Drumbeat: December 2, 2009

Russia sets new oil output record in Nov

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia produced more than 10 million barrels per day of oil for the third consecutive month in November to retain its position ahead of Saudi Arabia as the world's top producer, Energy Ministry data showed on Wednesday.

Russian output reached 10.07 million bpd last month, setting a new post-Soviet record for the fourth straight month, as state-run sector leader Rosneft's (ROSN.MM) Vankor field ramped up production. Russia had produced 10.04 million bpd in October.

Russia, where oil is the key revenue earner for the budget, has reversed last year's decline in production by introducing a more benign tax regime and launching new fields in remote areas of eastern Siberia and the Arctic.

Derivatives Bill Needs FERC Changes, Lawmakers Say

(Bloomberg) -- U.S. Representative Edward Markey said he is working on changes to derivatives legislation that would preserve the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s authority over wholesale power markets.

Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat, said at a House Energy and Commerce Committee panel hearing today that he is working with the committee’s chairman, Representative Henry Waxman, on a “resolution” to change the measure, which is part of a larger package of financial regulations that may be voted on as early as next week.

Will Iraq Save The World From Peak Oil?

While jaded energy investors may scoff at Iraq increasing its capacity due to past failures, this time the world's largest international oil companies are backing these efforts with money and technical knowledge.

Total Seeks Iraqi Oil Fields in Return to Roots

(Bloomberg) -- Total SA, which has so far failed to win contracts to develop Iraqi oil reserves, is interested in at least three fields as it seeks to return to a country the French producer first helped explore back in 1927.

“There are a number of fields we are interested in and have worked on in the past,” Yves-Louis Darricarrere, Total’s head of exploration and production, said in an interview. “This doesn’t mean others don’t interest us.” He declined to give details on the French company’s strategy for winning licenses because the contest is “highly competitive.”

ConocoPhillips slashes its budget

US supermajor ConocoPhillips will cut capital expenditures by an estimated 10% to $11.2 billion next year, as the hard-hit supermajor continues to grapple with volatile energy markets and tight credit.

Talisman wields jobs axe

Canadian explorer Talisman Energy is laying off 220 people in its conventional natural gas and shale divisions.

QatarGas Delivers First Liquefied Gas Cargo to Canada

(Bloomberg) -- Qatar Liquefied Gas Co., the liquefied natural gas producer known as QatarGas, delivered its first cargo of the fuel to Canada as it expands into new markets and brings additional production units on stream.

Barclays Initiates LNG Services With Excelerate Deal

(Bloomberg) -- Barclays Capital said it will market Excelerate Energy LLC’s liquefied-natural-gas cargoes landing at the importer’s Northeast U.S. port, as the bank begins to offer LNG risk-management services.

Petrobras Workers to End Stoppages, Approve Accord

(Bloomberg) -- Petroleo Brasileiro SA workers will cease stoppages and approve a 7.8 percent wage increase after the company agreed to cancel the suspension of striking workers, a labor union spokeswoman said.

Talks progressed after the Brazilian state-controlled oil company agreed to cancel the suspension of about 90 employees who went on strike in March, the spokeswoman said today in a telephone interview from Rio de Janeiro.

$2,000 Gold vs. $140 Oil -- How gold and oil are very different

Who can forget the insane run-up in oil to $147/barrel? At the time, there was substantial disagreement as to whether the spike was speculator-driven. I will personally confess that when it was all happening I didn't think speculation was the primary impetus for the run-up. With the benefit of hindsight, however, I've changed my mind. I'm with the majority now who think it was a speculative bubble. (Although I do believe in peak oil and that oil will see $147+ again in the next decade)

Are we going to see a repeat of this spectacular spike/collapse in the gold market? Quite possibly, but if so we haven't even begun the spike phase yet.

China rejects Copenhagen climate targets

China and other big developing nations rejected core targets for a climate deal such as halving world greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 just five days before talks start in Copenhagen.

China, the world's top emitter, together with India, Brazil and South Africa demand that richer nations do more and have drawn "red lines" limiting what they themselves would accept, the diplomats told Reuters. Their tough stance could moderate, however, if developing countries pledge steeper carbon pollution reductions of their own.

Munk debate on climate change gets it wrong

In a nutshell, Lawson’s argument is simple: fossil fuels are cheap compared to the alternatives and if we force cleaner and more costly alternatives on developing countries it will deny them growth and keep their citizens poor and helpless. Plans being considered to fight global warming are “madness” and “scientifically unfounded” and “immoral,” he says. Lawson, of course, doesn’t even believe in man-made climate change, or peak oil, so figures we can continue going along our merry way burning as much dirty fossil fuel as we can. Lomborg, on the other hand, says he believes in global warming but also believes the costs being proposed to mitigate it are out of proportion with what it will accomplish. Better, he says, to take all that money and put it directly into feeding the hungry, getting medicine for the poor, and helping developing countries help themselves. Problem is he positions this all as a choice between A or B, failing to acknowledge that we need to do both — acting on one doesn’t, nor should it, preclude the other. He also seem to ignore the fact that climate change will cause more disease, drought, and extreme weather that will leave the poor in a more dire state.

7 ways microbes may solve our energy woes

Microscopic organisms — archaea, bacteria and fungi — have the potential to reshape the world's power supply. Microbes could provide a vast energy resource that is as efficient and portable as coal, oil and natural gas, said Bruce Rittmann, director of the Bioenergy Institute at Arizona State University in Phoenix.

The domestic drilling backlash: From New York to Texas, energy companies have come under fire as natural gas drilling gets close to big cities

Most Americans still support increased oil and gas drilling. But opposition is growing, especially when that drilling nears more populated urban areas. Currently there are natural gas booms happening around New York City, Dallas-Fort Worth, Western Colorado, the Midwest, and elsewhere. Opponents fear this new drilling will ruin the drinking water for millions of people, among other concerns.

And energy companies, accustomed to dealing with rural populations familiar with drilling and eager for jobs and lease royalties, are increasingly finding themselves at odds with a more educated and wealthy populace wary of energy development.

'Fossil Fuels Continue to Dominate Energy Sources'

A visiting top executive of Saudi Arabia's state-run oil company said Wednesday that fossil fuels would still play the biggest role in global energy use and it was important to try to make the best of them.

"Alternative energy sources hold promise in the long-term, and we should pursue their development in a rational fashion. But in the immediate future, the prudent course is to sustain global economic development by making the best use of proven sources of energy," Khalid A. Al-Falih, president and CEO of Saudi Aramco, said during a speech at Seoul National University (SNU).

Saudi Aramco CEO: Will Try to Help Stabilize Oil Prices

Saudi Arabian Oil Co., or Saudi Aramco, will do its part to keep oil prices from rising excessively and thus damaging a nascent global economic recovery, Chief Executive Khalid Al Falih said Wednesday.

Al Falih told reporters in Seoul he expects the refining industry to remain weak into next year, although signs of a recovery are appearing, according to a statement issued by S-Oil Corp., in which Saudi Aramco has a 35% stake.

Seoul offers Nigeria a helping hand

South Korea has joined the European Union and Shell in offering assistance to Nigeria to modernise the impoverished region since the disarmament of thousands of militants under President Umaru Yar'Adua's amnesty programme got under way.

The South Korean delegation's offer could help improve relations with Nigeria following their legal dispute over the exploration rights of two major offshore oilfields, a Reuters report said.

China's Africa trade to benefit UAE

The UAE is likely to benefit from increasing trade links between China and Africa as it acts as a go-between for the growing traffic between them, says the chief China economist at The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) in Hong Kong.

Its continuing presence as a thriving trade hub means the Emirates, and Dubai in particular, will help deliver the rising number of goods traded between China and Africa, said Ben Simpfendorfer.

Indonesia to Draw Up Rules for Domestic Coal Supplies in 2010

(Bloomberg) -- Indonesia, the world’s biggest exporter of coal used by power plants, may draw up rules next year requiring companies to set aside part of their output for domestic needs, an official at the energy ministry said.

Mexican oil production: from bad to worse

Mexico’s declining oil output has been evident for some time now - and it suffered a symbolic setback when its massive Cantarell field fell so sharply that it lost its place as the country’s number one field.

Mexicans Evading Tax Mock Calderon’s Bid to Wean Nation Off Oil

During previous tough times, Mexico could count on Pemex, a cash cow that brings in 37 percent of public-sector revenue. Now Cantarell, the world’s biggest offshore oil field, is drying up faster than the government expected.

In September, daily production at Cantarell fell 39 percent from a year earlier to 573,760 barrels. Total Mexican production tumbled by 850,000 barrels a day as of October 2009 since peaking at 3.45 million barrels in December 2003. The government is spending almost $20 billion a year on exploration to keep Mexico from becoming a net oil importer, which could occur as soon as 2015, the Energy Ministry said in 2008.

Nuclear power plant may still undergo rehab

The Korea Electric Power Corp. (KEPCo) has told the government the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP) may still be rehabilitated, following an almost yearlong study.

“We received the feasibility study and the bottom line recommendation is saying that it is possible to rehabilitate the plant,” Froilan A. Tampinco, Napocor president, told reporters.

No cost estimates were provided.

Fuel shortage hits Nepal’s capital

Ongoing protest of petrol pump workers has triggered shortage of petroleum products across the country including in the capital city, Kathmandu.

The Maoist-affiliated NPWA said they have deployed over 10,000 petroleum workers to enforce their protests across the country.

With the deepening shortage of fuel due to the protests, the number of vehicles plying in the capital’s streets has declined by over 25 percent, according to traffic police. The fuel shortage has badly hit commuters as vehicles choose to stay off the roads from the early evening.

Shell critic says oil major targeting his website

LONDON (Reuters) - A prominent Internet critic of Royal Dutch Shell says the oil major has asked an anti-cyber fraud agency to target his site, which Shell admits provides better information on the group than its own internal communications.

John Donovan, who runs the Royaldutchshell.plc website, where disaffected Shell employees post company news and gossip, said the move suggests Shell has adopted more aggressive tactics in its long battle to shut him down.

Utilities get $9 million from Enron scandal

It's payback time for Enron, Attorney General Rob McKenna announced today. The AG's Office sent more than $9 million this week to programs that will benefit utility customers who were gouged by the manufactured energy crisis of 2001

Rather than distribute small refunds to individuals, the money will be used to help reduce heating expenses for low-income households and support weatherization programs that improve heating efficiency. Allocations were made based on the number of customers served by each utility.

Look who's talking now

ECONOMISTS: With everyone grasping for answers, demand is strong for speakers like former CIBC chief economist Jeff Rubin, who's scaring audiences with visions of $200-a-barrel oil. "In good times, no one wants to hear them," says Bill Leigh, of Leigh Bureau speakers' bureau. "In bad times, they're far more popular."

Painfully Slow Iowa Corn Harvest Now 87% Complete

To help in moving the big crop this fall, Iowa Governor Chet Culver extended an exemption for grain truck weight limits on Iowa highways for another 30 days, until late December. The weight limit extension, allowing 10% more weight per axle, is now set to expire December 29.

Also, to get more propane hauled into the state and delivered, Culver extended the suspension of driving limits for propane truck drivers. He originally suspended the driver hour limits two weeks ago amid concerns that not enough propane was reaching Iowa due to lack of transportation to grain elevators and on-farm users.

Solar power coming to Egypt: Minister

CAIRO: Egypt’s Electricity and Energy Minister Hassan Younes said on Tuesday that the country it looking to expand solar power production for possible export. He added that in order for this to be a reality, costs of the technology would need to drop considerably in order to make it cost-effective.

The Egyptian government has repeatedly said it is looking to develop renewable energy resources and hopes to achieve 20 percent of its energy needs by 2020. Wind has been leading this charge – already installed is a wind farm with a capacity of 430 megawatts and the government plans to add 120 megawatts by mid-next year – but solar energy, in a land with over 300 days of sun, has been on the top of many lists, including the ministry’s.

The hot politics of nuclear power

In 2005, environmental groups mounted a fierce campaign against nuclear provisions included in the climate bill sponsored by Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.).

Then came an energy crisis, skyrocketing gas prices, a hard-fought presidential campaign, a recession and ballooning unemployment. Four years later, in an example of how quickly politics and minds can change in Washington, it seems the Senate now is ready to go nuclear when a climate bill hits Congress.

“Everyone who can count noses knows that nuclear is going to be in the bill somewhere,” said Frank O’Donnell, head of the environmental advocacy group Clean Air Watch.

New Mexico report says transmission system is biggest hurdle to renewable energy potential

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico has huge potential to produce electricity from renewable sources but a small window to develop transmission lines to deliver that power to customers, a lawmaker said Tuesday after listening to a report on the issue.

SD group studies plan to sell wind power to Minn.

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) -- The newly formed South Dakota Wind Energy Association has commissioned a study into the feasibility of developing projects that would sell wind-generated electricity to Minnesota, association officials said.

Board President Jeff Nelson said Tuesday the study will evaluate the benefits and challenges of developing 1,000 megawatts of wind power in eastern South Dakota. That electricity could be sold to Minnesota utilities so they could meet that state's standards for renewable energy, he said.

Ameren plans solar projects in Missouri, Illinois

ST. LOUIS — Ameren Corp. will build solar energy systems in Missouri and Illinois to explore how best to use the sun to generate electricity, the St. Louis-based utility said.

Storm Front: An Interview With the Nation's Foremost Climate Scientist James Hansen

So you do not subscribe to the theory that something now is better than nothing?

That's right and we see exactly why. Look at the Kyoto Protocol. It took ten years to get even semi-implemented but in fact emissions -- even the growth rate of emissions -- actually accelerated after that agreement. The thing they are trying to do in Congress, these things will take so long and be so ineffective that we are better off stepping back and taking a year to devise a scheme that would actually work. You don't even need a year. British Columbia showed that when they passed a law for (carbon) taxes, a 100% refund via payroll deduction and five months after the law was passed the system was functioning smoothly and the public liked it. Taking a step down the wrong path is not saving anything -- you've got to reverse and get on a system that works.

Christophe de Margerie: ‘If you stop the production of fossil fuels, you stop the economy’

You say that hydrocarbon production will remain important for a long time to come. But you have also been quoted by “peak oil” advocates as saying that we are running against the limits of our oil reserves.

I have never said that we are running out of oil. I do not believe that. But we are running out of production capacities. It is not a question of reserves as “peak oil” theorists would have us believe but rather a question of available production capacities. So why is it we are reaching a production peak? First of all, there are few “easy” oil and gas fields left out there. Second, oil nationalism as well as the economic crisis are making matters worse. This is leading to less investment. Producing countries at present are quite simply asking “why invest now?”, when they have a shortage of cash and have other priorities.

Total to Invest $18 Billion in 2010, Forge Global Partnerships

(Bloomberg) -- Total SA, Europe’s third-largest oil producer, plans to keep investment stable at about $18 billion next year as it seeks to work more closely with Chinese, Russian and Brazilian competitors to raise output.

LNG demand 'to jump 40%'

Global gas demand is likely to rise by 25% by 2020, with the use of liquefied natural gas set to surge by about 40% in the same period, a senior ExxonMobil executive said today.

Sinopec Plans to Expand Maoming Oil Refinery Capacity

(Bloomberg) -- China Petroleum & Chemical Corp., the country’s biggest refiner, plans to expand the capacity of its second-biggest oil-processing plant by 33 percent to meet rising fuel demand.

Sinopec, as China Petroleum is known, will boost the annual capacity of its Maoming plant to 18 million metric tons, or 360,000 barrels a day, from 13.5 million tons, parent China Petrochemical Corp. said in its newsletter today.

Ahmadinejad Says Iran Can’t Be Isolated as U.S. Mulls Sanctions

(Bloomberg) -- Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said it would be impossible for world powers to isolate his country after the U.S. and European allies said the regime’s plan to expand its nuclear program may provoke more sanctions.

“Who can isolate Iran? This is something that’s impossible,” Ahmadinejad said in an interview on state-run Press TV late yesterday. “The most strategic part of the world is the Middle East.”

