Drumbeat: October 9, 2009

Tracing the Path of the Oil Industry's Sins

We tend to take for granted the comforts of modern life. Few of us think of underpaid migrant workers when we buy inexpensive imported clothes from China, or of disfigured Appalachian mountain tops when we turn on our coal-powered kitchen lights, or of fouled oil-rich frontiers when we hop in our cars.

In his new book, "Crude World," journalist Peter Maass takes readers on a vivid tour of troubled oil frontiers, voyaging to places like Nigeria's polluted delta, Equatorial Guinea's dusty capital, Ecuador's scarred rain forest and Russia's corporate boardrooms, where corruption is rife and environmental neglect all too common. It is a disturbing catalogue of the underside of the international oil industry.

"Though oil provides fuel for our cars and warmth for our homes, it undermines most countries that possess it and, along with natural gas and coal, poisons the climate," Maass writes.

Richard Heinberg: Dilemma and Denial

A couple of weeks ago Jerry Mander and I were discussing the best word to use in the heading for the back cover copy of a new short book being co-published by International Forum on Globalization and Post Carbon Institute, Searching for a Miracle: "Net Energy" and the Fate of Industrial Societies (I wrote the main text, Jerry wrote the Foreword). Jerry liked the word "conundrum," while I argued for "dilemma." We were in basic agreement, though, about a word we didn't want: "problem." Problems can be solved; humanity's energy and environmental crises will not be "solved," in the sense that there is no realistic strategy that will enable us to continue, as we have for the past few decades, to enjoy continuous growth in population and in consumption of resources and use of energy. If we are to survive, we will have to accept profound and fundamental changes to our economies and lifestyles.

I Have Got a Dun Cow and You Can Make Good Cheese: Are Women Holding Us Back?

When I started participating in peak oil and climate change discussions in 2003, let’s just say that the whole thing was much more of a boy’s club than it is now (and in some measure it still is). And one of the laments I most often heard was “we men would be glad to change our lives, but our wives won’t let us – they still want all the trappings of affluence.” Or “No woman will date a man who just wants to farm and grow food.” Whenever I heard these claims, I would laugh and think about how much some women I knew were struggling to get their husbands to give up their creature comforts.

But they keep recurring. Recently Dmitry Orlov wrote about how hard it is to please a woman – in this case, his wife, who wants more creature comforts than a simpler life can provide – and he terms it not so much as how to please his particular wife, but women in general.

Managing Russia After the Crisis

The international crisis dealt a severe blow to the Russian economy. The lower oil prices and reversal of international capital flows to emerging markets hit the country hard because the shocks struck just as the economy was on a steep upturn and Russia’s dependence on oil made it particularly vulnerable.

China buys the world

China needs natural resources to power its economy, which grew 7.9% in the latest quarter. One example: China's National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) has invested heavily in Nigeria's oil sector, including this rig near Port Harcourt.

Now, CNOOC is in talks with the Nigerian government about access to some six billion barrels of oil in a deal that could be worth as much as $30 billion.

Fadel Gheit: Oil Prices to Remain Inflated, but Don't Pass on Gas

Oil prices have not been driven by supply and demand fundamentals for years. This was exacerbated by the incredible influx of money from financial players into the commodity markets over the last five years and especially oil, which basically created the oil bubble that we had last year. Supply and demand fundamentals are beginning to play a secondary role now in oil prices. Financial players have much more clout and basically manipulate-influence, if not manipulate-oil prices; that is very clear. That's why we have the investigation by the CFTC and all the hearings. I am not holding my breath to see any changes because the politically motivated individuals and the incredible lobbying by financial institutions make it very, very difficult to regulate or enforce regulations in the books to stem that incredible increase in financial institution influence on the commodity prices.

Interior to Defer Devt, Make Ineligible for Lease Utah O&G Parcels

American Petroleum Institute President Jack Gerard issued the following statement on the announcement today by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to make permanently ineligible for lease eight of the 77 federal oil and natural gas parcels in Utah -- and defer development on another 52 parcels.

"Today's announcement that Secretary Salazar is removing 60 federal leases from development is just another in a series of actions this administration has taken to delay or thwart oil and natural gas exploration in areas where its development has been designated, and where lease sales have been carefully planned."

Oil and Natural Gas No Longer Mix

Oil and Natural Gas prices have become disconnected in the USA with respect to historical comparisons. Over the years, utilities and others have switched from oil based products to natural gas. In today's price environment, if one has not already switched from oil to gas, one probably can't due to supply or logistics considerations.

Tehran moves to impose gasoline rationing ready for showdown with US

The Islamic regime in Tehran plans to slash the supply of subsided gasoline to the public by 45 percent and ration individual purchases to 55 liters per month, down from the 100 allowed at present. This announcement Wednesday, Oct. 8, by Iranian oil minister Massoud Mirkazemi was Tehran's second step ahead of an expected showdown with the West over its nuclear program.

India’s quest for uranium

Toronto, ON, Canada, — Uranium, the key to nuclear power generation, is in short supply in India. The country’s reserves stand at 75,000 tons of low-grade ore, which requires processing before it becomes fuel for nuclear reactors.

This ore contains between 0.03 to 0.2 percent of triuranium octoxide, or U3O8 – an impure mixture of uranium oxides obtained in the processing of uranium ore – as U-238, which is the non-fissionable isotope found in natural uranium. International mines have anywhere from 2 to 14 percent.

From Turbines and Straw, Danish Self-Sufficiency

Last year, Samso (pronounced SOME-suh) completed a 10-year experiment to see whether it could become energy self-sufficient. The islanders, with generous amounts of aid from mainland Denmark, busily set themselves about erecting wind turbines, installing nonpolluting straw-burning furnaces to heat their sturdy brick houses and placing panels here and there to create electricity from the island’s sparse sunshine.

By their own accounts, the islanders have met the goal. For energy experts, the crucial measurement is called energy density, or the amount of energy produced per unit of area, and it should be at least 2 watts for every square meter, or 11 square feet. “We just met it,” said Soren Hermansen, the director of the local Energy Academy, a former farmer who is a consultant to the islanders.

Obama's end-run around climate change

If Congress won't get the job done on climate change, President Obama has a way to do it himself. But is he strong-arming the legislative branch?

Apple's chamber exit lauded by energy chief

U. S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu said Thursday that Apple Inc., PG&E and others who have quit the U.S. Chamber of Commerce are making a statement over its "foot-dragging, to denials" on global warming.

Moore decries buying up third world for food security

Rich nations are practising a modern form of colonialism by acquiring farmland in poorer countries, former New Zealand prime minister Mike Moore says.

"It is a new elephant in the room," Mr Moore who became director-general of the World Trade Organisation in the wake of his stint as PM in 1990.

"I think it is the wrong policy because I don't think food security will be guaranteed in the future because you own colonies overseas," he told the Gulf Times. "The English found that out with sugar".

Pakistan: Food for thought

The shame therefore had been multiplied, first by a stranger and then a friend. I can afford to take food for granted. Price hikes do not mean I buy less of anything, in fact, I still trawl Essajis at Kohsar market for expensive cheeses; I have let vegetables grow furry monster-shaped fungi in the fridge because I forgot to cook them; roti has been thrown away because we spontaneously decided to order in. Individually, they may not seem much, but the collective weight of this waste is a heavy crime.

Especially now, when food inflation outstrips that of non-food items. A May 2009 UN report says that food inflation increased by 28 per cent in nine months. The price of wheat – that staple of the Pakistani meal - skyrocketed by 96 per cent in May 2007. That means for a person earning Rs 6,000 a month, 4,200 rupees will go to just barely feed themselves and their dependents. That doesn’t leave much for education and health.

The coming food shortage: Potash as fuel for food

In 1798, 32 year-old British economist Malthus anonymously published “An Essay on the Principle of Population” and in it he argued that human population’s increase geometrically (1, 2, 4, 16 etc.) while their food supply can only increase arithmetically (1, 2, 3, 4 etc.). Since food is obviously necessary for us to survive, unchecked population growth in any one area or involving the whole planet would lead to individual pockets of humanity starving or even mass worldwide starvation.

Given the “dust bowl” droughts now gripping countries that make up almost two thirds of the worlds breadbasket – the U.S., many countries in South America, Australia, China and parts of Canada, the price of food staples – wheat, rice, corn, soybeans etc, will continue to rise.

“The whole global picture is flagging up signals that we’re moving out of a period of abundant food supply into a period in which food is going to be in much shorter supply,” says Henry Fell, chairman of Britain’s Commercial Farmers Group.

Chevron Squeezes New Oil from One of World's Oldest Fields

Chevron Corp. is employing new technologies in hopes of extending the life of one of the world's oldest and most prolific oil fields, a process that is being replicated elsewhere to help the energy industry squeeze more out of aging oil basins.

The Kern River field has produced more than 2 billion barrels of oil in its 110-year history, but Chevron estimates it still holds another 1.5 billion barrels.

We'll keep the lights on by reducing our demand for energy

To get Britain out of this mess, we need to understand how they got us into it. During 12 years, they made like the ostrich and stuck their heads in the sand. They refused to face the challenges everyone knew had to be confronted. They knew that North Sea oil and gas would peak and fall away, and that we would become increasingly dependent on imported gas. Such as gas from Russia, that flows through the Ukraine to Europe - or not, if the Kremlin turns off the tap.

Mexican gov't orders state oil firm to suspend onshore exploration

MEXICO CITY (Xinhua) -- The Mexican government on Thursday ordered state-run oil giant Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex) to halt its exploration in the Chicontepec oil field, but left the final decision to the company.

Pemex said the new Chicontepec onshore field was expected to compensate for the declining production of Cantarell, which had provided the bulk of Mexico's oil for three decades.

Mexico Needs to Look Beyond Oil

Since peaking earlier this decade the Cantarell oil fields in Mexico are now in a long-term decline as it pertains to oil production. The long-term implications for Mexico, PEMEX and its prosperity leave policy-makers with a formidable challenge to replace ageing fields.

After producing more than 2,000,000 barrels per day in 2003, Cantarell barely spits out 500,000 barrels per day in 2009. Cantarell recorded the second-highest annual production of all time at 2.1 million barrels per day in 2003 – second only to the largest field by every measure, Saudi Arabia's Ghawar, according to Grant's Interest Rate Observer. But over the last six years daily production has crashed by almost two-thirds.

Pemex aspires for 60% oil recovery from Cantarell

Pemex Exporation & Production is studying new ways for recovering more oil from the tight reservoir matrix of the Cantarell field off Mexico.

Speaking Oct. 7 at the SPE Annual Conference & Exhibition in New Orleans, Carlos Morales Gil, Pemex E&P director general, said carbon dioxide injection might provide the means to produce additional oil from the field that originally contained about 35 billion bbl of oil in place, making it the third largest oil field in the world. Steam injection is another possibility for improving recovery of the field's 22° gravity oil, he said.

Will nationalism or pragmatism prevail?

Countries where, by law, oil belongs to the state have basically three options for producing it: a) let someone else do it, b) let someone else help you do it, and c) do it all yourself. All three work in practice, but nationalism is a strong feeling which fuels the aspiration to move from a) then b) through to c).

Mexico started with a) but then jumped to c) in 1938 when it nationalized the oil industry and formed Pemex to take over the private companies. Mexicans are among the most nationalistic people in the world and are proud they have run their oil industry by themselves. However, oil production has been steadily declining, particularly from the giant Cantarell oil field, and the government needs to increase production.

Fuel oil supply still tight in Fujairah

DUBAI: Middle East fuel oil bunker premiums at the UEA’s port of Fujairah remained at around $15 to $20 a tonne this week, even with fresh imports from India and Saudi Arabia, traders said.

Fuel oil supply tightened early into the start of the second-half of the year after Iran started to cap their exports due to higher domestic demand. “There hasn’t been much change to the premiums for bunkers, and as long as supplies are tight I would be expecting it to stay at these levels now,” a fuel oil trader said.

China top refiners to maintain record runs in Oct

BEIJING (Reuters) - Top Chinese refineries will maintain their crude oil processing in October at the record levels seen in September despite a fuel price cut, on hopes of a further demand recovery on the back of economic expansions.

Twelve major plants accounting for more than a third of China's capacity, most of them on the eastern and southern seaboards, plan to process 2.66 million barrels per day (bpd) of crude oil in October, flat from levels in September, a Reuters poll showed.

The volume would represent around 89 percent of their total refining capacity.

Settlement puts offshore oil port back on track

Plans for a $1.8 billion oil port off the Texas coast will move forward following the settlement of a lawsuit among former partners in the project.

Platts Survey: OPEC Oil Output Rises to 28.83 Million Barrels per day in September

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) crude oil production averaged 28.83 million barrels per day (b/d) in September, up 40,000 b/d from August's 28.79 million b/d, a Platts survey of OPEC and oil industry sources and analysts showed October 8.

"Production has risen again but mainly because of higher volumes from Angola and Nigeria, the latter aided by a decline in militant attacks on oil installations in the Niger Delta, the country's main producing area," said John Kingston, Platts global director of oil. "Once again, quota compliance has fallen, but OPEC does not appear to be unduly concerned. It's hoping to steer clear of taking any output actions that might jeopardize global economic conditions."

Citigroup ends pay row with $250m Phibro sale

Citigroup has sold its Phibro oil trading unit to Occidental Petroleum in a $250 million deal that will eradicate one of the bank's most pressing problems over pay and perks for select staff.

In Saudi Arabia, a Campus Built as a 'Beacon of Tolerance'

The research university is the latest, and so far most significant, endeavor by a Persian Gulf nation to diversify its economy and help wean the region from its dependence on oil wealth. Saudi officials describe the multibillion-dollar postgraduate institution as the spear in the kingdom's efforts to transform itself into a global scientific center rivaling those in the United States, Europe and Asia.

But the kingdom's powerful religious establishment is increasingly voicing criticism of the university. On Web sites, clerics have blasted the school's coeducational policy as a violation of sharia, or Islamic law. Last week, a member of the influential Supreme Committee of Islamic Scholars, a government-sanctioned body, called for a probe into the curriculum and its compatibility with sharia law, local newspapers reported.

