making others lose their minds around you... I'm working on it but it's still a daily struggle...

Catskill, you write:

The real art is in trying to carve out some small niche of happiness for yourself ...

True enough. But what it you're a young man during the human mating season between the ages of 16 and, well, 35? That 'small niche of happiness' will normally include finding and bedding an attractive woman. Offering a girl a lift on the crossbar of your eco-bicycle won't be much of a help. Nor will asking her up to 'see your etchings' get you very far if you happen to live in a log cabin with a heating system powered by humanure, or whatever.

Sorry to be such a Darwininan sexual-selection aware bastard about these matters, but that's the way the world is. Read Nate Hagens on this subject for some of the more gory details.

16 to 35? And then you take a swan dive off a bridge at 36?

BrianT -- A typo on my part. For '35' read '135' (males only, of course).

Over 35, riding a bike, well groomed. I suspect that there would be significant fitness signals there...

Hello Carolus Obscurus,

That what worries me so much about China. Their earlier one child policy was good, but using sonograms to determine the sex of the fetus, then aborting if a girl was INSANELY STUPID. I picture all the unattached, horny young men [200 million?] being given the merest hint by their topdogs: "Do you want to have endless sex?--Invade 'Country X', young man!"

Thus, a full-on, postPeak Asian resource war induced by the tip of a sword PLUS the tip of a stiff penis would be easily done. Google rape and gang rape in Africa and other areas around the planet--it is really sad what is being done.

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

Bob, it's not just sex-selection in China. I've just been watching a programme on German TV about the tens of thousands of Asian and Eastern European women who have migrated to Western Europe to marry our frustrated males. One shudders to think of the resultant combination of envy and despair among the surplus menfolk of these countries. And as you rightly imply, the 'resource war' you speak of will also be a war over sexual resources.

If you want to see one of the funniest movies ever, rent MAIL ORDER WIFE.

China remembers what happened to their population during the Japanese occupation. I have doubt they'd deliberately inflict similar suffering on other countries.

Plus, any war would result in a reduction of the male populace anyway (maybe not 200 million, but anyway...).

A big carbon tax plus a substantial VAT on consumer goods - that would be what it takes. Chances of that happening are considerably lower than of my being hit by a meteor.

making a distinction between AGW and Peak oil - they both require the same mitigating actions; resulting in reduced standard of living

Yes and No.

Hirsch's reaction to Peak Oil will boil the planet.

And BAU needs to change, but the result CAN be (as opposed to will be) an improved quality of life (not quite the same thing as "standard of living").

More and better community, better health, less time spent commuting alone, fewer worries about paying the utility bills, etc.

That is the path I have chosen and I prefer it to the Suburban life of both of my brothers.

Even GDP need not decline, but the components and mix ratios will change significantly. More GDP into long lived energy producing or energy efficient infrastructure, less to consumption.

Best Hopes for Good Choices,


Hirsch's reaction to Peak Oil will boil the planet.

The low EROEI has put noose round the neck of many other fossil fuels and deepwater etc..

but the result CAN be an improved quality of life

Very unlikeley given the situation with resource nationalism and the ensueing global conflict - both for energy and resource (although I quibble as these are essentially one and the same). You may ultimately be right but only after a major global correction has occured.

Many may try to mimic the path you have taken but I don't hold much hope given that 5/6ths of the planet want to live life the other (rich) 1/6th. And the 1/6th don't much want to give it up immediately.

You are significanly more upbeat than many posters here; with justified reason I hope, for all our sakes.


Even GDP need not decline, but the components and mix ratios will change significantly.

Hi Allen - I like your attention to more and better community. But let's say we establish a small local community (not necessarily a commune) where the property and infrastructure is owned by the community and shared by the members. A natural result of this is a rise in barter. It's impossible to account for barter as a share of GDP. Wouldn't you expect a huge spike of the black market and what do you mean by "components and mix rations"?


Ordinary working stiffs are priced out of every community I know of like the one you live in.

I couldn't go back to the Fan in Richmond - rents there are now high enough tnat you must have a pretty good job to live there.

Fortunately I'm well satisfied on the family farm and if tshtf sure enough we will have water, heat and food if the crops don't fail.

How do you go about convincing the nincompoops that run cities to change thier ways?

In Richmond they never get tired of blowing thier horn about how great the Fan is-and they never miss an opportunity to make sure that other rundown nieghborhoods don't have the opportunity to remake themselves in a similar fashion.

Ordinary working stiffs are priced out of every community I know of like the one you live in.

A garage apartment a block away goes for $600/month, cheap one bedrooms 2 blocks away for about $800. New Section 8 are being built 6 blocks away.

Houses and condos directly on Coliseum Square Park or St. Charles Avenue are not affordable for "working stiffs", but affordable places with easy walking access to all of the amenities are affordable here


Yeah, but sometimes there's a reason for low prices. What is the expected half-life with respect to having the apartment and all its contents soaked in salt water or blown away by the wind?

If the US Army does it's job (as it said it would in 1929 and reaffirmed in 1968, and now supposedly in 2011), >100 years.


"Southeast Asia gains climate clout after typhoon"

Well, an even stronger super typhoon is on the way. Just 1 week after the Philippines got battered, Parma is on the way to wreak havoc with winds possibly over 241 km per hour. CNN clip here http://www.dumpert.nl/mediabase/651381/a26cad3a/typhoon_parma_komt_er_aa...

As Leanan called it: Natural Distaster week in Asia

Half of babies born in rich world will live to 100

LONDON (Reuters) - More than half of babies born in rich nations today will live to be 100 years old if current life expectancy trends continue, according to Danish researchers.

Increasing numbers of very old people could pose major challenges for health and social systems, but the research showed that may be mitigated by people not only living longer, but also staying healthier in their latter years.

What's the number going to be for poor babies? Half that, maybe?

I expect that USA babies (Under BAU) will live fewer years than their grandparents.

Obesity and resulting diabetes (plus heart disease, etc) will overwhelm any new drugs & gizmos. Diet and exercise (and not smoking/ drug addiction) are the foundations for a long healthy life. And our foundations are bad and getting worse.

Best Hopes for Transit Orientated Development and Bicycling,


The New Normal

While watching CNBC this morning I heard one of the talking heads speak of "The New Normal". He said it meant that even after the recovery began growth would be much slower than the past normal. Employment would recover much slower than would be expected. He said that The New Normal meant things would be different from here on out. One of the CNBC wags said this meant there will be no V shaped recovery.

All this came on the heels of the unemployment report which was much worse than expected. But the gist was that this was all part of "The New Normal".

Just curious I googled TOD to see if The New Normal had been mentioned before. I found it mentioned in just one post by Memmel. Memmel on The New Normal

Great graphs showing that we are no longer collapsing but a new normal is forming. Its not recovery but more the economy no longer in frantic collapse. Its still way to early to understand how this new normal is going to move. Obviously of course we have plenty of houses and way to much debt but other than that its hard to say.

Unfortunately his link to the "Calculated Risk" blog on September 25 has been updated and can no longer be found, even in the archives. So I news.googled "The New Normal" and came up with dozens of hits. They basically said the same thing about different facets of the economy.

Microsoft CEO on ‘The New Normal’

In all the talk about the economy, one term that comes up more and more frequently is something called “the new normal.” I like this phrase because it speaks to the fact that economic reality has undergone a fundamental shift over the course of the past 12 months.

So what is the nature of this shift? After years of economic expansion fueled by unrealistic rates of consumption and unsustainable levels of private debt, the global economy has reset at a lower baseline level of activity. Today, people borrow less, save more, and spend with much greater caution.

Bottom line, I think anyway, is that The New Normal means things will be tough, very tough, from here on out so you may as well get used to it. But not to worry things will eventually get better. It will take a lot longer than expected and unemployment will stay bad, probably forever. In fact employees will likely use "contract employment" instead of just hiring people and having to pay them benefit like health care, vacation time, retirement and such. In fact you do not even have to pay contracted people social security benefits or even income taxes. All that is left up to the "contracted person" to pay.

Contract Employment May Become the “New Normal” in the Reset Economy

When employers begin hiring after the recession is over and consumers began to gain confidence in the economy again, many of the new jobs will likely be contract work rather than full-time employment. Many new employees will be signed to 90 day or 1 year contracts. Some analysts predict that this will be the beginning of a new long term trend of contract employment.

So things will never be back to The Old Normal but The New Normal will insure that businesses will still make money and stocks will eventually return to "Normal Levels" albeit a "New Normal", whatever that is.

Ron P.

There has to be a "New Normal" because the growth of the "Old Normal" was based on massive borrowing from the future and it has arrived...


"The New Normal" appears to be another name for what some of us have been calling "catabolic collapse". Or call it "chronic breakdown", or long-term decline - whatever. We're just starting to see the implications of this paradigm shift work through the economy.