EDF Stops Production at Cruas-Meysse Unit 4

(Bloomberg) -- Electricite de France SA said it stopped production at unit four of its Cruas-Meysse nuclear site in southern France after heavy rain led to discharges from the River Rhone, affecting the unit’s cooling system.

Peak oil: Problems and possibilities

Oil. It's a nonrenewable resource, but only in the last decade or so has the "non" part really begun to hit home. As oil prices continue their seemingly endless trek skyward, the whispers about peak oil have turned into a roar. Peak oil is the hypothetical date when the combined daily output of global oil producers has reached its maximum and then begins to decline. Essentially, this is the point where supply starts to move downward, while demand continues to climb. You don't need to be an economics major to figure out what the effect on prices will be.

The nonrenewable status of fossil fuels isn't up for debate — we've run out of dinosaurs — but the timing and consequences of peak oil are controversial. Some believe that we are already on the down slope, while others believe this is nothing but fear mongering. In this article, we'll examine the debate and explore some of the consequences that are likely to arise when the well runs dry.

Global warming threatens China harvests: forecaster

BEIJING (Reuters) - Droughts and floods stoked by global warming threaten to destabilize China's grain production, the nation's top meteorologist has warned, urging bigger grain reserves and strict protection of farmland and water supplies.

Extreme weather damage can now cause annual grain output in China, the world's biggest grain producer, to fluctuate by about 10 to 20 percent from longer-term averages.

But with global warming intensifying droughts, floods and pests, the band of fluctuation in annual production could widen to between 30 and 50 percent, Zheng Guoguang, head of the China Meteorological Administration, wrote in a new essay. He did not say how long it might be before that could happen.

Global warming measures will cost ‘twice as much as predicted’

Preventing runaway global warming may be twice as expensive as previously thought and Britain will have to incur billions of pounds of additional debt to cover its share of the cost, according to the world’s most influential climate change economist.

Lord Stern of Brentford said that future generations would find it easier to pay off the debt than to cope with the consequences of climate change.

Cold comfort: the psychology of climate denial

It is the human instinct to shut out or modify a terrifying truth: that the world as we know it is heading for a smash.

"It's a paradox: when it comes to disasters, people do not allow themselves to believe what they know," explained Jean-Pierre Dupuy, a professor of social philosophy at the Ecole Polytechnique in Paris.

Jeff Rubin: Financial crisis or energy shock?

Everyone will tell you that it was virtually free credit conditions that spawned the subprime mortgage phenomenon. And everyone acknowledges that it was the sharp mid-decade run-up in interest rates that burst the bubble and caused the collapse in U.S. housing prices and in the value of those mortgage-backed securities that are still wreaking havoc on bank balance sheets all around the world.

But the question folks aren’t answering is, what forced that fatal five-fold increase in the federal funds rate in the first place?

The answer to that, my friends, doesn’t lie with foreclosed homes in Cleveland, or with over-leveraged banks in New York, but rather with something that was happening in Cushing, Oklahoma.

Oil falls below $78 amid US crude supply jump

Oil prices fell below $78 a barrel Wednesday after U.S. crude supplies unexpectedly rose, suggesting demand in the world's largest economy remains weak.

By early afternoon in Europe, benchmark crude for January delivery was down 68 cents to $77.69 in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose $1.09 to settle at $78.37 on Monday.

ICE and NYMEX: two oil titans battling to win

LONDON (Reuters) - The world's two biggest energy exchanges are fierce competitors, but the likelihood is both will emerge as winners from the latest tussles for liquidity.

Russia plans to export all E.Siberian oil - minister

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia's Energy Minister wants all of the oil produced at new East Siberian fields to be exported, Interfax news agency quoted Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko as saying on Wednesday.

"We are working on the basis that 100 percent of East Siberian oil will be exported," Shmatko was quoted as saying.

Brazil Pins Hopes On Massive, Untapped Oil Fields

Every few years, the global search for oil yields what's called an "elephant field" — a pool of oil believed to hold a billion barrels or more. Brazil says it's found several such fields that, once in full production, will make the South American country a major oil player.

Falkland Islands oil reserves 'to help British economy'

A North Sea oil and gas exploration rig is on its way from Scotland to the North Falkland Basin to explore reserves. Scientists believe that the territory could have up to 60 billion barrels of oil underneath its coastal waters.

Empty Tankers Sail to West Africa for Higher Rates, SSY Says

(Bloomberg) -- Supertankers are increasingly sailing to West Africa after unloading cargoes in Asia, rather than returning to the Middle East, to profit from higher rental income, said Ben Goggin, a broker at SSY Futures Ltd.

As many as five empty ships were sent to West Africa over the past week, and more may follow, he said by e-mail today. Average rental income for supertankers hauling Middle East oil to the U.S. or Asia is $15,418 a day, compared with $46,129 for West African cargoes sailing to the U.S., according to data from the London-based Baltic Exchange, Oslo-based shipbroker RS Platou A/S, and ship-fuel prices compiled by Bloomberg.

Shale Gas Debate Generates War of Words But No Hard Conclusions Yet

Think of it as a modern reenactment of H.G. Wells “War of the Worlds”, only this episode should be renamed War of the “Words”.

Alien opinions invade oil and gas, threatening a collapse in the industry as we know it. In the end, facts, the smallest of things, save the day.

That’s the Twitter-esque summation of the increasingly acrimonious debate over whether the shale plays are ultimately economic, a topic about to overtake Peak Oil as the most compelling debate in oil and gas.

Harper Looking for China Investment in Canadian Mines

(Bloomberg) -- Stephen Harper, making his first trip to China as Canada’s prime minister, will encourage companies such as China Petroleum & Chemical Corp. to invest in Canada’s mining and energy resources.

Harper’s visit this week to Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong culminates a yearlong effort to improve relations with China as Canada tries to reduce dependence on the U.S. amid slumping American demand for lumber, autos and commodities.

Somali sea gangs lure investors at pirate lair

"Four months ago, during the monsoon rains, we decided to set up this stock exchange. We started with 15 'maritime companies' and now we are hosting 72. Ten of them have so far been successful at hijacking," Mohammed said.

"The shares are open to all and everybody can take part, whether personally at sea or on land by providing cash, weapons or useful materials ... we've made piracy a community activity."

The Big Guzzle

We know about the pressing problem of peak oil. And it's no longer debatable whether or not global warming — which will be addressed by next month's climate talks in Copenhagen, Denmark — is a serious problem. We know what we need to do, and the list includes making cars and trucks dramatically more fuel efficient. The Consumer Federation of America proposed this week that we embrace a 45-mpg standard by 2020 (following on the 35.5 mpg embraced by the Obama Administration).

Now here's the interesting part. There are more than 200 cars and trucks that get 30 mpg or better on the market, but people need to buy them. They have to be convinced that they don't need a Sherman tank in their driveway, and that the desire to "sit up high" should not inform their buying behavior. The planet needs us to think green.

In Denmark, Ambitious Plan for Electric Cars

COPENHAGEN — Is saving $40,000 at the showroom enough to get drivers behind the wheel of an electric car? With a program in the works to add easy access to charging stations, Denmark is about to find out.

Volt rollout in selected states, Buffett predicts all-electric by 2030

General Motors is tomorrow expected to announce that its new Chevrolet Volt electric vehicle will be sold in selected US markets rather than rolled out in a national launch.

LED Bulbs Save Substantial Energy, a Study Finds

While it is indisputable that LEDs use a fraction of the electricity of a regular bulb to create the same amount of light, if more energy were used in the manufacturing and distribution process, then the lighting industry could be traveling down a technological dead end.

The study results show that over the entire life of the bulb — from manufacturing to disposal — the energy used for incandescent bulbs is almost five times that used for compact fluorescents and LED lamps.

New York eyes offshore wind farms on Great Lakes

NEW YORK (Reuters) - New York State is looking for developers to build wind farms on its Great Lakes that could generate 120 to 500 megawatts of power to boost the amount of electricity that comes renewable sources by 2015.

The New York Power Authority would buy all the power generated from the offshore projects, which could be located in either Lake Erie or Lake Ontario.

UN Stops Approving China Wind Projects, Official Says

(Bloomberg) -- The United Nations stopped approving aid for Chinese wind-power projects until it determines whether they qualify unfairly, a Chinese official said.

Certification was halted because of UN concern that low power rates set by the state help projects meet requirements to get carbon credits, said a National Development and Reform Commission official who has direct knowledge of the matter. David Abbass, a Bonn-based spokesman for the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, wasn’t available for comment.

A new nuclear equation

Nuclear power may be the only technology capable of meeting our growing demand for energy while keeping emissions down.

Melted Russian Bombs Needed to Ease Uranium Pinch

(Bloomberg) -- The world’s atomic-power plants risk running short of fuel within a decade because uranium suppliers can’t build enrichment facilities or recycle Soviet-era warheads fast enough, according to the World Nuclear Association.

EPA: More engine tests needed on ethanol blends

WASHINGTON – The Environmental Protection Agency said Tuesday it wants more tests to determine if car engines can handle higher concentrations of ethanol in gasoline before it decides whether to increase the maximum blend from 10 to 15 percent.

Still, the agency appeared to be favoring a higher ethanol concentration in gasoline, saying that the congressional mandate for increased ethanol use can't be achieved without allowing higher blends of the renewable fuel, most of which comes from corn.

Energy-Water Nexus [PDF]

Why GAO Did This Study: In response to concerns about the nation’s energy dependence on imported oil, climate change, and other issues, the federal government has encouraged the use of biofuels. Water plays a crucial role in all stages of biofuel production—from cultivation of feedstock through its conversion into biofuel. As demand for water from various sectors increases and places additional stress on already constrained supplies, the effects of expanded biofuel production may need to be considered.

Biofuel optimism waning?

LONDON (UPI) -- Executives at supermajor Royal Dutch Shell are pulling back on their optimism for certain biofuels while others look to batteries as a way to cut emissions.

Biofuels made from corn and other sources were lauded as a way to cut greenhouse gas emissions. A link to rising food prices, however, and a net increase in greenhouse gas emissions, in part because of deforestation, are leading researchers to search for alternatives.

Healthy, organic and cheap school lunches? Order up

The federal government pays, on average, $2.68 per child per meal – and most food advocates say that simply isn't enough. A few insist it can't be done for less than $5.

So it's big news when someone tries, even on a small scale, to feed kids well for under $3 a pop.

For the first time, a small, privately held start-up is pushing to do just that: producing what are by all accounts fresh, healthful, all-natural school meals for just under $3 apiece. Starting with just one school in spring 2006, Revolution Foods has quietly grown year by year and now delivers about 45,000 breakfasts, lunches and snacks daily to 235 public and private schools in California, Colorado and the District of Columbia .

Food, like charity, should begin at home

Just suppose that it’s more important for us to go four-wheeling and ski-dooing and to build dangerous oil pipelines from one of the world’s worst environmental catastrophes, the Alberta Tar Sands, than it is to try to prevent climate Armageddon.

Just suppose that it’s more important to us to drive monster trucks and to scamper around the globe for packaged holidays than it is to conserve fuel for food production.

We assume we’re the favoured generation, the ones who deserve it all! Who can argue with us? We’ve got the money and the means. Further, our growth-addicted economy and media are busily conditioning the next generation to expect the same extravagant privileges.

Transition mission

Later this month Rob Hopkins and colleagues will publish a detailed sustainable living plan for the Devon town of Totnes - the first of a wave of so-called "Transition Town" plans that are being researched and drawn up in 250 other locations in the UK, the US, Sweden and elsewhere.

It has taken Hopkins and his collaborators just five years to establish the Transition Town movement. Back in 2004 he was teaching what he thinks was the world's first two-year practical course in sustainable design in Kinsale, west Cork, Ireland, when he and his students started searching for local solutions to the twin problems of climate change and peak oil. Moving with his family to Devon, he then began developing a transition plan for Totnes. This sets out what the 8,000-strong local community needs to do to become sustainable and no longer dependent on oil within 15 to 20 years.

Gore Discusses Environment, New Book at Eizenstat Lecture

The United States reached "Peak Oil" in 1971, meaning the country has produced less petroleum every year since, he said. The drop in domestic production has forced increased petroleum importation, especially from hostile nations in the Middle East and South America.

"This roller coaster has had an alternating effect on our economy," he said. "It is time for us to learn from our own historical experience."

Gore argued generating our own energy from alternatives sources would improve not only our environment but also our economy and national security.

Time to prepare for a post-petroleum economy upon us

Since petroleum is a non-renewable resource, what more should we be doing to conserve it and to come to consensus about our priorities for its use?

Mayor Kevin Foy: This October the Town Council passed a resolution acknowledging the need to prepare for a post Peak Oil economy and a new Green Economy. The council has asked the Town Sustainability Committee to work to address both short-term and long-term strategies as a component of the committee's Sustainability Work Plan.

Invasive carp threatens Great Lakes

Fish and wildlife officials will poison a 6-mile stretch of water near Chicago on Wednesday in a last-ditch effort to keep one of the most dangerous invasive species of fish, the Asian carp, out of the Great Lakes.

The Asian carp, a voracious eater that has no predators and negligible worth as a commercial or sport fish, now dominates the Mississippi and Illinois rivers and their tributaries.

Climate change special: Twelve days to save the world

If we fail, the story of the Maldives will become our story. A ream of scientific studies now suggest we could be on course for 6°C of global warming this century. It doesn't sound like much at first. But the last time the world warmed by six degrees so fast was at the end of the Permian period, 251 million years ago. The result? Almost everything on earth died.

The only survivors were a few shelled creatures in the oceans, and a pig-like creature that had the land to itself for millions of years. The earth was racked by "hypercanes" – hurricanes so strong they even left their mark on the ocean floor. Oxygen levels in the atmosphere plunged to 15 per cent; low enough to leave any fast-moving animal gasping for breath. These six degrees of separation stand between us and a planet we do not recognise and cannot live on.

Climategate Proves Sunlight Best Reply to Skeptics

Public trust demands that this scientific debate be carried out in the light of day -- even when doing so means that bad science is trumpeted by the opponents of climate action.

One of the papers Jones questioned, for example, was so flawed that after its 2003 publication in Climate Research, the resulting furor led to the resignations of half the journal’s editorial board. By the time the paper had been discredited by other scientists, the noisiest climate skeptic in the U.S. Senate, James Inhofe of Oklahoma, had already held a hearing to publicize it. Even today, contrarian Web sites continue to tout its specious claim that the 20th century wasn’t particularly warm.

Jones and his colleagues talked about withholding information because they believed, based on bitter experience, that the skeptics who sought their data would cherry-pick their work for misleading “proof” that climate change was overblown. The irony is that by talking about withholding data, they ended up giving those skeptics a brand-new argument against them.

Target practice in Copenhagen

Climate-change skeptics are barking up the wrong smokestack. The shell game being played isn't with the science, it's with the solutions -- specifically, the carbon emissions targets that enlightened world leaders are pledging to meet. That's where the numbers don't add up.

Copenhagen Lures CEOs Seeking Certainty on Climate-Change Rules

(Bloomberg) -- Deutsche Bank AG Vice Chairman Caio Koch-Weser says he will attend global climate talks in Copenhagen to push for clarity in how the world reduces greenhouse-gas emissions.

“Transparency, longevity and certainty” are what the clients of Germany’s biggest bank want most in a United Nations accord, Koch-Weser said in an interview. “A strong deal is essential to create the rules, price signals and risk-return incentives that business needs.”

Brazil Wants Limits on Tropical Trees for CO2 Credits

(Bloomberg) -- Brazil, whose Amazonia rainforest is the biggest in the world, wants a new climate agreement to limit the use of forests to slow global warming, putting a crimp on investors hoping to create carbon credits from trees.

UN official calls for funds for climate change

NAIROBI, Kenya – Developing countries will need tens of billions of dollars each year to cope with the effects of climate change such as floods and drought, the global head of the U.N.'s development arm said.

About 100 world leaders will be in Copenhagen next week for a summit on global warming, and the U.N. climate chief, Yvo de Boer, has told reporters that rich countries "must put at least $10 billion a year on the table."