Kissinger takes a place at energy table

Former U.S. secretary of state Henry Kissinger will be the star attraction in Paris next week at a major international energy conference where Canadian defenders of Alberta's frequently criticized oilsands sector are expected to get a friendly reception.

Kissinger, central to some of the most significant diplomatic achievements of the 20th century, will share his insights on the role of countries such as Russia and China in the climate-change debate during a gathering of energy ministers at the International Energy Agency.

Waterloo's faculty of environment to launch new centre to analyze and conserve ecosystems

WATERLOO - The University of Waterloo's faculty of environment will launch Canada's largest transdisciplinary centre to study the inherent complexity of ecosystems and society's responses to environmental degradation during a special event next week in Toronto.

The new Centre for Ecosystem Resilience and Adaptation hosts its official launch on Thursday, Oct. 15, with guest speaker James Howard Kunstler, author of The Long Emergency: Surviving the End of Oil, Climate Change, and other Catastrophes of the Twenty-First Century. In his talk, Kunstler, who has lectured extensively on urban design, energy issues and new economies, will share details of his long-emergency survival guide. The event, which begins at 6 p.m., takes place at the Toronto Botanical Garden, 777 Lawrence Ave. E.

Mastering the Art of Sustainable Cooking Campaign Launches

Will you be the one to inspire others to create great food that's also good for the planet? The Mastering the Art of Sustainable Cooking campaign introduced by Brighter Planet this week gives Americans everywhere the opportunity to share their stories of conservation methods and help them take charge against climate change in a place where it may be the least expected: the kitchen.

The judging panel includes celebrated local food pioneer Alice Waters of Chez Panisse and Slow Food International; visionary environmental writer Bill McKibben of 350.org; sustainable entrepreneur Gary Hirshberg of Stonyfield Farms; food activist and anthropologist Amy Trubek; director and producer Ana Sofia Joanes of FRESH; Eating Well Magazine's editorial director Lisa Gosselin; CEO Patti Prairie of Brighter Planet; and food television writer and producer Zachary Cohen of Farm to Table. Judges rate top-ranked entries based on eco-effectiveness and ability to inspire conservation in others.

New Book Touts Joys of Simple Living

Can living a simpler, smaller and slower life make us happier? Yes, say some lifestyle experts. Downscaling, they say, will also give us more time, greater satisfaction and a better, safer quality of life. Some experts also say a personal simplicity movement could have an impact on culture and society at large.

Vertical Village Brings Energy-Efficient Gaudiness to Dubai

In the United Arab Emirates, Dubai has always maintained a reputation as the center of excess and oil money gone awry, while Abu Dhabi's Masdar City has emerged as the UAE's sustainable core. But Dubai's developers might be signaling a shift away from energy-gulping air-conditioned beaches and desert-bound ski resorts. Graft Lab is offering up a multi-use complex that could end up scoring a LEED Gold rating. Don't worry Dubai lovers. It's still gaudy.

New wind turbine idea for schools

Wind turbines should be built outside every school in Britain, according to the man who's in charge of looking into climate change for the government.

Lord Turner says using more turbines will reduce our need for energy sources that are harmful to the environment.

Some people don't like the turbines as they think they are ugly.

But Lord Turner said building wind farms along motorways and outside schools was an imaginative alternative to only using them in the countryside.

Pacific Ocean 'dead zone' in Northwest may be irreversible

Oxygen depletion that is killing sea life off Oregon and Washington is probably caused by evolving wind conditions from climate change, rather than pollution, one oceanographer warns.

U.K. Needs to Invest 200 Billion Pounds in Energy in 10 Years

(Bloomberg) -- The U.K. needs to invest as much as 200 billion pounds ($320 billion) in power plants and infrastructure in the next 10 years to secure energy supplies and meet climate-change targets, the industry regulator said.

Domestic energy bills in the U.K. may rise as much as 25 percent by 2020 to help fund the spending, the London-based Office of Gas & Electricity Markets said today in a statement distributed by the Regulatory News Service.

“These are big challenges,” Ofgem Chief Executive Officer Alistair Buchanan said in the statement. “Consumers are already enduring high energy prices.”

Global oil demand to rise more quickly than foreseen: agency

Paris - As the world's economies recover more rapidly than forecast from recession, global oil demand is now also expected to rise quickly more than had been foreseen, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said Friday in Paris.

As a result, in its Monthly Oil Report, the IEA has revised upward its forecast for global oil demand for both 2009 and 2010.

Offshore Drilling Could Add, Subtract Support for Senate Climate Bill

Can Congress drill its way to legislation to cut greenhouse gas emissions?

Perhaps, says Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who believes there is public support for both reducing reliance on energy imports and curbing carbon dioxide emissions. "If you married these two ideas up, I think you could get 60 votes, but that means give and take," Graham said yesterday.

"My hope is that if you marry these two ideas up you would get the votes for a reasonable climate change proposal, that's blocked now, and you would be able to become energy independent, that's blocked now," Graham added. "Both ideas run into a wall. I am trying to knock that wall down."

BP chief urges governments to back natural gas to cut emissions in climate fight

Governments must promote the expanded use of natural gas if the world is to start making a serious attempt to cut carbon emissions, the chief executive of oil major BP PLC said yesterday. Natural gas offers the cheapest and quickest way to cut emissions of carbon dioxide because other technologies, such as carbon capture and storage, are years from maturity, BP CEO Tony Hayward said at the World Gas Conference.

Betting Big on a Boom in Natural Gas

In summer 2008 the U.S. and much of the rest of the world were consumed by talk of peak oil and natural gas and fears that high fuel prices would persist forever. Today analysts still worry about the oil supply but far less about natural gas. U.S. gas producers, capitalizing on a technological breakthrough, have in recent years unlocked an enormous volume of natural gas in the shale rock under Colorado, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas, and other states. According to a July report by the Colorado School of Mines, the U.S. now holds 1,800 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, one third of it in shale, the equivalent of some 320 billion barrels of oil. That's more than Saudi Arabia's 264 billion barrels.

Power-Station Coal May Rise to $100 a Ton in 2010, Bumi Says

(Bloomberg) -- Power-station coal prices may climb by more than 40 percent in 2010 from current levels as a global economic recovery boosts demand from power plants and steel producers, an official from PT Bumi Resources said.

Why the 'peak oil' debate is irrelevant

The debate over exactly when we will reach "peak oil" is irrelevant. No matter what new oil fields we discover, global oil production will start declining in 2030 at the very latest.

That's the conclusion of the most comprehensive report to date on global oil production, published on 7 October by the UK Energy Research Centre.

Peak oil means a bumpy ride before 2030 … or 2020

While the report defends more optimistic estimates of the size of oil resources, it also notes that much of this is in smaller, less accessible fields that might only be produced relatively slowly and at high cost. It also highlights the accelerating decline in production from existing fields: more than two-thirds of current crude oil production capacity might need to be replaced by 2030 to prevent production from falling.

Crude Oil May Decline as Fuel Supplies Increase, Survey Shows

(Bloomberg) -- Crude oil futures may decline as U.S. fuel inventories climb and consumption decreases, a Bloomberg News survey showed.

Eleven of 29 analysts, or 38 percent, said futures will drop through Oct. 16. Ten respondents, or 34 percent, forecast that the market will rise and eight said prices will be little changed. Last week, 48 percent of analysts said oil would fall.

Gazprom 'cannot guarantee Europe's gas'

Russian gas giant Gazprom cannot rule out new interruptions in Europe's gas supply until a row with Ukraine is resolved, a senior company executive said.

"We cannot guarantee 100% that situations like that of 2005 and 2009 will not happen again," German news agency DPA quoted Gazprom number two Alexander Medvedev saying on the sidelines of the World Gas Conference in Buenos Aires.

PetroChina Parent Wins Engineering Contracts in Sudan

(Bloomberg) -- China National Petroleum Corp. said it beat 13 bidders from countries including India to win seven engineering contracts in Sudan, holder of Africa’s fifth-largest crude oil reserves.

A unit of China National Petroleum was awarded $260 million of engineering and construction contracts for an area known as Block 6 in September, China’s largest oil and gas producer said on its Web site today.

Venezuela Pulls Out of Vietnam Oil Refinery, PetroVietnam Says

(Bloomberg) -- Petroleos de Venezuela SA pulled out as a joint-venture partner to help Vietnam’s state oil company build a third refinery, said Phung Dinh Thuc, chief executive officer of Vietnam Oil & Gas Group.

LUKOIL says has no official word on Conoco stake

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian oil major LUKOIL said on Thursday it had no official information from its partner, ConocoPhillips, about a report that the huge U.S. oil company might halve its stake in LUKOIL.

Conoco said on Wednesday it will cut its 2010 capital budget by 12 percent and sell off $10 billion in assets in the next few years to improve its financial position.

GM, Toyota Fuel-Cell Plans Clash With U.S. Battery Car Push

(Bloomberg) -- General Motors Co., Toyota Motor Corp. and other automakers want to sell consumers electric cars powered by hydrogen within six years. Their plans clash with the U.S. government’s infrastructure priorities.

Chávez to Iran: How About Some Uranium?

When Venezuela's Mining Minister Rodolfo Sanz walked into a televised Cabinet meeting this week, President Hugo Chávez impishly asked, "So how's the uranium for Iran going? For the atomic bomb." Chávez was joking, but few were laughing outside Caracas and Tehran. Ever since Chávez announced last month that he was seeking Russia's help to develop nuclear energy in Venezuela — and especially since Sanz turned heads a couple of weeks ago by disclosing that Iran is helping Venezuela locate its own uranium reserves — the South American nation and its socialist, anti-U.S. government have become a new focus of anxiety over regional if not global security.

Allston-Brighton CDC celebrates the past and looks ahead to the future

The Allston-Brighton Community Development Corporation highlighted the past, present and future sustainability efforts during the organization’s annual meeting last week.

More than 100 residents, politicians and activists met at the Veronica Smith Senior Center to review the ABCDC’s sustainability efforts in the neighborhood and to learn about similar projects taking place at the city, state and federal level and to gain a better understanding of new opportunities for federal stimulus grants in order to promote local green economies.

May Look Like Any Other, But This House Is All Green

You might think the home has all the earmarks of a fair exhibit or an attraction at Epcot Center: the amazing Home of the Future, complete with energy efficient appliances in the kitchen and an on-demand water heater in the basement.

And in one sense, you’d be right. The home built by Bill Potter of Squash Meadow Construction and his wife Kerry Quinlan-Potter is the first home on the Vineyard to achieve the gold certification standard of the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System, developed by the U.S. Green Building Council.

How rising gas prices will change our lives for the better

Chris Steiner, a senior writer at "Forbes", said in an interview Wednesday that $4 is just the beginning. According to Steiner, an Evanston resident, prices will reach $6 to $8 within the next decade.

His first book, “$20 per gallon; How the inevitable rise in the price of gasoline will change our lives for the better”, became a New York Times bestseller in August. In the book he examines how each incremental rise in the price of gasoline will change the fabric of American life forever.

Meet the Candidates: Brian Brennan

We have a number of SOAR protected properties throughout our city and spheres of influence, but not all farm land is protected. Some of the recent decisions to develop were based on the fact that the land had long been designated with rights to develop, and preventing development was akin to a taking and made the city liable in a lawsuit. In an ideal world, we would have been able to secure conservation easements or buy up the development rights, but as this county has twice voted down open space tax increments, we come up short every time.

In this era of post-peak oil planning, we need to keep our food sources as local as possible, for security purposes as well as for sustainability issues.

'Uncertain Resource': Do we have a water crisis, or a crisis of water management?

Gleick began with a recurring theme at this year's conference: Water may be a very old commodity, but we need to think about it in entirely new ways. "I think we're desperately in need of new thinking about water," he told conference attendees. "Our current use of water is out of balance, it's unsustainable."

That's not unsustainable as in, "We're going to run out." From an absolute perspective we can't run out of water: It's a sustainable resource — it can't be used up. But as Gleick said, we can functionally run out of water because "We don't get water where we want it. We don't get water when we want it." And available water may be unavailable if it happens to be contaminated by industrial and agricultural waste, or infectious agents.

U.S. Chamber of Commerce shrugs off defections

The president says he's 'not particularly worried' about Apple and three utility companies quitting over climate change.

Changing alliances shape climate-change debate

The high-stakes fight over global warming legislation in Congress has forced American businesses to pick sides. And some old alliances are breaking as a result.

Africa meet to discuss development, climate change

DAKAR (AFP) – African policy makers meet in Ouagadougou Friday to discuss climate change just two months before a critical UN summit where African countries are poised to seek billions in compensation for the effects of global warming.

Experts say Sub-Saharan Africa is one of the regions most affected by global warming. The World Bank estimates that the developing world will suffer about 80 percent of the damage of climate change despite accounting for only around one third of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

U.S. May Not Make CO2-Emissions Pledge, Pershing Says

Bloomberg) -- The U.S. may not agree to cut greenhouse-gas emissions in a new treaty this year because there is no domestic law setting a framework, the country’s top negotiator said at United Nations climate talks in Bangkok.

Climate talks ending with rich-poor rift wide open

BANGKOK (AFP) – Two weeks of crucial UN climate talks were due to conclude Friday after exposing huge rifts between rich and poor nations, just weeks ahead of the deadline for sealing a planet-saving global deal.

Only five negotiating days remain, in November, before 192 nations converge for a critical December showdown in Copenhagen, where they have pledged to conclude a treaty to tackle global warming.

Without rapid action, scientists say, the world faces catastrophe in the form of drought, flooding, famine and forced migration.

Econ 350: Can we still afford to save the climate?

Recently, many climate scientists have doubled down on the “safe” level for atmospheric CO2. To avoid global warming catastrophe-collapse of the continental ice-sheets and sea level rise of dozens of feet — prominent voices led by NASA’s James Hansen are now telling us we have to get down to 350 ppm, and quickly.

