Drumbeat: February 16, 2010

Even Boulder Finds It Isn't Easy Going Green

"What we've found is that for the vast majority of people, it's exceedingly difficult to get them to do much of anything," says Kevin Doran, a senior research fellow at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

President Barack Obama has set ambitious goals for cutting greenhouse-gas emissions, in part by improving energy efficiency. Last year's stimulus bill set aside billions to weatherize buildings. The president has also called for a "cash for caulkers" rebate for Americans who weatherize their homes.

But Boulder has found that financial incentives and an intense publicity campaign aren't enough to spur most homeowners to action, even in a city so environmentally conscious that the college football stadium won't sell potato chips because the packaging isn't recyclable.

Peak Oil: Who Wins, Who Loses?

Last month, I explained in an article how and why the world is approaching a worldwide peak in oil production sometime in the next decade. Although there are large implications throughout the economy, I want to say upfront that I do not think this will bring on Armageddon. Oil prices that are significantly higher than earlier in our lifetimes will bring about great change, yet I firmly believe that our economy has the ability to successfully adapt. Despite the strong headwind oil scarcity will create, I am still an optimist.

Iran increases drive to enrich uranium

TEHRAN, Iran - Iran's president says his country is installing more advanced centrifuges at its main uranium enrichment facility, a step certain to add to international concern over Tehran's accelerating nuclear program.

Iran announced a week ago that it was enriching uranium to a higher level for use in fueling a reactor that produces medical isotopes.

Road to Recovery: Local foods spice up economic picture

Leaders talk about food security in the event of a prolonged energy emergency. They aim to build stronger rural economies to help contain suburban sprawl. There's also the idea of just plain making more money for all.

"If we better connect local food consumption with local food production, there's more value to squeeze out of this economy," says Mike McKeever, executive director of the Sacramento Area Council of Governments, the regional planning agency. McKeever, hailing the capital's enviable blend of fertile farmland and Mediterranean climate, says, "We're one of the few places in the world to have this unique resource. It's our oil."

EU biofuels significantly harming food production in developing countries

EU companies have taken millions of acres of land out of food production in Africa, central America and Asia to grow biofuels for transport, according to development campaigners. The consequences of European biofuel targets, said the report by ActionAid, could be up to 100 million more hungry people, increased food prices and landlessness.

America's Food-To-Fuel Problem

Government enthusiasm for "green" initiatives has given us a series of allegedly well-intentioned programs that have been both environmental and economic disasters. Consider American ethanol. The two-headed beast that is good intentions and unintended consequences rears its ugly head in the form of environmental degradation and higher food prices--a source of inconvenience in rich countries but a matter of life and death in very poor ones.

GM frustrated by lack of E85 pumps, dealers find poor financial model

Tom Stephens, General Motors's Vice Chairman for global development, will issue a call for a five-fold increase in the number of E85 pumps when he speaks to the Renewable Fuels Association's National Ethanol Conference in Orlando today. The frustration felt by GM is due largely to fuel dealers finding the financial model for adding pumps unattractive.

China’s lead on alternatives is not as significant as it looks

Daniel Yergin, chairman of IHS CERA, the consultancy, is bringing some perspective to the outcry over China’s rapid move to capitalize on the clean-energy economy. The argument is that China, as the world’s biggest solar panel and wind turbine manufacturer, is moving to capitalize on the rush into alternative energy, while the US is falling behind. Certainly, the US is behind.

Wind-solar generators fuel life of herdsmen

HOHHOT: On the steppes of north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, herdsman Cao Zhenglong sits and enjoys the Spring Festival TV gala on a LCD screen. He doesn't worry about the electricity he is using, assured in the knowledge his electricity generator can turn both wind and solar energy into electricity.

"With the new wind-solar generator installed last year, we expect to buy more home appliances and live a more modern life," Cao's wife Yue Cuiyun said.

Chilean Mining Firms in North Fund Renewable Energy Study

Some of Chile’s biggest mining firms are combining to fund renewable energy research projects in the hope of establishing eco-friendly energy resources for the future, local press reported this week.

In 2008, mining giants including Codelco and BHP Billiton commissioned the Chilean government’s development agency, Corfo, and Santiago’s Universidad de Chile to study the feasibility of various renewable energy projects. The study will recommend sources that will best supply energy to mining operations in Chile’s north.

Chile: Public Not Yet Won Over By High Nuclear Energy Potential

An analysis made by IAEA confirms that Chile is a good candidate for nuclear energy. Especially for a country facing a possible energy shortage crisis, Chile has a well developed energy grid. This is ideal for implementing nuclear energy stations, said Sokolov.

However, to adopt nuclear energy, as a cleaner alternative to fossil fuels, Chile has a long way to go, Sokolov said. “A lot of work remains,” he said, to win the popular support of Chileans. And Chile's government must pass laws to allow for nuclear energy growth as an industry and to regulate it.

ExxonMobil's Reserves Additions 'Highest in Decade'

Additions to ExxonMobil's proved reserves in 2009 totaled 2 billion oil-equivalent barrels, replacing 133 percent of production. Excluding the impact of asset sales, reserves additions replaced 134 percent of production. These additions are based on the corporation's definition of proved reserves, which utilizes the long-term pricing basis that the corporation uses to make its investment decisions. This is a different price basis than the SEC basis, which uses 12-month average prices for the 2009 year-end reserves calculation.

"ExxonMobil is an industry leader in reserves replacement," said Rex W. Tillerson, chairman and chief executive officer. "We have replaced more than 100 percent of production for 16 consecutive years, reflecting our strategic focus on resource capture, a disciplined approach to investment and excellence in project execution. Adding new reserves ensures that ExxonMobil will continue to develop new supplies of energy to meet future demand and support economic growth and improved standards of living."

Bulgaria ups Russian transit fee

Bulgaria today asked Russia's Gazprom to pay it higher fees for transferring natural gas to neighbouring Turkey, Greece and Macedonia, Bulgarian Economy & Energy Minister Traicho Traikov said.

Oil groups mount legal challenge to Schwarzenegger's tar sands ban

A lobby group that includes BP and Shell in its membership has launched a legal challenge against low-carbon legislation in California that in effect rules out the use of oil from Canadian tar sands. The action by the National Petrochemical & Refiners Association (NPRA) comes amid growing political, investor and consumer pressure on US oil companies not to participate in the carbon-intensive tar sands of Alberta.

A NPRA statement said the legislation was unlawful for a number of reasons, including the imposition of "undue and unconstitutional burdens on interstate commerce".

Exploiting the natural resources, solution to current energy crisis

LAHORE: Tauqeer Sadiq Chairman Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA) during the meeting with industrialists at Regional Office of FPCCI stated “Untapping the country’s natural resources, reservoirs can overcome the existing energy crisis and it would be helpful to fulfill the present requirement of consumption countrywide. OGRA establishment always take decisions in the vested interest of Pakistan so the misconceptions relating OGRA operations must be removed from the minds”

He said in winters the demand of gas is increased and this compels the authorities to do load shedding. Now the present period of load shedding will be ended up in next ten days completely. And the issues of Iranian pipelines and new exploration can bring the gas in abundance in the system. About the petroleum levies he said, the price of crude oil was at its peak, which caused the hike in the prices of petroleum products. Now the rates of crude oil at international has been decreased and stabled which brings the prices of petroleum products from 4 to 6 percent below predictably.

Venezuela says no to energy offer

CARACAS - President Hugo Chavez's Government said yesterday it isn't interested in buying electricity from neighbouring Colombia despite Venezuela's struggles with severe energy shortages.

Colombian Energy Minister Hernan Martinez said his country was producing more electricity than it used and could supply Venezuela with power.

But Venezuelan Vice-President Elias Jaua spurned the offer, saying his country "is going to power up its own electricity system".

Bangaladesh: Farmers in north worried as fuel supply hampered

Supply of fuel specially diesel is being hampered, as fuel carrying barges cannot reach Baghabari depots in time due to drastic fall in water level of Jamuna River.

With serious diesel crisis looming large, the farmers of northern region are now worried about irrigating their fields with diesel-run pumps in the peak boro season.

After doomsday, what? - Forecasters of woe never mention what comes next

Even in the worst of times, however, economic calamity doesn't mark the end of economic life. Austria, Germany and the U.S. South did not disappear as a result of their currencies' ruin. Although many people suffered, most people found a way to survive, life went on, and economic activity eventually resumed after the adoption of a "reformed" or foreign medium of exchange. Most people survived even the recent hyperinflation in Zimbabwe, notwithstanding the Mugabe government's best efforts to starve them.

One aspect that virtually all tales of impending mega-woe have in common is that they end with the catastrophe itself: The day of reckoning finally arrives, the dreaded event occurs, and the story ends.

Not expanding drilling may cost U.S. $2.4 trillion

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. economy will lose $2.4 trillion over the next two decades if the federal government does not allow oil and natural gas drilling in restricted onshore lands and in offshore areas previously closed to energy companies, according to a new study released on Monday.

The report, prepared for the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners, also said U.S. imports of crude oil, petroleum products and natural gas would increase by $1.6 trillion over the period without access to the energy resources.

In particular, the United States is expected to pay the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) $607 billion for an extra 4.1 billion barrels of crude, the report said.

U.K. Should Expand Tax Incentives in North Sea, Shell Says

(Bloomberg) -- The U.K. should expand tax incentives to producing oil and natural-gas fields in the North Sea to increase output, said James Smith, chairman of Royal Dutch Shell Plc’s U.K. office.

The U.K. plans to make more deposits eligible for tax incentives, Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling said Dec. 9. The changes could support an additional 300 million barrels oil equivalent of crude and gas production.

“It’s a good start, but I don’t think it will be enough,” Smith said yesterday in an interview. “Using the same tool more extensively is going to be very important for getting an extra amount from the North Sea, particularly from brownfield areas.”

Greece to raise Russian pipeline supply issue

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Greece will ask Russia if it still has enough oil to fill a long-delayed pipeline to the port of Alexandroupolis, a senior Greek energy official told Reuters before talks in Moscow.

"The key question is whether there is oil," Greek Deputy Energy Minister Yannis Maniatis told Reuters in an interview late on Monday.

Showa Shell to Scrap Japan Plant, Shut 23% Refining Capacity

(Bloomberg) -- Showa Shell Sekiyu K.K., a Japanese refiner, will cut capacity by 23 percent on weak demand for oil products. Domestic fuel producers rose in Tokyo trading on speculation the move would ease overcapacity and boost profits.

The refiner will mothball the 120,000 barrel-a-day Ogimachi plant at the Keihin refinery complex in Kawasaki in the summer of 2011, it said in a statement to the stock exchange today.

A foreshadowing ignored

As portrayed by its most ardent promoters, the increasingly popular peak-oil hypothesis suggests that the sky is falling and that we need to be worrying about this a great deal. The earth's crust has a fixed supply of oil, and we can estimate just how much based on our past experiences in finding and exploiting it. Indeed, since we know the amount of oil we have already extracted and the rate at which we currently exploit it, we can draw a line into the future and predict the date when our production of oil will peak. This simple calculation allows experts and non-experts alike to announce with confidence the time when we will start to run out of oil. Some pundits seem to enjoy providing the date with almost biblical precision, pinpointing that rapturous day when automobiles are abandoned by the roadside and suburbs deserted overnight. A scan of any popular bookstore confirms that there is a vibrant market for the peak-oil hypothesis and for depictions of the dramatic events that it will presumably trigger.

But is there any truth in it? Will the depletion of a nonrenewable and essential resource like oil cause a cataclysmic shock to our economic system? Will the demise of oil happen rapidly? Will its depletion render obsolete, within a very short time, much of the road infrastructure, the suburban housing, the dispersed shopping malls, the stocks of trucks and cars, as well as all the industries that are dependent upon the long-distance shipment of goods?

Saudi Arabia preparing for oil demand to peak

JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia — A top Saudi energy official expressed serious concern Monday that world oil demand could peak in the next decade and said his country was preparing for that eventuality by diversifying its economic base.

BP economist: OPEC will to abide by quotas should weaken

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries' ability to maintain cuts in oil output will probably weaken further as crude prices recover, BP Plc Chief Economist Christof Ruehl said.

“When we have high prices, and when you have that price with spare capacity, it increases the incentives to sell oil through the back door,” Ruehl said in an interview in London. “Historically this is always what has happened. I expect to see that again at some point, but nobody knows when.”

Shell freezes pay of top executives after shareholder revolt

Royal Dutch Shell has today bowed to pressure from major investors by announcing a major overhaul of its executive pay that will see the salaries of top directors frozen and new limits set on bonuses.

The oil giant has been holding talks with major shareholders since an embarrassing revolt at its annual general meeting last year that saw 60% vote against approving a remuneration report that sanctioned bonuses for top directors despite their missing targets.