Re: Contract employment may become the "New Normal".

Ron, it's probably redundant but "Self-employment" is the same thing as "Contract Employment". If you work as a framing contractor, a tile setter or a plumber on construction of a house, a Realtor selling the house or a Loan agent originating a loan on the house, a caterer for an event, a wedding planner a web designer it goes on and on, these are all "Contract employees". For example these contract employees may allow a small general contractor to keep a skeleton staff on salary and bid on large projects. I believe that with traditional employment shriveling on the vine these avenues will become the driving force of the new economy.

One of the reasons we need a public option in health care is to allow this alternative economy to thrive. If you are "self employed" and you suddenly find yourself in a slow economy one of the first items you let go of is health-care premiums. Getting sick and being "self employed" often leads to bankruptcy or at worst a death sentence.

With the collapse of the economy these "contract employees" (who BTW are not counted among the unemployed when their businesses collapse) have suffered even more than traditional labor. I know a lot of people in the trades and they all seem to be scrounging like never before.


Ron, it's probably redundant but "Self-employment" is the same thing as "Contract Employment".

Not in every case Joe. If you are a contract roofer then you are self employed. But if you employ roofers, they are not self employed, they work for you. But roofers often contract workers by the job. They pay them by the job, or by the contract. This is normal in many cases but not all. Auto mechanics are often contract workers, but often not. Some work for dealerships and are on salary. They are not contract workers.

What the article was referring to was not the roofer or the auto mechanic who normally work on contract but workers who are normally full time employees. The employer will simply say: "You are on a six month contract to do secretarial work in my office. You will not get health benefits, you will not get vacation and will be responsible for your own social security and income tax payments. If you do good work I may then renew your contract for another six months."

That is totally different from being self employed.

Ron P.

Contract workers have to have significant latitude and self-sufficiency to evade IRS rules against that sort of arrangement. If you can't tell the difference between a contract worker and an employee then the IRS will consider them an employee. Unless they're employed by a contract firm, which is of course of the case -- and why cleaning, janitorial, IT, and many other services are contract, even if the workers are dedicated to the one company.

The employer will simply say: "You are on a six month contract to do secretarial work in my office. You will not get health benefits, you will not get vacation and will be responsible for your own social security and income tax payments.

I see what you mean. However there is one problem with an employer trying to keep an employee on a sub-contractor basis in order to avoid paying required health insurance and other benefits. I would have to consult labor law to know the technicalities but I believe that if all or an overwhelming majority of an individual sub-contractors work is for one employer that employer is on the hook.

Real Estate Brokerages who employ Salesmen get around it because "a Real Estate Broker may not direct the activities of individual Salesman or Broker-Salesman".

Even more interesting is that the article is alluding to a new model of employment:

Contract employment will definitely have some downsides for both workers and business owners. It will make it much more difficult for consumers to make long term plans. It will be difficult to buy a house and stay in it for a long period of time if you’re not sure whether or not you will continually be employed.

Business owners will have to face the issues of declining employee loyalty under a contract system. If an employer hasn’t made a commitment to their employee, it will be very difficult to get that employee to remain focused on the customer or loyal to the company.

As a result employees can expect to move a great deal more during their working lives.


I have a feeling that it cannot last too long - the system has pushed speed for so long that I get the smell of burnout. Meaning less productivity for more speed/effort.

Hi Joe, Have you ever wondered what the "new normal" day-wage might be? For the longest time from the 70's even thru the 90's, a decent day wage was the proverbial $100 day. With inflation somewhat off-set by cheaper goods, this $100 day has hung in there as a measure of a livable wage, at least here in the NW.
Anyway, I have discussed this within my circle as in, "what if, as a self employed person I work 8 hours and I'm only making $30 ? Will $50 be the new $100 day after deflation has taken it's toll?
Just prepping myself for the possibility.


GetAbike - I hope you're not in a position where you're working as a day worker. That would be tough. What can a "day worker" hope to get in the present economy? To be clear a "day worker" in my understanding is someone that hires themselves for the day as a temporary employee for a set fee...is that right? With the INS cracking down and people worried about the liability of hiring day-workers illegals are reluctant to cluster looking for work. I don't however see a lot of locals cuing up for day work. The orchards offer day employment but "gringos" seldom show up. I think that kind of work you can still get $100.00 a day but I wouldn't know.

For marginal employment national retailers in CA are paying around $10.00 per hour for a low skilled worker. After deductions you might get home with $50.00 That won't feed a family but you can get a roommate situation and ride the bus.

From an employers POV it's no rose-garden either. Their out of pocket costs for an employee can be as high as $20.00 per hour. My wife is currently working as a middle manager and the company is keeping the staffing so low that they are chronically understaffed. She warned the company that they were vulnerable to shoplifting and being held-up if they didn't increase staffing. They were robbed on Tuesday and fortunately no-one got hurt.

One recommendation I would give anyone in the workplace is to learn or acquire a skill that is widely marketable. Computer repair or web-site design for example. Survival in this "new economy" is going to be challenging.


No Joe, I have not been a day laborer since my hippie days- when I was young and strong. :)
I would be very concerned if, given worst case economics, I had to compete at the day labor level, so it would be like you suggest- along the lines of self employment, but I don't believe being a computer repairman is what PO/Depression will be calling for.

GetAbike - IMO you're may be wrong, at least for the foreseeable future. The Internet is no longer a hobby horse. It is now a necessity like food or protection. Other forms of infrastructure will break down long before the internet therefore computers will become more valuable as the technology becomes more expensive due to peak oil and other resource factors.

Think about this: If you needed a job, or a longbow for that matter, where would you look first? You got it! A computer is now a tool of survival.

I think people who are projecting a catastrophic crash are missing the trend. Peak Oil is going to play out globally over decades or perhaps 100's of years. Strap in though; "it's going to be a bumpy ride". ;-)


I think the key issue about the internet is that over the entire world it doesn't have more than a few entities charged with keeping it as a whole running (and those few don't have big budgets). So whilst my (possibly biased) opinion is that the internet would be one of the more valuable resources to maintain, will money somehow be asked for and funneled by those people who want to pay for the internet to those people who can repair bits of it? (Remember the mediterranean internet cables accidentally broken by ship anchors last year (assuming no conspiracy theory): in more dire financial straits would they have been repaired so quickly?) In some ways it's in a worse position than "more expensive" infrastructure like highways because in the UK (and I gather in the US) they are the "responsibility" of governmental entities charged with making high level strategic decisions (even if it's just choosing which ones abandon to concentrate on others). Once the internet is substantially broken the content and services on it risks degrading quickly enough that it may be much less attractive to repair.

I'm sure we could keep the internet active, I'm less than convinced that it will implicitly, without pre-planning, be kept active.

(There's also the side issue that, with current technology, a lot of the task for a computer repairman is to identify the broken component and replace it with a working one, which presupposes a supply of working parts, either new or cannibalised.)

It doesn't take a lot to keep the internet alive, though service levels would likely degrade in a collapse and some areas may find themselves cut off from real-time access completely.

If Hyperinflation takes hold, sky's the limit!

The same basic problem occurs with Workmen's Compensation. It is difficult (expensive) for a small contractor with a payroll of 5 or 6 regular employees to bear the cost of WC insurance, but the states usually require it or require a sub-contractor to show proof of being covered by whoever is hiring if they don't have there own. This sort of pushing off the responsibility and expense to the next lower level leaves the poor independent tradesman to either pay out big bucks for the insurance or join the underground economy.

ET - I know an electrician that used to employ 3 electricians and 2 laborers. Now he works by himself with his brother and they're partners. It's now about survival for a lot of folks.

The only group that hasn't noticed the financial crisis are the Wall Street Pirates who somehow continue to take us all for the proverbial ride. In the meantime everyone else keeps fantasizing that somehow these financial geniuses will manage to get the Great Bubble Machine started again. (not gonna happen')



Good luck getting the greedy, ignorant stupes in this country to support Universal Health Care.

I am reminded of the one Town Hall meeting where the young single waitress with the kid said she didn't want free health care, just affordable health care, and some knob shouted out "Why should I pay a dime for you?".

The prevailing philosophy is: 'I got mine, the rest of you can die'.

The Congressman from FL who said the plans is 'Don't get sick' or 'Die Quickly' was right. I will PayPal him a campaign donation.

"......imagine that you had $1 billion in the bank but you could only take out $1 a year. You have lots of wealth (reserves), but you are short on usable cash (or extractive) flows."

you could also imagine that you have $1 in the bank and can extract $ 1 a year. you would have very little reserves and be short on usable cash - and next year the situation would be worse. a bogus analog to be sure, just as bogus as the original one.

the truth is you can't have flow rate without reserves and niether can you have reserves without flow rate.

no one has taken me up on my offer to disprove mathmatically the idea that "it's not about the size of the tank, it's the size of the tap".