Game over?

No. Instead, time to adjust our thinking about what is possible.

Fossils Suggest an Ancient CO2-Climate Link

By looking at the chemistry of fossilized foraminifera — tiny sea creatures no bigger than a grain of sand — a team led by Aradhna Tripati, of University of the California, Los Angeles, has detected a significant CO2 bump during both warming episodes.

If they're right, it could be pretty bad news, even for those who already worry about rising CO2. It's generally agreed that during the earlier warm period, known as the Miocene Climatic Optimum, which occurred 15 million years ago, the global temperature was high enough to make sea levels between 80 ft. and 130 ft. higher than they are today. According to the new study, CO2 levels in the atmosphere at that time hovered at from 390 to 430 parts per million (p.p.m.). Today's CO2 level: 387 p.p.m. and rising.

"But the supply estimates for natural gas are so vast and the plunge in prices so steep that they're forcing business leaders to rethink their long-term energy strategies—quickly. Utilities are debating whether to retrofit coal plants for gas."

If I were running a utility, before converting to NG I would lock up supplies either by outright purchase or by long-term hedging (if such a thing is possible for twenty years or whatever the amortization period is for the coal-to-NG changeover costs).

I believe in Peak Oil but don't think we have yet hit Peak NG. The problem is that proven and probable reserve numbers for the long range are unreliable at the moment, so no one can really say how many years we can burn NG.

Hoover Dam Hydroelectric increased by 6% to 7%

Unfortunately behind a paywall.

3% of the water was being leaked from 1930's era wicker gates (turbine was off, but seal was not very good, so water leaked out without producing any power). Cast steel/iron was replaced by machined stainless steel and dramatically reduced leaks.

Five different series of turbines at Hoover, and all are being modernized & maintained. 3% to 4% gains in efficiency (more power, same water).

Unfortunately, total water volumes and head are down significantly, so total electric production is well below what is was a decade or two ago.

Best Hopes for updating all hydroelectric plants,


I was talking to someone from the Las Vegas Valley Water District a couple of years ago, and she was talking (I assume seriously) about putting in a pipe (tunneling up from below the lake basin) into the lowest portion of the Lake Mead, in order to drain the last remaining portion of water in the lake.

Mead's a monstrosity that never should have been built. It occluded the free-flowing Colorado, destroying a lush & vital lotic & riparian ecosystem. Now it's silting up, snowmelt flow is rapidly diminishing and the abomination will soon be useless. Best hopes of the reservoir drying up, of the dam cracking, or being removed by high explosive.

That other evaporation pond, Glen Canyon, will soon fall below the ability to generate anything.
They can't have both Mead and Powell running, as there is not enough water.
Take them both out.

..Mead and Powell..

Take them both out.

So mote it be!

The lack of Colorado River flow into the Sea of Cortez also wrecked what was once a world-class fishing habitat.

In "A Sand County Almanac" (1949) Aldo Leopold describes a canoe trip he undertook with his brother thru the maze of channels that comprised the Colorado estuary at the head of the Sea of Cortez, in the 1920s. His description of the avifauna of this former wilderness paradise is amazing. Today, due to irrigation diversion the Colorado seldom reaches the sea and when it does, during flood spate, it typically takes out the bridges between Sonora & Baja del Norte. Since water seldom reaches the sea the ecosystem Leopold describes is dead. The lower Colorado is a huge arroyo, a sewage drain, nothing more. Gone are the hundreds of thousands of waterfowl, gone is the productive fishery at the head of the Gulf. I've explored this area and have seen it for myself. What's become of this lush and productive ecosystem is an international tragedy. It speaks volumes about the ignorance, selfishness & short-sightedness of those who value the piddly squat amount of electromotive force provided by the hydroelectric facilities at Hoover & Glen Canyon, over the wonders of nature.

"A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability, and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise." -- Aldo Leopold

Lakes "Greed" (Mead) & "Foul" (Powell) are wrong.

Wasn't that from Round River?
(from the journals of Leopold)
It is included in it anyway, and a fascinating read.
I picked it up used from the Henry Miller grounds in Big Sur a few months back.

Ahso! You may be right. The edition on my shelf is "A Sand County Almanac: With Other Essays on Conservation from Round River." The essay may not have been originally included in "Sand County." Been awhile since I last read it.

A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability, and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise." -- Aldo Leopold

Your choices lead to more wrong than mine do.


""Having to squeeze the last drop of utility out of the land has the same desperate finality as having to chop up the furniture to keep warm."

--My favorite Leopold quote.

And yet, if it comes to a choice of keeping the furniture or freezing to death, we know very well from events such as the aftermath of the Second World War, what must and will happen. Not that I can even pretend to understand the point of sentimentalizing over deadly vermin-infested swamps as if they were fine furniture bequeathed by beloved and now-departed Grandma.

Practical people who, in the past, actually had to live with such abominations, i.e. who did not have the luxury of gushing over them as cutesy Walt Disney cartoons or (like Leopold) cataloging them as exotic tourist attractions, may just have gotten it right - drain them, good riddance. Nor, while we're on the subject of addled foolishness, does Wisconsin lack for bizarre-but-sentimentalized historical figures in a number of fields; Frank Lloyd Wright, that famously arrogant builder of ineptly dysfunctional buildings also comes to mind.

Really, at the end of the day, why bother? Just one PBS Nature or Nova program on, say, the Amazon, if it dares to get past sentimentality and honestly delve into matters such as the enervating, stifling heat and humidity; the rotting clothing, body parts, and everything else; the rampant contagious disease; the candiru parasite-fish swimming up urethras; the abundant other deadly bugs and vermin; and just generally the vast array of horrors all consuming each other without end and to no end; seems more than enough to demonstrate that only a professor or a fool would want even to visit such an awful place. Better for most of us simply to satisfy the idle curiosity by watching the program, then move on to something more interesting - which would be just about anything else.

It is kinda nice when those nasty places produce oxygen in the air from those yucky plants and genomic diversity from whence comes interesting and useful biologicals.

Nicely put. God save us from PaulS's "practical people" who happily destroy habitat they don't understand except to look at what they consider its nastier parts and say "Iooo!"

Some how he overlooks the fact that people actually have lived around these areas for a very long time without destroying them. Were they stuck in some kind of narrow sentimentality for millennia?

Perhaps it is PaulS who is stuck in a very short term sentimentality for a living word without anything that he considers yucky?

It sometimes truly amazes me how willing people are to share their shallowness, callowness and disregard on these forums.

Not that I can even pretend to understand the point of sentimentalizing over deadly vermin-infested swamps as if they were fine furniture bequeathed by beloved and now-departed Grandma.


What a complete and utter failure to any have understanding whatsoever of ones place in the universe.
I seriously doubt that it will help much but please at least watch this talk by E.O. Wilson, perhaps it will spark some smidgen of understanding.


Obviously we should dam the Amazon at one-hundred different points to generate electricity so that Brazil's population could increase to 1B people, and drain the rest of the swamps and cover them with pavement and Wal-Marts and CinePlex-24s...damn dirty jungle anyway!

A lot of us like nature, and we have been there.

Best hopes for birth control and better attitudes about our natural ecosystems...

toto -- Your point brings me back to my praticular dark vision of how our citizens will respond to the continuing impact of PO. Which collective of our populace is most outwardly supportive of protecting the environment? It would be difficult to argue that it isn't CA. Though I feel few in CA would discuss it openly, no one with a shred of intelectual honesty would deny that the Cortez estuary system was knowingly destroyed so CA would have the ag water. Which goes back to basis assumption: no sacrifice is too great to protect the environment, folks living in low lying coastal areas, etc, etc, as long as the sacrifice (at least the bulk of it) is being made by someone else. Granted CA has been more progressive then other states as a whole. But there are limits to how much Americans will give up for the sake of others.

Simlar situation in the Owens Valley. The water (and most of the land) was "aquired" by LA in the early 20th century to build LA aqueduct system and destroyed Owens Lake. There's an ongoing effort to mitigate the dust problem caused when talc is lifted by winds and blown, ironincally, down toward LA! Easy solution...put the water back. But then LA loses the flow. Bottom line, seems like it's hard to intentionally unwind negative impacts civilization no matter how much we'd like to.

Most in Owens Valley are green as tourism (climbing, fishing, hiking) is the big industry.

Interesting Sterling. Is it actually the mineral talc? If so are they just concerned about the dust? Some talc contain radioactive materials which can be as much of a health problem as asbestos.

It's probably powdery and talc-like: "As the lake dried up, the dissolved minerals and salts in the water crystallized into an alkali salt crust that covers most of the lakebed today." Nice picture of the blowing dust here:


This LA site says the lake was mostly dry prior to the aqueduct project circa 1913 and doesn't mention the water wars. Not the story I got from a Valley resident. The story is spun differently by Grist:


The truth probably lies somewhere in between.

The Owens Valley is a pretty cool place to visit in any case. From Mt McKinley on west side to Death Valley on the East, Long Valley Caldera in the North there's lots of relief. The oldest living things on Earth are there - Bristlecone Pines - Over 4000 yrs old.

"The Owens Valley is a pretty cool place to visit in any case. From Mt McKinley on west side to Death Valley on the East, Long Valley Caldera in the North there's lots of relief. The oldest living things on Earth are there - Bristlecone Pines - Over 4000 yrs old."

Of course you meant Mt. Whitney on the west side. You forgot to mention the White Mountains that form the east side of "the deepest valley" (Owens) and rise to over 14,000 feet also, that host the bristlecones.

Thanks Sterling. Sounds like a good side trip whenever I make my next pilgrimage to that part of the world. As an aside about 12 years ago or so I got to experience a rather rare event: stood in the middle of Death Valley and watched a fairly heavy snow fall. Sureal to say the least.

You wrote "...no sacrifice is too great to protect the environment". Absolutely right but not American-like. Once PO is reached and a gallon of gasoline costs $5, then it is "...no sacrifice is too great to protect our cars and our American lifestyle".

Hello Rockman,

Thxs for your well-thought reply. I hope in the long run that eventually we will acquire the wisdom to let the Colorado run free. CA, AZ, NV is mostly desert. If they really want to green it up and pay the full-cost, then they should stop pulling from aquifers and streams, then go to massive desalination projects, then pump the water in-land and up in altitude. I think then they will find out how costly it truly is to live in the desert [water flows uphill to money] plus protect the habitat; it becomes very limited and energy constrained, and most will decide to go elsewhere.

If on 9/11/'01 the Colorado dams had blown up instead of the Twin Towers and other sad events--My feeble guess is the resulting radical re-alignment of the Southwest's population structure would have immediately tipped the entire country into a Non-BAU Paradigm Shift, and we would have seen eight years of progress in that direction today.

Sadly enough toto I suspect we both agree that it isn't wisdom that's lacking but the willingness to give up a portion of the American lifestyle. I'll admit I'm not comletely without sin in those regards but I least I avoid being hypocritical on the subject.

If I remember correctly something like half of the water in the Colorado river evaporates in lakes Mead and Powell. Now that's useful.

It occluded the free-flowing Colorado, destroying a lush & vital lotic & riparian ecosystem.

Translation for the non-ecology majors: It dammed the colorado river, drowning all the furry bunnies and squirrels upstream.

Kind of like what a gigantic beaver would do :)

Riparians need love too.

So is the point of the sarcasm to demean or diminish expressed concern for the health of river ecosystems and the biotia that inhabit them? If so, why? Do you cherish your electric gewgaws that may run on hydropower over biodiversity & ecosystem integrity?

The carp & minnow family Cyprinidae is a large family of mostly small, detritivorous fish. Ptychocheilus is a cyprinid, one of the largest in the world, and unlike most of its confamilials is a fierce piscivorous predator. This awesome fish is endemic to the Colorado system and, among others, is all but extinct due to river damning on the Colorado & its tributaries. I could care less about electric trains, can openers & toothbrushes, but I do care about the well being & continued existence of this fish. Mock this concern if you wish. Doing so shows the kind of person you are.

My grandfather is 72 years old, and he remarks on the changes that have happened in his lifetime... He told me that as a kid he used to be able to find frogs and snakes and a lot more wildlife. Now, a lot of it is gone... Little changes here and there, a damming of a river, a new highway, a few new suburban rows going up all impact the environment. We don't see it, even in the span of 10 or 20 years, but over a lifetime you see this and know it...

The destruction is palpable on all time scales: Daily - the bullsnake dead on the road, the pad being leveled for the new compressor station, the fresh set of ATV tracks across the land.. Yearly - worsening traffic congestion, the increase of starlings & English sparrows and decrease of Western bluebirds, or of Eurasian collared doves at the expense of mourning doves. Over a lifetime - the woodlot where I played as a boy cleared for a housing development, the stream where I swam dammed for a municipal reservoir. On the scale of centuries to millenia - the degeneration of proud free tribal peoples into obese diabetic drunks, extinction of North American elephantids, camelids & horses. Of that of tens & hundreds of thousands of years - desertification of North Africa and the Mediterranean Basin, salination & dessication of proglacial lakes... We see it if our eyes are open, all around us all the time.

How many people in western "civilization" today have ever seen the Milky Way in all its glory?

The Sandhills in Nebraska.

The Blackout of 2003.

As for the sarcasm.. I think he was actually funnin', DD. I doubt they are doubting the importance of the environment or your advocacy.. just the way you continue to express it.

It's great that you know the latin and formal names for all this, but when you use them around people who aren't from that specialty, it becomes alienating more than informative. You're in mixed company, and talking like that tells many people that 'they aren't privy to the University jargon'

Don't you think there's enough resentment against educated people already, without exacerbating it? Telling people how illiterate they are will do little to get them to resolve the issue.


I could say the same about all the economic or petroleum geology jargon posted here.

Should I be expected to apologize for erudition? Dumb down the conversation for the benefit of the uneducated? If you don't know what a term means, look it up. That's what I do, if sufficiently interested to bother.