Falkland Battle Lines Form Over Jurassic Oil Search

(Bloomberg) -- Argentina is driving up exploration costs for U.K. oil companies seeking to drill near the disputed Falkland Islands, escalating tensions over the remote South Atlantic archipelago that led the two countries to war in 1982.

Argentina is forbidding vessels that stop at the Falklands to load cargoes at its ports for the 8,000-mile return journey to Europe. That’s likely to increase costs, Mark Jenkins, a director at shipbroker Simpson Spence & Young Ltd. said in an interview. Voyages “will be more expensive,” he said.

Saudi FM al-Faisal doubts Iran sanctions plans

Imposing more sanctions on Iran over its nuclear programme would not be a quick enough solution, Saudi Arabia's foreign minister has said.

Prince Saud al-Faisal said the threat posed by Iran demanded a "more immediate solution" than sanctions.

He spoke in Riyadh alongside US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who earlier said Iran was "becoming a military dictatorship".

Canada looks to China to exploit oil sands rejected by US

Canada, faced with growing political pressure over the extraction of oil from its highly polluting tar sands, has begun courting China and other Asian countries to exploit the resource.

The move comes as American firms are turning away from tar sands because of its heavy carbon footprint and damage to the landscape.

Total Dunkirk Refinery Offices Occupied by Workers

(Bloomberg) -- Workers at Total SA occupied the administrative offices of an idled refinery near Dunkirk, France, in a strike that may spread to all the company’s plants tomorrow to protest potential job cuts.

The employees “took possession of the refinery,” Philippe Saunier, a CGT labor union representative, said by telephone today, describing it as a “symbolic move.” Unions are calling for a two-day strike at all six of Total’s refineries starting tomorrow, he said.

Tehran tots up Pars flows

Gas output at the first 10 phases of Iran's South Pars development hit 52.8 billion cubic metres in the Iranian year to March 2009, the country's Oil Ministry said.

Mongolian Harvard Elites Aim for Wealth Without ‘Dutch Disease’

(Bloomberg) -- Mongolia’s billions of dollars worth of copper, gold, uranium and coal reserves promise the greatest influx of wealth for the country since Genghis Khan conquered much of the known world in the 13th century.

They also may spawn a crisis. Sudden prosperity can overwhelm an economy, exposing it to commodity-price swings. Mongolia’s leaders, some educated at Harvard and Cambridge, say they are determined to avoid this syndrome, known as “Dutch Disease” -- a sudden surge in wealth that ultimately hampers expansion.

Beyond “Green Capitalism”

A disdain for the natural environment has characterized capitalism from the beginning. As Marx noted, capital abuses the soil as much as it exploits the worker. The makings of ecological breakdown are thus inherent in capitalism. No serious observer now denies the severity of the environmental crisis, but it is still not widely recognized as a capitalist crisis, that is, as a crisis arising from and perpetuated by the rule of capital, and hence incapable of resolution within the capitalist framework.

Free trade, loss of support systems crippling food production in Africa

Despite good intentions, the push to privatize government functions and insistence upon "free trade" that is too often unfair has caused declining food production, increased poverty and a hunger crisis for millions of people in many African nations, researchers conclude in a new study.

Market reforms that began in the mid-1980s and were supposed to aid economic growth have actually backfired in some of the poorest nations in the world, and just in recent years led to multiple food riots, scientists report today in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a professional journal.

Western cities fare best in well-being index

"Most of our highest-scoring cities are found out West and most of our lowest-scoring cities are in the South," says research director Dan Witters. Wealthier communities typically score higher.

Residents of large cities — those with a population of 1 million or more — generally report higher levels of well-being and more optimism about the future than those in small or medium-sized cities. In small cities, at 250,000 or less, people are more likely to feel safe walking alone at night and have enough money for housing.

Obama to announce financing for two nuclear reactor

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama will announce on Tuesday plans for the government to help finance the construction of two nuclear reactors -- the first in nearly 30 years, a top US official said.

TerraPower: How The Traveling Wave Nuclear Reactor Works

When Microsoft Chairman and billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates mentioned TerraPower in his speech at the exclusive tech conference TED last week, it was the first time that many had heard of the nuclear project. I was monitoring Twitter during Gates’ talk and many audience members at TED tweeted wondering why “TerraPower” was getting special attention in a speech from one of the most famous computer technologists of all time.

Well, first off TerraPower is a nuclear spinoff project from incubator Intellectual Ventures. Former Microsoft chief technology officer Nathan Myhrvold founded Intellectual Ventures, and Bill Gates is a principal owner of TerraPower. TerraPower uses a “traveling wave reactor design,” which is technology that has been researched since the 1990’s, but according to MIT Tech Review TerraPower is the first company to “develop a practical design,” for travelling wave nuclear reactors.

Energy-Efficient Lighting Made Without Mercury

ScienceDaily — RTI International has developed a revolutionary lighting technology that is more energy efficient than the common incandescent light bulb and does not contain mercury, making it environmentally safer than the compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulb.

IEA Says Emissions Plans Fall Short

The pledges that countries have made to reduce their CO2 emissions "fall short" of what is needed to reach a key target set at the Copenhagen climate summit last year, according to a study by the International Energy Agency.

The so-called Copenhagen Accord hashed out at last December's United Nations summit said the increase in global temperature "should be below two degrees Celsius," and many climate scientists say that failing to meet that target would have dire consequences for the environment. But the IEA says in the study that the commitments made so far won't be enough to keep the temperature rise to two degrees.

Poland May Seek 5.5% Increase in Its EU Carbon Quota

(Bloomberg) -- Poland may seek a 5.5 percent increase its carbon-dioxide emission quota under the European Union’s cap-and-trade system after an EU court overturned limits imposed by the bloc’s regulator.

Hampton Roads in 'dire straits' because of global warming predictions, says expert

HAMPTON — Sobering evidence of how storms will have an increasingly devastating effect on the Peninsula as the century progresses is outlined in a new model by the Virginia Institute of Marine Science.

"This is an important issue for us to get moving on," Eric Walberg, physical and environmental planning administrator with the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission, told the Hampton City Council last week.

Series of missteps by climate scientists threatens climate-change agenda

With its 2007 report declaring that the "warming of the climate system is unequivocal," the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change won a Nobel Prize -- and a new degree of public trust in the controversial science of global warming.

But recent revelations about flaws in that seminal report, ranging from typos in key dates to sloppy sourcing, are undermining confidence not only in the panel's work but also in projections about climate change. Scientists who have pointed out problems in the report say the panel's methods and mistakes -- including admitting Saturday that it had overstated how much of the Netherlands was below sea level -- give doubters an opening.

Pickens slurping at the natural gas trough:


$65,000 per rig conversion. What a bargain!

"It's peanuts" in the scheme of things, Pickens says.

There are 9,028,000 heavy trucks in the US, so the incentives for converting all of them would be $586 billion. Pick is throwing out the number of 8 million though, so figure $520 billion. In 2009 about 38 billion gallons of on-road diesel were sold at an average cost of $2.46/gallon, amounting to $9.374 billion in expenditure. On that basis alone it would be 55 years to recoup the cost of the conversions, but we could shift that diesel over to the automotive fleet, in theory anyway. Works in Europe. Or the refining business could just take another hit. I came across another story with an $80k figure for the tax credit, too. Why the conversion costs are 10 times higher for heavy trucks over cars I'm not sure. T. Boone Pickens comes to San Francisco pushes for natural gas - 2/11/10 - San Francisco News - abc7news.com

Pickens says it is the American way to make a profit and he will if the legislation he is backing goes through. It will offer government incentives of $80,000 per truck to convert to natural gas.

"You take one trash truck on diesel off the road, it's equivalent to 325 cars," says Pickens.

There's the Hybrid Fuel Systems approach, too: Green Car Congress: Diesel Natural Gas Conversion Kit Cuts Diesel Use by 71%, PM by 80%, NOx by 15%

8 January 2005

Initial testing of Hybrid Fuel Systems’ conversion kits to retrofit medium and heavy-duty diesels for dual-fuel operation with natural gas showed reductions in PM emissions of 78.9% and NOx emissions of 15%, according to results from an independent laboratory. Use of the Fuel 2 kit enabled a 71.2% displacement of diesel with natural gas.

The results are in a report provided to Hybrid as part of a process under which the company is trying to be approved by the EPA and CARB as an emission control device.

Hybrid’s Fuel 2 kit allows the diesel engine to run on either compressed or liquefied natural gas. The Fuel 2 kit retails for $4,500. Fuel storage tanks, catalyst and linkage will bump the total cost per conversion up to around $10,000.

High-pressure, high-volume gas storage for 1000-mi trips is likely much of the truck cost (versus 200 miles or so for a Civic GX).

Why not let the trucks die and move most of it to rail? Save the same fuel, save on road maintenance, and spend the money on double-track and new spurs for a fraction of the cost.

Agree 1000% ... Get the long haul rigs off the road. Move the transport to all rail and let local trucks move it from rail to destination. Rail per ton mile is a VERY efficient use of energy. If i ruled this land, we'd have rail everywhere and anywhere. I'd even build a rail line with a loop in it.

Excellent detail KLR. A 55 yr payout...even if you're wrong by 2X obviously the numbers don't come close to working. And even if it did where would the capital come from? And I'm not talking just about the cost of the conversion itself. Some folks float "miracle " cures with out working the numbers through and, even worse, ignore associated costs. Consider just your numbers: does that conversion cost include the cost to build the shops and train the workers. If such conversions were to be done in any reasonable amount of time many thousands of shops would have to be opened as well as 10's of thousands of new workers trained. And many hundreds of training centers built to train them. And many thousands of housing units for the new students who don't live close enough to the training centers. And the costs of the 100's (if not thousands) of administrators to handle the whole process. All this expenditure would certainly be great for the economy. But. again, who's going to pay the bill? Details, details, details.

Why should NG lag oil in cost, especially if more uses make it "fungible" with oil? If the cost of NG were to increase relative to oil, the payoff period would readily become "never".

I'm not against CNG as a motor fuel per se, but why not use it for fleet operations and short-range use where it makes the most sense, as as a purpose-built vehicle (higher compression, no dual-fuel cost, etc.)?

If the gov't wanted to "help", it could put a req for CNG or EV in its next Postal Service request for mail jeeps or delivery trucks, or for bureaucrat cars nationwide. Why pay to convert when new vehicles are shipping out every day?

CNG for government fleets is part of the proposed bill. Its use as transportation fuel has wobbled up and down over the years, primarily through temporary dalliances from fleets I'd guess. You can see this in EIA data for NG product supplied.

No doubt this is being touted as a national security issue. None of the stories I've seen have made the simple calculation I've made about the cost of the incentive itself, which is real moon shot stuff. Would be one helluva buy signal, Chesapeake's stock would reach escape velocity if it passed.

Mr. Pickens is a supporter of legislation introduced last April that, among other provisions, offers new and stronger tax credits for purchasers of natural gas cars and the companies that produce them. The legislation, H.R. 1835, would also require 50 percent of new federal government vehicles bought before the end of 2014 to be capable of operating on either compressed or liquefied natural gas. “It has 127 co-sponsors,” he said.

T. Boone Pickens Tweaks His Energy Plan - Wheels Blog - NYTimes.com

ROCK - don't forget that nugget of info Rapier dug up about the exorbitant fees the EPA charges garages who want to work in the CNG conversion business. If that's a significant part of my calc than those numbers are off my a bigggggggggggg margin. Maybe they should be chicken feed, $80 billion or so. Anything left in the kitty after that AIG bailout?

Hi Rockman,

I always look to people like you for the real deal info on the oil business-after all it's what you do daily.

Now I'm a rolling stone and therefore not a REAL EXPERT on anything, but I do know a little about trucks, having been a commercial driver and a mechanic, off and on.(I have never done anything for very long,as I get bored easily.)

Converting existing trucks to png , if it happens, is going to be an incredible waste and boondoogle, for the very reasons you mention.Retrofitting an existing truck will almost certainly cost several times as much as simply adding the png capability, built in at the factory, to a new truck..

The factory rig, having been designed by the truck and engine manufacturer's engineers, extensively tested and debugged, and covered with a warranty good at the dealership , is a far, far more sensible option.

And it can be rolled out as fast probably as the market can absorb this new operating model.

We have all heard about ten percent of the fishermen catching ninety percent of the fish.

Some relatively small fraction of the trucking fleet hauls a very large portion of the frieght.

A gasoline tanker generally rolls all day every day.A truck and trailer that belongs to a local utility that uses it to move machinery around often does not accumulate ten thousand miles in a a year.

A dump truck almost always sits more days than not.But if the weather is good, and construction is booming,it may run sixty to eighty hours per week.

The rational thing would be to BUILD png capable trucks and put them into service on jobs where they accumulate serious miles and can still be refueled from existing pipeline and tank farm infrastructure.These would be garbage trucks, delivery tankers,school buses, nearly all heavy duty city fleet trucks, any large truck that stays within a hundred miles or so of it's home base.When times are good this would include trucks hauling gravel , asphalt, concrete, etc.