But I could take out a loan for $50 and have lots more money this year.

And none forever after that, but my banker would have a solid income of $1 per year, with a note backed by a $1B asset.

Imagine you have $1 in the bank. You could easily extract $ 100. (That misses your point but you know what I mean)

elwood -- I'm not sure I understand your position but I'll offer anecdotal evidence. I'll leave the hard number cruching to Web and others. As you probably know were buying into drilling deals as fast as possible. Already have over $100 million committed. As you know there are a number of criteria used to evaluate a prospect: risk, cost, reserve potential, payout of the initial investment. Different parameters weighted differntly by different companies. But for us cash flow and payout take priority. A prospect might have a 20 million bbl potential but if it takes 3 or more years to get to payout we'll pass on it. We might review it again down the road when pickings might get slim. But the amount of potential reserves in the ground is low on our list compared to other factors.

I'm not sure if this correctly addresses the issue you've raised but in my world I couldn't care less how much oil BP says they've found at Tiber for instance. When they start talking about production start up dates and specific initial flow rates expected then we'll have something worth chatting about IMHO.

do you plan to have this gig long term ?

Not if the boss's model is correct: the plan is to build assets in the ground and then flip everything in 4 to 6 years when (hopefully) the market peaks again. At 58 yo it fits my personal plan just right. Time will tell if the plan works.

"Gorbachev seemed to assume, right up to the fall of the Berlin Wall and then beyond it, that his Communist Party would recover from any temporary setbacks, and that the long-term effects of his glasnost and perestroika could only be to make it bigger and stronger.

There is a corollary of this largely unspoken assumption: that no matter what you do to one part of a machine, the rest of the machine will continue to function normally."


From a mailing list
 The United States leading author of many books on Peak Oil, Richard Heinberg is putting together another book. This time it's our voices that will be featured. Richard will be collecting stories from around the country and the world.  Please send your stories to Richard at the Post Carbon Institute. The cut off date is Oct 10th. 

This is dated sept. 28, but if it's been posted here I can't find it, so here goes:

Aquacalypse Now (Daniel Pauly / The New Repuclic)

I myself was trained as a fisheries biologist in Germany, and, while they would dispute this, the agencies for which many of my former classmates work clearly have been captured by the industry they are supposed to regulate. Thus, there are fisheries scientists who, for example, write that cod have “recovered” or even “doubled” their numbers when, in fact, they have increased merely from 1 percent to 2 percent of their original abundance in the 1950s.

To my fellow Brits,

Our country is stuffed. How the heck have we managed to get into this situation:

1. 50% of our natural gas supplies will be imported this winter, rising to 75% by 2015.

2. We import half of all our food calories... in ships and planes burning oil.

3. Currently 16% of our electricity is generated by nukes. All but one of our nuclear power stations will need to close over the next 10 years - most in the next 5 years. We haven't got the engineering capability to build new ones so we must ask the French to do so. Even with a MASSIVE investment being heavily subsidised by government (us) we will only be back to 16% of current electrical generation capacity from nukes by 2025.

4. In order to keep the lights on, the computers buzzing, the rail network working and food frozen in our freezers we will need to build out a lot more gas fired power stations which, in 7 years time, will account for at least 65% of our electricity. As mentioned above by this time we will be importing 75% of our gas. So, my simple maths, 50% of our total electricity will be dependent on foreigners being nice to us. Or actually, us being nice to them. The cost will go through the roof as a lot of it will be shipped in the form of LNG.

5. And this is only to provide current levels of demand!!

6. Even under HM Treasury's own figures the national debt will be north of £1.5 Trillion in five years time and that assumes that our economy grows at an amazing 3.5% per year from next year. Fat chance.

7. So the likely hood of the Pound holding its value? not good.

8. So 50% of the food on our plates and more than 50% of electricity will need to be paid for in pounds which are losing their value. Not to mention the ever increasing oil and related products we will need to import too.

9. The only way that we have a hope of servicing the debt and funding the structural deficit is to grow the economy. There is absolutely no way to grow GDP without increasing energy consumption. Forget conservation - this a worthy red herring, but will never get us out of the hole. So we will need to actually increase the amount of energy we import above and beyond what I have already outlined above.

.. Does this sound like the start of a downward spiral? Sure does to me.

I never thought I'd say it but having four submarines armed with Trident might just be our only insurance policy against freezing and starving to death in the years to come. It might just come to the point where a future prime minister has to point a nuke at our suppliers' heads.

God, what a mess. How can anyone with half a brain not recognise that we are on the edge of the abyss. Where are we going to get all this energy from?

Oh, and thanks to the wonders of the EU enlargement policy and natural birth rates our small island's population is still increasing by about 750k people per year which is not helping.

I don't think the Tridents will do much good to keep the milk and honey flowing, HAC.

Don't pi$$ off the French, and don't be late paying Putin his Danegeld.

I think England might have to tap into Ocean Power again pretty soon. ..And If you need some tall Pine Trees, come to Maine, we'll make you a reasonable offer!

It might just come to the point where a future prime minister has to point a nuke at our suppliers' heads.

What will really be funny is when a some of your suppliers point a few at you...

What will really be funny is when a some of your suppliers point a few at you...

why would they need to? Just stop sending the natural gas. As I have detailed above, if we get even the slightest interruption in foreign gas supply there will be complete failure at all levels. Another thing that I failed to mention: the UK can currently only store about 15 days of gas. Crazy.

why would they need to?

Just as friendly reminder in case you'd like to defer payments or something... that and the fact they might misinterpret your friendly gesture of pointing at them?

..and how many nukes does Trinidad and Qatar have between them ;)

I think you are missing the point. This is not a thread about nukes, it is a thread about the lunatic assumption that a country can expect to import 50% of its electricity (which is effectively what we will be doing in 5 short years) and still expect to remain a global economic force. The total lack of comprehension of British citizens to how our energy/electricity is provided never fails to amaze me. In my opinion this is going to put us un a worse situation than the threat of Hitler. Energy is everything. I would even say that the politicians do not have the faintest idea about how much risk this puts the country at. And all awhile we are supposed to grow the economy? Once one fully understands the situation this becomes a sick joke. Nothing left to do but have a few beers and laugh it off.

Oh I think the politicians right at the top in the UK know exactly how much trouble we are in. Thus the increasing numbers of stories in the UK press about the "medications" some of them are supposed to be on. Well when I say supposed to be on I mean are probably known to be on thanks to the government helpfully making the medical records of half the country (including themselves!) available to just about anyone via their ill-conceived all encompassing broken IT system.

I guess with the right chemicals you can turn nightmares into dreams of a golden future. For a time...

Did you notice Alistair Darling snapping back in an interview something along the lines of "You journalists keep going on as if we're about to re-enter the dark ages and turn out the lights - we are not going to let that happen." Wonder how?

But we should be re-assured by Tony Blair's words from a few years ago (quoted from memory): "If you'd asked economists what the most important commodity was twenty years ago they would have said oil. But now it's information." Yes, that's right we are really building "the knowledge economy" because somehow they think we'll be the mental supergiants of the world and that will pay for everything :-(

Once one fully understands the situation this becomes a sick joke. Nothing left to do but have a few beers and laugh it off.

HaHaha! A most hearty cheers, mate!

...as he tilts his head back and lifts another pint to his lips.

HAcland, you write:

The total lack of comprehension of British citizens to how our energy/electricity is provided never fails to amaze me. In my opinion this is going to put us un a worse situation than the threat of Hitler. Energy is everything.

I'm over 60 so nothing amazes me any more. With the exception of what you've just written above.

Allow me to plug a great book on Britain's upcoming energy tragedy - David MacKay's 'Sustainable Energy - without the hot air'.

If you can't afford to buy it and redline the entire text from start to finish, you can simply download it from here:


You made it a thread about nukes when you off-handed that comment about nuking your suppliers.

The Brits could always help pay for those French nuke power plants by de-funding their nuke weapons program.

Or is it more manly to suffer economic collapse AND threaten to lob off some nukes to bring others down hard as well?

Jeezus H. Krist are you paranoid. You think Qatar and Norway are going to be worse than Hitler. Instead of running around screaming the sky is falling how about agitating for nuclear plant construction. The biggest crisis facing the UK in the next 10 years is the nuclear power generation gap created by foot dragging in plant replacement.

Why do you think people are so worried about Iranians getting a nuclear weapon - then they would be able to protect themselves and their oil, MAD (mutually assured destruction) seems to work so they would be stupid to use them first.

Also, I don't think you need the submarines, if smugglers can get tons of drugs across borders a nuke should be no problem - the trick is for nobody to know where you keep them, but everybody knows you've got them.