Europe Bypassed on Climate Summit

BRUSSELS — No political entity has pushed harder for the Copenhagen conference on climate change to succeed than the European Union.

But just days before the opening of the United Nations-sponsored meeting, the Europeans have been largely pushed to the sidelines, watching as the world's two largest emitters of greenhouse gases, China and the United States, seek to set the rules of the game.

Australia's Parliament defeats global warming bill

SYDNEY — Australia's plans for an emissions trading system to combat global warming were scuttled Wednesday in Parliament, handing a defeat to a government that had hoped to set an example at international climate change talks next week.

Mexico to pledge halving emissions by 2050

MEXICO CITY — During crunch talks in Copenhagen next week, Mexico will propose to slash its greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent by 2050 so long as it receives international aid, officials said Tuesday.

The second-largest economy in Latin America after Brazil also aims to reduce emissions from the heat-trapping gases by six to seven percent by 2012 "if we have the necessary technology and financing," Environment Minister Juan Rafael Elvira Quesada told reporters.

Ontario inches closer to cap and trade plan

TORONTO (Reuters) – The Canadian province of Ontario took steps toward a cap and trade program on Tuesday that will allow the country's manufacturing heartland to cut industrial emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.

Starting in 2010, Ontario said industrial facilities that release 25,000 tonnes or more of greenhouse gases will have to report their emission data to the government and public.

South Korea in dilemma over gas emissions cut: minister

SEOUL — South Korea is caught in a dilemma between its promise to drastically cut greenhouse gas emissions and mounting concerns that the move will only benefit business rival China, a minister said Tuesday.

Knowledge Economy Minister Choi Kyung-Hwan also said there were fears that energy-intensive local companies such as steel firms and automakers would relocate overseas to avoid tougher curbs on emissions.

India Faces ‘Tremendous Pressure’ on Carbon Cuts at Copenhagen

(Bloomberg) -- India may set a goal for reducing greenhouse gas emissions to avoid isolation at the climate talks in Copenhagen next week after the U.S. and China, the world’s biggest polluters, announced plans.

India may follow China’s example and unveil a target to slow its emissions growth, Siddharth Pathak, an adviser to Greenpeace, said by telephone in New Delhi today.

Farmers could fight climate change: UN food body

ROME (AFP) – The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation said on Tuesday farming could offer a cost-effective way of cutting greenhouse emissions, but had been "largely excluded" from next week's Copenhagen summit.

Agriculture contributes 14 percent of the world's greenhouse gases and is in a position to make a significant contribution to reducing emissions, particularly in developing nations, the FAO said in a statement.

Global warming threatens food supply: Vietnam

HANOI (AFP) – Vietnam, the world's second-biggest rice exporter, said Wednesday it needs help to safeguard the world's food supply from the consequences of global warming.

"The rice bowl of Vietnam will be severely affected" without action, Nguyen Khac Hieu, deputy director general of the government's climate change agency, told reporters before key global climate talks next week in Copenhagen.

"It's not only for Vietnam's sake but also for the world's food safety," said Hieu, calling for help to enable the country to adapt.

Shades of things to come...


Next up: 'Operations' in Iran?

Any bets on the year, if ever, that we won't be 'at war'? Congress could always stand tall and cut the money spigot some day, realizing their role in warfare IAW the Constitution and the War Powers Act.

But....the ME is where the action (oil) is...

Maybe Congress will get a spine and impose a war surtax to explicitly pay for these adventures...and to pay for the cleanup from any future blowback on the 'homeland'...

My favorite part of Obama's West Point speech

we are bringing the Iraq war to a responsible end. We will remove our combat brigades from Iraq by the end of next summer, and all of our troops by the end of 2011.

We will be leaving behind a pro-Iranian gov't and anti-American Parliament.

Responsible end ? Yes.

A "victory" ? No.

Best Hopes for In & Out of Afghanistan,


and, the part about 2011, really??? all troops out by 2011? even from those new bases and mini-cities we've built for billions that house 50,000 or more personnel? really? what a huge waste of money then! (not that I believe for a second that those bases will be abandoned, which makes him a liar then I guess, or a delusional optimist)

Book recommendation: Sex and War: How Biology Explains Warfare and Terrorism and Offers a Path to a Safer World

In it you will find that war has always been a human reproductive strategy. It explains why war is the reason our hominid ancestors developed such large brains. Stupid hominids got killed off by smarter hominids before they could reproduce.

When will there be no more war? When there are no more humans.

When will there be no more war? When there are no more humans.

Think again, meatsack: Bonobos apes make war as well as love, study discovers.

Sorry KLR but Homo sapiens have evolved a strategy of team aggression when faced with resource scarcity and population pressures, like our cousins the chimpanzee. Bonobos have lost the strategy of team aggression. Read the book I suggested and learn why. Calling people names doesn't change reality.

interesting story link.... thanks... but bonobos hunting chimps isn't technically war.

Was joshing, "Meatsack" is what Bender the robot on Futurama calls humans.

My point is that bonobos or chimps could readily evolve into something equally sapient and nasty as we are. Read some of the Customer Reviews at Amazon - heh, heh - to get an idea of what Potts is on about. Which is a matriarchy. Well, correct or expand on that if you want, but all I can hear at the moment is the sound of froth coming forth from the lips of enraged talk radio hosts spewing venom for their target demographic, if any politician on any level dared to even suggest we even make the meekest of strides toward such a state.

Increased liberty for women in the industrialized world just seems like yet another surfeit of our bountiful energy, and likely to be as transient in its absence as so many other things we take for granted now, dependent on the locale of course. Am reading Greer's new tome btw, one thing I'm picking up is that he correctly has almost nothing specific to offer in the way of describing the societies of the future, since, after the deluge of shakeups in the wake of declining energy almost anything imaginable could come to pass. Perhaps some Potts-ish matriarchal society would take root in, oh, Bryn Mawr. But then you could have a society next door worshiping, oh, Charlton Heston.

KLR, re the "meat sack" usage. Edgar (the bug man, played by Vincent D'Onofrio) in the movie "Men in Black" used it, when he said "Don't bet on it, meat sack." Not sure if that predates Bender. FWIW, I prefer it when the DB discussions refrain from name calling, even if there may be some obscure humorous reference.

Some more meat humor, a short story by Terry Bisson titled "They're made out of Meat".

"They're made out of meat."


"Meat. They're made out of meat."


"There's no doubt about it. We picked several from different parts of the planet, took them aboard our recon vessels, probed them all the way through. They're completely meat."


Rest at link.

"meat sack" probably evolved from "bag of water" from a Star Trek episode.

Or from Bender in Futurama: "Into the breach, meatbags!"

I point out above that it's from Bender. I will politely refrain from calling you skintube or fleshwad. ;)

"I'm helping!" -- Dr. Zoidberg

In a biography I read of Tesla. - He apparently referred to people as "meat machines".


I myself have been guilty of slimging an insult or two on this forum when provoked and silmantaneously having a bad day but I have apologized (to the general readership) and refrain for the good of the forum.

It would be very big of you if would cease making uncalled for remarks.

I immediately got it. Doesn't anyone have a sense of humor anymore?

Sorry I didn't get it.

I perceive that the demographic of numerous of the regular posters here does not lead one to believe that they have watched or heard of Futurama, or any other mildly hip cultural references. :)

We did get a STTOS reference (circa late 1960s)...perhaps instead of Futurama one might be more successful with a reference from THGTHG...(empirical evidence suggests that we may Not be mostly harmless)...at least that is in book form for those sustainable eco-purists on their doomsteads w/o the TV machine :) :)

A little levity breaks up the (mostly justified) gloom and doom (from myself included most certainly).

I realize that I am falling behind in pop culture but there is so much trash and so little gold in it that I long ago made a decision to stick to books and now the internet.

That said I expect that if somebody here posted a list of recent great movies or shows available on dvd I might go out of my way to obtain them.My internet is not quite good enough for video.

I am convinced that I did myself a great favor many years ago by giving up tv and music for serious books and magazines.

So little time so much to discard. I find being on the net with the tv going can work out--naughty me using so many electrons. I'd really miss Nova, Nature, The American Experience and Charlie Rose where the other night I actually heard Adm. Mullen say this:

"you will see General McChrystal's main effort GO SOUTH"

now I have nicely clipped and added emphasis to put the statement quite out of context, but I was watching his eyes after he said it and am not sure that he was not aware of just what a gem of a phrase he had just embedded in that interview on our Afghanistan strategy.

TV does give a little bit of the world's pulse, of course, much like print media, it is very often what isn't said and the way it is not that gives the best clues.

Sans context I had no idea what "THGTHG" referred to. DA, of course. TRATEOTU, SLATFATF, great stuff. Hey, what would a 42 book series be called? Tetradecaduology?

Agree about the silvering demographic here. Maybe some Robbie the Robot dialogue would be recognizable, but how do you mildly insult someone with "Danger! Danger!"?

Inheritance and Social Security law fail to keep up with technology:

Six-year-old Brynn Beeler is entitled to her father's Social Security benefits even though he died two years before she was born, a federal judge has ruled.


Re: "War of Words" above. Actually a fairly balanced story IMHO.

"That’s the Twitter-esque summation of the increasingly acrimonious debate over whether the shale plays are ultimately economic, a topic about to overtake Peak Oil as the most compelling debate in oil and gas"

But overtake the PO discussion??? Maybe for a short bit should there be a very cold spell/NG supply problem this winter. But most reports ignore that the shale gas players lost the debate by their own actions: drilling has all but shut down. Debate over. And a debate over what NG price will support a big time return to drilling? No debate there either. All we have to do is plot the rig count vs. NG price and the answer will be self evident. With the current breathing spell in activity operators will be able to base future ops on performance of wells drilled in the last few years. Models are great but ultimately actual well performance trumps all theories.

Morning, Rockman

It's amusing and informative to see how two people who basically agree of facts can draw different conclusions from the way they are presented.

I read the comments you refer to as meaning the DEBATE about peak oil is now over , the author's siezing the high ground by declaring victory in the peak oil debate.I tend to agree with them but I do not agree that the debate is finished-except among the very small number of people who are well informed such as readers of this site.

This interpretation of course does not invalidate your interpretation at all which I infer to be that reality of DEALING with peak oil is the big immediate issue ; mine actually but actually reinforces yours.

I wouldn't bother with this except for the fact that it throws some light on the way the climate change debate and the email brouhaha are playing out.

Facts can look a lot different and still be the same facts depending on the cues and clues associated with them at first encounter.First grade stuff of course but when we stand too close to the debate even the best of us forget and turn emotional sometimes and allow our feelings to trump our thinking brains for a while.

People who edit news articles, books,web sites ,and govt publications tend to be expert in selecting the clues and cues included along with the facts even when they are fairly even handed with the facts themselves.

Sorry mac if I was a little sloppy in my discourse. The debate I was referring to was over the economic value of the shale gas plays. What I found silly was the proposal that the SG debate would shove the PO to the back burner. As far as the SG debate the argument is between the operators touting the value of Sg vs. just about everyone else. At the same time those operators are offering such optimistic projections they've been shutting down their drilling programs as fast as possible. As I've mentioned before one SG player paid $40 million in drilling rig cancellation penalties to shut down their SG drilling program. That's right...paid $40 million for the right to stop drilling SG wells. Simply put you can't tout the economic value of any investment while you're dumping the same investment as fast as possible. Thus IMHO the debate on the SG plays at current NG prices is over. And we'll know when prices rise high enough to justify renewed drilling efforts: the SG players will start picking up drill rigs. Thus my position that the SG debate is over.

OTOH I think the big PO debate is still coming down the road. Right now Americans are distracted by a variety of issues. Low gasoline prices and no lines at the stations makes the PO debate a non-starter for the vast majority of the public. That will change a few years down the road IMO.

Rock I'm sorry , I didn't mean to imply that you are a sloppy communicator but only that the original comments we both refer to are easily capable of being interpreted in different ways.

I agree with everything you say in your reply.

I suppose somebody is going to make out like a bandit sooner or later in shale gas as it seems pretty obvious it is our only homegrown low carbon fuel that can be easily substituted for imported oil.

Of course we may be able to buy imported lng cheaply for some time.

Somehow I think we are returning to the world of the hunter gatherer or the subsistence farmer in terms of predicting the future.Things will be ok if the buffalo and the salmon show up or if the rains come and the grasshoppers don't.

All that gas appears to be out there but who knows if it will show up? We might never see it as the result of war or econonic collapse.

There might even be a population crash before it can be brought to market.

We had home a medical professional and recently retired Army offcer for Thanksgiving
who is very seriously concerned that we may have to deal with some new contagious diseases that might be real game changers in the next decade or two.

I can state with complete certainty as an ag guy that our food situation is precarious and that any serious disruption of the world wide delivery of oil, fertilizer, and pesticides say as the result of war could push us to or over the edge.

If inputs delivery fails in one major grain producing area and the rains fail in another the same year the population clock will definitely run backwards for a while.Reserves are dangerously low and the only place we can really tighten up would to be to divert the feed used to produce beef and pork to human consumption.Whether that can be accomplished politcally is an open question.

North Korea revalues currency, destroying personal savings

TOKYO -- Chaos reportedly erupted in North Korea on Tuesday after the government of Kim Jong Il revalued the country's currency, sharply restricting the amount of old bills that could be traded for new and wiping out personal savings.

The revaluation and exchange limits triggered panic and anger, particularly among market traders with substantial hoards of old North Korean won -- much of which has apparently become worthless, according to news agency reports from South Korea and China and from groups with contacts in North Korea.

The currency move appeared to be part of a continuing government crackdown on private markets, which have become an essential part of the food-supply system in the chronically hungry North.

In recent years, some market traders have stashed away substantial amounts of cash, while establishing themselves in profitable businesses that the government struggles to control.

But under the rules of the new currency system, the wealth of these traders has largely disappeared, unless it is held in euros, dollars or Chinese yuan.

Something to keep in mind. This is not the first time or place where something like this has happened. Nor will it be the last.


And it's not just currency that's vulnerable. FDR confiscated privately owned gold during the Great Depression. The government takes land via eminent domain to this day (sometimes to give it to Wal-Mart).

That's why I say invest in skills. They can't take those away from you.

People are compensated when land is taken through eminent domain.

Yes. And people were compensated when gold was confiscated, too.

But the amount of compensation is up the government. They get to decide what to pay you. Kinda like Kim Jong-Il got to decide how much money you were allowed to redeem.

If you don't control the timing or price of a transaction, it's still an abuse of power. Those who know the timing and the price in advance are the ones who will profit.

In 1934 gold coins (specie) were removed from official circulation. Gold coins had long since been removed from actual circulation by virtue of the fact that most were being hoarded. A problem in the early 1930's was that there was little money in circulation, just like now.

Gold coins were removed from use but each $10 or $20 gold coin was paid for on the spot with new $10 or $20 bills. Nothing was confiscated except some psychological 'value'. The money- value obsession had proven by experience to be value- destroying. The value of commerce matters, not the value of money. Money is just a tool to enable commerce.

Currencies in the developed world in the early 1930's were very strong. There was sharply declining commerce as a consequence. The commercial energies of nations were wasted supporting the gold- value of their currencies at the same time canny traders were playing the different countries against each other in the gold trade. When countries shed the 'golden fetters' they began to escape depression. Gold speculators were ruined. Boo hoo for them.

Boo hoo for us, the speculators were mostly banks. The gold speculation period was when banks were failing left and right around the world. Speculation is a zero- sum game and most banks were not good at it. As in all gold systems, those with the most gold were getting more, by waiting for the gold to 'come to them'; strangling commerce until the smaller gold holders had to sell their gold out of desperation. in 1933 there were entire states in the US with no functioning banks.

Roosevelt's actions were aimed at the successful gold speculators. He turned the 'waiting for the gold' tactic against them. Banks were forced to make money the old fashioned way, by lending it at interest. Once banks started lending, the banks stopped failing; swapping paper money for gold broke the spell of 'valuable money' for the banks.