'For the benefit of the uneducated..'
It sounds like you don't feel you should do anything for the uneducated. Of course, there may be 'unintended consequences' to taking such rash action as trying to actually communicate with them.

What you can do is speak inclusively. It isn't 'dumbing down' when there is a perfectly clear and descriptive english word that describes the same thing that you choose to use a Latin Flourish on.. that's not erudition, its exclusivism.

Ahhhhh, but it is, "dumbing down".

I agree with DD. Open a book or learn to use Google. Education is free to those with the grey matter, or incentive to look.

He is "doing something for the uneducated", he is holding them accountable to learn about the world we live in.

If more parents held their kids to even the slightest of accountability, we would be in a better place in this country.

""All greatness of character is dependent on individuality. The man who has no other existence than that which he partakes in common with all around him, will never have any other than an existence of mediocrity.""
James F. Cooper

Naw, it is not ALL about individuality, or people wouldn't be coming to this site to communicate TOGETHER. It's the classic splits, always fighting for balance.. I and We, I and Thou.

Cooper was in real Cowboy mode there. Self-made man. Does he kiss his mama with that mouth?

I like that D.D. gives the Latin names for things.

I could say the same about all the economic or petroleum geology jargon posted here.

Umm...I believe that TheOilDrum was started by a mineral engineer and an economic-minded political scientist. Out of the TOD staff, everyone apparently has either an engineering or economics degree. No wonder people tend to use the jargon associated with those fields.

I suffer from the same problem. Yet, even I have purposely tried to bring down the level of discussion to analogies, etc. to understand our depletion predicament. Recently I have been using analogies to popcorn popping and I have one in the pipeline relating to reliability of products and how often they go bad, as in the bathtub curve phenomenon. I don't necessarily have to use latin to explain everything.

Please keep analogizing (is that a word?) and I will keep googling. I'm a learner here more than teacher and need all the help I can get.


Agreed.The site might attract more readers if technical jargon is minimized to the extent possible without losing meaning.And it wouldn't be hard to put a couple of common names along side a scientific name just to make things easier for others.

I think I can at least describe my self as technically literate but I sure would appreciate it if all less than commom acronyms were to be accompanied with thier full words spelled out at the first occurence in an article or comment and if all graphs were posted with clearly labeled axis and keys to terminology-there are too many abbreviations and it takes a lot of time to look them up.

Then the fact that graphs are "stacked" makes me cuss-the graphics are too physically small and the colors chosen lack enough contrast to see them easily in many cases.

But I can still learn more here than anywhere else and i'm not complaining -not very loudly any way.

Wow, what a sad comment on that state of intellect in the U.S.

Don't use the proper, correct 'big words' to describe things...maybe you want DD to dumb it way down to some kind of cartoon or 5 second mono-syllabic sound bite for us poor folks who can't be bothered to go to freaking Wikipedia,for crying out loud, to spend a few minutes to look something up. Maybe once you go to Wikipedia you can branch out to more scholarly source references...maybe even buy or borrow some books from a library.

I've seen this attitude from younger people, but I am dismayed to see it on TOD, considering the demographic of the membership.

No, Moonwatcher.

You just dumbed the critique down to a cartoon. Very typical of hyperbolic, internet rants. He's not using 'the proper words' to bring the conversation up and to teach, but to keep it out of reach.

Now I have to go google what gewgaws, cyprinid, detritivorous, lotic, and piscivorous mean.

Speed-googling tip - use your keyboard:

Control-Shift- (to select the word), Control-C, Control-T, Tab, Control-V, Enter.

When finished, Control-W to close the tab and go back to Drumbeat.

Repeat as required.

(This assumes you have the "address bar" showing in your browser; works for Firefox, Opera, Chrome, and a few others; I don't know about Internet Explorer, as I haven't used it for a few years.)


I do not mean this in any way demeaning, I largely agree with what you post, but how do you power your pc and internet connection? Can we justify any use of electric power, is there any totally environmentally sound way to produce power? Do you think small scale hydro could be done in a ecologically respectful way.

Yes these dams are a horrible example of mans stupidity.

I did away with the phone & DSL internet connection at home in August 2008. Still have the PC but seldom use it. At work I'm provided w/ PC & internet.

I think that electricity is useful & necessary for certain applications but that people in developed nations and especially in the US use (waste) far too much power. I am against fission generation because radioactivity is life inimical. Likewise, I oppose (large scale) hydroelectric because dams kill river ecosystems dead, and oppose wind generation because wind turbines kill bats & birds. Manufacture of photovoltaics is a dirty business and should be cleaned up. This said, I don't in general oppose PV power and think that all roofs should have panels. Small scale in-stream hydroelectric has limited potential. I don't oppose it if done so as to preclude fish & aquatic invertebrate mortality. Mainly, I favor conservation of power over buildout of any new sources. I would close immediately all coal fired & nuclear powerplants, and seek to phase out natural gas powered electrical generation, if I had the authority to do so.

I'm personally of the opinion that it is a lascivious waste of precious effort on the part of nature to add energy to electrons in conductors for the sole purpose of allowing churlish professors to sit in climate-controlled offices and spout off criticisms of we poor blue-collar electricians for our failing to recall (or even originally perceive the relevance) of the four years of Latin we dutifully passed in highschool. But its sure easy to detect the similarity in attitude between DD and that frustrated and bitter Latin teacher who clearly regretted stuffing their head with completely usless and irrelevant data.

The year I spent in high school we used to tease the kids who took Latin for wanting to become priests & nuns. I took metal shop & vocational ag classes, myself.

I'd like to voice my opinion that the use of latin biology terms is not really helpful here. This is an energy/technology/geology/climate website with discussions that become quite broad. If you really care about how activity X kills some animal or destroys some type of ecosystem, then use terms to describe that animal or ecosystem that the average reader can understand. If you are not just posting here to satisfy some urge to spout doom on the internet, then you will not weight your posts down with latin terms that contribute nothing to the content of your post while at the same time making it unreadable without another browser tab open to translate all the terms.

nam vos iocus

I have been saying the fission breeders are the only way out of the coming energy predicament, so it appears I am not in agreement with DD.
Specifically, AFAIK, nuclear power plants release less radiation than most other forms of energy production. 4Gen plants like the IFR and especially the LFTR would release the least of all. They have the lowest possible impact on the environment of any form of energy production, especially for the amount of power they can produce.
To my mind, advocating that the human population of the planet not take the course of wide-scale implementation of 4Gen fission breeders is tantamount to advocating for the snuffing out of billions of lives.
DD, please tell me what I'm getting wrong here.
Of course, if DD has gone home for the w/e, I might not get an answer on this one for a while.

Btw DD, I disagree with the objections to your vocabulary in your post on the etymology of the word 'Squaw'. If your explanation of the etymology is correct, specifically if the vocabulary you used is an accurate representation of the etymology, then objections to your vocabulary must be prudish and not scientific.
Of course if your etymology is incorrect, then your vocabulary is also incorrect, but I don't yet see anyone convincingly saying your etymology is incorrect.

Since DD may well be out for awhile and since this question addresses a issue I am studying on now I will give it a go.

4Gen breeders look on paper like a possible BAU energy solution except for cost. I use the term cost in a broad sense here. Even at current price points I think you will be hard pressed to show convincing data that cost will be anywhere near what the economy can handle and when you plug in projected cost the build out will crash and burn.

It's a problem of too little to late. The needed resources are just not there anymore at a cost that makes sense. It is the same issue that all BAU renewable builds out face. EROEI must be taken into account.

The hard truth is that BAU energy production is exceeding unlikely to happen and that along with many other related issues will mandate sharp human population reductions.

Can 4Gen breeders help somewhat soften the crash, could be and I think we should give it a go.

And how do you quantify the cost of several billion dead?
Or let's just restrict it to the, say, OECD. We lose lots of energy. The economy crashes. What't the cost of that?
As I've said before, even Greenpeace quantifies the cost of developing the LFTR, a nuclear technology they presumably oppose, and therefore presumably would assign the maximum cost to, at just $1B. How is that expensive?
"Of all six reactor systems, MSR requires the highest costs for development ($1bn/€761m)."
Or look at DD's objections. We build hydro power that kills of lots of the environment. Nuclear has no such record. Infact, the outcome of the worst accident, Chernobyl, is a nature preserve (not that I advocate that particular approach, although James Lovelock has actually speculated on the value of dumping nuclear waste in jungles so people will stay away, because of this exact effect - without people, you get a nature preserve).

I think I see another case of to little to late.

Using EIA data I estimate U.S. consumption of fossil fuels at 24 teraWatt-hrs per year. That would be 2,791 nuclear reactors at a thousand megawatt(e) each. That might take a while and a few dollars.

Ok, so the US wants 24TW. How are you going to do that? Are you going to blow the Appalachians to hell, are you going to scrape the top off of Wyoming, Idaho, Montana and Oregon?
Or are you going to implement 4Gen reactors that can run off of the Th and U that is already above ground, in the existing fly ash of the coal plants, plus the fissile material that comes from the FSU, plus the existing stockpiles of 233U.
The first approach is terrible for the environment, even before you look at CO2 emissions; the latter produces no CO2 emissions and uses the materials already available to produce power for the next 1000 years.
When the chips were down, the UK built Radar from scratch in 3 years (1936-1938) to the point where it was operational, could locate German aircraft 3-dimensionally and the Germans couldn't even tell the radar was on.
If we wanted to get on with it, we most certainly could.
Which choice are you advocating?

Actually there's something odd about your numbers. Peak electricity use for the USA would be maybe 1000GW or 1TW. So you would need at most about 1100 1GW power stations, assuming a capfac of 90%. I don't see where the 2791 number comes from. Maths is not my strongest point.

Wrt my [Edit] above, on second thoughts, if it's possible to refer to the meaning without using explicit language, then I guess that's better, if the meaning is conveyed just as well.

Tat's all fossil fuels not just the electricity generation. My point wasn't to suggest that we keep burning fossil fuels but to show the enormity of their usage.

I think that even the notion of 1100 nuclear plants shows that nuclear is not any kind of near term solution and that the costs, with or without Thorium, are staggering in an already debt ridden society.

By the way I'm not as impressed with Thorium as others. I've personally placed fuel elements in a commercial sized U-Th reactor, in 1973.

Yes I thought about it afterwards, and I think the numbers do come to those you mentioned, something around 3000 1GW plants equivalent energy production. Still if we can produce artificial liquid fuels, hopefully from biomass not coal, then it would be better than using fossil fuels, well obviously only if that much biomass is so-to-speak spare.
But when you say you have experience with U-Th reactors and you are not impressed then I would very much say this:
If you have particular insights to offer I would very much encourage you to share them.
I am an absolute layman in this area, however I know a nuclear physicist and have spoken with others and they are quite sure the Thorium cycle in combination with the Molten Salt medium provides a terrific way forward. If you have knowledge that there is something wrong with all this thinking, much as I would hate to learn there is some fatal flaw, it would be better to know about it now than later.


but I do care about the well being & continued existence of this fish.

You knew the environmental damage that having several children would cause, yet you had them. I have had no children, deliberately so.

You know about Global Warming/Climate Change, yet you chose to live a Fossil Fuel intensive lifestyle. I have, within limits, reduced mine as much as "reasonably" possible.

I could care less about electric trains, can openers & toothbrushes,

I could care less if you have fuel for your chainsaw, or if you can get anywhere except by your own bipedal feet or a bicycle. And I strongly suspect that you have a refrigerator as well.

Your concern does *NOT* extend to the global ecosphere, the collection of all environments, and that is one of my two primary concerns (the other is the continuation of some form of human civilization, one with much lower impact).

Many millions of tonnes of carbon were NOT burned because of the generators at Hoover Dam, reducing GHG. A fact you overlook as you use nonrenewable electricity for your extravagant, energy squandering lifestyle.

Best Hopes for Less Hypocrisy,


DD is out for the weekend. He only comments during his time at work, as he has some spare time apparently. So I imagine it is all for his own amusement. OTOH, I realize that you put your heart and soul into solving our energy problems.

As General Stilwell said "Don't let the bastards grind you down", or as DD would scientifically prefer nil carborundum illegitimi. In that case I would say, don't let the pretentious twits grind you down. And I don't know the Latin for pretentious twit :)

Some folks are content to sow discord and to ridicule the opinions and efforts of others, delighting in their mean-spiritedness. All here know, you're not one of those folks.


To all three of you: I wonder if you are taking his comment out of context. I take it this way: I care not about modern ways of living considering the severe damage it has done to the ecosystem, but do care that this fish (representing all non-human nature) and the environment it represents.

If that is what he meant, then I thoroughly agree. And if you believe we have overshot, or are about to, the carrying capacity of the planet, you cannot but do so, also.

Wishing for a return to balance is not the same as wishing for the destruction of humanity or civlization.

But perhaps I am wrong here.


No I agree with DD as well, its just that he has this unique sense of humor. Dennis Miller comes to mind, if Miller used Latin instead of spouting arcane trivia. Some would call Miller pretentious, others call him funny, I would say that he is pretensiously funny.

But then again I don't know if you get the reference, since some of us still listen to the radio and watch TV.

I'm in my 40's. I get the reference. Why they ever put him on MNF, I will never know.


Unfortunately it pretty well damned everything down strean too -just not to as great an extent-but now that we have gone down this road I see no hope of reversing course anytime soon.

Giant megaships to suck 'stranded' Aussie gas fields

Energy globocorp Royal Dutch Shell has announced plans to deploy a fleet of monster processing ships - the biggest ever constructed - to exploit so-called "stranded" gas fields, ones which can't be harvested economically by conventional means.

Ever see the end of the movie 'Syriana'?

I think Al Quaeda would love for these to be built. A few boats and some explosives would make this too easy of a target (maybe they can give a call to the Somalians for help?)

I don't think asking the Somalians for help would necessarily be in their best interest...

Somali pirates attack French military vessel

(AP) – 2 days ago

PARIS — The French armed forces spokesman says that one of its military vessels was fired at by Somali pirates who apparently mistook it for a commercial boat. The vessel gave chase and captured 5 suspected pirates.