I don't think the UK Government realises the mess we're getting into, I doubt we can afford to buy any power stations, I bet we lease them like the new roads and hospitals.

However, did you know that 21 out of the 25 EU countries imports 100% of their oil? So I suspect it ain't just the Brits that will have problems!

However, did you know that 21 out of the 25 EU countries imports 100% of their oil? So I suspect it ain't just the Brits that will have problems!

yeah. It is all getting very real isn't it? And scary. And dangerous. Just how wafer thin our energy and economic security is. My greatest concern is the pound. It seams that the BoE is going to allow the pound to slide and many people think this is a good thing! What exactly will we be giving to the world in exchange for the resources we need? Do you remember when global trade used to mean that one nation would swap 'stuff' with other nations? Now it has come to mean that we buy other nation's stuff. With printed funny money. We don't trade! Even companies which do export usually have to buy in the raw materials they need first!

I'm off to the pub. Can't see Cameron and Osborne being any help. Only beer will do.

Do you think the BNP will come to power when things go downhill? How much support do they have in UK?

Do you think the BNP will come to power when things go downhill? How much support do they have in UK?

Good question. They have just won two seats in the European parliament and their fortunes are certainly on the rise. If in 1926 you had asked a German chap whether he thought the Nazis would be elected to office he would probably have laughed at you. The thing about the BNP is that their message is very powerful, as any nationalist message is. Imagine you are one of the million plus young men aged between 16 and 24 without a job and barely able to read and write. You may not be well educated but you have eyes and you can see that the rich are getting richer but you have no way of advancing yourself because the middle class is evaporating. The BNP becomes very attractive at that point.

It is hard to know how much of the BNP's vote is protest voting - sticking two fingers up at the main parties - and how much is genuine support. They are gaining ground though.

Hey HAcland.

After you finish your beer, go buy an apple tree and plant it somewhere.

I think the BNP are very unlikely to come to power in the UK. Whilst I have big objections with their policies, the greatest objection to them is that in the cases where they've gained local council seats they've got a big history of not turning up to any meeting that's not obviously connected to race matters. (If I must have a fascist government, I demand that at the very least it be one that's devoted to actually governing rather than just posturing :-) .) It'll be very interesting to see if after a couple of years in the european parliament some investigative reporter looks at their attendance at meetings, etc, and they show the same thing. Combine this with feelings most middle-class voters have come to associate with the BNP and I don't think they have a chance.

The question is whether either an existing political party, or a newly started party, could move to policies very close to theirs but, by careful presentation along with being scrupulously careful not to have any links to groups like Combat-18, avoid the stigma and thus come to power. I'd say there's a reasonable chance of that happening if things get very, very dramatically worse quickly.

if smugglers can get tons of drugs across borders a nuke should be no problem

Except fission weapons are a man made system. Subject to failure over time. Thankfully the degraded failure mode is fissle and not big bang.

Not to worry Mate,

Tony Blair will soon be President of the EU and I'm sure he and the Queen will work something out.

The UK will soon stop being the 51st U.S. state, and truly become a member of the United States of Europe.

Hello HAcland,

See my prior postings on a 'New Rhodesia' carved out of the poor, dark heart of Africa. IMO, the idiot Mugabe is sadly creating ideal conditions for his country to be overwhelmed by an outside power desperate for postPeak survival. Be forewarned: China may be there first.

I the late summer 2005 I traveled some around Scotland by car and one of the most common roadside signs were No more pylons! refering to threat of new high tension lines and wind powerplants. I guess they are getting what they asked for...

Let me say this one more (last?) time.
The only way out is fission breeders.
My prediction is everyone will be buying them from the Indians, who are the only people I know of who are doing the right thing.


In the comments to another posting:


DV8 2XL said...

" What infuriates me is that this reactor design is based on the Douglas Point (220 MWe) CANDU that was built by AECL. Rather than see that this would have been an ideal export product to poorer nations AECL closed and decommissioned the Douglas Point Nuclear Generating Station. This despite the fact that India chose to buy two of them.

Instead they have pursued larger and larger designs in an attempt to compete with others in a crowded market at the top, and are failing miserably."

So it could have been Canada doing this, but instead we're doing oilsands.

This is generally true it seems to me - the advanced countries have stayed using / importing fossil fuels, instead of continuing to develop the only workable solution, nuclear, despite having a big lead in that development a few decades ago.

I don't understand it, and I don't understand why TODers are not pushing their elected representatives for fission breeders.

It's not that hard to understand.
Nuclear power is high density energy and high density pollution.
Citizens weren't ready to trust either corporations or governments to handle it with the people's best interests in mind.

I wasn't an advocate or critic of nuclear power.
I was comfortable with nuclear as a quiet 3rd place power in the energy mix.

Now I know how wrong I was.
But who was teaching science kids about peak oil in the 80s and 90s?
The Oil crisis had been laughed off the national stage along with Carter

We either reach up the energy ladder from oil to nukes ...
Or slide down from oil to coal.

It's probably too late to make the transition smoothly.
It's probably too late to successfully move up the ladder.
But its still worth trying.

I've written my US Senators urging them to include nuclear power in the energy bill
Ostensibly to draw in Republican votes, but I had my own reasons ;-)
Hopefully you have tried engaging your representatives.

I don't know how to do the blockquote thing.

"Nuclear power is high density energy and high density pollution."

No, it is not high density pollution.
So-called nuclear waste is actually a very high density energy source.
If nuclear power plants are properly constructed, they make use of the so-called waste to create more fuel, hence the moniker, breeder.
What this means is less fissile "waste" and more fission products, which are or become non-radio-active (background level emissions) in 300 years or less.
This is what breeders can do.

"It's probably too late to successfully move up the ladder."
I certainly hope we will try, because, AFAICS, the alternative is terrible.

"Hopefully you have tried engaging your representatives."
Oh yes. Not with any evident success.

I don't know how to do the blockquote thing.

is accomplished by

I don't know how to do the blockquote thing.

Take out the hyphens. Its intuitive, but only after you spend several months coding html.

and for shorter quotes, you can use italics to set off the quotation

this is italicized
<--em>this is italicized<--/em>

Just remove the hyphens.

I will try. Hmm!

You've discovered the tags can be nested. The Enlightened Ones (the TOD staff) can make colors, but they rarely do.

A shortage of prisms, perhaps?

Nah. It's just really obnoxious if overused.

The truth of the Nat. gas situation could be found in articles like this:


Enbridge the pipeline company is moving into the solar business.

Air Force One has landed in Copenhagen.

Welcome, Mr. President

This makes me wonder whether the next leader to arrive in Denmark could be Mr. Vladimir Putin.

As Denmark's Natural Gas production from the North Sea is declining, we become more and more dependant on imports from Russia. By 2012 we could be buying up to 20% of our NG from Gasprom.

Despite this declining production from The North Sea, only a small number of people in my country are aware of this coming energy shortage.

But once again: Welcome, Mr. President!

And may Chicago be the chosen city for The 2016 Olympic Games.


The party is on, the games can not be stoped, who cares about energy!

And may Chicago be the chosen city for The 2016 Olympic Games...The party is on, the games can not be stoped, who cares about energy!

Animated discussion off stage...

Ahem, excuse me it seems there has been a mistake and the honor of hosting the Olympics is going to be awarded not to Chicago but to RIO DE JANEEEIRO!!

Camera pans to semi naked Brazilian women gyrating to a wild samba beat of frenetic Carnaval music, while waving banners festooned with the Petrobras logo. President Lula is grinning and waving in the background.

Yeah, Brazil seems to be where things are happening at the moment. But first we'll have to wait and see if their "huge" pre-salt oil reserves are virtual or not.

Frugal -- having worked a little on the BZ DW plays I can assure you they are real and not virtual. But they are also really expensive to develop and produce. They will also take a really long time to get to market. And their ultimate recovery rates will be really small compared to a Ghawar. And the production rates will be really small compared to the absolute size of the reserves. The bottom line: folks who are greatly impressed by the reserve numbers in DW BZ (though they may be accurate)will be very disappointed when rates and recoveries comparable to fields like Ghawar and Cantarell don't materialize.

ROCKMAN - What's your take on the dry hole drilled by Exxon-Mobil in the Tupi field this July. Was this just random back luck or do they just not know the full extent of the reservoir perimeter?

Don't know the details Frugal but nothing works every time everywhere. Often in offshore projects you drill deliniation wells. You target such a well to test what you may believe is the maximum extent of your reservoir you've already discovered. Sometimes it will be just a little too far. This doesn't necessarialy mean your numbers are off dramaticly. OTOH, if it were a true wildcat targeting a completly untested prospect then it could just that simple: nope....no oil here. Every play ever drilled by the oil industry has more dry holes or non-commercial results then good wells. Exxon maybe just catching up on that stat.