After a truck kept constantly on the road racks up the first few hundred thousand miles,it is generally traded and sold to successive owners who will put another million miles or more on it, over a period of many years.

The ones sold used with the factory png capability would more than likely be plentiful enough to serve to keep the change over process moving forward as fueling stations become more common.

Nearly all the headaches you mention would thereby be avoided.

Good points mac. I've always figured we really wouldn't see a serious move to cng vehicles until someone like UPS started going that route (pun intended). They can order the special builts as well as use a central refuel station of their own. Such would have to be the most economic approach IMHO. If someone like UPS can't make the economics work then it's pretty much fantasy talk until then IMHO.

I'll second OFM on this one too, with one caveat. Set the tax credit at a level that equates to the cost difference for building a new diesel/cng rig versus building a new diesel only rig. There will be some existing vehicles that are suitable candidates for conversion, and this level of credit ensures that rigs aren't converted unless they are better value than a new rig. But converters are innovative folks, they will find ways to do it for certain trucks, especially short range ones like concrete trucks and school buses, for way less than $65k, probably less than even $10k.

Incidentally, a dedicated cng/diesel rig (i.e. one that MUST use 80-90% CNG for its fuel) has none of the emission problems of diesel only engines, and can save about $15-20k on pollution control equipment that is now being added to new rigs.

Long haul trucks face a different problem. They could benefit most,as they run the most hours and burn the most fuel per day, so they have the greatest potential savings. I'm sure some of the long distance operators have done their numbers. When you save $1/gallon on your fuel, (today's price differential) and you get 5mpg, and drive 500 miles a day, that is $100/day you are saving, or about $36.5k/year. So a $60k conversion could have a two year payback.

What i would be interested to see in this scenario is if the big gas utilities and pipeline operators would get into the game. When they can draw from transmission line pressure at 1000 psi, it's not a big deal to compress to 4000 psi for refuelling, and you wouldn't need much on site high pressure storage, as you have unlimited medium pressure gas in the pipeline. They could set up cardlock stations for commercial vehicles only and not bother with "retail" stuff. Plus, many transmission lines run into or close to industrial areas, ports, etc where trucks like to go.

On this one, if the regulatory side of it is kept simple but effective, i think there is lots of scope for innovation to do both new builds and conversions for much less than $65k.

Of course, for serious diesel savings, the first place to start is with the trains. Even with the cost of a CNG tender car, and the conversion, the payback would be pretty good. Not as sexy as electrification, but cheaper and faster to implement.

Long haul trucks face a different problem. They could benefit most,as they run the most hours and burn the most fuel per day, so they have the greatest potential savings. I'm sure some of the long distance operators have done their numbers. When you save $1/gallon on your fuel, (today's price differential) and you get 5mpg, and drive 500 miles a day, that is $100/day you are saving, or about $36.5k/year. So a $60k conversion could have a two year payback.

These are exactly the trucks that should be eliminated if possible with expansion of rail. If a switch to NG for local fleets was coupled with and aggressive expansion of rail then this problem becomes much smaller.
As newer NG powered trucks became available then expansion of filling stations would naturally fill in the missing pieces.

Whats interesting is this is not really a hard problem to solve if you have a few decades to allow it to work itself out naturally however its one that is in my opinion impossible to do over a short time span.
The fact that their is even the pressure to come up with a fast solution says a lot about where we really are on the oil production curve.

"You take one trash truck on diesel off the road, it's equivalent to 325 cars," says Pickens.

huh ? only if cars get 1625 mpg. maybe he said 3 to 5 cars.

and hence incapable of resolution within the capitalist framework.

This may be the ultimate stumbling block in the short term, as the capitalist meme has infected so many, and the hosts are powerless against it. It has rewired their brains for its own replication.

This is an absurd statement. Capitalism has raised the standards of living of billions of people, drastically reduced the impact of deadly diseases that ravaged the planet every few decades, brought in faster means of transport and communication, and helped feed the world. Without Capitalism, i.e. profit motive, nothing could ever be accomplished.

Capitalism and free enterprise are not synonymous, and both have pros and cons wrt world success.

Capitalism - an economic system in which investment in and ownership of the means of production, distribution, and exchange of wealth is made and maintained chiefly by private individuals or corporations, esp. as contrasted to cooperatively or state-owned means of wealth.

Free Enterprise - an economic and political doctrine holding that a capitalist economy can regulate itself in a freely competitive market through the relationship of supply and demand with a minimum of governmental intervention and regulation.

Seems like much of the good could be had and much of the bad could be avoided if "regulation" were a bit stronger under "free enterprise", and "investment" gave way to "ownership" and "corporations" were instead "individuals" under "capitalism". Cooperatives seem to be successful yet under-utilized as well.

You are absurd. Your words stand on their heads.

Capitalism has generating billions of people, so that they can live in poverty to serve capital. So they can jam into slums where the deadly diseases are endemic.

Gotta feed the slaves, or they can't make crap for you at a price you could afford.

And Capitalism does not equal "the profit motive".

Sorry, but you don't quite know what you're talking about.

Oh, I don't know. I think Gauhar has it mostly right. Capitalism has proven to be an extremely effective means of organizing human activity toward ever more complex ends -- better medicine, better nutrition, better transport and communication, as he/she says. The problem now, though stems from that "efficiency" thing. It isn't at all clear that efficiency and resiliency are compatible. Peak Oil and Climate Change would be non-issues on a planet of a few million people. On a planet of 7 million, well...

What's that saying? The bigger they are...?

Capitalism has arisen at the same time as we've had the Age of Enlightenment (However you choose to view that), an increasing energy supply, technology that has opened the world's borders and made it possible to survive and store food almost anywhere on the planet. And not all that technology was part of capitalist ventures, ..

So crediting the best of the age to Capitalism falls down before the gods of Causation vs Correlation. In fact, it seems an argument is due over the suggestion that Capitalism is created BY the mere exploitation of 'available energy'.. it was doing brisk business with slavery, as we can all recall. (Still is, in many places.. ask Tom Delay)

an increasing energy supply

Bingo! Capitalism - energy = pre-industrial civilization.

Pickens reveals a lot about capitalism: get government to make rules that make/keep me rich.

Wasn't he also a funder of the swiftboat campaign, in other words, a man unabashedly committed to disinforming the public.

Disinformation is the tool of those who would disempower others. Once others are disempowered, getting government to make rules to make/keep me rich becomes much easier.

Thumbs up on that!

By Capitalism do you really mean oil? :)

Capitalism has raised the standards of living of billions of people, drastically reduced the impact of deadly diseases that ravaged the planet every few decades, brought in faster means of transport and communication, and helped feed the world. Without Capitalism, i.e. profit motive, nothing could ever be accomplished.

Those are *TWO* absurd statements!

Had this planet had no oil or coal or natural gas those things that you credit capitalism with doing would not have happened.

Meanwhile we now have more people desperately poor than were alive in 1800 so Capitalism has created more poor people not less.

Feed the world is about to come to an end. Diseases are still around and many old ones making comebacks. The Capitalists (and Communists) choose to hold on to smallpox so at any time they can release it on a world no longer culled for immunity. The invented the atom bomb and the nuclear bomb and have enough to wipe out life on earth. Capitalists plus oil are changing the environment, almost opened up a deadly size ozone hole (and it is not clear we are safe from that yet), changing our climate with CO2, possibly enough some think to extinct most life on earth. But hey we are having a big party in the developed world, so who cares if there is no viable future for our offspring. All hail Capitalism.

oxidatedgem said,
"Meanwhile we now have more people desperately poor than were alive in 1800 so Capitalism has created more poor people not less."

And yet the bulk of world population growth occurred in Asia, Africa, and Latin nations who least embraced capitalism, while the United Kingdom, Northern Europe and North America, the nations who most embraced capitalism had much slower population growth rates...care to explain?

Someone on this string said "Without oil and gas and coal there would have been no capitalism."

What if one were to turn that argument upside down and say "Without capitalism there would have been no need to explore for and exploit oil and gas and coal." Would one statement be any less true than the other?

Just something to think about, or as James Thurber once said, "A chicken is just a very complex device built to produce eggs." :-)


RC, oh my you don't understand anything about how the world works. No wonder, the press won't tell. But do some digging. Imperialism is the mode we live in. Capitalism is what the rich countries do on the backs of third world countries. Just like capitalist trading is what the plantation owners did on the backs of their slaves. I suggest you read "Confessions of an Ecconomic Hit May" by John Perkins so that you can learn how the imperialists of this age keep the poor countries under their thumb.

Personally I think the world would be better off without oil, coal and gas. So if you case is that without capitalism there would have been no need to explore for those fuels that for me is another black mark on capitalism.

The Northern Hemisphere loots the Southern Hemisphere.
Oxidated has it figured out.

The Soviets did the same thing under communism.
Both systems suck and everything they created was because of oil.

This is an absurd statement.

Please state what "this" is?

Capitalism has raised the standards of living of billions of people,

I thought that was the result of resource extraction and technology.

drastically reduced the impact of deadly diseases that ravaged the planet every few decades,

That sounds like medicine.

, brought in faster means of transport and communication, and helped feed the world.

Sound like resource extraction and technology.

Without Capitalism, i.e. profit motive, nothing could ever be accomplished.

Would that be like the selling of bad food (big meat recall this month) and putting melimine in milk?

Cuz the world can use a bit less of having to recall and destroy 1/2 a million lbs of meat.

There is an inherent problem with any "ism". It filters facts & truth to fit its own world view.

This includes capitalism, commuism, socialism etc.

BTW, the system most OECD countries have is not capitalism. It is a combination of welfare state and crony capitalism. China and India have some combination of socialism & "controlled" capitalism.

It is a combination of welfare state and crony capitalism.

Actually we prefer a term like "Hybrid of a) Democratic Socialism and b) pure Capitalism", which is what EVERY developed country uses. The only difference between the Swedish government and the US government is the ratio of a) to b). And believe me, the US is NOT a pure b) setup, nor would you want it to be unless you were extremely independently wealthy and owned an island fortress in a safe offshore location.

I won't get into the merits of capitalism historically. But certainly it is true that the profit motive is what is blocking almost everythig that needs to get done right now. The market has priced oil and the other hydrocarbons abusrdly low, and the profit principle is blocking all rational attempts to address the coming disasters. The military adventures cannot be stopped as long as there is profit in monopolizinf the hydrocarbons or in supplying the war machine. Universal health care cannot come about because it impinges upon the profits of the affected industries. The financial casinos cannot be regulated be it impedes the profits of those too big to fail.

One could argue that a sufficiently regulated capitalism would avoid all these negatives. But it turns out that the best investment the billionaires can make is in purchasing the gov't itself -- which is precisely what has happened. A wise revolutionary gov't would not eliminate the profit motive altogether, but it would certainly not allow profit considerations to override the people's welfare, and it would throw into prison those who tried to buy influence, or those of its own members who succumbed to such blandishments. Above all, it would forsake the shroud of secrecy. And above all such a gov't would tell the truth, i.e. host open debates about what is in store, and help people get themselves in position to make the humongous adjustments needed so that everyone can survive in at least modest comfort.

There are three tighly intertwined crises: ecological collapse (peak oil, climate change, ecological devastion), the collapse of the empire, and the collapse of global capitalism. Undoubtedly a turning point in history if ever there was one. More interesting than I can stand.

The particular creatures of capitalism, international corporations, are the true rulers today, and their construction as immortal and immoral persons with more rights than most actual people but far fewer constraints, make them powerful destroyers of human and non-human communities, even as they seem to be serving human interests.

They don't even seem to serve human interests. :-)

Of course they do -- aren't billionaires human? Hm, never mind.

The problem with capitalism, like the problem with communism, is the ISM. We allowed a partial reading of theory to harden into ideology. Then we pursue whatever the simplified ideological laws lead us tpwards, as if they were god given eternal truths. The philosophical father of modern capitalism is Adam Smith. If you go back and read his original work (admission I've only read a few small parts), you will see that he was very aware that human greed and the invisable hand were insufficient to create a positive societal impact. He discusses stuff like bank regulation, externalities etc, all moderated by some type of social controls that are currently derided as socialism. But certain players who benefit from the current less restrained system have pushed the parts that benefit their own agendas, and allowed the rest to be forgotten. The reality is that the USA had its best growth rates, and better distribution of income during periods when our economy could best be described as mixed, meaning government and provate industry worked together as partners to achieve common goals. But is the USA, as a result of the long struggle against communism, and the well funded efforts of free market "think tanks", we have made a religion out of "unbridled greed is good, and government and collective efforts are bad". So now when we need social controls to counteract media and government being bought outright by a narrow sector of society, and to impose some controls on externalities such as pollution as resource exhaustion, we are left up a creek with no paddles.