Smart pirates. I don't think I've seen too many commercial vessels with 5-inch cannons mounted on the bow...

IEA Oil Market Report

Non-OPEC output projections are left largely unchanged, and production should continue to rise towards the end of 2009. Output is expected to average 51.0 mb/d this year, rising to 51.6 mb/d next year. Total annual growth stands at +380 kb/d in 2009 and +550 kb/d in 2010, augmented by OPEC NGL growth of 550 kb/d and 850 kb/d, respectively.

What they are saying, I think, is that Non-OPEC C+C production will be down by 180 kb/d in 2009 but a growth of 550 kb/d of NGLs will create a gain of 380 kb/d and down by 300 kb/d but actually up because of an increase of 850 kb/d in NGLs.

Actually this makes no sense at all. Non-OPEC production will actually be up in 2009 verses 2008 because hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico and huge shutdowns in Azerbaijan because of gas leaks. Had it not been for those two problems last year, knocking production down, the IEA figures would be pretty close.

The IEA seems just too vague in their projections, revising them every month. And there is no way they could possibly know, this early, what September production really was.

Ron P.

For Info: the UK Energy Market report published by Ofgem today uses a 2x2 scenario approach, with Rapid vs Slow Economic Recovery and Rapid vs Slow Environmental Action. The focus is on electricity and heating, not transport (so has comparatively little to say on oil), although the rapid recovery, rapid environmental action scenario posits a significant shift to electric vehicles.

Even in the 'Dash for Energy' scenario (rapid recovery, slow env. action) where oil prices rise the highest, this is a steady increase through to a 2015 peak of $130/bbl, then a long term trend of around $110/bbl due to increased investment. The report authors state that this longer term figure is consistent with the IEA reference benchmark.

Odd. What economic recovery? That's really nowhere in sight, esp. for the UK. How about a scenario with Rapid vs. Slow Economic Contraction?

Odd. "The report authors state that this longer term figure is consistent with the IEA reference benchmark". That's not particularly reassuring, is it?

Weatherization Success

We live in a 1919 house in admittedly mild Seattle. This summer we hired contractors to do the following:

  • replace the roof -- 2 layers of composite on top of the original cedar shingles
  • add insulation -- rigid insulation in the rafter bays as they were shallow; cellulose blown into attic space and walls
  • replace original single pane windows with Marvin double panes

The roof and windows were so rotten that all of this work except the insulation was mandatory. The insulation component cost around $2,000.

Here it is mid-October, temperatures ranging from 40 at night to 60 in the day time and we still haven't turned on the heat! Indoor temps have been above 65 the entire time.

We do have good Southern exposure and it has been sunny. Nevertheless I'm still in awe of how quiet and cozy our house is compared to years past and recommend that anyone living in an older home get an energy audit. Blown in insulation is cheap, effective and can be done in a single day.

Best wishes for better insulating our housing stock.

-- Jon

Jonathan, well done. Here in the The Netherlands single pane windows are the exception. There excists subsidies here to replace it with double pane. But, and that's my point, even without the subsidies, investing in double pane windows has short payback time and is a very good investment.
I had my roof done last year (1953 house, same old roof), 12 cm of insulation and heatkeeping foil. Got Euro 400 back from my utility company.
Next project: solar water heater, creating eadible back yard.

I agree. Double glazing is the best way to keep the heating bills down. But true to form, the UK government is giving mixed signals out. If one lives in what is ironically called a 'conservation area' then you are not allowed to replace old wooden sash windows with plastic (pvc) double glazing. A lot of the time the properties in these conservation areas are nothing more than old Victorian cottages or terraced houses - the point being they were built for the working/trades classes and no one would ever have thought they would need 'conserving' one hundred years later. They are hardly national architectural wonders. So while the government is banging its climate change drum (rightly) it is also stopping many people from installing double glazing and cutting their CO2 down just because some daft plonker thinks that wooden sash windows look better than pvc. Crazy...

Wow, that's some double standard there. But my double pane glass is embedded in wooden frames, not plastic. Would that make a differnce?

Wow, that's some double standard there. But my double pane glass is embedded in wooden frames, not plastic. Would that make a differnce?

I shouldn't have thought it makes a difference with energy conservation but certainly does for price. I had a quote (a few years ago) for both kinds and the wooden frames were easiy three times more expensive.

It is still the case, wood will cost 3x as much as PVC for no performance gain. Wood might be easier to repair in the future in case new PVC windows become unobtainable though.

When I bought my house in '95 the first thing I did was replace the single pane windows & storm doors with double pane. The windows have aluminum frames but there is a rubber strip between inner & outer frame that reduces conductive heat loss. The space between the two panes of glass is filled with xenon gas. It cost $7K to have this done. I don't know how much I would have saved on heating bills because I heat with wood I procure for myself, but I currently burn about four cords per winter & would probably burn twice that if not for these insulated windows & doors.

Replaced my 40 year old original Aluminum windows with double pane Argon filled windows this year, and replaced my doors with windowless high efficiency doors. (You could see daylight through a crack in one of the doors, and the other had a draft so bad frost would form on the floor.)

$10k investment.

And, I will be getting $3500 rebate from the government this year.

Dunno the ROI, but can't be terribly long in my case. Considering the house is brick and otherwise well insulated, these were probably my biggest energy losers.

For conservation areas secondary glazing ( as it is known in the UK ) is the way to go. I have original leaded windows in timber frames and had secondaries fitted interiot to these in anodised to match aluminium. They are virtually invisible from the inside and only betray their prescence outside by their double reflection.
The difference is signficant - I am convinced that draughts for the average older house is the big issue not U values. Although these windows do take the value from approx 6 to 2.2 using curtains and IR reflective blinds is a more practical option than high tech/cost glass.
Anecdotally the temperature had to drop to a constant 8c outside before we needed to fire up the heating this year compared to 14c last year. The house would just rapdily cool off despite its high thermal mass due to the huge leakage area around these old windows.
It's important to ventilate manually ( ooer ), minimise water vapour generation and keep the building shell heated if you're air tightening an older house though.
We also added full 4 zone weather compensated 96% efficient gas heating, suspended floor insulation and membrane, 400mm loft insulation and the primary windows and doors were also re-druaght stripped.


3000 sq ft in Mountains of Western Maine 4 to 5 cords
House is a big cube shaped well insulated salt box type, max inside space with min exterior walls, and we keep it around 60

Good for you if it is a success, but I'm looking at the same retrofit without near the results, at least thus far.

Last winter, our chimney collapsed in an ice damn in the dead of winter, and it initiated alot of work after stumbling the rest of the winter w/ 110 volt space heaters in an old farmhouse.

We replaced the metal roof, in need anyway w/o the dents and cracks from the chimney falling on it, and instead of rebuilding the chimney, I replaced the furnace with a new high efficiency furnace that didn't need one. Removed all the siding, and sheathing where required, rebuilt portions of the foundation and floor joists, replaced 13 single pane windows with new double pane, argon filled on the north side, wrapped entire house building wrap and on the west exposed face with an additional layer of felt, added insulation wherever deficient or soiled, resided with LP smart siding, painted and caulked the entire house.

This fall, in the 20's to the 40's, I haven't yet seen that dramatic a difference from our pre-collapse state. Perhaps as winter advances, we'll see a difference, but not meaningful thus far. I was hoping for a third reduction in fuel, if not better. Our pre furnace was 80% efficient propane, the new is 95% propane. The house is 24x44, with a 3/4 basement and a 12/12 roof pitch and upstairs converted to living/storage, kept closed off in the winter.

How much insulation do you have in your attic? If you've turned your attic into all living space, that might be what's doing you in, even if you keep it closed off in the winter.

I added additional blow-in insulation to the attic years ago, along with foam boards over bat where roof trusses formed interior wall.

Main floor walls are lath and plaster, they were blown-in from the exterior in the 70's. During rebuilding this year, I was actually quite surprised at how well the job had held up. Added where needed, I was surprised at the relative minimal amount of settling. Old windows were double hung, with anywhere from 4-10 cavities for the weights. I completely rebuilt them, including new framing.

Had a friend helping me with the siding, we both remarked that such a job would be really hard to contract out. You have no idea of the extent of the damage or replacement needed til you're up to your neck in the work, and the tendency would be to just cover up problems.

I toyed with the idea of adding Fanfold, a hard foam product for increasing wall insulation. It is applied between the sheathing and the siding, can double as a building wrap. The added R value didn't see near worth the trouble.

Do you have lath and plaster walls? Mine was built in 1910 (Magnolia, near Fisherman's Terminal), and I'd dearly love to insulate. But I'm told the lath and plaster is prohibitive...

I'm putting cellulose into Lath/Plaster walls.. doing it from the inside, where plaster holes are actually very easy to plug and fill neatly. It's made a clear difference in the rooms I've done so far.. looking forward to finishing this house! (1850's, Portland Maine)

Yes, we have lathe and plaster.

Actually, our house, over the fullness of time, acquired lathe, two layers of plaster and one layer of sheetrock on the inside as well as both ship lathe and cedar shakes on the outside.

I think your cost difference information is bogus.

All of the fill was done from the outside of the house by removing cedar shakes (cutting them just under the overlap from above) and drilling holes in the ship lathe. The cut shakes are then nailed back into place hiding the drill holes. (We had our house painted after all the work this summer was done.)

For houses with slats I'm told they loosen and remove a slat, drill holes and then replace the slat.

Make sure you interview the guy who will be doing the work and ask about this because I've seen several houses in the neighborhood where they just drilled straight through the siding and then patched the hole. Darned ugly until you paint and I am told that the putty filling the holes will eventually crack with age no matter how well you maintain the paint.

I can recommend the subs used by either Ravenna Craftsman or Sound Restoration.

-- Jon

Thanks for the info and recommendations, Jon!

I've lost all respect for the Nobel committee. Awarding the Peace Prize to the guy who orders or authorizes some kid in a cubicle at an Air Force base near Las Vegas to blast Pakistani civilians by remote control from a drone aircraft. Awarding it to the guy who's ramping up war against the Afghan people. Better to have given Obama the War Monger's Prize. That he would have actually deserved.

It's a disgrace. You know, it'll get worse on Monday when they declare who won the nobel prize for Economics.

There is no Nobel prize for economics, only the Swedish bank prize in honour of Alfred Nobel.

honour of Alfred Nobel

Not bad for a guy that made his fortune on stuff that blows up. He also owned Bofors, which he converted from an ironmaking firm to a weapons firm (which it still is today).

His peace prize is a direct result of the spoils of war.

The BS Nobel.

Just for perspective 5 individuals have won the peace price for "resolving" the Arab-Israli conflict. And Henry Kissinger is another recipient.

Not much of an honor, I'd say. But the million bucks is nice.

There is an enduring peace between Egypt & Israel, and Jordan & Israel.

Both certainly worthy of a peace prize.


I nominate Hank Paulson.

You know, a trillion of bailout money here, a trillion there, and soon you're talking real money.

Who could have seen this sheer cliff genius emerging?
Definitely Nobel Economics Prize material.

It's probably more of a comment on Bush than anything else. But I suspect that Afghanistan will be a pretty good test of Obama's character, i.e., will he have the courage to pull out.

A story about a four year old girl and her Dad heading back overseas (if you haven't seen this pic, it's worth thousands of words). It's Iraq in this case, but of course the family dynamics are the same:

Little Girl Can't Let go as Sergeant Daddy Leaves For Iraq

Some things are just not allowed when soldiers are standing in formation. One of them is 4-year-old girls.

However, there was no soldier stern enough to pry Paige Bennethum of Laureldale, Pa. from her father as he prepared to leave last July for a year-long deployment in Iraq.

Abby Bennethum captured her daughter's emotions in a photograph that she passed along to the Reading Eagle, the newspaper in Berks County, Pa. The image immediately captured many other people's emotions.

That photo is priceless. Sometimes I feel callous about US military deaths in Iraq, Afghanistan, or elsewhere, feeling that they enlisted of their own accord and by so doing asked for whatever happens to them. But seeing that photo reminds me that military personnel are people, too, and all too often victims of an economic system that causes disenfranchised youths to feel that military 'service' offers them some hope of economic opportunity, if they survive it. Any commanding officer with a heart, up to & including the so-called Commander in Chief, ought to see that photo & tell that soldier to take his daughter & just go home. Then he or she ought to tell them all to just go home. Just pack it up & go home, and leave the Iraqi & Afghan people in peace.

The people who worked in the twin towers had children who miss them too.

How do you "make" nations police the behavior of their citizens? How do you prevent Al Queda from basing in the failing countries (and there will likely be more such countries to use, in the not too distant future)?

There is no guarantee that Iraq will remain at peace, or that Afghanistan won't fall back to the Taliban and incite conflict in Pakistan.

Adults aren't peaceful, so somewhere little girls will always cry for their Daddy.

Western meddling in the internal affairs of Islamic nations is what motivated the 9-11 attacks. So-called "militants" & "insurgents" (aka "freedom fighters" when they were fighting Soviet aggression) rightfully resent foreign invasion & occupation of their homelands over oil. If you want to avoid Al-Qaeda retaliation, leave the Muslim nations alone. The "failing state," as you call it, is the US.

Everyone who is a parent knows what it's like to hold a child of that age with their arms wrapped around your neck, and how it makes you feel like you could carry them for a thousand miles if need be. How many boys and girls just as precious as that girl, with parents who loved them every bit as much, have died in the rubble of collapsed buildings? How many are playing in DU laden dirt right now, or discovering cluster bomblets? That is a fact of war, and an inevitable consequence of how the Western industrial empire maintains it's ability to get such a disproportionate share of the world's valuable stuff.

..an inevitable consequence of how the Western industrial empire maintains it's ability to get such a disproportionate share of the world's valuable stuff.