This certainly puts the scale of the pre-salt projects into perspective. $150 million deliniation wells just to figure out how far the oil extends, then expensive production, injection, and observation wells. Then pipelines and infrastruture to separate oil, water, and gas. And then a bunch more other neccessary stuff like loading facilities. I wonder what their break-even price per barrel is?

Frugal -- I think Petrobras' latest claim is around $35-$40 per bbl. I don't have a sense how good such numbers are. You also have to be careful when it's a state-owned comapny throwing around such concepts. They can have a perspective rather different then a pure capitalistic operation. Some years ago I chatted with a fellow who had conducted seminars in China trying to explain capitalism. What he thought would be a short speach on "profit' took weeks of discussion. The Chinese students kept asking the same question over and over again: if it costs $1 to make a widget why would you sell it for more then $1. As they viewed it you've gotten your money back, employed a portion of your poplation, converted a raw resource into a usable product, etc. Why would you just not go forward selling as many widget as possible at the lowest price so you could perpetuate the process to its maximum extent.

I believe this societal thought process goes a long way towards explaining why the Chinese have been paying top dollar for oil resources around the world: they aren't tryin to make a profit from such investments. They are simple securing future energy resources their economy will require. The "profit" is their energy security and not some calculate rate of return. On a certain level it's hard to argue with this approach. Compare this to our so called "national energy policy".

But first we'll have to wait and see if their "huge" pre-salt oil reserves are virtual or not.

Apparently you've never been to Caranaval in Rio.
Trust me there's energy to spare ;-)

Edit: I just saw that Rio has actually beaten out Chicago. Told you.

Did someone say Party? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MR-lmW6xvVU&feature=related

Olympics - Rio win 2016 Games as IOC rebuff Obama

FMagyar, you're sure good at predicting things. Rio olympics with half-naked samba dancers are now going to happen.

Hmmm. Tough call. Gyrating, half-naked brazillian women (and men, for those so inclined), versus emptied city, rampant crime and corruption, and vacant suburbs (at least they wouldn't have had to evict anyone to build the Athletes Village).

Chicago loses vote to host 2016 Games

Now maybe Obama can go back to working on climate change and energy...

Uhh, you mean after he resolves the Afghan situation, and healthcare? I wish President's would post a list of their topics, prioritized nicely. Fat chance....

I think Rio will be the winner. They're in ascendancy. It will be interesting to see London's last hurray, with various energy shortages to cloud the games by their 2012 hosting.

Madrid. 600 million Europeans within reach.
Who's going to fill Rio's seats?

If we are currently falling off all time world peak then Westexas' prediction of top 5 net exporters production being halved by 2018 has severe implications for the EU by 2016. I doubt many Europeans would waste fuel to get to Madrid. just watch it on TV if you're that interested.

Europeans can take high speed rail to Madrid, no oil required.

For the host nation:

...by 2020 Spain will have 7000 km (4300 mi) of high-speed trains linking almost all provincial cities to Madrid in under 3 hours.

For the rest of the EU, the current map:



Much more open by 2016 (France is building three new TGV lines at once ATM).

Madrid has the best Metro for a city of it's size in the world.


Best Hopes for Non-OIl Transportation,


It will be interesting to see London's last hurray, with various energy shortages to cloud the games by their 2012 hosting.

It will be ok. All our Trident and other nuclear powered subs will be parked in the Thames with cables running to the Olympic Village. London's probably safe from being nuked while the games are on.

Oh and Gazprom might graciously supply just enough natural gas to keep the Olympic flame lit.

Wow, Devil and the Deep Blue sea here.

The 'Party of No' had the attack scripts written for either eventuality.

If he wouldn't have gone and made the pitch, then he would have been portrayed by the screamers as selling out America as part of his secret radical Christian/Asian/Socialist/Appeaser plot...'Why didn't he fight to get us the jobs that the games would bring?'...'Is he ashamed of America?'...'Why does he hate America'

Great straw man here...not as if he isn't connected to the World seven ways from Sunday with AF One's comm systems; not as if he doesn't have meeting rooms on AF One to discuss the quagmire that is The 'Stan with General McChrystal.

Get a new straw man. Vote Plain/Lynn Cheney in 2012...'Drill, Baby, Drill' and invade Iran, Pakistan and KN.

You are the one throwing out the nonsense-IMO the poster was simply stating that he didn't think this should be a top priority. When Bush was in the White House, guys like Limbaugh would attempt to defect any criticism by claiming it was those damn liberals-now any criticism must be coming from Palin supporters-it is both amusing and pathetic at the same time.

No, you are being dense or disingenuous.

My statement was simple and true.

If the attempt wasn't made, then the firestorm of criticism from the right would revolve around how the President is selling out America...hey, y the way, he doesn't have a valid birth certificate, so it's no wonder he sold out America, and on and on ad nauseum.

My point is that there is no winning hand there...damned if he did, damned if he didn't.

The trip was one stinking day already. For anyone to go on about this being a heinous waste of time is ridiculous...maybe the >500 amendments being thrown at the Health Care bill process in the Senate should be examined as the real waste of time.

Why drag the drug-addled gas-bag into this? He has zero credibility on any subject.

Your ease of amusement is pathetic.

He's got to worry about all them dar banks that need a bailing out.

Because as they say at the Chicago School of Economics Money buys energy. Thus with working markets, you get all the energy you can buy.

However, Denmark is the only EU country still able to export oil, your Government must be mad to allow this to happen!

I wanted to share a short Wendell Berry poem with you all today - given copyright concerns, here's the link: http://www.poetryfoundation.org/archive/poem.html?id=171140

Thanks Paranoid
I'm a Berry fan also, and need to get into the redwoods today, for a reference point.

Thanks, I needed that.

From: Tillerson: Global Energy Solutions Require New Technology, Free Markets

"Our best hope is to harness the power of new technologies and free markets to meet the world's energy and environmental challenges," Tillerson said in a speech to the Economic Club of Washington, D.C.

what a load of old tosh. New technology, sure. But please don't let the free market anywhere near the 'energy challenge'. The free market is about as well suited to the energy market as my whippet is to being a prop-forward.


Honestly to a degree this debate on solar thermal water use is a bunch of bullcrap. Solar thermal uses large amounts of water JUST LIKE EVERY OTHER THERMAL POWER PLANT (i.e coal, nuclear, geothermal, the thermal part of a combined cycle gas plant). Nevada, Arizona, and New Mexico get 45%, 40%, and 85%, respectively, of their energy from coal plants WHICH CONSUME MASSIVE AMOUNTS OF WATER.

Although especially in places like deserts, where these are going to be, need to pay maximum attention to water consumption, this argument is based off a completely false premise that these water constrained states don't already use massive amounts of water for their electricity production.

Also, solar and wind (and simple cycle gas turbines) don't consume any water, so they actually improve the water situation.

I think the key is that many places touted as ideal for solar are lacking in water. All those places aspiring to be the "Saudi Arabia of solar" (including Saudi Arabia) are going to have to take water into consideration. Sure, the coal, nuclear, etc. also need water. That's bad enough, without trying to build power plants to export electricity.

Solar PV will work fine (except for watering the support organization, but that's a small group).

A closed-cycle concentrating-solar plant would seem to be feasible, albeit perhaps less efficient. A Stirling cycle is one example.

Why not use sea/salty water? Saudis have lots of brine.

The Saudis could quite easily swallow the inefficiency of using air exchange instead of water for cooling solar thermal plants. This is one place where conventional economic theory really does apply well: when it pays to sacrifice some watts to hold on to some gallons of water, that's what you do.

Solar thermal uses large amounts of water

Really? Solar thermal covers a large amount.


Water walls and evacuated glass tube systems use water as a transfer medium, but once the system has the water it doesn't "use" more new water.

Solar thermal uses large amounts of water

Really? Solar thermal covers a large amount

What was meant was solar-thermal electric gen. The cheapest way to do it is boiling water & steam turbines. And you should note that most planned solar-thermal uses lower operating temperature than say a coal plant, so conversion efficiency will be lower. That means more waste heat per KWhr. So if we use the water to take away the waste heat it can be a problem.

Now things like PV, or Stirling as mentioned above don't need water, but so far they are pretty expensive.

Correct me if I am wrong but I believe solar thermal can also use molten salt as a medium.This takes water out of the equation and is probably more efficient,both for generation and storage.

The plant mentioned in the article does use molten salt...to store energy. It uses water for cooling, though.

In high desert like Arizona, a solar thermal plant could store the night-time cold just as it stores the mid-day heat. There are ways to avoid evaporating the water.