The problems of our economy which includes North Korea center around energy, real energy costs and productivity ... not the value of currency. Currency value is the sales pitch of those selling gold in gold stores. Their pitch is identical to anyone selling anything from cigarettes to socks and underwear. The America Way of addressing any issue has been to run to a store and buy something. The decline in energy availability is putting an end to this American way even as the pitchmen are including the decline in their ad campaigns.

What matters is not the value of the money but the value of what the money buys. Ironically, when money has graat value, everything else has little. That represents our lives today, a devalued world where where money is unavailable and precious, where all pursue money wealth yet only a few can possess it.

Governments are constantly stealing from their citizens, it's called taxation.

Critics support removing speculative gains from elites who take advantage of financial structures. No one here would complain of government claw- backs of bonuses or payouts to Goldman Sachs, AIG or other speculative entities. North Korea did just that and bravo for them. Being a wealthy speculator is relative; a successful money- changer in North Korea would be a pauper in Los Angeles. It wasn't mentioned in the article whether Korea closed its food markets altogether but is hardly likely. North Korea is poor and has no finance to generate credit. Money in the hoards of speculators is money unavailable for people to buy food.

Clearly the North Korean government is unwilling to issue more currency, bailing out its speculators at the same time reducing its own sovereign purchasing power. Outside of trade with China, N. Korea is a model of the world we are all going to find ourselves inhabiting, even as it is a microcosm of the current world. North Korea is finite, the world is also finite.

North Korea would consequently be a good policy model for Washington. The free reign given to GS and other finance giants, the ongoing money- laundering activity taking place @ the Fed and Treasury and budget giveaways allow for the creation of 'states within the state'. Goldman is a semi- autonomous law unto itself. It is blatantly stealing from everyone. It makes perfect sense that N. Korea would be more sensitive to the emergence of competing administrative powers within that country. Nevertheless, the destructive power of finance parasites is equal both in North Korea and in the US.

Hopefully, N. Korea will summarily execute some of its speculators. Perhaps the Obama administration can send some people over to see how it's done, they can take notes.

FDR gained large US gold reserves and halted a banking crisis, he did not cure the depression because citizens hoarded the paper dollars, as they hoarded the gold ones. FDR never could bring himself to execute speculators, but a coup attempt was made against him, just the same.


Hoarding is the same as not having which was the state the hoarders eventually descended to.

Money systems are dynamic. It isn't what you have it is what you do with what you have.

Not sure what brought on this rant. I'm not passing judgment on what FDR or Kim Jong-Il have done. Just pointing out that the rules can change suddenly. Who cares what the justification is?

I'm not ranting at you, Leanan, but the content of the article.

Having ranted against it once, I won't do it a second time but re- reading it's blatant biases and assumptions is annoying.

South Korean officials said last month that North Korea appears to be on the brink of another severe food crisis, with stocks of food likely to run short by March.

That is why the rules are changing suddenly.

I thought it was an interesting read, not a rant. Was talking to a neighbor about this and wondered aloud what would be of value during a crash... speculation turned to anything in the pipeline that might not be there later or at a reduced volume/higher price. Like all the little luxuries - bath soap, shampoo, liquor, cigs, nuts, rice, beans, oats - that sorta stuff.

Then we started talking about what might disappear - plastic/paper bags, paper plates & napkins, anything to-go (plastic utensils, individual sizes of salt and pepper, ketchup). Basically anything we end up throwing away. I'm amazed at all the packaging the comes with purchasing anything... cardboard, plastic, styrofoam, paper, tape, even metal sometimes. And it all gets thrown away.

But the amount of compensation is up the government. They get to decide what to pay you.

In the case of real estate acquired through eminent domain, the government uses third party appraisals of the property to ascertain the value/price. Admitted, these will not likely incorporate sentimental values, but the Constitutional requirement of "just compensation" keeps most arbitrary prices from ever being taken seriously. Eminent domain is often needed because without it "hold outs" would strategically refuse any price in order to obtain monopoly positions.

It depends on which government is doing the taking. For the most part, yes, they do offer you a fair price, just to avoid the lawsuits. Especially if it's in a wealthy area that's likely to "lawyer up."

But there have been abuses in the past, and I'm confident there will be in the future, as the economic situation deteriorates.

well according to the CPI inflation calculator if you sold gold you had held since 1933 in 2002 you would have broke even, timing is everything ?-)


I couldn't agree more.

The greater likelihood hwever in large and powerful countries is that the wealth is confiscated by inflating the currency which is less disruptive but quite as effective over a period of time.

A lot of the old folks in my family saved what was to them and people in thier circumstances quite a bit of cash only to see thier savings confiscated by a deliberate long term inflation policy.

I am having some minor success in convincing the ones still with us to convert thier cash into non perishable assets that they will be needing later anyway.Prices of everything that people really need to buy have been outrunning the paltry interest paid on savings more or less forever and this will get a lot worse before long.

My grandparents would have been one hell of a lot better off putting thier savings in to triple glazed windows and insulation than in the bank except for the fact that thier children kept them supplied with firewood in their later years.

I am currently converting some unneeded space in our best barn into a larhe pantry and will fill it with laundry detergent,bath soap, toilet paper, salt, sugar, canning jars , lids,and a hundred other items that will not rot.

I have a truck cargo box that will be filled with fertilizer as soon as I can get it properly blocked up.

The chances of buying any energy intensive product in a year or two cheaper than it can be bought today are slim indeed.

The chances of buying any energy intensive product in a year or two cheaper than it can be bought today are slim indeed.

I still think deflation is likely, at least on that time frame. Consumption is falling off a cliff. I don't think the economy is really improving. I think it's quite likely it will be much worse in two years.

I have to agree with Leanan's assessment.

There is a mountain of debt both nationally and internationally hanging over individuals, businesses and local and national governments. Homeowners, hotels, state governments, etc. have large payments coming due in the next 12 months and insufficient income to meet the loan agreements. The financial sector is overdue for a very large correction when people once again become more concerned with the return of capital rather than the return on capital.

Despite the best efforts of Bernanke and friends, a deflationary depression seems unavoidable at this point. My only questions are:

  1. How long before the next leg down starts? (I'd guess anywhere from 6 weeks to 12 months.)
  2. How long will deflation last before investors start losing faith in US TBonds resulting in inflation of globally fungible commodoties? (Perhaps 2-10 years?)

Best hopes for keeping an even keel during the 'Great Volatility'.

-- Jon

I agree, it is the timing that is uncertain. Sometimes I think the ponzi game can continue for longer, other times shorter.
No one knows, but the direction is clear.

Another deflationary cycle is possible and predicted by many. But the future is looking rather binary, in that the government will continue to attempt to monetize its debts and create huge inflationary pressures on the other side. There could be job and wage deflation and large scale asset inflation all at the same time. The US has over $3.5 trillion to refinance in the next 12 months. Uh oh...


As far as asset inflation no way in housing/commercial real estate.

However the agricultural land bubble seems to still be perky and it seems that the housing builders are generally going to either sit on their land and write it down or sell it off in bits and pieces. So until a national builder goes under land in general is not free falling in price.

So perhaps we will see one last blow off bubble in land esp agricultural land.

This is a bit dated.


But its our most resilient bubble and I'd say if we increase ethanol blending allowances it will help re-inflate.

Thats about the only real asset left that can be inflated that I can think of.

Stocks are way overpriced so buying up companies does not seem to make a lot of sense.

So if and its a big if another hard asset bubble can be created I think we are down to land.

You and Leanan could of course turn out to be correct but as I see it nearly all the fat that can be wrung out of commodity based product prices as a result of falling demand has already been wrung out.

That real estate will continue down for a long time I do not doubt but eventually that must result in a bottomless crash unless it is stopped by a return to prosperity or by a deliberate inflation as large as necessary to restore the buyers appetite for houses.I contend that the money will be printed and if necessary distributed directly to the public before we hit the bottom of the deflation pit.

Maybe the economy will decline fast enough that energy intensive product prices will be stable because energy prices are stable.

But I don't see it. Our electric utility wants more every year, gas is already back over its historical high of a couple of years back, and the price trend for metals and minerals in general is up due to depletion.Commodities such as timber have a lot to do with construction but very little with food, cloheing,medical care, heating oil, electricity, etc.

In such industries as are still running around here the remaining players are just holding on-they are too close to break even prices to absorb any more cost increases without passing them on.Those who can't close up.

I believe this is the case generally throughout the real economy which produces real physical goods although certain segments of the paper shuffling economy are certainly doing fine.

For me, it's the opposite. I see prices dropping. Beef, chicken, vegetables...regular prices look like what used to be sale prices. Sale prices are prices I've never seen here.

And of course, consumption can still be wrung out. I'm buying beef and chicken and fresh vegetables. If things were really bad, I'd be eating beans and canned vegetables.

Here prices are soundly up on beef and canned goods. Chicken not quite so badly. Prepared meals a bit more. Fast-food prices have skyrocketed though, esp since the minimum-wage increase. To me, stuff I don't buy seems cheaper, while stuff I usually buy is more expensive.

Farmers live in a different world where prices are cyclical and you can't store fresh meat and veggies for a year or two or five.

Enjoy while the enjoyment is good.At the monent meat and some produce is at a low point.

Nothing I can think of that will keep and store easily is as cheap as it was four or five years ago.

I contend that the money will be printed and if necessary distributed directly to the public before we hit the bottom of the deflation pit.

The old theory held that this could happen. IMO we are beginning something new. We are deep down a rabbit hole, and we have drunk the Kool Aid. We have no idea what the results are going to be, but I suspect the double whammy of wage and job deflation with commodity inflation. Devastating, to be sure.

I don't doubt "helicopter money" will be distributed. Heck, it already is, in the form of mortgage bailouts, food stamps, unemployment benefits, stimulus money, and the previous tax rebates.

But it won't be enough to cause inflation. The government can't give away enough money to make up for what's been lost: in jobs, in real estate prices, in credit. And even if they did - people wouldn't spend it like they did in the good ol' days. They'd save it, because they no longer feel secure in their jobs, the value of their homes, or in their access to HELOCs, credit cards, car loans, etc.

Japan has been printing money like crazy, and they've spent 20 years struggling with deflation. Yes, things are in some ways different over there...but they're proof that deflation isn't as easy to fix as some like to think.

Maybe "helicopter coupons with a demurrage" as opposed to "helicopter money" would be a better idea.

I believe there's at least one of those local currencies that works that way.

However, I don't think that would work, either, unless all money was subject to demurrage. Otherwise, people would use the money that expires for things they were going to buy anyway, and save the regular money.

And is juicing the economy really what we want? People buying crap they don't need, just to use up their money? If you're expecting BAU to continue forever, sure. But I'm not expecting that. I think we'll probably have to get used to consuming less.

Leanan as always you're just so crystal-clear in expressing what you see, and see so much more clearly than most.

Food Stamps are Federally managed/mandated but it's up to individual states to implement them, and the trend I have seen is of more poor people NOT on them. This is because we're getting many more poor people, and Food Stamps are getting harder to get. It often involves fighting for 'em on a month-to-month basis, you get 'em then they immediately cut you off, it's up to you to keep on this continuous merry-go-round, fighting for them, if you give up and forage or go "canning" (picking up cans for recycling) again, Well, guess you weren't hungry.

People without their papers in order can't get Food Stamps at all.

No home (homeless) no address, no phone, etc No stamps for you!

Get a ticket for sleeping in the street? No housing for you!

People are growing, raising chickens, etc. and I'd like to think, sharing more.

Because of this, the deflationary forces are HUGE. People are being taught, forcibly, to live without a job, processed foods, papers-in-order, etc. If the powers-that-be were smart, they'd hand out Food Stamps to all and sundry, keeping people dependent on Mama Gov't. Instead they're not even keeping dry food in the dog bowl and we dogs are learning to hunt on our own.

The actions of the gov't are causing more deflation than a wise course would, and also fostering the kind of independence and resentment of which revolutions are made.

Perhaps it is state by state, but in Louisiana it is relatively easy for unemployed construction workers to get food stamps. Renewing every 6 months is basically an entirely new "do over". Recently they have eliminated face to face meetings with case workers. Subnit your forms and they will call you (if you have a phone, if not you call them (pay phone) at selected times).

The "emergency rush" is no longer available for thos ein desperate need AFAIK (new Republican governor).

Best Hopes,


If the powers-that-be were smart, they'd hand out Food Stamps to all and sundry

"Panem et circenses"

That's my concern too Zap. Back in the late 70's when we had inflation rates of 10%+ and 16%+ prime rate I doubt any of those folks in the previous years who were responsible for setting our monetary policies expected those results. In my youth I didn't pay attention to such matters so I can't reconstruct the thought process during that period.

light up a doobie and maybe your memory will come back.

Exactly the point. The model is already there and it's called stagflation. It dominated the early 70's. Certain costs will go though the roof while unemployment rises and the economy struggles.

The split can be seen as coming from the two sources of inflation, "cost push" and "demand pull". Demand will be down. so you won't have much inflation in certain areas (technology, TVs, furniture) but the cost push expense of production in other areas like food and transportation will drive massive inflation.

This time I believe real estate prices will likely radically decline (causing an even deeper banking crisis) as people walk away from homes they can not support due to increased energy costs and unemployment.

I think the difference is that in the '70s, labor still had some power.

Now, far fewer people are working in union jobs. They have no power to demand wage increases. Without wage increases, there can't be price increases. Especially with access to credit vanishing.

Some things will hold up better than others - things people have to buy, like food and fuel. But prices really can't skyrocket unless wages do, too.

and I'm not a demographer but I have to think that we, proportionally, have a lot more immigrants (legal/otherwise) which also puts continual downward pressure on wages. as far as i've seen, they are still arriving more-so than they are leaving.

I dunno. We've always been a nation of immigrants...legal and otherwise.

I think what's more important is that jobs are emigrating. That's what gutted the labor movement. Demand too much, and the employer relocates to where labor is cheaper.

That is a ridiculous PC statement.

Um...no. It's a demonstrably true statement. Honestly, I don't see how anyone can argue against it.

Link up top: Christophe de Margerie: ‘If you stop the production of fossil fuels, you stop the economy’

It is not a question of reserves as “peak oil” theorists would have us believe but rather a question of available production capacities. So why is it we are reaching a production peak?

Sometimes I just get too damn mad to post. The CEO of Total, of all people, should know better than to say something so stupid. "Peak oil" theorists, as he calls them, have never said it was about reserves. It is all about a production peak, that is what we have stated over and over and over again. But still some people still claim that we that we say it is all about reserves.

The peak in crude oil production is the definition of peak oil. It simply does not matter why production peaks, it is still peak oil. Most of us know that there will always be some oil left in the ground. We also know that the price of oil will determine just how much of that oil will be extracted and how much will be left in the ground. Damn! We are not that stupid!

The declining supply of oil and the increasing price of oil will lead to a global recession, or far more likely, a global depression. The price of oil will reach a point where nations and people simply cannot afford to buy it, owing to their ever declining incomes. At some point, it will be uneconomical to drill new deep water wells or extract more very expensive oil from the oil sands or the Orinoco bitumen. But this will likely come well after the peak.

Some idiots will point to this and say that we have not reached peak oil capacity simply because there is still oil left in the ground. No, peak oil is the peak of oil production, or more correctly the peak of crude oil extraction. And there is at least a 95% chance that this peak was reached during the 2005-2008 plateau.

Ron P.


I guess there is a chink in your hard headed realism armor after all.You appear to have forgotten that the man is after all probably interested in keeping his job and not stirring up to much panic all at once.

Speaking as a person who reads a lot of books and history I tend to read a lot more between the lines than most people,especially the engineering and tech sorts that hang out here.

The warnings are loud and clear in this man's words if you are willing to look for them.

Words have to be interpreted within the context of the writers environment.

On the factory floor or in a bank a man "of average ability" is an asset so long as he is put in the right spot.After all if he is replaced in such a job the odds are that his replacement will be no better by definition.