And we the 'beneficiaries' of this ability to acquire a disproportionate amount of stuff decry as "terrorists" the victims of Western imperial aggression who manage to strike back, with whatever limited means is available to them, out of rage at this inequitable ability to plunder the world. Altho I was living within the fallout radius at the time and would have been irradiated, I almost wish that the Indian Point nuclear powerplant on the Hudson had been targeted, instead of the WTC. This would have forever ended the madness of fission power generation worldwide.

If he is to support his combat effort there, he may need more troops. If he tries to reduce troops and leave isolated elements of special forces, he risks losing the best trained parts of his army. He should either decide whether he can put enough troops into Afghanistan to establish a peace or find a way out. There were published reports the United States is already paying protection money to Taliban warloads in order to transport shipments through tribal territories. It is not a good deal for taxpayers to be paying taxes to the Taliban in addition to Washington. Money might be better spent at home.

As a government make work program military spending is the way to go if concentrating wealth into the hands of the few is your goal. It also is easy to get public support since most Americans are asleep at the wheel.

Nobel Peace Prize, totally unreal...

Edit: Yes the money would be much better spent at home, on say health, education, environment...

I don't think that the military intervention in Iraq and has been very sucessful about reducing terrorism if you take any medium to long term veiw. It seems to have been very bad at creating peace in the short term too. The US military also consumes huge amounts of fuel, and billows out clouds of CO2 (not to mention depleted uranium). So my bet is that the world, a long with that little girl, would benefit if troops stayed home.

I cried when I saw that photo, but I am not objective. One of my huge regrets in life is keeping quiet when a friend expressed doubts about continueing in the military. Six months later he was blown up in Afganistan. He had no reason to be there, and any good he acomplished was far outweighed by the bad caused by the invasion. All in all a stupid waste.

We have not, and will not, EVER 'fix' Iraq, Afghanistan, or any other country to be to our liking. Ever.

Unless you want us to sew a 51st and 52nd star on our flag, we need to admit to ourselves that we are not and cannot be the 'policeman of the World'.

Our imperialism, arrogance, and Military-Industrial-Political-Religious Complex will doom us.

A recurring question is how Afghanistan would have turned out, if Bush & Cheney had focused on Afghanistan instead of invading Iraq, but it's a moot point now. I don't know if you ever read the 2006 essay by a retired three star general, Greg Newbold, but it is one of the more remarkable things I have ever read. My personal theory is that one of the primary reasons that Bush & Cheney did not broaden the war to include Iran was because of active resistance--and perhaps because of a threat to refuse to carry out orders--from uniformed military personnel. If you think I am nuts, read the essay.

Why Iraq Was a Mistake (2006)

Two senior military officers are known to have challenged Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on the planning of the Iraq war. Army General Eric Shinseki publicly dissented and found himself marginalized. Marine Lieut. General Greg Newbold, the Pentagon's top operations officer, voiced his objections internally and then retired, in part out of opposition to the war. Here, for the first time, Newbold goes public with a full-throated critique:

. . . I am driven to action now by the missteps and misjudgments of the White House and the Pentagon, and by my many painful visits to our military hospitals. In those places, I have been both inspired and shaken by the broken bodies but unbroken spirits of soldiers, Marines and corpsmen returning from this war. The cost of flawed leadership continues to be paid in blood. The willingness of our forces to shoulder such a load should make it a sacred obligation for civilian and military leaders to get our defense policy right. They must be absolutely sure that the commitment is for a cause as honorable as the sacrifice.

With the encouragement of some still in positions of military leadership, I offer a challenge to those still in uniform: a leader's responsibility is to give voice to those who can't--or don't have the opportunity to--speak. Enlisted members of the armed forces swear their oath to those appointed over them; an officer swears an oath not to a person but to the Constitution. The distinction is important.

To quote Tennyson, for the enlisted personnel, "Ours is not to reason why. Ours is but to do and die."

Incidentally, to be fair to the Bushies, I think that the Bush/Cheney Administration did end successfully. Of course, my threshold for success, in the 2006 time frame, was pretty low. I said that I would consider it a "success" if we were not sitting in radioactive rubble in January, 2009.

Enlisted members of the armed forces swear their oath to those appointed over them; an officer swears an oath not to a person but to the Constitution.

This distinction between "enlisted" men & women and "officer" is a relict of feudalism and needs to be discarded as an anachronism. Many an inexperienced second lieutenant, fresh out of the academy or rotc program, and often over the objections of seasoned non-com officers, got soldiers killed in Vietnam due to their stupidity.

"inexperienced second lieutenant, fresh out of the academy or rotc program"
This was the first guy you killed, if you wanted to survive.

What nonsense, were you there? The lieutenant died often because he was on point leading. Of course mistakes were made because of inexperience but we were all inexperienced in this kind of war but they died same as any war before.

Here is a good read for all to understand a little better the way a soldier feels about fighting a politicians war.


Never heard of the shave-tail who pulled back his covers to find a grenade w/ the pin pulled - or better yet finds Deinagkistrodon the infamous "hundred pacer" (if bitten you were dead w/in a hundred paces) - in his bunk? Fragging of stupid looies wasn't as common as folklore would have it, perhaps, but it certainly did happen.

That is the topper, dropping in a Latin reference to this subject matter. How about this one:
"I love the smell of naphthenic and palmitic acids in the morning".

..naphthenic and palmitic acids..

I would prefer you use the IUPAC nomenclature. More ponderous, perhaps, but replete with structural information.

It was the same in the late 1800s: young white officer confident he could solve the "Apache problem" in a year or less, put in charge of a contingent of black enlisted men, only to be outsmarted by Victorio or Juh and have his command annihilated and himself tortured to death by people furious over the wrongs they suffered at the hands of Western imperialist aggressors.

My own little girl cried in 1967 and fortunately I returned but more than 50,000 of my comrades in arms did not return from Johnson's war. It is not a Democratic or Republican war, it is the politician who creates the war and leaves it up to others to fight. The younger here think it is only Republican because that is all they have seen.

Kipling said it about Afghanistan more than a century ago


A recent British soldier said it last August


If this FNG in the White House has the gonads to stop all this nonsense, then he will truly deserve a prize and I will take back all the things I have ever thought about him and his economic staff of banksters.

I am reminded of Shelby Foote's comment, in Ken Burns' "The Civil War," about Pickett's Charge, at Gettysburg. He said that it would have taken more courage to refuse orders to carry out the charge than it took to follow orders and charge a fortified position.

Longstreet was unable to speak his orders--which meant certain death or serious wounds for thousands of his men. He simply nodded his consent, when asked if the charge should commence (not from Burn's work):


I had no experience like that so I cannot comment except that it must have been terrifying. I was a fighter pilot who went to war in a Cessna. We had a unique view of the war working with ground forces and air forces. I believe the fighting person wants to win so they can go home to their little girls.

My older cousin lasted 15 or 20 seconds on Iwo before he was terribly wounded.

But seeing that photo reminds me that military personnel are people, too, and all too often victims of an economic system that causes disenfranchised youths to feel that military 'service' offers them some hope of economic opportunity, if they survive it.

Certainly some enlist for the economic reasons you cite. But remember, large numbers also enlist just because they feel it is their patriotic duty to do their part in a time of war out of love of their country. They are doing it just because they think it's the right thing to do, not because it's the only job they could get.

Things must have changed since I was in the US Army during the early '70s, then. I never once met a fellow soldier who claimed to have enlisted because they felt it was their "patriotic duty" to do so, or out of a self-proclaimed "love of country." More likely someone would say that they enlisted because there was better weed in the Army than in their hometown. In those days, guys enlisted so that they wouldn't get drafted & sent to Vietnam.

Prolly premature, but perception is everything...

Wednesday, 14 June 2006, 01:43 GMT 02:43 UK

US 'biggest global peace threat'

The Iraq war continues to damage the US image, the survey says
People in European and Muslim countries see US policy in Iraq as a bigger threat to world peace than Iran's nuclear programme, a survey has shown.

This year's National Brand Index (NBI) -- a global survey ranking countries by how admired they are around the world -- has been released, and the U.S. has taken the top spot. Last year America ranked 7th. This sudden rise up the ranks is, according to the founder of NBI, remarkable and unique.

I've lost all respect for the Nobel committee. Awarding the Peace Prize to the guy who orders or authorizes some kid in a cubicle at an Air Force base near Las Vegas to blast Pakistani civilians by remote control from a drone aircraft. Awarding it to the guy who's ramping up war against the Afghan people. Better to have given Obama the War Monger's Prize. That he would have actually deserved.

Maybe it's a consolation prize for Chicago losing the Olympics.

I bet there's thousands of Olympic athletes worldwide breathing a sigh of relief that they'll be going to sunny Rio, rather than the "Windy City." The Field Museum & Shedd Aquarium are pretty cool, but compared to the beach at Impanema..? No brainer, if you ask me.

The IOC officials who vote on where to hold the Olympics will have a special reserved beach for themselves.

Special reserved beach or clubbed to death? a real tough one.

I heard the Olympics in Rio will be topless.

and the new offshore wells are bottomless.

What a setup, punchline and an outstanding comeback.

Obama the Peace Prize? Absurd!
The next thing you will be telling me, they made golf an Olympic sport.

Golf, rugby added for 2016 and 2020

After more than a century on the sidelines, golf will return to the Olympics at the Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro. Rugby, last played in 1924, is coming back as well.

Both were reinstated for the 2016 and 2020 games after a vote Friday by the International Olympic Committee.

Tiger Woods pledged to take part if golf became an Olympic sport. He'll get his chance in Rio in 2016.

I fully expect totoneila's post about this below.

Yep, Tiger has probably already instructed his personal staff to reserve a primo dock or anchor spot for his big yacht. My guess is his wife will not be happy if he wants to check out the beach dental floss attire. I expect that she has already instructed her twin sister to be ready to help her beat off the Rio-babes for any potential upcoming beach walk. The paparazzi is probably already foaming at the mouth for the opportunity to video any potential catfights, but my guess is Tiger's security detail won't let anyone get near him and his adorable family.

Golf growing fast in soccer-mad Brazil
25,000 Brazilians now teeing it up, up from 6,000 five years ago
[a 2005 text, but has links to recent photos of the Tiger & Phil Michelson clans]

Brazil has 30 percent more golf courses, 40 percent more driving ranges and three times the number of golf stores it had five years ago. More than 30 projects for new golf courses are underway across the country — including one financed by Donald Trump and designed by Jack Nicklaus.

..Today, most of Brazil’s 105 courses can be played by anybody, even nonmembers, and often at reasonable prices.
I have never been to South America [SA], but Brazil has always been sports crazy, so maybe they won't have to bulldoze any Rio favelas for Olympic sports arenas, hotel spaces, golf courses, etc, as many good spots may already exist [may just need upgrading for the Olympics]. It is too early to tell if any civil conflict will arise from Rio being awarded the Five Rings.

If conflict does arise over a proposed Rio golf course, especially if Tiger's golf development company is involved, it will be interesting to see if he is in favor of busting heads to move the project forward, or if he decides to side with the poor and backs out. I just hope he remembers his father's prediction and his family-tree ancestry. We will see...

I don't follow golf, so I am unaware of what the elimination format might be for the Olympics. Maybe just the top 50 ranked pros and amateurs will go at it for two weeks or so.

If the global economy is still bad, or even much postPeak worse by then, the Rio Olympics may be a remarkably small affair with mostly locals cheering in the stands. 2016 is sometime away--it will be interesting to see how many SA soccer pitches will have been converted to urban garden plots by then.

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

Keep the money flowing...

Billionaire status is Tiger Woods’ next trophy
Golf star is on track to pass $1 billion in career earnings by 2010

Woods is on track to pass $1 billion in career earnings by 2010. Becoming a billionaire — that is, having a net worth above $1 billion — will take slightly longer, since a sizable chunk of Woods' prize and endorsement money is eaten up by taxes and management fees — we estimated 45 percent. We also credited Woods with annualized investment returns of 8 percent.

It's amazing how a guy who walks around hitting golf balls makes more money than many thousands (probably millions) of subsistence farmers worldwide COMBINED.

it will be interesting to see how many SA soccer pitches will have been converted to urban garden plots by then.

Bob, I was born in Sao Paulo. So I know the country and the people.

I'd be willing to wager many sacks of rice and beans that not a single one of them!

As for the golf courses, those I wouldn't bet on ;-)

I keep holding out hope that they'll bring Tug of War back. There could be a chance for me yet!

It does seem like a weird think to do. The man has only been in the White House for a few months! Hardly enough time to do anything.

It could be a clever ploy though. Give Obama the Nobel Peace prize at the start of his presidency before he can start any wars and then he has it hanging round his neck when he thinks about ordering an invasion of Iran. Can you imagine the media announcing:

"President Obama, the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize Winner, has just ordered the US Marines into Tehran."

Perhaps there is more to this announcement than meets the eye...

I think it's ridiculous. And Obama seems to agree.

I think Westexas is right - this is a "thank you for not electing another Dubya" to the American people.

And perhaps, it's meant to give Obama some momentum in actually achieving his goals (on climate change, etc.).

I believe he is achieving his goals - making his wealthy benefactors happy while keeping the masses calm.

The award is disgusting, but I'm not sure why anyone thinks that the Nobel prize is somehow immune from corruption. Did we think it was magic or something? A Nobel prize is obviously quite valuable, and having it awarded to Obama will be very effective in keeping the believers believing.

Won't do much harm to Fox's ratings today either, will it?

I agree with your conspiracy theory-obviously FOX is to blame for this silly award (they must have paid the committee to juice their ratings).

And perhaps, it's meant to give Obama some momentum in actually achieving his goals (on climate change, etc.).

In rcent years they often give out the prize an encouragement for a cause (or percieved cause). I think it cheapens the prize, as I believe only with the hindsight of history can you judge a man's true effect.

And Obama's foreign policy, which seems to be imperialism with a friendlier face, still leaves much to be desired.

Are you serious? You're worried about cheapening an award previously given to Henry Kissinger.