TOD team,

what do you think of the technology of Lightbridge?
Thorium Power Changes Corporate Name to Lightbridge

Anticipates NASDAQ Listing On or About October 9th, 2009
Lightbridge is a leading provider of nuclear energy consulting services worldwide and is developing next generation nuclear fuel technology that will significantly reduce nuclear waste and the threat of proliferation. The combination of two core businesses puts Lightbridge in a unique position to capitalize on the global nuclear renaissance and growing trend of pursuing cleaner and safer forms of nuclear energy. The Company has an unrivaled depth of talent with a roster of leading experts and advisors that have served in industry and governmental positions for decades.

I am a big supporter of LFTRs (Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors). I don't understand why no one is building them commercially. I can see no down side to them. Can anyone disabuse me? Thorium is cheap and plentiful and the reactors can burn/process the dangerous left overs from commercial Uranium reactors and military weapons production.


I suppose the answer to your question is:

Why do it the easy way when the hard way is so much more difficult?


Are you familiar with Kirk Sorensen's site on 'Energy from Thorium'?:


I was not familiar with that blog. Thanks for the link!

Alt energy proponents appear to prefer solar and wind, with lower step-in costs and few long-term risks.

Pop environmentalists are solidly programmed to have negative reactions to anything that is nuclear.

Existing energy advocates (big oil and gas) don't like the notion, and call a lot of shots.

Average humans don't know what they are, but are pretty sure they don't want one near their neighborhood.

Anti-nukes are absolutely convinced that nuke power will cause nuke bomb proliferation, and anticipate nasty leaks as any new technology is developed, and again as plants age.

And they cost a lot, and would require gov't backing for tort exposure as well as up-front credit.

Just because it's a path to "better nukes" doesn't mean it's an easy one. Just wait until energy goes up 4x again, and then thorium reactors will become popular -- but of course there won't be time to build enough to meet the needs.

C'est la vie.

environmentalists are solidly programmed to have negative reactions to anything that is nuclear.

And when the fission industry can operate without rules violations and begging Congress to keep Price-Anderson then the industry would actually have a shot at correcting the negative reactions.

And they cost a lot, and would require gov't backing for tort exposure as well as up-front credit.

If they were safe, then they would not need government backing for tort exposure, now would they?

Every industry will have rule violations because they are run by humans, and there are always incentives to slack. The goal would be to have robust, failure-tolerant reactor designs, and as with any engineering process that means some trial-and-error.

Lawyers will sue whether there is a clear rationale or not, and again, there will be some trial and error, and eventually there will be accidents and mistakes.

But nothing is terribly safe, and we readily accept 30K or so dead every year in car wrecks, and 100K from smoking, and untold others from other everyday causes. Wind turbines will fall down, solar arrays will short-circuit, and transmission lines will crumble sometimes, too. Life carries risk, and we accept that risk readily to live the lifestyle we desire.

I'm being a bit of a contrarian here on purpose, though I'm not a huge nuke fan. I just think our future prospects are sufficiently dire to consider some potentially risky approaches to see what pans out. Certainly I'd rather consider a low-waste thorium cycle breeder for mass deployment than today's single-pass waste-multiplying reactors. I'd also push for nation-wide home weatherization and insulation programs to reduce consumption, and industrial efficiency programs as well, as those are fast and relatively cheap, and will buy time for some of the rest to sort out and scale up.

France Unveils $11.8 Billion Rail Freight Plan

The French government unveiled an $11.8 billion plan Sept. 16 to significantly increase rail's share of Europe's second largest transport market over the next 10 years.

The biggest ever rail freight investment program will involve the government spending $10.3 billion on infrastructure projects, including cargo corridors and high speed freight services, modeled on the country’s passenger network, TGV.

The French are trying to do the same thing as the Swiss, taking trucks off the road and onto electrified rail. Not much of this type of sensible infrastructure being built on this side of the Atlantic. I guess, we're just too stupid.

Good Catch !!

BTW, The President of France set a twenty year goal of "electrifying every meter of French rail, and burning not one drop of oil" on January 1, 2006.

Best Hopes for France,


I'm sure you're already familiar with the Obama rail proposal:

But I was surprised to see local (Oklahoma) interest in the proposal at all -- though this is not at all new, with active proposals going back to 2000 and before:

What is new is that Oklahoma is asking for $2B to build an all-new higher-speed rail from Tulsa to OKC as the first step.

On the plus side there is growing understanding of the value of high-speed rail, but in terms of bang for the buck this proposal is quite misguided. Ridership would be lucky to be a few thousand riders a day (initial estimates are 1500), and at that level the cost would be maybe $50-$100 per ticket, while you can drive it for a few gallons of gas and some tolls today. $20 would make it a real winner, but $100 is a non-starter.

On the other hand, 20 miles of light-rail in Tulsa along the main feeder highways could potentially carry easily 10x the riders and cost much, much less.

On the third hand, electrifying existing rail from Tulsa to OKC and then from both to Dallas would make all kinds of sense, and cost less still. Instead of starting with high-speed rail just doing a point-to-point express bus service between the downtown areas (maybe convention-center to convention-center) could prove out the viability of bulk passenger transport.

Best hopes for electrified rail before high-speed rail.

I see that you understand and have internalized much of what I have been "preaching". By internalization I mean that you followed the logic and applied it to what you already knew and understood about the world and modified the concepts accordingly.

This is one of the things that I have been working for, to create a meme that will evolve as more people, with a wider understanding and experience than I add their own thoughts.

Thanks :-)

Best Hopes for Understanding,


I was modestly involved a long ago in an ill-fated Rails For Trails project, as well as an avid biker on a successful such trail. I've seen the pictures of the streetcar lines and the local light-rail (including narrow-gauge industrial service) and 1950's bus service maps. I toured the long-defunct (and now renovated and differently purposed) rail terminal. I've walked many of the spur lines downtown, and know the dilapidated warehouse districts. I know a bit about the local history of both Tulsa and OKC. What was purposefully destroyed (rather than simply disused and then recovered for other uses) is truly shameful.

During the early days of oil, the flux of capital gave OK a world-leading opportunity to create infrastructure, which they did. And then the tore it apart and rebuilt with highways, completely and intentionally destroying the previous investment, only to finish just as the money flood ran out with the oil. If instead they'd spent the new money to improve the previous infrastructure, it would remain in service today.

As an engineer, the efficiency trade-offs become self-evident with decent data (which you've provided). Those are easy. Solving the sociological and ingrained belief-system problems are far harder.

Convincing a doubtful populace to undertake baby steps to a reasonable initial goal would be difficult, but is the one true path. Going for high-glitz gov't programs that don't really make sense will simply promote failure whether implemented or not, with long-standing damage to all those associated and rail efforts in general.

So what is the best first step? That is indeed the question.

So what is the best first step? That is indeed the question.

Send me an eMail (in my profile) and I will see what you think of my direction for a BIG first step.

Best Hopes,


Paleocon, I think 20 miles would be good, but to be truly effective, service neeeds to be extended to Bartlesville, connected to Owasso (at one point the fastest growing suburb in the US) and brought in from the other direction from Broken Arrow. Other lines are possible and would be helpful in reducing the vehicular traffic, but not as easy as the three I have listed. With rail access for commuting would also come the potential for delivery of smaller shipments as well, which I think is key in our "just in time" retail environment, and one facet which will be tough to get retailers, in particular, to change. The "Greening the 918" initiative of the City of Tulsa probably won't move this along, but it might help since it showed an interest locally in having mass transit other than the bus system. Another source for info, primarily concentrated on regional transit is PassengerRailOK.org (a little out of date on home page) and northernflyer.org. These are concentrated on linking OKC service to Kansas City through Newton, KS, providing rail links elsewhere.

The existing potential for Tulsa - OKC service is limited, to say the least. The existing rail line(s) have too many winding curves to be of real use for passenger rail, so there will need to be a complete new infrastructure built. Since that is the case, it would be fantastic if we could start with electric. It would not require any conversion and would provide links for the two largest population centers in Oklahoma. It will require a tremendous outlay for right of way and building all of the bridges and overpasses from scratch, however.

One big hurdle to Oklahoma rail is the loss of the central switching yard at the old Union Station, which will be lost in the realignment of Interstate 40. I-40 as it is now is a road traffic disaster waiting to happen. Long ago obsolete, the plans to relocate I-40 were made when rail was not considered to be of great value. Now, construction has already started which will make the rail yard unusable within a few months. It was a major rail "thoroughfare" for rail transportation in Oklahoma, both freight and passenger usage, but was decomissioned some several years back. Its destruction does not impact north-south traffic, "only" east-west through the center (literally) of Oklahoma. (To correct misinformation, the terminal is owned by the City and will not be lost.)