The real problem with capitalism and the US is that the canny capitalists have somehow convinced all the working poor that they are wealthy, or soon will be. If you can loose your income by someone else's decision, then you should be opposing the advance of RAW capitalism and supporting increased government regulation.

JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia — A top Saudi energy official expressed serious concern Monday that world oil demand could peak in the next decade and said his country was preparing for that eventuality by diversifying its economic base.

The peak demand theory has suddenly become popular with the Saudis. I think this is akin to intelligent design becoming popular among evangelical Christians. Both theories came about because of increasingly strong evidence for peak oil and evolution respectively. So does this mean that Saudi oil production is going peak in the next decade? Well why else would they all of a sudden start talking about peak demand. I'm sure they're not worried about the non-event in Copenhagen.

Your enthusiasm for evolution means you support "survival of the fittest" and "might makes right" rather than "Lex Rex" or the "rule of law". Thus you must strongly support OPEC's cartel to coerce oil "tribute" from the West and steal from the poor in the 2/3rds world. Robert Zubrin calling for Energy Victory notes that total aid to developing countries is $60 billion while OPEC has throttled production that increased their take from oil to $1.5 trillion in 2008. How to you answer the cries of the poor who cannot afford cooking fuel or diesel to irrigate because of OPEC's "might makes right"?

An understanding of evolution does not support of the simplistic nonsense you mention. You don't know what you're talking about.

What is it today? There is some real arrant nonsense being spewed this afternoon.

The foundations for law are either "unalienable rights" and the "Judge of all the world" or the big bang and abiogenesis. The rest are natural consequences. Which do you choose?

Let's not go there, okay?

In deference to Leanan, I will not get into this. Suffice it to say that your posing of the question is nonsensical and trollish. Good bye.

Yeah, well...we're the ones who gave them the idea. Before oil peaked in the US, we were OPEC. The Texas Railroad Commission set production quotas, in order to keep prices up. OPEC was modeled on it.

Good point Leanan. And lest we forget: the Texas Rail Road Commission still has the law inplace. They've just been running with 100% allowable since the 70's. They can still reduce Texas oil out put 50% over night for whatever reason they might want to.

Your enthusiasm for evolution means you support "survival of the fittest" and "might makes right" rather than "Lex Rex" or the "rule of law".

Wow! That's not even wrong! Well, maybe fractally wrong!

Are they holding the auditions for the re run of "One flew over the Cuckoo's Nest" here at TOD?

No one forced us to become so dependent upon oil. If we had not ridiculed and ignored President Carter decades ago, tribute would probably be a non issue at this point. I don't see why Opec should be forced to give away a declining resource. Nor do I think it would be in the planet's long term interest to do so. And given the existence of power brokers from the oil industry in our government all these years, I think it is reasonable to conclude that we were in bed with the Saudis in screwing the American people.

Given the current demand curve, the Saudis could do their bit in validating or not validating their theory by lowering the price to say $20. Then we can see if demand has peaked based upon the current preferences.

No doubt the overall demand curve is a summation of all the millions of individual demand curves. For example, one could lower the price of gas to a dollar, and I would not consume proportionately more gas. My use of gas is primarily constrained by my aversion to driving which I would try to minimize regardless of the price. I will, for example, walk to the post office every day even if the cost of gas becomes zero.

Now, given the introduction of viable alternatives to oil, including lifestyle changes, infrastructure, conservation, and more efficient vehicles, we may see a reduction in demand even without an increase in price. However, I have trouble foreseeing this when I see the massive increases in demand that will continue in places like China. This is true unless one assumes that the Chinese will just leave all their shiny new cars in the garage as a stationary status symbol.

My advice to the Saudis would be to just try harder if they are worried about the nebulous concept of peak demand, which thus far has not been adequately defined.

Further, if the Saudis are indeed diversifying their economy, this is a good idea regardless if the problem is supply or demand. They might also consider efforts to reduce their obscenely high birth rate as well. But that would require that their women be educated and liberated.

What is the solution to the dual problem of energy depletion and climate change?

What must I and every human on this planet do?ie what is required of us?

How will our lives change and what mode must society assume thereafter?

Who will be responsible for enforcing those changes?

These are the questions I think politicians should be giving the public the answers to if we are to proceed from this stalemate situation where virtually nothing is being done to adress either of the above issues.

I'm convinced the governments of the world are too scared to even begin to list what we must do.

Here's what I would expect to start seeing on the list if the 'problem' were to be adressed seriously.
None of which would be optional.

1. All houses retro-fitted with insulation.
2. Ban on all incandescent bulbs
3. All new houses fitted solar water heater and ground source heat pump.
4. Carbon allowance base on property size.

Travel (both goods and people):
1. Punative tax on all personal vehicle (dual tax on BOTH fuel and car)
2. public treransport subsidised by taxes.
3. All freight transitioned off road to rail over a period of x years.
4. pedestrianisation and cycleways over huge swathes of city centres.

1. Moratorium on any new FF plants.
2. Crash investment in Nuclear, wind, tial, wave, solar.
3. Construction of supergrids.

1. Global 2 child policy

1. Limit on livestock numbers.
2. Transition to GM crop.
3. Shopping allowances on food.

This is obviuosly by no means a comprehensive list. But before you expand this list ask these questions:

A) Would you accept them all without question?
B) Would everbody you know accept them without question?
C) Would a world government body enforce them?

Sadly I believe the answer is probably NO so we really are all heading over the cliff.

I am actually coming to my main point:

So bearing in mind the public haven't even been told what they need to do yet, how can they help fix an issue when they don't know what it is they have to do. I've never seen any comprehensive dossier by the governments laying out our future on a mandatory basis!

Secondly if politicians and public are dragging their heels just now, can you imagine how bad it is going to get when they get presented with the above list of waht they must do?

It is all totally and utterly laughable. And here we are at TOD debating the finer pionts of AGW and energy depletion with little care for the fact that no-ne is going to pay attention to the mitigation plan that is needed.

This is not me being doomerish. this is in fact me presenting what I see as a solution (a very positive thing) and why it will be rejected (the negative bit!)

And whilst i'm in that moaney nasal tone of voice what the heck has happened to the price of a barrel of oil today?


Not everyone would agree with you on this list. For one thing, this is not really a plan for a transition for the new world that is ahead; it is an attempt to hold on to what we have today. The front end cost would be huge--it would probably result in a new increase in energy use (or huge recession, as private sector spending was greatly reduced, and spending for selected sectors is increased). Many more people would likely be laid off work.

You are basically recommending replacing high net energy resources with low net energy resources. The low net energy resources also have their costs (and carbon use!) very much front ended. This results in a huge up-front cost to society, with little payback for many years. Politicians make these choices sound good, but the result is highly debatable.

But my point is there is no plan. The closest i've seen to a plan are some television commercials telling me that if I replace the lightbulbs in my house my carbon footprint will be lower!
This is like victims of Hiroshima being told to open their umbrellas just prior to the nuclear annihilation.

The public really have no clue about the changes that are about to happen to society and no-one is directing them except to say 'open your umbrellas'. You amd me may well be aware or the sheer scale of the re-ordering that would be needed but most of the public don't.

So I repeat - what are the answers to the top 4 questions in my post and why is no-one answering them? In a synical way I know part of the reason is that governments that propose a solution wouldn't get re-elected. Dang it's no wonder the aliens are not letting us into the galactic community yet!!!!!!!


what are the answers to the top 4 questions in my post and why is no-one answering them?

Marco, the only solution is giving up BAU. When the ones that are responsible for implementing the changes realise that, most of them don't even want to think about it anymore. Resulting in the stalemate situation. Regarding the oil situation there is still too much optimism: Iraq (10-12 mbd), Brazil (5-6 mbd), tarsands in Canada and Venezuela.
Apart from this there is the 'problem' China, who wants to be worldpower nr.1 within 2 decades.

BAU will be given up one person and one thing at a time. It will be the collective adjustments to reality by billions of people in response to their changing circumstances, not some master global plan.

As I have been saying, the 21st century is just going to be one long exercise in giving up things.

Well put WNC. And if you look carefully you can even start to see many people making adjustments downward. I just moved near a town of 30,000 people that has at least 4 huge thrift shops, lots of gardens and small farms nearby, an extensive barter network, etc.


I will add another Well Said to the post.

I don't really want to give the job to my DAD, that nice king like ruler figure.

I am amassing a network of like minded people both locally and online, who need help and can offer help in plant selection, seed saving, collecting of local knowledge about the plants that are out there that few outside the local groups know about.

Systems that work in one area might not work in another because of local Gov't rules, and greedy selfish leaders (think places like Somalia). Some cities you can't have bees, or chickens, others you can have goats walking down the street.

It is going to be one house at a time. the grass roots are longer than we think, just knowing that someone is doing the same thing that you are is a very uplifting thing.


What is the solution to the dual problem of energy depletion and climate change?

What must I and every human on this planet do?ie what is required of us?

How will our lives change and what mode must society assume thereafter?

Who will be responsible for enforcing those changes?

I suspect you actually know the answer to most of these (that does not mean you will like them)

1) The sudden and rapid elimination of most of the human population down to a point of something between 250 million to 1 billion people. This is actually the easiest thing to accomplish and would take only a couple of hours to accomplish.

2) Be prepared to die suddenly and without warning. Survival is most likely in current temperate and tropical rainforest along the coastal area away from (and not downwind) of major population centers.

3) The survivors would largely become hunter/gatherer/scavengers. By using strictly airbursts at sufficient high altitudes, nuclear radiation fallout could be greatly reduced compared to groundbursts associated with counterforce strikes. The wildfire/burning of combustible materials in population center would likely produce a nuclear winter effect for a period of several years.

Much of the complex machinery of the late 20th and early 21st century will become unworkable because of EMP effects. The electrical grid, telecommunications as you know it, and the advanced technology we are using would become useless. Some simple electrical systems could and would survive and might become small islands of electricity use. But the GW we are used to will be remnants of a dead past.

4) It won't much matter who is left "in charge." What matters is who takes the first step to initiate the chain reaction.

There is no reason a nuclear exchange will occur. This sounds like doom for the sake of doom.

It is naive to believe that mankind will *never* use any of its tens of thousands of city-killing weapons.

If nukes exist to never be used, then why were Hiroshima and Nagasaki nuked? Why today's sanctions against Iran?

Whatever happened to Neutron Bombs? Probably still have the EMP issue, but more durable capital like buildings and plumbing would be just fine.

Note that contrary to popular misconception, neutron bombs also release significant explosive energy, thus being capable of destroying buildings and plumbing. There is no neutron bomb that only kills living things without affecting infrastructure.

It is my understanding, could be wrong, that the neutron bomb was specifically designed to have a huge radiation pulse and a relatively tiny blast effect, and that to be mitigated by very high altitude detonation .Supposedly this equals nearly everybody dead for several miles around but not very much physical destruction on the ground at all.

I doubt the radiation is penetrating enough to give a kill radius of several miles. Supposedly the reason given for pursuing them was the destruction of Soviet tank crews. It was claimed that the armour of a tank slows, but doesn't stop the neutrons, and that slower neutrons are far worse than fast ones, so that you'd be better off standing next to the tank than sitting inside it. Physical damage to property and radiation damage would still have been an issue, even if the ratio of so-called collateral damage to military effects is minimized.

EOS -- Been decades since reading about neutron bombs but I think you have it right. It's strictly a tactical weapon. Essentially a super xray blast with limited range. I think the big selling point was that it didn't produce radiation per se. IOW no fall out. The xray radiation existed only in that microsecond. Thus they could pop as many as needed and not worry about radiation contamination down wind. Like you say, a very effective way to wipe out large numbers of boots while limiting long range collat damage.

Neutron bombs were small atomic devices (pretty strong explosive effect) that were mostly tactical. As a device, they were intentionally designed to be "inefficient" and "leaky", in that lots of neutrons (both "fast" and "slow") were lost from the device during detonation lowering the overall explosive energy yield, while reducing the overall radioactive daughters and the associated fallout. There is, of course, a gamma/x-ray pulse upon detonation.

Free neutons do not hang around for a long time. Their average "life" outside of a nucleus is 7 minutes, 49 seconds. They can be captured by other atomic nuclei during detonation to convert a substance to a radioactive isotope. But they were really designed for a high intensity neutron pulse that also did not turn everything radioactive.

Neutrons are somewhat difficult to provide shielding against. However, water makes a particularly good absorber/moderator (which is one reason it is used in both LWR and HWR designs). Since your body has such a high percentage of water, you become a very effective "moderator" from the neutron pulse. Think of it as being microwaved with a shredding action thrown in for good measure. A fair portion of the x-ray/gamma radiation passes through your body, neutron radiation, not so much.

It also has another very interesting effect (relative to tanks and tank crews). DU armor becomes very "active" when exposed to a high energy pulse of neutrons. While quantum mechanics would tell you that the neutron flux from the DU armor is just as likely to go in any direction away from the blast point, the combined effect of the neutrons from the weapon and the neutrons released from irradiating the DU armor brings a new definition to "hot zone."