In Uncle Sam's military those words are read to mean "get rid of this guy as fast as possible by any means necessary".

The warnings are loud and clear in this man's words if you are willing to look for them.

Mac, I think you totally misread my post. I fully realize what the man is trying to say. He is saying that we are at or near the peak of oil production but it is all about economics, not reserves. I can understand his reasons for saying that. However that is not what pisses me off. It is the fact that he totally misrepresented us peak oilers by saying that "we say" it is all about reserves.

I really believe that Christophe de Margerie, CEO of Total, believes what he is saying. The problem is, I think, is that he has not done enough research to find out what peak oilers are really saying. I understand how he could come to this conclusion by just reading news reports. The deniers are saying that we have Tupi, we have the Oil Sands, we have the GOM and so on. Our retort is that these thing are such small fry that in the big picture they make very little difference. And from these points and counterpoints he concludes that we are saying that it is all about reserves.

However it has been explained over and over again that peak oil means the peak of oil production. That is all, nothing more. The day the world produces more oil than it ever has before or more that it ever will produce again will be the day of peak oil. Or the month of peak oil or the year of peak oil. It simply does not matter why oil production peaked, that is still the peak!

Ron P.

It does not matter what you (we) actually say - his intended audience for such sound bites doesn't understand anyway, so it only matters how he can "frame" the issue. "Framing" the issue of course means lying and deceiving, but that is what marketing and advertising is all about.



I actually agree with you in all respects except as to the man's understanding of peak oil, who we are, and what we say and stand for.I have had some very limited contacts with high level managers and more with lower and mid level guys whose jobs include interacting with the public.In every case my judgement is that these people understand politics, pr, and thier opposition rather well.

I expect he understands well enough.If he doesn't, I don't see how he could have any credibility in a top level meeting where the order of business is the discussion of bidding on leases, entering into partnerships with shaky flaky governments thru thier noc s, expanding or phasing out or renovating thier refineries or making dxxx near any long term business decision.

He has given us more respect in denigrating us publicly than ninety nine percent of senoir managers in his industry , who pretend we don't exist.

But mainly I intended to just sort of poke a little mild fun by pointing out that you let him get to you- mostly you don't let anybody push your hot buttons so hard.;)

Even if he is glossing over the facts in a serious way-which he is-his message is consistent with ours- a crunch is on the way.His message is confirmation from within the industry that we are NOT nuts, even as we are called that or worse.

The public is best introduced to this sort of bad news gradually or it is apt to throw a real hissy fit.

The public is best introduced

Sorry to disappoint you Mac, but some things do really push my buttons. Like people who get the peak oil argument totally wrong, pens that skip and people who fail to put a space after every period in the middle of a paragraph. ;-)

Ron P.


IMO writing a comment for a blog or forum requires a differing manner of creation of text than in other endeavors.

For instance long dense paragraphs which wander a bit leads me to just skip the whole comment.

I much prefer to read short paragraphs that contain just enough to put the thought across and not beat it to death.

I skip a whole lot of discourse simply due to poor ability to delineate the material by the author.

When I browse in a book store for good reading material I usually find that if the first page of text doesn't really grab me? Then I just put the book back on the shelve and continue on.

I can usually judge the author on his openings as to his style and whether its worth my time or money. The same applies to comments and posts on the internet.

Airdale-some people are able be very easy to read, some are difficult.

PS.I usually read all of OFM's posts but sometimes he seems to inconsistent in his expressed beliefs, yet being of my age I will forgive him for such. Mostly I have trouble with the younger folks.

Hi Airdale,

I display a lot of inconsistency because I know that I don't know in a lot of cases.If I had a good crystal ball I would be rich.

The truth of the matter is that nearly all the commentary on this site is opinion although it is true that it is opinion based on fact more so than any other site that I know of.example:population-half a dozen facts that can be expressed in a line or two are accompanied with many pages of opinion as to causes and solutions.

The idea is to draw fire.You can bet that whatever I post has some basis in fact and reason and that I am repeating something I have seen elsewhere most of the time.I like to see what other people -really sharp people- such as you and Darwinian will say in response.

And I may post on either side of an issue to put some facts or opinions on the table if no one else has taken up that position.

Taking all sides as necessary in a discussion is part of one of my old job descriptions.(High school teacher-I tried to teach as much critical thinking as possible.Not easily accomplished .)

You and Darwinian have changed my mind for me on a couple of things-for instance I thought for a while you were exaggerating how bad things are environmentally in your area and researched the question.You're right.

Darwinian has settled a few points in my mind about the way the oil business works.

In just about every case I have realized that he not only knows more about the issue but that he has spent a lot of time honing his thinking on it.

So in the end when he punches a few holes in my comments I know more than I did before.Ego is not a big issue with me.I know that I know a lot of stuff he has probably never messed with.

But he won't change my mind about the top level execs at the oil companies not knowing all about peak oil.Not believing in peak oil is a sort of techno fundamentalism.People who make it to the very top in the oil business may profess a belief in impossibilities for public consumption but I don't buy thier being savvy enough to get the top job and dumb enough to believe in Santa Claus.

Now as far as politicians and economists go, they can believe anything, as they have often had no contact with the physical realities.

Whenever I read something that refers to 'peak oil' theorist I automatically assume they are referring to an imaginery individual or group. Ever notice how names are not (or seldom) mentioned as to who these theorist are? It's all part of the game... don't name names and the writer won't ask you to do so.

I prefer to be called a "peak oil enthusiast".

RealClimate: More CRU Hack conext

Read about why peer-review is a necessary but not sufficient condition for science to be worth looking at. Also, before you conclude that the emails have any impact on the science, read about the six easy steps that mean that CO2 (and the other greenhouse gases) are indeed likely to be a problem, and think specifically how anything in the emails affect them.

Scientist in climate change data row steps down

The research director at the centre of a row over climate change data said he would stand down from the post while there is an independent review.

Australia: New Liberal leader did not know what peak oil is

Video of the day: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tCiHFyLIfu8

Q: “Does the Liberal Party have a policy on peak oil?”

Tony Abbott: “We like it to be cheaper, …. I suppose… look, look,….we like to see competition at every level in the oil industry both at the production level, the distribution level and the supply level and we think that that will give us the best possible price. ”

Q: “I’d like to ask if Tony Abbott understood the question about peak oil. Are you familiar with the concept of peak oil?”

Tony Abbott: “It’s not a term I have heard. Perhaps Robert has heard about peak oil. He is expert on arcane concepts…”

More details here:

Any chance of anyone from Oz getting a talk with him ?

Best Hopes for Information,


Sorry,Alan,but apart from a little comic relief,it is a waste of time talking to Tony Abbott.Like many of his colleagues he is a captive of the 20th century and is not likely to be sprung soon,if at all.

Hey Matt,

I love this part;

Tony Abbott: “Ok, but the issue with oil is … supply is very much a function of price and at a higher price all sort of things suddenly become possible. A whole lot of uneconomic deposits become accessible, turning all sorts of other things into oil become feasible. So this idea there is some fixed point, some fixed finitude I just find implausible.”

It's those darn roosters a-laying again...
Dr Brian Fisher, ABARE;
"If the price of eggs is high enough, even the roosters will start to lay."

Abbott, the ex-seminarian, left, and found a new religion - blind faith in market forces. However, as poor Tony will perhaps soon realise, markets can not make roosters lay eggs, and geological forces are far more powerful than market forces.

Ban the word "ignorant"! From henceforth an ignoramus is "not an expert on arcane concepts".


CEO Henderson Resigns From General Motors

General Motors Co. CEO Frederick "Fritz" Henderson stepped down Tuesday after the board determined that the company wasn't changing quickly enough.

Looks like some big changes at one of the Big 3


As long as Lutz is at GM, it will be the old GM.


To your point.

What Energy Crisis?

The mass movement towards 'green cars' is only taking place in the media," he (Lutz) added, pointing to "poor" sales of hybrid vehicles, other than the one offered by Japanese rival Toyota, and their small share of market.


It was too bad that the Big 3 did not seem to give much consideration to creating a "second curve" for their business while others were investing in the future. This is a good example of how important good leadership is to long term business survival. http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0345405412/versagdepaulmbae

Yep. He probably can't wait to bring back the plans for that sixteen cylinder cadillac.

I think those good old daze are about over.

Lutz And GM Managers Stunned by Henderson’s Departure

Chairman, and new CEO Ed Whitacre is hell bent on transforming GM's culture into one where the company moves quicker, takes bold steps, and above all does not tolerate complacency. In other words, gone are the days where incremental change was good enough at GM.


Anyone have any idea where the Surge in US oil production is coming from? This past week, according to the Summary of Weekly Petroleum Data, it averaged 5,561,000 barrels per day, a post Katrina high.

Ron P.

There's this from Platts:

US crude oil production could see largest increase in four decades, says Platts analysis

According to Platts, if the 5.2687 million barrels per day output continues through the end of December, there could be a 6.4 percent jump over 2008’s 4.95 million average. This year would then rank as the best in US oil production since 2004, when the average output was 5.419 million barrels per day.

A major cause for the oil production increase is more activity in the Gulf of Mexico. The industry has bounced back in the region since last year’s hurricane season and a group of new deepwater fields are emerging.

And to emphasize Leanan's point you have to remember the time lag in Deep Water exploration/development. The production surge came from exploratory projects started around 2000. Then add another 5 or 6 years to build production facilities and drill the development wells and you get to where we are today. And there are still projects going forward today. But the economic drop off last year has caused a big delay in future exploratory plans and some development phases. Current relatively high oil prices help but many of the DW players are struggling with the current debt situation so capital access will continue to be a drag.

It's would also be good to remember that the decline rate of these DW fields will be much steeper then we've seen with past oil field developments in the US. Just a rough guess but many of these fields will reach a 70% or so depletion level in 5 or 6 years.

a surge compared to the previous week, but production was 5.5 million bpd for the week ending 11-6-09, before the last what's her name hurricane.

Elwood, I meant a surge not just compared to previous week but to the previous months and years! Average US production for 2007 was 5,064,000 mbd. Last's weeks production was half a million barrels per day above that figure.

After all, I did say post Katrina high. That includes more than just the last two weeks I think.

Ron P.

Summary of Weekly Petroleum Data for the Week Ending November 27, 2009

U.S. crude oil refinery inputs averaged 13.8 million barrels per day during the week ending November 27, 127 thousand barrels per day below the previous week's average. Refineries operated at 79.7 percent of their operable capacity last week. Gasoline production decreased last week, averaging 9.0 million barrels per day. Distillate fuel production decreased last week, averaging 3.9 million barrels per day.

U.S. crude oil imports averaged 8.4 million barrels per day last week, down 549 thousand barrels per day from the previous week. Over the last four weeks, crude oil imports have averaged 8.6 million barrels per day, 1.3 million barrels per day below the same four-week period last year. Total motor gasoline imports (including both finished gasoline and gasoline blending components) last week averaged 1.1 million barrels per day. Distillate fuel imports averaged 136 thousand barrels per day last week.

U.S. commercial crude oil inventories (excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve) increased by 2.1 million barrels from the previous week. At 339.9 million barrels, U.S. crude oil inventories are above the upper limit of the average range for this time of year. Total motor gasoline inventories increased by 4.0 million barrels last week, and are above the upper limit of the average range. Both finished gasoline inventories and blending components inventories increased last week. Distillate fuel inventories decreased by 1.2 million barrels, and are above the upper boundary of the average range for this time of year. Propane/propylene inventories decreased by 0.9 million barrels last week and are in the lower half of the average range. Total commercial petroleum inventories increased by 5.5 million barrels last week, and are above the upper limit of the average range for this time of year.

Oil Extends Drop After U.S. Says Crude, Gasoline Supplies Rose

(Bloomberg) -- Oil futures extended declines after a U.S. government report showed an increase in supplies of crude and gasoline.

Gasoline inventories surged 4 million barrels to 214.1 million in the week ended Nov. 27, the Energy Department said today in a weekly report. Stockpiles were forecast to increase by 700,000 barrels, according to the median of analyst estimates in a Bloomberg News survey.

Inventories of crude oil rose 2.09 million barrels to 340 million, the department said. Supplies were forecast to drop by 400,000 barrels.

Of the 4M barrels increase in gasoline is +0.9MBbl finished gasoline and the rest is blending components:

+1.4MBbl RBOB/Alcohol
+1.5MBbl CBOB
+0.2MBbl All other

Does anyone know what RBOB and CBOB are? Is ethanol part of this?

Also, production of finished gasoline is shown as having decreased by 159KBbl/day or 1.1MBbl over the week. So since finished gas stocks increased by 0.9MBbl during the same period does it mean consumption has decreased 2M Bbl over the same time?

Over a few years of watching this report, I feel I still haven't figured out what it is the market is reacting to.


Both RBOB and CBOB are described on the EIA Definitions page:

Reformulated Blendstock for Oxgenate Blending (RBOB)

Motor gasoline blending components intended for blending with oxygenates to produce finished reformulated motor gasoline.

Conventional Blendstock for Oxygenate Blending (CBOB)

Motor gasoline blending components intended for blending with oxygenates to produce finished conventional motor gasoline.

Here is another page describing RBOB and how it is traded on NYMEX.

From that page:

Grade and Quality Specifications

Generally conforms to industry standards for reformulated regular gasoline blendstock for oxygen blending (RBOB) with 10% denatured fuel ethanol (92% purity) as listed by the Colonial Pipeline for fungible F grade for sales in New York and New Jersey. RBOB is a wholesale non-oxygentated blendstock traded in the New York Harbor barge market that is ready for the addition of 10% ethanol at the truck rack.

-- Jon

Thanks! So part of this is ethanol. Kind of skews the crude oil numbers if you consider the source.

I realize the report doesn't say much about consumption, but it's interesting how oil prices can decrease when supply is decreasing.

Behind a paywall, but viewable through Google...

The Force Behind Oil's Unlikely Rise

Monday's monthly report revised overall demand in September down by more than half a million barrels a day. At 18.4 million barrels, it was up on a year before, but comparisons with the month when Lehman Brothers collapsed tend to flatter. Demand in September 2007 was 20.4 million barrels a day.

Wednesday's weekly report showed inventories are, in contrast, overflowing. Domestic production of oil has actually risen by about 450,000 barrels a day in the past year. Stocks at Cushing, Okla., the reference point for the Nymex West Texas Intermediate oil benchmark, are more than a third higher than last year. Stocks of distillate, including diesel, fell, but remain 30% above the five-year average. Refiners are chugging along at a low utilization rate of about 80%.

In the face of continuing weak demand in the industrialized world and gathering efforts to curb consumption structurally, the "peak oil" argument rings hollow.

In the face of continuing weak demand in the industrialized world and gathering efforts to curb consumption structurally, the "peak oil" argument rings hollow.

How does weak demand cause the peak oil argument to ring hollow? Demand is down because of peak oil. Peak oil caused prices to rise to over $100 a barrel, causing demand destruction. The price of oil is still above $75 a barrel. That is over three times the price of less than a decade ago. That is still killing demand.

The high price of oil, and the knowledge that the supply is limited, is the cause of the "gathering efforts to curb consumption". Were there no such thing as peak oil then the price of oil would still be in the same range it was ten years ago and there would be no efforts to curb consumption.

Ron P.

A North Sea oil and gas exploration rig is on its way from Scotland to the North Falkland Basin to explore reserves. Scientists believe that the territory could have up to 60 billion barrels of oil underneath its coastal waters.

I wonder where numbers like 60 billion barrels of oil around the Falkland Islands come from. Are these numbers derived from seismic exploration data, general geology knowledge, extrapolation of nearby basins,...???

As someone who has actually looked at the petroleum geology of the Falklands, I'd say the 60 billion barrels comes from some optimistic calculations of oil in place based on eyeball comparisons of seismic data with some distant oil province, most likely either Brazil or Angola, followed by enthusiastic armwaving by salesmen.

If someone says there might be 60 billion barrels at this early stage of exploration, they're obviously trying to raise money from investors.