The guy shown as Executive Director of PassengerRailOK is very active, committed and knowledgeable on the possibilities, and I would suggest you contact him if you are interested in working on the Oklahoma Rail. (I won't put a direct link to his email here as I do not have his OK to do so.) Also, we hope to have serious discussion on the topic at the Oklahoma Sustainability Network Conference in Edmond, June 11 and 12 at the University of Central Oklahoma, and it will be discussed at the OSN Convention on October 31 at The Wilderness Center just north of Stroud. See www.oksustainability.org for more info.

Paleocon, really has the energy business figured out, every point seems to be dead on. I think the problem is that high-speed rail is sexy, and electrifying existing lines (mostly used for freight) is not. As they say, sex sells. Back in the early days of the Obama administration I tried to make those points. But, I think they were interested in what ideas/projects have widespread popular apeal, not in what is most cost effective. Its a real shame, cause a lot of the most sensible things to do wouldn't cost that much.


My father was right about a lot of things, but he was wrong about this. America paid down FDR’s debt in the 1950s, when Americans went back to work, when the economy was growing again, and when our incomes grew, too.

Its like Robert Reich doesn't know about the cheap energy of the 1950's.

Too bad his plan needs cheap energy to work.

A pity we didn't pay back the Reagan start on the deficit and invest in new cheap energy during the 90's, when things were good again.

A pretty tough gig when you quadruple the National Debt in 12 years.
Military Keynesian is one of the least effective means of stimulating the economy.
The charge and rape crowd.
But I agree, we should of at least tried to pay some of the bloodbath back, but so much wealth had been transfered upward, that, who do you tax?
Could of cut some of the corporate welfare, but Clinton was one of our great Republican Presidents.


It's very good to see some of the more enlightened regulars recognize the fact that in American politics it takes two to tango.

Way too many of us seem to think the republicans have had complete control of our government since about oh 1950 or so.



The national debt to GDP ratio was the lowest post war under Jimmy Carter at 30%, rose under Reagan and Bush1 to 65%, fell slightly under Clinton to 60% and now is about 90% (it was 95% in 1950).

Reagan-Bush 1 showed a huge peacetime rise in debt due to tax cuts even without a war.

Invest in cheap energy..what like nuclear..remember WHOOPS, Chernobyl?


Your total contempt for the truth (and whoever happens to read your 'truthy' comments) always amazes me.

My guess is that you are both ignorant and lazy.

That's an impressive combination of ad hominem attacks, party slurs, and misleading information all in one post.

While your graph shows deficit, this graph shows tax revenue, illustrating that the cuts in taxes were not the problem, but the increases in spending and programs were.

I never said that Reagan and Bush didn't increase debt -- what I said was that it would have been better if once the malaise of the 80's was over we had tightened our belts and paid off the debt (given the growing tax revenue base) rather than spending still more. Military spending was down, yet overall spending was up from the late 80's until 9/11, regardless of party positions.

Here are both spending and revenue on one chart, clearly illustrating that tax cuts were not the primary issue. Of course these don't show the debt/gdp curve, which is a critical part of the picture, but spending is the key reason for the debt.

Continued investments in solar, wind, and battery tech COULD have made today's technology available several years sooner, and kept the US at the forefront of the technology and manufacturing. Nuclear was pursued with perhaps too much zeal and not enough caution, but NOT continuing the pursuit is a worse mistake still -- there is no way to know where technology could go without advancing it, and nuclear is one of the few technologies that could support the cheap energy that is necessary for the population of the US and anything close to our current standard of living. What's a little radiation risk compared to billions starving? It's like banning DDT out of hand, and tossing out the baby with the bathwater -- it should never have been used outdoors, but it should have been carefully considered for indoor mosquito control.

But of course we didn't do any of that did we? Not during Bush I, not during Clinton, and certainly not during Bush II. More of the same with Obama -- lots of spending on short-term gov't "consumption", little investment in anything of long-term value. I see little objective data to say the parties differ significantly in fiscal policies or long-term view of the future.

The worst of Reagan's legacy seems to be that he taught Congress the wonders of long-term debt -- benefits to all and taxes to none (well, none who are of voting age yet anyway).

As for me, I am definitely ignorant but on a journey of discovery and increasing wisdom, and I strive mightily to represent the malleable side of the 50% of well-meaning conservatives who have never bought a liberal bias but who are willing to listen to facts and form their own opinion. Your style does little to convince the casual observer to give peak anything/everything a second glance. If your goal is to influence, I suggest taking a page from the playbook of Alan Drake and HereInHallifax, who I have come to respect though our politics differ.

Certainly I respect truth, but it takes a lot of discernment to separate it from carefully promulgated rhetoric. It's even harder to spot it swimming in a morass of bile and slander.

A pity we didn't pay back the Reagan start on the deficit and invest in new cheap energy during the 90's, when things were good again.

You WERE talking about the national deficit and then you post some crap about tax raised versus the budget. Typical bait and switch tactic (or more charitably put--more ignorance).

I love you reviving the moribund tax-cut-supply side nonsense of Reaganomics(which shows you are a true believer--must of loved the Bush tax cuts!).

In 2001 Reagan's huge tax cuts estimated to cause 6% growth were shown to cause a 3% growth plus a ballooning federal deficit.


(Do we really need to look at the effectiveness of the Bush tax cuts?)

Another sign you are ignorant is that you think anyone would find the Heritage Foundation a remotely credible source of anything.

Nuclear was pursued with perhaps too much zeal and not enough caution, but NOT continuing the pursuit is a worse mistake still -- there is no way to know where technology could go without advancing it, and nuclear is one of the few technologies that could support the cheap energy that is necessary for the population of the US and anything close to our current standard of living. What's a little radiation risk compared to billions starving? It's like banning DDT out of hand, and tossing out the baby with the bathwater -- it should never have been used outdoors, but it should have been carefully considered for indoor mosquito control.

How many new nuclear power plants did Reagan, Clinton or Bushies build?
Basically zero.
People didn't want them and investors thought they were too expensive. I repeat--- this is not cheap power even in Europe which has to import most fossil fuels.

In Western Europe and Asia, where they need nuclear much more than we do, fission research has slowed to a crawl. Why shouldn't they
provide new technology that benefits them instead of US taxpayers doing it. BTW, nothing new has come out of there.

Bottom-line nuclear fission hasn't any new tricks making it more attractive and the same old problems remain. Your expectation that
Americans can succeed where the rest of the world has failed is laughable. You dismiss fears of radioactive contamination--an attitude which isn't shared in Europe where large number of plants have been decommissioned.

Be reasonable Paleocon.
Put yourself in my position.
You post a LOT of baloney and I respond to hardly any of it.

But in the words of Popeye,
“That's all I can stand, I can't stands no more”

And you feel deeply hurt by 'a morass of bile, slander, ad hominens,
party slurs and misleading information'(Paging Glenn Beck).

What about all the garbage you spew out on an hourly basis that I have to silently endure?
Should I be 'picking on you'(monitoring your posts for accuracy)?
But that would be troll-behavior(and a waste of my time).

You see my dilemma.
Take your medicine like a man, paleo.

I was once a conservative Republican, but a search for truth and meaningful values lead me away from that position. I try not to throw rocks at someone that seems to be honestly searching (although I fail my own ideals too often).

One should also consider that liberals are not the cultural norm in Oklahoma.

Contesting, and attacking ideas is the norm on TOD, ad homenium attacks are not (and I have regretfully made a few myself).

Best Hopes for Civil Discourse,


I used to be a Rupublican, and then they become Neocons. I used to be a compassionate, science-minded, ecologically-aware conservative, but then somebody took the term "compassionate conservative" and made that into Neocon as well.

I've now decided I have no political home.

I can't see being liberal beyond the state level. Obviously I know I'm in the minority here, but that doesn't matter except when topics move from oil and economics into politics. Half the nation is further right than I am, in perspective. Might as well help you all get used to it!

failing to secure a political home, I hope you keep this as your blogging home. I find your comments and perspective useful and sincere.

Majorian has sunk to new lows. That last one was truly childish.


Well, failing to secure a political home, I hope you keep this as your blogging home. I find your comments and perspective useful and sincere.

As do I.


What's left to conserve? Little I am afraid. As for something called "Liberalism" it is nothing of the sort when progress means stagnation via a predictable future. May the empire crash and life begin anew.

What drives the nat'l debt if not for deficits? It's a simple integration function. I could have wrapped in SS and Med, but that would have proved the position even more readily -- just that debt isn't as readily obvious since the payout is more completely realized in the future. I had to look for the Heritage graph to see if you'd bite -- thought you'd enjoy that. The same basic graphs appear elsewhere, so I doubt the data is fictitious.