Anyway, I agree with Leanan, but I think rather than climate change the Nobel Committee are wanting to encourage the "it's better to jaw-jaw than war-war" approach, to borrow a phrase from Winston Churchill.

Yep, I had the same exact thought. Somebody on the selection committee had the big picture in mind.

Maybe they can give him the Nobel Prize for literature too, since he wrote two books. Hey, he threw a good first pitch at a baseball game this summer. Give him the Cy Young Award!

Obama throws like a Ptychocheilus.

I think we have the start of a long-running inside joke going on here. :)

Here's another article on Peak Oil Today by Newt Gingrich et al
Peak Oil: A Theory Running Out Of Gas
By Newt Gingrich and Steve Everley

One year ago, Congress responded to the chorus of Americans calling for more American energy by lifting the ban on offshore drilling. For the first time in a quarter-century, it became legal to drill for more oil and natural gas reserves offshore. This anniversary allows us to look back on how far we have come since 2008. The sad reality is we have barely moved.

Earlier this year, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced he would delay the comment period for offshore energy exploration by six months. Salazar claimed that the previous comment period, which would have ended in March, "by no means provides enough time for public review."

Evidently 25 years of delays and bans was not enough. During that quarter-century Congress had to make the decision each year whether to renew the ban on offshore energy, yet Salazar suggested that we were somehow engaged in a "headlong rush" to explore for energy offshore.

Newtie:: The field is actually 16% larger than what had been estimated.

Republicans have perhaps a genetic defect in not having a sense of scale and turning everything into black & white. In Gingrich's world, even a 0.5% increase would be considered a repudiation of all the analysis that came before it. And Gingrich and George Will are considered the titans of intellectualism in conservative circles.

It is also why this guy Steve McIntyre decides to point out a few missing pieces of data in a global warming study; as he knew the rest of the wingnut-o-sphere would go half-cocked in denouncing all AGW trends.

Weird how this happens. It is why you have to be diligent in maintaining good models and meticulous data records. The deniers will twist the numbers any way they can in the face of an innumerate society.

I'm not so sure about Will but I'm fairly sure that Gingrich gets it-he's a politician ,remember, and his goal is to keep his coalition together-truth has seldom interefered with any politician's public statements when votes are at stake.

O'Bama is not saying much and the Clintons said less.Al Gore is the most exception but he is finished in politics more than likely.

Carter tried- the country turned against him when they got a little straight talk rather than the customary baby bottle of chocolate milk.

G Will is attacking the AGW proponents almost weekly.

I am not necessarily referring to the politicians alone. Gingrich and others are simply at the top of their food pyramid. The base of the republican lot is even more dense and doctrinaire on such topics. And most of that is caused by adherence to fundamentalism of the religious or reaganist stripe. So we are probably in agreement that they echo what their base wants.

I do think that the GOP currently has a pretty good lock on the crazed white person vote, so I think that Perry/Palin, in 2012, would be an ideal ticket for them, and they would presumably then implement the "Nehemiah Scudder" platform.

Hey, it's the end of time, and the human species has finally quit taking itself seriously.
Go Palin!

Yeah - perhaps there is something to be said for actively supporting the biggest idiot. Just to accentuate the absurdity.

It's like the lady who ran up $80K in charges on her credit cards, then killed herself. Budget deficits & national debt doesn't matter, since there will be no one left to either pay or collect.

Guys, you undermine the support you purport to seek when you denigrate about 50% of the voting public with such statements.

Many conservatives, myself included, don't agree with many planks in the Repub platform, but we don't agree with the Dems either.

You help turn ordinary working males into the "crazed white person" when you act in such a way as to trigger defensive reactions rather than to increase understanding. As a group we may be simplistic and dense, but remember, it was the schools largely manned by liberals who've trained us all to be this way!

Personally, I'm not seeking the support of anyone, and I see the R's and D's as virtually indistinguishable. Both are part of a charade, two rival groups vying for power by trying to be the most useful to the wealthy elite, while trying to convince the public that they represent them. Trying to get support from the masses for ideas like PO is futile, as they are openly hostile to the concept of limitation in any form (they've been well indoctrinated). There are no "solutions" to the problems we face (predicaments as Greer would call them), and the implications are that a large number of people are going to lose a lot.

If saying that someone like Palin is an idiot offends you, well.....um....words fail me.

IMO Palin has not shown herself to be more of an "idiot" than the average USA politician. Furthermore, most of the problems the USA faces are not caused by idiot politicians. Paulson,Bernanke,Cheney,Obama etc. etc. are not stupid people-their obvious intelligence is totally irrelevant if their agenda doesn't coincide with the progress of the nation. Jeez, I don't think anyone ever labelled Henry Kissinger an "idiot" and look what that guy did (another Peace Prize champ).

He helped move China from an arms-length Communist enemy to our greatest trading partner and lender. Funny how that doesn't seem as brilliant now as it might have in 1985.

USA exports to Canada are 3X exports to China, exports to Mexico are 2X.

Sorry, I was knee-keep in hyperbole. "Cheap imports" would have been more accurate. Plus I think Japan usually buys as much in bonds, and Saudi Arabia isn't far behind.

Good thing too - we could never have outsourced all those jobs or run up so much debt otherwise.

Paulson, Bernanke,Cheney, Obama and Kissinger are not idiots, rather cunning and dangerous sociopaths. While I tried not to listen to the election nonsense, I did hear Palin speak a few times and read what she said a few times. She's got that ability to make you want to crawl under the table with embarrassment that only a real idiot has. She's totally out of her element. That does not make her unique among politicians in any way, nor does the fact that there are plenty of idiots in our government improve her suitability. I think it'd be a real hoot if she was president.

Palin head on against George Jr. in an IQ test would be quite the contest.

She's got that ability to make you want to crawl under the table with embarrassment that only a real idiot has.

I know exactly what you mean, just like this:

I see the R's and D's as virtually indistinguishable. Both are part of a charade

Hear Hear !

Actually, there is a subtle difference.

"Conservatives" (a.k.a. Repeato-cators) believe in the Grand Opulence Continuation Theory: That which was will continue to be forever and ever. We always got oil in the past and we always will in the future. The doomers were wrong in the past and they always will be wrong in the future. Nostalgia will once again be what it used to be if only we vote for the giant salamander (The Newt).

"Liberals" (a.k.a. Demographic-baters) believe in the Grand Pan to the Kumbaya Masses Theory: If you get enough people to believe in "Change" then the change will happen because we all got together and we all wished really really hard upon a star as one giant group of sheep. Kumbaya my friends, kumbaya.

TOD readers have the unfortunate curse of seeing the charade perpetrated by both nut case parties.

As for myself and my big friend Gulliver over here, we both believe the egg must be opened on the smaller end. To do it from the other end is slippery slope insanity. Bwahaha ...

Lot of smug Palin bashers on this thread. Does it make you feel a little more manly to reel off snide sucker punches when she can't reply? Calling someone an idiot just confirms that a rational thought process is a challenge for some. So much easier defame an opponent than to speak coherently. No one is fooled by the bluster. Emotional personal attacks should be vented elsewhere.

Perhaps you're right. But it's only defamation if it's false.

Given she was a pig of a campaigner, your complaint is ridiculously partisan and hypocritical. Or did you send her a nasty e-mail tsk-tsking her lies, BS, and buffoonery?


Look at the big defensive reaction that Congressman Alan Grayson triggered in the Republicans by telling it like it is. It was basically silence. Republicans don't want to understand and they will only respond to authority. Grayson didn't back down and the republicans essentially cowered in the corner.

We need to do the same with many of the issues. I will not back down from any statement I make just to have them take advantage of pure contrarianism.

As Grayson said yesterday, if Obama ordered a BLT sandwich, the Republicans would all get together against bacon.

You could form a new party which espouses conservative fiscal policy etc. without the culture wars/racism/stupidity baggage. That would be useful.

I'm not so sure about Will but I'm fairly sure that Gingrich gets it-he's a politician ,remember...

It is a serious mistake to think that just because Newt is a politician that he gets it. Very few politicians really get it and the vast majority of them really believe the baloney they spew. Also most are serious in their denial of peak oil. I think Newt was dead serious in his denial, he does not get it at all.

After all, Daniel Yergin and his research firm, CERA, says we are no where close to peak oil
Peak Oil Theory – “World Running Out of Oil Soon” – Is Faulty; Could Distort Policy & Energy Debate

Cambridge Energy Research Associates (CERA) finds that the remaining global oil resource base is actually 3.74 trillion barrels -- three times as large as the 1.2 trillion barrels estimated by the (peak oil) theory’s proponents

If CEAR's "finds" are correct we have enough oil to last us 132 years at present consumption. What reason would Gingrich have to doubt CERA? So Gingrich, and all other politicians have every reason to believe that the data is on their side. No, no, Gingrich, as well as 90% of all politicians in Washington do not get it at all. They, in this one instance anyway, are not lying.

Ron P.

Darwinian, You could be right-but I have read some of Gingrich's work and he's pretty bright-I remain of the opinion that he understands the energy situation but will never publicly say anything to harm his base.

Of course he may actually believe we can continue on our merry way by utilizing the tar sands and the shale oil and so forth-

And while we disagree-nobody has actually PROVEN that it can't be done-not definitively ,anyway.

Maybe the cornucopians will still be holding the high ground ten years from now-with production going up.My guess is(mostly derived by following this site and your comments among others) that the odds are ninety nine to one against but hey?Some unknown horse won the Kentucky Derby recently , right?

I have read some of Gingrich's work and he's pretty bright-I remain of the opinion that he understands the energy situation but will never publicly say anything to harm his base.

Mac, it is a grave mistake to assume that just because a man is bright that he also understands the problem. Politicians are not geologists, they are just politicians and even the very bright ones are often wrong on far more than one problem. Why must we assume that just because they are bright that they see the problem exactly as we do but must lie to protect their base?

No, and like two other very bright people, Daniel Yergin and Michael Lynch, he is far more likely to be simply wrong. After all, it is obvious that he does not know very much about the peak oil situation. He gets Hubbert's prediction wrong and thinks peak oil is all about reserves. That is so typical of people who have only a tiny amount of knowledge about oil production but nevertheless concludes that we have enough oil to last for many decades. After all, they know what the USGS says, and they know what CERA says, and they have no reason to doubt them.

People please, it is time to stop assuming that all politicians and other prognosticators who think peak oil is not a problem are all lying through their teeth. Lynch is not lying, he is just wrong, Yergin is not lying, he is just wrong and Gingrich is not lying either, he is just wrong. Most people, when they give a wrong opinion about anything, are wrong far more often than they are lying.

Occams Razor should be our guide. Unless we have a really good reason to believe a person is lying we should just assume they are wrong.

Ron P.

I never thought of it that way. Fundies aren't necessarily lying either, they truly believe in their faith even though it is wrong. Do you then suppose that their ego gets in the way and they cannot accept that they could be wrong?

But then again I could be wrong, or you could be wrong, or we are all wrong, and this is just the Matrix that we inhabit.

We know for a fact those that started the denialist bandwagon rolling knew they were lying. I agree with you about the people they have brainwashed, but the leaders know better. If G. Will doesn't understand the reality of AGW, I'll eat my hat.

Here's how you know the difference:

1. The brainwashed argue the facts with twists turns and gyrations and/or buy that there is some grand conspiracy (while denying there was ever any conspiracy during the BuCheney administration, among others).

2. The leaders of the cult outright lie. G. Will fits here, imo. His articles contain too many false statements. It is one thing to interpret differently, it is another to falsify facts.


Confirmation bias. Morton has contributed a guest post or two under the handle seismobob.

I have read some of Gingrich's work and he's pretty bright

Intelligence has exactly zero to do with wisdom, awareness, perception, or ideology.

One can be quite intelligent and still be an utter fool and buffoon. It is clear the the AGW denial machine has been driven by ideology. (I've posted the links many times.) I think Nate has done a fair job of demonstrating how people's thinking is driven by pretty much everything BUT intelligence.


he's pretty bright

Personally, I like to get outdoors,
Smell the fresh air,
And stare at the Sun all day,
Now there's "Bright" for you.

(And it's pretty too.)

What was that song? Blinded by the Light?


In general i agree with you for the very reasons you mention-but Gingrich is a fan of some "futurist" type writers and a historian too boot-he is well aware of people being wrong on good evidence in many situations in the past and also has a research staff- so i persist in putting him in the camp of the liars -but I won't argue the point further.

I myself have pointed out several times the tendency of people to follow the lead of those whom they respect and trust when faced with making decisions without the bnefit of first hand knowledge-there is no reason Gingrich couldn't be in this camp , just like my fundamentalist Daddy-he's intelligent too, but not educated.

Let me rephrase my argument-I'll bet a hundred Gingrich could write a peak oil article off the top of his head that would be essentially correct in all major details-whether he would believe it is as you guys say, another matter.

Speaking of Shale Oil, have you seen front page of today's online New York Times:

New Way to Tap Gas May Expand Global Supplies

energy analysts are already predicting that shale could reduce Europe’s dependence on Russian natural gas. They said they believed that gas reserves in many countries could increase over the next two decades, comparable with the 40 percent increase in the United States in recent years.

There's some discussion of this article in yesterday's DrumBeat.

Oh sorry, I didn't read comments that late last night.

How does denying Peak Oil help the Republican agenda? Can someone explain?

Business as usual, party on, Drill Baby Drill...these are the mantra of Republicans who wish to oppose (a) renewable energy (b) consume less (c) leave it in the ground. Paint the Dems as wussies who care more about stinkin' caribou than about 'merican jawbs. Swing the dummy vote your way and win.

Apparently, the Democrats are against BAU.

Oh, wait, no they're not.

Peak Oil also means peak socialism. This is not a left vs. right issue.

Incorrect. A majority of Democrats see AGW as real AND climate scientists as telling the truth while a majority of Republicans poll the opposite. The gulf between the two has widened, whcih seems to be a good description of a rip in the time/space continuum given what we know. Used to be just 6 percentage points.

See recent Romm essay/post.