The amount of money spent so far in exploration (some 300 million pounds, or, in oil terms, perhaps 5 million barrels) suggests that the people spending the money do not seriously believe this estimate. If there were a serious possibility of such large reserves, there would be an exploration and development effort like Petrobras's work in the Brazilian subsalt play. Billions, not millions, and not just a single rig once a decade.

There have been six wells drilled in the Falklands (as far as I know), and they were drilled with pretty much modern technology, so I assume they were drilled on the best prospects. While all of them found some oil, none were large enough to justify development at 1999 prices. At that time reserves of 140 million barrels were reckoned to be enough to justify development.

On the basis of this news release, I'd guess someone has decided the oil found in the 1990s -- less than 140 million barrels -- is enough to be profitable in five years time when prices will be $94/barrel (latest quote for December 2014 futures). They might be able to get the oil to market by then.

Good info ird. Do you a handle on the water depths involved in the previous/new efforts?

Frugal -- Here's a website of one of the players. Offers a little bit of geology. http://www.fogl.com/falklands/default.asp They are promoting their company so take everything with a grain of salt.

Thanks Rockman. It does look like some seismic exploration has taken place. The FOGL website talks about billions of barrels in the basin around the Falkland Islands, but Ird's experience of maybe 100's of millions of barrels seems more realistic.

That's why I asked about water depth. If the water is deep enough even a 100 million bbl field might not be economic to develop.

The world’s atomic-power plants risk running short of fuel within a decade because uranium suppliers can’t build enrichment facilities or recycle Soviet-era warheads fast enough...

Do I hear chuckles from the people who bought CANDU reactors? Despite their other problems, the CANDU reactors run on unenriched fuel. China is now operating two CANDU-6 reactors. The Chinese reactors may be the only ones in the world that were completed on schedule and within budget.

You saw the Bloomberg article about the expected shortfall in enriched uranium by 2017, I suppose. This is the graph from it:

Denmark gives big incentives for electric cars. To use wind power to charge batteries which are exchangeable:


Sounds feasible to me.

Does the incentive effectively cancel out the 200% tax imposed on new cars, then? Wasn't clear on that, article says heretofore it wasn't imposed on EVs due to limited use.

Didn't realize Better Place would require custom made vehicles to work with the leased batteries either - built only by Renault Nissan so far. Their EV was projected to be built in parking lot size volumes, at least for US markets; latest on the Leaf was about 5k. Wonder what a conversion to make existing cars work with the now confusingly abbreviated BP (Better Place) would cost. How about a bank that would simply slide into a rear passenger seat, or trunk/boot? That would hold down costs considerably and allow the concept to penetrate the market at lightning speed, compared to waiting around for the Big auto makers to roll over and build/refurbish existing production.

Fake farms are going to lose ag status in Scott County

A crackdown on fake farms in Scott County is about to wallop a whole bunch of people right in their most sensitive spot: their bank accounts.

In one extreme case -- a "shocker," in the words of County Auditor Cindy Geis -- annual property taxes will skyrocket from about $5,000 to nearly $40,000. In others, they will increase by $1,000 or more.

...Scott County began going down this road a few years ago, when officials weeded out people who have fewer than 10 acres, a basic requirement in state law to be considered a farmer.

That move outraged the owners of many small acreages, such as people raising berries, organic vegetables or goats to sell to ethnic markets, and who consider themselves legitimate parts of the farm economy despite their small size.

The current phase of the crackdown, Geis warned commissioners on Tuesday, is homing in on more subtle cases than that. A family might have 12 acres, but fewer than 10 are tillable and contiguous, as required by law. Or they are raising hay, but only for their own recreational horses.

Maybe farm income would be a better protocol for determining the difference between farm and fake.

LOL the bigger the loss makes you a real farmer :)

Farming and income are generally not two words used in the same sentence.

Maybe farm expenditures would be a better protocol for determining the difference between farm and fake.

Now thats getting more realistic :)

With that said I honestly detest the hobby farms esp the horsie ones regardless of peoples good intentions as far as organic farming goes. A real sustainable farm capable of generating a decent income needs to be fairly large. A small farmer needs at least one acre in my opinion to supply food for the farming family itself then enough for a woodlot and finally for commercial operations. Assuming allowing some land to be fallow etc 10 is a fairly hard limit. Below this its not a "real" farm.
20-40 acres or more depending on the climate makes even more sense.

Hopefully I won't get flamed for this opinion but its sad that people esp poorer people can't easily buy a productive 20-40 acre farm and make a decent if hard work living.

I hope that as gasoline prices increase and property values fall and suburbia fails that we will return to a point where small farmers can thrive.

Given the way things go we probably will see mega farms created by the wealthy out of small unsustainable hobby farms but one can hope this won't happen.

Now I think village farming can do better and of course there are intense methods that work for less land but in general I'd argue that larger holdings are a better approach. Of course one of the reasons is not just agricultural but also to restore to some extent the local ecology. Certainly you can have intensive farming like in China but without some natural buffering of fallow fields and forests you lose your natural local ecosystem. Obviously I'd also advocate allowing say hilly regions to simply remain undisturbed.

Fallow and natural regions also help significantly in reducing pests and the rate of spread of diseases.

I think the village model is the best answer and is the most common through history but thats for other reasons besides agriculture.

Even back to the dawn of agriculture it seems both occurred.


Assuming at some point we have no choice but to control our population it seems that a handful of cities around 100k at the best ports and villages along navigable waterways 20 or so miles apart with some scattered individual farms within 5 miles or so of the village with the rest wilderness makes sense. And for the most part this will be in reasonably habitable regions. With whats left of the arctic for example left to those wishing to live a less dense hunter gatherer lifestyle.

Assuming we keep or knowledge of genetics perhaps we even move more towards natural agriculture or food plants that can live with little care and give up on traditional agriculture even more. There is no real reason we can't develop plants that are good for food yet fit in a natural ecosystem. Sort of like a return all the way back to the garden of eden solution.

Purist might hate the idea but we could even develop gene altered medicinal plants assuming we eventually master genetics.

Going a bit further and assuming that computers will become embedded future generations with maximally refined technology may seem to be reasonably clean cavemen or maybe they develop sweet smelling sweat and bath for enjoyment :)

To me at least once we finally give in and reduce our population even if its forced on us I have to think we will then move to and ever increasingly balanced or natural way of life certainly making some alterations but overtime leaving and ever lighter footprint on the world.

Of course for those that tire of living in caveman eden space would be accessible and who knows the directions we would take off the planet but this would I think make earth even more precious as a natural garden world to be left unspoiled and enjoyed not raped and when we finally enter space for real I hope that we treat all our solar system in a similar fashion enjoying and pondering the wonder of the universe but not abusing the system and eventually the stars.

So longer term once we are finally rid of the drug of cheap fossil fuels we can get back towards working towards real growth and evolution as a species.

Looking back we should have pulled the plug on our current society when it became obvious we would not reach the stars as a species under or current economic/social system. I see humans as always needing a frontier its deep in our being but the moment it was obvious we where not going to make it the way we where going we should have regrouped and changed direction. Thus the failure of the US oil/suburban based growth in the 1970's as the US peaked should have lead to a rejection of the current path and a new course.

We came surprisingly close in the late 60's and 70's to taking and alternative route. I never really understood why the hippie movement died like it did. Perhaps because the Vietnam war was such a central part once it ended victory in the key battle eventually resulted in defeat and loss of the real war.

Memmel, I wish you would reconsider that statement. I honestly believe it is wrong:

A small farmer needs at least one acre in my opinion to supply food for the farming family itself then enough for a woodlot and finally for commercial operations. Assuming allowing some land to be fallow etc 10 is a fairly hard limit. Below this its not a "real" farm.

The 3 farms I have been closely involved with as a CSA customer have all been smaller than 10 acres. My present farm, Cure Organic Farm (http://www.cureorganicfarm.com), 6 acres, is one of the larger farms supplying over 100 local families, and selling also at the Boulder Farmers' Market.

I would say, it depends what you are raising. For grains, which we expect to be very cheap, it may be true that you need many acres, but for market vegetables, berries, medicinal plants, there is no question that you can be profitable on small acreage. For more information, it may be worth looking at the SPIN site (Small plot intensive farming). I have not tried it myself, but, depending on certain conditions (water availability, climate chaos would indeed be relevant), much smaller acreage can indeed be profitable.

The larger question is that of "agricultural zoning". From my limited experience, it appears that land use laws serve to keep the status quo, mostly. Certain things one might want to do (say cold frames) that could be "food", and profitable, will get restricted by laws limiting the square footage of "structures" per acre of land. One 2 acre "farm" I know, honestly experimenting with dryland farming and permaculture practices, tries to augment income with permaculture classes and ends up at war with neighbors who don't want the traditional "image" of the neighborhood to change.

I am surprised that no one points out that the laws taxing small holdings at a higher rate just serve to rout out anything innovative in favor of the old giant monocultures.

+1 Paranoid... these rules would be a good leverage point (to refer to Nate's campfire post) to change how we organize food and transportation/

I cannot find the link right now but I read a few months ago that the average farm size in Bangladesh is less than half a hectare or about one acre. The farm size keeps shrinking because after the patriarch of the family dies the farm gets divided equally among the surviving sons. Therefore over the years the farm size keeps shrinking.

Ron P.

Same as Rwanda, 25 years ago :(

Of course, Bangladesh has a 365 day growing season, and some of the most fertile soil on the planet. If it didn't, there wouldn't be so many people there in the first place.

I know its controversial but I stand by the statement. Specialty growers are not also providing all the food for their families. Subsistence first money second.
There is no reason for a farm not to provide all the required food for the farmer.

If you want to take out the mono culture issue then get 40% of the population back growing a full range of foodstuffs and selling the excess.

I'm by no means against organic farming far from it its just I don't agree that the small few acre organic farms are accomplishing what they claim. Cash crops should be in addition to at least subsistence level food production for the farmer and his family. Exactly what this level is is of course debatable esp given I include renewable biofuels as a requirement. But even the most intensive approach including fuel is going to be 1-2 acres. However a better way to think about it is how much land can you cultivate in say six hours a day with 3-4 left for commercial farming. Perhaps as low as say 2-3 hours spent working enough land to feed yourself. Of course this is simplistic as the work load is variable but its a reasonable way to consider the issue.

Another way to look at it.

Spending for food seems to average about 500 a month as a easy number.


Thats 6000 a year. Given this.


This is claiming 0.5 hectacre or 1.2 acres per person. Assuming a 4 person family thats 4.5 acres. For energy lets say 2 acres of coppiced trees or something similar that 6.5 add in some fallow land say 1 acre at least thats 7.5. To make money you need at least 1-2 more acres so 8.5-9.5. Thats a reasonable minimum and your probably still having to do some other form of work to have enough cash.

Historically homesteads where 40 acres for very good reason. Perhaps with better methods 20 makes more sense ten still is minimal.

In Arkansas it was generally 60-80 acres for a real farm unless it was all river bottom.

A nice link on real farms in West Virgina I'd suspect they had less arable land so they are slightly larger than Arkansas farms.


and more.


Of course knowledge and advancements matter but just as obvious many of these people where dirt poor on farms that would be considered large by those promoting organic agriculture.

Selling berries for 2-3 dollars a pint does not work well when people have no money. To some extent its sad but a lot of good people are going to get wiped out when Aplaca's are not in demand and berries don't have a market same for Medicinal herbs for that matter do you have a market when people are stretching to buy food ?

I looked at your link what your doing is cool but you need more land. We need to get real small farms of at least 20-40 acres back as soon as possible. Obviously I don't think agricultural land should be allowed to be subdivided smaller than this and it should be actively farmed or face serious tax consequences.

This gives farm sizes in Germany.


For the prosperous Western farms they are 20-50 hectares or about 50-125 acres in line with my estimates. East German farms are less than 10 hectares but we know the living conditions were substandard for East Germany.
Again intensive organic agriculture helps reduce land size at the expense of work but other issues such as fuels push it back up so ...

Maybe my problem is I grew up around farmers that lived farming and generally when I was a child grew all their own food but on the same hand way way to much of the literature indicates that what I'm suggesting is quite reasonable. Micro farms of less than ten acres that are profitable are in my opinion a result of excessive wealth of their customers willing to pay a premium for organic food.
Something that probably won't last long as economic conditions worsen.

The equestrian estates should be taxed to death they are a cancer ranking right up there with the RV and the Hummer. I won't say more about them.

And yes I fully understand what I'm saying is controversial but the sad part is fairly normal people should be able to buy 40 acres and make a go at farming and living a decent life. Hopefully one day 40 acres and a mule won't be a dream.

Most of what you state seems to be just conjecture.

I doubt you have much background in this area.

First it depends very very much on the location. Desert, prarie, bottom lands,hilly country,good soil,bad soil, woodlands,water source, rainfall amounts and a lot more.

You have trivialized the whole subject.

If you have experience as a real landowner of acreage then please state YOUR REAL experiences. Mine will be far far different than someone living in Kansas. Or the Dakotas. Or North Carolina and so on.You get the idea.


Everywhere is different.

35 years ago when I picked NW Arkansas as the place I wanted to retire to I bought 10 acres of very isolated land. I have friends and neighbors that tell me of growing up here. A garden for food, guns and fishing poles for meat, wild greens and fruits, moonshine, and neighbors that took care of each other, no Hatfield and McCoy BS.

My best hillbilly friend Jerry tells me of learning weeds at age 4 and edible weeds at age 5. He knows how to cook game. I learned about corn 'squeezings' from his dad.

Not to put anybody down but this old hippy likes Ozark hillbillies over Tennessee and West Virginia Hillbillies.

BTW The corn they grew was Hickory King, pronounced: Hickory Cane. It grew well on poor, heavy, logged over soil. They roasted it, made grits and hominy from it, and made the moonshine that paid the taxes. In the early 20th century after the land was clear cut, a person could own the land by squatting and paying the taxes for 7 years. Gotta pay the taxes. Jerry's grandparents didn't make their taxes and lost their land.

I went to UofA my first wife was from Winslow AR.

If they can get a semi truck into the farm most have been converted to commercial chicken production with the attendant waste problems its a shame. Marijuana is also a fairly big cash crop in the region although moonshine is still readily found.

My mothers family founded Ashflat which is towards the east of the Ozarks.

I love the area myself even though I grew up in Holly Springs then Little Rock the Ozarks will always be a place I cherish. With that said its also always been a place thats hard to make a living but easy to live. Which sounds like a contradiction but its not. Plenty of pockets of good soil for a very nice garden, fruit trees etc.
Cattle do well. Although not common when I was there running hogs that are effectively wild and eat acorns is doable. I can see where the razorback came from :). And of course hunting is good.

I suspect that once the disaster that is Tyson is gone the land will return to its roots. And one can hope WallMart dies also. It will then go back to being the place it really is where people of "independent" nature can live.

Outside of commercial farming issues etc there certainly is a much more sedate life style of people getting by if you will and not trying to get rich but enjoying life. I'd say the Ozark hill country region is still a good example of this.

Whats sad is while I was there I worked for Animal Sciences on chickens for Tyson I did a crap load of work on feed formulations and all kinds of other stuff I was the support chemist for the department. I tested most of the water well in the region from Kansas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Missouri for trace minerals. Many of the deeper wells drilled for supply water to the chicken houses showed high traces of selenium and boron amongst other nasties, radon, uranium etc. The problem is the shale layers i.e Fayetteville shale are full of crap. I'd get your water tested for a full trace mineral profile using ICP.

On a lighter note I even did pheromone isolation for june bugs using and electroatennagraphic detector. For june bug pheromones. And flew them in wind tunnels.


If you ever need to know the sex of a june bug give me a call. I'm damn good at artificial insemination of chickens and turkeys also. I had hens that would squat and quiver when I walked into the door :) No one could beat my 99% fertility rate.
We also had pure Jungle fowl and I used to acquire the eggs for for people who raised birds for sporting interests. I'll admit I'm responsible for the reinjection of quite a bit of original dna back into some chicken lines.