If nukes exist to never be used, then why were Hiroshima and Nagasaki nuked?

The world though saw how terrible the result was in Japan. After that there were several situations with threats to use them again. It seems that in that cases there was something learned from history. Will it last ?

But the challenge was to answer the four questions. I did say that the answer would not be to one's liking AND it does provide a solution.

The simple exchange of oxygen in the air for carbon dioxide produced by the bodies of 6.8 billion people (without considering all the other stuff associated with getting them food and water) is just like the burning of ~19.5-20 million barrels of oil per day.

Rapidly depopulating the Earth would take only a couple of hours. Or as it says on the Blast Door of Launch Site Delta01: World Wide Delivery in 30 minutes or less...Or your next one is free.

Coneheads had to have a sense of humor.


I was a mad-max fan also but i'd say there's only a 10% chance of this apocalypto vision being realised. Neither me or you however can substantiate these claims so lets give socity the benefit of the doubt. The answers you give are a cop-out from the much greater problem of adressing how we transition into the future.

Do you work for the people coming in from out beyond Jupiter's orbit wanting to harvest earth before the next century is out?

Why in God's Name do you think we need to kill all those people?

They are currently getting fed.

All we need do is change how we grow food, and make it a massive effort from a grass roots, person by person flow pattern. Then all those folks that don't want to change like the rest of us, can in time be weeded out of the system.

But I high hopes that we can grow enough food for even more people, if we did not fight so hard to control nature.

Gades, death of the planet by stupid actions in not the answer.


I have answered the first three in another post, might not be in this thread though.

The 4th question is the crux of the problem. You have to get past the human need to be greedy and selfish. You might not be yourself, but in general there are more people out there that hold onto theirs (what ever it is) than there are people willing to share everything.

A few visionaries have been pushing for sustainable livestyle changes. Masanobu Fukuoka being one of them. Marvin Crawford being another. There are others with like minded ideas, permaculture people whose names I don't know. I am mote in line with the first two, even though I did not know about them until last year. I can't say I am one of those visionaries, but I figured that there was a better way a long time ago. Over 20 years ago.

I was a dreamer as a child, and I am still a dreamer. I see where the first 3 questions are going. Getting past the last one has been a problem I know how to solve, but can't.

One world leader. The stuff of legends in the bible belt, but a one world leader helping people make the change by getting the job done. The person will have to be altruistic and the kindest person you have ever met, but with a firm hand and willing to do things that in the long run will be good for everyone. even though some of them might hurt.

Think of the prefect father figure. Never harms his kids, but does spank them when they don't listen, but does not over do it.

I elect my DAD. LOL, he'd refuse the job.


"This results in a huge up-front cost to society, with little payback for many years."

But this is ALWAYS the short-term view excuse, Gail. When we live in constant emergencies, as our system has devolved into (or maybe it's that by design, who knows?).. then the prudent choices, that seem "Too Expensive" today in the immediate view , but do involve long-term benefits, have paybacks built in to them, use higher quality materials, take more labor (or 'create more jobs'), etc.. will be argued down as 'Those would be nice, but enough dreaming, we don't have the luxury for that right now'

The thing not mentioned in your slow-payback comment is that it pays for itself at all. Fuel-driven energy sources must be constantly fed, and very commonly constantly maintained and replaced, too. As far as energy inputs, they NEVER pay for themselves, so comparing this to a 'Slow' payback contains an existential incongruity. At that level, they are incomparable.

I mean, when solar is held up to this challenge that it will only be viable when you have a solar PV factory that is powered by PV... Well, revert that to fuel-based systems and the overwhelming consumption that they require. At least it's conceptually possible to have Solar and Wind provide the power to build more Solar and Wind. Fuel-burning systems building more fuel-burning systems are not ever moving in the direction of precluding the burning of fuel to enable this process.

I think you misspeak when you say 'low NET-Energy' sources, as well. Burnable fuels have high energy DENSITY, and this has enabled them to give us access to extracting more of the same, but since it is a depleting resource, that 'Net' has a hole in it that will one day let the last available drops fall away and be gone to us. With renewable sources, you actually are netting a durable supply and not usually incurring the additional costs (undebited from typical burned-fuel accounts) to the environment with carbon, toxics etc..

I think with wind, two things need to be kept in mind. One is that the wind turbines we are building need to be part of a networked system. If the networked system becomes unsustainable, you lose the use of the wind, unless you can figure out some local use like ammonia production, with resources available.

The other issue is the amount of maintenance required on wind turbines. I didn't think it would be all that great, until I ran across this presentation from Delft University regarding wind turbine outages. Outages in excess of one per year seem to be expected. I wrote up some of the things found in this study in this comment on another thread. At least in this study, failures seems to increase with turbine size.

Note that the scale on the left side is numbers of failures per wind turbine per year. So the scale is talking about between 1.0 and 3.5 failures per wind turbine per year. One of the conclusions of the report is

Such unreliability will be unacceptable offshore. We need reliability <0.5 failure/year/ turbine.

If it becomes harder to repair wind turbines, it would be good to have it less than that. (I don't see repairs with local parts very likely. If repairs are not done precisely correctly, there is a distinct possibility of vibration problems.)

Reliability is likely to increase over time. It would be helpful to have MTTR (mean time to repair), yearly cost, and overall availability numbers as well.

Won't this be more like a fleet maintenance issue, with a routine schedule for all turbines overlaid with unexpected maintenance for a small percentage? Industries deal with such all the time.

Reliability is likely to increase over time. It would be helpful to have MTTR (mean time to repair), yearly cost, and overall availability numbers as well.

Hopefully the mean time to repair, and maintence costs will not end up like some countries' oil reserves: not publically available.

Won't this be more like a fleet maintenance issue, with a routine schedule for all turbines overlaid with unexpected maintenance for a small percentage? Industries deal with such all the time.

And these jobs can't be outsourced. I have too much engineering experience to let the reliability issue bother me. Yes, it's like a fleet maintanance issue, providing a long term industry and jobs, well distributed. The issues Gail keeps harping on are engineering problems, easily solved. That's one thing we're good at. Hold the manufacturers responsible for their products, including compensation for unscheduled downtime. It's a little moot anyway as wind energy is here to stay. This resource should be a priority.

Why did the author of the presentation think that the number of repairs offshore needed to be <0.5 failure/ turbine/year? Just for fun? And that is assuming BAU with oil supplies. If it becomes harder and harder to keep all of the equipment needed to repair the wind turbines itself in good repair, it would seem like the number should be even lower than that. And judging from the graph posted above, manufacturers have a long ways to go to get to 0.5 failure/ turbine /year level.

Why did the author of the presentation think that the number of repairs offshore needed to be <0.5 failure/ turbine/year?

Because unlike a ground based turbine you don't just drive up, unlock the door and enter the tubular column. At sea you have to deal with waves which can make entry/exit tricky and potentially dangerous. Most likely you'd have to wait until the sea state is calm enough to meet your margin of safety. So the relative cost of maintenence goes up offshore (and the amount of time the turbine is offline waiting for service is longer). That doesn't mean it isn't workable. If engineering is thought of as a cost optimization effort, then for high service cost situations you overengineer the critical parts so that the capital cost is higher but the service cost lower.

One is that the wind turbines we are building need to be part of a networked system

Hence my point no.3 under Energy. A supergrid from 10 different energy sources can handle loads far more efficiently than any one source alone.

WRT your comments about outages, what does it matter if wind is only 1 of say 6 other sources of energy? ALso as the tech matures it will improve.

Besides which when debating renewables/elternative energy wind always seems to be the straw man that gets knocked down. I don't expect it to ever exceed 10% of the worlds generated electricity and that is being optomistic so we can always look to the others in that 'supergrid' for support.

I don't presume that they're supposed to be easy, particularly the behemoths that are out there pushing the boundaries these days. The fact that they are heavily advancing the technology also surely has something to do with the need for more intense attention, adjustments and so on..

megawatt to megawatt, some Wind might require a good bit of labor and upkeep.. but labor is also a plus as inputs go. These require no fuel inputs when in regular operation.. which is not merely a 'plus', it is key.

Windpower and Hydro do inflict a very high level of wear and tear, as the elements will. I think the most important renewable that we ought to be installing at a simply furious pace right now is Residential Solar Heating, which returns a great deal of energy for the materials and labor involved, and mitigates the financial pressure (ultimately) on the consumer.

Gail the Actuary said of windmills,

"At least in this study, failures seems to increase with turbine size."

That is EXACTLY correct. I once had a website and a now defunct small partnership based exactly on this argument.

The trend of windmills has been over the lasst quarter century (a)bigger,(b)higher,(c)faster,(d)smarter.

The argument made by my partners and myself was that the correct trend for sustainable was (a)slower,(b)lower,(c)smaller and d)effectively dumber, but more prolific in number, in other words, the Model T example vs. the Rolls Royce example.

I think we were correct, and I think that the world is coming our direction it it's thinking on specialized smaller housetop and office tower rooftop windmills. The reason we abandoned our plans for the time being was simply that there was no business model making the smaller, lower, simpler windmill a profitable operation, because anything we could do in the area could be more easily done using German engineering and design (much the way they build gliders in small sophisticated batches) and farmed out to be manufactured in Asia far cheaper than they could be built in the U.S.

Gail, you point out "One is that the wind turbines we are building need to be part of a networked system."

This is exactly correct again, but the problem is that that there is a limited number of sites available for giant windmills, and many of thes sites are blocked off by political opposition to the windmills and wind farms (a problem not nearly so pronounced when using smaller lower wind turbines). The smaller wind turbine would be widely scattered by their very nature, and much greater in number than giant/high turbines could ever be, thus they would by nature be "grid connected" over a larger area.

They would not give up in efficiency as much as one might think compared to higher more expensive turbines due to being more easily fabricated in very advanced and flexible designs, be easier and cheaper to maintain (some small enough to even be pulled from their mounts and shipped to a shop or back to a refitting facility to be rehabilitated)

As each new generation of advanced turbines were developed, the upgrade and modernization could be accomplished piecemeal, one turbine at a time, with no major disruption to overall electric power production.

These smaller turbines could be easily blended into small CHP systems using recaptured methane as backup and/or small storage systems (Vanadium Redox battery, or small rack of lithium batteries, or even a flywheel or compressed air system) and even combined with solar systems for a very flexible energy system that would be effectively immune from any variability problem.

All of this would not happen at once, of course. The beauty of the smaller lower advanced windmills and the other systems described is that they are very modular and can blended into the current energy sytem in steps, thus breaking the capital expense into smaller segments.

I could go on, but all of this work has already been described and in fact is happening every moment. It is a revolution that is all but invisible to the public at large but that is underway and gaining speed with each passing day. For just a hint, check out

This is a free magazine, all you have to do is register, and some of the back articles are fascinating and cover a wide spectrum of technology, including solar, wind, flywheel, flow batteries, rechargable chemical batteries, methane recapture, and captured heat from co-production, among other energy technologies.


This is a free magazine, all you have to do is register, and some of the back articles are fascinating and cover a wide spectrum of technology, including solar, wind, flywheel, flow batteries, rechargable chemical batteries, methane recapture, and captured heat from co-production, among other energy technologies.

RC, very promising. But will it cause peak demand for oil soon ? No
Will it be sufficient to continue BAU ? No

Many more people would likely be laid off work.

Maybe we were working too much is the first place?

Good point. One reason that so many people have no job is that, guess what? It simply doesn't take everyone working their a** off for 40+ hours a week to generate all the crap we think we need, much less what we actually need. I think the economists call it "productivity".

Unemployment is structural. We need to get used to it - maybe job sharing, or 20 hour work weeks, or something.

Or accept a nation (talking USA, where I live) with an increasing division between the haves and have-nots. Or as George W. Bush put it in a moment of uncharacteristic candor, "the have-mores - I call 'em my base".

I think the real problem will be the "have lesses" -- those who were middle-class but find themselves more or less permanently poor. The poor may be poorer, but they have long-standing structural traps. The newly poor are less likely to fall into place readily.

Poor is relative too. I live on about $1000 a month. I do not consider myself poor. In the past I would have, but when I figured out it was all just a thought in my head it freed me. Again, it is re-equilibrium.

I think that is very interesting and am always interested in finding out how people live on less. I find it hard to believe, however, that you have health insurance. Please give us an idea how you allocate your expenses.

One thing that fascinates me is the whole tiny house phenomenon. So many problems would be addressed if we started by massively downsizing our living arrangements. Better design enables this possibility.

I do not have health insurance. Quite a few years back I was walking and I saw a deer that was obviously hit by a car. It had a compound fracture on its left rear leg and the bone sticking out and it was still red with blood. But there he was, eating grass and continuing on with life. All without health insurance. At that point I noticed how silly it is; the fear that they use to sell us medical care and health insurance. I learned natural remedies that show strong empirical efficacy. If I get sick enough I go to the hospital, but I try to avoid it at all costs. And if the hospital was not there I would not go to it. No difference either way.