Thanks for the answers. I still don't get entirely it since many people who believe in global warming think there is TONS of carbon energy left. That is why they are so concerned. I get that Reps are pro-biz and don't want to have to pay carbon taxes, but that is not the same as anti-peak.

Maybe it's cause they don't want renewable energy mandates by state govts like in CA which mean higher energy costs?

All I see is that if they go the denier route and they are wrong the businesses that follow them will suffer most. Many local governments are preparing their world for renewable energy (at least in my town everything from meter maids to bus drivers are starting to go more sustainable), but if businesses are lulled into complacency by their leaders they will suffer more than if they had not.

Plus why make a stand when no one is sure? They will just look stupid.

A shot at humor, recalled on reading yesterday's DB and the Michael Pollan story late....


scroll down to the Not my Job Pollan interview, or for the interview with background:



While UBS payed a fine and thousands of names were turned over, the only person to actually go to jail for the UBS tax scam was the whistleblower:

Hopefully his superiors and the tax cheats will get theirs too, but I'm too cynical to expect that anymore.

Hello all, long time reader second time commenter. I'm an engineer in Edmonton, Alberta and as much as possible I am a vocal opponent of oil sands extraction. As you may know, the new hot topic around here is carbon capture and sequestration. I am struck by the attention that is paid to economic feasibility and technological feasibility while there is zero attention paid to the effect that CCS will have on an already low EROEI. I was wondering where a guy might find the most comprehensive EROEI analysis that has been done on oil sands extraction and upgrading and whether or not CCS has ever been included. I'm assuming not given that the technology doesn't seem to be quite there yet. But surely we must be able to ball park something at this point. From what I've read CCS could prove to be a relatively energy intensive process. It seems nothing short of criminal to me to use sweet dry natural gas (arguably our most valuable resource) to make transportation fuel at an EROEI that is approaching energy sinkhole status. But hey, maybe that's just me. Anyway, the arguments coming from government opposition all focus on CO2 emissions which I find a little hilarious given that the whole point of oil sands extraction is to free carbon atoms from their underground prison. EROEI seemed to make it into the public debate when it came to discussing corn ethanol and such, but when it comes to oil sands and CCS it seems to be completely absent. I think it's time for that to change. Thoughts?

Gail_the_Actuary has recently run a series of articles on the tar sands. You can access them from TOD archives. They probably contain the information you're looking for. Keep up the good work of opposing extraction of that nasty crud!

Here's my visual metaphor for carbon capture and sequestration.

The dog is the human population and the bisquit is the money and energy used to sequester CO2.

You can't do this trick easily with a starving dog. CCS simply won't happen on an ongoing basis, once we start getting into the crunch of things.

Love the look on the pooch's face: "C'mon, c'mon, c'mon, say Peak Everything, c'mon, c'mon, c'mon, say it, say it, say it just once, c'mon, just once already, it just sucks waiting for the keyword, Come on--Just gimme' the chance!"

After reviewing Charles Hall's EROI formula it seems likely to me that CCS would have a significant effect on direct and indirect energy inputs. Has anyone done a quantitative analysis of this?

There's a black dog in Spike Lee's movie Summer of Sam that wanders in Berkowitz' room and he asks the dog "what would you have me do master?" the dog responds "I want you to go out and kill, kill, kill?". Every time I see "drill, drill, drill" I visualize that dog in the movie saying it.

You can't do this trick easily with a starving dog

Unfortunately, i can't do this trick with my Girlfriends dogs either, and they're not exactly staving. They just won't bloody sit still!

2008-2009 Influenza Season Week 39 ending October 3, 2009


During week 39 (September 27-October 3, 2009), influenza activity increased in the U.S.

* 2,968 (27.4%) specimens tested by U.S. World Health Organization (WHO) and National Respiratory and Enteric Virus Surveillance System (NREVSS) collaborating laboratories and reported to CDC/Influenza Division were positive for influenza.
* 99% of all subtyped influenza A viruses being reported to CDC were 2009 influenza A (H1N1) viruses.
* The proportion of deaths attributed to pneumonia and influenza (P&I) was at the epidemic threshold.
* Nineteen influenza-associated pediatric deaths were reported. Sixteen of these deaths were associated with 2009 influenza A (H1N1) virus infection and three were associated with influenza A virus, for which subtype is undetermined.
* The proportion of outpatient visits for influenza-like illness (ILI) was above the national baseline. Regions 3 through 10 reported ILI above region-specific baseline levels; Regions 1 and 2 were below region-specific baselines.
* Thirty-seven states reported geographically widespread influenza activity, Guam and 11 states reported regional influenza activity, two states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico reported local influenza activity, and the U.S. Virgin Islands did not report.

I thought that the little dip last week would be temporary. Will be interesting to see what the peak looks like.

Funnily enough one of (the only?) the reasons for the downturn last week nationally was a big apparent drop especially in Texas and a few other places. Turns out that some of the worst hit areas did not report in time for last week's deadline thus skewing the numbers down. There is still an under-report in some areas this week but it looks like the CDC is coming back more into line with Google Flu Trends.

Meanwhile the CDC redefines case definitions every other week causing Wikipedia edit wars and confusing everyone left, right and centre - some say that's the plan.

Here's some more numbers.

In the words of a moderator at http://flutrackers.com

"A picture paints a thousand words"

19 pediatric influenza deaths were recorded last week alone (7 of them in Texas). This compares with an average of ZERO for this time of year.

Hello TODers,

YouTube now gets over a billion hits a day, according to a new video blog post by the founder of the website...
I hope they undertake some studies to see if YouTube [YT] is increasing the overall desire for people to crack open some books to get more fully informed on the intertwined details of the looming issues, as I am highly doubtful based on the comments in many YT videos. It would also be interesting to know if google hits involving some kind of research [like what is done here on TOD], are now outpacing hits for pointless info. I am highly doubtful of this, too.

Once, when telling a young man about PO & CC and related text-based websites: He said he couldn't be bothered with words, math, and charts; if it didn't have cool videos he wasn't interested. I was dumb-founded to say the least.

Literate or not, I keep trying to figure out the question I could innocently pose to anybody who simply speaks my language that would stick in their craw as an annoying and persistent challenge to their assumption that all will continue to be well, and the Gas-nipples will forever be there to suckle..

"IF.. just saying IF it ran out.. what would you do? Are you ready? Got Options?"

(Using my 'LEGO' wheelbarrow and bike wheels to make a Cart for my daughter and I at our Halloween parade. "Gigi-Kitty's Desert Train" .. I need to find a cheap supply of scads of 3/8" bolts.. I burn through them fast! but reuse them again and again..)

A billion hits a day is symptomatic of the decline of television both broadcast and cable. It is well known that the internet is putting newspapers on the defensive if not in bankruptcy or out of business.

It is also in the process of putting television into decline with perhaps the same fate. Why put up with commercials and programing that is irritating to put it mildly? A lot of those hits are from people like me who listen to streaming YouTube videos on Songza for example. I have a favorites list that runs for hours and am listening to it now as I type this.

Those billion hits represent not just ad revenue or a few minutes of watching a single video, but a media shift. Those hits represent hours of listening/viewing that are taken away from television since there are only 24 hours in a day.

The implications are profound, not just for the businesses involved, but for society in general. No longer does society have the same reference point in the media that formerly existed when everyone read the same newspapers, listened to the same radio stations or watched the same television programs. They were in effect the secular "church" that glued the community together by preaching one message over and over again and everyone had to listen because that is all there was.

One of the reasons conservatives have been as successful as they have in making noise lately is that they are for the most part still in that mode. Limbaugh on the radio and Beck and others on Fox are listened to for hours on end each day. (I don't know how they can stand it, but from experience in my family I know they do.)

This is the glue that binds them together. On the other hand Obama and a lot of his supporters are noted for being computer/internet geeks. They make up there own messages/programs and thus send out and receive a fragmented and disconnected stream of internet media that is hard for those not participating to grasp.

Each is marching to his own drummer and enjoying it. Sometimes they march in step, sometimes not. Sometimes they go in opposite directions or stop altogether, whatever they feel like.

This disorganization while enjoyable to the individual, makes getting anything done politically very difficult and is part of the reason Obama and other liberals have a hard time accomplishing much. They are having too much fun making up their own "newspapers", "radio", and "television" to be bothered.

This is my "newspaper" article for today. Now for some more YouTube "television" at Songza.fm as I browse other internet favorites. This is more fun than Fox any day.

Do you have a teenager?

For my teens, rolling through Facebook, a blog or two, and YouTube is very much like channel-surfing when I was a teen. Texting has replaced endless phone calls, and the Internet is replacing TV. Those still exist, as do video games and Red Box, to help provide connectivity to their generation, reduce connectivity to mine, and waste their time abundantly.

To me, the way my kids access media is more like an alley cat looking for adventure than my sedate Bassett Hound approach to looking the Guide and flipping channels.

I read about the news organization whining about revenue leaks and "owning" news, when they don't realize that their just staid copy-editors and the news was out on Twitter and texts before their guy got to the scene. They are as dead as the rotary telephone and Polaroid, and they just don't realize it yet.

The younger generation cares little for copyrights, and views information as infinite and largely free. Where we wanted humor from a professionally-produced SNL skit, they're happily entertained by amateur postings where the embarrassing quality of the performer is half the fun.

As to educational value, no, not so much.

"Do you have a teenager?"

Nope, no offspring, I'm now 54. I live alone in a rented room in the middle of Asphaltistan. My landlord refuses to read TOD, EB, etc.

My 11yo son is the only one in our family that watches any TV, and not all that much - he likes the Science and Discovery channels. My 15yo daughter never watches it - she and my wife are too busy doing the social networking stuff. And I'm on on sites like like this doing my anti-social networking. Yeah, it's just a change in media and habits.

PhysicsWorld magazine has its October Energy edition available as a free download [you have to register and agree to receive promotions]. Or maybe that only worked for me because I'm registered for their newswire. If it doesn't work then some of the articles are linked from the home page -- you still have to register.

I also note the point in the gregor.us blog: "The Federal Reserve can claim, and people are free to accept, that their 1.25 trillion purchases of Agencies and 300 billion purchase of US Treasuries are simply monetary and liquidity operations. But that doesn’t make such a restrictive, narrow claim true. The FED actually had to make those purchases to avert a funding crisis." The USA is in a wonderful position of having its debt in its own currency. Will rates rise to "whatever it takes" to roll the debt forward, or will money be printed? One thing that won't happen is a dramatic decision to default. There are various obvious reasons why interest rates won't be allowed to go to infinity, and one of those reasons is that it simply might not do the job. Once rates get beyond a point investors will figure that there will have to be a default and refuse to invest at any interest rate. So there is no point saying that America wouldn't or shouldn't print its way out of debt: it will happen. America should then feel guilty about never paying for all that oil and all those Chinese goods. If the guilt revives America's hard-working entrepreneurial spirit then maybe you'll save the world, Again.

I agree about the federal govt printing it's way out of debt.As i see it, it's either print or default.

There is a significant time lag between the printing and the resulting inflation and the holders of the notes have a good incentive to keep the squaking down-if the value of a tbill I own falls five percent before I can cash it in I can still recover 95 percent of my money-if I keep my mouth shut and don't help start a panic.

So as I see it the major sellers of oil and other goods will do what they can to put us on cod in the future and get rid of our dollars as fast as possible.

And the smarter ones are getting rid of them now-I will bet that nearly everything the Chinese have bought up in the last couple of years was paid for with dollars.They probably would be buyiny more except they may be afraid to unload dollars too fast and also afraid of driving up the bargain prices they've been geting so far.

Superrich individuals who can get themselves and thier dollars into the United States in the event of an emergency can afford a lot of dollar inflation and can continue to hold a lot of dollars-if I had several tens of millions I would be willing to lose some of it while holding it for it's insurance value-assuming I were a Saudi and afraid I might need a new home on a few hours or less notice someday.

The Mexican government on Thursday ordered state-run oil giant Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex) to halt its exploration in the Chicontepec oil field, but left the final decision to the company.

"I order you to stop! Unless, you know, you decide it's not really good for you at this time."

I can't believe no one else commented on this head-scratcher of an opening statement. Talk about mixed signals.

from the chesapeake energy 2q09 earnings conference call (aubrey mcclendon):

"So I think it is all shaping up to be a pretty favorable summer of 2010 and you're not likely to get weather as unhelpful as it has been this summer with New York having the second coldest summer since 1888 I think, and Chicago having the fourth coldest summer since 1935 or something like that.

So our hope is that that foreshadows a little colder winter and we would suspect next summer would be a little warmer. We like 2010 and, we're looking forward to getting there."

is there anything to that ? does a cooler summer portend a colder winter ?

the passage seems to reflect the ramblings of a global warming denier.

El Nino is still predicted to increase in strength through the winter months. This portends a warmer than average winter in the North and a cooler than average winter in the South (see map below pg. 37). I interpret that to forecast lower than average ng demand for the USA.

ENSO weekly update (PDF)

thanks for the info.

From the article above: 'Moore decries buying up third world for food security'

Rich nations are practising a modern form of colonialism by acquiring farmland in poorer countries, former New Zealand prime minister Mike Moore says.
"It is a new elephant in the room," Mr Moore who became director-general of the World Trade Organisation in the wake of his stint as PM in 1990.

"I think it is the wrong policy because I don't think food security will be guaranteed in the future because you own colonies overseas," he told the Gulf Times. "The English found that out with sugar".

Food? I don't think so. It's probably more likely 3rd world land is being purchased for production of ethanol from one crop source or another for a future of declining oil. This bodes badly for the poor who will certainly be paying much more for food as more land is set aside in their countries for crops to produce ethanol. Is it really going to go down that way - the wealthy in essence sending the poor to their graves by way of their limited ability to compete.

I don't think so, though that might be a possibility in the future.

I think the countries doing the buying are seriously worried about food security. Saudi Arabia, for example. They've finally realized that they can't keep using fossil water to grow wheat. They stopped. But now they must replace that food.