It was a cool job since I worked for all of the professors on a variety of projects. Now of course I realize that NG heated chicken houses with the associated Nitrate problems is a stupid idea but at the time it was the way it was I did not really judge people since how else where they going to make money if they did not have gas wells ? The one thing about working for the Animal Sciences department is I got to see all the problems with commercial farming. In my opinion a lot of them are fairly intractable and intrinsically related to the stead influx of feed grains from the plains and deep wells. Now I realize that no matter what the approach is unbalanced.

50 years ago there were VERY few, IF ANY, farmers raising all of their own food. Climate, soils, and efficiency ruled against it.

Flour, salt, milk and coffee (and/or tea) with a few oranges, bananas or apples were kind of the minimum for even the poorest tenant farmers.

A more prosperous farmer (like my paternal grandfather) might have an apple tree (but buy apples in a bad year plus some pears, oranges and bananas, his apples were more for cooking than fresh eating, so they would buy some eating apples as well), pay a butcher to slaughter a yearling (but still buy some pork), raise chickens for eggs and occasional meat (but buy a chicken (store or neighbor) when there were hands to feed during harvest, family visiting or when they just ate more chicken than they raised), milk (too much trouble to care for and milk one cow every day after my father grew up) and keep a large garden, but buy out of local season produce (some canning but not much, store bought was affordable). He never did like to raise field corn, so he bought what he needed for the chickens (to supplement their scratching around) and the yearling he would slaughter (he would add corn to their grass diet). He concentrated on raising tobacco (up to 100,000 lb/year) and cattle (250 head).

Even during the Depression, it was easier to barter for food with neighbors than raise everything yourself. And since he raised cash crops (tobacco & cattle) they had cash for some store items.

My maternal grandfather worked for the state highway department during the Depression and had an inherited 38 acre farm. The children and wife (a school teacher) with help from his brother did most of the farm work when he was "on the road" but he would work the farm after coming home till dark and on Saturday. A good supplemental income and a good % of the food but hardly self sufficient. Modest cash incomes made up the difference.


milk (too much trouble to care for and milk one cow every day after my father grew up)

The old saying is that the only difference between having a cow and being in jail is that when you are in jail, you don't have to milk a cow.

The local part time farmers I typically buy from (they all have other jobs) have farmers of 24, 20 and 11 acres# except the beekeeper (his bees cross property lines or citrus farmers pay him) and my main fisherman (he has a holding pond for his catch till the evening before the market) who occasionally sells some excess produce from his garden in addition to the fish.

The full time farmers all have more acreage.

# They do not work all the land that they have. Two are on Mississippi River delta land downriver from New Orleans, very fertile but high water table.

I could see a viable part-time farmer on less than 10 acres, but not much less. In short growing season Minnesota, 10 acre minimum seems generous.


There is no reason for a farm not to provide all the required food for the farmer.

I would disagree with that. If one has a small farm on steep rocky slopes that doesn't take well to tilling then growing something like berries or fruit and selling excess may be a better idea than trying to grow all of one's food on the rocky slopes.

It's really a shame you guys didn't succeed back then. Like I said a few days ago, from a truly detached point of view, all species should attempt to develop interstellar travel in order to colonize multiple star systems. Ultimately, whether an intelligent species destroys itself through industrialization or is eventually (inevitably) destroyed by a gamma ray burst, meteor impact, supervolcano, ect... because it did not spread to other planets is irrelevant. Arguably we tried for the stars, but we were not the right species. Developing faster than life travel or another means of sending a colony group through deep space is the ultimate evolutionary jackpot.

However, that is just my idea about what evolution dictates that a species must ultimately do.

It might be better for humans to just decide not to gamble our planet on a shot to the stars (seeing as how our shot was so wildly misaimed) and decide to just live on it until something from space or the earth's crust decides to wipe us from it forever.

In mahy respects you are of course correct, eventually the sun(sol) will supernova and the life forms on earth will be extinguished, the time frame for this event is however up for debate.

cheers Mike

My answer to "Fermi's Paradox":

The reason why intelligent extraterrestrial species are not here yet is that they are intelligent. They recognize that they only have a limited time in this universe, and that the most intelligent use of that time is to spend it cherishing and enjoying life on the planet that is their home and on which they have evolved. Compared to that, spending one's life in a cramped tin can drifting through the cold, empty, sterile void of space is not intelligent, but supremely stupid. Like us.

Great theory! I've been thinking that Fermi's Paradox can be explained by resource depletion and biosphere destruction. Once you pump all the oil and degrade all the arable land, population collapse and extinction follow. Very Medea.

And more importantly, industrial civilization may be a one-shot affair. If we collapse, our descendants will never have access to rich ore bodies and energy sources to rebuild, because we used them all up. It will be tens or hundreds of millions of years before conditions similar to where we were a few hundred years ago could exist again.

Well two or three shot affair perhaps. An we have now idea when Mother nature would choose to experiment with intelligent life again. Regardless the lack of Aliens esp as we discover more and more planets is troublesome.

Landfills will be valuable sources of metals.

Ceramics and engineered plastics can go further than we have taken them.

Electricity + technology = aluminum

And iron, steel, and a few more have great potential supplies.


Christophe DeMagorie claims that

It is not a question of reserves as “peak oil” theorists would have us believe but rather a question of available production capacities. So why is it we are reaching a production peak? First of all, there are few “easy” oil and gas fields left out there.

Well, Chris, you are obviously nuts. The peak oil "theory" is that when you reach peak oil, what is left is hard to get, not that there is none left. That is the entire point! It is more expensive to retrieve it, the EROEI is much lower - and at some point EROEI goes negative, at which time you stop drilling for energy. Not that some oil will not be retrieved at negative EROEI. It will, for pharmaceutical uses and agricultural uses, and for chemical uses. Just not as an energy source.

And, Chris, you made our point, exactly. There are few "easy" oil and gas fields left out there. Oh, and BTW, the main reason for the economic difficulty that you think has stopped production is the passing of the peak in oil. Sorry that is bad news for you, but it is reality. Get a grip!

Solar panels on the pyramids??

Isn't that redundant? I thought Pyramids were supposed to generate Zero Point energy..

They do! They generate zero energy at the point. So it's Ra! Ra! Ra!

Emissions Cuts Would Cost India Dearly
Wall Street Journal - Shikha Dalmia - ‎2 hours ago‎
The poor can't afford a big tax on energy usage

Here's the link: http://news.google.com/nwshp?hl=en&tab=wn
Scroll down to find the article.

If the poor cannot afford a big tax on energy in India, how will they afford it in China? As cost is added to energy, presumably to convert to renewables to reduce our carbon footprint, but at the same time oil is by many accounts peaking/plateauing in production, doesn't this suggest the transition will not be possible?

On the one hand, one might think that as energy from oil got more expensive, renewables would become more cost effective. However, it takes energy from fossil fuels to make renewables, so as ff energy goes up in price, so does renewables. Also, as oil goes up in price, countries like India will have less revenue available for alternative energy. Wouldn't this insure the use of cheap coal until it is exhausted?

Nassim Nicholas Taleb: Good Bye! The Reappointment Of Bernanke Is Too Much To Bear

What I am seeing and hearing on the news -- the reappointment of Bernanke -- is too hard for me to bear. I cannot believe that we, in the 21st century, can accept living in such a society. I am not blaming Bernanke (he doesn't even know he doesn't understand how things work or that the tools he uses are not empirical); it is the Senators appointing him who are totally irresponsible -- as if we promoted every doctor who committed malpractice. The world has never, never been as fragile. Economics make homeopath and alternative healers look empirical and scientific.

Wow - how could something like the reappointment of Bernanke be a surprise to anyone who is paying any attention? Anyone who finds such things unbelievable needs to recalibrate their mental model of how the world works.

Far from being too much to bear, it's actually completely typical - and it's pretty much of no consequence who is inside the suits, as they will all do the same things anyway. The forces involved here are much bigger than individual personalities.

In regard to yesterday's talk about Las Vegas "City Center", the movie, "The Road" is playing in not a single theater in Las Vegas.
I guess the film distributor figured rightly that "The Road" was
too much reality for us. Plenty of computer driven fantasy on offer

I read The Road a couple of weeks ago, as several here had recommended it and the movie is coming out. Now I won't have to bother seeing it - I was not impressed. The basic premise was too flawed to ignore through the whole book - the idea that in just a few years after the unknown catastrophe there is absolutely no life left on Earth but a few cannibal humans is quite unlikely. And yet in the end we are supposed to have some sort of hope for the character. Given that no survival is possible if all other life is gone, that negates any point the author was trying make. At least it was relentlessly depressing.

I read the book and found it formulaic and after the first few cycles of walk - misfortune - despair - miracle, tedious.

My favorite End Of It All novel remains On The Beach by Nevil Shute.

Whenever people have brought up this book, I've bit my tongue because I hated it.

It's a farrago of dad/son sentimentality and apocalyptic cliches, including the requisite flaming infant on a spit.

What Greer calls The Silent Running Fallacy.

I hope the moderators will allow this long post, which might be offtopic on this thread.

I thank airdale and oldfarmermac for their comments over the years, which have proved invaluable in guiding my decisions and actions.

By way of background, I am a physicist by training, and dissolute by inclination. After grad school and some postdoctoral research I set up a networking company in the early 1990's with two partners, which survived both the tech boom and the bust and remains profitable today. By the early 2000's it was quite clear to us that our current lifestyles were unsustainable, so we began to look elsewhere for a new beginning.

Six or seven years ago, after perhaps two years of research, we purchased a quarter section (160 acres) in rural PA, which included three streams, two barns, three houses and other assorted outbuildings. The family who owned the property had no younger members who wished to keep farming, and had been renting the arable farmland portion (some 90 or 100 ac) to a neighbor for some years, and we followed their lead, since we knew nothing about farming. This neighbor, a kindly gentleman and a local township commissioner was and is of great help to us, and in fact we would be quite lost without his assistance. I think he is very much like airdale or oldfarmermac, compassionate toward us city slickers, and politely suppresses his laughter at our follies. Indeed, every neighbor in the small valley where we are located has been kind and generous almost to a fault; and to anyone who might wish to retire to the countryside, I cannot overemphasize the importance of picking your neighbors well.

This post is perhaps already too long, but I would like to include some comments on the lessons we have learned over the last few years. First, small farms like these are not really economically viable. The land here has been farmed for a century and a half, logged more than once, and except perhaps for the bottomlands by the streams, requires large amounts of fertilizer to raise crops. The bottomlands are subject to flooding (we have had two 'hundred year' floods in the last five years already.) The farmers are in thrall to the seed companies like Monsanto, who are not above sending investigators to check if the farmers are growing GMO crops without first buying seed from them; the consequences are dire if violations are discovered. As you may imagine, the farmers hate this, and would greatly like to be free of such dependence, but they see no way out.

Over the last couple of years we have purchased and installed equipment to clean their grain, press it into oil and meal, and return the meal to them to feed their livestock. We take the oil, refine it, and sell it into the restaurants on the Eastern seaboard. We collect the waste oil from the restaurants, process it into biodiesel, and sell it to farmers and trucking companies who blend it into their fuel. The same trucks transport the oil to the restaurants and the waste oil back to us. Once we began doing this, the farmers, who are a canny lot, realized they could use us to market their produce and meat to the same restaurants that use the oil, so much so that we purchased a refrigerated trailer for that purpose.

We are building these relationships with the farmers there, for we realize that we cannot survive without their help, and in turn we try to help them in every way we can. In addition we are supplying them with non GMO heirloom seeds, and although yields are smaller compared with the GMO versions, the farmers are encouraging us to do more along those lines. We shall see if this is viable over the next few years. We try and use organic pest and weed control, for non GMO seeds cannot stand the chemical weed suppressants usually used on their GMO counterparts.

This experience has shown me that the most important thing to building a sustainable life is community. To those doomers who to invest in guns, gold and canned food: I would like to remind them that sitting in a bunker watching your dwindling supplies is not a good way to live. Try talking to your neighbors instead.

Sidd, thanks for a great post. I commend you and your partners for your efforts. I do hope they are successful.

However I believe you have a very wrong idea as to what we doomers are advocating. Most of us would say that you are doing exactly the right thing, as far as it goes. But your efforts will likely be totally in vain unless you make plans, and a pact with your neighbors, to defend yourselves, your cattle and your crops when things get really bad. A neighborhood watch, which you seem to be advocating, will not be worth a bucket of warm spit unless you and your neighbors are armed to the teeth.

Ron P.

Our nieghborhood watch will be armed to the teeth and we are fortunate in that we have some former old soldiers experienced in urban and guerilla warfare.

But there is no organizational structure at all.There is nothing more than some occasional worried talk.I believe however that if tshtf things will get organized pdq.Darn near everyhouse for miles around has at least two or three firearms and substantial amounts of ammo-a hunderd rounds or more.

Almost anybody around here would give up any other possession rather than his favorite gun.

Nearly all of these guys here are old folks who can remember hearing thier grandparents retell civil war stories they heard from thier grand parents or else they are Christian doomers who see a possible need to defend themselves in the foretold last days , being the sort who believe that God helps those who help themselves.

Quite a few people who have lived near the edge economically speaking for a long time with the benefit of tv news are aware of the chaos in many third world countries and more than willing to believe that such chaos is possible or even likely here.

But even the reddest of the rednecks understand that food stamps and similar programs are in thier interest in that they keep the lid on the pot.

Let us pray that if and when things really fall apart they fall apart slowly enough that emergency laws can be enacted that will enable nearly everybody to remain housed and fed at the very least.If we cannot accomplish that we are in line for a bloodbath.The only thing that pleases me less that the thought of having to give up my gun is the thought of actually having to use it on another human being just trying to survive.

Unless we are the victims of a successful large scale attack that shuts down our essential industries and infrastructure I do believe that we can by dint of rationing get by on a fourth fourth of our current usage of oil. We can hunker down in survival mode and gradually work our way back to something approaching a new normality.

Thanks for the interesting post. I agree completely with your comment about guns, and believe that any advice to be well armed for defense is based on unsound logic. A gun, at least a rifle, is a useful tool for rural life for hunting game, humanely killing livestock, and perhaps even some control of problem animals. But guns for defense? Some people may have adequate training to actually defend themselves from a violent assault using guns, but people advocating guns for defense should brush up on stats: the most likely people harmed by a gun are the gun owners and their families. Compare murder stats between Canada and the US (or watch Bowling for Columbine). Not to mention the "arms race" that this would imply. What if armed bandits started carrying larger guns such as semi-automatic weapons? Is the solution to trade a handgun for a bazooka? When might we need to start building fortifications?

It's far better and more practical to focus on what you can do to take care of yourselves, not on responding to what other people "might" be doing in an uncertain future. This includes building strong ties with neighbors and community, and increasing skills in self-sufficiency. Focus on likely conditions in the near future (higher energy costs, chronic recession/depression, forced localization). I'm not saying that a world of roving bands of armed rogues isn't possible (I'm sure it's one of the worse nightmares for all of us), just not likely in the near term and certainly not worth planning for given our current information. This post represents a very appropriate response to the challenges facing us. Good luck.

But guns for defense? Some people may have adequate training to actually defend themselves from a violent assault using guns, but people advocating guns for defense should brush up on stats: the most likely people harmed by a gun are the gun owners and their families.