However, since I am so "poor" in the eyes of the government I could get a bunch of assistance. :^)

I cook for myself, eat whole foods, and eat little, so my health is not an issue and I probably will not suffer the big three; cancer, diabetes, heart disease. And cooking for myself saves a ton of money. When I can I grow some food too.

I rent a room for $400 a month. I buy very little. I do not use a credit card at all and I do not own a car. I barter when I can. Everything I own right now fits in a backpack and a 16x16x20 box.

I love the tiny house idea as a start but it is against human nature. We are social animals and the tiny houses keep fostering the mythical "individual". Better external design will do nothing. You need a better internal design. You need to redesign your mind.

When I lost my two brothers to cancer within 1 1/2 years of each other, I quit being smug about my good health. Then I developed Parkinson's disease, bolt from the blue. Lucky for me, my spouse has good insurance. I have studied the nutrition issue and eat what I believe is a healthy diet. I get lots of outdoor activity like chopping wood, gardening, bicycling, etc.

There are a lot of folks who take good care of themselves and still have health conditions that would drive them to bankruptcy if not for health insurance. There are even many folks with health insurance who go bankrupt anyway.

We badly need a reformed medical system. Ain't likely to get it.

"We badly need a reformed medical system. Ain't likely to get it"
We needed to invade Iraq, we needed to bail out the investment banks who are sinking the worlds economies. We have priorities.

My wife had a minor (but needed) hand operation today which took 5 minuets and cost $758. If we had another form of health insurance it would have allowed $540 another less than $300. If we had no health insurance she would have had a $50 cortizone shot which ,if we could afford it, would still have had the problem recur in a couple of months.

The doctor told us that had he needed it that the procedure would have fallen under his deductable and he would have paid for it out of pocket (he just paid for a $5000 hip replacement)

SO we have three levels of care and at least 6 different prices for the same absolutely necessary operation including the paitent who would get no help at all. Barbarism.

As I stated in another post, but did not include medical care.

If I were king, I'd get everyone healthy and well taken care of by doctors.


I totally agree with your post.

But the real barbarism is cutting open the hand and replacing the hip. Jeez, ripping out someones bones and replacing it with metal and plastic?

You make quite a few assumptions.

Death is bad.
Cancer is bad.
Parkinson's is bad.
Bankruptcy is bad.

That is a lot to be afraid of in a few short paragraphs. Reforming the health care system will not get rid of those fears so we will end up in the same place. Most humans live well beyond our non-technologically enhanced lifespans. To me, I owe a huge debt to every day I lived since I passed 40. So, replace "bad" with "interesting" to each item I listed above and you might begin to understand how I see things.

Regarding Parkison's, something maybe of interest to you? Resveratrol and it's action on intracellular glutamate and dopaminergic neurons.





Tiny house phenomenon will not fascinate you if you have enough experience with them. Then you want bigger houses ;-)

We had four people living in a house under 900 square feet. My brother is in a bigger house than he grew up in. I am living back with my parents, at times I am in poorer health than they are. But 3 people in under 900 square feet is still easy. We could chop out the extra bedroom which was always the extra bedroom, My brother and I slept in the same room. We always used the other room for an office and storage for the two china cabinets, one my dad rebuilt. The other he got, while delivering a new china cabinet to a lady, she was just going to pitch her old one, he asked if she would mind giving it to him, and that is how we got an antique, Its been in the family 46 years. The room for a while stored all our canned goods, from the small garden I had going, which was under 1,200 SqFt.

I've helped design landscapes for people who lived in small houses, under 250 sqFt for a couple. You have to kow how to live with a lot less, and you have to be willing to give up things that just don't fit. No pool tables in the den.

Though I have worked on a small house design where I did have a pool table in it. Ground floor was 15 by 15 feet, second floor was 9 by 9 and the roof was an open area garden. The top of the first floor had a wrap around balcony on two sides. So under roof there was Just over 310 SqFt, I counted the stoop roof.

Pocket doors for the bathroom. Hammock to sleep in upstairs and art studio. I'll have to go dig around in my folios to find the drawings.


Good point. One reason that so many people have no job is that, guess what? It simply doesn't take everyone working their a** off for 40+ hours a week to generate all the crap we think we need, much less what we actually need. I think the economists call it "productivity".

Unemployment is structural. We need to get used to it - maybe job sharing, or 20 hour work weeks, or something.

In a capitalist economy, the logic of the individual firm is to try to reduce costs by producing the same amount of goods and services with fewer employees. For that reason, unemployment is indeed structural -- unless, that is firms can in general persuade customers to buy ever more crap, thus requiring more labor to produce it. If so, then the job losses inherent in labor productivity growth can be avoided, and additional jobs created. However, if economic growth ceases, then a death spiral of growing unemployment and economic collapse becomes likely.

In short, capitalism must either grow or die. If it dies, "capital" takes "labor" down with it.

Exactly. And it can't grow. So it must die. And we all go down with it.

Capitalism IS the first and greatest Ponzi scheme.

I would go so far as to say they're closely related ;-)

Yes! It all started with the farmer! I know it sounds strange but excess food is the root of every mess you see today.

I hold the farmer right up there with the banker!

The farmer just grew the food.

The banker locked it up.

The farmer grew the food that gave others the energy and free time to invent "banking".

The Farmer, the Banker.. and Everyone in between. They're participants in a system.

Hungry Mouths all, and Recipients of an unbelievable trust fund of energy, with noone to tell them not to run wild with it, and all of Natural History to tell them that more is better, when you can get it.


Having to much food is not a bad thing.

Using it to fuel population growth that changes the way people live into them abusing nature is a bad thing.

If you can have 20 billion people living in harmony with nature, there is no problem. They would have extra food, for bad days like storms and such.

But if you neglect nature and stop living in harmony with it, you will get what you have today.

The root of the problem is Wasting what we have. The farmer allowed this to happen because the farmer we all know about, abuses nature, and does not work with it.

Nature does not have to let a field lay fallow for a year to get it back into shape to produce again. The farmer has to. If you learn to live within the natural systems you can have a lot more people than you have today. But the world will not look anything like it does now.


The plow is a knife that cuts the heart of nature.

That is a good saying. I don't know who said it first, but it is worth repeating.

I know I used to be a plow and plant gardener, I am not one of those anymore.


Unproven, probably romantic notions.

Not that you'll get this, but if you do, send me mail at my profile's address.

What part of my post do you mean, by your post?


In short, capitalism must either grow or die. If it dies, "capital" takes "labor" down with it.

Good, then let capitalism die! I do not wish to be "labor", I wish to be free!

In short, capitalism must either grow or die. If it dies, "capital" takes "labor" down with it.

Sounds about right to me. If the death of capitalism takes down labor then there is nothing to feed communism either. Hey, no capitalism or communism, sounds like a good start for a better future! Hail true Anarchism

I heard this earlier today;

You are either too big to fail, or you are to small to survive.

Sums it up pretty good.

It seems to me that nobody will take the big steps necessary until they have to and by then it will be too late. Honestly, it's probably too late now to make the big changes necessary and with so many deniers, it will probably never happen until the SHTF.

The fate of any one person really depends on that person location in space and time. If we were to make a list of what would make any one location better than another maybe it would include:

1. access to fresh water
2. food
3. temperate weather
4. good local governance
5. good local people willing to help each other
6. some mobility
7. some access to power and energy
8. strong local economy-- a strong gift economy or maybe even *whispering* local currency...

we either have these things or we start killing each other.

That is a good list. In planning it is


Usually air is kinda a given, but there are places where the air is nasty and harmful.

A money system can be small scale. No loans with interest, only straight value, no one is living for a profit using money to do it.

Extra food, or extra goods, are used to stave off emergancies and to help other towns and villages near by.

But as has been said up thread, we won't be doing these things in mass, but one at a time and there will be some heavy to medium loses if more people don't get out of the rat race.


In a rational world, any nation with a coastline would be moving population inland and trying to construct agricultural land to replace that lost to salt intrusion.

India sees the writing on the wall; they're building a barrier to prevent Bangladeshi climate refugees from entering.

Building a barrier - wow, that's pretty amazing. But people in large numbers have tremendous strength, and if needed a few hundred could push until it fails and they all pour over it.

The power of a lot of people is amazing. I got hit by a hoard of people panicking once and it knocked me flying. The glass doors they opened, did so with such force they shattered. Unless they build a steel reinforced concrete fence, it won't hold up under a lot of people's force.

India sees the writing on the wall; they're building a barrier to prevent Bangladeshi climate refugees from entering.

Shouldn't India perhaps discuss walls, historical success rates of walls and such... with China?

But, such things seem to be getting quite a bit away from peak oil discussions....

what the heck has happened to the price of a barrel of oil today?

And what would it be when the dollar was weak like a few months ago.

-I'd BAN all personal automobiles/boats/gasoline powered devices and put more school buses into action for transportation of the masses, if they don't like it, they can walk. Only local governments would have access to gasoline (cops, mayors, mayor's girlfriend).

-Legalize all drugs and make prostitution legal.

"-Legalize all drugs and make prostitution legal."

That should help with the "die-off." It would help with the employment problem in the short term. Those on drugs won't be able to work - well, I guess it will only help with the employment problem for those who don't do drugs.

"Only local governments would have access to gasoline (cops, mayors, mayor's girlfriend). "

That would probably be plural, "mayors' girlfriends". Want to be fair and include all of them and not discriminate.

I like the effort you have put into the post, but I have one question.

Why do we need GM crops, we havenot used all the species that are out there in our gardens and farms. We have been limiting ourselves for generations, but not looking at how nature handles the diversity of plants.

We only need GM if we are standing on the other side of the fence and letting nature live over there, while we try to live over here without nature, in our sterile farms.

We have known for decades that farming the way most of it is done, kills the soils, and makes the use of FF imputs a HAVE TO case.

Why the heck can't we change that? Mendel bred new species of plants, that is a given outcome of plant breeding and even a natural course that happens all the time in the world in general as things change where the plant grows.

But adding Roundup to the genes of a plant by also adding in animal genes to counter the roundup additions, is getting into the realm where we are playing with fire and just don't know that we have lost the ability to feel the heat, and could burn ourselves without knowing it, until we smell the burning flesh.

When in the US farm belt where potatoes are grown they are only using at most 20 species out of the 3,000 that live in SA in the wild and in local farms. Why do you need to GM the ones you have, when we could find the ones in SA that fit the bill?

There are 30,000 species of Rice, how many are grown in Farms around the world? Not that many maybe a few 100. We have been walking away from the natural world and the systems that have been in place all these years, Be they created by GOD or the result of the Big Bang. It does not matter which in this case.

We have been stupid beyond measure for a long time, We think we are the masters of the world. When has anyone ever stood up and stopped the hurricane from hitting their beach? We aren't the masters, we are just one of the users. We have to rethink how we live in the world we live in. This is not going to be an easy task.

It will be like pulling a team of horses when they don't want to move.

But if you get out the sugar cubes and an apple, look how fast the horses walk over to you.

Can we change and stop our mad rush away from the natural systems that could help us restore a balance. I don't know about you, but I know where I am walking.

7 billion people could be housed and fed and live nice lives, if we only stopped being greedy selfish people, and started thinking about everyone else and trying to get out of the mess we have found ourselves. It won't be easy, and a lot of people might die before it gets done, but if we don't try, they will die anyway.



Email me lets talk, ceojr1963 @ yahoo. com

We need to connect the like minded, so to stave off the crash results.


You ask,
"C) Would a world government body enforce them?"

The question is, COULD a world government body (as yet non-existant) enforce them? I cannot imagine in my wildest dreams a world body being able to enforce the type of agenda you describe without massive, MASSIVE bloodshed in attempting to subdue opposition, and even then the "world government body" would probably be dragged into the streets, shot and hung from fences or telephone poles, their houses, cars, and families (because yes, even though these would be forbidden to the masses, the "world government body" would still have them, of that you can be assured) would be killed and burned in the streets. Is this a job you would want?

Oh, on the world 2 child policy, does that mean the liberated females and lesbians of the developed nations will be forced to have 2 brats?

Okay, okay, I shouldn't have gone there, but how could I not? ;-S hee, hee


2. Transition to GM crop.

You need to do a lot more research on GM crops, cause they do not increase yields, they do increase corporate control of the food supply and do contaminate non-GM crops, leading to a global monoculture, which would be utter disaster at some point.

How a New Jobless Era Will Transform America

The Great Recession may be over, but this era of high joblessness is probably just beginning. Before it ends, it will likely change the life course and character of a generation of young adults. It will leave an indelible imprint on many blue-collar men. It could cripple marriage as an institution in many communities. It may already be plunging many inner cities into a despair not seen for decades. Ultimately, it is likely to warp our politics, our culture, and the character of our society for years to come.