As for the Reagan cuts effect in 2001 -- that was a full decade later, with massive shifts in spending and priorities in the meantime. Why wasn't a rate of revenue growth faster than inflation sufficient for gov't needs? Why must gov't continue to grow in excess of revenue? Incurring deficits is a specific decision of almost every session of Congress, and all of them have shown they prefer debt over taxation, and taxation over hard spending decisions, with the possible except of the Gingrich crowd. I can't see how a marginal tax rate of 28% isn't more than enough taxation for ANYBODY. Personally I enjoy the Bush cuts, but I'd really like for tax scaling points to be indexed to real inflation just like entitlement spending is.

I KNOW nukes aren't cheap -- the posts here have made the cost situation quite clear, but it IS available and it IS quite scalable and it WILL be cheaper than oil that we won't have for long. Diversification is good, and we could readily afford some dalliance in nuclear of various sorts as part of the greater mix. "People didn't want them" is the most accurate point you've stated, and that doesn't determine the technical viability. The EU has the same anti-nuke mindset, and less of a technocratic belief system, so they've done even less.

I'm not hurt at all -- I'm merely pointing out that your views of me are inaccurate, and that your approach has little persuasive value. I know you're not a troll, you're just self-convinced and vocal about it.

I've done you the favor of ignoring the plethora of your posts with which I differ, but if you'd like we can take up opposing views more often. Surely we can agree we both have better uses of our time than playing tag?

You're not my doctor, and I won't take your medicine. Feel free to post facts, and I'll consider them. I'll do the same for your continued enjoyment.

This will be a (fact)free diatribe on conservatives, paleo.

Conservatives always complain about debt(except for ridiculous wars, of course).
Do they do it out of patriotism?
Sadly no, as they hate the gummit.
It is because they fear that eventually Congress will have to raise their taxes (like King George III),Congress will make common cause with the poor to steal THEIR money, etc.
They don't like THEIR money is being spent for things that don't benefit them; such things are 'waste, fraud and abuse' or budget busters.

They believe that America only works because of them or their 'values'; other societies may work without their values but they are evil, inefficient and coersive.
It is quite wrong (in a Calvanist sense) or it weakens the human race(in a Social Darwinian sense) to support people(with Social Security or Medicare) who have not earned or inherited their wealth.
Basically such sharing is immoral in their view(identical to the attitude of a 4 year old child on being told to share).

To sum up my diatribe, I find conservatives to be myopic folks who
reject the improvement of society due to a failure of their imagination.

As your self-appointed psychoanalyst, I would suggest you think completely 'out of the box'
and avoid catch phrases like national debt, marginal tax rates and technocratic belief-systems. They do more harm than good.

Language is a funny thing--it can creates ideas that are not rooted in reality.

As your self-appointed psychoanalyst, I would suggest you think completely 'out of the box'
and avoid catch phrases like national debt, marginal tax rates and technocratic belief-systems. They do more harm than good.

I've always preferred "selling your children into poverty".

Link to sulfuric acid as a peak oil? indicator>

This is a boom and bust story. If you want evidence of how out of whack things got over the last year and a half this chart is a good place to look. Prices for sulfuric acid rose 700% in just 18 months. This was when oil was 180 and scrap steel was gold. Now it is 70% below the prices before the bubble. It has been a tough recession.

Murphy Oil follows Valero into ethanol:


Watch the anti-ethanol rhetoric fade away as more oil companies buy up ethanol plants.

thanks for the bio-char link

I'm sure this will all end well, right?

The premier flu-fighting drug is contaminating rivers downstream of sewage-treatment facilities, researchers in Japan confirm. The source: urinary excretion by people taking oseltamivir phosphate, best known as Tamiflu.
Concerns are now building that birds, which are natural influenza carriers, are being exposed to waterborne residues of Tamiflu’s active form and might develop and spread drug-resistant strains of seasonal and avian flu.

I read that humans are now the most numerous mammal on earth, so we probably outnumber most bird species too.

In that case, Tamiflu-dosed humans are going to be the biggest source of Tamiflu-resistant bugs, and the biggest source of new mutant flu strains. There is no longer a need to blame the birds and pigs!

No link yet but a local bank was taken over by the Feds today, so my source says.
Ooops wrong link.

What does this mean?

Warren Bank has chosen not to participate in the FDIC’s Transaction Account Guarantee Program. Customers of Warren Bank with non-interest bearing transaction accounts will continue to be insured through December 31, 2013 for up to $250,000 under the FDIC’s general deposit insurance rules.

The standard maximum deposit insurance from the FDIC has been raised to $250,000 per depositor at any one financial institution-including Warren Bank. Your money is safe with FDIC deposit insurance. This insurance protection is provided by an independent agency of the United States Government. Not a single penny of FDIC insured money has ever been lost by a depositor.

Good catch.
TAG guarantees non interest bearing accounts.
"Under this program, non-interest bearing transaction accounts and qualified NOW checking accounts are fully guaranteed by the FDIC for an unlimited amount of coverage. The coverage under the TAG program is in addition to, and separate from, the coverage available under the FDIC’s general deposit insurance protection."


How will a depositor know if a transaction account is fully guaranteed under the transaction account guarantee component of the Temporary Liquidity Guarantee Program?

The FDIC will maintain and post on its website a list of eligible entities that opt out of the transaction account guarantee program.

Beginning December 19, 2008, every insured depository institution that offers noninterest-bearing transaction accounts must post a prominent notice in the lobby of its main office and each branch, and, if it offers Internet services, on its website, clearly indicating whether or not the institution is participating in the transaction account guarantee program. If the institution is participating in the transaction account guarantee program, the notice must also state that funds held in noninterest-bearing transactions accounts at the entity are insured in full by the FDIC. These disclosures must be provided in simple, readily understandable text. Until December 19, 2008, the institution should provide in a commercially reasonable manner adequate disclosures of the substance of these required disclosures.


Why a bank would opt out of this is my question.

Why a bank would opt out of this is my question.

My guess is they couldn't afford the premiums.

Someone called into the Clark Howard show the other week, saying their credit union wanted to get private insurance, and opt out of the government program. (Whatever the equivalent of the FDIC is for credit unions.) Why? To save money on the premiums. Apparently, the government is really jacking them up to cover all those bailouts.

Huh. Makes sense.
Anyway here's the story, http://money.aol.com/article/warren-bank-jennings-state-bank-fail/688179
2 smaller banks go as well.
Warren will cost taxpayers $275 million alone.

Off topic, I just came back from shopping at Costco, their coupon book gets me everytime.
Good time to stock up on their brand of vitamins and supplements.
The place was deserted. AND they let me shop way past closing(never wear a watch).
They used to round up late shoppers like cattle and herd them to the checkout.
THAT made me miss Best Buy(my boy wants to give me ideas for Christmas) or so I thought.
For the first time that I could recall, a store let me in after they closed!
I think every worker there said hi to me at least once.
Since I was the only one shopping I felt too guilty walking out empty handed so I bought a CD.
The relative who works at the Walmart says they have dropped off some from Labor Day but still have steady traffic.

Any comment re: the apparent new record set by the Russians in terms of oil production? It does seem as though perhaps suggestion that they were at peak last year were premature does it not? Or is this just noise?

Pumping full on like that must be hacking OPEC off I imagine?

The New Normal: Spend It If You've Got It, Just Don't Flaunt It


Hello Jmygann,

Of course, once you have spent all you got, most don't proudly flaunt this effect:

Personal bankruptcies hits a 4-year high
Mounting unemployment and housing crisis push the filings to the highest level since 2005.

..Unemployment, which climbed from 7.2% in December 2008 to 9.8% in September 2009, will continue to push consumer bankruptcies higher until they peak in late 2010 or 2011 before leveling off, said Linfield...
If we are now indeed postPeak, I would expect an increase in bankruptcies in the years ahead.

I just saw the new Michael Moore film CAPITALISM-all his stuff is great but this might be the best one yet. He really is quite an artist.

Regarding Biochar:

(1)Our problem is not the efficiency of our methods, it's population overshoot. We can increase our efficiency, and only thereby defer and exacerbate the population overshoot crunch. Biochar completely misses the mark in this respect.

(2)Interesting that the way forward happens to involve ... burning an enormous amount of "biomass". I note that this amazing breakthrough was made by people living along the Amazon rainforest, who coincidentally are highly disposed to deforestation.

There's been at least one study that suggests biochar is most suited to the tropics, where the heat and rainfall mean organic material decays very quickly. The benefits in temperate areas may not be any better than ordinary composting. In places where they practice slash and burn, slash and char is probably a big improvement. There are also the supposed carbon-sequestering advantages.

Thank you!

i know its late, but i just had to post this:

Robin M. Mills
Sr. Evaluation Mgr., Dubai Energy

The Myth of the Oil Crisis: Overcoming the Challenges
of Depletion, Geopolitics, and
Global Warming

this can be heard at: http://www.financialsense.com/fsn/main.html

perhaps it will be mentioned tomorrow on TOD.