Fall Guy, you must be joking. Exactly what kind of stats do you have for times after a complete collapse of the economy? What kind of stats do you have for times when there are no police and thousands of starving people roaming the countryside? I think, Fall Guy, that you are living in a dream world where people believe in the myth of the noble savage. If police protection breaks down then either you will defend yourself or die. Steven Pinker gives us a glimpse of what it will likely be like after the collapse:

"When law enforcement vanishes, all manner of violence breaks out: looting, settling old scores, ethnic cleansing, and petty warfare among gangs, warlords, and mafias. This was obvious in the remnants of Yugoslavia, the Soviet Union, and parts of Africa in the 1990s, but can also happen in countries with long tradition of civility. As young teenager in proudly peaceable Canada during the romantic 1960s, I was a true believer in Bakunin's anarchism. I laughed off my parents' argument that if the government ever laid down its arms all hell would break loose. Our competing predictions were put to the test at 8:00 A.M. on October 17, 1969, when the Montreal police went on strike. By 11:20 A.M. the first bank was robbed. By noon most downtown stores had closed because of looting. Within a few more hours, taxi drivers burned down the garage of a limousine service that had competed with them for airport customers, a rooftop sniper killed a provincial police officer, rioters broke into several hotels and restaurants, and a doctor slew a burglar in his suburban home. By the end of the day, six banks had been robbed, a hundred shops had been looted, twelve fires had been set, forty carloads of storefront glass had been broken, and three million dollars in property damage had been inflicted, before city authorities had to call in the army and, of course, the Mounties to restore order. This decisive empirical test left my politics in tatters (and offered a foretaste of life as a scientist)."
Steven Pinker, "The Blank Slate" page 331.

After the collapse hungry marauders from the cities will spread out over the countryside looking for food, shelter and anything else that may help them survive. If you have a farm with chickens, pigs, a garden and other goodies, they will simply take them. And if you have a wife or daughters they will likely be in danger of being raped as well.

Why would anyone think it would be otherwise?

Ron P.


You are missing my points. I didn't say that anarchy was impossible. But we clearly differ in timelines.

(i) I said, prepare for what is likely in the near future. I don't doubt that the nightmarish world you foresee is possible. I do doubt that it's likely to happen within the next couple of decades.
(ii) I also said that in the nightmarish world you describe, the chances of you being able to defend yourself are slim regardless of how well armed you are. Desperate starving people with nothing to lose, will risk all. In a world with "hungry marauders from the cities" roaming the countryside, I'm afraid neither your chickens nor your xss (I mean mule) will be safe unless you have a small army to protect them (except from someone with a larger army).

I believe that it is far better to prepare for things you have control over: your own life, skills you develop, where you live, and how you interact with family, neighbors and community. And accept that the future is uncertain, and there are many possible outcomes (other than BAU). That is, have the serenity to accept the things you cannot change; the courage to change the things you can; and the wisdom to know the difference.

Obviously Fall Guy we have different opinions on what the near future may hold. I think the collapse will come within one decade, two at the most.

I do not own a gun but then I am 71 years old and plan no defense for the collapse. At my age it just would not be worth it. But if I were only a few years younger I would be making hard plans for hard times and have at least a couple of guns and lots of amminution.

I have long advocated that people of like mind form "defensive farming communities". That is, small farms with the homes all near each other. That way the entire community could take part in the defense. As far as having a chance... well that all depends. True if the hoards are organized and have weapons themselves, then you might not stand much of a chance. But organized hoards are unlikely, at least it is unlikely there will be very many of them. Most places you would be safe within a well armed community. At least you would be a lot safer within a well armed community.

Nothing is certain but the better defenses we have the better our odds are of being among the survivors. And I believe it is a near certainty that if things really collapse and you have no defense at all, you and your family will not stand a snowballs chance in hell of being among the survivors.

Take care, going to bed now.

Ron P.

Darwinian, I don't know how you can be so certain of a sudden collapse and hoards escaping cities, and yet have any certainty that these hoards are unlikely to have any organizing structure? Take a look at failed states around the world. One thing that humans inevitably do, even over short time frames, and that's to organize hierarchically.

I freely accept that cannot foresee how things will play out beyond even a year or more. I can scenarios ranging from truly frightening to mildly optimistic (with the scenario you are so certain of being just one possibility). I feel some scenarios are more likely than others, but I don't believe anyone has a clear crystal ball prediction. Too much potential for black swans.

I guess I also don't imagine myself blowing the heads off a bunch of poor city slickers who neglected to prepare and become "starving marauders".

Some may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one...

How old are you Fall Guy?

Did you live thru the 1973 oil embargo?

Ever served in the military? Ever lived in a city where you could be murdered in minutes? Or mugged or beaten half to death?

If been in the wrong places in Chicago or DC? Ever been to a foreign country where they can lock you up on a whim?

Ever had a death threat placed on your life? Someone stalk you?
A person doing it who say has a son on death row for burning a woman to death? Who is connected to the mob?

I qualify for all of the above. You must live in a different universe than I do.

Airdale-someone pulls a gun on you and right off you whole world goes upside down,believe me. Or threatens with a club to rip your head off? I have.


I'm a little bit older than my teeth.

It sounds like you've been through some harrowing experiences, and I don't doubt that having a gun pointed at you would throw one's world upside down. I have been in some uncomfortable situations in dangerous cities, and been closer to the mob and a murderer than I would choose.

That said, I fail to see how that refutes my points: if things get as bad as a Mad Max scenario, a gun and pile of ammunition are not sufficient (nor is a larger gun and larger pile of ammunition). And that scenario is far from a foregone conclusion. I agree with Sharon Astyk's "theory of anyways" - choose to live your life in preparation for the uncertain future by doing things that you think should be done anyways. For some that may mean rural self-sufficiency, for some that may mean a Transition Town, for some it may mean networking in an urban core, or a myriad of other potential pathways.

Be the change you want to see in the world - Ghandi

PS Don't think that my outlook means I have rose-colored shades on. I am fully aware of the atrocities people are capable of enacting. But I choose to work towards a world I am willing to live in.

Fall Guy all Airdale describes is a typical American life, I've had most of the same except I guess the stalkers lol. Actually, had a stalker who made the newspapers after me but only a little bit, lol I don't want to talk about that in any more detail.

Some of our "anyways" involve being well armed. And I've seen more accidents with skateboards and bicycles than guns. What about dog? Darn things always bitin', the dog stats are much much worse than gun stats.

Pull your head out, or don't, but leave us awake ones alone. All your arguments got blown out of the water in the 90s.


I was going to stop, but since you claim that my arguments were "blown out of the water in the 90s", you invite a response. I just checked the stats comparing the US and Canada. Canada has about 10% the population, but only about 1% of the gun murders. Explanation: far stricter gun laws. Conclusion: a society is safer when there are fewer, not more guns. Your statement that such exposure to violence is part of a typical American life only proves my point. The real question is does a gun actually increase your safety, or does it only make you "feel" safer (and hence perhaps lead you to take more risk)?

BTW, I just tried to find any discussion of guns in the Transition movement. None found. I'm not alone in my aversion.

Having a gun has saved my life a few times.

Going into the future that's starting now without guns 'n' ammo is going to be like going to a Valentine's party as a kid without those funny-tasting little candy hearts with the corny saying on 'em.

I'd really like you to lead by example and stay unarmed.

Fall Guy --I appreciate your aversion to firearms. I've been asked by more then a few to instruct them in using a weapon. I always question them first to ascertain if they are emotionaly capable of dealing with a weapon in a high stress situation. If they aren't then I don't deal with them.

If I lived in Canada I probably wouldn't feel the need to be armed as much as i do now. But I don't live in Canada. You make my point for me: Americans live in a well armed and often violent climate. Law inforcement makes no bones about it: their primary job is to investigate and solve crimes after they happen...not to prevent them. I don't feel especially threatened at anytime. Nor do I tend to put myself in risky situations. I have a weapon for the same reason I have a tire jack...in case I need it.

What about dog? Darn things always bitin', the dog stats are much much worse than gun stats.

That's why I always have a hiking staff with me on my daily commutes by foot. Not totally foolproof against dogs or other critters, but it does do the job most of the time. It could even be of some use against people, if needed. I wonder if even a pistol-packing perp would be quite so quick to go after a guy with a big stick? Might give them pause, and that might be good enough.

Airdale I have been following your posts for quite some time now and i respect you thoughts about the future, but you know if it comes to the sort of world that you are describing, I am not sure that I would want to live there. I am old enough that I have seen a few things, and an "Ill Postman" type of existence is not one that I would cherish, let alone care to imagine for my grandchildren.

I didn't say that anarchy was impossible.
I hope not, as anarchy is one of our only hopes (anarchy as a social system takes the positive view of human nature that hierarchical control in not necessary, and that people naturally organize society without a government entity from above).
But maybe that is too optimistic, as the jury is out for me. It works in small tribal groups, and has worked with millions of people (Ukraine, Spain), but the jury is still out.

Good point. Anarchy just means a lack of enforced authority, which doesn't necessarily mean disorder. It would be interesting to identify what distinguishes cases when it accompanied relative peace and when it accompanied relative dysfunction.


I hope it never comes to that. But if it does, it is clear to me that it will only be those communities that can pull together and organize themselves for COLLECTIVE self-defense (i.e, form militias, preferably under local government authority) that will have any real chance of resisting the threat. And this gets us right back around to getting along with the neighbors.

good for you sidd


Thank you for honorable mention.Thans for posting your experiences.

You have done the right thing IMO as to changing you path.

As to the barrenness of the land. Here was my experience when I brought my last farm.

There were 'operators' farming my fields on a half share basis. They were slowly degrading my land by allowing it to gully in spots. Tearing down the fences so I couldn't go back into cattle. Breaking the dams of two ponds and filling them with bulldozer trash pushup piles.

I was making almost zero income on it so I told them to leave. Today they still do not like me very much and its been over 15 years.

When I dug the 5 foot holes for the poles on a pole barn I was building I never turned up a single earthworm. Their chemicals had sterlized the soil so earthworms were all gone.

What I did next was sow it all down in Orchard Grass and Red Clover..after I killed off all the Johnson Grass which was massive.

The soil slowly came back and earthworms were very apparent. I kept it sowed down and just cut hay and sold the bales off it.
Good 'grassland' management can bring the land back.

I ran a herd of horses on part of it after putting up new fencing and then went into some cattle. Later sold them all and let the land lay fallow. Just clipped it often enough to keep the weeds out. Limed it and let it go.

Disked over the gulleys and sowed them down as well.

It takes time and will not be giving a return of income but you will be building a reserve of good soil. Just takes time.

I now live on just a bit of that land. Big garden and privacy is my concern. I heat with my own wood as well.

Your endeavors are correct IMO. And since I was born and raised here I know most everyone.

Its the best life I have ever led in many ways. It can be lonely unless your wife can adapt to that lifestyle.


At my place (the undisclosed location) I rent to a large no-till operator, and in his experience he has picked up large amounts of underground fauna and flora (fungi) with his method. And he is quite adamant about this as being part and parcel of his good yields. But then again they have a four crop rotation plus a fallow year (for water banking) which I believe helps break the rootworm cycle, which in turn lessens the need for the really toxic chemicals such as "Thimet 20G." Now my friends in the core area of the corn belt on a two crop rotation which means almost always a need for rootworm toxic chems which I believe to be as toxic as any chems available.

Airdale, thanks for the tips. We have had better experiences than you with the neighbor who rents the land, who does remind me a lot of you and oldfarmermac. He is working with us on new rotations other than corn and soy, and we have introduced some new (to this location) crops like canola. We have set aside some bottomland and some other less fertile tracts for experiments and we shall certainly look into your suggestions, appropriately modified for the climate. We are working with the extension departments of two universities as well, but they are quite locked into the fertilizer, pesticide, herbicide methods, perhaps because they get so much funding from the agricombines.

Thanx again for all your valuable input.

Good post. Maybe Nate would be interested in a "Campfire" post about your experiences.

The only thing I wonder about your business model...how are restaurants faring in the recession?

Restaurants are suffering like the rest. They are surviving by laying off workers, shortening hours, bargaining with their suppliers... We have to meet their price points, which we can since our overheads are low and almost everything we do serves more than one purpose. More interestingly, some restaurants initially requested free range raised meats, but went back to cage bred after their customers complained that about too much dark meat and unfamiliar textures from the free range product. Oh, well. We do that too.

I should mention that restaurants are not our only outlet. We get a surprising number of orders over the internet, from places as far afield as two hundred miles. Shipping is not a very big problem so far, since we have two trucking companies as clients for biodiesel, who bend their schedules to accommodate.

Our neighbors who supply the meat eschew hormones and antibiotics, preferring to cull sick animals to prevent disease, instead of mass inoculation and feed augmented with antibiotics, which is another selling point.

As for a campfire post, I am not sure that our experiences are worthy of such. But if there is interest, perhaps I could write something up with a little help from the team.

Here's the most recent Restaurant Performance Index from Calculated Risk:


This is a great post with the right point of view - community. And I salute your foresight. What comes next is not a criticsm.

What is striking is it is yet another example of how having money makes all things possible. What did such a place cost you? Half a million? A million? More?

Most of the world doesn't have money.

Not a good sign, eh?



I hope you will forgive me if i do not supply exact numbers. But very roughly, over the time we have been there we have sunk about six zeroes in US$ into this project, including repair, equipment and improvement. I look at this as an investment, and we are only now beginning to cash flow out of it. We do not expect and we did not plan to make this a profit center. Rather, this is an experiment, if you will, in a sustainable lifestlyle.

I take your point, that most cannot afford to tie up that amount on such an enterprise. But I will say this. Most of the families around here have no 'next generation' who will carry on farming, indeed that is how we obtained the property. The nearest town which is in the next valley over (sadly lacks even a beer carryout, must start brewing soon...did i mention that i was dissolute by inclination?) is in desperate straits, with many properties in foreclosure and being sold at auction. And many would welcome a 'lease to own' or similar arrangement if someone would approach them with a proposition. So it is with many other small towns all over the USA. Perhaps if you look around you may find opportunity. Bear in mind, farm living is brutally hard work, not for the unfit or disabled, and it helps a great deal if you have strong and willing partners to share the burden.

Lastly: Money is important, but not as important as relationships. We have been helped immensely by a network of friends, built over the years and decades, who have helped hugely in the projects, asking for no return. To give you an example: we had an electrical job (running split phase 220V electric to a barn across a county road and wiring up the barn) that was quoted in the middle four zeroes by various electricians. But we have an old and good electrician friend who came up over three long weekends, and did the whole thing (using parts that he scrounged himself at various auctions) and did it all for free. All we supplied was the labor, scaffolding and food and beer. Needless to say, if any of them ever falls on hard times they are assured of the warmest welcome.

I see that Google has made a change, allowing publishers to limit the number of free accesses to their content to 5 articles per day. I would presume this is views of the type where an article is behind the pay wall of say, WSJ, and one types in the name of the article. With the change, one could only read five articles a day this way. WSJ article about this:

Google Gives Publishers More Control Over Content

That's kind of what Financial Times does, and I suspect the way around it is the similar: delete your cookies.

I can't resist this:

"7 ways microbes may solve our energy woes

Microscopic organisms — archaea, bacteria and fungi — have the potential to reshape the world's power supply. Microbes could provide a vast energy resource that is as efficient and portable as coal, oil and natural gas, said Bruce Rittmann, director of the Bioenergy Institute at Arizona State University in Phoenix."

The only way microbes are going to solve resource problems will be by creating enough disease to reduce demand.

Anaerobes can also poison the oceans with H2S and kill most multicellular life.

From the article above, 'Look who's talking now', is this little gem:

...famous speakers on green issues are facing, um, a cooling climate. "With the slowing economy, companies have moved away from trying to save the world," says Perelmuter of Speakers' Spotlight. "They're more interested in saving themselves (to show empathy to the struggling customer)."

That's an interesting position to take. Now imagine if climate change starts to uncork some really bad medicine in the not too distant future, and as a consequence our economy suffers even more because of it. Do companies then ignore the Earth's weather response to greenhouse gasses completely, and commit us to runaway climate change?

More and more, it seems like we are moving towards a bottleneck, in the sense that as the cheap oil is gone and the remainder costs ever more to extract (which hinders economic expansion), we will at some tipping point be moving towards greater climate change consequences. In a sense those two scenarios are interlocked, yet businesses apparently are willing to consider them mutually exclusive to show their compassion for a struggling customer base.

That's like having compassion for people that have no heating and may freeze, so you run your vehicle inside to keep the building warm, which kills everyone via carbon monoxide poisoning. May not be a perfect analogy, but nonetheless it gets the point across.

Does anyone else see the folly of this business philosophy?