Fascinating article on how devastating unemployment is, especially to men.

A good read.

I hear the pundits and bureacrats talking continually about the need to retrain. Do any of these clowns have any idea what a huge problem that is for the average working person? First, you have to have some sense of where the job market is going. If the "experts" argue over this, what is the average person to make of it? Then you have to be able to afford to retrain. This means not only coming up with the cost of re-educating yourself but also being able to forgo a couple of years salary while you get your training. Thirdly -- and this is particularly a problem for those of us in our midddle years -- even if you can re-invent yourself, who is going to take on a 60 year old worker, knowing that it might be a few short years before you leave the company and the workforce? Further, you have the increased costs associated with insuring an older worker (assuming that the employer provides for health and/or life insurance), further discouraging employers from hiring them.

PO Tarzan,

I haven't seen you commenting so much before, but you're hitting them out of the ball park today.


"Retraining" is when the circus pulls out of town and puts all its clowns back on the train to head off and hit yet another Poe-dunk town.

I've personally watched middle aged men trying to "retrain" to become C++ computer programmers or "Web Designers" (yeah right). It just ain't going to happen. Old dogs don't learn new tricks.

I bet this week everybody is going to be "re-training" to become nuclear power plant operators now that Obama has sanctioned the nukes.

Coming soon: The Homer (unapologetic man bum) Simpson Unemployment Prevention Act of 2010 a.k.a. the THumbS UP Act of 2010.

Leanan -

A high level of persistent structural unemployment not only takes a heavy toll on individuals and their families but also serves as a very fertile medium for growing all manner of political monstrosities. A free and open society cannot long exist with a large and permanently impoverished underclass that has given up hope. As the song says: when you got nothing, you nothing left to lose.

If the current situation gets even worse over the next several years, it would be ripe for the rise of a megalomaniacal populist leader who will promise the masses to make everything better. Think late 1920s Germany. We could be in for some painful and exceedingly ugly step changes that will likely not end well.

As Kunsler points out: "The danger of a Corn Pone Hitler"

If the current situation gets even worse over the next several years, it would be ripe for the rise of a megalomaniacal populist leader who will promise the masses to make everything better. Think late 1920s Germany.

A third anti-christ. The first was Napoleon, the second Hitler. For both they have found signs that that would happen, though for me that's crap talk.

This is a powerful meme capable of rapidly metastasizing.

I just pictured Sarah Palin with a little mustache. Ugggg!

I think you're right on with that, EE. It'll be someone just about like her.

I hope to God it isn't her..

I get enough of an Ugh with her 'Doncha?.. you Betcha!'

wink wink ;-)

I have this vision: Sarah Palin is making a "speech" to her disciples (hey, what else could you call them?) in which she says nothing. She merely cocks her mouth half-open in that "are you ready for this one way?" manner of hers, but she actually says nothing. The crowd goes wild, cheering and nodding in agreement. She shifts her position at the podium, cocking her head at a different angle. Again she says nothing. The crowd screams wildly in agreement, chanting "Tack back our country!" and "Sarah speaks for us!" A few camo-clad individuals can be seen waving AK-47s in the air.

Have I scared you yet?

Let's see...a candidate who says nothing, but in a wordy way. A gleeful crowd who interprets what the candidate says in such a way as to have it match their beliefs. A political machine that values what is said over what is done, with hidden agendas and questionable characters throughout.

Yup, it's a proven recipe for success. Precision, clarity, and honesty won't get you anywhere close.

And finally she says

"Conscience is a librall invention, it is a blemish".

And yet...judging from foraging societies, it's not "natural" for human beings to work much, nor is it natural for us to want to accumulate wealth. And in third world nations, it's common for there to be a large permanently impoverished underclass.

What the article is arguing is that it's not really the drop in income that's the problem. It's the loss of prestige that comes with unemployment. In our society, our identities are so wrapped up in our jobs. The Full Monty (Broadway version) starts with the unemployed steelworkers singing about how they wish they could have friends or go to parties, but "There's that horrifying moment when they ask you what you do." That's the first thing strangers ask each other - the standard icebreaker. Even some people who leave work voluntarily (retiring, say) find that loss of identity quite difficult.

Engineers have it easy -- you can be a "consulting engineer" who just happens to be between gigs. Plus, people always ask you for help with their ideas even when they can't pay you, so you're still an engineer and a consultant -- just a very poor one.

I saw my Dad go through this in the early 80's, and the strain on the marriage. Mom went out and "got a job". Dad struggled to find one he could deal with, and when he settled for a trade job it was obvious that it crushed his self-image and ambition. 20 years later he'd recovered somewhat, but never trusted employment nor was able to find the energy and drive of his earlier life again.

Alcohol will be a good business to be in.

It's the loss of prestige that comes with unemployment. In our society, our identities are so wrapped up in our jobs.

And that's where your corn-pone Hitler comes in. Humans have a innate need to be part of something larger than themselves.

Leanan -

Yes, most Third World countries do have a large impoverished underclass. But the big difference in this case is that the Third World underclass tends to view their plight as the way things have always been and tend not to expect much better. The peasant mindset in modern form. It's hard to miss what you never had.

However, in the West and especially in the US, there is a large middle class who was brought up with the built-in presumption that things would always be as good as they are now, and quite possibly even better. When that belief is shattered, then watch out. A person who has been poor from birth is not anywhere nearly as unstable and dangerous as a poor person who had once been comfortably ensconced in the American middle class.

I think it might be different if it's happening to everyone. At least, not as bad.

In any case, my point in bringing up the thing about income is that it affects how we try to mitigate the problem. Increasing people's income isn't the answer (and likely won't be possible, anyway). We have to change expectations...and I think it's happening already.

Leanan -

Well, that's part of the problem: it is NOT happening to everyone. Just look at how the income gap in the US has widened over recent years.

And even if everyone did suffer the same percentage drop in income, a person going from an income of $360,000 'down' to $120,000 will hardly feel the same type of pain as someone going from an income of $36,000 down to $12,000.

I've heard it told that during the depths of the Great Depression someone driving a big Packard or Pierce Arrow down certain streets in NYC could risk having a brick being thrown through their windshield. So perhaps that is why it's been reported that certain Goldman Sachs top executives have beefed up their personal security. Perhaps the same sort of security (read highly paid personal thugs) that the ruling elite of certain Third World kleptocracies employ to keep the unruly peasants in line.

This is where the US could be headed if things get substantially worse. Civility and order will run out far before the oil does.

I've thought about that. Perhaps more worrisome is the generational divide. Heinberg warned about it years ago. Young people are likely to be left watching older people enjoy benefits they'll never get.

OTOH...people's ability to fool themselves knows no bounds. It was different in the '30s, and as Michael Moore as pointed out, it's different in Europe. Here in the US, we don't hate the rich, because we all think we're going to be the rich, one day. If we aren't already. (I saw one article that claimed 15% of Americans think they're in the top 2% of earners.)

I really wonder if Americans will bestir themselves to throw a brick.

I also think that we have not yet reached "peak social control." The government now has methods that were never available in the past. Between the Internet and cell phones, Big Brother can watch things never dreamed of in 1984. It's downright creepy, how much Google knows about Internet users. Yet few people seem concerned. We talk about privacy. But we still use Google, and G-mail, and Picasa, etc.

Check out globalrichlist.com and see how rich you really are!

One nice thing is stats -- it's easy to be in the top 20%, 10%, or even 2% of wage-earners, since that doesn't include those who make "real money" from investments of any sort. When you're doing "pretty good" but you can't afford the houses on the nice side of town, chances are there is money coming to those people that doesn't show up in the middle-class feed-bag press.

90% of American's think they're nicer than average. And 75% think they're in the 90% percentile of intelligence. I assume similar stats for good-looks, too.

So, everybody here is well above-average in income, looks, kindness, generosity, and intellect. Just like me. Just like everybody else.

I think JHK's scenario is more likely, i.e. the baby boomers end up living in shopping carts, homeless, because we are too busy dealing with all of this crap.

I keep hearing from the older boomers, now retired, "oh we won't have to deal with this in our lifetimes, but you will."

wrong. baby boomers = most self entitled generation this planet has ever seen and they will reap what they sow.

even if my generation has to become the enforcing karmic agents.

payback's a bitch.

I saw one article that claimed 15% of Americans think they're in the top 2% of earners

Thats absolutely classic. Bingo. That whole "middle class" thing is just political nonsense dreamed up by the PTB to feed to dreamers. We should get it straight. Upper class lives on the earnings from investments and property. Middle class lives on surplus taken from the work of their employees. EVERYONE ELSE is lower class. If you can loose your means of livlihood by the decision of another, then you're NOT middle class. The middle class auto assembly worker, give me a break.

And lower class is out of their minds to be voting conservative / republican. Completely brainwashed by the inventions of the puppeteers, eg. Ms. Palin etc. (as invention, not puppeteer)

Thanks for that Atlantic article,Leanan.From my own experience,retiring was a change which took some getting used to.The adjustment took a couple of years but now I see that it has set me free and I can't remember a happier time.

Btw,I am on a restricted income but with no debts and some reserves.After more than 40 years in the workforce I have a little to show for it,thankfully.I also know what it is like to be unemployed - not a good scene.

We are on the cusp of a paradigm shift in our system and society.Whether this has a good outcome depends not only on the wisdom of the leadership but even more on the extent to which responsible citizens are prepared to get involved. At the moment it appears touch and go whether there is a crash and burn or a slow change to something better.

Whether this has a good outcome depends not only on the wisdom of the leadership but even more on the extent to which responsible citizens are prepared to get involved.

thirra, my best to you. As much as it pains me to say so, I have to say forget about the "leadership." Those that aren't bought -- and they are damned few -- are quickly ostracized and "dealt with." Think Paul Wellstone and Cynthia McKinney.

I agree that if a functioning society is to emerge from the stresses of the next twenty years, it will be because you and I and others took it upon ourselves to fix what we see as broken. This means focusing on our individual communities and seeing that basic needs are met. Do you have a community food pantry? If so, where does the food come from (If the tractor trailers stopped supplying the big boxes, would your pantry shelves go bare)? How does your community get it's water? What do your people do for heat? For basic health care needs? Do you have a tradition of barter or a local currency system in place should the banking system collapse? How do you care for the sick and the elderly? What means do you have of connecting people who need help with people who need work?

These are all issues that the politicians would rather not deal with but which are vital to our future.

it would be ripe for the rise of a megalomaniacal populist leader who will promise the masses to make everything better.

Sarah Palin? “How’s That Hope-Y Change-Y Thing Workin’ Out for Ya?”

Bumper sticker here: I'll keep my God, my Guns, and my Paycheck. You can keep the Change.

The masses are disaffected. Too much Palienation.

The masses are disaffected because the US is on a tangent to ruin, and it's suddenly becoming obvious.

If you make me king I promise to be kind to you and yours.

If you make me king I promise that as soon as everything is fixed, I'll step down and go away.

If you make me king, I don't want anything more than whay you have.

If you make me king, I will try to defend you from space aliens ( if they ever show up)

If you make me king, let my brother know that he can have my old room.

The first were serious but I added the others to make it more light and fluffy.

If I were king, I hope I could get the job done, without getting shot by someone wanting my power.


without getting shot by someone wanting my power.

Ok, as long as you never change anything the puppeteers care about....

If I were king there would be no puppeteers.


yes, this was a sad but true Atlantic article. I have a couple of friends, engineers who I went so school with who are in their mid 50's who are in this position. It is very sad and frustrating for them. They have always been pretty successful so it is a hard pill to swallow not being able to take advantage of their education and work experience.

I understand from other Oil Drum staff members that the role of Goldman Sachs in hiding Greece's debt troubles is being discussed in European papers much more than it is here:

Goldman Goes Rogue – Special European Audit To Follow

We now learn – from Der Spiegel last week and today’s NYT – that Goldman Sachs has not only helped or encouraged some European governments to hide a large part of their debts, but it also endeavored to do so for Greece as recently as last November. These actions are fundamentally destabilizing to the global financial system, as they undermine: the eurozone area; all attempts to bring greater transparency to government accounting; and the most basic principles that underlie well-functioning markets. When the data are all lies, the outcomes are all bad – see the subprime mortgage crisis for further detail.

I wonder if the US government will be put on a new Axis of Evil list, because of its role in enabling, and then bailing out, Goldman Sachs, et al.

Hey, you can't punish someone for trying to "innovate."

For some reason, when I think of Goldman Sachs, I think of a Dilbert Cartoon from years ago. Dilbert's company had a new software program that had a "few bugs."

When you loaded the software, it erased your hard drive.

If you were on a network, it erased everyone's hard drives.

If you had a modem, it dialed up your friends and erased their hard drives.

If you had a speaker, it cursed at you, while erasing your hard drive.

You can't punish someone for trying to "innovate."

PO Tarzan,

You got the nail square on its head!

Everyone is out there trying to "innovate".

"Innovation" is the new creative destruction and reconstruction of ourselves in our own minds and wallets.

You won't need to hold your breath for too long before someone else comes along to prop up the system with the next Invisible Hand Default Swap

On his radio show Thom Hartmann had taken to calling Goldman Sachs et al "financial terrorists" because they were essentially making the same demands as various terrorist groups had in the past:

"...pay us the ransom (taxpayer funded bailout) or we bring this whole sucker down (the global economy that is)..."

I don't really think it would be much of a stretch to charge them with terrorism - but it's pretty easy to hide behind an LLC, Inc. etc

He got the "Financial Terrorist" term from Max Keiser.



He is a must watch.

Bank of America forecloses on wrong house

They paid cash for their house, but got foreclosed on anyway. The foreclosure documents had the wrong address on them, but even BoA's own Realtor was unable to convince them of that.

BoA broke the fence and the locks, discarded the personal possessions inside, scared away the tenant who was renting the house, put new locks on, and turned off the utilities, resulting in the pipes freezing.

At least one bank has acknowledged the record number of foreclosures from the mortgage meltdown has increased the likelihood of such mistakes.

Citi-Residential started the foreclosure process on a home in Kissimmee in 2008 — changing the locks and emptying the pool — even though the owner, who lives in London, didn't have a mortgage with the company, according to a report by Orlando TV station WFTV. Company officials said the high number of foreclosures they were dealing with in Central Florida contributed to the error.

I'd say its fortunate somebody wasn't caught inside by a homeowner that was a gun enthusiast. I don't see how such entry would be legally distinguishable from a home invasion.

Seems like a good reason that a foreclosing bank should be able to show the original mortgage deed to the judge before the property could transfer.

Individual rights really aren't much anymore.

The $555,000 Student-Loan Burden
As Default Rates on Borrowing for Higher Education Rise, Some Borrowers See No Way Out; 'This Is Just Outrageous Now'

When Michelle Bisutti, a 41-year-old family practitioner in Columbus, Ohio, finished medical school in 2003, her student-loan debt amounted to roughly $250,000. Since then, it has ballooned to $555,000. It is the result of her deferring loan payments while she completed her residency, default charges and relentlessly compounding interest rates. Among the charges: a single $53,870 fee for when her loan was turned over to a collection agency. . .

There is an estimated $730 billion in outstanding federal and private student-loan debt, says Mark Kantrowitz of FinAid.org, a Web site that tracks financial-aid issues—and only 40% of that debt is actively being repaid. The rest is in default, or in deferment, which means that payments and interest are halted, or in "forbearance," which means payments are halted while interest accrues.

US military to make jet fuel from algae

Scientists at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) have already successfully extracted oil from algal ponds, and is now about to begin large-scale refining of the oil. Special assistant for energy with DARPA, Barbara McQuiston, said unrefined oil produced from algae currently costs $2 per gallon, but the cost is projected to reduce to around $1. The refined and processed jet fuel is expected to cost under $3 per gallon.

The refining operation would produce 50 million gallons of oil derived from algae each year and is expected to begin full-scale operations in 2011. Each acre of algal farm pond can produce 1,000 gallons of oil. The projects are run by private companies General Atomics and SAIC.

What fraction of jet fuel consumption will the 75 sq miles of ponds address?

Let's see, of the 2.6B gallons consumed, it's a whopping 2%.

So, to replace jet fuel consumption, we'd need over 3000 sq miles (that's 50 mi x 60 mi) of algae ponds.

Interestingly, even with today's wars, the US military uses less fuel than in 1985. I assume a lot of the decline is simply transferred by outsourcing some activities, though.

No, some of that is real reduction (efficiency, believe it or not). Some may be outsourcing. But imagine the savings from having only two fuels to deal with: JP-8 and MoGas. That change took place over the course of the 1990's.

Even still, if they can produce 50 million gallons of algae oil per annum for the quoted cost it is a phenomenal achievement.

If they can, it would beg the question why industry isn't jumping on it already.

Scaling will likely be problematic from many directions -- land, water, equipment, diseases, environmental issues, weather-induced issues.

If you could do it with salt-water it would be better still.

Build algae ponds on reclaimed land from surface mines and oil sands. In northern areas (Canada) engineer algae for the long days of summer and keep the ponds thawed with waste heat from the existing plants in winter. Use the algae to treat waste water from the plants and then process it into biofuels. If these biofuel plants were incorporated into the reclamation and environmental budgets it might offset some costs (or make a little profit).

If this thing really works Brazil will get there first. They have large extensions in the "sertao", the Northeast that kind of hump into the Atlantic, very hot, great insolation not much fresh water most years, but if it works with brackish or sea water -I don't see any reason why not- they will be onto a winner.
The same across the Atlantic, from Casablanca in Morocco and South to the Gambia. I am not going to call them "wastelands", they are not and they have their uses, yet this could be a nice money earner for them.

Very true indeed. I suspect the aviation industry has the strongest incentive to get this working. Without algal fuels, they have no future whatsoever.

Even if they aren't peak oil aware, 5$/gallon to an airline is like pouring salt on a garden slug.

Even if they aren't peak oil aware, 5$/gallon to an airline is like pouring salt on a garden slug.

With all the jet contrails feeding the cirrus cloud cover my PV panels output is noticably cut back. Heres hoping for $5 (or higher) aviation fuel.

Maybe we all need an algae pond in our backyard instead of growing fruits and vegetables.

From the plans I have seen my brother talk about, you can grow the algae in vertical tubes as well and then you get a better yeild per acre.

But I would not trade my vegies/ fruits/ nuts for just any algae, it would have to be edible. And there are several.

But why one over the other, when you can grow both, just plan to run the ponds on the roof of the driveway.


Will be interesting to see if this is the start of a trend. An item from Drudge about foreign demand for US Treasury debt falling. Of course, it would seem to be when, not if, that it becomes more and more difficult to get foreign countries to fund US consumption.


Related Story:

US, Europe Will All Default On Their Debt: Marc Faber

The governments of every developed economy will eventually default on their sovereign debts, including the US, the UK and Western Europe, Marc Faber, editor of the Gloom, Boom & Doom report, told CNBC.

"In the developed world we have huge debt to GDP, in terms of government debt to GDP and unfunded liabilities that will come due," Faber said in a live interview via telephone. "These unfunded liabilities are so huge that eventually these governments will all have to print money before they default."

Whether everybody defaults or everybody inflates, the difference is who holds the bag. Either way, bond holders are suckers. With default, they eat it all. With inflation, they share the pain with savers and fixed-rate lenders of all sorts.

Foreign demand for US Treasury securities falls by record amount as China reduces holdings

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The government said Tuesday that foreign demand for U.S. Treasury securities fell by the largest amount on record in December with China reducing its holdings by $34.2 billion.

The reductions in holdings, if they continue, could force the government to make higher interest payments at a time that it is running record federal deficits.

The Treasury Department reported that foreign holdings of U.S. Treasury securities fell by $53 billion in December, surpassing the previous record of a $44.5 billion drop in April 2009.

The big drop in China's holdings meant that it lost the top spot in terms of foreign ownership of U.S. Treasuries, dropping to second place behind Japan.


WT - timing is everything

Great minds think alike. We are like the residents of a small village, at the base of a mountain, noticing some pebbles cascading down the mountainside, wondering if it is the start of a massive landslide that is about to bury the village. But as noted above, it seems to be when, not if.

wish I knew how to get out of the way.

Looks like you might be right, watched this video this morning.



I once heard a scientist say that in an infinite universe as probability appraoches unity you would eventually stumble an horse composing Beethovens entire works.

Well for 18 years my pet name for my wife has been fluffybunny and for the first time I stumble upon you. Here. So as you are probably not my wife.......horses...beethoven, you get the picture.

we certainly live in interesting times.


Well, Marco there are probably worse places that she could have found you posting.


I have like minded geek friends over at candlepowerforums.com and otherpower.com but my wife turns a blind eye to these extracurricular activities!!

It's like the best Bumper Sticker in my neighborhood..

"Talk Nerdy to me!"

.. or at least until I saw

"It's not a sign of success to be well-adjusted to a Sick Society."

"It's not a sign of success to be well-adjusted to a Sick Society."

Ah yes, one of my favorite quotes...

"It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society."
- J. Krishnamurti

Congratulations on having found a fluffybunny of your own! We are a rare breed and not easily captured, but we are worth the extra effort!
I guess I could have used my other nickname, (BadBunny),but somebody might have gotten the wrong impression. ;)

I thought it was a reference to the Daily Show's mission in Iraq: Operation Fluffy Bunny


Domestic demand for Treasuries is filling the gap at the moment. There is a lot of cash on the sidelines, and banks are not really lending. A lot of that cash goes into short-term treasuries. Also, we’re sending less money overseas because of reduced imports, so we are a bit more self-funding than we have in the past.


Re: Obama touts nuclear loan guarantee

Here's an update about Obama and nukes from the WaPo...

E. Swanson

This lead to lets get facts wrong day on TV news. More than once I heard the talking hair mention breathlessly that "nuclear supplies 20% of US energy" -- even the BBC made that mistake.

About this recession and depression talk. Isn't it all relative? Why is it not called "re-equilibrium"? Isn't all our growth a boost above our natural state?

Yes, and there are two re-equalizations occurring simultaneously.
There is a relative global equalization and also a reversion to the mean of what you call our natural trajectory.
Either way without some unforeseen miracle the US will have to become much more efficient.

The fight against a Shell project in Ireland is news to me. It seems the Irsh folks got shortchanged like the Nigerians. Given the tactics employed by Shell, I wonder if the Irish will adopt MEND's methods.

Well,karlof,the Irish have had a lot of practice using "Mend tactics" and a lot better going back a long time.

Long live the Republic.

I thougt historical Irish resistence tactics would need to evolve given the difference of this particular situation. It would seem the Republic is the cause of this situation, and I presume the locals involved in this dispute have rather mixed feelings about it currently.

After writing about TerraPower yesterday we looked at 6 Startups Nuclear Startups You Need to Know: http://earth2tech.com/2010/02/16/6-nuclear-power-startups-to-watch/

Brace Yourself for a Decade of Higher Taxes, FT Columnist Says


have you reduced your lifestyle today? have you reduced some one else's lifestyle then?

retraining? how about the technique of making stone knives and bear skins? does anyone on TOD know those time honored skills?

obama shut down yucca flats and now wants to start building atom power plants. what's up with that?

i fart in fusion's general direction.

did i mention die off? 99.999% of current human population reduction. die off. imagine everyone posting on TOD dead, even including myself and yourself. die off.

as to gold man sacks, the man enslaved to wealth can never be honest.

and related, goobermint is run by crooks for crooks.

you want to see the future? then visit the past.
100 year old photo blog. see for yourself child labor, hobos, slums,
the effects of the civil war. includes the super wealthy of that time for comparison.

maybe if we didnt have a military we wouldnt have to waste all that fuel on murder and mayhem. but as a practicality, it's better some one else is getting killed instead of us. and if some get wealthy doing it, THAT'S capitalism.

"it's all good"


I haven't succeeded at knapping yet but of you salvage any thin piece of iron , you can rub it on a large rock for a day or two and put a fine edge on it.

All the millions of stainless one peace steak knives that are buried in dumps everywhere will be more valuable than diamonds some of these days.

Why did child labor exist? Likely a combination of greed on one-side (and probably not all that hired children were greedy at all) and hunger on the other.

Why do people send their children to work or go dig ditches themselves for $2 per day? Because they can. It beats the alternatives.

All those lead articles talking about food and how things are going to work for fuel from food crops, to rural local foods helping to the other issues about food, just ties into to other common thoughts I have been discussing with people via e.mail and the Forest Garden/ edible Landscape blogs.

We have this problem, we can't see the forest for the trees. We have been doing things backwards. First make sure everyone is fed. Then with the land that is left over, you can use them for crops for fuel if you like.

We have people talking about the solutions all over the place, in discussion groups at the local level, and online, we just need to assemble the mass movement into an organization that works all over the world.

People can grow a lot of food in the spaces where they live if they follow simple habits, Thinking what they want to eat, and planting things that give them that food. Recycling their waste streams as much as possible. Reducing the footprint of their use of other things, non food related. Helping others when they have more things to do than hands to do them.

If cities were to grow food plants around town, they would be just as pretty as the landscaping they have now, but give themselves an added bonus, food for sale or food for the hungry in their city. Land that is in disuse, can be planted with a mixed Forest Garden. Just let it grow and go in later and harvest the crops and let the Nature Preserve deal on it's own.

There are plants that dig deep into the dirt and bring needed minerals to the surface and let them be used for other plants around them. There are food plants that only local native peoples use, that can grow elsewhere and can be added into the Forest Garden biowebscape.

Biowebscape, Did I just invent a new word?


Look for solutions before the problems show up, by doing nothing. (it's something you'd get if you have read any Masanobu Fukuoka)